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Posts Tagged ‘Hand to the Plow’

I am extremely excited to announce a new ministry opportunity that has opened up for me beginning this summer. As many of you know writing and teaching Bible Studies is my passion. Just this past year we started uploading the audio of our Bible study lessons to SoundCloud. You can learn more about these on our Audio Bible Study page 

Now we are taking Bible studies to a whole new level – video Bible Studies! This has been a dream of mine for years, but due to costs, it was only a dream. Earlier this year a lady (whom I have never met) donated enough money to Ark Studio (a Christian recording studio located in Knoxville, TN) to  cover the filming of an initial series of Bible Study lessons. These studies will be 30 minutes in length and available to watch on youtube.

The title of the program will be “Hand to the Plow”

Those of you who know me, know that we live on a 225 year old family farm and our rich Appalachian heritage is very important to us. I am just a farm wife, mother, grandmother and writer whose passion is Bible studies. I have a definite Appalachian accent and make no apologies for it – it’s just me. I have been studying and writing for more than 40 years and now I have an opportunity to share that with you.

We will begin recording very soon and I will share those videos with you and information how you can subscribe to get a notice every time a new one is uploaded. This first series will be titled “Our Blessed Hope”. It is based on the last four chapters of the Book of Revelation. Every believer needs to know these facts. We do, my friends, have a “Blessed Hope” promised to us – and we need to learn how to share it with others! I hope you will pray for me and this new ministry!

And… (more exciting news) these videos are being designed with the format to be televised if a sponsor can be found. If you would like to support this ministry no donation is too small. We hope to raise enough to keep recording studies until God opens the door for television ministry. Please share this with anyone you know who would enjoy serious, verse-by-verse Bible studies!

We will soon offer PayPal for your online donations, but for now you can send donations to:

Betty Newman

P.O. Box 6675

Knoxville, TN 37914

I am not (yet) a non-profit ministry, so your donations will not be tax deductible (I assure you every penny will go toward the ministry) – but if you’d prefer to donate to a non-profit, send donations to:

Ark Studio

P.O. Box 6095

Knoxville, TN 37914

and designate that it is for Betty Newman.

Above all, I ask for your prayers, that God would direct me in His service! Amen!

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A Thanksgiving Devotional

Psalm 100

 

A Psalm for Thanksgiving.

1: Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.

2:  Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.

3:  Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

4:  Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.

5:  For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations. (NASB)

 

It’s amazing how things stick with you from your childhood. When I think of Thanksgiving, I always think of Psalm 100. When I was in the 2nd grade, we had to memorize Psalm 100 for a PTA program. So, I always equate the two.

This Psalm is a “feel good” Psalm. We read it and we “feel good”. But, when we examine it – when we meditate on it, it has so much more to say.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a very “logically minded” person – I want to know how things work, and why they are done. When my Mother wrote out her recipes for chicken ‘n dumplins and stack cake, I not only wanted the ingredients for the dish – I wanted to know why things were done the way they were. I’m the same way with scripture – it’s not enough for me to know that things are done; or how they’re done – I want to know why! This Psalm not only teaches us to give thanks – but how – and why.

The Psalm is divided into 2 sections: verses 1-3 and verses 4-5. In the first section we must come before the Lord. Verses 1-3a tell us how.

  • Verse 1: First of all we must “shout” (or “Make a joyful noise” as the KJV puts it.)
  • Who is to do this? “All the earth” (or “All ye lands.” KJV)

Everyone and every bit of creation is to (verse 2a):

  • “Serve the Lord”

How?

  • “With Gladness!”

Everyone and every bit of creation is to (verse 2b):

  • “Come before Him.”

How?

  • “With joyful singing.”

Everyone and every bit of creation is to (verse 3a):

  • “Know” – acknowledge – “that The Lord, He is God;”

Why do these things? Because He is our Creator (verse 3b):

  • “It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;”

And (verse 3c):

  • “We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”

So what does that really mean?

First – He is God (verse 3a)

Second – He is creator (verse 3b)

Third – He is owner (verse 3c)

Verses 4-5 tell us that not only are we to come before the Lord – but that we may; that we are allowed to come into His very presence! Again, we have what and how to do this, as well as why.

First we are to “enter His gates” – to come just inside the gate of the gardens of the palace.

How?

  • “With thanksgiving,” literally, with a thank offering.

And

  • We are to enter “His courts” – the actual grounds of the gardens.

How?

  • “With praise!” We are to extol and praise our God as we enter.

And

  • We must “Bless His name.” The Hebrew word for name is “Shem” which means a person’s character or authority – in other words – their very essence!

 

Think of it this way. We can come to the Palace, come through the door, come into the yard and come right up to His name – His very being! Hebrews 4:16 tells us that because Jesus (our Great High Priest) has triumphantly entered the realm of Heaven, we are allowed to not only come into the throne room, but we can come boldly! That’s not arrogantly – but with confidence – because Jesus is there!

And why are we allowed to do this? Verse 5: “For the Lord is good!” (Remember Jesus said, “There is none good but God.” Mark 10:18)

How is His goodness evidenced?

  • His lovingkindness (“His mercy” KJV), His hesed is everlasting. Ever-lasting; it lasts forever, through all of eternity.
  • And His faithfulness (“His truth endures” KJV) to all generations.

From the time of the Psalmist – to the time of the Saviour – to the time of the Church – to the day of His return, you can count on the Faithfulness of God.

And that is why we must thank Him!

Epilogue

Although I had most of these notes in my Bible, I actually wrote this meditation one day while sitting in the Target parking lot waiting for a dentist appointment. When I pulled out from the parking lot a song came on the radio that melted my heart. The song was, “The Wonder of it All”.

“O the wonder of it all, that God loves me…”

Tears came to my eyes along with the affirmation – “Yes! The wonder of it all, that God loves even me…”

May you have a glorious Thanksgiving!

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Being Thankful at Difficult Times

Father, my prayer this Thanksgiving season, is for those for whom Thanksgiving is not a time of thanks giving. I lift up those for whom this is a very difficult time of the year – and only going to get worse with the next “holiday”… Oh, many of us joke about our families, but in reality, they’re pretty tame; but not everyone can say that.

I’m not even talking about those in war torn countries, or famine ravaged countries, or parts of the world where natural disasters have destroyed their ways of life – but those right around us, Lord, who are hurting.

Perhaps it’s a lack of food, or lack of job, or lack of love, but the void in their hearts and homes is “crater-sized.” And that, my God, brings an emptiness to the pit of my stomach, and a heaviness to my soul, and I lift them up to You.

Your Word, God, tells us that there is no temptation, no sorrow, no hurt, which our Saviour has not experienced, and so, You know, don’t You… You know “first-hand.”

As I lift them up, the faces I “see”, the one’s I’ve heard about, and the ones I just imagine, I ask, Lord, comfort their hearts. And more than that Lord, show me what I must do. How can I be serve these people? How can I bring the love and comfort of the Living Christ into another’s heart and home?

I love Your Word, Lord. I love to study it, I love to teach it. But today, Father, take me from the “Scribes cloak” to the “Servant’s shoes” – and tell me where to walk.

In Jesus’ Name – Amen

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Pre-Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Father, as I set out to write a prayer of thanksgiving, I remember the multitude of circumstances that are represented by the people who are reading this book. Many find themselves in loving families, but possibly even more find themselves in not so loving situations.

How do I offer a prayer for them, Lord? I cannot relate, nor understand the anguish that they must feel. But, I know that You do. And so, I simply lift them to You, and pray that You will touch their hearts and hold them in the warm embrace of Your arms.

Father I pray, that each of us, in whatever place in life that we find ourselves, will look for the things for which to be thankful. There is always something. May we seek it like gold, and when we find it, hold it to our hearts and bow our heads, praising You – for You alone are God, and You alone gave the greatest Gift of all – Your own precious Son.

So, at Thanksgiving, and every day, may we, no matter our circumstances, thank You for Jesus. As it is in His Name we pray… Amen.

 

Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Precious Lord, we pause today, if but for a brief moment, and offer a prayer of thanksgiving. For each of us, the things that we are thankful for are different; for our families – their safe trips in traveling; for healing in times of sickness; or for strength in the midst of struggles.

For our loved ones, whether near or far, whether estranged or dearly held in our hearts, our prayer is lifted to You – for their safety, for their health, and for their blessing.

We are thankful for the bounty of the meal before us, and the hands which prepared it – whether it be at a table well stocked, or a meager gathering; whether the hands were loving or just dutiful in their preparation – still we are thankful and pray for them.

Father, we realize that if we have anything at all, we have much for which to be thankful. When we stop and think of the multitudes for which this is just another day of struggle for survival, we are ashamed at our thanklessness at times. Remind us, dear Lord, of our overwhelming blessing.

And now, we cannot neglect to pray for those men and women around the world who are away from their loved ones by way of military service. No matter on which “side” of any given war they find themselves, if it is war, it is war, and they believe themselves to be right.

We long, Father for the day when all will serve You, and every knee will bow to Your Son Jesus Christ. For only in that day, will there truly be peace. And Thanksgiving Day will truly be a Day of Thanksgiving! In Jesus’ precious Name we pray – Amen.

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Have you ever been to one of those meetings? You know what I mean – a church meeting that you dreaded because you knew it was going to be tricky (to say the least)? Sure. We all have. So, the next time you have a difficult meeting you might want to use this prayer as a guide for your prayer.

 

Prayer for a controversial church meeting

Dear Lord, as the time draws near for this meeting, first of all I pray for myself. I pray Lord that I have listened for Your voice, and that You will control what comes out of my mouth. Give me a spirit of wisdom; of patience; of love; and of boldness.

Help me to listen to what others have to say with a heart of kindness. Help me to hear what they are really saying which may not be the words they are actually using at the moment.

If… no, there will be pain. Help me to be a soothing ointment. There will be hurt feelings. Help me to be understanding and compassionate. There will be opposition. Help me to stand strong – in love.

Give me feet of stone to stand firm, but only Lord, if I am standing for You. I beg Lord, so permeate my soul that Your glory and honor are all that matter.

And now Father, I pray for the others who will be at the meeting. I pray that You will take control of their lives and their mouths. God, I’ve seen it happen time and time again in Your Word. I’ve seen Your children come up against a much more powerful enemy, and then, You’d – send a rainstorm and bog down the chariots; You’d send a spirit of confusion to disperse the soldiers; You’d send an Angel of the Lord to defeat the enemy… You’d deliver Your children in the face of great odds.

I’m not praying for the outcome of the meeting Lord, I am praying for the participants. I see the mouth as the enemy in this case, not the heart of the individual, nor even the subject of the meeting.

God! You always protect Your interests and Your people. Do that for us, please. I pray Lord, that You will throw a blanket of Your love and grace over this meeting so that any words that are said will be filtered through that love. I pray that You will so control “mouths” so that like Balaam, only “good and uplifting” words will come out – that no matter what is trying to be said, only love will reign.

And above all, as an outcome of the meeting, may Christ’s Kingdom come upon earth, and may Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

In Jesus’ Name – Amen

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Lord of Chalk and Eraser Dust

 

“Lord of all pots and pans and things…

Make me a saint by getting meals

and washing up the plates.”

 

Thus begins the little booklet, “The Practice of the Presence of God” by (or about) the Seventeenth-century French monk, Brother Lawrence.

He wrote, “The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen… (where he worked) I possess God in a great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Sacrament.”

And so with that mindset, I pray…

To the “Lord of all pots and pans and things…” my Father, I add, “Lord of chalk and eraser dust (or is that ‘PowerPoint’ these days?); Lord of hammers and nails; Lord of computers and programs; Lord of journals and ledgers; Lord of cash registers and sales racks; Lord of all jobs and vocations…” make us Saints by doing what we do daily.

May we truly find that “the time of business does not differ with me from the time of prayer…” May we find Your presence within our daily walk as strong as it is when we are on our knees in our prayer closets. Ingrain Yourself so deeply within our lives that prayer to prayer flows seamlessly throughout our days, and throughout our lives.

It seems Father, that in Jesus’ life, He didn’t “pray between daily life events” but indeed, “lived His daily life between prayers.” So may it be with us.

May we hear You at every turn; see You at every step; and feel You without failing.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Best friends and lovers…

When Joe (my husband) introduces me to anyone he always says, “This is my best friend. I married my best buddy!” And indeed we’re not only husband and wife, and lovers, but best friends as well.

He said this again to a good friend the other day who responded, “I can name on one hand, and not use all the fingers, all the couples I know who are truly happy in their marriage – and you all are one of them!”

Yes, we are very happy in our marriage. Why? I don’t really know. We’ve certainly been blessed, and it’s not because either of us is perfect – that’s for sure!

But the older I get, the more I realize that I have a responsibility to pray for young (and not so young) people – women especially – in their marriages. This is a hard world we live in – as you well know.

Father I pray for these young women in their marriages. I pray that they will see what an awesome responsibility and privilege God has given them. I pray that they will understand what a blessing being a “helpmeet” can truly be. And that they’ll come to realize that as the “two are one” that you can’t hurt your mate without hurting yourself, and likewise, when you help and support your mate, you are truly helping and supporting yourself.

Father, I pray for their patience as “things aren’t perfect” that they will seek Your face and wisdom in place of trying to “fix” things themselves. If their husbands aren’t the men their fathers are – well, they’re not meant to be. These young women didn’t know their fathers when they were young husbands. (Perhaps they should ask their mothers!)

I pray Lord, that they’ll come to understand that marriage is not a 50/50 proposition – it takes 100% from both sides, and sometimes even 101%… But, I pray most of all, that they will allow their husbands to be men – allow them to make mistakes, allow them to fail, and allow them to succeed without criticism – but instead be their “right arms” and their staunchest supporters – through everything. I believe (and I have found) that they will receive back, “pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing” everything they have given.

If he is not a “man of God” then may she realize that her responsibility is not to “make” him one, but to pray for him. And if he is a “man of God” then to thank You for him, and support him in his “ministry.” Even when she doesn’t understand his “calling;” You do.

Father, I thank you for these young women. Give me, I pray, more opportunities to witness – by word or example – what it means to be a “woman of God.” And lead me in a better understanding of that myself, every day.

In Jesus’ name – Amen.

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