Victory In Battle

Genesis 3:19a “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.”

I Timothy 6:12a “Fight the good fight of faith.”
 
Today I’m using two Scripture verses to encompass one thought, which is summed up in the following saying:
“Without labor no man can come to rest;
Without battle no man can come to victory,
And the greater the battle, the greater the victory.”
  (copied)
 
God always intended for man to work.  Genesis 2:15 says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it.”   Tend means to look after, watch over and care for.  But after Adam sinned, God drove him out of the Garden and said he would now toil with sweat in order to eat.  Toil means hard continuous work, exhausting labor, exertion and travail.  Since then our work has not been as pleasant as before.  Yes, labor is necessary and good and as the poem states it brings rest.  You have worked hard all day and accomplished much.  Your body is weary and cries out for a place to lie down.  Oh, what a blessing to stretch out on a soft comfortable bed and close your eyes and sleep.  God’s word confirms this in Ecclesiastes 5:12a where it says, “The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much.”
Now let’s look at the second half of the poem and compare it to our second Scripture verse.  Timothy tells each Christian, each born-again, blood-washed saint to “fight the good fight of faith.”  Once we’re saved, life’s battles are just beginning.  It is then that the world, the flesh and the devil are our staunch enemies.  The main difference between the battles of life before we’re saved and the battles of life after we’re saved is that we now have the “armour of God” (Ephesians 6:11) to put on.  We are not floundering around helpless on our own, facing failure on every hand; now we have the “girdle of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.” Ephesians 6:14-17.
Oh, yes, the battles are great and the battles are fierce, but with each one comes stronger faith, more knowledge of the Scriptures, more boldness, more trust and more breaking of our sinful nature.  If the battles were not great, we would have little regard for them and learn little.  But since our battles against sin, the flesh, and the devil are great, what a great and glorious victory we have in the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
Theme: The Better Way: With Jesus Christ Our Labor Brings Rest And Our Battles Bring Victory
 
Read also: Living Victoriously  
Read also: Through the Flood
Posted in Encouragement, Guidance for Women | 3 Comments

A Woman of Virtue

Ruth 3:11  “For all the city of my people know that thou art a virtuous woman.”

 
     This devotion is in honor of a faithful servant of the Lord, my mother-in-law, my other mother, (for she was truly a mother to me), who passed away in December of 2010, from this earthly realm to be in the presence of her Lord after 94 years.  “To be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” II Corinthians 5:8.  She had so many wonderful godly qualities that I would like to share some of them with you, so that her example can be a pattern for our lives to follow.
 
1. She was never ashamed to speak freely and boldly about her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  In fact, God used my mother-in-law in a very influential way in my coming to Christ.
2. She was very faithful to study her Bible and pray and set that example for all of us. She loved the King James Version of the Bible, so all the quotes in this devotion are from that version. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” II Timothy 2:15. 
3. She was a great teacher–not a school teacher–but a teacher of her family and other women.  “She openeth her mouth with wisdom.”  Proverbs 31:26
4.She was a hard worker, industrious, and always busy.
“She looketh well to the ways of her household and eateth not the bread of idleness.” Proverbs 31;27
5.She was kind and considerate, and always thinking of others.  “In her tongue is the law of kindness.” Proverbs 31:26
6. She had a big heart, always helping others and loved to give.  “She stretcheth out her hand to the poor, yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.”  Proverbs 31:20
7. She was thrifty and prudent, and wisely cared for her household.  “She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.”  Proverbs 31:13
8.  She was a wonderful cook and shared her gift of hospitality with many preachers who ate at her table.  She was aware of the favorite dishes of each child and always tried to prepare what they liked.  She “giveth meat to her household.”  Proverbs 31:15
9. She was fun.  Our family lived across the road from Mamaw and Papa for 10 years and we shared many happy times together.  “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance.” Proverbs 15:13.
10. She endured trials and hardships, always trusting in the Lord. “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” II Timothy 2:3
11. She loved music and loved to sing and taught her children to love music also. Even in her 90’s she was a witness for the Lord through singing.  “I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.” Psalm 104:35
12. She loved to tell stories from her childhood and while we were enjoying the story, we usually learned an important lesson about life.
13. She was a woman of high moral character.  She was steadfast and solid in what she believed.  She knew right from wrong and was going to do what was right.  “Choose you this day whom ye will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
14. She was always looking for the Lord’s return.  “I’m looking for my Lord.”  “Unto them that look for Him shall He appear.” Hebrews 9:28
 
      I learned so much from my dear mother-in-law about how to be a mother-in-law and grandmother by watching how she treated me and our children and for that I will always be grateful.   I will also always be grateful for the Christian heritage she passed on to my husband, then he passed it on to our children and they are passing it on to their children.  It gives us a sense of belonging to something bigger than our own little world, and a desire to live up to this heritage with dignity as we honor and glorify God.
 
The Better Way: Let Us Learn and Follow After Those Mother’s Who Have Faithfully Gone Before Us
 
                  Hannah, Full of Grace
                  Eve: The First Mother
                  The Obedient Unnamed Mother
 
Posted in Encouragement, Guidance for mothers, Guidance for Women | 8 Comments

“Wherever He Leads I’ll Go”

“Take up thy cross and follow Me,” I heard my Master say;

I gave My life to ransom thee, Surrender your all today.”
Wherever He leads I’ll go, Wherever He leads I’ll go,
I’ll follow my Christ who loves me so, Wherever He leads I’ll go.

He drew me closer to His side, I sought His will to know,
And in that will I now abide, Wherever He leads I’ll go.
Wherever He leads I’ll go, Wherever He leads I’ll go,
I’ll follow my Christ who loves me so, Wherever He leads I’ll go.

It may be thru’ the shadows dim, Or o’er the stormy sea,
I take my cross and follow Him, Wherever He leadeth me.
Wherever He leads I’ll go, Wherever He leads I’ll go,
I’ll follow my Christ who loves me so, Wherever He leads I’ll go.

My heart, my life, my all I bring To Christ who loves me so;
he is my Master, Lord, and King, Wherever He leads I’ll go.
Wherever He leads I’ll go, Wherever He leads I’ll go,
I’ll follow my Christ who loves me so, Wherever He leads I’ll go.

 
by B.B. McKinney
 
 

 

 In January of 1936, the Christian songwriter B.B. McKinney was leading the music at the Alabama Sunday School Convention which was held that year in Clanton. The featured speaker was Rev. R.S. Jones, McKinney’s friend of many years who, because of ill health, had recently returned from missionary service in Brazil.
The two men were visiting over dinner one evening when Mr. Jones revealed to Dr. McKinney that his physicians were not going to allow him to return to South America. When asked about his future plans the missionary said, “I don’t know, but wherever He leads I’ll go.”
The words stuck in Dr. McKinney’s mind. Before the convention’s evening session, he had written both the words and music of this song. At the close of Rev. Jones’ message, Dr. McKinney related this story and sang “Wherever He leads I’ll go” to the congregation”
The Better Way: Following Jesus Christ Is The Only Way To True Peace and Joy And Fulfillment
Read also: Trust In The Lord
Read also: Surrendering Our Will
 

 

Posted in Encouragement, Godly Living | 3 Comments

“Open Thy Mouth Wide”

“Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it.” Psalm 81:10b

As I watched these newly hatched baby birds, I smiled and thought of the verse quoted above.  That verse has always been such an encouragement to me in my prayer life, because I knew I could bring many many prayer requests to the Lord and He would graciously hear and answer each one according to His Will.  ” For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.” Psalm 107:9
But something else happened as I began studying and referencing this verse.  I found that opening my mouth wide did not only mean “asking,” but also meant “giving.”  Giving what?  Let’s see what God’s Word says:
Psalm 107: 1 “Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness.”
Psalm 107:22b Tell of His works with joyful singing.”
Psalm 108:1b “Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good.”
Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord.”
Psalm 34:8 “O taste and see that the Lord is good.”
Psalm 34:1 “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
Psalm 44:8 “In God we have boasted all day long.”
Psalm 34:9 “O fear the Lord, you His saints, For to those who fear Him there is no want.”
It’s obvious that first and foremost, with our mouths wide open we should be praising, thanking, delighting, tasting, blessing, boasting (in God), fearing (with reverence and awe), joyfully singing, and telling others about our Mighty God.  For when we do these things, our hearts are uplifted and our wills are conformed to the will of our Sovereign God and Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  It is then that we are made humble and submissive and our spirit gently yields to God’s answer to our prayers and our mouths are filled as His Word says!
 
The Better Way: Glorifying God With All Our Hearts Should Be Our First Desire
 
Read Also:  When You Pray
Posted in Encouragement, Godly Living, Prayer, Thankfulness | 6 Comments

Freedom In Jesus Christ

     As we celebrate our country’s freedom, let us rejoice even more in the freedom we have in the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
John 8: 32 “And ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.”
 
II Corinthians 3:17  “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
 
John 8:36  “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
 
Romans 6:18 “Being then made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness.”
 
Galatians 5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
 
    We are not free to live in sin but to live in holiness and righteousness according to God’s Word. 
 
     If you do not know this type of freedom, then come to Jesus Christ today in repentance and faith.  “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”  Acts 16:31
 
“If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

 The Peace, Joy, Victory And Freedom In Jesus Christ Is Much More Precious And Has Eternal Consequences

 We are not free to live in sin but to live in holiness and righteousness according to God’s Word. 

 

 

 
Read Also:  Living Victoriously
Read also:  Rising Up Again
 
Posted in Encouragement, Godly Living, Spiritual Dryness | 1 Comment

Bible Encouragement For Fathers

Proverbs 23:24 “The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.”
 

 

What does God’s Word have to say to father’s?  The following verses give some clear concise instruction:

To Teach

Deuteronomy 6:7

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.

Deuteronomy 4:9

 

“Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.

Isaiah 38:19

A father tells his sons about Your faithfulness.

                                                          To Train

Proverbs 22:6

 

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:15

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.

To Provide

2 Corinthians 12:14

 

Children are not responsible to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.

2 Thessalonians 3:10

If anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.

1 Timothy 5:8

But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

To Nurture and Love

Ephesians 6:4

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Colossians 3:21

Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.

To Discipline and Control

1 Timothy 3:4

He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity.

 Proverbs 29:17

 Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; He will also delight your soul.

Examples of Godly Fathers:

Job prays for his children Job 1:5

When the days of feasting had completed their cycle, Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, “Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.

Joshua’s commitment, Joshua 24:15

“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Abraham’s faithfulness, Genesis 18:19

For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice. 

David’s charge to Solomon, 1 Kings 2:1-3

 

As David’s time to die drew near, he charged Solomon his son, saying,  “I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man.  Keep the charge of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies,according to what is written in the Law of Moses.”

Zacharias Godly example, Luke 1:6

They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.

 If your heart’s desire is to be a good father, to follow God’s plan and will for raising your children, then don’t be discouraged over your failures.  Children know when you are sincere; they know if you love them or not; they know if your motives are selfish or not, and they overlook and rise above it all.
 Remember: I Corinthians 16:13-14
“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”
 
The Better Way: Following God’s Instructions for Raising Children Is The Better Way
 
Teach your children Bible verses through song:
 

Read also: Training Children

Read AlsoA Biblical Marriage 

 

 

 



Posted in Building Our Homes, Godly Living, Raising Children | 1 Comment

A Letter To A Father From His Son

For This I Am Proud of You 

 
The Lord Jesus said we are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind.
This I have seen with my childhood family on our knees around an old footrest.
This I have seen as I rode to work with you in your pickup truck many summer mornings
This I have been blessed to see in numerous Bible studies since Katrina.
You have held dear this greatest of commandments in too many ways to mention here.
Daddy, I am proud of you for this.
 
The Lord Jesus said we are to love others.
This I have seen in your friendliness and honest desires to connect with all people.
This I have seen in your sincere strivings to “put yourself in the other person’s shoes.”
This I have been blessed to see my entire life in your empathy for the elderly.
Your have held dear this second greatest commandment in so many other ways.
Daddy, I am proud of you for this.
 
A Psalm asks, “Who can find a faithful man?”
This I have seen my whole life in your commitment to God, Country and Family.
This I have been blessed to see in your persistent actions as well as heard in your consistent words.
This I have seen in you as a dependable and reliable construction worker (has to be a rare find),
     your constant & unfailing dedication to family and your steady & unswerving desire to do right.
For this your faithfulness, reliability, and trustworthiness, I am proud of you.
Daddy, you are that faithful man.
 
A Proverb encourages a man to walk in integrity.
This I have seen in the method you taught us to accurately weigh a bushel of purple hull peas.
This I have seen (and I believe the example very fitting) in your careful and meticulous craftsmanship.
This I have seen more clearly than most because integrity in little things is not usually seen by the world.
For this your integrity, sincerity and uprightness of heart, I am proud of you.
Daddy, I am sure the Lord will say, “Well done.”
 
The Lord requires much of those who are given much.
I have received so much in the example of a true father, that my only option is to beg for mercy.
Because of unpleasant experiences, many people cannot associate God’s love with a father’s love.
I have never had this problem.
This fantastic mixture of consistent firmness and immense compassion, I have seen in you.
For this, I am proud of you.
 
With all love and respect, Carlos Jr to my dad, Carlos Sr


Posted in Encouragement, Guidance for Fathers, Raising Children | 1 Comment

Godliness With Contentment

Haggai 1:6-7  “Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink, ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.”

 
     Amazing, isn’t it, how relevant these words are for us today?  Yet think how many years ago they were written.  Just look around at people today, they are striving, striving, striving and yet they want more, more, more.  The more they have, the more they want.  There never is a time when they are satisfied or content.  Our materialistic age even has many many Christians caught up in its web.  God’s Word tells us in I Timothy 6:6, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”  Also, Hebrews 13:5a gives us the following instructions, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have.”
   Now read the devotional Scripture verse for today again.  We can learn another lesson from it: a lesson that is portrayed so vividly and in such figurative language.  Here we picture a man eagerly putting a large handful of coins into a bag.  He has worked hard throughout the week for those coins.  Much effort, time and sweat has been expended for his gain.  He continues saving each week for a while; carefully putting the coins in the bag.  One day he sits down to count his coins.  His heart is merry and he happily envisions the great sum he must now have accumulated.  But alas, when the bag is opened, there are but a few coins!  What has happened to all his work and effort?  Why are there not more coins?  Surely he put more in the bag?  Carefully he examines the bag hoping that somehow he will discover his coins.  But to his utter disappointment he finds holes!  Holes!  The coins have slipped through the holes in the bottom of the bag and are gone.
     Hard work is necessary and commanded by God’s Word, (“if any would not work, neither should he eat,”  II Thessalonians 3:10) but such is the outcome of our efforts when we put too much value on the coins themselves.  How many of us have the paycheck spent even before we get it?  How many of us spend more than we make?  The harder we work, the more quickly the money disappears and it’s like a vicious cycle that never ends. We can earn much but it will never be enough if we are not content and satisfied with what the Lord provides.  God will supply the coins needed, at the time we need them.  Like the manna—-it was on the ground each morning.  Kept manna spoiled— likewise, coveted earthly things spoil and do not bring contentment.  God will give enough for our daily need as we trust Him.  And when we wait on the Lord, and ask Him to bless our work; when we are careful and content with what the Lord gives us; He’ll make a little go a long way. God will supply our need ! 
 
The Better Way: Trusting In The Lord With Contentment Is the Best Way
 
Read also: Joy in Work
Read also:  Joy In Purpose
Posted in Encouragement, Godly Living, Guidance, Guidance for Women | 3 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

Two Faithful Women

Exodus 1:17 “But the midwives feared God.”

 
A few years ago I embarked on a two year journey to read through the Bible again. Traveling from Genesis into Exodus, two names  suddenly appeared on the printed page—two names recorded no where else in the Bible, two obscure names, two names of women.  How important are these two women who have their names written in God’s Word?
Further study reveals Shiphrah and Puah were midwives, women who assisted in the birth of the babies of the Hebrew women. Most likely they were older women and the representatives of their profession.  During their time in Egypt, the Children of Israel grew greatly in number and strength and Pharaoh felt threatened and became fearful.   In an attempt to curtail their growth he ordered the midwives to kill all Hebrew boys at birth.  Instead of being the ones who were looked up to for their skill and were trusted to take great care in seeing that the lives of these babies were preserved, they were suddenly thrusted into the position of being executioners, deceitful and untrustworthy.  These two women who “feared God,” refused to obey such a law. They reverenced God and obeyed Him rather than man. Exodus 1:17. “They obviously understood that children were a gift from God and that murder was wrong.” (John MacArthur) Like the apostles in Acts 5:29 who said, “We must obey God rather than men,” these midwives had the courage to stand alone and do what was right. 
Shiphrah and Puah were ordinary women who devoutly did their humble job, and yet they were used of God to preserve and save a nation that the King of Egypt desired to suppress.  Do you have a desire to serve God?  Whatever role God has given you to perform in this life, do it faithfully and obediently with love and care and God will bless.  In fact, as we read on in the story, we see where it says that God looked favorably on the midwives.  Exodus 1:20 says, “Therefore, God dealt well with the midwives,” and verse 21 says, “Because the midwives feared God, He established households for them.”  God built them up into families, blessed their children, and prospered them in what they did.  
What a wonderful example these two midwives are to us to be obedient.  God’s Word tells us in Ecclesiastes 9:10, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…”  Again God’s Word says, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”  Colossians 3:17  Enjoy your work, finding pleasure in it as you honor God and are used for His purpose. 
 
The Better Way: Working Is Good: Working And Honoring Jesus Christ In All You Do Is The Better Way
 
 

 

Posted in Godly Living, Guidance for Women, Women of the Bible | 2 Comments

Hannah, Full of Grace

I Samuel 1:2 “The name of one was Hannah.”  

 As we study the women of the Bible, we are drawn to I Samuel, and a woman named Hannah, who exemplifies many attributes of a wife and mother that we should try to follow and a woman who was greatly used by God.
We first find, that she was in a situation that we know nothing about and a position that I would never want to be in—-she was one of two wives of a man named Elkanah.  Involved in this circumstance we learn she had an advantage—-her husband loved her best, and a disadvantage—-she had no children, “for the Lord had closed her womb.” I Samuel 1:5.   But as we travel through the story, we see that the Lord, in His wisdom, was working out His great and marvelous plan to raise up a great prophet, and was using this humble woman to bring about His purpose.  You see, Hannah was “greatly distressed and wept bitterly”, I Samuel 1:10, because she had no children and to make matters worse her “rival would provoke her bitterly to irritate her.” I Samuel 1:6
But Hannah did what all of us should always do in our distress—she prayed and sought the Lord.  Brought to her lowest point in life, she made a vow no loving mother could make under normal circumstances. ” O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life…” I Sam 1:11.  This is exactly according to God’s plan: for Hannah to be brought to such agony of soul that she might make such a extraordinary vow in order to raise up the prophet Samuel to lead the people of Israel.
After Samuel was born, Hannah was a dedicated mother, diligently teaching him about the Lord, nurturing and implanting in him the Scriptures, during those first three years of his life until he was weaned. Oh how she must have savored every moment with her beloved son. Then fulfilling her vow, she carried him to the temple and “dedicated him to the Lord.”  I Samuel 1:28.  But instead of weeping and crying over leaving Samuel, she sang a song of thanksgiving, I Samuel 2:1-10 rejoicing and exalting the Lord, giving God all the glory . I know you will enjoy reading these verses for yourself.  Later, Hannah was rewarded by the Lord for her faithfulness in carrying out her vow, for God graciously gave her five more children.
As a wife, Hannah exemplifies trustworthiness, for her husband safely trusted in her and honored the vow she had made, saying “Do what seems best to you…..only may the Lord confirm His word.” I Samuel 1:23.   Let us prayerfully and carefully desire to follow Hannah’s example, that we too, may be used of the Lord for His honor and glory.
 
The Better Way: Being A Humble, Prayerful, Dedicated, Thankful, Faithful, Trustworthy Wife and Mother is the Better Way
 
                    Eve: The First Mother
Teach your children Scripture songs through this link: http://www.thbmm.com/scripture-songs.html
Posted in Guidance for mothers, Guidance for Wives, Raising Children, Women of the Bible | 7 Comments

Life-Giving Sound

I Corinthians 14:7-8  “And even things without life giving sound whether pipe or harp except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?  For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?”

 
     Music is a great part of our lives.  There are many many different types of music and an endless variety of combinations of sounds.  I don’t think that anyone could ever say that there are no new songs to be written, for there will always be a new combination of notes and instruments that can be composed into a song.  One reason for this fact is that each instrument has its own distinct sound.  Some time in the past I attended an orchestra performance and became keenly aware of how important each individual instrument was to the combined sound.  Even though there were many violins to create fullness, perhaps there was only one flute, or one piccolo, or one harp or oboe.  But when it came time for that one instrument to play, no other instrument could have taken it’s place.  Why?  Because that instrument had a distinct sound that was needed at that moment that no other instrument could make.
     In our Bible verse for today, Paul is pointing out that even an instrument that is “without life” gives out a distinct sound: that if a trumpet (which has no life) did not sound forth its own unique tone no one would know when to go forth to the battle.  Now compare this to us who are not dead; who have life, who live and breathe.  What kind of sound do we make?  What kind of witness are we for the Lord?  A pastor we once knew said, “When you witness do not give an uncertain sound—-give a certain (true) sound by word and action.”  Our words concerning the Lord Jesus Christ are to be distinct— not vague, clear— not hazy, positive— not uncertain; or “how shall it be known what is piped or harped?”   How shall others know what we believe or perhaps even IF we believe if we are not certain ourselves?  
     First of all, let us be certain that we do know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.  Then once we are His child, we need to richly fill our hearts and lives with the Word of God so that the sound of our witness and of our lives will be so distinct that as the trumpet sends forth the battle cry, so our words and actions will sound forth the love of God to a lost and dying world.
 
Theme: The Better Way: Speaking About God is Good, Sounding Forth the Love of God is Better
 
See also:  Pressing Forward
     
Posted in Encouragement, Godly Living, Guidance, Spiritual Dryness | 2 Comments

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 | 7 Comments

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

Apple of God’s Eye

Zechariah 2:8b “….for He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye.”

 
     A round shiny apple!  Doesn’t it make you smile just picturing a little boy proudly presenting such a gift to his favorite teacher?  The apple is so perfectly polished that it creates a glint in the eye of the beholder; thus a look in his eye that says. “you are so remarkable to me that I want to give you this special apple.”  
     We see that same look in the eye of a mother and father as they behold their children.  Each child is special and raises a feeling of pride.   As we look upon each child there’s a certain glint in our eye that says, “You are significant, you are precious to me; I will always cherish you.”  Such is the comparison God’s Word makes for each child of God: “the apple of His eye.”  How special we must be to Him; how precious we must be to Him.  What a wonderful position we hold in our Heavenly Father’s eye.  This thought should bring great security because we know we will always be cared for.
     Dear Christian woman, wife, or mother, are you carrying a heavy burden?  Do you feel lonely? unloved? uncared for?  Well then—-look up!  There you will behold that glint in your Heavenly Father’s eye, and when you see that, your burdened spirit will be lifted.  Then you will realize that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.  Now our wishes and desires are not concentrated on self but on pleasing the One to whom we are so special.  Oh, how I desire to be so careful to please my Lord, that I never cause that special look to dim or become saddened.
      But perhaps the reader is not “in Christ” and you are saying to yourself.  “I want to hold such a special position in God’s eye.”  Well, come to Christ, repenting of your sin and believing that He died on the cross for you, for He says ” I will in no wise cast out.”  John 6:37.
 
The Better Way: Always Seek To Please God First
 
Read Also:  A Thankful Heart
 
Posted in Assurance, Encouragement, Guidance, Guidance for mothers, Guidance for Wives, Guidance for Women | 1 Comment

A Journey of God’s Faithfulness

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

It was six 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
Posted in Uncategorized | 19 Comments

A Testimony Of God’s Saving Grace

Psalm 40:1-3  “I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.  He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.  And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.”

 
Forty four years ago, in July of 1976, that is exactly what the Lord did for me—–He saved me. He showed me that I was a sinner in need of a Savior and gave me new heart (Ezekiel 36:26). He washed me in the blood of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior (Revelations 1:5). 
      I was raised in a religious home.  Our family consisted of my father and mother and a sister who was three years older than myself. Since my father was a pastor, we were involved in all aspects of church life.  I grew up wanting to be “good.”  I wanted to please my parents.  I liked helping other people and doing things for them. I wanted to please others, but this attitude, which was not wrong in itself, also filled me with pride and I thought I was “good” enough to go to heaven.
      Oh yes, I believed that Jesus Christ died on the cross and was our Saviour, so I thought I was saved, but my good works were not the result of my salvation, but something I did to make sure my salvation was complete.  That’s where I was one day—lost; lost but I did not know it until the Holy Spirit opened the eyes of my heart to see my dreadful condition.
     It began when at the age of 27, I was listening to a preacher on the radio and he said, “If you can’t go back to a time when you’ve seen yourself a lost sinner, you’re not saved.”  For the Bible says in Luke 19:10 “The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” “Oh,” I said to myself, “what does that mean?” And so the search began to find a time when I saw myself “lost.”  
    Surely is was when I was at church camp as a young girl, and looked up at the wonder of the night sky and thought how much I loved God—no— that’s not being “lost.”  Or was it when I was so troubled about the distress of my stuttering problem and slept with a picture of Jesus under my pillow—no—that’s not being “lost.”  Certainly my desire to be a missionary must be it.  After all I loved to sing the wonderful hymn, “I Love To Tell The Story”—no, that’s not being “lost.”  Over a period of about a year, the Holy Spirit searched my heart and then that same sermon was played again on the radio, and I heard those same words again, “If you can’t go back to a time in your life when you’ve seen yourself a lost sinner, then you’re not saved,” I shook my head and said, “Well then, I’m not saved.”
     At that time, I was active the the church teaching Sunday School.  Secretly, I told myself, “I won’t tell anyone, and continue on as normal and then when God saves me, everything will be just as it always was.”  Well, God had other plans for me.  Our then seven year old son became very sick with pneumonia and I was very concerned for him.  So while we were in the hospital, I promised the Lord  I would go before the church and tell everyone that I was not saved and resign my teaching position if He would heal our son.
     Well, our son was healed and then came the time for me to fulfill my promise.  The Holy Spirit pricked my heart one Sunday and all pride was gone as I went before the church to tell them I was not saved and I was resigning my position as Sunday School teacher.  It was very humbling, but that was exactly what I needed.  The Lord was working in my life to show me the sinful wretched condition of my heart, despite my outward appearance of “good.”  I began to see the pride, the vanity, the selfishness, the stubbornness, my disobedience, my jealousy, my evil thoughts and I began to seek “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 20:21.   I saw there was no good in me “There is none righteous, no not one.” Romans 3:10.  I saw that all my good deeds were nothing but “filthy rags.” Isaiah 64:6.  And I began to see what a helpless hopeless sinful state I was in.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23.  Then I began to seek Jesus Christ and His mercy.  But I was brought even lower to my knees in my helpless condition when I came to see that I couldn’t just demand that God save me and even though I wanted Christ and His salvation, I must submit to the supreme sovereign will of Almighty God. 
     Laying all at His feet, but repenting and seeking Christ, one glorious day the Holy Spirit revealed to my heart that because of Christ’s work on the cross, He can save me and did save me.  I believed He came “to seek and to save.”  I believed that “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.”  I Timothy 1:15.  Yes, I was “born again.” John 3:3 
I once was blind but now I see.” John 9:25.
 
I have passed from “death unto life.” 
                         from “lost to found.”
                         from “blindness to sight.”
                         from “chains to freedom.”
                         from “darkness to light.”
 
    How I rejoice that Christ has redeemed and justified me forever.  Romans 8:1 says “There is therefore now no condemnation to those which are in Christ Jesus.”  I am now free, not free to sin ( I still sin because I live in this sinful flesh) but free to live for the Lord Jesus Christ, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Through God’s grace and strength I desire to continually say as Paul said in Galatians 6:14 “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
 
The Better Way:  Jesus Said, “I Am The Way The Truth And The Life. No Man Cometh Unto The Father But By Me.” John 14:6
 
See also: Adopted By God
See also: Forgiveness 
Posted in Encouragement, Godly Living, Spiritual Dryness | 3 Comments

“Love Never Fails” I Corinthians 13


Love Never Fails

It
was a busy 
morning, about 8:30, when an elderly

gentleman
in his 80’s arrived to have 
stitches removed from his thumb.

He
said he was in a hurry as he had an 
appointment at 9:00 am.

I
took his vital 
signs and had him take a seat,

knowing
it would be over an hour

before
someone 
would to able to see him.

I
saw him looking at his watch and

decided,
since I 
was not busy with another patient,

I
would evaluate his wound.

On
exam, it was 
well healed, so I talked to one of the

doctors,
got the needed supplies to 
remove his sutures and redress his
wound.

While taking care of 
his wound, I asked him if he

had
another doctor’s appointment

this
morning, as 
he was in such a hurry.

The gentleman told me no,
that he

needed
to go to 
the nursing home to eat breakfast

with
his wife. I inquired as to her 
health.

He
told me that she had
been there 
for a while and that she

was
a victim of Alzheimer’s Disease.

As we 
talked, I asked if she
would be

upset
if he was a bit late. 

He 
replied that she no longer knew

who
he was, that she had not

recognized
him in 
five years now.

I
was surprised, and asked him,

‘And
you still go every 
morning, even though she

doesn’t
know who you are?’ 

He smiled as he 
patted my hand and
said,



‘She
doesn’t 
know me, but I still know who she is.’

(copied) 

Teach children Bible verses through song:

http://www.thbmm.com/scripture-songs.html

Read also: A Christian Mother’s Virtues

Read also: The Lord Is My Light

 

 

Posted in Encouragement, Guidance for Women | 3 Comments

Pressing Forward In The New Year

Philippians 3:13-14 “Forgetting those things which are behind….I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

 
      A New Year.  A Fresh Start.  Paul tells us in the above verse how to start fresh…“forgetting those things which are behind.”  Our mistakes and failures of the past often remain with us and become a weight that prevents us from moving forward.  Are you in Christ?  Are your sins forgiven?  Are they covered under the blood?  Then rise up!  Go forward! Our past failures should be remembered only to encourage us to learn from them and not give up.
      Many trials and troubles, worries and discouragement’s face us in the coming year.  Likewise, many doors will open with challenges and opportunities.  We have much to face, both good and bad, happy and sad, but remember God has called us.  The Word of God calls it a “high calling.  Not only does that word invoke thoughts of challenge and honor but also directs our minds toward where we should look to seek our direction—-UP—up toward our Heavenly Father.
      Let’s purpose then, to gather our heart, mind, soul and body together this new year, not crawling on our hands and knees in discouragement and fear (for then the pace is slow and it’s almost impossible to look up), but upright on our feet, in eager anticipation, with our whole eye on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
 
Theme: The Better way: A Fresh Start is Good: A Fresh Start with our whole eye on Jesus Christ is Better
 
Read also  My Heart Is Fixed
Posted in Encouragement | 2 Comments