Tuesday, January 27, 2015

From The Frying Pan Into The Kettle



Troubles trouble me.  Your troubles trouble me and my troubles trouble me.  It seems that once we are out of the frying pan we are into the kettle.  If it isn’t a big hurt then it’s a little pain.

 A few years ago, when I was in the middle of an upsetting amount of dilemmas, I poured out my heart to a Sunday school teacher.  She recommended that I work through the workbook called “ Behold Your God” by Myrna Alexander.  It’s a study of the attribute of God.  Once I worked through it I realized that God is bigger than all of my problems.  Maybe we suffer for a little while here on earth--but our lifetime is only a drop in the bucket of eternity.

Shortly after studying the attributes of God in this way, our family moved for about the 30th time.  A PTA mom, at the new school my son was attending, published a notice in the PTA newsletter of a Moms in Prayer group forming.  This is strictly against MIP rules.  We are only supposed to spread the word through our churches, by word of mouth, and by good words and deeds for the teachers and administrators of the schools we are praying for.  Fortunately for me this mom was unaware of the rules at that time.  I joined the group and I have been praying with one prayer group or another since then.  These moms have my back.  I can count on them to pray and I can count on God to answer.  What a blessing to pray for others and to have them pray for me.

Moms who pray Peggy, Linda, Joyce

Those were two of the ways that God comforted me during difficult times.  I could mention other comforts like Joni Erickson Tada’s devotional “Diamonds in the Dust,” and many other ways God has worked in my life, but I will save that for another blog. 

So God IS sovereign—He moves in mysterious ways!  Those who have been comforted by God have comforted me, and I have comforted others because I have been comforted.

 How has God helped you through difficulties?

I Peter 5:10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfectconfirmstrengthen and establish you. 11 To Him be dominion forever and everAmen.


Monday, January 19, 2015

How Sweet Are Your Words To My Taste! Yes, Sweeter Than Honey To My Mouth. Psalm 119:103


When I was a baby my mom would feed me cottage cheese and I would spit it out into her face!  Cottage cheese is rich in calcium and protein.  She knew that I needed these nutrients in my diet.  But for some reason, maybe it was the texture or taste, I didn’t like cottage cheese. 

Now as an adult I don’t like the thought of taking a bite of cottage cheese, but when I do I like it, and enjoy eating it, especially if it is very fresh and 4% fat. 

Sometimes the word of God is like that for us.  We don’t like the thought of sitting down and reading the Bible, but when we do, we will find wonderful nourishment for our souls. 

When I first started studying the Bible we had a wonderful Sunday school teacher in Spokane, WA.   His name was Bruce Gore--  see here.  He would come up with amazing nuggets every Sunday.  I asked him if the Holy Spirit taught him the things he came up with. He said, no, that he had to observe the Word like he was mining gold.  He would dig out the gems slowly, as if he was using a spoon—a little at a time. I was disappointed because I thought that while studying the Bible the Holy Spirit would do all the work for me. After all, the Bible says in Jeremiah 31: that 33 "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

Then in the New Testament it says in Hebrews 10:16 "THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART, AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,"

I thought that would be cool!  God would open my mind and heart and pour all the knowledge of the Bible into me. When I was a teen I read a story in my older brother’s “Boys Life” magazine about a boy who never had to study.  In the story the boy invented a machine that would turn books into candy bars.  If he needed to know the information in a book for a test, he would put the book into the machine, and it would become a candy bar.  He would eat the candy bar and know everything that was in the book.  I was hoping the Bible would work that way.  But no, God expects us to work at knowing His Word and therefore growing in our knowledge of Him.

The best way for me to study the Bible is to join a study group like Bible Study Fellowship, Community Bible Study, or Precepts Bible study.  Others studying along with me encourages me.  They will come up with insights that I hadn’t thought of.  I am enriched each week. Here is a pep talk on reading the Bible from Julia Stager.  Click here to see it on Randy Alcorn's website.

What are your suggestions for learning God’s Word and for growing in your knowledge of Him?




Thursday, January 15, 2015

Is The Exodus True?

A debate rages over the credibility of the Bible. A scientific investigation seeks answers. 


If you like history you will like this film.  It is in theaters one night only, January 19, 2015.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Pray, Plan, and Persevere


The enemies of the cross are still at it and have been a threat to the United States, as far as I know, since 1993, with the first bombing of the World Trade Center in New York.  In January of 2015 in France, al Qaeda trained terrorists killed possibly 20 people.  In Nigeria Boko Haram killed 2000 or more.  ISIS is killing faster than statistics can count.   The Open Doors ministry report on the persecuted church is  here.  Then there are the attacks in Israel.

A water aerobics friend just got back from a trip to Israel.  She saw The Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Jordan River, Jerusalem, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, The Dead Sea, and much more.  She enjoyed the trip very much in spite of just missing several murders that took place while she was there and several missiles being shot into Israel by Hamas from Gaza.

So what is the strategy that Satan has planned and recruited willing participants to complete?  We know that it is to blot out God’s people.  First Israel and then Christians.

 Last week I listened to the radio program “Understanding the Times.”  Jan Markel gave a talk on which U.S. Presidents helped and which hindered Israel.  She found some surprising results. Click here to listen.  

Most people never would have suspected that certain presidents would be helpful to Israel and that others would be a hindrance.  I’m glad that God is in control because He knows how all of this is going to work out.

What should the Christians and the Jews do in times like these?

When I was a kid we were afraid that Russia would bomb America so many people built bomb shelters. We had drills in school where we hid under our desks in case debris from the bomb fell on us.   But I would say the first thing we should do is pray and seek God.  Next, plan for ways of escape.  Be prepared with supplies in case of an attack.  Be observant for any unusual activity. And support our police and military. Don’t worry.  Tell others the good news of Jesus and Him crucified.  We know that we are living in the end times. May God help us to use the time we have left wisely for His Kingdom!


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Act Two Of A One Act Play



Blogs are dying.  I’m in mourning for the loss of yet another blog.  TheThinklings” are done! They’ve quit, they’ve gone kaput, been assimilated into the great Internet.  It’s sad but I suppose inevitable.  Everyone has moved on to Facebook,  Twitter, and Instagram.

I tried both Facebook and Twitter but decided they are not for me.  I’m reminded of the Tower of Babel in the Bible.  Lots of babbling, bragging, complaining, and arguing.  No one could count the back and forths about Mark Driscoll and the Mars Hill Church.  I had never worshiped at that church. My son had gone to a worship service there one time.  Some of what was said on Twitter or Facebook could have been true. Not that important in light of eternity.

Then there was the scandal about Lena Dunham’s book.  She said a Republican or some conservative raped her when she attended Oberlin College.  Others accuse her of lying. I’ve never read the book, I don’t know Lena, and so if it isn’t true, God will judge.  If it is true God will judge.  Why waste time on some such?

When I signed up for Facebook I ended up in debates about morality.  This was a waste of time. It seems 50% of the people in the United States have traded Christianity for politics.   The people some of us argued with will not listen to the truth. They are blind and walking in the dark.  The best thing to do is pray not argue.

On Twitter I followed fake Benjamin Franklin and other people who had great quotes for inspiration.  I also followed some like-minded people who had the same worldview as I do.  But for some reason I had women wanting to follow me who were pictured with large boobs hanging out and asking me if I wanted to have a good time.  I had to block so many women that I decided to get off Twitter.

I plan to at least try Instagram once.

I enjoy reading blogs because the writer can discuss what is going to make us laugh, cry, or challenge us.  We can give our 2 cents or not. Subjects can be entertaining, educational, and or thought provoking.  We can explain our worldview and pray for those who need prayer.  It’s the modern way to write a journal or diary.  We can look back and read about what it was really like way back when.

But this phasing out of blogs is like a second act of a one-act play. The emptiness is mind-boggling.  Someone left the stage.  In my mind "Thinklings" wasn't supposed to end but it did. We must move on.  God can make something good out of it though.  


Monday, December 29, 2014

My Five Refusals For 2015

Sometimes life feels like this

In past years I have never made any New Year resolutions because it has been said that everybody breaks theirs.  So why bother if you will blow it like everybody else?  Maybe the problem is that we try to do it in our own strength and don’t rely on God.  Of course this is scary.  One lady resolved to get more rest.  She twisted her back and wound up bedridden for a couple of weeks.  She got more rest but it was painful!  I guess the pain was a messenger from Satan but God used it for good anyway.  So I don’t choose to make any resolutions.

Instead I decided that, with God’s help, I would list my “refusals” for the New Year.  I can put the breaks on and skid to a stop, with God’s help, if I begin to do any of these things.

1.  I refuse to worry—I just listened to a sermon on “Worry.”  The podcast was from Mitchell Road Presbyterian church in Greenville, SC.  A former missionary gave it.   He listed some of his worries and I realized that I hadn't thought of those concerns before that sermon.  Then I began to worry.   Christians aren’t supposed to worry so I will cast all my cares on Jesus because He cares for me.  I’ll make my requests with thanksgiving and He will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus with the peace that passes all understanding.

2.  I refuse to envy others--   Sometimes I wish I could dance and leap and become a Rockette but I will choose to be thankful that God has given me legs that will walk.  Others are worse off than I am.

3.  I refuse to be fearful about stuff like this— Will Iran blow up Israel and then try to blow up the U.S.?  Will terrorists attack on a massive scale again?   Will Christians be persecuted and thrown in prison like they are in other countries?  God is in control.  All is well.

4.  I refuse to be bitter—Maybe I was betrayed and thrown under the bulldozer but God meant it for good.  I had to turn to Him because there was nowhere else to go.  I will forgive with God’s help.

5.  I refuse to be proud—Sometimes I want everyone to know that my way is the right way.  In humility I know that God will teach others and me the right way if we will trust Him.

That’s all I can come up with right now.  Do you have any refusals for the New Year?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas If You Would Like To

Our daughter's first Christmas at 7 months.  She loved the wrapping paper not what was wrapped in it!

One Christmas my youngest brother, Wayne, (I don’t remember if he was married to his wife Meg then), gave us a Christmas present.  We were so surprised because he had never given us any Christmas presents in the past.  And he hasn’t given us any since then. There was only one problem.  We couldn’t see our Christmas present because he had arranged for an ox to be given to a family in Africa in our name.  We still wonder how our ox fared.  We never got an update on its progress.  But for me, and maybe a few others who have Scotch, Irish, Dutch, British, and Yankee heritage, gifts are not something that I expect or covet. 

 In my family, while we were young, we always enjoyed a “little” Christmas.  Usually we were in at least one Christmas program, received at least one present, and there was no reason to receive new clothes, unless we had outgrown everything.  My most enjoyable time at Christmas, as a teen, was attending a candlelight service on Christmas Eve, and then helping my dad put together toys for my little brothers. 

But I had an aunt who was a genius at shopping.  She loved to look for bargains and always had gifts available which were perfect for the person.  I remember one Christmas, when I was in college, a boyfriend gave me a gift, so I thought I’d better give him one.  My aunt had found some cufflinks on sale for 50 cents.  She suggested those would make a nice gift.  I could afford that much, so I was delighted that she solved my problem. 

After that I longed to be able to have a variety “store” of my own, like my Aunt Jeanne.  Unfortunately I did not have her shopping ability.  But now I have a husband who loves to shop and is very good at finding bargains.  So if I need to purchase anything, I give him my list, and off he goes.

I like a simple Christmas but others may like a merry “big” Christmas with piles of gifts.  I would say whatever brings glory to God in the highest, and adds to peace for those in whom God is well pleased, go for it!