I love thrift stores, antique stores and a good old junk store! I look for treasures in every dusty corner! I remember one time spotting an old chandelier in a pile of junk. I knew when I saw it that it was something special. Although it was covered in dirt, dust and scratches, we purchased it! I knew that with a good cleaning and a little work, it could be restored back to its original beauty, purpose and value.
I was up early this morning and this is often the time that God speaks to me the most. This morning was no exception. I began to remember the time my husband Dave and I took a trip to Colorado. It was a great trip! There is no feeling like the one you have the first time your eyes look upon the Rockies! They are incredible and awesome and massive!
A highlight of this trip was when Dave hiked to one of the highest peaks. Once he accomplished reaching the top, he felt success, excitement, fulfillment, and exhilaration! However, those feelings soon began to fade into those of lightheadedness, nausea, and shortness of breath as altitude sickness began to set in. He knew he needed to get back down the mountain and he needed to do it quickly!
Mountaintops and valleys
I haven’t thought of that experience in a really long time so I wondered why God brought it to my mind and the significance of it. Then He began to speak to my heart. So much of our lives are spent wishing for the mountaintop…longing for the mountaintop experience! But just as Dave learned, that is not where we are designed to stay. Our renewal of faith, strength, and hope comes when we are down in the valley. This is where we spend most of our time. Dealing with struggles of time management, children, financial problems, marital problems, health issues, the death of a loved one…you know, the normal struggles of living life on planet earth. But this is where we need to flourish and be completely content.
On the mountaintop, we often forget that we need God and that those around us do too. We are so excited, feel so successful and accomplished that we often don’t have a dependence on God or a heart for others either. We can easily fall into the “it’s all about me” phase and just like the landscape of a mountain, our hearts can become cold and bare, isolated and lonely of a relationship with Christ and others. But in the valley, that is where we sense His presence the most. That is where we cry out to Him in a dark time. That is where we long to feel close to Him. That is where we pray…earnestly pray. That is where study and depend on His word to guide us. That is where and when we need our Christian brothers and sisters to lean on and to live life with.
Count it all joy
Here, in the valley, our hearts can reflect that landscape as well. There are often streams of water, trees, beautiful green grass, songbirds and other wonderful animals in a valley. The perfect setting for warmth, relationship and growth. So why do we long to be on top of that rocky mountain so much…so much that we can lose sight of what is truly important in this life?
There is nothing wrong with enjoying the mountain top! God created it and we are to enjoy His blessings with a grateful heart. But we need to find contentment and joy in the gift of everyday life as well, no matter the circumstances. As James 1:2-3 says, count it all joy!
Read also :When life is not a rose garden
The year was 1954. The U.S. Billboard Chart ranked “Little Things Mean a Lot” by Kitty Kallen the #1 song of the year! Laced with simple lyrics about little niceties and endearing smiles, this tune captured the essence of how significant the smallest of gestures can be to the person on the receiving end.
In today’s society however, we are hard-pressed to find people who value simplicity. We have become over-indulgent, materialistic, and self-gratifying. We long to flaunt our success and look impressive, having the finery and luxury that will cause others to envy. We are hurried and at times even frantic people, often going nowhere fast! Sadly, it is not “the little
things” that we value!
At the core of our being, and vital for life is the heart. We cannot survive without it fulfilling its
primary function of carrying oxygen-rich blood and nutrients throughout the body. It is essential to
physical health, vitality, and strength. It is the source from which our life is given.
Guard Your Heart
The heart of every bank is its vault. Locked metal cubbies line the walls, but can only be accessed with the owner’s identification and a closely guarded key. It makes you wonder, “What could possibly be in there?” Something of value, to be sure. Of course, not everything that is valuable will fit inside a safe deposit box.
The other day I read this quote and it really touched and moved me. The quote read, “Jesus seemed to enjoy the company of the broken more than the debates of the religious”. Well, this is what I’m wanting to discuss today.
God’s love letter
Scripture, the Word, is God’s love letter to all of creation. From Genesis to Revelation the Word of God is revealing Himself to us. It is apparent that all of Scripture is referring to Jesus in His entirety. There was and is no one who knew and understood the Word of God as well as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus understood the Word with such astounding insight. The Word was God and Jesus was God in the flesh. (John 1:1-2)
So, we may be asking ourselves, “What did Jesus do with all this knowledge”? Did He gather all this knowledge to obtain more and more “information” and just fill His mind with facts and history? Or was He trying to impress others and have discussions and debates that showed everyone just how much knowledge He did have? Absolutely not! Jesus allowed the knowledge that God bestowed to Him to deeply penetrate His heart. He cherished the Word. He meditated and prayed. He loved the Word of God and to do the will of God was His only desire. In fact, Jesus used the Word to defeat Satan’s temptations in the desert. Jesus properly used the Word as a defense; a defense that only speaks Truth. It is written that the Word was His sword. Jesus also used the Word when the Pharisees tried to lure
Transformation of heart
Throughout Scripture, we repeatedly see there were many men with tremendous knowledge of the Word of God. However, many of these men did not allow the Word to penetrate deep into their heart and soul and it was obvious that there was no sincere heart transformation. Oh sure, things looked good on the outside and they knew exactly how to tell others to live and what they should and should not do. But, for themselves, the Word just did not apply. This is what Jesus had to say when referring to these men in Matthew 23:2-5 (NLT).
2 “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses.[a] 3 So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. 4 They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden.
No matter the cost
Jesus did not have to broadcast how much knowledge He had or do things just to draw attention Himself. No, He willingly,
He welcomed all
During Jesus’ ministry, He was always acceptant of the people that others did not want anything to do with. He welcomed all to follow Him…. no matter their background. For example prostitutes, tax collectors, Samaritans, and the broken-hearted. Some may wonder why did He do this? Why did He not sit down with all those great theologians and well-known leaders? Jesus came for the broken, “ordinary” people and what some would call the outcasts. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He came to rescue and reconcile us all back with God, so we could live with Him.
The Pharisee and the tax collector
I think the parable about the prayer of the Pharisee and the tax collector gives us the answer.
Luke 18: 9-13 9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer[b]: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
We can see here that the Pharisee thought he was a good man; good enough. He apparently saw himself as much better than all the other people around him. He exalted himself and “self” was on the throne of his heart. He believed and trusted his own righteousness. However, the tax collector saw his wretched condition before a Holy God and was undone. He was pleading for Gods mercy on his life and realized that he was in great need of God’s grace and forgiveness. The tax collector showed true Godly sorrow for his sinful life and repented whole-heartedly. Have you confessed your sins and repented to the Lord? He’s waiting for you to come to Him and lay it all down at the cross. Turn from sin and turn to God.
Romans 3: 23-24 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
Let your light shine
Let us, therefore, honor the Lord with our lives as a living sacrifice. Let’s devote time each day to spend with Him, engaging with Him in His Word and in prayer. Allow His love and mercy to sink deep in our hearts and pass on that love and mercy to others. Let us not only read His Word but really live it out. Allow the light and love of Jesus to shine through you in such a dark and fallen world. Reach out to the “outcast” and lost souls. They are all around us, seeking and grasping for worldly things that can’t satisfy. Let your light shine! Worthy, worthy, worthy is the Lamb of God.
Read also Be great, be faithful
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which
he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people. Ephesians 1:18
Last Friday I did some (very) necessary housecleaning. The past few weeks have been really, really hot here in the Netherlands, not really temperatures to do a lot of cleaning. Bert and I only did the cleaning of our small chalet superficially… ‘the French way’ as we use to call it in the Netherlands. (No offense to our dear French friends for this Dutch expression; I have no idea where it comes from). Anyway, this week the temperature dropped a bit, so I decided to catch up with cleaning. I filled a bucket, pulled my sleeves up, put on a Spotify worship list and was happily singing along while doing my chores.
I would usually start a blog post with some enticing story or hookline. But when you’re feeling broken…
When there’s a thirst. When there’s a longing. When it feels like someone sucker-punched you in the chest or placed a 50 pound weight over your lungs… You don’t want enticing stories or a hookline. You want relief. And I don’t blame you.