Friday, September 26, 2008

A Stiff Neck

(applying the "Blue Goo")

Ever had a stiff neck? Then you can sympathize with me! My neck has been stiff, sore and aching for weeks now. The result of a combination of a lot of things I think. I've tried ice packs, hot packs, "Blue Goo", stretching and massage. It gets better for a little while and then it gets worse again. I may have to resort to taking physical therapy again....that did seem to help a couple of years ago!

In my research online I noticed that stiff sore necks can be caused by 1] poor posture, 2] too much time spent at a computer, 3] or a "tense mindset".....all of which, I'm afraid, I admit to having! A stiff neck.....can tell people a lot about your disposition I guess.

The Bible mentions people with "stiff necks" in several places. But in that instance it's talking about people getting obstinate, stubborn, headstrong and set in their ways.

"But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction." Jeremiah 17: 23

I'd like to think that my only problem with a "stiff neck" is physical. But in actuality, sometimes that is a pretty good description of my spiritual life too. Yep, I hate to admit it but I can get obstinate, stubborn, headstrong and set in my ways quicker than I can close my Bible and walk out the door. And I pay the price, too, when that happens. It hurts! I can't bow my head in prayer very well with a stiff neck. I can't turn my head to see someone in need with a stiff neck. I can't look up to see the glory of God in the firmament of heaven with a stiff neck.

I'm tired of this pain in the neck! Both physical and spiritual. Hopefully I will make the effort to get them both on the mend. I need to watch my posture: (physically) stand and sit without slouching and (spiritually) spend more time bowed in worship. I need to watch how long I sit in one place without moving: (physically) don't sit at computer or desk too long at one stretch and (spiritually) don't sit still doing nothing for the Lord's work. I need to try to not be so "tense": (physically) try to stretch & purposefully relax and (spiritually) try to rest in knowing that God is in control.

May God bless us all with a supple, relaxed neck....both in the physical and the spiritual realm!


Monday, September 22, 2008

Do I Want to Hold On or Release?

Yesterday at church we had a "Balloon Release". Balloons had been prepared with attached cards containing a Bible verse and our church's name and address. Each child present at church yesterday was given a balloon to release after the services were over. I was a little afraid that some of the really small children might not want to turn their balloon loose and let it sail away into the wild blue yonder! But every one of them released their balloons at the right time and seemed to be thrilled to watch them sail away.....higher and higher until we could see them no more! (Maybe one will land in YOUR front yard! If it does, please write and let us know!)

Sometimes as an adult, though, I don't do the right thing and turn loose of or release things when I'm supposed to! Like when someone does something that really aggravates or offends me. Sometimes I want to hold on to that hurt! I want to hold it close and not let it go. I want to keep it as proof that I was right and they were wrong! But, oh how childish of me! I should just give those hurts and offences to the Lord and let Him take care of them. I should release them and watch as they, like the balloons of yesterday, float up, up, up and are finally gone from my sight.

Please pray for me that I will be able to release more of my burdens and yes, bitterness, to God. Just as none of the children yesterday had selfish attitudes and wanted to "hold on" to their balloons, I want to cheerfully release my thoughts and attitudes to God. I want to have an unselfish and loving attitude so that my spiritual life can "soar" like a bird on the wind!

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40: 31


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sink Holes

(***note*** this picture was taken after he had already started winching the tractor out of the hole. He forgot to take the picture when he first got back down there with the winch.)

Yesterday I had a long over-due "girls day out" with an old friend visiting from North Carolina. Her husband is in town preaching a revival this week so she and I decided to spend some time catching up on the on the news of our two families.

Because of that, I was not home when hubby left for work. (As a dutiful wife I had already packed his lunch in his cooler before I left home yesterday morning. smile) After I came home in the afternoon and had put up a few things I had bought during the day, I came in here to check my email. Lying on my computer desk was hubby's camera. I immediately knew he had taken pictures of something that he wanted me to download for him!

When the pictures came up on the computer screen from the memory card I almost freaked out! It showed his old farm tractor practically standing on it's nose with the bush hog on the back sticking straight up in the air! Scary!

My first thought was, "I wonder how bad hubby was hurt when this happened?" And later when he called from work on his break and asked if I saw his camera on my desk the first thing I said was..."Are you all right???"

He laughed and said he was fine. He explained that he had been bush hogging down near our oldest son's deer stand and without any warning the front wheels of the tractor dropped out of sight! A sink hole he called it! Something that was not there the last time he drove over that field. Something that had been caused by all the extra rain we have had this year I suppose.He was able to come back to the house and get his 4x4 pickup with attached winch and pull the tractor out to firm soil again.

I could not help but think about how many times in my spiritual life I have been going along at a nice pace and all of a sudden...boom!.....I drop out of sight! Into some kind of worldly sink hole that I did not see coming! Something that wasn't there the last time I walked that same road. Something that may have been caused by my lack of staying in the Word of God or my lack of praying to seek God's direction before setting off down a certain path. Perhaps someone offends me and instead of guarding against any root of bitterness, I decide to hold a grudge against them. Perhaps someone deliberately hurts me and instead of turning the other cheek, I decide to hurt them back. Perhaps my quick temper flares up and instead of giving a soft answer to turn away wrath, I lash out unexpectedly to friends and loved ones! I am in a sink hole! I can't do much good as a Christian down in a hole can I? "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." Romans 8: 8

What can I do? In myself I can do nothing! Neither could hubby make the tractor pull itself out of the sink hole yesterday! He had to go and get something strong enough to pull it out. So it is with me when I get into a spiritual "sink hole". I can't pull myself out! I have to call on the Lord for help. He IS strong enough to pull me out of any mess I get myself into! "I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings." Psalm 40: 1-2

If you're in a spiritual mess today....down in a "sink hole" all covered with on the Lord and He will come and pull you out onto solid ground again! And not just plain ole solid ground....onto a Rock! The Rock of Ages!


Saturday, September 13, 2008

An Empty Picture Frame.......Remembering Lives Lost

On Thursday night, September 11, we had our biggest fundraiser of the year for our local Sav-A-Life crisis pregnancy center. We had a wonderful crowd of over 300 present at our banquet. It was deliberately set for this date. There were American flags flying on the stage in remembrance of the more than 3,000 who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, in the horrible terrorist attacks of that day. In her ministry update speech Thursday night our Center Director brought out the fact that although we were remembering the 3,000 + lives lost on 9/11, she also wanted us to be aware that there are over 3,000 would-be Americans murdered on a DAILY basis through the hideous process of abortion! These unborn Americans should be mourned too!

We started the night with a delicious meal. A salad that was as good as it looked, stuffed baked chicken breasts, green beans, twice baked potatoes, homemade bread, iced tea and lemon cheesecake. We had lots of ladies and a few young men from local churches and colleges that did the huge job of cooking and serving. What a wonderful blessing they were!

Our theme for the night was An Empty Picture Frame. Toward the end of the banquet a DVD was shown on the screen onstage. It was a song called "Blue Eyes Like Janey's" (click HERE to watch it sung on YouTube) and told about a couple who, as teenagers, had their baby aborted and on the way out of the abortion clinic heard the nurses talking and saying "It was a girl". The man singing says he often wonders if she would have had blue eyes like Janey's and brown hair like his and that he keeps an empty picture frame on his desk to remind him of the terrible thing he had done. Each table had two empty picture frames sitting on it to remind us of the lives taken every few seconds in abortion mills throughout the country.

Our guest speaker was
Tim Wildmon, President of American Family Association and American Family Radio. He is also co-host of the national radio program "Today's Issues". Mr. Wildmon did a great job speaking! He brought out many great points about why people should support Sav-A-Life. One of our center's counselors had given her testimony immediately prior to Mr. Wildmon's speech and had told us about a recent happening at her church. A few weeks ago her church had a "lock in" for the youth. After the worship service an invitation was given for the youth to come to the altar if they needed to accept the Lord or if they just needed to pray. They had over 100 young people there that night. Many of them went to the altar to pray and many of the adults in attendance went down to kneel by the young people to see if they could pray with them or lead them to Christ. Our counselor went and knelt by a 15-year-old girl that she had never seen before that night. The girl was sobbing. When asked if she wanted her to pray with her about something special the girl said "Yes!." She then said, "I have committed a terrible sin! I had an abortion in February!" A. was able to talk with her and tell her that she knew just how she felt but that she also knew that if she brought it to the Lord He would help her to find a peace in her heart through forgiveness. (The mother of the 15-year-old girl had taken her to the abortion clinic!) We are hoping that the mother will agree to letting her daughter come and take the 12 week post abortion counseling class at Sav-A-Life or even privately.

When Mr. Wildmon got up to speak, the first thing he said was....."How true what A. said is! Abortion is a terrible sin! It's not a "mistake"'s a terrible sin! And the sooner we start looking at it for what it is the better off we will be". And had this young girl known about Sav-A-Life, she might have come there for her pregnancy test and she might have been able to convince her mother to listen to advice from the staff there! Perhaps a life could have been saved. A picture frame could have held the image of a precious child....and not have to be just placed on the desk empty!

A huge Thank You to all of you who were praying for the banquet! Please continue to pray for....not only our local pregnancy center....but others all over the USA and even the world! Because of people like you these centers ARE making a difference in women's lives!

"And life is worth the living...just because HE lives!"


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Thou Shalt Not Be Afraid For the Terror

('m sorry....I have worked on this over and over but it just won't let me format it correctly. Please forgive how it looks. I know it's not easy to read like this!)

September 11, 2001. I remember it well. The day was warm, the sky was blue, the sun was shining, and things were quiet here on our north Mississippi farm. I had already started cooking our dinner that day when the phone rang. On the other end of the line was one of my good friends in North Carolina. The first words out of her mouth were, "Do you have your TV on?" When I answered, "No", she told me that terrorists had sabotaged the Twin Towers of the Trade Center in New York. My first thought was, "Terrorists?" I wasn't even sure if I knew what that meant. Nevertheless, it did strike fear in my heart. I turned on the TV and tried to finish cooking dinner while at the same time keeping my eyes glued to the TV. It seemed the news just got worse and worse.

Instead of being a minor incident, this was a major catastrophe for the United States. Many people had been killed. Many more were missing. People all over the land were praying. After the dust started settling, I was better able to understand why we called the people who had done this to us, "terrorists", for certainly they had brought Terror to our land. ("Terrors shall make him afraid on every side, and shall drive him to his feet." Job 18:11)

We saw in this horrible event just how quickly a normal, sunshiny day can turn into a dark, despicable disaster. But we should also remember that God knows our life from beginning to end. He knows what will happen tomorrow and the next day and the day after that! And He's there to walk beside us no matter where the road leads.

As Christians, we can take comfort in the verses found in Psalm 91:1-6 ("He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.")

Many things have changed and will never be the same since that fateful day seven years ago. Our oldest son John joined the Marine Corps in October of 2001. He would see two , mostly miserable, tours in Iraq in the years that followed. He endured many things, did many things, and saw many things that men should never have to endure, do, or see. As he was leaving Iraq after his first tour of duty was over, I was overjoyed to find an email from him in my inbox after weeks of knowing he was in the middle of the battle but unable to hear from him. This is what it said:


Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2003 7:29 AM

Subject: RE: We love you

Hello my loving family:

Praise God for his mercy endureth forever! I am back on the ship as of today. Not a scratch on my body. I cannot even explain what it feels like to not be worried about the next burst of AK fire, but it feels better than anything in a long time. I will give you some numbers. 33 days without having water on my body to wash with. 47 days without a shower. 73 days sleeping on the ground, outside. Tonight I will sleep in a bed! 47 days with only MRE's to eat. Boy do the little things in life get BIG. I am tired so I am gonna go. We get libo in the next 2 days so I will be talking to you.


Your "now safe" Marine son


Although he made it home the first time injury free, he was seriously wounded in September of 2004, just before his second tour of duty in Iraq was over….hit in the head, shoulder and side with shrapnel from an enemy IED. He was flown out of Iraq and into Germany where he underwent brain surgery. Many, many prayers were sent up for our son and by God's grace, he is alive today.

I dedicate today's post to our son John. He was always my protector when he was a child and teenager at home. He's the one I depended on to change my flat tires and kill the snakes! He was a great Marine machine-gunner….he made Sergeant just before he left the USMC. As is true of any soldier who has been in combat for extended periods of time, John will never be the same person he was before he went to war. There are memories that can never be erased. There are burdens that are hard to be borne. There are pains from the injuries that are sometime unbearable. As Americans, we owe a lot to our veterans. John has my respect and my unconditional love for as long as I live.

Today if you see someone you know is a Veteran….tell them Thank You ! It will mean a lot to them!

God bless America!


Monday, September 8, 2008

Sav-A-Life Sunday at My Church

Yesterday was "Sav-A-Life Sunday" at my church! For weeks our Pastor had been announcing that September 7 we would be collecting gifts to help stock the closets at the Sav-A-Life Pregnancy Center where I volunteer.

As you can see from the pictures, the trunk of my car was full when all of the baby gifts were loaded in! This afternoon I unloaded everything except the many packages of diapers and the five diaper bags. Everything else I brought in and laid out on the spare bed where I grouped similar items together in piles. I wrote down every kind of item we had received and how many of each one. We have to fill out a form containing all this information at the center and I thought it would be easier for me to do it today than at the center tomorrow and risk being interrupted several times. We received so many cute things. My bedroom smelled just like a nursery! Which I liked!

A friend from church came over this afternoon to bring more gifts and helped me with the counting of the gifts. Then we bagged them all up and she and I put them back in the trunk of my car ready to deliver to the center when I go to work tomorrow.

Maybe you are not familiar with Sav-A-Life Pregnancy Centers or any Pregnancy center for that matter. Let me give you a quick introduction!

We are home to a variety of services tailor-made to help women, regardless of age, race, level of income or education. Our main service is, of course, a FREE pregnancy test. Every client is offered FREE counseling from peer volunteer counselors. First time mothers are offered FREE parenting classes. At the end of each of the parenting classes she is given FREE baby items (blankets, bibs, bottles, booties, bath accessories, baby clothes, etc.) For single women we offer...and encourage... FREE abstinence classes so that she will not have yet another unplanned and unwanted pregnancy. FREE post abortion counseling is offered to those clients seeking to be free from the daily guilt and shame they often feel. Do you notice one word in this paragraph that stands out? The word FREE! That tells you that our clients pay nothing for our services. But as you know, nothing is free! Someone has to pay! We are so thankful for people like those at my church and other churches, businesses and individuals who so willingly open their hearts and their wallets and help to keep the doors of our center open.

Each client we see is given the opportunity to hear what Jesus has done to pay for her gift of eternal life. Just as she doesn't have to pay for the services and the baby items she receives at our center because someone else has paid for them for her, we try to give her the good news that she doesn't have to pay for her sins because Jesus has already paid for them when he died on the cross. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5: 8 (KJV)

Some of these women may realize for the first time that there is hope! Hope for forgiveness if she has already had an abortion. Hope for assistance with some of the needs of her often unexpected pregnancy. Hope for acceptance and counseling from our staff. And most of all, hope for a new life in Christ. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6: 23 (KJV

Since we don't force the gospel on anyone, some women leave the same way they came....lost and undone...but they have made a choice. We have sown a seed even though we may never see or even know when, or if, the seed takes root and causes a client to want to know more about God.

Please pray for the work of crisis pregnancy centers all across the world! Because...."Jesus loves the little children...all the children of the and yellow black and white...they are precious in His sight....Jesus loves the little children of the world."


Friday, September 5, 2008

Fruitful Friday

It's been such a hectic ...but fruitful...or should I say fruit-FULL.... week that I have not had time to write another post until now! My husband has been helping me try and preserve as many as possible of the fine pears hanging from our trees this year. It's been a bumper year for fruit!

This week alone he and I have fixed 14 jars of pear halves, 13 jars of pear relish (hot & spicy!), and 13 jars of pear preserves! It's hard work now but we will enjoy it in the winter! The writer of Proverbs 6 uses the ant as an example for us to do this: "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest." (Proverbs 6: 6-8)

I am looking forward to Saturday and Sunday when I will most likely not have to do any kind of harvesting or canning! Although on Saturdays and Sundays we do go out and try to sow seeds! The spiritual kind! My husband drives our church van and I teach the ladies Sunday school class.

On Saturdays he and I go and visit the bus kids and try to sow seeds of love and concern so that they may be able to see Jesus in us. On Sunday mornings we leave our home (which is about 40 miles from our church) at 8:00 a.m. so that we can get to church early enough for hubby and another man to go and pick up kids on the van and bring them to church. When they arrive even more seeds will be planted in their little hearts through the work of their Sunday school teachers and the Junior Church pastor.

My friend Deborah Bolack has something called "Friendship Fridays" on her blog....Songs From My Journey. Today she has so very kindly asked to feature ME! I am very honored! You can check it out by clicking here:

Hope that each of you have a very "fruitful" weekend!


Monday, September 1, 2008

Good News!

"Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness:
come before his presence with singing." Psalm 100

"Good News"! Yes, that's the title of the musical our youth choir performed in or around 1969. But also, if you look up the word "gospel" you find that it means just that....Good News!

My "Good News" for today is that I had a reunion with some of my fellow youth choir members this past weekend. It was wonderful. Some of them I had not seen at all since around 1973.

We gathered from far and near! From Louisiana, Alabama, and the south end of Mississippi all of us felt the magnetic pull to the hub where we spent so much of our time as teenagers. Where we practiced.... and practiced....and practiced some more!....until our choir director Bob was satisfied that we were all doing our best. He exacted the best from us because he was the best himself ! I had the privilege of telling him on Saturday that he had set the standard for all the music that would be in my adult life. And Bob if you're reading set the standard way up high! Thank you!

During a Wednesday night Thanksgiving service a few years ago at my now home church, our pastor asked that each person attending stand and say just one thing they were thankful for. There was the usual "home, family, church, health, etc"........all things that I truly am thankful for......but as I stood the word that came out of my mouth was MUSIC! Several times since then an older man at my church has remarked how that touched him and how he had never really thought about how thankful we should be for music and all that it adds to our services before then. I LOVE music. It touches my spirit when nothing else can.

What precious memories we re-discovered last Saturday as we talked, looked at old pictures and took a tour of the remodeled church where we sang as teenagers. So many things I had forgotten about. So many things different. But yet so many things still the same. We found that we still all love music and are all still involved in the music programs in our various churches. It didn't seem possible that so many years had passed since we had seen one another. Our lives may have taken different turns during the years since our Youth Choir days but our roots are still the same. We still have our eyes set on the prize that awaits us when we step over into eternity. Many of us have parents, spouses or children waiting for us there. I just can't help but think we'll all be singing together again someday in heaven. And when that happens we'll need no practice! We will have perfect harmony as we "come before his presence with singing"!

May God give you a song in your heart today!