Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Lord willing, a brand new year will arrive on Friday! Where did the last one go? It seems just a few weeks ago since it was New Year’s Day and here it is again. What do I have to show for the 365 days I spent in the year 2009? Is there anyone whose life was changed because of something I did? Or , God forbid, because of something I didn’t do? Did I reach out to a lonely person in a nursing home and make their day a little brighter? Did I listen to my child when he was hurting and only wanted to confide in Mother? Did I take time to go and visit my parents for no reason other than just to be with them for a few hours and enjoy their company? Did I diligently study to teach my Sunday school class of seven and eight year olds even though I felt I already knew the stories well enough to tell to children?
Did I show my appreciation to my husband for all the things he daily does to make my life better? Did I speak kindly to and try to understand the irritable person at the check out stand in the grocery store? What kind of turmoil or hurt might she be going through that was making her so hateful that particular day? Did I remember to thank God for the rain that we needed so badly even though I had just washed my white car and live on four miles of dirt roads?
Did I introduce anyone…anyone at all …to Jesus Christ last year? And if not…why not? I have a lot of questions to ask myself. I hope in this next year of 2010 that I will remember life is fragile…here today…. gone tomorrow…and that I will make the most of every moment the Lord Jesus gives me to spend here on earth. We don't have to wait until a "New Year" to start over, for every day that we wake from our sleep we have a new beginning. And with that new beginning a responsibility to be all that we can be for Christ.
“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.” Revelation 21:5
Happy New Year to Everyone!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Last week I was thinking about all the stresses that go along with the worldly part of our Christmas celebrations. I made the statement to several people that I figure Mary was really stressed as she had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem being "great with child"! Traveling so far. Either on a donkey or walking part of the way. Arriving to find no room in the inn. Having to give birth to her firstborn in a stable. And yet today I'm wondering if I could be wrong. Could it be that because the firstborn that she held within her body was the Saviour, the Creator of the world, she may have had a wonderful peace through it all? I don't know. I just know that peace is the one constant that I have known since I was born again over thirty-one years ago. "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4: 7
A few weeks ago my husband and I picked up our little four-year-old granddaughter to go with us to visit our church's bus route on a Saturday morning. When she is with us she likes for us to sing in the car. My daughter-in-law and my hubby had been discussing John 14: 27 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." So not long after we got on the road hubby started singing, "Peace, like a river. Flows through my soul. I've been forgiven. Cleansed and made whole. Peace. Peace. God's Peace." Our granddaughter interrupted with, "Granddaddy! Please don't sing that song! I don't like it!" Hubby just laughed and said, "Oh, baby, this is a great song!" and proceeded to sing it some more. From the back seat came her little voice, a bit louder this time...." I SAID I don't like that song Granddaddy!" I asked her why she didn't like it and her reply..."Because I don't like PEAS!"... brought an instant giggle from deep within my spirit. Hubby tried to explain by telling her he was singing about a "different kind" of "peas".....that the peace he was singing about made you have a nice feeling all through your body and soul. Not daunted by his explanation she replied, "Well, I don't care! I don't like ANY KIND OF PEAS!!!" We laughed and laughed. Someday she will understand the difference in the two words but for now she just know she does not like PEAS! ha
Isn't that the way we as Christians are sometimes? God wants to do something good for us and we say to Him....NO! I don't like that! Not really understanding His ways and His thoughts for us! "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55: 9
I hope that each of us will experience His deep and abiding PEACE this Christmas. That's one of the reasons He came!
Merry Christmas my friends!
"Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 1: 2
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
What a Saviour we have that would come down from the realms of Heaven to be born in a stable, with a manger for a cradle. There was no room for him in the inn that night and later no room for him in the society of that day. Have things changed very much since then? We don’t hear very much about the early life of Jesus until he begins his preaching ministry just a few years before going to the cross to pay for our sins. But I am thoroughly convinced that in those thirty plus years of his un-chronicled life, he made an impact on the people he came in contact with.
He didn’t need to be in the spotlight to do every day the things that needed to be done. He knew what He was here on earth for, and each moment of each day was spent moving toward that goal of paying for the sins of sinful humanity on the cross. Finally the day came when the heavy cross was placed upon His back as he walked toward Calvary. (Luke 24: 7 “The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”)
As He was crucified on that tree and lifted to the sky, then pronounced dead and placed in a grave, only to rise alive again three days later, He gave us the greatest present we could ever receive…..eternal life. The only condition is that we believe and accept what He did for us.
If we choose to accept God’s free gift of eternal life, then we will go to Heaven. (“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16) To make it to hell, we only have to not believe. (“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3: 18)
There’s nothing we can do to pay for this Gift Christ has offered to us, but we can commit to living a life pleasing to Him. He compares this life to “taking up a cross”. (“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9: 23)
My prayer is that each person who reads this will have a wonderful Christmas this year wherever you are by rejoicing in the Gift that Christ gave to us as we celebrate His journey from the Cradle to the Cross!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
(This post is also running Wednesday over at the KJV Blog Directory)
A few weeks ago my granddaughter spent several nights in a row with us. While making up her bed I decided to wash and dry a pillowcase I had made for her Daddy when he was a little boy. I used to always make specialty pillowcases for my kids. Tweety Bird print for my daughter. Sylvester for one son. Tazmanian Devil for another. Always cartoon characters. The pillowcase that I found that day was one I had made for her Daddy. It happened to be the Tazmanian Devil.
The fabric had become extra soft from age and being laundered so many times. I thought she would love sleeping on it. Little did I know.....
The last morning she was with us she told me she had had bad dreams the night before. That made me sad that one so little....she was not yet four at the time....would have a bad dream at Granmamma's house. I could not imagine what might have caused it. Later that day when I brought her pillow and a blanket from the bed so she could rest on the couch, she pointed to the Tazmanian Devil pillowcase and said, "THAT'S what I had my bad dreams about!" Oh my! Now I was having a guilt trip! Bad dreams because of Granmamma putting a scary pillowcase on her pillow! I had not thought anything about it possibly being scary for her. I just thought that she would like having a cartoon character pillowcase on her pillow. One that had belonged to her Daddy when he was little. I took that offensive pillow and put it in another room. And then I told her I would make her a new pillowcase for the next time she spent the night.
In a couple of weeks she was with me while I was shopping in Wal-Mart and we went back to the fabric department to see what they had to offer. She picked out some pink princess material for her new pillowcase.
She came out carrying the pillow under her arm and with a huge smile on her face. "Granmamma....you got my Princess Pillow done!" I could tell by the look on her face that she was delighted with it. Then she asked, "What happened to the scary pillow case?" I told her that I had thrown it in the garbage!
Instantly her little face lit up , she leaned over, hugged my neck and said, "Thank you Granmamma!" I was touched that it meant so much to her that I had provided a new pleasant pillow to sleep on instead of one that, to her, was scary
Sometimes there are things that come along that scare Granmammas! Stormy weather. Getting old. Getting sick. Watching the world turn more and more away from God. Seeing sin get a strong hold in a relative. Seeing sin in my own life. So many possibilities for scary things. I love it when God....my heavenly Father.....sees that I am scared and comes to me to comfort me as only He can. He can take my fears and fling them far over the horizon. "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." Psalm 103: 12
He can put his arms around me and make me know that He is with me no matter what rages around me. "He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler." Psalm 91: 4
I hope that I will remember to always turn and throw my arms around His neck and thank Him for calming my fears! And for giving me sweet, peaceful dreams! "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety." Psalm 4: 8
Friday, November 27, 2009
A few of the things I am thankful for today:
1. Salvation and the Bible. Without them I would have no hope.
2. Family and home. Especially my husband, children and grandchildren who have stood by my side and loved me like nobody else can.
3. Church family and Christian friends. People to worship with and share with.
4. A quiet place to live. We've been blessed with a life in the country.
5. Freedom to go and come as I please. Not having to get a permit to go to church or to hold a meeting.
6. Family who will stand by my side and believe in me when others are trying to tear me down. It's eye-opening when you see people for who they really are. I've sure had my eyes opened wide during the past couple of weeks.
7. Another unexpected treasure found this week that belonged to my Mama who passed away almost 40 years ago. A beautiful piece of green pottery. (see picture)
8. Christian friends that I have met in the blogging community. How could I have known when I started blogging that I would gain such supportive, loving, sisters-in-Christ through this media?
I have been blessed so much and in return need to be thankful for much!
"For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God." 2 Corinthians 4: 15
May every day be Thanksgiving in the lives of each of us!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
It seems I have been a stranger to my computer for the past couple of weeks! My step-mother, Miss Gertrude, fell week before last and broke her hip. Then last week she had surgery on Tuesday afternoon and seemed to do well. But early on Wednesday morning she passed away. It was very sudden and we were not expecting it. But we know she was a Christian and is now walking and talking with loved ones in Heaven. She would have been 91 years old in three weeks. I miss her. So today I wanted to post something that I wrote almost 10 years ago. Back then I titled it "My Three Mothers" and if you've been my friend for a while you've most likely already read it. This is a tribute to not only Miss Gertrude, but to my mama Wardie, and my mother-in-law Hazel. I hope it will convey to you how special these three Mothers were to me!
"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies." Proverbs 31: 10
I'd like to tell you about my three mothers.
The Mother that birthed me into the world was with me for only sixteen years. Then she went home to be with the Lord. But during the years she was with me, she taught me many things about the Christian life. She was the best Christian woman I ever knew. In fact, I believe that many of the blessings I enjoy today as an adult are the direct result of some of the prayers she prayed for me. Her name was Wardie, which I always thought was very old fashioned. But it suited her. She was an old-fashioned person. She had old-fashioned values and an old-fashioned faith in God. She was always telling me things like, "Pretty is as pretty does." and "Two wrongs don't make a right". She taught me by example to be honest, thrifty, and kind.
She taught me how to sew Barbie clothes and eventually my own clothes. My Mama was the anchor in my life and when she died in March of the year when I was sixteen, I didn't know how I could go on with my life. Only by the grace of God did I struggle through the next few years. "She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness." Proverbs 31: 26
When I was nineteen, I got married. Mrs. Hazel, my new mother-in-law, became my "second mama". Mrs. Hazel taught me to garden and can vegetables. I had never done any of this before because I grew up in town. She was one of the very best cooks I have ever known. We would get together when the garden came in and can two or three canners full of vegetable soup. Then she would give me half of all we had canned and keep the other half for her and Mr. Jewell. But the funny thing was that I always got the half that was just not quite as good as the half she kept. We could eat it at her house and it was the most delicious soup I had ever put in my mouth...I could eat some of the same batch that I had taken home and for some reason it just didn't taste the same. She just had that special touch. "She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness." Proverbs 31: 27
The year after I married, my widowed Daddy married a lady named Gertrude. She became my "third Mama". I figured since I was already married myself, I was too old to start calling her Mama so I have always called her "Miss Gertrude". She has been such a blessing to me over the years. God surely must have wanted to give my Daddy a special blessing when he gave him "Miss Gertrude" for a helpmeet. She has shown me how to enjoy life. Whether cooking for a crowd, fishing for crappie, taking a walk or pulling weeds in the flowerbed, she enjoyed every minute of it. "Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her." Proberbs 31: 28
I truly count myself as blessed for having three of the best Mothers a person could have. Each one of them had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and because of that I know I will have a joyous reunion with them someday.
"Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised." Proverbs 31: 30
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
They were crawling on the ceiling fan, on the lights,
on the curtains, on the windows, etc.
And everywhere they crawl they leave a little slimy brown trail. Nasty! I will probably just wait until they run their course and go away again before trying to clean things up very much. How I hate them!
On the other hand, people who don't have to deal with these ladybugs on the enormous scale that I do seem to love the little critters! My granddaughter loves ladybugs! But mostly I think she loves the cute little cartoons of ladybugs. The real-life ones are stinky, nasty little things! I'm sorry if I offend some of you ladybug lovers. I will gladly send you a few hundred of mine as a starter if you want to raise some of your own! (smile)
I know some of you are already thinking...doesn't she know ladybugs are good? And I will admit, they do have their benefits. They have their place. Outside ! Ladybugs are very beneficial insects that eat all kinds of bad bugs. For that I'm glad. I just wish they'd stay outside where they belong! I also read that in many countries people believe ladybugs bring good luck, good weather, or can make your wishes come true. As a Christian I know that all good things come to us from God....not the ladybugs!
Sometimes sin is like the ladybug. It looks very pretty. It has a certain glamorous mystery about it. But, like the ladybugs now calling my kitchen home, when you get up close and personal with sin it has a stink to it and always leaves a messy trail behind!
"Lord, help me to remember when I am tempted by a seemingly harmless or beautiful sin, that it will take me farther from You than I want to go , and will keep me away from You longer than I ever meant to stay! Help me to say as the psalmist in Psalm 73: 28... 'But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works.' Amen."
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
(A dogwood tree in front of our house. It's as pretty now as it
was in the spring albeit in a different way! )
(A view of our pasture from the back porch)
Fall. The favorite time of the year for many...my husband included....but not for me. It just seems too ominous somehow. Instead of being able to enjoy all the beautiful colors and cooler weather I sometimes find myself dwelling on the soon coming of bare branches, dead leaves, snow & ice, and the barren loneliness of winter time!
I have to admit that we are having one of the prettiest fall seasons I can remember. The trees are beautiful. I do feel so privileged to be able to live out here right smack dab in the middle of them. Yesterday I went out and took some pictures in our yard. My camera does not do the colors justice though I can tell you right now.
If you know me much at all you know I like to take words or ideas and pick them apart. While walking in our driveway the other day I started thinking about the word FALL. Of course I was thinking about the autumn season that we call Fall. But then I began to think of just the word itself.
At first the associations were sort of negative.
Fall. In my mind I see the leaves "falling" from the trees and leaving them bare and ugly.
Fall. Remembering times I have fallen down and skinned knees or elbows.
Fall. Thinking of Adam and Eve and their "fall" from the Garden.
I wondered if I would think of anything positive about the word. Then a picture came to my mind. A fall that I witnessed as a teenager on a mission trip with my church. It's called Niagara Falls! I suppose in North America it would be the granddaddy of all the other waterfalls. Certainly I think the most famous for sure. This fall is beautiful. It's powerful. It takes your breath away!
The moral of this little tale? There are things that are going to come along in our lives that we don't particularly like. It's inevitable. But instead of fussing and griping about it we can find something good about it. We can try to have a "Pollyanna" attitude and find something to be happy about in every area of life.
Genesis 8: 22 "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."
So, get out and enjoy the beautiful colors of Fall.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
It's great to have pets that we can call faithful. It's better to have friends and family who we know are faithful. Loyal. Reliable. I am blessed to have many faithful friends and family members. But can I say they are accurate and exact? No. Not always.
For those of us who are married it's yet even better to have a spouse that we know to be faithful. Loyal. Reliable. I have a wonderful husband who I have total faith in. He's been faithful to me for over thirty-six years now. A monumental achievement in this day and age. But is he accurate and exact? Not always.
Can we find anything or anyone who can fulfill all of the attributes of being "faithful"? Oh Yes! Thankfully we can! There is One and only One. 2 Thessalonians 3: 3 says this: "But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil."
God is faithful ALL the time! He is worthy of our faith in Him. Will He be loyal? Yes! Reliable? Yes! Accurate and exact? Yes! He meets every requirement for total and complete faithfulness.
"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)" Hebrews 10: 23
Let us rejoice in the knowledge that we serve a faithful God!
Friday, October 16, 2009
(Blackie, Me, and Duke this morning before our walk)
Living out in the country as we do, we have always liked having a dog around for company. When we first got married hubby had beagles for rabbit hunting. Later we had a Border Collie and a couple of Australian Heelers to help round up the cows. As time passed things changed. We sold the cows. The dogs got old and passed on. But before she got too old Gracie, our Border Collie, had a litter of pups. Five solid black and one solid white.
(Duke & Me in the fall of 1996)
The white one had this funny little way of hitching up one of his back legs as he walked. One of my sons said, "Look at that puppy! He walks like John Wayne!" We thought that was cute so we named him Duke and kept him. He has become my special dog. He loves me unconditionally I think. But he's getting old. He had his thirteenth birthday in May. I'm not sure how old that would be compared to in human years but way on up there. His hearing is getting to be almost non-existent. He doesn't bark anymore when someone drives up. So because of all that, my husband has been talking about getting a new puppy.
On Wednesday hubby brought home said new puppy. When he talked to the vet he was going to adopt the puppy from he thought they said it was about six weeks old. Turns out he's already about four months old and larger than my dog Duke! ha That's going to take some getting used to! Oh...did I forget to tell you that I'm really, REALLY afraid of dogs most of the time! Any strange dogs! But I've never, ever been afraid of my Dukie-Poo....as my granddaughter and I call him!
The new puppy is supposed to be a Border Collie/Black Lab mix and is solid black. We went through lots of names....Buddy, Bo, Sam,....suggested by hubby.......and Jake....suggested by me but could never agree on one. Finally while looking at the pup's soft, glossy black coat I said, "Well, what about Blackie?" Hubby responded with, "I like it!" So, Blackie he has been dubbed! He's friendly. He's well mannered. And he's smart. I think we're bonding already.
This morning just before we took Duke and Blackie for a walk I had hubby snap my picture with them. I think we were all moving around but you can get the idea of what they look like and how close to the same size they are. As I downloaded and looked at the picture later some thoughts went through my mind. I looked at the black dog on one side and the white dog on the other. It reminded me of the illustration I've heard several times in sermons. An old preacher was once asked by a younger Christian how it is possible to do what is right when it seems the devil is always tempting us to do wrong. In answer the old preacher said something like this: "I just imagine in my mind that there are two dogs living inside me....a black dog and a white dog. One of them represents my old sin nature. One of them represents my new life in Christ. Sometimes they get in a terrible fight!" The young Christian responded, "Well, which one wins?" "The one that I feed the most!" answered the old preacher. And isn't that true? If we feed our old sin nature, then we will find ourselves sinning most of the time. If we feed our new nature, we will find that it will grow stronger and more mature.
Also while looking at the picture I thought about the fact that one dog is old and one dog is new. That reminded me that when we are saved we become a new creature in Christ and that old things become new.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."(2 Corinthians 5: 17)
Looking forward to getting to know this cute little black puppy Blackie better and enjoying my faithful friend Duke as long as possible.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
A few days ago I spoke to someone about something before I had fully thought about what I was going to say and was grossly misunderstood. Almost immediately I thought..."God is going to be SO mad at me!" And I could almost physically feel a distance come between me and Him. That was a thought straight from satan. But then almost immediately after that the Holy Spirit spoke to my spirit and said, "Don't you know that God loves you no matter what you do? He doesn't love you because you do good. He doesn't hate you when you mess up. Christ died 'while we were yet sinners' and had nothing at all to give Him in return!" What a relief I felt throughout my whole being! I knew that was true but just needed God to remind me!
I started to think about the song "Royal Descendant" by Kyla Rowland. She writes in it about our spiritual Family Tree. The first verse and chorus say this:
I can tell you I'm nothing and I will be telling the truth
I can say I am worthless, a hopeless sinner, and that's true
But that's just part of the story, I haven't told everything
For I was lost, reborn, and raised the child of a King.
And I am a royal descendant of the King from Jerusalem
Oh, I am part of the bloodline of David, that's who I am
And I claim kindred to Isaac, to Jacob, and Abraham
For I am a royal descendant of the King from Jerusalem
I'm a part of God's family forever since the day I trusted Him as my Saviour. He'll never disown me. He'll never act like He doesn't know me. If anything about our relationship changes, it will be because of me and not because of Him. May God help me to strive harder to stay close to His side!
Thankful to be a child of the King!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Psalm 71: 1-5
1In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.
2Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline thine ear unto me, and save me.
3Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.
4Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.
5For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.
During the past week I have witnessed two unrelated women face the sudden deaths of a sister dear to them. One woman and her sister were in their sixties. The other woman and her sister were only in their twenties. All four of these ladies had received Christ as their Saviour. The two sisters left behind both have exhibited great peace in their hearts because they know they will see their sisters again in heaven.
As I read these verses in Psalm 71, the words spoke to my heart. Without the Lord, how can any of us face the troubles and trials that life holds? Our trust should be in the Lord. (v.1) He only is our hope! (v.5)
Whether it's the unexpected and unwanted news of the sudden death of a beloved sister , the loss of a job, the devestation of a flood, or any other disaster, God is all we can ultimately depend on. We need to say in the words of David: "Thou Art My Hope"!
May God bless you !
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
As I watched the evening news and saw the devastation of the recent flooding in Georgia and some of the other southern states I could not help but think about Noah and the flood of all floods. Despair was etched on the faces of people on TV who were looking at their homes with nothing but the roof showing above the water. Many have lost all they have ever worked for. Even worse is the loss of human lives. I was horrified to hear of the two-year-old toddler who was swept out of his Daddy's arms after their mobile home was broken into pieces by the swiftly rising river. It's one thing to lose possessions but another altogether to lose a precious family member!
What do we have in common with Noah? For one thing, the great wickedness corrupting the world like a big fat green worm eats up the tomatoes in our garden. Genesis 6: 5 says: "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Seems like that pretty well describes the world in general even today.
What else might we have in common with Noah? Rain every day! I've lost count now how many days in a row it has rained here. We have had a total of 7 or 8 inches of rain that we measured in the rain gauge on our back deck in less than a week. I'm just truly thankful that we live in "hill country" and don't have water seeping in the door !
A good thing that we can have in common with Noah is grace! Genesis 6: 8 "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD." What a marvelous blessing grace is! I've heard some say all they want is "justice" but not me! If I got what I deserved it would be hell. But thank God I have, like Noah, found grace in the eyes of the LORD!
God would have every right to send another great flood and destroy mankind. But He promised Noah with the sign of a rainbow in the clouds that He would never do so ever again. Genesis 9: 13 "I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be fore a token of a covenant between me and the earth." Noah was the first to see a rainbow. You and I have seen several in our life times. Each time we should remember it is a symbol of God's mercy.
Take a few minutes to pray for the many families who are facing the floods today. Pray that they especially may also, as Noah, find grace in the eyes of the LORD!
Friday, September 18, 2009
A little over a week ago we had our annual fundraising banquet for the Sav-A-Life Pregnancy Center where I volunteer once a week. In my humble opinion it was a great success! As usual, our directors Felesha and Terri had done a great job with all the planning and coordinating the event. It was the result of months of hard work. And then it's over in two hours!
The Family Life Center was decorated beautifully in our theme colors of black, white, and red. Here's one of the tables before any of the more than four hundred guests arrived.
Our guest speaker for the night was Gwen Smith from Charlotte, NC. The theme of the banquet, "Broken into Beautiful" was taken from the title of Gwen's new book. You can go to her website HERE to read more of her testimony.
Gwen grew up in a Christian home with great Christian parents and was saved as a nine-year-old child. As a youngster and teenager she was active in church and stood up against sin. After graduating from high school and beginning college however, she said that she began to get slack in her convictions and started doing some things she knew a Christian should not do. By her second year of college she had started dating the young man she would eventually marry. As often happens when we start down that slippery slope of giving in to Satan, sin took Gwen farther than she ever meant to go and kept her longer than she ever meant to stay! She found herself pregnant and unmarried. Never, ever dreaming that she would even consider abortion and knowing in her heart it was wrong, she nevertheless went with her boyfriend to an abortion clinic and ended the life of their firstborn. It seemed like the only solution at the time. Here she was a "good" girl. A Christian. What would people think if she had carried the baby? But now the problem was....how could she carry the guilt and pain of aborting her baby? Time passed and she married the father of the baby. She grew farther from God. She never told anyone about the abortion. Heaven forbid that her parents would find out! But God doesn't turn loose of His children that easily. He will never abort one of His own! He stayed on her heels until she returned to Him in repentance and found the forgiveness and restoration she was so desperately in need of.
Soon after that Gwen felt God calling her into Christian ministry. She knew that she would first have to tell people...including her parents....about the abortion. It was a struggle even thinking about that scenario. But, again, the Lord won out and she took the plunge. When talking about the night she told her parents Gwen said that the thing that she dreaded the most and was afraid would drive a wedge in her relationship with her parents actually was the thing that has brought them the closest! Her parents lovingly forgave her and told her that what she had done was in the past and that they loved her no matter what.
Statistics say that one of every three women in the USA have had an abortion. How many women are there walking around....in your community, your church, your school....that are suffering from the guilt and pain every day that comes from having an abortion? Many women find forgiveness and healing through Post-Abortion Restoration classes offered in pregnancy centers such as ours. God is able and willing to forgive. Usually the problem is that the woman has trouble forgiving herself.
Our Pregnancy Center is nearing the completion of a new building. Please pray that we will see many lives changed through our ministry there. There's a spiritual warfare going on for the souls of men and women and the lives of the unborn. May God help us to reach out and offer the Truth to those who have been listening to lies.
"But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 19: 14
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Do you get hungry very often? Do you sometimes feel that you STAY hungry? I do! And probably we all have pictures of our favorite foods going through our minds right now! Ha Unless we have something wrong with us we usually don’t have any trouble being hungry for physical food do we? But what about spiritual food? The milk and meat of the Word. Do you get as hungry for God as you do for pie or cake? Do we hunger for God to take control of each part of our lives?
I think most of us would say that we want the Lord to guide us. But how often do we become frustrated when God changes our plans for our careers, our families, finances or even ministry so that He can work His plans in our lives?
Sometimes what we see as an INTERRUPTION, God means as an INTERVENTION. Have you ever heard of or maybe seen on TV a group of people that go to a friend or family member in what they call an intervention? It’s usually when that person is addicted to something. Drugs most of the time. Or sometimes it’s an eating disorder. But it’s something that is ruining that person’s life and if it isn’t stopped the person might even die. So, just think about some of the things that seem to you like “interruptions” in your life as actually being an “intervention” from God to save you from something you don’t need or that would actually harm you!
Isaiah 55: 8-9 reveals a lot about the differences between our plans and the Lord’s plans: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
It says there is a HUGE difference between our ways & thoughts and those of God! God sees the big picture. He’s still in control. Can you think of a time when God redirected your plans to His plans? I’m sure most of us can. I want to share a personal story with you about how God redirected my plans to his plans when I was just a teenager. I’ve told you before how I didn’t really get saved until I had been married for over 5 years. Now I want to back up and tell you something else. I never dated very much during my high school years. But when I was just going into my senior year I met a boy from another town….who was already out of high school and in his 2nd year at college. We started dating and (I thought) fell in love. The summer after I graduated from high school this young man “sort of” proposed to me. He said he wanted us to get married but didn’t want to make it “official” until he had the money to buy me a nice engagement ring. To make this money he moved to a large city to live with his sister and got a good paying job.
It was only a month or so after taking this job that he came to see me and I could tell by just looking at him that something had changed. He told me that he had “met someone”….she lived next door to his sister that he was living with. And just like that, it was over. I thought my heart would break. I cried and cried. But you have to remember that I was not saved. This young man was from a Catholic home. He himself didn’t go to church anywhere. He smoked. He drank some. Oh, not when he was with me but had we married, all that would have changed. Later I realized that this “intervention” in my life by God was one of the best things that could have happened to me!
Only three short months later I met the man who would later become my husband …a Christian with strong morals…and after a couple of years we were married. Had I married the first guy, I would most likely either have gotten out of church altogether or joined myself to a false religion….either way, I would probably be headed to or already in hell today. But God in His mercy intervened in my plans and gave me a Christian husband who kept us in church every time the doors were open. Therefore I was constantly around the things of God which in turn convicted me and I was gloriously and eternally saved.
The next time your plans are suddenly changed, look carefully and see if it may be an intervention from God above.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29: 11
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
The Battlefield of Our Minds
(based on lessons from Priscilla Shirer’s Bible study “He Speaks to Me”)
Our minds are battlefields! Did you know that? Most of the time we try to fight these battles on our own and usually lose! Our frantic attempts to fix our own problems keep us from hearing God’s calming voice and from hearing His instructions to us.
1] Who is our ENEMY?1 Peter 5: 8 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"This verse makes it very clear that our enemy is the devil ! The devil will do anything to keep us from hearing from God. He is the one who is constantly putting these evil and negative thoughts in our heads.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Last week marked the 31st year of my spiritual birthday. The day I became a new creature in Christ. Physically, I was twenty-five years old when that happened.
I was brought up in church from the age of about two weeks. My daddy was deacon in the Baptist church we attended. We went twice on Sunday and to prayer meeting on Wednesday nights. But somehow during all those years of going to church, I never really came to the "end of my rope" and got saved. Oh, I joined the church at the age of eleven and was baptized but was never ever at peace in my heart. I struggled so much during my teenaged years especially. I wanted so much to DO something to guarantee I would go to heaven. It was only after I had been married for six years and had two babies that I would finally come face to face with the realization that Jesus was the only One who could DO something to guarantee I would go to heaven. When that became clear in my mind, I got on my knees beside my bed and was saved. I remember feeling like I could just float off. I felt that light! The weight of all my sins was gone!
I want to thank all of you friends who have been such encouragements to me in my life. I know I don't tell you often enough but I appreciate you so very much. You "comfort" and "edify" me just as we are commanded as Christians to do. "Wherefore comfort yourselves together and edify one another, even as also ye do." 2 Thessalonians 5: 11
May God bless you!
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
(A 5-gallon bucket of pears fresh off the tree)
The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. (Psalm 121: 8 KJV)
The promise of crisp, cool days and clear, frosty nights hangs in the air. Autumn is officially here. The season of harvest. Lately every time I drive to town I see tractors on the roads and in the fields. Farmers are baling their hay and gathering their crops. I’m reminded of the verse in Genesis 8: 22 that says, “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”(KJV)
Just today my husband remarked that he wished he knew someone who would like to have the rest of the pears hanging on the tree in our front yard. I have already canned jars and jars of pear preserves, pear relish and pear halves this year so I don’t really need anymore myself. Yet, I am sure I will can a few more just so they’re not wasted.
Since early spring I have watched the pears on that tree. At first I marveled at the lacey white blooms all over the branches. Then spring winds came and scattered them like so many snowflakes all over the ground. After that came little buds of baby pears on the tree. The thick clusters reminded me of grapes. As they grew they became heavier and heavier and began to make the branches droop. We picked some of them before they were very ripe to prevent the branches from breaking under their weight.
As the pears began to ripen, I started preserving them so we could enjoy them this winter. I made pear preserves. A favorite that I often share with friends or family over a hot buttered biscuit. I made pear relish. An unusual combination of pears, hot peppers, bell peppers, onions, sugar and spices that is wonderful over a helping of black-eyed peas or pinto beans. I made pear halves. We love to just open a jar of these and eat with a meal or make a “pear salad” with cottage cheese. But after a while, the sore fingers, stiff neck and back that I get when fixing pears made me not look on these sweet beauties in quite the same light as I did when they first came on the tree. Yet when winter comes and I open a jar of pears, I am so glad that I took the time to preserve them for my family.
There have been times though when I have gone into the pantry to retrieve a jar of preserves and the seal would be broken and the preserves not preserved anymore! What a disappointment. When this happens the culprit is usually a small, almost unnoticeable chip out of the very top of the glass canning jar which causes the seal not to hold. I try to always check carefully for this but sometimes one will slip by me.
Our lives are sometimes sort of like these pears: we “bloom” as infants, “grow” as youngsters, and “ripen” into mature adults. Our Saviour does the “preserving” of us….some of us are one flavor….others another. I am so glad that once I have been “preserved” by the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, that I can never “lose my seal”. (Proverbs 2: 8 KJV “He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.”) He has done the work for my salvation and He is the one who keeps me saved. I am thankful that I can say as did the Patriarch Jacob that I have seen the Lord “face to face” (in the spiritual sense) and have been “preserved”. (“And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” Genesis 32: 30 KJV)
I almost forgot to mention one thing about the pears in my front yard…some of them have fallen on the ground and rotted. Some people are the same way….they have turned away from the drawing of the Holy Spirit and have gone out into the “rotten” ways of sin. I pray that if the Spirit should be calling to you as you read this, you will turn to Christ and let Him make of you a sweet “preserved” soul to be used for His honor and glory.
Well, back to my canning. I have another five-gallon bucket of pears waiting on me in the kitchen!
May God bless and "preserve" you all is my prayer!
Monday, August 24, 2009
(Prescription for a really FLAT tire!)
Has that ever described how you felt? Like you'd just had the air let out of your plans? Or your life? Or just felt like you have fizzled out like a balloon that was losing air? I have! In fact, that's the way I feel today. Although I have things I have to do every day this week, I feel like I'm flat. Empty. Like I'm going nowhere. Spinning my wheels. Making no progress. My bones ache. My eyes are weak. I feel sad. Sometimes it can be something big that deflates me. Sometimes it can be just the tiniest little thing!
What's the answer to my flatness? My emptiness? Maybe I can look at something that happened a few days ago and figure it out. My husband headed out to get his old 4x4 pickup and trailer so he could load his tractor and take it to the "Old Place" to disk up some ground and plant some greens. First thing he noticed a flat on one of his tires. Flat. Empty of air. Not a real unusual thing to happen out here. There's all kinds of things to pick up in a tire on these gravel roads. Sometimes it's a huge nail. Sometimes just a small little tack or rock that causes the flat. Did he just sit down and look at it the flat tire or throw his hands up in despair? No! He took action! He went and got his air compressor, plugged it in , and put air in the flat tire. No more flatness. No more emptiness. Fixed. Mission accomplished. Now he could get on with his plans.
One of the best preventatives for a flat tire is to check the air pressure from time to time. If it's a little low, put more air in. That's what I should do in my spiritual life! I should do a "self-check" from time to time to see how "inflated" I am and if I'm getting too low, spend some extra time with the Lord instead of letting myself get to the place where I am just plain wore out and FLAT!
So, what's the answer to my flat, empty feelings? I need to be inflated. I need to get "plugged in" to a Greater Source of Power than myself.
I need some time alone with God. I need some time to rest in Him. To tell Him my needs. To read His Word. To listen to Him speak to me through His inspired words. I need a fresh wind blowing through my heart and mind that will fill me up and get me going again.
"And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be FILLED with all the FULNESS of God." Ephesians 3: 19
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
The other day while cooking for her I accidentally let the smallest of her stainless steel pots get too hot and it discolored the bottom on the inside. I was mortified that I had let that happen! I immediately tried scrubbing it with a metal scrub pad but that didn't help. I tried scrubbing it with salt. That didn't help. I could tell the discoloration was there to stay. She's always been careful of her pots and pans and to tell you the honest truth....I was afraid to tell her what had happened! I felt like a child who had been caught doing something wrong. It had been a long time since I'd felt that certain feeling of dread in my stomach!
I know you are gonna think this is awful.....and it is!....but I actually thought about just washing and drying the pot, putting it up and not saying a word to her about it. She never cooks anymore and so might not see it for a long time. But then probably the next person who got it out to cook in would say, "What happened to your pot?" And she would guess. Or know. That I did it! And then she would be mad. Or sad. Or just disappointed that I didn't tell her.
So, I swallowed the bitter taste in my mouth and took the pan over to her held behind my back. With a tremor in my voice I said, "I did something that is going to upset you." She looked VERY surprised ....but not upset....and said, "What's that?" Then I told her what had happened and that I was so very sorry about it! I held the pan out for her to see. She seemed glad that that was all that was wrong. ha She told me that it was all right and that it wouldn't affect the way it cooked and that was all that mattered. I felt such relief ! I was so glad that I didn't try and hide what I had done even though it was an accident and not done on purpose. That would have gnawed at my heart till I would have been sick. And such a childish idea in the first place! Good grief! I can't believe it even crossed my mind!
Proverbs 28: 13 says "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." That's exactly what happened with my stepmom. Had I covered up the accident, she would have been so disappointed in me when she found out! But when I confessed it she was quick to forgive and have mercy!
The same principle applies with our Heavenly Father. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." I John 1: 9
What a blessing we enjoy as Christians to have our sins forgiven and covered by the precious shed blood of our Saviour, Jesus Christ! "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered." Romans 4: 7
I'm glad He's "got me covered" !
Saturday, August 15, 2009
"Did you ever know that you're my hero?
You're everything I wish I could be.
I could fly higher than an eagle,
The first time I ever hear Bette Midler’s song “Wind Beneath My Wings” it took my breath away! I know she’s talking about a human loved one but it could just as easily be applied to our Lord. He should be our Hero! And He’s surely everything we wish we could be!
I wonder if men may have been fascinated with “wings” from the first time Adam ever saw a bird? People have even at times made lightweight foundations shaped like wings, strapped them on their back and stepped off the side of a mountain trying to fly like birds. Finally the airplane was invented and now it’s just an everyday thing for men to fly around through the air!
A few months ago while shopping in a Dollar Store I bought our little three-year-old granddaughter some bright pink “fairy wings” to play with. As soon as she saw them she fell in love with them! Her daddy wanted her to leave them at GranMamma’s house instead of taking them home so she did …..but with a very sad face.
Several days ago we had them up for a fish supper. After we had finished eating the adults were still sitting around the table talking but our granddaughter had gone to play with the toys we have for her. She came running back into the kitchen and came up to me with the most pitiful look on her sweet little face. When I asked her what was wrong she said, “GranMamma….I can’t find my wings! ! !” It sounded so funny but she was so serious about it that I made myself stifle a grin. I took her little hand and told her we would find her wings together! We did.
I helped her put them on and with a huge smile from ear she commenced to “fly” all over the house and even out into the yard! Her Daddy confided to me later that she had come to him several days earlier and said to him, “Daddy…I really want to fly…but my wings are at GranMamma’s house!”
I don’t know why but that made me start thinking about God’s wings. Sometimes we may be in the shadow of God’s wings: “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” Psalm 57: 1 Sometimes we are tucked up under His wings: “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” Psalm 91: 4 Sometimes there is healing in His wings: “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings…” Malachi 4: 2
And He promises that He will be the wind beneath our wings: “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)
Thank You Lord, for being the wind beneath my wings!
Monday, August 10, 2009
"The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice even with joy and singing:..."
Isaiah 35: 1-2aMy step-mother gave me a rooted branch of her old-timey rose bush several years ago. Hubby dug a huge hole and filled it with rich dirt and fertilizer and set it out for me. It has grown and grown and now produces lush red blooms most of the summer. This year it was full of blooms in the early summer. Then it stopped for a while but now it's blooming again. But not uniformly. It has gorgeous groups of blooms....in places. Other places are bare and ugly.
I took this close-up picture of some of the roses. Beautiful and lush! It LOOKS perfect from this angle.
But if you look at the whole picture, you can see that there is something wrong with the rosebush. It needs attention. It needs some pruning. It needs spraying to kill some parasites feeding on it.
My life is like this rose bush. It needs attention. I need to take better care of both my physical and spiritual life. My life needs pruning. I need to weed out some things that are crowding out the more needful things in my life. My life needs to be rid of sins that feed on my spirit like parasites.
In my flesh I want to be able to focus people's attention on the blooming parts of my life and hope that they don't see the big picture....all the things that are wrong with me! But in my spirit I know that they need to see the whole "bush"! They need to see that I have struggles, fears, and failures but that with attention, care, and pruning I can have more blooms that will perhaps fill in the bare spots I have now. But only with God working in my life will this ever happen.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
(Marilyn & Liesa)
Up until today I only knew IRL (in real life) two women out of all the blogs I have read. These are two women that I have known for many years. Lisa of "Butterfly Place" and Jana of "Scrapped Knees and Calendula Ointment".
Today Liesa George of "Life By George" and I met ...in real life...at McAlister's Deli for lunch. (Which she most graciously treated me to!) Liesa's teenaged son and one of his friends were having cross country running practice later in the afternoon so they came with her. They were so polite and just sat quietly while Liesa and I talked a mile-a-minute! It was just like we had known each other for years! We talked, ate, and visited for two hours! I hope this is not the last time we are able to get together and visit. Thanks Liesa for a great time!
Talking with a new friend about the Lord over a big glass of iced tea is about as good as it gets! The only thing better is talking with the Lord Himself in our quiet time with Him. He is truly the Friend of all Friends who will stick with us through the good, the bad, and the ugly !
"A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." Proverbs 18: 24