Quote for the Day: Psalm 63:8, "My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me."

Monday, June 25, 2012

Bob Carlisle “Getting Stronger"

 
I heard Bob Carlisle’s song, “Getting Stronger” the other day and have had this blog on my mind since then (website and lyrics below).  I thought of how the enemy lies to Christians saying because of their mistakes or weaknesses people will never see them as strong Christians.  The other lie he tells us is  you cannot be used because you don’t have it “all together”.  Whatever that means. 

I am here to declare…if you are on your knees (as the song lyrics say) and in God’s Word,  you are getting stronger, because the Lord is making you stronger – in Him, not in yourself.  

Maybe last month, or even yesterday, you didn’t feel strong. Maybe you gave in to discouragement, depression, or self-pity, or even sin. Don’t let the enemy tell you you are a failure.  Today is a new day. Ask for forgiveness for lack of faith and ask the Lord to increase your faith today.  Don’t allow guilt to keep you from the progress the Lord is making in your life.

Read Hebrews chapter 11.  It is one of the most encouraging chapters in the Bible on how to get stronger…by faith.
By Faith They Overcame
Hebrews 11:30-34
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. 31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.
32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

I know the Lord is changing me every day.  I believed it first even when I didn’t feel it, now I can feel it.  I can feel the strength and the change.  Not in strength in myself, but faith in His strength.

(This is the YouTube website to cut and paste into your browser).


GETTING STRONGER by Bob Carlisle
I used to lay awake at night
Wondering was I wrong or right
I was a prisoner of my fear
Only you

I was a kind of man who'd build a wall
And be the biggest fool of them all
Had a hard time letting go
Till I was broken

Look me in the eyes
Tell me what you see
I'm not the same man
That I used to be

If you see me on my knees
It's not because I'm weak
I'm getting stronger
If you see me start to cry
You'll know the reason why
I'm getting stronger

Well I find myself face to face
In the presence of amazing grace
And I it's all I ever wanted to be
Only you

Look me in the heart
Tell me what you see
I'm not the same man
That I used to be

If you see me on my knees
It's not because I'm weak
I'm getting stronger
If you see me start to cry
You'll know the reason why
I'm getting stronger

Another song by Bob Carlisle is also a powerful encouragement is “We Fall Down”.  The YouTube I have below is very moving.  Just cut and paste it into your browser.


Getting stronger with my sisters in the Lord!
Blessings,   Pat

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Songs of Victory

In the New King James Version, verse 7 of Psalm 32 reads,
“You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance”.

The Living Psalms version reads,
“You are my hiding place from every storm of life;
You even keep me from getting into trouble!
You surround me with songs of victory”.

Psalm 50:6 in the Living Psalms reads,
“Call upon Me in the day of trouble
and I will deliver you.
You shall glorify Me”.

I’ve heard my husband (who is a pastor) on more occasions than one say, “I’m not hearing your faith”.  Or, “Where is your faith in this situation?”. He has even said that to me at times when I let the situation become bigger than it should be.

Some of you know the story of the “Giant” in my life. I had allowed a situation over the years to become a giant, just like the one in the Old Testament story 1 Samuel 17 of David and Goliath.  Remember it?  The Israelites were so afraid of Goliath, a Philistine.  Goliath was 9 feet 9 inches tall. His coat alone weighed 126 pounds.  Quite intimidating!

But…David was not afraid. He had confidence in the Lord.  Some of his quotes are:
“Let no man’s heart fail because of him (Goliath);
your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”
and
“You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. 
But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts,
the God of the armies of Israel, who you have defied. 
This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand…” 
(Read the rest of the story.)

David spoke his faith in God. He didn’t go around mulling over the problem. I allowed this giant to overwhelm me. When the Lord showed me this about my giant, He said, “When you  did that, you diminished my power over the situation”.  That was over a year ago. And now, when I see that giant coming and taunting me, the Lord brings the story to my mind again.  That is when my faith speaks, “In the name of Jesus, I command you to shut up.” 

2 Corinthians 10:5 says we need to “cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…”
The enemy throws arguments at us and exalts the problem above God.  That is what we need to take authority over.  That is the Goliath we need to slay.  We don’t slay people, we slay the enemy.

Ephesians 6:12
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Sometimes I think we focus and talk about the problem more than we talk about our faith in the God of solutions.  I know I have.  But, the Lord wants to change the way we think and talk. This is one of my “R”s, Renew our mind.

He wants us to thank God for the solution, not just pray the problem over and over again.

I read somewhere the other day that said, we need to go to the Bible and find out what the Lord says about whatever situation we are going through.  Then, pray His Word, which is His will and then we will have the confidence that He hears us.  Then we can thank Him for the solution.

So many Christians just don’t live in victory. We continually struggle with the same problems year after year with no song of deliverance in sight.  I know I have been one of those in the past. I’m still bringing down some of them. However, the struggles don’t last as long any more because I found the lyrics to the song, you might say – The Word of God.

Sing the song of Deliverance.  Our God is able!  

Blessings,  Pat

Friday, June 15, 2012

In 31 Days?! . . . Yup!

Why is it that we can read a novel of over 350 pages in one week, yet, cannot read 11-15 pages of the Bible in one day?

I did some calculating.  I took a Bible that didn’t have any study notes, or references, just the Word and found the number of pages the New Testament had in it.  There were 315 pages of that particular Bible.  I wondered what it would take to read the entire New Testament in the month of July and divided 315 by 31 days in July.  That works out to be approximately 11 – 15 pages a day – to read the whole New Testament.  Why isn’t that do-able?  I know I read that many pages of something every day…why not the Bible.

Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”.

How would our lives change if we read through the New Testament in one month?

Sometimes I think we dismiss the regular reading of the Bible because it seems so “BIG”.  But, think about it, isn’t that what satan wants you to think?  Don’t you think satan has something to do with discouraging us from reading just God’s Word?  What a challenge!

What if all of Christians decided to read through the New Testament in July?

Would you like to take the challenge?
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We have a couple of weeks to get into the frame of mind we need to do it. Pray about it.  Ask the Lord to help you be able to do it. To make time in the morning, or at night.  To take a lunch break and read.  Break it up into three times a day if you need to. 

The goal isn’t just to get through it.  The goal is to get closer to the Lord.  He is the Word.

I can guarantee, when you first start, there will be some opposition from the enemy, but persevere, and eventually, the distractions won’t be as many.  God will honor your effort and your persistence. 

We need to promise ourselves, and the Lord, not to get bogged down in some of the “boring” parts, but just read through them just as we would to get through the first chapters of a novel, to get to the good parts. Why is it such a stumbling block to us?

Take a Bible with no study notes, no references and see how many pages are in the New Testament. Divide the pages by 31 and see how many pages you need to read to get through it.  Remember, it varies with the size of print, etc. But find a Bible that has normal print and no notes.  It is smaller than you think. (We are so used to Bibles that have a lot of information in them and the Bibles are huge.)
 
I am taking up the challenge. I know it seems scary.  But what is the worst that can happen?  We just won’t get through it.  But that is okay.  At least we would have started reading the Bible through and every Word you read will be going into your spirit to renew your mind and lives.

Blessings,  Pat

I know some of you are mom’s of little ones and just don’t have the time or energy to do this, but if you read for pleasure, give that time to the Lord in July. See what He will do! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Freedom

One of the things I have struggled with for so long is, “Am I doing enough?”.  When I look at other women, they seem to have their act together.  They either have jobs and are professional looking. Or, if there are stay-at-home moms, their houses are beautiful, in side and outside.  They have routines they follow and seem disciplined.  They are groomed down to the toenails.  They, like I said, look like they have their act together. 

Then there is me, whose life is in no way routine. I get things done, and I like a clean house, but at times it just gets away from me. Then I beat myself up about it.  Is it because of the lack of routine?  Am I not disciplined enough.  Am I not doing the right things.  But every day is different and no matter how I plan how I want the next day to go, it never works out. Something always pulls me in a different direction.  Does anybody else feel that way? 

I had an aunt who I really looked up to when I was a little girl.  In her twenties, she was a model and she looked the part.  Her hair and nails and clothes were always perfect. She and her husband lived in a nice house where everything was immaculate.  Nothing was out of place. 

I know she loved me and loved me visiting her, but when I did, I was afraid to touch anything.  But I really thought she was everything I wanted to be. I wanted a perfect body, a perfect look, a perfect house.

Then I got married, had children and lost contact with her for many years.  One day I got a call from her saying she and her family were moving to the same city as we lived.  I thought that was great since I didn’t have any family around. 

After they moved to town, we visited on a regular basis.  That is when my eyes were opened and it changed my outlook on life.  She was a routine fanatic.  Everything was done with precision at a certain time and a certain way.  She had certain meals every week. There was never a mess around anywhere.  It was almost military like. And they were not a happy family. 

That is when I said I never wanted to be so rigid about my house or routines that I was not available to the Lord or people.  I know He can use routine and does.  He is a God of order.  But, the routine sometimes becomes the god and everything and everybody else has to work around it. There has got to be a balance.

So many times my house is messy, not dirty, just lived in and it embarrasses me to have people over because when I go to their homes they are always so perfect.

I remember times, and it has not been that long ago, when women had a neighbor over and folded clothes at the table while they were visiting.  Or, they sat together to string beans, or shuck corn or darn socks. If you didn’t have much money, they made due. So many were in the same boat. that it was not embarrassing to make ends meet, or say they couldn’t do something because they didn’t have the money. They were much more relaxed with each other and their life situations than we are today.  They lived and worked together without pretense. They didn’t try to “keep up with the Jones” as much as we do today.

I hear so many people in today's economy who feel "less than".  They feel embarrassed about not having a job, or losing their homes, or not have enough money for food.   And at times they are told they are less than. They have done nothing to be in this situation.  They have not been fortunate enough to start a job out of college and stay with that job until retirement, which makes consistency and that helps plan for a very comfortable retirement.  Those days are gone and have been for decades. 

What has changed us?  Why are we so ashamed and hiding our real situations? When did we start feeling less than others who have "it all together"?  Was it Leave it to Beaver’s mother who wore a dress and heels and had a perfect house, and hair, perfect family?  ( I am telling my age now.) Or, is it just TV, where everything is not real, but looks great?! Or, is it the fa├žade we put on with each other. 

I don’t know, but it would be nice to be able to have someone drop by and see my mess and be okay about it. I’m sure they are okay, I’m just not.

I always accomplish a lot, but normally, it is relational not housework. I keep the dishes up, laundry done and cook, but I spend a lot of time talking to my adult children and daughter-in-law on the phone (and I am not a multi-tasker on the phone.  I need to sit still so I can concentrate on what they are saying.) I pray with people, spend time with the Lord, study the Bible, be with my husband, email, blog, do our finances.

Why is it that at the end of the day, I don’t feel like what I have done measures up to what other people do?  Or, what their idea is of what I should be doing?

Some women get up immediately and get the house done, or exercise before they do anything else. And that works for them and they have a close relationship with the Lord. 

As much as I think my house would be neater, or I would be more fit if I got out of bed and did that, I just can’t.  I have to have time with the Lord before anything else, first thing. (I do make my bed as soon as I get out of it because I can’t stand not having it made.) It works differently for others, but it just doesn’t work for me.

I think our goal is to just be okay with a clean, but messy house.  To be okay with what the Lord calls us, individually, to do. Not to be concerned with what other people think is “proper”.  And not to be moved by what other people say. We can strive to improve in some things as the Lord convicts, but if we are doing what the Lord and our husbands need us to do, isn’t that enough?

Galatians 5:1
[ Freedom in Christ ] It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Gracie

Gonna be gone for a few days.  Our little Gracie isn't doing very well.  She developed pnemonia and they suspect her airways are not doing their job.  So, I am going down to be with her and support the family. 

Blessings,  Pat

Monday, June 4, 2012

Pilgrim’s Progress

Author: Bunyan, John (1628-1688)

Description: Pilgrim's Progress is a great work of Christian literature. Originally composed in the 17th century, this spiritual allegory has entertained and delighted innumerous readers for over 300 years. Part I tells of "Christian" and his journey to "Celestial City;" Part II tells of the journey of Christian's wife Christiana and their children to Celestial City. The two parts work together as a unified whole, which describes and depicts the believer's life and struggles. Pilgrim's Progress does not simply instruct readers with spiritual allegories; it entertains them as well, through Bunyan's creative story telling. Enjoyable and spiritually instructive, Pilgrim's Progress is highly recommended.

I can count the number of fiction’s I have read on two hands, over my lifetime, until this year.  I don't have anything against fiction, it's just I have always felt such an urgency to read the non-fiction Christian books.  Books on Prayer, the Holy Spirit, Believing God, Healing, etc.  My library if full of them. However, this year, I have given myself permission to read for pleasure, again only by Christian authors.

At the moment I am reading an old classic, Pilgrim’s Progress, a book I noticed when I was young, but just wasn’t interested in reading. What is intriguing me now I don’t know, but I was drawn to the "old books" in the church library and found it.  I encourage you to read it if you have some time this summer.  The type of writing is different and takes a little time (which is good for our brains), but it really makes you think. It also has lots of biblical references to look up later throughout the text.

In just the first two chapters, some of the character’s names are: Christian, Obstinate, Pliable, Worldly Wiseman, Legality, Civility, Help, Goodwill and Interpreter.

Some of the places are: City of Destruction, Sloth of Despond, Carnal Policy, Morality and The Gate
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It is an allegory of the journey of a Christian to eternity.  You can download the entire book, FREE, by going to the website: Christian Classics Ethereal Library which is public domain. 

Their website is: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/bunyan/pilgrim.html.

Check it out!  Hope you enjoy! 

Blessings,  Pat

Friday, June 1, 2012

Hands of Hope

Several years ago we had an idea or may be it was more of a question.  Would women want to gather together, share a cup of coffee, chat while working on their knitting, crocheting or other handwork? 

It was worth a try, so through the Women’s Fellowship Ministry clip_image002[27]Newsletter we sent out an invitation to come join us on Wednesday mornings for a time of fellowship.  That first morning was the beginnings of Hands Of Hope

We saw it as just a time to be around other women, sharing interests and having good conversation.  However, our God saw it differently, He saw what it could be and what these ladies could accomplish. 

In the first month of it’s existence, Hands Of Hope became an outreach ministry as we learned of the needs in our community.  We were overwhelmed with what we could do, starting out by giving hats to the children in a local school for their backpack buddies.  Since then we have been able to give away more hats, mittens, sDSCN1173carves, slippers, prayer shawls, baby items and much more.

Items have been given outside our local community, sent to other states and even other countries. All because of the faithfulness and hard work of the ladies in HOH, our church and surrounding areas.

It iDSCN1176s amazing what the Lord can do with willing hands, donated yarn and a servant’s heart.  He took an idea and turned it into a ministry!

Through His leading we added a time of sharing prayer requests, with prayer and Bible study to our mornings. Not only have we been able to minister to others in these past few years but we have grown in our relationship with Christ Jesus and each other.

When God puts an idea in your heart, be obedient, take a step and go for it.  It  might fly or in the case of Hands Of Hope, it might soar!
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Joann