Father’s Day re-blog

 

 

I was going to write about Father’s Day today when I realized that everything I had wanted to say, I had already said in last year’s post on Father’s Day. So here is the link to last year’s post:¬†Father’s Day

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY ūüôā

Pro 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it. 

Col 3:21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they be discouraged. 

Eph 6:4 And fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 

(Image from fathersdayprintables.com)

 

Grace vs. Mercy

Image result for grace and mercy

In a recent Bible study of the Book of Job, the question arose as to the difference between God’s mercy and God’s grace.

A word study of the definitions of both those terms may lead one to believe that they both mean one and the same thing. Although there are similarities, there are some major differences.

Webster’s Dictionary of 1828 defines grace¬†as:

1. Favor; good will; kindness; disposition to oblige another; as a grant made as an act of grace.

2. Appropriately, the free unmerited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all the benefits men receive from him.

Whereas mercy is defined as:

1. That benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant. In this sense, there is perhaps no word in our language precisely synonymous with mercy. That which comes nearest to it is grace. It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being.

 

In simpler terms,” grace is God giving us something we do not deserve; while mercy is God not giving us something we do deserve.” [in a punishment sense] (Compelling Truth¬†)

Rom 5:15 But, not as the offence so also is the free gift; for if by the offence of the one the many did die, much more did the grace of God, and the free gift in grace of the one man Jesus Christ, abound to the many;

Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under Law, but under grace. 

Grace has often been defined as “unmerited favour”, meaning that we have done nothing to earn or deserve it.

Rom 11:6 But if by grace, then it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it is of works, then it is no more of grace; otherwise work is no more work. 

 

Mercy basically means that God does not give us “our just desserts” – or the punishment we deserve when we have done something that we shouldn’t have or not done something we should have.

Psa 103:10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
Psa 103:11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so is His mercy toward those who fear Him.

Eph. 2:4,5 His great love with which He loved us, (even when we were dead in sins)


The apostle Paul says this about himself and the mercy extended to him:

1Ti 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who strengthened me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry–
1Ti 1:13 the one who before [as Saul] was a blasphemer and a persecutor and insolent. But I obtained mercy, because being ignorant, I did it in unbelief.

 

Grace and mercy are two important aspects of God’s character.

Psa 86:15 But You, O God, are God full of pity, and gracious, long-suffering, and rich in mercy and truth.

Psa 103:8 Jehovah is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and rich in mercy.

Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us
Eph 2:5 (even when we were dead in sins) has made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved),
Eph 2:6 and has raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus,

 

I pray that you will acknowledge God’s mercy and accept His grace in your life.

2Jn 1:3 Grace will be with you, mercy and peace from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

Blessings

(Image credit:¬†‚Äú56: Daily Inspirational Bible Verse‚ÄĚ by¬†Tito & Eva MarieBalangue¬†(CC BY 2.0)¬†via Pediaa.Com)

Sweet Fellowship

Act 2:42 And they were continuing steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, and in fellowship and in the breaking of the loaves, and in prayers.

I really enjoy hosting a gathering of friends over a cup of tea and a plate of yummy baked goodies. Although I have wanted to host regular gatherings this past year, it always seemed like something would happen that interfered with my plans. Finally, this past week I have been able to host a tea on two separate occasions.

At the first one, I invited the gals from a home Bible study that I attend which is hosted by a dear friend and sister-in-Christ. She is a wonderful baker and always has some tasty treat for us to enjoy during study. (My waist says no-no but my mouth says yes-yes!)

I didn’t want to serve store bought goodies but I am not the best of bakers ( I blame it on my very temperamental oven) so I wasn’t sure what I should make. Since I don’t bake very often (called the “if I don’t have it I won’t eat it diet strategy”) I don’t have a wide variety of ingredients. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money so I wanted to find recipes using ingredients I had on hand. I decided to try some “no-bake” recipes that I had saved from Pinterest (gotta love Pinterest!).

I was able to “whip up” three different recipes in a couple of hours and re-use most of the same dishes and utensils without having to wash dishes in-between recipes. (Gotta love that!) I started with¬†Chocolate Coconut Cups¬†and while they were setting up in the freezer I made¬†3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Oat Squares. Then I got my hands dirty rolling ¬†Pumpkin Spice Latte Bites¬†. Plus, I already had a batch of gluten free¬†Blender Banana Oatmeal Muffins¬†in the freezer.

My second tea was more of a breakfast so I made a large pan of Baked Oatmeal with mixed berries. I served it warm topped with Astro Original Coconut Yogurt. We use this thick, creamy yogurt in place of whipped cream and it is absolutely delish! The Baked Oatmeal was a hit, even with two of the gals who dislike oatmeal!

Both teas were filled with sweet treats, sweet sisters-in-Christ and sweet fellowship. Fellowship with like-minded ladies is a real blessing to me.

For several reasons, I don’t attend church. Yes, as shocking as it may seem to some Christians, I am a Christian who doesn’t go to church. In the “good ol’ days” (??) I may have been labelled as “back – slidden” because I didn’t attend church. It would seem that regular church attendance is required in order to be considered a Christian. However, I have yet to find the scripture wherein God commands that we attend church.

Instead, I believe that Christians have been called to have fellowship – with God, with Jesus, and with one another.

1Co 1:9 God is faithful, by whom you were called to the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

1Jn 1:3 that which we have seen and heard we declare unto you, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

“Fellowship” in these verses comes from the Greek word¬†koinonia¬†and means “partnership, participation, communication, distribution and fellowship”.

When I get together for tea with my “sistas”, we are partners in our faith in Jesus Christ and in praying for one another. We participate by bringing along goodies to share with one another. We enjoy a real good ol’ “chin wag” with one another as we discuss (communicate) a wide variety of subjects as they pertain to our daily walk of faith. We distribute love for one another, share wisdom, and offer encouragement.

All these things combine to give us sweet fellowship with one another.

Fellowship doesn’t need a specific day, time or place. It can take place anytime and anywhere our daily lives bring us together – street corners, Post Office, grocery store, playground, living room or around the kitchen table. I think that we can even enjoy a type of fellowship through the use of tools like social media. I use email, Messenger, Facebook and my blog to reach out to others with love, support, encouragement and hope. And I receive the same back from others.

God did not command , “Thou shalt attend church on Sundays”. Rather, He invited us to have a daily, personal fellowship with Himself, His son Jesus, and with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

And you may even get to enjoy some sweet treats along with the sweet fellowship!

Blessings

Heb 10:24, 25 and let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Image result for free clipart baking

There’s Something in My Eye

In November, I wrote a post entitled¬†“Ma Ee”¬†in which I described how I have had some issues with my eyesight in the past.

In the last two months, I have once again been dealing with problems with my right eye. It started one evening when I suddenly lost most of the vision in the center of my eye and what I could see around the perimeter was like looking through jagged shards of glass.

The hubby, thinking I may be having a stroke, whisked me off the the hospital. The doctor gave me a pill to lower my blood pressure (which is usually VERY low) and after a brief examination of my eye, he told me that he thought that I had a detached retina. FYI –¬†The retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the inside of the eye and sends visual messages through the optic nerve to the brain. When the retina detaches, it is lifted or pulled from its normal position. If not promptly treated, retinal detachment can cause permanent vision loss. So – not a good thing.

I was told that I would probably have to have emergency eye surgery first thing the following morning. My hubby had to take the day off work and we made the early morning  1 1/2 hour drive down to the city.

It turned out that I did not have a detached retina (thank God)! The specialist thought that what I had experienced was an ocular migraine which didn’t require any treatment.

Two days later, my eye was red, swollen and aching. It felt exactly like it did the last time I had iritis (inflammation of the iris). I popped into the optometrist’s office to see if I could be seen that day or the next. No – they were too busy. I was advised to go to the Emergency Department. I asked if Emerg doctors could prescribe eye drops and was told “Oh yes”.

So off I went to the hospital to go through the whole rigamarole again. The doctor wanted to give me an injection for a migraine. I refused as I knew that I wasn’t having a migraine. Then after an hour of crazy questions he finally told me that I probably had iritis (big surprise) BUT – (wait for it) HE COULDN’T PRESCRIBE THE STEROID DROPS I NEEDED TO TREAT THE PROBLEM! He advised me to try to see the specialist again the following day – although the receptionist thought that the specialist was gone for the long weekend.

I called the optometrist’s office the following day, explained the issue and asked if I could please be seen on the following Tuesday after the long weekend. The receptionist told me that I shouldn’t wait that long and that I could be seen that very afternoon. (Remember – I had been told the previous day that there was NO WAY I could be seen before Tuesday – thus the futile Emergency visit).

So I was finally checked, diagnosed with iritis and prescribed not just one, but three separate medications. The receptionist told me that she was faxing the prescriptions to my pharmacy in a few minutes. I slowly walked around the town and to the pharmacy only to be told that they had not received any faxed prescription.

I called the pharmacy again that evening but they still had not received any fax. By then, the optometrist’s office was closed for the long weekend!

I was unable to get the medication until Tuesday and even then when I went in to pick them up I was told that one of them was no longer being made! I would have to wait until they could reach the optometrist for an alternative. AARGH!

The inflammation in my eye took quite a while to dissipate and while it has finally gone, I have been left with an eye whose vision is like looking through fog filled with millions of tiny particles of soot. This is accompanied by larger black spots on the periphery of my vision – I feel like I have a small swarm of fruit flies constantly buzzing back and forth. And just to make things interesting, there is a long, squiggly, wire-like, black “worm” floater right in the center of my vision.

Yesterday marked the fourth visit to the eye specialist and the news I received made me feel like having a bit of a pity party. Apparently, not only do I have scar tissue on my cornea (from previous infections) which has given me an atypical astigmatism (why can’t I be “typical” for once??), I also have a cataract forming on the lens (thus the fogginess) along with the floating “worm” and “fruit flies”!

We discussed the possibility of having cataract surgery but the specialist felt that due to the high incidence of inflammation in that eye, surgery may actually cause a severe flare up. And as for those annoying floaters – apparently they are permanent!

So to recap – 2 Emergency visits, 4 eye specialist visits, and 2 optometrist visits and I have scar tissue, a damaged iris, a cataract, and floaters. I don’t think that there is any more room in my eye for anything else!

But sometimes, I think that I may have something way more serious than fog and floaters in my eye; something that does not blind my actual vision but which may blind my spiritual one.

The Bible describes it as a “beam”.

Mat 7:3 And why do you look on the splinter that is in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the beam that is in your own eye?¬†

I know that I can be guilty of judging and criticizing others. I may be doing that at the risk of being hypocritical.

Oh, but isn’t it so much easier to notice the flaws in others than it is to see our own?

The Bible tells us that we must first look at ourselves and remove the offending/offensive parts from ourselves before we look to pointing out how to fix other people’s faults.

Mat 7:5 Hypocrite! First cast the beam out of your own eye, and then you shall see clearly to cast the splinter out of your brother’s eye.

While I pray for the vision to be restored in my right eye, more so I pray that God will help me see the times where there is a “beam” stuck in my spiritual eye.

As for you my readers – “Here’s mud in your eye”. ūüôā

Joh 9:6 And when He had spoken these things, He spat on the ground and made clay from the spittle. And He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay.

Joh 9:11 He answered and said, A man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, Go to the pool of Siloam and wash. And going and washing, I received sight.

Blessings

 

 

The Walk

I have just returned from my morning walk. Usually I enjoy going for a walk. I live in a lovely area on a bluff over-looking Lake Huron. The roads are narrow and made of gravel which give a pleasing crunching sound under my feet. There are many large, lush, green trees and thick green undergrowth. A former cottage community under-going change, the houses are quaint and individual in size, shape and personality. In the right seasons, the air is filled with a wide variety of bird song. Big-eyed cotton-tailed rabbits warily munch on the abundant selection of greenery. Once in a while, a flock of wild turkeys, a small herd of deer or a lone coyote can be seen quickly slipping across the roadway from one woodland to the other.

My walks are usually the time I spend in communion with my Heavenly Father. I thank Him for all the beauty that surrounds me and for all the blessings He has given me and then I petition Him for the needs of my loved ones.

Usually I look forward to my walk. But not today.

Today, I had to force myself to go for a walk.

Today, my body aches, my fatigue is high and my soul is low.

Today I feel like the weather – heavy, damp and grey.

When I started out on my walk today, my steps were slower and less sure. It took more will power to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I struggled to get out the minimum amount of prayer requests and thanksgiving.

Then I decided to deliberately concentrate on shifting my focus from how I felt inside to what was going on around me. I noticed that even though we had had a bad month in July for heat and drought and the grass had turned brown, now, all the grass was once again lush and green. As I listened, I could hear chickadees chirping, crickets buzzing and the pleasant sound of crunching gravel under foot. I looked and saw the last of the summer flowers blooming in neighbours’ gardens. I felt the warm, moist wind blowing in from the South.

By the time I was approaching home, my steps, and my soul, had become quicker, lighter and easier. While I still feel tired and aching, my soul and my spirit are feeling less burdened.

I think our Christian “walk” (yes, pun intended) is much like my walk this morning. We often feel aching, tired, burdened, and low in spirit. That is the time when we must decide that we are going to keep on walking in our faith, regardless of how we are feeling. That is when we must choose to keep on putting one footstep of faith in front of the other. That is when we must take our focus off of ourselves and our present circumstances and look instead to the blessings that God has given us.

When we focus on God’s love for us and on what Jesus did for us and when we express gratitude and thankfulness for those blessings, our “walk” in this challenging life can become lighter and easier.

I pray that God will guide your walk today and make your path easier and lighter.

Blessings

Mat 11:29 Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls.
Mat 11:30 For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.

Marital Bliss

Son 2:16 My Beloved is mine, and I am His;

Today, I celebrate the fourth anniversary of my second wedding to my wonderful hubby. That probably sounds a bit confusing but you see, I have been blessed to be able to marry the same wonderful man twice – once in a garden in June before God and once on a bluff at sunset in August before Man (to make it “legal”). For me, the first ceremony of our coming together before God was the more important of the two.

When I tell people it is our fourth anniversary, they often tell me, “Well, I guess the honeymoon is over now!” I would like to state categorically that the honeymoon is most definitely NOT over! How sad it is to think that most people believe that after only four years of marriage it is to be expected that the relationship has settled into some sort of hum-drum existence!

I remember an aunt who once announced that she had been married for 25 “blissful” years. Now that sounds good on paper but you would have had to have seen her facial expression when she said it. When she spoke the word “blissful” she rolled her eyes, gritted her teeth and grimaced rather than smiled.

It would seem that many people share her feelings about the state of marriage – that matrimony is something to be endured rather than enjoyed. And I must confess that marriage can be unholy deadlock rather than holy wedlock if both spouses are unwilling to submit to God’s plan for marriage. I speak from a previous unhappy experience!

God never meant for marriage to become such an “unholy union”. He never designed that special relationship between a man and a woman to become a selfish power struggle – the “my way or the highway” or “if you don’t like it you can just leave” attitude.

As I am writing about marriage in the Christian context and using God’s written word, the Bible, as my authority, I want to make it clear that when I am talking about marriage I am talking about the holy, sanctified union of one man to one woman. God created Mankind to be male and female and he created the female to be the partner of the male.

Gen 1:27 And God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him. He created them male and female.

Gen_5:2 He created them male and female, and blessed them. And He called their name man in the day when they were created.

God created the man, Adam, first. God noted that Adam did not have a suitable helper or mate so God created the perfect mate for Adam, a female whom Adam would name Eve.

Gen 2:20-22 And Adam gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field. But there was not found a suitable helper for Adam.  And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept. And He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh underneath. And Jehovah God made the rib (which He had taken from the man) into a woman. And He brought her to the man.

God formed Adam from the dust of the earth (Gen. 2:7) so God could have done the same thing to create a woman as Adam’s mate, yet God decided to do something very special by making the woman using a piece of Adam’s own body. This literal action held an important symbolic meaning – that a man and a woman joined together as husband and wife were to function together in unity as one body in their hearts, souls and minds.

In the beginning, Adam recognized this special relationship.

Gen 2:23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman because she was taken out of man.
Gen 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife and they shall be one flesh.

This is how God originally created the marriage partnership to be: the wife was to be the perfect kind of helping partner for her husband and the husband was to regard the woman as highly as he regarded his own body. They were both to acknowledge one another as being an inseparable part of each other.

A simple yet profound formula for a happy marriage. Oh how far we have fallen from that ideal!

Contrary to today’s culture and popular opinion, marriage is an honourable state.

Heb 13:4 Marriage is honorable in all,…

God’s Word gives us the simple recipe for a happy marriage:

Eph 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.
Eph 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

Yes wives, we are commanded by God to submit ourselves to our husbands. This can be VERY scary – especially if the husband is not walking rightly with God. However, if the husband is obedient to God’s command to love his wife with complete unselfishness and in total self-sacrifice, submitting to our husband is a blessing and not a chore to be feared. So hubbies – obey the following command:

Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, …

Jesus gave up any self-interest. He was willing to do anything – including suffering persecution, shame, humiliation, torture and death – for the sake of his love for the church – God’s children. This is the kind of love that husbands are commanded to have for their wives.

Wives are called to be obedient and respectful towards their husbands. Husbands are called to put away all selfish desires, be willing to sacrifice all, and to love their wives with all their might.

This marital instruction is repeated again in Colossians:

Col 3:18 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as is becoming in the Lord.
Col 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be bitter against them.

God instructs husbands that they should give honour to their wives. He also states that a husband and wife should acknowledge and regard one another as both holding the wonderful position of being joint-heirs with Christ.

1Pe 3:7 Likewise, husbands, live together according to knowledge, giving honor to the wife as to the weaker vessel, the female, as truly being co-heirs together of the grace of life, not cutting off your prayers.

Marriage is not about how much one spouse can get from the other; marriage is about how much each spouse can and should, be giving to each other. When each spouse is more interested in giving of them-self to the other, rather than in receiving, you are in a win-win situation. When both spouses live to bless one other, both are blessed. That is how the honeymoon continues. That is marital bliss.

Blessings