Friday, April 17, 2015

DADS AND DAUGHTERS

I have ridden with both my hubby and our daughter and realized they are two peas in a pod. Although Bill likes to listen to country music and Terri leans more toward Pink, they seem to have the same reaction when a song comes on they do not like. They switch channels or turn it off.  Sorta annoying. Okay, more than sorta.  It is annoying. That on/off just makes no sense because the next song, which they will now miss, might just be their all-time favorite.

BUT, sometimes I wish I could do that in life.

  • Coming down with the flu?  -- Just turn it off.
  • Bad news?  -- Change to another channel.
  • Nope, do not want that in my day!  -- Will try another station.
  • The day is hectic. -- Find a channel with quiet, soothing tunes.
  • Wonderful day. -- Stay right there. Do not change channels.
  • Kids behave. -- Program that station to be on permanently.

Life is not that way though.  We cannot just turn off the things we don't like. Or capture the days that are perfect and rerun them tomorrow.

Life is life! There will be trials but there is great news about these trials!

We will make it through!!

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

Okay - no one considers trials pure joy, but maybe we should. When do we learn the most? When everything is going great? OR When life just plain throws us a major curve ball? Every difficulty we pass through, is a learning, a growing experience. We mature. We move from a child's simple faith to a mature complete faith.

Trials do not last!!

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:6-7

What a comfort to hear "for a little while." Yes, a little while might consist of years but, compared to eternal life, a few years here is a snap of the fingers.

There is a reward for making it through our trials.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Revelation 3:21

Our trials may seem impossible to get through BUT with God all things are possible. Did you get the "ALL" things part. Not just the little mishaps. Not just the middle size headaches. Not just the major, life changing trials. We can make it through ALL of our trials if we call upon God to be there with us.

And when we get through them -- oh my: PEACE! A peace that only come from God.

And it just gets better! WE WILL HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE WITH THE FATHER!!

AMEN!

Saturday, April 04, 2015

BOYS, FAITH AND CHURCH

Two grandsons were here and they agreed to be interviewed.  Please excuse the occasional "thumping noise" which I think is caused by fidgety kids.  I tried to remove the annoying sound but ended up with worse audio.  Someday this 68 year old woman will master this 2016 video/audio editor program.  Also, be assured that I did not prompt nor suggest any answers.

 
BOYS, FAITH AND CHURCH
Video - part 1
video
Part 2
video
 

 Know what I learned?

 Noah and Timothy learn from their parents, their pastor and those around them.  It was great to hear them talk about hearing the testimonies and prayers of others during their call to worship.  It hurt when they said teachers speak against the Christian faith.

 They want fun activities, but they mainly want to hear the Word of God.  They do not want to hear, from the pulpit, politics or negative talk about others.  They thirst for the scriptures applied to their lives.

 Noah and Timothy had no trouble with church being two hours long, but said they get tired standing during all the singing and think you can sit and sing too.

 LEARNING FROM PARENTS

Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.  Joel 13

HEARING THE WORD

And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.  1 Thessalonians 2:13

Friday, March 13, 2015

COMFORTABLE SILENCE

Going down the road, not speaking -- comfortable silence

Watching TV, not speaking - comfortable silence

Sitting on the deck, sipping wine, not speaking - comfortable silence

We have been married almost fifty years, so have we run out of things to talk about?  Heavens no!  Or at least I haven't.  It is not a lack of topics; it is just that - comfortable silence.

COMFORTABLE SILENCE

Do you have such a relationship with God?  Can you sit and just enjoy the presence of God, not speaking - comfortable silence.

Can you read a verse in the Bible, close the Bible and just be still - comfortable silence.

The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him. Habakkuk 2:20

a time to be silent and a time to speak, Ecclesiastes 3:7 second part

COMFORTABLE SILENCE

When we are experiencing comfortable silence, I can feel Bill's love.  I can feel his presence.  It is as if we begin to breathe at the same rhythm. Our hearts beat as one.  Comfortable silence.

When we are comfortably silent with God, we can feel His presence.  It is as if our breathing matches the rhythm of nature.  It is as if our heart beats as one with eternity.

It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:26

The most important part of a comfortable silence with God is that we are prepared to listen.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8

COMFORTABLE SILENCE

So, do you ever enjoy a comfortable silence with those you love? With God?

Friday, February 27, 2015

WHAT WOULD THAT BE LIKE?

I read a book Still Close To Heaven, by Kathleen Kane. It was a historical romance with the description: Jackson Tate was a ghost. Since he wasn't good enough for heaven, and wasn't bad enough for, well… "the other place," his spirit was trapped in a run-down saloon in the Washington Territory.

Although I do not believe that a ghost hangs around and is given another chance to make it into heaven, the book was a quick, "don't have to think" read. I have often tried to find words to describe being separated from God, but couldn't. Then, in this quick, "don't have to think" book the words appeared. At this point in the story, Rachel could see Jackson and (Are you ready to be surprised?) she had fallen in love with him. She asked, "What's it like? Being a … ghost?"

Jackson says there is no rest like preachers are always going on about. He said there was no peace or serenity. He admitted he had messed up nearly everything he ever did. Then he continued.

"I made my own Hell, Rachel. Built it fine and strong, all by myself. Stone by stone. Brick by brick. It's nothingness, Rachel. It's day after day of nothing followed by long nights where the only thing to do is sit in the dark and curse yourself for wasting everything you were given. It's watching others do the same things you did and being unable to warn them. To tell them that they still have time to change."

"It's listening to the wind and not feeling it. It's standing in the rain and not getting wet. It's hunger that can't be fed and thirst that won't be quenched."

"It's touching and not feeling. It's talking and not being heard. It's being more tired than you ever thought possible and yet being unable to sleep."

"It's an eternity of loneliness. I watch every sunrise. Each sunset. It's a marvel, Rachel. A miracle. Two miracles every day. And I never noticed until it was too late. There are so many things I notice now. When it's too late for any of them."

These were said with shaking of the head, shame, and a strained whisper that rose straight from his soul.

For a quick read, these words struck me hard. They were not easy to read and even harder to imagine.

WHAT WOULD THAT BE LIKE?

They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power. 2 Thessalonians 1:9

We are not so different than Jackson Tate. We build our own hell and we do it brick by brick, stone by stone. And sometimes we have to sit back and watch those we love make the same mistakes we made. We are unable to make them hear.

Jackson Tate was describing what it was like to be separated from the humans he could see. If that is hell, what would it be like to be separated from God?

shut out from the presence of the Lord

What hell would it be to talk to God and God not hear you? To be shut out and suffer an eternity of loneliness? To be in nothingness day after day followed by long nights of cursing yourself?

from the majesty of his power

What hell would it be to watch the wonders of heaven and know it was too late to receive them? To see the majesty of God's power and know that for eternity, you were not allowed to join in that majesty?

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO FIND OUT WHAT BEING SHUT OUT FROM GOD WOULD BE LIKE! 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile -- the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Romans 10:8-13

Friday, February 20, 2015

THE OLD BARN

 

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"Hey, barn. How ya doing?"

"I have seen better days. In the beginning I was just trees around the pasture, but the lumber from those trees became a barn."

"I remember the day the neighbors came to help.  Slowly, one board at a time, I began to take shape.  The men nailed and hammered me into a barn as the women prepared more food than the hungry men could eat.  The children played, retrieved dropped tools and finally gave into taking a nap."

"Yes, I began as a tree and became a place where cattle found shade.  A place for calves to be born.  I was used to store feed and farming equipment.  The farm children came here to hide when they were in trouble.  I witnessed many first kisses.  Noontime sandwiches were eaten as my farmer waited for the rain to pass."

"I was important and needed."

"But what happened?  Hands carefully built me and took care of me.  Then one day my usefulness changed.  The cattle were sold.  The farmer and his wife got old and could no longer farm.  The children had long ago moved to town."

"And here I sit.  Of no value.  Oh, an occasional tourist will take my picture, but I can no longer protect against the wind.  No one fills me with laughter or first kisses anymore.  No one.  No one......."

"I am so sorry. Do you have any words of wisdom? Any advice for me?"

"Advice?  Simple.  Take care of the things that are important or they will become like me:  useless."

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As I thought about the barn's advice, I wondered if that is how I treat my faith. Do I take care of it? Do I use it daily? Do I fill my faith with laughter and joy? Do I use my faith to its full value? Do I repair my faith, by going to the Word of God, when life beats on me? Or am I allowing my faith to become useless?

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What about you? Do you have a strong faith, a useful faith? Is your faith strong enough to withstand trials and give you shelter? Or have you allowed your faith to fall apart like this barn?

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How do we keep our faith as important today as it was when we first believed?

WE ALLOW GOD TO KEEP US STRONG.

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Isaiah 40:28-31

Do you not know? Have you not heard?

The LORD is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Friday, February 06, 2015

WHERE DID YOUR FAITH COME FROM?

In almost every Bible study, every devotional and Christian blog, the question comes up: Where does your faith come from? The answer? For me, I used to answer that question, "My grandma." And I thought that was the correct answer.

I saw my grandma read her Bible. Every day! Even those sections with all the names and begets. She did not skip over them. She actually read them. Grandma read the Laws and she read the Gospels. Grandma lived her life as a Christian. She lived what she read.

Yup. Where did I get my faith? Grandma, of course.

I have been answering that question wrong.

One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. Psalm 27:4

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you….. Psalm 63:1

My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. Psalm 63:8

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Psalm 143:8

My favorite Psalm is 139 and verse 13 says: For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I know how to answer that question now.

Where did I get my faith? Well, duh. From God and he knit it right into my soul! As I read the Psalms, I discover over and over that my job is to seek the Lord. I am to seek the Lord because my soul thirsts for Him. Seeking the Lord is part of my soul. Part of my DNA. I seek the Lord to find rest. To be upheld. To find hope.

So what do I do about grandma? I will continue to give the honor to grandma that she deserves. Grandma allowed me to read the Bible to her when her eyes were weak. Grandma was the living example of the Living Word. Grandma was my earthly guide to my Heavenly Father.

+ + + + + + + + + + + +

Good afternoon God, I want to be sure you know my grandma did her part in making sure I found you. She was the light that led me to your Word. She was the example of what it looked like to be led by you. Please give her a hug and tell her I am very grateful. Amen

Friday, January 30, 2015

PRISON

I do not think - no, I know I do not want to go to prison. One time, when I was a Brownie leader, we went to the county jail and, because there were no inmates in one section, we were locked in cells. I DID NOT LIKE THAT. I WANTED OUT!!!!!!!!!

Think there could be an issue with claustrophobia? I know there is because small rooms, rooms without windows or having all the doors shut make me nervous. Strangely, airplanes and elevators are a breeze. Hey, phobias are illogical but I refuse to be a prisoner! (They don't lock you up for speeding do they?)

This line of thought began when I was looking for a scripture about being in a prison.

Psalm 107:10 tells us: Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom, prisoners suffering in iron chains.

Darkness? Deepest gloom? Iron chains? I do not like the sound of that! Darkness, gloom and iron chains just would not work with my grey hair. I am not going to be a prisoner.

OR -- am I already a prisoner?

The next verse pointed out why these prisoners were suffering. Psalm 107:11 for they had rebelled against the words of God and despised the counsel of the Most High.

Wow! I am in trouble. I have rebelled. Is there any hope? How do I break the chains?

The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him (Jesus). Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." ..and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." Luke 4:17-19, 21

Freedom for the prisoners. I like that part and Jesus is anointed to do just that. I have found my hope! Jesus is strong enough to break the chains that hold me prisoner.

It would be great to say I am the only weak sinner being held captive, but the reality is revealed in Galatians 3:22 -- But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

Each of us is a prisoner of sin. And our sins are different. What is placing you in darkness? In deepest gloom? What is keeping you in iron chains?

There is hope and all you have to do is go to the one that can set you free: Jesus.

Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name.

Psalm 142:7