"You have fulfilled Your Word..." Luke 2:29
How exciting it must have been for old Simeon! He is described in the 2nd chapter of Luke as just, righteous, devout and pious, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It was revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the consolation of Israel, the promised One, the Anointed of the Lord, the Messiah. The day the baby Jesus was to be presented at the Temple, the Holy Spirit prodded him to go to the Temple.
Simeon asked Mary and Joseph if he could hold Jesus, and while gazing in awe at the baby, he recited, "Now I, your servant, can depart in peace, for I have seen what You have promised, Your saving deed, a light of revelation to the Gentiles, the glory of Your people Israel."
Simeon could only be excited if he knew the scriptures. He knew who he was waiting for, and when Jesus came, he recognized him, and rejoiced in the fulfillment of God's promises.
How about us? Do we know God's promises? There are promises in the Bible for us. It's not a fairy tale. His promises are as good as money in the bank. And that can be VERY exciting!
A man with an unclean spirit shrieked: "What do you want of us, Jesus of Nazareth?" Mark 1:24
"What do you want of us?? Why are you bothering us?? Let us alone!! What business do you have with us??" These are all translations of Mark 1:24. In other words, "This is my life, get your hands off my life, don't interfere!!"
The unclean spirit KNEW who he was talking to- Jesus, the Holy One of God. We all know God wants to "interfere" in our life. He wants to help us, redeem us, guide us. But sometimes, we want to be left alone to do what we want. We don't want to change. We don't want to see what needs to be changed IN us!! We are too proud to admit we need to change.
Romans 12:3 reads "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.." I have to confess I deal with this in myself all the time. When I get impatient or annoyed about something or someone, is it not that I am thinking I am too important to deal with this, to deal with incompetence or inefficiency, slow acting, or slow speech, falling in line, or whatever. We have to watch how we treat people, family, office mates, strangers. This is how we show we are learning and growing to be disciples. "By this shall all men know you are My disciples- that you love one another." (John 13:35) Corinthians 13 says that when we love, we are patient, kind, humble, we don't take into account a wrong suffered, we bear all things, we endure!
Yes Lord, bother us! Show us where we need to change!
"Faith is the confident assurance of things hoped for, and conviction about things we do not see." Hebrews 11:1
There is a saying that when faith goes to market, it always brings a basket. When we pray, we should always have expectations that our prayers will be answered. It may not happen the way we expect, but it will!
My sister Peggy wanted to start building her house. We shared the land upon which it was to be built, and her plan was that our house was to look like just one house, with our living rooms divided by a folding wall we could open in case we had a party and needed more space. Great plan! Except that she had the money to build and I didn't! But I couldn't imagine having her build and have her roof and walls hanging. So I told our contractor, a wonderful friend, and brother in our covenant community, that Luigi and I only had enough to build the shell. All the time, I was praying in faith. Eventually the shell was finished, and our friend the contractor said that it was OK for him to put in the ceilings, etc. and discuss the payment later. So I prayed about how to pay him. The challenge was that I felt God telling me NOT to borrow, so this really boggled my mind!
I also read from Alexander Maclaren at this time: "Christ sometimes delays His help that He may try our faith and quicken our prayers. The boat may be covered with the waves, and He sleeps on; but He will wake up before it sinks. He sleeps, but He never oversleeps; and there are no “too lates” with Him."
On July 10, 2008, my mom, whom I did not speak to about my concern, said, "Do not worry about your house. I have money for your house."
Yes, God answers prayers. We need only to trust Him and hold on to Him. Sometimes His answers take long in coming, but He is never too late!
"A farmer planted seeds in a field..the seeds sprouted and grew without the farmer's help." Mark 4:26-27
This verse reminds me of our sharing discussion in my bible study group yesterday. One sister said she prayed for a LOT of patience, and right after she left the parking lot of the church where she prayed, there was a man in a car who blocked her. When she felt her anger rising, she remembered her prayer, and instead of asserting her "rights", she decided to back up. Grace prevailed and she was victorious.
There are these fascinating time lapse videos on Youtube of seeds sprouting into full grown plants. If we could view a time lapse video of our spiritual growth, what would we see? God's plan for us is that we would grow in our maturity as Christians. He planted a seed in us, and sent Jesus to establish His Kingdom here on earth. And just like the farmer who goes about with his other work while his seeds grow into plants, we too need to go about our day to day work, loving one another, trusting that God would expose us to the people and circumstances we need to grow. So if there's a circumstance that is aggravating us right now, or a person who is testing our patience, praise God! I am sure that's the sandpaper God is using to smoothen our rough edges!
This verse also reminds me of how our business started in 1967 with a really tiny seed my parents planted. They did not have a blueprint. It was a step by step learning process. God very definitely gave the growth. As the 50th anniversary of our business approaches, I pray about how to proceed. I felt God saying that He had the plans, the vision. I need only to trust and do my best, and He would give the growth! What a wonderful God we serve!
"Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near." Hebrews 10:24-25
I don't know about you, but it's hard enough to remember to encourage others, much less remind others to do so. But if we are to be truly followers of Jesus, we have to learn how to love and put others first. Saint Peter found one in Saint Timothy. He said of Timothy in Philippians 2 that "I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus."
Here Saint Paul seems to be equating the care for others to caring for Christ's interests. Jesus did say, "Truly I say to you, to the extent you did it to one of these brothers and sisters of Mine, even the last of them, you did it to Me." (Matthew 25:40) How clear can Jesus be? He commands us to love one another, and gives us a perfect example in Himself.
I find a lot of inspiration
So many WONDERFUL blogfriends
Love these, they are so creative :)ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing at Creative Mondays
Thanks again for sharing, featuring your post later at the blog hop :)Delete
This is awesome...Love your take on the original images and how you place them in the book. Awesome! Thank you for linking your card to our Challenge this week at Word Art Wednesday. I want to share with you God's Word in Isaiah 43:18-19 which tells us, " "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." Have a wonderful day filled with the blessings of the Lord Jesus!ReplyDelete
What a wonderful devotional journey, told in your flowing prose and beautiful art. I love the title, especially because your gift to me arrived today.ReplyDelete
The timing was perfect, for your painting, your prayer and the devotional printed on the back of the page. I believe it is a confirmation of a new season of growth I have entered into through a new spiritual discipline I began just this very day. I know you were concerned that its arrival was extremely delayed, but it arrived right on time - God's time.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the art and your beautiful prayer. I am going to frame it and put it in a prominent place in my home.
BTW, I have started a new blog about my faith art journal for the Take Me Deeper project at His Kingdom Come. It will focus more on my devotional thoughts than on the art alone. If you are interested in taking a peek (there is not much posted yet), you can find it here: http://teacloserwalk.blogspot.ca/
" If we could view a time lapse video of our spiritual growth, what would we see?" I love this thought, especially, from all your inspiring words here. We get distracted, not seeing the way God is working everything together for us. If we could only could remember to see things from His point of view. Thank you for linking with Small Wonders.ReplyDelete
Blessings to you Patsy! I LOVE your Bible art and am SO thinking of trying my hand at this at some point - I am seeing it everywhere and it truly speaks to my heart!ReplyDelete
Congratulations - you are one of our honored guests at this week's Inspire Me Monday party #162 at Create With Joy! :-)
These are really beautiful! I've been wanting to start doing this. I just got my journaling Bible in the mail yesterday :). Thanks for the inspiration! So glad to find you on Create With Joy.ReplyDelete