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Showing posts from July, 2012

Completely Equipped

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...for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...” Ephesians 4:12
When God first captured my heart I remember long hours of just pouring through the bible, studying and learning everything I could get my hands on that would help me understand this wonderful Lord who had captured my heart. For a long time I sat at His feet and learned many wonderful truths about Him and lessons about how to live a life that was pleasing to Him. But, then came the time when the honeymoon was over.
I have to say, it is easy to sit at the feet of the Lord and say within your heart that you love Him and that you believe all that He says in His word, but there comes a time when what you think in your head must be lived out in your life for it to become complete. The Lord, I have found, is so gracious to prepare us adequately for these tests of love when we have been faithful in seeking His truth and placing it in our hearts so that it is at the ready…

Safe in the Lord

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The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” Proverbs 29:25
This morning, as my husband was putting a letter in our mailbox, he discovered another letter that had been pushed to the back of the box. The letter was addressed to me, specifically my name in the manner as I had written it when I filed to run for school board a few short months ago. (Not that I changed my name in any way, but I had to include my legal name in parenthesis which is one I almost never use.) In the letter was some requests to make public appearances at commerce events and then to record a short interview with the local cable station. I think it is just natural to get that sinking feeling in your stomach when you know you are going to be put on the spot and what you say and do will be held up against how people view you and determine if they like or dislike you from the impression you have left in that moment. And so, as I was reading my devotional readings and processin…

Waiting on the Sabbath

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Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” Isaiah 25:9
This afternoon my daughter and I had our work cut out for us as we shucked four very large boxes of sweet corn. After we finished our shucking, we had quite a few overflowing containers filled with stripped ears which needed to then be carried to where I could finish processing them. I knew after picking up the first container they were difficult to carry and so I told my daughter that she needed to sit out this part and wait for me to carry all of the containers and then we could continue the rest of the project together.
But, just as I had rounded the corner on my second trip I heard a loud crash and then a scream. In my absence, she had decided not to wait for me to finish my part of the job, and in her not wanting to wait she actually added to the length of her waiting (with added pain I had not factored into …

What Should Be My Goal?

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I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14
What is this goal that Paul is talking about? What should be the goal of a Christian? Is it finding our purpose? Is it doing something great for the name of the Lord? Is it being the hands and feet of Jesus? Is it accomplishing our life's greatest point of usefulness? Or is it showing as much love of the Lord to a watching world as one person can within a lifetime? No, none of these things are the biblical goals of a Christian. Paul, in the breath before the verse quoted above, says this: “Not that I have already attained or am already perfected, but I press on that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” (verse 12) The goal Paul had in mind was Jesus perfecting him – the process of being made whole in Christ - that was the goal God gave to Paul and it is God's goal for each of us.  The process, the pain, the perfecting of our nature i…

Call It What It Is - SIN

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All unrighteousness is sin...” 1 John 5:17a
After my oldest son had been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, I remember a conversation we had one day over his inability at times to control his outbursts of anger. He kept telling me that he just could not control himself and that I was being mean in having him go through our whole routine of disciplinary action every time he had an outburst. (To tell you the truth I was exhausted after going through it so many times a day, but I wasn't about to tell him that fact.)
What I ended up telling him over and over again through those difficult days was that in the bible there is no “clause” for those who are more inclined to sin in one manner or another to be free of the punishment that sin brings. Sin is sin and therefore it needed to be treated as such. There was no “sympathy clause” for those who were tempted in one area or another so that their actions would add up to less than sin before the perfect eyes of God our Father.
We worked …

Battle Arrayed in Truth

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Also in the third year of [Jehoshaphat's] reign he sent his leaders...to teach in the cities of Judah. And with them he sent Levites...[and] priests. So they taught in Judah, and had the Book of the Law of the Lord with them; they went throughout all the cities of Judah and taught the people. And the fear of the Lord fell on all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah, so that they did not make war against Jehoshaphat.” 2 Chronicles 17:7-10
I think it is interesting in the history of Israel that after the time of David, there was peace in the land of Judah (and of course all of Israel when Solomon was king) when the people and their king were living according to the word of the Lord and knew what the difference was between right and wrong in the eyes of the Lord. Notice how the passage above talks about the Levites and the priests having the task of teaching the people, and the effect was that the “fear of the Lord fell on all the kingdom of the lands” around them. I …

Lest You Not Heed the Word of the Lord

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...I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.” Romans 9:2
Last night, in meeting with some friends for coffee I was told by one friend that a church our family used to attend was on a downward spiral. I can't even start to tell you how much this news has troubled my soul since I heard that report. The reason I am mostly troubled is because it could have been prevented if the message the Lord had given to me for a particular elder, and which I had been obedient to deliver, had been taken seriously as a direct message from the Lord.
Exactly 3 years ago when our family moved and was forced to leave this particular church due mostly to distance, the Lord convicted my heart to confront one of the elders over a blatant disregard for the direction God had purposed for the church. (Now you must understand that I know about this matter because I had been part of the small chosen group who were responsible to pray and lead the church in this decision. But as decisions among …

The Ups and Downs of Faith

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Then they believed His words; they sang His praise. They soon forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel, but lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tested God in the desert. And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul.” Psalm 106:12-15
How flighty we are as a human race. Now, I am not being judgmental towards anyone or any group in particular because I fit into this categorization too, but today I felt the need to expound upon the truths God set before me this morning and relate them in general to how our human nature drives us to act according to our circumstances and not according to the promises of God.
It cannot be denied because the evidence is all around us, when our circumstances look up we have lifted spirits and we are ready to give praise for every thing and every one around us, even those we don't so much agree with, and praise to objects that are not even the catalyst for our “good” situations. But, on the flip-side, when things i…

Fervently Praying for Perfection

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...always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” Colossians 4:12

As I pray for myself and for others each day, I desire with all of my heart that my prayers to God will be within His will and not my own, so that His purposes and my prayers will not be separate from one another. I think for that reason, the verse above from Colossians caught my eye this morning as I was reading and I realized that when I pray the end product in what I am really asking God to do in all that I bring before His throne is that He perfects and completes each person and each situation I have had laid at His feet.
Yet, in a fallen world filled with sinful people, how is it that God can bring about perfection and completion? On our own we can only try our hardest to do what is right, to follow all the rules, and to flounder through the many mistakes we make hoping each mistake will teach us a lesson to make us wiser the next time around. But, …

Work or Worship?

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Now it happened, as He went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath, that they watched Him closely. And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had dropsy. And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, 'Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?' But they kept silent. And He took him and healed him, and let him go. Then He answered them, saying, 'Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?' And they could not answer Him regarding these things.” Luke 14: 1-6
Another sabbath and another day to learn as usual from what God has to reveal to my heart. But on this day, my day is again set apart as another day where I am to be on alert as to what God wants me to add to the pile of evidence of what sabbath rest is really all about, from His perspective. This is another day to log into my on-going sabbath experiment.
I have to say, today w…

Filled with God's Presence

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...the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.” 2 Chronicles 5:13-14
This morning as I was reading in 2 Chronicles I was taken aback by the verse above. I wonder what the cloud looked like and felt like – one that was so consuming that the priests had to stop their ministering because it so filled the house of the Lord. I have to think it must have been an awesome sight that left the entire congregation gathered around in a since of utter awe of the Almighty God.
The Lord showing Himself as an all consuming cloud as not a new event since He did this many times with Moses and the Israelite people during their time of exodus, but it had been a long time since God had revealed Himself this way.
And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” Exodus 40:35
In the Old …