Tag Archive | Bible

For the Love of God

Due to some reading, listening to a couple speakers and a class I’m currently taking, I have been prompted to take a good hard look at my life. Too many times my life revolves around Me, Myself and I.  Me and my husband, Me and my family, Me and…  Do you see the common denominator? Me, Me, My, Me…

Satan loves it when people focus primarily on self, because then our number one focus is not on God.  Satan is the deceiver causing us to think we are better and more important than others.  We fill our schedules to revolve around ourselves.  Too many days are not begun asking, “God, what is it you want me to do today?”, listening to His direction, and then being obedient to go and do.

What would our community be like if all who call themselves “Christian” would follow those steps each morning?  Can you imagine the change if denominational barriers were torn down, or if the status of wealth and popularity no longer caused social discrimination?  What if we truly loved as Jesus loved?

Missionary Amy Carmichael said, “You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.”  What woud happen if we seriously followed Jesus command to “love your neighbor as yourself?” Matthew 22:39   Daily schedules would no longer revolve around “Me”.   C.T. Studd was a missionary to China, India and Africa.  He said, “If Jesus Christ is God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”  God wants us to be obedient now in spite of our imperfections. What better place is there to get started  than in our own neighborhood and community?

I would like to issue a challenge for the week: Each morning begin the day asking God, “What is it you want me to do today?” Listen for His direction, and then be obedient.  Be intentional in showing the love of Jesus to others in your community.

 ” If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;  but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.”    I Corinthians 13:3

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SpRiNg ~ New Life

Spring is in the air! I know; I know. We just had a blizzard the beginning of the week. However, I have proof that Spring will soon be here!

seedsMr. Postman delivered my garden seeds!!

Oh! That didn’t convince you?  Maybe these pictures will.  I took them a few days before we got piles of blowing swirling snow.

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By the time the mud dries, I’m hoping it will be warm enough to plant my peas.  In the meantime, how about some good ol’ fashioned spring cleaning!? Take down the curtains and launder; use the extension handled duster to reach the cobwebs where wall meets ceiling, and pack away the last of the snowman decorations. If your Bible has been collecting dust while sitting on shelf or table, clean it off as well.  While you’re at it, take a moment to read and let God’s Word breath new life in you.

In the book of John, Jesus talks a lot about life. He says, “I came that you may have life and have it abundantly.” In John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Towards the end of John, we are told why the many accounts of Jesus have been recorded.

These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.   John 20:31

These are only a few verses from John, but I hope they are enough to cause you to read more about Jesus’ life and this new life found only through Him.

There are signs of Spring outside. Are there signs of Spring within you?

Spring: to come into being by growth, as from a seed or germ, bulb, root, etc.; grow with new life

Powerful Words

He could have brought me a beautiful bouquet, baked my favorite cheesecake, or any number of gifts, yet none would be as special as the e-card he sent. His message was not one of empty words. It was powerful, filled with love, straight from his heart.

I didn’t even know my husband knew where to find, nor how to send an e-card. I send e-cards frequently and show him what I’m sending, but I cannot recall a time when he sent one himself. For a first time visitor to bluemountain.com or other such e-card sites, the task of selecting, personalizing and sending a card can become quite time consuming.

Before reading the personal message or opening the card, I was touched by the gesture of love and surprise I found in my “In Box”. However, a big lump closed my throat as I read his sweet, personal sentiment. Then tears welled up in my eyes as I read and watched  the slideshow card play.

My husband of 30 years is not a man of frivolous words. Rather, he says what he means and means what he says. He is not usually the first in a group to speak, but listens intently, ponders awhile, and then speaks. That’s why I treasure notes from him. I know he doesn’t scribble something hastily, and he probably read and viewed a dozen e-cards before making his selection.

Can you tell this made me feel loved and cherished? In our society, cutting and sarcastic words seem to be the norm. However, such words, even if intended as jest, often emotionally hurt and tear down. Words are very powerful, and once they leave our mouth they cannot be taken back.

 “Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.” Proverbs 12:28 NLT

 “Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24 NLT

 The Bible is full of instruction of how we should and should not talk to one another. Quickly scan through the book of Proverbs for the key words: tongue, words or speak. There is verse after verse pertaining to what we say whether good or bad, uplifting or deflating, encouraging or insulting. A wise woman often said:

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!”

Words are powerful! Choose words that encourage rather than tear down.

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”  Psalms 19:14 NLT

Be Careful What You Ask For

Patience is a virtue; catch it if you can.

Have you ever had a day that seemed like everyone was pushing your  buttons? A day full of stress? Did you pray God would give you patience? I’ve done that before, and it really didn’t make things any better. In fact, it may have actually gotten a little worse. My prayer went something like this: “God, will you give me patience today.”  I know, I know; some of you are wondering, “What’s wrong with that prayer?” Well, you didn’t read it in the right tone of voice. Read it again, this time with an impatient, exasperated, begging tone. “God, will you give me patience today, PLEASE!”

Over the years, I’ve formed an opinion about patience, and you may or may not agree with me. My opinion is that patience is not merely given; it is taught. (Pause and ponder if you must.) Would you like to know how I figured that out? Okay, I’ll share my enlightenment.

First, I must confess that I am a slow learner.  You see, each time I would pray my prayer of desperation the day would go from bad to worse. It would be one thing after another that would try my patience.  Like I said, I’m a slow learner so it took awhile for me to figure out what was happening. Then, one day, as if a light bulb came on, I realized the days that were filled with patience-challengers were the days I asked God for patience.

Once I recognized the pattern, I began trying to figure out why. I began to realize, I wasn’t striving to attain the virtue, patience. I was just wanting rescued when I was at the end of my rope. That’s when I recalled a phrase I heard over and over as a child. Practice makes perfect. To be a patient person, I needed practice. Whenever, I asked God for patience, He made sure to give me plenty of opportunities to practice.

Over the years, I have learned to attain patience, I must be teachable and willing to practice being patient. Now when I have a trying day, I try to remember this is my opportunity to practice this virtue. When I am patient, I show love. In 1 Corinthians 13 it says “Love is patient.”

Remember, be careful what you ask for. If you ask for patience, you will be given opportunities to practice.

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”   Ephesians 4:2 ESV

Praying for Haiti

Oh what a Saturday! Hubby is in Haiti so I’ve been holding down the fort. I thought I was getting a good start by heading out to chore before 8:00 this morning. However, by the time I hauled bales for cows and heifers; loaded the water tank, filled it and then emptied into the bulls’ tank, and got the cows off the stubble field it was nearly noon. For some reason these tasks take me longer than for Hubby. I didn’t mind though. It was such a beautiful morning, and I thoroughly enjoyed the serenade of birdsong.

When I got back inside, I was delighted to find an email from my Dear Husband. He and 3 others arrived in Haiti Tuesday evening. The primary job is helping some Haitians build a roof for one of their churches. Wednesday they assessed the church and put together a materials list. The following is a portion of Hubby’s email this morning:

They got the metal to build roof trusses, but had nothing to cut it with.  We looked for a metal blade for  a circular saw but could not find any, I’m not sure there is such a thing, but we were hoping so.  We ended up getting some hacksaws and cutting the metal by hand.  Maybe next time we’ll bring a sawzall and a bunch of metal blades.  There were several men from the church there helping so it really was not too bad.  They said they will have a welder there today.  At least that is how we understood them.  If so we should be able to get some trusses built.  I keep reminding myself we are here to help work WITH the local people , not do it For them. 

Sounds like they are off to a good start. I’ll be eager to hear how much can be done before Hubby comes home.

Over the next several days, I’ll continue to feed the cattle, but more importantly I’ll be praying for my brothers and sisters in Haiti.

I fall to my knees and pray to you, Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from your glorious, unlimited resources you will empower these dear people with inner strength through your Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in their hearts as they trust in him. May their roots  grow down into your love and keep them strong. And may they have the power to understand how wide, how long, how high, and how deep your love is. May they experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then they will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from you. Now all glory to God, who is able, through your mighty power at work within them, to accomplish infinitely more than they might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. (Taken from Ephesians 3:14-21)

 

Lazy Days of Summer?

I hear people refer to the “lazy days of summer”, but I’m not sure I truly know what those lazy days are!

On the farm, summer is anything but lazy! In the fields, there is harvesting, planting, tilling, fertilizing, spraying and irrigating.  In the pastures, there is counting and checking cattle, hauling water and making sure windmills are pumping, and moving cattle from one pasture to the next as the grass gets eaten or becomes brown and crisp from lack of rain.

With the thermometer reading in the triple digits for many days now and no rain to speak of, the farmers around here will tell you these are the “dog days of summer” not the lazy days!

Having said all that, I can assure you that many a farmer, Hubby included, would not think of changing their occupation.  There seems to be something about dirt, sweat, grease under fingernails and knowing farmer has done all he can. The rest is up to God to orchestrate the weather so the seeds will grow and produce a harvest.

As my farmer goes about his busy day, he also keeps an eye on the horizon and the sky.  He is watchful of curls of smoke or a sudden flare of fire in field, ditch or pasture, or clouds building with promise of rain. He is trusting God for protection and provision.

These are not the lazy days of summer!

Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp. He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. Psalm 147:7-11

SOAPing

What do you get when you have 41 Jr High girls, 3 showers, 3 toilets, 2 long mirrors, sand-burs galore, and triple digit temps for 5 days?…… Lots of giggles, fun and games, new friendships, and heart-to-heart discussions.

I just returned from Kan-Ok Bible Camp; the week I eagerly anticipate each summer. These young ladies come from many different backgrounds yet have one common interest – to learn more about God. Granted this might not be their main reason to come, but by the end of the week it is evident that God has worked to soften hearts for growth, repentance and forgiveness.

I not only got to hang out with all these young ladies, but served as a counselor with 6 amazing college women. I love getting to mentor them, and I usually learn a thing or two from them as well. Our mornings at camp are started with personal devotions.  Many of the girls have not incorporated daily Bible reading, devotions and prayer into their daily life, but by the end of the week they want to know how they can continue at home. This year one of the counselors taught them about “SOAPing”. It is such an easy way to learn and grow that I want to share it with you.

To begin all you need is: a Bible, notebook, pen or pencil.

1.  On the left side of your notebook page write the letters S O A P horizontally leaving a few lines in between each letter. These letters stand for S-Scripture, O-observation, A-application, P-prayer.

2. Read one chapter in your Bible. This can be any chapter at random or begin reading a specific book of the Bible. After reading one chapter choose one verse that stands out to you.  Write this verse beside your “S”.

3. Beside the “O” write your observation. What does this verse mean, or what is the main point?

4. Beside the “A”, answer the question, “How can I apply this verse and observation to my own life?”

5. Pray – Ask God to help you make this application.

That’s all there is to it! By keeping these notes in a notebook, you will be able to refer back to it and see how God has been revealing His truths to you.

The campers and staff have gone home, and most probably slept in this morning. We are now back to real life with all its joys and problems; it is time to apply all we learned this week.

R U Ready?

I’d love to hear how God impacted your life through a Bible camp, even if it was 30 or 40 years ago. I’d also love comments if you begin “SOAPing”.