Friday, February 21, 2014

The Truth Shall Set You Free?

"For you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free" John 8:32 
In his book 'How do you kill 11 Million People?' Andy Andrews says, "If it is correct that 'you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free,' then is it possible that if you don't know the truth, its absence can place you in bondage?"

In teaching our College and Career Sunday School class, we have been encouraging them to memorize scripture. Why? When you tuck the word of God in your heart, He is there. Sometimes verses will bubble up and you wonder where that came from. Young people don't understand that the older you get, the harder it is to 'remember'. But, if you have them already in you, the easier it is to recall them! 

In the scriptures, God reveals Himself to us, His character, His promises which stimulate our faith and trust. He comforts us, as well as commands us and demands our obedience.

History tells us of faithful saints that had the scriptures in their hearts and what was accomplished throughout their lives.  For instance, Fanny Crosby who was blind, began to memorize the scriptures when she was a child. By the time she was ten years old, she had memorized the first four books of the old Testament, as well as the four Gospels! This may be one reason she was able to write eight thousand beautiful hymns during her lifetime.

Corrie ten Boon noted that while imprisoned in the concentration camp, during World War II, they took away her Bible, but could not take away the scriptures stored in her heart. She said those scriptures gave her hope and endurance.

Several years ago, I remember attending a conference in Chattanooga, TN and met a lady from Dallas, TX. She felt God had laid it on her heart to memorize Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible. She had ridden from Dallas to Chattanooga with a friend, who said the whole way she heard Psalm 119! If her friend messed up, she started all over from the beginning! During the conference, this lady was asked to come up front and on the stage and quote what she could. Through the nerves and embarrassment, she recited Psalms 119:1-176 (the entire chapter!) without missing a word. She had tucked that chapter in her heart and her friend laughed and said that she too had learned most of it as well! 

The Apostle Paul wrote "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

We learn how to live, be more Christ-like, find encouragement, and are challenged when we are in His Word. Bible quizzes are good for children to learn the scripture, but it is not a game when it comes to His Word. The Bible is given to us to instruct, correct and grow us. It is so we can become the people of God, so that His love and goodness can freely flow through us. 

If you feel it is IMPOSSIBLE to memorize the scripture, then just take the time to read His Word. Soak it up in your heart, let it speak to you. Prior to reading it, pray...asking Him to help you understand. The more you spend time with Him and His Word, the more you will grow in understanding. He wants to transform us to be more like Him. 

We serve a mighty God Who does not want us in bondage to anything here on earth. He wants to set us free! It is in Him and spending time with Him, that we will know the truth! 

Begin today a new walk with Him, in His word, whether by memory or reading. Be encouraged and know He is the Way. 

Share with us, let us know what is your favorite scripture? Let us all be in this together! 


Friday, February 14, 2014

Contagious Love

We all have heard the old saying,

And yes, it is so true! Love is contagious!   Several years ago, I attended a ladies' book study where we put it to test. The ladies were instructed to get something for their spouse, boyfriend, best friend or parent. It did not need to be anything expensive, it could even be something simple or cookies. But the idea was to 'wrap' it like a gift, make it special. It was to be a surprise, for no reason, except that it was a gift of love. We were to do this for two or three weeks, see what happened and report back to class. It was amazing! Husbands were bringing home flowers, boyfriends were asking them on extra dates, parents were taking the family or grandchildren on special trips, the 'overflow' of love seemed to be endless! I remember one young lady stood up and shared her new engagement ring! 

I remember another time, we had taken our children to Washington DC and were on the elevator, going to the top of the Washington Monument. It was my husband's birthday. On the crowded elevator, rising to the top, the children and I started singing (loudly) 'Happy Birthday' to him. Folks smiled and laughed and joined right in! It was contagious! The rest of the day, as people recognized us, they would wish him a happy birthday! 

Humans are made to love, because He first loved us. We were created in His image, is that not love? We love sure, but I think deep down inside, we all want to be loved even more. 

Have you seen the television commercial where the young boy helps an elderly lady carry her bags of groceries across the street and then the elderly lady aids a young lady at the parking meter by giving her a quarter, the kindness just keeps going on and on? That is the way the love of Christ should be in our lives. We should give it away, so that it multiplies and multiplies and takes over the world!

Homes would not be in so much anguish today if love was given away. I am starting at the beginning with the parents and the torment that can be stirred up in homes, the divorce rate, on to the finances and single parent homes. It is hard on everyone involved. Then, let's move to the children and the lack of respect they have for parents and supervision. There is no love shown in those families. It is heartbreaking to see families torn, when if there was just one word of kindness, it could be the band aid that might start the healing of the wounds. 

There are so many scriptures that speak of His love for us, but one of the most quoted (and seen on the signs at ballgames!) is John 3:16 "For God so LOVED the world He GAVE His only begotten Son." He 'gave' because He 'loved'. Can we not give because we love? We have heard of 'Paying if forward' where people 'pay' for the vehicle in line behind them at fast food places. Let us try to go bigger, let us try to be kinder, be respectful, show the love. It is easier to 'pay' money than it is to actually 'give' self. Let us begin this week and give of ourselves, let us wrap up a special time or gift for someone we love, show them you care. 

Ending today with verses of a song.. 

We put smiles over frowns
And we laugh without reason
Live out loud
Cause our hearts still beating
Sing on the elevator
Watch how people stare
Capture reaction the moment’s still there

These are the times
That we live for
So do it big make it count
Reel it in slow
Cause the clock don’t stop
Time won’t stand still
You steal every moment that you can feel

Ha ha so we spread that love
Now everybody show it now
Do it all together now [2x]
(And it'll all work out)

Spread that love everyone and have a wonderful weekend with those you love! 


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Are you tired of the winter? Here is the answer!

It seems every time you turn on the television, the top of the news is the weather. I live in the south and yes, I know everything came to a standstill when we received two inches! Our church recognized those folks that were stranded away from home during those couple of days! And yes, we did have heroes that housed and fed strangers!

Then, I listen to the weather for the central states, since we have a son in IN and another son in KY. They have been hammered with snow this winter! Our friends with Samaritan's Purse have been trying to help rebuild in Long Island and OK after Hurricane Sandy and the tornado in Moore. One friend posted a picture of a snowman wearing a orange Samaritan's Purse shirt! 

What are we to do? Seasons come and seasons go, but man endureth the storms. Some are easy to bear; while others kick us when we’re already down. For every moment in between this swinging pendulum of life, there is one steadfast: God. His faithfulness never changes, nor does the truth found in His Word (Psalm 100:5). 

Have you ever thought that during the physical, winter storm it may be a time to look at your life? See if you are 'winterized' with the Word of God? We speak of being 'hot' and being 'cold', but what about our souls? His Word tells us "So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth." Rev 3:16

These winter months are a great time to snuggle up with a good book and stay inside. What better time to snuggle up with God our Father and read His book? Let Him keep your soul winterized, preparing for the storms that will come into your life. 

If you wonder where to start, the beginning or the end? Either is great, but you can start in the middle at John as well. What about the prophets, they are good too! Love of Solomon. War, murder, deceit...David's stories! Wit and wisdom...Proverbs! 

So much adventure is to be had! Got to go read, winter will be over soon!!