Saturday, May 16, 2015

Mourning or Mating?!!!



While I was having my morning cup of coffee one day this past week,
I saw two mourning doves land on the wires leading into our house.

I grabbed my camera,
and didn't have any idea what a show they were going to put on for me!
All these photos were taken in sequence...
although in reality I took nearly a hundred photos!
I've tried to pick out a few of the best.

They sat so close together...

All their movements seemed to be in sync...

...They moved through their grooming rituals...

They started at the front, and progressed to the back...

...sometimes their heads were not even visible...

...Occasionally they stopped their simultaneous routine...

...to groom each other!

They snuggled close at times.
No wonder they are called "love birds",
and are often used in wedding ceremonies!

After "snuggling",  they would return to grooming themselves again.

This is the last photo I took of them together before they flew away.

One of them circled back around and landed on my back deck.
He appeared to be looking in the kitchen window at me,
and saying, "Did you get all the pictures you wanted?"!!!

As I looked at all the photos I took, I began to feel like I had invaded their privacy!
(Click on the above pictures to enlarge them.) 


How wonderful a God we have!
I love it when He reveals to me His glory and beauty in nature,
and I'm glad I could share some of it with YOU!
Last year around this time I did a post on a different type of doves.
You can find that post HERE.


The song below about doves was originally written by Bob Ferguson.
Click HERE if you'd like to hear it sung by Dolly Parton.

"Wings Of A Dove"
When troubles surround us, when evils come
The body grows weak
The spirit grows numb
When these things beset us, God doesn't forget us
He sends us His love

On the wings of a snow-white dove
He sends His pure sweet love
A sign from above
On the wings of a dove

When Jesus went down through the river that day
Well, he was baptised in the usual way
And when it was done
God blessed His son
He sent him His love
On the wings of a dove

On the wings of a snow-white dove
He sends His pure sweet love
A sign from above
On the wings of a dove

On the wings of a snow-white dove
He sends His pure sweet love
A sign from above
On the wings of a dove

Monday, May 11, 2015

Words Have Power!



SPEAK THE WORD!


This morning after my husband finished reading our Proverbs for the day,
I flipped to the back of his Bible to check on a cross reference.
The Bible had no concordance, 
but did have some interesting "Helps" in the back.


This was one of those "Helps",
and it got me thinking of a verse from Proverbs 18:21 that says,
"The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit."

This reminded me of Ephesians 6:10-18 where Paul talks 
about our Christian battle of spiritual warfare,
and he says in
verse 17 to
"Take the helmet of salvation
 and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the Word of God."

Is Jesus going to use words from the Holy Scriptures to win the end time battle?

"I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, 
whose rider is called Faithful and True. 
 With justice He judges and makes war. 
 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns.  
He has a Name written on Him that no one knows but He Himself.  
He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood,
 and His Name is the WORD OF GOD.  
The armies of heaven were following Him,
 riding on white horses and dressed in find linen, white and clean. 
 Out of His mouth comes a sharp sword 
with which to strike down the nations..."

Do we have the same useful tool that Jesus is going to use
when He comes back to earth to defeat the enemy?
...And are we using it?
I, for one, am not SPEAKING THE WORD enough!
With God's help, 
I plan to PUT IT TO WORK more often!


The Bible I mentioned above can be found HERE as the
"Every Day Life Bible".

Thanks for stopping by.
I did post a new and unusual Name for God on Rock4Today.
I hope you'll take time to check it out!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

There are babies in the house!



No...
Not in my house...
But in the birdhouse!

I'd been seeing a flurry of activity at the old blue bird house.
My husband had cut down the dead tree to which it had been fastened.
Impatient for him to put it up in another spot,
I used bungee cords to fasten it to a near-by tree.

I thought the chickadees had moved in,
but they are such quick little things,
it was hard to catch them.
But today I was able to catch them bringing food to their babies!

They weren't too crazy about having me watch them,
and looked me over good before allowing a photo op!

Finally they seemed to accept my presence,
and flew in and out of the little house,
bringing in food and carrying out debris.

This is a rather light hearted post compared to the Grace series 
that I finished up last month...
Often God uses nature to refresh me and restore my soul.

A verse that caught my attention this morning was from Psalm 103:20 NIV,
"Praise the LORD, you His angels,
You mighty ones who do His bidding,
Who obey His Word."

What God seemed to be saying to me through that verse,
is that when I speak God's Words in prayer,
He may unleash angels to accomplish answers to those prayers!

Now that's an awesome thought!
Unseen wings with the answer on the way!

Thanks for stopping by!
Rock4Today has been a little sluggish lately,
but should have a new name of God on a rock soon!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

GRACE... Can anything stop the flow? Lesson 7



A TASTE OF GRACE



Is there anything that can stop the flow of God's Grace to me?


"Pursue peace with all people, and holiness,
without which no one will see the Lord:
Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the GRACE of God;
lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble,
and by this many become defiled."

Those verses made me stop and think!
What could stop God's GRACE from reaching me?
The only thing that stops His grace is....   ME and MY CHOICES!

*TRYING INSTEAD OF TRUSTING!
     We can forfeit the grace of God by clinging to "worthless idols" - Jonah 2:8
       What am I hanging on to or trying to fix instead of trusting God?

*DISOBEDIENCE AND WRONG CHOICES
     "Today I have given you the choice between life and death,
         between blessings and curses.
       Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make.
          Oh, that you would choose life..."    Deuteronomy 30:19


There is SO much that I have not put in this study.  Thank you for being a part of  my journey!  I would have to write a BIG book to divulge the many things that God has been teaching me about GRACE through studying His Word, the Bible.  To continue your own study on this subject, you might want to check out all the helps available at Blue Letter Bible or Bible Gateway

If you have not yet Tasted the Grace of God, you can start your journey by asking God to help you.  Billy Graham is well known for helping people find PEACE with God
 (Click on the highlighted link above to see the four easy steps he has laid out.)
        


And I would be honored if you would drop by Rock4Today occasionally to see if I've posted any new Names for God on Rocks!
     



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Benefits of Grace - Lesson 6




What Does Grace Do For Me?

or
What are the Benefits of Grace?
 (Lesson 6 of "A Taste of Grace")

 God's GRACE is an outgrowth of His LOVE,
and
His benefits are innumerable!
However, I'll do my best to list some of them that I have found ---
either from His Word or from my own experience as I learn to know Him!
"Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits!"
Psalm 103:1

1. I now am
RIGHTEOUS!
I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!
"Through ONE MAN'S righteous act,
the free gift came to all men...
By One Man's obedience,
many will be made RIGHTEOUS."
And GRACE reigns through righteousness!
Romans 5:17-21

"Because of His (God's) grace, He DECLARED us RIGHTEOUS,
and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life."
Titus 3:7 NLT

"This RIGHTEOUSNESS from God comes
through faith in Jesus Christ to ALL WHO BELIEVE...
and are justified freely by His GRACE...
Romans 3:22-24 NIV


2. We become a part of God's FAMILY!
The "Old Covenant" or "Law" was written on tablets of stone.

By God's grace, we are "accepted into God’s covenant family
 and appointed to be His heirs..."
Titus 3:7 (The Voice Translation) 


 In Jeremiah 31:31-34
 God promises to  write His "New Covenant" on our hearts!
He says, "I will put my instructions deep within them,
and I will write them on their hearts..."

How does He do this?
3. By the GIFT of His Holy Spirit!
"The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin
 instead of a deep healing of it. 
And now what the law code asked for,
 but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished 
as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, 
simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us."
(Passage from Romans 8 The Message Translation)

"I will pour water on him that is thirsty,
and floods on the dry ground...   My SPIRIT..."
Isaiah 44:3

"Anyone who believes in Me may come and drink!
For the Scriptures declare,
'Rivers of Living Water shall flow from his heart'.
When He said 'Living Water',
He was speaking of the Spirit,
Who would be given to everyone believing in Him..."
John 7:38-39

4. A benefit of having the Spirit is LIFE and PEACE!
"Letting the Spirit control your mind leads to LIFE and PEACE."
Romans 8:6

5. The Spirit is also the One Who gives GIFTS.
1 Corinthians 12 and 13 list many of those gifts
with the most important one being LOVE.
 Romans 12:6 says that our gifts differ according to the GRACE that is given to us,
and says they are given to us to USE THEM!

The Message translation says in 1 Timothy 4:14 to 
keep these gifts that God has given you "dusted off and in use"!



6.  Another of the benefits of GRACE
is God's COMPASSION or LOVE for us.
John says in 1 John 4:10,
"We love Him because He first loved us."
(Above rock featured as a Name for God on Rocks  HERE.)

LOVE is KING over the law!
Paul says in Romans 13:10  that
"Love does no harm to his neighbor.
Love is the fulfillment of the law."

Think about it...  
If you LOVE someone, you don't want to hurt them!
That is one of the benefits of GRACE!
When we learn to receive God's love,
we are then able to dispense or share His love.
We can't give what we haven't got!

7. The FAITHFULNESS of God
 is a demonstration of His grace!
"If we are unfaithful,
He remains faithful,
for He cannot deny Who He is."
2 Timothy 2:13 NLT

"The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.
And God is FAITHFUL.
He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand..."
1 Corinthians 10:13



What are a few more of the benefits?

JOY 
"What JOY for those whose record the Lord has cleared from sin."


ENCOURAGEMENT
"I entrust you to God and the message of His GRACE
that is able to build you up..."


FREEDOM!
"Sin is no longer your master,
For you no longer live under the requirements of the Law.
Instead, you live under the FREEDOM of God's GRACE."


STRENGTH!
"...Your STRENGTH comes from God's GRACE..."


ACCESS to God any time!
"Let us come BOLDLY to the throne of our GRACIOUS God.
There we will receive His mercy, 
and we will find GRACE to help us when we need it most!

*****************************************************************

Well, I think that's enough to think about this lesson!

Below are the "Fill in the Blanks" to go along with it.

If you are using this for a Bible study or small group,
 please feel free to copy them!

*****************************************




What Does Grace Do For Me?

or
What are the Benefits of Grace?
 (Lesson 6 of "A Taste of Grace")

 God's GRACE is an outgrowth of His LOVE,
and
His benefits are ____________________!
However, I'll do my best to list some of them that I have found ---
either from His Word or from my own experience as I learn to know Him!
"Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits!"
Psalm 103:1

1. I now am _______________________
!
I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!
"Through ONE MAN'S righteous act,
the free gift came to all men...
By One Man's obedience,
many will be made RIGHTEOUS."
And GRACE reigns through righteousness!
Romans 5:17-21

"Because of His (God's) grace, He DECLARED us RIGHTEOUS,
and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life."
Titus 3:7 NLT

"This RIGHTEOUSNESS from God comes
through faith in Jesus Christ to ALL WHO BELIEVE...
and are justified freely by His GRACE...
Romans 3:22-24 NIV


2. We become a part of God's ____________________!
The "Old Covenant" or "Law" was written on tablets of stone.

By God's grace, we are "accepted into God’s covenant family
 and appointed to be His heirs..."
Titus 3:7 (The Voice Translation) 


 In Jeremiah 31:31-34
 God promises to  write His "New Covenant" on our hearts!
He says, "I will put my instructions deep within them,
and I will write them on their hearts..."

How does He do this?
3. By the_____________ of His _________  ______________!
"The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin
 instead of a deep healing of it. 
And now what the law code asked for,
 but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished 
as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, 
simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us."
(Passage from Romans 8 The Message Translation)

"I will pour water on him that is thirsty,
and floods on the dry ground...   My SPIRIT..."
Isaiah 44:3

"Anyone who believes in Me may come and drink!
For the Scriptures declare,
'Rivers of Living Water shall flow from his heart'.
When He said 'Living Water',
He was speaking of the Spirit,
Who would be given to everyone believing in Him..."
John 7:38-39

4. A benefit of having the Spirit is _______________ and _________________!
"Letting the Spirit control your mind leads to LIFE and PEACE."
Romans 8:6

5. The Spirit is also the One Who give _____________.
1 Corinthians 12 and 13 list many of those gifts
with the most important one being LOVE.
 Romans 12:6 says that our gifts differ according to the GRACE that is given to us,
and says they are given to us to USE THEM!

The Message translation says in 1 Timothy 4:14 to 
keep these gifts that God has given you "dusted off and in use"!



6.  Another of the benefits of GRACE
is God's ____________________ or ____________ for us.
John says in 1 John 4:10,
"We love Him because He first loved us."
(Above rock featured as a Name for God on Rocks  HERE.)

LOVE is KING over the law!
Paul says in Romans 13:10  that
"Love does no harm to his neighbor.
Love is the fulfillment of the law."

Think about it...  
If you LOVE someone, you don't want to hurt them!
That is one of the benefits of GRACE!
When we learn to receive God's love,
we are then able to dispense or share His love.
We can't give what we haven't got!

7. The _______________________ of God
 is a demonstration of His grace!
"If we are unfaithful,
He remains faithful,
for He cannot deny Who He is."
2 Timothy 2:13 NLT

"The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.
And God is ______________________.
He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand..."
1 Corinthians 10:13



What are a few more of the benefits?

*____________________
"What JOY for those whose record the Lord has cleared from sin."


*__________________________
"I entrust you to God and the message of His GRACE
that is able to build you up..."


*_________________________________!
"Sin is no longer your master,
For you no longer live under the requirements of the Law.
Instead, you live under the FREEDOM of God's GRACE."


*__________________________!
"...Your STRENGTH comes from God's GRACE..."


*_____________________ to God any time!
"Let us come BOLDLY to the throne of our GRACIOUS God.
There we will receive His mercy, 
and we will find GRACE to help us when we need it most!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How Do I Get Grace? Lesson 5



By Receiving It!

Lesson 5 of "A Taste of Grace"

The Grace of God is a GIFT!


  I RECEIVE the grace and righteousness of God
by BELIEVING,
and ACCEPTING it by FAITH in Jesus Christ.

     "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
 and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." 

"...How much more will those who RECEIVE God's abundant provision of GRACE
and of the GIFT of righteousness reign in life
through the one man, Jesus Christ!



I receive the grace of God by BEING HUMBLE
and by PRAYING.

"...He gives MORE GRACE... 
God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble."

"If my people, who are called by My Name,
will HUMBLE themselves,
and PRAY and SEEK MY FACE...
then I will hear from heaven..."



I receive God's grace by TRUSTING,
...and not by DOING!
Learn to "BE", and not to "DO"!

"For when I tried to keep the law, I realized I could never earn God's approval. 
 So I died to the law so that I might live for God.  I have been crucified with Christ. 
 I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. 
 So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God,
 who loved me and gave Himself for me. 
 I am not one of those who treats the grace of God as meaningless. 
 For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die. 

Maybe those verses are easier to understand from The Message Translation:

"What actually took place is this:
 I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily."



There are times in life when it seems we need
"EXTRA GRACE"!
How do we get it?

"CRY OUT!"

"...Cry out to the LORD...
...Let your tears flow like a river day and night;
give yourself no relief, your eyes no rest.
Arise, cry out in the night,
as the watches of the night begin;
Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the LORD,
Lift up your hands to Him..."

"From the depths of despair, O LORD,
I call for your help.
Hear my cry, O Lord.
Pay attention to my prayer..."

"In my distress I called upon the LORD,
and CRIED OUT to my God;
He heard my voice from His temple,
And my cry came before Him, even to His ears...
He came down...
He delivered me because He delighted in me."



Sometimes when you are in DISTRESS,
all you can do is GROAN!

In these times, it is comforting to know God hears those groans!

"God heard their groaning and remembered His covenant..."

"...The LORD was moved to pity by their groaning
because of those who oppressed and harassed them."

Paul talks about "GROANING" in his letter to the Romans:
"...We believers also GROAN, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us...
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness..."
The Holy Spirit also GROANS and He prays for us,
making all things work together for our good!


God not only hears our groans,
He hears us every time we SIGH!
"You know what I long for, LORD;
You hear my every sigh."

"While we live in these earthly bodies,
we GROAN and SIGH...
...We want to put on our new bodies...
God Himself has prepared us for this and...
has given us His Holy Spirit"


SURRENDER YOUR WILL!

The NKJV of  Matthew 6:10 says,
"Your kingdom come.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

But let this translation of  "The Lord's Prayer"  from The Message 
stimulate your thinking:
 This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:
Our Father in heaven,

Reveal who you are.

Set the world right;

Do what’s best—

    as above, so below.

Keep us alive with three square meals.

Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.

Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.

You’re in charge!

You can do anything you want!

You’re ablaze in beauty!

    Yes. Yes. Yes."


COUNT on His Word and don't lose HOPE!
"I am counting on the LORD;
yes, I am counting on Him.
I have put my hope in His Word."

Don't forget the confidence expressed in  Philippians 1:6, which says:
"There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears."


Let God show you His strength and POWER 
through your WEAKNESS!

"My grace is sufficient for you,
for My power is made perfect in weakness"

"My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) 
and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. 
Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, 
that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest 
(yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!"

Remember God is FAITHFUL...
And He will never let you down!
(1 Corinthians 10:13)




*******************************************

The painted rock above was featured as a Name for God on Rock4Today,
and can be seen by clicking HERE!

May God bless you and me as together we continue to learn to
TASTE HIS GRACE!

Below are the "Fill in the Blanks" made to go along with this lesson.

**********************************************************


How DO I Get GRACE?

The Grace of God is a _________________________.


  I ___________________ the grace and righteousness of God
by__________________,
and ____________________ by_______________________.

     "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
 and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." 

"...How much more will those who RECEIVE God's abundant provision of GRACE
and of the GIFT of righteousness reign in life
through the one man, Jesus Christ!



I receive the grace of God by __________________ 
_________________and by ______________________.

"...He gives MORE GRACE... 
God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble."

"If my people, who are called by My Name,
and PRAY and SEEK MY FACE...
then I will hear from heaven..."



I receive God's grace by _____________________,
and not by___________________!
Learn to "___________", and not to "__________"!

"For when I tried to keep the law, I realized I could never earn God's approval. 
 So I died to the law so that I might live for God.  I have been crucified with Christ. 
 I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. 
 So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God,
 who loved me and gave Himself for me. 
 I am not one of those who treats the grace of God as meaningless. 
 For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die. 



There are times in life when it seems we need
"_____________   ____________"!
How do we get it?

"_____________ _____________!"

"...Cry out to the LORD...
...Let your tears flow like a river day and night;
give yourself no relief, your eyes no rest.
Arise, cry out in the night,
as the watches of the night begin;
Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the LORD,
Lift up your hands to Him..."



Sometimes when you are in_____________________,
all you can do is __________________!

In these times, it is comforting to know God hears those groans!

"God heard their groaning and remembered His covenant..."

"...The LORD was moved to pity by their groaning
because of those who oppressed and harassed them."

Paul talks about "GROANING" in his letter to the Romans:
"...We believers also GROAN, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us...
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness..."
The Holy Spirit also GROANS and He prays for us,
making all things work together for our good!


God not only hears our groans,
He hears us every time we __________________!
"You know what I long for, LORD;
You hear my every sigh."

"While we live in these earthly bodies,
we GROAN and SIGH...
...We want to put on our new bodies...
God Himself has prepared us for this and...
has given us His Holy Spirit"


Don't forget to ___________________ YOUR ____________!

The NKJV of  Matthew 6:10 says,
"Your kingdom come.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."



________________ on His Word and don't lose _____________!

"I am counting on the LORD;
yes, I am counting on Him.
I have put my hope in His Word."




Let God show you His strength and _________________ through your __________________!

"My grace is sufficient for you,
for My power is made perfect in weakness"


Remember,
God is __________________
and He will never let you down!