Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
5:37 p.m. Today's project was to write my study for tomorrow's ladies Bible group at Debbie's, and I Samuel 9 is the chapter we'll be covering. Thank the Lord that He allowed me to get my remarks finished despite numerous interruptions, some consequential, others fleeting, but God overruled all of them, including two short naps, and "it's a wrap."
I have been napping a lot lately, probably due to waking up too early and fading out in a few hours. Of course it would help if I didn't stay up late reading! I always set my cellphone alarm for no more than 30 minutes, because I don't want to be the sluggard of Proverbs 6:10-11: "A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep--so shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man." Okay, okay, I'm up!!
Before I wrote the study, I pulled up the lesson the ladies will work on this week, corrected a few typos and made sure of the wording. In Chapter 9, the prophet Samuel is told by God to look out for a tall and handsome young man named Saul to anoint as king over Israel. Meanwhile, Saul and his servant are traveling the countryside looking for his father's lost donkeys, and lo and behold, he accidentally walks right up to the prophet!
In the introductory remarks to the lesson, I recounted the time a very impoverished single mother had been attending the home study I taught, and the Lord privately put on my heart to take her grocery shopping. So I packed up my three little ones and set out across town to her apartment building, not really having any more than a street vicinity to go on. Her phone had been disconnected, so no help there. I came to a likely-looking block of units, and there she was, sitting on the curb, with her toddlers, all of them dressed nicely, as if they were going somewhere! Can you believe it? So my kids scooted over, we loaded the family into my van, and off we went to the store. Now that was God--still working His way today, with or without giving us mortals a lot of advance notice or information. The Holy Spirit knows how to guide us!
Jesus told His disciples before He was to be crucified and resurrected back to heaven in John 14:16-18,
I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever--the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
Indeed, Jesus has not left us to our own devices, which will never do anything but clash with the Spirit-filled life! He wants us to pray; take encouragement and build our faith from reading His word; and listen to His still, small voice. Believers are privileged to have the indwelling Helper who causes us to walk in joyful confidence, because Jesus said, in Hebrews 13:5,
"I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU. " Verse 6 continues,
"So we may boldly say, "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
3:26 p.m. Today's project is to go see and hear Chuck Smith, the pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and founder of the Calvary Chapel movement, at our church this evening. We are all excited to hear him, especially Steve, who was saved there in Costa Mesa at the tent in 1973 during the Jesus Movement.
Chuck's anointing by God and obedience to His call has made him, I believe, an apostle of the modern church. He has founded Calvary Chapels around the globe; birthed the Harvest Crusades back in 1990, not to mention training and raising up the pastors who now lead hundreds of thousands of people to Christ.
Chuck Smith's message is simple: teach the Word of God directly from the Bible. At 83 now, having survived a stroke, his enthusiasm for Jesus Christ is stronger than ever, and his message to the believer that "Christ is coming--be ready," has never changed.
As a new believer in 1980, I remember immersing myself in Chuck's Bible study tapes in the old library upstairs at Calvary Chapel Riverside, The love and authority in his voice, his expounding of the scriptures, and the warmth of his conviction that God is to be trusted unequivocably, inspired me to pursue the call God had on my life to teach women's Bible studies.
9:51 p.m. Now returned from a fabulous event that saw about a dozen people give their lives to Christ at Chuck's invitation, I just marvel that the Word of God can be so powerfully delivered with gentleness and love!
Speaking of love, the blessed main part of the evening was a concert by Lovesong, the original Christian rock band founded by Chuck Smith when he auditioned the group in the early '70's. My hubby Steve especially was blesssed, because he was born again in the midst of the movement; I had heard the songs on Christian radio and on cassette tapes after I got saved in 1980. I recorded a number of them tonight to share with family members when they join us in August--Steve's side of the family all attended Calvary Costa Mesa back in the day, and his late father was an usher there.
I'll be especially interested to hear Heidi and Pavel's response to the music, the inspiration for the Christian bands they enjoy. In fact, lead guitarist Tommy Coombs leads the band named after him today; Pavel loaded his Christmas CD onto our iTunes.
Now, it's a new generation's turn to go forth and preach the gospel!!
Monday, July 26, 2010
Even before Steve and I got up early, and I thought about how to pay for a tankful of gas, the Lord popped an idea into my head. A debit card whose balance I thought was too small had enough on it to fill the Jeep's tank! We went through the house collecing all of the "silver" coins from various coin caches, and had them counted out (reason being that it won't be until tomorrow that Steve's disability check is deposited!) but, praise the Lord, we didn't have to use them. So early this morning I could have quoted Psalm 113:2, "From the rising of the sun to its going down, the LORD's name is to be praised."
There was a test for us right away in our jubilation. A derelict-appearing man in a small, white, beat-up car called out to us from the other side of the gas lane, asking for gas money. At first I said, "we barely got some ourselves," when I remembered the coins we had bagged up. I asked Steve to take a handful of quarters over to him, and then found some more to give, and the man was very grateful. Turned out that when he got out to receive the coins, I saw that he had a very crippled leg.
As we pulled away to begin our trip, I burst into loud, sobbing tears of gratitude; really, I shouldn't have been driving. Gratitude indeed for the gas we needed, but gratitude that we hadn't failed the test! We had been delivered; God called us to help deliver someone else from dire straits right afterwards.
"There's always somone worse off," I sobbed. The possible outcomes for our family member loomed before us as probably dreadful; the drive would be long, and we weren't able to be there for the others at home. Lots of pent-up emotions and prayers came to the fore! But on we went.
Our presence was appreciated, if only acknowledged in a limited way; the individual's plight is bad, no other way to state it. We will see how things go in the next 6 weeeks, but I am so glad to have listened to the Lord's voice! Ponder the rhetorical question Jesus asks in Matthew 18:12:
What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?
Of course he does!
Jesus continues with the hoped-for answer to our prayers, v. 13:
And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than the ninety-nine that did not go astray.
And this is how much God loves us, His very own sheep, v. 14:
Even so, it is not the will of your Father that is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
How He loves us!
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
As I pondered the evil creatures down there in the dark under my precious plants, now suddenly exposed to the light of the sun, I couldn't help but be reminded of Ephesians 5:9-14, concerning our new life in the Lord--the journey from darkness to light!
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.
Therefore He says:
"Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light."
From darkness and death, to light and life--that's the journey believers in Christ have made! Make that journey for yourself, by repenting of your sins and confessing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, able to save you and give you eternal life in heaven with Him--today!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
5:13 p.m. Today's project was for daughter Heidi and I, along with her bridesmaid Shea, to meet with my sister-in-law Sharon at Shinoda's Design Center in Santa Ana. The goal? to purchase the centerpieces for Heidi's 2011 wedding reception. Sharon was a wedding coordinator at her church a number of years ago, and has a real knack for bargains and style. She also has the resale license number necessary for purchasing goods there!
My day had not begun propitiously, due to a lack of sleep caused by the heat, Steve struggling with his C-pap machine for the first time in weeks, and issues I needed to pray about. Finally giving up, I arose at 5:30 and went downstairs to start my day with emptying the dishwasher, grabbing my coffee and posting Psalm 89:6-7 on Facebook, as I do each morning, just writing out verses in order as I work my way throught the Psalms:
For who in the heavens can be compared to the LORD?
Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to the LORD?
God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints,
And to be held in reverence by all those around Him.
Those marvelous rhetorical questions in verse six are answered, of course, according to my FB friend Gloria, "NO OTHER!" And our response in verse seven is to hold Him in awe and reverence as we believers assemble in His Name. I realized at this point that I need to be at peace and in harmony with my fellow believers, "as much as lies within me," (Romans 12:18).
Turning toward the dogs at the sound of "scrabbling" in one of the crates, I saw an agitated Jada, and soon smelled the "product!" What a mess to clean up, but it didn't take long, and since I had gotten up an hour early, I really didn't lose any time! Airing out the house was the big issue, but that was soon taken care of and I was on to my devotions.
I kissed Steve goodbye, and our exciting "field trip,"as Shea dubbed it, began at 9:30. We smoothly cruised into the O.C. I could relax and enjoy the time and concentrate on Heidi's selections, because I had written tomorrow's Bible study one day early. Sharon pulled up a few minutes after we did, and we wandered up and down the vast aisles, looking at candles, ribbon, and hurricane glass holders, and between the four of us, we came up with a clean, crisp design that will be enhanced by Gerbera daisies in her "signature" colors of orange and fuschia.
Well, I'm back after an odd attack of serious cold sweats and faintness, during which Steve was out walking the dogs--I was thinking, is it a heart attack?--I lay down for a couple of hours with my emergency beeper pendant handy. Must have been heat exhaustion, because I was still dressed in a longsleeved top and jeans, for our morning in Orange County. It was well over 100 degrees when we were out in the garden staking tomatoes, and running errands later!
Now we're getting ready for Christine and Neil O'Dell to come over and fix our computer, I've taken a shower and freshened up, and it's on to a good evening and some fellowship!
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
"What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder," the Lord Jesus commanded in Matthew 19:6. In other words, get married and stay married, and see how the Lord will work beautifully in your life! (Or take the opposite direction, and create misery for many). In my morning devotional reading today, I found Malachi 2:14-16, where God rebukes husbands for treachery against their wives. One sentence stood out to me in verse 14: Yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman, but also between a man, a woman, and God!
Verse 15 goes on to say, "But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. " Godly offspring from a God-honoring marriage--I can say that the Lord has blessed our home with 5 children, who belong to Him!
Hear verse 16: "For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one's garment with violence." (The New Living Translation says, "To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty.") What a picture of devastation for wives! And as for the children, does anyone even bother to argue the higher risks children of divorce are subject to, whether anti-social and self-abusive behaviors, like premarital sex and drug use; poverty; their own failed marriages; depression and suicide?
Psalm 68:11 came to me as I sat down to write about something entirely different...that verse says, "The LORD gave the word; great was the company of those who proclaimed it."
Let us proclaim today, in a mighty company, that we will faithfully remain in our marriages, no matter what trials come about; we will support any and all others who are struggling and almost ready to give up on their own marriages, or all newly married couples going through the adjustments that marriage calls for!! [We also proclaim and freely offer personal, loving support for struggling parents].
Because the LORD gave the Word!!
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Our first stop was to drop off a couple of Bible study lessons for a member of the group who doesn't have a printer on her computer. The we arrived at the eye doctor where I needed to deliver a Mary Kay product to my friend Sherri the optician. She was totally slammed with patients, and I felt a little guilty for waiting because Steve was out in the Jeep with the computer--we couldn't leave it out in the car unattended. He had windows down and a door open, but even a decently shady spot was probably getting a bit warm over the time span. Unlike me, who can't stand any time sitting in the heat (unless it's at the beach!) Steve was quite relaxed when I returned. All his years in plastics manufacturing, with machines generating incredible heat as molten plastic took shape into products, must have inured him to normal summer temperatures!
At Staples, we placed the tower on the technology center counter, told the young man what we needed, and yes, he could give the free tuneup--simply blowing out the dust inside it. But no, the Free PC Checkup wasn't an actual diagnostic that would tell why the machine is revving up and then running slowly. That costs $69.00! Am I slow or lame, not knowing what the words "checkup" or "free" mean? I've certainly had my share of doctor appointments! Maybe I'm not aware of the PC vernacular. I was certainly not going to spend $69 at this point, so I asked how long he would need to keep the computer to blow the dust out of it.
If I had dropped it off this afternoon, I could get it back on Monday, due to the backlog. Well, that would not work for us, especially since most of the people I know tend to communicate by email and/or facebook, even when making arrangements for ministry events. Cellphones are still an option for now--a more attractive option if the data package allows online access to emailand/or Facebook! What nerds we have all become!! But at least we are pretty competent typists these days...
We finished up at Vons, where Steve was able to sit at the shady lunch tables out front while I ran in for necessities and a Dark Cherry Mocha Frappucino to share. I used a gift card from VBS leader Veronica. That way, the computer wasn't unattended in the parking lot. What a hassle! We normally don't carry around valuables, as you can tell!
The Lord did redeem the Staples effort, because when we got home, Steve attached a small blower to his air compressor, removed the outside panels from the computer, and delicately blew the dust out of it himself!! (He's still the ingenious fellow I married 29 years ago!) So we took advantage of the information we received, hooked the computer back up, and it does seem to be a bit more efficient.
I am always amazed as God finds ways to bless and help His people. Psalm 103:1-5 says,
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits;
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Whether in small matters or overwhelming trials, I will bless the Lord!
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
A Devotional for Heart to Home
The eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal towards Him.
What comfort Christians have received, while awaiting deliverance from a trial, to know that God's favor rests upon those who are loyal to Him, who freely give of their time and treasure to serve Him by serving others, using their gifts and talents to uplift, cheer, and build up the Body of Christ!
Exemplifying the loyalty and consistency that God requires of His choice servants, is Wendy, your teacher! (She didn't know this was coming!!) Wendy, with her faithful helper Suzanne Clough--CLUFF!--who actually helped out while on crutches one year, has taught her Chocolates Galore class every year since the April 2005 inaugural session. We've had chocolates and cookies set out at the sign-up tables as weather permitted for our spring sessions, and even one summer, for about 5 minutes!! After that first August, we figured that women kind of knew what chocolate candy looks like!! I know the pastors miss the tray that headed upstairs after sign-ups...
In every ministry, there are people who come alongside and pitch in with enthusiasm and energy right from the start, without whom there would be no ministry! God can use visionaries to create concepts and leaders to format the structure for a ministry, but someone has to step forward and say, "I'll do it! Just tell me what you'd like me to do." That's Wendy and Suzanne! By the way, my longtime friend Paige here, taught our women a much-needed budgeting class last summer, after years of instructing at Harvest, and I'll be hitting her up again for a class when we start our fall series later on, which she hasn't heard of yet!! [Recognize any other instructors also]
Obstacles and roadblocks get thrown up against all of us who dare to step forward in the Name of Jesus, and this class is no exception! But God is mightier still, like yesterday, when the Holy Spirit told me to get up and hurry out of the $2 movie "Marmaduke" we were watching to give Wendy a call! Turned out God knew there was a real need for a "how's it going?" and "Here's the time you can get into the kitchen" phone call! Wendy, ever the professional, and very well practiced in offering her gourmet chocolate class, is here, and you girls are in for a treat!!
If any of you aspire to perhaps lead a class, open your home for a Bible study, or offer your service in any way to the Body of Christ, look at the examples of the instructors here tonight! Prayerful willingness is the first heart-step! But "counting the cost" of discipleship and ministry, as Jesus put it in Luke 14:28, loyalty to the Body and consistency in service no matter what trials threaten to derail you, are the qualities that will carry you through!
Let the delicious fun begin!