Archive for October, 2007

The Living Stone and a Chosen People

1 Peter 2:4-12
As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

I attend a Bible Study class, we all enjoy a lecture, and a video on the topic that we are studying. Afterwards we all go to our small group of women to discuss the week’s homework. Last week when I read in 1 Peter 2:4 about The Living Stone and a Chosen People, I was really moved. In the Bible Study homework it asked us to look up the definition of cornerstone:

1. a stone uniting two masonry walls at an intersection. 2. a stone
representing the nominal starting place in the construction of a
monumental building, usually carved with the date and laid with
appropriate ceremonies. 3. something that is essential, indispensable,
or basic 4. the chief foundation on which something is constructed or

This definition really made me think. Has not Christ united us to the Father at the intersection of our life when we first gave our hearts to Christ? Was not Christ the foundation and starting place to the beginning of a new construction, a new life in Christ? Jesus Christ certainly is indispensable to me, and the foundation on which I base my newly constructed life, which He continues to develop. When I looked at a picture of a cornerstone, I saw an image that I wanted to create. I saw an image of Jesus Christ with His arms out-stretched in praise to God, and inviting us to His embrace.

100_06641.jpgI could see a shawl of purple symbolizing the Royal Priesthood draped over his shoulders, cascading down His back over His robe. The shawl was folded in such a way as to visually symbolize the shape of a cornerstone. When we accept the embrace of Jesus Christ into our lives, He connects us, as a living cornerstone to God because it is written “you also, like living stones are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood.” As He brings us into His Word Jesus teaches us how to be obedient to God. I created this collage to illustrate the image that I could see.

I have read this chapter so many times, yet it had never really come alive, until I looked up the definition of cornerstone. I believe it was the visual image of the cornerstone and the description that truly made me understand the meaning of the word in this scripture. The very day that we give our lives to Jesus, He connects us to God, just like a cornerstone and we become God’s chosen people, a royal priesthood and we belong to Him and just like the image of Jesus praising God, we too enter into that fellowship. Jesus was rejected by men and God made Him the chief cornerstone, a vessel for us to come to know God and become His children. If you have not yet given your life to Jesus Christ, I invite you to enter the embrace that will change your life forever. Then you will become part of the royal family, a holy nation, belonging to God and your life will become full of the light of Jesus Christ.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of His wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9


Read Full Post »

Letters are an amazing gift. Little treasures to be read over and over again. Precious papers treasured and saved in special boxes found all over the world, written in all languages from all age groups delivered sometimes at just the right time. How powerful words are, they can feed our soul, uplift our spirit and encourage our hearts. Nothing thrills me more than going to the mailbox and receiving a letter from a friend or family member.

In the Bible there are many letters written to us to encourage us and to help us every day. I found a wonderful resource called Open Your Bible to the New Testament Letters written by Sherwood Eliot Wirt in 1962. The introduction was written by Billy Graham. One chapter at a time the letters inside are revealed and discussed with links to the corresponding Bible chapter and verse found in Bible Gateway’s web site. I love to find new resources that help us to understand the Bible and to give us clarity about God’s wisdom which guides us and fills our hearts with hope.

I recently received the most wonderful and uplifting prayer bookmark in the mail from the Joyce Meyer Ministry. The letter to us is taken from the Song of Solomon and it is meant to remind us that the Lord writes to us declaring His love in this wonderful chapter of the Bible. This letter reminded me how much God loves me and He loves you. What a beautiful letter this is, and how grateful I am to have received it. I have shared this letter with as many people as I could. We all need to be reminded of how very much our Lord loves us, we are his Beloved. If I think of all the letters I would love to receive in my mailbox today none compares to the letter I would love to read from God.

“My beloved is mine, and I am his”
Song of Solomon 2:16

Dearest Beautiful Beloved,You are mine, I chose you, I’ve given everything to have a relationship with you. You are my passion and desire. Believe me when I tell you that my love is better than life. In my eyes, you are beautiful in every way. You have ravished my heart. Come to me and know love. Dwell with me, abide in me.

Let me be your all and come alive to the rich pleasure found in the sacred romance I created you to have with me.

Eternally yours,
The lover of your soul
God gave everything to have a relationship with us, He even gave us His son, Jesus Christ. He sent His son here to die for our sins, the greatest sacrifice of all. He wants so much to dwell with us, to have a place in our hearts so that He can keep us safe in an uncertain world.

What a beautiful letter from Joyce Meyer Ministries. I carry it with me tucked safely in my Bible. The Word of God is full of letters to encourage us, uplift our spirit, to give us instruction in all things. Just words, no promises of God which comfort us and gives us the strength we need in our circumstances. The Word of God is powerful and I cherish the scripture that gives me joy regardless of my circumstances and helps me to live with courage and faith one day at a time.

In the Bible 2 Corinthians chapter 1, there is a beautiful letter written to us:

Grace and peace to you
“From God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

(Dearly Beloved) The God of All Comfort

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”

Read Full Post »

“What grace it requires when we are misunderstood yet handle it correctly, or when we are judged unkindly yet receive it in holy sweetness! Nothing tests our character as a Christian more than having something evil said about us. This kind of grinding test is what exposes whether we are solid gold or siimply gold-plated metal. If we could only see the blessings that lie hidden in our trials, we would say like David, when Shimei cursed him, “Let him curse…it may be that the Lord will repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today” 2 Samuel 16:11-12

This was taken from The Streams In The Desert devotional, a writing for today October 6th. In it A. B. Simpson writes “Some Christians are easily turned away from the greatness of their life’s calling by pursuing instead their own grievances and enemies. They ultimately turn their lives into one petty whirlwind of warfare. It reminds me of trying to deal with a hornet’s nest. You may be able to disperse the hornets, but you will probably be terribly stung and receive nothing for your pain, for even their honey has no value.”

I have experienced this in my own life, I have gotten angry when injustice arrived on my doorstep and took a very long time recovering from fret, anger and upset. Some years ago there was someone in my life who was so unfair, verbally abusive and frankly just an old fashioned bully. It felt like I was continuously fretting over something that she did or said. I was reacting to the sting of her words daily and every time I had to see her I would dread the meeting. Unfortunatley at the time she was in my life not by my choice, but I had to endure her haughty behavior. The sting of an incident became heightened everytime I would think about the injustice over and over again. Just like that hornet’s nest mentioned in today’s devotional, I was stung countless times by my own inability to let go. I was stung repeatedly by thinking about what had happened and allowing myself to be angry.

Never in a million years would I think that someday I would consider this encounter the greatest blessing of my life. She made me so angry, and I would spend hours and hours fretting over what she had said, how unfair life was and asking myself over and over why…”why Lord, I have been good to this woman and now how does she repay me? She repays me by saying untruths about me.” I sounded just like those whining people in the old testament always saying long speeches to the Lord and saying “Why.” Meanwhile, I truly believe that I suffered so much by being angry and trying to restle with the injustice in my mind and not being able to just let it go. I don’t think that this person ever thought a minute about what she had said or even cared. She was like this to everyone in her life and still is to this day.

“Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Hebrews 12:3

One day the Lord showed me an image, He showed me a little girl sitting on a bench barefoot with tattered clothes and looking so sad. Then He gave me an image of myself wearing a party dress with lots of beautiful gifts at my feet. He said “love her”, it is only by God’s grace that you have the spiritual gifts and feel the love of God.” Suddenly I understood that when someone hurts me, lashes out, says mean and unkind things about me, as hard as it is, I must remember that if they were blessed they wouldn’t be doing this. Instead God asks that we pray for them, bless them and most of all trust that God will always fight our battles.

Much later and after much praying for months I began to witness that my relationships with others were improving. I had always taken things so personally when anyone behaved badly. Suddenly, I started seeing that their behavior had little or nothing to do with me, and I started detaching from the emotions and started focussing on letting go. I knew that if it had not been for that woman who had brought me so much pain that I would never have been healed from taking things so personally. The truth is that her exaggerated behavior gave me little or no choice but to restle with the profile of the behavior and not the person. I recovered from thinking that someone was deliberately trying to hurt me, and saw that people who are hurting are full of hurt. They need prayer, not condemnation and certainly not more anger directed at them.

It seems that everytime I have prayed for someone who has been hurtful a wonderful thing happens. While the Lord is dealing with that person, He allows me to understand the reasons behind their behavior, He gives me His sweet balm of compassion.

And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”Ephesians 4:32

I love that reminder, how in the world could I have forgotten what I used to be like before I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior? After all, hadn’t I been bitter and angry and often irritable from the hurt of the world and hadn’t I been saved by the grace of God? I did nothing to deserve these spirtitual gifts, nor am I smart enough to understand the word of God without God’s grace. Jesus died for me and He died for that person that irritates us, is rude, difficult and irritable. The only difference is that they have not met the Savior, Jesus Christ yet. They are just like that child sitting on a bench barefoot with tattered clothes lacking in the very grace that they hunger for, which would provide all the wonderful gifts of the Holy Spirit.

“Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also forgive.”
Colossians 3:13

One of the hindrances I have faced in my life has been my inability to discern bad behavior from a personal attack. This lack of wisdom has caused me great suffering and unnecessary pain. The woman who was dreadful, well she doesn’t seem dreadful to me today, she seems hurt and hungry for God. I pray for her because she has been the greatest blessing of my life. She freed me from taking hurt from a hurting person personally. I pray that she receive Jesus as her personal Savior and that she is comforted in her hurt the way I was comforted. Why did God allow someone so hurtful in my life, I know the why…so that I might be healed and so that my prayer might be heard and then she will be healed.

“If we could only see the blessings that lie hidden in our trials, we would say like David, when Shimei cursed him, “Let him curse…it may be that the Lord will repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today”
2 Samuel 16:11-12

Read Full Post »

“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.”
1Samuael 1:27

When I was just six months shy of my third birthday my mother learned that I had a disease called Kohler’s disease. This was the reason that when I would run to play my left foot would turn inward and I would fall to the ground. Sometimes this would happen even as I was walking. I had developed a limp and I had pain in my ankle. My mother took me to the doctor and they suggested that I wear special shoes that would prevent me from falling. Back in 1951 casting was recommended and the duration of the disease was unknown.

I remember going with my mother to look in the store windows in Jamaica in Queens New York and looking at the beautiful red shoes in the shoe store window. My mother said that I used to ask for the pretty shoes, but it broke her heart that she couldn’t give them to me. Instead I wore the typical shoes that a child would wear with a leg brace.

One day my mother decided to go to one of the best hospitals in New York. She took me into New York City to the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center -The Harkness Pavilion, to see a specialist. She told me that after examining me and ex-raying my legs that the doctor showed her the ex-ray results and then took down a large medical book and showed my mother what the disease was and how to date they did not have a cure. They said that the recommendation was to put me in a full body cast because they were unsure what other bones would be affected by this rare bone disease. It had been a long way for my mother to travel and she said that she had taken my stroller with her through subway staircases and different trains. She took the long ride home feeling despair.

She said that the very next morning something unexplainable happened. She was led to go to a church located on Sutphin Boulevard in Jamaica Queens which was quite a distance away. There was a bus that stopped in front of our apartment and it took us to that church. Once inside, she told me to stand and to ask God to heal me. She said that as I stood there before the altar trusting her with all my faith I asked God to heal my leg. She said that she wept at hearing the innocence in the voice of a child. My voice was little but the power of the Lord is great. She took me back three days in a row. On the fourth day she began to notice that my leg was no longer turning inward. She never did take me back to the doctor again. I have had many pairs of red shoes over these fifty-five years. In fact, as a young woman I walked all over my sales territory in downtown New York to visit clients wearing very high heels. When I lived in New York City I had this very charming apartment but my closet opened up to the living room, so I wrapped my shoe boxes in wrapping paper to look pretty when I had to open the closet while company was there. Each box contained a pair of gorgeous shoes but I had forgotten who I should praise for this luxury.

I couldn’t help but notice the word Hark within the name of the Harkness Pavilion where my mother searched for answers. I looked up the definition of the word Hark and one of them was “a hunter’s shout to hounds, as to encourage them in following the scent, a Verb phrase” I believe that is the way we are led by the Lord through promptings and resources that arrive at just the right time, or perhaps a word from someone we know. God’s shout to us encourages us to be led to where there is an answer to our prayer, a resource that might fill our need.

I lived many years taking it all for granted until I gave my heart to the Lord at thirty-four years of age. It was when I found Jesus Christ that I began to appreciate how he had healed me and given me a mother who knew all about prayer. To this day I know that if I ask my mother to pray for me I am safe in the arms of the grace of prayer. Twenty five years I have been studying the Lord’s Word and now my prayer life is as full of faith as that little voice I had the day the Lord healed me of Kohler’s disease. If you look up the word Prayer it is listed as a noun and the definition says “a devout petition to God or an object of worship.” Prayer is more alive than what the definition would claim and to me it is an action verb.

“Pray to Me in a time of trouble, I will rescue you, and you will honor me” Psalm 1:20-3

I have studied prayer through books, and the Bible and have heard countless sermons on prayer. Nothing reminds me better than what Jesus said “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” James 4:2

We must ask, and as we begin this process and see prayers being answered our faith will become stronger and stronger. Prayer is an action, a verb not an adverb or a noun…a thing or a sweet sentiment found in a greeting card. Prayer is the very tool we can use here on earth to help us through our trials, grief, and circumstances.

If you are reading this today and you need prayer, you can leave me an anonymous comment, a prayer request. I promise you that I will pray for you. Leave your prayer request, because even if you don’t have faith today that your prayer will be answered, I do. I have that same child-like faith that I did the day I stood in that church in front of that altar believing that I would be healed.

“Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you. Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And the door will be opened for everyone who knocks.”
Matthew 7:7-8

The medical profession has conducted much research over the last fifty-five years, since I was diagnosed with Kohler’s Disease. Today they know so much more than they did then and the harsh treatment has been replaced with an encouraging diagnosis as found on the Mayo Clinic web site. They say that after a few months the symptoms go away. The Lord healed my foot back in a day when little was known about this disease and he removed my symptoms overnight. The Lord heals…

“Everything you ask for in payer will be yours, if you only have faith. And when you stand in prayer, forgive whatever you have against anybody so that your Father in heaven may forgive your failings too.”
Mark 11:24-25

Read Full Post »