Saturday, October 27, 2007

October 27, 2007

WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am furious!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I read in yesterday's paper that the National Cemetary Association is now banning the reading of the meaning of the folds in the American flag as it is being folded ceremonially during a veteran's funeral. The reason? heard me right...................O N E anti-God liberal has complained because there are references to God and the Christian faith!!!

I wish I could have just 5 minutes with that ONE!! I'd tell him real quick that this nation was birthed on godly principles. Our veterans have fought and died to preserve those principles! They have fought and died under the flag that we pledge allegiance to saying "One nation under GOD"! This is the United States of America. It is not one nation under Allah. It is not one nation under Muhammed. It is not one nation under Confuscious. It is not one nation under Buddha!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you have a problem with that......MOVE!!

I pray that every veteran out there will rise up and raise a mighty ruckus! Somewhere we have got to stop allowing the liberals and ACLU dictate the principles of this country! Christians...rise up and let your voices be heard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you are not familiar with the flag folding ceremony and what each of the folds represents, here it is a moving, touching, and extremely meaningful part of the ceremony:

The Stars and Stripes Folding Ceremony:

The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.

The second fold is a symbol or our belief in the eternal life.

The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks who gave a portion of his 1ife for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world not to have been in vain and shall never be forgotten.

The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to him we turn to in the times of peace as well as in the time of war for his divine guidance.

The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of the immortal Stephen Decatur, “Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right, but it is still our Country, right or wrong.”

The sixth fold is where our hearts lie – and it is with our hearts that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and the Republic for which it stands, once nation under God indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

The seventh fold is a tribute to our armed forces, for it is these same armed forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.

The eighth fold is a tribute to the One who entered on the valley of the shadow of death that we see the light of day, and this fold is made to honor Mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.
The ninth fold is a tribute to our womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love and loyalty and devotion that the characters of the men that have made this country great have been molded.

The tenth fold is a tribute to Father, for he too has given of his sons for the defense of our country, since she was first born.

We fold from the stripes toward the stars, for whereas the stripes represent the thirteen original colonies that founded our republic, and they are embodied in the fifty sovereign states represented by the stars, so that the stars cover the stripes.

The eleventh fold for in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, this represents the lower portion of the Seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies in their eyes the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.

The twelfth fold in the eyes of a Christian citizen, this represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies in their eyes God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost.
When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, which reminds us of our national motto, “In God We Trust”.

I am praying that someone is going to start a movement to overturn this. I have contacted several sources in regard to doing so and when I know any more, I will pass it on!!

GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

October 25, 2007

A recent post from

My good friend Josh Hunt writes a weekly column for Bible study leaders. His column this week gives five questions that any teacher or leader can ask a group or friend over and over and without getting old.

Every month or so, ask your group: what are you reading? What have you read lately that was meaningful to you? Have you memorized any verses? What are your praying about?


Here is Josh’s list:
I love having a Bible that instructs me on how to live.I love sensing the presence of God in my life on a daily basis.I love enjoying Christian teaching. We have such great Christian teaching these days in books, radio, podcasts and other media. What a time to be alive!I love serving the Lord. Jesus said as we engage in the task of making disciples, that He will be with us. We know He is with us always, but there is a special sense of His presence when we are serving Him.I love the sense of calling and purpose–a reason to get out of bed in the morning. A Christian needn’t ever be bored.I love the church and the fellowship of Christian friends.I love the knowledge that I am forgiven of all my sins.I love the knowledge that death is not the ultimate enemy. (What would you pay for that?)I love knowing that God is God and I am not. I love resting in the fact that He is boss. The world is not running recklessly out of control. There is a throne in heaven and Someone is sitting on it. Not pacing the floor and wringing His hands. Sitting. Relaxed. In charge.I love the promises of God, especially Romans 8.28. Life is hard; often very hard. In a difficult world it is great to know that there is a God who is working all things together for God as we love Him and follow His calling for our lives.

An old hymn describes our heart as, “prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.” It is really true, isn’t it? We need to be reminded on a regular basis of what we have in Christ.




For a fuller explanation of the questions, and to sign up for Josh’s newsletter, check out

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

October 24, 2007

"And Mary said, 'Behold the handmaiden of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.' " Luke 1: 38 KJV

Mary, the mother-to-be of Jesus, was probably a young teenager when Gabriel appeared to her and told her she would have a child. She was engaged to be married, and was still a virgin. Yet God told her that she was "highly favored....blessed among women".

II Chronicles 16:9 says that the eyes of the Lord run throughout the whole earth, searching for those whose hearts are perfect toward Him SO THAT He may show Himself strong in their behalf. I believe that is exactly how it happened with Mary. His radar...were searching the earth for the woman who would bear His Son, the Savior of the world. And as He looked, He saw Mary, a young woman whose heart beat for Him....a young woman who would say YES to whatever He asked of her.

What about you? Are you willing to say YES to whatever God asks of you?

Mary never retreated. She did not say "Well....I don't know. Let me think about this". She didn't back away and say "No Lord! No!!!!!!!!!!! Please! I'm about to be married! What will Joseph say?! He won't want to marry me. This will mess everything up!" Nor did she say, "Oh God! How can you do this to me! What will my parents think? What will the neighbors say?! I'll be ridiculed, ostracized by everyone! Why they may even try to stone me because they will think I have committed adultery!"

Nope. She didn't say any of that. In fact, scripture doesn't even indicate she THOUGHT any of that. I think that is exactly why God chose her. He knew her heart. He knew that when He said this is the plan, she'd obey, fully trusting Him. Oh how I long to be like Mary!!!!!!!!!!!!

Too many times I struggle and wrestle with what God wants me to do, especially if it is something that will take me out of my comfort zone or that may "upset the apple cart", so to speak. I don't like conflict in any shape, form or fashion.

In a devotional by Beth Moore entitled WALKING WITH A LIMP, she writes:

"We are to walk as people who have encountered God and some of the most transforming encounters are wrestling matches. Dear One, the lost do not wrestle with God nearly as much as those of us who belong to Him. The profane and ungodly don't care enough to wrestle. We who are His often wrestle with Him most, and at times we also seem to hurt the most.

Please understand that for us, wounding and hurt are only temporal, yet they carry great eternal benefits: 'For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all' II Cor. 4:17. So let the Esaus of this life run! This is the only chance they'll get! And, yes, let the Jacobs limp. We have been with God! Though our humanity may be wounded, our souls are made whole by the One with whom we wrestle.

Scripture tells us that Esau ran to meet Jacob and "embraced" him. Both wrestling and embracing are ordinarily face-to-face encounters that involve holding onto one another...albeit with different motivations. In our Jacob-like relationship with God, wrestling and embracing are often separated by the thinnest thread. I've wrestled with God til the last thread of my resistance breaks. Then I fall sobbing into His arms in desperate embrace, submitting to His will. When Jacob cried out 'I will not let you go until you bless me '(Gen. 32:26), I believe he had moved from wrestling to embracing. I'm not at all sure Jacob could have allowed his estranged brother to embrace him had Jacob not first wrestled with God and sustained a wound to his stubborn humanity."

As much as I'd like to be like Mary, I'm afraid I'm probably more like Jacob. I tend to have to wrestle with God a while before I end up embracing what He has for me. I am also reminded, however, that Jesus wrestled with God, too. In the Garden before the crucifixion, He wrestled with His impending spiritual death (it was not over the physical death that he was struggling, but over the fact that He was going to be separated from God spiritually). But His repeated words were "Not my will, but thine be done". And that's ultimately the bottom line for all of us, isn't it? We are either going to be obedient and follow Him and obey or we're going to run the other way. It's our choice. May our response echo the words of this song:

Yes, Lord, Yes to your will and to your way
I'll say Yes, Lord, Yes
I will trust you and obey
When the Spirit speaks to me
With my whole heart I'll agree
And my answer will be
Yes, Lord, Yes!!
Lynn Keesecker/Manna Music, Inc.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

October 23, 2007

How are YOU using your gift?!

It is amazing to me how God gifts each of us differently. We know that God gives believers at least one, sometimes more, spiritual gifts at the moment of their conversion. These spiritual gifts are to be used within the Body of Christ (the church) to equip the saints and to further His kingdom. Gifts like teaching, encouragement, mercy, giving, tongues, administration, etc. are just a few of those gifts spoken of in passages like I Corinthians 12. It is, therefore, very important that we know what our particular gift(s) is so that we can utilize that gift within the Body.

But God has also gifted us with varying talents and abilities that we can also use for His glory. Some of us like to is our passion. It's more than just something we LIKE to do, we HAVE to write. We are always writing in our heads even before we get it onto paper.

Our women's ministry at our church has just begun a Christian Writer's Group and I am loving it! I am just blown away by the talent of the women who are attending this group!!! From all walks of life, all ages, all different backgrounds...but all sharing one common thing...the LOVE for writing!

As I listened to some of them sharing things they had written Sunday night, I was so blessed. And, to see how even in the little things like writing a letter, God is using them to bless others. Some of us may never publish a book (or maybe we WILL..who knows!), but we can take our gift and use it to bless another life even by just sending an email or writing a letter.

We heard testimony after testimony of how those letters had touched THEM or how their letters had been a blessing to someone else. In this day of high tech iPods and Blackberries and cell phones, we tend to just dash off a quick message or text someone in "text language". But there is nothing that can replace the written word spoken from the heart. It is a gift from the Lord.

There is the gift of being artistic. That is definitely NOT my gift, but it is a gift that many possess. One young woman in our church, a freshman in college, has used her gift to draw a comic book that will appeal to the younger crowd, but it points them to Jesus and concludes with the plan of salvation. She has worked for months on this book along with a couple of adults in preparation for the Halloween festivities at our church. The children will be able to not only read the comic book but will actually see it acted out as they walk through a live portrayal of it. This young woman has also done the art work for this. Hours and hours of her time have gone into this. Yet she is using the gift that God has blessed her with for His glory. When we get to Heaven I am convinced that there will be untold people around the throne who will be there because Lindsey chose to put her gift in His hands and let Him use it to reach others!!

Still others possess talents and gifts such as those who are musically inclined or can organize events; those who are gifted in the area of motivation and can spur others on to a goal. God has blessed each of us with some type of talent or ability. We can use it for selfish purposes, hide it under a bushel, or we can offer it up to Him and allow Him to use it for His glory to bring others to Him.

I had an aunt who was a marvelous cook. She would have been the first to tell you that she had no talents or abilities. She could not sing, paint, teach Sunday School, speak in front of a crowd. or anything remotely near those things. To her she was just an old country cook. But she loved to cook and share it with others. She would call the police department or the bank and tell them she had made them a cake, if someone would just come after it. And come they would! She never saw it as ministry, but it was. She blessed them with her cooking. She gave out of the abundance of her heart. She had no ulterior motive. She expected nothing in return. If they tried to pay her, she was insulted. It was her gift and she loved sharing it.

My mother is an avid gardener. She loves growing daylilies, but she also grows tons of zinnias and other flowers just so that others can come and reap the bounty to use for church altars, weddings, centerpieces for parties, etc. She is thrilled when someone calls and says "Do you have any flowers I can get?" She will send you home with armloads. It is her joy. You would think with all those flowers, her house would be filled with lovely bouquets, but it is not. She prefers to see them in their natural setting and let the others pick them for their use. She works so hard all summer long through the drought and heat, just babying them so that she could keep them alive "in case someone needs them". Gardening and giving them away is her gift. She loves blessing others with them.

What is YOUR gift? You have at least one spiritual gift and you also have talents and abilities that you may have never even considered a "gift". What do you love doing? How can you use it for God's glory? How can it be a blessing to someone else? Think about that today. Ask God to show you what your particular gifts are and dedicate matter how big or how Him.

Your little will become much when placed in the Master's hands.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

October 20,2007

"Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you." Hosea 10:11KJV

Preparing ground for planting is an arduous process. My son is in the business of preparing ground for property development. It often requires him to go into a wooded lot, dense with undergrowth, and with a special piece of equipment called a positrack, he removes the trees from the designated area so that others can come in behind him and take it to the next stage of development. Most of the areas he prepares are for either residential or commercial development. But, if it were going to become a field for growing a crop, a lot more than just removing trees would be necessary.

A tractor with a plow would have to come in and break up the ground. The sharp tines of the plow would dig deeply into the soil, overturning clods of hard dirt and unearthing what might possibly be lying beneath the surface. Next a disk would attack the ground, making the soil finer and easier to work with. After several rounds with these tools, finally a harrow would smooth the ground and make it ready for planting.

Often in our lives, God desires to plant seeds that will bear much fruit. But, first, he must plow up the stony ground of our hearts. We may be committed Christians, seeking the Lord, but still have areas of our hearts that have grown cold or become hardened through sin or apathy or just plain busyness. Sometimes we fall prey to Satan's lies, allowing him to lead us astray or deceive us. Soon we may find ourselves blinded to the truth or deaf to God's still small voice. Then God must do His divine work of breaking through all the "build up" and make us "fertile soil" again.

It is a painful process. None of us want to go through it. Yet in our lives as believers, if we want to go on with God, we must allow it. God never chooses to "plow up our lives" without a purpose. He tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 that He "knows the plans I have for you...plans for good and not evil, to give you a hope and a future." So although it is painful for us at times to have our lives uprooted, it is for our good !

"Just as I watched over them to uproot and tear down, and to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant," declares the LORD." Jeremiah 31:28. God does not "break up our fallow ground" just to disrupt our lives. He does it so that He can root out all the junk in our lives that prevents us from being all that He desires us to be. Left to ourselves, we would not do it. We would prefer to just keep going along and not rock the boat. But God knows in His divine wisdom what we need. He will always do what is best for us, just as parents, we always try to do what is best for our children. To them, it may seem harsh or mean, but being the parent....older and wiser....we know that it is for their ultimate good. God's desire for us is to "uproot, tear down, overthrow, and destroy" anything in our life that is contrary to His plan and His purpose. Once the breaking up is done, then He can begin to "build and to plant" the seeds He desires to sow. He wants us to become "oaks of righteousness... a planting of the Lord." (Is. 61:3) But first, he must plow up the ground!

Today if your life is being plowed up, ask the Lord to give you grace to cooperate with Him and not fight against Him. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; lean not on your own understanding." Prov. 3:5 Allow Him to do His work so that you, too, may become a "planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor." (Is. 61:3)

Friday, October 19, 2007

October 19, 2007

"Be anxious for nothing but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Phil. 4: 6, 7 KJV

I generally prefer the King James version of the Bible because it is what I have grown up with and the language I am familiar with. However, I've learned in recent years that other translations of some verses lend a depth of understanding to certain passages, making them clearer and easier to make application.

The above verse is very clear as it is written.

Be anxious for NOTHING. You can't get much clearer than that! NOTHING should worry us or disturb us if we belong to Jesus. With thankful hearts for KNOWING Him, we can make our requests of Him regarding any situation we find ourself in. And that is exactly where we are to leave it....with Him, trusting that this God who loves us will take care of it.

Now I KNOW that, but living it is another matter! So I have read and re-read that verse in several translations that I would like to share with you:

The Amplified Bible says "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God's peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing NOTHING from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort it is....THAT peace] which transcends all understanding shall GARRISON AND MOUNT GUARD over your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

The last portion of Verse 7 just paints a picture, doesn't it?! So does the Holman Christian Standard translation: " And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Do you get the picture? Our minds are a battleground. Satan does everything he possibly can to rob us of our peace. We face a daily onslaught of thoughts and images and worries and fears in the minefield of our minds. Yet God tells us how to defeat him. We are to bring each of those worries, concerns and fears and lay them at His feet....lay them out in intricate detail and then LEAVE THEM THERE! We are to trust that HE is big enough to handle whatever it is that is troubling us. We are to be thankful that He loves us enough and cares about us enough to handle it. And...IF we will do that, He will then station guards around our mind and our heart to shoot down the enemy each time it attempts to breach the wall.

Paul put it this way:

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are NOT carnal, BUT [rather] they are mighty through GOD to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and BRINGING CAPTIVE EVERY THOUGHT TO THE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST!" I Cor. 10: 3-5 KJV

"For though we walk [live] in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds [inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and everything that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ." HCSB

God has given us a formula for living a life characterized by peace. It is not his will for us to worry and fret and be anxious about ANYTHING! (Can you tell I'm preaching to MYSELF!?) Today I encourage you to join me in defeating the enemy by bringing every negative, fearful, anxious, worrisome thought to the Lord and allowing Him to take it captive. Then we can rest in the peace He will provide as He sets up His army around our mind and heart.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

October 18, 2007

The Holy Nudge

by Jon Walker

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14 NIV)

It’s a book I’d been searching to find, so when I located it on the library shelf, I was jazzed. But as I approached the front desk, I felt the Holy Spirit check me.

You know what I mean? That “holy nudge” the Newsboys sing about: “It’s like a circuit judge in the brain … a Spirit thing … There to guard my heart but hard to explain ….”

We know the Spirit of Christ is working within us, teaching us to think and act like Jesus, and so this Counselor nudges, prompts, rebukes, and protects us as God writes the law on our hearts instead of stone tablets.

Responding to the Spirit’s nudge, I looked at the book in my hand. The cover didn’t give a clue as to why the Spirit was prompting me. In fact, my motive for reading the book was a very good one, related to ministry. Yet I was certain the Spirit thing meant I wasn’t supposed to read the book. I admit I thought for a few seconds about ignoring the Spirit’s direction. I mean, I couldn’t see anything wrong with it. Then, like a child who has weighed the pros and cons of disobedience, I turned around and put the book back on the shelf. My hesitant obedience emerged, not so much from an attempt to be pious, but from my memory of standing too many times on the wrong side of God’s direction. This child has burned his fingers enough that it seems futile to argue with God over how hot the stove really is.

Isn’t that what faith must be? Trusting God when he tells us the burner is hot enough to hurt us – even if we don’t agree. Trusting God when he tells us that reading what appears to be a harmless book will take us somewhere he doesn’t want us to go. Becoming like Jesus means we develop discernment in spiritual matters: “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14 NIV)

Spirit warning – A Spirit nudge may be a warning against impending danger, a Holy Ghost flare to guard your heart. Once, a friend of mine was driving toward a green traffic light, but he sensed an extraordinarily strong prompting from the Spirit to hit his brakes. My friend did, just as a semi-truck ran a red light into the intersection. Had it not been for his instant obedience, my friend probably would have been killed.

Spirit stop sign – A Spirit nudge may be a red flag from God telling you, “Don’t go there.” A dog I owned years ago helped me understand this: He was used to being on a leash, and when I would take him to a neighbor’s field to run, I would simply say “No” when he approached a place he shouldn’t go. The dog had done nothing wrong, and my warning wasn’t a rebuke – it was a caution for his own protection.

Spirit “shush” – My experience is that, if we listen, God will give similar warnings when we’re in conversations. He may prompt us when were stepping too close to a sinful topic, an unfair comment, or gossip.

Spirit timing – Sometimes the Holy Spirit may be telling you the timing isn’t right. When I was in graduate school, I planned to buy a computer through an educational discount offered by the university. When I turned in my paperwork, however, they told me the program had been discontinued for a few months. I was very angry at God.

About two months later, the university re-opened the discount program and the computers available for purchase that time were upgraded models bundled with software that cost extra two months earlier – and the whole package was priced cheaper than the previous one.
Can you say, “Spiritual egg on my face?” Turns out God does know what he’s doing!

We have this Spirit inside us, and God wants us to listen to him. When we ignore him, there’s little difference between us and non-believers who live their lives disconnected and independent from God: “But people who aren't Christians can't understand these truths from God's Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them because only those who have the Spirit can understand what the Spirit means.” (1 Corinthians 2:14 NLT)

What now?

· Be sensitive to the Spirit – Ask God to teach you to hear his still, small voice and to be sensitive to promptings from the Spirit. Then believe he will guide you through the many decisions and details of your life.

· Start an obedience list – For the next few weeks, keep a list of all the times you sense the Spirit prompting you. This will help you learn to be sensitive to the Spirit, but it also will strengthen your resolve to obey God’s guidance.

· Align with God’s Word – As you learn to walk in the Spirit, God will never ask you to do anything that violates his Word. His promptings will always line up with the Bible, but they may not square with your traditions.

· Blow it? Remember grace – If you miss the prompting or disobey it, confess it to God and he will be faithful to forgive. Fall upon his grace and remember that you are in the school of Christ. He knows you’re learning, and he wants to teach you.

© 2007 Jon Walker. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

October 14, 2007

The ocean.

There is NOTHING on earth like the ocean....NOTHING!!

I love the beauty of the mountains, their majesty....especially in the fall when the colors are ablaze...but there is NOTHING like the ocean!

I love the woods...especially OUR woods. I love how the wind moves through the trees and sounds like the waves at the beach. I love it in spring when the leaves are budding and the dogwoods are at their peak. I love it in fall when the leaves are turning and the colors are brilliant.

But there is NOTHING on earth...NOTHING in creation to compare with the ocean!!

It speaks to me like nothing else. I can stand completely mesmerized by it, watching it for hours on end.

I was there this week. The very first day I was there I could not wait to get there. Like a treasured friend that I had not seen in a long time, I rushed to its side. (I even left watching a UT game on TV to get to the beach!) Yet I could not help myself. I HAD to get there as quickly as I could. It was calling me.

As I stood before it, watching the ebb and flow of the waves, it was as if it were washing over me. With each wave that came in, a load of care went out with the tide. There is a song that says "I've got PEACE like a river...". They need to change that to "I've got PEACE like the ocean"! That is what it brings to me .....PEACE.

It speaks to me of God. Of His constancy...the fact that He NEVER changes!

The ocean has been since God created the world. No matter what is going on in the world at any given moment, the tide still ebbs and flows. There can be wars going on across the ocean, bombs exploding, tsunamis sweeping across miles of shoreland, earthquakes destroying thousands of homes and the ocean just continues to ebb and and and out....hour after hour, day after day, year in and year out. It never stops. It has not stopped since it was created.

God's love for us continues in just the same way. Day in and day matter what storms blow across our lives. He is still there, His love never changes.

His love for us is immeasurable just like the ocean. We cannot begin to fathom the depths of the ocean. We have no real idea of how much water it holds or how deep it is in places. Nor can we measure the depths of God's love for us. Psalms tells us his very thoughts of us number MORE than the grains of sand! Now I can tell you there are too many grains of sand on the beach to ever be able to count! And, as I looked at that sand this week, I was reminded that God has thought that many thoughts just about ME!!!!!!!!!! And, He's thought that many thoughts about YOU, too!! Isn't that amazing?!

When I am at the beach and I get close enough to the ocean waves that I can shut out everything else, it is as if there is no one else on earth but me and God. The waves whisper my name. Peace floods my soul and my mind. Calmness rushes over me. As far as the eye can see there is nothing but ocean and sky...both completely created by God, untouched by human hands. Just God and His divine creation. As the waves rush in to the shore, sweeping the beach clean of any debris, the waves retreat, taking with them every care, every worry, every thing that clutters the mind and takes our thoughts from Him. Our eye is drawn to it and to the ONE who created it and we are reminded that we are but a today and gone tomorrow...but the ocean...the ocean will continue to ebb and flow until God brings it all to an end.

I am thankful to have once again been able to drink in the beauty of the ocean and hear God's voice call out to me in the splendor of it all. There is NO PLACE ON EARTH LIKE THE OCEAN!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you God for communing with me there.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

October 4, 2007

A Fine-tuned Instrument

by Os Hillman, October 4, 2007

...I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on My name and I will answer them; I will say, "They are My people," and they will say, "The Lord is our God." - Zechariah 13:9

My former business career was as an owner of an advertising agency. Over the years, I had the privilege to work on many different and prestigious accounts. One of those accounts was Steinway Pianos, the maker of the world's finest pianos. Each piano has always been made from scratch; it takes over a year to make one Steinway. The most impressive scene as I toured the manufacturing plant was the place where the soundboard is stretched to its maximum tolerance and allowed to sit for an extended period until it remains in the curved design. This was done in an off-to-the-corner part of the plant. If the wood were alive, it would be crying out for mercy.

After an extended time of stretching, the wood will never spring back to its original state. It is permanently changed. The piano is becoming a fine-tuned instrument. After this process takes place, the next step requires another point of stress. It takes 11 tons of pressure on a piano to tune it. Each step in the process moves the piano closer to a finished product that will ultimately be played by the world's finest musicians. These musicians desire a particular sound that only a piano like this can make.

God looks at each of us as a fine-tuned instrument. However, we begin as rough wood that He desires to transform into gold. Tuning us requires certain experiences that will stretch our faith, our frame, and our very life. Sainthood springs out of suffering. If we can stand the strain of this intense process, we will come forth as gold-as a sweet-smelling offering to our Maker. When we are in the midst of these times, it feels like fire. It is painful to be stretched beyond our perceived limits, but the Lord knows this is necessary for us to become an instrument that can play a beautiful song that others will seek after.Let the master Craftsman have His way in your life today. You will be pleased with the instrument He fashions.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

October 3, 2007

In our study of The Friendships of Women, we have looked at Mary and Elizabeth and Ruth and Naomi extensively. Besides the elements of friendship, to me the one thing that stands out in both of their relationships is obedience.

Ruth was a daughter-in-law, and was certainly not what Naomi would have picked for a daughter-in-law. She was from Moab, a heathen nation. Naomi and her family were from Bethlehem. There had been a famine in the land and Naomi's husband had led them to Moab because of it. There her two sons married Moabite women, probably much to the great distress of Naomi. Neither of the women had children. Then Naomi's husband died, followed by the deaths of both of her sons.

Now she finds herself in a strange, heathen land...a widow....bereft of her children and with two daughters-in-law. However, in the time that she had been a mother-in-law she had come to love these women and they had come to love her so much that when Naomi decided to return home they begged to go with her. Orpah finally relented after Naomi had told her to go back 4 times and returned to her home. But Ruth clung to Naomi and refused to leave. She left everything..her home, her friends, her family, her religion.....everything to follow Naomi. She even went so far to declare her allegiance not only to Naomi but to Naomi's God.

After they arrived in Bethlehem, Naomi gives Ruth explicit instructions about gleaning in the field. Both of these women were widows in a culture where women were not revered. They did not own property or have jobs in the public sector. Ruth could have balked at Naomi's directions, not wanting to be told what to do and how to do it. She could have said "Look, you get up and do your part, too. I'm not the only one going to glean in the fields!" But she didnt do either. Instead she did exactly what Naomi said.

When Naomi told her that night to slip into Boaz's tent and after he went to sleep to lay down at his feet, she could have really drawn the line. Why, she had hardly met the man!! Can you imagine doing such a bold, aggressive thing! But again, she trusted Naomi and she obeyed. And, as a result, she married Boaz, had a son and became the grandmother of David in the direct line of Christ!!! All because she was willing to be obedient.

What stands out to me in that story is that she was so humble and trusting. We are too cynical today. We trust few people. After all, we have rights! We are taught early on to "look out for #1". Humility is not a widespread character trait. So when God speaks, it is often met with great arguments and doubt. "Surely you don't REALLY expect me to do that?!" What would people think?! What would they say? Maybe it's time we shut out the voices of the world, tuned out ears to hear God's small voice and like Samuel said "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening!" Then when we hear a word of matter how difficult or absurd it may sound, obey with all of our heart. It might mean letting go of MY PLANS for MY FUTURE and embracing HIS PLANS instead! After all, have you ever said "YES" to God and been disappointed? "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, October 1, 2007

October 1, 2007


I refuse to be discouraged
To be sad or to cry,
I refuse to be downhearted,
And here’s the reason why.
I have a God who’s mighty
Who’s sovereign and supreme.
I have a God who loves me
And I am on His team.
He is all wise and powerful
Jesus is His name,
Though everything is changeable
My God remains the same.
My God knows all that’s happening
Beginning to the end
His presence is my comfort
He is my dearest friend.
When sickness comes to weaken me,
To bring my head down low,
I call upon my mighty God
Into His arms I go.
When circumstances threaten
To rob me of my peace,
He draws me close unto His breast,
Where all my strivings cease.
And when my heart melts within me,
And weakness takes control
He gathers me into His arms
He soothes my heart and soul.
The great "I AM" is with me
My life is in His hand.
The "Son of God" is my hope
It’s in His strength I stand.
I refuse to be defeated,
My eyes are on my God.
He has promised to be with me,
As through this life I trod.
I’m looking past all my circumstances
To Heaven’s bright throne above;
My prayers have reached
The heart of God,
I’m resting in His love.
I give God thanks in everything,
My eyes are on His face.
The battle’s His, the victory is mine;
He’ll help me win the race.

----Author Unknown