A Happy Ending




February 28
The last week of January,  I arrived home one evening to a voice message from a young friend.  Many of you have prayed for this young woman, whose baby had a brain tumor removed at 1 year of age. He is now two years old and his mommy was awaiting the arrival of their second baby when she called. The day before this call the family had moved into a new house, which they had been remodeling. The voice messaged was asking for prayer, because their beloved cat took off exploring the new neighborhood and was lost.  The weather was horrendous that night...torrential rains and very cold temperatures.  Their son adored this cat as you can tell from the pictures.  My heart was so sad for them. All I knew to do, beside pray, was to email a picture of the cat to people I knew in the same neighborhood in the city where I grew up.

Twelve days later, I received an email from a friend who said Nelson, the cat, had been sighted, but the owner could not be reached.  Calling the owner immediately on her cell phone, I learned she was in the hospital in labor! The grandmother assumed cat duties and walked the neighborhood searching for Nelson, but to no avail.  At 10:25 PM a healthy baby boy was born.  Hours later when the proud new father returned home, he gave a call out to the cat.....who came running!

When the grandmother texted me this amazing news, I replied,  "Isn't that just like God!"  He is such a Provider. This sweet little boy got his cat back the same day his mommy left for the hospital!  I just love a happy ending.

Visiting with my father today, he inquired as to my age.  Then he asked if I had my future planned out. Enthusiastically, I replied...."Yes, I plan on spending it in heaven.  The best is yet to come!"    I went on to say, "One day at a time.  Jesus may be back soon."  His response was precious...."Jesus, yes, I believe!"
There is a very happy ending for each of us who love the Lord!

In the Blink of an Eye

February 27
What is the deal?  It happened again. I blinked and another month is gone. Faster and faster the days seem to fly by.  Oh, Lord, did I accomplish what you had purposed for each day of 2013 so far?  I doubt it.
The tyranny of the urgent entraps us.  A click here and a text  there tricks us into believing we are truly connected to others, but the touch of life has been trampled out.  The trumpet could sound today or another meteor fall from the sky. Who do we know that has never shared with us of their love and adoration for Jesus?  How often do we think about where those people could be in the blink of an eye?

Listen to what 1 Corinthians 15:51-57 says in The Message:
But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I'll probably never fully understand.  We're not all going to die-but we are going to be changed.  You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes-it's over.  On signal from that trumpet from heaven, teh dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again.  At the same moment and in the same way, we''ll all be changed.  In the resurrection scheme of thigs, this has to happen, everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal.  Then the saying will come true: Death swallowed by triumphant Life!  Who got the last word, oh, Death?  Oh, Death, who's afraid of you now?  It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that  gave sin its leverage, its destructive power.  But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three-sin, guilt, death-are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ.  Thank God!

  

Cheaters Never Prosper


Celebrating basketball season.

February 26
Being a UNC athlete and graduate, basketball season is very important to my husband.  The fast pace of basketball and the way a team can go hot or cold on a dime makes me nervous.  I have to keep reminding myself, "This is not of eternal value."  Instant replay allows calls to be evaluated immediately, not always reversed, but evaluated.  Twice during the game we were watching there appeared to be fouls called that just were not so.  The opposing team took to the line for their foul shots and both times the players missed those shots.  I said, 'Well, God worked that out didn't he!"

Romans 12:17-19 lines up with those thoughts:
Never pay back evil for evil.  Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honest clear through.  Don't quarrel with anyone.  Be at peace with everyone, just as much as possible.  Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God for He has said that He will repay those who deserve it.

I've probably shared a quote from one of our sons.  He was playing in a tennis tournament and his opponent was making some very blatant "bad" calls.  Finally, our twelve year old walked up to the net and addressed his opponent by simply saying, "Cheaters never prosper."  That unnerved the other young man I don't think he won a single game after that and our son won the match.

God does have the whole world in his hands and those hands can handle any situation!

I'm Gonna Ask You....


We call this one "Chuckles" because he is always laughing.
February 25
Chuckling over the sink, my husband expressed that my last request was definitely one of those southern statements that leaves you wondering.  My back had gone out and bending over was out of the question for me. He was graciously washing dishes when I said, "I'm gonna ask you if you will put that bundt pan in the drawer under the oven."  He chuckled and said, "When are you gonna ask me?"

We laughed and laughed...then I said that might be a good evangelism approach.....You could say...
"I'm gonna tell you about Jesus!"  Get ready, prepare yourself, because one of these days I am going to be bold and just tell you!

And we're here today bringing you good news: the Message that what God promised the fathers has come true for the children-for us!  He raised Jesus, exactly as described in the second Psalm:
My Son! My very own Son! Today I celebrate you!
Acts 13:32-33
 

Who Do You Say He Is?

February 23-24
If some asked you today who Jesus is, what would you say?
If someone asked you why you love God's Word, how would you respond?

Check out this 11 year old and the passion with which he preaches.

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=09CJCJNU&utm_source=GodTube%20Must-See%20-%20Mobile&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=02/23/2013

For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, 
the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.  
Deuteronomy 10:17

Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.
Psalm 136:3

God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
1 Timothy 6:15

On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
King of kings and Lord of lords.
Revelation 19:16


Details

In the eleventh year in the month of Bul, the eighth month, 
the temple was finished in all its details according to its specifications.
He had spent seven years building it.
1 Kings 6:38
February 22
My husband and I are enjoying a study, by a local pastor, on 1 Kings.  This week we went to class but the pastor was absent, due to a death in the congregation.  Eleven of us prayed together and then waded into the Word of the Old Testament.  Chapter 6 is full of detailed instructions on how to build the temple. These elaborate architectural plans had been given to King David and then handed down to his son, Solomon, to carry out.  As we finished reading that chapter, one young woman inquired as to the necessity of recording all those details for us to read.  Our lay responses were varied...."God is a God of detail"...."We most remember the importance of obedience"...."If we were scholars we'd know that each detail has a deep meaning"... and then my lesson hit me.

It had to take David a LONG time to sit before the Lord and listen and record all those details.  How often do we sit and listen to the details that God wants to give us for our day?

Facing an important decision in our lives years ago,  I sat for eight days with notebook and Bible in hand and listened to the Lord.  I have 22 pages (no where close to David, Noah, Moses or Abraham) of what I had heard.  The details were amazing.  Even longer ago, the Lord placed me face down on the floor and in 10 minutes gave me a page of specific instructions for a ministry we had called the Bible boat. Interestingly, both times these instructions were to carry out plans I absolutely did NOT want to do.

Why is it so hard to sit and listen?  I am a college graduate and sat in class listening to teachers and professors for many years, but seldom sit and listen to God Almighty.  Sitting and listening is different from studying the Word, going to Sunday School and church, tuning in online or on the radio.  Those techniques all add to and often confirm what God is telling us, but at some point we need to be still and listen for the details.  When it happens we realized the God of the universe is for REAL and ready for action in our day to day lives.

Check out I Kings 6

Here's an addendum.
After writing today I went to read in a series by Nancy Leigh DeMoss on the Song of Solomon.  Today's entry was on learning to recognize God's voice and get away in quiet with him!  I think that needs to be on the schedule for me today!
https://www.reviveourhearts.com/radio/revive-our-hearts/unheeded-love-1-loving-laboratory-life/

Soak it Up


February 21
We all go through various "faith walk" stages. There are times we are very dry and wonder "Where in this world is God?"  There are other times that we can't soak in all the goodness we are learning fast enough.
Praying this morning for God to direct my writing the word sponge came to mind.  Heading to Biblegateway I searched "soak up" and actually found 7 scripture possibilities in The Message.  Hebrews 6:1-12 is the one which best reflected the book by John Ortberg, which I have nearly completed.  The Life You've Always Wanted.  

1-3 So come on, let’s leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ. The basic foundational truths are in place: turning your back on “salvation by self-help” and turning in trust toward God; baptismal instructions; laying on of hands; resurrection of the dead; eternal judgment. God helping us, we’ll stay true to all that. But there’s so much more. Let’s get on with it!
4-8 Once people have seen the light, gotten a taste of heaven and been part of the work of the Holy Spirit, once they’ve personally experienced the sheer goodness of God’s Word and the powers breaking in on us—if then they turn their backs on it, washing their hands of the whole thing, well, they can’t start over as if nothing happened. That’s impossible. Why, they’ve re-crucified Jesus! They’ve repudiated him in public! Parched ground that soaks up the rain and then produces an abundance of carrots and corn for its gardener gets God’s “Well done!” But if it produces weeds and thistles, it’s more likely to get cussed out. Fields like that are burned, not harvested.
9-12 I’m sure that won’t happen to you, friends. I have better things in mind for you—salvation things! God doesn’t miss anything. He knows perfectly well all the love you’ve shown him by helping needy Christians, and that you keep at it. And now I want each of you to extend that same intensity toward a full-bodied hope, and keep at it till the finish. Don’t drag your feet. Be like those who stay the course with committed faith and then get everything promised to them.


In chapter 9 of Ortberg's book, "The Guided Life" he is discussing being led by the Holy Spirit. Listen in to his recommendation:
"A test to know whether we really want God's guidance is to ask: 
How often do I seek God's guidance when I'm not facing trouble or a difficult decision?  Start seeking guidance for the growth of your soul. Ask:
How do I become a more truthful person?
Whom do I know who can teach me to pray in a way that will nourish my soul?
What practice will enable me to live in joy continually?

God's purpose in guidance is not to get us to perform the right actions.  
His purpose is to help us become the right kind of people."

So let's soak up all the goodness we can get from God's Word and be like those who stay the course, committed to their faith!

The Breakfast of Champions

How will we face today?
Ho Hum, just another day Pooh Bear
Praise the Lord! Let's get today going!
February 20
Do not be foolish. Understand what the Lord wants you to do.
Do not get drunk with wine. That leads to wild living. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Tell of your joy to each other by singing the Songs of David and church songs. 
Sing in your heart to the Lord.
Ephesians 5:17-19


Sometimes I just crack up laughing at the thoughts which come to my mind.  Monday morning was off to a rough start. My husband was out the door with his usual, before dawn departure, and I was awakened by our driveway sensor sounding the warning that someone was approaching Shiloh.  Staggering out of bed, I stepped in dog poop (we knew Moses had an upset tummy and he must have slipped out of the bedroom in the middle of the night to relieve himself).  Hopping on one clean foot, to the sink, I noticed an unmarked moving truck parked in our upper driveway.   Grabbing the phone I dialed my husband's number.  There was no sight of anyone coming to the door.
Eventually, the truck pulled away moving up the driveway and it backed into my neighbor's drive.  Relief set in...then I thought, wait...I should call and check on my neighbor.  The truck belong to workman, who were remodeling at her house and they had pulled into our drive to call for direction to the specific house on Moonriver Lane.
Deciding to get on with my day, I began to wonder what would make a good breakfast.  Then I laughed as my mind said, "You need the breakfast for champions after your start this morning."

What I needed was to fill up on the Holy Spirit. Not once in those moments of panic had I stopped to pray or praise. Over the weekend, I had just read this Lloyd John Ogilvie quote:

"If we praise God in blessings, the Spirit heightens our joy.  
If we praise God in difficulties, we acknowledge that he can work in all things!"

Praise, prayer and scriptural meditation are the best way to start a day!

Think-Stand Alone Products


February 19
He (Jesus) came back and found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, "Simon, you went to sleep on me?  Can't you stick it out with me a single hour?  Stay alert, be in prayer, so you don't enter the danger zone without even knowing it.  Don't be naive. Part of you is eager, ready for anything in God' but another part is as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.   Mark 14:37-38

Here's what I (Solomon) want" Give me a God-listening heart so I can lead your people well, discerning the difference between good and evil.  For who on their own is capable of leading your glorious people?   1 Kings 3:9

We need to think with discernment in this world when it comes to the products we purchase, the personal relationships we choose, the politicians we vote for, the schools our children attend and the faith we practice.

While I will not "dis" by name the stores in which I am about to refer, their practices are a good example of how we get suckered in to "deals" which are not really deals.  We fall prey to these tactics, because we believe without thinking.  There are two stores which I frequent. One, because it is the only one of its genre in the tiny town in which we live.  The other because it is a specialty store (for crafty people) and the only place I can buy certain products.  Both of these companies send weekly email coupons, which lure me their way, sometimes just because I don't want to pass up getting $5 off! (Reading the fine print, I have to spend $25 to save $5.) Their marketing techniques worked well until one day I was shopping in a much bigger city.  I had gone to Target (I will disclose the name of this store as I am speaking in a positive manner) for an assortment of baby related items.  Diapers, wipes, formula, etc.  Later, our son-in-law came home with a 30% off coupon for one of the store chains I referred to originally.  We made a long list of needs and planned to go together for this great savings. I was kicking myself for having purchased the expensive baby items before I knew about this deal.  Heading down the baby aisle I wanted to see how much savings I had passed by.  To my surprise the items were MUCH more expensive at this second store and even with the 30% off discount, I still saved more at Target.  My blood pressure spiked a bit as I realized I'd been duped.  My comparison shopping skills had fallen by the way, because of the lure of the coupon deal!

How keen are our discernment skills?  How closely do we monitor our children's text books, ask to see the course syllabus  and discuss with our children the comments their teachers made that day.  Textbooks are on the way out and it will become more and more difficult for parents to gain access to what their children are being taught.

I never know for certain where the Spirit will lead me each day when it comes to these writings.  Today, He is taking me a bit out of my comfort zone, but prepped me for this process last night as I was reading in Lloyd John Ogilvie's book, Drumbeat of Love. Ogilvie wrote: "Until we are fully dependent upon him (Holy Spirit), completely open to do his will, and unreservedly willing to act on his timing, he cannot use us."
So here I go getting a little bit political, of which I normally steer clear.  Night before last our neighbor called suggesting I turn on Fox News and listen to a pediatric neurosurgeon who had spoken at the National Prayer Breakfast.  Dr. Ben Carson has awakened my soul to the importance of being a nation who THINKS.  Tapping into the fact that the majority of voters enter the booth and simply pick a name, which they think they heard good things about, he very eloquently spoke to the importance of educating our populous.
We serve a God who is ABLE. Able to bring revival back to this land. Able to return America to the great nation it once was.  Able to bring moral excellence and character back to us and to future generations.  It may require us both thinking and standing alone at times as our voice is heard, but we do need to speak up when the Spirit leads.  Thank you Dr. Carson, for speaking up and reminding Americans we are a democracy (not a monarchy) and the president works for us.  Jesus is the only King over us for now.

Say it..."I'm a Saint."

Moses sitting in the mirror saying..."I'm a saint"
You will understand after reading today's entry.
February 18 
You are no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. 
Galatians 4:7

I laugh when my mind goes back to old songs from my childhood.  I have no clue when this song was popular, but the refrain was...
"Mr. Big Stuff, who do you think you are?  Mr. Big Stuff."

At social gatherings we are always breaking the ice by asking one another open ended questions such as....
"Where do you live?"
"Where are you from?"
"What line of work are you in?"
If someone said, "Tell me a little bit about yourself?"  
We could reply...I am a sinner saved by grace, looking forward to eternal life with Christ in heaven."  Then they would walk away.

What if we got creative with our open ended inquiries, hoping the recipient would say..
"Right back at cha, nut."
Here are some questions we could ask and possible responses for us should they be thrown back in our faces.
Who are you?
("Oh, I am a saint.  That's a sinner saved by grace.")
What is the greatest sacrifice anyone has ever made for you?
("Jesus gave his life for my sins.")
What or who do you worship?
"I worship the living Lord."
Where do you think you will live after you die?
"Oh, I will be residing in a mansion in heaven which is already being prepared for me."


Adrian Rogers once wrote:
"Are you saved?  If you are, then you are a saint.
Now you're probably saying, 'But I can't say that. Christ wants me to be humble.'
But let me tell you what real humility is. It is accepting what God says about you, and God
says you're a saint.  Now, that doesn't make you sinless; it makes you blameless. In God's sight (and that's the only sight that counts) you are a saint.  God sees you as perfect because He sees you draped in the righteousness of His Son.  Glory to God for His indescribable love to us!  Stand in front of the mirror and say out loud, 'I am a saint.'  Spread the Good News to your family and friends who are saved-that they are saints, too!"

To do: If I have time this morning I am going to redo the place cards on the table for our Bible study and write "Saint" in front of everyone's name!  :-)

Growing and Glowing



February 16-17
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.    Acts 3:19

The Beth Moore James study, I've been doing with a group of women is probably the most convicting study I've ever done.  Every day the lesson reveals an area of my life that needs fine tuning.  James is the kind of friend who tells it like it is, because he is passionate for us to be what we were called to be.

I shared with our group yesterday that I had been busy vacuuming up cheerios, oxy-cleaning spit up and snot off the shoulders of my clothes, tussling with crib mattresses to change them and packing away high chairs and baby toys and wishing I had a cleaning service there to help me.  (All the while pining for our grandsons who had left the day before.)  Why is it the idea of someone coming in and doing a deep cleaning on our homes is appealing, but allowing the Holy Spirit to convict and Christ's sacrifice to cleanse us makes us uncomfortable?  We forget the whole reason Jesus hung on that cross was for the forgiveness of our sins.  Repentance is an expected and appreciated process from God's perspective.

This morning during my quiet time the thought came to mind....

You're GLOWING when you're GROWING ...

in Christ.  Conviction and repentance is a part of spiritual growth.


Love=No Fear

 Driving through NC recently,  I became elated at the sight of a Carolina Blue hearse.
 My husband was a 4 year football letterman at UNC and 
deeply loves his alma mater and that unique shade of blue.
I think a Carolina Blue hearse might be his second choice as a way to go out.
First choice would be for his John Deere to take him to a spot here at Shiloh!

February 15
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us.  This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we're free of worry on Judgment Day-our standing in the world is identical with Christ's.  There is no room in love for fear.  Well-formed love banishes fear.  Since fear is crippling, a fearful life-fear of death, fear of judgment-is one not yet fully formed in love. 1 John 4:17-18

Our oldest grandson became very frustrated with me one day, when I was talking about how I look forward to living in Heaven.  "I do not want you to go to Heaven, Mama Boo!" he blurted.  "You should stay here with me!"  Being three years old at the time, all he was understanding was the separation aspect.

These verses above overflow with comfort for those in Christ.  Love does banish fear! Recently, I walked the halls of a nursing home and thought...how many of these people are Heaven bound?Presently, we have five family members, who are all in the late 80's and early 90's, and all have experienced serious failing health issues the past two months.  Some I have heard talk of their love for Christ. There are others, who were church goers in their younger years, but I have never heard them mention Jesus.  I've heard it said that that generation was not as vocal about their faith, but I have met some mighty men and women of God that age.  These individuals have mentored me and increased my faith, because of what they have verbally expressed.  If you love the Lord, why would you suppress what we are called to express?
Again I say, "If you love the Lord and have accepted him as your Lord and Savior, tell your friends and family about your faith and how He came into your life!"  Then they will have no fear or worry when you die.

Happy Valentine's Day

Some of my Valentine Crafties this year!

 Birds of a feather!
 Knitted heart balls

A fishy with a kissy.
February 14
A father's love is a treasure...a treasure we do not ever have to be without for God is love and He is all about loving us.  Here is a video of a father giving his daughter away in marriage.  It is precious.

Love well today dear friends!

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=092JJFNU&utm_source=GodTube%20Must-See%20-%20Mobile&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=02/14/2013

Also, check out the "Prayers for Our Children" page under our family picture and join us as a group of us pray daily for our children and grandchildren from the book Watchmen on the Walls

Sweeties

Around 10:00 the other night, my husband came back to our hotel room to find "our sweetie" in bed with me. He had a fever and had awakened crying.  He calls me "Ah-Boo".  Well, Ah-Boo couldn't stand to see him sick and sad, so she scooped up her sweetie and brought him to bed.  After about 30 minutes of squirming, his Papa popped him back into his crib!



February 13
My mother called everyone Sweetie...she even named their sailboat "The Sweetie".
I made a handmade Valentine for my sweetie one year and inside it said...

I wanted you after our first date, because you were gorgeous.
I wanted you during our engagement, because you were committed.
I wanted you at the altar, because I thought God had picked the perfect companion for me.
I still want you.
I love you now, because your love and faithfulness are beyond anything I could ever imagine and we have truly become one.
Such a powerful thought...nothing can stop me from loving you...it is engrained deeply in my being after all these years. I thank God for you.

I wish I could say I've written Jesus a Valentine, all these years of loving him, but I have not. How sad, if He is my First Love, I should have. God Word is full of Valentines phrase for us and we can receive them everyday.

Receive these words of love from God today.  Romans 8:31-39


So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:
They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

Be Mine & Be Committed & Find Joy



February 12
Back on track with our Valentine theme!
1 John chapter 4 has a wealth of information on love.  Peeking at verses 13-16  in The Message we read:
This is how we know we're living steadily and deeply in him, and he in us: He's given us life from his life, from his very own Spirit. Also, we've seen for ourselves and continue to state openly that the Father sent his Son and Savior of the world.  Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God's Son participates continuously in an intimate, relationship with God.  We know it so well, we've embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God.

 Have you been out looking for that perfect Valentine to send to your sweetie?  Have you noticed how all the cards make love appear pretty, frilly and "feel good"?  I love the little guys in these pictures above. I love them so much that last night I was up for a couple hours in the middle of the night with one of them, so his mommy (whom I love too) could get some sleep.  I love the other one so much that my cords are in the wash to remove the throw up from a big bottle burp and I will pay the drying cleaning fee to get spit up off my husband's cashmere sweater!  Every ache in my back is worth it, because I love lifting, carrying and holding these little fellows!

Love isn't always pretty and comfortable.  If we love like Jesus, our love shines most brightly in its commitment during the tougher times.  Those adjectives steadily and deeply are so descriptive! Can we say of our love for others that we have enriched their lives by giving of our lives?

The boomerang affect. Giving out of ourselves through love, brings joy back into our lives.

Who can we give love away to today?



February 11
This site has been acting up all day and not allowing me to post. Sorry.
I have no clue why it is typing up in "red". Must be for Valentine's week!.
This past week's study from the James Gang was so powerful that I decided to turn the highlights into a prayer I wanted to share with you all.


Father, may we quit playing games and get well.  May our faith be Holy Spirit driven, active and alive; filled with works that testify to how marvelous and wonderful You are.
Keep us willing to learn and may your Word be our tool of discernment.
Lord, each of us knows our lives testify that nothing is too hard for You to change.  Hear our prayers, as we continue to cry out for ourselves and others who are stuck in a rut of behavior for which we think there is no hope. 
We pray for teachers and preachers to speak truth.  Have them trust in the Holy Spirit for their filling.  Keep our minds keen with discernment.  Have Your Spirit prompt us to check that the teachings we sit under are aligned with Your Holy Word.  It is our heart’s desire to be found faithful, disciplined and hungry for Biblical teaching.
Keep a watch on our tongues Father, may we bite them if they are about to bring forth words that are not from heaven.
When our hurts are heaped up, may we take that load to Yahweh and be healed!
Most of all we ask for help to stay clear of bitter envy, selfish ambition, and disorder.  We long to exhibit wisdom from above, which is pure, peaceful, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without showing favoritism and hypocrisy.  In Jesus Name, we pray….Amen

Heart Attack


February 9-10
Valentine's Day week is upon us. Some people love it, others hate feeling they have no one with whom to share their love.  There is always someone for us to share love with.  Even our enemies.

You have heard that it was said, "Love your neighbor and hate your enemy."  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  Matthew 5: 43-45

or The Message Version

"You're familiar with the old written law, "Love your friend," and its unwritten companion, "Hate your enemy."  I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies.  Let' them bring out the best in you, not the worst.  When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves.  This is what God does.  He give his best-the sun to warm and the rain to nourish-to everyone, regardless:  the good and bad, the nice and nasty.  If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus?  Anybody can do that.  If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal?Any run-of -the-mill sinner does that.  
Matthew 5:43-45   

So here is our six day challenge...partake in the "Heart Attack".  This can be as simple as cutting out some red hearts, buying a box of chocolate kisses, or ready made Valentines or creating your own, but I challenge you to get out and "spread the love" by giving some possibly unlikely people Valentines.  Let's go back to Giving God the Glory for what he has done, but praying and asking him to place before is the recipients he has in mind for this "Heart Attack".  Take is a step further, make it all about Jesus and apply a heart related verse on the Valentine.

Give God the Glory

February 8
My husband and I are attending a wonderful study of 1 Kings on Wednesday nights.  The pastor is very spirit filled and an hour and a half can just whiz by while dwelling in only one verse!  This week before we headed into Chapter 3:1, where King Solomon had arranged a marriage contract with Pharaoh, King of Egypt and married his daughter, the pastor wanted to give us some back ground on the differences in the lives of this father-son duo.  King David and then King Solomon were known for very different things during their reigns.

David                                                 Solomon    
soldier                                                 scholar
battles                                                  buildings (7 year's building God's temple,
                                                                            13 years building palace for himself)
simple life                                            life of luxury/extravagance
songs                                                   Proverbs
hundreds of songs recorded                 Zero songs recorded though he wrote over 3,000
People mourned his death                   At death, talk was of ridding the heavy tax burdens of Solomon
A warrior who trusted God                 Politician making treaties through marriage...700 wives
Bible lists him as standard for kings    No further mention of Solomon
Name means "Beloved"                      Name means "Peace"

The teaching went on to exhibit how David TRUSTED GOD for everything, while Solomon trusted more in his own wisdom and manipulation of situations to give the people what they wanted....they wanted to be like other nations and have peace at any cost.  While Solomon loved the God of his father,   he often took matters into his own hands.
David knew that following God meant to STAND APART and be different.

We were to write down this quote:
"People can be smart enough to make a good living, but not wise enough to make a good life."

Conviction set into my heart more than once in that hour and a half.  He gave an excellent example of churches, Christian schools, and non-profits needing money and how they will spend thousands of dollars in marketing techniques, phone calls, hiring professional fund raisers, but very little time literally on their faces seeking God.

One of the biggest areas of conviction came to me as I compared the time I spend in well meaning "scheming" to help the Lord change hearts by placing people in positions to get to know Him, instead of spending hours a day simply praying for God to change hearts and move what appear to be  mountains!  God doesn't need our prayers, yet he commands us to pray without ceasing!  It's part of the faith process.  Our way of communicating with our Creator and a great trust builder.  Let's be like David, singing songs, trusting our beloved Lord and giving God all the glory for the great things he has done and continues to do.

The Bottom Line


February 7
As I shared previously, I am currently involved in a Beth Moore study on the book of James.  Sometimes you come across a powerful message that needs to be passed on. I want to share what I emailed to the ladies in the group.

Week 4 Day 1 is titled Dead By Itself  
In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, it dead by itself.  James 2:17

This is a powerful, powerful lesson today.  It is not meant to trip us up with controversies but spur us on to good works.
I am printing this quote up and sticking it somewhere visible in the house....
FAITH IS MEANT TO DO SOME GOOD.

Ephesians 2:8-10 is the verse which brought my husband to a saving knowledge of Christ at 28 years old.  He came to realize there was nothing he, himself, could do to be saved. 
Jesus had done it all.
             For it is by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not from yourself, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.

What good is the most gorgeously wrapped present, if we don’t open it up and receive the gift inside?  Jesus is just waiting for so many people to personally accept his sacrificial gift that was given for them.

Let’s unite today and pray for people we know and love (and some we find hard to love) to have the Holy Spirit get under their skin and do his job of conviction!

I find typing or writing key passages helps to put them a little deeper into my brain and maybe they will even reach my heart. Just reading or sharing this part of today’s lesson  to someone is a POWERFUL way to share the Gospel.  We could say, “Check out what I read in a Bible Study today.  What do you think about this?"

From Beth Moore:
“The bottom line for James is that real faith is demonstrative.  The Spirit surfaces sooner or later.  In Romans 10:10, Paul says that we believe in Jesus with our hearts.  Like the heart pumps blood to every limb and any limb without it is dead, our faith is pumped into our actions and extremities without it are dead....According to Word Biblical Commentary, the Greek verb forms in this section could be stated like this:  “if a person keeps on saying he or she has faith but keeps on having no works” (emphasis added),  then the person may not be saved....Somebody who is lost but thinks she’s saved could just go on living in deception to the shocking end. Sound application here could be the difference between life and death.  The Holy Spirit does his job.  He convicts and compels.  If we can keep on living without any intervention, interference, or empowerment from Him (not us), He may not be present within us....If you think this may be you, praise God that the very conviction you’re feeling is a crystal clear work of His Holy Spirit. Ask Jesus to come into your heart this very moment, to save you to the uttermost, and to bring forth much fruit through the course of your life.  He loves you so and wants you to be wholly secure in Him.

James 2:19 says You believe that there is one God.  Good!  Even the demons believe that  and shudder.
The question on the middle of the page reads:
"After soaking in James 2:19 how does that revelation hit you personally?"
My response:
 “Im glad the belief has gone beyond head knowledge, to the depth of a daily relationship.
Can't live without Him!  Hooray! The Good News is I never have to!"

Trapped

February 6
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Deuteronomy 31:8

Have you ever been physically trapped and unable to find a way out?  More than once, I've been trapped in our shower by Moses, who likes to lie down against it while I shower.  The longest time was when this seventy five pounds of  English bulldog was on pain medication and fell asleep against the shower door. From inside I was unable to budge the door and he would not awaken.  Once that hot water is gone it can get cold in there!  :)

The tragic story this past week of the five year old held hostage and trapped in an underground bunko was heart wrenching.  The news story of the Chilean miners trapped years ago, likewise had the world holding their breath and praying.  One of our sons was trapped in our Suburban after it flipped four times on the Interstate.  He was flown to the UVA hospital with life threatening injuries.  When they had him stabilized and we were allowed to see him for a moment in the ER, before he was taken to ICU and then surgery, he made a statement which always brings tears to my eyes.  Leaning in closely so I could hear him, he said, "Mama, I knew I was dying and it was ok, because Jesus was with me, but I really wanted you and Pop to be there when I died."

The testimony, to the prayers of the people praying in Alabama for this little boy, was so refreshing.  When tragedy and entrapment occur people pray.  Oh, that we would return to our roots, recognize God's presence and be known as a nation under God (called by His name), crying out and communicating with Him for help and wisdom...then forgiveness and healing could begin.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.   2 Chronicles 7:14

Enticement


February 5
Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one.  But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires.  Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death.
James 1:13-15

We arrived home from our small group Bible study Sunday night, a little after 7PM, and had missed the first touchdown of the Super Bowl. Numerous chores awaited me which needed to be tended to before Monday morning, so I turned TV's  in the bedroom, kitchen and family room so I could catch glimpses of the game and the commercials as I scurried around.
Having just returned home from a weekend where we have the privilege of watching our daughter in law training Arabian horses, I will have to say the Budweiser commercial with the trainer of the Clydesdales really hit home with me.
Folding napkins and getting plates out for our James Study luncheon the next day, I was in the kitchen as the halftime show kicked off. I think I have three new worry lines on my forehead from trying to get a grasp of what went down.  My husband left the room and went to his office to do some computer work during half time.  When he returned I told him I thought what I had seen was more like a burlesque show than what they had billed as "family entertainment".
Monday morning, Nancy Leigh DeMoss had an email devotional titled "Control Your Body".  It was quite an appropriate follow up to not only the half time show, but some rather risqué commercials.  I've included it below.  I'd like to thank God for giving me a husband, who knows to flee from such visuals and the traps they can set.  Let's join together and pray for those who don't have that discipline and train up our children/grandchildren to the dangers that just waiting to entice them to enter into sin.

Nancy Leigh posed the question: Do you know what kind of temptations are likely to lead you into sin?

One response:
 "Everything can be going fine. I can be on my best behavior. And then something pops up on TV, or my wife and I watch a movie that just triggers these thoughts in my head.  Before I know it, I'm off watching things behind her back that I know would really hurt her if she knew about them."

Nancy explains: "The apostle Paul wrote these words to the church in Thessalonica: "This is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness."
"Do you know what kind of things entice you?  Maybe it's a song you used to listen to or a billboard that jumps out at you. It may be a person that you just shouldn't spend much time with.  Spend a few minutes thinking about what situations tempt you, and then ask God for grace to avoid those situations."

A Sunny Spot

February 4
For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot.
In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content-
whether well-fed or hungry, whether abundance or in need.
I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:11-13

The winds were blowing and the temperatures were brrrrrr in Smithfield, NC this past Saturday, but our grand-dog Piper knew the secret of being content. She found a sunny spot and settled there and enjoyed the warmth.
Whatever our circumstances, we can find a sunny spot in the presence of the Lord for He is always with us.  His Word brings contentment to our souls.
Twice this past week, I heard messages on Ecclesiastes 3:11.

He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; 
yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

One pastor explained how God intentionally placed a void in our hearts that only He can fill.  The plan is that in seeking to fill that void, we will find Christ and thus be set to spend eternity with God!

In winter, hundreds of thousands seek a sunny spot  away from the cold.  The next time we encounter someone looking for warmth, let't tell them of Christ's love.

Godly Instructions 1, 2, 3

February 2-3
Visiting with someone the other day, they made a comment about someone and I said nothing back.  This person looked at me and inquired... "No, comment?"  I told them I had just been reading in the book of James that very morning and read this verse:

My dearly loved brothers, understand this: 
Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.  
James 1:19

The person asked me to repeat the verse, then said,  "There is a lot of wisdom in that verse!"


Be completely humble and gentle be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Ephesians 4:2

Command Check

February 1
I received a powerful email from someone in the James Bible study related to our tool of confession. She writes:

"I began to call to mind the commands I frequently break. These are the ones that came to mind." 
  • Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Not 95%, but 100%. (Matthew 22:37)
  • Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Be as eager for things to go well for him as you are for things to go well for you. (Matthew 22:39)
  • Do all things without grumbling. No grumbling—inside or outside. (Philippians 2:14)
  • Cast all your anxieties on him—so you are not being weighed down by it anymore. (1 Peter 5:7)
  • Only say things that give grace to others—especially those closest to you. (Ephesians 4:29)
  • Redeem the time. Don’t fritter or dawdle. (Ephesians 5:16)
Don’t know about you, but I am printing off this list as a confession guide. I am also adding some of Romans 12 to my list to help with my heart inspection.
Maybe it helps to think of our sin this way...if we were sprayed by a skunk and stunk, we’d certainly welcome a tomato juice bath to smell sweet again.
Or when we step in dog doo we are quick to rid our shoes of that stench.
How much more should we want our sins to be washed white as snow, so we don’t look so filthy before the Lord.  He loves to clean us up!

Is my love sincere?  Romans 12:9
Do I hate what is evil and cling to what is good. Romans 12:9
Am I devoted to fellow believers in love?  Romans 12:10
Do I honor others above myself?  Romans 12:10
Do I keep my spiritual fervor while serving the Lord and never lack in zeal?  Romans 12:11
Am I joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer?  Romans 12:12
Do I share with the Lord’s people who are in need?  Romans 12:13
Do I practice hospitality?  Romans 12:13
Do I bless, rather than curse, those who persecute me? Romans 12:14
Am I found rejoicing with those who rejoice and mourning with those who mourn?  Romans 12:15
Am I living in harmony with one another?  Romans 12:16
Am I proud or acting conceited?  Romans 12:16
Do I willingly associate with people of low position?  Romans 12:16
Do I desire to repay evil for evil?  Romans 12:17
If possible do I do my best to live at peace with others?  Romans 12:18