Wednesday, July 24, 2013

True Freedom

This past week I was struck anew with Romans 7:6 "We have been delivered from the law, that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit." Read the Daily Bread Devotional.
As I pondered this verse, I stopped to think and dwell upon what was the law to the Jews in the 1st century and just how did being delivered from it impact their relationship with God.
Many people may simply think of the Ten Commandments when their thoughts go to the law.   And rightly so, as these were the first of the Law.  No man or woman has truly kept all ten all their life except for Christ Jesus.  So the Ten Commandments condemn us all to death and separation from God.  Jesus' death on the cross frees us from this.  Praise God!!
But it goes so far beyond just this!  The 1st century Jew was laden with many more laws from Deuteronomy & Leviticus.  And the many shadings, explanations and such that those in authority had added to the original texts.  To be a "good" Jew was a very involved and sometimes burdensome set of rules and regulations.
Worship:  Under the Law, the only place they could come into the presence of the Lord was in the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem.  Only certain priests could even enter this area and only at appointed times.  Under the Blood, all who believe and accept Christ's free gift of salvation can come into the very presence of God any time, any where.  Christ sits on the right hand of The Father, as our High Priest.  The Holy Spirit indwells us.  God is actually with us - within us!!! - all the time.  We don't have to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem!  We can worship anywhere.  We don't have to bring or buy offerings!!  Christ was The Offering!  At home, in the woods, gathered together in church, relaxing by the seashore...we can worship our God!!
Prayer:  The 1st century Jew had certain postures, he had a prayer shawl, there were memorized prayers for different situations and times.  He had always to worry if his prayers would be acceptable and received.  But thanks to the Holy Spirit and Jesus at The Father's right hand, we can pray any time, anywhere, with a shawl or without, by our own words or let the Spirit make intercession for us!!!  We can go to the alter at church, or pray kneeling by our bed, or pray on our commute to work.  We can pray any time! 
Confession & Forgiveness:  The first century Jew had to travel to Jerusalem and give a sacrifice over to the priest to have his sins forgiven.  This involved time, money, possible hardship, etc.  But Our Lord and Savior is there to receive our heartfelt admission of guilt and there before the Father, He says, "I have this one covered." as he shows the nail scars to all in the Throne Room and the angels rejoice!!!  Forgiveness is as easy as recognizing we have sinned and earnestly repenting of it!!!  And we even have help in that from the Holy Spirit who will needle us, convicting us of what we've done wrong or what we've left undone!!!  Ask Him to search your heart today and show you.
This is just a drop in the bucket of all the freedom we have in Christ Jesus!!!  Thank you Lord!  If you have yet to enjoy this freedom, won't you begin today?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

License Plate Anecdote

As I have said before I recently got a new car.  What you may not know is that my initials are BLH. 

When the license plate came for my new car, hubby slipped them out of the enveloped and after viewing them, held them up for me and said, "You almost got a personalized license plate for free."  The plate he was holding started with BYH.

I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Barbara Why H(our last name)."

To this hubby, without missing a beat, responded, "To hell if I know!!" 

LOL  - I adore my plates. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Into the Word Wednesday: Psalms 19:14

Actually, I didn't get to do a post last Wednesday, as that was the first day hubby was home from the hospital and too much was going on.  So, I first want to talk about what was on my mind and in my heart last week.  The simple Goodness of my God.  From even before the Friday I had to take hubby to the ER, God was taking care of me.  One step ahead of me.  Working things out to our good. 

The weekend before was the most restful I had had in quite some time.  I felt at my best.  Then Friday, since we had to work the day after the 4th, our boss told us we could cut out about 2:00pm that day.  Around 1:30 hubby called me asking me to call the pharmacy and ask them some questions.  When he told me his symptoms and how he felt, I said "No!  That won't do.  I'll come home and get you and take you somewhere.  You be ready and decide where you want to go."  I was on my way home by 2:00.  Hubby had picked Baptist.  I had him there by 4:00pm.  They took him & his symptoms very seriously.  No holds barred treatment despite our financial/insurance situation.  In little ways too numerous to count, God was there.  Smoothing the way.  If I thanked and praised Him and hubby for my new car once, I did a hundred times.  I got a parking spot on one of the first two rows right in front of the main door every time I arrived at the hospital.  There were medicine issues when hubby came home that the Lord worked out seamlessly.  Including when I needed to speak to the admitting doctors office, finding out it was in the same building, same floor, same suite, even the same counter as Bug's cardiologist who I had to take her for a 6 month check that very day! 

Scoffers can roll their eyes and say "coincidences".  But when the Lord is involved they happen extremely often and in ways for our good.   So I know He is with me. 

As for this week, I was reflecting on Psalms 19:14 today as part of my Daily Bread devotion.  The verse reads, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord."

I closed my eyes and thought about this.  How important it is.  After all, almost everyone lets their words and their mouth get the best of them at some time or another.    Gives a harsh response more from being tired than from being offended.  Goes too far saying something about someone else, and enters the realm of gossip.  Stumps a toe or gets cut off in traffic by a discourteous or reckless driver and lets an offensive word or phrase fly.  Let's their thoughts turn to every wrong someone has done them instead of focusing on on the ways they have been there for you.  Gets a "why me" mentality.  I could go on for pages.  You get the picture.

Then I began to contemplate how the Lord can help us to do as David asked.  And it occurred to me that David asked out of order.  Or maybe a blurry eyed scribe wrote it out of order.  But I doubt that, as I trust God capable of preserving His Word as He wants it.

When we stay close to God through prayer and His Word, He will help us the meditation of our heart to be in line with His Will and His Way.  The Holy Spirit is there to help us with gentle nudges or a sound thump on the head when needed--if we listen to Him.  If we heed the warning He is giving, He will help us turn our thoughts and our minds toward the good. 

In the New Testament the Lord tells us to think on whatever is "good, pure, lovely", etc.  As our heart is our thoughts.  As our thoughts are our words and actions. 

So, if we truly want our words to be acceptable to Him, we first must turn our meditation toward Him.  Just like a computer, if you program trash in, trash will come out.  If you program good solid code you will get good solid information.  Whatever we dwell on becomes an overshadowing extension of ourselves.  So then, let us "renew" our minds that they become more Christlike and therefore our actions, attitudes and our words.

God bless & keep you!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Anecdote from the Hospital

Hubby was recently hospitalized for several days for the nasty C diff bacteria.  This meant he had IV fluids from the get go, till check out with constant bags of antibiotics added to it.  Nurses and aides were usually very punctual in coming by to check his poll and adding replacements.

But one night in the wee hours, the box on the pole went to beeping because the saline solution had run dry. Hubby silenced the irritating sound with a push of the button for several brief 10 minute reprieves.  When no one had come yet, he called the nurses station and told them of his need.  This time he left the beeping going.  Minutes turned into more minutes and then an hour.  In total frustration at the lack of attention and the irritant to his sleep, his redneck side slipped out.

He took the IV out of the stint, unplugged the unit from the wall, walked the pole over to the door of his room, sailed it out into the hall, and shut the door behind it.  Soon his room was full of apologetic and busy people.  The pole was restrung with fluids, the IV reinserted and the beeping was silent.

(Note:  As a whole the staff was very nice and very attentive.  And hubby was mild mannered & polite.)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

My Cross

Once again I am participating in the Blog Hop "Into the Word Wednesday". 

This week what stood out to me as I read my daily devotion in "Our Daily Bread" was a new take on what my "cross" is.  I've heard preachers put this in a myriad of ways and none has ever struck a chord with my soul that satisfied it.

As I read the devotional on Luke 9:23, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." written by David C. McCasland, a new realization occurred to me.  What did Jesus sacrifice on the cross?  His life of course.  But beyond that He sacrificed His own will for the Father's.  In the garden He had prayed if there be any other way let this cup pass from me, but nether the less Thine will be done. 

Therefore, to take up my cross daily is to daily deny my own self will and look to God's will for me.  Deny my own desires for the sake of living for Him and to further His Kingdom. 

A huge cross to bear if left on our own.  But thank God for the Holy Spirit!  With Him we can have some measure of success in shouldering that cross.

McCasland said, 'Rather than merely trying to suppress our natural desires, MacDonald said that true self-denial means “we must see things as [Christ] saw them, regard them as He regarded them; we must take the will of God as the very life of our being . . . . We are no more to think, ‘What should I like to do?’ but ‘What would the Living One have me do?’”'

Thank you Lord for being faithful and submitting your will to the Father's.  Help me to better bear my cross for you today.

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