Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"Lively stones!"

"Lively Stones!"

What are "lively stones"?
I didn't think stones were living things!

It had been a long while since I had read out of my old Bible
that I used back in my Bible College days up in Canada.
It's the old King James Version, full of "ye's", "thee's", and "thou's".
But, for some reason, I picked it up this morning
and opened to this verse in 1 Peter 2:5:
"Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house,
an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices,
acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." 

So, because of my curiosity about what a "lively stone" could be,
I got out about 5 other translations to check it out.
I was amazed as I studied, to find out how this related
to yesterday's "Not About Me" challenge about "The Sacrifice of JOY".

The New Century Version helped a lot
when I also read the verse preceding it.
"Come to the Lord Jesus,
the "Stone" that lives...
You also are like living stones,
so let yourselves be used to build a spiritual temple -
to be holy priests who offer spiritual sacrifices to God.
He will accept those sacrifices through Jesus Christ."

My New King James Study Version by Thomas Nelson
had footnotes that further explained it:
"Stones here refers to stones that are shaped and
ready for use in construction, as opposed to natural rock...
All believers are priests who have the privilege and responsibility
of offering spiritual sacrifices to God."

What are those "spiritual sacrifices" that we can offer?
Guess what?
At least some of them are those mentioned in yesterday's blog:
the "sacrifice of joy", the "sacrifice of praise", and
the "sacrifice of Thanksgiving"!

Linking for the first time with Winsome Wednesdays,
and also with Laura's Brag on God Friday, and  Spiritual Sundays. 
To see "Rocks that Talk", check out my ROCK4TODAY blog!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How can JOY be a sacrifice?!!

"I will offer sacrifices of joy..."

This morning as I went downstairs to spend some time with the Lord,
the "Not About Me" challenge that was given to us by Laura of
Brag on God Friday was on my mind.
I didn't have to wonder long about what God wanted to show me.
My Bible opened up to Psalm 27,
and my eyes immediately fell on verse 6 as quoted above.

God had spoken to me before about the
"sacrifices of praise" mentioned in Hebrews 13:6 that says,
"...Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God,
that is, the fruit of our lips,
giving thanks to His Name."
And now here it was again.  Was it the same thing?

 God had previously shown me that when my life with its situations
and challenges seemed out of control, they would come under His control
when I would praise and worship Him.
He would give me His peace as I placed my thoughts on Him,
and He would work out all things for my good.

Looking at notes in my study Bible, I read that although we
no longer have a need to bring the thanksgiving sacrifices to God described
in the book of Leviticus, we are to offer spiritual sacrifices.
According to Hosea 14:2, we do this by "taking words with us",
and using our lips to speak His praise outloud to Him.

So, to me it looks like the "sacrifice of joy"
and the "sacrifice of praise" are really the New Testament version
of the "sacrifice of Thanksgiving".
How appropriate is that for this season?!!!
As we praise Him for WHO HE IS
and celebrate the blessings He has given us,
He fills us with His JOY and STRENGTH!

In giving up my rights to pout, be discouraged,
or nourish negative feelings, it is a sacrifice.
I have a right to feel that way if I want to dwell on it.
But what a trade-off if I let go of it and praise God instead!
When I praise Him, I take my hands off my problems
and give Him room to work.
JOY instead of self-pity!
JOY instead of gloom and doom!
I don't know about you, but today I choose JOY!

And that's my JOY4TODAY!

To see Names of God on rocks,
hop on over to my ROCK4TODAY blog!

Linking with Women Living Well Wednesdays,
Brag on God Fridays,
Spiritual Sundays.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Joplin - 5 months later

It had been about two months since we were in Joplin, and as Gary and I went back last week, it was a very encouraging visit.  The last time we were there, I could not bear to look at a lot of the damage.  (The Joplin tornado came soon after we had just seen the flooding devastation along the Mississippi River and the tornado destruction in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa.) 

I'd like to share a few pictures with you of this visit, and pass on a story of survival that was shared with us.

Piles of rubble were evident on many parking lots
that were in the process of being cleared. 
The trees, although having put out new growth,
still looked mishapen and showed signs of trauma.

Evidence of new construction abounded with multiple port-a-potties
being one of the good indicators at most building sites!

Rows and rows of FEMA trailers gave credence
to the number of people that had lost their homes.
Someone  told me that FEMA furnishes the trailer
rent free for 18 months to give them time to get re-established.

In contrast to all the rubble and construction,
a newly opened Wendy's stood out like a shiny new copper penny.

The manager shared this story with us.
On the evening of the tornado as the sirens were screaming
the warning of the impending disaster,
she spoke to her employees by phone.
Her gut instinct instructed them to huddle together
in the men's bathroom, instead of in the walk-in cooler which
was the usual designated safe place.
She was praying to God for His protection 
as she and her husband drove to the restaurant.
A semi-truck/trailer lay on its side
where the dining room had been.
The only part of the building that remained
was the men's bathroom which contained
seven frightened employees - none with serious injuries!
Truly God had protected them.

Of course, no town in America is replete without its Walmart Store!
The motto on this trailer sums up what we saw in Joplin:
"Rebuilding Together"

A couple of Bible verses that seem appropriate
are from Jeremiah 31:3-4 where God says,
"I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with loving-kindness,
I will build you up again
and you will be REBUILT..."

To see some names of God from A to Z,
check out my Rock4Today blog!

Linking with Women Living Well Wednesdays, Alphabe-Thursdays, Brag on God Fridays, and Spiritual Sundays.