Thursday, April 16, 2015

Cleverly disguised as the word "authority"

The Shame of Beauty
by Michelle, from Recovering Grace*:

"Before I was born my parents started following the teaching of Bill Gothard and IBLP, and when I was 5, they joined ATI (Advanced Training Institute), the homeschool program that Gothard developed for the families of his Basic and Advanced Seminars.

Gothard emphasized “principles” which simply meant there were many different rules that dictated specific activities in my life. My parents controlled what music we listened to, movies we watched (none), things we ate and drank (no alcohol or anything Biblically ‘unclean’) and the clothing our family wore (specifically the women).

I didn’t choose this life. I was born into it (like your own children are born into the life you chose for them). For me, this life was completely normal, and the world around me was different and labeled “bad.”

Until I was about 5, my childhood pictures show me wearing “normal” clothes, meaning that I resembled any other average American child. After that, I wore a lot of dresses and skirts, even for situations where they may have been less than appropriate for the occasion. I remember wearing skirts over my pants to play in the snow (I grew up in the Washington, D.C. area), to hike mountains, and to play games at AWANA. 

In my teenage years, my mom started telling me what I could and couldn’t wear based on my body. Skirts had to be below my knees, shirts must have high necklines so as not to show that I had breasts. Nothing could be worn that “hugged” my body or showed the shape of my body. My mom would tell me to change if things were too tight or low. Accessories like earrings and nail polish were restricted or banned. The list of things I could not wear was a long one.


My parents were essentially taught by Gothard that we were to be under their control (cleverly disguised as the word “authority”) and this extended to my clothing choices. My mom was telling me what to wear into my 20’s...."


*Please check out the rest of Michelle's testimony at the link above.
______________________________________________________________

Over these many years I have certainly seen more than "gothardites" destroying people and families with their control, manipulation, judgements, and legalisms.  Groups of "manipulators" who are full of the lack of mercy, the lack of compassion, the lack understanding---

---no grace! no grace whatsoever! and yet saying they have the way that God desires! 

They use His name to control and manipulate people!  

How abhorrent!  Detestable!  Despicable!  Aberrational! Just plain evil!

How can we stop this?!  

The answer is that God is the One who is working.  He can work through us also. 

Usually we will be coming alongside only one person at time who has been trapped in legalisms.  "One at a time" is a good thing, even if your heart is to help many, many people.  You see, each "one person" will then become another person who will eventually come alongside others. It will "snowball"---so be thankful to be there for your "one at a time"!

If you have an opportunity to be the "light" to someone in darkness, please do so with the LORD as your strength.  Remember that those who have been controlled, manipulated, and lied to all their lives are broken in many ways.  They need gentle reminders of His truth and His love to come rightly into His freedom!  To be truly set free is a joy!

May the LORD be glorified!



Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus


   O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth 
               will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conqu’rors we are!

His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
             His perfect salvation to tell!


          by Lemmel

Monday, April 13, 2015

Prescription for Weariness

1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.


When weariness or anxiety threatens to overtake you, place your cares in the arms of Jesus.  

First Peter 5:7 was a simple prescription for weariness penned almost twenty centuries ago, and no one has improved on it since!

Thank You, Lord, for carrying my cares today!

from Joni's Diamond in the Dust, January 15

*

How do you shepherd your children...

The question was: 

"As a father, how do you shepherd your children in our hyper-sexualized culture?

Heath Lambert at biblicalcounseling.com gives his ideas on parenting in this evil, up-side-down world:

"...First, we talk about modesty all the time. 
When we are in our house, we dress modestly. 
I am modest in our house, my wife is modest in our house 
and we make sure our kids are modest in our house. 
We do that on purpose not because we are being prudish, 
but because we want to occasion the opportunity to talk about 
the godliness of modesty—the godliness of being covered up. 
It’s a way to express care to others...."

"...I think that the days to wait for “the talk” are over. 
That’s my sense. In the good ole’ days, you could wait 
until they were ten, twelve or fourteen—
dad would sit down with the boys 
and mom would sit down with the girls 
and we would explain everything. 

I am not trying to hit anyone on the head who still does that, 
but my sense is that it is not a wise practice anymore...."

"...If we want to teach our kids the Bible and want them reading it, that includes the Pentateuch, which is not for the faint of heart as far as sexuality is concerned. 

So take note, parents. We can speak about sex the way God does in the Bible and we can do so in an age appropriate way."


Saturday, April 11, 2015

In His time

Ecclesiastes 3:11
"He has made everything appropriate in its time. 
He has also set eternity in their heart, 
yet so that man will not find out [fathom] 
the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end."

Concerning the change of seasons:

"...having been imprinted with the image of the Creator, we love variety.  God has set eternity in our hearts and we simply must move forward like the changing of the seasons.

...There's a time for everything, and God promises that your days will be beautiful---in His time.

Lord of winter and spring, I praise You for making everything beautiful in its time.  Give me patience to wait for change in my life."

from Joni's Diamonds in the Dust, March 29


Friday, April 10, 2015

Sowing in tears

Psalm 126:5-6
Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.
He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed,
Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, 
bringing his sheaves with him.

When you hurt physically or emotionally, it's hard to muster a patient or godly response. Pain has a way of screaming for our undivided attention.  But when you either offer a sacrifice of praise to God in the midst of your hurt, or respond in faith to a heartbreak or hardship[, you are sowing in tears.  Take heart, for one day God will reward you with sheaves of joy---all because you were faithful through tears.

Lord, than You for the hope and help You offer me through my hurt.  Help me to remain faithful even though my tears sometimes blind my way.  May I remember that for every tear, there will be a song of eternal joy!

from Joni's Diamonds in the Dust, April 3


Thursday, April 9, 2015

It's Friday, But Sunday's Comin'

by S. M. Lockridge

It's Friday.  
Jesus is praying.  Peter is asleep.  Judas is betraying.  But Sunday's comin'.

It's Friday.  
Pilate is struggling.  The council is conspiring.  The crowd is vilifying.  They don't even know that Sunday's comin'.

It's Friday.  
The disciples are running like sheep without a shepherd.  Mary's crying.  Peter is denying.  But they don't know that Sunday's a comin'.

It's Friday.  
The Romans beat my Jesus.  They robe Him in scarlet.  They crown Him with thorns.  But they don't know that Sunday's comin'.

It's Friday.  
See Jesus walking to Calvary.   His blood dripping.  His body stumbling.  And His spirit's burdened.  But you see, it's only Friday.  Sunday's comin'.

It's Friday.  
The world is winning.  People are sinning and evil is grinning.

It's Friday.  
The soldiers nail my Savior's hands to the cross.  They nail my Savior's feet to the cross.  And then they raise Him up next to criminals. 

It's Friday.  
But let me tell you something:  Sunday's comin'.

It's Friday.  
The disciples are questioning:  What has happened to their King?  And the Pharisees are celebrating that their scheming has been achieved.  But they don't know it's only Friday.  Sunday's comin'.

It's Friday.  
He's hanging on the cross.  Feeling forsaken by His Father.  Left alone and dying.  Can nobody save Him?  Oh, it's Friday.  But Sunday's comin'.

It's Friday. 
The earth trembles.  The sky grows dark.  My King yields His spirit.

It's Friday.  
Hope is lost.  Death has won.  Sin has conquered.  And Satan's just a laughing.

It's Friday.  
Jesus is buried.  A soldier stands guard, and a rock is rolled into place.

But it's Friday.  It is only Friday.  Sunday is a comin'.

*



Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Just what we need to hear....

Thank you to Stan over at Winging it.  On Monday April 6, 2015, he posted this great  truth and encouragement for all who choose to hear.

Where is God When it Hurts?

Perhaps the single most common complaint against God, both among believers and skeptics, is the complaint, "If there is a God, how can He allow all this suffering?" Oh, maybe it doesn't start with "if" but assumes God. And maybe "suffering" is modified. Maybe it's "evil" or something similar, but you get the idea. Indeed, I would be a little surprised if you hadn't asked something similar. We all come up against it. Jeremiah complained, "Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive?" (Jer 12:1) Same concept. Same complaint.

Jeremiah finds satisfaction in God's judgment. "Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and set them apart for the day of slaughter." (Jer 12:3) But that's hard because so often the fact of judgment is a long way off. And, let's face it ... it's a tough question. When a child dies or a missionary is murdered or a church bus crash kills 8, it makes you wonder. When one quarter of those who died on that AirAsia flight were members of one church, it's easy to scratch your head and ask, "Where is God?"

This actually caused the psalmist problems. Asaph writes, "But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked." (Psa 73:2-3) "Almost stumbled" might be generous. He saw the prosperity of the wicked and asked, "How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?" (Psa 73:11) And he contrasted their success with his difficulties (Psa 73:13-14) Even trying to understand it was "a wearisome task" (Psa 73:16).

So what was Asaph's answer? First, he, too, saw the judgment of God. "I discerned their end. Truly You set them in slippery places; You make them fall to ruin. How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!" (Psa 73:17-19) But that's not the final answer. What is Asaph's response to the problem? I think it's one you've heard before. 

Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; You put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to You. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works. (Psa 73:25-28)

This is a stunning answer. The answer is, "What do I care about difficulties in this life? God is my answer. There is no one and nothing more precious than Him." "For me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works."


Of course, I know that isn't a satisfactory answer for the skeptic. "What in this life's pleasures and pains can compare to knowing Him?" I'm relatively sure that a lot of Christians might find it insufficient. That, however, is a problem. When we find the here and now more important than God, I think we've put our finger on a serious problem. And it's not a problem with God. It's a heart problem, a violation of the great and first commandment (Matt 22:37-38). And that means we are the problem, not God.

....................................................................................

Father! in our agonies...help us to come to the point where we are thankful to be near You! You are our refuge, we know this full well!


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Waiting for the LORD

"Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice,
And be gracious to me and answer me."


"Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord."
Psalm 27:7, 14

*In Him I can wait.*



He who keeps you

Psalm 121

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.


Saturday, April 4, 2015

E'en so Lord Jesus Quickly Come

by Paul Manz

Peace be to you and grace from Him
Who freed us from our sin 
Who loved us all, and shed His blood
That we might be saved.

Sing holy, holy to our Lord. 
The Lord Almighty God 
Who was and is, and is to come
Sing holy, holy Lord

Rejoice in heaven,
All ye that dwell therein
Rejoice on earth,
ye saints below
For Christ is coming,
Is coming soon
For Christ is coming soon.

E’en so Lord Jesus quickly come
And night shall be no more
They need no light, no lamp, nor sun
For Christ will be their All!


Friday, April 3, 2015

"I can't afford you"

Thank you to Steven Nelms for his "picture" of how "Fathers can't afford Stay-at-Home-Moms".   He shares that his wife is more precious than rubies as he practically shows how much money it costs for all the things a homemaker accomplishes over a year as she loves her family. 

He finishes with:

"...In short, I can’t afford for my wife to stay at home. 
And I’ve tragically failed to show my wife the appreciation that she deserves. 
She loves me, loves our son, and loves our family, so obviously she isn’t doing any of those things for a paycheck or even for recognition. 
But it certainly doesn’t hurt to know that as a Stay-At-Home Mom her appraised salary is nearly double my actual income. 
So in a very weird way, this is my way of saying how much I value my wife as the mother of my child and the one who always has my back no matter what. 
You are more precious than rubies. And I can’t afford you."

Sisters in Christ...if you are or have been a homemaker, a Stay-At-Home-Mom, you can be thankful and proud of this role in your life~even if no one has ever appreciated you.

Colossians 3:17

"Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father."

To Him who is Able!


But you, beloved, ought to remember
the words that were spoken beforehand
by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that they were saying to you,


“In the last time there will be mockers,
following after their own ungodly lusts.”


These are the ones who cause divisions,
worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.


But you, beloved, building yourselves up
on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,
keep yourselves in the love of God,
waiting anxiously for the mercy
of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.


And have mercy on some, who are doubting;
save others, snatching them out of the fire;
and on some have mercy with fear,
hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.


Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
and to make you stand in the presence of His glory
blameless with great joy,
to the only God our Savior,
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
be glory, majesty, dominion and authority,
before all time and now and forever. Amen.


Jude17-25







Cover Me with the Night

Come, Lord! And cover me with the night.
Spread your grace over us, when the night is cold and dark.
Your promises are more than the stars in the sky.
Your mercy is deeper than the night.


Come Lord! And cover me with the night.
Lord, we wait for you. Come Lord.


Traditional Prayer from Ghana



Thursday, April 2, 2015

Let us gather up the sunbeams

If We Knew


If we knew the woe and heartache
Waiting for us down the road,
If our lips could taste the wormwood,
If our backs could feel the load,
Would we waste the day in wishing
For a time that ne’er can be?
Would we wait in such impatience
For our ships to come from sea?

If we knew the baby fingers
Pressed against the windowpane
Would be cold and stiff tomorrow —
Never trouble us again —
Would the bright eyes of our darling
Catch the frown upon our brow?
Would the print of rosy fingers
Vex us then as they do now?

Ah! these little ice-cold fingers —
How they point our memories back
To the hasty words and actions
Strewn along our backward track!
How these little hands remind us, 
As in snowy grace they lie,
Not to scatter thorns - but roses - 
For our reaping by and by.

Strange we never prize the music
Till the sweet-voiced bird has flown;
Strange that we should slight the violets
Till the lovely flowers are gone;
Strange that summer skies and sunshine
Never seem one half so fair
As when the winter’s snowy pinions
Shake their white down in the air!

Lips from which the seal of silence
None but God can roll away,
Never blossomed in such beauty
As adorns the mouth today;
And sweet words that freight our memory
With their beautiful perfume,
Come to us in sweeter accents
Through the portals of the tomb.

Let us gather up the sunbeams
Lying all around our path;
Let us keep the wheat and roses,
Casting out the thorns and chaff;
Let us find our sweetest comfort
In the blessings of today,
With a patient hand removing
All the briars from the way.


May Riley Smith
from The Best Loved Poems of the American people
*

Sisters in the Lord...let us live for Him today. 
No matter what issues are in our lives which bother us, 
let us choose to look up to Him,
 for it is in Him we will find His comfort and the strength to go on.

All glory to God!






Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I Will Rise

There's a peace I've come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There's an anchor for my soul
I can say "It is well"

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise, I will rise

There's a day that's drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes

And I hear the voice of many angels sing,
"Worthy is the Lamb"
And I hear the cry of every longing heart,
"Worthy is the Lamb"

By Chris Tomlin
*


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Gray hair is the Splendor of the old.





























Proverbs 20:29b

They say that I am growing old; 
I've heard them say times untold,
In language plain and bold--
but I am not growing old.
This frail old shell in which I dwell 
is growing old, I know full well!
But I am not the shell.
What if my hair is turning gray; 
gray hairs are honorable they say.
What if my eyesight's growing dim; 
I still can see to follow Him
Who sacrificed His life for me--
upon the Cross at Calvary!

Why should I care if time's old plough 
has left its furrows on my brow?
Another house, not made with hands 
awaits me in the Glory Land.
What though I falter in my walk 
and though my tongue refuse to talk?
I still can tread the narrow way; 
I still can watch and praise and pray!
The robe of flesh I'll drop 
and rise to seize the everlasting prize
I'll meet you on the streets of gold 
and prove I am NOT growing old.

by Ernest Barkaway


Forsaken

by Dan Forrest/Dustin Battle

“How long, My God, will You neglect My prayer?
Will You forget these tears of dark despair?
Yet not My will, but Yours alone be done:
Forsake not man, but Me—Your sinless Son.
I, Christ the Son, obey Your great command,
Enduring punishment for sinful man.
As Son and silent Lamb, I choose this path:
Accept rejection to appease Your wrath.”

“O why, My God, have You forsaken Me?
Why have You now refused My final plea?
Though I cry out in sorrow, pain, and fear,
You turn Your back; in silence, disappear.
I, Christ the Son, bear all their sin alone,
Embracing judgment from Your glorious throne.
As Son and spotless Lamb, I shed My blood
To bring them boldly to Your face, My God.”

*

Oh, see what Christ Jesus has done to save us from our sins!


Monday, March 30, 2015

Born to set Thy people free!

       Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

        Come, thou long expected Jesus, 
born to set thy people free; 
from our fears and sins release us, 
let us find our rest in thee.  
Israel's strength and consolation, 
hope of all the earth thou art; 
dear desire of every nation, 
joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver, 
born a child and yet a King, 
born to reign in us forever, 
now thy gracious kingdom bring. 
By thine own eternal spirit 
rule in all our hearts alone; 
by thine all sufficient merit, 

raise us to thy glorious throne.

        by Charles Wesley


     *




Sunday, March 29, 2015

Exchange the Meaning

an excerpt from Joni's Diamonds in the Dust devotional, for January 4:

Father, I present to You today 
the disappointing things in my life 
that hold sad or tragic meaning.  
Turn my darkness into light.  
Exchange the sadness for hope.  
Let me see these things as symbols 
of Your loving and sovereign touch. 
I will praise You, for You 
are the God who turns weeping into joy.
*

...God can exchange the tragic meaning behind accidents or injuries for something new and positive.  The cross is a good example.  What was once a symbol of torture and pain now represents hope and salvation! ...

What are the symbols of tragedy in your life?  A Crutch or hearing aid?  Where you live?  Your appearance or abilities?  God can exchange the meaning of the heartbreak for something hopeful and positive.  God did it at the Cross, and He can do it for you.
*  



Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Winds of Fate


One ship drives east and another drives west
With the selfsame winds that blow.
’Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales
Which tell us the way to go.

Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate,
As we voyage along through life:
’Tis the set of a soul
That decides its goal,
And not the calm or the strife.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

*
The one who is taught the word 
is to share all good things with the one who teaches him.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; 
for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.

For the one who sows to his own flesh 
will from the flesh reap corruption, 
but the one who sows to the Spirit 
will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Galatians 6:6-8

*

Are you a witness?

I have lived many joys in my life and I have lived many sorrows.  God has been with me throughout.  

I can look back and "see" His mighty hand touching my circumstances where I gloried in His name then and now.  His hand has also been on me in the sorrows He has allowed to touch me and mine-- at times I may have groaned, "why?", but I can look now and understand how He has been with me even in my deepest agony to this day.

I contemplated all this as I was thinking of the "care takers" in our world: police, firemen, medical profession, pastors, social workers, senior care facilities, friends, neighbors...

What sorrows these people witness every day!  I am speaking beyond the physical. I am talking of what they witness in the human condition of sin, how people treat each other.  How family members mistreat each other in cruel and petty ways.  It must become overwhelming at times for them.  It certainly overwhelms me.

As for each of us in our own little world, our godly behavior in our own life matters.  No matter if we are dealing with the agonies in our own family unit or among the populace, we need to choose to respond rightly because of who we are in Christ.  

Our own family and the world watches those who claim the Name of Christ.  We must remember that we, as His children, have a perpetual "spotlight" on us, not for us to pretend to be good, but to actually live out our salvation to glorify the LORD.

How is your witness? 

"Life is tough" is an understatement!  Continue, my sisters in Christ, to live for Him in all these tough things in this life and know that the LORD God Almighty is with you!

Galatians 6:9-10
 "Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 

So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith."