Friday, November 19, 2010

Painted, Powdered, and Perfumed

When I was a little girl – I was, from every account I have heard, very precocious! I have heard wonderful stories of many of the adventures I had as a young child from my parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

I know that I was adventurous because at 18 months old I braved the wide outdoors to sneak out of the house and cross 2 streets to visit my grandmother Nanny!

I know that I was a hostess in the making because at the full age of 2, I served my mother’s friends “tea” in my own tea set. My mother wondered where I was getting the water for my tea – and to her horror discovered that I was serving her friends water fresh from the toilet!

I also know that I was very interested in my appearance because the one story they all told me about was of my insatiable desire to wear my aunt’s make up!

My grandparent’s owned a home that was a multiple dwelling – with 2 upper levels and a basement. My grandparents, my parents, and my aunt and uncle each lived on one of the levels of the home – so we were very close. My aunt had a beautiful vanity where she kept her make-up and perfume, and I kept a keen eye on the door that led to her room so that I could get into it at any chance possible. Once I figured out how to open the door, they had to purchase a gate to keep me out. I grew up hearing the stories of my determination to get to that make up – and of their horror when they discovered that someone had forgotten to close the gate KNOWING they would find “Terrie the Terror” in her room fully painted, powdered, and perfumed!

I was reminded of these wonderful stories the other day when my husband and I were reminiscing of when we were new Christians – and how in our desire to know the Lord we would grasp for anything that seemed remotely Christian! We listened to all kinds of radio programs; we were enamored with any song that said Jesus’ name. The problem with these choices was that in many cases the biblical application of these radio programs and songs was not doctrinally sound.

I thought of how as a child I really wanted to look beautiful and smell nice just like the ladies I loved in my family, I just didn’t yet know how to apply it all. As new Christians we wanted to get the full dose of Christianity, but being babes in Christ, we didn’t know how to apply the truths of the Bible to our lives. I am thankful that in the fullness of time I learned how to apply my make-up and perfume; and I am thankful that we have through the years been taught to apply our hearts unto wisdom.

You know, as Terrie the Terror I painted my face with make-up, sealed that make-up with powder, and then powerfully perfumed myself because I wanted the right things, I just didn’t know how to apply them. I was a child and so as I Corinthians 13:11 says, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child…” I am thankful that today I am painted by the shed blood of Christ for the remission of my sins. I am thankful that because I received Christ as my Saviour, I am powdered or sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise; and I praise the Lord that I am perfumed… “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ…”

Perhaps you have a precocious child that is like me, wanting the right things at the wrong time. Maybe you know a new Christian that is making the same childish mistakes I made because they want the right things; but they don’t know how to properly apply them. In both cases, pray for them, and lovingly train or disciple them, and remember the wisdom from Isaiah 28:9 “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” It takes time and maturity – don’t expect too much. After all, being painted, powdered, and perfumed is good thing - when it is done the right way at the right time!

Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mom, Be Diligent!

“The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.” Proverbs 21:5

While reading this verse I began to think of the role of a mother. What an awesome responsibility we have to train up our children for God! If we try to rush through teaching our children to learn or understand something – we’re going to keep wanting them to learn it…but if we are diligent, we will continue to think of ways to help them understand what they need to know.

By the grace of God, my husband and I have raised four children that today are all living for the Lord, they love the Lord, and they are serving the Lord with their lives. They are all married and have children that they are now raising up for the glory of God. As I am sure every mother has noticed – all children are different – each child is an individual. As a young of mother of 4 (I was 27 when my 4th child was born) I discovered early that what worked for one child did not always work for the next.

My oldest son was very content to learn by listening. I could read to him, speak with him, watch an educational type program with him and he would soak it all up and begin to use the knowledge. When my second son came along – he had no interest in listening…he was a hands-on type of guy. When I sat with him to read a story, he was more interested in doing whatever the characters in the book were doing in the pictures! He didn't want to watch what the characters on the educational show were doing - he wanted to DO what they were doing! My 3rd child, my only daughter, learned in a very quiet way. She would sit and listen to stories…but she really was an observer – she knew the routine of my day, she knew what we were going to do next, she knew where everything belonged (not that she always put things away:) but, she observed her mommy and imitated me. This made her very independent so she tried to do everything herself…which is why she is the one that got lost in Santa Cruz at the beach at 2 years old, and why she got burned in the shower at 4 years old when she tried to “help mommy” by getting herself all ready for church. Our youngest son was a question asker, a direction reader; in many ways self-taught. He is the one that did the cool science projects like making a hover board in our garage that really hovered! He is the one I would find quietly doing his homework in his room without being asked.

Now, if you’ll notice one learned by listening, one by doing, another by watching, and yet another by inquiring – and somehow in our role as parents we needed to make sure that they all learned the same principles, the same concepts, proper manners and behavior, and the quality traits of good character. We had to make sure they understood that we loved them individually – and that we expected them to always do their best and to trust God for the rest!

Now, the natural question is “how do I do that when they're all so different?” That’s where the verse I quoted above comes in…you must be diligent and constantly think of ways to reach your children! You can’t rush through one set or plan of instructions and expect them to all learn the same way. You need to watch your children closely and observe them to see how they learn and then think of ways to get the message through to them. Jesus did that when he used parables to teach about the Kingdom of Heaven. Look at all the different examples he used:

The Kingdom of Heaven is likened unto…

A man which sowed good seed in a field
A grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field
A net that was cast into the sea and gathered of every kind
Leaven which a woman took and hid in 3 measure of meal
A treasure hid in a field
A merchant man seeking goodly pearls
A man that is a householder
A certain king
10 virgins which took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom
A man travelling into a far country

Jesus covered every type of person in every walk of life so they could understand what the Kingdom of Heaven was like. He then expounded that in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we must become as little children – fully dependent on Jesus as our Saviour!

Mom, earnestly pray and ask the Lord to help you to teach your children and to help them understand what they need to know. Be diligent in training your children – keep thinking of ways to reach them, remember it’s the "thoughts" of the diligent that tend to plenteousness (yielding abundantly, fruitful) – don’t rush things, don’t be hasty – and don’t give up!

Today our #1 son is a Christian school administrator, an author, and a college professor. Our second son pastors a church and is witnessing God’s miracles and blessing. Our daughter is fulfilling God’s will for her life at home as she is raising her 3 children, and serves the Lord teaching and singing for His glory. And our youngest son is an assistant pastor, he has written over 50 songs, plays 4 or 5 musical instruments (though we only provided lessons for 2). And all of our children have a passion to reach the lost for Christ - to God be all the glory!

I am so thankful that our children are intelligent, thoughtful, and by the grace of God are really awesome adults! I am truly blessed and thank the Lord for His work in their lives; He is deserving of all the glory. I am just a mom that by the grace of God sought earnestly to raise our children for the glory of God. We certainly don’t have all the answers, but we have a source that does– go to Him, ask Him; He’ll lead you, He’ll answer you, and He will help you.

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." James 1:5, 6

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Be Very Sure

Recently I was at Macy’s seeking to purchase new face powder. I know that is an expensive place to shop, but I have found that most make-ups cause me to get rashes and make my eyes water, so I have to spend a little extra to get something that will work for me. I normally use Estee Lauder powder, but the Clinique counter was having a special gift offer, so I thought I would try it and see if it would work for me. I had a very unusual encounter with the sales girl that caused me to think…and I will share that with you today.

When I approached the counter I asked the girl for a powder that would set my make up, explaining that I wanted something that would last all day. The girl said, “No, we don’t have anything like that – if you buy our powder you will have to reapply your powder all day long…it won’t last all day.” I spotted some mineral powders (loose powder) and asked about them and again she gave me a similar response saying, “You have to keep putting the powder on all day if you want your make-up to stay on.” I was surprised and as I was making sure I understood her properly repeating what she had said, another sales girl came along and said, “this powder will set your make-up and work well for what you want; if you want to make sure your nose doesn’t get shiny you can also get a compact powder to reapply throughout the day.” After that sales girl walked away, (hoping that I still might be able to get the special gift of lipstick and eye shadow), I asked the first sales girl I was working with how long the powder would last and again I was very surprised by her response when she said, “nobody knows, you have to twist the container for the powder to come up and the only way you know its gone is when the powder doesn’t come up any more.” As I continued asking her approximately how many weeks or months it might last, she simply “there is no way to know for sure.”

I decided to go the Estee Lauder counter and purchase my regular powder. When I spoke with the sales girl there she was very helpful. She assured me that the powder would do what I needed and when I asked how long it would last her answer was, “well, there is no way to tell you definitely because it depends on how often and how much you apply – but I have had mine for nearly a year.” She gave a much better and more knowledgeable answer, assuring me that my needs would be met, and she offered me some hope of how long the powder would last; I ended up making a sizable purchase at that counter. What a difference!

Now, you may be asking what in the world that has to do with anything… ok, since you asked I’ll tell you:)

Both of these sales girls were representatives. As Christians we too are representatives – now it may seem a little far fetched to compare the two, but for comparison purposes, I believe this experience can teach us some things.

1. A representative should be sure. The first sales girl didn’t seem too sure about anything. The second girl was confident! “And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” John 6:69

2. A representative must know the facts. The first girl didn’t know she had a product that would work for me; the second girl did. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” II Timothy 2:15

3. A representative must offer hope. The first girl offered me no hope – if I used her product I would have to constantly keep applying the powder all day, and would have no idea how long it would be before I had to make another purchase. The second girl assured me that my needs would be met, and gave me hope that my powder might last almost a year! “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” I Peter 3:15

Now obviously, we are representing Christ and not trying to sell something as trivial as face powder, but in reality as representatives for Christ if you want to be able to reach the lost for Christ you must…

KNOW that you are saved – be sure of your salvation. “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.” John 4:22

KNOW the facts. Study the Word of God, know why you believe the things you believe and be ready to give an answer.

KNOW the Reason for your Hope – Sanctify the Lord in your heart – your heart being the deep seated place of your true feelings, beliefs, and emotions, meaning that Christ is at the helm of all you believe, feel, and express – He is ever present with you…through it all!

That first sales girl was a very poor representative because she was unsure, misinformed, and offered no hope! I liked the second girl – she offered security, had the answers and gave me hope!

I like this song:

In times like these you need a Savior
In times like these you need an anchor;
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

This Rock is Jesus, Yes, He's the One;
This Rock is Jesus, the only One!
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

In times like these you need the Bible,
In times like these O be not idle;
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

In times like these I have a Savior,
In times like these I have an anchor;
I'm very sure, I'm very sure
My anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

Ladies, I hope that you are very sure. May we all represent Him well today.

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Don’t Take it Out on God!

"My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah. Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity." Psalm 62:5-9

It seems that almost daily we meet people that refuse to go to church, refuse to listen to the Bible, or refuse to trust in God because of the mistakes that Christians (actual or “so-called”) have made. Many times the mistakes they are blaming for their decision are so trivial - like something said to a family member that may have been unkind; or perhaps the preacher or Christian layperson has a family member that is not holding as high a standard as the preacher - so somehow that makes them all hypocrites. Often people simply judge a preacher by his actions without knowing all the circumstances, and sometimes the preacher really has messed up and become immoral or caught doing something that proves his walk with God was not real…in any case, if and/or when any of these things happen – don’t take it out on God! In the second part of verse 9 quoted above, if we were to use a balance to weigh men against vanity – whether of low or high degree, men are lighter - lighter than vanity. To put it simply – men are just sinners – sinners with an opportunity to be saved by grace if they so choose.

We tend to put too high of an expectation on men. We look at great athletes, or actors, or people that have a lot of money, and somehow think that their talent or ability makes them better people; we look at preachers of large churches and think that means they are somehow better than other men. We expect more from them – and rightly so – they are in positions of leadership. They will ask you to follow them as they follow God, and we make many decisions based on messages we hear these men preach – however, we must also remember that they are just flesh and blood and we should not put our confidence in them! I would also add this – God too expects more from them because He says in Luke 12:48, “…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…” If God puts you in a position of leadership then more is expected of you, and you should take that responsibility as a privilege and be all the more careful to keep yourself right with God. When people that are following you see you mess up or turn away from God they may take it out on God and become tempted to undo all the good things you put in their lives.

If you are in the "follower" or church member position, when you see someone that is in a “higher” position do something that you do not agree with, or if they actually fall– it is not wise, nor is it fair to take it out on God! When people you admire or look up to fail you, it is normal to be hurt or disappointed – perhaps even to become disillusioned – but do not make it a license to turn away from your God, drop your standards, mire in depression, and burden your life with bitterness – that will not undo what they did wrong, it will only hurt you further!

How can we prevent this?

1. Make sure that you have your own walk with God

2. Make sure the decisions you make are biblically based, and if you make a vow to God – be sure to keep it! “When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.” Ecclesiastes 5:4 – in other words if you make a decision because of a message you heard preached and make a promise to God – you have no excuse to “undo” it just because the preacher that preached it messed up…if he messed up quit following him, don’t follow him to turn away from God too!

3. Forgive. You may ask what that has to do with it, but in reality often the reason people blame God is because they have not forgiven the one that caused the pain or hurt they felt when their preacher disappointed them. Forgiveness is vital! Matthew 6:14 & 15 teaches us this, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

4. Serve God, not men

5. Expect things from God, not from men

6. Remember that God is your salvation, your glory, your rock of strength, and your refuge is in God.

7. Trust God at all times and pour your heart out to Him! Pray for those people that have hurt you and not only will they be helped, you will be healed.

So many people are hurting because of hurting people – but please don’t take it out on God – He loves you! He gave His only begotten Son for you and “…he ever liveth to make intercession for” you. That means that Jesus pleads on your behalf, he prays for you!

I am praying this may help you! I love you and hope you have a wonderful day!