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Showing posts from September, 2009

Every Secret Thing

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (NKJV)
Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.

I grew up thinking I was a Christian. When I was 12, I said a prayer and asked Jesus in my heart, and I believed that saved me. I was trusting my eternity on that prayer. I called myself a Christian and fully believed I was one.

But.......verses like the one listed above scared me. The thought of God knowing secret things and one day having that exposed to the world terrified me. I knew what went on in my head. I knew my thoughts and what evil I was capable of. I literally lived in fear of judgment day, but I didn't understand why.

I was trusting in my own goodness to save me and not what Jesus did for me on the cross. And if I really allowed myself to ponder it (which I rarely allowed myself to do), I knew I had no goodness in me, and someday everyone would know that. I had never humbled myself bef…

Galatians 5:19-26

Galatians 5:19-26 (NKJV)

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissentions, heresies, envy, murders, durnkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirt is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Cookie Baking Night 9/28

Tonight was cookie baking night. In attendance: Ethan, Emily, Meghan, and Carissa. We made pumpkin patch brownies.

Recipe:
Make brownies (package or homemade, whatever you prefer)
Frost the brownies (prepared or homemade frosting, whatever you prefer)
Use a tube of prepared green frosting to create "vines" on top of the frosted brownies (the kids like this part)
Place candy pumpkins along the "vines" to look like a pumpkin patch.


Great God of Wonders

This morning in church, a men's quartet sang "Great God of Wonders". Here's a verse from it.

Great God of wonders, all Thy ways,
Are matchless and divine;
But the blest triumphs of Thy grace
Most marvelous, unrivaled shine;
Who is a pardoning God like thee?
Or who has grace so rich and free?

Who is a pardoning God like thee? Or who has grace so rich and free? Indeed!

Greetings!

Galatians 1:1-5 (NKJV)

Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), and all the brethren who are with me,

To the churches of Galatia:

Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

These are the first five verses of Paul's letter to the Galatians. Basically, this is Paul saying "hello". May our greetings and every word that comes from our mouths be this gospel-centered and meaningful.

Timely Verses

God has been dealing with me lately on the subject of humility and my frequent lack thereof. I find the tool He uses most often to teach me humility is my job. I've been feeling the sting of these lessons particularly in the last week or so.

As I opened my Bible this morning, I found great comfort in these words spoken by Paul in 2 Corinthians 12.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak…

Psalm 73:25-28

Psalm 73:25-28 (ESV)

Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is nothing on earth I desire beisdes You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For behold, those who are far from You shall perish; You put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to You. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of Your works.


May it be so in my life.

Ephesians

This morning our pastor started a series of sermons on the book of Ephesians in the Bible. He started today with an introduction to Ephesians chapters 1 & 2. I was encouraged by this because I've been desiring to memorize Ephesians 1 & 2 (ambitious?, probably--but well worth it). I didn't want to start memorizing it without understanding it. I want to give it the inflection and emotion it deserves. Today's morning sermon was a good start to studying Ephesians 1 & 2, and I was encouraged even further when we had home fellowship groups this evening and we continued discussing those two chapters. I look forward to knowing it more in the next few months.

I'll leave you with Ephesians 1: 1-6 (NKJV)

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with ever…

Handing Out Tracts

Earlier this week I blogged about not underestimating the witness of a gospel tract. I'd like to share with you the story of the little white-haired man on George Street. This story encourages me when I start to feel result-driven in my evangelism ministry. I hope it is an encouragement to you as well as you follow this link to the audio recording of the story.

http://www.higherpraise.com/ChristianVideos/WhatcanonemandoforGod100K.htm

What I'm Learning About Evangelism-Part 3

This week, my posts are about what I've learned about evangelism in the last six months. Here's my thought for today:

Never underestimate the witness of a gospel tract. If you are doing nothing in the area of evangelism right now, I encourage you to start by handing out gospel tracts.

1. Find a gospel tract you like (one with a message you agree with, maybe one that presents the gospel in a similar style to the way you communicate). I like the tracts sold at Living Waters ministry (http://www.livingwaters.com/). I use them often.

2. If you don't think there's a gospel tract that explains the gospel exactly the way you would, then write one yourself (I've done that. I had my husband, a good friend, and my pastor proof it and advise me on it--Greg and I designed a cover for it on the computer. We took it to a local printer and had a large volume printed up. It was a relatively inexpensive process. I believe the Living Waters website also has a tool available for writing…

What I'm Learning About Evangelism-Part 2

This week my posts will be about what I've learned about evangelism in the last six months.

Two lessons stand out to me today:

1. Know the gospel. Read about the gospel, understand it, preach it to yourself. If you do not understand the message of the gospel (we are sinners, enemies of God, yet God loved us and sent his Son, Jesus Christ-fully God, fully man-to live a sinless life and die a cruel and painful death, taking the punishment we deserve for the sins we committed, and then rose from the grave after three days, defeating death, that we may be reconciled to the Father through the sacrifice of His Son--nothing we have done or can do ourselves) then you will not be able to share it with others and you won't be compelled to do so either.

2. You will never be brave enough to share the gospel with someone else. I put it off for weeks and months thinking, "If I just hear one more person share the gospel with someone else, then I'll be ready" "If the circumsta…

What I'm Learning About Evangelism-Part 1

I'm going to spend this week talking about what I've learned about evangelism in the last 6 months. I've been seeking to intentionally go out and share the gospel with others in that time period, so I'll pass on what I know so far (for whatever that's worth).

Today I'll pass on a tip I learned from the Fish with Trish website (www.fishwithtrish.com) that I tried out yesterday on my way to work.

I decided to stop at a local coffee shop on the way into work (alright, I'll confess I don't drink coffee--it was hot chocolate I was after). It didn't take long for a line to form after me in the drive thru. I asked the cashier if I could pay for the drink of the customer behind me. She gave me the total, and I paid the bill. I then handed her a couple of gospel tracts. I told her that one was for her and asked her to give the other to the customer behind me and let them know that their drink had been paid for. She kindly agreed. Then I pulled away.

I wouldn…

Cooking Baking Night 9/14

Tonight was cookie baking night. We have a tradition at cookie baking night. When it is near someone's birthday, that person gets to choose the meal for that evening and the cookie we make. It was Meghan's birthday on Saturday. She chose spaghetti, french fries, and apples for supper and a sugar cookie for the baking part of the evening (that's been her standard choice for a few years now).
Since Meghan is a teenager now (year #2 as a teenager, actually), her appearances at cookie baking nights are few and far between. It was a joy to have her with us this evening. Meghan read the Bible lesson from our book, Leading Little Ones to God. It was fun to have her participate in this way.

Later in the evening, Meghan was sending a text message to a friend. Emily saw the message. Meghan said she was telling her friend something along the lines of "you're so funny". Emily said, "That is sooo boring. I thought being a teenager would be more fun than that. I think I…

Psalm 56

My Bible titled this Psalm "A prayer for relief from tormentors". With that title in mind, I was struck by the phrase, "I will trust in You."

In my MacArthur study Bible the note for this phrase says: "Confidence in the Lord is a purposeful decision, replacing an emotional reaction to one's circumstances."

Psalm 56 (NKJV)

Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up;
Fighting all day he oppresses me.
My enemies would hound me all day, for there are many who fight against me, O Most High.
Whenever I am afraid,
I will trust in You.
In God (I will praise His word),
In God I have put my trust;
I will not fear.
What can flesh do to me?
All day they twist my words;
All their thoughts are against me for evil.
They gather together,
They hide, they mark my steps,
When they lie in wait for my life.
Shall they escape by inquity?
In anger cast down the peoples, O God!
You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?
When I cry out to You,
T…

Happy Birthday, Meghan!

Today is Meghan's birthday. Meghan is my niece (daughter of my brother, Rob). She turns 14 today (or 27, I'm not sure which).

I love Meghan and pray that she knows that. Meghan is beautiful. She is funny. She is oh-so-cool (maybe a little too cool?) She's fun to be around, a real thinker.

I talk to Meghan about God, often. She tells me that Jesus is the most important thing in her life. I pray that is true. I pray these verses are a reality in her life:

Ephesians 2:4-10 (ESV)
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immearsurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Chrsit Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result…

Bible Reading Plan Part 2

I mentioned in yesterday's post that in January Greg and I started reading the Bible using Robert Murray M'Cheyne's Bible reading plan for the year (please see the September 10 post for more details).

I mentioned in yesterday's post that we are enjoying reading through the Bible in this way, and we're finding it beneficial. What I didn't mention in yesterday's post is that we have struggled keeping up with the plan a bit. We stayed on track January through the beginning of May. In May I took a trip out to California (for five days), and Greg and I have been struggling to catch up ever since. With approximately four chapters of reading a day, it doesn't take long to get behind. We have been struggling to catch up and we were starting to get discouraged (we were at least a month behind the plan at this point).


Today, I made the decision to start reading my personal reading from the place where the plan recommends today (starting over in a sense) and not try…

Bible Reading Plan Part 1

In January, Greg and I started reading the Bible using the Robert Murray M'Cheyne Bible reading calendar for the year. It was suggested to our church by our pastor. It is comprised of reading roughly 4 chapters of the Bible a day. Two chapters are read as a family and two chapters are read indivdually (the plan calls it "secret"). The plan takes its readings from different books throughout the Bible (for example right now for family reading we are in 2 Samuel and 2 Corinthians and for personal reading we are in Ezekiel and Psalms). By the end of the year, this plan will have you reading through the entire Old Testament once, the New Testamet twice, and Psalms twice.

I'm enjoying the fact that we read part of it alone and part of it as a family. I find that I digest the information differently in each setting and both are beneficial.

When I read the chapters with Greg, I'm able to have discussion with him and hear what he is thinking as we read the Bible. He often o…

1 Corinthians 13:7-13

If you've ever attended a wedding, you've most likely heard some of 1 Corinthians 13 read out loud. I've heard it called the "love chapter". How often have we heard that chapter read out loud but not listened to it? How often have we read it but not paid attention to it? Love is not just for weddings. It's for families, it's for coworkers, it's for evangelism, it's for neighbors, it's for enemies, it's for strangers. And it's not easy. Let the words sink in as you read these verses today.

I Corinthians 13: 7-13

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I reasoned like a child, I thought like a child. When I became a man, I gave up ch…

1 Corinthians 13:1-6

If you've ever attended a wedding, you've most likely heard some of 1 Corinthians 13 read out loud. I've heard it called the "love chapter". How often have we heard that chapter read out loud but not listened to it? How often have we read it but not paid attention to it? Love is not just for weddings. It's for families, it's for coworkers, it's for evangelism, it's for neighbors, it's for enemies, it's for strangers. And it's not easy. Let the words sink in as you read these verses today.

1 Corinthians 13:1-6 (ESV)

If I speak of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arro…

A Birthday Present

At my party on Friday, Emily (my 8-year-old niece) had several presents for me. A couple of the presents she made herself. My mom gave her a bunch of pictures of me from my growing-up years. She gave Emily only pictures of me, and Emily (all by herself) made a scrapbook for me using those pictures.

Emily also made me a special frame with one picture in it. Unbeknownst to Emily, the picture she chose was the infamous (in our family anyway) 4th grade picture. Until recently, it was my least favorite school picture of all time. I did my own hair that day and I can still remember the photographer asking me ("Don't you want to comb your hair before I take the picture?"--I was appalled. I spent a lot of time on that hair. It was exactly how I wanted it). My dislike for that picture actually stemmed from pride, something God convicted me of later in life (which made the picture all the more unappealing to me).

When I opened Emily's present on Friday night and saw the picture …

40th Birthday Party

Friday was my 40th birthday and I decided to have a party. One of my goals at the party was to have my picture taken with everyone in attendance. I came close. Unfortunately, I failed to get my picture taken with my mom (sorry Mama!) and my husband (sorry Greg!). They were there, and I spent a lot of time with them through the evening but never got it documented (bummer). With that disclaimer made, here's some of the pictures from that event. It was a very enjoyable party. I loved seeing everyone and spending the evening with them. The cakes were pretty, yummy, and a big hit!



Here I am with my Dad-Larry (I love him!)--He took the night off of work to be there (so nice!)

Here I am with my uncle Ernie (haven't seen him for awhile--was thrilled he came)

Here I am with my Aunt Wanda (the other half of the Uncle Ernie set)

Here I am with my brother Rob and his family. From the left: Meghan, Mary, Emily, Rob, Me and Joe

Greg's cousin and aunt and uncle (so glad to have them there). …

The 40th Birthday

Today is my 40th birthday.

I certainly feel older than 20, and I am quite (physically) aware that I am not 30 anymore either, but I'm also grateful for 40. I feel like celebrating it. Tonight I'll be having a party to do just that. I've invited several family members and friends and look forward to spending the evening with them.

I am truly grateful to God for 40 years of life, but I am particularly grateful for the last 6 years of my life. It is about 6 years ago now that God saved me, regenerated me, and adopted me as His own. It is about 6 years ago that I finally understood that when Jesus died on the cross, He took the punishment for my sins (of which were many and extremely offensive to the righteous and Holy God of the universe). My sins deserved the punishment of Hell. Jesus paid the fine for my sins in His life's blood that I may be reconciled with the Father. May the rest of my days be spent glorifying Him, as they were intended.

The Last Service

For a little over a year now, Greg and I have been members of a very small (60+ people or so) church congregation (Bible Baptist Church) meeting in a small building in Elk River (renting a portion of the recycling center building). We love our church congregation, and we love that we found a church that preaches the Word of God faithfully, every service.

The Lord is blessing the church with growth and with a new building to rent. We are moving to Otsego (just a few miles from our current location in Elk River). Renovations have been under way for the past couple months, and we will meet for the first time in the building this coming Sunday.

Tonight was our Thursday night prayer and Bible study meeting. We met for the last time in our location in Elk River.

To God be the glory. Great things He has done.

What Am I Learning About My God-18

This post will conclude my sharing of my "What Do I Know About My God?" headings and verses from my notebook. I am thoroughly enjoying this Bible study and learning about God's character and nature through His Word. I hope it has helped you as well, and I encourage you to check out this Bible study (What Do I Know About My God by Mardi Collier) and start a notebook of your own if you haven't already.

The final heading in my "What Do I Know About My God?" notebook (for now) is God's Word.

Here are the verses I have under that heading.

John 1:1-2 (NKJV)

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.

Proverbs 6:23 (NKJV)

For the commandment is a lamp, and the law is a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life.

Proverbs 13:13 (NKJV)

He who despises the word will be destroyed, but he who fears the commandment will be rewarded.

Psalm 19:7-10 (ESV)

The law of the LORD is perfect reviving the sou…

What Am I Learning About My God?-17

Over the next two days I will be finishing up posting pages from my "What Do I Know About My God?" notebook. (Please see the "What Am I Learning About My God-Day 10" post for further explanation). I have come to the end of the pages I have written down in my notebook thus far. I look forward to continuing to add pages to this notebook as time passes. This study has been valuable to me in learning to search the Scriptures for God's character and nature. I highly recommend it.



My God Warns Against False Teachers

2 Timothy 4:1-4 (NKJV)

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince , rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they w…