Our Compassionate God

One morning my husband and I were sitting at our table by the kitchen window, 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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Eve: The First Mother

Genesis 3:20  ” And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.”

 
      Eve is fascinating to study because she was the first woman on earth and all her experiences were “firsts.”  We don’t learn a lot about her after chapter four of Genesis, but as we consider her situation, we know that since she was the “mother of all living,”  she was the first woman to ever have a child; consequently, she was the first woman to experience labor pains and the first woman to be amazed at the miracle of life, with the birth of the first child ever born, Cain. ” I have gotten a man from the Lord.” Genesis 4:1  Even to this day, the miracle of the birth of a baby still brings amazement and wonder.
     Eve was also the first woman to feel the joy and satisfaction of motherhood and to experience it’s many trials, too.  She did not have a mother or any other woman to look to for guidance and help, but God gave her the knowledge and the innate ability to know how to care for this child.  This should be an encouragement to any mother who may have feelings of uncertainty about caring for and raising her child/children.  God gives you the wisdom and help to know what to do.  Call upon Him at all times.
     Sadly, Eve also saw the physical result of her disobedience to God, for God had said to her and Adam “thou shalt surely die” Genesis 2:17,  if they ate the fruit of the forbidden tree.  She experienced grief and anquish at the death of her son, Able.  To add to the sorrow, it was not a normal death, but a murder by the hand of her firstborn son, Cain.
     Let us as mother’s and grandmother’s take heed and be warned by Eve’s disobedience that there are consequences of our sins that can have far reaching effects on our children and grandchildren.  How careful we ought to be to live godly lives and teach our children the Word of God. Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  The things we do or fail to do have eternal consequences.
 
Theme: The Better Way: Being A Mother is Good: Being A Mother In Obedience To God’s Word Is Better
 
                 Mary, The Mother of Jesus
                 Hannah, Full of Grace
                 Samson’s Mother
                 A Christian Mother’s Virtues
                 The Self-Sacrificing Unnamed Mother
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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
 
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The Self-Sacrificing Unnamed Mother

 

I Kings 3:27b “She is his mother.”

“Oh, my lord, give her the living child and by no means kill him,” cried the unnamed mother the moment King Solomon gave the command to bring his sword and divide the baby in half.  The great tender compassionate love she had for her child brought the anguished cry, for she would be more than willing to sacrifice raising her own child so that he might live.  The other mother revealed she had no love for the child and did not care what happened to him, as she, without feeling, assented to King Solomon’s command saying “He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him!”

In this account, from I Kings 3:16-28, showing Solomon’s great God-given wisdom, we have the story of two women, who lived in the same house and gave birth to baby boys within 3 days of each other.  The one, a careless mother, laid on her child as she slept and he died.  Realizing what happened, she got up in the night and exchanged the babies, taking the living baby back to her bed.  When morning came, the true mother of the living child realized the dead baby in her bed was not her own.  As they stood before King Solomon, both mothers vehemently claimed the living child was their own.  No witnesses were present, so how was the determination to be made?  Since the physical evidence was not obvious, King Solomon must seek out the heart of the matter.  And so the true, self-sacrificing heart of the real mother is revealed, and Solomon said, “Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him.  She is his mother.”
As we read this story, we are reminded of the verse from God’s 
Word that says “man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord 
looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7b. Also, Hebrews 4:13 says, “And 
there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and 
laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”
Dear Heavenly Father, As we carefully examine our own hearts, help us to root out any selfish ways.  Through the many trials and weariness of motherhood, bless us with tender compassionate hearts, filled with Your love.  We ask for genuine, willing, self-sacrificing attitudes.  Refresh us daily, even hourly, with Thy Spirit, O Lord, that we might maintain a firm but gentle attitude as we teach and train our children, according to Your Word. We ask this in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen
 
                Mary, The Mother of Jesus
                Samson’s Mother
                Sarah’s Handmaid, Hagar
Posted in Guidance for mothers, Guidance for Women, Women of the Bible | 1 Comment

God’s Sovereign Hand

Isaiah 30:18 “Therefore will the Lord wait that He may be gracious unto you…”

 
I’m a clock watcher. My daily schedule and activities are structured around a clock.  Depending on the time, I hurry through a task or take it slower.  Some tasks I change or eliminate because I do or do not have the time.  But God does not have our time schedule. Because He is Omnipotent (all-knowing), His time is like a huge panorama screen that shows the beginning and the end in one view.  Consequently, what I want done now, God may do for me 10 years from now.  My prayer may appear to be unanswered or I may have thought God said “No” when actually He said “Wait” or “Later.”  He does all things “in the fullness” of His time. Galatians 4:4
The life of Joseph in Genesis chapter 37, 39-50 is a clear example of God’s time versus man’s time, and is an amazing story to read.  As a 17 year old lad, Joseph was loved with a special love by his father, Jacob, and hated by most of his brothers; a hatred that was founded on jealousy.  That hatred was so strong that they even plotted to kill Joseph. One brother, Rueben, not wanting to kill him, talked the others into throwing him into a pit (hoping to rescue him later.)  That hatred manifested itself so vividly when they callously and cold-heartedly ate their dinner as the young lad cried and pleaded from the pit. Genesis 42:21 says, “We saw the anguish of his soul, when He besought us and we would not hear.”
 While Rueben was gone, the other brothers sold Joseph to the Midianites and he was carried off to Egypt to be a slave. His coat was dipped in an animals blood and given to Jacob, as the brothers covered up their evil deed with lies.  Oh, the loneliness he must have felt to be so cruelly wrenched from the security of his loving father and carried to a strange land where no one served the One True God.
But God’s hand was upon Joseph and it is evident that he felt it, because Joseph never failed in his faithfulness to God.  Alone and lonely, he was obedient to that which his father, Jacob, had taught him even while he was living in a foreign land among heathens.  God caused those around Joseph to show favor toward him and treat him well; thus he lived comfortably for a while, although as a slave.  Then, even though we may think Joseph had suffered enough, he had to go through another trial of being humiliated and lied about . Taken from his decent surroundings, he was put in a prison house for several years.
Consider the life he now had: when he should have been at home in Caanan raising a family, tending sheep, and spending time with his father, he was spending his younger years in prison.
Yet, there was no slackness in Joseph’s faithfulness and God caused those around him to show him favor.  Finally, around the age of 30, God gave him wisdom to interpret Pharaoh’s dream and he was elevated to greatness, even first in command under Pharaoh.  Over the next nine years, he was given a wife, had two sons and was treated royally.  Now, at the age of 39, his brothers came to Egypt to buy corn during a severe famine.  For 22 years they had lived knowing the terrible deed they committed against Joseph and the lie they told their father.  But not knowing what happened to Joseph, their consciences were dulled as they lived out their lives.
Suddenly, the brothers are faced with a serious trial and their guilt surfaces. They fear they are being punished for their evil deed of the past. “We  are verily guilty concerning our brother…” Genesis 42:21.  Oh, how we are amazed as Joseph confronts his brothers with his identity and then makes this remarkable statement, “Now therefore, be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.” Genesis 45:5.  Again Joseph says, “And God did send me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.  So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and He hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.”
Genesis 45:7.  
What trust Joseph had in the faithfulness of God to see his life, not as a personal tragedy, but as a fulfillment of God’s plan for His people.  Joseph was blessed to see his father again, even for seventeen more years.
God’s Time versus Our Time.  The everyday events in our lives pale in significance when we take time to submit to God’s plan for our life from His Time.
The Better Way: Believing God Is Good: Trusting Completely In God’s Omnipotent Hand In Everything is the only way.
Read also: Trust In The Lord
Read also: Through the Flood
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Beneath The Cross Of Jesus

Thinking on Jesus Christ’s death on the cross often has me singing this beautiful hymn: 
1. 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.
2. 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 smitten heart with tears
Two wonders I confess
The wonders of redeeming love
And my unworthiness.
3. 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 nor loss,
My sinful self my only shame,
My glory all the cross.

                       Lyrics: Elizabeth Cecelia Douglas Clephane
                                Music: Frederick Charles Maker

http://youtu.be/g82KP4XXRRE

http://www.gty.org

The Better Way: “God Forbid That I Should Glory Save In The Cross Of The Lord Jesus Christ” Galatians 6:14

See Also: The Cross of Jesus Christ

See Also: Surrendering Our Will

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Two Faithful Women

Exodus 1:17 “But the midwives feared God.”

 
A few years ago I embarked on a two year journey to read through the Bible again. Traveling from Genesis into Exodus, two names  suddenly appeared on the printed page—two names recorded no where else in the Bible, two obscure names, two names of women.  How important are these two women who have their names written in God’s Word?
Further study reveals Shiphrah and Puah were midwives, women who assisted in the birth of the babies of the Hebrew women. Most likely they were older women and the representatives of their profession.  During their time in Egypt, the Children of Israel grew greatly in number and strength and Pharaoh felt threatened and became fearful.   In an attempt to curtail their growth he ordered the midwives to kill all Hebrew boys at birth.  Instead of being the ones who were looked up to for their skill and were trusted to take great care in seeing that the lives of these babies were preserved, they were suddenly thrusted into the position of being executioners, deceitful and untrustworthy.  These two women who “feared God,” refused to obey such a law. They reverenced God and obeyed Him rather than man. Exodus 1:17. “They obviously understood that children were a gift from God and that murder was wrong.” (John MacArthur) Like the apostles in Acts 5:29 who said, “We must obey God rather than men,” these midwives had the courage to stand alone and do what was right. 
Shiphrah and Puah were ordinary women who devoutly did their humble job, and yet they were used of God to preserve and save a nation that the King of Egypt desired to suppress.  Do you have a desire to serve God?  Whatever role God has given you to perform in this life, do it faithfully and obediently with love and care and God will bless.  In fact, as we read on in the story, we see where it says that God looked favorably on the midwives.  Exodus 1:20 says, “Therefore, God dealt well with the midwives,” and verse 21 says, “Because the midwives feared God, He established households for them.”  God built them up into families, blessed their children, and prospered them in what they did.  
What a wonderful example these two midwives are to us to be obedient.  God’s Word tells us in Ecclesiastes 9:10, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…”  Again God’s Word says, “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  Enjoy your work, finding pleasure in it as you honor God and are used for His purpose. 
 
The Better Way: Working Is Good: Working And Honoring Jesus Christ In All You Do Is The Better Way
 
 

 

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Spiritual Dryness

Isaiah 1:30  “For you will be like an oak whose leaf fades away or as a garden that has no water.”

 
     Long periods without rain cause many problems.  The most obvious signs of the lack of water show up in the grass, trees and plants.  First the leaves become dull and dry, then they start to lose their color, then they shrivel up and fall off. (“an oak whose leaf fades away”).  This is not the same sequence of events that we see in the Fall—for usually God requires nature to show us a brilliance of color before the leaves fall off. This happening brings us a great deal of pleasure. 
      Contrariwise, drought is not pretty; drought brings no pleasure.  Isaiah also mentions “a garden that has no water.”  Much hard work and time can be put into planting a garden but if it does not rain timely rains—rains at the proper intervals–the plants will not grow properly and the garden will not produce.
     Likewise, Isaiah is telling us that we as Christians can be spiritually dry.  What are some things that can make us spiritually dry?  The first symptom that comes to mind is depression.  In this state the joy of living has departed.  There is no eagerness to live and most of our thoughts are inward.  There is no desire to read God’s Word and when we do our hearts have become so dry and our spirits have become so dull and hazy that our minds cannot absorb the moist dew of God’s Word.  
     A second symptom is anger.  Anger over-whelms our thoughts to a point that all others are blocked out.  It consumes our nature and makes us unreasonable.  Hardness of heart sets in and so much so that even the gentle rain of God’s Word sheds off.  
      A third symptom of spiritual dryness is worldliness; simply put–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.( I John 2:16 ) These are the things that take our mind off God’s will and way and set it upon our will and way.  This brings about a cold heart.  A cold heart is tight and becomes dry, and resists the warmth of God’s Word. 
      A fourth symptom is worry.  All of us are very familiar with what worry does to our spirits.  It slowly and treacherously drains us, leaving us weak and without strength.  In this helpless state so much energy is leaving out that our hearts have no time to absorb the fresh encouragement of God’s Word, thus we become spiritually dry.
     Now that some symptoms have been laid before us, what is the prescription to prevent these aliments? First we need to examine ourselves to see if we have an unforgiving heart toward someone.  This has to be corrected and forsaken at once.  Next, we need to confess our sins and turn in true repentance from them. 
     And thirdly,  Hosea gives us an enlightening answer in Hosea 6:3, “So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord.  His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us, like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth.”  Oh, how encouraging these words sound!  What is it we have to do?  “Press on to know the Lord.”  Be faithful, never stop in your quest to know the Lord more fully, never turn aside to the right or to the left, stay on the straight course, and seek a refreshing from the Lord, daily partaking of a portion of God’s Word and praying.  Let the Word of God be at home in you.  Don’t put yourself on a spiritual starvation diet.  Don’t starve to death in a house full of the best food available.  Feast upon the Bread of Life.  Say like the Psalmist, in 119:83 ” Though I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget Your statutes.”  This faithful course will allow us to receive the “spring rain” that God faithfully sends to nourish us so that we will not be spiritually dry.
 
Hebrews 12:1″….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.”
Hebrews 12:12-13 Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.”
 
Read also: Milk Of The Word
Read also: When You Pray
Theme: The Better Way: Reading God’s Word is Good: Pressing On To Know The Lord Is Better
 
Posted in Bible Study, Encouragement, Spiritual Dryness | 6 Comments

Hannah, Full of Grace

I Samuel 1:2 “The name of one was Hannah.”  

 
As we study the women of the Bible, we are drawn to I Samuel, and a woman named Hannah, who exemplifies many attributes of a wife and mother that we should try to follow and a woman who was greatly used by God.

We first find, that she was in a situation that we know nothing about and a position that I would never want to be in—-she was one of two wives of a man named Elkanah.  Involved in this circumstance we learn she had an advantage—-her husband loved her best, and a disadvantage—-she had no children, “for the Lord had closed her womb.” I Samuel 1:5.   But as we travel through the story, we see that the Lord, in His wisdom, was working out His great and marvelous plan to raise up a great prophet, and was using this humble woman to bring about His purpose.  You see, Hannah was “greatly distressed and wept bitterly”, (I Samuel 1:10), because she had no children and to make matters worse her “rival would provoke her bitterly to irritate her.” I Samuel 1:6
But Hannah did what all of us should always do in our distress—she prayed and sought the Lord.  Brought to her lowest point in life, she made a vow no loving mother could make under normal circumstances. ” O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life…” I Sam 1:11.  This is exactly according to God’s plan: for Hannah to be brought to such agony of soul that she might make such a extraordinary vow in order to raise up the prophet Samuel to lead the people of Israel.
After Samuel was born, Hannah was a dedicated mother, diligently teaching him about the Lord, nurturing and implanting in him the Scriptures, during those first three years of his life until he was weaned. Oh how she must have savored every moment with her beloved son. Then fulfilling her vow, she carried him to the temple and “dedicated him to the Lord.”  I Samuel 1:28.  But instead of weeping and crying over leaving Samuel, she sang a song of thanksgiving, (I Samuel 2:1-10) rejoicing and exalting the Lord, giving God all the glory . I know you will enjoy reading these verses for yourself.  Later, Hannah was rewarded by the Lord for her faithfulness in carrying out her vow, for God graciously gave her five more children.
As a wife, Hannah exemplifies trustworthiness, for her husband safely trusted in her and honored the vow she had made, saying “Do what seems best to you…..only may the Lord confirm His word.” I Samuel 1:23.   Let us prayerfully and carefully desire to follow Hannah’s example, that we too, may be used of the Lord for His honor and glory.
 
The Better Way: Being A Humble, Prayerful, Dedicated, Thankful, Faithful, Trustworthy Wife and Mother is the Better Way
 
                    Eve: The First Mother
Teach your children Scripture songs through this link: http://www.thbmm.com/scripture-songs.html
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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