Friday, July 30, 2010

"I am with you always..."

If you've followed Kristen's blog recently, she took us on a tour of Israel and Rome.  It has been fascinating, to say the least.  One picture which caught my attention and has held my thoughts is of the Colosseum, built by Titus, ten years after his victory in Israel.  It was in the Colosseum that many believers lost their lives, because they identified themselves with Christ, holding to their testimony of Jesus.  Underneath the ground level of the Colosseum, the prisoners were kept in dark alleys and rooms until they were brought out to be slaughtered.  I've been wondering what must have gone through their minds?   Were they thinking about loved ones, praying for their strength? Did they draw strength from thinking about their Lord and what He suffered on their behalf?  Were they wondering how much it would hurt?  Did they think about Paul's words, that those who will live godly in Christ will suffer persecution?  Did the words of Jesus, "I am with you always," ring in their ears?  "I am with you always, even to the end of the age."  Right before the end of the age we know there will be terrible persecution and the greatest slaughter of believers ever to occur.  "I am with you always..."  Those words are for you and me as well as those believers who were slaughtered under Nero.  Those words are meant to bring us comfort.  They remind us that we can endure through anything, and even to the end because we will always have His empowering presence until He returns to gather us before He pours out His wrath.

"I am with you always..."

Sweet, sweet words, aren't they?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Come Into His Presence

I could listen to Melinda Doolittle sing all day but here is just one of her songs that I ran across this afternoon...

Hope you are having a great day! 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Psalm 105:1-4

"Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon His name;
    make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing praises to Him;
    tell of all His wondrous works!
Glory in His holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
Seek the Lord and His strength;
    seek His presence continually!"

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fully Equipped

It would be great if after our salvation we always chose to do what is right, what pleases the Lord, wouldn't it?  But we still sin because sin is still resident in the flesh.  I groan with Paul over the battle and also long for that transformation that will end it!  The good news is that though sin is still present, it's power over us has been broken.  In Christ, we are freed from our orientation to sin.  At death or at the return of Christ, we will be freed from sin's presence, but while we live on the earth during this present age, the Lord graciously equips us so that we can choose to live godly in Christ.

Off the top of my head, here is a list of some of those things-

1)  A new mind and heart.

Before Christ, our minds were not spiritually informed.  We could not comprehend spiritual truth and our hearts were made of stone.  We were without understanding concerning the things of God nor did we care for spiritual things.  The unregenerate mind operates in the realm of futility, or emptiness.  (Eph. 4:17)  Our minds were void of spiritual substance.  Part of the new creation is a new mind, Christ's mind. (1 Cor. 2:16)  We do what we do and feel how we feel because of how we think.  At salvation, we go from being in Satan's realm to God's realm.  We now have the ability to think about things that will move us in a direction to succeed according to God's will and plan.  Thinking biblically doesn't come automatically, however.  We have to train our minds to think differently.  It really is a spiritual discipline. 

2) The Word.

It's the Word that God uses to bring about our transformation, our salvation.  It's the Word that the Holy Spirit uses to sanctify us and grow us.  We are instructed to set our minds on things above.  In order to do that, our minds need to be Word saturated.  That's just not happening if it sits on the coffee table, gathering dust. 

3) Spiritual brothers and sisters.

These are those folks in the family of God who are in the Word, who have dealt with the logs in their own eyes so they can come alongside those of us who are straying from God's path, and help us deal with our own splinters and logs! 

4) Pastors and teachers (or pastor/teachers)

God has given the church those who lead and shepherd His flock, who are charged with the care, feeding, and spiritual guidance.  These are the ones who enrich our knowledge of the Word.   

5) Prayer

Paul was constantly in prayer for the recipients of his letters.  In God's marvelĘ”us plan, prayer aligns us up with His power to do His work in our lives and in the lives of others.  In the past year, I've experienced great joy over answered prayer.  We miss out on many blessings when we don't participate in this wonderful spiritual discipline.

Those are just a few of the pieces of equipment that enable us to live Christ-centered lives.  While we are new, we are not yet all new.  I do long for the day when I will be all new, but for now, He has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Only Source of Peace

At the end of Orange's recent blog post on the United States Postal Service he gives a humorous example of human selfishness and conflict.  Sin is basically selfishness and selfishness is disruptive and divisive.  Jesus is the only source of peace between God and man and between man and man.  The reason is simple.  A relationship with God, to be reconciled to Him, and to have peace with men requires the removal of sin and Jesus death is the only thing that accomplished that!

Monday, July 19, 2010

"What a Blessing, Mom."

I just love the wonderful surprises the Lord sends our way, don't you?

My second grandson, Charlie, is due on September 11th.  Mai is at thirty-two weeks and is seeing the midwife bi-weekly now.  The anticipation is building for the arrival of this little bundle of joy.  My son Ben received a promotion at work today, and, he now has weekends off, so he can begin fellowshipping at church again.

Ben said to me after he shared the news, "What a blessing, Mom."

I agree, Ben.  I agree! 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Getting So Grown Up

This is my granddaughter Daisy.  She turned fourteen on May 29th.  Do you know what I love about Daisy?  She is not afraid to take a stand for Christ in her public school.  Her teacher and the kids in her science class last year knew that she is a Christian.  Ask her about evolution and she'd probably laugh.  "Ppbbbffft. It's so ridiculous," she'd say.  "Just look around you.  THERE IS A GOD AND HE DID CREATE THIS WORLD!"  That is just one of the myriad of reasons why I love Daisy.  That, and she makes me laugh, all the time.  And she gives great shoulder rubs.  She'll be spending this week with me so my pantry is stocked with pudding.  (She loves pudding, specifically chocolate pudding...)

See you tomorrow, Daisy!  Love you oh so much!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Great Privilege

Yesterday I looked at the pit from which believers were resurrected.  Because of God's limitless mercy and great love, He transports His elect from Satan's domain, where we can only live by fleshly impulses, where we are energized by the prince of the world, completely dead to the life of God and without hope.  He raises us right into His presence, His realm, His life.  We go from being sons of Satan to sons of God.  We go from alienation from God to being a dwelling of God in the Spirit.  We go from being dead in our sins to being made alive with Christ.  It is all initiated and accomplished by God because dead people can't do anything.

Why does God do this?

Ephesians 2:7 - "In order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus."

Ephesians 1:5,6 - "He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace..." 

For our sakes it is so that forever He can bless us with more and more kindness and grace.

For His sake He does it so that forever we can praise Him for His kindness and grace.

What great privilege He grants us!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Inspiring Gratitude

Nothing more inspires gratitude in a saved sinner than a look back to the pit from which he has come.

"And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.  Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest."  Ephesians 2:1-3

Then comes two of the sweetest words in all of scripture...

"But God..."

"But God, being rich in mercy,
because of His great love with which He loved us,
even when we were dead in our transgressions,
made us alive together with Christ
(by grace you have been saved),
and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him 
in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus."  Ephesians 2:4-6

God, moved by His love, His great love, resurrects us out of the graveyard of the world's system.  It had to be initiated by God because dead men can't raise themselves.  Because of our sin we were dead to Him but alive to the world's system, able only to feel all its impulses, sharing only its prince's nature, under incessant influence by him, living only to please and gratify ourselves.

God held back what should have come to us, His wrath, and instead, poured it out on His Son, and released His forgiveness on us, and seated us in the realm of His presence, right in the middle of His power, His will, His life, and His direction.

Praise Him!  Praise Him!

How can we not then live for Him?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mt. Rainier National Park

Today I said good-bye to my twin sister Karin, but not before a trip up to Mt. Rainier.  We live just two hours from this beautiful national park.  There are waterfalls, huge Douglas Fir trees, lots of wild flowers, you truly are in awe of God and His creation when you visit.  We took Karin and Dave up there yesterday.  I was worried that with the cloud cover we would not get to see the mountain, but just before we headed back down, after spending a bit of time at the visitor center, the clouds broke and there was the beautiful!  Karin said this park was just as beautiful as Yosemite, where we camped often as kids.  I think I would have to agree!


I took the day off and just enjoyed the scenery so Tim was the photographer.  Daniel had his first experience on a swing yesterday as well.  He loved it, as you'll see in the pictures.  I also need to tell you about Fox in Sox, whom you'll meet in the album.  My brother-in-law, Dave, creates picture stories with a red, stuffed fox with blue socks, a  Dr. Seuss character.  Dave has a great sense of humor and they are really funny.  Tim took some pictures of Fox for Dave and I'm sure Dave will probably use them.  In the album, Karin is walking back to our vehicle with Fox, with a cute smile on her face.  She talked the park ranger at the entrance station into a picture with Fox.  I don't have that image, but I'm sure Dave will make a caption that will have us all in stitches.  The park ranger was great and played right along.

(By the way, when I was thirteen, I wanted to be a park ranger.  Just thought it would be fun for you to know that.)

Click here for the album, enjoy!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hurricane Ridge

Our family made a trip up to Hurricane Ridge, which is in Olympic National Park, just a couple of hours from our place...

Tim took these breathtaking pictures of the Olympic mountain range...

A few of
the family...

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Okanogan Highlands

Some pictures for you from our recent camping trip to the Okanogan Highlands in Eastern Washington...I do love the outdoors, being out in creation, and we saw some gorgeous country...

Aren't horses magnificent creatures?

loved his

Lake Beth...

The lakes
had a
happy little



the tree
to the


Last picture says it all, we had a great time!

For more pictures, click here.