Monday, November 28, 2011

The Truth Shall Set You Free

                                                                                                           By Marcia Zimmerman

The words of Jesus in Jn. 8:32 are very often quoted by many. They are words of hope in a sea of anguish and darkness.

  To understand Jesus words, we need to notice His declaration in Jn. 8:28-29of how He speaks and acts only as the Father directs. After He said those words, according to verses 30-31, many Jewish leaders believed Him and followed Him. Then Jesus says that His true disciples are those who live as He tells them to. Only then does He say that those who follow Him will know the truth and that shall set them free.

  As daughters and wives in the home, how does truth set us free? What do we need to be freed from?

  We all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom.3:23). As wives and daughters, if we are not in Christ living the new life He gives all who truly repent and believe, there is no possible way we are bringing glory to God. The main thing we need to be set free from is our own sinful selves.

  When Christ gives us new life, noticeable changes begin to occur. We have a changed heart that desires Truth  and we begin to follow that truth as Christ reveals it to us. When Jesus was being interrogated by Pilate (Jn. 18:37  ) He told him that He was sent to bring truth to the earth and that all who love truth are His followers.

  Do we love truth? As women, perhaps we need to routinely ask ourselves questions such as the following:

   ~ As a women, God intends  for me to be under the authority of my father or husband if at all possible. How am I doing? Do I value his advice and desires for me? Do I love to serve him and fulfill God's plan for me to help him?

   ~ According to the Word of God, if I love Jesus I will be keeping His commandments. Am I? Do I love God with all my whole heart? Do I love my neighbor as myself? Am I careful to speak only words that are profitable? Do I lay up treasures in heaven or does my lifestyle reflect a love of temporal possessions?

  ~ Am I a willing vessel to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus? Or do I fritter away endless hours with shopping, surfing the internet, and gossiping with my friends?

   My answers reveal whether I love the truth or not - If we love the truth, then we will act upon it and Then we are set free.

  Being free does not take years and years, as those who mix humanism into their doctrine like to propose. No - this freedom comes as soon as we repent and allow the Holy Spirit to fill and guide our lives - Jn. 16:35 tells us that when the Spirit comes, He will guide us into all Truth. With this thought, I propose to you that true freedom in a woman's life will reflect the glory of God.

  ~ She will have a meek and quiet spirit, desiring to let the beauty of Jesus be seen in her words and actions.

  ~ She will be an asset to the kingdom of God in the proper role of Biblical womanhood where God has assigned her. This may be cheerfully blessing her parents and siblings in family life, being the joyful mother of children, a grandma who blesses the sisters in the congregation as needs arise, or a young woman who sets a positive example to the younger girls in her life by being careful to live soberly in step with Jesus.

  This is true freedom. It is God's gift, available to each one He has created no matter who we are or what we have done or what evil has been done to us. If we walk in the Light and take the Name of Jesus with us by living in reverence to Him in every word and deed, we shall be free indeed.

  Maybe it it take awhile for us to feel free. We do remember wickedness, whether manifested by us or by others, but I encourage us to love the truth and live lives according to the Father's will He left in His Word. This increases our our faith and helps us to realize with former conviction our freedom in Christ... freedom  - not to live as I want to live, but to live to show forth the praises of Christ - the Source of Freedom.
  Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.
  Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Cor. 3:16-18

When this is the reality of our lives, then the words of this song will be our testimony:

    Once I was bound by sin's galling fetters,
    Chained like a slave I struggled in vain;
    But I received a glorious freedom,
    When Jesus broke my fetters in twain.
    Freedom from all the carnal affections,
    Freedom from envy, hatred and strife;
    Freedom from vain and worldly ambitions.
    Freedom from all that saddened my life.
    Freedom from pride and all sinful follies,
    Freedom from love and glitter of gold;
    Freedom from evil temper and anger,
    Glorious freedom, rapture untold.
    Freedom from fear with all of its torments,
    Freedom from care with all of its pain;
    Freedom in Christ my blessed Redeemer,
    He who has rent my fetters in twain.

      Glorious freedom, wonderful freedom,
        No more in chains of sin I repine!
        Jesus the glorious Emancipator,
          Now and forever He shall be mine.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Abounding with Thanksgiving

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him:
 Rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.  Col. 2:7

 As Christians, we are exhorted not only to give thanks, but to abound in thanksgiving. And why shouldn't we? We have so much to thank our Lord for. Our hearts should be overflowing with thanksgiving to Him who gave Himself to redeem us when we were yet in our sins headed for a lost eternity. Think of it, we were at enmity with God,  full of sin and self and totally worthless. We were Satan's slaves ready at any moment to face God's holy wrath and indignation. But then God in His great love and mercy, not willing that any should perish, but that all come to repentance, redeemed us by the shed blood of His own dear Son, or in other words, bought us back. Think of it, we were sold to God. He had every right to make us His slaves, but no, He made us His sons and daughters. We our heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. That in itself should compel us to abound with thanksgiving. But God didn't stop there. He gave us His Holy Spirit to dwell in us, He made a way for us to live victoriously over sin, and is continually working His perfect work in us that we might be changed from glory to glory that we might show forth His praise.
  That does not include all the physical provisions He provides for us: the food we eat, the homes we live in, and the clothes we wear, and that is not to mention all the extras we have. Think, too about the precious freedoms we have in this land of ours where we can freely worship our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ and read our Bibles without being persecuted. It was just for these reasons (and to protect their children from worldly influences) that the pilgrims sacrificed everything they had to come to a bare wilderness and start a new life over in this land.
  Let's not take these things for granted. Let's rejoice in our redemption by and to our Lord who has given us all these things, and not just today, but everyday.

                           Happy Thanksgiving!

                                                PSALM 111
1Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.
 2The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.
 3His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever.
 4He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.
 5He hath given meat unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant.
 6He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen.
 7The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure.
 8They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.
 9He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.
 10The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Scripture Memorization

 The Lord has really impressed it upon me to commit myself to truly get into His Word, to read it, to study it, to memorize it, and to hide it my heart. Right now, I'm working on memorizing The Sermon on the Mount. I had begun memorizing it over a year ago and got through the first chapter, but then got busy with other things and weary of memorizing, too. Thankfully it's coming back to me quickly as I'm going back over it.

I came across this link that might be helpful to others trying to memorize Scripture.   It gives some good tips on memorization, especially for when you're memorizing long portions, and reasons for hiding God's Word in our hearts.

What I have found to be helpful is:
  Start young! The older you get, the harder it becomes to retain things. I find that it is the verses that I memorized as a child are the ones that that I know the best. This is actually one of those things you can encourage your younger siblings in and to do it with them.
  If you're not memorizing long portions, select one verse a day to memorize and write it down on a small index card - the verse on one side and reference on the other. This way you will connect the reference with the verse. I used 3 x 5 index cards and cut them in half, that way they were small enough to fit in my pocket comfortably. Number the top corner on the reference side and go over it throughout the day.  At the end the the week, shuffle the cards and review.  At the end of the month, you will have memorized 30 verses! I tried this method before and found it to work great, but then again, what might work good for one person may not work as well for another. The only way to know is to try and see!
  Something my siblings and I will do once in a while is go back and forth quoting memory verses until we run dry. It makes it nicer to share what we have been learning. It is also helpful to learn with someone or at least find someone to be accountable to when memorizing.
  If you know of some good tips for memorizing, I would be glad to hear of them. And if you are working on memorizing some verses or a portion of Scripture, let me know! May we be an encouragement to each other as we seek to hide God's Word in our hearts!

Blessings on your day,

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Have You A Barley Field?

                                 1 Chronicles 11:13-14
He was with David at Pasdammin, and there the Philistines were gathered together to battle, where there was a parcel of ground full of barley; and the people fled from before the Philistines. And they set themselves in the midst of that parcel, and delivered it and slew the Philistines; and the LORD saved them by a great deliverance.

There are many battles to be fought in this day and age, whether it be the mass holocaust of abortion, humanistic psychology, evolution, myriads of false doctrines, feminism, and you name it. It's all out there. However, we could never fight them all. Time, energy, and money would never allow us to. However, we can and must find the plot of ground that God would have us fight for just as David and his men fought for that barley field. Where is that plot of ground God has for you to fight for, to defend, and to win? I know where my barley field is. It is my family, my calling as a daughter, a sister, and perhaps someday a wife and mother. It is being a cornerstone or pillar in my father's house ~ supporting my dad, helping my mom, being there for my siblings in every way possible, blessing them and by love and example pointing them to Jesus. It is not a little thing and Satan knows this. He has every device and way imaginable to call us and draw us away from our homes and families, to make us discontent and undermine our sphere of power and influence we have in our homes.       Believe me, Satan knew that if he could get women out of the home, he would have the coming generations. Look around, ever since woman entered the wok force, home and family life went to shambles. Schools began to see an increase in juvenile delinquents, marriages began falling apart, crime and violence went up, and in short, society has been on a downward spiral. In all honesty, how will children learn and value the core values of their parents if they are constantly being shuffled off to the babysitter's or daycare and school from little up? It isn't going to happen. Most importantly, think of their eternal souls. Do you expect them to learn to have a love for the Lord and heart's desire for spiritual things when sending them out to be taught by the Canaanites?
  Dear sisters, the care and responsibility of the eternal souls of our little ones sets upon us. Though I am not a mother, I do feel responsible to be there for my younger siblings, to help guide and direct their footsteps. If I or you as a sister or a mother are not investing in their lives, if they sense other things are of more value than our relationship with them, then where will they turn? Where to will they look for approval, for acceptance, and for something to fill the void in their lives? Is this not the plot of ground God has given us to fight for, to defend, and to win?
  It isn't always easy, I know; the way will get rough, and we may find ourselves weary, but we can't expect a battle to be easy street. However, when we do find ourselves at loss or weary, we have refreshing springs to turn to. We were not meant to fight this battle by ourselves. Our Lord Jesus goes before us and as we get alone with Him we will find ourselves ready to face each new day in the strength and grace He alone can give.
  "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day."  2 Cor. 4:16        

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Journey of Waiting on God

Dear sisters,
  I was reflecting today on the path God has taken me on over the last year. I then wondered if my journey of learning to wait on God while single would be of any encouragement to other young ladies. So I share it with you. It was a painful journey, yet one I'm thankful for.
  As a single young woman in my mid twenties, I have gone through those times that many of us unmarried women face, wondering if the right man is ever to come. Ever since I was little, it was my dream to marry and have my own family. As I reached my teen years, I came to the conviction that marriage, home and family is God's design and place for women, and therefore, I would not take the common route of college or career mindedness. I would use my single years to prepare for my life calling as wife, mother, and homemaker. I also believed that waiting on God for the "right one" instead of dating this one and that one was definitely the way to go. I was certain I would be married at 18 as my mother was, and the thought that some girls would make commitments to wait til they were 21 to marry, even if  the right one came around before then, was totally unthinkable, in my point of view. During this time, I had three little sisters to help care for, which gave me much training and kept me busy. I also learned to cook, learned several household duties, and listened to all the tapes and read all books on godly womanhood I could lay my hands on. Certainly I would be ready when "he" came around. Well, I turned 18 and knew no one, but did not give up hope in the slightest. He would come, I was sure... but then a year rolled by and nothing.
  At 19, I seriously looked at my life in light of God's Word and saw areas that needed repenting of. Though I had said the sinners prayer when I was 8, I'm not sure that I was aware of all that it meant to be a Christian, that salvation isn't just a one time deal, it's a relationship with the Lord Himself. 19 was the best year of my life. Never had I felt freer after getting up off my knees before the Lord. After that, I dug into His Word, spent hours in prayer, and fed on messages on tape by the hour. I learned true surrender and consecration to Jesus Christ. Never had I experienced such peace and unspeakable joy as I did that year!
  Well, time went on, the years slipped by and I was still waiting. I would meet different young men, but time and again, the Lord made it clear that none of them were for me. I started getting anxious about it. I couldn't understand why the Lord was working it out for others, but not for me. I was happy for the young ladies that found the 'right one', but inside my heart ached and I began questioning God of when my turn would come. This is what I dreamed of, it was what I wanted more than anything, and I was so certain it was God's will for my life. So why wasn't it happening?  
  Last year around this time, I came to a breaking point. I couldn't understand why, after all these years of waiting and keeping myself, of staying at home and preparing myself, rather than getting a job, was I still waiting. All around me, young people were getting married and here I was...still waiting.
  The day was rainy, dark and dreary, just as I was feeling. It was everything to keep the tears from coming all day long. At last I went to my room and buried my face in my pillow and just let the tears flow. Why? Why me? I could only cry out to God.To be perfectly honest, my future never felt so bleak in all the years of waiting, wondering, and hoping. I clung to the verses "I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation, my God will hear me. Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me." (Micah 7:7-8) and "They shall not be ashamed that wait for Me." (Is. 49:23). I truly felt in the dark. My future dream looked hopeless. But as I sat there, clinging to those verses, I began to let go. The dream, the deepest desire of my heart I had clenched onto all those years, I began to let go. And as I did, a peace swept over me and I began to see that that dark valley was good for me. It was not only good, it was necessary for me to go through it in order to reach the light at the end of the tunnel. I realized that I could either continue to cling to those dreams and grope my way through the darkness in turmoil, or I could give it all to God and allow Him to lead me through the darkness. I chose the latter.
 A couple days later, I wrote in my journal: "My heart rejoices as I walk through this valley of darkness knowing that I can trust my Father's hand! I am surrendered to His will and the joy I experience is unspeakable! My heart is truly thankful to Him for bringing me to this place of hopelessness and coming to the end of myself."
  A week later, I wrote: "An entire week has passed since I took hold of God's hand that He might lead me through this night season and I have no regrets; my heart is still rejoicing that He, in His lovingkindness, has ordered my steps so wisely and wondrously! Letting go of the things that I grasped onto the most was the best thing I ever did and trusting them to my heavenly Father has brought about the most joy in my life!".
  Dear sister, if you are are struggling with giving something up in your life, that deepest dream or highest ambition, whatever it is, if you are anything, but at peace while holding onto it, may I encourage you to give it to our all knowing Father. I sit here a year later with no regrets of giving over my deepest longings and desires to Him that doeth all things well. Looking back over the years of my restless waiting, I can truly see God's wisdom of holding that very thing back from me. Has it all been easy? No. I have still had my struggles, but not near to the intensity of what it was a year ago. And when I am feeling extra low, I go back over my journal and recount the victory I had then and it reaffirms it in my heart that there is nothing comparable to leaving it in my wise Father's hands.
 To close, I think I'll share another little excerpt from my journal dated the 1st of January. " One year has gone and another has come. As I look back over 2010, I find it was a year of ups and downs, joys and heartaches, trials and victories. I do rejoice in the victory wherewith I stand with heart surrendered to my Lord's leading. Still no sign of marriage on the horizon, yet I step out into 2011 with hope for my future and peace with God's beautiful timing."
  Of course, I didn't have any idea how much more work the Lord would do in my heart in just a few weeks of writing that. I was soon to find out just how patient He had been and still is with me. That is one thing that just amazes me, God's patience with His willful children, especially me. Perhaps I'll share more of that another time. For now, I'll just say, I'm thankful He didn't answer all the pleas and cries of my heart from all those years, because otherwise I would have entered marriage with a lot of baggage. I can testify whole heartedly that God does do all things beautiful in His time, even if I don't see marriage on the horizon!
  Well, I hope this was an encouragement to you. I would love to hear your thoughts, testimonies, etc. on learning to wait on God. May God bless each of you as you wait on Him that doeth all things well.

Still waiting on Him,