Category Archives: Bible Helps

f-f-F-Fanksgiving!

“I wuv Fanksgiving,”
“Why,” I asked.
“Because I get to eat wots of food and there’s wots of people at our house.”

There you have it! I can relate to this little fellow.  I wuv Fanksgiving too.  It has always been one of my favorite holidays, mainly because it has been spared from all the hype that is poured upon so many of our other special days—so much so that the original intent of the celebration often gets clouded over by the glitter and the “gimmies.” But as I thought about past Thanksgivings and what makes the day so special, I came up with three main ingredients:

1.       Food—as I taught music in an elementary school this past Monday and all the songs were centered around the upcoming holiday; I asked the students why the day was so wonderful. “I get to eat and eat until I’m stuffed,” was on reply.  He is right! Most of our tables will be overflowing with good things to eat.  That’s a real treat for any child, no matter how old! What a wonderful way to celebrate our thankfulness.
.2.       Family—this treasure is even more of a blessing than a bountiful table. In fact, David tells us: “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, Than a fatted calf with hatred” (Proverbs 15:17). How blessed we are to be able to share our table with family and friends—another reason to give thanks!
3.       Faith—I couldn’t help asking the students: Who were the Pilgrims being thankful to? I was pleasantly surprised to hear many of them say, “God.” As born-again believers, we have the greatest gift of all: salvation! And with that treasure come an anchor, a high tower, a shield…a Heavenly Father! Oh, the blessings of having faith in a Provider of all things, both good and evil. What joy to be able to trust in the Hand that guides our lives. Who do we thank if we do not look beyond ourselves for our blessings?
If you are blessed with these three gifts, then you truly have so much to be thankful for! And if not, as a believer, you may be facing one of the hardest “trust” times of your life! Even in the darkest hour, are we able to find something to be thankful for? Happy Thanksgiving! 

Psalm 27:10 When my father and my mother forsake me,

then the LORD will take me up.

Problems, Problems, problems

SPOT ON! Thank you, Days of Praise!

BY HENRY M. MORRIS, PH.D.  | TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2019 “And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.” (Psalm 55:6)

The 55th Psalm is a psalm of “complaint” (v. 2) by David and gives an insight into his thought process as he tried to deal with the great problems and burdens that were overwhelming him. His first instinct was to run away from them, flying like a dove far off into the wilderness.

The prophet Jonah (whose name means “dove”) tried that strategy years later, only to encounter even worse problems (Jonah 1:3, 15). One does not solve problems by fleeing from them.

Then, David decided to berate those who were causing him trouble and to complain about them to the Lord. “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice” (Psalm 55:17). The words “pray, and cry aloud” here actually mean “complain and mourn.” “Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues” (v. 9). “Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell” (v. 15). His burdens were all the heavier because those whom he had trusted as friends and colleagues were now using deceit and guile against him (vv. 11-14), and the injustice of it all was almost more than he could endure. But complaints and imprecations were also unsatisfying: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19).

Finally, the Lord gave him an answer, and David found the rest for which he had been so fretfully searching. Here it is: “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22). The last phrase of the psalm is “but I will trust in thee” (v. 23).

The way to deal with burdens and problems is not to flee from them or to fret about them but to turn them over to the Lord: “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7). HMM

Simplicity from Confusion

Jesus Loves MeMy life is simple. I hold to this one truth and it clears up so much confusion.  The one truth is this:

Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so.

This is not scripture but so much common sense about belief is wrapped up into this child’s song.

  1. Jesus—the only Son of God, God himself, loves me. Jesus, the Creator of all that we see and don’t see, Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus, the great “I AM!”
  2. Love—Agape, the self-sacrificing love of God. This love which goes beyond the physical or emotional “love” that this world offers, is poured out upon me!
  3. Me—not my brother or my sister, but me! Me!
  4. This I know—how simple! How completely wonderful to know something to the core of my being. I know this better than I know anything else, and this knowledge brings everything that is good into my life: peace, wisdom, joy, direction, hope.
  5. For the Bible—that Book of all books! God’s love letter to His creation. Inspired—God breathed—into the hand and heart of its writers, the Bible is my anchor, my love letter from my Savior, heavenly Father, Creator, and Best Friend
  6. Tells me so—that’s why I read it every day. That’s why I study it every chance I get. That’s why I MAKE the time to study it when life gets too busy.  That’s why I sit under its preaching every time my church opens its doors. That’s why I love it, believe it, and defend it.

It’s so simple and yet most people miss it. This world is confusing.  This world is cruel.  This world (kosmos—the world’s system of thinking) and its ruler, Satan, wants to ruin life. God wants to give life. Satan is the deceiver. God is the way, the truth, and the life. So simple! That anchor of simplicity holds me fast when the storms of life HOWL!!! That tower of truth allows me to rest at night and then face another barrage of confusion which life spews forth!

Won’t you join me in the simple life?

For they have [said], Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Jer 8:11

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments. Ps 119:73

And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”
Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? John 14: 6-9

“Ah, but Wanda, your site is called Beyond Common Sense. Why is that?”

“I’m so glad you asked that.  Because common sense tells you to play it safe and stay where you are. To have this simple comfort and security you have to go beyond common sense to FAITH!  There is nothing commonsensical about faith! But all the blessings of God come when we step out in faith, trusting God completely—that what He said He will do!

Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Mt 11:28-30

His yoke: Faith and Trust! Only then do I have that Friend that sticks closer than a brother to lift my burdens and carry them for me!

It’s a Wonderful Normal

 

selective focus photo of person holding book
Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

Are you one of the fortunate ones, one of the blessed? I am, and I am so glad! My wonderful normal is that on Sunday morning you will find me in church. It has always been my normal and I thank God for a mom that made sure that our family was in church. It wasn’t until I was in 1st grade that my dad started coming with us.  In fact, my mom tells me that there was an Easter morning that my dad plowed his fields. I don’t remember.  All I remember is our family sitting in church together. Oh, what wonderful memories, what a wonderful normal!

That normal has had such wonderful ramifications:

  • The habit was developed early
  • The habit was passed down to the next generations
  • And the next generation
  • I am well-fed in the Bible
  • I love church!
  • I have the privilege of serving Jesus every Sunday! (In fact, I was going to write a blog about the fact that one Sunday my skirt was on inside out and this Sunday my shirt was on backward! Why don’t I notice these things? I’d like to think it’s because I’m thinking about playing the piano or organ, or the special music, or the offertory, or the Sunday school lesson! 🙂 At least it sounds good!)
  • My church are my extended family.  I know they pray for me. How wonderful to have a network of people who share each other’s burdens. BUT, you really need to BE THERE for that to happen.

Attending church on Sunday has been a long-standing tradition as you can see in the following verses. If this is your wonderful normal thank the one who makes it possible and then thank the One that makes all things possible. AND, if it is not your wonderful normal… it can be!  How wonderful is that?!!

At the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher. Matthew 28:1 

 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. John 20:19

 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, Acts 20:7

 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. 1Corinthians 16:2

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Hebrews 10: 25 

Wanna Buy a Truck?

downloadThere’s been a battle raging for some time in Christian circles about the drinking of alcohol—I should clarify and say among born-again believers. It’s quite fascinating to me because I grew up in a home that had no alcohol in it, even though we faithfully attended a church that used wine for communion. (I take that back. Dad kept a bottle of whiskey for the cows when they got sick!) On the other hand, my husband grew up within the same denomination in a family that was over-the-top faithful but his father enjoyed a drink fairly occasionally.  In fact, as a boy, it was Tom’s job to bring the beer up from the basement and put it in the fridge.

We were both born-again later in life and, after we married, we were soon involved in an independent Baptist church. The thought of having alcohol in our home never crossed our minds.

BUT, the kerfuffle about drinking alcohol is alive and well and probably always will be. Here’s a thought:

A friend wants to sell you his truck…

“You wanna buy my truck?”
“Well, maybe.” You’ve seen the truck.  It’s not in great shape but you really can’t afford much else. “Is it in good shape?” you ask.

“Well…” Your friend hesitates a little as you both walk over to the truck. “You can see that there’s some rust spots on it but I’ve patched most of those.” The truck looks like a spotted elephant and you’re not sure if the truck was originally gray or if that’s all Bondo. “The brakes stick sometime and give out occasionally, but it’s never happened to me going downhill. There’s a little gas leak and the transmission has a few bugs in it. The right rear lights are out but that’s not a big deal.” He stops and hesitates.

You look at him doubtfully. “What aren’t you telling me?”

“Well, somethings wrong with the steering wheel.” He chuckles.  “To say it pulls to the right is an understatement.”

Are you going to buy his truck? If you have any sense you’ll run in the opposite direction!

After Solomon gives instruction about gluttony, greed, and dangerous women in Proverb 23, he teaches about alcohol.

Who has woe, sorrow, contentions, complaints, wounds without cause, red eyes—“they who linger long at the wine…who go in search of mixed wine” (Proverbs 23:29,30).

Solomon’s warning? DON’T EVEN LOOK AT IT! It will bite and sting.  You’ll see strange things and say even worse. You will be out of control and, worse of all, you’ll go back for more (Proverbs 23:31-35).

Does the Bible forbid the drinking of alcohol? Not that I can see—it just tells you how foolish it is to get entangled into its web of woes.

Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging:
and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
Proverbs 20:1

So…wanna buy a truck?

Snake on My Toe!

brown firewood
Photo by Paula on Pexels.com

The six cords of wood are now stacked in neat piles in our backyard right beside my clothesline. (I have the type of line that is looped around pulleys so you stand in one spot, hang the clothes, and pull the line for more space.) As I’m standing there, I hear the tarp atop the wood rustle. My mind instantly wonders what made the noise, and visions of the snakes we found there while moving the wood into our garage came into view. Then, I felt something on my flip-flop covered foot! SNAKE! Of course, I jumped and looked down to see the extra rope from my clothesline brushing across my foot.

Now, I really don’t mind snakes. To be honest, if I had looked down and seen a huge hairy spider on my toe, the jig would have been much more exotic! Fear can be paralyzing, literally paralyzing! For just a moment the fear of a snake coiling around my leg overtook my senses.

What do you fear?  What is your worst nightmare and has it come true? Oh, the agony and dread that situations—real-life situations—put us through! One of my favorite phrases that I often heard from my mom was this, “I don’t see how people get through life without God.”

Last evening, as we watched an episode of “Little House on the Prairie” I was amazed at what I heard. The Ingles’ son had just died (Yes, I realize that was an addition from the original books); he was only a few months old. And as they stood there in the doctor’s office, Charles holding Carolyn his arms, he began to quote Psalm 23. Wow! As he quoted it, even my heart became quiet!

“There is a place of quiet rest—
near to the heart of God.
A place where sin cannot molest—
near to the heart of God.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UnFNHWJ0tA

One of the most amazing verses in the Bible is, James 4:8:

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

Do you see what this says?  It doesn’t say…

“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh…

  • If He has time
  • If you deserve it
  • If He thinks you are serious
  • If you…

You fill in the blank! The only requirement—and it is a serious one—is to draw close to God. How do you do that? This post is long enough. Maybe I’ll study that one out for next time!

But remember, as a born-again child of God…

The worst can never happen because I will never be forsaken by God!
(Quote from Jennifer Marks :))

Finding Purpose in Life

SD in treeAfter 12 days and over 3,000 miles of travel, glorious weather, and a heart full of special memory-making moments, we’re home. Sigh. I looked forward to this trip for months, savoring the anticipation, but now it’s in the past and “normal” looms before me. Sigh. Have you been here? What happens next? Well, like any situation we face, we are driven to make a decision: Do I give in to the ache of missing family? Do I wallow in the depths of despair? Do I become discouraged with life, going so far as to think there is no purpose in life?  These are a grandma’s reactions but even if you are a mom who has just returned from visiting far-away parents, family, or a quiet vacation, the reaction can be the same (except that you have so many little lives to care for that there is little time for wallowing).

How do you find purpose in life? A musing memory comes to my mind of a dear high school friend with whom I would walk from the bus to my locker every morning. As we climbed the stairs, she would look at me and say, “Humski (that was the Polish version of my maiden name, Hummel—no offense meant to any from Polish descent!), what are we doing here?” The simple answer was quite obvious: get an education. But if I ask the same question today, what is my answer?

This morning started in PRAYER, asking God for the answer—always a good place to begin! As several “purposes” were sent my way in God-directed thoughts, one came to the top of the list: Tom, my husband. My foremost purpose in life is taking care of him. So, I made his breakfast and chatted with him before he headed out the door to the men’s prayer meeting. MISSIONS ACCOMPLISHED! PURPOSE FULFILLED!

There are other missions I will accomplish today and those actions, which range from the mundane tasks of hanging out the laundry, trimming the hosta plants, and perhaps even cutting grass and stacking wood, to the more meaningful tasks of calling a hurting friend, preparing a piano offertory for tomorrow’s service, or writing a blog, all bring purpose and meaning to life.

HOWEVER, through it all, an overarching purpose colors everything a believer does with true purpose and meaning and that is this…

Therefore, whether you eat or drink,
or whatever you do,
do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

So, my attitude and heart have been adjusted! The ache has been replaced by purposeful action, and there is now a peace in my heart that was not there earlier!  We are SO BLESSED to be children of the most high God! He longs to lead us in a straight path—one that leads to eternal peace and joy—a path that can begin today!

Upside-down Lunch

68039351-480pxWhat a life! The Nuthatch comes to my feeder, selects his lunch (or in this case, breakfast) and swoops to the trunk of a nearby tree. He then faces downward and starts cracking the nut, pinning against the tree. Over and over again, he comes and repeats the exact same habit, except perhaps to eat at another tree.

Why does he do that? Why does he face downward? How would you like to stand upside-down and eat? No thank you! Perhaps he does it to keep the crumbs out of his nose! That may be a byproduct of his habit but mostly he does it because that is how God made him.

Birds are amazing creatures. They certainly are creatures of habit! I remember one poor mother birth that had made her nest in a break in the soffit near our kitchen window. When we fixed it, she came the following spring and was all “kerfoodled.” She sat on the edge of the porch looking with confusion at the place she had always built. Poor birdie!

What circumstance has God put you in that is not comfortable? Are you facing life with a handicap? Is it difficult for you to go home at night and face the challenges awaiting you there? Or perhaps life is just not what you expected it to be?

As born-again believers we have a great “secret ingredient” for life—we have the power of God! Wow! When we apply it to life, peace comes into our hearts! The circumstances may not change, the challenges are still waiting, but we face them with our dearest Friend who holds all the answers we will ever need.  The question is, are we listening? Are we examining our hearts to see if there’s something that God wants to teach us? When our slate is clean, our sins are forgiven, and our will is yielded to our heavenly Father, we can face life—even if we need to do it upside-down.

1Corinthians 2:16 … But we have the mind of Christ.

Colossians1:27 … Christ in you, the hope of glory

Lessons from Brio

51Q5LV7ahpLMy mother-in-law was Swedish and she lived her roots in her baking, nick-knacks, Christmas and even color schemes. Blue and yellow were her favorite colors! Even her pens came from Sweden, but one of our children was blessed every Christmas and birthday with Brio, the Swedish made wooden train track.

As I played on the floor with my grandson, putting together the track (or I should say, embellishing my son’s creation!) I realized how many lessons are in these little wooden pieces!

  1. They’re made of wood and they don’t bend! How often am I like that track, forcing MY way instead of being mold-able in the Master’s hand?
  2. Some are bent, and if you put all bent pieces together, you get a circle that goes nowhere. That’s a great picture of my life when I’m going my own way.
  3. Some are straight, but without the bends, my track will not be complete. God wants to take me on HIS path. It may include twists in a direction I don’t want to go!
  4. Connecting the pieces is not always easy! I need to get from one track to the next but the pieces don’t always fit! God’s plan includes pieces or people of all shapes and sizes! We’re not all straight pieces! It’s often that unusually shaped piece that is necessary to complete the course!

  As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried:
he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. Psalm 18:30

Brio will break if it is pressed or pushed upon too hard. Then the piece may become unusable. That is not God’s plan for our lives! What is He doing right now in your life which may hurt or be uncomfortable or make no sense? Maybe you need to sit back and let Him plan the direction He wants to take your “track.” Believe me, His plan will be perfect and so much better than any we could come up with! Only God sees the beginning AND the end!

The Pot’s Prayer

woman making clay pot
Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

Thank you, dear Potter, for choosing this lump of clay. Thank you for molding me into Your creation. Your design will be perfect, completely according to Your plan. Thank you for Your tender touch. I know the push and pressure of your gentle hands will make me better—more of what You envisioned for me.

I’m sorry when the bubbles of my own sin mar Your ideal. Forgive my pops of anger, frustration, selfishness. and self-will. I’m sorry that they make You work twice as hard to create Your masterpiece. And I’m sorry when this clay has a mind of its own, wanting its own way instead of Your perfect one. You know all.  You see all. You’ve been there from the beginning and have already seen the end, so help me to trust You as I spin on Your wheel, for all I see is a blur.

I’m sorry for those hard lumps that stubbornly push to the surface and rip blemishes into my image of Your formation. Thank you for applying the Water and working so diligently to smooth the rough places. Only You can make them disappear. I spin in wonder and awe at Your amazing patience and perfect skill.

Oh, dear Potter, press me, push me, stretch me beyond my limits to Your possibilities. And when Your task is complete and the fires forever set me as Your perfect pot, please use me for Your purpose. Fill me with Your cool Water that I may pour it out in serving others according to Your precious will. I am Your handiwork. You have fitted me for Your use. I have no other purpose than to please You! Help me to make it be so.

 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter:
so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
Jeremiah 18:4

 Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay:
for shall the work say of him that made it,
He made me not?
or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it,
He had no understanding? 
Isaiah 29:16