“Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2).
As a practical way of applying this verse to my life this week, I have begun listing each day 1 thing for which I am thankful for my husband and 1 thing for which specifically to pray for him. In doing this one simple task, I have noticed two blessings: 1) it has been much easier for me to be earnest and vigilant in prayer for him (and, unexpectedly, for others also!), and 2) it has been easier to walk in thankfulness–even when I am tempted to focus on an area that is challenging for me.
I would issue the challenge to others also: choose a person (preferably someone who is close to you and with whom you interact on a regular basis–such as a parent, sibling, husband, or boss), and each day list specifically one thing in them for which you are thankful, and one thing to pray for them regarding. I think you will find it increases your thankfulness and your vigilance in prayer!
By Jackie in mothers
As wives and mothers, I think most of us can identify with a never-ending “to do” list. There are dishes and diapers, laundry and meals, not to mention the individual needs of those in our households. But I am realizing afresh, in the midst of pressing daily responsibilities, the need to take time to be still before the Lord. For me, this is first thing after Judah goes down for his morning nap–no matter whether the breakfast dishes are done yet, or the house perfectly tidied. This is my special time with the Lord, and I am learning to guard and treasure it, and in turn to find my soul refreshed, my daily vision more focused, and my ears and heart better able to commune with my Savior, from whence comes my help and strength, and Who is willing to daily bear my burdens–if I will let Him. Yet I will confess that, up until recently, I too often allowed this precious time to be crowded out by seemingly urgent and pressing matters. Which is why the following poem serves as a sobering reminder to me that taking time for God, and the things He has for me to do in a day–seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness–are of utmost importance. Only then can I truly trust Him to give me the energy and time I need to fulfill my earthly responsibilites with excellence and joy and peace. More about this in an up-coming post … but for now, here is the poem:
I knelt to pray, but not for long,
I had too much to do.
I had to hurry and get to work,
For bills would soon be due.
So I knelt and said a hurried prayer,
And jumped up off my knees.
My Christian ‘duty’ now was done,
My soul could rest at ease.
All day long I had no time
To spread a word of cheer.
No time to speak of Christ to others,
Things wouldn’t get done I’d fear.
No time, no time, too much to do,
That was my constant cry.
No time to give to souls in need,
But at last the time to die.
I went before the Lord,
I came, I stood with downcast eyes.
For in His hands He held a book;
It was the Book of Life.
God looked into His book and said,
‘Your name I cannot find.
I once was going to write it down …
But I never found the time.’”
–Author Unknown (slightly modified)
By Jackie in mothers
, Young Women
“I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able … ” (2 Tim. 1:12)
- “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” (Eph 3:20)
- “able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8)
- “able to help those who are being tempted” (Heb. 2:18)
- “able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them” (Heb. 7:25)
- “able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy” (Jude 24)
- “able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” (2 Tim. 1:12)
- “who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body” (Phil. 3:21).
“Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
“According to your faith will it be done to you” (Matt. 9:28-29).
Lord, increase my faith and help me to walk with the daily confidence that You are, indeed, able to do all things–and especially to help me walk in daily peace, joy and victory over sin! What a mighty God we serve!
By Jackie in mothers
, Young Women
I just finished reading the book of Proverbs and taking notes on the two different kinds of women described there:
Godly Women and Wicked Women
We are told that the Scriptures have been given to us for encouragement, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness, so that the man (or woman) of God may be complete, and thoroughly equipped for every good work (Rom. 15:4, 2 Tim. :16-17). Thus, I think that the wise woman would want to look at these characteristics and ask herself,
“What kind of woman am I? If I desire to be a godly woman, are there still any characteristics of an ungodly woman that are still present in my life?”
If we find this to be so, we can repent and confess these things to God, ask Him for cleansing, and trust Him for the power to change them in our lives. You may find it helpful to look up some of the characteristics in a dictionary. For example, do you know what “gracious” means? How about “brash”? I often gain deeper insight by using a dictionary.
Following are the characteristics that stood out to me in my reading. It is, I am sure, not an exhaustive list. Also, certain of the characteristics were not listed by specific name, but were something that I gathered from the context of the passage–such as the virtuous woman described in Proverbs 31 being industrious. While the passage does not specifically use the word “industrious”, I think from the context it is clear that this woman was, indeed, industrious.
Characteristics of a Wicked Woman
(from Proverbs 2:16-19, 5:3-6, 6:24-35, 7:8-27, 9:13-18, 11:22, 12:4, 14:1, 21:9, 27:15-16, 30:20, and 30:23)
- seductively dressed
- not content to stay at home
- pursues men
- “free” with kisses
- has a form of religion (Prov 7:14)
- a flatterer
- a seducer
- insincerely sweet speech
- cares nothing for the true path of life
- on a crooked path, but does not realize it
- forsakes her husband (physically and/or emotionally)
- forgets or ignores the covenant she has made before God
- a thief
- lacks discretion
- causes her husband shame & disgraces him
- tears down those in her house
- contentious & quarrelsome
- a complainer
- not willing to be restrained
- unwilling to admit when she is wrong
Characteristics of a Godly Woman
(from Proverbs 5:18-19, 11:16, 12:4, 14:1, 19:14, and 31:10-31)
- a fountain of blessing
- a life and actions worthy of praise & respect
- a crown to her husband (brings honor to him)
- builds up those in her household
- enriches her husband’s life
- a willing worker
- does her husband good and not evil
- not lazy or given to too much sleep
- cooks for her household
- extends herself to the poor & needy
- not given to fear & anxiety
- speaks with wisdom & kindness
- not idle
- a homemaker
- fears the Lord
Summary of Godly Woman Study from Proverbs:
This short study was a blessing, encouragement and a provocation to me, as I hope it will be to all the women who want to live godly in Christ Jesus.
By Jackie in mothers
I am realizing, with being a Mommy and the daily responsibilities that go along with that, that I need to adjust my vision of a “productive” day. I am accustomed to measuring “productive” in terms of how many things I am able to mark off my to-do list–those short-term, immediate-result-type tasks. But being a Mommy is a much longer-term responsibility. Though it requires much effort, some days it can feel like I have accomplished little to nothing. It’s kind of like planting a garden: you get your fingers dirty, you expel a lot of effort and sweat … but it’s quite some time before you get to see the rewards of your labors. Nurturing and training a child requires diligence, self-denial and wisdom from God. It may feel like all I’ve done is fed the baby, changed diapers, and adjusted attitudes (my own included sometimes!), while trying to squeeze in a few other “shorter-term” tasks between naps and needs … but, God-helping, I will one day reap the sweet fruit of a child who loves the Lord, cares for others, and honors his parents. Getting this perspective enables me to be more at peace and more invested in the responsibilities God has given me today–whether the outcome is short … or long.
By Paolo in Young Men
When we look at whether something is pleasing to God or not, we must start with an open mind and contrite heart. If we come with our own “conclusions” then we can’t hear God’s reply. In this study, we are first going to look at the origins of rap, then we will look at why it would be right or wrong to turn rap “Christian”. First, about rap music. Not all music is the same. When we say that there is a style of music like rap, rock or hip-hop we are using an adjective to describe “how” you play your music. If there were no distinction in the sounds of the music then there would be no different “genres” of music to describe it. We would simply call everything by the term “music”. But that is not the case. Each style of music has a term to define it.So looking at rap music we have “the Origin of Rap” (by Kwaku Person-Lynn, Ph.D http://africawithin.com/kwaku/origin_of_rap.htm):
“Rap music has stampeded through America like no other form of music since the creation of rock music in the 1960s. Like other popular styles, it has a history that is closely aligned with the rebellious attitude of its young creators; youth who rejected the contemporary music prevalent during the late 1970s (disco). Rap music is not a novelty, as many music professionals thought, but has a beginning as equal to blues, jazz, r&b, rock & roll, or any form of popular music.
There is a slight dispute regarding the actual place of origin. According to Afrika Bambaataa: “A lot of people always think it (rap) started in the South Bronx, but officially it came from the West Bronx, ‘cause Kool Herc (credited with being the first rapper), was from that area. Then it came over to the South Bronx with myself and [Grandmaster] Flash.”
Daryl McDaniels, a member of the early rap group, RUN DMC, offers his view on the origin of rap:
“It began in 1976 or ‘77 when disco was real popular. The first disc jockeys (DJs) would grab the mike while people were ‘partying’ and say something like, ‘clap your hands,’ or ‘you all ready to party?’ The crowd would respond to that. Then it evolved. The DJ wouldn’t have to do that because the DJ would bring a guy with him to do that - to motivate the crowd while the DJ deejayed. That got into a lot of the disco clubs and a lot of people weren’t going for it. The MC blabbing and running his mouth all night; the DJ scratching and cutting. Most of the people going into the disco wanted to dance and have a party. They didn’t really want to raise no hell.”
The Beastie Boys summed up the origin of rap precisely when they wrote the song “You gotta fight”..They declared, “You gotta fight for your right to party!”
So aside from the gangster rap lyrics of today where rappers sing of mugging, shooting, raping and killing people, there are two main themes to the origin of rap music: rebellion against already existing music styles and seeking to “dance and party”.
If you need an explanation on why either of these 2 things carnal fleshly revelry are wrong then you should read no further. The discussion of rebellion is better addressed in a different article on “sin according to God” which gives a more general discussion of the fallen desires of man that will take him to hell and eternal torment away from the presence of a Holy God who created us to follow Him and walk in holiness rather than sin.
Okay, so rap was to rile people up, get them fired up and in a party revelers attitude and it was a form of rebellion to have a new style of music different from previous styles.
So what about Christian rap with better lyrics? Notice, nothing in the origin of rap has discussed the lyrics of the music. Only the method by which you get people to join in rebellion and motivation to lack of self control at parties and clubs. So when we seek to take something that is defiled, corrupt, and from the devil or the world and we seek to use it to “motivate people for God”, what are we saying? The Bible says what the best way to reach unbelievers with the truth is:
1 Cor 1:17-18
“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
And again when it comes to powerful prose or speech to encourage Christians the Bible is clear:
1 Cor 2:1-5
“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”
To say that we should use rap to point people to Jesus, to attract people to the gospel or to get people to listen, we are saying that we know more than God does about winning people to Jesus! If God is all-powerful and all-knowing then surely he knew that rap music would be created in the 1970’s and he could have prophecied that men would come “rapping the gospel” so that men would be saved. Nowhere it Scripture does it teach or command us to “rap for Jesus”. On the contrary, Scripture has much to say about not using worldly music, psychology and philosophy to promote and teach people about the truths of God.
God specifically says that we are NOT to worship the Lord in the way that unbelievers worship. In fact, God wants us to destroy all traces of pagan worship in our midst:
“Destroy completely all the places on the high mountains and on the hills and under every spreading tree where the nations you are dispossessing worship their gods. Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from those places. You must not worship the LORD your God in their way. But you are to seek the place the LORD your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling.” Deut 12:2-5
But you may ask, “Can’t we make rap music holy by adding good words to it?” The Scripture gives the answer to that as well. The priests of God were given careful instruction on how to determine if something was considered holy to God or not:
““Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Now, ask the priests concerning the law, saying, “If one carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and with the edge he touches bread or stew, wine or oil, or any food, will it become holy?”’”
Then the priests answered and said, “No.”And Haggai said, “If one who is unclean because of a dead body touches any of these, will it be unclean?”
So the priests answered and said, “It shall be unclean.” Haggai 2:11-13
So rap music does not become holy becuase you put some holy words to it. In fact it says the words also become unholy by touching the unclean thing.
There is nothing in common with Christian words, Christian lyrics and rap music. Seeing the wicked origins of rap, we also see that rap music should have no connection with Christian, holy words:
“For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” 2 Cor 6:14b
God is not happy with you using His words of truth in an unholy way. Misusing God’s words and mixing it with false music is displeasing to Him. He goes so far to tell you: ”Take away from Me the noise of your songs” (Amos 5:23)
We are also warned not to get deceived in thinking there is a better way to serve God than He has already given us:
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” (Col 2:8-10)
Therefore“ Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.” (2 Cor 6:17-18)
What a promise!! God will be a Father to us and we will be His sons and daughters, on two conditions! 1) We must come out from among them (the world and darkness) and 2) touch no unclean thing. Then He will receive us.
My friend. We urge you to be a child of God and to save yourself from this wicked and perverted generation we live in. You are in the cross hairs of false knowledge that the devil seeks to shoot at the followers of God. Obeying Jesus Christ is going to make you an outcast, even among many who call themselves religious. You must stand up against the crowd and instead choose the will of God.
“For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” 1 Peter 4:3-5
Be free from the deception of rap music today and serve the living God acceptably with reverence and Godly fear, for our God is a consuming fire.
By Paolo in Uncategorized
1 Timothy 3:15 talks about us being a pillar and ground for the truth as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ. God has designed his church to be a living testimony of the truths of his Word. One reason for us obeying God’s Word is so that all people may see the wisdom and love of God manifested in the conduct of His followers.
When Ghandi said he wanted to be saved from the followers of Jesus, he was saying that the actions of those who called themselves Christians was far from what he condisered to be loving or kind.
While Ghandi may not have understood correctly what was perfect in a moral sense, he should have at least been able to sense love and goodwill by the conduct of those claiming to follow Jesus Christ. Love is the fulfillment of all moral obligation and duty.
If Christians do not stand firm in the truth by the power of God as we are commanded in Ephesians 6, then how will the world know what God thinks or feels? If Christians are unwilling to talk about sin, righteousness or the judgment of God, how are unbelievers to know and respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit? The job of the Holy Spirit is to speak to men of sin, righteousness and judgment.
The book of 1 John tells us what a Christian’s life should represent. Those who claim to live in Christ, must walk even as he did (1 Jn 2:6). And again, “The one who loves God must love his brother also.” (1 Jn 4:21) We are to be the living hands and feet of Jesus in this world.
Jesus told us, “it is to my father’s glory that you bear much fruit, thus showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:8) So not only is obedience to God a blessing to us but it also shows our fellow man how good, loving and just our heavenly Father is. We can’t claim to follow a loving, righteous God if we live in selfishness, pride, greed and hostility to our fellow man. For man instincively knows that everyone who is a true follower of God does not live in sin–if you doubt this, just ask them what they think of Jimmy Swaggart. Scripture backs this understanding in 1 John by giving us a challenge: “If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.” (1 Jn 2:29)
We have had too much so called Christianity which is really no Christianity at all. There are “christian” revelers, “christian” bar-hoppers, “christian” homosexuals, “christian” adulterers, “christian” idolaters, “christian” athletes, “christian” liars, “christian” thieves, “christian” rock-n-rollers, “christian” fill-in-whatever-suits-your-flesh. These are all lies of satan brought to confuse and hide true Christianity from those who may be searching for it. Pure and undefiled Christianity is this, “to look after widows and orphans in their distress and to keep oneself unspotted by the world.” It is true that Christians have been cleansed from many of these past sins, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But as children of God, we walk in the Spirit and we do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh any longer. We died to sin, how could we live in it any longer? If anyone is in Christ he is to be a new creation, all the old has gone, the new has come. All this is from God. We are now standing on the promises of God and upholding the truth by standing firm in the full armor of God. Did God make you what you are today or did you?
Do you find that you have no power with God? Is your reputation trampled by men? Are you standing for righteousness or do you yield daily to sin, unrighteousness and defeat? It cannot be both ways! Salt water and fresh water don’t come from the same fountain. Neither does good fruit and bad fruit come from the same tree. If your life is scarred by failure and defeat, you need to change and humble yourself before the living God. Jesus is able to save to the uttermost, those who come to God through Him. This requires a deliberate act of faith in God who had enough power to create the heavens and the earth. He also has enough power to enable you to walk pure in this world. No temptation is too great to overcome with the power of God. He will not let you go through anything you can’t handle with His help. We just have to rely on Him and not on ourselves. You must die to yourself and live for Jesus Christ. If you are feeding your flesh with entertainment, rivalry, envy and various lusts you can be sure that you are presently making yourself an enemy of God. Stop making yourself God’s enemy! Become His friend today by cleansing your hands of such rebellion and submitting to the mighty hand of God in your life. He is willing to receive the humble in heart, but He will resist and reject those who try to reach Him through pride and conceit.
God longs to be gracious to you and to show you His mercy. Repent and turn from the sins which separate you from Him and serve the living and loving savior Jesus Christ who died to purchase you for God and to take away all your sins. Become a member in the family of God and stand up for what God’s Word proclaims to be true. Be willing to stand against the flow and accept your place as a pillar in the temple of the living God. He promises to live among us and dwell in us if we will surrender to Him!
God bless you to obey what He shows you.
By Paolo in Husbands
Husbands have a critical role to play in the society of today and in the US nation as a whole. They are to be the pilons that keep the pier of faith from washing away into the ocean of relativity and perversion that is coming at our families. With constant information being pushed at our wives and children, there must be a way to hold back some of this flood. The husband’s role is to be that door keeper, that support and protector that not only keeps the bad out but also remembers to shepherd and care for those inside his home.
A husband’s role is to:
Love God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength and resist committing or allowing sin into our homes
Love his wife as Christ loved the church and not be harsh with her, but wash her with the truth of God’s word
Love their children and bring them up in the discipline and fear of the Lord
There are no shortcuts, add-ons or alternatives in doing this. Taking them to church, giving them a good education, getting them involved in some activities can be good but they do not fulfill the husband’s role to love God and family. You can put them into the wrong church, the wrong education and the wrong activities and cause a great degree of harm!
If our decisions are not rooted and grounded in love for God and obedience to His Word, we are leading our families down a path to destruction and ship-wreck. Oh, it may look good for a while and satisfy some short lived need for companionship or desire to learn. But it will not produce the Christian fruits of godliness, love and service that come from obeying Christ and His Word.
Let us fix our eyes then on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith!
Jesus even went to the cross with joy, knowing it would glorify God and finish His work on earth.
As husbands, we too must fix our eyes on Jesus and the joy of hearing “well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master” and not listen to the lies of Jezebel with her feminist, immodest and seducing spirit; Balaam with his selfish, greedy and compromising attitude; or the Nicolaitans who didn’t think God hated sin or would punish those who practice it!
We are being called to stand up and be real men who truly love our families!
Will you answer the call?
By Jackie in Testimonies
As some may know, we have recently started an online website selling natural products such as tinctures, salves and herbal remedies. It has been quite a lot of work to get the website up and running, but also a wonderful learning experience for me (Jackie). Because the site has been up for such a short time, however, orders are still rather slow.
The other morning when I got up, I had thought to myself (and even said out-loud to Giampaolo), “It would be so nice to get another order today.” Then I thought about the verse that says, “You have not because you ask not,” and how Jesus wanted to teach His disciples to persevere in prayer. It can seem like such a basic, simple thing to pray, but it can also be something easily overlooked. I suppose also that sometimes through ignorance or laziness, we can be prone to just think, “What will happen, will happen.” But out of a desire to exercise my faith in this area and to respond to the Lord’s prompting, I specifically asked the Lord this day for an order.
When I went to check my e-mail in the afternoon, my heart nearly skipped a beat for sheer joy when I saw that the Lord had, indeed, chosen to answer my prayer. There was an order–the first one in almost a week! A coincidence? I don’t think so. I believe it was the powerful hand of God at work, encouraging me and reminding me afresh of how He loves it when His people pray.
By Jackie in Testimonies
Rev. 12:11, “They overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”
So often in our day-to-day living we experience God’s hand at work in our lives: an answered prayer, a reminder or prompting from God of something we should do, a sparing from harm in some way. While some of these things may seem little or even trivial, if it were not for the mercies of God each day, and His tender care for us (even as He so tenderly cares for the sparrows), we would surely be consumed. Additionally, these testimonies of God’s work in our lives are, in fact, part of how we can encourage one another and build one another up in our most holy faith. And so we desire to share with you, in an ongoing way, some of the testimony of God in our lives!