Dark Tunnels

from Corrie Ten Boom's fb page

It’s been a dark year.  It’s been a year full of shocking disappointments, dashed hopes, and deep sorrow.  But it’s also been a year of learning to be still and know God; a year of practical application of all those Bible studies on waiting on the Lord, trusting in Him, and how to respond to suffering for His sake.

How many times I’ve wanted to “throw away the ticket and jump off” of this rollercoaster ride that has become my norm.  Had I done that when I first wished to,  I would not know the comfort of my Lord’s sweet consolations to me in the quietness of the nighttime.  I wouldn’t know, from experience what it is to walk by faith.  I would not have entered into the depths of God’s love and tender mercy that has been poured out, along with the peace that surpasses our understanding.  It’s been a long train ride, but tunnels eventually lead to light, as sure as morning follows night.

Advertisements

The sin of partiality

Continuing from yesterday in James. In chapter 2, he warns of the the sin of partiality.

He instructs in v1 to take care to avoid even the attitude of favoritism, then gives an example of such.

For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes,  and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?

Making distinctions based on a person’s financial standing is a “no-no”.  And he continues to explain why:

Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

God has a special place in His heart and in His kingdom for those who are poor in this world.  Ever do a study on the comparison of the rich and the poor?  It’s fascinating, God’s word is full of consolations to the poor, as well as warnings and woes to the rich.  Do a concordance search sometime, it’s a study in itself.  But, I’m still in James, and he continues…

If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well.  But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

Even if I am held in high esteem among my peers and church family, even if I can put on a good front, and appear to be loving, according to God’s word, I am a transgressor of the law if I show partiality, and he goes on to say in verse 13:

judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

I love how this chapter segues from warnings of partiality, to being convicted by the law as transgressors, straight to the heart of the matter, putting legs on our faith and proving we believe what we say by what we do.

But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

I don’t know why, but when I read this portion, the song   ♪ ♫  Love and marriage, love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage ♫ ♪  runs through my mind.  You might be able to have good works without faith, but it’s impossible to have faith without the proof of works…it’s just words.  Faith is made perfect with the works…and just in case you don’t agree, he gives two Old Testament examples.

You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.  But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?  You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?

Abraham and Rahab both showed they believed God by what they did.  They didn’t stop at the profession, they worked it out.  We could add other examples from Holy Scripture;  How about Noah?  He believed God for as long as it took him to build that ark, and he didn’t just give it lip service, he LIVED what he said he believed, and WORKED in obedience to what he had been told.  What about Moses?  40 years of working out what he believed.  What would their “faith” look like if they had said “of course I believe God, I made the profession, don’t judge me”.  Their “faith” would have died with them.  Because they walked it out, we have an example to follow, and their faith lives on.

For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

5 Disciplines

5 disciplines link up

I always find these things mid-challenge…I don’t care, I’m doing it anyhow, starting now with Courtney’s week 3 as my week 1.  You can join me if you want, but I’m doing it for me regardless.

Purpose to not read ANYTHING else before you have read God’s word for at least 1 minute in the morning Do not read the newspaper, facebook, a spiritual devotional  or check your email.  Go straight to God’s word first.  And in case you think 1 minute seems a bit stingy with our time – I want to suggest – that once you get started most likely you will go for much longer than 1 minute.  But I want this to be doable.  After reading your Bible, I encourage you to leave your Bible in the kitchen open and everytime you walk past it, pause to read it for 15 seconds and then go on.  Squeeze all the nourishment you can out of the scriptures you are reading. 

I know from my own experience, that one minute will turn into 10-15, even more on some days.  I started in James.  It has been one of my favorite Scripture passages since I was a young girl, there is just something so practical about it.  It’s been a long time since I sat and read through it, I needed the reminders from chapter 1 today;

1 ~ remembering I’m a bond-servant of the Lord.  ~from dictionary.com

bond servant

noun

  1. a person who serves in bondage; slave.
  2. a person bound to service without wages.

2-4 ~ remembering the purpose for the trials allowed by God are for my good…building my endurance…making me perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

5-8 ~ The Giver of wisdom is not stingy, but He’s not presumptuous either.  He waits for me to ask for wisdom, and when I do, in faith and without doubting, He lavishes it on me.  If I am double minded in my prayer, not only can I not expect Him to give what I request, but I’m at risk for becoming unstable in all my waysLord, give me the faith I need to ask for your gift of wisdom without doubting.

9-11 ~ Looking again at the contrast of the rich and poor, and the paradox that James illuminates.  Do I see my humble circumstances as a place to “glory” in?  why not?  It’s easy to forget our spiritual need when we have an abundance of material wealth.  Along with material blessing comes a sufficiency in ourselves.  We easily forget it is God that provides the “daily bread”, and all that we have and hope in will one day be burned away, then what will be left?

12 ~ I’m blessed!  I am in the process of being tried so that I can be approved.  I read somewhere that when silver is tried in the fire, the silversmith is able to tell when it’s finished by his ability to see his reflection in the melted silver.  I do want God to look down on me and see His reflection clearly in me.

13-18 ~ My carnal desires and temptations are not God’s fault.  If I entertain my own temptations, they will eventually lead me to sin.  This also is not God’s fault.  Sin brings forth separation from God.  This also, is not God’s fault or His will.  God gave the perfect gift, His son as a remedy for my sin.  In Him is every good thing that we receive.  He is enough.

19-27 ~ Lord, make me a better listener, slow to speak, and slow to anger.  I know that my anger does not fulfill your righteous purpose for my life, and it’s a poor motivator for those you put in my path.  Help me receive your word, and appropriate it to my personal life.  Don’t let me be the person that walks away after hearing and agreeing with your word, only to forget it.  Help me “do” what I say I believe.  Work Your word in and through me today, so that I may be both blessed and a blessing to others.  Put a guard over my tongue, may the words I speak be Your words, pleasing to you and beneficial for building others up.  Help me remember the kind of religious person you would have me be, one that cares and provides for others in their distress, and one who walks in this world without being shaped by it’s mold.

Homemade macaroni and cheese

An easy yummy alternative to the boxed stuff.

This simple recipe has fast outdone our normal boxed mac and cheese days.  I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back.

Cook macaroni noodles according to directions on package.

In a medium saucepan, melt 2 TBSP butter, and enough flour to make a roux, and whisk while slowly adding milk until you have a medium thick gravy.  Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, and stir until melted and blended.  Salt and pepper to taste.  (adjust amount of cheese according to preference…we like it extra cheesy, and sometimes add more.

Drain noodles when cooked, and fold into cheese sauce.

VOILA…easy peasy mac and cheesa…and inexpensive too.

You can serve alone or as a side dish.  For variety, you can add vegies, and/or chopped ham.

Enjoy.

Sunday Psalm

Be Not Afraid by Bob Dufford
Based on Isaiah 43:2-3 and Luke 6:20ff

1…. You shall cross the barren desert
but you shall not die of thirst.
You shall wander far in safety
though you do not know the way.
You shall speak your words to foreign men
and they will understand.
You shall see the face of God and live.

ANTIPHON
Be not afraid. I go before you always.
Come, follow me, and I will give you rest.

2… If you pass through raging waters
in the sea you shall not drown.
If you walk amid the burning flames
you shall not be harmed.
If you stand before the power of hell
and death is at your side,
Know that I am with you through it all.

3… And blessed are your poor
for the kingdom shall be theirs.
Blest are you that weep and mourn
for one day you shall laugh.
And if wicked men insult and hate you
all because of me, blessed, blessed are you

My daughter has a gift for putting perspective into words. This is an awesome example, read it, and be blessed.

opdahlfour

Sometimes it’s difficult not to believe that we as a family will be stuck in transition for the rest of our lives. From the beginning, we have been perpetually transitioning: from Moscow to Payette; in Payette waiting for baby and deployment; deployment; transition between Grace’s surgeries; post-deployment, but pre-school; school; and now, post-school, pre-job…which will likely be one of our bigger transitions, as we could be forced to relocate to the other side of the country, for all we know. Likewise, I have watched my loved ones in transition. My immediate family has been in transition for the past year, waiting…watching…trusting.

I’ve been wrapping my brain around why we feel the need to not be in transition, why it’s such a difficult thing to bear. Truth be told, in some instances the reality that we live in outside of transitional phases is more “difficult” than what we live through transitioning…

View original post 359 more words