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  • Abraham Lincoln on Criticism

    "If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what's said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference."
  • Consider the Cost

    "Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events." ~Winston Churchill
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  • Charles Spurgeon

    "Our blessed Lord reveals himself to his people more in the valleys, in the shades, in the deeps, than he does anywhere else. He has a way and an art of showing himself to his children at midnight, making the darkness light by his presence."
  • Progress through Perseverance

    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or whether the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; Who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; Who, at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; And who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. It is far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight of life, knowing neither victory nor defeat. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
  • Psalm 7:10-17

    God will uncase the hypocrites ere long, and make them know, to their sorrow, what is was to trifle with Him." - Richard Baxter
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  • The Reformed Pastor – Richard Baxter

    “We must carry on our work with patience. We must bear with many abuses and injuries from those to whom we seek to do good. When we have studied for them, and prayed for them, and exhorted them, and beseeched them with all earnestness and condescension, and given them what we are able, and tended them as if they had been our children, we must look that many of them will requite us with scorn and hatred and contempt, and account us their enemies, because we ‘tell them the truth.’ Now, we must endure all this patiently, and we must unweariedly hold on in doing good, ‘in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God, peradventure, will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.’ We have to deal with distracted men who will fly in the face of their physician, but we must not, therefore, neglect their cure. He is unworthy to be a physician, who will be driven away from a frenetic patient by foul words. Yet, alas, when sinners reproach and slander us for our love, and are more ready to spit in our faces, than to thank us for our advice, what heart-risings will there be, and how will the remnants of old Adam (pride and passion) struggle against the meekness and patience of the new man! And how sadly do many ministers come off under such trials!”
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Ladies, YOU need to hear this… Listen up!

Hey ladies, my valuable, worthy ladies who love God and put yourself out there every day for others. Yes, I mean you.

Melody2 by Jesse Therrien from freeimages freesxc

I have something to tell you, something you NEED to hear. I’ve gotten so many letters, texts, Facebook messages, phone calls, and frustrated, “I need to talk to you,” face to face encounters that I have to address this. Urgh.

There is something you may not know and I’m going to tell you right now.

So listen up.

You are valuable.

You are loved.

You are who you are because God made you that way. That makes you special… special to God… special to me.

Yes, I mean you.

I see you day to day putting yourself aside and working for others, dropping by a vase of flowers for a sick older lady, changing diapers in the church nursery, going out to work to help support the family, caring your grandchildren, sacrificing for your children, washing dishes after a fellowship in your church, raising an adopted child by yourself, taking your kids to sports practice, blogging tutorials for strangers on how to save a dime, tutoring the student who just doesn’t get it, caring for a sick husband, encouraging others to keep going…

You do so much for others that I couldn’t possibly list it all. And yet, you are discouraged, feeling unloved and disrespected.

To quote a phrase in the Bible, because it is so simple yet profound, “These things ought not so to be.”

It makes me angry (yes, I can be angry and sin not) to see the women around me live discouraged, defeated lives because of how they are regarded by those around them.

It ends now.

Every woman who belongs to Christ (if you’re not sure, go here) must claim their position in Him, realize their value, and act like it!

No more questioning. No more letting people walk all over you. No more wondering if you can be used.

NO MORE!

You are not alone.

When you met Christ, you not only were forgiven, but you became brand new. You became His child, valuable and complete.

Did you hear that? You are complete in Him. He VALUED you enough to hang on that cross – FOR YOU.

So how is it that we wonder if we are enough? How is it that we question our value?

Um, no.

Right now you are going to realize you are valuable, complete in Him and to be regarded as such. No more are you going to accept the notion that you are not as good or capable or usable as that woman you think is better than you (or that woman that thinks she is better than you and lets you know it).

If someone tries to make you feel small, you just stand tall and tell yourself, “I am a daughter of the Most High God, I am valued, I am complete in Him.” Notice I said, “tries.” No one can put you in your place but God, and if you belong to Him, you are already placed in His hand and He is in your heart.

Repeat after me, “I got this.”

Photo by Stephen Davies freeimages

I don’t mean, “I got this,” as in “I’m perfect,” I mean, “I got this, I’m complete, I’m valued by God, I don’t need your approval, I don’t need you to put me in my place. I’m good where I’m at, in my God’s hand, loved and valued.”

Stop comparing yourself to other women. Stop trying to compete. Just be whom God made you. Accept who you are. Realize your value. Stand up and say, “I got this.”

Being submissive doesn’t mean we are a little mouse that walks around afraid to speak. If you’re not sure this is true, go read in the Scriptures about how all the women that served God were strong, confident women with purpose.

Being a good woman doesn’t mean you stand by while others smack you around with their words or actions. Others will not respect you if you don’t respect yourself. Stand up and say, “I got this.”

One friend recently said, “I’ve decided I will just stay in my room when they are home.”

Um. No.

You are not going to hide. You are not going to step aside and let them devalue you, take advantage of your insecurities or let them make you feel unloved. You are the daughter of a king. You step up and say,

“I got this.”

You are going to claim your position in Christ, say to yourself, “I belong to the King,” and take your place as a valued child. You are going to set your boundaries and claim your spot. It is your home. They are visitors. They will respect and cherish you or they will go.

I have a family of 5 living in our home and my 87 year old mother. None of them treat me like I am worthless. None of them push me around. None of them disrespect me. In fact, it is just the opposite. I have loved every moment my daughter’s family has been in our home for the past 5 months. I have gained much by having my mother in our home. We help each other, we laugh, we enjoy, we respect each other. When they move out in the next few days I will feel a loss. When my mother goes home to glory, I will feel a void.

If this is not the case with those around you, then you need to reevaluate your relationships, disconnect from those who do not value you and find some who do. Pray for a girlfriend who will uplift you and support you. Find someone who can encourage you and walk with you. Set your boundaries with everyone in your life and make it clear you know whom you, to whom you belong are and who you are not. And then tell yourself, “I got this.”

You are a daughter of the King.

You are valuable.

You are loved.

You are who you are because God made you that way.

That makes you special… special to God… special to me.

And yes, I mean you.

Blessings to you,

VAL signature

You’ll Get Through This by Max Lucado

www.momofmany.wordpress.comYou’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times by Max Lucado was quite good. I would recommend this book to anyone who’s struggling with trials in their life. Too often I’ve seen people quit or make poor decisions on which direction to take while in the midst of trial because they can’t seem to see around the corner, knowing that God is big enough to take care of anything. This book explains how it is that God is able, and encourages the reader to wait just a bit longer than what seems appropriate to see what good things will come after the trial is done.

Since I’ve personally lived through more trials than the average person, I can testify to the fact that God is bigger than any circumstance and that we can trust Him. Lucado was right on when he encouraged the reader to persevere and sit tight. Throughout the book he cited examples to back up his points. He’s easy to read and relate to. His writing style is relaxed and believable. I would recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with staying faithful or is discouraged.

Thomas Nelson Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Christian Liberty – Permission to be Free

I made reference a few days ago on my Facebook status that our Pastor, Weng Liew, had “hit one out of the park.” He sent me his notes tonight and I have his points listed below. Make sure you slooowwwlyy read through them. At first glance they appear to be the typical sermon on Christian liberty, ie: do right, do your best, don’t use your liberty to sin, etc. But take the time to read what he has to say. Read each word carefully. If you do, you’ll see why our whole family celebrated last Sunday night by recapping what he said and how he said it. It was surreal. We’ve known pastors who see Christian liberty the same way we do – it’s between us and God, no right to judge, keep your walk with the Spirit and your life will please God, etc. but we’ve never heard a sermon, a pastor, actually give us permission right from the pulpit to live according to our own personal convictions. Wow. WOW.

The sermon was executed with a heart of love from a humble servant who desired to see his people live in freedom – freedom to choose their own path, directed by their own personal relationship with God. There was no condemning judgement, pressure to conform, or self-righteous spirit. Though I agreed 100% and already held the exact same thought process regarding Christian liberty, I experienced a deep peace after that night. It’s a peace I wish for all my friends and family who name the name of Christ and try to serve and please Him with their lives.

Here are the specifics on Pastor Weng’s sermon.  As you read it, pretend it’s being told to you by one who loves you as Christ loves His own. Better yet, pretend as you read that Christ Himself is telling you about the freedom you can enjoy in Him. Jump up into His lap and let Him set you free.  Pay particular attention to the last 5 words – they are key. “God recognizes each as such.

(Romans 14:1-23)

1. We need to remember what we are saved from – the bondage and chains of sin. We are free INDEED (completely, absolutely, forever) through Christ.

2. All things are lawful to the child of God, although not all things are expedient (1 Corinthians 10:23). Thus, while a Christian cannot “break” the law as he is no longer under the law, does not give the right to sin. While we are at liberty to act as the Spirit gives liberty, not all actions are expedient, i.e. prudent. Out of all the things one can do in a given situation, one course of action is best. This is what edifies another brother or sister in Christ, not that which becomes a stumbling block to them.

3. The pinnacle of Christian liberty is to willingly do more (not less) than required by the law to love one another.

4. We must remember we are all servants of Christ. Just as in the secular world we do not judge another man’s servant, we are not to judge each other. We are all accountable ultimately to Christ alone. One who abstains from certain meats does it to glorify God. One who eats all meats in thanksgiving to God does so to glorify God. So both believers glorify God by being true to their own conscience (must be done in faith to please God) and God recognizes each as such.

5. My Christian liberty is not to be flaunted so it becomes an hindrance to another believer. Whenever at a disagreement with another, we need to yield (even if we’re “right”).

6. Charity covers the multitude of sins. When we truly have charity one to another, we don’t even see their faults.

7. Believers need to remember we are on the same team. We have the same indwelling Holy Spirit. A brother or sister in Christ is NEVER the enemy. Satan is ALWAYS the enemy.

Joshua’s Spiritual Warfare by Thomas B. Clarke

Joshua’s Spiritual Warfare is a book written by Thomas B. Clarke. This book is not for the casual reader, and though I found the book a little hard to read, I determined to take my time and weed through it to glean the most important information he had to share. Chiastic structure, the subject of his book, intrigues me. My first experience with chiastic structure was in a Beth Moore Bible study. In Joshua’s Spiritual Warfare, he has focused on the patterns in Joshua and used them to point out what God says about spiritual warfare and how they can be managed by the use of His Scripture.

Mr. Clarke read my post about how Beth Moore pointed out chiastic structure in the book of Esther and offered his book to me for review.  If you are the type of person who likes to study the Word by delving deeper than most, and enjoy dividing the Word of God word by word, thought by thought, then this might be the book for you. I was disappointed that it was not solely KJV, though he did make reference many times to it. He used mostly the NIV, which most don’t consider to be a good translation. That said as my disclaimer, I do believe his comparisons to be very helpful.

One of the most interesting statements he made in the book had to do with anger. Having raised some “interesting” children, I’ve always wondered how to defeat anger. It seemed the more I tried to reason with the angry child, the hotter they got. The only solution seemed to be letting them sit alone until they cooled off. Thought it didn’t seem to be the best solution, it was the only one that worked. Anger is such a controller and can maim relationships in a flash, and over time can alienate and destroy a person and those close to them.

In chapter 10, Clarke discusses the chiasm in verses 1-28. His study pairs (A) verse 1 where Ai was totally destroyed by Joshua’s army with (A) verse 28 where Makkedah is totally destroyed as well by Joshua’s army. Then he pairs (B) verses 2-6 where the five Amorite kings attack Gibeon with (B) verses 16-27 where the five Amorite kings are killed. The center (C) verses 7-10 where the Lord defeats the king’s army by confusion are paired with (C) verses 11-15 where the Lord defeats the king’s army by supernatural events.  The pattern is an A-A, B-B, C-C pattern where you take the first and last together, the second and fifth sets of verses are paired and then lastly the two middle sections are paired, showing the main point to be the center of the group of verses, a C – C combination.

Put simply, the two cities are totally destroyed (A-A) with the focus on the 5 kings (B-B), and the demise of their armies by the Lord (C-C) becomes the main point. I’ve used the same patterning to parse other Scripture myself and find it to be quite enlightening – it’s like finding a hidden treasure.

Now, back to anger. Clarke used the story in Joshua 10:1-28 to demonstrate how anger protects a ruling spirit, a demon. When the kings lost their armies, their only choice was to flee because they were left exposed and unprotected. This is much like how when the demons are a ruling spirit in a person’s life. When their army (a spirit of anger) is extinguished, the ruling spirit (the demon) must flee.  The demon = the king, their army = anger. No army (anger), no protection. Anger actually is the protecting element of a demon who is actually the controlling spirit behind the anger. Hence, when we deal with an angry person, we ought to know that there is a controlling demon behind the anger.

I’ll leave the rest of the book for you to experience if you want to know more. Mr. Clarke sent me the book to give an honest review, as I have so done. Thank you for the book. I will definitely be looking for chiastic structure in future Bible study.

Jesus Leads Us Through the Fog

Last night we were on our way home from Taylor’s graduation in Florida when we encountered a dense fog about 40 minutes from home.  It was about 11PM and we had been traveling since 8AM. First it set in in spots that only took a second to drive through. Then it descended so heavily that I couldn’t seen more than 50 feet ahead of me. I was in one of those situations where if I slowed down to a safe speed, I could be hit from behind by a vehicle traveling 65 mph. If I kept at the speed limit, I could rear end another car that had decided to stop or travel slowly.  I was stuck. I considered stopping at a hotel, but my mom was sick and I felt I needed to get her home. I wasn’t really sure what to do. I could see a 20 car pile up in my head just waiting for car #21.

Then I saw two small tail lights in front of me that I could follow. I immediately knew it was safe to continue as long as they were there. Then they disappeared after a few minutes and I thought, “Oh great, there goes my guide.”

The next second a large vehicle passed me and pulled in front of me – about 6 car lengths ahead of me. It kept steadily there all the way to our exit 30 minutes away.  As long as I kept a few car lengths from my guide, I knew I was safe to continue on. It was a bit nerve wracking but knowing there were two red lights just ahead gave me the confidence to keep going.

It reminded me of how Christ leads me – out in front, leading me all the way.  As long as I keep my eyes on Him, I know the road is safe and He will lead me all the way to my exit.

A Story of God’s Protection

Years ago, when I was a child, our family took a trip out east to visit Washington D.C. We were campers, so when we found our camp ground for the week, the camp ground manager asked my dad where he wanted to camp – on the lower part of the campground near the office and all the amenities, or at one of the higher ground campsites, up the hill a ways away. For the past half hour, my dad had been whistling the tune to Higher Ground, his favorite hymn. Since the Lord had brought that tune into his head, he promptly answered, “Higher ground.”

We made the trek uphill to our campsite, and set up camp. Later that night a terrible storm came. It was so bad that I distinctly remember having to stand up part of the night holding up the sides of our camper for fear it would blow over during the storm.  I couldn’t have been more than 10 or 12 at the time, so this was a very scary night for me. The details of that night have stuck with me these past 40 years. I was not only amazed at how bad the storm was, but was also aware that we could be blown away with it.

Eventually the storm quieted and we were able to go to sleep for the night. The next morning we decided to check out, not ever having been able to see Washington D.C.  We discovered that we had to sit tight for a couple of days while they built a new road for us to travel down. The storm had washed away our road to the lower level of the camp ground. In the meantime we listened to the reports of how the storm had affected the area.

All news reports had confirmed that the storm wreaked havoc on the area and D.C. was pretty much under water. There would be no adventure for our family to our nation’s capital on this vacation. We were very disappointed, but as we gained clearance to take the trek back down into the lower part of the campground on the new road they built, we saw the devastation all around us. The high winds had swept several campers and vehicles into the river adjacent to the campground and many campers and tents had been blown away. In my mind’s eye I can see the floating campers and the rescue vehicles working at pulling them out.

It was obvious to us that our father had been given a song that would be instrumental in his decision to choose “higher ground.” Since that day I gained a new appreciation for my father’s connection to His Savior and realized in a tangible way that God is a God of protection – if we’ll just allow Him to keep us underneath His umbrella. I’ve kept that “umbrella” with me since then and have had many occasions that I’ve based my reaction upon the reflection of those days in D.C.

Here are the words God gave our family that day so long ago:
I’m pressing on the upward way, New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I onward bound, “Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

Chorus
Lord, lift me up, and let me stand, By faith, on heaven’s table-land, A higher plane than I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

My heart has no desire to stay, Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Tho’ some may dwell where these abound, My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.

I want to live above the world Tho’ Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound, The song of saints on higher ground.

I want to scale the upmost height, And catch a glimpse of glory-bright;
But still I’ll pray till Heav’n I’ve found, “Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

Thankful for God’s Protection

3 car pile-upI am very glad to let you know that God protected our family today. Our daughter Jillian was driving back to work after lunch today and was stopped right in front of the daycare where she works when another car stopped right behind her. They both had to wait for a tow truck to pass.

After it had passed, she turned into the daycare parking lot. As she did that, she heard a loud noise, but thought it was just the noise of a nearby truck. As she parked and looked, she witnessed a six car pile up right behind where she had been waiting to turn in.

Apparently someone three cars back wasn’t paying attention and rammed right into the car that was stopped right behind her. At the present time, she’s watching the scene unfold as ambulances and police cars arrive. One of the vehicles received the most attention. The back was smashed in about two feet and it appears that the rescue personnel are trying to extract a car seat from the back of the vehicle.

Thank God that she was saved from a possible fatal accident and please pray for what it appears to be a child that will be air lifted to a hospital. I’ll let you know more as she find out what has happened to those involved in the pile up. I am reminded today that life is fragile and that our lives can be changed in an instant. I am very glad I have a God that is in control.

Thank you God, for protecting my daughter today.