Saturday, January 5, 2019

SWIMMING LESSONS
By Shirley Wiggins
 
I never learned to swim, never had much desire to learn to swim, but I have longed to be able to swim.  I do not like for water to get in my face, particularly my eyes, nose, mouth or ears.

Ironically, I love to look at the water and be near enough to “drink” in its beauty with my eyes.  I love the water!  Oceans, lakes, sparkling clear blue pool water  -- all of it!   Especially at sunrise and sunset:   such a glorious sight to see!  To see, mind you, not swim in.

Facing the coming of the autumn this year is both a joy and a delight, even though we missed our trip to the coast again this year.  As August blended into September, I counted this season’s change as one of adventure.

Our two-story house has sold and we have an opportunity to downsize to a house of rooms all on one level --- grateful, grateful!  (To borrow a phrase from a wonderful woman named Lucy!)
 
A brand-new grandbaby is set to make his debut around mid-October.  He is a beautiful little bundle of surprise coming from God to our daughter and son-in-law.   He is also a special addition to so much good in our future that we have to look forward to with great excitement.
As with all of life’s seasonal changes, challenges come, too, along with the greatest opportunities for new life-seasons.
Details, details, details - bringing in so much to do, much uncertainty, and so much work requiring so much time and energy! 

Over all of life hangs that opaque curtain suspended over the “now,” and “then,” and “when.”  One-day-at-a-time living is called for and with all these uncertainties surely they are bringing unending opportunities to practice the “walk-by-faith-and-not-by-sight principle that God has set for His people.
Determined to go through this time in my life right now in just that way, with all excitement, exhilaration, and enthusiastic expectations of good, I walked confidently into September.  Until… recently when an unexpected something  reared up in front of me and quietly said, “Boo.”  And, I became afraid.

I put on my well-worn “happy” facemask, and waded on into the ‘ocean’ – ankle-deep, and then knee-deep.  I could see the waves of potentially very rough water on the horizon, seeming to roll relentlessly toward me.
Various disappointments keep bobbing up and I keep carrying each one to my Father, who is a very powerful King.

I seek His face in prayer.  I read His word with daily diligent care.  And, still the disappointments come in -- some small and minor, some huge and scary.
And, I become afraid - again.

Awakening in the deep, dark midnight hours or the starry early dawn, I recount each one into my Father’s ears…until peace descends again, covering me with the comfort and assurance of His continued presence, and His thorough knowledge of every situation and circumstance.
Suddenly, on any given day, a most unwelcome visitor is likely to come rolling in, usually right on the heels of several of these “little” disappointments.  His name is Discouragement.

He came in this time with fully packed bags obviously intending to stay for an extended period.  And again, I became afraid.
I assessed my arsenal of resources and believed I could withstand his messy, irritating presence, as he has been a too-frequent visitor to my house in the past.  No matter where I happen to be living, he always seems to find me and barges in unwanted.

I review again in my mind all the ways and times that my Father’s Presence without fail equips me to deal with the despicable deceptions that discouragement always throws haphazardly or methodically all over the place when he drops in for a “visit.”
He makes himself at home and immediately begins to redecorate my surroundings with darkness to block all the sunlight.  He casts a pall of negativity over absolutely everything.  He delights in spreading his deceptively subtle thoughts and innuendos – never including any hint of good about anything.  Every event is always a portent of worse to come.

Soon enough, chest-high water escalates into neck-deep water, and my feet begin to slip in the shifting sands of the deep undercurrent of oppression.
And, I become afraid - again.  Again, I look almost helplessly around me only to acknowledge there is no human hand available to help me:
 I have to learn to swim in deep water!

The waves of life are now too strong, too frequently rolling over me, pulling me into the deep.  It will be foolish, and to my own detriment, if I continue to childishly rely upon any human arm to be available, or even able, to pull me back to the safety of the shore every time another wave of discouragement threatens to pull me into dangerously deep and shark-infested waters.
My feet too easily shift in the slippery sands at the bottom of this ocean I am in, and I shamefully admit that I have wasted too much valuable time wading in shallow water and playing about in life.  I must sacrifice everything it will take for me to finally learn how to swim, and how to float, in order to survive in the unruly waters of this life.  I wholeheartedly intend to survive, because my Father has said that I am more than a conqueror, and furthermore that my future inheritance is so certain that it is guaranteed.
Even a non-swimmer like me can foolishly let self-sufficiency keep us semi-grounded in shallow water as the smaller waves of disappointment roll around our ankles and knees. 

We recognize that feeling of letting our feet sink deep into the swirling and shifting sands of the ocean’s bottom as the gentle, and occasionally the not-so-gentle,  waves roll over us as we stand comfortably near the beach’s shore ankle-or-even knee-deep in the warm summer ocean.
Some of us are so strong-willed that we can keep ourselves mildly stable in our stance, even in the midst of waist-high or perhaps even chest-high water.  We are at ease in our spot as long as we can calm ourselves with the shallow platitudes of common sense reasoning; as long as we rely on our own way of thinking and understanding.

But, when discouragement thunders in on us like a hungry shark, no longer just the passing whale, and seems determined to wash us out of the shallows into the dark, deep, and mysterious waters of life, we realize with the utmost urgency that it is now time to learn how to swim spiritually. 
Life is so similar to the sea, that “great body of salt water that covers nearly three-fourths of the earth”  … “the ocean {that} still holds mysteries that we are only beginning to unravel.”

As we celebrate more birthdays in life, we discover that the more we learn about life, the more that we just don’t yet know about life.  Some of the things we’ve relied on in our belief system just won’t deal adequately with the dead seriousness that life takes on sometimes.
This age in which we now live, for example, is deadly serious and is the time in history for Truth, not common sense reasoning, or the philosophies of mankind, and the foolish dependence upon what we think we know, and what we are taught to ‘believe’ in our heads and recite with our mouths. 

These are the times that ‘try men’s hearts’ – the times that put to the test all we’ve been told and taught to believe in this modern, technologically savvy world in which we currently live.  This is the world which seeks to dethrone God and dismiss His laws and destroy traditional values and replace them with various myths, fables, and fairy tales that were unproven in earlier generations, but still put forth as theories, and which are now being taught broadly as though they were proven truths -- even as Truth itself is being brutally attacked, forbidden and publicly banned from polite society.  "Truth is dead in the streets..."
Disappointments come to all, and discouragement comes to many.  The ocean of life becomes more and more agitated and we hear the news reports of typhoons and tidal waves around the world.  And, we become more and more afraid because we know with ever more certainty that surely one day, they will reach the shores of our dwelling too.

As adults, we ourselves must first and finally learn to swim in the deep water with the deadly sharks, teaching at early ages, our children, and our grandchildren, how to float, and then how to become experienced long-distance swimmers in the sea of life.  Perseverance and endurance is exactly what is needed now.  Firm faith grounded in the standard of God’s truth.
God is the Supreme Swim-Team Coach.  He has mastered life in the shallows and life in the depths because He engineered life and brought it into being.  His Word, The Holy Bible, contains 66 Books of information and illustrative instruction --- well documented, and recorded and preserved forever.  Not one word of God’s Word will ever fail or disappear.  He has provided this Book because He desires that we learn everything about Him that He has revealed about Himself, about life and how to live it, and how to prepare for eternity.

His invitation to “come and dine,” remains open during this Age of Grace.  How long will this current age last?  No one can say for sure, but the Bible states emphatically that God Himself has determined its last “day”.   Each passing day brings us nearer to the preset date in time.
Open your eyes and know that the time approaches – every day brought nearer than it was yesterday.  It is high time to wake up and sign up for your spiritual swim lessons and join the Savior’s Swim Team.

He is awesomely able and wondrously willing to teach all we need to know to survive the challenges of this temporary life and inherit, as more than conquerors, the eternal life He has prepared for all who will believe on and adhere to and trust in Him.¹
 
Look for more to come about spiritual swim lessons, how to float, and how to swim, swim, swim in the ocean of life.
Reposted from September 13, 2013
 ¹ To be a child of God, you must first have a relationship with Christ. 
John 3:16-18 (ESV):    “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.  Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
If you have never acknowledged your sin and confessed it by agreeing with God about it, and received Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord of your life, you are encouraged to listen for His Holy Spirit "voice"  to invite you to pray the prayer of repentance sincerely confessing your sin and asking Jesus to cleanse you of that sin.   If you repent and turn from your sin, to Christ, and “confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead; you will be saved," according to God's Word, the Holy Bible, in Romans 10:9.
If you have just prayed to receive Christ, tell someone.  Then become an active member and participant in a church where God is exalted, and His Word, The Holy Bible, is taught as the standard of life.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Reflections on 2018

by Hallie Gipson

The beginning of a New Year! 

As I reflect on the days, weeks, and months that have passed in 2018, I see a journey with blessings and good things. But I also see regrets, failures, and ways that my life has not been God-glorifying.

I see:
  •  Attitudes that should have been nipped in the bud, but were allowed to fester
  •  Anxieties that occupied thoughts, energy, and time when those anxieties should have been placed on God’s all-sufficient shoulders
  •  Old hurts and wounds replayed in the mind at the Enemy’s urging, rather than the forgiveness, love, and compassion that Christ offers
  • Physical issues so frustrating that complaining and moping were the theme rather than gratitude
  • Undisciplined time management that led to many wasted hours rather than time spent in Bible study, prayer, meditation on God’s Word, or encouraging others (to name a few)
  • Poor choices in diet, exercise, and rest rather than choices that strive to glorify God in everything.


With all of that, and more, in my rear-view mirror, how can I possibly move forward in to the New Year?

The answer to that question comes straight from God’s precious Word! His Word declares to us the all that we have through Christ. And that ALL enables us to live a life pleasing to Him --- a God-focused, Spirit-led, Christ-honoring life.


Romans 5:1-6 (NLT)

“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, as we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for sinners.


Colossians 3:1-4 (NLT)

“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.”

Philippians 4:4-7 (NLT)

“Always be full of joy in the Lord, I say it again – rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all that you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”


Ephesians 2:8-10 (NLT)

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”


2 Peter 1:2-4 (NLT)

“May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.”


HAPPY NEW YEAR! May many blessings be yours in Christ Jesus!


Jude 24-25

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

God's Names and Attributes -- L

by Hallie Gipson

We have reached the last month of 2018 and it seems to be slipping away quickly! According to the retail industry, Christmas was in full swing before Halloween –- or at least they wanted us to feel that way so we would rush about and make purchases that would certainly make us ‘merry and bright’! 

But as believers, our joy runs deeper than any shiny bauble we can purchase, or the warm glow we get when surrounded by family and friends.

God has showered His blessings of love, Life, and Light on those of us who deserve His wrath. He has accomplished all of that through His precious Son, Jesus Christ --- the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah. God began weaving His tapestry of Salvation before time began.

LOVE

John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

Romans 5:8
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

1 John 3:1
“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God, and such we are.”

1 John 4:16
“We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love, abides in God, and God abides in Him.”

In the Old Testament, the prophet Micah extols God as the source of salvation to His people.

Micah 7:18
“Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love.”


LIFE

John 14:6
“Jesus said to him (Thomas), ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’”

John 11:25-26
“Jesus said to her (Martha), ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?’”


LIGHT

Psalm 27:1
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  . . .”

John 8:12
“Then Jesus spoke to them saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life.’”

LORD

Genesis 2:7
“Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”

1 Thessalonians 5:9-10a
“For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us . . .”


LAMB OF GOD

John 1:29
“The next day he (John the Baptist) saw Jesus coming to him and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’”

Revelation 5:11-13
“Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,
          “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches
          and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”
And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying,
          “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and
          honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”

Revelation 12:10-11a
“Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb . . .”


LION of JUDAH

Revelation 5:5
“And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered . . .”


Where does your joy come from this Holy Season? May we never forget that our joy is rooted in the risen Lord who, in obedience to the Father, came to earth as a baby; lived a sinless life; died an excruciating death on the cross; and rose to give us eternal life.

 May our hearts echo the song recorded in Exodus 15:1-2
“Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and said,
          “I will sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted; . . .
          The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation;
          This is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will extol Him.”

Merry Christmas and may the God of all grace and glory fill you with His presence this season!
         

Monday, August 27, 2018

God's Names and Attributes -- 'K'


All of my efforts to speak of God’s names and attributes seem feeble at best. I can never reach the bottom of His endless, perfect Being! Whatever He possesses is possessed to the uttermost and whatever He does is done from His holiness and perfection and sovereignty!

He IS the King, King of Kings, Keeper, and Kind above all our deserving!

KING

“The Lord is King forever and ever.”  Psalm 10:16

“Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle.”  Psalm 24:8

Isaiah recording The Lord’s words:
“I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.”  Isaiah 43:15

KING OF KINGS

“The Lord sat as King at the flood; Yes, the Lord sits as King forever.”  Psalm 29:10

“--- He (Jesus Christ) who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.”     1 Timothy 6:15b-16

“And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, ‘KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS’.”  Revelation 19:16

KEEPER

“The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade on your right hand.”  Psalm 121:5

KIND (adj.) – of a forbearing nature; arising from or characterized by sympathy or forbearance.

Of all God’s attributes, ‘kind’ is among those I cherish the most. Why? Because if God’s intentions toward those of us who deserve His wrath had not been kind, then we would have indeed perished! But instead, through the grace of Jesus Christ, we are given mercy, predestined, adopted, loved, and saved for all eternity!

“The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds.”  Psalm 145:17

“He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”  Ephesians 1:5-6

“He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him.”  Ephesians 1:9

“But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit . . . ”  Titus 3:4-5

“. . . like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.”  1 Peter 2:2-3

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to Him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”  Romans 11:33-36

Sunday, July 8, 2018

THE ONE GOOD THING


By:  Shirley Wiggins                                                        
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He Who promised is faithful.”  Hebrews 10:23

Will any good thing  ever come of my daily doings?   Those things I do every single day without even thinking about whether or not I will do any one of them today, I just do them!
My daily Bible studies, journal writings, research, collections of papers of  encouraging words for now, exciting words for tomorrow, and enthusiastic truths for eternity.

I cannot stop reaching, first thing every morning, for my
                                     -Bible,

-paper, pen and pencil,
                                     -devotionals, and,

                           my first cup of coffee.
  And,  yet, sometimes I do wonder, am I wasting:

·      time,

·      resources,

·      money,

·      my life??
I honestly do not know if anything I do will ever make any eternal difference for anyone else.   And, yet, I cannot quit any one of these morning practices.  This is my chosen way to start each day, and it is my routine, my reason for rising in the early morning.  These things feed my faith and nourish my soul and my spirit.

The one good thing I do know comes of, by, and from my routine of morning habits is that I bask all day long in the warmth of fellowship with my Father.

Fellowship with my Father… the delight of my otherwise seemingly dull life.

I am never disappointed with Him:  He is the icing on my cake of life.  He is the cream in my coffee and tea.

He gives to me – and my life – purpose and joy.  He is the Bright Light on the Horizon of my Future:  HOPE.
Because He is, I am… He is the “I AM” Who enables me to be, period.

The Initiator of Life, He is the Impetus in life:  the Incentive for living in the day-to-day (the “nasty now-and-now”), no matter how “dull” my lackluster life appears, at any point in time, to others.
The Lord of Life is the inherent luster of life – He is the Glow of His own Glory:  the Holy Spirit Who indwells His people.

From tiny sparkles and twinkles, His iridescence is “a glow of light from within” – LUMINOSITY:  illuminating every dark corner of life---- He gives spiritual and intellectual enlightenment.  His wisdom gives clarifying explanation to all the questions of life’s obscurity.
He demystifies the mystifications of the obfuscations – of the cloudy confusions created by the artistic deceptions of modern day cultures.

The greatest threat to the world today, in my thinking, is the lawless suppression of truth.
Jesus Christ said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  John 14:6.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled  to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He Who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  Hebrews 10:19-23 (NIV.)
God said, … “Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God….(the way to salvation) … 1 Corinthians 1:24.

Those who seek to omit God and Jesus have fallen into Satan’s snare and are deceived into thinking (believing) that they are “wise” (know-it-all), but instead they are deceived:  see 1 Corinthians 1:18-31.
They are foolish in their deceived state, but convince themselves that they are “wise” and “intelligent.”  God’s plan of salvation seems to them foolish, and those who are saved by God’s method are,  in the eyes of the deceived, the “foolish” ones.

Ironic, but tragic.
For those who continue to embrace the lie by rejecting God’s truth condemn themselves to continuing deception.                                          See  2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.

Salvation and truth are inextricably linked:  See 2 Thessalonians 2:13-16, 17; 1 Timothy 2:4.
It is God’s desire that all people would repent of their sin, believe in His Son Jesus Christ,  and be saved in accordance with God’s Way and Truth  in order to gain eternal life.

I urge you,  first of all, to pray for all people.  Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.  Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceable and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.  This is good and pleases God, our Savior, Who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.  For, ‘There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity – the Man Christ Jesus.  He gave His life to purchase freedom for everyone.  This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.”    1 Timothy 2:1-6 (NLT.)

Now while they were on their way, Jesus entered a village [called Bethany], and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.  She had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and continually listening to His teaching.  But Martha was very busy and distracted with all of her serving responsibilities; and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, is it of no concern to You that my sister has left me to do the serving alone?  Tell her to help me and do her part.’  But the Lord replied to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered and anxious about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part [that which is to her advantage], which will not be taken away from her.’”   Luke 10:38-42 (Amplified Bible.)

Today we have a choice – choose the good part, the one thing necessary.
Let us not become so busy we are distracted from the blessed privilege of sitting down and listening to hear Jesus’s words and thoughts toward us, individually.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Things We Give to God


By Shirley Wiggins
Thoughts,  like lightning bolts,  can run in and out of our minds seeming sometimes like a million –a – minute.  Some flash into our minds and lodge in our hearts and we continue to recall them days later.

That’s what happened to me some years ago as I sat in the Beth Moore video Bible study entitled, Mercy Triumphs.
Beth was “painting” some beautiful, large strokes with the Scripture “brush,” and I was furiously taking notes because she was talking about how joy can be “birthed” from anguish and through anguish and the two can co-exist, being specifically referenced to childbirth in the Scriptures.

She mentioned her grandchildren and their obvious desire and delight in spending time with her.  As she said this, my mind had its own rush of memories related to my precious grandchildren (two at that time, and now there are three!).
I promptly fell in love with each of mine and began daydreaming about them long before they were born!    I have no doubt this love will continue to bring joy until the day, somewhere in the future, when my physical life gives way to my heavenly life in eternity.  And, there only God knows  how  we will love then forever.

As Beth shared that day, this thought came to me and I wrote it in my notes:
“What does our joy in and toward God make Him feel?  Consider the process of falling in love with my grandbabies; consider my own story.”

My own story is that I have had so much fun with my grandbabies from day one!  I have a million stories to tell of the cute things they did and said, not to mention the utterly profound things they’ve said as children that was almost too deep for an adult much less children!
The Scripture says, “out of the mouths of babes…”

The delight they gave to me in the forms of a freshly picked flower, a pretty rock, a hug, and so on and on, no matter what they gave me, I treasured it and loved them with all my heart.
One of the things they have each  given to me – all three of them – is the opportunity to grab my Bible to read Bible stories and talk and laugh together.  My oldest grandson and my granddaughter’s favorite spot was the outdoor swing and they had a deep interest in the stories of Jesus and the people in the Bible.  So does the youngest one today who is only four years old.

 What joy!
Do you ever think about what you give to God and how that makes Him feel?

God is love and He loves each one of us, so nothing we can give Him will make Him love us more;  but I would love to think that I could bring joy to my heavenly Father!
So what could I “give” to God as I start each day?  

The joy of seeing me reach for His Word with absolute delight and eager anticipation of what He will say to me today?
The joy of hearing my prayers of praise for the greatness and the grandness of Who He is and the forgiveness of all my sins and the resulting salvation He has given?

The joy of seeing me pause throughout my day, while in a particularly difficult set of circumstances, to remind Him (and mysel) that I am depending upon His goodness and kindness and faithfulness to see me through each one?
The joy of seeing me in attendance in His house of worship and prayer each and every Sunday, wearing a full faced smile as I greet His other children?

The joy of seeing me return good for evil to others who’ve hurt me or offended me or behaved irresponsibly (in my own personal opinion!)?
The joy of seeing me embrace His Son as my Savior who saved me once and forgives me daily as I ask?

The joy of seeing me listen attentively to His Holy Spirit as my Comforter, Counselor, constant Companion, and Guide into all truth?
The joy of seeing me study His Word, the Holy Bible, really studying it and not just giving it a quick and brief reading, or neglecting to open it all day for days on end?

How do I spend my time, my energy, my money?  I use the word “my” very loosely for there is nothing I can give to God that He didn’t first give to me and all I can do is return a good investment on what He has so abundantly provided to and for me.
I turn from my examination to what I give to God to the question of what I give to Him that I can stop giving to Him.

I can stop complaining and grumbling about every little thing.  I can stop giving Him disrespect and stop wasting all the good gifts He has given to me.
I can daily show Him my love and respect and appreciation and worship of Him through my actions and behavior in my personal quiet alone time, my actions toward my family, my friends, my neighbors, and those whom I meet in the daily routine of life.

I can behave as the ambassador of Christ that I truly am because I have repented of my sin, received God’s forgiveness through His Son and my Savior, and daily surrender control of my life to God through Jesus by the help of His Holy Spirit, and live to point others to God in Jesus Christ.
How about you?  What do you consistently give to God?

 In God’s Word, Jesus said:

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
Already you are clean because of the Word that I have spoken to you.

Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in Me.
I am the vine; you are the branches.  Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples.  As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you.  Abide in My love.  If you keep My  commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.  These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

This is My commandment that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down His life for His friends.  You are My friends if you do what I command you.  No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you.  These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”

                                                                                     John 15:1-17 (ESV)

 O Father,

You give joy!  Help us to give You  joy because our hearts truly delight in You!

Thank You so much for all of the great and good gifts that You bestow on us.

We give you praise!  In Jesus’ name,

 Amen.

 

Edited Repost from June 30, 2012

 

SWIMMING LESSONS By Shirley Wiggins   I never learned to swim, never had much desire to learn to swim, but I have longed to be abl...