Saturday, December 8

This Grace In Which We Now Stand

I'm currently working through a study of Romans and WOW - what an amazing book! In my last post I shared how encouraging it is to me that joy can stand independent of circumstance and I think the verses below highlight why. We stand in grace, and even our sufferings can serve to enrich our lives spiritually. It's in the midst of our trials that verses like Romans 8:28 become more than just a memory verse. They become life and breath and everything!

Romans 4:25-5:1-5 (NIV)
4:25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Sunday, November 11

Inexpressible & Glorious Joy

This week I've spent a lot of time soaking in the wonder of a joyful spirit. What amazes me about true joy is how it stands independent of circumstance. It's equally available to our souls both on good days and bad. I love that. Praise be to the One who fills my heart with endless joy!

1 Peter 1:3-9 (NIV)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Thursday, October 4

Politics and Prayer

We watched part of the debate last night and at one point, as I watched Governor Romney watch President Obama, I was struck by how stressful and awkward it would be to be in his shoes. Knowing that cameras and countless eyes were watching my every move – every single micro-expression of my demeanor on display. Not to mention having all ears on me as I discussed and debated all manner of political strategies, aspirations, and solutions. Talk about pressure! I know political leaders are often a target for ridicule, but in reality, how many of us could truly take on their jobs? Would we even want to? I for one know that I couldn’t and wouldn’t, and therefore I’m thankful for those who choose to do so. And I was deeply convicted to pray for them last night.

Often when I think about the scriptures that exhort us to pray for our leaders, I tend to think about praying about the outcome of upcoming elections. But less often do I remember to pray for something far more important – for the salvation of those holding public office. And certainly I rarely think to pray for them as fellow human beings, men and women with families, hopes, and dreams just like me. Because at the end of the day regardless of our political inclinations, we are all souls in need of salvation and people in need of compassion.

1 Timothy 2:1-6 (ESV)
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

Thursday, September 20

Almost Autumn

A couple of years ago, I jotted down the following to try to somehow paint with words the joy I felt radiating from within my soul as I spent a lovely afternoon outdoors - "Embraced in the lavish splendor of autumn I am convinced beyond all doubt of the existence of a magnificent and infinite Creator." 

It's almost Autumn here in tranquil North Carolina, and we're already reveling in the clean crisp breezes that sing of tender toes traipsing about the lawn and hearts open wide as we behold the bountiful beauty of creation.  And it's these musings dear readers, that give shape to the core convictions behind my little blog. Let us look about this wide world in blissful wonder while meditating on His life-giving Truth. Grace and peace!

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Colossians 4:2 (NIV)

Thursday, August 30

In our time of need

On Monday I read this devotional on Our Daily Bread: The New Normal, and it really struck a cord. As time passes by I have seen more and more loved ones learning to adapt to their new normal - a dear friend with a recently diagnosed chronic illness, another whose sweet child has been diagnosed with a serious condition, and many others dealing with traumatic changes and the loss of what once was and will never be again.

In our home we're no strangers to the challenge of conforming to a new normal. It can sometimes be an exhausting and lonely road as time seems to callously race ahead. What a comfort to know we have a great high priest to help us in our time of need. And as we lean on His strength to sustain us and His wisdom to guide us, let us devote ourselves to pray for one another. In addition to faithful prayer, I believe it is a great kindness to remember that behind many a surface smile there is often another story. If you know someone who is grappling with upheaval in their life, support them with your loving patience and a listening heart as they tread uncharted ground.

Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV) emphasis mine
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV)
9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
10 If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Saturday, July 7

Sammy Tippit's posts on the "Sinner's Prayer"

One of my favorite Christian authors is Sammy Tippit. His life and words have challenged me to examine my faith to ensure I'm not running the race in vain. He has a knack for stating great truths humbly and simply. His style reminds me a bit of Dr. J. Vernon McGee (another of my beloved authors/teachers). The first book I read by him was God's Secret Agent, and I highly recommend grabbing a copy as it's an excellent introduction to the man behind the ministry. His most recently published book, The Race is another fascinating read, and makes a great followup to God's Secret Agent.

Currently I'm reading through The Prayer Factor, and I plan to blog more about it in a future post. It's been a convicting and yet inspirational read thus far. I love it when an author is able guide me into introspection that allows me to see areas for improvement without out leaving me crushed in discouragement. This evening I read two recent blog posts by Mr. Tippit, and they were too good not to share with you dear readers. I hope they bless your heart as they did mine:

  1. The sinner’s prayer - a controversy | Sammy Tippit Blog - Sammy Tippit Ministries
  1. The Sinner’s Prayer and Making Disciples | Sammy Tippit Blog - Sammy Tippit Ministries


Saturday, June 30

A Quiet(er) Life

There's been quite a bit of shouting going on lately. It's an election year, so of course that factors in, but that's just part of it. There's also been a lot of shouting matches going on in the family of faith. Whenever I'm tempted to get caught up in the latest argument of what we and everyone else could or should be doing bigger, better or differently, several passages usually come to mind and I'm convicted to set pride to the side and choose love. And most of the time (and often to my chagrin), love means minding my own business. The world will know us not because of the perfection of our deeds or rhetoric. They will know us by seeing us love our fellow believers like Christ loved us. 

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 (NIV)
9 Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. 

2 Timothy 2:22-23 (NIV)
22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 

John 13:34-35 
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Pineapple Guava

Tuesday, May 22

Let us not become weary

Japanese Iris

As I fall into the repetitive routine of the day to day, I can sometimes grow weary. Shouldn't pursuing what is right and good be easy? In God's strength yes, but in my own strength no. I am very thankful Paul laid his own struggle bare in Romans 7. It's an encouraging reminder that I have no power apart from the Holy Spirit who lives within me. Indeed thanks be to God who graciously delivers us through Jesus and mightily empowers us through the Holy Spirit! 

Romans 7:21-25 (NIV) 
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Galatians 6:7-10 (NIV) 
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. 

Monday, April 30

He will establish your plans

Have you ever had a big decision looming over you? Something that kept you constantly on your knees in prayer seeking wisdom, discernment, and Truth? I love to read Proverbs 16 when I'm in that situation. I don't want to be led by ways that seem pure to me but that may not be. It's comforting to know I can lay down the burden of decisions in prayer and rely on Him to sort out my motives, to align the desires of my heart with His sovereign will. His generosity in giving us wisdom through His Word is truly without limit; praise the Lord!

Proverbs 16:1-9 (NIV)
1 To humans belong the plans of the heart,
    but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.
All a person’s ways seem pure to them,
    but motives are weighed by the Lord.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    and he will establish your plans.
The Lord works out everything to its proper end —
    even the wicked for a day of disaster.
The Lord detests all the proud of heart.
    Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.
Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for;
    through the fear of the Lord evil is avoided.
When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way,
    he causes their enemies to make peace with them.
Better a little with righteousness
    than much gain with injustice.
In their hearts humans plan their course,
    but the Lord establishes their steps.

 Proverbs 16:16-33 (NIV)
16 How much better to get wisdom than gold,
    to get insight rather than silver!
17 The highway of the upright avoids evil;
    those who guard their ways preserve their lives.
18 Pride goes before destruction,
    a haughty spirit before a fall.
19 Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed
    than to share plunder with the proud.
20 Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers,
    and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.
21 The wise in heart are called discerning,
    and gracious words promote instruction.
22 Prudence is a fountain of life to the prudent,
    but folly brings punishment to fools.
23 The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent,
    and their lips promote instruction.
24 Gracious words are a honeycomb,
    sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
25 There is a way that appears to be right,
    but in the end it leads to death.
26 The appetite of laborers works for them;
    their hunger drives them on.
27 A scoundrel plots evil,
    and on their lips it is like a scorching fire.
28 A perverse person stirs up conflict,
    and a gossip separates close friends.
29 A violent person entices their neighbor
    and leads them down a path that is not good.
30 Whoever winks with their eye is plotting perversity;
    whoever purses their lips is bent on evil.
31 Gray hair is a crown of splendor;
    it is attained in the way of righteousness.
32 Better a patient person than a warrior,
    one with self-control than one who takes a city.
33 The lot is cast into the lap,
    but its every decision is from the Lord

Friday, April 27

Strong, Firm and Steadfast

1 Peter 5:5-11 (NIV)

5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

I love verse 10 - that God will restore us, and make us strong, firm, and steadfast; things we could never achieve without Him. But through the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit these fruits can be ours. Amen to that indeed!

Wednesday, April 18

See how the flowers of the field grow

A mild winter has yielded May flowers before April showers could even make an appearance and  we've been enjoying the graceful iris blooms in our backyard. Spring's beauty provides a multitude of opportunities to reflect on the bountiful provision of our Creator.  Grace & peace dear friends!

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  -Matthew 6:28-34 (NIV)

Saturday, March 31

He Gently Leads

As a mother, I'm not sure how the end of Isaiah 40:11 has escaped my notice in past readings, but it really seemed to jump out at me this time. As a mother of two little ones, I love the thought of being gently led, especially at the end of a long week.

Isaiah 40:11 (NIV)
He tends his flock like a shepherd: 
He gathers the lambs in his arms 
and carries them close to his heart; 
he gently leads those that have young. 

Thursday, March 1

Those In Prison

Hebrews 13:3 (NIV)
Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

Several practical opportunities to live out this scripture can be found at
Christian Solidarity Worldwide. Here is a link to their Take Action page: CSW Take Action. You can send letters of encouragement to those who have been imprisoned for their faith and you can also petition embassies and government officials on their behalf. It only takes a few minutes to make a difference. If you sign up for their e-newsletter you'll receive prayer reminders and action updates.

Tuesday, February 21

As the rain...

Isaiah 55:10-11 (NIV)
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Monday, January 30

Stand Firm Then

Ephesians 6:10-17 (NIV)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.