The Amplified Version of Romans 2:4 describes the riches of God as “kind, tolerant, and patient; withholding His wrath.” Paul is reminding the saints of how God’s kindness led them to repentance. How He gently, drew the Romans to Himself, waiting patiently for them to turn to Him.
God is Long-Suffering
David knew of His patience and loving-kindness. It has been over a year when Nathan confronted his sin, David begged the Lord to restore fellowship with Him. The first thing David said was, “Be gracious to me, God, according to your faithful love; according to your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion.” (Psalm 51:1)
God’s Loving-Kindness is for Anyone
God did deal with him according to His loving-kindness and He still does for us. This kindness was not just extended to David but to anyone who would repent and turn from their sin. My heart cannot grasp how good, kind, and patient God has been, not just to His own people, Israel, but for all of us.
“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” –
In conclusion, while kindness may come more naturally for some, true kindness is a Fruit of the Spirit. It develops out of our willingness to fully surrender to the Holy Spirit. In her book, Jesus in Me, Anne Graham Lotz writes,
“While you have the Holy Spirit within you, the cooperation of your full surrender, obedience, and faith is required to activate it.”
She quotes Dr. Alan Redpath, Moody Church,
“it is a moment-by-moment surrender to the moment-by-moment control of the Holy Spirit”
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast,because he trusts in You.
I was born on a Wednesday.
The following Sunday, I was in church and nearly every Sunday since then. My family was one who found themselves at church every time the doors were open. We also had family devotions … often. Sometimes this was at breakfast, other times, in the evening before bed. Every summer, we attended Holiness Camp .. even though we had a dairy farm to run, these times were not ignored or skipped. But these things, in themselves, did not save my soul. They were instrumental, but I had to make the decision to follow Christ myself. Each person must trust in Christ. Each one must personally make the decision to follow Him. As it is often said,
“God has no grandchildren.”
You cannot enter heaven on the coattails of your parents.
Trusting in Christ Will Cause You to Know Peace.
I think it was Rev Kelsey at Bethany UMC in Canton, Ohio that would end every sermon with a prayer that said something like “If there is anyone who has not responded to your call to salvation, let him have NO PEACE until he does so.” I did not appreciate this prayer. I felt it was an attack on me. Until the day I walked the aisle and gave my heart to Jesus.
During my teen years, a bumper sticker came out that said:
By then I had given my life fully to the Lord and I really could appreciate the fact that peace comes from knowing Christ. That prayer by my pastor has stuck with me and it’s a prayer that I use as I pray for my children and my siblings’ children, “That they may know peace”. I pray that God will give them no peace until they surrender their lives fully to him. I pray that the sin in their lives will become so distasteful that they cannot enjoy it. And, instead, it will recall to them the things they learned growing up. And that they will be drawn to the Prince of Peace.
More Thoughts on Peace
I was recently honored to write about the Peace of God for the Gracefully Truthful Community. Click and follow the link below to read more thoughts on the peace of God.
When I see this scripture reference, my mind goes immediately to,
“For I know the plans I have for you,… plans to prosper you and not to harm you…”
Maybe that is your thought, as well. It IS a wonderful scripture!
New Thoughts Captured my Attention
This morning, as I was enjoying quiet time in Jeremiah 29:1-14, some phrases captured my attention in a startling way. I was blown away at the revelation that came to me as I read Jeremiah 29:5-7 (NLT).
“Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens and eat the fruit you produce. Marry, and have children. Then find spouses for them, and have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of Babylon. Pray to the Lord for that city where you are held captive, for if Babylon has peace, so will you.”
Suddenly, this thought hit me:
“What is your Babylon?”
And then, these questions:
What holds us in captivity?
How do we get out of it?
What can we do?
Sometimes, we come to a difficult place in life and we feel as if we are held captive in it. A serious illness, the death of a spouse, the end of a job, a career change, relocation, . . . the list is vast. Life happens. Many times what happens is out of our control, but it is NEVER out of God’s hands!
When life throws a curveball, it is too easy to become paralyzed, bitter, depressed, even frantic. God, however, says “Live life!” Re-read those verses. The Lord told His people to carry on with life, not to just sit or dwindle away. Keep reading, because the Lord also said,
“Pray to the Lord for that city where you are held captive.”
Pray for the company, the school, the country, the family…. whatever your “Babylon” is. When we offer up whatever has us down to the Lord, He can take that situation into His hands and deliver us from it. Remember this, though: God moves in His time and way. The solution to your dilemma may take time, but He does have the solution.
That familiar promise will come to fruition:
“For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not harm you…”
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
This is the clincher:
“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,…and will bring you back from captivity.”
Jeremiah 29:12-14 NIV
Take every thought captive. Seek the Lord and His direction. Pray for the place where you are, that place that has you stuck. Know that the Lord has a plan, and he will bring you out better than before!
THAT is your confidence!
– Glenae Atchison
Last Chance to Link-up in the Legacy Link-upin June
Additionally then, brothers and sisters, we ask and encourage you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received instruction from us on how you should live and please God—as you are doing—do this even more.
2 For you know what commands we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
3 For this is God’s will, your sanctification.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-3a
What does God’s Will; Your Sanctification Mean?
God’s desire, His will for us, is more than just forgiveness. It’s more than fire insurance saving you from Hell. He wants to restore us to His image. God created us in His image. And while that was ruined by the fall of man, God still instructed us to “be holy as He is holy“; God still wants to restore His image in each of us and He offers that to all who are saved. (Colossians 3:9-10)
Sanctification is a big, confusing word. It can also be translated as “holiness” or “set apart.” Thus, God’s will for us is to live holy lives to be set apart. When we live holy lives, we are becoming more and more like Him.
His Holy Spirit Helps us
Upon salvation, His Holy Spirit enables us to “participate in the divine nature” of God. (2 Peter 1:3-4) Peter urges us in the following verses to do our part… “make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.” 2 Peter 1:5-9 NIV and again to “make every effort to confirm your calling and election…” (2 Peter 1:10-11) If we are “to make every effort”, then certainly there is a part for us to play in becoming like Him.
Through salvation and out of thankfulness and humility toward God, we should want to live holy lives; doing our best to exemplify the character of Christ. His Holy Spirit directs us and gives us all we need to do this. When we participate in His work, we are then READY to enter His Kingdom.
“For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.”
2 Peter 1:11
Defining the Big Words About Salvation
We receive many graces when we are saved. The first of these is justification – the forgiveness of sins. I like to explain it this way… It is “Just as if I’d never sinned“. Romans 5:9-18
But grace does not stop there. The next thing God does is give us new life! We call this regeneration. Easton’s Bible Dictionary explains regeneration as a change of heart. (Titus 3:4-8); becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17); a renewal of the mind (Romans 12:1-2). This is nothing man does but rather it is the work of the Holy Spirit within us.
Thirdly, God adopts us as His child! (John 1:12-13) We are His heirs!
Surrendering everything to Him is the best way to live a pleasing life for God. Years ago, I learned that we must give the “Unkown Bundle” to God. That is, we give him our yesterdays and our today, but also our tomorrows. Like signing a contract without getting to read it. We sign an empty page and hand it to God to fill it with His will for us. We say to God, “Whatever You want, is what I want”. Like Jesus said in the garden, “Not my will, but yours”. Luke 22:42
Will you Give Him the Unknown Bundle of Your Life?
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 NLT
Have you ever felt like you have been run down by a speeding train?
Did you know? “There’s an app for that! 🙂 When I was a kid, we were taught that when you come to a railroad track, STOP, LOOK, & LISTEN. Trains can only go where there are tracks, so pay attention. Don’t proceed until you come to a complete stop, then look and see if anything is coming, then listen for anything that might be coming down the tracks.
I wonder …
The scriptures are full of examples and admonitions for us to slow and spend time with the Lord. Right from the beginning, God came in the cool of the day to speak with Adam (Genesis 3:8). Even before that God Himself rested after 6 days of work (Hebrews 4:4). Even Jesus would often withdraw from the crowds to pray. (Matthew 14:13-21)
And yet, we act as if we don’t really need to slow down.
We jump out of bed in the morning, throw on some clothes, down a cup of coffee, and run out the door. Never once thinking of even a quick hello to the Lord or an invitation to Him to walk beside us throughout the day. It’s no wonder, we feel worn and weary.
How Do We Slow Ourselves to Rest?
And what about our Sundays?
When I was growing up, we did only what had to be done on Sundays. Even when the hay was ready to bale, it stayed on the ground for a day. Sundays were for attending church and resting. The most we ever did was maybe a “Sunday afternoon drive” or visiting family.
I recall asking Dad once,
“Why couldn’t the Lord allow the cows to give twice the milk on Saturday so that we wouldn’t have to milk them on Sunday as God did with providing manna to the Israelites?”
His answer pricked my heart.
“God might be willing to do that if we were willing to REALLY give Him the Sabbath.”
You see, what I wanted was to be able to go and play and have fun, not to actually take the day to slow down and worship God. It seems that when we “slow down” we are still filling our lives with stimulants that do not allow us the opportunity to rest and to fellowship with God.
There is little to no room for God.
We come home from work or play and immediately, we turn on our radios, TV, and internet.
No quiet for him to even get a word in edgewise.
Take a look from a practical point of view. Phyllis Korkki, at the New York Times, says
I know for myself when I was working, I would get where I seemed to not be making progress in my work. The best thing I could do was to go take a walk around the block. Breaks are helpful, so long as we aren’t using them to procrastinate.
What about meditation?
Studies show that regular meditation is a very beneficial activity. Anastasia Stephens lists seven benefits of meditation :
Relieves Irritable bowel syndrome
Lowers blood pressure
Now, who couldn’t use a few of those benefits!
God told Joshua,
“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”
So, if we want to prosper, we MUST spend time meditating on the Word of God.
WHAT if THERE WERE NO RESTS IN MUSIC?
What kind of song would we get if only notes were played without regard to rests?
I was a percussionist in the high school band. While the bells were my favorite, I also played the timpani. But many times there were long measures of rests between notes. This was no fun. Just counting beats.
But these rests left time for tuning the instrument to the right note.
And THEN, at the right moment, what an awesome timpani sound rolled out.
We need these times of rest in our lives as well to tune ourselves to the drumbeat of God.
John Ruskins said,
“If we sorrowfully say to ourselves, ‘There is no music in a rest,’ let us not forget that the rest is part of the making of the music. The process is often slow and painful in this life, yet how patiently God works to teach us! And how long He waits for us to learn the lesson!”3
God can only speak to us in the quiet.
If we never slow down and listen, there is no chance for God to minister to us.
Oh, how He loves us and wants us to come and fellowship with Him. He wants to tell us so much.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
The shaker on our table is what we bring to mind, but in Jesus’ day, salt was a valuable commodity. It was sometimes even used to pay one’s salary. Jesus called the disciples salt because they were as important to the Gospel as salt was to the society. Have you ever eaten a French fry without salt? Just a little salt makes a world of difference!
Consider the impact the disciples made on the world once they were anointed with God’s power through His Holy Spirit. Just twelve men initiated worldwide change as a result of God’s power! (Acts 2)
As powerful as salt is, it can lose its savor if it is mixed with other additives. RealSalt.com says salt will never go bad, but common table salt has agents added which degrade over time causing the salt to lose its savor. Society in Jesus’ day was mixed with many sinful impurities. If Christ-followers were not careful, their lives would be overrun with the effects of sinful choices.
This leads to a need for preservation! In ancient times, salt was added to prevent food from spoiling. When the disciples began spreading the Gospel, they were keeping the world from decaying without the Hope offered through Jesus’ offer of forgiveness. Salt can go both ways. If we allow society to rub off on us, we will lose our savor; but if we rub off on society, we hold out the life-giving freedom of Christ!
How can you and I effectively be Salt of the Earth?
If you don’t have the deep desire to be a Salt of the Earth disciple, it would be wise to follow the apostle Paul’s teaching and examine your hearts “to see whether we are in the faith.” (2 Corinthians 13:5-6)
Have you ever known a person who rubbed you the wrong way? Comparatively, have you known someone who always blesses a room when they enter? This is how we season the world. A preacher once asked, “If you record yourself, what would you see/hear?” This challenged me and still does, to take special care in what I do and I say, making sure I’m surrendering myself to the Spirit’s power alive in me.
Showing love, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness is how believers share their Salt with the Earth. (Ephesians 4:29-32)
My heart remains true and is awed by Your words. I celebrate because of Your promise, like someone who discovers great treasure. I despise and abhor lies, but I love Your law. Seven times every day I praise You because of Your right rulings.
Psalm 119:161-164 The Voice
Homesick & Heartbroken
It was my freshman year in college. I was 500 miles from home and looking forward to a long weekend home for Easter. I was packed to go and even had riders to share the cost. I woke up Thursday morning for my last day of classes and there was snow on the ground. I received a call from my father in Wisconsin. He strongly suggested that I not come home because the weather between Kentucky and Wisconsin was pretty severe.
I was so heartbroken. I had had a long year fighting homesickness and I really wanted to go home. Dejected, I went to my first class. Being at a Christian college, the professor always opened class with prayer. That is, he always asked a student to pray. That morning, he asked me to pray.
I wondered, “How on earth could I pray?” I was so disappointed that I was not going to be able to go home. We all bowed our heads…
I’m not sure what else I said. I was shocked to hear myself say it. Certainly, I was not thankful for the snow. It was the cause of my demise.
Thankful in the Midst of Trial
It’s hard to be thankful when you are in the midst of trials. Your mind is so centered on your trouble, you can’t really think of anything else. But maybe praise and thankfulness are what helps ease our mind. Maybe it is what helps us make it through. Could it be the way to keep from spiraling down into despair is to continually have His praises on our heart and our mind?
This celebration of His Blessings may very well have been the beginning of a wonderful Easter weekend. I was invited to go to Georgia instead. I visited with a friend AND my aunt and Uncle.
Celebrate His Promises
Soon after the start of my chronic pain. I was introduced to the writings of Ann Voskamp. You have probably seen to droves of Thankful posts on Facebook during November. When I realized that this came from Ann, I decided to read her book, A Thousand Gifts. I was challenged to list three blessings every day for an entire year. That was the beginning of the return of smiles in the midst of the pain.
It truly does make a difference to begin listing the things for which I am grateful.
As the women’s director, I challenged all the ladies at church to take the Joy Dare with me. Several did it along with me. One couple shared with me several times how not only did the Joy Dare make them stop and think of things they were grateful for, but also, gave them laughter. The prompts weren’t always easy to find answers to, but they would laugh trying to think of ideas. What a blessing!
You have probably seen these Joy Dare prompts on Facebook. Go download them and begin your own journey to joy today! It will change your life as it did me and my friends. And as it did for Ann. Notice again the last line of the scripture above. The Psalmist says he gave praise to God SEVEN TIMES A DAY.
Wow! Seven times. I know I’m behind.
Join me and Celebrate his Promises!
My Journey with Chronic Pain
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Last fall I wrote about the feasts that God ordained in the fall of the year. This month when I was assigned a study on fellowship and guilt offers, I was reminded of the 7 Feasts book by Erin Davis. So I picked it up again and realized that I missed out on writing about Passover, the Feast of Firstfruits, and the Feast of Weeks. So today, I’d like to share how we find Christ in the Feast of Firstfruits.
Erin Davis begins her book by teaching us that we, humans, have a terrible habit of forgetting. She called it Spiritual Amnesia. We tend to become so self-sufficient when, in truth, we need God more and more every day. The feasts were a way to remind the people of their sinfulness held against the holiness of God. The feasts reminded them of a God that not only protects but forgives and gives us all a second, third, fourth chance. The law acted as guard rails to protect us as we wander.
Take time to Read Leviticus 23:9-14 – The Feast of First Fruits
Creation Teaches Us the Gospel
First of all, we have all learned about the seasons. They make a circle from death to life and back again. We can see the character of God in every season. We see His redemptive plan every spring as the flowers bloom and animals are born. Spring reminds us that Christ died but rose again for us. His circle of life shows us His faithfulness new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23); His great power and strength (Isaiah 40:26), His righteousness and justice (Job 37:21-23)
“The firstfruits of Spring join together to declare this amazing truth…”
He is not here, for He is risen, as He sad. Come and see the place where He lay.
The Feast of FirstFruits Follows Immediately after Passover and the Sabbath
Interestingly, these feasts are sequential.
On Thursday, they celebrated Passover.
Friday – Jesus was crucified,
Saturday, the Sabbath – Jesus rested in the grave.
On the first day of the week, Sunday – Feast of Firstfruits
– Jesus rose from the dead defeating death and sin!
Jesus was the firstfruits of our salvation! The first to rise from the dead to eternal life.
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ, all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.
1 Corinthians 15:22-23
Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
We are the Second Firstfruits!
When we accept Christ as Savior, we become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). His Holy Spirit works within us to remove our carnal spirit and to become new in Him. The things in our past are now gone!
But we can take this all one step further. One day, we will rise! We will be raptured to be in Heaven ever with the Lord. This is a future hope!
We have this hope, hallelujah!
Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.
For the Lord, himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
On Easter we remember that because Jesus lives forever, we will too!
Jesus is Worthy of our Best!
At the feast of firstfruits, they were required to bring two offerings. First, a peace (or fellowship) offering of grain. This grain must be the very first sheaf of wheat they harvested. They were not to eat any of the new grains until after this offering was made. Like a peace offering we might bring to a spouse after messing up big time, it was an offering for acceptance; an offering to request fellowship again.
The second offering was a burnt offering or sin offering. This would be a male lamb, one-year-old with no blemishes. It was to be completely burned up and a fragrance to the Lord. It would be for the forgiveness of sins.
Did God need this grain? No. It was required to remind them of their sins and of God’s holiness. It was the “cure for their spiritual amnesia.” We still bring firstfruits offerings to God in the form of service, tithes, devotion. We give these things not because God needs them or even requires them but more as the posturing of our hearts. We give offerings because of our love and gratitude to Him.
Jesus gave the best for us. He gave all.
What offerings are you bringing to the Lord?
Are you giving the best of your best or just seconds?
This Bible study is exciting and moving, even for a seasoned Christian like myself. I get so blessed connecting the traditions set forth by God in the Old Testament to the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Like the A-Team said at the end of each episode, “I love it when a plan comes together!”
I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
When chronic pain hits, we might wonder, “How can I have confident hope?” But I soon learned that this hope comes from drawing ever closer to the One Who gives all hope. That is, Jesus!
For me, it was six months of pain before finding any answers. But when I walked through the doors at Mayo Clinic, I felt an amazing hope. Every inch of this place offered hope to me. Then I began to look around at all the others seeking to find answers. Some did not know the confident hope in Christ; however, it was quite obvious that others knew Him well.
Thanks for sharing your confident hope!
I have met several of you who have splashed your confident hope all over me. I’m thanking God at every chance that through my chronic pain, you have become an essential part of my life. I pray for you often that God will continue to bless you with his wisdom and insight through the trials you face; believing it is through these trials that we come to truly KNOW the God of Hope. I pray that your heart is filled with His Light so that you continue in His confident hope and keep spilling it over on the rest of us.
We are His holy people and we are so blessed to be His rich and glorious inheritance. He has invested everything in us to make this possible.
Oh Lord God, thank you for bringing so many chronically wonderful friends into my life. I ask for wisdom and insight for each of us as we daily try to fight off pain with Your help. As David said, “It was good that I have suffered that I might know you,” the God of all Hope, better. Fill us with Your Light today. I pray that Your investment in us will yield great and wonderful results.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen
In what circumstance have you found Confident Hope?
2. Who has graciously splashed their confident hope over you? Have you told them so? Have you prayed for them?
3. Who could you splash your confident hope over?
In His Confident Hope;
Even though my life changed drastically 10 years ago, God has still brought purpose into my life. I have found a little niche in writing. Something I never had time, nor the confidence, for in the past. Chronic Joy is a wonderful ministry to help those with Chronic Illness thrive. I was given an opportunity to write a prayer prompt for them recently.
*** All along my Journey with Chronic Pain, I have met many who have encouraged me. I am so thankful to them. Seeing that others can make it through tells me I can too! In this journey, I have found a wonderful ministry for those with Chronic Pain called Chronic Joy. Today’s post was written for this ministry. Find more at this link.
Our family loves Kincaid paintings. Of course, we were never able to purchase a painting, so we did the next best thing; we bought, assembled, and framed puzzles. What an accomplishment to finish the gorgeous pictures by placing the last piece!
However, my husband enjoyed hiding away a puzzle piece so he could place it into the last open spot. It became a fun routine at our house and the kids went straight to Daddy to find the last piece.
One Christmas, however, he didn’t take a piece, and yet, one was missing. Initially, the kids didn’t believe him, but eventually, the truth sank in; oh, what a disappointment to have a hole in the middle of the picture, leaving it incomplete! We framed the picture anyway, taking a piece from the unseen edges to try to fill the empty space, but our eyes were immediately drawn to the patched-up place every time we looked at the picture.
The God-Shaped Hole
Just like the unfinished puzzle, there is a hole in our hearts in the shape of God. The piece was removed way back in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned against God, separating us all from His Presence.
Oh, the ache we feel over lost fellowship with God! We know something is missing, but often, we are not sure what (or really, Who). So we might try to fill the emptiness with other pieces like family, love, success, drugs, alcohol. But nothing really fits.
There is nothing like having the right puzzle piece.
The following Christmas, as we brought out the decorations, we found the missing puzzle piece! It had somehow fallen off the table into one of the boxes and was stored away. How appropriate to have found the missing piece at Christmas! Just like our family, if we keep searching for God (our hearts’ missing piece), we will find Him. (Jeremiah 29:13)
All who accept Christ as their personal Savior have the Holy Spirit living within them, guiding and directing their lives. Indeed, God is with us now, but one day Christ will return to earth, righteous and victorious. He will set up His Kingdom, removing all evil.
Read the complete devotion at
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