poetry

He Giveth More Grace by Annie Johnson Flint

There’s been a lot going on in my life, things that have kept me on my face before the Lord and have given me little time to write. I love poetry and poems such as this one speaks to me in times of trials. I hope you are blessed by it. ~Anna

 

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added affliction He addeth His mercy;
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limit; His grace has no measure.
His pow’r has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!

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Uncategorized

More Trouble Signs from Beth Moore

ChurchSalt

I know I will draw ire for pointing this out, but here it goes anyway… It seems as though Beth Moore has recently been promoting the book, “Jesus Calling” on one of her websites.  To me, this is yet one more reason I strongly recommend avoiding all Beth Moore material.  Reading the description of the book, it quite plainly tells us the author received messages and teachings directly from God, wrote them down, and then published them.  This claim, if it were true, would  mean that “Jesus Calling” is on equal footing with the Bible.  This is a dangerous and heretical claim!  The fact that the author’s claim doesn’t seem to bother Beth one bit makes me (once again) seriously question her discernment and doctrine.  So again I find myself in the awkward position of recommending you the blog reader to avoid the material of America’s evangelical sweetheart, Beth Moore. …

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Biblical knowledge

“Why can’t I?” is the wrong question

The tendency of the modern church is to define our Christianity by our culture rather than our culture by our Christianity. When we do, our role as the children of God becomes unfruitful. Seeking to fit into the world around us and to enjoy as much of it as possible becomes our driving force. It is then we ask, “Why can’t I?” and “Did God really say?” These exact same questions were asked in the Garden of Eden. The solution is to get back to the Cross. When the Cross is the focal point of our lives and our theology we then see the cost of our questions. “Why can’t I?” put Jesus on the Cross.

We look for ways around what God has said. Unhappy about restrictions on our “freedom in Christ” or possible reductions of our “Christian liberty” we avoid “thus saith the Lord” like the plague. “God didn’t really mean that” answers many an argument–not well but often. “Paul was a chauvinistic pig” answers many others. “But that was cultural…or for the first century only…or, it was a Jewish custom” fills in the cracks.

We try to get away with so much. So often we seek to walk as close to the cliff of the world as possible rather than walking in security next to the mountain of God. Rather than asking, “Does this bring glory to the Lord?” we ask “What is allowable? How far can I go?” The one marks us as interested only in pleasing the Lord; the other marks us only interested in pleasing ourselves.

When we let our culture interpret our Christianity, we get a me-centered philosophy driven by our humanistic tendencies. God isn’t what matters to us at that point–we are. We claim to be serving Him but our lives belie that. Unless we are becoming more and more holy with the sweet aroma of Christ-likeness permeating all that we do then the opposite is true–our lives are becoming more and more worldly with the accompanying stink to prove it.

David, a man after God’s own heart, was praised by God not because of his reign as Israel’s greatest King but because of his deep sensitivity to sin. True he, like all of us, sinned. His sins were sometimes humiliatingly spectacular but truer still was his heart. When he sinned, and was convicted of it, his heart was broken.

These things ought to be evident in our lives as Christians. Too often we look at David’s failures and stop there. The conclusion we draw is that God loved him despite his failures. We fail to see that God hated his failures and disciplined him severely for them. God loved him for his heart that sought to slay his sin, that deeply loved the Word of God and the God of the Word, and that sought the Lord’s glory rather than his own.

The questions the church ought to be asking are not “Why can’t I?” and “Did God really say?” but “Does this glorify my Lord?” “Am I reminding anyone of Jesus in what I say and what I do?” We must stop trying to blend into a culture that hates the One we propose to follow. The world won’t like us one whit more for being a religious version of themselves. They will see through it and mark us as the hypocrites that we are. Cultural Christianity isn’t Christian and everyone but Christians seems to know it. At its core it is about man rather than about God. When we seek God’s way, we will be hated by the world but loved and accepted by the Lord. When we seek our way above God’s, devastating failure isn’t far behind.

The questions that the church have been asking have got to change. Rather than asking “Why can’t I?” and “Did God really say?” let’s ask “Does God’s Word address it?” “Is it befitting people of the Lord?” “Who does this glorify–the Lord? or me?” When we get our questions right, our theology will be right.

 

Photo by John-Mark Smith from Pexels

Blessings

Luxuries

The smell of wood smoke hanging in an autumn sky…

the laughter of a very young child…

the smell of honeysuckles wafting on the breeze…

a long soaking bath at the end of the day…

a tiny flower offered as a love-gift by an equally tiny child…

the warmth of a fragrant cup of tea…

the taste of fresh-brewed coffee served up with cream…

luxuries…

every one of these.

Some people spend their lives chasing fortune and fame,

some are caught up in status, money, things…

by chasing the wrong things, they are missing the best things.

Luxuries aren’t only for those rich enough to afford Egyptian sheets and real Belgian chocolate.

Luxuries are right here before our eyes, right here at home, every single day of our lives,

if we’ll only open our eyes to see them.

No perfume ever equaled the smell of flowers wafting on the breeze in a soft summer night.

No symphony ever sounded as beautiful as the sound of a child’s laughter.

No five star restaurant ever served a meal that tasted better than your own freshly baked bread.

If we are living our lives wishing we had more luxuries,

we need to re-evaluate what we define as a luxury.

God has blessed us with so much more than we actually have need of.

Anything that isn’t just a simple food, a simple outfit, a simple shelter,

anything that isn’t just a daily necessity…

(and daily necessities are much, much fewer than most of us realize)

anything else,

anything at all…

is a luxury.

Marriage

Choosing a mate wisely

Dear Unmarried Sister,

Perhaps you dream of marriage, of the joining of hearts and souls as you and your beloved become one; most young ladies do. Before you choose the one you will marry, the one you will give yourself to, the one you will submit to, I beg you to study what the Word of God has to say about marriage and proceed prayerfully. A marriage made up of two people who love the Lord with all of their heart, soul, strength, and mind is as near to heaven on earth as it is possible to come. A marriage made up of one of God’s children and a child of the devil is a pain nearly unequaled in its intensity.

A child of the devil? some of you might say, You don’t know my Peter.

No, I don’t. But I don’t have to know your Peter (or your Dave, or Brian, or Kevin) to warn you: if he isn’t a child of God, he is a child of the devil. There are no other options, no in-betweens. The Lord says that if we aren’t for Him, we’re against Him. And if we’re against Him, we’re for His adversary Satan. As one who is against God, a man’s goals, desires, hopes, longings, plans, ways, thoughts, words, and deeds will be different from those of a child of God. They will differ from yours.

If you choose to marry a non-Christian, you will hurt every single day of every single year of your married life. He may be good to you. He may provide well. He may be a really good husband and a wonderful father. But he isn’t saved. Therefore you will hurt as he chooses ways that are contrary to the ways of God. You will ache as you cry out to God for his salvation. No matter how good he is to you or to your children, you will weep as he influences your children in ways that will break your heart. When you lower your standards for the kind of man you are willing to spend time with, you are lowering your standards for the kind of man you wish to one day marry. You are also lowering your standards for the kind of man you wish to have as the father of your children. You cannot afford to forget this.

Let your idea of a what makes a good mate be influenced first and foremost by Scripture. Don’t just look for a cute guy or a popular one. Don’t choose a guy simply because he makes you feel good about yourself, because he makes you laugh, or because he treats you well. Don’t look for a man who is successful or who makes a good living. There is nothing wrong with these things in and of themselves but unless these things are coupled with biblical Christianity, they are worthless. Instead, look for a man who truly loves God. If your man truly loves God Himself, God as He is revealed in Scripture, and not simply his own concept of God, he will most assuredly love you. He will treat you far, far better than a child of the devil ever could. He will treat your children far, far better than you can now even begin to imagine. His goal will be to honor God in the way he treats you and your children. Remember, your choice of a husband will impact your family for generations to come.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you look for a man of God:

  • Does he love Jesus above all? Instead of all? Or does he love money, self, fame, comfort, or anything or anyone else–including you–more than he loves God?
  • Does his life reflect Christ? Is he spiritually mature?
  • Does he devote himself to the study of the Word of God?
  • How is his prayer life?
  • Is he able and willing to be the spiritual head of his family?
  • Does he understand marriage? Does he understand submission and headship? Is his view of marriage biblical?
  • Is he willing to put his wife above his children and his family above his work?
  • Does he know how to relax? Does relaxation take its proper place in relation to faith, family, and work?
  • Does he “need” entertainment to be happy?
  • Is he addicted to anything? Gaming? Cokes? Candy? Food? Fun? Danger? Sleep? Spending? Work?
  • Is he lazy or is he a hard worker? Is he willing to do menial jobs to help bring in money if needed? Is he willing to do humble, menial, jobs for his family or for others simply because they need to be done?
  • Is he prideful? Does he apologize when he’s been in the wrong?
  • Does he protect your purity? Does he push you to compromise? Does he make fun of your standards?
  • Does he encourage you to be modest both inside and out? Is he modest? Are his standards of modesty biblical, legalistic, or liberal?
  • How does he handle money? Does he have debt? If so, why and what?
  • How does he treat the weak, the needy, the hurting, the sick, the aged, the young?
  • How does he treat his family? How does he treat his mother and sisters?
  • How does he treat animals?
  • Does he treat you with kindness even when he is tired or has had a bad day?
  • Does he eschew legalism and liberalism in his theology? Does he understand grace?
  • Does he love the church? Does he enjoy being with God’s people?
  • Does he ache over the lost? Does he look for chances to share the Gospel?
  • Is he industrious and a self-starter?
  • Does he make excuses for his failures? Does he blame others? Does he accept responsibility for himself?
  • Is he easily angered? Is he jealous? Is he self-centered?
  • Is he selfless? Is he a servant to others?
  • Does he want children?
  • Is he a man of integrity? Have you ever caught him in a lie?
  • Does he use porn?
  • Is he looking for a woman who exemplifies Titus 2 and Proverbs 31? Is he worthy of that kind of woman?

Choosing the man you will marry is one of the most important choices you will ever make. Hold out for a man of God and you will choose wisely.

Your sister,

Anna

Family matters · quotes

Making meal time special

Meals can be very small indeed, very inexpensive, short times taken in the midst of a big push of work, but they should be always more than just food. Relaxation, communication and a measure of beauty and pleasure should be part of even the shortest of meal breaks. Of course, you celebrate special occasions — successes of various members of the family, birthdays, good news, answered prayer, happy moments — with special attention to meal preparation and serving. But we should be just as careful to make the meal interesting and appealing when the day is grey and the news is disappointing. Children feel the difference in the home that takes this attitude. Father comes home tired and discouraged after some sort of failure or disappointment to find, not the food he dislikes, nor burned soup and sloppy serving, but a beautifully set table, with his favorite food served artistically . . . with all the air of a special occasion.”

Edith Schaeffer, Hidden Art of Homemaking

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

Prayer · Tatiana's posts

Advice For The Grieving

adult-autumn-beauty-268791.jpgLast December one of my nearest and dearest friends was killed in a car accident. She was only 18. That day I was introduced to something I had only looked at from afar, something that I had heard about, but never in my wildest dreams imagined would ever happen to me. That day I thought that my life would never be the same again and that I could never be happy. That day I was sure that a part of me had died with her. And while I sit here today, still missing her every single day, and still faced with the heartbreaking fact that I will never be able to see or speak to my friend again, I have learned some things. So, having walked this painful road, I wanted to offer advice to the person who is just now going through this terrible, terrible thing–the death of a loved one.

The first thing I want to tell you is that you will feel happy again. You won’t believe this now, but it’s true. And you know what? It’s a good thing to feel. It’s a great thing to feel. And while this may sound like the same advice that everyone gives, your friend would want that. The first time I felt the first glimmer of joy after it happened I felt a pang of guilt. Like I wasn’t allowed to be happy because it was disrespectful to my friend and the only way to honor her would be to be heartbroken at all times. Then I realized something one night when I was sitting back and remembering all the wonderful times we had had together. My friend was one of the funniest, happiest, people on the face of the earth. She had the greatest laugh and could always turn a cloudy day into sunshine and roses. If she was so great and took so much joy out of life and people then why would she want me to live in sadness? Not my friend. I realized that the best way for me to remember her, the best way to honor her life and to never, ever, forget, would be to allow myself to feel the very thing she loved. So, my dear hurting person, when that day of sunshine comes calling, don’t run away from it.

Now, it’s time for me to offer you some advice, just some things that helped me get through those terrible dark, tear-filled days.

Take an entire day, allow yourself to cry, to be angry, to yell, to sit alone, to say nothing at all. Do it all. Do some of it. Do whatever you need. Don’t hold back and don’t feel like you have to be brave for anyone. Then take a long bath, fill it with oils, bubbles, salts, anything you want and relax. The next day its time to push through and start life again. This was the advice my mom gave me and honestly, it’s probably the best advice I was given. While it might sound like I’m being cold and uncaring, this is what saved me from days and days of sitting alone and in tears.

I remember after it happened one of the things that kept replaying in my head was the song “You Raise Me Up’ by Daniel O’Donnell. It helped me to see that God knew what He was doing, He knew that it was her time, He wasn’t being cruel to me or trying to hurt me by taking her away. He was still a good and loving God, who just knew that it was time for her to go Home. So, please, go and find as much music as you like, something that speaks to you and wraps you in a blanket of comfort. It helps.

Talk about it. You might have heard this before, but the more I sat down and talked about our silly hobbit chats, inside jokes, wonderful conversations, how we became friends and all the memories, the better I felt. It really just eased the pain just a little.

You will have times when you just miss them so much you can’t stand it. At those times it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to go through the motions again, to be angry. All of this is normal. I still go through those times and the best thing for it is to let it come and go. You will feel better.

Focus on the fact that this is not a forever goodbye. That one day, when you too go home, you will see your loved one again. There will be no more sadness, no sorrow, only joy. Reminding myself of this constantly helped me through it. I will see her again. It just might be a few years.

And finally, pray. Thank the Lord for the time that you had with your family member or friend. Thank Him for letting you be blessed by their life. And also, ask for His help, His comfort, in your grieving. The Lord understands what it means to grieve. The shortest verse in Scripture is “Jesus wept” and that was in relation to His friend dying.

I hope this helps at least a little.

Until next time.

Before the Cross,

Tatiana