Tuesday, August 28, 2007

It's in His Word

Are you searching for an answer to a question you have?

It’s in God’s Word—the Bible.

A few years ago my husband and I had a discussion about what kind of vehicle we were to purchase. I asked my husband if he prayed about it and what God said about it. He told me that he prayed, but that God’s Word isn’t going to tell you what kind of car to buy. I went off to think and pray and I came across the following scripture:

Philippians 2:2 [AMP]

Fill up and complete my joy by living in harmony and being of the same mind and one in purpose, having the same love, being in full accord and of one harmonious mind and intention.

I went to my husband after prayer and told him that I think the Lord wants us to buy a Honda. He asked me why I thought that. I read the above scripture and I told him we’re to be in full accord—a Honda Accord. We had a great laugh!

We didn’t buy a Honda. But we did come of the same mind and have the same purpose. We ended up buying a GMC.

God has put answers to all our questions in His Word. I don’t know where I learned it, but my little Chase loves this acronym:

B – basic

I – instructions

B – before

L – leaving

E – earth

His Word tells us how to live while we are here. To find our answers we need to search His Word. A good concordance will help. I use one on the internet at Crosswalk.com. In the concordance, look up key words that relate to the questions. Read and meditate on those scriptures.

I’ve also received answers to questions I’ve had just by participating in Bible studies. It seems that no matter where I’m at in my walk with the Lord or what Bible study I am participating in, the Lord reaches me through His word.

It’s His Word that matters. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:4 KJV) The Bible is the Word that has proceeded out of the mouth of God!

The Word is our source of life. John 1:1-4 reads, “1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men.”

God promises that His word will accomplish what He sent it to accomplish and it will not return void. (Isaiah 55:11)

Hebrews 4:12 (KJV) reads, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

We’re to meditate on His Word. Joshua 1:8 (KJV) reads, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” If we meditate and live according to His word, God will lead our lives and we will have success.

God’s Word has power to change our lives and the lives of those around us. Let’s meditate on His Word. Let’s believe His Word. Let’s pray His Word. Let’s speak His Word. Let’s start living out His Word.

I write all this as I have been challenged this past month to pray more and talk less. As I have sought the Lord over many issues, I have received the answers from His Word. I have received guidance through prayer, His Word, and His peace. Step by step and day by day, He guides my life. Because…

It’s all in His Word!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

God's Wonderful Works

Wow, today has been one of the most interesting days for me. Now I am the type that really, really dislikes snakes and spiders. If it were up to me there would not be any. I keep asking God why he created them. It seems like He just lets me know that He is God and I am not.

This past summer while we were on vacation, we stopped at a Creation Evidence Museum in Glen Rose, Texas. At this museum we saw a film about how in a hyperbolic chamber they placed a venomous rattlesnake and kept there for a while. I think it was a year. In this chamber the scientist tried to recreate the atmosphere of the earth prior to the flood. During this time frame, the snake grew so much larger than what is normal in this atmosphere and what amazed me the most was that the snake was non-venomous!! I felt the Holy Spirit just comfort me and let me know that I wont always be afraid of snakes. [But I still don’t want to be around them. Thank you.]

Now God has put one of His awesome creations in my back yard. I home school my boys (Stephen is going to the junior college part-time for dual credit this year). And we started our school this week. I decided to change the way I was home schooling because the boys were getting bored and burned out. For science, I decided we would start taking nature walks and keeping nature journals, especially for Chase. Last spring when I pondered on choosing this type of curriculum, I wondered how it would work as we don’t live somewhere “pleasant” to enjoy nature walks. I pictured nature walks in the mountains with pine trees and pine cones on the ground. We don’t have mountains or pine trees. But then my son walked out in the front yard to play and I went out later to look for him. It had been raining a lot and the grass was getting tall. He stooped down, picked up a mushroom and turned to me and asked, “What is this?” That moment has frozen in my mind as a snapshot from God that I have nature in my own yard.

Yesterday—Chase came in from the back yard all excited that he found a “GIANT” spider. I’m thinking “yeah right how giant can it be?” Be a dramatic child, I just thought he was exaggerating. And being the type of woman that avoids spiders, I just didn’t care to go see it. Well finally after his constant badgering me, I went a saw it behind the storage shed. I stood there stunned. It is BIG and I didn’t know what it is! Thinking poisonous—stay away. I begged my husband to get rid of it NOW! He replied, “Why? It eats bugs and it could be Charlotte.”

This morning my walking partner, friend, and another home school mom, Anna, came over to go walk. I told her about this “GIANT” spider and immediately wanted to see it. We went and she was wowed. She got so much closer than I would; so close she frightened it a bit and it moved up the web. We went and got the camera and started taking pictures. Now I find myself actually getting excited about seeing a spider like this.

Later Stephen started researching the internet looking for this spider. Because the web has a unique zig zag in it, we googled zig zag web and came up with a Golden Garden Spider (or also known as Orb Spider or Writing Spider). I just started the first chapter of Apologia’s Elementary Science—Zoology I with Chase. So far in the first five pages, which is all we have covered, we have learned about classification. Its binomial nomenclature is Argiope aurantia. The spider in the pictures looked just like the spider in my back yard. It was so exciting to learn what type of spider we have that has made her home with us. I start calling Anna, but she was out on business. But she brought her children over later to look at the spiders. She brought them over for science class, notebooks, pencils, magnifying glass and all. My husband was laughing at us. He jokingly started announcing by the back door, “One dollar per person please.”

We went outside and started looking and examining this spider. Stephen found an insect and threw it in the web. We were all amazed at how quickly this spider ran to the prey, wrapped it up in the web, and sat on it for a while. Anna watched it through the magnifying glass and said when she was shooting web out of her spinnerets that it looked like it spread out into four strands. She tried to get me closer, but I declined and said, “I’m just fine where I’m at.” Anyhow, I didn’t want to get in the kids way.

We learned that this spider is in the family, but has a different genus and species that than the one in Charlotte’s Web. Though both are in the family of orb weavers, but different, Chase still named her Charlotte after the spider in the book/movie.

Yesterday, Chase & I wanted to get rid of the spider. But today the Lord has shown us a wonder of His creation in our back yard. Charlotte will stay and we will watch her. We will toss her an insect once a day. The last time we checked on her she was eating the one we fed her earlier and she had another wrapped up.

Psalm 145:4-6

4 One generation will commend your works to another;
they will tell of your mighty acts.

5 They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.

6 They will tell of the power of your awesome works,
and I will proclaim your great deeds.

Having this paradigm shift in my mind, I now realize I shall tell my children of the Lord’s mighty acts. This spider is a part of His creation and a part of His mighty acts. [Besides, I've learned this particular spider is not poisonous and I'm no longer afraid. That too, is part of God's mighty work in me!] Blessed be His name!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Nice Matters Award

I received my first award today!

I feel so blessed to be tagged by God's Gal. I'm usually (not always) the one whose name is not drawn in raffles. The dice never add up right in bunko for the round. Last month my husband and I were at a credit union function & he won the main prize--a huge basket full of chocolate. I felt like God was telling me I shouldn't eat chocolate, but it was okay for my hubby. I made him take it to his office at work. No way could it stay in the house for it would be gone in one day. I may could have stretched out to two depending on what day of the month it fell on. Thank you Deb for honoring me with this award.

Alright, it is my turn to tag some blogs for awards. It is so hard as I want to include all, but I will keep this to only four as that seems to be the number tagged. First, I will tag Karen for encouraging me to participate in Lisa's Online Bible Study. Second, I'll tag Leigh for she has some really encouraging posts and it is exciting to read what the Lord is doing with her. Third, is Annie of Annie's Eyes for her rich nuggets that just seem to reach me where ever I am in mind or emotions. And lastly, Jen who makes me laugh and remember what it was like to be a young mother. All of you sisters are soooooo sweet. I'm sorry if I didnt pick your blog. I tried to chose those who havent been tagged yet so we can spread the encouragement. :-)

I want to thank all you for for reading and posting comments. I also want to thank all of you who read and dont leave comments. I know you are out there as some of you have told me. I pray the Lord bless you all.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Mr. Saver

This is Stephen all ready for his senior year. He’s decked out in his new threads posing next to his truck.

The other night at work he ripped his favorite jeans. He came home from work and insistently proclaimed I must take him shopping immediately because “Dad said so.” [Dad is at work and couldn’t.] I looked at him and told him that I will give him $50 to go buy his own clothes that he doesn’t need his mother any more to shop for clothes. Besides, I didn’t want to go out into the crowds for it was the last day of the “No Sales Tax” sales weekend. [Annually in Texas the state waive the sales tax for back to school items.] I told him to find one good pair of jeans and if he would be a thrifty shopper he might be able to find two good pair of jeans on sale. He was to reconcile every cent to me with the receipt and change.

He immediately called his friend and hopped in his truck to go shopping. A short one hour later he returns home. He brings to me $3.06. I asked to see what he purchased. He goes and grabs a big bag and dumps it on my bed. He showed me two pairs of jeans [without holes!], and five nice shirts [4 of them with collars!]. I was in shock and asked if he brought home a respirator. [okay, this is author embellishment, but that’s how I felt.]

He immediately boasted and he’s right, he did a better job than I would have. What really gets me is I didn’t teach him how to shop like this. I don’t know how. I just don’t have the patience for it. I’d rather pay high price than to fight the sales crowd, wait in long lines, sort through piles of man-handled clothing. I confessed to him that he can teach me something.

Then tonight I had to bribe him to let me take the picture. He has a flat on his ride and asked to use mine to go to Wendy’s. initially I said no. But when I asked him if I could take his picture, he said, “Only if you let me take your car to go get a burger and give the left over money [from last night] to buy it.”

“Deal,” I said, “But I get to put it on my blog.”

He ran out the door and I followed him with the camera.

When he returned home, he told me that his friend was working and he sat and ate with him. By doing so, he got the Baconator and a float for less than $4. He said, “You can call me Mr. Saver.”

So this is my son, Mr. Saver.

Proverbs 14:18
The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

What's Inside?

Last year I was invited to emcee a fall women’s conference. I was thrilled to do so. In preparation for this conference, a friend of mine from out of town invited me to go with her to get a manicure. I thought that was a great idea as I hadn’t had a professional one since I got pregnant with my youngest son nine years before. I used to always wear acrylics and I loved having them on my fingers.

Instead of just having a manicure, I decide to put on the acrylics—the French style with the pink and white. I thought that would look better on me since I don’t wear polish on my nails. I got them on and thought my hands looked years younger. I got all the compliments which I thoroughly enjoyed. I felt better holding a microphone with pretty fingers at the conference.

After the conference, I decided I would keep the acrylics on my nails. My nails were brittle and weak. I didn’t like the look of my fingernails and this was the solution to ugly fingernails. I went faithfully every two weeks for my fills. Each time the nail technician drilled away at my nail bed for the acrylic to adhere. I was making such a sacrifice for beauty.

By the spring I felt discomfort on my nails, but disregarded. Once the nail tech completely removed one nail and replaced as fungus was starting. Then another two nails started changing colors, but instead of removing the acrylics and replacing them, she just glued them really well. The fingernails kept turning a darker brown. I did not want fungus on my fingers. I was in a dilemma as I was part of a dance team and we were invited to dance at a church in another community. If I removed the nails, my fingernails would be ugly for the dance. My nail tech was out of town and no one else would work on my fingers. In the midst of all this my husband asked me if there was anyway we could save $100 a month for a ski vacation. I just blurt out, “Sure if I get these nails removed.” That was what the Holy Spirit was trying to tell me to do, but I would not listen. Finally I contacted a nail tech that agreed to remove the acrylics. I was more afraid of the fungus setting in on my fingernails than having ugly fingers with the dance team.

After the acrylics were removed, my finger nails were so thin and ugly. There was hardly any nail left on my fingers. I realized then that I needed them removed anyway as they would not support the acrylics much longer. My nails were totally damaged and a couple of them were painful to touch.

The Lord was trying to speak to me through my vanity. He saw what was going on underneath the acrylics. He knew my nails were damaged and ugly. In order for my nails to heal, I had to remove the acrylics and let my nails breathe. It took a good four months for my nails to become strong and healthy again.

God knows what goes on underneath our cover. We can dress nice and look good on the outside, but the Lord knows what is on the inside. 1 Samuel 16:7b says, “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." The Lord knows our motives. 1 Chronicles 28:9 reads, “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.”

Let us pray as David did in Psalm 51:10-12

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

The Lord knows what is in our hearts, so let’s get our hearts right before the Lord. We can look good from the inside out!

Blessings in Christ!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

While You Wait...Testify!

I have recently noticed that a most of my conversations with others have been about how to avoid waiting. One friend shared with me how she hasn’t shopped at Wal-Mart because the lines are too long and she has to wait. Another friend who lives in another city told me that if I come to visit to take an alternate route due to construction for it took her 45 minutes to go seven miles.

My children talk to me about how they can’t wait to grow up so they can do what ever they want and not get into trouble. Yeah right! I too remember not wanting to wait until graduation from high school so I could move out. After I graduated, I went into the military and that was all about hurry up and wait and wait and wait. Now that I’ve been married for 19 years, either I’ve had to wait for my husband to come home from work or he has to wait for me to get ready if we’re going somewhere together. In the recent days my husband and I talked about the days of retirement that lay ahead in about eight years and we can’t wait! Or can we? We’ll have to wait won’t we?

Why don’t we have patience? I’ve had Christian brothers or sisters tell me not to pray for patience or we’ll be faced with more trials to develop the patience. I tend to think that trials and tests come anyway, so I might as well pray for patience in the trial. Quite frankly, I’m getting to the point in my walk with the Lord, I’m asking more quickly in a trial what I need to learn from it for I’ve been through a few (actually more than a few) that I’ve had to do over. And I really don’t want anymore do overs!

James 1:2-4 (NKJV) reads, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Isn’t that good news that if we let our faith produce patience and let patience have its perfect work that we can be perfect, complete, and lacking nothing?!! Sounds like good news and it is good news, but it takes working out the desires of our flesh.

I remember from the study of Acts in chapter 27 that the Apostle Paul was prisoner on the ship bound for Rome. They had landed in the port city of Fair Havens on the island of Crete. The ship had lost a lot of time on this journey and it was after the Fast, which is The Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur which is in September or October. The Mediterranean Sea was difficult and dangerous to navigate during the winter months. Paul advised the centurion of the dangers of continuing to sail on in this season. The captain and the owner of the ship decided that New Havens was unsuitable place for them to stay for the winter months. They went against Paul’s knowledge and advice and decided they knew of a better port city to stay in for the winter—Phoenix also on the island of Crete.

At this point, Paul as a prisoner sailed on with them. He already had a word from the Lord Himself that he will testify of Christ in Rome. Though he knew the dangers that lay ahead in the seas, he never fretted about the situation. Shortly after setting sail, hurricane force winds were upon them. They started tossing cargo overboard to lighten the ship. After many days in a storm and without eating, Paul stands up and tells the crew, “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me 24and said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.' 25So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island." Then after fourteen days, Paul encouraged the crew to eat and then they crashed on the island of Malta. No one lost their lives that were on board the ship.

Paul had faith in what the Lord had told him. Perhaps Paul’s faith was being tested when no one took his advice and his faith in the Lord developed his patience in that storm. While he waited for three months on the island of Malta before he was able to leave for Rome, he testified of Christ. He prayed for the sick and they were healed.

Paul had waited for three years since the Lord put it on his heart that he would go to Rome. Then it appeared near the end of the journey that he wouldn’t make it. But Paul’s faith was strong, it developed his patience, and patience had its perfect work. More people heard about the testimony of Jesus.

Therefore, whenever we go through trials and have to wait let us keep our faith in the Lord. His Word is full of His promises for us. The enemy may try to batter us with the storms, but God is faithful to do what He promised. Our trials in the storm will produce patience and patience will have its perfect work. Nevertheless, while we’re waiting for the Lord to fulfill His promises—keep sharing the testimony of Jesus so more will know Him.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Father Knows Best

I wrote the following poem about six or seven years ago. When the testing and trials season comes, I just have to remember that:

Father Knows Best

Father knows best,
This is just a test.
I will take a stand,
Against the enemy's hand.
For now I am in my Father's arms,
Where the enemy can do no harm.
Now I can rest,
'Cause Father knows best.
Oh Lord-You have protected me,
And provided my every need.
Oh No! How can this be?
The enemy is after my seed!
I must have gone astray,
Oh Lord, show me the way.
This is just a test,
Father knows best.
Oh how my faith has endured,
And my salvation is secured.
Now I have passed this test,
Father knows best!

Shonda R Whitworth