Saturday, March 28, 2015

Marsha's Musings: My Prayer as I Grow Older

Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.

But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge.

O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. (Psalm 71:9, 14-15, 17-18 ESV)

My prayer as I grow older.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Marsha's Musings: When the News Worries Me, Remember This. (Psalm 4:6-8)



There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:6-8 ESV)

The news is often bleak. Our Facebook feeds are full of bad news. The nightly news on TV is bad. The newspaper headlines are bad. I have often said, "Why don't they ever report good news?!"

The Psalmist says there are many who say the same thing. “Who will show us some good?"  Life gets scarier every day and we wonder if it's even safe to travel anywhere....even to the store!  

But the last verse of this Psalm sums it up nicely.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

God alone keeps us safe and He will not let anything take us out of this world until He decides it is our time to go.  With that knowledge and assurance I can lie down and sleep in peace.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Marsha's Musings: Forgiveness Psalm 130:3-4

                     
     

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. (Psalm 130:3-4 ESV)

Where would we be if God kept track of all our sinfulness?  Not one person on earth would make it into heaven. But God in His infinite mercy made a way for forgiveness through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Marsha's Musings: When God is Covered in Darkness (Psalm 18:11)



He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water. (Psalm 18:11 ESV)

Do you ever feel as if God has hidden Himself from you?  Have you felt like you were walking all alone in darkness and that life is closing in on you?

God often covers His presence in our lives in a shroud of darkness.  It is during these times that we are forced to walk by faith.  He forces us to pick our way carefully when we can not see the way. It can be a dark and lonesome path and we may feel that God has left us.  

Take heart!  He has not left you!  He will not break His promise to never leave you!  He is only hidden by a covering of darkness for a time. He is still there right beside you even if you don't "see" or hear Him.  Walk on through the darkness in faith and soon enough you will see the Light again.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Marsha's Musings: God's Kingdom (Matthew 13:24-33)




He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’” He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.” (Matthew 13:24-33 ESV)

If you are like me, you get discouraged at how things are going in the world and you get impatient for God to set up His kingdom. Here are three parables that talk about this.

1. God has planted His fields but there are weeds growing among with the wheat.  We see this in the Church today.  One day God will gather His people and those who are not part of His harvest will be burned.

2. God's kingdom begins as a tiny mustard seed that grows and becomes very large.  But notice how it starts small. It takes time to grow to the size God wants it to be.

3. God's kingdom takes time to grow, like leaven must take time to raise the dough.  

The point?  We can't expect God to establish His kingdom quickly. He has his own time table. Good things can't be hurried.  Patience is a godly virtue that I need as I watch things develop the world around me.  The growth of God's kingdom will not come easy. It comes with great difficulty like that of a mother giving birth. God is purging His Church around the world.  Only those who He planted will remain faithful and stand unashamed before Him.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Marsha's Musings: Unfulfilled Expectations (Luke 4:13-20)




And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. (Luke 4:14-20 ESV)

This was a prophecy of Isaiah that was fulfilled in Jesus, but it wasn't fulfilled in the way the Jews expected. They thought Messiah would come and rule over them and there would be utopian peace all around and health and prosperity for all. He didn't fulfill that expectation so they crucified Him later.

How often do I get grumbly when things don't go as I expect? How often do I get angry and shake my fist at God because He isn't fulfilling my dreams and expectations?  I need to keep myself in check and realize that God never promised to fulfill my expectations and dreams. In fact, He may have a reason...lessons I need to learn by not getting what I want.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Marsha's Musings: A Lost Art (3 John 1:13-14)




I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee: -3 John 1:13
But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name. -3 John 1:14

Another reminder of the importance of speaking directly to the people you know and love.

It's becoming a lost art.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Marsha's Musings: An Example To Follow (3 John 1:12)





Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true. -3 John 1:12

John has good things to say about Demetrius. We should strive to be more like him and less like the guy in the previous verses!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Marsha's Musings: Trouble Makers in the Church (3 John 1:9-11



wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. -3 John 1:9
Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. -3 John 1:10
Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God. -3 John 1:11

There are several things here:

1. There are those in the church who think they know best and everything should be done their way. They go about stirring up people to see it their way and try to impose their will on the people.

Some work until they have achieved a church split, while others only manage to gain a small following and they eventually take their football and their small following and leave. Either way, they make sure they harass the pastor as much as possible.

It seems Diotrephes was like those described above, however, he was able to achieve some status and was very influential among the congregation.

2. Remembering the deeds of church trouble makers as well as telling others so they may be warned, as John did in this letter, is not malicious gossip nor is it unforgiving.

It is important to remember their deeds, so as to not be taken in by them or others like them.  

It is also important that when you see them at work you warn others of what they are doing.  This means that you should not report hear-say, as that could be gossip.  But if you have first hand experience with them trying to lead you astray or observe them doing it to someone else, then warning others is not gossip, it is saving another from going down the wrong path.

Matthew 18, dealing with disagreements and offences should also be employed. Sometimes confronting these people is hard as they will not listen.  But it needs to be done.

3.  We are not to follow those who do evil in the church.  We are to follow those who do good in the church.

4. The last line is a real stickler.  
He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God. -3 John 1:11
 
What does this say about those who persist in splitting the church or gaining a following for their agenda?  It says that person has not seen God.  Tough words. But we must be careful what we do with these words.  

Not everyone who follows these trouble makers is a non-Christian. They have just been led astray by them. Also, not every trouble maker is a wolf in sheep's clothing...some of them just have serious misunderstandings and need correction.  The ones who refuse correction are the ones we have to have serious doubts about. 

If they are in disagreement over doctrinal issues that are not essential to salvation, they just need to either decide to agree to disagree but be silent about it if it is not the position the church holds to or they need to go find a church they agree with.  

If their disagreement stems from procedure and how things are done in the church, it's fine to bring these things up to the leadership and if it's not agreeable with the church leadership then they need to let it go and not stir the pot.  

Those that get on their high horse and stir the pot until they either drive the pastor out, split the church or take a faction with them are not obeying Scripture and their faith is suspect, especially when they display obvious bitterness in their words and actions.

I need to guard myself against such things.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Marsha's Musings: Faithful in Charity 3 John 1:5-8


Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; -3 John 1:5
Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: -3 John 1:6
Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. -3 John 1:7
We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth. -3 John 1:8

Gaius apparently was a charitable man. He was faithful in helping the Jewish Christians on their journeys.  I'm not sure if they were being sent out as missionaries or if they were simply poor and persecuted pilgrims or refugees. 

Whatever the case, Gaius is commended for his charity.  Can I be commended for my charity to others?  What can I do to show charity to other Christians?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Marsha's Musings: No Greater Joy. (3 John 1:4)



I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. -3 John 1:4

It warms my heart to know that my children are walking in the truth.  Numerous times I have knocked on my children's bedroom doors for some reason, and found them reading their Bibles.  

It's a pleasure to be able to discuss spiritual things with both my children.  I pray for them to continue to be open to God's word as they mature and go on in life.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Marsha's Musings: Legacy of Faith (3 John 1:3)

   


For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. -3 John 1:3

Apparently, Gaius's faith was so evident that those around him told John about it.

The question must be asked, is my faith strong in the Lord?  Is my faith evident to those around me?  When things don't go well, how do I respond or do I simply react?  Do I respond with faith?

What about walking in the truth?  Do I compare what I am taught with what the Bible says?  Am I blown about by winds of strange doctrine or is my anchor sure and steadfast in Jesus Christ and His Word?

What can I do to leave a legacy of faith to my children, husband and friends?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Just a Note from Me




So I tried to take a break from blogging my devotions, but it didn't last long.  It seems to be the best way I can really get anything out of what I read in my Bible.  

If I read other people's devotional thoughts, it just seems like something is missing.  Not that what they write isn't good.  It is!  But I feel like I'm reading how God is dealing with someone else instead of digging in and being dealt with from Scripture on a personal basis.  Do you know what I mean?  

All that to say I can't seem to pull myself away from blogging what I learn in Scripture.  It's just a convinient place to put it all down and doesn't give me writer's cramp in the process!  I don't really know if anybody reads what I write and that is okay.  I'd rather they dig into Scripture and allow it to speak to their hearts without my "help".  But if anything I write is helpful to someone, I'm happy for that.

My life is crazy right now.  We are gearing up for Nathaniel's graduation.  That means there are things to order, photos to be gone through, slide show to work on (althought I assigned that to him), my speech to write, announcements to send and the list goes on.  It's a bit overwhelming.  Sarah got his photo shoot done yesterday. Now for her to do the photo editing.

In the last three weeks I have been to Kennewick, Walla Walla and Spokane.  I'm tired of traveling and will be glad for a break.  

The weeds are growing again, so I have to get out and  spray or burn weeds just about every chance I get or they will take over like they already have in the back yard.

Our garage door opener broke but it was under warranty, so the guy replaced it at no cost to us.  Only charge is the $50 service fee.  I can live with that.

Yearbook duties are beginning to ramp up with photos coming in that I have to upload to the website.  I will need to start helping with page design soon.  This is my last year to do this!  Yeah!

I continue to do the Port Cities Home Edcators email.  That is feast or famine.  Sometimes there is nothing to send out and other times I go half crazy with it.  This too is my last year to do!  Yeah!

What will I do with my time once Nathaniel is graduated and I am no longer doing the PCHE email, yearbook uploads, and schooling?  I'm sure I will find plenty to do.

I will still have to put three meals a day on the table on schedule ( hubby comes home every day for lunch).

I will still be responsible for all of the household maintenance...everything from plumbing to cleaning gutters (although I plan to grab Nathaniel to go up on the ladders now).

I will probably need to get at least a part time job to supplement the income for when Rick retires since our income will drop but our expenses will continutue to go up.

All this stuff is only a partial listing of what I do with my life and what I will still be doing with my life after homeschooling is done.  I can not complain of being bored.

God has been merciful and has given me the strength to do most of these things.  I wouldn't say I keep up...especially with the weeds...but He helps me to keep going.

Marsha's Musings: Prospering (3 John 1:1-2

        


The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. -3 John 1:1
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. -3 John 1:2

Now John writes to Gaius, who must be younger than him but whom is wellbeloved in the church and John loves him in the truth. 

I can't help but wonder if Gaius had health problems since John made a point of wishing that he might prosper and be in health even as his soul prospers.  If this is true, then we have another example from Scripture of someone who endured physical affliction and yet responded in a right manner toward God through it all.  (Paul is the other example)

This would be yet another nail in the coffin of the health and wealth propserity preachers who seem to think you are only sick because you don't have enough faith or you have terrible sin in your life.

John refers to himself as the elder writing to Gaius.  So Gaius being younger than the apostle, apparently was spiritually mature in his faith so much so that John comments that his soul prospers.

Gaius was wellbeloved.  This tells me that he had a right attitude toward his illness and that others were encouraged by him.

So the challenge is this:
Can I in whatever affliction the hand of God brings my direction, prosper in my faith in spite of what is going on around me or in my body?  Can I be a source of spiritual encouragement to those around me in spite of what affliction may come upon me?  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Marsha's Musings: Pitfalls of Social Media (2 John 1:12-13)






Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full. -2 John 1:12
The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen. -2 John 1:13

John knew the importance of speaking face to face with people.  He had many things he wanted to say to the elect lady, but he chose not to say everything but wait until he could talk face to face. 

In this day when many of us are separated by miles letters and social media are a good way to communicate.  However, I think sometimes social media and email take the place of speaking face to face or on the phone because we do not want to take the time it takes to actually communicate with people in a personal way.

I'm just as guilty as the next person of using social media as a substitute for real personal communication.  I think this has created an atmosphere of isolation.  Yes, we have contact with others, but we sit sequestered in our homes and bedrooms without real human contact with those we see on social media.

I wonder, if the Internet was shut down would I pick up the phone or go and visit those I "talk" to on social media? Do have their phone numbers?

The other pitfall of social media is the impersonal aspect of spewing out things to people that you would never say in person. I think social media has given people the freedom to display their depravity in ways they would never do in person.  Many friendships are ruined by careless comments made on social media.

I think if John had social media back in Bible times that he would have still said he wanted to talk face to face.  Am I willing to take the time and committment it takes to get together with others face to face or pick up the phone to talk to them?