Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Resolutions, No Lingering

Coming to the end of 2009 and looking ahead to a new year, there are plenty of questions and uncertainties. I know for me there are plenty of concerns. But the same God who held us all in His hand and brought us safely through 2009 will lead and carry us through 2010. As we make our list of New Years Resolutions and all the goals we hope to reach and things we hope to accomplish, I'd suggest we all look back on the resolutions of Jonathan Edwards and fill our lives with the same passion and the same heart as that great man of God....and many more just like him.

My list this year contains more than just the usual "work out more," "loose five pounds," and "eat healthier" resolutions. Mine contains a much greater list of things I want to accomplish more for the Kingdom. Things like:

1. Point and lead more people to Jesus
2. Win more souls for Christ
3. Sing stronger and speak more boldly
4. Spend over an hour in prayer each day
5. Study the Bible with more fervor than ever before....

As we wave goodbye to 2009 and say hello to 2010, let us Christians be resolved to stand firm upon the Word of God, unshaken and uncompromising. At this time, preparing to ring out the old year, and ring in the new, I'm reminded of the great hymn that says,

I am resolved no longer to linger
Charmed by the world's delight

Things that are higher, things that are nobler
These have allured my sight

I will hasten to Him!
Hasten so glad and free
Jesus, Greatest, Highest
I will run to Thee

May it be so...

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Giver of Gifts

For the past two days, I've been Christmas shopping. And what's funny is, I practically finished my shopping before Thanksgiving. But I LOVE going "shopping" during the actual holiday season. Even if I only walk around the mall or around main street and window shop.

I have a huge family, so there are plenty of things to buy every Christmas. I've only wrapped four gifts! The rest are stacked against the wall in boxes, shoved under my bed, or crammed into my closet. I have quite a bit of wrapping left to do, come to think of it.

At this time of year, we often get too caught up in the gift-getting and gift-giving process. We anxiously and excitedly write out our lists of all the great things we want. We run to the store and buy up plenty of wrapping paper, boxes, bows, ribbon, tape, scissors.... we wrap each gift with care and place it under the tree, then look at it often, pleased with the job we did. Or we browse through all the gifts trying to find that one present with our name written on the card. Gifts, gifts, gifts. Sometimes, we get consumed with gifts, yet we forget about THE GIFT God gave us long ago. When we were desperately in need, God gave us the fulfillment of all - Jesus Christ. And not only that, but He continues to fill us with more gifts throughout our life, in our daily walk with Him!

This is a little reminder - to you all reading and also to myself - gifts are wonderful and fun, but the true gift is Jesus. And we don't get this gift once a year, we get it every moment of every day. Each year, we say "Remember the Reason for the Season!" and it's become clique' because we say it, then forget it entirely. So let's make an effort to TRULY remember the reason, not just for the season, but for every day. Let's remember the reason why we give gifts to begin with; the reason we get gifts. It's all because of Christ who was the Ultimate Gift 2,000 years ago. And everything about this wonderful time of year is due to Him and His birth.

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Clear The Stage

This video had an amazing impact upon my heart. Sent to me by my lovely Momma, it moved me and convicted my soul.

We are the next generation. We need to take note. It's time, as Christians, to clear the stage and to clear our hearts, and minds, and lives; to be rid of all idols....and simply worship the One True God.

Clear the stage...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I've Got Plenty to Be Thankful For

Here we are....Thanksgiving Day 2009. If you'll alow me, I'd like to jot down a small list (and, indeed, it is small) of things I am most thankful for this year. I'd encourage you all to do the same. :)

I'm thankful for...

* God's unconditional love, His grace, and Salvation
* The Word of God given to us for hope, wisdom, instruction, etc.
* The greatest Dad in all the world
* The best Momma in all the world
* The cutest, silliest, most wonderful sisters
* My grandmothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins
* My fiance' who is my best friend
* The Ministry my family surrendered to years ago
* Our Campground and all the good God has done through it
* The ability to "go and tell the world"
* The strength to endure whatever comes
* The opportunity to travel around the world
* All the gifts and talents God has blessed me with
* All the people I've been privileged to meet & sing with
* The opportunity to be on the radio and reach people for Jesus that way
* The hardships, trials, persecution, etc. ("consider it joy...")
* The craziest friends EVER!! (but also the best too :)
* Moments of love, unity, and prayer with my friends
* The opportunity to witness and see souls saved!
* The cards, e-mails, phone calls, & chats that make life sweeter
* The nights of watching movies with my family
* The wisdom talks from my Dad
* My prayer warriors and soul sisters...they know who they are :)
* My beautiful horse, my cute little kitty, and all our other pets
* God's provision
* My circle of gal-pals who encourage and strengthen me
* My home
* My Church
* Living in this Country
* The freedom to worship my God
* The gift of music
* The spirit of love and giving that comes this time of year.

It's quite a task, unfortunately, remembering these things all year. Sadly, we tend to only think of thankfulness at...well... Thanksgiving. But we should keep them in remembrance all throughout the year.

My uncle taught me this Hebrew song many years ago...

Hodu la' Adonai ki tov.
Ki le'olam chasdo.
Hodu la' Adonai ki tov.
Ki le'olam chasdo.

Give thanks unto the Lord for He is good.
For His everlasting Grace.
Give thanks unto the Lord for He is good.
For His everlasting Grace.

Let us give thanks where it is due this Thanksgiving season....and always.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Lesson from an Acorn

"God's ultimate plan was as far beyond our imaginings as the oak tree is from the acorn's imaginings. The acorn does what it was made to do, without pestering its Maker with questions about when and how and why. We who have been given an intelligence and a will and a whole range of wants that can be set against the divine Pattern for Good are asked to believe Him. We are given the chance to trust Him when He says to us, "

...If any man will let himself be lost for my sake, he will find his true self.

"When will we find it? we ask.

The answer is, Trust Me.
How will we find it? The answer again is, Trust Me.
Why must I let myself be lost? we persist.

The answer is, Look at the acorn and trust Me.

-Written by Elisabeth Elliot, Passion & Purity
Titus 2:13 -
"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;"

Hebrews 12:2 -
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Psalm 40:3-4a -
"And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust..."

Be Like The Deer...Run to Water

I'm not sure about the north, but I know that if you're from the south, then you will most likely be wearing camo around this time. Deer season begins a week from today this year.

You may be wondering, "What does deer season have anything to do with Christianity?"Well, one verse stands out to me at this time of year.

Psalm 42:1 -
"As the hart (deer) panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God."

My Dad taught me years ago that when a deer is hit, they run to water. Their mouth dries up, and they try to get moisture from the air. So they pant and run towards water...towards life. should we.

Life is hard. Sometimes we get hit. And sometimes when things go wrong, we tend to look up to the sky and yell "WHY God?!" But instead of doubting your Creator and Savior, be like the deer. Run to water. Run to life. Run to Him! Jesus said in His word that those who drink the water He gives shall never thirst again. They will be refreshed and fulfilled and satisfied. When we are wounded, let us run to Him and drink Him in. Let Him quench our thirst. He promised to do so...

John 4:13-14 -
"Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."

As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after Thee.
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship Thee.

You alone are my strength, my shield,
To You alone may my spirit yield.
You alone are my heart's desire,
And I long to worship Thee.

You're my friend and you are my brother
Even though You are a King.
I love You more than any other,
So much more than anything.

I want You more than gold or silver
Only You can satisfy.

You alone are the real joy giver
And the apple of my eye.

You alone are my strength, my shield,
To You alone may my spirit yield.
You alone are my heart's desire,
And I long to worship Thee.

If you're like me, then you desire to live every day literally panting for Christ. Whether you're an avid deer hunter or you're more enthused about being indoors, learn a lesson from the deer.

Pant for your Savior.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Silence....and Noise!

Not long ago, I was reading various passages and one little thing kept popping up - noise. It got me thinking. Have you ever tried to pray and then heard the phone ring? Or thought about something you forgot to do? Have you ever said, I'm going to sit down and read my Bible - really read it! - and then, when the time came, the TV from the other room was blaring or your brothers or sisters decided to play tag in the house? Noise. Noise. Noise!! I realized, we get so used to the noise of life that, sometimes, we subconsciously crave noise and forget how to be silent. We forget what it says in Ecclesiastes, "to everything there is a season......a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;" (verses 1 and 7) We forget that Jesus still speaks in that still, small voice.

It puzzles me wondering why we beg God to speak to us and then we fill our lives with so much noise and distractions that prevent us from hearing what He has to say. It's almost like asking God to call us and then having our music blaring so loudly that we can't hear the phone ring. A bit silly, don't you think?

Speak to me
In the silence, or in the noise!
Because Lord, sometimes I'm just not still

Sometimes I'm just not still. Don't you hate that? Though we don't mean to, sometimes we tune God out. We get carried about by the bustle of the life we live. School, work, deadlines, homework, bills, activities, social events, Church events, family outings, errands, chores...stuff has to be done! And as the clock ticks, we wonder how we're going to squeeze it all in and we forget about the One thing our whole existence should be built upon - Jesus! We forget that we will be restless and unsteady inside unless we have our Cornerstone, our Rock, and our Foundation set and in place! Most times we long to hear the Lord speak to us, but there is too much noise ringing in our ears that it's nearly impossible to detect His voice. We've got to learn to be still and be silent. We need to learn to put our relationship with the LORD first along with all the time, energy, care, commitment, and sacrifice that is required of us. When we learn to shut off the noise and center our focus (and our ears!) on the Lord, then we grow a little more and the lines are open to where we can hear His voice more clearly!

So as the holidays draw near, remember to be still. Take the time to get alone with God every day and listen to what He has to say. Unplug the phone. Turn off the computer, the TV, and the cell phone. Go for a walk. Pull over on the highway and sit still. He has so many amazing things He wants us to know and many exciting adventures and treasures...and all we have to do is just sit still and listen.

Christianity and Babe Ruth

Last night at Bible study, we read a very profound verse in Colossians.

Colossians 1:26-27
"Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:"

What is the mystery this verse is talking about? My Dad put it in very good words.
Say you want to try out for the Red Sox. You go and you tell the coach that you'd like to hit a few balls.

"No way!" the coach yells. "You're a nobody!"

"Just one hit," you say.

After a hesitant sigh, the coach agrees. "One hit. That's all."

You go and grab a bat and stand on the home plate. The pitcher comes and, humorously, throws you a curve ball. You swing and THWACK! The ball flies....and mouths drop.

"Another!" you say.

A second ball is thrown. THWACK!! There it goes again.

Then you point and say "I'll hit it that way next." And sure enough. THWACK!!!

Home run.

Now everyone is standing in awe, wondering who you are! Why, you're just an average Joe and yet you play baseball like a seasoned professional!

.....but they don't know the secret. The secret is this: Babe Ruth has come back from the dead and is now living inside of you. The power and ability you have to hit home runs is only because Babe Ruth is doing it through you.

Now, let's apply this spiritually. Here we are on the field. We pick up a bat. A ball is thrown. THWACK!! A stunned Satan thought that would work. But no matter, here comes a second ball. THWACK!! Satan tries again. THWACK!! You hit it again, for the third time. Satan had a mind to strike you out, yet you hit a home run every time.


Because you have a secret. The great Defeater, Jesus Christ, has come back from the dead and is now living inside of you. And every hit, every swing, every run, every victory is a direct result of His power in your life. It's not really you achieving that victory. It's Him.

We are nobodies. We can't hit a home run spiritually (or physically in my case). We can't swing a bat with the force of a Major League Baseball player. We can't resist sin. We can't glorify God in our bodies. We can't do least on our own. But we have a secret to success. A secret to victory. A secret which is a mystery to the lost world.

Jesus Christ is inside of us...

He is the super hero....the "Babe Ruth" if you please. He is the power. He is the ability. He is the mystery that is now revealed to those who are in Him. And He is waiting for us to showcase His strength, His might, His power, His love - His everything! - in our our lives.

May it be so for all of us.


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