Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lift 'em Up!

I have always been considered by my husband (and children) to be on the picky side when it comes to restaurants, hotels, or even general places we would go for entertainment. It would not be unusual for me to go to a restaurant, perhaps get seated, and then determine that the establishment was below my "standard" for "acceptable." I always think that if I am going to pay for something, than it should be worth the time and investment.

The thing about "standards" is that they are individual because what may be acceptable to one is not acceptable to another. For example, I am not comfortable with most restaurants that have the name "pit" in them. Not because of the name, but because most of the ones I have visited have been just that "pits." My husband on the other hand usually looks around and says, "I don't see anything wrong with it." Is he wrong? No. Am I wrong? No. We have our own standards and there is no law that says that when it comes to restaurants only one standard is acceptable.

The word standard has a lot of different meanings. It can mean the customary size of something (like a standard bed - meaning double), or it can mean a rule or principle used as a basis for judgment; and it means morals, ethics, or habits established by authority. Standard is a sticky word for a lot of people because they don't want someone else's standards imposed on them. If a church has standards for its workers often the church is labeled as "legalistic." But the truth is we all have standards - whether of our own choosing, or by those that have been authority figures in our lives.

Standard has one other meaning that I especially like - and that is "a flag or emblematic figure" - the reason I like that one is because that is akin to the word "banner" and the Bible teaches us in Song of Solomon 2:4, "He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love." That is a picture of when we are at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb - we will have a banner over us stating that the reason we are there is because the Lord loves us! That is a very pleasant picture in my mind, and one I look forward to beholding one day.

This morning in my Bible reading I was reading from Numbers and I found the word "standard" several times. In fact I read it 6 times in three chapters! The one verse especially that caught my attention was Numbers 2:2 "Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard, with the ensign of their father’s house: far off about the tabernacle of the congregation shall they pitch." This verse was saying that every person was to pitch their tent by their own standard (banner or flag)with the ensign of their Father's house. As I read this I thought of the tent as being their temporary home, like this world is for us (you know..."this world is not my home, I'm just a passing through, my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue..."). I further thought of the ensign of their Father, and I thought that where they lived should show who they are, and who their daddy was.

After pondering that verse I thought really that means then that a home should be set up by standards that show who the Father is...now that is where the two standards meet together - the banner type of standard,(something set up) and also the standard that is established by my authority (my heavenly Father) - in other words I should set up my standards so that people know I am a Christian; that God is my Father! I would like to have a banner over my house that says, "I love my Father and I am trying to live in a manner that brings glory and honour to Him!"

I can't tell you what your standards should be, but I can tell you that your standards tell others who you are, and whether or not you are willing to let others know Who your Father is! Whatever standards you hold for your life - one thing is sure...we are only ever commanded to set up or lift up a standard...so ladies don't lower your standards - lift 'em up!

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Family

Today is Good Friday - Easter is this Sunday, and it will be the first time since 1979 that we haven't had any of our children with us for the holiday. We are spending the day today with our oldest son and his family, and then on Monday we will spend time with them again, as as well as with our daughter and her family; we're making the best of it:) One of the things that has been on my mind is making sure that our kids are taken care of for the holiday...I know, I know they are all grown, married, and have their own children - but a mom never stops being a mom! Thankfully the two that live close to each other are spending Easter Day together.

Yesterday I read a "tweet" from one of my sons as he was happy that one of his converts had been baptized, has been faithfully attending church, and has begun attending a discipleship class. I was blessed as I read it, and then further blessed when I saw that our other son responded to his tweet expressing his shared happiness and encouragement to his brother...truly my soul was blessed. I started thinking about how much it means to us moms to have our children love each other, get along with each other, and really share a close relationship together. I am very thankful that our children are close and though 2 of them are separated by many miles from the other 2, our children all still talk with each other, and keep a close relationship.

I am convinced that this desire is one placed on our hearts by our Heavenly Father as He too desires that we, His children, love one another. I Thessalonians 4:9 says, "But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another." On the other side of this, God says that if we don't love our brethren, we don't love God...that is a very strong statement. It is very painful to God when His children do not love one another - and I believe that parents hold that same sentiment - it is heartbreaking when siblings don't get along.

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." Psalm 133:1-3


Thank you Danny, Genny, Jason, Mary, Kellie, Dan, Jon, & Rachel for loving each other; it is a blessing to us and joy to our family! Happy Easter!

Today's song: God's Family

And sometimes we laugh together
Sometimes we cry
Sometimes we share together
Heartaches and sighs
Sometimes we dream together
Of how it will be
When we all get to heaven, God's family


Yes, this Easter we can't all be together, but one day we'll all be together forever! Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

P's in the Wilderness

This morning in my Bible reading I read Luke 5:16 which says, “And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.” It caught my attention because yesterday I saw how that the Holy Spirit led Jesus to the wilderness – today Jesus withdrew Himself to pray there. I started thinking about “wilderness” and as I mentioned yesterday – I thought of a barren place, a lonely place, a sad place.

Today, I saw it differently – I saw it as a place of refreshing – a place to get alone with God…and it didn’t sound so bad; after all when I get alone with God and know that I have been in His presence I am strengthened and refreshed; I have joy and peace. (play on words intentional = p's in the wilderness:).

I looked up the word wilderness in the Bible and saw that it is there 294 times! The wilderness is by definition a barren dessert – but it is also a place suitable for pasturing sheep – aha…that’s why I found it for so many applications – “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” Psalm 100:3 The wilderness is place where God can shepherd us because when we think we have nowhere to go or no one to turn to…we finally turn to God and realize that He is all we need.

Here are some of the applications I found in the “wilderness.”

Punished in the wilderness – Numbers 14:33
Pit in the wilderness – Genesis 37:22 (Genesis 50:20)
Piloted in the wilderness –Nehemiah 9:19
Preaching in the wilderness – Matthew 3:1
Proven in the wilderness – Matthew 4:1, Luke 4
Praying in the wilderness – Luke 5:16
Pushed to the wilderness – Luke 8:29
Provision in the wilderness – Exodus 16:32
Protection in the wilderness – Deuteronomy 1:31
Place in the wilderness – Revelation 12:6
Perils in the wilderness – II Corinthians 11:26
Power in the wilderness – Psalm 106:9
Presence in the wilderness – Genesis 21:20, Exodus 16:10

“And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years. Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee. Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him." Exodus 8:2-6

Today’s Song: My Lord Knows the Way through the Wilderness

My Lord knows the way through the wilderness,
All I have to do is follow
Strength for today is mine always
And all that I need for tomorrow.
My Lord knows the way through the wilderness
All I have to do is follow


The wilderness feels like a lonely and barren place; it is a place that looks like “nowhere...” hopeless. If that is where you are today – you may even be tempted to think there is no hope…but in every application, in every example there is hope because God is present in every situation – whether to punish, prove, or provide…He is all we need. If you are in the wilderness, you are in a suitable pasture for God to nurture you. Follow Him and He will lead you safely through!

Have a wonderful day!