Bible Bite – Singing {7.29.16}

Singing – Music brings such joy, doesn’t it? Especially if it’s coming from someone who can sing or play. Me, I can’t carry tune in a bucket and my piano playing is less than beginner level. However, I still do both – mostly when I’m alone. My family and friends like it better that way (smile). I love to sing along to the radio, especially in the car. Sometimes I just can’t help myself if we’re out in public and some good “sing along songs” like the 60’s come on – it’s just an automatic reaction (at least that’s my excuse).  Now, church…that’s a great place to sing. After all, the Bible says you should make a joyful noise unto the Lord. It doesn’t say anything about being on key. I don’t even sound that bad when the people who can sing drown me out.singing girl.jpg

I read the scripture below a long time ago and it just overwhelmed me. I just read it again and had the same feeling. There are several messages in this one verse but the one that just jumps out at me is the last phrase. Can you imagine? God rejoices over us with singing. And we know HE CAN SING BEAUTIFULLY! That just blows my mind.

Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

Music is important to God and a gift to us. When we get to heaven we will be singing praises and I’m just sure that I will sound good then. I can’t wait to sing in that choir! It will be my first and last choir so I’m practicing now.

take me out to ballgameWell, tonight I will once again sing in public as we are going to a baseball game. You know everyone has to sing “Take me out to the ballgame”! It might be a rule. I apologize now to those who will be sitting in front of me. But, I will be singing loudly anyway and thinking of this verse. The next time you sing, consider that God is rejoicing over you with singing. I think the music will seem even sweeter.

Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” – I consider scriptures “Bible bites” as we read them. There is nourishment for our soul in each bite. Have you eaten any lately?

 

Advertisements

The Guys in My Life {7.27.16}

There are a lot of guys in my life. My Dad was the first guy I loved. My “forever love” is of course my husband, Pete. We have four sons, a son-in-law, grandsons, brother, brothers-in-law, nephews and a host of other guys who have been a part of our lives. Our only daughter and I have been outnumbered for years but that’s ok. It kind of makes us feel special and we’re surrounded by some fantastic guys.

This summer I had the opportunity to spend some time with three guys that I want to recognize. These young guys (ages 9, 10 and 11) impressed me so much that I can’t stop thinking about it and praising God for them. Each one of them have a bold, brave and humble spirit with a confidence that comes from knowing who they are, whose they are, that they are loved, and that they have a responsibility which they take seriously. They are fun-loving kids and I enjoyed spending time with each of them. However, that’s not what has impressed me the most. strong and courageous Each of them have no hesitation to pray both privately and publicly. I’m not talking about “now I lay me down to sleep” or “thank you for this food” prayers. Their prayers are heartfelt, timely and personal. They are not ashamed, embarrassed or intimidated when it comes to their faith. These guys have prayed at restaurants, in front of each other before going to sleep, whenever and wherever without hesitation. I am so proud of them I could bust! They are living out this scripture to be strong and courageous and I don’t think they even realize it! Many adults, even though they have a strong faith, still find it difficult to publicly pray to  or praise God. I know…I was once one of them. God has brought me a long way with regard to praying publicly and it all started with children. He is so gracious.

Matthew 18:4-6 “Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

Sam (10), I had the blessing of spending 3 days a week with you this summer. We played games, the piano, rode bikes, watched movies, went swimming, joined reading clubs at our local library and did a Bible study together. We studied Titus, Ezra and Proverbs. We read, discussed and wrote down our observations. I could not be prouder of you. You inspire me to be a better person and set a good example as you watch me live my life. Thank you for still thinking it fun to spend time with Grandma.

Jonah (9), You are new to our family but even though you spent some overnight time with us right away, you were not intimidated at all. You volunteered to ask the blessing over our food when we went out to eat. You didn’t even mind when I put you on the spot to pray with Sam at a family gathering. You are a very social person yet secure in your own skin. It is a blessing to have you in my life.

Caleb (11), I knew your parents before I knew you and then you and Sam became friends. What fun! God gives us unexpected blessings all the time. I am so thankful you were able to have a sleepover this summer with Sam. You also impressed me with your faith and bold confidence. You felt quite comfortable praying in public and in our home. I hope you join us again.

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

There are many guys and girls who are just as great as the three I have mentioned above. These three just touched my life personally this summer. praying boys.jpg How about you? Are you encouraging a child? Are you leading by example? Are you praying for them? They need us – all of us.

Ephesians 6:1-4 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ – which is the first commandment with a promise – ‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

I want to encourage these guys’ parents to keep leading, keep praying, and keep teaching your children. They are our future and when I look at them, the future seems bright. The fruit you are producing in your children is visible and good. You’ve done a fantastic job but your job is not yet finished. They will encounter opposition, ridicule, etc. and need to be strong to stand firm. So, don’t stop – keep praying, keep ministering, keep walking in faith. You are their role model of what it means to be Christ-like.

Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

We all need to pray for the children in our families, country, and other parts of the world. Pray they all will receive love, guidance and instruction in the Lord. Pray they will not let society, peer pressure, teenage years, etc. to come in and steal their bold faith and witness. Pray for a renewed faith as they continue to grow and that they will be bold witnesses in their schools, neighborhoods, future workplaces, and communities. Prayer is powerful. It’s something we can all do and that we all need.

Thanks to all the guys in my life. You are a blessing!

No Invitation Needed {7.18.16}

Yesterday, my husband decided to paint the safety lines in our church parking lot. He asked if I wanted to come along and help. Now, I know my limitations so I made sure he understood that painting straight lines was probably not one of my skills or talents.  I can color inside the lines but drawing a straight line even with a ruler can sometimes be tricky. But, since I was willing, I got the assistant’s job. safety lines down hill I have to admit I had not even consciously noticed that the lines had nearly all faded away. That’s something that my husband does well. He sees a need and if possible, takes care of it. If he sees someone who needs help and he can help, he does. We don’t have to wait to be asked. NO INVITATION NEEDED. Sometimes we think that another will do it. Sometimes we think we don’t have the time or skills. But, most of the time, all God wants is a willing heart. I think about this scripture:

James 4:17 – “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”

Well, the day was not without some humor. We got down the hill and were almost out of paint so we decided to tackle the crosswalk on the other drive. We almost finished it when a downpour seemed to come out of nowhere. safety lines running We hurried to the truck and left our paint tray (pretty much empty) and rollers where they were. At the top of the hill were our paper towels, some other tools, etc. [So much for the paper towels. They turned to mush.] Anyway, we got in the truck which was facing opposite the painted walkway. When we turned around and looked back at our painted lines, we saw yellow paint running down the hill in water.  So much for our crosswalk lines. We just laughed at ourselves. We needed more paint anyway so I guess we’ll get that done the next time. Thankfully, the other lines we painted were dry before the rain came pouring down. The lines may not be straight, but you can see them. safety lines up hill

There is a lesson in this for me. I need to be more aware of the people and situations around me. I wonder how many opportunities God has put before me that I missed.  It may be a hot meal for someone who can’t cook. It just might be a hug to someone who is lonely or hurting. We all have something to offer if we just take the time to recognize the need and step out in faith.  I’m going to try to keep my eyes open. How about you?

Terror from the Tempter {7.13.16}

I don’t know about where you live but when I turn on the news each morning, there seems to always be sad and tragic news in abundance. I really don’t remember the last time I watched the news and there was no killing reported. It’s so sad. It rouses many emotions in us but I wonder how often it prompts us to do the things we can do – pray and love.

Matthew 5:44: “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

The terror we are seeing is from the tempter, Satan. He wants to steal, kill and destroy. He appears to be doing quite a fine job of it, with help from us. God never tempts us to evil but He does allow us free will to choose good over evil.

James 1:13-15: “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

1 Timothy 5:15: “Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.

Remember, when we are tempted to sin/evil, God will ALWAYS provide a way of escape for us. We need to look for that escape route and take it.

Loving our enemies is hard to do, hard to even think about doing in our own strength. That’s why we need GOD. It’s only possible through His love and His Strength working in and through us.

1 Thessalonians 5:15-24: “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire, do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”

Sometimes we let these awful things we hear go in one ear and then out again if it doesn’t happen to our family or friends. But, we know that it affects us all. This is a war we are in the middle of and the battle is fierce. It’s a war against good and evil. It’s a war against our nation, our families, and even our sanity. The great news is that God has provided us all we need to fight this battle. Check it out below.

Ephesians 6:10-18: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for the saints”

So, I guess the purpose of this post is to remind myself and others who may read it to keep on praying, keep on trusting God and keep on fighting the fight, on our knees and with love. Loving God first and foremost and then with His help, loving others – all others. After all, Christ died and rose again for EVERYONE.

If you have not yet joined the family of God, you can do that right now. Admit your sins, accept the gift of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ as your savior and then love, trust and follow God. It’s that simple. God will help guide and direct you and give you understanding through His Holy Spirit.

Mighty things can happen when we all join together in love and prayer. Are we with God? Or, are we with Satan? Those are our only two choices. If we don’t actively choose God, we choose Satan by default. His team may win battles but they lose the war and end up in terror and torment for eternity. Choosing Satan is a choice leading to death. With God, we will spend eternity in heaven. Easy choice – choose God and live!