Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Either-Way Faith

"If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us 
from the furnace of blazing fire;
and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.
 But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, 
that we are not going to serve your gods 
or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

Daniel 3:17,18

Either-way faith.

If God chooses to save us, then He will.  If He chooses not to, then He is still my God.

These were the words the three Hebrew men spoke to King Nebuchadnezzar as he was threatening their lives and trashing their God.  They were established in their relationship with God and trusted the outcome fully to the Lord.  They did not know the end of the story, but their faith was not in their ability to save themselves. It was in God.

And Jesus showed up in a huge way, didn't He?

This week I've been thinking about either-way faith.  What does it look like today?  We don't have a king threatening our lives over our worship, at least not yet.  So what kind of situations afford us the opportunity to have either-way faith? 

Of course, there are the biggies - when our faith is tested because our lives are threatened by the possibility of death.  Illness or accidents happen, to us or those we love, and we are faced with either questioning God or trusting Him.  

But I'm talking about the smallies today - the everyday little things where we are faced to walk by faith and obey the Lord.  The flames may not be that high and the threat may not seem that intense, but the test is still very real.  It's those times that we quickly set aside our trust in the Lord and live by flesh rather than faith, those times when we look no different than the world. It's those tests that come and unless things go our way, we'll do what comes naturally because we have to rely on ourselves to save us.

So, what's a smallie?  Let me give a few examples:
  • Your husband refuses to see it your way and now neither of you are talking
  • You need to do some housework but Facebook is calling your name
  • Your child has spilt her third glass of milk in an hour
  • Your best friend has a juicy story about your neighbor to share with you
  • You haven't spent time in God's Word in like, forever...
  • You got home pretty late from the Festival fireworks and are too tired for church
  • You saw your sister's husband at lunch with a woman you didn't recognize
  • Your children are being taught evolution at school
  • You're behind with your responsibilities at work and can't seem to catch up
  • You're credit cards are filling up too quickly to stay on top of
  • You haven't talked to a family member for years because of a lack of forgiveness
  • Your spouse seems distant
  • You find pornography on your husband's computer
  • You find yourself in a movie theater with friends and the inappropriate language and scenes follow one after another
  • Your friends are all drinking, though they're all under age, and it actually looks pretty harmless
None of these are particularly life threatening, except maybe the last one.  But here's my point - every day we are faced with decisions of whether or not we are going to put our trust in Jesus and be obedient to Him. When we choose to disobey, in essence we are saying that doing things God's way is not our only option - that we know better than Him, therefore we put our trust in ourselves rather than Him.  We would rather walk away from Him and do it our own way.

And guess what?  Having faith in the smallies prepares you for withstanding the biggies. So when we fail in the small things, we are only setting ourselves up for failure in the large things.

Remember, enduring faith is saving faith.  If you are able to exhibit faith in the every day life issues, then you can have confidence that your faith is truly in the Lord and not just play-faith.  Test yourself today.  Look at your choices and see if your faith shines through.  Do you only follow Jesus when He answers your prayers how you want them answered? when He protects your from problems? when life is smooth and easy?  Or do you have either-way faith, that trusts and follows, no matter how difficult or how painful the process may be?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Little Peanut

One week ago today, on June 14th, Baby Emma made her arrival! For those who have wanted to see her, here is your chance! Thank you for your patience and giving Katherine time to recover. Emma entered this world nine days early, due to the fact her mommy's placenta was worn out and done feeding her. She hadn't grown in a few weeks and the doctor decided to get the ball rolling early. We are so thankful that she did!

Emma's first few hours were spent in a special nursery, with her own nurse attending her every needs.  One of God's many blessings through this delivery was this nurse - he had been the head floor nurse at the neo-natal unit at Spectrum when Norah and Ashley were born. Imagine our relief after Emma's crazy delivery to look up and see him taking care of her!  About a year or so ago he started working at our local hospital - we told him he was God's gift to us!  He is a believer and it was such a comfort having him care for Emma.  

Emma had to have an oxygen cap - kind of like a football helmet - around her head for the first few hours. They weren't "giving" her oxygen - they were "surrounding" her with oxygen.  Apparently there's a difference.

Emma was four pounds and thirteen ounces - just a little peanut. Fully developed, she was long and lean - Grandma Averill joked that Emma had her thighs!  I agreed - they couldn't be mine - not beefy enough!

After a few hours, Katherine was wheeled into the nursery and held Emma for the first time. Because her delivery was so quick and Emma was distressed at the time of birth, she didn't get to hold her immediately. 

Needless to say, she was so thrilled! 

Within a day, Emma was exhausting herself with her feedings and her oxygen and blood sugar levels were dropping, so they inserted a feeding tube. Another blessing - we are well versed with feeding tubes. Our precious twins spent about a month on tubes when they were born.  

But it wasn't long before she weaned herself off the tubes - partly because of strength and partly because of will. She kept grabbing the tube and pulling it out - her way of saying, "Entry into this world was traumatic enough, and now this???"

After a week, Emma came home and is now enjoying the fruits of several wonderful showers.  She has her days and nights mixed up a bit and you know what?  We don't mind!  We're so thankful that the Lord has given her to us that we're not complaining. She may be tiny, but she's very alert and active - long and lean arms and legs that flail wildly if she's not tightly swaddled.

Here you can see she's worked her arms out of the receiving blanket and is in total chill mode.  What a blessing - baby and Mommy are well and happy to be home.  She had a doctor's appointment today and Emma's already over five pounds! Way to go, Mom!

I'm going to add one thing about Poppa - Austin is a rock star! His patience and love for my daughter and granddaughter in the hospital was another opportunity for me to whisper a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord. Austin loves the Lord and is a godly, precious husband for my daughter.  Watching him love on her and Emma is a real joy - plus the fact that his women have him whipped - totally enjoyable!

Okay, so if you have been wanting to see Emma, I hope this satisfies for the time being. Katherine is protecting our little peanut by keeping the environment quiet and peaceful.  She would love to see all of you, but needs a few weeks to give Emma the best start possible. 

Thank you all for your prayers and gifts - you are definitely loved!

Friday, June 15, 2012


"Preserve - To keep safe from harm or injury"

"Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.

"Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You."

"O love the Lord, all you His godly ones! The Lord preserves the faithful and fully recompenses the proud doer."

"You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance."

"The Lord loves justice and does not forsake His godly ones; they are preserved forever, but the descendants of the wicked will be cut off."

"Preserve my soul, for I am a godly man; O You my God, save your servant who trusts in You."

"Hate evil, you who love the Lord, who preserves the souls of His godly ones; He delivers them from the hand of the wicked."

"The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me."

"Guarding the paths of justice, and He preserves the way of His godly ones."

The power of observation:

Two basics principles found in these nine verses:

1.  God is actively saving His children from trouble and for eternity.

2. We can cry out to God for salvation, because it's what He does.

I found it interesting, the descriptors used of believers in these verses:

  • godly - Christlike
  • faithful - loyal, constant, steadfast
  • simple - humble and unpretentious
And then the actions of the godly ones:
  • take refuge - and action to claim shelter or safety
  • wait - stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or until something else happens
  • integrity - doing what is right when no one is looking
  • uprightness - a strictly honorable or honest manner

And then, finally, God's actions:

  • preserves - saves
  • recompenses - repays
  • surround - encompasses
  • does not forsake - does not abandon
  • cut off - to sever from
  • save - preserve
  • delivers - brings out from danger
  • brings low - knocks down
  • guarding  - protection

1.  God is personally involved in my life.
2.  He's a busy God.
3.  He uses kind words to describe me (thank you, Jesus).
4.  He has high expectations for me, as seen in his descriptors.
5.  His salvation goes beyond hell fires, but daily is preserving me.

I think I may have to start using this word, preserve, in my prayers with the Lord...

Thursday, June 14, 2012


"How much less when you say you do not behold Him...the case is before Him, and you must wait for Him!"

"Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed..."

"Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation;  For You I wait all the day."

"Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You."

"Wait for the Lord;  be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord."

"Our souls wait for the Lord; He is our help and our shield."

"Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him..."

"For evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land."

"And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You."

"My soul waits in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation."

"May those who fear You see me and be glad, because I wait for Your word."

"I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Your word."

"The Lord favors those who fear Him, those who wait for His lovingkindness."

"Do not say, "I will repay evil"; wait for the Lord and He will save you."

"Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary."

Waiting equates to patience.  In our fast paced world, patience is a lost virtue.  We want it fast - our internet has to be fast, our phones have to be fast, our food needs to come fast, our cars are fast, our nails now dry fast, we want our houses built fast, and even our church services should be fast because there's always something else waiting for us to go and do.

Waiting equates to patience.  Boy, there's a hard one.  We want our medical tests to come back fast, our treatments to be fast, our work week to pass by fast, our college classes to go fast, our engagements to be fast and our pregnancies to fly by.

Waiting equates to patience.

God tells us to wait on Him.  That waiting is not because He's busy doing something else and we have to take a number to get His attention.  Look at the above verses and see what is associated with waiting:

  • lack of shame
  • rest
  • strength and courage
  • inheritance
  • hope
  • God's favor
  • God's lovingkindness
  • new strength
And that's just a taste...who wouldn't want those things?  I'm going to change my tag line...

Waiting equates to godliness. 

God is patience personified and when we wait, we are imitating our Savior.  He doesn't keep checking His watch and looking at the exit, He is immensely patient.

So let's patiently wait on the Lord - let's make it a habit.  Quiet ourselves, immerse ourselves in His Word and His love, and wait for His lead.  It will come...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Believing the Word of God...

...and acting on it, no matter how I feel, because God promises a good result.

"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ."

"For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith."

"The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God.  Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves."

"This is the only thing I want to find out from you:  did you receive the Spirit by works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?"

"The righteous man shall live by faith."

"But the scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe."

"For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness."

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God..."

" addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one."

"Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called..."

"And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises."

Faith - it is a gift from God that is vital for the Christian life.  It affects everything we do.  If we walk in unrighteousness, if we love our sin, if we look like the world, it is evidence of a lack of faith, right?  

Now, just because you are given faith, doesn't mean you will automatically walk by faith.  You have it, and you are responsible to use it.

Enough said.

Friday, June 8, 2012

And Again I say...

"...and rejoice in all your undertakings in which the Lord God has blessed you..."

" shall rejoice in all the good which the Lord your God has given you and your household..."

"Rejoice, O nations, with His people; for He will avenge the blood of His servants..."

"My heart exults in the Lord; My horn is exalted in the Lord, My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation."

"That I may tell of all Your praises, that in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in Your salvation."

"But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in your salvation."

"Our heart rejoices in Him, because we trust in His holy name."

"My soul will make its boast in the Lord; the humble will hear it and rejoice."

"Let Mount Zion be glad, let the daughters of Judah rejoice because of Your judgments."

"Make me to hear joy and gladness, let the bones which You have broken rejoice."

"Shout for joy, O heavens!  And rejoice, O earth!  Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted His people and will have compassion on His afflicted."

"Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation."

"...and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory..."

"...but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation."

"Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; for the God of love and peace will be with you."

What do we rejoice over? When was the last time you threw your hands up in praise?  For many of us, we did this because of a home run in the ninth inning or three-point shot at the buzzer.  Or maybe when our child's name was mentioned at their graduation ceremony.  Or was it when we saw our child's grades and were rejoicing with them?

If you look at God's instruction for rejoicing, it is connected to His goodness, His actions, His work in our lives:

  • His blessing
  • His provision
  • His salvation
  • His lovingkindness
  • His person
  • His discipline
  • His compassion and comfort
  • His presence
  • His suffering
  • His fellowship
If we are to rejoice in the person and work of Jesus Christ, why aren't we happier people?  Why aren't we constantly dripping with praise and gratitude? Why can't we throw our hands up at the sound of His great name?  What could possibly be greater and more personal than the presence of the living God affecting our daily lives?  Why should a home run get more joy bursting forth than His mercies which are new every morning?


Rejoice - we must shift our perspective to the eternal and live in that neighborhood.  It will dramatically change our here and now.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


"I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant..."

"In Your lovingkindness You have led the people whom You have redeemed; In Your strength You have guided them to Your holy habitation."

"The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness and truth..."

"...but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments."

"Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, Who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments."

"...but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you."

"He is a tower of deliverance to His king, and shows lovingkindness to His anointed, to David and his descendants forever."

"You have granted me life and lovingkindness; and Your care has preserved my spirit."

"Return, O Lord, rescue my soul; Save me because of Your lovingkindness."

"Wondrously show Your lovingkindness, O Savior of those who take refuge at Your right hand from those who rise up against them."

"Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life."

"All the paths of the Lord are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies."

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting."

"I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness."

"The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail."

Lovingkindness - not really a word we use every day.  Do you want to know why?  Because it is not a word we can use to describe ourselves or others. It is not a human quality.  It is a word that describes God.

In these fifteen references, we can begin to get a picture of what lovingkindness actually is:

  • it is poured out on servants of God
  • it causes God to lead
  • it is revealed to those who are obedient to the Lord
  • God chooses how He uses it
  • it is promised for David's offspring
  • it has saving power
  • it chases after it's subject
  • it has everlasting qualities
  • it draws into relationship
  • it never ends 
  • it is connected with God's compassion
There are over 180 references to lovingkindness in the Word of God - this would be a fascinating study if you are looking for something to do today.  Go to - I enter the NASB version and then type in "lovingkindness." Get a notebook and as you look up each reference, read the context (the surrounding verses) and then jot down how lovingkindness is described, applied, or descriptors of those it is poured out on.  

Take your time and see the Lord.

Have a great day!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Night of Praise

"Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it..."
Psalm 127:1

This is a house that was originally built for the Lord with the money and labor of His body.  But it fell away from its calling and became a house of idol worship.  Last night this house was reclaimed for Jesus.

It was an incredible night of worship. I've never been in a service where the roar of the people drowned out the music, but we were there to let the Lord know the house was His again.  It's not like He didn't already know - it was in His plan all along.

So what role does Harvest Spring Lake play in this drama?  You see, unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.  This has been His house all along - it's just that at some point the laborers failed.  This reminds me of the stories in the book of Judges, where God's people cycled themselves in and out of blessing through their worship.  When their hearts went astray, their worship followed. Then God brought great discipline upon them until they cried out for mercy and salvation.  Then He would restore His people.

Now I am not saying that there is something mystical or magical about a building - God doesn't look at the appearance but at the heart, but for nearly twenty years the heart within this structure had wandered from the truth.  And the heart was basically removed.  

God's all about tearing down idols and reclaiming the worship of His people.  This building is not an idol - the activity within it is either offered to Him or to false gods.  So here we sit with the building now in our hands and the awesome task of responsibly using it for the glory of God - of Jesus Christ.  

The role we've played?  It's been His script all along - we are just trying to faithfully follow His lead.  The role we will play?  Faithfully lifting high the name of Jesus within the walls, preaching the Word of God without apology, reaching the lost with the compassion and love of Christ and encouraging each other as the day of the Lord draws near.

It scares me how quickly this church fell and equally encourages me how quickly the Lord has restored and returned in all His glory.  Last night the glory of the Lord fell on Harvest Bible Chapel Spring Lake and we can only raise our hands in worship, begging for His mercy and grace to serve Him faithfully.

As we head into a season of renovations, please pray for our body, safety of the laborers, wisdom for our leadership and for those God is preparing to join us next spring.

We want the Lord to build this house.

We want our labor to have meaning.

Jesus Christ, be glorified in this place.