Sunday, March 30, 2008

Romans 12:1-2 NLT

And so dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don't copy the behavior and the custom of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.

The key for a new life is right there in the next to the last sentence. "Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think." If I could only get my hands around that, if I could only explain how that happens...the benefits...the peace it brings. There are times I am so strong because of God's presence in my life. But there are times I falter and my thinking starts stinking, and I begin to have negative attitudes and snide remarks and a critical spirit. Right then, right there at the first carnal thought, I need to stop, bow my head, submit my prideful heart, and ask God to forgive me and put His Spirit within me.

I need to be led daily by the Holy Spirit, and not the spirit of Carnal Carol. I know the more I submit, the more I stop on the spot and not allow that evil behavior or train of thought to continue, He will instantly deliver me and strengthen me. The more I think on what is pure and lovely and right, the less I will work myself into a self-righteous fervor. I love peace, and I must pursue peace through the Peace Giver!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I Hate Deceit!!

I took my troubles to the Lord; I cried out to him and he answered my prayer. Rescue me, O Lord, from liars and from all deceitful people. (Psalm 120:1)

Wow! I never read that before---yet I know I have. It's just that it really stands out to me right now because I am going through a time when I have "had it" with deceit. I hate it! I want to confront it and show it for what it is...and yet I know that will alienate people from me. That wouldn't be all that bad, but it's the people I see everyday in my work environment. I can't avoid them. I must figure out how to handle it. I want to conquer the sin while loving the sinner. There must be an answer...Father?

Friday, March 28, 2008

New Bible Study with Beth Moore

Today I joined a new Bible study at a church we attend. It is a Friday morning study for women, and we are using Beth Moore's newest study: "Stepping Up - a journey through the Psalms of Ascent". The study includes a workbook and a DVD where Beth is actually teaching a group of ladies, and we are participants. I've never been in a Beth Moore series before, but I can tell this is going to be a tremendous study. I love the material, the setting (on location in Jerusalem), and Beth's style of teaching. She makes me long to be a Bible know the Word and to share it in a dynamic way with others.

Since none of her book may be copied in any form, I will not be able to use quotes in this blog from this study. I will only be able to give my own synopsis. The Psalms of Ascent are Psalm 120-134. They are even labeled that way in our Bibles, but I never noticed it before. They are the songs that were sung as the Jews made their three times a year pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem to celebrate the festivals. Each Psalm represents a step up from the Court of the Women to the Court of the Israelites. There are 15 steps and 15 chapters.

Men and women both could be in the Court of the Women, but only men could ascend and enter the Court of the Israelites, which led to the Court of the Priests and the holy of holies. Thank goodness we live this side of the cross. Because of Jesus' sacrificial death at Calvary, both men and women are able to enter the holy of holies in their own hearts where the Presence of God awaits. As I enter this study, as I fall on my face before God Almighty to hear from Him, may I be stretched and molded more and more into the likeness of Jesus Christ. May I fulfill His complete purpose for my life. May I say yes to whatever He brings into my life, or removes from me. I just want to be His.

Romans 10:9-10, 13 NLT

"For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved... Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Hebrews 4:12-16, NLT

For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are. Nothing in all creation can hide from him. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes. This is the God to whom we must explain all that we have done.

That is why we have a great High Priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the Son of God. Let us cling to him and never stop trusting him. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Excerpts from Romans 8

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

What can we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

8:35 - 39
Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Men are like castles

"Men tend to be like the medieval castles of old. They erect high walls and water-filled moats to protect themselves. Limiting their emotional expression gives them a sense of being in control. They decide who can enter their lives and when that person can do so. The drawbridge remains closed and the man feels safe and secure from attack. But staying behind the walls too long makes the man a prisoner of his own making and he slowly begins to die.

Every person needs love. But the castle-dweller soon becomes a prisoner without love, as one by one people give up attempting to penetrate the fortress. Erected walls have a way of growing higher and higher until we can no longer look over them to see who it is we might be keeping out.

The walls you see men carrying about are defenses. They're there to protect and help him keep his distance. These walls hide hurts, insecurities, frustrations, joys, sorrows and even love. To build walls men use bricks of laughter, silence, intellectualization and withdrawal...

There can be no real intimacy in a relationship without the expression of feelings. Intimacy involves a special relationship, an emotional closeness, and involves understanding and being understood by another significant person. Intimacy also involves a bond of affection based upon mutual caring, responsibility, trust, open communication of feelings and sensations as well as sharing significant emotional responses...

The sad news is that many men do not share their feelings. The good news is that most of them can learn to become complete. They need the presence of Jesus Christ in their lives to give them a basis for a new identity and security. But they also need you to help them in the process of opening up. A man needs to see your requests for sharing as a participation in his life, not an intrusion. He needs to see that you don't want to know his feelings so you can use them against him, but rather to become more intimately involved with him. He needs to see that your desire is not to control him but to share with him. He needs to know about the extent of your caring and that you will no longer continue to exist without experiencing his emotional side. You want him to experience the fullness of life which includes risks and threats, but also the delights and blessings that are available."

(Understanding the Man in Your Life, Excerpts from Chapter 6 - "Feelings -- The Great Male Struggle", pgs. 82-102)

Romans 6:6-7, 22-23

Our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. ...But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Apostle Paul)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

In All Things...

“If anyone would tell you the shortest, surest way to all happiness and all perfection, he must tell you to make it a rule to yourself to thank and praise God for everything that happens to you. For it is certain that whatever seeming calamity happens to you, if you thank and praise God for it, you turn it into a blessing." ~ William Law (1686-1761) (Copied this quote from Robin.)

Saturday Morning Devotional Thoughts

First Thought...

Determine to worship before you enter the church, no matter what the music is like. Focus on God, not the music. (a synopsis of Chuck Milhuf's admonition in "The Evangelist's Perspective", Spring 2008). I am often dissatisfied with the music at church because it doesn't take me into my "comfort zone" where I can just close my eyes and lift my voice to Jesus in worship. We are constantly being given new songs to sing, on the screen with no musical notes to follow, and I don't know the words or the tune. When I am having to concentrate on putting new words to a new tune, it's hard to concentrate on Jesus. A new song now and then...fine...but every week, it seems, is hard for me to accept and still worship. So Chuck has stabbed my heart with his thoughts. If I am not comfortable learning the new song, is it okay to close my eyes and worship during that time?

Second Thought...

Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, as long as it is called 'today', so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. But never forget the warning: 'Today you must listen to his voice. Don't harden your hearts against him as Israel did when they rebelled.'" (Hebrews 3:12-15)

The Lord is slow to anger and rich in unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. Even so he does not leave the sin unpunished. (Numbers 14:18)

Third Thought...

"The force behind the hammer wasn't an angry mob...the hand squeezing the handle wasn't a Roman infantry-man...the verdict...wasn't decided by jealous Jews. Jesus himself chose the nails... Had the soldier hesitated Jesus himself would have swung the mallet." "That's how much he loves you." (Max Lucado's quote on pg. 16 in "The Word for You Today")

Fourth Thought...

Don't be troubled. You trust God, now trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father's home, and I am going to prepare a place for you. If this were not so, I would tell you plainly. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. (John 14:1-3)

This has been a favorite scripture passage since I was a child. Today it is all the more precious to me, for it is the HOPE I hold on be with Jesus, and my loved ones, and the new sisters and brothers in Christ that I am just now meeting, FOREVER!! Wow. Incomprehensible...the Unknown. But I am in love with the Speaker of those words...the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and I excitedly anticipate seeing Him face to face!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Press Through

"To reach your God-ordained destiny you must do these 7 things:
  1. Refuse to give in to wrong thoughts. (Guard your mind.)
  2. Resist any temptation toward introspection. (Allow the Holy Spirit alone to search your heart.)
  3. Fight, using God's Word. (Jesus used Scripture to put satan to flight.)
  4. Listen to the still small voice of God within. (Discipline yourself to spend time with God.)
  5. Shift to a higher level of faith. (Today's issues require us to move to a new level of faith.)
  6. Get into proper alignment. (God is aligning His people for battle through testing.)
  7. Ask God to give you understanding about the place you are in. (Press through and seize your God-given destiny!)"

If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

Crucified with Christ

"God's will for us--as it was for Christ-- is a self-emptied life: emptied of self and filled with Him! The condition is one of yieldedness on our part. We are filled with the Spirit as we are emptied of self. (Dr. William Greathouse, "The Evangelist's Perspective", Spring 2008)

I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who lives, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:19-20)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Romans 1:16-22

I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes---Jews first and also Gentiles. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, "It is through faith that a righteous person has life."

But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who push the truth away from themselves. For the truth about God is known to them instinctively. God has put this knowledge in their hearts. From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities---his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God.

Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn't worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they became utter fools instead. (Apostle Paul, Letter to the Romans)


"Self sufficiency is the enemy of hearing from God! ...Until you hear from God you're working with severely limited information and you'll keep making mistakes, costly ones. Hearing from God must become a priority so great, you adjust your schedule and your attitudes to it every day." ("The Word for You Today", pg. 14)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Faith Refuses To Be Intimidated

"Faith does not deny the reality of the just refuses to be intimidated, limited, or ruled by them." ("The Word for You Today", pg. 13)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Use Discernment...Wisely

"There are many 'voices' speaking today and you need discernment as to the spirit that's at work in them... Protect yourself by living in God's Word, staying filled with the Holy Spirit who will guide you into all truth, and surrounding yourself with those of like precious faith."
("The Word For You Today, pg. 12)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Getting It Done

"Show me a way to get more things done." Here's the list:
  1. Take a moment now and write down everything you have to do tomorrow. ...Include yourself in the list. Write down a time for yourself each day.
  2. Assign a priority to every item on your list.
  3. Tomorrow, begin with number one and stick with it until it's accomplished. Then start on number two and stay with that until it's finished. Go on to number three and finish it. And so on down your list. Complete each job. Don't worry if you can't complete everything on your list; the most important items will have been done.
  4. Keep your daily schedules in a loose-leaf notebook, or use a calendar with spaces large enough to enter your daily activities. This way you keep a running log of your activities. You'll also have a record of when...(you accomplished that task and how much you have accomplished. There is satisfaction in completing tasks.)

(The Total Woman, Marabel Morgan, Fleming H. Revell Company, 1973, pg. 31-33)


"Firstborns tend to grow up fast and they feel the pressure of the adults around them. When the parents are gone, does the pressure vanish? No. The firstborn continues putting pressure on himself. Firstborns are serious, conscientious, have strong powers of concentration, are list-makers, critical, perfectionistic, goal-oriented achievers. They believe in authority,may be legalistic, are loyal and self-reliant. Don't expect them to come up with many surprises.

This doesn't mean that every firstborn turns out identically. There are no clones. Actually there are two basic types: strong-willed and aggressive or compliant and wanting to please. The first can develop traits that make them the high achievers and hard drivers with lofty expectations and a need to be at the top. Compliant persons strive to please others and usually are very reliable workers. They feast at the table of approval."

(Understanding the Man in Your Life, H. Norman Wright, Word Books, 1987, pg. 34)

Scripture for March 12, 2008 - I Am Convinced!

Can anything ever separate us from Christ's live? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble to calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death? ...No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away. Whether we are high in the sky, or in the deepest ocean, nothing is all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:35-39)

Growing Older

"Growing older means I've more time and resources to exercise the gifts God's given me. Instead of slowing down, I want to be accelerating when I cross the finish line." (Alma Barkman) "Or as the folks at Maxwell House Coffee used to say: "Good to the last drop!"

("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 10)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Scripture for March 11, 2008

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Phil 1:21)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil 4:13)

It's Not About You

"The life you long for is not about you! It's about Christ and His example. The aim and focus is on others and the ways you can serve them in His name. It's not about finding yourself, it's about losing yourself. It's not about becoming strong; it's about coming to terms with your own weakness and finding your strength in Him. It's not about what you become; it's about what He becomes through you."

(The Power to be Free, Dr. Frank Moore, Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2005, pg. 190)

Monday, March 10, 2008

"Life in the Spirit"

"If you have heard that God quantum leaps you to Christlike maturity in one moment with one prayer, you have been misled. Yes, a decision to step down from the throne of self-sovereignty can be made in a moment. Yes, God accepts our consecration in a moment. However, the test of our resolve to make Christ Lord of all is validated daily with every choice."

"The incredible freedom Paul speaks of requires you to choose daily the way you think, value, and live. You have two alternatives to choose from several times a day. One lives life after the flesh, the other lives life after the Spirit."

(Both quotes from The Power to be Free, Frank Moore, Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2005.)


"The moment you resolve to take hold of life with all your might and make the most of yourself at any cost, to sacrifice all lesser ambitions to your one great aim, to cut loose from everything that interferes with that aim, to stand alone, firm in your purpose, whatever happens, you set in motion the forces implanted within you for your own development. Live up to your resolve, work at what God meant you to work at for the perfecting of His plan, and you will be invincible. No power on earth can hold you back from success."

("The Word For You Today", March-April-May 2008, Published by WJLY, Ramsey, IL, pg. 9, quoting Orison Sweet Marden.)