Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Poured Out? Content?

Do you ever feel this way?

Poured out?

Ever feel like you just have nothing to give, as much as you might wish it to be otherwise?

That's how I feel tonight.

I know that's not the truth. I know that if the Lord called me to a task right now, He would give me all I needed to complete it to His glory.

It's just that I'm dealing with my thorn right now. Thorns are miserable, aren't they?!

They hurt, for goodness sake!

I remember when I was a little girl, and my family had gone to the lake for the day. (I think I was about 4 years old.) Well, my Momma told me that I could run and play, but not to go near the sticker patch.

It was a BIG one too...everything's bigger in Texas, you know, even sticker patches! :)

So, I obediently ran off to play. But, before long, I landed myself RIGHT in the middle of that huge sticker patch! They were ALL OVER ME! I had stickers in my hair, in my feet, in my hands...EVERYWHERE!

My mother thought it was so funny! I still remember her laughing at me, which made me even more miserable!

I'm sure she dealt with my outright disobedience so much that when it caught up with me from time to time, she had to enjoy it! I know, I've got one just like I was! I feel your pain, Momma! :)

She found so much humor in it that she took a picture of me screaming my head off, just to share with me when I got older. (I wish I had it to post for you!)

Well, that's how I feel today. I want to scream my head off because I'm so sick of dealing with this thorn. It's exhausting. It's miserable. It hurts. It stops me dead in my tracks!

Do you know how the apostle Paul talked about his thorn in the flesh?

Here's what he said...

2 Corinthians 12:7
Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me--to keep me from exalting myself!
2 Cor 12:8
Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.
2 Cor 12:9
And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
2 Cor 12:10
Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

I concur with Paul. My thorn is truly a messenger from Satan, too. And you can bet your bippy that it keeps me humble! It keeps me from exalting myself, for sure!

Yet, I see so much room for improvement in how I deal with it. I too, have begged God to remove it. He hasn't chosen to do so. So, I beg again. Still He says "no".

I see now that I really do need to learn to handle it the way that Paul handled his. I need to learn to be CONTENT with this difficulty.

I find it pretty amazing that Paul didn't say WHAT his thorn was. If you pick up 100 different commentaries, you may find 100 different thoughts on what it was. I don't think it really matters what it was. I'd go so far as to say I think that it's by God's own plan that we don't know, for not knowing allows this passage to be so much more applicable to all of us.

I think the point is HOW Paul handled his thron.

He trusted that God had a purpose in allowing it to remain.

He trusted God.

He listened to God.

He relied on God.

The other thing that's so clear in this passage, is that this thorn was a messenger of Satan.

Yep. I'd classify mine as the same. No doubt about it. It's right from the pit of hell!

Satan tries so hard to use it in my life to divert my focus.

He tries to get me to feel sorry for myself.

To get angry.

To blame.

To shut down.

To isolate.

OOOOOOOOOOOh...and my flesh WANTS to do all of those things!

I don't see Paul doing that, do you?

I want to learn to be well content with my thorn. I want to learn to thank God for my thorn.

I want to learn, even, to cherish my thorn because it truly does remind me of how insufficient I am, and of how very sufficient my Lord is!

I want to trust God's sovereign purposes for allowing even pain into my life.

It's hard to have the attitude that Paul did, when we're in the midst of the distress...but clearly, it isn't impossible.

It all boils down to where we're putting our focus. Is it on God, and His complete power and sovereignty, or is it on ourselves?

I sure would cherish your prayers this week. Prayers that I would keep my focus on the Almighty.

It's clear to me that the enemy isn't very happy about what God is doing in our little corner of the globe, so he has launched the attack this week. I take comfort in knowing, however, that even the evil one's attacks must first be approved by my God.

So, there must be something that the Father wants me to learn from this. Otherwise, He wouldn't have allowed it.

We're having our first Precept leader monthly area training on Friday. Four other women who have been trained as Precept leaders (and 1 who will be soon) are meeting in my home in order for us to come together to discuss how God wants to use us in this community for His glory. We'll be really looking at how to get the message of inductive study to as many new groups of people as God may draw.

I'm going to do my best to share with them what I learned at the Precept Leader Retreat, and each month we're going to be learning more skills for leading.

It's FOCUS time here. It's time to let God cast His vision for us, and time to seek Him for His plan of action to see His will implemented in our community.

We're about our Father's business. We are HUNGRY to see lives transformed by His Word, and we're ready to get to work!

It shouldn't surprise me that the enemy of our lives is on the attack! He hates it when God's people are getting busy for the Kingdom!

Please pray for us...we want to be faithful, and we so desire to see lives forever changed by God and His Word!

In His Great Love,


Friday, February 22, 2008

Flinging About God's Name - Not Good

This week I've been preparing to take Precept's advanced leader training and as I think I shared, we've been in 1 Samuel quite a bit.

I'm going to give you a VERY abbreviated history here, just to put this passage into context.

(Precept has taught me that context is key, some say king...either way, to take a passage out of context is dangerous. Cults take passages out of context and build doctrines around one verse, all the time. Scripture isn't to be studied that's to be studied truth upon truth, precept upon precept. Ask me, I grew up in a cult, and we learned all kinds of false doctrine based upon a one Scripture exerpt!)

OK....on with the lesson. Sorry, I got on my soapbox there. :)

King Saul was the anointed king of Israel. However, he sinned against God; acted in partial obedience to God, which is the same as total disobedience to God; and wouldn't repent.

God then rejected Saul and took the Holy Spirit from him. ( In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit rested on people. It wasn't until after Jesus ascended back to heaven that the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, came to indwell the believer in Messiah Yeshua.)

Then, God sent Samuel to anoint David as the next king of Israel. However, the role as king was not to be David's immediately. Saul was still in the position, and although David did nothing but honor Saul, Saul sought to kill him...he hunted David down in many different locations...viciously!

This brings us to 1 Samuel 23. (I've skipped a lot, so go get your Bible and snuggle in for an amazing read of 1 Samuel, and you can mine all the truth that I've had to skip to get to tonight's point.)
Here is the text of 1 Samuel 23:

1Sa 23:1
Then they told David, saying, "Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are plundering the threshing floors."
1Sa 23:2
So David inquired of the LORD, saying, "Shall I go and attack these Philistines?" And the LORD said to David, "Go and attack the Philistines and deliver Keilah."
1Sa 23:3
But David's men said to him, "Behold, we are afraid here in Judah. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the ranks of the Philistines?"
1Sa 23:4
Then David inquired of the LORD once more. And the LORD answered him and said, "Arise, go down to Keilah, for I will give the Philistines into your hand."
1Sa 23:5
So David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines; and he led away their livestock and struck them with a great slaughter. Thus David delivered the inhabitants of Keilah.
1Sa 23:6
Now it came about, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David at Keilah, {that} he came down {with} an ephod in his hand.
1Sa 23:7
When it was told Saul that David had come to Keilah, Saul said, "God has delivered him into my hand, for he shut himself in by entering a city with double gates and bars."
1Sa 23:8
So Saul summoned all the people for war, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men.
1Sa 23:9
Now David knew that Saul was plotting evil against him; so he said to Abiathar the priest, "Bring the ephod here."
1Sa 23:10
Then David said, "O LORD God of Israel, Your servant has heard for certain that Saul is seeking to come to Keilah to destroy the city on my account.
1Sa 23:11
"Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down just as Your servant has heard? O LORD God of Israel, I pray, tell Your servant." And the LORD said, "He will come down."
1Sa 23:12
Then David said, "Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?" And the LORD said, "They will surrender you."
1Sa 23:13
Then David and his men, about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah, and they went wherever they could go. When it was told Saul that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up the pursuit.
1Sa 23:14
David stayed in the wilderness in the strongholds, and remained in the hill country in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not deliver him into his hand.
1Sa 23:15
Now David became aware that Saul had come out to seek his life while David was in the wilderness of Ziph at Horesh.
1Sa 23:16
And Jonathan, Saul's son, arose and went to David at Horesh, and encouraged him in God.
1Sa 23:17
Thus he said to him, "Do not be afraid, because the hand of Saul my father will not find you, and you will be king over Israel and I will be next to you; and Saul my father knows that also."
1Sa 23:18
So the two of them made a covenant before the LORD; and David stayed at Horesh while Jonathan went to his house.
1Sa 23:19
Then Ziphites came up to Saul at Gibeah, saying, "Is David not hiding with us in the strongholds at Horesh, on the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon?
1Sa 23:20
"Now then, O king, come down according to all the desire of your soul to do so; and our part {shall be} to surrender him into the king's hand."
1Sa 23:21
Saul said, "May you be blessed of the LORD, for you have had compassion on me.
1Sa 23:22
"Go now, make more sure, and investigate and see his place where his haunt is, {and} who has seen him there; for I am told that he is very cunning.
1Sa 23:23
"So look, and learn about all the hiding places where he hides himself and return to me with certainty, and I will go with you; and if he is in the land, I will search him out among all the thousands of Judah."
1Sa 23:24
Then they arose and went to Ziph before Saul. Now David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the Arabah to the south of Jeshimon.
1Sa 23:25
When Saul and his men went to seek {him,} they told David, and he came down to the rock and stayed in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard {it,} he pursued David in the wilderness of Maon.
1Sa 23:26
Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain; and David was hurrying to get away from Saul, for Saul and his men were surrounding David and his men to seize them.
1Sa 23:27
But a messenger came to Saul, saying, "Hurry and come, for the Philistines have made a raid on the land."
1Sa 23:28
So Saul returned from pursuing David and went to meet the Philistines; therefore they called that place the Rock of Escape.
1Sa 23:29
David went up from there and stayed in the strongholds of Engedi.

I can't begin to tell you how guilty I feel about skipping all of the awesome lessons that are to be had from this one passage of Scripture...there are so many.

However, I really want to point you to one thing tonight.
Did you notice WHO delivered David from Saul when he was going to Keilah to besiege David and his men?

Who knew the future? Who holds it in His hands?

Who told David to leave?

Whose side is it clear that God was on?

Whom was God protecting?

Yet, look at Saul! He's had the Holy Spirit stripped from him, by God Almighty, and yet what is he doing in verse 7?!

What about in verse 21?!

Did God really deliver David into Saul's hands?

Did Saul really have the power to bless anyone in God's name anymore?

What were the people of Keilah about to do to David, the man anointed to be the next King of Israel?

Would that really have been in keeping with God's plan?

Isn't Saul making false claims about the Lord here?

Do you see it, sweet friends? Do you see it?!

I want to warn you, in all the love of the Lord, that there are people in our lives today who are claiming God's hand in things, for their own selfish reasons, when God has nothing at all to do with what they are doing, much less with them!

There are spiritists and mediums today who claim to be working for God, yet God says that these people are detestable to Him.

Deut 18:10
"There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer,
Deut 18:11
or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.
Deut 18:12
"For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you.
Deut 18:13
"You shall be blameless before the LORD your God.

There are people claiming to do God's work who are performing abortions; false teachers preaching a prosperity "gospel"; even pastors telling members of their churches "we're not about Bible study here"...the list goes on and on and on.

My exhortation to you is to weigh what people tell you against the Word of God.

Weigh the credits that they try to attribute to God next to His Holy Word.

See if what they say about God is in keeping with what He says about Himself.

Don't be led astray!

2 Timothy 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

How else can you expect to know what God says about Himself, but to get into His Word and find out?

I know it seems scary, and overwhelming. I remember those days...goodness, I had one of them today as I was studying Daniel 7, with no background in prophesy WHATSOEVER!

But you know what?

God is faithful, and He wants us to know Him,
and to know Him we MUST know His Word.

He will teach you, if only you will go to Him and ask Him to sanctify you in the Truth.

His Word is Truth! (John 17:17)

It's by His Spirit that we have life, and by His Spirit that we have understanding.

If you haven't accepted His Son as your Lord and Savior, that's your first step, for without Jesus, you will not be able to have the Holy Spirit. Without God's Spirit living within you, you won't be able to understand the Bible in spirit and in truth.

If today is the day that you want to accept Christ as your Savior, here is the plan of salvation...

Repent of your sin. Have a change of mind about how you've been living, and turn from sin to serve Jesus Christ.
Believe in your heart that Jesus is the Son of God, and profess with your mouth that God raised Him from the dead.
Accept the gift of reconciliation that Jesus completed on the cross by His shed blood and His death, as payment for your sin debt.
Accept the gift of life that Jesus gave you by His life, when he rose from the dead.
Walk in obedience to Jesus Christ as your new Lord and Master. Serve Him now, not sin.
Be baptized in obedience to Him.
True salvation will be manifested by a changed life.

Mat 28:19
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
Mat 28:20
teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
If you pray and tell the Lord that you repent of your sins, and want to walk in obedience to Him. If you ask Him for His forgiveness, and choose to walk in obedience to Him, the Bible says that He will make you a new creation in Christ.
Some will give you a prayer to pray. I think this is between you and God. You know your sins before Him...just talk to Him. Tell Him that you want to turn from sin to live for Him. He knows your heart, and wants to hear from you in your own words, not in mine.
If you do chose to surrender your life to Christ, would you please e-mail me at the above address? I want to pray for you by name, and I want to praise God over you too!

I've never done this before..never in 105 posts. Yet, tonight I am compelled to pray for you...for each one of you who may read this and be weighing for yourself the cost of following Jesus Christ as Messiah.
As you read this, I want you to know that I have gone before the Father on your behalf, asking Him to show you what it means to be a follower of His Son, Messiah Yeshua, Jesus Christ..and to help you be certain of your salvation through Him.

I remember weighing the cost of following Jesus, myself, almost 9 years ago in the privacy of my bedroom.

I was newly married...I think we were on day 12!

Already, our marriage was a wreck...based upon lies we told ourselves and each other during our dating time.

I was on top of the world by the world's standard...made a 6 figure income at 29 years of age...had the fancy car, fancy clothes, fancy wedding and honeymoon...on the outside I guess things looked pretty good.

But, my inside was rotten...lost...broken...hurting...oh, how I wanted someone to truly love me!
All the while, my Heavenly Father had been wanting to show His love to me every day, but my life had been too sin-sick to care.

It was no accident at surprise to God that my marriage was going to be bankrupt from day one. He used that very thing to draw me to Himself.

I remember the words He whispered to my heart.."You've given Me lip service your whole life, but you've NEVER given Me your life. This is the man that I designed for you from eternity past, and I have plans to bless this marriage, but I demand your obedience!"

That very second, I knew I had a decision to make. I knew my days of "playing with God" were over. He was done with my lip service.

Now I had to choose. Would I follow Him, or would I follow the world?

Would I drop my new husband like a hot potato, run back to my fat salary and drown myself in the ways of the world like a pig in slop, or would I repent and follow and obey?

I guess you know by now what I chose. :)

I gave up "a lot", or so people liked to tell me. It was a lot of what the world used to define me as successful. But it was all going to burn one day!

But you know ... I wouldn't change my decision for anything in the world...literally.

Jesus Christ is everything to me.

I hope that after you read this, He will be to you, too.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16

In His AMAZING Love,

Monday, February 18, 2008

The fear of the LORD - Psalm 34

What I learned from the Word today...

In truth, I learned a lot. I had really sweet time with the LORD this morning, for several hours. I love it when I get hour(s) PLURAL with God! I love it!

I'm preparing to take the Precept Ministries advanced leader training this weekend, and boy do I have my work cut out for me! (Pray, people! Pray for me!) :)

Today they had me studying 1 Samuel 21 and 22, and several Psalms that correspond with 1 Samuel, because these Psalms were were written by David during the time of
1 Samuel 21 & 22.

There's so much that the LORD showed me today, but I'll have to save some of it for tomorrow, because we have study tonight, and I've got to get ready!!! Oooh! I see a bad hair night tonight!

Here is one thing that God really pressed upon my heart today, and I just had to share it.

It's based upon this Psalm:

Psalm 34:11
Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Psalm 34:12
Who is the man who desires life And loves {length of} days that he may see good?
Psalm 34:13
Keep your tongue from evil And your lips from speaking deceit.
Psalm 34:14
Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.

Today was the first time I think I realized that the fear of the LORD can be taught. And if it can be taught, then the implication is that it can be what?

That's right, it can be learned! How cool is that?!

There's hope for all of us, if we'll just choose to learn from God's Word.

Then, it seems, in this Psalm, David describes (at least in part) what it looks like to fear the LORD.

Study note: This is the perfect time to make a list of what you see from Scripture, and a great time to use the tool of structuring so that you can really "see" what the Word is telling you.
( For more about structuring, call Precept Ministries to inquire of their next training. It's such a great tool!)

v.13 Keep your tongue from evil
your lips from speaking deceit

v. 14 Depart from evil
do good

v.14 Seek peace
pursue it (peace)

So, the LORD showed me today that I have a great responsibility before Him to teach my children the fear of the LORD. I suppose that goes for anyone whom He brings into my life to teach or disciple.

And, He is gracious enough to tell us what walking in a fear of Him requires of us. Great list there..great definitive direction is found in those 2 verses above.

Keep your tongue from WHAT?
Keep your lips from WHAT?
Depart from WHAT?
After you depart from it, what are you to do?
What are we to seek?
What are we to pursue?

Through WHOM do we find peace?
Who is the Prince of Peace?
In WHOM is there no guile found?
After WHOM are we to model our lives?
How would it be possible to remain (as opposed to departing from) with evil and accomplish what David is telling us to do in this Psalm?

Is it possible to live with words of evil and lips of deceit, and still learn the fear of the LORD? What from the above Scriptures supports your reason for believing as you do?

Are you allowing Scripture to define your worldview, or are you allowing a lost world to do that for you?

Remember, the flesh wages war against the Spirit!

OH, there's so much truth to be found in just these few verses...I could stay here all day and write out Who, What, When, Where, Why and How questions for us to reason through..but I gotta go study some more. :)

Here is another amazing verse about the fear of the Lord. Think about it, according to this verse, there is no true wisdom apart from the fear of the LORD.

Proverbs 9:10
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Quite the defining statement for a homeschooling mom..for any mom, for that matter. The LORD made it clear to me today that if I want my children to be wise, I MUST teach them the fear of the LORD.

The fear of mom or dad is not sufficient. We won't always be there. They must know and fear the LORD.

What does the Bible mean by "fear"?

Tune in, we'll see that tomorrow or the next day. :)

Gotta keep 'ya coming back, right?! :)

OK...I gotta go get ready...I'm looking scary right now!

Have a super week!

Much love!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Our Brothers and Sisters in Kenya

My friend Laura's husband grew up in Africa, as the son of missionaries. She has written a post on her blog about the current tragedies there.

Here's the address:

I encourage you to read her posts..there are 2 of them up.

We need to be in diligent prayer for our brothers and sisters around the world who are sacrificing, and are BEING sacrificed, in order to share the Gospel with the people of their countries.

I heard a letter read on Family Life Radio a few weeks ago, from a pastor in Kenya. He said that although the media makes it sound like their struggles are tribe related, the truth is that they all have to do with religious freedoms. He said that the Christians are being attacked in mass numbers.

When you pray, please also include Precept leaders in the Middle East. There are several who are wanted by the police...just for sharing the Word of God with others, and for teaching them how to study the Bible.

We have no idea how good we have it here!

The next time you see a military person, please stop and say "thank you" to them. If you are part of a Bible study, or if you ever study your Bible in public, be sure to thank our military personnel for the freedom that you have to do so.

And, thank God. The day may come when we will have the same challenges that our brothers and sisters in other countries do.

I wonder if we'll want prayer back in our schools when that day comes?!

In Him,

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

My Precious Spiritual Momma...

I had to write today to ask you to pray for my Spiritual Momma, Janan.

First, I'd like to give you a little background so that you'll know why I cherish her so.

We met in 1993, and at the time neither of us knew Jesus, but both of us thought we did. Even back then, she was a gift in my life. I was a newly divorced, about to be mixed up in yet several more messed up relationships, totally lost, hurting, raw and confused young woman.

My life was a MESS! I can't even begin to tell you how messed up it was, and on how many different levels!

Then God brought Janan and her sweet husband and amazing boys into my life. I was the person who kept their children when they had to travel, and before I knew it, I was their "adopted" daughter.

Then, I allowed my sinful life to put a wedge between us for some years. But, when I gave my life to Jesus, the Holy Spirit tugged on my heart to write them and tell them about my salvation, and to seek restoration in our relationship.

So, I poured my heart out in a letter to Janan, and within a week my phone rang and I heard her sweet voice on the other end. She was almost yelling, "Jesica! We all gave our lives to Jesus too!"

I weep just writing this, because it was such an amazing thing to hear, and I was so thrilled to know that we'd all live forever with Jesus one day. The joy in her voice was just bubbling out!

Very quickly, we were all reunited. By this time, Janan was in a different season in her life. The boys were grown and one was off in college already, while the other was about to go.

In addition, she and her husband had opened their home to have her mother come in and live with them. In an age where we so often can't be bothered by the inconvenience of making a home for our elderly parents, I was greatly ministered to as I watched my sweet friend lovingly care for her mother until the Lord called her home.

So often, I would observe her choices and quietly weigh them against Titus chapter 2.
(See below) She modeled for me, and still does, what it means to live as a Titus 2 woman. Her life is not easy, not by any stretch of the imagination, but she is so faithful to her calling as a wife, mother, daughter, friend, and follower of Christ.

After the Lord called her mother home, He then laid on the heart of her husband that they needed to once again open their home..but this time it was to be to her father and his wife.

His wife was a challenge, yet my precious "Momma" loved on her, and lived the life of a true believer for her step-mother to watch.

Shortly before her death, the Holy Spirit called my "Momma" in to her step-mother's bedside to share without reserve, the plan of salvation.

Her step-mother made a confession for Jesus Christ, and He called her home shortly thereafter.

By this point, she then had a grieving and ailing father to care for, which she did with the same loving abandon that she had for her mother and step-mother.

Life for my sweet friend became all about compassionate caring for her family for this season in her life.

By contrast, I was a new mommy...growing very tired of dirty bottoms, dirty clothes, dirty dishes, and no paycheck.

But the Lord used my "Momma's" testimony in my life over and over to remind me of what was really important...of what mattered (and still matters) most. She lived the truth for me, that my first ministry will always be at home.

I saw her sacrifice. I saw her lay her life down over and over again for those that the Lord had called her to minister to...her family.

While I thought I needed to be out changing the world for Jesus, she was being used of God as a minister of reconciliation to her parents and to her step-mother.

Oh, how God has used her life to mature me. To minister to me. To bless me.

For the next several years, my Momma cared for her Daddy, and juggled the responsibilities of home and of owning a company. To say the least, she was working her patootie off!

She cared for her Daddy in her home until his health declined to such a point that they needed round the clock care. Once that day came, she was faithfully by his side at the nursing home just as often as she could be....taking him his favorite food, spending time talking with him, and making sure that he knew how much Jesus loved him and wanted to spend eternity with him.

As a result, her Daddy too, chose the narrow path of Jesus Christ after watching Him work through His ambassador, Janan, for years.

This week, her sweet Daddy passed from death to life eternal.

Janan's life teaches me on a daily basis that all God wants from us is to be faithful to that which He calls us. We don't get to choose "our" ministries..we must instead choose to be faithful to His.

I am so very thankful for you, Nan. I love you with all of my heart, and I praise God that He has given me such a Godly example of a Titus 2 woman, in you.

You can never know how precious you are to me!

It would mean so much to my sweet "Momma" if you would lift her up in prayer on Friday, for that is when her Daddy's funeral will be.

There are many, many people who will be there who do not know Jesus Christ. Her pastor will be sharing the Gospel. Please pray that many will come to salvation on Friday, and will choose to live from that day forward as dedicated followers of Jesus Christ.

I love you, Nan. I love you so much!

In His Love,

Titus 2:3
Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,
Titus 2:4
so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
Titus 2:5
{to be} sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

And also..

Titus 2:11
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
Titus 2:12
instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
Titus 2:13
looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,
Titus 2:14
who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Grieving Over Sin

This has been on my mind so much today. What is our (the Christian's) response to be to sin?

Our own sin.
The sin of those close to us.
The sin of our country.
The sin of our leaders.


How would God have us deal with it?

Do we turn a blind eye?
Do we go into love-overdrive?
Do we weep before the Lord and beg His mercy?
Do we try to justify it? ( Lord, help us if we do! )

When I gave my life to the Lord, I remember hearing a Bible study teacher say something along the lines of, "Ask God to help you grieve over your sin the way that He does".

I did that. I still do that. And, God changed my mind about sin. He is faithful to expose it in my life, and to make me grieve over it.

I want to have the same opinions of sin that God does. I want to WANT to see it eradicated from my life.
From the lives of those I love.
From my country.
From my leaders.

Last night, our Precept class was studying 1 Corinthians 5. In this passage, Paul is addressing the church at Corinth, and the fact that they are accepting sin in their midst. It's quite important to see from this passage that the person committing the sin is one that professes to be a brother in Christ.

If this were just someone who was visiting the Corinth church, Paul would have handled this completely differently. He says as much toward the end of the passage.

Someone who doesn't have Jesus as their Lord and Savior, per Scripture, is under bondage to sin..sin is their master.

Paul is addressing the church regarding someone in their midst who claims to have Jesus as his Master, yet is living as one in slavery to sin and to satan.

As I was digging through this passage, it gave me great peace. It answered for me some deep questions I have had about a decision my husband and I have made regarding some people in our lives who professes to belong to Jesus, yet live as those who are in bondage to satan.

I don't want to go into the details, I simply want to praise God that His Word is so sufficient.
It really will answer all of our concerns in this life, if only we will spend time studying it.

Hearing from the Apostle Paul in this book also made me think about my country, and about how much sin we tolerate. I realize that I can't change the decisions that other people make, but would the Lord have me sit idly by while it all unfolds?

What does He want from me as I watch people in my country fight for the right to murder the unborn...for the freedom for a man to marry a man, or a woman to marry a woman?

What does the Lord expect from those of us who know and love Him, as our countrymen try to legislate against His Word?

I found my answers in the two passages that we studied last night, in week two of the Precept study, "The Sermon On The Mount".

We were in 1 Corinthians 5, and Ezekiel 9.

Here are the texts for you to study for yourself.

Note who in Ezekiel 9 were spared. Why were they spared?

Why was God sending the executioners into the city...see v.4 and v10.

This passage spoke volumes to me, and gave me much to think and pray about today as I went to the polls.

May we all pray over our nation, and mourn over the sin found herein.

In Him,

1Cor 5:1
It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father's wife.
1Cor 5:2
You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst.
1Cor 5:3
For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present.
1Cor 5:4
In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus,
1Cor 5:5
{I have decided} to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
1Cor 5:6
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump {of dough?}
1Cor 5:7
Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are {in fact} unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.
1Cor 5:8
Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
1Cor 5:9
I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people;
1Cor 5:10
I {did} not at all {mean} with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world.
1Cor 5:11
But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler--not even to eat with such a one.
1Cor 5:12
For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within {the church?}
1Cor 5:13
But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.

Eze 9:1
Then He cried out in my hearing with a loud voice saying, "Draw near, O executioners of the city, each with his destroying weapon in his hand."
Eze 9:2
Behold, six men came from the direction of the upper gate which faces north, each with his shattering weapon in his hand; and among them was a certain man clothed in linen with a writing case at his loins. And they went in and stood beside the bronze altar.
Eze 9:3
Then the glory of the God of Israel went up from the cherub on which it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed in linen at whose loins was the writing case.
Eze 9:4
The LORD said to him, "Go through the midst of the city, {even} through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst."
Eze 9:5
But to the others He said in my hearing, "Go through the city after him and strike; do not let your eye have pity and do not spare.
Eze 9:6
"Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, but do not touch any man on whom is the mark; and you shall start from My sanctuary." So they started with the elders who {were} before the temple.
Eze 9:7
And He said to them, "Defile the temple and fill the courts with the slain. Go out!" Thus they went out and struck down {the people} in the city.
Eze 9:8
As they were striking {the people} and I {alone} was left, I fell on my face and cried out saying, "Alas, Lord GOD! Are You destroying the whole remnant of Israel by pouring out Your wrath on Jerusalem?"
Eze 9:9
Then He said to me, "The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is very, very great, and the land is filled with blood and the city is full of perversion; for they say, 'The LORD has forsaken the land, and the LORD does not see!'
Eze 9:10
"But as for Me, My eye will have no pity nor will I spare, but I will bring their conduct upon their heads."
Eze 9:11
Then behold, the man clothed in linen at whose loins was the writing case reported, saying, "I have done just as You have commanded me."

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Who to Vote For ?

Some of my PRECIOUS friends took me out to dinner for my birthday tonight, and we landed on the subject of the upcoming Arizona primary.

Every one of us at the table are sold out Christians. We love the Lord with all of our hearts. I just wanted to start by qualifying that.

As we were discussing who we would be casting our vote for in Tuesday's primary, it was amazing to hear how torn we were.

One of us was quite decided for Ron Paul.
One of us was going to vote for Mitt Romney, but qualified it by noting that she thought a vote for Romney was in essence a vote against McCain, and that a vote for anyone else would be a throw away vote anyway.
One of us didn't say who she was voting for....but probably because the rest of us were talking too much for her to get a word in edgewise.
Two of us are undecided...and the primary is only 4 days away!

I think with the exception of our Ron Paul girl, most of us were discouraged that there isn't more of a clear-cut answer right now.

I really am so confused.

The tough part is that we don't have television in our home. We have a tv for playing DVDs, but all cable and network tv is out. That's fine by me most of the time, but it puts us at a great disadvantage in an election year.

Shane spends almost 2 hours a day in the car, so he gets lots and lots of talk radio. He knows who he's voting for, but I have my suspicions that it may be a vote by default.

In truth, I know that I will vote for whomever my husband is voting for.

Not because I can't think for myself, or because I don't appreciate those who worked hard to make sure I have a right to vote, but because I have great respect for my husband's understanding of politics and government.

And, because we really do think the same on pretty much any issue that comes up. I think that's the beauty of being one flesh.

So, we will be in lots of prayer this weekend...seeking God on whom He would have us cast our votes for.

I would encourage you to do the same.
He cares about our votes...let's make them count to His glory.

In Him,

Friday, February 01, 2008

Today's Conviction Comes from Galatians

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.

19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, OUTBURSTS OF ANGER, disputes, dissensions, factions,
21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (see Romans 6)
24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (see again Romans 6)

So, today I was studying Matt. 5:5 "Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth."

The definition of gentle, in and of itself, it convicting to me. I know some of you who are in our Monday night class read this, so I won't blow it for you by giving you the defintion. However, in some of your translations it will say we'll just go with gentle and meek for now. (There's much more when you dig deep into word study, I encourage you to do that.)

I started thinking this morning about Jesus and children.

He was so gentle with them when He was here on the earth. He's still gentle with them, through His presence in their lives by His Spirit.

Children just "get" that He loves them, don't they? They don't over analyze it. They don't question His love. They may question who He is; where He is; why they can't see Him; what He's like...but they don't question that He loves them.

I thought of His example of gentleness this morning, and am quite convicted that mine pales in comparison..but it's not supposed to be that way.
Can you even begin to IMAGINE Him yelling at one of the children in the picture above?!
I am supposed to walk by the Spirit, and then the fruit of the Spirit will be what pours forth from my life.

I think of how quick to anger I can be, when the word says I am to be slow to anger. I think about the fact that I do have outbursts of anger, when the word says that acting like that is not of God..rather is a deed of the flesh, which has been crucified with Christ!

I am convicted by how easy it is to look good to others, yet must ask myself what my children see in me?

When it's all said and done, that's what's most I walking the walk I talk in my everyday homelife?

If it's God's Spirit by which we live, then it must be His Spirit by which we live every moment..every choice.

Now I must babies are awake, and I need to make up for some lost time.

This morning is going to be couch cuddle homeschooling morning. :)

Please pray for me in this area that the Lord wants to work in my life. There is much to be worked on, unfortunately.

Thank you!

In Him,