Heading to the Fore

DIADEM Collage

Psalm 37:6a “He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn…”

By God’s grace, I participate in a Bible study called Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). This year’s amazing study is on the book of Revelation and will be completed after 30 weeks, 26 of which have already passed. With the 2nd advent of Jesus Christ and the coming of a new heaven and new earth in Revelation 22, believers are promised that the curses of sin and death will be removed. Hallelujah! Communion with the Father and the Lamb is promised to be up close and personal in a way that we have only dimly imagined. Believers will dwell with the Lord and be in His presence constantly and enjoy intimate communion – actually face to face! His name will be on our foreheads. Our foreheads will truly face each other.

Significant in Ephesians 6, we are told to protect our heads with the “helmet” of salvation. We know from science that the body’s heat is protected from the cold best when we cover our heads. When we became children of God, we were sealed with the Lamb’s name on our foreheads as opposed to the “inhabitants of the earth” who will receive the mark of the beast. God knows and seals those who belong to Him.

High priests were marked with the designation “Holy to the Lord” in the history of God’s people. They wore a gold plate (diadem) on their foreheads that carried this engraving. This indicated authority and dignity. When Jesus became the only High Priest that we will ever need, He sealed us with his Name by His blood. This carries authority and dignity. Our faith is now credited to us as His righteousness. We carry His mark on our lives. There will be a special designation on our foreheads when we are introduced to the new heaven and the new earth, the Holy City, the New Jerusalem.

Exodus 28:36-38 says, ” ‘Make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal: HOLY TO THE LORD. Fasten a blue cord to it to attach it to the turban; it is to be on the front of the turban. It will be on Aaron’s forehead, and he will bear the guilt involved in the sacred gifts the Israelites consecrate, whatever their gifts may be. It will be on Aaron’s forehead continually so that they will be acceptable to the Lord.’ ”

Now Christ is our Head, the Head of the Body – His Church. His Name is over all names. His name is symbolically, maybe even literally-in-a-spiritual-sense, engraved on our foreheads! He bore our guilt and shame to redeem us. He is our Righteousness and makes it shine like the dawn.

Bringing Christ to the fore is all I need to do. Situating Him up front in my life is my act of worship in response to His great love. Jesus is the One Who makes me acceptable to the Father by the diadem He places over my forehead that says “Holy to the Lord.” My Redeemer lives – He is my covering, my Intercessor, the Lover of my Soul – engraved on my forehead forever.

 

 

 

Creativity Unleashed

IMG_3236

This entry is dedicated to Cindy – a great friend, a colleague, and an artist. Oh, and a “Happy Birthday” shout out today to my husband of 35 years who supports my excursions to the OBX with the girls!!!

Psalm 37:25-26 “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed.”

God’s faithfulness over time is my overarching inspiration here! I just returned from an Outer Banks retreat with my Christian women friends of many years. One friend led us in acrylic painting lessons to replicate a photo of “our beach” (where many memories have been made). This friend generously supplied the paints, paint brushes and instruction; we each brought a canvas. I must admit a preconceived attitude of reluctance to push out of my comfort zone to paint a picture, but I also gathered a real appreciation for the beauty that can come out of ashes if coaxed. And eventually, the true shock that comes from trying something new, like painting, and finding out how satisfying the creative process can be…

Years ago, when I was much younger, I met some precious women at a local church and we began a journey together through Bible study, prayer, discipleship training and of course laughter and tears. A couple of us even founded a Christian preschool together (and it still exists)! We journeyed through the heartaches and joys of marriage and parenting small children, the challenges of walking by faith and not by sight, and the agonies and celebrations of our families of origin. By far, this Christian bonding kept us out of the therapist’s office and offered godly friendships that have spanned almost 30 years.

By God’s grace, we survived in spite of our own children’s growing pains; we are still praying through our children’s “adult” issues and learning to listen well; we are celebrating the joys of grandchildren and the ability to be involved in this amazing second generation. We still see many things that can threaten our peace, but together we still cling to the One who calls us His children and sees us as righteous through the shed blood of His Son Jesus. We have never been forsaken. And, our children really are blessed.

At “our beach”, our souls are somehow fed a lot. We started retreating maybe 5 years ago (we’re not sure). There, laughter always brings us some tears of joy! Small wonders bring big smiles – Gail’s tuna salad and ABC cake; Leanne’s brunswick stew, lasagna and oatmeal cookies; M&M’s and olives, “Pollyanna” or “Calendar Girls;” the latest book recommendations; muumuu dresses; the porch swing; ankle bracelets and temporary or not tattoos; “Chicken Feet;” serpentining poses by Joan and Patti; guest book entries… And now painting.

There is always freedom, generosity, and blessing when we are together. There is healing. There is soul care. There is the blessing of amazing friends in Christ. Now I am older, and I can’t wait to go to “our beach” again! Although a couple of us have recently retired from frenzied careers, we are all still busy in the dailyness of ministry. We love to look ahead to the next OBX retreat to recharge, regroup, rehabilitate, restore, repent, recover, revive, relax, replenish, renew, reflect, recline and rest. The “re” words are very important to us. We thank God for the wonderful chances He gives us to be together twice a year and “re.”

Psalm 4:3-4 “But You are a shield around me, O Lord; You bestow glory on me and lift up my head. To the Lord I cry aloud, and He answers me from His holy hill.”

 

 

Twisted

Twisted Tree

Psalm 11:2,3 “For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart. When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Psalm 37:9 “Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in His salvation.”

The twists and turns of evil motives and plots, with ever deepening roots, appear indefatigable and unmovable. But, God. God is there. He listens to our prayers. He knows our weaknesses. For certain, there exists God’s unshakeable love and holy intervention that we can count on. Both now in the present and with a future final consummation.

If I focus on the twisted thoughts and actions of my own heart and of those around me, I feel as though my own heart gets more twisted into a concrete knot of hopelessness. If I focus on God and His majestic power, His Spirit surely unravels the knots, smooths the perversions, and leads me gently into the freedom of His Truth.

My soul will delight in His salvation! Exodus 15:13 “In Your unfailing love You will lead the people You have redeemed. In Your strength You will guide them to Your holy dwelling.”