Archive | February 2017

Last week…

Jeremiah 17:7,8 – “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit”

The plague descended upon my house last week. Well, maybe not THE plague, but the flu. It may as well have been the plague with the amount of bleach wipes and alcohol pads I have gone through in the last week. Also, I believe I may have also consumed a bottle of immunity booster just trying to avoid it. And so far, so good. 

That’s why you didn’t hear from me last week. I just didn’t have it in me. 

It was a week of uncertainty and concern. When to take people to the doctor; when is their next dose of medicine; have they had enough fluids; do I need to go to the grocery store – again? 

But even though it was exhausting and mentally draining, there was a calm. The knowing that this too shall pass. Yes, my week was disrupted. Yes, I had clients cancel on me because I might be infected. Yes, the cashier at the grocery store gave me funny looks when they saw me for the second and third time. But, I wasn’t alone. Jesus was there with me. And even though I didn’t have the opportunity to write my post, I did keep up with my personal study. It was my moments of peace before the coughing started. 

Caring for your family is just as much of a way to produce fruit as going out on the mission field. I’m showing love and compassion to those I care about – that is applicable anywhere. My daughter kept thanking me for taking care of her. My husband was appreciative for holding it all together. My son kept tabs on how I was feeling. In their own ways, they were caring for me. It is a beautiful circle. 

So, if this week finds you plagued with some illness or situation, hold tight to the Savior. Stay planted and stay healthy – physically and spiritually. 

Two sides of a coin

Judges 4:4-9 – “And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun? And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand. And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.”

Sorry there are so many verses – one or two just wouldn’t do!

Let’s think about Deborah for a few minutes today. I was having a lively discussion with my little spitfire daughter last night. I love her tenacity and grit. She isn’t afraid to lay it out – even to a teacher, respectfully of course. 

She reminds me a lot of Deborah. Deborah is the only female judge that I know of in the time of the judges. Can you imagine? Women were usually considered second class citizens in those days. Yet, here she was telling it like it is to an army commander. 

Deborah was a judge. But she was also a wife – and more likely than not, a mother. No children are specifically mentioned but they usually come along with the territory of a wife. 

I know that Deborah was prophesying when she said that the victory would be given to a woman, but can’t you hear just a bit of sass in that response? I can almost see the eyes rolling and the arms flopping to pick up her things to leave. Maybe there was some mumbling under her breath. I’m sure many prayers were lifted for this man who needed a woman to come along to assure Israel’s victory. 

I guess the point that I want to make is this – there are two sides to every coin. Every woman has two sides – the “get out of my way or I’ll run you over” side and the “here, let me take care of that” side. The side that says “well, I’ll do it because it needs to be done” and the “come on, you can do it” side. We all have two sides. In my perspective, a woman’s two sides are just more pronounced. It depends on the day. 

I was thinking about what I’m teaching my daughter. Am I doing it right? Will she have that meek and quiet spirit that is sometimes needed in a relationship? I know she already has developed the “get it done” gene. And the sass gene seems to be working quite well too. 

I want her to be like Deborah- capable of being wife and leader all at the same time. A wife is a helpmate – someone to come alongside and help out, not a dictator or wet washcloth to be swished around. But rather, a beautiful combination of sass and grit, gentleness and compassion. 

We need more “Deborah”s in this world. We need more women listening to God’s word and living his statutes and commands in their life. We need more gentleness and compassion in our marriages. We need more grit and sass for Godly truths in our society. We need more lively conversations between a parent and their child. We need more students respectfully stumping their educators.

 We need more pronounced sides to our coins. It’s okay to have two sides – God gave them to us for specific times in our life. We need to develop them both equally and efficiently. 

If you have children, pray for them. They need it. We, as parents who hold ourself accountable to God and God alone, need to develop within our children the characteristics they need to be the Godly men and women He is calling them to be. Pray for both sides of the coin. 

Busy. Busy. Busy. 

Psalm 46:10 – “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Sunday morning, we had a missionary speak to us. He said something that really hit home for me –

If the Devil can’t make you bad, he will make you busy. 

His sermon focused on the Good  Samaritan. He also looked at the ones that “passed by” and why they may have done so. 

As he was speaking, I began to wonder how many times I “pass by”. How many times do I see a need and just smile and nod and move on? How many times do I hear a cry for help and just turn away? How many times am I too busy to give up a moment for someone else?

Too many, I can tell you that. But how am I supposed to stop everything and attend to a situation or person that I really don’t know how to help? How am I to explain to the person that gets the short end of my time that I just had to do such and such? 

It’s excuses. Every single one of them. Excuses. I have to be at work. I can’t be late for my next client. My kids are waiting on me. My family already has this or that planned. Excuses. 

I’m busy. 

God wants me to be still. He wants me to be compassionate. He wants me to see Him be exalted. If I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off, I won’t see His exaltation. I won’t see His mighty hand at work. I won’t see the opportunity to show someone else His love. I just won’t see. 

Busyness has a way of taking me away from Him. And the sad thing is that sometimes it’s “spiritual” busyness that takes me away. It’s the teaching three classes in one day that stresses me out in a way that keeps me from serving with a pure heart. And that’s my fault for not saying “no”. But I allow myself to get too busy and I forget to be still. 

So, I want to encourage y’all to be still this week. Don’t let busyness of any sort get in your way of being still before Him. It’s a challenge not only for you, but especially for me. Happy week. 

Oh, middle school…

Proverbs 27:17 – “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”

Middle school girls. Know any? With all the hormones and sudden interest in boys, it can be a terrifying and heart wrenching and just plain stupid experience. It is all drama, drama, drama. 

Right now, my thirteen year old daughter is experiencing friend troubles over a boy – an eighth grade boy. Now, I have had an eighth grade boy, so I can say this – rarely is a female friendship is worth destroying over an eighth grade boy. But this is something these girls are going to have to figure out. My advice seems futile and until someone gives, they are all at a stalemate. It is sad. 

But one thing this whole bit of drama is doing for our precious girls is teaching them valuable life lessons. They probably don’t understand, but they are sharpening one another. They are teaching one another. They are learning how to live in a world where things don’t always go your way and people don’t always behave like you think they should. They are learning that they are going to have to put on their big girl panties and deal with things instead of turning away from the situation. 

Friends are beautiful treasures that can decorate your life like nothing else but can also weigh heavy on your heart at times. But a true friend is one that walks with you through all the heartaches you face – even when that heartache is from another friend. 

Friends sharpen one another. 

So, let me encourage you to be a friend. Be a friend that walks the walk and talks the talk. Be a friend that is life long and precious no matter the situation. 

Control

John 10:17,18 – “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”

Power. We like to think that we have power over our life. We like to think that our date book is our own. We like to think that we have control over when we sleep and when we rise. We like to think that we have control over what the scales say or doesn’t say. We like to think that we have control over how our children are raised and who leads us into the future of our country. 

But do we really have control over any of those things?

I’d venture to say no. No we do not. Oh, our perception may be that we got this. But in reality….we don’t. 

In these verses today, Jesus reminds us of a very important fact – He has control. He has so much control that He has the power to freely give His life and take it back up again. This blew His audience’s mind. How could this possibly be?

We serve an amazingly powerful God. One that has the capability to give His own Son who has the power to willingly sacrifice His own life. One that has the power to raise Himself from the grave because He is all God and all man all at the same time. Did you hear that? Minds being blown all over the place!

What I want to get across today is God is in control. He knows what has been, what is and what will be. And if Jesus can raise Himself from the grave, He won’t forget you when He returns. Sometimes life feels so uncertain, so easily downtrodden, so discouraging. But take heart, God is in control. Truly, we have nothing to worry about. 

The Power of a Gift

Ephesians 2:8 – “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God”

Gifts. We all love them. We love do-dads and widgets and practical things and things to eat – it doesn’t matter; we love gifts!

But as I was reading in my Bible yesterday, God laid it on my heart to further explore the word “gift”. 

Here in Ephesians, the word for “gift” means a sacrificial present. In other words, the gift cost something extreme. We all know that that cost for salvation was – God’s One and Only Son, Jesus Christ. 

Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Here, the word for “gift” means a spiritual endowment. An endowment is something given without expectation of return in payment but does come with the expectation that the receiver will utilize and work with what is given for a determined end. You receive wages for the work that you do. You receive an endowment with the expectation that work will follow to accomplish some goal. Death is the wages for working at a sinful life without Christ. Eternal life is the expected outcome from the free gift of salvation. 

The free gift of salvation is not something to put on a shelf and look at from time to time. No, the free gift of salvation should be seen more in the light of receiving a major appliance as a gift. When someone you know gives you a stove as a gift, you don’t put it in your kitchen and look at it. You use it. You feed your family with it. You make food for others on it. You provide comfort and assurity with it. Looking at it gets nothing done. Looking at our salvation does nothing to advance the will of God that all men should come to Him for salvation and thus eternal life. We need to use it. We need to share its’ blessings. We need to tell other people how to receive such a magnificent gift. 

So today, get out there and share your gift. It wasn’t given to you to make you look pretty. It wasn’t given to you to beat someone over the head with it. It was given to you to multiple and grow. It was given to you to bring others to Him. Be nice – share. 

The Rock

Psalm 18:30-31 – “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?”

The Teen Discovery lesson tonight is about Jesus being our Rock. So, I have had various songs about Christ being our Rock in my head for a couple of days. 

Rocks. They are hard. Some are seemingly unmovable. They seem to last forever. They are useful for support. They provide a path in various places. They sometimes get in your shoe and cause terrible pain. They have been the main ingredient in many of my pea soups as a child playing outside. Some have claimed them as pets. Some throw them at others out of anger or punishment. 

Lots and lots of uses for rocks. 

But this Rock that is spoken of in this psalm is none of those things. This Rock is The Rock. This Rock is unmovable. This Rock is life giving. This Rock provides comfort and shelter. This Rock is perfection. This Rock is trustworthy. 

And though many rocks may cross our field of vision or make its way into our humble hands, no rock can possibly measure up to The Rock. 

Although rocks may not be your first choice in a source of comfort or the first thought you have when you think about life giving qualities, run to The Rock. Let Him be the source of all you need and want.