We must always remember that Jesus thought of the kingdom in terms of a feast. A gloomy Christian is a contradiction in terms. Locke, the great philosopher, defined laughter as “a sudden glory.” There is no healthy pleasure forbidden to a Christian man, for a Christian is like a man who is forever at a wedding feast.
~William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke
Psalm 68:6 NLT
God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.
Isaiah 58:6 SMG
“This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts.”
Proverbs 24:11 NLT
Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to death; don’t stand back and let them die. Don’t try to avoid responsibility by saying you didn’t know about it. For God knows all hearts, and he sees you. He keeps watch over your soul, and he knows you knew! And he will judge all people according to what they have done.
James 2:8 NLT
Yes indeed, it is good when you truly obey our Lord’s royal command found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
I would like to support ministries that touch the heart of God as described in the passages above; bringing hope and rescue to those who are enslaved or unjustly imprisoned, sentenced to death, trapped and hurting. The International Justice Mission, New Day for Children (home for girls rescued from sex trafficking), Whatcom County Pregnancy Center and Agape Home for women and children.
Things to ask God about:
Do You have any more children planned for us?
Should I commit the time and resources to develop my business?
Which path should DH pursue for short-term income? Should he continue with his long-term plan of game design, or do You have something else for him?
What steps should we be taking with our children right now?
A heavy clap of thunder seemed to originate from just across the street, and rumbled through the walls of our house. Our first indication of an August storm in progress. Two-year-old Anika and I were finishing up a plate of stir-fry beef and broccoli while sitting in the play room reading The Shy Little Kitten. Having napped earlier in the evening, she felt no need to be asleep at midnight.
We relocated to the living room couch and sat in darkness, staring at the sky. Absolute whiteness bleached my entire field of vision. As sketches of gray seeped back into my eyes, my startled mind caught up with that instant – “Am I blind?!”
Anika clung to my neck, her back toward the sky, and said she didn’t like it. I told her how I used to love thunder storms when I was a little girl. The electricity would always go out and we would light candles. “I like candles,” she agreed warmly. The next flash and boom clinched her little arms around me again. I suggested the lightning looked like fireworks, but even this did not encourage her. “Listen!” I enthused. “It sounds like music!” Instantly her posture relaxed and she turned toward the glass with interest. “Yes,” she agreed, “It is!”
Eventually she wilted in my lap. Almost suddenly, in the two minutes between one flash and another. Little head drooped backwards, her hands still strongly gripped around my neck. I continued to gaze meditatively into the storm, while gradually her arms relaxed and slid down. The hubby’s car finally pulled up to the curb. I watched him against the fading lightning, striding across the weedy grass. As he stepped inside, Anika abruptly sat upright. “Daddy! Hi Daddy!” Just as quickly, she leaned back into the cushions and continued her sleep. He knelt beside us and together we sat in awe of the flickering remnants in the sky.
This morning as I was driving to meet a friend for a shopping date at Goodwill, I asked God to remind me of the Divine Romance (there’s an excellent book with that title by John Eldredge). I know that He is constantly active all around me, communicating His love for me in myriad ways. So I asked God to open my eyes to see some of His “love notes” to me today.
Our shopping date was lots of fun and I was lucky enough to find several items I really needed, such as a pair of jeans and two pretty, long-sleeve shirts (December is cold!) Also found a little lamp to replace the broken one in our bedroom (it’s been dark in there for weeks!) For $4 I got a funky lamp that screws on top of a mason jar. Not just any jar, but a blue glass Ball jar! As I was cleaning it when we arrived home, I saw tiny air bubbles in the glass and noticed other marks that look exactly like my other blue glass jars (that apparently came from a little old lady’s basement). So in my non-expert opinion, this is very likely an authentic Ball jar, which means it was made no later than 1937. I have a small collection, but it’s been a long time since I found any for sale.
Now, to anyone else this would not be cause for excitement. The lamp jar is only worth what I paid for it (more at an antique store, less at an estate sale). But I love blue glass mason jars, as much for their innate beauty as for their historical charm. Beaming with happiness, I prayed, “Thank you, God!!” And He replied, “I love you, daughter!” Suddenly the words I had prayed that morning came to mind (which I had entirely forgotten until that moment).
Not only is God the giant who invented the universe and the merciful judge who, at great cost to Himself, made a way to ransom my soul; He is also the Father who sends thoughtful little gifts to remind me of His tender love.
We’ve been home for most of the last week, due to the holiday and playdates getting cancelled when friends are sick. W is hyperactive and very bored. I’m very tired of hauling him off of baby sister, who doesn’t enjoy roughhousing as much as he does.
MP#1 – 34 day cycle
One concept that stands out to me from the book I recently read (Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World) was that I must participate in my own sanctification.
Previously I had been operating under the assumption that I can’t obey God today because He alone can give me the ability to stand against temptation, and obviously if He hasn’t made me patient yet then I can’t behave in a patient manner. Someday I will wake up and find that He’s transformed me into a patient person. Sanctification is His job.
Why, then, does my conscience accuse me when I snap at my husband or act irritated toward my kids? It’s because in that moment, I actually have a choice. Will I vent my frustration on the people I love? Or will I bite my tongue and send up an insta-prayer for help?
I think it was Oswald Chambers who said that God will not show us any further spiritual truth until we are obeying what He has shown us already. Our obedience in the things we already know opens the way for additional instruction to come.
God can only sanctify me to the degree that I cooperate with Him. In a sense, I am in charge of the pace at which this transformation takes place. If I wake up every day and deliberately yield my life and will to Him, committing myself to honor and obey Him in everything I do, then God has free rein to change me and do Kingdom work through me. Praise God! Transform me, Lord Jesus…
20 years from now, 2030
Both kids moved out.
Both kids know how to budget and handle money wisely.
Us retired, financially independent with ongoing passive income and self-insured.
Own a paid-for house.
10 years, 2020
Own house with 15-year fixed-rate mortgage.
5 years, 2015
D’s car is the uber.
In full swing with homeschooling.
Romantic weekend away.
1 year, January 2011
D done with NAET treatments.
Software project ready for beta testing.
If we sell the motorcycle, then rebuild suspension on D’s car.
Earning $500/mo profit on soap biz (selling 167 bars/12 logs/6 double batches).
Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all that you do, and He will direct your paths.
Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
God is working in me both to will and to do of His good pleasure. (Philippians 1)
Romans 8 – But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit… Therefore…you have no obligation to do what hyour sinful nature urges you to do.
James 1 & 3 – If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you… If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom… Wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reep a harvest of righteousness.
Proverbs 4:23 – Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.
Matthew 12:25 – A good person produces good words from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil words from an evil heart.
Luke 6:45 – A good person produces good deeds from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil deeds from an evil heart. For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.
Proverbs 17:22 – A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.
Proverbs 20:9 – Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart; I am pure and free from sin”?
Jeremiah 17:9 – “The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?
Proverbs 21:2 – People may think they are doing what is right, but the LORD examines the heart.
Psalm 139:23-24 – Search me, O LORD and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the path of everlasting life.
Ezekiel 11:19-20 – And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their hearts of stone and give them tender hearts [fn] instead, so they will obey my laws and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World – ch. 6 “Kitchen Service”
Fruit Happens.The fruit of our lips, of our deeds, of our attitudes. How can I make sure my life is producing this kind of fruit? It’s really not that difficult. You see, fruit isn’t something you can sit down and manufacture in your life. Fruit happens. You get connected to the Vine and pretty soon you’ve got zucchini – tons and tons of zucchini. So much, you just have to share! As we “abide” in intimate relationship with Christ, something incredible happens. We begin loving as we never loved before. Our lives change, and we become examples worth immitating. We begin producing fruit. Juicy, lusciously love, lip-smacking-delicious fruit. Fruit in our lives that tells the world who we are and what our God is like.
Jesus ministered as he went on his way. He was available and ministered as he was needed.
Jesus ministered as he went out of his way. His love for people moved him to go above and beyond the call of duty.
Jesus mininstered in all kinds of ways. Instead of guarding his life, Jesus gave it away. He saw a need and filled it – he didn’t limit himself to certain methods of service, or stick to only his preferred types of work.
As the mother of two busy little children, I’ve got my work cut out for me at home. I often feel that I can’t be useful to the greater scope of God’s work because I seldom come in contact with people outside of my house or my own limited social sphere. I felt encouraged by the remarks above because it means I can pray for God to bring opportunities for ministry into my everyday life.
Today – PRAISE GOD! – I saw one of those opportunities for the first time. My brother-in-law volunteers with a ministry to homeless people. He and other volunteers visit the various homeless camps around town and offer kindness, conversation, food and other necessary items to the people he meets. During the year he’s been with Salt on the Street, he has seen three people come to Christ and seven people successfully get off the street. In a few cases he’s actually helped save someone’s life who was in danger of freezing to death in wintertime.
He called to ask if my husband would like to come along just this once, because most of the volunteers are college-age and have gone home for Christmas. As I was talking with him an idea popped into my head. “Do you think anyone would like some soap? I have a huge bag of shavings from when I bevel the soap bars. Normally I just toss them into the kids’ bath, but if you’re welcome to take them if you think anybody would like a baggie of little soap pieces.”
Thanks to God, who showed me a creative way to bless others with something as small and unimportant as soap chips.