This is Impossible for God to Do

This is from another of my favorite blogs, Radical, which:

exists to serve the church in accomplishing the mission of Christ…making disciples who make disciples who make disciples throughout the world – from our neighbors across the street to the unreached people groups across the globe – all for the glory of God.

Read on!
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in hope of eternal life,
which God, who never lies,
promised before the ages began.
—Titus 1:2

This is Impossible for God to Do

By David Burnette

It may surprise you to learn that there’s something God can’t do.

Of course, Jesus tells us that with God “all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26), and we certainly don’t want to deny that God is all-powerful or that he has all authority. No one can thwart his purposes (Daniel 4:35). Still, according to Scripture, there is something that God can’tdo, but it turns out that it’s actually for our good—he cannot lie. This attribute of God, his faithfulness, is the last of several snapshots we’ve taken of his character (see also God’s holiness, mercy, and wrath). To know that God “never lies” (Titus 1:2) should change the way we think about and respond to him.

Lies and Truth

It goes without saying that human relationships are often marked by unfaithfulness. Marriages, friendships, and businesses suffer as a result of dishonesty and deception. When it comes to our political leaders, we don’t even expect them to fulfill their campaign promises. Sometimes our unfaithfulness is intentional, but often we simply forget to do what we said, or else we are unable to keep our word due to circumstances or limitations. Whatever the case, we are often wary of placing too much confidence in people or institutions. Thankfully, we don’t need to be skeptical when it comes to God.

Read more here, and please spend some time looking around the awesome Radical site.

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Holy, Holy, Holy

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I decided the other day that I’m going to change my Sunday posts to Sunday Praise and Worship. Many of us cannot make it to church for health, work or other reasons. I often have health issues that keep me home from church, and if you’re like me, you miss being able to sing your praises in a worship service with fellow believers. These Sunday Praise and Worship posts will include Scripture passages of praise and worship, and praise songs in video format, with a link to the lyrics. For copyright purposes, I cannot share the complete lyrics in my blog posts.

So last Sunday we sang We Fall Down at church. This is another praise and worship song that never fails to make my eyes leak. As I sit here writing this post, I am listening to Chris Tomlin sing this and need to stop often to wipe my eyes.

How can we not be totally impressed, awed and thankful as we ponder the utter holiness of Jesus?

And we cry holy, holy, holy
We cry holy, holy, holy
We cry holy, holy, holy
Is the lamb

From: Chris Tomlin – We Fall Down Lyrics | MetroLyrics

We read the prophecy in Isaiah 6:1-3

1 In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.

Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.

And one called out to another and said,

“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory.”

One day we’ll see the fulfillment as prophesied in Revelation 4:5-11

Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God;

and before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind.

The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle.

And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say,

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty,
who was and who is and who 
is to come.”

And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever,

10 the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

11 “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”

Beloved, what a joyous day it will be when we can witness and be a part of this! Every time I sing this song, I imagine how glorious it will be to worship with the angels, singing “Holy, Holy, Holy!”

If for any reason you cannot view the video above, go here to view it on Youtube, or you can read the lyrics here.

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An Old Telephone

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The trumpet-shaped hand-held listening device is suspended from a metal cradle on the side of the imposing oak cabinet. While listening to conversation with one instrument, one would talk into the protruding snout on the front of the large, antique telephone. The old, original telephone is now mounted on the wall in my parent’s home. The wood has been refinished but stress marks remain from years of use.

By the time I was enamored with the telephone in my teen years, the communication apparatus had diminished in size to a small plastic box with an all-in-one listening and speaking hand set. I was physically limited only by the length of the cord attaching the hand set to the phone box.

Today I use either a cordless telephone or a cell phone, an electronic wonder the size of a deck of cards. I can use the cordless phone throughout my house and around the yard. The amazing cell phone seems limitless with the ability to send electronic messages, click photographs, or transmit and receive messages even as we travel in a vehicle. What incredible changes have occurred during the century since Alexander Graham Bell invented the first rudimentary telephone in 1876!

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The concept of a massive network of telephone cables transmitting messages between countries, traversing oceans, and penetrating remote areas would have seemed unfathomable to its original inventor. Yet, electronics have now significantly shortened the distance between people and nations. The universal 911 emergency call system, providing immediate medical response, has proved an unforeseen adjunct to the telephone.

As sophisticated as we consider our present day system of communication to be, there are still dead spots with cell phones or power interruptions with land-based telephones. Isn’t it a relief that we don’t have to depend upon a man-made device in order to communicate with God? 

Do we operate on the assumption that God is in heaven and we are on earth, creating light years of travel between us? God’s Word dispels that notion: “Those who obey His commandments live in Him, and He in them” (1 John 3:24).  The Creator spoke earth and its inhabitants into existence. He walked and talked with the first humans in the Garden of Eden. Ever since those early times, God has communicated with man and encouraged His children to talk with Him. God desires to live within our hearts, creating a unique, intimate emotional and spiritual relationship.

Our finite minds misconstrue our human boundaries with God’s omnipotence, minimizing His power. We dare not expect God to conform to our human limits. He is the Almighty God, our sovereign Lord, and supreme Creator. We are His creation. God merely speaks and His children hear His voice. Because He loves us, God desires to fellowship with each of us. “And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). Not all of us understand the technology of sound waves, but we respond by talking. When God speaks through the Holy Spirit, we readily hear Him, although we may not fully understand the intimacy of the Trinity.

When God spoke, Elijah didn’t hear Him in the fantastic windstorm, the earthquake, or in the fire (2 Kings 19:11-12) as might be expected, but in a gentle whisper which Elijah clearly heard. God is not in the habit of shouting to converse with His children. He speaks in love and peace, just as a parent cradling a child closely speaks in a soft voice. As His children, we are attuned to the voice of our heavenly Father. “He who belongs to God hears what God says (John 8:47).

Some people may hold the view that love and verbal communication developed among men as they evolved into social beings. However, we are commanded, “Let us love one another, for love comes from God”  (1 John 4:7). God is the author of love and conversation, which He initiated with the first people He created and promises with all who follow Him. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

It is to our advantage that our conversation with God is quiet and reliable. The Holy Spirit can discern our thoughts; able to convert our mere groans into requests to God, for He hears everything we say (Romans 8:26). Occasionally interferences occur with man’s inventions, but with God there is never a loss of power or bad connections with heavenly communication. God hears and responds to every one of our prayers. “This is the assurance we have in approaching God:  that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14). 

Try casting your cell phone aside for a day and grasp the confidence that assures your connection to the greatest source of power in the universe. God is only a spoken word away, lovingly inhabiting our inner being, always waiting to hear from His creation.  Spend time in heavenly conversation, pouring out the needs and desires of your heart, tempered with praise and thanksgiving for your Lord and His marvelous works.

Over thePs46-10-StarryCometSky--AMP years, as the telephone has transitioned into more sophisticated technology, usage and maintenance fees have sky-rocketed, presenting us with the opportune time for conversation with our heavenly Father, with absolutely no associated financial costs.  We need never consider prayer a burden, reminding us of the towering, imposing antique telephone, but a joyful privilege with the One who loves us with holy passion. It simply requires that we express our emotions to the God who always hears our words and answers in His precise timing.

Don’t ever hang up prematurely on your call to the Lord; keep an open dialogue. And, remember; don’t do all the talking. Listen for God’s quiet voice. Prayer, like a good phone call, is the conduit for a two-way conversation. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).  In the stillness, God will speak to you.

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Leaning Against A Thorn [Repost]

Today’s post is something I shared with you several years ago that definitely bears repeating. It was written by my wonderful writer friend, Lynn Mosher. This was first published on her blog and it made such a huge impact on me that I asked Lynn if I could share it with you and she agreed. Here it is again.

Leaning Against a Thorn

 Thorns of trials.

Thorns of affliction.

Thorns of adversity.

Thorns of all kinds.

 Thorns pricking. Briers sticking. Thistles piercing.

Pricking thorns of…

  •  abuse
  • divorce
  • addiction
  • a lost job
  • failing health
  • loss of a home
  • financial disaster
  • a friend’s betrayal
  • a teen making bad choices

The enemy stands ready to prick us at any time with adverse circumstances.

However, sometimes we find ourselves being pricked with the barbs of consequences when we lean into an avoidable situation, something God’s Word clearly states that we are to shun.

If we lean into wrong desires, our hearts will be pricked with the thorns of heartache and sorrow.

If we lean into improper thoughts, our hearts will be pricked with the thorns of guilt and remorse.

If we lean into fleshly lusts, our hearts will be pricked with the thorns of shame and regret.

Sometimes, God will remove the thorns; however, on occasion, He will leave them for our good, as when He left Paul’s thorn to prick him when he leaned into pride.

I wonder if we ever thank the Lord for the thorns? What? Thank Him for a trial, a heartache? All things work together for good, remember? So says Romans 8:28.

The next time a thorny ordeal is pricking you, remember the words of this prayer by George Matheson, a blind Scottish theologian and preacher in the late 1800s…

My, God, I have never thanked Thee for my thorn. I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorn…Teach me the glory of my cross; teach me the value of my thorn. Show me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbow.

He thanked God for his blindness. Is that something we would do?

What did David say? “I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of His glories and grace.” (Ps. 34:1 TLB)

What about Habakkuk’s attitude? The prophet asserted his faith in God and promised to praise Him, even if all else failed, “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.” (Hab. 3:17-18 NLT)

Being thankful is easy when everything is hunky-dunky, but the praise that emanates from a pain-ravaged heart, pressed by a thorn, is the sweet-smelling sacrifice of holy incense that rises to the throne room and lingers at the Father’s feet.

But what of those times when our hearts are pricked with grief?

Once I heard a song of sweetness
As it cleft the morning air,
Sounding in its blest completeness,
Like a tender, pleading prayer;
And I sought to find the singer,
Whence the wondrous song was borne,
And I found a bird, sore wounded,
Pinioned by a cruel thorn.

I have seen a soul in darkness,
While its wings with pain were furled,
Giving hope and cheer and gladness
That should bless a weeping world;
And I knew that life of sweetness,
Was of pain and sorrow borne,
And a stricken soul was singing,
With its heart against a thorn.

We are told of One who loved us,
Of a Savior crucified,
We are told of nails that pinioned,
And a spear that pierced His side;
We are told of cruel scourging,
Of a Savior bearing scorn,
And He died for our salvation,
With His brow against a thorn.

We “are not above the Master.”
Will we breathe a sweet refrain?
And His grace will be sufficient,
When our heart is pierced of pain.
Will we live to bless His loved ones,
Tho’ our life be bruised and torn,
Like the bird that sang so sweetly,
With its heart against a thorn?

~ Author unknown

Do you sing and thank the Lord when a thorn pierces your heart with pain?

Thank you, sweet Lynn! May God continue to bless you as you have blessed us today!

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July4th – Independence Day

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Independence Day, also referred to simply as July 4th, is a federal holiday here in the United States. On this day in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted and signed, declaring our independence from Great Britain.

Today is typically celebrated with fireworks, picnics, barbecues and family get-togethers which commemorate probably the most important day in our country’s history. As a nation, the United States of America is very blessed because of the sacrifice of all those who fought to procure and protect our freedoms.

If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God,
then we will be a nation gone under.
—Ronald Reagan

The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
    the plans of his heart to all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
    the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!
—Psalm 33:11-12

Let us never forget that we are the United States of America—one nation under Godwhose freedom was bought at a great price. 

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What is the Christian’s hope?

I often write about living a joyful life filled with hope, in spite of painful or devastating circumstances. So, what exactly is hope—the kind of hope Christians have? Here is a great answer to this question from GotQuestions?, one of my favorite sites. Question: “What is the Christian’s hope?” Answer: Most people understand hope as wishful thinking, as in “I hope something will happen.” This is not what the Bible means by hope. The biblical definition of hope is “confident expectation.” Hope is a firm assurance regarding things that are unclear and unknown (Romans 8:24-25;Hebrews 11:1,7). Hope is a fundamental component of the life of the righteous (Proverbs 23:18). Without hope, life loses its meaning (Lamentations 3:18;Job 7:6) and in death there is no hope (Isaiah 38:18;Job 17:15). The righteous who trust or put their hope in God will be helped (Psalm 28:7), and they will not be confounded, put to shame, or disappointed (Isaiah 49:23). The righteous, who have this trustful hope in God, have a general confidence in God’s protection and help (Jeremiah 29:11) and are free from fear and anxiety (Psalm 46:2-3). The New Testament idea of hope is the recognition that in Christ is found the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises (Matthew 12:21,1 Peter 1:3). Christian hope is rooted in faith in the divine salvation in Christ (Galatians 5:5). Hope of Christians is brought into being through the presence of the promised Holy Spirit (Romans 8:24-25). It is the future hope of the resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:6), the promises given to Israel (Acts 26:6-7), the redemption of the body and of the whole creation (Romans 8:23-25), eternal glory (Colossians 1:27), eternal life and the inheritance of the saints (Titus 3:5-7), the return of Christ (Titus 2:11-14), transformation into the likeness of Christ (1 John 3:2-3), the salvation of God (1 Timothy 4:10) or simply Christ Himself (1 Timothy 1:1). Read more here. BlogSL2-smallest

Within the Bud

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Within the Bud

by Patricia Knight

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Flower buds are a mystery.  Within their protective sheath resides concealed potential; invisible flower power packed into a compact package, prepared to explode with new life and beauty at the opportune moment.  Until the swollen bud unfurls tight petals to reveal its inner features, we can only speculate about its impending characteristics of size, color, and fragrance.

Similar to a confined, insipid flower bud, our Christian capabilities were once concealed beneath an exterior layer of unbelief.  When we humbly accepted Christ’s forgiveness and redeeming grace, we became a new creation.  We “put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).  Our hearts jubilantly responded like a newly exposed flower bud, revealing a thriving uniqueness, shining brightly with the light of Jesus, and salting the world with the intense fragrance of His goodness and love.  No longer held captive by an inexorable bud with no expression of beauty or power, we magnified Christ as we learned to spiritually bloom where we were planted.

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Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches.
If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). 

A branch out of contact with the vine is deprived of life, just as a flower bud’s vital resources are terminated when it is severed from the parent plant.  Only when we are anchored to our sovereign Source of energy does our life consistently exhibit loveliness and value.

We become a catalyst to God’s love under the nourishment of the Son, flourishing with the strength He supplies.  As a flower bud opens from the center to reveal a delightful bloom, our hearts display the central focus of our spiritual life, where Jesus’ love grows and disperses joy.

Though the flower bud maintains a blind physical attachment to the parent plant, we express free will, nurturing trust and following our Lord with eager obedience.  “Those who look to him are radiant” (Psalm 34:5) with joy as we align ourselves with our Savior, leading a “thy will be done” walk with Jesus.

God surrounds us with myriad expressions of His presence in nature.  If we seek to appreciate the proliferation of His creation, we learn more about our personal relationship to our Lord.  Just as the flower bud’s true potential is revealed as its protective exterior sheath peels away to unfold an extraordinary flower within, Christ living in our hearts promises a unique positional status as a child of the King and heir with the Son of God for all eternity.

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Bloom with confident obedience! —Patricia Knight

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Remember the 19 plus 1

Two years ago today, 19 brave Granite Mountain Hotshots perished in the Yarnell wildfire. You can read my posts about that here and here.  Those of us who have firefighters in our families never forget that every day they are on shift they put their lives in danger without worrying that they may be badly injured or even die while fighting a fire. 

Please remember and pray for the families of these 19 fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots today.

In memory of the brave
Granite Mountain Hotshots
who perished in the line of duty
on June 30, 2013

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I am blessed and privileged to know several firefighters. All of them—and I know this holds true for all firefighters—put their lives on the line every time they suit up in their turnouts. Whether on the job or in their personal lives, they are selfless and giving people who always seem to think of others before themselves. They are the embodiment of 1 John 3:16:

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 

The collage below shows the long funeral procession in which 19 white hearses were accompanied by fire and police vehicles. The lines of people on both sides of the highway spanned miles.

The memorial service took place in Prescott, close to where we live, and Rick and I were privileged to open our home to my son, Alan, along with Justin and Zane, two firefighter buddies from Dallas Fire Department who are also members of the Dallas Pipes & Drums. Each of them attended and were involved in the memorial service, along with many, many others.

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We cannot forget another brave member of  the Granite Mountain Hotshots crew, Brandon McDonough, the sole survivor. Brandon read The Hot Shot’s Prayer during the memorial service:

When I am called to duty, Lord …

To fight the roaring blaze …

Please keep me safe and strong …

I may be here for days.

Be with my fellow crew members …

As we hike up to the top.

Help us cut enough line …

For this blaze to stop.

Let my skills and hands …

Be firm and quick.

Let me find those safety zones …

As we hit and lick.

For if this day on the line …

I should answer death’s call …

Lord, bless my hot shot Crew …

My family, one and all.

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I want to thank all firefighters for their unselfish and giving service, even though that never sounds adequate to express what’s in my heart. God bless you and your families with His everlasting love and peace…

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Godliness + Contentment

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Godliness + Contentment

By Patricia Knight

“But godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6).

We could list the aspects of our lives that have changed due to the invasion of adversity, but that exercise would not change our circumstances. Instead of stressing the negative, why not accentuate the positive? List the gains rather than the losses. Reflect on the people you’ve met, the introspection you’ve gained, the spiritual strength and dependency that has grown, the patience learned, and the ability to mature in your faith.

If we are able to combine our faith with personal well-being, then improvement or enrichment will result. We have learned the secret for peace of mind. Following God, no matter what occurs in our lives, believing that whatever He chooses is best for us, and telling others about God’s goodness and grace, will all contribute toward our personal and spiritual riches.

1Thes5-18-HandSilhouetteSunset-35--AMPAs difficult as it may seem, we can develop a greater dependency upon our Lord even during afflictions. Therefore, we can go forward to accomplish whatever God asks us to do for Him, not in spite of pain, but because of it. We are commanded to “give thanks in all circumstances”(1 Thessalonians 5:18). The thankfulness we express is not an appreciation for leading a restricted, hurtful life, but rather it is a means of recognizing and showing gratitude for God’s sovereign leadership in our lives. Whatever He plans for us is perfect in its design and timing. 

Learning patience and perseverance produces a stronger faith. We learn those attributes by practicing them. Our hardship gives us reason to develop positive and useful emotional tools—those with which we can reach out to others in their time of need.  Christian maturity will follow.

When God has something to teach us, He may set us aside in order to instruct us in life’s lessons. The experience we gain will be invaluable in serving a loving, faithful God and others.

“Godliness + contentment = great gain”
is a method of expressing the verse as a formula for life.
It defines a spiritual goal for us—
one that God honors.

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