What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Is Your Bible a Treasure or an Ornament?

  Click on this link to see a Video of people in China receiving Bibles for the first time in their lives.  This is a link to Facebook, and you may not be able to open it if you don't have a facebook account. I do hope you can see it, but if not, let me tell you about it.

In this video a group of Chinese young adults have received packages that contain new Bibles.  As soon as they open the packages and see what it in there, the people all rush to the center and start reaching for the Bibles as quickly as they can.There is a shout of joy coming from their hearts as each person receives his or her very own brand new Bible.  Then the shouting of joy turns to awe and amazement as they each grasp their Bibles in their hands and hug them to their breast. Many put the Bibles right up to their lips and kiss them and smell them and caress the Bible as if it is the very best gift ever received.  Some begin to weep softly as they hold this priceless treasure and realize that it is their very own Word of God, written especially for them and to keep and cherish forever.  I noticed some eagerly taking off the outer wrappers and opening their Bible, already searching for the Words of Life.

This 1 minute video touched my heart so deeply.  I cannot get it out of my mind, and that is why I had to share this with you.  Actually, this is a theme that has been on my mind for a little while.  The wonderful treasure that we have...God's Word, written as a love letter to His precious children....you and me...a message so powerful that kingdoms have been created, others have been conquered, lives have been changed so radically that the whole world has noticed. There is no other Word by which men's lives have been saved and changed....I could go on and on and on.  This book is THE INSPIRED WORD OF GOD, written for us,
"the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  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." 
II Timothy 3:15-17

I recently was listening to a conversation among some church leaders who made the comment about an individual whom they considered to be a real Christian...he even brought his Bible to church.  I piped up and said, "and that's unusual?"  The reply was, "Well, yes, for a _______." (name of denomination).  I had to bite my tongue to keep from commenting further, but this is what I was thinking:

To not expect or encourage a person to take their own Bible to church with them is like telling a soldier to go into battle without his weapon. It's like telling a Doctor to go into surgery without his instruments. Like expecting the carpenter to build a house without any tools.  Like telling an expert violinist to make music without his violin and bow. It's like telling a student to take a test on a subject without him ever having read the book. It's like telling a believer that he's on his own in the world without any guidebook.

We wonder why denominations are having difficulty maintaining their churches and reaching the lost when they haven't been reading the instructions given to them by God...the whole foundation for establishing the church in the first place. When the average church member doesn't know how to find the book of John or Isaiah or Genesis or Ruth or Revelation or Matthew or Daniel or Micah or Zephaniah or Deuteronomy or Job or Psalms or Proverbs or Leviticus or Acts or Romans or Ephesians or Galatians or Philippians or Numbers or Nahum or Esther or Jeremiah or I Chronicles or I Corinthians or James, Jude, I Thessalonians or II Timothy or Hebrews....need I say more...?, then how can they expect to stand up against the foes of this life and have the Word of Life hidden in their hearts that they might not sin against God? (Psalm 119:11)
How will they know how to find words of comfort and peace when they are afraid or dying or lost or sick? How will they know how to "Train up a child in the way he should go, so that when he is old he will not depart from it?" (Proverbs 22:6).   How will they know the only way to heaven..."For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life?" (John 3:16).   Will they know that Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me?" ( John 14:6 )

Oh, dear friends, we cannot take this book, the Bible, God's Word, for granted.  Take one look at the faces of these precious Chinese children of God.  Listen to the joy in their voices as they received the Word of God into their hands.  Take note of the tears trickling down their faces, tears of joy, as they give thanks to the Lord for the gift of His Word, given to them so that they might find "the way, the truth, the life."

These Chinese Christians are most likely in an underground church, hidden away from the Chinese Government that forbids them to have their own Bibles, * and forbids missionaries from teaching God's Word to them. But they are willing to risk their lives for the sake of having this treasure that we so take for granted. It ought not be so.  If you have a Bible...maybe you have more than one or two...where is it? Do you read it daily?  Do you treasure it and hide its Words in your heart?  The day may come when we are no longer permitted to have our own Bibles in our country. It could happen...don't think it can't. (* Click on link above for more information on this.)

Okay, I'll get off my soapbox for now. This sure made me look at my Bible differently.  How about you?
Is YOUR Bible a treasure, or just an ornament on your table or bookshelf? Something to think about.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

God's Grace Has NO Limit!

My friend Carolyn over at A Word About Words wrote about "cheap grace and costly grace" in her recent blog  post entitled "Simple and Easy". I found myself echoing her words as I read this post today.  I have linked it here for you to check out.

As I read this I found myself singing an old song that I haven't heard in a while, but used to sing frequently. I will write it out for you here so you can sing along.  I wonder if you have found these words to be true in your life as well?  I know I have.  Just look back through the past few months of my posts and you will see that God had to be giving me (and my family) more grace each day.  He still is. He always has. He always will.
Here it is for you:
He Giveth More Grace  (You Tube Video by Ben Markley, vocalist)
by Annie Johnson Flint

"He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added affliction He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace."

"His love has no limit,
His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!"

"When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father's full giving is only begun!"

"His love has no limit,
His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!"

"And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake.  For when I am weak, then I am strong."  II Corinthians 12:9-10

My friend, if you are going through difficult trials and feel like you have come to the end of your endurance and strength, I hope you will discover that "Our Father's full giving is only begun!"  I know I have...over and over again. When I am at my weakest point and ready to give up, that's when God's grace kicks in and takes over. That's when He picks me up and carries me. 

That's when I realize that I cannot do it alone...I need His grace. I need His power.  I need God's Great Grace.  Listen to this new song by Matt Reddman, Your Grace Finds Me.  His great grace is there for us in all the high and low moments of our lives.  "From the creation to the cross.  Then from the cross into eternity, Your grace finds me...Yes Your grace finds me..."

Knowing that God's great grace is there for us always is a huge comfort to me right now in this present trial we are enduring.  I pray that if you don't know this wonderful Savior Who gives this marvelous grace, that you will seek His face right now.  His amazing grace is there, waiting to save you.

"For the law was given through Moses, but GRACE and TRUTH came through Jesus Christ."  John 1:17

"For by GRACE you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the GIFT of GOD, not of works, lest anyone should boast."  Ephesians 2:8-9

Okay, here's one more song we all should know about grace..."Amazing Grace! How Sweet the Sound" by John Newton...I won't write all of the verses for you here as many of you already know this priceless song by heart, but my favorite verses are the last two:

"Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come;
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And GRACE will lead me home."

"When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we'd first begun!"

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Cherish Your Family

"Cherish your family for they are your treasure;
A storehouse of riches...wealth beyond measure."

This little collector's plate says it all.  I've had this for quite a few years...it just spoke to me when I saw it advertised in a magazine...and although I rarely ever order anything like that for myself, I knew that I was supposed to have this one.  Not only did I love the picture of the quaint country porch, complete with a swing and abounding with flowers...but the message is what caught my eye. My family is my treasure...and I do cherish them. They are my "storehouse of riches...and wealth beyond measure."

Cherish your family...regardless of the trials, frustrations, disappointments, heartaches.  Never take for granted that you will always have great health, stunning triumphs, outstanding jobs, houses, or perfect relationships. We are not promised rose covered cottages and homes filled with laughter.  So, if you have that, or any semblance of that...be sure to treasure it and the people within while you are able.

That's what I do.  I hope you do too.  And if your family isn't exactly perfect, and your house is in disarray, I know Who can help put it all back together again.

"I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
and their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps all around those 
who fear Him, 
And delivers them."
Psalm 34:4-7

"I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel;
My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.
I have set the Lord always before me;
Because He is at my right hand
I shall not be moved."

"You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
Psalm 16: 7, 11

2017 Update: The pictures are from a family gathering, celebrating the life of our son Matthew on his 41st birthday. (February 25, 2014) He was, at that time, still fighting for his life in a battle against a deadly foe, cancer.  Sadly, our precious Matthew lost the battle with cancer on May 25, 2014, just three months after these pictures were taken.  We are so thankful we had this wonderful time together as a family while he was able to enjoy being with us.  Now we look forward to seeing him again one day in heaven.