Pause for Poetry-The Right View

meadow lakeThe Right View

 by Frances Gregory Pasch

Sometimes the grass looks greener

In someone else’s life.

It seems their days run smoother…

There’s much less stress and strife.

Their kids behave much better

Their money provides more.

Their future seems much brighter…

They have blessings by the score.

Yet when I stop to ponder

All that God has done for me,

I need to stop comparing

And get down on my knees.

For I am where He wants me.

There’s a reason for His plans.

and if I want His best for me,

I’ll leave things in His hands.

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You can find my July Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Frances Gregory Pasch’s devotions and poems have been published hundreds of times in devotional booklets, magazines, and Sunday school papers since 1985. Her writing has also appeared in several dozen compilations. Frances’ latest book, Greater Than Gold is available on Amazon. Her first book, Double Vision: Seeing God in Everyday Life Through Devotions and Poetry, which was published when she was eighty years old, is also available on Amazon. Frances has been leading a women’s Christian writers group since 1991 and makes her own holiday greeting cards incorporating her poetry. She and her husband, Jim, have been married since 1958. They have five sons and nine grandchildren. Contact her at http://www.francesgregorypasch.com.

Pause for Poetry-Hold On My Heart In Your Believing

meadow lakeHold On My Heart In Your Believing

selected from Streams in the Desert.

Hold on, my heart, in your believing-

Only the steadfast wins the crown:

He who, when stormy winds are heaving,

Parts with his anchor, will go down;

But he who Jesus holds through all,

Will stand, though Heaven and earth should fall.

Hold on! An end will come to sorrow;

Hope from the dust will conquering rise;

The storm foretells a summer’s morrow;

The Cross points on to Paradise;

The Father reigns! So cease all doubt;

Hold on, my heart. Hold on, hold out.

selected from Streams in the Desert.

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You can find my June Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Seekers, Fact Checkers, and Trend Chasers

John 3:16In the 17th chapter of Acts, we find Paul preaching to three different types of people. Seekers. Fact Checkers. Trend Chasers.

Seekers

As was Paul’s custom, upon arriving in Thessalonica he went to the synagogue service. Three Sabbaths in a row, he used the Scriptures to reason with the people. He explained the prophecies and proved the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead. Paul told his listeners he was telling them about Jesus.

Many Jews, Greeks, and prominent women were persuaded by Paul’s message because he used the Scriptures to prove his case for Christ being the Messiah. Our Risen Savior.

Fact Checkers

From Thessalonica, where he was driven out, Paul traveled to Berea. When he arrived, you guessed it, Paul went to the synagogue to preach Christ crucified.

The Bible tells us the people in Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica. They listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul was teaching the truth. As a result, many Jews and prominent Greek men and women believed.

But those who stirred up trouble against Paul in Thessalonica, followed Paul to Berea. They stirred up trouble there. So, Paul left Berea and went to Athens.

Trend Chasers

In Athens, Paul was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city. He went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles. He spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there. Paul also debated with some of the philosophers. When he told them about Christ’s resurrection, some called him a babbler with strange ideas. Others said he seemed to be preaching about foreign gods.

Then they took Paul to the most learned council of philosophers in the city. They invited Paul to tell them about this new teaching. They told Paul he taught some rather strange things, and they wanted to know all about them.

Acts 17:21NLT says, in parenthesis, (It should be explained that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas.)

The Athenians were professional trend chasers. They spent their time seeking new things. New ideas. New ways. It didn’t matter what those things, ideas, or ways were. If it was new. If it was trendy. They wanted in on it.

At that, Paul gave his great speech. Men of Athens, I notice you are very religious in every way, for as I walked along, I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: To the Unknown God. This God whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about. Paul met the Athenians where they were.

Paul went on to explain who God is and what he expects. Telling them God has set a day for judging the world with justice through Jesus. The man who was raised from the dead.

Some laughed. Some dismissed it, saying they wanted to hear more at a later time. Others joined Paul and became believers.

Seekers. Fact checkers. Trend chasers.

Paul shared facts from Scripture. He let God’s word speak for itself. Some, like the seekers in Thessalonica, believed after Paul explained the Scriptures. Some like the fact checkers in Berea put everything Paul said against Scripture to know if he spoke truth. They were open-minded, willing to receive new truth, but it had to be God’s truth. Not just any willy-nilly thing someone spouted off.

Then we have the Athenians who made it their job to be trend chasers. These folks were so open-minded, they couldn’t distinguish truth from falsehood. It didn’t matter. Just as long as it was new, they chased after it.

Those folks were forever seeking, chasing, looking, but they weren’t interested in finding. What would be the fun in that? If they actually stopped chasing, and settled on the Truth, they’d have to give up their chasing.

In each of these situations recorded in the 17th chapter of Acts, we see people who accepted the truth of who Jesus is. We also see people who didn’t.

What about us? Are we a seeker, a fact checker, or a trend chaser?

Jesus is the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father God except through him.

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So they took Paul, brought him before the city council, the Areopagus, and said, “We would like to know what this new teaching is that you are talking about. Some of the things we hear you say sound strange to us, and we would like to know what they mean.” (For all the citizens of Athens and the foreigners who lived there liked to spend all their time telling and hearing the latest new thing.) Acts 17:19-21 (GNT)

You can find my June Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Pause for Poetry-Waiting

meadow lake

Waiting

by Frances Gregory Pasch

Waiting for answers

Is part of God’s plan

To strengthen our faith

As we rest in His hands.

We don’t like to wait,

We want answers now.

We know He could grant them

He surely knows how.

Yet He puts us on hold

Doesn’t give us a reason

For His plans yield fruit

In His perfect season.

So while we are waiting

We stretch and we grow

For His timing is perfect,

Not fast or too slow.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think
others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media
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You can find my June Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks.

Frances Gregory Pasch’s devotions and poems have been published hundreds of times in devotional booklets, magazines, and Sunday school papers since 1985. Her writing has also appeared in several dozen compilations. Frances’ latest book, Greater Than Gold is available on Amazon. Her first book, Double Vision: Seeing God in Everyday Life Through Devotions and Poetry, which was published when she was eighty years old, is also available on Amazon. Frances has been leading a women’s Christian writers group since 1991 and makes her own holiday greeting cards incorporating her poetry. She and her husband, Jim, have been married since 1958. They have five sons and nine grandchildren. Contact her at http://www.francesgregorypasch.com.

Not Bound By Time

distorted clocksI’m an early riser. I usually wake by 5:00 am. Some of my friends are night owls. This difference in circadian rhythms often means I send an email or text about a prayer need early in the day. They send an email or text with their prayer need later in the evening. Early and late being relative.

While our messages may not be read at the time they are sent, one thing is certain. Whether we send our prayers to God early in the morning, or late at night, he receives them at any hour, no matter when they are sent.

God is not bound by time. He goes before us and comes behind us. He has already walked where we will tread in the future. God knows the present and future before they begin. He knows our thoughts before we speak them. He is aware of when we sit and when we stand. God understands what we need, and provides what is best.

Because God is not bound by time the way we are, when my friends send me a text in the middle of the night requesting prayer, or I send them one early in the morning, and we don’t see the text until later it’s okay.

God hears our prayers before we speak them, and is already working on the answer. Answers may not come immediately. They may not come in the way we hoped. But in God’s time and in his Sovereignty, they are heard and answered.

Revelation tells us the prayers of God’s holy people ascend as an offering before God’s throne where they are kept safe. We may pray for years for a specific person or a specific need. We may become discouraged when we don’t see our prayers answered.

We may never see how God works in our prayers, but we don’t need to. What we need to do is believe God sees, he hears, and in hearing, he acts. God is not dismissive of our prayer requests. He actively works to answer them.  

Take heart, my friend. The God who is not bound by time as we are, sees you. He hears you. He acts on your behalf for the best outcome.

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Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Revelation 8:3-4 (NIV)

You can find my April Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Any Shackles Holding You Back?

broken chainsAny shackles holding you back from being the person God created you to be? You know. Those shackles we allow to define us and keep us from completing the work God calls us to. The shackles we permit Satan to wrap around us that trap us.

Maybe we’ve allowed the shackles of our mistakes to make us feel unworthy of God’s love. Perhaps it’s the shackles of our stiff-necked attitudes that keep us from softening our hearts towards others. Our shackles might be Satan’s lies of doubt, discouragement, and defeat.

The shackles bind and restrict, yet we falsely believe we will never break free. We get beat down over and over and over by life events, and it becomes difficult to stand back up. One thing right smack dab after another.

We’re bound by chains that remind us of everything that’s gone wrong. When that happens, we sometimes find it difficult to lift our hands in praise to Jesus for everything that’s gone right.

But you know what?

It’s in the praising we release those shackles that bind and hurt. Those shackles that hold us back from being who God created us to be. It’s in the praising we send the devil running. It’s in the praising we glorify God.

It might not come easy at first. It takes repeated practice. But that’s where Jesus enters with the key that unlocks our hurts, pains, suffering, and sorrow.

Jesus never promised those who followed him would live a life free of pain. On the contrary, he said his followers would have trouble in this world. He also told his followers to be encouraged.

Why? Because Christ overcame the world through his death and resurrection.

Any shackles holding you back? Anything binding and restricting you from being the person you were created to be? Perhaps it’s time to shake off those shackles and get your praise on.

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Suddenly an angel of the Lord stood there, and a light shone in the cell. The angel shook Peter by the shoulder, woke him up, and said, “Hurry! Get up!” At once the chains fell off Peter’s hands. Acts 12:7 (GNT)

You can find my April Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

At Such A Time As This

Dear Friends.

At such a time as this, though the mountains should crumble and fall into the sea, God remains in control and on his throne. He is our refuge and our strength, a tested help in times of trouble. (Psalm 40:1)

The LORD is still in his holy temple. He still rules from heaven. He closely watches everything that happens here on earth. (Psalm 11:4-5)

I look to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD. The Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2)

When we go out to fight our enemies, and face an army greater than our own, the LORD our God goes with us. He will fight for us. (Deuteronomy 20:1-4)

Some nations boast of armies and weaponry, but Father, our boast is in you alone. (Psalm 20:7)

Father, we need your peace. Peace only you can give. You, O LORD, will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you. All whose thoughts are fixed on you. (Isaiah 26:3)

We cry out to you our Jehovah Nissi. The One who fights for us. We cry out, and you hear from your Temple. You watch over us we pray. Although ten thousand enemies surround us on every side, help us not to be afraid. (Psalm 3:4-6)

O, Father, we praise you because we know you hear us and act on our behalf. You alone are our strength, our shield, our mighty fortress. With joy and thanksgiving, we praise you for what you have done, what you are doing, and what you will do on our behalf. (Psalm 28:6-7)

Father, help us be strong and courageous. Keep us from being afraid or frightened because of them. For you, LORD, go with us. You will never leave or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

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Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid. John 14:27 (GNT)

You can find my February Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

 

Practical Advice on How to Study the Bible

man reading BibleWith a new year just getting underway, perhaps you are looking for practical advice on how to study the Bible. Taken from Corrie ten Boom’s writings in the book God is My Hiding Place, here are some suggestions which might help.

  • Realize the Bible is God’s love letter to you. It is a living book full of rich treasures.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit for his help in reading it.
  • Choose a book to study and read one chapter or part of a chapter.
  • Ask yourself what the most beautiful verse was to you and why.
  • Look through the passage again and consider whether there is a promise for you in that section. A verse that seems to leap from the page and excite you or fill you with faith.
  • Examine the passage to see if there is a warning in it that you need to pay attention to or implement in your life.
  • Ask yourself whether a prayer came into your heart while reading a particular verse of section.

Corrie concludes that Bible study is not difficult. Understanding the Bible does not depend on the wisdom of our minds. We must not worry about what we do not understand in the Bible. Instead, we should be concerned about what we do understand but do not live by.

Amen?

Do you have a particular method for studying the Bible? What has and what has not worked for you?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right. It is God’s way of making us well prepared at every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (TLB)

You can find my January Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Photo by Aaron Owens on Unsplash.

Desperate for Healing

hands lifted upwardThe woman’s story is recorded in Luke 8 and Mark 5. It is a story of a woman with faith who was desperate for healing. It is a story of divine power and love. It is a story of a blessing freely given.

For twelve years the woman bled without relief. For twelve years she visited physicians who took her money but did little to help. For twelve years this woman suffered not only from the physical effects of her condition, but also the societal effects from a people who labeled her unclean.

As someone labeled unclean, the woman was not allowed inside the Temple. She was not supposed to be around anyone without loudly announcing, “Unclean. Unclean.” She was not supposed to be in crowds of people. And she especially was not to touch a male who wasn’t a relative; let alone a Rabbi.

Yet, in her desperation to have her weakened body healed, she risked everything, including her life, to approach Jesus in the crowd.

Ostracized for her condition, she didn’t want to draw attention to herself. She knew Jesus was her only hope. If she could just sneak in and touch the tassel on the hem of his garment, she knew her bleeding would stop. Once she touched Jesus’ garment, her plan was to leave unnoticed.

As soon as the woman’s hand touched Jesus’ cloak, healing the woman desperately sought and believed she had to steal was freely given. When Jesus felt power leave him, he asked who touched him.

In the crowd, lots of people touched Jesus, but only this woman was healed. Jesus could have gone on his way without requesting the woman show herself, but he didn’t. He refused to move until the woman presented herself to him.

We need to remember, Jesus knew who touched him. In fact, he knew since the beginning of time she would. His asking who touched the tassel on the hem of his cloak was for the woman’s benefit, not his.

What the woman hoped to keep private was now made public. Luke says, “In front of everyone.” Her very personal problem/issue/concern was out there for everyone to weigh in on. Plus the fact her failure to announce “unclean” put her in a position to be stoned. All because she was desperate for healing.

Even though all this happened as Jesus was on his way to bring Jairus’ 12-year-old daughter back to life, he would not budge until he spoke to the woman face to face. He would not dismiss her as others in her life had done. He wanted to make sure she understood he saw her and valued her.

This woman had worth in Christ’s eyes. She was not merely a nameless face in the crowd. She mattered greatly to the Son of God. By refusing to move until the woman came before him, Jesus offered her something more than physical healing. Something important. He offered her spiritual healing. By talking to her face to face, Jesus showed he cared for the woman and her concerns.

The woman with the issue of blood was desperate for healing. Healing Jesus gave freely. After the woman fell before Jesus, he told her to go in peace. Her suffering was over.

Oh my goodness gracious. That brings tears to my eyes. After twelve long years of suffering on so many levels, Jesus told this precious woman to go in peace. Her suffering was over.

As the Great Physician, Jesus heals all our hurts. His blessings are freely given when we seek him out, come humbly before him, and acknowledge he alone is able.

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Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done.  And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.” Mark 5:33-34 (NLT)

You can find my January Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Pause for Poetry-Chance Has Not Brought This Ill

meadow lake

Today’s Pause for Poetry-Chance Has Not Brought This Ill, is selected from Streams in the Desert.

Chance has not brought this ill to me;

It’s God’s own hand, so let it be,

For He sees what I cannot see.

There is a purpose for each pain,

And He one day will make it plain

That earthly loss is heavenly gain.

Like as a piece of tapestry

Viewed from the back appears to be

Only threads tangled hopelessly;

But in the front a picture fair

Rewards the worker for his care,

Proving his skill and patience rare.

You are the Workman, I the frame.

Lord, for the glory of Your name,

Perfect Your image on the same.

Selected from Streams in the Desert

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You can find my January Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy Please sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks.