Thursday, May 14, 2015

Protecting your purity in dating

Please check out,  23 Guidelines to Protect Your Purity in Dating, Eternal Perspective Ministries, by Randy Alcorn:

"First of all, remember that if you plant purity today, you will reap a rich harvest, free from shame and guilt. And, by the grace of God, you’ll look back on your life not with regret, but with joyful gratitude. Sexual purity is ALWAYS in your best interest. Be smart, not stupid, and you’ll enjoy the best God has for you!"

He then has 23 guidelines with explanations and scriptures to help you think and discern, for example:

2. If you’re a Christian, only date Christians.

You won’t marry every person you date. But the person you marry will be someone you dated. God says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers . . . what fellowship can light have with darkness?”

4. Choose dates by character, not just appearance.

When we judge people by their appearances, often we turn out to be dead wrong—and meanwhile we may have made foolish choices.

7. Realize your date is your brother or sister in Christ—not your “lover.”

...A rule of thumb is, don’t do anything physically you wouldn’t do with your brother or sister...

ending with number 23:


23. Count the cost of impurity.

and then:

"Rehearse in advance the devastating consequences of sexual sin and you’ll be less likely to commit it. Even a forgiven person must deal with many consequences to his sin. God removes guilt, but He doesn’t always remove consequences.


God forgives when we sincerely repent, but if we sincerely repent we will show it by taking necessary steps to avoid temptation."



I saw the beauty in his face

What a beautiful thing I saw today.  

It could have been the spring sunshine, 
it could have been the flowers colorfully blooming, 
it could have been the flowering trees which are spectacular this year!

But it was the beautiful face of an elderly man as Jesus’ love shone from him.  He is a beautiful man, because he loves the LORD with all his heart, but today I saw him even more beautiful.  

We were outside together at his home. He had just taken a walk around his yard, and then he stopped, and began to watch across the street.  There was a young father and his little boy on the sidewalk.  The father was “jogging” alongside his little boy who was running as fast as his little legs could take him.  They were headed to the neighborhood park.  When the little boy stopped to rest the father would be talking to his boy, and then, soon enough, they would begin again their “jog” down the sidewalk. 

My precious, beautiful friend, said to me, “look at that,”  as he chuckled and intently continued to watch.  “Isn’t that beautiful?” he said.  I agreed, because it was so wonderful to see a father interacting and paying attention to his son, but I also saw such a beauty is his face which I will never forget.


Thank you LORD!

Watch yourselves! Do Not Forget!

from Joni's Diamonds in the Dust, January 5
*

Exodus 15:1-2
Then Moses and the sons of Israel 
sang this song to the Lord, and said,

“I will sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted;
The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea.
“The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation;
This is my God, and I will praise Him;
My father’s God, and I will extol Him.
*
...Our own songs  of praise fade all too quickly when we forget how God protects and provides for us.  We need to take the advice God gave the Israelites in Deuteronomy 4:9:

"Only be careful and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen.
*

The next time you're tempted to grumble or complain, think of your favorite praise song and then sing it.  It will be God's way of helping you not to forget His protection and provision in your life.

Lord, forgive me for having such a short memory 
of all the marvelous ways You've protected and provided for me.  
I thank You for all that You've done 
in the past and all You'll do in the future. 
I am grateful to You!
*


Monday, May 11, 2015

The love of a mother never ends


















From the moment you realize there is life within you, until your dying day, a mother's love never ends.

Praising God for His mercies as we cry out to Him through all of these years.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Don't listen! Read to your children!

Please! check out this ridiculous piece telling us we shouldn't read to our children.

Bedtime-story privilege?

This world becomes more and more upside-down everyday.  Please! do not listen to their madness, and read to your children!

....“I don’t think parents reading their children bedtime stories should constantly have in their minds the way that they are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children, but I think they should have that thought occasionally,” he said....."


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Christian Liberty to love!

from Joni's Diamonds in the Dust, January 21

Law and Liberty

"Therefore the Law has become our tutor 
to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 
But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor."
Galatians 3:24-25

Sometimes the sins we commit are not moral ones but spiritual.  We cultivate a legal attitude toward God, and that's wrong.  Christians start out in the Spirit, but when it comes to daily living, we try to perfect ourselves by the flesh.

The Law says, do these things and you shall live, but the Gospel says, live and these things you will do.  The Law commands us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind; the Gospel says that this is love: Not that we have sought God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to atone for our sins.

The Law demands holiness, but the Gospel gives holiness.  The Law makes blessings the result of obedience, but the Gospel makes obedience the result of blessings.  Under the Law, the old man was restrained, but with the Gospel, the new man is given liberty.  And one more thing: Salvation was earned under the Law, but under the Gospel, salvation is a gift.  

If we are right in our inward being, we shall certainly do right in our outward actions.  This is what Christian liberty is all about.

Picture a woman who is a servant in a house and under the law of her master whom she tries to please.  She's paid a wage.  She does her duty.  
But then,the master offers her his love and lifts her up from her place of service to be his bride and share his wealth.  She may continue to do the same things, but now she does them with a different motive---love, not duty!

Lord, my old sense of duty is now lost in my new sense of love.






Retired Pluggers


Monday, April 27, 2015

He sought me when a stranger!

  Come, thou Fount of every blessing, 
tune my heart to sing thy grace; 
streams of mercy, never ceasing, 
call for songs of loudest praise. 
Teach me some melodious sonnet, 
sung by flaming tongues above. 
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it, 
mount of thy redeeming love. 

Here I raise mine Ebenezer; 
hither by thy help I'm come; 
and I hope, by thy good pleasure, 
safely to arrive at home. 
Jesus sought me when a stranger, 
wandering from the fold of God; 
He, to rescue me from danger, 
interposed His precious blood. 

O to grace how great a debtor 
daily I'm constrained to be! 
Let thy goodness, like a fetter, 
bind my wandering heart to thee. 
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, 
prone to leave the God I love; 
here's my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above. 

by Robert Robinson
*

Revived! Even with wet feet!










Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
I have sworn and I will confirm it,
That I will keep Your righteous ordinances.
I am exceedingly afflicted;
Revive me, O Lord, according to Your word.
O accept the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord,
And teach me Your ordinances.
My life is continually in my hand,
Yet I do not forget Your law.
The wicked have laid a snare for me,
Yet I have not gone astray from Your precepts.
I have inherited Your testimonies forever,
For they are the joy of my heart.
I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes
Forever, even to the end.
Psalms 119:105-112

              

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Revived! Thankful for Spring!



My soul cleaves to the dust;
Revive me according to Your word.
I have told of my ways, and You have answered me;
Teach me Your statutes.
Make me understand the way of Your precepts,
So I will meditate on Your wonders.
My soul weeps because of grief;
Strengthen me according to Your word.
Remove the false way from me,
And graciously grant me Your law.
I have chosen the faithful way;
I have placed Your ordinances before me.
I cling to Your testimonies;
O Lord, do not put me to shame!
I shall run the way of Your commandments,
For You will enlarge my heart.
Psalm 119:25-32
*


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Pluggers


When Scripture Hurts

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active 
and sharper than any two-edged sword, 
and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, 
of both joints and marrow, 
and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
*
...If God brings to your mind a verse which hurts you, you may be sure that there is something He wants to hurt.

You, Lord, are the judge of my thoughts and my heart.  
Place the sword of Your Word between my soul and spirit 
and reveal to me today things in my life that displease You.
*
from Joni's Diamonds in the Dust, January 12
*


Monday, April 20, 2015

Higher Ground!

I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I’m onward bound,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on Heaven’s tableland,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

My heart has no desire to stay
      Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where those abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.

Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on Heaven’s tableland,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

I want to live above the world,
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.

Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on Heaven’s tableland,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray till heav’n I’ve found,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on Heaven’s tableland,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

by Johnson Oatman, Jr.
*


A Dozen Ways to Be Miserable

Job 7:11
“Therefore I will not restrain my mouth;
I will speak in the anguish of my spirit,
I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
*

There are some people who need no help at all when it comes to being miserable.  For them, it comes naturally.  But in case you're looking for a few suggestions on how to be more miserable, take this advice:

1) Worry every single day about something. It won't add a cubit to your stature, but it will give you plenty to think about. 

2) Count your troubles. Do it at the breakfast table, preferably, so that you can make everyone else miserable, too.  

3) Pity yourself. Do this especially if no one else is pitying you.

4) Don't be compassionate.  

5) Don't dare get involved in the lives of people who spill their troubles all over you. If you do, you may end up neglecting your own troubles, and that would be a waste.  

6) Don't let Bible reading and prayer get in the way of what's really relevant.  After all, focusing your sights on things unseen is too eternal; rather, be relevant and get caught up in the here and now. Finally, devise skillful ways to serve both God and the world. Show everyone that Christians can be in the world and of the world.

There are people around you for whom misery is a way of life.  The world has enough misery of its own without Christians adding to it!

 We are to be in this world, not of it.  

Do you know someone for whom misery comes naturally?  

*Lift his sights, 
*jar his thinking, 
*give him hope
Give him hope beyond his misery 
by showing him at least a dozen ways to trust in the Lord of Joy!

Lord, I want to reverse the plea of Job. 
 I give You any anguish in my spirit, 
and I confess any bitterness in my soul. 
 I will not complain.  
And if I'm to speak out,
I will sing and shout Your praises!
*

--- I love this title:  The Lord of Joy! ---
*

from Joni's Diamonds in the Dust, January 13
*



Saturday, April 18, 2015

How much will it cost?

Lord, what area of my life 
still needs to come under Your rule? 

Please show it to me, 
and then help me to place it 
under Your domain. 

May I look to the apostle Paul, 
who counted everything a loss 
in order to know Jesus.
  
Please help me to understand 
that I have everything to win 
when I lose my life for Your sake.
*

From Joni's Diamonds in the Dust prayer January 20


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!