Forever Reflecting

Selby starting looking for a house to purchase about a year before we got married.  Although I wasn’t going to be living in it just yet, he involved me in the search process, and when we found a house that we both thought we could make a home once we did get married, he made an offer, the owners accepted, they signed the papers, and Selby became the owner of the house.  At the beginning, we did different things to spruce it up – like tearing down wallpaper and painting rooms.  Now that we have been living here for 10+ years, we have accumulated Stuff – you know the Stuff you don’t know what to do with…  And just what do you do with all this paper?  I have the type of personality that I need for there to be a place for everything.  And when there’s not, it drives me a bit batty.  You’ve seen those Celebrating Home or Better Home and Gardens homes – well, my house is NOT like that, but sometimes it really frustrates me that I can’t be that way.  Don’t get me wrong – it’s not the things in those magazines – it’s the order that those pictures represent.  Over the years we have taken on several different home improvement projects, and I keep thinking, “when we are finished, maybe…”.  One day I feel that we will be able to finished what we started with this house, and I will finally be satisfied – maybe not necessarily with the house, but with the feeling of finishing something we started so many years ago.

So why the rant?  I have a point.  I promise.

Sanctification – we are, we are being, and we will be perfectly sanctified.

When we turn to Christ, recognizing that our hearts are covered in sin, and we ask for forgiveness that only He can give because of His precious blood sacrifice on the cross for us, we are bought and paid for – the papers are signed and sealed and we are His. 1 Corinthians 6:11 “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”  Washed. Justified – made right in the sight of the Lord.   We are sanctified – set apart for God’s purpose for us.

Even though we are set apart, we are obviously not perfect – just like any house you buy or build is probably not going to be perfect.  We have flaws and we cave to pressure and sin, and sometimes we even hoard those sins or bad habits.  The concept of being initially sanctified (saving grace through faith – the foundation) and then also being progressively or continuously sanctified is that we fix our eyes on Christ in order to keep our hearts from getting cluttered with the things of this world.  We do heart improvement by studying His Word and spending time in prayer and by spending time with other believers in worship.  Keep in mind that this part of the process is completely separate from the paper signing…we do this not so He’ll keep the deed, but because He already holds and cherishes it.  Sometimes I find myself comparing my Christian walk to a fellow believer’s walk.  I have to remind myself that just like the houses in the magazine, that person may have some rooms with Stuff hidden in them, so it is best for me to just follow Christ the best way I know how, using Him as the ultimate example.  Following others as an example is fine, but setting them up as the model of perfection is not the way to go because no human on earth is perfect.

One day – we will be perfect.  One day He will come for us and this process of sanctification will be complete.  We will be free from the sin that makes our life messy and miserable.  One day we will be like Christ who perfectly reflects the Father.  We will be able to serve and worship our God perfectly just like how we were created and we will love every minute of it.

In the meantime…”He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be….”

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Sit With You Awhile

This song goes along with the “Forever Family” post.

Sit With You Awhile

D G 
Verse 1:
D                            G
When I cannot feel, when my wounds don't heal
        Em         G           D
Lord I humbly kneel, hidden in You
Lord, You are my life so I don't mind to die
        Em           G         D
Just as long as I am hidden in You

                 D              G                       D
If I could just sit with You a while, if You could just hold me
               A                   G                D
Nothing could touch me though I'm wounded, though I die
                 D               G                  D
If I could just sit with You a while, I need You to hold me
              A           G            D
Moment by moment, 'till forever passes by


Verse 2:
D                               G
When I know I've sinned when I should have been
        Em         G           D
Crying out my God and hidden in you
Lord I need you now, more than I know how
        Em           G         D
So I humbly bow, hidden in you
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Forever Family – “Daddy”

There are many names of God in the Bible.  There are names that describe the extent of His power and majesty:  El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty), El Elyon (The Most High God), El Olam (The Everlasting God), Jehovah Sabaoth (The Lord of Hosts).  There are names that tell us what He is to us or what He does for us:  Jehovah-Raah (The Lord My Shepherd), Jehovah Rapha (The Lord That Heals), Jehovah Shammah (The Lord Is There), Jehovah Jireh (The Lord Will Provide), Jehovah Shalom (The Lord Is Peace).  All of these are very important to who God is and are very special to us.

But to me what is tremendously precious is that when we are brought into the fold of God, when we are healed from our wayward life by the provided way of salvation and given peace – we are adopted into the family of God and then can call Him “Father”.

Galatians 4:4 “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”

Redeemed through His own Son, adopted as sons and daughters, heirs through God. Wow!  And we can call Him “Abba, Father”.  This by far above all others has been my favorite name of God. The fact that we can call Him Father does not seem to distance us from Him like some of the other names.  The fact that we can call Him “Abba, Father” evokes an intimacy that even Father cannot.  It was thought at one time that Abba was a term young Jewish children used to address their fathers,  but has also been found that older children and even adults used the name also.  So, the combination of Abba and  Father creates that sense of close familiarity that relates to our English term “Daddy”.

I don’t know about you, but as I have gotten older, my relationship with my father has developed from what it was when I was young, but he is still my “Dad” or even at times “Daddy”.   He is still that person who I can go to for wisdom or for comfort, and even now I can recall those times when I sat in his lap when I was hurt or when I was upset about something.

Christ used the name “Abba, Father” in the Garden of Gethsemane before His arrest. Mark 14:36″ And He was saying, ‘Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.'”  He was under stress, about to face pain and agony – even death.  And yet, He addresses God with the most intimate name we have for Him – not the ones that bring to mind His power and might, but the one that shows the relationship of Father to Son.

For me this idea of God as Abba, Father – as “Daddy” – encompasses much of what the other names of God reveal to us.  I understand that we cannot lose the power and majesty that some of the other names might reveal that this may not, but I am so struck by the closeness I feel by the thought that I can address God much like I would my own earthly Dad, crawl up into His lap when I need Him and have Him just hold me – because there are times that I need Him to do just that.

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Jesus Reigns

We talked about last week about the fact that through Christ’s sacrifice for us – His redeeming blood – we have been not only been freed from our slavery to sin, but we have been brought into the family of God. (Col 1:12-14) Imagine once again –  a prisoner of war, sold into slavery, put up at auction, then bought by the heir to the throne of a kingdom.  You think automatically that you are at the very least going to be put to work in this kingdom, but instead, the son brings you to the castle, takes you before the king, and says to him, “Father, I have paid this persons’ debts. They were in slavery but now they are free.  I now would like for you to accept them as your son/daughter.” Talk about going the extra mile.  You would think it was enough to just set you free.  How awesome is that?  And that is exactly what Christ has done for us.  Once we recognize our sin state, and accept Christ’s free gift of grace, we are made co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:16-17).

Becoming part of a new family will change you – marrying into a family for example.  The family you marry into will impact who you are even if you don’t realize it.  Sometimes it may be something as simple as trying new foods that you never thought you would, or it could be something much bigger.  Me, for example.  I never thought that I would really ever shoot a gun, much less actually like it. (Now, I’m actually decent at it.) My family was  never that much into guns, but my husband’s family is.  Over the years being a part of their family I’ve learned about gun safety, how to stand, how to hold a gun, how to aim and shoot, and more recently Selby has taught me how to clean a gun properly.  Becoming part of the family of God SHOULD affect you.  “ Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”(2 Cor 5:17).  The Apostle Paul points out in many different places how becoming a Christian should affect our behavior.  One example is Colossians 3:12-17 “ So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 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 richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”

Letting Christ rule in our hearts is the pathway to allowing Him to reign in our lives.  Will you “let the word of Christ richly dwell within you”?  This is key to the right person being the supreme authority (King) of your life.  Hint: that’s not you.

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Long Pool Hike

The water fall wasn’t running very well today, but the weather was perfect for hiking.  Some trees are showing color as well.  Click on any of the pictures to see more photos from the hike.

Long Pool Fall – there wasn’t much water running, so the fall is a bit anemic.

Good conversation – enjoying the scenery

Large boulders in Big Piney Creek at the Long Pool campground



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Jesus Redeems


1. To recover ownership of by paying a specified sum.
2. To pay off (a promissory note, for example).
3. To turn in (coupons, for example) and receive something in exchange.
4. To fulfill (a pledge, for example).
5. To set free; rescue or ransom.
6. To save from a state of sinfulness and its consequences.
7. To make up for
8. To restore the honor, worth, or reputation of
I think it is safe to say that Jesus did all these things with His blood on the cross.  He bought back what He and the Father created by His sacrifice – we were “bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:20).  Christ’s  substitutionary atonement fulfills the Old Testament Law’s demands more than a lamb ever could – He is OUR substitute Lamb.  He sets us free – buying us out of our slavery of sin, not with silver or gold, but with His precious blood and spotless, sinless life.  If we recognize our sad sinful state and accept His sacrifice to overtake our lives, He delivers us from that way of life and its ultimate consequence (Rom. 6:23).    His blood covers our imperfections, our blemishes… our spots.  His redemption brings us near to the Father, brings us into the Family as adopted sons and daughters.  His work on the cross allows us to also offer a sacrifice –  a living one – “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Rom. 12:1-2.
I don’t really know that I think about what redemption means enough.  I even admit that I get very emotional when I think about it on a deeper level.  I know that I know what it means to BE redeemed (do you?), but sometimes I forget the part about what we are redeemed FOR.  Christ didn’t pay the ultimate price for us to simply sit around and be forgiven.  If I cost that much – if you cost that much, shouldn’t we want to do more?  Not because we are required to pay it back, because we NEVER would be able to even if we tried – that’s not how it works.  I am simply saying that we should do our best to be transformed and not conformed because it is an act of worship.  We should do this because by being different from the world and by telling the world why, there might just be a few more people in our lives that benefit from being bought back by the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ our Lord.
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Jesus Reconciles

Colossians 1:21 Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds because of your evil actions. 22 But now He has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before Him—
I don’t know about you, but I haven’t often felt alienated – alone maybe, but alienated is such a strong word. I do, however, remember that distinct scary feeling of separation when as a child you look up in Wal-Mart and realize that your Mom or your Dad is no longer standing right beside you. Whether it was because you wandered away or you failed to keep up, you realize that you are separated from the one person that can get you home. You frantically search the aisles crying out “Mommy, Daddy!” and feel that you may never find them on your own. Then, out of the kindness of their heart, or maybe just in the pursuit to get you to stop crying, someone delivers you to the arms of your parent who has been searching for you, waiting, aching for you to come back to them. The last thing on their mind is that you wandered away, their only concern is that you are safe and that you are back where you are loved. This is what Christ does with His blood. Once we accept Him and His help – He delivers us back into the arms of the Father who has been waiting for us to come back to Him. Now in His arms, we also have a responsibility – 2 Corinthians 5:18 Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: We also need to share our story with others so they might know Him – wouldn’t you like to be involved in holding someone’s hand and leading them to the arms of a Father who has so long been waiting for them?

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Jesus Reflects

For the last several weeks, we have been talking about the things for what we have been created. Now, we turn our eyes to Jesus, the perfect example of how we should strive to live our lives. How He reflects God’s nature, His glory, His mission. Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
“Who is Jesus? He is God Himself made visible to all. Praise God! You and I are not condemned to live in the darkness, because He has turned on the Light! Praise God for just giving us Jesus!” Anne Graham Lotz
Have you been thankful for Jesus lately?

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Created to Reign

God created us in His image – to reflect Him and His glory to a lost and dying world, to relate to Him and those around us – to invest in their lives and love them like He would. We were created to work, and love-motivated work is a witness to those with who we come in contact. But work does not have to define our lives to the point where we have no rest from it. Jesus rested while he was here on earth. To what better example can we look? Now, does it surprise you that we were also created to rule? It’s right there in the Creation story… But, “With great power comes great responsibility”. Yes, Michael Gateley I did just break out a Stan Lee reference… or was it Voltaire… or wait… could the basic idea have come from Christ? “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more” Luke 12:48b Leadership is a huge responsibility, no matter what part of your life – your family, your job, school, ministry. Christ is the perfect example of what our leadership should look like. Servant leadership – humble, self-sacrificing. Are there areas in your life that God is calling you to humble leadership?

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Created To Rest

God created us to Work but He also created us to Rest. He set the pattern from the beginning of Creation – this special rhythm of work and rest. We reflect Him by doing both – but why is that we have so much trouble doing the latter sometimes? What do you think makes rest difficult for you? Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

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