Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Chose 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. John 15:16

kit: Blue Skies & Lemonade by Pixel Scrapper Forum Designers (July 2016)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Day and Night Are Yours

Yours is the day, Yours also is the night; You have prepared the light and the sun. You have established all the boundaries of the earth; You have made summer and winter. Psalm 74:16-17

kit: Blue Skies & Lemonade Pixel Scrapper Forum Designers (July 2016)

Monday, August 29, 2016

Searches All Hearts

"As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for YHVH searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever." 1 Chronicles 28:9

kit: Secret Life by Mystique (retired)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Lord Bless You

May you be blessed by the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 115:15

paper by Saskia Designs (rotated and color adjusted), elements: Dancing Daisies by Connie Prince

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Fear God

Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

kit: Imagination mini by Kristmess Designs

Friday, August 26, 2016

Everlasting Dominion

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into His presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed."  Daniel 7:13-14

paper by Marta van Eck, page overlay by me, clouds by Heidi Brimmer, cluster by Dee Bee Designs

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Rest a While

And He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while." (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.)  Mark 6:31

kit: Under the Dappled Shadows by Lorie Davison

Photo by, used with permission.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Search Out Wisdom

All this I tested by wisdom and I said,
“I am determined to be wise”—
but this was beyond me.
Whatever exists is far off and most profound—
who can discover it?
So I turned my mind to understand,
to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things
and to understand the stupidity of wickedness
and the madness of folly.
Ecclesiastes 7:23-25

paper and books: I Like Chemistry by Marta van Eck, jester: itkupilli

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Radiant Faces

Those who look to Him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
Psalm 34:5

paper: Watch Out for that Moon, elements: Under the Dappled Shadows by Lorie Davison

Monday, August 22, 2016

Infants in Evil

Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.  1 Corinthians 14:20

paper by Lorie Davison, elements by K Studio, Jofia Designs, paint splatter: Kristmess Designs

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Waves Hushed

He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Psalm 107:29

paper by Marta van Eck, flags, sail: Perilous Sea Adventure by Lorie Davison

Saturday, August 20, 2016

In Search of Schemes

This only have I found: God created mankind upright, but they have gone in search of many schemes.  Ecclesiastes 7:29

paper by Lorie Davison, cluster by Valentina Designs, other elements: Mums the Word by Kristmess Designs

Friday, August 19, 2016

In Time or Too Late

Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
“I find no pleasure in them”—
before the sun and the light
and the moon and the stars grow dark,
and the clouds return after the rain;"
Ecclesiastes 12:1-2

Later on in that passage, the author says:

Remember God—before the silver cord is severed,
and the golden bowl is broken;
before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
and the wheel broken at the well,
and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
Ecclesiastes 12:6-7

The writer of Ecclesiastes was Solomon, who was the wisest man in the entire land, by the grace of God.  (1 Kings 4:29-31)  His depressing message throughout the book about the lack of meaning in various aspects of life (such as accumulating wealth) concludes with one of hope.  Not only our happiness, but the entire point of our existence and our eternal destiny depends upon understanding this truth:

Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

So if we accept the ways of of our Creator God and seek to acknowledge and honor Him in all we do, all will be well.  He delights in blessing us, but no matter what calamity may befall us, no matter how bad things feel or appear, we can be assured that He will make good come out of it. This is true whether we can see and understand it during our earthly life or not.  How we react to temptations and trials that come our way is what is important--that is how we prove our faith to be genuine and it gives us the opportunity to honor God even when the going is rough.  He sees and appreciates our efforts, which will be rewarded--not with salvation, which is free, but as He sees fit when Jesus judges how we made use of our lives after coming to the knowledge of the truth (salvation).  If we believe and are saved, but spent our life "building upon the sand," then we will suffer loss of reward.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Psalm 37:4

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Matthew 6:33

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.  1 Corinthians 10:31

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.  1 Peter 5:8-11

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.  1 Peter 1:3-9

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.  Romans 5:3-5

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him.  Hebrews 11:6

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.  2 Corinthians 5:10

Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent Him.  John 5:22-23

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.  1 Corinthians 3:11-15

The nations raged,
but Your wrath came,
and the time for the dead to be judged,
and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints,
and those who fear Your name,
both small and great,
and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”
Revelation 11:18

Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near. Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy."  "Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done."  Revelation 22:10-12

The most important way we can show God that we recognize His sovereignty is to accept His Son as our Savior and Lord.  If we don't do this, then we have failed utterly and miserably--there is no hope for us, having rejected the ONLY Hope.  All else that we do is worthless and negated by the one grave error.  We were made for God's good pleasure.  The Bible tells us that He takes no pleasure in anyone without faith or who turns back after committing to follow Him and His ways.

[Jesus, the light of the world] was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.  1 John 1:10-13

Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”  Acts 4:11-12

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in Him will never be put to shame.”  Romans 10:9-11

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on them.  John 3:36

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?  Matthew 16:26

Jesus replied, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."  Luke 9:62

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. For, "In just a little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay.” And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. Hebrews 10:36-39

God permits us the ability to refuse Him, as we have sadly proven over and over again in every conceivable way. Solomon has more words of wisdom on this subject:

Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins. Ecclesiastes 29 This only have I found: God created mankind upright, but they have gone in search of many schemes. Ecclesiastes 7:20, 29

And so God, in His infinite, amazing love, chose to send His one and only begotten Son to rescue us from ourselves.  We are born sinful--not one could ever overcome that natural inclination to sin and strive against God, but yet the punishment for sin is death.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  Romans 3:22-24

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:6-8

EVERY knee will bow to Jesus and EVERY tongue will confess that He ALONE is Lord.  It is just a matter of when.  Will it be while there is still time to receive the free reward of eternal life or will it be too late?  We need to humble ourselves and recognize that God is God and we are not--His ways are higher than ours and absolutely perfect and just.  Any idea we may have of pride, arrogance or criticism towards God is utterly misplaced.  Our opinions will not change the facts, which will eventually become apparent to all.

It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Romans 14:11-12

“Turn to Me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
By myself I have sworn;
from My mouth has gone out in righteousness
a word that shall not return:
‘To Me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall swear allegiance.’
Only in the LORD, it shall be said of Me,
are righteousness and strength;
to Him shall come and be ashamed
all who were incensed against Him."
Isaiah 45:22-24

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11

Satan called God a liar and Eve bought his lie.  Adam trusted the judgment of his wife instead of trusting in what God had said.  Will you choose to call God a liar or put your trust in someone else, or will you believe God and bow your knee and confess with your tongue now that Jesus is Lord and humbly accept God's ONLY way to avoid eternal destruction?  There will come a moment in time for each person when it is too late.  They WILL see that Jesus IS Lord and submit to Him, but that knowledge and surrender will not save them.  If you haven't already done so, do it now!

In addition to other believers as witnesses to the truth, God gave us His holy word and nature to bear out His existence, the fact that He created everything and His plan for humanity.  None of us have any excuse to deny knowing God is real.  In America, our very nation was founded by Christians and generations of us have reaped the blessings of their faithfulness to the Lord.  The Bible is freely available, if we only care enough to make the time to read or even listen to it.  We have all been the recipients of God's goodness and have no idea what it is like to be completely without His blessings, but the day is coming when people who have not put their trust in Him will find out what it's like to have God against them--it will not be pretty.

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.  Genesis 3:4-6

The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:18-20

...but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments.  Exodus 20:6

He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  Matthew 5:45b

“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’  “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’  “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”  Matthew 13:27-30

When we are saved, that is the beginning--NOT of earning or keeping our salvation, but of our NEW life in God--of the death of our old sinful self with its desires to rebel against God and the new birth as a child of God who desires to please and serve Him.  Unless we are born again, which is when His Spirit regenerates our dead-to-the-things-of-God spirit, at the moment we truly believe in our hearts and make Jesus as OUR Lord (not just "some lord," but we acknowledge that He has redeemed and purchased US by His precious blood when He paid for OUR sins on the cross), then we cannot enter the Kingdom of God.  Jesus is the ONLY door into that Kingdom.

So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. “All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.  “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep." John 10:7-11

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ Himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”  But whoever is united with the Lord is one with Him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.  1 Corinthians 6:15-20

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 1 Peter 1:14-19

If we are saved, then we are to live for the glory of God (with the help of His Spirit within us) and if we are not saved, then we have no ability whatsoever to please God or bring Him glory in any way.  He gave us free will and it's His desire that ALL should be saved.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.  Philippians 2:12-16

For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.  Romans 8:7

Today is a good day to be saved or tell someone else how to be saved--before Jesus returns or we have our own personal appointment with God.

For He says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.  2 Corinthians 6:2

The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.  2 Peter 3:9

paper by Lorie Davison; elements: Happy Place by Fly Pixel Studios

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Be Silent

Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD, for He has roused Himself from His holy dwelling.  Zecharaiah 2:13

paper (blurred) by Marta van Eck; elements: Dream with Me by Noshay; page texture by me

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Turned Upside Down

Ah, you who hide deep from the LORD your counsel, whose deeds are in the dark, and who say, "Who sees us? Who knows us?" You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, "He did not make me"; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, "He has no understanding"?  Isaiah 29:15-16

paper by Createwings Designs (retired), elements: Winter Wonderland collab by Scrap Orchard (store closed)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Stronghold and Refuge

[David] said, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; You save me from violence. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. 2 Samuel 22:2-4

paper and entry overlay by Holliewood Studios; elements: Hints of Fall by Trixie Scraps and JenC

Monday, August 15, 2016

Every Knee and Tongue

"I have sworn by Myself,
The word has gone forth
from My mouth in righteousness
And will not turn back,
That to Me every knee will bow,
every tongue will swear allegiance."
Isaiah 45:23

kit: Garden by Night by MDesigns (retired)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Satisfy the Desire

The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. Psalm 145:15-16

template by Little Green Frog Designs (retired); kit: Winter Wonderland Scrap Orchard collab (store closed); photos from our trail cam

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Kind In All His Deeds

YHVH is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds. YHVH is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them. YHVH keeps all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy. Psalm 145:17-20

Note that modern Bibles have replaced YHVH in the original Hebrew with "the LORD." However, the Bible already has words for "Lord," in Hebrew: "Adonay" (usually spelling Adonai today, which seems to also change the pronunciation?) and in Greek: "Kyrio". The original words most often used for "God" were "Elohim" (which is plural, indicative of the triune nature of our God) or "El" (and sometimes shortened to "Yah.")

His name has power (He is the one great, eternal I AM, as His name conveys), and so changing the personal name "YHVH" to the generic term "the Lord" is not a good thing, in my personal opinion. I wish the translators had kept the names as they were in the original text which was inspired by God. He told us His name and at no time did He forbid us to use it, except in vain.

template: Little Green Frog Designs (retired); kit: Magic Moments by MaryPop Designs

Friday, August 12, 2016

Declared of Old

Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, YHVH? And there is no other god besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides Me. "Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other." Isaiah 45:21-22

paper by Lori Davison, elements: Touching the Sun by MaryPop Designs

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Witnesses

"But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness about Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning." John 15:26-27

paper: Falling Leaves Autumn Tea by Lorie Davison, elements: Time of Roses by MDesigns (retired)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Rejects Me

"The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me." Luke 10:16

papers (blended) by Lorie Davison; elements: Touching the Sun by MaryPop Designs

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Behold Our God

It will be said on that day, "Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, that He might save us. This is YHVH; we have waited for Him; let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation."  Isaiah 25:9

papers (blended), elements by Lorie Davison

Monday, August 8, 2016

Break Forth into Singing

Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it; shout, O depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorified in Israel. Isaiah 44:23

paper: Falling Leaves Autumn Tea; music elements: Greyhouse Manor Winter Ball by Lorie Davison; dove: Forget Me Not by Kristmess Designs, ray overlay by me, border overlay by Marta van Eck, page texture by Saskia Designs

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Judgment Day

But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.  Romans 2:5

This has been on my mind lately, so I'm just going to say it.  On Judgment Day, I don't want anyone pointing their finger at me saying, "Why didn't you tell me?"  I only want people I've known to say, "I'm so glad you told me."  I want everyone I've had contact with to know that Jesus is the ONLY WAY and that He's worth living for and giving up anything for.  Our eternal souls are at stake.  This is no time to mince words and beat around the bush.  Live and let live is nice, but not when it comes down to living in hell for eternity.  There is ONE way to avoid that fate, and His name is Jesus. (John 14:6, Acts 4:12, John 6:40)  I want people to be able to see by my life what's inside my heart.  If someone sees me going astray, I sure hope they will pray for me and care enough about my soul to speak the truth in love rather than to just approve of wrong things I do or believe, because that's easier for them.  As for myself, I am telling you--make sure that you know where you're going when your time on earth is up.  (James 5:19-20)  Be ready.  (Matthew 26:41, Mark 13:32-37, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, Revelation 3:2-3, Revelation 16:15)

That said, have you pondered how amazing God's creation is--from the tiniest complex detail to the vast greatness of the universe--and the fantastic variety of it all?  How humans alone were made in His image and how special that is?  (Genesis 1-2, Genesis 5:1-2, Nehemiah 9:5b-6, Psalm 104:24-25, Psalm 139:13, Psalm 148:1-13, Isaiah 40:26, Isaiah 42:5, Isaiah 45:18, Matthew 19:4, John 1:3, Colossians 1:16-17, Hebrews 1:1-2, Revelation 4:11, Revelation 10:5-7) Have you thought much about the miracle of how He actually chose to dwell in a human body at all (Matthew 1:20, Colossians 1:19-20, John 1:14), let alone for the purpose to suffer and die to save us from our eternal prison sentence of torment away from His presence?  (Romans 3:23-25, Mark 9:42-48)  Or how about the unimaginable honor He bestows on those who are His because He dwells inside of believers to seal them as His own and to help them to live in a way that pleases Him?  (Colossians 1:27, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Ephesians 1:13-14)  Or about the unfathomably great future He has promised us who belong to Him that we will live with Him forever--He loves us so much that He has done all of this for us and wants us to be with Him!  (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)  Wow!  Could there be any reason whatsoever for anyone to not put Him FIRST over ALL people and things in their life?  (Colossians 1:18, Hebrews 1)  I just can't think of any.  Can you?

It seems to me that to not understand His infinite worthiness of all I can give and be is to not understand who He is, what He is like, what He has done and what He is going to do--at all.  He said He expects to be first, most, best, highest in our lives--that we should love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our brother as ourselves.  (Mark 12:29-31)  He defined this love as an action, not only a feeling or empty words. (John 14:21) If we really believe, then our lives will reflect our love for God and our gratitude to Him.  (James 2:17-18)  We won't deliberately choose to do anything that will misrepresent our holy God to the world (which is different from slipping and/or struggling against temptation).  (1 Peter 1:14-19)  If we claim to believe in our hearts, then that faith is meant to work its way out for the world to see. (Philippians 2:12-16)  It should color every aspect of our day-to-day lives.  Some people say God's ENTIRE will for us is to believe, and that is ALL He expects.  My Bible says a lot more--the entire New Testament outside of the Gospels consists of letters written to CHURCHES.  Those are PEOPLE who BELIEVE (not buildings or institutions, or the general public).  Those letters are God's instructions to us on how we are to live AFTER we come to faith, of how He expects HIS people to behave.

We're here to lift up and honor His name--there is supposed to be a difference between us and unbelievers--so that they will want to know and trust in Him, too.  (John 13:34-35, John 15:8-10)  We are ONLY able to do this IF we are already saved--there is NO pleasing God without faith, NO way to earn salvation.  (Hebrews 11:6, Romans 8:7-8)  In order for any "works" to be pleasing to God, they must come AFTER repentance and acceptance of our need for Jesus as our Savior.  After He becomes our Lord, it is His Spirit within us who enables us to even care what He wants.  (Philippians 2:12-13)  If we have no concern for pleasing God whatsoever after being saved, or He comes way down on the list after loved ones, our job, our hobbies, self, etc., or if there are no nagging convictions when we sin, then "Houston, there is a problem."  (1 John 2:15-17)  God desires to be worshiped in spirit and truth, not with mere routine or talk that doesn't match our walk.  (John 4:23-24, 1 John 2:3-6)  If we really believe He sees all and is worthy of all, then why wouldn't our behavior, thoughts and words show it?  (And again on the flip side, if we don't believe, then why bother?  Only those who have the Son also have the Father.  Matthew 11:27, 1 John 2:23, John 3:35-36)  Not one of us will ever be perfect until Jesus makes us so, but there should be steady progression toward being like Christ.  (2 Peter 1:5-11, Romans 8:29, Romans 12:1-2)  After all God has done for us, do we really need to be threatened in order to obey Him?  Shouldn't we do it out of LOVE for Him, especially seeing how it is His power within us that enables us to love and obey Him?

Jesus is returning for His own soon. (John 14:2-3, Philippians 3:20-21, Hebrews 10:35-39, Revelation 3:11, 22:12) Only God knows exactly how soon, but the signs of the times that He gave the disciples are happening before our eyes, and there were many other warnings about what the end times would be like in the letters (epistles) of Paul, Peter, James, John and Jude to believers.  Let's be ready so that we don't have anything to be ashamed of on that day.  (Matthew 24-25)  Jesus is faithful to forgive when we sin and is the ONLY one who can wash us clean, but salvation is freedom FROM sin, not a license TO sin.  (Romans 6:1-2, Galatians 5:13)  We are not meant to rush back to get ourselves "dirty" again once He washes us, but to yield to the Holy Spirit's prompting and assistance in remaining clean.  (2 Peter 2:18-22)  If there is no difference between the way we live and the way unbelievers live, then how will people notice a difference and wonder why we have the hope and peace that they want?  (1 Peter 2:15-16, 1 Peter 3:15-16) God LOVES us!  Isn't that wonderful?  He didn't create us to ask us to do the impossible and then condemn us.  He came to rescue us because He is holy--He cannot and will not tolerate sin, but He wants ALL to be saved and has made ONE way: Jesus.  (John 3:35-36, 1 John 5:10-12)  Hallelujah (Praise God)!

Let's read our Bibles for ourselves so that we know truth from false teachings (and partial truth mixed with twisted or truncated scriptures). (1 Timothy 6:3-5, 2 Timothy 4:1-4, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 2:1-3, 2 Peter 3:16-18)  We need to know our Scripture so that we are not deceived by deliberate, orchestrated attacks on God's truth (the ONLY truth). (2 Corinthians 11:3-4, Acts 20:29-32)  We need to know what the Bible says so that we will not mistakenly join sides with those AGAINST God and His ways, who are pretending to be shepherds of His fold, but are really wolves and thieves coming to destroy the flock.  (Matthew 7:15, John 10:7-10, Acts 20:29-30)  God does not change.  (Numbers 23:19, Psalm 55:19, Hebrews 13:8)  He has always hated sin and loves us enough to have laid all of the punishment for OUR sin on His only begotten Son, Jesus (the ONLY way to be saved).  (1 Corinthians 15:1-7)  That doesn't mean He now winks at sin, but that we can be forgiven through the unbelievably precious blood of Jesus.  (1 John 2:1-6)

It almost seems as though people these days are opposed to "judging" other believers for sin, but they have no problem with judging their Christian brothers and sisters for trying to live as God instructed, calling it self-righteousness.  They say we can't judge someone's heart to see if they are saved or not by looking at the [lack of, or bad] fruits (behaviors, priorities, results) of their life, and then turn around and judge someone else's heart to say they are trying to earn salvation, so they might not be saved, since salvation is only by faith not works.  Let me just say this--if we don't believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then there is NO pleasing God--it ALL starts and ends with Jesus.  ALL of our behavior and the way we think reflect on Him, whether honorably or poorly.  (Matthew 5:14-16, Ephesians 1:11-12, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8, 2 Timothy 2:19, 1 John 3:1-10, 1 Peter 1:14-19)

We each need to judge our OWN lives using the Bible as a measuring stick because it's God's instruction book on what pleases Him (and what does not). (2 Corinthians 13:5, James 1:22-24, Ephesians 5:8-12, Ephesians 5:15-17)  Then we can look forward to Judgment Day with great anticipation!  (2 Timothy 4:8, Revelation 11:18)  I pray that it will be a blissfully happy day with no tears due to loss of reward (not to mention the pain of disappointing our Savior) for you and for myself.  (1 Corinthians 3:14-15)  Please Lord, help us all in these evil times to obey You and not to blend in with the world and be deceived.  Please make us lights in this dark, misled generation to illuminate the way to You, through Jesus, our beloved Savior.  On Judgment Day, we want to hear You say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."  Amen.  (Philippians 2:14-16, Matthew 25:23, Ephesians 5:15-21)

If you don't believe, but are curious, then call on God from your heart--He hears you. (Genesis 21:17, Psalm 139:1-4, 145:18-20, Psalm 94:9, Romans 10:1-13)  We were created by Him FOR Him, so if you are unhappy and don't know why or what it would take to change that, He is the answer.  He is the provider of EVERYTHING we could ever need. (Romans 11:36)  He loves us.  I can't say it enough.  This is not just for certain special people. No one loves God because they are "good."  We love Him because He FIRST loved us, and "us" includes everyone.  (1 John 4:9-10)  He doesn't want anyone to perish, but He has made ONE way--His Son.  (John 3:16-18, 1 Timothy 2:3-6, 2 Peter 3:9)  Jesus did this for us willingly because He loves us.  (John 10:14-18)  None of us could possibly imagine the amount of pain and humiliation that Jesus suffered or the intense pain of the Father in sacrificing His only begotten, beloved Son to save us--to rescue us from sin and its penalty.  (Psalm 22:6-8, 2:12-18, Isaiah 52:14, 53:3-5, Matthew 27:27-31, Matthew 17:5)  Have you ever had anyone disrespect a gift you gave them?  How much more, unimaginably offensive is it to reject God's gift of salvation through His Son?  (Hebrews 10:29-31)

You may look around you and see that it seems like many "good" or "nice" people, many of whom you may consider to be "smarter" than you, do not believe, and their lives seem okay to you from the outside.  (Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 1:7)  While the inside may be a different story, the fact is that everyone who dies without Christ will be separated from God for eternity.  You don't want to go where they are going.  (Psalm 37, 73, Revelation 20:15) Jesus said that many would be offended by Him. (Matthew 11:6)  He was predicted to be, and is, a stumbling block for many who do not want to submit to God's sovereign plan.  (Romans 9:32-33, Matthew 11:6)  Don't trust the opinions of the crowd and go with the flow!  There will be no "phone a friend" or "ask the audience" option and that's a good thing because Jesus said the way to life was narrow and the way to destruction was broad. (Matthew 7:13-14) Don't wait to see Him in person on Judgment Day to get right with Him--it will be too late then and what a wasted life that would be.  Your life can have meaning NOW.  You can have a relationship with your loving Creator NOW. (John 10:9-10) What a privilege!  Don't put it off and have bitter, eternal regrets.  Each of us will answer for ourselves.  (John 5:22-24, Romans 14:11-12, 2 Corinthians 5:10) There will be no blaming scientists or popular culture to explain why we rebelled against and rejected God and His ways, preferring our own way.  (Isaiah 53:6, Proverbs 14:12)

If you want to be saved, all you have to do is admit to God you are a sinner (we ALL are) and ask His forgiveness.  (Romans 3:22b-25, 6:23, Psalm 86:5)  Each of us need to tell Him that we BELIEVE in our heart that Jesus died for OUR sins and rose again from the dead.  Tell Him out loud (confess with your mouth) that you want Jesus to be YOUR Lord and, to wash you clean so that you can be with Him forever. (1 John 1:9, Romans 10:8-10) Ask Him to grant you repentance from your sins and unbelief and to help you live in a way that pleases Him (read your Bible--He has it all written down for us). (2 Timothy 2:24-26)  When we truly believe, we are "born again," which means God's Holy Spirit brings to new life our spirit and He dwells inside of us. (Matthew 3:11, John 3:6-7, Acts 11:16, Titus 3:5-7)  We were first born physically as a baby, but being born AGAIN is to be born spiritually as a child of God.  (John 1:12-13)

Jesus has also instructed us to be baptized in water (Matthew 28:18-20)--this signifies outwardly how inwardly our old, doomed, stubborn, rebellious, sinful self has been "drowned" (died/crucified with Christ) and we rise out of that water as a NEW creation in Christ, in His victory on the cross, alive in His resurrection. (Colossians 3:3-10, Romans 6:3-12, 13:14, Galatians 3:27)  We are washed clean not by the water (which would be works, and in the case of infant baptism, the works of the parents), but by the precious blood Jesus shed for us on the cross (each person individually, personally saved by faith in God's grace--washed in the living "water" OF THE WORD--Jesus). (1 John 1:7-10, Ephesians 5:25-27, James 1:18) It's a beautiful, memorable event for the believer--if you do not remember being baptized and may not have even been aware of it happening at the time--then perhaps you might like to do a study on it to decide for yourself what God's will is on the subject.  I have written one here:

A quote by J.C. Ryle, who died in England in 1900: "Oh, reader, let us realize this point! There is before us all a great change. Surely, when a man has notice to quit his present dwelling-place, he ought to make sure that he has before him another home...  Oh, that you may think on this matter, and never rest till you are ready to meet Christ!"

Please see the downloadable pdf article "Judgment Day" on the right side bar for all of the verses referenced.

Digital scrapbook paper and elements by Lorie Davison, page texture by me

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Consider Him

Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.  Hebrews 12:3-4

kit: Greyhouse Manor Winter Ball by Lorie Davison

Friday, August 5, 2016

True Disciples

When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.  John 15:8

kit: Lemon Squeezy by Kristmess Designs

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Rescue from Every Evil Deed

The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.  2 Timothy 4:18

kit: July Daze by Kristmess Designs

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

No Partiality

For God shows no partiality.  Romans 2:11

papers (blended) & elements by Lorie Davison

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Blessed Is He

"And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me." Matthew 11:6

paper & elements by Lorie Davison

Monday, August 1, 2016

Servants of God

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.  1 Peter 2:15-16

paper: Winter Friends, elements: Illustrate Life by Createwings Designs (retired)