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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Pending Contact Request

It was two years ago.  Our oldest son was in the hospital.  I prayed for God heal him from the brain cancer that eroded his mind.  I lived for writing him each day, and talking to him on the phone, he was too far away for me to leave my husband who lived with Dementia, to visit our son, Dan.

One phone visit, he talked about visiting with Skype.  Immediately I entered his name on my Skype to be ready.  The other day I prepared to visit on Skype and saw his picture with these three words – Pending Contact Request. 

And I remembered!  Everything.  Those sad days, the ending of Dan’s life.  The long trip to bury him, and all the memories that happened on the day he was buried and the trip home.

For awhile I couldn’t bear to see his picture…on the wall.  The pain of his death was unbearable.  Then suddenly, those three words under his picture on the Contact Page of Skype hit me.  Suddenly memories of his life cascaded through my mind – from the time he was born, his marriage, the years of being a father.  I saw a change in his life from a brash teen to a loving, kind and patient father. 

Suddenly I saw Jesus, standing at the door of our hearts waiting to enter into a new life, to make contact.  Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  Revelation 3:20-22 

Will I ever erase the contact on Skype to our son?  Unlikely.  As I read the verses from Revelation, I realize anew how precious is the opportunity to hear the knock at my heart’s door.  I am amazed at the tenacity and love that motivates the continued knocking.  Am I listening?

As I read Psalm 23:6, the other day, I realize why Jesus continues to knock.  Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.  This Psalm is often read for comfort at funerals.  Yet it should be read every day…to remember the unfailing love God and His Son Jesus have for each of us.  In the NLT version this unfailing love will pursue us, not for awhile, but all the days of our lives.

“Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you!  See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins.  Isaiah 49:15-16

God will not forget us.  He loves us.  Forever.  Is that important?  Yes.  When we answer the knock on the door of our hearts, we become His for eternity.  Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  Revelation 21:27

We try to hide our thoughts and deeds from others, but there is someone who knows all about us.  We cannot hide from God.  King David knew this and expressed it this way in Psalm 139:1-6.  Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.   

When I read this, my mind saw our Lord, with needle and thread, hem us into his love, even as my Mom hemmed many a garment.  She made sure frayed edges with wear did not appear.  When we respond to the Lord’s knock on the door, we no longer are pending in our relationship with God.  We are allowing our Lord to keep the edges of our heart from becoming frayed and tattered and torn through living in this world. 

Once we have answered the knock on the door of our heart, we have made contact with our Lord and we obey Him and we are His. 

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.  I and the Father are one.”  John 10: 25-30

Ephesians 1:13-14   In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Comments? eacombs@att.net

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Sovereign Presence

The lyrics of Chris Tomlin washed over me Last Lord’s Day morning In your everlasting arms…All the pieces of my lifeFrom beginning to the end, I can trust you…In your never failing loveYou work everything for goodGod whatever comes my wayI will trust you…God whatever comes my wayI will trust you…  Overwhelming words of love and trust

Who is this Sovereign God who loves us so?  See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.   I John 3:1-3

What kind of love is ours? I John 4: 7 - Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

Why can the world not see this love? I John 4:8 - Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

What does it mean to be God’s child? I John 5:10 - By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

What will we receive as God’s child?  I Peter 3:3-5 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

How can we become like Jesus is?  I Peter 1:22-23 - Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;

I Peter 3:8-9 - You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.  The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
Loving God, having faith that He is, is the source of inexpressible joy and knowing that He loves us is a source of wonder and mystery.  Each day, through pain and suffering, He gives us hope and peace for each moment we live.  Who else can we trust with all the pieces of our lives, from beginning to end?
As the wrinkles crease my face, my eyes dim and my steps falter, I read these words that appear on the page, the truth of God’s love becomes even more powerful.  The clarity of Truth fills my heart with understanding.  I can only truly trust these words of God’s. 
Many books are written, words assail us on every side.  Words, written or spoken, that entertain or distract us from The Word, Jesus.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.   He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  John 1:1-3

Jesus was with God in the beginning.   He is with God now.  There is no way that God and Jesus may be separated in any way in their purpose and in their love for us.  Jesus is more than a good teacher, He is our Savior, if we accept Him.

His Presence in our hearts constantly gives us an awareness that God is with us.  Jude 22-23 - Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,  to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

The decision is individual, the decision is personal – between you and God.  Next time I listen to this song of praise to God, a song of comfort and trust, the lyrics will pierce my heart with hope and joy.  Not for the moment, but I will continue to praise God with an overwhelming joy of what is and what is to come through Jesus our Savior.

God whatever comes my way I will trust you…All my hopes, All I need, Held in your hands!
All my life, All of me, Held in your hands…All my fears, All my dreams, Held in your hands!
All my hopes, All I need, Held in your hands…All my life, All of me, Held in your hands!
All my fears, All my dreams, Held in your hands…In your everlasting arms, All the pieces of my life
From beginning to the end…I can trust you.  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMTG13qVY3g&list=RDJMTG13qVY3g)

And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them…Acts 4:24.




Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Glimpse of Glory on Earth

How often we long for the Presence of God to cheer us on our way.  One day, my dear husband said he saw an angel perched on his shoulder.  I have learned that no matter how deep into Dementia my husband drops, The Holy Spirit is well and alive in many ways in his heart.  When I pray with him during our visits, he is at peace.  He often preaches while he talks.  Yesterday he met his Functional Therapist…and shook her hand and told her he wanted her to know God loves her.   He is living Heaven on earth.  God is watching over him.  What a blessing to know he is at peace. 

How can we find that single-mindedness in living every moment with God? Jesus gives us  the heart of living, it is in believing, trusting, and having faith in Him.  And most of all living in and being in God’s love through Jesus Christ. 

Jesus gave us the different ways while on earth to live in this love in Matthew 5, the Sermon on the Mount with the Beatitudes with the ‘Blesseds’.  These are the qualities that give us a picture of the character of the true people of God – together these ‘Blesseds’ give the picture of a perfect disciple of Christ.  Some describe Blessed as Happy…but that is an anemic description of the ultimate joy that is achieved with each of these statements below. Each of the ‘Blesseds’ ask for a response from each of us.  Each is stated with a heart description and then a promise.

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. 
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God. 
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. 
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things about you falsely on account of me. 
12 Rejoice and be glad because your reward is great in heaven, for they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way. 

The first thing I see is that each characterization is echoed in Galatians 5:22-23.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

The Holy Spirit produces this kind of Fruit of the Spirit in our lives.  I notice that there are no ‘how-to’s’ in acquiring a heart of mourning, meekness, hunger, being merciful, living pure in heart, being peacemakers or being persecuted of the ‘Blesseds’.  Yet we find that when we allow the Holy Spirit within us when we believe in Jesus and follow Him, the the outward layers of our heart slowly peel away and we truly become His.  We become Blessed beyond measure in this world and next. 

The enemies of being a true follower is self-righteousness, being judgemental and self-sufficiency - I can do this on my own!   These plus arrogance and self-pride, are enemies of being humble and depending on God and God alone for even the little things of our life.

Consider the promises of being blessed.  How can we compare a life of the world with idolatry, sorcery, quarrelling, anger, self ambition, dissension, division and drunkenness with the world view of love, serving and the peace and joy that comes by living with patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control forever with Jesus?

But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.  Matthew 5:24.  How can this be?  The composer of How Deep gives us poetic words of the glimpse of how this can be.

You knew darkness that I might know light - Wept great tears that mine might be dried 
Stripped of glory that I might be clothed - Crushed by Your Father to call me Your own 
How deep is Your love - How high and how wide is Your mercy 
How deep is Your grace - Our hearts overflow with praise To You  (
Stephen Altrogge )

Only through the sacrifice on the cross where Jesus died, can begins in this world and  see the glimpse of glory that is ours to live in…forever.

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.  Ephesians 3:17-19



Comments? eacombs@att.net

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

The Gift of Hope and Love

Have you ever received a gift that changed your life?  My friend has difficulty seeing the colors, reds and greens.  They looked more grey than red and green.  He could not differentiate the colors.  After he received his Enchroma Glasses, he sees with clarity those colors.  Imagine celebrating Christmas without being able to see red and green.  What a gift to be able to see clearly the wondrous colors God has created!

When I began painting, I really began to see shades of green are on just one tree. Green was no longer just green, I saw many gradients of green with shadows and light.

Flowers were no longer bits of color perched on a stem, with leaves here and there.  Suddenly I saw the varied shades of color and complex designs that made me gasp in awe.  The colors in the heavens defy imagination with velvet nights and the moon to vibrant sunsets and sunrises.  As a child, I chose single crayons to color this world: the sun is yellow, the grass is green and the sky is blue until I learned to see reality.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. I Corinthians 13:11-12.

When I was introduced to Jesus through the song, Jesus Love Me…where all children begin my faith in Jesus..  We sang the song, Jesus Loves Me.  Even now, as an adult, this song is precious.  Jesus loves me! This I know, For the Bible tells me so; Little ones to Him belong; They are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so! 

Little did I know then, but I was given the gift of love.  As I grew up, I learned that love is given impartially.  The gift of love grows as we learn to love. Pretty soon we learn what love is not and what love is.

Love is not holding grudges and harboring anger.  Love is not comparison, competing or belittling some one.  Love is not jealousy.  Love is forgiving, nurturing, sacrificing, caring and serving.

Where did love come from?  God.  God loves us so much that He gave us a gift, a way to live forever, through the sacrifice of His only begotten Son.    (John 3:16)  A glorious gift!

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 
I Corinthians 13:4-7

 God is Love – and when we commit to only to Him, there are more gifts as we receive the Holy Spirit.

Our God has a garden of gifts that bears fruit.  When we commit to love and follow only the Lord God, we soon are aware of these gifts that are a reflection of His love and His way in us.  We long for unity, we long for peace in this world.  Only through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and his unwavering love, will we see these gifts in our own lives when we worship only One God.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.  Galatians 5:22-25

The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Have you ever known some one who lives this way? 

These are eternal gifts!  This is how we will live in Heaven.  There is no fear in Heaven, no tears, no death, no sorrow.  When we are committed to our Lord God and faithful here on earth, we have the joy of hope for living forever.  We won’t have guilt for past sins, for in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is forgiveness.  We don’t live in the ‘should have’, ‘might have’ or ‘ought to’.  Our life is filled with faith in Him who gives us hope through His tremendous continuing love.

We can trust again.  Cynicism is no longer a part of our lives because of so many betrayals from promises not kept.  There is no longer feeling of discouragement in our lives.  David knew this when he wrote: He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wingsHis faithful promises are your armor and protection.  Psalm 91:4

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. John 14:6

When we commit to follow after Christ Jesus, we began to have spiritual clarity and our lives begin to have purpose and meaning.  When we see through the glasses of faith, hope and love, our lives change in every respect.  And we give him the praise and glory for His never-ending goodness.

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13:13

Comments? eacombs@att.net