What we all need now? Poetry, sweet poetry.
FAITH IS LIKE A SEASHELL
by Joan G. Allen Pfeiffer
Faith is like a seashell…
That is washed in the heart…
A promise that is heard…
And never will depart.
If you have ever held a conch shell to your ear you hear the waves of the sea. Did you ever wonder about that oceanic hum? You cannot see it, but you hear it.
There are no better words to describe faith than the Bible. God says it best.
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
Faith is working in you, yet it is not visible. In the morning we awake to the creation of the world that surrounds us and in the evening the stars above us. Your faith gives you the understanding of God’s formation command. “So that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” Hebrew 11:3b
What do you hope for? What do you pray for? Some of us may say whom do I hope for or whom do I pray for? That oceanic hum we hear from the conch shell may carry that hope to your heart of faith. You hear His word like an ocean wave when Holy Spirit whispers it to you. Listen.
John 6:63 “The Spirit gives life, the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” (Jesus tells us this)
During our childhoods there were so many questions we asked. One fond question I remember was about the fireflies. How did they light up at night? Perhaps you asked this question too or one similar. Consequently maybe you also received an unexplainable answer. My grandmother would say, “Well I just don’t know, but God made them.” God was all she needed to explain anything. Do we have that much faith?
My Dad and I were walking over the pasture at the dark of night. The stars were twinkling above and he started showing me all the constellations he knew. He said, “There is the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper, oh and the North Star”. I asked him that huge question, “Where did those stars come from?” My Dad simply said without a blink, “God”.
Faith is the certainty of hope. Hope is God’s Love that holds His promises in your heart.
Psalm 104:2 (NIV)
2 The LORD wraps himself in light as with a garment;
he stretches out the heavens like a tent.
When my granddaughter was born, she developed a medical problem called jaundice. This is a problem with the excess bilirubin in the baby’s blood, and causes yellow skin and eye problems. Very serious complications can occur if not treated right away. The proper treatment involves lights usually in a bassinet, brightly shining on the body. The baby has to be turned every so often from front to back, and only wear a diaper.
Our new little granddaughter developed this after she came home. When my daughter called the doctor and he saw her, he gave her a prescription for something to be used at home.
This new medical treatment was a black two- layer blanket that had lights sewn inside like Christmas lights. The light shone through holes that were punched in between the layers. She was removed from her bassinet for feeding and changing and then under the blanket again. She was turned over again and again like a snowball rolling across the yard; you could hear her little cries now and again. The inserted lights were doing their work, and after a couple of weeks, the yellow disappeared.
There are those times in this world when we become “jaundiced”. We are not necessarily yellowed, but we are becoming a gray person. The darkness is allowed to creep in, and now instead of Jesus’ light shining in us, the world sees us darkly. He gives us a choice when to be treated. He is our Healer, but you need to ask Him for the prescription. Do you know what He would write? Can you even imagine Jesus as your doctor for healing? Well, He actually already wrote us one.
2 Corinthians 4:6 (NIV)
6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
He says He made His light shine in our hearts. There is more though. He wants to give us knowledge. How? Through His God breathed scripture. There is a difference between listening and learning from the source. I have found it advantageous to pray before I read His Word and lay down all other thoughts. Holy Spirit is in us; He can certainly take over and breathe that Word into our minds.
The other part of treatment is Christ’s face to be displayed. How is this done? Talk to Jesus; He will not be away from you. He knows how to listen, He is full of knowledge, and He wants you to spend those times rolling in the yard with Him. Turn; turn like a sick baby does. Turn in His Light and away from the gray darkness.
Ephesians 5:8 (NIV)
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.
Jesus has wrapped you in His blanket of Light as His child.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
ALL of us who have studied History or English have been taught Greek Mythology. The story of Narcissus and Echo brought a likeness to this scripture for me. I had to refresh my memory a bit to grasp the content in prayer.
The story goes, the nymph Echo was in love with handsome Narcissus. Echo’s voice was altered due to a treachery against a goddess. She could only repeat what someone else spoke to her.
Echo finally had the courage to approach selfish Narcissus. The young man was as ugly inside as he was handsome outside. Upon their meeting Narcissus began to speak. Of course Echo repeated what he said. Narcissus was angry especially when she held him close to show him her love. He threw her to the ground stating he could never love her. Echo ran to her wooded home, wanting to die.
The gods and goddesses were affronted by Narcissus’ selfless being. They plotted a plan to make him understand the grief he had given Echo. They filled Narcissus with the love of himself. He would fall so much in love with his own reflection in the water, he would not leave for anything or anyone. He was devastated to the disappearance of his love as his touch waved the fluid mirror away. Narcissus pined in despair and died because of his own defeated self.
God’s Word is alive! When we accept Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to share Love. We hear Him when we read but get so wrapped up in self that we turn away. We throw ourselves away from God for the pleasures of the world.
Notice that I have written we. Yes, I am just as much a sinner as everyone else. The difference is that I asked Jesus to save me from my sin. There is no broken vow on His part when we ask Him to save us. Does he need to hurl a skillet to knock some sense into us? Well, He has His own ways to remind us where He lives.
God breathed Words in the book of James tells us that we need to look at His Word intently. This will keep His Truth in us away from the world. His Word He has given us living action in the Holy Spirit. We will love as He loves us, forgive as He forgives, and not be selfish.
We will be blessed in the doing of His Word, and not mirrored in the mire of self-indulgence. We will not be like Narcissus, but we will be like Jesus.
Acts 17:28 New International Version (NIV)
WE ARE HIS OFFSPRING
By Joan Allen Pfeiffer
God created man in His likeness,
We are not trapped in sin.
The Cross-is our Savior’s victory.
Jesus suffered there to win.
We are His beloved offspring,
Not an image of man’s design.
Jesus has proven His offering;
Salvation of your sins and mine.
WE ARE ECHOES OF HIS LOVE…..
PLEASE PRAY FOR
(At your darkest hours, “where were you? Where did you go? His cross calls you in forgiveness and love.”)
Luke 23:32-43 (NIV)
32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[a] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”
36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
38 There was a written notice above him, which read:
“This is the King of the Jews,”
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[b]”
43 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
This robber who asked Jesus to remember him in His Kingdom, was never baptized. He had never done good works, he had never attended a tabernacle, and he certainly was not kind and loving to those he robbed. Yet, he was the one who saw and believed in Jesus’ Kingdom at His last breath. He asked Jesus for forgiveness and Jesus by His grace forgave him while dying next to him.
Then: I asked Jesus, “Where were the disciples? Where were the fishers of men? Where were those at your deepest hours to give the hope to others of Your Kingdom?”
Then this week before Easter Sunday, I found out why. I heard the Living Word speak out the truth I had missed before. That is what happens as we read with Him. His Words live and breath and becomes our being.
It was written. The Old Testament has the prophecy that had to be fulfilled, like all the other truths of Jesus. So, His disciples were not supposed to be with Him.
Zechariah 13:7 and 8 “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is close to me, declares the Lord Almighty. Strike the Shepherd and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little ones.”
This fulfills the Word of God for every prophecy of Jesus as answered.
Matthew 26:31 and 32 “ Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.”
John 19:25-27 “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loves standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Dear woman, here is your son’, and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”
There is so much mockery and hate around Jesus on that cross. Do we know how that feels? Many Christians do. Paul wrote about our sufferings for Jesus our Savior. Paul wrote he would count it all joy to suffer for Him.
Our perfect Savior suffered, He bled to death on the cross, and heard the vilest of words, and yet He still loved them all. So can we expect any less than Jesus? Can we expect to skip around the world’s darkness? Or do we make the Light shine?
I weep at the thought of forsaking my first love, my Jesus. As I kneel at His cross and ask forgiveness, Jesus reminds me of His Words of Promises. Through His Love for us, we are forgiven forever.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever”. (Psalms 23:6)
Where was I? Where was I when others were suffering and needed to know Jesus? Where was I when people just like me were in desperation? Where was I when all others around me were hungry for the Truth? Where am I now?
Jesus asks us “Where are you?”
The robber on the cross makes this scripture come alive to speak:
Romans 5:8 (NIV)
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
There is a new song in my heart since I first heard it. The world needs this song!
You and I can sing the same!
“The Cross meant to kill, is my Victory.” By David Crowder.
JESUS is The Victory! HE LIVES!
Psalm 139:9-10 (KJV)
9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
The blush of the morning Sun reveals that even there, He holds your right hand. He holds you as He soars your spirits in His Joy. Even if you are afar in the unknown seas, His comfort is with you. He holds you above the squalls of the waters.
The first moment of consciousness in the dawn is Jesus. You close your eyes, and empty the sleep of sands. He waits while you cleanse your thoughts only of Him. Then, He whispers, “Good Morning, I gave you a new day”! You experience the pure love as His child with no other cares in the world.
Jesus has shown you how to find Him intimately on the “wings of the morning”. As you personally know Him deeper, your highest desire is to share His Love with the world. Those prayers you say in a solitary place; rise to Him with a sweet aroma. He whispers in the morning dew, “Join Me, I have equipped you with all you need to become a fisher of men.”
His hand will lead and hold you on your journey.
Prayer 1. Dear Father, my first love of life, please lead me beside the still waters and restore my soul.
Prayer 2. In the quietness of my solitary place dear Lord, please whisper again the path You hold before me.
Prayer 1. Dear Father, my first love of life, please lead me beside the still waters and restore my soul.
Prayer 2. In the quietness of my solitary place dear Lord, please whisper again the path You hold before me.
1 Corinthians 11:17-22 (NIV)
17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. 20 So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!”
When I read this scripture, I do understand that the message is involving the Lord’s Supper. I also know that some churches do not allow some brothers or sisters in Christ to take the body of Christ and the blood of Christ in their building, if they are not members of that church.
Is this a time of humiliation? Paul was given the Holy Words of this Scripture to make known this truth. We do not need to be divided. The greatest offering given to me was a “prayer of blessing”. What a great pleasure of overcoming differences. I was welcomed. I did not leave differed, but delighted.
I also think God wants us to understand that although He created us equal in body, soul, and spirit, He has made us different for a very good reason. It makes me wonder if the differences within the churches could be looked in another way. Perhaps this is a gift of being different. Jesus was “different”! Yes, he was despised because of this, and He was perfect. What if our differences in Christ are made to delight in one another? Showing that Jesus lives within us and offers a different way of thinking and studying, but not lacking in the belief of our salvation in Jesus Christ.
“God made us different, not to divide us but to delight us.” Pam Kidd
(Permission was given for me to share this by Pam)
So where does God show us this? My heart says it is where there is love in sharing our differences. We eat differently, dress in other ways, have different holidays, and pray in different ways and places. Would any of us like exact sameness? I mean wouldn’t life be boring? If we look at the Fruits of the Spirit, they are the same for all of us, but the Gifts of the Spirit are very different and fit the pieces God has Purposed.
Romans 1:16-17 (NIV)
16 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. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[a] just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”[b]
I had to ponder just what God means for us to delight. Share the Gospel as He has given us. There is no set way the Holy Spirit will send His living Word from your lips to another. We will not be divided from Jesus we will delight in Jesus! This is the great Delight of our Salvation. Jesus!
There is a very favorite scripture that many Christians know and have recited because of the last words. Perhaps they forget what the first ones really are.
Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
How do I delight myself in the Lord? Other scriptures come my way in this, and I will just say the words, you can look them up. “The joy of the Lord is my strength”. The JOY of the Lord! How do you get the JOY of the Lord? You have to know Him in great pleasure of spending time with Him. We have to know Him by the knowledge of God’s great love for us.
“You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light.” He turns my darkness into light! He is my Lamp! He cannot be my Lamp if I don’t’ hold onto Him. He cannot give me Light unless I follow Him.
Delight, how sweet the sound; like an aroma of the sweetest scent.
In the beginning….
Genesis 2:8 “Now the Lord had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.”
Genesis 2:10-14 “A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.”
God names everything. Have you ever noticed that He names with Purpose? His Purpose is always living and loving. His Perfection cannot be changed ever. We are human and changeable, but our Teacher is God, He is unchangeable.
My husband likes to rename things in humor. They are always enjoyable to him. He calls our oldest daughter, LMA. “Last Minute Amy”, instead of her name, Amy. She is always late. Now we tell her that the meeting starts a whole hour earlier than it actually does. Yes, she is still late.
Years ago, instead of calling me dear or honey, he called me Mrs. P. Then our girls started calling him Mr. P. Our last name begins with a P. So after they were married, our son-in-laws started calling us by Mr. and Mrs. P. This is a nice difference from the normal mom and dad and seems special just for us.
When my first grand child tried to call me grandma, she ended up calling me “Gema”. Now all the rest of my five grand children call me that as well. It stuck! I love having a very unique name.
In the Old Testament of the Bible did you ever notice how many times God changed the names of His children? Here are a few:
Abram became Abraham because now he would be “a father of many nations”.
Sarai became Sarah because now she would be “blessed as the mother of many nations”.
Gideon became Jerub-Baal because he became “the Baal fighter”. (Judges 7:1)
Hadassah (sweet to righteousness) became Queen Esther “hiddeness” (Esther 2:10)
Simon Peter became Peter the “rock” of Jesus’ Church. (Matthew 16:18)
In my ladies group studying Gideon, this is a subject that came up. I asked God about the lesson of name changes. The answer sounded something like this; “Remember your name is written in My Book of Life? I have the right to name you, because I am your Father. Your parents named you because they had the right to on earth. I gave them that right. I have the right for your name in eternity with Me.”
We ladies began sharing messages of His Word to us. I spoke and shared this with them. I laughed, and asked, “Can you imagine God taking one of our Baby Name books and naming us?” They all laughed. Then I asked them, “What name do you suppose He has given us?” “What in our Purpose for Him are we following to be given a new name?”
Philippians 4:3 “Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.”
He knows my name!
In Genesis chapter 12 there is a mystery of God’s promise to Abram and all of Israel. This is the promise of His children’s nation. These earthly people are the chosen God would call His own. Canaan, the fertile region was being established.
Abram built altars there for the Lord. Building these altars honored God in reverence, prayer and worship, and reminders of God’s Promises. They provided his understanding that God centered his life. The one condition was Abram had to leave his present home and move to an unknown territory. Abram’s obedience completed the Promise God gave him. Abram’s descendants would become a great nation.
Who answers these conditions today? I can think of many pastors and missionaries who have prayed and received this calling by God. There are many others. I am sure you understand this. Even you can be called to leave or led to leave like Ruth.
Do I believe His Promise? Do I trust Him enough to calm the storm I am in? Like Peter, I have wavered and looked at the waves, keeping my eyes off of Jesus. He says, “Where are you going my child? Come to me.” He clutches my hand, and raises me up.
So on went Abram in trust of God’s Promise. He went to a tree called Moreh at the city of Shecham which has a great dealing in Scripture used again and again in reminders of God’s supremacy.
While reading this Chapter, I did not recall this tree mentioned before. I love how God opens the breathing, living Word to my heart. Today particularly I needed this.
Trees, I thought. Where else have I read about these in the Bible? Oh my goodness, so many times. (it is a great challenge for you to look for these other trees) This tree, though, I never remembered. Moreh means “teacher” in Hebrew. This was the first place in Canaan that Abram went to build the altars.
Now, we know that the trees mentioned in the Bible have many purposes in God’s Creation of them. More than we could ever imagine. From the roots of the trees to the fruits of them, God has made an inexpressible and majestic tool for His Plan. It is written! Breathe it, consume it, and taste the promises of His Hope.
Genesis 12:6 –7 “Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shecham. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’. So he built an altar there to the Lord, who appeared to him. (this is just the beginning of this great tree).
The Canaan Promise unveiled. There, God gave a place for them.
Jonah 4:9 (NIV)
9 But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the vine?”
“It is,” he said. “I am angry enough to die”.
We have often been met with a consequence where something just feels unfair. We look at others who seem to be so sinful that we cannot imagine God wanting to spare them from sin.
Jonah was such a prophet. He walked down the streets of the bloodthirsty Ninevites exclaiming, “Nineveh will be overthrown”. He believed they deserved to be destroyed because of their desire to conquer Israel.
God had a different plan. Yet, Jonah who was caught up in the belly of a fish still was sure God didn’t mean this. God was trying to show the need for Jonah’s obedience. Jonah knew what God said, but …. Oh, Oh, Jonah used the “but” word. When we say to God, “ but I know a better way”, that cannot be good.
God intended Ninevah to become an ally instead of an enemy for Israel. His plan was for them to believe in Him and worship the one true God. Jonah could not see this he did not pray for the true purpose and took his eyes off of God.
To further teach Jonah a lesson, God had a protecting vine grow around Jonah. The vine was gloriously filled with fruit and leaves. This vine, kept Jonah quite comfortable. The next morning when Jonah awoke the vine had shriveled, and once again Jonah was angry.
So then here is what God said to Jonah and us. Verse (10). “But the Lord said, “you have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. (11) But Nenevah has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?”
What does this say to us? Remember this scripture?
John 15:5 Jesus says; “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.”
John 15:8 Jesus says; “If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”
Jonah was not remaining in God. Jesus is saying “you need to remain in Me as the branch” to bear His fruit of purpose.
I visited a renowned vineyard in Napa, Ca some years ago. The Casa I stayed in was so Italian flavored. There was a picturesque window allowing the view of this vineyard. Now, it was late February when I was visiting. During those times the vineyard is in a resting mode. However, much to my delight I saw the furrows around the vines were blooming. There was a golden layer of blooming mustard plants thriving on the hills.
As I looked further down the hill, I noticed two people with pliers in their gloved hands pruning the vines. I wondered why they were doing this now. There was hardly anything showing on the vines but wood.
Later I met one of the gardeners and asked, “Why all the mustard and why are you pruning now?” He answered, “The mustard will be tilled in the furrows soon and provide the nutrient food for the vines to grow. This is the perfect time to prune the branches back so they will soak up the food and present a completed harvest.”
I realized later, that God was showing me His process of bearing fruit for Him. There was a time I will admit, that I became Jonah, I did not remain with Jesus. I like Jonah thought my way was better than His. Even though God did not allow a huge fish to swallow me, He still taught me how to be obedient to Him.
There is no right to be angry with God. I really do not want to use the word “but” any longer.
I will remain in Him.