December 2, 2007

LEARNING TO FOLLOW

Posted in DEVOTIONS, THOUGHTS tagged , , , , , at 6:51 pm by graceabounds

I have often heard that sheep are extremely dumb. I can speak for myself and say I have made some really dumb mistakes.  Just as sheep look towards the shepherd for protection, nourishment, and guidance we should also keep our eyes fixed on the good shepherd. Psalm 23 is a beautiful Psalm which teaches us the benefits of following a shepherd.

Psalm 23 

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

This is symbolic of the Christian walk.  Isn’t it comforting to know we don’t have to worry, want, and struggle?  If the Lord is your shepherd you will not want.  If your eyes are focused on Him you will have everything you need. However, nowhere does it say life will be easy. But we are told that we can rest in Him.  The world is a tough place and life gets hard but we can always find rest in God. 

Look again at verse four.   Hard times will come, but we don’t have to fear; He will comfort us.  Charles H. Spurgeon says in the Treasury of David this, “…it is not “the valley of death,” but “the valley of the shadow of death,” for death in its substance has been removed, and only the shadow of it remains.  Some one has said that when there is a shadow there must be light somewhere, and so there is.  Death stands by the side of the highway in which we have to travel, and the light of heaven shining upon him throws a shadow across our path; let us then rejoice that there is light beyond.  Nobody is afraid of a shadow, for a shadow cannot stop a man’s pathway even for a moment.  The shadow of a dog cannot bite; the shadow of a sword cannot kill; the shadow of death cannot destroy us.”[1]   Jesus, our Savior, not only came to save us from sin, but from the effects of sin.  As you know, our world is at times cruel, hard, and painful to bear.  These are the effects of sin.  We have great news!   

Luke 4:18“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 

Despite everything, we have Him to bring our hurts, sadness, weariness, depression, broken lives, crushed dreams, and struggles.

Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”  That sounds like me at times.  I am often in need of healing.  Right now, you can allow Him to heal you emotionally. Is there any pain that you are holding on to? Or do you feel your problems are too big or small for God? Now is a great time to turn them over to Him.  He is waiting to hear from us and to begin to work afresh and anew in your life- we must turn it over to Him.


[1] Charles H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, Volume I p. 355

December 1, 2007

A LOST WORLD

Posted in DEVOTIONS, missions, THOUGHTS tagged , , , , , , , , at 8:32 pm by graceabounds

It amazes me at how comfortable we as Christians get in our everyday lives. We do our daily routine and take care of the necessities. Some of us even read our Bible daily and live out our faith. Yet, there is one major issue we are missing! What could be missing? Ah, the most important thing after loving and following God is loving others. We all in our prideful states become puffed up and say I love people. We begin to justify how we love others and how we have held our tongue instead of giving them the piece of our mind we wanted to. We as Christians are content to love people at a distance. Yet, I know that myself and many other Christians are missing the mark!

Do we really love others? When is the last time you actually shared with someone your faith? When is the last time you supported a missionary on the field struggling to accomplish the great commission? When is the last time you thought if I don’t share with this personwhat Christ has done and tell them how to be saved they will spend ETERNITY IN HELL and away from God. Why are we so content to live out our daily lives not being obedient to God?

Everyday as a Christian that passes we are closer to Heaven while the opposite is true for those who don’t know Christ. Every second that passes is a step closer to Hell for them. Won’t you reach out and tell someone that God loves them. Why not share with someone today that simple fact. As we share this the simple truth that God does love them it will open up doors to share the gospel. If we are actively seeking ways to be a witness God will actively place people in your life to share the good news of Christ with them.

Lets be active today in others ETERNITY!

November 30, 2007

Beauty and the ongoing Rat Race to achieve it

Posted in THOUGHTS tagged , , , , at 8:11 pm by graceabounds

I heard last night that they found a way to reduce the signs of aging in mice and they are excited that they may be able to find the gene in humans and reduce aging. I want to know when they find the gene that reduces aging what next will we as a society deem ugly, unuseful, or less valuable because of looks. I am just as guilty about judging others based on the way they look but as I grow closer to the Lord and deeper in my faith I know that God truly created us all beautiful and special whether or not we have wrinkles, crocked teeth, or flawless beauty. The Creator sees us all as something worthy of making!

ASSURANCE Of Eternal Life

Posted in DEVOTIONS, THOUGHTS tagged , , , , , at 7:11 pm by graceabounds

Once you have accepted Christ you can know for sure that you are saved. And rest in that if you truly came to accept Him, then you can’t loose it. God’s Word tells us that we have security. 

John 10:28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  

It states that because you have put your faith in Christ, you are now safely in His hands.  Nothing can cause you to lose your salvation. He doesn’t give the gift of salvation and then decide he wants to take it back because you sinned. You didn’t earn it by being good and you can’t lose it by sinning. If you are continually sinning and not repentant then maybe you should weigh if you actually ever trusted Christ as your Savior, and if you were ready to make Him Lord over you life. Our faith in Him should bring change in us. At times, especially as new Christians, we can be fooled into thinking that there are other ways to get to heaven.  We hear of so many religions that believe in heaven.  Yet, we have to weigh their beliefs against what God says.  Let’s take a deeper look. 

Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. 

If we believe that Jesus saved us, then we have to believe His Word (the Bible).  We can’t hide the truth; there is no other way to Heaven or God but through Jesus.  It is impossible to get there by other means or else Christ wouldn’t have needed to die and take the shame for us.  He would have saved Himself and allowed us to find another way. Often, you hear that someone believes in Jesus and that is enough for them. 

Luke 4:33-34 33 And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 34 Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God.

Here the demon is proclaiming that Jesus is God.  We know that demons (Satan’s angels) won’t be able to enter into heaven; therefore just believing that Jesus is who He says He is isn’t enough.   You have to accept what He’s done and turn from the sins you use to love.  Another belief is that if we are good enough or do enough good things, then we can get to heaven.  People believe that if their good out weighs the major bad things they’ve done then, they will be able to go to heaven. They believe God would not be so cruel as to not allow them in when He sees the good they’ve done. Review the scripture below as we think about these beliefs. 

Galatians 2:16yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. 

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast 

Verse nine points out that if we could get to Heaven by works then it’d be something we did, not Christ. 

We remember there is no one without sin.  Look at this example. One little sin (God sees all sin as sin) we will use a lie for example, will keep you out of heaven.  Why?  If you have a white shirt and get one speck of grease on it, is it clean (or perfect)?  No, you would throw it out; it is the same with us. We can’t do anything to get to heaven by our own works, because we still have sin (stains). And Jesus takes care of the stain of sin that we can’t take care of through his death on a cross meant for us and overcoming death and paying the price for mine and your sins!

A BEAUTIFUL PICTURE

Posted in DEVOTIONS tagged , , , at 5:13 am by graceabounds

Can you think of the most beautiful thing you have ever seen. Please don’t rush ahead; really think of something that is breath taking. One of the most memorable things I have ever seen is the Grand Canyon. Yet, I don’t believe it holds anything compared to when a person accepts Christ as their personal Savior; that is truly the most beautiful thing. They are ripped out of the clutches of Death and Hell and put safely in the hands of the Almighty GOD. Art and beauty are common in our society. We get soft and mushy for a love story, and as Christians we have the most beautiful love story in Jesus.  

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. 

Romans 5:8 But God shows his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  

Sin is now a part of humanity; every person is born into sin. In return, there is no picture more beautiful than that of what Christ has done for us. Death in and of itself doesn’t mean much to us in America.  We are very accustomed to seeing it in our TV, games, and media and yet in Christ’s death there is beauty.  I encourage you to read of Jesus’ death and resurrection in John 19-20.  

1 John 3:5You know that He appeared to take away our sins, and in him there is no sin. 

2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus lived a sinless life. Sin is a word used to express that we have missed the mark of God’s original plan. We sin anytime we go against God’s instructions for our lives. Jesus had to take our sins away so we could be restored to God. 

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God                

We have missed God’s mark since Adam and Eve. God is perfect without any wrong doings. So for us to have a relationship with Him, we must also be perfect through Christ’s holiness. Before sin, we had access to God; now through salvation we have access to Him again.   

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 

Why did Christ suffer for our sins? Out of love for us He paid the price so that we could be brought back to God. When the angels of heaven rebelled against God, He made Hell for Satan and his angels.  When sin entered the world, man was no longer able to enter Heaven because we aren’t blameless. In and of ourselves we can’t do that, so Christ did it for us. When we accept Him and His gift we are saved; saved from Hell. 

Matthew 13:42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth 

Mark 9:47-48 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. 

By chance, there may be some readers who aren’t saved or aren’t sure if they are.  It says Romans 3:23 that all have sinned. Let’s review some scripture dealing with how to become a Christian. 

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  

Romans 10:9-10 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 

Luke 13:3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 

The first step in your walk with God is realizing we have sin in our lives; which we can’t deal with ourselves.  We needed a way back to God, which Jesus supplied as He was the perfect sacrifice.  After acknowledging our sin, we must believe that Jesus was perfect, without sin, and that He died on the cross to take our place.  Yet, when He died He came back to life three days later.  Through this we now have access to God.  If we repent, turn from our sins, and confess that Jesus is Lord, we will be saved.  If you would like to accept Jesus and to follow after Him; and in return have eternal life with God, I urge you to pray this prayer and believe it in your heart. This prayer isn’t magic; these words are just a reflection of your heart. This is where you realize that you need Him. Lord,I know that I am a sinner, and I want to spend eternity in heaven with You.  I realize that because of my sins, I can’t do it on my own.  Thank You for sending Jesus to die in my place.  I believe that He died and rose again for me. I want to follow You and turn from my sins. Thank You for saving me, and I accept you into my heart and my life.  In Jesus, Name Amen. Welcome to the family!  The next step is confession call someone and let them know about this decision it can be a pastor, family member, or friend.  I encourage you to find a Bible believing church where you can grow and follow Christ.

November 29, 2007

HAIRLESS HOMESCHOOL MOTHER

Posted in homeschool, PARENTING tagged , , , , , at 9:18 pm by graceabounds

I am sure I am not alone when I claim I was about to be a hairless homeschool mother. Most people think I am nuts to homeschool anyways so becoming a bald young mother won’t make me too much farther out there. I truly did feel that I was about to pull my hair out as I was teaching my youngest to read. Lets see we had tears, fussing, and him saying he couldn’t possible read these words I had in front of him. Feeling myself becoming discouraged I went to my room, shut the door, and hit the floor. Why? No, I wasn’t about to throw a fit of equivalent size to my son but rather to go to my Father and ask him to help me. I had only a few seconds to ask God to help me before there was fussing outside my door. I picked myself off the floor with a renewed commitment as to why I homeschool. I don’t homeschool because it is fun, I think my kids will be smarter, or for any other reason than I believe it is what God wants personally for my family.

We sat back down at the table and I was about to help him and out spurts the sounds of the letters and he sounds out the majority of the words before him. Agh! I won’t have to be bald after all. I can simply rest in God and allow Him to see me through the small and large task of the day!

The Beginnings- Genesis 1-2

Posted in DEVOTIONS tagged , , , , , , at 3:23 pm by graceabounds

Although Adam and Eve fell into the temptation of sin, we should remember God will help us to overcome temptation if we ask for His help. Read Genesis 3. The Serpent, Satan, began by questioning what God had told Adam. Eve was then tempted (in verse six) when she saw that the tree was good, desirable, and the fruit would make her wise. As Christians we need to check every thought we have, and see if it goes along with God’s Word. Satan deceived Eve by telling her the truth as well as a lie. It was true that they would know the difference between good and evil, but if they disobeyed God there would be a penalty, death. They were allowed to eat from all the trees except one. Eve believed that by disobeying God it would make her happier than obeying Him. Sin was brought into the world because they ate from the tree going against God. Look at verse seven “they now knew they were naked.” There would be consequences because they had sinned. God was coming to spend time with them but now there would have to be a penalty for their sins. Jesus would later pay that price. They were no longer allowed to be in the Garden of Eden due to their sins.There is no point in trying to hide your sins from God, it is impossible. In turn, she and Adam suffered the consequences, yet God still loved and cared for them. He made them clothes from animals, which seems a lot more comfortable than fig leaves! That is God loving us and caring for us despite how we hurt and disappoint Him.

In the garden they were allowed to eat from every single tree but one. Notice in verse two that the word “trees” is plural. The other trees were also pleasant to the eyes and good for fruit. God didn’t put the tree there and say, “Okay, it is here to tempt you.” No, God had given them plenty of good things, because He is good. God created us with a free will to worship Him. Many of us have struggled with why God would create something He knew would mess up and choose to sin. God desires true worship and praise from us. He wants us to praise Him as God because we have come to the realization that He truly deserves it. Remember, He wants a true intimate relationship with you.

Take a few minutes and examine your heart. Is there any sin you are trying to cover up with the fig leaves? Do you pretend you are okay and that you don’t need Him? God is waiting for us. Whenever we are open and naked by confessing our sins it restores our relationship with Him. He is ready to remove the uncomfortable fig leaves and cover us in fur. Why don’t you say or write out a prayer confessing any sin in your life, and allow God’s forgiveness to wash over you.

Genesis 3

Posted in DEVOTIONS tagged , , , , , , at 3:21 pm by graceabounds

Although Adam and Eve fell into the temptation of sin, we should remember God will help us to overcome temptation if we ask for His help. Read Genesis 3. The Serpent, Satan, began by questioning what God had told Adam. Eve was then tempted (in verse six) when she saw that the tree was good, desirable, and the fruit would make her wise. As Christians we need to check every thought we have, and see if it goes along with God’s Word. Satan deceived Eve by telling her the truth as well as a lie. It was true that they would know the difference between good and evil, but if they disobeyed God there would be a penalty, death. They were allowed to eat from all the trees except one. Eve believed that by disobeying God it would make her happier than obeying Him. Sin was brought into the world because they ate from the tree going against God. Look at verse seven “they now knew they were naked.” There would be consequences because they had sinned. God was coming to spend time with them but now there would have to be a penalty for their sins. Jesus would later pay that price. They were no longer allowed to be in the Garden of Eden due to their sins.There is no point in trying to hide your sins from God, it is impossible. In turn, she and Adam suffered the consequences, yet God still loved and cared for them. He made them clothes from animals, which seems a lot more comfortable than fig leaves! That is God loving us and caring for us despite how we hurt and disappoint Him.

In the garden they were allowed to eat from every single tree but one. Notice in verse two that the word “trees” is plural. The other trees were also pleasant to the eyes and good for fruit. God didn’t put the tree there and say, “Okay, it is here to tempt you.” No, God had given them plenty of good things, because He is good. God created us with a free will to worship Him. Many of us have struggled with why God would create something He knew would mess up and choose to sin. God desires true worship and praise from us. He wants us to praise Him as God because we have come to the realization that He truly deserves it. Remember, He wants a true intimate relationship with you.

Take a few minutes and examine your heart. Is there any sin you are trying to cover up with the fig leaves? Do you pretend you are okay and that you don’t need Him? God is waiting for us. Whenever we are open and naked by confessing our sins it restores our relationship with Him. He is ready to remove the uncomfortable fig leaves and cover us in fur. Why don’t you say or write out a prayer confessing any sin in your life, and allow God’s forgiveness to wash over you.

A WHOLE NEW WORLD- My first blog!

Posted in THOUGHTS tagged , , , at 1:06 pm by graceabounds

A whole new world has opened up for me. I am new to this blogging world although I have loved to write for many years. I don’t know how I could have been totally ignorant of blogging and my preconceived notions. I am excited to now be a part and able to have my thoughts and writings out there for myself and others. Now, if I could figure out how to get people to read this!

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