Thursday, December 17, 2009
The Widow's Oil
2 Kings 4:1-7
The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha. "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves."
Elisha replied to her. "How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in you house?"
Your servant has nothing there at all," she said, "except a little oil."
Elisha said, "Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don't ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side"
She left him and afterward shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring.
When all the jars were full, she said to her son, "Bring me another one."
But he replied, "there is not a jar left." Then the oil stopped flowing.
She went and told the man of God, and he said, "Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, you and your sons can live on what is left."
What a beautiful reminder of God's power and provision. What a reminder that God may want to use something we already have to provide for us. It's all His and we are all His. His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not ours.
May we all seek Him to provide for us as He has promised! (Phil. 4:19)
"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen
Monday, November 23, 2009
I've read the story of Martha and Mary over and over and I know Mary did the right thing. I get that, but today as I read this story again these words jumped out at me.
IT WILL NOT BE TAKEN AWAY FROM HER!
Wow! Jesus said, that the time Mary spent with Him could not be taken from her. That is an incredible promise.
It seems we live in a world where people take whatever they feel like taking.
We know there are thieves that steal all sorts of things from money to cars and lately we hear alot about "identity theft", but what about stealing the "credit" for a job that someone else did?What if that sort of stealing caused you to receive a job promotion you really didn't deserve?
In a world that seems to be all about SELF, it's easy to get caught up in an "every man for himself mentality" or I am going to work harder and harder so I will get the glory the next time.
Unfortunately, I have even seen this type of mindset in the church. Seeking position, trying to outshine others, and seeking praise and glory.
And yes, at times I have had to check my own motives and examine if I am doing this or that because Jesus has instructed me to or am I doing it for myself and my glory?
So........as I sit and ponder about what Jesus said to Mary, I crave to hear those words and desire to have His peace and His promise in my heart that no one or nothing can take from me.
Thanksgiving is just a few days away & it is my prayer that I will not neglect the ONE to whom all thanks and glory is due! May my Thanksgiving preparation be spent by being alone with my Savior and then all these other things............................
Long after the turkey is ate and the dishes are clean, I can still have His abiding peace and joy, which will not be taken from me!
Monday, November 2, 2009
"Have a very “Mary” Christmas!"
Christmas is just around the corner! Does that thought bring you joy or anxiety? As Christian women, we know that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Many of us start out every December promising ourselves that THIS YEAR we will not lose our focus. We promise ourselves everything from, “I will not over commit myself,” to “I will not overbuy!” What happens to all of those promises? How can one stay focused with so much to do?
Let’s look at the Bible story of Mary and Martha. Martha welcomed Jesus into her home and immediately went to work preparing to serve Him a meal. Martha had a sister named Mary who chose to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him. Martha being distracted by all of the preparation, approached the Lord and said, “Do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to help me.” Jesus answered and said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
Let’s remember during this Christmas season that in the midst of our long “To-Do” list we must take the time to sit at the feet of Jesus. He has much to say to us. He desires to give us a gift that cannot be taken from us. As we sit at His feet He will help us stay focused. He will keep us from being worried and troubled about many unnecessary things. He is calling us to sit at His feet and have a very “MARY” Christmas. Will you accept His invitation?
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Why would Christian author, Max Lucado, even have to write a book a few years ago called, "It's Not About Me."?
Could it be that we have made the Christian Life all about us? Has church become all about us? Do we read the Bible and esteem the men in the Bible that God chose to use over God himself?
How many sermons have you heard calling PAUL a spiritual giant, and then you hear someone say...."I could never be like Paul."? Or any other Bible Character that we lift up and compare ourselves to.
God has not called us to be like any other person, nor did He call us to salvation to make us more like US. We are called to BECOME more like HIM.
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." Galatians 2:20
I want to share with you something I learned from T.W. Hunt several years ago and I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me. I have to constantly remind myself that "It's Not About Me." The flesh doesn't die easy and I find myself wanting to feed it when it gets hungry instead of letting it starve to death.
We have already established that our lives are not about us, but Christ.
T.W. Hunt reminded me a few years ago that the Bible is about GOD. Now you may say, I know that, but do you practice it? He challenged me to think about how I teach the Bible and to think about how many times I have heard lessons and sermons where the REAL story is missed.
Here are some examples of the "supposed story" we often teach or hear taught and then the REAL story where God is the focus.
David-Goliath/"heroism"/God does not need help.
Jehoshaphat/ "trust"/God does not need an army
David's hurts/ "sin lasts"/ A heart right with God always returns to God
Hannah/ "God rewards"/Prayer changes history.....
Job/"remained faithful"/ God reveals Himself in suffering
Corinth/"superior attitudes"/God's love is greater than our superiorities
Peter /"all are weak"/ God foreknows and provides for our weakness
It's all about GOD!
Let's tell His Story!
Extremely thought provoking..............................
Monday, October 26, 2009
It's one of those Monday's that I do not feel rested. Our family had a busy week last week. My son was in the school musical which meant late nights and early mornings along with 4 performances this weekend. WHEW!
Being in the school musical meant he has stayed after school every day for the last nine weeks as well as an all day dress rehearsal last weekend. Yesterday he had a two hour Orchestra rehersal at church.
He still has school work to finish up and tomorrow is the last day for this quarter. Poor guy, he was up until 1am this morning trying to get it all done. He slept in the car on the way to school. Oh Lord, we need REST. We need you to fill our cup. While it was fun and it was a good opportunity for Andrew to see how far he can be stretched, HE NEEDS SOME REST. We all do.
Tonight is the Cast Party. That will be a lot of fun! God really pulled this cast together and it was neat to see how they leaned on the Lord for strength and gave Him all the praise!
On Thursday, Mollie has a field trip to St. Augustine and our whole family will be going on this trip. Andrew is going to check out a college in St. Augustine and we plan on staying through Saturday.
Thanking the Lord for this opportunity.
We need time together to reconnect. We can run hard and we can run long, but we cannot run hard for very long. Our bodies were made to need REST. Even Jesus took time to REST.
May we all remember to H. A. L. T.
To never let ourselves get too.......
H ungry (physically or spiritually)
L onelyT ired
Let's remember to Pray for one another. Encourage one another and build each other up. Let's remind each other to lean on Jesus, to depend on Him for our strength.
"Grant us wisdom O' Lord to know what we need to let go of and what we need to do, teach us our Lord to abide in you."
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I was raised "going to church". In fact, I went to church the entire time I was in my mother's womb. I have never questioned the importance of "going to church", but I have questioned if the "going" and "doing" is all there is to the Christian Life and if some of the activity is really of God.
O.K., before you think I have lost my mind, hang with me. It seems to me that in all the "going" and "doing" one thing tends to be overlooked, "being".
Lev. 11:44-45, Lev. 20L7-8, Lev. 20:26, Lev. 27:9, Eph. 1:4, 1Pet. 1:15-16, 1 Cor. 7:1
(separate-we see what the world cannot see!)
Luke 6:36, Ps. 86:15, Is. 55:7, Mic. 7:18-19
(it is a fulfillment of the covenant to show God's kind of mercy)
Gen. 17:1, Deut. 19:13, 2 Cor. 13:9, 11, Col. 1:28, Col. 4:12, James 1:2-4
(blameless, unblemished, mature, complete, or finished)
Jer. 32:39, John 10:16, John 17:11, 21-23, Acts 2:46, Acts 4:32, Rom. 12:5, 1 Cor. 1:10, 1 Cor. 12:25-26, Gal. 3:28, Eph. 4:3-6, Phillip. 1:7, Philip. 2:2-4
(UNITY-not divided with jealousy or quarrels as mentioned in 1 Corth. 3 or fighting over who is the GREATEST as in Luke 9:46-48)
I hear a lot of pleas to GO & DO, but not many sermons on BEING or BECOMING!
Becoming as mentioned in Phil. 3:12-15.
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made PERFECT, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But ONE THING I DO,: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Recently, I have been challenged by a friend of mine, Jason Dukes, who wrote a book called "Live Sent: You Are A Letter" to not just GO TO CHURCH, but BE THE CHURCH.
His book is available on Amazon.com:
Here are a few questions that have been going through my mind lately....Have we forgotten that "We are God's fellow workers, God's field, God's building?" (1 Corth. 3:9)
"Don't we know that we are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in us?" (1 Corth. 3:16)
I've been pondering these thoughts since 2005 when I heard T.W. Hunt teach on "Being". For some reason it seems much easier to obey a command to "do" something than it is to obey a command to "be" something. It seems to me that Christians have a tendency to ignore the commands to "be" something.
Am I BEING God's love letter sent to this world?
I guess to Be or not to Be.....is still a good question!
Monday, October 5, 2009
She is a delight, uniquely crafted by the"Master's Hand" and a blessing to our family! I have always said that Mollie is my child that truly takes time to smell the roses! She is exactly what this fast paced mama needed.
I remember her as a preschooler saying to me, "Why are we rushing?" and she still asks me, as she sees me rush around in a frenzy, "Are we late?". Oh, how I have needed her. Her questions have always pierced my heart as they remind me of how I need to slow down and enjoy life, not rush through it.
Tonight, she spoke at my mother's church. She has had the privilege of going to GA Grandmother/Granddaughter Camp with my mom for the last 3 years and tonight was their opportunity to speak about it. She walked up to the microphone and my normally cautious child who usually doesn't speak in front of crowds boldly gave her testimony.
She said, "My favorite part of Grandmother/Granddaughter camp was my quiet time with my Grandma because we GOT to hear the birds sing and watch the squirrels play!" My heart melted. That's my girl! So in touch with God's world. So in touch with what I believe the psalmist was trying to communicate when he said, "Be still and know that I am God!" (Ps. 46:10) To her having a "Quiet Time" means just that.........be quiet, get still, listen and see! Thank you Mollie for reminding me once again the importance of slowing down, getting quiet and connecting to the Creator of the Universe.
Last summer, my step-dad passed away and while we were not very close, I still experienced a variety of emotions. One day, I had become extremely anxious as I was processing some pretty overwhelming feelings. I went outside to try to quiet my mind. I took my Bible, but was so overwhelmed I could not concentrate enough to read. All of a sudden two squirrels ran in front of me and began to play. I remember breathing a sigh of relief as I realized that while my world seemed to have stopped, no one had informed the squirrels. They were still playing! Then I worshipped my Creator and then I could read His Word delighting in the fact that HE NEVER CHANGES! Hallelujah!
If you haven't read Psalm 46 in a while I highly recommend it, but most of all I recommend going outside and marveling at His creative hand!
Mollie's childlike wonder has reminded me to make sure my "Quiet Times" are not so full of
"my agenda" that I can no longer hear or see.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
I wrote this blog over a year ago, but this past Friday at my Book Club a lady brought this blog up as she was thinking about someone she loves dearly. She said, "I have to remember something that Cheri said, "In Heaven there are No Second Class Citizens". I replied, "True & we also need to think about the Lord's prayer & how He told us that we should pray: "Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done on EARTH as it is in HEAVEN." We need to treat each other that way NOW." I love how the Lord is constantly teaching.
I absolutely love the voice of the Lord. I love how He speaks so clearly. I love John 10 that talks about Jesus being the Shepherd and how His sheep know HIS VOICE
There are so MANY voices crying out for us to follow and we must stay close to the Good Shepherd, so we will know when an imposture is speaking.
Tonight, I had one of those moments when I heard the Lord speak clearly. Not an audible voice, but loud and clear enough to be audible.
I was thinking about two people, whom I love dearly, that have recently been mistreated by fellow Christians. I was thinking about how these fellow Christians were justifying their ill actions as I was talking to the Lord about the situation. I am so glad I can tell Him how mad and sad these situations make me and that He comforts me by telling me that they make Him mad & sad too.
Then I heard the Lord say, "In MY KINGDOM there are no second class citizens!" WOW! Thanks Lord! You are right. We are joint heirs with Jesus, we have received full citizenship! Hallelujah!
I shared with my husband what I heard the Lord say and how I was talking to the Lord about the two situations when I heard the Lord clearly speak. My husband's eyes filled with tears as God's message was so clear.
My husband's short version response:
"But many who are first will be last, and the last first." Mark 10:31
Oh Lord, Help us to treat each person you created with love and respect. This is my prayer in Jesus' name. Amen
Friday, September 4, 2009
Even my 16 year old son commented last week on how James and I sat under some of the best teaching while we were at seminary. He has heard us quote the teaching of people like Dr. Charles Harvey, Dr. Ferris Jordan, Dr. Landrum Leavell, Dr. Jeanine Bozeman, and Dr. Dukes many times throughout his life.
While he has never met some of them, he feels like he knows their character because of how we have quoted things we learned from their teaching as well as how they handled everyday situations.
Character is so important!
Recently, we have been influenced by someone by the name of Ed Stetzer. I went to a conference on how to reach young adults back in September and he was one of the speakers. I took many notes, but I did not have a personal conversation with him.
Through the Dukes tragedy, I started a twitter account as one more way to follow their journey. On twitter, I noticed that the Dukes were friends with Ed Stetzer, so I began following Ed on twitter. Ed challenges not only himself, but all of us to live a gospel-centered, repentance-filled life. I am going to post a recent sermon of his. He shares an outline as well as a video of him preaching.
In the video, he is speaking to a group of pastors; however, the week before he had preached this sermon to his whole congregation at church. It's a message we all need to hear and it is EXTREMELY challenging.
Ed has trained pastors and church planters on five continents and has planted churches in New York, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. He has been a seminary professor, author, and ministry consultant. Ed's primary role is President of LifeWay Research and LifeWay's Missiologist in Residence.
Here is Ed's twitter post. If you click on either link below, it will take you to his sermon.
edstetzer"If Satan cannot get us to compromise our beliefs, he is happy to settle for compromising our character," http://is.gd/1IfKx
Saturday, August 29, 2009
It was taken on June 25th around 8pm (Florida Time) the evening of Caroline Taylor's surgery.
I've shared the prayer request of baby Caroline with some of you, but some may not know. I have dear friends in New Orleans that have been blessed with their first Grandchild. She is absolutely beautiful!
Only God knew that little baby Caroline was to be born with spina bifida.
God's people have prayed for her. Jeremiah 29:11 has been the verse that has been claimed for her many times. She is precious and if you would like to follow her story, click on this link:
So, about the rainbow. I took the picture as we were driving back from a fishing hole on our ranch. I had been trying to keep myself in an attitude of prayer for little Caroline as I knew she was facing another surgery that evening. A rainstorm forced us away from the fishing hole and as we headed to the house.........this beautiful rainbow appeared.
It appeared as my mind went from praying to worrying. It was as if God said, "I know the plans I have for her, plans for good and not evil, plans to give her a future and a hope." Then he said, "Cheri, I keep my promises.....trust me, I can take care of Caroline." So, I took a picture to remind me of how personal God was to me in that special moment.
Well.......this week (August 27th) I felt as if I needed to share this rainbow picture with Caroline's grandmom, so I texted it to her. It wasn't too long after I sent the text that my phone rang and it was Caroline's Grandmom.
I had no idea that Grandmom Sheila had been thinking and praying for baby Caroline throughout the night and when she got up that morning, she saw my text. It was as if God was reminding her that He was in control and He was taking care of baby Caroline.
I had taken that picture over 2 months ago, but God had me send it to Caroline's Grandmom at the "exact" time she needed it.
We have such an AWESOME, PERSONAL, LOVING GOD! He knows just what we need, and when we need it.
He is with us!
Please keep praying for baby Caroline. It is my understanding that she is being dedicated to the Lord tomorrow. Grandmom will be there, along with many others.
Remember.........God is near!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
It meant so much to me to get the voice mails I received yesterday from friends that didn't know Retia, but prayed for her over the last 4 months. Thank you for leaving messages that you were praying for me and her family yesterday as we remembered Retia.
It was hard for me to look at the grandkids. These little ones that she loved so much. It still makes me sad and angry that they will not have Retia to share life with as they grow up. Times like these are hard to understand, so I won't even begin trying to explain them. I am clueless. It just doesn't make sense.
It doesn't make sense to my finite mind at all. In a world where so many families do not have an example of unconditional love, why would this family that is full of love and grace have such a significant person taken from them? That question continues to roll through my mind and I have to be honest, I struggle with it.
Yes, I know Romans 8:28. I know that God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. I know that God has been at work in this family and will continue to be at work. I know that, but he never said that all things are good. Losing Retia is not good. It is bad. It is sad. The promise is that God will take all of this bad and sad stuff and bring good out of it. Somehow, someway he knows how to weave a beautiful tapestry out of circumstances and emotions that can get me all tangled up.
We live in a fallen world. This world is not our permanent home. THANK YOU GOD! We will suffer. Even when it is not our fault. I am sad today. I am sad because this has been a long journey for this family, and the journey is not over.
Yes, Retia is no longer among them physically. There is finality in that; however, the journey of learning to live in this "new normal" has just begun. Please do not stop praying for this precious family as the Lord brings them to your mind. They need are prayers just as much now.
While I am sad today, I am thankful for a blessing the Lord gave me on this journey. God has blessed me through the CaringBridge website. God knew I needed to have a visual picture of how big His family is. There were so many people that gathered around this one family. It was good to reconnect with old friends and make new ones as I read the journals and the guestbook.
I couldn't help to think about how much bigger God's family really is. It is huge. I needed this reminder. I needed to be reminded that God has His children scattered all over the place. He knows where each of us are and one day there will be a "great gathering" of all the saints. MUCH bigger than CaringBridge.
Until that day may be about our Father's business. May we continue to love as we have been loved. May we walk where Jesus would walk and remember how He carried his cross up a hill in order to bridge the gap between us and God.
Let's not forget one another. Let's keep caring for one another and allowing Christ to bridge the gaps.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
He has always had a great sense of humor. Although he has tried to hide much of it since he has entered the teenage years, I can still see it seeping out. As his mother, I can still see the same grin that I first saw when he was a baby in my arms.
He has brought us so much joy.
Tenderhearted, is how I would describe him. He describes himself as a "gentle giant". He truly is. I pray he will always continue to be tenderhearted & have a gentle spirit.
He accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior the summer prior to 2nd grade. I will never forget.
About 2 weeks prior to him accepting Christ, he became extremely aware of his sinfulness. We would catch him on his knees praying. Sometimes during supper, he would close his eyes and pray. We would inquire. He would say I am asking for forgiveness. I just sinned.
We would say, "when?" He said, "I had a bad thought."
For 2 weeks he lived in turmoil over his sinful condition.
We would share the gospel.
He would agree, but the agony of his sinfulness would continue.
I asked a few others to pray.
One evening he asked me if I had seen the insert in the bulletin at church on Sunday? We were about to have a revival and the insert inside was announcing the revival and it also had the A, B, C's of becoming a Christian printed on it.
I told him I had seen it. He said, "Did you know about the A,B,C's? I said, "yes". He said, "Why haven't you ever told me?" My heart sank, I thought we had explained the gospel so well, and honestly thought the A,B,C's were one of the ways we had explained it, but then I knew that the light bulb would not come on until the Holy Spirit opened his eyes.
I will never forget what he said as he pounded his little fist into his hand. He said you mean you know that you must, A-admit you are a sinner, B-believe that Jesus died for your sins, C-confess that Jesus is your Lord and commit to follow him? I said, "Yes, I know that!"
He proceeded to tell me that he had taken that paper and showed a few people at church on Sunday and asked them if they knew about the A,B, C's and if they had done what it says to do. He said, they all said yes they knew about the A,B,C's and they had done that so I asked them, "Why haven't you ever told me?"
I was stunned.
I asked him if he had done that? He said, "no". Although I was saved at an even younger age, I was trembling inside not wanting to put words in his mouth. So, my awkward answer was, "Well, one day you may want to do that!" Then I said, "If you do, would you talk to me and dad about it?" He agreed he would. (dumb me, he was talking to me)
So, the next thing I know he was sitting at the kitchen table with his head bowed and his hands folded. I waited a moment and then he looked up at me and said, "There I did it!" I said, "Did what?" He said, "I became a Christian!"
Then in his little "preacher boy" way with his fist pounding in his hand, he once again explained the A,B, C's to me. I still think he was not convinced I understood it. I think in my fear of trying to make sure I wasn't putting words in his mouth, I made it so much more complicated than his simple mind understood. He was FREE! He had a new bounce in his step. He no longer carried the burden of his sinfulness. In his childlike way, he understood that Jesus forgave him.
WOW! I wouldn't change that day for anything. It is forever etched in my mind. I've journaled about it before and gave it to him on the day of his baptism, but today as we approach his 16 year old, physical birthday, I am reminiscing about his spiritual milestones as well. This was his beginning point of his personal journey of faith with Jesus. I praise God that he has continued to grow in his faith.
It has been a joy to be the mama of this "gentle giant".
And those words he so innocently spoke still echo in my ears, "Why Haven't You Ever Told Me?"
I have to wonder how many others do I come in contact with on a daily basis that are looking for the simple answers; however, I want to make the gospel more complicated than it is?
It is my prayer that "as I go" in my daily life, that I will be ready at all times to give an answer for the hope that is in me. May I trust the Holy Spirit to do the work in the hearts I come in contact with. May I decrease and let Christ increase and as I abide in Him, may I remember the gospel is as simple as A,B, C.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
What I found was that God could handle my struggle, questions, and doubt, but He sure hated seeing me doubt what He had already taken care of so completely.
Let me just say that there has to be a beginning point. and as simple as my beginning point was.......there was a beginning point when my faith journey with Jesus began. I was 5 years old and while it was very simple, it was a personal beginning.
It cannot be your parent's faith, it is "personal".
PLEASE do not compare your salvation experience to another person's experience.
Remember God knows you better than anyone and He knows how to speak to each of us.
Let me just say for those who have a date and time when they were saved. I am happy you do, but for those of us who don't, we are not any less saved.
Through the years, I have heard people say, "Unless you know the exact time and date of when you began your relationship with Christ than you are not saved" I have wondered if they are putting more faith and trust in that time and date than they are in taking Jesus at His Word. Just a thought.
Simply put........it's FAITH. Faith in the finished work of Jesus. Not faith plus a time & date, faith plus a specific prayer, faith plus walking the aisle, faith plus following specific steps, roads or acrostics.
JUST FAITH in Jesus. Faith that He paid it all. It's not so complicated. It begins in an instant; however, we will spend a lifetime growing in that faith.
I will be writing some thoughts in the future about growth and about why I think so many people doubt their salvation, but I will end with a personal story.
When I was about 25 years old, I was going through a really difficult time. It involved a person that was constantly doing things to hurt me and my husband. I wanted to forgive this person, but I was struggling with how to forgive, when I knew I had forgiven, etc. The enemy was constantly waging war with my mind.
I called a professor of mine, Dr. Charles Harvey, and asked him, "How do you know you have forgiven someone?"
He said, "Cheri, when you can honestly get on your knees and release that person." When you can say to God, " that you are leaving the vengeance up to Him ". "When you are no longer seeking revenge."
I said, "But it still hurts." He said, "Oh yes, it will still hurt, but that doesn't mean you haven't forgiven."
Then I said, "I feel so rotten inside, I have even been doubting my salvation and now I am worried that I am not saved."What he said was so simple, but it STUCK!
He said, "Cheri, just the fact that you are "worried" about your salvation says you are saved." He said, "Honestly, I've never met a lost person that worried if they were saved. He said, "just that fact that you are worried about it says you believe."
Now that was simple, yet profound.
I am writing this to anyone that may be struggling. Don't let the enemy hang you up.
Just remember that when God convicts it is for the purpose of setting us free, and restoring us. He is about freedom, but when satan speaks it is about condemnation, our performance, shame and BONDAGE!
Stay close to Jesus and His Word and no longer allow yourself to be a slave. Saturate your mind with His Word and then you will be able to distinguish between the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the fiery darts of condemnation from the enemy.
If you began your journey with Jesus, He is with you always. You can tell him everything you are struggling with. He already knows, but telling Him will give you relief and allow you to feel His comfort.
Love You All,
"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who BEGAN a good work in you will carry it on to completion until he day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:3-6
Friday, August 7, 2009
As a child, I "caught" plenty.
I've been thinking about some of those things.
How did I know the Bible was a special book???? My first remembrance was going to a Ladies Home Bible Study with my mother. It had to be prior to me starting Kindergarten, because it was during the day, while my brother was at school.
I remember the elderly lady who led the study. Her name was Mrs. Jones. I remember how she held the Bible. She held it as if it was her most precious possession. She licked her fingers before she carefully turned each page.
I even remember going home and practicing turning the pages of my own Bible, just like I had seen her do. (even licked my fingers!)
I didn't know how to "study" the Bible, but what I "caught" from Mrs. Jones and all the ladies who listened so attentively was that this was a special book. It was God's Word. It was true and it must be very important because week after week these ladies would gather to read from it.
So what cherished memories do you have? What have you "caught"?
Would you be willing to share some of those memories?
If so, please post a comment. I would love to hear.................
Thursday, August 6, 2009
You see I became a Christian at a very young age, I wasn't quite 5. There were a lot of things I didn't know, but there were some things I knew.
I knew I was a sinner.
I knew Jesus died for my sins.
I knew He didn't stay dead, but rose again and lived in Heaven.
And I knew that one day, John 3:16 became very personal to me.
I remember approaching my mom and telling her that Jesus was speaking to my heart and that He wanted to live inside it. I remember telling her that I knew I was a sinner and that Jesus died for my sins. I remember her taking the Bible as we knelt beside our couch in the living room. I remember her putting my name in John 3:16 as she read, "For God so loved, Cheri....... and I remember that He became my Lord and Savior on that day.
I remember how the burden of my sin was gone. I remember that freedom!
Those are the things I knew, those are the things I remember. That is before I knew.........
someone had written a prayer called "The Sinners Prayer".
someone had written several plans of how to become a Christian that included steps, roads, and different acrostics that had specific meanings.
someone had written a "program" called evangelism and another "program" called discipleship.
before I had been taught different approaches to studying the Bible, I KNEW it was a special book and that it was the TRUTH.
Even before I knew much of what Lordship meant, He was my Lord. (and I am still learning more about what it means)
Before I was "officially" trained to witness, I was telling people about Jesus.
And Yes, even before I knew there was an "aisle to walk", I had walked right up to Jesus and asked Him to enter in my heart and be the boss of my life.
That was before I heard some well meaning pastors say, "Unless you know the specific time and date you asked Jesus into your heart than you are not a Christian." Oh dear, I wouldn't know that about my physical birth unless someone documented it, but I certainly know I was born. And YES..........I know I was "born again."
I am not mocking knowledge. I am not saying we shouldn't be trained, and make plans; however, before I knew so much, I KNEW, and what I knew was simple. Simple, but strong and sure.
I think that is probably why Jesus loved being around the little children and why he had something to say to the disciples when they asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:1-4
I am learning that faith isn't so much about knowledge & understanding as much as it was about TRUST.
Trusting in HIM. I want to dwell in knowing and remembering the simple things. Knowing He is trustworthy. Knowing I am weak, but He is strong. Knowing that He paid my sin debt in full.
Oh God help me to renew my childlike faith and trust that one day I will know fully, as I am fully known. (1 Corinthians 13)
Teach me how to remain childlike, without becoming childish. Help me to grow in my knowledge of you, without thinking I have outgrown my need for you.
Jesus Loves ME, this I KNOW.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Truth be known, the older I get the more I hate change. I used to thrive on change almost to the point of becoming chaotic; however, lately I find myself struggling with trying to keep things the same, familiar and predictable.
Some of you have walked the last four months with me as we have prayed for some friends of ours that were struck by an SUV while crossing a street. The husband has recovered pretty well, but the wife suffered a severe brain injury and has been on a roller coaster ride towards recovery.
There have been a lot of changes along this ride. Ups and downs, turns, curves and corners, and a few days ago she began going downward. Downward and downward.
Every now and then I would text her husband with two words........."any change?" and he would reply, "no change."
Then I received an email last night that said she went home to be with Jesus around 4:20 pm. Change. Not the change we had hoped and prayed for, but change. For her, the change is good. She is whole. She is in the presence of her Savior. For us, the change is.....................unknown. It will be different for everyone that loved and knew her .
As I have been processing all of this I have thought about several things I would not change. I would not change one thing about Retia. She had a way of saying your name that said she totally respected you and loved you just as you are. She had a way of saying her husband's name that made us all laugh. She said Jimmy Dukes as if it was all one word, "JimmyDukes".
I wouldn't change a thing about her, but I am forever changed because of her.
I thank God for the life of Retia Dukes. She deposited the love of Christ into every soul she connected to and she didn't even keep the change. She just kept giving and giving and because of that she never ran out of love to deposit.
May we continue to love others as we have been loved.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Fix our eyes NOT on what is seen, but what is unseen. for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18
O.K., that sounds good, but how do we do that? How do we fix our eyes on things we cannot see? How do we see the unseen?
Turn on the news lately? There is plenty to see. Plenty to get discouraged about, plenty to fix our eyes on; however, the scripture tells us not to FIX our eyes on those things. I am not saying to stick our heads in the sand and refuse to stay current on the happenings around the world, but the temporary cannot become our focus.
Our focus is to be on the unseen, the eternal.
I am not saying this is easy. There is a price and many times the price we have to pay is the willingness to face our fears. Fear of the unknown, fear of failing, fear of rejection, fear of being hurt, fear of not being in control, fear of being misunderstood, unpopular and considered a fanatic, etc. etc. Fear comes in many forms and fear can become paralyzing. Yesterday I was reminded of the power of fear as I watched my daughter stand at the edge of the ocean.
When did this happen? When did my 9 year old daughter become so aware of sharks and stingrays that she no longer enjoys the ocean as she once did.? As she stood pretty much frozen in fear we talked about how she used to love to go in the ocean and jump over the waves. This is something she did with her daddy, but yesterday her daddy was gone fishing with her brother, so it was just her and I standing there looking out into the ocean.
She told me about some show she had watched on T.V. about sharks and stingrays. My heart sank. I know we need to be aware of potential danger but how much information is too much? The fear I saw her frozen in made me sad and mad. The sounds of her belly laughing with her daddy just a short time ago swam through my head. The memory of watching them play in the water now seemed so out of reach. I stood there wishing I could push rewind and play that scene over and over, but there is no remote control or TiVo in "real" life.
Her focus used to be on her daddy and enjoying him. Enjoying being in his arms and facing each challenging wave, but now........her focus was on the scary things that she had seen on T.V. The things she believed were just lurking in the water waiting to hurt her. For her.... the "unseen" was too scary to jump in the ocean. However, it was what she SAW on T.V. that even made her aware of the possiblities under the water.
We talked about her fears and today the plan is to face the ocean with her daddy. She wouldn't let me take her in the ocean (and I am o.k. with that), but she is willing to face her fears with her daddy.
So.........here we are! Where are you? Will you face your fears today? What waves do you face? What do you believe is just below the surface ready to swallow you up? Will your focus be on your Heavenly Father who holds you in His arms? Will you let him carry you as you face each wave and let Him show you the things that can only be seen through His eyes?
Oh God, give us eyes to see beyond our fears. May we all rest in your arms and see the world through your eyes. Give us insight into what is eternal. Help us to trust you for wisdom. Oh Father, when we do find ourselves frozen in fear, help us to face it and to enjoy being with you.........and if it has been a while since we have "belly" laughed, give us that gift again. This is my prayer in Jesus' name.
Friday, July 31, 2009
However, the idea would not go away and so HERE I AM! Blindly finding my way through the blogging world. If you know me well you know I LOVE TO COMMUNICATE! In fact....words have always come pretty easy to me...and "yes" at times too easy. My biblical profile is "Peter" and as John McArthur says, "Peter is the disciple with the foot-shaped mouth."
It is my prayer that this blog will be a blessing and that the words posted will bring glory and honor to the Lord Jesus Christ. I can't make any promises that I won't have "foot- in -the- mouth moments", but if I remember to take every thought captive, my feet will stay on the ground and out of my mouth.
I chose to call my blog Cherishing the Treasure because that is where I want to live. I want to live Cherishing the Treasure that lives inside of me so that I will daily spill out the love of Christ. The fact that my name is found in the word "Cherishing" is a bonus!
So, here I am...........hoping that we can Cherish Him together and along the way post some of our moments with Him as well as moments we have with one another.
"Love one another as I have loved you." John 15:12