Tuesday, May 14, 2019

PROVERBS 24:16 YOU CAN'T KEEP A GOOD MAN (OR WOMAN) DOWN

YOU CAN’T KEEP A GOOD MAN
(OR WOMAN) DOWN

Don’t interfere with good people’s lives;
    don’t try to get the best of them.
No matter how many times you trip them up,
    God-loyal people don’t stay down long;
Soon they’re up on their feet,
    while the wicked end up flat on their faces.
Proverbs 24:16 (MSG)

Obviously, Satan didn’t heed this advice. We are writing this tonight while Susie is in a severe flare of an as-yet-undiagnosed problem which may be lupus. Meanwhile, Susan is having such severe spasms and the sensation of lightning bolts in her legs (remnants, as she calls them) that she periodically cries out to Jesus so loud Susie is afraid the neighbors will call the police to say she is being harmed. However, we are determined not to be held down by our trials. Just as our Lord reached into the waves to lift Peter up when his faith waned, we know our Jesus will enable and empower us to continue doing what He has called us to do. According to Paul’s inspired words in Philippians 4:13 (AMPC), Jesus literally infuses us with His strength. “I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].” Satan may stick his foot out to trip us, or we may just trip ourselves up by straying from the path Jesus has shown us to travel. However, our God does not expect us to pick ourselves up and dust off on our own. Like a loving Father walking beside His toddler, our God reaches down and lifts us up, gets us to our feet, and sets us back on the right path when we place our trust in Him. “And even though you trip up, you will not fall on your face because He holds you by the hand, (Psalm 37:24 VOICE).

Father, help us to live out the truth that You have shown us. Help us to fully rely on You and Your strength to help us faithfully carry on in the work to which You have called us no matter the circumstances or trials of each day. Thank You, Jesus, for holding our hands. 


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

2 CORINTHIANS 12:9 BECAUSE OF JESUS, WHEELS OF WEAKNESS BECOME WHEELS OF WONDER


BECAUSE OF JESUS,
WHEELS OF WEAKNESS
BECOME WHEELS OF WONDER

But he answered me,
“My grace is always 
more than enough for you,
and my power finds its full expression 
through your weakness.”
So I will celebrate my weaknesses, 
for when I’m weak I sense more deeply
the mighty power of Christ living in me.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (TPT)

Susie: When Susan and I first began developing the website for Precious Jewels Ministries, she was reluctant to be pictured showing her wheelchair. She was adamant that she was not a cerebral palsied minister but a minister who happened to have CP.

Susan: My tendency was always to hide or minimize my cerebral palsy for fear I would be set in a corner as “disabled” or written off as incapable. One of my mantras has always been “I have CP, but it doesn’t have me because I belong to Jesus and Jesus alone.” My other zinger was “We are not the sum of our challenges, but the sum of our spiritual gifts and talents from God.”

Susie: Those two statements are still very true about Susan. However, she has come to realize there is value in presenting herself complete with the limitations of her disabilities.

Susan: Allowing people to see me as I am with a multitude of limitations in my earth-suit exalts the power of Christ who enables me to overcome. Therefore, I will gladly be photographed in my bold, pink power chair and even allowed my pastor to video me sharing a testimony from my bed about tithing and giving.

Susie: Susan, like the Apostle Paul, has learned to boast in or celebrate her weaknesses so that people may see the grace and glory of God working through her life.

Father, remind us that Your power shines through our weaknesses. Help us always to point to Your grace and glory rather than our own strengths. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

PROVERBS 20:15 PRECIOUS JEWELS IN THE TREASURE CHEST OF GOD’S WORD

PRECIOUS JEWELS
IN THE TREASURE CHEST
OF GOD’S WORD

There is gold, and a multitude of rubies:
but the lips of knowledge
are a precious jewel.
Proverbs 20:15 (KJV)

Gold and rubies bring a high price, and we can put a value on them based on size and purity. However, the value of wise words is inestimable. Gold and precious stones are abundant compared to finding someone who truly speaks wisdom on a consistent basis. If we find a wise friend of whom to seek counsel, we are blessed indeed. However, in most of our homes, we have the greatest jewel of wisdom ever written—the Holy Bible. Do we display it like the crown jewels of England or is it hidden from view? Or do we carry it ostentatiously to church each Sunday, wearing it like we would a ruby bracelet but never open it at home? Do we mine its wisdom daily by reading it, pondering it, memorizing it, and praying the Lord will sink its wisdom into our hearts? Or does it gather dust on the bookshelf until another Sunday rolls around? Our brothers and sisters in countries where Christians are actively persecuted treasure God’s word with their lives. They will risk everything to own even a few pages of a Bible and painstakingly copy those pages to share with others. Lips that speak knowledge, that share wisdom from the word of God, are a precious jewel. Are my lips jewels or are they fools gold?

Father, place Your purifying fire on our lips as you did for Isaiah that we may speak wisdom that can only come from You. Help us to immerse ourselves daily in Your word in order to mine the precious jewels of wisdom found there. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

LUKE 21:4 THE GIFT OF BEING ABLE TO GIVE

THE GIFT OF BEING ABLE TO GIVE

For all these have of their abundance
cast in unto the offerings of God:
but she of her penury hath cast in
all the living that she had.
Luke 21:4

There is a little used word in the King James version of this verse. We know from the context (and more sermons than we can count) that the widow was impoverished; but we wanted to know the exact definition of “penury” and turned to our favorite dictionary for the answer:

American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828.

PEN'URY, noun [Latin penuria, from Gr. needy.]—Want of property; indigence; extreme poverty.

We both agreed that we had always pictured the widow as elderly, but as we searched for artist’s interpretations of the scene, many pictured her as still raising children. The Bible does not indicate her age at all. She may have been a young widow whose sons were not old enough to aid in her support or an elderly widow who either had no children or had outlived them. Neither Susan nor I are widowed, but we are single with a small income. We can identify with this woman who had a heart for God. She did not struggle to pay a tithe of what she had but generously, graciously gave it all. What faith! We are both convicted that we must give with an attitude of trusting rather than testing God. We both tithe, and we also give a tenth from the donations we receive for Precious Jewels Ministries to our local church. When the Lord impresses upon us to give above the tithe either to some program of our church, to another ministry endeavor, or to someone with greater need than we have, we give it and trust God to provide for us. Whether it be a meal shared with us, clothes given to us, or money sent by a friend just at our time of greatest need, God has always taken care of us.

Father, giving is one of the most enjoyable things about living for us. Our salvation, the opportunity to teach, and the privilege of giving all give us a rush. Thank You for providing for all our needs and enabling us to share with others. 


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

JOHN 20:18a I HAVE SEEN THE LORD!



I Have Seen the Lord!

KSH, 7/29/16

Mary thought it was the gardener when she turned around,

She asked where Jesus’ body was which she had not yet found.

But when the Lord answered her, calling her by name,

She immediately recognized Jesus, and then she exclaimed,

“Rabboni,” which means “my teacher,” and fell at His feet.

Jesus urged her not to cling to Him, giving her a message to repeat

That He would soon be returning to be with God the Father,

But at the first the disciples thought women were a bother.

A woman’s testimony would not hold up in their courts of law,

But Jesus turned the tables when women were the first who saw

The resurrected Savior standing before them in human skin.

According to Mark’s gospel, Jesus reproached those unbelieving men.

Mary Magdalene, who had been delivered from demons by Jesus Christ

Had the extreme privilege to be the first to see Him alive!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

MATTHEW 27:50-51a THROUGH THE VEIL



THROUGH THE VEIL

Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
 And, behold, the veil of the temple 
was rent in twain
from the top to the bottom.
Matthew 27:50-51a (KJV)

Having therefore, brethren, boldness
to enter into the holiest
 by the blood of Jesus, 
By a new and living way,
which he hath consecrated for us, 
through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.
Hebrews 10:19-20 (KJV)

At the very moment Jesus breathed His last on the cross, a miracle occurred. The veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Temple in Jerusalem was torn from top to bottom. This was nothing a person could accomplish. This veil was thick enough that it was completely opaque (no one was allowed into or could even look into this holy place except the high priest once a year on the Day of Atonement). It was as much as sixty feet tall. Therefore, scaffolding would have to be built to start tearing it from top to bottom! This is an impressive miracle, but it was merely a symbol of the greater miracle Jesus accomplished by His death on the cross and resurrection from the grave on the third day. The way to the Holy of Holies in the Temple was physically exposed by the tearing of the veil, but access to the true Holiest place where God is seated upon His throne was opened to us by the tearing of Jesus’s flesh when He was scourged and then nailed to the cross. Because of the blood of the Prince of Peace, we have peace with God. Because of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, we become the sheep of the Great Shepherd. Because God gave His Son to die in our place, we can become children of the Heavenly Father. Because the veil, Jesus’s body, was torn we can be raised from the walking death of our sin to a new, eternal, joyous life in which we can boldly approach the Holy, All-Powerful God through prayer.

Father, thank You for giving all who believe and trust in Jesus the ability to bring our cares to You, to approach You boldly as Your own children. Our redemption cost the blood of Your Son. May we be thankful each day for the miracle of Your grace. 


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

LUKE 22:41-42 THY WILL BE DONE

THY WILL BE DONE

And he was withdrawn from them
about a stone's cast,
and kneeled down, and prayed,
Saying, Father, if thou be willing,
 remove this cup from me:
 nevertheless not my will,
but thine, be done.
Luke 22:41-42 (KJV)

From the beginning, Jesus was set upon doing God’s will. From leaving Heaven to be born of a virgin to His death on the cross, Jesus was being obedient to His Father (Philippians 2:6-8, John 5:30). At twelve years old, Jesus told His earthly parents that He must “be about my Father’s business” (Luke 2:49). When He taught His disciples to pray, He instructed them to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). In John chapter 17, Jesus prayed for His disciples and all who would follow Him in the future that they would be “one” with Him and the Father, that we would seek God’s will. The ultimate test of Jesus’s willingness to surrender to the will of the Father was in the Garden of Gethsemane. He agonized in prayer over the ordeal He knew awaited Him, a temporary separation from the love of His Father as He bore the weight of our sins upon the cross. Luke records the intensity of His prayer: “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). However, in the end, Jesus submitted to the Father’s will knowing it was the divine plan to rescue us from sin and death. Do we, too, have the courage to pray, “Not my will, but Yours be done”. It is only possible when we are infused with the strength and power of Jesus (Philippians 4:13).

Father, please reveal Your will for us in each decision we face. Then give us the strength to carry out Your will rather than resorting to our own ways. 


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

JOHN 2:16-17 JESUS'S ZEAL

Jesus’ Zeal

The Father’s house, God’s temple,
Was supposed to be a house of prayer.
Jesus was righteously angry
When He saw the merchants there.
They were selling sacrificial animals,
Robbing the people with the price.
They were exchanging money unfairly
At high rates instead of what should suffice.
Jesus shocked many people
As He fashioned a whip out of cords.
He drove those robbers out of the court,
And His disciples remembered these words:
“Zeal for your house will consume me,”
The Psalmist, a prophet, had penned.
The temple was built as a house of prayer,
And this purpose Jesus had to defend.

        We don’t often picture an angry Jesus in our minds, but Jesus had had enough! The temple, His Father’s house, was being used as a place of buying and selling, merchandising. The merchants were not thinking of how they could be of service to the worshipers, but were thinking, “How much revenue can I walk away with this Passover when everybody has come in from the countryside to sacrifice?” The people were between a rock and a hard place because the men exchanging Roman coins for temple coins charged an unfair rate, and only temple coins could be used. Outraged, Jesus turned over tables, scattered doves, and used a whip to drive out those thieves!
        God’s house is supposed to be a place of intimate worship, prayer, offerings, and praise. How can we prepare our hearts to reverence God’s house each time we enter?     


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

LUKE 19:38 PARADE OF THE PRINCE OF PEACE

PARADE OF
THE PRINCE OF PEACE 

Saying, Blessed be the King
that cometh in the name of the Lord:
peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
Luke 19:38 (KJV)

The crowd lauded Jesus as King. They had the expectation that He would conquer the occupying Romans and set up an earthly kingdom immediately. They quoted from Psalm 118:26 which was widely accepted as a Messianic Psalm. The people were praising Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah who would bring peace. However, they did not understand the kind of peace He offered. The angel who announced the Messiah’s arrival to the shepherds when Jesus was born proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14). The angel did not announce an absence of war or strife. He said there would be peace for those who trusted in God. As Jesus rode the colt in His coronation procession, He knew what the peace they were shouting about would cost Him—His death on the cross—in a few short days. The One they thought would raise up an army to conquer Rome, would be nailed naked to a Roman cross and be raised up for the people to see His agony and shame. When they spoke of peace, they had no idea of its price. The peace Jesus purchased as the final, perfect sacrificial Lamb is the ability to be at peace and in an intimate Father/child relationship with the Creator of the universe! Do you have this peace? It is offered to all who believe that Jesus is the Son of God, born of a virgin to live a sinless life on earth, who died on the cross to pay the penalty of our sin, and was raised from the grave three days later. Jesus now sits at the right-hand of God the Father in Heaven. You may have the peace and harmony with the Lord that Jesus died for by placing your trust in Him alone.

Father, thank You for saving us by Your grace and giving us the faith to entrust our lives to Jesus. Thank you for the peace we enjoy even when life is creating all types of storms around us, the peace of knowing we are in Your hands, and You will never let us go. 


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

PROVERBS 17:3 ACCEPTABLE OFFERING

ACCEPTABLE OFFERING

The fining pot is for silver,
and the furnace for gold:
but the Lord trieth the hearts.
Proverbs 17:3 (KJV)

And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver,
that they may offer unto the Lord
an offering in righteousness.
Malachi 3:3 (KJV)

We are the offering to the Lord. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). In order to be an acceptable offering we must be purified. Jesus cleanses us from sin when we surrender to Him. However, we still commit sins which affect our daily relationship with the Father. We are saved the moment we receive the gift of God’s grace, but we are also continually being saved, being conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29), which is called sanctification. We will be totally freed from sin only in our resurrected bodies. The method the Holy Spirit uses to sanctify us is sometimes as painful as being put in a crucible to have the dross melted away. It is through the various trials we face in life. As we weather the storms of life trusting in Jesus, we are made purer and stronger. As we submit to the Father in all things, we become that acceptable, living sacrifice offered up to Him daily. As the old hymn asks, “Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?”

Father, help us to recognize trials as Your means of conforming us to the image of Your Son. Help us always to seek and obey Your will in the middle of our most trying times. Help us to sacrifice our own wills daily and not try to squirm off of the altar.