Friday, May 31, 2013

Have you heard? Life is short.

Bouquets---I love bouquets, but to this day it is strangely difficult thing for me to go out and cut one for just myself. 

I can cut and give so many bouquets to others and bless them every time.  Why is it so difficult for me to cut one for me?

My little one, years ago, would pick dandelion and wood violet bouquets for me which I would receive with such joy.  But for me to go out and cut a bouquet from my own flowers was too difficult.

One reason could be because I wanted to enjoy the flowers right where they were in the yard.  A second reason could be the bouquets would only last so long and then fade.  But when my child would surprise me with their own selection, I would treasure this bouquet  no matter how long it lasted.

Even to this day I find myself thinking about just leaving the blooms where they are to enjoy them right there.

But Life is too short!   

I remember fondly how my little one would bring me her choice of flowers and then also even as an adult she would cut a spectacular bouquet with great pleasure just for me....and so these memories now can send me running outside to put together one which pales in comparison to hers, but brings her right to my mind and memory. Precious!

Praising God! for life is but a mist! and we must choose to live today! and live it for Him!

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

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Precious childlike faith

"Birds make me laugh"

...To be touched by the simplicity and beauty of birds singing and flying about your yard is, to me, a response to the Creator in childlike faith.

A childlike faith means that the child sees the wonder of God as the bible says. Children intuitively understand the connection of creation to the Creator.

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." (Romans 1:20) 

From The End Time blog, May 8, 2013

Monday, May 27, 2013

Where does your influence stop?

Ladies, mothers, grandmothers, home educators, fellow teachers! Praising God with you! The LORD is our solid ground. He is the rock which is higher than us. He is our strength, wisdom, comfort, compassion, …

Some of us are home school mothers, some of us send our children to a school, but each one of us was a teacher of our own children before they began formal education. All of us as parents have a job which is far bigger, broader, and more everlasting than we can fathom. We are busy molding each individual’s certain character and presenting to them in everyday ways the true and awesome Savior and God’s truths.

Our job is important, but it is not the end of the “equation” of our teaching. Once we begin to pour ourselves into each little to big individual, we must realize this equation includes their choices and their decisions throughout their lives. Choices to follow their parent’s instructions, values, and the One and only Savior, Jesus.

Sound familiar? We, ourselves, are still making these choices in our lives no matter what age we are.

As parents our job is never finished. We will always “be there” for them and even more significant for them is our prayer life and our prayers on their behalf.

*Never give up or give in!* 

*God’s ways are not our ways.*

God can take a person’s life which looks hopeless and turn it all around in ways we could never think of or in which we could never even do. When we are told to give our anxieties to Him, there is a real and true reason. God has much bigger plans in His solutions than we can fathom. What a lesson to learn: to let go and give it to God even if that means every minute or every day.

God can take our own agonies as we wait for better choices by our lived ones. He can mold and make our pain into something beautiful which glories His name -- all the while we wait for our loved ones, our children, to make right choices once again.

When we allow Him to work on our loved ones, when we allow Him to use us in our pain, this waiting is not passive at all. This waiting is very active. We are active in learning to give our anguishes to Him. We are learning to trust in Him even when it is the darkest night.

We must continue each day to run to God in all our issues! His ways are higher than our ways and we can trust Him.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. So are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9

We can trust Him and we can rest in Him.

A Worn out Bible

 A Bible that is falling apart
usually belongs to someone who isn't.
Charles Spurgeon

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ubiquitous dust and the pricelessness of each person

Our Daily Bread, by Julie Ackerman Link, April 22, 2013

Dust Art

The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
Genesis 2:7

When God chose dust as His artistic medium to create Adam, He didn’t have to worry about running out of material. According to Hannah Holmes, author of The Secret Life of Dust, “Between 1 and 3 billion tons of desert dust fly up into the sky annually. One billion tons would fill 14 million boxcars in a train that would wrap six times around the Earth’s equator.”

No one has to buy dust, for we all have more than we want. I ignore it as long as I can in my house. My reasoning is this: If I don’t disturb it, it’s not as noticeable. But eventually it accumulates to the point that I can no longer pretend it’s not there. So I haul out my cleaning supplies and start removing it from wherever it has found a resting place.

As I remove the dust, I see myself reflected in the smooth surface. Then I see another thing: I see that God took something worthless, dust, and made it into something priceless --- you and me and every other person.

The fact that God used dust to create humans makes me think twice about labeling someone or something worthless. Perhaps the very thing that I want to get rid of --- a person or problem that annoys me --- is the artistic medium God has given to display His glory.

Lord, too often I want to quickly ignore or dismiss difficult people and circumstances. Help me to be open to learn from You through them and to see Your glory.


Being all fashioned of the self-same dust, let us be merciful as well as just.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

There is a cost of motherhood.

The Cost of Motherhood
Once a lady went to visit her friend. During the visit the children of the friend entered the room and began to play with each other. As the lady and her friend visited, the lady turned to her friend and said eagerly and yet with evidently no thought of the meaning of her words: “Oh, I’d give my life to have such children.” The mother replied with a subdued earnestness whose quiet told of the depth of experience out of which her words came: “That’s exactly what it costs.”

There is a cost of motherhood. 

And the price is no small sum. 

And if you are not willing to pay this price, no amount of encouragement about the joys of motherhood will satisfy.

But the price of motherhood is not fundamentally different from the price of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. In fact, Christian mothers see their duty as mothers flowing from their calling to Jesus Christ. And what is this cost?

Christian motherhood means dedicating your entire life in service of others. It means standing beside your husband, following him, and investing in the lives of children whom you hope will both survive you and surpass you. It means forgoing present satisfaction for eternal rewards. It means investing in the lives of others who may never fully appreciate your sacrifice or comprehend the depth of your love. And it means doing all these things, not because you will receive the praise of man — for you will not — but because God made you to be a woman and a mother, and there is great contentment in that biblical calling.

In other words, Motherhood requires vision. 

It requires living by faith and not by sight.

These are some of the reasons why Motherhood is both the most biblically noble and the most socially unappreciated role to which a young woman can aspire. There are many people who ask the question: Does my life matter? But a mother that fears the Lord need never ask such a question. Upon her faithful obedience hinges the future of the church and the hope of the nation.

In 1950, the great Scottish American preacher Peter Marshall stood before the United States Senate and he explained it this way:

Peter Marshall
The modern challenge to motherhood is the eternal challenge — that of being a godly woman. The very phrase sounds strange in our ears. We never hear it now. We hear about every other kind of women — beautiful women, smart women, sophisticated women, career woman, talented women, divorced women, but so seldom do we hear of a godly woman — or of a godly man either, for that matter.
I believe women come nearer fulfilling their God-given function in the home than anywhere else. It is a much nobler thing to be a good wife than to be Miss America. It is a greater achievement to establish a Christian home than it is to produce a second-rate novel filled with filth. It is a far, far better thing in the realm of morals to be old-fashioned than to be ultramodern. The world has enough women who know how to hold their cocktails, who have lost all their illusions and their faith. The world has enough women who know how to be smart.
It needs women who are willing to be simple. The world has enough women who know how to be brilliant. It needs some who will be brave. The world has enough women who are popular. It needs more who are pure. We need women, and men, too, who would rather be morally right that socially correct.
...we are fighting for the Lord, and it is He who prioritizes motherhood and home as the highest calling and domain of womanhood “that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Titus 2:5.

by Douglas Phillips

Be glad your mom was a mom

This country loves Mother’s Day. We love to honor moms and get flowers. We love to take her out for dinner and make her stand up in church. Americans are the people of motherhood and apple pie.

But what makes a mom a mom?

Happy Mother’s Day. Or Parent’s Day. Or Gender Neutral Guardians. Or Whatever.

We know who mom is, but do we know what a mom is? Are the two persons (or three? or thirty?) in a marriage interchangeable? Is there anything beyond biology (and affirming biology is a start!) that makes a mom a mom? When your little girl asks, 
“What does it mean to be a mommy?” what will you say to her?

One answer is found in 1 Thessalonians 2. Look at how Paul uses parenting as an analogy for his pastoral work.
1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 “But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also of our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.”

1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 “For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.”
Within the span of a few verses Paul likens his pastoral approach to both mothering and fathering. And the approaches are not the same. For the Apostle, mothering implies gentleness, affection, and sacrifice. Fathering, on the other hand, implies exhortation, encouragement, and a spiritual charge. This is not to suggest that one set of virtues are exclusively feminine and the other exclusively masculine. After all, Paul says he was gentle among the Thessalonians like a nursing mother. Men can be tender and women can exhort. But still, there is a method behind the metaphors. For Paul, the picture of divinely aided gentleness is a mother and the picture of divinely guided exhortation is a father. A mom is a mom and not a dad, and a dad is a dad and not a mom.

I recognize that mothers have different personalities. Some are quiet and some are loud. Some prefer the background and some enjoy the spotlight. God doesn’t expect every mother to me shy and retiring. And yet, there is something particularly maternal and feminine and biblical about a woman marked by gentleness (1 Peter 3:4). It’s part of what makes a mother a mother.

Which is saying something, because if there is any vocation that mitigates against gentleness it is taking care of rowdy, unruly, ungrateful children. So take time this weekend to thank your mom, or your kids’ mom, for all the times she was affectionately desirous of you and eagerly gave of her own life because you were so dear to her. Be glad your mom was a mom.

*From Kevin DeYoung, posted May 10, 2013

1 Peter 3:4
but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

*Ladies, let us be witnesses in this world of women who are very precious in God's sight.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Do not live in fear. Our God is able!

Ephesians 3:14-21

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,

from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,

that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,

so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,

and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

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.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Sin leaves a residue on your life like powered sugar donuts do.

I am a sinner: Confessing sins 101

1 John 1:5-2:2

1:5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;

7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.

9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;

2 and He Himself is the propitiation (God’s wrath satisfied by Christ) for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world

As sinners we rationalize our sins away. We normally and naturally can compare ourselves (our sin life) with other people.  (“I am better than her” or “At least I am not like her or like him!” ) 

When we compare ourselves to others we are absolutely wrong and completely missing the “mark” or the target that God has set for us. When we compare ourselves to others we are deceiving ourselves and even sinning more than before we set our own standard of holiness. 

When we compare ourselves (our sins) to others we have made our own standard of holiness to follow. This standard is self-created and has no truth in it. (God is truth. God’s truth). When we set our own standard of “holiness” we are lying to ourselves----AND LYING TO GOD.

God is 100% pure which means He has no darkness at all. He is the One we are to compare ourselves. When we compare ourselves to God we can certainly see that we miss the “mark” or the target God has set for His standard of holiness. 

But the story is not finished because God gave a way for each of us to be reconciled to Him even though we can never get close to His holiness. Trusting Jesus as our Savior is God’s marvelous plan. When we give ourselves to Him, the Father looks at us through what Jesus did for us (His blood shed, spilled for the penalty of our sins) and the Father sees that we are now white as snow. We are holy because He is holy.

Do we still sin? On this earth we will still have our “old sin nature” or “the old man in us” but we are not slaves to sin any longer! We have the Holy Spirit living in us and we can overcome any temptation! We are more than conquerors!

Romans 8:31-39

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.

34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,

39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So what do we do when we realize that we have set our own standard of holiness and  “pish-poshed“ away our sins?

Sin is like eating a powdered sugar donut. It is almost impossible to eat one of these donuts without some of the powdered sugar falling on our clothes or being smudged on our face. There is some sort of residue that shows you have eaten a powdered sugar donut.

Look at your life. Look at the residue of sin in your life---no one else’s residue of sin---look at YOUR residue of sin.

Confess to God and call your sins what they are: they are sins. Don’t allow yourself to “pish-posh” them away as “I am not so bad”, or “Mine are not as bad as hers”.

Confess your sins to God and He is faithful and just to be there, and forgive your sins.

Jesus intercedes for us. Jesus is our Advocate. He is better than any lawyer. (Luke 22:31-32) He goes to the Father for you.

God’s standards do not change. Don’t make God the liar. You are the liar when you say you are not sinning. When you say “no” to God you damage your ability to hear from Him. You sear your conscience (1Timothy 4). It is a dangerous thing to say “no” to God.

Instead, open yourself up to His word which is sharper than any two edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). His light will show you your sin.

1 Corinthians 2:10-13

10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,

13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

God expects truth from us. You must compare yourself to God who is absolute purity and then be real and truthful with God about your sins. He will meet you where you are. He will not abandon you, but be with you throughout your new desire to choose to be a conqueror!

Praise His name!

HT to FBC, Pastor Steve