Luke 8:54

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

Friday, May 29, 2015

Quote of the Day

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (II Corinthians 12:9)

"The law of the spiritual life is that divine strength shall be made perfect in human weakness. Our part is to supply the weakness, God's part is to supply the strength. We are, however, continually trying to usurp God's part and to supply the strength ourselves; and, because we cannot do this, we are plunged into depths of discouragement. We think, in order to work efficiently for the Lord, we ought to feel strong in ourselves, and when instead we find ourselves feeling weak, we are in despair. But the Bible teaches us that, if we only knew it, our weakness is in reality our greatest strength."

(Hannah Whitall Smith, The Commonsense Teaching of the Bible p.136)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Virtuous Young Woman

Spiritual Lesson
A Virtuous Young Woman

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price if far above rubies.” (Proverbs 31:10)

I just recently read Proverbs 31. We are all familiar with this chapter as being the chapter of what a virtuous woman must look like. I’ve heard it typically used in reference to married women. It will most likely be mentioned on “Mother’s Day”, as in, this is what a godly wife or mother should be. Which is true, especially since there are several references to this Proverbs 31 woman being both a wife and a mother; but, this chapter isn’t just for married women. This was also King Lemuel’s counsel to his son, in choosing a bride. These were character traits he admonished his son to look for in a young lady. The principles of Proverbs 31 apply to all women. Whether single, engaged, married, or even widowed. In this post, I would like to apply them to single young woman. Girls who, while desiring to someday apply them practically towards both their future husbands and children, can also apply them in their daily lives right now.

We do not have to wait until we are married to be virtuous women for the Lord.

There is a lot to be learned from Proverbs 31, and many things, which the Lord will most likely be teaching me for the rest of my life. But it begins now. And while I may not be able to comment on everything addressed in this chapter, I would like to share just a few thoughts with some of the things I recently observed. 

 “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” (Proverbs 31:11-12)

Firstly, I see trust. She is a trustworthy person. “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her”. She is someone he can trust. She is faithful to him, not only as a wife, but also as a friend. She isn’t running off to tell her girlfriends (or her mother) everything about their relationship. She is committed to him. He is able to trust her with his heart. It can be very hard sometimes to allow yourself to be vulnerable and to trust your heart with someone; let alone if that person has or is continually betraying that trust. She is accepting of him. I think this is important, because it is nearly impossible to “safely trust” someone who doesn’t really love and accept you for who you are. And I don’t necessarily mean a tolerance for sin, but grace towards a sinner. (We are all sinners saved by God’s grace.) 

Question: Are you trustworthy?

The habits we form, the faults which we do not change, will follow us for the rest of our lives. Walking down the aisle on your wedding day doesn’t magically warp you into the “perfect helpmeet” you’ve always desired to be.

Can the people in your life right now trust you? Are you always eager to share the latest about “so and so”? Do you gossip? Is there wisdom in your words? There is nothing quite so blessed and liberating as a trusty friend. Someone you can be yourself with, because no matter what, they’re going to love you. Someone you can bear your soul to, because they care. Someone who you can confidently give all of your heart to, because you know you are able to trust them fully. Such a friend is priceless. And maybe you can think of just such a person. But are you that kind of person? Are you that kind of friend? Are you that daughter? Or maybe that sister?

“She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.” (Proverbs 31:13)
“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” (Proverbs 31:27)

Then I see that she is industrious. She isn’t lazy or idle, but is seeking opportunities to bless her house. Sometimes as young girls, the idea of building up a “future house” sounds much more appealing than building up the one you are currently in. We might think that we'll definitely put effort into our "future house" once we are married; but my question is, do you do that now, with your father's house? Proverbs 14:1 says- “Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” And while this does apply to your “future house”(marriage) too, it also applies to your current house. If you are a wise woman, you will be building up, not tarring down, not idling away your time.

The Bible says that we are to do "all things as unto the Lord". If this were truly our hearts intent, it simply would not matter where you were doing this. Whether that is at home, on the job, at church, or maybe in some other form of ministry. We do not have to wait, and we should not wait, until we are married with our own house and husband to be building up the people around us.

As a single daughter at home, the Lord has given me many opportunities to “build up my home” where I am. Whether that is cleaning the house, doing dishes, making dinner, encouraging my dad, helping my mom, tackling the laundry pile, or even simply having a thankful, joyful spirit; we do not have to wait until we are “running our own house” to be a blessing. No, actually, it is when you are helping at home right now that you learn how to be a helpmeet for the future. And truly, learning to joyfully accept the mundane tasks and duties of everyday life is a very important, challenging lesson of itself.

Learning to walk in the spirit among our daily responsibilities is where the rubber meets the road. Life isn’t always exciting. And marriage won’t automatically make the drudgery of work glamorous.

“She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household….” (Proverbs 31:15)

Before my mom left recently to visit my sister for two weeks, she asked me to make sure my dad had lunch every day for work. My dad normally leaves around 6:30 or so in the morning. And even though I am a morning person, this isn't always exactly enjoyable. This virtuous woman rose "also while it is yet night"Let me just say, this verse is not advocating that women don’t ever sleep. That would be stupid. But, it does say something about where this woman’s heart was. She was more than willing to do whatever it took to take care of her household, including rising up while it was still dark; another words, really early. And there’s nothing wrong with sleep. J (Thank the Lord!) But, as virtuous young women, we need to be willing to forgo, if need be. This is certainly the case when it comes to motherhood. You can’t just let your baby cry all night from want of milk. You have to sacrifice. And it would be the same being a wife. Granted, your husband won’t be crying all night because he’s hungryJ, but still, there are sacrifices that will need to be made. The odds are, if you aren’t willing to get up early and make a quick lunch for your dad right now, you probably won’t be willing to for your husband either, if necessary. 

She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple….She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” (Proverbs 31:21-22,24-25)

What you prepare, God is able to use. (Please consider reading this post.) It is the same with marriage. The more you prepare, the better equipped you will be. Cooking, baking, everyday household chores, canning, gardening, and even health are all good things to know before you get married. Not to mention that they are also all practical ways to help as a daughter at home.

Proverbs 31:29 says, “Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.” And while this woman was greatly praised for her virtuous qualities, I also have to mention, she also had handmaids. J Now a days, to be a stay-at-home, homeschooling mommy, you are not just “mother”, but “teacher” and sometimes “doctor” too. It would be wise to prepare to the best of our ability. Although, it is also a comfort to know that no matter how unprepared, or even how prepared, we may feel, truly, the Lord is our helper.

“She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” (Proverbs 31:26)

She has wisdom. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

The virtuous young woman is kind. “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

I Corinthians 13:4 says, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind;”

Kindness is rooted in love. When we really love someone, kindness will naturally follow. I Corinthians 13 goes on to say… “charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

Having charity and kindness towards others starts long before marriage does. This is something we should have towards all men. Something we should practice towards our siblings. Something we should have towards our family. Towards our friends. Towards our neighbor. Towards the lost.

Lately, the Lord has been very faithful to show me that I have a “love problem”. It is very humbling to realize that your love is, at its best, selfish and utterly failing. We want to be loved more than we care to give love. Our natural human love is rooted only in completely selfishness. It is when we acknowledge our lack of love and our desperate need for it, that Christ is then able to fill us with His love, which is perfect, unselfish, and never once failing. He will give us His love towards others.

 It is convicting to see that the things about someone else that continually annoy and maybe even frustrate me, don’t actually annoy and frustrate Him. Why? Because, He loves that person.  He is love. And I, most certainly, am not. But again, He is able to enable us with that love. Charity, “Beareth all things … Endureth all things.” When the faults and failures of someone else continually affect, annoy, and hurt you, Charity still, "Beareth all things...Endureth all things." Charity, “Hopeth all things…Believeth all things.” Jesus is the One who is able to change hearts. But even when we feel like someone is completely unworthy of our love, we still love because He first loved us, not because that person deserves it. We have never once deserved His love- and yet, He still loves us.

“She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.” (Proverbs 31:20)

In verses 8 and 9 it says, “Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.”

Who are the poor? Who are the needy? Who are those appointed to destruction?

The lost souls of men(To Be His Witness)
Babies being murdered by abortion(Who Will Speak Out For the Voiceless)
The homeless and the hungry
Others you may know with needs

Are we willing to “stretch out our hand” to the poor and to the needy? To make a difference in someone else’s life? To stand up against the evils of our day? To open our mouths with truth and kindness? To love someone more than you love yourself? We need to be available vessels for His glory.

“Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.” (Proverbs 31:30-31)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Quote of the Day

"The soul ceases to weary itself with planning and foreseeing, giving itself up to God's Holy Spirit within, and to the teachings of His providence without. He is not forever fretting as to his progress, or looking back to see how far he is getting on; rather he goes steadily and quietly on, and makes all the more progress because it is unconscious. So he never gets troubled and discouraged; if he falls he humbles himself, but get up at once, and goes on with renewed earnestness." 

(Jean Nicolas Grou, Daily Strength for Daily Needs p. 121)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Being a Jeremiah in a Jerusalem World

Spiritual Lessons

   Here is something I would like to share from one of our guest writers, Melissa Bickish. This is a little bit lengthy to read, but certainly worth the time. It was such an encouragement to me and I know it will be to you as well. Please remember to comment if you would like to.

  Being a Jeremiah in a Jerusalem World

  Recently, the Lord has been teaching me a lot about striving for Him. I am a person who does not naturally enjoy conflicts, or disagreements, or awkward conversations. He is beginning to show me that to stand up for Christ is to invite strife, conflict, and even hatred. When Christ spoke of how the world would hate you if you were of Him, He literally meant HATE… not dislike, not disagree with, not clash-against,… HATE YOU. To love God, to follow God, to speak out against sin, to hate sin as God does, means you will be despised by this world. Even when you don’t enjoy conflict, conflict arises when you stand against an overwhelming tide of culture. 


When the Lord says we cannot serve God and love the world, He knew what He was saying was a FACT. It’s not a theory. Just get out there and tell your culture how opposed it is to God’s laws and see that you quickly are forced to choose between them. You cannot have culture (no waves, no conflict, no clashes) and obey God!

  Lately, a lot of my friends have been standing against our culture and speaking out for those who are butchered in silence, telling the gospel, and generally speaking up for God’s holiness and against the sin that has been accepted by our nation. I have seen the battle ground, the wounds, the HATRED that is poured upon them. Even if you’ll try witnessing once, you’ll discover that there are people who HATE Jesus and anything that He stands for. It is hard not to take this directed hatred personally, and to realize that they hate our Lord, who lives in us, so much more than they hate us. Satan hates vessels that are willing to work for the Lord. He’d much prefer to have an ‘army’ of Christians that all sit around the camp fire and tents and don’t charge his ranks. When you charge the front-lines and try to rescue captives in Jesus’ name, you will be attacked… you will be hated.

    I am the type of person that believes that God gives peace… that having God in your life yields a peaceful home, a peace with your fellow men that you don’t have when you aren’t saved, and peace in relationships. I have been learning through experience and reading the Lord’s word that this “peace” that I love cannot extend to the unholy. God is HOLY Lord. Our culture has so up-played His MERCY, LOVE, and GRACE attributes that we have forgotten that to have PEACE with God requires HOLINESS. Without which no man can see God. 

If our CULTURE is UNHOLY it is at enmity with God… and when the Spirit of God lives within us, we then are at ENMITY with this culture and this world. 

The Peace in our hearts cannot be taken away, but the peace in relation to an outside world cannot exist until that world (or person) repents of their sin and accepts God’s HOLINESS.

   The Lord first gave me a verse in James (3:17) when I was struggling with this idea of being unpeaceable and at enmity with my world. “First PURE, then PEACABLE”… and it is listed in this order for a very specific reason. You cannot be at peace with something until it is first PURE. HOLINESS and PURITY is the requirement for us Christians to gauge what we can allow to be at PEACE with us in our lives.

 “It is important to understand that we are to be ‘first pure, then peaceable’. Our peaceable nature is never to be a TOLERANCE for sin or evil. We must be set against everything that opposes God and His HOLINESS. Then, with our purity being a settled matter in our souls, we can go on to peaceableness. But no matter how peaceable we may be in this world, we will be misrepresented and misunderstood. This should not surprise us, for even the Prince of Peace brought fire upon the earth. Though He LOVED mankind and did no wrong, He was ‘despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” (Is. 53:3) Therefore the peaceable in heart should not be surprised when they meet with enemies…. Strengthen our souls that our peaceableness may not lead us into cowardice and despair when, for Your sake, we are persecuted.”    
                        -Charles H. Spurgeon-

  So, what does it mean to be a Jeremiah in the midst of a Jerusalem world? It means that you stand AGAINST everything and everyone to stand with God, to speak God’s words, and be hated by the overwhelming cultural tide called normalcy.

 In my process of learning these things the Lord led me to begin reading in Jeremiah. I had just finished reading somewhere else and almost always pray about 'where' I should read next… when I was impressed with Jeremiah I felt a little bit like, “okay.” As I opened the first chapter I was overwhelmed at the Lord’s faithfulness to me, and the passages containing exactly what I needed to hear. Jeremiah chapters 1 and 2 amazingly enough are where we get to hear God’s conversation with Jeremiah and see that God called Jeremiah to be AGAINST EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING in his Jerusalem.

“Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.  Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant….  And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands. Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces,.. For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land. And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee.”

I was amazed as I read these verses! Jeremiah also felt too young. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever feel ‘ready’ or truly ‘prepared’ to speak God’s counsel to others. People often use this as an EXCUSE for why they won’t hear you. If they won’t hear you as a youth, they’d have a different excuse if you were in your 50’s. It’s not the age that makes the difference. Then they’d probably excuse themselves by saying you didn’t ‘understand’ their generation. If they won’t listen to a youth, they won’t listen. Our AGE has nothing to do with it. I was encouraged that Jeremiah felt ‘too young’ to speak God’s words. He called himself a ‘child’. A child is usually young, not as knowledgeable, and not ‘ready’ to face the world. God tells him not to call himself a child. It is somewhere in his ‘teen’ years that this calling comes upon his life. 

I also was so encouraged by the 18th and 19th verse. God tells him that HE has asked him to be AGAINST the whole nation.
This is the list:

-          against the whole land, (everyone, everything, every tree… the WHOLE nation)
-          against the kings of Judah,  (the Government, rulers, President, authorities)
-          against the princes thereof,  (the sub-authorities, senators, ‘popular’)
-          against the priests thereof,   (the religious people… or the “Christians” of his day!!!)
-          and against the people of the land.  (all the people… everyone.. he was very alone! )

The Lord tells Jeremiah very plainly exactly what the ‘cost’ is going to be to be His prophet and speak what the Lord has commanded him to speak. This whole list of people.

“ And they shall fight against you…” Jeremiah was not only going to be unpopular, disliked, a culture outcast, lonely, and unaccepted…. EVERYONE was going to fight against him. But God doesn’t leave him there. He gives Jeremiah a much needed and precious promise. “but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee.”

 Not only are the people not going to be able to prevail against him in this fight, the Lord tells him that He is on His side… the JEHOVAH GOD is fighting his battles for him. God is with him and will deliver him. These same promises apply to us… 

When we go out and stand against our whole nation, the authorities, what’s popular, or culturally accepted, against the religions of this world and the people…we do not go alone. We Go with God. He fights for us!

   The World will tells lies about you and devise ways to try and hurt you. Jeremiah 18:18 -"Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words. Give heed to me, O LORD, and hearken to the voice of them that contend with me. Shall evil be recompensed for good? for they have digged a pit for my soul. Remember that I stood before thee to speak good for them, and to turn away thy wrath from them.”

 When you are standing before them to speak for their good, they will still dig pits for you, devise evil plans, speak evil of you and refuse to hear your words.

  The Lord has kindly given me a lot of verse about witnessing, being ‘different’, and even reproving our culture over these past few months. I hope that since they were an encouragement to me, they will also be to someone else.

 Ephesians 5:11- 18 “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. {reproved: or, discovered}  Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.  See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;…”

 [Awake: cease sleeping, to become conscious or aware of something, to make active! Stir up, Alert, aware…]

When we AWAKE we realize that we have been unaware of something important! The idea that now that we are conscious of it we have no excuse not to act upon what we now see is what is meant by this word.  I feel like this word perfectly describes how I felt in regards to abortion and abortions in my country. I felt forced to awake to something I’d rather not have seen. But to see it demands an action. In this same way, to truly be AWAKE to the lost and dying world demands action as well.

  [Reprove: Disapprove, condemn, to administer rebuke, censure, refute, convince or convict, reprimand or reproach.]

 This description doesn’t sound ‘peaceable’ at all! People are always sensitive to ‘censure’ and what they love to call ‘judgment’…. But the Bible tells us not only not to fellowship with these works of darkness, but to take it a step further and REPROVE, or JUDGE, or CONDEMN them! This is certainly not popular with our culture. I pray God to gives me the courage to do this.

 We are commanded to walk circumspectly… what does that mean?

[Circumspect: Look around and be cautious, careful to consider all circumstances and possible consequences, PRUDENT, etc.]

We are to walk as one who has his eyes open to the world around him, the consequences of the deeds done and prudently.

Proverbs 14:2 and 9 say,
He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him… Fools make a mock at sin…”

We would should expect to be mocked if be judge someone for their sin. They ‘Mock’ at it, wink at it, try to ignore that it’s serious.. and you are making them ‘AWAKEN’ to the actual cost and reality of their sins on their life. People will hate you for this… they truly are DESPISING THE LORD NOT YOU when this happens. He says that when their ways are perverse they are despising Himself.

“We wrestle not against flesh and blood…” (Ephesians 6:12)

[Wrestle: Struggle, striving to throw down, overcome, to engage in deep thought, debate or consideration, to move by force.]

“ Let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men…” (Galatians 6:7)

[Due season: appropriate, adequate or scheduled.]
[Opportunity: A favorable juncture of circumstances, a good chance.]

Hell and destruction are before the LORD; how much more then the hearts of the children of men?” (Proverbs. 15:11)

[Before: in front of, in the Presence of, under the Jurisdiction or consideration of, at the disposal of.]

God is in control of the hearts of men. If they revile you, despise you, reject you, then He has allowed it to touch your life. He says that there is fruit for well doing in due season if we faint not… and aren’t weary in well ‘doing’.

“ The heart of the righteous STUDIETH to answer:..” (Proverbs 15:28)

[Studied: Knowledgeable, learned, carefully considered and prepared, thoughtful.]

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

If we are to give an answer for the hope that lieth within us we are to be prepared. I think a large part of any preparation is Practice… literal, actual, in the field practice. God gives us the thoughts we need and establishes our thoughts.

"A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!" (Proverbs 15:23)

The Lord intends to use us as vessels to speak His ‘good’ news into the lives of others.

Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the peopleTo bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron;To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD.” (Psalms 149:6-9)

 It’s to be our HONOUR to judge using the two-edged sword of the word.

“For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, and the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion, that bewaileth herself, that spreadeth her hands, saying, Woe is me now! for my soul is wearied because of murderers.” (Jeremiah 4:31)

“Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents: I have not found it by secret search, but upon all these. Yet thou sayest, Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turn from me. Behold, I will plead with thee, because thou sayest, I have not sinned “  (Jeremiah 2:34)

 Our Nation has the innocent blood of millions of our ‘poor innocents’ and they say, “I am innocent, I have not sinned’. This is the perfect description of our world. There are so many similarities between Jerusalem and our nation of America in these verses.

 “And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 9:3)

 Will we be valiant for the truth in our Jerusalem? Would we speak even if God told us that they WOULDN'T HEAR US?

Jeremiah 7:27 and 28 says, "Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee: thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee. But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the LORD their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth."

 Sometimes we feel like our world is more ‘evil’ and more ‘vile’ and more ‘wicked’ than other “times” in history. But it isn’t true. Human beings are by nature evil. We are not the only generation who feels like ‘Truth has perished’ completely.
 This chapter declares that God told Jeremiah to begin in the house of the Lord. Of all the places that you wouldn’t think God would say that ‘truth is perished” it would be in His house… but it’s the first place He tells Jeremiah to go!

"The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Stand in the gate of the LORD'S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings,.." (Jeremiah 7:1-3)

  I guess what the Lord has truly been showing me is that to be His vessel, to be used by Him, to minister, to witness: I have to be okay with not ‘getting along’ with people, with debating my faith, with even being hated for His words. I will NOT BE ABLE to be at peace with this world! How many people in the Bible can you think of that lived happy, peace-filled lives? The numbers are slim indeed.

  The most encouraging verses that I read were in chapter 15 of Jeremiah where God calls Jeremiah “ a man of strife.” Jeremiah did not choose a life of strife, he complains that he was even born to such a life…… but God chose Him to be His messenger. A messenger of God is by the unpopularity of God’s message called to a ‘life of strife’.

 Jeremiah 15:10- "Woe is me, my mother, that thou hast borne me a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth! I have neither lent on usury, nor men have lent to me on usury; yet every one of them doth curse meThe LORD said, Verily it shall be well with thy remnant; verily I will cause the enemy to entreat thee well in the time of evil and in the time of affliction. Shall iron break the northern iron and the steel?"

I so could understand Jeremiah’s heart-felt bitter cry. He hadn’t asked to be a prophet, this wasn’t his life’s ambition… to be despised. He truly didn’t want everyone to curse him. He must have hated strife to say as He did in these verses “…woe is me, my mother…,” and mourned his very existence as a man of strife and contentions. However, he decided that to follow what the Lord wanted Him to do was worth whatever the ‘cost’.

 We cannot live peaceably in a world that denies the Prince of Peace. And though, we may not be able to be at peace in our world, we can be at peace with God! There is a world of internal peace, precious, immeasurable peace from the Lord. Even if we can’t be ‘conflict’ free in this life, there is coming a day when strife will never be a part of our lives. I guess I just wanted to encourage someone else that WE DON’T FIT INTO OUR WORLD, WE SHOULDN’T FIT INTO OUR WORLD and that that’s the way it will be in order to follow the Lord’s ways. You will be hated, you won’t be at peace, you shall be called a ‘man of strife and a man of contention’, but GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN YOU and wouldn’t you rather be at peace with the Lord than with the world around you? 

 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, there is no peace to be had in thee!...

BUT I serve a God who’s name is Jehovah Shalom (the LORD is peace) Shalom is translated as “peace” or “absence from strife”! The true shelter from a strife-filled world and the one consolation from a strife-filled existence is found in the God who has titled HIMSELF the absence from strife. True PEACE is Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

When He Says No

When He Says No
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Our Father's role.
Our fathers are our head. (1 Corinthians 11:3). He is our earthly leader. He is our provider. (1 Timothy 5:8). He is our protector, (Eph. 5:25-29).

Our role as Daughter.
We are to submit to our head. (1 Timothy 2:12-13). We are fashioned to be led. (helpmeet verse) It is an honor to be provided for. (Eph 6:1) And it is proof of worth to be protected. (Eph. 5:29).

When he asks us to stop doing something innocent.
There have been multiple times in my life where I went to my father for counsel, or my dad came to me, and he advised me to quit something I deemed innocent. How easy it is to stop a habit or hobby if proved destructive, but what about those harmless ones? What if we don't agree with his reasons?
I have found comfort in this – God works through my authorities. It wasn't an accident that I am my father's daughter. He purposefully gave me my father as my authority. If my dad is seeking God's will, and he is striving to be the head, provider and protector God desires him to be, I can be confident that Jesus supplies him with the wisdom to know how to lead, provide and protect me.
But what if Dad is not seeking His will? What if his decision to take away something from me is based on a mere whim? I can then know that every trial that comes my way must first be approved by God. I know this because He says that He will only allow things into our life that we can bear or escape. Jesus didn't “protect” me from my dad's decision and so it was allowed by God and as long as I am walking in His way I can not go wrong by obeying. In fact I believe that God will work out something beautiful. Just as Joseph was not protected by his brothers wrath, and God allowed those evil circumstances and worked out miracles and help for Joseph, his family, and a nation. God trusted Joseph with that trial. He knew that Joseph would remain faithful and loving and a willing channel.
Can He trust us? We are unaware of the miracles God wants to work in us, for us, and for others. We might be amazed at what He desires to do through us for our family, our church, our friends, even maybe our nation. Will we be a willing channel, or will we have a temper tantrum?

When he asks us to stop a good thing.
Daddy asked me not to. At all. Oh the little sword in my heart. He was hesitant to say anything, knowing that he is continually asking things away from me. But he doesn't seem to know half the hurt. He doesn't realize he is taking away one of the dearest things my soul craves. He doesn't realize the hurt of separation. How it's like being set in a corner and told to “stay”. Like being punished though innocent. How hurtful when others can go but I must stay behind. It's become a major thread in my life, a main color in the theme and snip! It's cut away, just like that.
But Jesus allowed him to. But I feel like sometimes my heart soars and I'm then knocked right out of the sky with a 2x4. It seems unfair. Why does God constantly rip away at me in this? No ties, must be different, separate, apart, No you can't, can't, can't. And yet, would I dare to ask Him to keep His hands off? To stop limiting me? To stop controlling my life? Never! And why? Because He always knows best. I only bleed for my own good and usually for someone elses good. Every bleeding was necessary for me to grow. They often save me from some folly. I'm always thankful afterward. It always reveals something.
How I would have hated if I had gotten my own way. I had no idea at the time how my decision to obey my dad would impact multiple people. How it would change my life. How it would encourage, convict and inspire friend's lives. How it would teach me invaluable lessons. Never for a moment would I choose for these times to be taken away or changed. If I had to live them over I would make the same choice to obey again. And in a way, I am living it over. Same decision, different circumstance.

I will obey my father. Because this is His will. I will choose Jesus. No matter how much it hurts. I will obey, even in humble obedience and with a sweet and quiet spirit. I'll wait for the joy. He knows what He is doing. He has trusted me with this. I'll gladly bear anything for Him. Maybe this is preparation for something else in my future. I'll obey.”
God is not limited or hindered by our authorities. He can move them as rivers of water.  The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it withersoever he will.   Proverbs 21:1 .
He works all things together for good to those that love Him. (Romans 8).
What if our father asks us to stop a good ministry? Won't others suffer for it? Certainly not. God doesn't need you to minister. He chooses human vessels to do His work, but He doesn't need you personally in that area to minister to those souls. That specific work is not reliant on you. Even when He does use you in that work it is not reliant on you. It's His power and His timing and you're His channel. If your God-given authority has taken you out of that ministry, God will raise up another channel in which to achieve His purpose. When a door is closed Jesus always opens up another one. He will show you which good works He wants to work through you. And that may include shutting some doors in order to open others.
What if our father tells us we cannot pursue a good relationship? God is bigger than your authority's no. If it is in Jesus' will for you to someday enter into a relationship with someone, He will make a way and will mold your authorities hearts towards His will in His perfect timing.
If you are under an authority you are morally obligated to obey him. We are to obey them that have rule over us and submit ourselves for they watch over our souls and will give account. (Hebrews 13:17). Jesus will reward your obedience. I believe, that as a good heavenly Father, He would even reward you for your unnecessary obedience. He loves a humble heart.

When is it okay to disobey?
God is our final authority. Not man. If an authority commands us to directly disobey God, or commands us not to do something that God specifically commanded us to do, we have the moral obligation to obey God over man. (Acts 5:9).
But we must be careful! God has given us the authorities we have in our life and it is no small offense to disobey them. Rebellion in the Bible is compared to witchcraft. (1 Samuel). We must know what God has specifically called us to do, (and what we are not to do). That way when man challenges it, we can know the difference between God's commandments and our own desires or imagined duties.
Jesus tells us to go out into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. A command. But what if our father asked that we not pass out tracts? Could we disobey? Surely not, because there are many ways to witness and give the gospel. If our father told us we may never tell any soul of Jesus or share the gospel, then proper disobedience would most likely be in order.
Many times in scripture we see God's children under authorities who had no relationship with God. What we see every time is these men or woman being faithful to their earthly authorities, serving them with respect. Think of Daniel, Joseph, and David. It wasn't until their authorities asked them to disobey God that they humbly refused obedience.
In godly humility and respect and in much prayer and carefulness should we ever disobey. I have seen it done the right way – it can be done. And God is in it and rewards them. And I've seen it done incorrectly, and there was only sorrow and pain and evilness as a result.

Our father is our God given authority.  God works through our authorities.  We don't have to fear because God is in control, and we can know for certain when we are to obey and when God expects otherwise.  When our fathers tell us "no" we can be certain that Jesus is working in our life and that our shut door only means He plans to open another one.  

Monday, May 18, 2015

Quote of the Day

"Whoso neglects a thing which he suspects he ought to do, because it seems to him too small a thing, is deceiving himself; it is not too little, but too great for him, that he doeth it not."

E.B. Pusey (Daily Strength for Daily Needs p. 95)