Sunday, September 28, 2008
After the movie we went out with our friends to Panera and just had a good time of fellowship with one another. When we returned home the house was clean and the girls had a show prepared for us. They were so stinkin' cute!
Today my oldest got baptized in the church. She has such a sweet heart for God. She was actually already baptized in the bathtub because she was just like the Ethiopian in the story of Phillip and the Ethiopian in Acts. Immediately when she gave her heart to God she wanted to be baptized, waiting was not an option. As soon as Daddy came home she was baptized.
Today she wanted to do it in front of the church body to show everyone her heart belongs to Jesus. She also wanted to support her sister who was planning on doing it as well today. Unfortunately the fear she had of all those people watching kept her from doing it today. But I told her not to worry, she could do it anytime and anywhere she wanted to. So she watched her sister and cheered for her.
It was also a sweet moment because the pastor that knew them best got to do it. He was our support when we were leading the college group so he got to see all the good, bad, and ugly of the children through the past five years! Especially the good stuff like traveling on retreats and such.
It was also sweet because their god-mother was present assisting the entire time. Another sweet moment was my prayer partner and her children who are great friends of the girls were present as well. All of us up in the small baptistery area. It was nice though. My favorite part was that the day of the baptism was during an amazing message on prayer-the conclusion of a great 7 -part series my pastor has been preaching. If interested you can listen to it on his blog from my sidebar.
Hope you all had a blessed weekend.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
A Look At Jeroboam Part 1
We get our first glimpse at Jeroboam’s character in what we read last week. When he was given words of God from the prophet about being king of most of Israel the prophet also spoke this, “37 However, as for you, I will take you, and you will rule over all that your heart desires; you will be king over Israel. 38 If you do whatever I command you and walk in my ways and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you. 39 I will humble David's descendants because of this, but not forever"(1 Kings 11:37-39).
What an amazing message to receive. But there was a conditional clause here. See it in verse 38? If Jeroboam does whatever God commands and if you walk in my ways and do right in God’s eyes. If is the big word here. If he does right and rules for God not himself he will be bestowed with many blessings that are listed. This is a chance at a big future to make things right.
When you are placed in a position of leadership there will be testing. Shortly after this in verse 40 from last week we see that Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam. So, Jeroboam fled to Egypt. How often do we know that God has given us something to do yet we run in fear and hide? At Solomon’s first attempt (as far as we know) to kill Jeroboam he runs. Not only does he run to another part of Israel but he runs to Egypt of all places. The place of bondage. This is interesting to me. When God entrusts something to us, testing will come. Will we endure it or run and hide?
When we walk in faith we know who we belong to. Jeroboam was told that God will be with him. Wouldn’t that mean at all times especially when someone is trying to kill you? Yet instead of trusting God, he ran. Now don’t hate on him this is what most anyone would do in a weak moment. He did not realize He was protected by the hand of God. How often do we fail to realize this in our own lives? If God has called us to do something then He will equip us to do that work and He will finish that work. We need to walk that out in faith.
Now if you read 1 Kings 12 you will find out that after Solomon’s death Jeroboam returns to Israel. Pride took over in Rehoboam’s (son of Solomon) life. He was not willing to be kind to the people because he was king. He listened to some unwise advice. But it is very interesting to see in verse 15 it states,”the turn of events was from the Lord to fulfill the word the Lord had spoken to Jeroboam.” Because of this the people of Israel rebelled against him and made Jeroboam their king. So now we have Rehoboam ruling the tribe of Judah and Jeroboam the rest of the kingdom.
Doesn’t it amaze you that God truly does appoint all authority. Romans 13:1 states it like this, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” It is so important that we pay attention to this at this election. God appoints authority for various reasons. It is our job to pray for them and our country. It is our responsibility to vote for who we believe lines up best with the leader God desires.
Rehoboam did not like his kingdom being taken away. I would think he would have had to known it would happen because word like this must get around. Perhaps he didn’t know Jeroboam was supposed to have the rest of the kingdom. Either way, he takes matters into his own hands and gathers the people in his area of rule with the intention of going to war against Jeroboam and Israel. Rehoboam wanted the rest of the kingdom back.
God has his prophets intervene again (don’t you just love this about God). The prophet said this, “23 "Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon king of Judah, to the whole house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, 24 'This is what the LORD says: Do not go up to fight against your brothers, the Israelites. Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing"(1 Kings 12:23-24).
This is so important. God does not want us to fight against our brothers and sisters in Christ. Please know that the very heart of God is for us to be united. He needs a united body. How crazy is it to operate as one unit when one foot wants to go one way and the other the other way? You just don’t get that far that way. As one body of believers we need to learn to walk in unity. Especially encouraging one another. It is imperative we do not tear one another apart. It grieves my heart deeply when people call themselves Christians yet will not make the effort to get along with their brothers and sisters in the Lord.
Rehoboam and his troop listen to God and head back to their own places. They do not proceed in the war.
1-What about you? Have you ever let fear rule your life? How?
2-Do you really know who you belong to? Are you secure in Him and the works that He has given you to do? How and why?
3-How do you respond to authority? Is it easy for you to accept that all authority is appointed by God?
4-How are you voting? Do you pray about who to vote for and what God’s will is before you vote? Do you just vote for a party? Discuss.
5-Unity is at the very heart of God. Jesus prayed for it in one of his last prayers before the crucifixion in the book of John. What are some ways we can help with unity of the body?
Copyright 2008-Refresh My Soul Ministries-Angela Parsley
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
The man point is that God chooses us for relationship. God hand-picked this family line--all the good, bad, and ugly. It was no mistake.
After submitting it to a few publishers nothing ever came of it. The publishing houses were very interested in my other title and would review it over and over again. Yet this one near and dear to my very heart never seemed to get that attention.
I knew God gave me this project but did not know what else to do with it. That is when God put it on my heart to give this project as an offering to Him. This was my first fruits of sorts. Since, I know it is His anyway, I readily surrendered it.
Following that we did a group study online that went across the country. It was a group of about 30 people and it was great. Yet God had much more planned for it.
I went to Malta and while I was there God showed me that this study was written for them. It was important for these precious people to see God's grace and what He meant by using these people to accomplish His purposes. That we too can have a relationship like that with Him. He chose us like He chose them.
I wondered then how God was going to work this all out. I don't feel comfortable just promoting the stuff but He opened a couple of doors. Through that I got confirmation from one person who went through it that it is indeed a study that was written for the people.
My church offered to print, bind, and ship the studies out. Now 25 studies have gone over. Pray that they will be received well and that God will use them to grow people in relationship with Him. Pray believers will be encouraged. Pray that God will use it to draw those who do not believe to Him. I just wanted to share this because I do think it will encourage someone. God asks us to do things, work He has already prepared for us, He will work those things out for the purpose He has planned.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Here is a day when we visited the beautiful island of Gozo. While we were at the area from the top picture (The blue window), I realized this pale white girl needed a hat desperately or my shade would quickly turn into a bright red. Since two from our group were pulling off their styling straw hats I thought I could join them. Well now looking at the picture I can see that it was a mistake. I could definitely NOT pull it off! :) But at least by God's grace I did not get burned. That is a miracle in itself because the sun was so hot.
This picture was taken on the steps of a church in the citadel. This place is full of history. If you are ever looking for a great place to vacation, Malta is the place to go! I will be sharing these kind of things off and on for a bit. Hope you enjoy and do not forget to pray for these wonderful people.
Friday, September 19, 2008
The anticipated event has finally arrived. After 2215 days, just a bit short of her 7th birthday, Kaitlyn has finally lost her first baby tooth! All of her friends have been losing theirs for years it seems. Finally the day is here but we have one problem--we cannot find the tooth!
We have launched a full search and rescue mission but to no avail. She wonders if she may have swallowed it. It happened when she noticed it was gone all of a sudden. Now the bigger question remains.................What is the going rate for a tooth these days? Especially if it is MIA?
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Solomon sinned. God said in the law we read last week that "the king must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray" (Deuteronomy 17:17). Unfortunately this was Solomon's weakness. He obtained many wives from surrounding people groups and as God states they lead his heart astray. Solomon left his first love, God. He started to worship other false gods. This act did not please God.
This is how the Lord handled this situation, "Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. 12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen" (1 Kings11:11-13).
God is so patient, Solomon had 1000 wives. These women led him astray over time. 1000 wives could be punishment enough! But, he didn't learn because he started worshiping their gods. Because Solomon refused to repent of these actions he lost the large kingdom that was to be passed down to his son. Now a nation that was suppose to be united has divided. All because of self-focus instead of God-focus.
Jeroboam enters into the picture. He is given a big promotion because his work is noticed by the king. He is most likely just faithfully doing his work going about his own business when something HUGE happens to him. A conversation that will change his life. A huge opportunity to do something great. He is chosen by God for a huge task at hand.
Read 1 Kings 11:28-40 below.
28 Now Jeroboam was a man of standing, and when Solomon saw how well the young man did his work, he put him in charge of the whole labor force of the house of Joseph.
29 About that time Jeroboam was going out of Jerusalem, and Ahijah the prophet of Shiloh met him on the way, wearing a new cloak. The two of them were alone out in the country, 30 and Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces.
31 Then he said to Jeroboam, "Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon's hand and give you ten tribes. 32 But for the sake of my servant David and the city of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, he will have one tribe. 33 I will do this because they have forsaken me and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Molech the god of the Ammonites, and have not walked in my ways, nor done what is right in my eyes, nor kept my statutes and laws as David, Solomon's father, did.
34 " 'But I will not take the whole kingdom out of Solomon's hand; I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of David my servant, whom I chose and who observed my commands and statutes. 35 I will take the kingdom from his son's hands and give you ten tribes. 36 I will give one tribe to his son so that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I chose to put my Name. 37 However, as for you, I will take you, and you will rule over all that your heart desires; you will be king over Israel. 38 If you do whatever I command you and walk in my ways and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you. 39 I will humble David's descendants because of this, but not forever.' "
40 Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam fled to Egypt, to Shishak the king, and stayed there until Solomon's death.What astonishing news! He is told he will get a huge part of the kingdom from his boss. We also see in verse 33 the reason why the kingdom is taken from Solomon. This is an important point to take note of and remember as we go along.
In verse 38 we see a condition to his family having the kingdom. List what that condition is.
Solomon must have caught wind of Jeroboam's future because he tries to kill him. But Jeroboam flees. It is funny because Saul tried this with David. Like we could really kill God's appointed ruler. It just cannot happen until God's appointed time.
1-Jeroboam is just out on an ordinary day and just finds out God is going to build him a dynasty if he does things God's way. Can you imagine? Just going out to Walmart to get the weekly groceries and you run into God's spokesman who hands you the keys to a mansion and the power to rule a nation. How would you handle news like that?
2-Never think that anyone gets away with living in sin. The sin could seem to hurt no one for awhile but eventually it will catch up with you. There are always consequences to our sins. We must confess sin to God as soon as we realize it is there and He will not hold it against us, He wipes us clean. That lifts such a burden. However, because God is just there are always consequences to sin. God loves us too much to let us get away with these things. Think of your own children and their transgressions. As parents should we just say oh well and not put any consequences on them for their behavior? I think not. If we live like that then we truly do not love our children because we don't care enough to teach them the right way to go. We learn through consequences. Love gives consequences and discipline. See Hebrews 12:5-11.
3-We can only worship one God. We have to make a choice. Who do you worship? If you worship God you follow Him. Where your going proves who you worship. Share your thoughts.
4-List the reasons God took the kingdom out of Solomon's hands. List why God allowed some to remain. God is so patient with us. He has such great love for us. What are your thoughts about this?
5-God's love is never conditional but blessings usually are. God shows us ways to live our lives. If we live in obedience to His ways blessings follow. If we rebel against God then no blessings but consequences follow. These things are conditional. God clearly states those guidelines to Jeroboam through his prophet Ahijah in verses 37-39. Can you list some consequences you have had to bear because of your actions?
6-It is interesting that we see over and over how God establishes leadership. He uses these things to teach us. Solomon's line needed humbling so God took the majority of the kingdom from them in order to accomplish that but it was only for a time. God said it would not be forever. This came to pass when Jesus came as King of the entire universe. Ultimate rule was given back to that family line because it was the line of Christ. Share your thoughts on this.
Copyright 2008-Refresh My Soul Ministries-Angela Parsley
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I replied, "One day there will be a new Heaven and a new Earth. They will be the most beautiful places of all. It will be so exciting to be there."
Quickly she interrupted me and said, "I don't care what it looks like, I just want to be with God."
What a precious heart she has for the Lord. May she continue to grow more in love with Him. I would also be wise to learn from her.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Starting on Wednesdays we will take a walk with the kings of Israel. God never desired that His people would have a king rule over them. He wanted to be that King and Ruler but in God's all knowing power He knew the people would appoint a man anyway. The people desired to be like those people around them instead. Back in Deuteronomy God lists requirements for the king .
14 When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, "Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us," 15 be sure to appoint over you the king the LORD your God chooses. He must be from among your own brothers. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not a brother Israelite. 16 The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the LORD has told you, "You are not to go back that way again." 17 He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold.
18 When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites. 19 It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees 20 and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel (Deuteronomy 17:14-20).
1-First we see God knows his people will say, "Appoint a king over us." God knows our hearts and everything in them before we even know ourselves. God knows what is best for us. It was not until many years later, the time of David and Saul, that the people said these words. How does it effect you that God knows our actions before they even happen?
3-We MUST appoint the leader God chooses for us. This is to be taken very seriously. God is the one in control. He wants us to live for Him. He desires a government that rules within His guidelines. This election is vital and we MUST vote for the president that best represents that. If the ruler is appointed that is not for God's ways then that means judgment for us. That should make us tremble. We will see as we go how this judgment was handed down to Israel.
Do you pray for our future leaders? If not then how about starting now?
4-"Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not a brother Israelite." What this verse means is for us to not appoint anyone who is not a Christ follower. God opened salvation up to all of His creation. He desires all of us to come to know Him.
I am so thankful that we are no longer foreigners to God's kingdom. We are His children. Express your thoughts on this.
5-The king must not acquire wealth for himself or be a womanizer. A true leader will be for country and the peoples best interest before self-interest. The leader will be sacrificial and lead like Jesus. Temptations come. Money and sex are at the top of the list of these. They both are good things that God provides for the proper purposes. Unfortunately satan tries to get them twisted for evil. Avoid the temptation of evil. Avoid anything that distracts your heart from a whole-hearted focus on God.
What distractions are keeping your heart from being fully devoted to God?
6-This is the best part! What the king must do as he leads the people.
a-He is write the Bible! Great way to memorize it, huh?
b-He is to keep this Bible with him all his days and read it.
c-Doing this he will learn to revere God, carefully follow His laws, and humility.
Are you doing these things in your walk with God? Do you realize you are part of His royal family? We are His children after all. He requires none less from us. Thoughts on this? How has this helped you?
Now I ask you, as we ponder how to vote-which candidate best reflects these requirements?
Think about it and start praying about the future of our nation-are we heading for blessing or judgment?
Join me next Wednesday as we start this journey. To read ahead check out 1 Kings 11-14. We will see how all these kings started and why the kingdom of Israel split in two starting with Rehaboam.
Copyright 2008-Refresh My Soul Ministries-Angela Parsley
This is a beautiful slide show of my girls zoo birthday party! My friend Diana who took the pictures is a wonderfully gifted photographer. Go check it out.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Here's a preview:
Psalm 119:9-11, “How can a young [woman] keep [her] way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (NIV)
Let’s face it. Role models today are slim pickings for young people. Whom do you look up to? The truth is that we live in a culture in which purity is not taken seriously.
To read more go here.
Friday, September 5, 2008
1 John 4:8b
As she lay there on the hospital table, I held her hand. I kept asking God to give her the strength to get through this hard test. More than anything I wanted to take her place. As the tears started to role down her sweet face it was almost all I could take. I knew though in my heart of hearts that this test must be done or it could negatively effect the rest of her life. Though more than anything I wanted to save her from the table and just run away somewhere far far away.
"Be strong, this in not the time for your own tears" I told myself. "You know this has to be done." So I spoke reassuring words and smiled at her. Praying the entire time. I was so proud of how brave she was. She was afraid but we talked about how God is love and His perfect love casts out fear. She clung to that and made it through.
As her mother and her father we were, on her each side of her, holding her hands the entire time of this trial, I could not help but to think of our Heavenly Father. He loves us so much more than I could ever have the capacity to even love my own child. He has to allow us to go through certain trials because if we don't endure those it could negatively effect the rest of our lives.
In His great love He does not want us to have to go through the pain but for doing it we will be better off. He never leaves us through these trials either. He is more attentive than ever but sometimes our attentions are on the trial at hand instead of His love and care for us.
God is so good. We may not understand the trials we have to face but we have to hold tight to the fact that pressing through will make us stronger and more like Him as we turn our face to and put our hope in Him.
Father, we love You so much. Thank You for every good gift You give to us. You said in this world we will have trouble. So many troubles we do not understand but we do know and trust You are God. Nothing is impossible with You. Nothing is too big for You to handle. Lord, grow us through our trials and help us to see You better. We love You and praise Your holy name.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Generation Hex is a very informative book about the influence of Wicca in today's world. I found it surprising how popular this worldview is currently. This book is very important because it helps Christians see those who practice Wicca through their worldview. It also clears up some common misconceptions that many people believe about Wiccans. Jesus died for us all and wants all of His creation to come to belief in Him. This book helps us know how to fulfill the great commission by loving others to Jesus. It is a great read and helped me in my journey of learning to see others through God's eyes and loving them like He does.
To get your own copy go here.
To see others reviews on the tour go here.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
My pastor's blog and my blog both appeared on a Malta Media blog called Wired Malta.
It is described as, "a global window on Maltese culture, news, society, people, history and blogs with a focus on how Malta is seen by others. This daily blog created by Robert Micallef was formerly known as Wired Temples."
Unfortunately some people who read our perspectives about our trip took our posts as offensive. This was not the intention or case at all. As my readers know this blog is all about the love of Christ. I look at all of life through a biblical world view. I can also say that of my pastor's blog as well.
If you take any time to really read through my posts you will realize that my posts are not meant to offend but to bring glory to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Also, if you read the post that follows the one featured on Wired Malta you will also see how God put a great love in my heart for the Maltese island and Maltese people. I love Malta and hope there are many things we can do to assist our brothers and sisters over there to make this world a better place. Please contact me if you would like to discuss this further. I would be more than happy to speak with you not to push my view but to hear your concerns and talk them through with you.