Luke 8:54

"And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid arise." Luke 8:54

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Purity without Guilt

Spiritual Lessons 
  Purity Without Guilt

Image result for purity without guilt

What if I'm subconsciously attracted to someone?   Are my hopes and dreams pure?  Am I impure if my mind wanders to a certain guy?

These were questions I was asked recently and I felt like sharing my thoughts.

Attraction is normal, and not a sin.  Yet it is possible to commit emotional adultery. What's the difference?   Attraction is a natural emotion.  Emotional adultery is a choice with what we do with that natural emotion.  Emotional adultery is a decision to dwell in lust.  

Some safe guards I keep are being careful in my conduct and thoughts and speech.  This comes easiest when I am continually meditating on good thoughts.  (What we dwell on comes out).   Keeping young men as casual acquaintances or friends and saving close friendships for young woman is imperative.  

But hoping that we will be married one day is not sin.  Even having plans or preparations for our future is not evil.  But we do need to be careful where we allow our thoughts to go. I find that if I  continually share with Jesus where I'm at, it keeps me accountable in my thought life.  

Attraction is a strong emotion. But it is possible for our heart to stop at admiration.  Beyond that are slippery slopes and temptations and fine lines.  The best solution is to give Jesus our attraction.  Every time "he" comes to mind, we can immediately give "him" to Jesus.  It's always such a help to realize that Jesus has allowed me to feel towards this person, it's not more than I can bare.  This "cross" will certainly keep you dependent on Him.  We can choose to allow it to.  If the guy doesn't make any advancement we should be content to be still.  We aren't waiting on the guy.  We are simply following Jesus.  Don't hold your breath!  We have no idea how long God needs us to be single to accomplish His will for our life and other's lives.  

There's the possibility of feeling frightened that we have a hope in our life.  It's okay.  If Jesus takes it away He will give us the grace to let go.  If He one days allows the hope to become reality, He will let us know when the time comes.  

In the meanwhile, we shouldn't forget who is the true satisfaction to our every longing!  Before and after marriage!  He is our Beloved and desires to meet every need of our heart.  If we are truly upfront with Him, He will guide our heart and convict us when we've gone astray and comfort us when we feel like we're a hopeless case!  

Here are previous posts on these same issues.  I hope this was somehow an encouragement to you. 

Is there a difference between infatuation and giving away your heart?  How do we practically keep our heart?

Are our fathers really our head?  What is woman's purpose?  Why should woman stay at home? Are woman weak?  Can women be adventurous and brave?  

Our hearts are at stake! This post addresses the temptation to compromise our standard of purity.  Honest and to the point about relationships with guys.

Temptations will come.  Whether they're something or someone.  This post is on how to face them, what to do with them, how to feel about them and how to find encouragement in them.  

Is there really "the one" out there for us?

It's easy to grow restless and wonder if there's more to singlehood.  This post encourages single woman what "to do" in these years. 

Is it silly to hope and pray for a "Prince Charming"?  Do such men exist?  

Courtship: is it biblical, or is it flawed? 

What is our "heart"?  What's our heart's purpose?  What isn't our heart's purpose?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Quote of the Day

" Do not look forward to the changes and chances of this life in fear; rather look to them with full hope that, as they arise, God, whose you are, will deliver you out of them. He has kept you hitherto,- do you but hold fast to His dear hand, and He will lead you safely through all things; and, when you cannot stand, He will bear you in His arms. Do not look forward to what may happen to-morrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you to-day, will take care of you to-morrow, and every day. Either He will shield you form suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations." 

(St. Francis De Sales- Daily Strength for Daily Needs p. 29)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Keeping our Hearts with Diligence (Part II)

Spiritual Lessons
Keeping our Hearts with Diligence
Part Two

This is the continuation from my previous post "Keeping our Hearts with Diligence (Part I)".

"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."  (Proverbs 4:23) 

In my previous post on keeping our hearts with diligence, I stopped with the subject of our eyes. Who we might be looking at. What we are looking for. Where we are setting our affections. 

Colossians 3:2-3 says- "Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." 

The problem is most of us haven't even realized who we truly belong to. The reason our affections aren't on things above, but are rather, on this earth, is because our lives are not hid with Christ in God. But they are supposed to be. In fact, Romans 12:1-2 tells us that this is only our “reasonable service”. Paul couldn’t even go beyond what was “reasonable”, because the Christians wouldn’t even do that. And while the desires of our hearts can be extremely hard to give up, I know, it is a crucial part of our walk with the Lord. We do not belong to ourselves. It is not our life alone, to choose what we want to do with it or who we will spend it with. We answer to the Lord.

“Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.” (v.26)

Here I would like to talk about our path. “Let our ways be established”. Where are we going? What is our goal? What are we establishing?

I heard it said recently, that “You are either devising your own way or God is ordering your steps.” When it comes to our heart’s path, there isn’t much middle ground. Either you are conniving to get what you want or you are waiting on what the Lord wants to give you. And if you would but search your heart a little while, you’d know exactly which one you were. The truth is, our actions speak louder than our words. A lot of young girls will say that they are waiting on the Lord, but their actions do not prove it to be true. They seem almost desperate to attach themselves to someone. This shouldn’t be. Why? Because our contentment is found in the Lord. He is the One satisfying our heart’s desire. He fills all our emotional needs. He is love. He is our purpose. He is our goal. Sometimes it is needful to ask ourselves a few questions.
 Just to see where our hearts honestly are.

Am I content exactly where God has placed me?

Is there anything (or anyone) that seems to always come before my desire for Christ?

Am I patient and happy to wait for His perfect timing, even if it’s much longer than I would have expected?

Is there just as much peace in letting go of my desires as in seeing them fulfilled?

Proverbs 28:26 says, “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”

“Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.” (Proverbs 23:19)

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying before, “follow your heart”. What a dangerous thing to do! Seeing as our hearts are deceitfully wicked above all things. They are not supposed to be followed, or heeded in the least. No, instead, we are actually commanded to guide our hearts. So, while our hearts will often at times feel completely unruly and impossible to deal with, they aren’t. How are we to guide our hearts? By trusting them to Jesus.

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart: and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

By trusting our hearts to the Lord, we allow Him to lead them. This often requires continual surrender. But with surrender, comes a blessed peace. The Lord Jesus wants to establish our ways. He wants to lead our hearts. His paths are always the loveliest to follow. He is a good Heavenly Father. He delights to give His children good things. We can trust Him. And no path can be deemed lonely when He is the One traveling it with you.

“He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” (Psalms 40:2)

In Isaiah 55: 8 and 9, we see where the Lord’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways, not our ways. They are infinitely higher and so much wiser. Sometimes, it would seem, the Lord has to rescue me from myself. Thinking that I know what is best for me, when in reality, I don’t. Of course, we all think that if we really got what our hearts longed and wished for it would all turn out right in the end. But just as a wise mother lovingly holds back her child from danger, so Christ holds us back from what we don’t understand. We will never see as He sees. And we can never love ourselves as much as He truly loves us. There is just as much love in His “yes” as in His “no”.

I remember one time in my life, a couple of years ago, when I wondered about a certain young man in my life. I found myself attracted to him and wondered if the feeling was mutual. Considering whether he might be the Lord’s will for me or not, I prayed about it. And the Lord gave me John 21:21-22.

“Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.”

Basically, it is none of your business.  J
What is my path? To follow after Jesus. And the rest is His responsibility. It doesn’t matter who your future husband may or may not be, or where he even is, that is for the Lord to direct. We are to be waiting and keeping our hearts with all purity, with all diligence. The Lord has to be our goal. Not marriage. Not a relationship. Not anything else. Just Him.

“Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.” (v. 27)

And then, we have the command to “turn not” and to “remove thy foot from evil.” Again, it isn’t “evil” to like someone. It isn’t “evil” to want to get married. But it is evil to be thinking or dwelling on anything that doesn’t fit into the verse of Philippians 4:8.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

In removing our foot from evil, we need to be establishing our thoughts.

“Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.” (Proverbs 16:3)

Our thoughts are very important to the Lord. It is easy to excuse them as not really being “that big of a deal”, especially since no one else can actually see them and aren’t necessarily effected by them. But this isn’t actually true. For one thing, Jesus sees all our thoughts. He is the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12) And if for no other reason, we should care that our thoughts are pure because of Him. Proverbs 23:7 tells us “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:” What we think about, says a lot about us. Where our minds continually dwell, says a lot about where our hearts are. And while others may not see your thoughts per se, our thoughts affect our actions, which then affect those around us. It is important where our minds wonder. You are not alone in your little world of imagination. Girls tend to daydream to an unhealthy level. It almost seems to be built into our nature somehow. Like the little girl who always wants to play house. We were made to be homemakers and “nesting” comes, oh, too easily. We think about what our future might look like. Girls are also very relational. And it is not uncommon for girls to often think about their future husbands (or who that might be) and even their future children before ever entering that time of their life. And while it might not necessarily be wicked, it can be dangerous. It can be taken to an unhealthy level and reality can be lost. Our “fantasy”, or even hope of what our futures might be, can become more enjoyable to live than our actual life.

Proverbs 24:9 says, “The thought of foolishness is sin:”

This verse puts an immediate stop to all day dreaming, because that’s exactly what it is. Foolishness. According to Philippians 4:8, it isn’t whatsoever things are true. It isn’t whatsoever things are honest. It is vanity.

If you’ve ever “liked” someone in particular, you already know just how easy it is to think about that person. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing, he can be in the back of your thoughts. And while thinking about that person isn’t necessarily a sin itself, and honestly just comes naturally, what we are thinking could be. Are you already mentally planning as if you’d spend your future with him? This isn’t right. This isn’t whatsoever things are just. Are your thoughts always drifting to the romantic side of things? This isn’t whatsoever things are pure; whatsoever things are lovely; whatsoever things are of good report. There are other thoughts along this subject which are more subtle, but equally just as dangerous if not more so. These are the thoughts about this “special someone” that actually are true. Things said or events that actually happened. Such as, maybe the last time your families spent the day together or when you last saw him at church; whatever it might be. Our minds have a way of “replaying” everything. Like, how he looked at you, or even if he looked at you. What was said; how we laughed together. Maybe the things you did. All these “little things” become precious and hidden away in our hearts when we like someone. But my question is: Is it virtuous? Is it praiseworthy? Philippians 4:8 says “…if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” And it is all such thoughts that we must surrender to the Lord. They are not healthy for us to hold so close to our hearts, or to replay in our minds.

II Corinthians 10:5 says, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ:”

Our thoughts must be brought captive to the obedience of Christ. When our minds wonder foolishly or even romantically, we must stop and submit them to the Lord. It hast to be a conscious effort. It is a choice we make. “Casting down imaginations”.  We must cast them down at Jesus’ feet. And when we do, we’ll find that He is always there faithfully waiting to take our thoughts and imaginations. That He has already promised the victory. It is ours to claim at the very moment our hearts looks up towards Him. Ephesians 4:23 says, “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;” Our minds need to be renewed. And it is by taking them to Jesus that He then forgives and cleanses and renews them again.

“And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?” (Matthew 9:4)

“The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” (Psalms 10:4)

Sadly, what could be said of the “wicked” here, could also be said of most Christians. God is not in all his thoughts. And what a difference it would make if He was!

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalms 139:23-24)

In order for the Lord to even be able to help us keep our hearts with diligence, they must first be given to Him. He must have our heart. Our will must be put into neutral. Our hearts cannot be set on anything that isn’t of the Lord. Even with the things that just aren’t His timing yet. We cannot have a froward heart. To stubbornly insist on our own way is heartache.

“He that hath a froward heart findeth no good:” (Proverbs 17:20)

“They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight.” (Proverbs 11:20)

In Luke 12, we are encouraged to “take no thought for your life”. I think this is the biggest secret to keeping our hearts with all diligence. Letting God be our everything. When we have let go of our life, our plans, our dreams, our heart’s desires, our future hopes, and our deepest longings; when instead, all else becomes as complete loss compared to Him; when He becomes that one desire of our hearts.

“I’ve been a great deal happier since I have given up thinking about what is easy and pleasant, and being discontented because I couldn’t have my own will. Our life is determined for us; and it makes the mind very free when we give up wishing, and only think of bearing what is laid upon us, and doing what is given us to do.” George Eliot

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Quote of the Day

"We have need of patience with ourselves and with others; with those below, and those above us, and with our own equals; with those who love us and those who love us not; for the greatest things and for the least; against sudden inroads of trouble, and under daily burdens; disappointments as to the weather, or the breaking of the heart; in the weariness of the body, or the wearing of the soul; in our own failure of duty, or others' failure toward us; in every-day wants, or in the aching of sickness or the decay of old age; in disappointment, bereavement, losses, injuries, reproaches; in heaviness of the heart; or its sickness amid delayed hopes. In all these things, from childhood's little troubles to the martyr's sufferings, patience is the grace of God, whereby we endure evil for the love of God."

(E.B. Pusey, Daily Strength for Daily Needs P.48)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Keeping our Hearts with Diligence (Part I)

Spiritual Lessons
Keeping our Hearts with Diligence
Part One

"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."  (Proverbs 4:23)

I'll be honest. This verse has always discouraged me. I've heard it my whole life growing up- "Keep your heart. Keep your heart. Keep your heart!" I've even told this to other girls younger than me. But what does it mean to "keep your heart" anyways? It always felt like a pretty good saying that was somewhat overused and completely unexplained. But it was Biblical, right? It was most commonly used in reference to boys. Not giving your heart away to some guy you "like" or have a "crush on" when you're 14, that may after all, never be your husband. 

It has also been commonly used as I’ve gotten older, during the years when you are officially “coming of age” and marriage is actually a very real possibility. If you ever show interest in a guy or he shows interest in you, it is one of the first things you hear. “Keep your heart.” It sounds good, I’d like to be able to do that, but how? What does it even mean? What does it look like, practically applied?

I’ve been told that if you don’t keep your heart, you will be giving away pieces of that heart, which can never again be recovered. That you will then, never have a “complete” heart to give someone else. I am honestly not sure this is strictly true, just speaking from experience, but I do know there is a difference between “liking someone” and literally “giving someone your heart”. Some girls think they are “in love” with a guy they’ve hardly even spoken three words to, when really, they are only in love with the idea of being in love. This is called “infatuation”. For those of you who might be worried that because you have liked someone, you’ve ruined any chance of giving yourself completely to your husband, I’d like to say that giving your heart, is actually a choice we make. Just like love is a choice. It is painful, vulnerable, and not something that “accidently happens” without our knowing it. Being attracted to someone isn’t “falling in love with that person”. Also, just because you are interested in a potential possibility, doesn’t mean you are “beyond the point of no return”.

That being said, however, I would also like to bring out the fact that our hearts are extremely weak and vulnerable. We can form dangerous “heart strings” very quickly. We can easily become unhealthily attached to someone. (For more on “heart stings”- please look up Toni’s previous post "HeartStrings".) We do need to be careful. The Lord wouldn’t have commanded us to “keep our hearts with all diligence” if He also didn’t know that out of them are the “issues of life”! Our hearts are also very deceitful. The Lord describes them as such in Jeremiah 17:9- “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

We can’t even know our own hearts. They deceive us. 
But guess who does?

“I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:10)

Job understood this truth. He says – “And these things hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this is with thee.” (Job 10:13)

Just because “giving our hearts away” is a choice, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be careful not to make that choice. And because our hearts are desperately wicked and deceitful, we need to be cautious. Just the simple fact that God told us to “keep” them, actually means that they can be “given away”. So how do we keep our hearts?

Here is something I recently wrote in my diary-

“The heart seems unruly and impossible to keep. But then, why would He give the command to? He would be an unjust God to command something without giving the ability to actually do it. God doesn’t give commands that are unreasonable. Yet, He also tells us that without HIM, we can do nothing. He is involved in the heart’s keeping. He has to be. However, I think there are principles we can live by to help that along. Just like, we can ‘quench the Spirit’, we can quench His working in our hearts.”

Here are some principles which I believe enable us to keep our hearts with all diligence. All of them are taken from the four verses immediately following Proverbs 4:23, where He tells us to “keep our hearts with all diligence”.

 “Put away from thee a forward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.” (v.24)

Firstly, we have our mouths. James has a lot to say about the tongue.

“Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! …For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. … Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? …Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. (James 3:4-5,7-8,10-11,13)

Where are our words continually dwelling? What are our lips speaking? What are we always talking about? Is it the typical “Who likes who”? Is it always about boys? And romance? Or maybe something even a little more subtle. “I can’t wait to do this or that for my wedding!”? Whatever it might be. Is it wrong to like someone? No. Is it evil to want to get married? Certainly not. Is it wicked to be excited about what you might or might not do for your wedding colors? No, it isn’t. But what we are usually talking about, what we are always dwelling on, says something about where our hearts are. We also need to remember that our mouths also affect our listener. We are not an island to ourselves. Remember how James just talked about a fountain either yielding bitter water or sweet? It is the exact same with our words. We can either be edifying our listener, or we can be corrupting their minds. It could be blessing or cursing. Why won’t we try to use our words to edify? Maybe the next time one of your girl friends wants to talk about the “latest with so and so”, you could casually change the topic. Why not share what’s on our hearts about Christ? He is an endless and beautiful subject matter. Or maybe, we don’t, simply because we wouldn’t have anything to share? I hope not. Or maybe you know someone who is discouraged about their singleness? You just might be able to encourage that heart to stay content in Jesus alone, simply by how you use yours words. A wise man will show forth his works in a good conversation.

“Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.”  (v.25)

Next, we have our eyes. We are told to let them look “right on” and to what is “straight before thee”. But in doing so, we have to honestly ask ourselves a few questions. What is before me? Where are my eyes looking? Who are they looking at?

Hebrews 12:2 says- Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (II Corinthians 3:18)

What we are focused on, is what we become. As we set our faces towards the Lord, we are changed into the same image. I wonder what our faces would look like in comparison to this standard. I wonder what we’d honestly see. It depends completely on what our hearts are truly seeking. What are we looking for? Romance? Marriage? Selfish desires? Fulfillment from our own dreams? 
I hope it’s more. 
Proverbs 23:5 warns us about where we set our eyes.
“Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not?"

If the Lord has told us “no”, then there is a good reason for it. To continue to set our eyes and hearts on something that is not the Lord’s will for us, is not only vain, but can be a hindrance in our walk with the Lord. We have to trust Him with our hearts’ desires. We have to rely on His wisdom. 
He searches the same heart that so easily deceives us.

Proverbs 14:30 says- “A sound heart is the life of the flesh:  but envy the rottenness of the bones.”

What is a sound heart other than a strong confidence and contentment in the Lord? A heart that is set towards following Jesus Christ. Not having a heart that is envious. Not wanting something that doesn’t belong to you. That could also apply to things we just don’t have yet. Are our desires and the focus of our hearts encouraging “life”, or maybe, “rottenness” to our bones? Where we set our eyes bears a big part in how we keep our hearts with all diligence.

I will continue these thoughts very soon in “Keeping our Hearts with Diligence Part II”.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Quote of the Day

"LORD, I know not what I ought to ask of Thee; Thou only knowest what I need, Thou lovest me better than I know how to love myself. O Father! give to Thy child that which he himself knows not how to ask. I dare not ask either for crosses or consolations; I simply present myself before Thee; I open my heart to Thee. Behold my needs which I know not myself; see, and do according to Thy tender mercy. Smite, or heal; depress me, or raise me up; I adore all Thy purposes without knowing them; I am silent; I offer myself in sacrifice; I yield myself to Thee; I would have no other desire than to accomplish Thy will. Teach me to pray; pray Thyself in me."

Francois De La Mothe Fenelon (Daily Strength for Daily Needs p. 81)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day 

"The essence of Christianity is Loyalty to a Person -- Christ, our King.  Here is a thought to unseal the fountains of love and loyalty, the treasures of faith and imagination, bound up in the child.  The very essence of Christianity is personal loyalty, passionate loyalty to our adorable Chief.  We have laid other foundations -- regeneration, sacraments, justification, works, faith, the Bible -- any of which however necessary to salvation in its due place and proportion, may become a religion about Christ and without Christ.  And now a time of sifting has come upon us, and thoughtful decline to know anything about our religious systems, they wrote down all our orthodox beliefs as things not knowable.  Perhaps this may be because, in thinking, much of our salvation, we have put out of sight our King... Let us save Christianity for our children by bringing them up into allegiance to Christ the King.

How?  How did the old Cavaliers bring up sons and daughters, in passionate loyalty and reverence for not too worthy princes?  Their own hearts were full of it; their style of clothes, all was one proclamation of the boundless devotion of their king and his cause.  That civil war, whatever else it did, or missed doing, left a parable for Christian people.  If a Stuart prince could command such measure of loyalty, what shall we say of "the Chief amongst ten thousand, the altogether lovely?"

~ Charlotte Mason ( Home Education

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Political/World Issues 

Stop Abortion 

Image result for pro life rallies
Sandpoint, Idaho  March 21st 

This Saturday there will a rally at Farmin Park in Sandpoint against abortion.  
The goal of the rally is to bring Christians together to publicly register their opposition to the evil of abortion.  Let's take an united stand as Christians in this community and publicly declare that we are not at peace with this legal murder.  3,500 souls are destroyed every day in the USA alone.  
Be a voice for the voiceless March 21st from 11:00 -12:30.  

For questions please call Jeremiah at 208-304-2753