"Sanctify them by Your truth; Your word is Truth."
Friday, July 30, 2010
"Sanctify them by Your truth; Your word is Truth."
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
"Un-sin me." That is the literal translation for "Cleanse me" in Psalm 51 above. It is David's humble prayer for forgiveness and cleansing that he wrote after Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
Un-sin me! What a great phrase to pray to God. I think as Christians, our view point of forgiveness is often like giving someone a "re-do" or "do-over." But in God's view, forgiveness is not a re-do, it's an un-do! He literally takes away our sins. As a sinner, I can barely wrap my mind around that.
When I forgive, I still remember the offense. Not intentionally, but I don't get forgiveness amnesia either. No, I remember the person hurt me, and I am on guard to make sure they are not a repeater offender. God doesn't just forgive us. He un-sins us, restoring us to righteousness.
We aren't God. Sometimes remembering the offense is a good protection to prevent future harm. We don't have the ability to cleanse someone, to "un-sin" them like God does. At the same time, the Lord's Prayer clearly states, "Forgive us our sins, as WE FORGIVE those who sin against us." It's important to forgive those who offend us. But I'm thankful for a heavenly Father who doesn't just forgive. He doesn't even forget. He removes.
Monday, July 26, 2010
What about the Father's search for us? Are we anxiously and eagerly taking in His cues and signals of where we will find Him? Do we pray without ceasing and follow His word, that we might truly find Him? As with any journey, it is the course of travel in it's fullness that will define the trip.
If we consider our spiritual journeys, some of us have just begun the itinerary, others have advanced far past many of the mile markers we weren't sure we'd get to. Regardless of where we may be, the destination remains the same, safe in the arms of Jesus. No map or google directions will arrive us quickly to this spot. We are charged with growth and learning, with deeper seeking of His face and His word. Each day, I am ultimately aware of new ways the Lord reveals Himself to me to enrich the process and propel me forward toward Him.
"Your face, Lord, I will seek." Psalm 27:8
Detours? Oh yes, there are detours...when God's will was not what we were expecting, when our will gets dangerously in the way of His desire for us. We find ourselves crawling along, unsure, low vision, perhaps a storm without an umbrella or wipers. Sometimes, we sit stopped; for what seems like an eternity, we are without direction or guidance. Our GPS is suddenly silent. Our human condition naturally assumes that God has stepped away or that He is not answering. I would venture a guess that sometimes we are not in His will, we are lost, or we are exhibiting a child's strong will, not recognizing a blessing that may exist right in front of us.
"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21
"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame." Isaiah 58:11
Our heavenly Father wants the very best for his children. Like Nemo's father, he desires for us a rich and meaningful relationship and will take all necessary action to get there. Nemo's father would not have given up seeking his precious child...our Heavenly Father will not either. God sometimes provides for us BIG, bold street signs that light up in neon colors and other times, He whispers by softly and without fanfare. As with any relationship, the more carefully we abide, the easier it is for us to read the signs and respect the need for our Father to remain quiet or even silent as He works.
"My sheep, listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." John 10:27
This is the beginning of our journey together. Seeking Him, finding Him...the ongoing pursuit of knowing ourselves and acknowledging our need for grace, unveiling our souls and our countenance that we would see over time, or on a daily basis the signs of gigantic proportions or hear the whispers of tranquility that come from only our God, the Father. My name is Heather. I am new to Titus 2 in Action, and a new creation in Him, each day when I seek to find my Heavenly Father and act in ways that are pleasing to Him. In my own journey, I stumble and fall, and rely on Him to set my path straight. God has blessed my life richly with a wonderful husband and two beautiful children. I am overjoyed to be here and look forward to Finding Him alongside all of you.
"Oh God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints for you as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name, I will lift up my hands." Psalm 63:1-4
Friday, July 23, 2010
Tim and I have been married for 17 1/2 years. Not too bad in a society where 50 to 60% of all marriages end in divorce. The startling thing about that statistic is this: The ratio is the same among Christians and non-Christians!
Doesn't that make you stop and wonder what is happening to our marriages?!?
Think back for a minute to how you two met...
For most of us there was a period of dating before falling in love and then deciding to get married. But once married, many couples seem to stop dating. Why?
Part of staying happily married has to do with spending time together. We need to fight so we don't lose that enchantment we once had in our partners.
Over the next few months, I'm going to blog every other Friday on dating ideas. I think every marriage needs to be spiced up - so why not start dating your mate again? It should add a little pizazz back into the mix.
Here's date #1
Get a travel guidebook for your city (check your local library or bookstore). Visit attractions that are off the beaten path (or that you have never seen). A guidebook may also contain self-guided walking tours that are fun and interesting. Or get a guidebook for a nearby city and make a day trip there. Plan to grab lunch at an outdoor cafe before you leave. (You could spice it up by renting a scooter or look for a Segway rental and guided tour.) Most importantly, HAVE FUN!
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
John 21:7a Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!"
Having lost my own husband to cancer, I wanted to be there to support the family.
In God the Father's eyes, each of us is His 'favored' child as well.
John, the Beloved disciple, knew he was loved by Jesus and he told anyone and everyone - just like Ray's kids did! And like John, the Beloved, they believed it too!
In our society we've been taught to never play 'favorites' with our children or grandchildren. But after hearing that family's testimony from another perspective, I'm going to consider this carefully and put into action that same kind of 'favored love' toward my children and grandchildren that our heavenly Father lavishes on us.
How about you? Will you play 'favorites', giving each one your 'favored love'?
Monday, July 19, 2010
How does an umpire establish his authority? From the very beginning the umpire’s authority is established by his equipment: he wears a uniform that sets him apart from everyone else, he has protective gear, such as a face mask, a brush for the plate and a counter to record statistics by each inning. An umpire’s authority is further established by his demeanor on the field. He does not have to walk out onto the field barking orders. He can walk out straight and confident, and everyone picks up on the fact that this man is in charge of the game.
I have seen umpires behave beneath the dignity of their position. I’ve seen umpires lose control, erupt in anger and get in arguments with fans and yell at coaches, "Shut your mouth!" Such umpires are trying to impose an authoritarian flavor on their role, but they are not winning the respect or confidence of the players, coaches or fans.
In the same way, parents can act in anger and assert an authoritarian posture. They can threaten, holler, and, when they totally lose self-control, beat their kids (as distinguished from spanking). These parent may force certain behavior at a specific time, but they are not securing the confidence and respect of their children. A consequence of this is that they are not planting their values and ethics in the child. Only when their values and ethics become a part of the fabric of the child will those values and ethics guide the child in his or her life.
As parents, we want our children to respect us and to obey our voice. When they are young that means we want them to clean their rooms, not jump on the sofa, pet the dog gently, not throw temper tantrums, stay out of the road. When they are older, respecting our authority means they will not engage in dangerous behavior (e.g., drinking), will date someone who reflects the family’s ethics, will go to college and eventually get a job. We can’t force those behaviors over the long haul. All we can do is train and discipline consistently over time, with authority, and allow this kind of character and ethic to be planted, take root, and grow within them. It is the action of a secure parent that produces this kind of long term goal, not the anger of a parent who is insecure in his or her position, or is too permissive, and whose temper erupts when the child has disobeyed.
"Anger does not influence behavior unless it implies that something irritating is about to happen. By contrast, disciplinary action does cause behavior to change. ... How much better is it to use action to achieve the desired behavior and avoid the emotional outburst." ( The New Strong-Willed Child, pp.78&80).
It is a constant, ongoing challenge of parenting to balance love and control, to discipline with consistency, and to act out of commitment to firm action and not anger. Perhaps we can learn something from the umpire who carries himself with assurance and authority that, indeed, he is in charge of this game, and because of that, he can conduct his business with confidence and decisiveness. Sure makes the game go more smoothly when the umpire knows his position and handles it with dignity!
Friday, July 16, 2010
Through 18 years of marriage, each summer Jim and I have take vacation time together each summer, even if that meant having a "stay-cation". Whether staying home or going away, it is refreshing to have vacation time.
Our family was blessed to go away on vacation a few weeks ago. In the excitement and busyness of preparing for a vacation, I was mindful that we were also quietly building expectations in our minds about the trip. What do I want to do? How do I want to spend my time? What am I looking forward to most?
Often, our expectations and desires remain unspoken. We have our own personal agenda in our minds and we go forward without discussing them with our spouse. This can meet with frustration, conflict and disappointment.
Before our vacation, I was reminded to ask Jim: "What are your desires for our time away? How would you like to spend your time? Is there something you are looking forward to the most so I can help preserve plenty of time for that? Where would you like to eat? Do you want to sleep in some days or get up early? What means the most to you for our vacation?"
Rather than just having our own agendas, we should discuss our hopes, desires and expectations and not keep them quiet. Talking about them and selflessly giving way to be sure each other's expectations are met is a beautiful way to demonstrate our love and respect.
Wisdom in communicating is a daily responsibility, not just a vacation courtesy. On weekends, I don't want to prepare a "Honey Do" list if I haven't asked Jim what he is hoping to accomplish over a weekend. Daily, I want to remember to ask "Is there anything I can do for you today? How can I pray for you while you are at work?" What are you hoping to accomplish?
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition....consider others better than yourself....look to the interests of others." What are my spouse's interests and what is in his/her best interest? Even in the seemingly small things of daily life, we must open the lines of communication about expectations and desires with our spouse. Looking to their interests is a life-giving and selfless outpouring of your love.
Whether making big decisions or showing courtesy for vacation agendas, God's truth of doing nothing out of selfish ambition and looking to the interest of others brings forth fruit and peace in our hearts and lives. And on vacation...maybe some unexpected fun and extra-special memories together!
"For where you have...selfish ambition, there you find disorder..."
"Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain."
We loving hearing from our readers! Leave a comment and let us know if you are having a stay-cation and relaxing at home or if you are going away this summer! We'd love to hear from you!
Monday, July 12, 2010
My summer has been great - but busy! We've spent a large chunk of time swimming at the pool, the beach, and even hanging out at the mall. We've had play dates with friends, and birthday parties to attend.
Summer is the season for vacations, right? Sure it is! It could also be the perfect opportunity to help your kids step out of their comfort zones and share about Jesus while they're playing.
We've spent some time talking with our kids about the importance of sharing God's love with others. They are getting the same teaching from our church.
Boldness - that's really what we are trying to teach them. So how do you teach something like that? Especially if you have a fairly shy child?
Well, here are some examples we've been using:
First, we let our kids go into a small market (like a gas station or 7-11) and buy some gum - without mom or dad. We just give them the money and tell them to handle it themselves.
Another boldness builder is to have your kids ask a clerk for the location of a specific item in the grocery store (being sure to respond politely).
Next, have them invite other kids to join them in an organized game at the pool or park.
I've also spent time giving my kids one-liners to use when they first meet a new potential friend.(I've seen my 4 year old use these lines - you never know who's listening!)
These kinds of things don't come naturally to every personality type. However, we need to learn how to be comfortable talking with others in order to fulfill the Great Commission.
The next step is to have them share about Jesus in some way. Take this opportunity to let your kids come up with sample ideas. (One example is to have your child take an extra popsicle to another kid at the pool and just say, "I just wanted to tell you that Jesus loves YOU." Then they just walk away.) It's a fun way to prepare them to do God's work.
Oh, be prepared, because the best way to lead is by example!
"Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever." 1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV emphasis mine)
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Genesis 10:7-9 (NIV)
7 The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah and Sabteca.
The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan.
8 Cush was the father of Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; that is why it is said, "Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the LORD."
11 The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon,
How do you speak that life of faith into your children and grandchildren now? Even if you are not a parent - you can and will speak something into the life of another and most likely a child. We all have the ability [from God] to see these precious little ones as God's Mighty Warriors in the kingdom of God.
Then came Ethan... then Jyden [which means Jehovah-Jireh [the Lord will provide]... and then Tessa Hope [our only girl]. God extended Bob's life for 124 days [in a miracle of events] in which he was able to see and hold these last two [of five] who were born before his home going to heaven.
Father God ~ You are Sovereign over all creation. I pray today for those reading this post - that they will find HOPE here ~ they will find JOY in You ~ they will find the Word of TRUTH here ~ they will find Your kingdom purpose in raising families that will bring You glory. Lord, bring all of our precious offspring and ourselves as well ~ in line with being Mighty Warriors in this kingdom age ~ as we live out our journey connecting and encouraging one another along the way. For this we give You Praise and Glory due Your Name! Amen and Amen!
Monday, July 5, 2010
We left camp the next day and drove through the park again on our way to Cody, Wyoming for the July 4th parade. We got to visit with numerous old friends from the time we lived there. Then, journeyed on to Cheyenne, WY where we got to hear Wes (my son) preach Sunday morning.
Be open for a special moment God may open up for you and one of your children this week.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Call it pride, but I was hiding the cover of the book I am currently reading. Why? I didn't want people to come to conclusions not founded in fact, or to make assumptions based on my book selection, or to misjudge me by the cover of the book. The title of the book does not apply to me, by the grace of God. I love and respect my husband intrinsically. I revere my God and His Word. I don't plan on making any stupid mistakes. Yet I am flesh, and I am sure now-author Lyndell Hetrick Holtz never thought the title of her own book would apply to her.
For months, I saw this book advertised. The title "Confessions of an Adulterous Christian Woman" grabbed my attention and gave me immediate respect for the author who was willing to transparently share her own story. The subtitle "Lies That Got Me There; Truths That Brought Me Back" made me hungry for wisdom. After weeks of hesitating to order the book, wisdom called for me to take heed. Wisdom won over my pride. I need to be equipped.
turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,
and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.
For the LORD gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds victory in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones.
Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.
For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it." Matthew 7:13 I want to stay on His narrow path that leads to life. We are all just one foolish decision away from destruction. One misstep off of the narrow road can bring death. My heart wants to "understand what is right and just and fair--every good path." I want discretion to protect my family and understanding to guard us.
I am still working my way through the book, but I want to share a snippet with you from Lyndell Hetrick Holtz's introduction to her book:
"My purpose is telling my story is twofold. First, to serve as a warning. Adultery brings enormous loss and untold pain. Second, I tell my story to hold out hope to you as I left up the One who is able to redeem, restore and rebuild broken lives. The story of my descent is not easy to tell, but I rejoice in telling of His power and redeeming love that transformed a broken and ruined life. Today I can only marvel at the power that took me from utter despair to the relentless devotion of Jesus Christ. I hope you will be touched by His power in this story of grace."
Be aware of warning signs. Cease any compromise. Weed out sinful thoughts. Devote yourself to the Redeemer. Soak in God's truths. Yield yourself to the Way, the Truth and the Life. Stay on the narrow road that leads to life.
Do you want to be aware of the lies that got Lyndell into adultery? And the wonderful, redeeming truths that brought her back to God, to life and to her husband? Read this real-life testimony. You can order it by clicking HERE. Tell them Sharon sent you. And I promise not to come to conclusions, make assumptions or misjudge you based on the title of this book you are reading. (smile)