Thursday, December 16, 2010


He has come to give us life and life abundantly. We have been set free. Mercy. Love. Hope. Joy. Peace. Life. Salvation. Have you ever had the overwhelming flood of God washing over you? The time when you bask in His goodness, His mercy, and His love. To feel the washing of it. The rising of joy in it. The healing and freedom. The walls come tumbling down and you let them. You know you're not worthy, but He loves you anyway. The shame and the unworthiness have no place. Free to be who He made you in Him. When your hands are raised and there is nothing but God alone. The things you have been trying too hard to keep in check all fade away~ the bitterness, the worries, the cares of this world. It' all for the glory of the King.  When you build walls so high and so thick sometimes you even start to wall God off. I don't want Him walled off. I want everything He promised me. I want Him. I am laying down my trowel and letting God reconstruct the ruins. I will continue to wait patiently as He does His work and will trust Him for it.

God Is So Good!

God is so good! God is so good! He's so good to me! Don't you love it when God meets you in the simple places. Like on the recliner in the early hours of the morning when all the kids and even the dogs are actually still asleep and you can enjoy your coffee and the peace and quiet. Especially the times when we have our own agenda of what God is obviously going to do in our preplanned meeting time with Him and then He sidetracks you to a place in His Word that penetrates your heart to the core and brings tears and repentance and renews yet again your faith and love and awe for this eternal maker. Headed to Romans this morning I found myself in Malachi instead. Over the past year I have been spending alot of time in the Old Testament for some reason and have enjoyed it immensely. Chapter 4 spoke so clearly to so many things that God has been whispering in my ear and I have been very good at ignoring. Today He brought me to my spiritual knees again in the areas of tithing. "Trust me in this" says the Lord. It appears to be so much easier to hold on tight to the lesser pay that has been coming in here over the past year and worldly it makes no sense to be letting it go. The deeper issue tho is my heart. Why don't I trust God with His own money? What is my biggest fear? That He won't be faithful to His very own word? Oh Lord, teach me to let go. "You have said 'It is futile to serve God. What will we gain by carrying out His requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty?'" Is that not what I was just whining about the other Monday morning my friend? How sweet of God to settle this so quickly in my heart. How many times do I count all the little things that nobody even seems to notice as not having any value? The encouragement, the prayers, the steadfastness, the stubborn standing on the word of God, the continuous attitude checks, the continuous training in our home, the diligence of not letting the "world" influence, the continuous battle within myself against flesh and spirit. God reminded me that He notices. He called me His treasured possession. Treasured. Just let that sink in. God's Treasured Possession. He says it makes a difference to Him and that one day He will come and make a distinction between those who are His and those who are not. "But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings."

As I was consumed with what God was telling me this morning this verse made me stop and brought me as close to tears as I ever get. A few years back a lady from our church lost her son in a horrible car accident between two friends playing chicken. For the past 5 years we have watched and prayed as she triumphantly dealt with the tragedy, struggled to trust God in it, continued her witness to her unsaved family, loved and cared for her grandsons that were spared, and longed for her son. Last week she herself was killed in a tragic car accident, leaving behind those family members not trusting in God. Kathy revered Gods name. He himself has brought righteousness with healing in its wings. She now stands before her God. Scripture goes on to say "And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall." Rejoice Kathy and dance like David before your King. He promised He would wipe away all our tears and He has now wiped away yours. As for you, dear friends, how's your heart? Are you right before your creator? Do you know the saving grace of the savior that went to the cross to spare you from God's wrath for your sins? His name is Jesus. And he says you are His treasured possession as well.

Did you know?

Did you know that God loves you?? Really, really loves you like crazy?? It's what He's been reminding me of over and over again lately and I just thought you might need a reminder too. Happy Monday!

These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name...... [I will] acknowledge that I have loved you.
From Revelation 3:7-9


There are so many God things that I have been continuously pondering lately. I have been enjoying reading some of Corrie ten Booms book's and am always encouraged, ashamed, and inspired by them. What a life she led for the Lord! What great trust and peace God gave to her through her trials, allowing her to share that with the world through her experiences. One of the more persistent thoughts that have been rolling around my brain has to do with God's will in our lives and where we are serving Him. One of her comments in her book "Clippings from My Notebook" really struck me last night. "I was the same Corrie ten Boom. But in the concentration camp I was in the place where God had called me, and He was my strength. Here I was not in His will, and without Him I was nothing~ I was stupid, weak, and helpless." I have had experiences of both being empowered and used by God, full of great joy, energy and clear thinking and also times of dullness, suppression, and frustration. Do those times indicate that we are out of God's will in our lives, or that He is purifying us in our sinful nature? Believing that Scripture teaches that God is sovereign over everything I know that no matter what I do, where I go, or what happens is the will of God, but are there certain ways that He directs that we choose to be dull to? And what, then, when if you're the wife and long to honor God through submission? Hmmmm..... what a marvelous God we have to intertwine all these things to somehow still present us as righteous before Him one day.
The other thing I have been pondering a lot is the word of God itself. Primarily the reason that professing Christians are straying from it. Why it is losing it's place and value even in the church, but primarily in the believers life? Psalm 119 was such a sweet reminder to me this morning of God's word and the value God himself puts on it. Why is the word not more highly valued in our lives? Why is it that we think we can twist it? Why is it that we think we have the right to choose how to discern it and what to obey in it? When did we cross over into thinking that somehow we stand above it, rather than humbly coming below it in honor of what God has to say? Why do professing Christians not bother to even read it? I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes. It is time for you to act, O Lord; your law is being broken. Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold, and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path. Psalm 119:125-128

And I loved this quote from Corrie ten Boom's book "Tramp for the Lord": "When the Bible interferes with man's theology it always causes a strain." And what is it that is so important in the Bible? It is the revealing of a just God, the creator of the universe and all that is in it, who will one day call all of us to account according to His standards. But the story doesn't end there. For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him may not perish but have eternal life. Jesus became the perfect sacrifice to cover the sins that we can never atone for. We were by nature objects of God's wrath, but because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions- it is by grace you are saved, through faith. He has done it all. He promises.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Some Meat to Chew On

My devotional time has brought me to the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament. There are just a few things in there that God has really made stick with me the last few days so I thought I'd share the conviction.

Isaiah 1:17
Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.

Isaiah 2:17 and 20
The arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of men humbled; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day, and the idols will totally disappear. In that day men will throw away to the rodents and the bats their idols of silver and idols of gold, which they made to worship.

Often times I still get totally wrapped up in this world and the sparkly little trinkets it has to offer. I forget about the eternal kingdom that my Father has prepared for me. This life is just a shadow, scripture says, a foretaste of what is to come. This world is the imperfect world where we do not see clearly. The day is coming when God will make all things right and Jesus will rule. In that day we will throw these treasured items to the rodents and the bats in comparison of what God has in store for His children. It makes me look a whole lot differently at what's really important.

Isaiah 2:22
Stop trusting in man, who has but breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?

How many times is it man (or woman) that we trust in for our happiness and joy? How often do we feel the right to hold a grudge or make ourselves superior to others in order to elevate ourselves? Don't we have the right to be bitter at so-and-so for days, or weeks, or months, or years for what they did or did not do to hurt MY ego? That so-and-so is a sinner just like you, dear friend. Even in the days since I have read this verse I have had to substitute so-and-so's name to remind me that it is God alone whom I should be trusting in. "Stop trusting in so-and-so to do what I want them to do to make ME happy. Start trusting in God alone. Start being the one who does what makes God happy".

Isaiah 3: 10
Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.

And this one kind of hurt~
Isaiah 3:16-24
The Lord says, "The women of Zion are haughty, walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, tripping along with mincing steps, with ornaments jingling on their ankles. Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion; the Lord will make their scalps bald. In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, the earrings and bracelets and veils, the headdresses and ankle chains and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, the signet rings and nose rings, the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls. Instead of fragrance there will be a stench; instead of a sash, a rope; instead of well-dressed hair, baldness; instead of fine clothing, sackcloth; instead of beauty, branding.

Hmmmm.... unless I am unlike all the other women that roam this earth I still fall under the trap of being somewhat haughty and relying way too much on good looks, cute clothes and hair-do's and all the other feminine charms. Well, unless I'm on the farm with my goats, but even then I like my mascara. Where should my focus be? Rather than on my outside it should be on my inside. Love, joy, peace, kindness, meditating on the word of God, delighting in his laws and decrees. And don't let anybody tell you nose rings aren't in the Bible. God doesn't seem to have an opinion here one way or another, other than if they are a distraction from Him. That still doesn't convince me to get one~ ouch!

And my favorite Isaiah passage~
Isaiah 6:1
... I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Blazing a Trail

Have you ever tried to cut a new trail? Many, many times we have endured that toilsome process here on the farm. Through swamps, weeds, and trees amongst the elements of freezing cold or scorching heat we have been known to be out working on new fences or repairing the old ones or winding our way out in the woods to design horse trails. There are the old barbwire fences and posts to pull out or trees to be removed. New ground needs to be travelled over again and again to stay ahead of the weeds so that we can travel the new trails with the horses. Sometimes even the big equipment has had to come in to remove large trees or chunks of earth. I have come to see this journey of Motherhood to be much like blazing a new trail in my life. As a Christian mother besides, one who was saved shortly after becoming a mother, this path also has had many obstacles to go around, forge through, prepare in advance, or endure all for the sweet reward of hopefully watching my children one day walk in the ways of the Lord.
One of my revelational thoughts lately has been how as much as I am training my children up in the Word of God I am at the same time trying to conform them to the world so they are seen as acceptable to others. Entering the teenage world has been as much of a learning experience for me the second time around as it was the first. After over a decade of mothering you would think you would be ready to watch your little children start to soar on their own but I am realizing it is as scary as when they first let go of your hand and went to Sunday School by themselves, or were finally old enough to play in the yard by themselves without you. Growing up in the public school I only know public school ways. Be the popular one, do what others do, don't look different or act different and by all means don't be a God freak. Maturity has slowly transformed some of those thoughts, but our foundation is still our foundation. I heard the other day that people rarely change their world view after they are 20 years old, just past the time one would graduate. How fast those first 20 years go and how little we really knew when we thought we knew it all. Now I'm rambling.... my point is this teenager.
This teenager who, since the age of 2, has been challenging me in the ways of the Lord versus the ways of the world. This teenager who has chosen to not conform to the ways of the world but rather be transformed by the Word of God. This teenager that does not strive for social acceptance by giving in to her peers' opinion of what is cool and what is not but rather has her goals set on her Lord and His calling in her life. This teenager who is addicted to the Word rather than the worlds opinion of her. This teenager who longs to be trained up to be a servant to one day serve in a higher calling. I am humbled. I repented. I gave her back to God and His plans in her life, not my plans.
May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice! Proverbs 23:25 I am glad; I am rejoicing!

Just Some Thoughts

Just some of my God thoughts for the week because some of you ask and actually really want to know.
James 1, especially verse 2 "Consider it PURE JOY my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds...." and verse 5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." PURE JOY in trials of many kinds. PURE JOY means no more whining, fussing, whimpering, pity parties. Suck it up buttercup. PURE JOY! And how many things do I take into my own hands, thinking I know how to handle them, rather than asking the God of the universe for His wisdom? He's already started implementing that in my self focused heart.
James 4, particularly verse 5 "Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?" And just what is the Spirit envious of? He is envious of anything that is anti Christ. Anything that is not glorifying to God that we harbor and coddle in our hearts. He envies intensely. Hmmmm..... which side do I lean to mostly, and am I making his struggle to conform me to the Word easier or harder? How subtle these "little" things are that we allow to rule us, rather than the Spirit Himself.
Isaiah 31:1&3a. "Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the Lord. But the Egyptians are men and not God, their horses are flesh and not spirit." How easy it is to trust in our own created horses and chariots rather than God alone. Trying to define mine and destroy them, looking rather to God for His wisdom and strength and provision.
Isaiah 32:17 "The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever." Hmmmm.... righteousness, peace, quietness, confidence. Forever. Forever. Forever. A little Michael and Debi Pearl for some conviction this happy morning. Conviction is good stuff my friends:
"The first and the most important thing you will ever do as a mother in training your children is to reverence your husband, delight yourself in him, love to obey him, feel honored to be married to him, joy in his presence. In doing so, you are building up your house, you are creating a home, you are establishing a foundation. This is the first and most important ingredient in raising happy, obedient, creative, respectful children, children who delight to be part of the family. This kind of atmosphere in the home causes your children to love each other, to enjoy being with their own brothers and sisters...... Ladies, we have in our grasp the opportunity to reverence our husbands, thus teaching our children how to reverence God. I can change eternity by choosing to delight myself in my husband, obeying him, loving him, and causing him to stand before God free from the shackles of domestic condemnation. As Mike once said, "When a wife suggests that her husband take the lead, any leading he does after that is just following her suggestion."" Taken from page 89 of their fabulous book No Greater Joy, Volume One, in the article titled Carnal Husbands, Cranky Wives and Cantankerous Kids. Read the whole article here, along with many other good ones.
And one last thought, after watching my older children start their early limited venturing into the world without mom this summer is the realization that their foundation has, for the most part, already been built and established in our home. They are now starting to build their own lives on the foundation we have layed for them. I can see faults in it, but also so, so many strengths (Praise the Lord!). I see them maturing and glorifying their Lord, not only their mother's Lord. I also see the hard work I need to commit to the younger ones as their day will soon come too.
So.... what's God doing in your life??? And How's your Heart???

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I've got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy

I've got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy
Down in my heart!
Where? Down in my heart!
Where? Down in my heart!
I've got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy
Down in my heart to stay!
And I'm so happy, so very happy
'Cause I've got the love of Jesus in my heart!
Do you remember that song from Sunday School? It's one that we sing quite often here. Alot of times when somebody is not so very happy. It really is a heart check moment. Do you have friends who make frequent heart checks just to see "how's your heart"? I do. And she gets me every time. But back to the song. It's been a topic that God has been weighing on me to consider the past few weeks. Maybe it's because I'm getting older and the world has failed to promise all that it dangled before my younger eyes and every time I go to Walmart it is more a disappointed feeling than that old high of getting something new. As people and circumstances continually refuse to fill that joy spot I realize that they were never meant to fulfill it in the first place. All over in scripture God keeps bringing me to joy verses. And your joy will be complete; for the joy of the Lord is your strength; with the joy of your presence; the joy of your salvation; Shout with joy to God all the earth; gladness and joy will overtake them; that your joy may be complete; their overflowing joy; consider it pure joy my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds.

There is a difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is a feeling~ it is temporary. It revolves around something that happens and is not meant to last. Joy, on the other hand, is deeper. Because it revolves around God it is not based on circumstances. As I look around I see everybody consumed with trying to be happy, trying to replace joy in God for something that feels the same way. It hasn't worked so well in my life. How about yours? So the journey continues that God has me on to rid myself of all the false notions that anything but Him will bring me joy. I am learning really what that simple Sunday School song means, day by day, as I seek the Savior who it is all about. That pure joy really is found down in my heart, in Jesus' love, even in trials of many kinds as James says, not in an aisle of Walmart. To God be the glory forever and ever my friends!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bible Bingo

A long ago pastor called it Bible Bingo. I call it talking with God. I have fond memories of my Dad mentioning conversing with the Almighty through His word in much the same way. What am I talking about? Simply asking God what He has to say to you today and patiently waiting for His answer. Waiting for God's direction to lead us in His word. Aside from daily being immersed in Scripture God speaks profoundly to His children from passages we wouldn't even consider going to on our own little scheduled sanctification plans. Places like Revelation 13, where He again reminds His children to beware of the schemes of the evil one. Warns them of the days to come, where deceit and lies will rule. Encourages them to patiently endure and hold faithfully to His word. Reminds them of who wins in the end, and that He really will be with them and will come riding in on his mighty steed to save them. This calls for wisdom. Wisdom from above. People get ready, the days are getting shorter according to my understanding. Are you ready for eternity?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

It's All About Me

Or.... maybe it's not, but it sure seems like it in our consumerist world.

Just a little rant/observation/pondering I have been noticing for quite some time now: while listening to or reading anything Christian related (sermons, songs, books, articles, conversations) I have started to put things through my own little filter test. The simple questions that I base this test on are 1) Who is this about~ God or me? Easier defined by asking "Did I learn something about myself, or about God?" 2) Is scripture the central teaching point, or is the teaching based on just another theory that is popular? Pay attention the next time and see for yourself.

And, after some self examination on my continuing stingy conservative stands on scripture, God reassured me with these sweet words this morning. So true! So true!

I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. Psalm 84:10b


Blessed is the man you discipline, O Lord, the man you teach from your law; Psalm 94:12When I read these words this morning it was as if God was speaking directly to me. This is for you, Terri, He said. As I was struggling with some of my own issues due to my lack of discipline, enjoying the pity party thank you very much, it really put a lot of things into perspective. It made me think first of all of God's love for me and how He shows that. In provision, comfort, consolation, salvation, joy, peace, but also in discipline. God disciplines those He loves Hebrews says, so I took comfort in His discipline to realize that indeed He does love me.

But who likes discipline? Grace certainly didn't when she had to receive a spanking session for her bad attitude the other morning. Did I enjoy spanking her? No, not on the level of the actual act, but did I enjoy the sweet repentance and joyful heart afterward? Absolutely. Do I have a daughter who quickly learned that it is a lot easier to smile in the morning and be a joy to her family rather than cause a scene and disrupt the whole household? Absolutely. Will she fall again? Absolutely.

Now, believe it or not, but I am really a rather lazy, self indulgent person. Left to myself I would flit from one thing to the next, not really getting anywhere. I definitely lack discipline in my life, so these words were like honey to me to realize that God's discipline is proof of His love. And notice that this discipline is taught from His law. Hmmmm.... interesting. And why does He give us His law and then expect us to hold to it? To grant us relief from the days of trouble (verse13). The little bit of pain that I have to experience now to learn to love, follow, and obey His word will save me a heap of trouble in the days to come. It only makes me all the more steadfast to continue for myself and for my children's sake in immersing ourselves in the word and striving to obey until the day of the Lord's return. Go fight the good fight Christian!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

God Stuff

The days are going by so fast and so often it seems that I don't take time out to really stop and see what God has been doing in my life and heart, and also in the lives He has chosen to put around me. In my quiet time this morning I was pondering so many things of the last few weeks and it made me rejoice in my Lord all over again. It is so easy to be discouraged, but when we really start counting our blessings it puts our hearts right.

Some of my bigger God moments from the past few days:

I love how God takes my broken, sinful nature and somehow has used that to nurture these 5 beautiful children He has entrusted me with for all these years. To see one certain young man repent and become right with God has caused me to be in total awe. Another certain daughter has so surpassed me both in her love for her Lord and her knowledge and desire to know Him more that I can only sit back and wonder what God will do with the rest of her young life. A husband who holds so strongly to the Lord and His word has been my steady rock for so many ups and downs.

I love when God is so gentle in my disobedience. Rather than giving me what I deserve He so gently wraps His arms around me in my disgruntled state and leads me ever so gently to His word. Unmistakeably leading me to just the scripture He ordained to be wrote hundreds of years ago that He might whisper it into my ear now and bring repentance. When I put my feelings before His words He forgives even that.

I love watching how God puts people right smack in the middle of my life when I am not even aware of it, and then takes such person and allows me to watch Him transform them. How he grows me right along beside them and allows them to watch the growth in me as well. To rejoice in their joys, and wrap my arms around them in their repentance.

I love how God reunites people after hurt and allows rejoicing in the works of His hand. When His time has finally come to bring things to completion and together we can anticipate what He will do next. Bring home those babies God!

I love how God used His son Jesus to remove the sting of death, even from a too-young-mothers early homecoming. How, somehow, in the midst of cancer and death a family can rejoice that she is now with her Savior and long for their own meeting with their maker.

I love it when God uses something as simple as a few quiet moments and lots of questions in the midst of a 30 hour weekend shift to share the gospel with a friend whom He has continued to bring into every area of my life. I love it even more when He gives me the words to say.

I love knowing that therefor there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ. That for an eternity I will keep learning how wide and how long and how high and how deep is the love of Christ for me.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Claiming the Promises

The word of God truly is living and active. I love it while I am in it how God reveals, grows, deepens, and makes me hunger for more. I have been soaking up the promises and praises, as well as the lamenting and pleading, in Psalms for a few weeks now. This morning it really struck me how the claims of the Bible are ours to claim as a child of God. They are not just for David or Paul, but for every child that the Lord has marked with his seal.

They cried out to the Lord in their trouble and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. They sowed fields and planted vineyards that yielded a fruitful harvest; he blessed them, and their numbers greatly increased, and he did not let their herds diminish. But he lifted the needy out of their affliction and increased their families like flocks. (from Psalm 107)

I have been reading the biography of Nelson Bell (A Foreign Devil in China), the father of Ruth Graham Bell. He was a medical missionary in China for several years, including during the beginning of World War II. Daily he watched atrocities around him, but his walk was so close with God and his understanding and belief in God's sovereignty and His promises that he felt safer in a foreign country under daily sniper attacks and threat of kidnapping doing the Lord's work because he knew that this was where God wanted him to be.

It has really made me ponder my walk with the Lord. My trust, obedience, faith, desire to follow Him rather than my own desires. I find myself coming up lacking in the prayer department. I long to walk that close walk with God but find other pleasures that rule my life more~ like sleeping rather than forming a disciplined prayer life. Nelson held prayer and spending time with God above all else. He had set aside time daily for private prayer and family and hospital prayer a minimum of 4 times a day. It has reminded me of the story of Daniel and how he set aside time for prayer daily with the windows open for the world to see. As a result he walked with God so closely that he felt his presence. Can you say that in your life? Do you walk with God as a friend? Those promises are yours to claim from your Heavenly Father. He promises good for his children. He promises all that He does is because He loves them. He promises eternity with Him.

You don't know Him you say? He is the God of the universe. The creator of all. Because of the sin of all mankind he sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the price for that sin. He became the bridge back to God. Scripture says that all have sinned. All are separated from God because of our sin. Ephesians 2 says that mankind is actually dead in our transgressions and sins. But because of God's great love for us he made us alive in Christ and what he did on the cross to pay the penalty for us. By grace he has promised to take away all our sin and guilt and shame and cover them with Christ's righteousness. What do we have to do you say? There is nothing we can do my friend. We are dead, remember. It is Christ who has done it all. He is the one who causes us to see our own sinfulness. He is the one who causes us to repent. He is the one who opens our eyes to salvation and begins the work of righteousness in us. As we continue on the journey He is faithful to see us to the end where we will ultimately see Him face to face. Take the time to ponder where you are with God today. Is He beckoning?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Be On Alert

1 Peter 5:8Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.~I had a very "A-ha!" kind of moment this morning as I was spending time with the Lord. Again I woke up discouraged. Rather than being able to focus on all the things that God is ordaining for his glory I found myself again only seeing the devil's handiwork. It appears that he is working overtime in his role as ruler of the kingdom of the air. I don't tend to give the devil any more credit than he is due as I know whom he has to go through to achieve any of his work, I know who really has everything under His control and I know that we as sinful beings do a mighty fine job of messing things up ourselves. But it is still so easy to only see short sighted what is happening around us. He seems to be on overtime around here.

As I was having my little pity party I realized what I was doing. I have responded, finally, to God's prompting to hide his word deep in my heart by taking the challenge to memorize Ephesians this year. For the past 2 1/2 months I have spent time nearly daily in Ephesians focusing on God's word in a very different way~ writing it, memorizing it, reciting it, letting it sink in in a way like never before. No wonder the devil did not like it. No wonder I have been feeling so attacked in my very soul. We as Christians, God's elect, live as strangers here. This world should not be our comfort, nor should we look for our comfort from it. We live in enemy territory, and as Trent has been reading about King Solomon it is easy to get sucked into the lifestyle of a foreign land. King Solomon had 700 wives whom he longed to please by building temples and idols to each of their Gods, little-by-little forsaking his God and losing his soul along the way. (1 Kings 11)

What is Peter's answer? Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:9-11)

Stand firm in the word. Watch for the attacks~ the wedges that cause division, the bitterness that causes years of pain, the discouragement that takes our focus off of Christ and what He did on the cross, the little justifications that lead us astray from the Word of God. Finally be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13)

And to you, Laura and Maddie my partners in this challenge, and Alexis who has taken on her own challenge, I will remember to keep you in my prayers a bit more as the challenge continues. Now, after all that encouragement....... anybody else want to join us??? Go deep, you only live once, and we have an eternity to look forward to of telling our stories of what Christ did in our lives when we were obedient to the good works which he prepared in advance for us to do.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chronic Pain

I'm going to whine a bit here, just because this is my soap box and I am in a whiny kind of mood. Maybe if I whine I'll get it out of my system. I'm not looking for sympathy, just sharing my journey in the hopes that somebody else out there may not feel so alone. For the past 10 years or so I have lived my life in near constant pain of some varying level daily. This thorn in my side that God has allowed has taken on many different levels in my spiritual growth. Due to ongoing health issues I started out hoping for a quick doctor/miracle cure. After all this time, and all this pain, I am learning to submit my poor, getting old, hurting body into God's hand for his plan. I have to admit, some days it takes all I've got to keep doing and going and being somewhat happy about it all. I am too stubborn to stop, and feel that I can't miss out on all the things that God has laid before me to quit doing things. I am not the type to sit, and to go back to bed and cry is just too far from my nature. So I go on. Day after day, pain or not. I try not to be a grumbler, but the state of my heart is so often far from that. It's myself that I grumble too. I have come to realize that God is forcing me to seek Him for all of my joy. None of this outside stuff matters. Everything we have, our health, our spouse, our livelihood, our children, can be taken away. God is the only stable. In Him I am learning to rejoice, no matter what the outside is. I will admit~ it is a long, hard struggle some days, but one that will ultimately glorify Him and bring me great joy. Like Alexis said yesterday, it makes us long for Heaven all the more.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Want A Challenge?

Go check out Alexis' last post for a challenge from a young lady. My, oh my, what a way to start a God honoring life. I'm just a smidgen proud, being her mom and all:)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Be Still my Selfish Heart

Before my feet hit the floor this morning I found myself thanking God for the hot chocolate in the cupboard to make on this cold morning for all my sweet little dumplings. I found myself thinking about how much I appreciate these gifts, but long for them more than the good gifts sometimes. The hard work involved in God growing his fruit in me is not always appreciated. How much do I really long to be made patient? For the umpteenth time to have to practice kindness, only to lose my temper, again. Practicing joy when everything around you seems to be falling apart, or you are in pain, or the cupboards are running low, or the work hours are short, or it is still cold and snowy outside. Who wants to practice self control when the sin is so enjoyable to indulge in? Peace? In an old farmhouse with 5 children, 3 of them noisy boys? Gentleness when the picky little fights are about the same issue day, after day, after day? To display love and goodness to people you would rather scorn because of the hurt involved. Faithfulness to stay in the word, keep fighting the good fight, stick to your guns, when the world keeps spinning so fast and the chores need to be done, and breakfast made, and school started. I find it's easier to just long for the hot chocolate in the cupboard.

But what is God's agenda? To stretch me and grow me into the image of His Son. To be different than the world. To reflect Him. To hold to His statutes. Because He loves me, He keeps disciplining me. The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure, and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

Galatians 5:22 and Psalm 19

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Still Gonna Praise God

Though the fig tree does not bud,
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop failsand the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior
.........Habakkuk 3:17-18
And, may I add my own sorrows from this past week~
Though I struggle with the shock and the hurt of watching our friends deal with the unexpected death of their teenage son,
Though the transmission goes out on the new-used van with the claimed rebuilt transmission only 1 month after buying it,
Though the hot water will still not stay hot in the next to new hot water heater and I am tired of sponge baths and my husband insists we dig up and replace the water line this spring (if we can wait that long) rather than building that entry way,
Though after spending 2 days watching and worrying about Belle in a delivery that did not seem right to me and she delivered a dead little doe kid without me,

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.
The Lord is in His holy temple;the Lord is on his heavenly throne........ Psalm 10:4

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday Morning Fight

Often times when I need a bit of encouragement I enjoy reading through the book or sermon notes that I have recorded. Printed words have always had a great impact on me. As much as possible I try to take notes or write lengthy blog posts about God's word in my life. It becomes a map of the way that God has been shaping me and leading me, as well as a reference to go back to the truths that have impacted me. It gives me a way to process and ponder something that so often is heard or read, then nearly immediately forgotten because of all the other demands of life.
When I had nearly a whole week to myself in a hotel room while Rob was at the World Dairy Expo in September I had read a book of Alexis' called Battle Cry for my Generation, by Ron Luce. The book was as powerful the second time around as it was the first time I read it. It is mainly directed at a teenage audience and is a wake up call to what shapes the minds and decisions of this generation. It is a battle cry to the Christian teen to wake up and look around at what is happening right in their midst. It reveals the subtle yet immense power of media in our lives, and especially the lives of young people as they grow up with the messages always being heard and seen on TV, movies, radio, and magazines, not to mention the Internet.
As conservative as we are in our home with these outside sources I realize just how much the scales are still off when we balance the influence of scripture verses computer and movie time. Think of it... how many days a week do you sit down with your children (or by yourself) and read the Bible for 1 1/2 hours straight, the duration of a normal movie? Ron Luce states in his book that "When we exalt someone, we allow them to influence us and give them authority in our lives." So when we see Ariel swimming around for the umpteenth time in nothing but a bikini top, then she trades her whole species for the promise of a ring, what does that say to my girls? When the radio blares "You've got me and Jesus!", what kind of theology does that teach my children? Or when they hear again that Little Foot lived with his fellow dinosaurs millions of years ago, how does that shape their beliefs on creation and evolution?
The subtleness is, well, so subtle. "Satan is not able to force you to sin, instead he goes to work on your mind, introducing tiny deceptions, one at a time. Then, little by little, when he has enough influence in your life, you begin following through on temptation. He is successful because he has been invited to do it. Media, TV, Internet, video games, and movies have provided him with more than enough means to dupe us a little at a time." "You may be surprised to find that you have become desensitized to what's out there- just because it is so common."
While reading the Bible do you try to justify your life by it, or do you let it be God's measuring rod, taking it at face value for what it really says? It is His word. Unbelievable effort has been taken in translation to keep it true to what was originally written by inspired men of God. Countless tests have been run to test it's authenticity and accuracy. It is the heart of man that has insisted on changing it's meaning.
After pointing out the enemy and his tactics, Ron Luce calls us to decide how we are going to fight this battle that is waging right outside our doors. The battle that longs to consume our children and our very souls, all for the exchange of a few trifling moments of pleasure. He says "It's time to wake up and realize there is a war going on for your generation. Your enemy is not playing games. It's time for us to take a stand and fight back." Do you believe that? That there is a war going on? Do you feel the pull? Do you see the battles? Do you see how easy it is to be sucked into this culture and it's beliefs, rather than draw near to God? It is very subtle, and we are experts at masquerading a Sunday Smile and justifying our very own sins and complacency. "If we have that attitude we will lose out and pay the price for our inactivity. You have a lot more influence than you know. It's time for us to take a stand and fight back. While the enemy hates us with every fiber of his being, he is not so strong, nor the battle so large, for us to be defeated. We have the living God on our side~ If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31"
"The question is, what will you do? Are you ready for a fight?" He encourages us to know our enemy, and even more to know ourselves. The fight within us, Christian brother and sister, will not end until death. Even though we are saved, the battle for sin still rages right within our very own soul. The sin of the devil, pride, is so deep and so subtle that we easily overlook it in our own lives. Our first desire is not to glorify God ultimately but to make ME happy. Praise the Lord, we do have the Holy Spirit to guide us on that walk, but it is a practiced art to allow him to guide us. "If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. What are my weak points? Do I see the enemies attacks coming? 2 Corinthians 11:14 Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. We become easy prey because we voluntarily let Lucifer into our minds. After seeing and listening to so much bad stuff... what's right and what's wrong start to become a little hazy. 83% of this generation believes that truth is relative to the situation!" Those are our children lumped into that percentage mark, unless we choose to fight. "Almost like a herd of cattle, so many just fall in line and allow themselves to be led into the fuzzy world of moral relativism. The devil's offers look freeing, but they always lead to bondage." God wasn't kidding when He wrote the Bible, my friends.
"It is time to wake up and stop playing into the devil's hands by pretending everything's okay. Col 3:2 Set your hearts on the things above rather than earthly things. Romans 12:9 Love what is pure, hate what is evil, cling to what is good. And let's stop telling ourselves that we are not being affected. You must wake up and fight. God never creates someone with a small destiny. To finish we need: devotion [to the word], defiance [to sin], courage [to live it], and endurance [to finish the race]. Where is God calling [you] to live more courageously? If it is in God's word, we need to uphold His code."
And, more encouraging words from my notebook by Todd Friel, "People are sick of silly, they want serious, holy, deep." In the direction that everything is headed people are seeing that these lies of peace, joy, happiness, and comfort are crumbling right before their eyes. There has to be something more; there is something more, and it's found in God. And... "If you question whether something in scripture applies to you~ if it is wrote in scripture, it applies to you.
So what does all that look like in practice? In my life it has encouraged me to go deeper in the word, both myself and with my children. To memorize that word, uphold it against all else, teach it where possible, live it as best I can. Another area in my life that I am trying to develop is regular, purposeful prayer for my husband and children, as well as myself. I long to see God's hand work to grow them deep in the word, to have a desire to obey that word, to love their God, purity, future spouses, opportunities for growth, for Godly teachers who will encourage them. In my own life that God would change the areas of my heart that are not yet submitted to Him, to know His word more, and to love it, that I would be quick to obey, to be joyful, to constantly seek the Lord, to be so passionately in love with Jesus that it is contagious. I have to admit, it has brought both condemnation and joy as we hold unswervingly to His word.
Again, in the words of Ron Luce "There will be times when you may have to endure personal turmoil while God is changing you. You will have to endure the attacks of the enemy as he becomes more and more irritated with you and the damage you are doing to his shrinking kingdom." In the end, I want to stand before my savior and hear Him say "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Coffee and a Bible

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. ~ 3 John :4
And like RedGateFarm just recently posted, children don't just happen to start walking in the truth all on their own ~ they follow their example and respond to the teaching of dedicated parents. Although I am far from perfect, or even close to fully resembling Christ, I always find it great joy when God allows the kids to witness nearly every morning my quiet time with a cup of coffee and a Bible. Our primary relationship with Christ is through the word. To walk in the truth we have to know the truth. My prayer and my goal is that I, too, would have no greater joy as I hear that my children are walking in the truth. For there is no greater joy than walking in the truth with your Savior.

Monday, January 4, 2010

More Minor Prophets

The Lord will care for them; the Lord will be awesome to them; the Lord is righteous; the Lord is mighty to save; the Lord has taken away your punishment; the Lord is with you.
The Lord will punish those who are complacent; the Lord will bring great distress on the people; the cry on the day of the Lord will be bitter; the Lord will sweep away everything from the face of the earth; in the fire of the Lord's jealousy the whole world will be consumed; the great day of the Lord is near~ near and coming quickly. ~ The Prophet Zephaniah
Happy Monday Morning! The coffee's strong and the Lord is good! Whew! I have to say, working my way through the minor prophets has been challenging. It is hard to wake up every morning knowing that, again, I have to see myself in the very same place as many of the nations that these prophets warned. She obeys no one, she accepts no correction, she does not trust in the Lord, she does not draw near to her God (Zephaniah 3:2). In the depths of my soul that is still me.
How many times do I cringe at obedience, even (especially?) to the word; how many times do I refuse to accept correction (from my husband, pastor, loved ones); how many times do I whine, worry, and complain rather than just trusting God for even the small things (like toilet paper, let alone my salvation); how many times do I let the world (the internet) consume me rather than drawing near to my God?
My immediate justification is to only focus on God's goodness to me. Yes, yes, yes, I know, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, but I do not want to forget who I am, lest I leave a legacy of apathy to my children. This great salvation of God came to even me. Throughout all the ages He has required His children to walk in His ways. He has given us numerous prophets and warnings, and yet we stray. Like the Israelites in Exodus we claim "Just tell us what to do God, and we will obey!". Yet, at the first test, we fail Him. In the easy things, we fail Him. It's not about saving the world, signing up for every project at church, or following the law to a T. God requires that we act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him. Proclaiming his statutes by our lives and obedience.
Let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows [the Lord].