Saturday, January 31, 2015

what do my children see?

I actually teared up today as my children watched their dad jump up from the restaurant table and run over to pay an elderly couple's meal.  I got the privilege of answering the question, "Why is daddy doing that?"  I explained that the elderly gentleman was a War World 2 veteran and their daddy was extending honor and kindness to a deserving man.  They watched as their daddy spoke to the man and his companion, watched the man's face change from surprise to a great big smile as he tried to say no, and watched him pay for the meal.  I watched this event unfold with a proud heart knowing there was an impact being made on two young hearts.

The Word of God directs us to be example in our word, our conduct, our love, our spirit, our faith and in purity. (1Timothy 4:12).  I think we as parents are held to a responsibility to teach our children not only by telling them, but by showing them how to live for Christ. Children have the best perspective on a person's real personality and walk with God.  They live with you.  They are small and impressionable. They really do see their parents at their worst and at their best. Whether we like it or not, our children can really tell the stories of who we really are. I know I can tell some stories about my own parents that could make them look really bad or really good, based on the story I told.

So today, I really thought about the example we are setting for our two children.  What stories are they going to be able to tell about me?  Are they going to share a lot of stories about me losing my temper, being unfair, etc. or will it be about times of kindness, compassion, fun and care?  Will they be able to say I prayed and served God with all my heart, like I can about my mom and dad? Will they tell of times when we prayed and God answered?  Will they tell of hearing me sing praises to God even when times were tough?  Will they speak of the witness of seeing us go through the tough times and the good times by holding onto God's unchanging hand?  Wow, I have a lot of things to think about here.  I know they got a good taste today from watching daddy today. So I guess I will try to ask myself everyday:

What example am I setting for my children today?

our babies who learn from us

Friday, January 23, 2015

choose life

Choose life that you might live...

The band Big Tent Revival had a song called Choose Life.  I have always loved that song and the message in it.  We have a choice set before us.  In Deuteronomy 30:19  it says:
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

How do I choose life?  How do I choose death?  I think it is sometimes a subconscious choice based in habits, but really it is a conscious choice to choose how to live, how to act, how to think and in what we allow. 
I was sitting in the the staff room eating lunch today, and the subject of current movies and favorite movies came up.  One person told us her favorite movie, and then said "Oh those sex scenes are so steamy, that's why I love it!"  This then brought up the upcoming "50 Shades of Grey" and who had read the book. Several expressed the shock of the book and others expressed that they had read worse and didn't see the big deal.

I have recently read a book about this very topic and what we allow to infiltrate our marriage and thoughts.  I have really made a serious conscious effort to protect my heart, my mind and my life from things that could infiltrate, affect and detract from my relationship with my husband.  I told my husband that I only want to think of him. I don't want to have images in my mind of actors or other people that would cause my thoughts to wander when I am with my husband.  I want to be fully his. I want him to know that he is my one and only, and the only one I think about. Probably not a popular idea with many people.
I realized today as I was listening to these people that this is indeed a rare stance.
I did tell them I do not plan to see either of the movies they had discussed and would not read the book either.

I think I am going to take this decision a little further into a spiritual realm. I know God has set before me a choice, not just in marriage, but in life. Every area of  my life should be just as precious when it comes to being fully belonging to God.  I want every part of my being to be 'all in' with my relationship with God.  How many things in life infiltrate, affect and detract from my relationship with God?

Have you taken time to think about those things that take away from the presence of God in your life?  Are there things that distract you from hearing his voice?  Are there things that take away from being ever present to prayer and obedience?  He did say "Pray without ceasing."  (1 Thessalonians 5:17) I know we can't spent every moment on our knees, but we can be in the right mindset, frame of mind, or attitude to be ever ready to talk to God, to go to him in prayer and hear his voice.   I think that third part is really important.   I want to be ever conscious of his voice when he speaks.  I do not want to miss an opportunity to hear what he has to say. 
I think we have a choice to make and I want to choose life. I want to choose Him. 

Choose life....

click here to link to video Choose Life

Saturday, January 17, 2015

a good name

I was reading in Daniel this morning and it struck me that the three Hebrew children and Daniel had a reputation. When the king declared that everyone was to bow at the sound of the music to his idol, the three Hebrew children, of course, did not bow.  But the king would not have known that if it had not been for a few men watching those three men.  They already knew what the Hebrews stood for. They already knew they would not bow, so they watched and as soon as they did not bow, they ran to the king to tattle.  They said, you know those men's reputation of serving their God, you know of course, they would not bow. The same happened with Daniel. His reputation preceded the event of the lions' den. His enemies tried to use what they knew about him. They knew he was a praying man.  They tried to turn that into his downfall.  Again, running to the king to say Daniel wasn't following the king's command.
In both instances, these men, did not deny their actions, they proclaimed to the king their love for their God and how mighty He was.  They declared that they serve God no matter what, but that He would deliver them even in the midst of these terrifying circumstances.
The reputation they had with men, was of God worshipers, of servants of the Almighty God. They were not known as 'nice' or just 'good.'  They were known for their service to God. What a testimony others had of their lives.
I am reminded of a bookmark my parents gave all of us kids when we were young.  It was a lovely bookmark.  We each got one, but different colors for each of us.  I remember mine was pink with pink tassel and pretty pink flowers on it.  It was covered in hard plastic to make it sturdy.  On it was Proverbs 22:1
A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
I asked my dad what that meant. He told me it was about reputation.  It was telling us that our reputation was very important and it was better to have a good reputation that be rich.
I think that is important as well, but I want to add to that: Not just a good reputation is to be sought, but a reputation as a lover of Christ, as a servant of God, as a God worshiper, as a praying person, would be even greater.
I want to make sure that when people speak of me, my reputation is that of a praying, God worshipping, lover of my God. I don't want to just be that nice person, I want to reflect God.
I don't want anything to take away from that. All that I do should reflect who God is and that he is the Almighty God.
Thinking today about reputation. What is it people say about you? What do you want them to say?  What do my actions say about God?  What does God want others to see in me?
 I think I have some changes to coming my way.

Friday, January 9, 2015

a walk in the garden

Genesis 5:24 
24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

Hebrews 11:5-6
By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Jude 1:14
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,

Enoch is a man whom I have begun to greatly admire.  There are only two men in the Bible who did not die a natural death: Enoch and Elijah.  They were both swept up to heaven. Enoch may have just walked right up and Elijah was swept away in a chariot of fire. 
The references  of Enoch in the Bible are few, but speak of a man of great faith. He was a man born at a time when the world was growing worse and more wicked. He was in a time of great evil right before God sent the flood. Yet, he walked with God so well, that he is listed as a hero of faith, prophesied, and was taken right up to heaven.  When he was first mentioned it says right off, "He walked with God."  I have begun to realize this is what God has wanted all along from his creation and Enoch got it right. 
In the Garden of Eden, God would come every day and walk in the garden with Adam and Eve just to spend time with them. He would walk and talk with them, spend time with them, be with them.  It was a great time of communion and fellowship.  
God then was so pleased with Enoch, who walked with God, he took him right home with him. 
God wanted and called for more relationship of this kind and continually tried to get Israel to understand that simple relationship but they didn't understand. So he sent His Son, Jesus, to literally walk and talk with people on the earth, in the flesh.  Jesus walked and talked and explained that God loves us and wants to be with us. 
When Jesus was finally resurrected, he left with the promise of sending a comforter, the Holy Ghost. This then leads into these verses in Galatians 5

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Wow, God is still working on His plan and design of walking and talking with his creation, with his children.  He sent his Spirit to dwell in us so we could walk in the Spirit. We can walk with him and talk with him.  I just listened to a sermon on Youtube titled Walk in the Spirit by the late David Wilkerson. He spoke about a time he was seeking God for quite some time and asking God how to walk in the spirit. The answer finally came in the still small voice with three words "Just say yes."  He began to say, "I don't understand, God. What do you mean?"  God showed him that walking in the spirit is saying yes to what God says. God is to govern our lives and we are no longer our own. We just say yes!  We are not designed to say no, maybe, later, only yes.  Link to this sermon
I turned to this scripture that talks about saying Yes.

2 Corinthians 1:19-21

19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas[a] and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,
He has always said Yes to the promises.  We are the ones saying no, doubting and mistrusting. We have the Spirit of God living and breathing in us and we are not following. We are not allowing Him to lead and guide us. We are denying the power and the dominion of God Almighty!!!!  It is time to say "YES!!!!!"   
2 Timothy 1:9
who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,

His purpose is to have a relationship with his creation, with us, in which we are walking and talking with him everyday. It is to be deep relationship we look forward to and a time of fellowship and communion with Him. It is a time of developing more understanding of Him. 
Proverbs 3:6 says In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. 
Do you want God to direct your paths.  All we do should be to glorify Him. We need to walk with Him, and talk with Him daily so we can recognize His still, small voice. When we hear that voice, we can say 'Yes."  We will have no doubts and fears will be cast away because we are walking and talking with our dearest and best friend. The ultimate purpose of our life will be found as we are directed by God. 

As I was thinking about all of this, the old hymn, In the Garden came to mind and I began to sing it. I hadn't thought of it in years, yet every word poured forth with a greater understanding and depth, I have never had.  Tears of joy began to flow down my cheeks as I understood these words for the very first time. The time spent talking with God, walking with God and hearing His voice should bring the greatest joy we have ever known. May I really walk and talk with my Savior and have that Joy that causes me to tarry and listen to the sweetest voice I have ever heard. God bless.

In the Garden by Charles A. Miles

  1. I come to the garden alone,
    While the dew is still on the roses,
    And the voice I hear falling on my ear
    The Son of God discloses.
    • Refrain:
      And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
      And He tells me I am His own;
      And the joy we share as we tarry there,
      None other has ever known.
  2. He speaks, and the sound of His voice
    Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
    And the melody that He gave to me
    Within my heart is ringing.
  3. I’d stay in the garden with Him,
    Though the night around me be falling,
    But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
    His voice to me is calling.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

completely yours

The last newsletter from Voice of the Martyrs included the story of "John."  He is the son of a muslim Taliban leader, and taught Islamic theology in his hometown. His father sent him on a hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca. While there he dreamed of a man with a shining white face and shining clothes. The man said that He could see that John was seeking after him and real faith was not in Mecca. He realized that as he performed the religious requirements, that is was not right. He dreamed again of the man in white who told him that he talked to him because he loved him. When he asked "Who are you?" the man told him that if he told him, he would have to accept seven losses: the Quran and Muhammad, his parents, his child, his relatives, his wealth and his home. He told "John" if he chose him, he would be hated and driven from his country.  "John" asked for his name.  The man told him, "I am your God, I am Jesus Christ."   When he went home and told his father, his father locked him in a basement room for 18 months and beat him mercilessly.  When released, he told his wife. She told him she had also had dreams and had become a follower of Jesus.  Against his father's orders he told his mother and sisters. They became Christians.  Eventually, his father and the Taliban leaders decided to kill him and his wife.  His mother found out and gave him money to run and escape.  Unfortunately, his father had their young son.  When they escaped, they had to leave their son with his mother's promise to care for him.
They have been hunted, threatened and have had to move several times. In this process, his father killed their young two year old son, then killed his daughters and his wife.  In spite of it all,  "John" and his wife have become leaders of on online church that is reaching out to muslims and others. Many are becoming Christians and even returning to Afganistan to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. "John" preaches and shares Jesus with all he meets at a very high price to the natural eye. He gave up much. The price was great. "John" says he wants to work for God and wants people to see God. "I lost everything, so I want to tell people about Jesus. God said he had many houses in heaven; he needs people in them"

This story greatly impressed me to think about what I am willing to give up.  What would I give up, if Jesus asked?  I think we all struggle to let go of what our flesh, natural person thinks we need, especially here in America. We have a warped perception of what is "needed" to have a good life.
I think it is not a little thing we are to give. We are to give all. I think about in I Chronicles 21:18-27 and the story where David needed to give a sacrifice on the threshing floor of Onan.  He told Onan he had to pay the full price for the land and the offering.  Onan could not give it to him or for partial price. It had to be full price.  God paid full price for us.  We need to give back the full price.

I have not had a dream or vision of Jesus, but I have learned of him my entire life.  I was raised in church and have read the Bible many times.  I have had the understanding that God is real and died for my sins.  But have I listened well enough to know when he may have asked me to give up something? Have I heard him say I would lose something in response to serving him?  Have I accepted that loss with grace and peace only God gives in the midst of those circumstances? I want to say with all my heart that I am completely surrendered to God.  I want to be completely surrendered to God.  I am asking God to search me, change me and make me ready to accept and trust whatever he has for me.  Even if the world around me may think it bad, strange, or unacceptable, I want to pay the full price.  Completely.

The preacher A. W. Tozer said, "Look to no cost and fear no consequences."

Am I willing to pay the full price of serving my God and Savior, Jesus Christ?

A. W. Tozer also said, "It will cost you everything to follow the Lord. And it will cost you even more to be His man for this hour."
~ Wow!~

This song is right along with this thought and I wanted to share it with you. If you like, click the link below to hear:

I am completely surrendering
Finally giving You everything
You're my redeemer,
 I run to the cross
Because You are more than enough
Lord complete me
Cause I'm Yours completely