April 15, 2015
I was comforted just now to read my own post here:
The last few months have been hard for my husband and me as we just keep receiving one trouble after another. Then there are SOOOOO many others who are having huge problems as well, and yet with our own trials, our ability to help them is greatly hindered. But what are our main deterrents? They aren’t always what we think, are they? They aren’t always the trials themselves. Instead, is it not fear, anxiety, discouragement, lack of gratefulness for those things that are good in our lives, and lack of trust in God to see us through, that are our main problems? I certainly believe so.
No matter what pain or trial we are in, we can ride above them. We can have joy in spite of them. Why? How? Because we have the Lord! We exist not merely in the stormy sea, the evil world, but we exist in Him who surrounds us –who lives in us and we in Him– even as we still live in this groaning environment (of people and the earth itself). Therefore, all our hope is in Him. All our strength and courage is in Him. All our peace and rest is in Him. Without Him, truly we have nothing. Nothing but fear, pain, death.
But let’s look up. Let’s remember. Let us keep calling out to Him who can calm the raging winds. Let us keep stepping forward, even through the uncertainty and sufferings, and keep praising the One who knows all about everything, who knows what to do, who knows the final outcome, and who knows how to protect, provide, and comfort us.
Please click on the above link, and as you read, keep in mind, as I also keep in mind, that our trials at that time were enormous, and yet the Lord gave us, day after day, renewed strength, peace, comfort, joy, provision, protection, Himself, and all those other blessings that come from being untied with Him, so that we rode through safely. The testing went on for a much longer time than anticipated, but we came through –and learned a ton in the meantime.
So, although Fear tries sometimes to strangle us, let us again focus our minds only on Jesus. On what He can do. On the fact that He is the Healer, the All-powerful One, the One “who performs miracles.” (Ps. 77:14)
It does help to remember God’s faithfulness through the past, to declare His most certain faithfulness to us now and into the future, to write it down and confirm it to ourselves. This blog has helped me, if no one else. I’ve written a lot down. A lot of what God has done for me in my life, and for my family, the Agta, and others I’ve prayed for. I’ve written down what God has taught me –from His Word and His Spirit and through circumstances –the difficult ones and the ones full of peace and joy. I have thousands of notes and dates in my Bible, and those, as well as my blog posts, will, and have been, extremely helpful to me in remembering. Remembering that God does speak, that He does care, that He is in control, and that He does deliver. And even when I’m very old, I will look back and read my own writings about God’s faithfulness to me, about His love to us all, about His kindness, His power, His mercies, and His tender love. I will read my own writings about His expectations of us, but also about His help to us.
I’ve written about God’s Word, and have shared much about its effects on me personally –my life, my beliefs, my words, my actions. I’ve written about spreading His Truth –how I do it and about the huge importance of doing so in whatever ways He directs each one of us. I’ve written about the importance of praising the Lord, obeying and honoring Him, memorizing His Word, and putting it into practice. I’ve written about my Savior, my Lord, my Counselor, my Teacher –about His attributes. I’ve written about how much I love Him, and have shared about what He has taught me. I have written because it makes a difference. For eternity. At least for me. And hopefully for others as well.
May the Lord give us continued peace, courage, and rest –the real kind which He only can provide. And may we all wait calmly and faithfully until He delivers.
April 13, 2015
In John 17:17-19 we read Jesus praying to the Father, “Sanctify them through Your Truth: Your Word is Truth. As You have sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the Truth.”
From these verses we can learn that it is God’s Word, the Truth, that sanctifies us, which means that it cleanses us from sin and makes us holy and separated unto God. Let no one think that “sanctify” means only “set apart for God”. Many people teach this, but it is not all that sanctification entails. We are set apart unto God through His grace and power and through our faith (our belief, repentance, and submission), but we must remain in this position. (John 15:1-10 // 2 Peter 3:17) If we continue deliberately sinning, we are treating our sanctified position with contempt and God will negate the pardon He gave us. Those who do not believe this need to study and contemplate such verses as Mt. 18:32-34 and Heb. 10:26-31.
Let’s look again at John 17:17-19. We see that it is through God’s Word that we are able to abide in righteousness before God. And why does Jesus sandwich between two phrases –phrases about being sanctified by the Truth– a statement about His commission of sending us into the world (to spread the Truth)? I believe it is because our obedience to the “Great Commission” (see Mt. 28:18-20) is part of our sanctification. As we abide in God’s Word –saturating ourselves with it by reading it, studying it, meditating on it, and putting it into practice– we grow in the fruit of the Spirit and in knowledge of God, His ways, His power, His holiness, His wisdom, His maturity, His grace, and into His image. (Rom. 8:29 // Gal. 5:22,23 // Eph. 1:17-19 & 4:13 // 2 Peter 1:5-8 & 3:14,18) Jesus reveals through His prayer that this growth and fruit production happens through the Word of Truth.
What then should we be doing concerning the Word of Truth? We should be seeking its gems fervently. We should be studying it, memorizing it, and obeying it. Do we set aside plenty of time each day to sit, undistracted, under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit who is found in the Word? Do we quote it and meditate on it even while going about our other activities during each day? Do we organize our week so that we are putting the commands therein into practice? All these we should be doing. All these we are required to do. Attention, honor, and obedience to the Word of God is what will keep us sanctified in God’s eyes.
Let no one be deceived: Whatever we sow, that is what we will reap. (Gal. 6:7) If we sow to please the sinful nature, from that nature we will reap (within ourselves, for ourselves, and in and for those we influence) corruption, decay, rottenness, defilement, death, and destruction. (v. 8) But, if we sow to please the Holy Spirit, from Him shall we (and others we influence) reap Eternal Life. (same verse)
Sowing to the Holy Spirit means we are putting God’s Truth into our minds, our hearts, and our lives. It means we are abiding in God’s Word by meditating on it continuously and applying it obediently. It means we are growing in our sanctification and are thus pleasing to God.
April 8, 2015
My sister and her kids came to visit us recently, which, living in Idaho, they are able to do only about once a year. We had a great time and below are some photos of our time together. (Jillian stayed with her grandparents five days longer than the others because she had come from the East Coast on her Spring Break, surprising her siblings.) We certainly appreciated the Lord working it all out and keeping everyone safe, including through the unexpected snow and ice storm!
Also: The last several photos are some of our family this last week.
3/5/15 Jillian, when we visited at my brother’s Cornerstone Ministry at UTA
To see a photo of Jenny’s husband and to read about a very endearing thing he did recently for a boy with cancer, click here:
April 5, 2015
There are many beautiful, wonderful messages within the Message of Easter. One of them is Jesus speaking, “Peace be with you.” (Luke 24:36) What comfort! What joy and assurance! What power! For it is Christ’s own peace that He gives to us, and He breathes it into all who receive His Spirit. (v. 49 // John 14:25-27 & 20:21,22 // Acts 1:4-8) If we walk in faith / submitted to His Spirit’s instructions, we will walk in this supernatural peace regardless of the wind and the waves around us. (Mark 4:35-41)
The Lord invites us to be trained in His Truth, for through it we will experience His very own comfort and become skilled in utilizing His power –those things which enable us to participate in His divine nature. (John 14:25-27 // 2 Peter 1:3,4) Truly, for all who ask and seek (Luke 11:9-13), the Lord will open up our minds so that we will understand the Message in all its abundance. (24:45 // John 14:26 & 16:13)
The Message of Easter is full of meaning for us and we can see a short summary of it in Luke 24:44-49:
~~Jesus tells His disciples (and us) that He is the One the Old Testament Scriptures were pointing to.
~~Jesus tells us that He fulfilled what is written about the Christ coming to suffer and rise from the dead the third day.
~~Jesus tells us that forgiveness of sins, as well as repentance, will be preached in His name to all nations, and that this will begin in Jerusalem.
~~Jesus tells His disciples (and He tells us too who believe) that we are witnesses of this Message.
~~Jesus tells His disciples (and it includes us) to wait until we have been clothed with the divine power the Heavenly Father has promised.
These are the (summary) truths the Message of Easter brings us. Are they not glorious?! Yet there is even more abundance within each. May the Lord, therefore, reveal them as we continue to follow His teaching. (John 8:31-36)
April 3, 2015
At this time of year it is right that we take time out of our schedules to remember Christ’s death on the cross and to thank Him, with utmost gratefulness, for paying for our sins. And though we know that Jesus was actually crucified on Thursday, dying the same day (see http://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/holidays-and-holy-days/solving-the-three-day-three-night-mystery/ ), we should be glad that much of the world does, at least in one way or another, acknowledge, or even honor, the sacrifice the Lord made for mankind.
I, for one, am glad that the cross is a focus in many people’s artwork and decor. (See the two photos below.) In fact, almost every time I see a cross, I stop to admire it, for I am intrigued by how many different designs, shapes, and types can be made. However, I’m certain my interest in crosses could not merely be that there are so many different styles, but that they are so often displayed, which, I believe, reveals the spiritualness of what it symbolizes. What it symbolizes (the believer’s forgiveness, freedom from sin and its penalty, and union with Christ) is what draws me and fills my heart with awe and love and gratitude to God.
Without Christ’s death, without His blood having been shed, there would have been no pardon for us, no redemption, no way for sinful humans to approach the Holy Most High God, and no eternal life. But Jesus –God who entered the world as a man– and who remained sinless, did die. He did shed His blood, and the punishment for sin that He took, did turn God’s wrath aside for all who believe and repent.
Because of His perfect justice, God does have to punish moral lawbreakers. But because of His love and mercy, He wants to forgive. So He made a way: He Himself came to earth to live and die and rise –to forgive and free mankind.
It is the Message of the cross. The very Good News.
April 2, 2015
The Scriptures counsel us to stop thinking of ourselves as better than we are, and to repent. (Rom. 12:3 // Rev. 3:17-19) Too often we think we are in need of nothing spiritually –that we understand so much and that we are walking in purity, power, and knowledge –even though we most certainly are not. Oh, the abundance of pride! Oh, the refusal to humble ourselves, to listen to godly advice, to take an honest and hard look at ourselves, to fear God, and to heed His Word and His Spirit’s voice of conviction.
But pride blinds. It causes us to deny what we are actually doing, what we really have become. We have become deniers. Going on in lazy, lukewarm, and shameful behavior, we compare ourselves to others rather than to the Holy Almighty God who has commanded us to be as perfect and as holy as He is. (Mt. 5:48 // 1 Peter 1:15,16)
“I can never attain that!” many insist, their voice tinged with either hopelessness or rebellion, or both.
But God’s Word insists that the command holds. Moreover, we have been shown there how to achieve that victory and how to continue to walk in it.
Yet so much blindness prevails! Why? Isn’t it because of the high number of false teachers who are leading the flock astray? (Acts 20:29,30) –Leading many straight into the pit? (Mt. 15:14) Isn’t it due to the aversion so many have against the command to be holy and perfect? Isn’t it due to pride and the sense of being entitled to break any rule one feels like breaking at any given time? Yes, we have an Adversary “who prowls around looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8) and an Enemy who specializes in blinding men’s minds to the True Light of Salvation (2 Cor. 3,4 & 11:14), but it is our choices that really incur upon us the delusion! (Eph. 4:18 // 2 Thes. 2:10-12 // Ja. 1:13-15) And once we start down that road, how evil and bitter it becomes! (Jer. 2:19) Yet the punishment we reap for our lack of repentance is just what we deserved! (21:14 // Luke 13:3 // 2 Thes. 2:10-12)
God’s Word repeatedly commands us to watch out, be on guard, walk wisely, be alert, be careful… Do we think we are immune to being tripped up? Do we believe ourselves to be good, even when we lack clean clothes and adequate sight? (Rev. 3:17) God counsels us to buy from Him that which can cleanse us and lift the veil! (v. 18) But do we? Do we study His Word and pray for His Spirit who can open the eyes of our understanding so that we can see both who we are and to where we need to lift ourselves? (v. 17,18 // Eph. 1:17-19)
Let us stop thinking of ourselves as better than we are. (Rom. 12:3) If we are rebuked or corrected, let us not respond so defensively, so blindly, so immediately. (Pr. 9:7-9) Instead, let us take time, even days, to soberly consider the matter, all the while earnestly seeking God for His word concerning it. Let us rub in the eye salve He offers (Rev. 3:18) –that Cure which eliminates the diseases spreading across the eyes of our understanding. The diseases that come through pride. The diseases that result from our denials. The diseases which are pulling us toward the Pit. –That Pit where all go, and exist eternally, who remain lazy, careless, and blind.
March 28, 2015
Below is a tribute with photos that my mom wrote and sent out to her friends and relatives eleven days ago. It is about my grandpa who was born 104 years ago today.
My Daddy is Home with Jesus
On February 23, 2015, my father went to be with his Heavenly Father. It was just 33 days short of his 104th birthday. My mom preceded him long ago at age 53 in 1969. He leaves behind his second wife Gloria who he had married the year after my mom’s death. He also leaves behind his 97 direct descendants—his 4 children, 16 grandchildren, 42 great-grandchildren, and 33 great- great-grandchildren, all of whom are still living today, by the grace of God.
I was able to fly up to Duluth Minnesota to visit him at his bedside for four days in February 18-21 where he had been diagnosed with pneumonia. When I arrived I saw the strongest man I have ever known (both in body and spirit), now weak and seemingly asleep. When I got there I leaned over the bed and said, “Daddy, this is Janet. I just arrived from Dallas. I love you!” He opened his eyes a little, and took my face in his hands and kissed me and said, “I love you too. I am so glad you have come!” Those are precious words to me because over the next three days he didn’t talk much .
The hospital room was full with so many relatives that they couldn’t all be in the room at the same time. I was staying with my wonderful cousin Sharon and she took me to visit daddy each day. She also provided a record player which played hymns softly each day. On the fourth and last day I was there, there were only three of us in the room that morning and I was able to read John 14:1-6 to my dad and pray for him. My brother told me, before I arrived, how the hospital janitor came in one day and asked my dad if he was afraid. Daddy answered, “No I’m not! I’m going to heaven!” The janitor then prayed with him.
My dad had loved the Lord and served him at church as head deacon for over 30 years. He was strong-minded and sometimes some on the board would argue a point with him, but they usually came to agree with his posi- tion. I also learned at a young age that he usually was right. I admired this in him.
Daddy worked at the Duluth Steel Plant for 47 years and never missed a day for sickness or a blizzard; nor was he ever once late to work. He was president of the St. Louis County Fair and told the board he would be president only if they would promise not to sell liquor on the grounds and make sure that no ‘girlie shows’ were allowed on the premises. At first they argued with him but decided he was right. He held that office for 7 years.
Daddy loved fun and traveled a lot, still driving his van in his late 90s. He loved to laugh.
I will miss being able to sit in his living room when Tom and I visited him. We often listened to some of the 50+ Christian records on the old phonograph with him and Gloria, as daddy would sing along. Some say that he didn’t have a good singing voice, but it was music to me.
I was only able to spend those four days with him, and then he entered glory on the 23rd of February. I feel a deep peace as I look back on his life.
May God’s love be with you all,
5. My dad & mom (Eva) dressed for town centennial 1949
9. Daddy getting kiss from wife Gloria, 2014