For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. ~Psalms 36:9

Friday, January 30, 2015

Thoughts from the book of Hosea on Unconditional Love

I was pondering last night before I went to bed and this morning some thoughts from the Bible that I thought I'd share with you all and maybe it will be an encouragement to some of you. 

So I randomly flipped open my Bible last night in bed before turning out the lights and landed in Hosea.  The book of Hosea intrigues me, mostly because I had never paid much attention to it until we watched a video called Amazing Love, a story about Hosea.  Very powerful movie!  They don't have the whole video on youtube anymore, but it is diffidently one worth watching with your family! 

Some of the concepts about unconditional love taught in the book of Hosea, and brought out in the movie, are challenging thoughts to think on.  The prophet Hosea is told by God to go love a harlot.  So Hosea does and she was not faithful to him.  In the movie, Hosea, in brokeness and grief in spirit before the Lord over the unfaithfulness of Gomar, his wife, says, "I know now how Your heart grieves over Your people that have abandoned You.  So how can You still love us? How? How?" And then it was like it dawned on him, or perhaps the Lord spoke to him, "You love us, because Your love is not dependent on us.  Oh my Lord God, how great is Your love."  And the whole theme of Hosea really is the people of God rejecting their Lord and true Lover, going astray.  Yet the Lord's love is so amazing!  

And this is where I landed last night, after skimming through bits and pieces of the book.  Hosea 13:9 "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help."  How true that is!  On our own, without Christ, we do destroy ourselves in every way.  Every pursuit, everything we seek after to meet our needs, desires and longings, it destroys us.  Because outside of God there is no satisfaction.  But in God is our help, the answer and filling of what we really need and long for.  Chapter 14 begins with a plea for Israel to return unto the Lord their God, because "thou hast fallen in thine iniquity".  

Verse 4 in chapter 14 God says, " I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him."  So here Israel has left the Lord, sought after idols and things of the flesh, destroyed themselves and have totally fallen. God pleads with them to return to Him and says that he will heal them and love them freely.  How could God love so after His people have rejected Him, disobeyed everything He told them to do, rejected His love and everything that He had done for them, and destroyed themselves?  God is the Author of Love and it isn't the kind of "love" that Hollywood portays.  It in unconditional, self-sacrificing and forgiving love.  Yes, God had to allow them to be destroyed by themselves until they came to the end of themselves and had nothing left to cling to and wanted nothing more in the flesh.  But when they repented and came back to Him, He promised to heal them and love them freely. 

None of us deserve God's love.  But what a comforting thought that He has promised to heal where we have sinned and done wrong and brought anxiety and trouble upon ourselves and the He loves us freely.  

So today, I'm resting in the amazing thought that I am freely and unconditionally loved by Almighty God!  And this is my charge from God, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." (John 15:12)  Biblical love has little to nothing to do with the other person.  It's a choice.  Will I choice, will you choice, to love as we have been loved, regardless of the actions of the other person and whether you are loved in return?  We are always loved.  It went deep into my heart when I read the words from my Lord that He loves me freely.  I have all the love that my soul desires in Him, He calls me to pour forth out of His fountain of love in me to love others as I have been so amazing loved.   May we press on in His love for us and in loving others as we have been loved, freely and unconditionally! 
~Breanna


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

"Very rarely do you find an individual
who takes seriously the need to renew their mind.
You need to literally be saturating your life in the Word of God.
There's just no excuse for not doing it, and there's no replacement for it.
You must constantly renew the mind,
because your mind is constantly being attacked."
- Paul Washer -
(taken from his sermon series, The Gospel of Our Salvation, Part 7)

"My religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed.
God has fixed the time for my death.
I do not concern myself about that,
but to be always, ready, no matter when it may overtake me.
That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave."
- General Thomas Jackson -
 (enjoying good family reading times :-) )
~Brittany

~ True Womanhood ~

~Brittany

Saturday, January 24, 2015

What Does It Take to Be a Family Man?

As a young lady who desires to become a wife and helpmeet, in the Lord's perfect timing, often it gets discouraging seeing so many young men who are so playful and not serious about the things of men and more importantly about the things of the Lord.  Since the time I was nine years old, the Lord laid on my heart to pray faithfully for my future husband.  Though I have not done so always as faithfully as I would have liked, nevertheless it has been my goal to.  But the older I get the more I realize how truly rare a godly man is, who walks in the fear of the Lord and desires above anything else to be a man of God.  The Lord has blessed me to daily have before me the example of my wonderful dad, who truly is a man of God and is serious about the things of men and of the Lord.  I am praying that the Lord will raise up a generation of men who take seriously and will stand and fight for the truths of God's Word, as my dad has so faithfully done.  Oh what need we have of that today!  I thank God for men like my daddy who truly take this seriously!  And I pray that for us ladies, that we will be the kind of women that are truly helpmeets to such men, that strengthen, encourage, pray for and help them.  When I read this blog post by Matthew Jacobson, I was very blessed by it.  Yep, this is my daddy to a T!  And yep, this is what I am praying for for my future husband that he will be this kind of man.  Thank you to all the men out there who take this seriously!  May God bless you!
~Breanna

MatthewLJacobson.com_17Traits 

What does it Really Take to be a Family Man?

A Family man . . .

1) Loves His wife as his first priority.
For building security, stability, and trust, there is no substitute for Dad loving Mom and being fiercely faithful to her. For the true family man, mom comes first and the kids come second.

2) May travel for business or the military but, his heart is always at home.
A family man doesn’t look at “home” as something to be gotten away from. Everyone he encounters knows wherever he is, he’s away from the place and people he loves. He may have a big business meeting with “important” people but, to him, the most important people he will ever interact with are waiting for him at home.

3) Loves children.
Any husband can be a family man at heart, even before the children arrive because he loves them and sees children as an integral part of what God is doing in the world – not as burdens that will compromise his plans, goals, and ministry.
rsz_to_raise_secure_confident_kids

4) Puts his family before himself.
A family man makes a lot of everyday choices for those under his care before he focuses on what he would like. His first choice is to meet his family’s needs. His needs are a second-tier priority to the needs of those he is responsible for.

5) Spends time with his kids.
It’s the least profound reality with the biggest impact. Family men know how children spell the word ‘love’:
T I M E. They don’t spend time with their kids out of obligation but out of genuine love for the little person God entrusted to their care.

6) Keeps himself from filth.
A family man recognizes that spiritual forces are arrayed to destroy everything of value in this life and the next, starting with his relationship with his wife and children. He says “no” to the daily offerings from the spiritual darkness he is surrounded by.

7) Guards family commitments.
He understands that life will send an endless parade of wonderful opportunities his way . . . opportunities that will constantly vie for attention over the commitments he has already made to his wife and kids. Family commitments are not easily or flippantly set aside for the next “wonderful” opportunity.

8) Doesn’t allow the drama from other people’s lives to invade his family and destroy their joy.
A family man genuinely cares about others but is “on point”, guarding his own family’s peace from the chaos of those who refuse to grow and mature.


9) Seeks to get to know his children as individual people.
To the family man, the kids aren’t merely “the kids.” To him, each child is a little person. He respects that unique personality God brought into his life and seeks to truly know and understand him/her.

10) Is ready to mete out discipline when needed.
Because he loves his children, he will not shrink from loving his children through discipline . . . just as God does with us. Whom the Lord loves, he disciplines. Hebrews 12:6

11) Builds up his children with words of affirmation.
The family man knows relationship is built not only through instruction but through affirmation. He looks for opportunities to build up his kids.

12) Doesn’t view time with family a duty to be fulfilled so he can pursue his own interests.
Many dads chafe at the time they spend with their kids. Not the family man. His interests are integrally intertwined with his children’s need to be with him. His heart isn’t constantly roving away from home, yearning to chase personal dreams and interests, if only he could get free of the kids.

13) Guards his children’s innocence in a perverted world.
In many ways, this world is a sick place. The family man is a constant guardian of his children’s innocence. He is aware and purposeful about what they watch, where they go, who they’re with, and what they do.

14) Is purposeful about the character development of his children.
A family man knows that character in his kids is instilled through his example and his training. He actively teaches his children what it means to be good men and women.

15) Expresses to his children that he is proud of them and challenges them to be their best.
Just about every dad will tell you he’s proud of his kids but will he tell them? He will if he’s a family man because he knows they need to hear he approves of and is proud of them.

16) Listens to what his children are trying to say.
A family man is sensitive to the little person who is having difficulty communicating. He’s patient, encouraging his children to express to him what they are feeling.

17) Teaches his children the Truth.
Teaching children who God is and what He requires from us is Dad’s responsibility.

This is a lot to think about for any dad and no one will fulfill each one of these perfectly, all the time . . . certainly, I don’t. But, when we reflect on these things, we “keep our head in the game” and stay focused on what matters, making our children – the first disciples entrusted to us – the priority that God would have them be in our lives.
God bless you, Dad!
~Matthew

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What are you doing today?

Scott Brown shared this on his blog on Aug. 3,2013.  https://ncfic.org/blog/posts/do-you-have-mountain-moving-faith
Do You Have Mountain - Moving Faith?
Here is a story Paul Washer told at one of our conferences:
"One time, when I was a young man, I came back from Peru. I was asked to speak at a church, and they set up microphones in the aisle ways and people came to ask questions of the missionary.
I’ll never forget this little red-headed boy. He was as red-headed as he could be, and freckles all over his face. He walks up to the microphone. He’s standing on his tiptoes. They had to lower it.
He started: “Mr. Washer?”
I said, “Yep.”
He said, “When you win everybody to Jesus in Peru, then what are you going to do?”
Everybody laughed except him and me. I said, “Well, when I win everybody to Christ in Peru, I guess I have to go find another place to work.”
He said, “Yeah, that’s what I thought too.”
Why not? I don’t see anything in the Bible that tells me it can’t happen. Young person, you listen to me. You let only one person limit you – God.
We have raised up men, who, oftentimes in the name of the providence of God, are narrow-minded, little men with tight spirits and tiny hearts. We need men of breath. We need men of heart. We need men and women who will believe their God for great things.
Sometimes, when I’m on my knees and I cry out, “Oh God, what do you want to do now?” It seems in my heart that over and over I hear a singular answer: “What can you believe me for? What do you want to do? Do you think you’ve outrun my ability to deliver? Do you think you’ve reached my greatness, you little man? Stand up, walk outside, count the stars if you can. I know them by name! What do I want to do? What can you believe me for?”
God loves the boldness of a man who reveres Him, and trembles at His name, and yet will fight Him for the sake of Jerusalem – that will grab a hold of the horns of the altar. He loves that man who will say, “I will not let you go until you bless me! You will find no rest from me, until you have made Jerusalem a praise, and the Church, a beauty."

Friday, January 16, 2015

Miscellaneous musings


It is hard to believe that this beautiful young lady is now 22.  Where have the years gone.  Breanna you have always been such a joy in our home.  We love you so much and are so very grateful that God gave you to this family.


Daddy's Girls  
This man is so surrounded by love!  They truly adore and look up to their daddy!  We were sitting at the table the other day and Esther (age 6) said, "I want to marry someone like Daddy some day."  Brittany (age 25) says so do Bree and I, that is what we are still waiting for.  :-)  How thankful I am for such a Godly man.  


Oh these boys . . . I love them so!  


Our first time getting to celebrate our precious new daughter-in-law's birthday.  Martha is such a blessing.  We all love her SO much!  What a joy she and Tayte are to watch as they have begun their journey together.  



Last but not least of the musings today  . . . Daisy, our super special family dog, had 10 new puppies Tuesday.  The children were so excited.  Anyone need one or two ??  :-)

Hope you are all having a fantastic new year so far and are staying warm.  Even here in South Georgia it has been cold.  :-)
~Karen



Sunday, January 11, 2015

Impacting Verses and Quotes

"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it."
~ Luke 9:23-24 ~

"There can be no earnest desire to know Christ, nor any holy panting after a spiritual revelation of Him while the heart is pursuing worldly object."
- J.C. Philpot -

"And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
~ Luke 9:62 ~

"There is too much at stake and too much glory to be gained for Christ to turn back, loose our hand from the plow, or become distracted."
- Paul Washer -

"We follow Him all the time or we get lost."
- Mr. Chris Pappas -

"The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
...for behold, the kingdom of God is within you."
~ Luke 17:20,21 ~

"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
~ 2 Corinthians 6:17-18 ~

"Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
~ 2 Corinthians 7:1 ~

"Everyone wants to be clothed with power,
but no one wants to be stripped of self."
- Leonard Ravenhill -

"...Occupy till I come."
~ Luke 19:13 ~

"Have I been making a fair show in the flesh
without having a corresponding inner life?"
- Charles Spurgeon -

"A ship can be diverted from it's course by a storm and still be headed for it's destination.  It is the overall pattern that counts.
[But] if your actions are out of tune with your beliefs, you tend to change either your actions or your beliefs."
- Albert Wolters -
~Brittany

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Open and Closed Doors ~ Listening for God's Perfect Plan

"They were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the Word in Asia."
~ Acts 16:6 ~ 
It is interesting to study the methods of His guidance as it was extended towards these early heralds of the Cross. It consisted largely in prohibitions, when they attempted to take another course than the right. When they would turn to the left, to Asia, He stayed them. When they sought to turn to the right, to Bithynia, again He stayed them. In after years Paul would do some of the greatest work of his life in that very region; but just now the door was closed against him by the Holy Spirit. The time was not yet ripe for the attack on these apparently impregnable bastions of the kingdom of Satan. Apollos must come there for pioneer work. Paul and Barnabas are needed yet more urgently elsewhere, and must receive further training before undertaking this responsible task.
Beloved, whenever you are doubtful as to your course, submit your judgment absolutely to the Spirit of God, and ask Him to shut against you every door but the right one. Say, "Blessed Spirit, I cast on Thee the entire responsibility of closing against my steps any and every course which is not of God. Let me hear Thy voice behind me whenever I turn to the right hand or the left."
In the meanwhile, continue along the path which you have been already treading. Abide in the calling in which you are called, unless you are clearly told to do something else. The Spirit of Jesus waits to be to you, O pilgrim, what He was to Paul. Only be careful to obey His least prohibition; and where, after believing prayer, there are no apparent hindrances, go forward with enlarged heart. Do not be surprised if the answer comes in closed doors. But when doors are shut right and left, an open road is sure to lead to Troas. There Luke awaits, and visions will point the way, where vast opportunities stand open, and faithful friends are waiting.  --Paul, by Meyer
Is there some problem in your life to solve,
Some passage seeming full of mystery?
God knows, who brings the hidden things to light.
He keeps the key.
Is there some door closed by the Father's hand
Which widely opened you had hoped to see?
Trust God and wait--for when He shuts the door
He keeps the key.
Is there some earnest prayer unanswered yet,
Or answered NOT as you had thought 'twould be?
God will make clear His purpose by-and-by.
He keeps the key.
Have patience with your God, your patient God,
All wise, all knowing, no long tarrier He,
And of the door of all thy future life
He keeps the key.
Unfailing comfort, sweet and blessed rest,
To know of EVERY door He keeps the key.
That He at last when just HE sees 'tis best,
Will give it THEE
.
- Anonymous -
- Streams in the Dessert, January 10th, Mrs. Charles E. Cowman
~Brittany

Monday, January 5, 2015

Poem: Stand Still and See ~Betty Scott Stam


" I'm Standing, Lord.
There is a mist that blinds my sight.
Steep jagged rocks, front, left, and right.
Lower, dim, gigantic, in the night.
Where is the way?

" I'm Standing, Lord.
The black rock hems me in behind.
Above my head a moaning wind
Chills and oppresses heart and mind.
I am afraid!

" I'm Standing, Lord.
The rock is hard beneath my feet.
I nearly slipped, Lord, on the sleet.
So weary, Lord, and where a seat?
Still must I stand? "

He answered me, and on His face
A look ineffable of grace,
Of perfect, understanding love,
Which all my murmuring did remove.

" I'm Standing, Lord.
Since Thou hast spoken, Lord, I see
Thou hast beset; these rocks are Thee;
And, since Thy love encloses me,
I stand and sing! " 
~Betty Scott Stam 

~Breanna


" I'm Standing, Lord.
There is a mist that blinds my sight.
Steep jagged rocks, front, left, and right.
Lower, dim, gigantic, in the night.
Where is the way?

" I'm Standing, Lord.
The black rock hems me in behind.
Above my head a moaning wind
Chills and oppresses heart and mind.
I am afraid!

" I'm Standing, Lord.
The rock is hard beneath my feet.
I nearly slipped, Lord, on the sleet.
So weary, Lord, and where a seat?
Still must I stand? "

He answered me, and on His face
A look ineffable of grace,
Of perfect, understanding love,
Which all my murmuring did remove.

" I'm Standing, Lord.
Since Thou hast spoken, Lord, I see
Thou hast beset; these rocks are Thee;
And, since Thy love encloses me,
I stand and sing! " - See more at: http://www.poetrynook.com/poem/stand-still-and-see#sthash.N4ILE7mJ.dpuf

Advance on Your Knees ~ Faith & Courage for This Year's Journey

And the Lord shall guide thee continually...
Isaiah 58:11
...and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.
Habakkuk 3:19
Advance into this new year on your knees.  Faith doesn ot concern itself with the entire journey.  One step is enough.  That first step is all that is needed.  Breathe a prayer for courage to fill your legs as well as your heart as you face the unknown, the unexpected.  What matters that you know not your destination?  Put your hand into the hand of God.  He gives the calmness and serenity of heart and soul.  As He endures, you too, can endure the climb over sharp rocks and crags.  Climb with Him to the end of the year - yea, even to the end of life's trail.  "The peak that is nearest the storm-cloud is nearer the stars fo light."  He gives the courage for which you pray to rise above the valley.  Heed the Master's voice adn press bravely on to the fulfillment of your task.  You have a whole year to scale.
"A Voice said 'CLIMB.'  And he said, 'How shall I climb?
The mountains are so steep that I cannot climb.'
"The Voice said, 'CLIMB or DIE.'
"He said, 'But how?  I see no way up those steep ascents.
This that is asked of me is too hard for me.'
"The Voice said, 'CLIMB or PERISH, soul and body of thee, mind and spirit of thee.  There is no second choice for any son of man.  CLIMB or DIE.'"
Some of the bravest of mountaineers have related incredible tales concerning their climbs up the hills of earth.  Sometimes they were aware fo the presence of a Companion who was not among the earthly party of climbers on the mountains.
How much more positive is the presence fo the Heavenly Guide as God's mountaineers climb the high places fo the Spirit!
God's mountain climbers are created to walk in precarious places, not on the easy levels of life.
Do not limit the Limitless God!  With Him face the new trail and follow on unafraid, for you walk not alone!
- Mrs. Charles E. Cowman, Streams in the Dessert, Volume 2, January 2nd
~Brittany