Category Archives: Proven Path Ministries

>Blessed When We Rest

>This is an excerpt, a little sneak peak, you might say into the rough draft of the book I am currently working on Devotions From Exodus. I thought I might share it with you. 🙂

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8

I began this devotion on the fourth commandment of our God and had to stop. As I read it I couldn’t get past the obvious fact that as a modern American church this is the one and only commandment we do not seem to practice, to observe, as it is written. 

Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God;
in it you shall not do any work,
you or your son or your daughter,
your male or your female servant
or your cattle
or your sojourner who stays with you.
For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them,
and rested on the seventh day;
 therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
Exodus 20:9-11

As I was discussing this thought on the Sabbath commandment online with family and friends one of them pointed out that this is the only commandment that begins with God telling us to “remember” it. I would agree with her that there must be a very good reason for that beginning. This commandment also is the last commandment that addresses our relationship with God specifically.

Do we as the modern western church choose to ignore this commandment? There are christian denominations that choose to observe worship on Saturday instead of Sunday, but is that the same as keeping the sabbath holy?

What does Jesus have to say about the Sabbath?

In John 5:18 we read that “the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He was not only breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.” There is something terribly wrong with this picture.

The Jews are saying that Jesus is breaking the Sabbath. We know that this cannot be true, because Jesus kept the Law of God with perfection. We have to look at the context of this verse and find out why the Jews made this accusation. When we look at the context we see they accuse Him of breaking the Sabbath because He healed a man and told the man to pick up his pallet and walk.

Now the Jews tell this newly healed man that he is breaking the Sabbath because it is not permissible for him to carry his pallet on the Sabbath. If we look back at Exodus 20:8-11, I do not read anywhere that God said, “thou shalt not carry thy pallet”. I believe the Jews made this accusation not because Jesus was breaking God’s Sabbath, but because He was breaking the Jews tradition of sabbath. It was for this that they sought all the more to kill Him. A friend of mine pointed out that in this verse we do not see the Jews even consider giving praise to God for this man’s healing, they are only concerned that he is breaking their rules.

In the book of Matthew we read more of Jesus and the Sabbath. In Matthew 12:1-8 we read of the Pharisees accusing the disciples of Christ of breaking the Sabbath because they have picked grains of wheat to eat in their hunger. Jesus then points out to the Pharisees that the priests of the temple do themselves break the Sabbath as they continue to perform their temple work on that holy day. He then tells them that something greater than the temple is here. In Matthew 12:8 Jesus declares “For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

Then in Matthew 12:9-14 Jesus goes on to heal another man on the Sabbath. The Pharisees then question Him about whether or not it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath. If I was Jesus I would probably be rolling my eyes at this point and shaking my head in disbelief at these men, but Jesus simply answers, “What man is there among you has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep!”

These Pharisees, these religious tyrants, had missed the whole point of the Sabbath command. They missed it because their focus was to control men by the Law, not help them. Truth be known they probably did value the sheep over the man because their sheep would make them money which would bring them power and that man would cost them money and they would have to humble themselves in order to serve and help him.

The fourth command is to remember the Sabbath. In Mark 2:27 Jesus tells us that “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” The instructions following this fourth commandment concerning the sabbath day in Exodus 20 tells us that we are to remember this day by rest.

“In repentance and rest you will be saved,
in quietness and trust is your strength.”
Isaiah 30:15

So what exactly is Jesus trying to get across to these religious men about their view of the Sabbath? How does what Jesus say to them relate to us today? Are we breaking the Sabbath by worshiping on Sunday instead of Saturday?

Let us reason together.

We have to remember what this command says.
It tells us to remember to rest.
To rest in rest?
No, to rest in God.

I don’t know about you but Sunday is not a day of rest for me. However, I don’t really believe it was designed nor intended to be. When we are called to assemble together as the church we are called to serve and be employed, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (1 Peter 4:10). Sunday is the day we come together as a body of believers to grow in grace and truth. It is the day that we are supposed to spend building each other up. I believe this is separate from the Sabbath, which is to be a day of rest.

We are commanded by God to remember the Sabbath and commanded by Christ to remember Him by the Lord’s Supper, the breaking of bread and the drinking of the cup (Luke 22:19-20).
Remember the Sabbath and remember Me, the Lord of the Sabbath, when you come together by the Lord’s Supper.

Maybe our Lord is saying “Remember by the breaking of this bread and the drinking of this cup that you could not work enough to earn your salvation. Remember that I alone am God, set up no idols of worship in your heart, do not consider my name as useless or ordinary because it is by this name that you are saved. Remember the Sabbath and rest in Me, knowing that in Me you are complete, it is finished.”

I believe that we are called to remember the Sabbath and to come together and worship on Sunday. The Sabbath is for us individually (Mark 2:27) and the Lord’s Supper for us collectively, “Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.” (1 Corin 10:17).

Also let us notice that the command is not “Remember Saturday and keep it holy”. It is remember the sabbath. The first sabbath is the seventh day. We read of it in the beginning in Genesis.

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. 
By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done,
and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 
Then God blessed the seventh day
and sanctified it,
because in it He rested from all His work
which God had created and made.
Genesis 2:1-3 

Have you noticed that in Genesis when God tells us of creation He doesn’t say there was evening and morning, Sunday, then there was evening and morning, Monday, etc? He simply says one day, then the second day… I have to think that also is for a reason, don’t you?

Let’s just for the moment look at the observance of the Sabbath in practicality.
Let us just imagine if we as a church would put away the idols of immorality, impurity, passion, evil desires and greed (Colossians 3:5), would we rest more?
If we put these idols away, what would happen to the round the clock seven days a week work schedule? Would we need to run a business 24/7 if we did not worship the idol of greed. Or try to make money off of those who worship the idol of greed?
Let us even consider the medical field. How much emptier would our hospitals be if we removed all the patients that were their due to stress induced illnesses, from being overworked, or from immoral living?
Let us consider the prisons. How much emptier would they be if we put away the idol of greed and remembered that God was our Creator and Sustainer and Provider?

How many of our families would still be intact if at least one day a week we chose to rest in God. To be still before Him. To not require work from our children or our employees and to do none ourselves. If we just one day a week stopped and looked at all that we have accomplished and was content and said, “you know this is good, very good.” What if just one day every week we just stopped in the midst of all the craziness of life and worshiped our God by casting all our cares on Him and enjoying the abundant blessing of Himself while trusting that He would take care of tomorrow.

I don’t believe it’s that we are to not move on the sabbath or carry our pallet or pick grain in our hunger or heal a man or even to hold a church service on a particular day. I believe it is simply that we are not to strive on this day.

I believe God is saying “I am mindful that you are but flesh, I know the worries of this world that flood your soul, just give Me one day. One day. And I promise if You will stop this one day and remember and fall into my arms, then I promise I will carry you the rest of the week. Just trust Me.”

Just ponder it my friend.
Then look at your own heart and examine yourself.
Are you remembering the Sabbath to keep it holy?
Let us not forget that we are blessed when we rest.

Oh Father,

Thank you for your Sabbath. Thank you for giving us permission to rest. Forgive me Father, for not giving You this time. You are indeed my Creator and You will carry me. Help me to honor You in this way, by willingly allowing You to carry me. Calling on You in my time of need and not wasting my time by striving on my own. My Jesus, I cast my cares on You this day and I come to You, my God, for rest (Matthew 11:28).

My Jesus it is in Your name I pray,
Amen

Poem Inspired From the Study of Isaiah 40-53

I wrote this poem this morning during my quiet time with my God. It’s a poem of praise and worship inspired from the truths that God gives us in His Word in the book of Isaiah… may you praise Him with me 🙂

My God I am here, my body still before You now
Still my heart and open my mind to the whisper of Your voice
Let the truth of Your word saturate my soul
Awake my ear this morning
Open my eyes so that You I behold
Allow me to bask in the beauty of Your word
Let me know, let me feel, the weight of your glory
Teach me Your ways oh my God
Lead me in the way that I should go
May Your word alone light the way of my path
Your will alone be the push behind each of my steps
I rest in You, in Your glorious hope
I am quietly strengthened by what of You I know
Grow me, my God, in Your mercy and grace
Refine me as silver until in me You see the reflection of Your precious Son’s face

I am here to be still before You my God
I will wait through the trial, temptations, whatever it takes
I’ll pass through Your fire so all this dross might be burned away
Righteousness and holiness is what You require
Repentance and belief is what You desire
You are the One who forms light and causes well things
And You are the One who creates calamity and darkness to open eyes that refuse to see
Though I was stubborn-minded and far from Your grace
You brought near to me Your righteousness and Your salvation did not delay
You told me that you loved me and that I was precious in Your sight
You reminded me that I was not forgotten and You were my God
Surrender is what You asked for, just to fall in Your arms
You promised You would carry me however long no matter how far
Oh yes You are God, the Lord of hosts is Your name
No other is like You and those who trust in You will not be put to shame
Your salvation is forever, from everlasting to everlasting in You I am saved
It is You alone who wipes out my sin and transgressions for Your gloroious name’s sake

I am part of the people that You formed for Yourself
I cannot sit silent and set my life on the world’s shelf
You formed me my God to declare Your praise
You saved me my God to carry Your name
You command me my God to go out and proclaim
My voice it is calling “Clear out! For the Lord, clear the way!”
I lift up my voice mightily and Your good news I shout
I point to Yeshua and say “Here is your God!
The Savior, your Redeemer, please do not doubt!”
He was despised and forsaken and hated by men
He was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our sin
The cup of wrath that is ours He willingly drank
So that by the sacrifice of Himself we might be eternally saved
Oh How great the Father’s love is for us
I praise You my Jesus and in You I do trust
My God I am Your watchman and I lift up my voice
I joyfully shout and expectantly wait,
I announce Your salvation,
Oh bring Your good news with these feet!
Let me proclaim and declare and shout
The Lord has bared His holy arm in the sight of all nations
That the salvation of God all the ends of the earth may see.
So come, come now, to His springs of living water, come now and drink

>It’s All Good

>I love these days, they are rare and few between, but nevertheless they at least are. Things have been peaceful in my inner person. I am thankful that God knows when we have reached our limit and He is faithful to never put more on us than we can bare.

The funny thing is that nothing has really changed on the outside… all the same things that had me so torn up before are still here. They have not been removed, yet I have overcome in the power of my God and my everlasting hope in Christ has won me over. He always does.

The house is still on the market… even though I have learned that all my neighbors are praying against it’s sale. I talked to one of our neighbors this morning who informed me that I just needed to go ahead and take that sign down because God was obviously answering her prayers and not mine. This came two days after another neighbor jokingly shared that when someone comes to look at our house she throws beer cans and a couch out in her front yard and puts on the best redneck accent her yankee accent can imitate and welcomes the lookers to the neighborhood. So I guess you can tell that the house is not for sale because we hate our neighbors. We live in an area where the “love your neighbor as yourself” command is quite easy to obey.

The truth is my plate is still full and running over.
The house, that has not yet sold, is an absolute wreck after a week of winshape camp and my husband being on nightshift (lol, this is a whole nother blog in itself).
We didn’t win the lottery and nobody has showed up with a big fat check and a bunch of balloons, so the same money issues remain.
I still am waiting to find out exactly what that abnormality is that was discovered on my mammogram, I go for more tests this Friday.
I have homeschool curriculum to put together and purchase.
My dear friend and I still have to finish getting CrossRoads Christian Academy (homeschool co-op) ready for enrollment next Monday.
And… well, there’s that whole wife and mother thing… that’s pretty important and time consuming and plate filling all by itself.

The point is my outside circumstances have not changed. I have just chosen to rest in the sovereignty of my God.
Resting is so much better isn’t it?
I like this so much more than feeling like a hamster in a cage on the wheel running my heart out but never getting anywhere… only accomplishing to wear myself out and make everyone’s life around me miserable as I pout around in the depths of despair (a little Anne of Green Gables there for you). 

“In repentance and rest you will be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength.”
Isaiah 30:15 
I have to enjoy this while it lasts, because I am afraid it will not last long. Because I know me. I am thankful that God also knows me. I am so grateful that He has left us His word and has filled it with His promises and encouragements. 
“Do not fear; for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you,
for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10 
Did you know that in the New American Standard Bible translation, the phrase “do not fear” is used 57 times and “do not be afraid” is used 46 times.
I think God is really trying to tell us something, don’t you?
Now tomorrow I just might be in freak-out mode. Tomorrow, I might find myself biting my kids heads off for not picking up a mess I already twice asked them to or I might find myself grumbling my displeasure under my breathe behind somebody’s back who has just said or done something to irritate the living daylights out of me (but being a Christian woman I’ll just murmer to myself and sick God on them and smile anyway). Tomorrow, I might even once again find myself doubting the provision and love of my God or tomorrow I might again find myself in the pit of overwhelmment…
But today, well, it’s all good 🙂 
Yes, today I think I’ll just obey my Jesus and just rest in Him and be loved by, in, and through Him and let tomorrow take care of itself.
“So do not worry about tomorrow;
for tomorrow will care for itself…
Matthew 6:34 

Back in the Journal “What is My Gift?”

February 8, 2002

Father I just want to give You praise for all that You have given me Lord. You have had Your hand of protection on me my whole life. I know that You must have something planned for me Lord because with all that I have done out of Your will I should be dead or sick. But I’m not! I’m healthy, happily married, with a wonderful baby girl. Maybe this was all of what You had planned, if it was, it’s enough. I know You have blessed me in so many ways and I know You have held on to me and loved me and I just praise You for it. I bless You Lord, for You are a Mighty God. You are sovereign! I know that You are in control and I trust completely in You! I want to walk in Your presence and surround myself with Your Word! I know Your will, will be done! You are the Great I Am!

August 8, 2002

Father, I ask for guidance in giving my testimony Wed night to the Manna class. I’m not sure where I need to start and what I need to say or if I even need to say anything at all. What is my mission Lord? What is my purpose on this earth? What is my gift? How am I supposed to be serving You? I want to serve You. I want to help others learn to lean on You and to love You and to fear You. I want to be filled with You! I want my thoughts, my words, my actions, to be filled with You and to glorify You. Forgive me when I get angry at You Lord. Forgive me when I think You aren’t doing enough for me. You owe me nothing and I owe You everything. 
In Jesus name, 
Amen 

It was almost 10 years ago that I wrote these prayers and praise in my journal. In these almost 10 years since, God has answered the prayers and I still sing these same praises to Him. And yes, sadly enough, I often am still asking for forgiveness for some of these same things.

There is something very strong about the impatience of human nature.

I read these entries again and I can’t help but smile, especially since in September I will begin leading a Precept course on spiritual gifts at my church. Almost ten years after I made this cry to my God He is going to use me to hopefully answer the same cry that is coming from someone else.

I sit here once again in tears as I think upon the mercy of my God. Oh His grace! His glorious grace! The person, the woman, that I was, the things that I had done. Oh how I have so profaned the name of my God, but He redeemed me anyway. He redeemed my life from the pit and He continues to redeem me.

Oh Father, who am I that You would be so mindful of me? Who am I that You allow me the great honor to teach You Word, to open my mouth and have You speak through me to proclaim You Word, Your truth, to serve You…

I teach with fear and trembling. It is a scary thing, a very scary thing. With each lesson I feel as if it was a total train wreck. I begin in fear and I close in fear and half the time I have no clue what happened in the middle. I finish and then I immediately try to remember everything that was said so I can make sure that I did not just misquote or misinterpret the Word of the One who upholds the entire universe by this Word of His power that I have just attempted to teach and share with someone else.

My prayer is always that the Holy Spirit would guide me into all truth and He alone would speak and that He would just shut me up.

I have a little personal litmus test for classes. For my Sunday morning class, I look for the Pastor to confirm the lesson. I ask God to let me know that I was in tune with His Spirit by someway having the Pastor share a Scripture I covered or back what I had taught with a like word or similar story. You see I believe that the same Holy Spirit that is in me is in my Pastor and if I am in tune with the Holy Spirit then what we teach will not contradict and I believe that whatever message God has for the church that particular day will be woven through every deliverance of His Word and be used to build on each other precept upon precept.

Some of today’s words were “turtledove” and “nothing added to it”
I was teaching from Luke 3:1-18 and our Pastor was teaching on Luke 22:17-20 and administering the Lord’s Supper…

I rarely have peace with a lesson until God confirms it, after this I am able to take a deep breathe and say “Thank You Lord. I was afraid I had really screwed that one up and that I made it a jumbled up mess.”

You see I might have done just that, delivered a jumbled mess, but God just reminded me that He was the One who would unjumble it in the hearts of the hearers and He would take my worship and use it to profit. Because He is sovereign over all

“The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.
Psalm 103:19

 

So I suppose you have noticed by now that the answer to my prayers on Feb and Aug of 2002 was teaching. I love to teach the Word. I’ll teach any age any where, it doesn’t matter to me. Teaching is like breathing to me now, not because I had a talent for it, but because it is my spiritual gift in Christ.

I can only teach in and by faith because it scares me to death… but God has taught me to do it scared, that’s what faith is for.

So I am excited to have the great joy and honor of being used by my God to teach of the gifts that belong only to those that are His in Christ and I pray for those who are seeking as I was. I first thank God that they are seeking and then I pray that they will know what their gift is and employ it in the work of the building up of the saints of our God.

And I look forward to sharing with you what I learn through this study…

{It was 7 years ago when I wrote this blog post about those journal posts. I am in tears. Our God is good!}

Sovereign Savior

PPM-3.jpg

I love listening to the thunder. I love seeing the lightening. I am watching it now out my back door and it is like a strobe light reflecting on the concrete when it lights the sky. I love to hear the sound of the slow rolling thunder in the distance and I also love it when it is so close and powerful that it shakes the entire house when it sounds. The power in the thunder and lightening amaze me. I witness this and it blows my mind that my Creator controls all this with ease and His voice will thunder one day in such a way that the whole earth shakes as my house does now… Amazing.

Our God is an awesome, all-powerful, sovereign God. I know that I use the word sovereign alot here lately, but it’s only because my God is just now beginning to open my eyes to the truth of what this word means.

I am learning that peace comes when I begin to even just attempt to grasp this word, this defining word of my God. Sovereign. My God is sovereign.

In Isaiah 46:1 the Word of God declares, “The things that you carry are burdensome, a load for the weary beast.” The Lord is finally beginning to break through my “obstinate self and my iron sinew of a neck and bronze forehead” (Isaiah 48:4).

When God speaks of us as His children, He calls us sheep in need of a Shepherd. He does not call us mules in need of a burden. God doesn’t pile stuff on us. He came to take the pile off of us. He came to lead us in the way that we should go, not stand behind us with a whip, placing blinders on the side of our head so that we can’t see any other option or hope. He didn’t come to place a yoke on us, but to take the yoke from us.

We carry burdens that we were never meant to carry when we forget His sovereignty.

When I forget His sovereignty. I forget His promises. When I forget His promises I despise His Word. When I despise His Word I begin to think that I am god and I must save the day. When I begin to think that I am god and I must save the day I see nothing but my failure. When I see nothing but my failure I succumb to fear. When I succumb to fear I am now under control of the one who rules through fear. I enter darkness.

Now is when God begins to whisper… Remember.

Then I remember that I am not in the kingdom of darkness, but I am a child of Light. When I remember that I am light I remember that I am loved. When I remember that I am loved I remember that perfect love casts out fear. When I remember that perfect loves cast out fear I remember that in Christ I have the victory. When I remember that Christ is my victory I remember that He is God. When I remember that He is God I run to His Word. When I run to His Word I remember His promises. When I remember His promises I remember that He is sovereign.

When I remember that He is sovereign then I have peace. Peace is a strange thing. It is not the cross-legged yoga pose with my arms extended and finger tips touching repeated “ummmmmmm” It is not a state of nothingness. It is not a world of oblivion.

Peace is found in a person. “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace…” (John 16:33)   

As I was typing this out my husband called to tell me that a man that he worked with has just left to rush to the hospital to be with his family as his 3 yr old nephew has drown. The doctors are, as I type, trying to get the fluid off of this young child’s lungs. I have lifted this little one up to my sovereign God and am praying that if it be God’s will that He give this young child life. I know that this little one cannot leave this earth without God’s permission, for God is sovereign even over life and death.

It is in these times that peace is put into practice. I have been here not long ago. The day I was called to rush to the hospital to identify the broken body of my sister less than a year ago. She lay there in a completely unrecognizable state. With every bone in her body broken. Her face burned and bleeding. Having just been t-boned in a collision with an 18 wheeler traveling at interstate speed. The first prayer I prayed when I saw her was “God don’t let me pray selfishly” I had to pray for permission to pray for her life to be spared.

This was the hardest lesson in the sovereignty of God that I have received in my life to this point. It was also a lesson in what true peace was. Peace is not a feeling it is a place and that place is found only in the person of Jesus Christ. I learned that I can experience peace and tears at the same time. I learned that I can be still in the sovereignty of God and hurt all the same. God never asks us to stop feeling. He just asks us to trust Him not our feelings.

Peace comes when we are willing to override our feelings and believe instead in the promises of God. Peace comes when we choose faith instead of fear. The peace that is found in Christ is a place of true peace. It is not the false peace that the world offers through perception deception. The peace that we have in Christ is a rest that we have even when we are fully aware of our pain.

Like I said it is a strange thing. It is, I believe, one of the mysteries of God that I could swim in for all eternity and never understand the depth of it or reach the bottom of it. Yes it is a strange thing to me, this peace of God that is mine only when I am willing to surrender to the sovereignty of God.

Sweet surrender unto a sovereign Savior…

“For from Him
and through Him
and to Him
are all things.
To Him be the glory forever.
Amen.”
Romans 11:36 

>Coffee with Christ

>I was reminded this week of how hard it is to have a commitment that takes you and your children up and out of your home by 7am every morning. Even though that commitment was church camp.

This week was Winshape. My girls look forward to it all year. In order for them to attend we had to be up at 6am and out the door by 7am in order to meet the bus to get to camp on time. It has been a while since I have had a daily morning commitment other than spending my mornings with my God. Even VBS is not a disruption to this time because my children can sleep until around 8am.
I am very blessed and very spoiled to this time. I regularly wake up around 6am and have the joy of usually spending time in the Word until around 9am. I usually am able to have at least three precious hours every morning in the Word. I get up earlier on those mornings that I have a commitment so that I do not lose that time. I love this time. It is a priority.   

I was reminded this week how blessed I am to have this time, this privilege. I was also reminded how much I need to encourage those women who have this commitment of having themselves and their children out of the house every morning and still try to spend daily committed time in the Word with their God.

This week I failed to have unrushed time. This week I was not able to be as still before my God as I like, I was not able to focus on each individual lesson plan that I have to teach on Sunday’s and as for working on Devotions from Exodus, well that didn’t happen at all.

What I learned was that quality is better than quantity when it comes to study in the Word. If I had only one book to be diligently digging in, then I could have accomplished my priority and time and still managed to get me and the children out of the house this week. But with so much to study and so little time, the focus was lost and I also lost the intimacy of this time this week. It became more of accomplishing the task rather than basking in the beauty of my God.

So for the young woman, who has to work outside the home, the woman who desires to spend time with her Saviour basking in the beauty of His word and digging diligently into His truth, be encouraged. I was reminded this week of the struggle you regularly face.

If I could make any recommendation, any suggestion it would be this. Do not forsake that morning time with the Lord. I truly believe it is crucial.

“Now Abraham arose early in the morning
and went to the place where he had stood before the LORD;”
Genesis 19:27
“So be ready by morning,
and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai,
and present yourself there to Me on the top of the mountain.”
Exodus 34:2
“In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice;
In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.”
Psalm 5:3
“He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.”

Isaiah 50:4 

 In the early morning, while it was still dark,
Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place,
and was praying there.
Mark 1:35
 “Early in the morning
He came again into the temple,
and all the people were coming to Him;
and He sat down and began to teach them.”
John 8:2 
Abraham is our example
David is our example.
Jesus is our example.
His mercies are new every morning (Lamentation 3:23). I believe that in the morning is when our ears are most ready to hear and our hearts most ready to listen. It is at this time that yesterday is behind us and we have the opportunity of a new beginning. It is a new day. And all things new are of God.
I just can’t believe that God would give us example after example and Scripture after Scripture about spending our mornings with Him if it were not important. God only needs to say something once for it to be worthy of notice, so if He goes to the trouble to repeat Himself… well how well do we like to repeat our instructions, our word to our kids… think about it.
So if you can’t give Him anything else… give Him this: your morning.
Please know that I am indeed a mother. I have gotten up at 5am to spend my mornings with God to only have a baby start screaming at 5:05am…
(When this used to happen, I would get irritated. I would blame the devil for taking this time from me and accuse him of stealing it. I would even be upset with this poor child who was the innocent victim of having something wake them this early, whether it be a sickness or a neighbors dog barking. I have learned with time and growing closer with my God that He is even soveriegn over these moments. I still struggle here… but I am learning and growing in grace every morning…) 
I have learned that 5 minutes was what I was able to give that morning…
God was fully aware that my heart was to give Him my morning. He treasured those 5 minutes and in and through Him those 5 minutes will bear fruit. 
There were even times when a screaming baby was what awoke me to my morning, sometimes a child is still what awakes me…
It is at that time that my morning still belongs to my God, but in a different way. I have learned to spend these times praising Him for what I learned in the other mornings and giving this child the same mercies that my God has given me.
Depending on the child, the age, the reason of the awaking, I have used these mornings to sooth with songs of praise sang softly into an ear while my cool cheek was pressed up against a fevered forehead. And sometimes it was spent gathering a little eager heart up into my lap and teaching them what I was doing that morning and sharing that time with them and my God.
Had they not awoke would they know that this is what I was doing while they were sleeping?   
Also another recommendation, suggestion… instead of trying to have half a dozen studies goings at once… pick one to focus on. One book of the Bible. One subject. One struggle. One thing and seek God. Seek Him with all your heart. Seek Him every morning and look for Him with hopeful expectation and strive to walk in what He has revealed to you. Learning to walk according to obedience of faith and not feelings or sight. Choose His word, not a book on someone else’s opinion of His word. I love devotionals. I write devotionals, so I of course want people to read devotionals, but as a supplement snack not the main dish.
Don’t put off this time with the Creator until you get home from work or until after the kids are in the bed. Yes plan for that time too! You can NEVER spend too much time in the Word, but make your mornings with Him priority. If you can’t give Him anything else give Him this.
Don’t have coffee with the morning show… have coffee with Christ.
“Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning;
For I trust in You;
Teach me the way in which I should walk;
For to You I lift up my soul.”
Psalm 143:8 

   

>Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus

>I debated on whether or not to blog about this… but if you are here to walk this journey of faith with me then how could I not share it.

This afternoon I went to check my mail with my 3 year old nephew in tow and as we walked back down the driveway I began thumbing through the pile of what usually is just junk and bills. Then I see it. It’s a letter from the hospital.

Yeh, that mammogram that I almost walked out on because of pride and idolatry… well it came back with an abnormality and bold print to contact my doctor immediately for further test. Of course added in there is “please remain calm because your abnormality appears benign.”

Of course my husband grabbed me and hugged me and lovingly and jokingly told me that I didn’t need to worry because I was to mean for anything too bad to be wrong 🙂

So now, I sit here tonight awaiting tomorrows return call from my doctor to let me know where I go from here. Where to go in their realm that is. In my realm I ran straight to my Jesus. To my God who is my help. My God who would not let me get my stubborn butt out of that chair last Monday…

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus
Just to take Him at His word
Just to rest upon His promise
Just to know thus sayeth the Lord
Jesus Jesus how I trust Him
How I’ve proved Him over and over
Jesus Jesus precious Jesus
Oh for grace to trust Him more…

I am fully aware that this could be absolutely nothing. It could be a simple shadow from the positioning of my body during the x-ray. It could be a non-threatening cyst. It could be cancer. Whatever it could be… whatever it can be… my God is sovereign over it.

I could boldly declare that it shall not be the dreaded “c” word… but who am I that it should not be?

“Then David the king went in and sat before the LORD, and he said,
“ Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house,
that You have brought me this far?”
(2 Samuel 7:18)

My God’s grace is sufficient.

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!”
Psalm 8:3-5

I know that He is with me… always (Matthew 28:20). 
In all things I will rejoice.
In all things I will give thanks.
In all things I will give praise.
I’m so glad I’ve learned to trust Him. I’m so glad that I’m still learning to trust Him. I am so glad that I have hidden His word in my heart. I am so glad that I know the depth of His love.
Oh precious one… do you know Him? Really KNOW Him? Do you know the depth of His love?

>God Knows Your Lingo

>All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and
to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are
wrong and teaches us to do what is right. (2 Tim 3:16)

The year was 1897. In a village garbage dump at
Oxyrhynchus, Egypt, two British archaeologists
unearthed some scraps of paper—the discarded
contents of a wastepaper basket. When the men read
the first few words on the “trash,” they knew they had
discovered something big—very big.

The Greek New Testament has a vocabulary of nearly
5,500 words, of which some 500 words were unique to
the New Testament, not seen in any prior Greek literature.
Some Bible scholars thought the unique words had been
created by the Holy Spirit to suit the purpose of God’s
revelation. But with the uncovering of the Oxyrhynchus
scraps of paper, it became clear that the words of the New
Testament simply reflect the common language of the street.
As we read, “All Scripture is inspired by God” (2 Tim.
3:16), doesn’t it shed new light on the Author of Scripture?
God is holy, but He’s also deeply personal. He doesn’t
speak to us in grandiloquence (extravagant language),
but in a way that captures the meaning of an abbreviation
that people sometimes text: “HTHT” (heart-to-heart talk).

— Poh Fang Chia

This is our God. How absolutely awesome is He? There are not enough words to describe is attributes. It is His desire to communicate with us. He knows the language He needs to use for us to “get Him”. When we read of the account of the Holy Spirit coming to indwell believers on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 we read,

“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.” (Acts 2:1-6)   

Each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. God comes to us. He knows our language. He knows our lingo. He will meet us were we are at. He will send someone to us who knows our language to share His truth with us. That language is not necessarily a different speaking dialect.

Have you ever used the saying, “Now your speaking my language“?

Sometimes that language is someone who somehow knows exactly what is in your heart and on your mind at exactly that time and is able to absolutely and completely relate to you and is able to relate the truth of the Word of God to you in a way that speaks to you where you are at, at that very moment in your life.
Our God is good like that.

Sometimes I mean to say one thing but something else comes out. Something totally random usually. An example happened today. My husband asked what time I was leaving to go pick up our girls from their church camp (Winshape) today.
To which I replied, “I’ll plan to leave here around 5pm because they get out at 5pm and by the time they load the kids and drive from Birmingham it will be about 5:30pm before they get back to the church.” 

Now I suppose that sounds like a perfectly normal statement… except for the fact that what I meant to say was First Bible not Birmingham.
Birmingham is an hour south from First Bible and is a city not a church. I have no clue where Birmingham came from, but it came out of my mouth anyway.

I do stuff like that all the time.
Fortunately the people around me know my language or are at least learning it. Actually some of them even speak it. And yes I believe that’s one of the reasons that God put us in each others paths.

God knows our lingo. He can speak our language. He speaks to us plainly and His Word translates to the dialect of our hearts and transcends to the depths of our very souls. 
Yes, He is indeed good like that.

“His disciples said, “Lo, now You are speaking plainly…”
(John 16:29)

>Stagnant Water Stinks

>

I’ve got peace like a river,
I’ve got peace like a river,
I’ve got peace like a river in my soul!
I’ve got love like an ocean,
I’ve got love like an ocean,
I’ve got love like an ocean in my soul!
I’ve got joy like a fountain,
I’ve got joy like a fountain,
I’ve got joy like a fountain in my soul!

Hmmmm…. have you ever noticed it doesn’t say I’ve got peace like a pond in my soul? 
Peace, love, and joy all coming from flowing, active, bursting bodies of water.

“For thus says the LORD,
“Behold, I extend peace to her like a river,
And the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
And you will be nursed,
you will be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees.”
(Isaiah 66:12)

As I was working on my lesson for this coming Sunday morning from Luke chapter 2 the Lord zeroed me in on what “the boy Jesus”(Luke 2:43) was doing in the temple. 
When we look at Luke 2:52 we read that “Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” What? Jesus had to increase in wisdom? He had to increase in favor? We must never forget that Jesus is our example. He lived it all, so that He could indeed sympathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 2:14-18).
So now the question is how did he do it? What was His process of increasing? What self-help point plan did He follow? I believe His how is all right here in these few passages that the divinely inspired, God-breathed Word of God has given us.
I believe the point plan has only two points. It has always only had two points. The point of the points is do you carry out the points?

So what are the points?

Point 1: Love God
When we look at Luke 2:46 we read that Jesus was in the temple “sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.” Jesus was seeking God. He was discussing the Scriptures. Notice He was both listening and asking.
Let me ask you… can you ask questions in “big church”.
No you cannot. You only listen. What if in your listening you misunderstand? What do you do with your questions? Do you have them? Oh I hope so. Questions are part of seeking.
What we see here in this example of Christ is we need small groups. Did the disciples of Christ only sit in the crowd? No they followed Him closely. They sat with Him in small groups and asked Him questions and Jesus reasoned the Scriptures with them. This, my precious one, is how we increase in wisdom. It is not in just listening alone, but in asking questions. This is how we love God. By loving His Word enough to seek to understand it. So that we might obey it. And in obeying it we bring ourselves to point 2.

Point 2: Love others
When we look at Luke 2:51 we read that Jesus “continued in subjection to them (Joseph and Mary).” What? Jesus was in subjection to man? Yes. He obeyed the Law of God. What merit would God have if He broke His own Word? Jesus humbled Himself to this point. He laid aside who He was in order to obey truth. Here He is the Creator of the entire universe and He is saying “yes ma’am” and “yes sir”. So at any point and time should we ever think that our position in life negates the common decency of showing respect to another human being? No, it does not. How do we love others? How do we increase in favor with God and man? We show them respect and love. God tells us how to do this in His Word. You can find it all broken down in Exodus 20. He then showed us how as the person Jesus Christ. The commands of God show us how to love Him and how to love others. This is why they are not a burden, but indeed they are a treasure.

Well how does all this relate to where I began this post with peace like a river? As we look at Jesus He is increasing… he is continuing. These are words that are in motion. If we want peace like a river, and love like an ocean, joy like a fountain, then we can’t be a pond. We cannot be stagnant in our Christianity.

Stagnant water stinks and grows gunk. 
We must keep the living water flowing through us.
We cannot dam it up.

We must not just sit in the crowd. We must put ourselves where we can both listen and ask questions.
Come let us reason together… (Isaiah 1:18). 

The living water, the Word of God, must flow through us. It must come into our heart and out of our lives. The Prince of Peace must flow like a river in us. Sending peace to others. Flowing down from the mountain into the deepest valleys.
The love of God must go deep within us and rise up and crash onto the shores of those around us.
The joy of our Christ must spring forth praise out of our mouth with shouts like a geyser from the fountains of the deep and also with the gentle flowings of fresh spring fountains.

Love God. Love others.
It starts with God and spills on to others.

Oh Father, Let me be one that increases and continues…

>Overcomers

>”Jesus Christ, who went through hell for you, can give you the power you need to overcome the worst kind of condition in your life.” (Chuck Swindoll)

There is no greater peace than knowing that Christ is on my side. When I am in the pit of frustration for whatever reason He has never failed to pull me out. I can have my moment of panic. I can cry. I can even scream. I can even be angry at my God, but as I bring all this emotionally fleshed out ick to Him, He never ceases to amaze me how He turns my ick into peace and my peace into praise.

I realize that as I look at my life I am so extremely blessed.

I am loved and I love.

I have the absolute great joy of teaching the truth to whoever will let me.

I know and have experienced the overcoming power of the grace of God that is available in Christ alone.

I know that no matter how bad I may feel the condition of my life is at any point in time Christ is greater still. His grace abounds.

I believe part of the mercy of our God is letting us know that “In the world you have tribulation” (John 16:33). God tells us “When you pass through the waters… When you walk through the fire,” (Isaiah 43:2). He says you have not you might. He says when not if.

Then He says, “but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). And God also says “I will be with you” (Isaiah 43:2).

So my dear precious one, whatever your struggle has been today… whatever it might be tomorrow… know that in Christ you have the power to overcome. I have learned that overcoming doesn’t necessarily mean the problem, the struggle goes away, it just means that this struggle will not destroy you. It will indeed only make you stronger.

When we look at our Savior’s message to the church in the book of Revelation as He exhorts the churches to overcome He never says He will remove the issue they are told to overcome. He simply says overcome.

So the question is how do we overcome?

The answer:

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world;
and this is the victory that has overcome the world–
our faith.
Who is the one who overcomes the world,
but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
(1 John 5:4-5)