Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Crown of Life

James 1:12
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

I hate tests.  In school I could study and study, and still not do well.  It took me a while to get over the fact that the exam was not the only important way to express your knowledge.  I can do the work, I can show my character, act on the knowledge I have studied and have been given.  Those things also give a lot to show you during a trial.  I know God is giving me what I can handle, and I am not sure what the reason for it or the end result will be, but I am trusting that no matter what.  I am learning each day, I am doing my best to keep my faith and attitude in check and trying to praise God.  I know that the promise in James 1:12 will be my end result.  God has given us that knowledge.  I hope I past the test.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Don't Neglect Each Other

Hebrews 10:25
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Do not neglect meeting together.  I have been lax in this area.  So I need to heed this.  Today I am writing this for me, and no one else.  If you needed to hear this, then that is God talking to you too.  

Starting in September (the 7th to be exact), choir will start back up and I will start back in to Bible Study.  I hope all of you will join us!   Because being with our family encourages us in all ways.  I know Mike and I need encouragement.  I hope we can encourage you too!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Lord's Joy

Nehemiah 8:10

"Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

In all we do, our strength is God's joy.  He wants to be there for you, just ask him.  If you have a burden tell him and he will give you the strength you need to get through it.  He loves you and cares for you.  He is more than willing and happy to care for you, his child.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Are You Still There?

John 6:66
66 As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.

This verse is in regards to Jesus explaining how things were and that the disciples were struggling to understand.   Jesus knew who would follow him and who would fall away.  He also knew the impact that a small group could have on the world.  He knew that those who were truly devoted would spread the gospel when the time was right and grow themselves, in faith, wisdom and love.  We need to encourage each other to stay strong in the Lord.  We need to be there for each other, not only when times are rough, but when they are busy, crazy and easy.  Rejoice in each and every brother and sister you have in Christ.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

God's Promise

I finally finished the book of  Psalms.  I started it in August 2010!  I didn't realize that it took me a year to go through that book, but I am glad I did it.  I learned a lot, and I hope you enjoyed it.   So while I figure out what to do next (does anyone have any suggestions?), I will be doing a Bible verse of the day, picked randomly by various means. 

Jeremiah 7:23

But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you.’

I have been thinking a lot about this verse and didn't even know it.  This economy is brutal.  I am terrible with money anyway, and keeping up with everything is hard. I sometimes struggle with giving to the church.  Mike and I try our hardest, but some weeks the money seems to just evaporate.  Giving my time and ability is often easier to justify.  But, as this verse says, ...and you walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you.  Giving is hard when everyone wants a piece of it.  Your bills need paid, your kids needs shoes and clothes, school activities cost, the car needs fixed, the hospital needs paid.  The list goes on forever.  But, God did command us to give ten percent as an offering back to him.  Not because he needs it, but because he wants our obedience.  It's hard, but to not do it is to be disobedient.  And, if I trust him enough and love him by obeying him with my tithe, then he will see us through these stormy economic storms.  He promised that all will be well.  That's a promise I plan on clinging too.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Family Reunion

This weekend was a wonderful opportunity for my family to reconnect.  It has been at least fifteen years since the Rainey's had a reunion.  I didn't know all who were coming, and I didn't know all who were there, but each one I did know, I have very dear memories of.  There was a lot of reminiscing.  A lot of reconnecting.  There was actually almost 100 of us at the park.  What a great day!

First, the oldest living Rainey came.  Dan Rainey is my father's uncle.  He lives in Florida, and the first memory I have of Uncle Dan is him and his wife Mary, taking me to the Michigan NASCAR race when I was around 12.   It was a great day and he had stories of going to races and I was totally loved it.  He is older and a bit more feeble, but what a wonderful surprise!

There was my Aunt Judy, who is my dad's sister.  It was wonderful seeing her too.  She told us of all she has been doing, of her granddaughters, her son.  Hopefully next time, they can come up too.

There was Uncle Bill, Dan's brother.  He had a farm close to us where all the other family parties.  I have lots of memories of going out there and watching fireworks, seeing my grandparents and other family.

There was Katie, my dad's cousin.  She came from North Carolina.  Dad always has called her his birthday girl because when her mom was pregnant with her, dad told June that the baby would be a girl and born on his birthday.  June argued with him, but guess who was right?

There we all were hugging, smiling, laughing, trying to figure out which young person went with which older person and how questioning everyone's where abouts and doings.  I imagine that this, in part, is how that great reunion day in heaven will be.  We will all be together, some we will know, some we will just meet, but all happy and glad to see each other.   I know that only God knows what is in store for each of us when we get to heaven.  That is a surprise we will need to wait for.

God's Wonderful People

Verse 3
On that great reunion day
When the Lord said come away
And the saints from all the land sweep through the gate
Joining love ones around the throne
At last we'll all be gathered home
That will be the greatest thrill we've ever known

The 3rd verse of this song, sums up for me what I hope heaven will be like.  I can't wait to meet all my brothers and sisters in Christ on that day!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Praise the Lord!

Psalm 150

1 Praise the LORD!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty expanse.
2 Praise Him for His mighty deeds;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.
 3 Praise Him with trumpet sound;
Praise Him with harp and lyre.
4 Praise Him with timbrel and dancing;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.
5 Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD! 

 What a fitting way to end this book of poems.  There must have been a lot of loud music in the King's presence.  I know David loved music and wanted to dance and sing before God.  I love to sing for God.  I love to just sing and praise God with the hymns of my youth and the newer choruses of today.  It doesn't matter to me if anyone else hears, but as long as God knows my heart, I'm good just praising God as I go to work, washing dishes, or in my car.  Praise God for all he has given me.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Beautiful Things

Honestly, most days I do not feel beautiful.  Sometimes, I like the way I look on the outside, sometimes I like the way am feel on the inside, but most days, I see something that I am not proud of or just do not like about myself.
Psalm 149:4 says

4 For the LORD takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation

God will make beautiful those that are plagued or in pain by giving them salvation.  I just say "AMEN!" to that statement.  There is a new song out by a Christian group called Gungor that I find myself singing the chorus of a lot.  It says that God will make beautiful things out of us.  Simple.  No matter how ugly I find myself, or how much pain I go through, God makes me beautiful!

Beautiful Things by Gungor
All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new
You are making me new

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Praise Him!

Psalm 148

1 Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
2 Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
3 Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all stars of light!
4 Praise Him, highest heavens,
And the waters that are above the heavens!
5 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For He commanded and they were created.
6 He has also established them forever and ever;
He has made a decree which will not pass away. 

 7 Praise the LORD from the earth,
Sea monsters and all deeps;
8 Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
9 Mountains and all hills;
Fruit trees and all cedars;
10 Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and winged fowl;
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;
12 Both young men and virgins;
Old men and children.

 13 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above earth and heaven.
14 And He has lifted up a horn for His people,
Praise for all His godly ones;
Even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him.
Praise the LORD!

I love this Psalm!  I love how created thing is commanded to praise the Lord.  It talks about how the weather is fulfilling His word.  Even the earth praises God.  Sometimes just being, just doing God's will is praise enough.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Snow in Summer

Psalm 147:16 - 18

16 He gives snow like wool;
He scatters the frost like ashes.
17 He casts forth His ice as fragments;
Who can stand before His cold?
18 He sends forth His word and melts them;
He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow. 

 I have never noticed these verses before.  I love winter.  I know, most of you think that I am a freak, but the cooler it is outside, I am happy.  Summer is fun and hot and all, but I would rather be a little chilly, than too warm.  And, the Bible tells us that when we are forgiven of our sins, it is like we are washed and whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7) in God's eyes.  Snow is so brilliantly white, especially when the sun shines on it and blinds us.   But these verses tell us that he is in control of even the snow that blows around, the frost that forms on a cold night.  God's cold is not like our cold. One of my favorite movies is called The Day After Tomorrow.  It's about the earth shifting it's axis and the North Pole turns and the earth freezes down past the middle of the United States.  The shift in temperatures happen so quickly, that a lot of people are caught and freezes immediately.  That's how God's cold is.  Luckily, I think we are warmed by the love of God, and that will keep us warm forever.

Monday, August 15, 2011

God Loves

Psalm 146:8-9

 8 The LORD opens the eyes of the blind;
The LORD raises up those who are bowed down;
The LORD loves the righteous;
9 The LORD protects the strangers;
He supports the fatherless and the widow,
But He thwarts the way of the wicked. 

 God loves everyone, even those who are down and almost out.  He heals the sick, lifts up the down-trodden, and loves us all.  Praise God!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sustaining Us

Looking at my where our garden started, and where it is now, and the possibility of where it will be in a few weeks, I praise God for what will surely be a good harvest.  Patience and elbow grease, water and weeding have help us, but only because God have us the will and know how to help out.  Thank you, Lord for giving us what we need!

Psalm 145:14-16

14 The LORD sustains all who fall
And raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to You,
And You give them their food in due time.
16 You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Speak It and Live It

Psalm 144:3-4
3 O LORD, what is man, that You take knowledge of him?
Or the son of man, that You think of him?
4 Man is like a mere breath;
His days are like a passing shadow. 

 I am the receptionist at work.  I take care of the mail that comes in and out of the office on a daily basis.  There is a funny, older gentleman who lets me know each time he brings mail to be sent out.  Monday he told me that he was sending in a payment for his grave sight.  I asked him if he was planning to die soon.  He giggled and said "No, but you never know."  How true a statement.  The Psalmist got it right in verse 4.  In God's time, man's life is a blink of an eye.  Before you die, let someone know you are a Christian.  Don't go without telling someone what Christ has done in your life.  I have heard of too many people that are left behind doubting someone's eternal passage. If someone's life as a Christian is in question after their passing, what does that say?  If you are passionate about Christ's message of salvation, talk to them, lovingly telling them that Christ wants them to make that decision for themselves.   Make sure you let everyone know that you have followed Christ and are living for him.  Tell them your story, don't just live it, speak it!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Quiet of the Morning

Psalm 143:8; 10
Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning;
For I trust in You;
Teach me the way in which I should walk;
For to You I lift up my soul. 

Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. 

I love these two verses.  I am usually a morning person, as long as I have had some quiet time when I get up.  I love the quiet mornings, that are cool and the sun is just coming up.  I sit quietly and listen for God.  I listen to him in nature, the bird's song, the rustling of the trees branches as the wind gently moves by, and by the stillness of the air.  I read my devotion and try and let his teachings ground me, so I am not off kilter. But it doesn't have to be in the morning.  It can be by drawing a picture, listening to music, lighting a candle, whatever you do to listen to God, don't forget to do it!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Vent Away!

Who do you turn to when you want to complain or talk out a situation?  Your parents?  Your spouse?  Your best friend?  When David was in trouble, he went to God.  He didn't feel he could talk to anyone else or he was on the run and alone and didn't have anyone else around.  Last week at camp, when you get 80 kids together, there is bound to be issues.  Allie came to me one time to vent.  She just needed someone to listen to her, to pour out her frustrations and talk things out.  Then she was better, and could handle the next 24 hours or so.  I am glad she can come to me, but I hope we all realize we can vent to God to.  Besides, he knows the situation and turn out better than us anyway.  Look how David turned out.

Psalm 142
 1 I cry aloud with my voice to the LORD;
I make supplication with my voice to the LORD.
2 I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare my trouble before Him.
3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
You knew my path.
In the way where I walk
They have hidden a trap for me.
4 Look to the right and see;
For there is no one who regards me;
There is no escape for me;
No one cares for my soul.

 5 I cried out to You, O LORD;
I said, “You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living.
6 “Give heed to my cry,
For I am brought very low;
Deliver me from my persecutors,
For they are too strong for me.
7 “Bring my soul out of prison,
So that I may give thanks to Your name;
The righteous will surround me,
For You will deal bountifully with me.”

Monday, August 8, 2011

Being Wise and Encouraging

Last week, I took a hiatus from blogging and focused on my kids and their favorite activity.  We went to band camp.  It was a long, crazy, fun week.  There is the fun and energy that only teenagers can bring.  We had a birthday party, a game night, and a night of telling all about the band and it's tradition.  I'm still recovering, but I am back at work.   Some interesting things come out of getting a group like this together.  You have those who are just not sure of all the hard work and want to just sit on the sidelines and watch.  There are those who are there for the love of playing their instrument (and are really good at it).  Then there are those who love what it represents.  The spirit of the band, if you will.  They are the ones who make camp fun for everyone.  These members are the encouragers.

An example of this was my son.  The second night, the boys in Timm's cabin accidently broke a window.  I had already left for the night, but Timm called me.  He talked to me about what had happened, and that none of the boys wanted to fess up to the truth.  I talked to him and gave him the advice of telling before they found out about it.  He made the decision that even though he had nothing to do with it, he was going to go and talk to the director and other adults.  He looked at the other boys in his cabin, and as he put his shoes on, he declared that he was going to go and explain what happened.  With that one decision, all eight or ten boys put their shoes on and walked over to where the faculty were staying and support Timm.  If it wasn't for Timm, who knows how that mess would have turned out.  I am proud of him for that.  Of course, later in the night, I asked him how things went.  He said, "The guys think I am a saint!"  Now that is funny stuff!

Sometimes you just need to talk out a situation and accept that responsibility.  God wants us to get advice from our elders and leaders.  He wants there to be that accountability.  He wants that leadership from us to.  We know what to do.  We know right from wrong.  Sometimes we just need to clear our head of the muddy stuff and listen to wiser people.

Psalm 141:8
8 For my eyes are toward You, O GOD, the Lord;
In You I take refuge; do not leave me defenseless.