Silver refined 7 times

As life-saving as silver is from dangerous microbes and as useful as it is for creating electronics in cars, it is also full of symbolism-including purity. (see references below)

The passage in Psalm 12 speaks of silver refined in a furnace as being purified, 7 times. The number seven in Hebrew represents an oath, something unshakeable. God’s word does not change, it is steadfast. When He keeps His word, His kingdom comes and His will is done.

There is nothing mixed in to change His meaning. It is authentic and true. When Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?”, he was verbalizing the question of human culture and society in general. Many things appear one way but come to find out, they were just the opposite of what was said. This is called reading between the lines or as my freshman college professors taught us, “situational ethics”.

The vileness exalted among children in our current age will not be unnoticed by God. He has set a standard that is unpolluted by fame or popularity. He will respond at the right time to take care of unjust gain derived from vile deeds, robbing the poor or needy. (Children are poor and needy as they rely on adults to care for them properly)

Who’s word is unchanging? Trust His timing.- Teresa #purified #likesilver

Who is the One who protects and keeps us? (January challenge: memorize Psalm 121)

It is the Lord, maker of heaven and earth!!!

A song of ascents. (Psalm 121, NET)
I look up toward the hills.
From where does my help come?2
My help comes from the Lord,
the Creator of heaven and earth!3
May he not allow your foot to slip!
May your protector not sleep!4
Look! Israel’s protector
does not sleep or slumber!5
The Lord is your protector;
the Lord is the shade at your right hand.6
The sun will not harm you by day,
or the moon by night.7
The Lord will protect you from all harm;
he will protect your life.8
The Lord will protect you in all you do,
now and forevermore.

Psalm 12:5-8 (ESV)

“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan,
I will now arise,” says the Lord;
“I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”
6 The words of the Lord are pure words,
like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times.

7 You, O Lord, will keep them;
you will guard us[b] from this generation forever.
8 On every side the wicked prowl,
as vileness is exalted among the children of man.’

John 18:33-38a (NET)

Pilate Questions Jesus
So Pilate went back into the governor’s residence, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” 34 Jesus replied, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or have others told you about me?”35 Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own people and your chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36
Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my servants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish authorities. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” 37 Then Pilate said, “So you are a king!” Jesus replied, “You say that I am a king. For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world – to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate asked, “What is truth?” ‘

Additional web- based references below…

According to John Rothins, (July 1, 2019)

Silver might not always get the glory and attention that gold does, but it remains one of the most useful precious metals in the world. Solar technology, electronics, soldering and brazing, engine bearings, medicine, cars, water purification, jewelry, tableware, and your precious metals portfolio—silver can be found practically everywhere.

And from (April 30,2021), a post from Rob Tyson states:

As a metal, silver is extremely pliable, elastic, heat resistant, conductive, non-corrosive, non-toxic in low doses, has low contact resistant, doesn’t readily oxidise and has proven antimicrobial and biocide properties. That means it can lend itself to a huge range of applications, some of them literally life-saving.

Of particular note are silver nanoparticles (silver NPs), which are tiny particles of silver. Studies have found they have excellent antimicrobial properties and are very effective against most types of bacteria. However, they’ve also proven to be a very handy tool in the fight against some viruses, notably HIV, hepatitis B, herpes simplex, mpox (abbreviation added) and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus).

Have you asked?

It takes a good question to find the narrow way leading to eternal life. Have I asked to be given what I need?

It takes a bit of pondering to seek a worthy treasure. Have I settled for mediocrity or given up on excellence?

Energy expended in knocking at the right door of opportunity will not lead to destruction. Am I part of the few who persevere to find it opening?

I heard a young man describe a friend of his who followed Christ wholeheartedly as a quality person. He would surely consider her for a wife!

I found it refreshing to hear that it was not because she was someone who was easily seduced that put her in the “quality” category, but someone who reflected Christ.

Religion is different than relationship. One is “about” God and the other is “with” God. Taking care of orphans and widows in their distress is done “with” the love of God, only then considered “pure” religion that involves a true relationship (James 1:27).

I read a tweet from @CSLewis daily saying, “Of all the bad men, religious bad men are the worst.” – C.S. Lewis

I would say that is because a religious bad person is caught up with finding correct answers but not changing their humanly deceptive heart through the power of God. Correct answers only lead to knowledge which puffs up but as Paul the apostle states, love builds up! (I Corinthians 8:1)

If our right actions stem from a need to only be correct, then the power of love has not yet transformed our hearts.

Asking the difficult question (aka…I need something/asked with humility) is necessary in order to be given the rewarding answer.

Seeking the worthy treasure begins with discerning true quality.

Knocking at the door of God’s heart allows us to gain entrance into His fellowship, through His Son, Jesus Christ the Lord.

In so doing, we will begin to lose our insecurities caused by sin’s curse. Only then, will we be able to treat others as we would love to be treated.

I have struggled with feelings of being left out, over-giving to gain acceptance and jealousy/anger of those who attempt to take what I feel is rightfully mine. Reading this passage reminds me that it’s not other people’s job to make me feel included, I must ask the right question of the Lord for myself. Over-giving leads to being “used” by others or not valued as the quality person God has made me. Trying to “hold on” to what is mine only leads to achy hands. By opening my fingers, I can be released of bad feelings, knowing God will truly give every opportunity that is mine.

Have you asked, are you seeking, will you knock? Each season of life requires a different way of addressing these three questions. None is more rewarding than the present realization that He is waiting for our fellowship (questions). -Teresa

Matthew 6:7-13 (ESV)

Ask, and It Will Be Given

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

The Golden Rule

12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[b] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

The Bride as wife of the Lamb

When the apostle John described the new Jerusalem in the passage below, he said it will be radiant (having God’s glory). Like a rare jewel, her beauty will shine. With high walls and twelve gates there will be gems adorning the 12 layers of foundation, every type of jewel.

The twelve apostles will make up the foundation, the twelve tribes of Israel are the 12 gates and there will be pure gold throughout the city (could this be the works that are done for the Lord that did not burn up in judgment- reaching others with God’s love)?

All the beauty, radiance and rare gemstones portrayed here could be representing people-the church, herself. Translating into millions of people who put their faith in God. They are the ones who have trusted His son, Jesus Christ the LORD (who is head of the body- the church) in order to save them from sin’s curse, (aka separation from God, or spiritual death).

I believe heaven will be all of us believers together, glorified by His perfection. Our Savior has completed the Father’s will and made all things new. Let us be courageous to conquer the world’s fiery trials and temptations. Trusting His word, the Bible, let us stand true with unwavering devotion to our Lord.

The first and best New Year’s resolution for me is to nurture my relationship with God. This may be in Bible reading, prayer, worship, meditation, journaling, memorization or fellowshipping with others who are encouragers of the faith.

Rare beauty can be found in one place alone, His radiance shining through a redeemed life. – Teresa #HappyNewYear

Revelation 21:1-27 (ESV) emphasis added

The New Heaven and the New Earth

21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place[a] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,[b] and God himself will be with them as their God.[c] 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

5 And he was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

The New Jerusalem

9 Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— 13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15 And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. 16 The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia.[d] Its length and width and height are equal. 17 He also measured its wall, 144 cubits[e] by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement. 18 The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass.19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

22 And I saw temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.Read full chapter


  1. Revelation 21:3 Or tabernacle
  2. Revelation 21:3 Some manuscripts peoples
  3. Revelation 21:3 Some manuscripts omit as their God
  4. Revelation 21:16 About 1,380 miles; a stadionwas about 607 feet or 185 meters
  5. Revelation 21:17 A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters

Go big or go…home

God’s Spirit showed up for Zerubbabel. In the midst of facing a huge mountain, he was confident that the building would be built.

With our current U.S. housing crisis, we are seeing the obstacles that Zerubbabel may have encountered. Interest rates that look like a ginormous mountain to climb prevent many from reaching their dream of having their own place to either rent or own.

Nevertheless, God will make a way to empower His church. Our Savior (who is also “head” of the church body) took on the greatest obstacle of all when he moved locations, being divine but in very human conditions. He did not go big but he did come “home”. #manger

His earthly home was secure with parents who were handpicked by the Father. Maybe they did not have much in regards to worldly wealth, yet Mary and Joseph had a home where God’s name was revered.

This Christmas season, we can rejoice in making our hearts Christ’s home. In so doing, he will miraculously make us part of His great building, the church.- Teresa #Hisglory #Hiswork #makesuslessbig #bringsmehome

I Corinthians 3: 8-17 (ESV)

8 The one who plants and the one who waters work as one, but each will receive his reward according to his work. 9 We are coworkers belonging to God. You are God’s field, God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master-builder I laid a foundation, but someone else builds on it. And each one must be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than what is being laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw,13 each builder’s work will be plainly seen, for the Day will make it clear, because it will be revealed by fire. And the fire will test what kind of work each has done.14 If what someone has built survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If someone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss. He himself will be saved, but only as through fire. 16
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17 If someone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, which is what you are.

Zechariah 4:6-10 (ESV)

6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. 7 Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’”

8 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,9 “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. 10 For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.

…From Matthew Henry’s commentary regarding this passage in Zechariah: “The church is a golden candlestick, or lamp-bearer, set up for enlightening this dark world, and holding forth the light of Divine revelation. Two olive trees were seen, one on each side the candlestick, from which oil flowed into the bowl without ceasing. God brings to pass his gracious purposes concerning his church, without any art or labour of man; sometimes he makes use of his instruments, yet he needs them not. This represented the abundance of Divine grace, for the enlightening and making holy the ministers and members of the church, and which cannot be procured or prevented by any human power. The vision assures us that the good work of building the temple, should be brought to a happy end. The difficulty is represented as a great mountain. But all difficulties shall vanish, and all the objections be got over. Faith will remove mountains, and make them plains. Christ is our Zerubbabel; mountains of difficulty were in the way of his undertaking, but nothing is too hard for him. What comes from the grace of God, may, in faith, be committed to the grace of God, for he will not forsake the work of his own hands. Verses 8-10 The exact fulfilment of Scripture prophecies is a convincing proof of their Divine original. Though the instruments be weak and unlikely, yet God often chooses such, to bring about great things by them. Let not the dawning light be despised; it will shine more and more to the perfect day. Those who despaired of finishing the work, shall rejoice when they see Zerubbabel giving directions what to do, and taking care that the work be done. It is a comfort to us that the same all-wise, almighty Providence, which governs the earth, is in particular conversant about the church. All that have the plummet in their hands, must look up to the eyes of the Lord, have constant regard to Divine Providence, act in dependence on its guidance and submission to its disposals. Let us fix our faith on Christ, and view Him carrying on his work according to his own glorious plan, and daily bringing his spiritual building nearer to completion.”

Shake it off

It was a wonderful trip to San Jose this week to attend our son’s graduation ceremony.

There was a time when getting a degree, especially a master’s hood meant so much to me.

Watching our son’s hooding ceremony, I was surprised to realize that I’ve lost my desire to pursue that again.

Me, the lifelong student (which I still am) am finally coming to embrace that it is God who teaches me through the guidance of His Holy Spirit.

That is not to diminish such important work at the University level (especially for our son). He gave me a wonderful Christmas gift by posing for a picture with his arms around his parents in full regalia! Proud parent moment!!!

Many times, healing arrives when I can “shake off” life-long pursuits, especially if that pursuit kept me from seeing God’s first and foremost place in my life.

In this passage, the phrase “for his steadfast love endures forever” is repeated 26 times. The Psalms are a book of poems or songs. When the Psalmist repeats a phrase it is to emphasize its truth. This is true beyond a doubt: the Lord’s steadfast love endures forever.

Verse 15 rejoices in God’s protection of Israel when they escaped the bondage of Egypt. He actually shook off the thing that held them captive (which was Pharaoh and his host).

Are there strongholds holding you back from freedom? What does God need to shake off of your life? Falsehoods grip and control us, God’s truth releases and frees us to love ourselves and others.

As I thank the Lord for his character of steadfast love this week, I am encouraged by those in my life who remind me of how much God not only does battle for my mind but crowns my life with His love and compassion.- Teresa #Sabbathrest

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

Psalm 136English Standard Version

136 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

4 to him who alone does great wonders,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
5 to him who by understanding made the heavens,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
6 to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
7 to him who made the great lights,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
8 the sun to rule over the day,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
9 the moon and stars to rule over the night,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
11 and brought Israel out from among them,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
12 with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
13 to him who divided the Red Sea in two,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
14 and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
15 but overthrew[a] Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
16 to him who led his people through the wilderness,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

17 to him who struck down great kings,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
18 and killed mighty kings,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
19 Sihon, king of the Amorites,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
20 and Og, king of Bashan,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
21 and gave their land as a heritage,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
22 a heritage to Israel his servant,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

23 It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
24 and rescued us from our foes,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
25 he who gives food to all flesh,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

Read full chapter


a.Psalm 136:15 Hebrew shook off

White stones and new names

I’ve always prayed to have a life of ministry, influencing those around me. The Lord has assured me that my biggest impact and ministry will be through our children. Their lives will reach this world with His love, much greater than anything I imagined for my own life.

You may wonder who the Nicolaitans were (referenced in the passage below). I found this on website,Bible “Like Simon Magus, whom the early apostles also confronted, the Nicolaitans introduced the concept of using the name of Jesus for commercial gain, dominance and control. After all, the concept had worked quite well in the pagan temples of the vast gentile world, generating wealth and revenue for many societies” (Nicholas and Xmas by C. Franklin).”

Watching the Christmas classic, “Miracle on 34th Street”, I was reminded of how often at this time of year I start with being grateful for God’s gift but get so easily distracted by what’s in it for me?

Clearly, the art of resting in our Father’s purpose becomes the way we are metamorphosed into something much better than our human ideas.

You alone will know the new name (aka character) God has written on your stone, revealed fully in His time. -Teresa #life-givingmanna #Jesusisthebreadoflife

Revelation 2: 12-17 (ESV)

To the Church in Pergamum

12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.

13 “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith[b] even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality.15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’

John 6:31-40 (NET)

31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the solemn truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but my Father is giving you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 So they said to him, “Sir, give us this bread all the time!”35
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But I told you that you have seen me and still do not believe. 37Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never send away.38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. 39 Now this is the will of the one who sent me – that I should not lose one person of every one he has given me, but raise them all up at the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father – for everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him to have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Loving God means love each other!

My dad with our oldest son

My dad had a soft spot in his heart for our oldest son. You can see the gentleness on his face as he held him. My dad was not always gentle. He grew up in the Upper Peninsula of MI, his father was an iron ore miner. Those who are “Yoopers” need no further explanation. If the harsh winter weather didn’t kill you, the tough conditions that the miners endured drove most of them to drink.

The oldest son, according to our Finnish culture, was responsible for his mom and the family property. Because of his birth order, my father gave up any chance to attend college, but he proudly watched all five of HIS children (raised on a blue-collar wage) graduate from four-year Universities.

In this passage, I’m challenged to take a moment to know when to be gentle and when to be “no-nonsense” (like my dad). Those who are false- full of lies or deceit- are not operating from God’s Spirit.

Fear is absent in the presence of love. On the other hand, falsehoods and deceit can threaten people’s reputations or livelihoods, aka make people act cowardly out of fear. Love is based on trust, knowing God’s intentions toward us are for life everlasting (not destruction).

One of my seminary professors, Dr. Merilyn Copland, taught us Hebrew. She explained why the “law” to an Israelite is a source of joy and celebration. It was God pouring down a blessing on His people to abundantly provide for them should they choose to follow it! In light of that, who would NOT follow the Ten Commandments, the most important of God’s laws?

With God’s Spirit abiding in us and His provision around us, we can exude love for others. This may appear at times gentle and at other times “no nonsense”.

Although my dad went to be with the Lord quite a few years ago, his example lives on. One thing is for certain, people know when they are loved. -Teresa #confidence

1 John 4English Standard Version

Test the Spirits

4 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

God Is Love

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot[a] love God whom he has not seen.21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Hospitable sharing

Giving the gift of hospitality

Whatever is your gift, use it to God’s glory! If it’s showing hospitality, you are highly favored. God is watching your heart’s desire, to bring glory to Him.

Following an extreme celebration of giving thanks, I am in awe of how worthwhile it is to stop and ponder. When I remember God’s gift to mankind, I cannot begin to compare the “suffering” of chores and celebration preparation to the joy that awaits the fruit of these efforts. #thankfulhearts

But more importantly, loving one another earnestly is the remedy needed to allow forgiveness (even for a multitude of sins). Can we be earnest without first investing time, money and/or attention? #God’slove

Am I touching another as God would want that person to be ministered to? Am I recognizing the grateful heart outpoured to me when thanks is given?

Endurance through suffering is also part of that. It may be needed when my gift is not appreciated, taken for granted or when my grateful thanks is spurned or worse, misunderstood. Suffering may be endured for years. However, by patiently enduring, (James 1- read below) I will see the fruit of a heart being complete (at rest) in Christ, the author and finisher of my faith- Hebrews 12:2.

For the sake of our prayers, we should remain under the Holy Spirit’s influence (self-control). We have no idea who will benefit from our prayers as God puts their name/face in our thoughts.-Teresa #gratefulforyou

James 1:2-4 (NET)

2My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything.

1 Peter 4:7-5:14English Standard Version

7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Suffering as a Christian

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory[a] and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And

“If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”[b]

19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

What stops the joy?

Beautiful ones in Uganda who bring me so much joy*

Is there anything that stands in the way of God’s love for me, stealing my joy?

Could it be anger that has been allowed to brew deep down? It can stop the flow of love for myself and others.

After all, in James 1, the apostle states that “man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires”. #rightrelationshipwithGod

In order to realize God’s love, we must give up what we feel is ours to hold. Jesus has taken the accusation and the punishment that was rightfully ours. #surrender

That means it is no longer mine to hold. There is no need to justify myself. There is no need to seek recompense.

Who is it that justifies? It is God alone!

As I rest in God’s love for me, I remember the One who is able to deliver me from a joyless existence, providing a righteous life.

Who brings me freedom from angst and showers me with intense joy? His love can begin to overflow in me. Love for myself and love for others is what Jesus will never stop providing. He knows me and helps me realize with confidence that I am loved. #letgoandlove

This passage amazes me over and over.- Teresa #loved

Romans 8:31-39 (NET)

What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, freely give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is the one who will condemn? Christ is the one who died (and more than that, he was raised), who is at the right hand of God, and who also is interceding for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we encounter death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers,39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

James 1:19-26 (ESV)

19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

*photo credit, Gabby Trint Buule

Wisdom of the youth

Fire and Ice rose- very fragrant!!

My husband and I were reminded last night of the beauty that overflows when a life given to follow God is based on his word, the Bible.

We heard the story of identical twin boys, now young men who have chosen to follow hard after God. They were not ashamed to say, “how could we not know there is a God? We have been given so much NOT through coincidence but through the Holy Spirit provision.”

How long has it been since a young person’s wisdom literally blew me away. It was because they not only talked it, but were walking it!!

Their respect for “older people” was matched with their enthusiasm to share themselves, unashamedly. They ministered to my husband and me. I alluded to it being like we were clothed with the sword of the Spirit: by locking shields together (the faith of fellow believers) we were able to cut through enemy ground with the sword of the Spirit (the word of God) and advance for the kingdom of God.

They ended our time together with expressing their love for God not only because he had provided for them physically (raised by a single mom), but he had brought emotional healing by helping them forgive their father (who has chosen to remain out of their lives).

They were a picture of the Psalm below. Overflowing with joy to speak of their trust in God, genuinely interested in those they spoke with, they gave out of the abundance of the wisdom in their souls. #GodasFather

What is it that causes dread vs. anticipation and how can we turn it around?. Am I seeing it as a way to grow in my understanding of God’s provision for me, am I approaching it as a question of what does God need to change in me or am I just determined to be a positive influence around others? (all wonderful answers given by others).

For me, I am sure that God wants to help me change certain things in the way I think. Instead of being concerned about “others opinions of me”, to be focused on Him. Studying and delighting in God’s work in others brings wisdom.

My grief (or my dread) makes me realize that I’ve had loss but it also helps me anticipate the comfort I can share with others. My daughter sent a picture of these teardrops- such a wonderful visual of God’s love for us. (Remember the Father’s teardrop at the conclusion of the Passion*)? Be moved and blessed by God- Teresa #wisdomoftheyouth

“I’ve cried a lot of tears, but each time I find one of these tears it has to do with a blessing he wants to give”- Berit Anderson

*the Passion of the Christ, 2004 film written by Mel Gibson

Psalm 111:1-10 (ESV)

111 [a] Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2 Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.
3 Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and merciful.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy;
8 they are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name!
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!