Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Repaid on Earth

If the righteous is repaid on earth, how much more the wicked and the sinner! Proverbs 11:31

paper by Holliewood Studios: Dramatic Backgrounds 5; trees and branches by Createwings Designs (retired)

Heavenly Father, These are treacherous times we live in.  As we look around us in this world, we see everything ripping apart at the seams in every way possible.  You warned us this would happen in the last days, that everything will be shaken, and we know we can expect it to get worse as these are only the beginning of birth pangs.  Please help us to take refuge in you, to abide in you, to keep our eyes focused on you.  We know that all power is yours and we want to glorify and honor you with our lives.  Jesus never grew weary or gave up despite all of the challenges, obstacles and opposition he faced.  Please make us more like him every day, enduring and persevering in obedience out of love for you and for the lost world, and in gratitude for the precious price and infinite value of our salvation.  Let us never think of our own selfish desires first, as these lives and bodies are only temporary, but to always remember how great is our eternal inheritance and how horrific is the never-ending torment of those who fail to come to the knowledge of truth, to repentance and saving faith.  We want them all to love and praise you as we do.  Thank you for disciplining us as your dear, beloved children for our good.  We pray that we will learn our lessons without having to repeat them as wayward children do.  We pray that we never steal your joy in blessing us in these earthly lives by behaving in ways that prevent you in justice and righteousness from giving us what is in your heart to give.  We thank you that Jesus paid our debt to set us free from eternal punishment and enslavement to sin.  Please help us to remember it from moment to moment, to walk in the spirit by your immense, unfailing power not relying on our own strength but yielding to your perfect will through your prompting, convicting and guiding.  Let us carry our crosses faithfully, never turning aside at the weight or shame of bearing our Savior's reproach, but to look upon it as our great privilege and honor.  You are worthy.  We love you.  In Jesus' name of incomparable strength, wisdom, love, mercy, grace, and victory, Amen.

For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp.  So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.  Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.  For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.  Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.  Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.  Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.  Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. Hebrews 13:11-18

And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. Luke 23:26 

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. Matthew 10:37-40

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—  that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.  Only let us hold true to what we have attained.  Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.  For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.  Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.  But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,  who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Philippians 3:7-21

For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And "If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. 1 Peter 4:17-19

Also see Ezekiel 8 and Ezekiel 9, bearing in mind that an idol is anything that we have placed where God belongs, even if it is our own "version" of God instead of who He said He is in the Bible, in completeness, not only the parts we "like."

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.  We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things.  Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?  Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?  But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.  He will render to each one according to his works:  to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;  but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.  There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,  but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.  For God shows no partiality.  For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.  For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.  For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.  They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them  on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.  But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God  and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law;  and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,  an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth—  you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal?  You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?  You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.  For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”  For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision.  So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?  Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law.  For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical.  But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God. Romans 2:1-29

But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.  But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. 1 Corinthians 11:31-32

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Revelation 3:19 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  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.  And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.  For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”  It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.  Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?  For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.  For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.  Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,  and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.  Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.  See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;  that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal.  For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.  For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest  and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them.  For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.”  Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”  But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,  and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,  and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.  See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.  At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”  This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.  Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,  for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:1-29  

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.  For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,  but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.  Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses.  How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?  For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.”  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings,  sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated.  For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.  Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.  For, Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay;  but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.  But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. Hebrews 10:23-39  

Monday, January 30, 2017

Here Am I Send Me

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” Isaiah 6:8

paper by Holliewood Studio, page overlay by BekahE Designs, leaves and flowers by Marta van Eck

Heavenly Father, We confess that we have not always thought first of what you would like us to do when we have made our plans.  It's easy for us to get caught up in our day-to-day lives, forgetting what we're really here for.  Please help us to remember to slow down and consult you in prayer and in your word before proceeding with our good intentions.  We recognize that only you know it all from beginning to end and what is best in the long run.  We want what you want--for all to come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved.  Please firmly establish your priorities in our hearts and help us to serve and obey you as you deserve, with our whole hearts, minds, souls and strength--that is how you said that we would show that we truly love you.  We want to be faithful, reliable, steadfast, trustworthy and true servants with whom you can be pleased, from whom you have received honor and glory by our actions during our lives.  We want to finish well, not having grown lukewarm or turned aside from our commitment to follow Jesus.  Please help us to recognize your still, small voice and fully take advantage of every opportunity to share your love and miraculous message of salvation with the lost.  Please let the words that we say and the actions we take to be useful for the good of your kingdom and free of any selfishness on our part.  In Jesus' most worthy, precious, saving name, Amen.

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”  Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”  Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?”  Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.  Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. John 14:21-24 

If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. John 12:26

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. John 15:8-10

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.  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?  For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. Matthew 16:24-27  

Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.  And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’  His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ Matthew 25:19-21 

And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.  And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.  And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:11-13 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Beauty of Holiness

Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones,
Give unto the Lord glory and strength.
Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name;
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
Psalm 29:1-2

kit: Shabby Forest by Chocolate Geranium Designs (retired)
alpha: Wild Side by Kristmess Designs
template: July Template Challenge by Virginia State of Mind (retired)

Heavenly Father, Let us take this to heart, giving to you all of ourselves, ALL honor and glory, everything that is due you--which is everything!  We know that you made all that is in your wonderful creation and we don't love any of it, including anyone, more than you.  Show us how to worship you in spirit and truth, never letting our songs and prayers become a matter of routine, but always fully involving our hearts and souls.  Help us to focus all of our attention on you and not to become distracted.  Please forgive us for taking your love and our freedom to worship you for granted.  Forgive us for caring about what others think rather than proclaiming your name and your perfect ways boldly wherever we go.  We are not ashamed of Jesus or his words.  We know that they were written for us to heed, as he repeatedly said "Whoever has an ear, let him hear," and all of the Scriptures were inspired by your Spirit. We know that our reward is kept for us in heaven when we work heartily for your kingdom, especially when persecuted, and that all of this will pass away.  Please remind us to establish you as a priority in our hearts and reaffirm our devotion to you anew every day.  You alone are worthy.  In Jesus' most glorious, exalted and adored name, Amen.

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”Matthew 10:37-39

“For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:38

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” Mark 12:30

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.  God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24

You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:  “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;  in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”  And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand:  it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”  Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”  He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up.  Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”  But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.”  And he said, “Are you also still without understanding?  Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled?  But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.  For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. Matthew 15:7-19  

And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;  in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’  You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”  And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!”Mark 7:6-9

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.  For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. Colossians 3:23-25

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.  I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.  I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.  But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.  Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.  Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’”Revelation 2:1-7

“Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  He who has ears, let him hear.” Matthew 13:8-9

Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “‘“You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.”  For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’  But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Matthew 13:14-16

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:7-8

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.  For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;  always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.  For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 2 Corinthians 4:3-11 

 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,  who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  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.  Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,  obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,  while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it  and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  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 3:12-17 

How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?  For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”  It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering.  Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.  You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.  So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  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 10:29-39  

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17

"Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.  "So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.  "But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,  so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.  "When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.  "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.  "And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.  "So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him." Matthew 6:1-8  

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Prayed Fervently

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. James 5:17-18

papers: Oscraps Big O4 collab, twigs with leaves: Mystique freebie (retired)

Heavenly Father, We know that the greatest time of tribulation that ever has been or will be is going to come upon the earth.  We are inexpressibly grateful and relieved that those of us who believe in Jesus as our Savior and Lord and are His possession, given by you, will not suffer your wrath.  We know that you will never leave us alone through anything we experience in this life.  Please help us to be prepared so that whatever happens, your name will be honored and glorified.  You said that everything that can be shaken will be shaken.  We know that your Spirit dwells in us and cannot be shaken, if only we put all of our trust and hope in you.  Thank you for your strength, mercy, grace, peace, wisdom and love.  Please help us to display all of these beautiful, powerful ways of yours to this lost and dying world, and not to join in with the darkened world in complaining, fearing, sinning or supporting sin, or any other way that does not reflect well on you.  We know that you desire for all to repent and be saved, and we love whom you love.  Please use us to reach those blinded by the "ruler" of this world so that your courts will be filled to overflowing with the praises of the redeemed, for all eternity.  We love you more than we can possibly put into words.  Please search our hearts and work out what is within us for the world to see your goodness and glory.  In the Name above all names, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who is our precious and beloved Redeemer, Jesus, Amen.

Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there,  but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.  And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”  These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.  And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed.  They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. Revelation 11:1-6

For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD.  The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt. Exodus 12:12-13

And the LORD said to him, “Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.” Ezekiel 9:4

And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us,  and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22  

“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.”John 17:6

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you.  For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.  While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.  But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.  For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.  So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.  For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night.  But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.  For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,  who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.  Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,  training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,  waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,  who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.  Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you. Titus 2:11-15

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.  Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.  Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:9-12

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.  Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”  Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:4-8

"For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.  Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.  Then if anyone says to you, 'Behold, here is the Christ,' or 'There He is,' do not believe him.  For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.  Behold, I have told you in advance.  So if they say to you, 'Behold, He is in the wilderness,' do not go out, or, 'Behold, He is in the inner rooms,' do not believe them.  For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be." Matthew 24:21-27 

See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.  At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”  This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.  Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,  for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:25-29 

When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood,  and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale.  The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.  Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains,  calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb,  for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” Revelation 6:12-17 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Waited Patiently

I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God,
Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.
Psalm 40:1-3

kit and stacked borders:  Puppy Love by Kristmess Designs

Heavenly Father, We pray that indeed many will see and have the beginning of wisdom, that is the fear of the Lord.  Let us live as though we actually do believe in your greatness, that we know you see and hear everything, even our very thoughts, that we are expecting Jesus to return and want to be found ready and waiting.  Thank you for forgiving us and washing us clean when in our weakness we sin, but we repent and confess it to you.  Thank you for loving us first and reaching out to us, drawing us near by your Spirit.  Thank you for the assurance that Jesus will lose none of all He has been given and raise it up on the last Day.  Please work out from inside of each of us these intense feelings of gratitude and love for you that the world may see how beautiful you are and give you glory as we do.  Please make us more like Jesus every day, filling us with your Spirit to overflowing and completing the work you prepared to be done through us before the world even began.  You are amazing and we are in awe of you and the love you have for us.  Please make us worthy to enter your kingdom.  In Jesus' indescribably precious and beloved name, Amen.

For you know how, like a father with his children,  we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12  

We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.  Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.  This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—  since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you,  and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels  in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,  when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.  To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,  so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12  

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,  with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,  being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3

Please note that "tolerance" is not of SIN (which would contradict "walk in a worthy manner"), but in matters of preference (such as eating meat or not) or in each person's calling in how to serve the Lord.  We shouldn't criticize our brothers and sisters who have received different gifts of the Spirit, all for the benefit of the Body of Christ.  We are on the same team, wanting to reach the lost with the message of salvation.  As to sin, we are to be on our guard that we don't let it permeate the whole church or cause us to slip ourselves.  Our motive in dealing with sin is to restore the sinner to fellowship and preserve the holiness of the church, for which Jesus died to make holy.  When we love each other, it is in holiness, with mercy and grace--not in careless disregard for the precious blood of Jesus.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Not to Us

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!  Psalm 115:1

kit: Love Grows by Kristmess Designs

Heavenly Father, Thank you for the incredible privilege of knowing you and being known by you.  We were lost and in darkness and you found us and brought us into the light--not the deceptive "light" that the world offers, but into your true light of holiness, righteousness and peace.  We know that because Jesus took the penalty for our sins, we have been washed clean.  We know that when we were born again, your Holy Spirit came to dwell in us, enabling us to overcome temptation to sin, and that when we slip, that we can receive forgiveness and be washed anew.  Jesus overcame and won the victory.  Because your Holy Spirit dwells in us, we can overcome as well. Thank you for your great love and faithfulness.  We know that any love and faith we have are gifts from you, and we are so grateful.  We welcome the opportunity to be tested and found genuinely faithful.  Please make us worthy of your only begotten, beloved Son, whom we also love.  All power and glory and honor belong to you.  In the most precious, glorious, worthy and exalted name of Jesus, our only Redeemer, Amen.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.  And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.  Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,  but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:  whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2:1-6  

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.  For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:1-5

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.  Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.  But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.  Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.  Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. James 1:12-18 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,  who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  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.  Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,  obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9

“Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.  Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.  Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.  The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” Revelation 3:2-6

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Search the Heart

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”  Jeremiah 17:10

kit: Love Grows by Kristmess Designs

Heavenly Father, We are so thankful that you love us in spite of all of the ways that we fail you each day, even though we do sincerely try and desire to please you.  Please make us more like Jesus every day.  Let us never tire or get distracted by this world or be discouraged by opposition or apathy of others when there are so many people who need us to shine our lights so they can find their way to you, and they don't even realize they are on the broad path to destruction.  Help us to remember that you see our efforts and everything we do for you is worth whatever it costs us in time, energy and other resources.  We know that we receive all we have from you and that you never run out of good gifts--we need only ask in faith.  Thank you for providing everything we need and for your great and glorious promises of eternal life spent with you.  We love you with a limitless, ever-increasing love.  In Jesus' name, who overcame so that we could all have the victory in Him, Amen.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Pay Attention

And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:19-21

kit: Kristmess Village by Kristmess Designs, lantern by Lara's Digiworld, glow by Kristin Aagard

Heavenly Father, We marvel at the way you know everything from beginning to end, long before it happens.  Thank you for sharing with us what is to come so that we can be prepared.  We want to be found ready, watching, serving you faithfully when Jesus returns.  Please help us to stay awake, not slumbering in apathy and caught unawares when that Day comes.  Please shine your light brightly through us so that those around us cannot "sleep" either.  Please use us to inspire others to put the deeds of darkness behind them and get ready as well.  Let us all abide IN Jesus, not merely claim to know Him. We look forward to the fulfillment of the final prophecies with great anticipation, knowing that you will see us through everything that happens and you are worthy of any trials we must pass through in order to have our faith purified and refined.  Thank you for everything you have done and are going to do in your great mercy and love for your creation in order to restore everything as you intended it to be.  We love your perfect and beautiful ways and rejoice in our salvation.  We are in awe of the love you have for us.  You are amazing and we love you more than we can express!  In Jesus' glorious, adored name, Amen.

Monday, January 23, 2017

In Your Hand

Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all. In Your hand are power and might, and in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank You, our God, and praise Your glorious name.  1 Chronicles 29:12-13

stacked papers: Kristmess Robins by Kristmess Designs

Heavenly Father, We acknowledge that you are the Sovereign King over all that you made, and we're so glad that you are.  You never change, never make a mistake, never do anything wrong or evil.  What would we do without you?  We worship and glorify your beautiful, holy, mighty name.  We love you and give you all praise and honor.  We look forward to that glorious day when we will be with you forever, when time as we know it stops being kept any longer.  Thank you for saving us and for your wonderful promises for the future.  Please help us to do only your will and all of your will.  Please use us to draw the lost to yourself.  Let us never grow weary of serving you, and please make us worthy of being your very own special possession.  We are so privileged that we can scarcely take it in.  How great you are!  We lay this offering of worship, praise and prayers at your feet in the name of your only begotten Son, Jesus, who saves us from our sins, Amen.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Head Above All

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is Yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head above all.  1 Chronicles 29:11

stacked papers: Heavenly Kristmess by Kristmess Designs

Heavenly Father, You overwhelm us with your beauty, greatness, wisdom, love and all that you are, have always been and will always be.  Just pondering everything you have done and what you're like--how holy and infinitely powerful--brings us to our knees.  All that you have made and the incredible way that it all works--your beautiful and diverse designs and absolute control over it all--are too amazing for us to comprehend.  We are utterly humbled by your love for us, that you would send your only begotten Son to save us from ourselves, from our willful, rebellious nature that delights in sin instead of righteousness.  Thank you for rescuing us and making a way back to you, for freeing us from the penalty for our past sins and also from enslavement to the desire to continue sinning.  Thank you that your Spirit within us empowers us to overcome, one moment at a time, as we seek your will and your way and abide in Jesus, our Ransomer.  Thank you for forgiving and cleansing us when we slip.  Thank you for the immeasurably valuable inheritance that is kept for us in heaven as your dear children--a future worshiping and serving you for eternity.  We love you with all that we are and ever will be, forever.  In the precious, beloved name of our Redeemer, Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Paths Straight

The righteousness of the blameless makes their paths straight, but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness. Proverbs 11:5

kit: Vagabond Adventures by Holliewood Studios

Heavenly Father,  You know that these days we live in are full of deceit and evil.  Just as your Word warns us, people have become incredibly self-centered, ungrateful, arrogant, greedy and focused way too much on the things of this world instead of on you.  Please help us to stand firm in your Word, with our eyes fixed on you, trusting that everything works out for the best when we rely on you instead of on our own strength and wisdom or that of others.  Please help us not to blend in--complaining, coveting and giving in to fear with the rest--but to be lights shining brightly for others to see your goodness, mercy and grace.  We want people to be drawn to your love through us so that they can receive salvation.  We want Jesus to be pleased with how we served Him when He returns.  All we have and are is at your disposal, for your glory.  In the beautiful name filled with hope and love of our Savior, Jesus, Amen.

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,  treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,  having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 2 Timothy 3:1-5  

Friends, you are invited to read my article "The Glass Fence" here on the blog (click on pdf downloads at the top of the page).

Friday, January 20, 2017

Songs of Praise

They lift up their voices, they sing for joy; over the majesty of the LORD they shout from the west. Therefore in the east give glory to the LORD; in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the LORD, the God of Israel. From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One.  Isaiah 24:14-16 a

stacked papers: Kristmess Robins by Kristmess Designs

Heavenly Father, We can't wait for this day to arrive when the whole earth recognizes and acknowledges your beauty, majesty, infinite worthiness, almighty power, and perfect wisdom and love, praising you with songs everywhere.  Now we see in part, but then we will see in full and rejoice even more over the miracle that we belong to you, as we see your promises fulfilled right before our eyes.  To you all honor and glory--never was there anyone like you and never will there be--only you are deserving of our worship and our undivided devotion.  Please help us to keep our eyes fixed on you for our help, confidence and hope in these troublesome days while we wait for Jesus to return.  Please help us not to grow weary of doing good when it seems to go unappreciated, remembering that we are working for YOU because of our great love for you, not the approval of others.  Thank you for hearing and answering our prayers in your perfect way.  In Jesus' glorious, victorious name, Amen.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Steadfast Love to the Heavens

I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to You among the nations.
For Your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
Your faithfulness to the clouds.
Psalm 57:9-10

stacked papers, clouds: Heavenly Kristmess by Kristmess Designs

Heavenly Father, I can't speak for other people, but for myself, I am looking forward to that pure language that you will be giving us so that we can all worship only you in unity with fitting words and glorious songs of praise.  For now, we are so grateful that your Spirit within those of us who have become your children searches our hearts and prays for us as we would if we could find the words to adequately express what needs to be said, in alignment with your higher ways.  We are indescribably awed by the miracle that He dwells in us, enabling us to desire to please you and to know and do your good, perfect and pleasing will in all things.  Thank you from the bottom of our humble hearts.  In the worthy and unspeakably beautiful and beloved name of our precious Savior, Jesus, Amen.

 “For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call upon the name of the LORD and serve him with one accord." Zephaniah 3:9

 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:26-28

Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

One Thousand Years

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and whosoever had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Revelation 20:4

I thought this verse was especially appropriate for today, since it is my 1,000th post on this blog.  All glory be to God--may He make use of my very humble offering in whatever way He chooses, to accomplish His good purpose, according to His perfect plan, which will never fail.  Hallelujah!  (Highest praise to God.)

Heavenly Father, We know that to you a thousand years is as a day--that you exist outside of time and this dimension to which we're confined during our earthly lifetimes. Many of us believe that what you taught us in Genesis about the six days of creation was meant to be combined with Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8 to arrive at 6,000 years before the beginning of Christ's millennial reign of peace, for He is our Sabbath rest and you rested from creation on the seventh day. That being the case, we are eagerly anticipating His return as we get closer to 2,000 years since the arrival of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost (the final two "days" before the "Sabbath"?) We reject date-setting and fear mongering, but we do recognize the signs of the times and that inspires us to get ready, to be found faithfully waiting and watching as your word instructs us to do. Please help us to know and do your will, to put your kingdom first in everything we do, say and think, and to be steadfast, selfless, tireless and trustworthy like Jesus even if His return may appear at some point to be delayed, as His parables cautioned us.  In His glorious, worthy and mighty name, Amen.

As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. Matthew 25:5

Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles. Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 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. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. 2 Peter 3:1-18

kit: Every Day a Miracle by Feli Designs

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

You Alone Are The Lord

"You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships You."   Nehemiah 9:6

stacked papers: Heavenly Kristmess by Kristmess Designs

Heavenly Father, How marvelous are your works!  You have designed and made everything that exists from nothing.  You preserve and maintain it all and you alone give life.  Please let us never lose our sense of wonder at all you have done.  You alone are worthy of our praise.  We await  with great anticipation the day when everyone knows that.  Please fill our lamps with oil so that we burn brightly for the world to find their way to you, the only one who saves.  We rejoice in our salvation and want to share our joy with the lost so that we can all praise you together for eternity.  In the highest name of all names, Jesus, who ransomed us with his precious blood, Amen.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Turn From Godless Living

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you. Titus 2:11-15

stacked papers: Splash by Kristmess Designs

Heavenly Father, We look to you for help.  We know that you are our help to renounce ungodliness and control ourselves, help to become pure and holy like you, to be zealous for the good works you prepared in advance for us to do, help to be worthy of being your set-part possession, help to stand firm in your word as we wait for Jesus' return, and help to exhort others to aim for purity and faithfulness along with us.  Thank you for our Helper, the Holy Spirit, who enables us to want to please you and to know and do your will.  In Jesus' altogether lovely name, Amen.