Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2014

My theme for the 2014 Challenge will be From the Beginnings... Yes, the plural "Beginnings" is not an error. In history as in our own lives we see multiple eras or phases that entail new beginnings. The old passes and the new is born. Hopefully with new birth there is a change for the better or a lesson to be learned. If you are interested in learning more about a life change for the better, visit the above tab labeled "Take the Next Step"

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Savior Has Arisen

ANGELICO, Fra Resurrection of Christ and Women...
ANGELICO, Fra Resurrection of Christ and Women at the Tomb Fresco, 189 x 164 cm Convento di San Marco, Florence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord;
    may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
12 For troubles without number surround me;
    my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
    and my heart fails within me.
13 Be pleased to save me, Lord;
    come quickly, Lord, to help me.

Psalm 40:11-13

New International Version (NIV)

         For centuries the faithful waited for their Savior.  He came, was crucified, and resurrected.   And now he lives for all eternity to provide the help and salvation that David cried out for in the Psalms.

        Jesus is here to help us.  We are here to serve him.  Jesus will rule for all eternity.

       All praise to Jesus Christ on this Easter Day and for all days.  

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.   Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20

New International Version (NIV)

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Questions #atozchallenge

King David in Prayer
King David in Prayer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-24

New International Version (NIV)

           Questions can be the beginning of belief and stronger faith.  Questions can likewise be the beginning of doubt and unbelief.    Our quest for knowledge and understanding is normal.  God gave us minds to use for our betterment and not just empty vessels to be filled with data.   We are supposed to think.  Thinking often calls for asking questions.

            David asked many questions. Some of David's questions were bold inquiries concerning the state of his life and the world around him.   Other questions were contemplative searches for more knowledge and wisdom.  When we are pursuing any education we are expected to ask questions.   The questions we ask are doorways to greater knowledge which encourages us to do more research and ask more questions.  The person who stops being curious about the universe and life is a person who has become intellectually stale and lifeless.

            Non-believers like to ask questions intended to shake our faith and refute the scripture and the existence of God.   If we have not armed ourselves against such attacks then we strengthen the enemy and make ourselves look foolish.   We should expect to have our faith under attack even if it never is.  Readiness will instill confidence and in the end might win souls.

            Don't be caught off guard by those who question you and what you believe.  Keep learning as much as you can.   Always ask questions and seek the answers to those questions.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

James 1:5

New International Version (NIV)

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Planting #atozchallenge

English: A midwestern farmer tills and fertili...
English: A midwestern farmer tills and fertilizes his land near Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

Genesis 8:22

English Standard Version (ESV)

        According the creation account given in Genesis, on the third day God created seed bearing plant life.  It is interesting to note the importance given in this passage of seeds and fruits with seeds in them.  Seeds are the foundation of existence and regeneration of life.

            In early history society was agrarian.  Life depended on planting seeds for the food that would be harvested when it was ready.  This has been the case throughout history.  In our time we are dependent on farming for our subsistence.  Without a controlled agrarian system in place our food supply would be in chaos.   Hunger would be rampant. 

         There is the cycle of planting and reaping that has continued from earliest times until our time.  When the great flood waters subsided and the land was restored, God made a promise.  Most often we think of the rainbow and God's covenant not to ever destroy the Earth with flood again.  What is typically passed over is God's promise that the cycle of seasons for planting and harvest would never be disrupted (Genesis 8:22).  Could this be an argument against the warnings of global warming or other destructive climatic changes?

           There have been reports that farming is on the decline.  In places like the United States farmers still produce an abundance of food.   Some of the smaller farmers have stopped growing for political, sociological, or economic reasons.   In some places farmlands are being developed for other use.  Famine could be on the horizon if these trends of non-farming continue.  Whatever countries control the food will control the earthly destiny of the people.  When famine strikes, we can't blame God.

 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

2 Corinthians 9:6

New International Version (NIV)

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Openings #atozchallenge

Come unto Me 22
Come unto Me 22 (Photo credit: Waiting For The Word)

The opening of thy words giveth light; It giveth understanding unto the simple.

Psalm 119:130

American Standard Version (ASV)

       The word "openings" is synonymous with beginnings. Opening can also have other meanings that suggest that which can lead to or facilitate beginnings. The Bible is filled with various openings--the opening of the heavens to bring the rain that caused the great flood, the opening of the Red Sea that allowed safe passage to the Israelites escaping Egypt, the opening of the age of Jesus Christ, and so on. 

       If we open our minds to God's Word and open the pages of the Holy Bible we will be ready for an opening of our comprehension regarding God's message for us. Some will complain that they don't understand what the Bible says, that it is too complicated with details, genealogies, laws--give it time. Open your hearts to accept the Word.  Just because a feast is laid before you it doesn't mean you have to devour it all at once.  Savor the bread and sip the wine slowly.  Understanding will come.

        God waits patiently with open arms ready to assist those who need help, guidance, and clarification. The gates of heaven stand open as they wait for you to enter. God does not force feed you. He provides the table that is set before you and gives you help when you are ready.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.   For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."

Matthew 7:7-8

New International Version (NIV)

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Needs #atozchallenge

English: The Garden of Eden by Jacob Savery
English: The Garden of Eden by Jacob Savery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have everything I need.

Psalm 23:1

Good News Translation (GNT)

        In the first domain of man, the Garden of Eden, all needs were provided.  Man tended the Garden and saw after the animals.   There was abundance of the things required for human existence. God walked with Adam and Adam lacked nothing.

       After the fall, Adam and Eve were expelled from paradise.   Life was tougher as humans were required to toil more to sustain their existence.  And yet God still watched over his creation.   There are so many instances when God provided His people what they needed for survival.

         This holds true to our time.  The faithful are taken care of.   The evils of this world such as disease, hunger, and war cannot be blamed on God.   God is the solution to these problems, the escape from them.  When people blame God for evil they are not looking within themselves to see where evil really dwells.

          God will provide what you really need.  Need is the key word here.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?    You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.

James 4:1-2

New International Version (NIV)


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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mercy (#atozchallenge)

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...
Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglican Church, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus' description of himself "I am the Good Shepherd" (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: "To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs." (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

Psalm 51:1

King James Version (KJV)

          How many times does it take to get something right?   Some things are easy and we get them right the first time.   Other things require several attempts before we learn how to do them.   There are some skills that take a great amount of training before a person can become an expert.

          But what about life?    Relationships involve a lot of trial and error.   There are often misunderstandings.   Sometimes we mess up so badly that it's difficult for the one we've wronged to forgive us.   Humans don't have the same capacity for mercy and grace toward each other as God has for us.   We should thank him frequently for that.

          Since the beginning of time people have rebelled against God and gone astray.   God is always ready to forgive and show mercy.   God is ready to give, but are you ready to ask?

          God will not force Himself, his love, his grace, and his mercy upon us.   We must be willing to receive. For those who receive God's gifts, great things await.  

          Don't lose out on what God wants for you.   

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,  he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,  whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,  so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3:4-7

New International Version (NIV)

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Light #atozchallenge

Detail of the third window of the north wall w...
Detail of the third window of the north wall with stained glass depicting Jesus: I am the light of the world (John 8:12). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1

New International Version (NIV)

         At the beginning of the Bible in the recounting of the story of Creation,  God's first pronouncement is "Let there be light".   Light was obviously important to be in the first order of things created.  A distinction was made between light and darkness--the light was declared to be good.

           As with so many concepts, light is presented in very literal terms throughout the Bible.  Daylight was the time when nearly all work was accomplished.  The darkness of night was often considered to be a time of fearfulness and for sinful deeds.   The light is what helps us to see and to been seen.

         With all this taken into consideration it's easy to understand how light is also often used in metaphorical and spiritual terms.   Light is often compared to love, goodness, truth, justice, and other attributes that open the eyes of the body, mind, and soul.  

           Those who love God also love the Light.   The Light illuminates the path the lies ahead of us in life and clarifies that which is behind us.  Without Light we are left to grope blindly in the dark.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12

New International Version (NIV)

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