It Is Well With My Soul

My very favorite hymn – and my testimony.

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Thorns, grace, power tools

Esther's Petition

In II Corinthians 12:7-10, Paul asked God to remove a “thorn in the flesh” three times. He called it a “messenger of Satan,” given to him because of the revelations he’d received. Given to him by whom? For what?

Messenger = angelos, translated angel in all but three places in the New Testament, and those are all in the gospels quoting an Old Testament verse that applied to John the Baptist as the forerunner of Jesus.

Every other place angelos refers to an angel. Like Gabriel. Like the angel that delivered Peter from prison. Like the angels in the book of Revelation.

In the Old Testament thorns in the flesh were always pagan people that vexed God’s people. See Numbers 33:55 and Judges 2:3. Never does that word describe anything other than a person or personality. Angel of Satan. Demon-possessed person or demon itself.

Why does an evil personality harass…

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Hammer of God

“Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (Jer. 23:29)

Esther's Petition

041110-N-5386H-004Hammer… Hammer of God, is that a real thing? I didn’t really think so, although God certainly uses people as instruments in his hand. Tools. Equipment. I wasn’t actually praying, not studying or even meditating when that question popped into my mind the other day. Maybe I was remembering the movie “Thor” that my daughter and I saw some months ago, I’m not sure what started this train of thought.

Along with that casual question, certain scenarios began to run through my mind. Hammering an enemy until he’s defeated, for instance. I gave the word a bit more mental focus and envisioned some physical, mental, emotional and spiritual definitions and uses of a hammer.

Nouns: tool, equipment, instrument, appliance, weapon; sign or symbol of position, power or authority.

Verb: to strike a surface with force; attack, beat physically or verbally; win, defeat an opponent or enemy; stress a point in a…

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When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail…

Still true.

Esther's Petition

hammeringnailThe first time I heard God speak to me, I was 6 years old. I was sitting in my first grade class, admiring the teacher. I thought she was really pretty, really smart, and I liked her a lot. Suddenly that voice said to me, One day you will be a teacher.

I didn’t know that other people didn’t hear God speak to them like that, I didn’t think it was unusual or strange at all. It wasn’t a common occurrence for me, though. Just that one statement was all he said for a long, long time.

As the years went by God occasionally said other things to me, like Don’t go there, or You should read this. Stuff like that. Just once in a while, nothing spectacular, no big deal. But I tried to pay attention, because I figured God knew what was going on a lot better than…

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Faith is also a grace

Thoughts about grace…

God’s essence and character are love.

Love is expressed to the object of love.

Grace (gift, favor) is an expression of God’s love.

You can’t truly separate out just one aspect of God’s character from all the others.

Consider a red delicious apple – color, shape, aroma, texture, juiciness, flavor, peeling, seeds. It takes all those to make that particular type of apple.

When God extends his word, which contains his creative life, to me – an act of his grace – all his character is wrapped up in that word. (Does he believe his own word? Does he have faith in his own word?)

God’s own faith comes too.

Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” (NIV)

 

The Ruby Tuesday’s Wedding

Precious.

After Thoughts

I’ve married a bunch of couples in my day. No offense to any of them, but last week was the best wedding I’ve ever performed.

Some background. One of our families have been missionaries in a closed country for years. (I’ll leave out their names and the country they’ve been serving in….if you recognize them from the picture that will be enough) Just recently, they and all the believers who were working in their area were forced to leave that country and never return. It has been a hard time of grieving for them but they are now coming to terms with what the Lord has allowed and what He’s doing next. He has opened up a new door of ministry for them overseas and they have set out to fulfill that calling.

Here’s the catch: they were married years ago in the country they have been serving in. That…

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