Mary Crisp Jameson - copyright material







Friday, March 17, 2017

Forgiveness

     There was a time when I found it harder to forgive than I do today, although there are still times I struggle with forgiveness.  It is the One who has the power to work within me who enables me to be more forgiving.  I am reminded in Matthew 19:26, "...with God all things are possible.”
     When I ask myself why I even need to forgive, I have the following reasons:
1.  I need to forgive because God forgives me.
2.  I am being obedient to God's instructions when I forgive.
3.  Forgiving helps me grow spiritually.
4.  Forgiveness creates a heart of love rather than one of prejudice and hatred which would rob me of my own joy. 
5.  Just as anger controls me, a lack of forgiveness can control me too. 

     When I struggle with forgiveness, the following scriptures help to restore my thinking and get me on the right path. 

      Colossians 3:13 "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

    Matthew 6:14-15  " For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

     Luke 17:3-4  "So watch yourselves.  “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.  Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

     Ephesians 4:31-32 "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."


     Luke 6:37  "Do not judge, and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven."

   

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Beginning

     It's March and Spring is showing off!  The array of colorful tulips are dotting flower beds,  The beautiful yellow buttercups and daffodils,  touched with tones of yellow, orange, and white, have almost disappeared.   Pink, red, and white azaleas are beginning to show their colors.  The trees are budding, preparing for their new window dressings.   
     When God created this great universe, He lovingly gave us so many wonders to see every day. 
     The seasons are given special creative touches.  I recognize Summer when I feel the warmth grow hotter, yet I enjoy the butterflies donned with hairstreaks of black, yellow, and emperor purple.  I enjoy the bluebirds, busily feeding their off springs.  I am in awe when Fall follows, and the trees give out a host of oranges, reds, and yellow just before losing their colorful clothing, followed by Winter which shows off a silhouette of bare branches beneath a clear blue sky. 
     There is no way I can began to describe the natural beauty that the Creator gave us when He formed this world or even the daily, loving tender care the Gardener performs daily.  Not only does He continue to care for His creation through the weather changes with refreshing rains, summer droughts, and winter snows, but He cares for me.  He prunes me daily, preparing me for His work.  It is up to me to love Him back, do a work for Him, put on my coat of many colors - spread my wings and fly.  

The Beginning

The canvas was blank, void of any light,
Then the artist covered it with a frosting of white.
He added colors; some orange, green, and blue;
From there, the picture grew.
 
 Behold! The division between earth and sky-
It was going to be a masterpiece for the human eye.
There were lakes, rivers, seas, and ocean,
And the waves rose up in motion.
 
The earth was filled with grass and trees;
All as beautiful as the great blue seas.
The canvas was splashed in colors of every hue;
There was day and night, yet He wasn't through.
 
He stroked in the stars, the moon, and the sun,
But still He was not done.
The artist's hands added life of every form;
There were seasons. both cold and warm.
 
In His touch beauty sprang forth
From the east, west, south and the north.
This was a picture interwoven from His heart and soul.
 
Nothing was He going to withhold.
He painted sunrays, moonbeams, and stars shining bright.
He painted and stroked to make it just right;
This masterpiece, He was painting with love-
Giving all life would be unworthy of.
 
A piece of art created by the Master's hand;
A canvas covered with all He had planned.
                                                                          Mary Crisp Jameson

"And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day."  Geneses 1:31

 

 

 

 

  

Monday, February 27, 2017

Love and the Cross

     We often read stories that warm the heart.  Usually, most are the result of courage and love.  That's as it should be, for one of the greatest characteristics we can develop in life is love. 

     1 Corinthians 13:13, "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 

     Within the same chapter we are told just what love is:  " If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. ..."

Other people have said:  
     "Love is when the other person's happiness is more important than your own."
     "Love isn't love until you give it away."
     "Love will find a way."

     The above quotes are all good characteristics of love, but the one true example of love was when Jesus loved everyone enough to spread out His arms and allow the nails to pierce His hands.  What we have to remember is that Jesus was not forced upon the cross. 

     John 10:17b-18,  "I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” 

     His death was planned,  His method of death was planned, and His place of death was planned.  It was all pre-appointed! 

     John 3:16,  "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Friday, February 24, 2017

Do Prayers Expire?

     When I woke this morning and started planning the day, I decided my task for the day would be to toss out those expired salad dressings, relishes, and other food items that had accumulated in the shelves of my refrigerator door.  Then I would tackle the medicine cabinet.  This seemed like a good plan, but first I needed to make a trip to the gym for a good workout. 
    On the return trip home, I spotted a sign on the church parking lot which read,  "Prayers Do Not Expire."   Since expiration  dates were on my mind, I was a little awed by this simple reminder on prayer life and expiration dates.
     You might ask, "If prayers don't expire, why are they not always answered?"  All I can say is that God already has a plan for us, but he still wants us to pray.  "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on 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."  (Jeremiah 29:11-13)   We are also told to "Pray without ceasing." (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

      In researching prayer further, I also came across a few in Revelations.  I interpret these verses to mean that our prayers are on record forever; they do not expire.   Read these verses and you decide.  

      Revelation 5:8, "And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.

      Revelation 8:3 "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."

     Revelation 8:4, "The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand."

     When I see Jesus, face to face, my desire is that my prayers be filled with praise for Him, that they be filled with thankfulness, that they not be just about me, my wishes and desires, but about others as well, and that they be filled with God's desires for all mankind.   
    
 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Mind

     The mind is powerful!  It's a tool to a healthy lifestyle, and a light to the personality.  
          My thoughts create within me courage, meekness, and determination. 
          My thoughts turn negatives into positive attitudes, creating happiness and well-being.
          My thoughts are what make me a more loving individual and a willing forgiver.
          My thoughts assist in turning enemies into friends.
          My thoughts help to see the other side, and makes for a less critical nature.
     In essence, my mindful thoughts make me who I am and what I am.  My actions from these thoughts can have an impact on not only changing me for the better, but also changing others.
     By creating healthy thoughts, I can show my light to the world.  Matthew 5:16, "...let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
     I am reminded about courage which is developed from healthy thoughts.  In Numbers 13:30 "Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it."   Caleb had positive thoughts, courageous thoughts, and determined thoughts.  All the others were frightened, and most said, "We can't...We are not strong enough."  This led to 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.   I have to interject that the people were right when they said, "We are not strong enough."  They needed to trust in God to make them strong.  The mind is not powerful enough to do all that is required to develop a healthy mindful approach to life without God first in our thoughts. 
     The question I have to ask myself is, "Where will my mind lead me today?  Will I let God be first in my thoughts?  Will I trust enough to 'let go and let God' strengthen my mind and mature my thoughts"

     Psalm 10:4 "In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God." 
     Psalm 13:2  "How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?"



    
 
      

Friday, February 17, 2017

A Cool Drink of Water


 
     If anyone really wants a refreshing, cool drink of water, try a relationship with God.  John 4:14 "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." 
 
     The following was taken from In Touch.  I wanted to share it because it is so meaningful. 
 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day

     Valentine's Day is associated with love, heart shaped designs, and cupids.  But, what is love?  1 Corinthians not only defines it for us but tell is what we are without it.  "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing." 
     "Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous, love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly, it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth, bears all things, endures all things.  Love never fails..."
     There is no greater love that has ever been shown than when Jesus laid down His life for me.  Jesus even prayed for me as He hung upon that cross when he asked in agony, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."  
     Other examples of love which we can apply to our lives today are: 
     In Luke 15, we read about the Parable of the Lost Son (Patience and Forgiveness).  The Father, who had waited patiently for his son to return from his riotous living, instantly forgave him and celebrated with him.   
     In Luke 10, we are given the Parable of the good Samaritan (Neighborly Love) who seeing a man that had been beaten and robbed had compassion.  He bound up the stranger's wounds, carried him to an inn, and took care of him. 
     In John 11, we are given the story of Lazarus and his death.  When Jesus saw the anguish of Lazarus's family and friends, "He wept."  (Compassion)
     There are so many deeds people do to show love, but sadly the news seldom shares these stories. Yet, love is written on the hearts of many, many people.  They have followed the words given in Proverbs 3:3, "Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart."