Saturday, January 29, 2005
Friday, January 28, 2005
- "Ministry begins in God's heart. Authentic transformation, of an individual, a church or a society always flows down from above." Do you ever find yourself thinking that whatever you are desiring to do, you are wanting to do it for God, not realizing that it really is something that God is wanting to do through you?
- "See the importance of a quiet season of preparation. Nehemiah spent time in prayer and fasting, seeking God's perspective and wisdom before doing anything else." Donna points out how for Moses it was 40 years and David waited 15 years before taking the throne.
- "Preparation begins with prayer, but it doesn't stop there. When you begin preparations in prayer, God will bring thngs to your attention that you might have missed otherwise. You'll be more efficient."
- "You can be bold when you've spent time with God and are confident you've heard from Him."
- "Nehemiah knew that only fools rush in." He evaluated the situation for three full days, then he recruited, and he gave people credit.
- "Nehemiah also discovered that even with God as the architect, it doesn't mean you won't face opposition."
- Finally, Nehemiah publicly acknowledged God's gracious hand and that it was He alone who accomplished the task.
I have had such wonderful examples of Nehemiah's 'way' in my sister and brother-in-law who are in full time Christian ministry. They have "Pray and Plan" meetings, they are in prayer, they seek others to pray along with them, they wait on the Lord and, most of all, they give the Lord all the credit. But, I found myself looking at this from a totally different light. What about when I feel led to do something...maybe it's to do a project at church, or maybe it's to minister to another person in some way...that isn't something that I'm just 'conjuring up', rather, that is something that God is placing in my heart, from His heart. So even these "little" things should be afforded prayer and preparation. Some things may 'appear' to be 'spur of the moment', like inviting someone to share dinner with you, but if you have been meeting daily with your Savior and fellowshipping in prayer with Him, then I think you are prepared to be obedient when the Spirit leads. For example, being prepared to invite someone to dinner just means that I need to make preparation when I'm preparing my shopping lists...to keep a few staples on hand that can quickly be added to stretch things. And then, when the Lord lays it upon my heart to do something 'spontaneous' I'll be prepared.
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Accept that some days you're the pigion, and some days you're the statue.
Always keep your words soft and sweet just in case you have to eat them.
Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
Drive carefully. It's not only cars than can be recalled by their maker.
Eat a live toad in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.
If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
If you lend someone $20, and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
Never buy a car you can't push.
Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you don't have a leg to stand on.
Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
The early worm gets eaten by the bird, so sleep late.
When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
Birthdays are good for you; the more you have, the longer you live.
Ever notice that the people who are late are often much jollier than the people who have to wait for them?
If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?
You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.
Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened.
We could learn a lot from crayons: some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have weird names, and all are different colors but they all have to learn to live in the same box.
A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
Happiness comes through doors you didn't even know you left open.
Have a terrific day, and know that someone has thought about you today.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
- Grace--unmerited favor. I bring Christ what I have, which is my sin. He takes my sin and gives me His righteousness. This is the meaning of Grace!
- Is--the present, always.
- Sufficient--enough and with plenty to spare!
Charles Spurgeon once referred to God's grace this way "To think that our little cups could exhaust the ocean of His grace."
huge! The other exciting item is that when one clicks on the links they actually work! I emailed my nephew who is a computer genius (in my eyes and my niece's eyes) and told him that his aunt's brain cells are still functioning! You know, I am grateful when the Lord allows me happy moments like these! I notice my niece now has her sidebar lists up and going. Way to go, Claire!
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
I'm the kind of person who finds mess terribly distracting. In fact, I cannot cook if my kitchen is messed up. I will take the time to clean my kitchen, put away things, load the dishwasher if needed, etc. before I begin to cook. I try to clean up as I go along. My mother was just the opposite when she cooked. She didn't clean up as she went along and then there was always a huge mess at the end...and somewhere in all of that I ended up cleaning the mess. *sigh* Maybe that is what made me almost fanatical about cleaning as I go along. :)
Once my home is clean I am always drawn to rewarding myself by sitting down with a good book or maybe a magazine. Today was a wonderful day to clean because it was so grey and dreary outside. We have been in an inversion (where the cold air is trapped underneath, with all the pollution, under the warm air) for weeks and haven't seen the sun. If one were to drive just a little way up the canyon in the mountains you rise above all the gunk and the sun is shining and it is quite warm. All I lack is 2 loads of laundry which I will probably do tomorrow unless I decide to do them tonight while Jim is at BSF.
I was 'talking' (emailing) with my niece's husband who is also doing Bible Study Fellowship again this year. He commented on how much he was enjoying his discussion group. Jim is too. I think this is Jim's 6 or 7th year and he has thoroughly enjoyed each study. They have asked him to be a leader several times but with his work schedule, and his home schedule he has told them it just isn't the right time. He isn't opposed to being a leader but he would have to actually take vacation time every Saturday morning to make it to the Leader's meeting. And, that would also mean he wouldn't get to bed to sleep until quite late. With only sleeping 3-4 hours on Saturday morning anyway.... He looks at it as this isn't the season in his life to do that. And, with his involvement in Evangelism Explosion he felt he would be stretched too thin.
As I cleaned today, I was reminded that working wasn't part of the Curse. Work was part of God's original plan. God himself is a worker. Jesus said, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working" (John 5:17). The Curse is what made work menial, tedious and frustrating. "God is the primary worker and as his image bearers, we were made to work. We create, accomplish, set goals, and fulfill them---to God's glory" (Heaven by Randy Alcorn). Won't that be wonderful, in heaven, to find that our work will never be drudgery? That we will have a very satisfied feeling of accomplishment without bringing sin into the picture? How wonderful to know that our work will be joyful and fulfilling, giving all glory to God! It doesn't get any better than that!
Monday, January 24, 2005
In this story, written by Stephen E. Robinson, a young girl approaches her father about the possibility of buying her very own bike. Her father explains to her that having a bike is a very big responsibility and that a bike would cost a lot of money. However, he hugs her tightly and tells her that a goal is a good thing to have. He encourages her to try to earn what she needs to buy a new bike. The young daughter begins sweeping the porch, helping her mother pull weeds in the garden, and clean her bedroom in earnest. After working hard, she comes to her father with the money she has earned, hoping to be able to buy a new bike. Her father responds, "Let's go see what we can find out." When they enter the bicycle shop the young girl sees the most beautiful bike she could've ever imagined...but when she sees the price tag she begins to weep. When the little girl settles down, her father wipes her tears away and says, "How about this? How much money do you have?" "Sixty-one cents," she answers. "Then I'll tell you what," he says. "Let's try a different arrangement. You give me everything you've got--the whole sixty-one cents--and a hug and a kiss, and the bike is yours. I'll make up the difference." This little, heartwarming story honestly and truly makes my heart...sick! You see, this parable describes exactly the way my LDS friends believe they will be redeemed. They believe that they need to meet Christ half-way with their sixty-one cents...
My friend, too, mentioned this story in her explanation. I shared how the New Testament consistently emphasizes that salvation (eternal life) comes by placing personal faith in Jesus Christ. There are close to 200 times in the New Testament where salvation is said to be done by faith alone, with no works in sight. I'll list just a few: John 3:15, John 5:24, John 11:25, John 12:46. Jesus explains the 'works' of God in John 6:27-29.
I am in agreement that works are important but they do not save!! Christians work from salvation, not for salvation. We do good works not to receive salvation, but because we have already received it (salvation). We are saved by faith but for works. Works are not the condition of our salvation, but a consequence of it. James 2 tells us we are saved not by works but by the kind of faith that produces works.
I will not argue, but when the Lord presents an opportunity, I need to be obedient and share, in love, the truth from His Word. Again and again, I share how important it is for anyone who believes they are following truth, to check it against the sure foundation of God's Word, just as the Bereans did in Acts 17:11, "...They received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
You see, since God is outside of time, then there isn't any way that He can contradict Himself on down the line. Any "new" commandment will always line up with what He has already stated in His Word. If it doesn't, then one can be sure that it is false, leading one away from the truth.
Sunday, January 23, 2005
I've used this verse many times in witnessing to my mormon friends, mainly in discussing the names of Christ. "The mighty God" and "The everlasting Father" show how Christ is God, not one of three gods. But, something else struck me the other night from this verse in particular. Christ has always been...in other words, he was never born, being eternal. So a baby was born, but a son was given. In other words, Christ who has always eternally existed was given to us...it wasn't Christ that was born. I think this is a very important distinction, especially here in the area in which I live.
Friday, January 21, 2005
A - Awesome, adoring, amazing, All-Sufficient, Adonai, Alpha, You arrayed the heavens
B - Beyond my comprehension, brave, you bind the brokenhearted, your banner is over me, bountiful, blessed, beautiful
C - Comforter, Conqueror, caring, Creator, covenant God, Christ, Cross
D - Delightful, destroyer of evil, Designer of all
E - Eternal, exalted, Elohim, El Elyon, my everything, enthroned above the heavens, you did not excuse us but provided the way of escape
F - Faithful, forgiving, a fortress, freedom, you fulfill your promises, you first reached out to us
G - Great, good, you gather us to you, giver of every good and perfect gift
H - Holy, humble, Higher than the heavens, highest praises are yours alone, healer
I - I Am, you intended for us to have a relationship, integral part of us, interaction with us on a daily basis, we are free to inquire of you
J - Jehovah Jireh, Joy, you will dwell with us in the new Jerusalem, Justifier
K - Kind, Kinsman Redeemer, King of Kings
L - Lord of Lords, loving, loyal, lavish, you look out for us in our ignorance
M - Majestic, mighty, meek
N - Name above all names, we are nothing, you are all we need
O - Omnipotent, over all, omnipresent, one of a kind, Other
P- Promised One, precious, Peace, perfect will, praiseworthy, priestly, powerful
Q - You alone are qualified to be our Savior, quiet
R - Royal, ruler over all, Redeemer, redeeming
S - Steadfast, sufficient, Savior, sanctifier, Shepherd, Self-Existent, Holy Spirit
T - Triune God, There, tomb could not hold you
U - Unequal, unwavering, unchanging, utmost, uplifting, unique
V - Victorious, virtuous, no varying
W - Wise, wonderful, thank you for your written Word, you alone deserve worship, worthy
X - (words that sound like 'x') Exalted, extol your virtures
Y - Yaweh, You alone, You above all,
Z - You bring zest to my life, may my zealousness for you be tempered with love and humility, covered in wisdom from Your Word.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Monday, January 17, 2005
was able to stop and visit briefly with them on one of their travels. They hadn't seen each other in years. Of course, that visit was covered heavily in prayer, however, there wasn't any opportunities to speak of spiritual things. I have been to many LDS funerals and they are so cold, lifeless and hopeless. Oh, they talk about what a great person he was, and what fun, etc. They list all the good things that person has accomplished and tell stories about his life. They honor the person. But how different a believing Christian's funeral is! We have assurance of where our loved one is. We know that we will be united again with them in heaven. Not some heaven where one can become a "god and have their own planet with their spirit wives to procreate their own little world." No, we will be united with God Almighty, our Lord and Savior, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps His covenants, the Lord who created EVERYTHING, heaven, the earth, the billions of galaxies, mankind, and our tears. My sister and I talked tonight about how to reach out in love. Distance is such a terrible thing during a time like this. However, I will write and share about finding comfort in the arms of God, sharing biblical verses that meant a lot to me when my own father died so unexpectedly 3 years ago. Then I will pray that the Holy Spirit will take what I share and use it to bring her to Him, not the false god of mormonism. Everyday I am reminded more and more how important prayer is and how I fall short. I would call myself a praying woman and others have called me that too. But, when I really examine God's Word, the truth truly shines back at me and I see clearly my need for improvement.
It's like I always believed in sharing my faith with others that they may know the Lord but it didn't really hit home how fragile life was until my brother was killed in 1988. I looked at his body and thought how a short while before, 30 years of age seemed old, and I was 34 at the time. But, when I looked at his body I realized that 30 years wasn't any time at all....it was a mere speck in light of eternity. It was at that exact point that I realized how important it was to find out where people stood for eternity. And, if there was any way that I could be used of God to help bring them into His kingdom, then praise the Lord!!! Now you have to understand that I am a very shy and reserved person. So, when I speak out for the Lord, I know it isn't me but the Holy Spirit that is leading, guiding and directing. Sometimes I am so surprised what comes out of my mouth. But, you know, that brings immense comfort to me because I don't have to worry about what to say, or how to say it. I know that the Lord is in control of all of that. Meanwhile, I turn to my Bible..."He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty" Psalm 91:1.
Thursday, January 13, 2005
I am slipping a little (and I am sure that the "pilot" would tell me it is exactly because of my age) (and he would do it with a sly smile) in that I usually begin celebrating several days before and go for several days after. But, I did not actually begin celebrating until the big day yesterday. It is continuing through tonight as well as tomorrow night.
I have been reading a book on Heaven. The Lord constantly reminds me that I need to keep my heavenly perspective...forever focused upward, vertically, rather than horizontially. When I am focused on the eternal then everything that happens to me takes on new meaning. Even when it would seem like just a "chance" meeting with a stranger. (Look what transpired with a chance meeting with a stranger...Phyllis came to know that Lord!) That means when I am home alone with just Jim and Nana, my interactions will be having eternal consequences. Now, I've known this...it isn't new to me but often I need to be reminded and how thankful I am that He is faithful to remind me. I certainly can't take anything physical with me when He calls me home but there are many things that I will be able to take with me, things that I am storing up ahead of my arrival, so to speak.
Bible study began again today. What a privilege to study God's Word! To dig deep into it and glean new truths, to be reminded of old truths, to be convicted in areas that need improvement and fellowship around the binding Word. I am excited about this new study. It's also encouraging to see how God has answered prayer over the holiday break for so many of the women! Our prayer time today was one of praises to the Most High God! And how encouraged our newest member, Phyllis, was to see the Lord's faithfulness in answering prayer---her's included. Hers involved making sure that she would have Thursdays off from work so she could attend.
One last thought to leave you with. This came from the accts News (www.accts.org) There was a small little blurb mentioned that gave me pause to think. Quote...A Matter of Perspective
Are you having a good day? Whether it's a good day or a bad day can be just a matter of perspective. Lt. Paul Galanti, who was a prisoner of war for 6 1/2 years in North Vietnam, has stated, "There's no such thing as a bad day when there's a doorknob on the inside of the door." End quote.
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Monday, January 10, 2005
Saturday, January 08, 2005
Two prerequisites of dynamic Christian living are vision and passion, and both of these are genereated in the prayer closet. The ministry of preaching is open to a few. The ministry of praying is open to every child of God.
Don't mistake action for unction, commotion for creation, and rattles for revivals.
The secret of praying is praying in secret. A worldly Christian will stop praying and a praying Christian will stop worldliness.
When we pray, God listens to our heartbeat. Hannah's "lips" moved, but her voice was not heard (1Samuel 1:12, 13). When we pray in the Spirit, there are groanings which cannot be uttered (Romans 8:26).
Tithes may build a church, but tears will give it life. That is the difference between the modern church and the early church. Our emphasis is on paying, theirs was on praying. When we have paid, the place is taken. When they had prayed, the place was shaken (Acts 4:31).
In the matter of effective praying, never have so many left so much to so few. Brethren, let us pray. --Author unknown
Friday, January 07, 2005
It is such a vivid reminder that we should be "praying without ceasing!" There is nothing wrong with "quickie" prayers lifted upward at a needed time. However, I am more convinced than ever that sustained prayer is the foundation that is needed. How fragile is everything in our life...even the most common things that we take for granted. And, then something so "simple" can change everything in an instant.
Sometimes whatever is happening may be the Lord's way of redirecting a person in to a new direction. But, when the signs have been so clear, actually, quite miraculous, that one has been placed in the position one is in and you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is because God alone has placed you there, then I think there is some other reason the Lord is allowing this "trial." One reason is to make sure one understands that it is God alone who controls our destiny. He has a plan for each of us. And His will, will be accomplished through us. Also, I think He allows these trials so that we know and understand that we are completely reliant upon Him. When we understand that, our humility grows by leaps and bounds. He is the one who gets ALL the glory because we understand that we arrive where we need to be only because of Him!!!
"Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. " (1 Timothy 1:17)
Thursday, January 06, 2005
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Praying for the areas hit by the tsunami
We got this email from our friend Bruce with Operation Reveille who is a former missionary to Indonesia. If you are unsure how to pray for the areas hit by the tsumani, he gives some direction. Dear friends, I want to share with you what you aren’t getting in the popular media about the recent tsunami disaster in Indonesia that I perceive from having lived on Sumatra for nearly seven years. Aceh is to the country of Indonesia what the city of Falusia has been toIraq, what the strip of Gaza has been to Israel, and what the country of Afghanistan was to the world before 9-11. The Indonesians call Aceh “the veranda of Mecca.” Since the democratizing of Indonesia’s government with the downfall of former President Suharto, Aceh has been much more than just Indonesia’s most fundamentalist Muslim province. As Indonesia’s only province under sharia Muslim law, it has been an inspiration to the extremist movements which are cleansing villages on the islands of Ambon and Sulawesi of their Christians, and it has been a safe haven for Taliban style training of Indonesia’s own insurgency. I would never say that this natural disaster falling upon Aceh is a “judgement” from God, but the unreported reality staring us in the face is how this “act of God” will forever change the exportability of extremism from Aceh. Pray not just about the delivery of aid to this stricken region but also about the lasting spiritual and social changes that will come. As you give, consider the advantage Christian organizations have for stimulating these kind of changes over secular ones. -Bruce Sidebotham Director, Operation Reveille Here are some organizations he recommends: Asia Harvest: http://www.asiaharvest.org/ International Mission Board (Southern Baptist): http://www.imb.org/core/default.asp Lampstand Partnership: http://www.partnersintl.org/welcome/ Mission to the World (PCA): http://www.pioneers.org/
Sunday, January 02, 2005
I'm sure you can recall many moments in your life when the words, gesture or actions of a friend made all the difference in the world to you. Our friends have the power to help us and heal us through the ups and downs of our lives. I do beleive that God puts specific people in our lives at very specific times. If that's the case, then it's also true that God puts me (or you) in somebody's life at a specific time. So then we have to ask ourselves..."Who is it that I need to be a friend to, right now?"
Friendship is a precious thing and if we're not careful, despite all of of our good intentions, it can go by the wayside. Before the "busy-ness" of 2005 takes over, I want to encourage you to look for ways to strengthen your friendships. Tell your friends how important they have been and/or continue to be in your life, write them a note expressing your appreciation to them or pray for them on a regular basis. But let's not stop there! I want to challenge you (as I'm challenging myself) to intentionally look for ways to bring new people into your personal circle. God may have a new special friend out there for you, but you may have to take the initiative to nurture and develop the relationship. Most importantly, God wants us to share with those around us how they can find the "ultimate" friend--through a relationship with Jesus. Think about who in your life needs your friendship and the friendship of a loving Savior!
On a more personal note, thank you for your friendship to me. You continually minster to me through your thoughtful words, actions and prayers and because of that I am a rich woman indeed!
"I thank my God at every remembrance of you" Phillipians 1:3.