Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Invitation to the Thirsty

Christmas is about the love of God coming to save the earth, the Light to a dark world, and the salt to a decaying earth. Praise the Lord Jesus Christ who visited His creation and grew up with them. Praise the Lord Jesus Christ who chose to give up His life for the salvation of His creation. Praise the Lord Jesus Christ who blesses believers and allows them to work alongside Him to salt His creation. Praise the Lord!

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
    listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
    my faithful love promised to David.
See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
    a ruler and commander of the peoples.
Surely you will summon nations you know not,
    and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has endowed you with splendor.”

Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
    and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
    and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts. 
As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
    will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
    will clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn bush will grow the juniper,
    and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
    for an everlasting sign,
    that will endure forever.”
Isaiah 55:1-13 (NIV)

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
    and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
for he satisfies the thirsty
    and fills the hungry with good things.
Psalm 107:8-10 (NIV)

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14 (NIV)

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 (NIV)

“You are the salt of the earth.........“You are the light of the world........let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16 (NIV)

Follow Christ Jesus’ example and be salt and light to this thirsty world!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

What a Crazy God


Immanuel—God is With Us

Only a crazy loving Creator God would give up His throne on high
And come down to earth in the form of His own creation,
To be born as a babe and do life with us from the beginning!

What a marvelous God we serve!
He loves us!
Immanuel, we love you!

Only a crazy loving Rescuer God would humble Himself before men
And walk among the dregs of society, spreading grace and peace,
To break the shackled chains and offer liberating freedom!

What a marvelous God we serve!
He loves us!
Immanuel, we love you!

Only a crazy loving Savior God would give His life away
And allow evil men to beat Him senseless and nail Him to a cross,
To exchange His righteousness for the sins of the world!

What a marvelous God we serve!
He loves us!
Immanuel, we love you!

Only a crazy loving Faithful God would ascend back to His heavenly home
And yet daily be near to the hearts of people who continually cry out to Him,
To offer His comforting grace and hopeful peace and joy!

What a marvelous God we serve!
He loves us!
Immanuel, we love you!

DDC 12/24/14

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Seasoning the World

Pass the salt, please is a phrase most of us use when we sit down to eat. We want our food to taste good, so we enhance the flavor. Many foods are bland without the addition of salt. 

Pass the salt, please should be a Christian’s mantra, after all, Christ calls His people to salt the earth. Satan rules this world and it is full of nay-sayers and evil deeds, yet it is home to us all for now. If Christians are removed from this earth, it will decay rapidly. Salt is a preservative and the people of this world need the salty seasoning of believers in Christ to survive.

Jesus Christ desires all people to know Him and be saved—He bled and died for everyone. John 3:16-17 says, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” While on earth, Jesus charged His followers to live sacrificially so others might live and die knowing Him.

So when we say we believe in God’s one and only Son, Jesus Christ, we are granted a huge opportunity and responsibility to live sacrificially for our Lord and Savior. What exactly does a living sacrifice look like? How do we go about being living sacrifices?

A living sacrifice exemplifies the life of Christ and spreads the gospel of the good news of a risen Savior (Mark 1:15, Luke 2:10, 4:18). A living sacrifice isn’t selfish, but considers the interests of others above their own (Romans 12:1-3, Philippians 2:4). A living sacrifice lives with authority from God as Jesus did (Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 4:36, Luke 9:1-2). A living sacrifice is so seasoned with salt that God’s grace pours from her lips, sprinkling others with the salt of Christ (Colossians 4:6). A living sacrifice offers light to a dark world and shines brightly with the love of God (Matthew 5:13-16). 

The world is a dark place, full of temptations and evil power. But the power of God is greater than any other influence offered in this world. Don’t allow the darkness to pull you under and take away your saltiness. How will the world be seasoned with love if you’ve lost the saltiness of Jesus? 

True believers in Christ Jesus are salty, generating a desire in others to see and taste the goodness of the Lord. True believers in Christ Jesus are salty, producing a thirst in others who run to the Lord for refreshment. Come Lord Jesus!

Taste the goodness of the Lord this Christmas and be seasoned by His saltiness. Observers will thirst for His righteousness that pours from your heart. Shine brightly with the Light of love and mercy. Others will see your good deeds and give glory to our Father in heaven. ‘Tis a blessed season and an opportune time for seasoning—go and make disciples for Jesus!

“Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? Luke 14:34 (NASB)

Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. Colossians 4:6 (NASB)

O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! Psalm 34:8 (NASB)

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35 (NIV)

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14 (NIV)

“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 underfoot.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 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. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16 (NIV)

Enjoy this praise song entitled "Light of the World" by Lauren Daigle and have yourselves a very merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Living Salty Sacrifices

Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice for you and me. He gave His life to save the world. Are you ready to sacrifice something, anything, even yourself for Him?

Sacrifice means an act of slaughtering an animal or person or surrendering a possession as an offering to God. It’s an act of giving up something of value for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy. 

Jesus considered you worth dying for. He was part of the Godhead that created all of us. When sin entered the world through that devious snake Satan, God’s heart broke and He set a plan in motion to save us all. When the time was right, God sent His Son Jesus into the world as a babe to live, grow, and minister to people. He exemplified perfectly the sacrificial life and He willingly gave His life as a sacrifice for us. He replaced the old sacrificial system, once for all, and died, exchanging our sins for His righteousness. He arose from the dead, offering us life after death with Him in heaven. Glory to God!

In death Jesus was the sacrificial provision for the forgiveness of sins. In life He demonstrated a living sacrifice, the Salt who called His followers to be salt, to live like Him. He lived each day loving people. He delivered good news to burden-bearers. He healed diseased people and comforted shattered hearts. He declared freedom to captives of sin (Isaiah 61:1-3). He offered new life to earth-dwellers and everlasting life to heaven-seekers. Praise God for the Light of the world who offers hope to everyone!

Jesus died so all might be saved—remember John 3:16-17. Unbelievably many refused Him then and many refuse Him now. But He continues to call His disciples to live for Him so others have an opportunity to recognize and choose salvation through faith in Him.

Jesus set the bar high. His standard of living far exceeds anything most humans experience or participate in. Yet He calls us to it and if we believe, He helps us through it. Just as the Israelites presented their sacrificial offerings with salt to the priests as repentance and thanksgiving to God, we are called to present ourselves to the world as transformed salty beings of God. Paul, the apostle of Christ Jesus, tells us what Christ expects in the book of Romans:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (NASB)

If you’re a believer in Jesus, your body is the temple of the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and you have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). This world needs more Jesus and He dwells within you (Romans 8:11). You are His hands and feet to people around you. 

So present you body as a living, holy sacrifice and offer your transformed, renewed mind to our Lord Jesus Christ. Worship Him with gladness, stand for His truth, and listen for His instruction to bring light to this dark world. Then boldly go make disciples of Christ Jesus. Don’t forget to add the salt!

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. John 3:16-17

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.
Psalm 100 (NASB)

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NASB)

For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16 (NASB)

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11 (NASB)

If you’re a believer, live sacrificially for Him. If you don’t know Jesus, seek Him with your whole heart and He’ll come to you (Jeremiah 29:13). He is faithful!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Salty Tears

Tears stream down the face of a mother who discovers her son is dead from an overdose. Tears trickle down a mother’s cheek at the first site of her newborn baby. Tears flow from a dad when an adult child rejects his upbringing and wanders off into an unknown way of life. Tears gush from parents when their prodigal returns with redeemed love in her heart for them. Tears fall from family members as they stand at the grave site of their loved one now passed. Tears seep down a husband’s face when he hears the news of his wife’s returning cancer. Tears pour from an onlooker at the site of hate and violence in the streets. Tears drip from the eyes of a young woman experiencing pain in her body from an uncertain source. Tears cascaded down Jesus’ face when He stood at Lazarus’ tomb. 

At some point in life, every eye in the world will drop tears, even Jesus wept (John 11:35). Life presents enough troubles and difficulties to make us cry. Tears run down faces full of sadness as well as joy. Tears ran down Jesus’ face. Tears contain salt. 

Oh, you say, that salt again, but what a substance and what importance it plays in our lives. We need it to live and thrive. It’s in the fluids of our body—blood, sweat, and tears. It’s also found in animals and plants. Salt regulates nerve impulses, contracts muscles and heart, sends signals to the brain, aids in digestion, absorbs potassium, and on and on.  

But let’s go back to the tears. At some juncture in life, you’ve probably cried enough tears to taste the salt. Simply living presents many opportunities to cry happy and sad tears. We definitely know suffering prompts tears. And Jesus said suffering is an essential part of following Him.

What? Suffering? I didn’t know suffering was part of the package, you might say. Well then, consider the costs before following Jesus. He has salted His believers with His free gift of love and grace through His death and resurrection. He desires our complete salty trust and faithfulness to Him above everything. If you’ve counted the cost and you’re TOTALLY devoted to Him, no matter what happens, then offer your all and He will be with you through it all. If you’re not completely committed to Him, then you’ve lost your saltiness or effectiveness as His follower (Luke 14:25-35).

When you truly follow Jesus, you will blessed with His love, peace, and joy. You will also be blessed with rejection, persecution, and possibly death, and you will be in good company. Jesus said so in Matthew. 

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:10-11(NASB)

The world belongs to Satan and Satan is unrighteous, downright evil. When Jesus followers stand up against the problems of this world and speak out against sin, they encounter rejections of all types, from insults to the loss of businesses to death. Believers for generations have been persecuted for their faith. Oppression continues today in many parts of the world, and American Christians who have enjoyed freedom of religion are now experiencing forms of persecution. 

Yet have no fear because Jesus said He has overcome the world (John 16:33). Scripture tells us we will have trials when we stand for Him—these are the costs of discipleship. Look at all the difficulties encountered by the patriarchs and prophets—are we any different? God was faithful to each of them and He continues His faithfulness to each of His children now through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He promises to walk with us when we stand for Him and, regardless of the outcome, we’ll live with Him forever. Do you trust Him? Do you believe in His faithfulness?

Jesus told the crowd on the mountain that they would be persecuted for righteousness’ sake. Jesus was persecuted and put to death for righteousness’ sake. On that cross, He took our sins and offered His righteousness. It’s like a covenant of salt—His grace for our trust. Will you receive His mercy and believe on His Name, even when salty tears fall down your face? Living a salty life is not guaranteed pain free, especially when a believer stands up for Jesus. But it is a matter of trusting Him—do you?

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 (NASB)

....who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.... 1 Peter 1:5-7 (NASB)

...let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds... Hebrews 10:22-24 (NASB)

AMEN! I’m learning to trust my salty God!!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Spiritually Salty Witness

“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 underfoot.” ---Jesus Matthew 5:13 (NIV) 

Salt’s significance in the physical world is vital. It has thousands of uses, one being the preservation of life. Salt is important to the body. Without it, we would deteriorate and die. The same is true in the spiritual world. Those of us that embody the life of Christ salt this earth. Without Jesus, our souls eventually fall into disrepair. Without Jesus, the world decays. Without Jesus, we perish forever. 

There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus who had seen and heard of the miracles of Jesus. These signs provoked questions in his mind that only Jesus could answer. Jesus told him about being born again, born of water and Spirit, in order to enter the kingdom of God. He said we are born as physical beings, but we must allow His Spirit to be birthed in us if we are to enter His kingdom. We need the renewal of the Spirit of God. 

Jesus continued speaking with Nicodemus, declaring words that have been heard now for generations. He said, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God. John 3:16-18 (HCSB)  Read the entire 3rd chapter of John.

What a salty text, rich with the power of God! With those words, Jesus offers cleansing, purity, preservation, seasoning, and endurance. This precious Savior provides the sacrifice of all sacrifices to save the world, if only they believe. 

Jesus offered Himself as the sacrifice—He came to replace the Hebrew ritual of offerings. God initially instituted those Old Testament sacrifices as a way to develop relationship with His people. It was to be a covenant of trust. 

The New Covenant depends on belief in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting. It is a covenant of trust. Through faith in Christ Jesus, we are provided cleansing, preservation, seasoning, endurance, and purity—Jesus is essentially the salt. 

And He desires His believers to be salt. That’s what He was telling the multitude during the Sermon on the Mount when He began, “You are the salt of the earth.” Jesus followers are to salt this earth with His mercy and grace, just as He did when He walked among His creation. 

The Scriptures below describe true believers in Christ Jesus. Let them season your life as you in turn season the lives of others around you. 

“Who has known the mind of the Lord
    so as to instruct him?”
But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16 (NIV)

Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2:6 (ESV)

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 (ESV)

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus...... Philippians 2:1-5 (ESV) Read through verse eleven.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Colossians 3:1-5 (ESV) Read through verse 25.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 1 John 3:16 (ESV)

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)

Join me next week and bring your salt shaker.......

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Salty Pledge of Trust

“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 underfoot.” 
---Jesus    Matthew 5:13 (NIV)

Add salt to all your offerings—this was God’s instruction to the Israelites. The fact that salt might be in short supply plus a necessity for healthy living was not to hold them back. They were to give out of obedience and love. Did they follow God’s commands? Do we?

This whole give-and-take thing is all about relationship. God desired (and still does) a relationship with His people. But a relationship is reciprocal—it takes two. 

Imagine a marriage where one spouse loves and gives continuously, attending daily to the needs of the other half. Now consider the feelings of the devoted spouse as the partner barely acknowledges his/her faithfulness, taking everything for granted, receiving it all, and returning nothing or something only out of duty. The pain would break a heart.

Or consider the marriage where one spouse dotes on the other one continually. Love oozes from every word and action. But the other half callously throws that love away by turning to someone else. Mercy and forgiveness may pour from the heart of the adoring companion, but what about trust? Can the reckless lover be trusted? Does the devoted partner trust the relationship? 

Our relationship with God can sometimes be very similar. He is our loving Creator, devoted Savior, and faithful Redeemer. He yearns for a relationship with us. He’s given us life and daily provides for our needs. He is faithful to everything He says and does. He longs for our love, obedience, and trust. But what do we do? We turn away at times and get distracted by other gods and the things of this world. 

A relationship, like a marriage, involves a covenant. A covenant is a committed agreement between two parties. Each side agrees to fulfill their promises and carry out all responsibilities. Throughout history when treaties were made, salt sealed the deal. Throughout the Middle East when pacts were made, salt was used in the ceremonies. Throughout Scripture when covenants were made, salt was added. All agreements used salt.

Salt’s enduring qualities symbolized forever. Covenants represented committed relationships. Devoted relationships involved trust. Adding salt to the agreements meant each side trusted the other. 

Consider Noah, a man who found favor in God’s eyes. When God decided to put an end to all the corruption and violence on the earth, He made a covenant with Noah. God would save Noah and his family, but Noah first had to begin building a boat where there was no water. Can you imagine the taunts he received from onlookers? Was he embarrassed? Did he contemplate dropping his end of the bargain? 

Scripture states that Noah did everything the Lord commanded him to do. Trust was involved in this covenantal relationship. Noah followed God’s directives and God saved Noah and his family. The agreement endured.  

After the flood, God made another covenant with Noah to never again destroy the earth with water. The preservation of this covenant required God’s faithfulness and Noah’s trust. Even if Noah encountered a cloudy day, he needed to trust God’s word—refusing anxiety, receiving peace. Did he? Do we?

All through Scripture, over and over again, animal and grain sacrifices were made by the Israelites for the forgiveness of sins—the offering of salt was required for cleansing, purification, preservation, seasoning, and endurance. The covenantal relationship of God and His people called for trust. God faithfully provided His pardon, keeping His promise. Did the Israelites sacrifice their salt and offer God their love, obedience, and trust? Do we?

Time and time again God’s people failed Him. Their sacrifices offered continual, yet temporary absolution. When the time was right, God sent a once-for-all sacrifice through His Son, Jesus Christ—salt was symbolically added. Jesus died once and for all for the forgiveness of sins. 

Now the covenantal relationship with God requires belief in Jesus who cleanses and purifies our lives. He preserves us for Himself and seasons us with His grace and love so that others may see and believe. He offers enduring love and life everlasting. This bond demands our trust. He is faithful to His agreement. Are we?

This is God’s sacrifice—For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV) 

Do you have a relationship with this God? Will you add the salt of trust to this relationship? 

Next week we'll continue to season our salty relationship with Christ Jesus.......

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Salty Witness: Salt's Significance

“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 underfoot.” Matthew 5:13 (NIV) ---Jesus

God loves you. He loved you so much that He become human. Jesus walked this earth, offering people love, grace, and mercy. He expressed His love through humble service, serving those He created. He died to offer eternal salvation to whosoever would believe in Him. Holy Spirit blesses believers with strength and peace. God, Jesus, Holy Spirit—He is salt, and if you profess faith in Him, you are salt. 

For ages, salt has been important. From meat preservation to making soap, from smelting and refining metals to road construction, the use of salt remains necessary. People all over the world, from generation to generation, have used salt. They’ve even fought wars over it when scarce. Salt symbolized wealth and at times in history, it was used in place of money. The Caesars of Rome sometimes partially paid their soldiers with bags of salt—the root word of salary is salt. 

Throughout time salt has been extracted from mines, vegetation, and the sea. Even though most North Americans take salt for granted because of its abundance, natives of the Amazon in South America crush plants with high salt content and boil the juices only to receive a small amount of this precious product. There are 14,000 catalogued uses of salt. Conclusion—salt is priceless.

Last week I posted seven identifying factors about salt. Below are those aspects of salt with explanations. As you read over the list, keep in mind that Jesus, the Savior sent to rescue the world, represents salt and sees these aspects of salt in His believers. 

  • Salt cleanses - Salt is an environmentally safe way to clean tea and coffee stains in glasses, baked on grease in pans, and sweat stains from clothes. It even brightens faded and colored clothes. Salt is definitely a valuable item used in cleaning. 
  • Salt preserves - Brine (or a saltwater solution) has been used throughout history to preserve meats. It’s used in tanning (converting animal skin into leather) hides and in pickling foods. Salt licks preserve the life of animals. Living beings need salt to stay healthy. 
  • Salt seasons - A little bit of salt goes a long way to enhance the flavor of foods. Instead of marinade, a steak can be doused in rock salt for a couple of hours, then rinsed off and cooked. The steak will be tender, rid of blood, and full of flavor. Salt intensifies flavor.
  • Salt endures - Salt deposits in a mine are thousands of years old and remain useful to this day. Refined salt, even if it gets lumpy, doesn’t spoil. The flavor and savor of salt doesn’t disappear after it’s been dissolved. It’s a long-lasting mineral and never spoils. 
  • Salt is pure - Salt is an uncontaminated mineral substance primarily composed of sodium chloride (a chemical compound). It contains no germs so it can be used as a disinfectant. Salt can actually clean teeth and freshen breath.
  • Salt is precious - Salt can be treated as commonplace, being taken for granted. But when it’s scarce, it becomes a most treasured commodity. Imagine a world without salt. It’s a basic human taste—how would food taste without it?
  • Salt as a sacrifice - God requested salt to be used in the offerings of Israel, both in the animal and grain sacrifices. Salt cleansed and purified the meat of blood and preserved portions for the priests to eat later (God’s provision for the Levites). Even though it might have been scarce, God requested it for sacrifices. He loved and provided for His people—would they give back to Him out of love and obedience? 

Why would God ask His people to give Him something that was in short supply? What kind of God was He? Think about the answers to these questions as well as the qualities of salt and its importance to mankind. We’ll dig deeper into the salt mines and the mind of Christ next week. Meanwhile meditate on God’s Word.

You are to offer them before the Lord, and the priests are to sprinkle salt on them and sacrifice them as a burnt offering to the Lord. Ezekiel 43:24 (NIV)

The Levitical priests--indeed, the whole tribe of Levi--are to have no allotment or inheritance with Israel. They shall live on the food offerings presented to the LORD, for that is their inheritance. Deuteronomy 18:1 (NIV)

Whatever is needed—young bulls, rams, male lambs for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, and wheat, salt, wine and olive oil, as requested by the priests in Jerusalem—must be given them daily without fail. Ezra 6:9 (NIV)

Whatever is set aside from the holy offerings the Israelites present to the Lord I give to you and your sons and daughters as your perpetual share. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the Lord for both you and your offspring.” Numbers 18:19 (NIV)

....make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred. Exodus 30:5 (NIV)

Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings. Leviticus 2:13 (NIV)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Salty Witness

“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 underfoot.” Matthew 5:13 (NIV) ---Jesus

Jesus spoke to a large group of people, including His twelve disciples. He had traveled throughout Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of good news and healing people who were ill, those suffering from diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics. His popularity spread across the lands of Syria, Galilee, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan River. Great crowds of people from these surrounding lands now followed Him (Matthew 4:23-25). 

Seeing all the people, Jesus went up on the mountainside and began to teach good news (The Sermon on the Mount) to the multitude. He declared blessings and future rewards (The Beatitudes) to His followers. Jesus told them to rejoice when persecuted and then pronounced them “the salt of the earth.” Why would Jesus use such an analogy and why should we rejoice over persecution? Before answering that question, let’s discover some basics and history about salt.  

Salt is a substance giving seawater its characteristic taste. It’s also used for seasoning and preserving food. We use it daily, sometimes without thinking. And it’s made news in America as our government has stripped it away from many school lunches; students have complained that the food doesn’t taste good anymore. I personally like salt on my food—have you ever eaten meat or potatoes without salt? A sprinkle is all that’s needed to enhance flavor.

Now I admit too much of a good thing is bad—everything in moderation is the key. But salt is extremely important to our well-being. Physically, salt is a good source of sodium and chloride, and after an extreme work-out or working outside in the heat, it’s what a body needs. Adding sodium and chloride with potassium balances the body from the conduction of nerve impulses to the contraction of muscles. A bodily system out of balance can be dangerous, especially when exerting oneself in the hot sun and high temperatures. 

In ancient times, Israel was an agricultural society and they worked predominantly outside. Salt replenished their perspiring bodies—it was (and still is) an essential component to healthy living. Even though it was a physical necessity each day and sometimes in short supply, God called the Israelites to sacrifice salt. He gave them explicit instructions about offering salt with their sacrifices. He said, “Make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred (Exodus 30:5). Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings (Leviticus 2:13).

Surrender salt and add it to the covenant of God. Why would God ask them to give up something so important to them physically? Did this essential compound have a deeper meaning in the lives of God’s people? God, the Creator and Provider, supplied (and still supplies) everything for His people. Why would the Provider provide salt and then ask for a sacrifice of salt? What does salt have to do with covenant? How does salt relate to people?

I have lots of questions about salt and why Jesus called believers “salt of the earth.” Over the next few weeks, I hope to uncover and convey information about salt, its many uses, and its biblical meaning for followers of Christ Jesus. Hopefully I’ve piqued your curiosity as well. 

Below is a list of the qualities of salt along with some Scriptures related to salt and its meaning. As you read them, consider what salt meant to the Israelites and what it means for us today. Return next week to continue discovering the importance of salt in our lives.

  • Salt cleanses
  • Salt preserves
  • Salt seasons
  • Salt endures
  • Salt is pure
  • Salt is precious
  • Salt is a sacrifice

Whatever is set aside from the holy offerings the Israelites present to the Lord I give to you and your sons and daughters as your perpetual share. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the Lord for both you and your offspring.” Numbers 18:19 (NIV)

Don’t you know that the Lord, the God of Israel, has given the kingship of Israel to David and his descendants forever by a covenant of salt? 2 Chronicles 13:5 (NIV)

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
    Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
    who does not trust in an idol
    or swear by a false god.
They will receive blessing from the Lord
    and vindication from God their Savior.
Psalm 24:3-5 (NIV)

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,  and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:9-14 (NIV)

Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” Luke 14:34-35 (NIV)

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 (NIV)

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17 (NIV)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Prayer

Lord God, You have called me to live like You, but sin and selfishness get in the way. Help me take my concentration off the things of this world and focus on You, Jesus. Assist me daily, Holy Spirit, in spreading Your forgiveness and love to those around me so that together we may experience Your peace. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

A Prayer

Lord, help me to be a formidable force,
One who will act for thee.
One who fights the way you fought
With compassionate words, gracious and free.

Lord, help me to be a patient person,
One who will endure with ease.
One who awaits tender times
With helpful, persevering peace.

Lord, help me to be a wise woman,
One who knows you and reveres.
One who studies and prays Your Word
With quiet lips and open ears.

Lord, help me to be a forgiving friend,
One who ceases to blame.
One who tries to forget the wrong
Of trials that can bring shame.

Lord, help me to be a loving lady,
One who brings good cheer.
One who will share the sunshine
With those that are and aren’t dear.

Lord, help me to better personify you,
With wisdom, patience, and grace.
Loving and forgiving with all your strength
Until we come face to face!

DDC January ’87

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV)

“Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. Job 22:21 (NIV)

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:15 (NIV)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Matthew 5:43-48 (NIV) also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5 (NIV)

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him. Colossians 2:6 (NIV)

Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. 1 John 2:6 (NIV)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Glimpses of God's Handiwork

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

FEAR, WORRY.......sometimes the essence of those words drip from our minds down to our stomach and fill every appendage. We even feel it in our toes. Why? Because we allow it.

What has you constantly worried? Does fear have you in its grip? World and local news surrounds our lives, filling our minds with anxiety and our souls with distress. A family situation unsettles us, leaving us disturbed and almost broken. Or death envelopes us, causing us to feel like dying as well. 

God says, “Fear not and do not worry, I have overcome the world. You will have trouble in this world but in Me you can find peace” (John 16:33). He is the peace giver—the world is not.

We have only two responses to God—yes or no. So what’s your answer? “No, Lord, I’ll focus on all the things of this world and stress as it spirals out of control,” or “Yes, Lord, I’m choosing to trust You with my life in all my circumstances.”

It’s our choice, but the world’s creator is in control. He is God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. He created this beautiful world and man under Satan’s rule is attempting to destroy it. God’s creation tells of steadfastness as the sun rises daily, as the moon rotates around the earth monthly, and as the seasons come and go annually. God Himself is faithful and true—He never changes (Psalm 33:4, Revelation 3:14, 19:11 Hebrews 13:5). HE CAN BE TRUSTED!

If He can create the mountains and the seas and take care of the birds and flowers, don’t you think He can take care you and your problems? Our Sovereign God is over all and is available to all that call on His name. Our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, is the God of all the earth (Isaiah 54:5).  

Do you fearfully look at your constantly changing circumstances or do you gaze assuredly at your unchanging, trustworthy Lord God (Hebrews 13:6)? He says, “Do not be afraid; don’t worry. Look to Me.”

Whenever you need a glimpse of Father God, the certainty that He is with you, look up. His heavens constantly declare His presence. His artistry expresses He is at work every day. His divine nature and eternal power are visible in His handiwork (Romans 1:20). Daily He takes care of His creatures and He’ll take care of you. The Lord God Almighty is in control. He is faithful. Trust Him with your life—He loves you. 

If you are encountering any type of trouble and need some help, I encourage you to find a Bible and read the Scriptures mentioned in this post. Go a step further and read more of His Word. Allow His words to fill your mind. Then go outside and study the skies. He’s speaking to your heart and He’s awaiting your call.

‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV)

This is my prayer; please join me in praying it........

My heart, O God, is steadfast;
    I will sing and make music with all my soul.
Awake, harp and lyre!
    I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
    let your glory be over all the earth.

Save us and help us with your right hand,
    that those you love may be delivered. 
God has spoken from his sanctuary:
    “In triumph I will parcel out Shechem
    and measure off the Valley of Sukkoth.
Gilead is mine, Manasseh is mine;
    Ephraim is my helmet,
    Judah is my scepter. 
Moab is my washbasin,
    on Edom I toss my sandal;
    over Philistia I shout in triumph.”

Who will bring me to the fortified city?
    Who will lead me to Edom?
Is it not you, God, you who have rejected us
    and no longer go out with our armies?
Give us aid against the enemy,
    for human help is worthless.
With God we will gain the victory,
    and he will trample down our enemies. 
Psalm 108 (NIV)