Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Commend Joy

"And I commend joy,
for man has no good thing under the sun
but to eat and drink and be joyful, 
for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life 
that God has given him under the sun."  
Ecclesiastes 8:15

The book of Ecclesiastes can be depressing to me.  It seems that King Solomon was a bit depressed himself.  He saw much futility in life, in the things that we go about day in and day out.  He saw the evil succeed, the good fall, the seeming futility of so much in life.  But there are verses that enlighten and encourage, and this is one of them.  I do not for a minute think that he is saying to give up on the important things in life and just do what you want instead of what you should.  He says at the end of the verse that God has given us tasks to do.  Our responsibility is to carry out those tasks, and I believe it is our duty to do them well.  But that's another post!
As I read this verse, I began to think about the things that give me great joy, or cause me to enjoy life (NIV) ,or to have pleasure (NASB).  I could not think of anything of great monetary value that gives me joy. Nor could I think of "things" that give me a real enjoyment of life.  I love my nice home; it gives me comfort.  But it does not give me joy.  Some of the things that give me joy:

Flowers in my kitchen window

 My garden

 Seeing a grandchild earn a medal for memorizing a large portion of Scripture

 A trip to the mountains with my husband, my best friend

 Being privileged to help home educate a precious grandchild

 Taking a cake decorating course with another grandchild

Having mother-daughter tea parties with friends and family

Going to church with my family and beloved fellow worshipers

Getting up in the mornings and having breakfast in the garden

Having a morning quiet time

As I sit here and contemplate what brings me joy, I am so thrilled to see that my enjoyment of life does not come from the things that burden me down with  having to achieve according to the world's standards.  The simple pleasures of life are those that bring greatest joy.  There is much to do in this life, and most of it is not easy.  God did not give us that life of ease, but He has given us those special things to bring us joy.

What gives you joy in life?  Take time to enjoy the simple pleasures that surround you daily.  Our time on earth is short; let's enjoy it! 

Presented with joy,
Gloria

Today I am joining Linda at Prairie Flower Farm


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Letting them Fly

There are ThThere are three things that are too amazing for me,
"There are three things that are amazing to me,
four that I do not understand:
the way of an eagle in the sky..."
Proverbs 30:18, 19a

My husband was out of town for the evening, and when that happens a granddaughter always wants to sleep in our bed with me.  As we were lying in bed, I said, "Emma, I'm going to miss you when you get older and don't want to spend as much time with me as you do now."  Of course her response was, "I'll always want to spend as much time with you."

I explained to her that as she grows older she will have other things that take priority, that she will gradually fly the nest.  That is why it is so important to me that I am able to spend time now helping her (and the other grandchildren) to learn the fundamental things of life that will enable them to spread their wings and fly like an eagle.  Hence the title of my blog:  Under Her Wings.

A mother swan with her babies under her wings
Did you know that an eagle, along with other birds, nestles the babies under her wings in order to protect them from predators, from the elements, and from themselves until they are deemed old enough to take the next step? 

Isn't this beautiful?
(I know, it's not an eagle.  But it had to be put in here. 
If I can figure out how to do it, that will be my new picture for my blog.)

When the eagle is ready for her very reluctant babies to begin to learn to fly, she begins to stir the nest. She rids the nest of the soft materials that she had collected for the nest and then begins to force the eaglets to stand up and develop strength in preparation to fly the nest. 

"Like an eagle that stirs up its nest
and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
and carries them on its pinions"
Deuteronomy 32:11

Eventually he will learn to fly, but often with difficulty.  The parent is close by to catch him if he starts to fall. But eventually that little eagle will take flight, becoming independent of those who have so carefully guarded him. 


Even so these precious grandchildren.  Even so your more-than-valuable children.  I so encourage you to take those little ones under your wings, to nurture them in every way God has allowed you, and then watch them grow into strong, independent people, able to fly with strong wings.  They may not spend as much time with you, but you will be assured that you played a vital role in their lives.  As you teach them the things of God you may be confident that

"They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; 
they shall mount up with wings like eagles
they shall run and not be weary; 
they shall walk and not faint."
Isaiah 40:31

 
That's my goal in nestling them under my wings,
Gloria




Monday, August 29, 2011

A Slippery Slope


"Little children, let us not love in word or talk 
but in deed and in truth."
1 John 3:18

 A protein drink by the pond breakfast with the girls
 
The fish enjoying a swim in the pond

That was before I slipped and fell into the pond!  Yesterday as I was watering the plants and topping off the pond I decided to take a plant that was in a pot, rinse off the dirt and place it in the pond.  (Water, water everywhere!)  

Now, one thing that I always say to the children when we get around the pond is, "Don't get on the rocks.  You can slip and fall into the pond and drown."
So what did I do?  IN FRONT OF THE CHILDREN , I stepped on a wet, slippery rock thinking I was just going to reach over and place the plant on the ledge of the pond.  Indeed?  No!  It was I who was in the pond--pride and all!  Yuk! Yuk! Yuk!

Maggie started screaming at the top of her lungs.  The children all ran over to see me wallowing in the fish pond--which had not, by the way, been recently cleaned.  It was due a good cleaning.  (Just trying to get you to visualize.  I told my daughter that we should have taken my picture before I got out--not that I really want everyone else to have it etched on their memories.)

As I hurried up to shower (after gracefully getting out of the pond--not!), I realized that there was a very good lesson to be learned from this experience.  Between Maggie opening the bathroom door three different times asking me if I was okay, I pondered what the experience of falling in the fish water had to teach me.  I HAVE BEEN A BIG HYPOCRITE!  That wasn't the first time my grandkids had seen me step on a rock by the pond to place a plant or look at something interesting.  And I ALWAYS tell them not to do it.  

 Lesson to be heeded:
We are much more what we do than what we say.  

Yuk!
Gloria

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sweet Peas and Watermelons

Two of the rag dolls made in the past couple of weeks

"And let us not grow weary of doing good, 
for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."
Galatians 6:9

Do you ever grow weary with the tasks the Lord has laid out for you?  Do you ever think that the ministry of interceding for someone you love is just going to wear you out with no results in the end?  Do the "small" things that you do for others seem that they will have no effect in the long run?

That is where I was this morning.  I went to church with a bit of a cloud over my head, a heavy feeling in my heart. There are several things that are weighing on me right now, things that I have been praying about that haven't been answered as of yet.  Also, I feel a sense of great responsibility toward this rather large group of children and grandchildren that the Lord has blessed us with.  And rightfully so.  After all, He did bless US with them, not someone else.

The speaker at church this morning used the illustration of sowing and reaping found in Galatians 6:7-9.  He spoke of sowing the right seeds for the right crop.  Sowing seeds of sweet peas will not produce watermelon, just as sowing seeds of corruption will not sow eternal life.  To get watermelons, one must sow watermelon seeds.  Wow!  How profound!  

So what does this have to do with the dolls shown above?  I am trying to sow seeds of godliness, industry, grace, and loveliness in the fertile soil of little girls.  I am trying to teach them to do things that may be a bit difficult but will cause them to reap a great harvest in the end.  My camera battery died and I wasn't able to get pictures of the other two little dolls.  But 4 little girls worked hard; they sowed seeds of industry in their own fertile soil.  I pray that I sowed seeds leading to eternal life as we worked together.

Moms, grandmoms, "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."  Galatians 6:9

To all who read, I'm praying for you this next week that as you do good, you will not grow weary.  God has made us a beautiful promise, and He always keeps His promises!

Waiting (rather impatiently) for the harvest,
Gloria

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Season for Everything

"For everything there is a season, 
and a matter for everything under heaven." 
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Precious people in my season of life
Last Sunday evening our pastor spoke about the "smell" that we give off as we go through life, using 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 as his sermon passage:  "For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?"  It has caused me to spend time evaluating my "season" of life, and whether I truly am a fragrance of life to those who cross my path.

There is no question in my mind that in this season of my life, somewhere between late autumn and early winter, I suppose, God has blessed me with an incredible group of people to minister to.  Those 12 and soon to be 13 grandchildren are a project in the making, and God has graced me with the privilege of not only being able to influence them but to have them within 15 minutes of my home.  4 going on 5 live in my home!  Wow!  What a responsibility I have to be a "fragrance of life" to these precious people.

Over the next few days I hope to show some of the things that we do together.  Am I using these opportunities to be a fragrance of Christ to these children?  My prayer and my heart's desire is that I will.  How do I do that?  I do not believe it is enough to just "live a godly life" and expect them to see my life and want to be the same.  There must be more.  They must both see and hear from me about who God is and what He can do in their lives as they give themselves totally to Him.

Praying that I will "smell" of Christ,
Gloria



Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Mind

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus"  
Philippians 2:5

The mind is a vessel to be filled with care;
It becomes who I am in kind.
The nature of my heart is recorded there--
An interesting place, the mind.

Like an old-fashioned record or a computer disk,
The things that I see, read and hear
Are etched in the memory; dare I risk
Playing back to the world what is there?

As I sat in my room with the TV on 
And allowed it to invade my deep space
I noticed that all sense of order was gone;
Wrong thinking was taking its place.

I picked up a magazine (just to read the feature),
But the pictures--I confess I did look!
I found myself becoming a mindless creature,
Programmed by that little book.

I closed the magazine and put a CD in;
How could I there go wrong?
My brain slowly recorded those vain words of men--
A defiant, unholy song.

I went to the Bible, the words of the wise, 
God's heart recorded for man.
I began place before my poor eyes
The wisdom of God and His plan.

So I go to God's Word; it's all in the Book.  
Join me in taking the time
To open it up and take a good look
At what we should etch on our mind.

Encouraging you all to read Philippians 2 today,
Gloria

Today I am linking with Linda at Prairie Flower Farm

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fear? Yes, please!

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, 
but fools despise wisdom and instruction."  Proverbs 1:7

"Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."  Proverbs 31:30

Do you find it interesting that the first and last chapters of the book of Proverbs speaks of the fear of the Lord?  That means something to me.  As I have gone through the Proverbs over and over this year, I have seen numerous verses that speak to this subject, and the fact that the writer begins and ends with counsel concerning the fear of the Lord only magnifies the fact that this is something that we are to desire and to work to attain.

I have given you my favorite definition of the fear of the Lord.  I will repeat this one and give you another.

"The fear of the Lord is the painful but motivating awareness that God is watching, weighing and judging everyone of my words, thoughts, actions, and attitudes."

"Genuine fear of the Lord is always seen in obedience to the Word of God,. People who do not walk in line with God's Word do not fear the Lord, regardless of what they profess with their lips. Therefore, when we fear the Lord, there is an elements of dread at what His wrath can do, but there is also such a respect for Him and for His will that nothing else matters but doing that which pleases the Lord."  http://sermonnotebook.org

Oswald Chambers said, "The remarkable thing about fearing God is that, when you fear God, you fear nothing else; whereas, if you do not fear God, you fear everything else."

Let's take a look at the  verses in Proverbs that give us insight into the fear of the Lord:

Proverbs 1:7--It is the beginning of knowledge.  Want knowledge?  Fear the Lord.
Proverbs 2:1-5--Understanding the fear of the Lord comes by treasuring God's Word.
Proverbs 8:13--Fearing God leads us to hatred of evil.
Proverbs 9:10--As we fear God, we gain wisdom.
Proverbs 10:27--Fearing God leads to a longer life.  That is an obvious statement, because as we exercise the fear of the Lord in our lives, we will avoid many of the things that can bring about a shortened life.
Proverbs 14:26--As we fear the Lord we will have strong confidence, and we will give our children a place of refuge.  (I love this verse!)
Proverbs 14:27--The fear of the Lord enables us to turn away from the snares of death.  (Remember 10:27)
Proverbs 15:16--Even having a little with the fear of the Lord is a good thing.
Proverbs 15:33--As we fear God we are taught wisdom.
Proverbs 16:6--The fear of the Lord shows us how to turn from evil.
Proverbs 23:17--As we fear the Lord, our heart will not envy sinners.  (Come on, you know that's a temptation.)
Proverbs 28:14--The fear of the Lord brings blessing on our lives.
Proverbs 31:30--The fear of the Lord is praiseworthy.

No wonder the Proverbs 31 woman is praiseworthy!  She explodes with the fear of the Lord.  Why would we not want to fear the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe and all that's in it?

Praising the Source of my "Strong Confidence," 
Gloria
 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

10 Memory Builders

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children
are walking in the truth."
3 John 4
(An amen to that, Apostle John!)

I truly believe that memories are a treasure as we grow older.  I'd like to share with you some things that I treasure now that hopefully will be wonderful memories for the grandchildren as they grow old.  I have a few memories of my childhood that I would not part with for anything.  Perhaps that's why, when we grow old and our memory begins to fade, God allows us to retain memories of yesteryear.  And perhaps that's why, too, that I am determined to help them to have wonderful memories of their childhood.  

10 things that I treasure now and hope that they will treasure in the future: 

1. Sharing my protein drink breakfast on the back porch in the mornings with my little 2 year old Maggie Mae .  She always insists on going outside.  Today it rained, so we sat on the covered front stoop. We listen to the birds, watch the fish in the pond, and she "catches" dinosaurs from the trees so that we may pet them. 

2.  Making rag dolls with Rachael, Emma, Lilly, and Abigail.  Some turn out great! 

3.Taking the cousins out two at a time for lunch and a special time.  One day we went to a new fabric store that had just opened.
  
4.  Watching them get "Mighty Fines" (kisses) from their granddaddy. 

5.  Having them spend the night, even though 4 of them live in my house.  We usually watch an animal show and then read before bedtime. 

6.  Going to church together and watching them sing praises to the Lord, and some of them taking sermon notes. 

7.  Having family lunches together.  We usually borrow the church fellowship hall anymore because there are so many of us. 

8. Celebrating family events together, like birthdays or other special occasions. 

9.  "Adopting" other young folks into our family.  Our Kevin left just yesterday for college.  Boo, hoo! 

10.  Going to their swim meets, recitals, and other events.


I encourage you to make a list of  at least 10 "memory makers" that you are doing with your children or grandchildren. I'd love to hear from you what yours are either by comment or by email.  They will bring you joy just thinking about them!

Have a wonderful, memory-making day,
Gloria

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What is your "high wall?"

"The name of the Lord is a strong tower; 
the righteous man runs into it and is safe. 
A rich man's wealth is his strong city, 
and like a high wall in his imagination. 
Before destruction a man's heart is haughty,
but humility comes before honor."
Proverbs 18:10-12

I normally read the Proverbs as individual verses unless they are obvious fits, trying to glean from each one what God is saying to me.  As I read these verses this morning, I realized that they fit together quite well.  Over and over in the Scriptures we are warned against trusting in our wealth, because it can be gone in an instant.  Many people have seen that happen in their own lives in the past few years because of a ruptured economy and out of control spending.  Their high walls have collapsed around them.

But you say that that's no problem?  You have no riches to trust in?  That may be true, but you may have built a "high wall" in your life in some other way.  What do you depend on to keep you secure?  
  • friends
  • isolation
  • fashion
  • social standing
  • your church--yes, even our church can become a "high wall" for us
  • your family
  •  beauty
  •  
 I left a blank spot for you to fill in your "high wall."  Without the name of the Lord as our strong tower, the possibility of our becoming self-sufficient and proud is great, and the end is usually a mighty painful fall.  But as always, God has a back up plan for us very vain and sinful creatures.

"...humility comes before honor."  (v.12)  Ever been humbled?  It's a good thing!  Now God can restore us.  Humility gives us the honor of going before the Lord and accepting His "high wall" or strong tower.  When we run into it, we are safe.  As much as I don't really like to humble myself before the Lord (or people), it has always been good for me.  Another benefit is that it causes me to think twice before I run out of my "strong tower" again.

Listen to this wonderful song, "Strong Tower."  It might become a favorite!


Blessed be the name of the Lord,
Gloria

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, 
and the glory of children is their fathers." 
Proverbs 17:6

And a big "AMEN" to that!  But seeing that God has crowned us with 12, almost 13 grandchildren (not including the ones we've "adopted," I feel a great sense of responsibility towards them.  Two things have impressed me; I must be faithful to lead them in the things that touch the heart of God, and I must be faithful to pray for them.  I desire as long as I am able, to be actively involved in their lives. 

It's easier with the girls, and there are 9 of them.  I'll have to leave much of the training of the boys to the dads and granddads, although I like to take them out now and then.  The girls and I sew together, have big time tea parties, go to lunch (usually one or two at a time), and have lots of time to talk about life.  I even help homeschool one of them.  I'm so thankful for the opportunities that God has given me to minister to them.  They are all close by, so I am without excuse.

As I have started a new prayer notebook, one of the things I'm doing in the "family" section is praying through the Proverb of the day for them.  I love to write (if you haven't noticed), so I write down prayers for them.  For instance, today some of the things I am praying for them are:

  • That they will not listen to the wicked. (17:4)
  • That they will hold their tongues and not listen to gossip. (17:9)
  • That they will learn to accept rebuke (17:10)
  • That they will not act foolishly (17:12)
  • That they will never return evil for good (17:13)
  • That they will learn how to end strife quickly (17:14)
  • That they will be a friend who loves at all times--and always there for their siblings. (17:17)
  • That they will hate sin (17:19)
  • Honesty (v.20), joy (v.22), discernment (v.24)
  • A cool spirit (v.27)
One thing that I realize as I pray for them is that responsibility to teach them these things falls back on the shoulders of the parents and grandparents.  No rest for the weary!

Waiting for heaven as my restingplace,
Gloria

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sovereign

"The Lord has made everything for its purpose, 
even the wicked for the day of trouble."
Proverbs 16:4

      Sovereign:
  • belonging to or characteristic of a sovereign or sovereignty; royal.
  • having supreme rank, power, or authority.
  • supreme; preeminent; indisputable: a sovereign right.
  • greatest in degree; utmost or extreme.
  • being above all others in character, importance, excellence, etc.
(For once I didn't like Noah Webster's definition very well.  It wasn't definitive enough!  This one from dictionary.com seemed more accurate.)

I have nothing cute, astute, or profound to say about this verse.  And I can't say that I just love it, either.  I am thankful that it is here, because it explains some things--like why God allows the wicked to exist at all.  And it is another proof of God's sovereignty and a good test for us of simply believing Him and knowing that in the end it will be for our good ( Romans 8:28 ) and for His glory 
( Revelation 4:11 ).  God doesn't lie ( Numbers 23:19 ) and He doesn't fail, 
2 Timothy 2:13 ); therefore, I can believe Him.

Thankful that He's on my side!
Gloria


Monday, August 15, 2011

Words, Words, Words

"But no human being can tame the tongue. 
It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison."
James 3:8

Sometimes it seems that I am going around the same mountain over and over, but to stay true to the Proverbs, that just happens.  And you wonder: what in the world does James 3 have to do with the Proverbs?  It appears to me an appropriate way to address today's subject--words.  We are going from here to Proverbs 15, and perhaps it will give us some insight into how the tongue can be used for benefit rather than to shoot deadly poison into its victim.

"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (Proverbs 15:1) How we say our words is so important.  One can say the same thing with different emphasis and cause either compliance or anger.  "Honey, the trash is outside the door again.  Will you please take it to the street?"  (said in kindness).  "Honey!  The trash is outside the door againWill you please take it to the street!!"  (said in anger or frustration).  What different responses would those two questions make?

"The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of fools pours out folly." (15:3)  Don't speak without knowledge of the subject.

"A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit."  (15:4)   Practice Gentleness. 

"The lips of the wise spread knowledge, not so the hearts of fools."  Wisdom is the key to knowledge, so the importance of developing wisdom cannot be overemphasized.

"The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly." (15:14) The fool is lacking in that which clearly enables others to have a tongue that heals, and that is wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

"A hot tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention." (15:18)  Don't speak while you are angry!

"To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!"(15:23)  Until our answer is appropriate and properly timed, it would be better if we just keep our mouths shut!

"The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, but gracious words are pure." (15:26)  Season your words with grace!

"The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things." (15:28)  Think before you speak! 

Man cannot tame the tongue, but through the application of the Word of God, our God can enable us to keep our words pleasing to Him.

Praying for God's strength to utter the right words at the right time,
Gloria

 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Leave His Presence

"Leave the presence of a fool, 
for there you do not meet words of knowledge."
Proverbs 14:7

As I seek to give good advice to my children and grandchildren through the Proverbs, sometimes I come across a verse that gives me something of an "uh-uh" reaction.  For some reason this one does.  It always hurts to think of avoiding someone, so I must discover who God calls a fool and why I am to leave his presence.

Therefore, my question is, "Who does God regard as a fool?"  I must go to the Scriptures to discover His heart.
  • He lacks sense--Ecclesiastes 10:3
  • He always thinks he's right--Proverbs 12:15
  • He is quick to show his anger--Proverbs 12:6
  • He is dishonorable--Proverbs 26:1
  • His speech is perverse--Proverbs 19:1
  • He takes the wrong paths in life--Ecclesiastes 10:2
  • He despises his parents' discipline--Proverbs 15:5
  • He doesn't learn from his mistakes--Proverbs 26:11
  • He has no desire to get wisdom--Proverbs 17:16
  • He refuses to listen to rebuke--Proverbs 17:10
  • He is idle--Ecclesiastes 4:5
  • He says in his heart that there is no God--Psalm 14:1
  • He is corrupt and does evil--Psalm 14:1
This is not necessarily a complete list of characteristics, but with this alone we find good reason to avoid the company of  fools.  Does this mean that we are not to witness to them?  Of course we are, but having them as our bosom buddies is definitely forbidden in the Scriptures.  Choose wisely those whom you embrace as your friends and companions.
 
Thanking God for friends who love Him,
Gloria

Friday, August 12, 2011

Who Has Bragging Rights?

"A prudent man conceals knowledge,
but the heart of fools proclaims folly." 
Proverbs 12:23

Do you find that those who continually run their mouths, bragging about themselves and what they have and who they know--and who knows them--can be very irritating and difficult to be around?   And sometimes what they are bragging about is true!  They really do have and know and are known.

I have often wondered if it was just my problem, that perhaps I was unknowingly envious.  There is warning in the Scriptures not to be envious of the wicked (Proverbs 24:19, Psalm 37:1), or even our neighbor, desiring what he has (Exodus 20:17).  Nonetheless, there is a great comparison in the Scriptures between men who tell all and those who are silent about themselves.  I love what Matthew Henry had to say about this Proverbs 12:23.

1. He that is wise does not affect to proclaim his wisdom, and it is his honour that he does not. He communicates his knowledge when it may turn to the edification of others, but he conceals it when the showing of it would only tend to his own commendation. Knowing men, if they be prudent men, will carefully avoid every thing that savours of ostentation, and not take all occasions to show their learning and reading, but only to use it for good purposes, and then let their own works praise them. Ars est celare artem—The perfection of art is to conceal it. 2. He that is foolish cannot avoid proclaiming his folly, and it is his shame that he cannot: The heart of fools, by their foolish words and actions, proclaims foolishness; either they do not desire to hide it, so little sense have they of good and evil, honour and dishonour, or they know not how to hide it, so little discretion have they in the management of themselves,  Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary Online

My prayer today is for myself and my encouragement for those I love.  

Oh, Lord, help me to learn to keep my eyes and ears open, my hands and works of love diligent,  and my mouth shut.    May my works praise me, and not my own lips, and if anyone speaks boastfully of me may it be another and not myself.

With sealed lips,
Gloria

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Want Joy?

"The hope of the righteous brings joy,
but the expectation of the wicked will perish."
  Proverbs 10:28

As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have something more than an "I hope so" concerning salvation, our future home, or even our lives here on earth.  We have hope!  Now, I know that sounds redundant, but it really isn't, because hope for goes much deeper than merely an "I hope so."

Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary (by now you must know that it's my favorite) defines hope for us:

1. A desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable. Hope differs from wish and desire in this, that it implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired, or the possibility of possessing it. Hope therefore always gives pleasure or joy; whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety.
2. Confidence in a future event; the highest degree of well founded expectation of good; as a hope founded on God's gracious promises.

Actually, that definition pretty much defines both kinds of what we call "hope":
One kind brings pleasure and joy because we recognize the benefits of God's Word and what obedience to it will do for us.  

It is the confident expectation:
  • That He will do what He says. "For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him. That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for His glory."  (2 Corinthians 1:20)
  • That He will not desert us.  "I will never leave you or forsake you."  (Hebrews 13:5)
  • That He will come again.  "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also."  (John 14:3)
  • That  He will bless us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places.  "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 1:3)
  • That He will supply our needs.  "But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:13)
  • That He will do above all that we could ask or think.  "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us"  (Ephesians 3:20)

On the other hand, the expectation (the "I hope so") of the ungodly will perish.  There is no joy because there is no real hope, only vain expectation.  Let's not fail to pray for those we love who have no hope.



No wonder we can have such joy as we live righteous (in right standing with God) lives!  He is our Source for all things hoped for!  

To finish the satement that Paul was making in Ephesians 3: 20-21:
"to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus 
throughout all generations, forever and ever. 
Amen.

And amen!
Gloria 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Memorize It!

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight."  
Proverbs 9:10

So much of our time is spent doing the "urgent" things that we often miss out on the most important things in life.  If you have a chance (see, there I go!) read the little article "Tyranny of the Urgent". It will give you great insight into our way of life here in the good 'ole USA.

All of that to say, I have been remiss in doing something that I really love to do, and that is Scripture memory.  So I have decided to renew my habit of old, and as long as I am in the Proverbs, I shall memorize specific verses from that book.  My verse for today is Proverbs 9:10.
Oh, you have a hard time memorizing Scripture?  Well, do I have a solution for you!  It appears to me that if God wants us to hide His Word in our hearts, then He will enable us to do so.  Doesn't that make sense to you?  I began memorizing on a consistent basis about 42 years ago when I was a young bride.  We lived in Taiwan, and our pastor quoted many of the verses he used in his sermons.  We asked him how learned to memorize so many verses, and he sent us to the Navigators New Topical Memory System.  Not only will it teach you how to memorize Scripture so that you never forget it, but it will also change your life with the verses that you memorize.  You will use them more than often in your daily walk.  Please take a look at it.

If you find memorization easy for you, you might like to know how I store the verses that I am memorizing.  I use a 3x5 index card holder (2 ring binder) and two-holed index cards.  I write out my verses, and voila--a memory verse holder!  I'm then able to go back and review without having to look them up.  (A hint from the New Topical Memory System--one of the biggest keys to memorization is review, review, review.)

Please consider Scripture memory as a daily part of your life.  It only takes a few minutes and is much more rewarding than reading a magazine or watching a tv program.  You can still do that; just watch one less program or read one less chapter in your book.

Hiding it in my heart,
Gloria


Monday, August 8, 2011

The Journal

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions 
with all kinds of prayers and requests.
Ephesians 6:18a

Being in the Proverbs for 6 months now has caused me to see many areas in which I need to pray for my family and for myself.  What are a few of them, you ask?  

For my sons, that they will teach with wisdom (therefore be wise themselves)

for my daughters, that they will be wives of noble character and never contentious 

for my granddaughters, that they will grow up to be women of noble character

for my grandsons, that they will heed the words of wisdom and prudence and good judgment.  

Those are only a few.  The Proverbs are so full of potential prayer requests for the family that I am overwhelmed.

Thus, I am beginning another prayer journal for the umpteenth time.  I have used many over the years.  I've used journals that I bought at the Christian bookstore.  One was the 29:59 Plan. I used this plan for a number of years.  It is well organized, and the "plan" behind it is take 29 minutes and 59 seconds a day (30 minutes!) with God--no, that's not too long! It was wonderfully put together.  If you need something like this to help you organize your prayer life, I would definitely encourage you to purchase it.  (Click on it above.  I think it will take you to a purchase site.  It was more expensive on Amazon.com.)

I have also used blank journals, binders, notebooks, and pieces of paper to write out my prayer requests.  They work.  Somehow writing down my requests keeps me more focused and helps me to remember the things I need to pray about.  (Feeble minds must make lofty attempts to remember!:)

Of late, I have been trusting in my feeble mind to remember things.  Doesn't work so well!  My last notebook was a rather jumbled group of lists that I used for writing down requests at church, the things I consistently pray about, and it even had notes from sermons scattered through it.  I don't like disorganization, although I live with it much too often.

So!  What am I going to do?  I'm starting a new prayer journal.  One of the things I am doing is to use different pages for different facets of prayer.

  • Praise and worship (I like to write out my verses)
  • Individual family members
  • Missionaries and ministry groups that I consistently pray for
  • Sick and hurting
  • Lost friends and loved ones
  • My husband's business endeavors
  • A section for Proverbs that stand out to me which I need to pray for my family

There will be others as God reveals to me areas that I need to focus on in prayer.

I encourage you to get a prayer journal, or gather together some notebook paper and put it in a 3 ring binder, or get a blank journal, or purchase the  29:59 Plan http://www.pray2959.com/order.aspx.

Most importantly, PRAY.  It will change your life--and  the lives of those whom you pray for.

Prayerfully,
Gloria