Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Today’s thoughts come from Mark, chapter 13, starting with verse 33 through the end of the chapter, where Jesus is not only teaching, but also warning, that we stay alert, since we do not know when “the Master will return.” He has left each one of us in care of the most precious thing(s) ever created, our souls, and what is the attitude with which we have accepted that trust? Are we alert, ever-watchful, eager for “THAT DAY”, or have we become like those who waited for the Messiah, tired of waiting to the point we are “Ho-Hum, it’s not likely to be today anyway, so I have plenty of time to say, “I’m sorry,” or “I can wait a little while longer to say, ‘Yes,’ to God.” 
We have been told He will return as “you have seen Him go”,(Acts 1:11) that the timing will be as “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.”(I Corinthians 15:51ff)  So how we are living our lives? Packed and ready to go? Oh, right! No need to pack! We’ll meet Him in the air if we are still earthlings, BUT are we ready for that, or are we like those who were waiting, waiting, waiting for the Messiah? It HAS been a LONG time since Jesus walked this earth and the promise was made that THE DAY would be coming. In the meantime, have we become complacent figuring, “but not likely in my lifetime”?  Jesus said even HE didn’t know when (Mark 13:32) so who do we think we are to make up our minds to such determinations? Oh, I know we don’t mean to do so, but even the scriptures point out if we knew when the thief were going to break in, we’d be prepared to keep him out, so if we KNEW exactly WHEN, how would we be preparing? Would there be a difference?
Have you observed a farmer? He plants seeds. He waits for what he knows will be the forthcoming crops, but he also knows the timing will be approximately, not exactly. That means he does not plan a vacation during the time the corn’s top ripe picking quality is expected. 
Pretty much likewise with the baker; into the same oven goes the same cake recipe in the same pans as previously used on myriad occasions, but today, for some reason, those cake layers take a little less or a little more time. And one can require still an additional few minutes compared to the other! What’s the difference and does it matter? It may be the room temperature of the eggs and milk used; it may be the humidity in the air; it may be a dozen things you and I don’t have the foggiest notion to explain, but God knows every answer, even about the timing of that cake baking! And, yes, it does matter. If the baker is not alert, all the work of putting the ingredients together can be for naught.
Oh, and what about flowers? Want to explain the timing of the bud opening to full flower? God knows, and it’s fun to try to figure out when the best time is going to be to get the most beautiful of all possible photos of that particular open flower.  In each of these scenarios, to get the best outcome, the person involved must choose to stay alert or live with the consequences.
    Just as God plans for the right time for the seeds the farmer plants, the cakes the baker prepares, and the opening of the flowers from the buds, He has formulated the right time for the coming of Christ. Because He is not willing for any to perish, (2 Peter 3:9), He has given us time to not only be alert ourselves, but also to be an encouragement to others.
Are we EAGER and READY to see Jesus in those clouds?
Do we WANT to be ready, or are we too attached and comfortable in this life?
Facing “The Unknown” is somewhat scary . . . all the more reason to spend more time studying about God and learning how much He loves us. The better acquainted we are with God, the more welcome and wanted is going to be the appearance of our Savior when we see Him coming in these clouds. . .  and He IS coming just as surely as He lived and died on this earth as The Promised One.
    Just look up.
    It is the SIMPLE TRUTH.

M Sue       8-23-2016

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


The beginning of a new study of the Book of Romans was introduced to our adult Bible Class this past Sunday am. As part of the lesson, in talking about the apostle Paul, the teacher pointed out God’s very own words from Acts 9:15 to Ananias about him: But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he (emphasis mine-msm) is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel…” Paul had persecuted and killed the Lord’s people and was on his way to Damascus to do yet more . . .but . . .God had a surprise, a very different plan for him. Couldn’t anybody have done whatever God had planned? THAT was God’s decision, BUT from the many people available at that time and in that place, God chose Paul, a particular individual, not just like all the others. Even today as we read and study the New Testament, we find that Paul was, in part, the answer to Jesus’ prayer in John 17: 20-21, “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” Paul came to believe because faithful men were available to do and to teach God’s will by deed and by word.
The Bible is God’s LOVE LETTER to each individual. Please note: The Simple Truth is that you and I were and are included in that prayer also. God has a plan for each of us.        
But wait! There’s more!
Jeremiah 1:4-5 says,   “4 Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, 5 ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.’” 
That’s pretty plain, isn’t it? As best you are able, put yourself in Jeremiah’s sandals and think how it must have felt to have the Creator of the whole world (and way beyond!) telling YOU He had this specific plan for you from before He Himself had fashioned your unique body inside that of your mother, and now you were about to live the life He had planned for you. Are you going to say, “Uh, no, I don’t think so. Sounds too complicated. I’d rather stay away from Your plan for me and do my own thing, God.” Some of us do exactly that, in deed, if not in word. Next time you’re tempted to go your own way, remember the words GOD spoke to Jeremiah; actually, try remembering and taking to heart most personally, God’s words TO Jeremiah BEFORE being tempted to go your own way. . .  
And more . . .
. . . “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”    Ephesians 2:10 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Are we going to remember the SIMPLE TRUTH that God, the Creator of the whole world and lover of our souls, designed and created us individually, desired and developed personal plans just as He did and had for Paul, Jeremiah, and others we know by name and character from our Bible studies ? 
Oh-oh, I just heard “Little Voice”: “But they were special people with particular purposes.”
And until you and I listen to God by studying His Word and hearing what He has to tell us personally, we won’t know what it is He wants each one of us to do. Let’s each decide to personally be the answer to Jesus’ prayer, remembering:
there’s not one of us that’s just like the other.
God has a special plan and place for each one of us.
 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.”  John 17: 20-21

M Sue       8-17-16

Friday, August 12, 2016


Seeing her preschool daughter hugging two shiny red apples close to her tiny body, the mom sweetly asked, “Could I have one of your apples?” Little girl quickly took a bite from each apple . . . the rest of the story later.
What are YOU thinking? The Simple Truth in Matthew 7:2 tells us, “With what judgment you judge, you will be judged.”  Have you ever caught yourself making judgment calls on others only to suddenly realize exactly what you have just done, to quickly and humbly repent as a promise God and to yourself of your intention that you will try to not do it again? If we are not careful we do the opposite: we allow our consciences to be seared as we repeatedly ignore the pleading reminders of the Holy Spirit to follow God’s Way as we build up scar tissue upon scar tissue of immoveable sin. Is that how we want our hearts?
Or, do we want our hearts like that of the little girl whose response in passing one apple to her mom was, “Here. I tasted the apples because I wanted you to have the sweetest one.”

M Sue  8-12-16

Friday, August 5, 2016


“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
Psalm 139:14 (NLV)
I hope you caught the change in the action wording in the questions presented. There is a difference in communication between hearing and listening, but what is it?   
Hearing, as a form of communication skill, is passive. Think about the Peanuts® cartoons you have watched. When it comes time for any one of the less important characters to make a statement or two, a wind instrument makes a “Wah-wah; wah-wah-wah!” and it is left to the audience to determine what is/was being said. On the other hand, listening requires activity on your part. A good listener pays attention with the idea of understanding what is being said. Realizing that communications is a two-way street, a mature listener refrains from interrupting and from showing signs of the greater importance that he/she be elsewhere, repeatedly looking at his/her watch being one such message. We all understand there can be exceptions, but here we are trying to encourage
the development of good listening skills.
Now, let’s apply these hearing and good listener comments to our original questions regarding self-talk and God’s Word. Have you been hearing more or listening more to those self-condemnation comments or hearing or listening more from The One Who wants you to feel as confident, secure, and significant in your own view as you are in His. Intentionally or otherwise, sometimes subtly, we train ourselves through our self-talk, most of which seems to be down-putting. Unless we are seeking God’s constant companionship in making even stronger efforts to break those bad habits, it seem we’ve been better hearers than listeners. This is NOT God’s desire for us. He wants us to overcome the sinful habits of feeling inferior, insignificant, and insecure. (Come to think of it, each of those words begins with “in” leading to me-me-me . . .another day another message!)
Who are we, really, that God should care so much for us? We are some of the lost that “God sent His Son to seek and to save ...” God sent and Jesus left … heaven!  Even never having been there, once I am there, I am sure I am not going to want to return to this earth! Jesus left heaven for ME! Are we listening? Until we started listening, we didn’t even care about Jesus, about God, or about anything more than our day-to-day getting through life. The SIMPLE TRUTH is, existing is all we are doing unless we have God in our lives. Strange as it sounds, our living comes through Jesus dying. He said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10b) I’m listening to Him,, but sometimes instead of absorbing the SIMPLE TRUTH He KEEPS telling me, I revert to hearing (rather like those sounds from the unknown Peanuts® character)                                                                                                                                                     Not only was Jesus willing to leave Heaven, but He was also willing to live on this earth with no place to lay His head. (“The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Matthew 8:20) He was ready to lay down His earthly life as soon as God required. (“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.” John 10:17)
In listening, do we hear how much each one of these verses teaches us of His personal care to individual me? (Oh, yes, I also heard the little voice that said, “BUT . . . you are not the only one for whom He did it . . .”
Little Voice, LISTEN to Me! THAT is NOT the point! However, if I were the only one, He still would have done what He did, because even with all my missteps, He loves me that much. I chose to follow Him, and as long as I continue to choose to walk with Him, His blood cleanses me and helps guide my footsteps back on the proper path. (I John 1:7  “…if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”)
Since our Creator did all of this FOR YOU and FOR ME, don’t you think we should and could take time to truly LISTEN?
Here’s a great place to start:
More from Psalm 139 (NLV):
1 O Lord, You have examined my and know everything about me.
2 You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.
4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.
5 You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Thank You, Father.

M Sue       8-5-2016