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Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Counsel of the LORD

There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.
                                           Proverbs 19:21  

LORD, I submit every thought in my heart to you for only your plans will last.

In our schooling we do a verse every week. On Friday we draw what we learned, what the verse means, whatever God puts on our hearts. They are quick sketches of an idea.

Friday, October 28, 2011

What About Halloween?

Well, this may be more risky that saying we don’t do Santa Claus - yet here I go!

To begin I am sharing what I know, what I do and why. I am not telling anyone else what they should do.

The Short Version: Be sure people can see Jesus in whatever you choose to do or not do for Halloween. Ask about each activity: Does God receive glory for this?


The Longer Version:
Through years of Christian radio programs, Christian school and a great church youth group I have gleaned information about the roots of Halloween and the reality of the occult.I would love to include a bibliography, but I don't have one. Maybe by next year. We Kids has a helpful article with links to more information.

Wyatt's Mountain
Halloween is a very old festival rooted in superstition at best and pure evil at its worst. The traditions of wearing costumes and trick-or-treating were devised in an attempt to protect people from the evils they believed to be most active on October 31. Some traditions come from ancestor worship, some from various forms of Satanism and Wicca (witchcraft). The hideous costumes were to blend in and not being recognized by the evil spirits believed to be about. The treats were gifts to the dead or the evil spirits so they would be nice to the household, not play any bad tricks. What we know as a jack-o-lantern was also to ward off evil spirits. There is also a legend of someone making a deal with the devil and then wandering forever with their jack-o-lantern lit by a coal from hell. Some cultures observed Halloween as a night for mayhem, anything goes. For some it is a night of sacrifice- produce, animal and even human sacrifice – to appease the spirits and their gods.

In light of such dark beginnings it’s not too hard to see why some decide to have nothing at all to do with Halloween.

I am all for redeeming things, bringing light to something dark. I do not believe that everything can be redeemed. By Jesus blood everyone can, but not every event or activity.

Karissa's Monkey
The Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs is a wonderful example of redeeming something that once was dark. Using a pumpkin as an object lesson it teaches about Salvation. God chooses us, cleans us up and gives us his love to share with everyone we meet. We carve pumpkins some years. We refer to the parable while we work on our creations and we carve whatever we want, nothing scary or gross.

We have chosen to not dress up for Halloween. My children can and do dress up for theme parties and for fun.

We do not go to any Halloween parties or haunted houses. The idea of intentionally going to get scared is quite strange to me. Jesus died to give us a spirit of power, love and a sound mind. He conquered fear. Why would I invite it back into my life? Or give it permission to enter my children? The enemy is already a thief trying to steal, kill and destroy me and my family. Why help him out?

Wyatt's face
We live in an area where people do not come out trick-or-treating; it’s too far out, too cold and too dark. It sort of defeats the purpose of a costume if it’s under your snow suit! I have never had to decide what to do with people coming to my door. If I lived where people came to my door I would not hide. What I would do I can’t say for sure. I think I would have treats, be kind and find a way to share Jesus. My house sometimes has fall decorations, sometimes cheery carved pumpkins but no spiders, witches, bones, ghosts, etc.

Centuries ago the church attempted to redeem Halloween by declaring All Saints Day on November 1. If people are going to celebrate give them something worth celebrating. Martin Luther chose October 31 to nail his 95 Theses to the door of the church. This challenge to the church’s teaching contributed to the Reformation. Some hold Reformation Day celebrations teaching church history in a festival type setting. There are churches and groups today that choose to provide a God honoring alternative to Halloween, often called Fall Festivals or Harvest Parties. Kids do think its fun to dress up and get candy. There are many fun things to do. I grew up in a church that hosted a “Harvest Party” complete with haunted house. Doing all the same activities as Halloween under a different name is not really redeeming anything.

Maciah's Design
I know there are those who say “It’s just for fun”. Remember Satan is a thief, opportunistic. He doesn’t care if you meant anything by participating in his traditions. He’ll take it. In a way I think the “fun” as well as all the very cute ghosts and witches help feed the cultural idea that Satan and evil aren’t really real. What better way for Satan to operate? How much opposition are you going to have from people who think you don’t exist or at least are not a threat? If dressing scary or haunted houses are “just for fun” what’s to say that séances or Ouija boards aren’t? Satan is real, and though defeated, he still has power in this world.

I am cautious of the “not wanting to be left out” attitude. “Everyone is doing” it is a poor argument in any situation. Is this a reasoning you want your children to live by? We are called to be different, set apart. We can’t do that by looking and acting like them. I want to be living a life that leaves the world feeling left out; in a way that draws them to my loving God. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Promised Land – Part 4

Following the story of Moses and the Israelites to their Promised Land.

God gave Moses and Aaron a favor with Pharaoh, yet not favor that meant immediate gratification (v1). He had chosen and prepared Moses and Aaron for their roles in his deliverance of Israel. He is preparing me. I may be the Aaron rather than the Moses; the assistant, not the leader. I can rest in whatever role he calls me to because I know he is the one doing the work through me and it’s all for my good (Phil 1:6 and Romans 8:28)

Exodus 7
(1)  And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.

God tells Moses again that Pharaoh will not cooperate. God has bigger plans than getting his people out of Egypt (v3-5). Egypt will know there is a God more powerful than all of their gods. They could choose to follow him. He has bigger plans than getting me out of my uncomfortable places as well. I pray people can come to know him because of how I come out of hard places, how I behave in hard places, too.

 (3)  And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.
(4)  But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.
(5)  And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.

Here is another place I get a glimpse of an idealistic, rosy, wrong spot in my worldview. If God tells me to do a miracle and I do and it works – that would be the end of it. “See how great my God is! Now do what he says!” The heathens would be impressed, my job would be over. Oh not so. God gives Moses and Aaron very clear instructions (v9). He knows what Pharaoh is going to say. He prepares them to deal with the challenge. Pharaoh will ask for a miracle. God will provide. Pharaoh’s magicians do the same “trick”! By Satan’s power and God’s allowance they turn their sticks into snakes as well (v12). This would be quite disheartening I think. However God’s miracle eats Satan’s trick. This I like. I haven’t studied it but I imagine the sorcerer’s staffs were quite important in their divination and now they were gone. They were showing off and lost their sticks!

 (9)  When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent.
(10)  And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent.
(11)  Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.
(12)  For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods.

Pharaoh hardens his heart and Moses and Aaron are instructed to do another miracle, this one a judgment on Egypt. All the water in Egypt is turned to blood (v20-21). All the water had turned to blood, killed the fish and made a huge mess. Apparently it had cleared up and is back to water. Or they had found water that could have been used for people and animals to drink. However, Pharaoh calls the sorcerers again and they do the same thing (v22)! This is craziness. Even if they could why would they turn the water into blood? People will do foolish things, even to their own hurt to try to keep God’s plan from happening. People will do foolish things because of their pride. They may be trying to prove it could happen without God hoping to discourage you from believing the promises and calling he has given you.

 (20)  And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.
(21)  And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.
(22)  And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the LORD had said.

Knowing God’s plan, even following God directions does not mean smooth sailing. In the past I would have said I knew that to be true. However as I was studying the journey to the Promised Land, and am now living a hard time I see I didn’t truly believe it. If I did I wouldn’t be surprised when things don’t work the way I hope they will, or when someone comes against my plans, plans I thought were God’s. I would not be so shaken and the time would not be so hard. I am thankful though. Now I will know my God better and be more prepared for the future. He is what I hold to, not His plans. The plans I thoughts were everything were just preparation for my future.

What is your view of God in hard times?

Do you know him well enough to run to him?

Do you know him well enough to rest in hard times? 

Promised Land – Part 1

Promised Land – Part 2

Promised Land - Part 3

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Broken Yet Fruitful

First Posted on KovesCove on July 10, 2011

I walk. I sing. I pray. “Let me see things as You do.”

This flower is broken. Its design has been destroyed.
And yet it is fruitful. So much more fruitful now, after brokenness.

"Let me be as fruitful out my my brokenness."
Brokenness need not be an ending. It may be a new begining.

What a good God to design fruitfulness from brokenness. These fireweed grow one tall stalk of flowers, yet when it is removed they do not give up. They produce even more.

Jesus was also broken. The origional design had been destroyed by sin. Jesus is now the firstborn of many. When the church is persecuted it grows faster and stronger.

May I be fruitful after brokenness.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Christmas is About Jesus: Virtual Birthday Party Day 2

Christmas is About Jesus: Virtual Birthday Party Day 2: Welcome to the Christmas is About Jesus Virtual Birthday Party! Yesterday was great. Check out Elaine Littau to see what you missed! T...

Love like Jesus

Pastor Paul
John 15:1-13
October 16, 2011
Just a thought - Look for what God is doing and thank him for it. There is always something to be thankful for.

“Jesus talking is good medicine.” John 15:1-13 is Jesus talking.
v12 “love one another as I have loved you” raises the bar from comparing how we love to any other person. Jesus himself is the standard.
John 3:16 shows how God extravagantly loves the world
Church should be a place where people experience God’s extravagant love.
Keep dreaming of doing great things with God. “Nobody gets to stop dreamin’.” God still has big plans.

v13 love puts others first – live in unconditional commitment to others
This brings up the question/fear “Who’s going to take care of me?”
Jesus is the answer. He is the vine. Stay connected and you are taken care of. Jesus modeled how it worked he says “like I do with the Father.”

God’s love stays consistent regardless of the response. When he calls us to love all that matters is that we obey, not the persons response to our love.
Loving like God, loving the unlovable, the different ruins your reputation with religion and culture. It builds your reputation with God, it builds the Kingdom. ( examples - Jesus loving the woman who washed his feet with her tears and the Samaritan woman)
Love may not be culturally correct, even in your family or church.
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. changed a culture by calling people to love. “Love is higher than like.” MLK Jr. Agape is redemptive

Love is not a feel good environment. There must be hate for sin, evil, and fear in order for there to be love.
Fear can keep us from truly loving. We fear pain. Pain is an opportunity for God to reveal his goodness.
When we fear change we often stay passive which leads to anger which leads to being toxic to ourselves and those round us.
We sometimes fear success, the responsibility it may bring, the expectations.
Everywhere there is fear is an area not fully connected to the vine.

Romans 8:31 Anti-victim passage – there are no victims in the Kingdom of God – More on this in Danny Silk’s message.
Romans 8:32 God graciously gives us all things
Romans 8:34 Jesus is praying for me
Romans 8:37 I am more than a conqueror

Hard times, difficult things are training for future assignments. What have you been trained for? What might you be in training for now?
Enjoy the seasons of difficulty. God turns every disadvantage to an advantage and opportunity for blessing.

My thoughts from worship: 
The fact that nothing can stand against us does not mean that nothing will try.

I when I am discouraged I need longer vision, eternal perspective. Looking at me is discouraging. It is empowering to look at God as he truly is.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Encouragement from Scriptures

Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God's promises to be fulfilled.                         Romans 15:4

When I feel hopeless Father it is because I have forgotten your scriptures, filled with your promises. I will remember your Scriptures, have hope and be encouraged while I patiently wait for them to come to pass. Thank you. Your promises are true and being fulfilled.

Virtual Birthday Party for Christmas is About Jesus starts today! Follow the link for all the details!

Friday, October 14, 2011

In the Dark

He fulfills the desire of those who fear him: he hears their cry and saves them.
Psalm 145:19

During our devotions on Friday we asked God to show us what he wanted to say to us through this verse. I got this picture. I felt like my family was all inside a very dark room. It’s sad, lonely, heavy, and confused.  There is a blinding light shining through the crack of the door. The light is frightening. It hurts our eyes. Yet as we gaze we know everything we are longing for is in the light. Intense warmth and comfort. Enlightenment. Understanding. Peace.
Unfortunately the door stayed closed. I don’t know if that means we have not opened it or something else or nothing at all. For myself I think I have not opened the door. My head knows all I need and long for is in the light, but my heart is afraid. I will continue to rest in what I know is true. This too will be shaped by his loving hands for my good. I will learn to know him more and bask in his light.

Thinking on this yesterday I had some more insights I wanted to share.

Inside the room is my perspective. Out in the light is God’s perspective, not limited by walls.
Jesus stands at the door and knocks and he will come in. Having Jesus in me, in my circumstances, in my dark room is good. 

However, I have to leave the room, step out into God’s light to be in Jesus – to be abiding. This is where I am going – abiding. Abiding in him, in his light.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thoughts for Authors: On to Production:

Thoughts for Authors: On to Production: Just yesterday I received an email from my publisher notifying me that within the next 10 business days I would hear about the production ...

Visit my authors blog to keep up on the process of my next book.

Looking Around in Pruning

Pastor Paul’s message on pruning was a challenging one. 

It is hard to look up and see that I do not know God like I think I do, or want to. I do not know him like I need to for this pruning to be as effective as I long for it to be. What makes it harder is knowing he has been calling me to more time with him, the intimacy I long for, yet I’ve neglected him in the everyday busyness and tasks.

Looking back can be “If only” and “Why didn’t I?” The “Why didn’t I?” can be helpful if I gain insight into changes to make. If it stays in discouragement the pruning will have to continue.

Looking inside is such a mess! Up and down. Hope and confusion. Seeing God and losing all focus.

Looking forward is hard right now, too. Sometimes I can’t see what it looks like at all. Other times I can see things far too large and distant to be helpful. Sometimes I look too far forward and I am missing what I need to be doing now. 

Still processing and choosing God's word above my feelings, harder sometimes than others. More successful sometimes than others also.

Are you going through pruning? Have you taken a good look around?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Be Encouraged by Pruning

Pastor Paul October 9, 2011
John 15:1-13

Getting to know Jesus is the joy, not the results or circumstances.
We will never totally know him so there will always be joy in getting to know him.
Focusing on actions or requirements kills relationship.
Marriage is a shadow of the intimacy God wants to have with us.
Phil 1:6 – It is God doing the work. He is the initiator, the source, the caretaker.
Stay in the vine – submit to the sovereignty of God.
Pruning is for branches that are producing fruit. It increases productivity.

The pruning process gives us an opportunity to examine things.

1)      Look BackPruning gives perspective to the past.
                Who is God? What was he doing?
2)      Look InPruning gives us insight into ourselves.
                Who am I? Why did I do this or that? Do I see through God’s eyes? Do I act like Jesus?
3)      Look UpPruning causes us to evaluate how we see God.
                How do I see God? Do I choose to let God’s word trump my experiences? Why do I sin?
4)      Look Forward Pruning is a great place to ask God for his plans for your future.
                All promotion starts with demotion – look at Joseph, King David, Apostle Paul, even Jesus – death is a pretty big demotion, but then look at where he was promoted to for eternity!

 Understanding God and who I am cuts pruning time – Being in what feels like a prolonged time of pruning – this hurts. 
v 3 “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.”
Holiness is a response to God’s love – never because I have found the right spiritual discipline.
We come to church to remember things we know are true.

Luke 18:9-14
I give him worship. He gives me truth.
Be humble before him. It makes the pruning easier.
Religion misses the heart of God and teaches others to miss it as well.
“Don’t make sandwiches Jesus didn’t order.” (What Martha was doing while Mary was listening to Jesus)
Putting your orders on others does not bring life.

Abide in Christ – humility, friendship
Other people’s opinions should not matter much.
What emotional state do you find yourself in when crisis strikes? – This one hurts, too.
Abiding shifts the emotional state to peace, hope, and courage.
Stop trying to live a Christian life and connect with Jesus.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Direct My Steps Lord

Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
Psalm 119:133
Lord, I must know your word and your voice for you to direct my steps. I know your direction will never allow sin to rule over me.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pour Out Your Heart

As a parent I try, perhaps too much, to address the root issue rather than just the symptoms. 

Bad behavior and poor choices are symptoms of a hurting heart.

I have found it helpful to use word pictures, and as often as possible real objects to draw out what is in the heart of my children. 

This day I only used words. We'll likely do it again and I'll try to get pictures.
During our devotion time, on a morning far from ideal, I led my children something like this.

Take 5 minutes and imagine you are a cup. Inside of you, your cup is everything you think and feel right now.
God is holding out his hands, cupped together. Pour your cup into his hands. Give him everything. You can talk to him, you can write it down, or draw if you want to.

After the 5 minutes I continued.

Ask God to fill your cup with himself, his Spirit, his truth, his strength for the day. Again you can write down or draw anything he shows you or tells you.

One of my children was still not on track for a better day. I asked if they had poured out their cup.

I did but some stuff stayed in there.

We talked through what it was - a hurt unforgiven and grief

Grief seems so hard to pour out because it just comes back and you begin to wonder if you ever poured it out at all. I guess that's why I like to write it down.

We talked about how letting it go gives more room for grace. 

God can only fill the empty places. Only God can fill the empty places completely, eternally.

I shared a little different take on pouring out in previous post.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Let the Wind Blow

I originally posted this in April. I really need the reminder today as the clean up continues. God is faithful, in him I put my trust.

The wind has been howling outside, not just blowing, really strong, destructive winds for much of the winter. My husband farms so he’s out in it all day every day. It really wears him out. The wind makes things so much harder to deal with at the farm. It’s draining just listening to the storm rage, especially at night as the snow blasts the house as another gust strikes.
I felt as I sang that the winds are blowing in our life, too, harsh winds of testing. The song says “I will not be afraid, I will face the wind”. I thought about hiding in the cleft of the rock, sheltered from the wind. The circumstances may howl but I am safe in God. I don’t know if I need to face the wind or simply hang on and thank Him for preserving me through it. 
Then I thought of the house built on the rock. I like to remember that it stood firm. You know you sing the song about the foolish man and the wise man. The wise man’s house stands firm. Firm through what? A storm, a storm strong enough to demolish another house! So in the story, Jesus, His Word, God Himself is our rock upon which we build. Building there ensures our house will stand, not that storms will not blow. I always picture this house on somewhat of a cliff, like bedrock. In an area that gets wind this would get the brunt of it. This morning I could not sing that I would not be afraid. I don’t want to admit it but I am afraid. Not scared, not losing my faith, not in danger of my house falling down, but anxious, worried, confused. Fear sneaks in. Fear is at the root of all those things.
My picture went on. The house is on the rock, solid and safe. Around the house I have put a lot of work, sweat, blood and tears into landscaping. There are beautiful large trees planted specially in just the right spot. There are some shrubs, beautiful with fragrant flowers in the spring. On one side there are more evergreens. These not so old, still many years of growing ahead. Near the house are flower beds, cultivated, planned and collected for years. There are benches near the memory garden for quiet reflection. Last of all are the fruit trees. Loved and longed for fruit trees. They were planted a few years ago, tended and protected until they can mature and bear fruit. They are so close. But now the storm! The winds! The winds are raging. They have been blowing for months. I don’t know when they will stop. I don’t know what will be left of my plans and dreams, all my hard work, when they do.
I know I am safe in my house. I know some of the things that are established and secure in my house, my marriage, my children, all our needs are met. But the storm! I can’t stay inside my house and pretend the wind isn’t blowing. Neither can I go out to protect my trees and flowers, my dreams. The storm is too strong. It seems all I can do is wait out the storm and see what remains. What will God preserve for me?
I am not satisfied with this seemingly helpless waiting. Didn’t God tell me to plant those trees, at least some of them? Why would he send or allow a storm to destroy what I planted in obedience? What would it mean if the big trees are uprooted in this storm? What if my fruit trees die? What if I only heard part of the instructions? What if I planted an English garden and I was supposed to plant an oriental one? If God told me to plant the trees can I rebuke the wind? What do I do until it stops? 
I must rest in the One who holds the future, not even in His promises, just in Him. It may be that everything I planted was in perfect obedience. It may also be that it needs to be uprooted to make room for His plans for the next season. Only what is pleasing to Him will survive the storm. That has to be okay. In my house is praise, peace, and rest as long as I remember and trust who my God is. I must hold to Him, the dream giver, not to the dream.
These winds of testing can be winds of refreshing if I remember God is in control and working all things, even this storm for my good. I will be stronger. I will be more confident of His voice. I will be refined. Perhaps I will face the wind.
The wind is blowing like never before. Even if nothing is recognizable when the storm is over, it will be okay. Everything will be okay.

As I come back to this a few weeks later the winds have lessened. The severe storm is over. I can begin to survey the wreckage. Some things are destroyed. It will be a long hard clean-up process. Some things were badly damaged and only time and faith will tell how they can be repaired and survive. There is hope under the destruction. The rock is still there, and the house is fine. The greatest hope comes from knowing God will work it all for my good as I continue to seek Him. As I go about cleaning up I will uncover new growth. There will be new dreams. The clean-up will be painful at times. My faith will be stronger because I have endured the wind.
“Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.” Song of Solomon 4:16 KJV
I found this verse when I was looking for the title and artist for the song. What a good reminder that it is His garden after all. What does it matter to me what He does with it? I planted it all for Him anyway.
Awake, awake o north wind,
Awake awake o south wind
Blow over me
Come o winds of testing
Come winds of refreshing
Blow over me
Let the winds blow
I won't be afraid
I will face the wind
I won't be afraid
Excerpts from Fling Wide by Misty Edwards

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Christmas is About Jesus Birthday Party

Christmas is About Jesus is 2! 
Please help me celebrate! 

Interview by Elaine Littau on October 17 and Eliza Earsman on October 20.

I'm guest posting about "Redeeming the Sights of Christmas" on Little Life Lessons October 18.

Working Writers and Bloggers is hosting us on October 19. I'll tell you about where this idea of a virtual birthday party started. 

Also on October 20, two years since Christmas is About Jesus was released I'll be hanging out on Facebook to chat with anyone who can stop by. I would love to visit with you if you have read my book or not. I hope you will join me along the way!

Gifts - What's a birthday party without gifts! Here's how to get yours:
For the printable coloring pages and ornaments to match the devotions email me @ mukkove@kovescove.com with "gifts" in the subject line. I'll get them to your inbox.

I'm giving away one Christmas is About Jesus gift set. Gift set includes 1 paperback, 1 matching journal, and 1 printed and hung set of ornaments. You can enter as many times as you like. 
Enter by commenting between October 17 and 20 on any of my co-hosts blogs for the birthday party: Elaine LittauLittle Life Lessons, Working Writers and Bloggers, and Eliza Earsman.

Leave a comment on this blog, Christmas is About Jesus or my website, Kove's Cove.

Like Mukkove Johnson - Christian Author on Facebook & Christmas is About Jesus on Facebook.

And finally sign up for Encouragement from Kove's Cove.

Many ways to enter. I hope you enjoy the party and take home something worth keeping as well!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pastor Dennis “Joy – Fruit of Righteousness”

From John 15:1-15

v11 Jesus joy in us
Jesus was very joyful – Hebrews 1:8b, 9 oil of gladness above all others
We may have to smile by faith.
Psalm 16 say sin the presence of the Lord is fullness of joy
Kingdom is Love, joy and righteousness

John 14 ended with Jesus saying it was time to leave the upper room. Likely the group was walking toward Gethsemane during the conversation in John 15.
 Points from v 1 -8, 16
1)   Jesus is the Vine – source of everything good2)   The Father is the vinedresser, the fruit inspector
          Vinedressers prune for more productivity, pruning redirects the energy of the plant toward bearing fruit.3)   Believers are branches4)   We are chosen to bear eternal fruit
          What is eternal fruit?Righteousness (Phil 1:9-11 & Heb 12:11), Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22, 23) Influencing the world for good to God's glory.
We are to imitate the Father and inspect fruit as well.

How we respond to discipline will determine how much fruit we produce.
Leaves are impressive and showy, but they are not fruit, not eternal. Even if the leaves are serving your whole life, healing the sick and raising the dead, if it is not done for the glory of God it is not righteous and not eternal.

How do I become more fruitful?
Abide in the Word of God, words and person – connected to the Vine
          Meditate on, take in, act on, and speak
The Father is speaking and directing, we must listen and obey.
Abide in his love
          Meditate on, take in, act on, and speak

God wants to talk to me about me, not only things to do, things to change or work on, but me. I am a child and he wants a Father/child relationship not a master/servant relationship. God speaks good things, life giving words.

An abiding relationship with the Father equips us to advance the Kingdom.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My Desire is You, Lord

He fulfills the desire of those who fear him: he hears their cry and saves them.
Psalm 145:19
You, Lord are my desire. I am in awe of you. In awe that you hear me, in awe that you save me, in awe that you fulfill me. I am worthy only because you have chosen me.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Blessings of My Week

Little Miss with her chicks - getting big fast!
Chicks at a couple days old

Safe is Mama's feathers 

Morning sunshine, the picture doesn't show near the splendor

Contract for Easter is About Jesus!!!!

My oldest turned 12

Some ivy or something we found growing all braided together.