Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tuesday Morning

A moment of respite. . .

I’m rewarding myself far more often than I should. When I clean for awhile, I find myself grabbing something to drink and heading to this monitor. Away the keys go clicking while I read emails, check out links, throw an update/status from my inbox and scatterings such as that. Smiles.

Housework has been sorting into our new school days and I love it! In the mornings, I read my Bible with some hot coffee and journal with whatever beloved pen I have handy. Laundry gets tossed in the washer while the coffee is making so I keep that moving until 1-3 loads are washed, dried, folded and put away. This should keep our laundry off the floor for a change! I have one hamper and baskets in the bedrooms but I put it on the floor to sort it and end up with it looking wretched until all is washed. Now, I have more time to focus and keep at it so it is coming along neatly and nicely. About time.

It is good to have certain chores for morning, afternoon and evening. The earlier part of the day is when I set to task on the main cleaning. The afternoon is a quick pick up and help from the kids and the evening is just a 10-20 minute pick up all over the house. Each person has a way, which works best for them and as long as some work is getting done… all in that regards is well!

My laundry is moving along today, the refrigerator is clean and looks so much better. I just used a soapy dish cloth and some hot water to wipe down the shelves, walls and the all on the inside. Most of the glass shelves and bins were taken out and washed thoroughly in hot, soapy water. Then, I rinsed well in very hot water and dried completely.

All the basics got done (making the bed, doing a quick clean on the toilet, gathering dirty laundry, sweeping, and such) so I just need to finish the things on today’s list.

I was blessed today and reminded of a time I was more thoughtful while I cleaned and worked about my home. While I was folding my husband’s worn blue jeans . . . I thought of how hard he works and how he keeps working no matter what things look like financially. I considered how strong he has to be to keep at it no matter what anyone says (sadly enough, at times even me… his own wife) and I prayed for him. I prayed for his work and just anything that came to mind to pray for him over. It was a gift for me by the time the load was done and I headed into our bedroom to put it all away.

Once there, I made our bed with sheets and pillow cases I washed this morning and whipped over our very, very worn quilt. It is a wedding ring quilt my mom gave us for Christmas (she bought it) many years ago. There is a large, black ink stain where our youngest son managed to leave a permanent marker open on. What I thought of as I neatened the corners and tucked the ends before folding down the top was my mother. I remembered her wrapping this and being so happy to give it to us and I was glad to still have it covering us at night… wrapping us continually in her love.

This is getting long so I’ll hurry on up  What about you? Are there feelings, memories, prayers, and/or thoughts you can reflect on while nurturing your home as only YOU can? Are there areas you need to clean out, shine up, or bring to blessed order?

I hope whatever your homemaking today holds. . . you are given the peace to appreciate the beauty and grace God so generously gives. Each and every job we do can be blessed by His hands… often through ours.

I’ll close with this lovely poem. Take from it what your heart will. I thought of the Lord and then my husband, children, and grandchildren when I read it.



Love is a shield to hold against the dark,
A fire to warm me, shelter from the night;
A lamp forever burning, and the spark,
The eternal spark that keeps the flame alight.
Love is the merchandise not bought or sold,
The gift, self-giving, counting not the price;
The deep – embedded vein of hidden gold
Refined in crucibles of sacrifice.
If I may have your love to keep beside me,
To hold inviolate, a precious thing,
If I may have its steady light to guide me,
If twill not matter what the years may bring,
Nor what the years may take beyond recall.
If I may have your love I shall have all.

Minnie Markham Kerr

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Power to Help or Overthrow

Reading in my Bible this morning, a verse in the 25th chapter of 2 Chronicles stood out for my heart.

“Even if you go and fight courageously in battle, God will overthrow you before the enemy, for God has the power to help or to overthrow.” [vs.8]

This spoke so much truth into my life and I believe there is truth for all of us in it.

Our 20 year old son (before he turned 20, smiles) was talking to me one day before he came home from college for the summer. We were discussing all the things his dad and I have tried to do in order to make our situation better (house falling apart, finances extremely tight, need for a return to routine/structure and on it goes) and he said:

“It isn’t what you are doing. There is NO way either of you can do MORE than you are already doing. You are literally doing everything you can. You just need to change some things around and look to God and let HIM help.”
Wise kid.

You see what I mean, though? We can fight courageously as the Scripture says… work harder… try more… and more on those never-ending lines. It is STILL up to GOD’S power to help us or overthrow.

If we are in line with His Word and following Him in all of our lives. . . I believe with all of my heart the Bible is clear that He’ll help us.
This doesn’t mean we’ll always have help the way we expect it but He is a Lord of HELP and has been from the start.

The Scriptures I read before verse 8 - shared that King Amaziah hired men from Israel to fight and had already paid them wages when he was warned to not use them.

But a man of God came to him and said, “Your Majesty, these troops from Israel must not march with you, for the LORD is not with Israel --- not with any of the people of Ephraim.”
2 Chronicles 25:7

The king’s first reply was about the money he had already paid. He had already invested his money for these men to fight for him.

Amaziah asked the man of God, “But what about the hundred talents I paid for the Israelite troops?”

The response was not to find a wise way to get some other work done for the money. It was actually this:

“The man of God replied, “The LORD can give you much more than that.” 2 Chronicles 25:9

No matter what we are doing. . . matter not what we have already done. . .
God has the POWER to help us and to make up for ANY lack we can possibly have in the process.

All we need to do is follow Him as we’ve read of and heard of and known for so long.
It is all about belief in HIM.
Belief above ourselves.
Belief above our circumstances.
Belief beyond what we see and to what we know in Christ.

I’ll close with some beautiful wisdom God’s Spirit seems to have poured through a man named Matthew Henry in the 1700’s:

He has ways enough to make up the loss to thee; it is below thee to speak of it.
Note, A firm belief of God's all-sufficiency to bear us out in our duty, and to make up all the loss and damage we sustain in his service abundantly to our advantage, will make his yoke very easy and his burden very light.

What is it to trust in God, but to be willing to venture the loss of any thing for him, in confidence of the goodness of the security he gives us that we shall not lose by him, but that whatever we part with for his sake shall be made up to us in kind or kindness.
When we grudge to part with any thing for God and our religion, this should satisfy us, that God is able to give us much more than this. He is just, and he is good, and he is solvent.
If men would but duly consider the inability of all those things to help them to which they have recourse when they forsake God, they would not be such enemies to themselves.
Those that will not persuaded to do well for their souls will justly be given up to their own counsels to do ill for themselves even in their outward affairs.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on parts of 2 Chronicles 25


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

He'll Reveal

Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king's guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon:
He answered and said to Arioch the king's captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel.
Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation.
Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions:
That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God forever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:
And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.
I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king's matter. Daniel 14-23

Daniel wonders why such a harsh decree is made concerning the wise men. He and at least three of his friends (who knows how many of the other wise men they were friends with) were going to be murdered.

A king who ordered people cut into pieces and their homes turned in to rubble (some of the verses in Daniel 1 and 2) was quite capable of making this happen.

Daniel chose to speak responsibly and with good judgment to the commander of the King’s guard. He asked why the king was making such a rash and harsh order.

He listened to the answer . . . went to the king and asked for time to interpret the dream. Then, he went to his house and explained everything to Hanania, Mishael and Azariah (who the king had named Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego) and urged them to pray for God’s mercy and help concerning the mystery.

And said:

“Praise be to the name of God forever and ever;
Wisdom and power are His.
He changes times and seasons;
He deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
He knows what lies in darkness,
And light dwells with him.
I thank and praise You, God of my ancestors;
You have given me wisdom and power,
You have made known to me what we asked of You,
You have made known to us the dream of the king. Daniel 2:20-23 TNIV

I really thought of how helpful this basic structure could be in the lives of many women of Christ.
A problem, fear, or trial comes up and instead of getting defensive, fretting, or right out losing it… we inquire about it reasonably.
Whether it is a person or a plot, we look into it to see what we are dealing with.

After this, we can go to our homes and our churches and tell our families and church family (or friends or relatives or whoever) what is going on and ask for prayer.

When all that is done. . . we praise our Father. We praise His very name and acknowledge His wisdom and His power.

It is HE Who changes our times. . . our seasons and He will shine His light through our darkness.

We thank Him and. . . see that He will make known to us what we ask of Him.

This is so powerful. We pray and pray and pray and pray for help. . . for hope. . . for clarity. . . for His will. . . for so many things and we need to know. For me, I suffer more not being able to figure out God’s will in a given situation more than the actual situation usually takes from me!
He will make known to us what we ask of Him.
He isn’t on our time schedule and doesn’t need to be so we can’t pin point a date, an hour or a minute He’ll reveal something. We can rest though, knowing HE will reveal it.

Are you stressed over finances and have no idea what to do about it?
Do you have something threatening your peace and/or your family’s well being?
Is there something you need God’s wisdom on?

He knows. He shows. He goes before you. Keep seeking Him first and most and He will show all you need to know.

Just thought I’d share that from my morning’s quiet timeJ

Friday, August 7, 2009

Holy. Pure. Sanctified.

1Th 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
1Th 4:4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
1Th 4:5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:
1Th 4:6 That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.
1Th 4:7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
1Th 4:8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

Whenever the body is, as it ought to be, devoted to God, and dedicated and set apart for him, it should be kept clean and pure for his service; and, as chastity is one branch of our sanctification, so this is one thing which God commands in his law, and what his grace effects in all true believers.

(2.) This will be greatly for our honour: so much is plainly implied, 1Th_4:4. Whereas the contrary will be a great dishonour. And his reproach shall not be wiped away, Pro_6:33. The body is here called the vessel of the soul, which dwells therein (so 1Sa_21:5), and it must be kept pure from defiling lusts. Every one should be careful in this matter, as he values his own honour and will not be contemptible on this account, that his inferior appetites and passions gain not the ascendant, tyrannizing over his reason and conscience, and enslaving the superior faculties of his soul. What can be more dishonourable than for a rational soul to be enslaved by bodily affections and brutal appetites?

The sin of uncleanness is contrary to the nature and design of our Christian calling: For God hath called us not unto uncleanness, but unto holiness, 1Th_4:7. The law of God forbids all impurity, and the gospel requires the greatest purity; it calls us from uncleanness unto holiness.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary

My morning Bible readings always feed me. These times comfort, guide, remind, restore, and urge me onward and I pray the same for each and every one. . . what a difference it makes.

Anyway, (smiles) today I read from a plan I’ve been using for several months and read two days worth. I missed some when I lost my Bible so I do more than one day at a time. I ended up in Chronicles and Thessalonians and here is something I had underlined before:

I Thessalonians 4:3-7. . . my Bible titled this section: “Directions for Growth” and I can see why.

We are literally surrounded on all sides by things that threaten our purity. People joke about it all the time, I know but the Bible is clear on how bad it can really be.

We’ve seen it in our own lives and I have lost count of how many over the years who have shared from other lives. A lack of purity can lead to more than we allow ourselves to believe.

The truth is. . . it isn’t just about a look from the eyes, a thought from the mind, or harmless this or that. It is a heart issue and any of it springs from there and does not stop unless we stop it by the grace and power of Christ.
Is it THAT big of a deal? It can be.

Every affair, adulterous act, shattering of a family and on and on it goes… started with such things.

It can somewhat be compared to a tiny fire … a little bitty flame on a few leaves surrounded by a forest. And the tiny impure thought is like a bitty drop of gas.
When that little flame sparks a bit higher… the wise heart should stop it by smothering it immediately! How easily it is controlled before the gas drop hits or the second it does but that is NOT the case if it is allowed another minute or two. By then, the fire can catch leaves, debris, and trees so quickly --- an entire area of the world can be in flames and even fireman can’t reach it.
This is the case with impurity and a flippant attitude about it.

I’ve had it… probably most of us have at one point or another. It is the way of the naïve child though and not the mature Christian.

Lord, may we live holy, holy, holy! If the world laughs at this. . . let them. It laughed at our Savior and the very ground on which He stood was holy.
In His holy Name…

Flee from immorality.
None of us are perfect and temptations will come. They can either be stopped within seconds or they can run rampant from our souls. . . He allows us to choose. How much heart ache we’d save if we chose the will of God in this and all things.

I will close with that and a note for our home lives:

And to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you;
So that you may behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.
I Thessalonians 4:11-12

May we allow our time to be so spent on leading quiet lives, attending to our business and working with our hands that there is only room for sanctified thoughts. . .

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Quiet Time Notes

For the fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. John 1:16

My sister and I have discussed, lately . . . the abundant life of a Christian.
We have struggled financially and in some other ways and there are times it seems we are under a yoke of it. Pressed down under the weight and prayers for help have started sounding monotonous to our own ears.

Reading His Word each day is our guide through this. Place after place after place reveals His faithfulness and fullness. He gives us from Himself and we all receive. . . grace upon grace. When we focus on the grace He gives. . . the lack we “see” fades in comparison.

Psalm 145:14 The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.

Picturing what the above verse says blesses without measure. Most of us have fallen … into sin, out of money, into great need, into despair, onto the pavement of one pain or another.

The Lord upholds each and every one of us each and every time. He reaches down and He raises up. . . ALL THOSE who are bowed down.

It doesn’t say what kind of bowed down we have to be. . . just that He raises us UP.
His ways are so different than the world’s ways. He is the King above all Kings but He takes the time to lift our hearts, our bodies, our spirits . . . from the dusty and dirty places in this world and He lovingly lifts them up. Not as the world . . . it only reaches out to help to get something in return. Not with our Father.

But they will become his slaves so that they may learn the difference between My service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries. 2 Chronicles 12:8

Whatever the battle or battles may be. . . we are not standing alone with no help.
There is one place to safely trust getting help from. When we have no strength, no ideas left, no plan to prepare and no hope to be found: we have a God to trust in.

Then Asa called to the LORD his God, and said, “LORD, there is no one besides Thee to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O LORD our God, for we trust in Thee, and in Thy name have come against this multitude, O LORD, Thou art our God; let not man prevail against Thee.” 2 Chronicles 14:11

It dawned on me throughout today’s Bible reading that truths I have learned before still hold true. Just like God never changes. . . His instructions to us don’t waver. We keep on keeping on and we walk and work in the Name of the Lord . . . and He Himself will reward us.

Be strong today, dear Sister. Do not lose courage. . . Your Lord holds you in the palm of His hand and He will be faithful in helping you.

“And nation was crushed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled them with every kind of distress. “But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.” 2 Chronicles 15:6-7


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Morning by Morning

My morning routine has been so scattered all summer long.
It didn’t bother me much when I first stopped rising early. A lot was going on (a LOT) and as a result . . . I wasn’t getting sleep at night. This made rising early almost non-existent and this changed everything about my early day activity.
Some things still took place. . . I have kept to drinking my coffee, starting the laundry and reading my Bible. After those… the days have hit with so much to do that I fall into bed dazed.
I crave order and routine and structure when things get this way. There are times when routines make me feel pressured to keep up or bored with the monotony of continually complying. Things like facing the dishwasher, sweeping the floors, taking out the trash, folding clothes and making meals again and again and again. . . together and with more added… they can make one feel tied down to them. There is a difference in tied down with and tied to though:
This morning, I got up earlier and my Bible reading had some verses that stood out to me on the subject. These verses held some sort of comfort in the rhythm they presented and made me look forward to the upcoming schedule changes.
Once again, I can enjoy having an early routine with some of the same things done day in and day out. Morning by morning. . .

And you shall provide a lamb a year old without blemish for a burnt offering to the LORD daily; morning by morning you shall provide it.
Also you shall provide a grain offering with it morning by morning, a sixth of an ephah, and a third of a hin of oil to moisten the fine flour, a grain offering to the LORD continually by a perpetual ordinance.
Thus they shall provide the lamp, the grain offering, and the oil, morning by morning, for a continual burnt offering.
Ezekiel 46:13-15