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The Family is an Ecologically Balanced Environment

19 Sep

Photograph by Daniel Post

Can you imagine the staggering beauty of the creation that Adam and Eve got to see?  Without pollution, garbage dumps, or even littering?  A family is an environment for the growth of human beings.  The question is, how balanced is the ecology?

The atmosphere of an ecologically balanced family is oneness.  Pure oneness.  Oneness with the Father, Son & Spirit.  Oneness between husband and wife.  Oneness with our children.

The habitat of an ecologically balanced family is a home:  a safe place to go into and venture out of.  A place to be separated from the rushing world outside.

Unfortunately, there are no perfect families, and not only that there never have been (Adam and Eve’s children were born AFTER the fall.).  I heard someone preaching the other day and they said that some families may appear to have it all together–and the danger in that is spiritual pride.  Families who truly have it together know the only road to a healthy ecologically balanced family atmosphere is through a humble dependence upon the Father.

Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up and make your lives significant]. James 4:10 Ampl.

In God’s Light I See MySELF Clearly

2 Sep

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20 (NASB)

You may be rolling your eyes and saying, “Boy, is Sue ever stuck on THIS topic.  She must REALLY need this.”  You’re absolutely right.  I am stuck and I do need this.  I only hope that Andrew Murray’s teachings have ministered to you as they have to me.  I know that I live in my “self” much of the time and yearn to live with Christ’s life flowing through me in a new way.

“We are called upon to live the life of Christ, and Christ comes to live His life in us, but one thing must first take place; we must learn to hate this self and to deny it.

Let us humble ourselves at the thought of what this self has done to us and how it has dishonored jesus; and let us pray fervently: ‘Lord, by Thy light discover this self; we beseech Thee to discover it to us.  Open our eyes, that we may see what it has done, and that it is the only hindrance that has been keeping us back.’

Let us pray that fervently, and then let us wait upon God until we get away from all our religious exercises, and from all our religious experience, and from all our blessings, until we get close to God, with this one prayer:  ‘Lord God, self changed an archangel into a devil, and self ruined my first parents, and brought them out of Paradise into darkness and misery, and self has been the ruin of my life and the cause of every failure; oh, discover it to me.’

And then comes the blessed exchange, that a man is made willing and able to say: ‘Another will live the life for me, another will live with me, another will do all for me.'” ~ The Master’s Indwelling

Becoming Hopeful

23 Aug

Romans 5:4  And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith andtried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of]joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.

Experience/endurance:  The word rendered experience (dokimhn) means trial, testing, or that thorough examination by which we ascertain the quality or nature of a thing, as when we test a metal by fire, or in any other way, to ascertain that it is genuine. It also means approbation, or the result of such a trial; the being approved, and accepted as the effect of a trying process. The meaning is, that long afflictions borne patiently show a Christian what he is; they test his faith, and prove that it is genuine.

  • The experience mentioned is the experience of knowing how to get along with another imperfect person, which makes it possible to have a continuing relationship with this person(s).  Another side of this experience is knowing how to handle a crisis.  Knowing that this crisis did not take God by surprise.  This experience leads us to:

Hope:  expectation of good, hope in the Christian sense joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation, on hope, in hope, having hope, the author of hope, or he who is its foundation.

It is easy to lose hope in a situation that has been going on for many years.  We’ll look at losing hope in the next post.

Tribulation Works Patience (If we let it!)

21 Aug

Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance.   Romans 5:3

Tribulations are part of family life.  Whether the tribulation is screaming children, broken bones, a stay in the hospital, illnesses, disappointments, not enough money, accusations thrown at us or members of the family, we can’t show patience unless there is a situation that would make us impatient.  Patience is when we bite our tongue instead of saying, “Oh, not again.”  “Why do you always do that!”  I think patience is a process where you first learn to keep your mouth shut, even if you’re still irritated.  The day comes when you realize that you really aren’t irritated and that you may even have feelings of compassion for the person who is irritating you, or a rush of faith about the circumstance you are in.

Tribulation means affliction, trouble, anguish, persecution, burden, pressing together, and pressure.  Sometimes we feel as if we are pressured from every side.

Patience means a tranquil temperament that suffers tribulations without murmuring or discontentment.  It also means steadfastness, unbreakable resistance, constancy, endurance, and the characteristic of a person who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.

The definitions that most interest me are pressure, steadfastness, and unbreakable resistance.  If when we are under pressure from tribulation, we keep our eyes on the Lord, WE WILL BE STEADFAST (patient).

Scared Carnal 3

13 Aug

You may have thought about the last post (and this is paraphrased from Andrew Murray),

“I would love to have sin taken away.  Who loves to have a hasty temper?  Who loves to have a proud disposition?  Who loves to have a worldly heart?  No one.  I go to Christ to take it away and he does not do it; we ask, “Why will he not do it?  I have prayed very earnestly.”  It is because you wanted Him to take away the ugly fruits while the poisonous root  was to stay in you.  You did not ask Him that the flesh should be nailed to His cross, and that you should henceforth give up self entirely to the power of His Spirit.”

We’re like children weeding who pull out the dandelion without dealing with the dandelion root.  We have done absolutely nothing to stop the growth of dandelions!

For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice] so that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit].  Romans 8:2-4

AMEN!

Scared Carnal 2

11 Aug

Gee, my title sounds more like a horror movie than a Bible devotional!

Tuesday, we spoke about reacting carnally to situations, and the implication of our fear of not changing from carnal responses to spiritual responses.  I think, too, that it is possible to respond carnally in some areas of our lives and spiritually in others.  Let’s get down to the bedrock of these too words:  Carnally means we’re responding in our flesh.  It’s all about us.  Spiritually means that we’re responding to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Our flesh has been crucified.

Andrew Murray sees three steps to the spiritual life:

“First, we must know that there is such a spiritual life to be lived by men on earth.  Nothing cuts the roots of the Christian life so much as unbelief. . . . then comes the second step; a man must see the shame and guilt of his having lived such a life.  Some people admit there is a spiritual life to live, and that they have not lived it, and they are sorry for themselves and pity themselves.  Alas, it has been our unfaithfulness, our unbelief, our disobedience, that has kept us from giving ourselves utterly to God. . . . finally, a man must take that step, a solemn but blessed step. . . a yielding up of ourselves to Him as never before.”

But offer and yield yourselves to God as though you have been raised from the dead to [perpetual] life, and your bodily members [and faculties] to God, presenting them as implements of righteousness.  Romans 6:13b

Rose Pegonias

19 Jul

Rose Pegonias (last stanza)

We raised a simple prayer

Before we left the spot

That in the general mowing

That place might be forgot;

Or if not all so favored,

Obtain such grace of hours

That none should mow the grass there

While so confused with flowers.

~ Robert Frost

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For,

“All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

And this is the word that was preached to you. — 1 Peter 1:23-25

Sometimes we need to take a moment and remove ourselves from the center of the world.

 

Jots & Tittles

17 Jul

He cares about the smallest detail.

I’ve been working on a paper this week that has to be written in APA format.  The paper itself isn’t hard to write, but all of the details of the APA format are driving me CRAZY.  No detail is too small for the APA Publication Manual to consider.  My shoulders are tense from searching (fruitlessly, I might add) to how to correctly write a reference for a mere mention of a website.  I was getting all crabby about the level of detail when it dawned on me that it is a good object lesson for the level of detail that our Father God cares about and plans for.  And I do love object lessons!

For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.  Matthew 5:18

For truly I tell you, until the sky and earth pass away and perish, not one smallest letter nor one little hook [identifying certain Hebrew letters] will pass from the Law until all things [it foreshadows] are accomplished. Matthew 5:18 Ampl.

Are We Welcoming or Rejecting to the Holy Spirit?

9 Jun

Galilee with an attitude

This morning, Mike walked into the room where our grandkids were playing.  He asked Galilee, “Why is it that when you play games you’re so bossy?”  Without looking up at him, she sing-songed, “Good bye.”  He came out shaking with laughter.

Aren’t we like that a lot with the Holy Spirit?

The normal Galilee.

But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.  John 14:26  Amp.

The word for teach here, didasko, is a “prolongued form of the verb dao” meaning to teach.  The Holy spirit is always teaching us and bringing things to our minds–which includes admonishing us.  Sometimes we are just like Galilee and respond to the Holy Spirit’s nudges with a sing-songy “Good-bye.”  Today let’s focus on receiving His teaching and reminders!

Hearts a Bustin’

7 Jun

Hearts-a-Bustin'

When I was a brand-new believer working as a landscaper in North Georgia, Psalm 51 was the first passage in the Bible that became a rhema word to me.  I’m using the word rhema to mean not just a word that I read which would be logos, but a word that spoke to my heart in a deep and profound way.   I saw my sin so clearly.

 3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.

Hearts a Bustin’ (eonymus americanus) became a symbol for me of the ache I felt for the sin I had committed.  I collected them and dried them in a little tea cup and I drew them and wrote about them.  To me the Hearts-a-Bustin’ represented my broken and contrite heart.

17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.

I was and am so glad that God has made me clean and restored me.  The peace and joy that flowed through me when I read this Psalm are indescribable:

7Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Today I am so thankful for the Word of God–especially those portions that have been rhema to my heart.

Photo courtesy:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/martinlabar