Friday, February 27, 2015

Pictorial History in Honor of Strongman's Birthday!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ezra 1-3: Tears in the Midst of Joy

Ezra 3:12-13
Amplified Bible (AMP)

12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first house [Solomon’s temple], when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice, though many shouted aloud for joy.

13 So the people could not distinguish the shout of joy from the sound of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard far off.

We've all done it...compared the glory of things past with our present. What is it about human beings that causes us to never be satisfied with the blessings of now, the things present in this moment?

The present never seems to measure up with the "good old days." And even more insidious, the present blessings are not quite as good as what is coming in the future. We have a difficult time with remaining present, in the now!

I think of how a child reacts to the wonder of the moment. A new experience sparks a joyful and curious pleasure. I love watching a child take pleasure in the blessing of the moment.

We are to be like a child. Our gratefulness for the moment blesses our Father in heaven. Let's not be stuck in past blessings or fixated on the future blessings. When we allow ourselves to be distracted from the now, the blessing directly in front of us becomes muddled. Our vision is dimmed and our hearts become ungrateful.

"Now" is the time to see and be thankful. "Now" is the time to "shout for joy." Let's not waste our tears on the past. Let's not long for a future at the expense of missing what awesome pleasures await us NOW!

Hebrews 13:5
Amplified Bible (AMP)

5 Let your [a]character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] [b]Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor [c]give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [d][I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor [e]let [you] down ([f]relax My hold on you)! [[g]Assuredly not!]

No tears in the midst of joy!  In Jesus' name, AMEN!!!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Daniel 10-12: I Set My Mind and Heart to Understand

Daniel 10:5-6
Amplified Bible (AMP)

I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with pure gold of Uphaz.
His body also was [a golden luster] like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and his feet like glowing burnished bronze, and the sound of his words was like the noise of a multitude [of people or the roaring of the sea].
The above description of Jesus description is one of my favorites!  In the presence of this Awesome Being, how could we be afraid?  How could our direction be uncertain?  Why would we gaze at our earthly troubles or trials?  Yet...
Daniel 10:7
Amplified Bible (AMP)
And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision [of this heavenly being], for the men who were with me did not see the vision, but a great trembling fell upon them so that they fled to hide themselves.
Although the men with Daniel did not "see" Him, they sensed His power, His Presence.  They responded by running away, hiding themselves.  Even Daniel had a physical reaction to His Presence.  He became pale and weak and dropped to his face in response to "the angel's" words. 
Daniel 10:8-10
Amplified Bible (AMP)
So I was left alone and saw this great vision, and no strength was left in me, for my fresh appearance was turned to pallor; I grew weak and faint [with fright].
Then I heard the sound of his words; and when I heard the sound of his words, I fell on my face in a deep sleep, with my face [sunk] to the ground.
10 And behold, a hand touched me, which set me [unsteadily] upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.
In studying Daniel 10:12, I see a pattern in the life of Daniel that preceded the appearance of Jesus.
God's Response
Daniel 10:12
Amplified Bible (AMP)
12 Then he said to me, Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your mind and heart to understand and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come as a consequence of [and in response to] your words.
I think the pattern of Daniel is wise and applicable for us today.  It's so important to actively monitor our own thoughts, because our thoughts are the first step in the sequence leading to a "God encounter."  If the evil one can taint our thoughts with the "cares" of this world, he can distract us from meditating on the Lord.  Thoughts fan the flames of our love for Him.  Humility is imperative, because without it, pride overtakes us and God resists pride.
I don't believe God encounters can be limited to a formula, but I do believe that the Word of God was written for us as a pattern for living our lives.  God does what He will do.  He is God!!!  But we also do our part empowered by grace.
Jesus, we all have become distracted and lost sight of Your awesomeness!  I ask that Your Spirit would remind us of Your beauty and power.  Remind us that we "find ourselves in You."  In Your Brilliant Name, Jesus!  AMEN!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Daniel 7-9: The End of the Matter

Daniel 7:28
Amplified Bible (AMP)

28 Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my [waking] thoughts troubled and alarmed me much and my cheerfulness of countenance was changed in me; but I kept the matter [of the interpreting angel’s information] in my heart and mind.
Daniel was a gifted prophetic seer.  Not only did he receive directive and predictive dreams from God, but he was also able to understand those dreams for himself and for others.  This gift can be a emotionally painful cross to carry and a wonderful blessing at the same time.
The Lord has given me directive and predictive dreams as well.  I can identify with Daniel, in that, sometimes the information received "felt" like more than I could bear.  Years ago, I was receiving dreams revelation (a divine or supernatural disclosure) of things to come.  There was a point in my life that I actually asked God to stop giving me the dreams because I didn't "feel" like I could handle the responsibility of knowing.  And the dreams stopped...immediately.  Then I realized the dreams of encouragement also stopped.  I rethought my request and using wisdom asked Abba to "give me only the dreams that I am mature enough to handle." 
My dream life is much different today than it had been in the past.  My current dreams are more about personal direction and encouragement rather then revelations for others.  To be honest, it's a relief.  I think I have a lot more maturing ahead of me.
I'm thankful for my Patient Father!
As I "see" predictive dreams from the past played out today, I remember my calling to pray.  All will be according to Father's will.  His will, will be done!  In the name of my King Jesus, AMEN!!!