When you Walk Along the Way

Just a place to share my thoughts as I seek to serve my husband, raise my children and Glorify my God!

Minors and Majors November 11, 2008

Filed under: Quiet time reflections — A Relevant Old Soul @ 10:29 pm
1Kings 17: 7-24widow-at-zarepath
The Widow at Zarephath

7 Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the LORD came to him: 9 “Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food.” 10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”

12 “As surely as the LORD your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”

13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.’ ”

15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah.

17 Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. 18 She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?”

19 “Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20 Then he cried out to the LORD, “O LORD my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” 21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, let this boy’s life return to him!”

22 The LORD heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. 23 Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!”

24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth.”

How many times in our lives are we looking for the major miracles and forgetting the minor ones?  To quote Pastor Tim Moffett ” We always want the fire from heaven.”  For some time, the Lord provided daily for her and her sons needs and yet she did not believe until a major miracle had occurred.  So the question is, Do I look past the minor always hoping for a major?

I think this is a great analogy of “American” Christianity.  We are so spoiled.  We have no “Need” for God.  Because the widow was having her daily needs met, she forgot from whence they came.  I think sometimes we need to lose everything in order for God to show his Glory around us.  We are so accustomed to things that everything becomes so minor in our lives.  It takes a huge miracle for some of us to see God’s provisions.

Everyday, her flour pot was full once again.  Most of us would have to admit that we do not need food to survive.  We have more than enough.  Our pantries are stocked with snacks and junk food and all kinds of extras.  Most of us are not in NEED of clothes to cover our naked bodies.  Our problem is choosing which to wear amongst the many.  Most of us are not in NEED of shelter but yet we worry about it looking just perfectly decorated.  Sadly, some of us are not in NEED of a Savior because we are following the rules of the religion we were raised in.  We, Americans, do not know our NEED and therefore we have Cheapened our God!  We have made him some figment of our imaginations.

I am at awe that she only saw the Lord after the healing of her child, a one time occurrence.  Did she not see the EVERY single day provision that the Lord had given to her.  I must admit that I am too often guilty of looking past the everyday.  We say mediocre repetitious prayers over our meals without truly acknowledging that without God’s provision we would have none.  We have truly forgotten in this country what it is like to go without.

Our ingratitude over minor blessings must be such a slap in the face to our provider.  We NEED to stop seeking major instances of God and start being broken and grateful over the minor ones.  We need to become so dependent on Christ that every breath we breathe is viewed as a gift from our God.  He is the creator of everything.

So today, and every other, my prayer is to see my own NEED.  To see magnitude of what God does for me daily and not just in major instances.  My God will supply ALL my needs.  That means minor ones too.  May I not require major miracles to see the provisions of the Savior!

 

Going Beyond the Proverbs 31 woman October 2, 2008

Filed under: Quiet time reflections — A Relevant Old Soul @ 11:21 pm

Isn’t it the goal of most women to try to emulate the Proverbs 31 woman?  I know that has often times been a sort of measuring stick for me.  I have also, been blessed though, to actually know a couple of women who are that inspiring Proverbs woman.  There are countless books on this subject as well as numerous bible studies and the like.  I think it is a great goal to set for ourselves.  With that said, I also need to caution the over reading of this chapter while forgetting the plethora of other information that Proverbs offers for women.

Just yesterday morning, I read Proverbs 11-13.  In just 3 simple chapters the instructions for women were immense.  By no coincidence, I am sure, I was emailed a devotional from a friend which addressed building up and tearing down our homes; which I also had been reading about.  I thought today I would just share with you outside of  Proverbs 31 and hopefully the words will jump off to your heart as they did mine.

“A kindhearted woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth.  Proverbs 11:16

“A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.”  Proverbs 11:13

” Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.” Proverbs 11: 22

“A wife of noble character is her husbands crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.”  Proverbs 12:4

Now, as if these are not enough.. These are the ones that are specifically targeted at women.  BUT.. a careful reading may notice that most of the other verses surrounding these, although, not specifically stating to a woman, are geared more for the struggle of women. For example holding our tongues and not being judgemental. I am not going to put the entire 3 chapters in here but I want to make sure that we can see the obvious.

In just 3 small chapters we as women but also just as Christians are shown the path to wisdom.

A wise woman will be… Kindhearted (vs. 16), Shows Discretion (22), Not a Gossip (13), Holds there Tongue (entire 3 chapters), Noble (12:4).

Wow, that is a lot of information in just 3 little chapters.  I am feeling good about getting just one of those done a day.  But I was pondering on the verse about Building up and Tearing down and this is what I learned.

Proverbs 14

1 The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

Notice in Chapter 14 he begins with this.  Verse 1.  In Chapters 11-13 he has been laying the foundation of a Wise Woman.  Then he says she builds her house…

I would venture to say that the tools she uses to build her house were the ones discussed in the 3 previous chapters.  She uses discretion and a held tongue.  She is kindhearted and Noble.  By contrast, a loud boisterous woman who cares for no one but herself is only tearing her house down with every word and every harsh action.

You want to win your spouse to the Lord?  You will not do it with Anger, Nagging or bitterness.  You want to be an example of Christ to your children?  You will not do that with Impatience, Intolerance, and Anger.  Those qualities only tear people down.

If you want to stir souls and plant seeds for Christ, you will use the tools mentioned.  You will be Kindhearted, You will use Discretion, You will not be a Gossip, You have Noble Character.  The tools we have been given are not contained within the Sacred Proverbs 31 alone.  God’s Word is FULL of tools for us to build our homes to honor and Glorify him.

I remember once a statement made by Beth Moore, “I am a “this” but I want to be a “that”.”  She was referring to the way we look at other women and wish that we were like them.  But as a Pastor and friend of mine once said… “You are a “that” – you just have not realized it yet!”

Ladies…. Proverbs 31 is a wonderful goal but it is not the only tool in our shed.  Take out some of the others and start building your house!  And one day when you least expect it your heart will shine with the Light of Christ so brightly that you will indeed be a “THAT!”

 

Stinkin’ Thinkin’ October 1, 2008

Filed under: Quiet time reflections — A Relevant Old Soul @ 11:01 pm
Nehemiah 6:1-14
1 When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it—though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates- 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages [a] on the plain of Ono.”
But they were scheming to harm me; 3 so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” 4 Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.
5 Then, the fifth time, Sanballat sent his aide to me with the same message, and in his hand was an unsealed letter 6 in which was written:
“It is reported among the nations—and Geshem [b] says it is true—that you and the Jews are plotting to revolt, and therefore you are building the wall. Moreover, according to these reports you are about to become their king 7 and have even appointed prophets to make this proclamation about you in Jerusalem: ‘There is a king in Judah!’ Now this report will get back to the king; so come, let us confer together.”
8 I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.”
9 They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.”
But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”
10 One day I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was shut in at his home. He said, “Let us meet in the house of God, inside the temple, and let us close the temple doors, because men are coming to kill you—by night they are coming to kill you.”
11 But I said, “Should a man like me run away? Or should one like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!” 12 I realized that God had not sent him, but that he had prophesied against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me.
14 Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, because of what they have done; remember also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who have been trying to intimidate me.

I don’t drink, I don’t swear, I do not kill, or commit adultery.  I really do not covet  and I do not steal.  This is the common logic of most Christians.  But the most useful tool of the enemy is NOT physical outward sins.  His strongest attack is on our MIND.  This silent, secret stuff that no one ever sees.  One of my favorite preachers, Paul Washer, puts it this way, “If I were to take every single thought you have had from birth up to this point in your life and put them on a projector.  Then if I was to play them for the entire congregation as a slide show, you would be MORTIFIED!  You would run out of the building in shame.”  It is easy to seem put together in our outward actions but not always as easy inside our innermost being.

Nehemiah knew that he would meet with resistance when he rebuilt the wall.  And Tobiah and Saballet tried every scheme in their arsenal to stop him.  But when known of their physical threats seemed to work, they started attacking his mind.  Oh that sly serpant!  They send a message trying to persuade him of what is going on causing him to worry and weaken the building effort.  They were purposely feeding him a lie to dwell on.  Oh but Nehemiah was not biting on that apple.

But then, within his own camp, a prophet warns him of coming doom.  Again.. Thought of deception being planted.  Wait, read that again.  A prophet, among his own people?  Nehemiah himself in verse 13 says ” He had been hired to intimidate me…”

So Nehemiah is being fed lies and deceit from those without and from those within.  But he does not lose his resolve or strength in God and in fact he instead prays for them.

So what lies are you allowing yourself to dwell on?  What have you heard from television or from advertisements, or from enemies, or from trusted friends that may have you fearing, doubting, worrying or questioning your purpose and your calling.

Remember when the serpent approached Eve all he had to do was cause her think about it… “Did God really say, You must not eat from any tree?”  So subtle.. Doubting what God had really said.  I know there are a lot of times I can use little thoughts to justify going against things I know that God has REALLY said.  I allow those thoughts to control my actions.

If you are struggling with worry, doubt, fear, self esteem issues, and on and on… Remember Nehemiah took them to God in prayer.. . Paul reminds us in his letter to the Corinthians

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2Cor 10:5

We have got to consciously choose to bring all those out of control thoughts under the direction of Christ.  Evil thoughts, mean spirited thoughts, impatience, intolerance, unloving thoughts.  Worry, fear, doubt, insecurity.  Every thing must be brought to Christ and reorganized into his thoughts..  His Joy needs to penetrate into our souls and our minds.

Hebrews 3:1
Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.
I know I have some stinkin thinkin some days and I refuse to let the serpent win again!  I will not listen to his lie and will take my thoughts captive to the one who set me free!
 

Are you dancing? September 30, 2008

Filed under: Quiet time reflections — A Relevant Old Soul @ 9:08 pm

Psalms 30:11-12 (NIV)

11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

12 that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.

Psalms 30:11-12 (NLT)

11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
12 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!

This morning while in my quiet time, I was drawn to Proverbs and Psalms.  Although that is not where I am currently reading I felt led to go there.  After I finished my normal study I decided to go to the 30th chapter of each book and maybe get a glimpse of what the Lord wanted to show me there.  Here I have listed a very familiar verse (probably due to a familiar song) but really stopped and meditated on this verse.

I went and started looking up “sackcloth” which is what they used in the NIV.  It is not the image I had thought of.  I thought of a grain sack.  But it is a mourning cloth.  But wait.. It is also used as an outward sign of repentence.  So in applying that the question is…Where are you?

I have to admit that I sometimes have too low a view of God.  It is so easy for us to put him on our level as just some really “good” one of us but that is not who God is.  He is God!  He is Sovereign over all things!  He is Everywhere and knows Everything (as we have been learning in school bible time)!  He is King of Kings- the king above all other Kings!  Lord of Lords- Lord above all other Lords.  Emmanuel-HE IS WITH US!

If you know that God, not the Santa Claus God of “cultural Christianity” but the God of ALL, how can you continue to walk around in your sackcloth.  A couple of days ago I posted on the boredom of church goers.  Clothed in sackcloth. A hum-drum meandering through life with no real Joy or LOVE of Christ.

Why I wonder did God want me to read that verse today.. Why did it stand out?  I think we all need a reminder every now and then of true repentence and letting go.  Repentance is taking off that sackcloth and the freedom from mourning.  The JOY of the Lord.  Seeing the Christ as he is and not as who I want him to be.. It is a NEW PERSON.. Do I walk around in my daily life in the freedom of dancing or do I walk in sackcloth?

Honestly, the latter.  Too many times, I allow circumstances and not Christ determine my actions and attitude.  The morning routine goes like this.. I fall out of bed, with the kids already at my side fighting and quarreling.  I get them breakfast while I try to read my bible and after about 25 interruptions I close it and move on.  I head up stairs (having lost the ability to shower with the kids up) and dress for the day…. At this moment, I am mourning the day that could have been.  I am already frustrated and not in a good place.  I pull on my sackcloth and hit the ground running… I am edgy and snappy, irritable and anxious, grouchy and greedy, impatient and unloving.

How quickly do we forget what Christ has done for us.. Why do we still own sackcloth!  It is part of the old us.  My choices, my laziness in the above scenario led to each circumstance that later place me in bondage to my emotions.  We have got to each and every single morning MEDITATE on the VAST GREATNESS of God.  A true remembrance of whence we have come!  Only in looking on him in the true light can we view our own circumstances through him.  And then and only then will we truly be FREE to DANCE!

I feel like I am all over the place in this post but I really felt I needed to share this.  I hope that God can use this for you today.

 

The blessing of the Bible September 23, 2008

Filed under: Quiet time reflections — A Relevant Old Soul @ 11:07 pm

Today after my quiet time I was sitting there thinking about the blessing we have been given in the ability to read and spend time in God’s word.  I remember a time when really the only bible exposure was from the preacher, Sunday School teacher and occasional family devotions.

But when you are able to hold in your hand, the Keys of Life, it is so alive and so real to you.  This morning, I was reading through Galatians.  It was such a joy to read the entire book rather than one verse here or there.  I sat and read as it was written.

I read a letter that Paul wrote to ME.  When we can sit and read God’s word the way it was written it is so much easier to understand and puts things in clearer context.  I guess that is why I enjoy expositional preaching also.

But have you ever really thought about the early believers who did not have access to the bible.  They learned the bible through their leaders (who were often times sinners preaching bias for profit).  They learned the bible through the pictures and sculptures on the walls and floors and their churches.

Imagine what it must have been like when they first were allowed to really read and consume this book for themselves.  No wonder all the heresy and all the doctrinal differences.. These people were being awakened to the reality that is the WORD of GOD!

We are so blessed to have this opportunity and yet how many times do we squander it.  How can we grow in Christ if we are getting a “sermon full” of God’s Word?  Sermons for me are a challenge to implement the Word of God but my true growth comes from my personal time with the Lord in his word.

I challenge everyone to remember the sacrifices made in order that you may have a bible collecting dust on the shelf.  And if you want to KNOW God, not Know OF God, then dust it off and count the blessing of the BIBLE!