Thursday, August 28, 2014

My Baby's Having a Baby ~ Poem


My Baby’s Having a Baby
by Dianna Carroll


My baby’s having a baby, Oh, how can this be?

It seems like only yesterday,

 We were counting one, two, three.


My baby’s having a baby, such joy fills my heart;

How can I begin to tell you? 

I know not where to start.


The doctor said, “A little one’s coming!”

A surprise for Papa and me;

We rejoice in knowing God’s perfect plan will bless our family.


My baby’s having a baby, and in this I do delight.

Such love and hope, perfectly unfolding;

God’s greatest joy is just in sight.


My baby’s having a baby, a wonderful gift of love,

Sweet jubilation, and entrusted care 

For this child conceived in love.


Yes, my baby’s having a baby, to love and hold so tight.

Lord, I’m thankful for this little one, 

So precious in Your sight. 

 ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

          
To be a grandparent is a wonderful joy; as described in the poem above. “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalm 127:3). Children are a blessing given by God and are an evidence of His love and goodness. Although they belong to Him, they are sent to enrich us personally. They are sent to make our lives full and we are to be loving parents who will lead them in godliness; that they too might be a witness of the Gospel of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. What a great opportunity to disciple future witnesses.

Thought: Two different words are used in the Greek for the word “gift.” One emphasizes the perfection of God’s graciousness gift, the object given, and the other denotes the act of giving. All things given by God are divine, compete, and rewarding to man. May we never forget that life, new life, is a gift from the Father of lights (the great Creator). He is the giver of life and all gifts given by Him are perfect (complete) and good. James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, (variation, change) neither shadow of turning (shadow due to change).” Thank you, Lord, for the precious gift you have given in allowing this new life to enrich our family.

P.S. It’s a girl!


Friday, August 22, 2014

Are You Committing Spiritual Adultery?


Are You Committing Spiritual Adultery?

Proverbs 5:3-5
“For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword.  Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.”
Proverbs 23:27-28
For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit. She also lieth in wait as for a prey, and increaseth the transgressors among men.”

Prostitution
So often, prostitution is referred to as the "oldest profession” in the world. It has always been a common way for women to make money, even in Bible times. The Bible teaches that prostitution is immoral, a deep pit, a narrow well; and the prostitute lurks as a robber to lure the hearts of men. To fall into her trap, should be as frightening as falling into a deep pit or well where there is no escape.

God forbids such involvement with a prostitute because He knows this attachment is harmful to both men and women. Satan’s work of seduction begins with it words of deceptive flattery. The lips of honey should be meant for one’s true love in marriage and not for anything outside of this sacred bond. The tasting of the adulterous women’s lips is said to be, “bitter as wormwood” and “as sharp as a two-edged sword,” symbols of suffering and death. 

Prostitution not only destroys marriages, families, and lives, but it destroys a persons physical body and leads to spiritual death. We are to keep our bodies pure to be used as tools for His service and glory. Romans 6:13 says, “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” The body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body (I Corinthians 6:13b).

Although prostitution is sinful, prostitutes are not beyond God's loving forgiveness. The Bible records His use of a prostitute named Rahab to further His sovereign plan. Because of her obedience, she and her family were saved and blessed (Joshua 2:1; 6:17-25). Jesus forgave and cleansed a women from her sin and she found an opportunity to serve Christ while He was visiting in the home of a Pharisee. This woman brought a bottle of expensive perfume to Jesus and in repentance, wept while she poured perfume on His feet and wiped it with her hair. The Pharisees criticized Jesus for allowing the "immoral" woman to show such an act of love towards Him. Jesus rebuked them in saying, “...Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little” (Luke 7:47). 

Jesus Christ said in Matthew 21:31-32, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans (tax collectors) and the harlots (prostitutes) go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him” (even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him). It was easier for tax collectors and prostitutes to find true salvation than it was for the chief priests and other self-righteous leaders to believe that Jesus was the only way of salvation.

The book of Hosea teaches us that Hosea was asked by God to take a “wife of whoredoms,” a picture of Israel (also called Ephraim) in spiritual adultery. Gomer was a prostitute, a woman unfaithful to her husband, Hosea, and to her children. The theme of the book shows God’s loyal love for His covenant people, Israel, in spite of their idolatry. Though Israel will have great consequences because of the sin of idolatry, God will love, forgive and restore the nation of Israel in the end. God tolerates no rival whether it be a nation or an individual, but pledges to expose wickedness illustrating His unquenchable love for Israel, His beloved people, and for us.

Thought:  Being in spiritual adultery is dangerous and deadly just as being a prostitute, or being with a prostitute is hazardous and extremely risky. Spiritual adultery is unfaithfulness to God and having an excessive fondness for the things of the world. James 4:4 says,“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship (a strong emotional attachment) of the world is enmity (hostility, opposition, resistance) with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” The one who is an enemy of God is seen throughout Scripture as an unbeliever, one who has a deep and intimate longing for the things of the world and not for God. 

The Bible says if we set our mind on the flesh it is death, but if we set our mind on the Spirit it is life and peace. The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile and in opposition towards God and therefore is not subject to the law of God, neither can it be yielded to Christ (Romans 8:5-7). If you are a true believer, allow Christ to transform you by the renewing of your mind rather than you conforming to this world (Romans 12:2). The love of the world is primarily an attitude of the heart. To avoid spiritual adultery, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2).

Friday, August 15, 2014

Satan, the Enemy of God


Satan, the Enemy of God

Revelation 12:10-12
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.  Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

Heart Wrenching: I attempt to work with women in addiction, and visually see how hard Satan works to deceive, destroy and kill those that have been captured by his lies. My heart was moved as I entered a courtroom this week to see twenty to thirty men and women restrained by chains around their hands and feet, shuffling across the crowded room to their seats. Their joy was gone and there was no laughter coming from an unresponsive face. To hear the inmates answer the question, “How do you plea?” was gripping. To listen to one give an account of their actions and then answer,”Guilty!” was overwhelming!

What a picture of the ugly chains of sin mankind has been shackled with throughout human history. Man has no hope without believing in the truth of the gospel; that Jesus did for them what they could never do for themselves. Satan has bound them with his lies and will utterly destroy them unless they believe in Christ and trust Him by faith. John 3:36 says, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

Bible Prophecy: The Bible teaches us that one day there will be no more deception and no more Satan, for he will be cast into Hell forever and ever. But, until that time, his lies will go on as he devours his victims one by one. No longer will Satan accuse the brethren night and day before the throne of God because he will no longer have access to God or heaven. Satan is the enemy of God and an enemy to true believers. All of his accusations are false and have been unsuccessfully charged to our account. We are pronounced not guilty by our Great Judge because Christ is our Advocate (I John 2:1). 

By the time of the Great Tribulation, Satan knows that his efforts to deceive, destroy and kill are being cut short and thus begins; the great war in heaven. He and his demons are cast out of heaven to deceive the whole earth. This is his second and final expulsion from the presence of God. Satan, in full fury, becomes enraged, taking revenge on all humanity as he is forced out of heaven. Scripture reads, “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” The word wrath refers to a violent outburst of rage. Satan’s wrath becomes more violent because he knows that he has only a short time–––three and a half years for the Antichrist to reign (Revelation 13:5). 

Thoughts:  Aren’t we blessed to know the end of the story, that Christ is our conquering hero and not the victim of Satan’s vengeance? The long awaited time of Jesus Christ’s appearance will come and in Revelation 19, He will be enthroned and properly honored as all heaven rejoices. Satan’s final sentencing will be announced in Revelation 20:10, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Forever, the enemy of God, will be imprisoned and Satan will never be able to deceive, destroy, or kill again. HALLELUJAH! God be praised!

If you are struggling with the chains of sin my friend, trust Christ today. Repent of your sins and put your faith and trust in what Jesus did for you on the cross. The gospel of Christ is the truth that will set you free from the bondage of sin, and He is the only One who can promise eternal life to all who believe.  (John 6:47) “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Conscience


The Conscience

Acts 24:16
 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

Introduction:

Recently, I found myself feeling guilty for no apparent reason I knew of and immediately went to the Word of God for instruction and comfort. “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23,24). Examining guilt feelings in the light of Scripture, along with prayer, is definitely the cure for a guilty conscience. A person who conceals his sin will not prosper, but the one who confesses and forsakes sin, will have compassion (Proverbs 28:13). After I had spent time searching my heart through prayer and reading God’s Word, I realized that Satan, known as, “the accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10), tried to discourage my heart with lies (John 8:44). Christians need to understand that guilt appears when sin is prevalent in the life of a believer, but also, when one is not trusting God with a clear and well-advised conscience. The conscience must be persuaded by the Word of God, not by feelings.

The conscience is a servant of the individual’s value system and an immature or sickly value system produces a weak conscience. But, a fully educated value system, produces strong principles that are based on right and wrong. In the Christian life, one’s conscience can be driven by an inadequate understanding of scriptural truths and these can produce guilt, shame, and wrong feelings not related to the issues at hand. As the conscience matures in the faith, it becomes strong; conforming to the principles and precepts found throughout God’s Word. The conscience is a God-given function so human beings can exercise self-evaluation. Paul has referred to his own conscience several times as being “good” or “clear” (Acts 23:1; 24:16; I Corinthians 4:4). We are to examine our own words and deeds and find them to be in accordance with God’s standards. Our conscience should prove the integrity of our heart. 

The deceitfulness of sin, and a dulled conscience is dangerous to the believer because sin is denied through a hardened heart (Hebrews 3:13). The human heart grows more susceptible to temptation, pride, and every other kind of evil, when sin has deceived and defiled the conscience. The conscience is the soul’s warning system which allows believers to make moral evaluations of what they are doing whether it be right or wrong. God has written His law on man’s heart which is a self-judging ability. So, when man violates his conscience, it results in humiliation, regret, and doubt, a signal to the soul’s well-being. A person with a good conscience is doing the will of God from the heart–––producing true joy, everlasting assurance, and ultimate peace.

Thought:  Due to man’s sin nature, wicked men tend to excuse the evil in themselves, and this continual pattern of excusing evil, leads to a hardening of the conscience. Those who insist on keeping their sin, will sin boldly before God and appear to suffer no emotional pains of conscience. They believe they have outsmarted God, but they need to know,  judgment will come when they stand before Christ (Hebrews 9:27; Malachi 3:5)

We learn to distinguish good from evil by getting to know who God is and by applying His Word to our lives. Since sin will appear exceedingly more sinful in the light of God’s Word, a Christian’s conscience can be strengthened through the continual guidance of the Word of God. If we make it our goal to seek God and honor Him in everything we do, we will understand right and wrong and know that our life choices are pleasing to Him (Jeremiah 29:13; 1 Peter 3:12;  and Psalm 106:3). The conscience is a gift from God, don’t ignore it.

Friday, August 1, 2014

"Will You Forgive Me?"


“Will You Forgive Me?”

Matthew 18:21,22
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. [Read: Matthew 18:21-35.]

True story of Corrie ten Boom

As I watched the movie, “The Hiding Place” again, my heart was stirred to think about the ten Boom family and their strong desire to rescue Jews from the shocking Holocaust of WWII. Their home became a refuge for fugitives hiding from the Nazis. Casper ten Boom and his two daughters, Betsie and Corrie, risked their lives by protecting these people. They built a hiding place located in Corrie’s bedroom, a secret room, no larger than a small wardrobe closet behind a false wall. The space could hold up to six people, all of whom had to stand quiet and still. A crude ventilation system was installed to provide air for those in waiting. When security sweeps came through the neighborhood, a buzzer in the house would signal danger, allowing the refugees a little over a minute to seek refuse in the secret hiding place.

On February 28, 1944, the ten Booms’ were arrested and German soldiers thoroughly searched their house. They never found the half-dozen Jews safely concealed in the hiding place. The six stayed in the cramped space for nearly three days before being rescued by the Dutch underground. All the ten Boom family members were incarcerated, including Corrie's 84-year-old father, who soon died in the Scheveningen prison. Corrie and her sister Betsie were sent to the notorious Ravensbruck concentration camp, near Berlin. Betsie died there on December 16, 1944. Twelve days later, Corrie was released for reasons not completely known. Some say that there was a mistake made in the prison paper work, but we know that God makes no mistakes in His purposes or plans. 

Corrie ten Boom set up a rehabilitation center for concentration camp survivors. She began a worldwide ministry that took her to more than 60 countries and received many tributes, including being knighted by the queen of the Netherlands. Corrie gave her testimony around the world but on one occasion she was faced with something she never thought would happen. A guard from Ravensbruck was in the congregation where she was speaking. Corrie recognized him in the crowd as they were all coming out of the basement. She had just given her testimony on God’s forgiveness and saw him coming towards her. She immediately flashed back to the memories of Ravensbruck with her dear sister Betsie in the big open room where she first saw him. Their initial encounter with this man was a horrifying one. They had to shamefully walk naked before him to find some clothes to wear. In the middle of a huge, brightly lit room, were piles of clothes and shoes for the women to search through randomly, in total humiliation.

The cruel guard from the prison camp finally reached Corrie and spoke to her saying, “You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk; I was a guard there.” He said he didn’t remember Corrie, but wanted her to know that since that time at Ravensbruck, he had become a Christian. He had asked God to forgive him for all the horrible things he had done there and wanted to ask Corrie to forgive him in person. He put out his hand and immediately Corrie was faced with his question, “Will you forgive me?” It must have seemed like an eternity that she stood there looking at the man and saying to herself, “I must forgive as Christ has forgiven me.” When she put her hand in his, a healing took place in her heart bringing tears of forgiveness to her eyes. With touching emotion, Corrie responded, “Yes, I forgive you, with all my heart!”

Thought: Though the Bible commands us to forgive, I’m not sure this is always obeyed. Resentment, bitterness or just plan ole rebellion enters the heart and you refuse to forgive. Have you ever made these statements? “Well, if they come to me and say they are sorry, then I’ll forgive them” or “I will never forgive what they have done to me, ever!” “If I forgive them, then I”m letting them off the hook. I want revenge!” Are these the things that you have said openly or repeated in the private recesses of your heart? To forgive is the means that God uses to make you free from all the suffering, agony, and pain unforgiveness brings. No one is ever off God’s hook and the Bible is very clear that we are not to seek vengeance. Romans 12:19 says, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: (leave it to the wrath of God) for it is written, (Deuteronomy 32:35) Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”

Corrie ten Boom had a serious decision to make when the guard from Ravensbruck asked for forgiveness. She may have even thought she was letting this guard off Betsie’s hook and not being true to her sister. Whatever she thought, the healing power of the Holy Spirit of God took control and she did forgive, with all her heart! Is there someone in the secret place of your heart you are not willing to forgive? I beg you to reconsider what God has commanded you to do and FORGIVE. You should have mercy on your fellow man, as the Lord has had mercy on you. Don’t allow your unforgiving spirit to turn you over to the tormentors, the severe disciplining hand of God (Matthew 18:34,35).