Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cultivating a Contented Heart - Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Life is hard, and life gives us a lot of opportunities to be discontent. But the contented heart says, “I recognize that even in the midst of these painful, difficult circumstances, there is a God who is still good."
Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, June 25, 2014.
Nancy continues the series "Cultivating a Contented Heart."
Nancy: We've been talking about this issue of discontentment—murmuring, complaining, whining. Many of us live in this world of "if only." If only I had this, or if only I didn't have this. If only this had happened to me, or if only this had not happened to me.
I believe it was Elisabeth Elliot who defined suffering as having what you don't want and wanting what you don't have, and that could really apply to this whole area of discontent as well.
What are some of the things that we as women are discontented about, that we murmur about? Possessions—not enough or not nice enough possessions, too old or not up-to-date. We can apply that to clothes, to house, to furniture, to appliances. Some of us are hardly finished redecorating one room before we have to move on to the next, just to keep everything always looking updated.
Some of us don't even have room for what we do have, so we've got to build storage sheds, find more closets, or get a house with more closets so that we can store these things that we don't even have use for.
It's easy to complain and whine about our geographic location, about the weather, where we happen to live, about the community that we live in, the size of the town.
Many of us murmur about matters related to our family status, marital status. The women who are single complain that they wish they were married, and I've heard so many married women complain that they wish that they weren't married, or that they were married to a different kind of husband. Speaking of husbands—have you ever found yourself whining about his particular personality, about his temperament?
It's interesting how in so many cases, the very things that drew you to that man were the things that were the opposite of you. You were a very outgoing, talkative person, and what you loved about that young man when you were courting with him was that he was so quiet—until you've been married for six months and he hasn't said six words. Then you found yourself discontented with this husband, with the very qualities that may have drawn you then become a point of murmuring and complaining.
There may be, as it relates to your marriage, the feeling that there's not enough time for you and your husband to be together. There are those seasons of life where, because his work or yours, or the number of children and the transporting back and forth, that you may find yourself whining that you don't have enough time together as a couple. I'm not saying you shouldn't try and do something about that, but these can become issues for discontent. Nancy Leigh DeMoss - June 25, 2014
Check out Nancy's website "Revive Our Hearts" for the entire radio broadcast

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Race Marked Out

Proverbs 17:24-25 "Sensible people keep their eyes glued on wisdom, but a fool's eyes wander to the ends of the earth." What does that mean? It is about discipline. It does not mean that God does not have really great plans for your life including travel. It means that you don't just do things/go places on a whim because it will upset what is already in motion for you. And, who would want to tip that apple cart? Certainly, it does not mean that you should not pray for what you want in life; in fact, you can be shameless in your persistence; but know that God alone will bring you through or bring it to you when it is the meantime, "let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Heb 12:1

Monday, June 23, 2014

Take Control of What you Say!

Dear Friends, firstly, I speak enthusiastically about forgiveness so that we as Christians will be forgivers as we have been forgiven. Too many think that such a statement on my part is a way to avoid being judged.... well, it is. Because, we are not to be judges, Christians are to live as Christ - forgivers. This is the way forward for all Christians. Because, " For the word of God is living and active... sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's light. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to who we must give account. Heb 4:12-14so many of us (Christians and other) think that our actions speak for us. Wrong! Words speak louder and do more harm! That is why as Christians we are called to guide our words... judging, gossiping,slandering, murmuring, mumbling, whining, hounding, etc. Those things which come from our lips are most serious among sins.
Psalm 141:3 "Take control of what 'I/you' say, O Lord, and guard my lips. Don't let me drift toward evil or take part in acts of wickedness. Don't let me share in the delicacies of those who do wrong."
We in this popular culture are so caught up in it that we lose control of our lips. We all have gone/go down that path.  Is there a way back? Saying you are sorry to the person you hurt is important, running to the Lord and crying out your sin is even more important! The above psalm is of David who more than anyone in the Bible ran to the Lord when he sinned. Will there ever be a time when we/you, won't sin? Not likely in this fallen world; and hence, the Lord sent his only Son so that we may be saved! Praise God!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Do Divided Desires/Expectations Separate us from the Lord?

Divided Desires: Restoring Lost Connections in the Global Village  by Kenny Damara.

This book asks us to carefully consider the desires we have in this world. The author asks "Can your ultimate desire ever be fulfilled?" Everywhere you look, every time you listen, with each click and tap, there's something you desire. How do you know if what you desire will satisfy, or if you are seeing a desire mirage" The global village presents countless ways to connect to all kinds of information. We think we can scarcely live without these connections. Do we realize, however, that these connections often block or slow down connections to God, self, and others? Divided Desire is a journey along the road of desire-a road everyone travels. Along the journey, Kenny Damara explores why we desire what we desire in the global village today. What role does God have in fulfilling the ultimate desire of the heart? And how should we respond"

This idea of divided desires is very interesting to me as a sociologist and social psychologist. I know that my own desires are based on what I think people other people expect... As a sociologist, expectations are a great part of our social reality. Effectively, they are necessary for the positive function of society, and yet there are many expectations we have of each other that can never be met. We desire 'expect' our husbands be a super man, we desire our children to be geniuses, we desire our appearance to be  more beautiful 'younger' and we desire our house to be bigger and so on... We these desires can not be met, we lose hope, we lose faith... Why don't we see it as divided desires... in that those desires that we think we must have, things we expect to have, people whom we expect certain behavior from as inappropriate desires/expectations that actually separate us from the Lord?

What does the Lord expect? Think about that...

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sin and Forgiveness... God's Hierarchy for Women

I heard a great message this morning on Moody about sin. Firstly, remember that we are born into sin, this is sinful world which is the result of Adam and Eve's sin. That means that from the very beginning we are sin. Jesus Christ came so that we could become dead to sin and alive in Him. Part of being a Christian and living as Christ calls us to live is understanding what I just reminded you about sin; and, along with being alive in Christ is the commitment of forgiveness which helps us overcome sin and remain in Him. So, remember that you are a sinner and all sin is sin; there is none worse than another. We as Christians need to be forgiven of our sin but moreover we need to forgive others who like we do... sin. Christ does not get tired of forgiving us, so why should we get tired of forgiving others?

I had a discussion with a good friend of mine, my husband... about women's appearance. Our discussion was based on 1 Timothy 2: 9-15 "I want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing, if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety".

Some of that letter from Paul to Timothy is for women not easy to accept, I being one. Now, you might think that my husband was in favor of all of what Paul wrote to Timothy but he was more lenient or careful in his approach saying that Paul was pointing out that the Christian women of his culture were not behaving as Christian women ought to and they should not give more attention to themselves than to others. I accepted that and I also insisted that what Paul said then is good for all times, then and now and in the future.
I also think that women should be quiet and in full submission and the reason is clear because Eve was deceived...not because she just happened to be there as if that is why she was, it happened because Eve was of a different nature than Adam and could be deceived as in 'taken in/taken advantage of'. That is why, it is good that women be submissive to their husbands and to men; protected from being deceived.

This is not to make women slaves to men. Too many 'post-modern' women get the wrong idea. Women are to be protected and lifted up in God's hierarchy and they are to respect God's hierarchy, which is a social hierarchy. Men don't get off easy, they are part of the hierarchy as well. Then come under God's authority! So, what is the sin for women... overriding God's Word for them. Think of it as overriding a program designed for you with the best intention... best solution. Why forgiveness, because forgiveness overcomes corruption. Jesus knew that... when asked how many times we should forgive, he responded 77x's... Matthew 18:21 "Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?" ... Jesus said, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." Infinitely!
What else we can learn about and appreciate when it comes to forgiveness is that we encourage and make a way for /allow people to repent! Repent = Rethink!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Moralistic Lifestyle, Carrie Gaul today on Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Carrie Gaul "You see, my friends, sin is not just something that we do. Sin is who we are, apart from Christ. This is who we are. That’s why you and I can never behave ourselves into a right relationship with God. A moralistic lifestyle is not what God desires from you. It is not what pleases a holy and a righteous God.
Most of us here today tremble because we know our bad behavior is offensive to God, and we don’t want to displease Him. But, ladies, listen to me. Your good behavior is offensive to God apart from Jesus Christ. Even our righteous acts are like filthy rags in His eyes apart from the blood of Christ.
The gospel is not: “Clean up your act, get it together, sell out for Jesus, and God will forgive you.” That is not the gospel. That’s moralism!
But that is far too often the Christianity that we are preaching. That’s often, far too often, what our children are hearing as we’re raising them and saying, “Be good. Say ‘please and thank you.’ As you grow up, get involved at church. Care for those who have needs. Don’t have sex before you’re married, and you’re good to go.”
Now, most of us don’t mean that that’s what will save us, that that’s what will make us righteous before a holy and a righteous God, but, my friends, that is often what our children are hearing. And I will venture a guess that is what your neighbors are hearing when they think that you’re sharing the truth of God’s Word.
Moralism is not the gospel! The most well-behaved, law-abiding, church-attending, choir-singing, modestly-dressed moralistic person that you know is still dead in their trespasses and sins apart from Jesus Christ.
You and I can never achieve righteousness by means of proper behavior. But righteousness is indeed what we need to be in a relationship with God. And that, my friends, is the precious truths of the gospel. That’s why grace is so incredible.
You see, the gospel says that you and I, at the core of who we are, at the essence of who we are, are more sinful and unrighteous than we ever dared imagine. Every one of you, me, Paula, Nancy, every one of us, we’re more sinful and unrighteous than we ever dared imagine, and our hearts are, above all things, deceitful. But God . . . but God. 
Ephesians says: “Being abundantly rich in mercy, because of his great love . . ." his relentless, lavish, extravagant, furious love with which He loved us. And here’s the death blow to moralism: Ephesians chapter 2: "while we were yet dead in our sins" (vv. 4–5).
You see, it gets turned around in our minds, and we begin to think that God loves us because we’re acting rightly. God loved you while you were still dead in your sins, enough to send His Son to die in your place. While we were still dead in our sins, He demonstrated the immeasurable depth of His love by laying down His life for us.
No one took Jesus’ life, my friend, not Pilate, not Herod, not the Roman soldiers, not the Jews, not anyone. He willingly, of His own accord, laid down His life for you and for me, to fulfill the eternal redemptive purposes of His Father that were established before the foundation of the earth. Isn’t that amazing?!
You were on the heart of God before you were ever born. Before the earth was ever called into existence, He knew you, and He wanted to bring you out of darkness into the glorious light through Jesus. And He was willing to sacrifice His Son in order to do that."

Accepting the Word of God as the Truth!

I heard a great metaphor for today's 'Christian Diversity' stemming from the liberal political correctness infiltration that is plaguing us; a metaphor which can also be used to understand the kind of social disease I call relativism so widely accepted in contemporary America.

There were three umpires discussing their approach to the game... doing their job. 

The first one said, "when it comes to balls and fouls, I call them as they are."
The second one said, "when it comes to balls and fouls, I call them as I see them."
The third one said, "when it comes to balls and fouls, they ain't nothing til I call them." 

Which one knows and acts on the word of God?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Future Glory in Romans 8

Future Glory... Romans 8

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God." Romans 8: 18-21
For me as a sociologist, this is one of the most interesting messages in the New Testament. It tells us definitively what our relationship is with God. In reading this, we better understand the Lord's Prayer especially Thy Kingdom Come, thy Will be Done!
We as women, mothers and wives, all too often want things to be our way, our will. No matter how much we pray for the things we want, we should be prepared not to get them. We should be prepare to accept God's will. You see, bad things don't happen in God's view. He can take any situation we face here in this fallen world and make it good, because He is good and thus bad things cannot be true for Him.  We need to remember that though bad things appear to happen to us here, they are not bad in God's eyes. They are turned into good, used for good and the good of His Glory, not yours, ours.... We can overcome in this world all suffering because he gives us strength. He turns bad into good. He allows our suffering to serve His good purpose/plan for His future glory which is ours!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

David's Song

2 Samuel 22: 1-23:23
Like you, I too have my days of despair from struggling with sin. Given that, I can tell you that there is no one figure in the Bible (other than the words of our Lord Jesus Christ) that gives me more strength than the story of David does. David's life was full of self brought on troubles/battles.
What about David and his song? Firstly, let us remember that David was special because he was chosen by God; and because, David always turned to God. David acknowledged his sins which were great, including murder) and yet he ran to God every time he sinned and though he repented every time, he still sinned, he still ran to God.  The point of looking at David's life, we learn that no matter how great our sin, salvation is still ours if we just turn to the Lord, acknowledge our sin and repent = rethink  which means to pause and realize that sin is an aspect of this fallen world; and yet, through 'right believing' ...believing that Jesus Christ is the Lord God and Savior, we 'you' too will be saved. "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6 The first step in repenting 'rethinking' is to run to God, run to the Lord and confess sin and ask to be delivered from it.
To better understand repenting/rethinking in context of forgiveness and salvation, we can compare the situation of Judas to David. Of course, your first reaction is that there is no comparison because of what Judas did... he turned Jesus over to the authorities for money. However, the worst act that Judas did was to hide his sin, to run away from it by not running to the Lord. Judas ran from forgiveness and salvation. David did not.

David's song... "The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence. I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies. The waves of death overwhelmed me; floods of destruction swept over me. The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path. Bu in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I cried to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry reached his ears....God's way is perfect. All the Lord's promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock? God is my strong fortress, and he makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer enabling me to stand on mountain heights...."
*The One Year Bible for Women (NLT)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Reflections: The Journey

Its June! Today in the One Year Bible for Women (NLT: New Living Translation) I read a very inspiring reflection which I want to share with you today. It is called: The Journey. There are many times in our lives when we are not sure we are on the right path, the right journey.

Do you sometimes wish for a vacation from the busy days and the responsibility of keeping your household all together? Are you ready to take a trip?
God wants to take you on a journey. he longs for you to hear Him calling you out of Egypt... out of the thoughts, attitudes, habits, circumstances, or relationships that He knows are not His best for you. He wants to lead you to the Promised Land... the rich, abundant life He has planned for His children. A life that has more depth, more love, more wonder than just buy days with crossed - off lists and occasional glimpses of heaven.
Do you feel overwhelmed by all the things that already fill your days? Or maybe you feel that your needs are very different from the Israelites... that you don't need manna, but motivation; not an escape route but some new energy; and the only sea you'd like to walk through (avoid) is the sea of laundry in your laundry room!
Thankfully, God meets us at our point of need. He knows if you need rest rather than rescue; He knows when you need purpose rather than a pillar of fire. God is ready and waiting to lead you out of whatever holds you captive... emotions, mixed up priorities, or the busyness that keeps you from a closer relationship with Him.
Remember just as God told the Israelites what to wear, what to bring and where to go, He will prepare you for the journey. He will prepare your heart as you read His Word. He will provide the time as you step out and trust Him. He will point the way as you follow in Faith.
God just wants you to take a first step. If you do then whatever sea He needs to bring you across... whatever holds you back from His promises He will part for you so that you walk across on dry land. God wants to take you on an amazing journey. Are you ready to put on your traveling clothes?
Take a moment to ask God to show you what's holding you back from the journey. Ask him to give you courage as you commit to put him first in your life.
1- Read His Word ask Him to prepare your heart as you read
2- You provide the faith (faith of a mustard seed, you don't need great amounts)
3- provide the action of reading the Word (read as much as you can)
4-... and then you provide the trust that He will take you from there, take you the rest of the way.

The above was take from The One Year Bible for Women (NLT)