Friday, August 4, 2017

By Faith
Hebrews 11

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. Hebrews 11: 1-2

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. Hebrews 11: 39-40

By faith Abel . . . By faith Enoch . . . By faith Noah . . . By faith Abraham . . . By faith Isaac . . . By faith Jacob . . . By faith Joseph . . . By faith Moses . . . By faith the walls of Jericho fell . . . By faith the prostitute Rahab . . .

By faith these followed the call of God and the Holy Spirit. As scripture says, ‘yet none of them received what had been promised’, but ‘something better’! They trusted their God that He would provide for them, change their circumstances, bless them, they spoke the truth, they marched for 7 days and they were obedient.

Isn’t that all God is asking of us, to trust Him and be obedient to Him? He wants to give us something better than what we can see for ourselves in our current circumstances. All we have to do is ask Him, trust Him and be obedient to Him. He will give us all we need, not necessarily all we want, but all we need. Those are two different things. As you approach His Holy Throne are you asking for wants or needs? Ask with an expectant heart. He is waiting to bless you.
In the scripture below Christ says three times 'remain in me/vine'.

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5

This is what Barnes' Notes Commentary says regarding this text.
Abide in me - Remain united to me by a living faith. Live a life of dependence on me, and obey my doctrines, imitate my example, and constantly exercise faith in me. And I in you - That is, if you remain attached to me, I will remain with you, and will teach, guide, and comfort you. This he proceeds to illustrate by a reference to the vine. If the branch should be cut off an instant, it would die and be fruitless. As long as it is in the vine, "from the nature of the case," the parent stock imparts its juices, and furnishes a constant circulation of sap adapted to the growth and fruitfulness of the branch. So our piety, if we should be separate from Christ, or if we cease to feel our union to him and dependence on him, withers and droops.

I believe that part of remaining 'in' Him is to remain in His Word. I know for me being 'in' His Word daily I am refreshed and can feel the 'constant circulation' of His love, peace, guidance and comfort.

Friday, July 21, 2017

July 20, 2017

Ezra 9:9New International Version (NIV)
Though we are slaves, our God has not forsaken us in our bondage. He has shown us kindness in the sight of the kings of Persia: He has granted us new life to rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins, and he has given us a wall of protection in Judah and Jerusalem.

Last night during Bible study at Second Baptist Church in Levelland, Texas, Pastor Michael Holster was teaching on Ezra 9. I have heard this text taught before by Rebecca Ashbrook Carrell, a Women’s Ministry teacher out of Dallas.

Last night the above highlighted text hit me like a brick. I couldn’t even listen to Michael any longer I had to write. This is what I wrote:

V 9b Granted us a new life to rebuild the house (our body – His Temple) and repair our hearts and he has given us a wall (the Cross) of protection.

New Life — In Christ
                Hebrew—New Life—saving a life, sustenance, relief, recovering, reviving (added later)

Rebuild — New Temples (our bodies, minds, relationship with Christ)
                Restore (added later)

Repair — Our hearts, healing of past hurts and our relationship with Christ
                Rectify, mend, fix, make amends, put right (added later)

Wall — The Cross and His Word
                Enclose, encircle (added later)

I am not sure why this text hit me so hard. Maybe it is because of a discussion I had in a Bible study I am leading on Monday nights? I was asked a question about my life. I quickly gave an overview of my 3 marriages and my 3 divorces. I talked about how before my last marriage I had been single for 14 years, but wanted so desperately to be married. Everyone around me was married!

So I stepped out in my own strength, as Christine Mann (the Women’s Ministry Leader at New Life Church, Denton) once told me and I married and then divorced an unsaved man God had not told me to marry. I had prayed, a lot, about getting married to this man. I had asked God a lot if this was the man I was supposed to marry. I never heard anything. So, I married him and it didn’t take a long time to see what a mistake I had made. But (as my mom would have said) I made my bed and now I had to lie in it! See where that led me? Straight away from the protection of God’s Merciful Wing.

Back to the night of Bible study. I realized that night I had never asked God’s forgiveness for not listening to him and being dependent on my own strength and not on Him. In the last 4 years I have not felt the protection of God, oh I know it was there, but because of my failing to seek His Face and ask for forgiveness I have not been walking in His Will. I had never thought until that moment that I needed to seek forgiveness. Yes, I have now! Now on to forgiving myself for not trusting God, once again!

So, what does all of that have to do with the scripture from Ezra 9:9? A lot!

I now feel the closeness I was missing with Christ. My spirit is settling back into sync with Christ. I feel new, revived. All 4 words and what I wrote are how God is working on me right now.

New Life, Rebuild, Repair, Wall, this is what Christ is doing in me — repairing, rebuilding and creating a new life with a strong wall around me.

Since that divorce I have been out of sorts with God, and of course it was my own doing – again! Every time I am out of sorts with God – it’s me – not Him that put me there!! So, why has it taken 4 years for me to realize it? Because of me and my own desire to be in control.

Growing up, the way I did, I learned to depend on me a lot. There wasn’t the parental security that most children have. The loving, kind, be there for you father around to offer protection. We were left to fend for ourselves a lot. The mindset of ‘take care of yourself’ was ingrained in me from a very early age. It is like a bad habit, like smoking, it is hard to break. I want to lose myself in Christ, to be fully dependent on Him for everything, for every decision, but I keep falling back on ME. It is so hard to trust someone you can’t see, when the person you could see, you couldn’t trust to be there.

Once again, He is calling me back to Him, calling me to restoration in Him and calling me to trust Him in all things. I want to so much. I want to be so head over heels in love with Christ that He is the first one I go to for comfort, affirmation, peace, guidance, for all things.

So how do I get there? I allow him to work on my broken places some more! They obviously aren’t healed the way I thought they were. I think the revelations of the last couple of weeks are the beginning.

As I was sharing what I wrote last night with Michael Holster, it dawned on me that this also applies to our Second Baptist Church. We need New Life, Rebuilding, Repair and a Wall!


This will be my prayer as I become a member of SBC. I believe God for New Life in our church. I believe Him for new members who seek His face and a place that is filled with others who also seek His face. I believe, like in Ezra, the old wall that had been torn down and destroyed will be rebuilt and repaired.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

To Love That Deeply

Written by Becky Vaughn
April 3, 2015

Oh to love that deeply
You hung on the cross
So I can live

Oh to love that deeply
You took my shame and guilt
So I can be set free

Oh to love that deeply
You took the pain of my childhood
So I could learn to forgive

Oh to love that deeply
You took on my pride
So I could learn to be humble

Oh to love that deeply
You hung on the cross

So I can learn to love that deeply


I wrote this on Good Friday 2015 after reading about the death of Christ.
Joy

August 20, 2013

This morning I had to go to a retirement breakfast for a vice president here at UNT. I went to a table where I know a couple that works at facilities. The table was decorated with the little glass beads that are sometimes found in flower arrangements.  The lady picked one up, handed it to me and said, “May you have a splash of joy today.” (It is now on my desk!)
I almost started crying. I said to God, “Yes, I am paying attention.”
I told Jackie about the message that Christine gave last night. I told her about the words from Ezekiel 47:1-9 that Cherry told me about.  She picked up her phone, looked up the scripture and we read it.

Ezekiel 47

The River from the Temple

47 The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side. As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits[a] and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross. He asked me, “Son of man, do you see this?” Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah,[b] where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live.

When I got back to my office I recalled that Julia prayed about her vision about a gate. Then I just kept thinking about Christine talking about jumping into the water.

Psalm 46
though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
So, this is what I am hearing today:
It doesn’t matter if you jump in with both feet, or if you walk slowly because of the hurts of the past or the cracks in your ‘pot’ or just not sure what to do or just knowing you have to do something different – JUST GET IN THE WATER. It is refreshing, cleansing, soothing, filling, calming.

Lord,
This is my prayer for each woman as she reads Your Word that it will refresh her soul, cleanse her past, soothe her heart, fill her mind and calm her spirit. May the salt of her tears bring a fresh insight to Your Word and Your desire for her life. And with this new insight it will bring rivers of joy to her and to all cross her path.



A Soft Place to Fall

Becky Vaughn
November 3, 2005


When the world has beaten you up and you need a soft place to fall,
Call on the Angels
They understand,
Their soft laps are made of the clouds,
Soft and tender.

When life hasn’t given you what you thought you desired,
Call on the Angels
They understand,
Their ears are pressed to God’s heart.

When life is running a race and you can’t keep up,
Call on the Angels
The understand,
They are always waiting to give you a soft place to fall . . .

Into His arms.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sadness


February 17, 2014

Sadness

Why today?

Is this day really any different than yesterday?

The sadness is so heavy,

Like a weight on my heart and in my mind.

Where did you come from,

Can you go back?

Oh, this heaviness is causing doubts and fears.

Questioning my path,

Asking myself why.