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Psalm Friday

The Path of Obedience
Psalm Friday
Psalm 23, continued

* Pray. Ask God to give you an open heart and mind to learn new truths from His Word. Read Psalm 23 through three times. Record any thoughts or questions you have in your journal. If a verse stands out to you, write it on an index card and begin committing it to memory.

“He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
Psalm 23:3b, NKJV
Sheep are creatures of habit. If you and I were to follow Dolly, our sweet little sheep who experienced restoration last time we were with her, during her daily routine, you would most likely tread down the same paths she has walked down day after day, stop by the same brook to quench your thirst and feed on the same fields she has fed on for weeks.

Some habits are good for Dolly; this particular one is not. You see, if a she continues to walk down the same path she’s always walked, the path will become a rut and the rut will become a ditch and if Dolly were to stumble in the ditch it would be very difficult for her to regain her footing which could lead to Dolly becoming cast once again. If Dolly continues follow the same path down to the same brook to stand in the same spot to drink of the same water, eventually the sand on the shoreline will become eroded possibly causing Dolly to slip into the water which could lead to her drowning. Another issue arises from this habit of Dolly’s; if she continues to feed in the same field for weeks on end, that field will literally become a poor, ravished field of nothing but dirt and grass roots because she will have pawed her way to the roots of the grass in search of something to eat. Dolly’s only hope is that her shepherd is close beside her leading her down paths that will bring to her the rest, health, and nourishment that her delicate body needs to survive and thrive.

So it is with you and me. We are creatures of habit. Some of our habits are good; some of them, not so much. We are in desperate need of the Good Shepherd to lead us down those paths of righteousness; those paths that will lead to our growth and prosperity in His kingdom and for His glory.

We have all, at one point or another, walked down our own paths, with our own agenda, thinking that our way was best. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6). I don’t know about you, but my paths only lead to destruction. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death (Proverbs 14:12 & 16:25).

The only hope we have is to follow in the way of the Good Shepherd. He tenderly and with much compassion and love says to us, “I am the way, the Truth, and the life” (John 14:6a); “I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10b). But, it all comes down to one thing; it all comes down to a matter of obedience. Are you and I ready to follow Him down His paths of righteousness? Are we ready to put aside our selfish desires and take up our cross, daily, and follow the Good Shepherd? Are you and I willing to do His will for our lives, whatever it may be? Are you and I willing to obey no matter what the cost? He is leading, will you follow?

I wonder today: are you stuck in a rut? Are you day after day walking down those same paths that are leading you farther and farther into a pit of sin? Are you trying to quench your thirst with the things of this world: money, drugs and alcohol, dependence upon people, climbing the corporate ladder to get that promotion that will only take you away from your family more often? Are you going back to those same unhealthy habits time and time again because they give you some “relief” for a short time? Do you have some bad habits that need to be broken today?

My friends, God has taken up residence within us through the person of the Holy Spirit. We have the power contained within to live a life of complete obedience to the Good Shepherd and follow in His paths of righteousness.

“for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good
Philippians 2:13, ESV


Psalm Friday

Restoration for Dolly
Psalm Friday
Psalm 23, continued

* Pray. Ask God to give you an open heart and mind to learn new truths from His Word. Read Psalm 23 through three times. Record any thoughts or questions you have in your journal. If a verse stands out to you, write it on an index card and begin committing it to memory.

“He restores my soul.”
Psalm 23:3a, NKJV

Psalm 23 is written by a sheep expressing to others the kind of care his Shepherd provides him with. There is evidence of this fact in the very first statement of this Psalm, “The LORD is my Shepherd.” I find it hard to believe that a “goat” would make this calm and then continue on describing to others the benefits of belonging to the Shepherd’s fold of sheep. I believe it is also safe to say, because we know this is a Psalm penned by a sheep, it is possible and highly probable for that sheep who belongs to the Good Shepherd to fall away and become in need of restoration. If this is not the case, for what other reason would David have said, " He restores my soul"?

This Psalm is David’s proclamation of all the benefits of belonging to the fold of God. One of the great benefits in belonging to this flock is knowing that when that when one falls down, the Good Shepherd is there to restore us, to rescue us, to set us once again back on the path of righteousness.

In studying this verse I’ve come across some very interesting facts about sheep. Have you ever heard the term “cast sheep”? I had not either. Let me explain what it means. A cast sheep is a sheep who has laid down on the ground and while laying there, has, for many different reasons, rolled over onto it’s back with legs sticking straight up into the air, and is now unable to get up. This predicament can be fatal for the sheep. If the day is hot and sunny, a cast sheep will most likely only survive for a few hours. In cool, overcast weather, the chances of survival for the cast sheep do increase, but only by a few days. Putting the weather aside, if the wolves find the sheep in this cast down position, they are going to enjoy lamb chops for lunch. The life of the sheep once again relies solely on its shepherd.

Today we will answer the following questions:
~How does a sheep come to be known as a cast sheep?
~What does the shepherd do for the cast sheep in order to restore it back to the flock?
~What does all of this have to do with you and me?

Picture in your mind a beautiful day. The pastures are filled with lush green grass. Our sheep of the day, let’s call her Dolly, has enjoyed a nice meal and is ready for a little bit of R&R. In search of that “perfect” spot, Dolly wanders away from the rest of her flock. She finds a comfy, soft hole to rest her weary body in. She nestles safely down into her little cubby of a bed and enjoys her time of rest. That is, until she tries to get back up. Because she has chosen the comfiest of places to lie down and because her wool coat has become too heavy causing her to be “weighed” down, she is now unable to get up. In her pursuit to rise to her feet, she has rolled over onto her back and is now stuck, legs sticking straight up into the air; a sight, I might add, is most unbecoming for a lady.

There are a few problems here for our little Dolly: first, she has wandered away from the rest of her flock- no one is able to hear her cries for help; second, her time to get out of this mess is limited; third, she is in need of some serious grooming- her wool coat is way too heavy; and fourth, if the wolves find her this way, she will be their lunch. Thankfully Dolly has a good shepherd who is always looking out for his sheep and notices that she is missing. Her shepherd begins to search frantically for her and even though Dolly has wandered away from the flock, he hears her crying for help. From a long way off, Dolly’s shepherd sees her and begins running just as fast as he can because he knows that time is of the essence.

“Dolly!” her shepherd calls as he runs to her. Her heart melts at the sound of his voice. Relief floods over her. Her shepherd is coming. She is safe. “Oh, Dolly! What on earth, you silly little sheep. Let’s get you up, ole’ gal.” Dolly’s shepherd gently rolls her over so that he can help her stand to her feet. Standing over her, he places his left hand under her left side and his right hand under her right side. Carefully he lifts Dolly to her feet and begins rubbing her all over in order to get the blood circulating throughout her body again. After a few moments the shepherd stands back to see if Dolly is ready to stand on her own. Oops! Still a little wobbly, Dolly takes a few steps and down she goes. Her shepherd immediately goes to her and continues loving on Dolly. Over time, Dolly is able to stand on her own four legs again and runs to meet her flock. With joy in his heart, her shepherd stands; Dolly has been restored!

In Dolly’s pursuit of finding that perfect spot to rest in, she ended up in a pit of despair. She wanted comfort. She wanted seclusion. She wanted what she wanted. I’m sure Dolly knew what would happen to her if she wandered away from the flock and laid down in that hole. Quite possibly it had happened to her before. Would this time be different? No. The same pit led to the same result. Aren’t we just like Dolly? We keep going back to those same things, relationships, and places that only lead us to times of despair. We think to ourselves, “I can do it this time. I’ve got things under control.” But, we don’t. We don’t know what’s best. Those things, relationships, and people that LOOK good, yes, they may be good, but they may not be God’s best.

Not only did Dolly think she knew what would be best for her, she was also carrying around some major baggage. Her wool coat was too long. It was matted and full of sticks, ticks, and other nasty debris. Dolly needed a day at the ‘Shepherd’s Salon.’ Her friends couldn’t do it for her, because they, well, they had four legs and how were they going to hold the shearers? No, seriously, they had just as many issues as she did. They could probably pick a few sticks and ticks out of her coat, but the major work could only be done by the shepherd. I’ve learned that my friends don’t have all the answers and I don’t have all the answers. Yes, they provide Godly counsel and I pray that I offer to others Godly counsel, but to really deal with all our stuff, the Good Shepherd is the only One who can cut away that baggage. From personal experience, sometimes cutting away all the stuff we’ve clung to for so long, or that’s clung to us, can be hard, but in the end it is well worth the pain.

As Dolly lay there alone, wolves were honing in on her. She was a prime target for them; a free meal. There was no one around to come to her rescue, or so they thought. Friends, when we isolate ourselves from the rest of the flock, the enemy is standing by ready to chew us up and spit us out. Scripture specifically tells us to encourage one another, to serve one another, and to NOT forsake the assembling of ourselves. God has placed each of us in the body where He sees fit and it’s for the benefit of all members (Acts 2:46-47; 1 Corinthians 12; Hebrews 10:23-25). We need each other.

The most beautiful scene in this story is the restoration of Dolly by her shepherd. He came to her in her time of greatest need. He literally lifted her from the pit she was in. Dolly’s shepherd stood with her, loved on her, showed her grace and mercy, kindness and compassion. My Jesus did that for me. He lowered Himself, crawled down into the pit I had dug thinking I knew how to handle my life, and gently lifted me up. My Jesus cut away all the baggage I carried and clothed me with His garment of righteousness. He set my feet upon the rock and gave me a story to go tell.

Are you in a pit right now? Do you feel the enemy honing in? Are you alone and weary? Oh, sweet one, call out to the Good Shepherd? I can assure you, He is listening for your call. He is ready and willing to restore your soul. He loves you more than anything.


A New Sun is Rising

I began my time with the Lord as usual this morning, praising and prayer. I had one very specific need to bring before His throne today. Before I get to that let me set the stage for you so you'll know where I'm going with this.

I met with my Discipleship pastor last night to begin planning for the next semesters women's Bible Study class. After taking this semester off from teaching the Lord has once again given me the opportunity to stand before women and teach His Word. And, yes, before anyone asks or gets all in a tizzy, my hubs has given me his blessing to do this because he recognizes that God has, first of all placed a calling on my life to teach women, and secondly he knows that God has given me the gift of teaching.

Can I just tell you that I am soooo excited! I am just beside myself! My mind is racing with thoughts and ideas. I've already begun praying for the ladies (and their families) who will be attending. I went yesterday and got the all important Bible study pen and paper. I mean who can do Bible study without a Pilot Precise Extra Fine Point pink pen, a Zebra Fine Point blue pen, and a tablet of graph paper? Ok, so maybe it's just me, but a girl's gotta be prepared. :)

Ask my parents and they would probably tell you that I've never been one to stick much to rules and regulations; I tend more, well, how can I put this- be on the radical side of things! I was the one to see just how far I could push things before going off the deep end. In talking with my pastor, one of his questions was, "What are you thinking? What direction is the Lord leading you?" My response was this, "I want to do something different. Something off the wall. I don't want to do the norm; let's do something RADICAL."

Well, guess what? We are. It's going to be different. It's going to be challenging. It's going to be awesome! Want a hint? All I'm going to say is archeology; that's all I'm going to say. Interested!?! Do I know yet exactly how it is going to work? Uh, no. Do I know yet what it's going to look like? Uh, no. Which brings me to my time with the Lord this morning. As I sat before Him my prayer was this in a nutshell, "Lord I need some help here. This new journey You and I are about to embark on, well, I don't know where we're going or how we're gonna get there. So could Ya help a girl out!?!"

God's timing is PERFECT! He is awesome. His response to me...

"5) I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, 6) that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other.
7) I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things."
Isaiah 45:5-7, ESV

In keeping in context with this passage, the LORD was using the Persian monarch Cyrus, to be His instrument to His people, Israel. Cyrus was not a believer in Israel's God, but God found it necessary to use Him to shepherd and judge Israel. My first reaction after reading this text was, "Uh, Lord. I do know You. I'm not like Cyrus."

After meditating on these verses for a while here are my golden nuggets for today:
~1. Yahweh was, Yahweh is, and Yahweh will always be.
~2. I may not know exactly what Bible Study for next semester may look like yet, and I may not know exactly how we're going to go from point A to point Z, but my God knows and He will equip me to do the work He has called me to.
~3. My faithful obedience to God and His promise to equip me will bring Him honor and glory.
~4. He alone is God and only through the power of His mighty hand will His will be accomplished.
~5. I don't have any idea what God is about to do in my life and through my life, but I do know that if I remain faithful to Him and His calling, He and I, we're gonna see some mountains move. We're going to see some new suns arisen' and some old habits a settin' in the hearts of women. Can I get a HALLELUJAH!

"6) And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you."
Philippians 1:6, Amplified Bible


Developing a Character of Strength

Once again the Lord reminded me of His perfect plan in my life and of how great He truly is. My time with Him this morning led me to 1 Peter 5:10-11.

"10) After you have suffered for a little while,
the God of all grace,
who called you to His eternal glory in Christ,
will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
11) To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen."
1 Peter 5:10-11, NASB

Peter, the writer of this letter which was addressed to churches located within the Roman Empire, is completing a section of Scriptures dealing with submission to God and resistance of the enemy when we pick up in verses 10 and 11. In this section of Scripture he encourages believers to submit to the spiritual leaders God has placed in their lives and to, literally, put on an attitude of servitude and humility.

The apostle Peter also commands them to be watchful and always mindful of the goings on around them, because the enemy, Satan, is roaming around the earth just looking for someone to devour (literally someone he can drink down, swallow, destroy). Peter further commands believers to resist, to stand up against the schemes, of the enemy. The only way for one to stand against the enemy is to be grounded in and clinging tightly to the Word of God.

Often times I've come across those who believe that the Christian life is a "walk in the park"; they believe that once they have Jesus then everything else will fall into place- no more cares, no more worries- everything will be hunky-dory. Granted to benefits of walking with Jesus FAR out-weigh the results of not doing so, but Scripture clearly tells us that suffering is inevitable; trials and tribulations are on the horizon and we must prepare ourselves beforehand.

My golden nugget of truth today is contained within verses 10 and 11. Again, Peter leading up to these verses reminds the believer that we are all going to suffer, but that suffering is meant for something, it is not useless. He says, "after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace who called you to His eternal glory in Christ"... Let's stop here for a moment.

"A little while"- This phrase in the original language is the word oligos. It means of uncertain affinity; puny (in extent, degree, number, duration or value); brief [-ly], few, (a) little, a season, short, small (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible). Friends, this tells me the sufferings I experience right now are but for a season. This season of suffering I've just gone through is nothing compared to the totality of time I will spend with my Jesus. If trials and tribulations are going to bring me closer to Him, then bring it on. I can endure times of testing with Jesus by my side.

"the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ"- God, the author and bestower of grace, has called the believer to Himself through the work of Christ Jesus on the cross. He has bestowed upon each of His children an immeasurable blessing of grace and that blessing of grace results in the believer's eternal salvation. Friends, my salvation, your salvation, were brought about only through the glory of Christ upon the cross of Calvary. Do you get that? Do you get the fact that the broken, beaten, unrecognizable body of Jesus Christ hanging on the cross was a moment of glory? It was this moment of glory that brought about eternal, ever-lasting life for you and me.

You and I can press on through our sufferings, not only because they are but for a little while, but also because of the work God is going to do in our lives through them. The Author and Bestower of all grace is going to "perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you" during those times of trials and tribulations. All four of these words point to strength, confidence, and steadfastness. Through our trials, God is working in us to produce a character of strength. It is a character that stands firmly grounded upon the Word of God. It is a character whose faith will not be shaken when the storms of uncertainty and challenge blow through. It is a character whose strength and resolve are found in the Lord.

It is of utter importance that we take note of the fact that Scripture does not say your husband, or best friend, pastor or mentor, will develop this character of strength in you. It is God and God alone who will plant, cultivate, and produce this Godly character of strength in us.

To the God who develops in me a Godly character of strength; who has called me to Himself through the glorious work of Christ on the cross; who restores my soul, molding me daily into the likeness of His precious Son; who firmly roots me in His ways, directing my path; who has blessed me with spiritual knowledge and insight; and who has bestowed upon me blessing after blessing, to You, Almighty Maker of heaven and earth be all glory, and power, and dominion. I praise You this day. Amen.


My Struggle- God's Victory

Let me just shoot it to you straight: I have been struggling lately; struggling to the extent of not being able to sleep and having mild anxiety attacks. Why? The enemy. Satan himself has reeked havoc on my soul the past week as a result of something I read. But, God has used this for His good and for His glory. Praise His name! The Lord has used this time to reconfirm to me the importance of His calling on my life.

I'm afraid I've been guilty of allowing the opinions of others to shape and determine some of the choices I've made or not made. Have you ever had those moments when you've based a decision on what you think would please someone in your life? My friends, let me tell you, I WAS NOT put on this earth to please those around me. I was put on this earth to serve God Almighty and please Him in all that I do. I've come to the conclusion that what others think about me or what I do matters not one bit if I'm doing what God has called me to do.

Man, woman, boy and girl, God has called you for a specific purpose. In the midst of this struggle the Lord brought me to 1 Timothy 4 and then confirmed to me, through a friend, that this is where I was to be right now in His Word. The entire chapter is full of golden nuggets of Truth, but the words that spoke to my heart the most were found within verses 12-16.

"12) Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young,
but set an example for the believers in speech,
in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
13) Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture,
to preaching and to teaching.
14) Do not neglect your gift, which was given you
through a prophetic message when the
body of elders laid their hands on you.
15) Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them,
so that everyone may see your progress.
16) Watch your life and doctrine closely.
Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save
both yourself and your hearers."
1 Timothy 4:12-16, NIV

The culture of young Timothy's day placed great value on age and experience. At this time in Timothy's ministry he was in his early thirties, still considered to be a "young man" in his day. Because of his young age he would have to earn the respect of others by being a Godly example, of which I might add, meant he had to know his Scripture and doctrine. Timothy had been with Paul for many years and had many years of experience and learning under his belt. By all intents and purposes, he was mature both spiritually and experientially. Paul encouraged Timothy to not let the opinions of others concerning his age get to him, but rather to hold his head up proudly and continue on in the work that he had been called to.

Paul listed five areas in which Timothy was to be an example to the believers, those who made up his local body of believers and those he would come in contact with outside the church. Timothy was to be a Godly example through the words that he spoke, the way he behaved, his selfless love for others and sacrificial service to them, his faithfulness to both God and the body, and through the purity of his life, especially dealing with sexual matters.

Until Paul returned to Ephesus, Timothy was to continue on in the studying, reading of, and teaching of God's Word, both for his own personal benefit and the benefit of those in the church. Timothy was to read God's Word in public settings, challenging others with the truths contained within, leading them to the application of the Word for their own personal lives, rebuking, encouraging and warning, if need be, and he was to systematically teach doctrine.

Why was Timothy to be actively serving the church? Because he had been given a gift; he had been given a gift of leadership and teaching. For him to deny this gift and set it aside would have been a denial of the power of God in his life and a rejection of the task that God had called him to. At the moment of salvation, God gives to all believers a God-designed, Spirit-empowered spiritual gift fashioned, with a purpose, for that particular believer. That gift is meant to be used to edify the body of Christ and to expand His kingdom. Your gifts are not my gifts and my gifts are not your gifts, each has it's own purpose, but all are meant to work together (1 Corinthians 12). Paul specifically said to Timothy, "do not neglect the gift that is in you."

Paul encouraged Timothy to give of himself entirely to the the service he had been called to, and to the Scriptures. By immersing himself into the Word of God, his growth and knowledge would be evident to all. This growth and knowledge was not meant to be used by Timothy as a bragging chip, but is was to be used to win others to the Lord.

Not only was Timothy to continue in the reading of God's Word and teaching of the truth's contained within, but he, himself, was to be doing some in-depth study of God's Word. I love how the NKJV words verse 16: "Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you." Timothy was to be retaining God's Word because it was ever before him, and paying careful attention to it's teachings. Evidence of a Godly leader is the fact that he/ she is heeding to the teaching of God's Word in his/her own life.

Because of Timothy's careful attention to the Word of God, his commitment to the calling God had placed on his life, and his faithful and accurate teaching of God's Word, he would continue to be the instrument God used to bring others to Himself.

So what does all this mean to me right now? What has God spoken to me through this trial?
~1. The opinions of others matter not if they aren't based upon God's Word.
~2. God desires to use my experiences to teach the body of Christ.
~3. I am to be serving actively my local body of believers.
~4. God has called me to a ministry greater than myself.
~5. I have been given a God-designed, Spirit-empowered gift that I am to be using to edify the body of Christ.
~6. If I am not involved in in-depth study of God's Word, what am I going to teach others?
~7. To deny God's gift in my life and refuse to use it for His glory is ignorant.
~8. What I believe MUST be based upon God's Word!
~9. Within the Christian realm we are so afraid to call a spade a spade in fear of hurting some one's feelings, or sounding judgmental. We always preface things with, "I'm not saying this to hurt your feelings," or "I don't want to sound like I'm being judgmental," or "I can't say anything because it's not my place." People, that's part of the reason we as Christians are in the shape we are in today. We tip-toe around, afraid we're going to say something offensive, and end up allowing our brothers and sisters to continue on, not only in sin, but also down paths of false teachings. Have mercy!
~10. It's more important to stand on God's Word, than place my faith in my own opinions or the opinions of others.

And last, but definitely not least- My desire is to be used by God is mighty ways; in the lives of my family, my church, and in this world, I am at His service. He is my passion. He is my life. Nothing matters more to me than knowing that I am doing what He has called me to do. Nothing is more important to me than using the God-designed, Spirit-empowered gifts that I have been given to bring honor and glory to His name.


Thought for the Day

~Do you really believe what you say you
believe is really real?
~Are you living your life in accordance
with those beliefs?


Will, The Mighty Warrior

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Psalm Friday for this brief announcement:

Happy Birthday to the little man in my life!!

To my baby boy,

Yes, you are still my baby and will always be. I can't believe that you are already 6 years old. Where has the time gone? It seems like only yesterday that I found out your were coming into our lives. I knew right from the start that you were a precious little boy who would change our lives forever. And, boy howdy was I right. From the womb I knew you were like no other. You were always moving, always kicking, and if I could have heard you, I bet you were always talking. You have been a true delight and a challenge at times. You've taught me total dependence upon Jesus, because there have been days I've wondered where in the world you came from.

Know that I pray for you always. I pray that you grow to be a mighty warrior in God's army. I pray that you be a defender of the weak and a helper to the needy. I pray that you love Jesus more than anything in this world and that your heart's desire is to always serve Him. I pray that all that energy contained inside that little body of yours be used to set this world on fire for Jesus.

You are my heart. You are my baby boy. May God richly bless you, protect you, and use you to bring honor and glory to His name.

I love you! Mom


The Story About Ping

We decided to take a trip down the Yangtze River in China. While we traveled we met a little yellow duck named Ping; passed by several tourist boats, cargo boats, and families who were also traveling down the river; we visited a Chinese school and learned how to write "God loves you" in Chinese; we went to the markets and saw beautiful fabrics, neat little gadgets, and many different kinds of food, some of which we weren't quite sure what they were; we learned about the Chinese government and about the fact that the Chinese people are not allowed to freely worship Jesus Christ; we also learned about ducks because, after all, Ping was a duck and the main character of our book.

The Story About Ping is about a little duck and his family who live on a houseboat on the Yangtze River. Every day the master of the boat lets down the boat's ramp and Ping and his family march down the ramp to find food for the day. At the end of the day, the master of the boat calls out to Ping and his family, "La-la-la-la-lei." When the master calls everyone is to stop what they are doing and immediately obey his call. They are to come running back to the houseboat, march up the ramp, and find their place on the boat. Sometimes little ducks tend not to obey so quickly and the last one up the ramp gets a spank on his backside.

On one particular occasion Ping did not hear the call of his master, because his head was under the water. When he finally heard the master call and realized that he was going to be the last one up the ramp, the one who would receive the spank on his backside, he opted to hide from his master. Ping hid in the tall grasses beside the waters of the Yangtze River.

As the sun set on the river that night Ping was all alone, no family, no house, no master. The next day he began looking for his houseboat, but everywhere he looked on the river his boat was nowhere to be found. Ping met some rather interesting birds that day, diving birds who looked much different than he. He also met a little boy who was floating in the river. Ping almost became dinner for the little boy's family, but because of the kindness of the little boy, he secretly released Ping before dinner. It wasn't until Ping heard the call of his master at the end of the day that hope returned to his heart.

"La-la-la-la-lei," came the familiar call. Ping looked and saw his houseboat, his family, and his master. But, drat, he was late. His family had already begun to march up the boat ramp. Would he be last again? Would he be the one to be spanked? He ran. Faster and faster and faster. As fast as his little waddling self would take him, he ran toward the boat in hopes that he would not be last. But alas, he was the last one. As he ran past his master and received a spank on his backside, this time the spank was well received. Because this time, Ping was back with his family, safe on his houseboat, and in the care and protection of his master.

Oh how our Master calls out to us. "Come to Me all who are weary and heavy laden. I will give you rest." "Come to Me, dear child, for My yoke is easy and my burden in light." "Come to Me dear one and rest under shelter of My wings." "Come follow Me." "Come to Me, for I have provided for you a way out of your life of sin." "Come to Me and receive this gift of eternal life that I have for you." "Come. Come. Come."

There are times we don't hear Him calling because we are preoccupied with the things of this world, enjoying too much it's pleasures instead of basking in the protection of the Master. Other times we blatantly refuse to come because we know we are in for some major discipline due to the fact that we haven't been living the life of righteousness He has called us to. And then there are those times when we just want to venture out on our own because we think we know what's best and can do it all ourselves with no help from anyone else.

Dear friend, nothing good comes from a failure to hear and obey the voice of the Master. We end up alone. We end up confused, not knowing which way to go or whom to trust. We become dinner for the enemy; and let me tell you- HE.WILL.EAT.YOUR.LUNCH., if given the opportunity.I challenge you today, as the Lord challenged me, and I challenged my children, always be listening for the call of the Master and when you hear Him calling, drop what you are doing and run to Him as fast as you can.

We had a Chinese celebration after we finished our study of Ping. Princess Momma made Chinese lanterns and we decorated the dining room.

Yummy Chinese food.

Our Ping lapbooks.


A trip down the Yangtze River

We decided to take a trip down the Yangtze River in China. While we traveled we met a little yellow duck named Ping...

Join me at Truth Christian Academy for the rest of the story.



A Late Bloomer

We were blessed this summer to witness something that you just don't see every day. It all started back in June when Momma turtle chose to lay her eggs across the street from our house. She was so gracious to let us witness this amazing miracle.

We watched and waited with great anticipation for months for those little babies to hatch and make their way into the world. In September we checked the eggs and could tell they were beginning to hatch. We brought an egg inside, buried it in some dirt in a shoe box and watched it hatch. It was SOOO neat!

A few weekends ago we were doing some yard work and out of curiousity I went across the road to see if the rest of the babies had made their way out. As I dug down into the hole I came across several empty shells. Once I got to the actual nest I found one little baby who was trying his best to dig his way out. We had recently had a lot of rain and evidently it was a little too muddy for him to dig out. I called for my hubby to bring the camera and for the kids to come see. We took some pictures then helped the little guy out of the hole and away he went as fast as he could.

So long little fella. Have a nice life!

"Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.

Praise the LORD."

Psalm 150:6, NIV


Psalm Friday

The Living Waters
Psalm Friday
Psalm 23, continued

* Pray. Ask God to give you an open heart and mind to learn new truths from His Word. Read Psalm 23 through three times. Record any thoughts or questions you have in your journal. If a verse stands out to you, write it on an index card and begin committing it to memory.

“He leads me beside the still waters.”
Psalm 23:2b, NKJV

Water is essential in the life of a sheep. The body of a sheep is composed of about 70% water. Water is necessary to maintain a normal body metabolism, and it determines the strength and energy of the sheep, while aiding to its health and general well-being. Without water a sheep can become dehydrated and weak.

When the body is in need of water an animal, as well as a human, becomes thirsty. Thirst is a key indicator that one must find water.

Not only do our physical bodies thirst when there is a lack of water, but our spiritual souls were made to thirst after the eternal things of the Spirit of God.

My mind and heart can’t help but to be drawn right now to the story of the woman at the well. Will you join me there? In the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John we find a Samaritan woman who has come to the well to draw water in the middle of the noon day heat. It was more common for women to come to the well in groups and to come early in the morning so that they could avoid the heat of mid-day sun.

For this Samaritan woman to come to the well by herself in the middle of the day sheds some light on her life for us. She was a loner. This could have been a choice of her own, but her being alone was most likely due to the fact that she had been shunned by the other women of the town because of the “type” of woman that she was. This woman was in desperate need of water to quench her thirsty soul.

As the Samaritan woman approached the well, she had no idea her life was about to be changed FOREVER and her thirst quenched FOREVER. I can see Jesus sitting beside the well with great anticipation as He awaited her arrival. He knew she was coming to the well that day. The fact that He was traveling through her town was no accident.
“Will you give Me a drink,” He said to her. I just imagine her heart began pounding in her chest and her cheeks blushing a bright red as she responded, “You want me to give You a drink? You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan. Jews don’t associate with the likes of me. Not only that, You are a man and I am a woman. You want me to give You a drink!?!”

Jesus said to her, “Woman, if you knew this gift of God that is sitting here with you right now and what He can offer you, you would have asked Him for a drink and He would give you the living water.”

Confused and still bewildered that this man would even speak to her she said, “Um, sir. You have nothing to use to draw water out of the well and it's a very deep well. And where is the living water that You speak of? Are you greater than our father Jacob who gave us this well in the first place?”

I wonder if Jesus grinned as He answered the Samaritan woman knowing that she still had no idea whose presence she was in. “The water that you draw from this well, you will always have to come back here and draw more of it, but the water that I have to give you will quench your thirst forever. The water that I have to give you is eternal living water.”

“Oh, sir, please give me this water so that I will never be thirsty again,” she said.

Jesus continues to talk with the Samaritan woman revealing to her that He knows all about her life. Not only does He reveal to her that He knows everything about her, but Jesus also reveals to her that He is the Christ; the Messiah who has come.

Many of the Samaritans in the village that day believed because of the testimony of this Samaritan woman. Many of them experienced the living waters of the Son of God quenching their thirsty souls. But, where exactly does this living water, this water that brings one eternal life come from? I’m glad you asked.

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb”
Revelation 22:1, NIV

Friends, the living water, the water that brings you and I eternal life, flows from the very throne of God and His precious Lamb. From the very throne of the Almighty God flows this living water. Can I get a “Praise His Name!”?

Is your soul thirsty today? Sit down beside the Good Shepherd. He has lead you to the throne of God to drink of the eternal, everlasting, living waters. Why? Because He knows everything about you and know exactly what you need. He loves you and me in spite of ourselves and desires for us to drink of the living waters of life.


I'm in the Spotlight at CWO

Check out my interview at Christian Women Online! You can read it by clicking HERE.


In Pursuit of Proverbs 31 Bible Study~ Lesson 3

For this lesson, Amy gave us three thoughts to focus upon:

~1. The spiritual aspect of Proverbs 31 is that this woman is a description of the bride of Christ.
~2. She has a pure heart. God sees a clear distinction between a person's actions and the person's heart.
~3. She fills her heart with God's Word and praise to her King and He will give her the desires of her heart. The desires He placed within her.

There are several things that stood out to me, but there is one thing in particular I'd like to share with you now. Amy said under point one,

"All throughout the Bible there are many scriptures that enforce the majority of the lines of scripture in Proverbs 31 BUT... the similar scriptures are not just for women. They are intended for the entire body of Christ. The bride of Christ.

On a practical side, these scriptures give us a look into the heart of women. I can't help but notice a theme throughout... the craving of praise from the husband. The penalty of sin in Genesis 3 was that the woman's desire would be for her husband and he would rule over her.

This desire is evident in Proverbs 31. Something else that is clearly evident is this woman's relationship with her God. Her desire is to please Him."

Along with this point she had us look up and study Genesis 3:16.

"To the woman He said: 'I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be
for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
Genesis 3:16, NKJV

What does this verse mean? A woman gave birth to sin in the human race and now will pass that sin on to her children. Mankind is born with a sin nature. Woman can be delivered from this curse by raising Godly children. Let me explain further what I mean by this statement. Let's look at 1 Timothy 2:15.

"Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in
faith, love, and holiness, with self-control."
1 Timothy 2:15, NKJV

In this passage of Scripture, Paul is not saying that women receive/ maintain their salvation through the bearing of children (salvation is by grace alone through faith alone- Romans 3:19, 20). What Paul is saying is this, that even though the woman wears the scarlet letter of being the "one" who led the human race into sin, it is women, through childbearing and child-rearing who may be freed from that stereotype by raising a generation of Godly children.

Mothers have an extremely unique bond with their children. There is an intimacy between a mother and her child like no other. I would dare say that a mother has far greater influence in the lives of her children because she is with them the most nurturing and caring for them. This time a mother has with her children gives her a unique responsibility and great opportunity to raise children who love the Lord with all their heart.

Yes, woman may have been the one to lead the human race into sin, but she has because of her God given roles, the opportunity to lead many hearts from a life of sin to a life of godliness.

The woman of Proverbs 31 honored, revered, and respected God. She cherished her relationship with the Lord and that flowed down into the life of her family. Her relationship with God was evident in the lives of her husband and children.

What I've learned through this lesson is that it all starts with me. I must first love the Lord with all my heart, mind, and soul before I can lead my children to Him. Not only must I love the Lord, but I must act on this love for Him, by living out my faith in front of my children and making the most of every opportunity to point my children to Him.

Let me leave you with three questions today that I've asked myself as a result of this lesson:
~Do I love the Lord with all my heart, mind, and soul? Is my life a reflection of my love for Him?
~What am I doing to lead my children to the throne of grace?
~What am I doing to teach my children to love the Lord with all their heart, mind, and soul?


Her Children call her Blessed

I read the other day a tribute that Frederick William Farrar wrote about his mother. Farrar, born in the mid 1800's, became a great preacher and theological writer. I believe his success can be attributed, in part, to the faith of his mother.

Listen to what he said about his mother...
"My mother made it a habit every day, immediately after breakfast, to spend an hour in her room, reading the Bible, meditating over it and praying to the Lord. That hour was like a blessed fountain from which she drew the strength and sweetness that prepared her to complete all her tasks. It also enabled her to maintain a genuine, peacefulness in spite of the normal trying worries and pettiness that so often accompany life in a crowded neighborhood.
As I think of her life and all that she had to endure, I see the absolute triumph of the grace of God in the ideal Christian lady. She was such a lovely person that I never say her lose her temper or even speak one word in anger. I never heard her participate in idle gossip or make a disparaging remark about another person. In fact, I never saw in her even a hint of an emotion unbecoming to someone who had drunk from "the river of the water of life" (Revelation 2:21) and who had eaten of "the living bread that came down from heaven" (John 6:51).

Wow! I would have to say that this woman's child arose and called her blessed, wouldn't you? What an awesome testimony of the faith of this mother. Her number one priority in life was not to mingle with the ladies, or make her home "appear" perfect, but rather it was to get on her face, every day, in the presence of the Lord and bask in His glory. I want to be that woman.

Oh Father, may I daily draw strength from You so that kindness spills forth from my lips. Arm me with a spirit of peacefulness and gentleness so that I am able to respond to my family with true concern, tenderness, and love. I desire to be that woman of noble character who speaks words of wisdom and kindness; who works diligently inside her home making it a place of refuge and joy for her family; I want to be that woman who provides for her home both physical bread and spiritual bread. I desire, oh God, to be a mom whose children arise and call her blessed. Please, Lord, help me be that mom. I cannot do it on my own. I need Your strength and power. Amen.

"Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her."
Proverbs 31:28, NIV


Seeing God in everything

There's just nothing like sitting out on a third floor balcony very early in the morning listening to waves crash onto shore watching the sunrise as you have your time with the Lord. I was able to do this not too long ago; and, my friend, it was wonderful. My devotion that morning couldn't have been more fitting. I'd like to share it with you this morning.

"He is the LORD; let Him do what is good in His eyes."
1 Samuel 3:18

"If I see God in everything, He will calm and color everything I see. Seeing God in everything is the only thing that will make one loving and patient with people who annoy and trouble me. Then I will see others as the instruments God uses to accomplish His tender and wise purpose for me, and I will even find myself inwardly thanking them for the blessing they have become to me. Nothing but seeing God will completely put an end to all complaining and thoughts of rebellion." Hannah Whitall Smith

The Lord painted a beautiful picture for me that morning through the vivid colors of the sun rising above the horizons and through the sounds of the waves crashing onto the shore. In the peaceful, quiet moment of that morning I prayed...

Father, help me to see You today in all things, both good and bad. Help me to know that every trial, every sorrow, every annoyance, every battle, every defeat, every victory, every joy, every gladness, every opportunity to serve is ALL orchestrated by You with the very purpose of making me into the woman You have created me to be. May I view everything as a gift from You beautifully packaged, even if the contents on the inside aren't my first choice, that I can either open, enjoy, and learn from; OR, I can toss aside the package aside and miss out on the blessings contained within the gift. Give me Your eyes to see, Your hands to hold, Your feet to go, Your ears to hear with, and Your love to share. In Your most blessed and holy name. Amen.

May this be our prayer today and everyday that we will see God in everything.