Luke 8:54

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

Friday, October 30, 2015

Winning Hearts

Spiritual Lessons

Winning Hearts 

Image result for hearts

This is a message by an amazing, godly woman.  "Winning Hearts" moved me.  Mrs. Farley encouraged me that --

  •  The Great commission did not exclude women.  
  • That every woman (married or unmarried) has a sphere of influence. 
  • Where women fulfill their mission, their nation will thrive.
  • Raising kids does not replace seeking the lost.
  • What am I  doing for the Kingdom of God?
  • What's done for God at the end of the day is what matters
  • Who is the youngest child in Hell?  Children need to be reached.
  • Asking God:  What is it that You want me to do?
So here it is (approximatly 1 hour) message of "Winning Hearts".  

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


"Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that." (James 4:13-15)

The truth aren't guaranteed tomorrow. Time is either a merciful friend or a deadly enemy. As Christians, we are really good at making "plans". I'll do this or that tomorrow. Procrastination can sometimes just be another fancy word for disobedience. We have such "good intentions" sometimes...but sadly, they never get much farther than intention...and not an active reality in our lives. We say....'I'll give of myself tomorrow. I'll serve the Lord tomorrow. I'll read my Bible tomorrow morning. I'll love my neighbor tomorrow. I'll give food to the homeless or give him a place to stay next time it's convenient. I'll visit the nursing home next week. I'll help the preborn scheduled for abortion later. I'll give a tract to that familiar grocer next time I see him. "I'm sure they'll be another time when someone isn't in line behind me." Or maybe that man sitting beside me on the bus. "I'll catch him later." "I'm in too much of a hurry today to stop and talk to that lonely man sitting on that park bench." I'll stop and make time for others tomorrow. I'll rid my heart of secret sin next altar call at church. I'll let go of bitterness in my life later. I'll forgive that person before he dies. I'll spend time with my family tomorrow night. Or that friend that needs encouragement. I'll open my home to hospitality next meal. Tomorrow...tomorrow...tomorrow. I'll do it all tomorrow.'

I'm only 22 years old...and I've already realized how short my life actually is. Days...months... even years seem to pass by so quickly. It's sobering. I honestly think it is a subtle tool of satan to keep Christians distracted with the things of this world...and to forget the real value of time. To forget that it is it is short. To forget that tomorrow doesn't belong to us yet. To forget who it really does belongs to. Christ! And that we are His to do His will. Not our own.

I've decided to start making time for what is most important in my life. I've realized that unless you purposefully choose to take the won't just fall into your lap. Life is short. Tomorrow is unknown. Hell is real. People are dying. Babies are being murdered. People are starving for truth. For love. And there's a heaven with eternal consequences and value.

"And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light." (Romans 13:11-12)

Let's wake up! Let's honestly evaluate our lives! Let's seek the Lord while He may be found! Let's be about our Father's business! Let's understand His will and do it! Whose with me?

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Witness

Spiritual Lessons

A Witness

Image result for Hand reaching out

I swiveled in my chair to watch as she stepped out the door and confidently walked down the brick steps. I watched her leave the office and my heart grieved for her lost soul and it yearned for her salvation.  I almost cried right there in the office it was so strong.  God is reaching out to her through me and it hurts.  And He isn't reaching through me because I'm this special, usable tool, but because He lives in me and yearns for her soul, and when He is presented before her, He reaches out.  I simply am the container of the Love.  Love reaches out in pure, deliberate desire and concern and care.  It's not me, or my love.  It's Love Himself.  I'm the hands, the mouthpiece, the vessel.  Why does He choose to use weak fallible vessels?  I'm just the little box He resides in.  
It's almost overwhelming when He over-powers my pitiful emotions and intellect and stretches out and grasps for someone I wouldn't ordinarily try to reach.  There's such a difference between me wanting to bring someone to Christ, and when God Himself is grasping.  
His is more passionate, an urgent plea.  He hurts to have her.  He is moved by her state.  It's not a mission or a challenge, it's a cry, a calling out, an intense yearning.  He has invested everything -- it means so much to Him.  It's not a duty, but the very dearest desire of His heart.  He rents my heart in order to stretch out His hand towards her.  And I am awed by His love.  Nothing selfish.  What does He gain but the soul of a finite being?  And yet He pines for her.  Every chance He knocks, woos, cries out, because He cares.  And He plants me in her path and uses incapable, awkward, mistake-prone me.  He must really enjoy extending lovingkindness through incapable, unthinkable, silly people.  


I have realized that God sees each lost person with inconceivable love and compassion. He longs for their soul. His hand is constantly extended to the wicked. Not just the drug addict, the prostitute, the stereotype that comes to mind, but the people we know – the neighbor we detest, the mean check-out lady at the grocery store, the heartless man who slandered our name. He cries out for them also.

Practically speaking, how does God “reach out” to these people He longs for? Us! God chooses to use His children as His arms and hands to reach the lost. It is my opinion that if we could see humanity through Jesus' eyes for a moment, we would have a different heart when it comes to souls.

The love of God is supposed to be shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. (Romans 5:5). Not only is the Holy Spirit our comforter, He also is the power that throbs inside us to save the damned.

I think our purpose on earth is multifaceted, but certainly it cannot be argued that at least a sliver of that purpose is to reach the dying. Recently I have been convicted of how imperative it is that I personally fulfill His will in this commandment. The “Great Commission” did not exclude women.

Outside of my church and my family, what am I personally doing to reach the lost? Certainly, if it is God's desire that we share Jesus with unbelievers, He must have a plan on how I am to do this. Have I ever thought to ask Him?

Jesus says to go out. He says the fields are white with harvest. He says He desires to be proved, to show Himself strong. He says to sow in the morning and in the evening, not to withhold our hand since we have no idea when that seed will prosper. (Ecc. 11:6). He asks that we stop looking at people but through them.

He would be glad to delay the death of the wicked if we would just ask. Christ dared to ask for the wicked – will we?

Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” Psalm 2:8

Related Posts:

To Be His Witness (By Toni H.)
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Worn Out Love (By Chris H.)
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Friday, October 23, 2015

Quote of the Day

"It is a fatal mistake to suppose that we cannot be holy except on the condition of a situation and circumstances in life such as shall suit ourselves. It is one of the first principles of holiness to leave our times and our places, our going out and our coming in, our wasted and our goodly heritage entirely with the Lord. Here, O Lord, hast Thou places us, and we will glorify Thee here!"

(T. C. Upham, Daily Strength for Daily Needs p. 248)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Letter from a Daughter's Heart

A Letter from a Daughter's Heart

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This is a letter that was written from our previous posts, Garden Principles. I found it very encouraging and just honest. I hope it is a blessing to you all.

Dear Parent,

We have just learned about submission to authority this ‘tea time talk’. My heart is to share with you the difficulties that can arise in submitting to an authority that feels like they are just that…. only an authority. Our lives are very busy and it can often feel hard to get time for our relationships. I wanted to attempt to share with you how YOU have the power to help your daughter/s gladly submit to you. I want to define TRUST for you as from a daughter’s eyes.. Daughters are all alike in some ways and have very similar struggles. It is very, very hard to OBEY (especially happily) an authority that has not earned our trust.  Trust is spelled this way to your daughter….


As women we are commanded to be in subjection and to obey those that have the rule over us, father and mother as well as ultimately the Lord. Women are commanded to obey their own husbands. We HAVE to… but wouldn’t you rather that we WANTED to? The difference can lie in this one word… time. How much harder is it for you, Mom, to obey your husband and show your daughters a right and godly example of submission, whenever you are lacking in having quality-time with you spouse? Adults seem to assume that children do not need as much time as their spouse. Your daughter/s knows your spousal relationship is paramount and if you both aren’t happy together our homes fall apart…. But, we also crave and need time with our parents. I am 26 years old and have not ‘out-grown’ the need of a relationship with my parents. Daughter’s spell this relationship TIME.
 I want to encourage you (fathers especially!) to take your daughter out on a “date” with you. It doesn’t have to be expensive or even extremely lengthy. The fact that you would take time for her will mean more than WHAT you do. Ice cream isn’t that expensive. A walk together is free. Time is free and it’s the most valuable thing you could give her.
     It is hard to obey someone you don’t trust. When you ask them to submit to something you know is right for them, but is hard to accept, please ask yourself: “How much reason have I given her to trust me? Have I ‘invested’ into her life enough to prove that I can be trusted with these hard decisions? When was the last time I showed my daughter that she is important to me?”

Men naturally understand this word so much more than women do. They rule their home and work relationships with it and manage this commodity remarkably well. Women struggle to understand what this is. We aren’t naturally respectful, we often do things, or say things to our father that are ‘obviously disrespectful’ in his eyes and we don’t have a clue that we have come across this way.      But, also there is the reverse. I know we’ve all seen adults completely humiliate their child -- like correcting them before an audience of visitors, (or even other siblings), or by talking down to them, forgetting them, not treating them with the same respect they’d give a stranger on the street. Please remember that your daughters are wonderfully made people. (Even at 6 our personality and personhood is very evident.) The next time you just expect your daughter to gladly obey you, please ask yourself, “Do I respect her as a person? Am I threatened by her having a different opinion from mine? Do I often assume she’s being disrespectful on purpose forgetting she may not truly understand this principle?”

A little bit of understanding goes a long way. Webster defines this word as:“a mental grasp, the power of comprehending, friendly harmonious relationship, an agreement of opinion or feeling, sympathy.” 
Usually when your daughter shares something with you she has put herself out to be ‘critiqued, judged, reprimanded, or understood.’ She is truly hoping for the latter result. If she constantly meets with rebuke and reprimand when sharing something she is struggling with, eventually, she’ll become discouraged, believe you’ll never understand and STOP trying to communicate with you. You don’t have to agree to understand. Most of the time your daughter is actually (even unknowingly) looking for the last part of this definition: sympathy. She wants you to just say, “Oh, I’m sorry you had such a bad day at work.” without attempting to fix either HER or the issue or struggle being discussed. We love it when we feel heard.

Most fathers aren’t naturally sensitive. It has not been designed into you as it has in a mother. However, if you will try to use even a little bit of it, you will quickly find that it is a powerful ingredient in helping produce or restore trust. It is difficult to obey someone you don’t respect, trust or you feel cares nothing about your feelings. We females are rather ‘fragile’ creatures. Those of us who seem like we can ‘take it’ on the outside normally can’t. We tend to try and HIDE how much that particular thing you did, or said, truly hurt us. We attempt to seem stronger than we are. Please remember to be kind. When we feel secure in our parental relationship and have enough attention we aren’t as likely to desire (as strongly) outside attention. (Or male attention.) In this area of crushes (at a younger age) and actually interests (at an older age) remember how vulnerable your daughters are to admiration. If any guy even seems interested in you, you may consider this ‘undesirable’ option just because you are getting attention. I truly believe that when a daughter has a solid relationship with her father and trusts him in smaller areas of life; it can carry them safely through these possible ship-wreck moments later on in the area of who she chooses to marry. If she feels she can’t trust you with small things, it will make this trust harder in such a large decision as who she will marry. You are responsible for her protection, but her decision is ultimately up to her. She NEEDS you desperately at this time in her life.

This can be a difficult one. My father has often told me that he struggles admitting when he doesn’t have something figured out, or when he doesn’t truly know what to do, etc. It can be very hard for you, as her authority, to show this form of perceived ‘weakness’ and not truly have it all figured out. Let me encourage you….. she already knows! It meant the world to me when my dad would admit, “Honey, I don’t know.” Because I already knew that he didn’t. It meant so much that he’d be honest enough with me to just not have everything figured out. We’re actually, surprisingly, okay with that. What is hard is when you authority won’t tell you the real reason he is saying no. The simple answer of ‘no’ can become clouded by ‘good excuses’ or ‘reasons’ why it isn’t a good idea, and then when she works hard to remove these ‘obstacles’ (and she will) and you then say ‘no.’ it can feel frustrating. Trust her desire to obey you enough to just tell her the ‘No’ to begin with. I have often heard girl’s remark, “I wish he would just tell me no, instead of giving me all these other reasons that aren’t truly why.” I truly believe that honesty and transparency are very important in building trust.

  We are commanded to obey, but it is never EASY to deny yourself for someone else. It becomes easier when you truly love, admire, respect and TRUST that person. To give your life over to someone else takes a lot of trust. You have the power to help her out a bit. We are to obey regardless… but it can be a lot easier at times of ‘closeness’ in the relationship than when you feel distant. I pray that this can somehow encourage you to invest in your daughters. Your daughter truly desires to spend time with you, have you interested in HER as a person and be able to trust you with her most valued of treasures… her heart. 

Sincerely with respect,

 A Daughter 

Saturday, October 17, 2015


Spiritual Lessons


I took the time today to sit in the sunshine.  You know, I think every person should take at least 10 minutes of their day to be still in the sunshine.  It does miracles.  The cottonwood leaves have turned crisp and yellow and the breeze made them sing their brusque autumn melody.  So different than the whispers of a summer's wind through the trees.  As I sat there I realized how there are so many things to be done.  So many possibilities.

Lately, I have equated life as a painting. I used to be uncomfortable at the thought that I allow my emotions to spill out for the world to see.  But I have come to the conclusion that I am not a clown because my emotions are painted on the outside of my heart.  I will always be sensitive, and it's a gift, not a curse.  I've decided to explore it.  I want to see what 'painting' is like without guilt.  And it's been amazing.  I have been "me" and surprisingly enough, no one has cringed or sent me away!  I have allowed myself to be what others might interpret as "dramatic".  I haven't tried to constrain my interests, my passions, the way I relate to things.  I haven't tried to hide the "personal me" from anyone.  I used to think I was shallow and naive for opening my heart.  That I was 'less' than those who were quiet and had something deep inside them that needed sheltering.  I wasn't as complex because I revealed too much.  Many people reserve their "personal".  It's okay.  But I am a wellspring.  They draw quietly in intriguing abstract pen and ink, and I splash with untamed expression, using the entire color spectrum.

But with this passion of expression also comes the personality to conquer the world.  And today as I sat there in the sunshine I realized I've been dabbling in so many paints I've been left with a muddy mess.  I can't possibly give 100% to one hundred things...

How to pursue it all?  Sign Language, Natural health education, my own health, the lost, the elderly, the babies who are aborted, the needy in my church, my work at Aspen Wellspring, my Dad's business, my home life, my blog and books I'm writing/publishing, my relationships?  I'm not desperate but overwhelmed.  There are so many ways to serve Jesus.  So many doors of opportunity.  So many little notes of encouragement that could be written.  So many prayers that could be said.  So many people a tract could be given to.  Widows to be loved, elderly to be sung to, children to make memories with. Life is so short, and it only disappears faster, the older I become.

I stopped musing and patted Bonnie who came to lay next to me in the sunshine.  I decided.  I am obviously one little girl up against an entire world.  I can't do everything.  But here is what I know I will do:

 I am determined to be sensitive to God's leading.  When and how is up to Him.  I will not take on anything He does not require and I will do whatever He asks.  I will look for opportunities.  I will be willing to be spent for others.  Even if that "other" isn't the imagined lost person I dream of helping, but Dad who needs my help that day at work.  I will sacrifice.  Even if He doesn't ask me to go to Siberia, but if He asks that I give up watching a movie so I can spend that time for someone, or if it means not getting any computer time in so I can make dinner.

I am determined not to wait for others to lead me into service.  I don't need to wait for others to encourage me, to point out how I can join their ministry.  And I don't need to worry if anyone is following me into the battle.  I'll sound the cry if need be, but I'm going whether they follow or not.

I am determined to be faithful.  Even if my "opportunities" prove lonely or un-glamorous.  I might not even be front lines where I get "attacked" where others can applaud or sympathize with me.  I'm ready to commit His will and stick to it.

I am determined not to be afraid of letting Him be Himself in me.  He has given me a personality and I'm going to use it.  Watch out!  Personality is a gift!  He fashioned me this way!  Embracing Him in me is a wonderful, powerful security.  It's okay if I've got paint all over me.  I have the Master Artist.

Related Posts:

Life's Musical Road

An Open Door With Confidence 

Chickens in the CrabApple Tree

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Quote of the Day

"Do not be overly concerned about your feelings at this point.  I am happy to tell you that God is not expecting any particular kind of emotion from you.  All He asks is that you remain faithful.  And I rather think that a faithfulness unsustained by pleasant emotion is far purer and reliable than one which depends on tender feelings.  Faith which is built on emotion is resting on a very changeable  foundation.  A little reading and meditation every day is all that God desires.  Through this means, He will give you light and strength for all the sacrifices He requires.  Love Him, and I will release you from every other obligation.  For everything else will come by love.
      Please understand about love.  I am not asking from you a love which is tender and emotional.  All I ask is that you will lean towards love, that you should make up your mind to love God, regardless of your feelings.  And not matter what corrupt desires you should find in your heart, if you will make a decision to love God more than self, and the whole world, He will be pleased."

~ Fenelon, Let Go, p. 57-58

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Garden Principles Part 3

More thoughts from guest writer, Melissa Bickish

Garden Principles Part 3
A Permissive Garden 

Image result for old fashioned flower buds just opening

Watchman Nee wrote, “Whether the one in authority is right or wrong does not concern us, since that authority has to be directly responsible to God. The obedient needs only to obey; the Lord will not hold us responsible for any mistaken obedience, rather will He hold the delegated authority responsible for his erroneous act.”

Whenever I was studying this subject and thinking a lot about what I wanted to say and how, the Lord led me to two books that were both very helpful. On is called ‘A tale of three kings: a study in brokenness.” By Gene Edwards and the other is ‘Spiritual Authority” by Watchman Nee. They both were insightful. Gene Edward’s book is summed up as the story of how God will use the authorities in your life to crucify you! And Nee’s book on authority is a lot more in depth on the how’s, why’s and wherefores of God’s plan for authority in our lives. (*anyone can borrow these)
The Lord may be using your authority to crucify YOUR flesh!
Here I quote Gene Edwards as he is speaking of David’s struggles with King Saul.

… “ David had a question. What do you do when someone (in authority) throws spears at you? Does it not seem odd to you that David did not know the answer to this question? After all, everyone else in the world knows what to do when a spear is thrown at them. Why, you pick up the spear and throw it right back!... absolutely everyone else does, you can be sure. And in doing this small feat of returning thrown spears, you will prove many things: You are courageous. You stand for the right. You boldly stand against the wrong. You are tough and can’t be pushed around. You will not stand for injustice or unfair treatment. You are the defender of the faith, keeper of the flame, detector of all heresy. You will not be wronged. All of these attributes then combine to prove that you are also, obviously, a candidate for kingship. Yes, perhaps YOU are the Lord’s anointed… After the order of King Saul. There is a possibility that some 20 years after your coronation, YOU will be the most incredibly skilled spear thrower in all the realm. And, most assuredly by then… Quite mad.” He continues by ‘answering’ the question of “Is my authority truly anointed by God?” with this section.
My kind is mad. At least, I perceive him so. What can I do? First, recognize this immutable fact: YOU CANNOT TELL( none of us can) who is the Lord’s anointed and who is not. ….I’m in David’s situation and I’m in agony. What do I do when the kingdom (or home) I’m in is ruled by a spear-wielding king? Should I leave? If so, how? Just what does a man do in the middle of a knife-throwing contest? Well,… you won’t like the answer. The answer is, ‘You get stabbed to death.’"

Gene Edwards: “A tale of three kings: a study in brokenness”
There was something about this book and the way he wrote it that had me laughing and deeply thinking. I know that not ALL authorities are King Sauls… and ladies we have godly fathers that are not Kind Saul’s at heart. However, King Saul still lives inside of your Dad’s flesh as much as he does inside of your own. How often God uses flesh to reveal flesh! No one can irritate me more than my dad! Haha I SEE so clearly all of his faults because they are also mine! It’s like trying to pluck the King Saul out of your father’s life, while ignoring his reign in your own kingdom.
I also wanted to point out that hot water reveals what is already inside of a tea bag. In the same way shaking a tree reveals the kind of fruit it produces. When God allows our authority to decide something wrong, or that we just do not like, it is hot water on our tea bag and a good shake to our tree. It REVEALS a lot. God TESTS us often to prove to us what He’s already seen lies beneath the surface. When your authority is clearly and biblically wrong it is an opportunity to see just what kind of person you truly are. Watchman Nee took 2 Bible stories and explained them for me in a way I’d never thought of them and made them make so much sense to me. I’d like to just read a bit of what he said on this idea of being tested by our authority’s wrong choices.

The Rebellion of Ham. (Read Gen. 9:20-27)
“… So far as Noah’s conduct was concerned, he certainly was wrong; he should not have been drunk. Yet Ham failed to see the dignity of authority. The father is God’s instituted authority in the home, but the flesh delights in seeing a defect in authority so as to throw off all restraint. When Ham saw his father’s improper conduct he did not have the slightest sense of shame or sorrow, no did he try to cover his father’s fault. This reveals that he had a rebellious spirit. He went out instead and told his brethren, pointing out to them his father’s ugliness and so adding to himself the sin of reviling. Observe, though, how Shem and Japheth managed the situation. They entered the ten backwards- thus avoiding seeing their father’s nakedness- and covered their father… It is seen then that the failure of Noah became a TEST to Shem, Ham and Japheth. It revealed who was obedient and who was rebellious. Noah’s fall unveiled Ham’s rebellion.”
Ham was ‘tested’ by God through Noah’s wrong actions… and was found to be full of rebellion. It was interesting to note that the sin he was most guilty of was ‘reviling’ his authority. He ‘bragged’ about his authority’s sins and made them his excuse for his own behavior. How often have you heard children blaming their parents for their own sinful choices? How many times have you failed this same test and spoken against your authority’s faults to someone else? Even a sibling?

Strange fire offered by Nadab and Abihu ( Read Lev.10:1-2)
In all matters of service Aaron was the chief; his sons were mere helpers, serving beside the altar in obedience to Arron… They thought they could offer sacrifices by themselves and so they offered without Aaron’s order. The meaning of strange fire is to serve without an order, to serve without obedience to authority.”
Watchman Nee: “Spiritual Authority”

This thought truly intrigued me. I have wondered so many times if my authorities were ‘keeping’ me from serving God as I should. I have speculated if they truly can know God’s will for ME in service. I have pondered the possibility of them no ALLOWING me to do what GOD has called me to do. Are we playing with fire? Strange fire is to serve OUTSIDE of authority. God DOESN’T ask you to do something He won’t allow you to do! God doesn’t work outside of your authority. You can be sure, if your father has ‘restrained’ you from some form of service you thought your duty, God has clearly ‘restrained’ you from offering Him strange fire.

God gave you….
4. Your Parameters.
As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.” Proverbs 27:8
Do you ever feel like a ‘caged’ bird? Do you ever feel that your wings have been clipped so much that they may be no good when once you can fly? Do you feel ‘hindered’ much more than others? Are you kept from doing a lot of things you want to do? Do you feel ‘socially’ stifled? Are you always seeming to be told ‘No’ anytime an opportunity arises to have fun? You are not alone!
Parents spell love “protection”. One of your parents responsibilities before God is to protect their children. That means you… yes, you need protecting. We often feel we could manage just fine on our own (and perhaps we could) but for now, while you are in your parent’s home you will be given parameters. You may feel smothered, over-protected, withheld or even controlled. Don’t compare your cages, little birds! Your walls may be a LOT higher and a LOT narrower than the next garden’s. Christ is the one who ultimately determined your boundaries…. Through your loving, protective parents.
Read (Acts 17:26) “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;”
The Lord designed your walls, your cage and your bounds. Your habitation is hand picked. When you buck against the walls of your boundaries you are bucking against God’s protection in your life.
Rom 13: 1,2,4,5,7,9. Rom 16:16,19,26. Not only are we meant to be subject to someone, but we also are said to be able to be an influence in obedience. Your willing surrender to your confinements could help someone else in their struggle. Freedom is possible INSIDE a cage.
Every young person and young adult desires freedom. Everyone wants to spread their wings and see if they can fly. One of the most desirable things that I coveted at a wedding I attended was their apparent freedom and ability to choose. As they drove away I kept imaging how fun it would be to choose for yourself how to live your life, and what to do with it, where to go, where to live, etc. Your entire life is not dictated by you. Even if you drove off into the sunset a ‘free’ woman, you’d have to submit to your husband and God. As women we are NEVER truly free to choose for ourselves. Instead we are commanded to live under obedience. Does that bother you?
1Co 14:34 ¶ Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
1Pe 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
God’s entire plan for your life as His child is that you remain, rest and rejoice in obedience. As God’s own we are to be a ‘show case’ for His glory and He cannot receive Glory out of a disobedient vessel.
Because thou still lovest thyself inordinately, thou art afraid to resign theyself wholly to the will of others!” Thomas a’Kempis

God gave you…
5. Your Power.
God has given you, Yes YOU, the power to submit. It may not feel like it, but it also doesn’t depend upon you. God has the power to obey through you even the most difficult of authorities. Christ learned obedience and so can we.
To be filled with Christ is to be filled with obedience… Christ learned obedience through His suffering (Heb 5:8)… He did not bring obedience to this earth; He learned it- and He did so through suffering. Our usefulness is not determined by whether or not we have suffered, but by how much obedience we have learned through that suffering. The obedient ones alone are useful to God.”
Watchman Nee
If you are not able to accept your authority’s decisions as ultimately FROM the Lord you will struggle to submit. God does not ask you to obey a fallen authority as much as He has asked you to obey Him through that authority. If you separate the two, you will continue to struggle. “Struggling is a sign of life, but it is not abundant life.” (Pastor Coulson) If you struggle with an unsubmissive attitude and a hoarish heart than that is a sign you have not completely yielded to your rebellious nature, but also a sign that you have also not completely yielded to Christ’s Spirit of Submission either. You’re struggling, but not abiding. In Christ we have all the POWER of a Triune God head available to us for the asking. (Mt 28:18 “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”) In Christ you have the power of the One who learned so well His lesson of obedience as to become obedient to taste death for every man.( Rom. 5:19 “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous”. In Christ we have all the power of the One who said He did nothing apart from submitting to the Father’s will. (John 8:28 “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.”) He IS submission. He IS the personification of everything that is obedience. The Lord never commands us to do something that we are truly unable to do in Him. Struggling shows that there is a spark of life…. But it may not be HIS life. We HAVE the Spirit of Obedience living within our beings. It is not hard for Christ to obey your parents through you. Are you willing to be submissive? Are you willing to learn obedience even if your instructor is pain or sorrow or chains?
It is humbling to submit. It is hard to ‘debase’ yourself in the eyes of the world and appear to them as weak. We are taught from a young age that the strong are the ones who will not be bent and will not bow their will to anyone. It can feel strange and even humbling to place yourself in the vulnerable position under an authority. “He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.”Proverbs 15:32-33
DISOBEDIENCE IS PUNISHED, BUT OBEDIENCE IS BLESSED. You’ll find this principle scattered all through out the Word of God. I don’t know about all of you, but I like the sound of blessings a lot more than chastenings. The Lord said of Israel in Ezekiel 20:37-38 “I will cause you to pass under the rod,… and I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against ME….” Israel in rebelling against Ezekiel’s sayings, truly rebelled against God.
We have no power in and of ourselves.
2Ch 14:11 “And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee.”
2Co 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

God has ALL power:
Mt 22:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
Ps 21:13 Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.
Ps 62:11 God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.
Ps 71:18 Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.
Ps 147:5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite
Job 36:22 Behold, God exalteth by his power: who teacheth like him?

God gives us His power when we ask:
Mt 9:8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.
Job 26:2 How hast thou helped him that is without power? how savest thou the arm that hath no strength?
Isa 40:29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth
Mic 3:8 But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.

You are not an exception. God wants to give you the power and humility and grace that you need in order to obey a less than perfect authority. Christ is willing and waiting to give you all that you need to truly obey Him. Will you be a permissive garden?
1Pe 5:5-6 “ Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God,..”

He that endeavoreth to withdraw himself from OBEDIENCE,
withdraweth himself from GRACE.” -Thomas a’Kempis-

Related Posts:

Monday, October 5, 2015

Quote of the Day

"It is impossible for us to live in fellowship with God without holiness in all the duties of life. These things act and react on each other. Without a diligent and faithful obedience to the calls and claims of others upon us, our religious profession is simply dead. To disobey conscience when it points to relative duties irritates the whole temper, and quenches the first beginnings of devotion. We cannot go from strife, breaches, and angry words, to God. Selfishness, an imperious will, want of sympathy with the sufferings and sorrows of other men, neglect of charitable offices, suspicions, hard censures of those with whom our lot is cast, will miserably darken our own hearts, and hide the face of God from us."

(H. E. Manning, Daily Strength for Daily Needs p. 253)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Garden Principles Part 2

More from guest writer Melissa Bickish

Garden Principles Part II
 “The Permissive Garden”

Image result for old fashioned flower buds just opening

A Garden must be Permissive. (or submissive)
He that endeavoreth to withdraw himself from OBEDIENCE,
withdraweth himself from GRACE.” -Thomas a’Kempis

Submission’s simplest definition is: ‘being willing to obey someone else’. Submission is an attitude and obedience is an action. I am not going to take the time to quote all the verses on being in subjection, and submissive daughters because we all have read them. Our struggle here isn’t a lack of understanding that we are supposed to submit, but a struggle to willingly agree to this God given design in our lives. Submission stinks. Let’s get real… even that definition isn’t enjoyable to read… “giving up what I want for what someone else decides they want” doesn’t sound like a thing I’ll willingly, gladly or easily accept into my life. We are all natural, born rebels. It goes against our very nature and the fiber of our beings to be told what to do by someone else. The Lord knows this. He never once said that submission was easy, convenient or even enjoyable.
I went through ‘submission’ school for the past 2 months in preparation for this lesson. Do I have it all figured out now? Absolutely not. I am as much in need of ‘practice’ and ‘exercise’ in this area as anyone else. I hope that the Lord can use what I’ve been learning in order to encourage someone else along this uphill climb on ‘Mount Obedience’.
I want to begin by talking about how we are not naturally submissive… in fact we are naturally completely the opposite.

A Harlot’s heart: or the disobedient heart.
A while ago the Lord gave me a lot of thoughts out of reading Proverbs. I don’t know why but the subject of the ‘strange’ woman and the harlots that are mentioned always sort of disturbed or disgusted me, and I felt that these women’s examples were ‘irrelevant’ to my life! God used them to teach me what the HEART of these women looked like and how ours looks the same! Shocked! Well, let’s look at it….
The ‘strange women’ mentioned in Proverbs has several characteristics that appear several times. She is described for us as…
  • Manipulative (Proverb 5:1-5) “My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge. For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.”
This heart will cunningly use words to get what it wants. When have we used our words, or a compliment, or waited for the ‘right’ mood to hit our authority before we ask for something we want?
  • Disobedient (Prov. 2:16-19) “To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words;Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God. For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead.None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.”
This heart has left and forgotten the covenant she once made to her Lord and has forsaken the guide of her youth. Who is put in charge of GUIDING our youth? She decided to rebel against her father first and what naturally follows is rebellion against God. She first chose to ignore the instruction of her parents and thus ignored God’s working in her life. How often have you chosen (in your heart) to ignore the ‘wishes’ of a parent, knowing full well what they want of you? When was the last time you decided that your way was ‘best’ and ‘right’ (and all of theses lovely words we use to label our disobedience with) and that your authority was ‘wrong’, ‘selfish’ or ‘didn’t understand’ you?
Jeremiah 3:3-7 “Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore's forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed. Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth? Will he reserve his anger for ever? will he keep it to the end? Behold, thou hast spoken and done evil things as thou couldest. The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot. And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not.”
Don’t sit here and think that because you are not a literal harlot that the same evilness of heart doesn’t reside in your human flesh. Her #1 step, her beginning down a path of harlotry, was simply “forsaking the guide of her youth.” This doesn’t seem that bad. She decided she wanted to follow a different path than her parents or God had chosen for her. She DECIDED she was going to do what she felt was ‘right’! Her parents just didn’t understand her ‘call’. I truly believe that if God WANTS you to be DOING something than He will work through your authority… and if not, you have to submit to being told NO (by God) through your earthly ‘guide’. Harlotry doesn’t begin with the ‘act’ of sexual sin or adultery, it starts much earlier…. In our thoughts and intents of our heart and surprisingly enough in rebellion against authority!
  • Rebellious. It is also said of this girl in Proverbs 7 that “her feet abide not in her house.” I personally don’t believe that you have to always be home, never allowed to venture forth, however, if you never want to be home, avoid contact with you parents, are always ‘out’, it shows a heart problem. Abide means to dwell, or live. It seems to me that this girl is described more as having ‘moved out on her own’ and becoming independent of her father’s authority.
Read Proverbs 7: 10-12And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)”
Proverbs continues to describe this woman’s heart very well. She is called…
  • Subtil
  • Loud
  • Stubborn
  • Impudent
  • Says to the young man “I’ve found thee” ( this implies that she is actively SEEKING for a young man to make her happy.)
  • “Let us solace ourselves.” This girl is very unhappy and seeking in all the wrong places for SOLACE or comfort.
  • It also says her words FORCED him. She was most definitely the iniciator of this relationship.
  • She ‘slays and wounds’ these strong men. She selfishly injures them for her own satisfaction. When was the last time you enjoyed a man’s honest admiration and consumed it upon your own lust?
  • “her path” She chose her way, her desire, her fulfillment. Sound familiar?
  • Foolish
  • Simple
  • Knoweth nothing
  • To call passengers ‘who go right on their way.’ When we get far enough down, we’ll actually enjoy bringing other’s down to our level to make ourselves feel better about what we are.
  • Brawling
  • Contentious
  • Angry
  • Plucketh down with her own hands all that she strove to achieve and acquire. Self-destruction.
  • A Deep ditch
  • A narrow pit
  • The earth is said to be disquieted by this odious woman when she is married! Rebellious behavior and attitudes aren’t the best preparation for practicing submission in marriage!
  • She wouldn’t blush over her sin, but instead claimed she did nothing wrong.
This is a pretty grim picture, but I wanted to somehow show you that this woman that we read about in disgust and righteous annoyance, is truly the woman that lies deeply buried in every woman’s heart. Our heart is deceitful, wicked and truly harlotous.
In Jeremiah 5: 25 God tells us that He cannot give us the good things that He so wants to bestow because of our own sin. (read it). Our own personal choice to rebel against Him blocks the otherwise good things He intended to do though and in our life.
Rebellion isn’t a small sin. Rebellion is the root of all other sins and was the cause of Satan’s fall and 1/3rd of the angels of Heaven. It isn’t something to be tampered with, held onto, or even to be looked at as something desirable. Our country as a whole has done an amazing job making rebellion seem glamorous. It’s harolded as the ‘foundation’ of our freedoms, the sounding peel of the bells of liberty to choose, and is celebrated by all who do not understand the authority and blessings of God. Our media is full of portraying rebellion as a good thing, such as kids who through off their parent’s selfish dreams and fulfill their own instead, novels where the heroines are the ‘strong’ ones who revolt from their protection and face the world alone, female heroes who have no head and no protection, the list is endless.
So, you’re a rebellious harlot. Isn’t that encouraging? Well, I can’t say it encouraged me either, but it is helpful when you realize that you are fighting against your nature in attempting to submit and obey the Lord in following Him and your authorities. You’re starting out ‘behind’ girls. That’s not your fault. What we choose to do with it is! Realize that submission doesn’t just naturally flow through you veins. It is a learned response, and as with all learning, God lovingly gives us areas to ‘practice’.

God Gave you…
1.Your Parents
Have you ever stopped to ponder why you were born to your parents? And not someone else’s parents? Why God chose your dad as your authority and head? The Lord personally designed your head to fit you. Sometimes we excuse ourselves by saying that our ‘personalities’ just clash, or I just ‘struggle’ because of said head’s own issues. Remember, you are ‘matched’ to perfection! God NEVER has made a mistake yet… He didn’t make one in choosing you father either.
I can just hear you all saying in your minds, ‘but you don’t know his issues!’. ‘It’s hard to follow him’, etc. Let me just tell you that in the eyes of the Lord your authorities imperfections, faults and problems were tailor made to help you LEARN submission. The fact that an authority isn’t ‘perfect’ does not disqualify them from being your head.
If you don’t TRUST your authority than you don’t TRUST God! Most often we like to ‘separate’ in our minds our parent’s authority and our obedience to God… the twain cannot be split! If you have trouble surrendering to your dad’s rule over you, do not ‘deceive’ yourself… you have trouble surrendering to God’s authority over you!
Have you ever complained about a decision your parents made, regretted that your parents decided to do ‘this’ or ‘that’, told someone how much you were struggling to ‘accept’ this decision of your parents…………all of these are signs of an inner, deeper struggle of setting aside what you want for the sake of following and obeying Christ. If you have a problem with your parent’s authority, you have a problem with God’s authority.
If you dishonor you authority you are dishonoring God. The Lord’s authority is ‘displayed’ in us. When we choose to follow our own way and ignore God’s plan we are not bringing Glory to Him as we’re designed to do, but the opposite… we are shaming the One we claim to love so much.
If you do not willingly and gladly obey your parents then you are disobeying the Lord! This point is where the ‘rubber-meets-the-road’. If you cannot GRACIOUSLY, GLADLY AND THANKFULLY submit to your dad or mom than you are disobeying them in your heart! Even if you ‘act’ the right way and outwardly obey and ‘grumble’ or even complain to the LORD (or God-forbid ANOTHER PERSON) about your authority’s decision for you: then YOU ARE NOT OBEYING GOD!!! NO MATTER HOW YOU SUGAR-COAT IT rebellion usually sounds something like this…. “Oh, I’m just struggling to accept this decision, or I’m just finding it hard to believe it is for my good, Or I don’t know how this could be ‘right’ “… all of these excuses are PROOF of an inner REBELLION to your authority’s decisions and God’s leading in your life through that decision by that authority.
Girls, submission require a deep-rooted faith and TRUST in a God that is bigger than the authorities HE HAS CHOSEN AND DESIGNED TO RULE OVER YOU!
Also… Don’t for a moment think that your dad’s authority over you is paramount and your mother’s authority is any less important. I find that obeying my mother with grace and honor can be an even HARDER TASK than my dad. Somehow the father’s demand more respect than your mother might. I know that all of us feel that our Dad’s are ‘stronger’ authorities and that our mom’s aren’t as strong… but She is also a large section of your protective wall! Don’t dishonor her in this! She deserves just as much respect and submission as your father does. “The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.” Prov. 30:17
Let’s face it, if we struggle obeying our parents, and obeying God, we WILL STRUGGLE in being REBELLIOUS to our future husband. If you find it hard obeying a Godly 50+ year old man, how much harder will it be to trust and follow a not-so-godly 20-something ‘boy’ who hasn’t learned how to lead! The odds aren’t in our favor as to making things easier for ourselves.
The Lord is using these lessons we are learning right now, in our own homes, with our own parents to teach us how to submit. He is using the tool of submission to weed out of us the plant of rebellion.

God Gave you…
2. Your Personalities
If any of you are human you’ve all felt the difficulties that arise from being created individual human beings. There are times that your parents will do something that will completely drive you insane, embarrass you (like no one else can! ) or just rub you up and down the wrong way. It happens. It’s not a clash of wills so much as personalities. I am not excusing any of us from obeying, or submitting, but there is the reality that some people seem to struggle less than others. This doesn’t always mean that you are more rebellious than another sibling, but struggle more to relate to your parent than they do. I just happen to be a lot like my dad and it has made it easier for me to understand ( SOMETIMES!) where he’s coming from or why he’s thinking what he is about an issue. Lynea, on the other hand, is like oil and water with dad’s personality. We don’t CHOOSE our personalities anymore than we choose our parents. I just want to encourage you that you aren’t ‘extra’ rebellious, but very different. The Lord is trying to teach you something very valuable through this experience of being opposites that will be a very valuable lesson your whole life. Learning to relate to others, even when you don’t fully understand them, is a very good thing to know. You’ll need it your whole life, everywhere you go. Because we are all so different, often ‘conflicts’ arise and the ‘problems’ in our lives can often we traced to this. God gave you these problems. We all value peace to some degree, and often it cannot be maintained with out the high price of someone giving of themselves for someone else. That is EXACTLY what submission is…. death to your wants. This is what God requires of you.
He that doth no cheerfully and freely submit himself to his superior, showeth that his flesh is not as yet perfectly brought into subjection, but often-times struggleth and murmureth against him.” Thomas a’Kempis

God gave you…
3. Your Personal Responsibility.
I can just hear those questions now, that I’ve asked myself dozens of times over, “But, what if my authority is wrong?” orWhat do I do when my authority is wrong, obviously wrong…. Possibly even being selfish and going against what I believe God wants me to be doing?
This can be a hard pill to swallow, but in the eyes of the Lord, He isn’t wrong. I can just hear the tumult in your heads,….. “but HE IS WRONG!” Once your authority has made a decision for you even if it is clearly wrong and even selfish, God has allowed this to happen to you. Some of the hardest things in life to accept is God allowing someone else’s sin to affect you. But it does. Let me just mention here that you are RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU ALONE! It is so easy to feel like we are excused from our ‘reactions’ to something if the one we are reacting to is wrong as well! This is a lie! You are RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU… and NO ONE ELSE! If your authority is wrong, God knows, God sees and He will judge that case. You are responsible to OBEY that authority regardless of how he or she personally is behaving. God blesses Obedience…. Over and over and over in the Bible… God blesses obedience. The buck stops at authority. If your authority has chosen incorrectly for you, God holds that authority responsible for that decision…. NOT YOU. This can be freeing. The Lord never intended you to obey something that is clearly sinful and against God’s authority. We are to obey God rather than men. However, usually the case is that your father has said NO to something you deemed God’s call or God’s will for your life. If this is true, he will give account for himself and that decision and YOU will give account for your response to his authority… not that decision. So, What do I do when my authority is WRONG… First let me ask this… “How do you know?”…. how do you KNOW that your authority is ‘wrong.’ It may seem wrong, feel wrong, smell wrong and actually be God’s direct plan for your life! I have ALWAYS been ‘wrong’ whenever I truly believed I was ‘right’… and that belief went against my authority’s decisions!! No matter how ‘unselfish’ even you feel you motives, they are WRONG when they are not in agreement with you Authority’s leadership! (Ill. Story about Tiff)

More often then not, we are struggling against God’s direct ‘hindering’ in our life. When something is what He truly wants you to be doing, He WILL work out the details and LEAD through your authority. I believe Christ honors obedience to even lost authorities. Thankfully, we don’t have to debate whether or not our father’s are trying to follow Christ or not. God can USE your authority’s mistakes, failures and even sins for your good. Do you really believe this? We have to trust God, not our authority’s leadership abilities or good choices. You have to believe that God is GREATER than your authority… and can change your authority’s heart on a subject when needed. Ultimately God is in control.

To be continued...