Holiness to the Lord

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. John 18:36

I’ve been working on a blog entitled “My Kingdom” based on the above verse.  There are nine reverences in the New Testament to Jesus’ Kingdom or the Father’s Kingdom.  Do you ever stop and think about what that means, or where it is, or who is there, or how we get there, or why it should influence my life?  Hopefully, I’ve piqued your curiosity for the next blog, but until then, Oswald Chambers makes a great point!

And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.

Exodus 28:36

Continually restate to yourself what the purpose of your life is.  The destined end of man is not happiness, nor health, but holiness…the one thing that matters is whether a man will accept the God who will make him holy.  At all cost a man must be rightly related to God…

God has one destined end for mankind, mainly, holiness.  His one aim is the production of saints.  God is not an eternal blessing-machine for men.  He did not come to save men out of pity: He came to save men because He had created them to be holy.  The Atonement means that God can put me back into perfect union with Himself, without a shadow between, through the death of Jesus Christ.

Never tolerate through sympathy with yourself or with others any practice that is not in keeping with a holy God.  Holiness means unsullied walking with the feet, unsullied talking with the tongue, unsullied thinking with the mind – every detail of the life under the scrutiny of God.  Holiness is not only what God gives me, but what I manifest that God has given me.  (My Utmost for His Highest – Oswald Chambers)

My Miracle Clock

 

IMG_6921I use the term loosely – miracle.  There’s really nothing supernatural about my cuckoo clock, but I KNOW that God keeps it running.

We inherited the cuckoo clock from my husband’s great-uncle back in the early nineties.  (Is that really over twenty years ago? Inconceivable!!)  It had hung on his wall for years, hanging there silently for part of that time.  When we broke up the house, we were glad to take the clock.  I remember bringing it home and calling the local clock shop for prices on getting it cleaned and oiled.  We had just taken our first pastorate, and the price was out of the question. So…I took off the back, blew out the dust, and sprayed it with WD-40 (which I’ve since learned is a NO NO!).  It started running like a charm.

Over the years, it would stop running and it seemed like we never had the money to fix it, so Mrs. Fix-it would once again remove the back cover and try to get it going.  One main ingredient always took priority into the mix: prayer.  I can’t tell you how many times it would stop, and I would pray over my clock, always praising God for getting it to run again.

Recently, it seemed to have some real issues: instead of “cuckoo,” it sounded more like “cuck.”  One of the bellows had ripped, so I taped it.  As I was handling it, something happened and I broke off the hour-hand and the bell of the hunting horn that surrounds the face of the clock!  When I picked up the hand, it crumbled into four pieces!  As I sat there looking at the mess, I was ready to throw the thing in the trash – it looked impossible…but I fixed it, and once again it’s running like new! Each tick reminding me that God cares for every detail of my life!  He even cares about my cuckoo clock!

Since my childhood, I’ve loved cuckoo clocks and hearing the steady tick-tock is a great delight; the hour chime keeps my piano lessons on time, and in the night when I’m lying awake, it gently reminds me of the hour.

Tick-tock, and another moment in time has passed away.  I suppose to some it could be annoying – a constant reminder that time is fleeting, one tick at a time; but for me, it is a soothing sound. It reminds me that my days are in God’s hand. Each moment is important, not to be wasted but to be used for His glory.  Even if it is just a quiet moment, meditating on His Word or whispering a prayer of thanksgiving for His goodness, the tick-tock keeps my focus that life is a precious gift from God.

Tick-tock, God is still on His throne…tick-tock, all is well…tick-tock, rest in My Everlasting Arms, my dear child.

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Forgiven

Do you have a favorite Bible story or Bible character?  One of my favorites is the Women at the Well in John 4.  She is the subject for my next short story: Forgiven.  I hope the story captures the joy you know of being forgiven.  Forgiven!  What a beautiful word – what a horrible price was paid for it to be true!

Blessing to you, dear reader, this Resurrection Sunday.  May you find something new and fresh about this wonderful time of year!

The Cost of Saying, “No.”

What if we say, “No,”

What would be the cost?

How rough would be the path;

How much would it cost?

When Jesus calls us to a task

Whether big or very small,

If we do not what He asks,

How great will be our fall?

Would I sacrifice the sweetness

That permeates our home?

Would disobedience reign

And sit upon the throne

Of my heart, instead of joy

And peace in serving Him?

Would I lose my children’s hearts?

Would Satan really win?

Oh, the cost of saying, “No,”

When our Savior gently woos

Us to a path that He would choose.

Oh, how much I would lose!

Do you struggle with the right answer to God?  What is it that He is asking you to do?  It may seem like just a small thing, but if you know that He wants you to do it…JUST SAY YES! Saying YES not only brings more blessings into our lives than we can imagine, more importantly, it brings glory to God and shows this dying world His power in our lives.

Saying YES to God in the little things as well as the big things shows a servant-heart.  Saying YES will often conflict with your schedule, your desires, perhaps even your wrong priorities, but may I say that your schedule, your desires and your priorities will never bring lasting joy and peace if you have had to say NO to God in order to fulfill them.

Just try one thing.  You know the verse: Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

So, what is it that God’s been knocking on your heart’s door about?  Maybe it’s a small thing, maybe it’s life-changing! We never know the cost of saying, “NO” to God.  He’s not mean – He does everything perfectly; however, those consequences can be startling!

He gives us lots of warning-examples in the Bible:

Adam said, “No,” and lost paradise.

Cain said, “No,” and lost his reputation.

Lot said, “No,” and lost his family.

Moses said, “No,” and couldn’t enter into the Promised Land.

Saul said, “No,” and lost his kingdom.

David said said, “No,” and and lost his children.

Solomon said, “No,” and and lost his wisdom.

Nebuchadnezzar said, “No,” and lost his sanity.

The rich young ruler said, “No,” and lost his opportunity to be with Jesus.

Peter said, “No,” and lost his fellowship with God’s Son.

Ananias and Saffira said, “No,” and lost their lives.

But oh, the blessing of saying, “Yes!”  Look at all the blessings:

Abel received God’s blessing.

Abraham received God’s friendship.

Moses received heavenly vision.

Joseph received Egypt’s wealth and Jacob’s double blessing.

Gideon received impossible leadership.

David received a heart like God’s.

Peter received forgiveness,

And they all received, God’s “well done.”

Well done, thou good and faithful servant

For better for worse?  For richer or poorer?  In sickness and in health?  Do we really think all those situations through when we say them?  I don’t think so, and I don’t think we can.  I can’t help thinking about some of the newer versions of the wedding vows, like the one that says, “as long as our love endures.”  That might last through the wedding reception!  I’ve seen daggers in the eyes of a beautiful bride as the comedian-bridegroom shoves cake in her face.  What a ridiculous tradition!

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone;

 I will make him an help meet for him. Genesis 2:18

The promises we make at the altar are not what prepares us for becoming good helpmeets for our husbands. The character we’ve endeavored to instill into our daughters will prepare them to be wonderful helpmeets for their husbands; however, after nearly thirty-three years of marriage, I’m still learning.

Tom’s fall has changed the whole landscape of our marriage!  He is able to walk with a walker, but his foot is still non-weight-bearing and will be for another few weeks (five to seven? 😦 )  I’m continually amazed at his improvement; however, it’s going to be a long time until he takes out the trash!

At first, serving him was just a “knee-jerk” reaction.  He couldn’t do anything and he was in so much pain.  I would have been pretty hard-hearted not to help him!  He is an excellent patient, and even though he does as much as he can, he still needs me to wait on him hand and foot (especially foot! 🙂 ).

We’ve worked into a good system and he’s constantly thanking me for what I do.  Today, I hit a high mark: Twice he asked for something that I had already done!  “You’re perfect,” he said.  Me?  Perfect? I seriously doubt it!

It has been an incredible learning process for me.  First, I’ve come to appreciate all that my wonderful husband does, or did!  Second, I’ve learned how impatient I am; and third, I’m learning true servanthood!  As I serve Tom in the most intimate ways, I realize just how important it is to be his helpmeet. Certainly, I thought I knew that before, but as I got busy doing my own thing: blogging and writing and gardening and teaching and playing and planning music and grandmothering, at times I became frustrated when our schedules didn’t jive and I was the one who had to bend.

Today, I made a startling discovery: I want to hear my LORD say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”  How sad to hear Him say those words about my service in the church, or my grandmothering, or my teaching, but not hear it as a helpmeet!  THAT is the one place that counts the most, and if no other good comes out of this whole ordeal than that lesson for me, it will be worth it.

How about it, ladies?  How well is your “serve” at home?  I am so thankful that the Lord did not take him home to heaven!  He could have!  Oh, how wonderful to have a husband to serve!!  Just ask any widow.