Hot or Cold?

coffee-cup-with-heart-mfquestion-markiced-coffee

 

This summer the temperatures have been up and down. During the daytime, it can become very warm but some mornings and evenings are extremely cool. These fluctuations in temperature can present me with the challenge of what I want to drink – hot or cold? Do I desire a hot cup of coffee or would an iced coffee be more appealing? If thinking about a coffee connoisseur’s menu, shall I choose a hot latte or an iced cappuccino? My decision most likely will vary from day to day. However, one thing is certain, I either want my coffee hot or cold – definitely not partially hot or cold. Lukewarm coffee is not my first choice. Okay, I know these decisions are not a worthy topic of a total blog but I am reminded of some verses of scripture.

 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.
I wish you were either one or the other!
So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—
I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
Revelation 3:15-16

 These are words spoken by Jesus to the people of the church in Laodicea. They were Christians – and yet Jesus spoke harsh words about them and to them. Just like I do not appreciate lukewarm coffee, neither did Jesus tolerate lukewarm believers among the Laodiceans back in the time period of 70-95 AD. Jesus still has the same opinion today of those who call themselves believers and yet do not follow Christ by their actions. Am I one of those people?  I certainly do not want to be spit out of the mouth of Jesus and hear Him say that He has never known me! (see Matthew 7:21-23)

At first glance, I am quick to say I am not like the Laodiceans but when I think about it more seriously, I realize I am not so holy that I could never be like them. In verse 17, Jesus said to these church people that they did not realize they were wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. What words do I speak and what things do I do without realizing the type of witness I am being for Christ? I admit that I do not always get everything right! However, it is my desire to consciously try to do what Jesus would do.

I notice that Jesus said that He would even prefer for the Laodiceans (or me) to be cold in regards to a relationship with Him rather than to be lukewarm. Wow! I think Jesus made this statement because if one has not accepted Jesus as his/her Savior and Lord, one may be more open to the gospel message than a person who has heard it all his/her life but not taken it seriously. A person with a coldness in his/her heart might be more receptive to hearing about and responding to how to live a vital life with Christ than would a lukewarm person. A sinner may be more likely to hear the rebuke of the Lord than a nominal believer. I want to examine how I live for the Lord. So, now I ask, how can I sincerely be on fire for the Lord? Currently, do I daily pray earnestly asking for the Holy Spirit to convict me of my lack of love for the Lord and inspire me to live as a person seeking God’s own heart? (see Acts 13:22) I know what lukewarm coffee tastes like and I do not like it. Is that how Jesus feels about me when I am nonchalant or indifferent towards how I live for Christ?

 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,
I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
Revelation 3:20

 I like the promise of this verse! Whether my heart be hot, cold or lukewarm, Jesus is asking for a bigger place to live within my heart. My responsibility is to listen when He speaks to me and to do what He asks. As I think about what it might mean for Jesus and me to eat together, I come to the conclusion that He wants me to partake of His life and then He will take part in my life. If I open my heart and life to Him, I will experience His presence. Who knows? We might even share a cup of hot coffee or a glass of iced coffee! Instead of adding sugar or cream to the drink we share, I imagine Jesus would add grace and mercy. There is one thing I know for sure – we will not share a lukewarm drink or a lukewarm life!

 Joyfully,
Cheryl
gold apple new

 

 

 

 

 

Sitting in the Sonshine

sunshine Our daughter has always been drawn to sunshine. I remember her lying in the sun on the front step while she was growing up. She always said the warmth of the sun felt so good. Her skin tanned beautifully and she never burned. However, now we know that sun bathing can cause skin cancer. She still enjoys the sun and spends time in the pool with their children, but she also uses sunscreen. Too much sunshine is not good for us but we can never get too much Sonshine. Today I am comparing physical sunshine from the big star in the sky with spiritual Sonshine from Jesus, the Son of God.

 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips;
meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do
everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Joshua 1:8

sunshineIn the first chapter of Joshua, the Lord appoints Joshua to lead of the Israelites into the Promised Land after the death of Moses. The Lord reminds Joshua to continually mediate upon His Word found in the Law in order for him to succeed with his task. Joshua had to remember the directives previously given in the Law and not only know about the Law. Now I think about how Jill would lie in the sun for an extended time resulting in her soaking up the sun’s rays into her body. For maximum benefit from the sun, she did not just occasionally go for a walk on a sunny day. I also remember that when Jill would lie in the sun, she would usually have her eyes closed – she was resting in the sun. When I meditate upon the attributes o the Son of God, it is beneficial for me to close my eyes and shut out the distractions of what is happening around me. I need to remember that in order for me to internalize the revelation of who God’s Son is, I need to spend quiet time meditating upon specific scriptures. I will not soak up the deep messages of God’s written Word if I simply read a chapter in a few minutes. Joshua was told to meditate upon God’s Word day and night; maybe I should do the same. I desire to soak in the Son’s presence more than I want to soak in the sun.

 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us
while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
Luke 24:32

sunshine Luke 24:13-43 relates the story of two disciples encountering Jesus on the Road to Emmaus. During their conversation with Jesus, the disciples did not know who He was. It was only after Jesus had broken bread with them and He had disappeared that the disciples knew who had been with them. After their eyes are opened to the reality of the situation, they  comment that their hearts had felt strangely warmed. Once again, I think of Jill lying in the sun absorbing the warmth of the sunshine. Warmth feels good whether it be a physical or a spiritual warmth. However, I think spiritual warmth lasts longer than physical warmth.

 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets
of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face
was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.
Exodus 34:29

sunshine In Exodus 34, I read about how Moses’ face shone when he returned to the Israelites after receiving the two new stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. In fact, his face shone so brilliantly that the people asked him to cover his face with a veil. There was physical evidence upon Moses’ face that he had spent time with the Lord just like Jill’s face and body became tan as evidence of the time she spent in the sun. Sonshine and sunshine – both are evident in a person’s life! My face may not glow to the extent that Moses’ face shone, but I desire for those around me to be aware of the change in my countenance when I spend time with the Lord. I like Matthew 5:16 which says, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

 for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light
2 Corinthians 11:14
Put on the full armor of God,
so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
Ephesians 6:11

sunshineI shared earlier in this blog about the need for sunscreen to protect from sunburn and skin damage. I find a spiritual comparison from this perspective as well. In II Corinthians 11, Paul talks about how satan likes to deceive us by appearing to be an angel of light. There is the possibility of my getting burned by either the sun or satan, so I need to take the necessary precautions against this happening. Sin is satan’s sunburn. I apply sunscreen for protection from the ultraviolet rays of the sun and I can put on the armor of God for protection again satan. (See Ephesians 6:10-17 to find each piece of God’s armor.) If I am going to be in the sun for an extended time, I need to apply sunscreen whether the weather be sunny or cloudy. Clouds may deceive me into thinking that I will not get sunburned but such is not the case. The same is true spiritually. I need to apply the armor of God every morning when I get up because I do not know what attacks from the enemy I might encounter on a specific day. I need Sonshine whether or not I am in the sunshine.

 He (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Matthew 3:11
Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.
I Thessalonians 5:19

sunshine Too much sun results in a sunburn making one’s skin feel as if it is on fire. I do not want that. This would be a negative type of burn, but I want a positive type of burn. The more time I am in the presence of the Son, the more my heart will burn with a holy passion for Him. I desire to be on fire for the Lord! John the Baptist told his followers (and he still tells me) that it is possible to be baptized with the Holy Spirit that will create a fire within one’s heart for the Lord. I want to burn for the Son by being immersed in His presence. As the New King James Version of the Bible states, I do not want to quench the fire of the Holy Spirit in my life. As is true with Jill, I like sunshine. However, I like Sonshine better – and I know this is Jill’s perspective as well.

 Joyfully,
Cheryl
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A Spiritual Washcloth and Towel

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so he (Jesus) got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you. For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
John 13:4-15

 On my first reading of this scripture, I am reminded of the usual lessons highlighted within these verses such as the need for my sins to be washed away, that I am to follow Jesus’ example of humility and that I am to serve as Jesus served. (All good but nothing really new.) I also realize this passage took place at the last Passover feast that Jesus shared with His disciples. (But now is the season of summer, not the season of the Passover.) So, why am I thinking about it? My granddaughter is the reason. One evening when Charity and I were having a Grammy-Granddaughter sleepover, she asked for a washcloth so she could wash her feet before she went to bed. She had been barefoot while we were outside and now her feet were dirty. I was happy to fulfill her request. (Nothing unusual.) However, the unusual occurs when I combine a familiar scripture with an ordinary action.

If I begin with a spiritual application of foot washing, I think about my need to be cleansed of any sin I may commit on any given day even though I am a believer who has been forgiven of my sinful nature. I cry out to the Lord with the same words as David in Psalm 51. I especially like verses 2 and 10 saying, “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin…. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” However, now my mind goes to the physical need of foot washing. Like the disciples feet, Charity’s feet were dirty because dust clung to them. Charity did not need a shower because she had taken one earlier in the day but her feet had gotten dusty and needed to be wiped off. Although my granddaughter knew what she needed to do, she asked for my help to find a washcloth so she could do it. This is where I am challenged concerning the concept of following Jesus’ example of serving.

Who needs what from me? Okay, that is a strange question, so let me clarify it. Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. Whose feet am I to wash? All of us need our sins forgiven and only Jesus can do that, but Jesus does enlist my service to lead others to Him. Is there a neighbor or a friend or a family member who needs to know about their need of forgiveness through my testimony? In order for Charity to get her feet clean, she needed a terry cloth. What is the washcloth that I am to give to a person in need of spiritual cleansing? God’s Word is what I need! In Ephesians 5:26, Paul talks about our need to be “washed with water through the word.” I John 1:19  says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Each individual needs to personally apply the promises of salvation and forgiveness to his or her own life, but first, one must hear about it. My granddaughter knew I had washcloths but she was not sure where I kept them so she asked me. I pray that others may see that I am a Christian by the way I live; however, that is not enough. I must share with them God’s plan and desire to forgive not only a person’s sinful nature but one’s daily sins as well.

When I think about my responsibility, I am reminded of Matthew 20:28. Jesus says that He came “not to be served but to serve.” When Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, He took off His outer garment and wrapped a towel around His waist. I am aware that Jesus not only served others but He served with humility. My actions must relay the same message. For me, taking off the outer garment is my giving up my sinful nature and becoming a new creation in Christ. (Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”- II Corinthians 5:17) Wrapping the towel around myself is wrapping myself in Christ or being clothed in Christ. (clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. – Romans 13:14) If I do this, my life’s testimony will lead others to Jesus. I do not want people to be drawn to me but to Jesus.(We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors. – II Corinthians 5:2) I need a towel for myself before I can hand a washcloth to someone else!

Towels and washcloths are important both physically and spiritually. I was happy to get a terry washcloth for my granddaughter and I hope my life also emulates the washcloth of the Word of God to her. However, I want to be sure that I hand the spiritual washcloth to her while holding the towel of humility in my own hands.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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I AM – i am

 

Jehovah-shalom…………… Jehovah-shammah……………  Jehovah- sabaoth
I am the Bread of Life………I am the Resurrection and the Life…….. I am the Bread of Life

God said to Moses, “I am who I am.
This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
Exodus 3:14

This scripture has always been one of my favorites because it is such an all-inclusive name for God.  God is the I AM – and that cannot be proclaimed by anyone else! Personally, I often like to think about this name of God as being an open-ended statement that I can complete to meet my personal need at a specific time.  When I do this, I realize I am seeking God’s presence according to a specific attribute, but it also allows me to visualize God as being the One who meets my need at that time.  Paul says in I Corinthians 15:10, “by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect.”  Combining the statements in Exodus 3 and I Corinthians 15, I come to the conclusion that “i am what i am because I AM is I AM.”  My Reader, I want to make a few applications regarding this with you and me, but before I do that allow me to give you some biblical background.

In Exodus 6:3 God tells Moses “I am the Lord.” Lord is the English translation of Jehovah, the Old Testament covenant name of God.  Jehovah is the most sacred name of God in the Old Testament and is a form of the verb “to be, to become.”  Now hear what is found in Exodus 3:14: God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”  Whenever a Jehovah compound name is used, it is God revealing some aspect of who He is.  For example, Jehovah-Jireh means “the Lord will provide” or God is saying “I AM your provision.”

In John 8:58 Jesus says, “before Abraham was born, I am!”  Here is Jesus identifying with God as Jehovah of the Old Testament.  In the gospel of John, there are eight “Jehovistic names” of Jesus when Jesus uses “I am” statements such as “I am the Bred of Life” found in John 6:35.

My Reader, I hope you are still with me because now we are going to apply this knowledge to our daily lives.  What I want to do next is to show you how we can personally claim a scripture verse as our own and make an “I am” statement exclusive for ourselves at any given moment.  As I make the statements below, I will use capital letters (I AM) when referring to Jehovah God and Jesus and will use lower case letters (i am) when referring to myself.

I AM Jehovah-rapha
is expressed by the Lord in Exodus 15:26, “I am the Lord, who heals you.”
and Matthew 4:23 states that Jesus healed every disease and sickness among the people,
therefore
i am healed
because Isaiah 53:5 prophecies that “by his (Jesus) wounds we are healed.”

I AM Jehovah-raah
is expressed by David in Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my shepherd.”
I AM the good shepherd
is proclaimed by Jesus in John 10:11
therefore
i am a sheep
because Isaiah 53:6 says, “each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
and because Jesus says in John 10: 27 says, “My sheep listen to my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.”

I AM the light of the world
is proclaimed Jesus in John 8:12
therefore
i am a light in the world
because Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light shine before others, that they
may see your good deeds  and glorify your Father in heaven.”

The key to remember when claiming the attributes and character of God for ourselves is that God is sovereign and He chooses how He reveals His nature to us and at what time our declaration is fulfilled.

My Reader,  I want to share one more thing with you.  I notice that God refers to Himself as “I AM,” not as “I was” or “I shall be.”  His name says, “I always have been, I always am, and I always will be.” The presence of our God is for the present moment.  Yes, He has been with me in the past and I know He will be with me in the future, but now is the most important time.  Yesterday is the “now” of the past and tomorrow is the “now” of the future.  Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  That validates the statement that God is “I am who I am.”

Joyfully,   
Cheryl
gold apple new

Challenge for the week:  At the top and bottom of this blog you will find various I AM names for Jehovah and Jesus in blue.  You might enjoy learning more about these names on your own.

Jehovah-shalom……………Jehovah-shammah…………… Jehovah- sabaoth
I am the Bread of Life………I am the Resurrection and the Life…….. I am the Bread of Life