I’ve been spending a lot of time in front of the TV and computer over the last several days while Chad and I have been house-bound fighting the flu. I have a constant stream of information right at my finger tips between the two computers we have, an iPad, an iPhone, two Twitter accounts, Facebook, my Tumblr, email, etc. It’s like having an IV drip connected to my arm!
On a recent visit to my parents, I was sitting on the couch talking with my father while the news played in the background, spouting some negativity about another Hollywood startlet’s life in the toilette; hardly news-worthy information.
He said, “I don’t think we need to have an opinion about everything and everyone.”
I’ve been considering these words while being glued to the couch over the past few days because I’ve noticed a lot of talk about Rob Bell’s new book Love Wins. I have not read it and so I have no opinion on it. But my concern is to see so many Christians jumping all over him with their opinions. I wonder if the world is watching, what they think of our negative criticism toward one another?
In one of my all-time favorite sermons by Charles Simpson entitled “Call Them Pearls” he says, “Sometimes Christians give each other trouble. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could focus on the devil? But the poor devil, he has to stand in line to get to us there are so many Christians in front of him.”
As sons and daughters of God we are called to bring Him GLORY, to be His ambassadors, and a light in the world. Certainly we can do this better without tearing each other down and knowing the latest gossip about Charlie Sheen. I have not perfected this pursuit, but the Bible is my guide on this journey toward grace.
I love this Scripture in Joel about the army of God: “Every one marches in formation, and they do not break ranks. They do not push one another; every one marches in his own column.” Joel 2:7-8
Shouldn’t we pay more attention to the words of Jesus in the way we treat one another, like this: “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.” Matthew 5:22
"…let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another." Romans 14:19
"By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden…Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14, 16
There is a shrub in our front yard Chad has been considering cutting down. Last week it started budding bright green leaves and pretty pink blooms. What first seemed a menacing shrub is now a center piece for my table and adding color to our bedroom. I love the lines the cuttings create, reminding me of some lovely Japanese piece of art. (pray for Japan)
At our favorite local garden store, Garden Fever, Richard told us people love these shrubs because they are an early sign of Spring.
"O Spring, how I long for you to arrive. These beautiful shrubs tell me you are near. Despite the dismal rain and chilly winds, I know you are coming."
My Father taught me, “Success in God is knowing the times and seasons of your life.”
We are planning to plant grass in our front yard. Experts tell us now is the season, but we must first prepare the soil and the soil temperature needs to be a bit warmer. We want a successful grassy lawn, so we must prepare by tilling and fertilizing, we must plant when the time is right, we must diligently water our young seeds (but I’m counting on this Oregon weather to do so), and we must wait.
What season are you in? Is this the season for patience, planting, exercise, frugality, serving, diligence, sacrifice, being bold, being quiet???
Mine is the season for letting go of control and allowing God to be God. I’m waiting for my hopes and prayers to bud. I’m waiting for my SPRING. The season tells me it is on the way. If I work with it, I believe I’ll find success!
Jesus said to the religious people, “Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?” Luke 12:56
Solomon taught his people, “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
A couple of weeks ago I posted a blog entitled “What My Father Says About Faith.” Last week I shared on this subject in my weekly Bible study, and this week I’m being more challenged to keep practicing what I preach.
I thought I’d put it together in a short Bible study for you, too.
* If you have it, read the Streams in the Desert Entry from February 18. * The Bible is divided into two sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The definition of the word testament is: will - a legal document declaring a person’s wishes regarding the disposal of their property when they die. The Bible is God’s WILL for us! * We need to learn to take God at His word, at His will. Read 2 Corinthians 1:20 and Romans 8:32
When did you learn to take God at His word?
* Faith is stepping into the water, an act of obedience and trust in God and His word. Read Joshua 3:9-17 and James 2:18 (you can also refer to my blog entry on this same topic)
When was a time you stepped out in faith even though you couldn’t see the waters part yet?
* Give thanks! Give thanks in advance of God answering your prayers, even when it doesn’t seem like there is anything to be thankful for. Read Philippians 4:6-7
Are you thankful even in the midst of trials?
* Activate your faith! God will do it! Read Hebrews 10:23, 1 Thessalonians 5:24, and Psalm 37:5
Josh shares about being led by the Spirit, giving more place to the Holy Spirit through obedience, so we can do God’s will. He also shares about being baptized by my father. So exciting! (John 14:15-24)
March 1st, it’s raining, and the forecast for the next ten days, more rain. And to top it all off, Chad and I are doing the Four Hour Body diet together (http://www.fourhourbody.com/). Yesterday I told him I can’t wait for it to be over because even though we get to take breaks on Saturdays, I’m still missing my favorite foods six days a week. Good food is like a little slice of Heaven here on Earth, and helps to make the rainy days bearable!
My father says, “the variety of food God has given us shows His great love for us!” What a wonderful way to see another side of God, isn’t it?!
I’m always astounded at how often a meal is referenced in the Bible. Food was a central part of every celebration and religious holiday to honor God. There was the Feast of Passover, The Feast of Weeks, The Feast of Tabernacles, and every week the Sabbath meal. “Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to the LORD your God in the place which the LORD chooses, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice.” Deuteronomy 16:15—Aren’t meals a central part of every celebration even now? Think of Thanksgiving without a meal?! What a bore!
My favorite story is when God is walking past Abraham’s tent and Abraham stops Him to make Him a meal in Genesis 18; “So he took butter and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree as they ate.” Genesis 18:8—Isn’t it incredible to think of God stopping to dine with us? Even more that God is waiting to dine with each one of us at the marriage feast of the Lamb!
God could have given us bread and water to sustain us and we would be grateful, but instead He has given us vegetables that come in every color of the rainbow, cheese, chocolate, all sorts of meats, teas and coffee, wine and beer, grains, herbs and spices, etc, etc. How special to sit and partake of these blessings three times a day.
I was not much of a cook when I first married Chad, but I quickly learned the blessing a good meal is at the end of a hard day. I remember our first year making meals big enough for six…fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn bread, salad, and a pan of brownies! Perhaps, we’ve overindulged in this blessing, thus The Four Hour Body—no more fried chicken and mashed potatoes, we were starting to look like mashed potatoes. :)
So, to combat the rainy day blues, I’m sitting down to share my thoughts with you and a lovely cup of Nespresso coffee, complete with the most perfect foam.
Take time at your next meal to reflect on His faithfulness.
"Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage." Ecclesiastes 5:18
"Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content." 1 Timothy 6:6-8
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20
"Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!” Revelation 19:9
"He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the service of man, that he may bring forth food from the earth, and wine that makes glad the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread which strengthens man’s heart…What You give them they gather in; You open Your hand, they are filled with good. " Psalm 104:14-15, 28