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.

As We Close Out 2021

2022As we close out 2021, I’d like for us to look back a few centuries to the year 445 B.C. The place is Jerusalem. For the past one hundred years, returning Israelite exiles have been in Judah. During that time, people built homes. They planted crops. They rebuilt the Temple.

Finally, under the direction of Nehemiah, and despite constant opposition, the walls around the city of Jerusalem were rebuilt.

All the people assembled with one common purpose. They asked Ezra the priestly scribe to read The Book of the Law of Moses. While Ezra read from early morning to noon, the people stood and listened closely.

The next day the people assembled again. They stood for three hours while the Book of the Law of the Lord was read. Then they stood an additional three hours and confessed their sins and worshiped the LORD their God.

During this time, the people remembered their collective history. They recounted how the LORD who is a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and rich in unfailing love never abandoned his people. Even when his people abandoned him.

After the people remembered, they repented. They acknowledged their sins. They admitted that every time God punished his people, he was being just and gave them what they deserved. Which included being sent into Babylonian captivity.

The people rededicated themselves to obeying the Law of the LORD. They recommitted themselves to following the Word of God, and the LORD restored.

But restoration must bring transformation. If it doesn’t, there will be no real change. We’ll be back in the same spot we started in. Unless a heart-change is made, we will continue in the ways which separate us from God’s holiness.

That’s what happened to the Israelites, and that’s what can happen to us if our repentance, rededication, and recommitment do not also contain a transformed heart.

As we close out 2021, let us review God’s Word. Let us remember and recount how God led and carried us through 2021. With repentance, let us rededicate and recommit our lives to following the path God sets before us with a transformed heart to do his will.

I pray God blesses each of you richly in every area of your life as you put him first, and strive to do his will in the upcoming year. Thank you so much for reading what I write each week, and for letting me know how it touches your life. I appreciate you all more than you possibly could imagine.

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These men signed on behalf of the entire nation—for the common people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the choir members, the Temple servants, and all the rest who, with their wives and sons and daughters who were old enough to understand, had separated themselves from the heathen people of the land in order to serve God.  For we all heartily agreed to this oath and vowed to accept the curse of God unless we obeyed God’s laws as issued by his servant Moses. Nehemiah 10:28-29 (TLB)

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

I wish you well.

Sandy

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It’s Almost Christmas

Christmas decorated streetIt’s almost Christmas. Only two more days to go. In nine more days we enter into a new year. How did it get to be the end of 2021 so soon? I’m still trying to figure out what happened to 2020.

With those thoughts in mind, I would like to give you a few quotes to remind us why we celebrate the birth of our Savior, in the hope we remember the reason for the holiday every day throughout 2022.

“Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life.” ~ Corrie Ten Boom

“Christmas is that moment in time when God, in His unconditional love, stepped out of heaven onto earth, in order that we might one day step out of earth into heaven.” ~ Charles F. Stanley

“The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.” ~ C.S. Lewis

“How many observe Christ’s birthday! How few, his precepts! O! ’tis easier to keep holidays than commandments.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

“We tend to focus our attention at Christmas on the infancy of Christ. The greater truth of the holiday is His deity. More astonishing than a baby in the manger is the truth that this promised baby is the omnipotent Creator of the heavens and the earth!” ~ John F. MacArthur, Jr.

“The very purpose of Christ’s coming into the world was that he might offer up his life as a sacrifice for the sins of men. He came to die. This is the heart of Christmas.” ~ Rev. Billy Graham

“The Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as this truth of the Incarnation.” ~ J.I. Packer

Which of these quotes is your favorite?

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He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. John 1:10-14 (NLT)

You can find my December 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!

The Baby In The Manger

manger sceneDuring this season of Christmas, it is easy for us to think only of Jesus as the babe in the manger, and not think of him as God the Son who stood beside God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit when the world was formed out of nothing.

In Genesis 1:26 when God said, “Let us … ” he included both Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

During this season of Christmas, it is easy for us to think only of Jesus as the babe in the manger, and not think of him as the Suffering Savior who took the penalty for our sins on his perfect sinless self so we wouldn’t have to pay the debt we owed.

In Psalm 22:1 David spoke of Christ’s suffering on the cross when he said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” These were the very words Jesus spoke as he hung from the cross of Calvary.

During this season of Christmas, it is easy for us to think only of Jesus as the babe in the manger, and not think of him as the Victor who won the battle over hell, sin, Satan, and death. BOOM! Jesus is the Mighty Warrior who will return and establish his kingdom.

In Revelation 21:6 Jesus says he is “the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.”

As we look at the babe in the manger, let’s remember he is also the one who was and is and is to come. He is Jesus Christ, Messiah, the King of kings and Lord of lords now and forever. Emanuel. The one who is here with us.

Amen?

In all of the festivities of Christmas, do you ever find it difficult to think of the babe in the manger as Jesus Christ the Savior who died 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.

Christ is the Word of Life. He was from the beginning. We have heard Him and have seen Him with our own eyes. We have looked at Him and put our hands on Him. Christ Who is Life was shown to us. We saw Him. We tell you and preach about the Life that lasts forever. He was with the Father and He has come down to us. 1 John 1:1-2 (NLV)

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

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Joseph Was A Noble Man

Mary, Joseph, and Jesus

At this time of year when we focus our attention on the birth of Jesus, something I’ve found to be true is that Joseph, the noble man who became Christ’s earthly father, doesn’t get much recognition. I find that sad.

The Bible doesn’t give many details about Joseph. We are told he was a righteous man, descended from Abraham and David. He was engaged to be married to Mary. When he learned Mary was pregnant, he decided to break the engagement, which was his right.

According to the religious law at the time, he could have publicly humiliated Mary. He could have even gone so far as to have her stoned for her perceived sin, and the embarrassment her pregnancy caused him.

But Joseph was a noble man. He would have none of that. He would divorce Mary quietly. His silence would cover her without any condemnation. I’m sure he understood hurtful, vicious, mean-spirited words and actions would probably be hurled Mary’s way. He loved her. He refused to add to her pain.

Here’s something I hadn’t thought about until recently. Perhaps it’s something you haven’t considered as well. Joseph was just as chosen by God to raise God’s Son as Mary was. Think about that.

God trusted Joseph. He knew Joseph’s character. God knew Joseph was a noble man who would take care, not only of the woman God chose to birth his Son, but also of his Son.

It takes a lot to raise a child who isn’t yours. When Joseph accepted God’s plan for his life, Joseph proved he was up to the challenge right from the start.

Joseph was a noble man who, from what we can tell, wasn’t upset about fading into the background of the Greatest Story ever told.

How do you view Joseph’s role in Jesus’ story?

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This was how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. His mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they were married, she found out that she was going to have a baby by the Holy Spirit. Joseph was a man who always did what was right, but he did not want to disgrace Mary publicly; so he made plans to break the engagement privately. While he was thinking about this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife. For it is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived. She will have a son, and you will name him Jesus—because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:18-21 (GNT)

You can find my December 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!