Thursday, July 31, 2014

Road Trip: Fret Not Yourself; It Tends Only to Evil

While in the midst of a zany road trip, it occurred to me I have never written about any of them here. The craziest one had to be the time we were on route from Northern California to Vancouver, Washington and the transmission went out in our Dodge Durango about 180 miles into the trip. We spent five hours at a car repair facility before renting a car and continuing our trek. We checked back on our vehicle on the way home after vacation. I feel I must note, the car still was not ready by then. Hubs ended up trading it in (two weeks later) for a used 2005 Ford sports utility vehicle (SUV). Did I mention we had four young children with us during that one? Yeah, we did.

We've had blown tires on trailers (twice).

But this expedition (the road portion of it anyway) from Columbus, Texas to Gainesville, Florida (GO GATORS!!!) and back again was something different completely. All was well on the first leg of the jaunt until we stopped at a campground for an overnight and realized the air conditioning (AC) thermostat was not working properly and the AC would not come on inside the recreation vehicle (RV). It was a balmy, Florida, summer evening, we had one fan (which I pointed toward the kiddos), and hubs tossed and turned all night in a puddle of his sweat. (I am used to the humidity so it was not that big of a deal for me to be an overheated, sticky mess.) The second day was thankfully uneventful and went off without a hitch.

The week following, we decide to make the return portion of the journey in one fell rest for the weary. (It's an easy 15 hours, no problem right?) We planned accordingly and left early enough in the morning to make it back to Texas before midnight. Approximately three hours from Gainesville we stopped for gas and noticed the gear shift was broken. The RV would not reverse. Hubs put it in what he believed was park and focusing on the task at hand (getting gas) he turned off the engine. Shortly there after, realizing the RV was NOT in park, he hastily tried to restart the vehicle. No bueno. Did we panic, get overly stressed, or freak out? Nope, it was just another bonkers twist to an adventure.

I grabbed drinks and snacks, hubs pumped gas, and somehow (by the grace of God) was able to work the mechanism into neutral and restart the RV. A bit of pulling and pushing, shoving and grunting and he found drive. Only problem now was he managed to wedge the RV too close to a parked van and was stuck without reverse capabilities. After a jog (by me) into the store/fast food joint and finding the operators of the van, we were off and running again. Only now we knew, whatever our undertaking along the way, we had to accomplish everything (getting gas, food, using the restroom, etc.) while keeping the RV in drive with the engine running...and we could not get ourselves stuck again in another parking lot.

Life is not perfect and even the fun times can be a challenge. But one thing you can count on is God will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)...not during the silly stuff, like this, nor the serious times! Whatever our situation --- and I do not say that lightly, believe me, I get it --- we are called to be content (Philippians 4:11).
1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers!
2For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.

3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,over the man who carries out evil devices!

8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
9 For the evildoers shall be cut off,but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

10In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
11But the meek shall inherit the landand delight themselves in abundant peace.

12The wicked plots against the righteousand gnashes his teeth at him,
13but the Lord laughs at the wicked,for he sees that his day is coming.

14The wicked draw the sword and bend their bowsto bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose way is upright;
15their sword shall enter their own heart,and their bows shall be broken.

16 Better is the little that the righteous hasthan the abundance of many wicked.
17For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,but the Lord upholds the righteous.

18The Lord knows the days of the blameless,and their heritage will remain forever;
19they are not put to shame in evil times;in the days of famine they have abundance.

20But the wicked will perish;the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures;they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.

21The wicked borrows but does not pay back,but the righteous is generous and gives;
22for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land,but those cursed by him shall be cut off.

23The steps of a man are established by the Lord,when he delights in his way;
24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,for the Lord upholds his hand.

25I have been young, and now am old,yet I have not seen the righteous forsakenor his children begging for bread.
26He is ever lending generously,and his children become a blessing.

27 Turn away from evil and do good;so shall you dwell forever.
28For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever,but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
29The righteous shall inherit the landand dwell upon it forever.

30The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,and his tongue speaks justice.
31 The law of his God is in his heart;his steps do not slip.

32The wicked watches for the righteousand seeks to put him to death.
33The Lord will not abandon him to his poweror let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.

34 Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off.

35 I have seen a wicked, ruthless man,spreading himself like a green laurel tree.
36But he passed away, and behold, he was no more; though I sought him, he could not be found.

37Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man of peace.
38But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the future of the wicked shall be cut off.

39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.40The Lord helps them and delivers them;he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,because they take refuge in him. (Psalm 37. ESV.)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

He Remembers We Are Dust

I hate it when I struggle with my pride. Disgusting, ugly, icky, wicked pride. Lord, please free me from it! Separate it from me and cast it far away!

10He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
14For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
(Psalm 103:10-14. ESV.)

Friday night, as I spoke to God on my drive home from bible study, I pondered to Him, “What do I look like to other people?” Am I a reflection of Christ Jesus? Do I glorify the Father as I was created to do?

I have to be honest, the souls of the unbelievers I know weigh heavily on me. I am not sure how to put my heart into words but there is a story that springs to mind. I know I have posted it on this blog before but here it is again, anyway.

I heard a story that touched my heart in such a way I almost began weeping where I sat as I listened. It was written by Michael Card, is quoted by John
Piper in his book SUFFERING AND THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD, and goes like this:

One day a Masai Warrior named Joseph was walking along an African road when he met someone who shared the gospel of Jesus with him....The power of the Spirit began transforming his life; he was filled with such excitement and joy that the first thing he wanted to do was return to his own village and share that same Good News with the members of his local tribe.

Joseph began going from door-to-door, telling everyone he met about the Cross of Jesus and the salvation it offered, expecting to see their faces light up the way his had. To his amazement the villagers not only didn't care, they became violent. The men of the village seized him and held him to the ground while the women beat him with strands of barbed wire. He was dragged from the village and left to die alone in the bush.

Joseph somehow managed to crawl to a water hole, and there, after days of passing in and out of consciousness, found the strength to get up. He wondered about the hostile reception he had received from people he had known all his life. He decided he must have left something out or told the story of Jesus incorrectly. After rehearsing the message he had first heard, he decided to go back and share his faith once more.

Joseph limped into the circle of huts and began to proclaim Jesus. "He died for you, so that you might find forgiveness and come to know the living God" he pleaded. Again he was grabbed by the men of the village and held while the women beat him reopening wounds that had just begun to heal. Once more they dragged him unconscious from the village and left him to die....

Again, days later, Joseph awoke in the wilderness, bruised, scarred--and determined to go back.

He returned to the small village and this time, they attacked him before he had a chance to open his mouth. As they flogged him for the third and probably the last time, he again spoke to them of Jesus Christ, the Lord. Before he passed out, the last thing he saw was that the women who were beating him began to weep.

That village is now a Christian village.

God I beg you, please save those unbelievers in my life! Not if it is my will, Lord, but yours! I plead with you on behalf of their souls! I want to spend this life (and eternity), with them, praising You! In Your Son’s precious name I pray this, Amen.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Collectivistic Verses Individualistic: If Anyone Does Not Provide for His Relatives

I love learning new things but I find my studies mess with my thinking, sometimes. For example, when I was going over “survival of the fittest” information my first semester back to college, I considered having MANY more children…like the Duggars who have twenty-one. Further, some information is bothersome to me yet, a lot of it is pretty interesting.

In each phase of life there are three or four (secular) variations in which people fall. For instance parenting is divided up into four styles: Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive, and Uninvolved. (Feldman, Robert. Discovering the Life Span: Second Edition. 2012. New Jersey. Pg 187.) Likewise, there are three classifications of grandparent: Involved, Companionate, and Remote. (Feldman, Robert. Discovering the Life Span: Second Edition. 2012. New Jersey. Pg 397.)

Collectivistic verses individualistic is what stood out to me the most, yesterday.
The individualism – collectivism spectrum is one of several dimensions along which cultures differ, and it illustrates differences in the cultural contexts in which people operate. Such broad cultural values play an important role in shaping the ways people view the world and behave. (Garcia & Saewyc, 2007; Yu & Stiffman, 2007; Boles, Le, & Nguyen, 2010).
In “collectivistic cultures”, “multigenerational households” are not unusual as opposed to “Western cultures” which are greatly “individualistic”.

God’s word encourages us to be “collectivistic” and care for each other. 1 Timothy 5 gives instruction to the “church”. It says,
1 Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, 2older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.

3Honor widows who are truly widows. 4But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. 5She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, 6but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. 7Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. 8But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

9Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, 10and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. 11But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry 12and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. 13Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.14So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. 15For some have already strayed after Satan. 16If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows.

17Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. 18For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” 19Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 20As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. 21In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality. 22Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure. 23(No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.) 24The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. 25So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Go Therefore And Make Disciples of All Nations

What does the mission field look like in your life? Ramon Lull describes missions in this way,
By “missions,” I mean the process of Christians from reached people groups sharing the gospel with unreached people groups (UPG), implying that languages must be learned and cultures must be understood. Language acquisition and cultural understanding take years, perhaps even decades — not days. By Ramon Lull. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website:

As I have mentioned before on this blog, I would love to start taking my younger children on missions. After reading the quote above, I felt a little discouraged. My kiddos and I cannot commit to living in an “unreached area” of the world for “years, perhaps even decades”. Further, I am embarrassed to say I only know one language…English. So, where does that leave me and my young ones?

I recall someone telling me we have a mission field right in our own homes. As I thought about that further I figure that reaches beyond our backyard and into our community. There are many who may not have heard the gospel, right? Further, the internet allows me to “venture” to other countries and connect with people (but only if they have access, which multiple territories do not). So, again, I wonder how my kids and I can contribute. I truly want to teach them the Great Commission:
19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20. ESV.)

I feel I have to start somewhere so maybe the mission trip to Central America is not a bad jumping off point…even though we would only be there for a short period of time. I guess I have a lot of praying to do on this matter.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
(Philippians 4:4-9. ESV.)

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

You Make Known to Me the Path of Life

As I continue with my studies this summer I find I am not only evaluating my parenting (which has had a couple of rough days this week) but also my vapor of a life (James 4:14), itself. I am barely still classified as being in “young adulthood” and teetering on the threshold of “middle adulthood”. In some of the chapter reading, I see myself described accurately. The bit about what I have to look forward to, the next few years as I tumble into the next category, leaves me feeling a little bothered.

“Middle adulthood” appears to be a time of many changes…physically, emotionally, intellectually, hormonally, medically, etc. In some ways there are pros. On many other levels there are cons. Heart disease and cancer become a bigger concern. The body slows down a little bit. Skin, lenses on the eyes, and eardrums lose elasticity. And, with child rearing years coming to a close a percentage of individuals (like me) return to university and begin a new career. I seem to be par for the course in this sense.

However, with entering a field I will be competing with young adults freshly out of school. Thankfully, I will have half an existence of experience on my side that will hopefully work to my advantage. Above all, though, I have God to direct my path.
104I gain understanding from your precepts;
therefore I hate every wrong path.
105Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
(Pslam 119:104-105. NIV.)
He is my pilot and navigator.

I feel I have lived two lifetimes thus far. I trained as a ballerina and well-rounded dancer, traveled, and lived in Singapore, Taiwan, and Australia before starting a family. My “preschool” to “adolescence” holds enough to fill volumes of scrapbooks and journals. The “good ol’ days” were filled with family, friendships, youth group, church, schooling, dance, competitions, fun, adventure, mystery, hard work, sweat, maybe a few tears, encouragement, success, and most importantly, God. It is a joy to look back on old pictures and stay in touch with my companions from those days (who I miss dearly)!

Then, I have my time as a mother…an awesome undertaking and privilege all on its own! My “young adult” years have been like a second cycle of yet more memories, relationships, and wisdom that satisfy my wholly. Being fortunate to stay home with my children, teaching, and training them up in the ways of the Lord has been (and continues to be) an honor. My words are not adequate enough to express my heart. I look forward to watching them grow, mature, and go out on their own guided by God. My prayer always is they will be good and faithful servants of Christ Jesus (Matthew 25:21 & 23). The love my kiddos give me is beyond measure. My cup runeth over (Psalm 23:5)!
11You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
(Pslam 16:11. NIV.)

I have been filled with such joy and eternal pleasures, indeed! The pages of my childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood are full of delight, good things, gladness, and rejoicing…all of which I pray my children will also know! My hope is in the Lord!

1Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.
2I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
3I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
4Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.
5LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
6The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8I keep my eyes always on the LORD.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
11You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
(Psalm 16. NIV.)

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Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Do Not be Overcome by Evil

Have you ever handled a situation in an honorable manner only to have the conclusion not turn out as you had hoped? Was it then tempting to conduct yourself in a deceitful way to reach the desired outcome?

I must admit, this thought does go through my mind from time to time. Perhaps a promise was made to me, in good faith, and then broken. Do I get the urge to take what was supposed to be given to me? If this occurs on a regular basis with the same individual then, yes, I do feel the pestering, whisper of temptation--- the little devil on my shoulder--- taunting me as to why I would be justified in behaving unethically.

Or maybe I see a fraudulent person successfully manipulating a situation, with my honest recourse not hindering his/her actions. Do I then cheat the cheater? I could rationalize I had to “fight fire with fire”. But is that glorifying to God? I was not created to get justice but to exalt God. He takes care of the vengeance part.
19Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
(Romans 12:19-21. NIV.)

I have to be honest. It is so hard for me, sometimes, to not swindle the scoundrel. I want what is right, good, and fair…not for a crook to take advantage of people and circumstances without consequences or repentance. How can some lie, hurt, defraud, and steal from others and not feel any sort of remorse? It infuriates me!

As I study to reach my goal of becoming a children’s attorney, I know I will face a multitude of sticky situations. I will need to preach to myself, daily.

1The LORD is a God who avenges.
O God who avenges, shine forth.
2Rise up, Judge of the earth;
pay back to the proud what they deserve.
3How long, LORD, will the wicked,
how long will the wicked be jubilant?

4They pour out arrogant words;
all the evildoers are full of boasting.
5They crush your people, LORD;
they oppress your inheritance.
6They slay the widow and the foreigner;
they murder the fatherless.
7They say, “The LORD does not see;
the God of Jacob takes no notice.”

8Take notice, you senseless ones among the people;
you fools, when will you become wise?
9Does he who fashioned the ear not hear?
Does he who formed the eye not see?
10Does he who disciplines nations not punish?
Does he who teaches mankind lack knowledge?
11The LORD knows all human plans;
he knows that they are futile.

12Blessed is the one you discipline, LORD,
the one you teach from your law;
13you grant them relief from days of trouble,
till a pit is dug for the wicked.
14For the LORD will not reject his people;
he will never forsake his inheritance.
15Judgment will again be founded on righteousness,
and all the upright in heart will follow it.

16Who will rise up for me against the wicked?
Who will take a stand for me against evildoers?
17Unless the LORD had given me help,
I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
18When I said, “My foot is slipping,”
your unfailing love, LORD, supported me.
19When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought me joy.

20Can a corrupt throne be allied with you—
a throne that brings on misery by its decrees?
21The wicked band together against the righteous
and condemn the innocent to death.
22But the LORD has become my fortress,
and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.
23He will repay them for their sins
and destroy them for their wickedness;
the LORD our God will destroy them.
(Psalm 94. NIV.)

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Monday, July 07, 2014

Friendship: Jonathan Loved Him as His Own Soul

I have amazing family and friends. I truly do. God has blessed me abundantly. I would say, at any given point in my life, on average I know a few hundred people. Some have been with me for nearly my entire vapor of a life, as I know it. Others are fairly new. A few, sadly, have been lost along the way. But each brings with him or her something invaluable to our relationship. Something unique that can never be replaced. And if it is gone, it is dearly missed.

I am, in my current season, without my family and friends often. I cannot wait for this to change. My studies keep me preoccupied and I do not get out as often as I would like. My only link to them are social networks (which I go on when I should be reading or studying, at times, just to connect with them). Lately, it seems, my days consist of bible study (first thing in the morning), school work, cleaning the house/ laundry/ chores, dinner, family time, then rest. This repeats itself every day. And, I have to admit, it is a tad humdrum. I often ask myself, “For what am I working?” I was made to glorify God. Am I still doing that with my day to day? I mean, it is nothing news worthy or exciting but as long as I am serving the Lord, I am elated.

To my family and friends I say, “I love you!” And, “Please forgive me for being absent.” I am aiming to remedy the situation, soon. Please know, “My heart is ALWAYS with you!”
John Piper states the following,
The deepest saints and the strongest leaders need Christian comrades to strengthen their hands in God. David was deep, David was strong, and David needed Jonathan.

Christian camaraderie is not just for the new recruits. It is for every believer. We never grow out of our need for the ministry of other Christians. If you think you are beyond the need for daily exhortation in the fight of faith, then probably your heart has already fallen prey to the deceitfulness of sin.

David was a man after God's own heart. He was a great warrior. He was no doubt superior to Jonathan in strength and intelligence and depth of theological understanding. But verse [1 Samuel 23:16] says that Jonathan went and strengthened his hand in God.

Don't ever think that a man is so strong that he does not need to be strengthened in God. And don't ever think that someone is so far above you that you can't be God's instrument to give strength.
By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website:

We are iron sharpening iron (Proverbs 27:17). You call me out (whether I like it or not) and I am to call you out when behavior is unbiblical. That is part of the purpose behind the body of Christ.

I must go for now but I close with this:
…the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. (1 Samuel 18:1. ESV.)

Friday, July 04, 2014

My God Will Meet All Your Needs

As I was thinking about what exactly I wanted to say today, I saw the below quote over at the I’d Laugh but All This Happened to Me blog. (Carl Jones is my former youth pastor and I absolutely adore him and his wonderful family!)

I have heard/read this story a couple different ways but no matter which version, it expresses the bottom line, well. As is one of the points of this blog, God works throughout our lives…in the day to day. All things are His servants (Psalm 119:91)!

A terrible flood had come to the city. Water was rising to record levels and the streets had become impassable. A very faithful and pious man was forced to the second floor of his house for safety, and he began to pray that God would deliver him from the flood. He truly believed that God would answer his prayer. As he looked out his window a police speedboat came by the front of his house, calling for evacuations and offering rescue. The man thanked them for their efforts, but refused a ride. "God will save me," he announced with more than a little bit of pride. The water continued to rise, and moments later a neighbor came floating by in a canoe, and the neighbor called to the man. "We have room for one more. Come with us and we'll find shelter from the storm." The man thanked his neighbor, but told him not to worry about it. "My God will save me." Soon the flood waters had risen to the point that the man had to climb on his roof. A Navy rescue helicopter arrived on the scene and began to lower a ladder to the man. He waved them away, saying "You should help someone else. God is going to save me." Within the hour, the current swept the man off of his roof and he drown.

When the man reached heaven, he stood before God and expressed his frustration. "I was always faithful. I obeyed your laws, I tithed, I taught Sunday school. While others panicked and sought other help, I believed you would save me. You promised you would never leave or forsake me. Where were you in my hour of greatest need?" God looked at the man and let out a deep, passionate sigh. "My dear son...I sent you a speedboat, a canoe and a helicopter. What else did you want?"

Do you see God at work in your life?

19And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. 20To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Philippians 4:19-20. NIV.)

I Want Adventure in the Great Wide Somewhere, I Want it More than I Can Tell

Thursday, July 03, 2014

If You Do Wrong, Be Afraid, He Does Not Bear the Sword in Vain for He is the Servant of God

I have been thinking about relationships, lately. We have so many in our vapor of a life (James 4:14)…whether romantic, work affiliations, friendships, acquaintances, classmates, peers, family, etc. Further, I believe it is fair to say, relationships play a large part in our day to day. We fellowship with members of the body of Christ, confide in confidants, receive/give love and support from/to family and friends, and spend most of our workday with bosses and fellow employees.

On a somewhat related note, I feel God’s word can feel so distant, at times. I regularly look for illustrations of scripture in my life…examples of God’s promises. One such verse I understood and even felt, at times, became suddenly clear to me like an epiphany.
9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10. NIV.)

The bible, like our lives, is full of relationships. Most of them pleasant, encouraging, and edifying like Naomi and Ruth, Elizabeth and Mary, the disciples and Jesus, etc. Others are very unpleasant, deceitful, and/or abusive like David and Uriah, Abigail and Nabal, Potiphar’s wife and Joseph, etc. So, I should not be surprised God works in my life through relationships. The majority of them bless me beyond measure! A few of them, though, are utterly miserable! These bring 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 to life for me.

Throughout my middle and high school years I had to deal with a “mean girl” who seemed determined to make each day trying. We had a lot of the same friends and participated in the same sports. Despite my best efforts it looked as though she had no intention of ever forming a bond with me. I was excluded from her parties and get-togethers but included as a topic of gossip between her and our peers. I learned I cannot force someone to like me. I feel that was God preparing me for “loving the unlovable” I was going to encounter years later.

I seem to have a knack for getting mixed up with not so honorable individuals, at times. I suppose I am perhaps too trusting and I used to be a very poor judge of character. This, unfortunately, has caused me many problems with a small amount of people. In a nutshell and without going into much detail, over time I have been deceived, lied to repeatedly, and called such terrible, unmentionable names…every one in the book, it seems. I have been intentionally injured, threatened, and assaulted with a deadly weapon (a handful of times)…three of which to the degree of a “felony terroristic threat”. And, obviously, I have had to file for restraining orders…two, one I was awarded the other I did not have sufficient accounting of incidents. However, no matter what God has been my protector!

I am sure everyone deals with such issues (or worse) and the bottom line here is, it does not matter who or why hateful people provoke hurt feelings and fear, harass, terrorize, or persecute others. I used to be afraid to the extent my body would tremble. One person told me, “Do not fear man. God is bigger,” (Hebrews 13:6) and another advised I read the book When People Are Big and God is Small. Which I get, but also I feel it is much easier to say when standing on the outside looking into a situation. Being in the midst of it is a different story. Controlling one’s dread and stress is a challenge given certain circumstances. The body shakes, freezes, empties the bladder, etc. Yet, when I was weak, God was so, so, so strong. And over time He has made me resilient, as well. I no longer listen to the rhetoric of wicked words or have distress in the face of evil. Further, I take steps to avoid those who behave in such a way.

He that flies, has warrant to do so; he that stands, has warrant to do so. Yea, the same man may both fly and stand, as the call and working of God with his heart may be. Moses fled, Ex. 2:15; Moses stood, Heb. 11:27. David fled, 1 Sam. 19:12; David stood, 24:8. Jeremiah fled, Jer. 37:11¬–12; Jeremiah stood, 38:17. Christ withdrew himself, Luke 19:10; Christ stood, John 18:1–8. Paul fled, 2 Cor. 11:33; Paul stood, Acts 20:22–23. . . .

Do not fly out of a slavish fear, but rather because flying is an ordinance of God, opening a door for the escape of some, which door is opened by God’s providence, and the escape countenanced by God’s Word, Matt. 10:23.
(Seasonable Counsels, or Advice to Sufferers, in The Works of John Bunyan, volume 2, page 726)

God is our protection and has placed authority over those who mean intentional harm to others.
4for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. (Romans 13:4. ESV.)
Walk in peace and faith.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

It is Advocacy in Behalf of Your Kids

I recently read a post by Barnabas Piper over at the Desiring God website. It was not really on parenting, per se, but in a sense. He was discussing being the son of a pastor and in conclusion addressed all parents. My children are hardly “pastor’s kids” but I feel they are expected to behave a certain way in church and so I could relate to what Barnabas was stating. There have been a couple times when a member of the church has either come to me or said something negative to someone else, regarding my children, loud enough to where I could hear it. Barnabas Piper states,
Ed Stetzer shared with me,
I tell my kids that they do not have to live up to the expectations of others — they have to honor the Lord and, while they are in our home, follow our authority. Beyond that, I’m not too concerned about what the church thinks of my kids, and my kids (and my church) know that.
These kinds of statements are what [Pastor’s Kids] need to hear and see played out day in and day out. They need to see that their parents don’t expect different things from them at church than at home and won’t stand for others doing so either. It is advocacy in behalf of your kids and should be spoken of often and lived out always.
(By Barnabas Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website:

It is nice to hear that the reaction I felt, when faced by the opinion of someone in the congregation, was just. My children are well behaved…and I discipline them when/if necessary. They listen and follow my instructions which is what matters despite the viewpoint of others (who may have an authoritarian parenting style verses my authoritative one). I should not and will NOT “stand for others” expecting my children to behave differently “at church than at home”. They attend worship and that is very important to me. I will not tolerate them feeling stressed from having to live up to someone else’s expectations!

Fellowship is good for them, too. If that means calmly sitting together with their buddies or standing gentlemanly like next to the wall chit chatting before service begins, that is okay with me. And as long as they are not being disruptive, I feel it should be acceptable to others as well. They are our little men and they are mimicking their fathers. Furthermore, generally speaking, they do a good job behaving. Not to mention, they stand and sing when it is praise and worship time and they bow their heads and pray with the rest of the congregation as directed by the pastor and speakers. I want them to feel comfortable and welcome in God’s house.

Barnabas Piper gives this advice. He writes,
The last big thing pastors can do actually goes for all parents: Focus more on helping your kids cope and process and grow than on shielding them. Coats and hats will keep people warm in the bitter winter, but enough time outside and their noses and toes will be numb. But the warm dry clothes, the blanket, the fire in the fireplace, and the hot chocolate will soothe the coldest of colds. Pastors must be both the coat and the fire, the hat and the blanket.

You can only protect so much, but you can warm and comfort and thaw. Converse with your kids; don’t preach or counsel. Ask probing questions and don’t buy the “I’m fine” stuff; that just means they still have some thawing to do. Stay close to them through every season, no matter how antagonistic or bratty they get; they need you. They need to feel the warmth of your presence, your words, your embrace. You are God’s protection and comfort for your kids.
This is great for me to remember. I have already been through the teenage years with my older kiddos and those years are not too far off for my younger ones. Admittedly, it was tough the first time around, trying to stay on top of everything. And I am sure there will be challenges the second go round. It is my understanding children grow and develop most ages newborn through five and then again during the teenage years. As young children, they do not kick up too much of a fuss…although ages 2 ½ - 3 ½ can be a little demanding. But as adolescents, they can cause quite a bit of a ruckus if they see fit and be ornery buggers. So, I appreciate the message of Barnabas to “stay close to them through every season, no matter how antagonistic or bratty they get”.

When I used to babysit the children of my friends, I would use scripture with all of the children. I had a fabulous “calendar” sized fold out (that was given to me by a friend) that was insanely helpful (which I have not been able to find for many years…I guess I should buy another one). It made addressing the kiddos regarding behavior so much easier!

12Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:12-17. ESV.)

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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Parenting: Bring Them Up in the Discipline and Instruction of the Lord

Being in a child development class this summer has me focused on my own children and how they are growing and changing. Each of them are doing a great job and I want to make sure I continue to support them, encourage them, and be consistent in my parenting. (I personally categorize myself as an “authoritative” parent.) Further, with our upcoming move, I want to make sure it is as smooth as possible for our younger ones (the older ones have each established their own households) when it comes to transitioning into a new church, school, and with new peers. Most of the children with whom they have grown up have already moved to other states or areas but there are a few still in this area they will hate to leave.

I have to be honest, I am fearful of failing my children…each of them. What if my parenting style is not best for them? What if one (or more) is unable to transition from adolescence to adulthood? What if temptation becomes too great and one (or more) gives in to an unhealthy lifestyle and “death”? All of this worrying is enough to stress me out! But God’s Word promises
6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
(Proverbs 22:6. ESV.)
And God ALWAYS keeps His promises. Further, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

I feel I worked especially hard when our older children were growing up. I held to God’s guarantees. I fought to “start them off on the way they should go” and to “not provoke [them] to anger but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4) according to scripture. I battled sin with the strength of Christ (Philippians 4:13). I was HATED (and treated accordingly) by a handful of individuals who asked, “Why is your way the best?” To which I responded, “It is not my way! It is God’s way.” It was horrible! But God does not say being a follower of Christ will be easy…quite the opposite, actually.
Being entirely at the mercy of such doubtful and vacillating friends, I, though perplexed, felt it best to obey. I climbed into the tree and was left there alone in the bush. The hours I spent there live all before me as if it were but of yesterday. I heard the frequent discharging of muskets, and the yells of the Savages. Yet I sat there among the branches, as safe in the arms of Jesus. Never, in all my sorrows, did my Lord draw nearer to me, and speak more soothingly in my soul, than when the moonlight flickered among these chestnut leaves, and the night air played on my throbbing brow, as I told all my heart to Jesus. Alone, yet not alone! If it be to glorify my God, I will not grudge to spend many nights alone in such a tree, to feel again my Savior’s spiritual presence, to enjoy His consoling fellowship. If thus thrown back upon your own soul, alone, all alone, in the midnight, in the bush, in the very embrace of death itself, have you a Friend that will not fail you then? (John G. Patton: Missionary to the New Hebredies, An Autobiography Edited by His Brother [Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1965, orig. 1889, 1891], p. 200)

John Piper states
Then the second thing that Jesus is doing in [Luke 9:56-62] is to test you, to see if this is enough, to see if he is really your treasure, your joy, your security, your hope, your friend in times of loneliness, your home, your father and mother, your power to look straight ahead – to test you in all these ways, he tells you what it will cost. By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website:

I love that my children are so far apart in age (there is a ten year difference between the older ones and the younger). It allows me to see what the various seeds planted look like when they are grown (Galatians 6:7). Our one kiddo, in late adolescence, was baptized Mormon (at age 18) and our young adult is a self-proclaimed Atheist. So, it appears to me that either, 1) I failed and did something wrong in raising them or 2) I do not understand where God is going with this. Given God ALWAYS keeps His promises, my hope is in #2.

God REALLY is my treasure, joy, security, hope, friend, home, parent, spouse, and power! When it looks as though He has removed everything I feel I require, He shows me He alone is all that I truly need! The rest, the love of others and my support system, is a precious blessing…a desire. I am called to have faith and God takes care of ALL the rest! And, I do. I truly believe God loves these little lambs He has entrusted to me more than I do. And, He will keep His word, the names of my children are written in His book, and we will share eternity together! My prayer to Him is always, “Lord, please place your hedge of protection around my children and please do not allow seeds of sin to take root in their heart.”

31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.32Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. (1 Corinthians 10:31-33. NIV.)

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