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Restoring the Flow

Today our post was written by my dear friend from Nevrdun News.

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It could not be put off any longer. The bathroom sink was draining slower and slower. If I didn’t do something about it soon it wouldn’t be draining at all. Last night I cleaned out the ooey, gooey, slimy, grimy, smelly glob that was the root of the problem. Ugh. It was disgusting.

While removing that stomach flipping glob of goop I was reminded of how similar it is to sin in my life. I just kinda let things build up, little by little, not really paying that much attention, until I end up with a big grimy slimy glob emitting horrendous odors restricting the flow of the Living Water.

Please forgive me, Lord.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!”
– Psalm 139:23-24

Lord, please cast Your light of truth into my heart’s darkness and reveal to me any sin I need to confess. Please give me a heart of repentance to see myself as You do and then give me the grace to respond to Your merciful call to change. Please use Your Word to correct any wrong thinking I may have. Please control all the destructive power within me. Please do Your cleansing work in me, wash me with the water of Your Word, and make me a channel of blessing to someone today.

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Little Isabel’s Christmas Joy – Part 6

 

“He’s here, He’s here. Everybody come and see” Isabel called from the foot of the stairs, “He’s finally here!”

“Who’s here?” Papa said as he rubbed his chin and smoothed his hair which was sticking out in every direction.

“You mean he was here, don’t ya’ Sis?” Eugene said as he slid down the banister and bumped into Mama who ran from the kitchen to see the commotion.

“No! He’s here in the parlor. He’s here – just as He said!”

“Isabel dear,” Mama said softly, what do you mean?”

Isabel took Mama’s hand and ran directly to the stable. She cried out in delight as she looked in to the eyes of the Baby Jesus lying in the manger. “All those years, we waited and waited and He Came!”

“Oh, Isabel dear, Jesus came almost 2000 years ago. We celebrate Christmas because He came. The carved baby in the manger is just a reminder that He came. You know that this is kind of a picture that represents Him.  Something we can hold onto as we read God’s Word but it’s just an object. We mustn’t make an idol. You know this doll isn’t Jesus.”

“Yes Mama, I know that. But He came, didn’t He?” Isabel said as her eyes filled with tears. He came because He loved us, right? That’s what Eugene and Curtis said from the Bible.”

“Yes child.” Mama said softly.

“Jesus loves me Mama and I love Jesus.”

Papa moved in closer, picked her up and held her tightly as she held Baby Jesus in her hand.

“You’re right, Isabel.” Papa said and wiped a tear from her cheek. “We love Him because He first loved us and you know what?”

Isabel shook her head from side to side.

“He’s coming again!”

“He is?” Isabel pushed back to see Papa and Mama’s faces. “Will he be in a stable?”

“No, but He will be riding on a white horse and will come as The King of King and Lord of Lords!”

“We will see Him?”

“Yes Isabel,” Mama said as she wiped the tears from Isabel’s eyes. “We talk to Him every time we pray and He speaks to us through His Word, The Bible! It is my prayer that someday you, your brothers and sisters will receive Christ as your Savior. We will live with Him forever.”

Isabel looked at the image in her hand, at her parents and to the image again. Finally closing her eyes and said, “Jesus I love you because You first loved me. Thank you for coming! Thank you for Christmas!

“Mama,” she whispered, before we look in our socks and open presents, may we sing?”

“That would be wonderful, Isabel. What shall we sing?”

“Joy to the world the Lord has come!”

~*~

What about you, friends? Is your focus on The Son of God, Jesus who gave His life for you or are you focusing on the external trappings that often draw our attention away from Him?

Christmas isn’t about the tree, the decorations, the  Carols, or even the gifts.

It is about God’s love for you.

We love Him because He first loved us.”

I John 4:19

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

For God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. 

He who believeth in Him is not condemned: but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

John 3:16-18

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

John 3:36

Why did God send His only begotten son – knowing that He would be the sacrifice for our sin? Because He loves us.

God is Holy and cannot look upon sin and yet He loved us – even though we are sinners – and longs for us to be redeemed from the penalty of sin. This is what Jesus did for you and for me. He took the penalty of sin in His own body on the cross. He gave His life so that you and I will spend eternity in Heaven with Him.

When I first heard the Gospel in 1968, I did not immediately receive Christ as my Savior. I was a quiet child and everyone told me that I was “good.” This is not true. I am a sinner. It took me a week to realize it.

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God:

Being justified (made upright and in right standing with God) freely by His grace (unmerited favor of God) through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

Romans 3:23-24

One night, after a week of conviction that I am a sinner; I could practically see Jesus suffering, dying on the cross for my sin! In the wee hours of the morning, I got on my knees and confessed to Him that I am a sinner and asked Him to save me. Trusting completely in His redemption; He saved me. He Redeemed me. (Bought with a price – the precious shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.) Oh, what a gift He offered to me and to you!

“For the wages of sin is death; (separation from God) but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Romans 6:23

So dear friends, this Christmas please look past the manger and see the Gift of God – to you! Receive it just as you would receive a gift from a loving father. It is a gift that you cannot lose and it cannot be taken away. It is yours forever! 

Have a blessed Christmas!

Kathy

Tuesday Tunes ~ Count Your Blessings

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Are you a list maker? I used to be. Now I dictate my lists on my cellphone.

We make lists of many things. Groceries, What to pack for vacation, Errands to run,

Chores, Christmas gift and card list, (one of my favorites!) Bible Verses to memorize, Ideas for stories to write, Ways to introduce Bible lessons in a memorable way… the list of lists could go on forever! Have you ever listed or counted your blessings?

“I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

Psalms 34:1

Several years ago, I had major surgery and was in a lot of pain when they wheeled me back to my room. John was there with Mom and Dad. I remember Mom saying, “That’s not my Kathy, she’s not smiling; my Kathy always smiles. And then John leaned over the side rail and said, “Sing Count Your Blessings!” It wasn’t easy but I softly sang. This surgery had meant that there would never be a miracle baby for us. But I knew God had a plan and I trusted Him. Of course, John and my family were among the first blessings on my mental list, and of course, knowing that the Lord is always with me is always at the top.

Timberlake Baptist Church and our brothers and sisters in Christ were huge blessings to both of us. The following day I had some visitors. There were flowers and cards from our Fourth Grade Sunday School Class. One precious little girl drew a picture and message so sweet – it is now among my treasures. My doctor was blessed by that little treasure too. Every child I have ever taught and cared for are all on my list of blessings. Too many to count! When I count those special blessings, I pray for each one as the Lord brings them to mind.

What about you? Are you having a dark storm in your life? Go to the One who created you. The One who gave His life for you and arose that you may have eternal life. He came that you might have life more abundantly. So dear friend, as you go before the Throne of grace in prayer, remember to count your blessings. In doing so, you are acknowledging His hand in your life and it is a way to delight in Him. You may be surprised to see what the Lord has done for you!

Click on the link below and sing along with me as I sing along with George Beverly Shea.  Don’t forget to Count your Blessings!

Count Your Blessings

(Johnson Oatman, Jr.       ~      Edwin O. Excell)

“When upon lifes billows you are tempest-tossed,

when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost.

Count your many blessings – name them one by one,

And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Count your blessings- name them one by one;

Count your blessings see what God hath done;

Count your blessings – name them one by one;

Count your many blessings – see what God hath done.”

Count Your Blessings

Neverdun News – Taste and See

My friend sent this wonderful story in her newsletter today and has given me permission to share it with you. If you love birds like we do, I know you will enjoy it!

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One day recently there was an extra amount of chatter outside the window, the sound heard when a nest of baby birds are pushing and shoving and jockeying in position to be the one to receive the fresh food being flown in. But this time the cacophony was not coming from the nest snuggled in the cozy corner of the porch. It was coming from the ground beneath the feeder.

Glancing outside I saw some young birds calling for food. They were making all kinds of racket, trying to get someone to feed them . . .

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They were surrounded by sunflower seeds. All they had to do was reach down and pick them up. But they kept calling and calling and calling and calling.

Finally the mature bird picked up a seed and put it in the mouth of one of the young birds.

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Suddenly it became very, very quiet as they all began feasting on the food that had been right there, surrounding them the entire time.

The Word of God is right there at your fingertips. Open His Word and open your heart and feast! For in His presence there is fullness of joy. And contentment. And satisfaction. And truth.

 

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” Psalm 34:8

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Story and photos used with permission.

Bringing in the Sheaves

“They that sow in tears shallreap in joy.

He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”

Psalms 126:5-6

As a child, I often sang the song, Bringing in the Sheaves without really understanding what it truly meant.

http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/b/r/bringing.htm

According to Wikipedia,
The lyrics were written in 1874 by Knowles Shaw, who was inspired by Psalm 126:6, “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” Shaw also wrote music for these words, but they are now usually set to a tune by George Minor, written in 1880.

Wow, I didn’t know the song has been around so long. I have heard stories of children who misunderstood and thought they were singing about bringing in sheets – as in bringing in the laundry. My Mom was one of them. I smile as I imagine Mom as a child, belting out the words, “bringing in the sheets!” According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, ashe Full Definition of sheaf
plural sheaves play \ˈshēvz\
1
: a quantity of the stalks and ears of a cereal grass or sometimes other plant material bound together
2
: something resembling a sheaf of grain <a sheaf of papers>
3
: a large amount or number

However, there is much more meaning in this song and in the Bible verse from which it is taken. (Psalms 126:6)

Several years ago, the Lord showed me the power in these verses in a way I had not seen before.

[In the Amplified Version, verse 5: “They who sow in tears shall reap in joy and singing.” I like that. When the Lord blesses, I sing. When I fail – I go to His Word and then sing.] Verse 5 defines verse 6 in a nutshell. So I shall concentrate on verse 6.

  1. He that goeth forth – requires action.
  2. and Weepeth – weeping. To feel such a burden to pray for someone that it brings tears. From the heart. It is deep and personal. Not selfish tears but caring so much that it breaks our heart. When I realized this, I knew it was from the Lord. There was someone who needed the Savior and I didn’t have any way to contact that person. So I prayed and as I prayed, a river of tears came and a burden that was so strong, I prayed several times a day for that one the Lord loved even more than I.  It also requires Humility
  3. bearing precious seed – I love the word “precious” used here. The implication that this is good seed.                                                            [“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” 2 Corinthians 9:6]                                                    [“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season, we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:7-9]                                                    In these verses, I have learned to be a good steward.  As we pray, it must not be selfish.                                                                                    Praying as the Spirit leads for others. That His will may be done. That He will soften a hard heart. That others will repent and will receive Christ as their Savior.                                                                                Sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as we are prompted by the Holy Spirit.                                                                                                  Teaching the Word of God Faithfully; “rightly dividing the Word of God.” (2 Timothy 2:15)                                                                                                       In other words, live in a way that pleases Him. “the just shall live by faith. Sowing good seed. In my minds eye, I saw the person for whom I was praying to be saved. Before this was answered, I asked the Lord to show me any root of bitterness in my heart and asked His forgiveness and then when I brought that loved one to the foot of the cross, on my knees, in tears. Only then did He answer in abundance!
  4. shall doubtless come again – Returning – Harvest Time
  5. Rejoicing – abundance of joy.
  6. Bringing his sheaves with him – Reward – Answered Prayer – Souls led to Christ.

The person I was praying for was “my Daddy.” I had my Daddy at the top of my prayer list for many years. (About 30 years!) At first, as a child and new believer, I prayed that my Daddy would come to know Christ as his savior so that some day, I could meet him in Heaven. Around 1998, the burden to pray for my Daddy was so strong, it seemed as a weight. I had to pray. I prayed for his salvation but that wasn’t enough. He placed on my heart the need to find my Daddy and to share the Love of Christ with him. That seemed to be an impossible mission. You see, Mom had told me about my Dad. He was a sergent in the U.S. Marine Corps. I had a birth certificate but his real name was not listed.

The Lord led me to pray for my Mom – that The Holy Spirit would convict her and that He would soften her heart to repentance. (John was praying with me.) A few days later, the doorbell rang and I opened the door, Mom was standing there with a piece of paper. “I think this is what you need to find your Daddy,” she said as she handed me my grandmother’s obituary. My Aunt still lived in her mother’s house. I looked up her phone number on line and asked if she could give me her brother’s address. She did!

We had Pastor Brodie and the Sunday School class praying as I made a phone call the following night. The first try, I got the answering machine. It was amazing just to hear my father’s voice. It was the realization that my Daddy was not a ficticious character residing in the portal of my mind and heart but is real and needed the Lord.

John and I prayed and with a shaky hand, I dialed the number and he answered. After explaining who I was, he said the most wonderful words I had longed to hear. “I remember you!” He told me that the last time he saw me, I was three but looked like I was two. He even remembered every detail – down to the blue glasses and the color of my outfit. He had always wondered about me but thought Mom must not have told him about me.

He and his wife came for a wonderful visit. I think seeing out loved ones in Heaven will feel something like being held in my Daddy’s arms for the first time.  We visited them after Christmas that year. You cannot imagine the overwhelming joy as we shared the Gospel with them and they both received Christ as their Savior.  It was then I understood about bringing in the Sheaves – Psalms 126:6-9.

I was reminded of this tonight. I was playing the piano and noticed verse three of Bringing in the Sheaves.

“Going forth with weeping, sowing for the Master, tho the loss sustained our spirit often grieves; When our weeping’s over He will bid us welcome – we shall come rejoicing, bring in the sheaves.”

This is my testimony of how the Lord turned weeping into rejoicing as we sowed in tears and reaped the abundant harvest with joy.

Blessings to you as you sow seeds for Him.

Kathy

 

 

The Light of Christmas

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“Jesus answered and said unto them saying, I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life.”

John 8:12

Last night, I put up the Christmas tree but haven’t added the decorations yet. I love to see the lights shining brightly, reminding me that He is the light of the world. It also reminds me to allow His light to shine through me.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Matthew 5:16

Tonight I will decorate the tree but I am anxious to have Christmas lights on our porch as well in order to share the Light of the World with our neighbors. What an opportunity to share the Gospel!  I am so thankful He came as a babe in the manger knowing He would become the sacrificial lamb of God that we may be saved. This lamb, however did not stay dead. He arose from the dead; conquering death. We may have everlasting life in Heaven because He lives.

What did John the Baptist say when he saw Jesus coming?

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

John 1:29

Perhaps I should find a lamb decoration to put on the tree! I must get busy decorating the Christmas tree so enjoy the lights and remember who they represent.

Blessings!

Kathy