Tag Archive: bible


This is one amazing tree! 

We sat under it yesterday, by the river.

The size of the trunk, and the branches, and the thickness of the bark, was amazing.

We have some huge trees in our yard.  Huge in height.  Sure they have branches, and pine needles, and pine cones.  But in all the trees we have, we have hard time finding branches strong enough to hold a tire swing.

But this tree, resting comfortably by the water is not lacking strength, or size or beauty.

The span of the branches and leaves was incredible.

I thought about how Proud the trees in my yard must be.  Each one reaching for a height above the next.

But this tree, by the water, growing in stature, far reaching, elegant, this is a tree I would want my life to resemble.

He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

Jer. 17:8

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Over the last several months, for variety of reasons in my own life and the lives of those around me, the issue of elders in the church has become a topic heavy on my heart and mind.

I had a vague idea of what I thought a biblical elder should be, then I began hearing conversation about the position of an elder.  A few issues came up, such as, What are the responsibilities of the elders? What authority do the elders have?  Why it is dangerous to confront an elder or pastor? 

I began to wonder if I really understood the job description of an elder. I needed to stop all the noise, even if it was from people I respected, and find out what does God have to say about all this.

I started my research at CARM (Christian Apologetics Research Ministry).  Only because I knew the leg work of locating scripture would be done for me.  Sure enough I found thorough research on the elders in the church, their job description,even an outline of responsiblities and qualifications. 

There was so much good information I didn’t know where to begin reading.  I was pretty familiar with the qualifications, (although I did learn that the word elder is masculine, making a point for the side of no women elders).  I was primarily interested in the responsiblities of the elders and pearing down what that looked like, not just what I had seen modeled.

I chose 1 Pet 5:1-3 as a catalyst to defining the role of the elder.

The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly,not for dishonest gain but eagerly;  nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;

Key words in the job description in this verse are Shepard and overseer.

Well, we know what a shepard does, it feeds the sheep, keeps them safe, and keeps the wolves out.

But I wanted to examine ‘overseer’.

I went to the Greek definitions for overseer.  I looked not only at the initial definition given, but continued to the root word, and found that the word for overseer was born from a word meaning WATCHMAN.

Wow!  Have a got a good analogy for this one!

So go with me for a moment to a camp in a deserted area.  A group of men, women and children, have set up housekeeping in this vast wilderness, and they choose watchman, who will rotate standing guard.

This Watchman will be looking for anything that may threaten the security of the camp.  He is guarding so that when a potential threat arises, he can take precautions to prevent entry into the camp.  Should he be unable to prevent an attack on the camp, his job would be to sound the alarm, so that all those within the camp are now aware of the pending attack, and can take precautions or flee. 

What this watchman would not do, is greet the attacker, ask what his plans are, then well aware of the threat to the camp, say “Have at it, but I can’t stand by and watch I’m out of here.” and then silently walk away.

I think it is important to note that if an attacker approaches, and the watchman is doing his job, he is going to be the first one fighting for his life. 

 He wasn’t hired to abandon his post at the first sign of a threat.  He was hired to keep watch, alert everyone of potential threat, and do everything in his power to prevent the attack, even if it meant loosing his own life.

The Watchman’s job is first to ward off any potential threat, and second,if unable to prevent it, to alert the entire camp of the threat.

So now we have an elder, who is to give food to, provide shelter for, and be a watchman of, the flock.

I came to this topic full of emotions because I felt our church had been abandoned by the elders, and because I was aware of another local church where there is a cycle of elders leaving their positions and yet the congregation remains helplessly unaware of what their Pastor is doing.

After seeking the Lord, studying the Word, and concurring with my husband, I still wanted confirmation that my concept of a biblical elder was not off base.  I couldn’t believe that I could be right, and that these men, who were suppose to be fulfilling these positions were dropping the ball.  These are Godly men, whom my husband and I respect, and yet they have left us fending for ourselves, unwilling to even talk about why privately, let alone sound an alarm publically.

Well that confirmation came, very quickly. 

We met with a newly appointed elder of our church, and we were careful to ask him questions without leading him to the answeres we wanted to hear.

What we heard was a resounding “I will be your WATCHMAN”

False teaching and spiritual abuse are running rampid and elders are walking away.

Where is the alarm? Where is the warning, Watchman?

You may dismiss my whole argument right now, saying that the threat is coming from inside the camp and so the rules are different.  Consider that a wolf in sheeps clothing may not be recognized immediatly upon entry to the flock, but when his identity is revealed it is still the job of the shepard to save the sheep!

Being an elder is a highcalling, and if a man believes he was called to this position by God, not just chosen by a pastor seeking “YES MEN”, then he ought to be willing to follow through on the responsibilities God called him to fulfill.

If these Pastors I refer to are quilty of  spiritual abuse, the elders walking away from them, and allowing them to continue, are at the very least quilty of spiritual neglect.

Take Every Thought Captive. (2 Corinthians 10:5)

A simple instruction. 

Which brings up two questions,

 How do I catch ‘every thought’?

and where do I put ‘every thought’ to keep him captive?

Well let’s consider brain’s train of thought. 

Before this train starts moving you better get a good conductor.

 

Don’t choose that guy, I’m guessing he does’t know much more than we do.

Preferably you choose the Lord, because you are probably not qualified. ( And even if you happen to be reading this and you are a train conductor, this is an analogy so go with it. )

If you haven’t chosen a conductor, or if you are walking in pride, believing you can do it yourself, then your thoughts are a train wreck waiting to happen.

Well this morning, I am working with The Conductor, to get my train of thought back on track.

The Conductor and I have been moving in the right direction, but with a few operating malfunctions, and I would like to get those ironed out, so the ride will be a bit smoother. Then maybe The Conductor and I can sit back and relax, and watch the Steelers win their first game of the season.

So here I go to begin working to take my thoughts captive, so that these bandits (train robbers) don’t steal my Joy!

Perhaps you would like to take a train trip with me…

We will board at  Psalm 51:12

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Then we will take a jaunt to Romans 15:3

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Now Traveling with the companionship of the Holy Spirit, lets stop off at Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

OOops we have encountered a problem on the track and must revert to James 1:2-4

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

While we wait, if you look to the west, you can get a glimpse of Proverbs 10:28

The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Problem solved, so now we can stop off at Phillipians 2:1-2

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy,  complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

And then we arrive at our final destination Proverbs 31:28

Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:

Peace Like A River

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember that old tune,

“I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river…”

Ever wonder what that means?

Well I am here to tell you!

This photo is of a small section of Tumalo Creek. A creek located only 3-4 miles from my house.  We frequently hop down there to cool off in the water on a hot summer evening.

A few weeks ago, my sons and I headed down to the river for a nice relaxing float.  My dog, who is my best furry friend, was desparate to come with us and I couldn’t resist those puppy lover eyes, so he came to float as well.

I have a lovely inflatable chair fit for a queen, on which I can put my feet up, recline my back, and even have a place for a beverage on board.  My Fruit Loops, chose to bring our inflatable pretzel.

YES a PRETZEL!

The first time down the creek was lovely. With my puppy on my lap, Whistler by my side in his inner tube, and Racer on the pretzel.

When we decided to go again, Racer requested my chair.  I reluctantly agreed, if he would agree to keep the puppy on his lap.  There is no way you can navigate the creek, on a floating pretzel, with a dog on your lap.

So after hiking up to a keen point of entry, we began the boarding process.It was difficult at first to determine how to board the pretzel. Racer suggested that I put my bottom through the hole at the base of the pretzel  and spread my legs on either side of the top, so I could see where I was going. But that position seemed completely inappropriate. 

After finally loading onto our floatation devices, we were off on what should have been a lovely float take two!

We were cruising along okay until we hit a small patch of rapids. 

Now I don’t know if you have ever been White Water Floating,  not to be confused with White Water Rafting.  White Water Floating takes place in water so shallow that as the water ripples over the rocks, carrying you down stream at an almost adventurous pace, your bottom slips from mossy rock to mossy rock, creating a bouncing effect.  Then when you happen upon a brief patch of still deep water (and when I say deep I mean deep enough that you are not sitting on a rock) you think you are safe now but you are truly only moments away from careening into a rock and rattling your hip bone.

But it’s funny, very funny! 

On the pretzel, I was actually able to distribute my weight in such a way that I rarely bottomed out.

Until the horse shoe.

The Horse Shoe is a small off shoot on the creek, that makes a horse shoe (thus the name) and returns to the main creek. 

Whistler insisted that we try the horseshoe.  Racer was not anxious to float unknown territory and so he continued on the main route with puppy in his lap, agreeing to wait for us where the horse shoe reentered the main stream.

Once in the horse shoe, I was troubled to find that this water was even more shallow than the main stream, and the overgrown trees and water plants, while creating a beautiful picturesque lane on which to float, protruded into the water way in such a way that I feared I would get my eye poked out and surely return to shore blind. 

We were going along delightfully, until my pretzel knot got stuck on a rock.  Whistler nearly laughed himself into hysteria, while I tried to dislodge my pretzel and get back on board before it floated down stream without me. 

Upon exiting the horse shoe, Racer released the puppy into the water.  And being my puppy, he promptly boarded the floating pretzel.  It is important to note here, that when you are floating on a pretzel, you have to balance very carefully.  My bottom was on the knot, my legs crossed slightly at the ankle across the opening at the base of the pretzel, and my head resting comfortably between the two openings at the top of the pretzel.  Prior to the dog joining me, I was able to lift my head slightly to see where I was going and use my hands as a rudder, if you will, to redirect as needed.

Once the puppy boarded, I could still lift my head, but when I did, I could only see my puppy.  He was far too smart to sit on the edge of the pretzel and risk going overboard, so he relaxed on my torso, taking in the sights of the float and making it impossible for me to see where I was going.

My dear Fruit Loops, comfy and without worry, continued down stream.

I on the other hand became a floating comedy act.

Where the horseshoe enters the mainstream, there is a slight drop in elevation, very slight.  But that drop however slight, is not indicative of how the inlet effects the speed at which you are careening off of rocks and shoreline when you enter the current.

My pretzel was tossed to and fro, my bottom bounced like I was on a balance ball,  I not only hit the shore line several times, but had children who were playing in the water scream at the sight of me as I headed toward them shouting

“I HAVE LOST CONTROL OF MY PRETZEL, GET OUT OF MY WAY,
 I WILL RUN YOU DOWN IF YOU DON’T MOVE”

There were moments of calm, when the water was slightly deeper, my bottom didn’t hit anything, the current kept me in the middle of the creek.  But even in those moments,  my pretzel was floating in such a way that I could only see where I had been, and I could never even get a glimpse of where I was going. 

It was then that I realized, the end is near.

My only hope came  from knowing that I would come to the place in the creek, where the water is calm and shallow, where my feet would hit sandy bottoms not rocks, where I would rise from the pretzel, where I would walk quietly to the shore, and rinse my toes as I exit onto the soft green grass.

There will be stillness,

There will be tenderness (if only beneath your feet)

There will be safety,

There will be beauty,

There will be PEACE.

I have been pondering these few chapters in Judges about Samson.

His First Wife, betrayed him.  And was given to the best man. 

Ouch!

Then comes Delilah.

And she comes to him not once but 3 or 4 times asking the sources of his strength.

He is smart enough the first few times to give her some ridiculous answer.

And then she tries it.

Hello Samson!!! She wasn’t asking out of curiousity.  She had a motive, a bad motive.

But he didn’t get it.  He kept telling her sources of his strength, and kept watching her test them, and then telling her again. 

What did he think was going to happen when he told her the true source of his strength. 

Did he think for a moment she wouldn’t chop off his hair?

But the real focus for me did not turn out to be what I could learn from Samson.  But rather what I see in Delilah. 

I see a few things:

First, the enemy –  He isn’t always subtle. 

 Delilah was putting it right out there for Samson to see, what info she wanted and what she planned to do

with it. The enemy does show his cards, and we can fold, and walk away without loosing a penny.

 

 

Second,  the enemy knows the source of our strength and he is coming after it.

One of his greatest tools is getting us to drop or guard, cast our pearls before swine if you will, and then be left to grapple with ‘they won’t really use that against me’, will they?. 

And I think we as Christians are falling into this plan and aiding the enemy when we judge one another.

Third – and perhaps the most difficult to face

What am I doing to tap my husband’s strength?

I want to learn from Delilah’s mistakes, not repeat them.