Friday, May 19, 2017

DISCIPLINE IS PAINFUL ON BOTH ENDS


    A young friend posted pictures of the young ones of her family. I had to compliment and compliment and compliment again (I think that comes from some poem?). As I looked and commented, a fact came to mind that I decided to share. I spoke of how delightful each of these three children, five and under are, how attractive, and how not only were the parents teaching them, but also that the children were teaching the parents. To be sure the recipient didn’t think it was a mistake on my part, I repeated by stating, “Yes, I said they are teaching you. You thought it was the other way around, didn’t you?”  Let’s see how I meant that.
    A scripture that I have grown to appreciate so much is Hebrews 12:11 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
"We don’t enjoy discipline when we get it. It is painful. But later, after we have learned our lesson from it, we will enjoy the peace that comes from doing what is right."
    As parents we discipline our children for some infringement, and then almost before we turn around, guess what? Oh, you know, don’t you? Tell me, did you pray for patience? No? Well, neither do I recommend that you do so, unless you feel up to facing a whole lot stronger temptation than most humans seem to, because for sure you will have opportunity to gain patience whether or not you request it. Just look back over your shoulder at the earlier mentioned little incident . . .uh-h-h…no, make that two incidents, with the third in the making as we speak. Did we mention parents thought they were the ones doing the teaching (and they are) but every single time, they, too, are being taught.
    Okay, so here is the perfect scenario: mom/dad, patience is required to handle each little persistent person. (Do you wonder how God may be looking at you, His child, while He is helping you work on your patience through this time?) Yes, please remember this is an individual with individual needs. If this is your first child, you have not yet had the same opportunity to have learned that quite as well as once you have had a second or a third “family unit”! A friend of ours once told a class in which my husband and I were members, that had he and his wife had only the first two children, he could have written a book on “How Easy  It Is To Raise Children”, but then they added Child Three and Child Four!  Was he saying families should have no more than two children? Was he saying only two children guarantee an easy task in raising them? Unh-unh, definitely no! Look around and see: I can immediately think of one in quite recent years, highly-publicized, single child jailed male who should be incarcerated for the murder of four people and may eventually be. One child, or several, is no guarantee in the ease of child-rearing. There are families in whom the older ones tend to help nurture the younger with much of what they have learned from listening to and/or observing their parents. There are children in those families who often love being cared for by the older ones in such ways and there are others who rebel against being told how to live and what to do by their siblings. No guarantees!
    You’re likely thinking (and rightly so), “Yes, but not every child ends up like that incarcerated one!” So when and where does the difference enter? “He’s just little. He doesn’t understand.”) Really? (Remember, making excuses is how Eve and Adam started out!) Okay, make eye contact with a new, and I seriously mean, a new infant. Do you see how studiously he/she is intent on watching you for moments before looking away? During those few moments, stick out the tip of your tongue a noticeable, distance, pull it back in, then repeat, all the while maintaining eye contact. Can you guess what’s going to happen to this one who is “just little” and “doesn’t understand”? I’ve tried it and the infant mimics my actions! Done enough times, I’d think it to become an expected “game”. Since I learned about such, I’ve not had an infant in my care long enough to try it repeatedly; however, I have observed infants with parents who persistently talk, coo, giggle, and smile repetitively at their babies, who have babies who just as persistently talk, coo, giggle, and smile repetitively right back, sometimes even introducing the “conversations!  “Too little”? “Too young”? I don’t think so! What a pleasant life-start to interaction between parents and little ones that eventually becomes a natural expectation of communication times of learning about one another.
     So, the conclusion of the whole matter is this: while mom and dad have started out with pleasant lessons of communication, a time is coming when both parent and child must face growing beyond the bonds of infancy to lessons of discipline. As earlier stated, parents are also learning the same lessons in discipline as they are teaching, but having started with pleasant communication, they readied themselves and their child. They took particular time with their child and now, setting time aside is again necessary.  Is it pleasant? Hebrews says, not while it’s being taught. Having been on both ends, I’m going to say it’s not pleasant to have to be either the teacher or the recipient! However, the end result yields what? Hebrews says, ”Peace comes from doing what is right.” What does “right” involve? God has set up a pattern: I Corinthians 11:3 But I want you to understand this: The head of every man is Christ. And the head of a woman is the man. And the head of Christ is God.” (Another lesson, if you want more than the simple truth of that statement.) Again, in a family circumstance, does peace come only to those who have been disciplined? Move ahead ten years from three children five and under, to three children fifteen and under. Have you observed teens in real life, read, or heard stories about them - really great youth, and troubled, too? Which grouping do you see as more truly happy? Children who have been taught, not only discipline, but also self-discipline (aka: a form of love of self) or children who have never been taught anything about care/concern for self or others?
    Discipline is a gift we have been given towards learning obedience, but not simply for peace in our day-to-day living, although it is certainly a great side effect!  Ultimately, discipline is a training ground for obedience to God, both for ourselves, and thereafter, for our children. How can we teach them if we ourselves have not learned discipline? We can keep learning, practicing daily the lessons we have learned that we teach by living, and striving daily to be more like Jesus. With Jesus, it didn’t just happen because He lived on earth as the Son of God. Hebrews 5:8 (ERV) tells us, “Jesus was the Son of God, but he still suffered, and through his sufferings he learned to obey whatever God says.” Should we not, through pleasure and/or pain, in the teaching and the learning, “Go, and do likewise”?   
© M Sue 
With an extra special 'THANK YOU!" to Rebekah and Andrew Blakeman & Family for sharing this photo (by Rebekah) of their beautiful children that was on the FaceBook post where the idea for this article originated.

5-19-2017

Sunday, May 14, 2017

DO WE LOOK LIKE JESUS TO ONE ANOTHER?


Having had struggles in both directions, in this morning’s search for inspirational inserts to add to my homemade cards, each of these quotes caught my heartstrings:
Proverbs 4:23New International Version (NIV) 
   23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.                     
Proverbs 4:23Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)                                                  23 Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life.
    The broken opinions people seem to have of me: is it simply my very good imagination or is it true that every time this one looks at me I come up wanting as a Christian in his/her eyes? Do I not look like Jesus to him/her?
    Since I’ve seen others post similar questions, I know I’m not the only one to have similar wonderings.
   Here’s the rub: Jesus has taught, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For with the way you judge, you will be judged, and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:1-3nasb) This section of scripture, along with those regarding forgiving as I forgive others has helped keep me better in line than I would be otherwise in my walk as God’s child. As I read it this particular morning, impressed into my heart also came Luke 2:1-4(nasb):“And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, ‘Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.’”
     Do you see what I see? I don’t want to look up to see that hurt look on the face of my Lord because in my own eyes, I have found myself giving better gifts (a “more Christian life”, if you will)  to Him, than my lowly sister, nor do I want to be that looked-down-upon lowly sister. What position would that put my brother or sister in if my imagination about his/her attitude were correct?
    Herein, lies more of the struggle: am I judging?
    Since this is not an open, hostile action – simply one of questioning in the mind at this point – the ideal of going to the person(s) directly to settle a conflict would be great. Matthew 5:23-24(nasb):”Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
    The real issue here, being it may be I am imagining the whole thing, if handled by my going and asking, “Have I done something to offend you?” could possibly come from outer space as far as the recipient is aware, and an easy and honest, “No!” would escape. (I would generally call first, so any get-together would not be a surprise.)
   However, just as with not only the way someone looks at us, there are feelings that emanate between us as well. It may be the way the person holds his/her body, given opportunity, almost never appears to wish to have interaction, seems unwilling to share a friendly smile when just about everyone else you meet does (but we must remember it could be his/her nature to hold back), but, in keeping with trying to find why the seeming conflict, should we catch such a someone unawares with such a question as, “Have I done something to offend you?”, we might cause him/her embarrassment, thus it’d be better to prepare with a phone or text message that, “I have something I’d like to discuss with you sometime soon if you could have some time with me.” Then, pray about your method of explaining and the way the hearer will be able to receive your explanation. Be gentle. Ask. Do not accuse.
    So, while I still question, “Is it judging?”, whether it is or not,(I tend to lean towards it is), it seems best soon gone like any other evil thoughts, reminding us of the saying:
“You may not be able to stop a bird from landing in your hair,
but you can keep it from building a nest there.”
    We started this message with the teaching to be careful what we think, because our thoughts control our lives. (Proverbs 4:23erv) I also found this quote that is applicable:
“Always pray to have eyes that see the best in people,
a heart that forgives the worst,
a mind that forgets the bad,
and a soul that never loses faith in God.”
   Treat as you would want to be treated, remembering that whatever we do to others is the same as if we did it directly to Jesus in person.  These are the ways we look like Jesus to others because these are the ways He taught us to choose.
    With these thoughts in mind, the question due each one of us daily,
Do we look like Jesus to one another?

© M Sue

Sunday, April 16, 2017

MARY JEAN'S MISSING COWS

As I read the 4-15-17 FB post and saw the photos, by Mary Jean Owens, a rancher in Eden, Texas, I began to view a spiritual side.At my request, Mary Jean has graciously given me permission to re-post her writing and photo (plus one) so I can share my view. You will very much appreciate Mary Jean's review of "just one of those mornings" and I hope you will read and consider the follow-on message.
Here, with a special THANK YOU is Mary Jean's Message:
Knew it would be a strange day for some reason this morning - maybe because I got up a tad bit late (about 10 minutes), maybe because the outside dogs were too quiet - or maybe just some other reason - was mostly a feeling. The young cows in the small pasture in front of the house (the House Trap) didn’t come in as early as usual, so off I went hunting - expecting to find them just out of sight in the trap - but I didn’t. Decided they had to be on the east side of our road - until I got to the main road, glanced down toward the county road - and KNEW we had problems. Seems that somehow in the night something happened to the gate fastener - and the gate was WIDE open. GULP!!! Down to the county road I went as fast as the mule would “boogie”. A quick glance up and down and I spied all the evidence I needed to know the cows (3 cows, 2 baby calves, and the young yearling bull) were MISSING -- a “cow pie” in the road told me that. Back to the house I went, and into the pickup and off down the road. Of course I chose the wrong way to go for I didn’t spy any more sign for 2 miles. Drove on to the mail box because I just may have missed a sign in the ditch - but no sighting of those missing cows was had. Grab the mail, turn around and dash back up the road 3 miles to start hunting west from the gate. Wasn’t long before I knew I was on the right track this time - started seeing cow tracks on the edge of the county road. Starting hoping they had turned into a lane between our place and the neighbors place on the west. Got there, looked up that lane and spied a black cow!!! Had found 1 - the rest were not in sight but I had high hopes that 1 cow would not be all by herself (they do not like that). Where were the others??? Soon I discovered the others - in some tall grass, up next to the fence laying down. YEA!!! Up to the end of the lane in order to turn around, back down (a mile,
let Brooke gal out and get those lazy, very full, missing cows started for home. Fleck was along for the ride, but this was work for the experienced, not the novice. Down the lane, followed by a “Brooke - RIGHT” and those cows were turned to the east and headed home. Do not know who was rejoicing more - me for getting them back home, or the cows for getting back to their pasture - and able to go get a good drink of water! Could have been a bad thing if those cows had wondered on west - or even gone to the end of the lane for that lane led to a huge (many hundreds acre) pasture and no telling if I would have ever found them.

THE  SPIRITUAL VIEW 
OF MARY JEAN’S MISSING COWS
    I see a spiritual lesson in this missing cows saga. Jesus told of how one would leave the 99 to search for the missing one. In both stories I think we have immediately (and rightly so) latched on to the emotional stresses of the human in the loss and search of the lost.
    For example, in Mary Jean’s story, the day started with her senses telling her something more than her sleeping late seemed off: first, perhaps it was the quiet of the outside dogs, but upon looking, the usual appearance of the young cows in the small pasture in front of the house showed they didn’t come in as early as usual. Are you feeling how the human must have felt concern? An immediate search, as fast as the mule would go, with the discovery of a wide open gate and no cows proved something had happened during the night to the gate fastener. Now, are YOU on the edge of the driver’s seat, tightened muscles and all? Are YOU there, going for the truck, with a feeling of satisfaction once able to go faster, as you travel one country road after another, searching roadside and all around, breathing a sigh of relief at finally seeing that one cow? Whew! BUT, there’s still the others  . . .  Oh, FINALLY! There they are! Let Brooke out to give them the commands they need to guide them home to their much-needed water and security. Are YOU feeling relief? But, wait... there’s more!
    What about the cows?
    I’m looking at this from the spiritual side of the cows! Generally those cows are protected in ways they don’t know to appreciate. They are given everything they need that any human can give them: food, water, shelter, rest, medications/medical care, protection in every possible way, but not absolute freedom. They are kept in a secured area.
    Then came the night when something happened to the gate fastener and the gate that greeted the young cows that time was wide open.  Was it the influence of “the dark of night”, because “the grass must have looked greener”, a sort of “follow-the-leader” syndrome, or just the absolute freedom that encouraged them to leave? Whatever it was, they took advantage of their few hours of “freedom”, away from water, shelter, medications/medical care, and protection, but they had plenty of food for the time being and then, except for one, they lay down to rest. Somehow that one got left behind the others. How must she have felt to have started on what was to have been a fun time to now find herself alone, plus away from the peace and security of home with no idea of how to get back there? So, she wandered until, WAIT! She heard familiar barking! Brooke was bringing the rest of the wayward crew and she was so relieved when Brooke came toward her. Brooke didn’t even have to nip at her heels to get her to run toward the others! She was happy to run to them because she knew Brooke would guide them back to where they would have water. She was so thirsty. She needed that water more than she had ever realized before she had walked away from it so easily. She didn’t think she liked being kept in a sheltered life, but now she knew given a choice, she would choose the food, water, shelter, rest, medications/medical care, protection in every possible way that she had in her secure home.
    We humans are so like those cows: we can have security in Christ, the Living Water, if we make the commitment to live forever sheltered in Him.  Humans tend to wander away, yet He has given His life, not just the usual plans for a few hours of a morning, in search for us. Will we realize the wisdom in not even having to have “our heels nipped” to join the fellow wanderers in heading back Home?
    Obviously, there are more similes to be found. These are a few of the  simple truths  I saw as spiritual messages from the runaway cows ~how about you, will you share a few more that you see?

M Sue

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A MESSAGE TO MY DEAR LITTLE SISTER

Dear Little Sister ~
    I wish we could sit side by side or face to face to have a discussion regarding your questions as to how to find time for personal Bible Study. How I long to show-and-tell you that yes, God wants you to put Him first in your life. Absolutely!  As a wife and mother who is not only a fulltime homemaker, but also a fulltime outside-the-home worker, how do you do that? Exactly by doing what you are trying to find time to do!  Yet, you say finding time is only one of the issues. Setting aside your study time at the end of the day is not working. You keep falling asleep. From the time I was a high school junior, I battled sleepiness during midday study halls. Reading has always been relaxing for me, so though I agree that being tired does have its effect, perhaps timing is not so all important as what we have allowed ourselves to think! After all these years that I have been reading the Bible, and it’s only recently with the use of the iPad, the You Bible, and the Easy to Read Version, that I have found more simple pleasures from “the Old Story.” I still have to choose my times or I am prone to falling asleep, but my interest is kept more alive by the easier understanding. I don’t think I am the only one to find it so.
    In the response you received, I noticed someone recommended you use a Children’s Bible and include your children. The idea of making use of the Easy Reader Version is similar, though different in that as an adult only, you’d likely have less interruption. However, the kinds of interruption brought about by children can be excellent. Their minds work on a different level than that of an adult, and the word pictures and questions they produce can give even the best-educated Bible scholar pause for thought!
Other recommendations I noticed were for certain apps. It’s likely they are similar to a little booklet seemingly designed for people to use each morning, that John and I use each night, called Power For Today. It is $11.95 a year, a quarterly subscription delivered through the mail. Each daily reading starts with a scripture recommendation followed by a single pertinent scripture. Men and women from all over the US and beyond, present brief messages of encouragement related to the verses of the day, adding a recommended hymn, ending with a prayer. There are pages contained in these that I find I MUST tear out to save for future reference and /or to share immediately.
Added to the suggestion of listening to the recorded Bible, etc., as you go to and from work, I think you may have read recommendations from the book, Muscle And A Shovel, along with other publications, to copy scriptures on index cards, to keep where they are easily within reach for when you have those unexpected spare moments such as time spent waiting in line either in your car or waiting to check groceries through, etc.
There’s that one scripture in particular, that came to mind as I was considering your question: Philippians 4: 6-8 (ERV) 6 Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. 7 And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. 8 Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.
Contained in those few verses are so many lessons, showing that it’s not the number of verses that’s important, but the content you glean. This is not to say, it’s not needful to read longer passages of scripture; if we don’t read lengthy passages, how are we going to get “the rest of the story”? The ERV is truly like reading a story, and for beginners is as its title implies, an “easy-to-read-version”. In reading through the Bible this year, I have found it delightful. The advantage we have by using the You Bible (as I know you do) is that we can easily switch back and forth between versions if there is a familiar verse that seems “off” to us in the ERV or whatever version we are currently reading.
I understand people have aversions to different interpretations of the Bible. The thing we need to remember is this: few of us have access to the original manuscripts, and if we did, even fewer have the ability to interpret, so to argue over the interpretations, seems to me a waste of time that could be better spent by simply comparing the version(s) with which you are comfortable, while praying for wisdom to come to the conclusion God would have you to understand. Is that not doing exactly what the above quoted verses tell us to do? Remember: Simple faith. God does not ask us to do the impossible, but as the good Father that He is, He does give us responsibility to do our part while He continues to do His. 
A brief STUDY GUIDE to taking these few verses apart to see what they say to me (i.e. the individual):
Philippians 4:6-8 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) 6 Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. 7 And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. 8 Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.
Who wrote these verses? (You could do a follow-on study by learning more about the author.)
To whom are the verses written? (You could do a follow-on study by learning more about these people.)
Take verse 6 apart, section by section; what does each section say to you personally?
Is verse 7 meant for every person who reads it? Why or why not?
Verse 8 is a continuation as to whom the section is written; is it important to consider the verses in context (i.e. the verses that come before and after)? Why or why not?
In preparing this response for you, my Dear Little Sister, the one who asked the original question, my hope has been and is, to encourage you and many to draw closer in simple faith and obedience to THE ONE WHO wants to be GOD AND FATHER to us all.
In His love,

M Sue

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

TRAIN UP A CHILD ~ HOW?

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (nasb)
“Teach children in a way that fits their needs, and even when they are old, they will not leave the right path.” Proverbs 22:6 (erv)
With experience, and as time goes by, I’ve come to look more agreeably on the application of the Easy Read Version. Following are some thoughts as to how I’ve gleaned such a conclusion.
As with our first, when our second child was born, we offered him a pacifier, which he willingly took. However, he also chose to add his two middle fingers of one hand. His persistence was such that I finally decided it was a losing battle, that he was going to end up with a misshapen mouth, and eventually we would deal with the fingers out of the mouth as we would have had to the pacifier.
This was one example of individuality shown by a child from the first moments in the crib. How do we parents teach and treat these gifts from the Lord that He expects us to help train and give back to Him? The early part of the verse does say to “Train up a child” so let’s not let that get lost in the effort to make so much of the “in the way He should go” part.
What do you understand “Train up a child” to mean? For years I have absolutely “loved” the word pictures presented in Deuteronomy. It seems to me these verses help us understand what it means to “train up a child”. I’ve used Easy Read Version here because it is more as we speak every day.
Deuteronomy 11:2-5 (erv): 2 Remember today all the great things the Lord your God has done to teach you. It was you, not your children, who saw those things happen and lived through them. You saw how great he is. You saw how strong he is, and you saw the powerful things he does. 3 You, not your children, saw the miracles he did in Egypt. You saw what he did to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and to his whole country. 4 You, not your children, saw what he did to the Egyptian army—to their horses and chariots. They were chasing you, but you saw him cover them with the water from the Red Sea. You saw how the Lord completely destroyed them. 5 It was you, not your children, who saw everything he did for you in the desert until you came to this place.
Here, we have a reminder that regardless of the personality type of each child, as parents we must remember we have experiences to share that will be new to each of our children, that we are to use those experiences to teach our children about God and His ways. Following are verses that remind us that we are to take advantage of every moment and style to teach our children, remembering that what is of strong interest to one child may hold little interest to another.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (erv):
5 You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
>>> How can we set the example if we don’t practice what we are told we must do ourselves?<<<
6 Always remember these commands that I give you today.
>>>Again, we must set the example; if we don’t remember, how can we teach?<<<
>>>FOLLOWING is the HOW TO MANUAL of the TRAIN UP A CHILD<<<
7 Be sure to teach them to your children.
>>>Here are some suggestions:<<<
“Talk about these commands when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road.”
>>>We had a Bible scene that was of particular interest to one of our children. There is so much available through technology for visual aids, although on occasion, just a quiet time of thinking and using vivid imagination is a really great idea.<<<
>>>One of our children and I used to quote one particular Bible verse as we looked out over the vast morning field while we waited for the school bus to come.<<<
>>>One of my favorite songs has become, “This Is My Father’s World” and sometimes I picture Maltbie Babcock as he walked about picking the words he chose so very well to honor our Father, while never knowing his words became a hymn.<<<
“Talk about them when you lie down and when you get up.”
>>>Make use of every possible way you can think of to talk, talk, talk of God’s commands, teaching of His desire for always the best for us, therefore the reason for His firmness in demanding obedience. There’s the story about the 4-y-o who knew his mother was not well and they needed bread. He told her he could ride his tricycle to the store down on the corner, that he would be careful when he had to cross the street, that he would use the walk light. Like we ask God if we can do something, he had every good intention, but like God, his mom said “No.” As adults, we can see the reasoning. As adults, we must take time to explain to children, as best we are able, that God’s thinking is different than ours is sometimes.<<<
“ 8 Tie them on your hands and wear them on your foreheads to help you remember my teachings.”
>>>Make bracelets, headbands, with Bible verses written on them. Even if they are not worn, the act of creating them will help imprint the verses on their minds.<<<
“9 Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.”
>>>Verses on Sticky Notes placed on over the house works! J<<<
These are just a few suggestions I’ve made with the verses. I am sure you’ll have plenty of your own ideas to match your own family’s individuality.
 (Deuteronomy 6:5-9 are basically repeated in Deuteronomy 11:18-25.)
Again, it’s important that we see our children as individuals; however, in seeing that, we must still be alert to applying the instruction of God as primary.
Our task is to figure out how to apply the instruction first in our own life, then our example sets the tone. However, there are occasions when neither the example or word is seen or heard because there is a built-in closed door of the mind or the child simply chooses to not see. One example in our home was the arrival home from Kindergarten with the very exciting news that, “Teacher said that vegetables are good for us! Carrots help our eyes see better!” (“Oh, really? I’ve only been telling you that for how many years now, and today is the first time you heard it?”)
And even though we studied God’s Word together in our home, ended up with a collection of notes written by the children for the Bible lessons they presented, etc., I’m sad to have come to the realization that somewhere, somehow, the same thing is true in that the teaching of the scripture was missed in much the same way as that of the vegetables. How? Why? And I thought I was doing such a good job, too!   :-( 
I read a quote about failure. It says: “Failure is an event, not an identity.” Having chosen as my identity to be a wife and mother through a prayer at age 8 or 9, and having become a Christian at 17, married at 18, become a mother at 19, 21, and 24, and not having fulfilled the greatest goal for which I strove , I cannot agree that failure is not an identity. That, in part, is why I am writing this, to warn others, to say, I am more convinced than ever, that as parents, we must be alert to “the way he/she should go”, each individual child. I missed some things along the way; however, I read something a couple of days ago that gave me the most hope I’ve had in weeks. The person who wrote the little article spoke of the great failure of Peter recorded Matthew 26:33-35 (nasb) 33 But Peter said to Him, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 35 Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.” All the disciples said the same thing too.
>>>I’m sure Peter believed it when he said it, but . . . <<< 59 After about an hour had passed, another man began to insist, saying, “Certainly this man also was with Him, for he is a Galilean too.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.
>>>But then, following Jesus’ resurrection, before He ascended to Heaven <<<  John 21:15-17 (nasb) 15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep."
Such a lesson- this that Jesus did for Peter! It is pure hope that He is doing likewise for me; not only that He is forgiving me for missing the places in the lives of my children that I missed in their growing-up years, but also that He is using me and the lessons I learned along the way to feed His sheep by helping others to train up their children in the way THEY should go! May it be so ~
© M Sue Libby Moore       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Monday, February 27, 2017

JUST AS THE LORD COMMANDED




Isn’t it interesting that this morning’s Bible message from the pulpit dove-tailed with a particular matter that has held my interest over the past few weeks of my own Bible Study? I like to think of such things as God’s doing such especially for me! Oh, I know others benefit by it as well, but an occasion such as this just reinforces my faith in His very individual care for me.
With the decision to do a chronological read-through of the Bible this year, I’d not gone very far before choosing to use the Easy Read Version for a change. Since I was already using the YOU BIBLE on my iPad, I knew it would be easy to switch back and forth between versions should I question anything that sounded different than my recall.
Having read a few chapters, I decided to start marking each verse that said or indicated that this particular person “did just as the Lord commanded.” I’d always been impressed with the verse stating, “Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him.” (Genesis 7:5) This, of course, was in regard to his obedience in the building of the ark, as well as the follow-through.
As I continued to read through some of the additional OT books, the number of nearly identical scriptures, with more identifying character’s named, was astounding. This afternoon, I counted the scriptures I’d saved so far, a few of which are not in regard to this matter, but of the 178, most in the ERV are.  The primary reason for this standing out with such importance to me was based on how reminiscent it was to what Jesus plainly stated, “If you love Me, keep My commands.” (John 14:15) Once I kept coming across first one, and then another of those Old Testament verses stating, “And ___ (name) did all that the Lord commanded,” each one was a personal reminder of that New Testament verse from Jesus, too. 
With the thoughts in mind of doing all that the Lord commands from both the Old and New Testaments, let’s go back to the beginning paragraph’s thoughts regarding this morning’s message.  (THANK YOU, PAUL SHERO.) Particular focus was placed on consideration of the word “MUST” as it is found in regard to the selection of elders and deacons in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1.Though those are scriptures with which I am quite familiar, today it was time to consider them with the word MUST in context in depth. MUST isn’t just another word here. It’s meaning includes: ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY, UNCONDITIONAL, NOT JUST A SUGGESTION, BROOKS NO ARGUMENT, NO QUESTION, NO WIGGLE-ROOM, COMPELLLED. Sounds positively definite, don’t you think? Let’s look at a few of the verses with MUST added where the commas originally left the words out:
I Timothy 3:1-7
It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer (i.e.elder), it is a fine work he desires to do. 2 An overseer (i.e.elder), then, MUST be above reproach, MUST be the husband of one wife, MUST be temperate, MUST be prudent, MUST be respectable, MUST be hospitable, MUST be able to teach, 3 MUST not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but MUST be gentle, MUST be peaceable, MUST be free from the love of money. 4 He MUST be one who manages his own household well, MUST be keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), 6 and MUST not be a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. 7 And he MUST have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
To sum this up, remembering back, the Old Testament leaders “did all that the Lord commanded”, the elders are to be the leaders in the church today with Christ as the Head, and Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commands.” When we look at what is past and what is ahead, we sometimes have a tendency to say, “But that’s impossible today.” Simple faith says, really look at the past. Consume those verses from the leaders of the Old Testament along with the commands and promises in the New, because Jesus promised to be with us always, (Matthew 28:20) and through Paul’s teaching we have learned that ,”I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
“Remember those who led you,
who spoke the word of God to you,
and considering the result of their conduct,
imitate their faith.”
Hebrews 13: 7 NASB)

© M Sue    2-26-2017

Thursday, February 23, 2017

JESUS CHOSE - I CAN CHOOSE, TOO

When the thought JESUS CHOSE comes to mind, along with the many facets of His life choices, I am reminded of how giving He was.
Of the many choices Jesus made, His outstanding selfless deed to leave heaven to come to live on earth with His full knowledge of what lay ahead, truly boggles my human mind! It seems to me that once in heaven, were it even possible, I, (and likely not one of you!) would ever want to return to earth! I am so very thankful for the life He lived in this world, for the true stories of how He handled so many of life’s situations, of how He must have looked people directly in the eye as He dealt with them, maybe with a hand resting upon a strong shoulder during a conversation, sometimes with an arm around a frail body, giving strength as He spoke Truth, because His very being exuded Truth, Truth in a simple human body.
When He gave the admonition to “Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you,” (Matthew 7:12) He showed He’d already done so by His life. But, when someone is unkind to me, the temptation is to pay them back when I know I should rather have a Jesus attitude, both because it would mean my obedience to Him and because that is truly how I’d prefer to be treated! “But it’s so hard, Lord.” Can you imagine me looking my Lord in the eye and saying that to him, the One Who hung on that cross for hours so my picky little sins as well as my tremendous blunders could be forgiven? In one sense, neither can I*, but if I believe the Bible (and I do) Hebrews 4:15 (NIV) says, “He was tempted in all ways just as we are.” THAT was the human Jesus. (And because of that, I could and I can talk to Him about anything*!)
First of all, it should be obvious if I choose to treat others as I want to be treated, then I’m going to be thoughtful, kind, and compassionate. Yet, when someone is unkind to me and my first thoughts are far from kind and compassionate, how opposite of the way of Jesus is that? So how did He handle such?
I Peter 2:23
“and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;”
Ah, do you see the secret there? Instead of responding in kind, He turned it over to His Father God! We read in other passages where He went aside to pray, often to be alone, sometimes early in the morning, sometimes all night. (Luke 5:16; Luke 6:12; Matthew 14:23; Mark1:35) Yes, the human Jesus left Himself totally in His Father’s care. How did He do that? I’m going to suggest it was through His practice of making a choice. Yes, He had made THE CHOICE to follow His Father (“Don’t you know I must be about My Father’s business?” Luke 2:49) but He, like we, had to keep on making the decision to follow that choice. Part of that choice was keeping in close contact with His Father, God.
Oh, my! What a long way I have yet to go! I am so thankful for the compassionate kindness Jesus has chosen to show me. How can I help but want to be more like Him? In my thankfulness for the life He lived on the earth and for the example He chose to set for me, I know Jesus chose, therefore, I can choose, too.
© M Sue

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

JESUS CHOSE


How often do I think, and share with others, the memory, JESUS CHOSE?
As I consider those two words, so many thoughts come tumbling one on top of another, I can scarcely keep up with them in my own mind, let alone put them down on a page to share!
First off comes, “Take up your cross daily.” (Luke 9:23) Okay, from the moment I decided I wanted to be a follower of Jesus, I had made THE CHOICE; therefore, with that decision (i.e. choice) having been made, what else is there to consider? It’s simple, right? Two ways to turn, right or left, one being His Way, one being the way of the world; I’ve already made my decision, haven’t I? Then, “Take up your cross daily,” should be my life,” not just a verse to remind me that this was a choice I made so many years ago.
I was such a baby in Him at that time, I was not fully aware that the new life in Him (Romans 6:4) meant not only were my past sins washed away, but also as long as I kept on choosing to faithfully walk with Him, my sins would continue to be washed away! (I John 1:7)
How does all this fit together, this choosing as Jesus chose, when I remember He was without sin (I Peter 2:22) and I know that even though I make the effort to remember to make the right choices,  I sometimes react rather than act? Therefore, in my sin, I am not like Jesus. This is where I can choose to follow His example of humility and confess to Him I have sinned. Because He is waiting and watching in love, I can choose to return to taking up my cross and following Him His way.
JESUS CHOSE; I CAN, TOO.

© M Sue

Monday, January 16, 2017

DREAMS DO COME TRUE

    The recommended reading upon which this evening’s daily article was based was I Kings 3:5-15.It speaks of how Solomon loved the Lord and walked in the statutes of his father, David. In remembering additional scripture that points out that David was a man after God’s own heart, we know more about Solomon based on these few comments.
    Additionally, we read of how the Lord came to Solomon in a dream one night and asked him, “What shall I give you?” Oh, what a dream! What would you say in answer to such a question?
 Solomon had a ready response. He started off by praising God for His great and steadfast love, then proceeded to humble himself by acknowledging his inadequacies to govern such a huge number of people. He asked for an understanding mind that he might be able to discern between good and evil.
The passage we have quoted states that God was so pleased that Solomon asked for this that He was not only granting it, but far more as well.
Let’s consider the simplicity of Solomon’s request and God’s being pleased:
SOLOMON DID NOT REQUEST:
    LONG LIFE  
    RICHES  
    LIFE OF HIS ENEMIES
SOLOMON DID REQUEST:
    UNDERSTANDING TO DISCERN WHAT IS RIGHT
    Since God was pleased with this request from Solomon, doesn’t it seem to follow that He would be pleased with the same/similar request from each one of us? Not that we are going to be in the exact position of a Solomon, but we are always going to be in the position of needing wisdom to discern between right and wrong.
    Just think of it! Being presented with the opportunity to ask God for anything . . . absolutely anything at all . . . and all Solomon asked for was wisdom. That was it. That was all. And that was AFTER he had praised God! We have the same such opportunity as well! Didn’t think about it like that? Are we thinking, “But God doesn’t come to us in a dream like He did to Solomon”? Right. God doesn’t come to us in a dream with such an offer, nor does He have the exact plan for us that He did for Solomon; however, do not question but what God does have an answer for our requests and He does have plans for us as surely as He did for Solomon. Simple faith shows us that the answers and the plans differ because we differ; however, just as surely as He did for Solomon, God has particular plans for us . . . and  just as surely as Solomon’s dream came true, so, too, can ours!
“And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
                                                                         Matthew 21:22 (NASB)                                  

© M Sue Moore       1-17-17