Thursday, December 30, 2010

I Lost Jesus

When I was looking for a nativity set for our home it was important to me to find one where the baby Jesus figure was separate from the manger. It is tradition for us to wait to put out the Jesus figure on Christmas Eve. This year as we were setting out our decorations I put the baby Jesus away someplace safe and obvious so that I could bring it out on the 24th. Needless to say, I can't remember where that was.

As I was searching the house, I started thinking about my Christmas preparations and expectations and realized that, unfortunately, in the midst of all that is going on, I often lost sight of Jesus. Try as I might, staying focused on the source of the joy for this season has been a struggle. I try to plan activities that will keep our family pointed in the right direction, and they do help, but it is all too easy to move on after a particular Bible reading, advent activity or other Christ focused time and move Him to the back of our minds.

I began to realize how much this is like my search for the figurine. I've been looking all over the place to make Jesus real to us this holiday. Not that that is a bad thing. It is good for us to seek to put Him first now and always, but sometimes I miss seeing Him because I am too busy looking. I might do well to remember to stop and listen, to reflect, to start my day by asking Him to reveal Himself in a special way. I think that we did better as a family focusing on Christ than we have, but until each day is totally centered on the Lord of lords, I will keep looking for Him. I hope that you will too.

Monday, December 20, 2010

"But Mary"

Luke gives us such a wonderful account of the birth of our Savior. I can just picture the hustle and bustle of the crowds in Bethlehem, can't you. If you have ever been to the mall this time of year, you know what it was like. Parking spaces are at a premium, aisles are filled with shoppers, and the thing you most wanted to pick up is out of stock.

I feel for Joseph. This was not his original plan. The timing couldn't be worse. Who wants to travel all that way with a wife who is about to deliver? Not only that, when he gets to town, there is no place to stay. I'm sure he was feeling a bit frustrated. I know I would be. I am sure that he wanted a warm, dry, safe place for Mary to have the baby. Isn't it great that God's plans are never thwarted? Full inns do not hinder Him. He always accomplishes His purpose in the way that He planned to.

There was so much going on that first Christmas: a bustling city with throngs of people intent on pursuing their goals, the birth of the Christ, a visit to shepherds by a choir of angels, shepherds visiting Christ and sharing their story. It must have been a bit overwhelming.

Luke tells us in 2:19 that Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Wow! She didn't get caught up in all the commotion, but pondered these things. How often do we stop in the midst of the hustle and bustle of our Christmas preparation and celebration to ponder the things of God? For me, it is not often enough. I am making an effort this year to be more intentional in my meditations on the Christmas story. God teaches us so much when we are willing to sit down and listen. I pray you all have a wonderful Christmas and that your celebration of God's gift is peppered with time to ponder what He has done.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Good and Perfect Gifts

Why is it so hard to accept that all of God's gifts to me are good and perfect for me? Everything that God gives me and allows in my life is ultimately to make me into one who glorifies Him perfectly. In my heart of hearts that is what I want most.

I can list blessing after blessing from God. I have life (both physical and eternal), health, family, home, friends, car, clothing, food, eyesight, intellect, peace, safety, money, flowers, sports, etc. The blessings are like an mountain river when the spring thaw arrives. I can't name them fast enough. Before I can write one down, ten more are in my mind. I KNOW that God's gifts are good and perfect.

Yet, when I start to focus on myself instead of the gifts and the giver, I become dissatisfied. I don't have everything that I think that I want when I want it. I have things that I don't think that I want. I don't want uncomfortable feelings with former close friends. I don't want difficult people. I don't want a sick child, too many things on my to do list, disobedient children, high prices and low incomes, to be merciful and gracious at all times, to love even the unlovely... Those things are hard, no fun, "not my gift". I think I want an easy life, but then I read James 1:17 "Every good and perfect gift is from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." The first part of the verse is well known, but what about the fact that my Father in heaven doesn't change? This Christmas season I want to work on remembering that my loving, all knowing Father has given me only good and perfect gifts in order to make me into the woman He has called me to be.

Monday, November 29, 2010

What is Christmas Costing You

I took Tori and Austin shopping on Friday. We didn't do the "get up at 4" deal. We just went out when we got up in the morning to see what deals we could find. It was a fun morning and we enjoyed our time together much more than some of the other shoppers seemed to.

Our trip got me to thinking about the cost of Christmas. With 5 kids, a son-in-law, a grandson, and extended family in town, Christmas gifts can get to be costly. Add to that the decorations, the electricity for all those outside lights, and the huge family dinner on Christmas Eve, and the bill for the holiday becomes a little scary sometimes. Of course, you all know that. I'm sure you are in the same boat when it comes to celebrating Christmas. But, what is the real cost of Christmas?

Do we ever stop to think that Christmas cost Christ his home, his place next to his father, his honor and glory? Do we stop to think what Christmas cost God? He knew that His Son would suffer because of our sins. Because it would glorify God the most, Christ came to Earth as a baby, lived a perfect life in submission to God, and died and undeserved death on a cross in order to redeem a people who would forever glorify the Father. Christmas cost our Heavenly Father a tremendous amount. He gave up His son because we couldn't save ourselves. He gave up His only child so that we could be His children.

I hope that I always remember what Christmas really costs. I hope that I always remember how grateful I should be to the One who gave himself so that I could enjoy eternal life with my Father.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Firm Foundation

When Stan and I got married, one of our first priorities was to find a church home. We were in a new place where we knew no one, so we just started visiting churches and seeing what they had to offer. August of 1982 found us sitting in a small church building on Westwood Blvd. As I sat there listening to the preacher speak, I was indignant that he would be so arrogant. He spoke as if there could be no argument about the truth of what he was saying. Our exit at the end of the service found me mentally checking yet another church off the list of possibilities for us when I heard my dear husband say, " At last, we found our new church." I couldn't believe my ears, but grudgingly went along with him each Sunday.

Gradually, I realized that the preacher was not giving his opinion each week, instead, he was preaching what the Bible teaches. This man backed up everything with scripture. I was challenged to check the Scriptures to see if the things being taught on Sunday morning were the same things that God had been teaching His people for thousands of years. It was, and I was hooked. I am so blessed and so thankful to Dan Hendley for teaching me that my foundation should be the Word of God. Through him I learned that it is my responsibility to make sure that I am sitting under a teacher who seeks God's direction in his life and in what he teaches. I am thankful that the Lord has raised up men like this to lead His church at this time.

Such a foundation enables us to withstand the storms and trials that come our way. Standing on the solid rock even allows us to grow in these situations. When Dan resigned from our church a few years ago, it was heartbreaking, but a great growth experience. I realized how much I had come to trust the man behind the pulpit to speak the truth, and I had stopped checking up on him. Once again, I was reminded of my duty to check what I heard against the infallible Word. Once again, I have the opportunity to sit under the teaching of a man who seeks to speak God's Word into our lives. Thank you, Dan, for pointing me to the firm foundation of the Truth, and thank you, Mike, for continuing to turn my focus back to that same Truth.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Then Sings My Soul

"Then Sings My Soul", which I received for free for agreeing to do a book review for Thomas Nelson Publishing, made both my soul and my mouth sing. In this day and age of some good contemporary Christian music, some of the great old hymns of yesterday could easily be forgotten. I loved being able to read through some of my favorite hymns from days gone by.
The addition of stories about how these particular hymns came to be was an added bonus in my eyes. Not only was I able to wallow in the great theological depth of some masterfully written favorites, I was able to read how God worked to bring those songs into being. It is a joy to read how He used even unbelievers to minister to us today.
I particularly appreciate how the author has arranged the hymns into groups for the holidays. Since I received the book shortly before the Thanksgiving season, I started with those hymns, then moved onto the Christmas section. Reading through the words of these lovely works reminded me of the grace and glory of our God. What a blessing it is to have this book in our home. I know that I will be reading through it for years to come and sharing it with my children and grandchildren.

Friday, November 12, 2010

My Favorite Child

So, I know that as a mom, I am not supposed to have a favorite, but I do. Just don't tell my kids.

Of course Amber is my favorite, after all, she is the first. How can your first not be your favorite? She was the one who lived with me through all of my missteps in parenting. She was the one Itried it all out on to see if it worked. She is the one that I was toughest on and expected the most from. I messed up a lot mostly because I didn't know any better, and yet, she turned out to be a lovely young woman who loves the Lord and her family. I thought that somehow, I could make it all turn out right for her. She is the one who taught me to trust God because He makes it all turn out right. She is certainly my favorite.

Nathan, for sure, has to be my favorite. Nathan is such and easy, loving, gentle person that there is no way he couldn't be my favorite. He is always the quickest to forgive. He doesn't take offense when I yell or am angry unfairly. He is amazingly comfortable with who he is and doesn't worry about what others think of him or his actions. He is willing to be goofy and takes the teasing well. He has learned true humility by not thinking less of himself but by thinking of himself less. He is the one who has taught me that God loves us just the way He made us. Of course, he is my favorite.

Of all my children, Jesse is most like me. He loves structure, order and a plan for the day and his life. He is responsible and dependable. He is the one I call on first when I absolutely need a job done because I know it will be taken care of. He has a great sense of duty and works so hard to meet others needs. Although his temper is short at times, he is always repentent. He seems to know what needs to be done and sets out to do his very best to accomplish the task. He is the one who has taught me that God has created us for good works that He has prepared for us in advance. He is my favorite without a doubt.

Victoria Rose is certainly my favorite child. Her energy is boundless. Seriously, it is boundless. She never stops moving, even when sitting still. If I could just bottle that to sell, I would make millions. Tori is my child full of joy. She doesn't giggle or chuckle. She laughs. She laughs often, and she laughs loud. She enjoys all of life and is eager to meet each new challenge head on. There is nothing that she won't give a try and give her whole heart to when she does. She brings sunshine to all, even on the darkest days. She is the one who has taught me to rejoice in the Lord always. No question about it, she is my favorite.

There is no way that Austin could not be my favorite. He is my baby. He is the end of an era for me as a mom. He is my cuddly one. He is the one who hugs me and crawls in my lap (although that is about to end because he is getting too big). He is the one who is glad to just be with me. He has gotten all of the leftovers. His books, toys, and clothes are never new and it never bothers him. He gets the mom who is tired, slower, and worn, but he loves me anyway and tells me every day. He is compassionate and caring, loving and gentle. He has taught me that God is always about doing what is best for me. He is my favorite, for sure.

I know that it is bad parenting to pick a favorite child. It is even worse when you make it obvious to others, but I can't help it. I just needed to say it, but I would really appreciate it if you don't let them know who my favorite is. I can't imagine the sibling rivalry that would ensue if they knew who my favorite really is.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

But I Have Prayed for You

"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."

Wait. What? If I had been Peter, I sure wouldn't have wanted to hear that Satan was asking to sift me like wheat. After all, remember what happened to Job when Satan went after him. That is not a pleasant thought, but then Jesus says, "But I have prayed for you, Simon." There it goes. Everything is going to be fine. You just know that Jesus is going to keep Satan from doing anything bad, but, no, that isn't what Jesus says.

That my faith won't fail? What is that all about? That isn't going to happen if you keep Satan away, if you put a hedge around me, if you send a legion of angels to guard me. Just think, Jesus, of all that I can accomplish for you if you don't let Satan loose against me. I know those would have been my thoughts. I know that if Jesus is praying that my faith won't fail, it won't. But, I also know that difficult times are coming, and I had better get ready.

Not only did Jesus pray that Peter's fail wouldn't fail, but the last part of this really gets me. "And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." Jesus knows that Peter is going to turn away, but He also knows that Peter is coming back. He knows those things about us, too. He knows when we are going to falter and stumble and even turn our backs on Him. He also knows that nothing can take His sheep from His hand. I need to have that reminder sometimes when I fail big time. I can always turn back. Jesus is expecting me.

Not only can I turn back, but He can use my failings to strengthen others. My screw ups can be used for His glory. Even when I make the wrong choice, others will benefit. I benefit too. I get to be reminded of God's immeasurable grace and mercy. I am reminded of Christ's great sacrifice to pay the price of ALL my sins; past, present and future. I am humbled and God can use me even more because in my weakness, He is strong.

Be praying for me. Be praying for all your Christian friends. We are going to make wrong choices. We are going to sin. Pray that our faith doesn't fail. Pray that we are ready when the trials come. Pray that God uses us in our weakness to strengthen one another. I'll be praying for you.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Be Diligent and Persevere

There are some things you may not know about me. I am a concert pianist, a gourmet chef, and speak three languages fluently. At least that is me in my dreams. The problem that I see with all of those things is that you must put in a lot of effort and practice. I'd like to accomplish all of those goals, but I just don't want to work that hard at it. I admit it. I am part of the instant gratification generation, and it is a struggle every day. Are you there too? Is there something that you would like to do, but it is just too much work?

1Timothy 4:13-16 says,"Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." My dictionary tells me that to persevere is to continue steadfastly in a course of action in spite of difficulties or obstacles. The thesaurus gives the words tenacity and determination as synonyms for perseverance. Perseverance is not an easy thing. How then, can I accomplish it?

First, I must have a worthwhile goal. I need to find something that is worth the effort, work, suffering, and self-sacrifice that will be required to acquire it. My goal must be bigger than my selfishness, laziness, and pride. Second, I need help. If I really want to accomplish something that is big, I can not do it on my own. I need accountability to others. Last, and most important, I need God. In order for me to do anything that has true worth, I need to check my goals against His. I need to make sure that I am working inside His will for my life.

I am not going to be a concert pianist, gourmet chef or trilingual. While those are good goals for some, they don't meet the above criteria for my life. I am set to persevere in being a loving wife, good mother, and student of my Lord and Savior. The road to success here is paved with many obstacles and stumbling blocks. I will veer off course at times, but with your help and the Lord's guidance, I will persevere and here the words "Well done, good and faithful servant" one day.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Heaven is For Real

I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson publishers in exchange for doing a book review. I will admit to you that I did not go into reading this with an open mind. I have a big theological problem with books that encourage us to believe that God allows us into His heaven only to send us back to continue in life here on Earth. The heaven that I read about in the Bible is one of such wonder and awe, beyond all our imagination, that I can't imagine a worse punishment than to leave and return to this life.

I found the story to be an easy read. It took me only a few hours to read through the whole book. The story is a great reminder that we can not do this life all on our own. There are times when we must rely on others and there are times that we can rely only on God. Faith in an all powerful and all knowing God can get us through some tremendously difficult times in our lives, including the illness or death of a child. Without God, these could easily break the best of us.

Unfortunately, I did not find the picture of heaven that was presented at all satisfying. I saw none of the majesty or glory of God presented. If the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, it stands to reason that heaven will be a manifestation of that purpose. I would not recommend this book to anyone. There are much better books written to help us understand what heaven may be like, and there are much better books written about the struggles families face with a child's illness or death.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Proverbs 31 Gal

Don't you just hate that Proverbs 31 woman? Just who does she think she is, showing the rest of us up like that? Wouldn't you die if you had to be her next door neighbor? Just imagine your husband coming in at the end of the day and asking, "Why can't you be more like 31 next door?"

There are days (okay only once or twice in my life) where I think, "YES, (see fist pump here) I can so totally do this!" Then I get out of bed.

My plans are always to do those things. I plan to get up while it is dark out to make breakfast for the family, but then the kids need a ride to cross country practice and they don't want to eat before they run, even if they did, they wouldn't want to get up any earlier to eat. Plan ruined before it even sees the light of day. I plan to make clothes for the family, but nothing ever comes out like the picture on the pattern and no one is happy wearing a shirt with one sleeve longer than the other. I would love to plant my own vineyard (because I'm thinking I could use a glass of wine about now), but every plant that I have ever tried to grow has up and died on me. At least the bugs, rabbits and birds are well-fed around here. I just can't seem to keep up with her and it stresses me out.

Most days I just give up before I start, and I know that is not what God has planned for me either. He didn't raise me to be a quitter. Through Him, I am more than a conqueror. So, how do I conquer the ideal set before me? I don't. Did you catch that little word in the sentence before? Ideal. The Proverbs 31 woman is an ideal, she isn't a real woman. She is what we strive for. God wants me to take care of my family, make a home, be a helpmeet to my husband, be generous to those in need, be a good friend and neighbor. Even that sounds like an over full plate, but God is growing me more and more into the ideal every day. Will I ever get there? Not this side of glory, but in the mean time, I will press on because I know that He has already won the war.

Go ahead. Read Proverbs 31 without cringing. She may not be real, but we can learn a lot from her. She reminds us that we can bring glory to God even in our menial daily chores. " Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." This is the true secret of the Proverbs 31 woman.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Outrageous Prayers

How is your prayer life? Are you praying something outrageous and expecting God to answer with a resounding "YES!"? I am not talking about praying for the winning lotto numbers or a new sports car in the driveway. Our God is without limits in his power. He is able to do ALL His holy will. Isn't that an exciting thought? I find that when I dwell on this for a little while, I am dissatisfied with how I have been praying. I have been putting God in the little box that is my mind. My requests are limited to what I think is "doable". No more. I am going to be praying outrageously. I am going to start asking God to do things that are bigger.

I have set my heart on real, lasting, and positive change for America. That is where I am starting with my outrageous prayer list. I invite you to join me. Let's ask God to intervene in the course of our country. Beg Him to turn the hearts of the people to Himself. I have been weeping over the sin blatantly displayed across the USA, including my own, and asking God's forgiveness and mercy upon us all. My prayer is to see an obvious turning toward God in this country by the beginning of 2015. Is that possible? Of course. "All things are possible with God." Is it probable? Not with things going the way they have been, but we can be a part of changing that. Won't you join with me in outrageous prayers? God is pleased to give us the desires of our hearts when we are praying His will.

Let's not limit God with what we think is a possibility. Ask Him for your heart's desires. Do you have a barren friend who aches for a child? Is there someone you know in need of healing from a terminal disease? Are you jobless in this economy with no prospects in the foreseeable future? Take your burdens to Him and ask. The answer may not be yes, but we can always trust Him to give the best answer.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Home Building

Has it happened to you? You are with your husband at the company picnic and all that anyone wants to know is, "What do you do?" There they are, the women with manicured nails and coordinated outfits, wanting to know what exciting, interesting career is yours. How do you tell them that you are a stay-at-home mom? My answer? I am a home builder. No, I am not in construction. I don't build houses. I am building a home. What could be more exciting, interesting or important to the future of the world?

Being a home builder is not an easy task. You must constantly watch your attitudes. The saying, "Ain't momma happy, ain't no one happy" is so true. Our attitudes can create an atmosphere of stress or peace, forgiveness or condemnation, love or anger. We home builders have great power in our realm. When we learn to choose attitudes, words and deeds that honor and glorify God, we teach our children to do the same. We can show them how to react when someone's words are hurtful, how to show mercy to someone in need, and how to show honor to other's in our lives. What a burden, what a joy. Fortunately, we home builders don't have to go it alone. God gives us all of the skills that we need to build a home that pleases Him. We just need to make sure that we are putting Him first and spending time getting to know Him better each day.

Home building is becoming a lost art here in America. Women are so busy with their jobs, keeping house, running kids to after school activities, and volunteering in the community, that they seem to have forgotten that God has called them to build a home. Proverbs 14:1 says, "The wise woman builds her home, but with her own hands to foolish one tears hers down." Don't be a fool. Don't get so busy that you tear down your home. If you don't know how to go about building a home, find an older woman who can help teach you. Women, let's reclaim home building as the calling God intended for us.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Bullies Beware

I've been reading some headlines this week about bullies and their victims. I find it interesting when I read the comments from others that say things like, "Bullying has to stop." and "Something should be done about this." It seems to me that bullies have been around forever and will always be around because we are a sinful people always wanting our own way so that our lives are as comfortable as we can make them. Heck, even Satan is a bully.

Doesn't he come to you when you have messed up and tell you how worthless you are? Doesn't he whisper to you that you will never amount to anything and that no one could ever really love you if they knew what you were really like? Doesn't he tempt you to take the easy way out when things get hard? Doesn't he beat you over the head with every mistake you have ever made? He is the supreme bully, isn't he?

Do you know the story of the little boy who was being bullied on his way to school each day? He finally told his parents about it and decided to stand up to the bully. He was scared, after all the bully was at least three times his size and had a reputation as the meanest kid in the school, but the little boy was determined. When he met up with the bully the next morning, he stood his ground, knees shaking. As he told the bully to leave him alone and not bother him any more a wonderous thing happened. A look of fear came over the bully's face and he turned and left. What the young boy didn't know was that his older brother had followed him and stood a discreet distance behind nodding his head while the bully was being confronted. The bully got the message.

You have a big brother who will do the same for you. Stand up to Satan and tell him that you are not falling for his lies and deceit any longer. Confront him and let him know that you don't want him hanging around any more. You don't have to fear. Your big brother is right behind you ready to add all of his considerable power to the battle. The best thing of all is that we already know how that fight ends. Someday there will be an end to bullying everywhere. Until then, we must lean on Jesus.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The King's Christmas List

I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson Publishing in exchange for my honest review. I really appreciated the new direction that this book takes in the realm of Christmas stories. So many Christmas stories for kids are centered around Santa Claus and gifts that it is easy to forget that the holiday is about celebrating the birth of Christ. Christian Christmas stories celebrate the birth of the King, but often stop there. This story goes one step further.
Just what does a king want as a birthday present? Obviously we would want to give him the very best things we have to offer, but is that really what He wants from us? I like the message given in this book. Reading through this book could easily become a family holiday tradition that sparks some great conversations with your young children. Not only that, there are opportunities for your family to take part in giving a gift to the King listed at the back of the book.
This is a good story for your children. The pictures are also very engaging. My biggest complaint is the name of the little girl's dog, Shu-shu.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Count Your Many Blessings

I woke up this morning and took a deep breath. My husband smiled at me. I got out of a comfortable bed in my beautiful home and chose what to wear from a large selection of clothing. I went downstairs to gather my healthy children so that I could drive them to cross country practice in one of our cars that my handy husband keeps in working order. There was a bright, full moon out to light our way. I was able to spend a peaceful 30 minutes after running reading my Bible and praying.After exercise we headed home so everyone could shower (thanks to my husbands ability to fix the pump last week). All of the stinky clothes went into the washer which Stan fixed last night. We ate breakfast, once again choosing from a variety of available foods. I have hardly started my day and the blessings are more than I can write. It is amazing that God has given me so much, and I still whine and complain.

One of the first verses my kids learned is Philippians 2:14"Do everything without complaining or arguing." Memorizing that is so much easier than the actual practice. I keep trying to say, "But, God..." Funny, I don't let my kids get away with that, but I try it on my heavenly Father just the same. Anyway, one of the things that has helped me out is a little further along in Philippians. Paul writes in 4:11-12 "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have leaned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation..." Learning to be content where I am keeps me from complaining about where I am. The best way that I know of to learn to be content is to try to list the blessings that God has already given me. I can't even think them fast enough, much less write them down.

God has blessed each and everyone of us more than we can begin to understand or appreciate. He created the whole amazing universe. He gave us life. Most of us walk on two good legs. We see. We hear. We feel. Someone somewhere cares about us. We have food to eat, water to drink, clothes to wear and a bed to sleep in. We are blessed, blessed, abundantly blessed and it is about time we started realizing it. When we do, I am convinced we will be more than content to let God continue in the same vein and stop complaining that we don't have the "latest and greatest". We have something so much better.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Enthralling Beauty

I have such a terrific husband. We have been married for almost 29 years, and there has not been one day gone by that he hasn't told me that I am beautiful. The best part is that he really means it. It is a real blessing to me to hear that from him, but I know that I frustrate him a lot because I just can't see it. I think that our eyes must work differently because when I look in the mirror, beautiful is not the word that comes to my mind.

Lately, I have become aware of my sin in this. Stan is a man of integrity. Why do I think he isn't telling the truth here? It is because I have allowed myself to believe the lie that Satan is selling, that I just don't measure up. He tells me that in so many ways, not just in the looks department. Does he whisper in your ear too? Are you not nice enough, generous enough, doing enough, smart enough, loving enough, peaceful enough, blameless enough? Stop right there. He is leading you down a path of lies. Grab yourself a Bible and start filling your head with the truths found in God's Word.

I still don't think that I measure up to America's standard of beauty, but I have learned that I am downright gorgeous in God's eyes. Psalm 45:11 says, "The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him for he is your lord." He knows me inside and out, the good parts and the truly ugly stuff, yet He tells me that I am beautiful, that He is enthralled, and that I should honor Him. I still may not get it, but I am working on believing. Stan is not going to hear me answer him with, "Are you crazy?" or, "You need some glasses." anymore. God has made me and I am beautiful. Like we said as kids, "God don't make no junk."

Monday, September 13, 2010

How Great Is Our God

Do you ever start to think that you are all that and a bag of chips? Yeah, me too. Sometimes (more often than I would like to admit) I start thinking that the planets are shifting ever so slightly and beginning to revolve around me. It seems logical at the time, after all, I am the center of my own little universe. Then I walk out the front door on my way to some meeting or other and look up at the night sky. Wow! That is humbling.

Just the little bit of sky that we can see from our own front yard can remind me of who is really the center of the universe. God's awesome power is there on display for all to see and say, "Aah, yes, THAT is God's work. He truly is amazing beyond what we can comprehend." I am in awe of God, the creator of everything. At times I wish my mind was big enough to "get" even a little piece of Him, but, then I realize that if I could, then He wouldn't be God.

If I thought that the night sky was an incredible example of God's power, creativity, and care, can you imagine my reaction to pictures from the Huble Telescope? THAT, my friends, is truly an awesome God worthy of all our praise, adoration and worship. He alone created all of that with just a word. Can you imagine? I can't. Isn't it wonderful that our God is so big? How can we possibly have a single worry or care in the world when we know that the God who created about 350,000,000,000 galaxies yet knows the number of hairs on our heads is in control? The very same God that set the world in motion is the God who hears your prayers? He is all powerful, all knowing and all sufficient. Praise Him for He alone is worthy.

I now own the book "The Heavens Proclaim His Glory" which contains pictures from the Huble. It sits on my coffee table. I don't have to wait for a clear night to bring my back to my place. I am reminded each morning. "Astronomers are now convinced that there are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on the beaches of the world. When you consider that our sun - the star - is a grain of sand, this makes Earth infinitesimally small! And on this eensy speck of earth, out of the billions of people, the Lord of the universe came to earth to save you. Truly, the heavens declare not only His glory, but His mercy! Joni Eareckson Tada
Is that the God you are worshipping?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Heavens Proclaim His Glory

Even though I received this book as a part of Booksneeze for my honest review, I would willingly have paid the asking price. I have often sat outside on a clear night and marveled at the creativity and awesome power of God. This book has just made that reality even more apparent. The incredible pictures from the Huble Telescope begin to open our eyes to how truly vast and wonderful this universe is. It is a reminder to us that "His art, His handiwork, and His creation all echo the truth that HE is glorious." Franci Chan. I am more in awe and more inspired by God after seeing these pictures and reading about the enormity of our universe. How powerful he must be to have spoken all of this into existence.
Not only did the book have the most spectacular pictures, there was much information about the stars, planets, and galaxies. My children were able to study this for their science lessons. We realize that there still is much for us to learn and we have only just now begun the lessons.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Of Combat Boots and Swim Fins

God surprises me sometimes. Really He surprises me most of the time, but when He reminds me that He cares about the little, "unimportant" things in my life, I am amazed and feel like falling down on my face in grateful adoration for such a loving father. I want to share a couple times in the past few months that God has blown me away with His generosity.

Jesse is involved in the Sea Cadets program (I can't say enough good things about the program and his unit. If you have kids 11-17, you should check it out). This winter they did a field training exercise that meant they were out in the wild for three days, marching and wearing their combat boots the whole time. The unit provides the uniforms for the kids as long as they have some that fit. That means that Jesse has been wearing combat boots that are really a half size too small for a while because there were none his size. I wanted to get him some that fit, but they don't come cheap and everyone needed other shoes and stuff, so those were a low priority. I daydreamed about buying him boots, but that was as far as it went, for me anyway. God had another plan. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills and I guess He owns a bunch of combat boots too because the unit received a brand new pair in Jesse's size that he was able to get and use. No marching for three days in boots too small. God is good!

When Jesse got back from field ops, we began to research summer training opportunities. He picked out the ones for this year, and we looked at what he might be interested in the following summer. Many were advanced training that would involve scuba training. I began to long to expose him to scuba training before next summer so that he would feel more comfortable about doing an advanced training. Silly me, did I go to God to ask for this. No. Not me. I don't want to bother Him with that. He has important things to care about. So, again, I daydreamed about scuba lessons for Jesse and investigated the cost (wow, they are not cheap), but that was it. This past Saturday at drill we were informed that the cadets will become scuba certified as part of their drills this year. They will receive their lessons, masks, snorkel, dive bag, weight belt, boots, fins and log book along with scuba certification. They will even be taking a weekend trip to do their open water dives. All that for $125 (less if we can do some serious fundraising). How incredibly good is God?

I am so richly blessed to have a God that cares so much for me that He provides ALL of my needs and so many of my desires. As pitiful as it is, He deserves all that I am. I can't wait until heaven when I am able to worship and thank Him as He deserves for ever and ever. I hope that you know this God and have that same longing to meet Him.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What's in a Name?

A dear friend of mine died a couple of weeks ago. That's right. She died. She didn't pass away, move on, kick the bucket, check out, or go to Davy Jones' locker. She died. Just like the rest of us, she was a sinner and, as the Bible tells us, the wages of sin is death.
Sometimes it seems like, in an effort to be more gentle and loving or to not offend, we tone down the message of the Bible and lose something in the process. Dead. It sounds so final, so complete, so desolate. Unlike those alternatives we like to use, death sounds like what it is. Death is the end of this life here.
Fortunately, that doesn't have to be the end of the story. Jesus came to live a perfect life, die on the cross, and rise again in order to defeat death. He paid the wages of our sin. Yes, death is the end of this life here, but for those whose hope is in the Lord, it is only the beginning of eternity.
Let's stop trying to sugar-coat the message of the Bible and just tell it like it is. You are a sinner. You are going to die. You deserve an eternity in hell. The good news is that God's free gift is eternity with Him for those whom He has chosen before the foundations of the Earth. I am glad that Carolyn was one of those women, and I look forward to joining her in heaven one day.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Remember the Cross

Satan is so very sneaky. He takes the truth and twists it just a little and has us running around doing his bidding if we are not careful.

In talking with friends the past few months, one subject has come up more than once. It is the question, "How can I be sure of my salvation?" I am convinced that the question comes up because we have been listening to the little whispers from the Father of Lies. Do you remember when you realized that Jesus Christ was your Lord and Savior? You knew right then and there that He had come to Earth as a baby, lived a perfect life, died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins and rose to sit at the right hand of God. What made you forget that or doubt it?

For me, it was the fact that I continue to sin. I want to do the right things. I want to be patient, loving, merciful, gentle, joyful, and faithful. I want to love my neighbor and my enemy, but some days I find it hard to love my own family. I still sin. The worst of it is that the more I learn about God, His character, and what holiness really is, the worse I realize that I am. I know that even though I am saved, I am still a depraved sinner. Somehow, I start listening to Satan when he says I am not good enough. That needs to stop. I am not good enough, neither are you. The truth is we weren't good enough that first day, but God chose us anyway. He picked us before the foundation of the world to become part of the bride of Christ. We weren't any good then, but we accepted the gift. Somewhere along the way, we decided that Satan was right and now we must start working our way to heaven.

Stop. Right now. Get on your knees and confess to God that you have been trying to earn your way. You took His free gift and attached a price tag to it. Remember the joy of His salvation and the peace that He alone can provide. "Eternal life is a gift from God, not by works, so that no one can boast." Continually visit the truth of the cross. Christ already paid for your sins: past, present and future. Stop doubting and grab hold of the truth. He doesn't need you to add anything to the work He has done. Rest in Him and know that you are His.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Getting Them Ready

I heard an old interview with Mickey Mantle yesterday. He was talking about the fact that even before he was born, his dad was planning on him being a baseball player. He was named after a player. Every day his dad and his grandfather would pitch to him so that he could practice hitting both right and left handed. It reminded me of the story of Hannah in the Bible. Weird, I know.

Hannah desperately wanted a baby boy. She prayed fervently for a son and promised that she would give him to serve the Lord all of his life. Samuel lived with her until he was weaned. In that time, I am sure that she did all that she could do to prepare him for the life he was to lead. When she could no longer teach him, he was brought to the temple to learn from Eli, the priest. She prayed for him before he was born, and I am sure she continued to pray after he left her care.

These stories reminded me yet again of my duty as a parent to prepare my children for their future. Yes, I want them to have a job they enjoy, a spouse to love and children of their own, but the most important thing is that they love the Lord and glorify Him in all they do. I can't make them love God. I know that. What I can do is teach them who God is and what He has done for us. I can model a life that seeks to put Him first, always. I can share my struggles, doubts, and questions. I can point out the many blessings that we have received from the Lord. There is much that I can do as a parent to prepare my children for true success in their future and there isn't much time to do it. I am so glad they are home with me so that we can use each moment. I hope that when they are adults, they will look back and see that even before they were born, God was getting them ready for an eternity with Him, and they will remember a mother who prayed daily that God would grow them closer to Him.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Beyond Opinion

I love listening to Ravi Zacharias, and I really wanted to get educated a little in apologetics, so I looked forward to reading this book. I think that I got more than I bargained for here. Although, I think that the authors did a fantastic job here, this book was a tough read. There is so much to learn and think about, so many questions to consider, that I was overwhelmed. I was hoping for a little education, but got very bogged down in going through the book. I appreciated all that was written, and I learned a lot from these men and women, but it was much, much more than I was looking for.
I thought the way the book was set up was great. The first section addresses questions brought up by different people groups concerning Christianity. This is very helpful, especially if you have been talking with someone asking those questions. The second section takes the reader to the questions behind the questions which is where I began to be bogged down. I would only recommend this particular book to a serious student.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I Love Him, I Love Him Not

Ladies, it is our call to love our husbands. This isn't a conditional love that is based on his deserving our love. It is a command of God to love the man that He has given to us. Even if you did not seek God's input when you said, "yes", this marriage of yours is not outside the will of God. That is it. He is sovereign and brought the two of you together for better or worse. Now, it is up to you to choose to love your husband more than yourself.

I know that there are days that it is hard to love that man who strews his dirty laundry around the house, snores, and tracks mud on your just washed floors. It can be difficult to choose to love the man who never says,"I love you" back, doesn't seem to consider your opinion in anything, and never gives a compliment. It is a struggle to love the man who has no use for God, doesn't go to church, and takes the Lord's name in vain. When it seems beyond your abilities to love this man, remember that God is with you and will bear your burdens.

I encourage you to go to God on your knees and ask Him to let you see your husband as He sees him. A wise man once told me that if we could see the person next to us as God does, we would be so in awe of them that we would be tempted to worship them. At times it may seem unbelievable that you would be tempted to worship that man, but he is God's glorious creation. He does bear the image of the creator of the universe. Sit with God a while and view your spouse through His eyes. You will be glad you did.

Next, make a list of those qualities in your mate that you truly appreciate. Does he take out the trash without you nagging him? Maybe he goes out of his way to compliment you on those days you are feeling fat. Is he a good provider? great father? loyal friend? hard worker? Spend your time concentrating on those qualities that you admire in him. Read over your list each morning. Tell him what it is you love about him. In fact, tell others, too. As you dwell on those things, God will reveal more and more good qualities that you have overlooked. You will be reminded what an incredible catch your spouse really is.

In this world, nothing happens by accident. God is in control of all things. That includes your marriage. You did not meet by chance, date on a whim, or fall in love by accident. Nothing happens outside of the will of the Lord. If you lean on Him, God will use your spouse to make you into the woman that He desires you to be. Even if he doesn't know the Lord, you are called to be faithful, and by doing so, may lead him to salvation. If we, as Christian women, would take our job of loving our husbands seriously, we could greatly impact the world. The divorce rate in the church would diminish and the world would notice. They would begin to listen to what God has to say to them. Evangelize the world, love your husbands.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Where is the Honor? Where is the Fear?

"A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you.. Malachi 1:6
This was to the Israelites thousands of years ago, but could easily be directed at the American church of today. Where is the honor that God deserves and demands, especially during our worship services? We dress more casually to meet with God than we do to have dinner with our corporate clients. We stroll in a few minutes late for service totally unprepared to worship. Would that happen in your work world? We accept the words of the preacher without ever opening our Bibles to verify what he says, yet every word out of the mouth of a politician is scrutinized, discussed, and mulled over for weeks. If we think that this is giving God honor, we are sadly mistaken.
Where is the fear? When is the last time you heard the preacher tell you that you are a depraved sinner? Did he tell you that you are destined for the eternal fires of hell if you don't repent and trust in Christ? Does he paint for you a picture of a thrice holy, jealous God who will share his glory with no one. Do you tremble at the thought of standing before your maker? Are you in awe of his power? If that is not the message that you are hearing at your church, maybe you should consider finding a new place to worship. God is awesomely divine and we are totally wretched. Christ is the ONLY thing that can bridge that gap, and bridging that gap is our greatest need, not godly character, good morals, grace based parenting or mutual submission. Reconciliation with the Most High God is what you need. That is the message you need to hear. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom.
Malachi also says,"I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand." Don't let it come to that, friends. Seek to please the Lord by offering Him the worship that He desires and demands. Stop looking to please man and make the unbeliever comfortable. Seek God's glory first and He will be pleased and will bless you abundantly.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Is It the Method or the Message?

I've been considering the lives of Jeremiah and Jonah. These two men were chosen by God to proclaim the message "repent or suffer the consequences"(my paraphrase). Although both men were called by God to spread the same message, that is about the only thing they seem to have had in common.

Consider Jonah. He was called to preach and knew that the result would be God granting forgiveness. God called him to preach to the Ninevites. These were not friends, family or even dearly loved neighbors, but rather, the enemy. To say that Jonah was not excited about the job would be an understatement. Jonah did not want to preach to the people of Nineveh because he didn't want God to forgive them and save their city. If he had thought the people would not respond positively to the message, I think he would have been happy to head over there to tell them that they were vile sinners and God was going to destroy the city. Not Jonah, he actually pouted when his preaching was used by God to change the hearts of a multitude of people. Do you know many preachers that would react that way to such an overwhelmingly positive response? Jonah went to a people he hated with a message of salvation that he didn't want to give and they were saved from destruction.

Now, think about Jeremiah. Here is a man who was humble enough to doubt his abilities in preaching God's word, yet he obeyed. Jeremiah went to his own countrymen, people he knew and loved with a message from God to repent or be destroyed. Jeremiah longed for his hearers to react positively to his message. He wept over the people who turned a deaf ear to his proclamations. For all of his desire to see repentance, how many did Jeremiah get to see change? None. Jeremiah went to the people he loved with a message from their God, and he wanted more than anything for them to be saved.

Jonah saw a whole city repent and be saved. Jeremiah saw none repent, and they were destroyed. The American church of today would declare Jonah effective and want to copy his methods. Does that mean we should hate those to whom we preach and be angry when they repent? Success in evangelism is not measured by the number of people who join the church. Success is measured in our obedience to God. Do you really think that God found Jeremiah ineffective because no one repented? God used both Jonah and Jeremiah to accomplish his purpose.

These days the church seems to be very caught up in the methods of evangelism and preaching. The methods don't matter. The message does. Like these prophets we are called to preach the gospel to all we meet. The Holy Spirit will move as God has willed to save his elect. We have nothing to do with it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lessons from David

I've been reading in my Bible lately about David and have learned some things that I need to apply to my life. There is a lot to learn from a man after God's heart,so I am just touching on a few. Maybe it will encourage you to get out your Bible and study about him a little yourself.

Lesson 1: SHUT YOUR EYES. I make snap judgements all of the time because of the way a person looks or dresses. If you are dressed all in black with dyed black hair and thick eyeliner, I assume certain things about you. If you are in a suit and tie with polished shoes, I assume different things. It is so unfair, wrong, and against the will of God. I know I shouldn't do it, but I do, and I am not sure how to stop. I do know this, though. God sees right through that outside covering into the heart. God chose the least likely of Jesse's sons to become the king of Israel. Why? Not because of anything that anyone could see on the outside, but because his heart was right with God. I pray that I will one day stop judging the book by the cover, until then, I promise to continue to work on it.

Lesson 2: WAIT YOUR TURN. When David was anointed as the new king, he didn't run off to the palace and kick Saul off the throne. He went back to the pasture to take care of his father's flock. David treated Saul with the respect that was due to the king. He even went to court to play music for the king and fought in the army for him. Did it run through his mind that these things were below him? Did he think he might die in battle and never get to be king? Did he ever want to shout out to God, "Hey, I'm not getting any younger here"? I would have. David spent the time learning and growing so he would be a better king. God's timing is perfect. I've seen it in David's life, and I've seen it in mine. Now, I just need to remember that when I get impatient with Him.

Lesson3: REPENT AND MOVE ON. David sure wasn't perfect. In fact, if we compare sins (as we Americans so often do) his were pretty big. Adultery and murder rank right up there. We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We know that. What we need to do is acknowledge our sins, repent and move on. When David was confronted with his sin and realized what he had done, he was sorry. Boy was he sorry. His passion is evident in the Psalms. He begged God for forgiveness and trusted that God would forgive as He promised. Then David moved on with his life. He doesn't constantly refer back to how he messed up his life, how things would have been better if he had obeyed, or how he should just give up obeying God because he'd already screwed up so badly. David understood that God forgives the truly repentant and their sins are no more. We need to trust God more and move on with our lives. We are forgiven. Praise Him.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What's Good for the Goose...

Like the good Christian homeschooling mom that I am, I make sure that my kids spend time each day memorizing Scripture. When they were young, I scoured stores for Bible verses set to music so we could learn while we were driving around town. I made sure that we went over the memory verses sent home from Sunday School, Junior Church and Wednesday night programs. I was determined that my kids would have God's Word hidden in their hearts. The problem was that I forgot about me.

Why was I so sure that this was an important, actually mandatory, task for my kids, but not for me? Where did I get off thinking that I was immune to needing to memorize scripture? Don't get me wrong. I have actually memorized quite a bit. It is amazing how much you can learn from listening to those songs as you drive your five kids from place to place. But, I have not been purposeful in my scripture memory. I was lazy and not convicted of the importance in my life (after all, you know, I am awfully busy and I do stop to read the Bible and pray each morning so that should be good enough, right? WRONG!)

I am placing myself in your hands by sharing my desire to get serious about memorizing God's Word. I want you to hold me accountable. When you see me, ask me to recite the latest verses I've learned. I need you because, even though I know how important it is, I am still that same lazy sinner. So,just why should we make the effort to add scripture memory to our already hectic schedules?

1. Our whole life is about sanctification. We are to be constantly moving toward being more Christlike. Jesus certainly had his scriptures down. We should work at it too.
2. The Bible tells us that we have the power to triumph over sin. Where to we get that power? The Word. Psalm 119 asks "How can a young man keep his way pure?" and answers the question with "I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." If we know God's Word, we will win in the sin battle.
3. Jesus shows us that memorizing scripture will allow us to defeat Satan. When Christ was tempted in the wilderness, he did not beat Satan, didn't yell, didn't run. He battled Satan with the Word of God. Satan often tries to use bits of scripture out of context or to twist things. If we really know what the Bible says, we are able to see his lies more clearly and thwart his purposes.
4. Knowing scripture allows us to offer godly comfort and counsel when friends or loved ones are hurting. It is awkward to have to stop to look up a verse when someone is hurting. What a blessing to them to have you speak truth from your heart.
5. I Peter 3:15 reminds us to "always be prepared to five an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." They will ask. Your life is different and people will want to know why. Memorizing scripture will help to to share the good news of the gospel with them.
6. Knowing scripture and meditating on it allows us to know our Lord and Creator in an intimate way. I love my husband very much and after spending 28 years living with him, I know much about him. The more I know about him, the more I love and appreciate who he is. If this is the case with my husband, how much more so it should be with my God. I desperately need to spend time with and know who God is to grow my love for him and learn to appreciate who He is and what He has done.

These are reasons that I am convicted to get serious about this scripture memory thing. There are more, many more. How about the fact that it helps you to recognize falsehoods being spouted by some very popular figures or that learning new things helps to keep your brain active and lessen the effects of Alzheimer's? Come on. Join me. I promise that you'll be glad you did.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


My dictionary says respect is a regard for or appreciation of the fundamental worth or value of someone or something. I'd say that our society is missing this important value. Maybe it is because we don't have to work hard for things anymore. We just plop down the plastic and it is ours (as long as we can keep up the minimum monthly payments). Maybe it is our freedom of speech gone awry. We denigrate political figures, religious leaders, and entertainment stars holding them to a standard that we would not be able to keep in their position. Maybe it is because we teach students in our schools that we are all an accident of cosmic proportions instead of a special creation made by a loving God. I don't know what it is that has caused us to lose respect, but we need to regain it.

Why shouldn't our children learn to say,"Yes, ma'am." and, "No, sir."? Shouldn't we honor the office of President of the United States even if we don't agree with or didn't vote for the man who holds the office currently? Isn't it better for society if we hold our tongues about private family matters instead of airing them on national television inviting the scorn of thousands. Can't we say to our neighbor, "I understand what you are saying, but I don't agree with you." without it being grounds for a neighborhood battle?

Respect doesn't mean I have to agree with everything that you say or do. It means that I am considerate and treat you with courtesy. I regard you as at least as important as I am. Maybe that is really why respect is missing these days. We have all become too selfish to consider anyone else. I know I'll be working on that. How about you?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Dem Bones

I've been doing a little studying about Ezekiel and his valley of dry bones. What an incredible vision that was, and what a statement for God to make through His prophet.
As I read the news, catch glimpses of the tabloid covers, and listen to various conversations around me, I realize how much like those dry bones we in America are becoming. The fact that the bones were just lying there on the ground was a statement in itself. Israel had great respect for the dead. Bones would never be left out in the open for wild animals to disturb. The bones had been around quite a while. There was no flesh left on them at all. In fact the bones were even scattered so that one was not connected to another. These were dead people. Long dead. There was no hope of life left in that valley. In spite of that God asks Ezekiel if these bones can live again. Stupid question? It would seem so from our perspective, but Ezekiel knows that he serves the Almighty God who is able to do all His holy will. Ezekiel's answer? "God, you know."
Is this a parallel to America of today? Is the respect gone? Are we turning into a pile of dead bones that can not see or hear the truth? Is there no hope for life in this valley? Some would answer "yes". I say, "God knows" and since God knows, we must continually hope and work as if there is life. So what does that mean for us as Christians?
Ezekiel was able to see those bones reconnect, develop sinews, grow flesh and lastly get the breath of life to become a vast army. How did it happen? Through the preaching of the Word. That was all it took. There was no concern for cultural relevance. How do you relate to dead bones? You can't. They don't need you to play contemporary music, perform dramas, or offer exciting children's programs. The only thing that can bring the dead to life is the Word of God.
Do you want to see the dead bones of America become a vast army for God? I sure do. Preach the Word. That is not just the job of the paid professionals. It is the call to all Christians. Tell the world who Jesus Christ is and what He has done. Belief in His perfect life and atoning death on the cross is all that will bring the dead to life, and they will not hear if we do not preach.
Al Mohler tells us that "Above all this story of the bones testifies to the power and the sovereignty of God. It reminds us that god glories in bringing life out of death. In fact, that is the very essence of the gospel we preach. It is the hope of our calling." Isn't it, in fact, exactly what God did for you?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

9 Marks of a Healthy Church

What makes a church strong and healthy? How can we know if our church is on the right path? What should be the concerns of the church and what should not? These are questions that have recently come to the forefront of our family's discussions as we struggled with where God would have us meet weekly to worship Him.

Mark Dever's 9 Marks of a Healthy Church does much to answer these questions by holding the church to biblical standards. In this day and age of conflicting standards it is good to be reminded that there is only one truth, and that is the standard we need to hold. God has a plan for his bride, and we forget that to our detriment.

Ex positional preaching, Biblical theology, the Gospel, a Biblical understanding of conversion, evangelism and church membership, a concern for discipline, discipleship and growth, and Biblical leadership are those things that Dever's feels mark a healthy, Biblical church. Healthy churches are not concerned with conforming to the culture, but to the Bible. They do not worry that the church is too formal, too "churchy" or too uncomfortable for those who are lost, but rather depend on God to fulfill his promise that His Word will not return void.

I found this book to be very helpful in evaluating churches as we looked for a new church home. I think that every Christian would want to sit down and have serious look at the church they are involved in. Ask yourself, " Is my church healthy?" If not, look at the standards and figure out what you can do to improve the health of your church. It is our responsibility as Christians to hold all churches to the Biblical standard. Sometimes that job is best done from within the church, but sometimes it requires that we "saturate the church with our absence" in order to find a healthy home. Remember too, that just because your church is healthy today, you can't sit back and relax. We must be ever vigilant against the lies that the enemy will use to move us off the right path.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lessen Your Chance of Dying?

A couple of nights ago I caught this teaser for the late night news, "Where you should live to lessen your chance of dying". Seriously? Really? Who honestly thinks they can lessen their chance of dying? Face it, like Nathan's new t-shirt says, "You're gonna die." We can't get out of it. It is a forgone conclusion to this life. Every one of us has a 100% chance of dying and that is all there is to it.

It made me wonder, though. Are we so afraid of dying now that instead of just not talking about it we are going to act like we can avoid it? Tonights news teaser is a new test that can tell us if we are going to live to be 100. Man, there is not much I would like less than having to hang around here that long. This is not my home and I am getting tired of the visit. Don't get me wrong. I love my husband, kids, friends,church, activities, the beach, Disney World, and a bunch of other things, but I am not going to miss any of it when I get home. I can't wait to spend my time glorifying the One who is worthy. It is going to be so awesome. I hope that you will join me there, even if I have to wait until you are 100.

By the way, just in case you are interested, you really can't lessen your chance of dying, but men have a long life expectancy in Iceland and women in Greece. Maybe keeping them separated has something to do with it.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What Is Evangelism?

John Stott say that, "to evangelize... does not mean to win converts... but simply to announce the good news, irrespective of the results." That is it folks. Plain and simple. It is not our job to convert the lost. It is our job to tell the Good News that Christ died on the cross to pay the price for our sin and sits today at the right hand of God the Father offering forgiveness to those he chooses.

Too many see evangelism as an imposition. They feel that our goal is to bring others around to our way of thinking. The problem with this is that it is not my way of thinking. My desire is for others to see the truth in all its glory so that they may live a life filled with joy and peace and that God name will be praised throughout the world. It is not my way of thinking at all. It is God's way of thinking. It is the right way of thinking. It is the truth. I can not make someone become a Christian. I can not force them to believe. No matter how persuasive my arguments or eloquent my speech, no matter how entertaining my delivery or winsome my manner, I have no power to change the heart and that is what is needed for conversion. I only have power to proclaim a great and holy God who is creator, ruler and judge over the universe. A God who sent His Son to live a perfect life, die on the cross to pay the penalty for sin, and rise to conquer death for those he has chosen. Someday you will meet Him. That is the way it is.

And that, folks, is evangelism. Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. We don't need to gloss over our sinfulness, the pain and gore of Christ's death, or the fact that not all are chosen. We don't need to be awesome speakers or professionals. God uses the weak, foolish things of this world to accomplish His purposes. That includes us.

God used and old deacon filling in the pulpit one snowy Sunday to open the eyes of Charles Spurgeon. The message? " Look unto Christ! That's all you gotta do, just look unto Christ!" repeated over and over again. God used an Indian mother who could barely speak English, let alone read it, reading the chapter of John in the King James to a suicidal son to lead Ravi Zaccarias to himself. He even brought a mocker of Whitefield to repentance as he was mimicking Whitefield's sermon. God will win those He has chosen. The results are not up to us. We are called to be obedient in presenting the gospel. Let us get on with it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fruit Trees

When Amber was born Stan and I decided that we would plant a tree in the yard for each of our children. Her tree was a live oak which, 26 years later, stands tall and strong and shades a large part of our back yard.

Ten years later, we chose citrus trees for the twins. We planted an orange and a grapefruit tree in the side yard near the well. Both trees died within a year. This is not an unusual occurrence in my life because not only do I not have a green thumb, I actually have 10 black fingers. I kill much of what I plant. In spite of this, we decided to give it another try. This time we went to a nursery and bought larger trees. We got fertilizer, plant food and specific instructions for our trees. Within two years the trees produced fragrant blossoms that perfumed the whole yard. Soon tiny green fruit appeared. Unfortunately, we never got anything more than tiny, green fruit. It seems that when our house was built, the builder dumped all of the trash in the yard and covered it with a small layer of dirt and sodded over it. This meant that our poor citrus trees didn't develop the deep roots needed to produce the tasty fruit we were looking for.

The Bible compares us to fruit trees quite a bit. We are told that you know a tree by its fruit. Sometimes we get excited when we see fruit start to appear only to find that it doesn't mature because there are no deep roots. Yes, we can show some fruit as baby Christians, and that is good. It encourages us all to see change come about because of the Word of God. The problem comes when the fruit never matures. We can not be content to produce inedible green fruit. We need to follow what God tells us in Psalms 1:2-3 "But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither."

If we want to produce good, life-sustaining fruit, we need to be in God's Word. We need to spend time every day reading, meditating and memorizing what God has to say to us. We need to be in a church where we are continually refocused on God's revelation of Himself through the Scriptures. This blessed Word is better than all of the fertilizer and plant food you can find anywhere else. This is what will produce an abundant crop of mature, sweet fruit that will be a blessing to many. So, how is your tree doing?

Friday, May 14, 2010

If the house is dark when nightfall comes, there is no sense in blaming the house; that is what happens when the sun goes down. The question to ask is "Where is the light?" Similarly, if the meat goes bad and becomes inedible, there is not sense in blaming the meat; that is what happens when bacteria are left alone to breed. The question to ask is "Where is the salt?" Just so, if society deteriorates and its standards decline until it becomes like a dark night or a stinking fish, there is no sense in blaming society; that is what happens when fallen men and women are left to themselves, and human selfishness is unchecked. The question to ask is " Where is the Church? Why are the salt and light of Jesus Christ not permeating and changing our society?" It is sheer hypocrisy on our part to raise our eyebrows, shrug our shoulders, or wring our hands. The Lord Jesus told us to be the world's salt and light. If therefore darkness and rottenness abound, it is largely our fault and we must accept the blame. - John Stott

I confess. Sometimes it is much easier for me to be around Christians than non-Christians. It is a safe place for me to move and I can almost be on auto pilot as I go through the day. But that is not what God has called me to. I am to be in the world just not of it. I am to take part in the activities and daily life that goes on around me. Most importantly, I am to be a representative of the Most Holy God before those who do not know Him. I haven't been doing as good a job as I should. It is hard. It is uncomfortable. It makes me nervous.

I am so grateful that Jesus didn't use those excuses. He was willing to leave Heaven and come to Earth in the first place so that there would be light and salt. I am sure that it would have been easier for him to hang around with the angels than with us sinners. It was bound to be more comfortable at the Father's right hand than hanging on a cross. But he didn't stop to think about what He would prefer, He was about bringing glory to God.

Salt kills the bacteria, preserves the meat and adds flavor to the dish. Light ends the darkness and shows the way. Neither one is comfortable. Salt stings. Light makes you squint if you've been in the dark too long. Being salt and light is not easy and does not bring you popularity, but it is desperately needed in this world. Stop shaking your head and shrugging your shoulders and get out there with the Truth.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Hole In Our Gospel

The title of this Richard Stearns book intrigued me. As far as I knew there was no hole in the gospel. Nothing was missing in my book, so I decided to read and see what he had to say. I confess that I usually look to see who has reviewed a book before I start reading. I don't read what they say, I just want to see who has been reading it. I shouldn't have done that with this book because it gave me the wrong impression before I started.

While I understand what Stearns is saying about a hole in the gospel, I don't really like the way that statement comes across. He is right. Too many of our churches, therefore, too many of our church goers are not getting the whole message, but that does not mean that there is a hole in the gospel. That means the church is failing in getting the whole message across. Our preachers are focusing too much on the Savior role of Christ and not enough on the Lordship of Christ.

Stearns encourages us as fellow believers (and even non-believers) to do what we can to help others. While he focuses greatly on the poor and HIV affected in Africa, he does remind us that reaching out to those in our own backyard is needed too. I really appreciate his desire to see the church mobilized to do great things for God's glory. I hope that many will read this book and be moved to look around and start utilizing their gifts to serve the Lord.

I think it is impossible to read this book without being moved. We who have so much need to be reminded often how much that really is. Even though I feel the book is misnamed, it is worth reading and acting upon.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Patience Grows Slowly

I have to laugh every time I hear someone say they could never homeschool because they just aren't patient enough. I'm sure that God is getting a good chuckle out of it too. The reason this is so funny is that I am such an incredibly impatient person that if patience were a criteria for homeschooling, I wouldn't even be allowed to spell the word. I really dislike when things disrupt my plans. How can it be that my kids "don't get" Algebra? I read the explanation in the book and understand it just fine. How can they not have finished the 5 page research paper? They had a whole week to work on it (along with said Algebra, Literature, Science, Baseball practice, Spanish, and housework). Mowing the neighbors lawn while she is in the hospital giving birth is not on the schedule, but they are delighted to offer this gift to them.

I didn't get into homeschooling because I was a patient person. Our family started homeschooling because we felt it was the best choice for us. Homeschooling allows us to grow together as a family. It gives us the opportunity to make attitude adjustments immediately. It helps us to teach our children that character counts and part of that character is patience. I didn't start this journey as a patient person and I'm still not there. Patient is not a word that anyone I know would use in their top 10 words to describe me, but I am growing. Not only am I growing in patience, but my children are getting to see an example of God working over a long period to make us more like Him.

Will I ever be a patient person? At the rate I'm going I'd have to live to be 300, but that is okay. God is patient with my impatience. I must go to Him constantly repenting, asking forgiveness, and begging Him to help me grow. You know what? He does. Much of the time He uses my kids and homeschooling to do it. Don't let a lack of patience keep you from considering homeschooling your children. God has enough for both of you, and if you work with Him, yours will grow.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Real Toughest Job

Anyone who has had the job knows that motherhood is the toughest job in the world. It is 24/7/365 with no monetary compensation and very little praise for a job well done. There is no training manual and very little opportunity to learn from past experience because each situation and child are so very different. In spite of all that it is the very best job anyone could have, but I don't think it is the real "toughest job in the world". To me, that title goes to the single moms out there.

My mom was a single mom when they were a pretty rare breed. My dad died when I was in fifth grade and that made her the only single mom that I knew. I didn't appreciate the difficulty of the job as I was growing up and probably still don't fully. She never got time off. When she had a tough day at work, she still had to come home and do all the house stuff. She didn't get to sit down and relax a bit because there were kids to feed, homework to go over, and laundry to be done. She is the one who had to figure out what to do about the leaky pipes, funny noise in the car, and loose railing on the stairs. She was always in charge of discipline. No one ever backed up her decisions on curfew or acceptable parties. Everything rested on her shoulders. All of that without any friends who could really understand the situation, any support groups, or any family closer than a two day drive. That is really the toughest job in the world.

Today is Mother's Day. We all know at least one single mom struggling to do her best to provide for her family, take care of the home, and raise her children all by herself. Let us all make a choice starting today to come alongside these heroic women and help them out. Make her a casserole they can eat now or freeze for later, send your teen son over to mow the lawn one Saturday, offer to babysit one evening so she can have some down time, or just give her a hug and tell her how awesome she is. These ladies deserve our repsect, love and support. Remind them that they have it.

To all of you, Happy Mother's Day.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Thanks For The Drudgery

A few years ago I heard the story of a prison camp during WWII that was very effective in breaking prisoners. It seems that the prisoners job all day every day was to move a huge pile of stones from one end of camp to the other. When they accomplished this task, they then were to move the stones back to the starting point. This went on over and over. Working hard is one thing, but working for no purpose will break a person. As Mother's Day approaches this story came to mind.

Today I want to thank every SAHM of young children that I know. I've been there, and I know that some days you feel just like those prisoners. You feel like you wake up to make the breakfast, referee a quarrel, make beds, dress children, referee a quarrel, pick up the Legos, fight the baby for the bug she wants to munch on, put in a load of laundry, referee a quarrel, clean the sticky stuff off the floor that nobody spilled, sweep the crumbs off the counter, and on and on. This is your life day in and day out. It seems like you are busy all day and nothing gets finished. You are wrong.

Let me share with you what some of us see from the outside. We see a woman who has put aside her selfishness to focus on others. She feeds and cares for her family. She patiently teaches her children to resolve differences in loving and kind way. She serves the "least of these" in so very many ways and never asks what's in it for her. She is the hands and feet of Christ, serving, loving and praying for others. I, for one, am blessed to see her in action. While you think you may not have accomplished much during your labors for the day, I see a woman who encourages a future generation to follow the Lord WHEREVER He may call; home, workplace or foreign country. Your work is not in vain. Your labors are seen and appreciated. Your service blesses us all and blesses God. Press on in the daily grind. This too shall pass, and as you view with the clarity of hindsight, you will realize that your work was essential for building a mighty kingdom.

Thank you all from all who benefit from your committment.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Do You Want To Be Popular?

"When the desire for popularity with men, or for success in human terms, tempts us to water down the gospel, to make it palatable, then only if we love God will we stand fast by his truth and ways." So says Mark Dever in Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. This is hard for us as fallen people in a fallen world.

We have fallen so deeply and passionately in love with God that we want everyone that we know to realize how truly awesome He is. We know, however; that there are those who will not like that the God we love so overwhelmingly calls them sinners or allows evil to rule on earth or requires that they live differently. In our desire to get these people "on board" with the whole Christianity thing, we gloss over the hard parts or choose to ignore pieces of the Bible or just give them the day to day living stuff that will help them be better parents, workers, or citizens.

Following God isn't easy. The Bible is full of hard truths. God chooses to love some and not others and we can do nothing to change that. People are sinners and as a result of our sin bad things happen in this world. Christians loose their jobs, their savings, their health, and their lives just like the non-Christians. Yet, in the midst of all the sin and destruction of this world, God has a plan for His people. He has called out a people to worship Him and enjoy Him forever. This gives us a future and a hope. Let us share that message with the world. Give them the whole truth and let the chips fall where they may. Let them count the cost and listen to God's voice if He is calling them. If He isn't, no amount of watering down or culturizing the scripture is going to make them a Christian.

Popularity with the world is not our goal. Glorifying God is. Christians in the West today need to make sure that they are focused on the right goal before moving forward. Even being a little off course today is going to make you miss the mark by a lot down the road. Make sure that you and your church are about pleasing God and not man.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Fear Not

I have some silly fears. I am do not like driving over bridges when I can't see the whole bridge laid out in front of me. I have this fear in the back of my mind that all of a sudden part of the bridge will be missing, and I will drive right off into the water. I know this is a ridiculous fear, and it doesn't keep me from driving across the causeways where we live to get to the beach, but every time I do, I have that thought in the back of my mind.

Through most of my married life, my husband has been in business for himself. I can not tell you the number of times when he started out that we would be in the last week of the month with a pile of bills and no way to pay them. Every time we ended up with enough to cover our needs. That doesn't mean we didn't scrimp and pinch every penny. It doesn't mean that we weren't late on payments a few times, but every time God covered our needs. My fears about our ability to pay bills were just as unfounded as my fear of the disappearing bridge.

Our fears will bind us and keep us from the very best that God has for us if we let them. A fear that your neighbor won't like you may keep you from making a great new friend. A fear of stepping forward to volunteer may keep you from discovering or developing a talent. A fear of man will keep you from sharing the good news with others. Sure we may fail and people may laugh, but what good is a life spent doing only the safe and comfortable? How can you be useful that way.

Remember Isaiah 41:10 tells us "fear not, for I am with you: be not dismayed, for I am your God: I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Those are some tremendously powerful words. As you step out to conquer your fears, God is with you. He's got you covered. When God has your back, there is no reason at all for us to fear. The beaches are worth the trip over the bridge.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Lies, Lies, Lies

A friend lent me the book Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe. As I read, I realized that I have fallen for every single one of these lies more than once. I also realized that they had nothing to do with my homeschooling journey, but rather with my job as mom. That is why I highly recommend this book to every mother that I know. It is a very quick, easy read, but so very worthwhile. It won't stop you from falling victim to the lies, but you will recognize them and know how to combat them.

We all realize that we fall way short of perfect and Satan uses that to drive a wedge between us and the Father. We need to fight back. No, we are not perfect. We fail all of the time, but God is sovereign. He is able to overcome our mistakes and brings about His will using us. It is a blessing in our lives to have a loving merciful God who directs our paths. My youngest daughter often says to me, "You are the perfect mom for me." I love hearing that. It is a reminder to me that God chose these particular children to be mine. He knew my faults and sins. He knew when and where I would screw up, but He gave me these children because no one else would raise them and teach them as I would. When we get that nailed down, we are freed from tremendous guilt and pressure. We are free to do the best that we can with who and what we are.

Do you find yourself thinking that everyone else's kids are better, home is cleaner, meals are healthier, or marriage more fulfilling? Do you think their quiet time is more spiritual, or they are more capable? If any of those thoughts have crossed your mind in the past two weeks (and I'm pretty sure they have), get hold of a copy of this book. You will be glad you did.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Why Change?

I've been thinking about a discussion that I had today. It was about homosexuality and if God hates it or not. Of course, I said "YES". The comment was made in reply that homosexuals are just born that way as if that excuses the sin and that should be the end of any debate on the subject. I think that is an assinine answer.

How many of us are willing to accept that our children are just born selfish and we shouldn't work to change their behavior? Not me. In fact, from my point of view they (me too) are way too selfish, and we need to work on it all day every day. Just because someone is born with a predisposition to be overweight, do we let them go on their merry way? Not if we love them. We help them to learn to make wise food choices and exercise. Who among us would accept the excuse from a serial killer that they are just born to take their anger out on people in that way?

Shoot. America lives to change the way people are when they are born. We change hair color, body shape through plastic surgery,and eye color with contacts. There are more self help books on store shelves every day, all aimed at changing a person to make them "better". Why then do we accept the excuse "I was born that way" for this particular sin? God is all powerful, willing and able to help us to overcome any sin that rules our lives. This goes for homosexuality, greed, adultery, or selfishness. Don't cop out. Own up to your sinful life and ask Him to help you out of it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Are You Comfortable?

It is no surprise to those of you who know me that I was a nerd in highschool. Actually, I was a nerd in first grade. What may surprise many is that a couple of years after graduation, I fell in love with and married... a jock. I guess opposites really do attract after all.

I love my husband and enjoy spending time with him so that meant learning sports. The first couple of years I was totally out of my element. The clothing was different. Did you know there are different kinds of cleats for different sports? I didn't. There was also a whole new language to learn. A slice was no longer how you cut your birthday cake, but how you hit your golf ball. Now, not only does three strikes mean that you are out, it can also mean that you are a turkey and that is a good thing. I was confused, but I gradually learned. Not only did I learn about sports, I came to enjoy and appreciate them. I am comfortable at a football game, bowling tournament, or track meet. (I still find golf to be really boring, but at least I understand what he is talking about).

I was thinking about this because of an argument that I heard about making the church more "user friendly". I heard that we should not dress up for church services because that made Larry Lost feel uncomfortable. We should not use "Christianese" because Sally Sinner doesn't know what we mean. We need to be more like the culture so we can draw them in to the church. They will be comfortable and stay. Then they will be saved. That is a crock. When the lost are feeling comfortable, no one is confronting them with their sin and need of a Savior.

Dress up in your finest when you go to meet with your creator. Doesn't He deserve the best that you have? Go ahead and use words like sanctification, justification, and propitiation. Just be sure that you explain what you mean when you use them. God will call whom He desires to the church. We don't have to change the way we "do church" for Him to save the lost. We just have to be faithful to preach the good news and glorify God.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Answered Prayer

I've been thinking about a song I heard on the Christian radio station last night. It talked about having many unanswered prayers. It really bothers me a lot when Christians talk like this. Do you not know that God ALWAYS answers the prayers of his children? He does not ignore you. Why is it that "no" or "not right now" are perfectly acceptable answers when we talk to our children, but when God answers that way, we decide that He really hasn't answered at all.

Why does he answer that way? It seems that it would be for the same reasons we tell our own children "no". Maybe what you think you want right now is not always the best thing for you. Our God knows everything. Trust Him to do the best for you always. "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Maybe you are treating God like a cosmic vending machine.

It is possible that His answer is just "not right now". Possibly God is teaching you something as you wait. Who among us has all of the patience and persistance that we need. I know that I have a very long way to go.

Just maybe God is answering "yes" to your prayer, but the answer is coming gradually. I pray often for wisdom. Am I wise? No way, Jose. Am I wiser than I once was? You betcha. Will I be still wiser in the future? I know that I will because God tells us "If any of you lacks wisdom, let Him pray and it will be granted to you".

As a Christian we know that God will always answer our prayers. We must remember the purpose of prayer and that "no" is an acceptable answer, even if we don't like it. He loves us. He has a plan for us and it is GOOD. Trust Him.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Who's Job Is It Anyway?

I've been thinking about Psalm 3:8 which says "Salvation belongs to the Lord." That certainly reminds us that we have nothing to do with "saving the lost". All of our fancy programs, upbeat music, creative skits, and engaging kids activities can't save people. They might get people in the door of the church, but they don't change hearts, and do we really believe that the God of all creation can't move the people He has chosen to a church that doesn't have all of those things?

I've been thinking a lot lately about the direction of the church. We seem to be moving toward a focus on the lost sinner than on the Lord. The underlying motive for all that we do should be the glory of God, not getting the lost into the congregation. The worship service is an invitation from our Heavenly Father to meet with us so that, as a family, we can spend time together with Him, learning, praising, petitioning, and sharing. It is not necessarily the time to be worried about saving the lost. That is not our job. Shocking, isn't it.

I can't find anywhere in my Bible that says I should be about saving the lost. My job is to glorify God, share the good news, be ready to defend my faith, and love others. God takes care of the saving part. I sure am glad of that because that kind of burden would destroy me. Imagine if the salvation of man depended on man. We should stop acting as if it does and start knowing our God better so that we can do our job well.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


"We cannot finally judge the correctness of what we do in evangelism by the immediate response that we see. It is important to understand this truth, because a failure to understand it can distract well-meaning churches into pragmatic, results-oriented endeavors and it can transform pastors into neurotic people-manipulators...As Christians we should know that, even if we are faithful in telling the Gospel, people still may not respond. Their lack of acceptance of the Gospel does not necessarily mean that we have been wrong in how we have presented the Gospel." This is a quote from Mark Dever's book Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. How many of our churches are healthy enough to have this attitude?

The parable of the sower in the gospel does not say that the sower did anything different as he went about planting seed. His methods were not the difference, but rather the soils. It is not up to us as Christians to change the hearts of the hearers of the Word. It is our job to spread the good news. God supplies the soil. He is the one who determines whether or not we are a "fragrant aroma or the stench of death". All of our really cool, culturally relevant efforts at drawing society into the church are for nothing if God has not chosen those people as His own. It is time, money and effort wasted.

Let's put our efforts into knowing who our God is. Spend time with Him and get to know Him. As you begin to know how truly amazing, loving, wonderful, glorious, and holy the Lord is, you will be unable to keep that to yourself. Once you begin to realize who we as depraved sinners really are and what the Creator of the Universe has done in living a perfect life here on Earth, dying on the cross, and rising again, you will not be able to help yourself. Sharing God will be a part of your life.

It is exciting to see churches that focus themselves on the God of the Bible and not on the culture around them. It really doesn't matter if we plant seeds using the latest and greatest in farm equipment or by walking the rows with a burlap bag. It makes no difference what we wear as we plant. What matters is that the seed is being spread on the soil. Let God take care of the rest. At least, that is what I've been thinking.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Just What is The Bible?

"The tie that binds us is that we read (and too often preach) the Bible today as if it were a general collection of common sense and moral wisdom - a variation of Aesop's Fables, complete with a moral to the story. Whether using the Bible or William Bennett's Book of Virtues, the sermon is the same either way, and one may gain the impression that the minister was going to say whatever he came to say quite independently of the text. In this way, Scripture is called upon to substantiate or illustrate worldly wisdom rather than to call it into question and substitute divine truth." Michael Horton, A Better Way

I've been thinking about this quote.Is this the direction your church or pastor is heading? So many seem to be preaching "agenda preaching" these days. The pastor decides the direction he would like the congregation to go and preaches that message. If he can find a Bible text to support his plan, all the better for him. Young Christians who have not built a strong foundation in God's Word are following these men just like the sheep that they are.

Where is the understanding of the inerrancy and infallability of God's Word? Do we no longer believe that God uses His Word to accomplish His purposes? Am I to understand that preachers today feel they know better than God what this world needs and how to go about getting it? Why are we not hearing that we are depraved sinners in need of a righteous savior? I, for one, soak up the teachings of men who are preaching the Word of God. What a blessing to have men who will go to the Bible first and unpack what it says rather than taking scripture out of context to support their own views and ideas. That is what I've been thinking.