Thursday, September 26, 2013

Old Mama Red

Roscoe P. Coltrain our Basset Hound
     Among my grandfather Hess' many hobbies, he raised and cared for dogs for a period of time.  He bred them and sold them.  One of his favorites was "Old Mama Red" as he called her.  She was a Golden Retriever who, in old age, had become blind but was able to find her way around the property. One day, however, she ventured too close to the edge of an in-ground gold fish pond that my grandfather had at the side of his home.  There she met her demise.  When my grandfather found her, he was devastated and immediately drained that pond lest curious grandchildren might likewise meet the same fate.
     Tuesday, our old dog, Roscoe almost followed in the same tracks as "Old Mama Red".  At almost thirteen years old, he is a blind basset hound but his nose usually keeps him out of trouble.  He is used to navigating our back yard and knows exactly where the pool is because he can smell the chlorine.  However, with the rain, he became disoriented, and when I let him out, he must have wandered too close to the pool and fell in.  Normally, he goes out and finds his way back to our door without difficulty.  I believe that God prompted me to check on him and when I looked out the window, I saw him flailing in the pool.  I ran out quickly.  When I got there, he had become unconscious.  I did not know if I was too late, but I pulled his 65 lb. body out of the water and began to press on his rib cage hoping to stimulate breathing and push out water.  He was unresponsive and I ran for my husband.
     When we returned to him a moment later, he was breathing again.  It was labored but he was breathing.  I prayed for his life to be spared as we rolled him onto an old sheet and carried him into our house.  His breathing eventually improved and he began to move around.  We kept close watch as we got ready for work.  As soon as the vet's office opened, we took him in for a check up.  The doctor said that he could not hear any fluid in the lungs, but gave me some antibiotics just in case.  He felt he would be fine.
     Today, Roscoe is laying at my feet as I type.  He is not eating much at this point but he has resumed taking water and seems pretty much back to normal.  I can tell he was traumatized because he won't let me get far away, and frankly, I am fine with that because it was a very close call.  It took me a while on Tuesday to work off the adrenaline I experienced during the rescue effort.  As a result, my floors are very clean and the house is vacuumed.  This is how I deal with excess stress....I clean.  But in all the excitement, I have learned some valuable lessons.
     First and foremost, we need to be vigilant in this life.  I knew that Roscoe was blind so I tried to keep watch over him and the vigilance paid off by God's grace.  However, as believers in Jesus Christ, we often forget that we have a formidable foe in Satan and his demons, and let our guard down.  The Apostle Peter gave us a clear instruction (I Peter 5:8):  "Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."  None of us is above temptation for even our Lord Jesus Christ faced this in the wilderness.  Yet if we will do what Peter suggests in verse 9, we will overcome the enemy:  "Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world."  Jesus resisted the devil by speaking truth from the Word.  We can do the same, but we must be vigilant.
     Another important lesson that was clear to me was that prayer always makes a difference.  Instead of pure panic, I prayed.  My dog was unresponsive, but I prayed anyway.  We are called to pray no matter what circumstances look like.  We have to turn our concerns, worries, fears over to God or they will overtake us.  Peter admonishes us in verses 6 and 7 (I Peter 5) to:  "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you."  Prayer is the key to the Christian life.  It is the relinquishing of self and the acknowledgment that only God has the answers to life.  Jesus, through the sacrifice of His life, tore the veil that separated us from a holy God.  Therefore, we have the privilege of entering the very presence of our Creator and talking to Him.  Why would we not avail ourselves of such a blessing?  It has to become a lifestyle though.  Daily, we need His wisdom, His guidance, and His strength.  While prayer may not always alter circumstances, it does alter the way we look at things.  Prayer changes us and builds in our hearts a trust for God the Father who is sovereign over all of life.
     Finally, I have learned that whether it is the near drowning of a family pet or another crisis with family, health or job, we can find our rest and confidence in God.  Peter concludes chapter 5 with this comfort in verse 10:  "And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you."  What a joy to know that God, Himself, will be the one to bring us comfort and enable us to stand!  My knees are weak and my hands are feeble when difficulties arise, but my God is omnipotent.  He is able to see me through when I call upon Him through my Savior Jesus Christ.
     As I tended to Roscoe on Tuesday helping to carry him into the house, I felt like a shepherd caring for a sheep who was lost.  Then I thought of Jesus who is the shepherd of my life.  He came looking for me when I was lost and near drowning.  By the grace of God who awakened my soul from death sleep, I heard my shepherd calling and cried out in repentance.  He saved me not because of any righteousness I had, but because of His great mercy and grace. He has bound up my wounds, given me a new heart, and changed the direction of my life for His glory.  If you have never experienced this, I urge you today to call upon the Lord in sincere repentance and receive the gift of eternal life which is only found in Jesus Christ the risen Lord.  For those of you who already know Christ, I encourage you to learn from the lessons I gained from Tuesday's experience.  We are to be vigilant, prayerful and expectant that God will be with us no matter what happens from day to day.
     I am thankful that God allowed Roscoe to go on living and not suffer the same fate as "Old Mama Red", but I am even more thankful at the lessons He continues to teach me as I face the challenges that come with living in this fallen world.  My children tease me that whenever something happens, I write about it in the next devotion, but that is how I see life as a day to day walk with the Lord.  Each day, He has new lessons for us to learn.  May we be open to learning from each circumstance in life how God is at work conforming us to the image of His dear Son, and then, share
it with others.  Selah!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Take Comfort in "The Name"

     Scripture teaches us a powerful truth in 2 Peter 1:3:  "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence.."  Did you catch it?  God, by His divine power, has not only called us to salvation, but He has also given us full provision to live a life that glorifies Him in godly living.  We cannot earn salvation nor do we have the power to change our lifestyle.  However, as we humbly come before God in sincere repentance, He gives us a new heart.  Yet, His provision for us is not at an end.
     This past Sunday in our Sunday School class, we discussed how to "adore" God as taught in the Lord's Prayer.  Most of us in the class had never considered the phrase "Hallowed be thy name" and what it really means to believers.  There is so much more revealed about God's character in the names He is known by.  In fact, we learned that the Jewish people so revered God's name that they refused to use the name or write it on their documents or buildings.  Even today, many Jewish people write God as G-d to show their respect for His holiness.
     When we look at the names for God, we begin to see how the Lord provides all we need for life and godliness.  The book "Studies on the Sermon on the Mount" by Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones includes these descriptions:  "El means His 'strength'; Elohim means 'His power'; Jehovah means 'the self-existent One', 'I Am that I Am';  Jehovah Jireh 'the Lord will provide'; Jehovah Rapha, 'the Lord that healeth'; Jehovah-nissi, 'the Lord our banner'; Jehovah Shalom, 'the Lord our peace'; Jehovah-ra-ah, 'the Lord our Shepherd'; Jehovah-tsidkenu, 'the Lord our righteousness'; Jehovah-shammah, 'the Lord is present' (Studies on the Sermon on the Mount, pg 334).  Do we understand that God here presents Himself as the fulfillment of all we need?  In Him, we are complete.  Without Him, we stumble in the darkness.
     When I think that God first sought us when we as yet did not seek Him, and then, sent His only Son to die for our sins, I am amazed.  Then, as if salvation were not enough, God places within us His Holy Spirit to guide and teach us all truth.
     His provision is total and in this, we should take comfort.  Whatever weighs us down is no match for the power of His Name...the Name above all Names.  Today, let us be encouraged to think on the names of God, His holiness, His righteousness, and remember that we are His children through the blood of Jesus Christ.  Therefore, He will care for us as a tender shepherd.  No matter what the burdens He will provide all we need for life and godliness "through the knowledge of Him"  Selah!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Facing the Truth

     One of the hardest lessons we all have to deal with in life is that we are often wrong and facing that reality can be tough at any age.  The hardest reality we have to admit though is that we are not always right or righteous before our Lord.  Our pride wants us to defend our goals, our outlook, and our understanding of things.
     Some time ago, my husband and I watched the movie "The Shawshank Redemption", and one of the lines in this prison movie stayed with me.  The new inmate was asked if he really committed the murder he was incarcerated for.  He replied that he was innocent.  The older prisoner laughed and told him that if he asked anyone around him they would all say the same!  All of them were innocent too.  None of them belonged in prison.
     This brings me to the Scripture I wanted to share found in Luke 18:9-14.  Jesus told a parable about two men going to the Temple to pray.  One was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee prayed with a great deal of pride telling God how happy he was that he was so righteous and good.  The other man could only bow in humility before the Holy God and cry for mercy.  Jesus summed it all up in verse 14:  "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."  The tax collector went away justified and the Pharisee was not.
     Basically, one man was willing to confess that he was in need of forgiveness while the other did not feel he needed it.  How much are we like that Pharisee?  Do we see our need on a day to day basis for God's forgiveness and mercy in our lives?  Are we willing to humble ourselves and admit our deep need for God and His answers?  If we can face reality and what the Word says ("All have sinned and come short of the glory of God", Romans 3:23), then, we will be able to walk in the healing forgiveness of God.
     As long as we claim innocence before God, we will still be held prisoner by our sins.  God's blessings cannot come to us.  But daily, if we will acknowledge our sins before God, He will remove the weight, the stain and the pain from our hearts so we can serve Him.  May we be as humble before the Lord as that tax collector!  Selah!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Come Read About Sarah

     Today, the woman in Scripture series presents a look at the life of Sarah.  She was a woman of outward and inward beauty to be emulated by all generations of women.  I have posted my story of
her life and legacy at  .
     You are also invited to enter the book give away being offered.  The entire series is listed so if you missed any one of the Women in Scripture series you can catch up.

Blessings......may you be inspired!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Psalm That Will Not Let Me Go

       In church this past Sunday, we read Psalm 121, and my heart was captured by these words of comfort.  It is a Psalm that will not let me go.  I find myself meditating on it and reading it over and over.  There is so much assurance in the words, and in our fast paced world, we get little encouragement.  Instead, we are often bombarded by tragedies brought to our homes in living color via T.V. or internet.  Then there are unkind words, rude individuals, and daily temptations so that by the end of the week, we feel worn out and stressed.  This is where God's Word comes in.  It is our foundation and the voice of truth in a world of lies.
     As we look at this Psalm, we need to understand that it is called a Psalm of Ascent.  It was sung by pilgrims on their way to Mount Zion in Jerusalem to worship the One true God.  In the same way, we are modern day pilgrims on our journey through this life as we seek to reach our heavenly home.  Read this Psalm:
    " I lift up my eyes to the hills.
     From where does my help come?
     My help comes from the Lord
      who made heaven and earth.
     He will not let your foot be moved;
       he who keeps you will not slumber,
     Behold He who keeps Israel
       will neither slumber nor sleep.
     The Lord is your keeper;
       the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
      The sun shall not strike you by day,
        nor the moon by night.
      The Lord will keep you from all evil;
        He will keep your life.
      The Lord will keep
         your going out and your coming in
         from this time forth and forevermore."
     In this short Psalm, there are three great truths we can learn.  First, when we are walking along life's path day to day, we can rest assured that God is our help.  He tells us so in verse 1-2.  The very Creator of the Universe has made known to us that He will provide what we need along the road.  Secondly, God is a provider of safety and rest.  Life has slippery slopes and we cannot always keep our footing, but God can.  He also does not sleep or slumber so that we can rest in peace at night.  We have no need to worry, fret or be afraid at night because God is our protection.  Finally, God lets us know that He is our keeper who will deliver us from evil and protect our lives.  It is a promise that goes on forevermore.  This whole Psalm is like a love letter from the Lord and a comfort to anxious souls.
     When I was a little girl, I was certain there were monsters under my bed or in my closet that would come out at night and steal me away.  My older sister used to play into my fears and assure me that this would happen.  However, our wise and faithful mother would come into my room, gently stroke my face, and remind me that God would stand guard all night because He never sleeps.  I could not understand why God did not need to sleep but I trusted the words of my mother that He would watch over me and He has.  He will do the same for all who call upon His name through the blood of Jesus Christ.
     Maybe you need a little roadside rest stop along your journey today.  If so, meditate on this Psalm and it will bring you encouragement, peace and rest.  Remember God keeps His promises; therefore, we can lean on Him when the way seems hard.  Selah!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Time Tested Remedy

Branson and Beckett enjoying a good nap on a boat!
Sleep does wonders!
 We read in magazines and hear constantly about how damaging stress is to our physical bodies.  Yet, I am not certain how we can live in this world and not experience it.  Over the years, I have laughed out loud whenever doctors have suggested that I go home and rest more.  How do you do that when you are working every day or caring for small children or both?  However, it is important that we consider ways to reduce stress in our life because it can lead to depression, physical ailments and general fatigue.
     God always has wonderful answers for us if we will be diligent to seek His face.  Doctors have confirmed this important remedy too:  sleep!  That's right.  Sleep....a good 8 hours of sleep is really what we all need to reduce the effects of stress on our bodies.  Those of us with chronic pain or other ailments are aware that a good night of rest can really be a big help.  So lets look at a good example of God's remedy in action.
     Read I Kings 19:1-18.  In this chapter, we see a triumphant but utterly fatigued Elijah who has just wiped out a large number of the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel.  Queen Jezebel sent a messenger to let Elijah know that he was as good as dead.  In verse 3-4, we can see the result of this message:  "and when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba which belongs to Judah, and left his servant.  But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree.  And he prayed that he might die, and said, 'It is enough!  Now, Lord take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!'"
     On top of being tired from his preaching on Mount Carmel, he adds to that a fear of losing his life and a desperate, lengthy run into the wilderness.  We can see as we read his words that he was depressed.  Who would not be?  Yet God provides the solution.
     Twice in this passage God gives Elijah sleep and food.  While Elijah in his depression has decided that he is the only faithful one left in Israel, God is busy giving him what he
     At the end of this passage and after Elijah has had a chance to recuperate from his exhaustion, the Lord gives him new instructions and tells him that he is not alone in his faith.  After rest, Elijah can hear the Lord.  Before, he could only hear his own depression, fatigue and despair talking.
     What a lesson for each of us.  We need adequate rest and nourishment if we are to be able to carry on for our God.  I can personally relate to this whole story.  Most of my life I have pushed myself to the max even beyond fatigue at times to complete some project.  This is when the world looks black to me just as it did for Elijah.  I cannot think clearly nor do I have joy in my life.
     Sleep does not totally eradicate stress in our lives, but it certainly helps to reduce the effects in every aspect of our being:  mentally, physically and spiritually.  Elijah couldn't hear God when he was exhausted and neither can we.  We are not capable of really being all that God has called us to be when we do not take care of this temple of our body.
     Psalm 4:8 reads:  "I will both lie down in peace and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety."  Knowing that our Lord is bigger and greater than all our needs or worries should free us to rest and take care of ourselves.  When we do, we will be able to serve the King of Kings with all our heart, soul and strength.  Selah!

Please make certain you visit the blog tomorrow to read another story from Women in Scripture.  You will be blessed and you can enter the book give away as well.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Keep the Focus on Him

Aiden kept his focus and caught
a fish!
     Multitasking is the art of doing several things well at the same time or at least that is the theory.  Mothers and front desk/receptionist/appointment makers come to mind as examples of this ability.  I have served in both capacities.  Unfortunately, the downside to trying to handle several things at once is that it is easy to lose your train of thought.  This can be risky especially if you become distracted and forget your dinner cooking in the oven or if while in the office, you forget you left someone on hold several minutes ago.  In either case, the outcome is not always pleasant.
     When it comes to our spiritual life, the Bible calls us to be single minded in our pursuit of holiness and living for Christ.  The writer of Hebrews characterizes it in this manner:  "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross; despising the shame and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrew 12:1-2).  Here we see a word picture of focusing on our Lord to the exclusion of all else around us.  After all, if we are busy looking around at everything, we are going to go off on a bunny trail instead of sticking to the race we are running.  No good runner can afford to worry about everyone around him.  He has to remain intent on moving ahead towards the finish line.
     As I thought about this scripture, I was reminded of my grandfather's race horses he trained.  His standard bred harness horses often competed in local county fairs.  He had both trotters and pacers he  entered in different races.  When riding in a sulky behind the horse on a race course, the last thing he wanted to have happen was for the horse to become spooked or jumpy.  If this happened, the horse could break stride disqualifying him or even worse, causing a wreck with another horse.  Therefore, my grandfather would, at times, use blinders attached to the halter.  These blinders kept the horse from looking to the side.  This was a sure remedy for skittish horses and kept them focused straight ahead.  There is much we can learn from this illustration.  In our Christian walk, we need this kind of single-minded attention in order to stay the course which God has laid out for our lives.
     Our world is filled with distractions and this is true even in the church.  We are so good at multitasking that we forget the "one" thing which is most essential - our growth in sanctification. We get busy just like Martha doing things, reaching out to others, complaining that no one is helping us and Jesus reminds us as He did Martha: "....Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.  Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her" (to read the whole story read Luke 10:38-42).  When it comes to the many choices we can make, the most important one is to spend time with the Lord through His Word, in fellowship with other believers and in prayer.  This is what will give us the strength to run the race all the way to the end.
     In our study of the book "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, our Sunday school class discussed discipline in the Christian life.  This involves body, mind and spirit.  Our dress, our manner of speaking, our prayer life, our alms giving and relationships all should reflect the change of heart brought about by Christ's redeeming work.  Our tendency is to measure ourselves by others or to look at our circumstances rather than keeping our focus on God.  Looking at the life of Christ, we know that He came for a purpose, and nothing kept Him from fulfilling God's plan of redemption.  His single-mindedness kept His feet on the path to the cross and from there to resurrection for the sake of the joy set before Him.  He trusted the Father and His sovereignty and taught this to His disciples.  As modern day followers of Jesus Christ, we must also bring every thought captive to Christ and remember the joy set before us.   Dr. Lloyd-Jones states it this way:  "Our Lord's principle is always this:  'Forget other people altogether'.......Forget your face, forget yourself, forget other people altogether.  It is this interest in the opinions of other people that is so wrong.  Don't worry about the impression you are making; just forget yourself and give yourself entirely to God.  Be concerned only about God and about pleasing Him.  Be concerned only about His honour and glory" (pg. 319-320).
        What we all need to learn as we run the race is that if we are focused on God alone, we will not get caught up in worldliness or worry about what our brother is doing or not doing.  It is a struggle with the old flesh I admit.  However, we cannot change our community, our church or another person in our own power.  Only God can change them.  However, if we strive to know, honor, and glorify the Lord, others will see this change in us.  That is what often leads them to want that same growth in their own lives.  Always, we must trust in God's sovereignty over all things and trust ourselves to Him as Jesus did.  Where is our Lord and Savior now?  He is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, and we, through His blood, are co-heirs of His grace.  Therefore, we need to stop the multitasking which leads to distraction and become single minded in this race keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus the "author and perfecter of our faith".  May we be found faithful when the Lord returns!  Selah!

Do not forget to go to the blog tomorrow for another story of a Woman in Scripture.  You will be blessed!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Worship and The Little Red Hen

The Church of the Holy Ghost in Heidelberg, Germany
     One of my all time favorite stories when I was growing up was based on an old Russian folk tale entitled "The Little Red Hen".  The story is about a hen who finds a grain of wheat and asks all her animal friends to help her plant that seed.  No one volunteers so she does the work herself.  Later, as each stage of the process went along (harvesting, threshing and milling the grain into flour), she asked her friends for help but none were interested.  When the time came for her to bake the bread, she inquired once again, "Who will help me eat the bread?"  This time all of her friends volunteered.  However, the little red hen told them that since none of them had been willing to help, she and her chicks would enjoy the fruits of her labor and they ate it all up.  Not hard to get the point of this story is it?  If we put our effort into an activity, we reap the benefits in the end.
     When it comes to our worship in the church are we more like the little red hen or more like her friends who passed the opportunity by?  To put it another way, do we take seriously our part in the worship of God as we come to church each week?  Most folks think that just making the effort to be in church is really all there is to the process, but there is much more to it than that.
      While our pastors are ordained and called to preach, teach, administer the sacraments of baptism and communion as well as lead in disciplining
the Body of believers, we followers of the Lord are to be prepared even before we come to church to hear, receive and meditate on God's Word.  An attitude of expectancy, of knowing that we are going to meet with the Lord in worship goes a long way in opening our hearts to receive His truth.  Preparation, then, is key.  Prayer for the pastor(s), for the choir or musicians, and reading God's Word prior to church is a good way to begin.
     Once we come into the Lord's House, we need to enter in to the service.  We need to be attentive, respectful, and lay up God's treasures as we hear the music played, the scriptures read, prayer
requests lifted up and especially to the preaching of God's Word.  In church, we are all participants not just spectators.  Whether we possess a singing voice or not, we need to attempt to sing the hymns and spiritual songs as though we were in the very presence of God....because we are!  Listen to the prelude and the postlude and do not be so quick to dismiss the ministry of music for this, too, is an important part of the service.  In addition to the music, shut out distractions when the time for the preaching of the Word comes.   Personally, I have found that taking notes during the sermon helps me retain more of what is being taught.  I can look at these notes after church and reflect on the message and scriptures.
      When it comes to the Lord's Supper, it is even more important to examine ourselves, confess our sins and prepare to renew that covenant between the Lord and us.  Being attentive to this meal makes us more aware of the cost of our sins.  There is no room for passivity when it comes to worshipping God our Savior.  The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians who seemed to take lightly the celebration of communion (I Corinthians 11:17-34).  He is careful to describe the proper celebration and then he warns the believers in verses 27-29:  "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.  Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself."  Those are stern words of warning which we need to take seriously.
     Jesus made two important points when considering our time in worship before the Living God.  First, He commanded us to love the Lord with all our heart, all our soul and all our mind (Matt. 22:37) and secondly, we are to worship the Lord in Spirit and truth as He told the woman at the well (John 4:23b).  Our Lord also taught us to pray and by His life set the example of worshipping God on a consistent basis.
     At this point, we have to ask ourselves, "Am I going to church to be entertained and do nothing or am I going to enter into the service focusing on the worship of God for His glory and my instruction?  We can be industrious like the little red hen and be prepared to enjoy the blessing of meeting with the Lord or we can be passive like the hen's animal friends and miss the fruit that comes from laboring in worship with heart, soul and mind.  I pray that for each of us we will take seriously the time we spend before the Face of God each week.  Let us pray for our pastors, our music directors, our choirs and most of all, pray for our own heart attitudes that when we come together we will bless God in true worship.  Selah!

     For those of you who would like to dig into a deeper understanding of worship, I have been reading a wonderful book written by D.G. Hart and John R. Muether entitled "With Reverence and Awe".  The book can be purchased in paperback at

Do not forget to visit to read another story in the series "Women in Scripture" tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Out of the Ordinary

Firefighter Nathan Thayer
 When we hear words like "exciting", "new and improved", "emergent", "radical", "transformational", "outstanding", "life-changing", we tend to take notice.  I know I certainly pay attention to these terms.  While out shopping the other day, I wanted to try a product because it announced that it was "new and improved" with five times the cleaning ability.  Now who wouldn't want that?  However, my husband wisely pointed out that the only "new and improved" thing was probably the packaging, and the increased cleaning power probably meant using more of the product, so I passed on the item.  This just goes to show that we are a consumer mentality type of society.  Unfortunately, some of this same use of superlatives has started showing up in evangelical circles as well.  In an effort to draw people to the Gospel, have we become so consumer oriented that we neglect the ordinary?
      In a recent White Horse Inn Podcast, the host Michael Horton began a four part series entitled "Ordinary" to explore what it means to live a life for Christ within the context of our vocation.  His special guest was Tish Harrison Warren.  She and her husband are involved with Intervarsity Christian
Fellowship on a college campus in Texas, but she wrote a blog post entitled "Courage in the Ordinary".
The entire program explored the idea that if we could find joy in the ordinary church, the ordinary job, the ordinary home life, then we can make our witness "radical" out of what most people would call mundane.
     During the interview with Mrs. Warren, she stated that even if God called her to live in Africa as a missionary, she would still have to do the dishes, wash the clothes, care for her children and even tend to a sick child.  There is so much of the ordinary no matter where we are in life.  Just because we go on the mission field, take a short term mission, give all our money away to help others and downsize our living accommodations, there is still the ordinary life we must live to meet the needs of family.  So much in our Christian culture seems to shout for something "new and improved" that many of us feel "less than" in our walk with Christ.  However, God has not called us to "good works" to improve our position in terms of salvation.  Rather, He wants us to bloom where He has planted us even if it seems routine and "ordinary".
     For example, our son recently completed 14 weeks of physical and preparatory work to become a firefighter.  The course was tough and the training was rigorous.  He completed the course and is now a full-time firefighter.   When we hear about someone becoming a firefighter, we think of excitement, challenge and even glamor.  We also think of danger.  However, there is reality too.  Thus far, in the month that our son has had this full-time position in Lexington, KY, he has not had much activity aside
from maintenance, painting, checking equipment, and even working on the landscaping around the fire station.  Ordinary tasks which must be done describe the 24 hour shift he works along with continued training.  There have been no spectacular fires or major emergencies.  Routine EMS runs, but nothing earth shattering.  However, his job is extremely important to the citizens of the town who count on emergency personnel when there is a major catastrophe.  This is the vocation to which God has called him, and along with the major events that could take place, there is also the mundane daily duties that need to be completed.  Isn't this the case with most vocations?
     Not all of us are called to be a minister of the Gospel as a full time vocation.  However, all of us are called upon to share the Good News of Jesus Christ wherever God has planted us.  Each of us has a special call upon our lives to serve God in whatever job He has called us to do.  Whether we serve as a farmer, teacher, doctor, lawyer, homemaker, businessman, we know that God can and will use us even in the ordinary circumstances of daily living.  On Sunday, I spoke with a visitor who, like my husband, is an optometrist.  She said that so often her patients come in and tell her their life story.  This gives her an opportunity to point them to Christ or pray with them.
     As Scripture teaches, the Lord gave spiritual gifts to men and to the church, He gave:  "...the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes" (Ephesians 4:11-14).  If everyone was a missionary, who would plant and harvest the crops to produce food?  If we all were evangelists, who would raise the children at home?  God has called men and women to serve according to the vocation for which He has prepared them.
     My prayer is that God would teach us to rejoice in the ordinary lives He has called us to live; for in them, we will find the abundant life in Christ if we put Him first.  As Scripture teaches us: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams" (I Samuel 15:22).  If we are obedient in the small things, God will enlarge our opportunities for service.  We need not feel "less than" if we do not do some extraordinary activity for God.  Remember, our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever in whatever vocation He has placed us in.  Selah!

I encourage you to visit tomorrow for a new story in the series "Women in Scripture."

Sunday, September 1, 2013

New Series to Begin Tomorrow




Beginning September 2nd

  Please join us for an inspiring  new series as we journey with the
 "Women in Scripture"   

Dorcas ~ Hagar 
Esther ~ Sarah
Lydia ~ Hulda ~ Phebe
 Euodia &  Syntyche  
Priscilla ~ Manoah’s Wife
Lois ~  Eunice ~ Hannah
Gomer ~ Mary, the Mother of Jesus
And More!

   Theology For Girls is pleased to present this  new series as we will be  hearing from a group of  women  writers who love  Jesus Christ and  share a common commitment to the Scriptures.  

We'll also be having a Book Give-Away.  
This series will run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week with a new story of a woman of faith from God's Word.  I will be writing about Sarah on September 18th.  Please bookmark this website: .  or click the button on the left side of my page.