Thursday, November 29, 2007

He Who Began a Good Work in Me

“And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6.)

I was looking over a paper that had gotten lost in my vehicle titled, “Blind Spots of the Submissive Wife” and was reminded of how I once foolishly believed the woman should run the household. Two or three years ago I fought relentlessly for my “rights”! I would make the plans and/or fight against my husband’s plans; I would nag him endlessly for being late or not doing something I felt he should be doing; I would resist him on things he wanted me or the family to do; I would argue against a great deal of things he said or suggested; sometimes I would take the side of others instead of his; I would correct him when I thought he was wrong; I would scold him; and I did not appreciate him for his help. In short I was not at all a submissive wife!

I am so thankful that I can now consider myself a daughter of the King and act appropriately toward my husband. I feel I am a thousand times more submissive than I once was. I still stumble from time to time but over all I am so blessed my Heavenly Father called me out of my foolishness and blindness. I am grateful to my King that He has chosen me and wrote my name in the book of life before the world was even created! I cannot show appreciation enough that my selfishness and ugliness are being replaced by His love for me; He is filling up my once worldly filled heart!

Thank you gracious Father for all the work you have done and continue to do in me! All honor and glory are yours my strength and my redeemer!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Judgement? Or Mercy!

John Piper said something this weekend that hit me in such a profound way that I had to share it with you. I went back and listened again to his message so that I could share it with you word for word (because I tend to mangle things in my own interpretation). He said, “The dice are thrown on the board and every decision is from the Lord in Las Vegas. And I believe that with all of my total being. People get bankrupted and get rich by the design of God in judgment and mercy. And usually judgment. Since it is hard for a rich man to get into the kingdom of Heaven.” (By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org.)

“In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,” (Eph 1:11. ESV.)

“all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’" (Daniel 4:35. ESV.)

“Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?” (Amos 3:6. ESV.)

“Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it?” (Lamentations 3:37. ESV.)

“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9. ESV.)

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” (Proverbs 19:21. ESV.)

“The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:33. ESV.)

My dad once said to me (regarding my situation), “Geez Brook, what did you do in your life that made you deserve to have to go through all of this?” I am so excited that I can go to him now and say, “So you see, daddy, I am not being punished (judged). God is having mercy on me but because of our worldly view we have messed it all up!” Thank you Heavenly Father for all of your beautiful mercy on me!!! I am so sorry beyond measure that it has taken me this long to see it for what it really is! I truly do not know what I have done to deserve such awesome mercy!!!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Painful Joy

"The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." Proverbs 16:9

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:3-9.)

“My dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful test you are suffering, as though something unusual were happening to you. Rather be glad that you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may be full of joy when His glory is revealed. Happy are you if you are insulted because you are Christ’s followers; this means that the glorious Spirit, the Spirit of God, is resting on you. If any of you suffers, it must not be because he is a murderer or a thief or a criminal or meddles in other people’s affairs. However, if you suffer because you are a Christian, don’t be ashamed of it, but thank God that you bear Christ’s name. The time has come for judgment to begin, and God’s own people are the first to be judged. If it starts with us, how will it end with those who do not believe the Good News from God? As the scripture says, ‘It is difficult for good people to be saved; what, then, will become of godless sinners?’ So then, those who suffer because it is God’s will for them, should by their good actions trust themselves completely to their Creator, who always keeps His promise.” (1 Peter 4:12-19.)

“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; he will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness.” (Malachi 3:2-3.)

Oh boy is God, my Father purifying me this weekend! Just when I thought things were going to be smooth sailing He turned up the heat! And as I crumbled under the pressure and began to melt within the flames, all the impurities bubbled to the top where they sat and waited to be scrapped off. As minutes, hours, a day passed by, things began to cool back down again in the absence of the fire and I was able to emerge slightly stronger and more refined. Though I rejoice for the opportunity to be cleansed I must say it was a rather painful process.

Oh how joyful I will be indeed when the glorious day arrives and Christ Jesus is made known! Whoa to those who do not listen; those who hear the Word of our Father yet brush it off to live life as they see fit. How terrible for those who are cowards, traitors, perverts, and murderers. Condemned are the immoral, those who practice magic, those who worship idols, and all liars because the place for them is the lake burning with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8.) Happy are those who suffer greatly for their belief, trust, and absolute faith in our Father and His Son Christ Jesus.

Do not grow weary, my friend. Find renewal in His word. Hold tight to our Father. Hide your face against His chest. Allow Him to hold you near and assure you there is nothing to fear for He and He alone is sovereign.

“The world and all that is in it belong to the Lord; the earth and all who live on it are His. He built it on the deep waters beneath the earth and laid its foundations in the ocean depths. Who has the right to go up the Lord’s hill? Who may enter His holy Temple? Those who are pure in act and in thought, who do not worship idols or make false promises. The Lord will bless them and save them; God will declare them innocent. Such are the people who come to God, who come into the presence of the God of Jacob. Fling wide the gates, open the ancient doors, and the great King will come in. Who is this great King? He is the Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, victorious in battle. Fling wide the gates, open the ancient doors, and the great King will come in. Who is the great King? The triumphant Lord – He is the great King!” (Psalms 24.)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Not for the Faint of Heart

Why do we look toward man (who is not God but rather only made in His image) for help when the all powerful, sovereign God is our Father? With all the challenges life and humans bring I cannot help but wonder…why do we not trust in God more?

Being a believer is a very difficult and sometimes overwhelming thing. Not only do we have the devil prowling around like a lion ready to pounce, sin crouching at our door, and the flesh confining us we also have our loved ones, friends, and strangers alike challenging our very belief in the one true God and His Son Christ Jesus. It definitely takes a faithfully strong, persistent, steadfast person to hold their ground against satan, sin, the flesh, and those who mock and persecute believers. I think it is safe to say it is not for the faint of heart.

“At dawn the angels tried to make Lot hurry. ‘Quick!’ they said. ‘Take your wife and your two daughters and get out, so that you will not lose your lives when the city is destroyed.’ Lot hesitated. The Lord, however, had pity on him; so the men took him, his wife, and his two daughters by the hand and led them out of the city. Then one of the angels said, ‘Run for your lives! Don’t look back and don’t stop in the valley. Run to the hills, so that you won’t be killed.’ (Genesis 19:15-17.)

“The sun was rising when Lot reached Zoar. Suddenly the Lord rained burning sulfur on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and destroyed them and the whole valley, along with all the people there and everything that grew on the land. But Lot’s wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt.” (Genesis 19:23-26.)

But oh, what happens to those who, like Lot’s wife, do not believe? What comes of the people who turn away from salvation and yearn to be with the darkness in a horrible, unspeakable place like Sodom and Gomorrah that is so unclean and perverted that God destroys it with fire?

“Locusts came down out of the smoke upon the earth, and they were given the same kind of power that scorpions have. They were told not to harm the grass or the trees or any other plant; they could harm only the people who did not have the mark of God’s seal on their foreheads. The locusts were not allowed to kill these people, but only to torture them for five months. The pain caused by the torture is like the pain caused by a scorpion’s sting. During those five months they will seek death, but will not find it; they will want to die, but death will flee from them.” (Revelation 9:3-6.)

“For even though you know all this, I want to remind you of how the Lord once rescued the people of Israel from Egypt, but afterward destroyed those who did not believe. Remember the angels who did not stay within the limits of their proper authority, but abandoned their own dwelling place: they are bound with eternal chains in the darkness below, where God is keeping them for that great Day on which they will be condemned. Remember Sodom and Gomorrah, and the nearby town, whose people acted as those angels did and indulged in sexual immorality and perversion: they suffer the punishment of eternal fire as a plain warning to all.” (Jude 1:5-7.)

“Happy are those who reject the advice of evil men, who do not follow the example of sinners or join those who have no use for God. Instead, they find joy in obeying the Law of the Lord, and they study it day and night. They are like trees that grow beside a stream, that bear fruit at the right time, and whose leaves do not dry up. They succeed in everything they do. But evil men are not like this at all; they are like straw that the wind blows away. Sinners will be condemned by God and kept apart from God’s own people. The righteous are guided and protected by the Lord, but the evil are on the way to their doom.” (Psalms 1:1-6.)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Eaten by Worms

“So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.” (Acts 12:21-23. NKJV.)

Yikes!!! How many times have we been blessed by the grace of God and did not give Him the credit and praise? Too many times in my life I should have been consumed by maggots. Thankfully Christ drank the cup of our Father’s wrath so that it is not ours to swallow and we are not subject to the same no tolerance policy that is seen in the Old Testament time and time again.

I feel so fortunate that our Father takes care of everything! It lifts a great weight from my shoulders knowing I do not have to control everything, I do not have to bear the responsibility for everything, and He is there to make the decisions. Even my husband has more of the stress than I as I am protected when I am obedient to him and follow his lead. With so many stressors in life, (i.e. the raising of children, finances, loved ones who sin against us, what the future holds, etc.) it is a breath of fresh air having our Father on my side and working everything for the good of those who love Him, those whom He has called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

And what of those pesky trials and tribulations? How in the world are they used to glorify God? Perhaps it is by our actions and reactions. If we are not challenged by the world and non-believers we would probably stand quiet and most likely in a prideful state. But the presence of difficult situations and those who sin against us keep us dependent on our Father and provoke us to act in a way that brings glory to Him instead of lashing out in defense, to “protect” ourselves. But how often do we choose to recognize God and behave in a manner that draws attention to Him? I am embarrassed to say it is not too often on my end. I am wretched and constantly seek to gain and maintain the quiet and gentle spirit of one who has unconditional, steadfast faith in our Father, His love, His tender guidance, and His protection.

By His grace we have been saved and woke up again this morning from our slumber to live this vapor of a life another day. We have been given a further chance today to honor, serve, encourage, worship, fight peer pressure, and defy the world!

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.” (The 23rd Psalm.)

Amen.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Here Your Proud Waves Must Stop

“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: ‘Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Who shut in the sea with doors, when it burst forth and issued from the womb; when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band; when I fixed My limit for it, and set bars and doors; when I said, “This far you may come, but no farther, and here your proud waves must stop!”’” (Job 38:1-2 & 8-11. NKJV.)

How wretched am I to question my Father and become frustrated with the struggle He places before me! What an untrusting, whiny, ungrateful daughter am I who complains to all who will listen about how difficult my walk has become. Yet my Father remains true to me and continues “pruning” me so that I may bear fruit. (John 15:2.) And I have not to this day abandoned my prideful, foolish nature.

“‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble’. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:5-7.)

“‘Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place, that it might take hold of the ends of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it? Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Or have you seen the doors of the shadow of death? Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this.

“‘Where is the way to the dwelling of light? And darkness, where is its place, that you may take it to its territory, that you may know the paths to its home? By what way is light diffused, or the east wind scattered over the earth? Has the rain a father? Or who has begotten the drops of dew? From whose womb comes the ice? And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth?

“Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that an abundance of water may cover you? Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or who has given understanding to the heart? (Job 38:12-13, 17-20, 24, 28-29, 34 & 36.)

Humble me, Father! Let my eyes be focused on You and my thoughts kept in perspective. This life is but a mist that will leave just as quickly as it came. It will be a moment of time in the scheme of eternity, yet it will determine my time without end. By Your grace I have been saved, Father, and by your grace I awaken each morning to a new day. I should have a joyful spirit instead of wallowing in self pity and self love.

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’ But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:13-17.)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

There is a Great Gulf Between Us

“So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’” (Luke 16:22-26.)

I am drawn to this story for many different reasons. I love the contrast between the beauty of Heaven and the torment of hell; the anguish of the rich man who has fallen from his pedestal and begs for a drop of water from the poor man’s finger. I am comforted by the fulfillment of a promise that “those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31.) “So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts her mouth.” (Job 5:16.)

“Then [the rich man] said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send [Lazarus] to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’” (Luke 16:27-31.)

Oh Father, there is nothing you cannot do! I pray for the salvation of my loved ones; those who are dear to me yet mock you, Father. I must “not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” (Matthew 7:6.) Yet, my heart wants them to be saved; to have each name written in the book of life so that they will glorify you and we can be together for eternity.

There is a great gulf between us. They are caught in the web of sin “which so easily ensnares us”. (Hebrews 12:1.) Please Father, set them free!

“My heart rejoices in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord. I smile at my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.

“No one is holy like the Lord, for there is none besides You, nor is there any rock like our God.

“Talk no more so very proudly; let no arrogance come from your mouth, for the Lord is the God of knowledge; and by Him actions are weighed.

“The bows of the mighty men are broken, and those who stumbled are girded with strength.

“Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, and the hungry have ceased to hunger. Even the barren has borne seven, and she who has many children has become feeble.

“The Lord kills and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and brings up.

“The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and lifts up.

“He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap, to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory.

“For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and He has set the world upon them.

“He will guard the feet of His saints, but the wicked shall be silent in darkness.

“For by strength no man shall prevail.

“The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces; from heaven He will thunder against them. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth.

“He will give strength to His king, and exalt the horn of His anointed.” (1 Samuel 2: 1-10.)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Every Branch that Bears Fruit He Prunes

“Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Because of His great mercy He gave us new life by raising Jesus Christ from death. This fills us with a living hope, and so we look forward to possessing the rich blessings that God keeps for His people. He keeps them for you in heaven, where they cannot decay or spoil or fade away. They are for you, who through faith are kept safe by God’s power for the salvation which is ready to be revealed at the end of time.

“Be glad about this, even though it may now be necessary for you to be sad for a while because of the many kinds of trials you suffer. Their purpose is to prove that your faith is genuine. Even gold, which can be destroyed, is tested by fire; and so your faith, which is much more precious than gold, must also be tested, so that it may endure. Then you will receive praise and glory and honor on the Day when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:3-7.)

Ah yes, trials and tribulations. How I despise tests and troubles, suffering and pain. Numerous times I have prayed asking my Father why I must hurt so much; why my heart must be broken. Christ gives me the answer for this in John 15:1-2 when He says, “‘I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.'”

“'You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.’” (John 15:3-11. NKJV.) (Some translations use the word “remain” instead of “abide”.)

I should not allow myself to get frustrated by trying times, loss, and sadness. Instead I should worship like Job, maintain a joyful heart, and rejoice in all things; for my faithfulness is in Him who I should trust and lean against completely.

“You love Him, although you have not seen Him, and you believe in Him, although you do not see Him. So you rejoice with a great and glorious joy which words cannot express, because you are receiving the salvation of your souls, which is the purpose of your faith in Him.” (1 Peter 1:8-9.)

For 20 years I lived in Florida and experienced its hot and sultry afternoons; incredible thunderstorms complete with bolts of lightening that split the sky; and winds cast off by hurricanes which threatened to strike. I could not see the powerful, swirling air that whipped about and left us fearful yet I did see the effects it had on everything. Christ lives and my Father is real! I cannot see Him but I see, hear, and touch all that He has produced.

“Yes, my children, remain in union with Him, so that when He appears we may be full of courage and need not hide in shame from Him on the day He comes. You know that Christ is righteous; you should know, then, that everyone who does what is right is God’s child.” (1 John 2:28-29.)

“He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” (1 John 3:8-9. NKJV.)

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http://www.shoutlife.com/Matt5verse6
Matt5verse6@yahoo.com

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Oh That You Would Bless Me Indeed

“And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’ So God granted him what he requested.” (1 Chronicles 4:10.)

What terrible pain I cause others with my sinful ways. Wretched, wretched sin begins in my heart, pulses through my veins, and escapes in the very breath I use to speak. It causes my body to tremble, my heart to pound, and my words to cut like sharp knives leaving deep wounds. Certainly Christ would not behave as I do. Surely I would avoid His eyes if I were standing in His precious presence. Yet all I selfishly pray is, “Help me, Father. Help me be triumphant. Show others the truth in what I say. Let me be victorious,” when I should be saying, “May You be glorified!” Why can I not just utter the words of Jabez?

Only You know my heart, Father. You see the good, the bad, and the ugly within me. You notice the anger that rises like molten lava and spews forth from my very lips; the ugliness that crouches, covered in shadow only to reveal itself when the pressure threatens to become more than I can bear; and droplets of venom hidden within the creases of my soul. Envy whispers greed and self love into my mind and I begin to covet what my neighbor possesses.

“Oh that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!”

“Surely He scorns the scornful, but gives grace to the humble.” (Proverbs 3:34. NKJV.)

“Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:5-11. NKJV.)

“Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith— to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:25-27. NKJV.)

Oh Father, convict me to be prayerful, humble, and obedient to You for “he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23.)

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http://www.shoutlife.com/Matt5verse6

Friday, July 20, 2007

Marriage and the Covenant Between Christ and the Church

“Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave His life for it. He did this to dedicate the church to God by his word, after making it clean by washing it in water, in order to present the church to himself in all its beauty – pure and faultless, without spot or wrinkle or any other imperfection.” (Ephesians 5:2527.)

Marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman just as Christ made a promise to the church and took it to be His bride. Though we are wretched sinners and as the church (and Bride) take Christ for granted and certainly do not deserve Him, He remains with us and honors the pledge He made to us. So then why are we so quick to walk out on a marriage that does not seem to be going as we had planned and/or hoped?

“Submit yourselves to one another because of your reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband has authority over his wife just as Christ has authority over the church; and Christ is Himself the Savior of the church, His body. And so wives must submit themselves completely to their husbands just as the church submits itself to Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21-24.)

When we, as wives, do not offer ourselves to our husbands we are not trusting in the Lord for He is sovereign. He controls the birds of the air and the fish of the sea. He tells creation when to act and when to be still. He leads the tiniest dust particle and speck of pollen. All is within His charge to do with as He pleases. We are His children and He is our loving, nurturing, protective Father.

“Jesus answered, ‘How unbelieving and wrong you people are! How long must I stay with you? How long do I have to put up with you?”…Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked him, ‘Why couldn’t we drive the demon out?’

“‘It was because you do not have enough faith,’ answered Jesus. ‘I assure you that if you have faith as big as a mustard seed, you can say to this hill, ‘Go from here to there!’ and it will go. You could do anything!” (Matthew 17:17 & 19-20.)

Oh to have that kind of faith! I wish I had infinite trust in my Father and leaned on Him completely but instead I feel as though I should just give up and run away sometimes. When the tide comes and hurricane blows, I want to retreat instead of standing on firm ground with Christ.
“‘Why are you so frightened?’ Jesus answered. “‘What little faith you have!’ Then He got up and ordered the winds and waves to stop, and there was a great calm.” (Matthew 8:26.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Are You Growing in Christian Character?

“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3.)

Oh beloved Father! Knowing you makes everything wonderful and gives me a peace beyond all understanding!

How truly rich the bible is and a treasure we have in Christ. Everyday we are lead to dig deeper into the word and not just know of our Father but truly know Him! As a bible study assignment I was encouraged to read and dissect the following scripture and felt is it so beautiful I should pass it on to all who have ears to hear.

“To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self control, to self control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1: 1-11.)”

I see now about which others who truly know you, Father, are talking. No worldly crises/ disaster/ tribulation can harm me nor bring me down. I am under your protection and nothing can or will come between us. I know, Father, you have given us all the wisdom and strength we should ever need if only we use the tool you have provided…Your precious word. I know that if I lack those things above mentioned that I am unbelieving (blind) or not being renewed (shortsighted). When in being in Your word and truly knowing you I shall not stumble through doubt but rather grow ever closer to you, Father! Truly I am blessed and shout your word from the highest mountain in hopes that all who hear me will listen and see You, oh God, for the amazing, loving Father you are who sent Christ to absorb your wrath so that we may be saved from our own wretchedness.

“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you are disqualified.” (2 Corinthians 13:5.)

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Remains of Christ? Surely You Jest!

With all the talk of Jesus’ tomb being found, my heart is fearful for the unbelievers in my family (and the world for that matter). What if they believe these declarations and forever doubt in Christ? It breaks my heart! Why would someone come up with such a claim? Is it simply foolishness or is there malice behind it? Is it to merely try to prove what the filmmakers believe to be true (i.e. Jesus was just an ordinary man who married Mary Magdalene, had a son, and was buried in a tomb where his bones stayed until today) or is it meant to shake Christianity to its very core? And lastly, can it be compared to the controversy over the Darwin theory?

“Be still and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10.)

My heart is in turmoil. I cannot help but think, “How wicked are the ways of Hollywood that they would sink their claws and fangs into anyone, even Christ himself!” I feel Hollywood runs amuck with slander and gossip! Tabloids and magazines are filled with stories of actors and actresses cast in a negative light. Whether truth or fiction, these stories are still gossip in which Christians should not take part. In fact, we should steer clear!

“But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these are the things that make a person ritually unclean. For from his heart come the evil ideas which lead him to kill, commit adultery, and do other immoral things; to rob, lie, and slander others. These are the things that make a person unclean. But to eat without washing your hands as they say you should – this does not make a person unclean.” (Matthew 15: 18-20.)

When faced by such allegations, this slanderous gossip, what should we as Christians do? I believe for myself I should stay steady in prayer and faithful in my Father’s word. Oh, my poor Father. To have His word challenged and the word of those who knew His son said to be lies!

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16)

Surely there is a lesson to be learned in all this hoopla about the world thinking they have found Christ’s remnants and those of his alleged wife and child. Our Father could easily remove this trial yet He leaves it firmly in place. Could it be to test our faith in and commitment to Him and His Son?

“Help us, Lord! There is not a good man left; honest men can no longer be found. All of them lie to one another; they deceive each other with flattery. Silence those flattering tongues, O Lord! Close those boastful mouths that say, ‘With our words we get what we want. We will say what we wish, and no one can stop us.’

‘‘But now I will come,’ says the Lord, ‘because the needy are oppressed and the persecuted groan in pain. I will give them the security they long for.’

“The promises of the Lord can be trusted; they are as genuine as silver refined seven times in the furnace. Wicked men are everywhere, and everyone praises what is evil. Keep us always safe, O Lord, and preserve us from such people.” (Psalms 12:1-8.)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Why Are We So Quick to Doubt?

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Romans 12:19.)

I know of a child who is in fear for her wellbeing and at times her life yet law enforcement and Child Welfare Services have done nothing to protect her. I cannot help but be confused and frustrated as to why the system is turning a blind eye to this child and the situation. As a witness to the behavior of the offender it is unclear to me as to what has to happen before the proper authorities will step in and stop the maltreatment. Will the child survive until that time? I feel it is no wonder there are battered women who say they can not find safety from their attackers. Here is a child calling for help yet no one is willing to listen.

I looked to Genesis for guidance and came upon Abraham and Sarah. Abraham was promised many decedents by God but Sarah became frustrated and impatient with not bearing a child for her husband and did things her own way. She encouraged Abraham to conceive a child with her servant Hagar.

“After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.’ But Abram said, ‘Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’ Then Abram said, ‘Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!’ And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, ‘This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.’ Then He brought him outside and said, ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ (Genesis 15:1-5.)

“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, ‘See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.’ And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai. Then Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan. So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her eyes. Then Sarai said to Abram, ‘My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes. The LORD judge between you and me.’ So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram. (Genesis 16:1-15.)

“Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: ‘As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations.’” (Genesis 17:3-5.)

“Then God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.’ Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, ‘Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?’ And Abraham said to God, ‘Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!’ Then God said: ‘No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.’” (Genesis 17:15-21.)

So our Father tells us, “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of everything,” yet we become upset and intolerant and mess up everything just as Sarah did! Why are we so quick to doubt? Sometimes we are called to wait. It was not until Abraham was 100 years old that he and Sarah conceived their son Isaac!

I must remain in prayer that I have wisdom that all is for the glory of God and no other; not me, not the child, nor anyone else involved. It is for my Father and my Father alone!

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” (Romans 8:28-30.)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

What Should We Do When Our Heart Hurts?

Whether it is the death of a loved one, having a loved one sin against us, or another trial, what is the proper protocol when our heart hurts?

Do you ever feel like you are standing in a dense fog and are only able to see a few feet in front of your face? You know in which direction is home yet you constantly stumble over obstacles on the footpath? I feel this is where I go sometimes when my heart hurts. I know what scripture says yet I am quick to listen to others who may or may not be of the word. Those of this world confuse me and leave me walking in circles in the thick mist. I look to those of the word to shout to me and shine a light to guide me safely.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105.)

“All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be adequately quipped for every good work.” (II Timothy 3:16-17.)

But is being in the word enough? I personally do not believe so. I feel when our heart aches we should be having on going conversations with our Father to help us through the tough stuff. He should be the first one to whom we turn. Actively seek Him and do not give up or give in to any feelings of defeat. Our Father is faithful to us and never, ever gives us anything we cannot handle! Not only is He there to listen but He has also given us His word, His response to all of our questions and sorrow.

“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.” (Hebrews 4:12).

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13.)

After reading this I run my situation through my mind and search for the “way of escape”. I cannot see it now but am faithful it will come to my attention eventually for not only do we have our Father and His word, we are also given a new heart that can see “that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” and not to harm us. (Romans 8:28-30.)

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, 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.” (I Corinthians 2: 12-13.)

Monday, February 19, 2007

What Should We Do When Others Try to Harm Us?

“You plotted evil against me, but God turned it into good…” (Genesis 50:20.)

How wonderful is our Father who takes us into the shelter of His loving arms and protects us from those who try to hurt us. Just recently my husband and I got to witness the Lord’s compassion, grace, and lovingkindness.

We were faced with a loved one who used wicked lies to slander us for selfish gain. Our loved one sinned against us and hurt us deeply. In experiencing this I was reminded of Joseph whose own brothers sold him into slavery. It was an act that was meant for evil yet our Father turned it into good. This too was true in our situation.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isa. 41:10.)

It would have been easy for Joseph to turn against God; to ask our Father, “Why have you forsaken me?” The same can be said for us. Do we praise our Father for the trials we face or do we curse Him? What is the best course of action when tribulations come our way?

When we pledge our complete allegiance to God, He not only provides us with His protection He also provides us with a “body” to support us.

“God himself has put the body together in such a way as to give greater honor to those parts that need it. And so there is no division in the body, but all its different parts have the same concern for one another. If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it; if one part is praised, all the other parts share its happiness.” (1 Corinthians 12: 24-26.)

My Father protected me and my family. He stood between us and an enemy of Christ and my husband and I did not even have to utter a single word in our own defense. Our Father took care of everything! How great thou art!

“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.” (1 John 3:1.)

Reachout For CASA

Learn more about CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and help foster children! Be the voice in a child's life! Please click on the below link:

http://www.reachout4casa.com/r/a4808cfc11e3102a8408

Fabulous Reading!!!

I would like to take a minute to recommend the following books:

DAMSELS IN DISTRESS by Martha Peace
THE EXCELLENT WIFE by Martha Peace
STEPPING HEAVENWARD by Mrs. E. Prentiss
FEMININE APPEAL by Carolyn Mahaney
SEEKING HIM by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Tim Grissom

I hope you enjoy them. Happy reading.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Out of the Overflow of the Heart the Mouth Speaks

"...out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." (Luke 6:45 NIV)

This little piece of scripture has been convicting for my lately as I have been looking into my heart for answers. Why do I react to things the way that I do?

When the pressure is on, do I behave as Christ would or do I embarrass myself in the shadow of the cross? I believe in a lot of cases the latter is more fitting.

When stressed or confronted by negativity (whether it be a person or situation) am I quick to anger or swift to remember that love is patient, love is kind? As embarrassing as it is to say, I feel the ugliness spew from within and contaminate everything for which I have worked so hard. I am no longer a model Christian but rather a prime example of how not to behave. Then, humbly, I am held responsible of acknowledging my huge screw up and asking for forgiveness. But why does repulsiveness and sin come so easily? Does it mean I am a bad person?

No. It just means I fall short when it comes to self control and remembering that my actions speak louder than words. It also holds me accountable for being in my Father’s word everyday! Not to mention submissive.

“For the devout women of the past who placed their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful by submitting themselves to their husbands. Sarah was like that; she obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are now her daughters if you do good and are not afraid of anything.” (1 Peter 3: 5-6.)

How wonderful it is to submit to my husband. Two years ago I never would have said such a thing as I was too busy fighting him on every decision that escaped his lips. But now peacefulness washes over me as I stop fighting and work to stay faithful in submitting. For when I surrender to my husband my reliance does not lie in man but rather in my Father.

“It is better to trust in the Lord than to depend on man.” (Psalms 118:8.)

When I give in to my husband I stop struggling against my Father and put complete confidence in Him as it is Him who governs my husband.

“This is true, because I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has commanded me what I must say and speak.” (John 12:49.) Our Father presides over us all.

Lastly, I search for patience and kindness when dealing with those who have harmed me and/or my family. In extreme circumstances like the murder of my cousin and the maltreatment of my children, my husband, and myself by a loved one, my mouth speaks wickedness. I am again made aware of what really lies within my heart…sin!

Yet, my Father’s word says, “Never take revenge, my friends, but instead let God’s anger do it. For the scripture says, ‘I will take revenge, I will pay back, says the Lord’.” (Romans 12:19.)

So, I leave you with this. What lies within your heart? When under pressure do you speak from the scripture or from the wretchedness of sin?

“…bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:28.)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Who Needs a Hero?

Why are we so transfixed by heroes and the desire to save or be saved? What is our fascination with someone who swoops in at a moment’s notice to rescue us from certain death, serious injury, or peril?

I just recently watched a new super hero movie and found myself desiring to be the maiden in distress and lusting over the handsome conqueror in his skin tight, revealing outfit. My heart leapt as he made his entrance onto the screen to save the day or when he locked eyes with the beautiful woman of his affection. But what was I learning from this bout with idolatry? Aside from sinning by lusting over a man other than my husband and worshiping an idol, another thought entered my mind. Why am I coveting this man; this creation of the human imagination? Why is my heart being tugged by this rescuer instead of by the real Savior? Have I forgotten about Christ the true savior of the world? I could not help but wonder why we desire super heroes yet we shy away from our real life Savior?

But, who needs a hero anyway?

“In the past you were spiritually dead because of your disobedience and sins. At that time you followed the world’s evil way; you obeyed the ruler of the spiritual powers in space, the spirit who now controls the people who disobey God. Actually all of us were like them and lived according to our natural desires, doing whatever suited the wishes of our own bodies and minds. In our natural condition we, like everyone else, were destined to suffer God’s anger.” (Ephesians 2: 1-3.)

We do, and His name is Christ Jesus.

“But God’s mercy is so abundant, and his love for us is so great, that while we were spiritually dead in our disobedience he brought us to life with Christ. It is by God’s grace that you have been saved. In our union with Christ Jesus he raised us up with him to rule with him in the heavenly world. He did this to demonstrate for all time to come the extraordinary greatness of His grace in the love He showed us in Christ Jesus. For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it. God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus He has created us for a life of good deeds, which He has already prepared for us to do.” (Ephesians 2: 4-10.)

So, we were in a dangerous situation because of our behavior, destined for certain death, and in desperate need of a hero. But then, out of nowhere, a super hero arrives, swoops in, and saves our life! We have been raised up and snatched from the very depths of demise. Truly we are in the hands of a superman.

“…remember what you were in the past. At that time you were apart from Christ. You were foreigners and did not belong to God’s chosen people. You had no part in the covenants, which were based on God’s promises to his people, and you lived in this world without hope and without God.” (Ephesians 2:11 & 12.)

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