Tuesday, August 29, 2006

"Look at me and do likewise"

This phrase jumped out at me recently in my Bible study. I just couldn't get away from it. "Look at me and do likewise." Wow! Could I, would I, dare to say that?

Those are pretty brave words. Some would even say conceited words. You would think you would have to be perfect to say those words. Who in the world said them?

They were said by a man in the Bible that was far from perfect. He was good. He did good things. But he wasn't perfect.

Gideon said these words in Judges 7:17. He also said "watch, and...do as I do". Gideon was not a perfect man. He was not a terribly brave man. He threshed wheat in a winepress to hide it from the Midianites (Judges 6:11). He did what God told him to do but he did it in the night instead of the day because he was afraid of his father's household and the men of the city (Judges 6:27). He was somewhat rude to the Angel of the Lord and questioned what the Angel said (Judges 6:13,15). He needed sure signs before he would act (Judges 6:17,37,39). He sure doesn't sounds like a good example to follow. But he said it, inspite of his short comings he came to a place where he knew he was doing God's will and he said, "Look at me and do likewise".

I am challenged by this phrase this week. I want to come to that place in God where I can say 'Look at me and do likewise". I don't want to say it out of pride, but I want to be an example that others can follow, inspite of all my shortcomings, and know that they will be doing God's will. I want to naturally lead people to God's will.

I am especially challenged to be able to say that to my family. "Look at me and do likewise." They know me and all my shortcomings, but I want to be able to rise above those and with confidence say, "Watch, do as I do". Help me God to come to that place in You.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Three Barriers to God's Blessings

Our pastor shared a sermon this morning based on Hebrews 12:15-16 (NIV). " See to it that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See to it that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son." He talked about how we sometimes cannot experience the fullness of the blessings of God because of barriers that keep the blessings away from us. The three barriers he expounded on using these two verse were: 1) bitterness; 2) immorality; and 3) possessions.

He talked about how bitterness can keep away God's blessings from ourselves and can also affect the people around us. He talked about the importance of reaching out to bitter people but being careful to guard ourselves from being infected by the bitterness.

Immorality is rapant in our society today, and, sadly, also in our churches. He stressed that no one suddenly falls into immorality but that it is often the result of subtle slidings into it and we need to carefully guard ourselves against it. He talked about the importance of accountability to one another.

Our pursuit of material possessions can also be a barrier to our receiving the full blessings of God. He stressed the importance of having our priorities right and seeking God first, not things.

I'm looking forward to many more messages from this pastor. He is new here and I think he is on the right track in challenging us to check our lives and help one another.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Why Worry When You Can Pray...

A little more than a week ago I was singing that song to my eldest daughter. She was getting ready to go on a missions trip with a team from our church. With all the recent talk about hijackings and such she was a little nervous about the upcoming plane ride. I reminded her, by singing the song to her, to change her worries into prayers and I told her that I would be praying with her.

A couple of days ago I had to sing that song to me. Darling daughter was supposed to be flying home early in the morning but the flight was delayed due to weather. I started the worry-pray cycle right away. I was really trying not to worry but really having a hard time not giving in to it. Every time I found myself starting to worry I tried to remind myself to pray instead. It really does work you know. It's not easy, but it does work.

One thing that I find really helps me is if I know there are other people praying too. I have this great group of online friends that have been my faithful prayer warriors for a few years now. They've helped me through so many tough times. They taught me to turn to God with all my worries and needs. I ask for their backing in all my prayers and it gives me a greater faith knowing that I'm not praying alone.

Another thing that helps is to pray for someone else at the same time that you are praying for whatever is bothering you. I love it when one of my online friends expresses a prayer need because it gives me a chance to pray for them. There is something very strenghtening in praying for someone else.

Is something causing you to worry? Find at least one friend to talk to about it and then pray about it, giving it to God. He doesn't always answer prayers the way we think they should be answered but He will always give us a peace if we place our trust in Him. And don't forget to pray for someone else too. You'll be amazed at how your worries will be lifted as you lift someone elses needs to God.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Put Your Glasses On!

A funny thing happened to me yesterday. I got up fairly early - yes, that is funny for me as I'm not a morning person, but it's not the funny thing I want to tell you about.

My little one was still sleeping soundly so I thought I would get to do some things that needed to be done before she got up. The first thing that came to my mind was to sweep up the kitchen because before heading to bed the night before I noticed that it really needed to be swept but I like to take the nights off from house work so I didn't bother to do it that night.

Anyway.....I looked around the kitchen floor and thought with great thankfulness, "Oh how nice, hubby swept up before heading to work." I then proceeded to other things that needed to be done. When little one finally woke I went to get her and also picked up my glasses, which I had forgotten to put on earlier, from my room. When I walked into the kitchen again I was shocked! The floor was not swept, it was just that I couldn't see the dirt because I didn't have my glasses on!

After chuckling a bit to myself about this off and on throughout the day I found that there was a spiritual lesson in this funny happening. We've been having some discussions with our youngest boy, who happens to be 16 so isn't really that young, lately about some things that we are concerned about and he's been challenging us that we are not seeing thing as he sees them, and I have to say that it is true. Then I started to think about the importance of seeing things the way God sees them because that's how they really are. We have to be sure that we have our spiritual glasses on to see things the way God sees them.

I asked God to give me a verse to go along with the lesson. At first all I could think of was Psalm 119:105 "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." I was pondering this verse and felt like that was part of the lesson but not the whole thing. Then today I read Proverbs 23:26 "My son, give me your heart, And let your eyes observe my ways."

God's word is the lamp that will light our way. We have to take the time to read it so that it will shed light on where and how we are to walk. You can, however, read God's word and not get the full affect of it. To really see it as God sees it you have to give Him your heart, then we can see things as He sees them. You have to have your glasses on.

Turning on the light helps me to see better but I can't really see as good as I should be able to until I put my glasses on. Reading God's word will shed light on things, but you can't really get the full affect of it until you give Him your heart.

Thank God for His Protection and Providence!

But for God's protection, my little one could have been seriously hurt this afternoon. I don't have doors to my top kitchen cupboards. I was standing in the kitchen with my little one at my feet today when two big platters suddenly came flying out of the top shelf of the top cupboard, crashed onto the countertop and proceeded to the floor, shattering into pieces, which fell all around my little one but not one hit her! Thank the Lord! I think I went into shock. Thanks to God's providence, my husband, who normally isn't at home at that time of the day, was standing in the kitchen with me and he grabbed the little one up off the floor before she could crawl into the pieces. I just stood there and asked if she had been hit. He replied that no, she hadn't, but I had. That was when I realized that my hand was covered in blood. I have a nasty gash on my middle finger on my left hand. I didn't even know I was hit. My only concern was for my little one. Thank God she was safe! God is good!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Chewing on a morsel

You know how there are certain things that you eat and you have to really chew them, and chew them, and chew them to get all that you can out of them. Well, that's how I find it is with scripture sometimes. I've been chewing on this morsel for a few days now and trying to find time to post but not finding time so just continuing to chew and finding so much more in it than I saw at first. ( I wonder should there be commas somewhere in that last sentence? :-) )

I've been skimming through different passages in the Bible trying to wrap my head around a few things, and get some background to some things, and so many other things have been jumping at me. I was skimming through 1 Samuel looking for some background on King Saul when I came across my latest little morsel.

1 Samuel 12:23 NKJV "Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way."

Some background: This is a part of Samuel's address at Saul's coronation. The people have asked for a king to lead them instead of just following God. God has told Samuel to do as they say and give them a king. Samuel thinks the people are crazy to want to have a king to follow instead of just following God and he actually has a discussion with God about that (1 Samuel 8 : 6) Anyway, God guides Samuel to anoint Saul as king and Samuel does so.

When I read this verse a few days ago I was struck by the idea that not praying for someone could be a sin against God. Samuel said "far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you". Samuel probably felt like washing his hands clean of this people and letting them go on their merry way, but he couldn't. He had to continue to pray for them or he would be sinning against God. I'm afraid I'm guilty of washing my hands clean sometimes and ceasing to pray. Forgive me, Lord.

The second part of the verse says "but I will teach you the good and the right way". There's so much packed into this little group of words and the more I chew on it the more I get out of it.

First of all that little word "but". Sometimes I'm guilty of just stopping at the praying part, but that's not enough. Samuel says, "I'll continue to pray, but I'll also continue to teach." Sometimes I stop the teaching and rely only on the praying. There are times when I think that is the right thing to do, but there also are times when it is important to keep teaching.

It's important, however, to temper our teaching with love. Kim's recent post on tough love speaks quite well to how to do that.

The second thing that struck me in this group of words is what is to be taught - "the good and the right way". The emphasis is on the good and the right, not the wrong. So many times I'm guilty of emphasing the wrong, though in an attempt to point to the right. I don't mean to give the highlight to the wrong, but that is what I do. I'm reminded of the illustration I've heard often that says that money handlers learn to identify counterfeit, not by studying the counterfeit but by studying the real thing. I need to be careful that much more time is spent on teaching the good and the right rather than condemning the bad and the wrong.

I've decided to take this verse as a challenge to me this year, especially in my homeschooling and parenting. I want to be faithful in prayer for my children and I want to also be faithful in teaching, and to be certain to be teaching the right things in the right way.

MMMMMMmmmmmm. That was a yummy morsel. :-)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Another blog!

Yes, I've started yet another blog. I've started many others and not kept them up so why start another? Well, because I want too. :-)

My other blogs were for specific purposes - to share books I've read, to encourage healthy living, to share my Bible journey, to share my gardening column. This blog is just for my jabberings of whatever, whenever I want to jabber. :-) I hope my jabberings will bring a smile to someone's face sometimes.