Monday, August 25, 2008

rose of Sharon

Good Morning,
My back is somewhat better, so I'm back. But, as we're gone Thursday to my parents, I probably won't blog much this week.
Hope you are all well. Sounds like Jack and Betty had a good trip, but that Jack's battling an infection and needs our prayers.
I'd also like for you to pray for our traveling mercies and that physically I'll be able to handle the long 8+ hours trip on Thurs. and again on Sat. Thanks!
This spring Chuck planted a rose bush for me. It's yellow with pink fringes and it's just so lovely. I chose this one because of the color, but also because it's has wonderful fragrance. It had two blooms and I cut one to bring in so I could enjoy it inside too. It's past its prime, but still giving wonderful smells that I'm enjoying. Even Tucker likes how it smells!
Looking at the rose, I thought about how Christ is our rose of Sharon. So, I decided to walk through what the Bible teaches us. I found some great stuff.
Turn to Song of Songs 2:1 "I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys." My research tells me that Sharon was a place. Evidently shepherds grazed their flocks there. Because of the phrase: rose of Sharon, my guess is that roses were plentiful there. I don't know if people sold roses or not; not sure when that enterprise started in history.
In Song of Songs, the Beloved (female) says she's the rose. Verse 2 is the Lover (male) and he says: "Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens." He's comparing her to other women and calls them thorns! Not sure I'd want to be compared to a thorn. Poetry is sometimes, well poetic. They use metaphors (she's not really a rose, but is described as one) and hyperboles (exaggerated truth as an example) to describe something.
In this case, he's giving her high praise. I've been taught that Song of Songs is also Christ (rose of Sharon) and the church. It's symbolic of God's unconditional love for the church.
I like "lily of the valleys" because it sounds like something really grand. Valleys is plural and lilies are a grand flower with a strong fragrance. Or, there's the little white lily of the valley and they have small flowers with a huge fragrance. She's saying that she's a trophy wife! Just kidding. She is telling him that she has a lot to offer him (my guess, beauty) and as we see in verse 2, he agrees.
Christ is beautiful to us. He's lovely in every way. He loves us unconditionally and shows us in a myriad of ways, every day. Do you see the ways? Count them. Be like the Beloved and know your worth, because of Christ.

Knowing Him,
Whether Song of Songs was written about marriage, or symbolic of God's love for us, it's a beautiful small book and worth reading.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Blogging blues

I'm sorry that I'm not being very regular with my blogs. I'm having some pain from a pulled muscle in my back and I'm finding it hard to do anything. Sitting here is one of those things. So, when I'm better, I'll be back.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Identity Theft

Good Morning!
Isn't it a glorious sunny day? We have been so blessed this summer. I trust you are all knowing the Lord a little more each day.
We celebrated Nolan's 4th birthday. It's hard to believe my little "mouse" is now 4. Lynn also found out that they are having twin boys. They're sad because there isn't at least one girl, but happy for boys too. They're doing well.
Chuck's birthday was yesterday and unfortunately he was working. But, on Sat. the kids and his brother and our sister-in-law came to help celebrate his 58 years. That evening Chuck had a great ministry at the prison. I really miss our time there and not sure when I'll be able to go again.
I'm sure you're surprised at my title today. On Sat. in the mail we received our only credit card statement, but when I looked at it today to pay, I realized that it didn't look normal(the charges were from Nov. and the bill due date was Jan. 7, 2008). Also, it's a week early in coming. So, I called the company and they told me to disregard that statement and I would be receiving one next week.
I asked the guy if our identity had been stolen and he told me NO. I'm grateful for that, but obviously something happened to their computer system that it sent out a wrong bill. That brings me to our scripture today.
1 John 4:1 "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." In our society today there are false/criminal people who prey on everyone. No one is immune to them. Unfortunately this can also happen in the church.
Many claim that they believe truth about Jesus, salvation and life. But, their words don't back up real truth. The Bible is to be our guideline, our compass in life. If what we hear doesn't line up with scripture, we can't believe it, or the message the person is trying to "sell" us.
I think it's terrible that we have to be so cautious and wary in this world today. Our children and grandchildren have to learn things that we didn't until we were adults and even now, older. I think it's sad. Trust is gone because people abuse trust. I know this makes our Lord sad.
Are you teaching your children/grandchildren to be trustworthy? Are you teaching them that there are "wolves" out there waiting to devour them? Again, it's sad that we have to do that.
To summarize this blog, I think it's important to know scripture so we aren't taught falsely. I also think it's important to live a moral and ethical life as a testimony to Christ. We need to stand up and face false teachers and proclaim truth; it may be the only time they hear it.....

Proclaiming Him,

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Habbakkuk 2:20

Today a friend from church who lives in my neighborhood, Bee, came to visit for a little while. We had a nice chat about lots of things, you know, getting to know each other; she's really nice. We were talking about the lady in our S.S. class that shared and was so confusing for the ladies listening to her. No, we weren't gossiping, we were sharing that we didn't think she understood what to believe.
Her name is Mary and she has a troubled past that influences her present. She's attended different churches and learned many different teachings. My brain said: she needs to be discipled. Anyway, Bee shared how hard it was for her to follow Mary's train of thought and I agreed; I really had to concentrate on Mary's 'rabbit trails'.
Bee shared that Mary has a hard time letting go of her past and living in the present. I understand that because we all do that somewhat/sometimes. But, by bringing the past into the present, she's missing out on what the Lord wants for her NOW. She's missing out on blessings, directions, work/service for Him.
So, that brings me to the scripture for today. Habakkuk 2:20 "But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him." I think that sometimes we really need to just be silent so we can stand in awe of Him, worship Him, let Him be the focus of our very being.
How can we do this? We live in a terribly busy world and life seems to swirl around us like the tide on a beach, even when we try to be silent before Him.
I don't know if there's a perfect answer to that, because for me the answer may be different then for you. I like 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." I think these two verses go hand in hand.
I think to be still before the Lord means to focus totally on Him and block out 'life'. That's the first, but the second is just as important. We need to know Him. We do that by studying who He is, the attributes of His character, how he works in lives, what are His goals for us.
When we are not focussed on Him, we can't be still and we can't know Him the way He wants.
What keeps you from focusing on Him? What keeps you from being silent before Him? Do you really know what to believe? If not, why not? You might be surprised what you 'hear' when you are silent before Him.
We need to celebrate that we belong to a God that is exalted about the nations and earth.

Celebrating Him,

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Malachi 1:2-5

Good Morning,
This has been one of those mornings that I just have to laugh. When I was walking Tucker at 6:30, a lady in a car stopped and told me that I had to have Tucker on a leash. She's told me this before, only this time she was nicer. Last night one of her dogs was running loose in our neighborhood until a lady caught it and took it back for them.
Then as Tucker and I were coming out of our house so I could sit in the sun for 10 minutes (vitamin D) a lady rode by on her bike with her dog. Tucker of course had to go and see and I called her back, but the lady wasn't happy and told me that I needed to tie Tucker up.
To me, this just warfare. Why do I think so? Chuck is preaching at the prison on Sat. night. We always have tons of warfare the week that he teaches and/or preaches.
I also have lots of people telling me constantly how wonderful Tucker is and so well behaved/trained. So, the minority isn't happy but the majority likes us. Go figure! Three policemen have seen us walking and never said a word to me.
That brings me to the scripture, Malachi 1:2-5. After you've read it, come join me.....My main focus is on verses 2-3. God loves Jacob and hates Esau. People here hate us or like us. I don't have any control over their feelings. God has control over who He loves/hates. He knew Esau's heart.
Do you see in verse 3 where God says He's turned Esau's mountain into a wasteland? Doesn't that sound like the desert. On the top it doesn't show much life, but in the case of the Arab nations, underneath is the oil that serves the world. I think is part of God's promise for Ismael.
God calls them the Wicked Land, a people always under the wrath of the Lord. Always means, forever. How would you like to under God's wrath forever? Those who don't choose Christ as Lord are under His wrath, but it sounds like people that are living are under too. I think that all the wars/fighting that's constantly in that area of the world is because they are Wicked people under God's wrath. They try to rebuild (vs. 4) but the Lord will demolish.
Where in your life are you trying to build something and the Lord keeps tearing it down? It may be a relationship, work situation, family, children, etc. It just doesn't seem to work well. Have you sought the Lord? Do you have peace from Him that you have the right frame of mind, that you're going the right direction to solve the problem?
Malachi wanted Israel to appreciate their obedience and blessing from the Lord. He wanted them to realize that the choices they make had consequences or blessings. He contrasted the two brothers to show how God handles obedience, or lack of it. Remember, God knows the heart.

Willing to follow,

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Eli's wicked sons

What a beautiful day the Lord has given us. We have much to praise Him for, don't we? His Word is such a delight to me and I like to share what it says. Thank you for "hearing" the Word as I share.
Yesterday in our Sunday school class, we had a lady that kept going down 'rabbit trails' and basically confusing most of the ladies there. I don't think she meant to, but it was hard for Gloria to keep everyone on track. I didn't want to say anything, but after class Gloria (the teacher) came and basically told me to jump in on anything that would help everyone out.
I had tried to simplify something the woman had said by summing it up with: grace vs. Law. The lady agreed and everyone looked relieved. I also found out from Gloria that when I prayed at the end of the time, that I don't pray loud enough for those with hearing problems! What a hoot! She's such a dear lady and a really good teacher that I count her as a new friend gladly.
Today's scripture has nothing to do with what I just shared; just updating you on life. If you will turn to 1 Samuel 2:12 you'll find: "Eli's sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the Lord." Here's a priest (Eli) and because of heritage, his two sons were priests and they were wicked. Eli was the head priest, but obviously not a good father. He let his grown sons rebel against the Lord.
So, what happened in their upbringing? According to scripture (Joshua) the Jews were to tell their children when they walked, ate, etc. Had Eli somehow missed teaching his sons about the Lord?
I think that he forgot to teach them to fear the Lord. I'm talking about respect and FEAR. The Lord zapped them dead. They should have spent more time pleasing the Lord then living wicked lives.
So, what the application here? Teach your children and grandchildren to fear the Lord. God is love, unconditional love; but, there is a payment for sin. As Christians our sins are forgiven, and God's patience is long, but we do pay the price unless we fear Him and discipline ourselves daily.
I trust you are sharing Christ with others, especially your family and teaching them to obey Him. Show by example because actions do speak louder than words, sometimes.

Fearing Him,

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A righteous prostitute

Another summer day and the weather is beautiful. Tucker and I sat outside for a little while this morning so I could get some "D's". Chuck came home for awhile, then he's back tomorrow morning. He didn't get the truck because it would get him home some time on Sat. It's so good to have him home for a little while.
Today we're looking at James 2:25-26. This will finish this section and I'm not sure if I'll continue on in James; have to see where the Spirit leads. "In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead."
This is the same Rahab that marries one of the spies and is in the line that carries to Jesus. She believed that God was God and decided to support Him and His cause.
I'm sure when the news came to the town about what was happening with the Jews that she too was afraid. Sometimes fear motivates us to do what's right. Her fear drove her into God's service, her faith tells us that she thought He was bigger than any of the gods that she would have worshiped to this point in time.
When James finishes with verse 26, it almost seems out of place, but I think it is the summary. He uses Rahab to show that by her deeds, she proved her faith. Do your deeds prove your faith? What are you doing for the Lord?
I have a friend that wrote me a note and in it she talks about spending so much time and energy on her children. She felt she should be doing more for the Lord. I encouraged her that her children are at home so briefly and that she was investing in their lives Christian values. Basically, her children are her first mission field. She'll have time as they go to college, get married to do more for the Lord.
I know that during those growing years that I too chaffed at the bit to do more for the Lord. I did some things, but always felt I could do more. When they left home, I then had that opportunity.
The main point of this passage is that we serve. By serving we prove our faith is real, genuine. The dictionary says that genuine is: frank, honest, sincere, authentic. Only you and the Lord know what your faith is made of. What does He think?

Striving to be genuine,

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


I've had an interesting day. Chuck came home briefly because they are taking his truck to replace the engine and he's going to get another one; hopefully a brand new one. If it's used, he gets someones mess and smells.
I had a detox this morning and was so glad to get it. The fluid in my arm/pit area was building up and that's very uncomfortable. I'm going to have them weekly for awhile. I was feeling worse the last couple of days, but the detox should help.
Today we'll look at scripture in James 2 again, verses 20-24. James is talking about Abraham and how his faith was credited to him as righteousness. He is also called God's friend.
Have you ever put yourself in Abraham's position and thought about having to sacrifice your child to God? Yes, I know, God didn't kill Isaac, but Abraham didn't know that. He knew that God would provide a sacrifice and that Isaac was the promised seed. My guess is that Abraham thought God would raise Isaac from the dead after being sacrificed.
The main point here is this: Abraham believed God. He had faith and trusted God. Grant you, God doesn't expect us to sacrifice our children like Abraham did, but he still asks us to makes sacrifices for our children and for Him. He wants us to spend time teaching, training, nurturing and loving our kids; that's sacrifice.
He wants us to teach our children about trusting Christ as Savior and that's probably the most important thing we can ever do for our children: lead them to Christ.
James' point here is two fold. One, Abraham had faith and acted on that faith. Because of that, he was justified. So, what are you doing with what the Lord shows you? Are you trusting Him for your children? Are you being justified by faith and works?
I like verse 22: "You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did." We can have the very same thing. Look at your walk with God and put your faith into action.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008


I'm sure the title threw you for a moment, but if you remember yesterday scripture reading: James 2:14-26, you'll remember reading verse 19: "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that - and shudder."
Years ago when we first became Christians, I had a woman who talked to me about demons and the dark world of Satan. She was trying to convince me that I shouldn't be "looking" for them and that they really weren't such a problem as some people thought.
Now, I was pretty clueless about the demonic world because at all the churches we went to, none of them taught much about that theme. Sure, there was some things, such as this verse, but it seems to be a topic that most people shy away from.
Through the years as missionaries, Chuck and I discovered that demons like to plague people and make their lives miserable, especially if they don't know how to "fight" them. Keep in mind that WE CAN'T fight them personally, but it's the Lord that does the fighting. He's given us tools though.
We have His Word to use as the temptations come. The more we know the truth of scripture, the more we're able to fight the trials Satan sends our way. We trust, when he wants us to fear. We lean on Jesus and His promises when Satan wants us to quake in our boots and doubt. The list goes on.
When Christ was tempted in the desert, what did He use to fight Satan? The Word!!! The Lord has given us this wonderful tool to help us as the demonic world attacks us. I've found also that when the temptations come, to sing praises to the Lord, pray and also to claim Christ's blood that has covered me.
Satan will try until the time he's thrown into the lake of fire to destroy God's people and to keep people from coming to trust Christ as Savior. He's subtle and a deceiver. But, keep in mind the verse: "Even the demons believe that- and shudder."
God is greater, all powerful, and the demons know that they chose the wrong one to follow. Aren't you glad that you chose Christ and have the power of the Holy Spirit working in you to help against the evil forces of this world. My friend was right, don't go looking for demons under every rock, but at the same time, don't be naive that they don't exist or haven't any weapons to use against us.
Just remember: Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). Holy Spirit versus Satan. God's already won the battle; praise to Jesus Christ our Savior!

He is Greater!

Monday, August 4, 2008

James 2: 14-26

Good Morning,
Summer is hitting us hard, and I'm so thankful for air conditioning, aren't you? I hope you all had a good weekend. We had supper with Josh and family on Sat. night and had a good visit. Ethan got a dirt bike. It's so little, but he's thrilled. He can't ride it alone yet, but has so much fun with Daddy in the back yard. Nolan's way too little, but he laughs as he rides; age has no boundaries for fun.
Today's scripture is James 2:14-26, so please read them and join me. I'm not going share on this whole passage today, but a portion of it, then more this week. I don't know who wrote this following, but it describes this portion perfectly:
"What you are speaks so loud, that the world can't hear what you say, they are looking at your walk, not listening to your talk, they are judging by your actions every day. Don't believe you'll deceive, by claiming what you've never known. They'll accept what they see, and know you to be - they'll judge by your life alone."
Pretty convicting isn't it? I don't know about you, but through the years I've watched many people who say they are Christians, but their lifestyle doesn't match their words. What I have to be careful of is not judging motives. I can judge the sin/fruit (negative or lack of fruit), but I can't judge why they say one thing and do another. I'm sure you've met a few people through the years such as I've described. I'm not responsible for them, but I am for ME!
If you were to ask someone you know, close to you or not: does my life meet my words in equality? What do you think they'd say? Would you life stand up under scrutiny?
But, I think that the bigger picture here, is that the world is watching us. In our jobs, at stores, at the fitness center, at school events. If faith justifies us before God, then our works are a testimony before men/women.
But, there's more. Are we taking our faith and reaching out in good works? Are we serving the Lord by helping others in their need, no matter whether the need is spiritual, mental, physical or financial. I know for sure that we sometimes can't or shouldn't help someone (depends on whether the Lord is trying to teach them something) but we can pray! That's faith reaching out too.
So, do you live your life of faith in service, no matter how small? Does your life reflect your words? Don't let your faith be dead; let it shine.

Trying to live my words,