Godliness With Contentment

Haggai 1:6-7  “Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink, ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.”

 
     Amazing, isn’t it, how relevant these words are for us today?  Yet think how many years ago they were written.  Just look around at people today, they are striving, striving, striving and yet they want more, more, more.  The more they have, the more they want.  There never is a time when they are satisfied or content.  Our materialistic age even has many many Christians caught up in its web.  God’s Word tells us in I Timothy 6:6, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”  Also, Hebrews 13:5a gives us the following instructions, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have.”
   Now read the devotional Scripture verse for today again.  We can learn another lesson from it: a lesson that is portrayed so vividly and in such figurative language.  Here we picture a man eagerly putting a large handful of coins into a bag.  He has worked hard throughout the week for those coins.  Much effort, time and sweat has been expended for his gain.  He continues saving each week for a while; carefully putting the coins in the bag.  One day he sits down to count his coins.  His heart is merry and he happily envisions the great sum he must now have accumulated.  But alas, when the bag is opened, there are but a few coins!  What has happened to all his work and effort?  Why are there not more coins?  Surely he put more in the bag?  Carefully he examines the bag hoping that somehow he will discover his coins.  But to his utter disappointment he finds holes!  Holes!  The coins have slipped through the holes in the bottom of the bag and are gone.
     Hard work is necessary and commanded by God’s Word, (“if any would not work, neither should he eat,”  II Thessalonians 3:10) but such is the outcome of our efforts when we put too much value on the coins themselves.  How many of us have the paycheck spent even before we get it?  How many of us spend more than we make?  The harder we work, the more quickly the money disappears and it’s like a vicious cycle that never ends. We can earn much but it will never be enough if we are not content and satisfied with what the Lord provides.  God will supply the coins needed, at the time we need them.  Like the manna—-it was on the ground each morning.  Kept manna spoiled— likewise, coveted earthly things spoil and do not bring contentment.  God will give enough for our daily need as we trust Him.  And when we wait on the Lord, and ask Him to bless our work; when we are careful and content with what the Lord gives us; He’ll make a little go a long way. God will supply our need ! 
 
The Better Way: Trusting In The Lord With Contentment Is the Best Way
 
Read also: Joy in Work
Read also:  Joy In Purpose
Posted in Encouragement, Godly Living, Guidance, Guidance for Women | 1 Comment

Milk Of The Word

I Peter 2:2 “….long for the pure milk of the Word…”

 
    Our 3rd great-grandchild is a precious little one week old baby girl.  She lives less than three miles from us so we get to see her often.  With two older twin brothers, ages nineteen months, there is usually a lot of noise.  But this does not seem to bother Sayde while she is drinking her  milk.  Oblivious to everything going on around, she is totally absorbed on drinking that milk.  
      Watching Sayde eat reminded me of the verse in the Bible from 
I Peter 2:2, “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the Word, so that you may grow in respect to salvation.” For spiritual growth to take place, we must “crave for and delight in God’s Word with the intensity with which a baby craves for milk.” (John MacArthur)  Just as the milk is a baby’s nourishing life’s source, so God’s Word is the Christian’s life source.  Just as milk makes a baby grow, develop and get stronger, so God’s Word is our lifeline to growth, development and strength in our spiritual life.  Just as a baby loves milk and delights and craves it, so we are to seek to know God through His Word with the same desire and longing, taking time to shut out the world and all of it’s distraction.  
     Isn’t is wonderful how God’s Word is so relevant to our everyday lives, as it compares Biblical truths and spiritual insights to everyday life events?  How I thank the Lord Jesus Christ for the privilege and opportunity and freedom to partake of His Word each day and through the leadership of the Holy Spirit, drink of its life sustaining nourishment.
     May I say like Ezekiel said in Ezekiel 3:2 “Then I ate it (God’s Word) and it was sweet as honey in my mouth.”
 
The Better Way: Reading God’s Word Is Good: Craving For And Delighting In God’s Word Is Better
 
Read also: Spiritual Dryness
 
Posted in Bible Study, Encouragement, Guidance for Women | Leave a comment

Keeping A Godly Home

Proverbs 31:27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”

     Keeping a Godly home with excellence as God’s Word requires of a Christian woman is work.  Self-discipline is one of the first major steps in accomplishing this goal.
 
     Today’s blog is notes taken from a message by Dr. John MacArthur, Pastor/Teacher of Grace Community Church.  His website can be seen at www.gty.org “Self-Disclipline is the ability to regulate your conduct by divine principles and sound judgement rather than by impulse, desire, high pressure or social custom.  It’s the ability to subordinate (bring under control) the body and the emotions to what is right and what is best.”
      It takes self-discipline to “keep house” (I Timothy 5:14) and run our households with Godly excellence.
     Now, how do we go about developing self-discipline?  Well, Dr.MacArthur gave seven practical tips that have really helped me and so I want to pass them along to you:
 
     1. Clean your room, house, car etc (not spotless, just clean)
     2. Be on time—this requires much planning ahead
     3. Do the hardest task first
     4. Organize your life—-this includes skillful planning of your time                    and getting rid of clutter
     5. Be grateful when you are corrected—this requires humility
     6. Practice self-denial or self-restraint
     7. Welcome responsibility (like the Proverbs 31 woman)
 
    As you can see, some of these self-discipline tips require careful, thoughtful planning and organization.  I’m always looking for new ways to become more organized around the house.  Here’s my tip, please feel free to share yours and I’ll post it here.
 
Organizational Tip:  Keep a set of cleaners, (for glass, sink, tub, etc) in each bathroom and in the kitchen so they will be handy for quick clean-ups.
Tip from Cristy Slawson: Here’s my little tip for moms with young children: Sunday mornings are always incredibly hectic! Saturday night before church, lay out your kids’ clothes, pack the diaper bag, get drinks prepared and store in the fridge (of course), have shoes in a special spot so you know where they (BOTH) are in the morning. As you get the kids ready for bed, you can involve them in some of these steps such as picking out their clothes. We’ve made a game out of this for the kids, and it helps lower this mama’s stress level significantly! 
 
Theme: The Better Part: Keeping House is Good: Keeping a Godly Home with Excellence is Better
 
Also read: A Woman of Virtue
Also read: Women In The Bible
 
 
 
Posted in Encouragement, Guidance, Guidance for Women | 2 Comments

Search The Scriptures

Ephesians 4:14  “So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves, and carried about with every wind of doctrine….”

 
   Fall comes late in the South and over the past two months, the leaves have turned red, yellow and orange and have fallen off the trees in abundance.  As I watch out the window over my kitchen sink, the wind is blowing erratically.  First the leaves are rushing in one direction, and then a few seconds later they are racing back in the opposite direction.  Next a whirlwind swirls them in a circle around and around.  And so they go—back and forth, back and forth, round and round.  The only leaves not moving are the ones plastered to the driveway due to the recent rain.
     Watching these leaves brought to mind the above Scripture verse.  It describes an immature, unstable Christian, who is not grounded in the Word of God and sound doctrine.  We are exhorted NOT to be this way.   II Peter 2:1-3 warns us that there will always be “false teachers among you…” Acts 20: 31 urges us to be “on guard”, “be on the alert”, and “watch.”  These men ” cause divisions, and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine you have been taught.”  Romans 16:17.  They will distort the Good News of the Gospel which is Salvation by Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Christ alone, not of any works on our part.
    To keep from being “tossed about with every wind of doctrine” we must be grounded in the TRUTH, the Word of God.  We must have a firm foundation in Jesus Christ and know what we believe so we will recognize false doctrine when we hear it.  We must be like the Bereans as recorded in Acts 17:11 who “received the Word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these thing were so.”  Absorb the Word of God, so it can permeate our hearts and minds, through faithful Bible study.  To be grounded in the Truth, Paul tells us in II Timothy 2:15, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.”
     Of course, studying the Bible is a ongoing process that we can take pleasure in our whole life through, which brings much joy.  As parents it is also our responsibility to teach our children God’s Word.  How can we be effective teachers if we do not know the Scriptures ourselves? Let us be faithful examples of diligent Bible study.  The rewards are great, for if our children are brought to a saving faith in Christ Jesus and are grounded in the TRUTH, when temptations come and when false ideas are presented to them, they will have their feet planted firmly on the Solid  Rock, Christ Jesus.  “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
 
Theme: The Better Way: Reading The Bible Is Good: Searching The Scriptures is Better
 
Read Also :  Joy In Purpose
See also: Teach children Bible verses through songs:  http://www.thbmm.com/scripture-songs.html
Posted in Bible Study, Encouragement, Guidance for mothers, Raising Children | 3 Comments

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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Commitment To Hiding God’s Word in My Heart

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Psalm 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against Thee.”

Recently making a commitment to seriously memorize more Bible verses AND their references, I got out a small King James Version Bible. In the past, I read this version  for over 40 years, so many of the passages have such a familiar flow that committing them to memory has not been as difficult as I expected.  Consequently, I have stopped using my age (69) as an excuse for being unable to memorize.  Also, maneuvering through a small Bible makes it easy to flip back and forth quickly as I study different verses, which is also encouraging.

Having recently  begun this process, I have found much much more than a feeling of accomplishment.  For instance, often when reading the Bible, words are passed over and the fulness of the thought is not received.  Memorization requires the exactness of each and every word and I find myself dwelling more on its meaning and richness.

Another blessing is that I am now able to recite these verses throughout the day and night.  When I wake in the night, they bring much comfort: ” Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.” Psalm 139:12

Or when I first wake up in the morning, God’s word starts the day off with thanksgiving: “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4

During the day, I am encouraged and strengthened when I say the verse from Hebrews 4:12 which says:“Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”

Or when witnessing to others, Romans 3:23, Romans 10:9 and Eph 2:8 are good verses to know.

An excellent example to follow is Ezra.  The Scriptures says about him ” Ezra had prepared his heart.” Ezra 7:10  So this year, I want to prepare my heart by being more devoted to memorizing the Word of God.  Want to join me?

The Better Way: Purpose and Discipline=Structure and Order=Strength and Rest

Posted in Bible Study, Encouragement, Guidance for Women, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

A New Year, A New Purpose

Psalm 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.”
Psalm 119:105  “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
 
God’s Word is precious, and in this constantly changing fast paced world, it is encouraging to know that we do have access to something that is unchanging–the Word of God, the Holy Bible, the Scriptures, the Truth.  Malachi 3:6 “For I Am the Lord, I change not.”  God is immutable.  
Time is valuable for all of us and yet we need to take time to read God’s word and pray every day.  To do this requires that we must, like Daniel (Daniel 1:8) “purpose in our hearts” and discipline ourselves to this “purpose.” Such purpose and discipline is valuable because it gives us structure and order in our often hectic and chaotic lives and structure and order gives strength and rest. So the formula is: 
 Purpose and Discipline=Structure and Order=Strength and Rest
How do we go about finding help to read God’s Word daily?
There are many Bible Reading plans–one year, two year, three year etc. In the past, I followed a two year Read Through the Bible Program which had me read some of each of the Old Testament, Psalms, Proverbs and the New Testament everyday except Sunday.  I enjoyed the pace of this plan. 
 But for those of you who might find that program too aggressive, especially you moms with small children, I found a 4 year plan (see link below) that has you reading some of the New Testament and Psalms more than once, but if you follow it diligently you will read through the entire Bible in just 4 years!  The passages are not lengthy, so even if you miss a day or two you can easily “catch-up.”  As you complete the reading of a passage of God’s Word each day, just put a check in the little box and you will find you have a feeling of satisfaction that you have completed this worthwhile privilege.  May the Lord lead you and bless you as you seek Him through His word.
 
Print this out and cut it in bookmark size strips to place in your Bible.  Store the other 3 years in another pocket of your Bible.  You’ll be surprised at how quickly 4 years pass by
The Better Way: Seeking God daily through His Word is the Better Way.
See also: Joy In Purpose
 
See also: Self-Discipline
Posted in Bible Study, Guidance for mothers, Spiritual Dryness | 2 Comments

Mary, The Mother of the Lord Jesus Christ

Luke 2:19 “But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

      How I love to read the wonderful story of Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ. She was a young humble virtuous Jewish woman betrothed to a godly, upright Jewish man named Joseph. ( I use the word betrothed because it carries with it a much more binding relationship than the word engaged, which we use. Although not living together as husband and wife, a divorce was necessary to end the relationship.)  An angel, named Gabriel, came to Mary, calling her “highly favored” Luke 1:28.  How amazing is that? Then she was told some marvelous news, which she could hardly comprehend.  But she knew about the promised Messiah as recorded in Isaiah 7:14,

“Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign;

Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and shall call His name Immanuel.”
 
 
     And she was looking expectantly for the Him.  She also knew of God’s covenant with Abraham as recorded in Genesis Chapter 12.  Yet, was she to be His mother?   In her innocence she asked, “How can this be?”  When the angel answered her, Mary humbly and tenderly believed and said, “Be it unto me according to thy word.”  Luke 1:38.
      Traveling quickly to visit her cousin Elisabeth, who was also expecting a child, whom we know was John the Baptist, she spoke these words, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.”  Luke 1:46.  Yes, Mary was very aware that she, too, was a sinner and that she, too, was in need of a Savior.
      Upon her return to Nazareth, Joseph married her, (but in name only, until after Jesus was born,) and took Mary into his own home. For an angel had visited him in a dream and told him everything concerning Mary and the birth of the Messiah (Matthew chapter 1) Being a righteous man, Joseph also believed and obeyed all he was commanded.
      Then came the news about the census (Luke 2:1) and Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem, which was according to prophecy,   “But as for you, Bethlehem……from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel, His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.”  Micah 5:2  Most mothers are aware of the time when their baby’s birth is near, and so also was Mary.  I can picture her lovingly and with great care and anticipation, packing all the items necessary for her little baby boy’s birth.  She would need the long white cloth called “swaddling cloth” ( Luke 2:7) and diapers and all those items necessary for His birth and care.  The Jews had many laws for washing and cleanliness and I feel sure these were not neglected.  Although the surroundings of Jesus birth were of the most humble in nature (so He could identify with even the most lowliest of people), that does not mean He was allowed to wallow in filth.
The next amazing event for Mary that wonderful night was when the shepherds came and worshipped her little son.  Seeing her tiny helpless baby, yet knowing He was the Son of God, she must have marveled as she watched these shepherds show such reverance and awe for Him.  The Scriptures record that Mary “treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.”  Luke 2:19
So we see in Mary the characteristics of virtue, humility, tenderness and a believing heart, qualities that all of us as women should desire and strive for.
 
The Better Way: Living Our Lives To Honor And Glorify God Is The Better Way
 
Posted in Christmas, Guidance for mothers, Guidance for Wives, Guidance for Women, Women of the Bible | 3 Comments

Elizabeth, The Mother of John the Baptist

The Christmas Story, the story of the birth of Jesus Christ, involves one special wife and mother besides Mary.  Her name is Elizabeth, the wife of Zacharius, a priest.  She was chosen by God to be the mother of John the Baptist, who was born six months before Jesus Christ.  

Unlike Mary who was young, Elizabeth was old and never expected to have children anymore.  She and her husband are described as “righteous in the sight of God,” and as “walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.” Luke 1:6.  What an amazing and wonderful statement!  “Righteous” meaning they were believers, justified in God’s sight, not within their own selves, but through Jesus Christ.  “Blameless” does not mean sinless but means “a life that cannot be criticized because of sin or evil.”
 Elizabeth’s one main hardship that we are made aware of is that she was barren and did not have any children.  During that time and culture barrenness was seen as a “disgrace among men.”  Luke 1:25.  Still this condition of childlessness did not turn her into an angry bitter woman, but as we read she remained faithful to God throughout her life.  What a wonderful testimony to her trust in God!  Then when she finds herself expecting a child, how we can share in her joy and gratitude as she says, “The Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me.”  Luke 1:25 
As we read on in the account of Elizabeth, we see that God had kept her for one purpose, to be the mother of John the Baptist, a very special man, a man filled with the Holy Spirit even “from his mother’s womb.” Luke 1:17.  A man who was set apart for a special task in life–to announce the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.  God chose her to take part in the fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy. Malachi 3:1 “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me.”  John the Baptist said of himself, “There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.” Mark 1:7
For most of her life, Elizabeth was an obscure woman but her life is a wonderful example of faithfulness and devotion to God.   Living a life of commitment and above reproach, she trusted that God’s will for her life’s situation was best and accepted this with grace, never wavering in her faith.  Long suffering and patience are all part of her character and qualities that we should all seek diligently to make a part of our commitment to God through our husbands, homes and families.
 
The Better Way: A life of commitment and dedication to God’s Will is the Better Way
 
Posted in Christmas, Godly Living, Guidance for Women, Women of the Bible | 6 Comments

Take Heed During This Christmas Season

Luke 12:15 “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”

This Christmas season as we focus on Jesus Christ and His amazing gift of laying aside His glory and coming to this earth in human form (the Incarnation) in order to die on the cross to pay our sin debt and rose from the dead that we might have the forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life, let us “take heed.”

Take heed that our love of giving to others (which is not necessarily a bad thing) does not consume us and cause us to overspend and put ourselves into debt.

Take heed that we do not indulge our children/grandchildren/great-grandchildren with all their desires which once fulfilled do not truly satisfy anyway.  Ephesians 2:3 “fulfilling the desire of the flesh.”

Take heed that we realize that the self-indulgent desire for money, only results in discontentment which is sin.

Take heed that the treasure of our heart is not with material things.  Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Luke 12:34

Take heed that the sparkles and shiny lights do not make us discontent with what we have.  Hebrews 13:5 “Be content with such things as ye have.”

Take heed to remember that covetousness is idolatry.  I John 5:21 “keep yourselves from idols.”  Colossians 3:5 “covetousness, which is idolatry.”

Take heed that when Christmas is over, our focus should still be on Christ and “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

The Better Way: Let Us Be Very Careful That We Take Heed

Posted in Christmas, Encouragement, Guidance | 6 Comments

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 | 3 Comments

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
Posted in Encouragement, Thankfulness | 6 Comments

Thankful To God

I Thessalonians 5:18  “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
 
     The above Scripture verse is very convicting, because it reminds us to be thankful in “everything”, and that word covers all with no exceptions.  No matter what the circumstances are in our lives, we are to give thanks. How is that possible?  Well, since we know that God will always do what is right for us, our thanksgiving will flow from our trust in the Almighty God, and our hearts will be made willing.  Thus we will be encouraged and uplifted.
 
The following hymn was written by John Oatman Jr in 1897:
 
When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
 
Refrain: 
Count your blessings name them one by one.
Count your blessings see what God hath done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one.
Count your many blessings see what God hath done.
 
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly, 
And you will be singing as the days go by.
 
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold.
Count your many blessings money cannot buy,
Your reward in heaven, not your home on high.
 
So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all.
Count your many blessings, angels will attend.
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
 
    Counting our blessings is indeed a very good thing, but our greatest joy and thankfulness should first be to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for His great sacrifice on the cross.  Without Him we would have no hope.  How my heart is filled with praise and thanksgiving to God for sending His only begotten Son to die in my place, that I might have the forgiveness of sin and the hope of eternal life.
 
See also: Strength For Today 
 
 
Theme: The Better Way: Saying “Thank You” is Good: Having a Heart Full of Thankfulness to God is Better  
 
Posted in Encouragement, Thankfulness | 2 Comments

Pastor Appreciation

October is Pastor Appreciation Month.  Take time to read this……..

Romans 16:1-16 “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae,……… Greet Priscilla and Aquila,my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my
life,……..Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia. Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners…… Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus. Greet my kinsman Herodion. Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of
Narcissus. Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa.
Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord. Greet
Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to
me as well. Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and
the brothers who are with them. Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and
his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. …….All the churches of Christ greet you.”

      Paul did not work alone.  Above we read a long list of men and women who came alongside Paul as his helpers, his friends and his brothers and sisters in Christ. He had many faithful workers, who played an important part in the advancement of the kingdom. This is the Body of Christ, the Church, I Corth 12:27, and is a blending of all the unique gifts and talents of each member.  Ephesians 4:1-6

     We are the Body of which Christ is the Head, the Great Shephard, and our pastors are the Under Shepherds.  Let us come alongside them with constant prayer and much encouragement.  Let us seek out needs and fill them without being asked.  Let us give of our time and our resources.   Let us “be there” for them, standing with them as they fulfill their calling from the Lord to labor in His Vineyard, so they can Shepherd the church, “joyfully spreading the fragrance of Christ.” (II Corth 2:15) to a lost and dying world.  And let us remember always that “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”  Colossians 3:17

Read also: Dwell Together In Unity

Read also: The Whole Duty Of Man

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A Strong Tower

Proverbs 18:10  “The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”

 
      My dictionary describes the word tower as meaning: “a place or thing of security or defense; citadel; a fortress commanding a city; stronghold.”  Are you in need of a haven this day?  Do you need a place to hide from life’s problems, worries and frustrations?  Are you tempted seemingly “above that ye are able”  I Corinthians 10:13b and don’t know which way to turn? 
      Certainly we can find no strength within, for there is nothing but weakness within ourselves.  Our family and loved ones provide security but they, too, are overwhelmed with the day and are looking for a haven also.  Friends can offer fellowship at various times but their help is limited and unstable.
     But look ! ——off in the distance I can see a tall narrow structure——I believe it’s a tower.  It looks strong.   It looks like a place of security and safety.  I see some words on the Tower —“THE NAME OF THE LORD.”  Yes, this is where I need to go.  I will not walk, but run!  I am anxious and in great need.
     Here, at last, I am at the Tower.  I eagerly reach for the doorknob when I notice that over the door are the words.”The Righteous.”  Oh, this Tower is not for everyone for it says “The Righteous.”  The Bible says of us, “There is none righteous, no not one.” Romans 3:10. But that does not stop me.  I quickly turn the knob, for I know that the Lord Jesus Christ is my Righteouness.  He has washed me, He has cleansed me, He has saved me by His sacrifice on the cross and my sins are covered under His blood, so I am righteous in Him.  Jesus is my Strong Tower, so I run to Him and am safe.  
 
Theme: The Better Way: Seeking Jesus Christ is Good:  Running to Jesus Christ as my Strong Tower is Better
 
Read also: Anchor of the Soul
Read also: Through the Flood
Read also: Strength For Today
Read also: Anchor of the Soul
Posted in Encouragement | 2 Comments

It Took A Miracle

One of my favorite songs.  I haven’t heard it in a long time.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Esther, A Woman Used By God

Esther 2:15 “And Esther found favor in the eyes of all who saw her.”

 
     The story of Esther is a beautiful example of God’s marvelous sovereign hand moving and working in the lives of His people, the Jewish nation, to preserve and protect them from Satan’s devices to destroy them.  Once you start reading the compelling story in this ten chapter book, you won’t be able to stop.
     Esther was a Jewish orphan girl, taken in and raised by an older cousin, Mordecai, as his own daughter.  Having been reared in a loving environment and having been taught the Scriptures, she learned obedience and discipline and her character was above reproach.  She was also very beautiful. “Now the young lady was beautiful of form and face.” Esther 2:7 This beauty of hers, which was God-given, was not to be used for her own vanity, but she became God’s instrument to be used for His purpose and His glory.  Human nature proves that children and young people are drawn and will often look up to and follow after someone whose appearance is attractive and try to imitate and copy them.  Therefore, if God has given you such a quality as physical beauty, as a Christian you are greatly responsible in your actions and speech and dress to those to whom you might have an influence.
But Esther also had inward beauty.  As we continue to read through the story, we find that she is humble in nature and obedient, “For Esther did what Mordecai told her as she had done when under his care.” Esther 2:20.  When Mordecai told her “and who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” she used discretion and wisdom in handling the situation.  She was also a praying woman, “Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day.  I and my maidens also will fast in the same way.” Esther 4:16 Esther loved her people, even to the point of being willing to sacrifice her life for them. “If I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16.
How encouraging this story is for women of today.  God used Esther’s feminine qualities of beauty, inner strength, self-sacrificing, wisdom and devotion to God to save a nation and then He also gave her much honor when she became queen of Persia.
 
The Better Way: Having The Qualities Of Humility, Wisdom, Beauty, Strength, and Self-Sacrifice Are Good: Seeking To Use Them For The Honor And Glory Of God Is Better.
 
Read also: Women In The Bible
 
Posted in Godly Living, Guidance for Women, Women of the Bible | 7 Comments

Through the Flood

Isaiah 43:2  “When you pass through the waters. I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you.”

 

 
    Saturday, August 29, 2016, will be the 11th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  I could not let it pass without relating to you how good and how gracious the Lord was to my husband and I during this very trying time. I also pray that our experience might be an encouragement to others  who are presently going through a flood.
     Eleven years ago we had been married for 38 years and had lived in our home for 23 years.  I say this to make you realize how much “stuff” we had accumulated.  (Yes, some of it was junk, but much of it was things that meant something to us, mainly because it was ours.)  Well, the storm sent the flood and put 6 foot of water into our home and four trees on the roof.  No, it was not just water, it was muddy filthy water.  Ninety-nine percent of our possessions were ruined and the house had to be completely gutted.  It was quite a shock………..but we can’t dwell there long…………. for the abundant gracious love of our God, who brought us “through the water,” was overwhelming.  Our precious children took us into their homes, giving up their own beds and bedrooms for our comfort.  Never once did we feel “homeless.” 
      Phone calls, cards and gifts came “flooding” in.  Not only did local family and church people help, but one month and one week later a 24 foot rental truck arrived and it was filled with furniture, clothes, and household  items—–everything needed to set up housekeeping again.  These had been collected by family and churches in North and South Carolina.  We never lacked for anything.    “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:19.  It was amazing and we know God provided.
     Actually, our “loss” was minimal for it was only earthly possessions which “moth and rust doth corrupt”  Matthew 6:19.  Many many people had experiences similar to ours, but many people also lost the lives of their loved ones or their own lives.  God’s Word says in Romans 8:28, ” And we know that all things work together for good, to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.”   In God’s great and wonderful plan for our lives, He knew all about this and worked all things for our “good.”  How thankful I am.  How I praise and glorify Him. Now eleven years later, God is still taking care of us, as we have faced other serious trials.  Five times in the Bible God says,  “The just shall live by faith.”  Hebrews 10:38   Let us continue to live by those words believing and trusting God’s plans for our lives.  Then we shall have the “peace of God, which passeth all understanding, which shall keep our hearts and lives through Christ Jesus.”  Phil 4:7
 
Theme: The Better Way: Believing in God’s Plan is Good: Trusting God’s Plan Completely is Better
 
Posted in Encouragement | 3 Comments

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!

Posted in Godly Living | 2 Comments