Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Treasures in Heaven

Matthew 6:19-21 KJV
19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

We often will put more time, money and effort into things that are most important to us.

You can usually figure out what is most important to people by watching what they do with their time and money. Do we want to put emphasis in things of this world that will eventually perish or in something that has eternal value? In my opinion, anything that supports relationship and the of Christ are much more important than things of this world.

I hope that when people look at my life, they can tell that I am working towards treasures in heaven over treasures of this world.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Learning From, Living and Leaving a Spiritual Legacy

My mother, my girls, and myself before the banquet.
I had the privilege to speak at a Spring Women's Banquet just before Mother's Day. I was honored to be asked to speak. I do find it much more comfortable to write than to speak, but I have been feeling God calling me to share in public more and more in the past few years. Below is some of my notes from my talk as well as a few pictures. My girls sang I Will Sing of the Mercies after my talk and one of them played her ukulele for the song.

Learning From, Living and Leaving a Spiritual Legacy

Today, as we gather here as grandmothers, mothers, and daughters, I would like to think about the relationships between the generations.

Legacy

What exactly is a legacy?

Dictionary.com defines legacy as:
noun, plural legacies.
1. Law. a gift of property, especially personal property, as money, by will; a bequest
2. anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor:

It is something  you leave to future generations. Now, it is nice to have money left to you, or to be left a house, a sewing machine, an old journal or even a recipe, but those are not the type of legacies I would like to talk about today.

Today, I would like to talk about a spiritual legacy. Why? Because Proverbs 20:7 says, "The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him."

You may be asking, "What is a spiritual legacy?" Well, Susan Gaddis says this about a spiritual legacy:

 A spiritual legacy is all about your relationship with the Lord—the stories of your past and present walk with Jesus given to the future.

It is the baton you pass on to the next generation—depositing truth and practice into the minds, hearts, and lives of those you live and minister among.
I'm sure many of us love to share stories about what we remember about our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or even teachers or the next door neighbors. These stories are their legacies.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself." Well, just like we can learn from the mistakes of others, we can learn from what they did right.

I have found it a blessing to have grown up in a Christian home and have grandparents who were Christians because I can look back and see how to live a Christian life as well as remember conversations on why they did the things they did.

In fact, the spiritual legacies of my ancestors and friends around me helped me grow in my spiritual walk and realize God's true calling in my life. While growing up, I was heavily influenced by the feminist movement, but due to some negative experiences, I turned back to my upbringing and accepted Christ. Then, remembering how my grandmother and mother lived helped me learn how to live as a Christian woman. Watching the women whom I attended church with also helped me tremendously in learning how to be a true help meet.

Titus 2:4-5 tells the elder women to teach the younger women, "to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." This is part of the older women leaving their legacies and the younger women learning from the legacies left.

A spiritual legacy can also be passed on by someone you meet or someone who knew another person and shares that person's stories. My mother-in-law's spiritual legacy lives on because of how she impacted my husband's life. My husband shares stories with me about my mother-in-law and her family that reveals to me the many ways we can share God's love with others. Of course, I continue to learn from her from watching how she lives her life now, seeing how she loves others, and by talking to her about things of God.

Deuteronomy 32:7 says, "Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee."

My prayer is that I am living a spiritual legacy. I hope that others will know of my love for God by the words I speak (or don't speak), the actions I make (or don't make), and my reactions to what is happening around me.

I believe the first part of living a spiritual legacy starts with Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
We must love God with all we are and have. We must know and follow His commands. We must teach those commands to our children (and those around us) which we can do in a few ways. We can talk of them, we can read/study the Bible often, and we can surround ourselves with His Word (printed scripture around the house, Christian music, etc.).

Secondly, we must live our faith out loud.  What I mean by this is that others should not only see us studying and hear us talking about His Word, but they must see our faith in action. They must see us love others. They must see us forgive. They must even see us repent when we mess up. They must see us turn to God in the midst of trials. They must see us living differently from the world. Remember, "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold." (Proverbs 22:1).

I've spoken of learning from and living a spiritual legacy, now let's talk about leaving a spiritual legacy.

I'm sure we would all love to be remembered after we are gone, but we want to be remembered for something good and not for our mistakes. Proverbs 13:22a says, "A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children:" I believe this is in reference to a spiritual inheritance just as much as a physical inheritance. If we truly want to be remembered, then we must be purposeful in how we live our lives and it would help if we had a plan.

First, we must know what God tells us is our heritage. Psalm 119:111 says, "Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart." We must remember what God has done for us and share those times with others. It encourages our heart, as well as others, to reminisce about God's good works. We are also told in Psalm 127:3 that children are an heritage. "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward." We must live in a way that shows that they are the blessing God says they are.

We can also leave physical evidence of our faith. You can write your testimony down, leave notes in your Bible, or even just notes of encouragement to others can be evidence of your faith. Keeping souvenirs of faith experiences are also helpful because they spark discussion and remembrance. 

Joshua 4:5-7 says,
5 And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: 6 That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? 7 Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.
People would ask why those stones were stacked there and it would allow the story of God's goodness to be shared again.

Sharing God's Word with others is another way to leave a spiritual legacy. You can have scripture posted around your home (on walls, coffee cups, calendars, etc.), you can sing scripture that has been set to music, or you can recite scripture. In order to be able to recite scripture, you must memorize scripture. This not only helps  you live it (because you know it), but also helps the Holy Spirit bring it to memory when speaking to someone.

Yet another way to leave a spiritual legacy is in how you react to trials and temptations. Trials and temptations can strengthen our faith, but our reactions to them also reveals to others the state of our faith. If God is our foundation, then we can stand firm in the midst of trials and temptations and standing firm is the most effective way that speaks loudly to our children (and others) what our testimony truly is.

Now, you may be asking why being intentional about living and leaving a spiritual legacy is important. Do you remember how in the Bible the Israelites would follow God for a while and then turn from Him? Do you remember how they would have a good king and then a king who did not follow the ways of his father? Well, most likely that could be traced back to the fact that generations were not intentional about living and leaving spiritual legacies. For example, if there is a generation that loves God and follows His commands, they teach the next generation to do what is right; however, that next generation may teach the following generation to do the right thing, but they can't explain why to do what is right. By the third generation, they have no idea why they should do right so they go their own way.

So, while it is nice to have something physical handed down from previous generations and the thought of passing on something to future generations is also nice, none of it compares to the spiritual legacy that could be passed on. Jesus says in John 6:27a, "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life." The most important thing we can pass on to future generations is that of Christ. Purpose today, in your heart, to live and leave a spiritual legacy for your children and their children.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Fasting

Matthew 6:16-18 KJV
16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

The purpose of fasting is to spend more time with God and to draw closer to Him.

You take the time you normally would spend eating (or doing an activity) and spend it in prayer. You would strive to hear what God is saying to you. If this is your true purpose (as it should be), then it wouldn't matter if anyone else could tell that you were fasting. If you are striving for others to give you recognition for participating in a "holy" act, then you aren't truly striving to draw closer to God. You will receive praise from men, but not from God.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

How to Pray

Matthew 6:8-15 KJV
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. 9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Jesus models for us how we are to pray.

We are to give honor and glory to God first. We are to seek God's will over our own. We are to go to God to fill our needs. We must remember that our needs can be met daily and we need to wait on His timing. Of course, we must be repentant, but we must also realize we must forgive others if we expect forgiveness from God. We can ask God to keep us from harm-physical and spiritual and for Him to help us when we fall into evil. We then return to praising Him for His power and all He does.

I love how scripture is a textbook for life!


Throw Back Thursday



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Do So Quietly

Matthew 6:1-7 KJV
1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. 5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. 7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

When we do something good for others, we are to do so quietly because we are supposed to do it out of love and not for recognition. If we make a big deal about it, then the recognition of men is our reward and we will miss out on the  blessing from God.

The same is true of our prayer life. We pray to communicate with God. Even if we do pray in a group setting, our goal is communication, not expectation that others will compliment our prayers. We need to make sure that we do what we do out of love and relationship and not because we are expecting some kind of earthly reward.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Throw Back Thursday

I have been feeling like my morning Bible study time has become more of something to check off the to do list than a time I look forward to. I know this is wrong and have been praying for God to help me feel close to Him and have a desire to dig, really dig, back into His Word (compared to the surface study I feel I have been doing).

Two years ago, I wrote a post about how God doesn't want us to become complacent about our relationship with Him.

Spiritual or Tradition?



Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Monday, May 8, 2017

Friendship

Proverbs 27:5-10 KJV
5 Open rebuke is better than secret love. 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. 7 The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet. 8 As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place. 9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel. 10 Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother's house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.

God created people with a desire to have relationship with others. We were not created to live this life alone. Some women find a friend(s)when they are young and continue to be close friends for the remainder of their lives. Others have friends that come and go. Still others wait for what seems a lifetime for a close friend.

If you are married, your husband should be your best friend, but that doesn't need to stop you from having a best girl friend.

A friend who truly loves you will tell you what you need to hear and not just what you want to hear. She will care enough to help you feel better when you are down. A true friend is a blessing in deed.

If you don't have a friend like this, pray for God to send you one. If He doesn't answer the prayer right away, keep praying. It is definitely worth waiting for the friend God has purposed for you!



Friday, May 5, 2017

Fire

Fire consumes and changes what is on fire.

May God consume and change my desires so they are the same as His.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Throw Back Thursday

I have been asked a few times recently for recipes of things that I make often for my family. I used to do a series called, Home Cooking for Body and Soul in which I did a Bible study and recipes that went along with the same topic. I've been thinking about maybe doing that again.

Please take a look at one of my old Home Cooking for Body and Soul posts and let me know what you think. Here is the link to one of them, but you can find more by looking for Home Cooking for Body and Soul on the right had side of the page.



Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Mansion Over the Hilltop

Since we had a family come and sing at church this past week for our service, I don't have a sermon to share today, so I thought I would share some music.

Last week I was introduced to a song that I don't remember ever hearing/singing before. We sung it at my cousin's funeral because it was her favorite hymn. Later that same day, at church, I found out that my girls sing this as part of a group, with their grandparents, that go to local nursing homes to sing.

I chose this version of the song because I have always been fond of Elvis Presley.