Saturday, February 28, 2015

He Giveth More Grace


What a powerful song sung by Larry Ford
describing the unending grace of the Lord.

He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater, He sendeth more strength as our labors increase; To added afflictions He addeth His mercy, To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.
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.
Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision, Our God ever yearns His resources to share; Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing; The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.
His love has no limits, His grace has no measure, His power no boundary known unto men; For out of His infinite riches in Jesus He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.   - Annie Flint

Friday, February 27, 2015

Good Words

 For you, O God, tested us;
  you refined us like silver.
You brought us into prison
  and laid burdens on our backs.
You let men ride over our heads;
  we went through fire and water;
  but you brought us to a place of abundance.
        (Psalm 66:10-12)

Why does God sometimes permit his people to go through “fire and water”?  Because he wants to enlarge our lives through his purging process.  He uses delays, negative circumstances, unfair treatment, and a host of other difficulties as his word works within us.  How else can he secure our total trust and surrender than by the process of refining us like silver?  So hold on to what God has said even though ten thousand voices tell you it’s useless.  Move ahead in the assignment he gave you even when you face obstacles on every hand.  Never mind how difficult things are for the moment.  In just a little while, God will bring you into “a place of abundance.”

- Pastor Jim Cymbala, Break-Through Prayer

Fantastic Family Friday: Dancing Over Me

Read my devotion "Dancing Over Me" here at Christian Devotions' site.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Living with Clinincal Depression

Last week, best-selling author, singer and dynamite Bible teacher Sheila Walsh rocked the house at the Houston, Texas stop of the Women of Faith conference Unwrap the Bible. Walsh taught from John 4:1-26, the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well, and her message to the 6,000 women in attendance was simple but so profound: “The Good News will never be good news until you know that God knows all of your bad news.”

Like the woman at the well--and every other person on earth--Walsh had some bad news. Twenty-three years ago, she left her job as the co-host of The 700 Club show on Christian Broadcasting Network and checked herself into the psychiatric ward of a hospital. That seemed like bad news because having clinical depression as a Christian, and particularly as a ministry leader, is misunderstood as a problem of faith by many in the religious community, instead of a serious medical issue with many medical solutions.

“If you have a brain tumor, you can show people an x-ray and they can see something physical and they’ll pray for you right away,” Walsh tells

Read the entire article, "How God Loved Sheila Walsh Back to Life," by Brooke Obie here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Slay Your Dragons

Michael Hyatt gives excellent advice on how to slay the dragon daily that everyone faces in the morning.  He shares three daily disciplines to help us emerge victoriously.  Keep reading . . .

"I awoke this morning to the dragon’s hot breath on my face. I was disoriented, not quite knowing where I was. I struggled to open one eye. Then another.

And there he was. A dragon. A very big dragon. With three heads. Sitting in my bedroom, like so many mornings before, he was waiting. His heads swerved back and forth, dancing in the dim light. Each head alternately belching fire and hissing smoke.I groaned. Here we go again, I thought. If only I could shut my eyes and will him away. No such luck. His presence only grew more menacing.

I knew that I had to act. I leapt from the bed and ran straight at him. I have learned by experience that my only chance at victory is to slay the dragon while it is still dark. Before the first rays of sunshine strengthen his already substantial advantage."

Read the entire helpful article "Slaying Your Dragons Before Breakfast" by Michael Hyatt here.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Take Time

take time. Not just to eat together, or work together around the house, or do homework together, or go to the athletic games together, although those are important, too. Take time to talk together and walk together. To play together. To relax together. To do fun stuff together . . . just to be together.

- Charles Swindoll

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Living in Captivity

Every one of us experience unwanted situations or unexpected problems in our lives at times.  This morning, Cathy Mogus' article Living in Captivity blessed me very much.  In it she shares action steps to take when we find ourselves in less-than-ideal circumstances. . . .

The divided nation of Israel was in political, moral, and spiritual decline when God called Jeremiah to become its prophet. The priest wasn’t happy with his new role. Apparently writing letters—not-so-nice letters—to the captives in Babylon was part of his job description.

But there was an upside. Jeremiah had the privilege of informing his displaced countrymen, especially their spiritual leaders, that God had a plan. It boiled down to something like this: “Like it or not, you’re not leaving Babylon for 70 years. So quit dreaming of going home and get on with your lives.” He then outlined God’s five-step program for their survival in captivity.

Accept your circumstances as God’s plan.

Although the Jews created most of their own misery, God still referred to them as people he “carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon” (Jeremiah 29:4). In other words, God allowed them to be displaced for good reason.

Read the entire article by Cathy Mogus here.

Meditation: Muller

I saw that the most important thing was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God, and to meditation on it, that thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that thus, whilst meditating, my heart might be brought into experimental communion with the Lord. I began, therefore, to meditate on the New Testament from the beginning, early in the morning. The first thing I did, after having asked in a few words the Lord's blessing upon His precious Word, was to begin to meditate on the Word of God, searching, as it were, into every verse, to get blessing out of it; not for the sake of the public ministry of the Word; not for the sake of preaching on what I had meditated upon, but for the sake of obtaining food for my own soul.

- George Muller of Bristol, England

Read more of Muller's quotation about meditation here at John Piper's "Delighting in the Law of the Lord"

The Morning Watch: Smith

Every morning, day in and day out, I get alone with God.  I would not dream of going to my office before first of all spending time alone with Him.  Nor would I attempt to carry on my church work without first meeting God, morning by morning.  Directly after breakfast I retire to my study, close the door, and there spend the first hour alone with God.  For over fifty years now I have observed the Morning Watch.  If God has used me in any way down through the years it is because I have met Him morning by morning.  I solve my problems before I come to them.  Without the Morning Watch my work would be ineffective.  I would be weak and helpless.  It is only when I wait upon Him that I become strong spiritually. 

- Oswald J. Smith, missionary statesman

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

8 Lies That Destroy Marriage

Imagine meeting with an engaged couple a few weeks before they are married. With excitement they describe how they met and how their relationship developed. The husband-to-be proudly describes how he set up a perfect romantic evening so he could pop the big question.

Then they surprise you by saying, “We want to get married and have some children. At first we will feel a lot of love for each other. Then we’ll start arguing and hating each other. In a few years, we’ll get a divorce.”

Who would enter marriage intending to get a divorce? And yet, divorce is occurring at alarming rates. A large number of people in my church have been hurt deeply by divorce—they’ve been divorced themselves, or they’ve felt the pain of a parent or relative divorcing.

Read the entire article by Bill Elliff here.

Discipleship Tuesday: Worry

Focus on the Family used my devotion "The Weight of Worry" in their February/March Thriving Family.  Read it here.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Fantastic Family Friday: Happy Valentine's Weekend

In honor of Valentine's Weekend, I have posted three great articles related to love and marriage.  Men sometimes define romance as sex, where women often define it as many things other than sex. 

The following three articles helped me think about my own marriage in light of biblical love.  And they remind us that love is spelled a whole lot of ways - especially SERVING each other!

50 Ways to Inspire Your Wife

An old story told from the island of Kiniwata relates the account of a man known as Johnny Lingo. The youngest and strongest man from the island, Johnny shocked the islanders by paying the father of his bride not the traditional two to three cows for his wife, or even the four to five cows for an exceptional wife. For Sarita, he paid eight. No one could understand: “It would be kindness to call her plain. She was skinny. She walked with her shoulders hunched and her head ducked. She was scared of her own shadow." Eight cows!? The entire island laughed at the audacity.

Curious about the story, writer Patricia McGerr visited Johnny's home. She was fascinated by what she describes as the most beautiful woman she’d ever seen. She wrote about this in a Woman's Day article,   “Johnny Lingo and the Eight Cow Wife”: “The lift of her shoulders, the tilt of her chin, the sparkle of her eyes all spelled a pride to which no one could deny her the right.”

When McGerr later pressed Johnny Lingo for his reasoning, he explains, “Many things can change a woman. Things that happen inside, things that happen outside. But the thing that matters most is what she thinks about herself. In Kiniwata, Sarita believed she was worth nothing. Now she knows she is worth more than any other woman in the islands ... I wanted an eight-cow wife.”

Read the entire article by Janel Breitenstein here.

50 Ideas to Inspire Your Husband

There’s an old joke about one of our presidents walking with his wife, who sees one of her old boyfriends in a less-than-glorious occupation. The president looks at the old boyfriend and remarks, “If you hadn’t married me, you might be married to that guy.”

The first lady answers calmly, “If I had married him, he’d be president.”

Now, occupation is not the measure of a man. But as a wife, you do possess a unique power to inspire your husband. Your loving vision of the man he’s becoming propels him toward greatness—not necessarily by the world’s yardstick of success, or even your own, but of God’s.

Read the entire article by Janel Breitenstein here.

8 Mistakes I’ve Made in Marriage

Mark Merrill shares great insights from 25 years of marriage . . .

"I am so grateful for my 25 years of marriage to my wife, Susan.  My love for her has grown immensely over the years. I’ve been faithful to her. I’m very attracted to her.

But I can tell you that it’s not because of me. It’s only because of God’s loving hand of undeserved favor. You see, I’m just one decision away from doing something really stupid that could really damage, or perhaps even destroy, our relationship. And I can tell you that I've made plenty of mistakes in my marriage.

Here are eight marriage mistakes I've made:

Mistake #1: Thinking that Susan was responsible for my happiness.

In my early years of marriage, I felt like an important part of Susan’s duty as my wife was to make me happy. I was a bit more focused on me than on us. I didn't think so at the time, but now looking back, I relied on Susan to lift me up when I was down, to help me upon command, and to meet my physical needs when called upon."

Read the entire article by Mark Merrill here.

Is There a Normal Amount of Sex for Married Couples?

The following is a helpful article from Charisma magazine.  Good word - embrace the attitude of putting the other partner first . . .

"A while back, I was having dinner with a group of friends. Most were married, but there were a handful of singles. Somehow the discussion turned to the frequency of married sex.

The conversation was driven by the singles—ones that longed to eventually be married—who were curious. How many times a week? How many times a month? They had heard of married couples not having sex and couldn't imagine it. In fact, they couldn't imagine anything less than once a day.

Every married person laughed. The questions continued. I knew what they were after. Since each married person at the table had a strong marriage, they felt like we were a good measurement for what was 'normal' and perhaps 'healthy.' "

Read the entire article by B. J. Foster here.

4 Ideas to Improve Your Lovemaking

The following is a good word from Tricia Goyer . . . .

"I like using the term lovemaking when talking about sex in marriage. Any two consenting adults can have sex, but it takes committed-for-life marriage partners to make love.

Lovemaking comforts because it releases tension. A backrub is good for tense bodies, a sexual release even better. God was ingenious in His creation. Through lovemaking we can create life, experience one-flesh intimacy and deep knowledge, enjoy deep pleasure, and even comfort each other in times of stress or sorrow.

These are just a few of the benefits of lovemaking. But of course, before you reap the rewards, you have to prepare the fields for harvest, so to speak."

Read the entire article, 4 Ideas to Improve Your Lovemaking, here, via Family Life Today.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Presidential Blunder: My Response to Obama’s Address at the National Prayer Breakfast

Ravi Zacharias, one of the most intellectual Christian apologists in the world today, offers his brief response to President Obama's remarks against Christianity last week.  It was another one of Obama's erroneous attempts to flatten that which cannot be made flat.

"President Barack Obama’s address at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 5, 2015 has reverberated through the corridors of the world and provoked shock and dismay in numerous quarters. Even a professor at the University of London commented on his shallow understanding of the Crusades. I hesitated to write anything on the subject because it would drag me into politics or into a sobering critique of Islam. I am not sure that at a time like this either distraction would be wise, so let me keep it to the minimum.

For those who did not hear the talk, it is sufficient to say that it was the most ill-advised and poorly chosen reprimand ever given at a National Prayer Breakfast. I have been to several and have never, ever heard such absence of wisdom in a setting such as this. ‎I wasn’t at this one but have heard the speech often enough to marvel at the motivation for such thoughts. President Obama basically lectured Christians not to get on a moral high horse in their castigation of the ISIS atrocities by reminding them that the Crusades and slavery were also justified in the name of Christ. Citing the Crusades, he used the single most inflammatory word he could have with which to feed the insatiable rage of the extremists. That is exactly what they want to hear to feed their lunacy.  ‎In the Middle East, history never dies and words carry the weight of revenge.

There is so much I would love to say in response but shall refrain. The President obviously does not understand the primary sources of either faith for him to make such a tendentious parallel. The predominant delight in his remarks would be in the Muslim world and the irreligious. The next day Geraldo Rivera, opining favorably, made the oft repeated lie that more people have been killed in the name of God than in any other cause. Try telling that to the Chinese and the Russians and the Cambodians and the victims of the Holocaust! ‎Such intellectual ignorance gains the microphone with pitiable privilege. If a thinking person doesn’t know the difference between the logical outworkings of a philosophy and the illogical ones, to say nothing of the untruth perpetrated, then knowledge has been sacrificed at the altar of prejudice."

Read the entire article by apologist Ravi Zacharias here.