Wednesday, June 30, 2010
When I read that quote, so many memories came to mind. While I was still in high school, I found a book of photographs taken by both Germans and Allies of the concentration camps. Movies I’ve seen since cannot portray the skeletal people who meet our soldiers after their captors fled. To deny the Holocaust is also to deny the reality of those photos and the life of Corrie ten Boom.
I would recommend her book, “The Hiding Place,” to anyone who wished to read of a Christian life in action.
I remember seeing her on television and reading of her in magazines and newspapers. The Corrie ten Boom House Foundation maintains a website with her history, photos of exhibits and a bookshop. The home that held the hiding place is now the museum in Haarlem that allows us to step back and time and see her daily life.
Corrie lived her love of Christ all of her life, but at age 53 began to tell that story around the world for the next thirty-three years. With her book and the movie of her life still available, her story of forgiveness continues to bless lives. The ripples will continue.
We are so blessed in our lives today. There is no reason to hide our neighbors to keep them safe. We are also faced with the question, Why did God allow such evil to touch the life of one so dedicated to Him? A dear friend’s daughter is facing a fearful trial today. I’m certain her family is asking, Why doesn’t God protect those who love Him?
He does. His word says so.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. [Romans 8:28 KJV]
That verse follows one earlier that confirms this world causes pain.
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [Romans 8:22 KJV]
But that “until now” wasn’t the end of pain, it was the beginning of hope.
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. [Romans 8:23-25 KJV]
So, while the pain of this imperfect will, filled with imperfect people, continues to hope for the future, we pray for God’s will to be accomplished.
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. [Romans 8:26-27 KJV]
And, give thanks for Godly examples set before us who love Him through painful trials of faith.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: [Isaiah 3:16 KJV]
Read also what God told Isaiah would happen to these daughters with tinkling feet.
Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts. In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, The rings, and nose jewels, The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails.
And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty. [Isaiah 3:17-24 KJV]
What is described is not the beauty of a woman but the trappings used to flaunt themselves. What they are wearing calls attention to what they are wearing, not who they are. None of the listed items exalt God, do they? Take your Bible and compare the ladies above with our Virtuous Woman in Proverbs 31. With regard to her husband:
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. [Proverbs 31:12 KJV]
She’s an entrepreneur, not a wastrel.
She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. [Proverbs 31:24 KJV]
The difference is attitude. The error shown by the daughters of Zion is focus on self. All is done to draw attention to them. Our virtuous woman works for her husband, her family, and her employees. While the erring daughters will come to stink, our Proverbs lady receives praise.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. [Proverbs 31:28 KJV]
Think anybody is going to praise ol’ twinkle toes? She makes noise, attracting attention as she moves along tinkling, spreading the sound of her coming through the crowds, wearing the finery designed to catch the eye. She has her reward.
We all make the choice of which goal we’ll pursue. And it isn’t a single choice but one made often over the years. Do we bring attention to ourselves, or think of others? Tinkling feet or praises from those who love us. That’s the choice today, and every day.
Monday, June 28, 2010
And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. And they departed into a desert place by ship privately. And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him. [Mark 6:31-33 KJV]
Just a bit of rest. Perhaps some food. They needed to get away, privately. Yet, they were noticed, and followed.
And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. [Mark 6:34 KJV]
They stayed and listened to a man who had compassion. Not pity – that’s an entirely different response. Jesus not only felt their suffering, He wanted to relieve it, to change their lives and give them more than they had. He had the ability to do so, though His disciples doubted it.
And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat. [Mark 6:35-36 KJV]
Send them away. Can you believe that? Send them away. To stand in front of the Son of God who was sent to seek and save, and ask Him to send them away. How little had they learned. Have we learned more? Do we send people away?
Of course, this was different. These people were becoming hungry for real food, not just food for thought. There would be physical discomfort, and the disciples knew there was not food available. They were looking at the situation with reality, not with possibilities.
He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? [Mark 6:37 KJV]
Do you think they sounded a bit sarcastic? A penny was a day’s wages. Two hundred working days needed to pay for the bread – with no bakeries nearby. What? Did He expect miracles?
Of course He did – and created one right in front of them.
And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. And they did all eat, and were filled. [Mark 6:41-42 KJV]
How did they pass out those five loaves and two fish? What did they see of the miracle? Did it multiply when they received it, or when they passed it along? Oh, to have been there and stared at the sight of five thousand men, plus women and children, being fed not only with His words, but His miracles.
Do we ever say “Send them away” when the task appears overwhelming, not realizing He stands ready with a miracle? Do we doubt His ability to do so?
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Since this first lesson came in on Saturday, all I had for information on next Sunday’s lesson 2 is the scripture. I don’t know where the focus will be – just four verses, Ephesians 1:3-6. I came up with activities, including writing answers in a journal we provided for them.
I like the Sunday School Journal idea. A place to make personal notes, a place to write their prayer lists. That’s something we encourage, not only to keep their list in mind but to track answered prayers. Giving thanks for them is often overlooked. That’s one reason for prayers to be specific.
To say “Praying for Lisa Fish” is so general, when what we’re really doing is “Praying that Lisa Fish will make the best decision for her stem cell transplant.” The second prayer is definable while the first is on-going.
Another good use for such a Journal is for our girls to be able to look back and see their progress in understanding scripture; to connect train of thoughts through different references, different books of the Bible; to see the relationship between books. This book of Ephesians follows some time after Luke wrote in Acts 19 about Paul’s trip to Ephesus. A fuller study will show that relationship.
This morning’s lesson is on the first two verses:
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. [Ephesians 1:1-2 KJV]
Let me assure you, by the time we explain that Ephesus was the second largest city in the Roman empire, that it was the second largest seaport, that it held the largest temple to Diana (and explain who that was) then cover why Paul was writing to them and what the words apostle, saint, mercy, grace and the will of God mean, we will run out of time. Think all of our girls should know these things by the 7th grade?
Not hardly. That is why I’m thinking about today is all about my junior high girls. Here’s what I’ve asked them to do this coming week for preparation for July 4, when we study the next four verses:
Monday, June 28 – Take a moment to write Ephesians 1:3-4 in your Journal. What does the word “BLESSED” mean?
Tuesday, June 29 – Pray to God that you will understand His word. Take a moment to read Ephesians 1:3-6. In your Journal, write what comes to your mind after reading.
Wednesday, June 30 – Read Ephesians 1:3-6 again. Write in your Journal what blessings God has given to you today.
Thursday, July 1 – Read Ephesians 1:4 and John 17:24. What does “before the foundation of the world” mean? Write that in your Journal.
Friday, July 2 – Read Ephesians 1:5. What does the word “ADOPTION” mean?
Saturday, July 3 – Read Ephesians 1:3-4 from your Journal. Can you say it from memory? Read what you wrote on Tuesday about the thoughts that came to you while reading. Have your thoughts about this scripture changed?
Prepare to share with the Sunday School class how God has blessed you this week.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. [2 Corinthians 4:7 KJV]
That treasure is explained, too.
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; [2 Corinthians 3:18 - 4:1 KJV]
One Wednesday Pastor discussed 2 Corinthians 4, all verses. There are so many lessons in these 18 verses, but today I’ve been thinking of these earthen vessels.
The other earthen vessel reference is:
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. [2 Timothy 2:20 KJV]
I’m pretty certain my vessel is not gold, nor silver, not even wood – simply an earthen vessel, working hard for it to be of honor, being used by the Master.
If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. [2 Timothy 2:21 KJV]
Some of the preceding verses speak of what needs to be purged. There are many things the Bible tells us are wrong, that we are to shun. So often we fail to do so. We never can do it alone. Living within God’s will must include involving Him in our daily lives.
I read someone who wrote that while there may have been a creative supreme being, he could not accept that being has spoken to mankind. I differ with this gentleman. God speaks to us daily through His word and through answered prayer. Problems ensue when people expect their prayers to be answered 1) immediately and 2) in the affirmative. We’ve never been promised we’ll get all we want. We will receive answers to all of our prayers, even the desires we request that are not in His will, though the answers may be “No,” or “Not now.”
The examples in Luke are a stone for a fish, a scorpion for an egg. If what we’ve requested will not feed us, or it will destroy us, God will not provide what we want. Instead, He knows what we need.
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? [Luke 11:13 KJV]
Spending some time in prayer asking God about the ministry He has chosen will not only keep our earthen vessels purged, but put them to good, honorable use in His service.
Friday, June 25, 2010
And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet. [Matthew 21:45-46 KJV]
That didn’t slow Jesus down at all. He began another parable that I’d like to think about today.
The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, [Matthew 22:2 KJV]
We are taught that heaven is very much as a king who has planned a marriage for his son – as God has prepared a marriage for His Son. As God sent forth prophets to invite His people to come to Him, the king sent out messengers to attend the wedding of his beloved son.
And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. [Matthew 22:3 KJV]
This king’s messengers received many of the same responses God’s messengers received. The same His messengers receive today. Those invited did not come. In fact, some of the king’s messengers were killed. His judgment was made and executed. The wedding would go on and another group would be invited.
Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. [Matthew 22:8-9 KJV]
Of those who came, one came unprepared. He accepted the invitation knowing who extended it. He could see the other guests attended in garments suitable for the wedding. The king asked “Why?”
And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. [Matthew 22:12 KJV]
When we stand before the great white throne described in Revelation 20, will we be prepared for the wedding? Will we be clothed in white as those who worship before His throne?
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. [Revelation 7:9-10 KJV]
Showing up dressed in our regular garments, without preparing ourselves, we are not presentable. The parable was explicit as to the man who came unprepared.
Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [Matthew 22:13 KJV]
The invitation has been sent out. Attending? Dressed for the occasion?
Thursday, June 24, 2010
At one time philosophers spent their time with those explanations. Paul encountered the Greek culture’s desire to cover all bases.
(For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.) [Acts 17:21 KJV]
Hundreds of years before Paul’s sermon to the Athenians, Greek philiosophers were concerned with explaining the unexplainable. Before Socrates, Herclitus taught that one unchangeable thing was change itself. Plato spent a great deal of time to document Socrates’ arguments, then his own.
Today scientists and mathematicians spend more time explaining the unexplainable than philosophers. Expanding on the ‘big bang’, a ‘bubble universe’, proposed by physicist Andre Linde is introduced. What scientists believe become theories. Science can neither explain nor prove these beliefs, only portions of them through limited experiments and physic equations.
I find both philosophers and scientists intriguing in that they often deny that which they cannot see while defining that which they cannot see. A lot of what they study they accept by Paul’s definition of faith.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. [Hebrews 11:1 KJV]
Yet, I see God in their words. Plato’s ‘The Cave’, combined with our scientists’ description of the universe, makes an excellent analogy – the cave is the expanding bubble of the universe, with mankind living inside. The light of God is reflected in the cave, created the shadows we see of Him. Rather than a man escaping to learn the truth, Christ entered this world to tell us what exists beyond this world.
There is so much we do not know. Why set limits on God’s existence?
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. [1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV]
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Before the end, it was obvious this story had been round and round for years and years. This was just a new presentation of a very old story.
So old, in fact, that Isaiah wrote of Him:
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. [Isaiah 53:5 KJV]
Peter recognized that fact, having seen with his own eyes the stripes – as he denied even knowing Him. Peter rectified his errors, return to his Lord and writing to others.
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. [1 Peter 2:24 KJV]
Peter had much earlier recognized Jesus as the prophesied Messiah, the Christ.
He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. [Matthew 16:15-16 KJV]
Peter followed Him, denied Him then gave the rest of his life to tell people about Him. Another recognized in him prophecy when she met Him, and He specifically told her who He was.
The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. [John 4:25-26 KJV]
The questions that must be answered are: Was a messiah prophesied? If so, was prophecy fulfilled? If so, was that messiah Jesus?
For Christians, the answer to each is a resounding, “Yes.” Prophesied and fulfilled. It was this 53rd chapter of Isaiah the Ethiopian was reading when the Holy Spirit placed Philip in his path. The questions were asked then, and answered then, as they are today.
And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. [Acts 8:34-35 KJV]
The eunuch recognized what the woman recognized and what Peter recognized. The prophesied Messiah, the Christ, will come from God and did come in the person of Jesus.
Where does that leave us? Are those answers all we need?
For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; [Hebrews 2:2-3 KJV]
Do we look upon Christ only as an escape? An escape from reality? A means to escape receiving deserved stripes? Our ticket to stay out of the heat for eternity? If so, that is regrettable, and a great deal more study is required.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
A recent visit for Morning Cuppas with Glenys introduced me to a literal heart-warming story where a preemie, given up as lost, was given life from her mother’s desire to hold her. Born at only twenty ounces, doctors told the parents that Rachel had but moments to live. Her mom remembered:
“I didn’t want her to die being cold. So I lifted her out of her blanket and put her against my skin to warm her up.”
Mom thought it would be the only opportunity to cuddle her little girl, but she was wrong. With the warmth of her mother to help, Rachel began to breath. Her mother said:
“She literally was turning from grey to pink before our eyes, and she began to warm up too.”
Until this point, the doctors did not try to save the baby. They were wrong to ignore the chance to save a life.
Just before reading this story, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 had been on my heart.
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. [Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 KJV]
What better example of these verses could be the life of this child? Mother and child are the two better than one; together they had heat, add the threefold cord of father, mother and child and the family is not easily broken.
There is a greater example, though, when we consider the soul of a child. When others give up on the soul of an unrepentant child, are we willing to work for a good reward for their labour?
Are we willing to be the one who will lift up his fellow? Or will they be alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up? Can there be one or two who will help create that threefold cord not quickly broken?
I can think of such a child and I am praying for her, speaking with her and wishing I could hold her close to allow the warmth of our Lord’s love to give her eternal breath. Will you join with us, at least in prayer? Or, find your own child to warm?
Monday, June 21, 2010
Hezekiah’s stories have been discussed here, especially the additional fifteen years God granted him. It wasn’t enough time, though, to see his son, Manasseh, grown. Only twelve when he ascended his father’s throne, he was old enough to do evil in the sight of God.
Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem: But did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel. [2 Chronicles 33:1-2 KJV]
The Bible doesn’t tell us about his advisors, whether they were good or bad, but we could expect he had a bit of both and made his own decisions. The next verses detail just how far away from God he reached, until it is summed up in:
So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel. [2 Chronicles 33:9 KJV]
God reached out to them, as He does to us today.
And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken. [2 Chronicles 33:10 KJV]
The problem with all prodigals, whether people or nations. They will not hearken, they will not listen. There is a list of errs:
And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. [2 Chronicles 33:6 KJV]
I haven’t heard of children sacrificed, but I do know of horoscopes (observed times) being checked by Christians. Here it is listed along side much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely do not wish to provoke the Lord to anger. As Massaneh continued to do.
God used Assyria to humble Massaneh, to place him bound in Babylon. Do we need to be humbled before we return to Him in prayer? Must we wait for affliction?
And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God. [2 Chronicles 33:12-13 KJV]
When will we know that the Lord, He is God?
Sunday, June 20, 2010
He accomplished most of what people now call a “bucket list.” The year before he passed away we were able to take a cruise to Alaska, one place he had always wanted to visit. Dad was 83 and we also took our granddaughter, 14. A trip of a lifetime!
The one thing he did not get to do was to see an x-ray of his own skull. He always wanted to see if there were cracks and scars from an accident at fourteen. He was laying down in the backseat of a car when it was struck by another. He came to in a room he did not recognize, with a dark-haired lady sitting beside his bed. He asked her where he was and she said at the doctor’s house. He asked, “Do I know you?” and she left the room crying. He had been unconscious for five days and had not recognized his own mother.
His short-term memory was affected for the rest of his life. Studying each morning what might have been forgotten from the day before, he graduated valedictorian of his class. For years he worked as a roofer in California. Returning to Oklahoma when his mother became ill, he went to work for American Airlines in security. He carried a notebook with his daily routines, careful not to forget his duties. I have a sketch made for his retirement with signatures from co-workers who admired him.
My Dad’s school held a reunion each year, though the school itself had closed, consolidated with others in the area. The year Mom passed away, he was asked to give the blessing. Later he told us about it. As he prayed, his eyes were drawn upward to movement. In front of him, Mom was walking toward him, bright in white and smiling. He could never quite describe the peace he felt afterward, the assurance that the Lord had allowed to him.
These brief memories cannot touch upon the love my father extended to those around him. They do, however, remind me that some are not as fortunate to have such memories. Some receive them from a step-father, some not so lucky are raised without a father’s love. I think for them it is harder to understand God the Father.
Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. [John 8:42 KJV]
Having no experience with a father’s love for his children, how can they relate to:
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? [Matthew 7:11 KJV]
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [John 3:16 KJV]
I know that I shall see my father in heaven. Both of them. One provided life for me here, the other provided life for both of us eternally. One I remember with love and gratitude each and every day for what he provided in my life, the other I worship because He loved the unlovable and provides for me forever. Every day is my Father’s day.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
So, your explanation is that you don’t have enough time to serve the Lord. You have a job and it takes up your time and energy. You’re up against a brick wall and there are only 24 hours in a day. You’ve made a commitment to your boss and are obligated to fulfill it.
Paul did, too. But he accomplished both his commitment to make a living and his commitment to God:
And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers. And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. (Acts 18:3-4)
How difficult is it for us to accomplish the same two purposes – work our occupation and reason on the sabbath?
Not all of us are called to leave our county for foreign missions. Nor are most of us called to leave our homes for missions in our own country. But we are all called to follow His commandments and His will.
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:22-25)
We all have the same allotment of time during a day. Our priorities determine how that time is spent. I know a young lady who found the Lord as her savior. She desired some time alone with her Bible to learn more of Him and His plans for her life. She got up an extra half-hour in the mornings and dedicated that time to that purpose. Can you give Him thirty minutes each and every day? Why not try it for seven days?
Don’t know Him? Regard His promise: But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. (Deuteronomy 4:29)
Do that and the first commandment is nearby: Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40)
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Tuesday I became a Follower of two blogs I had not visited before. Connie’s Thoughts From The Heart, and one of her pastor’s, who has three blogs. His newest, on Law, Liberty and Legislators, is one I’ve signed to Follow.
I look upon these as neighbors, for we have much in common. The majority of the ones I follow are members of an independent Baptist church. We hold common doctrine. Just as when we visited the First Baptist Church of La Veta, Colorado, we would feel at home during their services as we gather to worship the Father who loved us so much that He gave us His son, Jesus Christ, as our Lord and Savior, and who left us with the Comforter following Christ’s resurrection.
We may contend over a bit of spelling or verse interpretation, but over that last sentence, there are no differences. It reminds me of what Paul wrote to the church at Philippi:
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; [Philippians 1:27 KJV]
We enjoy following the exhortation in Hebrews:
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. [Hebrews 10:25 KJV]
While we don’t know when that day will be here, we do know the day of salvation -- today.
(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) [2 Corinthians 6:2 KJV]
So we read and we write and we share our faith as it was shared in that first century. We give examples, analogies, analysis, and we give of ourselves to all who ask the jailer’s question.
Sirs, what must I do to be saved? [Acts 16:30b KJV]
How we do love Paul’s response – which resounds today.
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. [Acts 16:31 KJV]
May God bless this reading of His word, and may His promise be fulfilled.
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. [Isaiah 55:11 KJV]
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
A writer brought to light a subject that appears to be divisive. Sides are taken, arguments given. I wanted to put down my own thoughts on the subject, defending my viewpoint, but there was a nagging “No, wait,” as I filed away a drat. Then the right verse was included in a blog I frequent and my eyes were opened.
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. [Psalms 119:165 KJV]
Suddenly it was clear – why should I be offended because of another’s interpretation of God’s word? Does not my Bible clearly state what He has given us? His commands are few, but very specific. From the law, He gave them concisely.
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. [Mark 12:30-31 KJV]
Then there is the one some churches have forgotten, but evangelicals hold to.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: [Matthew 28:19 KJV]
Jesus us told us there would be a time when many would be offended.
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. [Matthew 24:10-12 KJV]
We strive not to offend.
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. [Romans 14:17-21 KJV]
Do not take offense at what is perceived as weakness in another, who may at the same time be perceiving a weakness in ourselves. Instead, work together, in faith that God is capable of taking care of error. Depend on the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to give us the truth.
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. [John 15:26-16:1 KJV]
However – do be careful when teaching children.
Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Luke 17:1-2 KJV]
Monday, June 14, 2010
A couple of young whippersnappers have pushed my button. Again. Newsweek has revisited the subject in their article “The Case Against Marriage.” This time two journalists are a bit tired of receiving wedding invitations, as they state:
“With every spring, our sighs get a little deeper as we anticipate another summer of rote ceremony, cocktail hour, and, finally, awkward dancing. Sure, some weddings are fun, but too often they’re a formulaic, overpriced, fraught rite of passage, marking entry into an institution that sociologists describe as ‘broken.’”
I won’t repeat my “Marriages Can Last” done last June in response to another such article. The last phrase makes it more editorial than news – actually, more personal journal than news. To boldly state sociologists describe marriage as broken leaves the impression that this is the view of the majority. if not all. after decades of study. Not so.
These two women look upon the passé marriage as having been “… how women ensured their financial security, got the fathers of their children to stick around, and gained access to a host of legal rights.”
Wow, there’s no romance in their view of marriage at all! How sad it must be for them never to have experienced the bond that grows between a man and woman as they share their children growing up. As they see their grandchildren, their great-grandchildren. Sharing these memories instead of saying “Will you be with us or your father this Christmas?” or watching children attempt to understand the intertwined relationships of multiple marriages.
Wait – these two women do give a caveat. They let us know they may change their minds.
"Before we get into specifics, a caveat: check with us again in five years. We’re in our late 20s and early 30s, right around the time when biological clocks start ticking and whispers of “Why don’t you just settle down?” get louder. (We’re looking at you, Lori Gottlieb.) So just as NEWSWEEK will never live down its (false) prediction that 40-year-old single women were more likely to be “killed by a terrorist” than to marry, we permit you, friends and readers, to mock us at our own weddings (should they happen)."
However, it would appear from what they write about co-habiting, they will not enter their marriage pure, nor will they give that much thought, either. They state they dislike marriage because it is “idealized.”
Why not work toward ideal? Many have determined it is not worth the effort. Not me. I know I cannot achieve perfection, but I know someone who did.
And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; [Hebrews 5:9 KJV]
I wonder how the two women look at religion. How would they look at that one verse, much less this one:
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. [Hebrews 12:1-2 KJV]
Regrettably, they do not see the cloud of witnesses in which I stand.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
There’s not enough time. Look at the daily schedule, where do things fit in? Getting up takes time. Hair, teeth, clothes – all take time. Breakfast, even a cup of coffee or cereal called a meal, takes time. And that’s just getting started. Every hour in the day makes calls upon our time.
God knows that. All of those things we’ve given to Him when we gave Him ourselves. So, completing our daily schedules is all done for God when we turn it over to Him. Schedules, work play, all of it. Including the time we must sit aside to be still.
The psalmist tells us to be still.
But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him. Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. [Psalms 4:3-4 KJV]
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. [Psalms 46:10 KJV]
He also tells us to wait.
Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. [Psalms 27:14 KJV]
Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it. [Psalms 37:34 KJV]
Solomon also asks us to wait.
Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee. [Proverbs 20:22 KJV]
Jesus tells us what our patience accomplishes.
In your patience possess ye your souls. [Luke 21:19 KJV]
Paul tells us how patience is gained.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; [Romans 5:3 KJV]
And what does that bring?
And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. [Romans 5:4-5 KJV]
Then Paul brings us back to waiting.
But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. [Romans 8:25 KJV]
Am I suggesting you need to be still, waiting patiently for the Lord? No. I need to.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. [Matthew 26:7 KJV]
And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. [Mark 14:3 KJV]
Luke tells us she was a sinner.
And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, [Luke 7:37 KJV]
John gives us Mary, sister to Lazarus, anointing His feet with spikenard.
Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. [John 12:3 KJV]
As with most of the Bible, there are many lessons within a recounting. Matthew, Mark and John recount someone speaking of the monetary waste, the things money spent on the ointment could do elsewhere. Luke speaks of forgiveness. Both are good lessons
But one of my questions remains unanswered. Judas’ conspiracy is documented shortly after this. As the keeper of the bag, was this presumed waste the straw that sent him to the priests in betrayal? It shouldn’t have. It took no funds from his purse. There was not a specific place named where the funds were needed.
There will always be needs for the poor in this world. A person’s death is a one-time event. Christ’s approaching death was a once-in-creation event and this woman was preparing for it.
Christ called what she did a good work. He also said: She hath done what she could: [Mark 14:8 KJV]
He commended her to our memories.
Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her. [Mark 14:9 KJV]
So, that brings us to the next question. What is our memorial? What will people remember about us? What do we want it to be versus what we know it to be at present? What changes are necessary for the goal to be reached? Have we done all we could?
Those questions are directed to my own life. Each time I approach our Lord in prayer, I am aware of my shortcomings. Often I am not aware of where I need to be in doing His will. But I do wish my memorial would be as one who openly displayed her love for God and shared it with others that they might come to know and love Him, too.
Friday, June 11, 2010
The Prodigal’s story is different. The father did not make any attempt to stop his son, but divided the inheritance and gave the boy as he asked.
And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. [Luke 15:12 KJV]
His living. A landowner’s wealth is not readily available. Obviously the boy did not take any land, nor livestock when he departed, so it must have been sold. The Bible doesn’t tell us whether it was sold by his father or sold by the young man.
And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. [Luke 15:13 KJV]
There is no mention of his father as the story away from home is told. He didn’t send a servant with his son. He didn’t send messengers to his son. He didn’t tell his son that he was missed, that there would always be a place for him.
I am so grateful that our Heavenly Father did. In the beginning, He walked with His children.
And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. [Genesis 3:8 KJV]
He sent messengers to the world in all times.
And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth. [1 Samuel 3:10 KJV]
He saw to it that there were standing invitations.
But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. [Deuteronomy 4:29 KJV]
Eventually, He came to walk with His children again.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [John 1:1 KJV]
Because He loved us.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [John 3:16 KJV]
And welcomes us home, as did the Prodigal’s father.
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. [John 14:2 KJV]
The Prodigal returns to a loving, forgiving father, and the same opportunity is afforded to us.
And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. [Luke 15:20 KJV]
The question resonates with me.
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; [Hebrews 2:3 KJV]
Thursday, June 10, 2010
For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. [Luke 1:44 KJV]
He recognized Him at baptism
And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. [John 1:34 KJV]
He pointed Him out to crowds of people.
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. [John 1:29 KJV]
Yet, he doubted.
Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? [Matthew 11:2-3 KJV]
So, why beat ourselves up when we have a doubt? We are in good company. John had doubts. Thomas had doubts. Their doubts were cleared.
A member of our church heard Pastor’s sermon on John in 2004 and wrote a song, “Go Tell John.” He sang it Sunday night, his words of Christ’s answer to John’s doubts.
Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. [Matthew 11:4-6 KJV]
Did you catch the key work in Christ’s first sentence? Again. Not for the first time, but “Again.” John had heard and seen, as had his disciples, the blind receiving sight, the lame walking, lepers cleansed, deaf hearing, even the dead raised. And the gospel preached.
Still, he doubted. He needed to be told again all of those things that proved Jesus was truly the Christ, the Lamb of God.
We do not see what John saw. We only read of the miracles, and many reject them. Many accept the non-spiritual message of the man Jesus, to do good unto others, but draw a line at believing what John the disciple wrote.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. [John 1:1-3 KJV]
Some today cannot follow the centurion’s declaration with their own.
And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God. [Mark 15:39 KJV]
Some today would not be able to go tell John.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
I can relate to the travel part. Except for a short stint in the army, and a diamond sales career just a tad longer, Beloved Husband spent his life in heavy highway construction. First with local companies, then an international firm. Even the local companies took him out of town on jobs, away from the family during the week, only home on weekends.
Both of us having moved as children, we opted to keep our children in one home, one school and give them stability. Wrong. True stability is the family worshiping together, adjusting to new surroundings when required. This is what life does – it changes around us. God does not. He is the stability through changing places and times.
During our fractured time we lost sight of our relationship with God, letting church attendance slip in favor of "quality" family time. As parents, we felt it was more important for our children to spend time with their father instead of their Father. Wrong, again. That was a big error on our part. Cutting out time with God only creates larger fractures. God provides stability.
As hard as it is to face, God can provide stability in times of loss, too. We are not promised anything here on earth except the natural progression through life that ends in death. The timing is different for everyone, but the end of our earthly story is the same. For loved ones remaining, the next step has been laid out in God’s word.
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; [John 14:16]
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. [John 14:26]
Among those remembrances are God’s love for His children. Christ knew that love, gave that love, as no one else could. Yet, returning to the Father was cause for rejoicing, He said in verse 28: "If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father."
That rejoicing is so very hard for those of us remaining here to wait, without our loved one, for God’s will to be accomplished in God’s time. We do have His promises, and the Comforter to help us remember the promises for those who love Him, too.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. [Romans 8:28]
Remember, Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. [James 1:27]
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
In Sunday School, at evening services, and at specified prayer meetings, we ask if there are prayer requests. Some of our PUSH items have to do with a leukemia fighter; a rebellious son; a job hunter; an Alzheimer’s family; a victim of assault; a family member for salvation; those facing surgery. The list fluctuates from time to time as prayers are answered.
One on our PUSH list is very specific in her fight against cancer. The leukemia fighter praying specifically for a return of appetite to help build up her strength. This weekend attested to answered prayer as she finished a plate of special sauce and pasta, finishing the meal with apple pie and scoops of ice cream. For this, we give praise and thanks to our Lord for answered prayer.
Another had an unspoken. A simple request that we join in prayer, combining ours with hers, perhaps never knowing the subject matter. This weekend as her prayers were answered, she shared that completion and we again give praise and thanks to our Lord for answered prayer.
We didn’t need to know what prayer is requested. We simply join in prayer knowing that we have specific help even in unspoken prayers.
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. [Romans 8:26 KJV]
Can’t see it. Can’t measure it. Can’t prove to anyone it works. Yet we pray. Knowing that sometimes the answer could be “No.” Christ received such an answer when He prayed for the cup to pass. (Matthew 26:36-45) Still, we are instructed not to hesitate in what we ask.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. [Philippians 4:6 KJV]
I like the example in Luke 18:2-8, the widow bothering a judge to the point he gave into her. Christ speaks of our Father’s response to His children:
And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? [Luke 18:7 KJV]
Sometimes it is a simple request, as Paul wrote:
Brethren, pray for us. [1 Thessalonians 5:25 KJV]
Tomorrow I will begin the day with prayers for surgeons – I will requests that God be with them, guide their hands to complete the surgery without harm; that their eyes will remain clear and focused as the operation progresses; for healing afterward. While I do so, others will be sending similar prayers for the same patient. We will wrap her in love and ask for angels’ wings to protect her during and after her surgery.
Specific or unspoken, we share our needs in prayer. We do not take this lightly. Should you join in prayer with us, do not take it lightly, either. Prepare for prayer by bringing yourself close to God. Our prayers need to be fervent and effective.
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. [James 5:16 KJV]
Oh, you aren’t familiar with PUSH? Pray, until something happens.
Monday, June 7, 2010
John answered by saying Isaiah prophesied of him, that although not the Christ, he was:
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. [Isaiah 40:3 KJV]
Baptisms took place for years in that first century of our Christian era. John, the disciples, the apostles, but not Christ.
When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) [John 4:1-2 KJV]
Baptism was not His mission. His words created more followers than John, but that was part of God’s plan. Even as John’s disciples noticed it, John was expecting it.
He must increase, but I must decrease. [John 3:30 KJV]
Paul reached a point where he was grateful that he could name the small handfull of people he baptized:
For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? [1 Corinthians 1:11-13 KJV]
I doubt that Paul, Apollos or Peter put themselves above the others, but followers did. That caused contentions then, as it does today. The error is exalting the man over the mission, over the message of Christ. Some today are followers of a particular preacher rather than followers of Jesus Christ. To what end?
Pick a nationally known preacher from ten to twenty years ago. How has their message held up during that time? How has their witness held up. When we come up with names on the minus side, they failed to put Christ first.
As our preacher put it so well Sunday morning – Christ’s message should be coming from the pulpit each service. In fact, written on the surface of our pulpit, a single line in the upper right hand corner, is this reminder from His word:
Sir, we would see Jesus. [John 12:21b KJV]
Jesus is to increase while we are to decrease. Any attempt on the part of a man occupying a pulpit to reverse that order ends with error. It is possible his congregation errors, too. While a congregation is to support their authority, the man is never to be exalted above the message that Jesus is the promised Christ. No church leader, no church member, is to decrease that message.
Yet, we do.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
We tend to forget that the Lord is “the maker thereof.” In this secular world, we may think of Genesis 1:1 and are grateful for our little corner of the universe, forgetting He created all of it. The humanly incomprehensible depth, width and breadth of the unmeasured universe, He did it.
I prefer not to limit God. When I see the photographs downloaded from the Hubble telescope, I remain amazed at the results of His creation. Why do we, then, determine in our own minds what He can and cannot do?
The Bible lays out His character. He is truth and light, the beginning and the end, the great I AM.
The Bible lays out what He expects from us, too.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me. [Exodus 20:3 KJV]
Solomon put it this way:
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. [Ecclesiastes 12:13 KJV]
Yet we continue to define Him, measure Him, place limits in our minds as to what He will or won’t do, when there examples throughout His book that He is limitless. Even in His grief.
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. [Genesis 6:5-6 KJV]
Except for Noah, all prodigals, none returning home, all lost. Some of His creation remain so today, denying not only His ability to create, but also denying His ability to destroy. For them God is too good to allow such to occur, ignoring His word that He is not only capable of allowing it, powerful enough to do so and has done so in the past. We also tend to forget, He changes not.
For I am the LORD, I change not; [Malachi 3:6a KJV]
We do not need to be reminded that God is love – the Bible tells us so and we see it every day in our lives. Even in the greatest of adversities, God’s love is evident, especially when things of this world fail.
The greatest limitation some place on Him is rejecting His salvation, the inability to accept the unearned, undeserved gift He bestowed for all.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [John 3:16 KJV]
No, I will not limit God’s love for me, for all of mankind. I will continue to call unto Him and He will continue to answer, showing me great and mighty things beyond my comprehension, but within my ability to receive.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Yesterday's project was embroidering "Jr Hi Girls FBCC" on a dozen brightly covered canvas bags -- obviously for our Junior High Girls Sunday School Class at First Baptist Church of Cottondale. Previous lesson books we've sent home with our girls sort of disappeared into their rooms and failed to surface. There were some very good explanations -- one father was blamed as he helped clean his daughter's room; one sister was blamed as she packed her stuff and most likely took it with her; another simply couldn't find it and thought it might be on the floor.
In addition to being a princess, we need to teach them .... well, what would be the best lesson to retain lesson books? We pray that it will be brightly colored, easily identifiable canvas bags to hold their quarterly lesson book, a small journal for notes and questions and (of course) their Bible.
As I was explaining to SiL about this project, and thanking her so very much for her embroidery machine, I spoke about the girls in our class. She remembered them and spoke of when she met them.
You see, when you come visit us and there is a church service, you attend with us. Oh, you have the option not to, and a few take that option. But most join us and meet the extended family we celebrate with at church. They, as David and we, are glad to do so.
I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. [Psalms 122:1]
If there is ever an opportunity for you to do so, we'll be happy to have you join us. In the meantime, pray for our beautiful princesses.
Friday, June 4, 2010
Very appropriate, as our Girls Sunday School classes are studying their roles as Beautiful Princesses. One of the first things they need to learn is presentation. How should they present themselves? Roman 12:1 starts us on that journey.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.
(I do miss my e-Sword!! Working on a borrowed laptop does have some limitations, and I do appreciate the loan -- it just looks a bit strange as I type following a copy from the 'net. Just a small aside, back to the train of thought.)
This brings to mind recent stories about the British royal family. A former member presented herself in an unreasonable fashion -- not in how she dressed, for she appeared quite modestly in the video. Her problem stemmed from what she said and what she was selling. Her excuse took it further, as she stated she was overwhelmed by alcohol. She should have read Proverbs 23 (Thanks to Bro. Brad for the recent study, giving me an excellent verse as an example.)
Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags. [Proverbs 23:20-21]
A princess needs to know that she will be the center of attention in many ways. How people see her may determine what they think of her Father. For our girls, that is our Heavenly Father, to whom we are to glorify, We're told to do so early in the New Testament.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. [Matthew 5:16]
There is no glory, for anyone, while displaying drunkedness. What is displayed instead is disrespect, humiliation and a need to apologize. In many instances, necessities are taken away. A lost drivers license could mean a lost job, lost income to an entire family. No one, however, gives thought to those possibilities when enjoying a good time with friends. So, let's remove those possibilities by not placing ourselves in a position. Make it known that drinking is not part of our lives.
No need to make an issue about it, unless someone else does. Then it becomes an opportunity to witness that it is possible to be fun, have fun and enjoy friends without partaking.
Reading back over this for typos (I'm not able to use a word processor to check spelling, etc.) I am struck at the way I've been led to write. I had every intention of bringing attention to the tea party our Sunday School girls held on Thursday. Instead, my thoughts went to the unintended results of being a social drinker. Amazing where Bible study and prayer will take one! And, now you know I select my graphics after the blogs are written.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Wednesday night we went to the funeral home. As we visited with her descendants, nieces, nephews, in-laws, extended family came through. A son's neighbor mentions a trip to Ruth's when they lived out of state, relishing the memory of her apple dumplings. A church member who served with her for years spoke of her kindness. A son-in-law admiring how sharp her mind remained. Each one at the viewing had a memory to share. Quite a few mentioned her cooking.
We sat and chatted, surrounded by the fragrance of cut and potted flowers, too many varities to list, accompanied by cards carrying emotions too often left unexpressed until a funeral.
Don't wait to tell them. Say it now. Enjoy your extended families, the ones you were born into, married into and joined with in the body of Christ.
Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. [1 Corinthians 12:27]
That, my friends, is the best community in which to raise a child - the community of love.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Today we pack and travel most of the day to be with relatives. These trips are not planned. They occur when a loved one dies.
This trip is for my sister-in-law’s mother, a lady I met before I met my husband. My SiL and I worked together in the credit department of a large department store when we were just out of high school. Her mother was used to taking in children – her five always brought more around and they were made to feel at home.
Her children brought her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren who cherished her and the memories she created. When you factor in nieces, nephews and their offspring, she will be missed by hundreds.
At ninety-one, there are more family members here than there are relatives of her generation or her life-long friends. She was born just before the War to End all War ended, and many more which made that phrase obsolete. It takes several history classes to cover the events that occurred in her lifetime.
She knew the emotion behind scripture, too.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. [3 John 1:4 KJV]
She attended church in more than one city, but the longest membership was in the church where her services will be held Thursday. The membership there is dwindling as their members go home, as she has.
We will experience grief, but we will also celebrate a life of fulfillment. There are no public accolades, no scholastic doctorates, but each woman there will remember a favorite recipe shared – usually after tasting a lovingly prepared dish. The children (whether grown or young) will remember hugs and kisses that carried her love. The adults will remember sage advice (some not followed) and days of enjoyment at reunions.
There will be stories told, tears shed, smiles shared, memories made during the next two days. Then we will return to our daily lives with a small prayer that we may go home as peacefully in our sleep, that we will be laid to rest with similar ceremony and that our Lord and Savior will be waiting for us in the same manner.
May God bless those who shared her life with peace and comfort.