2.17.2018

A Titus 2 Night - for our son!


Last night, a group of older, godly men came together to offer words of wisdom and encouragement to our oldest son, Micah, as he begins his pilgrimage into the adult world.
There were over 800 years of life represented by these men! 800 years of experience, maturity, growth, mistakes, successes, sorrows and joy - and they poured all of them into our son.
What a privilege it is to be a part of the body of Christ!
Discipleship is a beautiful part of the Christian life, and last night our son was able to witness it first hand as each man shared something purposeful and poignant about his own walk with the Lord with the hope of encouraging Micah to seek hard after God all the days of his life.
It is a blessing to walk through life with godly men who willingly and consistently invest in our sons. Dennis and I know full well that we are not enough for our boys. Though the Lord purposefully chose us as their parents, He also surrounded them with godly men and women who have much to offer and who faithfully affirm the truths of Scripture. It is truly humbling. ♥And we are grateful.♥

Dennis chose to take notes in order to document the wisdom spoken by the men so Micah would be able to look back and remember this incredible night. He also received several letters from family members and friends who were not able to attend, and their words were equally uplifting and thought-provoking. I hope you find these thoughts encouraging, just as the men did!

➢Make a great use of time because the days are evil. Life is a vapor that goes by quickly. Redeem every moment. O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Psalm 39:4, 5

➢Remember the words of Paul in Colossians 4:5, "Walk in wisdom towards outsiders making the best use of your time for the glory of God."

➢Do not rely on your own strength. Your attitude should always be: As the LORD wills.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” - yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15

➢Often in life, we are concerned about who we are pleasing. We are worried about our friends, spouse, family… The great aim should be to live a glorious life in a way that pleases the Lord.
Ask often, “Lord what pleases You?”
So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him. II Corinthians 5:6-9

➢Remind yourself daily, “It is not about me.”

➢Be a man of Respect. Respect for the Lord, respect for your family, respect for others.
Respect is earned through righteous living. Be that man.
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Titus 2:7, 8

➢Who will you serve? 
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
Psalm 143:10 

➢You must be teachable. Be willing to be led by the Spirit of the Lord.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
II Timothy 3:16, 17

➢Surround yourself with good friends who will build you up in the Lord, not just provide a good time.
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Proverbs 17:17

➢Always be known as a hard worker. 
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23, 24

➢Have integrity.
Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out. Proverbs 10:9

➢Be honest.
Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight. Proverbs 12:22

➢Watch what you say - your words matter.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

➢Be humble - the man who fears the Lord walks humbly.
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Luke 14:11

➢The center of all things is Jesus Christ. He must be your focus.
For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 11:36

➢Be consistent.
Be excellent in the little things.
Be courageous. Be ready to stand when no one else is willing to stand.
Be Christ-centered (Romans 12). Your life is not your own.

➢You cannot impress people with Christ when you are trying to impress them with yourself.

➢To get to the heartbeat of Christ you must listen to His words. Read your Bible.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

➢Seek wise counsel. Seek wisdom. Seek the Lord. Live your life in such a way that you do not have to apologize.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

➢Never become afraid to ask questions. Be vulnerable to godly men. Do not let pride prevent you from seeking the Lord and asking questions about what you do not know.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5

➢Personal responsibility is yours.
You are responsible for how you respond to choices and how you prepare for opportunities.
For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 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. For each one will bear his own load. Galatians 6:3-5

➢Walk in the way you have been raised in the Lord.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Psalm 32:8

➢Two words: “Be Thankful.”
Going through trials and tribulations (big or small) will produce opportunities to learn and grow.
Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
Psalm 106:1



Dennis gave our son a personal charge and presented him with his own sword to one day put in his own home to remind him that he is a Soldier for Christ.
Protect the Innocent.
Defend the Weak.
Fight the enemy.
Stand Firm in the Faith.

Micah's name means "Who is like the Lord," so Dennis ended the night praying that Micah would be a man who thinks, speaks, and acts - like Jesus.
May it be so, Lord. Please, may it be so!

2.08.2018

A hearty AMEN to this quote!

The true Christian hates sin,
flees from it,
fights against it,
considers it his greatest plague,
resents the burden of its presence,
mourns when he falls under its influence,
and longs to be completely delivered from it.
- J. C. Ryle


If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
I John 1:8-9

Thank You, Lord, that you are a God who forgives, a God who heals, and a God who restores.
May we pray like the Psalmist when he was utterly overwhelmed and repentant of his own sin ... "Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to Your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me."
For You are a God who extends mercy and grace to Your children. Even when we deserve neither.

2.05.2018

Joy IS possible!

Sunday proved to be a lovely day of worship and fellowship!
I was privileged to enjoy a short but purposeful conversation with a cherished young couple whom we love.
Worship was sweet.
I saw one of our former COMMITTED members who happened to be visiting in California and was able to rejoice in her recent engagement. (Congratulations, Kaylan!)
The class I attend the second hour was lively and relevant.
And the sermon preached by our faithful Shepherd? WONderful!

I am sharing my notes here because the truths of this message are applicable to everyone, whether three or 93. I pray you will be encouraged to find JOY in every day, even the most trying ones.
Happy Monday!

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Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Philippians 4:4

JOY should be the distinguishing mark of a Christian.

➤ The COMMAND
Rejoice in the Lord!

- Joy is a choice. A decision.
- We CHOOSE joy - or - we choose apathy, despair, worry, despondency, and complaining.

✦Joy is the result of a forced focus on Christ.✦

This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
Good or bad, trying or easy, difficult or sublime, the Lord God created this day and sovereignly allows all that happens within it. Though we may not "like" what the day brings forth, we can still praise Him and rejoice in the DAY even if we cannot rejoice in the circumstances.

- We can will ourselves to rejoice. (We often need to do so!)
- Joy is a habit of the heart.
- Joy is a defiant "nevertheless."
It requires us to take our eyes OFF of our circumstances and focus them solely on Christ.
"I have been diagnosed with a disease, nevertheless, I have a loving husband to walk through it with me."
"My children live far away so I cannot see them often, nevertheless, we call each other and have video chats every week so we can stay connected."
- Joy is not a child of emotion. Joy is an ATTITUDE.

Example: George Müller
“The first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day is to have my soul happy in the Lord."
REJOICE in the Lord always!

The CONNECTION
"Rejoice IN THE LORD always ..."

- The Lord is the only one we can rejoice in all.the.time - for He never changes!
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

➛You might not be able to rejoice in your LOSS
but you can rejoice in the LORD.
➛You might not be able to rejoice in the SITUATION
but you can rejoice in your SAVIOR.
➛You might not be able to rejoice in your HEALTH 
but you can rejoice in your HIGH PRIEST.
➛You might not be able to rejoice in your RELATIONSHIPS
but you can rejoice in your REDEEMER.
➛You might not be able to rejoice in your SUFFERING
but you can rejoice in your SHEPHERD.

Joy is the result of abiding in Jesus Christ.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, it is he that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 
As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in His love.
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
John 15: 4-6, 9-11

The CONSTANCY
"Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS."

Always = at all times, on all occasions

- There is no loophole in this command. We are to rejoice ALWAYS. Every day and all day.
- Rejoicing is an attitude of praise!

IMPORTANT! (Especially for those with discouraged, despondent, and depressed hearts/minds.)
- Joy is easy to express when the sun is shining on your face and the wind is at your back.
- Joy is difficult to find when thunderclouds roll overhead and the rain pelts your flesh.
And yet, JOY IS POSSIBLE because it is not found in our circumstances - but in our SAVIOR!

Lord, thank You for this wonderful message from Your Word! Make us a people who choose to praise You and rejoice in Your goodness even on the most difficult of days. Joy is a choice, and when we choose to rejoice instead of whine, You are glorified. People are always watching Christians. They watch our reactions to tragedy. They witness our attitudes in the small frustrations of life. They judge You by the way we live. Make us faithful stewards of Your Word, Your truth, and Your commands so we can be a refreshing and lovely fragrance of contentment and JOY when You give - and - when You take away. You are always faithful - always merciful - and always willing to forgive and restore those who fall before You in humility. Because You never change, we CAN rejoice in You ALWAYS and FOREVER, for You are - always GOOD!