Are You An Overcomer?

As Christian women, we have much to face to live a Christian life.  As wives, mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers, much is required of us  and we are often overwhelmed in our daily lives.

Every stage of our lives has its own peculiar trials and troubles, but let us not live in defeat.  Let us arm ourselves with the resources God provides. Let us purpose in our hearts to find our strength in the Lord.  People who win races don’t just decide to win, they do many things to prepare themselves.  They eat right, slowly practice every day to build up their strength and endurance, and set a goal, purposing in their minds to achieve it.

Likewise, patience and perseverance do not just happen.  They take diligent practice.  They take purposing in your heart.  So must we be if we are to be an overcomer.  See Hebrews 12:1b  let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus.”

Here are some helpful suggestions :

First, don’t overload yourself with activities.  Find a balance.  If you need help, don’t turn it down.  Even ask for it. See I John 4:4  “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

Second, find something in Scripture and start dwelling on it each day. Memorize it and exercise your mind to dwell on God’s Word until it becomes part of your thinking.  Psalm 119:11  “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

Third, purpose in your heart.  Follow the example of Ezra where it says in 7:10 “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.”

Or how about Daniel in 1:8 “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat.”

Or in Acts 11:23, Barnabas “Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.”

Fourth, Fret not because fretting causes stress which in turn uses up energy which is needed for strength.  Psalm 37:7a “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself.”

Fifth, Lay aside selfish desires. In James 4:3 we read this, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”

Sixth, Bring everything to the Lord. Mark 14:38 “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.”

Remember, these things are possible because Jesus prays for us, John 17:20  Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.”

God will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, I Corinthians 10:13  “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

Jesus was tempted and is able to be there for us when we are tempted. Hebrews 2:18 “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to aid them that are tempted.”

Theme: The Better Way: Our own strength cannot make us an overcomer, but the strength of the Lord can and will, as we diligently seek Him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Assurance, Encouragement, Godly Living, Guidance for Women | 4 Comments

Samson’s Mother

Judges 13:3  “And the Angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman….”

 
     I like studying the Godly women of Bible.  Each one has their own unique characteristics which give us patterns of life to learn from and wonderful examples to follow.  Here in Judges we have a woman whose name we do not ever know, but we can learn much from her.  She is called Manoah’s wife and Samson’s mother, and that is enough for her because she is a humble woman.  When the story begins she has no children and is said to be “barren.”  In Bible times and even for many women today, not being able to have children is a very difficult situation to accept, so we know she and her husband had a certain sadness about this.
     One day, an Angel of the Lord appeared unto her and told her all that would change……..she was going to have a son!  She was to obediently follow all the instructions given to her.  Quickly she ran to her husband to tell him the wonderful news.  When Manoah heard about the son they were to have, and how he was to be a Nazarite from the day he was born, he immediately had concerns about how to raise this boy and “entreated the Lord'” to “let the man of God whom You have sent come to us again that he may teach us what to do for the boy who is to be born.”  
     The Lord listened to Manoah and the Angel of the Lord appeared a second time but again only to the woman.  But she cared for her husband and was aware of his desires and quickly ran to get him.  So the Angel of the Lord spoke with them both.  After this, a sacrifice was offered and the “Angel of Lord ascended in the flame of the offering.”  Manoah was so overtaken that he said “We will surely die, because we have seen God.”  Again, our unnamed woman, Manoah’s wife, showed patience and encouragement toward her husband as she gently said, ” If the Lord were pleased to kill us, He would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would He have showed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these.”   In other words, if they were going to have a son, they would not die.                
     We can learn much from this humble, obedient, unnamed woman, who did not seek honor for herself, but honored her husband by being aware of his desires.  And by caring and showing gentleness and encouragement toward her husband, she gives us a wonderful example to follow.
 
Theme: The Better Way: Being a Wife is Good: Being a Humble, Caring, Gentle, Encouraging Wife is Better
 
Posted in Guidance for Wives, Women of the Bible | 1 Comment

Joy in Work

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works…

 
     Lord, let me meditate on that verse a few more minutes. As a wife and mother, I’ve been so busy with my everyday tasks:  housework, cooking, cleaning, washing, running errands, grocery shopping, taking children to the Dr and orthodontist, planning events, etc. besides the enormous task of watching and training my children and helping my husband. But God’s Word says that I am created for “good works.”  Are these “good works?”
     This a question each of us must answer for ourselves because in order to determine if these are “good works” the motive must be examined and the manner or spirit in which they are carried out must be observed.  
The Bible says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God..”  Matthew 6:33.  The activities of our daily lives are necessary and God has ordained them as a means of carrying on life, but our reasons for carrying out these activities should not be for self but for the Lord.  “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”  I Corinthians 10:31. A spirit of anxiety, stress and aggravation is not God’s Way.   The daily routine and sometimes dull chores of our lives are “good works” but they take on a new worth and meaning when we realize the Lord is pleased and that the job we’re doing is His Will.
      Secondly, we need to observe the manner or spirit in which these works are carried out. To find our answer, we can go straight to Galatians 5: 22-23,  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. “  Faithfulness with joy in carrying out our daily duties can bring us much peace and contentment.  
     This day let us ask the Lord for grace to live a life of good works as we cultivate a joyful attitude so that He might receive much honor and glory.
  
Theme:  The Better Way:  Work is Good, Joyful Work is Better.
 
Also read:  Living Victoriously
Also read : Joy In Purpose
Posted in Guidance, Guidance for mothers, Guidance for Wives, Guidance for Women | 5 Comments

God Says, “I Will Be With Thee”

Isaiah 43:1-2 “Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.  When thou passeth through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”

 
      At the present, our family lives near a city that was built on land that is below sea level.  Because of this fact, flooding has been a constant problem.  This city has installed pumps to pump off the water and over the years a levy has been built entirely around the city to try and protect it from flooding.  Do they still have flooding problem? Yes, because sometimes there is a deluge of rain and the pumps can only handle so many gallons of water per hour.  As for the security of the levy, people felt safe until a hurricane came through and caused a breech in one of the walls and many many homes were flooded.
     Yes, the floods come and the fires come, but the Lord God says, “thou art mine” and then continues on to say that we will have floods and we will have fires.  Is the Lord God speaking of literal floods and literal fire?  Well, yes, He could be because in the Bible in the book of Daniel, we read of three men that were thrown into the fiery furnace and not a hair of their heads were singed.  Daniel 3:19-27  Then in Exodus 14:21-31 we read how God brought the Children of Israel safely through the waters of the Red Sea.  But throughout history, God’s people have drowned, been burned at the stake or died in fires.  God is certainly able to protect us from physical harm according to His Will, but in this passage of Scripture He is also speaking of the “waters” of trials and tribulation.  As redeemed Christians, as children of God, we are not set on a pedestal above the world to live out our lives in problem-free bliss.  No, such a life would only cause us to be lifted up in pride, love this present world, and become dependent on ourselves: all things which God hates.
Consequently, God tells us that we will pass through many many troubles.  Neither will we wade around in ankle-deep problems only, but the trials may be so severe that we might think we are going to drown.  Again, God says we will walk “through the fire”—not around, over or under it, but right through the midst of the scorching painful heat.  For a brief moment our hearts sink and are faint, and we are gripped with fear to think that we have to face such things,——– but then the dearest of all promises stand out in large bold letters, “I WILL BE WITH THEE.”  Let’s say that again, “I WILL BE WITH THEE.”  ” The waters, they shall not overflow thee—neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”
  God’s precious promise to us is two-fold:
First, He will be with us in the severest of trials. 
Second, These trials will not overtake us.  
And since our God is the Great I Am, the Almighty God, the Father of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, The Alpha and Omega, the Creator of Heaven and Earth and our All in All, Who else would we want to trust?
      O Lord, Give me the grace to cling to Thy word and trust You completely.
 
Theme: The Better Way: Knowing the Lord God is With Us in Our Trials Is Good: Trusting the Lord God Completely in Our Trials is Better.
 
Read also:  Strength For Today
   
 
 
 

     

     
Posted in Assurance | 4 Comments

Training Children

“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he won’t depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

 
What a wonderful promise in God’s Word!  It’s so very encouraging to know that the Lord will bless our efforts to train our children, even though at times you may shake your head and wearily wonder if it’s worth all the effort. As a mother of four grown children who all profess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, I can assure you without a doubt that it’s worth every bit of energy it takes to train your children correctly.  And as I look back, I know it’s all by the Grace of God, because I see so many areas where I failed.
As I read the above verse, I had a desire to study the word “train” and the words “the way he should go” and was amazed and edified as these words were expanded, enhanced and their message became fuller.  Dwelling on their meanings can give us more awareness of the very great responsibility of training children. I will share with you the following material and ask you to pray for the Holy Spirit to glean the wisdom you need to train your children.
 
The dictionary has several excellent meanings of the word train:
BUCitL-4
1. Teach a particular skill or type of behavior through practice and instruction over a period of time; propagate wisdom.
2. Cause to be sharp, discerning or developed as a result of instruction or practice
3. Cause to grow in a particular direction
4. Instruct, teach, coach, tutor, educate, drill, ground, prepare, direct
5. Train physically and mentally
6. Keep under discipline
 
Then God’s Word says in Ephesians 6:4b “Rear them (tenderly) in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord.”  (Amplified Bible)
Matthew Henry says in his commentary,” Train up a child according as he is capable with a gentle hand–little and often. Take care and pains. As soldiers- to observe the word of command.”
 
Concerning the words “the way he should go” there are several wonderful quotes:
Matthew Henry says “not in the way they would go, but should go.”
 
The Amplified Bible says “and in keeping with his individual gift or bent.”
 
Pastor/Teacher John MacArthur says: “There is only one right way, God’s way, the way of life.  Early training secures life-long habits. Parents must insist upon this way; teach God’s Word, enforcing it with loving discipline consistently throughout the child’s upbringing.”
 
A wonderful example of this training in the Bible was Timothy. He was taught the Holy Scriptures from childhood.  II Timothy 3:15
An example of the lack of training in the Bible would be David’s son Absalom, II Samuel chapters 13-18.
      As you can see, the process of training starts from birth and continues on until the child is grown.  It is not a one time event, but requires close careful instruction and discipline on an on-going basis. If you’ve ever wondered why your child can’t learn something after you’ve told them over and over again, just look at your own life.  How much do we fail in our obedience to God on a daily basis?  As God so patiently and lovingly deals with us, so must we show that same patience and forbearance with our children.
For more Biblical direction in the area of training, carefully study the following Scriptures:
Proverbs 13:24, Deuteronomy 4:9, Deuteronomy  6:6-8, Deuteronomy 11:18-21, Proverbs 19:18, Proverbs 22:15, Proverbs 23:13-14, Proverbs 29:15, 17, Proverbs 3:11-12, Hebrews 12:7
 
The Better Way: Raising Children In The Nurture And Admonition Of The Lord, Is The Only Right Way
 
Teach your children Bible verses through song:
 
Posted in Building Our Homes, Guidance for mothers, Raising Children | 5 Comments

Women In The Bible

Proverbs 11:16 “A gracious woman attains honor..”
 
The Better Way: Following The Examples Of The Godly Women In The Bible Is the Better Way
Posted in Godly Living, Guidance for mothers, Guidance for Wives, Guidance for Women, Women of the Bible | Leave a comment

Sarah’s Handmaid, Hagar

 I must leave” said Hagar in desperation to herself.  Expecting a child by her master Abraham, Hagar had wrongfully shown an open attitude of contempt toward her mistress, Sarah.  Thus the mistress-servant relationship has been broken and Hagar was treated so harshly by Sarah she felt compelled to “flee from her presence.” Genesis 16:6  Even though Hagar was an Egyptian, while living in the household of Abraham and Sarah, she had been introduced to the One True God.  Now fearful and alone, sitting beside “the spring on the way to Shur, “(Genesis 16:7) an Angel of the Lord came and spoke to her saying “Where have you come from and where are you going?” (Genesis 16:8)  Replying that she was running away from her mistress, the Angel instructed her to go back and humbly submit to Sarah’s control and authority with respect. 

Hagar was then given many promises concerning Ishmael, the son of Abraham, who was to be born to her.  The Lord had heard her and gave attention to her affliction.  Filled with wonder and thanksgiving, she called the Lord who spoke to her,  El-Roi “The God Who Sees Me.” Genesis 16:13. The well was given the name Beer-lahai-roi, The Living One Who Sees Me.  How encouraged we should be to claim this wonderful attribute of God also, and be able to say with Hagar that the Lord is “The God Who Sees Me.”
So Hagar returned to Abraham and Sarah and was obedient to God’s command, being in submission to Sarah again as a maidservant.  This obedience must have continued for 17 years since nothing is recorded in the Bible about Hagar until Isaac, the son of Abraham and Sarah, is about 3 years old.  On the day of Isaac’s weaning, a great feast was made and it was during this feast that Hagar’s son, Ishmael, was mocking Isaac.  Because of this, Hagar and Ishmael were sent into the wilderness, but instead of finding the well as before, they became lost.  When their water was gone, and all looked hopeless to live, Hagar and Ishmael lifted up their voices and wept.  But since the Lord is “The God Who Sees Me” the Bible records in Genesis 21:17-20, that “God heard the lad crying; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, ‘What is the matter with you, Hagar?’  Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is.  Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him by the hand, for I will make a great nation of him.  Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water—–and gave the lad a drink. God was with the lad, and he grew; and lived in the wilderness, and became an archer.”
 God spoke to Hagar, not once, but twice. As I read about Hagar, I saw how her humble obedience to God, became a great blessing to her. Obedience and humility, two great virtues that a woman of God should seek and strive to obtain.
 
The Better Way: Seeking God’s Will And Way First Before Our Own Desires Is Always The Better Way.
 
As a bonus—some interesting facts:
 
1. Genesis 24:62-67  The well, Beer-lahai-roi, is the place where Isaac first met Rebecca
2. Genesis 25:9  Isaac and Ishmael met together at Abraham’s death to bury him.
 
 
Posted in Encouragement, Guidance for mothers, Guidance for Women, Women of the Bible | 2 Comments

The Cross of Jesus Christ

 

Galatians 6:14 “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 
I saw one hanging on a tree in agony and blood
 He cast His languid eyes on me
As near His cross I stood.
Sure, never, till my latest breath,
Can I forget that look:
It seemed to charge me with His death
Though not a word He spoke.
A second look He gave, which said,
“I freely all forgive:
This blood is for thy ransom paid.
I die that thou may’st live.”
copied

As we think about Jesus Christ’s great sacrifice on the cross, let’s meditate on the words as we listen to these beautiful hymns.

 

http://youtu.be/qr7_i8HJ-Jo

Beneath The Cross of Jesus

Beneath the cross of Jesus, I fain would take my stand;
The shadow of a mighty rock, within a weary land.
A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day.
 
Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One Who suffered there for me;
And from my stricken heart with tears two wonders I confess;
The wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.
 
I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by to know no gain or loss,
My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.
words by Elizabeth Clephane 1868
music by Fredrick Maker 1881 
 
 
 
When I Survey The Wondrous Cross
 
 
                                                  
                                   When I survey the wondrous cross,
                                                    On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

words by Isaac Watts 1707
music by Lowell Mason 1824

 

The Better Way: Glorying In The Cross Is The Only Way

Read also: Upheld By God’s Hand

Read also: God’s Promises, Under His Wings

 

 

Posted in Encouragement, Spiritual Dryness | 5 Comments

Living Victoriously

Colossians 3:1 “Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth.”

 
     When my mother was still living, I used to fly up to Washington State often to visit her.  On one of those flights, the weather was rainy and the clouds were overcast. As the plane took off we began to slowly ascend upward.  Through those gray clouds we traveled, not being able to see anything, until suddenly we burst forth to the beautiful blue sky and bright sunshine above.  Those clouds that were gray on the underside now billowed in a layered expanse of shining white on the topside.  What beauty !  Soon we flew over a mountainous area which we could not see, except off in the distance I observed the peaks of some larger mountains rising above the layer of clouds.  It was as if they were leaving the grayness below, reaching upward to soak in the glorious rays of the sun.  As I pondered those mountain peaks, my mind began to compare them to us as Christians.
     How often we stay under the clouds, where life looks gray and gloomy; where fog and mist make it difficult for us to see clearly; where self-centeredness is master and we see God through a “glass darkly.” I Corinthians 13:12.  But our Omnipotent Heavenly Father has not moved or changed.  He is still Lord and Master of the universe and heavens.  The rays of God’s goodness, lovingkindness and faithfulness are still shining; it’s just that we have failed to access them.  We need to reach upward through the clouds and mist, just like those mountain peaks and feel the warm rays of God’s love and the see the blue expanse of His majesty and power.  “But how?” you may ask. “I have no strength.”
     God has given us two specific avenues to reach Him.  First, His Word, the Bible.  Read it. Read it every day.  Long or short, many chapters, or just a few verses, but read it.  God’s Word is “living” (Hebrews 4:12) and that means we can always learn new truths as the Holy Spirit teaches us.  It is filled with instruction, encouragement, and hope to give us strength and guidance. “Seek those things which are above.” Colossians 3:2  Grasp some encouraging word and carry it about with you throughout the day.
     Next pray–always, everywhere and in everything. “Pray without ceasing,” ( I Thessalonians 5:17) not always doing the talking, but also quietly listening, so God can speak to you in your heart and mind.  Ask others to pray for you, too, especially when you feel extra weak or have a special need. “Pray one for another.” James 5:16
     My prayer is that as we read God’s Word daily, pray daily and strive to be more Christlike daily through obedience, that even though our feet are on the troubled ground, our hearts and minds can rise above the clouds and find the peace and joy and assurance that is always available in Jesus Christ. Then we can live a victorious Christian life.
 
Theme: The Better Way: Looking to Christ is Good: Reaching Upward to the Victory in Christ Jesus is Better 
 
Teach children Bible verses through song:
http://www.thomasslawson.com  Click on Scripture Songs
 
Read also: Pressing Forward
Posted in Encouragement | 8 Comments

The Self-Sacrificing Unnamed Mother

 

I Kings 3:27b “She is his mother.”

“Oh, my lord, give her the living child and by no means kill him,” cried the unnamed mother the moment King Solomon gave the command to bring his sword and divide the baby in half.  The great tender compassionate love she had for her child brought the anguished cry, for she would be more than willing to sacrifice raising her own child so that he might live.  The other mother revealed she had no love for the child and did not care what happened to him, as she, without feeling, assented to King Solomon’s command saying “He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him!”

In this account, from I Kings 3:16-28, showing Solomon’s great God-given wisdom, we have the story of two women, who lived in the same house and gave birth to baby boys within 3 days of each other.  The one, a careless mother, laid on her child as she slept and he died.  Realizing what happened, she got up in the night and exchanged the babies, taking the living baby back to her bed.  When morning came, the true mother of the living child realized the dead baby in her bed was not her own.  As they stood before King Solomon, both mothers vehemently claimed the living child was their own.  No witnesses were present, so how was the determination to be made?  Since the physical evidence was not obvious, King Solomon must seek out the heart of the matter.  And so the true, self-sacrificing heart of the real mother is revealed, and Solomon said, “Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him.  She is his mother.”
As we read this story, we are reminded of the verse from God’s 
Word that says “man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord 
looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7b. Also, Hebrews 4:13 says, “And 
there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and 
laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”
Dear Heavenly Father, As we carefully examine our own hearts, help us to root out any selfish ways.  Through the many trials and weariness of motherhood, bless us with tender compassionate hearts, filled with Your love.  We ask for genuine, willing, self-sacrificing attitudes.  Refresh us daily, even hourly, with Thy Spirit, O Lord, that we might maintain a firm but gentle attitude as we teach and train our children, according to Your Word. We ask this in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen
 
                Mary, The Mother of Jesus
                Samson’s Mother
                Sarah’s Handmaid, Hagar
Posted in Guidance for mothers, Guidance for Women, Women of the Bible | 1 Comment

A Strong Tower

Proverbs 18:10  “The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”

 
      My dictionary describes the word tower as meaning: “a place or thing of security or defense; citadel; a fortress commanding a city; stronghold.”  Are you in need of a haven this day?  Do you need a place to hide from life’s problems, worries and frustrations?  Are you tempted seemingly “above that ye are able”  I Corinthians 10:13b and don’t know which way to turn? 
      Certainly we can find no strength within, for there is nothing but weakness within ourselves.  Our family and loved ones provide security but they, too, are overwhelmed with the day and are looking for a haven also.  Friends can offer fellowship at various times but their help is limited and unstable.
     But look ! ——off in the distance I can see a tall narrow structure——I believe it’s a tower.  It looks strong.   It looks like a place of security and safety.  I see some words on the Tower —“THE NAME OF THE LORD.”  Yes, this is where I need to go.  I will not walk, but run!  I am anxious and in great need.
     Here, at last, I am at the Tower.  I eagerly reach for the doorknob when I notice that over the door are the words.”The Righteous.”  Oh, this Tower is not for everyone for it says “The Righteous.”  The Bible says of us, “There is none righteous, no not one.” Romans 3:10. But that does not stop me.  I quickly turn the knob, for I know that the Lord Jesus Christ is my Righteouness.  He has washed me, He has cleansed me, He has saved me by His sacrifice on the cross and my sins are covered under His blood, so I am righteous in Him.  Jesus is my Strong Tower, so I run to Him and am safe.  
 
Theme: The Better Way: Seeking Jesus Christ is Good:  Running to Jesus Christ as my Strong Tower is Better
 
Read also: Anchor of the Soul
Read also: Through the Flood
Read also: Strength For Today
Read also: Anchor of the Soul
Posted in Encouragement | 4 Comments

A Journey of God’s Faithfulness

Psalm 118:17 “I shall not die, but live and declare the works of the LORD.”

It was five years ago today, February 20, 2014 that my special Journey of God’s Faithfulness began. Being a rather healthy person, thoughts of any serious medical problems rarely entered my mind.

Then suddenly and without warning at the young age (what I consider young) of sixty-six, I had a brain bleed, a hemorrhagic stroke and I learned “How frail I am.” Psalm 39:4 It affected the right side of my body leaving me 90% helpless and numb, unlike some strokes which cause paralysis. Now starts the thanksgiving part. Unlike some strokes——-since all strokes are not the same and all strokes affect different parts of the body, I can thankfully say that my speech, swallowing and facial muscles were not affected. Psalm 63:3 “Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.”

During these past years I have felt God’s presence and peace carry me through therapies that taught me how to walk again, (God made our brains so they can learn a new path) a precious husband and family who stood faithfully by my side, lovingly caring for me, and a church family and friends who visited, provided food and prayed for us. Psalm 71:16 “ I will go in the strength of the Lord God.”

I have also seen God open doors for my husband and I to witness to others about Jesus Christ —-people that we would never have met otherwise. It’s such a joy to be used by the Lord. God’s plans are always good and right. Isaiah 58:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”

And so on this special day, since God allowed me not only to live but restored me almost to my former health, I want to remember all His goodness, declare it to others and praise Him for all He has done and is doing in the lives of my husband and myself. Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
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Guiding Children In God’s Way

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 “These word, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.  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.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
 
     It’s fascinating to watch nature and to see how God has given animals the instincts they need to live.  As I watched the birds in the nest on our front porch, I saw them purposefully build the nest, patiently watch over the eggs, tenderly care for the baby birds after they hatched, diligently feed then and then train them to leave the nest and fly.  It is amazing.
     One day I was privileged to observe that training process.  The little birds, now fully feathered were on the edge of the nest, occasionally flapping their wings.  Sitting on another hanging plant nearby the parent called and chirped, encouraging the hesitant baby to begin flying.  Occasionally one parent would fly off to a nearby tree branch and then return, all the time chirping and calling, showing the little one what to do.  Then came the dramatic moment when the little bird took off.
     For a bird this process all takes place in a short period of time, but for us, training our children is a responsibility that lasts many years, but the rewards are great and eternal.  Training is not a onetime event, but an ongoing continual process of showing, correcting, explaining and reinforcing and disciplining .
“Line upon line,
 Precept upon precept, 
Here a little, there a little”
Isaiah 28:10  
     As their young minds are being formed, fill them with God’s Word and the wonders of God. Tell them the amazing stories in the Bible so they will learn to love and trust the Lord. Tell them God hates sin and that they are sinners, but that because of His great love for us, Jesus Christ came to pay the price for our sins on the cross. 
     Train them to pray and to confess their sins to God, and to ask God for forgiveness.  Remind them to praise His name and thank Him for all His blessings.  Train them to go to church, not as a “have to,” but as a “want to;” not as an option or choice but as a privilege—a day set aside for this purpose. 
     Discipline your children, not in frustration, but in consistency and firmness with love, teaching them self-control by example.
  
  “Chasten thy son while 
   there is hope, and let not 
      thy soul spare for his crying.”
Proverbs 19:18 
 
    “He who withholds correction 
  hates his son, But he who loves
    him disciplines him diligently.”
Proverbs 13:24 
 
     Then as children grow and move into different stages of life, there are always new situations in which they need to be trained.  Look for the successes and rewards of each stage and enjoy them.  This will encourage you to “press on.”
     Our desire as parents should be that God will become such an integral part of their lives, woven into the fabric of their minds and engrained in their hearts that they will seek to please the Lord in their daily walk.
       As I write all this, please be aware that I am acutely aware of and have many misgivings about my many failures and negligences when raising our own children.  I write these thing to show you what God’s Word says, to encourage you to persevere on and to tell you first hand that in spite of our failures as parents, God blesses if we strive to be faithful and obedient to His Word.
 
The Better Way: Teaching Right From Wrong Is Good, Consistent and Persistent Training In Love About God Is The Better Way
 
Here’s a link to help children learn Bible verses through song:
 
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Posted in Guidance for mothers, Raising Children | 1 Comment

Under His Wings

Psalm 91:4  “He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust.”

                           
    This story is an incident from the past:
 
     Standing at my kitchen window I can look straight at the house across the street.  One day our youngest daughter was standing beside me chatting about her plans for the day when suddenly she said, “Look Mama!”  When I looked up, I saw a cat crouched down on the neighbors roof which over-looked a large bush.  In fact, as we watched, the cat began to lean off the edge of the roof, stretching it’s paw downward toward the bush.  At that time we had not noticed any other animals near-by.  Suddenly from out of nowhere a bird swooped down toward the cat as if to attack him.  At this, the cat jumped back from his intended attack and we realized that there must be a nest with baby birds in the bush.  Continuing to watch we now saw a second bird.  At first, the cat did not leave.  He persistently continued to slowly creep toward the edge of the roof.  But each time he began to lean over and stretch his paw toward the bush, one of the birds would swoop down and make the cat jump back.  Eventually he gave up.
    This incident brought to mind the wonderful care and protection of our Heavenly Father for His children.  First, in I Peter 5:8 we learn that “.…your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”  Just like that cat, old Satan prowls around, ready to attack God’s child to make him falter and fall.  For if Satan can ruin our witness as a Christian, he can render us useless for God’s work.   But there is no need to faint or fear, for God’s promises are sure and steadfast.  Satan cannot devour us.  Psalm 34:7 says, “the angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them.”  Yes, we shall be delivered because “there shall not a hair of your head perish.”  Luke 21:18
    What wonderful assurances we have been given of God’s divine care.  Those baby birds were safe because their parents protected them from attack and then carefully covered them with their wings.  Even so “under His wings shalt thou trust.”  Then we can boldly say as Paul says in II Timothy 4:18 “and the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
 
Theme: The Better Way: Knowing God’s Promises is Good, Trusting God’s Promises is Better
 
Help your children learn Scripture verses through song: http://www.thbmm.com/scripture-songs.html
Posted in Assurance | 9 Comments

The Rainbow Covenant

 

Genesis 9:13 “I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.”

     Traveling down the highway in a misty rain, my husband and I watched as a beautiful ribbon of color formed.  It looked as if it was coming straight out of the ground and shooting toward the sky.  At first it did not form a “bow,” but remained like a tall tower stretching upward.  For many miles we drove toward the majestic rainbow, watching as it slowly began to form an arch.  When it seemed like we were going to drive under it, the sky became dark and the rainbow disappeared.
      As we think on the first rainbow, Noah and his family must have been awed by the amazing and stunning sight.  The ordeal Noah and his family had just endured of living on the ark for one year and ten days, plus knowing all the people on the earth were now gone, and that only the eight of them remained must have been quite a trial for them.  But when the tribulation is over, God sends them a visible sign of His promised deliverance and abundant grace, which must have brought them great comfort and joy.  Their hearts must have rejoiced in God’s covenant promise to never destroy the whole earth with a flood again.

 

14 It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; 15 and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17 And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.” Genesis 9:14-17

 

      Even today, as we enjoy the beauty of a rainbow, let us also rejoice and find comfort that our God is a covenant-keeping God .  His promises are always sure, His plans for our lives, (though sometimes strange and/or painful to us,) are always for our good, and we can fully trust and rest in His powerful arms and great love.
 
“For this is like the waters of Noah to Me;
For as I have sworn
That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth,
So have I sworn
That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.
10 For the mountains shall depart
And the hills be removed,
But My kindness shall not depart from you,
Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,”
Says the Lord, who has mercy on you. 
Isaiah 54:9-10
 
The Better Way: Follow Noah’s Example Of Complete Faith and Trust In God’s Promised Deliverance and Abundant Grace
 
Read also:  Pressing Forward
                   Under His Wings
                   Upheld By The Lord’s Hand
                   Builded On The Rock
Posted in Assurance | 1 Comment

Guidance For Joy In Bible Study

Psalm 1:2  “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.”

 
     My Thompson’s Chain Reference Bible was complied and edited by Frank Charles Thompson, D.D. PH D.  In the back is a page he wrote about the Principles of Bible study.   He writes in such a descriptive and poetic manner that I would like to share some of it with you.  It has been an encouragement to me for Bible study.  I added the Scripture verses at the end of each section.
 
A. The Spiritual Attitude is Indispensable 
     “Approach the Bible in a reverent attitude of mind, regarding it as the inspired Word of God, and not as an ordinary literary production.”
II Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.”
 
B. A Conscious Need is Essential
     “The Bible should be studied as eagerly as a hungry man seeks for bread.
Jeremiah 15:16  “Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart.”
 
C. First Hand Knowledge Best
     “Many Christians are satisfied to receive all their truths filtered through the mind of some teacher, minister or commentator, seldom or never going to the Book of Books for independent study.  It becomes a new era in a believer’s life when he forms the habit of going daily to the original sources of spiritual truth for his own personal nourishment.”
Acts 17:11  “For they received the Word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”
 
D. Study the Bible as a Traveller who seeks to obtain a thorough and experimental knowledge of a new country.
     “Go over its vast fields of truth; descend into its valleys; climb its mountains of vision; follow its streams of inspiration; enter its halls of instruction; visit it’s wondrous portrait galleries.”
I Peter 2:2  “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow.”
 
E. Seek to Understand the Deep Things of God
     “Study The Word as a miner digs for gold, or as diver plunges into the depths of the sea for pearls.”
Isaiah 34:16  “Seek and read from the Book of the Lord.”
 
Theme: The Better Way: Reading the Bible is Good: Daily Feasting on the Word of  God and Searching the Scriptures is Better
 
     
Posted in Bible Study, Encouragement, Godly Living | 6 Comments

Preparing Your Heart For The New Year

Ezra 7:10  “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.”

What type of person are you?  What makes you feel best about yourself?

Since sin is in our lives it’s not possible to have order in all areas of our lives all the time, but there are some things that make us feel more orderly and in control if they are complete.

Some women like a well-made bed, others prefer their floors being swept or toys picked up or the laundry folded or their desk organized or their kitchen/dishes cleaned up etc.

My “thing” is having the dishwasher emptied before I cook another meal, having some make-up on and having my hair combed.  I function better if these three things are done.

But most importantly, I function best if I start my day having spent some time alone with the Lord even if it means getting up early. Mark 1:35 “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.”

Creation is a perfect example of God’s order.  All things are set in place to perfectly move in harmony with all other things.  Not one alignment or molecule is out of place, otherwise there would be chaos. I Corinthians 14:40 “Let all things be done decently and in order.”

Colossians 2:5 ” Though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.”

Good discipline (good order), the stability of your faith in Christ are all military terms meaning a solid rank of soldiers.  Sounds like battle, right?  Colossians 2:6 “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.” Your walk, your daily conduct, is a life patterned after Jesus Christl

It’s good to be focused, but focused on what? Getting what you want, what you think is best?  That creates a negative atmosphere. Lay aside these desires and fill yourself with the Word, so that what comes from us is the love of Christ, encouragement and support. We can’t make someone do something or think like we want them to think or act.  It has to come from the heart and only God can change the heart!

The Better Way:  Purpose and Discipline=Structure and Order=Rest and Strength and Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ

 

 

 

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A New Year, A New Purpose

Psalm 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.”
Psalm 119:105  “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
 
God’s Word is precious, and in this constantly changing fast paced world, it is encouraging to know that we do have access to something that is unchanging–the Word of God, the Holy Bible, the Scriptures, the Truth.  Malachi 3:6 “For I Am the Lord, I change not.”  God is immutable.  
Time is valuable for all of us and yet we need to take time to read God’s word and pray every day.  To do this requires that we must, like Daniel (Daniel 1:8) “purpose in our hearts” and discipline ourselves to this “purpose.” Such purpose and discipline is valuable because it gives us structure and order in our often hectic and chaotic lives and structure and order gives strength and rest. So the formula is: 
 Purpose and Discipline=Structure and Order=Strength and Rest
How do we go about finding help to read God’s Word daily?
There are many Bible Reading plans–one year, two year, three year etc. In the past, I followed a two year Read Through the Bible Program which had me read some of each of the Old Testament, Psalms, Proverbs and the New Testament everyday except Sunday.  I enjoyed the pace of this plan. 
 But for those of you who might find that program too aggressive, especially you moms with small children, I found a 4 year plan (see link below) that has you reading some of the New Testament and Psalms more than once, but if you follow it diligently you will read through the entire Bible in just 4 years!  The passages are not lengthy, so even if you miss a day or two you can easily “catch-up.”  As you complete the reading of a passage of God’s Word each day, just put a check in the little box and you will find you have a feeling of satisfaction that you have completed this worthwhile privilege.  May the Lord lead you and bless you as you seek Him through His word.
 
Print this out and cut it in bookmark size strips to place in your Bible.  Store the other 3 years in another pocket of your Bible.  You’ll be surprised at how quickly 4 years pass by
The Better Way: Seeking God daily through His Word is the Better Way.
See also: Joy In Purpose
 
See also: Self-Discipline
Posted in Bible Study, Guidance for mothers, Spiritual Dryness | 2 Comments

Commitment For The New Year

Daniel 1:8 “Daniel purposed in his heart….

 Five years ago I made a two year commitment to read through the Bible using a Two Year Bible Reading Plan.  When I started, two years seemed like a long time but now it has already come to a close. Just think, if you had purposed to follow a three year Bible reading plan, you would already be completed, and if you had purposed to follow a four year plan you would now also be through.  
     Time has a way of passing more quickly than you think.  Don’t waste it saying “Later, Later.”  Purpose in your heart to make a commitment to start January 1st, 2019 to follow some type of daily Bible reading, making yourself accountable.  Checking off a list kept me on track and kept me from getting too far behind. (Yes, I was not always on track !)
    Two years was just right for this grandma/great-grandma, but a three or four year plan will probably be better for you very busy moms with children. Reading the Bible should not cause stress and make you frustrated. Here is a link to one of those plans: http://www.esv.org/assets/pdfs/rp.esv.study.bible.pdf
Print this out and cut it in bookmark size strips to place in your Bible.  Store the other 3 years in another pocket of your Bible.  You’ll be surprised at how quickly 4 years pass by 
If this plan does not fit your desires, many more plans are available, through other sites on the internet. The MacArthur Daily Bible at http://www.gty.org (read through the Bible in a year) is good.  Remember, if you overcommit, you might fail and feel guilty.  Be sensible and prudent.  It’s better to read a little of the Bible than not to read anything at all. 

 

What are a few of the blessings?
1. The joy of watching God’s great plan of salvation unfold from Genesis to Revelations.
2. Reading books of the Bible I might not have read, or don’t read much. These books were a blessing and I found passages of Scripture to underline in each one.
3. Learning more and more how much God cares for us as individuals.
4. Being reminded that God uses all types and kind of people.
5. Seeing the longsuffering of God.
6. Seeing the judgement of God.
 
     Remember, every book in the Bible was written by the inspiration of God and has a purpose and reason for being in the Bible.  
Perhaps you have just finished reading through the Bible, then set for yourself a new goal, a new plan, a new purpose and commit to staying with it.  This year I’m ready to embark on another adventurous journey in God’s Word  as I commit to memorize passages of the Bible. I have already started this commitment and have received much joy and  just like reading the Bible is an attainable goal, so memorizing is also a goal which can be achieved.  Let’s ask the Lord to bless our commitment and He will give us the strength and time to fulfill it.
Purpose and Discipline=Structure and Order= Rest and Strength
 The Better Way: Reading The Bible Is Always Good, Reading The Bible With A Plan, Purpose And Commitment Is The Better Way
 
See Also:  Joy In Purpose
Posted in Bible Study, Guidance for mothers, Guidance for Women | 9 Comments