Luke 8:54

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

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Quote of the Day

“We have only to be patient, to pray, and to do His will, according to our present light and strength, and the growth of the soul will go on. The plant grows in the mist and under clouds as truly as under sunshine. So does the heavenly principle within.”

(W. E. Channing, Daily Strength for Daily Needs p. 163)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Spiritual Lessons

Silly Scribbles 
# 5

Or Life as Toni 

Not too long ago, I started a little series of writings that I titled “Silly Scribbles” or “Life as Toni”.  I began posting them on a private writing club that I joined.  I received such positive feedback I decided to be be brave and share with my Maid Arise readers.  
So often the writer in me throbs and insists, but my current work in progress is strictly grammatical at this point and my creative juices feel cramped and unjustly squelched. So I have decided to allow these juices passage and wait to see what comes of it. I decided to share my experiences with you. Sometimes my life can be quite humorous to the point of disbelief which I have come to accept as normal.... or sometimes I learn new things about myself or little lessons God teaches through the inevitable we've fondly labeled “life”. I hope that these shared stories and bearings of the soul are somehow a blessing, or in the least, a few minutes of entertainment.

Unnecessary Deliverance
Image result for behind bars

I'm crying in a world of discord. Life's music is a jarring mournful cry. It's a plaintive lonely sound that follows me, shadowing every step, every relationship. A constant melody.

And then I realize why I can't run away from it. The song comes from me. It's a heart cry. Beautiful, intricate, but morbid. It is so loud, I wonder why no one else notices it. In fact, others come to me, needing me to listen to their soul-song while completely ignoring mine. And why would I want to demand that others listen? I can't.

Deliverance becomes my war cry. It's my desperate hope. I beg. But my soul rings louder in my ears. Carefully I hold it out, I try to let someone else listen. They briefly listen as my song bleeds it's first notes, and then look at me with sympathy and say, “I'm sorry...I can't help you...I'm not going to even try”.

Quickly I retract it back and smother it deep down. Life rushes on – too needy to listen. So I give. And I give. And I give. I'm bleeding inside out. But the roar of humanity drowns my heart cry.

I've muffled my soul out of necessity, and yet suddenly in the middle of an ordinary moment, my heart will spill out into public, a noise unbearable. I look up ashamed and I'm told, “It's okay, it's part of'll get over it.” I will?

I'm seen, but I am not heard. I want to hide my heart, with it's sensitive song. If no one care's to listen why would I chase them down like a sales man? If I am purposefully silent at least the world will have a legitimate excuse for not hearing my heart song. To be ignored while your heart screams it's sorrows is painfully insulting. At least there's dignity in silence.

What about God? I run to Him and shyly reveal my blaring heart. Take it, change it, heal it – deliver me! Those I love seem to be the most oblivious to it's howling melody. But surely God knows. He can hear it. He cares. He will deliver me.

But no, I wake up the next morning and listen. I strain to hear. There it is – the cry of a hurting heart. At work it sings. At home it sings. At church it sings.

I run to Him again. Oh God, why will you not deliver me? Send your peace and melody into my heart. Deliver me from the ranting cries. And this is what He says:

Your deliverance is unnecessary.”

What? But it hurts. I'm lonely. No one cares. I'm abandoned. I'm used. Why won't He save me? Will He forsake me too?

And then, above the din of my heart I can hear a song. It's sorrowful and the strain of it hurts me. It's an anguishing thundering melody. It's His heart cry. And He didn't ask for deliverance. In fact, He deemed it necessary. His heart cry was for the world.

Slowly the song fades, and all I'm left with is the tremor of my own heart. It's cry sounds dim; like the whisper of the sea shell pressed to your ear, compared to the din of an entire ocean. What if my heart cry was necessary to save one person? What if my heart cry had a purpose? What if my song was God-given? What if it was a gift? What if I didn't need to be delivered because it was created for my own good? What if He wrote it'ssong?

Every note is precious if He orchestrated it. No-one needs to listen, because He already does. No one knows my heart like Jesus. I can courageously bare my heart and let Him play across it's strings if it's Him who strikes the chords. Who knows who will be benefited by it's music? Maybe this is a song that only He and I will share? It doesn't matter, there's a reason, and I've learned to be okay with the cacophony of my soul. He's the composer and He has lovingly titled the first measure – Unnecessary Deliverance.

Often thou art crying that thou art living in a world of discords. Thou art living in a world of perfect music, only thou hearest but a small portion of the music. Often art thou saying that the coming melody shall atone for the jarring chords. Nay; say rather that the jarring chords themselves shall be revealed as parts of the harmony. The melody is not to come, it has come already...” ~ George Matheson, Moments on the Mount, p. 135   

Friday, August 21, 2015

Quote of the Day

Image result for Francis Fenelon

"Do not worry about the future.  It makes no sense to worry if God loves you and has taken care of you.  However, when God blesses you, remember to keep your eyes on Him and not the blessing.  Enjoy your blessing day by day just as the Israelites enjoyed their manna, but do not try to store the blessings for the future.  There are two peculiar characteristics of pure faith.  It sees God behind all the blessings and imperfect works which tend to conceal Him, and it holds the soul in a state of continued suspense.  Faith seems to keep us constantly up in the air, never quite certain of what is going to happen in the future; never quite able to touch a foot to solid ground.  But faith is willing to let God act with the most perfect freedom, knowing that we belong to Him and are to be concerned only about being faithful in that which he has given us to do for the moment.  This moment by moment dependence this dark unseeing peacefulness of the soul under the utter uncertainty of the future, is a true martyrdom which takes place silently and without any stir.  It is God's way of bringing a slow death to self.  And the end comes so imperceptibly that it is often almost as much hidden from the sufferer himself, as from those who don't even know he suffers.
Sometimes in this life of faith God will remove His blessings from you.  But remember that He knows how and when to replace them, wither through the ministry of others or by Himself...
Eat then your daily bread without worrying about tomorrow... The same God who feeds you today is the very God who will feed you tomorrow.  God will see to it that manna falls again from Heaven in the midst of the desert, before His children lack any good thing."  Fenelon, Let Go, p.28

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Why Modesty?

Guest writer Heather Greenwood shares some thoughts with us on modesty.

Why Modesty?

“And this is his name whereby he shall be called: ‘The LORD our righteousness’.” Jer. 23:6

Why modesty? Why, when one becomes a Christian, is there a new awareness of the need to dress in a way that is described as modest (without extravagance or showiness; not showing off skin or form)? 

“..In like manner also, that woman adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety...” 1 Tim. 2:9

When one takes note of all the clothing sold in stores that does not actually cover up the wearer, but rather provides ornamentation for the flesh, it seems that the way clothing is made in these days defeats its original purpose. Clothing should be synonymous with “modesty”; clothing should actually clothe.

And why clothing? “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.” Gen 3:7 

The purpose of clothing is to cover the shame of our nakedness, ever since the fall of Adam and Eve. Clothing that reveals bare skin that ought to be hidden, or reveals the outline of the form underneath through tightness, or draws attention to sensualize the body through ornaments and tailoring,is inadequate to cover the shame of nakedness and falls short of God’s intended purpose.

The necessity for clothing to cover the shame of nakedness points to our need for Jesus to give us an adequate covering for the shame of sin. Every time we have chosen sin we have made ourselves unacceptable to God and worthy of his condemnation. 

“ I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and annoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see." Rev. 3:18  

The day of judgment, when each one will stand before God, will reveal whether we have covered ourselves adequately. When one is awakened to their sin in this life, the right response is a sense of shame and need for covering before God. Many seek to cover themselves by becoming a white-washed tomb that outwardly looks good but is full of dead men’s bones, but without the Lord Jesus Christ and the application of his blood to atone for our sin (“It is finished”), any inferior covering fails in the same way that most retail-store clothing fails to hide nakedness! God does not find our fig-leaf loin-cloths acceptable.

He must provide a suitable covering or we die in our sin. God, in Christ, has made available to us a “robe” that proves the one acceptable covering for our shame! Those who have trusted in Christ Jesus our Lord will be wearing these garments of “The LORD our righteousness” for all eternity! And those who have trusted in fig leaves and the whitewash of dead works cannot, and will not, stand before his righteous indignation for the sin they still bear, having not trusted in Jesus alone in this life.

Modest clothing, and our need for it, is merely the shadow of the substance, Christ.
Those who wear clothes that don’t cover, and those who are modest but without the Lord Jesus, have missed the point. He is the substance; his righteousness is what we have great need of, and whether or not we “put on” the Lord Jesus Christ today has eternal ramifications.
Do you have a sufficient robe for the day of judgment?

"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving." Col 2:6-7

Another post on Modesty by guest writer Melissa Bickish
For great outfit ideas click here
What Godly young men think of modesty 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

No Coffee Vanilla Latte


Just recently shared this recipe on my blog Simply Real & Raw.  It's a quick and yummy beverage that's perfect for cool early mornings.  

Image result for cup of creamy hot tea

Original recipe by Dave Asprey, the Bulletproof Diet p. 254 (Stage 1 of SCD)

2 cups hot water
Up to 2 Tablespoons grass-fed unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla powder
1-2 Tablespoons coconut oil
Stevia to taste

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until you have a creamy drink with a nice layer of foam on top.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Quote of the Day

“There are moments when the eyes glisten with joy: and we can say: ‘We are persuaded, confident, certain.’ I do not wish to distress anyone who is under doubt. Often gloomy doubts will prevail; there are seasons when you fear you have not been called, when you doubt your interest in Christ. Ah! what a mercy it is that it is not your hold of Christ that saves you, but His hold of you! What a sweet fact that it is not how you grasp His hand, but His grasp of yours, that saves you. The Lord’s promise once given is never recalled.”

C. H. Spurgeon (Day by Day p. 62) 

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Future Husband List

Spiritual Lessons

While growing up, have you ever known girls who made their "future husband lists"?  I knew a few.  The first time I considered doing one was after I read Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin's list in their book "So Much More".  (Highly recommend that book!)

Since then I've also talked to young women who think having a "list" is a silly foolish thing to do.  I recently had a discussion about the pros and cons to having a list and why I do.  I thought I would share with you some of these thoughts.

A Future Husband List
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Good Idea or No?

Having requirements and hopes has been such a help to me.  In the past, if I wondered about a certain young man I was able to keep myself level headed because I could compare him to my honest hopes and expectations.  It's amazing what can be "justified" when we feel like we are interested in someone!  More recently it has helped me to realize what type of woman I need to be if I expect such a husband.  Plus it has given me specific things to pray for my man. My "list" isn't a shopping list with requirements, but more of a prayer for my future man.

It's a personal thing to share, but I think I would like to share that prayer with you.  To encourage you and to maybe inspire you to do the same!

My Prayer for My Man

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  • I pray that You Jesus will save him and You assure him of his salvation.
  • That You create a real and evident mature relationship with You in him.
  • That You would make it his certain conviction that the KJV is the English translation of the Word of God and that You would establish correct doctrinal beliefs in his heart.
  • That without a shadow of a doubt, You would be first in his heart, then family, the the church, then country.
  • That You create him to be a man I can respect naturally.
  • That You give him Your love for children and make him instinctively a protective man who considers children, not offspring or burdens, but human lives to mold, and blessings with a desire to raise as many or as few as You tell us and to be open minded about adopting and to commit our childrens training to You.
  • That You would give him a burning desire to be financially faithful and that You would make him a better steward with money than I am. But that You'd give him a sensitive and generous heart.
  • Jesus, I pray that You'd instill my man with a vision. Something he can even pass down to his children. Something that You can (and please will) equip me to encourage and help him attain. Something that furthers Your kingdom in some way. Something greater than he alone can achieve, but needs You (and me :) ) to strengthen him in. Something I can cheerfully follow knowing it is Your will.
  • Please give him an irreproachable character. Noticeable fruit. Make him a man in my father's eyes.
  • Please establish a strong Christian worldview, making him at least one step ahead of me in politics and education.
  • Please mold him into a man that can easily meld into my family and gain their hearts.
  • Please give him an enthusiasm and deep appreciation for godly music. And an enjoyment of singing.
  • Please establish habitual humility. And a frankness, and reality in his personality. Please establish Your confidence in Him, Holy Spirit. And an appreciation and ability to distinguish real beauty and modesty.
  • Jesus I ask that You create a strong sense of manliness in him. Confidence. Leadership. That anyone who sees him would know without a doubt – there's a man. Please convict him now of any childish or effeminate ways.
  • And Father, please, with all my heart I desire and pray that You give him a passionate desire to be healthy for You and his family's sake. That he would be well balanced in this issue and inspire me to be also. That he would appreciate that attribute about me.
  • I pray that You would give him a sweet gentleman's heart and that a chivalrous nature would be a desire, ever before him, to attain.
  • I pray, and with full assurance know, You will make him into a Spiritual leader who desires to pray with me, inspire me and lead me forward. A man who habitually reads good authors and enjoys a healthy spiritual diet and meditates on Phil. 4:8 “food”. Someone who holds this standard as important...even imperative.
  • A man who can laugh and cry. A man who desires to express his emotions without embarrassment.
  • A good work ethic.
  • Someone unafraid to spend quality one on one time with me and enjoys it, craves it and makes the effort to do so.
  • Please give him a hospitable heart.
  • I give You the choice whether to establish a steady, command or visionary dominance in his character. You know best. But Father, would you please allow him to have some adventurous spirit?
  • Also, I ask that You would keep him from becoming obsessed with sports. And that You would give Him a love for some of the same passions I have. And an acceptance of Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday celebrating.
  • And a few hopes – that he would dance with me. Not afraid of showing affection towards me, even publicly, that he would crave wooing my heart. That he would enjoy health. He would be a Psalm 112 man. A perfect man (Ps.37). And a non-conformist Caleb.
  • That You would teach me to be a woman worthy of such a man, and show me ways to start honoring him right now.   

I would just like to encourage you that there are godly men out there. It can be discouraging to feel like the godly male species is extinct.  But I know several godly good young men.  And what is better -- if we have a God who has destined us to be helpmeets, He must have a godly man handpicked for you.

This worry seems to be a widespread discouragement to Christian girls.  But we have to remember how big our God is.  If He is sufficient in creating a universe, He definitely is able to create and keep a godly man for you.  Our duty is to be faithful in what He has called us to.  With our focus and attention on Him and His kingdom, our singlhood years will be profitable and useful, and certainly not a bore.

The world sees singlhood as "standby".  We are unmarried because we are abnormally sheltered or prudish, self righteous girls with naive goals.   The church wonders at us and feels sympathetic to our plight.  "Don't worry, Prince Charming is right around the corner."

Are we on standby?  Is singlehood a plight?  Or a stage to survive?  Certainly not!  We are kept as treasures.  We do wait for one man, and one man only.  But singlehood is a beautiful productive season of womanhood.  We are not half-persons.  We are not broken.  We are not waiting for life to begin.  Paul even called this time a "better" than married life.  (1 Cor. 7).  It's to be embraced.  Prince Charming might not be around the corner.  Who knows what God has in store for your life.  Even those of us who are certain we are called to be wives someday, have no idea when "someday" is.  What if He has work for you to do as a single until you are 35?  Should this cause anxiety?  Not at all.  He purposes and plans.  We faithfully obey.

  We are to do our man good all our days. (Proverbs 31:12).  It's possible.  We are not to pine for him, worry over his existence, or hunt him down.  Our duty is to do him good.  Praying for him would be a good start.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Quote of the Day

 "He does not need to transplant us into a different field, but right where we are, with just the circumstances that surround us, He makes His sun to shine and His dew to fall upon us, and transforms the very thing that were before our greatest hindrances, into the chiefest and most blessed means of our growth. No difficulties in your case can baffle Him. No dwarfing of your growth in years that are past, no apparent dryness of your inward springs of life, no crookedness or deformity in any of your past development, can in the least mar the perfect work that He will accomplish, if you will only put yourselves absolutely into His hands, and let Him have His own way with you."

(Hannah Whitall Smith, Daily Strength for Daily Needs p. 209)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Consecrated Heart

Spiritual Lessons

What has a Consecrated Heart to Fear?

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Just recently my brothers and my two dearest friends went on a two week car trip.  During some of the long hours of driving we had some great discussions.  One of them was on our insecurities.  It revealed to me how everyone has secret fears...even the most seemingly confident people.  The introverts, extroverts, women, men... we all have them.  

The past year I have been forced to face many fears.  Some of them I've had since I can remember.  Others are only recently recognized.   

 Sometimes my health dictate my emotions.  And even when I know it is...I can't seem to fight it.    This past year I've struggled with depression.  Just as hard as the lows, are the "highs".  I have had evenings that feel like an epic ending...the future is just around the corner.  I'm in "happily ever after" and all my dreams must be coming.  They will happen.  And the next morning I wake up unsure if God really finds me a good daughter.  Nothing is guaranteed; why was I so sure before?  I feel dirty and sinful, all past godliness is behind me and I am digressing.  I'm condemned.  I'm a complainer.  I'm a disappointment to those I love.  I'm convinced I'm ugly.  My body physically struggles...I am sick, I put on weight, even though I'm allowed little food.  I feel unlovely, and therefore unlovable.  My will to live ebb and flows.  Which makes me feel guilty.  I am extreme.  I either endlessly self examine, or throw caution to the wind.  

Some of my fears are related to relationships. Sometimes I don't want to get too close to people because I have this unreasonable fear that as soon as my heart attaches, Jesus will require of me to cut them away.  It has happened before.  For some relationships it would be easier to "detach" than to vigorously work and maintain.  I find autonomy refreshing and easier, and escape tempting.  Other relationships require a great amount of courage to face.  I fear them; but God has specifically put them in my life.  

These are my most recent fears.  And I only share them because I desire to share with you what Jesus has been showing me.

"What has a consecrated life to do with being afraid?"  Francis Havergal 

I stared at that question a long time.  I realized all my journal entries lately have been filled with fears.  Untitled, but definitely fears.  

Am I consecrated?  Who consecrates me?  What does consecrate mean?  Consecrate means to be made and declared holy and separate.  God consecrated me when I became His child.  I am consecrated.  If I am His, and I am willingly His vessel, then why am I afraid?  My peace and security and standing does not depend on the fervor of my devotion.  It has nothing to do with how healthy I am or what I look like.  It is not based on my crosses, my crucified life, or my state of relationships.  It has nothing to do with how I feel.  

What if He asked of me to continue on "broken" and sick?  Then I can be assured that it is His good pleasure, that it is for my benefit, that He is being a good Father, and will provide the strength.  Why?  If I am consecrated to Him, than I am His responsibility.  And He is either a good, all knowing God who loves me and has separated me to this "cross" for a purpose; Or, He is a merciless tyrant who decides random cruelty on His consecrated children.  

The same love that grants my desires, denies the ones that He knows will hurt or hinder me.  He understands every peculiar and unreasonable fear, my hopes and dreams, my strength and weaknesses.  I cannot cringe from pain more than He loathes to see me hurt.  But He has allowed it, for a greater good.  Why?  Because He is either a good Father, who knows what He is doing and proves His love by not sparing me beneficiary pain.  He trusts me with a weighty cross.  Or, He has consecrated me to an unprofitable and lonely path and enjoys allowing pain without reason.  

Health is a privilege.  Not a guaranteed necessity.  If I am His, and He is my infallible master, it is not my responsibility to worry about why I am sick, or if I will ever heal, or if it's an accidental evil.  I am His charge and He is responsible for my welfare.  My job is to be scrupulously obedient and give Him glory in my bonds.  Fearing them will bring Him very little glory.  What has a consecrated heart to fear?  

Why would He allow my heart to attach only to rip it apart later?  Why does He allow heartstrings and then tell me "no"?  Am I at fault?  Can a heart be helped when it comes to dreams and hopes?  A hope seems to be an involuntary act, not a premeditated one.  And yet He would only deny that which would be evil.  I fear pain. But, when I think of the cost of consecration I have to smile.  Would it be hard to let go?  Yes.  Would it hurt?  Yes.  Would I have His strength to obey?  Yes.  Would I heal?  Yes.  Would I ever regret obeying.  Never.  The unconsecrated hearts have no similar hope.  They are made to let go.  They hurt.  Their dreams are dashed.  But they rely on their strength.  They often do not heal.  

There is no fear in real love.  I am a consecrated heart.  I am separated to a jealous, strict, loving, all- knowing God who loves me more than I can comprehend.  I can relish the fact that I am His.  How freeing!  I will end with this short snippet from my diary:

"Take over this consecrated heart Father.  Man this little vessel.  It's sea tossed and uncertain of it's destination.  Rule my heart with ferocious tyranny.  Here I am -- laid bare.  What has a consecrated heart to fear?"