All Authority

I am currently taking a course over the book of Romans for my degree and part of the water-waveclass requirements are forum posts concerning certain topics followed by replies to the posts others have made. This week questions came up regarding baptism and whether it was essential. If firmly believe that it is and will be happy to share scripture as to why I hold that belief.

This morning, however I lay in bed and realized there is a bigger issue at hand when someone tries to debate baptism, or any other commandment of God for that matter: authority.

Can I put out a thought to consider. Do we really believe the great commission Jesus gave in Matt. 28:18-30? “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Jesus Himself said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” If Jesus has all authority how much does that leave for anyone else. He is the God and ruler of all, He gave His life for us and founded His church which He commands us to follow His way. It is all His and it is a matter of trusting His authority.

He told them upon the truth that He has all authority to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”  If He commanded that all nations were to be baptized who gives us the right or the authority to question it. Where is any human’s authority to say it isn’t necessary. How are we allowed to say that a person does not have to obey a direct command from our Lord, who we claim to believe has all authority to tell us what to do and how to live.

Then He finished it by saying, “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;”  Is baptism a direct command from Jesus? Yes, verse 19 He directly commanded it. If we are to teach people to observe all things He has commanded, how can we say there is any exception? How can we claim any authority to say, well if they don’t do that one part it will be okay in the end with Jesus because they believed and confessed His name. If they don’t do all aren’t they breaking the command?

Consider that along with these words:

James 2:10 “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.

and

Rev. 22:18-19 “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

If we break one part of the law we are guilty of it all? And if we take away from God’s word, God will take away our part of the blessings He promised? Why would we even want to question the authority or the command of Jesus? Why is the issue of baptism even debated, Jesus commanded it, shouldn’t that be enough?

It takes me back to a very deliberate tactic used in Gen 3 where Satan made Eve question just one part of God’s command. All he added was one word and it was enough to change everything. What are we trying to change?

Useless

listWe all have plans and goals.  We have projects we are working toward completing or to-do lists that seem ever growing. I know I sure do, and my list seems to grow longer faster than any of it is getting marked as “DONE”.

Along with a to-do list a mile long, I have a growing list of good intentions. A long list of deeds and activities I wish to do for others, that helping hand I want to extend, that invitation I wish to give, yet with all this busy-ness I often find myself in there are many times when I feel so useless.  Good intentions remain just that, unfinished intentions of good deeds thought of but never carried through. Grand plans dreamed of, but never put into action.

As humans, the Bible tells us we all sin and fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23).  The first part of James 3:2 says “we all stumble in many things.”  No one is immune from it. Even in the simplest of duties we can fail. I can fail.  I will fail. Promises can be broken and responsibilities can be missed. We cause others disappointment and sorrow and sow an ever growing garden of regret in our own heart.

During my morning Bible reading, I came across a verse that really jumped out at me.

Give us help from trouble,
For the help of man is useless.”
Psalm 108:12

The help of man is useless.” That word “useless” seemed so harsh at first, then I realized how true this verse really stands. No matter how hard we often try, we are sinful, imperfect people who will fail. We will fail ourselves, we will fail our family and friends, and worst of all we will fail God our Father.

I know, what a great way to start my day, thinking of my failures as a mom, wife, and Christian.

But wait!  There is good news!  Actually it is pretty great, wonderful news!

Want to hear it?

It is really amazing!

Ok, here it goes…..

God NEVER Fails!

Yep, this verse which reminded me of how mankind will all too often fail one another reminded me of many other verses which teach us that God will never fail us! God will never disappoint, God will never let us down!

The prophet Zephaniah wrote in Zephaniah 3:5

The Lord is righteous in her midst,
He will do no unrighteousness.
Every morning He brings His justice to light;

He never fails,

But the unjust knows no shame.

Now that was a great thought to start a day on!  A great thought for every day! I serve a God who never fails! A God who is love and guess what, Love Never Fails!

1 John 4:8 (and stated again in verse 16)  “ He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

And… 1 Corinthians 13:8a     Love never fails.”

What a wonderful God!  He will never do wickedly or pervert justice (Job 34:12).  He will never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5).  Because “As for God, His way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30a).  

It is comforting to know that when I feel useless, He makes me Useful!  He completes everything in me that is weak and makes it strong and capable!

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor. 12:9a

His grace is sufficient for me! For you! For the world!  So if today you find yourself feeling useless. Remember there is a God in Heaven who thinks you are amazing! A God and Father who gave the most precious gift in the world for you. A Christ who gave His life so we could be made perfect in Him!

Have a blessed day!

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Out On Faith

This year seems to have been all about stepping out in FAITH!  Faith in all areas in our Lord. Trusting Him to catch us if we fall. Faith that led us to step out and begin homeschooling our three kids. Faith to branch out in how I teach my Sunday school class at Three Forks.  Faith to make a new commitment in our Women of Worth ladies program.  Faith has always been such a big part of our lives.  Now it is leading me once more.  I am about to leap off a big cliff, all the while praying, “Lord let me fall where you need me.”  “Here am I, send me.”  Isaiah 6:8

No one is a big fan of stepping outside their comfort zone. keep-calm-and-take-a-leap-of-faith-6The fear of rejection and pain is too much. The dread of the “what if….”.  The horrible worry of failing keeps many, including myself, from beginning, from taking the step.  We fail before we ever start.

Not anymore!  A desire of mine for many, many years has been to be a ladies day speaker. I have been so wonderfully influenced by speakers I have heard through my life, I wanted to do that. I wanted to have the strength and ability to share my faith with others the way those brave women stood in front of crowds of women and shared theirs.

For over 10 years I have been a teacher at church. Even in my early teens at our small congregation I had to step up and teach the younger children simply because there was no one else to fill that role.  (Congregation size was about 20 on Sunday mornings, 5 of which were my family.)  I have taught all ages and have taught our women’s bible studies each month for many years.  Each time I prepare and give a lesson, I strive to be better.  I try to teach it as well as I can and improve on past flaws.  I seek constructive criticism, I want to grow.  I cherish the experience each class, each lesson, each opportunity has given me to grow closer to God and share His word with others in the process.

I worry, maybe I am not the right person. No one would really care what I have to say, would they?  What if I can’t control my nerves?  What if I turn out to not be cut out for it?  What if I fail miserably and embarrass myself, and worse yet, what if I fail my Lord?  I, I, I, me, me, me!  There is the problem!!! It isn’t about me, never has been, never will be!  It is about The God of Heaven who gave up everything to come here and die! IT IS About JESUS!

Every focus of our family is about Him.  Living for Him, raising our children to learn of Him.  What kind of example am I setting if I am not placing my trust fully in His help and His strength to keep me on my feet.  He is the help I need!

“Our help is in the name of the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.”
Psalm 124:8

He is where our strength comes from.  Phil. 4:13.  So I am going to take that leap.  I can’t see the bottom, don’t know where I will land, but I know who is there Faithfully to catch me and He never fails!  He will never drop me!  I am putting my name out there saying, yes, I will be a ladies day speaker if anyone would be interested in hearing what I have to say.  I will have faith in my Lord and trust His hand to lead me where He may.  I will continue to pray for His help and guidance every day and hope I am leading my children by example.

leapoffaith

Faithfully,
Tiffany

I Will Go With You Daddy

This morning has been a busy one: picking up rocks and picking out weeds.  Yes, a busy hot morning, but a morning spent together as a family.  All five of us out there, working together, as a family, taking care of our home.  Now, granted there were a couple of little boys who would have rather been inside doing anything else at all, but they were there, doing something. Then there was little bit, happily working alongside her daddy!

“This is fun!” I heard her tell him once.  “Fun? Well I don’t know about that,” he replied.  She was so proud of herself as she walked in step with him pulling weeds and taking them away from the flower beds.  Fun?  Not exactly what the adults were thinking. Bending and pulling, moving wagons of rocks, while sweat dripped into our eyes from the heat, nope, not quite our idea of a fun way to spend the morning.  Definitely as far from fun as possible as our sons were concerned.

Fun.  That is how our daughter described it, however.  Even as we finished for the day and she was told she could go on inside and clean up if she wanted, nope, she was having fun.  “I will go with you, daddy,”  she said the the sweetest grin in her little not quite four year old voice. That is what made it fun!  She was working alongside her dad.  Feeling so big and proud as she heard him praise her for her help.  Following in his footsteps it would not have mattered what we were doing this morning, it was fun because she was with him, her father, who she loves! 

Oh that we had that same attitude.  Jesus gave instructions for us to become as little children, for us to be humble as they are humble (Matthew 18: 3-4).  When the apostles tried to send the children away, He called them back, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14.  And why not. Children love so completely, so innocently, they see the best and have no pride or hatred.  They trust completely.  Oh to follow my Father the way my daughter follows hers!  Such an example. So much joy in just being beside him, no matter the work. 

May I remember this example, may I look to my children for inspiration and remember to love and trust and follow my Lord as a child. To be there so close, just to be in His presence.  No matter the circumstance, having “fun” just because of the One I am with, the One I belong to is the One who loves me beyond all reason.

030Thank you Lord for my children who are always teaching me more than I could ever teach them!!

Tiffany

Life’s Busy Season

For a really long time now I keep planning for things I will do when things here at home slow down a bit. When we get past this, I will have more time. Well, this week has a lot going on, when things slow down I will be able to…. (fill in the blank here.)  I am beginning to think things just are not going to slow down and if there are things I want to get done, I am going to have to make time for them. I am starting to think “life’s busy season” isn’t so much a season, as its own decade!

I often remember of one of my favorite bible stories, found in Luke chapter 10, when Jesus comes to the home of Mary and Martha.  As much as I want to say I would have the heart of Mary, that I realize the importance and need for sitting at the Master’s feet, I feel that if I am honest with myself I am afraid I would be Mary.  I tend to always find some “busy-ness” to be about.

I have placed so much on my plate again that I am afraid I am pushing to the side the most nutritious parts until sometimes it feels as though they are barely hanging on the edge. I have realized if I want to find more peace and calm in my life I am going to have to slow down enough to spend the time listening to my Lord instead of busying my hands with so much work. I am going to have to focus on Him, instead of being distracted by everything else around me. Once I put things in the right perspective, the rest will get done and if it doesn’t, as my husband says, in one hundred years it won’t matter anyway!  But in one hundred years my relationship with my Lord will still be all that has ever mattered!

I realize that right now it is not a big problem. That right now, it seems managable, I may run myself ragged and feel so tired I can sleep standing up, but I can see into my future (well, I wish but for now I can imagine) that if I don’t learn to say “no” to some things, I will lose my ability to say “yes” to the best things!  So I am going to learn to say “no” to that tv show, so I can say yes to extra time reading His word.  I am going to say “no” to that extra few minutes on Facebook, so I can say “yes” to a few extra minutes of cuddle time with the kids before bed.  I am going to look for other things that I can say “no” to, so I can have more time to say “yes” to the better things in life!

So tomorrow as I prepare for another busy weekend, I promise myself to make the time to say “Yes” to time alone in prayer, to time listening to my shepherd lead me through the distractions.  Won’t you join me during “NO”vember!

And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42