Purge the Sediment of My Life.

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Dear Father,

Thank you for refining my life as you faithfully “pour me out” season to season, and love me enough, not to let me rest on my “lees”, but continually “pour me out” to rid my life of bitterness, that you may gain pleasure from my life. Help me be that vessel of honor, and to rely on You, and not on my works and treasures but only on my confidence in My relationship with You. My trust is in Your faithfulness, a rock that cannot be moved. Help me have spiritual insight to know the reason of the “pouring out” that I might know the bitterness you are purging, and even if I don’t see the “whys” may I just trust your workings is for my good.

Dear Child, 

Each time I “pour you out” you trust Me more, because your faith grows in that valley! Your faith in My sovereign working is more precious than gold.

Do not kick against My workings, yield, submit and rest in My workings, and you will find rest for your soul.

This is the rest you will enter into, relying on and trusting My workings, as you present yourself a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable in My sight.

Have a humble heart and quiet confidence.

                                                  Thus saith Papa

Jeremiah 48:11  Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed. 

The imagery of this verse needs explaining. In wine that is settling on its lees (that which settles during fermentation), stationary and still, the upper level becomes clear; but beneath is a bitter sediment that will muddy it again if shaken. Before the days of filters, to clear the wine it was emptied carefully from one vessel to another, but however skillfully this was done some of the lees would get across. So the process must be repeated again and again to rid it of its unwelcome taste. Moab, Israel’s natural cousins, had escaped that treatment; had not as Israel had, been sifted and purified through afflictions, with the result, God says, that her bitter taste still clung. There is thus value in God’s discipline of us, a little today and a little more tomorrow. The goal is a savor in us, a character that meets with His approval and delights His heart.

Moab remained in the old state because Moab was not purified through afflictions.

1Peter1:6-7 In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

CHALLENGE: Even through the fiery furnace of trials as we see His hand pouring us out, may we understand that His loving purpose is to refine us rather than letting us rest on our “lees” and remain in our old fallen state

Why Was His Crown Made Of Thorns?

This is one of the most familiar images of the crucifixion but have we ever considered the symbolism of those thorns? Think about it, a crown  which is a symbol of royalty, power, kingship and wealth, yet not made with gold or jewels, but thorns. Why?

The first thing that probably comes to mind is that it was a way of mocking His claim as a King but when viewed through the lens of the whole of Scripture, the crown of thorns has another deeper symbolic meaning, It was a crown of curse to be worn by the One who took our curse.

This immediately takes us back to Genesis, reminding us of why Jesus went to the cross, to take the penalty for sin on our behalf. The thorns of His crown were a sign of the curse, the sign of the fallen world since the disobedience of Adam and Eve in Genesis.

He became Our King of thorns. Thorns speak of pain and tears. So this crown means He bore the pain and tears of fallen man.They speak of piercing, so He was pierced. They are linked to the curse which is linked to death. He bore the weight of that curse upon His head as He gave up His life.

This crown was not just a twisted garland of prickly barbs, like that of a blackberry bush. Rather, it was a brutal instrument that caused much anguish. The crown is said to have been made from the branches of a Jujube tree, a deciduous tree found near Jerusalem, with thorns measuring an inch long or more.

He had the burden of the sins of the whole world on His mind as they jammed that makeshift crown of one inch twisting thorns on His head, each thorn pressing into His temple as the blood flowed from His brow.

Willie Nelson has written a song “You were always on my mind” but you were always on Jesus’ mind even from the book of Genesis. A gospel song penned the same sentiment “When He was on the cross you were on His mind”

He became the King of the pierced and wounded, the King of the rejected and King of tears. But The One who bore this crown has authority over these things…. to turn sorry into joy, death into life and thorns into blossoms.

Isa 53:4-6 Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows:yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Isn’t it significant that while bearing the sins of the whole world, Jesus wore on His head this crown of piercing thorns, a symbol of the curse brought about because of man’s sin in Genesis 3?

The soldiers did it to amuse themselves, but the Gospels include this as a significant part of Jesus’ trial. While intended to be a mockery, the crown of thorns was, in fact, an excellent symbol of who Jesus is and what He came to accomplish. I suspect that all the gospels include it because it has an ironic truth — Jesus is the King, and yet His rule would be preceded by rejection, ridicule and suffering. He has a crown of thorns because He is the ruler of a world filled with pain, and as the King of this corrupt world, He established His right to rule by experiencing pain himself. He was crowned with thorns that He might have authority over pain and death.

The crown of thorns has meaning for our lives, too — it is not just part of a movie scene in which we are overwhelmed with the suffering that Jesus went through to be our Savior. Jesus said that if we want to follow Him, we must take up our cross each day — and He could just as easily have said that we must bear our thorns. For example look at the life of Paul’s thorn in the flesh 2 Corinthians12:7 We are joined to Jesus in the crucible of suffering. Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. Those wanting to be a part of his Kingdom must be joined with the crucified Christ, even in His suffering.

We all experience our crowns of thorns. We all have our crosses to bear. We all live in this fallen world and take part in its pain and sorrow.

It is no surprise that humanity, still alienated from God, rejected Him and expressed it with thorns and death at the time of His crucification

Jesus embraced that rejection — accepted the crown of thorns — as part of His bitter cup of enduring what humans endure, so that He could open the door for us to escape with Him from this world of tears.

But the crown of thorns and the cross of death have met their match in Jesus. Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

The Roman soldiers unknowingly took an object of the curse and fashioned it into a crown for the One who would deliver us from that curse. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’”Galatians 3:13. Christ, in His perfect atoning sacrifice, has delivered us from the curse of sin, of which a thorn is a symbol.

And yet, though Jesus suffered for a time beneath that curse, His death and resurrection paved the way for those that believe on Him to be set free from the power of sin. At His ascension, Jesus took His rightful place, seated at the right hand of God. The Roman soldiers may have inaugurated him in mockery, but Jesus truly is the King of Kings.

He will one day return as King of Kings and Lord of lords. But he will not be wearing a crown of thorns. Rather, Jesus will be crowned with glory and honor, gathering to Himself those who suffered with Him, and offering each a crown of life.

CHALLENGE: So did you ever wonder why Jesus wore a crown made of thorns?

See also “The Beauty of the thorns”http://margaretmearnsbass.com/2013/04/23/beauty-of-the-thorns/

Expect Unexpected Blessings from His Hand!

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Many times during my walk with the Lord I have witnessed in my own life where “He has done exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” as Ephesians 3:20 records, but none will ever surpass the day God blessed me with the biggest surprise of my life!

I was a 22 year old young bride when I conceived in my womb and carried my child in my womb for the complete 9 months. Not unusual or miraculous in that you may say! But the story is only just started. I had previously decided to have natural childbirth at home with the aid of a midwife. The morning my labor started the midwife discerned something different about the labor and called on the assistance of my doctor. Not long after the doctor arrived I gave birth to a beautiful five pound baby girl. There was some confrontation between the doctor and midwife which I just couldn’t understand as I was expectantly exhausted from hours of labor and childbirth. The midwife was arguing that she thought there was another child in the womb while the doctor insisted it was only a big afterbirth! Well, only 15 minutes later, I was holding in my arms that big afterbirth, another five pound beautiful baby girl, the biggest surprise and may I say shock of my life. 

The birth of any baby is miraculous but the birth of two healthy babies from the same womb is almost overwhelming especially when you are expecting only one child.

But you know what, it did not surprise the Lord, for He had already called them in the womb to their individual destinies in serving Him. To the medical field and to all who saw them they were identical and mirror images of each other but to the Lord they were as individual as their unique fingerprints.

I had loved the name “Patsy” so when our first and only, or at least so we thought, daughter was born she was named “Patsy”. My husband liked the name “Angela” so when God surprised us with our second daughter John got his “Angela”. Since both girls were healthy full term babies, they were left at home with us. Without exaggeration the second baby, Angela, cried incessantly for days so we decided she would never be an angel, so we exchanged their names! I was later told it was the shock of being left in the womb on her own that caused her stress and her crying. So our daughter who you all know as Angela was once called Patsy and who you now know as Patsy was once Angela. If you know the girls at all you will realize it was a good decision. LOL And so now you know the rest of this miraculous and unusual story.

All her life “my big afterbirth” surprise has tried and succeeded in surprising me in many ways. This past weekend she totally surprised us by flying in from Nashville to gate crash a dinner party we had planned for friends and her twin sister and brother-in- law who live nearby. Needless to say she was the icing on the cake of a wonderful evening of fellowship and lots of laughter. Thank you, Patsy, for continuing to bless our lives with surprises but it is with such sweet sorrow when we have to drop you off at the airport and say au revoir until our next surprise. God be with you till we meet again!

Thank you, Lord, for giving us a double blessing and blessing the fruit of my womb.

CHALLENGE: Never be surprised what God will and can do!

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Hearing God’s Voice part 2

An Instrument in His Hand

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I always use this fountain pen, which was a gift from my husband, John, when I journal my devotional time. One day as I was writing in my journal during my quiet time with God, the Lord used this as a window to my soul. I pray this word will also inspire you to be refilled daily with the Holy Spirit that your life will have an impact on the lives of others.

Dear Child,

As you hold your pen lovingly, as a gift from John, even so I lovingly hold you in My hand. The pen is the instrument but the hand does the writing. Even so you are an instrument in My hand, but I am the one who inspires, anoints and opens doors.

Rest in My hand, even as your pen rests in your hand.

Flow with Me even as your pen flows with your hand.

Continue to be refilled with the Holy Spirit even as your pen needs to be refilled with ink.

There would be no imprint if your pen had no ink, even so your writing would have no imprint on hearts without the refilling of My Spirit.

Thus saith Papa

2 Corinthians 3:2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.