But God!!!

But God!                  But God!                   But God!                   But God
  

                  But God!                  But God!                   But God!

My Reader, what comes to your mind when you hear the phrase But God that I used in the title of my blog for today?  It can be taken as an argumentative phrase or a phrase of exaltation.  I will have to admit that I have used these words from both perspectives.  Let me explain.

When I am facing a challenge or a difficult situation, one of the things I like to do is to find a few scripture verses to claim during this time of turmoil.  However, I sometimes have trouble fully standing on God’s Word.  For example, Matthew 7:7&8 says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” So, I ask, seek and knock being fully aware that God is hearing my requests.  However, I do not stop with just these words.  I add, but God I really want an answer now!  I want clear direction for what I am to do.  Why am I not hearing from You?”  Another verse I might claim is Psalm 56:11, “In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?”Hear how I might respond, “Yes, God, according to Psalm 56:11, I am trusting You and I do not want to be afraid, but God this situation is different and I am afraid! Show me that I can trust You by answering my prayer in a positive way now!”  I believe, and yet there is an element of unbelief.  I read James 1:6-8 which says, “ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”  Hmmm.  I don’t want to be double-minded, so what can I do?  I find another scripture where I identify with the man who cried out to Jesus saying in Mark 9:24, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” As I ask the Lord to help my unbelief, I discover that I am able to remove the phrase but God from my vocabulary and I am able to ask, seek and knock with a trusting attitude and not be fearful.  For me, but God is no longer an argumentative phrase but is now a phrase of exaltation unto the Lord.

How can but Godbecome a phrase of exaltation?  To answer my own question, I turn to the story in Genesis 37-50 of Joseph and how he was treated by his brothers.  Summarizing the events of his life, Joseph concludes by telling his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Joseph was a man of great faith who was able to comprehend how God worked in both the good and the bad experiences of his life. Paul later confirms this attitude of faith when he says in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

I have a friend who has a wonderful testimony about how God has worked in her life and she often uses the phrase but Godwhen relating her story.  Shortly after she and her husband moved to a different state, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She did not know anyone with breast cancer at that time.  Her treatment included a double mastectomy, a second surgery, and 8 chemo treatments followed by 5 years of chemo drugs.  I now quote her, “But God ….intended it for GOOD: Thus ‘Women Of Hope’ Cancer Support Group was started about 7 years ago.”  She also told me of the death of her twin brother when they were only 46 years old.  Again I quote her, “But God…..intended it for GOOD: God called me into AIDS Ministry. I started a grief support group for mothers in my home for 9 years. Where else could mothers go to weep & talk about their sons & daughters in the late 1980’s? Thus, I was an AIDS spokeswoman for 12 years. Our GOD is Good & Faithful! He took me through these dark nights.”

After reading God’s Word and hearing my friend’s personal testimony, how can I not exclaimBut God!” in a positive tone?  How can I even think of arguing with God by assuming I have any right to ask, But God? My faith is strengthened and, at least at this moment, I proclaim and identify with Job 42:1, “I know that you (the Lord) can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.”

How about you, my Reader? Do the same feelings arise in you now that you had when you first read But God as the title of my blog?golden apple #2(MF)

Joyfully,
Cheryl

Challenge for the week:  Exalt the Lord at least one time this week by using the phrase But God in a positive way during a conversation with a friend.

                 But God!                 But God!                 But God!

But God!                          But God!                But God!                 But God!

The Rose of Christ

               The Rose of Christ   

A rose will grow in the most unlikely place,  definite rose#2 (MF)
      the Bud of Christ blooms anywhere,
In a field of thorns, in stony heart,
the Rose of Christ will burst forth.

 A rose will grow amidst the weeds and seeds,
but the beauty will not go unseen.
     So may Christ come in my life and weed my heart
of sin so His Rose can bloom from within.

 I can tell I’m near to where a rose now blooms
           by its fragrance so rich and so sweet.
     And I know I’m near to my Savior, the Rose,
          by His sweet aroma in the air.

 A rose will grow in the most unlikely place,
     the Bud of Christ blooms anywhere.
So now ask Christ in, and His rose will grow
          and bloom in your life evermore.

My Reader, you have just read the words to a song the Lord inspired me to write a number of years ago.  I had heard about  the rose being a hardy flower that will grow in types of soil where most flowers will not prosper.  The story was told about someone going to an area that had been damaged by a disaster and the person found a small rose struggling to grow where no other type of plant life was found.  The rose was a sign of hope to the person discovering this fragile flower.  I cannot tell you where the story originated, but I can tell you that the story had an impact upon me.  I remember going to the piano and God gave me the words and melody of this song. 

The Lord orchestrated this song in my heart at a low point in my life when I needed a sign of hope.  The Lord revealed to me the symbolism of Christ found in the rose.  Just as it is not too hard for a rose to blossom in stony ground, neither is it too hard for Christ to grow and take up residence in a hardened heart when He is invited into that heart.

I am not going to explain more as I feel the words of the song give you the message God wants you, my Reader, to hear.  If you have not received Christ into your heart and life, I encourage you to do so today.  Or, you may need to accept this promise for someone you know who is struggling in his or her personal relationship with the Lord. If I can pray with you or for you, please send me a note in the comment box below.  If you do not want me to post your comment, just tell me and I will be glad to keep our communication confidential. 

Joyfully,
Cheryl

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you.  I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them”
Ezekiel 36:26-27
(NKJV)golden apple #2(MF)

3D: Divine – Dad – Day

father-and-sonSince Father’s Day is this Sunday, my title 3D refers to three words that                           
begin with the letter D referring to the meaning of this special day.  However, I also want to think about what 3D means relating to movies.  If a movie is in 3D, I am able to experience the movie by the three dimensions of width, height and depth.  The additional depth dimension makes me feel like I am in the middle of everything that is happening in the movie.  At Disney World there is an attraction known as “It’s a Bug’s Life” that is 3D.  When I am watching  this show, there is a particular time when I want to duck down in my seat to avoid being stung by a bee that is coming directly towards me.  Now, with this analogy in my mind,  I come back to the title of my blog.  Since I want to honor fathers, my choice of the words Dad and Day are very proper. But do I always remember to add the third dimension of Divine?   I have a Heavenly Father, a Divine Dad, who desires a more personal relationship with me than any relationship I might have with my biological father.  Just as the third dimension of depth adds a closeness to a movie experience, so the third dimension of divine add a more intimate father/child relationship.  Even though I want to focus upon the male member of the parent role today, I want to emphasize that you, my Reader, and I have a Heavenly Father who loves us and cares for us more deeply than any human father.  Whether 3D means width, height and depth or divine, dad and day, I am reminded of the scripture found in Ephesians 3:17-18, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” (underlining is my choice)

What I want to do now is search the scriptures for verses that specifically refer to fatherhood.  One of the first things I think about is how biblical genealogies are traced through the male family members the majority of the time.  When Matthew traces the descendants of Jesus, he lists 28 generations and all but 3 are men.

An interesting verse is found is Malachi 1:6, part of which says, “A son honors his father….If I am a father, where is the honor due me?… says the Lord Almighty.”  This emphasizes the honor that is to be given to the one fulfilling the role of a father whether it be a man or God.

As I look for further examples of the relationship between a father and child, the best example is that between Jesus and His Heavenly Father.  In John 19:3,  Jesus says, “I and the Father are one.”  Also in John 5:19-20 Jesus elaborates this fact by proclaiming, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.  For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.”

While in the Garden of Gethsemane shortly before His arrest, Jesus prays for himself, his disciples and all believers.  I quote His first words found in John 17:1, “Father, the time has come.  Glorify your Son, that your son may glorify you.” I believe Jesus addressed God in this prayer by the name that was most precious to him.  Other words of Jesus are recorded in  Luke 23:46 when Jesus calls out from the cross, “Father into your hands I commit my spirit.”

Not only does Jesus refer to God as His father, but he also refers to the fact that God is my father, as well as yours, my Reader.  I say this because of what is recorded in Matthew 5:16 when Jesus is delivering the Sermon on the Mount, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”  Jesus also encourages you and me to call upon God as our father when we pray according to Matthew 6:6, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” When teaching his disciples to pray, Jesus says in Matthew 6:9, “This, then, is how you should pray:  ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name’.”  (underlining my choice)

The emphasis upon God as Father may be hard for you, my Readers, to identify with because of abuse or abandonment by your biological father.  I cannot fully comprehend this because I have not experienced it, but I hope that you already have or will seriously consider developing a personal relationship with God as your Heavenly Father.  He created within you a desire for a loving and nurturing male figure in your life.  If your biological dad has not been able to provide this for you, then allow God your Heavenly Father to fill that role. He desires this kind of relationship with you and says to you according to II Corinthians 6:18,  “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters.” The Lord also assures you in Jeremiah 31:3, “I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”   I like the Lord’s words in Malachi 4:6 where He promises, “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.”   Your Heavenly Father may help you to restore a broken relationship with your earthly father.

I have expressed many thoughts regarding fathers as a way to honor all dads this week.  Whether you are a dad or you are a child, fathers are important and I choose to show respect by honoring the role of the father whether it be fulfilled by a man, God, or both.  I want to close with one of my favorite scripture verses found in I John 3:1“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.

Happy Father’s Day to all earthly fathers and our Heavenly Father!

Joyfully,golden apple #2(MF)
Cheryl

Blossoms and Blessings

My friend, Sue, recently gave me a book entitled Apples of Gold compiled by Jo Patty.  The compiler of this book is not able to give credit to the authors of the quotes in her book, but she thinks that the original people would feel that what they said was more important than who said them.  Sue is a follower of my blog and immediately thought of me when she saw this book and I am indebted to her for her gift.  Not only do the book and my blog share the same title, but both are based on Proverbs 25:11.  Thanks Sue and Jo Patty!

So, my Reader, I invite you to go for a walk with me through the garden of blossoms and blessings planted in my blog today.  Summer flowers are growing blooming in our gardens and the insight from these quotes are growing into blessings in my mind.  (I have noted the page of Apples of Gold where I acquired each quote in parentheses after the quote.)  

tulips for garden (MF)

He who sows courtesy reaps friendship,
and he who plants kindness gathers love. (p.10)   morning glories (MF) All flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today. (p.33) 

roses for garden (MF)

He who would have nothing to do with thorns
must never attempt to gather flowers. (p.20) 

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Out of the seed the flower,
          Out of the flower the seed;
Out of the need the power
                     Out of the power the deed. (p.68)

violets (MF)

Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds
  on the heel that crushed it. (p.14)

blackeyed susans (MF)

What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity.(p.25)

fpoppies (MF)

Pleasures are like poppies spread;
You seize the flower, the bloom is shed. (p.34)

white flowers (MF)

Keep ascending the mountain of cheerfulness
by daily scattering seeds of kindness
along the way as best you can…(p.23)

pink flowers for garden (MF)

All I see teaches me to trust the Creator for all I do not see (p.67)

My Reader, have you found the beauty in the blossoms and blessings I have shared?  Pick a personal bouquet.  You may choose just one flower to put in a bud vase along with a short quote.  Or, you may create a large arrangement with a variety of flowers that requires a large vase while several quotes will stay in your mind.  Whatever your choice, take time to enjoy the of fragrance of flowers and the wisdom of words.

Joyfullygolden apple #2(MF)
Cheryl