Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Verses 7/8 of 52!

I have been memorizing my verses, but have been too busy to post them on here. So to catch up, here are verses 7 and 8:

"Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another." (Galatians 5:26)


"For if by one man's offence, death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace of of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:17)
(Only 4 more verses to go before the whole chapter is memorized, praise God!!!)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday - The Ministry of Letter Writing

The Ministry of Letter Writing
Previously posted on Rubies Like Ruth (August 2011)

Letter writing is an old art that is still continued by a select few young ladies. Girls write (or email) for amusement, to keep up friendships, for communication, and to get a reply. All of these are fun reasons to write, but I like to think of writing as a ministry as well. We see a vivid example of ministering by letters in the New Testament. Paul wrote many letters to different churches and men, challenging them in their walk with God and sharing truth.

Our notes can bring a smile to one’s face and brighten their day. A word of encouragement can help a sister in her walk with God. A question can challenge one to stay faithful. Most importantly, a letter can simply show the love of Christ.

In my love for letter-writing, God has shown me a few ways that I can minister with letters:
     1. Pray that God will give me some way to encourage my pen-pal
     2. Write not just to those who are “fun” to write to, but those who will need the encouragement
     3. Pray for the person to whom I am writing
     4. Include a verse with which God has been challenging me
     5. Humbly share an area in which God has been growing me
     6. Ask them about a specific area of their walk with God (prayer, Bible reading, memorizing)
     7. Ask if there is a specific area that I can pray for them

There are many ways we can minister to a friend in letters – sometimes we simply need to ask God to show us what He would have us to do and be tender towards His leading.

The next time you go to write a letter or type an email, let me challenge you to make it worthwhile. Do not just “chat,” but leave your friend with something that ministers to her heart.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday - Quality or Conviction?

Quality or Conviction?
Previously posted at my family's blog

Capable musicians are a growing need for churches. Many churches do without musicians because no one in their congregation is musically inclined. Other churches hire out their musicians. Most churches require an instrumentalist to be accomplished, but they neglect to inquire if the musician is a born-again believer. Does this matter?

The Bible speaks of those who were allowed to participate in the music of the temple. The clearest accounts we see are in 1 and 2 Chronicles.

And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the
singers with instruments of musick, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding,
by lifting up the voice with joy. (1 Chronicles 15:16)

The musicians were not just any accomplished musicians. They were chosen from the Levites – the tribe that God had set apart for the purpose of leading Israel in worship (Numbers 1:47-50). We see that though they were skillful in their music (1 Chronicles 15:22), their goal was strictly to praise and thank the Lord.

It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound  to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD;” 2 Chronicles 5:13).

They were not playing for money’s sake, to show off their skill, or even just to fill a need. They were personally praising God with their music.

According to Psalm 86, the reason one can praise God is because of salvation.

I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy
name for evermore. For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast
delivered my soul from the lowest hell. (Psalm 86:12-13)

Just because a person is qualified musically to fill the place of church musician does not mean that they should. Scripture seems to indicate that a church musician should be a believer of the Lord Jesus Christ; a person who has experienced His saving grace. If he is not saved, how could he fill this place that God has specifically chosen as another form to worship Him?

The church musician plays a very important role in the church. It should be filled by someone who can worship the Lord “in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)

Snap-shot taken by my brother

“I will declare Thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation
will I praise Thee. Ye that fear the LORD, praise Him;
all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify Him; and fear Him,
all ye the seed of Israel.” (Psalm 22:22-23) 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Verse 6 of 52!

This week's verse is Romans 5:16,

"And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift; for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification."

I cannot lie. Last week, I memorized another verse because I had a very difficult time committing this one to memory!!! After much prayer and much review, God allowed me to get this one down.

Memorizing verses is so neat! When you read different verses, sometimes the meaning pops out to you, but when you're memorizing them, you almost have to understand them in order to really memorize them. Then, after you have them memorized, you can pull them out at any time and meditate on them - and learn new truths from them.

That is basically what happened with Romans 5:16. To get the full meaning, I had to review Romans 5:15 (“But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one, many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, hath abounded unto many.”). Then, as I continued to memorize, the beauty of the difference from being judged to being justified really stuck out to me. How grateful I am for God's salvation!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday - Claiming True Beauty

Claiming True Beauty
Previously posted on Rubies Like Ruth (May 2011)

A frown crossed Marie’s face as she stroked the brush through her hair. It was not exactly a describable color – it wasn’t a blonde, or brown, red, or black. It was just . . . some color. Her gaze left her hair and briefly studied her face. She tried to feign a smile, but her forehead creased with dissatisfaction. No, she was not at all pretty. With a small sigh, she turned and left the mirror.

How many of us are like Marie? The “girl in the mirror” is not nearly as pretty as our eyes would like to behold, but the “girl in the mirror” is the true, unchangeable “me.” A girl’s dream is perhaps to be slender, tall/short, with beautiful hair, and of course, pretty features. But more often than not, we stand in front of the mirror thinking, “I’m just plain and ugly.” In a frantic attempt to undo this insufferable ugliness we paint ourselves, changing what we can but leaving much more than we want undone.

When indulging ourselves in this vain self-pity, how often do we stop to consider what we are doing? The God Who told Jeremiah “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee” (Jeremiah 1:5, KJV) is also the God Who formed us. The God Who was praised “for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) is the same God Who should be praised for His marvelous handiwork of our lives. The God Who made Adam in His Image (Genesis 1:26) still creates humans in His Image. The God Who did all this is the same God to Whom we are ungrateful for the appearance He gave us.

Have we forgotten that “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised?” (Proverbs 31:30) Even Jesus was prophesied as a man who had “no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” (Isaiah 53:2) It was not outward attractions that drew people to Christ – it was Him, His perfect loveliness.

As Christians, we are to be like Christ; but too often I am afraid that we lose focus. Instead of perfecting that inward beauty, we look at outward beauty. Are we more focused on vain beauty than we are on significant beauty? Are we so concerned about what others think of us that we forget to ask, “Let others see Thee in me?” Is our physical face more important than the face we put on the title “Christian?”

If our aim is towards any beauty at all, should it not be the beauty described in 1 Peter 3: 3-4? “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” Facial flawlessness and a perfect form may be what the world sees as great beauty, but here the Bible clearly states that the meek and quiet spirit is “in the sight of God a great price.” Is the value of outward beauty so great that we would trade it for God’s acceptance?

Nothing is more beautiful than a girl or young woman who is sold out to Christ, and there is nothing uglier than a girl who has all the “beauty” of the world, yet is vain, proud, selfish, and etc. Which are we going to choose?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Verse 5 of 52!

My fifth verse for this challenge is 2 Corinthians 10:12. (Yes, I veered away from Romans 5 this week, but Lord willing, will be back on track with that in a week or two):

For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves; but they measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves among themselves are not wise.
(By memory, so I might have missed punctuation or words)

SO much can be said on the matter of comparison. What a great reminder to stay away from comparison, as it is a poison that affects much of what we do or do not do.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday - The 5-second Prayer

Five-Second Prayer
Previously published with Incorruptible Beauty newsletter in 2009

A few months ago we had the director of BEAMS Bible Ministries (beamsbibles.org) speak at our church. As he was closing his presentation, he asked how many of us would dedicate to pray a five-second prayer for them. It was a strange request, so he went on to explain, “A five-second prayer is when you are mowing your lawn, doing your work, or whatever else, and happen to think of us; take the time to bow your head, and say a quick, five-second prayer for us and BEAMS Ministries.” The response he got after the explanation was vibrant consent.

After that Sunday, I thought a little more about the five-second prayer. Many times, I have had different acquaintances flash through my mind at odd times; could those times have been when God wanted me to lift them up in a short prayer? Though God’s Word indicates that we are to spend much time with Him in prayer, I believe that those five-second prayers are also essential. We do not know what an individual is dealing with at the moment we think of them.

Another challenge with the five-second prayer is capturing our thoughts. As I hear different news my thoughts tend to wander, often resulting in some very judgmental thoughts towards fellow-believers. Recently, God has convicted me with the challenge, “You can think about them and inwardly judge them as much as you want, but if you do not pray for them, you will succeed only in injuring yourself.” What truth! Now, as God helps me, when I am tempted to think badly towards others, I instead lift them up in prayer. The outcome is not only having peace in leaving the results up to God, but also having a freedom from evil thoughts and surmising.

What can be benefited by a five-second prayer? I am sure that we will never know. We should just be sure that we immediately obey God and His prompting

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. I John 5:14-15

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