Friday, July 24, 2009

Summertime, and the Livin' is Easy!

Can you believe it is all ready July 24? Summer is practically over. For my daughter, Amy, who just entered High School marching band, it is over. As I look back over the last couple of months, I am especially grateful for my family.

Three weeks ago, we took a vacation to the beach with the girls and my parents in-law. Cape San Blas, FL just outside of Port St. Joe on the Gulf of Mexico...if you like a place where the water is clear, the sand is soft and white, the shells are plentious but the people are few, you would love it there! It is so secluded that the closest grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, is 15-20 miles away! Our townhome for the week was about 20 yards from the pool and 30 yards from the beach. It was everything a vacation should be! I enjoyed my husband, girls and in-laws. We read books, took naps, swam, walked the beach, had bon fires on the beach at night and made s'mores, enjoyed quiet times with God, and capped it off the last night watching multiple 4th of July firework shows on the sea shore.

Last week my husband, Bill, and I were privileged to go off to a cabin in the North Georgia mountains while our girls were at different camps...all by ourselves for 4 days! We celebrated 23 awesome years as husband and wife. God had a theme going of seclusion, rest and relaxation for the second time within 3 weeks! Besides enjoying some great romantic times (of which I'll keep private!), Bill and I enjoyed the hot tub, walks in the mountains picking wild blackberries, naps, tubing down the Toccoa River, reading, and quiet time with God. When we got back, someone said to me, "You mean you're not tired of being with each other?" The thought had never even entered my mind. I thank God for blessing our marriage and being in the center of our union. Bill and I are so compatible and love being with each other. When one of us has "issues," the other just backs off and lets the spouse have space. It works!

As I blog about these two summer vacations, I am so thankful for the incredible time of bonding I had with my family. God blessed me with great family ties...both with our immediate family and extended family. I do not take that lightly. With God's help, we will continue the legacy of passing the faith along until Jesus comes again!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Is Harry Potter harmless?

Some of you will probably disagree with this post, but if you are a Christian, I challenge you to pray about this and ask God if what I say is right. This morning I went to to login and read my daily Bible reading on my journey to read the Word straight through. I was grieved when I saw a movie review for Harry Potter. I clicked on it hoping it would tell Christians to stay away from it. I was wrong. It actually was a positive review for the movie. I posted a comment. Here's what I said:

I want to know why the site I go to read God's Word posts a review for a Harry Potter movie. Harry Potter is a wizard. Some will say that it's harmless, because he practices "white magic" against the evil one who does "black magic." Doesn't satan disguise himself as an angel of light? Look what the Bible says...

"There shall not be found among you anyone who …practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the LORD your God has not appointed such for you." Deut. 18:10-14

I don't want to have anything to do with what God calls an "abomination to the LORD". Do you?

As I post this in my own blog, I'm also thinking that I sure don't want my children dabbling in witchcraft. We need to pray that our children will be hungry for the Bible and want what pleases God.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

It Comes With the Territory!

Have you ever had a time when God was speaking to you about a subject and everywhere you turned you ran into it? It seems as though every sermon you hear, every book you pick up, conversations you have, songs you hear, scriptures you read from the Bible and even thoughts you have in your head are all about the subject. Well, that has been happening to me lately, and the subject is "spiritual warfare." I would have to be dumb to not see that God is trying to teach me something!

Of course we need a balance on the subject! On one side there are people who seem to look for demons under every rock. On the other end of the spectrum there are people who stick their head in the sand and don't even acknowledge the existence of demonic strongholds. To those in the first group I want to say, "Who are you magnifying--the devil or God Almighty?" To those in the second group my words are, "Wake up! There is a realm beyond what we see with the natural eye that is just as real (if not more) than what we experience with the five senses."

Yesterday someone asked me, "I keep hearing all this talk about expecting attacks of the enemy if you do anything for the Lord. Why does it have to be that way? Can't it be that I'm just protected and don't have to experience that?" I have been pondering the conversation ever since. In fact, I woke up this morning with some insight that might help answer that question.

Last week our family took a vacation on the beach at Cape San Blas, FL. We met a man who has just recently had a house built there. He told us that the house was built to resist hurricanes. The windows in the house are specially built to withstand a 2 x 4 board being hurled at them at 160 miles/hr. Why do they do that? Because they know storms WILL come, because that's where hurricanes hit--on the sea shore. It comes with the territory! If you don't want to weather through a storm, don't build a house at the beach! I don't know how much more a window like that costs than the standard windows that are in my house, but I can assure you that when the next storm comes, it will be worth the cost to the owner.

This reminds me of the what Jesus said in Matthew 7:
24."Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:
25.and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

To answer the question, "Do the storms have to happen if I step out and work for the Lord?" Yes! It comes with the territory! The enemy is not going to sit idly by while we are out rescuing the perishing. If you don't want to weather the storm, don't do anything to advance the Kingdom! The better question would be, "Can I be protected from storms and not be harmed just as much as if they didn't happen?" YES!! I'll give you an example...

Remember the three Hebrew children who were in exile in Babylon. They were warned that they would be thrown into the fiery furnace if they didn't fall down and worship a golden idol. Their response was, "Our God is able to deliver us from the fiery furnace, but even if He doesn't, we will not bow our knee to anyone or anything beside the One True God!" (my paraphrase) So, they were wrapped with material to bind them and were thrown into the furnace. When they were in the fire, Jesus appeared with them. While they were with Jesus in the midst of the fire, instead of being bound, they were walking around free and not even hurt! They not only didn't burn up, but when they came out of the fire, the only thing that was burned up was the material wrapped around them to bind them! In fact, the Bible says that the smell of smoke was not even on them! Were they just as protected as if it never happened? Absolutely! Really, they were BETTER than if it never happened! Think of how much their faith had to have strengthened! Think of the level of getting to know Jesus they experienced that they would not have if they didn't have to go to the furnace. (See Daniel 3 in the Old Testament.)

Back to Jesus' words in Matthew. The wise man had to prepare for the storm ahead of time to be ready. You cannot just wait for the storm to come and then start building. How do we prepare? Hear what God is telling you and do it! Read His Word so you can know what He wants you to do. Spend time with Him in worship, prayer, Bible study. He knows what is ahead. He can SO prepare you if you just give Him the time of day to do it! You will start knowing His promptings and have a desire, no matter what the cost, to follow His lead.

Those who build houses on the beach have so many advantages. They get to see awesome sunsets over the ocean (or sunrises depending on which ocean); they get to experience times of relaxation laying out in the sun, or times of excitement riding the waves; they get to be lulled to sleep at night with the sound of the waves crashing into the shore; they get to find awesome shells as they walk along the shoreline. Bottom line: they get so many perks by living in the territory of the storms that is it well worth the sacrifice to be prepared for the storms.

God has proven that time and time in my life. A life of ministry for God can be hard...VERY HARD at times! However, the rewards I experience are so much greater than even the toughest times! God knows when we need respite times of rest off of the front lines. We need to take those times and allow Him to pour into us so that we will be ready to go back out to battle. Then when we go back to fight and we win with Him, He will also give us time to enjoy our winnings before going out again! Keep your eyes on Him and remember what God says..."Thus says the LORD to you: 'Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle [is] not yours, but God's."