Thursday, August 22, 2013

To live in Fear

All of us live in fear in one way or another.
I experienced the peace and hope that I have through Jesus Christ this past week when my friend came over. Her and I went out to her car to get something, when a man rolled down his window and said, "I'm the sheriff, I need you to get inside, now!"
We hurriedly walked inside, only to see 2 swat team cars full, a line of police cars, firetrucks, and paramedics all with guns. We closed our door, and locked our windows. We heard a police officer say from the megaphone, "Come out now, with your hands in the air! You house is surrounded!"
The Sheriff came knocking on our door about 30 minutes later and said, "Everything's fine now. You're safe."
We had known that our neighbor was an ex-convict from what he told us when they first moved in, and have always been very cautious about him the past year that they lived next to us.

After all the excitement had died down, my mom came and asked me, "Were you scared?"
but to be honest, besides the Sheriff yelling at me, I wasn't scared. I had a peace, and a hope that if I died, I would be with Christ.
What does it mean to live in fear?
Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary describes fear as: "Fear is an uneasiness of mind, upon the thought of future evil likely to befall us. To be in apprehension of evil; to be afraid; to feel anxiety on account of some expected evil."
Many people don't have the hope of Christ living in them. They live in fear on a day-to-day basis. They fear man, rather than God. It becomes "man-centered" rather than "God-centered".
I've posted some verses below that I thought would be helpful on the topic of fear.

Psalm 23:4

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

Psalm 27:1

"The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?"

Psalm 118:6

"The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"

Deuteronomy 31:6

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."

Psalm 56:3-4

"When I am afraid, I will trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?"

Isaiah 41:10

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Isaiah 41:13

"For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you."

1 Corinthians 16:13

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong."

1 John 4:18

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear..."

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Finishing well

Have you ever heard it said, "Finish what you've started"?
Sometimes, we can become so obsessed with completion that we become blind to effectiveness. Just because a project is on the table, doesn't mean it can't be returned to the shelf. No, my desire is not to convince you to finish everything. My desire is to encourage you to finish the right thing. Certain races are optional- like speed reading and sports; other races are essential- like the race of faith. Consider the admonition from the author of Hebrew, "...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us..." (Hebrews 12:1)

The word "Race" is from the Greek "agon", from which we get the word "agony". The Christian's race is not a jog, but rather a demanding and grueling, sometimes agonizing race. It takes a massive effort to finish strong. I'm sure you've observed that there are many on the side of the trail?! They used to be running. There was a time when they kept the pace; but then weariness sets in. They didn't think the run would be this tough, or they were discouraged by a bump and daunted by a fellow runner. Whatever the reason, they don't run anymore. They may be Christians... they may come to church, but are their hearts in the race? They retire before their time. Unless something changes, their best work will have been their first work, and they will finish with a whimper.

By contrast, Jesus' best work was his final work, and his strongest step. Our Master is the classic example of one who endured. The writer of Hebrews goes on to say that Jesus, "Held on while wicked people were doing evil things to Him." The Bible says Jesus, "Held on", implying that Jesus could have, "let go". The runner could have given up, sat down, gone home. He could have quit the race; but he didn't! He held on! He kept on running!
Jesus was tempted, accused, and criticized, but he kept running! The question is... how? How did he endure such disgrace? What gave Jesus the strength to endure the shame of all the world? We need an answer, don't we? Like Jesus we are tempted. Like Jesus we are accused. Like Jesus we are ashamed. But unlike Jesus, we give up. We give out. We sit down. How can we keep running as Jesus did? How can our hearts have endurance Jesus had?
By focusing where Jesus focused: on, "the joy that God put before Him." (Hebrews 12:2)
He, "accepted the shame as if it were nothing because of the joy that God put before him." In His final moments, Jesus was able to focus on the prize of heaven. By focusing on the prize, he was able not only to finish the race, but to finish it strong!
Surrounded by saints and engulfed by Jesus himself, the work will, indeed, be finished. The final harvest will have been gathered, we will be seated, and Christ will christien the meal with these words: "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:23 KJV)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Homemaker in Training

The opportunities that we have as
homemakers-in-training are abounding everywhere we look.
Whether a daily task such as laundry folding, a
weekly culinary duty such as baking bread, a bi-weekly errand to the grocery
store or a seemingly "mundane" job, (like scrubbing the household toilets) we
have every opportunity imaginable to exercise and practice skills while we are
yet "in training".
But there is more to being a homemaker, than the
jobs which we can do. Young Ladies, (mothers/daughters/wives) it has to do with our hearts. And it is our choice. Will we perform our homemaker duties with joy and delight
in each task (which includes scrubbing the crummiest of toilets), or will we
choose to frown upon these daily opportunities? Will we choose a servants
heart or will we try to minimize the effect of being a
We can make a whole house sparkle from top to
bottom but if our heart isn't full of love from Christ, then that perfect house
means nothing. We can make a delicious supper for our family, or run an errand
for Mom, but if our hearts are grumbling then our act that could have been a
blessing, means nothing.

We can garden, can, clean, sew, take care of
babies, run errands, meet every agricultural farm need, whip out loads of
laundry in lightning speed, and make a mean pot of soup BUT if our heart is not
thankful to the Lord for the blessing of being a homemaker in training, if we
are not grateful and full of joy at our Proverbs 31 calling, then what a waste
of the opportunity that the Lord gives us as women!
The choice is yours - do you find JOY in being a

Monday, August 5, 2013

I have been blessed!

This past week, I've thought a lot about my life.
I've thought about the past/present/future.
I've thought about all the blessings I have in my life that I don't thank God for... Family/Friends, the freedom to worship Christ... etc... What kinds of things are you blessed with? I'd love to hear!
I remembered this song from many years ago, and I thought I'd share it.

I Have Been Blessed
1. When He moves among us all that He does , all of His mercy and all of His Love.
And the pen of the writer could write everyday, even this world could never contain howI have been blessed.2.The warmth in the winter, the flowers in Spring, the laughter in Summer, and the changing leaves. The food on my table, a good place to sleep. Clothes on my back, and shoes on my feet

I have been blessed, God
is so good to me. Precious are His thoughts of you and me. No way I could count them, there's not enough time. So I'll just thank Him for being so kind. God has been good, so good. I have been blessed.
3. Arms that will raise, a voice that can talk, hands that can touch and legs that can walk,
ears that can listen, eyes that can see. Oh, I've got to praise Him as long as I breathe, I have been blessed.
4. I have been blessed, God's so good to me, precious are His thoughts of you and me.
No way I could count them, there's not enough time. So, I'll just thank Him for being so kind. God has been so good, I have been blessed.
5. We live in a country, the greatest on earth. Our flag stands for freedom, and what it is worth. She stands in the harbor, Miss Liberty calls. All have gave some, but some gave all.
For me to be blessed 

6. He's my shoulder to lean on when I'm down. The rock where He leads me when I'm overwhelmed. The place where He hides me under His wings. He's not just a song. He's the reason I sing. I have been blessed.