Archive | August 2014

Through Him who gives me Strength:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty of in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12,13

Hard times are sure to come. Paul, who wrote Philippians, was no stranger to the good and bad times.  He was doing well, as a Jewish, Roman citizen.  He thought he had this “religion thing” pretty well figured out.  He obeyed the Jewish laws, and when people claimed to believe in Christ, he helped put them to death.  

Jesus appeared to Paul when he was persecuting Christians.  He had a blinding light experience, and heard the voice of Jesus. He was no longer a Jewish, Roman, he was a Christian from that moment on.  When he arrived in the town where he planned to persecute Christians, Paul had a hard time convincing the Christians that he was one of them.  

He experienced a lot of tribulation.  Paul’s account of some of his troubles:I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? 2 Cor. 11:23-29

Yet we are not to think it is strange that we are going through things, as our fellow believers are suffering too.  

That secret to contentment Paul says is the strength of the Lord. In our weakness, is where we find His strength. 

Build yourself up in the faith for when those times come, as they are sure to come. Try to memorize the verses that will strengthen, bring joy, peace, and comfort, and pray on all occasions.  

This world that we live in is changing fast! I never thought the leaders of our country, and the leaders of our churches, would promote evil things.  I never thought our government would go against its own people, I thought it was suppose to be governed by the people.  Yet, the very document that was meant to govern our land is being trampled.  Things that God tells us are evil, are being embraced. People are calling good, evil, and evil, good. Innocent people are being hurt every day in our country.  I don’t like this face of change, and it grieves me, and breaks my heart, to hear and see what is happening today. 

Be on your guard, brothers and sisters in the Lord! Stay content in knowing that God is in control, He is our help in times of trouble, and a Friend that sticks closer than a brother.

Lord, thank You that You are always willing to help us when we call out to You.  Salvation, Faith, Joy, Contentment, are all things that come from You.  Help us to trust in You to take care of us.  Help us to think of these early Christians who suffered for their faith in You, that they can be an example for us. Help us to remember that it is not unusual in this life to suffer, especially for doing what is right. Help us to love You with all our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls. In Jesus Name we pray. Amen.

-Dawn-

 

Be Content:

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he hath said, I will never leave you or forsake you. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Hebrews 13:5,6

True contentment is knowing that the Lord will be with us always, and will help us.  We do not have to be stressed out about anything.  

I know that I do get stressed, and feel overwhelmed, even though I am not suppose to.  It doesn’t do me any good. I know what I should do, and that is to be content, knowing that whatever trouble there is, God will see me through.  In my weakness, I will find his strength.

It might look like everything in my life is great and perfect.  It isn’t.  I am trying to build up my faith by putting God’s word in my heart.  My daily devotions have always given me something to learn from.  I have had a very troubled life, and without God’s help, I would not be the person I am.  I needed the Lord.  I asked for His help, and He was there for me.

I love the story in the Bible where Peter sees Jesus walking on the water.  He tells Jesus that if it is really Him, to let him walk out to him on the water.  Peter gets out of the boat, starts to walk toward Jesus, but then he sees the waves and hears the boisterous wind. He starts to sink, and calls out to Jesus to help him.  The Bible says that Jesus Immediately reached out to help him. 

I see a few things there. Peter was willing to get out of the boat and meet Jesus out on the water. I also see that Peter was not afraid to ask for help when he needed it.  I also see the willingness of Jesus to act immediately on Peter’s request to save him.  Jesus is so willing to meet needs of those who need help.  He desires that we ask for that help too. We should never be too proud to ask Jesus for what we need. That is a comfort, and a reason to be content.

Lord, help me to be content with what I have, and to know that you will help me.  I know that You will never leave me. You never give up on me.  Thank You for everything!

-Dawn-

“B” Attitudes

The teaching of Jesus in Matthew, Chapter 5, is referred to as the “B” Attitudes.  The word “Blessed” is defined as happy, holy, consecrated, those who live with God in heaven.

My devotions were about one verse in particular, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8.

The author spoke about letting worry cause him to lose his way.  He said that if he focused on what was good and pure, he would truly see God working around him. (Jon Gimber, from Duck Commander Devotional, is the author I’m referring to.)

I think of the story of, “The Hiding Place”, where Betsy says, during this horrific time, that she wishes it would all go away, but it won’t, so she has to take action. Their family takes in Jewish refugees who are fleeing from persecution. I feel like Betsy sometimes. I wish all the troubles would just go away, but they won’t, so what will my attitude be?

“The Hiding Place” is based on a true story.  Betsy died in a concentration camp of illness when her family was arrested by the Germans.  Betsy shared God’s message of salvation with other women in the barracks of the camp. Many of those women wanted to know how Betsy could believe in a God that would allow such tragedy.  She told them if they only knew Him as she did, they would love Him too.

Betsy was a good example of a “pure heart”.  She took action, and helped her fellow man.  When she was persecuted, she shared the gospel.  She physically died, but because of her faith, and because we know that God will do what He says, we know she is with the Lord in Heaven.

Her life and attitude changed many cold hearts, including that of her sister’s, Corrie.  Corrie could have chosen to let bitterness, hate, wrath, and anger destroy her life.  She changed her attitude in the concentration camp, and chose to love, as Betsy loved.  She was let out of prison on a clerical error, and went on to preach the gospel everywhere. Many people were saved because she had the right attitude, a “Blessed” attitude.

Lord, help me to have a right attitude, and give me a pure heart. Help me to be merciful. Thank You!

If you have the time, it is a long movie to watch, but the full version of  “The Hiding Place” is posted on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gc7gEbTMZP8

-Dawn-

Paul’s Letter to Titus:

Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.  For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3 1-7 KJV

Paul wrote the book of Titus.  He called Titus, “his son in the faith”, and he was writing to Titus because he left him in Crete. His mission was to basically start a church or churches there, and the book of Titus is a blueprint for how the church should operate. There is a lot of good advice about how the people in the church should behave. This short book is full of good instruction. There is a model for the behavior of elders, bishops, older men, older women, younger men, and younger women.

Paul reminds us that we were all once sinners, but have received grace and forgiveness from God, we are washed, regenerated, renewed by the Holy Ghost.  We are justified, and made heirs with Christ, and have the hope of eternal life! 

In the first sentence of this verse, we are told to obey those in power. What about evil leaders?  I think we have to take the Bible as a whole.  When Daniel, and his friends, in the Old Testament, were presented with laws that went against their faith, they disobeyed tactfully. Daniel was thrown in a den of lions, his friends in a fiery furnace for punishment, but God delivered them.  Standing for what is right is more admirable, and necessary, than following the crowd, when they are disobeying God’s laws. There are many other stories, like the one about Elijah when Ahab was king. God intervened, and saved Elijah’s life on more than one occasion. The story about Moses, and the Pharaoh of Egypt was exciting to read, because God delivered not just Moses, but the whole nation of Israel from Pharaoh’s hand. There are more stories like these.  They remind us that occasionally we have to obey God rather than men.  

I think if at all possible, we should try to obey the law, but not when it goes against God’s laws. We must obey God foremost. He is the ultimate authority. We might suffer for our disobedience of a law, but perhaps God will deliver us, as he did for others of the faith. I do believe these are trying times for people who love God. The fear of God should override the fear of man though. Paul said it best when he said, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.”

Our final authority is God, and we need to know what He says. One of my favorite verses is Psalm 119:11: “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.” 

Lord, help us to follow the plans You have for us.  Give us wisdom and direction to act properly as Your followers.  Thank You!

-Dawn-

 

Are we in the Light?

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 1 John 2:9-10

This is a verse that convicts me. Hate is a such a stumbling block. Hate allows for darkness, making it hard to see the light and truth  It keeps us from being close to others. I am guilty of allowing pain and hurt to cloud my judgment of love. I have allowed that seed of hate to spring up and it robbed me of relationships. 

Cain comes to my mind.  His story is told in Genesis.  He was Adam and Eve’s first son. He was jealous of his brother Abel, because God was pleased with Abel’s offering , but not his. Genesis 4 verse 6 is a conversation between God and Cain: Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Cain killed his brother. He allowed hate to master over him.

It is so hard to rule over sin, and it has become the master of many.  

The verse in 1 John is a reminder to love our sisters and brothers.  It is a good reminder. I need to work harder at showing love to my sisters and brothers.

Lord, help me to love, not just when it’s easy , but when it’s hard, like You loved us — while we were still in our sins. Help me to put aside all bitterness, anger, and rage. Thank You for Your love, like a healing balm, let it heal the relationships with my sisters and brothers. Help me to be in the light, and not let hate make me stumble.  Lord, You tell us to hate what is evil, and cling to what is good.  Let us put hate where it belongs, and love where it belongs. In Jesus Name, Amen!

-Dawn-

 

Training Children in the Way they Should Go

I really enjoyed Reba McEntire’s, “Pray for Peace” music video. Hope you do to.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6

I am truly grieved at the state our country is in with regards to raising up children in the way they should go. Public Schools are using kids for a platform of political agendas.

It is so important to teach correct principals to kids out of love, and to teach by example.  Maybe we do need to go back in time to see the great family values that were taught.  People worked hard, played hard, and prayed hard. Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic are wonderful things for a child to learn, but what about teaching them brotherly kindness, respect for the elderly, and love for God?

If we do not give them the knowledge they really need, we have failed miserably. Great things can be accomplished by great people who love a great God.

It has to start somewhere, and the principals of God, through the Bible are a wonderful way to start teaching.  Our family has read, “Little Visits With God”, “Family Devotional”, “Duck Commander Devotional”, “Little Visits With Jesus”, and more, for family devotions, from the time my son was a baby.  We took a Bible study offered by Your Story Hour.  We listened to tapes of Dan and Louie ,over and over again, on long car rides, and at night, before bed.  We listened to Adventures in Odyssey on Christian Radio, and to Ranger Bill on Saturday mornings. These stories were exciting dramas, and made learning about God very interesting and enjoyable.

Along with those books and radio programs, we home-schooled our son, using a Christian curriculum. We used Christian Light Publications, Alpha-Omega, and Rod and Staff. We read books during the summer of adventures like Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, Hank the Cow Dog, and The Grasshopper Trap.  These were family, fun, entertaining books, not necessarily Christian, but moral, good, family books.

We took trips together, experienced pain and joy together, and spent quality time with each other. 

We played games like Uncle Wiggly, Monopoly, Trouble, Checkers, and Chess. We camped together, swam together, went sledding, and skiing together.  We learned together when we went to the library, to museums, and for field trips.

I will have yet to see the fruit of our family time because my son is a teenager, and is still growing into adulthood.  I stand on faith that he will not depart from the ways we have taught him.  My prayers for him are that he will always have a desire for God.

My son is far from perfect because he is human.  I am impressed at his kindness and knowledge, and his desire to know God, and his willingness to learn. 

My son was baptized last year at a youth group he attended called “One Way”.  He chose to do that all on his own, and invited his parents after he had already made plans.  I was so blessed to be able to witness his baptism.  

I pray for wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and perseverance, to train up my child in the way he should go.  Thank you God for giving us a desire for You, and to know You better each day.

-Dawn-

Mentors

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame; and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.  Hebrews 12:1-3

I worked for the North Dakota State Highway Department when I was a young lady. I was hired to work on a section as an equipment-operator.  That meant plowing snow, mowing ditches, sealing roads, hauling gravel, and operating loaders and rollers.  It was an interesting job and hard at times.  There were only two of us working on this particular section, with many miles of roads. Sometimes, we worked with crews from two other nearby sections. 

I learned so much from my boss, Harry.  He showed me how to change oil, grease zerks, and change windshield wipers. He showed me how to change teeth on a sickle bar mower by chiseling off the rivets, replacing the teeth, and hammering new rivets in.  He told me to lift the snow plow when going over railroad tracks, and gave me all kinds of helpful advice to do a good job. Harry was also my neighbor, and was a kind person. He was a great mentor, teacher, and friend. I was fortunate as a young person to have the opportunity to work with Harry.

Being a Christian is like taking a journey. To find our way, we need good directions and information. We get that from people who lived as exemplary Christians in the past– a great cloud of witnesses.  When we don’t know what to do, the stories of people in the Bible have a lot of information and instruction, both of what to, and what not to do. 

David wrote Psalms that gave comfort. They showed us the attributes of God, and how to talk to God.  Daniel showed us what it was like to be taken into captivity, and yet, see and feel the power of an Almighty God.  Moses showed us that one man can help deliver a nation with God’s help.  Joseph showed us that family members can disown us, but God can use it for His good will to deliver a multitude.  I can go on and on with great clouds of witnesses, and what they showed me through their Biblical accounts.  It is a comfort to read of what God can do through ordinary people. He can make them extraordinary.

God, You gave us so many mentors, with stories that can help us with day to day difficulties and enormous problems. Thank You that You gave us this historical account so we can gain wisdom and direction to live a righteous life in a dark world.  Help us to lay aside every weight and sin that besets us, and run the race with perseverance, using the experiences of others to encourage us.  Help us to be fixed on that goal ahead and not to lose hope. Thank You!

-Dawn-