Category Archives: Inspiration

My Best Bible Study Idea Ever!

I just had a Bible study idea, and I’m kind of excited about it, so I thought I would share it with you.

I thought it would be helpful to have a Bible on file that I could directly type my questions, research, and thoughts into. Right now, I’m writing in the margins sometimes, but there just isn’t enough room, and I don’t always keep a pen handy, lol.

I think it would be neat to keep it digitally instead of in a hard copy so that I can update it year after year, as I learn new things or find better research.

I looked for DOC files of the Bible for download and only found the NIV. I prefer more literal translations, so I’m just going to go to Bible Gateway every time I start a new chapter and copy and paste it into a new file.

I’m going to bold print all of the scripture, and then when I make notes in it (right in between the verses), I’m going to normalize the text that I type.

I figured it would also be interesting to copy/paste other translations sometimes, or the original Hebrew or Greek, or Strong’s Concordance notes, etc. Pictures would even be helpful sometimes! There are just so many cool things a person could do!

If several of us decide to do this, maybe we can compare notes someday. 

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Believers, Do You Read Your Bible?

Bible-reading: How can I express its importance?

How can I put it into the right words?

What argument can I use to encourage you to pick up this life-giving book?

If you don’t believe it’s all that important, why not? What are the reasons that you allow it to take a backseat to the other priorities in your life? Let’s talk about it and see if we can get to the bottom of the issue here.

I have a few more questions for you, intended to provoke you to action.

How can you claim to believe something you’ve never even read?

How do you know what the Bible says about where we came from, how we are supposed to worship, what obedience entails, and where we are going to end up? If you haven’t read the Bible to glean these answers, then you are merely believing what someone told you. You are choosing a person to trust rather than the Word of God itself.

Is there anything within its pages that would surprise you? How do you know?

Is there hidden treasure inside that might be the answer to the persistent questions or problems in your life? What if you’re missing it?

His words are truth. His instructions are life. Please don’t miss out. That book over there, sitting on the shelf collecting dust – it has the power to change you, but first you have to read it.

photo credit: Theo Crazzolara <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/141324643@N05/32033909876″>Chocolate coins</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Homemaking, as Promised

Yesterday I asked you to stay tuned. Here is the first post about homemaking, as promised. It’s more of an appetizer for the ideas that are coming. 🙂

My Homemaking Journey

When I got married and found myself trying desperately to keep house, I discovered that I knew almost nothing that a married woman would be expected to know. (That was back in the days of feeling good about myself if I actually “cooked” a 3-course meal: Rice-a-Roni, canned corn, and bagged salad.)

I have always loved learning from books, so when I realized how miserably I was failing, the first thing I did was order the book Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson. This was my first experience with Amazon.com, and I was thrilled when the $35 book showed up in the mail 2 days later. The price might seem a little steep now, but believe me, the book was worth every penny. Besides, nowadays, you can buy the paperback for a third of the original cost.

I read the hefty tome from cover to cover. Much of Mrs. Mendelson’s advice changed the way I approached housekeeping and stuck with me over the years (such as rinsing dishes in extremely hot water to avoid water-spots).

I am now reading it again, 17 years later, and her advice is just as appropriate today as it was then. Even more so for me in particular, due to my age and the activities I pursue. I find that I am no longer looking for shortcuts, but the right way to do things in order to enjoy the process and be more satisfied with the results.

Lately, I am finding housework pleasant. And it’s not just the pleasing air of living in a straightened and clean home, but it’s the pleasing activity of actually doing the work, and taking pride in a job well done.

I am finding that I am not as obsessive compulsive as I was in my early twenties. I know this because I am primarily rereading the relevant-to-me sections, skipping over things such as dishwasher use and maintenance because I don’t even own one. (I didn’t own one then either, but I still read every word, lol. I guess I was afraid that someone would ask – “Did you read that entire book?” And some silly part of me wanted to respond with a resounding yes. But no one ever asked…)

Even though I am skipping a few paragraphs here and there, I am still enjoying the book immensely. There are just some books in existence that have to be described as a breath of fresh air. Anne of Green Gables and Little Women come to mind immediately. Few non-fiction books have earned this place in my mind, but Home Comforts is certainly one of them. In fact, it might be the only one. At the moment, it’s my favorite book to read with an early morning cup of freshly-brewed coffee, completed by poached egg on toast and a few blackberries.

It’s a great way to kick off my day and get myself into the homemaking mood!

Jewish Belief and the Sonship of the Messiah

ancient-hebrew-nameA couple of weeks ago, someone asked me why I am so interested in studying Jewish beliefs. I am pretty terrible at organizing my thoughts into words unless I have had time to think and write, so after some consideration, this is my reply.

This is a pretty important question, considering the fact that I almost always bring up some aspect of Jewish belief or understanding during our Sunday School lessons. The ladies in the class always respectfully listen to me ramble on, even if they are not interested or do not know how it applies to them.

I have come up with six reasons that I pursue this kind of knowledge. This post contains the first one:

The Christian faith is an extension of the Jewish faith. It is what the Jewish faith would have become if they had believed on Jesus as their Messiah. That is, if they had believed the report that the Father gave of the Son. “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.” I John 5:10. This verse is not saying anything new. It is saying that God testified of His Son already, and that some people reject Him.

The Jews say they believe their own writings, that of the Old Testament. However, they do not believe it when it speaks of the Son. I spoke before about Isaiah 53, and how the Jewish rabbis knew this passage referred to the Messiah, that is, until Jesus came and fulfilled it. Then they changed their minds. Look into it, and you will be amazed by what you discover. This is why I love studying what they believed then, and what they believe now. It is so revealing!

“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53

I have so many things to say about this passage. I will try to be brief.

First of all, I believe John is thinking about Isaiah 53:1 specifically when talks about those who do not believe the record of the Son. Do you see how similar the passages are? He explains that when you deny the Son, you are calling God a liar. You have not believed His report. To see specific references to the Father/Son relationship, see Psalm 2:7, Proverbs 30:4, Isaiah 9:6 (Remember the verse in Genesis 1 about seed bearing fruit after its kind? You can’t be God without having come from God. If the son mentioned in Isaiah is also the everlasting Father, he must be the seed of the everlasting Father – that is, His son.) Isaiah 7:14 (Born of a virgin. Who then, is His Father, if not God? Immanuel means “God with us.” A virgin gives birth to God. Messiah has to be the son of God.)

I Chronicles 17:13-14: “I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee: But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.” – The record God gave of His Son.

New favorite chapter, Psalm 89. Here are verses 26-29, but this whole chapter is full of Messianic prophecy:

“He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth. My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven.” – The record God gave of His Son.

Second, the arm of Yahweh is a person. That is evident from reading Isaiah 53. It is also an extension of Yahweh Himself, naturally. Also, if you look at the photo I have used in this post, you will see the Ancient and modern Hebrew spellings of God’s name (read right to left). Arm, which, as a function of the Hebrew alphabet, often denotes work being done, spirit or worshiping man, which can also mean behold, or look, tent peg, which often denotes hooking something together (it is also the Hebrew symbol for “and”), and spirit or worshiping man. Do you see how the arm of Yahweh hooks us to Himself, and that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves – nothing we have to do to earn salvation, aside from standing back in amazement as He completes the plan of salvation? Also, you can easily see in the written Hebrew language the foreshadowing of the way Christ wrought salvation – hand, nail, worshiping men. “And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.” Exodus 14:13. See also 2 Chronicles 20:17. (Look into the ancient Hebrew letters and their meanings. Every word has meaning and is written using letters that reveal that meaning.) Also, do you know that Yeshua (Jesus’ Hebrew name) is the same as the word salvation? Yeshua is literally the salvation of Yahweh. Now that you know, read Jonah 2 all the way through. Do you see it? I almost fell out of my chair the first time I read Jonah after learning the meaning of Jesus’ name and the meaning of the word LORD (in all caps) in the King James Version – Yahweh. These are things I never knew before looking into the Hebrew language. Is my excitement showing?

Third, it is foretold in Isaiah 53 that the Messiah would be rejected. Psalm 118:22 says “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.” This is interesting, because Psalm 118 is part of the Hallel. Wikipedia says “Hallel (Hebrew: הלל‎‎, “Praise”) is a Jewish prayer, a verbatim recitation from Psalms 113-118, which is used for praise and thanksgiving that is recited by observant Jews on Jewish holidays.” They may already have been singing the hallel as they traveled to Jerusalem, bringing their lambs into the city in preparation of the Passover feast. It’s where we get our word “hallelujah,” “jah” being short for Yahweh or Jehovah. Here’s where it gets really interesting: just 4 verses later, in 118:26 we read “Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.” This is the passage the Jewish people cried out when they hailed Jesus as their king, the Messiah, choosing as a nation the lamb that would be rejected and slain only 4 days later.

Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.” Exodus 12:3-7

During those 4 days, He was daily examined by the scribes and Pharisees, and the high priest. The entire Passover feast and everything surrounding it, including lamb selection day, foreshadowed the last week of Jesus life. By the way, Hosanna means “save now” (Matthew 21:9). Jesus rose from the grave on the Feast of Firstfruits (Leviticus 23), becoming the firstfruits of the resurrection (I Corinthians 15). He was first, and we will follow. Do you see why I love studying this stuff? How it sheds so much light on Jesus our Messiah? I am trying to give you the references for everything, but please look these things up for yourselves! Why would we not want to know everything He has revealed to us about Himself? He is amazing! On top of that, there is zero probability that all of this could have happened by chance. God gave a record of His son. We should be able to give that record to men seeking Him. Sharing personal testimony is fantastic, but this stuff is irrefutable proof.

Fourth, the Jewish idea of being “cut off” is to die relatively young and without children (according to the forums that I read). Isaiah 53 tells us that the Messiah would be cut off (also see Daniel 9:26), yet “he shall see his seed…” That’s us. We are the seed. This proves that he would be resurrected from the grave after having died. The Jewish concept of being cut off is everywhere in the scriptures. Now aware of the idea, I am seeing some very interesting things as I read back through the Bible, shedding light on even more verses that I could not fully comprehend until I understood this concept.

Earlier, I said, “The Christian faith is an extension of the Jewish faith. It is what the Jewish faith would have become if they had believed on Jesus as their Messiah.”

Hopefully, they would also have listened to Him as He preached against the Talmud, or oral law – the doctrine of the Pharisees. (I couldn’t figure out how many individual regulations the Talmud contains, but according to Wikipedia, “The entire Talmud consists of 63 tractates, and in standard print is over 6,200 pages long.”) To give you an idea at how out-of-hand these rules have become, look here. You can easily see that they stretch the scriptures to say something they do not mean, and then invent extra regulations, and regulations for those regulations, etc. I also found some strange rules last year when I was researching how they prepare for the days of unleavened bread. Here is what Yeshua Messiah has to say about this issue:

He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” Mark 7:6-9

“For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” Matthew 23:4

Post from the Past: Still waiting on God?

I have heard people say that God spoke to them audibly. I have never known exactly what to think of that, even though I am sure that God is quite capable of doing anything He feels like doing. A few years ago, however, I had an experience that made me wonder.

I was attending chapel at my college. It was probably the first or second time I had ever been to chapel there. Even though the university had a chapel-attendance policy, I was exempt; I was a commuting student and was rarely on campus during chapel sessions. I don’t remember what the message was about that day, but I remember sitting there in my own little world talking to God. I was asking Him what He wanted for my life. Normally, we see or hear words, but this was a completely different experience. While I didn’t hear an audible voice, I felt the very distinct impression of two specific words: Serve Me.

“Impression” is the only word I can think of that even comes close what I felt. Now as to whether these words came straight from heaven, or whether they were just the culmination of everything that I already knew, I have no idea. But as I was thinking about this experience later, more and more I got the impression that I should have already known the answer. It doesn’t really matter whether God spoke directly to me, or whether I just happened to figure it out in that instant. Either way, I’m absolutely sure what God wants me to do with the rest of my life: serve Him.

Serve Him. Am I being too simplistic? I don’t think so. I guess you could just brush it off as a phrase that you have heard one too many times. Maybe it has lost its meaning to you. But if you will take a moment to consider the implications, I think you will see that those two little words offer a life-changing experience. Taken literally, they have the power to change the life of everyone who comes into contact with you. Those words, acted upon, will function as a stone tossed into the middle of a sea of souls. Whether a large stone or a small one is entirely up to you.

How do I serve Him? One obvious way we can serve Him is by serving others. “…Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40b.

Why do I think I should have already known the answer?

Because God has already told us to serve. It is not a suggestion, but a standing order. “…but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Galatians 5:13c-14.

Because Jesus is our example. “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45.

Christ’s first miracle as a man occurred because there was a need to be met. John 2:1-11.

The question then, is how can we serve? Find a person with a need and fill it. Find an organization that helps people with needs and volunteer. No act of kindness is too small. The more spontaneous, unexpected, and undeserved it is, the greater impact it will have. If you have an abundance of time or money, start by offering these. If you don’t have either, find ways to consume less of what you do have so that you will have some left over to share with others. What do you think is more effective: knocking on doors and inviting complete strangers to church, or serving someone in the community, stranger or not, and following up with a conversation about Christ? They may even ask you why in the world you are offering your time, money, sweat, etc. This will open the door to explain how your actions are nothing compared to the love of God and the free, undeserved gift of salvation.

When can we serve? Start by cutting out as much television as you possibly can. Remember that everything in this world will be burned up, and that we could be taken off this earth at literally any moment. Get up a little earlier or go to bed a little later. Take a week or a month, and inventory how you spend your time. Try not to worry too much about loss of personal time. Time means nothing to those who have an eternity to look forward to. Any time lost to serving others and spreading the gospel will most certainly be redeemed after you are resurrected. You will be laying up treasure in heaven. Of course, you must still make time for your family: they are your responsibility, and serving them is just as important as serving others.

Do you ever feel like you can’t do anything else without direction from God? Do you feel you have been waiting for years, and you are just tired of waiting? Sometimes I fear that we Christians use “waiting on God” as an excuse. He has already given us direction for our lives. Why do we think we need to wait for a personal word from God, in addition to what He has given us in His Word? Are we waiting for Him to drop an opportunity into our laps? Are we waiting to be the leader of a ministry? Our own ministry? That’s our first mistake. Ministry is about everyone except us. Sometimes, we don’t recognize God’s will because it doesn’t line up with our own will. He wants us working, not sitting around waiting for Him to knock us over the head with an answer that we approve of. I’m not suggesting that we stop waiting on the Lord. He commands us to do that as well. I’m merely suggesting that we do both – obey His commandments, and wait, expecting Him to lead us to the next step.

Challenge: Still waiting on God? All well and good. But in the meantime, obey the call to service.

Submission – what does it really mean?

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Ephesians 5:22-24

What should you do when you feel that your husband isn’t treating you right? Maybe you can sense a reoccurring streak of selfishness, or maybe it’s as bad as a complete disregard for how you feel. Worse than that, perhaps you can see that he is making poor choices or ignoring the mandates set forth in God’s Word. How can you make him understand? The short answer: you can’t. You can try to reason with him; respectfully tell him exactly how you feel. Sometimes your honesty will be enough to make him take a second look at things. But in the long run, you can’t force him to believe differently about something or to behave in a certain way.

How then, should you react? Here’s my advice, although many may not agree. The Bible commands wives to submit to their husbands. I know, I know; it also commands husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church. That means that your husband should listen to your opinions and give them a lot of weight in his decision-making, right? Well, the truth is, however your husband decides to interpret that verse, it shouldn’t have any impact on the way you interpret the preceding ones. You see, those verses aren’t set up like “if…then” statements. If the husband loves his wife, then the wife submits to her husband. What if your husband isn’t a Christian at all, and gives no thought to the Bible whatsoever? Does that automatically make you the decision-maker of the household? Because your decisions are the right ones? No. Every wife believes her opinions to be the right ones – all the time. The Bible doesn’t say, “Therefore, whosoever is wrong shall submit to whosoever is right.” God has ordained your husband to make family decisions.

The only time you can disobey your husband is if he asks you to sin against God. You cannot force him to act the way you believe God wants him to. I have found that approaching God’s command this way frees me from worry about the effects of my husband’s decisions. I obey God by obeying my husband; everything that happens in my life as a result is God’s responsibility. You see, God will never punish you for obeying him. In fact, the only way you can find His perfect will is to obey Him to the letter – even if you feel that God’s will is being hindered by others in your life. Believe me; He does have the power to perfectly order your life in spite of other humans.

Your only job is to act the way you believe God wants you to act. As a matter of fact, that is everyone’s job, and the sooner we can believe that as a church, the sooner we can begin to examine our own lives, and stop nit-picking the lives of others – either audibly by nagging them, or in our thoughts. Think about a common church service for example. Maybe the pastor is preaching about finding God’s will for your life. Maybe your husband is sitting next to you, and you just know this sermon is exactly what he needs. You speak to him after the service and discover that he thought the message was, “ok.” What? That was a life-changing message! So why isn’t he bubbling over and brainstorming areas in his life that need changing right away? Sometimes – I would venture to say all of the time – what people really need in their lives is an example of godly living. My advice is to apply every Word from God to your own life, whether you are sitting in church or having a quiet Bible study by yourself. So much time is wasted by thinking, “So-and-so really needs to hear this. I wish she were here,” or “I hope he’s paying good attention. This message is for him.” When in reality, God has you sitting under that message on that day for a reason, and I guarantee that that reason is not so you can sit there and think about who else needs to hear it. Am I making sense? Let me bring it down to one sentence:

It is not the words you speak that will change the world, but the example that you set.

Challenge: apply everything you read today to your own life.

When a Loved One Hurts You

Last night, my pastor delivered one of the greatest messages I have ever heard him preach. It was from 2 Kings 4:1-7:

Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the Lord: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.

2 And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.

3 Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few.

4 And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.

5 So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out.

6 And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed.

7 Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.

My pastor went on to say that oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. We are anointed by the Holy Spirit, just as they anointed kings of Israel with oil.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed…(Luke 4:18)

Oil was all she had left in the house, but it was the only thing she needed. Just as the Holy Spirit is the only thing we need to sustain us. The empty vessels represent other people in our lives. And here is the gist of the message: it doesn’t matter how many people you pour yourself out to. You will never run out of the Holy Spirit in your life. There will always be enough left over for you.

I have a few friends that are pastors or other types of ministers. I was thinking today about how difficult it must be to be heavily depended on by so many lives. What a burden to feel responsible for everyone’s relationship with God. What a weight to know that your life is a witness to others, that they are looking at you to see if they can find true Christianity. To some extent, every Christian lives under a microscope, but pastors and their families bear the greatest burdens. These people, who are constantly pouring themselves out, constantly sacrificing their time, their sweat, their finances, and their emotions, are taking a great risk by loving the rest of us. I have discovered, over the course of my life, that those who are closest to us have the greatest opportunity to cause us grief. I cannot even think of a good enough term to describe how we make them feel sometimes. Turmoil, vexation, sorrow? None of those words seem adequate.

So tonight, I want to encourage you if you have been hurt by someone you love. My heart especially goes out to those who have made it their life’s work to minister to others, but the rest of us are affected sometimes too. The fact is, people, self-proclaimed Christians, hurt each other sometimes. When someone hurts me, I have learned to compare where they are right now to who I was nine years ago. I was living in a back-slidden condition then, purposefully sinning, and putting my entire family at risk. Yet I was still me. I was still under the grace and protection of God, and He was still working in my life. Not through me perhaps, because I had made myself unavailable to Him, but rather working on my behalf.

So if there is someone in your life that has hurt you deeply and has behaved unseemly toward you, perhaps they are not hypocrites after all – the first conclusion we want to jump to – but a work in progress. Perhaps this is a phase, and God is going to create something beautiful in their lives. I think that God not only looks at the whole person, but at the whole span of a person’s life.

One of my long-standing prayers has been to see people through God’s eyes. Now, some of us get really good at seeing unbelievers and new believers like that (hence the patience and call to deal with drug addicts, etc.). These are people who we view as needing our help. We look at them, and visualize a beautiful future for them, saved from the depths of despair by the majesty of God’s grace. In a way, I think we sometimes self-worship, and believe that it is due to something good in us that brings these folks to God. I think that’s why it is so easy for us to “help” them. Because we get some pleasure out of it and perhaps a pat on the back. That’s how I feel sometimes, even though in reality I know I am nothing, but a hopeless sinner saved by the grace of God. (Only I can know and understand the depths of my own depravity.)

But it’s 100x harder to see “mature” believers through God’s eyes. Especially if they are hurting us, or if they are in the process of indulging in sin. I’m not saying that I’m completely immune to having my feelings hurt by others, but if I can believe that these people are just short-sighted at the moment and are destined for awesomeness (I think of Paul’s conversion and ministry), then it is easier for me to find peace. And I hope that when I sin against others (and believe me, it will happen), they can extend the same grace to me. I hope they can look into my future and envision a time when I am no longer at odds with them, and a time when my sin no longer dictates my words and actions.

Wednesday evening at church, we all shared our favorite verses with each other. This is my favorite (Job 23:8-9):

8 Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:

9 On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:

I believe this means that He is always working in our behalf, even when He seems completely absent. So every negative comment, every health struggle, every relationship issue, – it is all a gift from God to form us into the people He is perfecting. Romans 8:28 says:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Embrace it, believe it, make decisions based on it, treat others by it, live it.

The verse following my favorite passage (Job 23:10) says this:

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

Again, he is looking at the whole person. He knows your way – your life, your destiny. You can be at peace with everything that happens to you. But keep in mind that this verse also applies to every other Christian on the face of the planet. He is molding them, using their own situations and shortcomings to teach them.

I want to leave you with this, the favorite verse of one of my brothers in Christ. When he spoke the words Wednesday night, it immediately struck a chord deep inside of me (Psalm 119:165):

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.