Friday, April 29, 2011

Blessings Abundant

"Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off
but blessed is he who keeps the law."
Proverbs 29:18

No wonder our nation is in such a mess! There seems to
no longer be a vision for what is true and right and good.
But whatever happens to the nation as a whole,
blessing can be ours.

By keeping God's law.

Psalm 19 7-11 gives a beautiful picture of how we are
blessed by keeping God's Word hidden in our hearts:

1. We are brought to salvation.
"The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." (v.7)

2. We are instructed in wisdom.
"The testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple."(v.7)

3. It brings us great joy.
"The precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart." (v.8)

4. It teaches us right from wrong.
"The commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes." (v.8)

5. It lasts forever, giving us something to
hold onto that will not leave us.
"The fear of the Lord is clean {without error},
enduring forever." (v.9)

6. It teaches us what is truth and righteousness.
"The rules of the Lord are true
and righteous altogether." (v.9)

7. It is our greatest possession.
"More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold." (v.10)

8. It gives us our greatest pleasure.
"Sweeter also are they than honey and
drippings of the honeycomb." (v.10)

9. It brings us our greatest profit in life.
"Moreover by them is your servant warned;
in keeping of them there is great reward." (v.11)

My prayer today:
"Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless and innocent of great transgressions. Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."
Psalm 19:13-14

As we seek to be cleansed through His Word,

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Keeping the Prayer-waves Open

"If one turns away his ear from hearing the law,
even his prayer is an abomination."

Proverbs 28:9

Of all the verses in chapter 28 of Proverbs, this one struck me as significant for my time of meditation today. I began to remember
other verses in the Scriptures that speak of ineffective prayer.
As I spend time each day in prayer, I do not want my petitions,
my intercessions, my praise and thanksgiving to be "ceiling prayers."

So what do I need to avoid?

1. I must not ignore God's law.

Some say that the law of the Old Testament does not apply
to us today. That is not so. Jesus said:

"For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished."
Matthew 5:18

The law is a teacher to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24). It's importance cannot be minimized. At the point that we receive Christ as Savior and Lord, we are under a new law, a greater law: the law of love.
(Matthew 22:37) on which hangs all the Law and the Prophets.

2. I must not allow sin to linger in my heart.

"If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord
would not have listened."
Psalm 66:18

Prompt confession of sin keeps the prayer-waves open.

3. I must always check my motives.

"You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly,
to spend it on your passions."

James 4:3

I'm sure there are other reasons that God refuses our prayers, but these are the ones that He burdened me with this morning.
That's plenty to work on today!

Do you think of other reasons in the Scripture for ineffective prayer? If so, comment so that we may all be encouraged.

Thank you for reading,

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tested by Our Praise

"The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,
and a man is tested by his praise."

Proverbs 27:28

I spoke in my last post about ways to be proactive in our goals
to be fit vessels for the Lord. One of those ways is how we respond
to trials. I believe that there is a golden nugget of truth in this
passage that bumps our positive response to trials up a notch.:

"...a man is tested by his praise."

What in the world does that mean?

The writer of Hebrews said:

"Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name."
Hebrews 13:15

How are we tested by our praise?

1 Peter 1 gives us a great answer to that question:

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for
you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a
salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
1 Peter 1:3-5

(That's the reason for our rejoicing. Hallelujah!)

"In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith--more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire--may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
1 Peter 1:6-7

So we are tested by our praise in the midst of the
crucible and the furnace of trials.
And the result is praise and glory and honor.

Praise all around!

Praising God and thanking Him for His indescribable Word
that gives us strength for the tests,


Monday, April 25, 2011

"Take away the dross from the silver and the smith
has material for a vessel."

Proverbs 25:4

I so enjoy wearing the lovely jewelry that my husband purchased for me in the Orient and the Middle East. But I don't often think about the work that went into making that jewelry as lovely as it is. I read an article on how to refine silver,

How to Refine Silver by Melting |

and it looks like an awful lot of intense labor. So I think I shall let someone else do the work, and I shall enjoy the product of their labors.

But that just doesn't cut it with my own personal life. If I want to be effective for Christ, I must be purified. The dross must be removed. Somehow that cries "pain" to me, and I must confess I don't like pain.

But do I want to be used of the Lord?


There are some ways that I can be hands-on in my efforts
to become Christlike in my daily life.

1. Read and study and apply God's Word to my everyday situations.

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof {ouch!}, for correction {Oh!}, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent {I like this part}, equipped for every good work."

2 Timothy 3"15-16

2. Confess sin (turn away and repent) as it happens. No, I am not perfect. I sin. But I don't like it. So God has provided a way.

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
1 John 1:9

3. Allow the trials of life to make me stronger spiritually and to allow me to reach toward that goal of being refined into Christ's image.

"More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."
Romans 5:3-5

Isn't it interesting that the most difficult things in life are the things that make us who we truly are? I don't necessarily like discipline or confession or trials, but I am so thankful that God uses them in my life.

Reaching toward the mark for the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,

Friday, April 22, 2011

"I'll Never Use It!"

"Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge."
Proverbs 22:17

If any of you have ever been a parent, had a younger sister or brother or a young friend (or lived yourself) you have probably heard (or said) a statement like this: "I don't know why I have to learn geometry (or poetry or science or ancient history or.............). I'll never use it when I grow up."

Yep. We've all been guilty at one time or another. Isn't it interesting that we don't say that about the things that really interest us?

Nope. Just the things we don't like.

Now we all know deep down inside us somewhere that those statements are not really true. What we learn we use. What we don't learn we need to be able to use but can't because we didn't dig deep and push ourselves to learn it. Hmm....that sounded rather wordy instead of astute, but it's true! So I'll leave it.

The discipline of gaining the knowledge of the Lord is more than just useful. It is imperative if we are going to live a fulfilling life.

We are to incline our ear. The first step to learning is to determine that we are going to do it.

We are to hear the words. Step number 2 is to listen. We cannot learn if we do not listen.

We are to apply our hearts. Knowledge without application is rather useless.

The writer of the Proverbs gives us 3 results of applying the knowledge that we acquire through the Word of God:

It feels good to apply His Word to our lives:
"For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
if all of them are ready on your lips."
Prov. 22:18

We are able to trust God in life situations:
"That your trust may be in the Lord, I have made
them known to you today, even to you."
Proverbs 22:19

We are able to give an answer (2 Corinthians 5:12)
for the hope that is within us :
" make you know what is right and true, that you
may give a true answer to those who sent you?"

Proverbs 22:21b

Just another word of encouragement. Strive with me
to incline your ear and apply your heart to God's Word!

Have a blessed weekend as we celebrate the
Resurrection of our Precious Lord and Savior.

He is Risen!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lessons from a Parrot Named Mink

"The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts."
Proverbs 20:27

We once had a parrot named Mink. I have no idea why the children named him that, but it was his name. Now Mink was a beautiful parrot, sporting a shiny coat with green and red feathers, a big old bird with lots of spunk. He took great pride in his loveliness, preening himself daily. He never learned to speak English; we lived in the Middle East at the time.

Maybe what he spoke was a forgotten form of Arabic!

Anyway Mink. though beautiful on the outside, was something else on the inside. Every time someone walked into the room he would turn around in his cage.

He turned his back on us!

Every time!

Mean old bird.

He learned how to open his cage door and would fly out of his abode. What a
challenge that was! We would chase him around the room, and the more
we chased him the more he seemed to delight in frustrating us. The only
way we could get him back into his cage was to chase him until he
was so exhausted that he would just flop down on my son's bed.
Then we would carefully pick him up and put him back in his cage.
I said carefully because without a glove or cloth to protect our hands
we would receive a not-so-cordial bite! Needless to say, beautiful
though he was, he was not a pleasant bird to be around.

His insides just didn't match his outsides.

Interesting, isn't it, that God compares our spirits, our insides, to His lamp. They light us up and show our true colors. We can preen ourselves all day long with the most expensive lotions and makeups and take great pride in how we look, but when all is said and done, the Lord's lamp exposes the true self.

Why do we fret so over what is covering the true self?
Now I have no problem with looking
good on the outside.
I do think we are to look our best for our Master (and our husbands and children.) But unless when the Lord searches the innermost parts
He sees true beauty,

all of our preening bites us in the hand in the end.

Proverbs 23:7 says, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he."

I want to encourage each of us today to focus on the inner beauty of the heart, matching our insides with our outside.
Let us spend time discovering what God has to say through His Word, the Bible.
Let us ask Him to change us from the inside out.
And let us obey His words of Truth.

Preening the inside together,

Monday, April 18, 2011

Paris in the Spring Tea Party

It's April, and my thoughts always go to Paris, because my first visit there was in April. So what an apropos theme for our tea party this month! We decorated with some Paris-themed decor...

and had a French menu.

And tea, of course! (They love a little tea with their milk and sugar!)

The little girls loved it. And I did, too, because you will notice that I used...
paper plates!

I know that's not very proper, but I couldn't help myself. These were so cute that I was drawn to them like a magnet. And how very Springtime in Paris!

Our theme was gratefulness. The girls mentioned many ways that they were grateful to their moms. Loving them, staying home with them, fixing their hair, fixing their meals, and home schooling them were a few of the things they said they were grateful for.

The craft that they made was a pot and a base decorated with jewels. When all is very dry we will put a plant in it, and they will give it to the moms for Mother's Day.

We do love tea parties!

You should have one soon! Invite little girls. They have more fun!

Here is a recipe for the strawberry tarts:
16 small tart shells (frozen)

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 T. cornstarch

3 T. strawberry jello
Whipped topping

Bake tart shells according to directions on package. Set aside to cool. Place sugar, water, and cornstarch in pan and bring to a boil. Sprinkle jello over this and stir till dissolved. Cook until thick and pour into tart shells. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Apply whipped topping to tarts. Enjoy!

I'm linking today to:

*~The 79th, Tuesday Tea For Two with Wanda Lee @

~ Tuesday Teatime with Lady Katherine @

~ Teatime Tuesday with Sandi @

~ Teacup Tuesday with Martha @

~ Teacup Tuesday with Terri @

~ Tabletop Tuesday with Marti @

~Tuesday Tea at 'Comin Home @

Oh, Rudy!

"Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever
makes haste with his feet misses his way.
Proverbs 18:12

"Listen to advice and accept instruction,
that you may gain wisdom in the future."
Proverbs 18:20

When my youngest daughter was in high school we would often go around to the pet store that was in a nearby shopping center. We both loved dogs, and they just had the cutest puppies! One day when we were there drooling over the cute little things, the pet store owner said, "That little pup is blind in one eye and we can't sell him. If you would like to have him you may take him home."

Being the submissive wife and daughter that we were, we said we must first ask the man of the house. We hurried home and told him the great news--a free puppy!

He said, "No!"

No? But why?
It's free!

He explained that
1. We already had a dog--a quite large one, a Golden Retriever--in our not-so-big backyard.
2. We didn't need the extra care that a puppy brings.
3. He didn't want another dog.
4. Etc., etc., etc.

Well, none of those excuses seemed to work for us, so we
1. Explained how we would care for him diligently.
2. Begged
3. Pleaded.
4. Etc., etc., etc.

Finally, worn to a frazzle, he said,
"Do what you like, but this dog is not my responsibility."

Daddy said, "Yes!" (Really?)

We got the dog. Our desire was fulfilled! We made haste with our feet and brought him home. Oh, he was so cute. We named him Rudy.

Rudy! How adorable!
We LOVED that dog.

For awhile.
Not a very long while.

He was hyper, aggressive, messy, didn't give our precious, good, well-trained Golden Retriever room to breathe. I could go on, but you get the picture. This dog turned into an albatross hanging around MY NECK. My daughter went off to college that fall. And he wasn't my husband's responsibility.

At first opportunity (well, I guess it wasn't first opportunity!) I listened to advice and accepted instruction (after a hard lesson learned) and gained wisdom for the future.

We gave him away.

This was a lesson not-so-severe. I'm thankful for that little lesson, and I pray that the Lord will give me wisdom in the future to do these things:

1. Hold desire at bay until I have knowledge about a thing.
2. Slow down in my decision making so that I don't miss my way.
3. Listen to advice and accept instruction.
4. Seek to gain wisdom before making a move.

Isn't God good to give us His wisdom?

Seeking it together,

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Don't Let the Dam Break!

"The beginning of strife is like letting out water,
so quit before the quarrel breaks out."

Proverbs 17:14

I have had the blessing of watching my grandchildren as they are growing up. They teach me much about love, about play, about work, and about strife. Among them I have seen two kinds of strife, and we will compare them to verse 14 of Proverbs 17.

One kind I have seen is like a flood that produces so much water that the dam just breaks apart and releases destruction all around. Sometimes just one word of discord will cause the children to angrily attack one another with a flood of strife. Interestingly enough, a quick word of caution or a swift discipline will often calm the storm.

Then there is the slow leak. A little jab here, a comment made that is ignored, a look of disdain toward a sister, a refusal to share. Slowly a hairline crack begins to break down the system that holds the water of contention in. The crack gets bigger and bigger until the dam breaks
and the flow of strife becomes insurmountable. I believe this is a
much worse scenario. Without intervention they will drown
in their bitterness toward one another.

What I have seen in my grandchildren applies to us all. In fact, we grown-ups probably showed them how to do just what they do through our own "letting out [of] water".

Remember, more is caught than taught!

Let's be like the little boy in Hans Christian Andersen's story who held his finger in the dike until someone was able to repair it.
Or, even better, let's "quit before the quarrel breaks out."

As we strive to be examples of loving, peaceful co-existence,

Saturday, April 16, 2011


"Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul
and health to the body."

Proverbs 16:24

Our family should have been beekeepers. We LIKE honey--orange blossom honey, tupelo honey, wildflower honey. It hardly matters what kind, although we are a little selective. Our youngest daughter we nicknamed "Charity the Pooh" because she likes honey so much. When she was a little girl she asked for the same thing every day--honey with peanut butter in a bowl. No bread. Just honey with some peanut butter. Now at 35 she forgoes the peanut butter and eats honey on whatever she can find.

We LIKE honey.

When we go to my sister's in Florida we buy
orange blossom by the 1/2 gallon.

Did I say we LIKE honey?

Honey not only tastes good, but it is healing. When one of us has a cough, we have found that the best remedy is a spoonful of honey. It works better than expensive cough syrup.


I have a precious friend named Jan that is a living example of
this verse. She is like honey when she speaks. Not like the
honey that drips onto the sides of the jar and the flies eat.



uncomfortable when it gets on your hands.

She is like the honey that goes down into your mouth.




When you walk away after visiting with Jan your soul is sweetened and you just plain feel better. Her words are healing, never cutting or cruel. Everyone loves to be around her. "The teaching of kindness is on her lips" like the Proverbs 31 woman. (verse 26)

We spoke in another post of biting words and how they can destroy.
God gives us encouragement to speak words of grace, or kindness.
If He says to do it, then it can be done.

As we all strive to speak gracious words today,
(Mmmmm......., honey!)


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Another Day Older and Deeper in Debt

"In all toil there is profit, but mere talk
tends only to poverty."
Proverbs 14:23

Tennessee Ernie Ford once sang a song whose chorus went like this:

You load sixteen tons, and what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
Saint Peter, don't you call me 'cause I can't go--
I owe my soul to the company store!

According to this song, no matter what he did, he still owed his soul to the company store. But as we look at the Proverbs, it appears that perhaps he was busier writing about himself than he was doing his work!

My mother spent many years working as a clerk at J.C. Penney.
She said when she was very young, one day when there
were no customers around, she asked her manager
if there was anything she could do.
He said to her,

"Look around.
Never just stand there.
Always find something that you can do."

She always remembered that, and obviously
reminded me to do the same!

There is much to be done in life. Hard work for our husbands,
who provide for their households. Much, much never-ending
labor for the homemaker and mom, ministry
to the needy and to those who have no hope spiritually.

"In all toil there is profit."

We may not see the fruit of some of our labors until eternity,
particularly in the labors to win souls, but God has promised profit.

"But mere talk tends only to poverty."

I've must quit talking and get busy!

Laboring together,

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pigs and mud

"Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
but the companion of fools will suffer harm."
Proverbs 13:20

There always seem to be those youth who are inevitably positioning themselves with the wrong crowd. Just last night at a soccer game I was approached by a mom concerned for a young girl who seems to be running with those who will lead her astray. This young woman attends our church faithfully with her parent, and yet she is making
her bed with fools.

This little ditty came to my mind, so I wrote it down:

Mary washed her pig one day;
He was so clean and pink.
But when she came home from fun and play
She noticed he did stink!

She looked into the piggie's pen;
Her head was filled with ire.
He went right to his friends again
And wallowed in the mire!

It seems that no matter how hard we try to wash away our filth or our loved ones' filth, until we throw off foolishness and walk
with wisdom, all of our efforts are in vain.

It's all a matter of the heart.

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is."
Ephesians 5:15-17

As we train our children and walk carefully ourselves,

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

There are Two Ways to Say It

"There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing."

Proverbs 12:18

Have you ever experienced the "sword thrust" of a sharp tongue
that lashed out before thinking? I'm sure you have, and
you know how it pierces.

Even worse, have you ever spoken those rash words before
thinking what they might do to someone?
I'm sure that most of us have.

Over the past 43 years of marriage and 40 years of motherhood,
concerning this I have learned two things:

1. When the sword of rash words has been thrust into me, the worst time to retort is immediately afterward. It only provokes more anger or more harsh words.

The Psalmist said, "Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder on your own beds, and be silent."
Psalm 4:4

2. When I have become angry and thrust that sword into one that I love, I must not let the anger kindle like a smoldering fire. The result will be that I become bitter and my loved one will suffer the pain of the wounds without the salve of sought forgiveness.

The apostle Paul said:
"Be angry and do not sin;
do not let the sun go down on your anger,
and give no opportunity to the devil."

Ephesians 4:26

The swifter the reconciliation, the less the pain of the sword!

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we would all just heed
the words of encouragement from the apostle James:

"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear,
slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not
produce the righteousness that God requires."
James 1:19-20

As we try to keep our "swords" in our mouths
and forgiveness on our tongues,
have a blessed day,

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Gold Ring in a Pig's Snout

My mother in 1938

"Like a gold ring in a pig's snout
is a beautiful woman without discretion."
Proverbs 11:22

Don't you love to be surrounded by beauty? I love to have pretty things in my home, to go outside and sit in my garden on a lovely sunny day, to wear pretty clothing, and yes--I also like to wear makeup! I don't want to frighten someone when I walk out of the house! One of my mother's favorite sayings when I was young was, "If you want to be beautiful, you have to suffer a little." She was the ultimate lady in poise, grace and beauty. My retort when I was growing up was, "If I have to suffer, then I don't want to be beautiful." I like comfort, also! discretion [dɪˈskrɛʃən]: the quality of being wise or judicious in avoiding mistakes or faults; prudent; circumspect; cautious; not rash.” In other words, discretion is exercising judgment tempered with caution in order to arrive at a final decision or outcome.

I have 9 beautiful granddaughters. Physically beautiful girls.
Gorgeous. Head turners. I know, you say it's impossible for
all nine of them to be beautiful. But it's true. Just ask me! Now,
I don't want them to be like gold rings in a pig's snout.

Matthew Henry's comment on this verse is so apropos:

"1. It is taken for granted here that beauty or comeliness of body is as a jewel of gold, a thing very valuable, and, where there is wisdom and grace to guard against the temptations of it, it is a great ornament.
Virtue appears peculiarly graceful when associated with beauty
but a foolish wanton woman, of a light carriage, is fitly compared
to a swine, though she be ever so handsome, wallowing in the
mire of filthy lusts, with which the mind and conscience are defiled,
and, though washed, returning to them.

2. It is lamented that beauty should be so abused as it is by those that have not modesty with it. It seems ill-bestowed upon them; it is quite misplaced, as a jewel in a swine's snout, with which he roots in the dunghill. If beauty be not guarded by virtue, the virtue is exposed by the beauty. It may be applied to all other bodily endowments and accomplishments; it is a pity that those should have them who have not discretion to use them well."
Matthew Henry's Commentary

Mothers and grandmothers, let's teach our girls discretion. Outward beauty is an easy thing to accomplish in this day of pretty clothing and makeup, howbeit entailing a little "suffering" to get that way. But discretion, bringing about an inner beauty of the heart, is a thing to be worked on and practiced.

I started to say, "Good luck!" But it takes much more than luck.

Suffering together,

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Foundation, Foundation, Foundation

"Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn her seven pillars."
Proverbs 9:1

If we ever build a new home (which we probably won't),
our first focus on that building will be
foundation, foundation, foundation!

We will do all within our power to avoid cracks in the wall, doors that
don't want to open, and the other consequences of a poor foundation.

Wisdom hews her seven pillars. The number seven is the number for perfection. Wisdom does it right! She provides that the house she has built is on a solid foundation. I have a precious brood of grandchildren, and my thoughts are focused on them and their futures much of my waking hours. I still pray with much prayer and supplication for my own children, especially now that they are adults and parents themselves. My heart's desire is that they built their spiritual houses alongside wisdom.

God has provided a simple explanation of how to build our spiritual house. My husband's philosophy about much in life is that it is

"harder than you think, costs more than you think, and takes longer than you think."

It may take a lifetime, but the formula for success is in God's Word:

Build a firm foundation!

"Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house and it fell, and great was the fall of it."
Matthew 7:24

The first stone to be put into place, according to the Scriptures is

"...Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord."
Ephesians 2:20b-21
Have a blessed SONday as we seek to build on the Solid Rock! Gloria

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Two of the grands at recital

"The wage of the righteous leads to life, the gain of the wicked, to sin."
Proverbs 10:16

Our small church of about 150 members has three wonderful pastors, all of whom are brothers. They are real. I started to add to that sentence, but those three words describe them beautifully:

They are real.

All Bible school or seminary grads, they do not accept salaries from the church, but instead choose to work secular jobs as professional painters. Fifty percent of the church's income goes to missions. We are building a new facility, which could take a very long time, because we are doing it ourselves. If there is a need and these men are capable of meeting that need, they are the first ones there. I know of many times when they have stepped in and sacrificed financially or physically. One of these men has 9 children, yet he is quick to open his pocketbook to a real need. One of them teaches music lessons free of charge to any child in the church who would like to learn an instrument. Most of the children at church take lessons! These men are so full of life! What a blessing to be a part of a church where giving is a priority. That life is contagious. It has spread to others, who now volunteer their services to teach music lessons, build the church building, give to missions, and help others free of charge.

Truly, the wages of our righteous pastors have led to life.

On the other hand, we all know of those who seem to gain wealth and either hoard it or spend it like water. I know one man who spent frivolously until he lost everything.

The gain of the wicked leads to sin.

Righteousness must surely lead to generosity, because our generous pastors are so full of life.

Aren't you thankful for those good examples of righteous wage earners?
I know I am; they keep me looking for ways that I may give to others.

Have a blessed weekend full of life!

Friday, April 8, 2011

It's Okay to Hate!

Blane and his "pet frog"

"The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.
Pride and arrogance and perverted speech I hate.
Proverbs 8:13

We all know the illustration of the poor frog who gets put into a pot of boiling water. Well, not that one. He's not so poor; he just jumps out the second he feels the heat. It's the frog who is placed into the pot of cool water that we should feel sorry for. He lies there in comfort, lulled into the water and fooled into thinking that he is taking a Caribbean cruise or something. As the water heats up, he stays there--until he becomes food for some scheming chef!

My creativity has taken a turn for the worse, because I am going to
use this illustration just as many have done in the past. For us
who know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, jumping into a pot of
boiling sin doesn't seem likely. We know better, it looks dangerous,
and we see the evil bubbling over. Who would do something so ridiculous as to leap into sin?

Oh, but then there is the cool, refreshing pot of _________(fill it in for yourself) lurking in the kitchen of life. Just one toe goes in. Feels good! A leg--it's great. Why not just get on in? It really won't hurt anything, no one will know, and besides, it feels good. Life is too short not to indulge once in awhile. Now this frog is lured in and ready for consumption by the scheming chef, the enemy of the faith.

As you may have noticed, I tried to lure a few readers by giving the post a rather blatant title: It's Okay to Hate! But truth be told, and I pray that I will always tell the truth, the Bible says it is.

"Hate evil, and love good......."
Amos 5:15
"...Wickedness is an abomination to my lips"
Proverbs 8:7

The apostle Paul struggled with sin just as we do. He said,

"I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." Romans 7:16
Help! If Paul couldn't keep his feet out of the pot, how can I?

"Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! "
Romans 7:25a

There is an escape route! Sin does not have to have a stranglehold on us, dragging us into the pot. That route is through the Lord Jesus Christ.

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death."
Romans 8:1

The best way to avoid that besetting sin is to keep our feet out of the pot!
Let's keep our feet on Solid Ground today.
Thanks for reading,

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Sister and an Intimate Friend

"Say to wisdom, 'You are my sister,' and
call insight your intimate friend."
Proverbs 7:4

I love to watch my daughters interact. As youngsters they were so different and not so close, but as they have grown up they have become the best of friends and developed a relationship that I might never have expected. They talk almost daily, either face to face or by phone. They bounce home schooling questions off each other, talk intimately about serious subjects, and sometimes they just laugh and laugh at the silliest things. They seek each other's knowledge and insight in various matters that alone they may not be able to grasp.

As wisdom and insight become our sister and our intimate friend we too have that privilege of seeking what is right and true. The writer of the Proverbs uses this analogy to encourage his son in his lecture concerning the adulterous woman. As we continue to consider our faithfulness to our Heavenly Husband as the Bride of Christ, here are some warnings that are given in chapter 7 about the adulterous woman:

1. She is loud and wayward. Have you ever noticed that many of the things that would draw us away from our faithfulness to God are the same way? They seem to virtually scream to us for attention, drawing our focus away from the One who gave us life and eternal love.

2. She seeks him eagerly. Sin comes crouching at the door, led by the enemy of our faith. Our resolve must be strong, and we must NEVER even crack the door, because when we do, she will often push her way in, bringing us down with her.

3. She offers delight (v.18). Moses chose "rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin" Hebrews 11:25. Why is it that faithlessness to God can bring such pleasure for the moment, but then it turns so very bitter? It seems that if we could only remember that from the last time we went round this mountain!

4. She is seductive (v.21). Perhaps we forget because she seduces usagain and again with her temptations. Staying at a healthy weight is a constant battle for me. And food is seductive! I know!

5. She is a murderer (v.23). The best way to kill our fellowship with God and to adulterate ourselves with our Heavenly Husband is to succumb to the sins that so easily beset us.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely,
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith..."
Hebrews 12:1-2a

Today let's keep our eyes on the Lover of Our Soul and avoid the pitfalls of sin.

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lamps and Lights

Early morning light in Mountain View, Arkansas

I get up in the mornings before anyone else in my household. I love the quiet of morning, the privilege of having my own quiet time without interruption. (Four little girls live with us, and they make a straight path from their rooms to our upstairs "apartment" as soon as they wake up.) But there is a distinct disadvantage to getting up in the dark:
it's dark!
I usually feel my way into the hallway, find the hall light and switch it on--after I close the bedroom door so as not to wake up my hubby.
Then I wash my face and head for the living room. I switch on a lamp,
turn off the hall light, and head for the electric tea pot,
where I turn on another light.

Light is a wonderful thing, isn't it?

"For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life."
Proverbs 6:23

The writer of Proverbs is using this passage to warn his son to avoid the adulterous woman. I can honestly say that being faithless to my husband has never been a temptation for me, so I often skim over these passages. But I have asked God to pierce my heart with His Word.

How may I apply this to my life?

I don't want to abuse the Scriptures, so I began to think about the fact that my eternal husband is the Lord Jesus Christ. I am His bride, and


I do not want to love anyone, not even my wonderful earthly husband or my precious children, or my priceless grandchildren more than I love my Lord Jesus Christ. And that has to be a possibility, because we are given many warnings in the Scriptures:

"You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them for I the Lord your God am a jealous God,....showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments."
Exodus 20:4:4a,c

"You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart and with all your soul and with all your might."
Deuteronomy 6:5, Luke 10:27, Mark 12:30

The Proverbs passage provides me with a wonderful clue as to how to avoid the disaster of spiritual adultery.

Turn on the lights!

Just as without a light on I stumble over the left-out shoes, walk into the furniture or catch my toe on the stair rail in the dark (I did that once--broke my toe!), without the lamp of the Word of God, the light of His teaching, or the discipline of His reproofs, I will likely become a spiritual adulteress.

Oh, my Heavenly Husband, may I keep the lights on!

Turn on the lights and have a blessed day,

Monday, April 4, 2011

Springs and Sloughs

"Keep your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life."
Proverbs 4:23

When I was a little girl I would go to my uncle's home, a farm in Louisiana, where I would drink raw milk from his cows and where my cousin Mike and I would play in the natural spring that bubbled and flowed happily near his house. What fun we would have! It was one of those unforgettable experiences. My little heart would swell with joy as I jumped and played (and drank) in that stream. I didn't get sick, so I guess it was pure enough!

Our lives should be much like that stream, flowing happily, bubbling over with the joy of life, pure, and shining in the sunshine of God's wisdom. I believe that diligence is the key word in this verse. We must keep our heart with all diligence, working continually to obey the words of Scripture and to hide them in our hearts.

"Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee." Psalm 119:11

Slough (slew):
A stagnant swamp, marsh, bog, or pond, especially as part of a bayou, inlet, or backwater.

Yuk! Have you ever walked through a slough? Not so fun! It bogs you down, fighting against you as you try to cross, causing you to stumble, and just might fall right into it. It doesn't smell very good, either! That is what I think of when I read verse 16 of Proverbs 4:

"For they {the wicked} cannot sleep unless they have done wrong; they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble."

Now, what do we want to flow out of us--springs of life or a smelly old slough?
(That is a rhetorical question, by the way!)

My prayer for all of us today is that from us will flow springs of life as we offer refreshing water to all with whom we come in contact.
Drink heartily!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

What Our Eyes See

"Be not wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment {medicine} to your bones. Proverbs 3:7-8

Have you ever seen an optical illusion? It can be very deceiving. There is a hill on a road in Lake Wales, Florida, that can certainly mess with your mind. If you park your car on the hill, you appear to be going downhill when you are really going uphill! What we see is not always what we get.

Unfortunately, we sometimes live our lives in a sort of optical illusion. We become wise in our own lives and don't think that we need anyone, even God, to tell us what to do. We have it all together!

These verses in Proverbs might have a few hints for us to help us determine whether our wisdom is from God or is just an optical illusion. I love teens; they are some of my favorite people. But I have seen with my own children and grandchildren as well as other teens that there seems to come a time when most of them begin to become "wise in their own eyes." What are some of the symptoms that are implied in verses 7-8 of Proverbs 3? I took the opposite view of the commands in those verses and noted some important lessons:

1. One who is wise in her own eyes does not fear the Lord. Remember the definition of the fear of the Lord: the painful but motivating awareness that God is watching, weighing and judging everyone of our words, thoughts, actions, and attitudes. How often we forget that we have a Hound of Heaven watching us!

2. One who is wise in her own eyes is reluctant to turn away from evil. Evil raises its ugly head in so many ways--disobedience, wrong friendships, rebellious attitudes. You can name others, because, like me, you have probably been there.

3. One who is wise in her own eyes needs healing. Even when we "think" we know it all, something in us just does not feel right. God's wisdom leads to healing; man's wisdom brings a sickness not necessarily associated with the physical, but sometimes so.

4. One who is wise in her own eyes is always in need of refreshment. When we are wise in our own eyes, we cannot experience the joy that comes with applying the wisdom of God. Obedience to God brings joy--great joy. Self is out of the way so that we may receive the medicine of refreshment.

5. One who is wise in her own eyes does not know the special blessings of the Lord. Proverbs 3:18 says, "She {wisdom} is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed."

What a mighty God is He who allows us to partake of His insight!

It is my prayer today that we will all lay hold of wisdom, the tree of life, and that we will know the blessing that comes with it.

Have a blessed and refreshing day!