Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The LORD is with those who love Him

No Escape

"Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there."          
Psalm 139:7-8
There's hardly a soul who hasn't wrestled with the overwhelming urge to flee when faced with suffering. Whether it be from bad health, bad finances, or bad relationships, people -- even Christians -- search for an escape. Escape into daydreams. Escape into sleep. Escape into television. And a few even escape into suicide. Sometimes the strongest and most stalwart of saints are the most likely candidates.

Even a powerful prophet such as Elijah tried to escape his suffering. When the wicked queen Jezebel heard through the grapevine that Elijah had destroyed hundreds of her prophets, she went after his neck. Elijah got weak-kneed and ran for his life. "I have had enough, Lord," he said. "Take my life..." Read it for yourself in 1 Kings 19:1-9.
Circumstances may vary from person to person, but we can draw comfort from the fact that all of us are as vulnerable as Elijah. And if you look closer at how this mighty prophet surfaced out of his despair, you'll see that God Himself took Elijah in His arms and wiped away his tears.

The lesson of Elijah is for you. Just as surely as the angel of the Lord personally gave the prophet a sip of cool water and laid him down to rest, the Lord touches your life through the people He places around you. Elijah was able to turn the corner and get back on the track, thanks to God. And you can, too.
Lord, if I go up to the heavens, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn and settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me and Your right hand will hold me fast. There's no way I can escape Your love...I praise you for that!

Diamonds in the Dust, October 31

Monday, October 30, 2017

He is there, and in the darkest of times...

2 Corinthians 12:9 "And He has said to me, 
“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” 
Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, 
so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

"One of the great challenges in life is that of maintaining grace during times of temptation and trials.  The human spirit is prone to exasperation and despair.  It can be difficult to see the help God provides us in times of struggle when our eyes are clouded over with the pain of the moment.  It is real faith that recognizes the activity of the concerned Savior even though His work may not be seen clearly for a time and even if His presence may not be greatly felt.  He is there, and in the darkest of times He is actively involved in our struggles."

L. Edward Hazelbaker, footnote John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress,” Chapter 5.


Honoring Charles Schulz

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Broken Hearts

"There is no shame in a heart that is broken."

This world is fallen and it surely seems that evil is not just at our doorsteps, but far past them. 

If you are grieving at all, you are not alone.  There seems no way to distance ourselves from the agonies of life, in fact, the agonies continue to build.

If your heart is broken, run to Him with me.  The LORD is our strength, and He is our comfort in this fallen world.  

All of our hope should be in Him!

Romans 15:13
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

1 Peter 1:3-9
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again 
to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  
to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled 
and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 
who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation 
ready to be revealed in the last time. 

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, 
if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 
so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold 
which is perishable, even though tested by fire, 
may be found to result in praise and glory 
and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 
and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, 
and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, 
you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 
obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls."

Psalm 40:1-3
"I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.

He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.

He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear
And will trust in the Lord."

Monday, October 23, 2017

A "Just for fun Harvest"

Well, I sure am thankful for grocery stores and farm stands. We have a difficult time getting good harvests.  It must be like my baking.  I use to bake and make marvelous things, but now I have to watch everything I do, and still, I have what I would call "failures".

So this year we had a small garden in a new area with more sun.  I planted fewer vegetables and thought with less, I could really do well.  So the Beef Steak tomatoes did horrible, the cherry tomatoes did all right, good brussels sprout harvest with the pumpkins surpassing every year we have grown them, and I grew them just for the fun of it to them give away! 

As a side note, we had no apples, no raspberries, and very few strawberries. It was a strange year.

I read a devotional years ago which I should have saved because I refer to it many times when encouraging women.  I think the title was, "Peaches or Pumpkins", and the encouragement was the fact that our great God is with us, He cares for us, and He takes care of us.  

The illustration in this devotional was a farmer and his family where one crop may do well, while the other crops may not. You may end up with a great peach crop or it just might be the pumpkin crop---still, the LORD is with you and takes care of you. 

We may not have needed to eat our pumpkins, but the LORD allowed us to be able to bless many people in our lives with beautiful pumpkins.  It was a joy to pass them around! 

Praising the LORD!

Psalm 20:7
"Some boast in chariots and some in horses,
But we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God."

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Humble yourself as a child before the LORD

Matthew 18:1-6

"...the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 
And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 
and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 
Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 
And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; 
but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

He saved us according to His mercy

Recently we were attending a wedding rehearsal with the wedding the next day. 

The man conducting the service is a reverend whose business is to arrange the whole ceremony.  Along with this he uses a traditional Christian wedding service including the LORD's and Jesus name.  This was the second time we have seen him at work in 3 years. Although serious, he was a polite, happy person with a sense of humor as he interacted with people.

It is quite interesting to watch him interact with the wedding party at the rehearsal as he explained proper ways for the groomsmen to treat the bridesmaid he is ushering her down the isle, how the groom is to treat his bride as a treasure on her special day, and how the bride is to honor her husband to be that day. It was done very well.

He explained love, respect, and honor further with the bride and groom during his service the next day. It was very well done. 

When we saw him years ago and recently, I was struck by how this man is trying to teach simple manners to these young people who have been neglected by the teachings of just proper behavior and etiquette.

Obviously, the wedding couple chose this man to do their service for a reason.  They could have chosen anyone else who would have just let every thing "go", but they chose this man. To their credit their behavior was respectful to him and to the others on both days.

My shock was how the wedding party behaved.  All were adults by age, probably towards thirty. At the rehearsal these 16 people were boisterous, barely paying attention, the women mocking "how to behave" while walking with their groomsmen...

The day of the wedding these 16, who had already been drinking, behaved rudely as they waited to walk own the isle.  What a sad commentary on beautifully dressed young people, seemingly ugly on the inside, definitely lacking the teaching of manners, who could have learned a little bit of a lesson from this preacher man if they had chosen to do so.   

The rest of the ceremony seemed to be uneventful, thankfully. We left before the party began.

By their behavior I could wonder that these people did not have Jesus as their Savior and so we can grieve for them. Even so, I do believe that the teaching of simple manners is history for most of our culture.

As for those of us who have given our lives to Jesus who is now our Savior, we have the power to overcome sinfulness and behave properly with others. Praise the LORD!

Titus 3:1-7
"Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, 
to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. 
But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 
whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 
so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." 

Silly Kitties


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Our hope is in Him no matter how long it takes

A Long Obedience

by Joni Erickson Tada

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."          
Galatians 6:9
When Ken and I drive north from Los Angeles to visit his relatives in Stockton, we take the interstate highway, a long, straight road through the central valley of California. Once when we were driving through Illinois, we took another long highway straight through miles and miles of cornfields. And once when I drove across Texas, I squinted to see the horizon many miles far down another long, flat road across the Texas plains.
When I think of the word boring, I think of those highways. One straight stretch in the same direction. No matter if it's a road, someone's two-hour lecture, or waiting in a line that stretches for blocks, it's hard not to become weary. It's hard just keeping your mind awake, your senses sharp, and your eyes focused on what's ahead.
We balk at developing a long obedience in the same direction. A marriage that is forever struggling, a church that seems to produce little results, or housekeeping routines that never vary from week to week. Caring for an elderly parent or a disabled child can be a long obedience in the same direction.
If I've described you, then you need to pay attention to the grace of God, finding daily renewal from His storehouse of fresh strength and hope. 

So be alert and be on guard. 

If you're tempted to feel that your life is like a long, boring stretch of highway, don't you dare fall asleep at the wheel! 

Don't be weary in doing good, because your heavenly destination will be worth the long obedience.
Please, Lord, give me Your grace today. Help me not to become weary at what needs to be done. Help me to obey!

Diamonds in the Dust
October 5

Sunday, October 1, 2017

For the LORD's child: we are all His rare gems!

1 John 3:1-3
"See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure."

1 John 5:1-4
"Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. 
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. 
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. 
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.