Monday, March 19, 2018

Sing Praise to God

by Johann J. Schutz

Sing praise to God who reigns above, 
the God of all creation, 
the God of power, the God of love, 
the God of our salvation. 
With healing balm my soul is filled 
and every faithless murmur stilled: 
To God all praise and glory!

What God's almighty power hath made
His gracious mercy keepeth,
By morning glow or evening shade
His watchful eye never sleepeth.
Within the kingdom of His might,
Lo! all is just and all is right: 
To God all praise and glory!

The Lord is never far away, 
but through all grief distressing, 
an ever present help and stay, 
our peace and joy and blessing. 
As with a mother's tender hand, 
God gently leads the chosen band: 
To God all praise and glory!

Thus all my toilsome way along, 
I sing aloud thy praises, 
that earth may hear the grateful song 
my voice unwearied raises. 
Be joyful in the Lord, my heart, 
both soul and body bear your part: 
To God all praise and glory!

Let all who name Christ's holy name 
give God all praise and glory; 
let all who own His power proclaim 
aloud the wondrous story! 
Cast each false idol from its throne, 
for Christ is Lord, and Christ alone: 
To God all praise and glory!

Fathers who love their children

Ephesians 6:1-3
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 
Honor your father and mother which is the first commandment 
with a promise, so that it may be well with you, 
and that you may live long on the earth."

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

What a friend we have in Jesus

What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
And what a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer
Oh, what peace we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer
Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness
Take it to the Lord in prayer

Are we weak and heavy-laden,

Cumbered with a load of care
Precious Savior, still our refuge—

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?

Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,

Thou wilt find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised

Thou wilt all our burdens bear;

May we ever, Lord, be bringing

All to Thee in earnest prayer.

Soon in glory bright, unclouded,

There will be no need for prayer—

Rapture, praise, and endless worship

Will be our sweet portion there.

by Joseph Scriven

He Works in Mysterious Ways

by Joni

"His father and mother replied, 'Isn't there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?' But Samson said to his father, 'Get her for me. She's the right one for me.' (His parents did not know that this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.)"
Judges 14:3-4

Yesterday (Pearls of Great Price, March 13, Hard Hearts, Exodus 8:32, 10:20, James 1:13) we only began to scratch the surface of understanding the way God works out His purposes in an evil world filled with wicked people. Oh, how mysterious are His ways! Like the way He worked through Samson, the young, passionate Israelite who although famous for his strength, was a pushover when it came to pretty girls like Delilah.

In today's verse, we learn that Samson rejected his parents' pleas that he not marry an idol-worshipping Philistine. Samson and his mom and dad assumed it was merely a matter of matrimony. But in Judges 14:3-4 we learn that God had a higher plan and purpose -- a purpose which would ultimately result in a glorious victory over the Philistines. Samson and his parents never dreamed their little father-and-son talk about the birds and the bees played a role in foreign affairs! But God did. And God allowed Samson to have his own way, to "follow his heart" and tie the knot with a girl from a heathen nation.

God oversees people's wicked actions.

No sin happens that the Lord does not deliberately permit. 

Don't misunderstand -- 

He is not the source of people's evil deeds, for He despises sin. Yet He steers the sin already in their hearts so that sinners unwittingly fulfill His plans and not merely their own. 

Ponder this awesome aspect of God's sovereignty today.

Lord God, I can't pretend to understand the way You work in our world and through the hearts of both believers and pagans. But I do understand that You are good and gracious and that Your plans are always perfect!

Pearls of Great Price, 2006,  by Joni Eareckson Tada, March 13
(my own emphasis)

It was significant for me to read this devotion today. Oh... so, so many times, and so many ways, our lives are struck by evil in this fallen world.  We can study all of it over and over and never be able to understand "why" the LORD allowed such blatant pernicious evil to effect others or to effect us.

In the end of rehashing the horrible facts over and over, as a Believer of Jesus as my Savior, I must just once again give it over to the LORD. 

It is His job, His plan, His ways. 

He has a plan, I need to trust Him completely, I need to continue to walk in faith with Him even though I certainly do not see what His plans could possibly be.  

I need to just KNOW He is the God of the universe who is still on His throne and that He is working.  

My job is to walk in faith. 

Praise be to my gracious, compassionate LORD!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Not What My Hands Have Done

Not what my hands have done
Can save my guilty soul;
Not what my toiling flesh has borne
Can make my spirit whole.
Not what I feel or do
Can give me peace with God;
Not all my prayers and sighs and tears
Can bear my awful load.

Thy work alone, O Christ,
Can ease this weight of sin;
Thy blood alone, O Lamb of God,
Can give me peace within.
Thy love to me, O God,
Not mine, O Lord to thee,
Can rid me of this dark unrest
And set my spirit free.

Thy grace alone, O God,
To me can pardon speak;
Thy pow'r alone, O Son of God,
Can this sore bondage break.
No other work, save thine,
No other blood will do;
No strength, save that which is divine,
Can bear me safely through.

I bless the Christ of God;
I rest on love divine;
And with unfalt'ring lip and heart
I call this Saviour mine.
This cross dispels each doubt;
I bury in his tomb
Each thought of unbelief and fear,
Each ling'ring shade of gloom.

I praise the God of grace;
I trust his truth and might;
He calls me his, I call him mine,
My God, my joy, my light.
'Tis he who saveth me,
And freely pardon gives;
I love because he loveth me,
I live because he lives.

by Horatius Bonar

Monday, February 19, 2018

Decision making technique

by Brian Crane

"Faith is like radar that sees through the fog"

In 1974 Corrie ten Boom wrote in her book, Tramp for the Lord:

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you."
Psalm 32:8

"The school of life offers some difficult courses, but it is in the difficult class that one learns the most ---- especially when your teacher is the Lord Jesus Himself."

"God has plans --- not problems ---- for our lives."

"The life of a Christian is an eduction for higher service.  No Athlete complains when the training is hard. He thinks of the game, or the race.  As the apostle Paul wrote:

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 

For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.  And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body."
 Romans 8:18-23

"Looking back across the years of my life, I can see the working of a divine pattern, which is the way of God with His children.  When I was in a prison camp is Holland during the war  [World War 2] , I often prayed,

"Lord, never let the enemy put me in a German concentration camp." 

God answered no to that prayer. Yet in the German camp, with all its horror, I found many prisoners who had never heard of Jesus Christ.  If God had not used my sister Betsie and me to being them to Him, they would never have heard of Him.  Many died, or were killed, but many died with the name of Jesus on their lips.  They were well worth all our suffering.  

Faith is like radar that sees through the fog --- the reality of things at a distance that the human eye cannot see."

"My life is but a weaving,
between my God and me,
I do not choose the colors,
He worketh, steadily,
Oftimes He weaveth sorrow,
and I in foolish pride, 
Forget He sees the upper,
and I the underside.

Not till the loom is silent,
and the shuttles cease to fly,
Will God unroll the canvas
and explain the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful 
in the skillful Weaver's hand,
As the threads of gold and silver
in the pattern He has planned."
"Although the threads of my life have often seemed knotted, I know, by faith, that on the other side of the embroidery there is a crown."

From Tramp for the Lord, by Corrie Ten Boom, Introduction, excerpted from pages 14-16.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The LORD is on His throne

Why can't I do this right? 

Nothing is new. Everything is the same. Life goes on. 

Even so, I have been wondering why I can’t “do this” better.  

For me, "this" concerns living for the LORD, trusting Him no matter what, and just abiding in Him through each and every storm, loss, trauma, agony, sadness...  

January has marked just another year going by like a fog, a mist. I blink and it is February. Tomorrow it will be March... and so on.

I have felt frustrated throughout these years even as I have been living for the LORD, and I find myself at least thinking, if not saying, that "I must be doing this wrong."

I walk each day with the LORD, I trust Him with all of my being, but I still greatly struggle with such grief and agonies too huge for words.  I suppose I have expected some kind of relief, but this world is not my home and the LORD will not make anyone behave.  He has given us free will, free choice, and as we all have experienced, we can only control our own self.

All these years I have been praying to "do this rightly" and, yet, still feeling like a failure. Recently a precious thing happened when I was waking up in prayer. I then laid thinking, "how can I do all this better?

How kind the LORD has been to me all these years and how precious He has been.  He has held me every moment, and even when I did not "feel" Him holding me, I knew He was doing so. I know I have never been alone as He has gently held me through all of my agonies.

It was then I felt such a beautiful peace come over me. What a gift!

Philippians 4:4-7
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 
Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication 
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

In Him I have been doing "this" rightly!  

For all these years I have allowed Him to be my great God. I have come to Him constantly in the deep sufferings and in the simple joys. I have constantly trusted Him through the great agonies and horrible grievings.  Doing this with Him -is- "doing this rightly"!

All these years I unrealistically expected the pain to be lessened or wiped away, but how can such loss and unresolved agonies ever leave us? 

What we can expect from our great loving God is that He will be with us, He will carry us, He will help us through each new day. Our choice needs to be a constant willingness to trust Him even when everything is falling around you.  He is still on His throne and He loves His own.

Psalm 90:14
"O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness,

That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days."

The LORD is on His throne!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The LORD comforts us so we learn to be a comfort others.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7
"Grace to you and peace from God our Father 
and the Lord Jesus Christ.
 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 
who comforts us in all our affliction 
so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction 
with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, 
so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. 
But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; 
or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective 
in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; 
and our hope for you is firmly grounded, 
knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, 
so also you are sharers of our comfort."


Saturday, February 3, 2018

"You are servants of Christ. Act and dress like it."

Excerpt from BARBWIRE:

"The Apostle Paul told women in I Tim. 2:9, 

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.” 

That passage teaches women to dress appropriately without any excesses that would attract unwarranted attention to them...

...that it is not good for Christian ladies to pay such attention to their hair as the heathen do... 

...All dress for both genders should be suitable for the place, time, and occasion... 

...that women should pay attention to themselves because neglect is just as wrong as the other extreme... 

...not be an offense to any class of people...

...He is not saying that the use of gold and silver is wrong, only the excessive use is wrong. 

He is saying, “... You are servants of Christ. Act and dress like it.”

In ancient Greece, the wife of Phocion, a illustrious Athenian general, had a visit from a rich lady who was elegantly adorned with gold and jewels, and her hair festooned with pearls. 

The visitor took occasion to call attention to the elegance and costliness of her dress but her host replied, 

“My ornament is my husband, now for the twentieth year general of the Athenians.” 

...She valued her longtime marriage more than gold, silver, and pearls; she did not feel a need to use gold and silver to establish her person, her prestige or her place in the world.

Both men and women should err on the side of caution. It is better to be too narrow than too broad. 

Women’s dress should be modest (not frumpy) and men should keep their eyes on her elbows–and their hands to themselves..."

*please see the whole article called, "Does immodest dress cause sexual attacks?"  When you do so you will know what "keep their eyes on her elbows" is about.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

In Biblical Christianity who is Jesus?

“Jesus is God, the second person of the Trinity.  

As God the Son, he has always existed and was never created.  

He is fully God and fully man (the two natures joined, not mixed).  

As the second person of the Trinity, he is coequal with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. 

In becoming man, he was begotten through the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.  

Jesus is the only way to the Father, salvation, and eternal life.  

He died on a cross according to God’s plan, as the full sacrifice and payment for our sins.  

He rose from the dead on the third day, spiritually and physically immortal. 

For the next 40 days he was seen by more than 500 eyewitnesses. 

His wounds were touched and he ate meals. 

He physically ascended to heaven.  

Jesus will come again visibly and physically at the end of the world to establish God’s kingdom and judge the world.”

Quoted from "Christianity, Cults, and Religions" Pamphlet, Rose Publishing

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Make it a new year for Him.

(12-17, 22-24)

"So, as those who have been chosen of God, 
holy and beloved, 
put on a heart of compassion, 
kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 
bearing with one another, 
and forgiving each other, 
whoever has a complaint against anyone; 
just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 

Beyond all these things put on love, 
which is the perfect bond of unity. 

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, 
to which indeed you were called in one body; 
and be thankful. 
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, 
with all wisdom 
teaching and admonishing one another 
with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, 
singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 

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


Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, 
not with external service, as those who merely please men, 
but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 

Whatever you do, 
do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 
knowing that from the Lord 
you will receive the reward of the inheritance. 
It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. 


Monday, January 1, 2018

On a mission

Thanks, Snoopy, for being out there!

And so, what about us?

Our Mission as His children:

1 Peter 3:8-18
"Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. 

On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 

For,  “Whoever would love life
 and see good days
 must keep their tongue from evil
 and their lips from deceitful speech.

They must turn from evil and do good;
 they must seek peace and pursue it.

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
 and His ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 

"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. 

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 

But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, 
so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 

For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God..."

Glory to God!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

The first snow


In God's Eye's

"You are the God who sees me."           
Genesis 16:13

When I was a teenager, rushing out of the house to meet my friends, I would invariably be stopped at the door by my father who'd say, "Joni, I want you to act as though someone were always watching. Don't forget that you're an Eareckson."
That irked me. I didn't want someone peeking into my life, observing everything I was doing. There were private, teenage things I wanted to keep hidden. What an embarrassment to have some friend of my father's encroach on my Saturday night turf to say, "Hi there, how's your dad doing?”

But now, many years later, I'm comforted by the idea that I ought to live as though someone were always looking. It's an incentive to live an honest, responsible life. Besides, someone is watching. Your life and mine are an open book before the Lord.
If you love the works of darkness, that idea will embarrass you. 

If you love the light, the idea that God never takes His eyes off of you will be a comfort. 

For those who are obedient, the watchful eye of God will seem tender and protecting. 

For those who disobey, the open book of your life incites resentment and embarrassment.
"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account" 
Hebrews 4:13
Fear must never be an incentive to obey, for it will only breed burdensome rule-keeping behavior. Please don't fear the watchful eye of God but draw comfort from His scrutiny into your life. Let Him protect you, let Him guard you with His eye.
See me, Lord, and know my every thought and action. I invite You to look into everything I do today, everything I decide or say. Watch me, please, and may Your steady and loving gaze be my incentive to love You steadily in return.

-Joni Eareckson Tada
Diamonds in the Dust, December 30

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

All was calm - for 30 minutes

Wolverines do calm down once in a while.

This is our rowdy 8 month old little boy kitty named Wolverine.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Though He was God, He made himself nothing so that through Him we might have everything

"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men." 
Philippians 2:5-7

Was Jesus born in a barn?

Check out When we Understand the Text (WWUTT) to find out just what God's Word says about how Jesus came into this world.

Praise the LORD for His sacrifice for us!


O holy night! the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pinning,
'Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;

    Fall on your knees
     Oh, hear the angel voices!
    O night divine,
    O night when Christ was born!
    O night divine!
    He knows our need,
    To our weakness is no stranger
    Behold your King,
    Before Him lowly bend!
    Behold your King
    Before Him lowly bend!

*2nd verse omitted

Friday, December 15, 2017

Deal Faithfully and Delight the LORD!

It becomes easier to lie again and again when covering up a prideful life.

Proverbs 12:22
"Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,
But those who deal faithfully are His delight."

Colossians 3:5-11
"Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead 
to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, 
which amounts to idolatry. 

For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will 
come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, 
when you were living in them.

But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, 
and abusive speech from your mouth. 

Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self 
with its evil practices, and have put on the new self 
who is being renewed to a true knowledge according 
to the image of the One who created him— 
a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, 
circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, 
but Christ is all, and in all."


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Pride of Life

A prideful person needs to lie to support their pride.

1 John 2:7-17

 "Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. 

On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. 

The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. 
The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 

But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake. 

I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 

The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever."

Christmas Kitty

A dear friend's Christmas Kitty

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sing Praise to God

Sing praise to God who reigns above, 
the God of all creation, 
the God of power, the God of love, 
the God of our salvation. 
With healing balm my soul is filled 
and every faithless murmur stilled: 
To God all praise and glory.

The Lord is never far away, 
but through all grief distressing, 
an ever present help and stay, 
our peace and joy and blessing. 
As with a mother's tender hand, 
God gently leads the chosen band: 
To God all praise and glory.

Thus all my toilsome way along, 
I sing aloud thy praises, 
that earth may hear the grateful song 
my voice unwearied raises. 
Be joyful in the Lord, my heart, 
both soul and body bear your part: 
To God all praise and glory.

Let all who name Christ's holy name 
give God all praise and glory; 
let all who own his power proclaim 
aloud the wondrous story! 
Cast each false idol from its throne, 
for Christ is Lord, and Christ alone: 
To God all praise and glory.

---Johann J. Schutz