Friday, April 30, 2010

Chosen to Have a Heart for Jesus

Only God has free will because only God can do what He wants to do.  What He chooses and wills to do always flows out of His character so He will never do anything sinful, but our will is not totally free.  We cannot will ourselves to be ten feet tall, to fly like an eagle, or run as fast as a cheetah.  We do have choices. We can choose between Coke or Pepsi, Toyota or Ford, to go to college or enter the work force after high school, to live in a house or an apartment, to marry or not to marry, a PC or a Mac.  But our choices are limited.  It is out of the heart, which is the well spring of life, that our decisions are made.  Our choices are made out of the nature that is in us.  The Bible tells us that all people are dead in their sin.  Dead people cannot make any decisions.  Dead people cannot choose to love God.  In order to love God, God must give us a heart that is inclined towards Him.  If your heart is not regenerated, if Christ hasn't given you a new heart, you cannot choose God.  God does not choose us because we believe but that we may believe.  While we were dead and His enemies, while we were opposed to Him, He gave us a new heart, a heart that desires Him.  Apart from a new heart, everyone chooses sin and death and hell.  That is all we'd ever choose.  Remember Lazarus?  He was physically dead.  Our spiritual condition was like his physical condition.  Lazarus did not call out, "Help me Jesus, I'm dead!" He didn't pursue Jesus.  Jesus came to Lazarus and called Lazarus.  Jesus comes to us and calls us, His Father's chosen ones.  Jesus transforms us from the inside out so that we would desire Him and love Him!  As you start your day today, thank Him for your new heart and the ability to now choose to please Him!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Egg Drop

Our Awana year is coming to a close.  Our last, big, fun event for the kids is the Egg Drop which was held last night.  The kids package up a raw egg, in very creative ways I might add, and then they are dropped from a great height to see if they survive. 

                                                     Here's something for you to think about today.  Life's storms are a part of God's plan for the believer.  The more we surround ourselves, bury ourselves, let the Word dwell in us richly, the better we endure, and suffer well, and are able to sing His praises under all circumstances.  Make sure you set aside some time today to wrap yourselves up with the promises of God... 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Smoking Mountains, Trembling Earth

"He looks at the earth, and it trembles; He touches the mountains, and they smoke" - Psalm 104:32.

Thirty years ago this May 18th the north face of Mt. St. Helens collapsed and then literally exploded.  At this link you can watch the first eighteen seconds of what ended up being a nine hour event.  At this link you can watch a nearly four minute video.  The eruption column alone of ash and rock was over eighty thousand feet high.  The mudslide created by the melted snow and ice created a swath of destruction that stretched for over fifty miles.  Fifty-seven people died.  Two hundred and fifty homes were destroyed.  Forty-seven bridges, fifteen miles of railways, one hundred and eighty-five miles of highway, all damaged or destroyed.  An estimated one hundred and seventy-five thousand animals were killed, including seven thousand big game animals.  The blast was so strong, it was like five hundred atomic bombs went off.  Another report I read said it was more powerful than fifteen hundred atomic bombs.  The Mt. St. Helens eruption was one of the most destructive in modern U.S. history.

God had touched Mt. St. Helens and God is touching mountains today.

A person can react one of a few different ways when witnessing such an event.  Some may react with indifference.  "Aw, this was no big deal.  So, a mountain blew its top and a few people died and some animals were killed.  It's just part of living life here on this earth."

Others may curse.  They will blame God but also fail to see that God is sovereign over the universe and life.  He is the Creator and Sustainer.  He gives life, holds it and the universe together, and He takes life away.  All things live and move and have their being because of Him.  Harry Truman was proprietor of St. Helens Lodge on Spirit Lake.  He laughed and scoffed, saying the mountain couldn't hurt him.  On that late spring morning nearly thiry years ago, he was buried under one hundred feet of volcanic debris.  Harry Truman did not have a proper view of God.   

How should we respond?  I believe the way we should respond is with worship.  It is a terrifying yet glorious thing to experience the power of God when He looks at the earth and it trembles.  He is All Mighty, He is All Powerful, and He is merciful that more people didn't die when He lowered Mt. St. Helen's peak by over 1,000 feet, with just the touch of His finger...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"Salvation is not mainly the forgiveness of sins...

...but mainly the fellowship of Jesus.  Forgiveness gets everything out of the way so this can happen" - John Piper.

I'm on to a new book.  Finished "Choosing Gratitude."  Well, I am doing the devotional exercise in the back but I am finished with the meat of the book.  If you are looking for a wonderful, life-changing read, get your hands on this book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  Every once in a while a book lands in my library that becomes one of my favorites.  This book definitely fits into that category! 

I'm now reading Piper's book, "Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ."  Oh, my!  This is also going to go on my shelf as a favorite.  A new believer rejoices in the grace and mercy of God over the forgiveness of their sins.  Then as they grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus, He becomes more and more precious.  If you've been in Christ a long time and have pursued hard after Him, you know exactly what I am talking about.  Salvation truly is about fellowship with the Savior.  Our joy is derived from a Person.  Jesus Himself is our great reward and we find our ourselves longing for Him and the Blessed Hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Choosing Gratitude - 4

I woke up this morning battling anxiety.  The Holy Spirit graciously pulled my thoughts to Philippians 4:6,7.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Here are Nancy Leigh DeMoss's thoughts on those verses in chapter 4...

"In every situation...prayer + thanksgiving = peace.  When prayer teams up with gratitude, when we open our eyes wide enough to see God's mercies even in the midst of our pain, and when we exercise faith and give Him thanks even when we can't see those mercies, He meets us with His indescribable peace. 

It's a promise.

Are you facing one or more chaotic, unsettled situations?  Is your soul weary from striving, stress, and strain?

There is peace.

God's peace is waiting for you just beyond the doors of deliberate gratitude.  But the only way to find it is to go there and see for yourself.  God's peace is one of the many blessings that live on the other side of gratitude."

I knew what I needed to do.  I needed to set my thoughts on the Lord and begin praising Him for all His gracious blessings.  I needed to turn a heart of faith to Him.  I needed to fully give my thoughts over to His sovereignty and care for me in all situations, with thanksgiving.  A troubled heart truly is transformed into a heart at peace through deliberate thanksgiving!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Choosing Gratitude - 3

"The Scripture says that God inhabits the praises of His people (Ps. 22:3).  God lives in the place of praise.  If we want to be where He is, we need to go to His address...See if expressing gratitude to the Lord doesn't magnify Him in your eyes, increasing your depth perception of this One who knows your name, counts the hairs on your head, and manifests His love for you with one blessing after another.  See if the practice of intentional gratitude doesn't transport you even nearer to Him-not just where your faith can believe it but where your heart can sense it.  Thanksgiving puts us in God's living room.  It paves the way to His presence."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Family...Oh So Special!

In the shot above I had eight seconds to leap over miles of driftwood and get set before the shutter released.  I had my camera on a tripod.  It's a wonder I didn't do a face plant in the rocks, but that is why I am a bit off kilter!  The pose below was Ben's idea.  Such a fun day, Ben and Mai's American wedding day! 

Click here for entire album.  (I can explain about Daniel hanging upside down, if you are interested...)

From the Beginning of Creation...

Because we are in week two of our Discipleship Institute classes at my church, I'm going to digress with this post from my "Choosing Gratitude" series.  Discovery Discipleship Institute classes are Bible classes that we hold in lieu of our Sunday evening service.   Two to four classes are usually offered.  They run for four weeks.  We take one week off for Mother's Day and then we run them all over again so we have the opportunity to take two different classes.  I've come to really enjoy our Discipleship Institute.  Two years ago, Tim Arsenault, the friend who introduced the prewrath position to me and my husband, taught the prewrath position as one of the classes.  I was thrilled he was given this opportunity since I am convinced this position on the timing of the rapture is the most biblical.  I'm in another of Tim's classes this spring.  This time around he is teaching a class called Our Earth and Cosmos: Ancient or Recent Creation?  In other words, old earth or young earth? 

In Christendom, you find people on both sides of the coin.  There are some Christians who say that eons of time or billions of years passed between the six "days" of creation.  Not sure how you can come up with that view when you take Genesis 1 and 2 at face value.  You've got wording such as "and there was evening and there was morning, day one."  How else should this be taken other than a 24 hour period?  My husband recently heard progressive creationist Hugh Ross give his perspective on the age of the earth.  His view is that billions of years passed between the creation of light and the creation of man.  Isn't Jesus, the Creator, the authority on whether or not eons of time passed between when He uttered the words, "let there be light" on day one of creation and "let us make man in our own image" on day six of creation?  Take a look at this little nugget in Mark 10:6, where Jesus answered some Pharisees regarding some questions they had on divorce.  "But from the beginning of creation, God MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE."  Do you see it?  What Jesus is saying here supports a face value rendering of Genesis 1 and 2.  Creation didn't take eons of time.  God made man, male and female, from the beginning of creation.  Light wasn't created first and then 14 billion years later man was created.  It was in just a span of 144 hours!  To say creation took billions of years is to have a compromised hermeneutic, in my opinion.  It just opens up the door to pick and choose where you will accept taking scripture at face value.  If the plain sense makes sense, seek no other sense.  In this case, the plain sense in Genesis, that creation took six, twenty-four hour days, makes sense, and is supported by Jesus Himself, the Creator, when He was God incarnate, here on the earth, speaking to some Pharisees and His disciples on divorce.  I think we better leave the Genesis account of creation alone, and not tamper with the plain sense.

One of the reasons I now hold to the prewrath position on the timing of the rapture is because of this very same principle of hermeneutic.  Matthew 24 is pretty simple and straight forward.  And, when you compare scripture with scripture, Matthew 24 lines up perfectly with 1&2 Thessalonians.  (See this post at Prewrath Rapture Dot Com for a great comparison chart.)

Tim says he has a couple of other nuggets as well.  Can't wait to hear what they are!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Choosing Gratitude - 2

Wasn't yesterday's nugget a good one?  We've all been around whiners, or worse yet, we've been one ourselves.  Being around worshipers, those whose hearts are filled with gratitude is like walking through a beautiful garden.  Being around whiners is like trudging through a weed patch...  I know to which one I am attracted!  May we cultivate the garden of thankfulness and gratitude every day in our hearts so that we adorn the gospel of God to a hurting world...

Here's Nugget # 2:

"Gratitude is a lifestyle.  A hard-fought, grace-infused, biblical lifestyle.  And though there's a sense in which anyone can be thankful-for God has extended His common grace to all-the true glory and the transforming power of gratitude are reserved for those who know and acknowledge the Giver of every good gift and who are recipients of His redeeming grace."

Friday, April 16, 2010

Choosing Gratitude

So I'm reading this great book given to me by a great friend...

Above is the title.

Author: Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

For my next several posts, I'll be passing along the nuggets nestled within its pages - the ones that really resonated within my heart.  Here's the first one....

"I've come to believe that few things are more becoming in a child of God than a grateful spirit.  By the same token, there is nothing that makes a person more unattractive than the absence of a grateful spirit.  I have learned that in every circumstance that comes my way, I can choose to respond in one of two ways:

I can whine


I can worship!

And I can't worship without giving thanks.  It just isn't possible.  When we choose the pathway of worship and giving thanks, especially in the midst of difficult circumstances, there is a fragrance, a radiance, that issues forth out of our lives to bless the Lord and others."

Thursday, April 15, 2010


There's someone I want you to meet.  My daughter-in-law, Mai.  (The "a" is silent and the "i" is long.)  She is one of the sweetest girls I've ever met and completes my son, perfectly!  We worked in the kitchen tonight fixing dinner.  Well, actually, I mostly watched her fix dinner.

(To view small album, click here.)

She made spring rolls and soup.  I could not pronounce the Vietnamese name of this dish correctly if my life depended on it, but it was delicious!  (Tim wasn't too thrilled with the fish sauce for dipping the spring rolls in, but I didn't think it was too bad.  According to Mai, fish sauce is made over a period of several months.  You throw fish into a barrel along with some salt and let it ferment.  Hmm...)

Anyway, I have been enjoying Mai immensely.  She just loves Daniel to pieces and Daniel has taken to his Auntie Mai.  He grins from ear to ear when he sees her.  She went with me to Bible study this morning and I introduced her to all the gals at church.  They welcomed her so warmly.

Thank you Lord, for this precious addition to our family!

Obedience: The Acid Test of Love

"God loves His children.  He knows that we cannot fully experience and enjoy His love unless we are obedient to Him.  Obeying God is not meant to be a sterile, cold requirement; rather, it is a willing, glad-hearted response to One who loves us extravagantly and has our best interests at heart."

Introduction to Lesson 7, in "Seeking Him", by Nancy Leigh DeMoss & Tim Grissom

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

New Blog, Same Great Writer

Kristen has a new blog, everyone!  Groundwork for Grace is now history since her Genesis study is over and Nike Musings was just created.  Check it out...bookmark it...follow it...comment on WON'T be bored or disappointed but you WILL be challenged to think and live like, the Overcomer that you are, if you are in Christ.

You will be greatly blessed, I'm sure!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

God is Good!

It was a week ago today that I received a phone call from my sister Karin that my mom had developed blood clots.   They landed in her lungs after having undergone cancer surgery six days before.  She was in critical condition and if her oxygen levels didn't come up by ten o'clock that night, they would have to intubate her.

God is good.

I had been fine up until I received that call on Saturday.

God is good.

My mom told me prior to the surgery that she didn't think it was necessary for me to come down for the surgery.  My two sisters were close by as well as two sisters-in-law who love my mom as if she were their own mother.  They would be there for the after surgery care. 

God is good.

My son and daughter-in-law had flown into LA, from Viet Nam, three days after my mom's surgery but prior to the blood clots.  It also happened to be my mom's birthday.  She said meeting her new granddaughter-in-law was the greatest birthday present ever.

God is good.

My son was calling me daily after they arrived.  He could hear the concern in my voice after I learned about the blood clots.  I told him I was "so down there" on Sunday if Gramma had to go on the breathing machine.

God is good.

My son took action before the ten o'clock deadline of that night.  He and his cousins all pitched in and bought me a ticket to fly down.

God is good.

My mom's oxygen levels had risen to the point where she only needed an oxygen mask, no intubating.

God is good! 

I had to be up at 4 am on Sunday to leave for the airport.  I had gone to bed at midnight and didn't fall asleep right away, so I didn't get much sleep.

God is good!

My son and daughter-in-law picked me up at the airport.  It was so good to see their smiling faces and wrap my arms around them.  I hadn't seen Ben since last October, or Mai, a year before that.

God is good!

On the way to the hospital my son announced they were expecting a little boy!  Another grandson!

God is good!

After arriving at the hospital Karin warned me that my mom didn't look good.  Her face was ashen and her breathing labored.  She could only say a word or two at a time.

God is good!

The Lord graciously strengthened me just before I entered the room.

God is good!

My eyes met my mom's beautiful, big, brown eyes.  I could see the concern in them.  I gave her a great big hug.

God is good! 

Ten of my mom's grandchildren, my sister Karin, and I were gathered around her bedside that Easter Sunday, rejoicing in life and our risen Savior.

God is good!

For the next five days my sister Karin and I took the day shift at the hospital.  My sister-in-law Sherry and my sister Betty Ann took the evening shift.  Each day my mom grew a little stronger.

God is good!

On Monday while sitting by the window in her room, I started to feel dizzy.  Karin was standing by the door.  Then the dizziness gave way to a rocking motion.  Earthquake!

God is good!

The rocking grew harder and the room began to jolt.  I quickly moved to my mom's bedside, laid a hand on her shoulder, her brown eyes growing as big as saucers.  (I was at the ready to deflect any ceiling tiles that would come crashing down on our heads!)  During the big earthquakes I've experienced, I talk to the Lord.  I said, "Lord, we are trusting in you."  This one went on for quite a long time.  Karin said, "This is a big one, far away."  Sure enough, it turned out to be a 7.2 along the Mexico/California border.  (How cool would it be to experience the earthquake that is going to occur at the Lord's return!)

God is good!

Well, my story is getting rather long so I better wind it up.  By Friday, my mom was off all IVs, oxygen, and was able to get up and walk a bit.  They released her to go home.  We were told the clots will take months to be gone so she will get winded very easily.  She and I are now at my sister Karin's, where Karin will care for her until she is stronger and can move back home.  Ben, Mai, and I plan on leaving Monday for Gig Harbor.  Had my mom not made it through last Saturday night, God would still be good.  Had the ceiling tiles come crashing down on our heads or the floor collapsed and I ended up in the basement or in a hospital bed myself, God would still be good.  God is good, all of the time, when our emotions are all over the place, when we struggle with fear or when our  hearts are filled with great rejoicing.

By the way, this is my mom's favorite thing to say, and she said it often, prior to surgery and after surgery when she was in so much pain...

"God is good!"

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Read through these verses for me:
  • "This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all" - 1 John 1:5. 
  • "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" - 1 Peter 2:9.
  • "For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness" - 1 Thessalonians 5:5.
  • "For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light" - Ephesians 5:8.

Now read this one:

  • "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" - John 1:5.

 If God is light, if we are called out of darkness into His marvelous light, if we are children of light, if we are light in the Lord, and if the darkness has not overcome the light (nor will it ever because the Light made the angelic powers that fell into darkness), how can it be said that we can lose our salvation?

It would be saying that darkness has overcome the light.

It would be saying that Satan has overcome God!

Can children of light walk as children of darkness?  Oh yes...and of course this grieves the Holy Spirit and blemishes our testimony.  We are commanded to walk as children of light.  This means we are to love the truth and conduct ourselves in holiness and purity.  Children of light however, will never be overcome by the darkness or be cast back into the domain of Satan once they are brought out of it into God's marvelous light!  Never, for God who is light has overcome darkness through Jesus Christ our Lord!

God Almighty cannot be overcome!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Shout of Triumph

"Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit" - John 19:30. 

"It is finished!" 

Three of the most magnificent words ever spoken by the Lord Jesus and recorded by John.  Actually, Matthew's account and Mark's account tell us Jesus shouted these words with a loud cry.  It was a shout of triumph!  The entire work of redemption, planned from before the foundation of the world, had been brought to completion. Sin had been atoned for and Satan was defeated and rendered powerless.  Every requirement of God's righteous law had been satisfied and God's wrath against sin had been appeased. 

Did you know that the Greek word used in John 19:30 which is translated "it is finished" has been found in the papyri being placed on receipts for taxes meaning "paid in full?"

May you have a blessed Easter,  being overwhelmed and rejoicing in the wonderful truth that your debt of sin has been PAID IN FULL if you have trusted in Christ as your Lord and Savior.

"When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross" - Colossians 2:13,14. 

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" - Romans 3:23.

"...that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" - Romans 10:9.