Friday, August 31, 2007

Proverbs 3:5-6

Hello Everyone!
If you've wondered where I've been, well Google wouldn't let me into my blog, again. We'll see how long I can go this time before it refuses me entrance.
One of the wonderful things about God, is that He never refuses us entrance into His presence. That knowledge should give us all great joy and peace.
It's been interesting how the Lord has been showing me quite a few things these last few weeks and then He's brought people before me who need to hear His message. What He teaches me, I turn around and share and that makes what He teaches become solid in my learning, but also multiplies the blessing of His knowledge.
I've probably taught on this passage before, but this is one of the verses that the Lord has been helping me to understand better. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." Some versions say: direct your paths.
As I meditated on these verses, I didn't struggle with understanding anything, until I got to the 'lean not on your own understanding'. Does that make sense??? I trust God, for my very breath, life, family, etc. I know that He takes better care of things than I can. My heart is His, hook, line and sinker.
I'm the kind of person that needs to know what's going to happen. I don't especially care what's going to happen, I just want to know the itinerary. When Chuck comes home on the weekends, I want to know his schedule. That's just the way I'm wired.
God knows this wiring, because He's the electrician. Because of this 'wiring' He knows that I need to know things, but what He wants is that I trust Him with the: need to know. He tests me constantly in order to grow my faith. As I determine in my heart and mind to trust Him, even thought I can't see where He's leading, my faith grows and that pleases my Holy Father greatly.
Because I always want Him to direct my paths (make them straight) I need to exercise my faith, and trust Him for what I don't understand. How about you? Are you wanting to know what God's will is for your life? For tomorrow? His word tells us not to worry about tomorrow, just to take care of today.
So, step out in faith along with me and 'lean not on your own understanding' and acknowledge that He is God and that He can and will direct our paths. He's Sovereign, so He's in control. Back off and let Him drive.

Leaning on Him,

Friday, August 24, 2007

Psalm 46:10

Good Friday!
To all who are reading this, Betty is really sick and needs prayers. Thanks!
Today when I was thinking about what to blog I thought of a time when we lived in Europe and we went with other staff members to celebrate Thanksgiving in Hungary. That story is for another blog.
When we were traveling home, we had to go through the Hungarian/Slovakia border. When we got to the Slovakia side, we suddenly quit talking. None of of said it was time to be quiet, but watching the guards we just knew that this wasn't going to be a pleasant border crossing.
The regular guards were really nervous and a big whig came out of the office and approached our vehicle. He wanted to know who we were and were we carrying any contraband; cigarettes and liquor were forbidden. Of course we didn't have any.
This guy was real scary and even though one couple spoke Slovak, we didn't let on, just gave him our passports. He checked our luggage area and found nothing bad. He had told us that he didn't speak English, but when he gave us back our passports, to told us in English to go away, to travel on. We did.
There were five of us in the van and none of us said anything until we were quite aways from the border. They have microphones that can pick up stuff for many meters. When we finally were far enough away we started sharing our thoughts about what we'd experienced. We all felt like the area was full of demons and was so black.
The verse I want to share is one that's helped me many times when troubles or trials come. Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Many quote the first part of that verse, but I like the whole thing.
That night we were still and God saw us through a difficult crossing. He protected because we easily could have been thrown in jail, even though we didn't do anything wrong. Communism isn't dead in Europe.
When you're troubled or in trouble do you quote Bible verses to comfort yourself? Do you grab your Bible and read the Psalms or a favorite verse? When we are still, and know that He is God, we have all that we need to carry us through difficult times in our life.
God is Sovereign and He knows everything you're going through and He will provide, just 'be still' and let God be God.

Being Still,

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Isaiah 43:10-13, 15

Horky Den!
That means 'hot day' in Czech. Another scorcher. I wonder if this is just a taste of what hell will be like, except that I know hell with be dark because of the absence of the Lord. Just a thought that came through this gray haired head of mine. I know, I don't think like most folks.
As you can tell by the title, our scripture today is from Isaiah 43:10-13,15. I ran across this portion of scripture quite awhile ago and made a note to share. I won't type out the verses, so please read them, then join me......
One day when I was looking out into the back yard I noticed a squirrel trying to have a dust bath in a small area underneath the clothes line. The spot of dirt wasn't hardly big enough for the little guy, but he was rolling around and acting real goofy.
I glanced from the squirrel having his dirt bath to a larger area not far away that our 'grands' play in. That dirt pile is quite large and would accommodate the little squirrel quite nicely and give him a great dust bath. I'm sure he knows it's there, but instead he chooses a small patch that isn't big enough for his small body.
Don't we do the same thing, not the dust bath, but don't we limit ourselves where God is concerned? The verses today have God 'shouting' to the Israelites that they were His witnesses to His might, power, salvation, etc. Yet, I have a feeling that they weren't seeing the 'bigger picture' of who God is and what He wants to accomplish in their lives; in our lives.
In what ways do you limit God? I know that lack of trust is a big one for everyone. That lack of trust means that we don't have the faith to believe that when God says: (vs 11) 'When I act, who can reverse it?' He goes on in vs 12: 'I have revealed and saved and proclaimed'. Are we listening? Are we truly hearing what He's saying?
You ask, how do I know what God is saying to me. Open His Word and read. Then, apply. But I think the key to all of this is: trust and obey. As you start to trust Him, that He is all that He says He is, then your faith will grow and you will please Him greatly and He will reward your growing faith in Him.
In verse 15 He says: I am the Lord, your Holy One. Do you believe this? If so, how is your life reflecting that belief? Step out in faith and believe that God can change how you think, feel, understand, work, etc. Don't worry about others, just work on you and let God work on you. Then, I promise, He will reveal Himself and you will see Him as He wants you to see Him, in all His fullness and splendor. Say to Him: Lead on King Jesus.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Revelation 3:16

Hello All,
Life has been so hectic, but good. Family time over the weekend as we celebrated Chuck's birthday was great. But, as you can see, it's taking me awhile to get back to my schedule. Thanks for your prayers.
When Chuck and I were in the Czech Republic, we often visited a nearby city that had a mineral spring spa. We'd take our teams there to experience this unusual place and enjoy watching their faces when they tasted the mineral water.
There was a fountain that you could fill small vessels with and then drink. Many people would actually spit out the small amount they tasted. Others would boldly swallow and ask for more! I didn't like the water at all, mainly because it was lukewarm and tasted horrible.
We would buy mineral water called Vincenka and use it for sore throats and colds. It had marvelous healing properties, but I always drank it icy cold or warmed in a pan and sat with a towel over my head to capture the steam.
In Revelation 3:16, John writes: "So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth." Jesus is ticked off! The church at Laodicea was just like the church today, lazy, complacent and not honoring God.
But, lets bring this closer to home. How is your walk with the Lord? Is it lukewarm? Are the holes in your life being filled by the Lord and His Spirit or have you shoved Him out with busyness, family, work, pleasures, etc?
How much time do you devote to you and your 'things' that occupy every day life? I'm really horrible with math, but I know that percentages are out of balance if 'things' are taking up the lion's share of our day and that the Lord gets shoved into a few minutes before we fall asleep on Him.
So, do you want to be spit out of the Lord's mouth or held dearly in His arms are you walk closer every day with Him? It really is your choice. He's always there with His arms wide open, waiting for you to run to Him. So, get your running shoes on and hit the road.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Jude 16

Rain! Yeah. I know we need more, but anything is better than nothing. Praise the Lord for answered prayer. I hope you are all well and that the Lord is revealing Himself to you daily through His Word and the Holy Spirit.
We're almost finished with the 3:16's and today it's Jude 16. Please read this tiny book so that you'll better understand what this verse is teaching. Now that you're back, here we go: "These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage."
I seriously don't think that everyone who finds faults or grumbles is in the same league as the ones that Jude is talking about. But, there are people just like Jude describes and you may have met a few of them in your lifetime.
A few years ago Chuck and I went into a second hand store to look around. As we were browsing, suddenly we heard a man with a bad temper who had many really bad expletives come pouring forth, loud enough for people in the next state to hear.
Chuck and I looked at each other with huge eyes. A Saturday cartoon came to mind and I said to Chuck: Razzle, frazzle, dazzle, the Tasmanian devil language. Both of us started to laugh silently and by mutual mute agreement we headed for the car. When we got inside we laughed our heads off. So, now, when one of us gets frustrated, we say: razzle, frazzle, dazzle. It lightens our mood and the situation becomes easier to handle.
This man was grumbling and finding fault and letting everyone around him know it. People in the church do the same thing. Instead of going to the source of our complaint or praying about it, we voice it for all to hear. I don't think that attitude or action is pleasing to the Lord.
The people Jude describes were false teachers and they were really causing trouble. When someone seeking the Lord, or a new Christian hears people in the church grumbling and finding fault, what kind of witness is that? Are we to confront people who we hear doing this?
If I understand this portion of scripture I think if we hear someone maligning the Word of God or finding fault with people in a very public place especially, we need to have a private conversation and point out scripture that teaches their actions and words don't honor the Lord.
I'll close with Jude's doxology: to Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy- to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Seeking Him,

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

3 John

Another blistering hot day. Kind of like the blistering hot letter that John sent to his dear friend Gaius. Read all of 3rd John, then join me.
Gaius is a good guy but there's a bad guy named Diotrephes who's been running the church and not doing a good job of it. He's power hungry and being nasty. Paul sounds like he'd like to take Diotrephes on in a personal battle. My guess is that Diotrephes wouldn't win.
There's always church conflicts and some leaderships handle it well, Biblically, and other's don't. Then, there are churches that don't confront false teaching/teacher's and everything falls apart with people leaving and much discouragement.
In verse 11 Paul tells his dear friend: "do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God." When I think about that small verse, part of me says, but some day, those people will see God and He will destroy them for all the harm they have done.
In the mean time, how do we handle people who cause trouble for us individually, or the church corporately? I think it's our responsibility to counteract false teaching with good solid teaching. I think that Diotrephes epitomizes those who go through life looking for trouble and not caring how much havoc they wreck. Ever met someone like that?
When our children were little I sometimes babysat for a young boy that was constantly looking for trouble. I couldn't believe some of the things that he did and he was only 4! He terrorized the neighborhood kids when he was with us.
I tried many things to stop him, anticipate his actions and even confronted his mother, but to no avail. Sometimes I felt he was headed for prison, some day. It was like there evil in him that controlled him. I don't know how he turned out because we've moved away. I do know that his sister married a friend of ours son and that she's just so sweet and good. Why one bad acting child and one good out of the same family? Only God knows.
That's my point in this, it's God's to deal with. He knows the hearts of everyone and will work His justice. But, we are to make sure that people don't wreck havoc in the church, so if you see or know of something that dishonors God, you have a responsibility to notify the leadership. They're responsible before God to deal with it. We are accountable before God for allowing sin to prevail.

Prayers to you all,

Monday, August 13, 2007

2 John 6

Good hot Monday afternoon,
I trust you're all staying cool. I've been outside briefly, but the heat drove me back inside. It's August, what can I say?
There isn't a 16th verse in 2 John, so I chose verse 6 instead. "And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love."
That's pretty straight forward isn't it? This second book of John's is all about keeping on target spiritually. John's addressing false teacher's that have invaded the churches teaching that Jesus didn't come in the flesh. I think he nails them very well and admonishes all to walk in truth. Truth seems to be his key word in the beginning.
Note that in verse 5 he says: "I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another." He's right, loving isn't a new command but one that doesn't get done, or is done but not as the Lord would want us to do.
Loving first has to be directed toward God. We show Him our love by our obedience and service. Then, we're to love one another, warts and all. Are you loving others, even then they are difficult to love? It's not a choice you know.
Also keep in mind that it's a command to love. It doesn't mean mushy, gooey love, but it does mean that we try to do our best for others, not persecute or malign and help if help is needed.
At different times in my life there have been people who have persecuted me for whatever reason. It's been difficult for me to even be in the same room with them, much less show them love. But, when I put that person into the Lord's hands and prayed for them, my feelings started to follow the command. I found that I could forgive and be civil to them in a kind and generous way. How they reacted was not my responsibility, but God's.
So, are you loving others? Even the hard ones? Remember, God loves you, even when you aren't very lovable or being loving. It's a little thing called: agape love (unconditional).

Working on loving others,

Friday, August 10, 2007

1 John 3:16

Good Friday Morning,
A little relief from the heat. When I was walking Tucker this morning, a cool breeze kept me from overheating. God is good to supply what we need. In this case, a break from the oppressive heat.
Looking at 1 John 3:16 today is so refreshing, just like the breeze this morning. "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers." In order to get all that John is saying, please read verses 11-20.
We can all agree that Christ's sacrifice on the cross was the ultimate act of love. Although we are not asked to die for another, we are asked to lay down our lives. What's the difference you ask? If you continue to read you'll see that John is talking about helping one another, even to the point of sacrifice.
Have you ever given of yourself, time, talents, money, stuff to the point of sacrifice? When I tried to think of a time that I did, I'm reminded of going overseas to serve. We left behind our son, got rid of many possessions, giving much away and left friends and family.
We had many people ask us why we came to the Czech Republic and it gave us the perfect opportunity to share the message of the cross with them. It was hard for them to understand why we'd leave the abundant life here for a meager life there. We shared that possessions aren't what life is all about, people are.
Sure, we sacrificed things, and time with people here, but God rewarded our sacrifices, our laying down our lives for Him by giving us a ministry that far exceeded anything we could ever have imagined. We gave, and He gave back, a thousand fold. There are people who will spend eternity with all of us that came to Christ because of His message, leading and our laying down our lives for Him and them.
So, who will you lay down your life for? In what way will you do it? Ask God to show you the way, then hang on for the ride of your life!

Praising Him,

Thursday, August 9, 2007

2 Peter 3:16

Good Evening All,
I got into my blog easily, which is a miracle. I talked with our son today and he said he didn't do anything to my blog. Maybe Google finally caught up on the problem and fixed it themselves. Anyway, here we go.
This portion of scripture, 2 Peter 3:16 needs to be read in whole, as in the whole chapter. It's talking about end times when the Lord destroys the heavens and the earth. When we get to verse 16, Peter is talking about the Apostle Paul (see vs.15) and he says: "He writes the same way in all his letters. speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain come things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction."
Peter is explaining that we need to walk with God in a blameless and upright way/manner. Paul's teaching was always guided by the Lord and Peter is adding his instruction here too. When you read verses 14-16 the explanation is more clear.
There are people, Peter calls them ignorant and unstable people who will always distort the truth of the word. But, if you don't know the word, how will you know if they are teaching false doctrine? Know the truth and you won't be trapped by the lies.
Have you ever met someone that was teaching falsely and you knew it and when you tried to point out the truth, they wouldn't listen and got really upset with you? I've had some people that have been really smug about what they believe and that arrogance is hard to understand for me.
When the Word is truth, it speaks for itself. We can't change peoples opinions and beliefs, but we can point them to scripture that speaks truth and let it challenge their beliefs and give them the information they need. The rest is up to the Lord, and them.
On a final note, I'd like to ask for prayer. I'm having some health issues and need, and covet your prayers as I find solutions and hopefully find a resolution.


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

1 Peter 3:15-16

I'm back!
My Google account didn't want to have anything to do with me and it's taken forever, and with the help of our son I'm back blogging again. I've really missed this, so it feels really good.
I hope you've all been well. I know some haven't felt the best, but the Lord has held you close.
I've included verse 15 because 15 and 16 are one sentence. "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander."
Many years ago at a little church we attended, I was slandered against because I'd ask people to share their testimony with me. Now, I love to hear how the Lord brings people to Him and saves them. I was misunderstood and maligned badly. Many in the church were up in arms against me. My motives were pure before the Lord and those close to me knew I hadn't done anything wrong.
At a Bible study we were sharing prayer requests. When a person was mentioned that I didn't know I asked if they were saved. Basically I would pray for the person, but if they weren't saved, I also wanted to pray for their salvation.
One of the ladies in the church, a pillar in many ways, lit into me about judging. It blew me and everyone there out of the water. She rained coals of condemnation on me for about five minutes. Needless to say I was hurt and confused.
Our pastor's wife and another dear saint addressed the issue immediately. It was nice that they defended me, but even they misunderstood. No one asked me what I meant and I didn't have the opportunity to even say anything until they'd had their say.
When they finished, I was asked what I meant and I shared that I would pray, but if they needed salvation I wanted to add that to my prayer. The looks of everyone there told the sad story of people jumping to conclusions and not asking what I meant by my question. It was a good lesson for everyone, including me.
Thankfully the lady who attacked me did apologize. But, the damage was done and I was badly hurt. The other ladies told me I shouldn't be hurt, but I was. God knew my heart and He always knows our motives. He did comfort me, as He always does.
It was a lesson to me to be careful not to attack others because they think or believe differently. Also, ask questions to clarify what is meant. Hearts are tender and easily hurt.
Praying for you all,