Friday, April 23, 2010

When Sinners Say "I Do"

Hello, everyone. I had a completely different post in mind for today, but I am saving that for another time. Why? I want to point you to a resource on marriage. On Wednesday morning as I was driving to Bible Study, I was listening to "Family Life Today" with Dennis Rainey on the radio. His guest was Dave Harvey, the author of a book titled "When Sinners Say I Do". Just the title of the book speaks of the reality of Christian marriage, doesn't it? And the greater reality is that we abide in Christ, the only Perfect One in the Christian Marriage covenant, He makes our marriages sweet and fruit-producing for His purposes and glory. Beautiful.

To read this post in its entirety and to enter to win a copy of this book, click below:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Treasure Verse Tuesday - Proverbs 8:17-21

"I love those who love me, and those who seek me early find me. With me are honor, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, that I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures."
Proverbs 8:17-21

I love this passage of scripture! Here is what is popping out to me today:

He loves me.

I want to seek Him early --- early each morning and early before making decisions or taking a certain path. Seek Him early for my children (praying now for their future spouses, etc.)
Here's the Greek:
1) to seek, seek early or earnestly, look early or diligently for
a) (Qal) to look for diligently, seek
b) (Piel) to seek, seek early

With Him are honor, durable (!) riches and righteousness. Ahhhh.....peaceful.

The fruit He yields is priceless.

Walking in righteousness and justice, He causes those who love Him to inherit substance. Inherit substance! I love that!

To look more closely at these scriptures, click here: Blue Letter Bible

What is popping out at you today from these scriptures?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Why Is My Rain Coat "Dry Clean Only"?

Some things in life just leave me scratching my head. Sometimes things just don't make sense. Why is my rain coat "dry clean only"? Seriously. Rain coats are made to get wet. Why are they often "dry clean only"? I'm sure it has something to do with the fabric and so on and so forth, but really....can't I just wash it on the delicate cycle in my washing machine? Scratch, scratch, scratch my head.

While there are many things in this life I don't understand, there are some things for sure: the treasures of truth in God's Word are sure and trustworthy. In freedom I raise my hands and proclaim, "I know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." And with sharing that message of the gospel, the Spirit's power is demonstrated, and faith rests on God's power. How perfectly beautiful!

"When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power." 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

God's power. Not men's wisdom. No scratching my head there!

Knowing Christ, Him crucified and raised from the dead is sufficient. That's the gospel. The gospel itself holds God's power for those who believe. "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile." Romans 1:16

"Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands." Deuteronomy 7:9

I know God's ways are not my ways. His thoughts are not my thoughts. Oh how freeing! "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,' declares the LORD. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.'" Isaiah 55:8-9 I don't always understand God's ways and what He is working out in my life, the lives of those I love and in the world. But I do know a few things for sure. I know Love. I know God loves me perfectly. I love my family more deeply than I ever could have imagined. I know my family loves me. I know this: "God is love." 1 John 4:8

I know His ways are perfect. His Word is flawless. He is my shield. "As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him." Psalm 18:30

I find such freedom in not knowing so much and in not resting in men's wisdom. I find freedom in seeking out His ways, His precepts, His Word, Him. "I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out Your precepts." Psalm 119:45

I certainly don't know all the answers, but I am content knowing the One who does. I don't claim to know it all, I only claim to know the All-In-All, His grace, His mercy, His forgiveness, His truth and His perfect love.

What are you scratching your head about? And what do you know for sure?

"Jesus said, 'If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'" John 8:31-32

"Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent." John 17:3

"For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power." 1 Corinthians 1:17

© 2010 by Sharon Sloan. All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Day of Small Things

Gabrielle and Holly

"Then the word of the LORD came to me: 'The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you. Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.'" Zechariah 4:9-10

The day of small things. The Lord has been ministering to my heart through these verses the last several days. I love when He keeps bringing me back to the same scripture, don't you? He is faithful. My heart is thankful.
Joshua, Gabrielle and Holly on Easter Morning

I shared a month ago how the Lord gently (but quickly) led me to die to self and surrender to Him in order to honor my husband's desire to grant our children's wish and prayer for a family dog. (To read that story, click here: "My Husband Asked Me To Pray".)

The Lord led us to the dog we were to adopt. It was clear. Loud and clear. We were to adopt Holly, a two-year old West Highland Terrier, who needed a new home and new family.

While I was obedient to the Lord and adopted Holly, I went through several days of grieving this "death to self". I cried. I groaned. It was the "groaning cry". I didn't want a dog. Couldn't God ask a woman who loves dogs to adopt a dog? I had a complaining attitude for a few days and felt insulted by God. My pride and my "ugly" questioned God: "This is how you want me to spend my time? Taking care of a dog? I don't even like dogs." I was insulted. God had hurt my feelings.

I wrestled with God. I wrested some more. Then, His Word came to me and I surrendered. He won. Him winning means that, though I was spent, I was resting in His loving, gentle everlasting arms. In His arms, I was refreshed. My heart, perspective and attitude were renewed.

"Then the word of the LORD came to me: 'The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it.'" (Zechariah 4:9) His Word came to me. Adopting Holly was an act of obedience to the Lord and honoring my husband's heart. As I pray continually that He would establish the work of my hands, I know that somehow taking care of Holly is contributing to building the foundation of our home, our family. My hands want to complete that work with joy, even if that means decades of labors of love taking care of Holly.

"Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.'" (Zechariah 4:10) Oh, I don't want to despise the days of small things. I want to enjoy and relish the days of small things. My heart is thankful for small things. So thankful to the Lord. My heart is thankful for Holly. She is a sweet dog who adds such joy to the family.

"The Bible is God’s plumb line on Himself and on truth!" Kay Arthur (Precepts Ministries) God's Word is our plumb line. His truth keeps us straight up. His Word cultivates and measures vertical depth. I want my family to rejoice because they see God's Word in my hands every day. They see a difference in my heart and life because I am steeping myself in God's Word. I want His plumb line in my heart and my hands.

A daily and continual prayer of mine is that He would establish the work of my heart and my hands each day. (Psalm 90:17) I never imagined that taking care of a dog would be on God's list of things He had for me to do. However, it is. The small things.

Does having a dog change the landscape of my daily life? Yes, it does. Does caring for Holly carefully and lovingly mean adjusting my schedule every day? It certainly does. Is taking care of Holly different than the things on my own "How I'd Like To Serve The Lord List"? Yes, it absolutely is different.

But God has asked me to do it. He's given me small things. Small, beautiful, meaningful things.

So, my heart and my hands are tending to the small things. Literally. Holly weighs about 16 pounds. And the miracle through God's big love: I do love Holly. (I am still not a dog lover, but I love our dog! That alone is the Lord's heart work!) I miss her when she is not near me. I get excited to see her when we have been away from home for several hours of the day. God has given me a love for this sweet, small dog. I do not despise His assignment for me. I do not despise Holly. Rather, I am grateful for His tenderness and faithfulness toward me. I am thankful for the joy Holly has brought to our home, our children and our family...and me.

The day of small things. My heart is content.

"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much..."
Luke 16:10

"The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble."
Proverbs 19:23

"... be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'"
Hebrews 13:5

"For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God."
Hebrews 11:10

Friday, April 9, 2010

Healing Words From My Husband's Heart

"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." (Proverbs 16:24)

We know the value, importance and impact our spouse's words have on our hearts. Scripture after scripture instruct us that the words of our mouth should be pleasing to the Lord. "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." (Psalm 19:14)

To continue reading, please click:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Womb With A View

“And now the LORD says—He who formed me in the womb to be His servant…for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength.”
Isaiah 49:5 (NIV)

Jim standing in the empty Garden Tomb in Jerusalem (February 2009)

As we celebrate our Risen Savior, let's consider the sacred "Womb With A View"...

A womb is a sacred place held in the hands of God. As God knits together His precious handiwork, the Creator ordains the days and knows His purpose for His creation. ”For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV)

"The first offspring of every womb belongs to me…” Exodus 34:19 (NIV) Consider the miraculous first offspring of Mary’s womb. The One who was with God in the beginning, the One through whom all things were made (John 4:1-4), was now being knit together by our Heavenly Father’s hands as a babe. Why? Because Mary’s womb was a womb with a view. Our Heavenly Father formed Jesus in the womb to be His servant. Our Servant. Our Savior and Our Redeemer. Amazing. Humbling.

Jesus loves the people of the world perfectly and completely. We needed a Redeemer because of our sin, rebellion and independence from God. Jesus’ view from Mary’s womb must have been both glorious and heart-wrenching. His creation and His people spread out before Him, He viewed the necessity of the cross. With His death and resurrection on the horizon, He viewed the new life that only His saving grace could bring. “…how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” Romans 5:15 (NIV)

His view in the womb embodied a view from the cross. Psalm 22 is “A View From The Cross”:

“Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother's breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother's womb you have been my God.” (vv. 9-10)

The Heart-wrenching View:
“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing. But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me.” (vv. 14-19)

The Glorious View:
“The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him— may your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations.” (vv. 26-28)

The View For Those Still Wombed:
“They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn—
for He has done it.”
(v. 31)

He has done it. His view from the womb: the redemption and salvation of a people whom He loves. His purpose, obedience and sacrifice: our new life in Him, for Him and with Him. “‘Here I am. I have come to do your will.’ And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Hebrews 10:9, 10

He did it once for all. A beautiful, miraculous, life-giving journey from womb to tomb then raised again! As we celebrate our Risen Savior, let’s consider the sacred “Womb With A View”. With humility, reverence and awe, let’s completely yield our hearts and life to His view for our lives from the womb in which we were knit together. Just as Christ was our servant, may we serve Him in obedience and love. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:45 (NIV)

© 2010 by Sharon Sloan. All rights reserved.

My Redeemer, thank you that I was and am in Your view since the beginning. Thank you for your obedience, even unto death on the cross for Your name’s sake and my salvation. I praise you for Your sacrifice of death and Your resurrection. By Your grace and strength, may my life be marked by humility and obedience, just like You. I am humbled that you came to save and serve me. Fill me so that I may be a servant for you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Warm and Joyous Easter Blessings From Our Family to Yours!

1 Timothy 2:5-6, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all…”

Romans 3:21-16, “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." Philippians 2:5-11