Saturday, December 26, 2009

Direction for the New Year

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. (Proverbs 16:24. ESV.)


Christmas day was filled with the usual hustle and bustle of family, presents, love, and joy. This precious holiday brought many unexpected blessings this year. And God did not hesitate to point me in the direction He has for me in 2010! As gifts were shared and opened I found myself with two new books! THE POWER OF A PRAYING WIFE by Stormie Omartian and HOW TO PRAY by R.A. Torrey. Though I am not familiar with either of these authors, I am excited to be focusing on prayer! My heart’s desire has been to be more disciplined in prayer and I am eager to take in all these new additions to my library have to offer. Thank you, Sarah and Aunt D.

This time of year also has me traveling and I will sadly be away for a week. As I am still having problems with my laptop, I will not have access to a computer nor the internet until I return on January 4, 2010…but I might be able to sweet talk a dear sister in Christ in posting a little for me while I am gone…we shall see.

For anyone out there in cyber space land (like “T.V. Land”) who might actually read this blog, please pray for me and my children this week…specifically for the Lord to place a hedge of protection around us! Thank you and Happy New Year!

With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! (Psalm 119:10. ESV.)

Friday, December 25, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Happy Birthday Jesus, Light of the world!

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6. ESV.)


Here are a couple (fuzzy) pictures from my cell phone.

The Manger.

The Candle Light Service at a Local Church on Christmas Eve.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Prudent Sees Danger and Hides Himself, but the Simple Go On and Suffer For It

My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times….Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors. (Psalm 119:20, 24. ESV.)


Boy am I thankful for an all knowing God who not only knows the exact number of hairs on my head but who also knows my heart, the desires of my heart, and things I need to work on in my life. As a work in progress, it blesses my heart when God answers, teaches, and/or intervenes…sculpting me more and more like Him. It’s even nicer when this molding happens without the pain that comes with pruning and refining but rather is a gentle forming. Lately, I have been beseeching my King for wisdom and for Him to search me and make known to me areas in which I need improvement.

Two answers came to these sincere prayers. One was in the form of a book which was given to me by a dear sister in Christ. Though she was not aware of my heartfelt pleading to my King, it was placed on her heart to share this book (which she had read) with me. It has truly been a blessing! The book is BOUNDARIES: When to Say Yes, How to Say No, To Take Control of Your Life by (believers) Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Within its pages the written words pierce my heart and give biblical answers.

The second response to my prayers came in the form of a person…a very biblical, knowledgeable, sister in Christ…my aunt. As God would have it, my aunt and uncle were on vacation in the Carolinas when their hometown was hit by terrible weather and they got snowed out. Even though the steep road which leads to their home was plowed, the ground is too cold for the salt to make a difference and the precipitous street cannot be used. We received a call after 10:00 p.m. Saturday night asking if they could come here for a bit, until they would be able to return to their house. They arrived Sunday evening and fellowship with them has truly been an unexpected, indescribable blessing to my soul!

My aunt, so filled with understanding of God's word and the guidance of the Holy Spirit has been counseling me on the 10 year tribulation I have been seeking the Lord though. As a lady whose heart beats with love for our Heavenly Father and speaks as the Holy Spirit leads her heart, her wisdom and advice has been (and continues to be) immeasurable!

The combination of the two blessings from my King has once again paved the way before me.

There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way; whoever hates reproof will die. (Proverbs 15:10. ESV.) Cloud and Townsend remind me, "To rescue people from the natural consequences of their behavior is to render them powerless." (BOUNDARIES, Cloud and Townsend, p. 51.)

If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 18:17-18. ESV.)

But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13God judges those outside. "Purge the evil person from among you." (1 Corinthians 5:11-13. ESV.)

…for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. (John 12:43. ESV.)

Cloud and Townsend also remind me, "Separating ourselves protects love, because we are taking a stand against things that destroy love." (BOUNDARIES, Cloud and Townsend, p.54.)


I have been fighting the good fight for 10 years! Not one year, not five years, but 10 years…and that is a long time. I will continue to do my part and seek the will of the Lord and wisdom…only from a safe distance.

The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. (Proverbs 22:3, 27:12. ESV.)

One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless. (Proverbs 14:16. ESV.)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

C. S. Lewis on What God Foreknows

C. S. Lewis on What God Foreknows
(Desiring God Ministries: John Piper)

Reflecting on why God put Abraham’s faith to the test by commanding him to offer his son, Lewis says,

“If God then is omniscient, he must have known what Abraham would do, without any experiment. Why then this needless torture?” But as St. Augustine points out, whatever God knew, Abraham at any rate did not know that his obedience would endure such a command until the event taught him: and the obedience which he did not know that he would choose, he cannot be said to have chosen. The reality of Abraham’s obedience was the act itself; and what God knew in knowing that Abraham “would obey” was Abraham’s actual obedience on that mountain top a that moment. To say that God “need not have tried the experiment” is to say that because God knows, the thing known by God need not to exist. (The Problem of Pain, 101)


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The Many Ways of Destroying the Church

The Many Ways of Destroying the Church
(Tim Challies)

‘If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple (1 Cor. 3:17).” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Reflecting on the Reason for the Season

I love these blog posts from Noel Piper re: Santa/Christmas:

Jesus Tree

Thinking About Santa

If Not Santa, What?

Christmas Dilemma

I am without a car and devoid of money, which poses a double dilemma for me…how and what am I going to get my loved ones for Christmas?

I suppose I could search the web and local businesses for all the freebees I can get…and to start brainstorming creative gift ideas. I do have a "white elephant" gift (I won) and I can make some cookies to pass along but other than that I have nothing tangible to offer…except maybe some homemade cards (and a smile).

Now, before I go and make the illusion of a pity party for myself I want to make something very clear…I am thankful for where God has me in this season! It (though it may not appear to be) is a very special blessing and answer to a deep heartfelt prayer I have been repeating for many months (at least 6-12 if memory serves). My joy is in my sovereign King who as a Father has given His daughter her most genuine and pure of heart request. The lack of a vehicle and funds is merely a small technicality in a vast ocean of a blessing.

And here, in the midst of this sin of worry, is where I NEED to stop listening to myself, start preaching to myself, and take careful consideration of all my thoughts. 2 Corinthians 10:5 teaches me to "destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ." A post by 9Marks was an excellent reminder to me of this and James 1 which talks about testing of faith.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing…. Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him…. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (James 1:1-4, 12, 26-27. ESV.)

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:33-34. ESV.)

Matthew 5:20: 20For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

1 King 3:11-14: And God said to him, "Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. 13 I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. 14And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days."

1 Timothy 4:8: for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

1 Peter 3:9: Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

James 4:13-14: Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"— 14yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.


As for the creative gift ideas…here are some websites I have found with really neat suggestions and recipes.

100 Home-Made Gift Ideas

63 Gift Ideas for Under $10 - For Any Occasion of the Year!

Free and Low-Cost Christmas Gifts: Homemade Christmas Gifts that Won't Break the Bank

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Through Love Serve One Another

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. (James 1:23-24. ESV.)


This scripture reminds me of an illustration about which I read in a book. (It is my opinion the author's picture was reminiscent of Matthew 7:3-5.) He wrote about a person looking at his/her reflection in a mirror and rather than seeing the dirt on his/her own face instead claimed the mirror to be dirty.

Unlike the Matthew 7:3-5 reference, James 1:23-24 is speaking of those who hear the word of God and do not do it.

Romans 2:13: For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.

James 2:14-20: What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?

Matthew 7:24-27: "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it."

John 13:17: If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

Galatians 5:13: For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

1 Peter 2:16: Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

John 8:32: and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.


You Lord have created me and know the deepest depths of my soul. You have searched me and know my heart. You and you alone will judge me according to Your laws.

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
(Psalm1:1-2. ESV.)

Trusting God Through Unemployment, Part 1

Trusting God Through Unemployment, Part 1
(9Marks: Greg Gilbert)

How Do You Deal With All This Suffering?

How Do You Deal With All This Suffering?
(9Marks: Michael Mckinley)

O Little Town of Controversy

O Little Town of Controversy
(Jews for Jesus: David Brickner)

Take a tour to Israel and there is one town you'll need to think twice about visiting.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Matt Chandler’s Pathology Report and a Call to Continued Prayer

Matt Chandler’s Pathology Report and a Call to Continued Prayer
(The Gospel Coalition)

An update from the Village Church on the pathology report that Matt and Lauren Chandler received yesterday:

Christmas Blessing: North Korea is underway!

Christmas Blessing: North Korea is underway!
(Voice of the Martyrs: Persecution Weblog)

It’s begun. One of our most exciting Christmas Blessing projects has been launched and we are tremendously excited.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

If Our heart Does Not Condemn Us, We Have Confidence Before God

But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God. (1 Corinthians 4:3-5. NKJV.)


I saw this scripture in the comments section of a dear sister in Christ's blog and it was such an indescribable blessing to me that I had to share it!!!

I feel it is so easy to look at a person's life and pick it to pieces (at times tearing down instead of lifting up). However, without taking a single step in their shoes leaves portions missing to the (sometimes complex) puzzle. Only knowing someone on the surface leaves much to be discovered as though looking at them in the dark while they shine a flashlight on their own face. Features look distorted, perhaps unrecognizable or questionable. It is my opinion that a lot of hard work goes into truly knowing an individual just as it takes a lot to dig deep into God's word. Merely staying on the exterior (top layer) leads to misunderstanding.

Out and out sin is one thing (James 4:17, Revelations 21:8, among many others) but preference is something completely different! For example, my personal partialities range from little things (like teaching Sunday school instead of volunteering elsewhere in the church) that do not really make waves, to mediocre things (that stir up emotions in others at times) such as working in the home (rather than out of the home) and "homeschooling", to bigger things that can really cause a ruckus and get juices flowing - for instance favoring Calvinism over Arminianism. Only God can see hearts. Now that is not to say there should not be discernment as Matthew 10:16 teaches "be wise as serpents and innocent as doves". What I am saying is,
"So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin." (James 4:17.)


Further scripture on the matter:
Acts 23:1: I have lived my life before God in all good conscience

Job 9:15: Though I am in the right, I cannot answer him; I must appeal for mercy to my accuser (judge).

1 John 3:21: Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;

Matthew 13:29: But he said, 'No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them.

Romans 2:16: on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

1 Corinthians 3:13: each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.

2 Corinthians 10:18: For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.

1 Corinthians 3:8: He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. (James 1:23-24. ESV.)

Behold, God is great, and we know him not; the number of his years is unsearchable. (Job 36:26. ESV.)

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18. ESV.)

for we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7. ESV.)

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8. ESV.)

But if anyone loves God, he is known by God. (1 Corinthians 8:3. ESV.)

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:11-12. ESV.)

Monday, December 14, 2009

It is the Purpose of the Lord That Will Stand

There are times in the bible when scripture says,
"for the battle is not yours but God’s" (2 Chronicles 20:15, 1 Samuel 14:47).
I believe this to be true, still, today. Does the Lord reach down his hand and physically move people? No, however I feel he does orchestrate and pilot things according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). There are many examples of this in God's word and I have witnessed amazing things in my own life…a beautiful, yet costly international adoption for which the Lord provided on all levels, a fundraiser for a precious little girl, with a mysterious illness, which raised far more than anyone ever imagined, and the list goes on and on.

1 Samuel 17 tells about the well know incident between a humble shepherd boy (David) who stood before a prideful Philistine champion (Goliath)
"whose height was six cubits and a span. 5He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. 6And he had bronze armor on his legs, and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders. 7The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron." (1 Samuel 17:4-7. ESV.)

"Now David was the son of an Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, named Jesse, who had eight sons. In the days of Saul the man was already old and advanced in years. 13The three oldest sons of Jesse had followed Saul to the battle. And the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. 14 David was the youngest. The three eldest followed Saul, 15but David went back and forth from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem. 16For forty days the Philistine came forward and took his stand, morning and evening." (1 Samuel 17:12-16. ESV.)


So David's brothers went to battle "but David went back and forth from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem". However God's will was to shift David from his father's house to the battlefield. 1 Samuel 17:17-18 says,
"And Jesse said to David his son, 'Take for your brothers an ephah of this parched grain, and these ten loaves, and carry them quickly to the camp to your brothers. 18 Also take these ten cheeses to the commander of their thousand. See if your brothers are well, and bring some token from them.'"
So it was that David went to the front line for his God ordained meeting with Goliath.

My absolute favorite part is when David is standing there, face to face with Goliath, and he says,
"You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand." (1 Samuel 17:45-47. ESV.)


When I am faced with battles far bigger than myself and I dwarf in comparison to what lies before me I am reminded,
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," (Philippians 4:13 NKJV)
and
"The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps." (Proverbs 16:9. ESV.)
Not to mention, no matter what,
"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.)


IT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE LORD THAT WILL STAND!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Unknown to many but known to God

Unknown to many but known to God
(Voice of the Martyrs: Persecuted Church Weblog)

Is Anonymous Your First Name or Last Name?

Is Anonymous Your First Name or Last Name?

The Great A&W Incident, as it’s known around our house, baptized me into the murky waters of church ministry and the sideways, backhanded, upside-down channels we use to communicate with one another in the family. Before The Incident, I assumed we would all talk to each other. Not around each other.

What a naive dork I turned out to be.

It was a small thing, The Incident. But it fit into a larger pattern of crooked-line communication that one day, years later, helped break a church into a million tiny pieces.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:15-17)

Preacher in the hands of an angry church: the fall of Jonathan Edwards

Preacher in the hands of an angry church: the fall of Jonathan Edwards
(by Chris Armstrong: Grateful to the dead)

“18 Kids and Counting” now has 19

“18 Kids and Counting” now has 19
(World Magazine)

Every family has to do what they feel they’re called to do. We’re not out there telling people this is the way everybody else needs to live, because by all means, this is not for everyone. God wouldn’t give everybody 19 children. We realize that there’s a different calling for different people. We’re not about to judge anybody and tell them what they ought to do. That same kindness can be extended both directions.

Unholy Trinity

Unholy Trinity
(John MacArthur)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Seek it Like Silver

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5. ESV.)


A fairly recent post by Molly Piper has been rolling around in my mind for a while now. Ms. Piper wrote,
"Lots of people want to give a book to the grieving person. It’s not a bad gift, especially if it’s a good book about grief and loss. But I want to challenge you one further—read the book first."


I have decided to accept this challenge however I do not want to focus only on the tribulation of losing a child but rather concentrate on a specific trial for a period of time and then work my way through to all of which I can think. (So if anyone has one come to mind, please comment and let me know!) I am not sure how long I will devote to each…it might be a week or stretch out over the course of a month…or even longer. I love to read however my "free" time is very limited.

I would like to start with (though not necessarily in this order):

1. The Loss of a Child (for Seth and Amber)
2. Eosinophilic Disorders (for Lillie)
3. Apert Syndrome (for Jack)
4. Cancer (for Ms. Donna Jo)

yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
4if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
5then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.
6For the LORD gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; (Proverbs 2:3-6. ESV.)

They Will All Be Taught of God

They Will All Be Taught of God
(Desiring God Ministries: David Mathis)

Jesus came into the world as the fullest revelation of the glory of God. To see him as glorious and to come to him is what the world needs more than anything. What everyone needs is to "know the Lord"—that is, to know that God Almighty, creator of heaven and earth and Lord of the universe, is incarnate in Jesus Christ. We need to be taught by God that Jesus is who he says he is.

Being a Diligent Listener

Being a Diligent Listener
(Tim Challies)

While the responsibility of the preacher cannot be underestimated, the listener is also responsible before God. We, as those who sit under the preaching of the Word, are to prepare ourselves even during the week. And on the Lord’s Day we are to listen attentively, to search the Scriptures and to apply what we have learned to our lives. I fear that far too often we expect the pastor to do the work and while we coast along as the beneficiaries of his hard labor. It is time for us to take seriously our role in the preaching of the Word of God.

Looking Back: Advent Candles

Looking Back: Advent Candles
(Noel Piper)

Advent: Standing in the Middle

Advent: Standing in the Middle
(Noel Piper)

Studies in repentance, and not (1): "my sentence inconveniences me!"

Studies in repentance, and not (1): "my sentence inconveniences me!"
(Dan Phillips: Pyromaniacs)

Here's what repentance does. Repentance says I and I alone am responsible for what I did. Repentance says what I did was wrong in God's eyes, and merits Hell. Repentance utterly damns the deed, it puts it to death and buries it with no gravestone and no flowers, and repentance turns one from the deed and from everything that gave birth to the deed.

But wait. There's more.

Part of damning and killing and burying the deed involves restitution to anyone affected by the deed. That is the Bible's orientation from start to finish (cf. Matthew 5:23-26). Did you steal something? Give it back (duh) — with interest. "Justice" according to the Bible is precisely the same. Perpetrators are not rewarded with "three hots and a cot" at victims' expense; they are required to repay. There is virtually no jail system in Biblical law.

God Sees Your Righteousness Because It Sits at His Right Hand

God Sees Your Righteousness Because It Sits at His Right Hand
(Jared Wilson: The Gospel Driven Church)

I saw that it is not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse, for my righteousness IS Christ. Now my chains fell off indeed. My temptations fled away, and I lived sweetly at peace with God.

My Top 9 Books of ‘09

My Top 9 Books of ‘09
(Tim Challies)

I've Left My Church

I've Left My Church
(Carolyn McCulley)

Yesterday, after eleven years as a member of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD, I terminated my membership. In fact, I stood up with a group of people who were all leaving.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Steven Curtis Chapman and God's Orchestration

I was so stoked Sunday evening when I got to see Steven Curtis Chapman in person at EPCOT!!! It was such a beautiful, unexpected blessing to hear him singing with the choir and narrating the precious birth of Christ. “Disney’s Candlelight Processional” takes place every year and is advertised on the web however I was completely oblivious to it until my brother’s fiancé received a message from her friend (while we were in line for a ride at MK that afternoon) saying Steven Curtis Chapman was narrating that particular weekend. Without prior knowledge or ticket packages we raced to EPCOT (after we attended the 4:45 “Lion King” show at AK and then dinner) for the 8:00 p.m. “Candlelight Processional”. The line stretched from “The American Adventure” into “Italy” and chances were slim we were going to get into the show. But as God would have it we barely squeezed in and ended up with decent seats (though I do have to say I was unable to get clear video or pictures because my camera phone does not zoom in that far). (Yes, the illuminated blur in the picture is Steven Curtis Chapman!)

I love watching how God orchestrates things. For example, about two weeks before Thanksgiving we went to visit friends who said they were thinking about heading to Fort Wilderness the weekend of December 5th and 6th. We figured we would try to drive over to Disney as well and possibly meet up with their family for a visit. Everything came together beautifully and we only ended up paying for one overnight, for gas, and food. Thanks to God’s provision and dear friends we saved roughly $1,297.96…(which of course we don’t have) so it was a massive blessing!!! Now add Steven Curtis Chapman to that and the whole weekend was nothing short of spectacular! Below are some pictures from the weekend.



Not for the faint of heart! "Expedition Everest" was quite the surprising ride! I only dared to experience it once but my young ones went on the "expedition" twice!!! Crazy!!!

This incline feels intense.





Islands of Adventure at Universal Studios, FL.



"Camp Jurassic" (rope and net) playground.



The Macy's Parade at Universal Studios, FL.







Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever! (1 Chronicles 16:34. ESV.)


Treasure God above all things!
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21. ESV.)

Monday, December 07, 2009

Putting the Star on the Tree

Okay, I am not a Will Ferrell fan (in the least...just not my kind of humor…usually) but I cannot help laughing out loud every time I see this part in the movie “Elf”.

Friday, December 04, 2009

God Moves in a Mysterious Way

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 1:18-20. ESV.)


Sometimes God takes things in a direction that is hard to understand. Today, Mary entered my mind. I’m not sure if it is because of the season or if it is since her circumstance was difficult to comprehend. I cannot help but wonder what the whole thing looked like to those around her and how she felt having people judge her? Her own husband even intended to divorce her (Matthew 1:19).

I feel Mary’s situation was far more exceptional than any before it or since. However, God’s ways are so confusing, at times, there is even the popular saying, “The Lord works in mysterious ways,” which people seem to like to throw around. Perhaps it comes from the hymn “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” by William Cowper or maybe it is because it truly is not easy to thoroughly understand God’s character this side of heaven. Why was Jonah swallowed by a great fish (Jonah 1:17)? Why was Daniel thrown into the lions’ den (Daniel 6:16-24)? Why was Joseph to be Zaphenath-paneah and his tribulation to last so long (Genesis 37-41)? Why was Moses the one God wanted to lead His people to the land the Lord had promised (Exodus 2-14)? Why did Jesus have to suffer such brutality? (I know He died to save me from my sins however I fail to understand why such cruelty was inflicted upon Him.) Why did John the Baptist have to die? Why are hearts hardened toward the Lord?

Jesus answered him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand." (John 13:7. ESV.)


It is my opinion there are many times in life when “why?” is the first thought… “Why Lord?” (Thankfully, His grace shields from the wrath that would have conceivably followed such a question in the Old Testament.) The New Testament is full of encouragement and promises God does all things for His glory and our good (Romans 8:28).

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, (2 Timothy 1:8-9. ESV.)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

What Is Advent?

I used to participate in Advent in the church where I grew up but have since not experienced Advent in the churches I have attended as an adult. It is something I truly miss and was reminded of it by Noel Piper's post.

What Is Advent?
(Noel Piper)

1,000 Posts!

Wow, I have hit the 1,000 mark!

"Man of La Mancha" by Linda Eder

This is yet another worldly pleasure of mine...but I LOVE it!!!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Missions, Prayer, and the Book GOD SPOKE TIBETAN

Currently I am reading GOD SPOKE TIBETAN: The Epic Story of the Men Who Gave the Bible to Tibet, the Forbidden Land by Allan Maberly (published by Evangle Bible Translators). It is a short story of only 150 pages which I could probably finish in a day (without the average day’s duties) however I find I am having a hard time staying focused. Therefore, after one week I have only completed the first chapter thus far.

As I mentioned before, I had the pleasure of hearing a message by H. Syvelle Phillips (the founder of Evangel Bible Translators (EBT)) who also told a touching story about a woman who traveled to the EBT training center to finish the work her husband had started (translating the bible) after he was murdered.

GOD SPOKE TIBETAN begins in 1855 with the death of the Dalai Lama and the fleeing of the one accused of the murder. I feel the story is well written and I cannot wait to see what happens next!

I think I will close with some quotes from John Piper who reminds me that,
"God with infinite power and knowledge has ordained in His all-encompassing foreknowledge and infinite wisdom to respond to the pleading of His people, the cause of His own action, and perform great triumphs through prayer. He has decreed to make the prayers of His people the cause of His triumph in many battles....

"The point is this: God has ordained to respond to the pleading of his people and perform great triumphs through prayer. He has decreed to make the prayers of his people the cause of his triumph in many battles. The prayers that win these battles come from Christian vision. And Christian vision is not the imagining of a possibility, but the grasping of an inevitability. That inevitability is the triumph of God in world evangelization: "All the families of the nations shall worship before thee. For dominion belongs to the Lord." To reach out and take hold of this great reality is life—the life of a local church, and the life of the human soul and the life of prayer." (By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org.)

Do we need to hear both sides of the story?

Do we need to hear both sides of the story?
(Voice of the Martyrs: Persecuted Church Weblog)

Pyromaniacs: The Evil of Uncertain Preaching

Pyromaniacs: The Evil of Uncertain Preaching

Life of the Soul

Life of the Soul
(Tim Challies)

Skeptical Grumbling and Sovereign Grace

(Desiring God Ministry: David Mathis)

This week's sermon: "Skeptical Grumbling and Sovereign Grace"

John 6:44 is controversial. Jesus says, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him."

Jesus' words could be taken in two different directions. On the one hand, it could mean that God draws everyone and not all come, so God isn't decisive but the human will. Or, on the other hand, it could mean that everyone God draws comes.

Five other passages in the Gospel of John (6:37, 63­65; 8:47; 10:26­27;12:37­40) clarify and confirm that Jesus means the latter, that everyone God draws comes. (A common objection is John 12:32—to be treated next time.)

If this is what Jesus means, then why does he say it? He says it to stop his questioners' grumbling and point them to prayer that God would do the decisive work that only he can do in his sovereign, undeserved grace—grace that has at least 5 effects on its recipients:


1.It humbles them.
2.It fills them with thankfulness.
3.It gives them assurance.
4.It gives them hope for the conversion of the people they love who seem utterly beyond hope.
5.It gives all glory to God, not to them.

Jesus does not speak mainly to create controversy. He speaks to call sinners to himself, and to humble the proud, and to glorify his Father. This is why he lived. This is why he died. This is why he rose again. Come to him. Be satisfied in him. Be humbled by him. Give glory to God because of him. Amen.


© Desiring God

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

The Gospel Provides the Questions

The Gospel Provides the Questions
(Trevin Wax)

So the gospel provides us with not only the right answers to the world’s questions, but also the piercing questions the world does not want to deal with. The gospel tells us what the world should be asking.

Leadership in the Home

Tim Challies is doing a series called "Leadership in the Home". So far he is on part two and will continue on tomorrow.

Part One: Introduction
Part Two: A Defense

Help Christian families in Vietnam celebrate Christmas

Help Christian families in Vietnam celebrate Christmas
(Voice of the Martyrs)

You can encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters and help bring the gospel to Vietnam by sponsoring a Christmas Care Pack or a Village Outreach Pack.

The Spirit's True Work

(John MacArthur)

Pulpit Magazine is doing a series called "The Spirit's True Work". So far they are up to part two but with promises of more tomorrow.

Part One
Part Two

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Your Hands" by JJ Heller

Dreary Wednesday


"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34. ESV.)

What Gospel-Centered Preaching Does

What Gospel-Centered Preaching Does
(The Gospel Driven Church: Jared Wilson)

Rants and Ramblings On Life as a Literary Agent

Forgive me but I am actually going to post some worldly advice here. Generally I try to stay focused on the cross with my posts however I read this article and it made me say, "Hum, that makes sense." I simply thought it was decent worldly input for those who enjoy blogging and writing (like me). :)

This comes from the blog of Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner. She is doing a Marketing Principles series and Part two of three was something I had not heard (or thought about) before.

Click here for Marketing Principle #2:If You're Not First, Forget It

For the entire series please see Ms. Gardner's blog at http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com.

Adopted for Life

Adopted for Life
(Tim Challies)

What’s Compassion’s Theology? Answering Your Compassion Questions, Part 1

What’s Compassion’s Theology? Answering Your Compassion Questions, Part 1
(Molly Piper)

You Don't Have to Be Productive

You Don't Have to Be Productive
(Desiring God Ministries: David Mathis)

The Manhattan Declaration

The Manhattan Declaration
(John MacArthur: Pulpit Magazine)

Yes, I See That Hand

Yes, I See That Hand
(by Randy Bohlender)

Are you suffering for the real Jesus?

Are you suffering for the real Jesus?
(Voice of the Martyrs: Persecuted Church Weblog)

20 nation poll reveals that most people support the right to criticize religions

20 nation poll reveals that most people support the right to criticize religions
(Voice of the Martyrs: Persecuted Church Weblog)

Who said it?

Who said it?
(World Magazine)

“You must defend those who are helpless and have no hope. Be fair and give justice to the poor and homeless.”

Do you know the answer? Check out World Magazine to see if you are correct.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Painful Discipline of Our Heavenly Father

The Painful Discipline of Our Heavenly Father
(John Piper)

Listen

Resting and Wrestling

Resting and Wrestling
(Randy Alcorn)

"In the Hands of God" by Newsboys

"Heaven Is The Face" by Steven Curtis Chapman

A Prayer of Gratitude

A Prayer of Gratitude
(9Marks)

Pyromaniacs: Grateful for the revelation of the one Creator God (Thanks from Genesis 1:1, part three)

Pyromaniacs: Grateful for the revelation of the one Creator God (Thanks from Genesis 1:1, part three)

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

Three years (and some odd months) ago I received grace. I know this for an absolute certainty because my heart is different (Ezekiel 36:26) and the Holy Spirit present (Acts 2:38). Though I grew up in the church and had the “head knowledge” of my King, my heart was not entirely in it until 2006. I feel I had a “puppy love”, did not remain faithful, and my life from 1996-2006 was lukewarm (Revelation 3:16) at best.

I was raised in a good home, grounded in the foundation of God’s word, which I heard each Sunday at church. As a teen in high school I abstained from sex as I had made a covenant with God in my Sunday night youth group to do so. I had good morals and values and the world referred to me as a “goodie two shoes”, “good little church girl”, or “prude” but I was still a slave to my sin rather than righteousness (Romans 6:16) and wrapped up in foolishness. Although I did not partake in drugs, I did drink alcohol after high school (college and beyond) and was ruled by the flesh.

My King has taught me much over the course of the last three years and continues to do a good work in me. I look back at all I have endured (especially over the last 10 years) not with resentment but with thankfulness. Had it not been for the tribulation I would still be neither hot nor cold (Revelations 3:16).

In 2006, I was called upon as a witness in a domestic violence case. My heart was deeply grieved for a number of reasons and I looked to man for answers instead of setting my focus on God. My every thought and reliance revolved around man instead of trusting in my King. During the trial I sat reading scripture over and again until God did a great work and the hearing abruptly ended without a single word escaping my lips. I rejoiced in His faithfulness and mercy!

It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. (Psalm 118:8. ESV.)

…be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. (Ephesians 6:10-11. ESV.)

"There is nothing -- No circumstance, No trouble, No testing that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has gone past God and past Christ. Right through to me if it has come that far. It has come with great purpose, which I may not understand at the moment - but as I refuse to panic, as I lift my eyes up to Him and accept it as come from His throne for some great blessing of purpose of blessing to my heart. No sorrow will disturb me, no trial will ever disarm me, no circumstance will cause me to fret, for I shall rest in the Joy of what my Lord is - that is the rest of Victory." ~Alan Redpath (I Corinthians 15:57)


This first refining was utterly painful at the time but now so beautiful! Many prunings followed..each just as agonizing as the first…and all regarding having complete trust in God…and when He moved my heart, to not ask questions, but rather just follow. In 2008 I went through a church split. I was brokenhearted yet did not question God’s will. I believed the good fight had been fought for years though I did not witness it. I trusted the word of the man I knew to be God’s guy despite the fact both sides sounded very convincing. The path before me was very clear and continues to be just as unobstructed. My words could never adequately express the thankfulness I have for the people God placed in my life to guide me according to His will. My heart sings praises to my King for them!

I am EXACTLY where God wants me to be today…though I may not understand everything surrounding it. And here I wait…

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever! (1 Chronicles 16:34. ESV.)





* (When looking up the quote by Alan Redpath I came across the following messages worth mentioning: #1 “The Infallibility of God’s Purpose” by Charles Spurgeon and #2 “The Decrees of God” by puritan Samuel Willard.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

C.S. Lewis on Why to Seek an Author's Intention

C.S. Lewis on Why to Seek an Author's Intention
(John Piper)

1.Courtesy

Treat authors with respect and seek what they were trying to communicate. I call it the hermeneutical Golden Rule: Do unto authors as you would have them do unto you. Most of us are offended if someone spreads the rumor that we said hurtful x, when in fact we said helpful y.


2.Authority

If we are reading the Bible, it’s authority lies in the author’s intention (ultimately God’s) not our perceptions. We honor the authority of scripture by doing the hard work of thinking authors' thoughts after them.
By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Noteworthy Missions

Today I had the pleasure of listening to a message by H. Syvelle Phillips. In addition to his wonderful sermon regarding being stubborn to the glory of God and digging wells instead of building monuments, Rev. Phillips and his wife, Lovie Phillips, also spoke about their missions "Evangle Bible Translators" and "God Loves Kids". I could not help but be moved by these followers of Christ and their efforts in translating God's word and child sponsorship. For more information about these missions please visit www.evangelbible.org and www.Godloveskids.com.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Be All There

"Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God." ~ missionary Jim Elliot


When God’s will takes us to a place in our life where the future is unknown and the heart is heavy, this quote if far easier said than done! For example, when Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years, and the way of women had ceased to be with Sarah (Genesis 18:11) the Lord promised them a son. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. (Genesis 21:2. ESV.)

Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. (Genesis 21:3. ESV.)


Then the Lord tested Abraham and said,
"Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." (Genesis 22:2. ESV.)
Abraham obeyed though I have to believe he was most likely confused and sad.

But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I." 12He said, "Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me." (Genesis 22:11-12. ESV.)


Secondly, there is Hagar who bore Abraham a son, Ishmael, before Sarah conceived Isaac. Sarah said to Abraham,
"Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac." (Genesis 21:10. ESV.)
God said to Abraham,
"Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. 13And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring." (Genesis 21:12-13. ESV.)

14So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. (Genesis 21:14. ESV.)
This was God’s will for Hagar! She and her son were on their own, left to roam around in the rough country alone without any support, family, nothing! I cannot imagine how she must have felt!

When the water in the skin was gone, she put the child under one of the bushes. 16Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, "Let me not look on the death of the child." And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. 17And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, "What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. 18Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation." 19Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. 20And God was with the boy, and he grew up. (Genesis 21:15-20. ESV.)


God provided but how difficult it must have been for Hagar to “be all there. Live to the hilt” in this situation God had willed for her and her precious son. I cannot help but wonder if she had peace that surpasses all understanding or if she struggled with her sin of anger and anxiety. And I’m curious how it felt having the father of her child deny her and cast her away. Not to mention Ishmael’s feelings on the matter once he was old enough to understand.

Forever, O LORD, your word
is firmly fixed in the heavens.
90Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
91By your appointment they stand this day,
for all things are your servants.
92If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
93I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have given me life.
94I am yours; save me,
for I have sought your precepts.
95The wicked lie in wait to destroy me,
but I consider your testimonies.
96I have seen a limit to all perfection,
but your commandment is exceedingly broad. (Psalm 119:89-96. ESV.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sorry, I Cannot

When asked to sin, I have to say, “No.”

If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it." (Genesis 4:7. ESV.)

Ecclesiastes 8:12: Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before him.

Isaiah 3:10: Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds.

Isaiah 3:11: Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, for what his hands have dealt out shall be done to him.

Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the LORD. (Genesis 13:13. ESV.)

2 Peter 2:6-10: …if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8(for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.


When an authority has been placed in my life yet that position over me continuously instructs me to sin I feel I have an obligation to say, “I respect you and would love to submit to you however I cannot do as you have asked of me,” even if I know my refusal will anger that individual.

"I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds." (Jeremiah 17:10. ESV.)

Luke 8:15: As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

2 Thessalonians 2:12: in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Romans 1:16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.


When I stand before my Lord I will have to give an account to Him.

The Wives of Pastors

The Wives of Pastors
(9Marks)

Don’t Go to Church?

Don’t Go to Church?
(Sovereign Grace Ministries)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

By Faith

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:23-25. ESV.)


I am going to be trying out a new church this coming Sunday. It is a Sovereign Grace plant in the city where I am visiting. As I was surfing their website I found they were just studying the book of Philippians! (Yep, Amy, Philippians!) This was an encouragement for me since a dear sister in Christ was just telling me a few weeks ago how wonderful the book of Philippians is and that I should read it for 30 days straight. (I’m still getting to that…haven’t started it yet.)

The website also reminded me of Hebrews 11: "By Faith" which says,

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (Hebrews 11: 1-3. ESV.)

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. (Hebrews 11:4. ESV.)

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. (Hebrews 11:5. ESV.)

By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. (Hebrews 11:7. ESV.)

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. (Hebrews 11:8. ESV.)

By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. (Hebrews 11:11. ESV.)

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, (Hebrews 11:17. ESV.)

By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. 21By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. 22By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones. (Hebrews 11:20-22. ESV.)

By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. (Hebrews 11:23-25. ESV.)

By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them. (Hebrews 11:27-28. ESV.)

By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. 30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. (Hebrews 11:29-31. ESV.)


I too will continue to walk by faith. Though I cannot see the road ahead or the whole picture (this side of heaven) I will trust in my sovereign King like Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Moses, David, Daniel, Jonah, Mary, John the Baptist, Paul, Peter, and many others!

So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. (Romans 13:12. ESV.)

The Gospel and the Truth About You

The Gospel and the Truth About You
(by Michael Mckinley of 9 Marks)

Part 1
Part 2: Prayer

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Revelation Song by Kari Jobe

I love this song! We sang it at church on Sunday and I have heard it before however it took me a while to figure out the title and singer! And now without further ado...

Unshakeable

When I attended church this past Sunday the message was entitled “Unshakeable in Shakable Times”.

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23. NKJV.)
I BELIEVE! Therefore NOTHING is impossible…even the most challenging trial that seems utterly without a solution!

My #1 refining from the Lord seems to be: trusting in Him…completely! When tribulation gets especially difficult and I do what I know my King wants me to do yet the outcome does not look as I had imagined, I am quick to doubt and struggle with my sin of impatience. I look for immediate results yet nine times out of ten my King wants me to wait, be still, and know He is God (Psalm 46:10). And, no matter who or what satan tries to use against me I am to remain steadfast! I am to study and know God’s word and hide it in my heart so I might not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11).

Further God is ALWAYS faithful to provide everything I need to walk the path He sets before me. It is so humbling to watch God at work…and the way He orchestrates EVERYTHING all the way down to the tiniest (perhaps seemingly insignificant) detail!

Two and half weeks ago I read an excellent devotion by “Daily Bread” entitled “Be a Stander” regarding Proverbs 17:17 which says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Oh how true! Not only are my parents and brother standing firm with me in my hardship, there is a friend who knows me on deep levels…my heart and my character. She loves me all the time whether we are near one another or far apart. She is always there for me (especially when I need her the most)…“A true friend who stands with [me] in times of trial.” (Our Daily Bread: Be a Stander.) For her and my family, I am infinitely, indescribably grateful to my sovereign King.

One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. (Proverbs 11:24. ESV.)


Thank you my Sovereign King for all you have given to me in this season of adversity and need. Thank you for protecting my heart, for lessons learned, for wisdom, strength, and for grace received! And last but not least, thank you for your mercy! I pray hearts will be changed, eyes will be opened, and (most importantly) You will be glorified!

To God alone be the glory!!!

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

"To God Alone" by Aaron Shust



To God Alone

Can You take me by the hand
Can You use me as I am
Break me into who You want me to be

When the time is finally right
Will You open up my eyes
Show me everything You want me to see

This life is not my own

To God alone be the glory
To God alone be the praise
Everything I say and do
Let it be all for You
The glory is Yours alone
Yours alone

Take the offering I bring
You want more than what I sing
Can I give You ever part of me

Turn these pennies into gold
Take this life I call my own
Until I'm running after Your heart

I'm needing to let go

To God alone be the glory
To God alone be the praise
Everything I say and do
Let it be all for You
The glory is Yours alone

We will rise, and we will fall
But You remain after all
You're glorious and beautiful
You're beautiful

To God alone be the glory
To God alone be the praise
Everything I say and do
Let it be all for You
The glory is Yours alone
The glory is Yours alone
Yours alone
Yours alone

Recycled Post: In Christ Alone


Friday, November 13, 2009

Slave to Obedience: Obeying God Rather Than Men

But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men.”


As I continue to sit at the foot of the throne communing with my King and consulting Him on everything, scripture is an encouragement to me each day. Before starting schoolwork with the kiddos, every morning is spent doing memory verses and spending time with God and His word. We repeat the following verses over and again:

“No one can serve two masters.” (Matthew 6:24.)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5.)

“For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” (Psalm 1:6.)

“In quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15.)

“Fear not, for I am with you.” (Isaiah 43:5.)

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

“Every word of God proves true; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” (Proverbs 30:5.)

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!” (1 Chronicles 16:34.)


These beautiful truths are made even sweeter to me as I hear them from the mouths of the little lambs God has entrusted to me to train up and protect.

Further they encourage me to dig even deeper into God’s word. I am so thankful to my King for His favor! Because of His grace, which He has given to me through His precious Son, I am able to be a “slave of obedience”.

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16. ESV.)

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4. ESV.)

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. (Psalm 37:5. ESV.)

But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity." (2 Timothy 2:19. ESV.)

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, (John 10:14. ESV.)

The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. (Nahum 1:7. ESV.)

I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul, (Psalm 31:7. ESV.)

You’ve been cordially invited to break your heart.

You’ve been cordially invited to break your heart.
(Molly Piper)

Mothers becoming Moms: Child Survival Program In Action

Mothers becoming Moms: Child Survival Program In Action
(Molly Piper)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

He is a Shield to Those Who Take Refuge in Him

“Every word of God proves true; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. (Proverbs 30:5. ESV.)


I have found whenever God includes me in a work of His I can expect to learn something and receive an unbelievable blessing! No matter what this might entail (an adoption, custody battle, sick child, church split, tribulation, etc.) the above can be said.

The most recent blessing came to me on Tuesday when a loved one shared her wonderful news! After a long, roller coaster ride of a custody battle for her granddaughter, God provided her with full custody in the form of an order from a judge…a judge who was most skeptical and seemingly unwilling to listen. The child, so small and unable to verbalize what it was like in each household was at the mercy of the court. But my loved one never stopped having faith in God and His grace!

My roll in the whole thing, though very small, still gave me insight to the situation, the heartache, and the fear of the unknown (though my loved one has favor with an all-knowing God). He had it all under control despite the fact that we (this side of heaven) had no clue as to why certain things had to happen. Our sovereign King, of course, saw the whole picture. He could have stopped the battle in its tracks but did not. And boy, to God be the glory!

Along the way my loved one and her family rose to great heights and plummeted into deep valleys. We watched helplessly as a court ordered a small child back and forth between households over hundreds of miles. The good fight was exhausting and seemed endless. It looked as though God was going to have to move mountains. Some days there was great urgency and other days of long waiting. Documents and history were reviewed with wisdom and discernment. Witnesses came forward. Many prayed for the child and the family.

Then finally, although seemingly impossible, the court reached a decision. God allowed tribulation and despair for a season...

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10. ESV.)

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12. ESV.)

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21. ESV.)


...yet was (of course) victorious! This beautiful blessing has given me great encouragement and reassurance in my own tribulation. God has not and will not leave me nor forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:8).

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