Creation

CREATION – “In the beginning,” God created, i.e. called into being, all things out of nothing. Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Blue Sky with Wheat

Genesis 2 (TLB) begins, “Now at last the heavens and earth were successfully completed, with all that they contained … and God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he ceased this work of creation.”

Each time I am confronted with a new creation, whether it is a flower opening, a butterfly leaving its cocoon, the first bright green leaves of spring, a new puppy or the soft cheeks of an infant, I am reminded of the vast limitless of God. To reflect on His ability to think of every detail in just these few examples is amazing enough, let alone all of creation.

Is it difficult for you to believe and accept that there is one Creator?  Or, like me, do you find it even more difficult to believe that some forces came together in the universe over billions of years to evolve into our world today … which still doesn’t explain how the forces and the galaxies came into existence, if not for this one Creator whom we know as our God of the Universe.

God first showed His love for you before you knew Him. Psalm 139:13–16 (NASB): “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.”

How blessed we are to be part of this magnificent creation, and to have confidence that He who created us loves us with an unmatched love. He is there when the world goes away—when the friend forgets you, when the boss tells you your services are no longer needed, when the parent abandons you, when the spouse leaves, when the child dies, when life no longer seems to have purpose. Look to Him, and ask Him to reveal Himself all over again to you. He won’t force Himself on you, so turn to Him—He will do the rest.

Interruptions of Life

Inspirational quote on picture frame over a dirty brick wall. STOP WISHING. START DOING.

Just in case you have been keeping track, I have already broken my promise to post a new blog every Sunday. Hence, this is my meager attempt to explain and apologize for the absence of my blog last Sunday.

The pneumonia bug found me about ten days ago, and has had me down for the count. As much as I “wished” I could crawl to the computer and “do” the post on “God’s Sovereignty”, my Spirit was willing, but the body very weak.

This happens to most of us every  now and then, but eventually, we have to fight back and become the drivers we know we are. If we drift for too long, we may lose all incentive for making the difference we have been called to make.

So, yes, if you’ve been bitten by a nasty bug, by all means, drink plenty of fluids, get rest, take your medicine and give your body time to heal (said the one who is not healed yet). For this brief interlude, I admit to breaking the rules, but only because I need you to know that I care about you and want to provide the information I promised.

God’s best to you this week!

Sovereignty of God

Yellow road warning sign , Storm Coming , 3d render
Yellow road warning sign , Storm Coming , 3d render

SOVEREIGNTY – God’s absolute right to do all things according to His own good pleasure. Easton’s Bible Dictionary

The word “absolute” is powerful and exclusive. It describes His ultimate authority.

Several years ago when taking Beth Moore’s Daniel[1] study at my church, I was intrigued by the many events in Daniel’s life which pointed to God’s sovereignty. The prophecies in his lifetime which have now been fulfilled and Daniel’s faith in times of extreme circumstance gripped my attention. Near the end of the summer course, it was this precept that held me together for the unexpected events to come: our daughter’s husband died suddenly at the age of 34. When events like this take you to the valley of despair, it is vital to know beyond a shadow of doubt in whom you can place your trust, believing that God is in control, even in the worst of times.

Daniel’s response to God in Daniel 2:20–23 (NIV) when He revealed Nebuchadnezzar’s dream to him—the revelation that would save Daniel and all of the wise men—is a powerful reminder to us:

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors; you have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.”

When life is hard and circumstances are beyond your control, what do you do? There is only one ultimate place to find both comfort and wisdom, and that is in the arms of our Lord. Psalm 34:18 (NASB) is a trustworthy promise: “The LORD is near to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” We may hate what has happened to us, we may be full of anger and frustration, but when we finally accept the reality of God’s sovereignty over every event, we can then come to Him for comfort and direction. He alone can soothe our spirit and help us navigate through the deep waters of despair to the shores of hope and renewal.

[1] Daniel, A Woman’s Bible Study, Beth Moore, 2006, LifeWay.com

Salvation

Cross up to Blue Sky

Salvation came to me when I was eight years old. My family and I attended revivals every spring at our church where an evangelist would give a message and then call the congregation to repentance. One morning during revival week, I sat in our tiny kitchen with my mom and she led me to pray, asking Jesus to come into my heart and save me. I’ll never forget the loud beating of my heart and the tears that fell as I made the most important decision of my life. Is there a distinct moment in time when you remember inviting Christ into your heart to forgive you for your sins and redeem you through his shed blood on the cross?

We live in a world where information bombards us from every direction, at times causing confusion and frustration. What are you to believe about God? Was Jesus really God’s Son or just a wise prophet? Is salvation a reality because of Christ’s death and resurrection, or just a belief system used by weak or ignorant people? Are there any absolutes?

1) How can you obtain deliverance from the power of sin?

God has given us the portal through which we can escape forever the power of sin. His name is Jesus. The Bible tells us that “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (NLT). So, the power that would eventually lead to our death has been overcome by Jesus’ death and resurrection. Everyone has access to Him—that includes you.

2) How can you be liberated from ignorance or illusion?

There are many who believe that Jesus is not the only way to heaven, and that it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you believe in something. That thinking is the illusion. If you want the Truth, look in God’s Word for the answers to all of life’s questions. Chief among those questions should be how you can be sure of your salvation. John 14:6 (NLT) quotes Jesus as saying, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” The Bible is God revealing Himself to man. It is both historical and relevant for all of life’s issues.

3) How can you be preserved from destruction?

Psalm 92 (TLB) tells us in verse 7 “that although the wicked flourish like weeds, there is only eternal destruction ahead of them.” Then, in verses 12–13, “But the godly shall flourish like palm trees and grow tall as the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted into the Lord’s own garden and are under his personal care.”

I want to flourish in God’s garden … how about you?

Summit in San Antonio

Girlfriends Cropped       First Girlfriends “Potluck & Praise” 2016!   As you will see, I was the guest speaker for a great group of 63 women who love the Lord. They meet once a month for fellowship, testimony and delving into The Word of God. They will be using Beth Moore’s Believing God as their reference this year.

Are you ready for a God-moment? I had just a few days notice to prepare my message, and on the way down to San Antonio, The Lord redirected my plan just slightly to use the basic premise/scriptures I had written, but to change the format to a “spiritual timeline.” When I got there and told the Director, Bonnie Walker, of my plan, she retrieved her planning book and pulled out her personal spiritual timeline she is preparing to use later on in the season. It is her first attempt at graphing her spiritual walk, and when I asked if anyone in the audience had ever done the exercise, no one raised their hand. Bottom line – God shifted my message to introduce my real-life timeline to support what they will study soon! God is in the details!

Summit Group
Girlfriends Monthly Meeting at Summit Christian Center Jan. 7, 2016 Susan Butler, Speaker
FF Summit Side
Summit Christian Center Book Store in San Antonio, Texas is “First Home for First Fruits” prior to June 14 Public Release!

These next two photos represent another way that God moved in getting First Fruits in the church bookstore at Summit. The original plan was to use the devotional books as gifts to all Girlfriend members who brought a first-time guest. It was then expanded to surprise all the first-time guests with a copy of First Fruits as well. They gave away 28 signed books to these two groups!

Since the women’s minister was involved in the vetting process (a process which every church bookstore requires), the Summit bookstore Manager was then able to move forward with First Fruits by giving it two prominent interior window locations for display. Three cases of First Fruits were donated by a member, and the proceeds go to the church.

The public release date for First Fruits is June 14, 2016. This means that you can:

  • Pre-order from Amazon for shipping in June
  • Order from my website SusanButlerLive.com for immediate shipping
  • Purchase directly from the Summit bookstore in San Antonio
FF Summit Corner
Second display area for First Fruits that happens to be the premier section for new books!

Introducing First Fruits

First Fruits small image

Happy 2016! This day, January 1, 2016, is part of our future history . . .

If you are reading this first blog, you are part of my history and I, yours. To expand on this thought, can you remember a time before blogs – web pages – Facebook & fan pages – email & e-lists – iPhones – Square – Pay Pal – Instagram – Tweets? Our ability to communicate with the world is both astounding and just a little overwhelming! Before we can look forward to what lies ahead, it is wise to look back at what lies behind . . .

What can you say about 2015? What was significant, both good and bad? Did life change dramatically, or was it just another year for you? Did you set any goals, and did you reach them? Were there any personal relationships that were strengthened, or did you lose sight of one you now miss? What stands out as a prized accomplishment? Was there struggle in it, or did it come easily? Are there any regrets? Do you want this new year to give you opportunity to “do it better?”

This years’ end brought to conclusion 3-1/2 years of  writing, and the finished product of my labor, First Fruits, Giving God Your Best 365 Days of the Year. As I reflect on the process, I realize in amazement how very many days were fraught with challenges to prevent me from my task. And yet, at the same time, how God strengthened me to forge ahead with determination and resolve. It was my first experience with the world of publishing; too many firsts to go on about.

What I want to convey is that when life hands us a challenge, we need to pay attention to it and figure out how we are going to tackle it. Are we going to drift along or are we going to attack, using every skill and every piece of knowledge at our disposal? First Fruits  is not the end of the challenge; in fact, in some ways, it is only the beginning. Using it as a model, however, gives me some guidelines for the next challenge that comes my way. Are you going to be a Drifter or a Driver of your next challenge?

MY PROMISE:  First Fruits has 365 days of devotions, and weekly messages  which highlight one of 51 precepts. Each Monday (changed 4/1/16) of this year, a different precept  from the book will be shared  for the week. Join  me in committing to learn what God has to say to us from  His Word  concerning love, hope, protection, direction, heaven, and much more.