Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Psalm 119:33 - 40

I hope all of you had a wonderful Memorial Day.  We did.  It was hot, but a lot of fun.  We even took time to honor those who died for our freedom, and for Christ, who died for our souls.  Thank you to all.

I like these verses, especially the first four.  Teach me God, your commands, give me understanding, help me walk in your path of understanding, and lead my heart to you and your honesty.  It makes me think about what it is God expects from us.  It makes me realize that what we should be is teachable, knowledgeable, leadable and available to God.  Is that what you are?

 33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall observe it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law
And keep it with all my heart.
35 Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it.
36 Incline my heart to Your testimonies
And not to dishonest gain.
37 Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity,
And revive me in Your ways.
38 Establish Your word to Your servant,
As that which produces reverence for You.
39 Turn away my reproach which I dread,
For Your ordinances are good.
40 Behold, I long for Your precepts;
Revive me through Your righteousness.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Psalm 119

Psalm 119:25-32

 25 My soul cleaves to the dust;
Revive me according to Your word.
26 I have told of my ways, and You have answered me;
Teach me Your statutes.
27 Make me understand the way of Your precepts,
So I will meditate on Your wonders.
28 My soul weeps because of grief;
Strengthen me according to Your word.
29 Remove the false way from me,
And graciously grant me Your law.
30 I have chosen the faithful way;
I have placed Your ordinances before me.
31 I cling to Your testimonies;
O LORD, do not put me to shame!
32 I shall run the way of Your commandments,
For You will enlarge my heart

 This set of verses from the longest chapter in the Bible has made me take notice.  First, with all the natural tragedies that are going on, verse 28 says that our soul cries with grief, but being in God's word strengthens me.  When I am grieving, I cry.  My kids cry at the drop of a feather.  Last night, Allie and I were watching So You Think You Can Dance and this young girl did the most beautiful solo.  I teared.  I hear a song, I cry.  But grief crying is different.  Some of you have experienced the deepest sorrow ever in losing your family.  But because of what the Bible tells us, we can be strong in our faith.

The other verse that I loved was verse 32.  If I choose God's commandments, he will make my heart bigger for whatever he leads me to do.  Whether it is singing, helping children, whatever ministry we are doing for God, in his name, he we open our heart for it.  Just do what he wants!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Following the Rules

Psalm 119:17-24
    17Deal bountifully with Your servant,
         That I may live and keep Your word.
    18Open my eyes, that I may behold
         Wonderful things from Your law.
    19I am a stranger in the earth;
         Do not hide Your commandments from me.
    20My soul is crushed with longing
         After Your ordinances at all times.
    21You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed,
         Who wander from Your commandments.
    22Take away reproach and contempt from me,
         For I observe Your testimonies.
    23Even though princes sit and talk against me,
         Your servant meditates on Your statutes.
    24Your testimonies also are my delight;
         They are my counselors.

  How many of us dislike being told what to do?  I know I do.  We have a joke around our house that if you tell Timm, Grandpa, or me that we can't do something, we will do it just to prove you wrong.  Probably not the best examples in the world at times, but rules put limits on us.  If you follow the rules, obey God's commandments, your life will be limitless! If you do everything by the book, God will bless you in more ways than you can count.  How's that for being a rule follower?  Look at all the examples of this in the Bible; Moses, Abraham, Job, David, Solomon.  So, go on, follow the rules and see what happens next.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Psalm 119: 9 - 16

I like this set of verses.  Verse nine is one we seem to struggle with every day.  With books, television, movies, songs, every media source you can think of, plus the influence of friends and family, my teens are always bombarded, no matter how short the leash is.  As parents, we talk, we listen, we try to teach them what is appropriate, what is right and what is wrong.  But I have a child that has a mind of his own and sometimes he doesn't always think when he talks.  He tells it like he thinks it is.  That is fine, but sometimes it's not what is acceptable to society.  As a parent, it amazes me how his mind works.  I pray every day that he won't say or do something that will offend others, but I do tell him that his mouth will get him in trouble.  It has several times this year.  I try to explain to him that free speech isn't really free speech.  It's free only if you say what is acceptable.  I think though, he has to learn a lot of this for himself.  He's that kind of kid.  I just cover both my teenagers in prayer and this verses give me the strength to keep reminding and teaching them of God's commandments.

 9How can a young man keep his way pure?
         By keeping it according to Your word.
    10With all my heart I have sought You;
         Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
    11Your word I have treasured in my heart,
         That I may not sin against You.
    12Blessed are You, O LORD;
         Teach me Your statutes.
    13With my lips I have told of
         All the ordinances of Your mouth.
    14I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
         As much as in all riches.
    15I will meditate on Your precepts
         And regard Your ways.
    16I shall delight in Your statutes;
         I shall not forget Your word.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Psalm 119:1-8

This is the single longest chapter in the book of Psalm and in the Bible.  I have debated on how to look at it.  I don't want to do what I've done with the rest of the chapters and find a verse that speaks to me (though I want the verses to jump out at me).  I think I will take it in the sections and see what God tells us.

Psalm 119:1-8
 1How blessed are those whose way is blameless,
         Who walk in the law of the LORD.
    2How blessed are those who observe His testimonies,
         Who seek Him with all their heart.
    3They also do no unrighteousness;
         They walk in His ways.
    4You have ordained Your precepts,
         That we should keep them diligently.
    5Oh that my ways may be established
         To keep Your statutes!
    6Then I shall not be ashamed
         When I look upon all Your commandments.
    7I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart,
         When I learn Your righteous judgments.
    8I shall keep Your statutes;
         Do not forsake me utterly!

Oh that I would be blameless!  Oh that I always observe His testimonies, though I try.  Oh to be righteous always.  To be blessed in those ways is something that I strive for.  No matter what, I will not be ashamed, I will give thanks, and always strive to keep God's laws.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Lows and Highs

This has been a rough week around the Fox house.  Suffice it to say that Allie is now single.  After eight months of being a couple, she is now single.  At first, she was devastated.  She cried and cried.  But soon she realized that maybe that was okay.  Then she found out the drill team advisor had to step down.  More sadness. And, add to that that our neighbor announced to Allie that she is pregnant, what a heartbreaking beginning to this week.  (Side note:  pray for that family.)

Then came last night.  Last night was the final band concert and awards.  The concert was good.  Allie played the bells and looked great.  Then the awards came.  Most of these are passed down from older marching band members to the younger ones.  The first award was the Spirit Bee award.  This a huge stuffed Bee, that an incoming senior will give to an incoming junior that shows strong pride, spirit and loves band.  The boy who had this gave it to Allie!  We were shocked, but I was glad for her. 

This year the drill team had it's share of drama.  There was the senior, four sophomores and three other underclassmen.  There will be no seniors with experience on the drill team.  It was one of the sophomore's first year, Allie's second year and the other two girl's third year.  The senior usually gives the drill team mascot, "Kermietta" to the next in line that will be the head of the drill team.  The senior picked Allie, with a nice letter of why she picked her.  It was such a nice letter about how Allie was strong, worked harder than anyone else and never complained.  It was touching.  This doesn't necessarily mean that Allie will be in charge, but it boosted her confidence and got her going with ideas of how she would like the team to go.  I am so proud of our girl.  She has shown leadership and perseverance.  We will find out the second week of June who is leader and I know she will handle everything with grace.  What an honor.

So we went from a very low beginning to a very high this week.  I love the saying that says, "When God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window."  That has happened this week.  We can't dwell on the awful things.  We have to show that God is in control and he will give us that sense to do what is right.  I am thankful that in school, where I do not see as much of Allie's actions and reactions, that it seems she is still the same no matter what.  I pray that God will help her stay that way.

Psalm 118:5
    5From my distress I called upon the LORD;
         The LORD answered me and set me in a large place

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Psalm 117

  1Praise the LORD, all nations;
         Laud Him, all peoples!
    2For His lovingkindness is great toward us,
         And the truth of the LORD is everlasting.
         Praise the LORD! 

Telling the truth is always important.  But God's truth is never going to change.  It will always be the same and pertinent.  Thank the Lord for that.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Because He Hears.

Psalm 116:1

1I love the LORD, because He hears
         My voice and my supplications

Sometimes, we just need someone to really listen to us.  There are those times when we think that no one else understands and no one is really listening.  It's during those times that this verse can be a comfort and a reminder.  If no one else is listening, then stop and talk to the one who always hears you.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Praise Him!

Psalm 115:18
But as for us, we will bless the LORD
         From this time forth and forever.
         Praise the LORD!

Right now, I cling to these words. Sometimes I just feel down and I need the praises of Psalms to lift me up and remind me of what I need to keep doing.  This feeling passes, but sometimes it seems bigger than me.

"Lord, take me through" is the words I think.  I try to change.  I wait.  I hope. I praise.  I pray my actions will be a blessing to Him.  If it is a blessing to Him, it will be a blessing to others.

Monday, May 16, 2011

God Delivers

Just as God heard the children of Israel and delivered them from the Egypt Pharaoh, He will deliver you from whatever is troubling you.  Have faith, don't turn away. Keep trying, even when you think you will never be good enough for the situation.  God will deliver you.

Psalm 114:7 - 8

   7Tremble, O earth, before the Lord,
         Before the God of Jacob,
    8Who turned the rock into a pool of water,
         The flint into a fountain of water.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Worship and Praising

It's Friday!  Friday, the 13th to be exact. Are you superstitious?  We kid about it, but I don't think I am.  When I mentioned the date to Allie and Timm, Allie got all excited.  Timm, well, he wants to watch a scary movie tonight.  They are so different.  But so are we, as children of God.  We all are made up of quirks and think differently.  I am glad about that.  I like that I am an individual.  But we all have the same goal.  To live for Christ.  To win nonbelievers to the kingdom of God.  To worship God.  I think the last one is sometimes the easiest thing to do, but sometimes our hearts and minds are not atuned with others.  Life's distractions get in the way.  Money, children, work, friends, all these add up to life's frustrations.  If these things are worrying you and keeping you from worshiping God, then read Psalm 113.

 1Praise the LORD!
         Praise, O servants of the LORD,
         Praise the name of the LORD.
    2Blessed be the name of the LORD
         From this time forth and forever.
    3From the rising of the sun to its setting
         The name of the LORD is to be praised.
    4The LORD is high above all nations;
         His glory is above the heavens.
    5Who is like the LORD our God,
         Who is enthroned on high,
    6Who humbles Himself to behold
         The things that are in heaven and in the earth?
    7He raises the poor from the dust
         And lifts the needy from the ash heap,
    8To make them sit with princes,
         With the princes of His people.
    9He makes the barren woman abide in the house
         As a joyful mother of children.
         Praise the LORD!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Prosperity from God

Psalm 112 is a praise to the man who fears God.  God will bless him with prosperity.  Some months it feels like we have it all, and other months it feels like we are just getting by, if at all.  Does that mean that we are not doing God's will?  Does it mean that we are not following God's commands?  I can not answer that for you.  But it feels I am doing something wrong.  I know I am unworthy to even be called a child of God, let alone receive all the blessings He has for me.  I know I am not a very good steward.  I am always striving to do better.  I pray every day that God will bless my family and that we will be able to do His will with what he has given us.  We sometimes need to be reminded that though we feel poor, we, in America, are among the richest people in the world. 

Psalm 112
 1Praise the LORD!
         How blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
         Who greatly delights in His commandments.
    2His descendants will be mighty on earth;
         The generation of the upright will be blessed.
    3Wealth and riches are in his house,
         And his righteousness endures forever.
    4Light arises in the darkness for the upright;
         He is gracious and compassionate and righteous.
    5It is well with the man who is gracious and lends;
         He will maintain his cause in judgment.
    6For he will never be shaken;
         The righteous will be remembered forever.
    7He will not fear evil tidings;
         His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
    8His heart is upheld, he will not fear,
         Until he looks with satisfaction on his adversaries.
    9He has given freely to the poor,
         His righteousness endures forever;
         His horn will be exalted in honor.
    10The wicked will see it and be vexed,
         He will gnash his teeth and melt away;
         The desire of the wicked will perish.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Your Godly Heritage

What is your heritage to your children?  Heritage is defined at dictionary.com as something that comes or belongs to one by reason of birth; an inherited lot or portion:; something reserved for one: .

Heritage is normally land, but most of us in these days and times does not have a lot of land, except maybe the little bit our house is on.  But we can give our children the heritage of Godliness.  Taking them to church, living your life as an example, prayers, faithfulness, devotions, through all of this your children will see God in your life.  They will see how through the dark times you react.  They will see how through the times of exultation you praise God.  So give them a heritage they can hold on to.

Psalm 111

The LORD Praised for His Goodness.
    1Praise the LORD!
         I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart,
         In the company of the upright and in the assembly.
    2Great are the works of the LORD;
         They are studied by all who delight in them.
    3Splendid and majestic is His work,
         And His righteousness endures forever.
    4He has made His wonders to be remembered;
         The LORD is gracious and compassionate.
    5He has given food to those who fear Him;
         He will remember His covenant forever.
    6He has made known to His people the power of His works,
         In giving them the heritage of the nations.
    7The works of His hands are truth and justice;
         All His precepts are sure.
    8They are upheld forever and ever;
         They are performed in truth and uprightness.
    9He has sent redemption to His people;
         He has ordained His covenant forever;
         Holy and awesome is His name.
    10The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
         A good understanding have all those who do His commandments;
         His praise endures forever.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Singe Parents

2 Timothy 1:5
 5For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.

Single parents sometimes get a bad wrap.  Most of them go day in and day out going it alone.  They do not have a spouse to fall back out.  They have to deal with discipline, chores, finances, repairs, emotional blow ups, laundry, meals, and being outwitted, outlasted, and outplayed by their children.  Single parents do the best they can.  If a couple is unsure, at least they have each other to fall back on and to help make decisions.  Single parents do not have that.  They can't say, Go ask your father/mother.  They have to make it.  If they have a support system, someone they can lean on, then they have someone special.  It may be a set of grandparents, or siblings, a great friend.  But, what Christian people need to understand is that we are not alone.  We are all here to encourage and help each other.  It's hard to ask for help, but that's just being prideful, isn't it?  But that is a whole different issue.

We have a duty to help the widows and young parents who seem to be going it alone.  Whether we visit with them, work on their car, clean their yard, babysit so they get some adult time, it doesn't matter.  Just help out.  It's the right thing to do.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hannah and Samuel

Yesterday, Mother's were celebrated all over the country.  Sons and daughters loved on, gifted, and cherished their maternal parent.  I love the Bible stories that involve mothers.  One of my favorites is of Hannah.

I Samuel 1:1-20
There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite[a] from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2 He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
 3 Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the LORD Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the LORD. 4 Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the LORD had closed her womb. 6 Because the LORD had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. 7 This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. 8 Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”
 9 Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the LORD’s house. 10 In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly. 11 And she made a vow, saying, “LORD Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
 12 As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”
 15 “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. 16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
 17 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
 18 She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
 19 Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the LORD and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the LORD remembered her. 20 So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel,[b] saying, “Because I asked the LORD for him.”

How many of us ask God for something and then follow through on our promise to him?  Once we get what we want (and usually it isn't as important to as as we would like to think), we don't think of how we have gotten it or how we can cherish it.  Hannah dedicated her son to God.  She poured out her heavy heart to the Lord, but I'm not sure she really thought he would give her the desire of her heart, a child.  When the priest, Eli talked to her and told her that God had granted her wish, it didn't happen immediately.  Verse 20 says, that "in the course of time" she became pregnant.  It doesn't tell us if she was unhappy that it took some time, or if she was patient.  But God did honor her.  He gave her a son and in to motherhood she headed.    How precious that time must have been for her.  I know that I loved being pregnant.  I never felt better (after the first trimester), and we were so excited for the new editions to our family.  I know that Hannah must have been so excited. The excitement of pregnancy is wonderful and scary.  But knowing that God has granted this gift of a child to me is how I still, after sixteen years of motherhood, feel about my children.  Yes, I get frustrated with their actions and decisions, but I love them more than they will ever know.  I'm sure Hannah felt that with Samuel.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Psalm 110

What a stress-filled week.  I have been very busy at work, and at home.  Then I messed up the computer and we haven't had the money to get it fixed, and with all this rain, emotions are at an all-time high.   So it's nice to see that God has sent me a message.  Psalms 110:1 says,'The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at My right hand, Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet."

Not that I have enemies, per se, but it is nice to see that God wants me to sit and put my feet up.  Between band, dance, track, church, choir, and everything else, I am spent.  I tell the Lord, I will be happy to sit down and put my feet up, but Lord?  Just one more load of laundry, or one more dirty dish to clean.   The Lord doesn't wait for us.  We need to wait for him.  Sometimes it is okay that the dishes haven't been done in two days (that would be me!).  Sometimes it's okay to sit on the couch, lean back and close your eyes for a moment.  But, listen.  God wants to tell you something.  For each of us it's a different message.  But to hear him, sometimes you have to stop what you are doing and meditate.  Be quiet.  Turn off the tv or the iPod, or send the children to Grandma's, if only for a day.  So take some time this weekend and do what God asks, sit and put your feet up!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Psalm 109

Psalm 109 is a good psalm to read today, the day after it was announced that Osama Bin Laden was killed.  My son asked why he was killed, and I told him he was public enemy number one for the United States of America.  But for someone who was four years old when September 11th happened, it's still hard to take in.  I just know that God will take care of repaying Bin Laden, and I don't have to.  I still feel sad at the senseless lives lost on that day, and sad for the brave soldiers who have been looking for him ever since.  I am still proud to be an American!

Psalm 109:14 - 16

 14Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD,
         And do not let the sin of his mother be blotted out.
    15Let them be before the LORD continually,
         That He may cut off their memory from the earth;
    16Because he did not remember to show lovingkindness,
         But persecuted the afflicted and needy man,
         And the despondent in heart, to put them to death.