Do Not Fret Because of Evil Men

There is no doubt that our nation is becoming ever more accepting of sin and wickedness.  Over the past several decades, we have legalized the murdering of unborn children, accepted adultery and other forms of sexual immorality as the norm, and determined that everyone should do what is right in his or her own eyes.  As a person who strives to honor and glorify the Lord in my life, I find it is easy to become discouraged.  Our nation is pulling further and further from God and Christian are becoming persecuted for standing up for our beliefs.

As I read God’s word, however, I realize that this is nothing new.  Sinners have always done evil and tried to persecute those who serve the Lord.  David wrote often about his sufferings in the years between being anointed to be the next king of Israel and the fulfillment of that promise.

Psalm 36 opens with these words from David, “An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:  There is no fear of God before his eyes.  For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.”  (Psalm 36:  1,2)  Wow!  Interesting choice of words, for sure:  “in his own eyes, he flatters himself.”   I have never thought of those who are leading our nation deeper into sins as flatters of themselves, but it does make senses.  Those who support the killing of innocent, unborn children have convinced themselves that they are ‘protecting the rights of women.’  This is certainly an example of self-flattery.  Not only have they convinced themselves that abortion is not a sin, but they congratulate themselves on doing something good and noble.

David continues, “The words of his [the wicked] mouth are wicked and deceitful; he has ceased to be wise and to do good.  Even on his bed he plots evil; he commits himself to a sinful course and does not reject what is wrong.”  (Psalm 36: 3, 4)

It truly is discouraging to witness politicians and political activists leading our nation to even greater depths of sin.  Yet, I know that God is on the throne.  He allows mankind to run the show for a while, but He is never far away and He will not allow this evil to continue indefinitely.  In Psalm 37:7 – 9 David reminds us of this.  “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.  Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret–it leads only to evil.  for evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.”

 

An Open Letter to Target: Regarding your New Restroom Policy

This is a well-written blog in protest of Target’s policy to allow men in ladies’ restrooms and women in men’s restroom. We need to protect our children’s innocence and privacy.

Mary From Martha

To Whom It May Concern:

I am a woman. I am a frequent shopper in your stores. I am first and foremost a mother. Your recent change in policy of who you allow to use each restroom concerns me. You stated in your blog post, “We believe that everyone…deserves to be protected from discrimination and treated equally.” and “…you’ll always be accepted, respected, and welcomed at Target.” As a business owner, I do understand your right to make a stance as a company. As a parent, I will never understand why you would trade the safety of our women and children for the sake of not hurting  feelings.

I realize that everyone needs to feel accepted, loved, and wanted. I know the struggles of a person struggling to find their identity. I also know that as of September 2012, a Gallup poll showed that approximately 3.4% of Americans identify as

View original post 418 more words

Meditations of My Heart

Psalm 19: 14 says, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” 

This verse is an oft-quoted one.  I have used it numerous times in teaching children that it is important to watch what we put into our heart and what comes out of our mouths.  In particular, I have used it to teach that God is displeased when we speak words that are angry, hurtful, vulgar, or lies.  In conjunction, I teach them that these displeasing words will be in our hearts and come out of our mouths, if we feed our minds with similar thoughts through the shows and movies we watch and the books we read.

As I read this verse recently, however, the Lord opened my eyes to see that all words and thoughts that are self-focused are unacceptable to Him.  When I dwell on my problems and the challenges I face in life, then the meditations of my heart are not acceptable to Him.  I turn my focus from Him to the world.  My thoughts can easily become dark and depressing, because we live in a troubled, fallen world.

We will all face times of enormous challenge in life, such as the loss of loved ones, the loss of a job, and struggles with our health.  In these times, we will naturally focus more on ourselves than on others.  But, we should never take our eyes off Jesus.  “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

The psalmist David cried out to the Lord in a time of trouble, “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” (Psalm 13:2, NIV)  Then he reminded himself, “But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation.  I will sing to the Lord for He has been good to me.” (Psalm 13:5-6, NIV)

The way out of the pits of despair we dig for ourselves is to turn our eyes upon Jesus and to remember His unfailing love.  When the meditations of my heart are not pleasing to the Lord, I need to turn my eyes back to Him and rejoice in His salvation and sing to Him.  For indeed, the Lord has been good to me.

 

 

 

Wanting More

Last night, as I listened to an evangelist speak about how we should want more of God, I couldn’t help but think about how children will demand “more, more” of something they enjoyed.  Have you ever tossed a little girl in the air  who squealed and laughed with delight?    You were thrilled that you made her happy and you laughed along with her.  You set her down and she ran off, satisfied for a moment or two. Pretty soon, though, she came back.  Her hands reached up to you as she insisted that you do it again.  So, of course, you complied.  You could not resist the opportunity to bring more joy to her little face.  This continued until your arms and back started to ache.  You probably thought, and perhaps even said, “Why did I ever start this?”  What was fun had become tiring. She may have convinced you to play the game a bit longer but you eventually ran out of energy and refused to continue.

Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t run out of energy?  Or time? Or patience?  No matter how many times we come back to God and ask for “More,” His cup is full and He is more than willing to give us more of Him.  If we want more of God, we simply have to seek Him. He promised in Deuteronomy 4:29, “You will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Jesus told His disciples,  “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened… If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7: 7, 8, 11)

Pursue God and you will find Him.  Raise your hands to Him and ask for more. More of God, more of His love, more of His strength to get you through each day. We are His children and He delights in giving us more of Himself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saying Goodbye

Within minutes of posting my last blog, I received word that my mother had passed away, quite suddenly and unexpectedly.  She was going about her routine of getting ready for bed when she just dropped dead.  It was quite a shock and hard for me as I was out of town at a conference.  I was able to get back home in less than 2 hours and join my family in the emergency room as we comforted one another and spent a final few minutes with Mom before her body was taken away.

It was amazing how very evident it was that we were saying good bye to an empty shell.  It was her body, but Mom was not in it.  Her soul and all that made her Mom was gone.  Fortunately, we have the comfort of knowing that she is in Heaven with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Paul told the Corinthians that this earth is not our home. While we are on earth, we are away from the Lord and when we leave the earth, we go home to the Lord.  “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight.  We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”  (2 Corinthians 5: 6-8)

About 50 years ago, my mother accepted Jesus’ free gift of the forgiveness of her sins. In the intervening years, she yearned for the day she would go the Heaven and be in Christ’s presence.  She is there now, and I have no doubt that Jesus is far more wonderful and glorious than we can image.  My mother lived her life to honor the One who saved her and set her free from the bondage of sin.  She took every opportunity to share His love and her faith with anyone who would listen.

It is hard to let her go.  I miss her far more than I imagined possible.  Every day there are things that I want to share with her.  Yet, I wouldn’t bring her back even if I could.  She is where she wants to be and where I will go someday.  She can say as Paul said, “I have fought the good fight.  I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  (2 Timothy 4:7)

Good bye, Mom.  You will be missed and remembered every day of my life.  And following your example, I will honor Christ in all that I do and share His love with those He puts in my path.

My One Word for 2016–Rest

As 2015 was drawing to an end, I frequently heard people comment something along the lines of, “I am so glad for this year to be over.  It was not a good one.”  Many of them had experienced great losses and difficult trials during 2015.  That was not true for me, yet I was very glad for the year to end, as it had been challenging and exhausting.

2015 began with the anticipation of two new granddaughters.  Their arrivals in the early part of the year filled us with joy, and we are truly blessed to welcome these new additions into our family.  Babies, however, are a lot of work.  As grandparents, we have tried to help our children during this busy time, primarily by taking care of the  three older siblings who are all preschoolers.

We moved forward with a long awaited plan to build-out our unfinished basment.  It was a great idea and it turned out as we had hoped.  However, it required that the basement be emptied of all the things we had been storing in it.  We spent a few weeks sorting through everything and determining what to keep, what to take to Goodwill, and what to throw away before we could begin the actual work of finishing the space.

My already busy workload increased when a co-worker left but was not immediately replaced.  To keep up, I worked through lunch most days and stayed late.  I had to keep reminding myself to slow down a bit and breathe as I hurried from one meeting to the next.

Added into the mix were health challenges faced by our three parents who are in their 80’s. We helped out as much as we could in getting them to doctors’ appointment, including six weeks of daily radiation treatments for my mother-in-law during the holiday season.

So when it came time to think about One Word to focus on during 2016, I choose REST. This was confirmed when I read that our women’s ministries had chosen ‘Selah–Rest in the Lord’ as our annual theme.  The theme verse is “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV)

Resting in the Lord doesn’t mean that I drop out of life and do nothing.  It doesn’t require me to ignore responsibilities and the challenges of life.  It does mean, however, that I lay my burdens on Jesus Christ.  I need to look to him as my source of strength each day.  He will never bring more demands into my life than I can handle with Him carrying the burden.

I look forward to a joyfully busy and productive year as I start each day with time in God’s Word and lean on Jesus to help me accomplish the tasks He sets before me.

 

Glad to be in the House of the Lord

As I sang and worshiped the Lord during the morning service Sunday, my heart was filled with love for the Lord, and the sentiments David expressed in Psalm 122:1 sprang to my mind:   “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.'”
I truly was glad to be in the house of the Lord, worshiping the Lord with others of our congregation.  Of course, I can worship God privately, and I do.  But, there is something special and particularly uplifting about corporate worship.
Being in church allows us not only to worship God together, but also to gather together with other Christians of like beliefs and passions to hear the teaching of our minister, to pray for one another, and to encourage and lift up one another.
The apostle Paul encouraged the Hebrews to come together regularly in Hebrews 10: 24, 25, saying:

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

In Acts Chapter 2, we find the model of the early church.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.... Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (verses 42 – 43, 45 – 46)

They were regularly–daily–in the house of the Lord worshiping together and being taught.  The result was that they had glad and sincere hearts, they enjoyed favor, and they saw many people accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.

These are the things that I want to see in my life, in my congregation, and in my community.  It is a privilege to be able to come to the  house of the Lord and I want to be there with a glad and sincere heart.