Purpose Statement

My holy ambition is to bring glory to God through the study of His Word. I am passionate about the observation, interpretation and application of God's Word in our lives.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Great Faithfulness

"This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord's lovingkindness indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning, great is Thy faithfulness." Lamentations 3: 21-23.

I was meditating on this verse today.  How grateful I am that His mercies ARE new every morning; His compassions NEVER FAIL; GREAT is His faithfulness.  Night time is a very hard time for me.  But this verse gave me hope that in the new day He will meet me there.  He will get me though the entire day as I turn to Him in reliance and dependence.

What a blessing it was to spend last night with my sister Kristy for her birthday.  My other sister Kae and my Mom Helen joined us.  We ate at Red Lobster (nice pick Kristy!) and had a wonderful time fellowshipping together.  It's been over five years since that has happened.  God was good to convict me of my pride and need to reconcile.

I'm also blessed by my part time (?) job with Sister Frances.  She is a pistol.  She finds more places to go and do! I'm always nonplussed.  Yesterday we were out at a car dealership in Weatherford to have her car's brakes checked. They were fine but the car needed two new tires. We spent most of the two hour wait talking to the oldest car salesman on the floor. He and sister go way back like 30 years. I enjoyed the time listening to them reminisce. Sister knows an awful lot of people.  I figure when baseball season starts it could get really interesting. I understand she beats the drum for the Rangers. Some of whom are coming to visit the assisted living sometime in March. 

I'm blessed that Helen is making some decisions about my Dad's care and was helped immensely tonight through a conversation with a friend of mine who has been through a lot with her Mother who recently passed away.  I could see visible relief on Helen's face as she talked. God does use the things we have gone through to help others.  I think Helen has more peace about her decision with my Father.  I'm glad.  God is good.  It's time for me to spend some quiet time thanking and praising Him.  I hope you can do the same.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Spiritual Blessings

My friend Dathel just sent me this list of spiritual blessings in Christ.  I think these serve as my reasons to be thankful today.

You are complete in Christ who is the Head of all principality and power (Colossians 2:10).
You have been crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20).
You are dead to sin (Romans 6:2).
You have been made alive with Christ (Ephesians 2:5).
You are free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).
You are born of God, and the evil one does not touch you (1 John 5:18).
You are holy and without blame before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:16).
You have been given the peace of God that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
You have the Greater One living in you and greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
You have received the gift of righteousness and reign in life by Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17).
You have received the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus (Ephesians 1:17-18).
You can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13).
You show forth the praises of God who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).
You are God’s child, born again of the incorruptible seed of the Word of God (1 Peter 1:23; John 1:12).
You are God’s masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus unto good works (Ephesians 2:10).
You are a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
You are alive to God (Romans 6:11).
You are an heir of God and a joint-heir with Christ (Romans 8:17).
You are more than a conqueror through Him who loves you (Romans 8:37).
You have been brought near to God by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13).
You are beloved of God (1 John 4:10).
You are loved by the Father the same way Jesus is loved by the Father (John 17:23).
You have been redeemed from the curse of the Law (Galatians 3:13).
You have been justified from all things (Acts 13:39).
You are now God’s offspring (1 John 3:2).
You are the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13).
You have been reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:18).
You have been accepted by God in the Beloved Son (Ephesians 1:6).
You are kept by the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:8).
You are free in Christ (John 8:36; Galatians 5:1).
You are in Christ’s hands out of which no one can pluck you out (John 10:28).
You are in the Father’s hands out of which no one can pluck you out (John 10:29).
You are an overcomer by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony (Revelation 12:11).
You are a partaker of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4).
You are part of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people (1 Peter 2:9).
You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21).
You are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).
You are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).
You are God’s elect, full of mercy, kindness, humility, and longsuffering (Romans 8:33; Colossians 3:12).
You are forgiven of all sins and washed in the blood (Ephesians 1:7).
You have been delivered from the power of darkness and translated into God’s kingdom (Colossians 1:13).
You have put off the old man and have put on the new man (Colossians 3:9-10).
You are healed by the stripes of Jesus (1 Peter 2:24).
You are raised up with Christ and seated in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 2:12).
You have overcome the world (1 John 5:4).
You are greatly loved by God (Romans 1:7; Ephesians 2:4; Colossians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:4).
You are strengthened with all might according to His glorious power (Colossians 1:11).
You have not been given a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
You have Christ living inside of you (Galatians 2:20).
You are a holy one (Colossians 1:2).
You are one spirit with the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:17).
You are holy, unreprovable, and unblameable in His sight (Colossians 1:22).
You are a member of Christ’s holy body (1 Corinthians 12:27).
You have been given all things that pertain to life and godliness (1 Peter 1:3).
You are light in the Lord (Ephesians 5:8).
You have been given all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).
You have been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).
You have been justified (just as if you had never sinned) (Romans 5:1).
You are a branch on the true Vine (John 15:1, 5).
You are born of God (1 John 5:18).
You have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:14-16).
You are free from condemnation and you cannot be charged or indicted (Romans 8:1, 32-34).
You have been established, anointed and sealed by God (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).
You are hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:1-4).
You are a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20).
You are at peace with God (Romans 5:1).
You have everlasting life (John 5:24).
You are kept by God’s power (1 Peter 1:5).
You are in Christ Jesus by God’s act (1 Corinthians 1:30).
You cannot be separated from God’s love in Christ (Romans 8:35-39).
You are fit to partake of His inheritance (Colossians 1:12; Ephesians 1:14).
You are part of Christ’s bride that He cherishes, bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh (Ephesians 5:29-32).
You are a king and priest unto God (Revelation 1:6).
You have been sealed with the promised Holy Spirit until the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30).
God will complete the good work that He started in you (Philippians 1:6).
God is for you even when others are against you (Romans 8:31).

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Gratitude Attitude

God has convicted me in a number of ways today about my lack of gratitude.  Tonight at BSF our teaching leader suggested that we find 30 blessings--spiritual or temporal--a day for which we should express thanksgiving.  I realized that my heart is not a grateful one and that's to my own peril.  God has much to say about thanklessness and none of it is good.  I want to share some of what I'm grateful for here on the blog.  Somethings may be too personal to mention but I want to start tonight with some of the blessings God gave me this week.

  • Spirit's death was orchestrated by a sovereign God and I was at the hospital at such significant times. My vet was very helpful in guiding me through her care and trying to keep the bill to a minimum.
  • My eye was healed by God when it was leaking and I didn't have to have a second surgery to correct it. Even the ophthalmologist was surprised.
  • My family took such good care of me while I recuperated.
  • My two aunts passed into the presence of the Savior this week.
  • My church is a God centered church filled with believers striving hard after God and led by faithful elders..
  • My car still runs.
  • My friends and family care for me deeply.
  • My part time job keeps me busy, brings provision and enables me to stay connected to Sunrise.
  • I sleep well every night.
  • My eyesight is so much better with just one eye corrected and God has provided the resources for the second surgery in three weeks.
  • God has granted me the blessing of salvation.
  • God is sanctifying me.
  • God has granted me gifts for the benefit of the body that I used this week.
Maybe all who read this are in the habit of an attitude of gratitude.  I pray so.  As for me I needed the conviction and prayerfully will obey the Lord in possessing a grateful heart. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013


It's been a busy week of change. Monday I had eye surgery. Wednesday I put my beloved Spirit to sleep.  Thursday I got a part time job driving a nun to do her errands.  Tonight we had a meeting at church regarding the proposed church plant in Mansfield in about 18 months. This week two of my aunts passed onto glory.  I realize that my Dad and two step parents aren't getting any younger. .My Dad is in a home for Alzheimer patients and at times isn't communicative.  He used to be a talker but now his words are few. Change, change and more change.  I don't like it.  Often the change is beneficial and necessary but it doesn't make it easy

Transition is inevitable as long as we live here on earth. People come and go. Pets come and go.  Jobs change and so do neighborhoods.  Lifetime friends are rare.  Much more common is a series of friendships strung over a lifetime.  Gratefully there is One who does not change.  He is God.  He is forever the same.  James 1: 17 states: "Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow..."  What comfort are the words "no variation or shifting shadow".  I know God is in every change and every season of life. Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time for everything under the sun.  Gratefully there is a timeless Son who controls it all.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Every day I go into the assisted living facility I glance quickly at the table where the sign in books are kept. If a resident has passed away they post a picture with the dates of birth and death.  Often I know when a resident passes before the picture goes up.  Thursday was different. I hadn't been at the facility because of my dog's illness and my surgery.  One of the ladies I helped shop at Walmart had passed away. She hadn't been sick a few weeks ago.  She went to the hospital with an ailment not considered life threatening at the time.  She died a few days later. The pictures of the deceased always stun me.  Especially when the death is somewhat sudden.

Today some of us were invited into her room and allowed to take any personal effects left. The family had taken everything they had wanted. I surveyed her little apartment and saw what remained. I was once again  reminded how short is life and what little value there is in possessions. What personal effects that were in the room went in large part to semi-strangers. I ended up with a pair of shoes and a couple of bars of soap I had carried in less than a month ago.  The soap stayed behind. She was gone and suddenly so. There has to be a lesson there somewhere.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Personal Update

I have a job as a driver for an 86 year old nun who is a resident at the assisted living where I volunteer. The first two days have been interesting.  I have no idea what the Lord is up to doing.  She is a pistol and is constantly on the go.  I who am 30 years younger have a hard time keeping up with her. We drive her little Kia Rio which is a fun car to dash around on the streets of Fort Worth. Her stamina has amazed me.  She is a hard core Texas Rangers fan and her blood rusn both red and blue. She rarely missed a game since 1972.  That's the year I graduated from high school!  She's been on the television and in the paper for her avid Rangeritis.  I imagine there will be more posts about the Protestant driver and the Catholic nun.  We'll call our scenario Driving Sister Frances.....

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Oh Death Where Is Thy Sting?

I admit there is an ache in my heart since my dog died.  When I walk into the apartment I see her crate, her food bowl, and her bed. There are countless reminders of her existence. Death separates us from those we love.  I hate that.  How grateful I am that Jesus Christ overcame death.  As I watched Spirit decline so quickly in the past ten days or so I saw first hand how frail is the flesh--animal and human alike.  Death is the great equalizer for we all must die unless the Lord returns in the air for us. 

There is a loneliness that heightens after a death and for a few weeks, months and even years there is an ache longing to be fulfilled. God never intended us to be separated from Him.  That is why the Gospel is so wonderful.  It preaches to us that death is not victorious and it doesn't win.  God has sent Christ that through Him we can be reconciled to a holy God.  Our sin can be forgiven through the blood of Jesus and we can once again now we belong to Someone.  One day Christ will return and set up His Kingdom and there will be an eternal oneness.  Finally, when we see Him face to face we the ache we feel on earth will be forever banished.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

An Ode to My "Oafus"

Around noontime today my sweet, sweet Spirit aka "Oafus" slipped into a peaceful sleep.  Her nickname "Oafus" came about from her strong stature and uncanny ability to trip me up and to knock Kellie for a roll. Her antics were all from the gentle giants kind nature but she was stronger than she realized.  I had her for nearly ten years and she brought much into my life. I rescued her from the street after she had broken her hip and could no longer hunt for food. She almost died trying.  It took a while for us to catch her--she was faster on three legs than we were on two.  Finally, one morning she lay on an old couch at my other apartment complex.  The maintenance man hauled her into my dog crate and the rest as they say is history.

I tried to foster her for awhile. It seems true that sometimes we don't pick the dog but rather the dog picks us.  Even though everyone kept telling me she was my dog I remained unconvinced. Finally I figured it out.  The vet was most kind in repairing the hip and reducing the cost of her care. I visited her twice a day and we'd walk around the animal hospital. I repeatedly reminded her to "put your foot down Spirit." She did.  She had a heart that wanted to please. She had one bad habit about chewing hard plastic items like TV remotes and electric hair blowers.  So when I finally realized she was mine, I bought a Spirit sized crate which saved both of us it seems.

Any of you who have ever had a pet knows the pain of the loss.  She was a kind and gentle "scent" hound. I'll always remember her walking with a slight limp on the left side from her surgery with her nose down trailing whatever had been in the yard.  Only one time did I see the true fox hound.  There were squirrels in the attic of my former apartment.  One remedy to get rid of them is to spray fox urine as a deterrent.  Unbeknownst to me the maintenance man had sprayed fox urine on the tree the squirrels used to get into the roof eave.  Spirit and I were walking nonchalantly down the sidewalk. All of a sudden her head snapped up and she raced toward the treated tree. It took me about fifteen minutes to pull that dog off that thing. She had finally found evidence of a fox...She never seemed any more triumphant.

I will miss her.  She wormed her way into my heart.  She even won over her older sister Kellie.  She hates to admit it but I know she misses her too.  The place won't be the same but I am grateful for the time the Lord allowed us to have her. I am grateful she is at peace.  I hope Randy Alcorn is right in his book on heaven. He makes a pretty good case that our animals will be there...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Personal Update

I had my first cataract surgery this morning and the surgery itself went well. I am staying with my family tonight.  There is a slight issue with some leakage from my prior radial kerotatomy surgery twenty years ago.  Thus I have not been released to drive or be alone. I see the doctor tomorrow again for a check up tomorrow again.  I am grateful to the Lord for the reality of medical science and hope to be all better soon! I have the next surgery in a month and look forward to it.  May God be praised. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Church's One Foundation

Tonight at my church we had one of our missions teams report on their recent trip to the Ukraine. As they described the believers halfway across the world I was reminded of the union of the body of all true believers through Christ.  He is the head and we are the body parts. I was reminded of a hymn. The Church's One Foundation is Jesus Christ the Lord. Here are the rest of the words.

The Church’s one foundation

Is Jesus Christ her Lord,
She is His new creation
By water and the Word.
From heaven He came and sought her
To be His holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her
And for her life He died.

She is from every nation,
Yet one o’er all the earth;
Her charter of salvation,
One Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy Name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she presses,
With every grace endued.

The Church shall never perish!
Her dear Lord to defend,
To guide, sustain, and cherish,
Is with her to the end:
Though there be those who hate her,
And false sons in her pale,
Against both foe or traitor
She ever shall prevail.

Though with a scornful wonder
Men see her sore oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder,
By heresies distressed:
Yet saints their watch are keeping,
Their cry goes up, “How long?”
And soon the night of weeping
Shall be the morn of song!

’Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
Of peace forevermore;
Till, with the vision glorious,
Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great Church victorious
Shall be the Church at rest.

Yet she on earth hath union
With God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won,
With all her sons and daughters
Who, by the Master’s hand
Led through the deathly waters,
Repose in Eden land.

O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we
Like them, the meek and lowly,
On high may dwell with Thee:
There, past the border mountains,
Where in sweet vales the Bride
With Thee by living fountains
Forever shall abide!


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Personal Update

My sweet Spirit had a bad bout of pancreatitis but there is no malignancy or tumor.  She'll have to have a change of diet and no table scraps (they weren't much of an issue anyway. Gratefully it wasn't anything more dangerous.  I didn't get offered the part time job but the facility is keeping my application for some day shift positions that might come available soon. I am looking forward to having my vision improved through the surgery Monday morning.  I am grateful to be living in a time when they can do so much! Praise the Lord for such mercy. 

A friend and I have been reading hymns to each other as part of our mutual edification. I am grateful for my church and BSF that continue to sing some of the old traditional types of music.  There is some wonderful newer music and I have been blessed immensely by it.  Some of the older hymns have such strong doctrine in them I hope we don't lose them any time soon. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

"The Wonderful Spirit Filled Life" Charles Stanley

Its been years since I first read Charles Stanley's "The Wonderful Spirit Filled Life."  I wished I had paid more attention to it when I first read it twenty years ago. Stanley takes a very balanced approach to the Spirit filled life and there is a red alert warning I want to post here.  It's one to which I took no heed and it has cost me dearly.  Stanley says this:

Like so many people, I wasn't always careful with what I allowed myself to think about. When I got serious about setting my mind on the things of the Spirit, I realized just how polluted my mind really was. God used one verse in particular to help me get on, and stay on, track in this area:
          We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. II Corinthians 10:5.
...There is no legitimate place in the mind of the believer for ideas, notions, dreams or fantasies that have as part of all their content things that are contrary to the truth of God. To entertain such thoughts for even a moment is to set our minds on the flesh and therefore walk after the flesh.
Stanley continues:

Look again at the standard by which we are to judge our thoughts:
Is it true?
Is it honorable?
Is it right?
Is it pure?
Is it admirable?
Is it excellent?
Is it praiseworthy?

Charles ends with :
If you are like me, you will be shocked at how many times a day you are tempted to take hold of one of these deceitful speculations and dwell on it. I am convinced that most Christians aren't aware of what they are doing. It becomes habit. As long as we don't follow through with what we are thinking, we usually don't consider our thoughts much of a problem. That is the trap. Without knowing it, we have begun walking in the flesh--and we aren't even aware that anything is different. But remember. "those who are [walking] according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh." Our mind-set is the chief indicator as to how or what we are allowing to lead us.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Personal Update

My dog Spirit is being treated for pancreatitis but it appears there MAY be a problem with her liver and pancreas.  The x-rays showed that there is an enlargement in both areas.  She has not been able to eat for a week and has dropped 5 pounds.  That's about 12% of her total body weight. She's staying at the vet's while the treatment is going on.  I would appreciate your prayers. Also I have a job interview at The Courtyards on River Park and would also appreciate prayers for that.


I'm working on my BSF questions for this week and one concerns the definition of "humility". I looked up several verses and found that Moses was the most humble man on the face of the earth. (Would not you love God to say that about you?). God leads the humble in justice and teaches them His way. The humble inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant prosperity.  The Lord takes pleasure in the humble and he beautifies them with salvation.

Blessed are the humble for they will inherit the earth.  The Bible tells us that Jesus is gentle and humble in spirit so in Him we can find rest.  Finally, I learned that women should possess a gentle and quiet spirit which is precious in the sight of God.  Pride can mask itself very easily.  Dr. Piper speaks of two ways pride manifests. The more common way is wanting accolades for achievement. In other words, applaud me for what I have done.  The more subtle form is one that the Lord has revealed in my own heart.  It is self pity.  the self pitiful demand applause for their sacrifice.  It thrives on attention and carves an idolatrous god who is angry, demanding, harsh and judgemental.  A god that is evil and antithetical to the loving Lord portrayed throughout the Scripture.  Gratefully there is the hope that God's mercies are new every morning and His compassions fail not. We can flee to the Cross and preach the true Gospel to our hearts.  Praise Him who is indeed gentle and humble in spirit.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Wages of Sin is Death

Romans 6:23 states: "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."  There are deep theological explanations of verse 23.  But today the very practical aspect hit me right between the eyes and then pierced my heart.  Lately I have taken a very lax attitude toward my sin.  I have not only sinned against the Lord but others in my life.  The wages of sin is death whether it is spiritual death, a death of a friendship or any other myriad negative consequences of our sin.  Gratefully faithful are the wounds of a friend.  A triad of people who love me and know my life rightly rebuked me sternly yet in love. 

My walk right now is a stench in the nostril of a holy and high God.  I've created idols in my own heart that I serve and prefer over the kind, generous, gracious, great and glorious God of the Bible.  Scripture commands us to flee idolatry.  If we don't do so quickly and fully, there is a tremendous price to pay.  What I was reminded of today is that price isn't only ours but innocent others as well. I hope my rebuke serves as a wake up call for us all. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Lord is My Banner

Song of Solomon 2:4 states: "He has brought me to His banquet hall and His banner over me is love."  Valentines Day is sometime soon.  I think it's next Thursday. I'm a life long single so I don't keep track of such things.  This name of God is Jehovah Nissi. Moses called the Lord this after God gave the Israelites a successful battle against the Amalekites.  This name of God reflects His gracious help through providence in the affairs of men.  Christians will fail to have victory in their lives when Jehovah Nissi is absent.  Sometimes we want God to bless our plans.  God the Banner goes in front and we are to follow behind Him.  He is to take the lead not us.

God is the source of our overcoming!  Psalm 60: 4-5 states: "You have given a banner to those who fear You, that it may be displayed because of the truth.  that Your beloved may be delivered, save with Your right hand and answer us!"  The fact that we have Jehovah Nissi in our lives means that we are overcomers.  John 16: 33 promises: "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you have much tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world."  Stand back and get under the banner of His love.  March in step with Him and your victory is assured.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Walking Better Changed Everything

I helped an elderly man shop in the grocery store today. We waited for the bus to come and take us back to the assisted living facility.  It gave me an opportunity to know him better.  He at one point had a neurological disorder that caused water on his brain. The doctors were able to drain it but it left him shuffling and off kilter.  He decided that he would march as he did when he was in the army.  He called out the "hup one two three" mantra to which they used to march for me.  He then said something interesting.  "Once I walked rightly everything fell into place."

I thought about how we are to walk with the Lord. Frankly I'm struggling right now.  I feel like I'm shuffling along doing as I please giving into my flesh and feelings.  I need to make a choice to march to the Lord's command.  He clearly calls us to walk by the Spirit often throughout the New Testament.  To walk by the Spirit means we have new life. It also means we do good works and obey moral commands.  We don't walk as the worldly pagan but as the believer that we are in Jesus Christ. We are to walk decently and properly not enticed by worldly lusts.  Paul calls us to be wise in times of evil days.  We are to be above our circumstances and live life in a way that reflects our true citizenship is in heaven.  May we all hear "hup, one ,two ,three" in our own heads as we walk rightly.  I'm sure everything will better fall into place for us too.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Recipe for a Godly Marriage

I wrote this a few years ago when a close young friend of mine married.  It's based on Ephesians 5: 1-33.  Here are the ingredients:
  • Imitate God and walk as His children.
  • Walk in sacrificial love.
  • Avoid all immorality, impurity and evil talk.
  • Give thanks in all things.
  • Don't be deceived.
  • Walk in the Light.
  • Learn what pleases the Lord.
  • Expose unfruitful deeds of darkness.
  • Walk wisely and not unwisely.
  • Make the most of you time in these evil days.
  • Be filled with the Holy Spirit.
  • Make melody with your heart to the Lord.
  • Don't be foolish and understand God's will.
  • Be subject to one another in Christ.
  • Wives be subject to and respect your husbands.
  • Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the Church.
  • Be holy and blameless by the washing of the Word of God.
Make sure all ingredients are used in full. No substitutions. Mix well and add all of the above to the marriage. Start immediately and wait patiently.  Time will make the marriage even better than at the beginning.  Always rely on the Lord's strength.  Others and you will be blessed beyond measure.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Returning to Dog Vomit

I  it's a gross title but it is scriptural.  Proverbs 26:11 states: "Like a dog that returns to its vomit is a fool who repeats his folly."  My dog Spirit is sick and I am always reminded of this verse at times like this.  Oh how many times I have been like the dog returning to the very things that keep it sick.  We are sin sick. I return to deep habitual patterns of sin from which Christ died to set me free.  I go back to depressed or anxious thoughts that are from my own sinful heart.  God wants me to take every thought captive and to bring everything under submission to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

I think I really want to do so.  At times I am more successful than others. I never realized how easily and deeply patterns of fleshly thought gets encapsulated in our hearts.I love how Galatians 5: 19 -23 contrasts the deeds of the flesh versus the fruit of the Spirit.  Far too often I engage the deeds of the flesh.  But I have seen much progress as I cling to Christ daily and submit to His authority.  I need the body of Christ desperately to war with me. I need the Spirit of the Lord. I need the Lord's Word. Gratefully He has provided all of that.  Psalm 84: 11: "For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly."  Praise Him.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Personal Update

I went to the retina specialist today and he said everything looks good with both retina (s) or retina(e).  Whatever.  They did some tests that encouraged me my vision could significantly change for the better.  I am grateful for the grace of the Lord in all regards. As Jerry Bridges says in his book Trusting God..."God is completely sovereign. God is infinite in wisdom. God is perfect in love."

Monday, February 4, 2013

Value of BSF

I was in a situation today where someone needed to know the location of a given Scripture. I knew where it was and the person was somewhat nonplussed.  He said I often can find texts quickly.  I began to ponder why that is.  By the way I am much better able to locate a text in the Word than to apply it.  I think it best to know fewer verses and actually apply them than to know multitudes of them and not have them change and transform your life.  Tonight I realized why I have the ability to know the location of many verses in the Scripture. It's because of Bible Study Fellowship.

This is my tenth year of study over a fifteen year period.  The beauty of BSF is that it is pure Bible Study. No outside commentary just you and your Bible.  You answer about fifteen or so questions about a given text.  Then you share your answers in a group on a weekly basis. So you are reviewing the text a second time. Then you hear a lecture on the same passage and finally you are given a set of notes usually about six pages long that also cover the same verses.  You hear the same Scriptures in four different formats.  It makes it easier to remember where verses are that you have studied.  Tonight we studied Genesis 22 and 23.  Our teaching leader said of Genesis 22 that it is the Mount Vesuvius of the Old Testament. I don't think I'll ever forget that. How grateful I am for Bible Study Fellowship and its influence on my life.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Bite and Devour One Another

Most of you know that I have two dogs. Kellie, the smaller, possesses the deviousness of a dachshund, the visual acuity of a miniature pincher and the heart of a Rottweiler.  Spirit, the larger, wasn't the smartest pup in the litter but she certainly is the sweetest.  It must be the Labrador retriever in her.  She's a committed scent dog since she is mostly an American foxhound. Today we went walking. As is our typical pattern Kellie's looking around for trouble, Spirit has her nose to the ground trailing who knows what. I am the holder of the leashes.  Kellie spied another dog which usually means Spirit has come and bail her out.  Like I said Kellie has the heart of a Rottweiler in a much teenier body.  Spirit got so flustered she rammed into Kellie causing her to roll down the hill for a bit.  She didn't mean to do so. She just got excited in her big lug kind of way. While these two were engaged in rough and tumble the other dog walked calmly away.

This is not an example of Galatians 5: 15: which says: "But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another." That could have occurred had Kellie or Spirit gotten closer to the other dog.  Gratefully Kellie took a tumble down the hill and that innocently so.  I've seen some real bad clashes in the dog world.  In fact, last week a friend and I were walking our dogs in the park.  Both of our dogs got rather viciously attacked by unknown dogs.  It is a scary happening and hard to watch. Gratefully both of the other owners came and got their dogs--which were unleashed by the way (ahem).  The biting and devouring is an ugly scene remembered for a long time.

It's the same way in the church. I've been involved in some pretty nasty church splits.  It shouldn't be that way.  But when the flesh or the enemy gets any ground it can be brutal.  Many people get hurt and some for a long time. I've known bitterness between two parties to span decades and I think that may be part of what the verse means when it says "Take care that you are not consumed by one another."  Unresolved bitterness only destroys the one who holds it in.  One of the ladies at my BSF group said it thus: "Bitterness is when you take the poison and expect the other person to die."  Let that be a good reminder for us all to take care not to bite, devour or be consumed by one another. Rather let us be consumed by God's "one another commands He expects to be a deep part of the local church.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Joy of the Lord

I've been on a quest the past few months to find the joy of the Lord. Actually I could say it's been a lifelong search. I believe I'm saved and on the night the sweet Lord entered my heart I knew a peace and joy I'd never known.  Since then however joy eludes me.  I mean the great delight that is the gladness of heart.  I long for the happy state that results from knowing and serving God.  I covet that deep, abiding, inner-rejoicing in the Lord or to rejoice and be glad as the Scripture indicts.  That joy of the Lord is our strength. Perhaps that explains the weakness of my faith.  My life, without the joy of the Lord is dull and dry.  It is depressing to the point of despair.  There's the lack of the strength that comes and brings an incredible surge of power in your own daily walk. The Joy of the Spirit is given to those who ask and are in close communion with Him.  The Spirit releases the joy and keeps it running consistently and on a regular basis when you are in sweet fellowship with the Triune God.

I've been reading Charles Spurgeon's "Joy in Christ's Presence."  It is a meaty book stuffed full of truth.  I envy the descriptions Spurgeon makes of his own sweet communion with the Lord and those available to all who love Him.   It seems to elude me however.  The author wrote a chapter on one of my favorite verses, Matthew 11: 28: "Come to Me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." He speaks of rest for the heart, the conscience and the mind.  He writes that the Spirit who is our Comforter and our Sympathizer is real and present in every form of temptation.  Spurgeon states: "A disciple should know neither grief nor joy that he could not reveal to His Lord."

Spurgeon ends the chapter by giving reasons as to why we should have this rest.  These include that Jesus Himself gives it.  It refreshes us.  This rest improves our focus and is necessary for our growth.  It enables us to testify for the Lord. It also prepares us for heaven and the author states that the "streets of heaven begin on earth."  Spurgeon explains that to get such rest we must come to Christ, yield to Him and learn of Him.  As I LEARN more about the joy of the Lord I pray that I HAVE more of it. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

God's Goodness and Gentleness

I have been meditating on God's goodness and His gentleness the past two days.  His gentleness exhibits a tender mildness and a gracious disposition which is manifested by controlled strength.  Christ was fully human and as such was even tempered, calm, and stable in His emotions, mind and will at all times.  He is just, reasonable, long suffering, moderate and courteous.  He is never rude or arrogant. He is strength under compassionate constraint.  Gentleness pardons confessed offences yet corrects sin.  A gentle person rules his spirit in a godly manner.

Psalm 18: 35: "You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, And Your right hand upholds me;
And Your gentleness makes me great."

Matthew 11: 29: " Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
James 3: 17:  "But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy."   Matthew 5: 5: “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth."   Goodness is a characteristic of God that draws people to Him.  Some synonyms include: beneficence, ready to do good and love in action.  Goodness plays out in generosity, kind acts and intentions and charity.  It is kindness, grace and mercy with hands and feet. It is loyal, unselfish, without manipulation and truly treats others as you would want to be treated.  Jesus Christ epitomizes gentleness and goodness.   Psalm 25: 7: "Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; According to Your loving kindness remember me, For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord."   Exodus 33: 19:  "And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion."   Jeremiah 31: 14: “I will fill the soul of the priests with abundance, And My people will be satisfied with My goodness,” declares the Lord."   Hosea 3: 5: "Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the Lord and to His goodness in the last days."