Friday, July 31, 2009

Happy 9th Birthday Joshua - Our "Polished Arrow"

Today is Joshua's 9th birthday! We are so thankful the Lord gave us the gift and inheritance of Joshua James. Our first born child, his birth changed our lives wonderfully and forever. We love our children with a depth of love we never imagined. We have a tiny taste of how much our Heavenly Father loves us. "If you then...know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him." Matthew 7:11

Joshua is a terrific blend of a caring, tender soul and a strong, passionate boy. He is loyal, loving and enthusiastic. He loves his younger sister, even though they squabble. Recently, Daddy took Joshua to pick up his tackle football uniform (this is his first year ever playing tackle football for a Pop Warner League). Later in the day when he was playing outside with friends, he dropped everything and ran inside to don his football finery for Gabrielle when she arrived home from a playdate. He put all the equipment and entire uniform on for her. He wanted to share this special moment with her. (He did not even put the whole uniform on for Mommy here, which is just fine. My heart was thrilled that he honored his sister this way.)

Joshua's sport passion is football. He is a Philadelphia Eagles fan, with green running through his veins. For his birthday today, we have invited family and friends for a special day at the home of the Philadelphia Eagles -- Lincoln Financial Field -- for a tour of the Eagles locker room, the football field, press box, interview room and exclusive suites. We are very excited indeed!

In lieu of a birthday gift for Joshua, his friends have been invited to bring a new football for the boys of Rock Ministries of Philadelphia, which ministers to at-risk young men of Philadelphia's inner city. The boys will earn a new football by memorizing scripture. We invite you to visit their site by clicking here.

Joshua is a polished arrow in our quiver. Our prayer is that God will hold him close, continually fill him with His spirit, use him mightily, keep him on the narrow road and abiding in Him daily, and strengthen him to finish his race well. By His grace, mercy and love.

We love you, Joshua!
Happy 9th Birthday!

Lyrics to "Big House" by Audio Adrenaline
I don't know where you lay your head or where you call your home
I don't know where you eat your meals or where you talk on the phone
I don't know if you got a cook a butler or a maid
I don't know if you got a yard with a hammock in the shade
I don't know if you got some shelter say a place to hide
I don't know if you live with friends in whom you can confide
I don't know if you got a family say a mom or dad
I don't know if you feel love at all but I bet you wish you had

Come and go with me to my Father's house
Come and go with me to my Father's house
It's a big big house with lots and lots a room
A big big table with lots and lots of food
A big big yard where we can play football
A big big house
Its my Father's house

Ibidibidee bop bop bow whew! Yeah!

All I know is a big ole house with rooms for everyone
All I know is lots a land where we can play and run
All I know is you need love and I've got a family
All I know is you're all alone so why not come with me?

"Yet what is due me is in the Lord's hand,
and my reward is with God."
Isaiah 49:4

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Treasure Verse Tuesday - Hosea 9:10

"When I found Israel, it was like
finding grapes in the desert."
Hosea 9:10

Grapes in the desert! Oh I love that imagery! Grapes in the desert! Life. Hope. Nourishment.

When I read this scripture, I thought about the Treasure Verse from June 30th: "I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her." (Hosea 2:14) Now here is another scripture in Hosea referencing the desert and the wonderful provision found there. Grapes were considered a refreshing delicacy when these words were penned. God spoke to me through this scripture. His love, His Word and His truth are grapes in a desert for me.

That WOW is that this scripture actually represents God's covenant relationship with His people, which is traced back to the desert. The NIV Study Bible notes that the grapes "beautifully convey God's delight in Israel when she committed herself to Him". WOW! God delights in His people who are committed to Him. We are like grapes in the desert to Him! Oh how He loves us!

A few days ago, I was sharing a concern with a dear friend. She softly and tenderly spoke His love into my heart: "Sharon, we need to relax in His presence and in listening to His voice and letting Him Lead. Now let me ask you, would the God who prepared a table for you to celebrate His intimate relationship with you, ever not lead you through even the "stickiest" of situations. He is able, He is faithful." Her words reminded me of the pleasure He takes in His people. He delights in me, one of His "peeps"! He delights in you. We are a delicious bunch of grapes to our Vine Dresser! Amazing!

May He minister His love and truth to you through His Word in such a deeply personal way. If you'd like to dig deeper into today's treasure verse, click here: Blue Letter Bible.

Going to grab a cluster of grapes to enjoy while I have my quiet time! Simply delightful!
Update at 7:17 AM -- I am finishing up the book of Zephaniah in my One-Year Chronological Bible. Look at one of the verses I read today! This is one of my all time favorites and goes right along with this post! Pour on the grape juice!
"The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."
Zephaniah 3:17

Friday, July 24, 2009

Praying For "She Speaks 2009"

"She speaks with wisdom, and
faithful instruction is on her tongue."
Proverbs 31:26

One week from today (7/31/09), the She Speaks Conference hosted by Proverbs 31 Ministries in North Carolina will begin. Through God's leading and provision, and with my husband's enthusiastic "you must go" encouragement, I was blessed to attend this conference in 2007 and 2008. This year, I am not attending for two reasons:

1. One of my handsome hubby's favorite Bible teachers, James MacDonald, is speaking at Camp of The Woods (where we go annually now) from 8/1-8/8 and that conflicts with the She Speaks dates; and

2. My son's 9th birthday is one week from today, too! I don't want to miss that!

It is my privilege to pray for She Speaks this year. "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." (Col. 4:2) I am excited to watch and see all that He will do! God has used Proverbs 31 Ministries to bring me closer to Him. I am humbled to be able to pray.

For the last few months, I have been journaling specific scriptures I come across while I read each day. These scriptures are my prayers for all the P31 gals and all the gals attending She Speaks. Here are a few of those scriptures. Word of God, speak. (Turn your speakers on for this beautiful worship song.)

"I will bow down toward Your holy temple and will praise Your name for Your love and Your faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things Your name and Your word." Psalm 138:2

"Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us:" 'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'" When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed." Acts 13:46-48

"I desire to do Your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart." I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, as you know, O LORD. I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of Your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal Your love and Your truth from the great assembly." Psalm 40:8-10

"O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise." Psalm 51:15
"Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel..." Ephesians 6:19
"The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me; His word was on my tongue." 2 Samuel 23:2
"The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just. The law of his God is in his heart; his feet do not slip." Psalm 37:30-31
"To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn" Isaiah 8:20
"Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable Your servants to speak Your word with great boldness." Acts 4:29
Psalm 40:4-5
Psalm 68:11
Psalm 49:3
Psalm 145:21
Proverbs 10:11, 21
Proverbs 13:14
Proverbs 8:6-7a
Proverbs 12:14
Proverbs 12:17a
Proverbs 12:18b
Proverbs 13:14a
"My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer." Psalm 45:1

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wonderful Wordless Wednesday

Beach Vacation Memories
"The seas have lifted up, O LORD, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea -- Your statues stand firm; holiness adorns Your house for endless days, O LORD." Psalm 93:3-5

"...and your feasting and lounging will end."
Amos 6:7

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Happy 40th Birthday Lysa TerKeurst!

Happy 40th Birthday to Lysa TerKeurst!
God has used Lysa as a vessel of His truth and love in my life in so many ways!
I pray God's richest blessings on you, Lysa!
You really are "All That And A Bag Of Chips"!
Happy Birthday!
"...celebrate with great joy..."
Nehemiah 8:12

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Table For Two - Prepared For Moi

"You prepare a table before me...
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life, and I will dwell
in the house of the LORD forever."
Psalm 23:5-6

At the risk of sounding like a pampered devotion diva (smiles), I am sharing this amazing "only God" testimony with you for His glory. I stood...and I complete jaw-dropping awe. I share this with the heart of these two verses: "Come and see what God has done, how awesome His works in man's behalf." Psalm 66:5 "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name." John 20:31

Last summer and this summer, we rented from some fabulous friends their shore house on Asbury Avenue in Ocean City, NJ. We love the location, and the house is just right for our little family.

As I was packing for our beach vacation a couple of weeks ago, I silently shared a thought with the Lord. "Lord, I'd really like to have a special place to have my morning quiet time with You at the shore house this year. You know how I like to spread out a little for my quiet time and study time. Last summer at the shore, I used the kitchen table every day, which was dandy. Yet it would be wonderful to have a special little spot where I can spread out a bit and not have to put everything away when I am done every morning. A place where I can meet with You. That would be great. Just a little heart wish, Lord. Thanks."

On Saturday, July 4th, when we arrived for our shore vacation, Jim took the first of many heavy loads up to the house while I was organizing the cherubs and gathering as many things in my arms as I could carry. When he came back down, he enthusiastically said, "Honey, there is a new little table (like a desk) in the living area that is perfect for morning quiet time with the Lord. And I can put my lap top there for when I need to log into work." He was very excited, and so was I. Wow, Lord, thank you!

When I went into the house the first time, wobbling along and looking like an octopus carrying a dozen miscellaneous packed bags for our week's vacation, I took a look at the unexpected addition of furniture to the shore house. It was perfect! Wow, God, thank you! I was so thankful to the Lord for remembering my little prayer.

On Tuesday, July 7th, while we were at a water park on the boardwalk, I called my sweet girlfriend, Tricia, who owns the shore house to see how she was feeling. (She had become very ill the weekend we left for vacation.) Thankfully, she was starting to feel better after receiving treatment and medication. She was on the road to recovery, and we were so thankful.

Toward the end of our phone conversation, I said to Tricia, "By the way, we love the table you put in the living area of the house. It's perfect for morning quiet time!"
Tricia said, "What table?"
"You know, the little table between the fire place and the front door."
"We didn't put a table there."
"Yes, you did."
"No, we didn't." There was silence on the phone for a few moments. "Hold on..." She called to her daughter to check with her, and she said "no". Oh come on! My heart started fluttering and tingles ran through my body. Could it be? Did He?

As soon as we got home from the water park that afternoon, I took a picture of the table with my phone and sent it to Tricia. Her reply: She had never seen the table before. She double checked with her husband and the cleaning lady (the small handful of people who have key access to their shore home). Nothing. Nobody knew about the table or how it got there. But God did. As my husband later said, the Master Carpenter prepared that devotion table for me. He made reservations for a "Table For Two". A place to meet with Him.

God heard, remembered and answered my prayer. He provided a table for me. Literally. He met me there. He encouraged and blessed my heart in a remarkable way. He spoke His love and acceptance to my heart in a way I will always remember. He made my cup overflow. His goodness and love are following me, and I am SO THANKFUL and so humbled.

Before we left the shore house at the end of our week's vacation, I stood at the table with my hands on it. I prayed for all the people who had sat there and who will sit there in the future. I prayed they would meet with God there, that it would be a special place for them as well. A table prepared by Him.

Ask Him to meet you. He will. The table is set. Join Him. A table for two.

"Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of His name; make His praise glorious! Say to God, 'How awesome are Your deeds!' Come and see what God has done, how awesome His works in man's behalf!" Psalm 66:1-3,5

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Treasure Verse Tuesday - Psalm 89:14

"Righteousness and justice
are the foundation of Your throne..."
Psalm 89:14

I share this "treasure verse" with you today hoping this it will bring comfort and surety to your heart as it did to mine when I read it. When I opened my Bible the morning I was in Psalm 89, I had been feeling a little heartache of "injustice" (from my small perspective of life). As I soaked in this verse, my heart poured out thanks to God for this truth -- His throne's foundation are righteousness and justice. I trust in His justice and His righteousness. He is so gracious.

God's justice and righteousness go hand in hand all throughout scripture. Click here for more scriptures.

Since reading that scripture several weeks ago, I have been journalling other verses I come across during my morning quiet time that also speak of His "righteousness and justice". I pray these truth treasures minister to your heart, too.

"But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!" Amos 5:24

"I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD." Hosea 2:19-20

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given...He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness..."
Isaiah 9:6-7

"In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it— one from the house of David—one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness. Isaiah 16:5

"...but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth." Isaiah 11:4

"So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: 'See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed. I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line..." Isaiah 28:16-17

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Baptized At The Beach

"Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter Him, saying, "I need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?" Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased."Matthew 3:13-17

I asked God to meet me in His Word a week ago on Sunday morning, July 5th. As I rose early in the morning to spend time with Him, I asked Him to simply meet me in His a special and clear way. Our children had expressed a desire to be baptized. We were now vacationing for a week in Ocean City, New Jersey, where one of our sister churches (Calvary Chapel of Ocean City) "just happened" to be having an Atlantic Ocean baptism the one Sunday afternoon we were there (which they only do twice a year -- once in the summer and one on New Year's Day).

Jim and I had prayed with and for our cherubs. Jim had spent time explaining to them the importance of being baptized and the significance of being immersed under the water and then being lifted up out of the water. We shared with them the deeply meaningful moment that baptism is to a Christian. We told them we had dedicated them to the Lord when they were babies, and that their decision to be baptized represented their own personal dedication to the Lord.

They were ready. They wanted to be baptized.

When I woke last Sunday morning, I was asking the Lord to confirm for me that our children being baptized that day was His will and His timing for our children. As I opened His Word, He met met IN ABUNDANCE! This year as I am reading through the NIV One-Year Chronological Bible, I have been beginning my daily quiet time in my chrono Bible. My chrono Bible was open to July 5th and this is a portion of the scripture appointed for July 5th:

(Various portions of scripture from July 5th - 2 Chronicles 29:3-31:1)

"Now I intend to make a covenant with the LORD, the God of Israel...the LORD has chosen you to stand before Him and serve Him, to minister before Him...consecrated...purify...following the word of the Lord...purified...prepared and consecrated...sanctuary...singing to the Lord...the whole assembly bowed in they sang praises with gladness and bowed their heads and worshipped...You have now dedicated yourselves to the Lord...thank offerings...willing hearts...all the people rejoiced at what God had brought about for His people...celebrate...submit to the Lord...come to the sanctuary...serve the Lord your God...for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate...the hand of God was on the people...following the word of the Lord...May the Lord, who is good, pardon everyone who sets his heart on seeking God -- the Lord, the God of his fathers...they celebrated joyfully...God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, His holy dwelling place..."

Once again, I was overwhelmed by God's goodness by meeting me richly and clearly in His Word. Why do I sometimes doubt that He will meet me there? Last Sunday morning, I sat with my chrono Bible open, my jaw dropped and my heart gushing forth with thankfulness. Thank You, Lord. Thank You for meeting me. Thank You that Your Word is alive and active. Thank you for the peace and surety of Your confirmation through Your Word. "You have now dedicated yourselves to the Lord." 2 Chr. 29:31

When the children awoke, Jim and I sat with them again. Through tears and with a lump in my throat, I was able to read to them the scripture God had given us for July 5th. July 5th...the day of the ocean baptism. They have seen time and time again how God meets us so personally and intimately through His Word. Thank You, Lord, for Your faithfulness.

I have to confess something. Although I accepted Jesus into my heart in 1979, I had never been baptized. God, in His grace, gave me this moment to be baptized with our a dear friend of ours who is the pastor in Ocean City. My heart is so deeply humbled and thankful. (And you might remember that Jim was baptized in the Jordan River this past February when he was in Israel.) We are all celebrating joyfully!

It was a special day on the beaches of Ocean City, New Jersey, as over 70 people were baptized. Our dear friends were visiting for one night, which made it extra special and meaningful for us. Here are a few photographs:

"...they celebrated joyfully..."
2 Chronicles 30:23

Also part of the July 5th daily chrono Bible reading was

Psalm 66 (He Holds Our Lives In His here) and

Psalm 67 (A Missionary here).

Thank you for stopping by for "Baptized At The Beach"!
We had a wonderful vacation. It's nice to be back.
I was mostly cyber-free on vacation,
so I am looking forward to catching up on blog visiting soon!