Saturday, June 26, 2010

Looking, longing, and loving

Today we got up, had breakfast at our 'usual' place, then headed north to Bartlesville. We had a destination in mind to personally check out and photograph for our granddaughter.

We grabbed some local BBQ at the spot we like to dine. Then we headed home via a less conventional route in order to view and appreciate the rolling hills, the green country that we know and love in northeastern Oklahoma.

It was relaxing and refreshing from our air conditioned vehicle on this hot summer day. Ahhhhhhh!

Once home my husband emptied our pool, cleaned it, and began refilling it for our afternoon 'sit' and cool off time. As we await the filling he shared the following with me from a Friday morning reading of his. . . it hits the mark.

Walk Closer to God

Looking, longing, and loving — three words to describe the responsibility of the Christian who is waiting the Lord's return.

Looking for ways to know God better, to serve others more sacrificially, to become more like Christ and keep in step with Him.

Longing for the day when you will be free forever from the weaknesses of the flesh, the wiles of Satan, and the whisperings of the world.

Loving God above all, and your neighbor as yourself — the greatest command.

Take a look back, and a look ahead. Are you holding your position in the race of life?

From Closer Walk, June 25, 2010

Truth For Life
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all it contains;
Let the field exult, and all that is in it
then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy
Before the LORD, for He is coming,
For He is coming to judge the earth
He will judge the world in righteousness
And all the peoples in His faithfulness.
Psalm 96:11-13

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What is your treasure and upon what are you hanging it?

This morning I awoke and was resting in bed, checking the weather and my email via iPhone when I heard a loud and long crash of what sounded like china in the house. I'm so grateful it was in the morning and not at night - for I'd have assumed someone was IN my house with me.

I discovered that a teacup shelf unit had fallen - and with it came 6 teacups and saucers. Broken bits of pretty china were all about the dining room. Oh, my!

To work I went sweeping up the bits and peaces, checking which cups I had 'lost'.

Then I set about to check the cause of the shelf falling from the wall. I found that the hook upon which it was held had wiggled out due to: vibrations of our washer and dryer that are placed on the opposite side of the same wall in the utility room. We have had rain, rain, and more rain along with thunder this week and I think that the weather caused the last bit of the hook/nail fixture to wiggle the last millimeter out of the wall - and C R A S H !

Behold - I was grateful to know the sound did not cause me fear, just curiosity, did not cause me grief and tears, just surprise and housework at 6:30 a.m.

As I was reviewing for Bible study this morning I was reminded that we often treasure things/people/relationships above God. The test of this incident revealed to me that I did not treasure my china tea cups, even if I enjoy them, use them, and use them as decor in my living room. I thank God that He revealed to me what I did not treasure.

What gives me greater joy? What do I find delight in and think on throughout each day?

I treasure God and His Word! I hang onto the words of God, more than my necessary food. (to paraphrase (Job 23:12)

On what do we hang our treasure? What do we think will keep it secure?

I was the one who hung up the shelf that came down this morning. I did not think to check it on occasion for safety, I will now, but I did not think about the impact of the world's vibrations through the daily chores of washing clothes plus the storms of life adding its own. And over a period of time, day by day the hook was weakened and unsecured until it could not hold the shelf much less the cups and saucers - and so it all came tumbling down.

What is your true treasure? May this little incident give you pause to reflect with me upon what you value. Join me in humble self-evaluation and consider to what you hold in clinched fist. What will you offer up to God. And what will you treasure that is everlasting, can't be stolen, won't age or deteriorate.

You know what I purpose to treasure, now its your turn to respond.

Truth For Life
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Luke 12:34

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Bible In 90 Days
my journal of the experience

Week Two
Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy - say that 5 times fast! Try reading it in 1 week - zooooooooooooooooooooooom!

And yet as I read it I remembered many things I'd learned from previous studies of each of these books. It brought to mind richness and revelation of who God is . . . and the main and plain truth is that

He is holy

I picked up and read about these books in the supplementary book for this program called The Essential Bible Companion. This book is essential as a Bible reading companion - it provides the nutshell and main points of history, meaning, and applications lest you missed them.

The many details about the tabernacle in the scriptures read this week provide us with an awareness of how God is to be approached. We can't just walk right up and high five God. He is not one of us. And where he places the tabernacle is in the midst of His people. He desires us to be in His presence.

I'm once again grateful for what God did through Christ to give us the gift of His presence dwelling within us in His Holy Spirit.

Where I go, He goes, what I hear, He hears, what I do, He is present.

He also asks us to be holy as He is holy. He does not ask us to be what He does not enable us to be. I can not in my human effort become holy but with submission to His Holy Spirit I can become like Him, holy.

Whether you plan to read the Bible in 90 days or not, this book is worth adding to your library. The first few pages give the story of the Bible which for many of us, is something we've not been taught in our local church. That is worth the purchase of the book alone.

Truth For Life
for you are a people holy to the LORD your God.
Out of all the peoples of the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be His treasured possession.
Deuteronomy 14:2

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled;
set your hope fully on the grace to be given when Jesus Christ is revealed.
As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;
for it is written:
Be holy, because I am holy.
I Peter 1:13, 14

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Have we come a long way, baby?

Reading chapter 3 of Voices of the True Woman Movement brings us to the chapter on the history of the feminist movement and its impact upon women and society. The feminist movement changes have not been a good thing altogether, which is an understatement! If you do not know how far back the thinking that developed into the movement began, as this chapter provides, you do not realize how very much we have been influenced, even in Christian circles in America, by the thoughts and plans of those who do not consider God and His purposes for man, woman, child, and this world.

Mary Kassian presents this information with humor, reality, and honesty. There is so much in this chapter that I felt it really calls for you, dear reader, to get a copy of this book if only for this chapter alone. My take on it will likely be pooh poohed by you without your own reading of the history.

I observe in the church, my neighborhood, and in the marketplace an attitude in women that is along the lines of "no one tells me what to do, no one, especially not some mere man" I hear those words as quoted or I witness expressions of disgust and superiority. I also see lives lived for oneself ---- shockingly some of these women call themselves Christian.

As I read in God's Word, study it, meditate upon it, I witness God calling men and women and children to a life that is God centered, other oriented. Self centered living is opposite to the example of Christ. We have it all wrong, we are living life in the wrong direction.

Who will be God is the question underlying our lives.

It is not a new question nor a new response.

Women may have gained independence in many ways but have also lost in living life with loving companions for life, extended family & the help and care offered in love to them. When we need no one - we are most vulnerable. And we do not find ourselves, we actually lose ourselves and become more desperate to find meaning and purpose in our lives. We demand from others, are put out with others, can't believe the error in the lives of all those with whom we cross paths. "How dare them!" is an attitude I witness. Far from the example and attitude given to us in Philippians 2. (I recommend you read that today!)

Think about your desire for independence - is it our culture that has led us to it?

Seek the direction of the word rather than the world. Check it out! It is timeless truth.

Truth For Life
Don't, by the way, read too much into the differences between men and women. Neither man nor woman can go it alone or claim priority. Man was created first, as a beautiful shining reflection of God -- that is true. But the head on a woman's body clearly outshines in beauty the head of her "head," her husband. The first woman came from man, true -- but ever since then, every man comes from a woman! And since virtually everything comes from God anyway, let's quit going through these "who's first" routines.
Romans 11:11-12
The Message

Monday, June 07, 2010

The Bible in 90 Days

my journal of the experience

Week One

I have overall enjoyed spending 40 minutes to an hour each evening after dinner reading our 12 pages in Genesis and Exodus. There were a few nights when it seemed like I would never get to the end of my 12 pages of reading - so I would stop, take a breath, pray, and continue on. What keeps me encouraged is that I will be sharing this journey with others, my husband and our small group. I am getting more and more excited to hear about their discoveries as well as to share some of mine.

I am always amazed at the 'first time I've seen this!' details I discover as I re-read God's Word. I am humbled to see how God has reached out to man, come to be with us, seeks to save us and provide a way out of slavery. . . but He does not stop there, noooooooooo. That is where WE often stop. 'got the fire insurance policy! check! that is all I need you for now, God, check with you later!' as we go smilingly off on our own.

He offers us beyond that, He offer us a new life, He provides the setting in a new land. It comes furnished! And we forget this, don't 'hear' it, don't 'see' it and usually continue to plod along, walking uphill each day trying to carve a life out of our time on earth. God offers us life, full life, rich life. Shalom life because He will be with us! Thank you, Lord. Praise you, Lord! Bless you, Lord!

As a note: I like the Bible they have published for this 90 day reading plan, it is good to read a clean copy that does not have study notes to distract the reader. it is easy on the eye text.

It has been fun to share this with my husband as well. We talk about what we discover after each days' reading. God is speaking into our daily lives concerning family, work, and faith. That is confirming things we have pondered upon or upon which we have wanted to action.

More later . . . .

June 7, 2010

Truth For Life

Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed:

The Lord, The Lord God compassionate and gracious

slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth, . .

Exodus 34: 6

Saturday, June 05, 2010

The Summit

chapter 2

Reading another chapter in Voices of the True Woman Movement brings things up close, and personal. So get yourself a chair, sit down, take a deep breath, and calmly consider these notes of mine. Nancy Leigh DeMoss is the author of this chapter.

The second chapter is based on Romans 11. I've placed the verses Nancy speaks from at the bottom of this post as my Truth For Today quote.

When we climb the path of life, like a rocky mountain, we experience turns, rocky paths, washed out paths, overgrown paths, loose stones, thinning air, animals, weather, and harsh sun. We do so for we are seeking to reach 'the top'. In life we live with some goal(s) in mind, goals that will provide us with a sense of purpose, accomplishment, and fulfillment. As Paul writes to the Romans teaching what we believe as Christians, he reaches the summit.

And then we read Romans 11. The Summit.

Our view of life may be self-centered for that is the message the world presses upon us. In music, video, ads, magazines, t.v., friends, neighbors, and sadly today, most churches. Or we are self-centered for we have been spoiled, indulged in, pampered, from childhood to adulthood. Thus, we find life a rat race because the honest truth we discover is that the world, our jobs, our family do not focus upon us, though the world sings that song to us.

I am going to list quotes and paraphrases of what Nancy had to say in this chapter about the higher calling God offers to us. . . .

We can not understand fully the plans of God nor His purposes, no matter how we try. . .

He is not us. (ouch! but so true)

We may reach a low in our lives that is as low as we've ever been, but God has not departed.

We need not at that low point become women of bitterness and despair.

We may be in a pit but there is no pit that God is not deeper still. (to paraphrase Betsy Ten Boom) The pit we walk into, get pushed into, or slide into is not beyond God's view or influence.

God knows everything and everything about everything: past, present, and future.

He knows the details, the minutia, the big picture.

And His wisdom and knowledge are infinitely greater than ours.

We see life as about us. Life is really about Him.

Our view is limited.

God's is not.

Its like our view of things AS we climb a mountain.

Its SO different from the view at The Summit.

Until we grasp what is true, that He created us, that He gave us to be women, and that He has given us a position, opportunity, and place upon earth that is unique to our sex, life will be unsatisfactory. We'll always be reaching for more, more, more. Or trying to simplify, simplify, simplify. If we wake up to the fact that our lives are not about us and humbly bow our knees to our creator, sustainer, and redeemer offering us our lives, we'll cease to live life limping along, desperate, hopeless, and helpless. We'll no longer be aiming and straining to become what is less than our true potential as God has made us. No matter how well meaning we once were.

What is a true woman? Nancy offers these facts:

A true woman lives a God-centered life

A true woman trusts God.

She does not live as an atheist at times, thinking that He has really messed things up this time.

A true woman does not have to strive, does not have to be afraid.

She can relinquish control, she does not have to manipulate and control every one and every thing in her life. She does not have to resent or resist, or run from the cross. She lives embracing the cross with faith. (now this is something we women tend to do - controlling everyone and everything in our path: "Organizing" "helping" "assisting" "arranging" all demonstrating a need to control.

A true woman says "Yes, Lord"

She knows her life is not her own and lives to glorify God.

His Word, not the world is her compass.

She is willing to make personal sacrifices, not asking What do I want to do or become?

but rather What pleases You, Lord? (now this is truly counter cultural!

How much we have become like the world)

But you ask, dear reader, what if I dare allow God to lead? Will He drop the ball?

Will He be distracted? Will He be forgetful? Will I ever amount to anything?

Will I be a doormat? Will I lose myself if I ask God to lead me?

A great encouragement to me is the this word from John Piper:

"In every situation and circumstance of your life, God is always doing a thousand different things that you cannot see and you cannot see and you do not know.

We may not see it all now, and some things in life we will not see during our life time. . . but when we see Jesus face to face, we will then understand, agree, bow down, and praise Him for His wisdom, knowledge, love, and position.

If I live as a child of God, not childishly live, but live trusting God will protect, provide, care for, nurture, and give me things to do that glorify Him and give me purpose

I will find true purpose.

It will lead to a life of true freedom, freedom FOR life in its fullness,

not freedom FROM anyone anywhere controlling or directing my life.

It will lead to what we so long for: peace, joy, love, and much fruit!

I realize this is bits and pieces and what I've shared may seem odd and out of step with society. . . that is Nancy's point and mine. If we fit in this world it has shaped and molded us, it has pressed us to line up and follow its leading. And the world really does not care about us, nor does it have concern for us. Its a marketed life and that is not life at all.

Well, there will be more to say in the days ahead as I read on. In the meantime, consider who shapes your thinking and choices. Be honest with yourself. I will do the same.

Truth For Life

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!

How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways!

For who has known the mind of the Lord,

or who has been His counselor?

Or who has given a gift to Him that He might be repaid?

For from him and through him and to Him are all things.

To Him be glory forever.


Romans 11:33-36

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

October of 2008 while many women traveled to Chicago to attend the above event, I was at home listening via streaming on the internet as we heard many speakers who encouraged and reminded women of their unique role, honor, and place as women. We had the privilege to hear such wonderful speakers such as John Piper, Mary Kassian, Joni Eareckson Tada, Fern Nichols, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and Janet Parshall.

A book has just been released that contains the content of the speaking sessions of these speakers and I'm going to share what I find of particular worth of highlighting as I read chapter by chapter.

I received a copy yesterday and read chapter 1 last night. I smiled, laughed, Amen-ed, and shared quotes with my husband. The first chapter features John Piper and he began with a 'bang'!

A quote I heard online in October of 2009 that I read again and feel is noteworthy:

"Wimpy Theology Makes Wimpy Women"

He continued to explain "Wimpy theology simply does not give a woman a God that is big enough, strong enough, wise enough, and good enough to handle the realities of life in a way that magnifies the infinite worth of Jesus Christ. Wimpy theology is plagued by woman-centeredness and man-centeredness. Wimpy theology doesn't have the granite foundation of God's sovereignty or the solid steel structure of a great God-centered purpose for all things."

I'm so encouraged and stretched to consider "... the ultimate meaning of true womanhood is this: It is a distinctive calling of God to display the glory of His Son in ways that would not be displayed if there were no womanhood. If there were only generic persons and not male and female, the glory of Christ would be diminished in the world."

Our world has swung from woman not being valued to woman as king . . . and neither brings out the best of what woman has been created to offer and represent. Our uniqueness as females adds richness, caring, and meaning to life on planet earth and we glorify Christ uniquely when we embrace and express our life as true women.

I could say more, but I will hold off.

I have another chapter to read tonight.

More to come . . . . . .

Truth For Life

God created man in his own image, in the mimage of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Genesis 1:27