Monthly Archives: February 2013

Even to You

Hand compliments of Michaelangelo

Hand, compliments of Michelangelo!

So that your trust may be in the Lord, I have made known these things to you today, EVEN TO YOU. Have I not written to you excellent things in counsels and knowledge, to make you know the certainty of the words of truth…”
Proverbs 22:19-21

Early in life, I was severely shy. I can remember hiding behind my parents when someone new came to our house, or dreading having my name called each day during school. My greatest fear was of having any type of attention drawn to me. I preferred cowering in the safety of my comfort zone.

Most of that shyness has subsided, but I am still somewhat introverted and uncomfortable in crowds. Conversations in small gatherings or one on one are just more my preference. The very thought of being pointed out openly still sends my blood pressure soaring. Some remnants of timidity will likely always define who I am.

The Proverbs passage highlighted is a wonderful declaration by God of His trustworthiness and of how He made His Truth accessible. From a shy person’s perspective, though, a small portion of the verse jumps off the page. For those bashful ones like me, it is as if a speaker reading the verse stops when he reaches the ‘even to you‘ part, then points directly at me, causing my heart to cringe and my face to redden. Thankfully, this is not what God intended in this verse!

Quite the opposite is true. God is never mean-spirited or ever cruelly single us out, but He does call out. In this passage, He poignantly calls to us across the expanse of time. 

I love God’s Word, both its timeliness and timelessness. Though written thousands of years ago, His Word touches us where we are today. God could have just made known His Word, and left it at that, hoping that someone would pay attention and migrate towards Him.  He could have simply thrown Truth out in generalities, but He did not. Instead, God made His Truth known to you this day, showing clearly that the Truth was for a particular people group. However, God did not limit His Word to one group; He directed it straight at the individual, even to you. From ages past, God revealed excellent things in counsels and knowledge then made it available to all, even to you and me.

God’s excellent Word is alive and is the only Book that has the power to change individuals. It never has or ever will change. Other religions boast of truths and moral guidelines, but all end up causing more harm than good. The reason for this is that other religions require strict adherence to a set of teachings, causing perfectionism and bondage. God’s Truth, however, is the exact opposite. When revealed, it is so that the hearers’ trust may be in the Lord. They trust in His ability, not their own. God made Truth known, not for us to burden ourselves with unattainable religious perfection, but so that we would place our trust in the only One who is perfect. By revealing Truth to each of us, God is literally unveiling Jesus.

Sadly, for those who refuse Christ but instead choose religious bondage, the result will be death, a spiritual death that brings eternal separation from Him. God makes known His Word to every person born, in undeniable ways. Whether through the awe of His creation or orchestrated opportunities, He provides everyone the circumstances in which to understand the certainty of the words of Truth, found only through trusting Jesus.

God called out long ago with a message of Truth. He directed that call to everyone collectively, but also individually, even to you. Though I am still shy and feel awkward having my name highlighted in a crowd, He called even to me. This call was not mean-spirited, but was done out of a desire to restore us to Himself. It was a love message.

Through Jesus, God makes known that He loves us. Though He was nailed to the cross long ago, Jesus looked across time and saw your face. He saw everyone’s face. He even saw mine, bashful and all. The Way, the Truth and the Life gazed upon humanity then wrote an excellent message. That message of love was written to you. Even to you!

Proverbs Post*Similar blog entries of mine can be found on the category Proverbs PostBlessings always!  Sue

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Be You, For Me

Pansy, yellow double
Pansy, pretty purpleBe free to be who I’ve called you to be.

Don’t try to be someone you think you should be.

As pansies each have a beauty all their own,
Your life has a magnificence of its own.

You look at your failures and think,
Your life does not matter, or so you think! 

Pansy, yellow with sunI look beyond your imperfections and see,
You, shining My glory for others to see.

So, bloom just how you have been created by Me.
Being who I made you to be pleases Me.


“For we are God’s masterpiece.”  Eph. 2:10

Pansy, light purple*You can read more of my poems via the category Poetry Corner. Blessings always!

Hide or Seek

Facebook for wordpress

“So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For He will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.”
1 Corinthians 4:5

Many of you are probably seasoned Facebook enthusiasts. I jumped on board only a few years ago and mainly so that I could keep up with what is going on with our children and grandchildren. My husband and I live quite some distance away from them and often it seems like we are the last ones to hear what is happening in their lives. Facebook has helped us stay more connected. At the very least, we get to view all the cute pictures of the grandkids we would have otherwise missed seeing!

Since I am relatively new to social networking, and due to a general lack of interest, I am somewhat uninformed about many of Facebook’s features. Although the List setting has probably been around for quite some time, I only recently discovered it. I was researching information about privacy settings for Facebook as it relates to personal timelines and pages. While searching, I came across this whole concept of creating lists as a tool for customizing what one shares. By their own Help definition, “Lists give you an optional way to share a post with a custom audience or exclude some people from a post.” 

Once generated, lists act as filters for personal status updates or posts. One can even view how their personal timeline appears to each category of listed individuals. The whole concept seems rather benign on the surface. Very likely, most who utilize this Facebook feature do so because of privacy concerns. Some may even want to separate their personal lives from business for similar reasons. Others may simply organize their friends into categories of close friends versus acquaintances. However, plenty others may create segregated Friend lists in an attempt to compartmentalize their lives based on aspects of their behaviors or views. Some on their List can know certain things they say and do, while others cannot. 

In essence, Facebook Lists enables users to screen or hide certain aspects of their lives from others. When done for security issues, the filters are always justified. When utilized for communicating extremely personal sentiments to closest friends only, lists are understandable. However, when created for the sole purpose of hiding particulars of one’s life, lists then become avenues for secrecy and automatically arouse suspicion. Lists used for this reason epitomize a person trying to live a compartmentalized, secret-filled life.

With these Lists, keeping secrets can work. Children can cleverly hide from their parents any subversive behaviors or inappropriate posts. Employees can cloak from their superiors unacceptable off-duty choices or unethical remarks. Spouses can disguise from their mates unfaithful relationships or suggestive gestures. With Facebook, secret profiles may work. On God’s timeline, they do not.

God sees everything. One day, each of us will stand before His throne and give an accounting for the things we have done. In Mark 4, it is clear that God is our judge and nobody else. Before Him on Judgment day, all secrets, whether sinful in nature or not, will be revealed. So will the motives behind them. Since we will each stand before Him, it would behoove us to keep our lives undefiled. It is certain that nothing kept hidden ever goes unnoticed by God.

Those who generate Facebook Lists in an attempt to cover up portions of their lives are only fooling themselves into believing that nobody knows. They can continue to play a game of ‘Hide’ by using custom categories of Friends, but God sees every hidden Status Update and all components of their Personal Timelines. In the end, they will discover that what they tried to hide, the Light will fully reveal.

What is of particular concern is when Christians resort to such secrecy. Our lives are supposed to be like candlesticks with the light of God’s presence shining openly. Luke reminds followers of Christ,

 “For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither [any thing] hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.” Luke 8:17

The gospel should not stay hidden in Christians, nor should they be hiding secret sins.

What everyone should be doing is seeking God, not hiding. We should be seeking His face, seeking Him while He may be found, seeking Him like for hidden treasure, seeking Him with all our heart, and seeking Him first.  When seeking Him becomes our focus, hiding secrets will not be our desire. Sins we commit will be brought continually before the throne in order to be cleansed, allowing Him to make every area of our lives like an open book anyone can read. There will not be any devious compartments on Facebook which only certain people can view.

More than anyone else, we should want to Friend Jesus. He wants to make us His own and to call us friends. In His Book are the names of those friends, but He does not separate them into lists of those He loves more. Because of that love, we should want God’s friendship and to spend our lives seeking Him first.

Facebook is fine and a great way to stay connected with family and friends. God wants to stay connected with us, too. Knowing that, is there ever any reason for hiding secrets that would separate us from a True friend? 

Hope Rains

God's glory on display. Unknown source

God’s glory on display. Unknown source

My hope keeps unraveling.
Disappointments keep stealing my joy.
Nightmares keep chasing away sweet dreams.

My strength keeps fading.
Turmoil keeps wrecking my peace.
Struggles keep sabotaging any gains.

My efforts keep failing.
Pride keeps thwarting God’s plans.
Rebellion keeps refusing any change.

Yet, Your Word keeps prevailing.
Truth keeps lifting my head.
Mercy keeps cleansing away all shame.

Your glory keeps revealing.
Majesty keeps opening my eyes.
Creation keeps shouting out Your name.

Your love keeps renewing.
Grace keeps steadying my mind.
Hope keeps pouring down again like rain.

“But Thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory and the lifter of mine head.”
Psalm 3:3

Footnote: this poem was written during a period of immense emotional pain in as I watched someone I love deeply nearly destroy his life. God got me through and continues to work powerfully in my life and his. He surely is the lifter of my head. One day, He has promised an outcome for my loved one that will match the beauty of the photo above. “He is faithful that promised! Hebrews 10:23

From His Heart for blogIf you enjoyed this poem, you might like others in the category Poetry Corner. Blessings always!
Sue

A Photo of Eternity

A glimpse from heaven of my wonderful dad!

A glimpse from ‘heaven’ of my wonderful dad!

A sparkle in the forest,
A glimmer of light from afar;
A mere glimpse of eternity,
Of what we have in store.
by Sue Nash

Today my dad would have been 84 years old. He lived a long, wonderful life then went to heaven at 82. Like so many others who have lost a parent, I miss him terribly. In his case, though, the pain from cancer had so consumed him that the final parting he took heavenward brought more relief than sorrow to those of us who loved him. I miss my sweet dad but am happy knowing he finally left his suffering behind and made it safely to his eternal home.

My dad was always very physically strong and energetic. In fact, even a few months prior to his death, he could still split and chop his own firewood. I called him a ‘work horse.’ Because of this, his passing was hard to accept because in the back of my mind, I had counted on him being around for many more years.

After the initial hurt lessened, I thought that I was progressing normally through the grieving process but realized that I was struggling. I had wrapped my heart around the fact that my dad was in heaven but could not seem to wrap my mind around it. Since I am such a ‘visual’ person, I longed to see him there – to catch a glimpse of daddy in heaven.

A few years earlier, one of my nieces shared something about heaven that beautifully expressed that longing. I had the opportunity to hear Don Piper speak at a local church about his book 90 Minutes in Heaven. Since my niece was going, too, I thought it best to prepare her for some of his discussion. She was still rather young and I did not want her to get upset over the details of his death. After I was done, she wanted to know more about his heavenly journey. As I told her some about his book, she listened intently. What she spoke next, I have never forgotten. As soon as I finished sharing, she exclaimed, “Oh Aunt Sue, don’t you wish he could have brought back photos?” My adorable niece was correct. What I needed most to ease my grieving was a photo. Nothing else would so precisely fulfill my longing than seeing a snapshot of my dad in heaven.

Unfortunately, Don Piper did not take his camera to heaven. We have his phenomenal testimony, but he did not bring back a scrapbook filled with photos. I was so earnest in my desire for this glimpse that I began asking God if He would give something like a photo, such as a vision or spiritual dream. I never doubted His Word that since my dad had accepted Christ he was really in heaven. This was not some ‘doubting Thomas’ kind of moment, rather a desire for comfort. I just kept yearning for a glimpse. Weeks and months passed but God never gave me that vision.

Just like our God, though, on one ordinary day while I was dusting the furniture, I came across the photo above. Taken many years before my dad died, this picture is very special because it was of a trip our family took together in Colorado. In this shot, my dad was the happiest I ever remember him. Sitting as he was atop the Continental Divide, his battle with cancer had not yet begun. His literal battles of fighting on the front lines in Korea were long since gone. Of all my pictures of him, this one, taken just before his suffering began, is most precious. My heavenly Father knew all of this. As I walked past it that morning, He gently whispered, “There’s your photo.”

God’s words stunned me since I had already given up on my ‘photo from heaven.’ As I gazed upon it that day, it was as if I were seeing it again for the first time. I began noticing that my dad had on his Saints cap and that he looked more relaxed and carefree than I really had noticed. It occurred to me that heaven is like that – a place where he is carefree and happy, and has joined all the other ‘saints;’ a place with no suffering, and of mountaintops instead of valleys of sorrow. Additionally, only God could have known what comfort it would bring his garden-loving daughter to see him surrounded by flowers! Amazed, I knew that this whisper from the Lord was not simply my imagination. God had given me my photo!

To some, this may seem a bit hokey. I did have a moment where I questioned the validity myself. I got to thinking about heaven and our glorified bodies. From my recollections, my dad had on glasses for the pose and this just did not seem to mesh with Scripture. Upon questioning God about it, He prompted me to go have another look. There was my dad with his glasses, but instead of wearing them he was holding them in his hand! I realize many will dismiss this as mere ‘wishful longings.’ It only takes one glimpse, though, for me to know that I have my glimpse!

My dad is now in heaven. Eternity wrapped its loving arms around him and gently took him on home. Perhaps because I yearned so intently, God gave me a picture of my dad in eternity. Even though I miss him dearly, I smile looking at him, knowing he is now on heaven’s shore! All I have to do is gaze upon the photo to remember that eternity just had better things in store!

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
2 Corinthians 4:17

From His Heart for blog

EVERYONE

A parody for purposes of this blog by Sue Nash

A parody for purposes of this blog – by Sue Nash

Kids say and do the darndest things! They just seem to have a perspective on life that is outside the planetary alignment from adults. Unlike most starchy grown-ups, young children say precisely what they think and do exactly what they want; this often rattles the boundaries of adults. Videos of their unanticipated cute remarks and adorable mannerisms go viral on YouTube as fast as the Road Runner in the desert. The reason for this is that most grown-ups still long to be as honest and carefree as children are again. Part of us wishes we could be the one saying those cute things.

In general, children are much better at enjoying life than adults. Their laughter is contagious and their smiles can soften even the hardest of hearts. They certainly melt mine. I have to admit that when it comes to kids, I am a total ‘softie.’ It is as if I have the word ‘SUCKER’ written on my forehead which is invisible to adults and only children can read. Though I stink at saying no to them, I derive much joy being around kids and love watching how they enjoy life. 

A big sucker around kids!

A big sucker around kids!

Jesus also loved being with children. The song reminds us, ‘Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.’ So do photos of Him sitting with children on His lap. I do not even have to post one of those pictures here, since most of us already have a mental picture anyway. In the familiar passage in Matthew 19, the disciples wanted young ones to leave Jesus alone; their thinking was that He did not need to be bothered. Instead, He welcomed them to come near with open arms. The song and photos remind us, and though the message may be overused, it is nonetheless true that Jesus does love all the little children.

Jesus very willingly gave children top billing by allowing them near Him and high scores for their trusting attitudes. They were welcome to sit on His lap and to hear what He had to say. Once His followers finally realized that they were not a bother but that Jesus wanted children to come near, they dropped the discussion. The kids would stay!

Children were all welcome and able to be around Jesus not only because of His love, but also due to the purity of His message and the trustworthiness of His character. He never minced His words, but spoke openly with both young and old around because the messages were always upright and intended for all.

When I created my WordPress account to begin blogging, I had to configure the settings to reflect the appropriateness of my writing content for particular audiences:

 

Maximum Rating G — Suitable for all audiences
PG — Possibly offensive, usually for audiences 13 and above
R — Intended for adult audiences above 17
X — Even more mature than above

As the sole author and administrator of my site, I was the one who decided what type of rating to use. An honor system is inherent to this self-scoring, because what might be deemed appropriate by one will not necessarily be for another. For instance, some may think profanity is perfectly fine for ‘PG’ followers whereas plenty others would shun foul language for the same. The list certainly goes on in terms of subjectivity for content appropriateness using a rating scale such as the one above.

Both by what He spoke and did, Jesus demonstrated that His life and messages were flawlessly honorable and highly suitable for any audiences. If using the rating criteria above, He would score as ‘G’ rated but this level does not seem to fit precisely. Another category which more accurately aligns with the suitability of Christ’s messages and content is ‘E’ for everyone. He never had to filter what He said, to screen for any inappropriate activities, or to block little children from being around Him. Everyone was His appropriate audience; all are His desired followers.

Though they are at times very silly, Jesus never excluded little children from coming to Him. He loves all the little ones and all the cute little things they say and do. Thankfully, He loves us starchy grown-ups, too, and everyone else in-between. If Christ had a blog, He would likely mark His ratings panel as ‘E’ for EVERYONE.  Then, He would further define this intended audience by using an arrow that points directly to John 3:16.

“For God so loved the WORLD (EVERYONE) that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16