Fruit of the Spirit – Colorfully

I am just in a pondering and color-filled mood.

By repentance, admission of my sins, and acceptance of Christ Jesus as my LORD and Savior, I have received the Holy Spirit.  As I abide in Him and He in me, the fruit of the Vine can grow in me.  I must stay close, receiving the life-giving sap from the True Vine so that I will live the fruit before the eyes and hearts of others.  May this be so, Father.   

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23

Love

Joy

Peace

Patience

Kindness

Goodness

Faithfulness

Gentleness

Self Control

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say,  rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.  Philippians 4:4-9

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As I ponder the fruit of the Spirit, I want to live them as well as think upon such as these.  The words of my mouth should be true to You, LORD.  I pray that this would be so.  I thank You for gifting me with such lovely gifts that are useable for eternity.  I know that I will never receive a gift from You that I dislike and do not want to keep.   You bless me with each one.  I want to bless you by walking in Your Presence and clinging to You, my Vine.  Thank You, LORD.  I pray in Your Holy Name.  Amen.

 

befuschiasig

 

God of the Mountain

 

mountains_pic_for_wiki

My two sister-in-laws are visiting this week.  Yesterday, one asked what the rest of a song was.  It was a song that none of us knew well enough to be able to sing or even recite the words.  So I looked it up.  As we listened to a YouTube version, all (4 of us) gathered ’round the computer and sang together as the words were displayed on screen.  What a sweet moment!  What a beautiful reminder of the faithfulness of our God.

God of the Mountain by Lynda Randle

Life is easy, when you’re up on the mountain
And you’ve got peace of mind,
like you’ve never known
But things change,
when you’re down in the valley
Don’t lose faith,
for your never alone

Chorus:
For the God on the mountain,
is still God in the valley
When things go wrong,
he’ll make them right
And the God of the good times,
is still God in the bad times
The God of the day,
is still God in the night

We talk of faith way up on the mountain
But talk comes easy, when life’s at its best
Now its down in the valleys, trials and temptations
That’s where your faith is really put to the test

Chorus:
For the God on the mountain,
is still God in the valley,
When things go wrong,
he’ll make them right
And the God of the good times,
is still God in the bad times
The God of the day,
is still God in the night

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Many nations shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion the law shall go forth,
And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.  Micah 4:2

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  Psalm 23:4

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  1 Peter 1:6-7

Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever.  Hebrews 13:8

It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”  Deuteronomy 31:8

LORD, thank You for Your reassurance in all things of this life and ever after.  You are faithful and true.  You redeem and You behold.  You love and You call to obedience.  You rejoice and You weep.  You hold time in Your hand and know the very hairs on our heads.  Thank You for being with us no matter whether we are on a mountain top or deep in a valley.  You hold us and love us always.  Grace and Glory to You and You alone, Father God.  In Your Son’s Holy Name, I pray.  Amen.

bwdarkgreen sig

A Brass Fire Pole

Fire_pole
Have you ever slid down a pole at the playground, pretending to be a fireman?  Or gone to a children’s museum where they had a brass one installed from the second floor to the first, where you put on a jacket, boots, and fireman’s hat before sliding down, landing at the foot of a real fire truck sitting inside the museum?  Or have you been at the top of such a pole and been afraid to take that leap onto the pole?

One year, while teaching in Washington, D.C., I took my K-1 class to the Children’s Museum, a bus ride and short walk away from our inner city school.  (In looking for that museum online before writing this, it looks like that building is gone now. but there is a new National Children’s Museum in Prince George County, only open a year or so now.)   It was fun and delightful for the children and for me as I watched them immerse themselves in pretending, allowing their imaginations to bloom with possibilities and dreams…careers…arts…machinery and equipment…on and on.  All of this gave these young children ways to dream as well as to escape the realities of their harsh worlds of inner city violence, drugs, sex, and other hard things, for all of us, let alone little children.

children fire engineI don’t say that we need to escape our realities for our God knows right where we are.  God is there right beside us.  But, sometimes, just sometimes, we need a break from the hard things in life.  We need the comfort of a mother’s arms, the strength of a father’s stance before and beside us, the love of family and true friends.  I watched and read Kara Tippetts and her family live death on their blog, in books, on videos, in photos.  Hard stuff.  Real life.  Kara and her family had and, now, still have all those arms, the comfort, the strength, the love near them, yet when the night falls and the family is alone, they remember that Kara has gone to be with Jesus.  The children do not have their mother.  Jason’s wife is missing from his side.  Not forever.  One day, they will all be together with the LORD.  One day.  And Kara is whole now.

We are human and fear creeps in and takes over sometimes… afraid to leap forward and grab that pole … afraid to trust God Who works all things together for good to those who love Him … fear that we will not be caught when we lean back against the unknown.  Fear holds us in its grip and we can do nothing.  The brass pole stands before us and we are frozen with fear.

woman going down pole

The LORD is my Rock, and my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my Strength, in Whom I will trust; my Buckler, and the Horn of my salvation, and my High Tower.  Psalm 18:2

He is right there … ready to catch us …ready to hold us … ready to be All to us and for us.  We are called to trust … TRUST.

The LORD is good, a Stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him.  Nahum 1:7 

The child in each of us needs to slide down that brass pole right into the arms of the LORD, into His Word, into His Truth, into forgiveness, away from sin, away from all that holds us back from the beauty that God wants for each of us.  Slide … slide onto the path that He has just for each one of us … JUST.FOR.US!  Can you sense yourself taking that quick leap onto that sturdy brass pole, wrapping your arms and legs around it and just go…go…go…to God.  I can feel the strength of this pole and the love awaiting me when I reach His arms.  Yes, LORD, I am coming to You.

And He took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when He had taken him in His arms, He said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in My Name, receiveth Me: and whosoever shall receive Me, receiveth not Me, but Him that sent Me.  Mark 9:36-37

Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe on His gentle breast,
There by His love o’ershaded,
Sweetly my soul doth rest. **

Abba Father, I felt Your call upon this life of mine.  I know that You want me wholly.  Guide me away from all that defines my life as worldly, as sinful, as not-of-You.  Mold my heart to be more and more like Jesus… that I would forgive when I need to and to whom I must.  Abba Father, thank You for Your forgiveness of my many misplaced steps in this life.  I came to You as a prodigal.  You were there with arms open wide and waiting for me to step into them.  Thank You, LORD.  Thank You.  I came sliding in, at first with hesitancy, with fear, because it seems a long way to You.  I slide … I go and I come to You again and again.  Your arms are warm and filled with such love.

Father, I know this for myself.  I pray for those children whom I once taught in Washington, D.C. and ask that Your love guide them into Your arms if they are not there already.  I pray that they will recall the day at the museum and the brass pole.  For those who came down without fear, I pray they come sliding into Your arms, seeking Your face, Your forgiveness, and Your love.  For those who were afraid to go down and walked back down instead, erase any and all fear and trepidation, LORD.  I pray for family and friends who do not know You and ask the same for them whether they have played on a brass pole or not.  Give them one and may Your message be clear so that they will desire You, and only You, and come sliding to You. 

As I am sliding to You, LORD, I pray in the Holy Name of Jesus, Your Son.   Amen.  

beblacksig   

Photo: http://www.kansasfirefightersmuseum.com/main/

**Safe in the Arms of Jesus: lyrics by Fanny Jane Crosby (1820-1915), music by William Howard Doane (1832-1915)

Second Photo: by Wendy Pramik   http://www.examiner.com/article/learn-about-fire-safety-slide-down-a-pole-at-the-central-ohio-fire-museum

Fourth photo:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdkahn/5758603835/

 

God-Breathed

images.duckduckgo.com

“The Bible is a vein of pure gold, unalloyed by quartz, or any earthly substance.  This is a star without a speck; a sun without a blot; a light without darkness; a moon without its paleness; a glory without a dimness.  O Bible! it cannot be said of any other book, that it is perfect and pure; but of thee we can declare all wisdom is gathered up in thee, without a particle of folly.  This is the judge that ends the strife, where wit and reason fail.  This is the book untainted by any error; but is pure, unalloyed, perfect truth.”  Charles H. Spurgeon from “Daily Help”

God speaks to us, and to those who came before us, by His Word.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.   2 Timothy 3:16-17

And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  Revelation 21:5

He sent His Son to show us the Way, the Truth, and the Light.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  John 1:1-5

Jesus said to him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  John 14:6

Father, You gave us Your gift, Your Only Son.  You sent Him here to take my sins upon Himself, to wash me clean.  He is the Word and the Word is life, my life.  I thank You.  I am gratefully Yours.   In the Name of Your Son, Immanuel, God with us, I pray.  Amen.

beblacksig

 

Caught But Not Trapped in New Age Religion

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Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.   1 John 4:1

I was raised in a Christian home, learned about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  (Please note, for later in this conversation, that I said, “…learned about….”)  We were a Navy family and moved every two to four years, therefore changed churches without changing denominations.  I was not introduced to Jesus as Someone with Whom I could have a relationship.  In my senior and fifth year of college, I lived away from home and did not attend church at all.  Shortly after college, I married a man who never had attended a church and wanted nothing to do with one so having a spiritual conversation was not even an option.  (Let me throw another fact in to be absorbed a bit later: Before marrying him, I heard a quiet voice say to me, “You are not to marry him” which I ignored completely.”)  Upon divorce ten years later, I felt “something” was missing from my life.  I set out to find a church that I felt comfortable in and landed upon one with a very strong singles’ group.  This church was a different Christian denomination from my childhood one, yet also did not introduce me to Jesus, only spoke about Him.

When I moved back to be near family again, I found another church. It was what I came to know as a New Age church. They taught things that made me “feel good.” I finally thought I had found what my heart and soul had been missing. Although Jesus was taught as “a good teacher” as was Buddha, and some philosophers, those who had founded this “religion” were the most revered. The Bible was used as a resource, but their “bible” was a text book created by the founders. Parts and pieces of many religions worldwide were integrated. I thought very little of these oddities as they seemed to be right and good. I was so hungry that this “stuff” made sense. I attended weekend workshops which left me feeling happy and self-loved. I studied books that espoused the self and the god within. I was taught that the mind could control everything. There was an integration of science, religion, nature, and philosophy. I participated in this for about ten years. I was confused often by their teachings, but I felt good, so that seemed to be all that mattered. I ignored the confusion as best I could.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15

I moved a couple more times, continually seeking this kind of church. On the last move in 1990, this brand of religion had no presence in this city. I sought no others at that time. Then, a dear friend committed suicide, leaving a note at my apartment so that I would end up being the one to find him. My world came tumbling down. Believing that I could handle this alone, that this “self” would get me through it all, I was hit squarely between the eyes. I realized that all that I had thought to be truth were lies, bold-faced lies. I began attending a Christian church, but, once again, the introduction to Christ was lacking. These denominations that I am calling Christian (and not New Age) are predominant ones in the United States. Jesus is believed in. Where was the invitation to have relationship with Him? …the admission of sin? …the call to repent and ask forgiveness? Where?

I met my second husband who is a Christian and who has a relationship with the One and Only Savior, but this fact was unbeknownst to me initially. On our first couple of dates, he listened to my mixed-up beliefs when he spoke of spiritual matters. He shared Jesus, Scripture, the Truth with me. Tears welled up in my eyes on our second date. Tears, for me, are a tell-tale sign that a vulnerable part of me is touched. The Truth had done that, as we know It surely can do. After seven months of his patience, his gentle love, his Christ-like ways, our spiritual conversations, plus his dear mother sharing the LORD with me, I finally turned to Jesus, as I was lying alone on my bed one morning. I asked Him to be my LORD and Savior through an acknowledgement of my sin, repenting to Him, and beseeching His forgiveness. I had spent year after year living a life filled with sin and disbelief. I was not a “bad” person, but I did not believe. After hearing that “still, small voice” in 1971, I continued to wander along wrong paths, making wrong choices for another 22 years. I was 45 when Jesus, the Holy Spirit came to live in my long-awaiting heart. And I have never looked back. I have dug into the Bible deeper and deeper, and continue to do so.

In these past 21plus years, I have discovered that I had beautiful women friends from the various places I had lived praying for me, for my salvation. They rejoice now. One dear woman prayed for me, but, before she could and did, she had to come to know Jesus as her own LORD and Savior. We had met in a New Age church. She came to Jesus about two years before I did so her prayers were lifted high to the LORD for she knew where I was headed if I stayed on the track I was on. We both stand in awe of our amazing God. He never gave up on us. Hallelujah! Thank You, Jesus!

Religions espousing self, mind-over-matter, the prosperity gospel, use textbooks or books other than the Bible as their bibles, these so-called religions are manmade. They are not of God. And why were churches, considered mainstream Christian denominations, not teaching that Jesus wanted to be the LORD and Savior of our lives and, to have that, we needed to have a relationship with Him? I pray that since I last attended one of those churches, they have come to see this Truth. Oh, I pray, Father, that they have changed.

If we know someone “caught in a ‘church’” that teaches New Age thoughts or they are attending a Christian church that teaches ideologies that are not Biblical, we need to be the Christ that they may never see any other way. We must step out in faith, guiding them by love, prayer, words and actions. Our conversations should be centered around Jesus as LORD and Savior. If they are turned off and will not listen, then pray. Be Christ to them in the way you speak and in your behavior.  Most of all, pray.

You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be know and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, Who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:2-6

He Looked Beyond My Faults
by Dottie Rambo

Amazing Grace..Shall always be my song of praise.
For it was grace, that brought me liberty,
I”ll never know, just why Christ came to love me so.
He looked beyond my faults and saw my need.

I shall forever lift mine eyes to Calvary,
To view the cross, where Jesus died for me
How marvelous, His grace that caught my falling soul
He Looked beyond all my faults and saw my need.

I shall forever lift mine eyes to Calvary,
To view the cross, where Jesus died for me
How marvelous, His grace that caught my falling soul
He Looked beyond all my faults and saw my needs,
Christ looked beyond all of our faults and saw our needs.

Father God, I thank You, thank You dearly, for saving me by the Blood of Your precious Son. You caught my falling soul, looking far beyond my faults. You saw the need of this soul. You never left me nor forsook me, LORD. You were standing at the door. Thank You. I love You so, my dear Abba Father. On knees before You, I weep with joy as I realize the beauty of my salvation. These hymns, above and below, mean more to me today as I write this piece than they ever have, Father. With tears for Your bottle, I thank You. Amazing grace, how can it be? In the Strong and Saving Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Amazing Grace
by John Newton, 1779

Amazing grace!
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.

As I am…Being Woven ~ linda

Photo/Graphic: John 1:5 @ Heartlight