Saturday, December 31, 2011


James 1: 2-3 Consider it all joy my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith proudces endurance.

This has been one of the most difficult years of my life, and I have no desire to relive it.  I can honestly say though, that I wouldn't trade what I've learned for the world.  At church, we have been studying James 1, and for the first time in many years, I've been going through a very difficult time while studying "Count it all joy . . . when you fall into various trials."  I remember thinking, "Are you kidding God? I know You see what we are going through.  You can't possibly want me to be joyful!" as I watched my dreams appear to go down the toilet. 

I learned that God seems to prepare people for His service in the wilderness.  Moses, John the Baptist, Jesus . . . they all spent time in the wilderness before they began their ministry.  2011 was my year in the wilderness.  I'm not sure if my time in the wilderness is over or not, but I know one thing . . . He is all that I need.  So when something difficult comes along, I want my response to be, "Okay God.  You are about to do something really cool, and I can't wait to see what it is.  Please give me the strength to see it through!"

I learned that life truly is about serving the Lord.  Nothing is more important.  My job, my health, my husband, my future . . . nothing.  God is all that matters.  Everything on this earth is temporary except what you accomplish for the Lord.  God hasn't given me all the things on this earth that I desire (as I made reference to earlier "watched my dreams appear to go down the toilet"), but I'm more than content with what He has given me . . . His joy which is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10). 

I didn't have any choice except to delight myself in Him.  He didn't give me the earthly desires of my heart (at least not yet), but He has changed my desires to be what He desires.  That is where the joy and contentment come from.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. 

So as the sun sets on 2011 and I wait for the sun to rise on 2012, I look forward to what the Lord has in store next year. 


Sunday, December 11, 2011

James 1

We've been studying James 1 over the last few weeks, and I think this is the first time that I have been studying James 1 while going through a very difficult time.  It has been extremely challenging.  It is quite easy when things are going well to say, "Yes!  We need to have joy in the midst of trial!" and quite another thing to do it. 

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials. (James 1:2). Yes!  Another trial.  Woohoo!  Thanks God!  But the passage doesn't stop there.  . . . knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:3-4).  Focusing on the trial certainly doesn't bring joy at all, but focusing on the end result does.  Enduring trial helps us to be better people.  It makes us more like Christ, AND THAT IS WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT.  Focusing on how difficult things are will just depress us.  Focusing on how God is getting the glory by us rejoicing in the fact that He loves us enough to refine us and use us to show God's grace . . . that is worth rejoicing about. 

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.  (James 1:12) If you are persevering under significant trial, you are blessed!  Don't run away from God saying, "How dare You put me through this!"  Trial is a gift from Him; an opportunity to trust Him in a new way.  An opportunity to stop depending on yourself, and put all of yourself into His hands. 

Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures. (James 1:16-18).  Don't be deceived . . . God doesn't tempt you.  Everything that He sends you is good and perfect, even if you don't like it.  He doesn't change.  You can always trust that He will do what He says He will do.  He will never leave you.  He will always give you good gifts.  He will always love you.  He will always do what is for your best.  You can trust your life to Him.  What a relief when it seems like life is slamming you around like a ping pong ball!  You can trust all of your pain and your joys to Him.  He brought us forth by truth because we are His most prized possessions!  Trust Him. 

I skipped some verses throughout this passage so that this wouldn't get too long . . . but this whole chapter has just been convicting me and convicting me.  I have to trust Him with my life.  All the things going in on in my life that I don't like . . . they are gifts from Him to make me more like Him.  He has my best interest at heart.  It is all about Him and His glory . . . not me.  How blessed to know that God is giving me the chance to bring Him glory through my trial. 

Thanks God for the opportunity.  Increase my faith.  Help me to reflect You accurately!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I have a new perspective on gratefulness this year.  It has been an extremely difficult few months, and I honestly felt like I had very little to be thankful for.  So when November began and I started listing the things I was grateful for each day on facebook, I very quickly ran out of things.  I knew that was unacceptable, and I knew focusing on the Lord will bring gratefulness.  I will have you know it works.  There were many days that I had a lot of difficulty coming up with something to be thankful for.  Like today,  I spent several hours in the ER with my husband last night into this morning.  They found nothing wrong, and yet the symptoms are continuing today.  He feels so badly that we are spending Thanksgiving at home by ourselves.  I am anxious watching him try to get his breathe, calm his racing heart down, and fight the nausea.  It is a bit depressing as we sit here, and yet, we have so very much to be thankful. We don't have health, we aren't surrounded by family, etc, etc . . . I can focus here, or I can focus on the Lord. 

Focusing on the Lord brings true joy, peace, and rest.  He is the only source.  As I look at the facts that He chose me, He loves me, He has our best in mind, He knows me better than I know myself, He heals, He provides, He gives strength and grace to sustain, etc.  James tells us to rejoice in difficulty because it will make us complete.  I have such a hard time being still, and allowing Him to be God.  I am always trying to fix things!  I don't have to!  Even if He chose to take one of us Home . . . that is Heaven!  Heaven is a perfect place without all of the sin and chaos of this broken and fallen world.  He has given us everything we need.  I need to always be looking solely on the face of Christ.  Everything else causes frustration and anxiety. 

God, help me to focus on your face today.  Help me to sing Your praises.  Help me to rest in Your promises.  Thank you for saving me and claiming me as one of Your own.   I'm a daughter of the King.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

When Sinners Say "I Do"

So my nephew and his fiance asked Miles and I before they got married for marriage advice and some books.  We talked with them for awhile, and then they said that the best book they had read so far was When Sinners Say "I Do" by Dave Harvey.  They gave us a copy of it, and it sat on my shelf of "books to read" for about a year.  I really don't enjoy reading, but I always have high hopes that I will read more.  With my background in psychology, I've read a huge number of books about marriage, so I figured this was just going to be another one. 

Well, one day, I decided to pick it up and start reading. It was good from the start.  Why was it good?  Because it is biblical.  I have read so many books about all kinds of topics that try to integrate psychology and Scripture, but psychology usually takes precedence.  This book is biblical.  It doesn't allow people to make excuses. 

I'm not finished the book yet, but I just read a chapter about examining yourself in a conflict.
1.  In humility, suspect yourself first. 
2.  In integrity, inspect yourself.
3.  Admit that circumstances only reveal existing sin.
4.  Focus on undeserved grace, not unmet needs.

We must always humbly and honestly suspect that our sin is present, and it is playing a role in the conflict.  We are so quick to recognize our spouse's sin, but it takes a lot of humility and honesty to admit that we aren't being patient or we aren't being loving or we are being selfish, etc.  Our sin (being impatient, unloving, and selfish) is already present; the heat of the conflict magnifies them.

These four points are all so important, and ignored in our society.  Miles & I work hard at the first three. It was the last point that was most got my attention.  I see it so much.  Psychology encourages us to express our needs and be honest with people.  The biggest problem with this, is that we don't know the difference between our needs and our desires.  There is nothing wrong with wanting an affectionate touch from your spouse, and a godly spouse will try to do this.  However, it is a desire, not a need.  There is nothing wrong with wanting a kind word of encouragement, and a godly spouse will try to do this.  Again, it is a desire, not a need.  Instead of worrying about your "needs" that aren't being met, focus on giving grace . . . which by definition is undeserved and has been offered to you interminably. 
Have you read James?  
 1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.(James 4:1-2)
It is our desires that cause quarrels among us, not our needs. 

Have you read what Jesus teaches?   
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
   32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:27-36)
Divorce is often based on "irreconcilable differences", but if you read this passage . . . you are going to have a difficult time convincing God of that.  He commands turning the other cheek if someone slaps you.  He commands giving to people who take from you.  He commands that you give to everyone who asks (even if you are constantly giving and not getting anything in return).  This is a difficult passage, but it would save a lot of marriages. 

So just some food for thought . . . are you inspecting yourself humbly and honestly?  Are you aware of your sin?  Are you extending grace to your spouse?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Testing Trust

"Shall I accept good from God and not adversity?" Job 2:10

I've had a lot of trials throughout my short life, but I'm finding that I deal much better with acute problems than chronic problems . . . meaning . . . I can handle the problems where something happens, its over, and then I adjust my life to it.  Like when my mom died.  One day she is there, the next she isn't.  There is nothing I could do to bring her back, so I adjust my life, and move on.  I'm not saying it was easy, but it was something that I had to keep working at.  I don't deal so well with the problems that are always present.  Like Miles' health, we are in a constant state of trying to figure out what is the source of his health problems.  If we had a diagnosis, then we could deal with the diagnosis, but living in a constant state of what is it?  How can we treat it?  When is he going to feel better? . . . is extremely stressful.  In all reality, you deal with both types of problems the same way . . . ask God for strength, live in the light of His promises, and adjust to your new normal.  But when I am constantly trying to solve the problem or fix it, I live in a constant state of discontent. 

So I'm a fixer . . . and when I can't fix it, I have to wait on the Lord.  I don't like it, not one little bit.  It should be easier and less stressful when I let the Lord take care of it.  There is no need to worry about anything, because whatever I am worrying about will be taken care of at the appropriate time.  It isn't on my time table though, and I can't deal with that.  It attacks my pride of self-sufficiency.  But that is exactly the point . . . I'm not self-sufficient . . . that is sin.  I need to be God sufficient, because he is all I need.  The day that I truly live out the promises that God's grace is sufficient for me, that He loves me, that when I am weak He is strong . . . that will be a beautiful day of rest and trust.

Maybe all He is trying to teach me is to trust Him. That is the heart of the Gospel anyway, right?

"When God tests you, it is a good time for you to test Him by putting His promises to the proof, and claiming from Him just as much as your trials have rendered necessary." (quoted from an excerpt of Streams in the Desert by A.B. Simpson)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Practicing the Presence of God

I've been reading The Practice of the Presence of God:  Brother Lawrence's Conversations and Letters.  It has been an excellent read and extremely challenging.  He was a cook in a monastery in the 1600s, and God taught Brother Lawrence how to practice His presence.  He realized that everything should be about God and loving Him, so he carried out every task with loving God in mind.  "Brother Lawrence emphasized that all physical and mental disciplines and exercises were useless, unless they served to arrive at the union with God by love. . . He found that the shortest way to go straight to God was by a continual exercise of love and doing all things for His sake." ( 

So I've been challenged to practice God's presence all day.   Brother Lawrence talks about the difficulties of doing so, especially starting out, but "Then, after a little care, we would find His love inwardly draw us to Him without any difficulty." (same source as above).  I ask you all to pray for me as I begin this journey (and I encourage you all to join me on this journey) as I learn to love God in washing dishes, doing class prep, shopping, interacting with people, driving my car, and everything else that I do in a day. 

Pray without ceasing.  I Thessalonians 5:17

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Prayer & Plans

I am a planner.  I have to have a plan or I feel lost.  Marrying Miles has helped me learn to survive without one sometimes, but it is still my comfort zone to have a plan. 

As I fight the fact that I have little control in my life and God has all the control, I am beginning to submit.  I'm learning that I can make a plan and pray and pray and pray about that plan.  HOWEVER,  it is best to pray and pray and pray, then make a plan, and pray and pray and pray.  I'm starting to get this, but it is such a struggle for me.  But I know I need to submit to the ULTIMATE planner ... the One Who chose me before the foundations of the world and is using all things in my life for my good. 

Praise Him with me . . . Pray to Him always with me. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Patriotic Page
I used to be one of the most patriotic people I knew.  My favorite skirt in middle school was made of material covered with the American flag.  I had a tape of all American Anthems . . . and it was one of my favorites!  My brother & my brother-in-law have both served in our military, and I'm so grateful for so many people who have given their lives for our freedom.  I've visited many countries around the world that don't enjoy the freedoms we have, and I'm eternally grateful for our freedom . . . sort of . . . I've also found in other countries that they are more devoted to God because they don't enjoy the freedoms we have.  They can't depend on their government to legislate morality or allow them to meet in church gatherings.  They must depend on God.  Our easy life doesn't enjoy sacrifice, and that is what Christianity is about. 

But I was convicted of my patriotism one day a couple of years ago when speaking with a music pastor at a local church. He said the most frustrating days to lead "worship" in his church were the patriotic days.  It wasn't because he didn't like the music or the cause, it was the response of the people.  He said it was always the most passionate day of "worship" . . . unfortunately, the worship was of our country or the people who served our country . . . not God.  Week in and week out, he would watch complacent people singing in the pews about how great God is with no emotion whatsoever . . . but he would pull out America the Beautiful, and people were moved to tears. 

Again, please don't get me wrong, I am grateful for the USA . . . but do we worship it & our freedom more than God?  Just something to think about . . .

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Devastation & God's Glory

It has been awhile since I posted last.  Last time it was about tsunamis and earthquakes, today about tornadoes.  The irony . . . Scripture is very clear that this these natural disasters will increase in the last days, and here we are.

part of our neighborhood

One of the tornadoes that destroyed the South last week came within one hundred yards of my house.  Miles was at home when it hit, and our home was miraculously spared.  The only effects we felt from the storm on our property:  a branch about three inches in diameter is partially off a tree (and we are surrounded by trees); without power for about an hour; and without cable and internet for about a day.  I even drove through quarter to golf-ball sized hail for fifteen minutes, and I don't have a single dent on my car.  I felt almost guilty as we later drove through our neighborhood and then through the south side of town that was destroyed.  But I have been given ample opportunity to give God glory . . . maybe that is why God was so gracious to us . . . Everytime someone asks about how we survived the storm, I start with, "only by the grace of God ... literally!"

part of the south side of our town
Today for some reason, I didn't start that way.  I was describing how miraculously untouched we were, and the lady said to me, "My goodness, you must be in good standing with Someone up there."  I then said, "Literally & Absolutely! If it wasn't for Him, we might have lost it all!"  God deserves the glory from all of this. 

I knew feeling guilty that we didn't have any damage wasn't right, but He has shown me how much He has done for me.  We've been able to serve alot of people bkz we haven't been stuck at our own house trying to clean up.  Some neighbors have used our fridge & freezer so their food didn't go bad.  Some neighbors have used our shower bkz they have no hot water.  We have donated & delivered food, organized donated items, listened to stories, cried with people, prayed for people and with people.  Every time I have encountered someone who has experienced devastation, I feel so helpless and inadequate.  I say to them, "I don't know what I can do for you, but I can pray.  I will pray for you."  Most of them said "thanks . . . that is the best thing you can do." 

It has taken me some time to begin to wrap my brain around some of my own emotions surrounding this devastation, and I'm not there yet . . . but serving people and showing them the Savior is the best thing we can do. 

Please keep praying for the victims of the 2nd deadliest tornado in US history, and Remember that He is still in control!

There's not a plant or flower below, but makes Thy glories known,

And clouds arise, and tempests blow, by order from Thy throne;

While all that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care;

And everywhere that we can be, Thou, God art present there.
(from I Sing the Mighty Power of God)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and God

My favorite geographical location in all the world is a beach.  I can, and have on many occasions, sat on the beach for hours just taking it all in.  There is nothing like the beach.  The sound of the water overpowers most everything else.  I love to swim in the ocean.  The feeling of freely swimming in something so powerful is amazing.  It is like learning to trust God.  He is awe-ful, but I am unafraid because I trust Him.  The power of that water is awe inspiring.   I love to just sit and watch the water come in and go out.  If at any point, God decided to, He could intervene, and the tide wouldn't work like it does.  The water would break loose, and completely devastate the earth.  It happened in Genesis, and God promised to never completely destroy the earth again by flood. I can sit with confidence on the beach, in awe of the mighty power of God that He keeps restrained.  It is His mercy that keeps the water where it is supposed to be. 

This morning when I woke up hearing of an earthquake off the coast of Japan which caused a tsunami.  One of those times that God did not keep the water restrained.  My first concern was a friend in Guam.  Then as I watched the videos on television, I sat in awe of the devastation.  The pictures from a plane of this 30 foot wave that wasn't dying down like most waves do before they reach the shore.  The wave hits the shore, and moves everything in its path like twigs in a river.  I saw one scene of a tractor trailer just picked up and floating around like it was an inner tube.  Dozens of cars and houses just picked up by the water and moved across the farmland like lava.  I watched in silence for a long while.  The fear that those people must be experiencing! 

Yet the Lord brought me back to Who He is. He is the Almighty God.  He reminded me of His mercy, of His holiness, of His love, of His wrath, of His protection.  Psalm 46 began running through my mind: 

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. (46:1-3, 10 NASB)

Who knows why God allowed this earthquake, tsunami, and devastation . . . but honestly we all deserve to die.  It is His mercy that He extends to those of us unaffected.  I hope that we are all reminded of God, His power, His Lordship, His holiness, and most of all His mercy. 

My heart and prayers are with those suffering from the devastation.  God, I pray that You would be with them, and they would search for You.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Praying in Faith

So how do we pray in faith?  I find it difficult to find the balance in praying in faith believing that God is going to do something and praying in faith that God's will is primary.  I'm finding that I pray selfishly (and why not, selfishness has completely infiltrated my life . . . sorry for the sarcasm).  Somewhere I went off the path . . .

I want to pray confidently that God will answer my prayer.  I want to pray confidently that God is in control, but since I am not God (for which I am so grateful), I don't know His will. 

I had an email conversation with a godly man about this topic to help me get my head back on straight, and here is what I've learned. 
1.  Praying in faith is not about having faith in the request coming to pass, but having faith in the God to whom we pray.  TV preachers and pentecostals are constantly preaching the "name it & claim it" theology, and that is what this is.  This actually looks alot like "I'll tell God what to do."  I AM NOT GOD.
2.  A big part of praying is for the pray-er to have his or her will conformed to the will of God.  This is a big deal.  I find that when I am just reflecting on what God's perspective might be on the situation that I am quickly given that truth.  God wants me to see things from His perspective, and so when I ask, He gives that  to me.  The tough part is submitting to that contentedly.
3.  The Bible is clear to let us know that we don't always get what we want.  This was confusing to me, especially living down here in Church of God country where "Name it & Claim it" is a popular prayer. But when I think about it . . . again, I'm not God.  He is.  Parents know the difference between what their kids want and need.  Sometimes parents give them things they just want, but many times they don't.  The same is true with God.  He knows what we need and what we just want, and sometimes He gives us what we want.  But He always gives us what we need. 
4.  Prayer is not designed by God to be a means by which we twist His arm to get what we really need or want.  Prayer is a means of communion with Him & our means of making our requests known to Him.  This is where I have really missed the boat.  Prayer is communion with God.  It is a time to "be still and know that He is God" (Ps. 46).  It is a time to get to know Him and learn how to hear Him. 

God, help me to learn how to hear You better. Help me to learn to pray in faith well.  I need to walk through life and listen closely. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011


I think I've developed a skewed sense of worship.  What is worship?  Is it singing songs?  Is it being in a church building singing with a group of people or reciting liturgical sayings?  Is it running up and down the aisles laughing or yelling out to God?  What is this thing we call worship?  It is paying respect or reverence to God (in this case). 

I've found that worship is not a natural occurrence for me or anyone else for that matter.  It can become more natural for Christians, but it isn't a natural occurrence for us as humans.  We would much rather whine & complain.  I wonder if that is why it is referred to as a "sacrifice of praise"?  I'm kidding a bit, but who knows.

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.  Hebrews 13:15-16

I've been reading The Prayer that Changes Everything (OMartian), and I've been learning alot about worship.  It isn't singing with a bunch of people in a building, even though that is what most churches call it.  It is giving respect and reverence to God.  It is focused on God, not on me.  Many of the so called "worship" songs sung in the building and on Christian radio are focused on me and my experience.  But worship removes the focus from me, and forces me to focus on God. 

Recently, I've been struggling to remember that God is good. That He really does have my best in mind.  Unanswered prayers will naturally speaking elicit anger at God whether we admit it or not, unless you have learned to worship God in the midst of it.  Unanswered prayers have elicited hopelessness in me, but I wasn't worshipping God in the midst of it.  So God is teaching me to worship Him, and I'm using what He has showed me before to do so. 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world (by whining & complaining), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (I need to worship instead). Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will (His will is for us to praise Him). Romans 12:2 NIV

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

So as I wonder why God isn't answering my prayers (because He really is answering them, just not how I want Him to answer them), and I get discouraged, I need to turn my face toward Him and praise Him for who He is and for His promises.  Find things to praise Him for.  Like the other night our HVAC went out.  I could have complained about it being cold.  Instead I was grateful for a person we didn't even know who offered us his kerosene heater.  I was grateful that the electric bill wasn't going to be as high.  I was grateful that we only had to replace parts of the HVAC, not the whole thing. Most importantly, I was grateful that He knows what I'm going through, and He is Jehovah Jireh, my provider . . . and I started worshipping.

“‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.” Revelation 4:8b NASB

You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being. Revelation 4:11 NASB

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Will you love Jesus more?

This is an old song by Phillips, Craig, and Dean, but I am always convicted by it.  Here are the words to the first verse and chorus:

I feel quite sure if I did my best I could maybe impress you, with tender words and a harmony a clever rhyme or two. But if all I've done in the time we've shared is turn your eyes on me, then I've failed at what I've been called to do there's Someone else I want you to see.

Will you love Jesus more when we go our different ways? When this moment is a memory will you remember His face? Will you look back and realize you sensed His love more than you did before? I'd pray for nothing less than for you to love Jesus more.
As I sit here in my office reading hundreds of discussion board postings by my 201 students in my 6 classes, I am mesmerized by the opportunity and need for the love of God to infiltrate our world.  I've worked in a "Christian" workplace for most of my life, and part of my desire to move to a "secular" workplace was to carry out the Great Commission.  I've even found that there are so many people who know the Lord that just need to be encouraged to follow hard after Him even in difficult circumstances.  So no matter where I am, I need to be spreading Christ's love.  I know many people have obeyed this command and been a huge encouragement to me. 
I am not responsible for their salvation, but I am responsible to show them the love of God.  So I need to always be checking my motives and reactions.  I need to always be loving, kind, gracious, and gentle.  I pray that the line that I bolded above will not be reflective of my time here on earth.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


While I regarded God as a tyrant I thought my sin a trifle; But when I knew Him to be my Father, then I mourned that I could ever have kicked against Him. When I thought God was hard, I found it easy to sin; but when I found God so kind, so good, so overflowing with compassion, I smote upon my breast to think that I could ever have ...rebelled against One who loved me so, and sought my good.  C. Spurgeon

I spent some significant time in 2010 fighting the thoughts that God wasn't good.  Satan was on the attack, and he took something very good and twisted it (as he is so good at doing) into thoughts of God not being good.  A year ago, I would have laughed at you if you told me I would entertain thoughts of God not being good, but I underestimated Satan's deceitfulness.  I'm glad that I'm seeing God more kind and good these days.  It is helping me recover spiritually.  Lies like that are poison to our souls.  Always be on guard to Satan's tools.  He is tricky, and it can cause some serious issues if you fall prey to him. 

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:10-17

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Hope in 2011

God has been getting my attention over the last few days.  Here are a few quotes I've come across that have come across my attention: 

"Is your perspective ego-centric or theo-centric?  You centered or God centered? It does matter." (Brian Smith, a friend)
". . . in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, . . . " Titus 1:2
"Faith is not a sense, nor sight, nor reason, but taking God at His word." Evans (don't know which Evans, sorry)
"The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith, is the end of anxiety." George Mueller
"You will never learn faith in comfortable surroundings." (Cowan, I think)
"The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever,
For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock." Isaiah 26:3-4
Hope must be in the Lord.  If I hope in anything else, it is only false hope.  I've spent a year thinking I was hoping in the Lord, but finding out that I really wasn't . . . hence why 2010 was such a rough year.  But I asked the Lord to increase my faith a little over a year ago, and He did it.  As as you see by the possible Cowan quote above, that is never easy. 
So 2010 was a tough year, but I believe that my faith has increased, and I try to keep my hope in the Lord. 
My hope is in the Lord

Who gave Himself for me,

And paid the price of all my sin at Calvary.


For me He died,

For me He lives,

And everlasting life and light He freely gives.

No merit of my own

His anger to suppress.

My only hope is found in Jesus’ righteousness.


And now for me He stands

Before the Father’s throne.

He shows His wounded hands and names me as His own.


His grace has planned it all,

’Tis mine but to believe,

And recognize His work of love and Christ receive.

(Norman Clayton)