Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bread of Wickedness

14 Do not enter the path of the wicked,
and do not walk in the way of evil.
15 Avoid it; do not go on it;
turn away from it and pass on.
16 For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong;
they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence.
18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
Proverbs 4:14-18, English Standard Version

Bread of Wickedness

What kind of bread do you eat? I love to eat at Subway, but sometimes it takes me more time to decide what kind of bread I want, instead of what kind of sandwich I want. The Bible, as we can already see from this series on the word "bread," speaks of many kinds of bread. Our passage today from Proverbs 4, focuses on the bread of wickedness.

What things do we note about the wicked from the verses shown above?

*They cannot sleep unless they have done wrong.
*They are robbed of sleep unless they can make someone stumble.
*They eat the bread of wickedness.
*They drink the wine of violence.

Do you know people who fit this description? Is this also a temptation for Christians? It certainly is! Christians still have to fight with sin in their lives. If it were not possible for Christians to fall into these sins, why would the writer have admonished us with these words?

Do not enter the path of the wicked,
and do not walk in the way of evil.
Avoid it; do not go on it;
turn away from it and pass on.

That is our challenge for today; avoid the bread of wickedness.

Let us pray that, instead, our lives will exemplify Proverbs 4:18.

But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
which shines brighter and brighter until full day.

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bread of Anxious Toil

1 Unless the LORD builds the house,
those that build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
The watchman lies awake in vain.
2 It is in vain that you rise up early
And go late to rest,
Eating the bread of anxious toil,
For He gives to his beloved sleep.
Psalm 127:1-2, English Standard Version

Bread of Anxious Toil

Why is this such a difficult concept for us to internalize? How often do we lie awake at night, consumed with the things that concern us most. We worry continually! Whatever the latest concern, it is enough to keep us awake at night. Tonight it may be money, last night it was job security, the night before it was problems with the teenagers.

Yet, does not the Bible teach that we should be just the opposite. While others worry about such things, the Lord gives to his beloved sleep. I am his beloved, so why am I kept awake night after night, churning over the latest events and concerns?

I know this just sounds too simple, but the answer is to go to the Lord. Cry out to Him to grant you his peace as you face the difficulties of the present time and of the future. I must be the slowest person in the world to catch on to this concept; it seems like I have to learn it over and over.

This year has been a very stressful one for our family. Graduation month (May) was no exception. We had two daughters graduating the same day and time in two different cities--one from high school, and the other from college. My husband went to the high school graduation and I went to the college graduation. My high school graduate was convinced that I did not love her because I was not going to her graduation. Then, on top of this, I am also trying to get a new business going (see my website for information).

Driving home from the college graduation, I realized how foolish I had been. I was trying to solve everything by myself. The Lord and I had quite a conversation on the rest of the drive home. I asked Him to grant me peace and also submission to His will for my life.

I do not mean to sound melodramatic, but I felt the stress drain from my body. Yesterday my high school graduate and I discussed the situation. "Awe, Mom," she said, "You know that I really did not mean what I said. I was just angry." So much for all my worry!

Are you consumed with the bread of anxious toil? Go to Christ. Think of these words from Isaiah 26:3 (King James Version).

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee.

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, May 21, 2009

No Bread!

8Then the word of the LORD came to him, 9"Arise, go to Zerephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you." 10So he arose and went to Zeraphath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, "Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink." 11And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, "Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand." 12And she said, "As the LORD your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die." 13And Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. 14For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'" 15And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. 16The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the LORD that he spoke by Elijah.
1 Kings 17:8-16, English Standard Version

No Bread!

This is one of my favorite Bible stories, and it is one we should heed today! There was famine in the land; Elijah, a prophet of God, approached a widow and asked her to give him bread. She replied that she only had enough flour and enough oil to make one more loaf of bread to feed her and her son, and then they would die.

Few of us really know the desperation of starvation. This woman was in desperate circumstances! Elijah asked the unthinkable. Feed me first, and then make bread for you and your son. God will provide flour and oil for you until the famine has ended.

What would you do? How strong is your faith in God? Would you trust a man coming to your door with such a message?

In remarkable circumstances we often see remarkable faith; faith such as was demonstrated by this poor widow. She did as Elijah asked, and true to His Word, God caused the flour and oil to never run out until the famine was ended.

Think about it! Are we really in any less desperate circumstances today? Do we have bread to eat? Oh, we may have physical bread, but will that sustain us until our spiritual famine is ended? The world is dying, spiritually all around us! In our schools here in the USA, any religion or god is accepted accept the only true and living God. We are producing godless children who run after anything that will please them for the moment.

What about you? Do you have bread? It is available in the Word of God! Jesus Christ told us that He is the bread of life; with Jesus in our hearts and lives we will never hunger or thirst again!

No Bread! Think of that as you go about the duties of this day.

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Not By Bread Alone

1"The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the LORD swore to give to your fathers. 2And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. 3And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD."
Deuteronomy 8:1-3, English Standard Version

Not By Bread Alone

What an incredible truth is presented in today's Bible passage from Deuteronomy 8.

Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

How did the Israelites survive those 40 years of wandering in the desert? We are told in the verses above that it was a test! For 40 years God tested them. Would they be true to His Word or not?

He let them go hungry so that they would know it was He who gave them sustenance when He sent manna and quail for them to eat. He let them go thirsty, to show that He could produce water from a rock! No enemy overtook them; and the very soles of their shoes never wore out!

Why is it that, thousands of years later, we are still learning the same lessons, and often failing as badly as did the Israelites? What is life? What is our purpose? Are we truly just creatures of chance and circumstances? Do we have the ultimate control over all of our decisions?

Just as was true of the Israelites, we, too, do not live by bread alone! True life only comes through the Word of God given to us in the Bible. This was the same concept that Jesus explained to the Samaritan woman at the well, using water.

Bread and water! Certainly they are both necessary for survival, but what does survival mean without the Lord. It only means eternal death! Only through the Word of God, and the salvation purchased for us by the blood of Christ can we truly live.

So, when you take time during your day to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, think about this phrase, not by bread alone! Then thank God for His Word and His gift of salvation.

Oh what a Savior!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bread of Fellowship

10 Jethro said, "Blessed be the LORD, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh and has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods, because in this affair they dealt arrogantly with the people." 12 And Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God; and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law before God.
Exodus 18:10-12, English Standard Version

Bread of Fellowship

I have always liked Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, and I also appreciate the respect that Moses always gave to him. Jethro came to see Moses when the Israelites were nearby; after seeing all that God had done for the Israelites, he proclaimed,

"Blessed be the LORD, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh and has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods, because in this affair they dealt arrogantly with the people."

We have no indication that Jethro ever accepted Moses' religion, but this is a reminder to us that even the unconverted see the things God has done. Also, Moses never disdained Jethro for his belief or lack of belief in the Lord; he always showed respect to him as his elder.

After this comment, Jethro brought an offering to the Lord, and then Jethro, Moses, Aaron, and the elders of Israel sat down to eat bread together--the bread of fellowship. God speaks much about Christians showing hospitality, and the best hospitality is that of sharing a meal with another.

I often grow weary of Christians complaining about other Christians, or taking swipes at their doctrinal beliefs! Oh that we would be more like Moses, and be gracious toward other professing believers. How much better if we would spend our time offering the bread of fellowship to others, encouraging them to live faithfully for the Lord, and bringing the message of salvation to the unbelievers.

The harvest is ready and the laborers are few!

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bread from Heaven

2 And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, 3 and the people of Israel said to them, "Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger."

14 And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. 15 When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, "It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat."
Exodus 16:2-3 & 14-15, English Standard Version

Bread from Heaven

Have you ever wondered what the manna that God sent to the children of Israel tasted like? In this day of concerns over our diets, we would probably give anything to have manna today! I imagine it covered several food groups, and of course, nothing in it was imitation!

Often when I read though the first few books of the Old Testament, it seems as though all Israel does is complain! This time, they were sure God had brought them out to the wilderness to die of hunger! Of course, God had no such intention; He had planned all along to feed them.

Do we complain about the circumstances that God sends our way? Especially in America we have so much in the way of material things, and even in the choices of the foods we eat. Yet, we Americans complain more than anyone!

My sister went on a mission trip to Mozambique last summer. She was amazed by how little the people had, and yet how happy they were! They certainly put us to shame.

As Christians, we need to be very careful about complaining, because we are really complaining to God about the circumstances He has sent, whether it be weather, economic difficulties, health, etc. Take some time today to think about all of the wondrous blessings God has given you, and then pray for help from Him to show that gratitude throughout the day.

Remember that when you are ready to complain,

"It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat."

God Bless You,
Linda

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bread

17 And to Adam he said,
"Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
'You shall not eat of it,'
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return."
Genesis 3:17-19, English Standard Version

Bread

As we continue in this series of devotions called, "What is in a Word?," I thought it would be good to look at the word, "bread."

The word, bread, is used in over 300 passages in the English Standard Version of the Bible. While we will not look at every passage, we will cover several of them. The first time the word, bread, appears is in the passage shown above from Genesis 3.

The unthinkable has happened! God created a perfect world and already, man has chosen to sin against the Lord God. The serpent brought temptation to Eve, who sinned by eating the forbidden fruit. Seeing what his wife had done, Adam, too, tasted the fruit.

Each one, the serpent, Eve, and then Adam all are punished for their sin. The passage shown above are the words God spoke to Adam.

17 . . . cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return."


I find it interesting that the first use of the word, bread, in the Bible is used in the curse God pronounced against Adam. Food, which prior to this time took no effort to produce, would now require the sweat of Adam's brow. The earth, now also condemned by sin would wrestle with Adam for every seed of grain produced.

The message here is that the sins of Adam and Eve were fatal sins, not only to themselves, but to every man and woman born on this earth. Only through the miraculous gift given to us through the shed blood of Christ can we be rescued from this fatal blow.

How does that affect your everyday life? Do you live each day as others who have no hope, or are you buoyed up by the grace of God so that the light of God shines through each day, no matter how bleak your circumstances may be?

Meditate upon that as you go about the duties of this day.

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Crystal River

1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. 6 The angel said to me, "These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place."
Revelation 22:1-6, NIV

The Crystal River

What a fitting way to end this series of devotions on the word, "river." Revelation 22 paints the most beautiful picture of the New Jerusalem.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

The closest I have come to seeing a crystal river was on a trip to the Rocky Mountains. High up in the mountains, the water flowing out from the mountain was crystal clear. Yet, as clear as water may appear on this earth, it is still contaminated water. All nature has been muddied by the sins of this world.

Yet in the New Jerusalem, it will not be so. There will be nothing to contaminate the new heavens and the new earth. Beside the crystal river will spring forth the tree of life bearing twelve crops of fruit, one for each month; its leaves will be used for the healing of the nations.

What else do we know about this city?

The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city. . . . There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light.

No matter how good life gets here on this earth, like the rivers and streams of this earth, it is tainted by sin. Only when we reach our eternal abode with the Lord our God will we see the crystal river, and will we experience a life without sin.

Only with God are all things possible.

God Bless You,
Linda

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Down by the Riverside

13And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together.
Acts 16:13, English Standard Version

Down by the Riverside

As the news of the Gospel spread and the church began to grow, how did a visitor find other believers? There were no telephones, and no yellow pages to direct visitors to the church in that city. As Paul was on his way to Rome as a prisoner, when the ship was in harbor, Paul would go down by the riverside to search for believers in Christ, as it was customary for the new believers in Christ to meet down by the riverside to pray.

My sister lives on the shores of the Lake of the Ozarks where a dam was built on the Missouri River and the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks resulted. I love to sit down on their boat dock, especially early in the morning when the lake is more likely to be placid. What a wonderful place to meditate and pray; it seems like it is just God and me!

Why is it that we always feel closer to God when we are surrounded by the beauty of the world God has created? Even though the world, including nature, has been contaminated by sin, God's grace and light continually shines forth in the beauty of His creation.

I really encourage you to take the opportunity to go someplace quiet and restful in the middle of God's creation, whether it be in the mountains, in the forests, among the flowers and trees, or down by the riverside, and reflect upon your relationship with Christ. Take some time to just sit their and meditate on the Lord and pray.

As a matter of fact, wherever you live, try to find a quiet place today where you may communicate with the Lord God. Even if it is not down by the riverside, find a quiet place to reflect upon the God you serve and all of His glorious attributes.

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Rivers of Living Water

37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
John 7:37-39, English Standard Version

Rivers of Living Water

"Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'"

What an interesting verse! What does it mean? What are these rivers of living water, and how does this apply to us today? This verse beautifully displays the truth that as a Christian, Christ lives within us and the Holy Spirit continually guides us and flows out of us.

Christians becomes totally different people at the time of their new birth! Oh yes, the sin nature still battles their souls continually, many times gaining victory. But the final battle is the Lord's! With Christ in their hearts and the rivers of living water flowing out of them, Christ gains more and more preeminence in their lives. This shows more and more to those around them, until they become complete as they are ushered into His heavenly kingdom.

Have you ever tried to read in the dark with a flashlight, either not wanting others to know you are still awake, or just not wanting to bother someone else in the room who is sleeping? I have a little reading light, and will often read in our bedroom after my husband has fallen asleep. It is amazing how much light that little light gives off; it is very hard to keep it from disturbing my husband.

As Christians, the rivers of living water flowing out from us are just like that light. Sometimes the river is no more than just a little trickle, and yet it still shines forth in this dark world of sin. Other times, by the grace of God, it rushes forth in a raging torrent without any effort on our parts.

What a wonderful blessing! Think of that as you go about the duties of this day. Pray for help from the Lord that the river of living water flowing from you will burst forth to those all around you, and that Christ may be glorified in it.

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Baptized in the River

1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,

"The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord;
make his paths straight.'"

4 Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, 6 and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
Matthew 3:1-6, English Standard Version

Baptized in the River

One of the most fascinating men in the New Testament is John the Baptist. He was truly one of a kind, who was providentially appointed as the forerunner of the Lord. Isaiah, the prophet, prophesied his coming:

"The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord;
make his paths straight.'"


Even before Christ came, John had a productive ministry preaching of the One to Come who was better than he. As people received the word he preached, they were baptized in the River Jordan.

As a matter of fact, Christ's public ministry began with His own baptism by John. It is there that God spoke from heaven saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:17, ESV)

The Jordan River plays an important part in Biblical history, especially as the border of the promised land. Do you think it was any accident that Christ was baptized in this same river? Figuratively, the Jordan River is our boundary as well. It represents the boundary between our life before, and then after becoming Christians, just as the River of Life is the "boundary" we cross as we enter the gates of heaven.

Think of that today; just as Christ was baptized in the river, so let us remember that our own "Jordan River" represents the boundary for us. When we are tempted to cross back over that river, think of Christ who was baptized in the River, and then went on to redeem a people for himself.

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Rivers Run Dry

3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power;
the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.
His way is in the whirlwind and the storm,
and clouds are the dust of his feet.
4 He rebukes the sea and dries it up;

he makes all the rivers run dry.
Bashan and Carmel wither
and the blossoms of Lebanon fade.

7 The LORD is good,
a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him.
Nahum 1:3-4 & 7, English Standard Version

Rivers Run Dry

The passage shown above is part of a declaration of judgment against the city of Nineveh. Most of us are familiar with the story of Jonah, who also declared judgment against this city. At that time Nineveh repented and the city was spared. In the end, however, the prophecy by Jonah was fulfilled as Nahum, too, declares this treatise of judgment.

We are often reluctant to attribute natural catastrophes to the hand of the Lord. But, we are told repeatedly in the Bible that God brings about natural catastrophes as a form of judgment against the wicked.

I noticed three things in the verses shown above. First, the Lord is slow to anger; second, He will not leave the guilty unpunished; and third, the Lord is a refuge in the time of trouble. What do we learn by this?

Because the Lord is slow to anger, when He does bring judgment upon a land or people, it is well deserved. God, the Creator, has power over all of the earth. He even rebukes the sea and dries it up, and he makes all the rivers run dry!

Do we really want a righteous and holy God who turns His eyes away from seeing the wickedness that abounds on this earth? Are we content when governments take it upon themselves to ignore God's Word and make laws that allow things that are forbidden by God? What happens then? Chaos!

Where does this leave the Christian? Even in the middle of Nahum's judgemental rebuke, he reminds us that the Christian need not fear.

The LORD is good,
a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him
.


As you go about the duties of this day, be reminded that nothing is hidden from God. As you see wickedness spewing its ugly head all around you, know that God will bring judgment upon wickedness and make all things right; he will make the rivers run dry. Pray for the strength to live untainted in the middle of this evil, and turn your eyes upon Jesus!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

River of Fire

9 "As I looked,
"thrones were set in place,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was as white as snow;
the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire,
and its wheels were all ablaze.

10 A river of fire was flowing,

coming out from before him.
Thousands upon thousands attended him;
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
The court was seated,
and the books were opened.
Daniel 7:9 & 10

River of Fire

How many times have you heard the expression, "The end justifies the means."? I was thinking of that as I read over the passage above. Carried to its final end, people should be careful how they use that expression, because, you see, the final end is given in the verses shown above.

As Christians, we should really think about that. Why do we do what we do? Are we considering the immediate consequences, or are we really thinking of the final end when a river of fire will flow out from the throne of the Ancient of Days?

What is happening in this future scene vividly displayed before us by Daniel? The Ancient of Days is seated upon his throne with thousands upon thousands attending Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand standing before Him. The court was then seated and the books were opened.

These are the final books; there is no gray area, but only black and white. Your name is in the books or your name is not in the books, and that makes all the difference in the world.

When the book of life is opened, will your name be included in the list? We worry and stew about many things--bills, health, politics, etc. But how often are we concerned about our status before the Ancient of Days?

The river of fire is a purifying river burning away all of the remnants of sin left in the believers as they are ushered into heaven pure and spotless before God.

I may never personally see or shake hands with a president or ruler of a country, but oh how I look forward to bowing before the Ancient of Days who has taken me through the fire and brought me into His eternal kingdom which has no end.

God Bless You,
Linda

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Peace Like a River

12 For this is what the LORD says:
"I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream;
you will nurse and be carried on her arm
and dandled on her knees.

22 "As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me," declares the LORD, "so will your name and descendants endure. 23 From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me," says the LORD.
Isaiah 66:12 and 22-23, English Standard Version

Peace Like a River

In Isaiah 66, we again see that beautiful, poetic imagery so common in the Psalms and other Old Testament books.

For this is what the LORD says:
"I will extend peace to her like a river."



It is spring in Iowa, and with spring comes a lot of turbulent weather. After a week of storms and fierce winds, I was surprised, yesterday, to see the calm waters of the river I cross over every day to take my daughter to and from school. Instead of foaming white caps, the placid water mirrored the new leaves bursting forth from the trees.
Though it was cool outside, I would have loved to sit by the river so I could lose myself in the placid water and gentle lapping waves.

I often think of how amazing it is to view nature, especially after a major catastrophe. The birds, the insects, the trees, and the rivers are totally oblivious to our troubles of life. Life just goes on as though nothing had happened.

What a reminder of the peace that is always available for the Christian, no matter what the circumstances of life may be. Peace, like a river!

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Through the Rivers

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,

I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD, your God,

the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
Isaiah 43:1b-3a, English Standard Version

Through the Rivers

Isaiah 43 is one of the most precious portions of Scripture for the Christian, especially at a time when the world seems to be falling apart. Daily we hear reports of tornadoes, hurricanes, wars, and now even an approaching pandemic. What is the world coming to?

As these continuing tragedies break forth upon the earth, the Christian need not fear. Will we pass through the rivers? Yes, but they will not sweep over us. Will we go through the fire? Yes, but we will not be burned. Christ promises to be with his children as they pass through the water, and when encompassed with flames, they will not be burned.

How is this possible?

For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior
.


We Christians need to awake from our sleep and understand the events that are swirling all around us. Especially here in the USA, we have been lulled to sleep by our affluence. But, will that affluence protect us from the storms of life--from the fire, from the pandemics, and from the raging rivers?

No! Only Christ can protect us and take us through the rivers, through the flames, and through world-wide pandemics without harm. Does that mean we, as Christians, will not die from the current strain of untreatable flu? No. But it does mean that if the Lord chooses that we go home to be with the Lord in this manner, we will have reached the end of suffering forevermore!

Simply amazing, is it not?

Go today, through the fire, through the rivers, and through whatever storms of life threaten you this day, and thank God for His ever abiding love and faithfulness.

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, May 01, 2009

Loveless Rivers

Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of his house for love,
it would be utterly scorned.
Song of Solomon 8:7, English Standard Version

Loveless Rivers

As I was reading through verses of the Bible using the word river or rivers, I came upon this verse in the Song of Solomon 8. We have been looking at the many attributes of rivers, but today's verse shows a completely different side by expressing what rivers cannot do.

We have found that the rivers can clap for joy, grant us blessings, heal us, fill us with delight, and can even be rivers of treachery, but today we discover that rivers have no power in the face of love. Verse 8 tells us that, Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.

Having lived in Iowa for many years, that verse takes on a entirely new meaning. I lived in Boone, Iowa, during the floods of 1993; each day we had to check the news to see if there were still roads open to get to Des Moines. Then, last year my daughter was married one day before the Cedar River flooded much of the town of Waverly (and Cedar Rapids). By the next day the pastor's house and church were flooded, and the reception hall had several feet of water in it. We had a rather interesting time trying to get home that evening, finding ourselves weaving back and forth through central Iowa trying to find roads still open.

What about those of you who live in dry areas and/or mountains? You certainly have a great deal of respect for flash floods. When a warning is given in your area, you know too well the dangers of not heeding the warnings given.

As we ponder these things, we gain a better depth of understanding this verse. Love is so powerful that it is undaunted by raging rivers. Now, think about the love of Christ which surpasses any other love we could imagine. Christ loves his people so much that he humbled Himself, came to earth to live as a man who was scorned and eventually crucified. None of this happened by accident, but was all a part of His plan to save a people for Himself.

In the fold of Christ, there is no fear, for His love conquers all; the loveless rivers have no power over Christians Even Satan, in all of his strength and power bows to the love of Christ. Amazing, is it not?

I leave you with my life verse.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1, King James Version

God Bless You,
Linda