Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Power of His Light

One small speck of light can alight a room, but The Light of the World is able to do far more than we can imagine.  Praise God!

May this devotion by Diane Head encourage you:

His Light by Diane Head,  from NIV Women’s Devotional, page 988

There are some days in a mother’s life when the sun just doesn’t seem to rise.  We may have been disappointed by someone.  Or maybe we’re not feeling good about ourselves or about our relationships with others.  Maybe we’re just lonely.  Whatever the reason, a cloud settles…

Usually this cloud of gloom brings with it a refusal to be cheered up.  In fact, if anyone tries to cheer or uplift us we grudgingly summon a ghostly smile and slide back into our pit of despair.

This mood can almost be enjoyable.  After all, our very lives are dedicated to the welfare of our husbands and children.  Isn’t it fun to let them know it--along with how wronged we’ve been--regardless of whether or not it’s their fault?  Poor us.

Does this sound familiar?  I confess I am to some degree an authority on this subject.  Alas, it comes from firsthand experience.

We are all affected by different circumstances.  For some of us, something as simple as a cloudy day may touch off the blues.  Fatigue often precedes them.  Sometimes our depression is caused by someone who has spoken critically of us or a family member.  The list is endless.  The funny thing is that even when most of the reasons are legitimate, the resulting dejection isn’t.

It would be depressing enough if we were the only ones affected by our dark days.  But like it or not, we are the hubs of the emotional stability in our families.  If our outlook is sunny, it is reflected in every member of our household.  If, however, clouds of self-pity, gloom, and despair hover over us, they also rain down on all who come near.

The trouble with darkness is that is seems to be stronger…denser…and deeper than light.  We are almost fooled into believing that it is just as it seems.

But just as one small candle can dispel the darkness in an arena, so can the entrance of light into our souls dispel the bleak and dreary darkness lurking there.  And how much greater that light--the light of the Lord--than one little candle….

“Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light.” Micah 7:8

Daine says, "The trouble with darkness is that it seems to be stronger, denser, and deeper than light."  We are adopted daughters of the King of Kings!  So we can overcome darkness because we have the One who is able!  Let us continually go boldly to Him in everything and not allow the darkness to overcome us.

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.  Amen"  Ephesians 3:20-21

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Creation proclaims the Creator

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.  There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.  Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Psalm 19:1-4a

As we expected, we had our second “snow day” today; there are dangerous roads and strong winds with the temps near zero.  I am in the middle of making cookies.  The house has a sweet aroma.

As I rolled out the dough, I thought of what we have missed today at our worship in church.  Today was the Adult Christmas Cantata.  I have waited in great anticipation to hear the choir sing.  One reason is because we have a dear friend singing in the choir for the first time, so we have heard first hand of the excitement to come.

One other joy connected with the cantata is our friend’s little canary.  When we have been in their home, we have heard this little bird sing and sing---sing all by himself, sing as the vacuum runs or sing when the mixer was making mashed potatoes.  This little bird sang at the top of his lungs in beautiful melodies.

It seems that this little bird sang before, but after the CD of the cantata was listened to over and over again for practicing, the little bird became more melodious than ever.  I rejoice to hear this little bird proclaim the work of His hands!

Birds have touched my heart before.  I love that the Creator made them---and so many kinds of them.  I love how He says in His word that He knows about each one and so then, how much more does He care about us?!

Even with the strong winds today and the terror of the Sharp Shinned Hawk who likes to “eat” at our feeder also-----the birds have been busy eating at the feeder to keep their energy up against the cold temps.  It has been a joy to watch them all day.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer."  Psalm 19:14

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Snow Day

It was a ‘snow day’ today.  You have got to love it when you don’t have to go anywhere and all of a sudden you have extra free time!

I took the opportunity to mix up many batches of cookies.  I pulled out our old Christmas “Sing Along with Mitch Miller” recordings and played them all morning while mixing up our traditional recipes.

Christmas time is full of happy memories for me.  Today was no different.

When my Beloved and I married, my dear mother offered for me to pick out a handful of my favorite Christmas records from their collection.  Thus, our Mitch Miller records.

The 1970’s classic Betty Crocker Cookbook I use is the one my mother gave us after we became engaged.  She redeemed all of her Green Stamps so I could received the cherished cookbook, an ironing board, an iron, and a set of mixing bowls. I still have the first two.

Side note: Probably everything mentioned was made in America----those were the days!

The cookbook has many pages stained and well used by our precious daughter.  She loved to cook and wasn’t afraid of trying new recipes.

I mixed up our daughter’s world famous ginger snaps (Betty Crocker’s), our son’s favorite cookie of all, Chocolate Crinkles, which is my Grandmother’s recipe.  Another favorite from Grandma Glidden is her Chocolate Frosted cookies.  Just last year my sister photo copied for me the original frosting recipe as well of the cookie recipe both in my mother’s handwriting---it is a treasure for me to now have these special recipes in her distinctive handwriting.

I can’t help but miss my dear mother at Christmas time.  She was a beautiful wife and mother role for me.  She openly loved and respected my father, disciplined when we needed it, loved each of us dearly, and enjoyed just doing things with us.  She studied us and knew us.  She could make anything fun.  After I grew up, she was such a good friend, too.

“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching; indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head and ornaments about your neck.” Proverbs 1:8-9

I'm secretly hoping for another snow day tomorrow!  If so, I will pick out different Christmas records as I bake all these cookies.  May you find joy in the little things which make our lives rich and full.  Praising the LORD with you--Jill

Monday, December 6, 2010

Genuine Thankfulness

We all easily forget to be genuinely thankful.  It is easy to say, “If it isn’t one thing it is another.” because life is difficult and things do not go the way we want.

We must remember that this life is not about us, but about glorifying our great God.

The next thing that happens that we do not want---let’s remember what is important.  Find something to be thankful for in the situation.  And if there is nothing you can think of to be genuinely thankful for, then be thankful that our heavenly Father is sovereign and we can rest in Him.

Praising God with you!

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I 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 passes all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7

Saturday, December 4, 2010

You are just a vapor

“You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” James 4:14b

I spoke with an older gentleman in his 80’s today.  He is very dear to me.  He shared a bit about his one son and openly lamented for the first time that he had wasted 60 years not coming alongside his son and encouraging him from the beginning.

My heart completely broke for him---and his precious son.  I encouraged this father to call his son and come alongside him now.  It is never too late while you have breath!  I know this may mean far more to his son than the father thinks it will, and, oh, how it will bless the father!

“Yet you do not know what your life will be tomorrow.” James 4:14a

Gentle sisters…who can you come alongside of today?  Who would be so blessed by your touch?  Before our chances are gone, let us reach out and love others!  We who have the Holy Spirit indwelling us can do wonderful and marvelous things because we have the LORD‘s strength.

May you go out with joy as His handmaidens this week with His grace, mercy and love.

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Strength is Exulted in the LORD

“My heart exults in the LORD; my horn [strength] is exulted in the LORD, my mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.

There is no one holy like the LORD, indeed, there is no one besides You, nor is there any rock like our God.

Boast no more so very proudly, do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and with Him actions are weighed.

The bows of the mighty are shattered, but the feeble gird on strength.

Those who were full hire themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry cease to hunger. Even the barren gives birth to seven, but she who has many children languishes.

The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up.

The LORD makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts.

He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with nobles, and inherit a seat of honor; for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s, and He set the world on them.

He keeps the feet of His godly ones, but the wicked ones are silenced in darkness; for not by might shall a man prevail.

Those who contend with the LORD will be shattered; against them He will thunder in the heavens, the LORD will judge the ends of the earth; and He will give strength to His king, and will exalt the horn [strength] of His anointed.” 1 Samuel 2

Hannah struggled greatly. She wanted to have her own children. Her desire to have children was also tied to the culture and to the constant cruelty of her husband’s other wife.

The LORD moved in a mighty way when He waited for the right time to allow Hannah to conceive.  1 Samuel 1-3

Her response to the gift of this long awaited child is one we, as fellow maidservants of the LORD, need to think on. I can’t imagine giving my treasured child to another. I admire Hannah’s faith and I struggle with my own desire to know that I would be able to emulate her actions.

In my life the LORD meets me in my own agony.  I  know He hears me and I understand waiting for Him.  When I am at my lowest, He doesn't have to prove to me that He hasn't forgotten me.  I know, in time, He will lift my head and I rejoice in that hope knowing what joy it is to rest in Him.  My strength is exulted in the LORD!

A recent time this autumn I was thinking about the difficulties we face and we discussed them together.  The subject matter was our agony, but then it turned to "why doesn't this happen or that happen to help us get through this great sadness?"  As we spoke, I did not want an answer from God because I knew that, in time, He would meet us and lift our heads in His way which is always the best no matter how we feel.  How blessed we were that within a half hour two different things happened where the Almighty specifically answered our "why doesn't He do this?" lament.  How kind and compassionate the LORD was to reach down right then and calm our hearts.  Very much like Hannah's, I began praising Him with my own song of Thanksgiving! 

The scripture above is Hannah’s faith-filled song of Thanksgiving as she leaves her long awaited, treasured son with Eli as she had promised the LORD.  I hope these words from this precious mother stay with you and bless you as you ponder truly giving your life to Him in praise.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fear Subdued

“I heard and my inward parts trembled, at the sound my lips quivered.  Decay enters my bones, and in my place I tremble.  Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress, for the people to arise who will invade us.”

Sometimes fear encompasses me.  The fears can be personal troubles or the fear of the world sliding super fast into life as we do not know it.

I am so thankful that I am His child!  That I know Him and that I have seen His hand in my life and in other’s lives!  I know He is the One and Only and that I can trust Him!  I can praise His holy name even when chaos reigns!  I know I can give Him my fears and I can do next things because I live in His strength!

Praise Him with me:

“Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.  The LORD God is my strength, and He has made my feet like the hind’s feet, and makes me walk on my high places.”

Habakkuk 3:16-19

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Pride of Life

“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.” 1 John 2:15-17

My Beloved and I have had a busy summer with some travel sprinkled in and added to the mix.  From the state fair, to malls, parks, hiking, museums, and just local pedestrian traffic, we have seen it all.

I have been reminded once again of how we as women can be so easily deceived.  Christian women and girls can also be swept into the newest things (clothing fads, books, movies, etc) and become involved in things we would never have chosen if we would just remember every day, every hour, who we are in Christ.

The world is seductive with all its trappings.  Without much trying both men and women can become caught up in it like the proverbial frog slowly boiling in a pan of water.  And just as Charles Schultz’s Snoopy often has a chocolate chip cookie calling his name, we can have things and activities wooing us to reach for them everyday.

Immodest clothing for females is high on the list of the world’s trappings.  Many times this includes the few and skimpy undergarments that are worn.  In these last years, with dresses being popular, many of them are modest enough, but they become immodest when it is obvious very little is worn underneath them.

When I realize these - usually young - women have chosen not to appropriately cover themselves under their clothes, I feel shame for them.  They do not know, and perhaps may never know, how this demeans them in the eyes of men.  Sometimes the very thing women do to attract men only lowers what men think of them.

There is a word picture concerning modesty which I have heard.  Do not to wear clothes like a prostitute would wear.  Although this may sound rude or too rough of a way for speaking about some women’s clothing, it is still quite wise and true.

All women want to be respected, honored, cherished, loved, and highly esteemed.  As Christians we need to rethink some of the things we do, we say, and we wear so when people see us they will see modesty and Jesus shining through us in many other ways.  Let us rise up with wisdom, reaching out to our daughters and friends with love, and guide them out of their immodesty.  Let us pray for husbands and fathers to rise up to protect their women from seductive worldly thinking.

So what is the will of God?

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sharing from Cherry and On The Write Narrow Path

Please check out  and  so well written and encouraging as Cherry shares her walk with us.

Between these posts you will find this moving poem by her----thank you, Cherry, for letting Jesus shine through you.
My Cause For Joy     by Cherry Bieber
What bright and glorious thoughts do come
With the knowledge of the Holy One
To rest my cares upon His knee
Setting my eyes on Him and not me
To sing out with joy the music of life
Giving no power to pain or strife
With purpose embracing what lies ahead
Because with Him I've naught to dread
Sweet, the calm that covers me here
Quiet my soul, for my Father is near
Oh, that I could now impart
This message into every heart
Whose path meets mine as days go by
Whose eyes have known much need to cry
That I could say, "Rejoice in Him!"
And shine a light where there's is dim
So as my Lord says, "Regard today"
I will seek to know what He would say
To those who ask me why I sing
May my answer bring glory to my God and King

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Before the Morning by Josh Wilson

Do you wonder why you have to feel the things that hurt you?
If there’s a God who loves you,
where is He now?

Or maybe there are things you can’t see
and all those things are happening
to bring a better ending.
Someday, somehow you’ll see, you’ll see.

Would you dare, would you dare to believe
that you still have a reason to sing?
‘Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
it can’t compare to the joy that’s coming.

So hold on, you gotta wait for the light.
Press on and just fight the good fight.
‘Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
it’s just the dark before the morning.

My friend, you know how this all ends,
and you know where you’re going.
You just don’t know how you’ll get there--
so say a prayer.

And hold on
‘cause there’s good for those who love God,
but life is not a snapshot.
It might take a little time, but you’ll see the bigger picture.

Would you dare, would you dare to believe
that you still have a reason to sing?
‘Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling,
it can’t compare to the joy that’s coming.

"Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation; then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness.  O Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Your praise.  For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise."
Psalm 51:14-17

Praising God for His strength and peace during our agonies and our victories!

Sunday, July 18, 2010


For women, life can sometimes be over-whelming. We naturally have so much on our plates. There is always something to do next, and there is always someone else asking us to do one more thing to fill up our
busy lives.

Probably most of the things we need to do are good things, and so we can justify fitting in the “one more good thing” for everyone else, not realizing that we are actually adding too much to our already chaotic lives.

My purpose for writing this is not to give us all a pass on helping others out.  But from time to time when I am so overwhelmed by the things to do----I finally step back and look at the situations I am in.  I can quickly realize that I am doing too much outside the home--- and so my relationships and my home suffers.

The next decision for us is, what should we pull back from or pull out of?

It is relatively easy to decide to spend less time on the TV, the Internet, etc, but this can be a very difficult decision when dealing with people whom you care about (outside your family).  Sometimes people tend to overwhelm us with things to do for them, but we need to decide when to say, "no".

For me--- this is an on going struggle.  Dear readers, do you have any suggestions?

Meanwhile, let us remember the Proverbs 31 woman.  Let us use her as an example to strive for---not a legalistic measure.  Remember, it is from the LORD that we receive our strength-----and how wonderful to be able to smile at our unknown future while we are trusting Him.

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.” Proverbs 31:25

May the mind of Christ, My Savior

We worshipped with this hymn today. I wanted to praise the LORD as I shared it with you!

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5

May the mind of Christ, My Savior

By Kate Wilkinson

May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
live in me from day to day,
by His love and power controlling
all I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly
in my heart from hour to hour,
so that all may see I triumph
only through His power.

May the peace of God my Father
rule my life in everything,
that I may be calm to comfort
sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me
as the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing-
this is victory.

May I run the race before me,
strong and brave to face the foe,
looking only unto Jesus
as I onward go.

May His beauty rest upon me
as I seek the lost to win;
and may they forget the channel,
seeing only Him.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

For the LORD has heard the voice of my weeping

"I am weary with my sighing; every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears.  My eye has wasted away with grief;  It has become old because of all my adversaries. Depart from me all who do iniquity, for the LORD has heard the voice of my weeping, the LORD has heard my supplication, the LORD receives my prayer."
Psalm 6:6-9

What joy to know that the LORD loves His children.  He does not turn away, but inclines to hear, to comfort, and to act for His beloved.  We are not alone even when this is how we feel.

Years ago now, a friend showed me the lyrics to a Natalie Grant song which continues to encourage me today.  We are held by the One and Only.  He has not forgotten us in our troubles and pain, but is there with us---carrying us through it.

(part of the lyrics of Held follows)

Held           by Christa Wells

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life and you survive.
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell--
we'd be held.

This hand is bitterness.
We want to taste it and let the hatred numb our sorrows.
The wise hand opens slowly
To the lilies of the valley and tomorrow.

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life and you survive.
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell--
we'd be held.

If hope is born of suffering,
If this is only the beginning,
Can we not wait for one hour
Watching for our Savior?

This is what it means to be held........

I can attest that the LORD does truly hold us in our great pain and agonies.  Because of Him we can get up and do next things even through great grief.  He is our strength and because of this we can glorify Him when we choose to respond rightly even when we are literally knocked to our knees by this life's troubles.  Allow Him to lift your head when the sacred is torn from your life and live in His strength.

"But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head."
Psalm 3:3

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

God works even when we are reluctant

Very often in my own fear and reluctance I forget to trust the sovereign God.  Today I read a new post from On The Write Narrow Path concerning trusting the LORD always.  Please take the time to read this wonderful encouragement.

"Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances." Proverbs 25:11 

May each of us look at others differently with great love and compassion from Him.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Heat of the Fire

“He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness."  Malachi 3:3

When the silversmith is working with silver he puts it in the hottest part of the fire so that the impurities are burned away. But as he does this he must keep his eye on the melted metal the whole time so it will not be destroyed. When the dross is gone he can see his image and he knows the silver is ready to be used.

“Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of your wings.”  Psalm 17:8

In scripture God’s children are sometimes called the apple of His eye. This is speaking of the pupils. Our pupils are very valuable to our sight. When the LORD designed our eyes, He put a reflex protection for this very important part of our eyes. So when God refers to us as the apple of His eye----He is speaking of how much He loves and protects us.

"For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His." 
2 Chronicles 16:9a

Even when He allows us to go through the valleys of life, we are still the apple of His eye.  He does not take His eye off of us.  He is protecting and loving us even through the trials which He allows. These trials draws us closer to Him---which is where we want to be.  How comforting to know that while we struggle in our trials, He is watching and protecting us throughout as the dross of our lives is burned off.

“For thus says the LORD of Hosts, “After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.”  Zechariah 2:8

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire of the refiner, remember that God has His eye on you and He will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

“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.”  2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Call on Jesus

I’m so very ordinary
Nothing special on my own
I have never walked on water
I have never calmed a storm
Sometimes I’m hiding away
From the madness around me,
Like a child who’s afraid of the dark

But when I call on Jesus
All things are possible
I can mount on wings like eagles and soar
When I call on Jesus
Mountains are gonna fall
‘Cause He’ll move heaven and earth to
Come and rescue me when I call

Weary brother
Broken daughter
Widowed, widowed lover
You’re not alone
If you’re tired and scared
Of the madness around you
If you can’t find the strength to carry on

When I call on Jesus
All things are possible
I can mount on wings like eagles and soar
When I call on Jesus mountains are gonna fall
‘Cause He’ll move heaven and earth to
Come rescue me when I call

Call Him in the morning
In the afternoon time
Late in the evening
He’ll be there
When your heart is broken
And you feel discouraged
You can just remember that He said
He’ll be there

When I call on Jesus
All things are possible
I can mount on wings like eagles and soar
When I call on Jesus
Mountains are gonna fall
‘Cause He’ll move heaven and earth to
Come rescue me when I call

By Nicole C. Mullen

Friday, June 18, 2010

Capturing our thoughts of jealously, anger, and hatred.

".....taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ."
2 Corinthians 10:5

I know what it is to be so very, very hurt. It is easy to be angry at certain people and sadly, sometimes everyone else----plus angry at God.

I also I know what it is like to be jealous or even worse----to have the feelings of hatred because people have what you desire. ( I, personally, am not speaking monetarily, but it could be that for some people)

I heard a radio lesson recently concerning how to deal with this very issue (jealousy, anger, hatred because we have been unfairly slighted to whatever degree) and it was an answer to much prayer.

I am dealing with my own feelings in this area and recently could not see through the darkness enough to encourage others.

"Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy." Proverbs 14:10

These are the best parts of the program that I can remember:

1) Comparing ourselves to others: The subject is Peter at the beach with the resurrected Jesus. This is in John 21 (read the whole chapter) In verses 15-22 Jesus has just finished asking Peter if he loves Him. Then Jesus tells Peter pretty much what will happen and how he will eventually die. Peter goes from there into comparing himself to John. He says, "what about that guy?".  Peter wanted to know if John would have the same thing happen.

(After all it won't be fair, right?-----Oh, my----I can see myself asking this!) Jesus' answer is profound---it isn't any of your business.

"If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?  You follow Me!" John 21:22

John did not remain until Jesus returned the second time, did he?  Because that wasn't the point.  The point is that it wasn't Peter's job to know about John's future or to compare himself to John.

Peter's job was to FOLLOW JESUS. And this is also our job--- to follow Jesus.

Life may not be fair to any of us, but our job remains the same----to FOLLOW JESUS.

(Thankfully) we are not all the same and so we should never compare ourselves to others no matter if it is---- "they have what I desire---why is that? That’s not fair!" ----or "look at me! I am not like them! I am better than them!"

To Follow Jesus we need to keep our eyes on Him (PRAY and READ HIS WORD ) and do what He wants us to do no matter what anyone else has or does.

2) Capturing our thoughts: -----Thinking Biblically wrong thoughts? Just don't go there.

God doesn't want us to be going down wrong roads, especially if they are feeding our desire to hate, become more jealous, and angry.

If we do not stop ourselves now when the pain is so very great--------then when we are finally blessed with solutions, we will just continue with that sin cropping up EVEN when we finally get the blessing of what we really desire.  This sin will overshadow our joy in some way----because we will have fed this sin all along, practicing it so very often that it has become an incredibly ugly habit.  Avoid this sin! 

We need to capture our thoughts all day long and follow Jesus.

"See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." Hebrews 12:15

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Work of my hands

My life continues to be busy.  (Haven’t I written this before?)  I have longed for the days that my life would slow down, but these days never really come.  As I move on to "next things" there are always new ones to replace them!  Sometimes this is overwhelming for me.  One dear friend has described her life as a runaway train.  This is how I feel sometimes.

In reality I am able to stop and smell the roses   :oD  It is not like I am busy 24/7. I realized long ago that keeping my hands busy is a good thing.  As my hands are busy so is my mind. This can be good or bad depending on what I am thinking while busy.  Hmmmmm.....

The same is true while resting.  When I am at rest I can think of good and right things and be very blessed by thinking. When I am emotionally sad and resting it is very easy to go down wrong thinking roads.  This can lead to spiraling downward into more unbiblical thinking.  As we focus in on ourselves we can feed unbiblical thinking.

I did not expect June to be so busy. I actually haven’t even thought of June yet. (Isn’t it April still?)  And here we are about half way to July.  My June has been spent doing everything that is normal, harvesting a bumper strawberry crop, and preparing for a garage sale.

The garage sale completed and the strawberries finished---this week I have been cleaning, reorganizing, and just enjoying working in my home. I feel confident knowing my house is in order - or getting that way.  :oD 

“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; and confirm for us the work of our hands; yes, confirm the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:17

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Blood of Christ

Nothing can melt the stony heart of a sinner
–but the blood of Christ.

The pardoned sinner looks upon a bleeding Christ
–with a bleeding heart.

Thomas Watson 1620-1686

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Women and Modesty

My gentle readers---I want to encourage you to think seriously about your own modesty in this world which is extremely seductive in so many ways.  As Christian women we can justify practically anything and everything for ourselves and our own daughters because our culture does it.

But we must remember that we are new creations!

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold new things have come.”   2 Corinthians 5:17

We are not to be like this wacky, evil world.  We are to be new!

On the other side of this “clothing coin,” we do not have to be completely different and stand out (e.g., full coverage, loose-fitting clothing). There are many ways for us to be modest and fashionable, if we consider rightly.

On the Write Narrow Path, May 31, 2010, Cherry has an article concerning modesty and women of any age, which I highly recommend.  She writes a poignant story which makes the reader truly think about this issue.

May each of you be encouraged as you consider this serious subject. Jill

Friday, May 21, 2010

Six Clues to the Danger of the Emergent Church Movement

1) Mysticism: experience over scripture. Mantras into trances

“Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.”
1Thessalonians 5:19-22

2) No Absolute Truth: Jesus is not the only way

“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
Acts 4:12

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.””
John 14:6

3) Church Doctrine: Doctrine doesn’t matter

“Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.”
1Timothy 4:16

“Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.”
Hebrews 13:9

4) Ecumenicisim: merge with Catholic Church etc

“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”
Ephesians 4:14-16

5) “Ancient Future Faith”: Ancient faith practices and beliefs are better even though 5th-10th century had much Biblical error

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.”
Colossians 2:8-10

6) Sin is not an issue: Sin is not preached against

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.”
1John 1:8-10

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Castles in the Sand: a simple book review

How can Emergent leanings and teachings be wrong?

“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them” Acts 20:28-30

I just finished the novel, Castles in the Sand, by Carolyn A. Greene.

It is a basic story of sending a young person to a “good” Christian College only to discover how this college has recently adopted much of the Emergent thinking into its curriculum. The author weaves in the real practices of mysticism: labyrinths, mantras, contemplative prayer, etc., which are all used in Emergent teachings. This story shows how alluringly easy it is to affect young people, but older people as well can also be caught up in this seductive wrong thinking.

Castles keeps you interested in what will happen next, it is an easy read, and ends well, but the reader will learn what to look out for in her own church, youth groups, books, speakers, classes etc. We must be on guard to stand up for the true faith of the Bible because Emergent teachings are subtly sneaking in everywhere.

To further your education in the Emergent movement read the non-fiction, Faith Undone, by Roger Oakland. Our culture surely is listening to what our itching ears want to hear.

Apprising Ministries also has a wealth of information on the Emergent movement.  Check it out! 

“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:2-5

Let’s remember who’s precious blood paid for our salvation and seek His truth.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Get on the Hope Train

By James MacDonald, February 1, 2010,

“Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:2-5

As followers of Jesus, we need to keep thinking and talking about hope. But hope in itself doesn’t mean much with out an object. Hope must have a target. It’s not typical to hope in Jesus Christ. It is typical to hope in my finances, my family, my career, or my marriage. I can hope in a leader or cause. We put our hope in many things other than Christ. But we learn that none of those things are worthy of our ultimate hope. None of them! The only reliable place to rest our hearts is in Jesus Christ. But that hope is not intuitive - or normal. Hoping may be a habit, but we have to learn to hope in Christ.

The word hope means “a confident expectation of something better.” Hope in Christ realizes, “Hey! My best days are ahead of me. Life isn’t all in the rearview mirror for me now. In Christ I’ve got some things I’m looking forward to - not just in this life, but in the life to come.” That kind of self-talk stirs up hope within us.

Its important to recognize the battle that we’re facing and practice the hope that we find in our King. Learning implies a training process. It’s trial and error. You’re like, “Yeah, I kind of got off the Hope Train this week.” Get back on! That’s why we come to church. Hope training is why we hang out with other Christians. I don’t know what you are feeling today, but if you kind of got off the Hope Train, climb back on!

Now that means we intentionally exchange doubt for hope. Instead of discouragement and despair, we choose hope. I think we need to look to other people who are good models of hope. I am aware of a woman in our church who I have watched over the last couple of years. I have prayed earnestly from a distance as she has gone through an awful circumstance in her family - with no end in sight. Yet she has strengthened many people with her stalwart faith and unyielding joy in the Lord. The examples of other believers’ lives are all around us. These people may not be perfect, but they challenge us to do better. And you can’t know how much staying on the Hope Train will encourage others.

Come get on the Hope Train with me now.  And if you happen to find yourself off of it again - then get back on!  Jill

Monday, May 10, 2010

Psalm 73

“You have taken hold of my right hand.  With Your counsel You will guide me, and afterward receive me to glory.  Whom have I in heaven but You?  And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.  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 will perish; You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.  But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.” Psalm 73:23b-28

All of Psalm 73 has been extremely profound to me for all these years.  It is full of the vivid emotion I have concerning what I see in this world.  It is full of humbling myself before what I perceive is happening and what is actually truth.  And then it is encouraging because through all of it I then see the Lord more clearly.

Yes, the nearness of God is my good.


The Warrior is a Child

by Twila Paris

Lately I’ve been winnin’ battles left and right.
But even winners can get wounded in the fight.
People say that I’m amazin’, strong beyond my years;
They don’t see inside of me--I’m hidin’ all the tears.

They don’t know that I go runnin’ home when I fall down.
They don’t know who picks me up when no one is around.
I drop my sword and cry for just awhile--
‘Cause deep inside this armor, the warrior is a child.

Unafraid because His armor is the best.
But even soldiers need a quiet place to rest.
People say that I’m amazing’, never face retreat;
They don’t see the enemy can lay me at His feet.

They don’t know that I go runnin’ home when I fall down.
They don’t know who picks me up when no one is around.
I drop my sword and cry for just awhile--
‘Cause deep inside this armor, the warrior is a child.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Invisible Woman

A dear friend and her precious granddaughter just gave me the book, The Invisible Woman, by Nicole Johnson.  

It is light reading with the main focus concerning the idea of what a godly woman should be--an invisible woman who accomplishes the myriad of things she does for the Lord to glorify His name. Nicole Johnson compares the building of the great Cathedrals of Europe by many, many unknown artisans with godly women who choose to continue to build into other’s lives (mainly their husbands and children, but also people beyond this boundary) for a goal which they may not see now and perhaps will not see in their life time on earth.

This book inspires us to remember that in all we do-- no matter if it is of high value or our lowly chores --each effort is of great worth when we do it to glorify the Lord. This can change our perspective on every task, putting the joy of the Lord back into our lives.

“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; And confirm for us the work of our hands; Yes, [give permanence to] the work of our hands."  Psalm 90:17

Whether you read this work or not, you can biblically know that when you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus you can live in His strength.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Contemplating Dust

Why is dust grey? Most of the time when I clean out the lint trap in the dryer, dust the house, clean out the vacuum, or sweep the floor, it seems that the dust is mostly grey. Everything that makes this dirty dust has some color--maybe even mostly brown, but when it is swept up, it shows up just grey. A strange thing to contemplate.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics (entropy): The amount of energy in the universe available for work is running out. In other words, everything is going from order to disorder, complexity to dust.

“Lift up your eyes to the sky, then look to the earth beneath; for the sky will vanish like smoke, and the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants will die in like manner;” Isaiah 51:6a (NAS)

All this grey dust from our multi-colored world pointedly reminds me of our sins. The blatant sins we commit, the hidden sins, and the sins we may not even notice, are dirty grey in our lives of dust.

“For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Genesis 19b (NAS)

“Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” James 4:14 (NAS)

“You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before You. Each man’s life is but a breath. Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro; he bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it." Psalm 39:5-6 (NIV)

When we repent and place our faith in Jesus as our Savior, we are washed white as snow.

“Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7 (NAS)

“’Come now let us reason together,’ says the LORD, ‘though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.’” Isaiah 1:18 (NAS)

When we finally meet in glory there will be no more dust and our lives will no longer be just a breath or a vapor--there will be no more entropy. And there will be no more sin.

“Lift up your eyes to the sky, then look to the earth beneath; for the sky will vanish like smoke, and the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants will die in like manner; but My salvation will be forever, and My righteousness will not wane.” Isaiah 51:6 (NAS)

“You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before You. Each man’s life is but a breath. Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro; he bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it. But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in You.” Psalm 39:5-7 (NIV)

MARANATHA! Oh, Lord come, quickly!

Friday, April 16, 2010

While I’m Waiting, by John Waller

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting on You, Lord

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My very own geek

It used to be that all I knew about computers was what I had learned on one of the old Star Trek movies years ago. After a time warp to the past (our present) Scottie goes to use the 20th century computer to solve their current problem. After he discovers that you can not just speak with the computer to make it work he uses the keys - very fast. Thus my knowledge of how to use a computer. Speed.

Now this attribute has been my downfall many-a-time with our own computer. When things go wrong it is usually my fault. I am too fast and impatient. When I have questions, problems, or major troubles, I ask my very own computer geek. His first words are usually "you need to slow down" or "you probably hit something wrong."

My computer geek is my beloved husband. He would say that he does not know much about computers either, but over the years he has learned from reading how, asking questions from other geeks, plus trial and error. I have learned much because of his efforts on the computer. So I am kind of computer geeky myself!

The one big problem for me concerning learning new things on the computer is that I really do not care. In learning most of the technical info - my eyes glaze over and I begin to think of the sixty-eleven things I really want to do next. I would rather be doing artistic, creative things than any computer work.

I am so humbled that you, “my gentle readers,” are spending your precious time reading my encouragements. When you come to my posts, it is all because of my very own geek who lovingly listens to my non-technical lingo on what I want and how I want it. Someday, maybe after my one hundredth blog entry, I will actually remember the lessons he gives me each time on publishing. My eyes will clear and I will whip through the steps to post my next blog. Until then I will sit beside him and enjoy my beloved.

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” Song of Solomon 6:3a

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

God’s strength in my weaknesses

I posted Pastor James MacDonald’s “Weekly Walk”, Strength in Weakness, from December 28, 2009 in my last entry. It poignantly reminded me of how the Lord has carried me in His mighty strength these many years.

Although more years have passed now, I have said many times in my own testimony that “the last decade has been the worst years of my life - and yet they have been the very best years of my life.”

I have said that in my own painful tragedy I would literally be hiding in my closet to this very day.

But because of the Lord - He has given me not only the strength to do next things but a desire to do them. In these years I have seen God’s hand in my suffering as He has lifted me up. I have felt His peace even in the chaos, and I have been able to rest in Him even in this horrendous storm that seemingly has no end. I have discovered that the Lord truly does love me, not only because His Word says so but because I have seen it.

Yes, these years have been the worst of my life - but really, they have been the very best. I have drawn near to God and He has drawn near to me. This is the very best place to be.

“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:7-8a

This may sound so very strange to some of you, but if I had known of this tragedy before it had happened, if I had known that these chaotic years would have dragged on for so very long, if I had known of the agony we would carry with us every day - I would have “run away” as Jonah had before the storm; but then I would have missed these very precious years of truly getting to know my God and Savior. I would have missed how He has used my pain to mature me in Him. Yes, because of my Lord these years have been my very best.

Praising You, my Comforter and Counselor - my strength!

"But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works."  Psalm 73:28

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Strength in Weakness

May this entry give you encouragement. It is the December 28, 2009 “Weekly Walk” of Pastor James MacDonald from Walk in the Word Ministries

“Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:5-7

How do people do it? How do they withstand the Katrina-like blows that pummel their lives? The wind, the waves, the surges of heartbreak one after the another. How do they survive…and still lift their faces to the Lord? How can they be so strong at their extreme weakest?

Today was an awful day. Some very heavy things hit me off guard. But somewhere in the middle of that storm, God’s voice was telling me that He provides sufficient grace for this trial, and when I am weak His is always and still very strong. So I want to say to the glory of God that if there is anything in this ministry that is powerful, it is from weakness. Trust me on that.

“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me…For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Well, here I am - present and accounted for. It’s the hard times and the unhealthy times and the hurting times that reveal my weaknesses. And it’s also during those times that God shows up strong.

We often treat suffering like a dodgeball game. Anytime anything painful comes at us, we jump out of the way. We spend our whole lives trying to avoid anything that will hurt or be hard. But there’s a better kind of life - a deeper, more fulfilling kind of life - that isn’t about avoiding every pain. It’s about finding God faithful and powerful in the midst of whatever thorns He allows.

There’s something about our weakness that opens the flow of God’s strength.

When you are in the midst of a trial, there’s a power coming into your life that you’ve never experienced before. When you see a hard thing coming try saying, “I may not want this, but I know I’m going to see Christ working in my life in an incredible way.”

God never allows a thorn but that He provides sufficient grace and strength in our weaknesses. Sufficient grace is not just enough to survive, but enough to have supernatural joy in the midst of anything.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Peace that passes all understanding

“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 that passes all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”   Philippians 4:4-9

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Remember Surrender

Remember surrender?
Remember the rest?
Remember the weight lifting off of your chest,
and realizing that it's not up to you and never was?

Remember surrender?
Remember relief?
Remember how tears rolled down both of your cheeks
as the warmth of a heavenly Father came closing in?
I want to do that again.
Why can't I live there and make my home
in sweet surrender?

I want to do so much more than remember.
Remember surrender?
Remember peace?
Remember how soundly you fell fast asleep?
In the face of your troubles your future
still shone like the morning sun.

Remember surrender?
Remember that sound
of all of those voices dying down?
But One who speaks clearly of helping
and healing you deep within.
I want to do that again.
Why can't I live there
and make my home
in sweet surrender?
I want to do so much more than remember.
Oh, surrender.

by Sara Groves