How Great Thou Art

Isaiah 61:1-3
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that morn;
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

I read this today, and loved it. Nothing particularly new.
Just the idea that we get a blessing out of God being glorified.

Which totally makes sense, since that IS why he created us.

Also, Taylor was talking about vacuuming the church (which is something I've done a lot of) and letting your mind wander or singing your gut out and I was reminded that some of the best fellowship I've had with the Lord was at church all by myself, vacuuming the endless rows of chairs, singing at the  top of my lungs about my Saviour, breaking down crying as I realize how good He is to me.
How wonderful He is, how gracious, how patient, how generous, to such a worm as I.

I keep coming back to what David said: What is man, that thou art mindful of him?
Good question, Dave...


Lessons from my afternoon of jogging:

Doesnt that sound thrilling??

Y'all, I have moved to Florida!
The opposite corner of the country.
It's a temporary relocation. I'm going to Bible school down here.

Needless to say, Florida is HUMID in August, as well as in September, October, November, February, March, April, May, June, and July.

So when my roommate offered to drive me to the beach to jog, I gladly accepted! With the wind coming off the gulf coast, you hardly feel the humidity. YES! (Humidity and I are not on good terms. We have not yet learned how to live together)

Nothing big, original or super spiritual today, just some basic observations.

1.Have you ever been at the beach, noticed what looks like a beautiful shell half buried in the sand, bent down, picked it up, and found it was just a fragment of something broken?
 How disappointing!

2. I am easily distracted. And coral red in white sand really catches my eye. So does orange, and blue, and green and....

3. As we trying to jog along the beach of life (pardon the cheesy metaphor), we are so often and so easily distracted by what seems at first to be something beautiful shining in the sun! So we stop moving forward and take the time to reach down and pick it up. Most of the time, it turns out to be nothing more than a useless fragment whose edges had been just barely covered in the sand, hiding it's true shape.
Now, it only takes a few seconds to bend down, pick it up, toss it aside, and continue on, but add up those seconds when you go after worthless fragments over, and over, and over again.
It's really not a very good way to jog down the beach.

Or run a Christian Race.

Hebrews 12:1, 2
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.



No matter what.

I, personally have not yet been affected by the recent election. I'm sure it's coming but all it has done to me so far is sadden me to watch our country turn down a path that leads to destruction.

I got a blessing this morning in  1 Chronicles 16, being reminded that the Lord is always in control.

The chapter starts out right after David finally brought home the ark of the covenant, doing it the way God had previously laid out.
He then delivers his first Psalm to the priest.
You need to read the whole chapter for context, and a really good Psalm that David wrote, but what really encouraged me what this:

vs. 15 Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.

vs 21 He suffered no man to do them wrong; yea, he reproved kings for their sakes,
vs 22 Saying, touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

Then it goes on to praise the Lord to vs 36 in a way that should pump Christians up to hear.

But in those last two verses, it was such a comfort to be reminded that, kings (or presidents) may be in authority, but that doesn't stop God from taking care of his people!
Things may get a little rough, but never forget who is ulitmately in control!

Aaaaand technically I already knew all that, but I obvioulsly needed reminding.

The Lord has blessed me in so many ways, it should never, EVER be a problem to rely on him.
In closing, vs 34

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever.


Tough Dude(ettes)s

Somewhere between age 11 and 13, I became anti-girl.
Actually, it was more like anti-GIRLIE.
I was a TOTAL tomboy (and proud of it), I didn't want to wear anything pink, or basically anything pretty. I was VERY picky about what I wanted to wear 9my poor Mom...).
I kind of wished I was a boy.
Get your mind out of the gutter, it wasn't what you're thinking.
Why didn't I wanna be girlie?
Oh, I did, really, I just didn't think I did. And the desire to be pretty got stronger later on (turns out boys ARE good for something).
If you had asked me then I would have obnoxiously answered, "Cuz girls are WIMPS!!"
I later realized, that not all girls are wimps, and that I didn't have to be one either, and you can be cute AND tough.
That was basically it:
I wanted to be tough. I admired strength.
I read about Indians and people doing amazing survival type things and living totally independent of civilization!
Thought that was SO cool.
Still do.
Well, the fact of the matter is, God DID make us ladies as the WEAKER vessel.
No way around it.
Doesn't mean we are all weaklings.
Doesn't mean I have to be helpless.

Where was I going with all this?

Ah yes.
I admire strength.

Reading in Proverbs today, a verse triggered that whole train of thought:
Proverbs 16:32
He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
So what that boils down to is Self-control = STRENGTH.
Not survival techniques.

So you (when I say that I mean I) can workout and have biceps and hunt and hike and be TOUGH.
But if you REALLY wanna be strong, work on your self-control.

And keep in mind that man is just a dirt-ball anyway, and ultimately, the LORD is the only REAL strength.
Talk about tough.....ever hear what he did on Calvary?



I really need to do these right away while they're fresh in my mind.

October 26 was a Friday.
We (my family) visited a church 45 minutes away because we knew of a preaching meeting going on there featuring (sounds weird to say featuring....it wasn't a production) Evangelist Sam Gipp, who is a family friend as well as an excellent preacher. I could listen to this guy all day.

The only problem is he's such a good story teller that I get so into it that I forget to write down what he's saying!

We'll do our best...
First he talked about radiators.
'Member those old clunky ones that take a year or two to warm up?
Now you've got these things that have motion detectors and only run when you come in the door, with lights and what not...Not how a radiator works.
Here's the thing. The radiator does just that. It radiates heat whether you're in the room or not.
But when you enter the room you are now in a position to recieve the heat.
Kind of like God's love. It's not becuase of anything you've done.
If that was the case, then, when you do something unlovable, He would stop loving you.
But his love is just like that radiator; it just keeps doing what it naturally does.
Now go back to the radiator. What if you could take the heat going in all the degrees of a sphere and focus it on one point?
Now you have a laser: a serious cutting tool.
And what if you took all of God's love and focused it on one point?
That's some serious love.
Now keep that in mind and imagine a scenario.
Say you've got an old friend you haven't seen in a long time and then one day you happen to run into him with a lady on his arm.
Insert typical dialogue, i.e. "Hey, how ya doin'" etc.
In the conversation he introduces the lady as his fiance and tells you they're getting married in three months.
Insert typical dialogue, i.e. "Congrats" etc.
Three months later you see the buddy again, and ask him how he likes married life.
"Oh," he responds, " I didn't get married. She just decided she didn't want to be tied down yetwith marriage.. She wanted to have a career and all that."
They call that jilted.
 A year or two later you see the same guy again with another lady on his arm.
 "This is my fiance! We're getting married next month. Now I'm glad the other one left because THIS is the right one!"

Later on you bump into a mutual friend of yours and ask him how the wedding went.
"Oh, you didn't hear? She left him for somebody else."
Man. Gotta feel for this guy.
Especially when you 6 months later you hear a repeat of the whole thing!
What's the problem?? He's just looking for someone to focus his love on someone. And he was jilted 3 times.

Now look at Genesis 2:7
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

This is impressive!
All the rest of the universe was spoken into existence.
Genesis 2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
 He went and PLANTED a garden for man. Not spoke, planted. Didn't have to do that.
 God actually got down in the dirt and FORMED us!

And then he sent his only begotten Son for us dirtballs!
And there he had the focus of his love.
To show his love he:
Gave him the perfect environment.
Genesis 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
Gave him a job.
Genesis 2:18-19 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
Gave him a helpmeet.
Genesis 2:20-24 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Also gave him an eternal reign.
Adam is the son of God.
Luke 3:38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.
He had fellowship with him.
All this to show his love and what did Adam do in return?
1. Rejected his rule

When you tell a kid what not to do, what do they automatically want to do?
what are teenagers always complaining about?  too many rules.

When Adam rejected this rule he lost the throne he was gonna sit on
lost the fellowship

rejected God's plan
Rejected his fellowship

And then blamed all his problems on God!

Did God have this coming? We all know he didn't. he's perfect.
He did nothing to deserve this.
So it would understandable if he gave up and quit.
But he didn't. He decided to give it another try.

Genesis 12:1-3 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
That's a lot of blessing!
So next he tried to focus his love on Abraham or Israel.
Gave them his blessing
Gave them his protection (know how we know that? they're still here. Miracle!)
Gave them his law (wrote the 10 commandments TO Israel. first time God communicated to man IN WRITING)
Gave them his prophets.
Gave them his written word. (Torah/ old testament) all for them. Specifically to that nation and no other.
Gave them a history of miracles. (Against All Odds- great documentary)
In return,
They rejected his rule (they had a theocracy, and they wanted a monarchy like everybody else).
Rejected his plan (Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh wanted tostay on the far side of the Jordan even though the Promised Land was in sight.)
Rejected his fellowship (they went to false gods)and gave the credit of his miracles to idols. This made them worse than the heathen.
And yet he was wiling to give it a third try:

2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
3. Whosoever will. He didn't pick anybody. Instead he said he'd focus it on anyone who wants it. Now all you have to do is choose it!
Gave us a future meant for someone else (your future is part of a divine plan B)
Gave us our own testament
Gave us a home in heaven
Gave US a chance to reign with him.
Gave us HIS SON.
And what are you doing in return, to show YOUR love for HIM?

All this time I was agreeing with everything he said, and enjoying listening to him with out ever applying anything to myself or realizing that I needed to.
God was/is being jilted three times. Does he deserve any of it? Of course not!!
Does he deserve to be treated the way I treat him?
Too "shy" to speak up for him. Or too proud...
Too lazy to spend much for him. If the day is 24 hours long, I don't even tithe when it comes to time, let alone sacrificial giving.
And I realized that I had a problem with self-righteousness.
That the good stuff I'm doing now for the Lord is so much LESS than he deserves.
I was suddenly struck with the immense debt I owe that I can never repay, and with the thought that I'm not even hardly trying.
Talk about a challenge...

Now I summarized the sermon to give you a basic idea, but if you would like to listen to the full audio sermon ( I highly recommend you do so) comment with your email and I'll send you the file.
Wait till you have a good hour and a half to sit down and listen.
And reflect.


Learning from the Devil

Sunday we had a guest speaker.
I dont know if you have heard of Kirby Campbell and what he's been through or not, but he has a ministry called Treasured Trials that is worth checking out.

Sunday night sermon:

Revelation 12:9-12 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

So first off, a warning...

Then, Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Wise as serpents? How is the Devil wise??
Well, he sure isn't dumb!
Bro campbell started going through the Bible looking for ways to learn from the Devil.

1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

So there is another warning...

 2 Corinthians 12:7-10  And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Here the Lord used the Devil to keep Paul humble and draw him closer in his walk with the Lord...

Luke 22:31-32  And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

And another warning...

Then, in Job we have the most recorded dialogue between God and Satan:

Job 1:6-12  Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. 
And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 
Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 
But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

Here is Satan in the presence of the LORD. Turns out, he spends a lot of time there.

Revelation 12:10  And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

Day and night...
The Devil is constantly coming before God to accuse us.
Day and night...
1. The DEVIL spends more time in the presence of God than YOU.

Then look at the next chapter:
Job 2:1-7  Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD.
And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause. 
And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.
But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.
 So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.

2. The Devil doesn't stop!
As said before, the Devil is constanly coming before God to accuse us. Now, praise the LORD, we are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, so, every day, when the Devil says, "Look what they did," the LORD says, " I don't see anything but the blood of my Son."
But the Devil says "I'll be back tonight."
And on and on it goes.

What if your spouse proposed that both of you get up every morning at 6 and have one hour together where you spend time together and talk about your day till 7, and then you dont talk to each other at all for the rest of the day.
You might get a little upset with that!
A marriage needs constant communication and conversation to stay strong.
And so does your relationship with the LORD.
What if you were as persistent as the Devil in coming before the LORD?

3. Don't do what the Devil does int God's presence.
Job 1:10  Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.

All he does is complain to the LORD...
And what do YOU do in the presence of the LORD?
It's not wrong to ask the LORD for things, but the majority should be praising and thanking Him!

4. Even the Devil can move God when he is in his presence.
Job 2:6 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.
How much more do you think WE can?? But are we even striving? Or is the Devil working harder than we are?

Eventually a recording will be available from the church's website, and when it is, I'll post a link to the page so you can listen to the actual sermon.


Almost a sermon idea

Judges 8:24 And Gideon said unto them, I would desire a request of you, that ye would give me every man the earrings of his prey. (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.)
25And they answered, We will willingly give them. And they spread a garment, and did cast therein every man the earrings of his prey.
26And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold; beside ornaments, and collars, and purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and beside the chains that were about their camels' necks. 
27 And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house.

I read this this morning and my train of thought led to an almost-sermon idea. Kind of.
What just happened in those verses was just like when Aaron used the Israelites' earrings to make the golden calf.
Except they were out-right rebelling against God in idolatry. THIS was more subtle.
Gideon didn't make an out-right IDOL, he made an ephod, which was part of what the high priest wore in the holiest parts of the temple.
It was important.
It was kind of like a part of church.
It seemed like a good thing
It was NOT a BAD thing per say
But Israel went a whoring after it, and it was a SNARE to Gideons house!
But Israel went a whoring after it, and it was a SNARE to Gideons house!
This was a lot more subtle than the golden calf, (and the devil the is master of subtle) AND it was right after a huge victory (one of your most vulnerable times).

Dont you think you could maybe build a sermon off that??
I just need a third point...

Well, the whole thing was initiated by some one GOD set up to lead Israel! What happened???
Gotta watch out....