Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The reason we celebrate Christmas

God rest ye, merry gentlemen—
Let nothing you dismay.
Remember Christ our Savior
Was born on Christmas day.
To save us all from Satan's power
When we had gone astray.

O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy!
O tidings of comfort and joy!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Today's dilemma – solved!

PROBLEM:  Gum in youngest son's hair.

SOLUTION #1:  Olive oil.
RESULT:  No luck.

SOLUTION #2:  Peanut butter.
RESULT:  Nuthin'.

SOLUTION #3:  The scissors.
RESULT:  Worked like a charm. :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Trust Him and Believe Him

S (Scripture) - Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
-Proverbs 3:5

O (Observation) - Why should we trust the Lord and lean not on our own understanding?  Because human understanding is limited and often influenced (skewed) by our perceptions and experiences.  God is GOD and I am not!  Isaiah 55:8 reinforces this point: "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the Lord. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine."  God knows the whole plan of our lives—all the ins and outs of how it works together—and He is good (Psalm 119:68)!

A (Application) - God is the Creator. He is far wiser than anyone!  AND He is good and He does only good (Psalm 119:68)!  I can trust God—only He is worthy of my trust.  I need to apply this to a frequent struggle of mine: I often hold too large a view of my sinfulness and too small a view of His mercy & love.  When I think about what the Bible says about God's love for me, I wrestle with it.  How could He love me?  So when God's love is beyond my understanding, I need to lean not on my own understanding and rely only on trusting the Lord with all my heart.  In His Word (the Bible) He says He loves me (see Romans 5:8, John 3:16, and 1 John 4:10)—and I need to believe it with all my heart!

P (Prayer) - God, I'm so glad that my thoughts are not Your thoughts, and my ways are not Your ways!  If *I* were God, I would have crumbled me up like a useless piece of paper and thrown me away long ago.  But You don't see it that way.  Your love, Your mercy, Your goodness, and Your wisdom are all so much higher and more wonderful!  I am going to focus on trusting You and not leaning on my own understanding.  YOU SAY You love me, and I believe!

Have you heard of SOAPing?

I recently read a book called, The Divine Mentor by Wayne Cordeiro.  The points in this book have the potential to change the way you personally hear from God through His Word, the Bible!

Mr. Cordeiro explains that God put the Bible together to instruct us, to help us, and to encourage us.

"For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." - Romans 15:4

Expounding on this verse, he also suggests that as we read, we can consider the authors of each book of the Bible as "divine mentors"—ones whom God picked to teach us.

What Mr. Cordeiro recommends is reading a selected chunk of Scripture (perhaps one chapter or a section of a chapter—having a reading plan is helpful)... taking time to chew on it and consider it.  Then you take a verse that stuck out to you and write about it in a journal.  He came up with a method of journaling he calls SOAP (S- Scripture, O- Observation, A-Application, P- Prayer).  Read the book to learn more about it!

While to some it might sound like a lot of work, especially to a person who perhaps has never done any journaling—or doesn't care for it much—I can testify that God has a way of speaking to a person's heart through this method... insights you've never noticed before!

I plan to post a few of my journal entries... hopefully as an encouragement to anyone who may be reading this blog.  My life experience has shown me that hope is only found in the Lord, and I want to pass that on!