11 Jun

Because He Never Changes

It’s much easier for me to teach others than to obey my own teaching! One verse that I have to remind myself of often is Philippians 4:6-7:

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I like the peace of verse 7, but don’t always find it easy to obey the prerequisite of not worrying in verse 6! And recent weeks have unsettled my heart and mind even though I try to obey these verses.

So, I have had to frequently ask myself…why art thou cast down, oh my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me?! (Psalm 42:5) And I made a list of the reasons why I do NOT need to be worried or downcast. The shortened version is…because the Lord never changes

For I am the Lord, I change not (Malachi 3:6)

I could quit with that, but just so you see how definite and practical that thought is…if my joy is in the Lord, that joy is available always, BECAUSE HE NEVER CHANGES. If my strength is in the Lord, it’s always there for me, BECAUSE HE NEVER CHANGES. If my hope is in the Lord, I should be hopeful at ALL times, BECAUSE HE NEVER CHANGES. If my peace comes from the Lord, the circumstances don’t matter, BECAUSE HE NEVER CHANGES. My salvation is in the Lord so it’s forever, BECAUSE HE NEVER CHANGES. My refuge is in the Lord, no matter what the storm of life, BECAUSE HE NEVER CHANGES. Even if I don’t FEEL the Lord’s love always, it’s always there, BECAUSE HE NEVER CHANGES. He hears me…always…because He never changes. I think you get the picture.

05 Jun

The Garden of Thoughts

A pleasant feature of spring is the beauty of gardens. Flower gardens appeal to the eyes as they color the landscapes. A variety of flowers furnish this beauty.

There does exist a different kind of garden: that is the garden of thoughts. This garden is not seasonal; it is a daily part of the mental involvement. In Philippians 4:8, Paul suggests six attributes for the Christian to think on. These include: whatsoever things are TRUE, HONEST, JUST, PURE, LOVELY, and THINGS of a GOOD REPORT.

Like the typical garden, the garden of thoughts must be properly maintained. The evil weeds of Satan grow fast. Also, plants need food in order to grow strong and mature. A daily spraying of the Holy Spirit keeps the weeds away, and a daily feeding of the Word gives nourishment for growth.

Come away daily to the garden of thoughts and meditate on Truth Tulip, Honest Hosta, Just Jasmine, Pure Petunia, Lovely Lilly, and Things of a Good Report Geranium.

Also, include thoughts from the Father such as these:

“Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee because he trusteth in Thee.” (Isaiah 26:3)

“For I know my thoughts that I think toward you saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Proverbs 23:7 states that we are what we think. Think on that!

04 Jun

An Expression of Mercy

“And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.” (II Samuel 12:1)

David had sinned and the Lord sent Nathan to David to confront him. What an expression of mercy. The Lord could have cast David aside and left him in his sin. However, in His mercy He sent His messenger to reveal to David that his sin was known and that the Lord desired to restore David into fellowship with Him.

Praise the Lord for the messengers that the Lord sends to us to declare His Word – even sometimes when we may not want to hear.

03 Jun

Great Truths for Times Like These

One of the hardest things in the Christian life is to reconcile God’s involvement in life-threatening illness, tragedies of all types, the impacts of the evil acts of other people, and in general, bad events or situations that occur in life. The current pandemic is one of those situations. However, regardless of circumstance, the Bible assures us of God’s love and care and continual working in our lives. The following eight foundational truths are for times like these.

God’s love for us is indisputable.
He loved us so much that he sent His only begotten Son to die for us that we might have everlasting life.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

God is interested in us personally.
He knows every sparrow that falls. He knows every hair on our heads. He has told us to come to Him with literally our every need. He knows and He cares about the details of our lives.

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.(Matthew 10:29-30)

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Philippians 4:6)

God is not surprised by the things that happen to us.
He is omniscient or all-knowing. He is never caught off guard.

Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? (John 18:4)

God does not promise to deliver us from all the bad.
That includes evil and suffering and the impact of the choices of others. But He does promise to give us the ability to endure, and the grace, and the peace, and the strength that is needed to meet the situation.

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: (1 Peter 2:21)

God will never leave us nor forsake us.
His way is perfect. In return, He asks us to place our faith and trust in Him, regardless of the circumstance.

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him. (2 Samuel 22:31)

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (Romans 1:17)

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (Hebrews 13:5)

God is working to conform us to the image of Christ.
He is a sovereign God, who will work the tiniest blessing and the greatest evil to our eventual good.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:28-29)

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: (Philippians 1:6)

God is good, every day, all the time.
His love for us and watch-care over us are ever present.

Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. (Psalm 119:68)

The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. (Nahum 1:7)

God’s secret things are beyond human understanding.
We must be content to leave those with God.

The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:29)

Regardless of what may come our way, we can stand firm on these rock-solid, sure foundational truths.

02 Jun

Trust and Obey

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Growing up in a Christian family and being in church my whole life, these verses are very familiar to my mind. However, over the last several months they have become more special to me as we have seen them up close and personal.

My husband’s health uncertainties and the necessary return for medical testing, as well as the unknown of what the next steps for our family left me feeling lost. I remember in Taiwan, as we were preparing to return, I felt overwhelmed with the “what ifs” and pressures that I felt were all on me. I sat down and had a hard cry. But God is faithful and reminded me that I need to trust Him, His plans, His paths for us, His strength that He freely gives to us. I needed to trust and obey.

It is He who allows the circumstances into our lives. He isn’t taken by surprise by our trials. We can allow Him to work His perfect will in us and through us or we can run from Him in our own way and strength. Our own way would certainly lead to our destruction.

God doesn’t show us the entirety of our path. He says His Word is a “lamp unto our feet.” He shows us enough for us to see the next step. It is our job to simply trust and obey. Just like the children’s song says.

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

We can rest assure that when we are trusting our faithful Father, He will lead and guide us in His perfect will. We look forward to the day that we will be with Him forever and can sit at His feet and sing His praises for all time. Even so come quickly Lord Jesus.

30 May

Change of Focus Required

“And with them he sent Levites, even Shemaiah, and Nethaniah, and Zebadiah, and Asahel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehonathan, and Adonijah, and Tobijah, and Tobadonijah, Levites; and with them Elishama and Jehoram, priests.
And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people.” (II Chronicles 17:8 – 9)

As king of Judah, Jehoshaphat instituted many changes. Among these was the sending of the religious leaders to the cities to teach the Word of the Lord. He knew that the way to lead those he was responsible for was to point them to the unfailing Word of God.

The only way to effective change in the life of any people is to be focused on the Lord. You will not have the government send preachers and teachers to give you the Word of the Lord. However, the Lord Himself has given you the complete Word of the Lord, the Bible. If that is read daily along with regular attendance and participation in your local church, your spiritual life will be strengthened and your service for the Lord will increased.

30 May

Free Indeed

Here in Brazil we frequently have “sound trucks” that drive through the neighborhood with propaganda of various sorts. Recently I heard one trying to convince the listeners that what they were offering was FREE! I thought…NOTHING is free! Some way or another they are going to get our money, and what they are advertising as free will be nothing more than a freebie of little value.

But I DO know of ONE thing that is absolutely free—salvation in Jesus Christ! And it’s only free for us because Somebody already paid the price.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

We run after freebies and promotions and try to get something for nothing. But how many of us give any thought to that which is most precious and most necessary…a true relationship with God? This time of quarantine has given most of us more “free time” than we normally have. Have we used it wisely to nurture our relationship with the Lord? He freely gives us all things, but too often we don’t even know what He offers, much less how to appropriate that into our lives. May we use our time to get a better perspective on the “free” salvation that cost Jesus everything, and that offers everything to us!

27 May

The Lord Knows

As Christians, we find ourselves saying phrases like “The Lord knows” in times of trouble or uncertainty. We truly have the blessing of knowing that Our Heavenly Father is Omniscient ( All Knowing ). How wonderful it is to be able to rest in the thought that our trials and uncertainties are no surprise to Our Heavenly Father. He knows what we will face today and tomorrow and as Christians He will temper each thing that comes our way with His tender loving care.

Job 23:10
But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

26 May

Life’s Wages

I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty score.

For Life is a just employer;
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.

I worked for a menial’s hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have paid.

-Jessie B. Rittenhouse

When some material item is sold for a price less than it is worth, that brings joy to the buyer, but for the seller it is a loss. Sadly, the Bible gives several examples of individuals who bargained precious, priceless things for a worthless exchange. Beginning in Genesis, we see that Adam and Eve bargained paradise for the taste of a forbidden fruit because, “It was pleasant to the eyes and a tree to . . . make one wise” (Gen 3:6). The wage for this disobedience was the fall of all mankind. What a price!

Also, Sampson bargained his great strength for the lust of a woman. His loss of strength and his death were a poor wage for what he could have achieved for God.

Judas bargained the high calling of being Christ’s disciple for thirty pieces of silver. His wage was a lasting reputation of a traitor who took his own life.

We cannot put a value on life; it is too precious. It is a gift of God. Giving a life to God for His use is far better than bargaining a life for worthless things.

“Only one life, ‘twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”
-C.T. Studd

20 May

Let Patience Have Her Perfect Work

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
(James 1:2-5)

In the book of James we are admonished to “count it all joy” when we fall into various trials (1:2). We who have lived our entire life in the most prosperous and free Republic have never witnessed such a thing as COVID 19. Many of us just don’t know what we should do. On May 17 Faith Baptist Church opened its doors to the public for congregational services; and I was delighted to know my brothers and sisters could once again worship together. I and many other members could not participate physically at church. What should my attitude be? Should I walk around with my head down like a student in school who was denied recess privileges? Should I be jealous of our young and healthy brethren who were privileged to attend in person for services? James says count it all joy (1:2).

On the subject of when we can attend, James says if we lack wisdom ask of God (1:5). Sometimes we need to be reminded to “speak not evil one of another” (4:11) God says if we speak evil (criticize) we are guilty of judging our brethren (5:9). Those of us who feel we cannot at this time attend services should be thrilled for those who have the liberty to attend. Likewise those of us who have the liberty to attend need to be careful of our criticism of those who do not have that liberty.

I’m sure all of us long for the day when this will be nothing but a memory. In the meantime brethren let us be patient, count it all joy, and continue to ask God for wisdom, and Lord Willing I’ll see you soon!

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