My father was a good man, he left an inheritance of faith and responsibility to his children’s children (through his kids). He worked faithfully to care for all his needs and the needs of his family.

As a yearling, a young buck may feel that he doesn’t have much to give. Not my father, even in his younger years, he was handling the responsibility of his father’s land, property and the needs of his mother. (Since my grandfather died at a young age).

This type of faithful work, which some may consider boring or not very “Spirit-led”, is actually a difficult task. If we are faithful in these difficult things, God blesses us with more. The little things include how to manage money well and the application turns into having enough left over to share in community with others (i.e. not putting it on credit).

The heart to share with others comes through the impact of the good news of the gospel. As God changes us from the inside out, we are transformed to see His gifts as a blessing.

I’m not talking about robbing from Peter to pay Paul or being a “Robin Hood” (stealing from the rich to give to the poor). I’m talking about doing the hard work over many years even when it’s boring. God honors this when it is done through faith.

There will always be a few trying to scam others, or hoping to get something for nothing. In the end, God metes out justice…as the writer of Proverbs says, “The sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous”.

There are times when injustice prevails in our world, we are called to help during those times as Christ’s church. Lord, please open our eyes to the needs you see around us. Please give us your faith to reach out and touch them for your sake. – Teresa #responsibility #faith

Proverbs 13:20-23English Standard Version

20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
21 Disaster[a] pursues sinners,
but the righteous are rewarded with good.
22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.
23 The fallow ground of the poor would yield much food,
but it is swept away through injustice.

What died?

Although the kingdom of God was not recognized by the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, it was in their midst. He became a “gate”way for the sheep to enter in. (John 10:7)

In much the same way, when this current period of time known as the “church age” (that we live in now) is over, “the way into God’s kingdom” will not be found again. The gate will be shut and sealed. Think of the time when Noah shut the door of the ark and God sealed it.

That same time is when the revelation of the Son of Man will be Mighty and Awesome! That day will be astoundingly apparent (as much as the kingdom of God was hidden in Jesus’ day).

Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

Are you part of God’s kingdom? It may not be outwardly evident to others in relation to the world’s standards of success. The good news is that God sees the heart. He knows those who are His.

Where will the revelation of the Son of Man happen? It will be known by the gathering of vultures.

You may ask, “what died in order for all these vultures to be gathered”? It may be that the fleshly man has been put to death in order to be joined to His life-giving spirit. #resurrection


#whoeverseekstoperservehislifewilloseit #whoeverloseshislifewillkeepit

Luke 17: 20-37 (ESV)

The Coming of the Kingdom

20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”[c]

22 And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them. 24 For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.[d] 25 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26 Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.28 Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, 29 but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— 30 so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife.33 Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. 35 There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.”[e]37 And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse[f] is, there the vultures[g] will gather.”

A grain of mustard seed

How can I have God’s kingdom influence my life? Although it may seem small or insignificant, I can exercise my faith (aka trust) in God’s word.

As small as a mustard seed is, I am amazed at how pervasive it is. We drove to Morro Bay a while back and there was a mudslide that blocked the 2-lane highway ahead. Our 2-hour trip turned into 5 hours. I had way too much time to study the mustard in the fields, beautiful and bright. We also listened to a Louis L’Amour book on tape . The story describing the early American landscape only served to accent the beauty out the car window.

When I start feeling insecure about the kingdom of this world, I think of the mustard field. Just remember that the more seeds of faith that are planted in our lives, the more established God’s kingdom becomes.

– Teresa # beautifulandbright

Luke 13:18-21 (ESV)

The Mustard Seed and the Leaven

18 He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”

20 And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”

Redeemed and bought back …so sweet!!

Although it’s my birthday this week, I am reminded of a very sweet gift given to me when I was around 5 years old.

My mom prayed with me to receive Jesus as the Savior of my life. You may ask what does a child need to be saved from? They are usually pretty amazing and cute!!

So I’m told that I was an easy baby and loved to watch my older brother and sister. But on Easter Sunday, I was caught crawling across the room in order to uncover their hidden chocolate bunnies, and proceeded to devour them!! I was probably about one-year old.

Truly, I still love to eat sweets and if I wish to take something from another, may try to do it “under cover” or at least in my mind make up a good reason it should be mine. (Not outright stealing, only a good amount of rationalizing, especially re: left-over dessert)

Nevertheless, one thing I do know is that we are all born with a sin nature (thanks to Adam). Nobody is perfect!

The sweetest part of the Bible’s message is that God knows us. The curse of the law reminds us that we have a sin nature and no one can keep the law perfectly. (Romans 3:23)

God sent His Son, Jesus Christ the Lord, to take the penalty of the law’s death sentence for sin. (Romans 6:23) He also reminded us that this is a gift that must be received. (John 1:12)

Yes, being made right with God is beyond our human condition. But humbling ourselves to receive His gift is well within our ability. (Mark 10:15)

Happy spiritual Birthday to anyone who took a moment to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior today. You are now redeemed or bought back for God’s purpose.

-Teresa #kingdomofGod #Romans5:8 #newcreation

Deuteronomy 21: 22,23 (ESV)

A Man Hanged on a Tree Is Cursed

22 “And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.

Galations 3:13 (KJV)

13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14

Mark 10:15 (NIV)

15 “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Enter in

Staying true

Our baptism is a witness to the One who is Lord of our hearts. Another witness is the passing of faith to our children and children’s children. Each child must make a personal decision but blessed are those who see/hear their parents and grandparents live out their faith.

Our promised land may look different than what the children of Israel experienced, but it is no less miraculous! #newheartoflesh #oldheartofstone

What makes the difference in our lives? Why are shy people willing to take a stand for Jesus Christ the LORD and feel a bit uncomfortable? #baptism

What is it that you cannot stop talking about? That is where your heart is! For out of the heart, our mouth speaks. The passionate heart wants others to know how wonderful “HE” is. #love #witness

By staying true to God Almighty, we acknowledge Jesus, His Son, who was sent to deliver us from the curse of sin. I cannot tell you how beautiful it is to know that when others speak anger, God speaks the language of love. #valueandworth

When we are passionately in love, we are jealous for that relationship. That is how much God loves you. – Teresa #staytrue #Heisjealousforyou

Deutoronomy 6: 4-9 (ESV)

4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[g] 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

10 “And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build,11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 13 It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. 14 You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you— 15 for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.

Matthew 15: 3-20 (NIV)

3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

  but their hearts are far from me.

8 ” ‘These people honor me with their lips,

9 They worship me in vain;

their teachings are merely human rules.'”

10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”

12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”

13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”

15 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”

16 “Are you still so dull?”Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19For out of the heart come evil thoughts-murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”

Lighter than a breath

As we look for solid ground to stand on: remember not to look to a “living” person or thing (everything that has breath).

And definitely don’t look to a delusion of grandeur: everything that can change on a whim.

Instead, look to that which is steady and unchanging. When God weighs our worth, He reminds us that we are valuable. His glory and image is within each and every human creation. It is up to us to keep our eyes on Jesus Christ the LORD and to receive Him onto the throne of our lives.

Did we somehow forget who it is that makes us stand on solid ground? Is it easier to care more about what “people” say or what others portray as images of a high estate? #throwingawaymyheart

Steadfast love is a gift not easily replicated. It must be substantiated to be authentic. We can easily see through those who speak a bunch of BS, but God’s gift speaks louder than mere words. #Love

His supreme action was giving His Son for the sin of the world (John 3:16). This truth is greater than any other evidence of our worth.

If I haven’t floated away on a breeze of anonymity, then I am securely weighted with the valuable truth of God’s love for me. -Teresa

#maranatha #eternityinourhearts #asolidfortress #myheartChristshome

Psalm 81:9 (ESV)

9 Those of low estate are but a breath;
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath.

Getting relief from the load

Imagine all the worries of your daily life as boulders piled into a dump truck. When you dump it and drive away there is a significant savings in fuel costs aka brain space, not to mention wear and tear on the suspension and tires aka health/wellness.

Last fall, my husband and I did a “clean- up” of our backyard. This involved shoveling the fallow soil from our old planter boxes into a U-haul trailer rental. We worked hard and our reward was to get the lower price (4-hour rate vs. 8-hour rate).

When we released the lever at the DUMP, we felt so much relief. Going back to weigh the vehicles, we were given a price for disposal and realized the extreme weight of our load- 3.6 TONS!

In this Psalm, King David is speaking about a very low time in His life. He experienced the betrayal of one of his closest advisers and friends (Ahithophel)- read 2 Samuel 15-17. This was weighty!!

I encountered this Psalm shortly after the untimely death of my younger brother. My question to God was: “Why, Lord, did my brother take his own life”?

Verse 22 jumped off the page as I realized that we are all at risk of being overburdened and failing to cast on God what is not ours to bear (i.e. it could be a spouse’s infidelity or other relationship, it could be financial troubles or pressures that may cause a downcast soul). The answer is to “cast our cares upon the LORD”. If He is able to sustain His creation daily in this galaxy- where everything is spinning delicately in space, then He is able to sustain us- who are part of His creation.

Our job is to keep casting every crushing burden onto His capable shoulders. Casting does not mean just thinking it through but applying an energetic, purposeful explosion of spiritual muscle contractions (faith). In other words, this burden does not belong here so let me exercise my faith in the Almighty. He is telling the truth about us through His Word so we are not doomed to be held captive by another’s lies.

I burned so many calories the day we shoveled 3.6 tons of dirt in 4 hours. We were intentional in our job and God provided the strength. Of course,physical activity is much better than stewing in emotional duress. Let this remind us to exercise our faith, not just ponder it.

Sometimes we need to trust God for an extra oomph of strength to take our next step of faith. He promises to sustain us! -Teresa #turningtoGodnotdealersofalsesolutions #trustintheONEwhokeepsmefromfalling

Psalm 55:22 (ESV)

22 Cast your burden on the Lord,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
the righteous to be moved.

God of the living

Coming out of the deep

Those who don’t believe in the resurrection are sad (“Sad you see”- as the old saying goes)!

In this passage, their lack of faith was evident as they focused on earthly semantics (whose wife will she be?) vs. the heart of God (love for each individual and a desire to be united with each one of them). #eternalife

Knowing the Scriptures and God’s power to change a heart imbues wisdom. Coming up out of deep darkness, the darkness of having a driving need to be right or to appear clever to others, only happens when we are in the presence of Christ Jesus our Lord. #humbledandunashamed

He is the Father’s evidence to us of a love that never ends. No wonder God (YHWH) introduced himself to Moses as “I am” (not I was).

Jesus (God’s Son) also introduced himself to the crowds with 7 different “I am” statements (see the gospel of John). #IAM #thewaythereuthandthelife #thegoodshepherd #thevine #thebreadoflife #thelightoftheworld #theresurrectionandthelife #thegateforthesheep

If Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are the patriarchs of our faith, then my faith is in God’s resurrection powers. -Teresa #Godoftheliving

Mark 12:18-27 (ESV)

The Sadducees Ask About the Resurrection

18 And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying,19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man[a] must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring. 21 And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise.22 And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died. 23 In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.”

24 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.”

Sweet Fellowship

Remembering…at Yosemite

Remembering is helpful to a point. When it brings to light those who have served faithfully as parents, grandparents and great grandparents, we rejoice. When it brings us down and we can’t move forward, it is better to “pray through it” (like the Psalmist) or at times simply leave it behind.

The Psalmist (Sons of Korah) struggled with being physically removed from that which meant most to them. The songs of ascent (Psalms 120-134) referred to here were normally sung on the way to worship together as a community in Jerusalem. Yet, this description shows the Psalmist is in a very dry place (spiritually, like a famine). It appears the cause for the famine was a result of being physically displaced and much farther north in the country of Israel near the great Mount Hermon (described as Mt. Mizar- insignificant and small in comparison to the greatness of God’s presence -Kidner, p. 166). The Psalmist was separated from his spiritual community.

I was touched this week by the life and death of a beautiful saint from our home church in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (Shirley Salo). Remembering when we lived near her family, I am filled with good thoughts of a time period when our lives revolved around a vibrant church community. As a child, all the adults (particularly Shirley) knew who I was (not something the children of the megachurches today can say). This makes me grateful and yet sad for my grandchildren.

Wherever we may be physically, God is near us. Nevertheless, no matter how beautiful the physical surroundings, our hearts can be even more irrestably drawn to a place in our memory where we once felt a sense of belonging.

His greatness breaks through the clouds of our doubt. His refreshment successfully satisfies us through memories or simply by moving on and seeing what we have learned through our history that will serve to nourish our future generations.

Even when others don’t “see” us or don’t seem to care, God’s presence is astounding. He is not only a rock but He is our salvation!- Teresa #hopeforfuturegenerations #fellowshipcanbe2ormoregatheredinHISname

Psalm 42:1-11 (ESV)

42 As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?[b]
3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
4 These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.

5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation[c] 6 and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep
at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
have gone over me.
8 By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I say to God, my rock:
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As with a deadly wound in my bones,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”

11 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

1. Derek Kidner, An Introduction and Commentary Psalms 1-72 (London: InterVarsity Press, 1973), 165-168.

Oh you of little faith

Birds devouring the seed

One thing I realized about myself was that as much as I have a “Finnish” heritage and pride of “Sisu”, I crumble pretty fast when lies start to cloud my vision.

During the time I spent with my small group this past season studying Head to Heart (see http://www.BecomingWhatGodIntended), God opened my eyes to the importance of trust. As Dr. Eckman teaches, when we trust God for even 5 minutes of the day everything looks brighter, helping us relax inside.

In the past, I did not see my heart as one where the birds devoured the Sower’s seed. Now, I see it and repent of my lack of faith -do I not trust what God says about me more than what “Satan” lies about me? There are certain challenges where I’m full of faith (resources, giving to others) but one place that hits me hard and fast is to be maligned or shown aggression from someone I felt to be my friend or loved one.

If my competetive conflict style has a chance to kick in, then I’m pretty sure that I fully forget God’s truths planted in the soil of my heart. “I am a dearly loved daughter” becomes “you will know why that was wrong in no uncertain terms because you just messed with the wrong person”. Precious Moments Teresa becomes Godzilla’s team temper Teresa!

Why? I start to believe the lie instead of trust the truth about who I am. Sure it hurts when someone I admired or respected takes a sucker punch at me, but I’m determined to toughen up at the “get go”. Breastplate of righteousness means their words or false accusations cannot permeate the righteousness of Christ’s work in my heart. In other words, let me check the primary source FIRST. Dear heavenly Father, is this from you? When delivered outside of love, I know it is not!

In that case, consider the secondary source of attack and who they may be influenced by. Don’t let the birds devour God’s Word meant for you. Instead, allow the seeds of His Word to go down deep and bring healing and wholeness. – Teresa #goodsoil #expectaharvest #trustandobey

Mark 4: 1-20 (ESV)

4 Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land.2 And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it.5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”9 And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

The Purpose of the Parables

10 And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that

“‘they may indeed see but not perceive,
and may indeed hear but not understand,
lest they should turn and be forgiven.’”

13 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.[b]18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”