The top of the “Spirit-chain”

ID-10058017“What a nice group of people.”  The comment was made several times, and I had to agree.  Of course, they were all my relatives!  Two aunts, three cousins and spouses, my dear mother (in whose honor the hot dog roast was organized), my sister and her husband, two of our children and their families, and my dear husband.  So, what makes us so nice? 🙂

My husband wasn’t a pastor for very long before I realized that my extended family was not “normal.” My childhood was filled with memories of family get-togethers which included my no-nonsense grandmother and her children: five girls and one boy.  My mother was the youngest of the tribe.  We were always a close-knit family, but there were a few missing elements to these gatherings.  There was never any raucous music, alcohol, or pornography. We were God-fearing people.  All of my cousins grew up in the church.  Most were married in the church.  We learned our lessons and were fairly faithful.

Sad to say, that isn’t the case anymore; however, something stuck.  The principles which my grandparents taught to their children were passed on to the next generation—it was just what you did, and there is still the aura of Biblical truth whether we all attend church or not.  However…

What about the following generations?  How many of them attend church or even believe in God?  And what about my generation?  How many of us still hold to the truths we were taught as children?  I’m afraid that in some homes, something is missing?

Even though I’m so thankful for the heritage I have been given, I am even more thankful for the mercy of God upon my life!  Romans 9:15 says, For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. God had mercy on me!  He tugged at my heart as a child, and when I was hell-bent on ruining my life as a teen, He reached down and saved my soul!  And to top it all off, He led me to a young man whose life was also changed by the same true spirit of God.

Where are you in your walk with God?  Is He tugging at your heart or, perhaps like Paul, sending “pricks” which you are having a hard time kicking against? Maybe it’s that uncle who keeps mentioning God, a lot of times without ever saying a word! Or perhaps its that neighbor who keeps inviting you to church, or the blogger who keeps bringing up the subject of salvation; and every time you read or hear or watch, God touches your heart.  Why don’t you give it up and surrender to Him?

Maybe you are in the “ruining your life” stage.  That’s an awful place to be!  It starts out fun, but as the consequences of sin begin to pile up, the burden can be unbearable.  God meant it to be that way.  He wants you to give up and look up to Him!  Just take the plunge and drop dead!  Paul writes in Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Or perhaps you’ve made it: You have surrendered your life to Jesus, asked Him to forgive your sins, and you are trusting Him to take you to heaven when you die.  Do you know what that means?  You are His child and you are on the top of the spirit-chain. You have the awesome privilege to live your life for Him!  You have the opportunity to be the spiritual spouse, parent, or grandparent.  You get the opportunity to live for Christ and pass the baton on to the generations which will follow you!

I know I quote it often, but one of my favorite verses is 3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. I have that privilege and opportunity to pass the baton!  Oh, the joy of gathering with my children and grandchildren and seeing the love of the Lord in their lives—to watch as my sons train up their children in the Lord, and my daughters lead my grandchildren to know the Lord!  We all get along and love being together; in fact, next year, we hope to take a week and vacation together.  Our time will be sweet, and it will be centered around the Lord, not this world!  Praise God for what He can do, if we will just yield to His way!  Try it—the benefits are out of this world!

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts:
and let him return unto the LORD,
and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither,
but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud,
that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth:
it shall not return unto me void,
but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Isaiah 55:6-11

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“Mind” Your Master!

ID-100141782Ah, my first day of a new year – I’m only twenty-two minutes into this fifty-fourth year and God’s Spirit calls me from my lovely bed, stirring my heart and thoughts.  Now if only I can harness them and pull them all together into one communicable blog!

It started when I awoke from a dream – a bad dream, a real dream from my wicked past.  It’s as though Satan can’t stand the thought that I’ve had such a wonderful day walking with my Lord; so he tries to spoil it by reminding me of the pit where Jesus found me!  He’s so sneaky – using something as defenseless as a dream. But I have learned long ago that I’m the only one that remembers – God will not remember my sins any more (Jer. 31:34) and “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12.  Boy, Satan can’t stay around for long when I start remembering these precious promises from God.  Soon, the dream and its haunting memory are gone!  A sweet cool summer breeze floats into the window reminding me of God’s Spirit:

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof,                                                                       but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth…” John 3:5

With free and wandering blasts as it wishes.” That’s how a note from the Geneva Bible aptly expresses it. Oh how wonderful to know that we have the Spirit of God and mind of Christ!

“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him?                                                               But we have the mind of Christ.” 1Corinthians 2:16

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”                                                                                        Philippians 2:5

Is it possible to comprehend such a truth?  I don’t think so!  But there it is in the Word of God, so I must believe it.  I have the mind of Christ – surely that will change everything about me: first, the way I think, then the way I go! My thoughts become centered on Jesus, although I am quickly reminded that this weak flesh can never fully grasp what that means.  In my whole lifetime, I will only gain a tiny thimbleful of the vast ocean of God’s understanding!

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,                              saith the LORD.                                                                                                                       For as the heavens are higher than the earth,                                                                                                                     so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. “                                         Isaiah 55:8,9

But I know that as His Spirit lives in me controlling my mind, so my life is changed completely, and this world is no longer home.  I’m truly a sojourner just passing through!  As I live and work in this world, my eye (my mind!) is focused on the next.  Often we are reminded that living in the past is no way to live, for in so doing we miss all the blessings of the day.  But living in light of eternity – in the future – only keeps our minds in Christ and everything else in proper focus!  As I work down here, I think of my Lord working up there: preparing a place for me!  Isn’t that what we do when we are parted from a loved one?  Right now our youngest (my baby!) is working as a counselor at the Wilds Christian Camp.   How often my mind wanders down to North Carolina into the hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to that special place, and I wonder what he’s doing at the moment.  I haven’t been to heaven but it’s the same concept as my mind goes there and my heart clings to His promises:

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:1-3

 …and I think about my Savior there fulfilling these promises and my mind is stayed on Jehovah!

Like a river glorious, is God’s perfect peace,
Over all victorious, in its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth, fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth, deeper all the way.

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there.

Refrain

Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully all for us to do.
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.

Refrain

Frances Havergal (lived a short 43 years!)

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Tily Tries My Patience

So, today I decide to till the garden instead of exercising.  Running Tilly is definitely exercise!  She must not have slept well, because she is sputtering all over the place!  She’s lost her spunk!  I baby her along, hoping that she’ll kick into high gear – no chance!  I think she’s upset because I was checking out tillers on the web!  Who would pay over $700 for tiller?  I can buy a lot of vegetables for that amount, even from the farmer’s market!  It’s supposed to rain today and the Ladies’ Missionary Group is coming in an hour and a half, but Tilly has more lessons for me.

  1. Maybe it’s time for her to retire.  Dear older-worker-bee, do you need to step down and let the younger ones take over?  Sometimes we complain that they are not doing the work, but maybe it’s because we don’t trust them to do the job.
  2. Dear younger-worker-be- possibility, do you need to step up to the plate?  You may say, “But what can I do?”  Can you scrub a toilet?  My husband and I joke about the fact that that is where we started serving the Lord – it’s true!  You would probably be surprised at what you could do.  I’ve never met a pastor yet that refused help!  J
  3. Both sides of the fence require a lot of grace!

I think Tilly knows that I was just thinking about checking out Craig’s List – that’s when her belt fell off. My father was a farmer and a machinist – he could fix anything!  So, in the spirit of my heritage, I took a closer look.  Hm, there was a part of the machinery that was hanging at an odd angle, and at a closer look, I saw that a nut was missing!  How would I ever find a nut in a newly tilled garden?  I couldn’t, so I went to the garage.  Now, growing up on a farm, I appreciated my father’s work bench that had every size nut, bolt, nail, and screw that you could imagine!  But, alas, no nut here of the right size.  I prayed as I headed out to the garden.  “Lord, I need a miracle.  You know where that nut is.  I will NEVER find it without your help, and with out the nut (I mean the one belonging to the bolt!), Tilly is done for the day!”  What a gracious God we serve!  After another look around the garden, and when I was ready to call it quits – there was the bolt!  Jehovah-gireh!!

  1. How much do you trust God?  How hard are you leaning on the Everlasting Arms?  We often want to lean and ask only for the select items on our list: the ones that we understand.  Can you ask for His help in the areas you don’t understand; and are you ready to accept the answer He gives?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55: 8,9

  1. PATIENCE!  This is the hardest lesson we (or maybe just I) will ever face!  I was ready to junk the whole thing.  Forget gardening!  Shove Tilly over a cliff and call it a day. God’s ways are SO much higher than ours; but as Paul Harvey used to say, “Now for the rest of the story…”  Maybe tomorrow!