Friday, December 18, 2015
Monday, December 14, 2015
Do you think of yourself as a true prayer warrior? Not many of us do. I recommend two small extremely helpful books: Principles and Practices of Prayer, Ivan French, BMH Books, www.bmhbooks.com; and Prayer Power Unlimited, J.O. Sanders, Moody Press.
Friday, December 11, 2015
In the world of tribulation, Christ is peace. Do you have peace right now? If you, by faith, know Jesus Christ as your Savior, He is waiting to give you a peaceful heart. Stop whatever you are doing. Sit down. Be quiet. Talk to Him about your dilemma and by all means wait for Him to talk to you. No, not in an audible voice, but by His Spirit communing with your heart. "And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." That's a promise!
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Day by day and with each passing moment, strength I find to meet my trial here. "Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:7
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
I trust you will have a blessed Christmas. As you reflect on its full significance, may your heart continue to burst with paeans of praise and thanksgiving at the wonder of it all. How mind-boggling to think that Jesus Christ came from the bosom of the Father to the bosom of a woman. He left the glories of Heaven and put on humanity that we “might become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). He became the Son of man that we might become sons and daughters of God. To those of us who believe in HIM, Christmas is blessed. Furthermore, it is our blessed opportunity to ring the bells and let our whole world know!
“He laid aside His purple robe for a peasant’s gown. He was rich, yet for our sake He became poor. How poor? Ask Mary! Ask the Wise Men! He slept in another’s manger. He cruised the lake in another’s boat, He rode on another man’s donkey. He was buried in another man’s tomb” (author unknown). He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. And He is our Savior!
Not one of us knows what the year 2016 holds. Have you been bumped from your comfort zone as you hear about the global, daily, earth-shaking tragedies that threaten us? I must admit that I trembled and had to flee to my comforting, stabilizing, sustaining, all-knowing, and all-wise God in Whom my total confidence must rest and Who is orchestrating the present and Who is holding the future in His hand. Perhaps you are doing that, or need to do that. He gave assurance, and He is giving sustaining peace. “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Jesus is concerned about all that affects us. He has promised to make all things work together for our good (Rom. 8:28), and His promises are etched in gold. We mistakenly look in misguided directions for peace, protection, security, success, and happiness. That has failed. Jesus has the solution. He pleads, “Look unto Me” (Isa. 45:22). Look and really, really live. Live in peace, in joy, in love, in hope, in anticipation. Live in full assurance that “God sees, He knows, He cares. Nothing this truth can dim. He gives His very best to those who leave it all to Him.”
Trouble ought to drive us to the Lord in prayer. When He answers He expects us to praise and glorify Him. How do we do that? Make His wonder-working answers known. Give Him the glory. We glorify God with thankful hearts for undeserved mercies. We glorify Him when we encourage and instruct others by telling them how graciously God has cared for us. Be ready always to talk of Him. He is worthy.
Set your gaze on Jesus. May you be sustained by His grace in the year 2016. Perhaps our Savior will return before 2016 arrives! Maranatha.
Monday, November 30, 2015
The blessings of Calvary's blood are inexhaustible! "We come whenever distressed by guilt, disturbed by fears, assailed by Satan, stressed by want, and faced by death." Jesus' blood is the answer to every need. Praise! Praise! Praise! Let's not forget to apply it to all the "dailies" of our lives. Our heavenly Father is ready and waiting.
Friday, November 27, 2015
Our Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood to give us life abundant. We trust in it for it procures peace with God. We prove it and enjoy the blessed results. We plead it and find mercy in time of need. We rejoice in it for it is our source of comfort, consolation, and joy. We come by faith. Blessed assurance!
Monday, November 23, 2015
"Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him (Jesus) (Isa. 53:10)." Jesus was not a helpless victim of wicked men. It was God's plan to crush Him. God's pleasure has to do with His will which often includes very unpleasant circumstances, but He knows it is best in light of eternity. The Lord never makes a mistake. Always for His glory and our good and in that order.
Friday, November 20, 2015
"If we are a believer, we glory in the redemptive work of Christ's shed blood for us on the cross of Calvary. We have daily, momentary blessings that we are apt to not appropriate when we get caught up with the dailies. Let's ponder--it cleanses us from daily sin, it speaks peace to our fretted heart, it heals our wounded conscience, it perfumes our service for our Master. "Upon the cross my Savior hung, shedding His precious blood: and every drop is like a tongue pleading my cause with God." (Unknown)
Monday, November 16, 2015
"Our work is solemn, therefore we dare not trifle. Our task is difficult, therefore we dare not relax. Our opportunities are brief, therefore we dare not delay. Our paths are narrow, therefore we dare not wander. Our prize will be glorious, therefore we dare not faint." Selected
Friday, November 13, 2015
Monday, November 9, 2015
Thursday, November 5, 2015
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
“In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thess. 5:18).
God’s good hand provides everything that we need and much more every day! What is at the top of your “thanks list” to God? Things or God Himself? Health or God’s treasures? Happiness or His joy? And the list goes on.
The NIV instructs us in verses 16, 17, 18 of 1 Thess. chapter 5 how to be able to offer paeans of thankfulness: “Be joyful always, pray continually” and one more, “give thanks in all circumstances.” Ouch! How? We can thank Him for His presence and strength that will carry us through the deepest distress. Remember: God is not dead. At the same time remember: God has purposes to be accomplished that are beyond our wildest comprehension.
Another commentary presents Romans 8:28. If that verse is reliable, and we know it is, then a Christian ought to be able to “praise the Lord at all times, in all circumstance, and for everything, just as long as in doing so we do not excuse sin” (Believer’s Bible Commentary).
“Giving thanks to God should be the Christian’s native emotion.”
God provides us with wisdom, strength, power, infinite love, and unmerited grace. He also gives us talents and abilities to enjoy things of this life. Every mercy He gives increases our obligation to Him. Thanksgiving is never out of season!
“In everything we should give thanks; let us acknowledge that for the Christian, all things are ordained by His wisdom, subject to His will, sanctified by His blessing, according to His promises, and flowing from His love. All our blessings come through Jesus, and all our praises must ascend through Him, for our Father only accepts what is presented in the name of His beloved Son” (James Smith, The Remembrancer).
Martin Rinckart, the German author of “Now Thank We All Our God,” lost his wife in the severe epidemic of 1637. He was driven to despair to find food and clothes for his children. Yet he triumphed to pen, “O may this bounteous God thro’ all our life be near us, With ever joyful hearts, And blessed peace to cheer us.” Note the first stanza expresses God’s “countless gifts of love.” The last stanza is a doxology of praise to the “all powerful, eternal, triune God.”
A paraplegic, wheeling himself among the busy crowd was asked how he could sing in his condition. He answered with a smile, “When I stopped at what I had lost and concentrated on all I had left, I found much for which I could rejoice and be happy.”
The grand finale: “To God be the glory—great things He hath done.”
Friday, October 30, 2015
Sunday, October 25, 2015
Monday, October 19, 2015
Monday, October 12, 2015
Thursday, October 8, 2015
“The crown of the home is godliness; the beauty of the home is order; the glory of the home is hospitality; the blessing of the home is contentment” (Henry VanDyke).
“A woman who creates and sustains a home, and under whose hands children grow up to be strong and pure men and women, is a creator second only to God” (Helen Hunt Jackson).
“Hatred stirreth up strifes, but love covereth all sins” (Psa. 10:12). “A hateful spirit isn’t satisfied to forgive and forget; it insists on raking up old grudges and quarrels. A heart of love draws a curtain of secrecy over the faults and failures of others” (Believers Bible Commentary).
I trust your heart was instructed by the deep probe of last month’s blog referring to 1 John 3:11-24 — God’s emphasis of hatred being murder (v.15). Someone has said, “A moment’s reflection will show that it is murder in embryo.” That does not remove the sting of sin, does it?
Hatred is a serious sin that must be confessed and dealt with as we submit to the Holy Spirit’s work.
In contrast, we must sit at Jesus’ feet as He educates us about love. A lawyer, impressed by Jesus’ answers to questioners and desiring to justify himself asked, “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10: 29). In answer to his pride, Jesus used a parable, which in essence declared that anyone in need is your neighbor. The home is a place where needy and sinful people live! Yes, even a Christian home! We need to face up to the fact that sinful people live within the walls of a Christian home. Saved but imperfect people live there; and they hurt, disappoint, and even fail each other.
Certainly, children are a woman’s closest neighbors, next to her husband. Let’s look at this fact as it refers to child rearing. Instead of being shocked, a lot of unnecessary parental grief can be erased when she realizes that sin lurks within her offspring. Therefore, there is no reason for inappropriate discipline fired by excessive anger. Once parents admit to the fact of original sin — a fact and not a theory — they are ready to deal with it in an appropriate (Biblical) manner. Yes, they must spend time in fervent prayer, hours searching the Word for answers, and imploring and following the Holy Spirit’s instruction.
January 1, 2016, we will celebrate 45 years of the blending of our families. The evening I walked down the isle on the arm of my 16-year-old son Dan, to be given in marriage to Dr. John C. Whitcomb, their ages were 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16. His four and my two represented extremely different backgrounds — environment, lifestyle, schooling, activities, and experiences. I had been a missionary with my first husband. Dr. Whitcomb was a seminary professor. That tells you a lot. (Our mates are with the Lord). Eight sin natures required high- tension adjustments. God was with us and His grace was super abundantly evident. There were restrictions and penalties. Not always appreciated, but God’s Word instructed us to do so. We are the first to admit that we made mistakes. We would like to do it over. Good relationships between sinful parents and children do not develop naturally. They require much effort.
God has all the answers in His Book. He has promised to be a very available help in time of need. He answers fervent, believing prayer. He promises, “Call upon me and I will.” Do it His way. Don’t give up. Believe Him. Trust Him. He will work.
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Friday, September 11, 2015
“Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox (a fatted calf raised to have tender meat) and hatred therein” (Prov.15:17).
An amplification of the above is “A plate of vegetables in an atmosphere of love is . . . better than a filet mignon roast where there is strife” (Believer’s Bible Commentary, p. 829). The simply stated contrast of Prov.10:12, “Hatred stirreth up strifes, but love covereth all sins.” A hateful spirit does not forgive and forget past grudges and quarrels. By God’s grace love forgets and forgives and moves on. Not easy, but possible. Yes, by prayer, supplication, obedience, and discipline.
Bernard Russell, commenting on the most urgent need of this world, said that it is so simple that he was embarrassed to mention it because of the expected reaction of cynics: He said “Forgive me for mentioning it—is love, Christian love, or compassion” (Encyclopedia of Illustrations, Paul Lee Tan, p.1585).
1 John 4:7 states that “love is of God” and that He has manifested His love by sending His Son to die on a cross to be the satisfaction for our sin. What a work of love (John 3:16)! God enforces the love lesson in 1John 4:11 “If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” No one has seen God at any time” (John 1:8). John further states that God’s love was manifested though Christ. Since Christ has returned to heaven, love is now to be manifested through believers. How stupendous that He has entrusted us with such an assignment! What does our report card indicate? Are there times when “F” appears? Note: It is God’s work of love that is perfected in us. It is all of Him (1 John 4:17). “Love is not what you do but what you are” (Henry Brandt). He is our resource, hope, and provider. What a provision! What a help! What a relief!
Jesus Christ is the standard for Christians. “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another.” Note that standard—“as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34). This commandment is so extremely important that He repeats it two chapters later in (15:12). “It is impossible to be in fellowship with the Father and out of fellowship with another Christian at the same time” (Be Real, Warren Wiersbe, p. 57).
It is impossible to walk in light and darkness at the same time. Love and light go together just as hatred and darkness go together. Hatred is a deeply serious sin. “A believer who is ‘walking in the light’ will evidence that fact by loving the brethren” (ibid, p.119). Note the deep probe of 1 John 3:11-24. It states that loving believers is a matter of life and death. “He that loveth not his brother abideth in death” (v. 14) and “whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer” Furthermore, “no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him” (v.15 ).
Think seriously upon these things. They are straight from God. He does not lie.
The eye of the world does not consider hatred very wicked, but God calls it murder. This does not mean that a murderer cannot be saved. A man or woman who hates brothers and sisters in Christ can surrender their sinful heart to God (1 John 3: 16) and be saved from sin. Jesus laid down His life for us. We may not be required to die for others, as mentioned in 1 John 3:16, but the least we can do is manifest love, come alongside our hurting brothers and sisters, share in their need, pray and encourage them in the Lord, and exude love, as commanded in verse 17.
Thursday, July 2, 2015
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Oh, there is so much to say about the role of a Titus 2 woman who desires to walk, talk, and example an everyday Christian life before her husband, children, and others, but I must move on.
The first chapter of Ephesians verse eighteen points the eyes of our heart to a word that spells present and future anticipation: ”inheritance.” These verses open a trunk of unimagined truths that will fill our minds and our hearts with paeans of praise and thanksgiving to our triune God who is thrice empowered to enlighten and to care for Christians: God the Father in v. 3, God the Son in v. 7, and God the Holy Spirit in v. 13. Our Christian inheritance is a blessing beyond comparison. We must guard it much more carefully than we would guard an earthly one. Think on that.
“Children are a heritage [treasure] from the Lord” (Psa.127:3). Think about that! God trusts life into our hands and heart. This statement presupposes that the Lord has placed children in a home where He is honored and obeyed, where they will be reared in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. If that is the case, verse five will follow, “Happy is the man [and the woman] who [have their] quiver full of them [treasures, possessions].”
We are at the stage of life that causes us to give thought to the “things” that we have enjoyed through the years. Who will get what? Who will care for this antique? Will this item fit with their decor? Do they have the space for this? Only a “thing.” But a child is a “treasure” to be tenderly cared for, polished, guarded, and prepared for eternity.
It is not my intention to offer advice based on my experience from rearing six teenage children in our extended family as a result of the death of one of their own parents. I took the God-given assignment seriously; thus, I dove into Scripture for answers that would be practical, proper, and thus God honoring and effectual. Yes, I wish I could do it over. Maturity, observation, and more study of the Word have taught me much that I wish I had known during that season of motherhood.
I have treasured those years as a God-given assignment. Let me explain. My husband Robert and I were expecting to spend our entire lives on the mission field. God had other plans. Robert dropped dead from a heart attack. Dr. Whitcomb’s wife went to be with the Lord after many years of suffering. His four and my two became our six. I had intended to return to the mission field, but God gave me a mission field right in our home — six hurting children ages 10,12, 13,14,15, and 16. Every mother must dive into Scripture whether rearing one or a dozen children.
My husband John recently gave me a devotional Bible study book, Walking With God in the Seasons of Motherhood by Melissa Kruger (2015), is recommended to mothers, grandmothers, and older women who desire to disciple young mothers, Following is a sample of her godly wisdom from Scripture. “Moms say ‘Be careful.’” Paul reminded the Ephesians to be careful. His guidance has so much to do with the family. “God created the family unit to be the foundation for all of society. If home life does not prosper, then all of society will fail to prosper. For this reason God calls us to be careful in how we live within our homes.”
Mothering requires knowing God’s Word, entrusting her child to the Lord, reflecting the heart of God, fighting against anxiety, worry, harshness, and anger. Mothers need help with discipline and godly exampling. It is absolutely necessary to use God’s Word as a primary source, but for guidance in fleshing it out in daily matters, other help is advantageous. Yes, God is sufficient. He promises wisdom, and He aids us by those who have spent years in study and experience. Be discreet in choosing resources and only after you diligently study the Word.
Christianity is a calling. Mothering is a calling. God has called us to it. We must never forget that! It has benefits that are out of this world if we follow God’s guidelines.
Monday, May 4, 2015
“….teach the young women to love their husbands” v.4. I’m wondering. In the day in which we live, would it be good that older women take a fresh look at their husband/wife relationship? There is so much to distract. So much for older women to vie for. Not much to help them grow old gracefully, let alone to grow old in a godly manner. You can see. It is all around us. Observe.
Loving our husbands is more than giving them a kiss when they come in the door. Love and respect go hand in hand. There are innumerable ways to show our husbands love/respect. I refer to William McDonald’s Bible Commentary (p. 2140) which says it so well. The wife should acknowledge his leadership in the home, make no major decisions apart from him, keep an orderly home, pay attention to personal appearance, live within their means, forgive graciously, keep the lines of communication open, refrain from contradicting or criticizing in front of others and in front of the children. We need to examine and brush up, don’t we?
To love is hard work. When we add the words ”at all times” (Prov. 17:17), it is almost beyond us. Let’s remember that we have God’s “I will” to depend on. With such help we can’t fail. This verse includes all interpersonal relationships inside and outside the family — husband, wife, children, in-laws, neighbors, friends, clerks, service workers, and the list goes on.
Let’s think some more. Your husband does not give you the romantic attention you desire. Could there be a reason? Take note. A woman came into the room where her husband was reading the paper. She was primped up — nicely clothed, makeup on, orderly hairdo, perfume. He looked up and asked where she was going. “To the gynecologist” she answered, to which he replied, “ ‘Wish I were your gynecologist.” That speaks volumes. It should sound a wakeup call. Hubby needs attention. If he goes to work at a usual time, I’m one who thinks the wife should be up, pleasant, dressed, hair combed, ready to talk, coffee and breakfast ready. (Perhaps not the norm of the day but give it some attention.) We must remember that many husbands go to work where women are attentive to them and dressed like decoys. His last memory of his wife was a frump. And we wonder why bad things happen. The eye gate is powerful.
We want our husbands to have every reason to rise up and call us blessed (Prov. 31:28). Many wry remarks have been made about Proverbs, chapter 31. Maybe we are unable to function at the capacity of this virtuous woman, but let’s never forget that every jot, every tittle, every word has been inspired by the Holy Spirit. We are wise to heed as God gives direction and help.
Women give many reasons for working outside the home. Some are bonafide. Others are to shirk home duties. They say, “I don’t like to cook and clean and stay home,” so they don’t. Others don’t go to work, but home duties are neglected while husbands go to work day after day whether they like it or not. Husbands need to know how much we appreciate them. Surprise him with his favorite meal every now and then. When he comes in the door, thank him for providing for the family. Teach the children to say “thank you” and to show gratitude to their Dad in other ways. You will be surprised what their ingenuity and creativity will come up with. Then the husband will acknowledge that her worth cannot be measured in terms of costly jewels.
Two sin natures are living within the same walls. Harmony is a grace of God. Search the Word. Use a commentary. Dig deep. Obey His directives. Ask those who are modeling God’s way if they would disciple you. Strive. Your Helper is with you.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Thank you for your responses to last month’s first topic on this subject.
We are going to get into some “ouchy” matters as we look at God’s directives on the virtues of a godly woman.
God dives right in, and by His gracious admonitions via the Holy Spirit we are about to get more than our toes wet. Older women, are we ready to be used? Young women, is your sober mind open to sound and valuable counsel resulting from years of Bible study and practical experience of older women? (I’m not referring to myself. I’m laying out a few thoughts, but hopefully someone whom you know, or to whom He will lead you, will be your discipler.)
Isn’t it interesting that the first virtue is “…love your husbands” (Titus 2:4)? “But sometimes he is so unlovable!” That’s not the point — “love your husbands,” the Bible says. It’s your obedience, not his worthiness. We dwell on his negatives to a point that they are all we focus on. Then we start talking about it. Why? Can anyone make him over? Do we want sympathy? Are we gossiping? Yes! We forget that it is our responsibility to PRAY for our husbands, and it is GOD’S responsibility to make him GOOD.
I learned a lot about prayer during those 11 years I was a missionary in the Philippines with my first husband, Robert. And I am still learning. The China Inland Mission (now Overseas Missionary Fellowship) had an appropriate principle — “God moves men through prayer alone.” It works in every venue including loving your husband. Oh, yes, and it works in us wives, as well. Oooooh!
Women have seen great things happen when they “lay off” and pray. Let me tell you of an incident. A Christian young woman came to me in frustration, aggravation, and tears. Her husband had not performed as she thought he should. She was lividly mad at him. She didn’t want to talk to him. She didn’t want to be in the same house with him. Through God’s looking glass of Scripture we scrutinized her attitudes and his problems. Note where we started. Deal with me first, Lord. Search my heart. Take away the dross. Take me through the cleansing fire. How much had she figured God in all of this? Not until she went to the Word. This was an excellent opportunity for personal self-examination. Oh, it is so much easier to sit at a computer and write it than it is to live it.
The more we think about a negative, the more it becomes fixed in our mind. This is the time we should become absorbed with God and His Word and the things that are true/truth. When our minds are occupied with the awesomeness of God, the sacredness of His love, and the power of
His Word, many aggravations are as though they didn’t exist. Putrefied water and clean water cannot occupy the same pool.
When we women get emotional, we don’t think rationally, and we leave God out of the equation. We are told to think on whatever is just. That means to “think on God’s standards.” We need to do our homework with our Bible open, and with prayer, paper, and pencil. “I don’t have time for that, you say. It seems we can hear, “Well then, dear daughter, lose the victory.”
Signed: the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
In a previous blog, I have stated that vital growth activity takes discipline, work, time, and prayer. It is beyond our frail human efforts, but when we turn to God, He instructs us and answers our fervent prayers.
In verses 1-15 of Titus chapter 2, false teachers were denying the great truths of the faith. Paul gave Titus the task of teaching what was proper for sound doctrine. Verse 1 is rich and demands individual in-depth study. I’m intrigued with the admonition that believers are to “speak things which are proper for sound doctrine.” Paul uses the word “sound” five times in this little book and always in the sense that truth produces spiritual growth. What are the “things” that Paul is referring to? “Be sober-minded, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in love.” Ponder them. It would be good to consult your commentary. I found the dictionary enlightening also— “unmarred, established, firm, solid, healthy, fit.”
Let’s take a look at Paul’s Holy Spirit-inspired admonition to older women that is found in verses 3 and 4. The footnote in my Bible describes older women as those who no longer have child-rearing responsibilities. That becomes the ouchy part, especially with grandchildren. We look at their tendency toward sin and say, “Do we or don’t we?” especially if their parents are wearing rose-tinted glasses. However, I believe it’s always best to start with prayer.
Age makes some people callous, bitter, and cynical. Note the unconditional virtues that God longs to develop in women as well as men—Paul adds more to the older women’s list— “behavior that becomes holiness, …teachers of good things.” Why does Paul assign these strengths to older ones rather than younger ones? I rather assume it is because it takes a long time for God’s patient polishing. We will be old by the time we learn and apply what we need to know, apply, and do in order to be capable of teaching, exampling, and admonishing younger women. When we shine forth as gold, He is ready to assign responsibilities.
We are apt to find excuses when we are given assignments. Martha Peace helps us by asking pointed and introspective questions: What are your priorities of life? What activities and commitments do you have? What takes up your time? Are they biblically based? (Becoming a Titus 2 Woman). How do we figure in our plans, wishes, desires, conveniences? When progress becomes discouraging, our all-sufficient One steps in and assures us that His purposes, done His way, will not lack His supply.
Specifically, an older woman should admonish the younger women. Years of Bible study and experience enable her to pass on valuable counsel to those starting out in life. Otherwise each new generation is doomed to learn the hard way, repeating the mistakes of the past. While the
responsibility for teaching is put on the older women, any wise young person will cultivate the friendship of godly older Christians and solicit their advice and correction. (adapted) Believer’s Commentary.
(to be continued)
Monday, February 9, 2015
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
A much used statement is “God is control”, but is He really? We use it in various and multiple contexts. Sometime with deep conviction and fervency, but too often flippantly as a quick fix.
Yes, “God is in control” is an absolute, irrefutable statement, and God’s Word is peppered with this incredible assurance. While this fact offers everlasting assurance, it leaves no place for indifference nor irresponsibility. A study of this treasured fact sends us on a journey which is too profound for us without help from the throne. Let’s concentrate on control of our thought life, our mind. Does your mind ever send you on a tizzy? You don’t sleep at night. You tell yourself you are not going to think any more about that thing that has kept you awake for hours. You even ask God to help you release it and go back to sleep. And before you turn over, there it is again. What do you do? Some turn on the TV, others pace the floor, or run to the frig, or turn to unmentionable activities.
The Bible tells us again and again that we control what we think. We do have control over unwelcome thoughts that come to our mind. No, not by ourselves. God gives the solutions and by His Spirit the power to be an overcomer. Phil. 4:8 explicitly directs us to think on true, honest, just, pure thoughts — the virtues that are genuine, honorable and morally upright, righteous before God, admirable, and praiseworthy. Jesus will plead for us at the throne of grace.
The Word clearly reminds us that we, too, have a responsibility in this matter. God does not garrison the thought-life of those who do not desire or want it. “A person cannot entertain evil thoughts and thoughts about the Lord Jesus at the same time”. Who is in control?
Paul, under the direction of the Holy Spirit in verse 6 of the same chapter, gives another antidote for anxiety (sinful fretting). Rid yourself of anxiety. Is that possible? Yes it is for the Christian. How? It is before our eyes. The powerful resource of believing prayer. And there is one more activity. Thanksgiving—even before we have the answer. To be thankful before the answer comes is to tell the Father that we know He is in control. That we set our mind on Him and His promises and we stop worrying. “Anxious for nothing; prayerful in everything; thankful for anything”. Let’s not overlook the all inclusive word,“everything”. Everything means everything.
In verse 7 of Phil. chapter 4, Paul assures us that God will garrison the believer’s heart in Christ Jesus. There is power in the precious blood of Jesus Christ. The same power that raised our Savior from the dead is available to us in time of need.
There is a blessed reward for our attempted obedience. PEACE — THE ASSURANCE OF BLESSED PEACE. Verse 7. “…the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard our heart and mind through Christ Jesus”. Neither midnight TV nor Facebook can give it.
What is the peace of God? It is a “sense of holy compose and complacency which floods the soul of the believer when he is leaning hard on God” (William MacDonald, Believers Bible Commentary p. 1978). Peace is the result of total surrender.
“Stayed upon Jehovah, Hearts are fully blessed; Finding as He promised, Perfect peace and rest”. Francis Havergal
Monday, February 2, 2015
Are you waiting for God to answer your prayer? Do you think He has forgotten? Not interested? Do you think He can’t? If your request is for God’s glory and your good, you have every reason to expect the answer according to His accurate time table and in His all wise way. “Casting all your care upon Him for He careth for you.”
Monday, January 26, 2015
God’s compassion is beyond comprehension! Ps. 103:3 “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities.” We sin daily, so we need to be daily pardoned. Our Father pardons at the cost of the blood of Jesus. He pardons like a kind, wise, and consistent father. If you are burdened by unforgiven sin, you need not be. Roll your burden at the feet of Jesus in true repentance and move on with a thankful, rejoicing heart.
Monday, January 19, 2015
What God does for us tells us what He is really like. Psalm 103 helps us to know Him intimately. At the top of my Bible I wrote, “This is what God does for me.” v.3 forgives all my sins; v.4 heals my diseases, etc. The list is long. It is easy to focus on the hardships of life, but if we list God’s blessings found in Psa. 103 we will offer paeans of praise!
Monday, January 12, 2015
Monday, January 5, 2015
It is with anticipation and hope that we look into another year that dawns on planet earth. Life takes on both immediate and eternal dimensions when we are united with Christ. We find direction as we turn to God’s Word.
Paul, as always, directs our focus to where it ought to be. In his first letter to Timothy, his greeting consists of grace, mercy, and peace. “Guy King has suggested that grace is needed for every service, mercy for every failure, and peace for every circumstance” (Believer’s Bible Commentary, page 2109).
A note Scotch-taped to my vanity mirror reads, “ Look within and be depressed; look about and be distressed; look above and be at rest.”
We are exposed to sin, sorrow, and Satan every day of our life. Thousands of things are ready to distress us. Jesus says, “Look unto me” (Isa. 45:22). I am the giver of grace. I am waiting to lavish you with my grace and blessings. I am fully aware of everything that affects you. You have tried to solve your problems yourself. You have looked to others for solutions. It hasn’t worked. Now look to ME.
Paul’s second letter to Timothy again directs our focus. Paul was probably confined to a cold dungeon and awaiting his death. Nero was persecuting Christians to shift the blame from himself to them for a fire in Rome. Persecution spread across the empire —ostracism, murder,
and torture. Paul was waiting to die. It was at this time that he instructed and encouraged Timothy, and us, in our life values and focus. “Kindle afresh the gift of God that is in you” (2 Tim.1:6). Don’t give in to timidity. Depend on God’s power (1:7). Be ready to suffer for the gospel (1:8). Don’t be ashamed of the gospel (1:8). Witness, teach, speak up, hand out tracts, live a Christ-centered example.
Paul’s second letter to Timothy provides another challenge: Thanskgiving (and praise) in the midst of dire circumstances. For what do we have reason to praise? The pages from Genesis through Revelation are filled with reasons and examples to help us thankfully claim the promises and power of God. We must search out those promises. We must make them our own. We must not let go. And we must praise.
“As Vine put it: ‘It was according to the divine purpose that life, which was in Christ Jesus in the eternal past, should be given us’” (Believer’s Bible Comm., p. 2109). That’s a mind-boggling “looooong"way back! There has been a long time to test and prove it. There is an interval in which we believers are waiting. Waiting…until He comes. God, in His faithfulness, sent His Son the first time (Christmas). We wait with confidence that He will send Him again. May we live in faith and with faithfulness coupled with exuberant anticipation, “until He (Shiloh=the Messiah) comes” (Gen.49:10). “Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” (Rev. 22:20-21).
To God be the glory! He has done GREAT things! And great things will continue through ALL ETERNITY! Praise His majesty forever.
I Thess. 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.” We certainly cannot spend all our time on our knees, but it is possible to develop a continual and prayerful attitude that permeates our mind at all times. The more intense we are in our relationship to our Master, the more we will communicate our moment-by-moment experience to Him.