Saturday, August 25, 2012

Think on Good Things.

I subscribe to this site and I liked what she said here.

It Seems Like Such a Little Thing!
Fix your thoughts on those things that are
true and good and right.
Think about things that are pure and lovely,
and dwell on the fine good things in others.
Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.

Philippians 4:8
Paul tells us in Philippians to “rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.” What does it mean to rejoice? Webster defines it: to be or make glad or happy. Remember what an antonym is? What would you say is the antonym of rejoice? We could come up with several suggestions but I’d like to give this one: to murmur. Mr. Webster includes that in his book, too. Murmur: a mumbled complaint.

With that brief introduction I asked myself, “Do I ever murmur?” To which question I reply, “That’s really none of your business.” A quick, defensive comeback usually means, “Yes, I do, but I don’t care to talk about it.” I do. I murmur in the car, in the kitchen, in the laundry room, in Church–there is no place off limits for murmuring.

You remember that the children of Israel murmured when–when what? When things didn’t go the way they wanted them to go or expected them to go for their benefit. I’m really getting involved here–or might it be “convicted?” Paul (and there are a lot of very committed Believers who don’t care for Paul–he “thinks he knows everything” and he steps on our toes!) tells us that we are to rejoice, and that isn’t just Paul’s platform. How many times are we admonished to rejoice in David’s book, the Psalms? There are two full columns (very small print) in my exhaustive concordance with references for rejoice, rejoicing, rejoiced, etc. II Timothy 3:16 says all scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness. All scripture. So Paul, however dogmatic he might seem to be, didn’t write those notes of his, they were given to him by God–isn’t that what “inspired” means?

So what am I doing when I “murmur?” I’m doing something that I am told not to do–and I think that is called sinning. Sigh. So how do I keep from murmuring? Oh, it’s easy! By refusing the thoughts that come (from Satan) and replacing those thoughts with rejoicing. “Easy? You’ve got to be kidding! I can’t do that! I’ve tried and it doesn’t work!” (Double exclamation points!!) That’s because “I” tried. We can do nothing–remember? John 15:5 minces no words: Without Me you can do nothing and that includes “rejoicing.”

So, take a deep breath and say, “Lord, I am prone to murmur and I really don’t want to do that. Would You please take care of the little annoying things and those big devastating things that bring on the murmuring act? You didn’t murmur when you walked here on Planet Earth and You had a lot of legitimate very difficult things that You could have murmured about. Now you live in me and You aren’t going to murmur.

I need to stay after school and write 100 times on the blackboard:
Jesus lives in me and He will not murmur. Jesus lives in me and He will not murmur. Jesus lives in me and He will not murmur. . . just 97 to go! Suppose I’ll remember that from now on when I finish that last “murmur?”
You know we might as well admit it–that’s called confessing–and relax–we asked Him and He has said that He will do it all for us. (That’s a promise!)


I paraphrased Matthew 6:25-34

Do not be worried about your life as to food, drink and clothing. Life is more than that!
Look at the birds of the air. God feeds them. You are worth much more than the birds.

Worry cannot add a single hour to your life.
Are you worried about clothes? Look at the beautiful flowers. God clothes them, he will clothe you also.

Have faith!

God knows you need all these things, so don't worry about tomorrow. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Wonder of Knowing Jesus.

"I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him. Not having a righteousness of my own, that comes from obeying the law, but that which is through faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings becoming like him in his death and to attain resurrection from the dead."

Philippians 3:8-11

When I read these words of Paul I feel an overwhelming gratitude and wonder at our opportunity to know the God of the Universe. He calls it a "surpassing greatness". Everything the world offers is garbage compared to this knowing of God.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
for whom I have suffered the loss of all things; he dropped all confidence in his carnal privileges, and civil, ceremonial, and moral righteousness, for Christ and his righteousness; he parted with all for this pearl of great price; he lost his good name, credit, and reputation among men, and suffered afflictions and persecutions in various shapes; he lost the comforts of life, being often in cold and nakedness, in hunger and thirst, and was ready to suffer the loss of life itself for professing and preaching Christ:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Trying to be Good.

C.S. Lewis wrote:

"You may remember I said that the first step towards humility was to realize that one is proud. I want to add now that the next step is to make some serious attempt to practice the Christian virtues. A week is not enough. Things often go swimmingly for the first week. Try six weeks.

By that time, having, as far as one can see, fallen back completely or even fallen lower than the point one began from, one will have discovered some truths about oneself. No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.

The main thing we learn from a serious attempt to practice the Christian virtues is that we fail. - All this is leading up to the vital moment at which you turn to God and say, "You must do this. I can't."

I do remember going through this as a new Christian. I didn't realize, until I fell hard, how bad I was - how I was capable of great sins. I did reach the point of despairing and said, "Lord, if you want me to be a good person, you will have to do it." Then I quit looking at myself - which took some practice. I still pray to be a good and loving person but I also quit worrying about it and leave it to God to do it for me. Jesus said, "Don't worry about anything," and I believe that means my sins and character too. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

God Will Strengthen Us to Work for Him.

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Life-Changing Choices

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Champion athlete Eric Liddell’s decision not to run on Sunday in the 1924 Olympic Games was not difficult because of his deep belief that the Lord’s Day was for worship and rest.
A more agonizing dilemma had come a year earlier when Eric was asked to speak about his faith in Christ to a group of coal miners. Liddell said of his struggle: “My whole life had been one of keeping out of public duties but the leading of Christ seemed now to be in the opposite direction, and I shrank from going forward. At this time I finally decided to put it all on Christ—after all if He called me to do it, then He would have to supply the necessary power. In going forward the power was given me.”
The day after agreeing to publicly share his faith, Eric received a letter from his sister, Jenny, in China. Written weeks before, it ended with this verse of Scripture: “Fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isa. 41:10).
Every call from God is an opportunity for us to say “Yes,” trusting His strength and not our own.
Lord, I’m fearful sometimes when You ask me
to do something out of my comfort zone.
Help me to remember that as I step out in faith,
You will provide the power to obey.
He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. —1 Thessalonians 5:24

Saturday, August 4, 2012

God's Complaint Department.

My sister was wondering if it was right or wrong to complain to God about her problems. She said to Him, "I won't complain." She then opened her Bible to study and this verse was the first she came to, "Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice." Psalm 55:17 She concluded it is okay to complain.

I found this study here:

Welcome to the Complaint Department

“How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?” Psalm 13:1
In one of my favorite children’s books Oh, the Places You’ll Go! the great philosopher Dr. Seuss writes about the ups and downs of life. Sometimes, he says, “Hang-ups can happen to you.”
He’s right of course. Life can be going along smoothly, but eventually, to some degree or another, trouble happens. So what do you do when life takes a turn for the worse? When your dreams explode in your face? What do you do when deep disappointment dangles you over the abyss of despair by a fine thread? When it seems as though there is no movement from heaven on your behalf—that maybe God has abandoned you?
Maybe you can relate to how David felt when he poured out his heart to God in Psalm 13:1-6. Although Samuel had anointed him to be the next king of Israel, David found himself running for his life and hiding out in caves as King Saul chased him month after month, year after year. No doubt David was tired of living like a fugitive. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. And so, he finally filed a complaint: “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?”
I’m so thankful that David introduces us to the freedom to be honest with God about how we feel. My guess is that most of us can probably identify with the insecurity and instability David felt. We may not be running like fugitives, but we know what it feels like to have people against us, or to feel like the odds are stacked against us. This may surprise you, but God doesn’t expect us to approach Him with a 24-hour smile. In fact, I like to think that He has a complaint department in heaven with a big “Welcome” sign over the door. The problem is, we are so quick to complain to all the wrong people, when really, God is the only One who can do something about it. As Dr. Seuss admits, “Un-slumping yourself is not easily done,” but perhaps a good place to start might be approaching God honestly with how we feel about our circumstances.
I find it interesting that after David started talking to God about his feelings, suddenly his complaint turned to more of a plea, begging for God’s help. “Look on me and answer, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death” (Psalm 13:3). What began as a complaint quickly turned to compliant confidence in God’s character, as David acknowledged God’s power to save him. You can almost see his confidence building as he finally declared, “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation” (Psalm 13:5).
It’s a reminder that in the midst of crisis we can find great confidence in the power of God to rescue us and turn the situation into something good. When we are in the presence of God—even if it’s in His “Complaint Department”—we are reminded of His steadfast love and faithfulness. So go ahead, file your complaint, and wait for God to surround you with the confidence-inspiring security of His presence.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

God's Courage.

Jesus said, 
"Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour." John 12:27

Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
Now is my soul troubled - Our blessed Lord took upon him our weaknesses, that he might sanctify them to us. As a man he was troubled at the prospect of a violent death. Nature abhors death: God has implanted that abhorrence in nature, that it might become a principle of self preservation; and it is to this that we owe all that prudence and caution by which we avoid danger. When we see Jesus working miracles which demonstrate his omnipotence, we should be led to conclude that he was not man were it not for such passages as these. The reader must ever remember that it was essentially necessary that he should be man; for, without being such, he could hot have died for the sin of the world.

And what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour - Και τι ειπω; πατερ, σωσον με εκ της ὡρας ταυτης· which may be paraphrased thus: And why should I say, Father, save me from this hour? when for this cause I am come to this hour. The common version makes our blessed Lord contradict himself here, by not attending to the proper punctuation of the passage, and by translating the particle τι what, instead of why or how. The sense of our Lord's words is this: "When a man feels a fear of a sudden or violent death, it is natural to him to cry out, Father, save me from this death! for he hopes that the glory of God and his welfare may be accomplished some other way, less dreadful to his nature: but why should I say so, seeing for this very purpose, that I might die this violent death for the sins of mankind, I am come into the world, and have almost arrived at the hour of my crucifixion."

I thank God for his and Jesus' courage in going through the crucifixion.