When the rain is still present

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By: Carole L. Haines
“This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations;  I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.  It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud,  and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh.  When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”  And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.” (Genesis 9:12-17 NASB)

I’m a bit of a Nature freak and I love to know how everything works and runs. I love the cycles of and Seasons of Nature. So, when I saw an article about rainbows on the internet this morning, I read it. I know that rainbows are created when light shines through water droplets. That’s why I run outside every time it is raining with the Sun out, to see if I can spy one. As I was reading the article, it suddenly struck me that when God put the first rainbow in the sky, it wasn’t raining at all. When we read the story of the Flood and the Promise God made not to flood the earth again, the rain had already stopped.
God now only puts a Bow in the Sky during our storms, not when the rains have stopped, but while it is still raining. The droplets must be present for the light to shine through and reveal the colors of the rainbow. So, the first appearance of the Rainbow was a bit of a miracle, it was a dry rainbow because the rain had already ceased.
But now we see rainbows only in the midst of our storms. God doesn’t wait for us to be through our trials and tribulations to remind us of His faithfulness and promises. He reminds us right in the middle of the storms, when the rain is still present. The clouds part and the light of Christ shines through the droplets of our tears or our struggles, the losses and brokenness. God is right there during this time with us. He is with us, reminding us of who He is, and just How true He is to His Word and His promises to us. Next time you see a rainbow, thank God for showing up to remind us of Himself amid our storms, not just in the aftermath.

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The Tried and True Word of God

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By: Carole L. Haines

The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 HCSB)

So, the funny thing is, I now realize I am addicted to two types of The Word.  God’s Word is everything to me, it has completely transformed this shy, awkward, anxiety prone girl into a woman who is driven to know the Word of God and the Author and Perfector of our faith.  To know Jesus as a person, but also as the Word of God spoken and embodied in flesh, dwelling among us.  The other Word, I am addicted to is of the Microsoft variety, and after crashing my computer 2 weeks ago, I am finally back online, with Word up and running and it is so good to have the old familiar icons in front of me once again.

I guess I am a creature of habit and the familiar.  I don’t want to learn a whole new system of things.  I bought a computer that is not the latest, but, a refurbished one that is a bit slower than my old one, but easier to use and understand.  I held on to my flip phone for ten years because it made no sense to me to replace it with a smart phone when I already had all I needed, texting and phone services.  I blocked all internet on my phone because I didn’t want to be one of those people who is constantly looking down at my phone, instead of up and around at all that is happening.

I share all of this with you only to say that bigger is not necessarily better, the newest and latest are not necessarily the best.  I tend to stick with the tried and true.  This is especially true when it comes to the Bible.  Nothing has ever proven to be so transformative in me throughout all of my life, and I have been walking with God in His Word for many years now. I have found His Word to be utterly reliable and amazingly powerful. Stick with the tried and True Word of  God.

 For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.  (Heb. 4:12)

The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God remains forever.”
(Isaiah 40:8)

For just as rain and snow fall from heaven and do not return there without saturating the earth
and making it germinate and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat,
11 so My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty,
but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it to do.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)

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A sense of Destiny

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By: Carole L. Haines

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas *said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
(John 14:5-6)

It’s subtle at times, this revealing of God’s heart for relationship with the people He has created for Himself.  This morning I saw this precious heart-love of God in this one simple interaction between Thomas and Jesus. Thomas *said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

All of my life I have had a sense of destiny, but after much failure and disappointment, found that destiny was not a place or an accomplishment. That Destiny was a relationship with the God who made me, and simply that. Jesus loved me too much to let me know worldly success. He brought an end to all my own dreams and aspirations, because they stood in the way of my true heart’s desire, Jesus Himself. That’s when I found that the Babe in the manger, the fisherman’s friend, the man of sorrows acquainted with grief, He was my Destiny.
My destiny lay not in something I did or someplace I would go to. Jesus wants me to hold His hand, to keep in step with Him, to believe in Him.
My heart is troubled when I do not believe God, but try to find my own way in the world.  My Soul has always been looking for a true home, a dwelling place to call my own. It is never to be found in a home on earth made with human hands, or in the precious relationships we have with others. These are precious gifts but they can never quench our deepest thirst. This Dwelling place of rest is found only with the One who formed me while in my mother’s womb.
St. Augustine once said, “Because God has made us for Himself, our hearts are restless until they find rest in Him.”

I have found that to be completely true. Of course, I wish that I had found this out sooner,  and not had to suffer so much loss and disappointment; but it had to be a revelation of the heart. No journey is wasted or trial misspent, if it ultimately leads us to Jesus’ feet. And so here I rest now, here I can sleep. No longer anxious to prove my worth, my value, myself. Here, at His feet, I know who I am, I know why I’m here and I know He will finish the work He has begun in me, and see to it that I finish the work that He has called me to do.

We may seek God with our intellect, but we will only find Him with our heart. Cotvos

 

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Him who judges righteously

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14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world…17 From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.

18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen. (Galatians 6:14, 17-18)

My husband and I were discussing forgiveness this morning, and as I often do, speaking gently the Words of Jesus to him, I found myself speaking words I needed to hear as well. I love the above verses because they teach me to always look to the cross, look to the cost He paid, look to love He demonstrated. Truly, the simplicity of Christianity is the Cross of Christ, at its purest core, the Cross of Christ.

Forgiveness is never based on feelings, it’s based on sacrifice, Christ’s sacrifice.  But I know from experience, feelings are what keep me from truly forgiving from my heart. I feel such a call for justice, retribution, revenge even.  I despise these reactions in me, but I must be honest about them being there. When it comes to forgiveness, there is one passage that has helped me forgive more than any other, it is this:

“While being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” (1 Peter 2:23-24 NASB)

Jesus entrusted Himself to God, no matter what happened, no matter who sinned against Him, He entrusted Himself to God.  He did not return evil for evil or insult for insult.  No eye for an eye with Jesus.  So, as I have been seeking to forgive others from my heart, I keep hearing that call, “Entrust Yourself to God.” I don’t need to prove they were wrong and I was right. I don’t need to seek revenge or vindication, I just need to keep entrusting myself to the One who judges righteously.  He will enable me to forgive from my heart and to be free from the grip of bitterness and cynicism.  If you have people you need to forgive, deep down, at a heart level; perhaps begin with that one step. First entrust yourself, your reputation, your vindication, your whole self to God. He will enable you to forgive, and only He, not ourselves, judges righteously.  Have a Blessed Day.

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The Same Image

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by: Carole L. Haines

18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 NASB)

So God just blew my mind this morning, as He often does.  I was reading in Matthew 17 about the mount of transfiguration and began to wonder if the Greek word for transfigure was the same one used about our transformation in Christ, so I began to research it. Guess what? It is the same word. It is the Greek word Metamorphoo, and it means: to transfigure, to transform, to change form.

It is only found in four verses in the whole Bible, two are regarding Jesus’ transfiguration and two are in regards to our transformation. They are:

1)     Matthew 17:2 And Mark 9: 2; Jesus’ Transfiguration

2)     Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 3:18- Our Transformation.

Six days later, Jesus *took with Him Peter and James and John, and *brought them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them. (Mark 9:2)

As no launderer on earth can whiten them, I love it! God is transforming us into the same image of Christ, the same image.  Don’t misunderstand me here, I am not saying we will ever have Jesus’ nature as God, but God desires us to be transformed into His image.  That was God’s original intent for mankind, to be made in His Image.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:26-27)

Jesus fulfils, in our transformation, the original intent of God’s Creation of us.  Our God is so Amazing, so precious, so filled with Holiness and Love. So when you feel that gentle nudge of God to stop doing certain things, or to start doing others, that is His hand seeking to mold you into the image of Jesus. Yield to the work of His hand, Dear Believer, just yield to the work of His hand.

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Songs by: Bruce and Carole Haines

Enjoy

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Prayer Walk of the Cross

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By. Peg Councill
I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.
Being blessed to live  in the beautifully majestic Northwestern United States,
I have the delightful decision before taking a walk of deciding if I want to see the awesome Cascade Mountain Range or the magnificent Olympic Mountain Range.
Once that decision has been made, my Prayer walk begins.
As I pass each home in our neighborhood, prayers are lifted up for each person residing there. Personally knowing some of the people, specific prayers are offered for them and their circumstances. For those that I am not acquainted with, prayers are always given that each one come to know of God’s love for them and the desire He has that they come to personally know who He is.
Ending my walk by taking one of the trails that lead back to our home, the majestic hundred foot tall evergreen trees provide a protective canopy for even those days when we have the “liquid sunshine” for which the Northwest is known!
Along the trail small crosses are formed by my taking small branches or twigs, placing one on top of the other in the shape of a cross. These are placed in areas where fellow hikers will see them so that the sight of them would turn the hiker’s attention to our Creator God and cause them to think of Him and the Cross.
They may even offer up a prayer of praise or a request for His help.
As my Prayer Walk ends, I offer up my own prayer of praise and thanksgiving for having the ability to still enjoy these walks and for the blessings He continues to bestow on our family.
**This precious piece was written by My Wonderful Mom, who first led me to the Lord Jesus, and who has been one of the greatest influences on my love for Him.  I can still see her every morning meeting with Him in her chair. I now meet with My Lord Jesus everyday in my chair. And so it is passed down, as our youngest son comes down each morning, gets his coffee and breakfast, then returns upstairs to sit in his chair and fellowship there with Jesus. One of my Mom’s favorite verses has always been:

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.
Thank you, Mom, for my Spiritual Heritage, and your example to me. I love you
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