Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Eleven Evidences that a Person is Born Again

I have a girlfriend who is working her way through I, II and III John this summer.  I found this in a book that another girlfriend gave me a few years ago and thought of you, Patty.  I love the conclusions found in these small letters.  I am going to list the eleven evidences that a person is born again from John Piper's book, Finally Alive, but I will let you look up the scripture references.  This is not just for Patty, but for all my readers - make this one of your study times this week - you won't regret it!

Eleven Evidences that a person is born again: (all references are in I John)

  1. Those who are born of God keep His commandments - I John 2:3,4; I John 3:24
  2. Those who are born of God walk as Christ walked - I John 2:5,6
  3. Those who are born of God don't hate others but love them - I John 2:9; I John 3:14; I John 4:7,8; I John 4:20
  4. Those who are born of God don't love the world - I John 2:15
  5. Those who are born of God confess the Son and receive (have) him - I John 2:23; I John 4:15; I John 5:12
  6. Those who are born of God practice righteousness - I John 2:29
  7. Those who are born of God don't make a practice of sinning - I John 3:6; I John 3:9,10;  I John 5:18
  8. Those whoa re born of God possess the Spirit of God - I John 3:24; I John 4:13
  9. Those who are born of God listen submissively to the apostolic Word - I John 4:6
  10. Those who are born of God believe that Jesus is the Christ - I John 5:1
  11. Those who are born of God overcome the world - I John 5:4

Bonus question - how many of these descriptors fit you?

Saturday, July 28, 2012


"Offer sacrifices of righteousness, and trust the Lord."

"And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You."

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

"For the king trusts in the Lord, and through the lovingkindness of the Most High he will not be shaken."

"To You they cried out and were delivered; In You they trusted and were not disappointed."

"O my God, in You I trust, do not let me be ashamed' do not let my enemies triumph over me."

"Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering."

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him."

"Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness shall surround him."

"Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it."

"How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust, and has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood."

"When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You."

"In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid.  What can man do to me?"

"Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us."

"He will not fear evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord."

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths."

The definition of trust in the dictionary is this:  reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety of a person or thing.  There is an implication of protection when times are hard.  We trust our parents or spouse to love us no matter what.  We want a trustworthy car that is reliable and will take us where we want or need to go.  We put our money in a trust because it is secure.

But people let us down, cars break down and markets fall.  There is only one truly secure place to put your trust and  He dwells in the heavenlies.  I love the fact that trust and lovingkindness go hand in hand.  Why can we trust the Lord?  Because He faithfully pursues us; He chases us down; He never gives up.  He never fails; His mercies are new every morning; He's fully invested - our purchase price was so great that He'll never turn His back on us.

These verses above are a small sampling of the word trust in the Bible, but the call to trust the Lord is clear.  As a loving father, whether or not we realize it, we are in His massive, protective, loving, trustworthy hands.

I have a girlfriend whose heart is broken this morning and needs to feel the truth of God's trustworthy love and care.  She doesn't read the blog, so I am going to ask a favor of you - please pray for my friend. In the time of crisis, that last verse has to be her focus, as well as all of ours - trusting in the Lord and not leaning on our own understanding - acknowledging Him and letting Him direct and lead us.

Thanks for your help with this.

By the way, do any of you have a word you'd like me to run a search on?  It's really not very hard...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Mid-Summer Report

Well, it's almost Dave's birthday, which means it's about the middle of the summer.  I thought I'd give you all a quick update on what's going on this fall and what you have to look forward to!

First of all, the elder's and staff wives have been working on a Women's Day Event for the end of September.  It's a one day event for the women in our church and for their friends - well, really for the community - and you're not going to want to miss it!  Why one day?  Because we believe that due to work schedules, children and husbands, going away for the weekend can be pretty complicated.  Putting this event on one day will allow our working gals, wives, and mothers - really every woman - to get together and have a day just set aside for them!

Logos have been designed, special music has been planned, a speaker from the other side of the world has agreed to bless us...and that's just the tip of the ice berg!  Our committee has grown to almost twenty gals, so please know that a lot of preparation and prayer has gone into it. As a matter of fact, we've been praying for those the Lord will bring to our event, and that just may be YOU!

So, set aside Saturday, September 29th, and don't agree to do anything on that day!  Save that date for us!  I don't want to spoil the fun, so I'll just say one more thing - Sunday, August 12th is the day you'll get the information in your hands...remember - this is for all women, whether or not you attend Harvest Spring Lake, we want you to plan on joining us...

Secondly, I wanted you to know that I have been studying the Sermon on the Mount in preparation for our fall Ladies Study and it has been rocking my world!  Wow, God is so much bigger and I am so much more...well...how should I put it?  I simply am not the same because of this study!  I have to admit, whenever I am preparing a study, I think it's the greatest subject ever, but this time, I might just be right!  It's powerful, gals - life changing...while I study and beat myself over the head with the truth of the Word, please know I am praying for you, that the Lord would now be preparing you for what He wants to teach you this fall.  I hope you're planning on joining us - three chapters of rich, nutritious meat of the Word...mmmm...it's going to be a good one!

Beth is also working away on her study on Women in the Word for the first of the year. I am so stoked about this study, as well - she's got a great challenge for us prepared and I know she is bathing her preparation time in prayer.

Oh, and I've got our memory passage picked out for the fall - I'm not going to tell you what it is because I know Nancy Wolbers is such an over achiever that she would have it done by the first study if I did. I will just say this - it's a lot shorter than Psalm 139 and it's a good one, too!

Well, you're now caught up and fully aware of what's coming...well, maybe not fully, but at least you have a taste of what's in store for the fall.  Do me a favor - would you consider praying for Beth and I every Tuesday morning from now until study begins?  Please pray for our preparation - that we would be responsible with the awesome task set before us, that we would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading and that we would complete our study in a timely manner.  Tuesday is when we normally meet, so that's why I picked that day.  As a matter of fact, don't just pray for us, pray for all the women who will be a part of the study this year - that God would move them to attend, that God would give them understanding and that they would be changed because of the time spent in His Word.

One final request - I think I have two teachers for the children's program. We need just one more.  We really want God's woman in this role - please pray that He would provide the final teacher. I am thrilled with His choice for number one - number two hasn't fully committed but is close and number three is still unknown.  This is really a big ministry - please pray for His provision, as well as for the children who will be a part of our study this fall.

Okay - that's all...love you all!  Can't wait for September!


Sunday, July 15, 2012


"He is your praise and He is your God, who has done these great and awesome things for you which your eyes have seen."

"For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; He also is to be feared above all gods."

"Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name."

"I will give thanks to the Lord according to His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High."

"I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies."

"Be exalted, O Lord, in Your strength; we will sing and praise Your power."

"I will tell of Your name to my brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You."

 "You who fear the Lord, praise Him."

 "The afflicted will eat and be satisfied; those who seek Him will praise the Lord."

 "Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones, and give thanks to His holy name."

"Sing for joy in the Lord, O you righteous ones; praise is becoming to the upright."

 "He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord."

 "O Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare your praise."

These are just a few samples of what I found for the word "praise."  But in these few verses the call is clear - we need to praise the Lord.

So today is Sunday morning and I've got to tell you, friends, I am pumped to praise the Lord this morning.  I can look back at my week, see His hand of faithfulness and provision, and now I get to gather with my church body and raise the roof!  Come on, aren't you ready?

Unfortunately many of us will enter the sanctuary with our eyes completely focused on ourselves. We will be burdened with the troubles of life and the busyness of summer.  Oh, yes, we will offer praise, but it will not be heartfelt or even worthy of our Savior.  Because our eyes are in the wrong place.

When you lift your eyes and let them rest on your Savior, the praise naturally begins to flow.  Let's decide to take with us to church this morning, praise that is worthy of the Lord.  And then, let's just keep on praising - every day, all week, until we gather again!  Imagine the sound that will rise from the sanctuary if the children of God came prepared to offer praise to the Lord - it would be deafening!

Have a great morning - go to biblegateway.com and type in PRAISE if you have time. You'll see that it comes naturally to those who have their eyes set on Him...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Fun Video

I know I've posted this before, but I just watched it again and it's too much fun not to share. My son, Christopher, shot this on Spring Break a few years ago with his cousin, Robert Pierre, and his Cornerstone University buddies. All the shots are real - none of them edited. The background music is from my nephew's CD titled Identity. Enjoy!

What Does God Consider Precious?

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones."

"(Wisdom) is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares to her."

"There is gold, and an abundance of jewels; but the lips of knowledge are a more precious thing."

"Since you are precious in My sight, since you are honored and I love you, I will give other men in you place and other peoples in exchange for your life."  (Hmmm....further study??)

"Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious Cornerstone, and He who believes in Him will not be disappointed."

"...but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God."

"...so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ..."

"...knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like sliver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ."

Not too many references for the word precious, but what great depth found in the few above.  So what questions come to mind after reading these verses?

  • Why do you think the death of a believer is precious to God?
  • How can wisdom be of more value than wealth?
  • Why does God view words of knowledge precious?
  • Don't you love how God describes His Son as precious?
  • Do you know anyone who has a gentle and quiet spirit?
  • Did you know that enduring faith is not perishable?
  • Did you know that Jesus' blood is not perishable? What is the practical application of that truth?
And one final question - do you find precious what God considers precious?

Have a good one...

Sunday, July 1, 2012

With Gratitude and Thankfulness

It's a big week for our family.  My nephew, seen above, is getting married!  Yay!  John is the second of my sister's four sons and two daughters (one seen in this pic and one seen below) and he is the first to get married in her family.  So this is a really big deal!  

John and Calvin have always been buddies - John was a year older than Cal and most of their time spent together was John telling crazy long stories and Calvin laughing until he cried.  They really love each other.  Calvin is doing a scripture reading in the wedding and I know he is thrilled to be a part of John's big day.

This is Katherine - we call her Kat.  She is the new addition to the family and truth be known, we claimed her years ago!  She is sweet and fun - and is definitely motherly to the other boys.  I've heard her put them in their place many times, so I know she can hold her own with them!  She is holding my sister's youngest daughter.  

So, all this to say, by next Saturday night, our family will have grown a bit.  We could not be happier and more thankful for such a wonderful couple. But this is not why I have gratitude and thanksgiving this morning...

This is another one of my sister's sons - the youngest, Patrick. He just graduated from Grand Valley University and is preparing to enter law school.  He's a real tender heart and I know will fight for the rights of those he serves once he gets through with his education.  

Last night, Dave and I were settled in for another episode of River Monsters (our summer viewing choice) when the phone rang.  I'll make a long story short - Patrick was about an hour and a half north of us in Ludington, meeting some friends to camp for the weekend, when he got in an accident.  He was pulling out of a Taco Bell and his vision was blocked by another car turning into Taco Bell and he basically was broadsided by a truck going 55 mph into his driver's door.  Actually, just a bit in front of the door and that's what saved his life.

Because of how life works, Aunt Kristen was the only one he could find at home and Dave and I went north to get him.  We didn't really even know the whole story but about half way up there we were able to get hold of my sister who started calling the police and was able to let us know how serious the accident actually was.  There was one casualty - Patrick's dog didn't survive the accident and though we are so thankful that Patrick is safe, this was a sad consequence.

All this to say, we were able to find his car, get his belongings and get him home. The car was shockingly totaled.  Once I saw the car, my heart dropped into my stomach and all I could say over and over was, Thank you, Lord.  What was intended to be a week of celebration could have easily been a week of mourning.

I love my nephew and spent much of the night thanking the Lord for sparing his life.  I just wanted to share with you, my friends, today, that God is a God of miracles and blessings.  The fact that Patrick walked away from that accident, as well as the three teen-aged boys in the truck, is nothing less than a miracle. All the glory goes to the Lord - there are no near misses or coincidences.  He is in control.

Pray for Patrick and the family - please pray for healing - he's really going to be sore this week and they have a lot on their plate.  This is truly a week of celebration - a life saved and a union added!