The Attributes of God, A Source of Comfort

Attributes of God

I Take Comfort in God’s Attributes

March has been a sad month. Once again, death has taken another loved one from my life. Yet, I take comfort in God’s attributes. I started reading through the Psalms looking for them. Here is what I found from a select few.

Comfort is Found in Your Attributes, Lord!

I take comfort knowing that You know the way of the righteous (Psalm 1:6).

You are my refuge and a shield about me. You are my glory and the lifter of my head when I am downcast (Psalm 2:12b; 3:3).

It is comforting to know that You uphold all who are falling and raise up all who are bowed down (Psalm 145:14).

You only need to open Your hand to satisfy the desire of every living thing (Psalm 145:16).

You are righteous in all Your ways and kind in all Your works (Psalm 145:17).

The greatest comfort is knowing that You are near to all who call on You, to all who call on You in truth (Psalm 145:18).

You fulfill the desire of those who fear You; You also hear them when they cry and save them (Psalm 145:19).

These are but a few of Your many wonderful and amazing attributes.

I can turn to God for comfort because He knows all things; He is my refuge and lifter of my head. He satisfies all my needs. He is near to me when I call or cry out to Him. He will uphold me when I fall. Therefore, I will praise the Lord forever and ever.

Grief is never easy and without God, I could not bear it. My heart is grieving over the loss but I know that God is near and will see me through this yet again. Praise His holy name.

Related Link: A Psalm of Praise unto My Lord!

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Beloved; What Does This Mean?

Beloved

Beloved as defined by dictionary .com as 1. Adj.- greatly loved; dear to the heart and 2. Noun – a person who is greatly loved. Paul, Peter, John, and Jude all referred to believers as beloved. In 2 Thessalonians 2:13, Paul told the Thessalonians that they were greatly loved by the Lord. We are, too, greatly loved by God for He sent His one and only Son to die for us. Therefore,

You are Beloved.

As beloved children of God, we are commanded to teach the ways of Christ to others. We are to flee from idolatry. Be steadfast, immovable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord knowing that our labor in the Lord is not in vain. We are called to be imitators of God. (1 Corinthians 4:17; 10:14; 15:58 ESV)

Paul’s Wisdom

I particularly like the instructions that Paul gave to the Colossians 3:12-13,

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (ESV)

Peter’s Instructions

Peter also used this reference to those he loved. In 1 Peter, he encouraged those he greatly loved to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which waged war on the soul. Furthermore, he told them not be become discouraged when fiery trials came upon them to test them. (1 Peter 2:11; 4:12 ESV)

John’s Insight

In the first and third book of John, John told those he loved to love one another as God loved them. Thus, he went on to say that they should not be imitators of evil but imitate good. This goes for us as well. (1 John4:7; 4:11; 3 John 1:11 ESV)

Jude’s Directions

Let us not forget Jude. He told those he loved to contend for the faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints. Have you ever had to contend for your faith? (Jude 1:3 ESV)

Later, he told them what would cause division and then said,

“But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” Jude 20-21 ESV

Therefore, dearly loved by God, go and contend for your faith, love one another as Christ loved you, and do not give into the passions of the flesh. Teach others the ways of Christ. Do the work of the Lord knowing that your labor is not in vain.

Related link: Best Advice a Friend Ever Gave Me

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Come On Let’s Celebrate God’s Victories!

Celebrate God's Victories

Reason to Celebrate!

In the Bible study that I am currently in, we have been reading the book of Esther. Near the end of the book, the Jews were instructed to celebrate for two days following the second edict.

Before I go too far I would like to give you some backstory. The book of Esther is the story of the Jews while in exile. I don’t want to go into great detail so I would encourage you to read the book for yourself. But, you need to know that there was an edict written by Haman, second to the king, to have all the Jews killed in all the provinces (of which there were 127). Once the edict was sealed by the King it was not revocable. Therefore, the Jews were facing annihilation.

So, this is where God interceded though His name is not mentioned. Esther was the queen and herself a Jew. Her uncle Mordecai had her intercede on behalf of her people to the King. She did and made known to the King Haman’s plot against her and her people. You will want to read the book of Esther because the irony in this story just call out that God had a hand in it.

To Make a Long Story Short.

Mordecai was given Haman’s position from which he was allowed to write an edict that permitted the Jews to defend themselves against their enemies, thus the cause for celebration.

In our discussion time, we had a question about what victories God has won in our lives. And how could we commemorate and celebrate these victories? For me, I thought of the day that marks the reconciliation between me and a dear family member. Therefore, I will mark this day with joy and share it with my family.

In the aforementioned Bible story, the Jews were to celebrate the feast of Purim. They did so by giving gifts of food not only to family members but also to the poor. I would like to do something similar to mark my special day.

Related Link: Share of God’s Grace in Your Life

What reason do you have to celebrate God’s goodness?

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The Best Advice a Friend Ever Gave Me.

Best advice

Some time back, a dear friend gave me some really good advice. She told me that it is not what you do that is important but what you be. In other words, it is not the doing that matters the most but how you BE. For example, be kind, forgiving, considerate, and compassionate, these are what really matters.

What Advice Does God’s Word Have for Us?

Therefore, I went looking into God’s Word as to how I am to be. I found several references in how I am to be and not to be. This really got me to thinking. What if we as believers thought more about the being rather than the doing, what a profound effect we would make in the world?

For instance, take Ephesians 4:32. We are to BE kind to one another, tenderhearted and forgiving as Christ forgave us. This alone could rock the society and it would draw others to Christ.

How does it make you feel when someone shows you kindness? You feel respected as a person, right? You matter!

What about tenderhearted or I like to think of it as compassion? We could all use a bit of compassion. Think how this might bring about a welcome change to those in your neighborhood and/or church when we show mercy and extend a helping hand.

Don’t forget about forgiveness! This is central to being a Christ follower. He forgave us while we were still sinners and He expects us to forgive others just the same. This is where true freedom lies because the unwillingness to forgive holds one captive.

Let’s not forget Colossians 3:15b. We are to BE thankful. Gratitude is a game changer. When I focus on God and give Him thanks for all the many blessings and for the trials that come my way, I am changed from the inside out. My countenance is brighter and my heart is full of joy.

How Do We Act on This Advice?

Now, this may sound easier said than done but we do not have to try this on our own. For this will not be possible. But through prayer and God’s Word, God will empower us through His Holy Spirit. This is a mystery, yet I know that with God all things are possible. I have experienced His help in my own life.

Just ask the Lord to help you BE kind, tenderhearted and forgiving. He is more than able to do far more than all we ask or think. This is just a glimpse at but a few of the ways are to BE.

Here is a few more scripture that you can read to find out more; Ephesians 5:1, 17-21; Philippians 2:1-7, 14-15; 4:6; 1 Peter 1:14-16; Romans 12:2; James 1:9.

Here is a related link: Put on the New Self

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3 Reasons to Read “This Dangerous Book”

This Dangerous Book

“This Dangerous Book”

by Steve and Jackie Green with Bill High

The first reason is their story behind the founding of the Museum of The Bible. You might ask why anyone would want to build a museum for the Bible. What makes the Bible dangerous? Steve and Jackie Green along with Bill High tell a most intriguing story has to how this journey began. They give you good reasons behind the claim that the Bible is a dangerous book yet it is also unifying one too.

The second reason is the history and the collecting of Bible artifacts. The Greens also weave in their own faith story which adds to this great read. Their travels and challenges that they faced as they gathered artifacts will keep you reading. The numbers of Bible artifacts are astounding. The more I read the more I want to go to visit the Museum of the Bible.

The third reason is their idea that the Bible should be studied and taught in schools. This is what I found to be the fascinating part of the book. The history of the Bible and its impact not only in America but in the world is dynamic and a reason for the study of the Bible. The evidence they give you of the number of people who have read and studied “this dangerous book” will draw in those who love history.

Furthermore, they give you the 5 Biblical ideas that our founding fathers established our government. A couple of these ideas are “human sinfulness posed a threat to our civil government” and “a republic needed to be sustained by virtue.” Therefore, power was divided into three branches of government and laws needed to be in place to maintain order.

Though they are people of the Book, the Greens strongly believe that the Bible can and should be studied as literature and the conclusions are for each individual reader to make for themselves.

Final Thoughts

I would highly recommend reading this book and if you get the opportunity to visit Washington D.C., go visit the Museum of the Bible. Click this link to order your copy, “This Dangerous Book.”

 

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Let’s Feast on God’s Word

God’s Word Can Be a Feast!

The sermon at yesterday’s ordination of our new pastor was in regards to looking to God alone for all things. The scripture for the sermon was Psalm 62:1-2 and the title was  “Be Strong in the Lord.” Sure, I am blessed and probably a little privileged yet it is to God alone that I can find true rest for my soul. So, I elected to feast on God’s word alone today.

I set aside my desires for food and looked to God and His word for sustenance. This morning, I began meditating on Psalm 62. I focused on keywords such as alone and only in verses 1,2,5, & 6. It is in God alone that my soul waits not in my husband, family or friends. God only is my salvation, my rock, and my defense not my accomplishments or my possessions. I am to wait only upon God not in food or in the approval of men. My hope and expectations are in the Lord. I shall not be moved for God alone is my defense and my fortress. Therefore, I will look to God alone for rest for my soul and for my salvation. I will not be moved.

Reading further, I see that I am to trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times. Yet, I have not done this. I have mistakenly put my hope and trust in my relationship with my husband. Though he is a kind and caring man, he is human and therefore not perfect. I am wrong to look to him to satisfy my soul the only way God can.

Breakfast  & Lunch Meditations

By 9 a.m, I turned my meditation to feast on Psalm 139. From the first 6 verses, God revealed to me that He knows everything about me. There is nothing that He does not know; not even my thoughts are secret. His hand is upon me and He is all around me. His knowledges is too infinite to comprehend. I take comfort in knowing that I am known by God. Therefore, when I feel that no one understands me, I need only to remember that God know everything about me.

As I sat down to lunch, I again focused on the above Psalm with verses 7-13. I reflected on the fact that there is nowhere I can go to escape God’s spirit. Whether I go to the mountaintop or to lowest valley God is there. Whether I fly to great heights or go to the bottom of the ocean God is there. Even the darkness cannot hide me from God. Consequently, I am never alone for God is always with me. When I feel lonely, I only need to remember that God is with me wherever I go.

In addition, I added music to my time with God. I listened to and sang “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” and “Be Thou My Vision” at lunch time. As I continued with my readings for snack, I worshipped the Lord in song with “How Great Is Our God” and “Here I am to Worship.”

Final Thoughts

To conclude, God is good and He alone is all I need. How great is our God. There is no one like Him in all the earth. His Word does satisfy the soul. I will take comfort in Him knowing that He knows me and loves me just the same. Taste and see that the Lord is good.

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Defining Moment Has Come!

Where I find my defining moment

What I Have Learned from My Defining Moment.

Over the past couple months, I have been exploring the “how” God is being worshiped in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) in the area that I Live. Today, I reached a defining moment when it comes worship.

The LCMS has a particular order to the way worship service is followed. This what is termed the substance which is not to be changed. What may you ask does this mean? There are a number of things that are a part of the substance such as confession & absolution, the creeds, baptism, Gospel reading, communion and the Lord’s Prayer. This is what comprises a liturgical service. The way or order that these follow is what is termed the form.

‘As long as the substance remains the same, the form may change’ is the way one part of the LCMS looks at worship. I have visited a few churches and seen the various forms that worship has taken. From what I have seen so far there was one service that the form effected the substance. There were a quite few parts of substance that were not present. At two other services, the form was different but the substance was present with only one or more parts absent. My home church, I believe, has found a very good balance where the substance remained and the form was altered so that all parts were present.

My defining moment came when God helped me understand that what is the most important is the condition of my heart. Man judges the outward appearance but God judges the heart. If I am worshiping Him in spirit and in truth at my church then I am where I belong.

My Conclusion

I recognize that where I currently worship is right for me because God’s truth is taught through scripture reading and the creeds and He is worshiped in song. It is through confession and absolution that I admit that I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I receive forgiveness of my sins through communion.  I am also able to worship Him in spirit and in truth for who He is. Therefore, I am a Christian who chooses to worship in an LCMS church.

Where are you able to worship God in spirit and in truth? Check out this Related Link: 5 Things I Love about my Church!

(1 John 1:8-9, Acts 4:12, 1 Samuel 16:7, John 4:23-24)

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My Home Church Then & Now

Church home

Once My Church Home was Baptist. Now It is Lutheran.

I grew up attending a Baptist church during my adolescence. It was baptized in a Baptist church in Terrell, Texas, that I was baptized. There I felt at home in my church. I am quite familiar with a number of hymns such as “Because He Lives,” and “I Surrender All.” I have often thought of myself as Baptist at heart. Yet I have not been a member of a Baptist church since 2006.

I first attended an ELCA* Lutheran church in my senior of high school. This became my family’s church home. I attended faithfully with my parents. When I later joined the Air Force, I went to the Protestant service which was a Lutheran church service. I have on more occasions said that I am a Christian first and where I worship may change.

After a dispute at our church home, my parents, my son, and I started to attend services at an LCMS* church. I was a single parent at the time due to the death of my first husband. Over the many years since first attending a Lutheran service, I have grown accustomed to the liturgical order of worship.

During my early 30’s, however, I struggled to find my place of worship. I did not feel like I fit in at the Lutheran church where I attended with my parents. Therefore, I elected to attend the Church of the Nazarene. I was there for five years after which I started to attend a Baptist church again. At first, I felt like I had come home, but God had another plan for me.

God brought someone wonderful into my life in 2004 and we were married in 2006. My new husband was a very active member of the same church that my parents were still attending. I became a member once more on the Father’s day before we were married. We have made this church our home until God tells us differently. God’s plans are truly greater than anything that we can plan or imagine.

I have found my church home to be in an LCMS church. There, the truth doesn’t waiver and Christ is taught and worshiped. It is not perfect but God’s Word is the rule. I guess you might say that I once was Baptist but now I am Lutheran by choice.

 

*Footnote: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA); Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS)

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Air Force Training and Service to My Country

My Air Force Training

My Years of Training in the United States Air Force

 After high school, I went to Air Force Basic Training in San Antonio, Texas, in the summer of 1984. Following basic training, I went to Colorado for Air Force Technical school. I was training to be a munitions system specialist. I would go on to handle, store, inspect, and deliver Aircraft munitions. After training, I went back to Bergstrom AFB and served 2 years there in the Air Force Reserve.
I made an attempt at living at home and commuting to the University of Texas. I majored in electrical engineering, big mistake. Physics class presented me the hardest course. I joined the Air Force ROTC which only made it harder because I had to take 15 to 18 hours a semester. Yet, I had too much fun in the ROTC. I especially enjoyed going to football games. Gradually, my grades started to reflect this and I had to drop out. I made the decision to go full-time active duty.

Going from Reserves to Active Duty

In 1986 after going active duty, I went to Tyndall AFB in Pensacola, Florida. This would be my first active duty assignment. I was a bit of a recluse there and I met my first husband while stationed in Florida in 1987. In August of 1988, I received orders to go to Korea for a remote tour. In February of 1989, I flew home to get married and returned to Korea to finish my tour and change my follow on assignment.
My husband returned to Florida and received his orders for Morbach Air Base, Germany. I distinctly remember putting in for a joint assignment knowing that God would answer this request. God indeed answered because I later received my orders to Hahn Air Base. By September 1989, I was in Germany. I found out that I was pregnant in October 1990. We were in Germany until his death in December 1990. I took a hardship assignment back to Bergstrom AFB.  My son was born in July 1991. I would be there until the base closed in 1992. As of July 15, 1992, I was honorably discharged from the military. God was with me every step of the way. He was my comfort and mainstay.

My Faith in God Sustained Me

It was times like this that I look back and see one set of footprints in the sand and know that Jesus carried me through. If it was not for my faith in Jesus, I am not sure how I would have managed to get through that time in my life. However, I am now blessed with a handsome young man that my son has become. I am grateful for the places and experiences that I went through as well as for all the people I met along the way. I leave you with this verse because God never wastes a hurt.
 
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
 Related Link: My Story
My disclaimer: I know that every believer’s relationship to God is different and unique. You may not have the same experiences and that is okay. I am sharing because I want to bring Him the glory for what He is doing in me and impart to you what I have learned from His Word.
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New Self: A Change in Our Hearts

Change in our hearts

Our Hearts are Keys to the New Self.

This is the final part in a series on the New Self of which this makes 5. In part 4 of this series, Characteristics of the New Self, I discussed Colossians 3:11-13. We learned what we were to put on. This part we will discuss the change in our hearts as a result of Jesus in our lives.
“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:14-17 ESV.
Here we are instructed to put on love which binds things together, to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts and be thankful. In verse 16 we find the how to, through letting word of Christ dwell in us going on to teach and admonish one another.
The key here is that it is a matter of the heart. First, we are to let the peace of Christ and His word rule in our hearts and second being thankful in our hearts to God.

My Personal ExperienceHearts changed

Ephesians 4:21-32 is another passage on putting on the new self. I particularly like verse 29, Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (ESV) This means that one should be mindful of what comes out of one’s mouth as not to hurt or harm others. One ought to think of something to say that would build the other person up instead.
God has often afforded me the grace to hold my tongue at times. He helped me to remember that once words are spoken I cannot take them back. I also think of how I would want to be treated and try my best to be kind. Again, I may not always get it right but I do my best to promptly admit when I do wrong and ask for forgiveness.
In conclusion, as a follower of Christ, I am called to live differently.  By the grace of God, the power of the Holy Spirit and study of God’s word I can be the light in this dark world. I am changed from the inside out and I like who I have become in Christ.
May you grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Tomorrow I will have another acronym for your consideration.
 

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