Monday, November 24, 2008

1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

Monday greetings,
The sun is shining and warming our day. The wind is also trying to blow us away! I think I just wrote a poem:))).
I hope you all had a good weekend. We were able to spend Sunday night here with our son and family for supper. We had a good visit and got some good 'grands' time in.
As I communicated with friends this weekend, I learned about some service they've been doing. So, when I started 1 Thessalonians I found right away verses that speak about what they've been doing.
"We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. "
My friends have shown their faith by their work/service. I know that it's prompted by love for others. I also know that they put in long hours to produce the result of many being helped. The Free Friday giveaway was a success again. The Wednesday night meals and social time is a success. God is providing for peoples needs through the caring servant hearts of my dear friends. I'm always encouraged to hear reports of how the Lord is using those who desire to serve Him. It shows obedience to Him.
The Apostle Paul made many commendations of people that were serving God. He knew how to give credit where it was due. I think it's important to edify those who are serving, to encourage them in the work. Many times their service is really difficult, or they don't see much fruit. But, we are told through the Word to encourage one another.
So, the next time you know of someone serving, tell them that you appreciate their service and effort for the Lord. Perhaps they'll edify you back!

Glad for servant friends,

Thursday, November 20, 2008

God's Chosen

I heard Tony Evans say today: "give up what the flesh wants to give what the spirit needs." Isn't that just profound? "Screaming Tony" has great messages, I just wish his voice level wasn't always so intense.
Chuck has a new job. The Lord has provided so that he doesn't have to drive a truck hauling a flatbed. His new job is "hands off" freight. He just has to drive from point A to point B. And, he doesn't have to be in Chicago every other day. It's been hard for him to be home, but now he has peace and it seems to be a good company.
Check out Colossians 3:12-14 and join me....I really like the thought that I've been chosen by God. I know this means because I've trusted in the finished work of Christ on the cross. We are holy and dearly loved.
How many times do you think about how God loves you? Do you contemplate what Christ did on the cross and does it tear your heart out? We are filthy rags, but He loves us dearly and has made us holy. The dictionary says holy is: living a life of spiritual purity, dedicated, set apart, for sacred usage.
The Lord has set us apart from the world (unbelievers) so that we can live a life of spiritual purity. So when we consistently are disobedience, we are not honoring Him and all that He has done for us.
We are to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Do you find times when you are stretched to the limits to do any or all of these? We may accomplish one, or part of some, but the whole list? We can't, under our own power. That's where the Holy Spirit is such a tremendous help.
Vs. 13 is a hard one for any of us to do. When we're mad at someone and lose patience, say something we shouldn't or shut down all communication with them, we are not bearing and forgiving. The key here is: "Forgive as the Lord forgave you".
How did He forgive us? By dying on the cross for us. He forgave all sins, past, present and future at that time. He did it sacrificially, unconditionally. As humans, it's hard for us to do that with each other. But here, we are commanded to do it.
I have found that if I decide to forgive and show that I forgive, whether the other person says they're sorry or not, that I have done what the Lord wants: obedience. The other person is responsible to the Lord for their actions/words, just like we all are.
The last verse talks about putting on love that binds together in perfect unity. That's unconditional love. Not always easy to do, but it takes a determined decision to show this type of love, no matter what. I've found that it isn't a decision that I make once and then am done, but have to reiterate many times through the years as the situation warrants.
What is your choice? Do you feel chosen, holy and dearly loved? If not, why not? Do you show the virtues listed? Do you forgive and love unconditionally? Do you accept God's unconditional love? Perfect unity can only be found in Him and in walking in obedience.

Taking baby steps of faith,

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Colossians 3:1-4

Good Morning,
The sun is shining and the day is crisp. I trust you are all well.
Do the every day worries, trials and tests get you down? Do you find yourself thinking about "life" more than you think about the Lord? Today's scripture speaks to that quite clearly. So, please read Colossians 3:1-4 and then join me....
I like the thought that Christ, who has been raised from the dead is sitting at God's right hand. I see Him, sitting in all His majesty and that thought comforts me greatly. He "see's" everything in the world; nothing escapes His knowledge.
When we are told to set our hearts on things above, that means to make it your hearts central focus. We have daily things to take care of, but we can't let those things take precedence over the things of God-His Word, service and praise. We must put Him first in all things, especially before decisions that affect our lives. When we're told to set our minds on things above, it goes hand in hand with our hearts; the two are entwined.
We went to the cross with Christ, therefore we "died" and He took us with Him, tucking us under His wing as He carried us to God, free, forgiven and saved. We no longer belong to the world. Being hidden in Christ means security and satisfaction.
In verse 4 we are told we will "appear with Him in glory". 1 Thess. 4:13-18 tells us that He will come to take His people home. When He does, we shall enter eternal glory with Him.
Isn't that comforting? We know that life is a trial, with much suffering, but one day that will end and we will enter into glory with Him. Won't that be 'glory'?

Waiting for that glorious day,

Monday, November 17, 2008


As we approach Thanksgiving my thoughts turn toward thankfulness. I decided to count my blessings. Every day there are problems and/or difficulties that are faced, but in the midst of these testings and trials there are things to be thankful for.
When's the last time you started through a mental list of things to be grateful for? As I read the scripture I'm sharing, it reminded me that perhaps doing it daily wouldn't hurt. I know it helps me to focus on the good in the midst of the bad.
Colossians 2: 6-7 "So then, just as your received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."
As Christians we have much to be thankful for. Christ is our Savior and we won't spend eternity in hell. We have His Word to study so that we can grow in our wisdom, knowledge and understanding of how God wants us to live. We are given gifts that edify the body of Christ and the service we give delights our souls and hearts.
With Christ as our foundation, we are "rooted" in Him and as we study, learn, apply, we are built up in Him. I know that this process gives me strength to handle the problems that come my way. Sometimes I don't understand what's going on, testing or trial and I don't know the outcome, but I know I can trust Him to see me through and come out more gold on the other side.
Then comes the thankfulness part. When we're hurting, angry, frustrated or whatever, it's hard to be thankful. But, that's when we need to be thankful the most. That's why I count my blessings so that my heart and mind will look to Him instead of me. It's hard sometimes to do that, but I know that I have to in order to survive.
When life seems to be pressing in on all sides, choose to show you're love and thankfulness to the Lord and I promise you that when you do, you'll feel better because He will fill you with Him instead of the emptiness of self/problems.

Counting my blessings,

Thursday, November 13, 2008

False Teachers

I had good news from Lynn today. The babies are now 4.5#'s and 5#. All is well. Tiffani is doing better, but I know that they are still grieving, as are we. Thanks for your prayers for us all.
We have friends on the mission field and they are struggling with the teaching of that missions group. Our friends understand grace and know that not all that the missions teaches is Biblically true. They are finding it difficult not to be upset and angry over the "prideful" (my word) attitude of some of the people.
I wrote them a nice long letter that hopefully will encourage them. I know our friends want to serve God faithfully and fully. I know that they are grieved by the attitude of the people they work with.
When we were missionaries we heard that the number one reason that missionaries leave the field is because of working relationships with other missionaries. It looks like this time it's being proven true. From what they said, I don't think they'll return to this mission organization when their service time is up. I don't know if they'll find another place to serve or not.
That brings me to the scripture for today, Colossians 2:6-8. Please read it and join me.....Once we are saved, we need to work at living a holy life in Him. We do this (vs. 7) by being rooted and built up in Him by faith in good teaching, with overflowing thankfulness. When we learn well, we live well, for Him.
Vs. 8 is a great ruler/measure to live by. The NIV says not to let anyone take us captive. That would happen if weren't alert/aware and let bad teaching come into our thinking. Some things are so subtle that we don't realize it until we are immersed. When we finally understand, it may be too late and damage is done. The damage I talk about is having to unlearn/set aside bad teaching to learn the good.
When our kids were small, they were taught in school to write as they "heard" the word, not to learn the correct spelling. This was phonics, supposedly. Then, later they had to unlearn the wrong way of spelling and learn the correct way. This made for some confusion. I was so glad when we moved to another school district and they were taught the correct way from the beginning because both kids rapidly moved forward, instead of being held back by poor teaching.
It's our responsibility to know what we're being taught and to live God's truth, even if it means going against what's being taught. The Word is truth and will always teach correctly, especially with the Spirit's help.

Learning the truth,

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

2 Kings 22:7

It's been a another week of illness. Chuck's been sick with a bronchial infection since last Friday, but went to the doctor on Monday. We had Ethan and Nolan Sat/Sun, so catching up has been slow for me.
As I eat my breakfast, I read the Our Daily Bread. Today's scripture was 2 Kings 22:3-11. It's a good portion but the verse that I want to focus on is 7: "But they need not account for the money entrusted to them, because they are acting faithfully."
King Josiah was king and became king at age 8. The book of the Law was found and read to him. It was while they were working on the temple that it was found. Now, Josiah was a good king and it upset him terribly when he found out about the book. You can read that portion for your own information.
What I found interesting is that in our day and age when ethics and morality is practically non existent, we find in Biblical history people doing work and NOT having to be constantly held accountable because they were "acting faithfully".
Can you imagine someone today doing that? Trusting huge amounts of money to someone and not asking for an accounting? It's too bad the loan people who helped home buyers get into so much trouble weren't ethical and trustworthy instead of greedy, isn't it?
Are you trustworthy with what the Lord gives you? Even if you couldn't deduct your tithe/giving from your taxes, would you still give back to the Lord? Are you using what He's given you in a responsible way?
On the news last night they showed a woman who supposedly only uses cash now because she got into credit card debt. But, she only pays the minimum balance, and she still buying things, like clothes. Her house was nice and her clothes were really nice, but she's not paying her debts down quickly. I also saw at the very end that when she bought a shirt, that in her hand was a credit card. So much for paying cash.....

Accountable to Him,

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Get wisdom! Get understanding!

Good morning,
I know, I usually don't blog on a Sat., but when I read my flip over calendar I just had to share it. It's by Charles Stanley and I have gotten lots of good insights from him.
I'll quote exactly: The Bible declares, "Get wisdom! Get understanding!" The two are not the same. Understanding is based upon the acquisition of knowledge-it is a filtering, sifting, sorting, and defining process. Wisdom, in comparison, is an applying process. Understanding tells us what is happening-wisdom tells us why it is happening. Understanding gives us the facts-wisdom tells us what to do with those facts. Understanding yields insight into how a problem might be solved-wisdom tells us which solution to pursue, and when and how to pursue it.
Isn't that pure gold? I hope that you have gained something today. Now, will you apply it?

Working on the application,

Friday, November 7, 2008

Colossians 1:19

I saw in the online paper today that 95.6% of people are glad the elections are over. Why in the world would anyone (4.4%) still want election stuff? Are they nuts??? I'm more than glad it's over.
Because we have contact with non-believers and the arguments that they bring out, I'm so glad that the Lord had Paul write Colossians. In verse 19 He tells us: "For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him." The key word here is: fullness.
The word fullness in Greek is "pleroma" (pronounced: playROma). Paul used this term because the Gnostics (knowledge freaks) used it often. It means: the sum total of all the divine power and attributes. Another definition is: completeness. Paul has already used this term 8 times so he's basically throwing their own word back in their faces.
The other word we need to look at is "dwell". It means to "be at home permanently." Dr. Kenneth S. Wuest (Greek expert) says that this fullness was "not something added to His Being that was not natural to Him, but that it was part of His essential Being as part of His very constitution, and that permanently".
God doesn't give this to a created being. It "pleased the God" to have His fullness in Christ as proof that Jesus Christ is God. See also: John 1:16; Col. 2:9.
If you've ever struggled to prove that Christ is God, study this portion and believe it, then you'll be able to share with someone the truth.

Jesus is God,

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Colossians 1:18

The rain has come and gone and now wonderful sunshine. The Lord has blessed our day with His wonderful creation. We had a great day at Lynn's yesterday as we helped with the nursery. We didn't get tons done, but helped with a few things. She took us shopping so Chuck could use a gift card that's probably over a year old; he now has a nice shirt for the winter.
Today's scripture is so full that I probably should spend days on it. I'll try to share all that's been revealed through my study. Colossians 1:18 :"And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy."
The body/church is ALL believer's, not just the local church. When we trust Christ as Savior, we baptized by the Holy Spirit into this body (I Cor. 12:12-13). The word "head" in Greek means: source/origin as well as leader, ruler. Christ is the source of the church, His body, and the Leader.
When Paul uses the word "beginning" that tells us that Jesus Christ has priority in time, as far as the church is concerned, and beginning can be translated: originator. Because He is the originator, He supplies life through the Spirit. He gives gifts to people and then these people serve Him in the church.
He is the firstborn from the dead. Verse 15 uses this word first. It doesn't mean that Christ was the first person raised from the dead. But, He's the most important of all who have been raised from the dead. Without His resurrection there couldn't be any resurrection for others (us)
(1 Cor. 15:20).
Now for the theme of this portion: "so that in all things He might have the supremacy/preeminence." This phrase isn't used anywhere else in the New Testament. It's related to "firstborn" and magnifies the unique position of Jesus Christ. Col. 3:11: "Christ is all, and in all."
The false teachers in Colossae couldn't believe this and many can't today. I talked with my brother a couple of nights ago. He says that he believes the God of Abraham exists, but doesn't believe in Jesus Christ at all. He thinks that Buddha and Mohamed have as much claim to God as Christians. He uses the word Christians as those that are not Jewish.
I asked Him "what does God say about Jesus?" He couldn't answer me of course. I think he was also asking if knowing the God of Abraham would get him to heaven when he dies. When I tried to get him to clarify what he meant, he really couldn't, or wouldn't.
So, I'm praying for another opportunity to share His truth. My brother cut off the conversation when I shared some (very few) things that he didn't want to hear. God is great and I've been praying for my families salvation for 31 years and I know that He has heard. Now, I just need to be faithful and share when the opportunities are given to me.

Praying and sharing,

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Colossians 1:17

Today I come to you with a heavy heart. Our daughter-in-law Tiffani, is miscarrying their baby. I guess it's going to take a couple of days according to her midwife. Yesterday she had tests and found out that the heart of our precious blessing isn't beating anymore. I comfort myself in the knowledge that because there was a heartbeat, that I will see and hold my little grandchild some day. For some reason the Lord has chosen for two little ones now to be taken from us, first Lynn and Jason's (before the twins) and now this little one. God is gracious and I know that he'll see all of us through this difficult time. One great blessing is that Josh isn't working out of town because they canceled his work detail and he came home today.
As I looked at the passage for today, I decided on just verse 17: "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." He knew this miscarriage would happen and He's holding everything together. We will get through this difficult time and come out stronger on the other side.
This whole passage is about His supremacy and this verse is quite substantial. He literally holds the universe together. He was.... before He created. He created not just the planet, but us, each individual, lovingly molded in our mothers womb. He has all of Gods fullness/completeness. We can hold on to Him in any crisis because He's our rock and our redeemer.
I trust that as you study His Word, and life's problems rush at you like a tornado, that you will cling to Him and let Him hold you close through the storms of life.

Hanging on,