Don’t Question Your Call

musicchildren15I have to admit, there are times while I’m subbing for music teachers, that an old ache fills my heart.  I love teaching music, and I would have enjoyed making that my career.  I believe I would have been successful.

I just finished a very hectic day for an awesome teacher.  She’s great and has wonderful plans, visuals, and equipment.  It’s so fun to put it all together–adding a steady tempo on the Orff instruments to the accompanying omnichord (for you “oldies” that’s the electronic version of an autoharp!) while the students sing. I LOVE IT!  You may ask, “Then why aren’t you teaching music?”  Because God called me elsewhere.

Back in 1983, just a year and a half after we were married, I interviewed for what I would have called the perfect job: high school choir and elementary music.  I got the job, but that same week I was asked to teach kindergarten in our Christian school.  I chose the kindergarten class, having a desire to get into Christian education.  I still remember the first morning we had devotions together as teachers.  I nearly cried.  It was such a joy to my heart to be able to teach biblical truths straight from the Bible while teaching the standard curriculum.  In fact, after leaving Christian education and subbing in the public schools, I nearly started class with prayer several times! Wouldn’t that have raised a ruckus!

When God calls, don’t look back!  Yes, it would have been more lucrative; yes, there were lots of perks, but that wasn’t what God made me to do.  I’m supposed to be a pastor’s wife, and I’m supposed to teach about God and care for His people, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!!

However, in some ways, it would have been easier to teach music:

  1. Your day has a start and finish.
  2. You can see when you are being successful: The concert is a success; the student progresses, etc.
  3. The year has a beginning and an end
  4. You have the summers off!
  5. You are guaranteed to have a crowd!

Do you see that the opposite is often true of the ministry?

  1. There is no clock.  A pastor and his family never clock out.
  2. At times, sometimes for years on end, you see no progress.  Lives do not change, truths are not applied or embraced, etc.
  3. Yes, there is a new start to every year, but it seems like there’s no beginning or ending.
  4. Summers mean VBS, summer camps, and often extra activities.
  5. We work with a volunteer army!  They may be here, but then again, they may not be!

All this said, the greatest difference is eternity.  Sadly, I cannot say much in the public school concerning Jesus Christ or the Bible.  Yes, I can be a good example.  I canImage result for zipped lip “shine” for Jesus, but one of the most difficult things for me is to see this great mass of students and know I am not allowed to “preach” to them.  And I understand the reasoning–it’s just hard for this pastor’s wife to be silent!

What’s the point of this rambling?  Bloom where you a
re planted.  Do the job which God has called you to do.  Be faithful.  We are all in the Lord’s army, and God has given each of us a mandate to carry out His work.

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

And if you want to make your pastor, pastor’s wife, youth leader, Sunday school teacher, or any other church worker’s life easier–show up, volunteer, be an active part of your church–be faithful.   Your talents are invaluable, and what better way to use them than for our Lord and Savior? And besides all that, the benefits are out of this world!! 

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Love or Lust

ID-10051375.jpgThis was a recent devotion from Days of Praise by the Institution for Creation Research. Although it says nothing new, the words seemed to make so much sense. We live in a day of confusion, and if anything is more twisted than man’s thoughts on the marriage relations, I don’t’ know what it would be! I’ve added the Bible verses and bold type which were not in the original article.

Love or Lust – Days of Praise (April 2,2016)

The entire fifth chapter of Proverbs concerns the use or misuse of the highest function of our physical bodies.  Under the sovereign control of Almighty God, a man and woman have been granted the ability, through their union, to make an eternal human being with the ability to accept or reject God, eternal life, and forgiveness.  The contrast in this chapter is between the usage of this God-given function in lust or love, adultery or fidelity.

Verse 3 through 6 provide insight into the character of promiscuity, which includes deception (v.3) and sorrow (V.4).

3 For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:

4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.

 

Psychologists have long recognized that many prostitutes ply their trade out of a hatred for men, purposefully and conscientiously destroying their companions. (v5).

5 Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.

6 Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.

 

The solution, of course, is to stay away.  Don’t play with fire! Avoid any opportunities to be enticed (8).

8 Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:

The results, of course, of yielding to temptation would be that we would lose our youthful vigor (9),

9 Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel:

 

our wealth (10),

10 Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger;

 

our health (11),

11 And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed,

 

our self-esteem (12-13),

12 And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;

13 And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!

 

and even our lives are in danger. (14).

14 I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.

 

On the other hand, married love is a beautiful thing (15-20), providing health, companionship, joy, and satisfaction.

15 ¶ Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.

16 Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.

17 Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee.

18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.

19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times;

and be thou ravished always with her love.

 

Remember, none of this is done in secret. “The ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings” (21).  We should stay away from any involvement in sin, for sin entraps us (22), and we keep going back.

22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself,

and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.

 

Men die for lack of instruction, or lack of obedience to the instruction they have (23).

23 He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.

This leads to great folly, and the end, total shame and destruction.

Ladies, are you caring for your husbands? Is his heart safe with you, or is he in fear of being mocked, ridiculed, or hated? You may have all the reasons in the world as to why you do not love and care for your husband, but will they pale in importance when you stand before God and give an account of your responsibilities?

Are you raising your daughters to be clean and pure?  Are you setting a standard of submission in your home for her to follow?  Or will she also be trapped in the endless cycle called the Blame Game?

Are your sons strong in character? Do they see your love for the Lord and, somewhere in the depths of their hearts, that image is causing them to secret away a beautiful model of the wife they long to have one day?

If your children are in the public school system, do know that all of these challenges are ridiculed and not only tampered with, but are trashed by many!

I hear you already making excuses: But he… All I can say is, Prove God! Be all that He wants you to be and leave the rest to Him!

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, (or show your obedience in any of His commands) and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. Malachi 3:10

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Don’t Question God’s Calling

textI have to admit, there are times while I’m subbing for music teachers, that an old ache fills my heart.  I love teaching music, and I would have enjoyed making that my career.  I believe I would have been successful.

I just finished a very hectic day for an awesome teacher.  She’s great and has wonderful plans, visuals, and equipment.  It’s so fun to put it all together–adding a steady tempo on the Orff instruments to the accompanying omnichord (for you “oldies” that’s the electronic version of an autoharp!) while the students sing. I LOVE IT!  You may ask, “Then why aren’t you teaching music?”  Because God called me elsewhere.

Back in 1983, just a year and a half after we were married, I interviewed for what I would have called the perfect job: high school choir and elementary music.  I got the job, but that same week I was asked to teach kindergarten in our Christian school.  I chose the kindergarten class, having a desire to get into Christian education.  I still remember the first morning we had devotions together as teachers.  I nearly cried.  It was such a joy to my heart to be able to teach biblical truths straight from the Bible while teaching the standard curriculum.  In fact, after leaving Christian education and subbing in the public schools, I nearly started class with prayer several times! Wouldn’t that have raised a ruckus!

When God calls, don’t look back!  Yes, it would have been more lucrative; yes, there were lots of perks, but that wasn’t what God made me to do.  I’m supposed to be a pastor’s wife, and I’m supposed to teach about God and care for His people, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!!

However, in some ways, it would have been easier to teach music:

  1. Your day has a start and finish.
  2. You can see when you are being successful: The concert is a success; the student progresses, etc.
  3. The year has a beginning and an end
  4. You have the summers off!
  5. You are guaranteed to have a crowd!

Do you see that the opposite is often true of the ministry?

  1. There is no clock.  A pastor and his family never clock out.
  2. At times, sometimes for years on end, you see no progress.  Lives do not change, truths are not applied or embraced, etc.
  3. Yes, there is a new start to every year, but it seems like there’s no beginning or ending.
  4. Summers mean VBS, summer camps, and often extra activities.
  5. We work with a volunteer army!  They may be here, but then again, they may not be!

All this said, the greatest difference is eternity.  Sadly, I cannot say much in the public school concerning Jesus Christ or the Bible.  Yes, I can be a good example.  I can “shine” for Jesus, but one of the most difficult things for me is to see this great mass of students and know I am not allowed to “preach” to them.  And I understand the reasoning–it’s just hard for this pastor’s wife to be silent!

What’s the point of this rambling?  Bloom where you are planted.  Do the job which God has called you to do.  Be faithful.  We are all in the Lord’s army, and God has given each of us a mandate to carry out His work.

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

And if you want to make your pastor, pastor’s wife, youth leader, Sunday school teacher, or any other church worker’s life easier–show up, volunteer, be an active part of your church–be faithful.   Your talents are invaluable, and what better way to use them than for our Lord and Savior? And besides all that, the benefits are out of this world!! A

Remember the Children!

Four beautiful little girls, curly hair bouncing in the sunlight upon the plain: They are the daughters of a wealthy man, a righteous man, a man of high standing, a man who knows God.  They are Lot’s daughters, descendants of the chosen and blessed son of Noah: Seth. Born in the tents of Abraham among family and beloved servants, their childhood was protected and promising. In Genesis eleven, Lot leaves Ur of the Chaldees, and heads out with his grandfather, Terah and his uncle, Abram, to another place: Haran, in the land north of Canaan.  In the next chapter, he heads south with Abram, taking all their wealth with them.  God had prospered their way.   But by chapter thirteen, there is strife between the herdmen.(v. 8)

And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.(Genesis 13:10)  A decision was made, Abram said they needed to part, not wanting to be a poor testimony to the people around them; and Lot made a agriculturally strategic move.  Certainly, God would continue to bless his way—he was the nephew of Abram, and God was with Abram! He wouldn’t be in the wicked cities, but in the plain.  Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. (Genesis 13:12)

It wouldn’t matter that the men of Sodom were wicked: He was a righteous man—he knew the ways of God and had taught them to his little girls… pitched his tent toward Sodom. How long was it until Lot sat in the gate of Sodom? (Genesis 19:1) Little by little, Lot’s family was influenced by their surroundings.  The girls made friends with the children, his wife swapped stories with the other women of Sodom at the community well. Lot was well respected and rose in affluence among the men of the city.  Were the men of Sodom any less wicked when Lot arrived than when the angels arrived?  Probably not; however, even wicked men can put their “best foot forward” and be civil.

Did Lot choose to overlook their wickedness and be tolerant of their lifestyle?  Did he preach to them?  Did he himself embrace the ways of the true God, or had he been more of a spectator?  The Bible calls him “just” (2 Peter 2:7) which would mean that he had a true understand of God and His righteous ways; however, something went desperately wrong… pitched his tent toward Sodom.

His beautiful daughters are now married to ungodly men who mock Lot when he warns them of God’s judgment.  Did his tolerance translate into hypocrisy in their eyes?  Whatever the case, it cost him the lives of his children.  His daughters died along with the wicked under the fierce judgment of God, whether they knew better or not.  All the influences of a righteous uncle during their childhood could not save them from the destruction brought on by their lifestyle choices and acquaintances. .. and he pitched his tent toward Sodom.

Even Lot’s wife did not believe that the God of Abraham would truly judge her.  God’s command was simple, delivered directly by messengers from heaven!  She did not read about it in a letter from God: She heard the words spoken while standing in the very presence of heavenly citizens!  And yet, she turned.  Such a simple act, just a small thing… and pitched his tent toward Sodom.

Now, alone in a cave, the worst is yet to come for Lot.  His wife is gone, his married daughters and their husbands, possibly grandchildren are gone.  Was there an heir for him that was left in the city of Sodom?  We don’t know. .. and he pitched his tent toward Sodom.

Where did his younger daughters learn about drunkenness?  Where did they learn about incest?  How did they come to such a wicked solution? If they had kept on the path of righteousness, it is very possible that one of their children would have been Isaac’s wife and an heir to all of God’s promises. After all, Abraham married his half-sister, and Rebekah was Nahor’s granddaughter, making Isaac her second cousin. The relationship would have been similar for Lot’s children!   …but he pitched his tent toward Sodom.

Abraham lived for one hundred, seventy-five years.  As far as we know, Lot lived for one hundred years.  He became the patriarch of two nations who were the enemies of God’s people, but even hundreds of years later, when God’s prophecies concerning Abraham’s descendants would finally become a reality, God remembered Lot…

And the LORD said unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land for a possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession. ..And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession. Deuteronomy 2:9, 19

What a life!  What a tragic story!  How bazaar!  Even though entire cities and plains are destroyed by fire and brimstone which rained down from heaven—the evidence still seen in that area today—God spared one man, his wife, and two daughters.  And even though the wife was destroyed and the daughters were immoral, God still remembered His promises!

The lessons for us today are many:

  1. Where have you pitched your tent?  This world and the god of this world are after our children, ready to devour them at every turn! Focus on God!  Make Him real in your life and show that reality to your children. Is there not a cause?  (1Samuel 17:29)
  2. Be careful of your tolerance. Choose carefully when you need to be a Daniel, standing alone FOR CHRIST.  That’s a difficult thing.  We just watched a student production of “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson.  It’s a satire about a town which holds a lottery every year where one person is chosen to be stoned.  The point is that we need to be careful that we are holding on to God’s Word, not man’s traditions.  Sometimes, the two may be difficult to discern; however, there is a God in heaven Who will ALWAYS lead you aright if you ASK Him to!  It is possible to be intolerant and still show the love of Christ!
  3. Believe! We serve an Awesome, Almighty, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, Prayer-answering God of the Universe!  Is any thing too hard for the LORD? (Genesis 18:14)  He is the same God of Genesis!  He is still in charge!  He is still leading and directing even the lives of wicked men so that He may be glorified, and He wants to pour out His blessings on your life.  He is holy, and He requires the same of His children!
  4. Don’t believe a lie.  How often I’ve heard a parent of a grown, wayward child make excuses for their compromising example. They shake their heads and wonder where they went wrong, when the answer is often as plain as the nose on their faces!  They just refuse to see it and change….and he pitched his tent towards Sodom.

This is quite the harsh article, but I pray that it will stir a heart—maybe just one—who will take a second look at life and turn the tent!

Only one live, twill soon be past.

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

What Will Make the Difference?

ID-10068917Yesterday, we had a baby dedication at church for three new babies.  It’s always a beautiful service, full of meaning and commitment for the parents as well as the church family.

Today, we read in the news about a family of four in our dear state of Pennsylvania who were murdered: the daughter shot her mother, the son-in-law shot the brother, and the father shot the daughter and son-in-law.  So, all that remains is the father.  How could relationships go so wrong that something like this would happen?  In one moment, a man is watching TV with his wife and son; the next minute, an estranged daughter and her husband come to the door – and life is over for all but a father!

Two different scenarios, separated only by a few hours and one hundred miles, but oh how different the outcome!  Three sets of parents pledged the following:

1. In presenting your child(ren) for dedication to the Lord, do you confess your faith in Jesus Christ as your own personal Lord and Saviour?

2. In presenting your child(ren) for dedication do you acknowledge your duty to bring up this child in the fear and admonition of the Lord?

3. Will you present your child(ren) to the Lord by being faithful in personal and family devotions, the regularly and specially scheduled meetings of the church (in particular Sunday School) so that he/she will be exposed to the word of God that it might pierce his/her heart?

4. Will you dedicate yourselves with great concern to the presentation of the Gospel that your child(ren) may be wooed by the Holy Spirit at some point in his/her life to confess his/her sin and place his/her faith in Jesus Christ as his/her own personal Saviour?

5. Will you willingly and unreservedly give your child(ren) to the Lord should He call this child into full time Christian service?

6. Will you willingly and unreservedly give your child(ren) to the Lord should He call this child away from you to some foreign land for His service?

7. Will you willingly and unreservedly give your child(ren) back to the Lord should He call this child back to Himself in death as a child, teen, or young adult?

Will these seven commitments insure these parents that they will never have a child put a gun to their head? ONLY IF THEY PRACTICE THEM!  It’s easy to answer ‘yes’ to a list of questions; it’s another thing to put them into practice.  If there is one “most frustrating” aspect of the ministry, it is this: people want the results of God-loving, obedient, serving children, but they will not make the commitment necessary to accomplish the goal.

Why do I not lose weight – Because I do not make the necessary commitment to accomplish the goal.  For example, if I would count the calories and keep to the exercise program I WOULD lose weight.  How do I know?  Because I’ve done it before!

At times, we deceive ourselves in spiritual matters, convincing ourselves that they are different from physical matters.  How do we get God-loving, obedient, serving children – by leading them in our example.  “Just say yes!”  When God calls, just say yes, whatever the task, no matter how great or small.  It works!

My husband and I were thanking and praising God this morning for His hedge about our family.  There are times when I feel guilty for the blessing He has poured upon me; but may I say that GOD’S WORD WORKS!  The following is two quotes from a dear friend’s book, (Song for all Seasons – Wilma Sullivan pgs.37,39):

I’ve learned to say a little phrase that has helped me to turn over the control of things in my life to the Lord. It’s simply “It’s okay!”  “It’s okay, Lord, that that person doesn’t respond the way I want.”  “It’s okay, Lord, if I can’t buy that thing I think I need.”  “It’s okay, Lord that my plans for today must be cancelled.”  “It’s okay, Lord, whatever that group thinks of me.”  “It’s okay, Lord, that I can’t control these circumstances in my life.”  “You, Lord, are in control of all these things.  May Your will be done.” When I consciously and willingly respond in such a way, I deny my “self,” giving over my rights to God’s control.

 

God’s Holy Spirit does live in us, and by His power – not ours – we can habitually put to death the promptings of the flesh.  Our flesh cannot control our thoughts and actions unless we give in to it.  We must make the choice.  By letting Christ reign in our hearts, we can then claim the power of God to tell our old flesh to “drop dear” when it tempts us to sin. We can rest assured that, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations” (2 Peter 2:9a)

Take the time to be holy – you will never regret it.  In fact, you will rejoice with your Savior and your children and children’s children throughout all eternity; and what’s seventy-odd years compared to that?!