October 30, 2015

Perfect in Mercy

Several years ago, I asked the Lord, "Why do You say in Isaiah 55 that Your thoughts and ways are than ours and yet You tell us in 1 Corinthians 2:16 that we have the "mind of Christ?"

And the Lord told me to read Isaiah.

As I read, I began to notice a pattern.  God would bless the people.  Then they would rebel.  God would forgive them and restore them.  It repeated over and over again but God kept appealing to the people to repent of their ways and come to Him.  Every time He encounters their sin, He meets it with loving correction and mercy.

And then God says in Isaiah 55:7 - "Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts.  And let him return to the Lord and He will have compassion on him and to our God.  For He will abundantly pardon, for My thoughts are not your thoughts nor are your ways My ways,' declares the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.'"

God is telling us that in the face of our sin and rebellion, His mercies are new every day.(Lamentations 3:22)  He does not meet our evil with evil but with compassion, forgiveness and covenant love.  This is the character of our God.  His ways of mercy and forgiveness are higher than our ways.

When my daughter was three months old I came home from work to find that she had two black eyes. Her babysitter explained to me that she had been lying on her tummy and dropped her face onto her busy box.  I had no reason to disbelieve her but a year later she called me crying and confessed that Laura would not stop crying that day and she had hit her.

I was no longer working then and for the next 10 days, I grieved.  I couldn't eat or sleep.  I tortured myself with thoughts of failing my sweet baby and leaving her with someone who had mistreated her. I imagined other abuses and neglects.  I held her and cried and cried and cried and prayed that God would heal her heart of any hurts.

After 10 days of this I knelt before God and begged Him to remind me of something horrible that I had done so that I could forgive this person.

And in a heart beat, I was in outer space.  I could see 'infinity' stretched out before me.  I could see an uncountable amount of stars stretched out in the darkness and could feel the hugeness of the universe and My God spoke to me.  He said, "I can't remind you because I don't remember."  And He brought His Words to me from Psalm 103:12.  "As far as the east is from the west, so far have I removed your transgressions from you!"

God could not remind me of my sin because He had chosen to forget!  It was under the blood of Jesus and I was righteous in His eyes because of this sacrifice!  And faced with this overwhelming mercy, I cried and was able to forgive this babysitter.

That night I went to church and as I stood and worshiped God for His infinite love, He poured out an anointing of joy and healed my heart.

John Sheasby (www.liberatedliving.com) says that when Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:48, "Be perfect, therefore, as Your Heavenly Father is perfect," this translates to "be perfect IN MERCY" as Our Father is. We are to be perfect in mercy, forgiving others and showing them the infinite love of the Father.  This is what it means to be Christ-like.

The wonderful truth is that there is nothing we can do that God won't forgive.  His mercy and love for us is infinite.  The only thing that can separate us from Him is not receiving His forgiveness and love. Paul (changed from Saul) was responsible for the deaths and persecutions of many believers and yet God forgave him and he went on to write most of the New Testament.

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget non of His benefits.
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion."
Psalm 103

love and blessings~

October 15, 2015

Paul's Thorn in the Flesh by Andrew Wommack

“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Cor. 12:7-10)
This thorn in the flesh that Paul mentioned has been used and misused by Christians to justify submitting to nearly any problem that comes along. Satan has twisted this passage of Scripture to deceive many, many people into believing that God would not heal Paul, so how can they expect to be healed? Let us examine this closely and find out exactly what Paul’s thorn in the flesh was.
First of all, this “thorn” came because of the abundance of revelations Paul had received. Until a person has an abundance of revelations, similar to what Paul had, he is not going to have a “thorn.” That would disqualify just about all of those who have been hiding behind Paul’s thorn.
Then, verse 7 says it came lest Paul should be exalted above measure. Traditionally, that has been interpreted to say the thorn was to keep Paul humble. Therefore, God had to be the author of it, because only God would want Paul to be humble. But there is a godly way of being exalted. First Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” Those who submit (humble) themselves to God will be exalted by God. Paul was not speaking of exalting himself above measure through pride, but rather, the thorn came from Satan to keep Paul from being exalted by God in the eyes of the people. Many more people would have received what Paul preached if everything was always “rosy” for him. But there was this messenger of Satan who always buffeted Paul and scared away the faint-hearted from committing themselves to Jesus, whom Paul preached.
God magnified, or exalted, Joshua in the sight of his people (Josh. 3:7). He continued to do that with the people He used on into the new covenant (Acts 5:13). So, we see that the exalting spoken of is not a negative kind but a godly kind. That just further strengthens the fact that the thorn was not God’s doing.
In verse 7, right after the thorn in the flesh is mentioned, there is a phrase set off by commas which says, “The messenger of Satan to buffet me.” This is an explanation of what the thorn was. It was not a thing but rather a demonic messenger. The word used as “messenger” here is always translated as angel or messenger and refers to a created being. So, Paul’s thorn was literally a demon sent from Satan to buffet him. The word “buffet” means to strike repeatedly as waves would buffet the shore.
How did this demonic force continually strike Paul? Traditionally it has been taught that it was with sickness, and the thing that made many accept that is the use of the words “weakness” and “infirmity” in verses 9 and 10. Infirmity definitely does mean sickness and is used that way in 1 Timothy 5:23, but that is not the only meaning of the word. The number two definition is any lack or inadequacy. For instance, Romans 8:26 says, “the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities.” In this case, the context makes it clear that it is not speaking of sicknesses but rather not knowing what to pray for. Our finite minds are an infirmity, or an inadequacy.
If we look at the context of Paul’s thorn in the flesh, we find that infirmity does not mean sickness in 2 Corinthians 12:9 and 10. In 2 Corinthians 11:30, Paul uses the exact terminology of “glorying in infirmities” that is used just a few verses later in speaking about this thorn. In the eleventh chapter he had just finished listing what those infirmities were. In verses 23-29, he lists such things as imprisonment, stripes, shipwrecks, and stonings; none of these speak of sickness. Verse 27 mentions weakness and painfulness, which some have tried to make mean sickness, but it is just as possible he could have been weary and suffered painfulness from such things as being stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:19). All these things listed in 2 Corinthians 11 refer to persecutions as infirmities. So, in context, Paul’s thorn was a demonic angel or messenger sent by Satan which continually stirred up persecution against him. This is also verified by three Old Testament references (Num. 33:55; Josh. 23:13 and Judg. 2:3), where people are spoken of as being “thorns in your sides” and “thorns in your eyes.”
Paul asked the Lord to remove persecution from him, not sickness, and the Lord told him His grace was sufficient. We are not redeemed from persecution, and Paul later stated that when he said in 2 Timothy 3:12, “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Most gladly, therefore, he gloried in persecutions, reproaches, necessities, and distresses that the power of Christ might rest upon him (2 Cor. 12:9). The word “glory” is an old English word which means to have dominion over or command. It is used in Exodus 8:9 where Moses told Pharaoh to glory over him, or command him, when to destroy the frogs. So when Paul spoke of glorying in these infirmities or persecutions, he was speaking of victory even in the midst of continual harassment.
In Acts 14:19, Paul was stoned and left for dead, but God raised him up, and the next day he walked at least twenty miles into the next town and started preaching again. The Lord did not stop the persecution, but God’s strength was certainly made perfect in Paul’s weakness (verse 9). Can you imagine what those that stoned him must have thought? They could see Paul’s humanity in the cuts and bruises, but they could also see the supernatural strength of God flowing through him. “For when I am weak, then am I strong” (verse 10).
There are two other passages of Scripture that those who believe Paul’s thorn in the flesh was sickness have tried to use to verify that. One is Galatians 4:13-15. Here Paul says that he preached the Gospel to these Galatians through an infirmity of the flesh, and in verse 15, he makes reference to these people being willing to poke out their own eyes and give them to him. From this, I have heard ministers preach that Paul’s thorn was a rare, ancient disease which was characterized by runny, puffy eyes. But let us look at whom Paul was speaking to when he said this. He was writing to the people who lived in the region known as Galatia, which had as its major cities, Derbe, Lystra, and Iconium. The instance we mentioned earlier, where Paul was stoned and left for dead, happened in Lystra, a city of Galatia. The next day Paul walked to Derbe, another city of Galatia, and began preaching unto them. I’m sure he had runny, puffy eyes, along with multiple cuts and bruises, but they were not the result of some disease. They were the result of having just been stoned. He also says in verse 13 that his infirmity was “at the first,” which leaves the impression it was only a temporary thing that he recovered from.
The next scripture used to say Paul’s thorn was bad eyes is also in Galatians, chapter 6, verse 11. It says, “Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.” People have said Paul’s eyes were so bad that he had to write in large letters, and this is what he was making reference to. That is only a supposition and not a very good one at that. It is a lot more credible to believe that he was simply referring to the long letter he had written to the Galatians.
The reason it is so important to realize that the thorn in the flesh was not something which Jesus died to redeem us from, such as sickness, is so that we won’t submit ourselves to these things. James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” We have to resist, or actively fight against, the devil and the things he brings, to see them flee. Satan has used traditional teaching about Paul’s thorn to bring many Christians to a place of submitting to him. But, praise God, you shall know the truth and the truth, shall set you free.
Original article found here - Andrew Wommack ministries
love and blessings~

October 13, 2015

He Saves, He Heals

Some people believe that it's not always God's will to heal.  The thought I've heard is that God is teaching us something through sickness and disease.  The same people will also say, "God is good all the time" but I think they would agree that any father who would make his children sick is not good or loving or kind.

There are some who would argue - then why do people die of sickness? 

A wonderful book that answers this question so beautifully is "Intercessory Prayer," by Dutch Sheets.  

I believe that we, as Believers in Christ, are to decide what we believe based on the Word of God.  

Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10

"Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers." 3 John 2

"Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness." Matthew 9:35

"(Jesus said)...He who has seen me has seen the Father"  John 14:9

"So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise." John 5:19

There is not a single example in scripture of Jesus NOT healing everyone.  There is no place that He says, "No."  None.  

Malachi 3:6 "I the LORD do not change."

John 10:30 "I and the Father are One."

Matthew 13:58 says, "He (Jesus) did not perform many miracles there because of their unbelief."  The Word makes it clear that our faith is tied to God's moving in our behalf.

And He (Jesus) said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction." Mark 5:34

And He (Jesus) said to him, "Stand up and go; your faith has made you well." Luke 17:19

Instead of adjusting our doctrine, shouldn't we examine ourselves, submitting ourselves to God's judgment and correction, and ask Him why we're sick? Shouldn't we seek to do what the Word says and "not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds to prove what is the good and acceptable will of God?" Romans 12:2

"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:17  If we lack faith we need to spend time in the Word letting God correct our thinking and lack of belief.  

Bill Johnson, the pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California, says that when our minds are renewed in the Word, miracles become logical.  

I am not without compassion for those that are suffering with illness.  Neither is God! God is love and love is compassion! "Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd." Matthew 9:36

Jesus was so filled with compassion that He suffered the cross, was separated from God for three days and rose again to restore us to right relationship with the Father.  He gave all that He is that we might be healed. Did you know that the name "Jesus" actually means, "He saves/heals."? Healing is a part of salvation!  

"But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed." Isaiah 53:5  Jesus bore 39 lashes. I have read that science has grouped all sickness into 39 categories.

My heart is to give you HOPE - hope that it is God's will to heal you. God IS healing and wholeness! Even though healing is part of salvation, Jesus did all these things BEFORE His sacrifice on the cross!  He did not demand that people repent of their sin before He healed them. He healed every single person that came to Him.  

God is not holding our sin against us. He gave all He had to give to restore us to wholeness - salvation, healing, deliverance.  Please receive His grace and seek Him to receive your healing.

love and blessings~

October 2, 2015

Painting a French Dresser

Yesterday I shared all the changes in our entry, including this French dresser that I refinished.  I found this dresser on Craig's List and purchased it for $100.  

Below is what it looked like when I bought it. It's a very heavy piece and in good solid shape but had some surface scuffs and flaws.
I removed the drawers and took off all the hardware.
  I wanted to emphasize the details on all the drawers.
Using an old plastic tray that had had fruit salad in it, I put blue (the blue I mixed and used on another cabinet) in one section, off white in the small section and the same blue lightened with off white in the third section. I mixed chalk-paint additive into all three colors. I didn't do any pre-sanding as I've found that chalk paint always adheres wonderfully.

I used the lighter blue and painted all around the edges first.
While it was still wet, I painted the center of the drawer fronts the dark blue. It's a subtle difference but does a lot to keep your piece from looking flat and cheap.
When I painted the body of the dresser, I used all three shades of paint to give a very uneven finish.  I added extra of the off-white to the details.
I waited several hours until my paint had dried well and then using a sponge sander, distressed the dresser.  I focused on edges and corners that would naturally get the most wear and tear.

I had to put the hardware back on before I put the drawers back in.  I wanted to make sure my drawers matched the body and knew they'd get stuck and I couldn't get them open without the hardware - because that had already happened earlier!  lol

The next morning I went over the whole dresser with wax made for chalk paint that I purchased at Lowe's.  When it had dried well, I applied Rub n' Buff.  I have this 12 piece sample set.  I haven't had it long.  When I first got it, I experimented with it until I knew what to expect.  It's a great product and so much fun when you're refinishing furniture! (not a sponsored post).

I used the Antique Gold and went over all the curvy edges on the drawers and on the top and bottom of the cabinet.  You can also see the off-white streaks that I blended out on the top. The black streaks you're seeing is Rub n' Buff Ebony.

In this picture you can see the distressing, the Antique Gold and the Ebony Rub 'n Buff I used.  I also used some of the Pewter and Patina (a light turquoise) in places.  They showed a little too much. Any place that I didn't like the effect I just lightly painted over and I liked the subtle difference it made. I wanted it to look like it was originally painted blue with gilt and had gotten worn and faded over the years.  I didn't use any antiquing wax.

The hardware already had an antiqued gold finish and I didn't do anything to it.

When I first put the dresser in the room my daughter wasn't sure she liked it.  She walked in again the day after I had painted it and loved it!  Painting it made all the difference!

I'm always surprised how quickly chalk paint dries.  I waxed the top heavily as everyone who comes into our home drops whatever they have here (on my previous table.)  But the nice thing is the finish is very imperfect and any changes from guests would probably not be noticeable!

If I've left anything out, please feel free to ask questions.  I'm not an expert by any means but will be happy to tell you what I did.

Have a wonderful weekend!

love and blessings~

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17

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October 1, 2015

Really BIG Changes in the Entry

Sorry I've been gone this week! I have been working hard the last several days. And it's resulted in lots of changes in our entry.

Do you remember that I mentioned I found a great French dresser a couple of weeks ago for $100? My sweet sons carried it all the way down to the basement while I decided where I was going to put it. How much easier it would have been to leave it in our front entry because that's where I decided I wanted it to go!  lol  Poor guys!  It's very heavy.

It started out looking like this!
Now it looks like this! I also recovered this chair in my faux silk plaid that I used in the living room.

And put the same plaid on my antique settee that sits on the other end of the entry!  I haven't finished the trim yet on these two pieces but will do that in the next couple of days.
For those of you that might not remember this is what our entry looked like the last time you saw it.  I love, love, love this table (and all the tables) that my husband has made but felt this side of the room was a lot more rustic than the other side.  Now it's not! This beautiful table has found a new home in our rustic basement.

I also painted the shutters in this room a medium brown.

This painting has been in our master bedroom.  I bought it at Kirkland's about 15 years ago when we lived in Virginia.  I'm happy that it's the first thing that you see when you enter our house.  I've always loved it. And it adds just the right amount of height and drama to this space.

I've found a beautiful pair of lamps that I'd like to get for the dresser.  They were on sale when I found them and while I was painting and reupholstering and thinking, they went back to full price. So I'll wait til they go on sale again to get them.
It's hard to show you both sides of the room but I like they way they're tied together with the fabric and style now.
I'm planning on covering the back of the settee in the toile that's in the living room to further tie things together.
I'll be back soon to share how I painted this dresser and how to reupholster an occasional chair like the one in this room.

Hope you're having a wonderful day!

love and blessings~
"And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true." Revelation 21:5

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