Idols in Plain Sight

7 07 2013

This past week was 4th of July where some had barbecues, watched fireworks, and enjoyed the company of others. Now it is good to have time to enjoy all of those things and relax but I think some times, we forget why we are celebrating.

We have all seen the firework stands and stores offering huge bundles and savings during this time of year to promote 4th of July. Now this is not a bad thing. Fireworks can be a very special thing that we do to commemorate the very precious event of having our freedom, but it can also be very dangerous. Not in the physical sense, but in the spiritual sense. I know people who spend weeks searching for specific fireworks and spend hundreds dollars on these things that they deem important. In that case, fireworks become an idol.

We need to remember that whatever we do must glorify God. We can not make our prime focus on earthly things. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

It is easy to lose sight of God throughout the weeks with ads constantly in our faces showing us the newest things that we “need” to have. It can even be school or work. An idol can be anything that we focus to much of our time. It may even be something that we ourselves can’t see. What we must focus on is absorbing God’s word and spreading the gospel to everyone. As you go through the week, see what you spend most of your time on, and see if it is worth God’s time and yours.





Against the World

30 06 2013

Last week we talked about Haman and his pride. We also read about how Mordecai was honored by his selflessness. Today, we will continue reading Esther’s story. We pick up our story in chapter 6.

Esther 6:12-14 says, “Then Mordecai returned to the king’s gate. But Haman hurried to his house, mourning and with his head covered. And Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him. Then his wise men and his wife Zeresh said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of the Jewish people, you will not overcome him but will surely fall before him.” While they were yet talking with him, the king’s eunuchs arrived and hurried to bring Haman to the feast that Esther had prepared.”

We already see a result of Haman’s overconfidence in both himself and his actions. He was full of himself and paid the price. The interesting thing is that even Haman’s wise men tell him to stop trying to get rid of Mordecai since he has gained the king’s favor, while Haman is left holding on to nothing.

As we read the next chapter, we see what happens to Haman. “So the king and Haman went in to feast with Queen Esther. And on the second day, as they were drinking wine after the feast, the king again said to Esther, “What is your wish, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.” Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be granted me for my wish, and my people for my request. For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have been silent, for our affliction is not to be compared with the loss to the king.” Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who has dared to do this?” And Esther said, “A foe and enemy! This wicked Haman!” Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen.” (Esther 7:1-6)

Here, we see what happens to those who harm God’s people. God is always at our side, helping us & protecting us, even when we do not feel His presence. Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

We often feel like God is not with us, whether that be when we have tribulations or when we just feel like He is allowing the world to consume us. But that is far from the truth. It is true that we will face hard times. Jesus even says, “and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:22)

We are and will always be hated by the world. We stand against that standards and measuring sticks. We know what they do is wrong and do not conform to their ways. I read a book recently that said, “Expecting other to conform to you is not tolerance. It is ego.” We can not and will not conform to this world and we will be ostracized for it. We will be pushed away. We will be called haters, hypocrites, and everything in between. But through all of that, we must remain strong. For just as God loved us with all of our sins and faults, so must we love those around us. Show them that God truly cares and that even though all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, He still loves us.

In today’s world, the most prominent issue is gay marriages. There are Christian and non-christians alike who are for gay marriage, saying that they should have the same rights as other married couples. On the other hand, there are Christians and non-christians who are against gay marriage, saying that it is against the constitution and evil in the sight of God. I think that many people, Christians especially, are afraid to even say that they are against gay marriage because they will be labeled as a hater. What people do not understand is that even if we say that we do not approve of the gay life style, it does not mean that we hate them. In fact, Jesus spent most of His time with sinners. If He had not, how would He have shown them how much He loved them, or spread the gospel? There is no denying that being gay is wrong and evil in the sight of The Lord, but that does not mean He loves you any less. We have all sinned and the Bible says that no one sin is greater than another. With that in mind, we must show that we love everyone, but also show that God can not allow sin into heaven. That is why we were put here in this earth, to spread the gospel to all who will hear it.





Pride Before the Fall

24 06 2013

Today we are continuing with the story of Esther. We left off last with Haman having a burning hatred for Mordecai because Mordecai did not bow to Haman. Haman was a very proud man and thought very highly of himself and because of this, Haman saw Mordecai’s refusal as a blight on his power. With that said, we will see what Haman does to try and regain his “power” in chapter 5.

Esther 5:14 reads, “Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Let a gallows fifty cubits high be made, in the morning tell the king to have Mordecai hanged upon it. Then go joyfully with the king to the feast.” This idea pleased Haman, and he had the gallows made.”

To Haman, his power and pride were the most important things to him. This is a very dangerous thing. There is a saying, “the pride comes before the fall” and that is so true in this case, even as it is in our own lives. Now, we may not be walking around commanding people to bow at our feet and then hang them if you do not; however we do have pride in other forms. It might be that you think you are the best sketch artist who ever lived, or you may believe that no one can shred on a guitar like you. What ever it might be, it is still pride.

Pride is a very deadly thing. It can make us think that we are above others and that we are better than them. It can even make us think that we do not need God. That is where it becomes a very slippery slope. Once we think we do not need God, we also don’t think we do need His forgiveness and mercy. We think that we know better than God. We think that we are God.

The Bible tells us in Ephesians that “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) We have no reason to think we do not need God’s mercy and forgiveness. We did not save yourselves. We were dead in our transgressions until Jesus died on the cross for our sins so that we could spend eternity in heaven with Him. We owe everything to God.

We continue in Esther 6:1-11 which says, “On that night the king could not sleep. And he gave orders to bring the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. And it was found written how Mordecai had told about Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. And the king said, “What honor or distinction has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?” The king’s young men who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.” And the king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king’s palace to speak to the king about having Mordecai hanged on the gallows that he had prepared for him. And the king’s young men told him, “Haman is there, standing in the court.” And the king said, “Let him come in.” So Haman came in, and the king said to him, “What should be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?” And Haman said to himself, “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?” And Haman said to the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor, let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, and the horse that the king has ridden, and on whose head a royal crown is set. And let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king’s most noble officials. Let them dress the man whom the king delights to honor, and let them lead him on the horse through the square of the city, proclaiming before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.'” Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry; take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned.” So Haman took the robes and the horse, and he dressed Mordecai and led him through the square of the city, proclaiming before him, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.”

As we see, Haman was again prideful and thought that the king was talking about him. He then gave an elaborate, detailed list of what should be done for the man who delights the king, who he thought was himself. Instead, the king gave it all to Mordecai, the man Haman hated. As we see, pride can be very dangerous both with physical abilities and spiritual ones. We need to remind ourselves that it is by God’s grace that we live each day and that by His power are we saved, not our own.





A Father’s Heart

16 06 2013

Today we are going to read a story done by Billy Graham who talks about fathers!

“Whenever I had to leave [Montreat], we gathered to say good-bye. We held hands and prayed. As I boarded the train, or later the plane, my heart would be heavy, and more than once I drove down the mountain with tears in my eyes.

Maybe it was a little easier for the girls; they experienced their mother’s constancy and shared so many of her interests. And of course, Dr. and Mrs. Bell, Ruth’s parents, were just across the street (and later down the hill). But the boys, with four women in the house, needed their father at home. Coming as the fourth child and my namesake, Franklin especially may have craved my companionship.

During the lengthy Madison Square Garden Crusade in 1957, Franklin was five. Back home, Ruth listened to his daily bedtime prayer before tucking him in. One night, after he thanked God for me and others of the Team in New York, he closed with, “And thank you for Mommy staying home.”

THE AGONY & THE ECSTASY

Whenever I did get home for a short stay between engagements, I would get a crash course in the agony and ecstasy of parenting. If Ruth had not been convinced that God had called her to fulfill that side of our partnership, and had not resorted constantly to God’s Word for instruction and to His grace for strength, I don’t see how she could have survived.

Franklin was almost six by the time Ned came along. With two boys in the household, my fathering was more urgently needed than ever. Still, sometimes I was away for months at a time. What I did when I was away apparently didn’t impress the children much. One time, when the mountain house was being built, I was out in the yard shoveling some dirt from one spot to another. Franklin, watching intently, suddenly piped up and said, “Daddy, you can work!”

The traveling ministry was a costly investment of my time as far as my sons were concerned. Both of them, like many of their generation in the sixties and seventies, went through severe tests of their faith and standards.

GOD’S PERFECT PLAN

I tried to let all five of the children know that I loved them, no matter what they did; that I missed them when I was away; that I supported their mother’s discipline of them; and that I wanted them to discover God’s perfect plan for each of them.

Ruth and I were not perfect parents; and when I had to travel, Ruth sometimes felt like a single parent, with all the problems that that entailed. We tried to discipline the children fairly, but at the same time we tried not to lay down a lot of rules and regulations.

When I objected to Franklin’s long hair, Ruth reminded me that it wasn’t a moral issue—and I kept my mouth shut on that subject thereafter. Actually, as Ruth pointed out with a twinkle in her eye, Franklin was in the tradition of the prophets and apostles.

Only once, I think, did I directly interfere with Franklin’s plans. That was when Ruth called me from France, where she was visiting Gigi and her family. I was in Tokyo to address the Baptist World Alliance. Franklin was working in Nome, Alaska and, after she talked to him on the phone, Ruth begged me to call him and lay down the law.

I was to tell him how strenuously we opposed his engagement; we were convinced they were too young and unsuited to each other. Ruth cut short her visit with Gigi and returned to Montreat, arriving when Franklin did. In two weeks’ time their friendship was over, and we breathed more easily.

REBEL YEARS

In a radio interview not many years ago, Franklin told about his rebel years of drinking, drugs, smoking, girls, and fast driving. These were things he said his mother and I knew nothing about—or so he thought. And he said he never forgot a conversation I had with him in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1974. I assured him of our love, no matter what he did, where he went, or how he ended up.

He knew that he could always phone us, collect, from anywhere in the world, and that whenever he wanted to come home, the door would always be open. He also knew we would never stop praying for him. It was actually during a trip to the Middle East, while in Jerusalem, that he made his firm decision to follow Christ.

[One] memorable occasion symbolizes for me the fulfillment of our prayers and the Lord’s persistent pursuit. On January 10, 1982, in a church in Tempe, Arizona … after preaching the sermon, I joined several other ministers in laying my hands on the head of William Franklin Graham III to ordain him for the Gospel ministry.

History was repeating itself some forty years after godly men had done the same for me in a Florida country church.”





Opposing

9 06 2013

This week are going to take a break for the story of Moses and resume on our series on the life of Esther. We left of last where the King of that time was persecuting the Jews. We will pick up in chapter 4.

Esther 4:12-17 reads, “And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.”

As we have seen in past chapters, Esther is standing up for God’s people. She wants to keep those people safe who are dear to both her and God. Now we remember that Esther did not tell the king that she was a Jew. She kept that hidden. However, now that her family and people are in danger, she will have to protect them against the wrath of the king.

As we continue in the next chapter, we see Esther’s plan unfold. “On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace, in front of the king’s quarters, while the king was sitting on his royal throne inside the throne room opposite the entrance to the palace. And when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won favor in his sight, and he held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter. And the king said to her, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you, even to the half of my kingdom.” And Esther said, “If it please the king, let the king and Haman come today to a feast that I have prepared for the king.” Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly, so that we may do as Esther has asked.” So the king and Haman came to the feast that Esther had prepared. And as they were drinking wine after the feast, the king said to Esther, “What is your wish? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.” Then Esther answered, “My wish and my request is: If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my wish and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come to the feast that I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said.” (Esther 5:1-8)

With asking the king to enjoy a feast with her, Esther is gaining favor with him. She is showing him that she has been faithful to him. The king sees that she simply enjoys his company and wants to repay her kindness. Even as Esther’s plan is progressing, some thing terrible happens.

Esther 5:9-13 says, “And Haman went out that day joyful and glad of heart. But when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, that he neither rose nor trembled before him, he was filled with wrath against Mordecai. Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home, and he sent and brought his friends and his wife Zeresh. And Haman recounted to them the splendor of his riches, the number of his sons, all the promotions with which the king had honored him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and the servants of the king. Then Haman said, “Even Queen Esther let no one but me come with the king to the feast she prepared. And tomorrow also I am invited by her together with the king. Yet all this is worth nothing to me, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.”

We see that Mordecai refusing to bow to any one besides God, and standing against the evil Haman resulted in bring danger upon himself. That can happen in today’s culture. Other’s see people who are doing things with right motives and that will make them see that they are not doing that. Every time they see you, it will point out the sin in their lives. This will make them feel guilty and angry. They will lash out at you. You will be persecuted. But we must stand strong in God’s word and minister to them, even when they wish you harm.





Opened Eyes

2 06 2013

Instead of following our journey through the life of Moses, we will be taking a look at another important man of the Bible, Paul.

Paul, known at this point as Saul, began as a tax collector, who was hated by all because when the tax collectors took the money from the people, they would increase the amount due so that he could keep it for himself. Over all, no one wanted to be his friend or socialize with him. Not only was he hated as a tax collector, Saul also hunted down Christians and persecuted them. Saul was also involved in the stoning of Stephen.

Acts 7:58 reads, “Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.”

Saul did not simply pick up a stone and hurl it at Stephen, Saul held the garments of the people so that the clothes would not get dirty. Saul was more focused on preserving the clothing then Stephen’s life.

Saul hunted down Jesus’ followers, mocked them, tortured them, and killed them. Yet, God still loved him. God still wanted to save Saul for being eternally separated for God and spend the rest of eternity in hell.

God began to open Saul’s eyes when he was asked for the letters to the synagogues at Damascus. It starts in Acts 9.

“But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.” (Acts 9:1-9)

Sometimes, people need a strong event or message to understand what they need to do or that they need to change. Here we see an example of a time that God called Saul out, bringing to light the evil that he had done. We also see that God blinded him. This is a very good metaphor into Saul’s rebirth as we will see in a little bit.

The story continues in Acts chapter 9 verses 10 to 14. It reads, “Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.”

In the beginning, we already see a difference in the way Ananias responds to God. Ananias knows exactly who it is. One thing we notice is that Ananias is hesitant at first in obeying God. He has heard all of the evil that Saul as done and all of the killings. We sometimes respond to God with this answer whether it is telling God that we can’t witness to our friends because we are afraid to lose them or that we are afraid to go on mission trips because we don’t know what will happen. We all have doubts. That is why we need to rely on God to keep us safe.

Finally we see Saul’s transformation in the last end of this chapter. Acts 9:15-19 says, “But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; and taking food, he was strengthened.”

We see that Saul, renamed Paul, had his eyes open by God to the evil he was doing and that Jesus was God’s son that had come to save us all. Paul immediately repented, was baptized, and began spreading the Gospel.

If God can use a man, who killed other believers in Christ, to further His kingdom, how much more can He do with us? Every time God asks on us to answer His call, we give Him the excuse that we can not because we are not strong enough, or because we don’t know the Bible well enough. What we need to realize is that we can do nothing without God and it is only with His strength that we may accomplish His will.





Are You Thirsty?

19 05 2013

Today we are going to take a side path on to something that is extremely important. We are going to read about everlasting water. The story begins in John chapter 4.

John 4:3-6 reads, “he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.”

This passage gives us the setting and the time of what is about to happen. We also see in the text that it is noon, the sixth hour, which is the hottest time of the day. The Bible states that Jesus is going through Samaria which was considered a bad place. The Samaritans were a mixed race people. They had intermarried with the Assyrians centuries before. They were hated by the Jews because of this cultural mixing. They also had their own Bible and temple that they would worship in. This is vital because back then, the Jews had a temple designated to worship and sacrifice to God. With the Samaritans building their own temple, the Jews saw it as a false temple.

With knowing all of this, we have to ask ourselves why would Jesus travel through the Samaritans’ land. Would that not hinder His ability to speak with the Jews after being affiliated with the Samaritans? Jesus has showed us time and time again that we are all sinners and that we all need His forgiveness. Jesus talked with sinners, prostitutes, liars, cheaters, and tax collectors, and now one liked them. Jesus knew all of their stories, every terrible thing they had done, but loved them anyway. That is true grace.

In John 4:7-9, we see the story unfold, “A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” ( For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)”

Again, we see the cultural differences play a major role in this conversation. We notice that right off the bat she is questioning why Jesus, a Jew, is asking her, a Samaritan, for water when she know that all the Jews hate the Samaritans. Often we do the same thing with classmates or work colleges. We shun them because of a certain life style or their over all life practice. We should never hate someone for their life style. Now do not get me wrong, do not condone something that they do that is a sin. But instead love on them, help them, and show them just how much God loves them.

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” (John 4:10-15)

We first see that the Samaritan woman is hesitant to give Jesus water. Jesus then tells her the real reason He is here. It is the real reason we are all here, to give the good news of Christ to the lost. As we read this story, we see that Jesus is overing her everlasting life, a quenching of the soul that can not be filled by anything but Jesus. Unfortunately, the Samaritan woman is thinking of earthy matters as we all often do instead of spiritually. She think that Jesus is talking about physical thirst. Instead, Jesus means the yearning in our hearts for meaning and love. That is exactly what the living water is.

Often I equate to the rain or water. If you have a flower or plant in your garden, you have to water it everyday, sometimes several times a day to keep it alive. If you forget to water your plant, what happens? It dies. The same thing happens to us. If we do not fill the thirst in our souls with Christ, we will become a husk. We will not really life. But once we accept God’s free gift of eternal water, we become vibrant again. We then life for Christ and hope to make Him know through all the earth.

As you go through out your life, I hope that you ask yourself this one question: Are you thirsty?





Mother’s Love

12 05 2013

Last week we were talking about the life of Moses and we will continue with that next week. Today, we are going to talk about moms. For those of you who do not know why we are doing this, it is because today is Mother’s Day.

There are many strong woman that are present in the Bible. Many that we can point to and see that God is present in their lives. The one that stands out to most is Mary, Jesus’ mother.

Mary was just a normal young girl, engaged to be married to a man named joseph. She was average in every sense of the word but God did not see her that way. He saw the potential in her life.

Luke 1:26-33 reads, “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.'”

Imagine the strength that Mary had to have to accept this news. It had to be hard to hear this. The reason being that when we would be pregnant, the community would look down on her because they would think that she would have been with another man before being married to Joseph. The people were enraged when they found out Mary was pregnant, even Joseph was shocked.

Luke 19-21 states, “And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.'”

Women have always been strong, that is plainly evident in the Bible. The Bible always says that it is important to marry a godly woman and to have her anchor you in the word.

Proverbs 31:25-26 says, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”

On this Mother’s Day be sure to celebrate your Mothers and to show your appreciation for all that she has done for you!





Guest Post: Suspect a Trap (When Sadness Creeps in Part 2)

8 05 2013

In continuing my current trend of adding to (mooching from?) the posts of my fellow blog writers (as opposed to sharing original thoughts), yesterday I read Rebekah L’s post When Sadness Creeps In. Then I proceeded to text her with my every opinion on the topic. Through her replies and our discussion, God revealed even more. This resulted in two things: 1) a serious need for a better text plan; and 2) a reason to rejoice in the Lord all over again.

As I was reading it, I relived my own struggle with depression, and how my ability to cope with it is directly tied in to my spiritual walk. I also realized that I know of two kinds of sadness in the Bible. The first is the sort one would feel after having a bad day or being hurt by somebody. The second is a more pervasive, weighty sorrow that I associate more with true depression. Yes, it existed. But one thing I’ve noticed is, depression in the Bible does not usually stand alone. Usually, depression goes hand in hand with a time of intercession.

The more I thought about it and went to God with it, the more it just started to make sense. Someone whose heart has been bruised and battered, who has felt pervasive sadness and pain and loss, can look at someone who’s lost and relate to them. Showing Jesus that person becomes less about talking at them about who Jesus is and what they should do to get closer to Him, and more just connecting with their heart. Someone who has been both enveloped by depression and enveloped by the peace of Jesus Christ can reach a lost person on such a deeper level. They can look at this lost person, see where they’re at, and join them there in love – because they know that place. They can also look ahead to where Jesus is; they can see the road that needs to be traveled and the light at the end of the tunnel. Someone in the midst of deep pain can’t necessarily see a way out of it. But someone who has been through it can. And that someone can bridge the gap on such a deeper level than somebody who doesn’t relate to the emotions being felt. That’s what deep intercessory prayer does – we stand in the gap for someone who needs a breakthrough of Jesus. And how much more heartfelt our prayers are when our compassion and love comes from a place of true understanding!

That is the way God would have us use our depression – as a way to draw closer to Him, more dependent on Him, and then ultimately, while He does protect us from our past He also uses it to make up the vessel we are. He is amazing that way – we may not be proud of where we’ve been, but He ensures that we didn’t go there for no reason, that our suffering wasn’t pointless. Thanks Jesus! This, in case you didn’t notice, is the reason to rejoice that I mentioned above. Having traveled the road we have and taken the hits we have, we can now be the exact vessel Jesus needs to use. Maybe someone whose vessel is shinier and less chipped isn’t right for this particular task. And Jesus knows that – He made each of us, after all. Our deepest, darkest moments turned out to be useful. Praise God!

This is why it’s really too bad that so many of us feel shame and guilt over our struggles. I believe this negativity is a lie from Satan himself. He reads our cues, multiplies our sorrow, and tries to turn it into a time of self-doubt and self-loathing. Often, he succeeds. Jesus would have this be a time to draw closer to Him, and instead we hide from Him. Jesus would have this be a time when we use our pain to relate to the pain of others so that we can love deeper and start to see with God’s heart. Satan would have this be a time to pity ourselves or get bogged down and chained by the weight.

So when sadness does come, please don’t hide. Besides, even if you do, Jesus still sees you. But He can’t help you unless you open your heart up to Him and let Him in. Transparency can be key here. When you feel ashamed by emotions, I implore you to suspect a trap. Find a friend you can confide in – yes, you open yourself up to judgement when you discuss yourself. But you also open yourself up to prayer and support, which gets you through it so much faster and grounds you again in your true identity as a servant of Christ.

My prayers are with you. If you’re struggling with something specific and want prayer for it, write to me at being.rebekah.a@gmail.com. God bless!

~Rebekah A





Harden Heart

5 05 2013

Last week we talked about how the Pharaoh tried to bargain with God as if he was on equal ground. Today, we will continue with the story of Moses. We continue in Exodus chapter 8.

Exodus 8:16-19 reads, “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, so that it may become gnats in all the land of Egypt.'” And they did so. Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff and struck the dust of the earth, and there were gnats on man and beast. All the dust of the earth became gnats in all the land of Egypt. The magicians tried by their secret arts to produce gnats, but they could not. So there were gnats on man and beast. Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.”

We see that this is the first instance in which the magicians can’t replicate the event. It still does not change the Pharaoh’s mind just as God said. Now you might be asking yourself why God would go through all of these events. The reason is that each plague corresponds with an Egyptian god. Each showed the Egyptians that the one true God is more powerful then their gods.

As we continue to read, we see that the Pharaoh is still hard hearted, “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and present yourself to Pharaoh, as he goes out to the water, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. Or else, if you will not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies on you and your servants and your people, and into your houses. And the houses of the Egyptians shall be filled with swarms of flies, and also the ground on which they stand. But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people dwell, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth. Thus I will put a division between my people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall happen.'” And the Lord did so. There came great swarms of flies into the house of Pharaoh and into his servants’ houses. Throughout all the land of Egypt the land was ruined by the swarms of flies.” (Exodus 8:20-24)

Again we see that God looks out for His people. We also see that the Pharaoh does not want to even entertain the idea that there is only one true God. Pharaohs believed that they were essentially gods on earth. They believed they had ultimate power and were given that power by the gods. Because of that, the Pharaoh doesn’t think he should submit to anyone.

Sometimes we have the same mentality. We think that we are in control and we don’t need God. When ever we ignore what God tells us to do we are saying that our way is better than His. God knows what is best. Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

We must remember to soften our hearts and listen to God’s commands because He gave us the Bible to help us through our daily lives.