Saturday, December 26, 2009

Loving the Word

Working my way through the Minor Prophets has been a bit depressing. It is hard to see the continuous rebellion in the Lords people (maybe it hits a little too close to home??) and the constant hurt this brings to them and God. I have started to balance things out a bit by spending time in the Psalms. Today, Psalm 119 was such an encouragement to me in so many ways. The 176 verses of this long Psalm reflect on the truth of God's word. It is thought that Ezra wrote the psalm, honoring the God whose word He loved. It resonates with my struggles today, thousands of years later.

In my life, as a Christian, I love the Word. The Bible is a daily part of my life. Either by reading it, hearing it, or meditating on the promises of it. Scripture is the only perfect revelation that God has left to his people until He returns. It is His love letter to His future bride. I read it in longing for Him to come. I love it because I love Him. I strive to obey it, because He wrote it. What encouragement He gave me today to stay steadfast in it.

Don't take my word for it. Read it for yourselves, and see what God has to say to you.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Would the Real Christian Please Stand Up?

I can look back over the past few years and really see where God has been leading me; removing my grip on this world and the things of it, and looking to Him for my joy, provision, comfort, and satisfaction. In many ways it has been a journey that I would not have chosen to go myself, but do we ever really seek and long for spiritual growth that is hard aside from the Lord bringing it? One of the things that I have noticed over the course of this time has been the various distinctions between people who are truly seeking God, and those who are just going with the flow of the Christian heritage of our culture. The "nice" people who really have not been transformed, but don't want to offend you. Or the one's who have sat in the same church pew for years, but have not been touched by God. The one's who make up their own God, and insist I follow him. It has caused me to evaluate, from the point of Scripture, just what the true Christian would look like. Not to judge outwardly, but to judge myself inwardly. Do I know, that I know, that I know that I am saved? If so, then what should my life look like, not work based, but heart based.
John points out in 1st John 4:7 that those who love have been born of God. Which, in my brain, only tends to confuse things more. Our society has deemed love as making people happy, primarily ME! We have been taught by commercial adds, psychiatrists, even churches, that if I am not happy, then somebody doesn't love me. But what is love? Love is not making somebody happy at any cost, but rather seeking the good for that person at any cost. Is it greater love to let a child go undisciplined and let him have his way, or is it the greater love to discipline them for their own good? Is it greater love to watch somebody go astray in the name of love, or is it the greater love to share with them your concerns? And what is the greatest "good" for a person? Scripture tells us that we are all sinners, and apart from Christ we are all headed to Hell. Therefor, the greatest good of a person is to tell them of the saving grace that came from the shedding of blood on the cross, for their very own sins. But who wants to hear that? And who calls that love?
John points out in 5:1 that everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. This is a continuous belief, an ongoing belief that never ends. It comes with an understanding that not only do we profess Jesus is the Christ with our mouths, but with our whole lives as well. It does not imply just mouthing the words, but living the words. The life that is transformed because they know that Jesus is the Christ, born of God, and all that implies.
John says in 5:3 that to love God is to obey his commands, and His commands are not burdensome. This love is an action word. It is not mearly a mushy, gushy feeling deep down in our hearts, like when we see the Folger's coffee commercials, but it has an underlying depth that does not come without sacrifice. It will cost us to love God, but it will not be burdensome, but rather a joy to serve our King. To obey the commands, tho, the Christian would need to know the commands. If we reveal that we love God by obeying His commands, and we do it with joy, then we reveal that we are truly His.
God has used the passage of Acts 10, the story of Cornelius and Peter, as a measuring rod in my life the past few weeks. Both of these men were devout and God fearing, and that is when God spoke to them. As we claim revelations from God without the first part, we best be checking where these revelations come from. Is our life devout and God fearing? Do we commit ourselves to Scripture, the reading of it, the true interpretation (not our hearts desire of what we want it to say) of it? Are we in a constant battle to rid ourselves of the sin that longs to rule, and seek to live righteously in honor of our King? Are His commands burdensome? Do we know His commands? Do we know Him?
As the kids and I have been reading through Exodus we see again and again the Israelites' grumbling and unbelief against God. In chapter 18 Moses' father in law, Jethro, pays a visit. His wisdom and instruction to Moses is to teach the people the decrees and laws of the Lord, to show them the way that they are to live. Back in chapter 16:4 God tells Moses that He will test them and see whether they will follow His instructions. In a home with several children it is easy to see this "testing" around here; not so easy to always follow His instructions. As we know His decrees and laws, and if we are truly saved, then the Holy Spirit will begin to cause our hearts to gladly obey Him; and His commands will not be burdensome. As we learn to obey Him in the small things, it becomes easier to obey Him in the big things. Check your heart! What commands are burdensome in your life? Are you willing to take Scripture for whatever it says and just obey?
But, how many people do we truly see living this way? How many churches are preaching salvation, sin, obedience, knowing the word, heart transformation rather than outward conformity? As we have gone through a couple of Bible studies lately I have taken a role of mostly observing. I find it interesting to see what peoples beliefs really are, and am saddened to see some of these young people, who were brought up in the church, with so little knowledge and desire for God and His word. Satan's first deceit in the Garden of Eden was to twist the word of God enough that Eve questioned it. Have we not become masters at twisting the Word ourselves, so it pleases us, rather than glorifying God in it's entirety?
I don't think that God was kidding when He said one day He is coming back to judge the nations. The hearts and lives of everyone will be revealed. God says in Amos 7 that He is setting a plumb line among His people [Israel]. He is the plumb line, His word is the standard, His people will follow it and gladly obey it. Oh, that He would raise them up to be bold and courageous in a time such as this.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Glorious Role of Woman

I have been itching to get my thoughts down about this subject ever since that quilting retreat I went to. A girls weekend full of crafting, drinking lots of coffee, and talking about God is a good inspiration. Real life and home school and a farm often get in the way, tho, of having 5 straight minutes to put coherent thoughts down on paper. My journey through the minor prophets (plus that convicting bathroom book) has reminded me again of this glorious role of woman, some of the pitfalls, and the opportunities it holds to glorify God.
In this day of women's lib, equal rights for women, and throw in some post-modernism for an extra boost, our culture seems to have created the kind of women that God was talking about in Amos 4:1. Women who are so busy climbing the corporate ladder that they oppress the poor and crush the needy (their own children? hurting neighbors?their husbands?) in their greed to get to the top of the proverbial hill in a futile attempt to gain all this world claims to offer. Women who have belittled men and their positions along the way, including their own husbands and their positions as men. It is pretty hard to ignore a verse where God calls these women "cows" and not take a serious look at what He was trying to make clear to them. I know from experience. Once buying into the lie that women can and should have it all- a job, children, thinking that fancy cars and clothes and houses will make us happy, and not having to submit to a man's authority along the way to get there. Throw in a new baby, a home in disorder because of my rebellion, and a sovereign God, and I realized a little of what God was saying.
We as women long to rule. It was a curse handed down long ago in the Garden of Eden. It runs deep, and even after salvation is a temptation that continually needs to be bridled. Our generations' role models in society have not been primarily of Godly women caring for their homes, but more of scantly dressed females in positions of power on the stage, in politics, and particularly over men. Am I wrong in my assessment? To take a good, hard look at ourselves is the first step in seeing just who we are. Knowing our weaknesses helps us to be aware of them. Breaking free from what the world calls a successful woman and what the Lord calls a successful woman is a long, hard journey. One led by the Holy Spirit, and one worth pursuing. We, as Christian women, owe it to our daughters to leave a legacy and a role model for them to follow.
God's first role for woman was to be a help mate for her husband. Primarily, after our relationship to God, our first concern should be for the well being of our husbands. As a prayer warrior, encourager, and homemaker we can assist our husbands with the duties that God has given him, which (in Genesis) God says is to bear the image of God, subdue the land and provide for his family. God has set man up as the head of the household, and called women to respect him as such.
I find the verse in Amos 4:1 to clearly reveal some of the women of our times. Women who have bought into "equal" roles of men and women. We are all equal in God's sight, but He has given us different roles. Not better, not worse, just different. God does not call the husband to be the helpmate to his wife, but the other way around. Yes, the man out of simple love for his wife helps her with duties, but the Godly wife will not request consistently that her husband steal her joy in serving him and their home by completing her tasks. He should not have to come home after a long day and take over her home-making jobs as well. He has enough work to do on his own without having to come home and think about what is for supper. A Godly wife handles those sometimes mundane, behind the scene jobs with joy so that her husband can focus on his work (primarily leading the family spiritually, providing for them, advancing the kingdom). Scientifically God has created women to be much better at multitasking and handling those little details than men. Do we despise this role that God has given us? I admit, I often times buy into the attitude that he should just cook supper sometimes, or sweep the floor, or pick up the dirty clothes. But why would I deny myself the joy of fulfilling my God given role, bringing great happiness to my husband, and simply honoring scripture by complaining?
A submissive wife also allows her husband to protect her. I have found that by placing myself physically in my Godly role of serving my husband, it is easier to place myself spiritually under his Godly headship. Women have an overwhelming tendency to let their emotions control them. Our poor husbands have to face women who have been taught to belittle men and their positions in the first place, then have their wives try every emotional tactic to control them (tears, anger, etc.), and then they have the hard job of trying to shape these wild tigresses into submissive, God honoring women who are raising the next generation. Outside of an act of God they have a huge job on their hands. As Christian mothers we owe it to our daughters to set a better example to follow so that our daughters can immediately enter marriage as help mates to their husbands, rather than potential home destroyers because they insist on their own ways. And, we owe it to our boys to raise strong Godly men who can handle leading a Godly home.
God's next role to woman was to be a mother. This precious gift of bearing children and nurturing was given to her alone. Again, a great distinction in the roles of men and women and how God created them. To the woman he gave the overwhelming maternal instinct to love and protect her child. He gave her only a few short years to nurture these little lives and shape and mold them into adults who will go out to make their own decisions. What a tremendous opportunity we have been given!
Women are called to be keepers of the home in Titus 2:4-5. In our day and age a full-time, working mother is the norm. Our God given role is to take care of the home first. Understanding that some women have no choice but to work, others do have a choice. The choice may be giving up a lifestyle, but it is still a choice. God is glorified when moms stay home and be moms. It is the way He designed it. Think back to your childhood. I cannot think of hardly one time when I came home and my Mom wasn't there. Often with good food to eat, or a project she was working on, or just simply being there. There is a great sense of comfort in knowing that Mom will be there.
Mothers play a huge role of training their children in righteousness in the home as well. Are we setting an example for our daughters to follow in marriage? In our dress, talk, actions, attitudes? How about for our sons? Would you want your son to marry a woman like you? That is exactly the kind of woman he will be seeking in just a few short years. She will be the kind of woman that is raising your grandchildren. Do our children see us following and honoring God in all we do? Do they see us in the Word? Do they see us serving? Do they see our hearts?
The last, and final thought, is in women in leadership, primarily in the church. I have been accused of having too high of opinions and even being judgemental on a few certain topics that I feel the Bible is clear on. Women in ministry is one of them. I see clearly in scripture that God has called men to be the leaders in the home and in the church. It does not mean that women don't hold specific roles as well, or that they cannot minister or teach in other ways. 1st Timothy 2:12-14 clearly states that a woman should not be in a teaching position in authority over a man. He goes on to clearly explain that it is because the woman is easily deceived. Ouch! How can we glorify God even in this? By accepting what He has said, understanding that His way is the only way, trusting and praying that God would rise up Godly men who will stand up and teach. If you have followed any of the falling away of the church, then you are clearly aware of the movement to accept women as pastors and leaders in the church. How many other "little" things have we denied in scripture to get to this point? Are we willing as women to accept even this, without calling it denying our rights as women, and trust God to again glorify His name as we honor it? Has he really withheld anything from us in putting men into this position? I often tell my girls when they try that tactic that that is just a "woman's excuse". Remember Eve in the garden? Satan deceived her by tricking her that God was withholding something from her by not allowing her to eat from the tree.
Stand up Christian woman and rise to the mighty calling that God has for you! It is a time in history, a pivotal time, to decide just who you are in Christ. Go to the word. Cling to it, and obey it. It will cost you your life, all your preconceived ideas of what will make you happy, and bring eternal rewards. God created woman, and He called it good!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Words of the Wise

God gives us pain because it is the only way we can see the times He catches us when we stumble. God gives us hardship and suffering because it helps us understand His true love.
~Alexis, age 13

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Delving into the Minor Prophets

After finishing reading Revelation I contemplated just where to start reading next. Several years ago I decided to read through the Bible chronologically, starting with the New Testament. My intention was to read straight through, each book of the Bible, and wound up taking a 4 year journey into the Word of God. What I thought would be a quick process turned into a lot of soul searching and spiritual growth that has made me love the word of God even more. So, now that the kids and I are working through Genesis I really wanted to start somewhere else in the Old Testament. The Lord led me to study the Minor Prophets, starting with Joel. Here we go...

The first thing I realized was how much of John's Revelation was being spoken of through Joel, as well. We serve a God who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. A God who has this all planned out from the beginning, so it is reassuring to us nearsighted sheep to be reminded of this again. The other thing I realized was that there was no opening to the book. It is as if the urgency of the message was so heavy to Joel that he just delves into the prophesy without much introduction or explanation. I often wonder about how, when, and where these prophecies took place in these men's lives. I wonder if anyone believed them. Or if people just thought "There he goes again", "Why does he think God is talking to him?", "Crazy guy!".

But Joel found this worthy to tell not just his listeners, but the coming generations of the great and mighty deeds of God.The land appears to be under attack by locust. I think of how God uses locust elsewhere in scripture as a judgement after warning his children to repent. I think of the "locust" in our culture that are destroying our land. Joel warns these people to "Wake up, you drunkard, and weep!". It is as if these people are oblivious to what is happening right under their noses. But as they ignore it, God makes it unavoidably obvious to them. Causing the locust to be so great in number that they destroy all that is before them; the crops of wheat and barley, the fruit trees and crops of the field. They are so many in number that they are compared to charging warriors, scaling the walls like soldiers, rushing upon the city, climbing into the houses like thieves through the windows. And it is the Lord that thunders at the head of his army. The day of the Lord is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?

But what is the Lord's intent with this attack? It is to turn His people, His called and chosen people, back to Him. To rend their hearts, and not their garments. His desire is that they would return to God with all their hearts, with fasting and weeping and mourning over their sins. For God is gracious, and slow to anger and abounding in love for His people. For it is not God's desire to harm His people, but neither will He contend with being made a mockery of. His righteousness and justice go before Him.

When the people do repent, God will once again be jealous for His land and take pity on His people. He will open the floodgates and pour out on them Himself and His blessings. God will make all things right through His judgement. And the people of God will praise His name, for He has worked wonders. He will be a refuge and a stronghold for His people.

Multitudes, multitudes are in the valley of decision! Choose this day whom you will serve. Being indifferent is a choice. Either be hot or cold. For the day of the Lord is near.

Just a Nuggett

Just a nugget from God's word that really encouraged me this morning:

Psalm 89:14Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.

As I have been contemplating just how the two go together (love and doctrine) God has shown me how he combines them.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Love or Doctrine?

Or.... Doctrine or Love? Which one matters most? What is "Love"? Has it become so inflated that we don't even understand the meaning of it anymore? How much do we risk to stand on doctrine? Jesus, as our example, came and loved, but He never faltered on keeping and upholding His Father's standard. Over and over again I seem to be bombarded with these continuing thoughts.

Recently I have been reading about the ELCA's decision to accept openly gay and lesbian pastors (no surprise there). I was amazed at the comments made such as "this was a decision that Jesus himself would have supported because He loved everybody", how God has "accomplished something wonderful by this decision", that "homosexuality in the human family was natural and acceptable to God". I just about cried. Anybody wonder why judgement is knocking at the door?

Doctrine teaches us why and how we should love. When we base everything on loving each other we turn each other into self centered love seekers, rather than God centered servants. Without doctrine we don't know who we are or who God is. What is our greatest need? It is to be reconciled to God. Not to find joy and happiness in this life.

How lightly we handle the word of God. How easily we malign it to say what we want it to say. How careless we are to obey it. How long will God tolerate it? What a pie in the sky God we have created. I pray that He will open our eyes and reveal Himself. Rise up Christian and stand. Now is the time. Go deep in the word, teach it to your children, be brave enough to live it for Him, preach it in your churches. I don't think He's kidding.

And now, dear children (some translations use little children), continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before His coming. 1 John 2:28

A great response to the ELCA decision by Pastor John Piper here.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Wearing the Scarlett Letter

I have again been reminded of my own sinfulness by the way I have handled being confronted with a wrong doing. I find myself justifying my actions, rather than admitting my wrong. I find myself wanting to be the one in the right, make myself look good, rather than see God glorified. Rather than learning by running into this brick wall, I want to tear down the brick wall so as to silence it. How deep my pride goes. I want to cover up my past evil doing and make it go away without dealing with it. I realize how deep my own desires are for myself to be content with me, rather than to see Christ grow in me. My prayer is that God would break this self centeredness in me, and turn it into a Christ-centeredness. But as He is doing that painful work I rebel against it. Ouch, it hurts! May my heart truly be for Him and His truths. Not my own.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Know Your Enemy

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Know Your Enemy
I have been reading through Revelation in my Bible. Years ago when I first read of John's experience I have to admit it scared the heebie-jeebies out of me. I couldn't read it after dark. Now being this is the 3rd of 4th time studying it I am discovering that I can read it without (a lot of) fear. After all, God does remind us that He is in control of even this. If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints (Rev. 13:10). Which to my limited understanding clearly shows that the saints will have to endure the trials and tribulations that are layed out, as much as I am still looking up and waiting for that trumpet call before it all begins.

I have been reading, and re-reading, chapter 12. It is heaven's side of the birth of Jesus, the devil's rebellion, man's walk on earth, and salvation through the blood of Christ on the cross. I have been pondering for some time how our lives (the way we live them, the choices we make, the beliefs we believe, etc.) and Christ's atoning blood sacrifice go together. It is only by the blood of Jesus as a perfect sacrifice that we are saved, but yet because of that the Holy Spirit begins a work of righteousness that is revealed in the believers life. That work of righteousness is the mark of our salvation. It is a response to salvation; a result of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will only do what glorifies Christ, therefor in a Christians life He will only prompt us to that which glorifies the Lord. Which is why there is such a transformation in a person's life when they are saved. If we are not continually being put in line by the Spirit (according to scripture) it would be wise to reconsider again where we are with God.

But on the other side of that, in Revelation 12:9, is the devil. Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He is called the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night. He is filled with fury because he knows his time is short. Elsewhere in scripture he is described as an angel of light, the prince of the earth, the sower of weeds (false doctrine, beliefs) the serpent, a lion that prowls around seeking to destroy. I don't know what your beliefs are about the devil, but I have seen and experienced enough in my own life to know that he is real. If nothing else that he has done he has made me realize how real God is. I don't think we begin to understand the battle that is ensuing, even right now, for the souls of the world. God knows those who are His and their names will never be taken from the book, but the devils whole job is to lead the world astray. I would say he is doing a pretty good job at it.

How then can a Christian stand? I think of Noah who lived in a time (maybe not so different than ours?) when all the thoughts of man where evil all the time. God could only find Noah and his family as faithful. How popular do you think he was? Or Abraham and Lot. When God was going to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and Abraham begged him to spare it for the sake of 10 faithful people. They could not be found, yet Lot and his family stood for the Lord in these wicked cities. Or Elijah, who thought he was the last one left of the faithful. I am fully convinced that one day we will come before God and give an account for our lives. Our actions, thoughts, deeds, and beliefs will be brought before him for reconciling. Our lives have a ripple effect on all those around us. Things that appear to be small and insignificant really become the pattern for something huge that has eternal consequences. If it is the devils primary goal to lead us astray, how much more than shall we cling to the Word and the Saviour of our souls? If we are inclined to sin and to our own selfish ways and desires how much is too much to give in to? What is a little sin to tolerate? And, let's just bring it up again, why are our churches not preaching like Hell could be somebodies tomorrow? For eternity! Why have we watered down the Scriptures and the gospel? Could it just be because Satan's primary goal is to lead the whole world astray?

Although these are the times set for the world and the way God chose to show His glory, in the end He promises He is the one who triumphs. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Revelation 7:17. He promises.

$3 Worth, Please

Thursday, October 15, 2009

$3 Worth, Please
I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep,
but just enough to equal a cup of warm milkor a snooze in the sunshine.

I don't want enough of God to make me love a black man
or pick beets with a migrant.
I want ecstasy, not transformation.
I want warmth of the womb, not a new birth.

I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack.
I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
Wilbur Rees
Wow. I haven't quite put into thought just how that reveals my life yet. I like to think I am living somehow radically for God, but the reality is that I usually want just enough to be comfortable, too. Whatever excuses I make for it, they're still just excuses.

May God make me bold enough to step out of my comfort zone and want more than just $3 worth; enough to explode my soul and disturb my sleep.

King of Our Own Hills

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

King of our Own Hills
With the few spare moments I have to ponder things lately (that homeschooling really gets in the way sometimes:), here's something that has been most prevalent the last couple of days, it comes from a bit of a daily devotional (Slice of Infinity)that I get...

"Everybody wants to be the king of a hill," he concluded. "But the number of aspiring kings always dwarfs the number of available hills, so in this country we build more hills."

It has made me consider what hills I am building. Why are they so important? Why do I feel that I need to be the king of them? What's wrong with being humble, huh, Yertle? Which are the important hills to be working on? It does seem to me that we are all pretty occupied building our own hills to be the king of that we forget who really is the King of the Hill.
And, totally not related, the kid's and I have been having "heart checks". Umm, sweetie-pie, better check your heart on that one. So, as I was still perturbed at the washer repair guy for not showing up on my schedule for the past 3 weeks, I turned my frustration into blessings and sent him home with some squash. Along with praying for him, which changed my heart as much as God hopefully worked on his. Had it not been for the motor housing being destroyed by a loose nickel we would have never even met this guy in the first place, if you really want to put things into perspective. Plus I got out of a few days of washing laundry.

Reading Genesis

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Reading Genesis
With school back in session life is beginning to take on a bit of a routine again. We have slacked on our marathon Bible reading over the summer so it is nice to be back intensely in the word again with the kids. We are working our way through Genesis. Have you ever noticed how much scandal is in Genesis??! Wowsa! It reads like a novel! I'm a little scared to get to Song of Solomon. We have not been able to read quite as much at a time like we did the New Testament as there is just so much to retain with all the genealogies. It's nice to know that God has it all planned out even when it all looks like a mess from this end. His sovereignty is seen from the beginning of time.

The Writing on the Wall

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Writing on the Wall
, or another title "What do we expect out of Jesus?". The Dairy sent Rob on a week long trip to Madison to represent them at the World Dairy Expo and budgeted in a weeks vacation for me too. Unfortunately they would not cover the expenses for the kids, which means I have to endure a week of quiet, reading, shopping, eating out, and swimming all by myself. I am missing the little buggers tho:) Which brings me to my point...

On the wall of the bathroom in the Goodwill store there was a long lamenting from a 13 year old girl about how horrible her life was and therefor there was no God. In the course of time several responses were wrote back, and it has made me ponder for 2 days just what do we expect of Jesus? Cotton candy and pony rides? I can't find in my Bible any evidence for that. It has burdened my heart, and caused me to pray for this young lady that God would reveal the true Him to her, and send somebody into her life to show her the truths of who He is. I also have pondered just what kind of response I would give her.

As a young Christian we do tend to see God for what He can give us... the power, the gifts, the joy. But in the midst of the long haul of the trials of this world He becomes so much more. Our rock, our hope, our salvation. The truth amongst confusing beliefs. But ultimately He is our Savior. Our atoning sacrifice between us and God. He never offered us the cotton candy and pony rides, only Himself.

There is not much logic in thinking that things are bad, therefor there is no God. I might just go back and write on the wall myself. Wait, is that illegal??!!

Sunday Debate

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Debate
I am officially back on line~ the computers up and running! So, here's my question for the day... Is the Bible enough for teaching and discipling young christians (talking twenty somethings, but really any age)? Seriously! Do we need more than the word? Fancy movies and books and programs? Hmmm.... give me your feed back!
So, here's my general frustration... the Bible seems to play such a small part in our churches (and, dare I even say, our Christian homes) and has taken second place to movies and the newest books on the market. We have gotten so caught up in the newest national pastor, author, publication that we forget about teaching the Bible even in Sunday School classes and Bible studies. Supplements are great, but not at the expense of the Bible itself in our churches. How do we expect to raise a generation of children who will make a difference in the kingdom if we don't first teach them how to use their swords? How will we know how to decipher the bombardment of false beliefs that are constantly being thrown at us by the enemy if we haven't armed ourselves first? Why is the Bible not the first obvious choice for small group studies in a christian setting, rather than deciding on some book or movie? I agree that these supplements are great, but let's put the word of God first.

Something's Missing (besides that piece to my bread machine)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Something's Missing (besides that piece to my bread machine)
A little conviction, plus some food for thought this morning as I read through the latest Christian Aid's Christian Mission magazine. Quotes like " Burning with zeal to see the Lord's name established in Senagal..." "...bringing many to the Lord and discipling them intensely." "Hundreds have come to the Lord..." "Suleman is committed to seeing that the Lord's purpose is fulfilled in every believer's life, and that takes discipleship." "They do so with conviction, courage and at great personal cost."

Hmmm... I haven't noticed that in too many lives around here. I'm not sure that my life even reflects that at this point. I am a bit more teetering on the exhausted end of summer stage, rather than burning with desire to see my loved one's and neighbors come to a knowledge of God's salvation and seeing that His purpose is fulfilled in their lives by discipling them. What's the difference between us in America and a man in Africa? Have we made Christianity such of a common, luke-warm thing here that people don't realize eternity is on the line? I heard once that if every pastor were dipped in Hell just up to his ankles, his preaching and zeal would be transformed to a higher level. Have we forgotten what it's all about? How does one display that in their lives?

I think a part of that answer lies in another quote from the magazine "Suleman prayed for a strategy to affect the entire nation". The kids and I were reading in Revelation the other day about how our prayers come before God in heaven, with an assembly of angelic hosts surrounding God, in a sense, to see how He will respond and bring glory to His own name. If God savors our prayers, longs to glorify His name through them, bottles up every tear we cry out to Him, promises to lead and guide, then why are we not on our knees more? Have we exchanged His glory for cotton candy and pony rides?

Then, there's discipleship. Do we know and obey the word of God ourselves? We live in a society of "christians" that do not know what the word of God says. We go to churches that do not require to even bring or open our Bibles. Are we training our families in the word? To be warriors for Christ, who will run to the battle line for His sake, to pick up their swords, fully equipped for the battle. Or, are we still playing pattycake with the devil?

Another quote "From the beginning Suleman understood the importance of raising up a generation of children who know the Lord." May the Lord raise up willing workers who give all to raise up a generation of children to know Him here. May He raise up strong leaders and teachers who will uphold the importance of training in the truth.

Okay, okay, I'll go find some cute kid pictures to post. These are just the things that continue to roll around in my head and won't stop. Better go find my own little warriors and equip them for the battle.

Choose This Day Whom You Will Serve

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Choose This Day Whom You Will Serve
Not to beat a dead horse or anything, but the issue of divorce and remarriage has come up so many times in the past couple of weeks that I have been left feeling like I am the only one (well, besides that wonderful sister of mine, and my husband) who is willing to take a stand on what the word of God says. What saddens me is the way that it is justified by believers to actually appear that God is for remarriage after divorce. That we as His chosen are not willing to trust Him in this as well. That our churches celebrate remarriages, and everyone rejoices for the new couple. That we look so much like the rest of society even in this area. That the word of God is not uplifted above all else.

I watched just this past week as a couple who had no prior reason to take a stand either way, and were confronted with a situation where they needed to see what God had to say, were shown scripture to back up that Christians should not remarry after divorce. They rejoiced in the revelation of the word that was made so clear to them! But, within literally days, I saw that word snatched from them as they talked to a pastor and a deacon at two different churches, and then read books justifying other positions.

The common, always heard reasoning's being: the person wasn't saved when they were married the first time therefor they are a new creation in Christ and the first marriage was not a commitment before God (and what about those children from that first marriage? Are they then too considered null and void?). It was their spouse who left them therefor they did everything to save the marriage so they are free to remarry (if they go on to remarry they did not do everything to save themselves for God to reunite them). Aren't we all sinners? How can I condemn him if I do such and such? Has God really said thou shall not remarry after divorce? (Clearly, all those verses can't be that He really meant it). I don't feel convicted (are we therefor basing our beliefs on our feelings, or the word of God?). It is better to remarry than to lust after women (as my dear husband pointed out, men are going to struggle with lust whether they are married or not ~ poor excuse). There was adultery involved, therefor scripture says it is okay to divorce (Scripture also says forgive, that divorce was given because of the hardness of our hearts, and it does not say that remarriage is fine for reasons of adultery).

When will we start standing for the word of God? This grieves my heart. To watch my fellow brothers and sisters justify this is so sad. To see most of them unwilling to even take a stand. What is of utmost importance? The word of God, or our temporary comfort and happiness? Again, how do we preach to our children the importance of a Godly marriage that lasts a life time (like God ordained) while our churches and fellow Christians are celebrating remarriages in our sanctuaries?

Personally, we could not attend a wedding this past weekend of very good friends of ours for this very reason. My heart is so sad and heavy to watch this being celebrated amongst our body of believers.

Choose this day whom you will serve. If He is Lord, then follow Him.

Fearing God

Friday, July 31, 2009

Fearing God
Do you ever fear God? In my early morning ponderings, with over an hour to myself to pray, think and consider life, my thoughts come back to where I am with God. I find myself fearful to come into his presence at times. Fearful that He really sees through the games that I play with myself and others. Fearful that I cannot fool Him. Fearful that I might hear something that I don't want to hear, something that I have so brilliantly justified and made excuses for in my life. But, when I do come near, there He is. Open arms. Beckoning me to love the me I hide and just rest in Him. Remembering again that it is by His grace that I am able to do any of the things that He Himself has called me to in the first place. Why do I insist on running away, rather than running immediately to my Heavenly Father?
Monday, July 27, 2009

Complete Randomness
Just a few things that have been rolling around in my brain between church, laundry, packing up kids for camp again, and study of the Word.

Nostalgia: A bad memory and a good imagination. Don't live in the past, live for today. Do not glorify the past and risk today.

Pride leads to impatience, which leads to anger, which leads to foolishness.

Suffering is a skilled teacher. How do I view suffering? As destroying or perfecting? It's easier to be crabby about it and see it as destroying. (Reminds me of the #1 way to make your wife crabbier a couple of weeks ago...Quote to her the note she posted on her bulletin board "Crabby people are crabby because they don't delight in God" before she has even had her coffee:)Knowledge is made perfect through suffering.

Hebrews 5:8~[Jesus himself] learned obedience from what He suffered.Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. 1st Peter 1:17. Hmmm... am I living my life like that?

And, be careful how you allow others to shape and mold you. Live your convictions of God and stand on His word. One day we will be meeting Him. Be open to hear His voice and walk where He leads you, which means giving up our plans, and being vulnerable to Him.

Back to the never ending laundry pile.

Living Victoriously

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Living Victoriously
Something that has been in my thoughts recently has been the way that Christians live their lives. Often times I think we forget who we are. One of Satan's greatest tricks is deceit. I often find myself feeling defeated in this life and need to continually remind myself of who I am in Christ. 1st Peter was a great encouragement to me this morning.1Peter 1:1-2...To God's elect, strangers in the world... who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by His blood.

We are God's chosen. Chosen by God. God chose me. What a humbling thought. With that comes great responsibility, yet it is through the sanctifying work of the Spirit that God will do that work. My greatest calling in life is to be obedient to Jesus Christ. Already I have been sprinkled with the blood of Christ which means that my sins have been forgiven and I can approach the throne of grace of my heavenly Father without fear.

But how often I forget that and go on as if this world owes me joy and ease. God said we are strangers here. Awaiting our eternal home with Him. Peter goes on to write that Jesus has given us new birth and a living hope through His resurrection. We have an inheritance that will never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for us. Through faith we are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. Because of this we are called to rejoice greatly!

Trials and suffering will come that our faith may be proved genuine, that through them we will be refined, and it all will result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though we have not seen Him, we love Him. Because He has opened our eyes and hearts to believe in Him we are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy! We are receiving the goal of our faith, the salvation of our souls. May our lives reflect this by living victoriously!


Monday, July 13, 2009

As if working my way through Ecclesiastes and Hosea wasn't enough to digest, I was inspired by Lexi's youth group leader (Jerry) to read through Amos. Jerry has been taking the youth through a book of the minor prophets during each Sunday School class. (Just a plug for Jerry, he has been a gift from God to the church and our youth. The youth program has doubled if not tripled in the year that he's been here, and the best part is that he is teaching the solid word of God straight-forward to these kids, many who have rarely attended a church or heard about God. Plus, he is just barely over 20, with a college degree, working his way through some more seminary courses, comes from a family of 8 kids, and was home schooled. Thanks God!)

Another heavy book of prophecy against the nation of Israel for the umpteenth time they neglected God and forsake His ways. I have to admit, I saw alot of resemblance to our nation, our churches, to American Christians, and even the complacency in my own life. I have had to repent of things in my life and readjust again my focus and direction in light of God's word.

Amos is a shepherd of Tekoa that God chooses to speak His word of prophecy and upcoming destruction of Israel because of all her sins. Just so they are clear on why God would do this He spells out very plainly the many sins they have committed in chapters 1 and 2. "Is this not true, people of Israel?" God asks them. "You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins" (any Calvin fans out there? Go Calvin!).

As loving parents would not let their children's disobedience go without discipline, neither will God. These people turned from worshiping God to worshiping idols, they did not keep His decrees, they were led astray by false gods, they did not honor marriage. These people who were supposed to represent God as His children denied Him again. They had strayed so far that they did not even know how to do right anymore.God started slowly by taking their food, withholding the rain from their crops, striking their vineyards, sending plagues. Yet, the people refused to turn back to God. They continued in their prideful ways to do it themselves, rather than call on their God. God's response? "Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel, and because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel."

Stop right there and take account of your own life. Are you ready to meet your God? First of all we need to know the Lord. It is He who calls, saves, and transforms our lives. Takes us from that state of being a sinner, and breathes into us new life. Are you there? Has He saved you? Has He been calling and you've strayed so far that you do not know how to do right anymore? Repent, lament, seek the Lord and live! He says He knows how many are our offenses, how great our sin is against Him. He also says He will forgive those sins, never to recall them again.

But, Woe to you who are complacent! You put off the evil day and bring near a reign of terror. You lie on beds inlaid with ivory and lounge on your couches. You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves. You strum away on your harps... but you do not grieve over [your sins].The Lord revealed to Amos a wall where He was standing with a plumb line. He told Amos "Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer." What would a plumb line look like in our nation? In our churches? In our lives? Does anyone even care where God's plumb line would be drawn?

Remodeling this old house and these old buildings I have seen just how important a plumb line is. I have seen how the years of neglect have caused these buildings to lean so bad that the only way to save them is to tear out what has been left to rot and build new. It is a long, expensive, exhausting effort to bring beauty to something so badly decayed. Sort of like salvation. Sort of like our walk with God. We can choose to ignore it, but eventually we will meet our God. We will give account.

The king cried out that the land could not bear what Amos was saying. Get rid of him. Shut him up! They told him "Do not prophecy... stop preaching against [us]." Amos' response was that these were not his words. He was a simple shepherd and farmer that God chose to speak through. He would not deny His God by giving in to these people who refused to repent. Because they refused to hear the word of God and repent, and demanded Amos' silence, God's immediate judgement was that "Your (the King's) wife will become a prostitute in the city, and your sons and daughters will fall by the sword..." I don't think God's kidding.

"The days are coming," declares the Sovereign Lord, "when I will send a famine through the land- not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord." No one will get away, none will escape. Though they dig down to the depths of the grave, or climb up to the heavens, whether they hide on top of the mountains, or the bottom of the sea, God will seek them out. Surely the eyes of the Sovereign Lord are on the sinful kingdom.

"The days are coming," declares the Lord.But, as He always does after His people repent, there is restoration. How long we prolong our sin, rather than running immediately to the Saviour. Causing again God's anger and destruction because of our hard hearts. Oh, what wretched people we are.What a heavy topic for a Monday morning. But, oh, how deep our sins are against our God. If the depth of sin is being revealed now, imagine the glory and depth of His forgiveness when it is clearly revealed to us one day.He who forms the mountains,creates the wind,and reveals his thoughts to man;he who turns dawn to darkness,and treads the high place of the earth-the Lord God Almighty is his name.Amos 4:13

Hosea, Chapter 1

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Hosea, Chapter 1
God has been taking me through the book of Hosea. Again, I am reminded of how the word of God is living and active, like a double edged sword, and also how it convicts and brings to light another aspect of God like a crystal that is turned to reflect various flashes of light from depths that were not at first realized. I have been pondering and trying to digest the first chapter for a couple of weeks now, and was able to go a bit deeper this morning. A beautiful, quiet July morning in a big, quiet house often helps:)

Verse 2 has made me readjust my thinking of who God is all together, and makes me ponder His plans for our individual lives. When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, "Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord." Scripture doesn't indicate whether God spoke audibly to Hosea or just to his heart. Either way, I can only imagine Hosea's response. In the period between two sentences God spoke to Hosea and then Hosea married Gomer, a prostitute, and she bore him a son, possibly not even of Hosea. Imagine the turmoil in his life. How did He react? How did his family react? How many times did his mother say to him "I told you not to marry that woman"? How would Hosea be able to come home every night wondering who his wife was sleeping with, all the while knowing that he was obeying God? How did the "church" respond? How many times does God allow things in our life that do not obviously look like His hand, but are used for our sanctification? How many times do we flip that coin and blatantly sin and say it was God's will to sanctify and even bless us?

God used this example of Gomers prostitution to reveal to Hosea the prostitution of Israel, God's own people. The land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing form the Lord. Do we not see this first hand in our nation? In our churches? In our lives? The vilest adultery is departing from the Lord. We become prostitutes with the world as we deny the Lord and His Word. I have had to ask myself what have I prostituted to the world? As that wonderful sister of mine and I were discussing just this week, it becomes so easy to falter on our beliefs and stands of the Word of God. How much do you love and tolerate so as to exemplify Christ's teachings of love (especially to other Christians with varying beliefs), and how much do you not back down from the revelation that God has made clear to you? What is considered judgement that we are not "supposed" to do, and what is allowing God's people to stray even further because we are not upholding His word? What becomes acceptance of sin through our silence?

Gomer conceives and bears children. Through these children God speaks again. As parents we put a lot of time and thought into the names of our children (well, except for Cole as he was supposed to be a girl named Grace and being that we had just gone to the theater to watch that movie with the little boy named Cole since I wasn't ever going to go into labor anyway, and being it was our doctors birthday the middle name of Johnathon was an easy choice). Alexis has the middle name of her Grandpa in heaven, even spelled D-o-n in honor of him. For Trent we chose his middle name after my maiden name, Lee. For Grace and Micah we honored their Indian heritages by using their Indian names given by their orphanages for their middle names; Karuna and Jagat. But in the naming of Gomer's children God chooses names like Jezreel, because God himself will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and He will put an end to the kingdom of Israel. Gomers second child, a daughter, was named Lo-Ruhamad, which means "not loved". For God would no longer show His love to the house of Israel. A third child, a son, was to be named Lo-Ammi, which means "not my people". God declared through this infant that Israel would not be His people, and He would not be their God.God promises restoration and salvation in spite of this. In spite of His people rejecting and denying Him, even departing from the Lord, He promises to come back after His anger.

In verse 7 "Yet I will show love to the house of Judah, and I will save them- not by bow, sword or battle, or by horses and horsemen, but by the Lord their God." He promises even unification between Israel and Judah, as well as restoration of Israel back to Himself in Jezreels life time; but only after the sifting has been completed.

Ecclesiastes 7:13

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ecclesiastes 7:13
I have really been enjoying reading through Ecclesiastes. God has been speaking through so many portions of it. The verse in 7:13 made me rejoice again in Him!

Ecclesiastes 7:13
Consider what God has done:
Who can straighten what He has made crooked?

Only God Himself!
(A testimony to God's answered prayers in our lives.)


As part of a fallen world, pain is inevitable. Our bodies begin dying from the day we are born. I have not missed my share of it. For the past nearly 10 years, and especially the past few months, pain has longed to rule my life. I am not one to take much for medicine, so rarely give in to pain killers. I am also not one much to stop, so it takes a lot to send me back to bed. But as of late it has been wearing on me pretty hard. I was complaining to God about it the other day. Acknowledging the fact that He has a plan in allowing all of this in my life, asking Him to allow me to endure it for that reason, then whining to Him that He had never had to endure something like this the days that He walked the earth. So clearly his response came back to me, "Terri, did you ever have to hang on a cross by nails through your hands?". I humbly bowed in repentance and adoration again for my Saviour, and again longed for heaven; to be with Him and rejoice again that when we are there these broken vessels we live in will no longer be broken, but beautiful and perfect as He first intended.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

We have started studying the book of Ecclesiastes in Sunday School (hey, an actual study of the Bible in Sunday School class, who would have ever thunk it?, okay, sorry, I'll get off my soap box now). I have never quite understood the lamenting of Ecclesiastes, but somehow being 30 something, in the middle of a huge farm remodel project while at the same time trying to run that farm, raising 5 kids (lots of days wearily), amongst the rat race of life, I now have a greater appreciation for what Solomon was saying as he was reflecting on his life on this earth.

Ecclesiastes 5:19Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work - this is a gift of God.

It made me think of all the times that I have just stood and looked at the animals, or the half completed projects, or some other amazing thing that God has showed me around here, and the simple joy found in that. To realize that these things, even the happiness, is a gift from God. Makes me want to go and hug my goats again!

Suppressed and Rejected

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Suppressed and Rejected
As I was laying in my bed this morning enjoying the quiet, I was praying to the Lord and thinking about various things in my life. It has been a time (over the past 3 years) of great changes; both physical, monetary, emotionally, and spiritually. The Lord clearly revealed "Suppressed and Rejected". Exactly! Those are the things I have been struggling with! Then, he so clearly revealed how, like Hosea, he was allowing these hurts in my life to reveal Himself. How He Himself is Suppressed and Rejected. How easily have we packaged God into a nice, pretty little box with a bow on top so as not to offend others, or even ourselves. As in my life, I have become what my protected state has made me. Has God then become for the time being (or is He only revealing) what we as His people have packaged Himself up to be, rather than who He is? In my struggle it has been one of anger at the various situations that have caused it, down to a removing of self, and slowly it is becoming a brave thing to step out again. One of those steps has been to be able to say to God that I accept where He has me. If only with my mouth at this time, but slowly it is sinking into my Spirit. Another step is to allow Him to speak to me and bring healing and His plan. Aahh, how easily it is to turn this into me again. But it was so clearly revealed it is about Him! I see God breaking open that pretty little box in peoples lives all around. People breaking free in a sense of the American God, and truly seeking Him. Allowing Him to be Lord of their lives, and days, and decisions. To really obey Him and take His word seriously. I have become exhausted feeling like the only one crying out the importance of scripture and obedience. I have become tired and weary and fear slipping away. But, as always, His hand is catching me. And it is all about Him. As He has been teaching me, my place is to abide in Him. This is His fight.

God Moments

Saturday, May 30, 2009

God Moments
Lake Beauty Bible Camp is a mountain top experience in so many ways; emotionally, physically, spiritually. It can be a lot to take in and ponder. The speaker over the Memorial Day weekend was Joel Ruud, who had been programs manager at the camp for several years back in the 80's and early 90's (back when I would have been a camper). God used so many of the things he talked about to encourage, convict, and move me.

His main outline for the weekend:
You were created
in His image
to develop His character
and bear His fruit
while using His gifts
to do good works
which reflect His image.

To start out the sessions we had to say, out loud, the words with Him. Then say the words using "I" rather than "You", then we had to turn to the person next to us (luckily it was Rob and not somebody like Uncle Jim:) and say the words to them. What a simple, but powerful thing to do. Instantly I was convicted, especially while saying the words to Rob. What a way to look at ourselves and others in this context.

He started the weekend out with the challenge to remember who we are in Christ: Wanted and Hated. God doesn't just love us, He likes us. You (and I) are wanted by God, therefor we are hated by the devil. We need to get to the point in our lives when we start to realize who we are in Christ (fearfully and wonderfully made, heirs, not condemned any longer, more than conquerors, not just capable of surviving but thriving, imperishable, a chosen people, loved, a bride, empowered) and start acting like it. The grace of God becomes the power of God.

But watch out for the one who hates you, the devil. His schemes are always at work. Five things to be aware of from the enemy, which are not always obvious: accusation, condemnation, blame, shame, and the threat of thinking we are not good enough. Joel went on to show how we are constantly being beat down (by ourselves, others, family, etc.) and how we need to learn how to lift each other up. We need to remember who we are, we are God's chosen; when we forget that, we forget God.

The enemy wants us to forget who we are, by outright attempts to hurt us, make us forget who we are, to distract us, to tempt us to do evil, to not take our responsibilities seriously, by only living to make ourselves happy, to make us dissatisfied, to constantly want more. He denies us the opportunity to use our God given gifts and abilities, he denies us our value, removes our hope, until we are put into a position of thinking that we are "nothing" (without the group, without the boyfriend, without the new this or that, etc.), we start to think that it is us who fixes or solves things, not God.

The enemy makes us forget who we are. When we forget God, we forget who we are. Distractions take us further away from God and who we are. God has given each one of us gifts to be used for good works. The enemy does not want to see us use those so he destroys, distracts, delays and denies.

I am what the Father sees in me, not what the imposter sees in me. Remember who I am.

Joel went on over the weekend to talk about how we need to learn to live as Christ followers so as to have a close relationship with God; one that develops His character, bears His fruit, and does His good works to reflect God's image. We need a "Tent of Meeting" (somewhere to be alone with God), we need a time of meditation (regular time in prayer and scripture), we need to decide to leave a legacy with our life and how we live (what legacy are you leaving?), we need to trust God.He reminded us that we are not called to do good works (John 15), but that we are called to abide in Christ. The good works are the results. For a Martha person, that was hard to understand, but it is something God has slowly been revealing to me. First I am called to abide in Him.

He went on to talk about those gifts. We are not starting anything new, but joining God where He is already working. When we use the gifts God gives us we will be energized by them through His Spirit (I have decided blogging must be a gift of God:). Even the world around us wants us for our good works. Our worth is not defined by our good works. Our works should be an act of worship. Our works are a response of what God has done for us; they need to be kept in balance in our life. Our theology reflects the gifts He gave us. We reflect our beliefs of God through our works.

God "gifts" us, but we are also responsible to develop those gifts. Our spirits are awakened when we use our gifts. Things may not be our gifts, but we still have to live up to our responsibilities; no excuses. He went on to list several gifts. Some that I see in myself (and some that were pointed out to me over the weekend) are administration, discernment, hospitality, serving, and teaching.

The ultimate purpose for gifts is to glorify God. If you deny having any gifts at all, you call God a liar - scripture says that everybody has been given a gift from God. Before we can use those gifts fully, we must develop God's character in us. We have to allow God to bring us through a formation process while growing our gifts. God has created the good works for us to do. Sometimes God puts us in a "place of rest", where our gifts are not always meant to be used, but our character grown.

These teachings were spread throughout 6 chapel sessions, so if you are still with me, Kudos to you!

Along with that, I have been encouraged to do the following in my walk:

*Study my children and husband and become a prayer warrior for them. Start a prayer journal including specific struggles of sin, growth areas, praise notes, as God leads. In the past I used to keep a personal list of specific prayers for them, and be faithful in praying for them. My prayers of late have been summed up by keep them safe and salvation; very apathetic. Including myself in that list would be good, too.

*Rather than seeking areas to use my gifts, start praying for God to reveal the good works He has already planned for me, then put my efforts there. I have been getting a bit burnt out chasing leads of where and how to use my gifts that bring great joy, and this was a great reminder to again trust God in all things.

*Listen for God. Not in hearing His audible voice, but just slowing down and asking for His leadership, direction, wishes. Rather than throwing a prayer at Him, truly waiting and listening for His response. In the past few days I have heard His answers already. What a faithful Father.

Hebrews 11:13-16

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Hebrews 11:13-16
So, in my discontent this week of where God has us church-wise, I read these encouraging words from Hebrews this morning that again put all things in perspective.

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country - a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

It is not in this world that things will be perfect. God has me wandering in the desert for a reason. I am learning how to walk humbly with Him wherever He is leading; waiting for my eternal home. I will call him My God the whole way.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Eternal Judgement and Church Phobia

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Eternal Judgment and Church Phobia
How's that for a title? Those topics, among others, have been the thoughts I have been pondering the past couple of days while working on crossing off umpteen projects on the list. Reading through Hebrews has caused most of them, along with the amazing realization that the Holy Spirit is working and prompting in my life.

Hebrews 9:27-28 says Just as man is destined to die once, and after that face eternal judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people... After death, which is inevitable, we will face God. Because of what Christ did on the cross I do not fear eternal punishment, but the thought of eternal judgment is weighing heavy on me. If I were to stand before God today would I feel ashamed that I did not do more, learn more, strive more, reach out more, know Him more, fight to advance His kingdom more? My first thought was "Well God is sovereign, if He wanted me doing more He would do it." Bah! What an excuse! Yes, God is sovereign, but that is no excuse for my apathy, fear and undisciplined laziness. It has caused me to again look at this life with an eternal view. Hebrews hints about what the rest of the Bible hints about as well; this life is not all that there is, this life will end, and God wasn't kidding.

Which brings me to the issue of Church Phobia. Over the past couple of years I have suffered from Church Phobia. Going from an emotional issue, even to a physical one. It starts on Monday night, progresses throughout the week, gets really bad on Saturday and Sunday, then starts all over again. I love God, but not so much the institution of the church. But, as other places in Scripture also point out, Hebrews talks about joining together with believers. Hebrew 8:5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. Although the writer of Hebrews is talking about the Priests of old, the verse made me ponder the other verses in scripture related to churches. Obviously there is a form of a sanctuary in heaven that God's people will be attending. If we are striving to be Christ like, and even Christ was taught at the sanctuaries, and we will be attending a sanctuary for eternity in heaven, then I conclude that we should be here as well. I wonder if all those mad church people will sit by me in heaven?But I struggle with my experience on church. I do not want to go back to supporting the institution, the cliques and clubs, the rules and regulations of each denomination. I do not want to be somebodies project or attain the goals they have for me. The apathy I see in most churches frustrate me. The shallowness of God's word that is taught, the low expectations on obedience, the commitment to the group rather than all of God's people frustrates me. How I long, and pray for, God to show me where He wants me in all of this. My heart is for children, and I long to bring a hunger and depth for God to these tender souls. But first I have to get up the gumption to enter the institutional life again.


Monday, May 11, 2009

As I was reading my Bible this morning and heard the kids stirring upstairs, I thought about what a legacy is being left by this simple habit. Nearly every morning the kids find me reading my Bible when they come downstairs. As God promises to be faithful to a thousand generations of those who love Him, I pray that this will be a habit they acquire as well.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Alexis, Trent, and Cole have joined the Bible Bee competition (it's a national contest with prizes totalling $260,000 and you can still sign up until May 15). Flipping through some of the curriculum we will be studying over the summer I came across these questions on the section about Abraham. I have a feeling this will be a very challenging course. I think I like it already!Asked by God of Abraham (and you and me??)

"Will you cooperate with My plans for your life?"
"Will you trust Me to provide for you [in famine]?"
"Will you value what is eternal versus temporal and place the interests of others ahead of your own?"
"Will you trust Me for victory over your enemies?"
"Will you guard my holy reputation by crediting Me alone as your source of material and spiritual success?"
"Will you wait for My timing [in providing a child of promise]?"
"Do you love Me more than anyone else?" (Even yourself?)

Hebrews 4:12

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.It seems to me that I have been doing a lot more physical work around here than mental work. With the beautiful spring weather, and all these projects that I've been dreaming of all winter, my energy has been focused on accomplishing so many things. My body is in great protest, but I am so thrilled with seeing these things come into fruition.

But the Holy Spirit continues to impress upon me the need to get back into our Bible reading. Life has consumed us again with it's busyness. I have been reading snippets of my Bible as I can, but we have not been faithful to our family time together. About everyday we say we need to do it, but fall short of sitting down and actually reading the word for the past week.It is so important to me to ground our children (and myself) in God's word. As I look around I see so many "christians" and churches that are not grounded in the Word. So many that do not take seriously the study of scripture, and the daily immersion in it. Scripture is, for the time being, the only revelation of God that we have.

One day we will see Him fully, and for eternity God will reveal Himself fully, but for today He has left His word. If we don't read it it would be like receiving letters from a lover at war, but never bothering to open and read them.Hebrews says that the word of God is living and active. It is the Holy Spirit moving through conviction, encouragement, giving hope, etc., from God.

Scripture is the measuring rod that we use against everything else we come across to see if it is true to God. If we don't know Scripture, what do we have to measure with? We are called to be obedient. If we don't know God and what His word says, what can we be obedient to? As James says, we are tossed around like waves in the ocean, if we don't have a solid foundation. Every whim that comes along proclaiming to be prophecy and the word of God will be accepted unless we know what God has said.This double-edged sword penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit.

There are so many instances in my life that God has used His word to make me firm in Him. As my will and desires longed to rule in a way that was opposed to God, His Word led me back time and again to Him. Helping me stay the course when I wanted to give in to my own sins. Submission to my husband was a huge battle for me years ago (and still is some days) as I first started to understand God's plan in it. As I repeated over and over again, "And His way's are not burdensome." "Wives, submit to your husband.", I was able to become obedient not only in actions but in spirit as well, and have since been able to see God's master plan even in this foreign command.

God's word will not disappear. Not a single dot of an "I" will be lost. He gave us exactly what He wants us to have of it for the time being. How I long to see his followers steeped in it; to stand firm in it.

Challenge For the Day

Monday, April 20, 2009

Challenge for the Day
Philemon :7Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.What a challenge! To be called to such a high standard of loving God's people with the forethought always being to bring great joy and encouragement to them. To our husbands and children primarily, but then overflowing to every person we meet. To constantly be refreshing the hearts of the saints. Even the lady at the grocery store checkout. How weird would people think we are?

The discussion of late at our house has been how we carelessly treat each other, but then when company comes we put on the smiles. We are pondering, and trying to apply, the theory of "Treat your family like company, and your company like family". I have the company part down, but fail often at the family part. Guess God has a few things to say about that, too.Philemon :22And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers.Are you preparing the guest room in your life to be ready for God to answer the prayers that you know He has laid on your heart? What a way to look at our prayer life! I better get mine started.

Isaiah 40:6-8

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Isaiah 40:6-8
A voice says, "Cry out!"And I said, "What shall I cry?""All men are like grassand all their glory is like the flowers of the field.The grass withers and the flowers fail, because the breath of the Lord blows on them.Surely the people are grass.The grass withers and the flowers fail, but the word of our God stands forever."

As I was whining to God this morning about different things in my life that He has chosen for me I came across this passage in Isaiah. It really struck me and again put things in to perspective with an eternal view. This life and this world are not about me. My life will pass away as the flowers of the field scripture says. What will be left at the end is God and His Word.

I tend to get so caught up in these worldly things. A little perspective is good. My prayer then turns to that rather than seeking my own glory and my own way I might commit all these things to God's glory. That His name be lifted up and honored in all things. Keeping in perspective that all He has given us here is from Him, and to do all the things we do for His glory.

That's why when we do things like ride the horses we start by thanking God for them, the beautiful day and opportunity to ride, ask for His hand to be upon us and the horses in safety, acknowledge that even this land to ride them on is from Him. When we start any project we try to not get too consumed with it, but rather look upon it as taking care of what God has given us. Are we being good stewards and managing His gift? When I see my husband get up at 5:30 to go to work I pray for him, and thank God for such a good man for a husband, who works so hard to supply all his family needs. When I see the beautiful faces of my children I pray for their salvation and God's work in their lives that they, too, may learn to honor the Lord and seek His glory above their own.

I often fail and forget, but great is the Lords forgiveness, mighty was the price paid on the cross for sin, and powerful is the Holy Spirit to correct and lead us on to righteousness.The Bible says that it is God's word that will never disappear. This world will one day end, and our lives, too. If that is what is going to be left standing it would be wise to know what it says, who said it, and to make your salvation sure with God. Shouldn't we then strive all the more to obey that word, as well?

Iowa's Decision

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Iowa's Decision
I admit, I am not too current on worldy events. Being without an outside access television antenna, only receiving our local small town newspaper, and avoiding as much of the doom and gloom and tantalizing stories reported on the internet, it was with great sadness that I read this morning of the courts in Iowas decision to make gay marriages legal last week (to be finalized the end of April) with little to no option to the people of this state to voice their opinion.

Romans 1 came to mind. Specifically verse 18, The wrath of god is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness. And verse 24 and 26, Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another...Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

God intended marriage as one woman and one man. In homosexuality we see revealed just another form of sin, which we all received from Adam. What is so devastating about our country approving and applauding gay marriages is not that these scriptures say that God will judge our nation for this sin, but that we are already under His judgement. The sinful desires of men to long for men, and women to long for women in homosexual relationships is the result of God giving man over to his own shameful lusts because he has denied God. As you read throughout scripture, we are not the first nation to experience this. But, as you read also in Scripture, God has not dealt kindly with nations that refuse to obey Him and repent of these wicked ways.

Of course, Scripture offers the hope of the Savior. Reading from Acts today revealed the good news! Acts 14:15 Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. Acts 3:19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. Acts 10:43b Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name [Jesus]. Repent. Accept Christ as Savior. Obedience to the King of Kings. Best of all, He promised we don't have to do it all alone, He'll do it through us. But our nation does not seem to want to hear that either.Buckle up people, it's going to be a bumpy ride. Now is the time to prepare and decide who's side your on. Choose this day whom you will serve.

Iowa's Decision

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Iowa's Decision
I admit, I am not too current on worldy events. Being without an outside access television antenna, only receiving our local small town newspaper, and avoiding as much of the doom and gloom and tantalizing stories reported on the internet, it was with great sadness that I read this morning of the courts in Iowas decision to make gay marriages legal last week (to be finalized the end of April) with little to no option to the people of this state to voice their opinion.

Romans 1 came to mind. Specifically verse 18, The wrath of god is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness. And verse 24 and 26, Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another...Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

God intended marriage as one woman and one man. In homosexuality we see revealed just another form of sin, which we all received from Adam. What is so devastating about our country approving and applauding gay marriages is not that these scriptures say that God will judge our nation for this sin, but that we are already under His judgement. The sinful desires of men to long for men, and women to long for women in homosexual relationships is the result of God giving man over to his own shameful lusts because he has denied God. As you read throughout scripture, we are not the first nation to experience this. But, as you read also in Scripture, God has not dealt kindly with nations that refuse to obey Him and repent of these wicked ways.

Of course, Scripture offers the hope of the Savior. Reading from Acts today revealed the good news! Acts 14:15 Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. Acts 3:19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. Acts 10:43b Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name [Jesus]. Repent. Accept Christ as Savior. Obedience to the King of Kings. Best of all, He promised we don't have to do it all alone, He'll do it through us. But our nation does not seem to want to hear that either.Buckle up people, it's going to be a bumpy ride. Now is the time to prepare and decide who's side your on. Choose this day whom you will serve.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

God sure must love me! Again, he has been pointing out areas in my life that I like hidden alot better! A friend gave me a book called "Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother" by Carolyn Mahaney. I have just been reading it in bits and pieces as time allows. It covers all kinds of wonderful things like submission to your husband, the delight of loving your husband as God lays out, self control, and the honor of working at home. Things I thought I had pretty much under control. Pat-self-on-the-back!

But, obviously, I still have lot's of growing room.A great conviction point God has used to hit home comes from chapter 2. Not so much directed at my husband alone, but every other area of my life as well. She makes the point that when our reaction is not loving, and those pesky feelings of anger, pride, jealousy, selfishness, fear, and laziness are the first to pop up, it is because of sin in our life. There is no room for Godly character when these are our first responses. Her solution is to check our hearts at the first sign of these "sin alarms" and seek God to reveal what sin we are harboring, then repent. This is how we maintain a loving relationship/attitude that is glorifying to God. When we agree with the diagnosis of Scripture that we have a sinful heart, then we can also receive the remedy- the forgiveness of Christ and His power to change.

Usually I just like to justify all those things. What a challenge! What a concept to pass along to my children. What a ripple effect to those around me.It is hard to see ourselves as sinful. Full of sin. Me. Full of sin. But, if we do not have open eyes to see that, we then cannot see Christ, as we have no need for Him. He then becomes just somebody else to have an opinion.

As I tell the kids often, "I don't think God was kidding!" Scripture promises that we will all give an account one day to God for everything in our lives. One day every knee will bow and confess He is Lord. I am glad he has granted that to be willingly in my life through Jesus, and as He continues His work in me, I hope it is glorifying to Him, as painful as it is to me at times. Pruning sometimes needs to get vigorous for the sweet fruit to one day emerge.

2 Timothy 4:16-18

Sunday, March 29, 2009

2 Timothy 4:16-18
At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

This passage really struck me this morning in the midst of my exhausted-35-hour-work-weekend-state-of-mind. It made me ponder some of the things that God has been doing in my life the past few years, as well as look at the correlation in Paul's ministry and Jesus' last hours. God seems to take away all of our holds in life so that in the end it is only us and Him. Whether it be family, friends, congregations, titles, or physical homes, etc., He slowly pries our fingers off of this world so that in the end it is only the Lord we are counting on to give us the strength we need to endure what He has called us to. It is a hard journey to follow, until you realize the One who's calling. And, as in all things, it will be for His glory.Also this passage brought great encouragement as we are working our way through the Scriptures in a marathon type fashion at our home:2 Timothy 3:14-15But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Reading the Bible

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Reading the Bible
Call me crazy, but I have had this overwhelming desire to need to immerse my children (and myself) in the Word. It has been a little nagging thing, but continues to press until I decided to do something about it today. And, how do I do everything, why jump in with both feet, of course. We are going to try to read a book of the Bible everyday (allowing our self some busy off days), and hope to read it through by the end of May. We read Matthew today, and it was amazing. I have been plugging along through the New Testament myself since November 2007, studying and journaling various chapters at a time (which is wonderful) but to read the whole book of Matthew in one setting really gave me a big picture kind of feeling. Knowing myself, I am sure we will get sidetracked, but I hope not. If that cabin-in-the-woods were done, I would love to go hide myself out there and read the whole Bible in one setting.

Simple Obedience

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Simple Obedience
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Ephesians 6:1

This is one of the first verses we teach our young children. To obey their mom and dad ultimately makes everybody happy, especially God. In my hard learned wisdom gained by the time child number 5 came home I have found that to start by simply saying the child's name first, then said child looking directly at you before asking the request, is a huge respect part of the relationship. It also leaves no room for the child to pretend that he didn't hear you.

Then if that doesn't make enough of an impact, we usually go on to the one about the birds pecking out the eyes of little disobedient children. Where is that found? Not 1st Hesitations, oh yeah, Proverbs 30:17. That usually puts the fear of God into them. Laugh today! :))

Zechariah 9:8

Monday, March 16, 2009

Zechariah 9:8
The Lord really encouraged me with these words the other day:

But I will defend my house against marauding forces.

Both in the sense of God protecting His own (in this case Israel), and how as a mother I can defend my children and husband and home against the marauding forces that continue to bombard.

1 Kings 19

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

1 Kings 19
Talking to a friend yesterday made me ponder where God has me. I have watched the work God has been doing in this man's life, and continue to rejoice in the victories and faithfulness that is portrayed through it. His journey is coming full circle from being an alcoholic, to jail time, to recovery and salvation, and now back to jail again, but this time in ministry for his savior. God has laid upon him the passion to start a half-way house in his community where more people can hear of the gospel as they are on the road to recovery. I love when God moves, and His people are faithful to step out. The joy is contagious!

Then, I see where I am. Struggling again for that joy and that calling and that mission from God. See, I am normally not one to sit still. Always doing something else for the ministry. As He is sovereign, God does have me exactly where He wants me, but how long does this go on? At what point do I step out and start something, and how long do I justify that God doesn't want me "out there". I have a full time ministry right here at home, don't I???

Reading my Bible this morning in 2nd Timothy, God kept calling me to Elijah's story. At the height of his ministry, and experience of years of God's provision, and first hand seeing Him move, he is on top of Mount Carmel and calls on God to bring down fire from heaven. Right after this, he hears that Jezebel wants to kill him, so he runs for his life. He tells God "I have had enough, Lord. Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors."

Do you know what God did? He sent an angel to minister to Elijah, and gave him rest and food. After he was strengthened, God sent him out on a journey for forty days and forty nights. After he came to a cave at Horeb, the mountain of God, God asked him "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

I feel like I am somewhere on that journey. Coming down from a mountain top experience in ministry a couple of years ago, to "running for my life" the past year, and now waiting for the voice of God. Or maybe I am still at that resting spot, letting God heal and renew me. It is hard to be in the valley, seeing that enormous mountain ahead. Seeing the one's on top, calling down encouragement.

Elijah's reply, "I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." God responded by telling him to prepare to stand in the presence of the Lord. Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. And God asked him again "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

Maybe that was part of the purpose of the journey. To give Elijah time to ponder "what am I doing here?" Maybe that's part of our journey, too. To prepare to stand before the Lord to answer that question, before we go on to what He has prepared in advance for us. After lamenting to God, again, about what the Israelites had done God gave him very clear directions about what he was to do. He encouraged him by telling him he wasn't alone, God had set aside seven thousand in Israel who's knees had not bowed down before Baal. Elijah proceeded down the mountain, refreshed and renewed, to go out and serve the Lord again.

As I was looking for the account of Elijah, I came across our favorite 2 Kings passage. I call it "Cole's story", because when he was little he always asked me to read it to him. 2 Kings 2:23-25From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. "Go on up, you baldhead!" they said "Go on up, you baldhead!" He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths. And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria.Just another day of ministry for Elisha I guess??!! Cole has never teased anyone about being bald, anyway!