Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Christian Liberty to love!

from Joni's Diamonds in the Dust, January 21

Law and Liberty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Retired Pluggers

Monday, April 27, 2015

He sought me when a stranger!

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

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

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

by Robert Robinson

Revived! Even with wet feet!

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


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Revived! Thankful for Spring!

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

Thursday, April 23, 2015


When Scripture Hurts

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

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

Monday, April 20, 2015

Higher Ground!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Johnson Oatman, Jr.

A Dozen Ways to Be Miserable

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

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

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

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

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

4) Don't be compassionate.  

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

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

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

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

Do you know someone for whom misery comes naturally?  

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

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

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

from Joni's Diamonds in the Dust, January 13

Saturday, April 18, 2015

How much will it cost?

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

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

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

From Joni's Diamonds in the Dust prayer January 20

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Cleverly disguised as the word "authority"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They use His name to control and manipulate people!  

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

How can we stop this?!  

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

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

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

May the LORD be glorified!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

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

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

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

          by Lemmel

Monday, April 13, 2015

Prescription for Weariness

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

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

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

Thank You, Lord, for carrying my cares today!

from Joni's Diamond in the Dust, January 15


How do you shepherd your children...

The question was: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, April 11, 2015

In His time

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

Concerning the change of seasons:

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

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

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

from Joni's Diamonds in the Dust, March 29

Friday, April 10, 2015

Sowing in tears

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

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

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

from Joni's Diamonds in the Dust, April 3

Thursday, April 9, 2015

It's Friday, But Sunday's Comin'

by S. M. Lockridge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Just what we need to hear....

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

Where is God When it Hurts?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Waiting for the LORD

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

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

*In Him I can wait.*

He who keeps you

Psalm 121

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

Saturday, April 4, 2015

E'en so Lord Jesus Quickly Come

by Paul Manz

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

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

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

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

Friday, April 3, 2015

"I can't afford you"

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

He finishes with:

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

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

Colossians 3:17

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

To Him who is Able!

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

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

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

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

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

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