Sunday, November 23, 2014

In Everything Give Thanks

     Many times, we take life for granted. Even our daily need of food, water, and a roof over our head, we're not always thankful for.
     This evening, in the midst of us packing for our trip to Texas, and leaving in the morning, my dad called the family together. We went around the room telling each other different things we were thankful for. It ranged from, faithful Godly parents, to friends and family, to food and water. As it came time for my turn, I couldn't help but think of all the little things in life that I'm grateful for. Sometimes, I forget to count my blessing... it's good to be reminded every once in a while. ;) God is good!
     I think, often times, we only thank God in the good times... but, what about the dark times? The times when we don't feel like we have anything to be grateful for? The loss of a loved one... a prodigal... a fire/flood/earthquake that destroyed everything we owned. In 1st Thessalonians 5:18 we're reminded, "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." I know, it's a lot harder to praise God in the midst of a storm. I always love looking at Job's life in the Bible. He lost it all... but in the midst of it, he said, "... The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."
     So, in the midst of some of our darkest days, are we thankful? Instead of mourning the loss of a loved one. Mourn for them... but be thankful that God blessed you with time to be with that person.
     I know, it's a lot harder to say, than do. But, by God's grace, He will give us the endurance to press on... we need only to be still. In Psalm 106:1, we're told, "Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever." What an amazing passage of scripture. God is good, isn't he?!
     So, this Thanksgiving, have fun, laughter, and love. Let Christ love flow through you, and have a good time... but, let's be thankful every day... not just on Thanksgiving! :)
     What are some things you're thankful for? What are your plans for Thanksgiving? I'd love to hear! :)
In Everything Give Thanks
It’s easy to praise and give thanks
When all is sunny and bright,
But have we LEARNED to thank our Lord
In the DARK troublesome night?
Do we thank Him then?
When waters are so rough and deep,
And pressures of LIFE surround,
When faced with mountains that are steep
Our greatest strength can be found…
As we give Him thanks.
Every TRIAL and tribulation
Is first sifted through His LOVE,
And all things work out for our good
When we love our God above…
Let us give Him thanks.
Thank Him in sickness and hardship,
And all the problems that come,
In those dark VALLEYS we go through
That conform us to His Son…
Oh, let us thank Him.
We know He’s on His Holy Throne,
And when we are in His fold,
Everything that touches our life
Is for the good of our soul…
In Everything Give Thanks!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What is a Lady?

     To me a lady is not frilly, flouncy, frivolous and fluff-brained, but she is gentle, she is gracious, she is godly and she is giving. You and I have the gift of femininity… the more womanly we are, the more manly men will be and the more God’s glorified. Be women, be only women, be real women in obedience to God.”  ~Elisabeth Elliot
     In today’s society, a feminine woman is not exactly valued. However, a woman who is making her own way in the big wide world, climbing the corporate ladder, whisking through the social scene, knocking out glass ceilings- this is the woman that’s held in high esteem.
     While Proverbs 31 mentions a woman who is business woman (she considers a field and buys it….” The majority of Proverbs 31 is talking about what kind of a wife, mother and homemaker she is.
     Sometimes it seems like the Proverbs 31 woman is a dream.  I mean, really… who accomplishes everything that is written about in that chapter?
     The quote above from Elisabeth Elliot gives us a good insight into what we should be striving for as a godly woman. We are to be gentler. (That means we shouldn't yell at our children all day long.) You may think that’s quite a challenge, but it can be done! ;)
     A godly woman is gracious. That means she is courteous, kind, and pleasant. Again, some days make this feel impossible, but it can be done!
     A godly woman is giving. She extends herself to others, but she is always mindful of the needs of her family. Nowhere does it indicate that the Proverbs 31 woman extended herself to others at the expense of her family. She knew how to balance the needs of her family with the needs of others.
     While the Proverbs 31 woman may at times seem like an unattainable dream, I believe God placed those verses in his scriptures to call us to vision of godly womanhood for the benefit of others. If we continue faithfully in our efforts to live up to her beautiful example, we too will find out families rising up and calling us blessed. 
     "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates." ~Proverbs 31:20-31~

Monday, November 10, 2014

Passing the Baton and Pressing On

    Triathlon’s… Some have done it, some have seen it, and some have watched on the side lines, in despair.  What happens in a Triathlon? The runners take their mark; their heart is beating so fast, they can hear it. The countdown starts, 3…2…1… GO!!! With full speed ahead, the runners make way to run the race.  A couple people stumble, and fall. A couple people snicker, as they pass by the “slow” ones, and a couple people are so focused on the path, that they don’t see anyone else around them.
     As the runners near their destination, they feel the pressure, and their body aches. The sweat is draining, and the sun is beating down on them. They have 50 yards to go… 40… 30…20…10… and, they pass the baton onto the next person. The next person in line goes full speed ahead, into the water. Feeling the  cold against their body is hard, but it’ll be worth it. After they swim their part, they get  out of the water, and pass the baton onto the next person, on the bike. The bikers then ride head-on to finish the race. Some get a flat on their tire, some are going too fast, and slide into the pavement/dirt with a hard slam. The ones, who are still on their bike, are already getting tired. After what seems like forever, they can see their destination just around the corner. They’re so close, and then all of a sudden a rabbit runs into the trail, making the biker to either decide to avoid the rabbit, either causing the biker to crush the rabbit, or to avoid the rabbit, but cause the biker to crash. The biker looks behind himself to make sure that no one else is close by so that he can get the rabbit to safety, he stops his bike, and waits for the rabbit to hop away; and the biker’s off again. He rounds the bend, see’s people gathering at the finishing line, and yelling for the biker to finish. The biker starts  to look behind him, and see’s that there’s people catching up to him, so he pedals faster, and then, just when the Biker was about to give up, he made it to the finish line.
     Just like Triathlon's work, it works with our walk with Christ. We are constantly in a battle with making it to the finish line, and passing the baton. The road isn't easy, and there are distractions in this world that can cause us to lose our way. 
     I'm reminded in 1st Corinthians 9:24, "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it."     Here are a couple other verses that I thought were very helpful! :) Continue to run the race; we are in this together, running for our goal, to please God in everything we do.
     "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)
     "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

We Forget Because We Don't Remember

This post was written by Mark Robinette, on his Ministry site:
I enjoyed it so much, I thought I'd re-post it. :) Enjoy!
     Rich people like us are so busy taking care of all our many blessings we forget the God who gave them to us. When we give to our brothers and sisters in need, we remember the giver of all things.

     We have a catechism question here at Foundation Church that developed from one of my sermons years ago. I ask the church, “Why do we forget?” and they respond, “Because we don’t remember.”
      Simple enough? We are a forgetful people and we need to be intentional about remembering or we will forget. From Joshua’s stones of remembrance on either side of the Jordan to sacrifices, feasts, Sabbaths, washing's and even their every meal, God built a life of constant remembrance for His elect people, lest they forget.
     God’s imperatives of Deuteronomy chapter 6 almost seem ridiculous as they hammer this point home. 
It could have said, “teach your children my commands.”
     But as we well know, God told them to do this as they sat in their houses, when they walked by the way, when they laid down to sleep and when they rose up in the morning. Then he told them to bind them for a sign upon their hands, make them as frontlets between their eyes and write them upon the posts of their houses, and on their gates.
     The imagery here reminds me of the ever forgetful man who ties a green string around the pinky finger of his left hand, to remind him of the red one around the forefinger of his right hand, that reminds him of the blue one around his thumb telling him he’s supposed to remember something, but he can’t remember what it was.
That’s us. The more we have, it seems, the more forgetful we are. God told them and he is telling us to “beware lest we forget the Lord.”
Giving is a constant reminder God is the source of everything we have.
Jay Leno reminded people for Doritos to “eat all you want, we’ll make more” and I’d like to remind you and me to “Give all we want, God will make more.”
Every time we give away what God has given us it is an intentional way of remembering the one who gave the gift as well as faith that he’ll give us more tomorrow.
God taught this when he would not allow the Children of Israel to collect more manna than they needed for each day and later after they had come to the Promised Land not to harvest the corners of their fields but to leave them for the needy among them.
At our home, we know we are forgetful too. We have to work at remembering.
On our kitchen table we have a jar with a picture we made of our brothers and sisters in Myanmar. They are very poor. We put the jar on our table for several reasons. First to remember to pray, then to remember to put money in the jar for them and next to remember we have so very much at every meal. We also eat rice one meal each week to remember rice is sometimes all they have to eat. This has been good for me and my family.
God’s ways are so wise. Not only has it been good for us, it has been good for them. Yes they are blessed by the gift for it’s actual value in what they can buy, but they are blessed with several much needed reminders too. God answers prayer, they have brothers and sister in Christ who love them and pray for them and that all they have comes from God. This is truly a gift that keeps on giving.
It’s like the washer and dryer someone gave a young couple in our church. The rear entrance of their home goes through the laundry room and every time they walk by them they became much more than appliances. Not only do they wash and dry clothing, they hum a sweet tune. The words of this song testify of the truth God cares for them like he does for the lilies of the field and he does this through the church.
Have you remembered to give lately? Don’t be afraid you don’t have enough to give. When you don’t because of this you are saying God will not provide.
Trying to remember this years ago, my sweet wife spent many hours stitching these words into what is called a “sampler,” framing it, and hanging it on our wall. It says “The Lord Provides."