August 17. 2014  JANE’S HEART TO HEART    …PASTOR’S HELPMATE

HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN http://www.metrolyrics.com/how-long-has-it-been-lyrics-jim-reeves.html

“My Heart has heard you say, Come and talk with me.” and my heart responds,  “Lord, I am coming”.” Psalm 27:8 NLT

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  I Pet. 5:7

Enjoy a regular time when you talk to the Lord, 

Read the Word of God so that He can speak to you.  

Take time to, just be quiet and let the Lord work in your heart.

I love reading the Word of God. For several years I have listened daily to the Bible on CD following the Our Daily Bread Devotional’s guide  reading the Bible through in a year. I also read along in my Bible (a different version each year).

Then I especially enjoy going back through the same selection each day underlining important things using a color code. [such as, highlighting the names of God, the  Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit = Yellow.  A red cross through the name = Christ].   The reason I do this is to just concentrate on the meaning more and help myself to glean special truths from God’s Word.  [Truths, knowledge, laws = green. sing, pray and rejoice = blue].

I also love to just pray the “Scriptures”. I have found Germaine Copeland’s book, “Prayers that Avail Much for Women” especially helpful to me. Harrison House, 1997.

I also love to read several devotional writers: 

Elisabeth Elliot                

Corrie ten Boom

Nancy DeMoss

Edith Schaeffer

Joni Erickson Tada

Mrs. Charles E (Lettie) Cowman “Streams In The Desert” Series

George Beverly Shea often sang “How Long Has It Been”, and wrote this comment in his book, How Sweet the Sound. Tyndale 2004

     “Our friendship with God can be like that.  He looks forward to having

      Us  share  our  most intimate  secrets  regularly  with Him. He doesn’t 

      want  us to forget that He is there and He desires to share our burdens.” 

HOW ABOUT PRAYING THIS PRAYER EVERY MORNING: 

Psalm 25:4-5 “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths. 

Lead me in the truth and teach me.” NKJV

August 10. 2014    JANE’S HEART TO HEART   ….PASTOR’S HELPMATE

“Good Morning Glory!”  Those words are etched in my memory and re-occur in  my mind  whenever I see a lovely Morning Glory, as I on Face Book just few weeks ago.  “Good Morning Glory” was a daily greeting of my  mother’s cheery voice as she came to our bedroom and sang out to waken us. What a happy memory.

My father always said to us “Remember Whose You Are” as we parted.  I wonder what positive lasting memories my descendants will have of me.

While I was a patient at Oaklawn Hospital in Marshall, our youngest son Nathan and his family came to visit and I could see the very seriously subdued looks on the faces of even the smallest child.

Seeing grandma with an NG (nasogastric) tube in her nose didn’t present a very  pleasant picture, drab hospital gown, disheveled hair and ashen countenance. I waved and said just a few words to assure them that I was, OK, but the tube caused me so much discomfort, I was not able to talk or swallow, so I lay quietly and everyone else carried the conversation. Ken and our son Nathan stood talking in hushed tones at the foot of my bed. Jennifer and the children seated in the area provided for guests and little Hudson (2 1/2) fearfully pressed against his mother’s knees, looking back and forth at me and the men. I smiled to reassure him. Cautiously he stepped away from his mother and moved to stand between the men obviously mimicking  their stance  and looking up from them and to me he tried to duplicate their conduct. When they all lined up to give me a hug as they left, he fearfully came over to the side of my bed and reached up to join the family in a farewell hug. Mommy picked him up and he laid his sweet little red head on my chest.

Yes, children watch us and react as we do. What a great responsibility we have as God’s children  to allow our children to see by our conduct, through the joys and trials of life, what is really important to us. To point them to the proper responses to things that come our way. Not to shield them from the trials of life but to include them and show them by example how we can truly trust God.

That evening Lissy stopped to visit on her way from LCC to her home in Kalamazoo and after our visit she and her grandpa  prayed for my situation and then her safety on the road.  As he closed his prayer, without the slightest hesitation, Lissy began praying and poured out her heart to her Saviour for my healing. 

Deuteronomy 6: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  6. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  7. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  8. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.  9. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

Part 13:   Psalm 23: 6b  “…and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

The shepherd leads his sheep back to stay close to him. To arrive home safely in the valley they follow their shepherd and obey him all along the way. 

Jesus wants to lead you on the journey of your life.  One day He will take you to the special home He’s made ready just for you in heaven.  

John 14: 1-3 in the J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

“You must not let yourselves be distressed—you must hold on to your faith in God and to your faith in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s House. If there were not, should I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? It is true that I am going away to prepare a place for you, but it is just as true that I am coming again to welcome you into my own home, so that you may be where I am.

Are you ready to “dwell in the house of the Lord forever?”

If you aren’t ready, you can bow your head and pray this prayer.

“Thank you Lord for sending your Son to die on the cross for me.  Forgive all I’ve done wrong. Come into my heart. Thank you for loving and forgiving me.  Thank you for promising me a home in heaven.  Help me to turn my back on sin and live for you now that I have received you as my Lord and Saviour. In Jesus name I pray. Amen

Remember: Now that you know Christ…. I John 1:9 says “If you confess you sin, HE is faithful and just to forgive you your sin and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

 “…and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Part 12: Psalm 23: 6a  “..Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”

Jane’s HEART TO HEART….. The Pastor’s Helpmate

This is a strong statement of trust.  As we have studied Psalm 23 the stress has been placed on following and trusting the Shepherd.  All of this is capsulized in  this verse.  How many of you today feel the way that David the Psalmist  expressed here? (repeat verse). 

To quote Keller again (p.128) “of course it is very easy to speak this way when things are going well….. when the body breaks down… when I stand by helpless, as I have had to do and watch a life partner die by degrees under appalling pain?… When my job folds and there is no money… When my children can’t make the grade in school… Or run with the wrong crowd… When, without grounds friends turn against me? ‘ ….Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.’ These times can test a person’s confidence in the care of Christ.  Is this sheer humbug and maddening mockery?”

There may be times when you may want to give up, but God will not give up on you.  Despite your doubts and fears you will see the goodness and mercy and you can know that you are truly in Christ’s care.  Nothing can come upon you without eventual good coming out of the chaos.This can be the Great foundation of our faith.

I John 3:16 says… “I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us.”

Having attended many funerals lately and witnessing what people leave as an heritage… I have to ask myself, what are my relatives going to find as they scramble for memories about my life.   “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of them that bring good tidings, that publishes peace…” Is. 52:7.

Look at your life and ask yourself…. What am I leaving behind for others to be pointed to a Christ of ‘goodness and mercy’?

Ask yourself…

Do I leave behind turmoil  or peace?

Do I leave bitterness or forgiveness?

Do I leave  conflict or contentment?

Do I leave frustration or JOY?

Do I leave bitterness and resentment or love ?

Do I leave loved ones who don’t know Christ or those whom I have won to Christ?

..Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”

PART 11: Psalm 23:5c  “…..My cup runs over.”

July 6, 2014        JANE’s HEART TO HEART

                          …The Pastor’s Helpmate

As we spoke last week about the anointing of the Holy Spirit in our lives this flows right into this passage.  The Lord is pleased when we seek the Holy Spirit to guide us and consequently the result of the Holy Spirit working in and through us we over flow with love and concern for one another. The Holy Spirit in our lives brings peace JOY, long suffering and generosity. We then have great contentment in His care and that love overflows and that is when we become the most contented people on earth.  

Inside the sheep fold the shepherd stores water in a large stone container to keep it cool and then when the sheep are hot  he dips a cup in the water jar and the sheep sinks its nose into the cup all the way up to its eyes to cool a fever and the shepherd allows the sheep to drink all it needs. Also, remember that at night the Shepherd lies down across the entrance of the sheepfold.

After the flock lies down to sleep their shepherd lies down in the open gateway of the sheep pen.  No sheep can go out except across his body. No wolf can come in to the sheep pen except across his body.  He literally becomes the door of protection.

Can this be said about us.. Especially when troubles or disappointments come along, we are apt to feel forgotten by our Shepherd. We may feel as though He has  looked away from our needs. Some say, “That’s not fair” and become angry when those around us do not treat us as we feel we should be treated.  Not so if we allow the Holy Spirit to control our actions and our reactions “…we will hardly even notice when other do it wrong.” I Cor. 13:4 LB.

Missionary  to India, Amy Carmichael said: “ if a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, then I know nothing of Calvary love. For a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water however suddenly jolted.

Take time to be with Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to fill you to overflowing with sweet water even in the hard times.

Psalm 23:5c  “….My cup runs over.”

PART 10: Psalm 23:5b ” You anoint my head with oil.”

June 29, 2014    JANE’s HEART TO HEART    …. The Pastor’s Helpmate

Psalm 23:5b  “..You anoint my head with oil.”

When I was  about eight years old I loved to read the dictionary.  I would look through and find words, read the definition and then I would try to think of ways to use them in a sentence and ask my family a question using that word.  One I especially remember is when I would sit with my head on my hand and elbow on my knee and ask, “What am I doing?   They would try to guess and then I would say, “I am meditating”. Often when we had visitors my parents would have me try to stump our company.  

As we meditate on this magnificent poem of Ps. 23 it is helpful to keep in mind that the poet, David, is recounting the events of the full year in a sheep’s life. He takes us with him from the home ranch where every need is so carefully supplied by the owner, out into the green pastures, along the still waters, up through the mountains valleys to the high tablelands of summer.

Here now when it would seem that the sheep are in a perfect setting on the high meadows; where there are clear running springs and fresh tender forage we suddenly find “a fly in the anointment” so to speak. (Keller)  There  are many different insects that reek havoc among livestock. The shepherd anoints his sheep to protect them from the nasal flies which land on the sheep’s nose and lay their eggs. The eggs hatch into tiny worms that burrow up the sheep’s nose into its head. These wriggling worms cause the sheep to panic, toss its head and run wild trying to rid itself  of the pain even beating its head against a rock or tree often hurting itself. Right away the shepherd will rub a mixture of oil and herbs over every sheep’s head and nose. This keeps the flies away and calms the sheep.

Meditate on this:

What is it that upsets you?  What frustrates you and causes you to panic? Who irritates or “bugs” you? When things go wrong and upset you, ask Jesus to anoint you with His love and peace., Just as oil calms the sheep, Jesus wants to calm our upset minds and hearts with the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to take control of your life. 

Romans 15:13 says: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus also said, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…”

Psalm 23:5b  “..You anoint my head with oil.”

Part 9: PSALM 23:5a “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

PS. 23:5a  “You prepare a  table before me in the presence of my enemies.   (Keller and Haidle)

High flat places of mountain sheep ranges are called “tables.” These are the very best pastures or tablelands. The shepherd “prepares” the table for his flock by scouting out its enemies: wild animals and poisonous plants. Sheep cannot tell the difference between poisonous and non-poisonous plants. One nibble of the white camas flower would kill a lamb, so the shepherd finds and destroys all poisonous plants so his flock can feed safely. He works hard to protect them.

Jesus said,in John 6:32-35 “ I am the bread of life. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is MY flesh, which I shall give for the Life of the world.” When you believe in Him, He fills a hunger in your heart that only He can satisfy.  And you can be sure He has already prepared a feast for you in heaven. Also if you feast on HIS WORD in obedience you will be filled and blessed beyond measure. And “…your will live forever” vs. 51.

The parallel in the Christian life is clear. Like sheep, and especially lambs, we somehow feel that we have to try everything that comes our way. We feel we have to sample everything just to see what it is like even though we may know that some things are deadly. They can do us no good, and are even most destructive. Still somehow we give them a whirl anyway.

The shepherd also tries to watch out for predators like wolves, coyotes, cougars and bears. What actually happens is that these crafty ones are up on the rimrock watching every movement the sheep make, hoping for a chance to make a swift, sneaking attack that will stampede the sheep and one or another will fall easy prey to the attacker’s fierce teeth and claws. 

God’s love to us in Christ is bound up too with the deep desire of His heart to have us live on a higher plane. He longs to see us living above the mundane level of common humanity. He is so pleased when we walk in the ways of holiness, of selflessness and  of serene contentment in His care, aware of His presence and enjoying the intimacy of His companionship. 

To live thus is to live richly

To walk here is to walk with quiet assurance

To feed here is to be replete with good things. 

To find this tableland is to have found something of my shepherd’s love for me.

“You prepare a  table before me in the presence of my enemies.”

Part 8: PSALM 23:4b – “Thy Rod and Thy Staff They Comfort Me”

June 15, 2014     Jane’s HEART TO HEART   …. PASTOR’S HELPMATE

PS. 23:4b “…THY  ROD AND STAFF THEY COMFORT ME.

REALLY!     COMFORT ME?

On a blog on the internet called Jodi’s Journal….Oct 2009 she also sites W. Phillip Keller in his book A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.  How can a rod and staff bring comfort?  A rod and a staff are the universal instruments used by shepherds. The rod represents  God’s Word. It is absolute Truth and has full authority. God’s Word “keeps our lives free from confusion and chaos.” His Word brings peace and “quiet serenity.”

 The rod has four basic functions. First, “as a symbol of the shepherd’s strength, power, and authority.” Second, an instrument of discipline to correct wayward sheep. “With it, the owner is able to carry out effective control of his flock in every situation.” Third, to examine and count the sheep. The Old Testament term was “passing under the rod.”  Finally, it serves as an “instrument of protection for the shepherd and his sheep when  in danger.“

The staff represents the Holy Spirit who provides comfort to believers – He is the still, small voice that stirs our soul to desire intimacy with God.  Jesus promised that God would send the Holy Spirit. …“the Spirit of Truth will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13).

This reminds me of the small child screaming for his own way and when the wise parent steps in and corrects the child, then the child experiences a calm and even happiness in his boundary. The other day I heard a  wise parent say to a disobedient child: “Just remember if you are disobedient to me, then the Lord’s  correction may be  harder than mine.”

Often we live our lives on the “Zip line” of careless disobedience and when the  line breaks we cry out to God expecting answered prayer.   

“The Holy spirit says, ‘This is the way – walk in it.’ And as we comply with His gentle promptings, a sense of safety, envelops us. If we take the time to ask God for guidance, it “conveys the mind of Christ”  and there is a calm repose in the knowledge that He is there to direct  in the most minute details of our daily living.”

Ps. 37:3-4 says: “Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

“…THY  ROD AND STAFF THEY COMFORT ME.

Part 7: Psalm 23: 4a   ..Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.”

In the first three verses David is talking to the reader. Here in verse four he begins to talk to the Lord.

“There is a Valley of the Shadow of Death in the Land of Israel.  The four-mile long valley wall rises hundreds of feet in some places. This is the most dangerous part of the journey on the way to the best highland pastures.  Some times the path is too narrow for the sheep to turn around or a gully splits the path in two and he must jump over it to follow the shepherd.  Sheep are never alone if they stay close to the shepherd, because he has been there before. Remember that Jesus Himself went through the valley of the shadow of death and came out ALIVE!  (Haidle).”

No dark valley or trouble can ever separate you from Jesus, He cares about you and will not let you go through any trial alone if you follow HIM. Those who are fully trusting in the Lord can have a sweet confidence that HE is in the situation right along with us.

Is. 41:13 “For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you,’Fear not, I will help you.”    

It is always a JOY when we can look back and recount the many times that the LORD has sustained us through  pain and suffering, loss of loved ones and when we are persecuted for righteousness sake. “If God be for us who can be against us.” Ro. 8:31b

There are going to be valleys and trials for all of us. The “Good Shepherd”  says in John 16:33, “in this world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”.  

The important thing is how we respond when trials come. We can trust the Shepherd and rest assured that He will lead us to higher ground in peace and safety. When we do we will be blessed and we can be a blessing to those who live in fear and have not learned to trust the Shepherd.

…though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me. ”

Part 6: PSALM 23:3b “…he leads me in paths of righteousness for his name sake.”

Ps. 23:3b “…he leads me in paths of righteousness for his name sake.”

Because sheep are notorious creatures of habit if left to them selves they will follow the same trails until they become ruts, graze the same hills until they turn to desert wastes. Many of the world’s finest sheep ranges have been ruined beyond repair by over-graziing, poor management and indifferent or ignorant sheep owners.  A commonly held misconception about sheep is that they can just “get along anywhere”. The truth is quite the reverse.  No other class of livestock requires more careful handling, more detailed direction, than do sheep. This requires the shepherd to be a careful manager and the sheep have to be under his meticulous control and guidance.  Isaiah 56:3 ”All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.”

Just as sheep will blindly, habitually, yes, stupidly follow one another along the same little trails, until the trails become ruts that erode into gigantic gullies. We humans also cling to the same habits that we have seen ruin other lives.

Choices are important, whether you obey your parents, do your work well, love others, choose what pleases yourself,  follow your friends  in the wrong directions or what pleases your Good Shepherd. 

Isaiah 56:3 says: “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, everyone, to his own way, And the Lord has laid on Him [Jesus} the iniquity of us all.”

Phil 4:6-7  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made know to God.  

What then? Verse 7 says. “The peace of God; which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.

The Lord says: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.”  

What leader have you chosen to follow?” The Soap Operas…..  Dance with the Stars…. Bad Language,  Using the Lord’s name in vain…vs… Christian Literature, spiritually uplifting programs and literature …words of gratitude and praise from your mouth to the Saviour. A life for Christ is not for sissies….. It took the suffering of Christ on the cross.

Can we not give up some of these things after what He has done for us?

A life for Christ is the only truly satisfying life producing JOY and PEACE.      

   “True Happiness and Peace do not exist Apart From God”

 Please Ladies, let’s allow the Lord to “…lead us, in the paths of righteousness.