Thursday, April 22, 2010

Do As I Do

I was re-reading some of my earlier posts that I wrote on my first devotional blog, which has now become my ministry site- Living Stones Ministry.  I found this post & thought I would share it with you.  It was written July 2008.

May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word. Psalm 119:74
David had learned to not put his hope in man or in himself.  He had learned from past experience that it only led to his destruction.   Instead, he put his hope in God's Word.  He knew that it could be trusted and would never lead him wrongly.  It was his stronghold, his ever present help in times of need.  It was the breath of God breathed on him who understood and obeyed it's words.  He lived it. It was a part of David.
Because of that, David could say to others, "Do as I do".  He was saying, "If you have seen the faithfulness of God in my life then you have seen the mercy of God demonstrated and it can be in your life also."
David knew that he was not perfect, he wept over his sin everyday and sought the forgiveness of God.  So, he knew what it was like to live in the mercy of God and to rest in the hope of his salvation.
He could say to his people, "Rejoice in the faithfulness of our God that you see in my life.  I have put my hope in God's Word, you can do as I do and put your hope in God's Word."
Could you say that to your children?  "Do as I do."  Do you live out for them what the Word teaches?  We all fail, but as David would weep and repent we can also.  We don't have to weep, but we must be truly repentant. 
Do you read the Bible to them or discuss scriptures with them?  What a blessing it is to sit with a young child and talk about what God means to them.
This morning while I was having my quiet time, my 3 yr old daughter(who had woke up way too early) came in & sleepily crawled into my lap.  So I read to her Psalm 113.
Praise the LORD.
Praise O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.
Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore.
I read the rest of the chapter to her & then we talked about what it means to praise the Lord.  And then we did it.  We praised him together.  We told him all of the things of his creation that we love and we thanked him for all of the people that we love and appreciate.  Then we prayed together and thanked God for his Word that reminds us to praise him and be thankful for all of his gifts to us.  It was a great time with my daughter, and  even though I have come to love that early morning time for just the Lord & I, I'm so thankful for that time he gave me this morning with my daughter.  She knows I read & study my Bible so she has a Bible too that she will sit and "read" the pictures.
There are many areas of my life where I do not want my children to do as I do.  But gradually as the Lord refines & molds me some of those area's are now becoming something I would like my children to imitate.  I want my children to want to imitate me.  I want my daughters to think it is o'k to be like their mom instead of always having a list of things that they would do different.  The reality is that they will always have a list of those things, but I pray that as I am faithful to my God  that when my children are parents they can look back  and say, "I want a relationship with Christ like what my mother had."

Lord God, help me today to be an example that others will want to follow.  I want to reflect you and only you, so that when others see me they get a glimpse of you also.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Simple Prayer Life

My husband writes a blog for men , mostly focusing on the fathers Biblical role in their home. He had a neat story on his blog; I wanted to share it with you.

In learning how to have a Christlike prayer life, we need to approach every aspect of life in prayer…when we take a walk we can pray about it, when we are about to make a phone call-ask the Lord to direct what you say, when you type an email to someone-ask God to direct what you say and how you say it, etc. Approach each area of life by saying “Lord, I can’t do one thing apart from You. Father, with Your power and might, please, do this ‘thing’ through me.”

*One time someone asked a dear older lady what her “prayer method” was? She simply replied, I don’t know nothin’ about method. I just pray like this:

When I wash my clothes, I pray, “Lord, wash my heart clean.”
When I iron the clothes, I pray, “Lord, iron out all these troubles I can’t do nothin about.”
When I sweep the floor, I pray, “Lord, sweep all the corners of my life like I am sweepin the corners of this floor.”

This is being in an attitude of constant prayer…and this is a real prayer life all day long.

*story was found in Ray C. Stedman’s “Talking With the Father” book.
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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Faith is Not Easy!

This morning in my devotionals I was reading in 2 Chronicles 20. It is a fascinating story about when King Jehoshaphat trusted the LORD when the Moabites and Ammonites were coming to make war on Judah.  He called the nation of Judah to fast and pray.  He told the Lord, “we do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” (2Chronicles 20:12)
We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”
Have you ever been in a situation where you didn’t know what to do?  No possible solution was in sight, you could see no way out. 
Your husband came home and told you that he is not happy any more and is moving out. 
Your son is hanging with the wrong group of kids and is walking towards trouble if something happens.
You lost your job six months ago and still can’t find one.  The mortgage is behind and so are all the other bills.
What do you do?
In Matthew 6:25 Jesus tells us, “Do not worry about your life”.  Obviously this tendency to worry about what will happen is not a new thing.  It began with the first sin in the garden and still continues today.  When uncertainty of our future creeps in we get nervous.  We can’t see how this is going to work out.  Jehoshaphat struggled with this also.  Their lives were at stake here.  The lives of the people of Judah, a whole nation were at risk.  What was he to do?  He knew his God, so he went to him for help.
The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous runs to into it and is safe.
Proverbs 18:10
But seek first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:33,34

It is so much easier to worry about our life than to not worry.  It takes effort to not worry.  We have to think about it.  We have to choose to not worry.  When Jehoshaphat first got word that the armies were coming he was alarmed.  I’m sure for a little while(it doesn’t say how long) he panicked & thought, “What are we going to do?”  But then he “resolved to inquire of the LORD.”  He made a choice, he thought about it, he decided that he would seek the Lord for wisdom and guidance.  He prayed and fasted and he still didn’t know what to do, but he trusted that his God did know what to do. Don’t think for a minute that this was easy for him to do this.  Faith is not easy, but the rewards are more than you can stand.
Jehoshaphat had a very happy ending to this story.  HIs armies didn’t even have to fight.  Instead they worshiped God in a loud voice in song.
“Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.”
Please note that this was their song BEFORE God had delivered them.  That is another blog post all together.
The short ending to this story is the enemies basically destroyed each other.  Judah never had to raise a sword in defense.  But they were able to take away a bounty of plunder.  In fact there was so much equipment, clothing & other articles that it took them 3 days to collect it all.
They did not worry, they praised their God.  They sought Him first and trusted that He would provide a way out.  We have much to learn from these people.  We live in very scary time right now and our future doesn’t always look good.  But know that if you are a follower of Christ, your future is glorious!

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Friday, April 9, 2010

The Greatest Love Ever

Over the past few years, I have been on a spiritual journey of coming to understand the greatness of God's love for me. It is so easy to say and we grew up hearing it, "God loves you.". It is on pencils, notepads, balloons, hats, posters. It is everywhere. But do we really realize just how much he loves us?

Mark 9:7, This is my son whom I love. Listen to him.

Jesus was God's son. I don't think any believer doubts that at all. Any need that God had for a child was fulfilled through his only son Jesus.

When a man and woman want a child, but cannot have children themselves they adopt. They do not feel complete until they have a child.

But God already had a child, Jesus. He didn't need anymore. He is God. He is complete, lacking nothing. He is Elohim, Creator and El Elyon, The God Most High. He needs nothing. He doesn't need us. He can function just fine with out us and his purpose would still be fulfilled, yet he created us anyway. He loves us that deeply.

He chooses us. He picks us out. He has adopted us into His Kingdom. How much greater can a love be for us than that?

1 Peter 2:5, But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

We are royalty, only because he has chosen us to be so. He loves us so deeply that we cannot fathom how deep. C.H. Spurgeon said this,

Our adoption therefore, is not for His gain, but for ours; it is a matter of divine charity, arising out of the spontaneous love of God.

Father, I praise you and thank you for choosing me to be one of your own. I thank you for your love for me and ask that you would teach me to love in the same way.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Becoming as a Fruitful Vine

One of my favorite verses in Psalm is found in 128:3.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house;your sons will be like olive shoots around your table.

With 10 children in our family, our table is very full. It is a blessing to me to see our table full of children during meal time. But even more of a blessing to me is knowing that the Lord has chosen to use each of my children to His purpose and glory.

The visual image of olive shoots is so wonderful to me. The olive tree was very important in Bible days as it provided them with many necessities for their day. The olive shoots were the young branch-to-be’s growing off of the main branches. Unless the olive tree received the proper nourishment, the olive shoots would not grow properly, if at all.
What a great picture this is to us as mother’s of the importance of our relationship with the Lord. If we are not studying the Word and applying it to our lives we become spiritually malnourished & our children will suffer because of it. But when we are following the Lord & seeking a close relationship with Him, our children will flourish & grow just as the olive shoots do on the olive tree.

John writes in 3 John verse 4,

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

The children that John spoke of were not his children, but rather those who had benefited from his ministry. Mothers, your children are your ministry, but you can’t minister to them if you are not spiritually healthy. God has a plan for your children & His greatest desire is to use you in their life.

Abide with your Lord. Learn to follow him & obey him. Fall in love with Him. You will never be disappointed.

The result will be;

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.

Proverbs 31:28

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Living in the Spirit, Not in the Flesh

One day while I was driving my daughters to their Bible Study at church, my mind began to drift back to difficult times in our past.  Things that happened we never dreamed could happen, but they did.  Then all of a sudden I began to think of how unfair it was for these things to happen to us.  I had a "What did I do to deserve that?" attitude.  I immediately captured that thought and threw it out.  It happened so fast that I almost didn't catch it!  I was caught off guard...a good sign of living in the flesh rather than the Spirit.
Here is what Romans 8:5 says,
"Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires."

Our family has seen a lot of adversity & turmoil the past 8 years. At times it seems like we are on a roller coaster of troubled times and just can' t get off.  I've prayed David's prayer many times from Psalms 123, "Have mercy on us O LORD."  My flesh cries out saying, "Please stop this and let us live in easy times again."  But, then the Spirit begins to speak to me, reminding me of my purpose as a daughter of the King.  My purpose is to bring glory to God.  I am to reveal God to others through the way I live my life.  More simply put; I am to make God look good.  I cannot do this if I am whinning, "It's not fair!" all the time.

I have a choice.  When circumstances arrive I have a choice at my reaction.  I can glorify God through my response; react in the Spirit.  Or I can cry, pout, complain and react in the flesh.  Which one brings glory & honor to God?  the answer is so obvious, but not as easy as stated.

Here are a few "flesh" responses I have had in my life.
  • Why did you let this happen?
  • I don't deserve this!
  • I don't have time for this!
  • I want a break!
  • When will this be over?
  • Why is their life so easy & mine is so hard?

Any of those sound familiar? 

Paul said in Romans 7:15,
"I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do, I do not do but what I hate I do."
I'm right there with you Paul!  I know what my response should be, but I still react the wrong way!  Aack!  Will I ever react the right way & actually glorify my God?  The answer is yes, it is possible.
We learn from Jesus how we are to live.  Paul was a good example as he went through way more than most of us will ever go through in our life as a believer, but he learned from Christ how he should live. 
John 12:27, Jesus replied to Andrew and Philip, 
"Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour?' No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.  Father, glorify your name!"

Jesus knew what his ultimate purpose was, to glorify his Father.  He knew that God would be glorified through his own suffering.

Here are some Spirit responses I am learning to make;
  • How can I bring glory to you in this?
  • Teach me your way through this.
  • Help me to be faithful to you.
  • Father, help me!

I have learned that when I live in the Spirit I have joy & peace in the midst of terrible circumstances.  My valley experiences don't feel like valley experiences.  When I am living in the Spirit I radiate God's love & joy.  Others want to know how I can experience all that I have & still be so happy.  My mind must be on what the Spirit desires, not what the flesh desires.

 Make Psalm 73:26 your prayer.
"My  flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

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