Category Archives: How to Guides

Sacred Snippet: Tests and Trials

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Tests and Trials

You look okay on the outside. Everything looks great to others, but privately you feel threats, encounter significant problems, or experience suffering that people can’t see. The Bible calls these tests and trials.

When people start seeing through you, it’s tough. You don’t want to feel weak in front of other people. You don’t want them to see the difficulties you might be facing, the threats you might be encountering, or the internal turmoil you are going through. However, you know they are there.

My Test and Trial

One day, I opened my blog website and discovered it was no longer there. Panic engulfed me. Also, emails were being sent to my blog subscribers, which I did not send. I panicked–fearful some obscene image or article might show up on my site sent by an intruder. I tried to fix the problem on my own. But the backend software (the hidden infrastructure of the website) was in complete disarray. I went to my paid subscription sources and hosting site and got partial help. But internally, the data inside my blog was corrupt. There were severe problems–five, to be exact. “Hacked” was a word I never wanted to hear, but hackers were precisely who infiltrated my site. [However, if you are reading this now, no worries, it has all been fixed, my dear friends.]

God is our Source

In our lives today, personal pressures and problems consume our thoughts, and nobody but us know they are there. They destroy our thinking. We even go to trusted websites or self-help books to help to no avail. When we face inner struggles, our heavenly Father is the one to approach first. He knows what is going on in our minds, personal ruminations, and physical selves. God is there not only to help us with these difficulties but to walk alongside us until the time is right for Him to show us His purposes. 

Children, take your intimate struggles to the Lord and ask Jesus to plead with your heavenly Father to show His purpose. 

Sit before Your Heavenly Father

The Bible says we will have struggles and trials. Being a believer does not alleviate living in this fallen world. Before reaching out to friends, family, or Internet sources, go first to God, sit before him, rest, and ask Him to handle your threats, problems, struggles, and concealed thoughts. He is there for you. 

James 1: 2-5 says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

Then wait in prayer, meditation, and Bible reading for an answer. Sometimes God answers quickly, but oftentimes, we are left waiting, yearning, and seeking His response for even years. As we wait, let us be growing in an abundance of love for our Lord and Savior. Live in joy and service until the time comes when we have “been approved” for our dedication and undefiled obedience, whether in this life or the next.

James says, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial, for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).

How to Handle Tests and Trials

  • Recognize that tests and trials come to all people,
  • Realize our adverse circumstances allow us to reach greater maturity in Him,
  • Pray for guidance,
  • Seek His wisdom,
  • Obey God’s principles and precepts,
  • Understand that our trials are opportunities to honor the Lord,
  • Be joyful through testing and trials,
  • Trust that God knows what He is doing,
  • Know that when the trials cease, our faith will be stronger,
  • Stand firm no matter how long our testing or preparation takes, and
  • Know that the ‘Crown of Life’ awaits us when we have stood the test and our trials are over.

Just as it took time to fix my website, commit to journeying with the Lord during your wait time and love Him with your entire being, no matter what!

God Bless,

 

 

 

Books by Patti Greene

BIBLE WORD SEARCH PUZZLE SERIES

Ten Ways to Acknowledge God Honorably and Biblically

Have you ever felt led to pour love and grace upon a person? If so, it is most likely a person that you find great happiness being with. You want to help this person in their pursuits and passions. You protect them and wish them the best. Just as with a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, you find time to be with them—no matter what!

This is the same reason we should find time to spend with God. We do this because . . .

  • He loves us.
  • He is gracious to us.
  • He is merciful to us.
  • He forgives us, and
  • He sent His own Son Jesus Christ to die for us.

Let’s see what the Bible says about how to acknowledge our heavenly Father honorably and biblically. While these ten ways are not exhaustive, they are an advantageous start to keeping our minds focused on the Lord.

Ten Ways to Acknowledge God Honorably and Biblically

  1. Be obedient. (See Genesis 22:1-14)

Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” So, Abraham got up early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and his son Isaac; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place of which God had told him. (Gen. 22:1-3)

  1. Offer Him your sacrifices. (See 2 Chronicles 7:1-9)

Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the house. (2 Chron. 7:1)

  1. Humble yourself and pray. (See 2 Chronicles 7:12-22)

And My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chron.7:14)

  1. Marvel at what He has done through His resurrection. (See Luke 24:1-12)

Nevertheless, Peter got up and ran to the tomb; and when he stooped and looked in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened. (Luke 24:12)

  1. Follow His words. (See John 21:1-14)

And He [Jesus] said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you will find the fish.” So, they cast it, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great quantity of fish. (John 21:6)

  1. Follow Him. (See John 21:15-25)

Now He said this, indicating by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had said this, He said to him, “Follow Me!” (John 21:19)

  1. Worship Him. (See Revelation 4:1-8)

And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say,

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.

And when the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and they will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed and were created.

(Rev. 4:8-11)

  1. Bless, honor, and glorify Him. (See Revelation 5:6-14)

Saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, and blessing.”

And I heard every created thing which is in heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth, or on the sea, and all the things in them, saying,

“To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be the blessing, the honor, the glory, and the dominion forever and ever.” (Rev. 5:12-13)

  1. Give Cheerfully. (See 2 Corinthians 9:6-8)

Each one must do just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Cor. 9:7)

  1.  Praise Him. (See Psalm 34:1-10)

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. (Ps. 34:1)

When you embark on a lifestyle of poring your love and mercy upon your heavenly Father in an honorable and biblical fashion, you will notice positive changes in your life occurring and so will others! Despite anything you are going through!

And that’s awesome!

Prayer:

Dear Lord, help me to become more honorable to You. Allow me to become more conscientious as I go through my day to appreciate the tenderness You have shown me. I am sorry for when I have failed to recognize Your movement in my life, Let Me become more like You as I practice Your righteousness in my heart and before men.

God Bless.

All Bible verses come from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).

Books by Patti Greene

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer (Westbow, 2016 Reprint)

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer (Westbow, 2016 Reprint)

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer (Westbow, 2016)

Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending (Awesome Librarian, 2018)

Bible Reading Plans and Tips

Bible Reading Plans and Tips

Wishing you a “Happy New Year!”

Let me end this year by encouraging you to choose a Bible reading plan and read the Bible through in 2021. You will never regret soaking up the Word of God.

Below is a link with many different plans you can chose from. Choose one that suits you best and go for it!

Top 14 Best Bible Reading Plans – 2023

Also, here are a few tips that I have learned over the years.

1. Skip over the Bible genealogy you can’t pronounce. [At this point, knowing there’s a genealogy is enough for now, especially if this is your first read-through.]

2. Read with a pen, highlighter and notebook nearby to write down verses, questions, or things you want to look up later.

3. It is okay to read ahead. There will be days you will miss.

4. If possible, find a friend to read along with you on the same plan. [This way you will have a comrade to share with.]

5. Don’t be discouraged if you lag behind. Keep at it. So what if it takes you 1 1/2 or 2+ years to finish?

6. If you are reading a book for your Bible study class or group, count it. When you get to that book, you will be happy to have some catch-up time.

7. If you are in a plan where you are reading the entire Old Testament at once, give yourself permission to stop and read something in the New Testament.

8. Share meaningful verses with your friends and family.

9. Look for God’s sense of humor as you read. For example, today I did something rather “stupid” and the next thing I read (in my plan) was in Matthew 11:4. It said, “Go and report to John what you hear and see.”

Yikes, John is my husband’s name! I laughed when I read that. I still haven’t told him, but I will when he wakes up!!!

Best wishes and again, have a blessed 2021!

And please share this article with your friends and family!

God Bless,

greenenpastures.org

How God Speaks Supernaturally Through His Word

The Bible Speaks Supernaturally

You may have heard people say, “the Bible speaks supernaturally,” but what does that really mean, and how do you experience it? Those are tough questions to answer because unless you have experienced it, explaining it is hard to do. I am not an expert on this topic other than the fact I have personally experienced it. Not just once, but multiple times.

I am not talking about the everyday way the Bible speaks to mankind through Godly principles, commands, inferences, and stories; I am talking about those WOW moments when one cannot escape the fact that the Lord is speaking so directly and so powerfully that His Word enlightens us as nothing else can! For me, these verses have usually become part of my collection of “life verses” because they have made such an impact on my life at the time I received them and in my current walk with the Lord.

Author Blair Park defines a “life verse” as a Bible verse that “establishes intimacy with our heavenly Father and is our tether to remind us of His love and omnipresent nature in our daily lives, whether we feel He is near or not. A life verse also reveals to us that God’s Word is alive and still appropriate for whatever situation we might find ourselves in when our faith is tested.” ¹

Honestly speaking, if you have not experienced this, you are seriously missing out on one of the most joyous experiences in a believer’s life!

God Speaks to Us

I am often hesitant to say “God told me…” Whether it is because of fear that I might be mistaken or possibly not wanting to appear too pious, I find myself saying instead, “God impressed upon me…” It just sounds less religious and less pompous.

However, in truth, God does speak to us!

In a cursory search on Bible Gateway, I plugged in the terms God says, God said, God spoke, and God told and discovered that these terms yielded 1,030 results. ²

In John 16:13, Jesus says…

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

God may speak to us through counselors, pastors, laypeople, and others. But God mostly speaks through His Word. It is through the Bible and the Holy Spirit we can have confidence in what God reveals to us.

God Speaks to Us Supernaturally

Whenever someone uses the word supernatural or supernaturally, people get a little freaked out. They think you must be talking about the likes of mediums, channeling, and/or seances. When a believer in Jesus Christ talks about the Bible speaking supernaturally to them, they are not referring to something psychic, mystical, or paranormal. That is NOT what is being referred to here.

The Bible strictly forbids that kind of supernatural occurrence.

Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God (Leviticus 19:31).

When the Word of God speaks to us supernaturally in the WOW kind of way, we are often desperately seeking an answer or needing confirmation that we are doing the right thing. At times like these, God may choose to give us a Bible verse or principle to hang on to through our anxious inquisitory period. But, while we may long for WOW verses, it is up to our heavenly Father when and how He speaks to us. We will just know supernaturally when we receive a special word from Him.

We must remember that He also speaks to us through other means as well like, nature, angels, our conscience, other people, commands, principles, and even in a still, small whisper as He spoke to Elijah at Horeb (1 Kings 19).

In the 1970s I had my first experience with a WOW verse. I was teaching second grade in the Fort Worth, Texas area. Apprehension and restlessness filled the beginning of the school year, so I made a deal with the Lord. I said, “Lord, I will start reading Your Word until you show me whether I should move back to my hometown of Houston or not.” After work, I would rush to my apartment and conscientiously and faithfully devour the Bible seeking an answer to my question.

I remember the morning of April 1st well. My principal stopped by my classroom and handed me my school contract for the upcoming year. He said, “I need to have this contract back and signed by 4:00 pm today.” What was I to do? God had not given me an answer yet on how to proceed, and I had already finished reading the entire Bible—Genesis to Revelation! I gave my class some busy work to do. I pulled out my Bible and started reading. And, WOW, God spoke to me in the WOW kind of way:

Just as you do not know the path of the wind, and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes everything (Ecclesiastes 11:5).

Being in a state of awe, that verse could have just as well said, “Patti, move to Houston.” I do not know how I read that into that verse. It was the supernatural Word of God speaking. I did not and still do not fully understand how this works, but that is why it is called “supernatural.” That verse gave me the confidence to turn in my unsigned contract that very afternoon.

I moved to Houston at the end of the school year, met my husband, and raised three children there. And, 43 years later, we are still in Houston (with a few brief stints elsewhere.)

No matter how we hear from the Lord—through conventional means or in a WOW way, let us graciously thank Him for all His leadings, love and insights.

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is real. He is probably the least understood person of the Trinity. It is important for us to know how the Spirit works and understand how He reveals Himself.

I would be remiss if I did not tell you that it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to understand God and His Word.

However, not everyone is privy to the things of God. The natural man (he who has not yet chosen to follow Christ) does not understand the things of God, as they seem foolish to him.

Those who have received God’s gift of salvation by confessing their sins and accepting Jesus Christ are filled with the Holy Spirit. Thus, they are qualified to understand His ways and words.

If you are a believer, pray and ask God to give you supernatural insights. Ask Him to give you a thirst for the deeper things of God and to hear from Him through His word. God reveals glorious things through the Holy Spirit because no one knows the “thoughts of God except the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:11).

Unfortunately, there are times believers are prevented from hearing from God. This may be due to unconfessed sin, pride, a controlling spirit, a desire for power, idolatry, and other reasons.

Many nominal believers do not know how to deal with deep spiritual ideas. In 3 Fold Secret of the Holy Spirit, author James H. McConkey wrote, “Many today are saved by Christ, and yet are unwilling to yield to Christ.” ³ If you find yourself in this category today, there is hope. The Holy Spirit filled you at your new birth, and now He wants to sanctify and mature you.

Think of the Holy Spirit as your helper, your source of wisdom, your provider of truth, and your interceder. Get real with God. He knows everything anyway. Confess any known sin, pray, and commit to reading your Bible—it is through these things God will reveal Himself to us.

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, so that He may be with you forever; the Helper is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him or know Him; but you know Him because He remains with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17).

The Bible

The Bible was not written just for pastors, seminary students, or Christian professors. It is written for people just like you and me, regardless of our lack of ministerial training or positions. Some of the most astute Bible pastors I have known have trained themselves in the Word of God through reading and individual study.

Every time we open the Bible, it is beneficial to ask God to open our eyes so we can see wonderful things (Psalm 119:18).

The Bible gives understanding and light to the simple (Psalm 119:30).

All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).

When we speak about the Word of God speaking supernaturally, we are not talking about adding anything extra to God’s Word, as some might think. We are talking about the Holy Spirit giving us an illumination into the Word which we can understand more acutely. It gives us the ability to walk away from temptation or toward a blessing.

A Bible verse may speak to you, but not to another. While a verse may be individualized for you, be wise and compare it to other Scriptures, read it in context, and ask other mature believers for clarification if you do not understand it. We must saturate our minds with the Word of God.

Some ask, “Why is it important to read the entire Bible?”

The answer lies in the fact that one part of the Bible helps us to understand other parts of the Bible. You might notice – “Oh, I read the same thing there and there.” This brings enlightenment to God’s Word and how it all ties together. But, keep in mind, it is okay if you do not understand it all. Scholars have spent their entire lives searching out the Scriptures, and so should we.

Frequently when I am reading the Bible, walking in obedience, and praying about something specific or otherwise, God speaks clearly to me through His Word. Sometimes it is in a still small voice, sometimes through a mighty WOW verse. The Lord usually uses exactly where I am in my personal Bible reading to show me His will. It is also at the exact time I need it as well—usually.

Why Don’t We Let God Speak Supernaturally to Us Through His Word?

There are many reasons why we do not allow the Holy Spirit to speak supernaturally to us through the Word of God. Below are just a few.

  • We are fearful of submitting our lives fully to God
  • Unconfessed sin. We may have sin that we are not willing to hand over to God
  • Not willing to give up time for prayer and Bible study
  • We want to be in control of our lives, and
  • We are worried others will think all this talk about the Word of God speaking supernaturally to us will be considered malarky to them.

Conclusion

Recently my mother died. It was on her mind that she wanted my husband and me to move into her home when she passed. For two years, I did pray about whether that was God’s will for us or not. I soon came to realize that was probably not His will.

Nevertheless, sadness still filled my heart once the house went up for sale, and others would have the privilege of living in my parents’ house—a house I grew up in, a house that had been in the family for 51 years, the family home for all holidays and birthdays, the house that held my wedding reception. But God in His goodness provided a verse from His Word that released me from that sorrowful thinking just a few days before the house sold.

For both husband and wife shall be taken, the aged and the very old. And their houses shall be turned over to others (Jeremiah 6:11-12).

How I read this verse…

For both your dad and your mom shall die, the aged (my dad died in his late 80s) and the very old (my mom died in her mid-90s). And their house shall be sold, and others will live in it.

Now, that is a WOW verse—spoken supernaturally through the Holy Spirit directly to me!

I hope this article has shed some light on this sometimes-perplexing topic. If it did, I would love to hear from you in the comment section.

Bible Verses:

This also comes from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, who gives supernatural guidance and imparts great wisdom (Isaiah 28:29).

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come (John 16:13).

For the Word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, even penetrating as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

Prayer:

Jesus, I love You. Enlighten my eyes to the treasures in your holy Word. Guide me by Your Holy Spirit into Your truth. Speak clearly and often to me and let me hold dear all You reveal to me. Thank you for being who You are. You are loved. Amen.

God Bless,

Works Cited

¹ Parke, Blair. “What is a Life Verse and How Do I Choose One?” Accessed 20 Nov 2020. www.ibelieve.com.

² Biblegateway. Accessed 5 Nov 2020. www.biblegateway.com.

³ McConkey, James H. Three Fold Secrets of the Holy Spirit. Create Space, (originally published 1897), 2014.

Edited by E. Johnson

All Bible Verses are taken from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise noted.

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Books by Patti Greene – Order Below!

With Christmas coming up, devotional workbooks are great gifts for your parents, children (any age), and friends. By purchasing one of my books, you will be helping me to maintain and upkeep my Christian blog.

Christian Caregiving

Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending

Devotional Prayer Journals

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer

Changing Your Landscape? Start Anew With God’s Plan

Life sometimes requires us to start anew, as in the case of a divorce or a move. Other times, we just have a tug at our heart, knowing we need to wipe the slate clean and start afresh.

My husband and I recently made the decision to redo the landscaping at our home. It took a lot of prep work to make that decision. We needed to agree we wanted to stay in our home and not move. Next came researching landscaping companies, followed by contacting the finalists, settling on a plan and price, signing an agreement, and submitting a down-payment.

You see, our landscaping was over 25 years old. It looked aged and worn, and we wanted a new look—one that involved fewer straggly bushes and less maintenance. Basically, we were tired of the same old thing!

The laborious work began this week.

We watched the crew not just “prune” our yard, but remove every evidence of the last 25 years of growth.

It wasn’t sad to us, because we hoped “the future” look would be better. Okay, it might have been sad to our neighbors when they saw the landscapers demolish the beautiful crepe myrtle that adorned our neighborhood.

But then arose the destruction—as trenches were dug a water pipe burst, then our Internet cable was severed. An emergency call to the water district, a three-hour wait to connect to AT&T, and disruption of my husband’s work-related Zoom call seemed quite problematic. Why? Because we were not anticipating any dire consequences from our well-thought-out plans.

As a believer, we face many decisions in life. We decide what ministries to be involved in, what church to attend, who to marry, what job to take, where to live, and more.

Just as there were steps in deciding to redo our landscaping, there are steps and choices to make in our spiritual life.

While we have the personal liberty to choose God’s plan or not, our lives are best lived in the presence of God’s will and direction. He is our strength and support in this life and the life to come.

Why is it important to know God’s plan?

It is important to know God’s plan because the Lord is the best person capable of running our lives. The Bible tells us multiple times that God knows our future. When we have accepted Christ as our Savior, we are positioned to receive His blessings. When we are following His will by trusting and obeying Him, we can have confidence He hears our prayers and is working things out for our greatest benefit. God will not hide His will from us if we sincerely seek Him.

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, You know it all. (Psalm 139:4)

Every good thing [is] given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1:17

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:30-33

You shall walk in all the way which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you will possess. Deuteronomy 5:33

Starting Over

My husband and I don’t like yard work. In starting over from square one, we are trying to simplify our life by eliminating trees, bushes, and foliage in our yard. By removing unwanted debris, there will be more room for light to shine into our home—along with a simpler austerity.

In our Christian walk, sometimes we need to make decisions to move on, clear out our clutter, and/or change our priorities. Hopefully, when we do, our walk with the Lord will deepen and mature us to become more Christlike.

The “method to our madness” in discovering His plans entail making decisions by seeking Him, looking at options, and developing a sense of His guidance.

What are the steps to discover His plan?

  1. Ask God for His wisdom and understanding (James 1:5-6);
  2. Desire to follow His will. [That comes when we are repentant and obedient to His already established will in the Bible] (Psalm 51:2-3);
  3. Pray and meditate. [Do not make any decisions that have not been prayed over] (Philippians 4:6-7);
  4. Look for providential circumstances. [But recognize that circumstances and/or feelings alone should not be the deciding factor] (James 1:17);
  5. Talk to godly friends, confidants, or elders at your church for guidance (Proverbs 15:22);
  6. Rest and wait patiently in God through the power of the Holy Spirit (Psalms 27:14);
  7. Ask yourself if you have peace about your decision (Psalms 29:11);
  8. Understand that God’s will might involve some suffering (Romans 8:18);
  9. Recognize that if you have done these steps and are still unsure of His will, but a decision must be made, go with the best choice you can make (Romans 8:28);
  10. If you find you have made a “mistake,” keep trusting in the Lord to work everything out (Proverbs 3:5-6).

As I write this, our landscaping feat is not complete. Actually, we are deep in the midst of a huge mess.

However, I hope our decision to bulldoze all our greenery turns out to be the right one. Our expectation is to have an attractive and easy-to-keep-up-with yard. But, if it doesn’t, we still have a God who loves us and wants the best in our lives.

If you feel the need to start over, seek Him first. Be obedient. Follow His lead. And trust that He always knows what is best for us. And, don’t be afraid of a change!

Praying the Scripture

Dear heavenly Father, 

If I lack wisdom, I am asking You who gives generously without reproach to all who ask for it, because You have said in Your Word that it will be given. I am asking in faith without any doubting because Your Word says, “one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.”

Wash thoroughly from me my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Help me not to be anxious for anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, I am letting my requests, concerns, and upcoming decisions ascend to You. And Your peace, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus.

I know that every good thing is given, and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from You–the Father of lights. Give me wise counsel so my plans are not frustrated, because I know that with many counselors I will succeed. Give me the ability to wait on You for all plans and decisions that I need to make. Make me strong and let my heart take courage. Yes, let me wait for Your answers. I know You give strength to Your people, and that You will bless me with peace.

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed to me. And I know that You cause all things to work together for good to those who love You, to those who are called according to Your purpose, and that includes me. I want to trust in You, Lord with all my heart, and not lean on my own understanding. In all my ways I want to acknowledge you. I know You will make my paths straight and my decisions honorable to You.

I believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

God Bless,

greenenpastures.org

Edited by E. Johnson

Bible verses come from the New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Books by Patti Greene – Order Below!

Christian Caregiving

Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending

Devotional Prayer Journals

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer

 

Solomon’s Wisdom: Bring Me a Sword

Wisdom

The Elementary Bible Truths Handbook defines wisdom as “the ability to use one’s knowledge and experience to make good judgments.”¹

While this is a good general definition, it does not differentiate between secular wisdom and godly wisdom. The late Pastor Adrian Rogers bridged this gap when he said that, “Godly wisdom is wisdom seeing life from God’s point of view. Secular wisdom (also known as knowledge) comes from looking around; [while godly] wisdom comes from looking up.”²

Days of Our Lives

1 Kings 3:16-28 puts godly wisdom in the forefront. King Solomon is tasked to solve a dispute between two women. If there ever was a story to grab someone’s attention, the story of Solomon and his wisdom is it. It has all the drama, including two bickering prostitutes, a “she said, she said” scenario, no witnesses and two babies—one dead and one alive. If this does not sound like a Days of Our Lives soap opera, it will.

As a child, I had a Bible storybook titled A Small Child’s Bible by Pelagie Doane that I read over and over and over. For hours I would ruminate on the stories and stare at the illustrations of two special Old Testament stories: King Solomon and the Baby and [Jonah] Jonas and the Great Fish. To read my story about Jonah, click here.

Below is the story from my childhood book, which still sits in my bookshelf to this day.

A Paraphrased Story Version of 1 Kings 3:16-28

Solomon sat upon the throne of David, his father. David had died and now Solomon was king. He was a good king and wise.

One day two women came to him. They had a baby with them. One woman said, “We live in the same house. We each had a baby born to us. This woman’s baby died one night, and she came and took my baby. She put her dead baby in my bed.”

The other woman said, “It is my child who is alive and hers who is dead.”

The first woman said, “No. The dead is your son and the living is my son.”

And so, they argued.

The king said to one of his men, “Bring me a sword.”

The sword was brought, and the king said, “Divide this child in half and give half to each of these women.”

One woman said, “Oh, do not kill the baby! Give him to the other woman but let him live!”

The other woman said,” No. Let neither of us have him. Divide him.”

Then King Solomon knew which was the mother of the child.

He said, “Give the child to the woman who does not want the child divided. She loves it and wants it to live.”

When the people heard how wise King Solomon had been, they said, “He knows what is true. He has thoughts of God.”³

Guiding Light: The Search for Wisdom

Solomon was King David’s son from his wife Bathsheba. His upbringing in an extremely wealthy household allowed him to have just about every privilege a child raised by a rich godly king could expect—fine food, a good education, religious training, little conflict, and more.

Solomon’s life was most likely free of conflict until it was time for him to ascend to the throne of Israel. His brother Adonijah tried to force a coup, doing all he could to get the kingship for himself that David already promised to Solomon. Fortunately, he did overthrow Adonijah’s attempt to rule Israel and became king.

Solomon knew he needed God’s wisdom if he were to enlarge the kingdom and construct the temple his father David had already prepared for him to erect.

Solomon loved God, and as a young ruler, he wanted the wisdom to rule this vast kingdom fittingly. Knowing he needed to dedicate himself totally to the Lord, he sought wisdom and guidance, and in a dream at Gibeon, not far from Jerusalem, he offered multiple sacrifices to the Lord. Then, God came to him in a dream and asked Solomon to ask Him for anything he desired.

God said, “Ask what you wish Me to give you.” Then Solomon said, “You have shown great lovingkindness to Your servant David my father, according as he walked before You in truth and righteousness and uprightness of heart toward You; and You have reserved for him this great lovingkindness, that You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king in place of my father David, yet I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. Your servant is in the midst of Your people which You have chosen, a great people who are too many to be numbered or counted. So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” 1 Kings 3:5b-9

It was at Gibeon Solomon asked for WISDOM. He wanted to administer justice and judgment using true godly discernment. It was normal in those days for the common people to have access to the king, and he took his job seriously. Shortly after his asking for wisdom, Solomon was introduced to these two prostitutes—both seeking to resolve a dispute between them and a living baby.

One Life to Live: Mothers

These two temple prostitutes stood before their ruler and king, waiting for his judgment as to which woman should be allowed to keep the live baby.

Sidebar: I believe most mothers can recognize their own child, especially after three days of caring for and loving them.

But, the disagreement over the baby’s “ownership” continued all the way up to the top court. King Solomon, not being privy to DNA testing, listened to both women’s side of the story. He gathered facts and information. Although Solomon had many responsibilities, as kings do, such as peacemaker, builder, worshiper, administrator, and scholar, this was his opportunity to be a discerner, noted Warren Wiersbe.⁴ Solomon was looking for the real mother. Most Bibles and commentaries refer to the first woman mentioned in the story as the real mother and the second woman mentioned as the untruthful mother.

Both mothers were distressed—one because she knew she might lose her baby, and the other one because she lost her baby; and her maternal instincts were so strong, she was willing to lie and deceive to have any baby.

We see this kind of behavior even today. In February 2020, Juliette Parker, former Colorado Springs mayoral candidate, posed as a “friendly” baby photographer in an attempt to steal Elysia Miller’s newborn child. Meeting Miller on a Facebook newborn baby site, they connected. Parker met under the guise of taking free baby pictures to build up her portfolio and administered GHB—the date rape drug—to try to steal Miller’s baby. Fortunately, Miller called 911 after feeling drowsy and the plot was averted.⁵

In the original story, Solomon, using his divine wisdom, called for a sword. His solution was to cut the baby in half and give half to each woman. He was wise and I feel sure his intent was never to follow through on dividing the baby. Solomon was looking to see which woman had the most compassion towards the child to find the real mother.

“And the king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other, the first woman whose child was the living one spoke to the king, for she was deeply stirred over her son and said, ‘Oh, my Lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him.’ But the other said, ‘He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him!’” Then the king answered and said, “Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him. She is his mother.” When all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had handed down they feared the king; for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.” (1 Kings 3:25-28)

God is a God who works out the most magnificent things and coordinates situations in His timing to be used for the glory of God. In this case, God took two prostitutes: they lived in the same house, allowed them to get pregnant at the same time, and had them deliver their babies three days apart—to be used as a very early catalyst for the people of Israel to see his wisdom. Warren Wiersbe says, “for weeks, this even was the main topic of conversation in all Israel displaying to all that King Solomon was truly a wise king.”

As the World Turns: How to Gain Wisdom

We live in a culture not much different than Solomon did in the 900s BC. Today we encounter obstacles just like the people did back in Solomon’s day. Many times, we need wise people to arbitrate our difficulties and problems.

Right now, we might be like the first woman in this story desperately needing advice, the second woman who lied and deceived, or we might be like Solomon—the one to whom people come for leadership or arbitration.

Know that no matter what situation we find ourselves in, by repenting and choosing to live a life honorable to our Lord and Savior, we can gain God’s wisdom. By following King Solomon’s steps, let us do what He did first and then commit to following whatever He says in His Word.

How to Gain Wisdom

First Solomon ASKED FOR GOD’S WISDOM. (1 Kings 3:9; James 1:5) So should we, then we can work on:

Wherever we are on this pendulum called life, let us remember that we are loved by a holy and just God. He is there to give us direction.

Look to Him for divine strength. Look at people through His eyes.

It can be difficult after we have been lied to, deceived, humiliated, criticized, or disregarded, but God has a purpose for every one of us. Striving to live a life fully dedicated to Him is costly, but wisdom is supreme. Therefore, get wisdom. Ask for wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get [His] wisdom and His understanding.

It is then that we can look at life correctly as we Search for Tomorrow.

Bible Verses

For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6

The Lord by wisdom founded the earth, By understanding, He established the heavens. Proverbs 3:19

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10

Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good. Ecclesiastes 9:18

All verses are from the New American Standard Version (NASB).

Prayer

My heavenly Father. We need Your wisdom. We cry out to You for it. As King Solomon prayed, so we pray and ask You to give “Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people to discern between good and evil.” For it is only when You and Your Word is ingrained upon our hearts that we can begin to fully follow You. Give us a deeper walk from now until we reach Your heavenly kingdom. In the Name of Your precious son Jesus. Amen.

God Bless,

greenenpastures.org

Edited by E. Johnson

Works Cited

¹ Elementary Bible Truths Handbook. Greeneville: Bob Jones University Press, 1981.

² Adrianisms: The Collected Wit and Wisdom of Adrian Rogers. Collierville: Innovo Publishing, 2015.

³ Doane, Pelagie. A Small Child’s Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1945.

⁴ Wiersbe, Warren. The Bible Exposition Commentary Old Testament: Joshua—Esther. Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2008.

⁵ Benzel, Lance. “Former Colorado Springs mayoral candidate allegedly duped local man before baby abduction plot.” The Gazette. Feb 18 2020; Updated Feb 25 2020. Gazette.com.

Books by Patti Greene – Order Below

Christian Caregiving

Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending

Devotional Prayer Journals

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer

How to Increase Church Attendance

Our youngest son Jimmy, always the adventurous type, decided to leave the safety and comfort of the Lone Star State (Texas) to continue his education after high school at Babson College—a private, but well-known business college founded in 1919 in Wellesley, Massachusetts, a town west of Boston.

So, it did not surprise his father or me that as an adult, he decided to collect the antique book versions written by the founder of his college—Roger W. Babson.

As most parents would be, we were grateful he did not want to start a collection of weird things like banana stickers, toenail clippings, or super-soakers! So, books were a great choice since I could find and give these rare books for birthday and Christmas gifts—if I could find them.

Babson was an American entrepreneur, economist, and business theorist. He predicted the Wall Street Crash of 1929, was the Prohibition Party’s candidate for President of the United States in 1940 although the election was won by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was also a religious man.

Babson authored over 40+ books on various topics—mainly business-related topics, but one book that he wrote, with the help of others, is titled How to Increase Church Attendance. It is this rare book that I found for Jimmy’s recent birthday present from a source I will not disclose to anyone.

Before wrapping Jimmy’s birthday gift, I read the book and took notes. Being a book published in 1936, it was fascinating to see how religious men from over 80 years ago perceived church attendance.

I desire that the following quotes from Babson’s book will make you laugh, ponder, and/or possibly change how you do church today!

Ministers, Leaders, and the Church

The personality and the pastoral work of the minister [is] very important. [It] is fundamental to a successful church.

If a church [cannot] afford a decent plant, it should consider consolidating with another church. In such cases, the churches with the poorer plants should sell their property and use the funds for renovating and extending [with] some other church in the community.

Trained teachers who are willing to give their services in the Sunday School should be exempt from making contributions.

All in the community, whether or not they attend church, should contribute to some church.

A Sunday should never go by without the minister making a public appeal for those who wish to give their hearts to Jesus.

The church is like a muscle—the more we use it, the stronger it becomes, while the less we use it, the weaker it becomes.

There are twice as many churches as there should be.

It is an outworn custom to count only those at the Sunday morning preaching service. We should also count the number who come to the church each week for any service of worship.

We should attend church . . .  to show our colors—to show the community and our family where we stand.

Every layman should go to church, irrespective of [the] preacher, music, ventilation, or cushions.

“Here [are] my suggestions for a church membership pledge,” exclaimed Roger Babson.

====================

To the ………………………………. Church,

I desire to develop my spiritual life and the spiritual life of others. As one means of doing this, I desire to join the ………………………………. Church.

I shall endeavor to bring my family or friends to your church, or to some other church if I am away, every Sunday.

I ask that you get in touch with me any week that you do not see or hear from me. I have checked the two lists on the reverse of this sheet showing the specific help which I most need, and also the line of work in which I may perhaps be most helpful to you.

Date ……………………………….            (S) ………………………………..

I FEEL THE MOST NEED OF:

Meditation

Learning to pray

Courage and Faith

Instruction

Help with my family

Better health

Economic assistance

New friends

General guidance

CAN BE THE MOST HELPFUL TO OTHERS IN:

Service of Worship

Teaching in Sunday School

Helping on the music

Leading young people

Caring for little children

Adult educational work

Boys’ Club Projects

Calling on the sick

Supplying flowers

====================

Causes for the Decline in Church Attendance

  1. Many seem to fear neither God nor man.
  2. Secondary motives for attending church, i.e. to help a man’s business or better his political prospects.
  3. Competing calls—competition; movies, reading newspapers.
  4. “The Waiting Mood”—People have ceased to seek. They wait to be sought.
  5. Indifference—church people are tremendously interested in many things. We must present the advantages of church attendance.
  6. Dissatisfaction with the tenets and teachings of the church. [Basically, the church does not seem to meet their needs and the needs of the age.]

The church should work for the well-being of the people.

Vitalizing the Sermon and Worship

  1. [There] must be an essential truth to the sermon. People want spiritual food they can understand.
  2. Holy zeal is necessary.
  3. Better craftsmanship is needed.
  4. Use other materials when necessary.
  5. Use the Bible.
  6. Sermons should be practical.
  7. Add news value to sermons. The use of such living materials … imparts a new freshness and impressiveness to the church service.
  8. Select “pulling subjects”—good topics and titles.
  9. Personal character—the personal life of the preacher must be a living example of Christianity.

Improving the Church Structure

  1. Ugly, badly arranged churches, if continued in use, will become more detrimental to church attendance.
  2. The equipment is very important.
  3. What, essentially, is required in order that a room be made effective as a place of worship? When one enters the room from the majestic out-of-doors, does he feel, upon coming within the building, a sense of uplifting and enlargement, even though the building may be small? Proportions [matter].
  4. Remove distractions—old chandeliers; Pleasant lanterns suspended from the ceiling will add much to the appearance and churchliness.
  5. Remove bad art glass.
  6. Good acoustics.
  7. Little things count for much.
  8. Eliminate all ugliness, barrenness, and things that divert attention from the holy exercise of divine worship.
  9. Cloakrooms will enable people to enter the sanctuary unencumbered without wraps, hats, and overshoes.

The Home and Church Attendance

  1. Regarding birth control, we do not have enough children in our church homes today to replenish our ranks in the next generation.
  2. The key individual to interest boys and girls in attending church is, of course, the minister. In the first place, he must be fond of children.
  3. The minister’s wife sets the example with herself and 5 children, and oftentimes four or five other children, [by] all sitting together in the fourth pew from the front.

Public Records on Church Attendance

Finance and attendance are both matters about which is the duty of all members to be informed.

Church Attendance and Theological Education

  1. A divinity school is a place for study. Its chief purpose is to train men in the major disciplines of theological education, not to equip students with a bag of tricks for drawing crowds.

Making the Community Church-Minded

  1. To have a great church, there must be two very essential factors; first-numbers; and second-loyalty.
  2. Two things impress the visitor—the height and central location of the pulpit.

Week-Day Religious Education

  1. For children and youth, religious education teachers should mostly be college or university graduates who have specialized in Bible and education.
  2. There is no need, however, for a church [to] lower its dignity by using the competitive methods of secular institutions, to draw people to its programs.
  3. [There needs to be] a firm belief that the church has something to offer.

Advertising

  1. The finest kind of advertising for any community, industry, merchandise, or even a church is the personal words [in] which one customer passes on to another.
  2. The great reason for non-church attendance among so-called Christians is the unregenerate conditions of their hearts.

Church Attendance and Prayer

  1. The heart of the church is prayer. If there is no place of prayer, or if the place of prayer is inadequate and weak, then no matter how enormous the church building might be, no matter how large the church membership, the church is a dying church.
  2. We cannot return to the old-fashioned testimonial meeting. It is as defunct as the old one-horse shay. (I had to look up the definition of a one-horse shay. It is a light, covered, two-wheeled carriage for two persons, drawn by a single horse.)
  3. But when we discarded the old shay, we did not leave our barn empty, we then filled it with a new automobile.

Six classes of people who attend church

  1. Those present every Sunday
  2. Others attending generally
  3. Others frequently
  4. Others occasionally
  5. Others rarely, and
  6. Others annually (on Easter)

Church Loyalty Projects

  1. Have a project.
  2. These works because they present specific achievements and friendly contests.

What about the Future?

  1. While the movies, the radio, comic supplements, and the automobile…have great power for good, they today are to too great an extent, undermining the character, health, and success of our children. Yet, we tacitly show our approval of these inroads by attending questionable movies and listening to everything on the radio.
  2. Before the development of modern advertising, motion pictures, and radio, many more of us spent our Sundays attending church services and reading good books.
  3. Today we are reading the sports and stock market pages, attending the movies, and listening to cheap radio patter.
  4. Hence, it behooves us to withhold a proper proportion of our time and money from these less important things and to devote the same to personally attending and financially supporting the churches.
  5. [To] help our children recognize the importance of character and the spiritual life, we must have them know that we put church attendance above the Sunday newspaper, the movie, and listening to the radio.
  6. [The most] efficient and inexpensive method of developing character among children and the community, in general, is to have them see us and their neighbors attend church.
  7. In conclusion, our studies would seem to indicate that the Protestant churches of America are today suffering from inertia, from lack of sufficient interest. Hence it would be time well spent if our clergymen and laymen would seriously consider an “over-hauling” and thorough examination.
  8. Statistics show that all institutions go downhill, which [does] not keep abreast or ahead of the times.

Miscellaneous

  1. Go through the list of church members with the thoroughness that a business organization would apply and prepare a list of those who do not go to church.
  2. Some may need to be dropped from the church roll.
  3. Others can be transplanted to other churches.
  4. But some will be quickened to resume their interest in the local church.

I hope you liked these quotes as much as I did. And, after reading this book, I am glad Jimmy no longer collects baseball cards, sneakers, or sunglasses! Books are good. And rare books are even better!

Bible Verses:

I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. Matthew 16:18

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:10

Prayer:

Jesus, let me love my church as You did. Let me honor and respect the holy place You have provided for me to worship in. Give me a love for the people in the church—no matter our differences, personalities, or Bible knowledge. May all I do within the church body be pleasing and acceptable to You. In the precious name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

God Bless.

 

Central Houston Inspirational Writers Alive! Associate Member; BibleGateway Blogger, Member; SBC, Church Member

Works Cited

Babson, Roger. How to Increase Church Attendance: The Commission on Church Attendance. New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1936.

[Roger W. Babson, Rev. Edwin H. Byington, Rev. Hudson E. Fiebiger, Winslow L. Webber, Rev. Gail Cleland, Elbert M. Conover, Rev. Clement F. Hahn, Rev. George L. Thurlow, Rev. Edwin B. Robinson, Rev. Vaughan Dabney, Rev. John L. Keedy, Rev. Robert W. Gammon, James B. McKendry, Rev. Daniel Bliss, Rev. Arthur L. Kingsolving; and Rev. Herbert D. Rugg.]

Bible verses are from the New American Standard Bible.

COVID-19: Are We There Yet? How Much Longer? [Part 3]

COVID-19: It’s Time to Take God’s Word to Heart [Part 1]

COVID-19: It’s Time to Take God’s Word and Prayer to Heart [Part 2]

Once upon a time, our family lived in St. Louis, Missouri. It was during that time when my husband and I first became acquainted with the phrase, “Are we there yet?” In the summer of 1994, while living in the Midwest, we vacationed in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan. On that vacation, that phrase “Are we there yet?” was a constant with our three children!

Of course, we were “car traveling” before there were iPads, iphones, or videos to keep the kids occupied. I was the mom who checked out baskets of library books for our trip instead! Nothing was more difficult than driving long distances with squirmy kids in the car yelling, “Are we there yet?” It was annoying. Very annoying!

That phrase, along with its partner phrase “How much longer?” is usually asked by ones wanting to know when we will reach a destination or an endpoint—like going from Point A to Point B and wanting to know how much longer until we are there or the “When will it end” mentality.

How Much Longer?

An adult may ask similar questions today—in our current COVID-19 epoch.

  • How much longer will the Coronavirus last?
  • How much longer will we have to social distance?
  • How much longer until I can get my hair dyed again?

“Longer” seemed to be the reoccurring word here, so I looked up a few Bible verses using the word “longer” or words related to “longerto get a Biblical glimpse of the “How much longer” or “Are we there yet” phrases. I am not a Bible scholar, so please use the comment section to correct me if my thoughts or translations are way off base. I speak as a layperson, but I did use Strong’s Concordance!

Bible Verses and Thoughts

And he [Moses] said unto them, I am a hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no more go out and come in: also, the Lord hath said unto me, thou shalt not go over this Jordan. My grace is enough for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Thought: We get weary and wonder how much longer we will go on living like this?

How many are the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me? (Psalm 119:84)

Thought: How much longer will we have to serve the Lord? And, am I making the most of my time? Pastor Charles Stanley recently posted, “Jesus wasn’t crucified so we could sit in pews each Sunday and listen to sermons. He has specific tasks for each of us to achieve during our lifetime.” ¹

So that the Lord could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings, and because of the abominations which ye have committed; therefore, is your land a desolation, and an astonishment, and a curse, without an inhabitant, as at this day. (Jeremiah 44:22)

Thought: God has thoughts about how much longer He will put up with evil.

Bible Verses and Translates

For thus saith the Lord GOD, how much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast? (Ezekiel 14:21)

Translates: God sometimes is tired of putting up with us.

And sware by him that liveth forever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer. Revelation 10:6

Translates: An end is coming.

These verses speak to me. They say, we are weary and are wondering how much longer we will have to put up with the repercussions of the Coronavirus. We question which Christian leaders we should believe in or listen to—not wanting to be swayed by false teachers or doctrines. We speculate whether COVID-19 is a foreshadowing of prophecy because the Lord is tired of our sinfulness. And lastly, we are reminded that there will be an end to our “shelter-in-place” period and are we prepared for it?

Face the “How Much Longer” Seasons of Life with God

One of the hardest things I go through in life has been the “How much longer” seasons:

  • God, how much longer until I will feel whole after my employment let me go?
  • Lord, when will my broken heart be healed?
  • Jesus, how much longer will I ruminate over an unrealistic possibility?

I tend to hang on to thoughts, desires, and concerns way longer than I should. Sometimes I know they are spiritual warfare attacks. Sometimes they occur from living in this secular world. Sometimes they are exacerbated on account of my personality—either the personality the Lord has given me OR maybe the personality traits He is trying to change in me.

As I have grown in my walk with the Lord, I have learned that all these worries need be laid at the feet of Jesus. He is the one that will give us peace and rescue our hearts from the terrible thoughts of “How much longer?”

Have you ever had thoughts so deep that you can’t share them with anyone else?

I have!

We hide them in ourselves. Often, we endure this emotional pain alone—not wanting anyone to think less of us. Sometimes, with me, it is because I don’t want to appear weak to my church family. Yes, I have said it. And, I know I am not alone in occasionally thinking this.

There are some thoughts that should NOT be shared! It is up to us to discern the difference. But remember, before talking to others, it is always best that Christ should be our first source in unburdening ourselves. He will show us if we need to share our concerns with others or not.

With the Coronavirus in full swing, you may be experiencing some of these deep thoughts or burdens right now!

  • How much longer will I be burdened with the kids out of school?
  • My husband is working from home. How much longer Lord?
  • Our family is struggling financially. How much more can I take?
  • How much longer will we be quarantined?

How to Function through the “Are We There Yet” Seasons of Life?

Strive for Contentment

We all desire contentment. As believers, we need to be content with what we have, and we learn contentment through our trials—whether it be a job loss or being thrust into “homeschooling” unwillingly. Erik Raymond in Chasing Contentment says, “Contentment is the inward, gracious quiet spirit that joyfully rests in God’s providence.” ² In Philippians 4:11, the Apostle Paul says, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

Respond Responsibly and Biblically

We must act responsibly and Biblically. When we abide in Jesus Christ and anticipate Heaven before the state of affairs on Earth, we are better able to honor our Lord and other people. When our lives are surrendered to Christ, learning to be joyful regardless of our situation is the result. I am not saying our situations always dissolve. They usually don’t, but we can enjoy the journey we are on until we take our trip to Heaven. This may include repentance and change on our part. When we pray and call out to our Heavenly Father to align our will with His will, Biblical responsibility may involve encountering what Matthew 7:3 says, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” And, dealing with that takes effort!

Let God’s Word Speak Supernaturally

Did you know that we can’t depend on pastors, teachers, religious magazines, books, and online services to be the only source of our spiritual growth? We must continually read the Word of God. Furthermore, before you read, pray and ask God to speak to you through His Word. Look with anticipation for the Godhead–God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit–to enlighten you.

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. (Jeremiah 33:3)

Accept Christ

All the above is dependent on our relationship with Jesus Christ. If you don’t know Jesus as your Savior, you can commit your life to Him right now. You don’t just “say” any old prayer. Our prayer to the Lord should express our sinfulness while asking Jesus to forgive us for our wrongdoings, and place our trust in Him to come into our life as our Savior. Pastor Greg Laurie recently said in his Easter 2020 sermon that, “Some of you might need to change your eternal address from Hell to Heaven.” ³ We do that by accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior. (John 3:16)

Fast Forward to Our Current Situation with COVID-19

Just reading the news headlines is tiresome and tedious right now.

  • How much longer will we be inside—and then what happens?
  • How long will the Coronavirus Outbreak and Shutdown last?
  • Life-or-Death Hospital Decisions Come with Threat of Lawsuits
  • Let’s Have Christian Woodstock! US Pastor Says Despite Anti-Coronavirus Quarantine Orders
  • Personalities that thrive in isolation and what we can all learn from time alone
  • The Digital Divide

God is Sufficient

Dealing with “Are We There Yet?” and “How Much Longer?”, I have personally asked questions like . . .

  • When will [it] ever end?
  • How much longer do I have to endure this until Your answers are made clear?
  • When will You show me why? How about now?

Subsequently, I have learned that when I am weak, He is strong. Our questions may remain unanswered. Thus, we must learn to trust that there are mysteries and secrets God keeps to Himself forever or until the timing is right to share it with us.

By accepting His strength, His sufficiency, and His all-knowing qualities, we can get through these difficult times with graciousness and humility. Yes, we will fail, but we have a God who loves us and accepts our weaknesses. It is the LORD who helps and sustains us.

And he said unto me, My grace is enough for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Conclusion

In Deeper than Tears, Oswald Chambers’ short blurb is good for us to remember as we face this Coronavirus and other situations in our lives.

How many of us get into a panic when we are faced by physical desolation, by death, or war, injustice, poverty, disease? All these in all their force will never turn to panic the one who believes in the absolute sovereignty of his Lord. The thing that preserves a man from panic in his relationship to God: if he is only related to himself and his own courage, there may come a moment when his courage gives out. Don’t be disturbed today with thoughts about tomorrow: leave tomorrow alone, and bank in confidence on God’s organizing of what you do not see. ⁴

Bible Verses: Above

Prayer

My Heavenly Lord, as the world faces times of uncertainty and awe, let my feet remain staid on You! Let me trust You, follow You, and depend on You through this unusual season of life. Let me rest assured knowing that You knew this virus was coming and You know when it will end. Give me Your insights as I wait on You. It isn’t over yet. I don’t know when it will be over. But, thank you for peace as I await Your timing. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

God Bless.

greenenpastures.org

Central Houston Inspirational Writers Alive! Associate Member; BibleGateway Blogger, Member; SBC, Church Member

Edited by E. Johnson.

Works Cited

¹ Stanley, Charles. The Cross The Believer’s Motivation. In Touch Ministries with Charles Stanley.  11 April 2020. [Web]

² Raymond, Erik. Chasing Contentment: Trusting God in a Discontented Age. Wheaton: Crossway, 2017.

³ Laurie, Greg. Easter 2020. 12 April 2020, Greg Laurie Live: Harvest Church. Live Sermon.

⁴ Chambers, Oswald. Deeper Than Tears: Promises of Comfort and Hope. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007. [Originally published in Run Today’s Run.]

Bible Verses from the King James Version.

Books by Patti Greene 

Christian Caregiving

Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending

Devotional Prayer Journals

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer

God’s Heart

A Love Story

We all love an upright and virtuous love story—the kind that moves our hearts to cheer wholeheartedly for that couple whose love seems unquenchable. We might even find ourselves reading those love stories or watching those movies repeatedly.

The story is told about an elderly couple in a nursing home that eats together every day. They have been married for 63 years. The wife had a stroke and can’t stand, eat, talk or do anything for herself. He doesn’t need to live in a nursing home, but he does so anyway, just to be with her. Every day he eats his food, feeds her, and sits next to her, looking at her like he must have the day they were married.¹ His unconditional, undying love and loyalty is quite evident.

This is how our Heavenly Father looks at us! This is how much He loves us.

God’s Heart

Our God is forgiving. He is merciful and loving. His heart is clean and pure. Furthermore, He marks Himself with all the fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

When we think of how a heart works, we are awed by its uniqueness and importance. Our heart muscle sends blood through our bodies. This vital muscle provides oxygen and beneficial qualities to the four chambers of our hearts. Working through our valves, our blood moves through our veins and arteries and circulates to keep us alive. Our hearts may sometimes give out an extra LUB-DUB. While we want our hearts to be continuously perfect, they sometimes fail us. But God never fails us; His heart is perfectly filled with compassion, love, mercy, kindness, and more.

I Want

a. I want my heart to beat like God’s heart.

b. I want to let His heart be my heart.

c. I want His blood circulating through me… do you?

How to Let God’s Heart Become Your Heart

King David wrote, “My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh sing for you to the living God.” (Psalm 84:2) But, how do we fill our hearts so much with God’s love that our hearts are aligned with His heart?

First, we must know Him. We know God by believing in Jesus Christ, confessing our sins to Him, and trusting Him with our lives. This is proven when we change our heart of stone to a heart filled with His love. Gradually, or sometimes immediately, you will notice that you are not the same person you once were. Your heart starts to become more sensitive to what is right and what is wrong. Our lives start to emulate God’s character.

Second, we become sanctified. The process of sanctification is where we grow in our faith and notice that we are becoming more and more like Him. Our commitment to the Lord becomes stronger and more pronounced. Sanctification occurs when we desire His heart. That does NOT mean we have to be perfect. But we will notice ourselves desiring the things of God more, i.e. reading the Bible, praying, worshipping with other believers, repenting, and praising Him.

Third, in the Old Testament, the Bible notes that King David’s heart is after the heart of God. Whenever we admit our sins and repent, our heart becomes purified and undefiled—like the heart of God.

God Loves You

In the Old Testament, when God abandoned Saul as the king of Israel, He tasked the prophet, Samuel with finding a replacement. In his search for a new ruler, Samuel came to Jesse to evaluate each of Jesse’s sons for the job. About one of them, Eliab, the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or the height of his stature, because I have rejected him, for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

God knows our inner selves—our hearts and our secrets. Because of this, we can all go to Him expressing our fragile and honest souls to Him. Bearing our souls to God is our privilege. As a result, we can ask Him to show us how we can become more and more like Him and how we can make His heart our heart.

Psalm 44:21 says, “He knows the secrets of the heart.” So, as we are reassured in Scripture that He knows us, we can go to the throne of grace, praying for Him to change us to become all He desires us to be.

God loves us with an everlasting love. His heart yearns for us to submit all to His will and for us to be obedient to follow the directives laid out in His Holy Word because He has given us His heart through His Word.

As the man in the nursing home cared diligently for his wife, God cares for us like that with His whole heart. Let’s let His heart become our heart.

Bible Verses

I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders. (Psalm 9:1)

But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. (Deuteronomy 4:29)

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)

Prayer

Heavenly Father. Oh, how I love You. It seems so hard some days to align my heart and will to Yours. Show me my sins, let me confess them and change my heart to desire Your heart. I know this is a daily thing. Help me to be consistent in giving up my life every day to You. Give me the desire to follow You, to love You, and to obey You. Please make my heart so soft and moldable that it becomes more like Your heart every day. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

God Bless.

greenenpastures.org

Works Cited

¹Chernoff, Angel. 60 Short Love Stories to Cheer You Up. Marc and Angel Hack Life. Accessed 5 Feb 2020. https://www.marcandangel.com/2013/02/13/60-short-love-stories-to-cheer-you-up/

All Bible verses come from the New American Standard Bible unless noted otherwise.

Edited by E. Johnson.

===============

Patti Greene’s Bio

Patti Greene is a fun-loving (but serious) coffee drinking wife, mom, and Grammi! She serves as a Bible teacher and Sunday School helper in her home church in Katy, Texas. She writes and speaks with the sole purpose of leading and maturing others in Jesus Christ and His everlasting love. To receive blogs from GreenePastures.org delivered straight to your email, please sign up from this blog or email her at Patti@GreenePastures.org with your email address, and you will be added to the email listing. You will need to confirm your decision to be added to the blog by email. You can also catch up with her on her Twitter feed at (@PattiGreene13) or her Facebook Patti Greene-Pastures page at (https://www.facebook.com/author.greene).

Books by Patti Greene

Christian Caregiving

Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending

Devotional Prayer Journals

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer

@PattiGreene13 #PattiGreene13 #bgbg2

Pray and Speak Like Moses

As I write this blog, I am dealing with some annoyances—frustrating dental and ophthalmological annoyances! To ensure you that we can still speak for God amid provocations, like Moses, read on!

Dealing with a toothache the day before you go out-of-town is no fun. Then, when I called my dentist to try to remedy the situation, I was told she is on vacation until next week! Okay, I can deal with that. I might just need to see a dentist at my “respite” location!

Furthermore, I am dealing with a floater in my eye. To be specific, I feel like a mosquito or gnat is flying around my right eye all the time. I have even found myself slapping the right side of my face only to find it isn’t a bug flying around, but my floater. Fortunately, I was able to see an ophthalmologist and he said I have a vitreous detachment.

The Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines a vitreous detachment as, the “separation of the posterior part of the vitreous body from the retina due to contraction of the vitreous body that occurs as part of the process of aging and may occur sooner in serious cases of myopia, that is usually accompanied by the presence of floaters often seen as spots or structures resembling cobwebs, and that may result in a torn retina or in retinal detachment.”

The good news—it isn’t a retinal detachment, which may cause a permanent loss of vision. All I have is the separation of the posterior part of the vitreous from the retina.

“It’s caused by AGE”, the ophthalmologist said. GREAT, just another age-related thing to add to my list! He said, “Sometimes these floaters never go away; might go away, might become dull or you just get used to them.”

I found none of those scenarios acceptable! I wanted to hear, “take these drops and the floater will dissolve and disappear in a day or two.”

My eyes are totally important to me. I am a reader. I read all the time! I really mean it—I totally read all the time. I read church bulletins, I read the Bible, I read sermons, I read music lyrics, I read blogs, I read newspapers, I read Facebook, I read Twitter, I read books, I read tombstones, I read obituaries, I read pamphlets, and sometimes I even read instructions. Now when I try to read, I can’t concentrate because this “big black mosquito-like” floater is roaming around my right eye.

Now, on to the main topic—I wanted direction on how to pray for some upcoming speaking opportunities, so I went to my Bible, picked up where I left off, and the good Lord gave me directions on how to pray in the second and third verse I read—eliminating a vast period of “mosquito reading.” But as happens so often, God shared His wise and sound wisdom with me. I just love it when He shares His Word in such a personal way.

Deuteronomy 32:2-3 said,

Let my teaching drop as the rain,
My speech distill as the dew,
As the droplets on the fresh grass
And as the showers on the herb.
For I proclaim the name of the Lord;
Ascribe greatness to our God!

These verses are part of The Song of Moses. Moses worked hard and consistently for the Lord up until his dying moment. In Deuteronomy 31:23-30, Joshua is commissioned and was told that he should bring the sons of Israel into the land which God swore to them. Then in the assembly of Israel, Moses shared a song—some say a prayer—appealing to the heaven and earth concerning the important things he was about to say as he was closing his life and earthly ministry for the Lord. Moses did not want his final words to be his words. He wanted them to be God’s words—from the Holy Spirit of God. For that, he prayed.

Quite in contrast to previous speaking engagements, Moses’ brother Aaron was his spokesperson. This time around, Moses prepared this final talk fully aware that he will be speaking directly from his own mouth and not from Aaron’s. Moses’ sister Miriam and his brother Aaron had already passed away when this prayer was formalized and spoken by Moses.

Just as we speak for our Lord, let us pray that our words will be words from God. As we witness for Him, as we teach our Sunday School classes, as we preach our sermons, as we uplift our neighbors, and in whatever unique situation the Lord puts us, we must proclaim God’s greatness in all we speak.

Did I mention previously that I read commentaries too? I do!

From Deuteronomy 32:2-3

Let my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew.

Benson’s Commentary says, may “his words which were sent from heaven to them, sink into their hearts and soften them, as the rain doth the earth, and so make them fruitful in obedience.”

Moses wanted his “speech”; some versions call it “doctrine” to refresh like the rain. For that same reason, God wants our words to refresh others, so let’s pray for that.

As the droplets on the fresh grass and as the showers on the herb.

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible states, that the tender herb and grass, “may denote the multitude of persons to whom the Gospel would come, and be made useful . . .”

For I proclaim the name of the LORD; ascribe greatness to our God!

Moses wants the people to know that all the important things he wants to share with them before his death are spoken in order to give complete honor, glory, and prominence to the LORD.

From here Moses proceeds to speak God’s words by the power of the Holy Spirit. Moses absolutely wanted the people to know that the song/prayer he was about to say were God’s words spoken through Him.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if every time we spoke and/or represented Jesus Christ, we knew our words come from God’s spirit?

Main thoughts from John McGill’s Commentary: Deuteronomy 32:2-3

To whom was Moses speaking?

  1. Those needing salvation
  2. Sensible sinners
  3. Tender consciences / Newborn babes . . . little children; who are just springing up in the grass
  4. Righteous people
  5. Perverse and crooked people

When we speak to others about the Lord, let us remember to whom we are speaking to and guide our words to meet their needs.

Why did Moses compare his last speaking engagement to rain/dew?

Because . . .

  1. Rain comes from Heaven
  2. Rain is a gift from God
  3. Rain falls by divine direction
  4. Rain represents the Lord’s will and pleasure with a fulness of spiritual blessings and promises
  5. Rain moistens and softens a hard heart
  6. Rain refreshes and revives the drooping spirit, and
  7. Rain makes the barren souls fruitful

How humbling would it be, if when we are called to speak for the Lord, that our words would provoke peoples’ hearts to be refreshed, revived, and softened as if by rain or dew?

What attributes did Moses have when speaking to the people?

  1. He proclaimed the name of the Lord
  2. He ascribed greatness to God
  3. He shared openly and publicly
  4. He shared faithfully
  5. He wanted people to know that the words he was about to speak were coming from God, not himself

Let us claim boldness and confidence when we share God’s word with others. Cleanse yourself, commit yourself to the Lord, and ask Him to speak through you.

Conclusion

In this “speaking engagement,” Moses knew he was close to the end of his life as he spoke words of truth to the people. He knew only God’s words would do.

Then Moses came and spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people, he, with Joshua the son of Nun. When Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, he said to them, “Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law. For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life. And by this word, you will prolong your days in the land, which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.” The Lord spoke to Moses that very same day, saying, “Go up to this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab opposite Jericho, and look at the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the sons of Israel for a possession. Then die on the mountain where you ascend, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people, because you broke faith with Me in the midst of the sons of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, because you did not treat Me as holy in the midst of the sons of Israel. For you shall see the land at a distance, but you shall not go there, into the land which I am giving the sons of Israel.” (Deuteronomy 32:44-52)

The next time you are called on to speak for our Lord, pretend it is the last time you may have the opportunity for God to use you and pray to be filled to the brim with His Holy Spirit. Pray that your words will fall upon the congregation, class, friends, and family in such a powerful way that idle words will not proceed out of your mouth—only words that will lead the listeners to God’s truth, holiness, grace, mercy, and salvation.

I am praying this for my next speaking engagement. I want to renew my mind, use my spiritual gifts according to the grace given to me, love who I am speaking to, and as my pastor recently said, “Serve with excellence and passion.” (Read Romans 12)

Unfortunately, I will probably still have that annoying floater in my eye the next time I speak. My prayer for that is that if my annoying mosquito-like flash shows up, it will block out the person who might have fallen asleep during my talk!

Oh yes, that is quite probable. Have I mentioned I speak from 2:45-3:45 p.m. after a big lunch? Yikes!

Bible Verses:

And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. (Acts 19:8)

Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11)

“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me. (John 15:26)

Prayer:

Lord, I dedicate my life to You. Allow me to speak Your words and only Your words as I have opportunities to speak for You. Take away all pride and self-centeredness from my heart. Give me humility and sincerity. Thank you for providing each and every opportunity to speak and let me recognize them as privileges from You. Thank you, Lord. In Your precious name, I pray. Amen.

God Bless,

greenenpastures.org

____________________

Works Cited

Biblegateway. Benson Commentary and Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible. Biblegateway.com. Accessed 17 July 2018.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. Vitreous Detachment. m-w.com. Accessed 17 July 2018.

NASB unless otherwise noted.

Edited by E Johnson

Please share, forward, retweet, and/or comment if you liked this article or find it might help someone you know. Thanks.

____________________

Books by Patti Greene: Available on Amazon

Christian Caregiving by Patti Greene

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