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A Closer Walk with God

As we consider ways to grow closer in our walk with God, two words come to mind - purity and glory.

Purity in being free from duplicity or double-mindedness.. Our human nature, or what I like to call our ‘self’ can never be perfectly pure until we are with our Lord in Heaven, but it is possible to work at living a pure life for the Lord, to attract others to Him and to have the close relationship with God that He so desires, and that we should desire as well. The Greek word for purity is hagneia (hag-ni’-ah) which denotes chastity which excludes all impurity of spirit, manner, or act. 1 Timothy 4:12 “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 5:1-2 “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.”

Being “pure in heart,” involves inner cleansing: “Create in me a clean heart, O God” – Psalm 51:10. While the classical Greek word for “pure” (katharos) means being free from debt and guilt, the Biblical usage includes more than forgiveness. To be pure means to be single minded–free from the civil war of a divided self –being free from falsehood, hypocrisy, or pretense. The person who is rightly related to Jesus Christ will be pure in heart and life – 2 Timothy 2:19-22 “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

If we are truly God’s children, we will desire to please Him. When Jesus blessed the “pure in heart” – Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God,” He affirmed that true happiness is loving God with our whole hearts, desiring that our whole lives please Him. In other words, purity demands that we remove anything and everything that would separate us from the holy presence of God – Habakkuk 1:13 “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity…”

Anyone who has the hope of seeing God “purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:3). Such a person begins and maintains a love relationship with God based on integrity and singularity of purpose. A pure life cannot exist without a pure heart set upon the Lord.

Glory – Greek word doxa (dox’-ah) – dignity, honour, praise, woship

1 Corinthians 10:31 “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” God has laid this verse on my heart today as never before. Knowing it is not enough, I must take action to implement it in my walk. This is a huge challenge for all believers. We all face those temptations from the world that bring pleasure. Remember, worldly pleasures are temporary! The world is at enmity with God – James 4:4 “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” I believe the biggest help to be had in overcoming all temptation boils down to asking ourselves this one question: “Is it glorifying to God? Will this bring glory and honour to my heavenly Father?” I know, I know, it goes totally against our very nature to ask ourselves that question when there is something before us that we think we just have to do or have to have.

I can envision a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other when I am tempted by the evils of this world.

But, if I speak out loud or even whisper to myself “do all to the glory of God.” And then ask myself, “Is this going to glorify God? Is this going to help further the Kingdom of God?” I have the power of His Word and His Holy Spirit to the “renewing of my mind” to help me overcome temptation. Remember also, evil and its minions must flee at the very name of Jesus. “No, you go away in Jesus’ name!” I cannot begin to count the very many times I have spoken those words over the years. We must realize that as human beings, we have absolutely no power over the plans the destroyer has to create havoc in our lives, but God has given us His Word, the name of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit to call on for His power! I am nothing without Him!

Remember! “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.”

The next time you are tempted by ‘the evils of this world’ why not ask yourself, “Will it glorify God or help to further His Kingdom?” Stop playing games – giving in to sin and begging forgiveness and feeling unworthy, over and over and over again. The devil seeks to destroy and kill everything and everyone that belongs to God. Do not give him the glory!

Lastly, “I hate to think that I would be involved in some sin when the last trump sounds and Jesus says, ‘Anna, come up hither!’” What shame and remorse I would feel, I cannot even imagine. Why should we continue to choose more sin to feel ashamed of when we meet our loving Master? And we will ultimately stand before Jesus and give account for what we did on this earth after we received Him as our Saviour, Lord, and Master. It is up to us what we do and how we grow in Him. Will we always be successful? No, we will stumble, but at least we can know that we have the tools that He has given us at to do our best to be pure and glorify our Holy God. 1 Peter 1:16

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2014 in Godly Women

 

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Prayer – important for growing in God

When we pray, we are talking with God. Prayer is a God-given priority in growing in our walk with Him. If we are not talking with God every day, we do not have a relationship with Him. Talking with God does not mean asking for things, although He does want to hear our petitions. God wants to be our best friend and He wants to know our hearts desires, but He also wants to help us and guide us to an abundant life with Him now. What a great honor and privilege that too many take for granted or overlook completely. They then wonder why they face horrible consequences for trying to live this human life on their own. How are we to determine His will in our lives if we are not spending time with Him? How are we to live a life that is glorifying to Him if we are not spending time with Him?

While many believers sincerely desire to spend time with God in prayer, a few actually do. Spiritual discipline is necessary for us to be able to make prayer a priority in our lives. God, however, has made prayer a priority–directing His children to pray first, often, and always. Therefore, prayer should become a priority for us!

Scripture speaks repeatedly of the importance of prayer. Paul says to pray about everything – Philippians 4: 6 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Believers should make all requests known to God. In addition, believers are warned to pray regularly and frequently. David promised the Lord, “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” (Psalms 55:17) Jesus prayed for extended periods of time, especially when making important decisions – Luke 6:12 “And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” When was the last time we prayed and communed with our loving God all night? Certainly when facing challenges or trials, we should pray – James 5:13 “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.” Please do not let sin and pride keep you from talking with, and sharing with, and listening to God.

Paul inspired the Christians in Thessalonica to pray without ceasing – 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Prayer becomes not only an attitude of the heart, but it is also a continual dialogue with the Lord. The more time we spend in God’s Word and in communing with Him, the more prayer becomes a habit, and one of the best habits we can ever have.

When we pray, we must take time to be still and hear a word from God – Psalms 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God: …” (I have taken much comfort from that verse.) The Bible does not dictate any specific time or place for prayer. But,  believers may find it easier to maintain the priority of prayer when we establish a definite time and place to pray as part of our daily schedule – Luke 18:1 “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;”

Our prayer time should consume a place in our hearts, in our very souls; it also needs a place in our homes. I believe that as Christ-like children of God, we all need our own private prayer closet – Matthew 6:6 “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” We all must have a place of solitude that is free from all worldly distractions so that we may pray in private.

To help make prayer a priority in our lives, we may want to use a prayer journal or devotional book or write out a prayer list and revise it often. I cannot begin to list all the many times that God has spoken to me or answered some prayer request in my daily devotionals. It also helps for us to share our commitment to prayer with others, both to encourage them and to hold ourselves accountable for praying regularly.

The example of Daniel 2:23 “I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.” Daniel modeled a personal devotional life with God. He “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself” with the riches and delicacies offered to him by the king. (Daniel 1:8-17) He openly refrained from these luxuries that were offered to him, living out the strength of his convictions. As a result, God gave Daniel and his friends–Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego–”knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom” (Daniel 1:17). He also gave Daniel understanding in visions and dreams. One of Daniel’s lifestyle choices was a decision to pray and give thanks to God first and foremost, before anything else–which he had done three times a day since he did “aforetime” (Daniel 6:10). Daniel kept this personal devotional commitment, even in the face of a royal decree that sought to prohibit the worship of Yahweh (Daniel 6:3-5). He was also quick to ask for God’s wisdom, to seek the counsel of Godly advisers, and to praise God for the revelations of his wisdom. Daniel’s life exhibited a commitment to hearing and knowing God’s Word, then living it out in practical ways. Jesus taught this same pattern: hearing and doing in Matthew 7:24 “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:”

When we are devoted to knowing and doing the work of God–refraining from being pulled into the sinfulness of the world–we are enabled to inherit the grace, love, and wisdom that God offers those who give themselves totally to Him. (Romans 10)

We who are truly saved by the blood of Jesus, are to spend eternity in God’s presence, communing with Him constantly. Why not get into that habit now? What blessings He bestows on us if we only would.

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2014 in Godly Women

 

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Itching Ears

Anna:

Beware of these “feel good” mega churches. They are mega because they only say what people want to hear.

Originally posted on Study God's Word:

Matthew 24:11-12. “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

One of the ways these false prophets and deceivers will fool many will be through the use of what my dad referred to as “entertainment preaching.” II Timothy 4:3-4:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine: but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

We have a lot of this kind of preaching going on today, preaching that makes us feel good, that tells us what we want to hear, that promises health, wealth and happiness if we just follow a particular path. Sometimes the preaching is just the vehicle for the personality.  Hundreds seem to be charmed, even…

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Posted by on October 31, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Living for God

In the last post we shared about living each day for the Lord and some perfectly great reasons for doing so. But, how do we do that? Just saying we know God is not living for Him. Even the demons “know” God, but they do not live for Him. It is not enough to say, “I am Saved or I know God.” We must live our Salvation out and grow in Him more every day. Many who know me are familiar with a saying I have grown accustomed to, “I will never know everything about God and His Word, I learn more each day. The day I think I know it all, it is time for me to Go Home!” Even as I am led to share these posts, I ask His Holy Spirit to teach me what I need to learn from them.

Once we have trusted in Jesus’ deliverance from our sins, we must continue to grow closer to Him each and every day. Of course, we must enter into our prayer closets and share and listen to His sweet voice, but perhaps the most vital thing we can do is get into His teaching manual, His Word.

In my quiet time this morning as I was in His Word (my Women’s Study Bible-KJV), I read an insert by Stormie Omartian from “The Power of Praying” that I believe is helpful for us all as we grow closer to our Saviour. I trust this into God’s capable hands to get it where He needs it to go, and to do what He needs it to do in me. Words in () are mine.

“Ten Good Reasons to Read God’s Word”

1. To know where you are going.You can’t foresee the future or exactly where you are heading, but God’s Word will guide you – Psalm 119:133 “Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.”

2. To have wisdom. Knowledge of God’s Word is where wisdom begins to grow in you – Psalm 19:7 “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.”

3. To find success. When you live according to the teachings of the Bible, life works – Joshua 1:8 “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.” (Wow, need I say more? God does not and cannot lie!)

4. To live in purity. You must live a life of holiness and purity in order to enjoy more of the Lord’s presence, but you can’t be made pure without being cleansed through God’s Word – Psalm 119:9 “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.”

5. To obey God. If you don’t understand what God’s laws are, how can you obey them? – Psalm 119:33-35 “Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.” (I so love the delight I feel in my soul when God is showing me something in His Word. Those who do not experience this are really missing out on a marvelous blessing.)

6. To have joy. You cannot be free of anxiety and unrest without the Word of God in your heart – Psalm 19:8 “The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.”

7. To grow in faith. You can’t grow in faith without reading and hearing the Word of God – Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (It really is beyond my comprehension how so many today muddle through this life that is wrought with trials, without the guidance and strength that God has for us in His Word. I find my faith tested every day. I simply do not believe I could go through those tests without God’s help. He has taught and is still teaching me that my faith grows stronger with each trial I make it through. Unfortunately, I have had to learn some things the hard way. Mainly, that I really would have saved myself a lot of heartache if I had made it a habit to stay in God’s Word searching His Will and proving all things through it, earlier in my life.)

8. To find deliverance. You won’t know what you need to be free of unless you study God’s Word to find out – John 8:31-32 “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

9. To have peace. God will give you a peace that the world can’t give, but you must find it first in His Word – Psalm 119:165 “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” (God’s peace far surpasses anything of this world. I have found that when I stay close to God and His Word, what others might mean as offense to me are not taken as such. Things just do not bother me when I stay in fellowship with Him, I am under His wing.)

10. To distinguish good from evil. Everything has become so relative today, how can you know for sure what is right and wrong without God’s Word? – Psalm 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

(There have been times in my life that I was more in the world than in God’s Word. When we choose to do that, sin becomes easier. We become numb to what our Holy Spirit is telling us about the sin in our lives. Wrong becomes right and right becomes wrong. One thing I can say is that I never felt peace while in those times. I would much rather live in as much of God’s peace which comes from His direction, than the upheaval I felt in my soul during my times of low self-worth and turning from Him. There is no high on earth that can compare to the peace and Joy from our Heavenly Father. He wants that for all!)

GOD HAS PRESERVED HIS SUPERNATURAL WORD FOR HIS CHILDREN. THERE IS NO GREATER LOVE THAN THE LOVE OF YAHWEH!

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2014 in God's Love

 

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Living for God Until we Go to Heaven

Scripture refers to Heaven in three different ways: the vast expanse of space that surrounds the earth; the unequaled celestial universe; and the longed-for dwelling place of God. The reality that Christians will one day live forever in the presence of the Lord is a fundamental doctrine of the faith. The Bible only gives us a few glimpses of this Heavenly abode. It is a place prepared for Believers – John 14:1-3. It is a place without sorrow, darkness, or any kind of sin – Revelation 21:1-7. In Heaven, we will be like Christ; yet we will be able to recognize one another – 1 John 3:2. The most important thing about Heaven, however, is the presence of God. We will be forever with Him. Heaven is not meant to be an ethereal concept that we store in some mental safe-deposit box until we feel the need for it. We are to live now in the light of eternity. The values and perspective of eternity should guide our lives in the present – 2 Peter 3:10-12:

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”

This is a subject that has been on my heart for some time now because I so wish for more of us to understand that just getting saved is not all there is to going to Heaven. Being saved by the precious blood of Jesus is all that is needed to be able to call Heaven our future home, but I do not believe the “rest of the story” is being taught in our churches today. I believe that there are very many who accept Jesus as Saviour, but that is the end of the journey for them; they have their ticket to Heaven. Salvation is just the beginning of a new life in Christ in which we all need to grow in and strive to be more like Christ each and every day while we are still present in this world. The purpose for that is to so shine our lights for others to want to come along with us. “God would that none should perish.”

I regret to say that not many “Christians” in this day even know what the Bema-Seat Judgment is, or they equate it with the Day of Judgment. The Bema-Seat Judgment is for the Saved in Christ, immediately upon our translation into Heaven. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10). This Judgment is not for Salvation, but rather our works – what are we doing with Christ since we received Him as our Saviour? When we are saved, we are led by the Holy Spirit to live for Christ, if we are growing in the Spirit and trying to become like Christ. When we let this world lead us astray, we turn from our quiet times with God in our prayer closets, we turn from searching His Word so that it may mold us to be more like Christ and reveal His will for our lives, we leave God’s church family and the support that can be found there to help us through life’s trials and give us a place to serve the Lord.

Do we not understand that living in and for this world, or sowing to the flesh only leads to a life of sin and corruption? Galatians 6:5-8 “For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” A life led sowing to the Spirit of God leads to a life of righteousness and holiness. Those who sow to their own flesh do not lose the Spirit, but they lose the fruit of the Spirit. What kind of a testimony do we have for a world of lost sinners if we are living in the flesh? (I struggle each day against my fleshly sin nature that we all have as humans. Some times I win and some times I lose. I usually lose when I try to fight the battle on my own instead of calling on the Lord and His Holy Spirit to help me die to my sinful flesh.) Those who sow to the Spirit experience a harvest of righteousness and peace, the abundant life that God wishes for His children to experience in this world.

“Oh, well,” we think, “it’s okay, I am still going to Heaven, and God will forgive me.” Yes, of course both of those thoughts are true, but too many have forgotten that each and every one of us will stand before Christ at this Judgment and give account of what we did for Christ after He saved us. I have spent times in my life in the world, though saved, and when I came back to a walk with Christ, I felt such great remorse for those wasted years that could have been spent shining for Him. While on my knees crying out to God for forgiveness for those wasted years, I could not help but think how each of us will be so terribly overwhelmed by the remorse of not having done more for the cause of Christ, when we go into His presence, that we will weep uncontrollable tears of sorrow. I believe that those are the tears that the Lord God will wipe away from our eyes.

Every Believer has the choice to build with the valuable and lasting relationship with Christ, or the worthless and fleeting corruptness of this world and its ruler, satan. “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:12-15)

Not only is this Bema-Seat Judgment a time for our works to be held in account, but it is also a throne where Christ will give rewards to His faithful servants. Now, I know that we all love getting recognition for doing good or doing right, but I believe when we received these rewards from Jesus, we will with all our hearts and souls want to turn right around and lay these rewards at the feet of Jesus. We will fully realize that anything we may have earned would not be possible if not for Him-we will not even be in Heaven if not for Him, and it is He who truly deserves all rewards.

Scripture calls these rewards crowns, which comes from 2 Greek words: 1. diadema – a crown worn by a king and bestowed by birthright, 2. stephanos – refers to the crown bestowed an athlete in the athletic games or on the field of battle for personal victory.

Crown of Rejoicing – reward for winning souls to Christ – 1 Thessalonians 2:19 “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?”

Crown of Righteousness – given to those who have lived life as if Jesus may return at any moment (our great hope) – 2 Timothy 4:5-8 “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

Crown of Life – awarded to those who have suffered persecution or martyrdom for their faith – James 1:12 “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” And Revelation 2:10 “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

Crown of Mastery – for those who have disciplined their bodies and have been victorious over them – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

Crown of Glory – this is the crown that will be given to those church leaders who have faithfully cared for the Lord’s sheep – 1 Peter 5:1-4 “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”

Our Great loving and merciful God richly rewards those who have persevered and lived in obedience: Matthew 5:5,12; 19:27-30; 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-27

Can we all just imagine what this world and our country would be like if God’s people would fully understand what comes after the Salvation of Jesus Christ in our hearts and lives? I dare say, it would not be as wicked and corrupt as it is today, and becoming more so every day. Yes, I know we are living in the end times, and satan knows that his time is short. Should we not also realize that our time is short as well, and live a life that makes those lost ones want what we have in Christ? Why do we let the evil ruler of this world be so successful in taking as many souls as he can to Hell with him? God did not create any of us for Hell, nor He did create Hell for mankind! He would that NONE should perish! 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

If we are not living for Christ, we are living for satan.

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2014 in God's Truth

 

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My Review of “The Covered Deep”

It is with great honor that I submit this review of “The Covered Deep” by Brandy Vallance. As an avid reader of historical fiction, especially Biblical or Inspirational historical fiction, I highly recommend this book. Having grown up in the Midwest, I can relate to the many wonderful metaphors that Mrs. Vallance used so eloquently throughout her first novel. Oh, the shivering memories that came to mind on the very first page with these words: “Spin–” “The word felt like cod liver oil on her tongue.” I could totally understand relating the horror of living life alone as a spinster (in the mind of a young lady) to the taste of cod liver oil. My Daddy used to give us a tablespoon of cod liver oil at night before bedtime as it was “well known” that it would prevent all those winter colds and ills. The experience was anything but pleasant.

I found myself being carried along with Bianca on her adventure to London and the Holy Land after winning a contest that her father brought to her attention. I was thrilled that her father was a partner in her quest to find her “soul mate” instead of listening to her mother’s advice to simply settle for a “good husband” while she was still of a marrying age.

At times I became impatient to know the answer to the mystery behind Sir Adrian’s essay contest that brought four winners together for this adventure. It became obvious that he had ulterior motives that I would not know until near the end of the story. My emotions went up and down when obstacle after obstacle presented itself as a hindrance to the blossoming of Bianca’s and Paul’s romance. I really wanted to make Madeline just go away!  I thought a time or two about skipping ahead, but then I knew I would miss out on all the happenings that would add to that mystery and Mrs. Vallance’s way with words that paints such vivid mind pictures along the way.

Although I find it most difficult to choose one of this author’s analogies as my favorite, I keep coming back to this one, “The sun pushed farther, cut itself on a cloud, and bled.” What a reminder that books are almost always better than their movies!

Not only is The Covered Deep a great story of human romance; it also brings home the love, mercy and forgiveness that God affords each of us during our life-adventures.

You can purchase your copy of The Covered Deep at Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.

Also don’t forget to follow Brandy Vallance at her website - www.brandyvallance.com

For all who live locally, or not, Brandy will have her official book launch this Saturday, October 18 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Ivywild School in Colorado Springs:

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Ivywild School

1604 S Cascade Ave, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80905

“Come celebrate the launch of The Covered Deep in grand style. Taking place in a remodeled historical school, guests will be entertained and taken into the 19th century world of Bianca Marshal (incurably romantic bookworm from Appalachia) and Paul Emerson (historian of the British Museum in London). Victorian decorations galore. Tea and pastries catered. Themed giveaway baskets every half hour including tea pots, books, gift cards, etc. Victorian dancing led by a historical dance master from 11-12 (Virginia Reel, British dancing, etc.). Book signing, reading, etc. The Covered Deep can be purchased at the party for $15 or you can bring your own copy to be signed. Come anytime between 9am-2pm.”

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2014 in Godly Women

 

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Contentment – the Ultimate Acceptance

Contentment is the ultimate acceptance of ourselves, our surroundings, our past, and our future. For a believer, finding contentment should take no effort whatsoever, right? I mean, Jesus has paid the price for our sin and He has given us a secure future of eternity in His presence, free of all pain and sorrow. His Word assures us of this:

Ephesians 2:8, 9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Revelation 21:4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

The suffering we experience now should be viewed in light of an eternity to be spent with the Saviour – Revelation 21:7 “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” God provided a way for us to be rescued from an eternity in hell–He is sufficient to meet our needs in this world that He created – Philippians 4:13, 19 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me…But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

As we travel through this journey of life, we find that this blessed state of contentment is not as easy as just saying God’s Word says such and such, so that should give us the contentment we need. Feeling satisfied when we have very real unmet needs, not letting ourselves worry when we have overwhelming concerns, having patience in letting God work when pressures abound (Be still and know that I am God)–these seem like impossible dreams. Happiness–despite heartaches caused by the past, in the midst of tragedies experienced in the present, based on promises trusted for the future–is not merely a human pursuit, but demands spiritual resources only found in the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is not possible for us to overcome life’s bumps and valleys all on our own. God does not expect us to. That is why He sent His Holy Spirit as our Helper, and He gave us His Word to meditate on daily.

God chose not to just give us contentment as a gift, for His purpose. He chose rather to teach us to be content as we allow Him to be the ruler in our lives. Contentment is something that we must learn – Philippians 4:11 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” As we trust God’s gifts to be sufficient and His assignments to be appropriate, we can accept the way we look, the means we have been given for provision, the family in which we are living, the struggles through which we have gone, the jobs we now have, being content and fulfilled in all – 2 Corinthians 3:5, 6 “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” and 2 Corinthians 12:9 “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.” God, through His Holy Spirit, taught Paul to be strong yet content in whatever infirmity he would experience, and we know that Paul suffered more infirmities for the cause of Christ than anyone. When we truly realize that God is in control of all things, it makes it easier to praise Him through our trials. He has reminded me many times as I strive to know Him more that if He has allowed “this” then He will see me through it. It is all for His glory, and rightfully so.

On the other hand, acceptance does not mean that we lie down and do nothing and just stagnate. Dissatisfaction with areas in our lives that can be changed, within Divine guidelines, may help us to see that something is missing, or something has gone awry. When this happens, we dare not adopt the “Canaan syndrome” of complaining. Remember that God’s people were not allowed to enter the Promised Land because of their murmuring – Joshua 5:6 “For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: unto whom the LORD sware that he would not shew them the land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey.” Instead of grumbling and complaining, “why me?” We are much better off if we take that dissatisfaction to the Lord and ask Him what He would challenge us to do. At the same time, we must be willing to be “content” as we work toward ultimate goals. This is the balance between “I have learned…to be content,” and “I can do all things through Christ.” (Philippians 4:11, 13)

We must trust that God has given us everything we need for each moment in time. We can be content with ourselves, our families, our surroundings, our jobs, or our pasts. As we allow ourselves to depend on the Lord, we are content while we pursue His goals for our lives.

Proverbs 16

1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.
2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.
3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.
4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
5 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.
6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
7 When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
8 Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.
9 A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.
10 A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment.
11 A just weight and balance are the LORD’s: all the weights of the bag are his work.
12 It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.
13 Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right.
14 The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it.
15 In the light of the king’s countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain.
16 How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.
18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
19 Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.
20 He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.
21 The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.
22 Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly.
23 The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.
24 Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
26 He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him.
27 An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.
28 A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.
29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.
30 He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass.
31 The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.
32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2014 in Godly Women

 

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