Thursday, November 26, 2009

I've Got Plenty to Be Thankful For

Here we are....Thanksgiving Day 2009. If you'll alow me, I'd like to jot down a small list (and, indeed, it is small) of things I am most thankful for this year. I'd encourage you all to do the same. :)

I'm thankful for...

* God's unconditional love, His grace, and Salvation
* The Word of God given to us for hope, wisdom, instruction, etc.
* The greatest Dad in all the world
* The best Momma in all the world
* The cutest, silliest, most wonderful sisters
* My grandmothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins
* My fiance' who is my best friend
* The Ministry my family surrendered to years ago
* Our Campground and all the good God has done through it
* The ability to "go and tell the world"
* The strength to endure whatever comes
* The opportunity to travel around the world
* All the gifts and talents God has blessed me with
* All the people I've been privileged to meet & sing with
* The opportunity to be on the radio and reach people for Jesus that way
* The hardships, trials, persecution, etc. ("consider it joy...")
* The craziest friends EVER!! (but also the best too :)
* Moments of love, unity, and prayer with my friends
* The opportunity to witness and see souls saved!
* The cards, e-mails, phone calls, & chats that make life sweeter
* The nights of watching movies with my family
* The wisdom talks from my Dad
* My prayer warriors and soul sisters...they know who they are :)
* My beautiful horse, my cute little kitty, and all our other pets
* God's provision
* My circle of gal-pals who encourage and strengthen me
* My home
* My Church
* Living in this Country
* The freedom to worship my God
* The gift of music
* The spirit of love and giving that comes this time of year.

It's quite a task, unfortunately, remembering these things all year. Sadly, we tend to only think of thankfulness at...well... Thanksgiving. But we should keep them in remembrance all throughout the year.

My uncle taught me this Hebrew song many years ago...

Hodu la' Adonai ki tov.
Ki le'olam chasdo.
Hodu la' Adonai ki tov.
Ki le'olam chasdo.

Give thanks unto the Lord for He is good.
For His everlasting Grace.
Give thanks unto the Lord for He is good.
For His everlasting Grace.

Let us give thanks where it is due this Thanksgiving season....and always.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Lesson from an Acorn

"God's ultimate plan was as far beyond our imaginings as the oak tree is from the acorn's imaginings. The acorn does what it was made to do, without pestering its Maker with questions about when and how and why. We who have been given an intelligence and a will and a whole range of wants that can be set against the divine Pattern for Good are asked to believe Him. We are given the chance to trust Him when He says to us, "

...If any man will let himself be lost for my sake, he will find his true self.

"When will we find it? we ask.

The answer is, Trust Me.
How will we find it? The answer again is, Trust Me.
Why must I let myself be lost? we persist.

The answer is, Look at the acorn and trust Me.

-Written by Elisabeth Elliot, Passion & Purity

Titus 2:13 -
"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;"

Hebrews 12:2 -
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Psalm 40:3-4a -
"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.Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust..."

Be Like The Deer...Run to Water

I'm not sure about the north, but I know that if you're from the south, then you will most likely be wearing camo around this time. Deer season begins a week from today this year.

You may be wondering, "What does deer season have anything to do with Christianity?"
Well, one verse stands out to me at this time of year.

Psalm 42:1 -
"As the hart (deer) panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God."

My Dad taught me years ago that when a deer is hit, they run to water. Their mouth dries up, and they try to get moisture from the air. So they pant and run towards water...towards life. should we.

Life is hard. Sometimes we get hit. And sometimes when things go wrong, we tend to look up to the sky and yell "WHY God?!" But instead of doubting your Creator and Savior, be like the deer. Run to water. Run to life. Run to Him! Jesus said in His word that those who drink the water He gives shall never thirst again. They will be refreshed and fulfilled and satisfied. When we are wounded, let us run to Him and drink Him in. Let Him quench our thirst. He promised to do so...

John 4:13-14 -
"Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."

As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after Thee.
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship Thee.

You alone are my strength, my shield,
To You alone may my spirit yield.
You alone are my heart's desire,
And I long to worship Thee.

You're my friend and you are my brother
Even though You are a King.
I love You more than any other,
So much more than anything.

I want You more than gold or silver
Only You can satisfy.

You alone are the real joy giver
And the apple of my eye.

You alone are my strength, my shield,
To You alone may my spirit yield.
You alone are my heart's desire,
And I long to worship Thee.

If you're like me, then you desire to live every day literally panting for Christ. Whether you're an avid deer hunter or you're more enthused about being indoors, learn a lesson from the deer.

Pant for your Savior.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Silence....and Noise!

Not long ago, I was reading various passages and one little thing kept popping up - noise. It got me thinking. Have you ever tried to pray and then heard the phone ring? Or thought about something you forgot to do? Have you ever said, I'm going to sit down and read my Bible - really read it! - and then, when the time came, the TV from the other room was blaring or your brothers or sisters decided to play tag in the house? Noise. Noise. Noise!! I realized, we get so used to the noise of life that, sometimes, we subconsciously crave noise and forget how to be silent. We forget what it says in Ecclesiastes, "to everything there is a season......a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;" (verses 1 and 7) We forget that Jesus still speaks in that still, small voice.

It puzzles me wondering why we beg God to speak to us and then we fill our lives with so much noise and distractions that prevent us from hearing what He has to say. It's almost like asking God to call us and then having our music blaring so loudly that we can't hear the phone ring. A bit silly, don't you think?

While thinking on these things, I penned these words...

Speak to me
In the silence, or in the noise!
Because Lord, sometimes I'm just not still

Sometimes I'm just not still. Don't you hate that? Though we don't mean to, sometimes we tune God out. We get carried about by the bustle of the life we live. School, work, deadlines, homework, bills, activities, social events, Church events, family outings, errands, chores...stuff has to be done! And as the clock ticks, we wonder how we're going to squeeze it all in and we forget about the One thing our whole existence should be built upon - Jesus! We forget that we will be restless and unsteady inside unless we have our Cornerstone, our Rock, and our Foundation set and in place! Most times we long to hear the Lord speak to us, but there is too much noise ringing in our ears that it's nearly impossible to detect His voice. We've got to learn to be still and be silent. We need to learn to put our relationship with the LORD first along with all the time, energy, care, commitment, and sacrifice that is required of us. When we learn to shut off the noise and center our focus (and our ears!) on the Lord, then we grow a little more and the lines are open to where we can hear His voice more clearly!

So as the holidays draw near, remember to be still. Take the time to get alone with God every day and listen to what He has to say. Unplug the phone. Turn off the computer, the TV, and the cell phone. Go for a walk. Pull over on the highway and sit still. He has so many amazing things He wants us to know and many exciting adventures and treasures...and all we have to do is just sit still and listen.

Christianity and Babe Ruth

Last night at Bible study, we read a very profound verse in Colossians.

Colossians 1:26-27
"Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:"

What is the mystery this verse is talking about? My Dad put it in very good words.
Say you want to try out for the Red Sox. You go and you tell the coach that you'd like to hit a few balls.

"No way!" the coach yells. "You're a nobody!"

"Just one hit," you say.

After a hesitant sigh, the coach agrees. "One hit. That's all."

You go and grab a bat and stand on the home plate. The pitcher comes and, humorously, throws you a curve ball. You swing and THWACK! The ball flies....and mouths drop.

"Another!" you say.

A second ball is thrown. THWACK!! There it goes again.

Then you point and say "I'll hit it that way next." And sure enough. THWACK!!!

Home run.

Now everyone is standing in awe, wondering who you are! Why, you're just an average Joe and yet you play baseball like a seasoned professional!

.....but they don't know the secret. The secret is this: Babe Ruth has come back from the dead and is now living inside of you. The power and ability you have to hit home runs is only because Babe Ruth is doing it through you.

Now, let's apply this spiritually. Here we are on the field. We pick up a bat. A ball is thrown. THWACK!! A stunned Satan thought that would work. But no matter, here comes a second ball. THWACK!! Satan tries again. THWACK!! You hit it again, for the third time. Satan had a mind to strike you out, yet you hit a home run every time.


Because you have a secret. The great Defeater, Jesus Christ, has come back from the dead and is now living inside of you. And every hit, every swing, every run, every victory is a direct result of His power in your life. It's not really you achieving that victory. It's Him.

We are nobodies. We can't hit a home run spiritually (or physically in my case). We can't swing a bat with the force of a Major League Baseball player. We can't resist sin. We can't glorify God in our bodies. We can't do least on our own. But we have a secret to success. A secret to victory. A secret which is a mystery to the lost world.

Jesus Christ is inside of us...

He is the super hero....the "Babe Ruth" if you please. He is the power. He is the ability. He is the mystery that is now revealed to those who are in Him. And He is waiting for us to showcase His strength, His might, His power, His love - His everything! - in our our lives.

May it be so for all of us.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The World Is Unworthy

Hebrews 13:3, 7

Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; [and] them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of [their] conversation.

Hebrews 11:33-38

Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

And others had trial of [cruel] mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:

They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;

(Of whom the world was not worthy:)...

Of whom the world was not worthy....

That phrase is enough to make us delve into such a great mystery. The world was not worthy? Of whom??

Of men and women all over the world who have shed their blood for the cause of Christ. Who have spoken truth, even in the face of death. Who have stood firm in the face of persecution and horrific torture. While we shudder at the thought of someone disliking us or excluding us from "the group," they pour out their lives in complete commitment. They care not at all what the world thinks of them. They don't see the rolling eyes, they don't hear the mocking laughter. They don't see the swinging sword, the sharpened blades, the loaded guns, or the wood and the matches. They see only Christ.

Would that we all could have a place in this great group of heroes. In 100 years, will we be a man or woman "of whom the world was not worthy?"

"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

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