Friends,
My husband read aloud to me all of 1 Timothy today in our morning devotions. What a privilege to have God’s Word, to have it in our own language, to have it available in so many versions (and right there on the iPad), and to have all sorts of helps with which to learn almost anything pertaining to the Scriptures that we wish to know. Yet in spite of it all, most people, even those who say they follow Christ, seem to know very little about what the Word of God actually teaches. And regardless of whether they do or don’t know, most simply do not obey it.

Will any such privileged group be excused on that Day when we all stand before The Throne and the Books are opened? Certainly not.

Those who have God’s Word and all the help they need available to them, must be reading the Word, studying it, obeying it, proclaiming it, and discipling others. Our Lord has commanded us to do these things, giving us a full and adequate Book of instructions, comfort, guidance, and power. He has revealed to us His own life so that we can imitate Him, and He has given us His own Spirit through whom, and in whose capabilities, we are gifted to walk in.

In thinking of how I’m blessed to often have my husband read the Scriptures to me, I also feel sad. Sad for all the spouses who do not read God’s Word together, and especially sad for all the children whose parents rarely, or never, read the Bible to them, do not teach them the stories and characters therein, do not train them in God’s laws and commands, do not help them memorize Scripture verses, and do not model the conduct God’s Word teaches us to have.

For everyone who lives in a country where there is at least some extent of religious freedom, there is no good excuse for not taking advantage of the privileges one has. Including the privilege of reading God’s Word aloud with one’s family members.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

The Evil Are Good?

April 15, 2014

Friends,
Such wearisome words. Such tiresome, false, and damning doctrine. The patience of the Lord Himself has been exhausted.

Who? Who is wearying righteous people and even the Lord God of Heaven? It is those who say, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and He is pleased with them.” (Mal. 2:17)

“All who do evil are good”? Is this what is being said? Yes, the world, for the most part, says this as they grant excuses and “legitimate reasons” for evildoers’ deeds, even putting them on a pedestal as victims to be attended to lovingly.

But many “Christians” are going further than that. They are saying that all who do evil are actually good, holy, righteous, and pleasing to the Lord. This, they claim, is the case due to Christ Jesus’ righteousness having been imputed to them when they “accepted” Him as their Savior.

But God is weary with these attitudes and behavior. He is weary with this teaching that turns people from the right way and causes them to stumble and to violate their covenant with God. (Mal. 2:8,17) They dishonor God and teach others to do so, so that instead of God being pleased with them, He sends them a curse. (v. 1,2)

Can anyone who does evil be good and righteous in God’s eyes? Can evildoers please the Lord or be holy in His sight? Jesus’ words give us the answer: “Those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” (John 5:29) God’s Word makes it clear that on Judgement Day each person is judged according to what he has done. (Jer. 17:10 // 2 Cor. 5:10 // Rev. 20:13) Nothing impure will enter God’s eternal presence (Rev. 21:27), “nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful.” (same verse)

God is not at all pleased with those who do evil. And He certainly does not call them good. Or holy. Or righteous. He calls them evildoers. And He will reject all evildoers entrance into Eternal Life. (Mt. 7:23 // Luke 13:27)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
This week Christians are (or should be) meditating on the grace God has bestowed on us through Christ’s atoning sacrifice, the sacrifice which not only paid for pardon and forgiveness, but which also bought, for all who believe, deliverance from the imprisonment of sin. (Acts 26:18 // Rom. 6:18,22 & 7:14,21-25)

This grace from God comes to us, then, by way of our believing, our faith, our hope. And it is Jesus who is Himself our Hope. (1 Tim. 1:1) He is “the hope held out in the Gospel.” (Col. 1:23) Being given all we need to live pleasing to God (2 Peter 1:3,4), we are cleansed of evil behavior and of minds at enmity with God (Col. 1:21) and become one with the Lord in spirit (v. 27 // 1 Cor. 6:17) through our obedience to His commands. (1 John 3:24)

It is imperative that we continue in this faith and hope, that we become firmly established in it, and that we do not move from it. (Col. 1:23) “For in this hope we were saved” (Rom. 8:24) and are being saved. (1 Peter 1:9) Only if we are holding firmly till the end will we come to share in Christ (Heb. 3:14) and be His faithful dwelling (v. 6); and diligence to the very end is the only way to make one’s hope sure. (6:11) Laziness and all other continued disobedience will forfeit the grace one could otherwise have secured. (3:7-12 & 4:11 & 10:26-31)

“But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” (1 Thes. 5:8) Let us note that children of the Light are to take action. We are not to neglect our responsibilities in maintaining our position of salvation. 1 Peter 1:13 urges us, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled.” We must be preparing ourselves, our minds in particular, so that we can walk in self-control and all other actions that conform to the holiness God requires us to walk in. (v. 15) This is how we obey the rest of verse 13 which commands us, “Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” In other words, God’s grace toward us is not complete until He extends it to us when Christ returns. (v. 7,9)

So, let us examine ourselves and see if we have set our hope fully on God’s grace according to how the Scriptures, not men, instruct us to do so.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Just like the law of gravity, there are other “natural” laws in the universe. Knowing this should make it easier for us to understand that there are also laws of Truth. Therefore, if we do not abide by the Truth, then we bring harm into the equation.

People often wonder why things are not going well for them, their family, their relationships, their company, their church, etc. But why should they wonder? All they need to do is evaluate whether or not they are walking in the Truth. Comparing and contrasting their lives with the instructions for life found in God’s Word should certainly help in making one knowledgable concerning what is transpiring in one’s life.

Walking in the Truth does not mean we won’t have problems, but in the problems, we will have peace, a feeling of joy and security, and thoughts of gratitude toward God and for all He is doing for us and through us. In spite of the trials, we will be experiencing His hand of provision, comfort, and even deliverance.

Let us stop and ponder the track our lives are traveling and consider if that track holds firmly to the laws of Truth. For Truth does have real laws that must be adhered to. Otherwise we and others will suffer very unpleasant consequences.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
This week my mom and I enjoyed looking at her photos of her recent ten-day trip to see her dad and spend his 103rd birthday with him. We are so thankful to the Lord for Grandpa’s continued good health in mind and body, for even at his age he claims no aches and pains! (Wow, don’t we all wish we had no aches and pains!) He repeatedly talks about how thankful he is to the Lord. His wife is doing fairly well too for her age, though they do have house help come daily to cook and clean for them at their home. (My mom’s mom died at 53 years old, but Grandpa’s second wife has been a big blessing to the family and we love her dearly.)

During my four years at college, I spent many vacations with Grandpa and his wife in this same house Grandpa built, and has owned and lived in since my mom was five years old. I, like my mom, have many good memories there.

Here are some of the photos taken during my mom’s visit to her childhood home:

My mom and my grandpa on his 103rd birthday 2 weeks ago.

Grandpa’s wife and my mom.

Note my grandpa’s shirt a cousin gave him.

Grandpa and his wife –Feb., 2014. (Photo taken by a cousin.)

Lots of snow out front window.

Three deer out front window.

Grandpa’s porch with snow scene.

Porch to garage. Lots of snow for early April!

We thank the Lord for beauty, for love, for protection, and for all the other blessings He bestows that are just too numerous to mention!

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
I sit outside in the back yard, savoring the peaceful breeze and the perfect temperature, and meditating on the many blessings God has brought to me time and again. The city’s noise of traffic drones in the distance, but untouched by that bustle, I am safe, undisturbed, and appreciative toward the God of all mercy, compassion, and power.

What would we do without God on our side? How would we fight the evil realm? We couldn’t. A horrifying reality would be ours.

But that is not the case, is it? We have the awesome, majestic Creator watching out for us, caring for us, guiding us, and even bearing us up on His wings.

The waxing moon, almost straight above me and encompassed by flourishing trees, and higher up, by wispy, gentle clouds, appears tonight to be a symbol of tranquility, of normality, of security. The stars, too, speak of God’s constancy, even when we on earth don’t feel very constant. I was afraid, in moving from our secluded country spot, that I’d not be able to see stars in the city, but I can see the brightest ones, even Orion’s Belt.

Brrrrrr… The breeze is starting to get a bit chilly.

So many things to be thankful for, though. I don’t want to go back inside just yet… I’m thinking of sooooooo many of the Lord’s kindnesses… and of the enormity of what He has brought us through… Being grateful to Him sure does help to clear up the path of all the clutter so that His presence can be felt again, fresh, strong, strengthening, soothing…

Definitely, no matter where we are, if we but stop and look around us, and start thanking God for all the good things we are taking note of, peace will flood our soul. And accompanying peace, will be joy and strength and faith. Because of God’s presence. Because of our choice to recognize all that we have to be grateful about.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Anyone who has had to deal with someone who is passive-aggressive knows what a nightmare it is. Deliberately sabotaging any relationship in which they realize they have some dependance upon, either monetarily, emotionally, educationally, or otherwise, passive-aggressives, never having resolved their inner childhood anger about having to be dependent upon those who neglected their needs or wants, find emotionally release in attacking, though indirectly, those who try to love them, help them, befriend them, or work alongside of them.

No matter how kind a person is to the passive-aggressor, no matter how tolerant and patient, the passive-aggressor, wanting conflict, will merely increase his ploys of cooperation-resistence. He does this so that the dread he has about possible conflict with the person upon whom he is depending, is actually fulfilled, though only within his calculated plan. This he orchestrates so that he, being in control of the situation, can remain calm and thus seemingly innocent of wrong-doing, or at least innocent of ill motive. Then, when the other person becomes irate at the P-A’s “unintentional” irresponsibility and procrastination, at his “accidental” negligence, or at what is “simply forgetfulness”, the blame can be redirected away from the P-A and onto the target of the P-A’s hostility. It’s really a very evil game, and it has likely caused untold anguish for countless souls.

Even though everyone has probably encountered in their lifetime some indirect aggression from a few people, there are some people out there who are real dangers –colossal dangers to one’s emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. It is a subject, therefore, we should all educate ourselves on.

One of the best articles explaining passive-aggressive behavior can be read at this link:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolution-the-self/200806/afraid-rage-the-origins-passive-aggressive-behavior

There are other good articles at the same site, such as this one:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/passive-aggressive-diaries/201202/backhanded-compliments-and-sugarcoated-hostility

Here is another very helpful article:

http://voices.yahoo.com/passive-aggressors-timid-intimidators-460916.html

God loves P-As, but their behavior is unacceptable and should be confronted calmly and firmly, and if need be, very severe consequences enforced.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel