The Just Shall Live By Faith

Ephesians 2:8-9 ” For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

My husband enjoys building Eastern Bluebird Houses. There are specific ways and plans to build them.  Research shows that there are certain requirements:

Style: The birdhouses are built out of rough sawn cedar.  They are rectangle in shape with a slanted roof that extends over the top opening, but also allows for ventilation on each top side.  The bottom piece also has corner ventilation.  The side piece needs to be able to open to clean out the used nest.

Size and shape of hole: It’s an oval shape, one and one half inches wide by two and one quarter inches tall.

Notches: On the inside front piece place notches so the small birds, when they hatch, can climb up and soon fly out.

Place on fence or pole: The top of the birdhouse should be six feet high maximum.

Separate by feet: The Eastern Bluebirds are very territorial and the birdhouses need to be on open land a few hundred feet apart.

If you build them according to plans, within a short time, Eastern Bluebirds will come to these houses.  It is truly amazing!

So does God have requirements? Does He have a plan and purpose for us?

The answer is “Yes, He does!”

But what are these plans and purposes? Let’s research the Bible to see what God has to say about the matter.

Matthew 7:21-23

“21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Here we have a quote from Scripture that makes it plain that not everyone that has prophesied, cast out demons and done works in Jesus Christ’s name will be in heaven.  What a very sad condition to be in.

There are also five specific places in God’s Word that say “The just shall live by faith.”

1.Habakkuk 2:4  “But the just shall live by his faith.”

2. Romans 1:17 “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”

3.  Galatians 3:11 ” But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.”

4. Philippians 3:9  “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”

5. Hebrews 10:38 “Now the just shall live by faith.”

The faith that God requires is the faith that He gives.

Rejecting Christ is rejecting God’s ONLY way of salvation!  When Jesus is all you have, it’s enough!!

The Better Way: There is no other way but God’s way!

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My 2 Kings 22 Experience – June 2016 Update

Update for Thomas and Cristy Slawson

Hope to The Nations

While cleaning out the stock room at InterAct last week I found something. To find out what it was and why it matters click the image below!

Hope to The Nations - June 2016

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May 2016 Update

Here’s a new update from Thomas and Cristy!

Hope to The Nations

Hope to The Nations - May 2016

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Mary Magdalene

Luke 8: 2-3  “Mary Magdalene out of whom seven demons were cast out.”

Mary Magdalene and others had followed Jesus Christ around and supported His ministry.  They had also been present at the crucifixion and now were also at the burial.  After placing the large stone over the opening, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary sat down opposite the now closed opening for a little while and then went home.

The Sabbath Day had ended with sundown on Saturday night.  So it was early the next morning, soon after the sun had risen that Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James and John,  and Salome were on their way to the tomb with sweet smelling spices to anoint Jesus’ body.  They were discussing how they were going to move the extremely large stone placed in front of the opening of the tomb.

Upon arriving at the tomb, the women were shocked and surprised to find the stone already rolled away.  Looking inside they saw two angels in dazzling clothing.  Trembling with astonishment and fear they did not know what to think.

Mary Magdalene and the other  women bowed themselves before these angels who said, “Why seek ye the living among the dead?  He is not here, He has risen as He told you.  Go and tell Peter and the other disciples.”  Peter and John did not believe either and ran to the tomb themselves.  They left in bewilderment not knowing what was happening.

This was His first appearance!  Mary Magdalene was now back at the tomb weeping and saw a man she thought was a gardener, but was actually Jesus Christ. ” 11 But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; 12 and she *saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13 And they *said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She *said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and *saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus *said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she *said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” 16 Jesus *said to her, “Mary!” She turned and *said to Him in [a]Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher). 17 Jesus *said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I \ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene *came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and that He had said these things to her.”

Jesus Christ’s second appearance was to the women on the road going away from the sepulcher.  He greeted them saying “Do not be afraid! ”  With great joy they took hold of Jesus’ feet and worshipped Him.  (Matthew 28:9-10)

The Scriptures do not tell us what seven demons Mary Magdalene had, but we do know that she proved her gratefulness to Jesus Christ for casting out the demons by staying close to Him no matter where He was.   She had told the man she thought was the gardener ” tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.” John 20:15  She also wanted to express her heartfelt gratitude that no matter where Jesus was she was going to live for Him the rest of her life.

The Better Way:  Let’s follow Mary Magdalene’s example and live for Jesus Christ for the rest of our lives!

 

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The Obedient Unnamed Mother

Psalm 37:25 “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, or his descendants begging bread.”

   
     A cry for help!  A determined cry for help!  This mother in II Kings 4:1-7, was in trouble and was not ashamed to seek out help from the man of God, the prophet Elisha.  Her husband, one of the sons of a prophet, had died.  Now she was in debt, and her two sons were about to be taken to be slaves by the creditor.  This was according to Exodus 21:2, where a person was to be a bondsman up to seven years in order to pay off a debt.  Well, this mother was not going to sit idly by feeling sorry for herself.  She cried out for help, “My sons must be spared from this enslavement.”
     An almost empty jar of oil is all she had left, she informed Elisha.  Utilizing the only resource she had, Elisha instructed her and her sons to gather together many empty vessels (containers) from her neighbors.  Then directing her to close the door, she was to use her meager jar of oil to fill all the empty vessels.  Did this make sense?  Of course not.  Did she stop and ask questions and details about how this was possible?  No, she followed the instructions of the man of God humbly and obediently.
     As God miraculously multiplied the oil (and you can be sure it was oil of the most superior quality), this mother and her sons filled all the empty vessels and then “the oil stopped.” II Kings 4:6  Then she came and told the man of God (Elisha), and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”
     Oh, now it all became clear.  God was providing in a way humanly impossible, but as we know “with God, all things are possible.” Mark 10:27  The unnamed mother first needed to make her request and then be obedient.  You see, God provides and cares for His own, for He promises never to leave us or forsake us. Hebrews 13:5
 
The Better Way:  Strive to be a determined, hardworking, obedient, humble woman/mother by God’s grace.
 
See also:  The Unnamed Woman
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April 2016 Update

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Surrendering Our Will

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all they ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.

 
      Let us take a few moments to imagine that you are a highly respected financial advsor.  Each day your job is to help people in debt work out their financial problems.  I am a poor debt-ridden individual who comes to you seeking advice and help for my problem.  So you gladly work up a plan for me.  You advise me how to accomplish my goal; you write out specific instructions and tell me that if I follow the plan exactly, I will be free of debt soon.  I smile, acknowledge your help, commenting on how brilliant you are—–then toss the instructions in the trash can.  Why did I come to you in the first place?  Why did I seek your help, only to totally disregard it?  Why did I waste your time?  Even so, this experience can be compared to our relationship to God.  His Word is full of “shalls” and “wills,” but when we disregard God’s advice, when we reject His help, when we fail to follow His plan—–why go to God?
      For example, in our Bible verse for today, God’s plan is that we trust in Him, lean not to ourselves and acknowledge Him in all things.  When we do follow God’s requirements, He says, “He shall direct thy paths.”  There is no doubt that God will do as He has said and so we are encouraged and eager to trust because we want only God’s direction for our lives.
John 15:7a says, “If ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”  Again we have God’s directive—-we abide, then ask what we will and it shall be done.  Charles Spurgeon expresses the meaning of this verse so completely in his devotional book, “Faith’s Checkbook”, “We are to have our will in prayer, because we have already surrendered our will to the Lord’s command.”
God’s plan is that we come to Him with a completely surrendered will so that He can work His Will in our lives.  Human nature says, “I’ll try my plan first, then if that doesn’t work, I’ll ask God to take care of it.”  Let’s give God first place in our lives and we can say as Isaiah says in Isaiah 26:3, “Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.”
 
Theme: The Better Way: Trusting In The Lord Is Good: Surrendering Our Will Completely Is Better
 
 
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Underneath the Everlasting Arms

Deuteronomy 33:27 “The eternal God is thy Refuge, and underneath are the Everlasting Arms.”

 
I recently heard the following story and wanted to share it with you:

 
“There is no extremity beyond the power of God’s strength and comfort.

A workman was employed on a building project. One of those high-rise deals. It was necessary because of some deadlines and bad weather for them to work at night. While busy on the edge of the wall, he slipped, lost his balance, fell over the ledge, grabbed the edge of the wall with both hands and hung on desperately. He began to scream and cry and call for someone to rescue him. It was pitch black, riveting machines were going, metal hammers were beating and pounding, mechanical motors were running and nobody could hear a word. Gradually his arms grew numb as he hung suspended over the street below and his fingers began to slip and against every effort of his own will to hold on, at last he lost his hold and he fell……..about three inches to a scaffold that had been there all the time. The darkness prevented him from seeing it. And all through his anxiety he was completely safe.”

 “We are so often terrified by our predicaments while all the time there’s the scaffold of God’s care beneath us. Our ignorance doesn’t change the certainty but it does destroy the peace, doesn’t it? We need to remember that underneath are the Everlasting Arms and you don’t know that until your fingers slip and you drop.” (Pastor John MacArthur)

 
The Better Way: Completely Trusting In The God Of The Universe To Care For Us Is The Better Way
 
Read Also: Under His Wings

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The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

As we continue to celebrate with joy the resurrection of Jesus Christ each and every day, please enjoy the following song:
Because He Lives


God sent His son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal, and forgive.
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives.
But greater still the calm assurance,
This child can face uncertain days because He lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

And then one day I’ll cross the river,
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain.
And then as death gives way to victory,
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone!
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives!

Words: Bill & Gloria Gaither

 

 
The Better Way: Living For Jesus Is The Only Way

Also Read: Builded On The Rock

Also Read: Rising Up Again

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The Cross of Jesus Christ

 

Galatians 6:14 “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

 

 

I saw one hanging on a tree in agony and blood
He cast His languid eyes on me
As near His cross I stood.
Sure, never, till my latest breath,
Can I forget that look:
It seemed to charge me with His death
Though not a word He spoke.
A second look He gave, which said,
“I freely all forgive:
This blood is for thy ransom paid.
I die that thou may’st live.”
copied

As we think about Jesus Christ’s great sacrifice on the cross, let’s meditate on the words as we listen to these beautiful hymns.

 

http://youtu.be/qr7_i8HJ-Jo

Beneath The Cross of Jesus

words by Elizabeth Clephane 1868
music by Fredrick Maker 1881 
Beneath the cross of Jesus, I fain would take my stand;
The shadow of a mighty rock, within a weary land.

 

A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day.
 
Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see

 

The very dying form of One Who suffered there for me;
And from my stricken heart with tears two wonders I confess;
The wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.
 
I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by to know no gain or loss,
My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.
 
 
 
When I Survey The Wondrous Cross
 
words by Isaac Watts 1707
music by Lowell Mason 1824
 
 

 

                                  

When I survey the wondrous cross,

 

On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

The Better Way: Glorying In The Cross Is The Only Way

Read also: Upheld By God’s Hand

Read also: God’s Promises, Under His Wings

 

 

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A Journey of God’s Faithfulness

Psalm 118:17 “I shall not die, but live and declare the works of the LORD.”

It was two years ago during this time of year, February 20, 2014 that my special Journey of God’s Faithfulness began. Being a rather healthy person, thoughts of any serious medical problems rarely entered my mind.

Then suddenly and without warning at the young age (what I consider young) of sixty-six, I had a brain bleed, a hemorrhagic stroke and I learned “How frail I am.” Psalm 39:4   It affected the right side of my body leaving me 90% helpless and numb, unlike some strokes which cause paralysis. Now starts the thanksgiving part. Unlike some strokes——-since all strokes are not the same and all stokes affect different parts of the body, I can thankfully say that my speech, swallowing and facial muscles were not affected. Psalm 63:3 “Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.”

During that time I felt God’s presence and peace carry me through months of therapies that taught me how to walk again, a precious husband and family who stood faithfully by my side, lovingly caring for me, and a church family and friends who visited, provided food and prayed for us. Psalm 71:16 ” I will go in the strength of the Lord God.”

I  also saw God open doors for my husband and I to witness to others about Jesus Christ —-people that we would never have met otherwise. It’s such a joy to be used by the Lord. God’s plans are always good and right. Isaiah 58:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”

And so at this special time, since God allowed me not only to live but restored me mostly to my former health, I want to remember all His goodness, declare it to others and praise Him for all He has done and is doing in the lives of my husband and myself. Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

The Better Way: Living by the Scripture Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” is the only way.

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March 2016 Update

Hope to The Nations

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EDIFICATION or GOSSIP ?

Today, I’m going to let you “listen in” on a conversation I’m having with myself:
 
Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer.”
 
This Bible verse should be my prayer today and everyday as I arise and start a new day.  Why?  Because my sinful nature does not naturally speak edification.  Although I am a child of God and saved by His marvelous Grace, I must daily fight the sinful flesh in which I live, Romans 7:8 “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing,”  resolving in my heart to refrain from speaking everything that comes to my mind.  Psalm 17:3 “I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.”
Pausing before speaking, I should ask myself some serious and pointed question:
Is what I am about to say edifying?
Will it bring division, hard feelings or strife?
Will it have a negative influence?
Will it cast an unfavorable light about another person?
Will it raise questionable thoughts or cause someone to have hard feelings toward someone else?
Is what I am about to say really necessary?
Am I about to say thoughtless, unkind, cruel words to or about someone—-someone who is made in God’s image?
My speech is a very serious matter to God: When Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees, He said, “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” Matt 12:34-37.  Also, Psalm 39:1 says, “I said ‘I will guard my ways that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle.”  A muzzle?  Yes, that’s what God’s Word says.  Isn’t that a device people use on animals?  A very descriptive way to impress on me how serious this matter is of controlling my tongue.  So, if that’s what it takes to keep me from dishonoring You and others with my mouth, then I must use it.
O Lord, my desire is that my speech may edify You and be a blessing to those around me.  Your Word says “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.” Psalm 34:13   Colossians 4:6 
“Let you speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”  Speak “what is spiritual, wholesome, fitting, kind, sensitive, purposeful, complimentary, gentle, truthful, loving and thoughtful.” (John MacArthur)
 Dear Lord, may I be steadfastly committed to refrain from empty, unkind, careless, thoughtless, foolish words, and be determined to honor and glorify You in what I say and how I say it.
 
The Better Way: Earnest, careful guard of our speech is the better way.
 
Read also: Life-Giving Sound
 
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February 2016 Update

Hope to The Nations

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Hope to the Nations

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Wearisome Words

Malachi 2:17a  “Ye have wearied the Lord with your words.”

 
     Just a few short generations ago, a man’s word was often his bond.  Many times no formal papers had to be signed, no notary’s seal needed to be imprinted.  When a verbal agreement was made, often a handshake sealed the spoken word.  Honor, commitment and trust were the bond’s that held together a man’s word.
     Today, talk is cheap and carries very little weight.  How weary we are of the ramblings of politicians who promise this and promise that.  How often we are disappointed by people in the business world who tell us one thing, only later to find out that it’s not true.  How discouraged we become as we see people use great swelling words for material gain and watch crowds follow them.  How disgusted we become at the abundance of words pouring forth from vain humans concerning their personal lives on the news.  Weary?  Yes, we become weary because so much is said, so much is philosophized upon and so little is accomplished.  It’s obvious there is much to criticize of the world’s words, but let’s turn the question inward.
     Have I wearied the the Lord with my words?  Do I whine and complain away my days when my lips should be filled with thanksgiving?  Am I double-tongued like the Bible says in James 3:10 where “out of the mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing?”  Have I idled away my time criticizing someone’s faults when I should have been praying for them?  Have I spent hours discussing plans for solving a problem when I should have laid the problem at the Lord’s feet?  Have I chatted vainly about this world with the lost when I should have told them about the Lord Jesus Christ?  Have I spoken harshly when a kind word would have been soothing?  Have I spoken hastily when a carefully chosen word would have spared hurt feelings?  Have I sung the Lord’s praises on Sunday, only to disregard His commands on Monday?
     Sadly, I myself will have to answer “yes” to all these questions.  Yes, I certainly have wearied the Lord with my words.  Recognizing this right now, I humbly repent, asking the Lord for His Grace that I might not weary Him any longer, but that my words, instead, might bring much honor and glory to His Name.
Psalm 19:13 “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my Strength, and my Redeemer.
Theme: The Better Way: Speaking Carefully is Good: Speaking for the Lord Jesus Christ is Better
 
Also read:  Fixed Eyes
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Strength For Today

Deuteronomy 33:25b  “……and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.”

 
       What an encouragement these words are to those of us who try to live more than one day at a time.  How unnecessary it is to fret about tomorrow and anticipate what “might happen.”  Our days are numbered, consequently, the Lord carefully promises the strength needed for each and every day.  Please note that this strength is not stored up and handed to us in one big lump.  Just as a baker measures the right amount of flour for each cake——so our Heavenly Father gently measures just the right amount of strength and grace we need each day and sends it on wings of love to uphold us.
       When we do err and attempt to carry more than one days burden, the weight becomes unbearable and the tasks appear impossible.  Many times I have arose on a Monday morning to a disorganized house, many dirty clothes, a large pile of ironing and errands to run, and perhaps a sick child.  The task seems impossible and almost causes one to want to give up.  Can we do all the work at one time?  Of course not, but one by one with the Lord’s strength and guidance we carefully complete as many tasks as possible and by the end of the day much has been accomplished.
       On a more serious note, perhaps you’re going through an illness, a death in the family or a  financial crisis.  These same words can still be applied.  Take each day as it comes and God will provide the strength.  Worry about the “unknown” will only add stress and unnecessary burden to the problem you already have.  Matthew 6:34b tells us, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” We are not to add anything more to the day than already exists; for each day already carries enough burdens and trials.  Why add more?  What a weight is lifted from our shoulders.  The same Lord who gives us the grace sufficient for yesterday will also be there with fresh new grace when we start a fresh new day today.  Just thinking on this promise lightens my heart.  Doesn’t it yours?
 
Theme: The Better Way: Believing God Will Take Care of You Each Day is Better
 
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“For Fellow Moms in a Place of Discouragement” by Melinda Verges

 The following is a guest post by Melinda Verges, a young mother and friend who wanted to share with you what God has taught her from His word about discouragement. Please take time to read, and comment and share your thoughts with her.

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 An idea came up twice in church last week: “Conviction” is God moving us to change in his direction. It’s a cleansing, forward motion. “Guilt,” on the other hand, is the devil trying to hold us back, to make us feel inadequate for God’s direction. It makes us want to backtrack. And hide.

 We all have those moments of guilt. Maybe it’s the house that never gets clean. Dinner that always seems to be thrown together. Or guilt over needing to work while your child is in daycare.  Perhaps you’ve been chronically sick and need extra help just to take care of the basics. Sometimes it hits us in questions. Am I disciplining the right way? Am I giving my child the best future? I always feel like a wreck…does my husband still think I’m attractive? Am I even cut-out to be a mother?

 These guilty thoughts can be destructive. This feeling that we are unable and fall short…our thoughts of failure—maybe it’s more a lack of faith that God can still use us.

 And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore[before now], nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” {Exodus 4:10-12}

 Here, God is commanding Moses to have faith in God’s ability. We forget that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” that God gives us what we need to carry out the jobs he asks of us—yes, even us moms.

 “For thou has possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” {Psalm 139:13-18}

 He cared for us before we were born. He chose the family we would be born into (no matter how crazy it might be). Every situation we’ve been through has helped shape who we are today. And that goes for our children as well. They weren’t born to us by accident. God knew our mothering would fit our children. “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” We get so focused on our negatives that we forget that we have good qualities as well. Our pastor often says, “Thinking people are thankful people.” Taking time to thank God for our strengths (yes, you have them!) can be a lifeline out of a hole of discouragement. Even in our lowest moments, we never stop being a child of God. “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God!…when I awake, I am still with thee.”

 Here’s a comforting thought on how God sees us:

 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” {Isaiah 40:11}

 The end of that verse is especially beautiful. God knows that mothers need gentle guiding. And he doesn’t ask us to do everything (or even most things) in our own ability and wisdom.

 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” {Philippians 4:6-7}

 Here, God is actually telling us to do “nothing” on our own. We’re supposed to need his help. In “every thing.” Perhaps your weakness is a physical or emotional impediment that God is leaving in your life instead of taking out…

 “And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” {2 Corinthians 12:9}

 God is bigger than our weaknesses; He can—especially when we can’t…When we realize God is the one in control.

 “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” {Matthew 18:4} We want our children to come to us when they need help. Sometimes, they even get in trouble when they do something without permission, something they were supposed to come to us for help. “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” {James 4:6} God is our heavenly Father. As His child, He wants you to come to Him for help, too.

 Maybe you have a weakness in an area that can be changed. Instead of staying stuck with guilt about it, let God’s conviction move you to change in His direction. Again, this isn’t something He asked you to do on your own. Pray, of course. Go to God first. Search the scriptures. Even so, sometimes God allows struggles so big that we must seek help from the people around us. There are actually three different verses in Proverbs that recommend a “multitude of counsellors”: Proverbs 11:14, 15:22, and 24:6. Instead of giving up, seek counsel. Wise counsel. Ask one of the ladies in your church, perhaps a mother of children older than yours. Talk to your husband: he may not even realize you’re struggling. You can go to your pastor or even your pastor’s wife—it’s a privilege to seek the counsel of those who devote their lives to the study of God’s Word.  

 Do. Not. Give. Up. 

 Let God work.

 “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” {Philippians 1:6}

 Here are some extra verses to encourage your faith. Perhaps you can find one to claim for yourself. Memorize it. Let God gently lead you in his direction. Here’s to living less by the guilt of failure, the fear of “I can’t,” and more by the faith of “God can.”

                                                      *          *           *

 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” {Galatians 6:9}

 “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” {Psalm 27:13-14}

 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” {Philippians 4:8}

 “And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in Thee.” {Psalm 39:7}

 “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” {Isaiah 40:28-31}

 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” {Philippians 4:13}

  “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” {Ephesians 3:20}

 “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” {Romans 15:13}

 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be toubled, neither let it be afraid.” {John 14:27}

 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” {1 John 4:4}

 “For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” {2 Timothy 1:7}

 

 

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Use Your Bible

I Peter 2:2 “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the Word”

Once, many years ago, I was in a children’s Sunday School class where each child was given a Bible.  The Bible was small and had a zipper to close it up.  After we were presented with the Bible, I can still vividly picture in my mind this pleasant looking teacher holding up one of these Bibles and saying “Do you know what I want you to do?  I want you to wear this zipper out!” as she demonstrated moving the zipper up and down.

Many words have been spoken and forgotten in my lifetime, but those words remained implanted in my mind.  This Sunday School teacher wanted us to read our Bibles and use our Bibles to the point that we wore the zipper out.

The written Word of God is precious and should be treated with respect.  It should not be tossed about carelessly or left lying around in an unprotected area.  It should have a “reserved,” special place in our homes, so we will always know where to find it.

But it should be used.  This means it can be marked with care—

1. We should feel free to underline special passages which help us find verses easily and quickly, making notes on the sidelines and writing references to other sections in the Bible.

2 We should feel free to make notes on the sidelines to remind us of ideas that we might easily forget.

3. We should feel free to write references to other sections in the Bible that corollate with similar ideas.

4. We should also take passages and commit them to memory,  Psalm 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”  

5. And we should never stop digging into the Scriptures in our pursuit to know more about God, His attributes, His will and His way of working in our lives.  Hosea 6:3  “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD.”

In other words—— Wear your Bible out!  Once, the Bible I used regularly started falling apart.  I wanted so much to have it rebound.  Overlooking the cost, which at that time was too great for our budget, my husband moved ahead with my desire and carried it to a bindery.  Soon it was beautifully repaired and soon the Lord honored my heartfelt desire and gave us back the cost of the rebinding in an amazing way.

One more encouragement to “Use your Bible” is a quote from the great preacher C H Spurgeon: ” A well-marked Bible is the sign of a well-fed soul.”

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Under His Wings

Psalm 91:4  “He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust.”

                           
    This story is an incident from the past:
 
     Standing at my kitchen window I can look straight at the house across the street.  One day our youngest daughter was standing beside me chatting about her plans for the day when suddenly she said, “Look Mama!”  When I looked up, I saw a cat crouched down on the neighbors roof which over-looked a large bush.  In fact, as we watched, the cat began to lean off the edge of the roof, stretching it’s paw downward toward the bush.  At that time we had not noticed any other animals near-by.  Suddenly from out of nowhere a bird swooped down toward the cat as if to attack him.  At this, the cat jumped back from his intended attack and we realized that there must be a nest with baby birds in the bush.  Continuing to watch we now saw a second bird.  At first, the cat did not leave.  He persistently continued to slowly creep toward the edge of the roof.  But each time he began to lean over and stretch his paw toward the bush, one of the birds would swoop down and make the cat jump back.  Eventually he gave up.
    This incident brought to mind the wonderful care and protection of our Heavenly Father for His children.  First, in I Peter 5:8 we learn that “.…your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”  Just like that cat, old Satan prowls around, ready to attack God’s child to make him falter and fall.  For if Satan can ruin our witness as a Christian, he can render us useless for God’s work.   But there is no need to faint or fear, for God’s promises are sure and steadfast.  Satan cannot devour us.  Psalm 34:7 says, “the angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them.”  Yes, we shall be delivered because “there shall not a hair of your head perish.”  Luke 21:18
    What wonderful assurances we have been given of God’s divine care.  Those baby birds were safe because their parents protected them from attack and then carefully covered them with their wings.  Even so “under His wings shalt thou trust.”  Then we can boldly say as Paul says in II Timothy 4:18 “and the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
 
Theme: The Better Way: Knowing God’s Promises is Good, Trusting God’s Promises is Better
 
Help your children learn Scripture verses through song: http://www.thbmm.com/scripture-songs.html
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