From "Fellowship with God", his first in a series of five books in studies on 1 John...
"Joy is something very deep and profound, something that affects the whole and entire personality. In other words it comes to this; there is only one thing that can give true joy and that is a contemplation of the Lord Jesus Christ. He satisfies my mind; He satisfies my emotions; He satisfies my every desire. He and His great salvation include the whole personality and nothing less, and in Him I am complete. Joy, in other words, is the response and the reaction to the soul to a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ."
I am thankful for my daughter Annie, she's the one in the green apron. Annie put in two sixteen hour days just so we could gather around her table for Thanksgiving dinner. The first four hours of each day were spent working at her Starbucks job, the busiest Starbucks in Gig Harbor, and the last twelve hours of each day were spent at home getting ready for her Thanksgiving company. Ruhiyyih (Annie's sister-in-law, the one on the right) and Matt, the very happy and adorable newlyweds, came over the mountains from the Tri-Cities to join us. My son-in-law's parents were there as well as his two brothers. Daniel was the entertainment. He is getting so big. He's grabbing for things now and he has found his voice. He loves to squeal, loudly. I thought you'd enjoy the album of pictures I took from our fun day. (Daniel fills up the second half. Sorry, it's a gramma/photographer thing.) Annie, thanks for all your hard work. It was a wonderful day!
Have a blessed Thanksgiving as you gather at your table with family and friends - rejoicing in the goodness, lovingkindness, and faithfulness of the Lord.
Psalm 100:4,5 "Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name. For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting, and His faithfulness to all generations."
This will be my last "For You Gals" post until we meet again in January. A quick reminder gals - We were created for God's pleasure, not our own. (Now if we could just remember that, 100% of the time, right?!) True happiness and abundant life comes from setting our minds, our eyes, our hopes, and our desires on Christ...and keeping them there! Our thought-life truly is a spiritual discipline for from our thoughts flow our actions and attitudes. When we fall into the mindset that life is about our needs, we have fallen back into worldly thinking. The Holy Spirit makes us new people on the inside by the Word. He transforms us into thinkers for God's pleasure when we choose to saturate our minds with the Word. He transforms us into doers for God's pleasure when we choose to act on His Word.
When we let bitterness and resentment simmer in our thoughts because of the hurts of others against us, are we happy? We are miserable, aren't we? If we choose to bless a hurt against us with kindness, we are living for God's pleasure...and we can have joy in the midst of difficult circumstances.
The Lord has created us so that we experience the highest pleasure and the greatest joy when we live for His pleasure, even under the severest of circumstances, what an amazing, wonderful Lord!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. We've so much to be thankful for, don't we?!
I want to talk to you gals who may be in a difficult marriage. By a difficult marriage I mean one in which your spouse lives only to please himself. We gals at DBC chuckled when we were watching the Piper sermon in which John called the shortcomings, annoyances, and sins in our marriages "cow-pies." When we first married, our expectations were always green pastures weren’t they, with very few cow-pies? Your Prince Charming would always remain charming and you would always be his lovely princess.
Then reality sets in and our dreams come to a screeching halt.
We are all guilty of cow-pies because we are all sinful and flawed. We are all guilty of being that self-absorbed spouse, of wanting things our way, with no room for the consideration of the other person. It may not have lasted long depending on our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s convicting work and our choosing to repent, to confess our sin to the Lord and seek the forgiveness of our spouse. Or, we may have indulged in this sin for hours, or perhaps even days before choosing to do that which pleases the Lord. What do we do when a husband has become self-absorbed and has little or no interest in pleasing the Lord? Perhaps his affirmations and actions of love to you have all but dried up and your affirmations and actions of love to him go unrecognized.
You run to the One whose affirmations and actions of love to you spring from a well that never ceases. This was the choice that Jeremiah made when he struggled with hopelessness and despair.
“This I recall to mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I have hope in Him. The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.” (Lamentations 3:21-25)
Our natural, fleshly tendency towards an unloving spouse would be to lash out in anger but remember, there is no room in marriage for wrath. When we are hurt by the sinfulness of our spouse the reaction that pleases the Lord is to bless our husbands by choosing to show goodness and kindness to them, not choosing to get even by throwing an insult back, or to sulk, or to pout, or to yell, or to become embittered, or to withhold our love, or to be fearful, or to go to someone and complain and gossip about our husbands. (I Peter 3:9) We are commanded to bear with patience the disturbances created by others. (Phil. 4:5) We are commanded not to be overcome by evil but to overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21) Write your husband a note. Fix him his favorite meal. Fill his car up with gas. Bless an insult with kindness. Treat an unkindness with goodness. What we are commanded to do the Lord faithfully supplies the strength. We may feel like we can’t endure under such circumstances, but God says we can, even if our husband never changes. Our strength comes from the knowledge that God’s faithfulness is great. His compassion's are fresh, every morning!
I can’t even begin to scratch the surface in a blog post regarding everything that needs to be addressed on this topic of living in a difficult marriage. What I am going to do is point you to a book that every Christian wife should have on her bookshelf. “The Excellent Wife” by Martha Peace. Martha has you look at yourself through the lens of scripture and helps you identify and begin to correct the areas in which you are not pleasing the Lord in your marriage. Martha also gives biblical counsel on how to deal with the mistreatment of a sinful husband. It is easy to fall into the sin of harboring bitterness, a result of being overcome by evil. We are instructed to put away bitterness and to replace the bitter thoughts with righteous thoughts and kind acts. (Ephesians 4:31,32.) Yes, it takes work, but as you choose to overcome evil with good you will experience God's grace to overcome the bitterness, anger, or resentment that may have taken root.
Within the body of Christ also are women to whom you can go that will come alongside and give you biblical counsel and encouragement. Go to those who will get you into the Word.
The Lord will keep in perfect peace those whose minds remain on Him. (Isaiah 26:3) He is our strength and the never-ending source of our graciousness in the midst of all disturbances. God's divine power has granted us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. (2 Peter 1:3) Be in His love letter, it's our power source for righteous and godly living!
If this is your first visit to Overcomer and you are a DBC gal, I'm glad you are here! If you are a different gal, I'm glad you are here too! My thoughts from our Titus 2 mentoring study begin a few posts ago. Just scroll down and you will find the first one with the title..."For You Gals."
In my first post I talked of how we should not treat our husbands based on whether or not they deserve it. That is the heart of what grace is - treating people better than they deserve. Our Heavenly Father treated us better than we deserved...way better! We deserved His wrath. With marriage being a picture of the relationship Christ has with His church and since that relationship is based on grace, our marriages are to be based on grace. If you are a believer, Christ bore the wrath that was aimed at you for your sinfulness. If your husband is a believer, Christ bore the wrath for all of his sins. There is no room for wrath towards our spouse in marriage, towards anyone for that matter, because the Lord says that is His area - Romans 12:19. All that is left for us is forgiveness and forbearance, exactly what the Father's grace has provided for us. The Lord instructs us that we are not to take revenge but we are to overcome evil with good - Romans 12:21. I'm going to get into the practical aspects of just what that looks like in my next post. As we've been forgiven by the Lord, we must also forgive our spouses. As the Lord bears with us, we should bear with our spouses. Isn't this a great quote by John Piper? "The distance between what Christ expects of you and what you achieve is infinitely greater than the distance between what you expect of your spouse and what he achieves." In other words, the chasm between our performance and what Christ expects of us is far, FAR greater than what we expect from our husbands and their performance. We can even put it this way...Christ always forgives more and endures more than we do. Way more. Grace has been lavished upon us, let's bend it toward our husbands!
Every year, on the Sunday evening before Thanksgiving, we gather and turn back the gracious blessings of the Lord in praise to Him. It's always a blessed time. We also watch a slide show from images over the past year. It is my great joy and privilege to capture a lot of what happens at Discovery. Click here to view an album of the year in review at Discovery Baptist. It's always fun to view pictures with music. Before you view the album, open another window and click here for some praise music to go along with the slideshow.
It's been a wonderful, blessed year, hasn't it?
God of all, we lift Your name on high in all the earth!
We were given a challenge the other night at our Titus 2 Bible Study. When we are asked by our husbands to do something - respond immediately with the word, "Sure."
Boy am I certainly guilty of a much lesser response at times, and so thankful for the Lord's forgiveness!
When the Lord asks His bride to do something what type of a response pleases Him, what does He expect?
"Yes Lord, with all of my heart!"
You say, "Now wait a minute, Christ is perfect and therefore what He asks (actually commands) us to do is always for our benefit. My husband is not perfect!"
(The first thing we need to remember is, neither are we.)
We can put our marriage on display as a picture of the covenant keeping relationship between Christ and the church by joyfully doing what our husbands ask. Is there a time when we should not say, "Sure?" Of course, it is when our husbands ask us to do something that is contrary to the will of God. Honestly answer this question...how many times has your husband asked you to do something that was sinful? I can't think of one time in the nearly thirty years I've been married to my sweet husband that he has ever asked me to do something that would not please the Lord. Are you worried about your husband taking advantage of you? Another question for you...how likely is that to happen when he sees your gracious response to his requests each and every time you are given the opportunity to be his help meet?
Make it a habit to always respond with "sure" and then if you need to for some reason, you can make a gracious appeal. Better yet, make it a habit to ask your husband if there is something you can do for him!
...was a happy yet sad day. Happy because it was Bible Study, sad because it was our last of the year. I love Bible Study and gathering around the Word with you gals at DBC. I packed my Keurig along this time and we enjoyed steaming hot beverages - a perfect compliment on this windy, rainy, day in the Pacific Northwest. Nikki brought an amazing bundt cake. We were a contented group of gals!
The high light of our time together was digging into Psalm 26, written by David. Nancy, our pastor's wife taught it, and as we went through it - it struck me that we were getting a glimpse into the heart of a man after God's own heart. What does a man after God's own heart look like? He walks in integrity. He trusts God without wavering. He asks God to examine and prove him. He keeps the Lord's lovingkindness always before him. He walks in truth. He does not go with the deceitful or pretenders. He hates the gathering of those who do evil. He is thankful. He declares the wonders of God. He loves going into God's house. He desires no part in the destiny of the sinner. He recognizes that walking in integrity is to walk with a sure footing. Finally, a man after God's own heart pledges to speak well of the Lord among the gathering of believers.
We ended our time together sharing what we were thankful for. I have to say for this year it has been for God's amazing grace. I could not be a woman who desired to be after God's own heart if He did not first love me. What a tremendous, humbling blessing to be chosen by God.
What do we do on Sundays? Don't we go to church and offer praise to our gracious and wonderful Lord? Of course it is something we should be doing every day. Wives, another way we can put our marriages on display as a picture of Christ's covenant keeping relationship with His church is to tell our husbands how amazing they are! Now of course I am not saying we should worship our husbands. God alone is where we are to direct our worship. The Lord is pleased when we offer worship from humble hearts, bowing our will to His. He is so worthy of it, isn't He?! Our husbands love it when we let them know we think they are wonderful. Sure, they are sinful and flawed, but don't forget, we are too! We are constantly loved and welcomed by Christ and we love to tell Him how much we love Him, don't we? Tell your husband today just how wonderful he is and give him the reason why - remembering this - you reap what you sow. Marriage is not about you, it's about putting Him/him before you!
Last night we began a new study for our ladies at my church...we are going to meet once a month...the older women gathering with the younger women, teaching them how to love their husbands, pass along wisdom regarding raising children. Last night we concentrated on our relationships with our husbands.
Marriage is a picture of the covenant relationship that Christ has with His church. Gals, we need to filter our relationship with our husbands through that grid. The church is to lovingly respond to the headship of Christ. We as wives should be doing that with our husbands. That is something we have all struggled with. When you find that hard to do, remember the grace of God which He lavished upon you. We should never treat our husbands as to whether or not they deserve our love. Our Heavenly Father doesn't treat us that way. We need to treat our husbands based upon the grace that has been lavished upon us by God.
We've already looked at four statements regarding scripture. Within those statements David gives a title, a characteristic, and a benefit of scripture. The four titles we've looked at for the Bible are law, testimony, precepts, commandment. God's word is instruction. God's word is His revelation of Himself. God's word is doctrines and truths. God's word is not to be taken as suggestions. Now David says the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever. How is the fear of the Lord a title regarding scripture? What is this fear? Fear is another word for reverence or awe. John MacArthur says what this simply means is that the Bible is a manual on worship. The Bible is the source of all the information we need on worshiping God.
I spent a little bit of time with my concordance looking at verses that talk about the fear of the Lord or fearing God. In Romans 3 we see our true spiritual condition before God does His work of salvation. None are righteous, none understand, none seek for God, all have turned aside, all are useless, none do good. Look at verse eighteen, "There is no fear of God before their eyes."
Man's true spiritual condition prior to salvation is a total absence of a proper submission and reverence for God.
Jeremiah 32:40 tells us that it is God who puts the fear of Himself in our hearts. The ability to fear God, to properly submit and reverence Him comes only from His favor in our lives! We would never choose to please Him or exalt Him on our own and think of the blessing and joy we would miss out on if it were not for His grace and mercy.
Jesus told the Samaritan woman that His Father was seeking true worshipers - Jn. 4:23. True worshipers according to Jesus worship God in spirit and in truth. To worship in spirit is to worship with a proper heart attitude. What is a proper heart attitude? One in which we bow our own desires and will before God's. Joyful obedience is most certainly an act of worship and He expects our obedience even when we don't feel like it. The wonderful thing is that a doer of the word shall be blessed in what he does - James 1:25. To worship in truth is to worship according to what God has revealed about Himself in His word. Yes, scripture is a manual on worshiping our Creator, the one and only true God. This manual on worship is clean, it is without blemish, and as such it will last forever.
...it's a gramma/photographer thing...click here to view the entire album...
As I was shooting the images in the second half of the album I had the aperture opened up all the way...that is what gives you such a shallow depth of field where very little of the image is in focus. Makes for some fun images...
This Veteran's Day evening my church hosted Stars and Stripes, a premier children's choir that performs patriotic songs such as "God Bless America" and "This is My Country." They were amazing. The songs are choreographed. The children recite the Founding Fathers along with well known portions of our Constitution, pointing to the biblical principles on which our nation was founded. It was a real blessing to celebrate our veteran's in this way and my heart swelled with joy over my American heritage. You can view the entire album by clicking here.
Just for fun, open another window first coming back again to Overcomer and then click on this you tube rendition of patriotic songs as you view the album!
...He is obligated to vindicate His holiness and be just. He has the freedom to show mercy or justice. I can understand His justice. His mercy staggers my imagination. Only once in history has an innocent man suffered - the highest possible expression of mercy happened for you!"
Wow! Seems not too long ago I'd made my 100th post. This week I'll be at my computer for the most part, but it will be editing wedding pictures from Ruhiyyih's wedding. For fun I thought I'd post the online albums here as I complete them. So if you like viewing wedding pics, check in often as I will keep adding links to this 200th post.
The first link is not to a wedding album. It is to a song that the choir at my church sang yesterday. (It is not my church choir, but they almost sounded that good!) As I do my editing work, I listen to good, sound, biblical teaching...John MacArthur and John Piper being two of my favorite pastor/teachers. I also listen to praise and worship music. Sometimes when a song is playing I have to stop working and just worship. That is how it is with this song...The Majesty and Glory of Your Name.
May it lift your heart into the heavenlies!
(After you click on the link, click on slideshow...)
Ruhiyyih (pronounced Roo-he-yah) is my son-in-law's sister, and she is a kick! I photographed her wedding today. She married Matt MacBradaigh. (Yes, he is Irish...the colors were green and green with a little bit of pastel yellow thrown in.) Ruhiyyih and Matt's wedding was one of the funnest weddings I've ever photographed because they are about the funnest people you will ever meet. (Can you tell from the pictures?!) They both love the Lord and the ceremony was a reflection of that. It was beautiful.
When my children were young and it was time for them to get ready for bed, my instructing them to go brush their teeth and put their pajamas on were not suggestions. I expected them to obey, right away. My daughter made me laugh several years ago when she began parenting. She apologized for all the times that she did not respond with quick obedience.
The Bible is not a book of suggestions or kind thoughts or good ideas. David tells us through the Holy Spirit that God's word is commandment. These are the words of the Sovereign King of the universe who has complete authority over every life. These words are to be authoritative in our lives, these words are to be obeyed. We are commanded to repent. We are even commanded to believe the gospel. Every instruction that comes to us comes as a command.
David says the commandment of the Lord is pure...or clear. The word of God is crystal clear. How God desires us to be obedient is not muddied up. His commands are not pointless. Being clear, we are responsible to obey.
Because God's word is clear it enlightens the eyes. God's word sheds light on why there is death and sorrow in the world. In God's word we are shown clearly the path to true and lasting joy. Life makes sense to us because of the Word.
It was my desire that my children obeyed immediately. As God's children, are we quick to the obedience that He expects of us? The truth of the matter is that our record is not always 100% immediate obedience. It's pretty incredible to me that in justifying me, God also looks at me as if I'd always obeyed. Christ's record is my record. Thank you Lord...thank you!
...when I check my email and I find someone has left a comment here at Overcomer, except for this morning. An anonymous poster left what was obviously a link to a pornographic website.
It made me angry.
I immediately deleted the comment and told my daughter about it when she dropped Daniel off. She said that if I enabled "word verificiation", that type of "spam" could not get through. I immediately enabled "word verification." My apologies that you now have to work a bit harder at leaving me your thoughts, because of the evil perpetrated by someone else.
In Matthew 24:36-39, Jesus tells us that before His return it will be a repeat of what it was like in the days of Noah. What were the days of Noah like? Men abandoned God's ways and had no appetite other than for pleasing the flesh...they partied, they carried on with life as usual, scoffing at Noah's testimony that God's judgment was coming against their wickedness.
I think this is exactly what we are seeing today. Here in Washington State we voted yesterday on rights for gay couples, just another step towards legalizing gay marriage. Last I checked it was a very close race. That means half of the voters have no problem with the homosexual lifestyle. Half. I would guess that would translate into about half of the whole state, voters and non-voters alike, seeing nothing sinful about homosexuality. The wickedness of man is great on the earth and what he thinks about and what he does is evil, continually. In Noah's day, men had abandoned God's ways, but, the Word of God was also going out. Curious onlookers probably came and spoke to Noah, but no one heeded his warnings.
My thoughts are on the patience of God this morning. I didn't feel very patient with the anonymous poster. The earth is full of wickedness, yet God is holding off judging the world with fire because He wishes that none should perish, that all should come to repentance. For those of us today who have found favor in God's eyes, our calling is to get the message out that the Lord is returning to judge sin. As that time draws closer, the times will become even more difficult, scoffing against that message will increase and persecution against God's people will become worldwide and unprecedented. Most likely our message will go unheeded, as Noah's did, still, we are to be obedient and get that message out, our conduct is to be holy, and we are to regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation.
You might ask why on earth I would blog about an elephant giving birth. It's because after I saw this video my mind went to God's words in Job...beginning at chapter 41:
"Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook? Or press down his tongue with a cord? Can you put a rope in his nose? Or pierce his jaw with a hook? Will he make many supplications to you? Or will he speak to you soft words? Will he make a covenant with you? Will you take him for a servant forever? Will you play with him as with a bird: Or will you bind him for your maidens?"
After you view the video, perhaps you will think like I did..."Can you put into the heart of an elephant, to wrap its trunk around its young, to coax My life-giving breath into it?"
Creation truly speaks to the wisdom of a Mighty Creator and we dare not reprove Him, but just stand in awe of Him!