Laurie, from Women Taking a Stand, is posting about me today. She's such a woman after God's own heart, ya'll. Even if you don't read about me, check her blog out. Her ministry is awesome!
Friday, May 29, 2009
Laurie, from Women Taking a Stand, is posting about me today. She's such a woman after God's own heart, ya'll. Even if you don't read about me, check her blog out. Her ministry is awesome!
The rule of the award is to:
Posted by Laurie Ann at 7:31 AM
Thursday, May 28, 2009
So what about this business of serving Him wholeheartedly, of living our faith out loud? What does serving God with a whole heart involve? And how do I serve with my whole heart?
Posted by Laurie Ann at 6:28 AM
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
This was fun! I got it from Kim over at Homesteader's Heart. Bout drove me crazy! Try it!
Posted by Laurie Ann at 4:33 PM
WFW - A Life Well Lived
How many of us turn to self-help books to learn how to live a life worthy of our Savior? We read books that teach us about boosting our self-esteem, managing our stress, being happy, loving well...the list goes on. I'm not knocking those books. Many are written by strong men and women of God and are very applicable to our spiritual growth; however, sometimes I think we forget that some of the best rules or principles for living come from the Word of God - the Bible.
1) to watch
2) metaph. give strict attention to, be cautious, active
a) to take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one
If we are alert and at watch, we tend to give more caution to what we allow into our minds through books, television, movies, internet, music, etc. The media bombards us with sensationalism and it can really get us to thinking on the wrong things if we let it.
We also must guard those we are charged with protecting in our lives. From spouses to children, extended family and friends, we must take action and never be idle lest the devil gain a foothold in their lives.
A good way to guard is to read the Bible. Warning signs clearly given of things to stay away from will help us know how to pray to guard ourselves and others we love.
While God is our ultimate guard, we must, through the power of the Holy Spirit, guard our hearts in Christ so that we can guard not only ourselves but those we love.
"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." ~ Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
The Greek word for the phrase stand firm is stēkō. Also a verb, this means:
1) to stand firm
2) to persevere, to persist
3) to keep one's standing
We must take a stand for the things we know are right. While tolerance is preached in cotton candy churches and in the world, we know that we are not of the world. Sin can so easily entangle us if we let it creep into our lives. We must remain steadfast and persevere for God, living a life of purity and holiness, setting an example for the world around us, rather than becoming of the world around us.
The root word of stēkō, or standing firm, is histēmi. This verb means:
1) to cause or make to stand, to place, put, set
a) to bid to stand by, [set up]
1) in the presence of others, in the midst, before judges, before members of the Sanhedrin;
2) to place
b) to make firm, fix establish
1) to cause a person or a thing to keep his or its place
2) to stand, be kept intact (of family, a kingdom), to escape in safety
3) to establish a thing, cause it to stand
a) to uphold or sustain the authority or force of anything
c) to set or place in a balance
1) to weigh: money to one (because in very early times before the introduction of coinage, the metals used to be weighed)
2) to stand
a) to stand by or near
1) to stop, stand still, to stand immovable, stand firm
a) of the foundation of a building
b) to stand
1) continue safe and sound, stand unharmed, to stand ready or prepared
2) to be of a steadfast mind
3) of quality, one who does not hesitate, does not waiver
We have some great guidelines in the meanings above on how to stand fast and what it means to stand firm. I think I'll be following these a little more closely myself. I have found one show on television that I thought was a great show but alas, twas not to be. When a doctor on the show referred to God as a Christian's imaginary friend, I didn't even change the channel! How is that standing firm? I was ashamed. God is not to be mocked, yet I left it on a show that was mocking Him. What did that say about my standing firm? Oh, I fail. But through perseverance, I try again. No more "that show" for me.
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." ~ Romans 12:2 (NIV)
Standing on Faith
We are to stand firm on the faith. We've heard about faith all our lives, that it's the belief in the unseen, that it's a hope that we have in God. Let's look at the Greek word for faith. Pistis means:
1) conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it
a) relating to God
1) the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ
b) relating to Christ
1) a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God
c) the religious beliefs of Christians
d) belief with the predominate idea of trust (or confidence) whether in God or in Christ, springing from faith in the same
2) fidelity, faithfulness
a) the character of one who can be relied on
Faith is a strong thing! It's built on a strong conviction, and is not something to be taken lightly. If we don't have this strong faith in our life, what is the point of being on guard? And if we do have this strong faith in our lives, how can we not be on guard? We must be on guard and stand firm because of faith. Faith in God demands it.
"Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus." ~ 1 Timothy 3:13 (NIV)
As men and women of Christ, we are given this command to be of courage. The Greek word for courage is andrizomai. This verb means:
1) to make a man of or make brave
2) to show one's self a man, be brave
Just as the Lord promised Joshua, we, too, can be men and women of courage, being on guard and standing firm on faith, because we know God is with us.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." ~ Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
Strength in the Lord
2) to be made strong, to increase in strength, to grow strong
Doing Everything with Love
Is that really possible? God seems to think so. We are commanded to do so in Scripture.
The Greek word for everything is pas. It means:
a) each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything
a) some of all types
The Greek word for love is agapē. It means:
1) affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love
2) love feasts
It comes from the root word agapaō. This verb means:
1) of persons
a) to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly
2) of things
a) to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing
Do you struggle with tying all these things - being on guard, standing firm in faith, being men (or women) of courage, being strong - up with love? I do! It's hard to love the process you go through of learning to embrace that Scripture. Who loves pain? Not me. But I love what it makes me when I finally go through it.
Stretching those faith muscles and keeping this Scripture in your heart will be well worth it in the end.
"Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." ~ 1 John 3:18 (NIV)
Our love for others should be evident in the way we think, speak, write and serve.
Wrapping it Up
Questions for Reflection: Which part of the Scripture given above do you find the hardest? How can you make it easier? Through prayer, Bible reading, stretching and growing?
Verse of the Day: "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love." ~ 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (NIV)
Prayer: Father, as we learn how to be on our guard, standing firm in the faith, becoming men and women of courage and doing everything in love, we ask for Your help. Strengthen our hearts and our love for others and place within us a burning desire for living a life that is worthy of You, a life well lived. Impress upon our hearts the seriousness of Your Word and help us not to fear but to be encouraged because You reign victorious. May we do everything for Your glory, Lord, and not our own. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.
A life well lived is an abundant life in Christ.
A - Accepting Christ as our Savior frees us from living life in the pit. "He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." ~ Psalm 40:2 (NIV)
B - Believe that God has provided us with goodness, mercy, and everything we need to have love toward others. "Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." Lamentations 3:22-24 (NIV)
U - Understand that God has a plan for our lives and the lives of those we love - a good plan! "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~ Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
N - Never lose sight of the prize set before us - eternal life. "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)
D - Deny wrong earthly desires we feel and fix our eyes upon Jesus. "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature." ~ Galatians 5:16 (NIV)
A - Admit our sins to God and keep a short account them. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." ~ 1 John 1:9 (NIV)
N - Never forget that God delights in us and in those we love. "the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love." ~ Psalm 147:11 (NIV)
T - Trust God to provide His goodness for us. "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living." ~ Psalm 27:13 (NIV)
L - Let our attitude be one that exudes confidence in God, during hard times and good times. "The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever." ~ Isaiah 32:17 (NIV)
I - Identify with God, not the world. "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." ~ Romans 12:2 (NIV)
F - Fill our lives with the fruit from the Vine - the fruit of the Spirit. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." ~ Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
E - Eagerly share Christ's love with other believers, spurring them on toward an abundant life in Christ. "He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation." ~ Mark 16:15 (NIV)
Posted by Laurie Ann at 12:01 AM
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Welcome to Tuesday's Together In the Word. Can you believe we are on week 21? We are a group of women who are reading through the NT, Psalms and Proverbs this year and are sharing a nugget or three about what we've read. I encourage you to join in. You don't have to start at the beginning. Just jump in. The plan is hosted on our hostess DeeDee's blog at I Have No Greater Joy... If you choose not to use that plan but want to join in and share what you are reading, please do so! The more the merrier!
Redeemed by Him
"No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him-
the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough- that he should live on forever and not see decay." ~ Psalms 49:7-9 (NIV)
What truth is in this Scripture. What liberation, too.
The Hebrew word for redeem is padah. This verb means:
1) to ransom, redeem, rescue, deliver
a) (Qal) to ransom
b) (Niphal) to be ransomed
c) (Hiphil) to allow one to be ransomed
d) (Hophal) redeemed
Were it not for grace we wouldn't stand a chance. There is not one thing we can give, no matter how expensive or treasured, for the soul of another human being. We have to trust God for His grace for us and for those we love.
This old body of mine started decaying probably the minute I hit 20. I'm an early ager. At 38, I am missing quite a few pieces and parts of my body. Not vital organs, mind you, though I would like to have my gall bladder back minus the gall stones. Some things that are missing were harming me or had the potential to harm me soon, and needed to be removed. Other things just flat out quit working. Yes, I move a little slower than I did 20 years ago, and, like my grandmother, I find myself sometimes running down a list of names before I hit on the right one for Liam, my youngest grandson!
Because of the redemption through the grace of God through His Son Jesus, one day I will have a brand new body. You can read about that in 1 Corinthians 15:35-58 (NIV).
More than a brand new body free of aches and pains and sickness, we will live in Heaven forever with Christ! We will not spend a life of eternal separation from Him. He is the only one who can redeem us and did through His death on the Cross. He rose again! We will be raised in the newness of life as well. No one else could have done this for us, and we can't do it for others.
Is there someone you long to redeem today? Is your burden great for them? Realize that you cannot pay the debt they owe, just as you couldn't pay the debt you owed. No man can. That is exactly why Christ was sent into the world. It wasn't about Silent Nights and shiny gifts under a tree and sharing stories about the sweet baby Jesus over huge family get-togethers.
Jesus was born to die. Born to redeem us into an eternal life that will never see decay.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." ~ John 3:16-17 (NIV)
It's up to them to make the decision, but it's up to you to plant that seed. No payment is ever enough to buy their way into the kingdom of God, but you can invest time, prayer, teaching, friendship and sharing the Word of God to plant that seed.
If you find witnessessing intimidating, find freedom in knowing that although your burden may be great for someone, it's ultimately up to them to accept Christ. Share with them what's on your heart and show them the gift of grace.
I was talking with Laurie and Jennifer about this Friday. The first time I witnessed to someone, she chose not accept Christ. I felt such a sting of rejection (I think it was more of a pride thing, looking back) that for a long time I had a hard time putting myself (there's that self thing again) out there and sharing God's love for others.
No more. This Scripture from Psalms confirms that it's not about me. It's about Christ. Isn't it amazing how God will send you Scripture in a Bible reading to confirm something you just talked about? His love for us is that great. I will never call it a coincidence. I think it's God's timing.
When Good Things Happen to Bad People
"Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him." ~ Psalm 49:16-17 (NIV)
My husband and I were talking the other day about how much good a man we know who is not saved and has no interest in being saved has. This man literally has the midas touch. He prospers in everything he does and nothing bad ever seems to come his way. We know men of God who are ravaged by illness or have been affected by economic downturns and wonder why their lot in life is so hard.
This Scripture answered that question for me. The fruits of the unsaved will not follow them beyond death, so why begrudge them the life they have on earth before death? Certainly, after death there will be no reward and they will spend eternity separated from God. How sad is that? It's awful to think about. Those who are men of God and have awful things happen to them on earth will be given much in Heaven. Health will be restored and they will rule and reign with Christ forever. How awesome is that?
We should never give up hope for those who are seemingly bad. Who are we to judge? We must continue to plant those seeds and pray for their redemption. We must also never give up on those who are seemingly good and are going through hard times. We should continuously pray for them, even as some suffer for Christ, that they might have peace on earth and have health restored to them, that God would supply every one of their needs through Christ Jesus our Lord.
"Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." ~ Philippians 2:9-11 (NIV)
Acknowledging Christ as Lord is something we will all do one day. I rejoice in that and used to wonder if it would be something we would do individually or collectively. I acknowledge Him as Lord each time I pray, but what a privelege it would be to bow with everyone on earth and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, all to the glory of God!
Can you imagine? Not only Christians, but people who have mocked or denied God, finally acknowledging Him as Lord? Oh, the glory that will be brought to God to see His precious Son honored! My heart breaks each time I see Christ mocked or denied. I am not smug when I say that I'm looking forward to the day when I see Christ acknowledged as Lord, but humbled at the thought of what it will be like for those who have scorned Him.
Somehow, someway, we need to reach and reason with people and take every opportunity we can to witness to them before it is too late.
R - Remember to pray for others.
E - Encourage others by your daily walk with the Lord.
A - Accept the opportunities God places before you to share Him.
C - Care deeply and passionately for the lost.
H - Help others in any way you can - even the small ways count!
O - Open your eyes to see those who need the Lord.
U - Utter His Word to them through song, prayer, a card, or a note.
T - Talk with them - converse about *your* relationship with the Lord.
Posted by Laurie Ann at 7:51 AM
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Jennifer and Laurie
Laurie Ann and Jennifer
Laurie Ann and Laurie These ladies are women after God's own heart, ya'll. If you ever have the opportunity to meet them, don't miss it.
Posted by Laurie Ann at 5:56 PM
Friday, May 22, 2009
Join me over At the Well this morning for a word about honoring God with the attitudes of our hearts. Click on the link above to head on over.
Posted by Laurie Ann at 7:35 AM
Thursday, May 21, 2009
I have found such comfort in this Scripture. The Lord continues to pour out His love upon my life and just when I think He can bless me no more, His blessings overflow. His love never runs out.
God With Me
The Hebrew word for with is qereb. It means:
1) midst, among, inner part, middle
a) inward part
1) physical sense
2) as seat of thought and emotion
3) as faculty of thought and emotion
b) in the midst, among, from among (of a number of persons)
c) entrails (of sacrificial animals)
God is smack dab in the middle of my life. He is in my heart, my mind and in the innermost core of my soul. I feel His Holy Spirit so often, leading and guiding me. Knowing He is here with me and is not in some far off place is a true comfort.
Mighty To Save
He has shown Himself to be mighty in so many areas of my life, and I love to read about His might in His Word. The Hebrew word mighty is transliterated gibbowr. This adjective describing God means:
1) strong, mighty
As a noun, it goes on further to say:
2) strong man, brave man, mighty man
God is so strong and brave, just so mighty! Don't you love knowing He has your back in every situation you face? I do. It's a tremendous comfort to know that the Trinity, God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit, is such a strong force and can be relied on. Like the Psalmist I can say with assurance, "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song." ~ Psalm 28:7 (NIV)
I rejoice at how He is so mighty to save. Whatever our concerns are we can safely trust in God's strength.
1) to be liberated, be saved, be delivered
2) to be saved (in battle), be victorious
1) to save, deliver
2) to save from moral troubles
3) to give victory to
a) (Qal) to exult, display joy
While He is certainly disappointed when we sin, He is not shocked. He hears our confession and our pleas for forgiveness. He rejoices in our repentant hearts and removes our sins as far as the east is from the west, which is, as one song states, "from one scarred hand to the other."
Just as we forgive our children or grandchildren when they go crazy and act like kids on crack, it doesn't change our love and delight in them. In the midst of the screaming hissy fits when they don't get to stick their finger in the light socket or have to drink out of the red cup instead of the blue, when they insist on eating only peanut butter sandwiches with only grape jelly and all the crust peeled off every day for a week, we still rejoice in the gift, the blessing, that they are. How much more so for our God?
Be Still My Heart
He is so faithful to quiet us with His precious love. The Hebrew word for quiet is charash. Some of its meanings are:
2) to be deaf
1) to be silent, keep quiet
2) to make silent
3) to be deaf, show deafness
c) (Hithpael) to remain silent
1) to rejoice
2) to tremble (from fear)
a) of entreaty, supplication
b) in proclamation, joy, praise
Posted by Laurie Ann at 12:15 AM
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
a) skill (in war)
b) wisdom (in administration)
c) shrewdness, wisdom
d) wisdom, prudence (in religious affairs)
e) wisdom (ethical and religious)
The Hebrew word for guide is darak. This verb means:
1) to tread, bend, lead, march
1) to tread, march, march forth
2) to tread on, tread upon
3) to tread (a press)
4) to tread (bend) a bow
5) archer, bow-benders (participle)
1) to tread, tread down
2) to tread (bend with the foot) a bow
3) to cause to go, lead, march, tread
Because He guides us with wisdom, we can see the speed bumps before we hit them, and with God's leading, more often than not, what we perceive to be hairpin curves straighten out in front of us. In fact, the word guide implies that He bends them down before us.
The Straight Path
The Hebrew word for straight is yosher. It means:
a) straightness, evenness (moral implications)
b) rightness, uprightness
c) what is right, what is due
a) circumvallation, entrenchment
Making Prayer a Priority
A - Abide close to Christ, who will never lead you astray. "When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice." ~ John 10:4-5 (NIV)
Posted by Laurie Ann at 12:01 AM