Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Thursday 7 #2

     Here I am, in week two of a new series I want to employ!  I hope you will consider joining me; as I can speak for myself:  it has encouraged me to have a more thankful spirit!  May you be blessed, as you think of 7 things, for which you can give thanks!

Here are my 7:

  1. The fresh air that is currently blowing through my house.
  2. The softness of autumn.  The summer was a more difficult one for us, but manageable.  We are thoroughly enjoying the pleasantries of autumn, though!
  3. My relationship with God.  I am so delighted at all the little things He's teaching me, in regards to Himself.  He's quite fascinating!
  4. Having a better morning schedule!  I know there have been folks praying for me, and with me, on this matter.  It is so encouraging to wake up at the appointed time, get much more accomplished, and truly see fruit bearing in my life!
  5. Watching my husband minister to his coworkers!  It is an humbling, exciting time in his life.  I'm honored I get to live alongside this man.
  6. Our brother in the Lord, whom I'll call "Brudder K."  He's such an encouragement to us!  We always enjoy our times of communication with him, as he lives far from us.  Such a blessing to us!
  7. Our sister in Christ, whom I'll call "Sissy K."  She and I have been blessed to help one another, for quite a while now.  She and I are like long-lost sisters.  Love her!
**Want to join?  Just share your post of 7 thanks, by linking in the box below.  Or, if you don't have a blog, just share your thanksgivings in the comments-section below!**

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Thursday 7

     I wanted to start a new habit:  for myself, and, hopefully, an encouraging one for others.  I would like to, each week, find seven things for which I can thank/praise God.  I am sure there are many things I will find, for which to praise Him!
     So, I am starting now.  Please, feel free to join!  Just do a post, linking back to here, where you have shared seven praises unto God!  If you do not blog, then just share your list of seven things, in the comments section, below.  Let us see what will happen, when we keep a thankful heart!

  1. I'm thankful for being saved!  My life is meaningless, outside of Jesus Christ!  No other joy can compare, than knowing, being known, loving, and being loved, by Him!
  2. I'm thankful for my marriage!  God truly has redeemed it!  Even with all the struggles, I can definitely see the beauty of God in it.
  3. I'm thankful for my church family.  God has used them to minister to me, in so many different ways.  I'm blessed!
  4. I'm thankful that the Lord has brought me through every hardship I've ever faced:  self-imposed, or otherwise.  He always shows Himself strong, capable, and glorious, in them!
  5. I'm thankful for our new abode!  Though there is much work, it is an incredible blessing from the Lord; that I'll not soon forget!
  6. I'm thankful for my family.  God has used them to teach me much.
  7. I'm thankful for my friends.  Again, God uses them in my life, to teach me much.
**Do not forget:  if you want to join in, please link back, or share your "thanks" in the comments section below.  I look forward to hearing your praises!**

Friday, September 12, 2014

Family Matters

     I want to talk about a subject, that is very personal to me.  It is very personal to anyone who has been born again.  I have been thinking about this particular matter, for years.
     I touched on it briefly, in my series "I Am My Father's Daughter."  I always knew that there was something different, something that set me apart, from many other folks I knew.  I soon learned that Christ, Himself, talked about it.  

As a Christian, who is your family?

"A Visit From Grandparents"
Joseph Clark

     Obviously, if you are living today, you were born here.  A man and a woman came together, and God allowed their union to beget you.  Or, maybe, you are what is termed a "test tube baby."  Regardless, the seed of a man, and a seed of a woman, were necessary, to create you.  
     Just as such, if you are in the family of God, you were born there.  Not because you were born into a "Christian" family.  Not simply because you are God's creation.  No, it will be because you have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, and His saving power.  He will have been the one to place you into God's family.

     One can be in a numerous family, biologically; yet, be the only one in that family, that has been translated into God's kingdom.  Just because mama, papa, grandma, grandpa, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, and/or cousin, have chosen to trust Jesus Christ as their Saviour, does not give you the same holy-family privileges that they have unworthily received.  You are responsible for your own soul's destination.
     And, to clarify even more:  no one can merit a new birth--no way, no how.  It is the gift of God, plain and simple.  Upon believing His Word, His Son, His Righteousness, with a truly repentant heart, He is yours!  Not much simpler than that way!
     So, please do not think that by you:  attending church services; being a "good/good enough" person; being nice; not being as bad as "fill-in-the-blank;" crossing every jot and tittle; etcetera; will please God.  It won't.   Only by trusting in Jesus Christ...only Him.

      Now, what does that little evangelistic talk, have to do with the topic at hand?  Everything!  If you are born again, we are family.  

"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."
Ephesians 3:14-21

     Knowing that it is "...By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:  it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast..." (Ephesians 2:8,9), I delight that I get to be numbered among "...The whole family in heaven and earth..!"  It is quite the exciting thought, to say the least!
     Yet, there is a somberness attached.  There are those, to whom I am related (whether by DNA, marriage, or choice), who share not this gift.  They are not a part of this eternal family.
     There is no common joy in the Lord.  There is no common unity of the Spirit.  There is no common goal of reaching the lost for Christ.  They are the lost.
     Of course, the divide makes things awkward...Quite a bit!  Again, the apostle Paul says:

"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." 
Ephesians 2:1-3

     Prior to salvation (being "quickened"), we were "...Dead in trespasses and sins...Children of disobedience..."  We lived our lives "...According to the prince of the power of the air;" also known as "Satan."
     SO...What happens, when someone gets saved, amongst others who have chosen to neglect it?  You have an alive soul, amidst dead souls.  You have subjects, of two warring kingdoms, living amongst each other.  Yes, quite awkward.
     Of course, the Lord instructs His children on how to conduct themselves.  Even though their soul is quickened, their bodies are not (see Romans 8:23).  Thus, all the instructions on how to put our bodies into subjection to Christ.  (Another point to be made:  it would behoove us, to keep our bodies [and minds!] under subjection, as to not give the enemy opportunity to blaspheme God.)
     Part of those instructions, is knowing how to dwell in the world, but not of it (as the saying goes).  In other words, how to live peaceably amongst men, as much as lieth in us (see Romans 12:18).  Those folks would include our kinfolk.
     Children have instructions on how to behave towards their parents.  God did not designate between lost or saved ones, to my recollection.  Spouses are given instructions, on how to treat one another.  Now, what if a wife has a husband who is disobedient to the Lord?   She is to apply 1 Peter 3:1-6, amongst many other passages.  She can also look to 1 Corinthians 7:10-16.  
     Those bound to employers, or those bound to employees, are instructed on how to behave themselves, rightly.  Any situation in which you find yourself, God has an answer.  You just have to ask.
     Now, I could be "all worked up" over the differences.  I could be despondent, because folks I love are not in the same family, eternally, as I; and just sit there, moping.  I could decide to try to bridge the gap, and compromise standards, so as to be more appealing to them.  Yet, I do not see Christ so ordaining me to do.
     He has called me to love them.  I can look to the Sermon on the Mount, for examples on how to love them.  I can look throughout all the epistles, to learn how to love folks, who have been set at variance against me, and I with them:  simply because of our different fathers, and their hatred one for another.

"Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come. Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come. Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come. And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning. I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by." 
John 8:19-59

     Part of loving them, is being honest with them.  Part of being honest with them, is living out the standards that God has set in place for me.  How is living as God says, showing love?  It is truth.  It shows them the error of their ways.  Showing them their error, allows them to go to the one who can set them right.
     Doing so, automatically sets me at odds with them.  Do I want to be at odds with others?  NO!  Yet, it is the way things are.  I simply must follow the Lord, for He is my God.  I must follow Him, so that as much as possible, I can live peaceably with all people.
     I cannot compromise, to live peaceably.  In my short life, I have learned that the compromise usually has to do with me following the Lord.  If folks who are not Christians want to be happy, comfortable, around me, then I am usually the one, needing to give up convictions.
     Having learned the hard way, what happens when I do such, I am unwilling to do so, again.  Christ is worth too much to me!  I desire not to hurt the One who died for me!
     My allegiance no longer is to the name to whom I was born, in this earth.  My allegiance is not to the family, in which I married.  My allegiance is not to anyone on this earth.  My allegiance is to my Lord Jesus Christ.
     I am still faithful, as the Lord enables me (and I follow), to my loved ones.  Yet, that faithfulness to them is not to outweigh my faithfulness to Him.  So often, that allegiance has been tested.  Many times I have failed; sometimes, God shows Himself faithful through me.
     I have learned, that GOD is my family.  Any who are of His family, are my family.  We have the same Father, Lord, and Spirit.  Though we all may not be at the same stages of life, we are still all family.  These folks are my "eternal family," as I like to call them.  For an eternity, I will be with God, and be with those who have become His children.  What a thought!
     Are you a part of my "eternal family?"  Or, are you and I going to part ways, not only on theological matters here below; but also, at the judgment seat of Christ?  Will we be residing in two different, forever separated, places, for all of eternity?  Or, will I be joyously living with you, with our great God and Saviour, as eternity rolls?  I do sincerely pray, that it is the latter.

**Editor's note:  I started writing this article, about a week or so ago.  I never could quite finish it.  The other day, a dear brother of the heart, died tragically in a car wreck.  He was young:  just 22 years old.  Their son, their brother, passed into eternity, much too soon for them to prepare to say "Good bye."  His family is quite precious to me, for many reasons.  I would like to recognize them, and particularly this brother, in this post.  Eternity is such a long time, to be parted from those you love, here on the earth.  Please, make sure Heaven is your home.  If you don't know, please talk to me, and I would LOVE to help you know for sure!**

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

W.o.W. Wednesday!

"To be discreet..."
Titus 2:5a

**As found on Webster's 1828 Dictionary, online.**

     There are only three times this word "discreet" is found, in the Bible.  Three times.  What are the other two?

"Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt." 
Genesis 41:33

"And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art:" 
Genesis 41:39

     The fact that the other two times that the word "discreet" is used, is during God's account of Joseph, causes me to really pay attention.  I know we should pay attention all the time, anyway; but, Joseph is quite the example!
     God blessed Joseph with discretion.  Using that discretion, gave much glory to God!  Joseph was used mightily, by the Lord, in his use of discretion.
     So, I was curious as to how the word (discreet) was used in Scripture, as "discretion."  I found it nine different times.  Here is how the word, "discretion," is used:

  "A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion."
Psalm 112:5

"To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion."
Proverbs 1:4
"Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:"
Proverbs 2:11
"My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion:"
Proverbs 3:21
"That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge."
Proverbs 5:2
 "As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion."
Proverbs 11:22
"The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression."
Proverbs 19:11
"For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him."
Isaiah 28:26
"He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion." 
Jeremiah 10:12

     With these verses in mind, I have to contemplate the ways of being discreet, and using discernment.

     What first comes to mind, is that it seems akin to "prudence" and "wisdom."  Indeed, it is mentioned alongside wisdom.  In what ways can I be discreet?

  1. I can learn from others' examples, so I can avoid the pitfalls of sin.
  2. I can observe life, all around me, that I may redeem the time:  praying for others; ministering to others' needs; sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others...
  3. I can submit to the will of the Father, so as to live in a God-fearing, feminine manner.
  4. I would go to the Father, to see how best to look well to the ways of our household.
     What comes to your mind?  Again, I am sure that if I stayed long enough on this thought, more ideas would come.  Yet, I would enjoy hearing from you!

Monday, September 1, 2014

I Am My Father's Daughter, Part 5


     Wallowing left me in more sin.  Instead of raising myself, brushing off the dirt, and trying again...I laid there, in defeat...Just as Satan wanted me.

     When I was walking with my Lord, I was a willing child in His hands.  I would invite family, and friends, to church.  I tried sharing with others, how wonderful Jesus was/is!  I was seeking to wait, for the man God would send to marry me.  I wanted God's best for my life.
     I wanted to be a testimony for Him.  I wanted to live in constant communication with Him.  I wanted God's heart.
     Apparently, I did not realize how much Satan detested me, because of God.  He is intelligent, and knew what would lure me away from holiness with the Lord.

     I still remember, a very particular evening.  I had been in communication with a friend (at the time), again.  We had lost contact, when I moved my senior year, to another school district.  Wanting to catch up, I found this friend.
     I was to meet them, at a local "hole-in-the-wall" joint, near them.  They wanted me to listen to a band, (of whom I knew one member), play.  I was hesitant, for I already knew my weakness for wanting to fit in (having given myself to try hard liquor, previously; as well as other lewd behavior) with my "friends."
     I was filling up my gas tank, when I had a strong urging to call them, and reschedule a visit.  I was searching my mind for another route of meeting together.  I strongly wanted to avoid going to the bar, but was fearful of the tauntings, as in time past.  Instead of calling to decline, I fought the Holy Spirit's prompting, and drove on my way.
     It was not long, and I was involved in ways of unrighteousness, that still grieves me.  It definitely grieved God's Spirit, who was within me!
     This time, I was humiliated, but would not share it with anyone.  I just kept going downward, for I was already defeated.  I bought into Satan's lies.
     And yet!, God was not about to give up on me!  I may have given up on myself, but the One who died for me, had not given up on me!  Praise God for His love!

     When I started missing church services, people tried to check in on me.  Those acts would prick my heart.  Sometimes, I would yield to the Holy Ghost's prompts, and go back to church.  I would try to kick habits I had started, that were wrong.  I would try to be nice to, but distance myself from, the wrong crowds.
     Satan picked back up his attacks.  Luring me, teasing me, whatever he needed to do, and with whomever he wanted to use, he would seek to drag me down.  Back and forth, back and forth, became my life.
     Finally, I stopped fighting.  I became immobilized.  It was not that I had forgotten who God was, or what He had done for me.  I just became exhausted.
     So, God let me lay there.  He was always present, and that I knew right well.  He did not give up on convicting me, or chastising me.  However, I had some lessons that needed learning.

     When I would not repent, where I was currently located, He moved me (and my lost husband) thousands of miles away.  Too many distractions.  Too immature, and weak.
     Those Christian folks, that had stayed in my life (though, at a distance), were fearful for me.  They thought it was a very bad idea, for us to move.  They did not believe it was in my best spiritual health, to go to a place, where a strong, spiritual life would not be cultivated.  Oh, but God knew best!

     Once we arrived to his hometown, it did not take long for homesickness to set in my heart.  All the people, to whom I had attached while wayward, were too far away.  Life moved on without me, over there.  No one with whom to attach myself, in our new place.
     Dear and I had only been married for one year.  I had married a lost man.  Our marriage was already rocky.
     He tried to cheer me up, by adopting a puppy...Then, another one (that we had to give back, because of their bickering).  He encouraged me to get a job:  to find friends.  So, I did.
     However, the job did not last.  The pleasure of the puppy did not take away the loneliness.  In that loneliness, God spoke to me.  He finally had the quiet He desired in my life, to get my attention...Without distraction.

     He reminded me of our times together, in the past.  How sweet they were!  He reminded me that my life would stay miserable, and only get worse, if I did not come back to Him.
     I thought, briefly, of the sinful pleasures I would be relinquishing, for Him.  Was I willing to forgo flesh, for spirit?  I had been pleasing the flesh for some time, in spite of the Lord's chastening and conviction.  It was not a willing captive.
     Oh, but my spirit yearned for God's sweet fellowship!  I wanted my flesh to be in submission to my God, so that my spirit could sweetly walk with Him, once again!  It did not take much time, to persuade me!
     On my knees I went, crying out to God, confessing all.  I repented of all that I had done.  I did not want to be a "yo-yo" Christian, any more.
     It pained me to know that I had grieved Jesus so much.  I was devastated.  Yet, I knew that there was hope.  I knew He would set me straight!
     My husband was not thrilled.  Though God had been working on him, since we met (and probably before that time), he was not happy.  When I came home from church services one night, I was so refreshed and excited!  It had been too long a time, of me forsaking the assembly.
     Since Dear had not attended this church service with me, he was waiting for me when I got home.  My joy did not come from him.  He was not the source of my delight.  It very much angered him.
     He would not attend church with me, for a few weeks.  Finally, he came one night.  It was not long after that, that he was born again!  Since then, we both have been walking with the Lord, together.

     What would have happened, if God did not orchestrate our move?  What would have happened, had I not, finally, submitted to the Lord?  What would have been missed?
     Oh, the lessons I have learned.  Oh, the appreciation for Christ, that has grown!  Oh, the eternal blessings that have come!
     I should have listened to God, when He prompted me, as I filled up the gas tank.  I should have listened to Him, every and any time.  I did not, and received the repercussions.
     Yet, even in the repercussions, I can see God's protection.  I can see His providence.  I can see how He still gets glory, even when I err.
      I wish I could tell every Christian, not to give in to temptation.  It is not worth it.  Christ deserves our best!  After all He has done for us, we need not treat Him so.
      I wish I could tell every Christian, who has given in to temptation:  "Go, make it right with God.  Don't sit in defeat!  Get up!  Get moving!  Don't let Satan keep you down!  You messed up?  Get cleaned up, then!  Don't give up!  Go to God!  He'll fix things!"  Satan cannot have our souls, if we are born again.  That does not negate the fact, that he wants to try and ruin our relationship and effectiveness for Christ.

No matter what, I am my Father's daughter.

Satan can try to cause trouble, but God will not let him have me.

God adopted me, and He is going to keep me.

He wants me.

He loves me.

He is my Abba, Father.

Oh, how grateful I am, too.

**Here are the links, to the other parts in this series:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
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