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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Tone it down....

Image result for picture of boldness
Do you think we should live bold for the Lord the way Peter and John did?

 My personality has been pretty bold all my life so when I got saved at 35 that boldness went into my journey with the Lord.  I talked to everyone about Him and it was mostly my religious friends who told me to "tone it down, I was going to offend".  A couple of them  were Sunday School teachers at different churches. 

Oh, I know it important to live right before others so hopefully they can tell I am different,  but while I am living right I want to let my light shine with the words that come out of my mouth.  God did not leave the task of telling others about Jesus to the rock and trees or animals, He left it to those of us who claim to be His. 

Boldness about Jesus is not red faced passion or impenetrable extroversion. Rather, it has to do with speaking--which is not so much about how we speak, but in what we say about Jesus, even when we presume our hearers won't be happy with it.

In Acts 4: the Jewish leaders were disturbed because this Jesus who they killed proclaimed to be the long awaited Messiah.   Peter and John boldly carried on with that truth,  Jesus was the long awaiting Messiah who  was crucified, died and resurrected and any one who believes that will  have the same blessing of being resurrected from the dead. Oh, that made those religious leaders furious. 

What made it worst  in the Jewish leaders eyes was the ones teaching this were fishermen, uneducated, not leaders in the Temple, common men and they were doing it boldly without fear.

Peter and John continued to heal people, preached the gospel and were arrested and escorted to stand trial before the same court that condemned Jesus, better known as the professionals of that day. 

The religious leaders fired one after another questions at Peter and John.  At one point, (Acts 4:11-12 Peter answered, "hear me loud and clear, Jesus is behind this work."  This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you the builders, which has become the cornerstone . and there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.  

I love this short video clip  and re-watch it often because it gives me courage to be bold and clear about my Savior, Jesus Christ.



                 
                   
Anybody need a pair of sunglasses???

Friday, March 30, 2018

Silent Saturday




Etymology

The word holiday comes from the Old English word hāligdæg (hālig "holy" + dæg "day"). The word originally referred only to special religious days. In modern use, it means any special day of rest or relaxation, as opposed to normal days away from work or school.

Passover was the religious holiday they were celebrating until the people saw Jesus as He carried the cross through the town.  It was not "special" or restful or relaxing to see the blood dripping in pools around His beaten body.  How could anyone rest or relax as they heard the sound of the nails being pounded into His hands and feet.  How could anyone eat as they watch and heard all the commotion that came from such an event.  Yet we kind of do that when we watch sport figures try to take the players down by slamming their bodies into them in football. Hey a hot dog and coke goes real good when a face gets bloody in a boxing match.  Not a whole lots has changed since Jesus hung on the cross.  Everyone was in town for the Passover so why not add a few Crucifixions to  the religions holiday.  


It's Friday and Sunday 's coming is the best message of hope ever preached.  So much hustle and bustle about a secular Easter, new clothes, shoes, candy, that the soberness of what took place on the cross and the tomb gets crowded out.    Most of the people left after Christ was taken down and buried in the tomb but I am so glad God did not. He had a valuable lesson to teach us with a silent Saturday .  Max Lucado can say it so much better than I can, so the below  is from him.  

Max Lucado says ,  Easter weekend discussions tend to skip Saturday. Friday and Sunday get the press. The crucifixion and resurrection command our attention.  For His reasons, God inserts a Saturday between our Fridays and Sundays.   

Don’t ignore Saturday.  You have them, too.
Silent Saturdays.  The day between the struggle and the solution; the question and the answer; the offered prayer and the answer thereof.
Saturday’s silence torments us.  Is God angry?  Did I disappoint him? God knows Jesus is in the tomb, why doesn’t He do something?  Or, in your case God knows your career is in the tank, your finances are in the pit, your marriage is in a mess. Why doesn’t He act?  What are you supposed to do until He does?
You do what Jesus did.  Lie still.  Stay silent.  Trust God.  Jesus died with this conviction: “You will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay” (Acts 2:27 NIV).
Jesus knew God would not leave him alone in the grave.  You need to know, God will not leave you alone with your struggles.  His silence is not his absence, inactivity is never apathy.  Saturdays have their purpose. They let us feel the full force of God’s strength. Had God raised Jesus fifteen minutes after the death of His son, would we have appreciated the act? Were He to solve your problems the second they appear, would you appreciate His strength?
 “Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord” (James 5:7 NKJV

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Fringes of God

Dog, Sad, Waiting, Floor, Sad Dog, PetComing home for good from Papua New Guinea in 2012  was a heart break for us. We knew it was a permanent change, no more living overseas, our health was dictating our journey at that time. We took a position of Member Care reps covering six southwest states. Decided to live in California where our son who was getting a divorce lived. Long story short we rented a place together. Through all the changes depression had already moved into my mind and I hung onto the God who hung the moon. Job 26
Years ago I ask the Lord for three things, allow us to live close to at least one of our children and grand children, to live in the mountains, in a place with a fireplace, a real fireplace.

One day sitting outside with our son watching his two children play,  I was  enjoying the beautiful southern Californian mountain air. Yep, we are surrounded by mountains.  To top it off we had rented a condo with a wood burning fireplace. And did you get who I was sitting outside with? Son and grandchildren.

Depression is like a dark cloud that stands between earth and heaven. Our God, the one that hung the moon also hung the clouds as it says in Job 26:5-14.  He did not cause the depression but He was going to work in my darkness.    When there is tons of light you don't have to trust as much because light shatters darkness.  Walking in faith is easier in the light.    In the darkness of my  depression I was tripping and falling all over those around me, wounding some of them.   I was easily frustrated for no real reason most of the time, miserable  to be around.  Even I did not want to be around me. 

I don’t understand the pull of gravity but I believe it is there and my heart believed the Lord could and would lift me out.  He showed me the fringes of His ways that day, and that was enough to pull me out of the pit I was in. Since God does not waste anything He did not waste the pit.  I was tired and weary from trying to get out of the pit myself, I felt helpless.   This is where I learned, AGAIN, God loves helpless people. 
 Part of this post is actually a comment I made on someone else post. As I am writing my comment   it popped into my mind that I could use it as my next blog post.

Then I started gathering ways to beat depression.  Exercise, journaling, take vitamins, avoid sugar, get some sunlight even if you have to buy a sunlamp, drink power smoothies, pray, read Bible of course and the one I like the best, laugh.  There is nothing quite so lively than a good belly laugh till the tears roll.  So I am gonna leave you with a couple of jokes that I think are funny.

 What do Alexander the Great and Winnie the Pooh have in common?

Same middle name.

 I couldn’t believe that the highway department called my dad a thief.

But when I got home, all the signs were there.
See, I told you it would take your mind off of whatever was depressing you.





Perspective is everything.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

It's Our Time


Image result for pictures of billy graham
With the passing of Billy Graham it feels like there is a hole in our spiritual defense.   Who is going to be as bold and clear in presenting the gospel, the love of God sending His only Son to die for the sins of the world.

All week I have listened to one after another tell how Bro. Graham impacted their life with the simple gospel message.   Kathy Gifford said she gets ask often why she is so bold about the her faith.  She replied, if we had a cure for cancer we would not keep it to ourselves then went on to say, I have the cure for the malignancy of the soul and His name is Jesus.

I remember a video I watched by Beth Moore and she challenged those ladies, this is our time, we have the truth for this time.  It's the same truth Jesus preached but we did not live in His time, we live in this time, this is our time.

So who is the  "who that is going to shore up our spiritual defense?  Who?  Most of the time when we give a thumbs up to someone our thumb is pointed back to ourselves.  There is the who, it's me and you and me and you and me and you and me and you....

Just could not pass up sharing this song for it so fits my  heart right now.  I, me, this 71 year old woman with all her frailties,  have the cure for the malignancy of the soul and His name is Jesus so   I am praying for boldness like never before.  Praying God use me right where I am.  I'll never share before thousands my faith but I can take up courage and share the gospel with those lost that cross my path.

“Courage is contagious. When a brave man or woman takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” Billy Graham 




                  

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Promise [Live]


What promises are you holding onto?  Wealth, health and a  stress free life?

Image result for picture of broken promiseI am a sucker for quick weight loss promises and almost bought into one this past month.  Everything in my flesh wants to take out the "hard work" of any promise the world has to offer. 

  Recently I became a mentor Mom for the MOP  program, Moms of preschoolers.  Two days a month they meet and share their struggles, usually hear a great devotion and maybe an expert speak on subject that a young Mom would listen to and of course have a breakfast potluck.

Since it was Valentine week we watch a video on marriage then had a discussion at each table.  The ladies at my table surprisingly went deep right away, sharing how hard it was to have a good marriage.  Most of them shared things they had tried to put romance back into their marriage, some had success, some did not.  Each one was disappointed in some way in their marriage.  One young Mom finally said the most important words of the whole discussion, "hard work".  She said, it so hard, harder than anything I have ever did.  I keep failing, he keeps failing and then we have to start over again, it's just hard.

After all the wedding presents are put away, the dress vacuum wrapped, the tux returned, cake all eaten and we settle down for the long haul we start to notice all those promise we made each other start slipping.  No couple stand at the alter and promises each other they  will disappoint or fail to make each others dreams come true. We promise just the opposite, we promise to love till death do us part.  And as soon as we don't feel that romantic love we felt before and during the wedding, we start realizing our expectations are not being met. Kind of like those quick weight loss programs, that promise instant results and produce cravings that can only be met by eating a donuts. 

The Martin have a song that is taken right from the pages of the Bible about what God promises and what He doesn't promise.  His promise will bring us back to the reality of living life as it really is, hard,  takes a lot of work to keep a marriage strong or lose some extra pounds.  Praise God He does not leave us because we are over weight. 


If you think God has promised this world will be a five-star hotel, you will be miserable as you live        through the normal struggles of life. But if you remember that God promise that  we would be pilgrims and this world may feel more like a desert or even a prison, you might find your life surprisingly happy.”

― Kevin DeYoung, Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will
   
                    

What is your favorite promise from God.



Sunday, February 11, 2018


Image result for pictures of being in awe of God
Human beings, who were created to live in awe of God, are in grave danger when familiarity causes them to be bored with God.
Familiarity is a beautiful thing…But the blessing of blessings is to be familiar with the ways, the character, the presence, and the promises of God…Yes, familiarity is a wonderful thing, but it can also be a very dangerous thing.  Paul Tripp


I don't feel like I am bored with God but maybe bored at little with His word.  It's somehow more exciting to sit and watch a famous women speaker then spend that same amount of time in the Word myself.  If you follow me on facebook you will  know I love quotes.  People, including me will read a short quote more then a scripture. 

From Jen Wilkin book, Women of the Word: Unhelpful habits of "spending time in the Word"

(this is the shorten version)

1. The Xanax Approach...This approach treats the Bible as if it exists to make us feel better. Whether aided by a devotional book or just the topical index in my Bible, I pronounce my time in the Word successful if I can say, "Wow, that was really comforting.  The problem is the Xanax approach makes the Bible about me. I ask how the Bible can serve me, rather than how I can serve the God it proclaims. ( Feeling awesome? Jeremiah 17:9 says we're wicked rascals.)


2.The Pinball Approach...Lacking a preference or any guidance about what to read, I read whatever Scripture I happen to turn to.  Hey, it's all good, right? I'll just ask the Holy Spirit to speak to me through whatever were I flip to. Releasing the plunger of my good intentions, I send the pin ball of my ignorance hurtling toward whatever passage it may hit, ricocheting around to various passages "as the Spirit  leads."  The problem of this approach is the Bible was not written to be read this way.  This approach gives no thought to cultural, historical or textual context, authorship, or original intent of the passage in question.  When we read this way we treat the Bible with less respect than we would give to a simple textbook. 


3. The Magic 8 Ball Approach:  A questions comes up about who I should marry, if I should color my hair. I give the Bible a vigorous shake and open it, placing my finger blindly on a verse, I read it to see if "signs point to yes."   The problem is, the Bible is not magical and it does not serve our whims, nor is its primary function to answer our questions.  The Magic 8 approach misconstrues the ministry of the Holy Spirit through the Word, demanding that it tells us what to do rather than who to be.  It's aim is to change our hearts so that we desire what God desires, rather that to spoon-feed us answers to every decision in life. 



4. The Personal Shopper Approach:  I want to know about being a Godly woman or how to deal with self esteem issues, but I don't know where to find verses about that, so I let a famous Bible teacher do the leg work for me. the problem with this approach is it doesn't help us build :ownership" of Scriptures.  We turn from passage to passage, gaining fragmentary knowledge of many books of the Bible but mastery of none. Topical studies do hold potential to help us grow but we risk something by calling them a Bible study. Topical studies serve a purpose but help us integrate broad concepts into our understanding of Scripture.  But they are not foundational.  If they are all we do, we will miss out on the richness of learning a book of the Bible from start to finish.  


5.The Telephone Game Approach:  Remember the telephone game, where you sit in a circle and whispered a sentence into the ear of the person next to you?   The fun lay in seeing how garbled the message was by the time it made it around the circle.  A similar process can happen when we read books about the Bible instead of reading the Bible itself.  This approach means we are probably what someone says about what someone says about what the Bible says. Again, topical studies, books about the Bible can helpful, but they are not foundational.  If I can quote John Piper more than I can quote the apostle Paul, I've probably been practicing the Telephone Game Approach. We're called to love the Lord our God with all our mind, not John Piper's mind.   ( a personal note, I fall for this one because I think those I read know so much more about the bible than I do and it is easier to gleam from them then do the work myself) 


6.The Jack Sprat Approach:  I take this approach when I engage in "picky eating" with the Word of God.  I read the New Testament, but other than Psalms and Proverbs, I avoid the old Testament, or I read books with characters, plots, or topics I can easily identify with.  We women are especially drawn to this approach, especially the women books.  The Bible says all Scripture id God breathed and profitable. All of it.  We cannot appreciate the sweetness the New Testament without the savory of the Old Testament.  We need historical narrative, poetry, wisdom literature, law, prophecy and parables all showing us the character of God from a different angles.  And we need the gospel story from Genesis to Revelation.  

Among the six approaches I think the telephone game is the one I find myself stuck in often.  I usually have two to three books going at the same time which leaves me with little time to be in the BOOK.  But then again, it was Jen Wilkins book, Women of the Word that showed me how easily I fall away from reading the Bible.   There is a fine line in all of this and one of the things on that line is our own personal growth.  Are we growing in our knowledge and awe of Him with whatever we are reading?  


Which approach draws you?

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Where do you go?


Image result for picture of a sleepy personWhere do you go when you are discouraged, depressed, down in dumps or just plain blue?   Sleep was no where to be found for me the other night so I did what I usually do, turned to youtube for some good music.  After about a hour of listening to many uplifting songs I found myself returning to a  favorite.  Now you might ask yourself why this one, the music is not peppy,  and part of it is sung in Russian.
As a singer I love great harmony in any language which this song has.   Today our worship leader was explaining when a song has those minor cords in them it moves our hearts in a different way, gets it ready for a great ending.  You find a lot of Jewish songs have minor cord, also traditional folk music.  Some believe this song started in the slave field of the old South which makes sense to me.  It tells of a wayfaring stranger's hardships and struggle in this life and the final reward of reuniting with loved ones in the after life.


Isn't that us, all of us?  This world is not our home which is why the longing for our eternal home is there.

In the early years of my faith when I read any story from the bible I would always think, oh, I wish I had lived back then to see the story of Jesus.  Mary and Joseph traveling on that donkey.  The stable with the sheep, cows, manger.  Oh and the bright star, the shepherds.  Even those Old Testement stories, the ark, sea parting, Moses face when he came down from the mountain.  One after another story grew my faith, causing me to look back and in doing so my knowledge grew in the foundation of my faith.

It was not until I grew a little in my walk that I begin to look forward to His coming, me being with Him in heaven.  It takes a little heartache to cause a longing for the future.  My doctor and I was talking about my heart issue and how "lucky" I was to still be alive.  I told her my house in heaven was not finished yet and when it is done, and only then will God call me home.

 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 

 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:2-3