December 6, 2006:
Saturday morning and already I was not having a very good day.
That is ... in
my selfish heart I wasn't!
Maybe I can
make this story short. I had just received word, less than 24
hours earlier, that a very dear friend of mine had passed away
and my spirit was heavy. She lived in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, and
of course I did not get to see her very often. She was a
precious person who always lifted me up whenever we talked,
mostly by phone. I will miss her dearly.
that morning several "little" things had already gone wrong at
home. I was about to break out in tears. Hastily I made a remark
that hurt the feelings of a family member, not my husband. Why
couldn't I keep my comments to myself? I didn't mean to hurt
earlier in the week, my husband was completing a Revival Meeting
in Roanoke, Alabama. After the service the ladies of the Church
had sent a big beautiful basket with all sorts of goodies
and gifts for me! I wish I had time to mention everything in
that basket! Among many other items, there was a calendar
compiled by a preacher. It, the calendar, was called "The Grace
of Encouragement." I do not know specifically who sent that
gift, but God knew I liked things like that! I picked it up and
my husband had already opened it to the current date, October
14. This is what I read: "It helps me if I
remember that God is in charge of my day ... not me!"
Those words seemed to jump off the page at me! Following that
quotation was this verse of Scripture:
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He
delighteth in his way." I immediately glanced up at the
wall in front of where I was sitting. There hangs a plaque with
one of my favorite Scripture verses, Psalm 118:24.
"This is the day which the Lord hath made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it."
I am so glad
that I belong to Him and He can order my steps and He delights
when I follow His leading! Every day that we live and breathe
here on this earth ... every single one, is a gift from God!
Thank you Lord
for this day. Help me to rejoice in it!
--- Norma Bagwell
I've always heard that
anything that's alive will exhibit growth!
Ladies, are you growing in
Are you even trying
to grow in the Lord?
Are you spending time in
the Word regularly?
How is your prayer life?
Do you commune with your
Listen to the very last
words ever written by Simon Peter, the best known Disciple of
grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for
ever. Amen." 2nd Peter 3:18
main verb ... "grow" ... is set in the imperative mood,
expressing a command!
basically means "to increase!"
God is not
requesting us to grow.
matter of growth is a two-fold thing.
sense spiritual growth is out of our hands. True progress
in the Christian life comes from the working power of the Holy
Spirit and the engrafting ability of the Word of God. And
I'm not even mentioning the conducive atmosphere of a Bible
believing Church where love abounds.
other hand ... true spiritual growth only comes when we are
willing to cooperate and yield to the Holy Spirit, the Word of
God and faithful Church attendance!
requires our effort too!
in Christ, are YOU taking some time each day ... even if a brief
time ... to read your Bible? To pray ... especially for
your family? To nurture your life in Christ?
old-timers used to call these activities "spiritual
I just call
them "time with the Lord!"
take time to build a relationship ... even one with Jesus!
"quite time" each day.
it's in the car driving to or from some regular place.
Even if you
have to get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning ... to go to
bed that much later!
Even if you
have to curtail that television habit some!
loves it when we spend time with Him ... when we worship Him!
Even to the
point of saying so!
Jesus teach the lady at the well of Jacob. In John
4:23 he said: "But the hour cometh,
and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father
in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship
words ... "The Father seeketh such to
That verb "seeketh"
means ... "to desire!"
atmosphere of spiritual growth in your life!
please the Lord!
will profit thereby!
--- Norma Bagwell
sometimes I fear that we may just
need a moment with Him! I mean in your mind. Steal
away and reflect over recent days or weeks. Maybe even to
some of the verses we learned as children. A couple of
them come to my mind right now.
Like Psalm 119:11 ---
"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I
might not sin against thee." It is true that the
more of God's Word we have within us (hidden there), the less we
will sin! This text alone could keep us out of trouble.
And here is a perfect
example from Proverbs 15:1 --- "A soft
answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger."
Watch your words ... your responses! In the language of today we
might say: "Words spoken too quickly and without thought
could push someone else's buttons." Think before speaking!
Every thought we have does not have to be spoken out loud or
were children didn't we also learn Proverbs 3:5-6?
in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own
understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he
shall direct thy paths."
I have a
very dependent relationship with my Saviour! God's Word
tells me I should and it's the only thing that works for me!
Psychology today will tell you NOT to depend so much on anyone
else. You are "your own master." You can make your
own destiny. This is foolish! That, ladies, is an
example of today's "humanism."
I like the
idea of having a God Who loves me and cares about me. He
knows me even better than I know myself. He created me.
32:27 says ... "Behold, I am the
LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?"
my favorite verses is Jeremiah 33:3 ---
"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and
mighty things, which thou knowest not."
believe my life is in good Hands when I place myself under His
Control! How about you?
Let go and
let God His wonderful Way in your life.
--- Norma Bagwell
heard a preacher give this advice: "If you're going to
live any kind of a victorious Christian life you will need to
get some verses from God's Word that you live by on a daily
basis." Sort of like spiritual vitamins! He
suggested that you put them down in writing somewhere, maybe in
a notebook. You should memorize them (the verses) and
quote them to yourself each day.
I've never forgotten what
he said. Maybe I have not been as diligent as he
suggested, but I have some verses that I call my "victory
Through the years I have
attempted to do what that old preacher suggested.
I've scribbled these on
scratch pads, written in notebooks and in the margins of my
Now I want to get down to
business and pass this little habit along to someone else.
will share with you a few of my personal verses. The first
one comes today, with others to follow soon.
that God's Word has the answers to all our problems and
difficulties. My number one verse on the list would be
Psalm 119:165. "Great
peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend
of course is a term used many times in Scripture which generally
means the Bible or God's Word.
the verb, means to make one to stumble. It gives us the
idea of falling (tripping) and perhaps not even being able to
get back on our feet again.
you love God's Word (your Bible) you will read it
diligently and study it to see what it teaches. You
will believe it. You will practice its teaching.
you do stumble, you won't fall flat but will be able to get back
up and keep on going.
need to memorize this verse ... learning it by heart. It
carries a very important principle of the Christian life in its
essence. Everything will NOT be perfect. There will
be set-backs, trials, tribulations, problems, disappointments
and difficulties. You need to have a source of strength to keep
you going on the right path. Psalm 46:1 says ---
"God is our refuge and strength, a
very present help in trouble."
strength to go on ... to be faithful ... can be found anywhere
in the Bible ... but especially in today's "victory verse!"
try to defeat you any way he can.
as did our Lord, with "It is written ...!"
--- Norma Bagwell
APRIL 5, 2005,
soon be time for what all our Mothers called "Spring Cleaning!"
Box springs and mattresses
were moved outside for a few hours, fluffed (actually
beaten) in the fresh air, curtains washed, closets cleared, and
so much more!
I can see it going on right
now (in my mind)!
I even recall the "wash
days" of years gone by! (Now I guess for the modern
housewife every day is wash day!) I remember seeing
ladies wash clothes on Mondays ... outside ... using pots with
boiling water ... or old "ringer" washing machines! But
they had clean dresses to wear!
By now you may be
wondering: "What's her point?"
Just this: all that
literal Spring Cleaning has its counterpart in our spiritual
times when we need to be "cleansed" from the things of the flesh
about that a while.
Way back in
Nehemiah 3, where that Man of God is describing the ten Gates of
Jerusalem ... nearly all of which had fallen into disrepair ...
he mentions the "Dung Gate!" Nehemiah 3:14 tells us:
"But the dung gate repaired
Malchiah the son of Rechab, the ruler of part of Bethhaccerem;
he built it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof,
and the bars thereof."
Gate is where all the filth and garbage went OUT of the city of
Jerusalem, God's City!
for us the necessity of cleansing ourselves if we are
going to please the Lord!
a little inventory for a minute!
of my life mentally needs to be cleaned? Is it my
worried mind? Or perhaps I harbor thoughts that are not as
pure as they should be! Or is it a grudge over some past
confrontation I can't get over?
... have a mental housecleaning and turn those things over to
Jesus! (That's what Paul said to do with them in 2 Corinthians
10:5. Bring all those thoughts to the dear Lord!
"Bringing into captivity every
thought to the obedience of Christ.")
of my emotional life needs to be scrubbed? Do I
fear too much? Am I angry a lot of the time? Have I
allowed jealousy to creep in? Go down your own check list
... and start scrubbing away! What "cleanser" do I use?
"The blood of Jesus Christ his Son
cleanseth us from all sin." 1 John 1:7
spiritually what must be freshened up? Has my love for
Jesus grown cool? Or my devotion to Bible study? Or my
fervency for the House of God? Has my faith, like those
window panes at home, grown clouded with all winter's grime and
dust? Whatever ... clean it up! Do some
"washing of water by the Word" of
God! Ephesians 5:26
no lady must clean herself physically today! No one
reading these lines would be involved in some kind of sensual
affair or be allowing herself to "fantasize" lewdly about some
man, would they? Or reading some ungodly novel? Or
wrapped up in some television program that defies everything you
ladies, take a bath ... in a spiritual sense!
said to His Disciples: "Now ye are
clean through the word which I have spoken unto you."
Wow! John 15:3
the "Dung Gate" of our lives today ... and begin Spring
--- Norma Bagwell
Saturday before Easter, March 26, 2005:
My husband read me a phrase this
week that had "struck" him in a wonderful way!
I think he was studying for
a Message and he providentially came across these words:
"Random Acts of Kindness!"
"Random Acts of Kindness!"
Actually the Preacher he
was reading was talking about prerequisites for Revival!
He was of the opinion that
we can forget about any true reviving of our hearts (sent form
God) if we continue in our mean bitter unkind and unforgiving
We must repent ... trust
God to change us .. and begin being "kind" one to another!
Brother Mike went around all week saying often "Random Acts of
As most of
you know I've been sick for a while and can't walk. My
husband has to do so much for me. And he is kind in doing
Acts of Kindness!"
saying so impressed me that I had to find a corresponding Bible
was not hard at all!
listen to Paul: "And be ye kind one
to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God
for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Ephesians
verse are embedded 3 little "truths" about kindness!
the "root" of kindness. It is
the awesome fact that Jesus died for us and forgave us our sins!
That is, if you are saved. (If you're lost, He will save
you if you simply meet His conditions!
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that
heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath
everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is
passed from death unto life." John 5:24)
how that "root" springs from Jesus'
forgiveness of us ... to our forgiveness of others! If we
are unforgiving toward someone ... we certainly will not
be kind to them!
If I have
been forgiven a "ton" of sin (at Calvary) ... I must be willing
to forgive someone a "pound" of wrong too (at the grocery store
the "shoot" of that root! The
"shoot" of kind deeds has to be a
"tender heart!" That Greek noun has within it the word for
"bowels or intestines!" Be tender and compassionate deep
down within yourself, down where the Holy Spirit lives!
the "fruit" of kindness! That
word Greek for kindness, "chrestos," means sweet, pleasant,
incapable of sharpness and not harsh! And this
"fruit" in all likelihood will indeed go around
practicing "random acts of kindness!"
where our discussion started today!
Be kind to
each other ... because of Jesus and because of Calvary!
Acts of Kindness:
ROOT ... The Cross of
SHOOT ... A tender heart,
filled with the kind Holy Spirit!
FRUIT ... Sweetness and
pleasantness with their matching deeds of love!
one now! (A random act of kindness!)
--- Norma Bagwell
Solomon tells us in the Book of Proverbs that an evil man IS
what he thinks!
Here's the exact verse:
"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is
he." Proverbs 23:7
If I think dark and gloomy
thoughts ... I will become dark and gloomy!
If I think bright
victorious thoughts about my Savior ... I will be bright and
Helen Keller, the blind
poet, said: "Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot
see the shadows!"
I once read where a
Preacher said: "Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how
we respond to it!"
Now I know
I am probably running the risk of being accused of bringing
"psychology" into this discussion, but that's not the case!
So far I've
given Scripture for everything I've said.
thinks in his or her heart affects all of life. Jesus says
that! "A good man out of the good
treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil
man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things."
Lord immediately adds: "For
out of the (evil) heart proceed evil thoughts, murders,
adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
these are the things which defile a man."
has worded our Lord's intent better yet. "For
from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts,
adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness,
wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy,
pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and
defile the man." Mark 7:21-23
usual, Paul eloquently caps the whole situation by writing:
brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are
honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good
report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise,
think on these things." Philippians 4:8
share a pointer or two:
very careful what thoughts you let settle in your mind!
Reject those who are unapproved according to Paul's Philippians
Meditate on what Christ Jesus has accomplished for us ... and is
yet doing today at the right Hand of God The Father!
Curtail your complaining and murmuring!
"Do all things without murmurings and
disputings." That's Paul again!
cautious regarding the close friends you have! Those with
constantly negative attitudes and gossiping tongues are NOT good
for you! Listen to what (who else?) Paul says in 1st
Corinthians 5:11 --- "But
now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that
is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an
idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with
such an one no not to
Don't even eat with "railers!" Those who hurt others with
Paul even went so far as to encourage us to "bring every
thought" at sword-point captive to Jesus! Wow!
"Casting down imaginations, and every high
thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and
bringing into captivity
every thought to the obedience of Christ!"
thinking will lead to right living!
--- Norma Bagwell
FEBRUARY 15, 2005:
A verse spoke to my heart just
It's located in Ephesians.
"Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of
the Lord is." Ephesians 5:17
"unwise" is in Greek (my husband
says) "aphron." The "a" means no or not and the "phron"
part means one's mind or thinking! Putting it together we
get "without reason!" Senseless! Without
intelligence! Or more plainly ... stupid!
We Christians are not to be
thoughtless! We are to live Biblically reasoned lives.
But, as you can see, Paul
quickly adds to this thought.
"Understanding what the will of the Lord is.
To "understand" is to (in
Greek = "suniemi") "bring together" one's thoughts and
to consider and conclude something based upon Scripture.
According to this
short (but powerful) verse, we are to know God's will for our
lives ... and do it ... thereby becoming wise in the Lord's
The Will of
ladies, what IS God's Will for us?
to that question can of course vary some in each individual.
generally speaking, here's God's Will for us all:
live godly lives! "For this is the
will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should
abstain from fornication. That every one of you should
know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour."
1st Thessalonians 4:4-5
love and obey our husbands, being sweetly submissive in heart
attitude! "Teach the young women to
be sober, to love their husbands ... and obedient to their own
husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."
love and train our precious children (if we have any and if
they're still at home)! "Teach the
young women to love their children!" Titus 2:4
be "keepers at home!" Titus
2:5 (Caring for our homes, providing the right godly
atmosphere for all who live there ... that they might grow in
_________________________________________. Now that you
have the "gist" of it ... add to your own list.
remember that the more you discern and do God's Will ... the
more understanding and wisdom you acquire!
regular daily chores like washing dishes or sweeping
the floors ... doing the will of God!
never look at them the same again!
--- Norma Bagwell
FEBRUARY 2, 2005:
Ladies, I came across this verse
and the Lord used it to speak to my heart.
every man hath received the gift, even so minister the
same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of
God." 1st Peter 4:10
I am sure the Bible
Scholars would tell us that the "gift" mentioned here is some
spiritual gift with which God has endowed us when we were saved.
Every Christian has some
such "gift" for sure.
The best list of them I
think is in Romans 12.
Every believer is skilled
(by virtue of the indwelling and empowering Holy Spirit) at
something he or she can do for the cause of Christ!
Maybe your gift is teaching!
Or encouraging others!
Or perhaps you fall into
that "category" of folks who say, "Sister Norma, I just don't
know WHAT I can do well for my Lord!"
Well, there is something I
I once knew a lady who was
just the greatest cook in the whole church!
But how could one use THAT
in Christian service?
and served a delicious meal for every Evangelist that ever came!
(Inviting his family and the Pastor and his family and her own
family too of course!) My, what her family learned sitting
around that table with the men of God! How they all
benefited from her cooking "gift!"
lady I knew was best at sewing. She made skirts and
dresses for most of the little girls at church! (What a
way to teach modesty too!) It literally became her
"ministry" to do these things! (This is Biblical!
Reminds you of Dorcas, doesn't it? Acts 9:39 tells us:
"Then Peter arose and went with them. When
he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all
the widows stood by him weeping, and
shewing the coats and
garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.")
And if I
had time I'd tell you about a lady who ALWAYS fixed a meal and
took it to the family who came home from the hospital (surgery
or whatever) ... just to lift that "mealtime" burden from their
lady who went to elderly shut-ins and read to them the Bible and
prayed with them for a while every week or two!
(Especially those whose eyesight had grown dim!)
lady who had a "card sending" ministry. She encouraged
folks near and far with sweet words and an appropriate Scripture
lady whose church had plenty of Sunday School teachers so didn't
need her ... who creatively started a little Bible Club with
children from the neighborhood, telling them about Jesus every
Or the lady
who started her own Bible Class with a few like-minded sisters
in Christ. She did it in her home. She allowed no
gossip ... just in-depth Bible exposition!
Do not tell
me that each of us is not so gifted by the Lord in some area.
what yours is! (If you really don't know, ask the Lord to
show you! He will!)
start using it!
want to hear some day: "His Lord
said unto him (her, too) ... Well done, thou good and
faithful servant!" Matthew 25:21
all received a gift ... let's use it for His Glory!
others for Jesus' sake!
--- Norma Jean Bagwell
JANUARY 21, 2005:
Ladies, I came across this quote
the other day. Perhaps it is worth sharing.
give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula
for failure ... which is: Try to please everyone."
How often do we Christian
women put undue stress on ourselves by doing just what that
quote says ... trying to please everyone!
Don't you agree?
Please the Husband ... and
the children ... and the relatives ... and the church folks and
... before you know it, you're a bundle of nerves!
Now, it is a legitimate
desire for a lady to want to please her husband. (And the
Apostle Paul says the man should want to please his wife too!
"He that is married careth for the
things that are of the world, how he may please his
wife." 1st Corinthians 7:32)
But ... you
can't please everybody!
based upon the Scriptures I'm about to share with you ... our
highest priority in the "pleasing" department should be the
"Study to shew thyself
approved unto God,
a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the
word of truth." 2nd Timothy 2:15 (This is
pleasing God! The verb "study" literally means do your
best, be diligent!)
"But as we were allowed of God to be put
in trust with the gospel, even so we speak;
not as pleasing men, but
God, which trieth our hearts." 1st
Thessalonians 2:4 (Paul wanted to please the Lord!)
"And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him,
because we keep his commandments, and
do those things that are
pleasing in his sight." 1st John 3:22
(Pleasing God is an aid to getting our prayers answered!)
"That ye might
walk worthy of the Lord
unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and
increasing in the knowledge of God." Colossians
1:10 (Our very life, our "walk," should be geared toward
"For do I now persuade men, or God? or
do I seek to please men?
for if I yet pleased
men, I should not be the servant of Christ."
Galatians 1:10 (Pleasing men here seems to be the very
opposite of pleasing God!)
"By faith Enoch was translated that he
should not see death; and was not found, because God had
translated him: for before his translation
he had this testimony,
that he pleased God." Hebrews 11:5
(What a testimony! He pleased God!)
the Ideal of Perfection, sets the right example for "pleasing"
our great God! "And he that sent me
is with me: the Father hath not left me alone;
for I do always those
things that please him." John 8:29
can't please everyone. It's not even our job to please
reality, if we live for the Lord, we will displease a good many
surely do need to please that dear husband (who represents
Christ as Bridegroom) ... and our Lord!
of Himself one day: "For
my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
that thought brings!
--- Norma Bagwell
JANUARY 11, 2005:
I've been thinking lately about
When my health was better I
often sang at Church.
I loved it.
But with this sickness ...
and the wheelchair and confinement to home ... my songs have
been much more private.
No! I've not lost my
joy. It's just taken on a new dimension.
Then ... a few days ago I
had a delightful insight (from the Lord I sense)!
I can no longer sing in
front of the church family ... but I can sing for my
I can sing for those who
want to hear ... and are willing to make the effort!
Norma, with all your problems, why sing?
had just better pray!
(Well, I do
that too of course. But I can't lose my song!)
tells us why!
him: "For this day is
holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD
is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10
Did you see
The JOY of
the Lord is our STRENGTH!
time I am physically weak, I can experience day after day the
strength of the Lord! And the Joy He gives me (which
produces song) is one great sources of that strength!
noun for "strength" ("maoz") means a fortified place, or that
which is stout! (It is found a total of 36 times in the
time it's used in the Bible (Judges 6:26) it is translated in
the King James Bible as "ROCK!"
want to stay strong for my Lord!
I shall not
lose my joy!
happen! It did to David. Why else would he have
prayed as he did in Psalm 51?
"Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with
thy free spirit."
... I have determined to sing, sing, sing!
every day our youngest little Grandson (Aaron Elijah Bagwell)
asks Nana to sing with him!
and I bought him a little recorder/amplifier machine for
Christmas and he gets it out often and SINGS about Jesus!
will be different that it was back in all those "church special"
In fact, it
will be a "new song!"
used 9 times in the Bible!)
Psalm 33:3 ---
"Sing unto Him a new song."
40:3 --- "And He hath put a new song in my
mouth, even praise unto our God."
Psalm 98:1 ---
"O sing unto the LORD a new song; for He
hath done marvellous things."
Even in the
future expect it.
says: "And they sung a new song,
saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals
thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy
Blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation."
I think I
shall even make a tape!
Lord, thank you for a song!
I want to
live the truth of Psalm 9:2 --- "I will be
glad and rejoice in Thee: I will sing praise to Thy Name, O Thou
Pray for me
--- Norma Jean Bagwell
DECEMBER 11, 2004, SATURDAY MORNING:
Ladies, I've been thinking about
a verse of Scripture this morning.
It's found in Psalm 107:2
and says: "Let the redeemed of the
LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the
I've never seen a Christmas
Season in which there has been such a concerted effort to snuff
Jesus and the Virgin Birth and the Nativity and the Truth out of
the public mind!
As my husband drove past
our local elementary school yesterday, he saw an announcement on
their roadside lighted sign. It read, "Winter Program,"
and then simply gave the date.
You know as well as I do
that once that event was called the CHRISTMAS Program! But
things have changed.
a bad sense!
personally decided to use these days to speak out for my Lord
more than ever! If the world can ignore Him ... then I can focus
public schools can demote Him ... I can exalt Him!
so-called libertarians can mock Him ... I can praise Him!
atheists can gag Him ... I can speak of Him everywhere I go!
I have been
redeemed and I'm going to say so!
again: "Let the redeemed of the LORD
say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the
Him into our conversations!
Him every opportunity we have!
He's done so much for us!
We can even
decorate our homes in such a way to magnify His Name and
concentrate on His Birth! (A Virgin Birth I might add!)
this Christmas: "Be ready
always to give an answer to every man (or woman) that
asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and
fear." 1 Peter 3:15
Let me know
what you think!
share your witnessing ideas with me! I would love
to hear them!
quick way to e-mail me at the top of this Page.)
--- Norma Bagwell
NOVEMBER 25, 2004 (THANKSGIVING DAY)
Ladies, you have much to do
In fact, you may not even
be reading this on the day it was written.
I well know that with all
the cleaning and cooking and entertaining you've done ...
exhaustion has probably hit you by now!
So ... I thought I would
share a verse with you that just might help some.
Jesus said it.
He was talking to His
It's in Mark 6:31.
"And he said unto
them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a
while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no
leisure so much as to eat."
very busy! (Sound familiar!)
men didn't even have time to eat!
... our lovely Wise Jesus ... knew what to do!
Look at the
part of that verse that says: "Come
ye yourselves apart ... and rest a while!"
wonder we have so much sickness!
Of course I
understand ... the work has to be done!
BUT ... I
would encourage you to sometime today or tonight ... do just
what Jesus said here.
yourself ... even if it's just for a short time ... and rest!
Take a nap!
Go for a
for 10 blessings of this year!
chapter in the Psalms!
praying as you circle the block!
guarantee you that the "pause" will infuse strength and new
vigor into your very being!
that is God's way of doing things!
(the earth and all that's in it) for 6 days ... then He rested!
If He gave
us that example ... I'd suggest we follow it!
what Jesus promised about "rest." It's in Matthew 11:28.
"Come unto me,
all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give
(Any any of
you men who have read with us today ... go give your wife a
"break." Watch the kids for an hour. Do the chores for her
today. Lighten her load. Let her relax some too!
And be sure to tell her you enjoyed the turkey and dressing!)
--- Norma Bagwell
NOVEMBER 16, 2004:
Ladies, my heart is sad today.
Today is the "due date" for
our third grandchild to be born.
But we sadly learned
earlier this week that he died in the womb.
We do not question God's
power or His goodness ... even in this situation ... but our
hearts are exceedingly sorrowful.
I watch our other two
grandchildren ... both are boys (as this third one would have
been) ... and I think of the great privilege we all have
teaching and influencing our little ones (whether children or
grandchildren or little relatives or a Sunday School class of
I am reminded of a verse of
to the young Preacher named Timothy and said:
"I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith
that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and
thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also." 2
Timothy's Mother had ... and the faith his Grandmother had ...
impacted him years later!
today or tonight sometime go hug that
little one you love!
Jesus' sake live for God in front of him or her every single
so will never get your name in the Bible ... but it will get you
a good mention at the Judgment Seat of Christ where we Believers
will all stand some day. We shall there receive rewards for the
deeds done in our earthly lives ... whether good or
bad! See 2 Corinthians 5:10.
And ... be
sure of this ... living faithfully and impacting those little
ones for the glory of God will be a GOOD thing when that
--- Norma Bagwell
NOVEMBER 7, 2004:
something one of the great ladies of Scripture did.
Apparently this was a regular activity with her.
Mary, a Jewish
virgin, was the earthly mother of Jesus!
One of her "habits"
is particularly commendable.
"But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her
heart." Luke 2:19
Our verse is
centered in the "Incarnation and Virgin Birth" context of Luke.
Therefore much had recently happened in Mary's young
She let none of
them "slip" from memory either!
learned the godly art of "meditating" on the Word of God!
examine a few words in our verse for today.
"kept" all these things (the
angel's visit, the ensuing events including that trip to
Bethlehem, the Birth itself, the shepherds' arrival and report
and so much more)! What does that mean?
"kept" translates a Greek word ("suntereo") meaning to "protect"
or to "preserve" or to "guard." The verb is set in the
"imperfect" form ... telling us that she thought on these things
completely in the past ... but that those thoughts continued
impressing and impacting her right up to the very moment this
Scripture verse was written!
"treasured" these happenings in her life ... as precious "gifts"
accompanying verb "pondered" is
equally interesting too.
means to "throw together." ("ballo," the root of our very word
"ball" and "sun" meaning "with") or to "collect" these thoughts
(in her mind)! However this verb (unlike "kept") is a
present participle ... she had been doing this
"pondering" constantly ever since the angel came!
To me these
words perfectly picture the fine Bible art of "meditating" on
the things of God!
Mary was a
harbored these words and events in her mind so the devil
couldn't "steal" them! Oh that we would so value the priceless
Word of God and His doings in our lives!
collected these acts of God (and Words of God) in such a way as
to mix them constantly in her mind!
spiritual mind control! She determined what she would not
forget! And she equally determined what she would remember!
And she determined she would mentally dwell on them daily!
she was such a godly lady!
She's not a
lady to be worshipped ... but none-the-less a mature believer in
Christ Jesus the Lord! She even called Jesus her
"Saviour!" (Luke 1:47)
today leaves us an example!
Let us also
meditate in God's Word ... then spend some time in
contemplation on such things as how He saved you ... answers
your prayers, fills you with His Holy Spirit ... intercedes for
you daily ... and is coming again some glorious day to "catch"
you away into the heavens!
Puritan said that Meditation is like the bee and the flower.
There is no sweetness in the bee! It's all in the flower!
There's nothing so special about the act of meditating. Even
the heathen do that (but in a tremendously different way)! The
"power" and "sweetness" is in the Word of God which we need
(like the bee) to penetrate and gather its delicious taste,
thereby imparting strength to us minute by minute!
you a verse today and "keep" and "ponder" it!
--- Norma Bagwell
OCTOBER 20, 2004:
Ladies, I once heard a preacher
say this. He was teaching the men that their main duty in
the home is to love their wives.
He said, "Nowhere does the
Bible tell the wives to love their husbands! They are only
told to obey them! It's the man's job to LOVE the wife!"
Now while there is a lot of
truth in his line of thought, he missed it on one point.
The Bible DOES tell us
ladies to love our husbands!
In the Book of Titus.
Let me show you.
Paul has been talking to the
older ladies in the church.
He tells them they are to be
teachers to the younger women!
Teaching them what, Paul?
things ... "That they may teach the young
women to be sober, to
love their husbands, to love their children,
chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands,
that the word of God be not blasphemed." Titus
capitalized words in the foregoing verse!
love your husbands!
here (in Greek ... "philandros") means to love ("phileo") their
men (implying of course their husbands ... in Greek "aner" = the
male of the species).
It is not
the word "agapao," meaning God's love ... but the verb "phileo,"
meaning to be fond of and even to love as a friend!
progressive constant love too ... faithfulness to one's mate!
Bible says we are to obey our husbands too. And respect
BUT none of
that is as meaningful without love as its foundation!
it's a lifelong goal ... learning more and more to love him with
all the skill God gives us!
grow. In fact, remind me to tell you sometime (from the
Song of Solomon) how the love of the Shulamite for her
Bridegroom grows all the way through those 8 great chapters!
You can actually see it happening!
let's today again ask the Lord to build our love for our mates!
If we do
... he will answer!
we are only praying His Will. That's for sure!
For He has
commanded it in His Word!
--- Norma Bagwell
all have felt like it at some point in our Christian lives!
overtakes us and we nearly say: "That's it! I am through!"
Such times even came to the
great Heroes of the Faith whose lives are recorded in Scripture!
Jeremiah went through such
a low period!
As did Elijah ... and Job
... and even John the Baptist!
In fact, the ONLY person in
all the Bible of Whom we can be sure discouragement never
touched was Jesus!
promises us that: "He (Jesus the
Messiah) shall not fail
nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the
earth: and the isles shall wait for His law."
Jesus was never (and never
will be) discouraged ... even for one second!
Therefore it is not unusual
that Paul would uphold the Saviour as an Example to us all!
He does so in Hebrews.
"For consider him (Jesus) that endured such contradiction of
sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your
minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving
against sin." Hebrews 12:3-4
"consider" means to logically ponder Jesus! Let your
thoughts dwell upon Him! The verb is an imperative too! It
is issuing a command!
secondary verb "endured" means to stay under the LOAD without
complaining or quitting! (Just keep on going no matter
how difficult things get!)
"contradiction" means a speaking against someone! Folks
talked against Jesus, cursing Him and calling Him names and
lying about Him daily!
YET HE DID
for being "worried" means to faint!
verb for "faint" (in Greek = "ekluo") literally means to
"unloose" something. (To come all apart!)
reminds us when we grow tired and weary ... Jesus patiently
withstood so much ... for us to be saved! Remember Him!
you do ... how can you even think of quitting?
shed His precious Blood for us!
yet shed blood?" Paul asks!
compared to our Lord ... none of us has suffered much at all!
Shame on me
for even thinking of quitting!
what a Saviour we have!
Paul one more time: "And let us not be weary in well
doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
am not saying that I am strong!
No! No! No!
I am saying
that Jesus is!
In fact ...
He is Almighty!
And He is
tells us this: "I will go in the
strength of the Lord GOD: I will make mention of thy
righteousness, even of thine only."
--- Norma Bagwell
OCTOBER 3, 2004 (SUNDAY)
I believe in the Virgin Birth of
our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!
No man played a role in His
birth. He was sent from God!
But, oh, the lady who bore
our Saviour, the Virgin Mary, was a beautiful example of godly
Listen to one of her
comments in the great Psalm of Praise she uttered in Luke 1.
(This has traditionally been called the "Magnificat.")
Luke 1:46 ---
"And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the
Did you hear that?
DOTH MAGNIFY THE LORD!"
Usually the "soul" (in Greek
the word is "psuche" and gives us such words as psyche,
psychology and psychosomatic) signifies one's mind, will and
Mary is saying that her mind (her
thoughts) and her will (her decisions) and her emotions (her
feelings) are all dedicated to magnifying the Lord!
for "magnify" is "megaluno" ("mega" means big) and has the idea
of enlarging, extolling, praising or showing as great!
to uplift her Saviour!
implication of this verb "magnify" suggests on-going continual
habitual action! She plans to praise Him all her life!
means One having power or authority! "Kurios" in Greek
describes the one to whom ownership is ascribed! We are
today (and again tomorrow) let us prepare our souls to magnify
our great God too!
beats complaining! Or gossiping! Or anything else we
could do really!
you've "lost" the thought already, here's our verse again.
DOTH MAGNIFY THE LORD!"
--- Norma Bagwell
SEPTEMBER 21, 2004 (TUESDAY)
Her name as we remember it:
Queen Elizabeth I of England.
Any longer we know little
about her. (Especially in our day when educated rebels are
But she was a godly lady.
After you have read and
pondered one of her prayers (which I am about to share with
you), thanksgiving and worship will swell up within your very
Just think! In times
past this old world has had political leaders and monarchs who
were godly in their hearts!
We Americans had better
We need more godly leaders.
when I interrupt her prayer. (The remarks parenthesized
and highlighted in red are mine!)
survey the evils of this world, in which we Thy servants live
(a Queen calling herself a servant of God),
and behold the doings of the wicked, the hate of enemies, the
dangers and crafty machinations of the impious, and by which we
are continually endangered, yet even more when I remember my own
life, how many errors and faults have beset me from my youth
(what humility), I am afraid
(the fear of the Lord), I am
ashamed and full of despondency. But as soon as I reflect
again on Thy mighty hand, the greatness and the continuity of
Thy assistance to me, I resume again my power of reasoning and
become more elevated in my hopes (trust in
the Lord). For this reason, coming to Thee now with
humble heart, I thank thee (a grateful
spirit) ... for all the blessings which Thou hast granted
to me, Thou Who, having preserved me from such great dangers
(her "secret" service) and exalted
me to the royal throne of this kingdom
(England), hast not ceased to guard me upon it.
Wherefore, confiding in Thy unspeakable goodness, I approach and
pray Thee my Master, my Deliverer, King of the universe
(good knowledge of the Names of God): sanctify me
(a leader who wants to be holy) in
soul and in body (no immoral palace
activities here), in mind and in heart, and renew me
wholly. And be to me a Helper and Protector, ruling in
peace my life and my people, Thou Who alone are blessed
everywhere now and for endless ages. Amen."
Sisters in Christ, God has allowed some great Christian ladies
to live and die before our times. Many of them left great
examples of godliness too!
May we follow them ... just as they followed Jesus!
today has challenged my heart!
--- Norma Bagwell
Ladies, we have all heard of the
godly Wife and Mother Susanna Wesley.
The other day I came across
some of her devotional writings. I want to share a
paragraph of them with you here today.
This is just a sample of
her prayer life.
She apparently prayed these
words (or something like them) one evening before going to bed.
(Now remember that we are
reading old English prose. It is much like the language of the
precious King James Bible.)
Wesley prays ...
Thee praise, O God, for a well-spent day.
But I am yet
unsatisfied, because I do not enjoy enough of Thee.
I would have my soul more closely united to Thee by faith and
love. I would love Thee above all things. Thou, Who
hast made me, knowest my desires, my expectations. My joys
all center in Thee and it is Thou Thyself That I desire.
It is Thy favor, Thine acceptance, the communications of Thy
grace that I earnestly wish for more than anything in the world.
I rejoice in Thine essential glory and blessedness.
I rejoice in my relation
to Thee, Who are my Father, my Lord and my God. I
rejoice that Thou hast power over me and that I desire to live
in subjection to Thee. I thank Thee that Thou hast brought
me so far. I will beware of despising Thy mercy for the
time which is to come, and will give Thee the glory of Thy free
This is a
lot different than the praying we hear today, isn't it?
living that prayer represents!
contemporary book of "how to pray" ever covers this!
lady raised some of the most godly children of history!
had better read it again!
--- Norma Bagwell
3, 2004 (FRIDAY AFTERNOON)
Ladies, my Husband has been using
some "quotes" from a few of the old godly Puritans of years long
I thought you might enjoy
hearing something from a Puritan's wife.
These folks were extremely
godly and very serious in living their Christian lives.
Anne Bradstreet was a
dedicated lady. She is known as America's first English
poet. She was perhaps not the greatest writer ever ... but
her poems have endured.
"Anne Bradstreet was born
in 1612 and raised in a prosperous, educated home. After
marrying Simon Bradstreet, she sailed to New England on the
Arbella, exchanging a life of relative comfort and culture for
the wilderness of Cambridge. It would appear that she was
converted in the midst of her new hardships of building a home,
storing food, enduring sickness, and raising eight children. Her
poetry is a combination of Sixteenth Century culture, her
new-found faith in Jesus Christ, and her struggle for the
survival of her family. She went to be with the Lord in 1672."
some samples of her writing:
Thou, O Lord, of praise,
But ah! It's not in me.
My sinking heart I pray Thee raise
So shall I give it Thee.
spirit Thou didst revive,
My doubting Thou didst chide,
And though as dead mad'st me alive,
I here a while might abide.
Why should I
live but to Thy praise?
My life is hid with Thee.
O Lord, no longer be my days
Than I may fruitful be."
I think she
loved the Lord!
"What God is
like to Him I serve?
What Saviour like to mine?
O never let me from Thee swerve,
For truly I am Thine.
mouth shall speak Thy praise,
My tongue shall talk of Thee;
On high my heart O do Thou raise
For what Thou'st done for me."
rejoice thou in thy God,
Boast of Him all the day,
Walk in His law, and kiss His rod
Cleave close to Him alway
Then shall I
know what Thou hast done
For me, unworthy me,
And praise Thee shall ev'n as I ought
For wonders that I see.
Base world, I
trample on thy face,
Thy glory I despise,
No gain I find in ought below,
For God hath made me wise.
quickly, Blessed Lord.
Thy face when shall I see?
O let me count each hour a day
'Till I dissolved be."
And here is
one of her quick "prose" quotes:
"That house which
is not often swept makes the cleanly inhabitant soon hate it;
and that heart which is not continually purifying itself is no
fit temple for the Spirit of God."
encourages me to know that we believing ladies walk in a long
tradition of godly women throughout our nation's history.
May our God
--- Norma Bagwell
last article I said that sometimes fear was a good thing!
Well, fear is a natural
emotion for us to experience in our flesh.
That's why I so like that
verse in Jeremiah 32:27 where the Lord tells us that He is the
God of all flesh!
Most people have a fear of
the unknown. I had it when I was a child. I feared
the dark. (Come to think of it, I'm still afraid of the
dark!) When I travel with my husband we sleep in many
strange places (motels, etc.). I must have a light on somewhere
... all night long!
Back now to my North
Carolina story. (If it's been too long for you, read last
month's lesson again. It appears just below this
We found a wheel-chair to
get me to the car so I could go home. My knee was not able
to support my walking.
problem: The knee was so swelled I could not bend it to
get into the car. God again gave me strength! With some
help, I lifted my leg and got right into my seat!
I chose a
verse to use for my trip home. Psalm 71:16 ---
"I will go in the strength of the Lord God." I
wrote it out on a paper napkin and carried it in my purse that
Saturday. The Lord and that verse got me home! God
has been so good to me!
events happened on the 4th of July weekend. Every hospital
supply or medical equipment place was closed. We badly
needed to rent a wheelchair! (They were all closed Friday,
Saturday, Sunday and Monday!)
was supposed to start a revival meeting Monday evening in
Bessemer, Alabama, and I was planning to go with him.
Since he had planned to rent me a wheelchair, all doors were
(literally) closed! He decided to drive to the meeting ...
preach ... then drive home Monday night after preaching (205
miles each way)! By Tuesday morning the medical rental
places would be open, Lord willing. That was our plan but
it was not God's plan! "Trust in the
LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own
understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he
shall direct thy paths." So says Proverbs 3:5-6!
husband got to the church the Pastor gave him a wheelchair to
bring back to get me! Jeremiah 33:3 ---
"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and
shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."
That night our Lord surely showed us some things we didn't know!
whole experience God has had many lessons for me to learn.
My downfall is that I want to see them all at once! (You
know ... number one, two, three, etc.!) God's does not often
work that way!
for me. My knee is still not completely healed.
then ... I will lean on this verse. Isaiah 26:4 ---
"Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the
LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength."
could I need?
--- Norma Jean Bagwell
July 11, 2004
For some time now I have been praying and seeking the mind of
the Lord over what to put on the Ladies' Page.
It seemed like God was
leading me just to write about some verses of Scripture that had
been in my own personal life a blessing. While I was
pondering that thought it happened!
A perfect opportunity for
me to put my faith to work and dig out of my memory bank some
verses for help and strength.
I was in North Carolina
last week with Brother Bagwell. In the motel room I twisted my
knee and I was unable to stand on my feet or even walk for
several days. I cannot describe the pain I felt that first
I was so afraid. But
fear can be a good thing. In Psalm 119:71 we are told:
"It is good for me that I have been
afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes."
When I am
hurting or in distress I can really listen tot God! That's
when He has my full attention. I imagine someone else is
like that too!
I began praying that God would flood my mind with verses on
peace and fear and strength. He did just that and more!
Jeremiah 33:3 says: "Call unto me,
and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things,
which thou knowest not."
Jeremiah 32:27 declares: "Behold, I
am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too
hard for me?" I had to answer: "No, there
I felt like
God was saying to me: "Keep focused on Me and I will get
you through this!" Don't try to lean on your own
understanding! "Trust in the LORD
with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
(Proverbs 3:5-6) Also I remembered Isaiah 26:3 ---
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect
peace, whose mind is stayed on thee:
because he trusteth in thee."
made it through the first 48 hours we had another problem!
How would we get me to the car so we could go home? That's
when some Christian friends in North Carolina came into the
picture along with the help of the tremendous staff at that
motel (Holiday Inn Express) in Conover, North Carolina.
They found us a wheelchair to get me from the room to our car.
My story is
going to be too long to fit into one article ... so it will be
continued next time!
--- Norma Jean Bagwell
7, 2004 (MONDAY)
Today notice with me a study from James chapter 5. We
focus on a part of verse 17.
"The effectual fervent
prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
Much of James' last chapter
is based upon the grand theme of prayer.
This verse is perhaps the
epitome of it all.
The particular noun here
used for prayer is "deesis" and means a petition or a request.
(Its root verb, deomai, means "to beg! Even that root is
from "deo" ... to bind!)
This is not the Greek word
for general prayer ... but for prayer that asks something of
Neither is it the word for
thanksgiving ... but (again) for requesting something from the
permissible to "ask" when you pray! Jesus said so.
and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and
it shall be opened unto you." Matthew 7:7 And He
continues in John
16:24 --- "Hitherto have ye asked nothing
in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be
has encouraged us to ask in prayer. See James 4:2 where he
ye have not, because ye
here in our James verse what kind of praying does he have in
"Effectual fervent" praying!
expression (2 words in English) translates one verbal adjective
(a participle) in Greek, "energoumene." The word combines
the Greek word for work, "ergon," and their prefix (a
preposition) "en," which means within. (Active, efficient,
working within!) Real Holy Spirit motivated prayer gets to
"working within" the very prayer warrior himself or herself.
And it accomplishes great things through the power of God!
"righteous" (in Greek = dikaios")
means correct in a legal and moral sense. It pictures those who
walk in a "straight" way. Wicked men, hypocritical
deceivers, do not see their prayers answered! Righteous
men (and women) do!
verb "availeth" must be analyzed.
It is in Greek "ischuo" and is one of the "key" words for
strength or power! It means to be strong (often even in a
physical sense)! In the King James Bible it is translated
as "can do" and "avail" and "prevail." It is a present
indicative active verb ... the action is ongoing, continual,
habitual! Answered prayer just keeps on working and working and
extent does prayer avail?
"Much!" In Greek it's "polos"
and means many or much or abundantly or largely or in plenty!
today we should all practice the truth of our verse here!
you ... God will keep His Word!
--- Norma Bagwell
24, 2004 (MONDAY)
The 4th chapter of James is
It details the wars and
battles that men (and women) fight.
Let me show you what I
Verse 1 gives us one kind
of battle we fight. "From whence come
wars and fightings among you? come they not hence,
even of your lusts that war in your members?"
That little preposition
"among" is the Greek word "en." It means "inside" one's own
self. I believe the Bible is right! Our fightings
and bickerings come first of all from within ourselves! WE
are at war! I honestly think some folks "can't stand"
themselves! I guarantee you this:
"Only by pride cometh contention: but with
the well advised is wisdom." Proverbs 13:10
That pride manifests itself in such hateful warrings!
4 describes another direction in which we "war." We often
fight against God Himself! "Ye
adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of
the world is enmity with God?" James 1:4
"Enmity" is the Greek word for "hatred!" Warfare! In
today's rebellious age men (and women) are openly writing books
by the droves attacking Almighty God!
11 teaches us something about our "wars." Look:
"Speak not evil one of another, brethren.
He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his
brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if
thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a
judge." James 4:11 Here is warfare with
our brethren! Too often the Christian attacks or gossips
or criticizes or slanders his or her brother or sister in
kinds of factions are wrong.
BUT let me tell
you one war we SHOULD be fighting.
with the devil. The WAR with the world! The constant
WAR with our own flesh. Paul says it best:
we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against
principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the
darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high
what Paul means when he says: "Fight the
good fight of faith!" 1st Timothy 6:12
are just as much in the battle as are the men! In fact I
sometimes wonder if the devil in these days is not perhaps
fighting us women MORE than he's attacking the men.
can help us sort through this warfare thing and get it right.
(And He will do so through the enlightening power of His dear
Word! Passages exactly like James 4!)
good thing about it is this: we know that the victory is
already won! In 1st Corinthians 15:57 Paul says:
"But thanks be to God, which giveth
us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." We're
on the winning side!
name of the Lord!
--- Norma Bagwell
13, 2004 (THURSDAY)
Ladies, it's time for James
As you well know, this is
the Bible's classic sermon on the "tongue!"
("Classic" is a Latin word
that means "best" or "first class!")
Our chapter only has 18
verses ... but they are "power packed!"
I have noticed that James
describes our tongues by using 9 different "word
Let me show you what I
You may want to make a list
of these ... memorizing them for future reference!
is like a "bit" in a big strong horse's mouth!
That little "bit" can guide and direct that big old horse any
direction the rider decides! So can the tongue give
direction to our lives. It can literally steer a day
toward praise ... or grumbling! It is the "bit" that
points our "moods" (our very "attitudes") in whatever direction
the tongue is like a "rudder" on a large ocean-going vessel!
Here the idea is not "direction" as much as overcoming opposing
winds and following a determined course! One's tongue can
become so influential in life that it guides you ... even when
other things would get you detracted! Profanity can become
such a habit ... that even on good days the filth still flows!
(Gossip or slander, other "sins" of the tongue, can also take
over and successfully oppose God's good breezes of blessing!)
tongue is called a little "member" of one's body! One's
"leg" can give him or her trouble! So can one's gall
bladder or heart. They are all members of the body too.
BUT perhaps the tongue leads the pack! We often hear of
"eye" trouble ... but seldom of "tongue" trouble! It's
common for folks to get their "hearing" checked ... but "tongue"
checks are rare indeed!
the tongue is like a fire! Fires burn! Fires spread!
Fires have some source! The tongue burns fiercely ... and
spreads its destruction rapidly ... and has a source too, Hell
the tongue is a "world" of iniquity! Let me explain.
There is a "world" of sin! (San Francisco! Las
Vegas! New York! Atlanta!) There is a world of
science! (Georgia Tech, NASA, MIT, The Creation Research
Society) There is a world of Christianity! (The
Bible, Church, the Holy Spirit) And the tongue also has a
world of its very own! (Jealousy, Slander, Gossip, Lying,
is a pollutant! It "defileth" the whole body! It
spots and stains everything it touches with its filth! The
picture is that of a "slop" jar (a portable clay pot that has
served as one's commode during the night) that is spilled on
someone's freshly cleaned white robe (toga)! A sinful
wicked tongue spreads pollution everywhere!
the tongue is an untamed beast! (Birds can be tamed!
So can snakes, sea creatures, lions and tigers too!) But
no man can tame the tongue! Watch it carefully! It
can attack when you least expect! Keep it caged!
Don't trust it! And please don't turn your back on it!
the tongue is a poison! ("A deadly poison" says James!)
Deadly translates two Greek words that mean bearing or bringing
death. Many have died through history due to wagging
tongues! Paul uses the same word as "poison" here for the
venom of a cobra snake in Romans 3!
tongue is an inconsistent performer! It can do strange
things. In the same conversation ... it can bless and
curse! (Do wells send forth both sweet water and bitter?
No! Do fig trees bear olives? No! Then tongues
should not bless God on Sundays and curse God on Fridays!)
Is your tongue that unpredictable?
after all that bad news ... James does not leave us hopeless!
He gives us the answer to the "tongue" issue!
tame the tongue?
God the Holy Spirit can!
He is often
in Scripture either called Wisdom or compared to Wisdom!
the Wisdom motif here.
"Who is a wise man?"
"Earthly wisdom is devilish and filled with confusion, envy and
strife! (That's exactly the tongue he has been describing!)
"BUT the Wisdom that is from above
is ... first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be
intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality,
and without hypocrisy." He is describing the Holy
He is the
Solution to the tongue problem!
solution to the tongue (pictured by all sorts of wild beasts) is
the precious Holy Spirit (pictured by a little white pure dove)!
Dove tames the beasts!
--- Norma Bagwell
29, 2004 (Thursday)
I have been reviewing a portion
of James chapter two. In it the subject of "faith" is discussed.
James mentions 3 kinds of
faith there I believe.
He first presents a DEAD
In verses 14-17 James
describes a faith that "talks" but has no "walk" to match it!
Here is his conclusion: "Even so faith, if
it hath not works, is dead, being alone." James
James is always a practical
preacher. He expects true faith to be accompanied by good
works as well. (James emphasizes faith as man would view
it. Paul emphasizes faith as God sees it!)
Then in verse 19 he talks about another kind of faith.
It is called the faith of devils.
believes God ... but rejected His great plan of redemption
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
This faith possessed by the devils causes
them to tremble! "Phrisso," the Greek verb for tremble,
means to shutter, to be struck with extreme fear or to be
horrified! It is only used this once in all the Bible!
(There is a Hebrew word for tremble that is used 28 times in the
James 2:19 --- "Thou
believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils
also believe, and tremble."
Here's trembling faith ... and it does not
Thus far James has shown us DEAD faith and
Next comes real faith! Read about it in
verses 20-26 of James 2. James uses two examples of real
faith, Abraham and Rahab. Both "proved" their faith with
accompanying good works. (They just couldn't help it!
True faith "works!")
One writer calls this kind DYNAMIC faith!
Here's one way James puts it in 2:23 ---
"And the scripture was fulfilled which
saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for
righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God."
Even this hard preacher here just said that
believing faith is saving faith! It is!
There you have it!
James illustrates with
dead faith, devilish faith
and dynamic faith!
Which kind do YOU have?
--- Norma Jean Bagwell
26, 2004 (Friday)
Before we leave chapter one let
us take a closer look at a few more of its verses.
"Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God
cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust,
and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth
sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."
There is a difference
between testings from God to make us better or more mature and
temptations from Satan to make us weak and to make us fall.
Verse 13 tells us that God cannot be tempted.
Luke chapter 4 gives us the account where Satan tried to tempt
Jesus. (By the way ... the devil failed!) Verse 13
also tells us that God never tempts anyone to sin. But He
does allow us to be tried. This is good for us. I
found a place in 1 Peter 1 (verses 6 and 7) where we again are
encouraged to rejoice because the trial of our faith is more
precious than gold. It won't seem like gold at first, but
when we turn our eyes upon Jesus and ask God to give us a
joyful spirit we will see more clearly God's purposes
in those very trials!
Back in the Book of Genesis the Bible tells
us that God tested Abraham. In chapter 22 God had asked
him to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice upon the altar.
Sometimes God will test us to check our obedience to Him!
I am happy to announce that Abraham passed his test and God
provided a ram caught in the bushes (trees) just in the nick of
In James 1:14 we see that man cannot trust
his own desires. The Scripture says that every
man will be tempted and enticed to sin sooner or later.
Sin will draw you in deeper and deeper if you yield to it.
Sin brings forth death when it is finished. I am so glad
for the truth of Romans 6:23. "For
the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life
through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Praise God for His precious Son Jesus Who
freely gave His life on Calvary's Cross that a wretched sinner
like me could be saved! It was a gift. I did not
deserve it! I didn't earn it. I never could.
John 3:16 tells us how much God loved us. He gave His only
Son for our sins!
Do you know Him today? Don't turn Him
(Jesus) away! Trust Jesus to save you. It's as easy as
ADMIT you are a sinner!
BELIEVE that Jesus died for you!
CONFESS that Jesus is God's Son and ask Him
to save you soul!
Lord willing, next time we shall look at
James 1:19 and (if space allows) James 1:22-25.
I sure do enjoy this Bible study time with
Someone e-mail me (just "click" on my name at
the top of this page) and let me know you're along on the
journey through James! I would love to hear from you.
--- Norma Bagwell
14, 2004 (Sunday)
I once heard a wise old
Preacher say that the Epistle of James was "The Proverbs of the
My husband and I know of a
Preacher who has discovered 65 different types of men (and a few
women) in the Book of Proverbs. You know ... people like
the lazy man (the sluggard), the wicked man, the scorner, the
prostitute and the liar among others.
I thought early this
morning how it would be interesting to see if James (again, the
New Testament's "Proverbs") did the same thing.
Here is an example of what
I have gleaned.
These are all found in the first chapter of
1. The "tried" man is in verse 2.
2. The "patient" man is in verse 3.
3. The "mature" man is in verse 4.
4. The "wise" man is located in verse 5.
5. The "faithful" man is in verse 6.
6. The "double minded" man is in verse 8.
7. The man "of low degree" is in verse 9.
8. The "rich" man is found in verse 10.
9. The "enduring" man is in verse 12.
10. The "tempted" man is found in verse
11. The "hearing" man is in verse 19.
12. The "wrathful" man is in verse 20.
13. The "doing" man is in verse 22.
14. The "forgetful" man is discussed in
15. The man whom God calls "blessed" is
highlighted in verse 25.
16. The "religious" man is in verse 26.
17. Finally, the "unspotted" man is in
Now that ought to be enough Bible study
material to keep us all busy for a while!
Remember, God is still doing what He began
long ago. Let's let Ezekiel explain. In Ezekiel
22:30 God says --- "And I sought for a man
What kind of a man (or woman) are you?
--- Norma Jean Bagwell
February 8, 2004 (Sunday)
Whenever we are going
through trials and difficulties in our lives we should stop and
pray! I'm sure we will all agree with this statement but WHAT
should we pray? Should we pray for grace and strength to bear
the burdens? Do we pray "God please take this away as soon as
possible"? Or do we ask God to "teach us something in all of
this"? All of these may be acceptable prayers, but let's see
what James tells us we should do. In James 1:5-8 we read:
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of
God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth
not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith,
nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea
driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that
he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man
is unstable in all his ways."
James tells us that we need to ask for
wisdom. He also says that God will give wisdom to all men
liberally without rebuke or scolding them. Proverbs 2:6 says:
"For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his
mouth cometh knowledge and understanding."
That may sound easy, but I fear that it is
not. Why is this so necessary? Can't we just by-pass this prayer
If you read the first two chapters in
Proverbs you will see how important it is that we listen to
wisdom and what will happen to us if we turn our heads away.
Proverbs 23:4 says: "... Cease from thine
own wisdom." It is essential that we do not try to figure
out our own solutions to our difficulties. We need to heed the
advice found in Proverbs 3:5-7. "Trust in
the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own
understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall
direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD,
and depart from evil."
Our insights cannot compare to God's wisdom
(which can be found in God's Word). Proverbs 4:7 says:
"Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get
wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding."
How could we possible function as mature
Christians without godly wisdom? James is our New Testament
source of wisdom while Proverbs seems to be the Old Testament
authority on the subject.
In Proverbs 16:16 we are told that
"Wisdom is better than gold!" It
sounds like it is quite valuable for a person to be wise! In
Proverbs 2:2 we are commanded to "Incline
thine ear unto wisdom and apply thine heart to understanding!"
Here the phrase "incline thine ear" pictures a "pricking up of
the ears!" (Ears pointed for greater sharpness in hearing ...
like the deer do when danger approaches!) One is expecting to
hear something! It means to be alert and listening (for wisdom)!
The verb "apply" means to "stretch" as when wanting to reach for
something urgently! Many times I fear that we don't see God's
wisdom in a matter because we are not looking and listening in
the right place (God's Word) for it.
God is anxious for us to ask Him for help. He
has stored up wisdom just for us. Look at Proverbs 2:7.
"He layeth up sound wisdom for the
righteous. He is a Buckler to them that walk uprightly."
The word "righteous" and the phrase "walk uprightly" both refer
to mature Christians who are walking with God daily and trying
to live in a godly manner for Him. A buckler is a small shield
carried for defense.
Have you ever made this statement: "I never
meant for things to turn out like this"? I sure have! I find
that in looking back I usually see a place where I failed to
stop and ask God for wisdom. Don't forget that God's strength is
always made perfect in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
--- Norma Bagwell
If you would be interested in more
information about wisdom (or if you just desire to be wise in
heart) please see my husband's articles on the "Pearls from
Proverbs" Page here on the web-site.
January 21, 2004 ( Wednesday)
How do you normally regard trials
that you encounter? Now let's read James 1:2-4.
brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh
patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye
may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."
Those verses are very sobering when
we consider that it's a given for trials to come into our lives.
Everybody has them. James tells us they are necessary to
make us grow. Look carefully and he will give us a secret
that will keep us from being victims but instead we will be
victors. We can turn our trials into triumphs.
II Corinthians 4:18
will tell us how the eye of faith can look at trials. It says:
"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the
things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are
temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
In fact in verse 2 the word divers means various or all
different kinds of trials.
Also in here in
James 1:2 we see that "when we fall" actually means "to
encounter" or "to come across".
Be aware of this:
trials come from God to make us stronger while temptations come
from the Devil to make us weaker. In everything we face as
Christians we can be assured that God knows all about our
problems and He loves us. His intentions are always to
make us better not bitter.
Actually in these
verses James is giving us 4 of his famous commands: (1) Count
in vs. 2 (2) Know in vs. 3 (3) Let in
vs. 4 and (4) Ask in vs. 5-8.
The word count
is a financial term and it means to evaluate. When we face
trials in life we must evaluate them in the light of God's word
and what He is doing in our lives. This is the only way a
dedicated Christian can "count it all joy" when they have
trials. God's own son, Jesus experienced the same situation in
Heb. 12:2 where it says "...for the joy that was set before Him,
endured the cross...". So when trials come we should
immediately give thanks to God and take on a joyful attitude.
Remember, it's in the mind, not the emotions that we do this.
There are some
things we need to know and understand. Firstly, faith is
always tested. God tested Abraham and the Old Testament saints.
Secondly in verse 3
the word trying is translated approval. Trials work for
the believer, not against him. Look at Romans 8:28
"and we know
that all things work together for good...".
Thirdly trials will
help us mature. We will learn patience when we learn to wait on
the Lord to see what He is trying to do in us. Endurance cannot
be attained by reading a book, listening to a sermon, or even
God cannot work in
our lives unless we let Him. We need to look again
at verse 4 and also at verses 9-11. Another thing is that God
always builds character first (before He calls to service).
Before Abraham got his son (Isaac), God spent 25 years working on Him.
Joseph had to go through 13 years of testing before God put him
on the thrown of Egypt. God spent 80 years preparing Moses for
40 years of service. Our Lord spent 3 years training the
disciples and building their character. God must have our
consent and a surrendered will to work in us.
The next command
from James is to ask and it is found in Chapter
One verse 5-8. We will discuss this next time. Read the verse
and see what we need from God!
--- Norma Bagwell
January 15, 2004 (Thursday)
is one of the greatest needs in our churches today and James
addresses this problem all the way through the book. The
word "perfect" (which means mature or complete) is used several
times. (See 1:4, 17, and 25. Also see 2:22 and 3:2.)
The word does not mean "sinless" but rather one who is balanced
When you see some of
the problems James deals with, it will become obvious that he's
dealing with immature Christians. ("Childish"
characteristics are herein described!) Note some of them
with me today:
1. Impatience in difficulties!
2. Talking about but not living the
truth! (James 2:14f) The "f" means the
verses "following" as well.
3. No control of the tongue!
4. Fighting and coveting!
5. Collecting material "toys!"
God needs grown men and women to carry
on His work and sometimes all that can be found are little
children who cannot get along with each other.
Some things we might need to know as we
study this book:
Firstly, the book is written to
Christians. We must be sure of our own salvation before we
try to apply these principles of maturity.
Secondly, we must be willing to obey!
We need not be like the man who after looking in the mirror
walked away and did nothing. (James 1:22-24) God's
Word is like a divine mirror to the child of God. We need
to be "doers of the Word and not hearers
only." (James 1:22) The Lord is not obligated
to teach us unless we are willing to obey.
Thirdly, we might need to be prepared
for extra trials and testings IF we are serious about spiritual
growth. A wise man once said, "The real examinations
in Bible Study come in the school of life, not in the
A fourth thing to remember is that we
can measure our spiritual growth by the Word of God and the Son
of God. (Ephesians 4:13) We should never measure
ourselves by other Christians. 2 Corinthians 10:12 says
--- "But they measuring themselves by
themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not
Now let us look at verse 2. It
"My brethren, count it all joy when ye
fall into divers temptations." You are
probably saying right now, "How am I supposed to count it all
joy ...?" You must remember that counting trials as joy
has to do with the mind and not the emotions. No
matter what your emotions "feel" (devastated, discouraged, etc.)
and no matter what your body feels (pain, exhaustion, etc.) your
mind must do it! And without the Lord and faith, your mind
cannot do it! You and I must look at every trial with the
EYE OF FAITH because the eye of faith can see the HAND OF GOD in
all of life!
If you know what the end result is
going to be, it will be easier to do this! One can indeed
take that trail and "count it all joy."
Verse three will tell us that.
"Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh
patience." (James 1:3) They EYE OF
FAITH can see around the corner and there is patience!
What a lesson to learn. It isn't going to be easy!
--- Norma Bagwell
January 11, 2004
thought it would be wise to get an overview of the Epistle of
James. That always helps me as I study verse-by-verse.
found a neat little survey of the book in the writings of
a preacher my husband loves.
that I am borrowing this material. It is not original with
discusses the "mature" Christian in full detail. This whole
Epistle is designed to help us all grow in the Lord!
memorize these chapter headings if you can.
Chapter one says the the
mature Christian is patient in testing! Chapter two says
the growing believer practices the truth. Chapter
three says that there is a level of godliness that has power
over the tongue. Chapter four declares that the grown-up
Christian is a peacemaker, not a troublemaker. And chapter
five reveals the spiritual child of God is prayerful in
troubles! (When you see the repetition of sounds like this
... it is a form of outlining called "alliteration." It is
primarily designed to aid our memories!)
In our last lesson we saw that
James is literally the "half-brother" of our Lord Jesus. Yet do
see that in verse 1 he refused to "pull rank" and call himself a
literal BROTHER ... but opts for the humbling term "servant."
James is truly a lowly believer. The Greek word there for
"servant" (doulos) means "slave." (Complete obedience and
unshakable loyalty are expected from these slaves.)
The whole epistle is Jewish in
flavor. It is written to believers who are Jewish in race
but saved by the grace of God as well. Notice the
salutation "to the twelve tribes scattered abroad." (Jews
of the "disapora." That means they are living outside of
their land, the Holy Land.)
The opening word "greeting" is
a little Greek term "chairo," which means "be well" or "be
cheerful!" In fact the word (from its "root") is derived
from the New Testament word for GRACE! James says to them:
Lastly let me mention that
James uses the full Name of our Master in his opening verse!
(Lord Jesus Christ) "Lord" means that He is the Sovereign!
"Jesus" means that He is the Saviour! And "Christ" means
that He (without measure) is Sanctified! Also look at the fact
that God AND Jesus are linked by a co-ordinating conjunction!
That means that to James (and throughout the whole Word of God)
God and Jesus are equal (co-equal and co-eternal)!
Next lesson we'll go further.
I believe we are going to
enjoy this study together!
--- Norma Bagwell
"James, a servant of
God and the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are
scattered abroad, greeting."
James is a small
book of 108 verses. It is often called the New Testament
book of Wisdom. Of course the writer of the book is James.
This was a popular name at that time and it comes from the Old
Testament name "Jacob."
This James is the
half-brother of Jesus Christ our Lord. We find in Matthew
13:55-56 and Mark 6:3 that Jesus did have half-bothers and
half-sisters. Mary was Jesus' mother, but Joseph was NOT His
father. God was the Father of Jesus through the
overshadowing of the Holy Spirit.
We know that James must have been a
spiritual man because he was the leader of the church at
Jerusalem. He must have been a man of prayer because of
the emphasis he gives to prayer in his Epistle.
James was a Jew who was raised under
the traditions of the law of Moses. You can plainly see this in
his letter. The book carries over 50 (fifty!) imperatives.
James does not make gentle suggestions! He makes commands!
Read through the five chapters. See how many commands you
can find. That would make an interesting Bible study
The Old Testament is directly quoted
only five times in the book, but many references (allusions) are
made to it.
James wrote the book to Jewish
Christians who were living outside the land of Palestine.
The book is dated about AD 48. He addresses them as
"brethren" 19 times in the book.
These Jews which were "scattered
abroad" were having all kinds of problems in their personal
lives. Some needed to learn to have more patience.
Others needed to learn to control their tongues. Still
others needed to overcome temptations. While still others
needed to learn how to pray.
One writer seems to think that James
was written to help Christians become more mature in their
I have found a Christian writer whose
material is very practical for us today. She is also easy to
follow and understand. Later sometime I will give you her
name. She believes that to mature in God's Word we need to
develop a strong root system anchored in good Bible study!
Here is her material on roots.
1. Roots are unseen! (Much Bible study is too!
In the early morning hours or late at night the "midnight oil"
is burned while God's little children study the Word!)
2. Roots are for "taking in!" (Ingest all the Word
of God you can! Drink it like water! Eat it like
3. Roots are for storage! (The more Bible you learn,
the more of a "reservoir" you'll build for daily and future
4. Roots are for support! (They are largely what
keeps that old Oak tree from falling in the fierce wind storms
that batter it each spring! They lend strength to the whole
body of the tree!)
Continue to study this epistle of James
with me! (Let us nurture our "root" systems!) Please
e-mail me if you find some interesting material here. Let
me hear from you. Your comments are always an
encouragement to me.
--- Norma Bagwell