Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Devotional: Be Flexible or Be Miserable

Proverbs 16:9 The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.

This verse popped into my mind this morning.  We were scheduled to travel to Kennewick today so my husband could attend a work meeting.  Last night I had carefully planned out what I would take with me to do while I waited out the five hours at the pubic library.  I put together a big thermos of Chai Tea and made my lunch and set my alarms to get up early.

I did not sleep very good, so when the alarm went I wasn't thrilled about getting up, but I did anyway and began looking forward to kicking back at the Kennewick library. Then my husband told me we were not going because he slept lousy.  

At first I was disappointed and annoyed. I got up early for nothing. I had taken the time to plan and pack ahead yesterday.  I was really looking forward to a day "off" from regular household chores and meal prep.  I really do like my Kennewick days for that reason.  So I had to adjust my attitude and my schedule accordingly.  Man plans, but God directs.

So here I am.  Sitting at my computer writing my weekly devotional (which should have been done yesterday, but I was lazy and then went out and had fun with friends instead and then got things ready for the trip).  I'm still trying to shift gears so this day is not wasted.  I don't know why God decided to direct our plans in a different direction, but He did, so I need to roll with it.  

It's so easy when we have made our plans, and God directs our steps in a different direction, to get bent out of shape, especially if we have put some time and effort into our original plan, or if we are really looking forward to what we have planned.  Sometimes I wonder if God changes our plans on us to teach us to be flexible and adjust our attitudes to be more godly?

There is a saying that goes like this:  Be flexible or be miserable.  When I beat my head against what God has directed, it makes me miserable. The key is to make my plans, but hold them loosely so if God directs another way, I do not soak and sour. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Things I Love: Ecosens Stainless Steel Tea Infuser

Do you like loose tea?  This is a great tea infuser.  I had trouble with the tea balls because they kept letting loose tea out into my drink.  I have another metal screen tea infuser that is better, but it keeps letting loose tea out as well.  So when my mom sent me an unexpected gift of money for Christmas (about a month late because she had been hospitalized at the holidays), I went on the search for a new tea infuser.

I read reviews to make my purchase decisions.  This tea infuser had the best reviews compared to others Amazon sold.

This is a large infuser, so if you have small cups it might not work for you,  This works in my larger mugs as well as in my glass tea pot.  It has not let any of my loose tea into my drink except for very fine powder, and that doesn't pose a problem at all for me.

I could see myself in the summer time, crushing up berries or other fruit and pouring it into this infuser to make a fruit tea free of pulp.

The silicone ring is removable for washing and is intended to prevent you from burning your fingers when removing the hot lid from the infuser after making your tea.  The lid doubles as a place to set your infuser so that you don't have to have a separate saucer for it to catch the drips.

If you enjoy loose tea, this will be the perfect addition to your tea making supplies.  Perhaps you have a friend who enjoys loose tea?  It would be a great gift.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Devotional: The Comparison Game

Galatians 6: 3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.

I watched a video this morning on comparing oneself to others and the pit falls of doing that.  It reminded me of the verse above. 

While the video had to do with comparing yourself to others and then getting down in the dumps because your life and accomplishments are not equal to or better than theirs or their life is better than yours, the Scripture above is talking about comparing yourself to others and looking at how poorly they are doing in order to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps to establish your own righteousness and/or superiority over them.

As a home-school alumni mom, I look at other people's kids and compare where they are to where mine are and I am tempted to get down in the dumps because my kids don't measure up to what the Jones' kids are doing. This is wrong!  Their kids are different.  They have their own issues that I probably wouldn't want and don't know about.  My kids are right where God wants them at this moment in time.  God knows what he is doing.  So I don't need to get down in the dumps thinking I am a home-school failure.

Then I sometimes swing the other way and compare myself with those who are not strong spiritually or don't hold the same moral values that I do and it's easy to puff myself up and point the finger (figuratively, cause it's not nice to point!) and tell myself how much better I am then they.

Either case is not good.  The balance is off.  I'm either putting myself up too high or pulling myself down too low.  Both gives me an improper view of myself, causes undue stress and is dishonoring to the God who made me. 

The solution is in the meme above.  I need to look into Scripture and compare myself with that.  I need to find where I need improvement, thank God for helping me in areas that I measure up and leave the comparison with others game out of it.

How about you?  Are you struggling with the comparison game?  Don't look out horizontally at others.  Look vertically to God and to His Word.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Devotional: Rejecting God

So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you. 1 Thessalonians 4:8(NASB)

This morning I was copying Scripture into my Journible.  The verse I started with (and ended with) was the verse above.  The part that caught my attention was the fact that he who rejects this rejects God.  What is the "this" that is being talked about here?
To find that out I had to back up in the chapter to verses 3 and 7.
3. For this is the will of God, your sanctificationthat is, that you abstain from [d]sexual immorality; 7. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but [h]in sanctification.
Go back and read just the yellow highlighted words.

Sexual purity is one area mentioned here that we need to be sanctified in, but if we look at Galatians 5:5:15-21 there is a whole list of areas we need to be sanctified in. I hope you will take the time to look it up.

There are those who say that since we are free from the law, we can do whatever we please.  We can use profanity, watch and do any number of things that are not beneficial to our sanctification because we are free from the law.  I'm not going to discuss the law here.  That's another topic.

The point is that the will of God is that we be sanctified. If we reject the idea of sanctification, then we are in essence rejecting God.  That's pretty heavy stuff.

Here is an example.  Let's say I'm on Facebook and someone says something inflammatory to me in a comment. My first impulse would be to say something snarky back, yet the Holy Spirit within me is telling me not to do it.  Who am I going to yield to?  Will I yield to my fleshly desires and be snarky or will I yield to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to be nice or not say anything at all?  If I do the former, I have rejected God.

We can apply this principle to all kinds of areas of life.  I have to be honest, I don't always respond to situations and people in the way that I know I should and to be blunt, I have rejected God in those circumstances by ignoring what the Holy Spirit would have me to do.  I hope to do better.  I hope this challenges you as well.  God bless you as you allow His Holy Spirit to sanctify you.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Things I Love:Echo Dot

  I was given an Echo Dot for Christmas.  I doubt that I am utilizing it for all it can do, but I am enjoying this little device.  I use it for my alarm clock each day.  At night I let it read my Kindle book to me. I enjoy the daily briefing where I get the weather report and the news headlines for the day.  I can even add events to my google calendar just by telling it what to add.

I am able to  tell it to read whole chapters from the Bible for me. Our pastor recently started preaching through Luke, so I have it read the chapter he is in on Sundays each day of the week.

Features I don't use much because I already had other ways of doing them, are the reminder feature where you can ask Alexa to add something to your reminder list in the Alexa app and you can ask Alexa to add things to your shopping list within the Alexa app.  I understand you can even tell Alexa to order stuff for you from Amazon.  I am not comfortable with that feature, so I don't use it.

It's a fun little device to play with, but it does take a small learning curve to get it to do what you want it to do all the time.  Go ahead and give it a try.  Amazon is good at taking returns, so if you don't like it you are not stuck.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Things I Love: Journible

I have been using Journibles for about a year now.  I absolutely love, love, love this way of doing my daily devotional quiet times.

When you use these, you will be writing your way through Scripture, copying the text you will be studying or meditating on.  Before it was so easy to just do a cursory reading of the verses, and be on my merry way.  With this, it slows me down as I copy each verse.  I find that there are things that I never noticed before that are meaningful to me. Sometimes I am noticing just small phrases that are pregnant with meaning when taken with the over all context of the passage.

I highly encourage you to order on of these Journibles and see for yourself how it will transform your daily devotional time.

 It's especially enjoyable when you have a favorite pen that you use in writing in these books.  I like using Energel pens because they write very smoothly.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Devotional: Watch, Stand, Be Brave, Love

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love. (I Corinthians 16:13-14 NKJV)

Paul is closing his first epistle to the Corinthians. He encourages them to

Stand fast in the faith
Be brave
Be strong
Do everything with love

It seems this is good advice in these days when so many have lost their heads over the election of Donald Trump.  We are seeing much violence and many nasty things in the wake of this election and inaugeration.  So what should be our stance in all of this?

Just what the Apostle Paul said above.  Watch.  Stand fast in the faith. Be brave. Be strong. Do everything with love.

That last one is the difficult one.  When I see posts on Facebook, I want to respond with my two cents worth...and I have at times.  I need to take a good hard look at what it is I want to say if I think I want to post my two cents.  It is it really necessary?  Am I doing it with love or am I doing it because I just want to say some thing?  I must confess it has been more the latter than the former. Do I even need to involve myself in this conversation?  

I'm thinking that I need to watch more than I speak or post, stay fervent in God's word to strengthen my faith, be brave and strong for the days ahead while tempering my actions and reactions with love.  Will it be easy?  No.  My flesh wants to spew out  it's two cents worth.  May God help me and you to temper our words and actions with love in these days of anger charged rhetoric.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Devotional: What Are You Thankful For?

1 Thessalonians 1:2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

I use the Journible's for my daily devotions.  It's a series of books that takes you through various books of the Bible. But here's the catch: You write the passages out by hand on the right side and write your thoughts about what you have just copied on the left side.  Scattered throughout are prompts for thinking about what you have just copied from God's Word.

For the verse above, there was a prompt.  What are you thankful for?  Compare that to what Paul is thankful for.

As I read down through chapter 1 I found that Paul was thankful for the spiritual progress of his readers.  Comparing that to what I am thankful for, was rather eye opening.  Instead of being thankful for the spiritual progress of others, my list included things like creature comforts, and temporal issues.  Paul had an "others focus" while I had a "me focus".  Well, not totally a "me focus", but the things I was thankful for regarding others had more to do with temporal issues being resolved than thanksgiving for other's spiritual growth.

That is quite a contrast, and not one I'm proud of.  I think it shows how materialistic and obsessed with comfort we have become.  The truth is, we grow more spiritually when things are not easy for us.  We have to depend on God more when things are tough.  It deepens our trust in Him and shapes us spiritually into the person God wants us to be.

Paul is such an example for us in this way.  By God's grace I want to focus more on being thankful for the spiritual growth I see in others and less on my creature comforts.  There's nothing wrong with being thankful for what God has provided us temporally...we should thank Him for these things, but let's see if we can go deeper and thank Him for the spiritual growth that we see in others and then go one step further...bless that person by telling them what you are thanking God for...that's what Paul did.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Devotional: A Slave Yet Free

1 Peter 2:16 (NASB)

 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bond-slaves of God.

Here is a paradox in Scripture.  In Galatians 5:1 it says, "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."  Yet in numerous passages, Paul calls himself and others blond slaves or bond servants of Jesus Christ.  The verse above tells us to act as free men, but use our freedom as bond-slaves of God.
How can we be free and slaves at the same time?  Let's take a look.
We are set free from....
Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

We are to be a slave to....

Romans 6:22
But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.

What do slaves do?
They obey their masters.  Scripture tells us to be obedient to God.  

What are the benefits of slavery to God?
1. Freedom from sin
2. Sanctification
3. Eternal life

We are free people as Christians, because we are free from the bondage of sin and death.  Yet, we are slaves of Christ to obey and honor Him, but the benefits are so well worth it!  It's not slavery with drudgery.  It's slavery with thanksgiving for all that we have been freed from and all that we have to look forward to!  Thankful obedience.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

We Wrestle Not Against Flesh and Blood

I have been watching videos and listening to audio of survivors of unspeakable evil at the hands of our government officials and those of other governments over the last few days.  I have also listened to the warnings of those who have been murdered for speaking out against these unspeakable evils.

Our media, government, ruling elites, world leaders and Hollywood have all done their best to label those who believe what these people say as "conspiracy theorist", thus having the effect of making them look like crazy nuts and causing them to be quiet.  I have even reconsidered if I should write this post or not at the risk of being labeled nutty. We see this in the effort to censor "fake" news on the internet and on the radio.

In an effort to separate fact from fiction, I set out to listen to as many first hand survivors of this evil as well as those who warn of it.  I wanted to see if their stories matched.  Granted, there are not a huge abundance of those speaking out because they fear for their lives in doing so, but there are enough of them that one can compare their stories and determine if they are telling the truth or fabricating lies.

I am of the opinion that they are telling the truth.

There is a group that was originally called the Iluminati.  Years ago their goal of a one world government got out along with some of their evil doings, so they went underground for a while and came back under front organizations.  The front organization in the US is the Counsel on Foreign Relations.  They go by other names in other countries.  They have infiltrated the CIA, the FBI, the White House, the Masonic Lodge and many other facets of American leadership and world leaderships.

The goal is a one world government. The doctrine is Luciferianism. The methods are blackmail through sexual perversion, pedophilia, MK Ultra Mind Control and Satanic worship.

This all sounds outlandish and crazy, doesn't it?  But when you listen to the testimonies of those who have escaped slavery in this system, you are shocked almost beyond belief that our leaders, past and present, both Republican and Democrat,  could be so depraved.  

It's no wonder God's Word says for us to watch and pray.  In other words, pray with your eyes open.

The passage quoted below from Ephesians 6 makes so much more sense to me now after listening to and watching these videos from survivors of the ritual abuse that goes on among these people.

"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:11-12‬ ‭KJV‬‬

I recommend that you also do the research and see for yourself what goes on behind the closed doors of world leaders.  It is shocking and unbelievable, yet the stories match.  The pieces all come together to paint one ugly picture.  At least I have found it so.  Do your own research and come to your own conclusions.  Don't take my word for it.  And don't call me a nut job until you do your own research.

In my own Bible study, the emphasis of prayer keeps coming back over and over again.  The importance of prayer can't be over emphasized in these evil days.  We have a real evil enemy and the only way we can protect ourselves from him is by prayer and the Word of God.

I will post some links to get you started on your own research.
Illuminati Wife Tells All - Part 1 of 4 There are three more parts to this series. You can find them easily on Youtube. Her story is very interesting but she tends to ramble, one story detail, reminding her of something else and then off she goes to that.  So it's a challenge to follow her line of thinking at times.  But what she says seems to dovetail with other testimonies I have listened to.
Pedophile CIA SEX SLAVE-MK ULTRA Brice Taylor
Illuminati Whistleblower "They Worship lucifer" I've listened to so many videos that I might be confused on this, but I believe Brice is one that said she was prostituted to Reagan. 
The REAL Illuminati Explained (Satanic, NOT Atheist) 2017 This is key to understanding what is going on in the world today. It was recorded in 1995 and predicted what is happening in the world today, 20 years later. Notice the title....(Satanic, NOT Atheist).  They are deliberately getting Christians to focus on fighting Atheism in America as if that is the enemy.  It's a distraction technique.  Satanism in high government places is the real issue!
Real Demon Manifests In Lady Gaga - Perfect Illusion : Illuminati Exposed
Retired HEAD OF FBI Tells ALL "Illuminati, Satanism, Pedophile Rings"
This man was classified as a nut job. When he refused to be quiet about what he knew he was poisoned with arsenic and died. I will post a link to what his doctor had to say about his death.
Ted L Gunderson Ex FBI Whistleblower Poisoned? - Dr.Ed Lucidi - Anthony J Hilder
 Former C.I.A. Agent Robert D. Steele Speaks Out-(10 Min.)

Monday, January 02, 2017

Devotional: Three Preparations to Avoid Being Broadsided by Life's Disappointments, Disasters and Devilry (1 Peter 1:13 NASB)

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13 NASB)

This is a verse full of action commands. 

*Prepare your minds for action.

The Christian life is a life of mental action. You can't just sit idly by not engaging your mind for action. The Devil's workshop is an idle mind.  If you do not prepare your mind for action then you leave yourself open to all sorts of temptation and sin.  

*Keep sober in spirit.

A mind prepared for action will by default be sober.  This doesn't mean we can't enjoy life and have fun. But it does mean that we are alert to what is going on around us and that we are serious about honoring God in what we do.

*Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

What is my hope fixed on?  There are so many temporal things I can fix my hope on. But if my hope is in any of these things I will be disappointed at some point. My hope must be fixed completely on the grace of Jesus Christ. It's the only thing that will not disappoint.

If I do these three things, I won't be broadsided by life's disappointments, disasters and devilry.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Musings from Marsha on Being Sick

So, hey, I've been sick for three days now.  You know, the sinus gunk, sore throat, no energy sort of stuff.  It's pretty well put me off my game.  So what's to do when you don't feel like doing anything active but drink tea and pee?

Well, it occurs to me that I have a number of things that are quiet sit down things that I can do so I can still feel like I have accomplished something of value in my day.  Here is a short list of things to get your creative juices running in case you find yourself in a similar circumstance.

  • Write down all your passwords for websites that are important to you in a little book that you will keep in an out of the way place.  You never know when your electronic device might get lost or fall in the toilet and there goes all your passwords in the password vault down the toilet!
  • Make up a week's worth of menus
  • Watch some of those Youtube Videos you have been meaning to watch and never get time for
  • Read books you have wanted to read but don't usually have time for, or if on Kindle and you own an Echo Dot, have Alexa read to you.
  • Spend some time reading those magazine subscriptions that are stacking up
  • Roll your toy breed dog up in a blanket on your lap and file his/her toe nails or just cuddle the dog...that is less energy.
  • Type a blog post
  • Stalk your friends on Facebook
  • Watch the live eagle camera and wait for the baby eagles to hatch
  • Shred junk mail
You get the idea.... so if you are sick today or this week....not to despair, your life can still be a little "active" in spite of feeling like a truck ran over you.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Devotional: Let the Peace of Christ Rule

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesusgiving thanks through Him to God the Father. Colossians 3:15-17

I have made the phrases that stand out the most to me today in blue bold type.  
1. Let the peace of Christ rule
2. Be thankful
3. Let the word of Christ dwell within you
4. Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus
5. Give thanks

It is a constant struggle for me to let the peace of Christ rule.  There are so many scary things out in the world.  It's easy to give way to worry over the safety of your children and other loved ones as they go out into the world away from the safety of home.  

It's easy to give way to worry when a loved one suddenly takes ill and the future is uncertain, or to worry about what will happen to my family if I take ill and can not recover.  

It's easy to worry over the affairs of this world...war, terrorism, and violence of all kinds.  

It's easy to worry over foul weather patterns and if it is going to affect how we live our lives.  Many have had their homes ruined by floods or tornadoes or hurricanes.

The key to sleeping easier at night is to let the peace of God rule in your heart.  Note that it is a command.  This isn't something that will happen as we sit passively in our arm chairs.  We have to actively commit all these things to God's keeping, knowing that if any of our worst fears do come to pass, He knows all about it and will use it for our spiritual growth and good and His glory.

The second thing that stands out to me is that I am to be thankful.  I need to commit these things to God's keeping and be thankful that He will do what He deems best in each situation.

Thirdly, I am to let the word of Christ dwell richly within me.  Again, this can't happen sitting passively in my arm chair.  I have to do something about it.  It requires daily feeding on the word of God in Bible reading, study, and fellowship with God's people and listening to His word preached.

Fourth, I am do all I do in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  By remembering Christ in all that I do, I will not want to do anything that will dishonor His name. It will keep me from doing evil and my life will be more peaceful when my conscience is clean before Him.

Fifth, give thanks. This is the second time giving thanks is mentioned.  When something is mentioned twice in quick succession we can assume it is very important. Giving thanks isn't a feeling.  It's an action.  

We can give thanks even when we don't feel thankful. Remember Paul and Silas in the jail?  I'm sure their circumstances were less than stellar, but they were singing praises to God anyway...a sure sign of a thankful heart.  Do you think they felt especially thankful in those circumstances?  I doubt it, but they gave thanks anyway through singing praises to God. 

These points are things I really need to work on in my life.  I'm too much of a worry wort.  How about you? 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Devotional: Remember God's Blessings

Psalm 103:1-2 Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits--(NIV)

Discouragement. I think we have all been discouraged at one time or another. What causes us to become discouraged? As I think back over the times I have been discouraged, I find there are a number of things that have caused discouragement for me: pain, fatigue, money issues, unfulfilled expectations, chronic illness, too many things to do and not enough time to do them and the list can go on and on. As I sit here and look at my list, I see a common thread that runs through it. All of these things and the ones I didn't name, represent the death of a dream. This wasn't how I planned my life to be. This isn't how I wanted things to turn out. Discouragement and depression creeps in as I dwell on a dream that will never be reality in this life.

As I turn to God's Word, I see something that I can do that will give me encouragement and help lift me out of the pit of discouragement. The verse above says, "Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits". God has given us many blessings that we take for granted. Rather than dwelling on a dead dream, we need to dwell on what we do have. Take out a pencil and paper and make a list of what God has blessed you with. I will start the list for you: salvation, sins forgiven, good friends, family, roof over my head, food to eat...you finish the list.

The Psalmist makes a list of blessings for us in verses 3-5 of Psalm 103:
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

Some of these blessings are for when we reach heaven, but none the less, they are blessings that are ours to look forward to and that gives me hope! Our dreams in this life may die. Bury them and look to the sure hope that is ours in Christ! Hebrews 6:19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.