RESTING

We as a society are obsessed with success, we don’t put any value on resting. We think that the more we do the more we impress God. A few years back I was involved in a wonderful Bible study on festivals. We studied the Old Testament Festivals and were shown how God symbolically mirrored each Old Testament Festival in the New Testament.

It was a fascinating study and I realized one unusual aspect of God. He loves to party! No kidding! He really loves to party. In fact He directed the Israelis many times within the Old Testament to have an all out celebration and do no work.

What?!! No work? I mean partying is one thing but no work is another right?

In Isaiah 30:15a the Word of God says: “This is what the sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation.”

Maybe that is why God calls only one out of seven days holy. The Sabbath is the only day which is to be considered holy and that is to be a day of rest.

Well, one can not become successful by just repenting and resting right?

You are right. Isaiah goes on to say that “In quietness and trust is your strength.”

Wait a minute. How does keeping quiet and trusting accomplish anything?

When you confess and rest, you acknowledge your sin before God and repentance means turning from that sin. When you are quiet and trust in Him you allow Him to do the work. Let us remember who is in charge of miracles. It is God not us.

So what did the Israelis do with this directive?

The Bible says, “They would have none of it.”

I am no better than they were. I constantly pray and then try to work the prayer out on my terms.

How many times have you thought that God wasn’t answering your prayer in an efficient enough manner so you would just assist Him?

How many times has your assistance really been the answer to prayer that you were seeking?

Yeah, that is what I thought. I have a big zero in my department as far as the ability to answer prayers and God has a really great record.

He doesn’t always answer them in the way I want or in the time frame I want but since He is God, I think he may have a better handle on knowing how my prayers should be answered than I do.

MY SABBATH

I have struggled all of my life to honor one of God’s commandments. It is the commandment regarding the Sabbath.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” — Exodus 20:8-11

I am too busy during the week to get everything done that I need to do and so Sunday is kind of a catch up day. I have always thought that God would understand. I am not sure He does understand. I am not sure He needs to understand. I think I may need to change the way I do things. I need to become diligent in pursuing Him in every way that He requests, if that means I take a day off of work then I will do so.

Last weekend I made a concerted effort to get all of my work done so that I could rest and worship on Sunday. I went to church and then worked on the Bible studies I am involved in. It was a very intense and purposeful day for me. You wouldn’t think that rest would be so intense right?

It does take concentration and diligence to avoid work that is poking you in the ribs and saying “Hey you! There are crumbs on your kitchen counter and you really need to mop the floor again, don’t you think?” Then it goes on to say.”When are you ever going to get your jewelry organized and you know that garage has not been cleaned out since Spring.”

In a way observing the Sabbath in the way that God intended is so important if for one reason and one reason only. It forces you to focus on what is eternal in life and not temporal.

I have observed the Sabbath last weekend on Sunday and in research for this post I realized that I was supposed to observe the Sabbath on Saturday. Well, now, I am going to have to get all things done by Friday evening then because I really like spending Saturday evening at church and then turn around and go to another church on Sunday. I know God doesn’t require two days out of the week but I haven’t even given Him one day for most of my life so I figure I have some catching up to do.

MY ADULT DAUGHTER

A couple of years ago I allowed my daughter to move back in with me. I had been alone for awhile and was becoming accustomed to my solitude so I didn’t know how this would turn out but I knew what my response should be when she asked me.

The Lord had prepared me for this before it even happened. He had given me reason to pause and reflect when I read Isaiah 58:7.

“Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless, Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.”

I don’t have a lot of money so I could not help my daughter out in that way but what I do have is a house large enough to give shelter to my children and I. The Lord has been gracious enough to place me in a neighborhood which I love and He has blessed me with a house which is spacious enough that we are not running into each other on a daily basis.

When she moved in I was concerned because we had not been very close during her teenage years. Sometimes I have shook my fist at God and become angry with Him when my daughter and I get into an argument. I have told Him that I stood on this verse and I expected things to be better than they were at the time. What was He thinking to put a verse like that in the Bible?

That was the wrong response. What I should have done is prayed and said, “God right now my daughter and I are not getting along very well but I know that allowing her to move in with me was based on your Word and I ask that you intervene in this situation and let your love shine through. I have faith that if I continue to abide by Your Word that you will bless this decision because You are a righteous and Holy God.”

Then there are times that are so precious that I want to bronze the moment and set it on my mantle. My daughter can get me giggling so easily and she is so precious sometimes.

Last night was one of those times. She came home to tell me she had gotten a promotion at work and was now a sales manager for the Michael Korr’s store she works at. She also said she had six exams this week and she had gotten amazing grades on the five she had taken already. It seemed as if my daughter was wearing the favor of God as if it was a magnificent robe. I was so proud of her and how far she has come over the past several years. She has worked so hard and been so diligent.

I was reflecting on my daughter this morning. I have observed her with fascination since the day that she was just a toddler. She has such a unique way of solving problems. Like with her promotion: her store needed a manager because their manager had gotten promoted and her and another college student suggested that they share the role and the company was smart enough to embrace that idea. They had never done this before but they were willing to try because of their faith in my daughter and the other successful young lady. She has done things like this before and last night I told her that she was a “trailblazer.”

As I was thinking about her this morning I realized what a blessing it has been for me to give her shelter. I thank God that I can trust her. She does borrow some things from me but she does not steal. I also praise God that she has not fallen into the bondage of drugs. If she had, I do not know that I would be willing to give her shelter. I have began to realize that I have been so blessed and favored by God to allow her to live with me. I have had the most wonderful opportunity to hear her rejoice when God has blessed her and I have tried to comfort her and give her wise counsel when she has been beset with difficulties.

I did not consider when I allowed her to move back in that it may be a most wonderful decision for me. I just knew that I had to abide by God’s Word.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that God cherishes my daughter. He truly loves her in a very special way.

It is such a privilege to be able to show her in such a small way how much I love her and I know and believe that God will do wonderful things through this special time when I am providing shelter for her.

There is no better way in life than to abide by the Word of God in each and every step we take.

WELFARE

I read a little something on Facebook today which started me thinking on a different path.

I am basically against welfare. I am not against it because I am white.

I am also not against it because I am middle class.

I am against welfare because it strips people of their self worth and condemns them to living in a cycle of poverty.

This is a change for me because I really have always thought we should help out those who are struggling and I still think we should. I think that anyone who is a veteran or disabled should be given as many services as they need.

What I don’t believe in is rewarding laziness or sloth.

But it is more than that. Welfare ensures we will always have people living at poverty level. As long as they don’t have the audacity to get an education and better themselves and they keep popping out babies we will continue to have a class of poor people.

Welfare doesn’t pay for much but it sure can steal a lot from someone. It can steal their confidence, their dreams, their hopes for a better future, it can sap their energy because energy is not needed to be a couch potato. Furthermore I suspect that most families who are on welfare beget more welfare recipients.

If we really wanted to help people out we should put restrictions on welfare. You only get it for a short time and then you have to go back to work or get an education. Some people fall on hard times and it would assist them through that but some people are just lazy and paying them to be lazy does not stop the laziness.

If we cut back on welfare and invested that money into education for these people who knows what they may accomplish? Or better yet invest some of that money into businesses who would be forced to hire former welfare recipients to continue to get their stipend and then wean the business off of the public dole as it becomes successful. There are numerous ways to encourage people to become productive but to keep throwing money at them for having babies and sitting on a couch is not one of the ways.

POOR PEOPLE

I copied this post from facebook. It was originally posted by Dan Asmussen. This post reminded me of the poor people that I saw in the Dominican Republic and how envious I was of them by the time I left that exquisite island.

POOR PEOPLE
One day a very wealthy father took his son on a trip to the country for the sole purpose of showing his son how it was to be poor. They spent a few days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

After their return from the trip, the father asked his son how he liked the trip. “It was great, Dad,” the son replied. “Did you see how poor people can be?” the father asked. “Oh Yeah,” said the son.

“So what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father. The son answered, “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.

We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.

We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.” The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added, “It showed me just how poor we really are.”

Too many times we forget what we have and concentrate on what we don’t have. What is one person’s worthless object is another’s prize possession. It is all based on one’s perspective.

Sometimes it takes the perspective of a child to remind us what’s important.

TELEVANGELISTS

I am on a rampage now. (Yeah, like you didn’t notice that already? lol) I am out to slay wolves who are dressed as harmless sheep.

Why?

Only because they can lead astray the sheep which Jesus has sacrificed His very life for.

My target in this post is televangelists. I have gone to a couple of sermons by these supposed preachers and have been horrified at how greedy and deceitful they are.

As I am studying for my Bible study on Revelations I have been led to several passages in the Bible which are good standards for identifying false prophets.

I will teach you these standards and please heed my warning,for it may be your eternal destination which is at stake.

In 2 Peter 2:1 the Word of God says: “(1)But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought you. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. (2) Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. (3)In their greed, they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago and their destruction will not be delayed.”

This hits the nail on the head as far as the false doctrine of the “prosperity” gospel goes doesn’t it? Yet, there is more I want to share.

The commentary in my Life Application Study Bible says that the three signs for identifying false teachers are:

(1) Immorality: Do their lives contain or condone immoral practices? Do those who follow this leader engage in immoral sexual relationships?

I always think that sexual immorality includes adultery and fornication since I am heterosexual.  

I forget that homosexuality is considered a deviant behavior also. For the church to sanction any or all sexual immorality is to rebel against the standard set forth in God’s word.

Ted Haggard and Jimmy Swaggart are two well known televangelists who are an example of this character fault.

(2) Greed Teachers have a right to financial support, so do preachers but is money the prime motivation? Before you send money to anyone please evaluate whether that individual is serving God and what the money may be supporting.

I have heard that Kenneth Copeland’s mansion is the size of a football field. He also has several planes and is secretive about how the money his ministry receives is being used. When you give money to a ministry you may want to ask yourself the following question: “Is the money that you give being used to promote ministry and help those in need or is it merely being spent to provide a lavish lifestyle for the preacher?”

Remember the greatest preacher of all, Jesus Christ, did not even have a home to call his own.

(3)Lying: If you oppose one of these pastors and their lies do they come back with truth based on the gospel? Is there actual evidence supporting their claims?

It is extremely important that we worship only Christ and Christ alone. I have heard many times people exclaim, “Oh, I just looovvee Joel Olsteen, or I love Joyce Meyers.”

What a shame that they are so deceived. We are not to love the messenger but to love the One whom the message is about.


GODLY ADVICE

My son called me today. He is at a crossroads in his life. He is about to finish his premed studies at the University of Central Florida and is a bit hesitant to jump right into medical school. I can relate, I remember absolutely hating textbooks when I finished my degrees.

He is thinking about some cancer research ideas and is tempted to explore those further. He wouldn’t have time for this if he went to medical school. He asked my advice.

I asked him if he had prayed about it and if he thought God was in this. He said, “Yes, he felt as if God was in this and he had gotten a text from my friend, David Roberts, today which came right when he found out he had not done as well on the MCAT as he thought he would. (He is still in the top 20% so it is no big worry but he is a perfectionist about grades).

I was surprised that he was asking my advice because he is a very capable and intelligent young man but I was honored. I thought for just a moment and said, “You need to lay out a fleece.”

“What?” He asked.

I told him in the Bible a man named Gideon had some indecision about the path that he was supposed to take and he laid out a wool fleece. He told God that if he was the person to lead Israel into war that God should make the fleece wet and the ground dry. God did this. Then Gideon asked very humbly for God to confirm this and make the fleece dry and the ground wet. Which God did also.

I told my son to lay out a fleece and to apply to the medical schools which he wanted to go to even if he thought his MCAT score was not high enough. If God wanted him to go to a certain medical school he could open that door for my son. If He didn’t want my son to attend medical school at this time he could close that door but he at least needed to apply and then let God work through his application.

He said that was a great idea. “How many should I apply to?” He asked.

I was thinking five when he said,”I think I will apply to five.”I followed the conversation up with sending him a devotional on Gideon.

Tonight as I was meditating in my Bible study class I remembered verses in the Bible which say that God will be a father to the fatherless and a defender of widows.

I am not a widow but I have not had a husband for many years.

My children are not orphans they love their father very much and he is very present in their lives but to have a God who has written a book which I can refer to when giving Godly counsel to my son is beyond comforting to me and deepens my love for my heavenly Father.

My God has been my protector, my best friend, my counselor and He is truly the love of my life. What a comfort it is to my heart and soul to have my God to turn to when one I love so deeply needs Godly advice.

GOOD FRUIT

In the Bible, specifically in Matthew 7:15-20 it mentions that there will be false prophets. How are you to identify false prophets?

By their fruit. A false prophet bears bad fruit and a true prophet bears good fruit but it is more than this I believe.

There are many Christians who take grace for granted. They go to church every Sunday but then on Monday they live like the devil. This is called a carnal Christian. I know, how this is… to walk this path… I used to be a carnal Christian. There are still carnal desires I am fighting. These desires of the flesh will not be destroyed unless I continue to walk away from them again and again and with each step defeat the destruction they are meant to cause.

I think everyone thinks as I did, that Jesus’ blood covers all sins and no doubt it does, but Jesus himself said that if we break God’s laws we will not be acknowledged by Him. It is only those who do His will which will be acknowledged by Him.

Great! So how do you know His will? You study the Bible. You yearn to have fellowship with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. You walk away from fleshly desires in pursuit of Spiritual nourishment.

It is not always fun. Nor is it exciting but the consequences of sin are death and the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ His Son. It is a choice that we make every day, in every thought we think and every action we do.

To continue in sin without repentance and call yourself a Christian is to mock the sincerity and holiness of the crucifixion. To truly repent you must walk away from the sin and then you will experience the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Those good fruits include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Bible Study

I am involved in a new Bible study. I have heard about this group for many years and have harbored a desire to become involved in this group.

I went for the first time last Monday and the church was overflowing with people who wanted to be involved in this Bible study. They said a great many of the newcomers would have to be on a waiting list to attend. I figured I would be one of those that was placed on the waiting list.

I decided that I would place it in God’s hands and not worry or become impatient. I intended to use my time wisely by continuing in my present Bible study and becoming involved in another. I am also starting a Bible study for women and that will take a lot of time in preparation.

The Bible study I was hoping to go to on Monday nights is the Bible study fellowship. It is an international organization and it is very well respected as a sincere and thought provoking Bible study. It involves quite a lot of time in meditation and study. I figured God would allow me to get involved when He knew I had time and I didn’t know if I had time yet.

Yesterday was a very busy day for me. I got a lot of cleaning done and ran around and did some errands. I got my house decorated for the autumn season and as I was running around I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize. I checked my voicemail, thinking it was a patient or a patient’s family member. When I checked the voicemail I was surprised. I got into the Bible study!!! I am so over the top excited! This was much more than I expected. I thought in maybe a month or two I would be able to attend but in the first week? No way! I am just thrilled.

So as I am continuing to study the word of God and learning I will share with you what I learn. I am so thankful to God for allowing me to blog and to be able to share what I learn with my readers. It makes it so wonderful to study His word.

This Bible study is on the book of Revelations and this is the first time the Bible Study Fellowship has ever studied this book. You would not believe how many people are hungry for teaching from this book. There is a lure to understanding prophecy but the desire I believe is quenched when we understand that it really is all about Jesus Christ.

Stay tuned. I will be blogging as I learn and study. I hope you all are as excited as I am. I think I got the best Christmas gift ever in September!

BEST BANANA BREAD!

Alright I know I haven’t done this for awhile but Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I absolutely love to cook for family and friends. So I am going to try and share some simple recipes so that my readers can feed their friends and family and come out looking better than Martha Stewart.

By the way I was watching a bit of Martha Stewart on PBS the other day and she was making fruit cake. She is so wonderful at everything she does and her fruit cake looked absolutely delicious. If a person made the fruit cake that she had made on TV it would take at least two – three hours of chopping and cutting and mixing and baking. It was a lovely looking cake-just one problem. NO ONE EVER EATS FRUITCAKE MARTHA! So why on earth would I waste 2-3 hours creating a masterpiece?

Being that I am NOT Martha Stewart, I like to bake things which are quick but yummy and I found a dashing new recipe on Facebook. It is a recipe for Banana bread.

Ingredients are: I box yellow cake mix, two eggs and 4-5 ripe and smashed bananas. Add nuts if desired to the batter, then mix and put into greased loaf pans and bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes. I must be kidding right? No, I am not!

I just did this recipe and it is the best ever! I used to slave away and have to buy buttermilk and all kinds of things for my banana bread. No more. This is without a doubt the most delicious banana bread I have ever tasted. I have almost eaten half of a mini loaf already.

This is also a wonderful way for your kiddos to eat bananas. I used to have a kiddo who hated vegetables and a lot of fruit so I would be sneaky and make carrot bread and banana bread for him because he never could turn down bread. This is the kid who is in the Hall of Fame for Florida water polo so I think he turned out to be a bit on the healthy and athletic side.

You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to be a perfect Mom. You just have to be creative. Now get baking!