Friday, October 31, 2008

What a Mighty God We Serve

by Kate Hasson

In bible study at church this week there was a passage of scripture to read that I really liked. It was Deuteronomy 4:32-40. ( Italics are mine ).

32 “For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether such a great thing as this has ever happened or was ever hear of.

33 Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live?

34 Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great deeds of terror, all of which the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?

35 To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD is God; there is no other besides him.

36 Out of heaven he let you hear his voice, that he might discipline you. And on earth he let you see his great fire, and you heard his words out of the midst of the fire.

37 And because he loved your fathers and chose their offspring after them and brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his great power

38 driving out before you nations greater and mightier than yourselves, to bring you in, to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is this day,

39 know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.

40 Therefore you shall keep his statutes and his commandments, which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land that the LORD your God is giving you for all time.”

Wow! I was reminded of HIS GREATNESS afresh this week because of this verse. There is no other god as good, kind, wise, powerful, mighty, and amazing as our God.

And then to top it off, Beth Moore, the author of our bible study, made this conclusion:

“Remember this foundational truth...: everything God did with Israel in the realm of the seen, He does with us in the realm of the unseen. God has not ceased actively parenting His children. The same God who made His presence known to the Israelites in their wilderness is just as fully Jehovah-Shamma, “the Lord is present,” in ours.”

He is still working the same miracles in our lives now even though we can’t tangibly see them! What a wonder!

The song lyrics that are playing in my mind right now are so appropriate that I need to share them with you:

“What a mighty God we serve!

What a mighty God we serve!

Angels bow before Him,

Heaven and Earth adore Him.

What a mighty God we serve!”

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Words to Meditate (or Chew) On

by Rebecca Irwin

In Daily Light the other morning, I read : "Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart." Jeremiah 15:16. I love that image! When my Jack does not want to eat his dinner, he finds a way to chew a single piece of meat for minutes. As I watched him ruminate on his meal, it gave me a visual, though not nearly as poetic as Jeremiah's, of chewing on words. Not devouring them like a hamburger meal from the fast food window, but savoring words like a rare treat.

"I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. I delight to do your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart". Job 23:12 In my journey into the Word, I have found I hunger to return home from delivering the boys to school and devour some more of these letters and Proverbs. I have a taste for what Job described. My heart finds peace within the rest of my day if I can eat a breakfast of truth.

One way I have found to chew on the Word is to repeat a portion over again and contemplate what it means. I picture my friend, who is an excellent cook, tasting a new dish. She slowly slides the fork from her mouth and moves the food around as she chews it ever so slowly, and then declares the spices she encountered. It always amazes me what she can discover with one taste. In the same way, as I have thought about a passage and moved it around in my mind, it's flavors are revealed and life is seasoned with it's truth.

Lord, we pray that the Psalmist's words would be our own declaration today : "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb." Ps 19:8,9 May we savor your words and allow them to be the spice of our lives. Amen.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Change Your Mindset

by Debbi Weeks

I have been blessed. Yes, I have been blessed with many good things, but it is amazing how easily I can let my mind go into a rant – even considering the good things that God has given me.

Take my husband for example (I know that line just screams of Rodney Dangerfield saying, “Take him, please!”). My husband, Matt, is a wonderful guy, but like all husbands (or roommates, or parents, or kids, or any relationship) he can get on my nerves sometimes. Sometimes he just doesn’t do want I want him to do or if he does, he doesn’t do it the way I want him to do it! But when I focus on those irritations my mind can quickly spiral out of control. If one could read my mind as it begins its descent, one would see it begins innocently enough, usually something like, “I wish he . . . or I wish he didn’t . . .” Soon it’s as if he can’t do anything right or worse, that he does nothing at all – both of which are complete and total lies (and you know where all lies come from, don’t you? STRAIGHT FROM THE PIT OF HELL! - as we like to remind ourselves in our home).

It’s all a matter of mindset. What am I going to choose to focus on? I memorized Philippians 4:8 this summer (although in trying to recall it to write it here I initially couldn’t remember the address! ). It says, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Dwell on these things, “Oh.” I’m caught short in continuing to rant. At these times I need to change my focus.

One small thing that has helped me establish a proper mindset is a simple phrase that’s heard often around our house; “You’re a good man, Matthew Weeks.” (He always responds with, “None are good, no, not one.” To which I reply, “You’re good because you’re clothed in the blood of Christ.” Ah, but I digress.) I say it to build him up. And, perhaps more importantly, I say it to remind myself that he is a good man – it refocuses my mind to the positive. Believe it or not, that one small sentence can change my perspective and even my attitude. It takes my mind out of the rut of focusing on the bad and brings it back to a proper mindset of remembering what a good man he is. It works with kids and roommates and co-workers and parents and friends and just about everyone else too (of course you may want to change the name and the gender, but then maybe not, you could use the same line just to snap yourself out of it! ), since the real problem isn’t with the person, but with my heart attitude.

Hey, just so you know – you’re a good woman - after all, you’re clothed in the blood of Christ!

Father, God I praise You for Your omniscience – that You are all knowing and that You know my thoughts before I utter a word.

I confess that I don’t always want to have the proper mindset. Forgive me for allowing my mind to rant and continue down a wrong path.

Thank You that You love me enough to make me uncomfortable in my bad attitudes.

Please continue to work in me to change my mindset to dwell on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent and worthy of praise.

In Christ’s Name, Amen.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Staying Connected, For Heaven's Sake

by Sue Donaldson

I saw a sign in front of a house that read: “Club 24-7.”

I almost stopped. I was sure it must be a support group for mothers– although no mother would actually have the time to stop and be in a club . . .

Most women know that no matter what season of life we’re in, we need each other. My friend who just had her 3rd boy – all under 5 – was telling me how tired she was. I told her I could relate to her – I wasn’t nursing anymore, but I was still losing sleep waiting for one in particular to meet her curfew every night – it’s exhausting. (At least she knew her kids were in the next room!)

Most women know the more intentional we are about staying connected to others –with friends who can listen and pray and cry and laugh and eat with us - the better women we’ll be.

God doesn’t mean for us to journey alone. (I just called Ceslie to stop by for leftovers—soup tastes better the next day, anyway.)

Who can you journey with today – to make your load easier or maybe someone else’s? God loves connectedness – He made Himself a Trinity, after all.

Proverbs 17:17“Friends love at all times; they are born for times of adversity.”

Lord,
Thank you for the people in my life. Show me how to connect better to them. Help me make that call—to give and receive Your love. Amen.

PS I’m thinking of beginning an Every-Friday-Stop-for-Soup-Lunch – what do you think? Pick a Friday and we’ll come to your home. (or Wednesday?)

Monday, October 27, 2008

How Firm a Foundation

by Peggy Brown

This is one of those time when my mind is blank as I sit here at the computer! But fear note, I WILL share the words of an old hymn (written in 1787) that I hope will encourage you as they encourage me.

"How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent word! What more can He say than to you He hath said, to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

Fear not, I am with thee; O be not dismayed, for I am thy God, and will still give thee aid; I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go, the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow; for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless, and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fire trials thy pathway shall lie, my grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply; the flame shall not hurt thee; I only design thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose, I will not, I will not desert to his foes; that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I'll never, no, never, no, never forsake!"

Isn't it encouraging to be reminded that our foundation is His word? I hope this reminds you that nothing touches your life that doesn't first pass through His "righteous omnipotent hand".

Lord, thank you for the many ways you remind me of your mercy! Amen

Friday, October 24, 2008

"I'll Pray For You"

by Cindy Frauenheim

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ" Galatians 6:2

"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." Romans 12:15

My heart is burdened for a few friends that are suffering. Their trials are very different. They have chosen to share their pain with me and ask for prayer. I struggle with how to be of any further help – do you ever feel that way? I need to remind myself that prayer is NOT a last resort. It should be our first, and continual course of action. Today I want to encourage us (myself included) to intentionally come alongside others we know that are facing a trial. We need each other, and God wants it that way. Here are some practical ways to do that:

1) PRAY for them. Make yourself a written or other visual reminder to really do that every day. Set yourself a reminder on your calendar to check in with that friend every few days or weeks to see how God is working or how you can pray more specifically. Pray with them. Never forget to rejoice together when you see God working!

2) MEET TOGETHER. Rearrange your day to prepare or meet them somewhere for a meal, a walk, or just coffee.

3) HELP THEM. Offer very specific and tangible help that you can give. Perhaps watching her children so she can get some time alone to think, sleep, or sit at the Lord’s feet. Or do it in the evening so she and her husband can get some needed time together. Perhaps you can run some errands for her, or accompany her to a doctor’s visit.

4) LISTEN. Be known for listening well. That may be all that is needed to turn her day around.

5) BE TRUSTWORTHY. Whatever trials or struggles your friend is facing, never share that information with anyone else, except the Lord, unless she specifically asks you to request others to pray.

"Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." Galatians 6:10

Lord, I feel inadequate to help, but I know you can use a willing heart. Help me to get my eyes off of myself long enough to really spend time in prayer for others. Show me ways to help, and may your Spirit cause me to follow through! You are ultimately in control, and will be my friends’ healer, comforter, and counselor; use me as you see fit. Help me to be a good listener, and to gently point others back to You.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Words of Love, part II

by Rebecca Irwin

This week, I am continuing my self-imposed study on the power of words. Last week, I wrote on words of love - Christ's love for us. As that truth trickled down, I realized as His disciple, I should allow His love to spill out of my life onto others. But, what if I don't FEEL like being loving to my neighbor, or my husband, or my children, or my family, and maybe right now, even my friends? What if I feel isolated and edged out of intimacy? What if I don't see why I should be loving to others, when they are not loving to me? How do I bring my strong and stubborn will into obedience of the second greatest commandment my Lord has given me (love your neighbor as yourself)?

Colossians 3:14 says : "And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony." I was, in fact stunned at the 'everything' love binds together : compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other. Those characteristics sound like they could get me past my own little self and help me focus on someone else. In a book I read on marriage, it advised me to read 1 Corinthians 13 over and over and commit the characteristics of love to memory. Condensed, they are : patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, not proud, not arrogant or rude, not insistent on your way, not irritable, not resentful, rejoicing in the truth, tolerant, believing, hoping, enduring, unfailing. All of that is woven into the cloth of what love is!!

This week I challenged myself, and my workout partner consequentially, to memorize I Corinthians 13:4-8a. My simple logic was that I cannot BE love if I do not remember what love is. As we swam, each stroke became a word and after three mornings, I can recite it. This simple exercise also caused me to think about the manifestations of love. For example, like a splash of cold water, it struck me that love is first of all patient. More importantly, perhaps, I realized over the last few weeks, even more profoundly that love is a verb in God's economy, it is not a feeling. There is no stock placed on how I feel, but how I do. These are character qualities, not emotions we read in the lists of love. Perhaps the greatest waterfall in this study was that as I ACT loving toward the people I encounter, I (eventually-remember, patience) FEEL more love for them. May God, by His spirit, help me to sprinkle others with His loving kindness.

Jesus, like a beautiful coat of colors, I will choose to put on love. Thank you for showing me the characteristics that are woven into the tapestry called love. It is so detailed, so lovely. It is definitely seen in your finest works. I know I will fail to always show love. I know my emotions will get their way sometimes. But, I pray that when I feel those things that love is not, my mind will recall the things love is and choose love. Amen.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ten Things I Love

by Debbi Weeks

Psalm 103:1-5 (NLT) says,

“Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!”

He fills my life with good things and I’m going to list 10 of them right here - I could very easily list far more than 10 (and I probably should since I gave 25 things that annoy me - see 9/17’s post), but I’ve just been clued in to the fact that my posts are too long, so I’ll stick to just 10. But who knows, maybe I’ll have a later post about 10 more things that I love! Here’s my list for today (in no particular order):

1. Being surprised (good surprises, naturally!)

2. Checking things off of my To Do list

3. Eating chocolate (especially in warm, chewy chocolate chip cookies)

4. Getting a good night’s sleep cuddled with my hubby and no alarm set

5. Hugging a friend

6. Rocking babies to sleep

7. Smelling an old women who has on sweet perfume

8. Taking a cool shower after a good sweat (if sweating can ever be good)

9. Taking a hot shower after being really cold

10. Winning contests (especially when there’s a good prize!)

I get tingly all over just thinking about these things! God knows me and cares for me enough to provide things that I love for my enjoyment. My life is filled with good things – I just need to focus on them and praise the Lord!

Father God I praise You for being our Creator – for Your creativity in making each of us uniquely. I confess that I don’t always recognize You as the giver of these things that I love, so I neglect to praise You for them. Thank You for caring for me – even to the extent that You provide things just for my enjoyment. Thank You that I have even more than 10 things that I love! Please remind me and make me aware of Your goodness to me.

In Christ’s Name, Amen.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thirsty

by Sue Donaldson

"Don't wait for a desert before you enjoy water."

I'm rarely enthused about water--unless, of course, I can't have any.

At the entrance of the USC football game last week, a nice gentleman told us we could not take our water bottles into the stadium. Did he want us to buy his water ($4.00) or his lemonade ($6.00)?

All of a sudden, we became incredibly thirsty--even before the first quarter was over. We handed over the money--it didn't matter how much. We were desperate (or, crazy.)

David thirsted after God--his body actually longed for Him. He was in a desert-- it reminded him how his soul felt. There were no expensive vendors. Even if there were, he wanted God, period. Nothing less. He was desperate. Only God would satisfy; and he knew it.

What makes me desperate? I don't want to wait for a soul-desert to drink from the Living Water -- much better to have the drip-system, don't you think?

For some reason, I dry up.

I become that dry and thirsty land - usually because I am too busy, period. Too much on my plate (platter?), moving from one task to the next without a pause -- no margin, no rest. Why do I wait for a desert before learning to enjoy water? Too busy doing instead of being.

God waits at the gate with a dipper-full of water (no charge. . .)

Do I stop long enough to take a drink? Sometimes.

In case this is your first pause of your day - here's a sip:

"O, God, my soul thirsts for You in a dry and weary land where there is no water. . .because Your love is better than life, my lips will praise you . . .my soul will be satisfied . . ." Psalm 63: 1,3,5-- (read the whole Psalm to fill your cup.)

Father God,
My canteen is running low. I want to want you more. Please fill me up once again, and help me clear off this crowded platter! Amen.

Monday, October 20, 2008

It was a Good Idea

Thanks to the suggestion of one of the blog contributors, we have added roll-over links to all scriptures in each post starting this past week. What does that mean? It means you can roll your mouse pointer over the scripture listed, click on it and it will take you to an online bible study resource in which you can view different versions of the listed scripture. We hope you find this helpful as you seek Him in His word with us.

Till Death Do Us Part

by Peggy Brown

Last weekend, I was privileged to go to the wedding of a young man who was a friend of our son in High School. One summer, while he was in college, he lived with us, so now he’s not just my friend, but he’s one of a group of boys I have “adopted” over Ryan’s growing up years! (I call myself their “other mother”).

The wedding was very fun, simple and beautiful, but at the same time quite serious. But then again, I guess all Christian weddings are serious because they are a reminder of the vows I took at my own wedding. You know…for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health till death do us part. (I know there are updated versions, but hey, I was married the year they wrote the King James Bible!) Isn’t it interesting that even in our wedding vows we acknowledge that there will be hard times?

I can’t help but thinking about the bride and groom standing at the altar in beautiful clothes, in a lovely outdoor location. As they were looking into each others eyes, I was praying for them. I prayed that they would be blessed by God in their marriage. I prayed that they would have ministry. And of course I prayed that they would be happy.

Fast forward a week and in church Pastor Tim preaches on marriage. One man, one woman, “till death do us part”. He called it a covenantal relationship. I like that. Then he said something that I had never thought about. He said, “Marriage doesn’t exist to make us feel good, but to make God look good.”

Marriage isn’t about being happy, it’s about making God look good…but LIFE really isn’t about being happy, is it? This week has been a reminder to me that every part of my life is supposed to make God look good.

I read in John Piper’s book The Dangerous Duty of Delight that our life is designed to be all about magnifying Christ’s glory. He said that there are 2 types of magnification; one type is a microscope, you put something tiny under the lens and it looks bigger than it really is. The other is a telescope, you focus the lens on something gigantic (like a star) which looks tiny and it makes the object look more like it really is. My duty, according to Piper, is for every part of my life make God look more like He really is to anyone who is watching.

Consider:

1 Corinthians 10:31

"Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

John 12:24

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit."

I am thankful for the happiness in my life, don’t misunderstand me. But I am so challenged (you know, I am a professional whiner!) to see my life as a telescope and be thankful and joyful for every circumstance of it. I’m sure that whining dims the view from the telescope, don’t you think?

Jesus, You are amazing! You have done everything for me. It is by Your grace alone that I have eternal life. It IS all about You. Grow me up in my faith so that I will choose to be a telescope in every circumstance in my life…joyfully! I want to make you look good in my marriage and beyond. Please give me the eternal perspective that it takes to be that grain of wheat, willing to die to myself to bear much fruit for Your glory. Amen

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Words of Love

by Rebecca Irwin

The power of words is my current fixation. It has been fed by many different trickles of thought and they have become this wide river of study on the Scripture and it's place in my life. This week, I pondered, if His Word is to penetrate my heart and guide my thoughts, what could motivate me to know Him? I followed that stream back to the source of the Gospel message - His love for us, for me! If I doubt His love and commitment to me, than my security, my service, my intimacy with my Saviour will wane or stall. Unfortunately, in my human condition, I must be reassured of His love over and over again. My heart does not trust its truth after hearing it only once.

Our culture is the antithesis of Christ-like love, it is emotional, it is self-seeking, it takes rather than gives. It is so easy for me to place a filter over the words of LOVE God wrote in the Scriptures. It is so easy for my mind to believe that His love is based on my performance. Or, that His love will be removed if I sin too often, or I am too rebellious, or if my sin is too great. It is a trap to believe that He would not care if I managed a status quo life and didn't actively pursue the things His heart beats for - justice, mercy, and to walk humbly with Him.

As an exercise, I personalized a verse to SEE His love through new eyes :

This is how God showed his love for [me]: God sent his only Son into the world so [I] might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about - not that [I] once upon a time loved God, but that he loved [me] and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away [my] sins and the damage they've done to [my] relationship with God. My dear, dear friend(s), if God loved [you] like this, [you] certainly ought to love (each) other[s].
1 John 4:9-11 the Message

It caused me to think of a popular song by Coldplay that sings: "You know I love you so...your skin, oh yeah your skin and bones, turn into something beautiful, d'you know for you I bleed myself dry..." The ultimate expression of love is to die for someone else. What news! God's son died for me, and His act of love cannot be matched because, through that act, he also redeemed my soul! "Thank God because He's good, because His love never quits!" (Psalm 118:1 the Message)

God of Wonders, it is a wonder you chose to love me this ultimately. Cause me to see in your divine letters how much you love your creation, mankind, and me. Allow me to bask in your love. Fill my heart with gratitude for your love for me. Please don't let the twisted definition of love that this world lives by distort my view of you. Your love is perfect. Your love is without condition. Your love is eternal. I am yours.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Woohoo! I'm a Grandma, again...

by Debbi Weeks

I just became a grandma again – this is my third! I know, I look much too young to be a grandma (thank you for the compliment!) – but on Saturday, September 27th, Joshua David was born. I’m going to meet him face-to-face this coming weekend. I’m so excited; I can hardly stand it!

What makes the fact that I am a grandma all the more unusual is the fact that neither of my children is married or have children. You see, I’ve become a grandma by adoption. I had the pleasure of mentoring/discipling/investing in/loving on a young woman that God placed in my life eight years ago. Truthfully, it was an easy “assignment.” We just spent time together. I showed her my life and answered her questions – and often she answered mine! She’s become as a daughter to me. From that relationship I have been adopted as her children’s grandma. What a blessing!

I, too, had the pleasure of being taught by an older woman. My children adopted her as their “Auntie” - maybe it was really she who adopted them, but it really doesn’t matter; it has been a wonderful relationship all around! In following the Lord’s instruction given in Titus 2:3-5, we have all benefited. God always has our best interests in mind!

Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.”(NLT)

My challenge to you is to follow the Lord’s instruction. If you are a younger woman, pray and ask the Lord for a woman you can learn from. If you’re an older woman, look around, pray about investing your life in a younger woman. Younger or older, you will be blessed.
Oh, and I’d love it if you told me Joshua David looks like his grandma!

Father God I praise You for providing for us mentors to encourage us along Your path.
I confess that sometimes I’m too self-focused to look around to the younger women that I might be a blessing to. Thank You for gifting me with younger and older women for me to be blessed.
Please use me in the lives of younger women to encourage them to be obedient to Your Word.
In Christ’s Name, Amen
.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Place for Everything...

by Sue Donaldson

...and everything in its place.

I came across that timeworn quote in a book called Devotions for Clutterers. (Which I found in some clutter. . . my apologies to whichever friend gave it to me in hopes of some miraculous change in my personal lifestyle.)

I love that quote. I wish I followed it every time. When I do, I get more done, I feel more free, I have more time to get things accomplished instead of looking everywhere for whatever I needed ten minutes ago. (I also have a great book on clutter entitled: It’s Here Somewhere -- I actually know where that one is if you want to borrow it. . .)

I have a new place for my new Bible study notebook and huge leather Application Bible – a tote bag -- and it’s working!! (see photo)

~it’s orange, so that helps set it apart from everything else in my house;
~it has leather handles, so I can pick it up and take it to any place in the house where the sun is streaming through the window;
~it’s strong enough to carry everything to and from Bible study-- including pens, Kleenex and muffins, when it’s my turn.

I love it! Mark’s sister Mary gave it to me several years ago – I’ve used it for many things but now it’s the designated place for my notebook and Bible. It feels good.

What’s the big deal? You may have had this figured out for years. But, for those of you who don’t, go buy a big sturdy bag with handles and get organized. Orange is good. It’s not too late.

A place for everything, everything in its place.

God has a place for me. It’s right next to Him—the closer, the better. He figured that out before He made me. (He’s very organized!) I’m His. He always knows where I am. I never get lost . . . like my keys or my purse. I’m under His wings. That’s my place.

When I’m feeling lost or misplaced, it’s usually because I forget that fact—not because He did. Maybe a little organization would help.

Psalm 57:1, 2 – “Have mercy on me, O God, for in You my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of Your wings until destruction passes by. . .You Who fulfill Your purpose in me.”

Dear Lord,
Thank You that You know exactly where to find me. I want to stay close to You – show me what’s keeping me away. And, help me be organized enough to spend time with you every day. Amen.

Monday, October 13, 2008

For Me to Live is Christ

by Peggy Brown

This is a picture of me with my Aunt Alma. She is a Godly woman who has delighted in Christ her whole life. Her life (even after a stroke made her unable to speak) has been a living praise to her Lord. Her speech has been seasoned with grace (I have never heard her utter an unkind word about anyone), and encouragement. Even in her 91st year, she graces the staff at the nursing home with her smile and a kiss on the hand. I want to grow up to be just like her! Maybe knowing Alma is what drew my heart to this…

I’d like to share this quote from John Piper’s booklet The Dangerous Duty of Delight:

(Referring to Philippians 1:20-23) “Verse 23 makes this clear (that Paul thought death was gain). ‘My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better.’ That is what death does for Christians: It takes us into more intimacy with Christ. We depart and we are with Christ and that is gain. And when you experience death this way, Paul says, Christ is exalted in your body. Experiencing Christ as gain in your dying magnifies Christ. It is the essence of worship in the hour of death.

If you want to glorify Christ in your dying, you must experience death as gain. Which means Christ must be your prize, your treasure, your joy. He must be a satisfaction so deep that when death takes away everything you love-but gives you more of Christ-you count it gain. When you are satisfied with Christ in dying, He is gloried in your dying.

It is the same with life. We magnify Christ in life, Paul says, by experiencing Christ as our all-surpassing treasure. That’s what he (Paul) means in verse 21 when he says, ‘For me to live is Christ.’ We know this because in Philippians 3:8 Paul says, ‘I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.’

So Paul’s point is that life and death, for a Christian, are acts of worship-they exalt Christ and magnify Him and reveal and express His greatness-when they come from an inner experience of treasuring Christ as gain. Christ is praised in death by being prized above life. And Christ is most glorified in life when we are most satisfied in Him even before death.” (emphasis mine)

I was so drawn to the thought that in order for my life, and ultimately my death, to exalt and magnify Christ I must make Him my prize, treasure and joy. He is to be my deep satisfaction, so much so that I can count it joy when I ONLY have more of Christ.

Piper goes on to say, “Christ is praised by being prized. He is magnified as a glorious treasure when He becomes our unrivaled pleasure.”

A wise woman once said “You are becoming the old woman you will be”, challenging me to concentrate on building good and loving character qualities into my life now so that when I am old, those qualities will be my “default mode”. In the same way, I am challenged to grow in prizing Christ, making Him my unrivaled pleasure so that I will glorify Christ throughout my life. I think Piper is saying that this is how I will come to glorify Christ at the time of my death; learn to glorify, treasure and prize Christ now so that He will be my delight now…and then. I will go from intimacy here to deeper intimacy with Him in Heaven. How cool is that?

Dear Lord Jesus, Thank you that you have provided all I need to walk in Your ways. I long to prize You and hold You as my unrivaled pleasure. Let me learn, step by step, how to treasure You and give you the place You deserve in my heart and my practice. You are amazing! Amen

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I Need My Map!

by Cindy Frauenheim

I am out of town, and I wasn’t sure I would have anything to say for Sojourner’s Journal. I didn’t know if I would have internet access (or the time, to be honest), so someone was already available to fill in for me. I asked the Lord that if he did want to say anything through me, that he would need to make it clear. God cleared my schedule for the day in a not-so-fun way: my husband got food poisoning in the wee hours of the morning Wednesday, and has been suffering since. He is not feeling like doing much at all, poor guy. So I decided to head out alone on a hike we had been talking about. I grabbed a water bottle and my cell phone and got started.

About fifteen minutes into it I called Mark to see if he could help me find the trailhead that I thought for sure I remembered seeing on the map. He directed me via landmarks using the trail map, and after some frustrated wrong turns, some “cross-country” short cuts, and another call, I finally found a path to take me to the trail I wanted. After an hour or so, though beautiful, the going got hard and very quiet. I didn’t see another soul. Most of the trail was switch backs in a forest, and I felt very alone. I stumbled upon and startled a group of mule deer. The trees creaked in the wind that was getting stronger. My breathing was very labored as the elevation increased (I started at over 8,000 feet and my goal was 10,200), and my pace slowed significantly. I called Mark again when I crossed a maintenance road to see how far I had to go still. Being mostly in the dense and dimly lit forest, I could not tell where I was, and I honestly felt a bit scared. I debated turning around, but really wanted to get to the overlook. I prayed for safety and for encouragement.

As I continued, I realized how grateful I was for my cell phone, and how smart it would have been to bring the map! I thought about the parallels: the map as the Bible, and my cell phone as prayer. No matter how much I thought I knew where to go, the map was what I needed, and by consulting it often it kept me on the right path.

Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Psalm 119:33-35

My phone allowed me to reach the one holding the map and it gave me great comfort knowing I had that avenue of communication available to me. Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, For to You I pray. Psalms 5:2

I soon became very grateful for the warmth of an occasional open space, and the infrequent little arrows posted on trees that confirmed my direction. The path was not always very clear, so those confirmations were so important. God does that in my life as well. We need all three: His Word, prayer, and the way He directs us through His spirit, other people, and circumstances. It was a great word picture and encouragement! May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

God continued to encourage me with a beautiful buck, some sweet birds that came really close and flew alongside me for a bit, a chipmunk, and some busy woodpeckers. No bears, which is fine with me! I took pictures of the animals and the amazing eventual view – yes, I made it! I even changed my cell phone wallpaper to the aspen leaves on the path, so that I will remember what he showed me today. Now what would be the parallel for a GPS?

Thank you Lord for how you speak to us in so many amazing and practical ways. Thank you for rearranging my days this week to be able to hear from you in a fresh way, and to slow down and meditate on you. Thank you for your Word, and for the privilege we have to come to you in prayer. Thank you for the many ways you choose to direct my path and encourage my heart. Help me never to head out for even a single day of life without you as my trail guide, and remind me to always seek your directions in your Word and through prayer. And please help Mark feel better really soon!

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Snail Reached the Ark

by Missy Grant

“By perseverance the snail reached the ark.”

Charles Spurgeon

To persevere, you must be in pursuit of something. Pursuing something is what I would call ‘journey’ language. Do you give much thought to the journey you are on? I know. It is difficult and overwhelming to ponder the road when there are so many hills and valley’s to travel through. Most of us do well most of the time just to keep on the road! I want you to ask yourself today what is it that you are pursuing that is causing great perseverance in you? Take a deep breath….let the Lord encourage or convict your heart.

In Beth Moore’s bible study Stepping Up, she speaks to four ways we can journey well.

  • First, survey the road you are on.

Why? Because not everything is obvious.

  • Second, let go of the loads God wants to loosen.

Or as Beth says it, “Let it go while He is still in it.”

  • Third, take the next step with the next strength.

Who is your strength coach?

  • Fourth, know with certainty that the destination is worth the trip.

Here is some scripture to encourage as you contemplate who and what you are pursuing.

“There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!” Hebrew 5:3-4 The Message.

“Meanwhile, the saints stand passionately patient, keeping God's commands, staying faithful to Jesus.” Rev. 14:12 The Message

We could write some posts on some of the verbiage in those passages!! Great words. As you journey today are you passionately patient? Are you filled with alert expectancy? I will be so bold to say that if your pursuit is of the Lord then your daily perseverance is filled with his worth language. And His worth language is His primary love language and that primary love language was poured out in sufficiency for your journey (2 Corinthians 12:9). Not because our pursuit is worthy or our perseverance is worthy, actually we are not worthy, but Christ is and He was poured out for you.

O Mighty God, may we fall at the foot of the cross today. Seeing the blood spattered ground and recognizing that no journey is as difficult as the one Christ took on our behalf. We praise you for being a father that will not leave us or forsake us. May we pursue only you. Protect us on the journey. We praise your Holy Name.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

the Word

by Rebecca Irwin


What are the power of words? Like tributaries that flow into a great river, many things contributed to my contemplation of this question. My two sons recounted a Sunday School lesson on God's creation, and with the proper shock and awe they said, "God created by speaking words!". Later, I received an email about John Piper's Conference titled "The Power of Words and the Wonder of God". I certainly don't want to claim his thoughts as my own - please explore his exposition on this topic here Desiring God. A third stream of thought came when I was reading "The Greatest Generation" by Tom Brokaw. Certainly, I pondered, their moral compass and convictions were amazing, but who raised this great generation? How did they instill these characteristics in their children?

As I now have three hours kid-free each morning, I have the great hunger and privilege to use some of that time to really study and read books that have visibly gathered dust until now. I am beginning to realize that unlike the greatest generation, I will confess I have mistaken access to the Word as knowledge of the Word. I began to think on all the recent "natural" and war-time tragedies and wondered - if everything was taken from me, would I still know God's Word? Have I hidden it in my heart? Can I recount His promises to my sons, to my friends, to my community? In my very amateur observation, perhaps one thing that made the "greatest" generation so great was that the truth was so instilled in their heart, soul and mind that it navigated their decisions.

The river of thought was this - I must make it my daily pleasure to know the WORD. For in recounting this, I can face any obstacle. If my mind turns down a path that is destructive, it is countered with "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." If I lose hope in this crumbling economy I recall, "But store your treasures in heaven where they cannot be destroyed by moths or rust and where thieves cannot break in and steal them." When not only my circumstances, but those of my dear friends or family around me feel like a great burden and threaten to snuff out my hope, I can remember, "I find rest in God; only he gives me hope. He is my rock and my salvation. He is my defender; I will not be defeated.". I recently read this phrase "I saw her rise above it and fasten her thoughts on the Word of God."

My Prayer :

Great God who made the earth with words, it astounds me that you would look down and choose to be gracious and loving to me. May I respond to your love with a desire to know you more. May I diligently read the gift of your Word, that I can so easily access. Fill me with gratitude for this collection of letters and stories, translated in my language long ago. I thank you that it is living and active. May your Spirit stir within me a hunger and thirst for your Word. May your words be written on the tablet of my heart.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What I Don't Deserve

by Debbi Weeks

Titus 3:4-7

“But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

I’ve heard God’s justice, mercy and grace described by using this little story:

A little boy was disobedient requiring his dad to give him a spanking. The dad took his son to his bedroom to receive his chastisement. When they got to the room the dad explained, “I’m going to give you the spanking for the offense to show you God’s justice, but I’m only going to give you two swats instead of the four you deserved to show you God’s mercy, and then I’m going to take you out for an ice cream cone to show you God’s grace.”

Reminds me of the chorus from a song, “A Real Good Thing,” sung by the Christian band, the Newsboys: “When we don't get what we deserve, that's a real good thing; when we get what we don't deserve, that's a real good thing.” We deserve hell, but God’s mercy has saved us from eternal separation from Him. We don’t deserve eternal life, but God’s grace gives us what we don’t deserve!

I like that story and chorus. They are simple enough for my peri-menopausal brain to grasp and remember the meaning of God’s justice, mercy and grace.

I have received more of God’s grace than I deserve, but then I guess that’s the definition of grace, getting what I don’t deserve. First and foremost I have been graced with my salvation, but grace includes even more than just my salvation. I have received God's unmerited favor in many areas. At first glance, some of the things I have been given don't particularly look like favor, but the truth is, I have been graced with much and they are His favor.

Check out a few things on my graced list:

God has graced me with forgiveness.

He has graced me with the cross (see how that doesn't look favorable?)

God has graced me with belief.

He has graced me with eternal life.

God has graced me with my husband.

He has graced me with my family.

God has graced me with health and He has graced me with illness.

He has graced me with friends and He has graced me with friends that love me enough to tell me the truth (even when that hurts).

The list of how God has graced my life goes on and on and on. It is a worthy task to write out the list (it grows longer every day); it evokes a grateful heart. Each display of unmerited favor that God has given me is for my benefit. He uses it to make me more like Christ - now that's unmerited favor! What's on your "graced" list? Think about it, write it down - it can change your focus and make you truly thankful for all that God has done.

Romans 5:6-11

“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.”

Father God I praise You that You are totally just, completely merciful and full of grace for us Your creation. I confess I often take Your mercy and grace for granted, not appreciating all that You spare me from and all that You freely give me. Thank You for gracing me with grace upon grace. Please give me eyes to see Your justice, mercy and grace daily in my life.

In Christ’s Name, Amen.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Say Hello

Say hello to two new contributors to the Sojourner's Journal blog - Cindy Frauenheim and Rebecca Irwin. The Lord is good and has blessed the readership of the blog with wonderful, and insightful contributors and now He has added two more. You can read their brief bios on the right. Both Cindy and Rebecca bring deep insight into God's word and a transparency into their personal lives which will be shared weekly and bi-weekly with you. We know you will be blessed by their contributions. Thank you for journeying with us Cindy and Rebecca - welcome.

Gardening

by Sue Donaldson

Dying, alone.

No one likes that image: dying, alone. It’s bad enough, some say, to face death. But, alone? More than sad.

Jesus, the Master Gardener, turned it around when He said, Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24)

If you don’t die to yourself, you will be alone – no fellowship with God, no fruit for His kingdom. You’ll have yourself, but eventually, that won’t be enough. Most people don’t get that. I don’t always get that. I do all sorts of things to make sure my “self” survives. It doesn’t feel good in the end, so I must get back to this spiritual gardening fact: die first—daily, the verse says-- and then the fruit—joy, peace, kindness – that sort of thing.

It can sound harsh unless you know the Gardener. (Do you?) The One who asks you to trust Him is not only in control, but loves you intimately – and there is no risk in that kind of dying. It’s the only way to live.

Lord,

Please show me where I’m living for me and not for You. (Good grief, I can’t even die properly.) Thanks for taking me as I am. May fruit abound from this dying process. You’re the best! Amen.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Remember

by Peggy Brown Those of you who know me, know that I have been drawn to some of the tradition and heritage of the Jewish faith, having been introduced to them when I married into Wayne’s family. (His maternal side is Jewish.) One of the traditions that I have observed and explored just a bit is the tradition of hanging a mezuzah.

The mezuzah (pronounced ma zuh’ za) is a parchment inscribed by hand with two portions of Scripture. It is stored in a protective case and hung on the doorposts of Jewish homes. The picture you see is the mezuzah case that Wayne’s aunt sent us with the scroll next to it.
I love this idea! I don’t love it because I think the scripture is a magic charm, or that it is especially spiritual. I love it because it becomes I see it as a tangible reminder of God. Every time I walk into my house, I will be reminded of God’s presence with and His love for me. I found this quote on a Jewish website describing the “What, Why and How of Mezuzot”.
“The Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) begins with "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One." The Shema reminds us that God is always present in our lives, and that we should keep God's words constantly in our minds and in our hearts. The Shema tells us that one way to do this is by writing them on the doorposts of our house.”

The 2 scriptures that are written on the scroll are:
Deut. 6:4-9
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. [6] And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; [7] and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. [8] And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. [9] And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Deut. 11:13-21
"And it shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul, [14] that He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil. [15] And He will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you shall eat and be satisfied. [16] Beware, lest your hearts be deceived and you turn away and serve other gods and worship them. [17] Or the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and He will shut up the heavens so that there will be no rain and the ground will not yield its fruit; and you will perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you.
[18] You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. [19] And you shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. [20] And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, [21] so that your days and the days of your sons may be multiplied on the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens remain above the earth.”


What are we to remember? The Lord…that He is our God, that He is One, that we are to love Him with all of our hearts. We are to remember to listen, obey and serve with all our heart and soul and teach His commands to our children.

Are you like me in that your days get so busy with “life” that you need to be reminded? What could be reminders to us? How ‘bout scripture verses on cards on your mirror? (are you getting tired of me suggesting that?) I have a plaque hanging by my kitchen sink that my aunt gave me years ago with Prov. 3:5-6 on it. Anything with a “God” connection will work…a reminder that someone is praying for you or that God has blessed you in your life or answered a prayer. I know many people who keep praise music playing in the background in their homes. It is simply something that triggers your mind to remember that you belong to God, and He belongs to you!
I have a necklace with a gold heart on it that Wayne gave me for my birthday one year. When he travels away from home, I wear the necklace because it is a physical reminder of his love for me. When I see it or touch it, I feel close to him. (I know sappy hm?) I don’t think my relationship with God should be different…how much more blessed am I to have things around me that make me think of Him and be reminded that He loves me!

God, You are my God. I want to be faithful to walk in Your ways. I am so easily distracted by everything around me. Use these small reminders in my life to re-focus my mind and heart on You. I praise You for Your faithfulness. Amen

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Make Haste

by Missy Grant

“Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship.”

Exodus 34:8

When was the last time you made haste and bowed low to worship? The above scripture comes at a critical time in Israel’s history. The people had just made a grievous error and Moses (although quite upset with them) went humbly to the Lord and begged leniency on behalf of those he dearly loved. Moses seemed to gather some internal strength from the Lord’s response and makes an amazing request of the Lord, "I pray You, show me Your glory.” Exodus 33:18. Amazing words….but that is for another post. The Lord showed mercy and in His amazing grace brought Moses back up the mountain with new stone tablets and says lets try this again. “The Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the Lord. Then the Lord passed by in front of him…”. Exodus 34:5.

What was Moses response…he made haste to bow low….I would think so!! When you call upon the name of the Lord, you are entering into His presence. When you make requests of need, of heart change, of attitude adjustment, of hurts that need His soothing, of intercession on another’s behalf, you are entering His presence. Have you ever given thought to how low you are bowing when you go to Him?

Let’s recognize whom we are seeking, whose kingdom it is, and what our posture is BEFORE we start to worship. Did you notice the order in the first scripture?

  • He made haste.
  • He bowed low.
  • THEN he worshipped.

Have you given thought to maybe Moses was able to worship so completely because he was quick to acknowledge the Lord, his response was a bowed heart (and body), and the outpouring of those two actions was worship?

May it be so in our lives!

O Mighty God, let us make haste to bow low in your presence. May you see it as an act of worship to your Lordship in our lives. ‘Now to Him who is able to keep [us] from stumbling, and to make [us] stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.’

Friday, October 3, 2008

Awana....

by Kate Hasson


Suzannah has started AWANA Cubbies and she loves it. I am absolutely amazed at how quickly she can memorize her bible verses! Sometimes I will catch her repeating them to herself to a special rhythm or tune she has made up. I am so glad that those are the words going over and over in her head as opposed to the many others that are out there.

So here is a big shout out to all those teachers and leaders who are helping to saturate our children’s minds with Christ. Thank you!

Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

Ephesians 6:4 “...do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

Thursday, October 2, 2008

What Am I Seeking

by Cindy Frauenheim

There’s lots of talk these days about “seekers” and seeker-friendly churches, and I know some people that are genuinely seeking God, even though they have not yet embraced the gospel. But we are all commanded to seek God. About a month ago, God brought that to my attention (in triplicate, as he often does when wanting to get my attention) in the well-known verses that speak of seeking him.

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

"But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.” Luke 12:31

I have been pondering these, praying about them, and even looking up commentaries on them, which usually take me to the various opinions and definitions concerning what exactly IS the “kingdom of heaven”? I keep being nudged, however, by the holy spirit not to get bogged down by knowing exactly what all the possible meanings are, but rather to keep my focus on him, and to keep asking him, “What is your kingdom for me today?” How does seeking that change my focus or my priorities for each day and even the little decisions? And seeking his righteousness, I think, does not mean striving to achieve righteousness so that he will give me “all things”, but rather to thirst after Christ. Christ is the righteousness of God, and through Christ we gain his righteousness.

Some days can be marked with a general sense of duty, dryness, and even a nagging discouragement with no obvious source. That’s when I find that I have not been seeking after what he has told me to! I am usually seeking after my own little kingdom and worries and trying to complete my own list, and I’m discouraged to find that does not bring much fulfillment or joy. It’s important to note the context of these verses. In Matthew Jesus is telling us not to worry about all the stuff we need and what we will do tomorrow. In Luke he tells us how well our Father knows us and cares for us. He is reassuring us that he will take care of all these things that we fret about if we will only seek him first. Even in the very next verse he says:

"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32

So it’s clear that what we are told to seek, even that he will give us! It’s not about us seeking it hard enough to claim it. It’s all about who (or what) am I seeking as the supplier of my needs. This same passage in Luke talks about our hearts being where our treasure is; it’s about where we put our trust.

Father, thank you for so tenderly and thoroughly caring for me. Thank you for your promises that you will give all that I need. Help me not to look to myself, to other people, to money or possessions, or to anything else that I might depend upon. Show me daily how to seek your kingdom and your righteousness in every aspect of my life, and to rest free of worry in your wonderful promises. And help me; remind me, to go to you first.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What are You Sowing?

by Debbi Weeks

June Marshall, a wise, incredible saint, that the Lord called home a few years ago was famous for saying, “You’re growing the old woman you want to be today.” I’ve thought of that quote so much over the years. I am an old woman by the measuring stick I was using back when I first heard that quote! “Old woman” today is still about as far off in my mind as it was back then (funny how that happens!) . The good part about the quote is that it’s active – it gives us something to do today, right now, in preparation for our future.

If you want to be a kind old lady, you have to start being kind today. If you want to be an old woman who hungers after God’s Word, you have to start spending time reading it now. If you want to be a mature woman of faith, you have to trust the Lord with your present circumstances (and with your future).

Pastor Tim recently shared with us from Galatians 6:7-8 (you can check it out at the Grace Church SLO website).

Don't be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he'll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God's Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.” (The Message)

So what are you sowing? What kind of old lady do you want to be? Better get started on that today – “old” comes very soon and we reap what we sow!

Father God I praise You that You are faithful and that You have a sovereign plan for my life.
I confess that I don’t always keep the harvest in mind when I sow.
Thank You for June Marshall and her practical wisdom that encourages me to look at how what I’m doing today affects who I am tomorrow.
Please help me to be growing into a godly old woman who honors You.

In Christ’s Name, Amen.