Thursday, November 17, 2016

Your Weakness Should Drive You to Christ

This short sermon clip by Paul Washer was such a blessing to me tonight. 
 May we all run to Christ and cling to Him!

There’s More Room in a Broken Heart (God’s use of the pain we live through)

This is a beautiful post by Matthew Jacobson on brokenness and our perspective of it and God's purpose for it in our lives.  I hope it may minister to some of you!
Image result for broken heart

Every morning since he was about 8, my son Dauntless goes out to the chicken coop to collect the eggs. But, this morning was different. He came into the house with a bowl of eggs, shell, and runny yellow yolks all mixed together in a slimy mess, with bits of egg running down his trembling hands. He tripped on the way back to the house.

Brokenness isn’t beautiful. Broken things aren’t beautiful. And,  a broken heart definitely isn’t beautiful. 

We feel the searing pain of every false smile, faithless friend, disappointment in a spouse, and the hard injustice we see on every side. Life is filled with broken things and, if we’re honest, most of them are on the inside of that person we see in the mirror every morning.

Instinctively, we know there is something better, something whole that life was intended to deliver, but somewhere those plans were destroyed and we live in the aftermath, piecing together disparate parts that don’t fit together so well. And where is the purpose in all that?

Some people speak as if brokenness is beautiful, as if life was intended to be a cubist painting – identifiable as “life” but chunked up, chipped and badly distorted, like a basket of eggs handled by a carless child. A basket of fresh eggs smashed to pieces from a fall is not a good thing. Any child will tell you that.

“You have cancer”, “Your child is severely brain damaged”, “He was killed in a car accident” “Your husband has been cheating on you”, “Your unmarried daughter is pregnant”…. Brokenness is not beautiful. It’s ugly, lonely, disfigured, painful, and perverse.

The mistake is to believe there is no purpose in our pain – that broken things can have no value.
The Creator of all that was right and good (before it was corrupted by sin) says that the worst thing that has happened to you He will use for good. . . . if you let Him. Romans 8:28 assures us of God’s use of our broken places – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Our journey is our own but the human experience is universal, which is why the next time you encounter someone, you can rest assured they are filled with broken places, too, and the good that God brought into existence from the pain you’ve suffered just might be the grace and understanding heart you have for your fellow traveller. 

There’s more room in a broken heart and sometimes God has to break our hearts to make room for others.
Brokenness hurts, sending shards of pain throughout our life. Who could want that? Brokenness exacts a high cost but it can also be of great worth in God’s hands. The value of our own brokenness is seen in God’s use of it in the lives of others.

Life has forced you to pay a heavy price but will you receive the value of your brokenness? Will you receive what God has in store for the worst things that have happened to you, allowing Him to bring peace to your heart and good to the lives of others from all the pain, shame, ugliness, and heartache?

. . . . Casting all your care upon Him; for he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
~Matthew L. Jacobson

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Poem ~ The Glory Due

The Glory Due
To give the Lord the glory due unto His name
We must be steadfast in the same.
Must not be distracted by other things,
Must not give my heart to things unredeemed.
If it is Him that I would glorify
I must my own self life defy.
The Lord demands and deserves all,
Commands our whole lives His name extol.
To give the glory due His name
I must my own self be renamed.
Before my own master, now a servant;
Christ Jesus’ disciple, steadfastly fervent.
With my whole life I wish to give recognition
To my Savior who’s blood has redeemed my condition.
So now to His name I’ll give the glory due.
By His grace I’ll keep pressing to, my whole life through.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

An Encouragement for Singles~George Muller's testimony of answered prayer in regards to marriage

This was definitely a blessing and encouragement to Brittany and I when we read this and I hope it will be to some of you as well.  God is so faithful to guide according to His perfect and amazing will if we will but just trust Him and surrender ourselves fully to Him!
Image result for george and mary mueller

Mr. Müller shows the ordering of God in his meeting with and subsequent marriage to his first wife, Miss Mary Groves.

“In giving her to me, I own the hand of God; nay, His hand was most marked; and my soul says, ‘Thou art good, and doest good.’

“I refer to a few particulars for the instruction of others. When at the end of the year 1829, I left London to labour in Devonshire in the Gospel, a brother in the Lord gave to me a card, containing the address of a well-known Christian lady, Miss Paget, who then resided in Exeter, in order that I should call on her, as she was an excellent Christian. I took this address and put it into my pocket, but thought little of calling on her. Three weeks I carried this card in my pocket, without making an effort to see this lady; but at last I was led to do so. This was God’s way of giving me my excellent wife. Miss Paget asked me to preach the last Tuesday in the month of January, 1830, at the room which she had fitted up at Poltimore, a village near Exeter, and where Mr. A. N. Groves, afterwards my brother-in-law, had preached once a month, before he went out as a Missionary to Bagdad. I accepted readily the invitation, as I longed, everywhere to set forth the precious truth of the Lord’s return, and other deeply important truths, which not long before my own soul had been filled with.

“On leaving Miss Paget, she gave me the address of a Christian brother, Mr. Hake, who had an Infant Boarding School for young ladies and gentlemen, at Northernhay House, the former residence of Mr. A. N. Groves, in order that I might stay there on my arrival in Exeter from Teignmouth. To this place I went at the appointed time. Miss Groves, afterwards my beloved wife, was there; for Mrs. Hake had been a great invalid for a long time, and Miss Groves helped Mr. Hake in his great affliction, by superintending his household matters. My first visit led to my going again to preach at Poltimore, after the lapse of a month, and I stayed again at Mr. Hake’s house; and this second visit led to my preaching once a week in a chapel at Exeter; and thus I went, week after week, from Teignmouth to Exeter, each time staying in the house of Mr. Hake. All this time my purpose had been, not to marry at all, but to remain free for travelling about in the service of the Gospel; but after some months I saw, for many reasons, that it was better for me, as a young Pastor, under 25 years of age, to be married. The question now was, to whom shall I be united? Miss Groves was before my mind; but the prayerful conflict was long, before I came to a decision; for I could not bear the thought, that I should take away from Mr. Hake this valued helper, as Mrs. Hake continued still unable to take the responsibility of so large a household. But I prayed again and again. At last this decided me, I had reason to believe that I had begotten an affection in the heart of Miss Groves for me, and that therefore I ought to make a proposal of marriage to her, however unkindly I might appear to act to my dear friend and brother Mr. Hake, and to ask God to give him a suitable helper to succeed Miss Groves. On Aug. 15th, 1830, I therefore wrote to her, proposing to her to become my wife, and on Aug. 19th, when I went over as usual to Exeter for preaching, she accepted me. The first thing we did, after I was accepted, was, to fall on our knees, and to ask the blessing of the Lord on our intended union. In about two or three weeks the Lord, in answer to prayer, found an individual, who seemed suitable to act as housekeeper, whilst Mrs. Hake continued ill; and on Oct. 7, 1830, we were united in marriage. Our marriage was of the most simple character. We walked to church, had no wedding breakfast, but in the afternoon had a meeting of Christian friends in Mr. Hake’s house and commemorated the Lord’s death; and then I drove off in the stagecoach with my beloved bride to Teignmouth, and the next day we went to work for the Lord. Simple as our beginning was, and unlike the habits of the world, for Christ’s sake, so our Godly aim has been, to continue ever since. Now see the hand of God in giving me my dearest wife: 1st, that address of Miss Paget’s was given to me under the ordering of God. 2nd, I must at last be made to call on her, though I had long delayed it. 3rd, She might have provided a resting place with some other Christian friend, where I should not have seen Miss Groves. 4th, My mind might have at last, after all, decided, not to make a proposal to her; but God settled the matter thus in speaking to me through my conscience— you know that you have begotten affection in the heart of this Christian sister, by the way you have acted towards her, and therefore, painful though it may be, to appear to act unkindly towards your friend and brother, you ought to make her a proposal. I obeyed. I wrote the letter in which I made the proposal, and nothing but one even stream of blessing has been the result.

“Let me here add a word of Christian counsel. To enter upon the marriage union is one of the most deeply important events of life. It cannot be too prayerfully treated. Our happiness, our usefulness, our living for God or for ourselves afterwards, are often most intimately connected with our choice. Therefore, in the most prayerful manner, this choice should be made. Neither beauty, nor age, nor money, nor mental powers, should be that which prompt the decision; but 1st, Much waiting upon God for guidance should be used; 2nd, A hearty purpose, to be willing to be guided by Him should be aimed after; 3rd, True godliness without a shadow of doubt, should be the first and absolutely needful qualification, to a Christian, with regard to a companion for life. In addition to this, however, it ought to be, at the same time, calmly and patiently weighed, whether, in other respects, there is a suitableness.

For instance, for an educated man to choose an entirely uneducated woman, is unwise; for however much on his part love might be willing to cover the defect, it will work very unhappily with regard to the children.”

Monday, October 17, 2016

Happy Birthday 21 year old!

Happy Birthday to this now 21 year old!  How can my little brother be 21 already, married and with a kiddo of his own?!  This guy has brought more smiles and laughter over the years than I can even begin to count.  He's always had that way of bringing sunshine into a room, making you smile even when you didn't feel like it and finding a way to make even a serious or sad moment turn into laughter.  He was an amazing brother to grow up with, daddy's right hand and has always had a special place in mama's heart!  All of our younger ones adore their big brother!  He's a hard worker, wide open and never afraid to get dirty and always ready to lend a helping hand.  It's been so neat to get to watch him become a husband and daddy and begin his own home.  He is one of the most special guys I know and we are all so very thankful for him!  Praying that this new year brings you and all of your incredible amount of energy and determination into a quest to know, love and serve the Lord in ways you never imagined!  Love you lots and lots buddy!
~Bree for all of us

Friday, September 30, 2016

Just Because You're Right...Doesn't Mean You're not Destroying

Wow!  This article by Matthew Jacobson was such good reminder!  And this principle doesn't just apply to married couples, but really to any kind of relationship whether with a spouse, a sibling, a friend, etc.  Is it really worth it to be "right"?

We love being “right” don’t we? In the midst of an intense discussion (argument!) about something, we feel the surge of adrenaline when besting the other person. Who doesn’t love winning?
Hey, the facts were on my side. 
Aren’t they always?
And then, there’s marriage – where the consequences of how that argument went down and our “rightness”  have an immediate (negative) impact on just about everything.
Do you truly care about the truth of what you were discussing with your husband or wife . . . or is it really about winning – about being the victor, again? Are you sure pressing your advantage wasn’t more about pride than what was best for your relationship? You don’t have to guess. In Proverbs 13:10 says, contention comes from pride.
You’re not experiencing contention with your spouse because ‘truth’ is on the line. It’s happening because you are both prideful.
Being right and being prideful are often two ends of the same stick we use to bludgeon our way to winning. The “truth” can be very deceiving as we convince ourselves it’s the most vital element in any argument. But, it’s important to be correct, isn’t it? Yes, it is. But when it comes to disagreements in marriage, there is something that trumps truth and arguing your spouse into the corner.
That’s right, sometimes emphasizing how right we are is far less important than how much we value our spouse. Beating him/her with the club of correctness won’t get the job done. It will, however, get a job done. It will beat us apart from one another.
Is that what you want? Being right . . . and alone . . . separated emotionally (and often physically) from the person you pledged your life to?
In most arguments in marriage, truth isn’t the trump card we often think it is. When there’s a disagreement, it’s not a zero-sum game where someone is completely right and the other person is all wrong. How we see the same circumstances is based on perspective, personality and many other subjective factors. And in every disagreement in marriage, there are two sets of those.
And then, there’s maturity – where age and experience have shown you the many times you were so cock-sure you were right but turned out to be wrong. Humility is Maturity’s best friend. Maturity in marriage begins to take root when we realize that our own personal understanding is not the final arbiter of all that is true and correct.
Do you wan’t to grow in maturity and keep from damaging your marriage by always communicating how right you are and how wrong your spouse is? You can choose humility, right now.
How about the next time you “get into it” with your spouse, instead of digging in, you start by saying,
I may be wrong about this but, this is what I’m seeing . . . 
. . . and choose to have a discussion instead of an argument? Because you may be wrong and you may be seeing incorrectly. Pride distorts our perception and destroys every relationship it infects. Unyielding certainty in disagreements about subjective matters will put distance between you and the heart of your spouse, leaving no place for humility and no chance for maturity.
And, who wants that for their marriage?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A service of work and a service of waiting

 When I read this portion from Streams in the Dessert the other day and then again this morning, I was so blessed and encouraged by it.  We often think that to be in the service of the Lord is to be doing something, especially something great for God.  But we forget, or maybe are not even aware of the fact, that God at times will call us to serve Him by waiting on Him, by being still before Him, by simply drawing near to Him, doing exactly what He puts before us for that day and nothing more, no matter how insignificant it may seem to us.  If He asks us to do it, then no matter how seemingly small and insignificant the duty, the duty is still ours to be done in joyful and surrendered obedience to the service and glory of the Lord.  God does not see big things and little things.  Every act of obedience is the same in His eyes and they all bring Him glory, even when He commands us to simply wait upon Him.  It often seems that in those times of waiting, silence, and stillness, we often hear the voice of the Lord the clearest and are enabled to draw the nearer to Him in those times as we learn to trust and wait upon Him and to hear His voice better.  Perhaps some of our readers are experiencing a time of waiting in their lives.  I hope this will be an encouragement to some of you.

After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithyma: but the Spirit suffered them not (Acts 16:7).
What a strange prohibition! These men were going into Bithynia just to do Christ's work, and the door is shut against them by Christ's own Spirit.
I, too, have experienced this in certain moments. I have sometimes found myself interrupted in what seemed to me a career of usefulness. Opposition came and forced me to go back, or sickness came and compelled me to retire into a desert apart.
It was hard at such times to leave my work undone when I believed that work to be the service of the Spirit. But I came to remember that the Spirit has not only a service of work, but a service of waiting. I came to see that in the Kingdom of Christ there are not only times for action, but times in which to forbear acting. I came to learn that the desert place apart is often the most useful spot in the varied life of man--more rich in harvest than the seasons in which the corn and wine abounded. I have been taught to thank the blessed Spirit that many a darling Bithynia had to be left unvisited by me.
And so, Thou Divine Spirit, would I still be led by Thee. Still there come to me disappointed prospects of usefulness. Today the door seems to open into life and work for Thee; tomorrow it closes before me just as I am about to enter. Teach me to see another door in the very inaction of the hour. Help me to find in the very prohibition thus to serve Thee, a new opening into Thy service. Inspire me with the knowledge that a man may at times be called to do his duty by doing nothing, to work by keeping still, to serve by waiting. When I remember the power of the "still small voice," I shall not murmur that sometimes the Spirit suffers me not to go.
--George Matheson

"When I cannot understand my Father's leading,
And it seems to be but hard and cruel fate,
I Still I hear that gentle whisper ever
pleading,God is working, God is faithful, ONLY WAIT."

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Welcoming Fall

So happy to see the first day of fall!  Fall is such a peaceful, refreshing, encouraging time.  I am very much looking forward to seeing how the Lord continues to work His perfect, beautiful plan in this season!  He is at work everywhere in everything!