May 3, 2020 The Dead Sea

Today I have been thinking about the Dead Sea. Many tourists travel to it because of the high mineral content and the buoyancy caused by the salt volume. This is supposed to have healing qualities, but it is the name that is stuck in my mind today. Water flows in but it goes no where and this is to be the reason why for the high salt and mineral content. This sea is called dead because it cannot support life. Water continues to flow in but then it under the sun it evaporates. I wonder how many of us are like the Dead Sea? His spirit and blessings are flowing into us, but what are we doing with what He is giving to us? Works do not produce faith but faith should produce works.

James 2:26
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.(Read James 2:14-24)

Think about the parable of ‘the servants and the talents. Matthew 25:14-30. In this parable three servants are each given talents. The amounts varied, but it was what each servant did with what was given to them. The first two increased their talents, but the third one buried his talent and it produced him nothing. It is with this servant that the master was not pleased. This servant lost his talent and it was given to the first servant. This parable too, reminds of the Dead Sea. I want to be like the first two servants and do something with what God has entrusted to me.

Even though I have faced many trials and abuse in my life, I know He has been with me through it all. He kept me going when I there was nothing I could do. When I felt hopeless He gave me hope. He did not create me for the pain I have lived through but that pain inspires me to help others who are in pain. I don’t want to wallow in my self pity, but share that even when everything in the world is coming against you, He never leaves you and His love is limitless. For all that He has done for me I want to do whatever I can to be there for others. I want to be a vessel that He uses, not one that sits on a shelf collecting dust, and I don’t want to be a dead sea. Receiving but doing nothing with what He has given to me. I want to be more than a hearer of the Word, but a doer as well.

What about you? Are you using what has been given to you to further His Kingdom, or are you sitting their collecting dust?

 

 

December 20, 2017 / What is my purpose?

Tonight I was able to study with some women at church and the study was Rick Warrens ‘The Purpose Driven life’. I have enjoyed reading this book in the past and the Bible studies I had previously done with others. Some may say if you have done this before, why are you doing this again? For me the answer is simple, going back is like hitting the refresh button. It is a good way to remind ourselves of things we have learned and how important those lessons are still today.

I enjoyed going through day one of this book with these wonderful women, and being reminded that the purpose of my life is not for my own self but to serve the One who created me with His purpose. He has already taken care of my needs, and given me more love than I will ever deserve. If I can do anything to show Him my love in return that is a good purpose for my life and that is to serve Him in whatever way He asks. To share His love with anyone I meet, not just friends and family, but my neighbors and the strangers who I meet everyday.

I am thankful for all that the Lord has done for me and for the love Jesus gave to me when He died on the cross to pay for my sins, saving me from myself. I am to lean not on my own understanding but trust God with my entire being.

I am alive so I do have a purpose, thank You God that You have chosen me.

December 17, 2017 Sunday

I have not spent much time writing here for a little while and a few months back I did say I was going to be taking a break from blogging. We have all had our ups and downs this year. For some of us it seems there have been more down times than up, but we have made it through another year. We are still here and God is not done with us yet. In the year to come there will be much for each of us to do. There are so many hurting and lost people in this world and they are all around us. You do not need to travel to another country to be a missionary for Christ, you have a mission filed all around you. Friends, family, neighbors and strangers who cross your path every day are in need of love and comfort every day. We are His vessels who carry His Spirit and love in us and we should share this love with everyone we meet and see, each and every day. Life is not easy but you are alive. Let us do good with the life Jesus has given to us all. Love and peace to you all.

A Tree Falls And The lessons Continue / Fallen But Not Useless

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The tree that fell in the playground of the apartments I lived in continues to teach us lessons. Today as I looked at the branches cut and in piles and looked at the tree that they came from I received another lesson.

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Fallen does not mean useless it also does not mean that you have changed who you are. Your purpose may have changed, and your location may have changed and you may even feel separated from the source of life with your creator but you still have purpose and you are still His creation.

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He can take the broken pieces of your life and use them for many new purposes.  One thing that you can easily do with a fallen branch is cut it into firewood. This of course would be a one time use. Yet this wood can become so much more than that. I have already gathered branches from this tree and put them to use.

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They now have my grapevine growing upon them. Supporting life that is already growing its fruit.

work in progress 1

Previously I have used a fallen branches and turned them into walking sticks like my other had done when she was alive. Here are a couple I have previously made.

The wood that is used to build homes and and furniture all came from a tree. This chair, shop, barn and home were all built from wood that was once part trees. They all serve a purpose. A place to sit and rest. A place to work. A place to shelter animals and store supplies and equipment. A home to shelter a family or even an individual.

Whether that tree was cut down or fell that was used to build these I do not know. What I know is wood comes from a tree and eternal life comes from Jesus. There is one piece of wood that was used to bring us salvation. It was used to make the cross upon which our Savior was crucified.

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This cross is not that cross but it is a reminder to us of the price He paid for us and how He has forgiven us. Another tree that gave a piece of itself to be used for the greatest purpose in any trees life.So if you have fallen or someone you know has fallen do not write yourself or them off. You are useful and you have a purpose. Let yourself be picked up and make a new start. Become something new.

Proverbs 24:16 for though a righteous man falls seven times, he will rise again, but the wicked stumble into calamity.

Psalm 37:23-24 The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.

Psalm 145:14-16 The LORD helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads. The eyes of all look to you in hope; you give them their food as they need it. When you open your hand, you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
Isaiah 65:17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.

 

Bible Study – Cracked Pots

Cracked Pots Bible Study

Cracked Pot

God uses cracked pots / A study in imperfections made perfect
Julie Sheppard

To the world a cracked pot is useless. It is broken and has no purpose. If you were to pour water into it, the water would flow through the cracks. So we can ask how can God use a cracked pot? We look at ourselves and we become our own worst critique. We see all that is wrong. We look at our past and see all of our mistakes. Yet God sees more.
God uses our imperfections and makes us perfect because He is perfect.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.
These 2 verses make me think that being a cracked pot is a good thing. Why? Because that I am cracked all that was wrong within me is released and poured out at the feet of my Savior Jesus. It also means that because I am empty He can use this broken vessel to let His love and grace flow not only into me but through me so that what He gives me pours into the lives of those I come in contact with.

Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman Matthew 7:37-39 — Mt 26:6-13; Mk 14:3-9; Jn 12:1-8 7:41,42 — Mt 18:23-34
36 Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.
37 When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume,
38 and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet,1 he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is–that she is a sinner.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,a and the other fifty.
42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.
46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.
47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Here in Matthew you see a woman who had a poor reputation that humbles herself at the feet of Jesus. The tears pouring from her eyes cleansing the feet of Jesus.

Mark 14:3-9
3 And being * in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat , there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenarda very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.
4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said , Why * was this waste of the ointment made ?
5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.
6 And Jesus said , Let her alone ; why trouble ye * her? she hath wrought a good work on me.
7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.
8 She hath done what she * could : she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.
9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever * this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she * hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

Mark writes that she broke the box of oil and poured it on the head of Jesus.
Both scriptures mention being poured, but do you see the importance of the box being broken?
It took breaking the box to release the oil it contained.
Now for those of us who have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He lives in us. It is His Light that shines through us. So He uses our imperfections to shine His Light of love through us to reach others who are lost and broken.

  1. Do you think you cannot be used because of any imperfections in your life?
  2. Can you think of ways that God uses your flaws to do something for His good?
  3. Do you know that God can take your mess and turn it into His message?
  4. Can you think of ways that God uses your flaws to do something for His good?
  5. What is holding you back today from fulfilling the purpose God has given to you?

There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. They are being asked so you would take another look at yourself, and hopefully see what God sees in you.

Bread and Water / Bible Lesson

Bread and Water

What good does a glass of water do for me if I do not drink it? If I were to leave the glass of water just sitting there, what would happen to it? I am not sure how much time it would take but it would begin to evaporate till there was nothing but residue left on the glass. Another thing that would happen since it is stagnate, if the conditions were not right for the water to evaporate quickly you would see the water begin to have a slimy film on its surface.  So if I pour a glass of water and just let it sit there we have two examples of what can happen. Another thing is the glass could be knocked over and the water would spill out. I could continue to come up with ideas of what could happen to the untouched glass of water.

Now here is a loaf of bread. I could just leave it there whole it looks good. I want to do more than look at the bread so I take a knife and slice it into some pieces. I then decide I want to share this bread. I go to pass it out and some of you will take it and others will have excuses and reject it. What happens to the bread if it is left untouched? It becomes stale or moldy. It does you no good when it is like that.

Here is the Bible. You open it up. You read the words printed in it. You close it. You put it back down. Okay you can say you have read your Bible.

Well just like pouring a glass of water or slicing yourself a piece of bread what good does it do you if you don’t drink the water or eat the bread?

Jesus is the bread of life and He gives us living water that we will never thirst again. He poured Himself out for us so that we can live! So if all we do is read our Bible and not apply to ourselves what good does it do us? If we do not share His Word what good does it do? We become like the untouched water and rejected bread we become dry and useless.

So do more than read your bible. Feast on every word let not one morsel be wasted. Apply the word to your life. Live it. Share it with others. Do not reject that piece of bread. Let it nourish you and fill you.

Jesus is more than enough to satisfy every need of every person on this planet and more. There is a famine throughout the world. We see it on the TV, read it in news papers and magazines. We know there is a food shortage and contaminated water problems all over the world. Even here in Bridgeport we have gotten the notices that we have had problems with our water.  Feed the Children is one group I am sure most of us have watched a commercial for. I know this is just one organization and there are many others that go out and try to meet the needs of these people where ever they may live, trying to meet the physical needs of these people. This is good, but we forget there is a spiritual famine. Your neighbor could be dying spiritually because no one is sharing the Gospel with them. Jesus said that when ever two or more are gathered in His name He is there! So share Him. Do not be a spiritual glutton keeping Him to yourself like a child with a toy they do not want to share. Everyday walking around you are people who are in bondage. They are spiritual prisoners. The only One who can set them free is Jesus! We are His body; we need to do the work He has sent us out to do. We need to do more than just read and talk about Him. We need to live for Him. Let him work through us. We are His vessels. Like a pitcher that holds water, or a ship that travels the seas. We carry Him where ever we go.

Just as God told Abraham he would give birth to nations, we are those nations. We belong to the tribe of God. Jesus told us we are to go out and make disciples of all nations. So why are we just sitting here. Why are there still so many people that are lost hurting and dying? It is time to pick up the ball, get in the game and run with it. He will give you strength and you will not grow weary. He will give you the words to speak if you allow Him to speak through you. However nothing is going to happen if you sit on the sidelines like a spectator. Do not just hear His call get up and answer it.  If the hear does not pump the blood and the blood does not travel throughout the body through the arteries and return to the heart through the veins the body will die. Life is active; it moves it does not sit still. You do not have to go to another country to be a missionary. The mission field is here. There are so many who need Jesus right here in your own neighborhood. He tells us the harvest is plenty but the laborers are few.

Scriptures to read

John 6:35  And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

John 4:14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” John 6:48 I am the bread of life. John 6:51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 7:37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Matthew 28: 18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Mark 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

2Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves;

Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

James 2:17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. 18But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

James 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.

James 2:19You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?…

James 2:25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

1 Peter 2:12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

Exodus 4:12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

Exodus 4:15And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do.

Isaiah 51: 15“For I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea and its waves roar (the LORD of hosts is His name). 16“I have put My words in your mouth and have covered you with the shadow of My hand, to establish the heavens, to found the earth, and to say to Zion, ‘You are My people.'”

Matthew 9: 36Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38“Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”

Luke 10: 1 Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come. 2And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

Cracked Pots Bible Study

God uses cracked pots / A study in imperfections made perfect
Julie Sheppard

To the world a cracked pot is useless. It is broken and has no purpose. If you were to pour water into it, the water would flow through the cracks. So we can ask how can God use a cracked pot? We look at ourselves and we become our own worst critique. We see all that is wrong. We look at our past and see all of our mistakes. Yet God sees more.
God uses our imperfections and makes us perfect because He is perfect.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.
These 2 verses make me think that being a cracked pot is a good thing. Why? Because that I am cracked all that was wrong within me is released and poured out at the feet of my Savior Jesus. It also means that because I am empty He can use this broken vessel to let His love and grace flow not only into me but through me so that what He gives me pours into the lives of those I come in contact with.

Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman Matthew 7:37-39Ref — Mt 26:6-13; Mk 14:3-9; Jn 12:1-8 7:41,42Ref — Mt 18:23-34
36 Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.
37 When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume,
38 and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet,1 he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is–that she is a sinner.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,a and the other fifty.
42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet,2 but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
45 You did not give me a kiss,3 but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.
46 You did not put oil on my head,4 but she has poured perfume on my feet.
47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”5
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you;6 go in peace.”7

Here in Matthew you see a woman who had a poor reputation that humbles herself at the feet of Jesus. The tears pouring from her eyes cleansing the feet of Jesus.

Mark 14:3-9
3 And being * in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat , there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenarda very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.
4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said , Why * was this waste of the ointment made ?
5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.
6 And Jesus said , Let her alone ; why trouble ye * her? she hath wrought a good work on me.
7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.
8 She hath done what she * could : she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.
9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever * this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she * hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

Mark writes that she broke the box of oil and poured it on the head of Jesus.
Both scriptures mention being poured, but do you see the importance of the box being broken?
It took breaking the box to release the oil it contained.
Now for those of us who have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He lives in us. It is His Light that shines through us. So He uses our imperfections to shine His Light of love through us to reach others who are lost and broken.

Can you think of ways that God uses your flaws to do something for His good?Cracked Pot