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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Those Things I Know

Our website, is finally up and running! We regret all the inconvenience of the  problems with this. But Patrick worked hard and didn't give up, until he had the problem solved. This is what God wants us to do in our life with Him, Never Give Up. Keep pushing Ahead. I am so thankful for my husband to be so determined!

An update on my sister...she is still in an induced coma-like condition. Yesterday they started to wean her from sedation. The doctor says we may not see any change until Friday or Saturday. So we wait and pray. I need to keep my thoughts on those things I do know and not the things I don't. There is so much about her condition we do not yet know, but God is not confined into those limitations.

I do know that "all things work together for the good," "He will never leave me or forsake me," "In Him I have peace, and in this world we will suffer, " last but not least, "He is my Rock and sure Foundation."

It is of utmost importance that I keep my focus on Jesus. For you see, when I look at all those things around me, I become frustrated, impatient, discouraged...but our focus is on Him and in all these things Nothing will move me (Acts 20:24).

So whatever is on your agenda today, remember God is walking through  the "fire" with you.

God bless you

Monday, August 27, 2012

Life is a Risk

"God did not create us, or sent Jesus to die for us, to make us safe and comfortable!" Christine Caine.

If you want to listen to someone who is speaking out in this lukewarm-to cold religious society, listen to her on Youtube. We were listening to her talk/message she gave at Conference One last night. Challenged again and again to get out of our comfort zone, and help others find the way of Jesus.

Our job isn't to stay safe. Everything has a risk. Life itself is a risk. Marriage, family, job, vacation all have risks. Nothing is danger-free. Death is certain for each of us. So why try to spare our lives of any hurts, risks, or even challenges? We have a job to do. There are so many hurting people, abused, orphaned, and wayward people. Let's reach out and help someone.

The Bible already told us we will have trials, persecutions, enemies, and trouble. But in all these, we will have joy unspeakable and a peace that passes all understanding! Seems so contrary. But in Jesus it all makes sense.

Let's remember that we do not see the whole picture but we are in the picture. We are His child.

God bless you.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Storm Isaac

Today we are watching Tropical storm Isaac. It is hitting this evening. We are not hearing much, some rain and wind in Port au Prince. A lot of rain is expected. This causes many problems, mudslides being very dangerous. Also flooding.

Patrick spoke with a couple of the pastors this morning. They were a bit concerned. One thing that Patrick advised them was to have people gather dry wood before the rains started. This is one big hardship in the midst of torrent rains—there is no dry wood for fires to cook food.
So we are praying that God protects His children there. An approximate 400,000 people still live in tents and temporary housing since the quake. There are some shelters available, but wonder if there is enough for that many people.

We covet your prayers for the nation of Haiti.

God bless you

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Counsel of the Lord

Joshua 9:14b "but they did not ask counsel of the Lord."

The children of Israel were so deceived, and this 9 word phrase gives the reason why they were duped by a neighboring country which posed to be poor travelers from a far away country. They made a pact with them, took some of their "sounded" good and "looked" right. But it was so wrong. A lie.

How often we are in this same situation. When things look so right, yet we do not take counsel of the Lord. Assuming what appears right, must be right. Wrong!! We are living in the midst of a "me" generation. We are so deceived in believing we "deserve" to have all our wishes and whims. This couldn't be further from the truth.

The truth of the matter is that we "deserve" nothing. We are as "filthy rags," as God called the children of Israel. We don't even deserve His grace, but God so generously gives it. While we were sinners, God sent Jesus, his only son, His very best, so that we could have life eternal in the presence of God!

Before our next purchase, sporting event, vacation don't assume it is right because it looks good. I'm not saying it isn't good or that God wouldn't want it. But take counsel of the Lord before hand. Ask God what His will is. Often what He has for us, is so much more than what we can even begin to plan for ourselves.

The year of the earthquake, 2010, was also our 25th wedding anniversary. I had been checking some options and possibilities for us to celebrate and a small vacation. I had not made any reservations yet. It was still wishful thinking stage. We had never celebrated our anniversary, so I thought it should be ok to at least have one year to be special. I still think it would have been fun, but it wasn't to be. We celebrated by having the recovering time—doctor appointments, etc.

We learned so much through this experience. I doubt if we would have learned the same things on a "real" vacation. I confess, I never got to the counsel of the Lord on this issue. He just took us in another direction before I got to that.

God's counsel is a precursor to God's blessing

God bless you

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Overcoming Obstacles

Finally I'm back. I was out of the office a few days, and busy those days. So now while I'm enjoying a cup of German coffee (Thank you, Linda), I will share a few thoughts.

We visited a church during the weekend, being invited to share on how to overcome obstacles. Three of the points discussed were:

1—Trust God and believe the Bible wholly. It is easy to trust God when things go well, but then when things go "south" we tend to blame God, and even be angry. One of the reasons is that we have a very wrong and negative attitude toward suffering. God seeing it as a season of growth. It is a time of pruning our hearts.

2—Focus and Attitude. When we suffer it is easy to see the obstacle and the situation. Yes, pain is no fun, neither is a debt, or prodigal child, abuse, etc. But in the midst of all this, God shows Himself faithful, if we determine to believe God and trust Him. There is no obstacle greater than God. The Red Sea wasn't bigger than God. How often have we stood on the banks of our own "red sea" wondering how we would cross over. Yet, God in His love parted the waters. God is faithful!

3—The third point was relationships. We need to build relationships with God's people. This should be done today. Many times we tend to withdraw in the midst of problems, thinking we can "do it alone." That is a lie. We cannot do it alone. We need each other. I do not know what we would have done during our recovery from the Quake if we did not have friends and people standing by us, loving on us. We need each other!

I, Barb, would be happy to share on this subject with you and the women in your church or Bible study. Please contact me...

God bless you

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Give me Widsom

Proverbs 14:33 "Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding, but what is in the heart of fools is made known."

I love the book of Proverbs. If I would apply all that I read, I would be much the wiser. This verse says to me, a wise person doesn't say everything that comes to his mind. But it is easy to know a fool when he speaks.

For today, I want to choose my words wisely. I want to speak wisdom, not foolishness. Today I want to praise God, and not grumble. Today I want praises to flow from my heart. For I know what is in my heart, will be expressed by my tongue.

This is difficult when there isn't a quiet moment in the house. We now have 3 little ones running around, and yes, they are wonderful little ones. But it shows my age, with all the activity. Smile. God knows this, and has been faithful giving me strength and energy needed for the day. I remember when our children were very young and I was always on the "run.," my favorite verse was "Seek the Lord while He may be found." Sometimes I was overwhelmed with the duties that I though God was far away. But He isn't, He is always with me and you. He never leaves us.

Lord, today give me understanding and a heart of wisdom.

God bless you

Monday, August 13, 2012

Love is a Choice

Where oh where did this day go? At the end of the day, I look back and wonder what was accomplished. Am I the only one? Hopefully something was accomplished even if I don't remember.

That is life. We can go, go, go and then wonder what was done. That is why the quietness in the presence of Jesus is so important. I think I was more a "Martha" today than a "Mary." But in my busyness, I kept reflecting on the message from yesterday on I John 4:7-21.

The text was love. Love is not a feeling but an action word. Love is a choice. The verse given for this was Colossians 3:14 "And over all these put on love which binds them together." Even those who are difficult to love, I need to choose to love and bless them.

I choose to love, I choose to forgive and without this my heart is resentful. I cannot be resentful and love at the same time. There is no room for love in a bitter heart. Oh Lord, fill my heart with love, so that bitterness has no room.

Just like my house, there is always cleaning that can be done, so my heart, there is always cleaning and pruning taking place. Although, painful at times, it is so necessary.

I leave the challenge, don't be so busy in a day that you don't take time to learn at Jesus' feet.

God bless you

Friday, August 10, 2012

My Daily Cross

I am really enjoying my readings in the Old Testament. Today there were several verses that bolded out for me. I am reading Deuteronomy...
9:4-6 says to me (My own wording) When I come into success or victory in a battle, don't say it is because of my righteousness or brain power. It is all about God's power and way. He wants me to understand that God is not giving me success because I'm right and good, because I am not...I'm stubborn and sinful.

This kind of laid it out plain and clear. Now I know it was talking about the children of Israel, but the New Testament also says that the Old was given to me for example and learning. So I have nothing to brag about. I can only brag about God, and be obedient to His call and He will do the rest.

In chapter 10:12-13 (again my translation) All that is required of me is to fear God, walk in His ways, love Him and serve Him with all my heart. Oh, keep his commandments. It is all for my good.

This should be quite easy, after all, I do Love God and want to serve Him. But with ALL my heart? That would mean giving up my selfish desires. That is where the battle comes. And it is a battle. Our 5 year old grand-daughter frequently reminds us of our nature, "but, Daddy, I want_____." Fill in the blank.

Yes, I want, but what I want may not be the best for me. I believe this is my cross to bear daily, to give up my wants and serve Him with my whole heart. But without Him, I would not have the strength to carry it. He is my Strength, my Joy, my Comfort.

God bless you

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Esau Syndrome

Hebrews 12:16-17 "Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God's lifelong gift in order tos satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God's blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears." Msg translation

The Esau syndrome...well said. How many of us have experienced it? We know what is right, but impulsively we satisfy our flesh for a moment. Sometimes it takes years to undo what we have done. As Esau, he never regained his birthright. He gave it up for a bowl of soup! Foolish! you say.

How often have we done it? Taken that first drink? That first experience of a drug? Sex out of marriage? It only took one, but the "way back" was a forever. Yet, God was there. He was drawing you back to Him. Waiting with open arms for your return Home.

I remember when our daughter was leaving home after graduation, she asked, "Mom, what is it that I would do that you would say you are not allowed to come home?" My answer, "Nothing! You may always return. Am I more than God? He has always allowed me back in His arms."

She did walk away from the Lord. She did hit rock bottom. It took a number of years to return and restore. But God in His mercy did not reject her. He will not reject you. But oh, how much better if we'd never gotten into the Esau syndrome with that one impulsive act!!

We must not let our flesh desires over rule what God has for us. His way is not easy, but neither was Jesus' way easy when He was on earth. He showed us the Way. He gave us all we need to succeed in life. It is just that succeeding means something different to the world. Succeeding Jesus' way is to love your neighbor as yourself. It is forgiveness. It is taking up your cross daily.

It is...All about Him and not about me. Be gone, Esau Syndrome!

God bless you

Monday, August 6, 2012

Faith or Fleece

It was a very busy weekend, but a good one. The clothes drive for Haiti is going very well. Patrick and I went to the Sarasota/Bradenton area, and returned with our van packed out with clothes! And there are more. So we get to do it again. So exciting!! A special story came out of this pick-up. Three little girls went through their neighborhood, put fliers in the mailboxes for the clothes drive. Many unsaved neighbors contributed to this drive! God uses children! The oldest of the girls was 10 years old.

Yesterday Patrick taught on faith. The challenge was if we know the voice of God, and if so, do we ask God for proof that he is really Him speaking. Abraham knew God's voice. He didn't come from a Christian family. His family served idols. Yet, when God spoke He knew it was God. He didn't have a Bible in His hand. Gideon, also, was not from a believing family. He laid a fleece to know if it was God speaking.

Laying a fleece should not be our way of knowing God's will. Reading His word teaches us who God is. Too many times we are trying to find a way out of doing God's will or calling, so we decide to "put out a fleece." That is a sign of a faithless one.

On what do you base your faith? Faith is not a feeling, it is God. God is not movable. To have faith in God, we are safe. He doesn't move with the whims of His people. He is Rock Solid! Trust Him, believe Him and place your faith in Him.

Have a good day
God bless you

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Search for Wisdom

Proverbs 2 zeros in on the importance of wisdom, and to go after it as in search for gold. This was Solomon talking to his son. The reason for wisdom when he was young is to forsake the way of of the immoral woman. It seems many have lost wisdom these days.

God desires wisdom for us. It protects us in the way. Wisdom will help us make right choices. Where can wisdom be found? By reading and studying the Word of God. Keeping our focus on God. God really has laid out the path for us, given us what we need to walk therein. But too many of us tend to give in to self and the way the world thinks.

Wisdom is all the more important in these days we live in. We need to be wholly committed to God. Search desperately for wisdom. I guess we could pretend we are on a shopping spree, and search for wisdom instead of those things which do not satisfy.

Verse 7-8 "He stores up wisdom for the upright. He is a shield to those who walk uprightly. He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints."

Walk wisely!
God bless you

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Another Day

Where to start? Where to finish? Crawl back to bed? That does sound good, but again, it would mean I'd need to get up again. So better to stay up and face the day. Even coffee doesn't taste good. ha. That is a problem!

Only one thing that can make "it" better...God. And to praise Him. Then I was reminded again that grace is the only password to Heaven. It is not by my own merit, but grace only. So no matter how I "feel." it hasn't changed who God is and what God does. Grace! Always!

Ok Barb, breathe deep, smile, and go tackle the laundry. Try the coffee again...:))

God bless you