God’s thoughts on the State of the Union

“And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth,

and it grieved him at his heart.”

Genesis 6:6

 ID-100210161

Did God make a mistake when He created man?  Does this verse say that God was sorry that He created man?  Let’s take this to the ridiculous extreme!  Is it possible that this whole world and all that we know as humans is just an experiment on God’s part?  Did He start this whole thing just to see what would happen?  Is it possible that His creation has gotten out of hand?!  Maybe Satan IS going to win!  Maybe Satan and his minions have gained so much force that he will win the battle of the ages.  Maybe…

Isn’t it amazing how quickly the human mind can spin out of control and go to places that border on the ridiculous?  Perhaps you have thought these thoughts.  May I encourage you in this:  It’s not the wrong thoughts that are the  greater problem but the wrong conclusions. (HOWEVER, wrong thinking ought to be avoided BECAUSE of where it can lead!)

God created man in His image. Wow!!! That is an amazing thought! His creation – mankind – derailed terribly from the design which God began.  Satan, God’s enemy and ours, couldn’t wait to get his hands on man’s free will and bend it to his design.  But know for certain: Nothing in the history of man has ever caught God by surprise.  Nothing in your life has ever caught God by surprise – our Father planned it all!

Matthew Henry has such a way with words, and his thoughts on this passage are invaluable:

This language does not imply any passion or uneasiness in God (nothing can create disturbance to the Eternal Mind), but it expresses his just and holy displeasure against sin and sinners, against sin as odious to his holiness and against sinners as obnoxious to his justice. He is pressed by the sins of his creatures (Am 2:13), wearied (Isa 43:24), broken (Eze 6:9), grieved (Ps 95:10), and here grieved to the heart, as men are when they are wronged and abused by those they have been very kind to, and therefore repent of their kindness, and wish they had never fostered that snake in their bosom which now hisses in their face and stings them to the heart.

Take courage in the knowledge that our wonderful God knows exactly what He is doing, even in America.  He knows the state of the Union better than anyone.  His plans may be frightening, but they are ALWAYS good!  We may see our lives get even more difficult, but that doesn’t mean that God is unaware or that He doesn’t care!  How big is your view of God?  How much will you trust Him?  Those are good questions – the conclusion is up to us!

“God repented that he had made man; but we never find him repenting that he redeemed man (though that was a work of much greater expense)…”  Matthew Henry

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

I WILL NOT YIELD!!

Ah, and what if he hadn’t?  The title of this blog is a quote from my all-time favorite movie, Ever After, and yes, it is a chick flick of the chickiest kind!  It is the true Cinderella story, and this:

is Danielle, or Cinderella; however, she never would have gotten here if our dear prince would have stood by his words:

I WILL NOT YIELD!!

She would still look like this:

Little “Cinder-soot,” as her step-sister, Margaret, calls her.

I will not yield.  That is a great statement if you are being asked to do wrong, but when the Spirit woos us, pleads with us to give up a bad habit or wrong attitude, we will forever regret our unyielding ways!  We will stay on the ash heap of sin, slaving for our master, Satan.  He promises so much and NEVER delivers!

Yielding – it goes against the very grain of our fleshly pride!  We CAN’T yield: What would others think?  It will never work out if we yield.  Certainly I know better than…God?

 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Romans 6:16

It takes a lot of courage to yield, and a lot of faith.  It takes honesty and commitment.  It takes time and patience.  Sometimes, it takes blood, sweat, and tears.  Oh, but the joy of standing before our precious Prince of Peace, our Bridegroom, in brilliant white – spotless and wrinkle-free!  That’s the goal, folks: yield and we become princesses! (or princes! 🙂 )

How many shades of gray are there in Christian Liberty?

How many shades of gray are there in Christian Liberty?

What do you do when you suddenly find yourself on the wrong side of the argument, arguing for something that just a few short years ago would have been anathema to you? And how did you get there?

Our society is changing so rapidlythat it makes my head spin, and I’m not talking about the world out there – I’m talking about the world within the walls of Christianity!

Every generation finds itself testing the bounds of limitations placed upon them by the preceding generation.  Every young person, at some time or another, will be challenged to defend or reject his or her beliefs.  Sometimes they may seem like small, inconsequential issues; however, those are the times when Song of Solomon 2:15 become a vivid reality:  it is “the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.

More than ever the challenging argument: “but everyone is doing it,” comes into play.  Social ills that where not even considered a possibility of having a place in our Christian society are now flaunted all across Facebook, and the world is right there at our elbows cheering us on!

“Why you old fuddy-duddy,” the young person says.  “What business is it of yours  anyway?  I’m not hurting anyone!”

Oh, how wrong you are, dear one!

First of all, you are hurting yourself.  You are placing yourself in harm’s way – in the enemy’s camp. (That would be Satan!)

“Sin will always take you further than you wanted to go, and cost more than you wanted to pay.”

If only you could see where you may end up because of that attitude!

Second, it will hurt your future spouse and children.  Oh, the regrets that people carry with them all through life because of wrong choices – choices they will not change, often because of pride more than conviction.

Thirdly, it has hurt the ones you love the most: a parent, a grandparent, a friend – the one who gave you good council and you threw it to the wind!

Most of all, it hurts the One who died for you!  There is a constant challenge to balance the love of God and the holiness of God.  When either attribute is stretched out of proportion, there will be trouble.

If we over stress the holiness of God, life becomes tedious and difficult.  We start to feel more like slaves to a taskmaster than children of our heavenly Father.  However, when we over stress God’s wonderful love, we become lax in our walk, pulling down the protective walls of holiness; and in so doing, our actions pull down the image of God which we are to be displaying to this wicked world!

Instead of “screwing up our courage” to break out of God’s conforming image, life would be so much sweeter if we would surrender our wills to that of our heavenly Father, forsaking sin in all its shades of gray!

And parents, don’t hide behind the old adage: they’re just sewing their wild oats!  Why would you ever allow your loved ones to sew weeds of sin that will only choke the Word out of their lives, causing so much grief and pain?

I beseech you [urge you with every threat of my being!] therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world:
but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Romans 12:1,2

 

 

A Lesson from my husband

ID-10041505On Saturday morning, the men in our church have a prayer meeting in the church fellowship hall.  Recently, we received a Keurig, which has made their time even more enjoyable!  This past Saturday, my dear husband surprised me with a cup of coffee.  I wasn’t expecting him, because he had only been gone for a few minutes; then he explained that he had tried this flavor of coffee and it was too sweet, but he knew I’d like it!

How thoughtful, but the part that was really thoughtful to me was that he brought it to me in a glass cup.  We have paper hot/cold cups, but they have a tendency to pick up any odors of their surroundings!  It doesn’t flavor the coffee, but it does spoil the coffee for me.  I’ve come to realize that I have a super sensitive sniffer – no one else seems to notice this.

As I was enjoying my cup of coffee, I was nearly finished when I realized the cup!  How thoughtful.  If I could take this moment to brag on my sweetheart – he is like that: he looks for ways to make things special for me!

It was a rebuke to me.  Do I do that?  I’d like to think so, but too often that is NOT the case.  Recently, I did do something for him that was out of the norm and he was so surprised and so appreciative. 😦   It wasn’t much, but it was something that I didn’t want to do, but knew it would be a help to him!

So what’s the lesson?

Others, Lord, yes others;

Let this my motto be:

That even when I kneel to pray,

My prayer will be for others. 

So often, it’s the little things that really show that we care – the little things that benefit others and are not convenient for ourselves!  Try it!  You’re spouse or parent or sibling will be blessed and so will you!

And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.Matthew 10:42 

 

Homosexuality: Grace vs. Law

bible-lovingkindnessIn the past week, I’ve been hit with this issue four different times.  It’s not something that I would choose to address; however, God had other plans!

With every ‘sin’ issue, the real question is: What does God say about this?  As  believers, what do we do with God’s statements, like:

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” Leviticus 18: 22

“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves” Romans 1:24

These are just two of the fourteen chapters where sodomy is mentioned.  God is not silent on this issue; in fact, He is very clear about the matter.

So how do we face these issues?  WE FACE THIS JUST LIKE WE FACE ANY SIN ISSUE: WE CAN ACCEPT WHAT GOD HAS COMMANDED OR REJECT WHAT GOD HAS COMMANDED.

The Life Application Bible has a wonderful comment on the verse above in Romans:

Homosexuality (to ‘change’ or ‘leave the natural use’ of sex) is strictly forbidden in Scripture (Lev. 18:22).  Homosexuality is considered an acceptable practice by many in our world today – even by some churches.  But society does not set the standard for God’s Law.[emphasis added]  Many homosexuals believe that their desires are normal and that they have a right to express them.  But God does not obligate nor encourage us to fulfill all of our desires (even normal ones.).  Those desires that violate his laws must be controlled.”

When homosexuality enters our lives as the face of a loved one, it becomes more difficult to make Biblical stands.  This is true for all sinful situations; however, we will never help anyone by encouraging or condoning their sin.  So many aspects of today’s society fly in the face of God’s Laws:

God says, “Thou shall have no other gods before me.”

               Man says, “I am god.”

God says “Thou shall not make unto thee any graven images.”

               Man worships every successful entrepreneur, singer, athlete and movie star.

God says, “Thou shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”

                 Man even shortens it into an abbreviation!

God says, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.”

               Man chooses to do EVERYTHING but attend church on Sunday and keep it holy or set apart for God.

God says, “Honor thy father and thy mother.”

               Man teaches his sons to rebel before they enter kindergarten.

God says, “Thou shall not kill.”

                Man says, “A woman has the freedom to choose to murder.”

God says, “Thou shall not commit adultery.”

               Man erases every perimeter of marriage to satisfy his lustful desires.

God says, “Thou shall not steal.”

               Man is so numbed to this thought that he will order ‘water’ but takes soda instead!

God says, “Thou shall not bear false witness.”

               Man turns the truth in to a lie and a lie into truth!

God says, “Thou shall not covet.”

               Man fuels his economy on covetousness.

These are God’s laws, we cannot ignore them; however, there is grace!  Grace – God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense – forgives us when we break God’s laws.  Grace forgives, but it doesn’t excuse or condone sin!  If I was a kleptomaniac before finding salvation by grace alone, then my sin is forgiven; however, I forsake the sin and move towards sanctification or Christ-likeness.  I no longer practice my kleptomaniac ways!

So, homosexuality is not the problem, neither is other sexual sins like living together or premarital relationships.  The problem is whether we will believe what God said about sin and live our lives accordingly, or will we be duped once again by Satan’s very first lie to mankind: “Yea, hath God said?”

Don’t forget your deodorant!

If you’re like me, putting deodorant on is just another step in the process of preparing for the day!  You don’t really think about it – you just do it!

Well, some mornings, my schedule is off and I get running before I’m really ready for the day!  This usually happens on those rare but wonderful days when I know I don’t need to leave the house!  That’s when I forgot the deodorant!

As I rushed around the house, furiously cleaning because my time was short, I noticed something and it wasn’t pleasant!!!  Whew!  Is that me?  YES, it was!!!

Because we use the stuff every day, we may fool ourselves into thinking that we won’t stink any more if we don’t use it.  WRONG!

Do you realize that the same is true about devotions: reading the Word of God?  You may have a great habit going, and you read your Bible every day.  It DOES have an affect on your life, but you may not even realize it because it’s so much a part of your life.  However, if you skipped a day or two, believe me, you would know AND your family and coworkers would know as well.  It may take a “stinky” day before you stop and realize what has happened!

The opposite is true as well.  Perhaps you DON’T have that habit – I hate to tell you, but it shows AND if you start reading and praying and just spending time in the presence of our Lord -it WILL show!

Psalm 19:7-10 gives us a summary list of all that God’s Word does for us.  Take a look:

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul:

the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart:

the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever:

the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold:

       sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

Moreover by them is thy servant warned:

       and in keeping of them there is great reward.

Who can understand his errors?

      cleanse thou me from secret faults.

Pork and Sauerkraut – of course!

 

I come from a long line of Germans even though my married name is MacAvoy!  My maiden name was Hummel, and I love the list of names among my ancestors: Roller, Zeiflie, Kilgus, Fisher…  So, there is never a question as to what we will eat for lunch today: pork and sauerkraut.  Why, you may ask if you descended from elsewhere!   Well, here’s the reasoning behind this rather unusual tradition:

You eat pork because pigs root forward; hence, you will have a prosperous New Year!  The first time I was away from home for the beginning of a year, I was with my future in-laws; we ate chicken!  Chickens scratch backwards – bad!  You don’t want to go backwards, do you?!!

Silly, isn’t it?  Sad to say, at some point in our superstitious backgrounds, someone believed all that!

Why do we do the things that we do?  Is there a reason for our actions?

It’s a New Year.  There’s something wonderful about a new start.  The slate is clean, fresh, with no mistakes or unreached goals!  We set our resolve to accomplish goals great and small, and as of today, we have not failed!  Perhaps that is why it’s a good thing to pause and check our motives for our expectations and actions: Am I determined to lose weight because my cloths don’t fit or because my arteries are getting clogged?  I’m going to be more faithful to attending church, because my kids need it or because I want to draw closer to God?  Is one reason more valid than the other?

As Tom and I ended last year, we talked about the future.  At our age, we possibly have ten, maybe fifteen more years of ministry.  As we look back over the past ten/fifteen years, it is amazing how quickly it passed by!  As the risk of sounding like an old person, I must say that the old saying is true: time continues to go faster and faster!

Ten to fifteen years: what can we accomplish?  What does God have planned? Will we be successful in His eyes?  What needs to change?  What do I need to “put on and put off” (Eph. 4:22-24) in order to be a better vessel for my Master’s use?

I challenge you to take stock of your walk with God.  What could you do to make your more like the Master?  What do you need to work on to become Christ-like?  It’s a wonderful time to ask yourself why you are who you are, and who it is that your gracious heavenly Father is directing you to become?

Happy New Year!

Only to be what He wants me to be,

Every moment of every day,

Yielding completely to Jesus alone

Every step of this pilgrim way.

Just to be clay in the Potter’s hands,

Ready to do what His will demands;

Only to be what He wants me to be,

Every moment of every day.