Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Light of the World - John 8:12

(8) 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."

1 John 1:5-10
(5) This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him here is no darkness at all.  (6) If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.  (7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.  (8) If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  (9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  (10) If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

1 John 2:1-6
(1) My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.  But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense -- Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. (2) He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world.  (3) We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.  (4) The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  (5) But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him.  "This is how we know we are in him: (6) Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did."

I want you to pick up your Bible and continue reading the book of 1 John.  It is a short book and contains much wisdom.  You will learn more about the love of God.  The apostle John stresses the importance of our relationship with God, which in turn, emphasizes the importance of how we should relate to each other.  This book will encourage right living, learning and the importance of obeying God's commands.  In this world, we will be deceived many times, but by obeying God's truth and staying in close fellowship with him, we will walk in the light.

If you are left with any confusion about what you read in this book, seek clarification from your pastor or someone you believe to be more knowledgeable about such things.  You do not have because you do not ask.  Rather than walk around in confusion, ask for help.  God will provide the answers.  Listen when he does.

As we live and breathe on this earth we will be confronted with the temptation to sin.  That's how it is in a fallen world.  We always have a choice and even though we do try to choose the right path, sometimes,   presence of sin lies before us.

Do your very best this day to walk in the light and obey God's commands.  They are not burdensome, as we may think.  Rather, to obey his commands is to truly be free.

Please keep Mrs. Marie Shumaker and her family in your prayers.  She is a senior in our church and she fell yesterday gathering persimmons to make a pudding.  As a result of the fall, her shoulder is dislocated and her arm is broken.

Take care and enjoy this beautiful Autumn day!  In Christian faith and love.  Nan

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hope is Risky - Psalm 119:73-77

(73) Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.  (74) May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word.  (75) I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me.  (76) May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.  (77) Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight.

Yes, hope is risky.  It propels us toward change.  We are drawn toward something we can not see, and sometimes, our footing is unsure.  There are times we can't even imagine what is yet to come.  But, we walk with hope in God and steadfast faith that God will keep his promises to us.
It is, indeed, a challenge to live faithfully, with hope each and every day.  If you feel your hope and your faith are weak, it is my desire to instill hope and faith in you.  That's why I'm here.  That's why God called me to write Nan's Calendar. 
 I hold no degree in my hand.  I'm not a preacher.   I am simply an ordinary person God is using to help you and encourage you.  God is at the center of my hope and my faith.  There should be no doubt in anyone's mind where I stand.  My foundation is sure and solid.  Stand on The Rock (God's law) and you will not fall.  It won't crumble under your feet.  Your hope will rise as your inner strength deepens.  It will enable you to take risks that prove worthy and fruitful, in accordance with God's plans for your future.  Sometimes, change is only movement, not necessarily forward and upward.  A move backward is still change.  May your hope and your changes today be centered on God.  
In Christian love. Nan

Monday, September 28, 2009

Salt and Light - Matthew 3:13-16

(13) You are the salt of the earth.  but if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?  It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.  (14) You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  (15) Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  (16) In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.  

Stay salty and effective for the Lord.  It takes courage to step out of that comfort zone and accomplish what God has set out for you to do. I know.  I've been there and I know how it feels.   When we remember that it's all about glorifying God; giving him credit for the blessings in life, then it becomes easier to allow our light to shine.  By shining our light we not only keep ourselves from stumbling in the dark, we also help those having trouble keeping their own light aglow.
Do you remember the song "this little light of mine - I'm gonna let it shine"?  You may perceive your own light to be a "little light", but to some one stumbling in the dark, groping for something to hold onto, it may be the light that brings them to the greatest Light of all.  Shine, shine, shine!

Have a wonderful day and let your light shine!  In Christian love, Nan

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Support Your Faith - 2 Peter 1:3-11

(3) His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (4) Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (5) For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; (6) and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance, and to perseverance, godliness; (7)and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. (8) For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (9) But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. (10)Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, (11) and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In order to truly absorb all you just read, it will be necessary to read it again. Read it slowly and with an open mind, willing to apply Peter's words of wisdom in your daily life. In all my efforts to encourage you, I will tell you the truth as I know it to be. I care about some of you in the way I care about my own children. Some of you are as brothers and sisters to me. It is my desire to uplift my own brothers and sisters, as well. There are those who have acted as mentors to me through the years. Some of you are friends I haven't met face to face. I care about each and every one of you reading these words.

In order for for me to be an effective witness, I continue to support my faith. In doing so, it is my hope and desire to be a supporter of your own faith. As I pour over the pages of my Bible, I trust God to direct me to the verses of his choosing. Though I don't hear an audible voice from God, I am sure of his presence and that he tells me which way to go. It is also his desire for your faith to grow.

Many of you have never heard the sound of my voice, but you know I am alive and real. You know that God and I care about you or Nan's Calendar would never have been conceived. Imagine in your mind, the sound of a soft Southern drawl as you read these messages and that will bring you close to "hearing" the sound of my voice. I want to be known by you in a special way. In order for these messages to carry any meaning for you, a personal touch is necessary. When you remember the sound of a soft Southern drawl, think of me and how much I care about you.

Have a wonderful day and remember to support your faith by getting into the Word daily. It's a win win situation. In Christian love, Nan

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Return to Me - Malachi 3:6-7

"I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty.

Thank you, dear God, that you do not change. Where we fail you and fall short, please change our hearts, our habits and anything that keeps us from a closer relationship with you. Open our eyes, our ears, and our minds. Direct our words and the path we choose so that we are drawn closer to you. When we face challenging situations and uncertain times, rekindle the embers of faith that seem cool to the touch. By your breath on these embers, set ablaze our faith to height and depth yet unknown. Lead us, guide us, and direct us in all we say and do so that our words and our actions are pleasing unto you. In your precious name we pray. Amen

Monday, September 21, 2009

You did not choose me - John 15: 16-17

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit -- fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.

In these verses, Jesus spoke to his disciples. As Christians, we are disciples and should obey Jesus' command. Love involves much more than "feelings". Love requires that we "do" loving things. Obedience is the yard stick by which God measures our love, rather than "warm fuzzies". So closely connected are love and obedience that, according to John, the Apostle, "This is love for God: to obey his commands."

What kind of fruits are you producing? Are they of such high quality that you are receiving whatever you ask in Jesus' name?

I hope and pray so. God has equipped you to go out and productively serve him. When you fully rely on him to prepare you, you won't have to worry about what you will say to those who are in need of assurance, encouragement or Godly love. Ask God to lead you, guide you and direct you in all you say and do so that he is pleased with you.

"True faith is more than just claiming to have faith. Genuine love for God will be expressed through service to others - not to earn salvation, but because a heart that truly loves God will be filled with compassion for people. Jesus wanted his followers to set the pace by helping those who were hurting. Good works that come from people grateful for God's grace are at the heart of true religion." (taken from the Quest Study Bible NIV regarding Matthew 25:35-36)

Nan's Calendar is an expression of "a loving thing." It's what I do. It has become a part of me. You have become a part of me. As you draw closer in your personal relationship to God, you will abide in him and he will abide in you, as he does in me and I in him.

Again, thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your heartfelt birthday wishes. There were more blessings than I could have imagined! Your sincere prayers helped make it so.

From where I sit, at 50 years old, I'm just beginning bear fruit for the Lord. I look forward to bearing fruit all the rest of my days.