BEAUTY FROM PAIN??

BEAUTY FROM PAIN?

We can learn some life lessons by observing the process of a pearl being made.  Did you know that the process begins with an irritant of some kind entering the oyster or mussel?  It can be a grain of sand, a piece of shell, or a parasite.  Regardless, the oyster or mussel produces a solution called nacre to protect itself from the irritation.  It coats the inside of the shell with this substance.  Over a period of years;  seven for a wild oyster, a pearl is formed!

Cultured pearls are formed in a shorter length of time; more like three years.  In this case, the farmer actually inserts an irritant into the oyster to begin the process.  In other words, the irritant is necessary to form the beautiful gem we call a pearl.

I was reading in the book of Exodus this morning about the children of Israel crossing the Red Sea.  Chapter fourteen tells us that before they actually went through this incredible experience, Moses told them, “Do not fear!  Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today,…  The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.”  (EX 14:13-14)

When Pharoah’s army, horses, and chariots, pursued them, God caused their chariots to swerve and brought confusion to the entire Egyptian army!  Remember what Moses told them in EX 14:14?  “The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.”

Ultimately, the Egyptian army was destroyed, and the Israelites walked safely through the Red Sea on dry ground to safety.

God allowed a huge “irritant” in the life of Israel.

They experienced oppression from Egypt for 400 years!  When God finally delivered the news that He was going to deliver them, it required faith and trust on their part.  The circumstances of leaving Egypt were not easy.  They were running for their lives from the most powerful ruler in the world at that time.  They were afraid!

God was using the irritant to produce a beautiful gem; solid faith and trust in the living God.  

Years of walking with God had prepared Moses for this assignment.  His entire life had been supervised by a loving, sovereign God.  His mother entrusted his very life to Almighty God, who protected Moses life and caused Pharoah’s daughter to love him and desire to raise him in Pharoah’s household.  Even when Moses acted in disobedience to God and had to run for his life and hide in the wilderness for 40 years, God was molding and shaping him.  He used those 40 years of shepherding sheep to prepare Moses  for the ultimate calling on his life;  to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt and into the Promised Land.

  Moses, the Israelites, and you and I, were and are pearls in the making!

Like the cultured pearls, where the farmer places an irritant within the oyster, God sometimes places difficulties in our life.  His design is to create a beautiful, precious pearl;  a precious gem that can only be formed from years of grace being produced to cover that irritant.  Other times, we make bad choices and bring on the irritant ourselves.  Somehow, the Creator, the Master Designer is using all of that to produce a pearl of grace in our lives.

Nothing is wasted in the life of a follower of Jesus Christ.

Doesn’t that give you great comfort to know that God is overseeing every aspect of our lives?  That includes our mistakes, our bad choices, our disappointments, our trials.

So, dear friend, God will use everything for good in the life of His child.  (Romans 8:28)  Some irritants are lovingly placed in our lives by Him, because He wants to produce a pearl in us for His glory.  Other times, we allow that irritant to get into our lives.  Even then, the God of the universe uses it to produce a pearl of grace in our lives.  We can entrust our very lives to Him.

When circumstances overwhelm us, and the “IRRITANT” is too great, God fights for us while we are silent.  (Exodus 14:14)

I love that verse!!  I don’t have to fight through the storms of life in my own strength!  In fact, while I keep silent, God does the fighting!  When I can’t fight, He fights for me.  When I don’t know what to pray, He prays for me.  (Romans 8:26)

To all my sweet sisters in Christ, I am forever indebted to you for your lives that you have shared with me.  Grace to each of you!  Together, we are God’s pearls!

“Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.  Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20-21

 

Blessings!

Julie

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AMAZING BIBLE VERSES TO CALM YOUR FEARS AND ANXIETIES

 

 

“…MORE PRECIOUS THAN GOLD…”        

   Scripture tells us in 1 Peter 1:6-7, “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ…”

 

Did you get that?  Our faith and the proof of our faith is MORE PRECIOUS THAN GOLD!  Gold is refined and purified by fire.   God uses trials and storms of life to purify us.   As a result of these trials and storms, our faith becomes MORE precious than gold.  This is not just an empty faith.   It is a faith in the living God, through the person of Jesus Christ.

There are so many wonderful Bible verses that gives us comfort and strength.  God alone is our refuge in times of trouble.

I hope you will draw strength, as I have, from these beautiful Bible verses describing God’s love, His strength, and His peace.

 

” …A FAITHFUL CREATOR…”

“Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God

entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.”

1 Peter 4:19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“DO NOT FEAR…”  

Isaiah 41:10 tells us,

“Do not fear, for I am with you;  Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,

Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

“…I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN…” 

“I have set the LORD always before me;  because He is at my right hand I will not be shaken.”  Psalm 17:8

 

 

 

 

‘”..A STRONG TOWER…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“…MY COVENANT OF PEACE WILL NOT BE SHAKEN…”

“For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you,

And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” says the LORD who has compassion on you.  Isaiah 54:10

 

 

 

 

 

 

“…THE LORD HIMSELF…”

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times in every way.  The Lord be with you all.”    2 Thessalonians 3:16

I can’t think of a better verse to end with.  The Lord Jesus, Himself gives us peace.  He doesn’t send it by another person.  He doesn’t just flood us with an abstract emotion.  Peace is not a package we open up .  Jesus is the LORD of peace!  He is the very essence of peace.  He Himself gives us peace.  He comes down from Heaven and fills us with Himself.

Exodus 3: 7b-8 tells us, “…for I am aware of their sufferings,  So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians…”

I love that imagery!  God told Moses, concerning the Israelites who were in bondage to Egypt, that He was aware of their sufferings.  Not only was He aware, He was “COMING DOWN” to deliver them.

Dear friends, our God sees our every trial.  He Himself COMES DOWN to care for us, to walk us through our trials, to give us courage and strength, to give us HIMSELF.

Until next time…    may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times in every way.

Blessings,
Julie

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PEACE IN THE STORMS OF LIFE

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 There are times in life, that God calls us to go through a

storm.  What do we do?

-Fall apart?

-Let fear overtake us?

-Get angry at God?

-Question God’s love?

For the child of God, these responses may be temporary, but God will bring us to a point of trust and peace.

Ephesians 2:14 says, “For He Himself is our peace…”  Isn’t that a beautiful thought?  Having Jesus, means having peace.

Instead of seeking an abstract thing called “peace,” we should seek Jesus.  When we have Him, we have His peace.

In John 14:27, Jesus speaks of His peace that He gives to His children.

 

The Getty’s sing a beautiful song that gives us the perfect perspective.

Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer

Jesus draw me ever nearer as I labor through the storm.                                                     

You have called me to this passage, and I’ll follow, though I’m worn.

May this journey bring a blessing.  May I rise on wings of faith;  

And at the end of my heart’s testing, with Your likeness let me wake.

Jesus guide me through the tempest;  keep my spirit staid and sure.

When the midnight meets the morning, let me love You even more.

Let the treasures of the trial form within me as I go – 

And at the end of this long passage, let me leave them at Your throne.”

— MUSIC BY KEITH GETTY; WORDS BY MARGARET BECKER COPYRIGHT © 2002 THANKYOU MUSIC

CCLI #933736

(The album, In Christ Alone, includes the hymn, “Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer.”)

You may click on these images, to buy from Amazon.  Rich hymns to fill your homes!

 

Over the next few months, we will continue to look at this subject of drawing closer to Jesus during the trials of life.

I hope you will share your thoughts with everyone.  Many of you have been through storms and are now on the other side.

Share with us the faithfulness of God to you!

Remember this verse:  “For He Himself is our peace…”  Ephesians 2:14

Blessings!

Until next time….

Julie

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Discipleship

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The Jewel of Discipleship

“Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 (NASB)

Even though iron is not what we think of as a jewel, it is a metal that was used for jewelry in ancient times.  During the time of Moses and the conquest of Canaan, iron was a rare metal and used mainly for jewelry such as  bracelets and rings.

The presence of iron in the Promised Land was a symbol of the richness of the land.  Because it was a harder metal than copper or bronze, it had to be extremely hot to work with it.  It was pounded out with an iron hammer and then sharpened with an iron file.  Later it became the metal of choice for tools and weapons.

The imagery of iron sharpening iron in this Proverb is worth our consideration as we think about the “jewel” of Discipleship.

How Does Discipleship Work?

The Proverb mentioned above speaks of one believer sharpening another believer.  In the New Testament this is the picture of discipleship.  One believer sharpens another believer by involving themselves in their lives;  sharing with them the lessons they have learned in the Christian walk.

As I reflect on God’s hand in my life, I marvel at how He used others in my life to disciple me.  Sunday school teachers, GA leaders and Youth ministers tied into my life as a child and teenager.  They taught me the Bible, encouraged me to memorize scripture, and exposed me to mature Christians whom I could look up to and follow their examples.  What a treasure that my parents saw to it that I was involved in church!

As a college student, God brought mature believers into my life to disciple me in studying Scripture.  I was encouraged to memorize scripture in a systematic way.  Then as a young wife and mother, precious friends entered my life and taught me so much through their walks with the Lord.  I was exposed to many wonderful authors. I consider many of those authors as my mentors.  Even though I never met them personally, they shaped my walk as a Christian.

At a significant point in my life, I realized that God had used all of these people to disciple me.  He  brought special people into my life at just the right time.  They lived their lives next to mine, shared books with me, and taught me the Word of God.  They modeled before me how to walk with the Lord.  I will forever cherish my dear friends, Amy, Leslie, Paul, and John (later became my husband) and the impact they had and continue to have on my life.

Tools for Discipleship

That brings me to my Post for today….

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Scripture – More Precious than Silver

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A popular Christian song says, “Lord, you are more precious than silver. Lord, you are more costly than gold. Lord, you are more beautiful than diamonds, and nothing I desire compares with You.”

Psalm 19:10 says the judgments of God (the Word of God) are more desirable than gold.

In other words, God’s Word, the Bible, is a precious jewel. It is like the two MOST precious jewels: silver and gold.

That being true, should we not search the scriptures daily for the precious jewels God has given us in His Word?
I hope that is a daily practice for you.

Reading God’s Word is the way we get to know Him. It is during the reading of the Bible that the Holy Spirit of God speaks to us, warming our hearts to God. It is a very natural thing to begin praising God, pouring out our hearts to Him, and seeking His guidance as we read.

Let me encourage you to create a space and time for spending time alone with God everyday. For me, this is first thing every morning at the breakfast table. Sometimes, while I am having my coffee, sometimes after breakfast. I always begin by reading the Bible. Without fail, as I am reading, my spirit is moved with a truth about God’s power, or I am overwhelmed with His majesty. Maybe I read about His provision, His holiness, His love, His forgiveness. My heart responds to that and I begin to pray. It is not something I have to work at. The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to draw my heart to Him.

Set a time
Create a space
Gather your Bible and a notebook
Start with 10 minutes

Why did I mention a notebook? When God speaks to your heart, you may want to write your prayer down. If you are asking Him to help you in a certain situation, write it down. Then when He answers, go back and record and date it.
Having a journal to read of God’s promises to you, His help in hard circumstances, His answers to your prayers, the promises that He gives you from Scripture is a precious jewel of remembrances.

You must have a plan. I have heard on old saying, “He who aims at nothing always hits it.” Make a plan and start tomorrow. Maybe your best time is at night before you go to bed. There is no right or wrong time. Just do it.
I am including a Bible Reading Plan for you that my church uses. If you have another one, great! Just use a plan. We are more likely to do something when it is laid out for us step by step.

If you are new to this, I also have a worksheet for you to help you study a passage of Scripture. Ask these questions about the verses you read:

-What do I learn about God from this passage?
-Is there a warning for me about something, a sin for me to avoid?
-Is there a promise for me to claim and trust God with?
-Is there a truth about myself in this passage?
-Are there specific things I can praise God about in this passage?

Please feel free to make copies of this worksheet as well as the Bible reading plan.
We will discuss in another session how to incorporate these into a notebook. Hint: I use a Daytimer notebook to keep up with all areas of my life. These areas include a calendar, addresses, daily to do lists, menus for the week, prayer requests, etc.
For now, use whatever you have; a composition notebook works. Get a pretty color, and pretty pens to have in your special place! I am including some choices for you that you can order from Amazon. Go ahead and order what you need while it is fresh on your mind. If you put it off until later, it probably won’t happen.

I would love to hear about your Bible study progress.

Blessings!
Julie
jewlsoflife.org

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