Being confident of this very thing,
that he which hath begun a good work in you
will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
* * * * * * * *
We serve such a gracious and merciful God. So often I am reminded of Lamentations 3:21-23:
This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
What would or could I do if it were not for His renewed compassions and mercies! It totally befuddles me as to why God would want to spend time with me. I fail Him, yet He lifts me up from the miry clay and sets my feet upon a rock, and that Rock is Christ!
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. Psalms 40:2
And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.1Corinthians 10:4
The following text is one of the greatest I have ever read on God and His attributes as it does an incredible job of summing up so much about Him. It is humbling, yet encouraging. Mind boggling, yet so simple.
Try to top this!
He is the First and Last, the Beginning and the End!
He is the keeper of Creation and the Creator of all!
He is the Architect of the universe and the Manager of all times.
He always was, He always is, and He always will be…
Unmoved, Unchanged, Undefeated, and never Undone!
He was bruised and brought healing!
He was pierced and eased pain!
He was persecuted and brought freedom!
He was dead and brought life!
He is risen and brings power!
He reigns and brings Peace!
The world can’t understand him,
The armies can’t defeat Him,
The schools can’t explain Him, and
The leaders can’t ignore Him.
Herod couldn’t kill Him,
The Pharisees couldn’t confuse Him, and
The people couldn’t hold Him!
Nero couldn’t crush Him, Hitler couldn’t silence Him,
The New Age can’t replace Him,
and Donahue can’t explain Him away!
He is light, love, longevity, and Lord.
He is Goodness, Kindness, Gentleness, and God.
He is Holy, Righteous, mighty, powerful, and pure.
His ways are right, His word is eternal,
His will is unchanging, and His mind is on me!
He is my Redeemer, He is my Savior,
He is my Guide, and He is my Peace!
He is my Joy, He is my Comfort,
He is my Lord, and He rules my life!
I serve Him because
His bond is love, His burden is light,
and His goal for me is abundant life.
I follow Him because He is the wisdom of the wise,
the power of the powerful, the ancient of days,
the ruler of rulers, the leader of leaders,
the overseer of the overcomers,
and the sovereign Lord of all that was and is and is to come.
And if that seems impressive to you, try this for size:
His goal is a relationship with ME!
He will never leave me, never forsake me, never mislead me,
never forget me, never overlook me,
and never cancel my appointment in His appointment book!
When I fall, He lifts me up!
When I fail, He forgives!
When I am weak, He is strong!
When I am lost, He is the way!
When I am afraid, He is my courage!
When I stumble, He steadies me!
When I am hurt, He heals me!
When I am broken, He mends me!
When I am blind, He leads me!
When I am hungry, He feeds me!
When I face trials, He is with me!
When I face persecution, He shields me!
When I face problems, He comforts me!
When I face loss, He provides for me!
When I face Death, He carries me Home!
He is everything for everybody,
Everywhere, every time, and every way.
He is God, He is faithful. I am His, and He is mine!
My Father in heaven can whip the father of this world.
So, if you’re wondering why I feel so secure, understand this…
He said it and that settles it.
God is in control, I am on His side, and
that means all is well with my soul.
Everyday is a blessing, for
By – Mike Hilson for Vista Magazine
In the beginning God…
* * * * * * *
After reading this, the main thing that stuck out to me was: His goal is a relationship with ME!
Me? Why me? Why would the Creator of all want to have a relationship with me? As the Bible clearly teaches, itâs not because Iâm anything special or sinless, far from that, but itâs just because of who God is! God chooses to work in my life.
The lessonâs verse:
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Philippians 1:6
has been one of my greatest comforts. God is still working on me! God doesnât do a slip shod job! He that began a good work in my life WILL PERFORM IT, will fulfill it, will finish it!!
And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. Romans 4:21
This childâs song that many are familiar with really gives a smile.
* * * * * * * *
Heâs Still Working on Me!
He’s still workin’ on me,
To make me what I ought to be.
It took Him just a week to make the moon and the stars,
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.
How loving and patient He must be,
He’s still workin’ on me!
There really ought to be a sign upon my heart,
“Don’t judge me yet, there’s an unfinished part.”
But I’ll be perfect, just ac-cording to His plan,
Fashioned by the Master’s loving hand.
In the mirror of His Word, reflections that I see
Make me wonder why He never gave up on me.
He loves me as I am, and helps me when I pray,
Remember He’s the Potter, I’m the clay.
Â© 1980 by Hemphill Music Company/BMI. All rights reserved.
WORDS & MUSIC: Joel Hemphill
* * * * * * * * * *
Have you stumbled in your Christian life and let Satan get you discouraged, thinking God cannot, does not want to use you? Yet…
ââ¦ a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: Proverbs 24:16
If you are Godâ child, He has a special plan and purpose for your life. If you seek Him, He WILL be found and He will reveal His plan to you. Just like the potter molding the clay, God will take you and mold you to make a vessel fit for The Masterâs use.
We may falter, stumble, and even fall flat on our faces, but what a blessing to know that our loving, Heavenly Father is waiting for us to…
â â¦lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.â? Psalms 121:1
…so that He can lift us up again.
Iâll close this lesson off with a song our daughtersâ and I sang a few months back. What a blessing to see Godâs working in our familyâs life. I certainly wasnât singing this kind of song at their age! Praise His Holy Name! We are a work in progress!
Vessels Unto Honour
In a great house, there are vessels
Some of wood and some of clay
There are great ones and small ones
You can choose the ones you may.
Some for service, some for beauty,
Others bear refreshing wine.
Lord I care not how you use me,
Please just hear this prayer of mine.
Make me a vessel unto honour
The fame of this world, I refuse
Sanctify me, cleanse me and fill me
Meet for the Masterâs own use.
Lord, my vessel is empty
It is purged from dross and sin
By your precious blood on Calvary,
It has cleansed me now within.
Thoâ unworthy for Your service,
Yet Your grace is mine today.
So I offer You my vessel
For your use and this I pray.
Make me a vessel unto honour
The fame of this world, I refuse
Sanctify me, cleanse me and fill me
Yes Iâll me meet, for the Masterâs own use.
Words and Music by Julia Montoro
Arr. By Rachel Walker
Available through The Marshall Family
May 1st, 2006
This is something the Lord worked me over with a few weeks back. I hope this thought stays with me a long time as I believeÂ it will be of great benefit.
And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons. 1 Samuel 16:1Â
Let’s look at what is going on here. The Lord has rejected Saul as king because he wouldn’t submit to the Lord.
Samuel the prophet, who personally anointed Saul, is heartbroken. He is mourning, which is lamenting orÂ bewailing. He is so focused on the situation that he isn’t doing anything else for the Lord.
This is how the Lord spoke to me through this passage.
âHow long wilt thou mourn for thy sin seeing I have rejected it from reigning over thy heart?â?
OUCH!!!! Yes, I know that hurt. Remember, the Lord worked on me first!
When we become a child of God, the Lord is now to be the ruler of our heart and life, but do we have sin that we miss, or are holding on to, or mourning, lamenting or bewailing over? Am I wanting that sin so badly that I can’t focus on doing God’s will for my life?
So I have two questions for you today:
1. Are you a child of God? If not, please read God’s Simple Plan of Salvation or contact me.
2. Who/what is reigning in your heart? Is God sitting on the throne of your heart or does your lust for your sin have or keep trying to take His place?
March 31st, 2007
Anyone that has taken a true look at themselves has to admit that humans are a self-centered and selfish lot. I have even had individuals whom I consider completely selfless to readily admit this truth. Still, let us look at the Word of God:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9
It’s a sad thing when God lets us have our own way. (1 Samuel 8:9) He even gives us a run down of the consequences (8:11-18), yet we still want our own way. Read all of 1 Samuel 7-8:22 where Israel rejects the Lord as their ruler and want a human king instead.
But do we really want the final consequence?
And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day. 1 Samuel 8:18
Rather, let us apply these verses:
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. James 4:8-10
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
March 28th, 2007
This is based on what the Lord gave me in my personal devotion time on April 11th, 2007. If you are not familiar with this story, please readÂ II Samuel 13-14 before proceeding.
What kind of friend do I want to be? Let’s look at some examples in the Word of God:
1. The Wrong Kind of Friend:
The story of Amnon, Absalom, their sister Tamar, Jonadab, and King David is a very sad one. Jonadab is not the kind of friend that will help anyone draw nigh to the Lord.
A. Let’s look at what Jonadab did:
1. He saw Amnon, someone who considered him to be a friend, vexed â basically beside himself so he asked what the problem was.
2. When he found out Amnon was lusting for Amnon’s own sister Tamar, Jonadab encouraged him to follow a sinful path that would lead him to deceive his own father, King David, and to either commit fornication with Tamar or to rape her.
B. Let’s look at what Jonadab should he have done:
1. Upon Seeing Amnon’ state, ask him what was wrong.
2. When he found out, he should have caringly yet sternly rebuked him for his sin.
Open rebuke is better than secret love. Proverbs 27:5
C. What Kind of Friend Should we be Avoiding?
If you have anyone, regardless if they are brethren, encouraging you to do any of the following, stay clear from them! This is a perfect case of the old adage âWith a friend like that, who needs enemies!â?
1. Leading you to do wrong: Matthew 18:6, Proverbs 1:10
2. Does that which God hates: Proverbs 6:12-19
Â Â Â Â a. Proud look
Â Â Â Â b. A lying tongue
Â Â Â Â c. Hands that shed innocent blood
Â Â Â Â d. A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations
Â Â Â Â Â e. Feet that be swift in runing to mischief
Â Â Â Â Â f. A false witness that speaketh lies
Â Â Â Â Â g. Sower of discord amonth the brethren
3. Does not follow the way of those who âdelight is in the law of the Lord.â? Psalm 1
4. The froward ( distorted false, crooked, perverse) person: Proverbs: 2:12, 15, 3:32, 4:24, 6:12, 8:8, 13, 10:31, 11:20, 16:28, 30, 17:20, 21:8, 22:5. Psalms 18:26, 101:4
Â This verse in particular stuck out to me:
A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends. Proverbs 16:28Â Â
5. Is determined to be a carnal believer in following the lust of the flesh: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Galatians 5:19-21
This list could easily be added to, but there’s enough there for anyone to get the gist of whom it would be wise to avoid.
Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. Proverbs 4:14-15Â
2. The Right Kind of Friend
A. Let’s contrast this why the friendship between David and Jonathan, King Saul’s son, as described in I Samuel chapters 18-23.
After killing Goliath, David became a great man in Israel and became the best friend of Jonathan, King Saul’s son. However, Saul became jealous of David’s popularity and feared David would take the kingdom from him so he commanded to his servants and even to Jonathan that they should kill David. Jonathan remained faithful to David and secretly warned him of Saul’s plot and then proceeded toÂ intercede for him to his father. This worked for a time, but time and again, Saul sought David’s life, and time and again, Jonathan’s friendship remained firm as he determined to protect.
Their friendship was so strong they made aÂ covenant before the Lord in 1 Samuel 20:16-17 and re-affirmed it several other times. It also superseded earthly prestige. The Bible makes it clear that even though Jonathan was the King’s son, he knew David would be the next king of Israel and was willing to step aside and stand at David’s side as his servant.
Notice a very important sentence in I Samuel 23:16.Â It sums up everything about Jonathan and David’s friendship:
And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.Â I Samuel 23:16
The following verses all deal with their friendship in relation to the Lord:Â I Samuel 20:3, 12, 20, 16, 42,Â 23:16, 18. That is why their friendship was so strong. God first and everything else working in God’s plan.
B. What kind of friends should we be seeking?
1.Leads you to do that which is right. Hebrews 10:24
2.Does that which God loves: Proverbs 15:9, 22:11
3.â…his delight is in the law of the Lord.â? Psalm 1
4.Seeks after righteousness â there are so many verses in Psalms and Proverbs alone that I suggest doing a search, but this sums it up: The person who is striving to do learn and apply God’s Word.
5.Is determined to follow the fruit of the spirit:
“….love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.Â If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” Galatians 5:22-26Â
3. Here’s some questions I’ve been asking myself:
1. What kind of friends do I have and what does that say about me?
A. Whom I choose as my friends will affect my testimony. One of our Pastor’s favorite sayings isâ? If you’re going to play in the devil’s sandbox, you’re going to get some of his fleas.â?
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 1 Corinthians 15:33
B. Or an old adage: âBirds of a feather flock together.â? I was pretty sure there is a Scriptural reference to that effect, but I couldn’t find it at this time. Those who are likeminded will seek each other out.
2. What kind of friend am I?
A. The following verse is saying that in order to have friends, I must be friendly. Am I friendly? Do I really put an effort into being friendly to church folk (my family in Christ) and other visitors.
A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24Â
B. Then, there’s a very special kind of friend that âsticketh closer than a brother.â? There’s a verse in the New Testament that goes even further than this:
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:12-13Â
Do I let my friends know in word and deed that I am there for them? Am willing to be a help wether in quiet reassurance, a shoulder to cry on, or hands ready for work?
C. What does my behavior provoke in others? Do I inspire others to do right or wrong?
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Hebrews 10:24Â
D. When someone comes to me with sorrows, do I like Job’s friends jump all over them, or do I give them a big hug and try to encourage them to focus on the Lord?
I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all. Job 16:2Â
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved… but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30:6Â
And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God. 1 Samuel 23:16Â
E. When someone does an imitation of the children of Israel by murmuring and complaining, (something God hates and for which He sent judgment upon Israel â Exodus 16:7-9, 12, Numbers 14:27, 17:5, 17:10,Â Philipians 2:14-15,Â I Corinthians 10:10, Jude 1:16), do I join them in their wallowing in the mire or do I lovingly yet sharply rebuke them and help them clear their vision to see the one who controls all?
F. Or when a friend is headed into sin or is in the midst of it, do I do right by them?
Open rebuke is better than secret love. Proverbs 27:5Â
Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. James 5:20
3.What kind of friend do I want to be?
Let each one of us answer that…..
Part II of Wake up and Smell God’s Flowers!
In 1 Samuel 4, the children of Israel were presumptuous in believing God would be with them simply because of who they were (children of Israel) and the presence of the are of the covenant (which is a symbol of God’s presence and power.). They thought they could use it as a âgood luck charm,â? even though the nation as a whole was in gross sin, idolatry and immorality. God will not be used. The battle ended as a tragic loss for Israel.
1 Samuel 4:6-10
6 And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, What meaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews? And they understood that the ark of the LORD was come into the camp. And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp.
7 And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore.
8 Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness.
9 Be strong, and quit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight.
10 And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen.
Are we guilty of that? Do we assumed just because of our status as children of God that He will bless us despite our disobedience to clear commands and holding on to our pet sin?
Did you also notice the intent of the Philistines? They realized that if the Israelites could no longer âseeâ? the presence of the Lord, they would lose courage.
The Lord said it well in Luke 16:8Â
And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
Not too long ago, the Lord brought home to Him a dear Christian lady and precious friend. This was a close to middle aged lady loved the Lord and her whole family had been serving Him faithfully forÂ several years. At that time,Â I was fighting sin in my life and God used her physical death as a means to get my attention. I got to thinking, lets say this lady was being rebellious (and I am NOT saying that she was!!!!) and God cut her life short because of her rebellion, then who am I that God should not snuff out my physical life now… Â
Â We need to take heed! Satan only has a few tricks, but he uses them well.
First, he will try to stop the lost from getting saved.
Having failed that, he will try to stop God’s children from being effective for the Lord. Satan knows if he can prevent us from seeing the power of the Lord in others lives and seeing and having it in our lives, we will lose courage and not have strength for the battle. It’s hard to be effective in our service to the Saviour if we can’t see Him working in our lives.
Part III of a 3 Part Series – Wake Up and Smell God’s Flowers!
Here are some general points that I hope will help each one of us to keep our focus right and seeing what we should.
Keep your sin confessed– daily â more if you need to!
Psalms 66:18Â If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.
Keep on your Spiritual knees – âPray without ceasing.â?1 Thessalonians 5:17
Keep studying and meditating on the Word of God â Simply reading it is not sufficient! We are commandedÂ to study, memorized, hide in our heart, meditate upon the Word of God. Our Pastor uses the illustration of a cow chewing their cud all day long. This seems apt as we should not only ingest the Word of God, but continue to allow it to work on us and in us throughout the day.Â
Joshua 1:8Â This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
2 Timothy 3:15Â And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
This is a side note, but did you know that kings of Israel were supposed to write out their own copy of the Books of Moses and to read therein daily? (Deut. 17:18-19)
Have a good read in Deut. chapter 11 for some wonderful instruction on dealing with God’s Word.
Keep a journal of what you gleaned. -Â I suggest that you make a journal of what you gleaned in your Bible reading that day. That is how many of my devotionals and lessons started. Even if you don’t make something more out of it, reading it again now and then will be a great blessing and help and it may open your eyes to more wondrous things in the Scriptures.
Keep avoiding the evil and seeking the good:
James 4:17Â Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
1 Thessalonians 5:22Â Abstain from all appearance of evil.
1 Peter 3:11Â Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
Proverbs 4:14-15Â Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.
Psalms 34:10Â The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want (lack) any good thing.
Psalms 34:14Â Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
Amos 5:14Â Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.
Keep dying daily and putting on the âarmour of God:
1 Corinthians 15:31Â … I die daily.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Let us not only âseek wisdom and pursue itâ? but rather seek and keep our eyes and hearts fixed on the only one who can win our battles! Not so He will fight our battles, but because He owns us and we owe Him everything!
Psalms 119:18Â Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
Psalm 57:7 My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.
Psalm 108:1 O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.
Psalm 112:7 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.
1 Corinthians 6:20Â For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Part I of Wake up and Smell God’s Flowers! – 3 Part Series
From my daily devotions for April 5th, 2007
Life can get so busy sometimes that we don’t take time to âstop and smell the flowers.â? As energetic, excited, and busy our children get, they always seem to have the time. How often have we walked with our child/children and they âhaveâ? to stop to pick up some âtreasureâ? of God’s creation they have spotted while we were too wrapped up in our all too important thoughts to see what was around us.
Or have you ever taken a nature walk with your children? You think you are just leisurely walking along, taking in the beauty that God has for you. Then you hear the excited voice of your child, âMommy, Mommy! Look what I found!â? as they proceed to show you this âwonderful treasureâ? that was in plain sight but you missed!
We do the same with our Heavenly Father. He wants to show us so much, but we are too wrapped up with this world, or even serving Him, that we are missing the display of His power working in our lives and the lives of others. I’m not talking about signs and wonders. God is always working around us, but too often sin and unbelief prevent us from seeing it.
I love the story of Elisha and his servant, in 2 Kings 6:14-17
14 Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.
15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
What an incredible display of God’s power and protection, and it was there all the time, but the servant couldn’t see it! Obviously Elisha was seeing with a heart of faith rather than a heart of disbelief.
Are you or I really willing to do whatever God wants us to do? Really willing …. whatever …. anything …? If He called you to be a missionary (or wife to one), an evangelist’s wife, Pastor’s wife, etc….Would you answer the call? If He called your child to the wilds of India, would you tell him/her – “If it’s God’s will for you, then you’d better do it”, supporting them every step of the way? Are we REALLY willing to do God’s will? Then why didn’t we hand a Gospel tract to that cashier the other day? Why did we ignore the Spirit’s leading to witness to that “friend” or neighbor? Why didn’t we read our Bible today or pray, but instead chose another book or an extra ½-1 hour sleep? Ouch! If we will not be “faithful in that which is least”, why should we think that God will give us a calling unto “greater things”?
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. Luke 16:10
Still, the Lord may never call us for services such as those mentioned above, but whether we are willing or not to do God’s general (day to day stuff) and specific (our life’s calling) wills for our lives is the whole point. 1. But just who does God think He is that He can tell us what to do? What right does He have?
He is King of kings and Lord of Lords! Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 1 Timothy 6:15 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. Revelation 17:14 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Revelation 19:16
God is our Creator and created us for His pleasure.
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11
He is The Creator, we are the creature, therefore He is in command:
Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? Romans 9:20-21 If we are saved, He owns us, we are His servants: For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. 1 Corinthians 6:20 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. 1 Corinthians 7:23 This reference to “men” would also mean not to be servants to ourselves.
Now, does God own part or all of me? You? 2. Misapplication Too often, I’ve heard the following verses misquoted from the charismatic and liberal crowd:
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? Luke 11:9-12
“See, see, I just have to ask and He’ll give me whatever I want” ….But lets look at the next verse….
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Luke 11:13
“But, but… (we ask) don’t I get a say?” 3. Are we so foolish as to think that God does not know what is best for us and what will make us happy? The Lord wants us to have an abundant life, but He knows what we need better than we do. He knew us even before we were born and is interested in the smallest of matters of our life.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? 7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-8 Thou puttest my feet also in the stocks, and lookest narrowly unto all my paths; thou settest a print upon the heels of my feet. Job 13:27 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Psalm 37:4
Plus, the Holy Spirit that He has given each child of God, knows how to intercede for us, even when we don’t know what we need.
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Romans 8:26
4. Why do we have to be so stubborn and foolish that God often has to use drastic means to get our attention and get us to do what’s best for us anyway? It was during the miscarriage of our 4th child that the Lord taught me the importance of being willing, and I know my illustration is a sensitive issue, but it is what the Lord used in my life. I had always said I wanted 3 children and THAT WAS IT! I was even going for surgery to ensure that we would not have anymore, but through the difficult time of our miscarriage, the Lord showed me His will, and I learned to submit. Losing that baby was one of the hardest, yet easiest, trials I have ever gone through. Those of you who have gone through this know what I mean. The emptiness of my womb was terrible, but in my heart reigned “…the peace of God, which passeth all understanding…´Philippians 4:7 Here’s what the Lord taught me:
1. I really did want more children. 2. He owns me, therefore has complete control over my life, and I am to yield to what His will is, not somehow try to fit my will in His.
I took the loss of our child (but the Lord’s gain) as a gentle rebuke for wanting to have my own way rather than God’s way. It wasn’t that God was saying “You ARE going to have 20 kids….” it was more like I just needed to be willing to have as many as He wanted to bless me with, whether He ever intended to give me any more or not: I just had to be willing. I am NOT saying this is the case for everyone’s miscarriage, but I know this to be at least one of the purposes God had for our miscarriage, as well as for comforting others. Many of you know that God used that trial as a springboard for my poem “Our Little One” but it also got me back into poetry writing after not having written for over 10 years and I know I could not have done “My Prayer For His Will”.
I want to quote one of the first lines of my lesson: If He called your child to the wilds of India, would you tell him/her – “If it’s God’s will for you, then you’d better do it”, supporting them every step of the way? I do know what this feels like. I gave the Lord all our children even before they were born, and yes, two of our children thought they were called to the mission field, and I did give them that charge and another: as long as they answer God's call on their life (whatever that might be, whether a housewife, single Christian woman, missionary, etc. whatever), then they will be under God's hand of protection and nothing will happen in their life that God does not allow for His glory. They are safer in God's will in the wilds of some foreign field than out of God's will in our home town. All they need to focus on is doing God's will for their life, just like each and every one of us has to.
Lord, help us to be willing, for you! – Angela Trenholm
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:12
Perhaps this verse is new to you, or perhaps youâve heard faithful men of God preach it many times. However, a dear sister in the Lord, Cece Garner, gave me quite the convicting eye openener when she told me what the Lord showed her one day during her personal devotions.
First, let me cover a few others points:
1. What the verse does NOT say:
God did not say:
âShe will do him good and not evil all the days of
Perhaps your husband will die before you do; however, the verse clearly says this does not clear you of your responsibility.
2. What the verse clearly says:
âShe will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.â?
God clearly said âher life.â? That in itself is quite a thing to live up to. That means, if your husband dies, you are still to honour and respect him and âdo him good and not evil all the days of YOUR life!â?
3. What added responsibility this gives us as mothers:
This is the point that the Lord showed Cece. Letâs read it again: â She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.â?
ââ¦.all the days of her life.â? ââ¦.all the days of her life.â? God did not say: âAll the days of her married life.â? He said ââ¦all the days of her life.â? That means âeven before she gets married!â? Think about this! If you have a daughter, or perhaps you are unmarried now, as a mother, you have the responsibility to raise up your children to follow Godâs will for their lives. Now here, especially in reference to daughter(s), we are given a very sobering task: to bring them up, and teach them to do their potential husband âgood and not evil all the days of her life.â?
Doing this potential husband âgood and not evilâ? starts at birth! ââ¦all the days of her lifeâ?. Iâm not adding to Godâs precious Word here! God is very clear ââ¦all the days of her life.â? If we are truly Bible believers, that starts at conception. Have we done al that God expects of us hereâ¦.
I have failed many times in this high calling. How I treat my children or my husband, will have a direct bearing on how they treat their husbands.
Working with Proverbs 31, 1Peter 3:1-6, Titus 2:3-5, hereâs some points to ponder on aspects of training and teaching our daughters to do this high calling.
Giving their husbands the good gifts of:
1.Â Purity, virtuousness â Have I taught my girls the importance of being pure?
2.Â Trustworthiness –
3.Â Financial wisdom (thriftiness) â
4.Â Concern for her householdâs well being â
5.Â Honourable -Â are our daughters honouring their husbands even now?
6.Â Hard worker â
7.Â Submissiv, respectful, reverential wife â 1Peter 3:1-6
8.Â Not vain –
9.Â Meek and quiet spirit â
10. Helpmeet â
11. Holy behaviour
12. Truthful (not false accusers)
13. Sober in thoughts and actions
14. Teachers of good things
17. Keepers at home
19. Obedient to their own husbands
20. Focused on not having the word of God be not blasphemed by their disobedience and unwillingness to follow Godâs plan.
September 29, 2006
I. Personal Short Testimony
II. Devotional by Spurgeon
B. The Little Foxes Spoiling
I. Spoiled Conscience
II. Spoiled Service
III. Spoiled Fellowship
IV. Illustration: Brownies With a Difference
C. The Little Foxes Rooted Out
I. Clear Conscience
II. Empowered Service
III. Sweet Fellowship
IV. Illustration: Getting Our Hands Dirty
Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes. Song of Solomon 2:15
I. Personal Short Testimony
We all seem to keep a “little fox” or two around, don’t we? This devotional is a recount of how the Lord worked in my heart to purge out the “little fox” that was “spoiling my vine”. A few years ago at a ladies retreat, a dear sister in the Lord talked about “little impurities” that we allow to creep into our lives, never thinking (or not wanting to see) how those “little foxes” can lead to BIG problems down the road and our vine be spoiled.
II. Devotional by Spurgeon
Here is Spurgeon’s commentary in his Morning and Evening Devotional:
05/30/AM “Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines.” –Song of Solomon 2:15
A little thorn may cause much suffering. A little cloud may hide the sun. Little foxes spoil the vines; and little sins do mischief to the tender heart. These little sins burrow in the soul, and make it so full of that which is hateful to Christ, that He will hold no comfortable fellowship and communion with us. A great sin cannot destroy a Christian, but a little sin can make him miserable. Jesus will not walk with His people unless they drive out every known sin. He says, “If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” Some Christians very seldom enjoy their Saviour’s presence. How is this? Surely it must be an affliction for a tender child to be separated from his father. Art thou a child of God, and yet satisfied to go on without seeing thy Father’s face? What! thou the spouse of Christ, and yet content without His company! Surely, thou hast fallen into a sad state, for the chaste spouse of Christ mourns like a dove without her mate, when he has left her. Ask, then, the question, what has driven Christ from thee? He hides His face behind the wall of thy sins. That wall may be built up of little pebbles, as easily as of great stones. The sea is made of drops; the rocks are made of grains: and the sea which divides thee from Christ may be filled with the drops of thy little sins; and the rock which has well nigh wrecked thy barque, may have been made by the daily working of the coral insects of thy little sins. If thou wouldst live with Christ, and walk with Christ, and see Christ, and have fellowship with Christ, take heed of “the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.” Jesus invites you to go with Him and take them. He will surely, like Samson, take the foxes at once and easily. Go with Him to the hunting. – Spurgeon
B. The Little Foxes Spoiling
I. Spoiled Conscience
Our Preacher had preached about ungodly TV programs, and TV in general, and how we must control it, not let it control us, (and if you can’t, get rid of it!). I had been thinking how good I was doing in that area (after all, I hardly watched any TV….) but really, I had been under conviction for a long time for a show that “wasn’t that bad”…after all….it only had an occasional swear word (oh, and not the really bad ones…)….I taped it so I could fast forward the commercials and “personal moments” (most of the time), etc….I’m sure you could add your own excuses in there too…sigh….but here I was now letting our children watch the occasional episode that wasn’t “too bad”…Oh how we deceive ourselves!!! The truth was, I wanted to watch that show regardless of the “little foxes” I knew would spoil my vine!
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. James 1:14
Without saying the name of the show (as I don’t want others drawn to it), it was about court cases, and the two main characters were always “almost” getting together, but not quite. I tried to pacify the Holy Spirit in me by saying I was really watching it for the court cases (which I truly do enjoy!), but the reality was: I was also watching it for the “romance”.
Since “he fashioneth our hearts alike”, I know you’d be doing (or are doing) the same thing…after all, isn’t that why you read those “Christian” romance novels, ever looking for the fairy tale romances in these “perfect” characters that set a standard no man can live up to, leading to unhappiness and lack of fulfillment in our own marriage? One must also consider that in many of these books, the two sweethearts embrace or kiss before marriage, are left in compromising situations being alone, and the list goes on.
I wonder how many young girls have fallen into that trap and committed fornication, because they thought a little kiss was “okay” after reading it over and over in these books. The authors, especially those who claim to be Bible believers will have much to answer to God for, for these individuals.
… that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. Romans 14:13
Now, although I shun those books like the plague, I had fallen in Satan’s trap with the show. I don’t like feeling guilty, but that’s exactly what happens when we choose to hold on to that “little fox”.
Have you ever tried to get anything done while holding on to a fox? Seems silly to do so, but isn’t that what we do when we hold on to that “little sin” and try to a ccomplish God’s work.
Maybe your “little fox” isn’t the “romance” issue, but how about home renovation shows like “Trading Spaces” and “While You Were Out” where individuals have rooms done in their houses by their friends, family, etc. In the case of the latter show, it’s a complete surprise. Besides the often ungodly dress, the rock music (which we can attempt to justify by muting), they have the same perpetual ending with the surprised participants saying “Oh my G….”. Even if you mute it, the movement of the lips is unmistakable and the thought has been planted…willingly…by our own selves! I know, I’ve been there too…
Now I know this is going to really irk someone…how about the “Little House on the Prairie” TV show (I’m not talking books here-the show)? or shows like it….they’re clean right? Without digging into the wishy washy “religious morality”, I don’t consider two individuals who are not married in real life, kissing, to be “clean”. That’s called fornication (which could easily lead to adultery) and we all know what God thinks about that.
It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 1Corinthians 7:1
Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled:but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Hebrews 13:4
I really didn’t want to tell anyone I was watching this show, as I knew I was doing wrong, as we all know when we are!
We can run, but we can’t hide! The Holy Spirit will not allow us to remain in the much and mire of sin, regardless of how “little” we think it is!
II. Spoiled Service
It all boils down to this: It is one area of our lives we have not given over to the Lord. We are bucking the Holy Spirit and God’s working in our lives comes to a complete standstill until the issue is dealt with. As we go out soulwinning, the Spirit’s power is not present; Bible reading is stale; prayer life is repetitive or non-existent; we’ve lost our joy. How can I expect to be the godly Christian woman the Lord wants me to be when I have no spiritual power. This is not God’s desire. He wants all His children to be filled with the Spirit of God so we can effectively witness in word and deed of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When the little foxes were spoiling my vine, I tried to witness, but the Spirit’s power was not there. I had quenched the Spirit of God and the Lord could not, would not use me. The blood of those whom I should be witnessing to was now on my hands. I had no one to blame but myself.
If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: Psalm 66:18
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God,and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. Isaiah 59:2
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do,do all to the glory of God. 1Corinthians 10:31
Abstain from all appearance of evil. 1Thessalonians 5:22
He that covereth his sins shall not prosper:but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Proverbs 28:13
When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Ezekiel 3:18
III. Spoiled Fellowship
In my case, it was causing me to be grumpy with my children, actually, down right miserable and I certainly was not the profitable help meet for my husband either! I was hardly reading my Bible, my prayer life was hindered….on and on it went….I was fighting God and I knew it! I’ve often said there are two people who are the most miserable on earth, the lost and the backslidden Christian. It’s not good to be either one! If you are honest, you must admit that it is your sin that is causing havoc in your home as well.
Well, as I said, Preacher preached on ungodliness from the TV, and I was still justifying myself pretty good, until he read an illustration I had read a few years ago, but forgotten about. I think it gets the point across thoroughly.
Brownies With A Difference
Many parents are hard pressed to explain to their youth why some music, movies, books, and magazines are not acceptable material for them to bring into the home or to listen to or see.
One parent came up with an original idea that is hard to refute. The father listened to all the reasons his children gave for wanting to see a particular PG movie. It had their favorite actors. Everyone else was seeing it. Even church members said it was great. It was only rated PG because of the suggestion of sex — they never really showed it. The language was pretty good — the Lord’s name was only used in vain three times in the whole movie.
The teens did admit there was a scene where a building and a bunch of people were blown up, but the violence was just the normal stuff. It wasn’t too bad. And, even if there were a few minor things, the special effects were fabulous and the plot was action packed.
However, even with all the justifications the teens made for the PG rating, the father still wouldn’t give in. He didn’t even give his children a satisfactory explanation for saying, “No”, He just said, “No”.
A little later on that evening the father asked his teens if they would like some brownies he had baked. He explained that he’d taken the family’s favorite recipe and added a little something new. The children asked what it was.
The father calmly replied that he had added dog poop. However, he quickly assured them, it was only a little bit. All other ingredients were gourmet quality and he had taken great care to bake the brownies at the precise temperature for the exact time. He was sure the brownies would be superb.
Even with their father’s promise that the brownies were of almost perfect quality, the teens would not take any. The father acted surprised. After all, it was only one small part that was causing them to be so stubborn. He was certain they would hardly notice it.
Still the teens held firm and would not try the brownies.
The father then told his children how the movie they wanted to see was just like the brownies. Our minds are us into believing that just a little bit of evil won’t matter. But, the truth is even a little bit of poop makes the difference between a great treat and something disgusting and totally unacceptable.
The father went on to explain that even though the movie industry would have us believe that most of today’s movies are acceptable fare for adults and youth, they are not.
Now, when this father’s children want to see something that is of questionable material, the father merely asks them if they would like some of his special dog poop brownies. That closes the subject.
Doesn’t leave us with any excuses does it?
C. The Little Foxes Rooted Out
I. Clear Conscience
I still struggled with my “besetting sin” that night, but the next morning, I could not take the conviction anymore, so I walked over to the VCR and deleted the program for that show. It was done! What relief! What joy! Oh why do we hold on to our sin when there is such sweet release, relief, joy, contentment, etc. when we know we are walking in sweet fellowship with our Lord!
….weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Psalms 30:5
It has been several weeks now, and not only have I stopped watching that show, almost all desire for any TV has virtually vanished. I’m not even really that interested in the news anymore either. (I read that via e-mail when I want it.)
It is so wonderful to no longer have that burden of guilt which brings about a sense of impending judgment!
II. Empowered Service
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Psalm 51:12
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem,and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Acts 1:8
Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness,nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Ezekiel 3:19
III. Sweet Fellowship
I was blessed to go out for lunch that day, for the first time ever, with my Pastor’s wife. (Don’t know why we never have, maybe 6 kids each, busy household…you know the rigmarole!) Anyway, we had a blessed time encouraging one another in the Lord, with a clear conscience, and it was a great relief for me to share with her this issue and to rejoice in victory over sin!
I didn’t really think I spent “that” much time watching TV, but now I find I can sit and talk with my other children (or read them a book, etc.) while feeding the baby, instead of watching the “goof tube”. And yes, a sweeter spirit is now reigning in our home! God has been very good to me!
IV. Illustration: Getting Our Hands Dirty
Susannah Wesley was one of the great mothers of history. One day, one of her daughters wished to do something which was not altogether bad, but which was not right. When she was told not to do it, she was not convinced.
It was late and she and her mother were sitting beside a dead fire. Her mother said to her: “Pick up that bit of coal.” “I don’t want to,” said the girl. “Go on,” said her mother. “The fire is out, it won’t burn you.” “I know that,” said the girl. “I know it won’t burn me but it will blacken my hands.” “Exactly,” said Susannah Wesley.
I think this quote summarizes so well what the “little foxes” can do::
Sin will take you farther than you wanted to go.
Sin will keep you longer than you ever wanted to stay.
Sin will cost you far more than you ever wanted to pay.
– Author Unknown to me
Our Preacher is fond of saying:
It is better to have no friends than the wrong kind of friends.
I’d like to add to his wise saying::
It is better to read no books than read the wrong books.
It is better to watch no TV than bad TV.
Let us take heed and not allow those “little foxes” to “spoil our vines” so that we may be the godly Christian women God wants us to be.
– Angela Trenholm
Take us the foxes, the little foxes,that spoil the vines:for our vines have tender grapes. Song of Solomon 2:15