Faye Bryant

Another Daily Musing from the Comfy Chair with a View

When God said these words through His prophet Hosea, times were rough and the messages were hard to swallow.

The people had gotten complacent about their offerings, their sacrifices as if throwing up another one to keep them right with God. Once that chore was done, they would move in to the important thing: their own pleasure.

God smacked them with, “I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.”

There are other places we see these words echoed. Seems the people thought offering their grain, oil, and animals eliminated their need to show mercy to their neighbors.

Do we do this today?

Think about when a natural disaster hits. When my husband and I had the opportunity to go to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc, we saw the outpouring of clothing and goods in semi after semi. We also saw the organization where much money was donated turn certain people away. What was most telling was seeing fewer than forty volunteers covering the parish to help get trees off roofs and tarps in place.

Don’t get me wrong! I’m so grateful for every person who said yes to a call to help. Every roll of paper towels, every can of corn, every package of diapers, every case of water was a treasure to those whose lives had been rocked.

Still, there was nothing like looking into the eyes of the woman whose house had been dark for a week, no water, little food, and handing her a box of the things she desperately needed.

There was nothing like sitting with the lady whose house had been invaded by a fallen tree tell the story of how she had been standing right there just moments before and how God had rescued her and her whole family.

When we extend love by extending ourselves instead of our wallets, there’s a difference. Maybe not in man’s economy, but most definitely in God’s.

And the second part of that verse, “I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.” (Bet you thought I’d leave that part off, huh?)

God doesn’t want our hat tip at Him as we walk through our routine each day.
Get up ✔️
Brush teeth ✔️
Grab coffee ✔️
Do devotional ✔️
Work! ✔️
Supper ✔️
Help kids with homework ✔️
Bed ✔️

He wants us to KNOW Him.
Check out Philippians 3:10 in the Amplified Version: “For my determined purpose is that I may know Him, that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly, and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection, which it exerts over believers, and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed in spirit into His likeness even to His death, in the hope”

THAT is knowing Him.

As much as I love devotionals – heck, I wrote one – we’re not going to know God through them alone. Knowing God on the intimate level Paul wrote about requires time in His book. I get it. Sometimes it’s hard to understand. Try a different version. There are several I use that are true translations from the original languages. Find the one that is easiest for you to understand, then read it. Ask questions. Write those down, then when you get the answers, write those down. Dig in. Take a week to read a chapter. It’s not a race.

And when you know Him better, every area of your life will change. Oh, the routine may stay the same, but your outlook on rising, coffee, work, and family will be different.

Let’s give it a try today. Pick a chapter and dig into it. Keep digging until you find God. He said He would be found when you search with all your heart.

Love. Know.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

_______________________________
© 2019 Faye Stoeffler Bryant
‭‭

Another Daily Musing from the Comfy Chair with a View

What an exciting night, I didn’t know I could hold my breath that long!
Thank you to everyone who voted and helped me reach this milestone! Now to keep at it to reach the podium at the Author Academy Award Ceremony on October 25th in Columbus, Ohio.
I need your votes all over again. Please visit www.authoracademyawards.com and scroll to page 8 (Historical Fiction). Look for the cover of “Louise” and clock it to vote. I’m not sure I’ll sleep a wink tonight!

Another Daily Musing from the Comfy Chair with a View

Paul wrote in this letter to the Believers at Corinth – a huge trading city, entertaining all sorts of pagan religions and rites – talking about living in obedience to Christ.

Shifting from living as the pagan culture around them was difficult for some of the Church at Corinth and Paul addresses that in his letters. Here he is talking about what they did with their bodies. In their culture, prostitution wasn’t a big deal. They even had prostitutes who served as part of the rites at some of the temples.

Paul is battling the thinking that promiscuous behavior is okay.

He doesn’t use a morality ploy. The people don’t see this as immoral. Instead he reminds them of whose they are.

He wrote, “You say, ‘I am allowed to do anything’ — but not everything is good for you. And even though ‘I am allowed to do anything,’ I must not become a slave to anything.”

We absolutely do have freedom in Christ. But just like it’s not right to yell “FIRE!” in a crowded theater, using our bodies for sexual immorality isn’t either.

Paul talks about how when we join our bodies sexually, we bond our souls. We become one body with that person. It’s not a physical thing — we can physically walk away and there’s no problem, unless pregnancy or disease develop.

Paul was talking about the spiritual and emotional aspect. Oh, I know, in today’s culture, it’s no big deal for a man or a woman to have multiple partners. It’s even expected! There are even television shows that promote that behavior. There’s no big emotional tie to two bodies coming together for pleasure! Get real, Faye!

Yeah, I’m sorry. If God, through Paul, said there is a spiritual and emotional tie that is a part of the act of sex, then whether you agree with that thought or not, there is a spiritual and emotional tie to the act of sex.

Paul says we should RUN from sexual sin. He said it’s the only sin that so clearly affects the body, and the reason is that sexual immorality is a sin against our own bodies.

Whoa. What?

Paul goes to to say — and I’m totally paraphrasing here — “Besides, don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit of Almighty God? When you accepted salvation, He was given to you by God Himself. Since you got saved, you don’t belong to you anymore. God paid a HUGE price for you, so honor God with your body.”

Just like everything else in our lives, this involves a choice. If the Word says that sexual promiscuity dishonors us and God, then we should make the choice to not do that. The same with any other sin: gossip, gluttony, theft, murder, slander, etc.

If we call ourselves followers of Jesus, we should obey His commands. All of them. We don’t get to pick and choose which ones. Our choice is between us and God. Will we choose what pleases us or what pleases God?

Maturity is when that choice is the same: what pleases God pleases us.

The best news is, if we’ve made the choices that aren’t God-honoring, we can receive God’s forgiveness for them. All we have to do is agree with God that what we did was sin (confess), turn from that path to following Jesus (repent), and know that He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Mind you, though, that means leaving that way behind and not picking it up again. Continuing in the sin doesn’t please God and it cheapens His grace.

Choose Him. Choose Life. Choose Joy. Choose Peace.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

________________________
(c) 2019 Faye Stoeffler Bryant

Time to get going!

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

I once had a pastor who said, “Whenever you see a “therefore” in scripture, take a look to see what it’s there for.”

Maybe he was the one who taught me to examine all around the verse to better understand.

Here we find the eleven apostles at the foot of a particular mountain because the resurrected Jesus had told them to be there at that time.

As they’re hanging out there, checking their watches, Jesus walks up and tells them, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.” Then he charges his closest friends on Earth with making disciples of all the nations.

That ‘given all authority’ is huge. He was saying that ALL power of ABSOLUTE rule was His. Once again, He declares Himself Almighty God.

He does that just before He tells His followers to go into all nations to help the people learn of Him, believe in Him and obey Him. Once those people became followers, they were to be baptized.

That must have seemed an exceptionally daunting task! Just getting to the nations would prove difficult, not to mention that throughout the Roman Empire, they were being hunted down and killed.

Still, in order to obey the Savior – the one they had seen die on the cross, laid in the grave, then alive and standing before them – they had to get to work.

Just how do you accomplish this, though? Eleven men? Well, when we read Acts, we see how they shared the truth about Jesus one day and had THREE THOUSAND choose to believe and follow the Lord. That crew had to be taught how to obey the commands given by Jesus. Then they started telling others and those started telling more. This telling grew exponentially, and now you and I hear the story of Jesus because those eleven were obedient. Is your mind blown yet?

The thing I’m guilty of is inviting people to church more than I invite them to Jesus. I’ve got to work on that.

We can say that is living a Christian life in front of others causes them to want to know the Lord, but if that were the case, why aren’t more coming to Him?

Could it be because we are fallible people and others can’t get past us to see Him?

Jesus said GO. I don’t think that requires a passport. I think that means intent. I believe that wherever we go, whatever we do, we must be ready and willing to help people know of Jesus and what He did for us, help them believe in Him and obey His words.

Our workplace isn’t just where we go to earn money, it’s where we go to display the Lord, to help others know of Jesus, believe in Him and obey Him.

Our home is the same. Every place we go is the same.

What do you say? Today, let’s get intentional about obeying the Lord by discipling others.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

Who will go?

I love Isaiah 6. I love the thought that the sight of God is overwhelming. I love that in His presence, angels cry out His holiness. I love that in that Presence, Isaiah can’t help but cry out a confession of who he really is. I love that the angels lift a coal from the altar and cleanse Isaiah with it after His confession.

How many of us need a revelation like this?

How many of us need to get quiet enough before God that we can see Him, hear His angels, feel the searing of that coal?

We are busy people. When was the last time you sat on the porch with family or friends and just talked? Told stories? Laughed? Wept?

How much do we miss in our busyness?

Had Isaiah missed these moments, he would have never heard the Lord speak those next words and he wouldn’t have had the answer ready, either.

God said, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?”

To which Isaiah replied, “Here I am. Send me.”

What if God has been asking this question of us and we’ve been missing it?

Maybe today we need to slow down. Especially in the Lord’s presence.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

Amazing Faith

Jesus was in his home base of Capernaum. He logged a lot of hours in the town and surrounding area.

One day as He was going along, a heathen unbeliever, a Gentile, one of the oppressors walked up to Him. This Roman officer came up to Jesus and told Him about one of his young slaves. The boy was paralyzed and in great pain.

He came because he had heard that Jesus healed people.

This is important to notice because there is so much going on here.

This Roman officer is a slave owner, yet he cares for this boy whose very life he controls. His care isn’t minor, sending another slave to find Jesus and get help. No. It’s huge! He walks himself around the town until he finds the One known to heal.

When he found Jesus, he pleaded with Him. A Roman officer pleading? It just didn’t happen! The Romans were there as the conquerors. Whatever they said was law, jump to it!

Yet this guy came to Jesus and asked. He called Him “Lord,” and asked for help for the least in his household.

Jesus said he would come right away and do as the officer asked. (Whew! That’s a quick answer to prayer!)

This man of significant authority said that wasn’t necessary. He explained that He understood the chain of command and how it worked. A higher ranking officer gave an order and it was carried out.

The Roman officer told Jesus that he knew if Jesus just declared the boy healed it would be done.

This is some amazing faith! This man who had not grown up learning of God, who didn’t know the Torah or the prophets, had a greater understanding of who Jesus was than those who walked with Him day after day.

This man, this pagan Gentile, declared Jesus supreme. He said that no matter where Jesus stood, He could speak healing over the paralyzed boy and the boy would be healed. He proclaimed Jesus as Sovereign.

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!

I don’t know about you, but I want to be like that officer. I want my faith to be amazing to God.

You?

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

Coming Soon

You’ll hear Louise speak about her life, then you’ll hear her daughter, Elaina, answer each point about the same aspects of her life.

Picture a 22-year-old woman in Detroit. She’s lost everything. She’s hurt and angry and doesn’t know where to turn. Those she thought would be beside her have instead betrayed her.

Coming Soon: “Elaina, Book 2 of the Grandma, Mom, and Me Saga.”

Don’t worry!

Jesus said, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

Seems easy enough, right?

What about your finances? Got a credit card payment that’s inching up each month? How are you going to pay it? What if you lose your job? What if something happens to you?

What about your health? Was that cough from allergies or something more? That cut you got in the kitchen, did you get it bandaged right or will it get infected?

Why about your safety? There are crazies on the road! What if you get hit? What if there’s another shooting and it’s where you are?

Did any of these come near to where your thoughts go? Seemingly unbidden? You don’t actually plan to think them, then there you are, frozen, right in the middle of them.

See, in actuality, on our own, this not worrying about tomorrow is HARD! We have to be mindful of what we’re really thinking, then replace those worried thoughts with positive thoughts, then start with the new worries that pop up.

If we will recognize the faithful love of God toward us, the fact that He loves us enough to rescue us from eternal death with His own death, we can let go of worry for today, tomorrow, and forever.

If we will slow down enough to know that God holds us AND time in His hands, we can toss worry out the nearest window.

If we will replace each worried thought with scripture, we can watch worry run for the door!

Here’s a great one to start with. When worry slides it’s slimy self into your thinking, say out loud: “No. Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow. He said tomorrow will bring its own worries. The Lord says today’s trouble is enough for today. I’m trusting Him.”

Repeat as necessary. Put your trust fully in Almighty God and step out of your frozen place into life abundant.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

Love your enemies.

“Love my enemies?
Pray for those who persecute me?
Are you sure about that, Jesus?”

“Yeah, I get that it’s easy to love my family – well most of them – and my friends, but they treat me well, but my enemies? You know how they are!”

“Wait, You’re saying I should get a better grasp on what an enemy is? That someone who disagrees with me isn’t really an enemy? That an enemy is one who seeks my demise? But what about HER, Jesus. She’s downright mean! She never agrees with me. She always cuts me off in conversation and never listens. If she does listen it’s only so she can prove my words wrong.”

“Okay, I’m looking it up. I think it’s pretty cool you led Mr. Webster to define words, by the way. Here we go: one seeking to injure, overthrow, or confound an opponent; one that is antagonistic to another; adversary, antagonist, foe, hostile, opponent.”

“Okay, so we could say that SHE is an enemy. I get that now. Wait! You’re saying I have to love HER? Like L-O-V-E her? AND pray for her? Oh, I don’t know, Jesus, that’s just insane! I don’t even want to help her across the street, and you want me to actually love her? It’s impossible!!!”

“What? Oh. Yeah, I remember. With you anything is possible.”

Loving an enemy seems not only counterintuitive, but ridiculous. It’s not in our DNA. It is, however, in God’s.

When we surrender our entire selves to God, He loves through us. Even our enemies.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.