Button-pushing Cherub

Do you have one of these in your life—you know, the child that knows just what to say to get your blood boiling? I’ve been teaching children for forty years in various capacities: piano teacher, public and Christian school teacher, homeschool teacher, junior church and Sunday school teacher, Children’s Club and now Master Club teacher. I’ve always believed that God created me to teach. But last night, I was ready to quit.

We have three enemies: the world, our flesh, and the Devil. The world was telling me that I’m out of touch with this generation. My flesh was telling me that I’m too old. The Devil was on the sidelines hissing and nodding his agreement with the other two! And all of them were right!

I came home in tears and talked to God. When my husband came home, I could tell he was worried. My hero-fix-all-her-problems guy was sifting through his mind, looking for a way to solve this one. His solution was that a man should be in charge and I agree. But who?

After a time of relaxing, he read our devotions before turning in for the night. The devotional was just what I needed! POW! Right in the nose! God just pinned me to the wall about my heart and actions. Then, after a good night’s sleep, I did my usual start to the day: talk with my heavenly Father.  I’ve found that I MUST pray before my feet hit the floor or it doesn’t happen. I started praying for my little button-pushing-cherub, and God broke my heart.

You see, my question is, “Am I making any difference in these kids’ lives? Maybe it would be better to not allow those button-pushing-cherubs (BPCs) to come. Life would be so much easier! After all, I’m focusing on them and neglecting the good ones! They’re not listening anyway. (Typical BPC statement, and I quote: “I have an important question. When is game time?”)

Those may be true statements but they’re not from God. He put these little BPCs in my life for a reason. They are my mission! Perhaps God will use me to impact their lives!

Our theme for the year’s Master Club is “Run for God.” We’re singing “I’m Running” by Ron Hamilton and “Running for Jesus” by yours truly. As I sat in the dark talking to God, the words from these songs echoed in my brain.

I’m running, I’m running, but not for fame,

I’m running, I’m running, in Jesus’ name.

Keep running, keep running, to see His face.

Keep running, keep running the Christian race.

 

Though Satan will trip me, I’ll never give in.

I’ll never give up, or slow, or stop

I’ll run day by day.

And sing when I hear Him say, “Well Done!”

He led all the way.

Don’t give up, friend! Keep pressing on until you see His face! Don’t be mistaken, it’s a battle, but is there any other battle more worth fighting than for the souls of children? Stay in the battle until He changes the command!

 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians  3:14

Best Moments of the Day!

page28_picture0_1326119104Why do we need to get alone with God?  One reason is to follow Jesus example. We will never totally comprehend Jesus as God while He was here on earth.  We do know that part of His omnipresence and omniscience was overshadowed while He indwelt His earthly body.  Certainly, He could not be everywhere at the same time; neither did He have all knowledge. When asked about His return, Jesus said, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matthew 24:36) So, even though Jesus is God, He needed to get alone with His Father, God!

Imagine the setting: Mark 6:14-56 contains the following:

  1. John the Baptist is beheaded (14-29)
  2. A time of rest for Jesus and the disciples (30-33)
  3. Teaching and feeding of the 5,000 (34-44)
  4. Jesus send his disciples and then the people away (45)
  5. Jesus prays alone on a mountain (46)
  6. Jesus walks on water (47-53)
  7. Miracle in Gennesaret (54-56)

Seven scenarios, all concerning the activities and miracles of Jesus… except one.

And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray. Mark 6:46

When we consider all that Jesus had done that day, we can see why He needed some time alone with His Father! Notice that He sent the crowd away.  If we really want to be alone with God, we need to turn off the computer and phones, shut down Facebook, find a quiet place, and meet with God.  If Jesus needed to do that, how much more is it necessary for us?

May I say that there is no power strong enough to battle this world, our own flesh, and the devil than the Word of God.  There is no friend, blogger (including me! :)), or commentator who is compassionate, holy, and wise enough to tell us exactly what we need to hear and give us the comfort we so desperately need, because only Jesus knows our hearts. Ron Hamilton has captured the essence of a devotional time with God in his song, My Quiet Time.  I’ve emphasized all the wonderful benefits for you.

Before I start each day,
there is a special place
I love to go alone
and seek my Savior’s face:
I find wisdom in His Word
to instruct me in His will,
And I hear His gentle voice
say, “My child, be still.”

My quiet time alone
gives me power to obey.
My quiet time alone
with God each day.
I talk to Him in prayer;
ev’ry day He meets me there.
My quiet time alone with God.

He’s with me all the time,
wherever I may go;
Each moment of the day,
He’s always there I know.
But I need that special time
when I bow before His throne,
Just to read His Word
and talk with my Lord alone.

Amazing, isn’t it, that we have access to the God of the Universe!  He’s always there, always ready for us to put down the trinkets of this world, to stop working and running around like fiends, and just be still with our God, Savior, Creator, and King—our Heavenly Father. Take the time.  Make it the most important habit in your life. NOTHING will transform your life like spending time ALONE with God. Then, the words of this old, familiar hymn will become real in your life: and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.
~ Psalm 63:1

My constant prayer for myself, my family, and our congregation is that the Lord would give us a thirst for His Word—that our souls would be continually refreshed with the water of His Word in this dry and thirsty land! Ah, take a long, cool sip!

 

Say “I Love You”

ID-10014180On this special day, our thoughts are on love, and how we can show our loved ones that they are special to us.  Probably the simplest way is just to say it; however, sometimes we hesitate to say those words.  On the other hand, can we say them too much?  Our family has been accused of that, because our children, now grown and out or on their way out 🙂 of the house, often end our phone conversations by saying, “I love you.”  I always thrill to hear those words!!!

Ron Hamilton captures a wonderful truth about love in his song, Say “I Love You.”

Moments quickly pass, and our loved ones soon are gone;

Thoughts of love we feel reach the heart but not the tongue.

Words we speak in anger tumble out and bring regret;

Words of love are often never said.

 

Life is but a vapor, quickly vanishing away;

Wait until tomorrow and your chance may flee away.

Give a fragrant flower while its beauty still can charm;

Give a kiss to warm the longing heart.

 

Say “I love you,” while the heart can feel;

Say “I love you” while the hurt can heal.

Make a heart rejoice, give your love a voice;

Speak the words while you can say, “I love you.”

Thoughts of love–do you remember those first days when you realized that he was the one?  Do you remember the thrill that went through you when he walked into the room?  Do you remember how your thoughts were constantly on him: What’s he doing now?  I wonder if he’s thinking of me?  Oh, he’d love that card!  Should I give him a call?

It takes time, effort, forgiveness and a whole lot of love to keep thoughts of love in a marriage, but it is possible!!  If you are blessed to have a husband who still kisses you good night, thank God.  As the song says, “Life is but a vapor, quickly vanishing away.”  At the risk of sounding like an old geezer (if you must know I AM ONLY 54!), life does pass quickly!  And how are we living it?  Are there relationships that need to be mended?  Do your part to MEND THEM.  Are there words that need to be said?  SAY THEM!  Are there words that shouldn’t be said?  DON’T SAY THEM! Are there people you should visit, or a letter you should write, or a cake that should be baked and taken to a neighbor,  or a child to be hugged?  Take the Nike challenge:  JUST DO IT!  Life is too short to keep putting it off.

Once again, I quote my favorite movie: Ever After.  At the very end, the descendant of Cinderella who is telling the story (you might want to check out my blog: “I WILL NOT YIELD” for more lessons from that movie), ends by saying something like: “And it’s not that they lived happily ever after, but that they lived!”

Live, and let love live in your heart and life; and in so doing, you let God live in your heart and life, because…

“God is love.” 1 John 4:8

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What happens when you don’t heed the warnings!

025Well, it finally happened – I looked down and noticed a stone missing from my ring.  I’ve been worried about the prongs; so I took it to several places and they all warned me that the prongs were in bad shape.  I looked at in under a very powerful magnifying glass and noticed that the one prong was pointing straight up.  No wonder it felt rough!  So, I pushed it back down – there!  No problem.  Not really.  That extra pushing and bending must have weakened it because not only is the prone gone, but the stone is gone as well!

Why didn’t I listen?  Because I thought I knew better!  I can take care of it and save money to boot!  I knew it would be expensive to get it fixed at the jewelers, but now it’s going to cost me even more!

I am writing this from the sponsor lounge at the Wilds Christian Camp in North Carolina and the spiritual applications are too numerous to share; however, as we listened to the speaker pouring out his heart last night to the teens about fighting the battles that they are facing and being a victor instead of a victim, I realized that I am a victim of my own making!  I knew what to do but didn’t do it because it would cost me too much!  How many of those teens know what they need to do but won’t do it because it will cost them too much: their friends, their pleasure, their comfort?

I’m thinking of a young man who came to this camp seven years ago.  He was in my son’s cabin, and because of how the Lord was directing our lives, our paths would often cross again over the years.  He heard all the warnings that these teens are hearing, but he did not heed them.  Now, seven years later, he has fathered three children to three different women.  His life is a mess.  God can still get hold of his life and change it, but the scars will be there for a lifetime! Sin will always cost more than we want to pay and take us further than we wanted to go.

As you read this, what warning signs are you ignoring?  Do you see them in your children – perhaps they are not going the way you would like for them to go.  Is it a bad habit that you know you should give up or a good habit that you know you should start?

“Do it now, don’t delay!

Don’t put it off for another day!

Go ahead begin it; right this very minute.  You’d better do it now!”

  (Thank you Ron Hamilton, Kidnapped on I-Land!)

 

If only I had done it sooner!  I’m thankful my SIN of procrastination only cost me a tiny stone!  How much greater the cost always is when we procrastinate in our spiritual walk!

 

 “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”

Acts 26:28

The Parable of the Sower

The peas are done, so I pulled them and all the weeds from that area out this morning.  They were planted in the lower section of the garden in the best soil.  As I dug and pulled and felt the rich earth, I wondered what to plant next.  I don’t think I’ve ever done a second planting.  It’s obviously too late for some plants and too hot for others, but the soil is ready and it would be a shame to leave it lie dormant through our short growing season.  (I say short, because we are on top of a mountain which means we lose about two weeks of growing time compared to gardeners just down the “hill.” J)

As I read the parable of the sower this morning, I thought again about the valuable lessons our Lord gave us in that parable.  In fact, Jesus warns his disciples that this parable is paramount: “…know ye not this parable?  And how then will ye know all parables?” (Mark 4:13)  In other words, if you don’t get this one, you’ll never understand the rest!

So where do you and I fit into the scenario?  We’d all like to think that we are “good ground” hearers 100% of the time, but that probably is far from the truth!  Am I a “wayside” hearer – so hardened to God’s word that Satan can easily distract me before the Word has a change to make a difference?  Or am I the “stony ground” hearer – I’m ready to do anything for the Lord.  My hand is up volunteering before my brain is in gear.  God’s message comes across and I make big plans and bigger promises; however, as soon as the “going gets tough,” I’m out of there!  How sad to be the “thorny ground” hearer, but I believe this description fits most of us!  We take in the Word, it even convicts our hearts.  We make a choice to change; however, the change never takes place because the “cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things” came into our lives leaving no room for God’s changing power to take affect.  These things “choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.”  Why is this type of ground so “popular?”  Back to the garden for more lessons!  I till the ground at the beginning of the season, so the soil is not hardened after lying fallow all winter.  I plan the garden in a good area, where the soil is rich and deep.  That rules out the “wayside” and “stony ground” difficulties.  But the weeds – they are with us until we reach that great garden in the sky!!!  We all have cares.  Most of us fall prey to wanting more (riches and lusts of other things).  This is where we live – with the weeds!  And they want to choke the godly life right out of us, making us unfruitful.

Just a while ago, I was listening to http://www.abidingradio.org.  If you have not discovered this wonderful treasure of good conservative Christian music, check it out.  The song “I saw Jesus in you” by Ron Hamilton was just on.  It makes me want to cry every time I hear it!  Oh, to hear those words from my Creator, Redeemer and King!  Keep pulling those weeds dear reader!!! Keep close to the Lord.  Keep your heart tender.  Do you think that we will ever regret any decision we make for God when we see Him face to face?  “Boy, I wish I hadn’t gone to church so often!”  or “I really regret memorizing all those verses and trying to live for God!”  Duh!

“And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.” Mark, 4:20