Worship

While looking for good historical fiction my kids can read I came across an article about worship written by Douglas Bond. It caught my attention because we will be starting the process of finding a new church home after Easter Sunday and worship is very important to us. I prefer to sing hymns but can worship with other songs. However, we do not want to land at a church that just sings KLove songs. While some music KLove plays is safe (stay away from anything sung by Hillsong and Jesus Culture to name a few) I don’t believe their place is in a church worship service… for the most part.

Anyway, take a look at this article. It’s long but I agree with the authors take on worship. It’s worth taking the 5 minutes to read to the end.

He is risen!

Gaylene

Advertisements

Finding Joy When We Are Others Focused

I listened to a podcast today by Leslie Ludy.  I really like Leslie’s podcasts because they aren’t too long (most last between 15 – 20 minutes) and Leslie truly seeks to encourage women to live a set apart life as it says in the bible.  Psalm 4:3 But know that the LORD has set apart the godly man for Himself; the LORD hears when I call to Him.

This week her podcast focused on finding joy when you are focused on others.  It’s easy to focus on ourselves or our circumstances and be discouraged and even hopeless.  But Leslie gives a few examples of women in history who chose to serve others despite their sometimes tragic circumstances.  That’s the kind of legacy I want to leave!

Take a listen!  Leslie Ludy Set Apart Podcast

Gaylene

New Year New Focus

Yes, I realize it’s January 19th so this post is a couple of weeks late but hey, at least it’s still the first month of the year!

God has put on my heart 2 different issues I need to work on. In a word or two… JOY and SIN. The world would say that there’s no such thing as sin and that joy is the same as happiness. Can I challenge you to look at joy and sin in a biblical context?

So, the bad news… Sin is real and believe it or not you are a sinner! Sin entered the world when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Before, there was no death or pain or sin but Eve listened to the serpent and decided it looked too delicious to pass it up. Genesis 3:6-7 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.

From that point on sin was in the world. Genesis 4:7 If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and it’s desire is for you, but you must master it. I think we can all agree that sin is real… right? If it wasn’t why would Jesus have to die such a terrible death to save us?

For me, I believe without a doubt that sin is real and I commit it just about everyday. What I want to focus on this year is living a righteous life. No, not perfect… only Jesus lived a perfect life. I want to take my sin seriously. I don’t want to just confess and repent (or appear to repent) just because I know God is watching… that isn’t true repentance and it reeks of the attitude of… well God forgives so I screwed up and I’ll do better next time. NO! I want to truly be sorry for my sin and actually take steps and make an effort not to do that I again. There are too many people in the world who call themselves Christian yet don’t take their sin seriously. Join me in coming to the foot of the cross, confessing our sin, turning away from it and living a righteous life. Not perfect… but with sincere effort… not just words. Remember, God knows our heart and our thoughts.

Now onto joy. I believe there is a difference between joy and happiness. Webster’s dictionary defines joy as 1) the emotion evoked by well- being, 2) a state of happiness or felicity, 3) a source or cause of delight. Webster’s also lists well-being and felicity in its definition of happiness. For me, I believe that joy truly comes from the Lord and if we are seeking Him continuously He will give us joy whether or not our circumstances would declare joy.

I love what God says in Nehemiah 8:10 Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” I love that the JOY of the LORD in my strength!

Psalms 5:11 But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them, ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You.

There are so many verses is just the Psalms that talk about joy. I want that joy no matter how good or bad my day is going. And even more important is that I want my family to see my joy no matter the circumstances. Fortunately, our children have a father that is much better then I at showing joy no matter the situation. He inspires me to seek our God and rest in God’s joy no matter what. I’m reminded of Paul in prison. When he and Silas were in prison they were praying and singing hymns of praise to God. To me that is a steadfast joy that can only come from God.

So, my spiritual goals for 2018… take my sin seriously and make sincere efforts to turn away from sin and live a holy life. I believe living this kind of life is a journey that takes your whole life to perfect. This is what sanctification is all about. Our lives are to be continuously pointing towards and living up to His standards. And to find joy in all my circumstances.

Will you join me?

Psalms 51:12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.

Merry Christmas!

Yes, I realize we are past December 25th but since Jesus wasn’t truly born on December 25th I figured it would be ok to say Merry Christmas on December 28th!

Anyway, below is a link to a fantastic blog post about God’s promises to us by Michelle Lesley. She has quickly become my favorite female Christian writer on discernment and the importance of being in God’s Word.

Please click on this link and take 5 minutes to read about God’s promises… you will be encouraged!

Romans 5:8 but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 

Merry Christmas!

Gaylene

Youth Groups… Why our family steers clear

Many years ago I had a close Christian friend tell me that her and her family (mom, dad, 2 sons) were looking for a new church and one of their goals was to join a church that did not have a youth group.  Of course, this wasn’t their only requirement (doctrinally sound, etc were requirements) but it had become very important to her.  Honestly, I thought she was nuts!  Her boys were about to be pre-teen… or do they call them tweens these days… anyway, I was thinking her kids are going to need friends when they become the dreaded teenagers (this was back when I thought teenagers had to behave the way the world says teenager have to behave) and what better friends then to have as part of the youth group?

Fast forward a couple year later and we had moved across town and were going to a different church.  I started paying attention to their youth group as my conversation with my friend was always in the back of my mind.  As I watched our youth group (no, I didn’t have any kids of that age yet) it became glaringly obvious that our youth looked no different than the youth of the world.  They dressed the same, they talked the same, they had the same attitude.  We, as Christians, are called to be set apart.

The church was having a potluck one day after the service.  As I was standing in line to get my kids their plates of food I overheard a conversation between our youth minister and a 16 year old girl who were standing right in front of me.  As I listened to their discussion I was, quite frankly, appalled by what I heard and envisioned Natasha having this same conversation in a few years.  Instead of the youth minister kindly but firmly pointing this girl to have this discussion with her parents he engaged her about boyfriends and how important they can be in a girls life, etc.  I realize, to the world this is a completely normal conversation but to someone who desires, more then anything, to raise her children in the admonition of the Lord I was sickened.  There are so many biblical teachings this youth minister could have said to this young girl but instead played into what the world has taught her.

Anyway, I came across the video below that explains better then I can why our family doesn’t attend a church with a youth group.  The video is about 39 minutes long but SO worth it!  He talks about how Sunday school and youth groups started here in America.  Watch to the end when Voddie gives a simple message to fathers and another simple messages to pastors.

 

 

Seeking The Things Above

A couple of weeks ago a news story came out that was heartbreaking and sadly, a statement of our current society.  A young couple seeking fame and instead faced death.

Please read this blog post by Pastor Gabe.  His perspective is spot on.

Colossians 3:1-4  Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

Colossians 3 describes the believer’s position in Christ.  If you call yourself a Christian you should be seeking the things above, not things on this earth.  I know this is something I struggle to remember but putting on the armor of God everyday by reading His Word and praying I can continue to seek things above more and earthly things less.

Gaylene

 

 

Fountains of Blessings

I love the book My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers.  If you haven’t read this book you should!  It has short daily devotionals for every day of the year.  Today’s devotional focused on John 4:14 The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.  This is the story of Jesus talking with the Samaritan woman at the well and Him revealing to her who He really is and that He can offer everlasting water.  By springing up I believe Jesus is talking about abundant life.

That’s the life I want.  Not abundant in material things or money but abundant in being a blessing to others, serving others, praying for others.  As a sinful human I can so easily get caught up in what I want, what I desire, what I need (or think I need) and yet no where in the Bible does Jesus say to focus on what I want.

In his book Oswald says “We are to be fountains through which Jesus can flow as ‘rivers of living water’ in blessing to everyone.”  He compares that to people who are like the Dead Sea… always receiving and never giving because their relationship is not right with the Lord.  My favorite quote from today’s devotion is “Stay at the Source, closely guarding your faith in Jesus Christ and your relationship to Him, and there will be a steady flow into the lives of others with no dryness or deadness whatsoever.”  So incredibly powerful!

I see so many people get hung up on different things of the Bible and I just don’t understand.  There are many things in the Bible that are beyond my comprehension… and I’m ok with that!  I have a finite mind, not God’s mind so not understanding everything in the Bible every time I read it is not a problem for me.  I choose to believe the ENTIRE Bible and trust God with my life.  I’m certainly not perfect at it but I don’t want to be a luke warm Christian and only read my Bible on Sunday or go to church when it’s convenient or a major holiday.  He calls us to be in His word EVERY DAY, to worship, pray and serve others.  Satan loves nothing more then someone who calls herself a Christian yet does not live a Christian life.

Romans 13:12  The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

Ephesians 6:11  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 

Walk worthy in the Light of Christ!  If you call yourself a Christian, understand that everything you say and do is a reflection or a witness of Christ to those around you.