Nathan's anniversary breakfast

Trust in Fact – Oswald Chambers

Another golden nugget from my dear friend who is enjoying the unspeakable joys of heaven!  Can’t wait to meet him!

220px-OswaldChambersIt is not easy to say that God is love when everything that happens actually gives the lie to it.  Everyone’s soul represents some kind of battlefield.  The point for each one is whether we will hang in , as Job did, and say “Though things look black, I will trust in God.”

It is very easy to trust in God when there is no difficulty, but that is not trust at all, it is simply letting the mind rest in a complacent mood; but when there is sickness in the house, when there is trouble, when there is death, where is our trust in God?

God has to deal with us on the death side as well as on the life side.  It is all very well to know in theory that there are things we must not trust in, but another thing to know it in fact.  When God deals with us on the Nathan's anniversary breakfastdeath side He puts the sentence of death on everything we should not trust in, and we have a miserable time until we learn never anymore to trust in it, never anymore to look anywhere else than to God.  It sometimes happens that hardly a day passes without God saying, “Don’t trust, there, that is dead.”

Samuel

Leaving the Comfort of the Womb

 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.John 3:3Samuel

As I held our newest grandchild in my arms, I was once again amazed at the creation of God!  One line from one of my favorite songs says, “Creator of the galaxies—You hear the baby cry…there is none like You.”

Little Samuel can see very little. He can’t bring his own hand to the place that itches.  He would starve without the wonder of his mother’s milk.  Each little finger and toe is perfectly formed, and I read someplace that his intestines are no bigger than the lead of a pencil.   His brain, which is soaking up an incredible amount of information, cannot tell his lips to form words.  His smile is just a reaction to a good feeling, like passing those little gas bubbles. And ye he has all the capacity to become all that God wants Him to be.

Until three days ago, his normal was complete darkness.  His home was a cozy, albeit cramped, cocoon floating in water.  He rode around on his head, but it didn’t matter, because that’s the way God designed it to be.

Then, within a matter of minutes, his entire world changed.  Now he must breathe air to live and his food must be digested and leave his body.  His skin is exposed to the elements and he MUST get used to wearing clothes. He can see and touch the one whose voice was as much a part of his live as life itself.

I’ve often thought that this life is just a longer version of pregnancy.  We are on this earth for seventy years, much like we’re in the womb for nine months: we “see through a glass darkly.”  (1 Corinthians 13:14) Then, through the sometimes painful event of death, we are thrust forth into a new and totally different world!

But just think of stepping on shore-And finding it Heaven!
Of touching a hand-And finding it God’s!
Of breathing new air-And finding it celestial!
Of waking up in glory-And finding it home!

And yet, the real reason for this post is another parallel: How much did your life change when you were born again?  Did you step out of the darkness and into light?  Did you begin to hunger for the milk of the Word?  Did you put on clothes, not only the clothes of righteousness given to you by your Savior, but the clothes of holiness as well?  And have you come to hear and see the One Who sustains your very life—the One whose voice was as much a part of your life as life itself, even though you didn’t know Him?

After just three days, I can’t even imagine Samuel back in the womb!  As I watch him flail his arms and stretch his little legs out straight, I doubt seriously that he would choose to reenter the womb.  ( I know his mother wouldn’t!)

Dear Christian, why do you long for this world?  Why would you ever go back it’s darkness when once you’ve walked in the light? Why do you starve yourself?  There is no direct pipeline from God to His creation except the Word of God. If you are a babe in Christ, allow other’s to feed you!  Learn from them and grow until you are able to feed yourself!

And dear older Christian, do remember that babies are messy!  All your shouting and looks of disapproval are completely lost on them! They cannot get it any more than Samuel would understand the admonition not to throw up on Mommy’s shoulder!  Just love them, and hold them, and care for them, and PRAY for them, and help them to grow in their timetable–not yours.

Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.John 3:7

Finally Home 

When engulfed by the terror of the tempestuous sea,
Unknown waves before you roll;
At the end of doubt and peril is eternity,
Though fear and conflict seize your soul.

But just think of stepping on shore-And finding it Heaven!
Of touching a hand-And finding it God’s!
Of breathing new air-And finding it celestial!
Of waking up in glory-And finding it home.

When surrounded by the blackness of the darkest night,
O how lonely death can be;
At the end of this long tunnel is a shining light,
For death is swallowed up in victory!

But just think of stepping on shore-And finding it Heaven!
Of touching a hand-And finding it God’s!
Of breathing new air-And finding it celestial!
Of waking up in glory-And finding it home!

~ Don Wyrtzen

 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God,
which liveth and abideth for ever.
1Peter 1:23
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Thank You, Lord

ID-100193008I came across this “poem”–it’s more of a prayer–the other day and thought I’d share it for Mother’s Day.  Our oldest turned thirty this year!  How did that happen?  As I read the poem, it seemed like yesterday that I was the one in the hospital giving birth.  Tommy arrived at 2:47 am after twenty-two hours of labor and a C-section.  I remember years later, talking to a woman who had had a similar situation, and she said she would never have any more children.  I’m so thankful the Lord gave me the grace to have two more C-sections.  And, as much as I would have loved to live in the colonial days, I probably would have died during childbirth!

Now, after seeing our three children happily married  and enjoying the role of grand-parenting five times over, I dedicate this poem to my daughter, who is ready to deliver our fourth grandson any day, and to our daughter-in-law, who recently gave us our first granddaughter.  What a joy to know that the souls of our grandchildren are in the hands of godly parents, who are determined to do their best to pass the baton of godliness.

 Thank you , Lord

Dear Lord, Heavenly Father

Thank you for Thomas James…

He’s beautiful, healthy and sweet, but Lord thank you too…

  • For the long labor – it taught me long-suffering
  • For the high fever – it taught me to trust You
  • For the sleepless times – it taught me Your ever presence.
  • For Tommy’s struggle to nurse – it taught me patience.
  • For the sins of the world all around me – it taught me to work on my testimony and gave me a passion for souls.
  • For the weakness, and soreness, and pain – it taught me to lean on Your arms.
  • For nine months of pregnancy – it taught me that this body is Yours, not mine.

Thank you, Lord; please keep me yielded to learn more.

January 18, 1985

 Happy Mother’s Day

May you allow the Lord to turn each trial into a classroom, and every difficult circumstance into an opportunity to learn more about your God.

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Our Amazing God or A Lesson from Cows

I suppose we all have our favorite Bible stories.  I seem to gravitate to the ones where God shows His might in everyday occurrences. For example:

Milk cows.  It’s probably because I grew up on a farm that this story strikes a chord in my heart.  It drums up memories of my father, taking the calves away from their mothers for the first time.  He would put the calves out to pasture and leave their mothers in the barn.  What a racket!  Those cows would bawl all day for their babies.

So, here’s the story:  Israel is at war with the Philistines.  There is no king yet.  Eli and his two sons, Hophni and Phineas, are the priests at the time. Eli’s sons are wicked men, and it is into this situation that Hannah places her son, Samuel!  (That’s another story. Talk about trusting God!)

During the battle, the Philistines start to win, so the Israelites get the Ark of the Covenant–which they treat as a lucky charm–and bring it to the battle field.  They’re so excited that their shouting drives fear into the hearts of the Philistines.  They see the Ark and know that God is in the battle.  (Sadly, the Israelites forgot that God was with them without bringing the Ark to the battle.)  When the Philistines realize what it is, they fight with all their might, kill 30,000 Israelites, and take the Ark.

However, when they set up the Ark before their god Dagon, ( I love this part!) the next morning, he’s on the ground without his head and hands! God then strikes the Philistines with a plague: tumors and rats! (Some translate it as the Bubonic plague.)

So… they are told by their priests and wizards to put the Ark on a cart, take two milk cows that have never pulled a cart before,  yoke them to the cart, leave their calves in the barn,  and then send them in the opposite direction towards Israel.

They knew that if those cows took off for Israel, all their troubles were not just a chance happening but directed by the hand of God!  Those poor mammas took off mooing all the way and never looked back.  THAT was the hand of God!

Is there a lesson for us in this story?  Probably several, but the one that I love the most is this: Wow!  That’s MY God!!!  He is so powerful, and yet He works in ways that I can see, reassuring me that He is with me and caring for me.  It might not be as miraculous as the account above, but I’ll take it anyway!

For example: I am subbing today for a dear lady that really loves her job and is an awesome teacher!  The last time I subbed for her, the schedule went like this (she teaches elementary music):

8:20 – announcements
8:30 – 6th grade
9:00 – plan
9:30 – 5th grade
10:00 – 5th grade
10:30 – 4th grade
11:00 – 2nd grade
11:30 – lunch
12:00 – 6th grade
12:50 – 1st grade
1:20 – 3rd grade
2:20 – chorus
2:50 – die!

Now she knows all the songs and the kids, and she does it all the time, and she’s younger than I am.  I still don’t see how she does it EVERY day! But for me, I came home and died!

BUT, today, 1st, 4th, and Kindergarten are on field trips!  Jehovah-Jireh!!!  That gives me four open slots, and I’m praising God, BECAUSE, He know my schedule for the next four days and He knew that I needed those couple of breaks in the day!

Yesterday, as I studied for the Sunday school lesson on Rebekah, the commentator made the point that before Rebekah ever met Abraham’s servant, he was already on his way to meet her.  Before I even thought about this day, He had it planned and knew exactly what I needed!  We serve a GREAT God!  Why don’t you take a moment to praise Him, and then go and talk to someone about Our Amazing God!

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Room for the Impossible

It never ceases to amaze me how words written a hundred years ago can be so timely for us today!  Oswald Chambers died in 1917, at the age of forty-three, yet his words ring true in 2015!

Here is an excerpt from his Devotional Bible:

Jesus is not in the sitting by the tomb; He is not in the bitter tears; He is not in the sad communings.  The place where we will find Jesus is just where common sense says it is impossible to find Him.  It was no use for the disciples to imagine they were going to have a recurrence of those three years; it was impossible to recall the thrilling yesterdays; it was impossible for the two on the way to Emmaus to have a return of the fellowship they yearned for; but there was something infinitely better for them.  “For He is risen, as He said.” Impossibility had wedded itself to what Jesus had said.  The proclamation of the impossible springs from the supernatural, not from common sense.  The supernatural figures largely all through the life of our Lord.  At His birth the angels proclaimed that He should be called Jesus “for He will save His people from their sins.”  We shall not think of our Lord as a savior if we look at Him in the light of our own minds, because no natural man imagines he needs to be saved.  Do we make room in our faith for the impossible along the line of the supernatural?  Or have we reduced our religion to such common sense platitudes that there is no need for Jesus to have lived at all?

It’s deep, but it’s worth reading several times to get it!  Beyond Common Sense–this was one of the devotionals that prompted the new name.  Can we really live this way?  Can we expect God to do the impossible?  Jesus reminds his disciples in John 14:12 that their works would exceed His works in greatness: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

And Matthew Henry has this to say about the passage.  Again, it may be deep, but it’s worth the digging.!

That they should do greater works than these. In the kingdom of nature they should work greater miracles. No miracle is little, but some to our apprehension seem greater than others. Christ had healed with the hem of his garment, but Peter with his shadow (Acts 5:15), Paul by the handkerchief that had touched him, Acts 19:12. Christ wrought miracles for two or three years in one country, but his followers wrought miracles in his name for many ages in divers countries. You shall do greater works, if there be occasion, for the glory of God. Theprayer of faith, if at any time it had been necessary, would have removed mountains. [2.] In the kingdom of grace. They should obtain greater victories by the gospel than had been obtained while Christ was upon earth. The truth is, the captivating of so great a part of the world to Christ, under such outward disadvantages, was the miracle of all. I think this refers especially to the gift of tongues;this was the immediate effect of the pouring out of the Spirit, which was a constant miracle upon the mind, in which words are framed, and which was made to serve so glorious an intention as that of spreading the gospel to all nations in their own language. This was a greater sign to them that believed not (1 Co. 14:22), and more powerful for their conviction, than any other miracle whatever.

Show this world the impossible: a life totally committed to Jesus Christ!  You will shine brightly in this dark, sin-cursed world which seems to deny its Maker more and more every year!  And remember: God is just  as faithful in 2015 as He was in the 1600s and 1900s!

whats_different_exodus_thum

What’s Missing?

I always loved these drawings that have subtle differences, and your task is to find them!  It reminds me of these two verses in Joshua, except the differences aren’t too subtle!

But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you,

  • to love the LORD your God,
  • and to walk in all his ways,
  • and to keep his commandments,
  • and to cleave unto him,
  • and to serve him

with all your heart and with all your soul.:

Joshua 22:5

And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God

  • will we serve,
  • and his voice will we obey.

Joshua 24: 24

Do you see what is missing and what is added?  In Joshua 23 and 24, Joshua is giving the Israelites his farewell speech. He’s old and he knows his time has ended.  We often quote Joshua 24:15 and hang on our walls:

…choose you this day whom ye will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

The question is not ARE we choosing to serve God, but HOW are we serving Him.  We want to be successful in our walk with the Lord.  We want to please Him, but so often, it just isn’t the case.  The world comes crashing in around us demanding our attention.  Good activities and programs seem impossible to ignore, even though we cringe and hate the fact that perfect attendance is required and their meetings push into Sunday and Wednesday night.

How can we do it?  How can we know that we are doing the right thing?  Well, I’m sharing this because it’s been so heavy on my heart, and the Lord has really been pounding me on it!

IT’S THE HEART! IT’S THE HEART! IT’S THE HEART!

Joshua is at the end of an incredible journey.  He knew slavery. He remembered the sting of the taskmaster’s whip! He SAW the Red Sea part and drank the sweetened waters of Marah.  He ate the manna and begged, cried, and wept when the other ten spies gave their evil report.  His heart ached for his leader as he watched him ascend Mt. Pisgah and gaze longingly into the Promised Land—a land he would never enter!

And now Joshua’s done.  Over and over, he urges the Israelites to do right, make right choices, have the right kind of heart.  And their response is this: We will serve. We will obey.  YIKES!  Something was missing!  Something very important: loving, walking, cleaving, and keeping!

Dear Christian, dear born-again believer, check your heart.  Without a whole-hearted love for God, service becomes drudgery and you may find yourself walking away from it.  Your walk becomes an uphill battle, and you don’t even understand cleaving.  Keeping the “law” becomes just that!  It turns into a bunch of “dos and don’ts” instead of a holy garment of praise.

Cleave – to cling closely, steadfastly, or faithfully to somebody or something.  If you have ever been a nursery worker, you understand cleaving, as you try to pry that child out of his mother’s arms!  He has a death grip on her clothing, and he’s not letting go—at least, not without a lot of kicking and crying!

How is my cleaving?  Am I holding on to God for dear life? It started with faith (Forsaking All I Trust Him). I may not have seen the yawning abyss at the edge of my cliff of pride or self-righteousness—the edge which dropped off into an eternal hell, but if I had, I would have clung or cleaved? or clove? or clave? to my precious Savior!

And am I still cleaving?  Is He so precious that I want Him more than anything else in this world?

Today, I offer you A Moment in Time for free.  What does that have to do with cleaving?  Well, I often shake my head in wonder and ask my daughter this question: Why did you and your brothers turn out?  Why do you love the Lord when so many pastors are losing their kids to the world?  She always says the same thing.  “Mom, you and Dad were genuine in your love for God and your service to Him.  It wasn’t just a show, but what Dad preached, you both lived at home.” Please know, it is not any credit to us, but all to the Lord!

The side-by-side drawings look so much alike, just like so many Christians.  They sit together in church, perhaps in the same class at the Christian school, but there’s something drastically different!  You may not be able to see the heart, but God does.

If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, check out A Moment in Time is all about “What’s Missing.” In it, you’ll find an all too realistic side-by-side-drawing:  One pastor’s daughter, Carrie Spangler, who looked the part, and another, Esther Fleming, who lived it.