A Zeal For The Lord

II Corinthians 9:2 “Your zeal has stirred up most of them.”

 
     Recently I heard the expression used about someone that they are “on fire for the Lord.” Pondering this thought and desiring a specific answer, I posted the following question to my Facebook friends: What does it mean to be “on fire for the Lord?”
 I received two responses that I believe are worth sharing.  In this day and age of spiritual dryness, may you find fresh encouragement from the following :
 
“Men ablaze are invincible. Hell trembles when men kindle.” –Samuel Chadwick
“I think most people mean zealous when they use this phrase. The root word for zealous means to boil, be hot or glow. Of course, the motive for being zealous is important. Too many people are busy doing the “things of the Lord” because they covet the praise of men.”
 
“We have lately read of forests on fire. What a sight! Hear how the mighty trees are crashing in the flame! What can stand against it! The fire sets the mountains on blaze. What a smoke blackens the skies– it grows dark at noon!……As hill after hill offers up its sacrifice, the timid imagine that the great Day of the Lord has come. If we could see a spiritual conflagration of equal grandeur it were a consummation devoutly to be wished! O God, send us Your Holy Spirit in this fashion–give us both the breath of spiritual life and the fire of unconquerable zeal–till nation after nation shall yield to the sway of Jesus!” C H Spurgeon
 
Following these wonderful quotes, I pursued the matter further by posing another question:  What specific way/ways does this “Fire” manifest itself in living our everyday lives?  I received the following three responses :
 
“Wake up in the morning thinking, “Wow, the Lord has given me another day.” and “I wonder what the Lord, my Shepherd, wants me to do today?” Then reaching for the Word, asking, “Can you speak to me through your Word today, Lord?’ Then, in everything you do in Word or deed for the rest of the day, do it all in the name of the Lord. From brushing your teeth to drinking your coffee, pray without ceasing, communing with the Lord. Be curious every step of the day, “Is there someone I can tell about our wonderful Jesus at this moment?” Treasure the Lord Jesus above all else laying up treasure in Heaven: As you proceed through the day, forget what lies behind. With Jesus as your redeemer, live in joy remembering your sins are forgiven and you are created to worship. Forgive others continually and immediately, remembering you have been forgiven. Never ever think, “I’ve done enough for the Lord, it’s Me time.”
 
“To be on fire for Christ in one way means to be in intimate fellowship with our Lord. The church at Ephesus had faith, patience, good works, and discernment, but they had left their first love.  The church at Laodica was charged with being lukewarm, not hot, because they were not supping with Christ. I understand that to mean close, intimate, very personal continued communion and fellowship with Jesus Christ our Lord. That comes by the ministry of the Holy Ghost. So it is vital that we do not grieve, nor quench the Spirit.  I find this to be an ongoing part of the Christian warfare.”
 
“I think of it as having Him before all other thoughts, rejoicing in Him throughout the day, living, breathing, walking in thanksgiving to Him, Praising Him outloud, pointing others to Him, praying continually and continually surrendering to Him.‎…and of course reading His word every day!”
 
The Better Way: A Zeal For The Lord Comes From A Daily Personal Relationship With Him.
 
Read also: Spiritual Dryness
 
 
 
 
 
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Songs of Thanksgiving

The Bible has several special Songs of Thanksgiving (along with the many in Psalms.)  May your spirits will be uplifted as you share and identify with Moses, Hannah, David, and Mary as they give praise to our Great God.

 
Moses’ Song of Thanksgiving takes place just after the Children of Israel cross the Red Sea safely on dry ground and the Egyptians who followed them are drowned:  Exodus 15:1-21  http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+15%3A1-21&version=ESV
 
 
Hannah’s sang her Song of Thanksgiving after she carried Samuel to the temple to fulfill her vow (I Samuel 1:11) to dedicate her son to the Lord. I Samuel 2:1-10:  http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+2%3A1-10&version=ESV
 
David sang a Song of Thanksgiving after he was delivered from the hand of his enemies and from Saul:  ll Samuel  22:2-51
 
Mary sang a Song of Thanksgiving after she was told she would become the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ: Luke 1:46-55
 
The Better Way: A Heart Full Of Thanksgiving In All Circumstances Is The Only Way
 
Read also: Thankful To God
Posted in Encouragement, Guidance for Women, Thankfulness | 6 Comments

Taste and See

Psalm 34:8  “O taste and see that the Lord is good.

 
      We are a nation that loves to eat.  Drive down a major street of most any city and you will probably see ten or more places to eat within a few blocks.  Ask a few people and they will tell you that someone in the family makes 2-5 trips to the grocery store each week.
     We are also a nation that craves variety in taste and style.  We quickly become bored with food and are always requiring something new or unique.  Diet fads, fat-free fads, and sugar-free foods come and go and much money and time is spent trying to accommodate the palate.  As your mouth begins to water for food and you crave a certain taste, take this experience and apply it to God’s Word.  It says “taste and see that the Lord is good.”  As food hits your tongue, its flavor fills your mouth and you savor the wonderful taste as you chew.  
Now you need to compare that to God’s Word.  Have you partaken of the Word of God recently?  Have you savored it’s sweet taste, its rich flavor and its satisfying fullness?  When you do, you can certainly describe your experience as “good.”  “Good” meaning the best, the most wonderful enjoyment to the fullest, just as God described each day of His creation.
     As a child of God travels the road of this earthly life we will face many different experiences.  During times of happiness and peace it is easy to say “the Lord is good,” and we gladly acknowledge that fact. Then it is with joy that we freely partake of the Word of God and are filled to the fullest with thanksgiving.  But when the trials, discouragements, and sorrows come, and they certainly will, and we are weak and faint, the Word of God says “taste.”  When disappointment and depression make us numb and cold and our appetites diminish, God’s Word says “taste.”  When we are not able to read large passages of Scripture or absorb heavy doctrines the Lord only asks us to “taste.”  Let’s take a few moments and read some of these wonderful passages of Scripture that bring us such comfort and encouragement:
 
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statues.”  Psalm 119:11 
“Yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” Psalm 57:1b 
“Cast all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.” I Peter 5:7
“I will never leave you or forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
“Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28-30
“The Lord delivered me from all my fears.”  Psalm 34:4
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  Psalm 46:1
    What a “taste” of comfort from our Heavenly Father these verses are for the weary soul.  Such words can only make us rejoice and say, “…O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever.” Psalm 106:1
 
Theme: The Better Way: Thinking About God’s Word is Good: “Tasting” God’s Word is Better
 
See also: Under His Wings
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Come Like Children

Matthew 19:13 “Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them, for to such belong the kingdom of heaven. And He laid His hands on them.”

 
Mark 10:13,14,16 “And they were bringing children to Him that He might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them.  But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, ” Let the children come to me, do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.  And He took them in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them.”
 
Luke 18:18 “Now they were bringing even infants to Him that He might touch them.  And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to Him, saying,  Let the children come to Me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.  
 
One morning I was reading in a “Children’s Bible” to one of our young grandsons.  The story was a familiar one:  Jesus and the Little Children.  The picture next to the story portrayed Jesus smiling as He lovingly and tenderly gathered the infants in His arms, holding them close, and laying His hands on the older children eagerly gathered around as He blessed them.  I paused a moment———-and I smiled too.
Jesus Christ’s work here on this earth was very serious; for even as a youth, at age 12, He told His parents “I must be about my Father’s  business.” Luke 2:49.  But perhaps He did smile (although the Bible never says that He did) when the precious children came to Him.  Some of them may have been a little timid and in awe of this great man, while others in their innocence and genuineness may have been giggling and excited, but certainly they were all drawn to Jesus because He radiated LOVE.
It is with this same complete trust that we are to come to the Lord Jesus Christ, believing that He died for our sins and was raised again on the third day for our justification. Like children, with humble, trusting dependence, realizing that there is nothing in ourselves or our ability to commend ourselves to Christ and that we have no value or virtue, but in total child-like trust we are to come. 
 
Theme:The Better Way: Surrendering Your Life to Christ in Repentance and Total Childlike Faith Is The Only Way
 
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Sharing the Beauty Of God’s Creation With My Mother

Ecclesiastes 11:7 “Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun.”

 
I have a sweet memory to share with you today.  It’s one in which it is totally obvious that only God could have brought together each and every factor to bring about a perfect moment in which He displayed His glorious beauty for us to see.
When my mother was still living (she passed away at 96 years young), I would fly out to Olympia, Washington each year to visit her.  Washington State is known for its famous majestic Mt Rainer, which can be seen from the streets of Olympia if it’s not overcast or hazy.  The apartment my mother usually lived in did not give her a view of this mountain, but this year was different.  She had been temporarily moved to another apartment while hers was being remodeled.  From this temporary location we could view Mt Rainer, again, if the fog and haze cleared.
Early each morning, as we shared a pot of freshly brewed coffee and read our Bibles together, we eagerly anticipated seeing the sun rise over Mt Rainer. Four straight mornings in a row the view of the mountain was obscured by clouds; but on the last morning of my visit the sky was clear.  Eagerly anticipating being able to see the sunrise, I kept running to the window which was in the adjacent room.  As the time approached, my mother hurried to join me and we stood arm in arm.  Motionless, we waited.  Suddenly the first  brilliant rays of the sunlight began to shoot up from behind the exact center of the dip in the peak of Mt Rainer.  Watching in excitement and amazement, the rays became more and more brilliant as a yellow-orange ball slowly rose in all of its magnificent splendor, displaying God’s glory, eventually causing us to shield our eyes from its brightness.
I learned later that this particular day was the only time of the year the sun rose in that exact location—right in the middle of the peak.  From the apartment location, to the weather, to the last day of my trip, to the right day of the year, all these circumstances, worked out by God’s hand, combined for us to have the privilege of enjoying His beautiful creation while making a sweet memory with my dear mother. Thank you, Lord, for this privilege and blessing.  “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork.” 
Psalm 19:1
The Better Way: Enjoying God’s Creation Is Good: Taking Time to Absorb The Beauty Of God’s Creation Is Better
See Also: When I Consider
Posted in Assurance, Encouragement, Thankfulness | 3 Comments

Life-Giving Sound

I Corinthians 14:7-8  “And even things without life giving sound whether pipe or harp except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?  For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?”

 
     Music is a great part of our lives.  There are many many different types of music and an endless variety of combinations of sounds.  I don’t think that anyone could ever say that there are no new songs to be written, for there will always be a new combination of notes and instruments that can be composed into a song.  One reason for this fact is that each instrument has its own distinct sound.  Some time in the past I attended an orchestra performance and became keenly aware of how important each individual instrument was to the combined sound.  Even though there were many violins to create fullness, perhaps there was only one flute, or one piccolo, or one harp or oboe.  But when it came time for that one instrument to play, no other instrument could have taken it’s place.  Why?  Because that instrument had a distinct sound that was needed at that moment that no other instrument could make.
     In our Bible verse for today, Paul is pointing out that even an instrument that is “without life” gives out a distinct sound: that if a trumpet (which has no life) did not sound forth its own unique tone no one would know when to go forth to the battle.  Now compare this to us who are not dead; who have life, who live and breathe.  What kind of sound do we make?  What kind of witness are we for the Lord?  A pastor we once knew said, “When you witness do not give an uncertain sound—-give a certain (true) sound by word and action.”  Our words concerning the Lord Jesus Christ are to be distinct— not vague, clear— not hazy, positive— not uncertain; or “how shall it be known what is piped or harped?”   How shall others know what we believe or perhaps even IF we believe if we are not certain ourselves?  
     First of all, let us be certain that we do know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.  Then once we are His child, we need to richly fill our hearts and lives with the Word of God so that the sound of our witness and of our lives will be so distinct that as the trumpet sends forth the battle cry, so our words and actions will sound forth the love of God to a lost and dying world.
 
Theme: The Better Way: Speaking About God is Good, Sounding Forth the Love of God is Better
 
See also:  Pressing Forward
     
Posted in Encouragement, Godly Living, Guidance, Spiritual Dryness | 2 Comments

Our Compassionate God

One morning my husband and I were sitting at our table by the kitchen window leisurely eating our breakfast, as we watched a wasp walking around on the screen.  From its appearance we could tell that the wasp was “trapped” between the screen and the window, unable to find the way out.

After about two days of watching that wasp walk around on the screen, we both became aware that our feelings toward this insect was changing.  Usually we have a great dislike for wasps.  Usually we get out the insect spray and with a vengeance go after the wasp nests, happily watching them fall as the poisonous spray overwhelms them.   Usually there is absolutely no compassion in our hearts because we are at war, fighting the enemy, defending ourselves/our children/our grandchildren/ and our great-grandchildren and others from the hurtful sting of the wasp.

But now, as we watch this vulnerable insect, we are not afraid of it, we do not want to kill it, we actually feel pity and want to help it and set it free.  As I pondered on our brief time of concern for this helpless trapped insect, it brought to mind the true compassion of our great God toward us—sinful, rebellious, self-willed, selfish creatures that we are.  “He remembers we are dust.” Psalm 103:14

While our feelings toward this insect did not cause us to set it free, because we knew of its potential to harm, yet God, knowing our hearts, in His great love, still sent his only begotten Son to actually die for us.  Matthew Henry says compassion is “love and concern which leads to action,” and that is exactly what God felt toward us.  Our simple momentary feelings toward the wasp was pity and ended there.  We took no action to show we cared.

But God’s Word has much to say about His compassion.  Here are just a few gems to stir our hearts and perhaps cause us to search the Scriptures and seek to know more about our Compassionate God:

Psalm 78:38 “But He, being full of compassion, forgave their (our) iniquities.”

Psalm 86:15 “But Thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering and plentious in mercy and truth.”

Micah 7:19 “He will have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot.”

Then Lamentations 3:22 says “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy Faithfulness.”  This verse encourages our hearts, for our Heavenly Father’s compassion is not a one time happening—-it is new every morning.  Each day can be a fresh new rejoicing day.

Through daily repentance and forgiveness we can go forth in the strength and power of the Holy Spirit which dwells in us.  Then we can show forth this same compassion and  concern for others.

 The Better Way: Remembering God’s great compassion brings great rest, peace and joy and stirs our hearts to reach out to others in warmth, sensitivity and tenderness.

             

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The Old Tattered Bible

Psalms 37:4“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

I have so many many stories to tell of how God worked in my life over the years.  Here is one that has always amazed me.

It was in September of 1993 that my 25 year old tattered King James Version Bible was in dire need of being rebound.  My mother-in-law had given my husband and myself a Thompson Chain Reference Bible in our first year of marriage and I had claimed it and was soon marking and underlining and writing all sorts of notes in it that were important and precious to me. The pages were rumpled. folded, tearing and coming out and the once fine leather cover was wrinkled and torn from it’s continual use.

Although the expense of getting it rebound was too great for our budget my husband declared “We are going to get this done!” Somehow we would pay for it. I was so excited! We were living in Slidell, Louisiana at the time. Searching for a Bindery Company, we found one in New Orleans and that is where we took my very well used Bible to see what it would cost.

We went up the well worn wooden stairs in an old building (probably much older than my Bible) and spoke to a very nice gentleman.  “Yes” he said,”I can rebind this Bible and put you a nice new leather cover on it.” I also asked for extra pages to be added to the front and back, because I had already filled up the other pages with writings which were precious and important to me. He agreed and then said, “It will cost you $98.” This was a considerable amount of money at this time, but we had already committed to having it done. So we left, anticipating the day when the call would come saying that the Bible was ready.

During this waiting time, I made my regular weekly trip to the grocery store on Friday.  Passing a contest entry at a tuna display, I casually entered my name in the drawing to win $100, never expecting to win anything but always thinking “what can it hurt to try.”  Well, Monday morning the phone rang.  It was the grocery store manager telling me that I had WON!  I could now spend $100 at their store and the groceries would be free. As I excitedly told my husband, we both agreed in humble amazement that the Lord knew the desires of my heart and honored that desire by providing the way to pay for having my very precious Bible rebound.

Theme: The Better Way: Delight in the Lord and trust and your desires shall be fulfilled, either in this life or the life to come.

 

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A Thankful Heart

Colossians 2:7b  “In everything give thanks.”
   

     Today, I want to share with you a story that has proved to be an encouragement to me.  It is one of those stories, that once I heard it, I have never forgotten it, and I have applied its teaching often in my own life.

      Once there was a certain Christian man who had a spirit of depression come over him.  This feeling disturbed him very much and he struggled to overcome it.  First he gave himself to serious Bible study, reading many words of comfort and hope in the Scriptures, seeking to find relief from the dark cloud that hung over him.  These did bring some help, but he still felt a certain burden.  Next he tried committing himself to fervent prayer and that, too, gave him some hope, but still the downcast feeling remained.  As the man pondered what to do he went about his daily work, continuing to seek the Lord for help.  It wasn’t long until one day he walked into a store to shop.  Finding the items he needed, he walked to the counter to pay for his purchases.  On the wall behind the checkout counter was a large sign with the words “TRY THANKSGIVING” on it.  He was startled as he stared at the sign and pondered this thought to himself.  Yes, I’ll “TRY THANKSGIVING,” he said to himself.  Soon he was lifting up his heart in gratitude to God.  As he did, thoughts of himself and his problems and his burden soon faded into the background AND the dark cloud that hung over him gradually floated away and disappeared into thin air.
     God’s Word has many encouraging verses, exhorting us to be thankful:
 
Psalm 100:4 “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise, be thankful unto Him and bless His name.”
 
Psalm 92:1a  “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.”
Psalm 119:62a  “At midnight, I will rise to give thanks unto Thee.”
 
     What are some things you have to be thankful for?  This will vary for all of us, but taking just a few moments for reflection, many many thoughts will come to our minds.  Let us be thankful together !
 
Psalm 68:10  “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits.”
I Corinthians 15;57  “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
 
II Corinthians 9:15  “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.”
 
I Chronicles 16: 34  “Oh give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.”
 
See also: “Thankful To God”  
 
Theme: The Better Way: Bible Reading and Prayer are Good: Bible Reading and Prayer with Thanksgiving are Better
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A Joyful Crying Christian

Psalm 56:8b  “Put thou my tears into thy bottle.”       
 
     A happy joyful Christian is also a crying Christian “for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.”  Ecclesiastes 7:3b In order to reach the mountaintops we must pass through the valleys.  Sorrow and depression of spirit come to all of us and it is during those “down times” that we are driven to God’s Word to seek out comfort. 
      Because the Lord has provided direction and instruction for every area of our life, we quickly find the words “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” John 14:8.  I am not alone, my Lord is with me.  No, I am not immediately brought out of my sadness, but I am comforted because I am not alone.  Isaiah 66:13 says, “As one whom his mother comforteth so will I comfort you.” God compares His comfort for us with the preciousness of a mother’s comfort.  Remember as a child when you fell and skinned your knee?  Your mother would come and bandage it all up and put her arms around you and hold you.  Did the pain stop immediately?  No, of course not, but just having your mother share your sorrow and care about the fact that you were hurting eased the pain and made it easier to bear.
      Therefore, we ask the Lord to put our tears into His bottle, for it is in His bottle that our tears find comfort, strength to bear the sorrow, and a certain peace that whenever the Lord wills our sorrow will pass.  Having placed all in God’s hand our sorrow is lighter and we can earnestly say, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” Psalm 56:3
 
Theme: The Better Way: Tears are Good; Tears with God’s Comfort are Better
 

 

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My Heart Is Fixed

Psalm 57:7  “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed.”

 
     The Christian life is not guesswork, or maybe so, or hope so.  It is a sure life and an immovable life, because it is built on the Rock, Christ Jesus.  The world is floundering, aimlessly seeking this and seeking that, running here and running there, trying this and trying that.  Nothing— I say— nothing works for them, because they do not have a Sure Foundation.  True Christians know what they believe and can back up what they believe because God’s Word is infallible. There is no new revelation.  God’s Word is complete.  He has spoken “unto us by His Son.”  Hebrews 1:2  “The Word of our God shall stand forever.”  Isaiah 40:8b
     How wonderful this fact is: to know what we believe and to believe it.  There is no guesswork, or making of excuses or trying to figure out an explanation. The Truth is all right there in God’s Word.  I recently heard a group of scientists theorizing about evolution, trying to explain our existence.  These men actually thought they were expounding some great knowledge.  If only they could hear how absurd all their rhetoric sounded.  All the knowledge of our mind is but a dot compared to the mind of God.  Our minds are finite, but God is infinite.  Our minds are limited to a beginning and an end and cannot comprehend “always has been,” and “always will be.”
 In Proverbs 9:10a we read, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  As a child of God, I remember back before God saved me; my mind was closed and limited and was not able to understand and grow.  But since He saved me, I can say like the songwriter, John Newton,  “I once was blind, but now I see.”  It was then that I began to learn; then my mind opened up and I could receive the things of Christ; then was the beginning of wisdom.  And since the Bible is the “Living Word of God,” each time I read It the Holy Spirit reveals some new understanding, so the Bible never gets stale or grows old; therefore I am always growing and learning.
      Now God’s Word provides a sure footing, a strong footing, and I am not moved or swayed when people disagree with me.  And it is by the wonderful Grace of God that I, too, can say with the Psalmist, “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed.”
 
Theme: The Better Way: A Believing Heart Is Good: A Fixed Heart Is Even Better
 
See also:  Self-Discipline
 
 
  
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A Father’s Day Letter From His 2nd Son

Happy Father’s Day to my dad!  So thankful to have a father who loved me, provided for me and taught me lots of things most important of which was loving Jesus Christ.

He is an amazingly gifted man with so many talents.  He can build or fix just about anything.  I only tinker with woodworking, but learned pretty much everything that I know from him.  He loves good books, and is well-read.  He loves the beauty and wonder of God’s creation.  I have many great memories of standing out at night looking at the stars.  He can make you laugh and do silly, fun things with the best of them, but will be the first one to pray for you and show sincere compassion and care when you’re going through trial.  He’s faithful and steady in his love and care for our family.  So thankful for him this day.   Love, Thomas

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A Father’s Day Letter From His Daughter

None of the cards in the stores ever seem to say the right things  So I thought I’d write one myself. There are many thing I realize I never say “Thank you” for. Sometimes we just assume parents know we are thankful for these thing. But just in case you don’t know, I thought I’d tell you.

Thank you for being a good provider.  You’ve always had a home for us with plenty to eat and good clothes to wear.

 

Thank you for teaching me how to work.  There were many mornings I didn’t want to go pick peas or pull weeds in the in the garden or feed the chickens. But I’m thankful now that I was taught to do these things.

 Thank you for teaching me about the Lord and having family devotions.  I still remember kneeling at the couch and praying when I was 5 years old.  
Thank you for being a faithful husband to your wife.  Many men aren’t and families are divided.
Thank you for saying “no” to things I wanted to do when I wish you would have said “yes.” At the time I thought you were just too rough on me, but you’ll never know how much I’m thankful for those “no’s” now.

 

Thank you for all the times you said, “You be a good girl.”  Some words ring in your ears at just the right moment. 

 I’m thankful for all the principles and values you taught me.  It was not just by speaking them but living them before me that has made me who I am today.
And most of all, I’m thankful you are my father.
Love always, Beth
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A Letter To A Father From His Son

For This I Am Proud of You 

 
The Lord Jesus said we are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind.
This I have seen with my childhood family on our knees around an old footrest.
This I have seen as I rode to work with you in your pickup truck many summer mornings
This I have been blessed to see in numerous Bible studies since Katrina.
You have held dear this greatest of commandments in too many ways to mention here.
Daddy, I am proud of you for this.
 
The Lord Jesus said we are to love others.
This I have seen in your friendliness and honest desires to connect with all people.
This I have seen in your sincere strivings to “put yourself in the other person’s shoes.”
This I have been blessed to see my entire life in your empathy for the elderly.
Your have held dear this second greatest commandment in so many other ways.
Daddy, I am proud of you for this.
 
A Psalm asks, “Who can find a faithful man?”
This I have seen my whole life in your commitment to God, Country and Family.
This I have been blessed to see in your persistent actions as well as heard in your consistent words.
This I have seen in you as a dependable and reliable construction worker (has to be a rare find),
     your constant & unfailing dedication to family and your steady & unswerving desire to do right.
For this your faithfulness, reliability, and trustworthiness, I am proud of you.
Daddy, you are that faithful man.
 
A Proverb encourages a man to walk in integrity.
This I have seen in the method you taught us to accurately weigh a bushel of purple hull peas.
This I have seen (and I believe the example very fitting) in your careful and meticulous craftsmanship.
This I have seen more clearly than most because integrity in little things is not usually seen by the world.
For this your integrity, sincerity and uprightness of heart, I am proud of you.
Daddy, I am sure the Lord will say, “Well done.”
 
The Lord requires much of those who are given much.
I have received so much in the example of a true father, that my only option is to beg for mercy.
Because of unpleasant experiences, many people cannot associate God’s love with a father’s love.
I have never had this problem.
This fantastic mixture of consistent firmness and immense compassion, I have seen in you.
For this, I am proud of you.
 
With all love and respect, Carlos Jr to my dad, Carlos Sr


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Go And Make Disciples

 

 

Matthew 28:19 ” Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…”

 
Early one cool fresh morning, I went out into the back yard and was greeted by some of God’s beautiful creation—the blooms of the elegant Easter Lily. 
Four years ago in 2009, my sweet husband gave me an Easter Lily.  At that time there was only one plant and 4 blooms.  When the blooms were gone, I wondered if the plant could be preserved for next year.  Doing some research, I read that it could be planted outside in the ground.  Well, that winter we had an unusual cold spell of three nights in a row in the low 20’s.  Many of our plants here in the South did not survive.  But that Spring, in 2010, much to my delight, up sprouted the Easter Lily, and now there were two plants and eight gorgeous blooms. Again in 2011, two beautiful blooming plants came up, but now, what is even more exciting,  there were also four smaller plants. Although these smaller ones did not bloom, I’ll be looking forward to next year when they do. Update: In 2012 there was again eight gorgeous blooms, but this time the number of plants had increased from four plants to eight plants. Update: In 2013 there was 12 beautiful blooms and twelve plants.

As I watched this one plant grow and reproduce, my thoughts turned toward God’s Word.  Jesus Christ’s last words of instruction to His followers (and which are for us also) before He ascended into heaven was “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…..”  As we “Go” about our daily lives we are to be living, speaking witnesses for Jesus Christ.  First and most importantly, in our homes before our husbands, our children and our family, our lives, in word and action, should reflect Jesus Christ; then to our friends and fellow Christians, then to our neighbors and those we meet daily; then to the city where we live; then to our own country; then to the world as we give and pray and perhaps are even called by God to go to some foreign land.

 

As we follow Christ’s command to “Go” and labor, we are not left without encouragement for we have the wonderful promise in 

I Corinthians 3:6, “…God gave the increase.”  As the Easter Lily has grown from one to twelve plants, so God will bless our commitment and witness for Him.  Therefore, boldly let us “Go.”

 

The Better Way: Like Ezra, Let Us Prepare Our Hearts To “Seek The Law Of The Lord, To Do It (Obey) And To Teach.” Ezra 7:10

 

Read also: Self-Discipline

Read also: The Whole Duty Of Man

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Five Minute Friday: pause

Between Blue Rocks

In Marilynn Robinson’s beautiful novel Gilead, Reverend John Ames remarks, “I don’t know why solitude would be a balm for loneliness, but that is how it always was for me in those days.”

These days seem harried and hectic, and solitude is an elusive gift, but I’ve found a slice of it this afternoon, a place to pause in, just myself. I’m thankful. Strange how one who is never alone can ache sometimes with loneliness. How being alone can soothe and refresh.

When the word is “pause,” I’m thankful for a pause today, an hour before diving back into the breathless rush of life: the crayon to clean off the back of the door, coffee to scrub out of the carpet, small mouths to feed and bodies to love, and always more than you can do no matter how much you do.

The Lord at whose voice the earth melts…

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Lois and Eunice, Timothy’s Grandmother and Mother

Paul wrote to Timothy in II Timothy 1:5 “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and you mother Eunice and I am sure that it is in you as well.”

 
     Oh, how I love to read and study mothers, in the Bible, and in this case grandmothers, too, which I joyfully am also.  We have here the continuity of “sincere faith” passed down from grandmother to mother to son, and what a wonderful son this brought forth. 
      Paul wrote to Timothy in I Timothy 3:15, “And that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 
Here we see that Lois and Eunice had taught Timothy the Scriptures, the Bible, the Word of God.  When?  Certainly not after he was grown, but “from childhood.”  He grew up hearing, reading, talking about and obeying the Word of God.  Early training secures lifelong habits.
      Following the instruction of God’s Word, Timothy was not only taught and instructed in God’s Word, but disciplined. 
 
 Proverbs 29:15 “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.”
 
Proverbs 13:24 “He who withholds his correction hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.”
 
     Teaching God’s Word and enforcing it with loving discipline consistently throughout a child’s upbringing results in the fulfillment of this wonderful promise:  “Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; He will also delight your soul.” Proverbs 29:17  I have found this promise to be true in my life!
 
   Obeying God’s Word “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6, Lois and Eunice were rewarded with a grandson/son who followed the Lord and brought them much joy.  Let us faithfully and eagerly follow their examples that our children and grandchildren will follow the Lord also.
 
The Better Way: Loving Our Children Is Good; Loving Our Children Enough To Train And Discipline Them Is Better
 
Help teach your children Bible verses using songs:
Read Also: Training Children
Posted in Guidance for mothers, Raising Children, Women of the Bible | 3 Comments

The Mother of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s Wife

Genesis 7:13 “On the very same day Noah and Shem and Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark.”
 
   While writing the devotion, The Rainbow Promise, I began to reflect on another faithful wife and mother in the Bible, Noah’s wife, the mother of Shem, Ham and Japheth.  What an excellent example she is for us women today. Many of the following thoughts are not mentioned in the Bible specifically, but are assumptions made by me and should be read as such.
       First, she showed great obedience to God in her honor and obedience to her husband.  During those many many years of building the ark, she must have also suffered great ridicule and loneliness, yet she showed herself to be a woman of strength, resolutely standing faithfully by Noah’s side, supporting him and trusting him and following his leadership as he obeyed God’s will.  “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time, Noah walked with God.” Genesis 6:9 “Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.” Genesis 6:22.  Noah was also called a “preacher of righteousness.” II Peter 2:5
     As a mother, she was also a a great example to her sons and her daughters-in-law.  As objects of ridicule also, they saw and followed her diligent example of trust in God.  Noah’s wife must also have created a strong bond of togetherness and been a source of strength and refuge during their long and lonely time on the ark. Here they were as a family, the only people left on the earth, terrible storms going on outside for 40 days, and then many more days (335 to be exact) on the ark as the waters subsided and yet they were bound together as a family with Noah as the righteous head and his wife faithfully gathering the family together under his leadership, finding refuge and solace in each other.
     The mother of Shem, Ham and Japheth was also an industrious woman.  There was much to work to be done during their time on the ark in caring for the animals, preparing food for themselves, and keeping things clean and orderly and she set an example of hard work and diligence.  
     Then she was also a woman of wisdom. The time they spent working together was also a time spent in sharing, laughing, and creating a bond that kept them close.  Any differences between them must have been carefully averted by Noah’s wife, as she wisely spoke words of edification and not division.  ” Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
     Let us spend some time considering this special wife and mother in the Bible, as we build our homes and families and seek to daily walk in God’s will.
     
The Better Way: Being An Example Of Obedience, Diligence, Industriousness and Wisdom is the Better Way
 
Help children memorize Bible verses through song:
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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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