Monday, December 23, 2013

Not ANOTHER White Van!?

Our van had been slowly dying. For the past three years, my Dad claimed that our van ran on, “A hop and a prayer.” I know that we often saw God’s hand at work in our long, white Chevy Express as we prepared for local and long-distance ministry trips. However, there is always the point when it is time for the new.

Our faithful "White Elephant"

The beginning of this year, as God directed our family to focus more on traveling with our singing ministry it became very obvious that our eight-year old van needed replacement. Our dreams ballooned as Dad and my brother browsed the internet for vans and . . . buses!!!! Oh, to travel in the luxury of a 24-seat bus instead of cramping us fourteen Teros in a fifteen-passenger van with instrument cases stowed under seats, keeping my feet strictly in front of me and my brother’s camera back-pack limiting my stretch-ability in front. And to have a bus! That meant no six-foot white trailer bumping behind with our ice-chest hidden under an avalanche of sleeping bags and duffels. Instead, we would have luxurious over-head storage, under-the-seat storage and extra room behind the seats! And an ice-chest that we could reach without stopping.

Months passed and we looked. My favorite bus we nicknamed the “Coca-Cola” bus – white with red swirly accents. But there was always one major downside: buses cost almost twice as much as a fifteen-passenger van and . . . we did not even have money for a new van. This is nothing new, though, as we have watched in awe how God has provided to the penny our needs every time. We knew that, according to God’s will, He would provide. And as God is so faithful, He did it again! When God provided the funds for a new vehicle for the ministry, the search began genuinely. It did not take long to realize that our dreams for a bus were not a need but a want. Yes, it would be luxurious to travel in a bus, however, God did not provide money for a bus – He provided just enough for us to get . . . another fifteen-passenger van (“Please, Daddy, can we find another color besides white? How boring to get practically the same van!!!”).

Three months passed and the search for a fifteen-passenger van poised some difficulties. Dad found a van and he and Mom drove four hours to get it. They arrived at the dealership and began talking with the man only to discover that they changed the price that morning. Difficulties swelled and my parents came home in our old faithful “big white elephant.” We were disappointed, but this experience answered our prayer: it was very clear that this van was not for us. This experience also helped us to realize that though we were dreaming smaller, the dreams were still too big. We were having a difficult time accepting the exact amount God had given us for a new van and were searching above our limit.

More browsing online. Dad found another van – this time 6 ½ hours away in Texas ( Dad called the dealership and told them the price that God had given us for a new van -- we needed the van and all of the legal work completed with that price. They were more than willing to work with us and long day short, the drive was made to Texas, the van was bought (complete with the extra blessing of new tires), and is now gracing our driveway. 

Another fifteen-passenger. Another Chevy. Another white van. But, it was another lesson to learn that God may not provide our desires but He is always faithful to provide our needs.

The old . . .

. . . the new!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

. . .


As I was reading in my Bible this morning, I "came across" Psalm 136 which begins,

"O give thanks unto the Lord;
for He is good:
for His mercy endureth forever."

Of course, with Thanksgiving tomorrow, the first part grabbed me. But then, as I read through the whole chapter, it's hard not to notice each verse ending, "for His mercy endureth forever." So often, we think of God's mercies as the good things and we thank Him only for those things. But sometimes, God's mercies are disguised with trials, Him withholding our perception of "what's good for me" (Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good, to them who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."). It is easy to list the benefits, blessings, and good things, but do we "in every thing give thanks?" (Ephesians 5:20) It is quite perspective-changing to thank God for even the difficult things of life!

Has the Lord given you a special verse for this Thanksgiving? I'd love to hear it!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


King's Blooming Rose is having a giveaway! This is a neat ministry directed to helping young ladies and I have been blessed by some of their challenges in the past two years.

 KBR Ministries: Encouraging Girl in their Christian Walks

Thursday, October 31, 2013


This is my Father's world,
And to my list'ning ears,
All nature sings, and round me rings
The music of the spheres.

This is my Father's world,
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas,
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father's world,
The birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white,
Declare their Maker's praise.

This is my Father's world,
He shines in all that's fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father's world,
O let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet.

This is my Father's world,
The battle is not done,
Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav'n be one.

{This is My Father's World by Maltbie D. Babcock}

Thursday, October 17, 2013

When God Calls a Daughter to be Sarah

The story of Abraham and Sarah fascinates me. What trust of a woman who follows her husband into the unknown, following a God that their fathers did not serve!

Sometimes, we girls dream of following our future husbands that way. In our minds, we are totally dedicated to our husbands – “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord” (1 Peter 3:6). If God calls our husband to a foreign mission-field, we will go! If God calls him to travel the country, we will go! If God calls him to be a music minister, we will go! We are prepared to follow God through our husbands when that day comes.

But what if God calls our Dad?

If God calls our Dad to a foreign mission field, will we go? (“But there are no eligible young men in Papua New Guinea!”) If God calls our Dad to travel the country, will we go? If God calls our Dad to be a music minister, a pastor, a soul-winning layman, will we go? If God calls our Dad to stand for truth even when others disagree or lead his family in a way contrary to others . . . will we go? Are we prepared to follow God through our Dad?

It looks glorious to be a dedicated little wife, faithfully submitting to her husband (Ephesians 5:22, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.”), but to submit to our dads!? When following our Dad means we have to leave friends, lose friends over differences, go where there seems to be no future husbands for us, or be the “different” girl, we are not so ready to be a “dedicated little {daughter}, faithfully submitting to her {dad},” ready to go and support him where God has led him. However, before a girl can submit to her future husband, she has to learn to submit to her Dad (Hebrews 13:17, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” – Ephesians 6:1, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”).

As a daughter, we have the privilege and honor of being our Dad’s cheer-leading team, his support-group, and his encourager. But we can destroy that privilege by being our Dad’s resistance, his sorrow, and his discouragement.

Though written for all believers, there are a few simple truths that we should apply for being our Dad’s supporter:
~We must strive to keep ourselves in unity with our Dad’s decisions
     Romans 15:5-6 – “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
     Philippians 2:2 – “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”

~We must faithfully pray for our Dad

     1 Timothy 2:1-2 – “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”

~We must close our lips when tempted to disagree with our Dad’s decisions
     Philippians 2:3 – “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”
     Philippians 2:14 – “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.”
     1 Peter 3:10-11 – “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile. Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.”

~We must forget how our Dad’s decisions affect our wants and support him
     Philippians 2:3a-4 – “but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”

When God calls a daughter to be like Sarah – to leave her family, her friends, and follow God – God also gives her the grace to follow (2 Corinthians 12:9, “And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”). Sarah could not follow Abraham in her own strength, nor can we follow our Dad or our future husband in our own strength. But: “I can do all things, through Christ, which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Is God calling you to be a Sarah? How will you respond?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Waiting for the "Foundation"

There are many “buts” in our life. The “buts” are generally . . . excuses. “I would do this, but . . .”

The other day, I found a very interesting “but” in God’s Word. “From the first day of the seventh month began they (Israel) to offer burnt offerings unto the LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not yet laid.” (Ezra 3:6)

Israel was coming from the pagan enemy’s land to rebuild the temple by decree of King Cyrus (see Ezra 1:1-3). Almost immediately when they returned to Jerusalem, the city of the temple, they began sacrificing to God. Nothing hindered their service to the one true God. Not even the fact that the temple was not prepared or ready!

As I read this captivating story of Israel’s return to God, I began to realize that there are many “foundations” I am placing as prerequisites for my service to God. Things that in my eyes make sense, but in reality are a just an excuse for my disobedience to God’s gentle prodding. It can be as easy as, “Lord, if you answer this prayer, then I will . . .” or, “Yes, Lord, I see that I should do this, but I must wait until tomorrow.” or as far-sighted as, “Lord, I’ll do this, but it makes sense to be married first.” When we feel God’s leading, we do not need the “foundation of the temple” to be set in order before we begin. We can begin as soon as He tells us.

What “foundation” are you waiting for before giving your life, your possessions, and your time to God?
e-heigh*�raX�i P�t nbsp;

Today, stop and reconsider how you treasure God’s Word. Is it special to you? If it is special to you, how often do you read it? Memorize it? Talk of it?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

It is Written . . . for ME!!!

Stop for a moment and think about how great our God is. He created all that eye can see (Genesis 1:1), there is none greater than He (Psalm 77:13), and He is all powerful (Exodus 15:6).

Our Great, Powerful, Almighty, Holy, Perfect, Righteous, Creator God created something for each of His children to have: something that we can hold in our hands, something that we can understand, and something that will greatly help us. It is just another one of God’s wonderful gifts to us – and yet, how often do we throw it aside? How often do we view it as “boring?” How often do we view something else as more important?

This gift is God’s Word – the Holy Bible.

{following emphasis added}
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

“According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1:3-4)

 “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)

God knew that we needed this gift, or else He would not have given it. But do we see that we need it?

Today, stop and reconsider how you treasure God’s Word. Is it special to you? If it is special to you, how often do you read it? Memorize it? Talk of it?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Just reading, or learning?

The other day, as I read through my morning Psalm, I was lifted and encouraged. It is so beautiful to bask in the truths of God’s Word, to rely on those truths, and to claim them as promises for us!!!

However, I do not always enjoy my time reading God’s Word. Sometimes I read “just to check it off my list” or skim through the page, not trying to glean anything from it. Often, I shut my Bible, continue my daily life, and forget all that I just read.

The Lord continually convicts me of this problem, and I have learned that I need to ask Him to bless my reading time and help me to learn from Him. Psalm 119:18 is a verse that I often pray: "Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law."

How is your Bible-reading going? Has the Lord used a verse, two verses, passage, or chapter in your life recently?

And since I mentioned it, here is the Psalm that God used in my life the other day:
Psalm 103
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name.
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:
3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all thy diseases;
4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.
6 The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.
7 He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel.
8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
9 He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger for ever.
10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.
12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.
13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear Him.
14 For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him, and His righteousness unto children's children;
18 To such as keep His covenant, and to those that remember His commandments to do them.
19 The LORD hath prepared His throne in the heavens; and His kingdom ruleth over all.
20 Bless the LORD, ye His angels, that excel in strength, that do His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His Word.
21 Bless ye the LORD, all ye His hosts; ye ministers of His, that do His pleasure.

22 Bless the LORD, all His works in all places of His dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Prayer— Battle in “The Secret Place”

Again, I am sharing the devotional that I read this morning that really encouraged me.

My Utmost for His Highest (by Oswald Chambers)
August 23

When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly —Matthew 6:6

Jesus did not say, “Dream about your Father who is in the secret place,” but He said, “. . . pray to your Father who is in the secret place. . . .” Prayer is an effort of the will. After we have entered our secret place and shut the door, the most difficult thing to do is to pray. We cannot seem to get our minds into good working order, and the first thing we have to fight is wandering thoughts. The great battle in private prayer is overcoming this problem of our idle and wandering thinking. We have to learn to discipline our minds and concentrate on willful, deliberate prayer.
We must have a specially selected place for prayer, but once we get there this plague of wandering thoughts begins, as we begin to think to ourselves, “This needs to be done, and I have to do that today.” Jesus says to “shut your door.” Having a secret stillness before God means deliberately shutting the door on our emotions and remembering Him. God is in secret, and He sees us from “the secret place”— He does not see us as other people do, or as we see ourselves. When we truly live in “the secret place,” it becomes impossible for us to doubt God. We become more sure of Him than of anyone or anything else. Enter into “the secret place,” and you will find that God was right in the middle of your everyday circumstances all the time. Get into the habit of dealing with God about everything. Unless you learn to open the door of your life completely and let God in from your first waking moment of each new day, you will be working on the wrong level throughout the day. But if you will swing the door of your life fully open and “pray to your Father who is in the secret place,” every public thing in your life will be marked with the lasting imprint of the presence of God.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

About Friendships and Disillusionments

Yesterday, I read a devotional that, while it took me reading through twice to understand, struck me as an amazing reminder of how I view my friendships.

From My Utmost for His Highest
By Oswald Chambers 
(July 30)
"Jesus did not commit Himself unto them . . . for He knew what was in man." (John 2:24-25)

"Disillusionment means that there are no more false judgments in life. To be undeceived by disillusionment may leave us cynical and unkindly sever in our judgment of others, but the disillusionment which comes from God brings us to the place where we see men and women as they really are, and yet there is no cynicism, we have no stinging bitter things to say. Many of the cruel things in life spring from the fact that we suffer from illusions. We are not true to one another as facts; we are true only to our ideas of one another. Everything is either delightful and fine, or mean and dastardly, according to our idea.

"The refusal to be disillusioned is the cause of much of the suffering in human life. It works in this way - if we love a human being and do not love God, we demand of him every perfection and every rectitude, and when we do not get it we become cruel and vindictive; we are demanding of a human being that which he or she cannot give. There is only on Being Who can satisfy the last aching abyss of the human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Why our Lord is apparently so sever regarding every human relationship is because He knows that every relationship not based on loyalty to Himself will end in disaster. Our Lord trusted no man, yet He was never suspicious, never bitter. Our Lord's confidence in God and in what His grace could do for any man, was so perfect that He despaired of no one. If our trust is placed in human beings, we shall end in despairing of everyone."

Where is our trust concerning our friendships? The more we cling to friendships, the less we will care about God's thoughts concerning the friendship. I am reminded once again to hold first my relationship with God and second, my relationship with those around me.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


“God sees everything.” We have heard this concept, but do we really know it? Reading through Psalm 139:1-16 helps to paint a clearer picture of this concept.

Verses: O LORD, Thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, Thou understandest my Thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, Thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. (Psalm 139:1-5)
Truth: The Lord knows everything about us. He not only knows who we say we are, but also who we really are – better than we do ourselves. Right now, He is around us seeing what we are doing.

Verses: Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. (Psalm 139:6)
Truth: God, the Creator of the Universe, the Master of the seas, the all-knowing, omnipotent Ruler, know my name! He has bowed down from His Majestic throne to take interest in my life!

Verses: Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from Thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to Thee. (Psalm 139:7-12)
Truth: There is absolutely nowhere that we can go to hide from God. He sees us wherever we are, at all times. Our sins might stay hidden to those around us, but they are open and revealed before God’s eyes.

Verses: For Thou hast possessed my reins: Thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16)
Truth: From day one of conception, God saw us. He was working in our lives to mold us as He saw best then, and is still working in our lives today – spiritually and physically – to continually mold us as He sees fit. Because God created us and molded us, we are a marvelous work.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sit at Jesus' Feet

Martha was a “restless will, hurried to and fro.” She was busy, but by her busyness, she missed out on what Jesus said was “that good part.” That good part which Mary chose: simply sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening, learning, but otherwise, doing nothing!!!! (see Luke 10:38-42*)

Often, as single girls, we dream of “Martha lives” as we observe what we perceive as dull nothingness. Whether we desire to be an adoring bride, a mother, a pastor’s wife, a girls’ counselor, or a “busy bee,” we cannot move beyond our single, seemingly stagnant years.

In her Bible study book, Living With Passion and Purpose, Elizabeth George reflected how Jesus spent thirty years before ministering for three years, concluding, “He shows us that, if we desire ministries to others, we must start with preparation . . . and then wait for God to provide the opportunities.”

As single girls, we might have many hopes and dreams for ministry. But . . . now . . . as we live our single years in our parents’ homes without the busyness previously mentioned, we should be content to “sit at Jesus’ feet” and learn and prepare. We have no clue what plans God has for us, but we can learn what God’s Word says. We can gird our armor and spiritually equip ourselves for what lies ahead. As busy brides, mothers, wives, and counselors, we will not always have an hour or two to dive into God’s Word – but we do now.

Instead of frustrating our lives with dreams of busyness, why don’t we relax in the time God has given us and sit at His feet, absorbing His Word? Why don’t we learn as much as we can? Let us not throw away “that good part” that we have now and waste it on dreams and frivolous things.

*“Now it came to pass, as they went, that He entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard His word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to Him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42

Thursday, May 9, 2013


A young man is hit while riding his motorcycle to college, suffering many broken and fractured bones.

A mom of seven is diagnosed with stage 4 cancer throughout her body.

A man in his mid-fifties is taken down with a stroke and struggling in the hospital, while children and grandchildren watch.

A woman in her thirties suffers from liver disease and sees her husband suddenly pulled under water and carried away by the undertow.

These are four real-life situations that I have heard of from friends in the past few months. The list can go on as we each add our sorrows and difficulties. As we review the list, our hearts can begin to grow weary and depressed.

Jeremiah struggled with the same thing. He watched his beloved city besieged and God’s chosen people taken captive because of their disobedience. In Lamentations 3:1-20, Jeremiah reflects on the miserable sorrow he felt. Then suddenly, verse 21 comes with, “This I recall to mind, therefore have I hope.” Hope? In difficult situations?

Jeremiah suddenly refocused his thoughts. He chose to take his focus off the difficult situations he was facing and replace that focus to God:
“It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.
The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him.
The LORD is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him.
It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.”
(Lamentations 3:22-26)

Because of his concentration on God, Jeremiah was able to find hope and joy in any situation.

Are you going through a difficult time right now? Perhaps you need to refocus. Instead of letting the difficulties drag you down and hinder you, count your blessings and reflect on God. Read through the Psalms and copy verses that portray God’s mercy, graciousness, compassion, faithfulness, love, and hope. Praise God for all that He has done for you. Turn your focus from this world and put it on Christ. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:2)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What Do We Push?

Yesterday's devotion really spoke to me and I wanted to share it with y'all.

"Liberty and the Standards of Jesus"
From My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers

A spiritually-minded person will never come to you with the demand—”Believe this and that”; a spiritually-minded person will demand that you align your life with the standards of Jesus. We are not asked to believe the Bible, but to believe the One whom the Bible reveals (see John 5:39-40). We are called to present liberty for the conscience of others, not to bring them liberty for their thoughts and opinions. And if we ourselves are free with the liberty of Christ, others will be brought into that same liberty— the liberty that comes from realizing the absolute control and authority of Jesus Christ.

Always measure your life solely by the standards of Jesus. Submit yourself to His yoke, and His alone; and always be careful never to place a yoke on others that is not of Jesus Christ. It takes God a long time to get us to stop thinking that unless everyone sees things exactly as we do, they must be wrong. That is never God’s view. There is only one true liberty— the liberty of Jesus at work in our conscience enabling us to do what is right.

Don’t get impatient with others. Remember how God dealt with you— with patience and with gentleness. But never water down the truth of God. Let it have its way and never apologize for it. Jesus said, “Go . . . and make disciples. . .” (Matthew 28:19), not, “Make converts to your own thoughts and opinions.”

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Key to Forgiveness (Part 5)

{Scroll down to read the first four parts in this series}

Forgiveness Involves More than “I Forgive You.”
Jesus said, “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” (Matthew 18:35, emphasis added)

Forgiveness involves more than us merely mumbling, “I forgive you.” We see clear evidence of this by looking at God’s character.

1) God’s Forgiveness is backed by love
 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17, emphasis added) The whole reason God sent Jesus for us to have Eternal forgiveness, was because of His love for us (1 John 4:10). We can easily accept that love, but we must do more than accept it – we must embrace it as a pattern for our lives. “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13:34, emphasis added) God’s love was manifested in His forgiveness for us. Our love for God should be manifested in our forgiveness towards others (John 14:15).

2) God’s forgiveness always involves a sacrifice
In the Levitical law, God required that an animal be sacrificed (Leviticus 4-7). He would look down from heaven, see the sacrifice, and forgive (Leviticus 4:31). In an action of love that only God can understand, He gave the ultimate sacrifice – His own Son – for our eternal forgiveness (John 3:16). To forgive God’s way, it involves a sacrifice; most often, a personal sacrifice.

3) God never “grades” sin – He just forgives
Sacrifices covered multiple “types” of sin in the Levitical law. There was no offense that could not be forgiven via sacrifice (Leviticus 4:26, 4:35, 5:10, 6:7, 19:22, Number 14:19, 15:28). When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He died for “small” sins of deceit, murmuring, covetousness, gossip, and idle thoughts as well as the “big” sins of dishonor, rebellion, murder, theft, fornication, adultery, and unfaithfulness. Christ died to forgive all sins (Acts 5:31, Acts 13:38, Acts 26:18, Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14). If we, through God’s grace, are to embrace Christ-like forgiveness, it means that we must be willing to forgive any type of sin that others commit: lying, thefts, deceit, rebellion, murder, and adultery.

4) God forgives fully without expecting repay
When God sees true repentance, He forgives (1 Kings 8:47-50, Acts 3:19, Acts 5:31, Acts 8:22). He does not hold grudges, wait to see if the person will “prove themselves worthy of forgiveness,” or “get even.” Those are all human actions. As Christians, we are commanded, “If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.” (Luke 17:3-4) Nothing is said of conditional forgiveness (“Forgive if . . .”). Actually, we are commanded to not retaliate or get even (Proverbs 24:29, Romans 12:19, 1 Thessalonians 5:15, 1 Peter 3:9).

5) God does not “just forgive”
God’s forgiveness reaches far beyond the words, “You are forgiven.” When God forgives, He also heals (2 Chronicles 7:14, Psalm 103:3), cleanses (1 John 1:9), covers (Psalm 85:2) and forgets (Jeremiah 31:34). Following His example, we should be ready to restore and heal the relationships – not “turn a cold shoulder.” We should be willing to cover the sins of others – not gossip about them and unearth them for others to see.

With these five points (a deeper study on the character of God’s forgiveness would reveal many more), we see that there are some things that we cannot do with forgiveness:
~Forgive and stay angry (Ecclesiastes 7:9, Ephesians 4:26)
~Forgive and continually bring up the case (Psalm 85:2)
~Forgive and hate our brother (1 John 2:9-12, 1 John 3:15-16)
~Forgive and gossip about our brother (Leviticus 19:16, Proverbs 11:13)
~Forgive and retaliate/get even (Matthew 5:39-42, Romans 12:17, 1 Peter 3:9)
~Forgive and hold a grudge (Leviticus 19:18, Proverbs 24:29, Romans 12:19, James 5:9)

To forgive like Christ forgives us seems difficult if not impossible. But we can be assured that in any trouble we face, we can go to Christ, Who knows exactly how to help us.  “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)

With every problem, God gives a solution. Our case is not a “singular exception” but rather something that all men struggle with. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

To forgive is not an easy path, but for the believer, it is the right path. We must daily choose whether or not we will follow the right path that God has set before us.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Key to Forgiveness (Part 4)

{Scroll down to read the first parts in this series}

Unforgiveness Hinders our Relationship with God
What if God forgives us exactly how we forgive others? Would we honestly desire to pray, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors? (Matthew 6:12, emphasis added) We take for granted that God will forgive us. In fact, we expect God to forgive us . . . even when we fail to forgive others. But, according to Christ, such is not the case.
“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (Mark 11:26)
“Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:” (Luke 6:37)

Jesus concludes the parable of the unjust servant with, “Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.(Matthew 18:32-35, emphasis added)

Because God has forgiven us so great a debt, we are then required to forgive others (“. . . For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required. . .” Luke 12:48).

Beyond being required of us, our lack of forgiveness directly affects our prayer (“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.  And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:24-26) and our giving (“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” Matthew 5:23-24)

We should continually check our hearts before God, to see if there is any “spirit of unforgiveness” in us.

. . . to be continued next week . . .

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Key to Forgiveness (Part 3)

{Scroll down to read the first parts in this study}

Truths About Forgiveness
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” (Colossians 3:12-13, emphasis added)

This thought is explained in detail in Matthew 18:23-35. Jesus tells a parable of a master whose servant owed Him ten thousand talents (vs. 24). The servant fell on his knees and begged his master’s forgiveness (vs.26). The master was moved with compassion and promptly forgave his servant (vs. 27). The servant immediately went out and found another servant who owed him a mere one hundred pence and violently demanded that he pay him (vs. 28). We see a similar picture of the servant with his master: the debtor fell on his knees and begged the other servant to be patient with him (vs. 29). It seems like the servant who had just been forgiven his ten thousand talents would have compassion. Instead, he threw his debtor into prison (vs. 30). When the master heard how his servant had treated his debtor, he was angry and delivered him to the tormentors (vs. 31-34). Jesus concludes this parable with, “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” (Matthew 18:35)

I think that many of us would like to defend our case and, like Peter, ask, “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?” (Matthew 18:21) Surely we have been patient enough! Surely, we have borne enough wrong at their hand! However, Jesus replied, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:22) As children of God, we are commanded to forgive others. We are the man who owed ten thousand talents and Jesus Christ our Master freely forgave us our debt. Will we, in return, turn to our “fellow-servant” with unforgiveness, bitterness, and grudges towards their “debt of one hundred pence”? Or will we remember how compassionate Christ was towards us, and freely forgive others’ sins against us? As with all of God’s commands, He gives the strength to obey His command to forgive others, but He also allows us to make the choice whether or not we will obey.

. . . to be continued next week . . .

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Key to Forgiveness (Part 2)

{Scroll down to read the first part in this series}

God’s Forgiveness Available for Us
Though God’s very character is one of forgiveness, we are sinful and cannot simply reflect on God’s forgiving character. Something must be done so that we can personally experience that forgiveness.

In the Old Testament law, when a man came to make things right with God, he had to bring a payment. For any sin (theft, murder, adultery, ignorant sin, purposeful sin), an animal was to be brought to the priest. The priest would sacrifice the animal as a peace-offering between man and God and the sin would be forgiven (see Leviticus 4:20-26, Leviticus 5, Numbers 15). A sacrifice was required in order for one to gain God’s forgiveness.

This type of sacrifice for forgiveness continued for centuries. However God had a better plan. Since “almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission {freedom, pardon}” (Hebrews 9:22), “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Hebrews 9:28)

Jesus Christ came to earth to shed His own blood – to be the sacrificial lamb so that we could have remission of sins (Matthew 26:28, Acts 2:38, Romans 3:25). We fully deserved to pay the full price for our sin (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23), but when Christ died in our place it made the way for God to freely forgive us. Today, it is only through Christ’s blood that we can receive full forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14), but we must accept Christ’s blood atonement. To reject the Blood would be to reject God’s forgiveness (John 3:18, John 3:36, John 6:54).

Before we can forgive others, we must accept forgiveness. We cannot understand the heart of forgiveness until we understand God’s forgiveness for us. We cannot forgive others in our own strength, because true forgiveness only comes from God and through God’s power.

We must examine our hearts to see if we have truly accepted Christ’s forgiveness for our sins. If we have not, what is keeping us from asking God for His forgiveness and accepting His free gift of salvation? We cannot merely say, “God knows I’m wrong, God’s knows I’ve sinned.” Though God is all-seeing, He is also waiting for us to humble ourselves and bow before His holiness, recognizing our transgression (Psalm 51:3-4), confessing our sins (1 John 1:9), and asking His forgiveness (Matthew 7:7-11, Luke 11:9-13, John 14:12-13, James 4:2, 1 John 5:14-15). When we ask, God forgives us freely.

. . . to be continued next week . . .

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Key to Forgiveness (Part 1)

{This is the beginning of a 5-part series; Come back next Thursday for more}

Most of us have heard the importance of forgiveness, but when we try to apply forgiveness, it seems an insurmountable task. Perhaps this is because we do not truly understand forgiveness.

We cannot grasp the concept of forgiveness by looking it up in Webster’s dictionaries. We cannot grasp the concept of forgiveness by looking at those around us. However, we can get a clearer understanding of forgiveness by looking into God’s Word; we can see a pattern of true forgiveness by looking at the One Who is always consistent in forgiveness. So please join me as we search God’s Word to get a clear definition of true forgiveness.

God’s Character of Forgiveness
(emphasis added)
“ If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, Thou hast covered all their sin. Selah.” (Psalm 85:2)

“For Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee.” (Psalm 86:5)

 “{God} forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;” (Psalm 103:3)

 “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34)

 “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith He to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.” (Matthew 9:6)

 “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted His raiment, and cast lots.” (Luke 23:34)   

 “Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 5:31)   

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) 

From these few verses, we gain that . . .
     ~God has full power to forgive any and every sin – purposed sin and ignorant sin (Psalm 85:2, Matthew 9:6, Luke 23:34)
     ~God is always listening/waiting for us to ask His forgiveness (2 Chronicles 7:14, Psalm 86:5, 1 John 1:9)
     ~God freely forgives when we ask His forgiveness (Psalm 86:5,
     ~God freely forgives when we do not deserve forgiveness (Luke 23:34)
     ~God freely forgives and heals (2 Chronicles 7:14, Psalm 103:3)
     ~God freely forgives and cleanses (1 John 1:9)
     ~God freely forgives and covers (Psalm 85:2)
     ~God freely forgives and forgets (Jeremiah 31:34)
     ~God made it possible for every man to be forgiven by Him (Acts 5:31)

God’s forgiveness is directly linked to His love for us – not what we do for Him.

. . . to be continued next week . . .

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Incorruptible Beauty Magazine

I don't know about you, but I appreciate wholesome, conservative and godly magazines for young ladies. My sisters and I have been receiving Incorruptible Beauty for at least six years and they just launched a website, which I am excited to share with y'all! If you have a moment, please stop by and check it out:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Verses Update

It has been WAY too long since I have updated memory verses. I am sorry . . . but we can never read too much of God's Word in one day, so here's a full-fledged update! :)

Romans 8:13-20
13 - For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
14 - For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 - For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 - The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 - And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18 - For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19 - For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20 - For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,

Psalm 101:1-8
1 - I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.
2 - I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
3 - I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
4 - A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.
5 - Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.
6 - Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.
7 - He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.
8 - I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD.

Psalm 37:3-8
3 - Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
4 - Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
5 - Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
6 - And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
7 - Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
8 - Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

I could comment a lot about these verses, but it would take a lot of time. :) So I shall simply highlight those that God has really used to speak to me.

"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." (Romans 8:15) As a believer, we should not be bound by fear because this type of fear does not come from God.

"I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart." (Psalm 101:2) I know that we girls struggle with the last part, "I will walk within my house with a perfect heart." Do we? Do I? Or do I simply "let my thoughts roam" not caring whether or not they are pleasing to God?

"Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed." (Psalm 37:3) Trust in the Lord, Trust in the Lord, Trust in the Lord!!!! Verses such as these always stick out to me. Why shouldn't I trust in God? Isn't He the same God Who brought Israel out of Egypt? Who saved Daniel from the lions? Who raised Lazarus from the dead? Who rose again, defying death and the grace? How can I not trust Him?

Have you memorized any verses recently?

Monday, February 18, 2013

"I Love God"

I am not a big "quotable quotes" person, but there are a few quotes that have really gotten me to thinking. Here is one of them:

I can't brag about my love for God because I fail Him daily.
But I can brag about God's love for me because it never fails.
{Source Unknown}


"Herein is love; not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." 1 John 4:10

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sowing and Reaping

In memorizing Galatians 6, the Lord has impressed upon me several things which I thought I would share with y'all.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:7-10)

As with all passages in God’s Word, there is SO much that we can glean from Galatians 6:7-10! One thing that stood out to me was the “well-doing.” Quite honestly, the easiest path to take is the path of sowing to the flesh. We do not have to try hard to live/sow in the flesh. Actually, it comes quite naturally.

But what about the other side of this passage?

Both sowing/living in the Spirit and doing “good unto all men” are not the easiest, most pleasant paths to tread. I believe that is why God sandwiches between these two actions, “let us not be weary in well doing.” Since living in the Spirit and doing good to others do not come naturally, it is a tough battle that rages every minute of our lives. Whether or not we are aware of it, we are constantly making choices to sow in the flesh or the Spirit. And, as God’s Word is true, we will reap the results even in those instances when we were not fully aware that we were making the wrong choice.

As we live our daily lives, are we taking the “path of least resistance” or following God’s Holy Spirit?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Week 2 of 52

This week, the Lord allowed me to complete my memory of Galatians 6!!!!

Galatians 6:14-18
14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

The verse that especially challenged me was Galatians 6:14, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ . . .” In what do I glory (boast)? My works? My goodness? My accomplishments? All of these are empty glories that will vanish away. It is sobering to think of the comparison: how often do I speak of things that I do vs. what Christ has done for me? May we all learn how to glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

First of 2013's 52-verse Challenge

For the time being, I am continuing my memorization of Galatians 6. Lord willing, I would like to complete this whole chapter.

"For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.”
Galatians 6:13

Last of 2012's 52-verses

I am late in posting this (as has become the norm), but these are the past two verses of Galatians 6 that I have learned.

“Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.
As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, the constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ."
Galatians 6:11-12

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...