Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Bells are Still Ringing... they toll for thee

We are right in the middle of the Christmas season. Twenty little children are not supposed to be killed, especially right here at Christmas time...

Two days ago, I discovered the back story to the Christmas carol, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day". I wanted to share with you what I learned because I believe this may help us during this tragic time. You see the writer of the poem " Christmas Bells" experienced great tragedy as well. The poem was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Fanny Longfellow was fatally burned in an accident in the library of Craigie House on July 10th.  After trimming some of seven year old Edith's beautiful curls, Fanny decided to preserve the clippings in sealing wax. Melting a bar of sealing wax with a candle, a few drops fell unnoticed upon her dress. The longed for sea breeze blew in through the window, igniting the light material of Fanny's dress-- immediately wrapping her in flames. In her attempt to protect Edith and Allegra, she ran to Henry's study in the next room, where Henry frantically attempted to extinguish the flames with a throw rug. Failing to stop the fire with the rug, he tried to smother the flames by throwing his arms around Frances-- severely burning his face, arms, and hands. Fanny Longfellow died the next morning. Too ill from his burns and grief, Henry did not attend her funeral.

The first Christmas after Fanny's death, Longfellow wrote, "How inexpressibly sad are all holidays." A year after the incident, he wrote, "I can make no record of these days. Better leave them wrapped in silence. Perhaps someday God will give me peace." Longfellow's journal entry for December 25th 1862 reads: "'A merry Christmas' say the children, but that is no more for me." Almost a year later, Longfellow received word that his oldest son Charles, a lieutenant in the Army of the Potomac, had been severely wounded with a bullet passing under his shoulder blades and taking off one of the spinal processes. He did not die from his wounds. Finally, on Christmas Day of 1864, he wrote the words of the poem, "Christmas Bells."
Longfellow's Christmas bells loudly proclaimed, "God is not dead." Even more, the bells announced, "Nor doth He sleep." God's Truth, Power, and Justice are affirmed, when Longfellow wrote: "The wrong shall fail, the right prevail." The message that the Living God is a God of Peace is proclaimed in the close of the carol: "Of peace on Earth, good will to men."
During this time of grief in our country, we can learn a lesson from people like Longfellow who wrestled with questions.  He possibly even wrestled with God and God gave him the assurance that He was not dead!
I love the lines:
And in despair I bowed my head
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men."

What the killer did was an act of hate. Hate is a strong emotion. The gun shots rang out and cut through the peaceful, idyllic community. But we know that God IS peace, and God will give us His peace. Yes, hate is strong, but God and His love is stronger! Never stop believing that!

The Bible says, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men." Luke 2:14

Shhhh, can you hear it? I believe I can hear a bell ringing. Though faintly, it is still ringing for everyone. Listen; the message is still for today. Quiet your hearts and listen. The message is...Jesus. He will have the final say over death and the grave. He is saying: I am the peace you are so desperately longing for. Take the gift that I am offering today. It is not wrapped up in a shiny beautiful package. It is wrapped in swaddling clothes. It was beaten and bruised on a tree, not a glittery, shining tree with lights, but a rugged one. Take this gift of myself... I am the peace that you long for.

Yes, I can hear a bell....this bell tolls... it tolls for thee.

Lyrics to " I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"

(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), 1867)

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Reflections of a Nation

     Have you ever passed by a mirror, looked at your reflection, and were startled by what you saw? That was me, last night.  The election was a mirror that was held up to our country last night. What the reflection shows is that we are a bi-polar nation.
 
The nation is divided like never before. The reflection also shows that we want the American dream, but we are spoiled and we want to get it the easy way. We have been fooled into believing that if we achieve the American dream it must mean that God is blessing us.  There are many that truly believe their salvation is found in bigger government, more programs, irresponsible spending. We also see in this reflection that our traditional Christian values have been dismissed and marginalized. Our salvation is and will be found in no other than Christ, The King. He is the medication for our bi-polar condition! I pray that four years from now we don't wake up and look at our reflection, and we don't recognize who we are.





" He only is my rock and salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken." Psalm 62:2. Although I was startled by this reflection, I will not be greatly shaken by it because I know that Jesus alone, is my rock and He alone is my salvation. I pray that we will remember this in the coming four years. Yes, we caught a glimpse of a nation that was slouching. I  just hope it is not as Robert Bork said in the title of his book, "Slouching Towards Gomorrah."...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Can you pass me a napkin?

     A friend of mine called me the other day to share with me a passage of Scripture that she was excited about. This friend does this often and I love it when she does. She opened her Bible and read this Scripture to me over the phone:

Colossians 1: 9-14
     " 9For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
13For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

I told her to hold on and let me write this down so that I could go back and read it again for myself and soak it all in. Then I told her to let me go get a napkin to wipe my mouth because I feel like I just had a good, large, delicious meal! (This is just how we talk to each other). 

So, I went back later and re-read this wonderful passage. God kind of messed with me a little.  When I went back and read the passage again, the word "filled" jumped out at me in verse 9. I guess He does want us to be "filled" just as if we had a big, satisfying meal! But come away after the filling with the knowledge of His will, spiritual wisdom and understanding. 

You may not understand me feeling this way when reading Scripture, but the Psalmist felt the same way.

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103

 If you are reading this blog, I hope that you will take the time and truly digest this passage.

I bet you will need a napkin too...

Cause it's soooo good!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Embrace the Shadows

God...
A shadow of a casket has invaded my life...
Has pushed me down and knocked the wind out of me
Please God help me to find my feet again
My child...
I want you to learn to embrace the shadows
When they raised my son, my only Son on a cross
It created a shadow...
All who come close and allow themselves to be embraced by this shadow
Those who embrace my son on the cross will find...
Love...
Forgiveness and grace
This shadow also was cast over Me
For it was the only time I have ever been separated from my beloved Son
I know you are hurting...
I  know how you feel...
Being separated from your loved one.
I want you to embrace another shadow...
The shadow of my wings
If you will come close to this shadow
You will find shelter, rest and...
Safety.
You are safe to ask your questions
For it is here you will find healing and... 
Comfort.
For I Am the Comforter
Stay here with me and find what you need to...
Carry on.
Until you can find your feet again.
Breathe in and out my grace...
Let me apply my healing balm of love.
These two shadows...
The Cross...
My Wings...
My child...
Embrace these shadows.

grace notes: Embrace the Shadows

grace notes: Embrace the Shadows: God...  A shadow of a casket has invaded my life... Has pushed me down and knocked the wind out of me Please God help me to find m...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Amish Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients:

1/3 cup butter 2 large eggs 3/4 cup brown sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 1 teaspoon nutmeg or 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup milk 2 tablespoons milk 3 cups oatmeal (regular or quick) Directions:

1 Melt butter. 2 Grease 1 1/2 quart baking dish and drop in eggs and beat well. 3 Add brown sugar, baking powder, vanilla, nutmeg or cinnamon, and salt. Mix well, no lumps. 4 Whisk in butter and both measures of milk, then add oats. 5 Stir well, and refrigerate overnight. 6 Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 35-45 min, or until set in the middle. 7 Serve hot with warm milk poured over.

I have made this and it is excellent. Great that you can put together at night to just use in the morning when you are in a hurry.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Students learn your A's B's C's and D's


Well, it's here kids. The day you have probably dreaded all summer. Duh duh duh, back to school! I just wanted to give you the ABCD's for back to school.

1. Acquire and Apply

The first one is be someone who loves to learn! Decide that this year you will be a student that loves to learn something new. Proverbs 18:15 says, " The mind of the prudent (wise) acquires knowledge. The ear of the wise seeks knowledge." Find a way to apply what you have learned. One way that you can do this is by studying to do well on your tests. That is applying what you have learned. Another apply, is to determine this year to apply yourself. Apply yourself to learn and study, and then maybe you can even teach someone else what you have learned!

2. Best-

This year, be determined to give your best, to the teacher, to the Lord, and to yourself. A great scripture to keep in mind is: "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men." Colossians 3: 23. If you do your work like you're teacher is Jesus, it should make a difference. Even if you don't like your teacher, you should be able to give your best if you are imagining you are doing it for the Lord instead.

3. Commit-

Proverbs 16:3 says, " Commit your works to the LORD and your plans will be established." Pray about your school year and commit it to the Lord. Pray before you study and ask the Lord to help you remember the things you are studying. Before your tests and exams, and ask the Lord to bring to your mind everything you have already studied. Seniors, you may have a senior project this year. Have you committed your project to the Lord? It's not to late to do that. Lastly, Commit your life. If you have not committed your life to the Lord, I pray that you will do that. It won't do you much good to just commit your work, if you have not committed your life to God. To live for Him, not just at home and church where it's easy, but at school too. That's the real test isn't it?

4. Diligent-

It says in Proverbs 12:27b "... the precious possession of a man (woman) is diligence."
The dictionary definition of the word "diligence" is: being constant in an effort to accomplish something. Keep at it, work hard and be diligent with your school work this year. I believe that it will pay off at the end with good grades. If you are diligent in your work, there is no telling how much you can accomplish, and how far you can go!

Try to remember these things. Pastor Steve and I will be praying for you this school year. We are here for you. We are on your side, pulling for you and cheering you on! You can do it!

Now go and learn your A, B's C's and D's!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The gift of the seashell



Our family recently went on a catamaran cruise to the Cape Lookout lighthouse. On the way, we stopped at a place called, "Seashell island". It's known for it's seashells that collect on the shore line. I have been to a lot of different beaches. Never have I seen one that has so many shells lying on the sand. I don't know what it is about this particular beach, that makes it like a giant sieve. It harvests large amounts of shells from the ocean and leaves them on the sand.
We are given a bag to put our shells into. So we can bring our "treasures" back with us. As I was picking up my treasure, my mind was focused on the seashell. When you think about the ocean, it is beautiful, with its wide expanse. But it's rough and sometimes violent with hurricanes. It can wreck a ship on its shoals... and yet from it comes the seashell.
We are given a gift, a treasure from something very unlikely, the sea. Every time I go to the ocean, I look for beautiful seashells. It is the best souvenir because it's free. The sea, with it's tide ebbing in and out, seems to be tugging at you, the sand, and everything around it. It is always saying, "More, I need more... come out here to me." Assigning a human characteristic to it, it is selfish. But when you look at the seashell, the sea is displaying a very different nature. It is a gift that the sea gives. It does something quite unselfish and hands over something of itself.
When we return from any trip to the ocean, we bring back our shell as a reminder of our trip to the coast. As I was thinking about writing this, I held up the large conch shell to my ear. They say you can hear the ocean's waves.
I think I heard something... it said, "Come back soon... you know you love to be here." I said, " I will, and thank you for the beautiful gift."

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Back To School help for Kids, Uh I mean...Moms


Help! My child is ready to start school and I'm not ready to let them go!
Little Mommas... so many of you have wee ones that are starting school today; some for the very first time. But what do you do when your children are excited to start school and you aren't quite ready yet? May I just say... been there and done that.
When Ashley and Daniel started school they were all smiles and rip raring to go. Me.... I was not ready for them to go... I was a mess! Oh yes, I had prepared them, they skipped into their classrooms with their little lunch box and book bag, turned and waved goodbye...bye Mommy! (I think Ashley waved so enthusiastically that her pony tail just swayed back and forth!)
Now what? What about Mommy?
I tell you what? Mommy went home, went in her room, rocked back and forth in the rocking chair and just cried like a baby!
As I was perusing the Internet to see if there was any encouragement for Mom's on this subject, I saw there wasn't much. So, I want to try to encourage all the sweet little Mommas today.
1. It's okay to cry.
Yes, that's right. Just go on and give yourself permission to do just that! I think we have so much Mommy guilt about everything! I believe that the Lord created us with feelings and emotions and if it was wrong for us to cry, He would not have created us to be emotional creatures. So, for today, I say go ahead and cry, it may be good for you to do that, a good release.
2. Trust yourself.
Trust that you have instilled within your child the Christian values that he or she needs to be able to adapt in this new environment. If you have taught them to be kind at home, they will be kind at school. If you taught them to share at home, they will share at school. If you taught them to love, especially to love the Lord, they will be a loving person at school.
"Train a child in the way he should go..." Proverbs 22:6 You have trained them, and now they are going, let's let them go.
3. Trust your child.
Trust that your child has heard you and paid attention to you all these years and will carry these life lessons with them into the classroom. Yes, they are little children, but they are all unique, and special to God and to you. They have their own interests and likes that need to be developed. They have so much to learn. Let them learn it.
4. Trust the teacher.
This one may be the hardest. If you don't know the teacher on a personal level, this one can really be hard. At the beginning of the school year, I would pray that the teacher my child had, would love my child. Pray that the teacher will see all of the wonderful qualities in your child that you see. And would guide your child to blossom and flourish in their classroom.
5. Trust God.
Trust the Lord. He created your child. He knows them by name. Jesus loves them. He will be with them every step of the way as their guide and friend. He will bring back to their mind everything you have taught them.
Jesus said in Matthew 19:14, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Jesus loved children and they loved Him. The children wanted to come to Jesus. There was something warm, winsome and loving about Jesus that the children wanted to be around Him. He still loves children today. Trust Him with your child. In other words, place your child in God's hands.
6. Let peace be your constant companion.
If you are a stay at home Mom, your child has been your constant companion from birth. Now you must let the Lord and His peace be your constant companion. So,try not to stay a mess! Give yourself this day to be a mess, but be resolved not to stay a mess! Don't continue to stay in a constant state of turmoil. It is not good for you, or your child. Think about all the new and wonderful things your child is going to learn. They will be coming home at the end of this day, so excited and ready to share with you all their new experiences. Be ready to put your feelings aside and get excited with them!
Here is a scripture for you to memorize and take with you today and everyday.
"You (God) will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You: because he
trusts in You." Isaiah 26:3 So keep your mind focused on God. He is the Prince of Peace and He will give you His peace if you meditate on Him and His Word.
Let me have prayer with you dear Momma.
Heavenly Father, I pray that you would be with all the dear, sweet Mothers today who are sending their little ones off to school. I pray that you would bless these children as they go with Your protection. I pray that the Moms would place their confidence in this and in You. I pray that their children would learn and grow into the people that You would have them be. I pray that you would be with the teachers, give them wisdom and knowledge to impart to the children, but more importantly, give them a heart full of love for each child. Again, be with all the Mothers and help them to feel your love for their child and for them. Give them Your peace today I pray in Your blessed name Jesus.
Amen
God bless you little Mommas. You have done a great job. Your children are ready to go.
You may have your tissue in one hand and your Bible in the other. But even though you may think you're not ready, you are...
With God's help... He will give you the strength!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Stay Thirsty My Friends


On our recent visit to Missouri, my Sister-In-Love, took my camera and snapped some beautiful pictures of her neighbor's little fawn. There are some scriptures that mention the deer.
Psalm 42: 1-2 says, " As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?"
Hunger and thirst is something that is hard to ignore. God placed these cravings within us so that we would seek food, or drink and get what our bodies need to survive. I believe that He also placed a similar craving within us for Him. We will not be satisfied, truly with anything else.
The picture here in this passage is of a deer that has been chased up into the hills and is so thirsty. This is a thirst and craving similar to an alcoholic craving alcohol. They just have to have it or else! The deer is so thirsty that he not only bends his head down to drink, he dives his whole body right into the river. He just wants to soak it right into his pores!
Jesus said on the Sermon on the Mount that if we are that thirsty for Him and His righteousness, we are blessed, the word happy could be inserted here.
"Blessed (happy) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied (filled). Matthew 5:6 I would submit to you that you don't want to be righteous apart from knowing God. We need to want to know God with that much desire. Like a deer that is on the brink of thirsting to death if he doesn't get water!
Am I that thirsty for God?
In asking myself that question, I thought of that clever commercial of "The Most Interesting Man in the World". You know the one I"m talking about? At the end of the commercial, he says, "Stay Thirsty My friends"... this is a clever way for the advertiser to sell his product. It is not however something that we are interested in being physically. Who in their right minds would ever want to "stay thirsty"? However, this is a good way to think spiritually. We need to stay thirsty for God and His Word and His righteousness.
Are we thirsty for God?
Stay thirsty my friends...

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Psalm While Packing Books By: Joseph Bayly


So many hurting people... I have friends who are without jobs, in bankruptcy, and even the loss of a baby. There are many Scriptures that help us during this time, but I also like to hear from people who have walked down this same path. Through Randy Alcorn's devotional "90 Days of God's Goodness", he had a poem written by Joseph Bayly. Before I share this poem, I just wanted to tell you a little bit about Joseph Bayly. Joseph and his wife Mary Lou, lost three children. One was a baby, 18 days old, after surgery. Another at five years with leukemia, and the third was 18 years old, after a sledding accident due to complications from hemophilia.
I am interested in hearing from anyone who has gone through this much suffering. Who has worked through things, and yes even wrestled with the Lord and is still in ministry helping people.
I purchased two of Joseph Bayly's books, and the poem I am going to share with you is written by him, from the book "Psalms of My Life"
A Psalm While Packing Books
This cardboard box
Lord
see it says
Bursting limit
200 lbs. per square inch.
The box maker knew
how much strain
the box would take
what weight
would crush it.
You are wiser than the box maker
Maker of my spirit
my mind
my body.
Does the box know
when pressure increases close to
the limit?
No
it knows nothing.
But I know
when my breaking point
is near.
And so I pray
Maker of my soul
Determiner of the pressure
within
upon me
Stop it
lest I be broken
or else
change the pressure rating
of this fragile container
of Your grace
so that I may bear more.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Things Change...Through the Years


Things change... Through the years
The dress label number has increased...
But you don't seem to notice...
Your acceptance of me never ceased.
My face is betraying me when I catch my own reflection...
But from you I receive no rejection.
My hair is fading in it's color...
You don't see that it's duller...
The gleam in your eye makes my hair shine...
To you it's divine.
We don't feel the need to talk and talk...
With you beside me I will joyfully walk...
You're holding my hand...
As we travel down this road...
We share each others load
The empty nest...
Discovering each other...
We are so blest...
As we turn down the road that will bend...
My forever friend...
Left up to me it will never end...
You calm my fears...
Even sometimes there may be tears...
When others have jeers...
I'll always be here...
That will never change... Through the years.
Written to my dear husband Steve Roy by your wife JoAnne
On the occasion of our 31st Anniversary... With all my love.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

All that glitters is not gold


Steve and I were recently in New Orleans for the SBC. After the convention was over, we set out to explore the city. We went to Bourbon Street. The sights and sounds and smells were overwhelming to the senses. Not just a bombardment of my senses, but of my soul. As we were walking down the sidewalk, my attention was drawn to a place on the sidewalk . The owner of the shop had sprinkled some beautiful, gold glitter on it. The glitter laden sidewalk was right in front of a place that said, "Angel readings". As I stopped to look at this, I realized that it was a place where you could go and get a "fortune telling" done. This grieved my spirit. We are told in Leviticus 19:31 "Do not defile yourselves by turning to mediums or to those who consult the spirits of the dead. I am the LORD your God." I wonder how many people went in there because of the beautiful glitter on the sidewalk, or the attractiveness of the place. My heart was so sad for this woman. So I stopped there and prayed for the woman who would be doing these readings. I prayed that she would come to know Jesus as her Saviour. The God we serve knows our future. He holds our future in His hands. I don't know about you, but I don't want to know my future! God created us so that we would not know the future for a reason. It would keep us in a turmoil and scared all the time to know the bad things that may lie ahead for us.
We should not be surprised by this. This is Satan's mode of operation. II Corinthians 11:14 reminds us that ..." Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light." This is what he is so good at! Making sin look attractive and beautiful!
Next time you are tempted by something that looks so enticing remember that's how Satan works. He disguises the sin into a thing of beauty. That's how the serpent got Eve! The unfortunate thing is you don't see where it leads. Oh, there is a definite trail, but to where?
It may lead to your destruction.
James 1: 15 says," Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings for death."
Thomas Gray in 1742, in an "Ode on A Distant Prospect of Eton College" wrote these wise words, "Not all that tempts your wand'ring eyes And heedless hearts, is lawful prize; Nor all that glitters gold."
If you can't remember the Scriptures, the next time you see something that is shiny, that glittering thing of beauty that would be oh so tempting, just remember this little phrase...
"All that glitters is not gold."

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sing a Song in the Night

Last night I was staying in a hotel room and a bird sang late into the night keeping me awake. At 4:30 in the night, the bird started singing again and woke me. This time God spoke to my heart. He said to my spirit, " You need to be like this bird, and sing songs to me in the night. Sing songs to me when you are at your lowest, not just in the good times."

Job. 35:10 says,"But no one says, Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night."
This inspired me to write a poem, such as it is.

Sing a Song in the Night


There's a nightingale singing in the night
God speaks to my soul...be like this bird.
Sing a song to me in the night.
When the night is long, all is not calm... all is not bright.
You can't see me in the dark,
Reach out to me.
It takes faith...
Faith sings when times are stark.
Sing when your soul is bare.
I inhabit praise.
You will find me there.
I have led you to this dark place so you will find me.
Find me sweeter... Find me dearer...
To find your voice is stronger.
Let it soar to the heights!
You could sing before, though weakly.
The night brought out your richer tones,
More melodic and bright.
Sing a song for mercy.
Mercy that brings you through the valley
Where I am walking with you.
At times I even carry you.
Sing a song of deliverance.
Until you see the dawn break through.
Just know that I am leading you.
Whatever I may bring you to.
Until that welcomed time where the dawn is born.
Keep singing to me that song.
That song that I gave you.
That sweet song in the night.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"Nevertheless"




This past Sunday we were so privileged to hear Mark Sweeting speak to us at Hocutt. Mark and Sharon are Missionaries. I will not say where, but as I was thinking about all that they have sacrificed to go, I came across this verse, "And Simon answering said unto him, Teacher, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at your word I will let down the net." (Luke5:5 KJV)
Simon, James and John had been toiling and fishing all night without catching any fish. Fishing like they did 2000 years ago would be tiring. They would throw the nets out over and over again, and pull them back in. I imagine they were tired. Human reason and physical exhaustion would make them want to stop. But Jesus told them to try it one more time. Simon said one word that caught my attention, "nevertheless". In other words, even though I'm tired from fishing all night, nevertheless, I will obey you.
William Chalmer Burns was a missionary to China in 1847. After seven years he wrote, "I do not know of a single soul brought to Christ through me." Nevertheless, he persevered.
The country that Mark and Sharon have gone to is very dangerous. We hear about it on the news, car bombings and other things that would make anyone apprehensive about going...nevertheless, they went.
Mark and Sharon has children and grandchildren that they dearly love and miss... nevertheless, they went.
What is your "nevertheless"?
God may ask you to sacrifice your time, talent, treasure, family, home, comfort. He may ask you to toil in your menial, everyday tasks and live in obscurity. No one may ever know the things you do for the Lord, and for His kingdom. Whatever the situation, are you willing to say, "Nevertheless Lord, I will obey you"?
Let us live, and obey in the magnificent word...Nevertheless.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Walk Through


Sunday evening I stood by the bedside of a friend... a 47 year old man who had struggled and fought with his body betraying him. I listened to Kez his wife tell about how he had also struggled with the Lord. What made this a bitter sweet time is that Kevin, in struggling with the Lord, I believe from what Kez told me, received answers from the Lord... and so, there was a resolve... a release that took place in Kevin's heart and soul.
The next day I pondered many things. One being a portion of the 23rd Psalm. " Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I fear no evil, for You are with me."
Some phrases in this that played over in my mind were... "walk through". For the Christian, death is not a wall, but a doorway. We proceed through this doorway with Him. We may be weary, even injured, but we arrive at our destination. How? Because the Lord Jesus is with us with every step we take.When we "walk through"the valley, He is right there with us.
The second phrase is, " shadow of death". I was thinking about shadows. You could be walking down a trail in the woods and come across the shadow of a bear. The shadow itself cannot hurt you. It is just a play of the light reflecting a certain way that makes the shadow. A shadow can only be seen when the sun is shining! This is not a cloudy, gloomy day for the Christian. So when we are walkingwith the Lord, we need not fear the "shadow" of death, for it's just a shadow. When you are a child and you first discover a shadow, you may be afraid until your Mom or Dad that is with you explains it. They may say, "Oh honey, there's no need to be afraid, it's only a shadow and shadows can't hurt you." I believe this is what it's like for the Christian when they face death. We don't need to fear death because when Christ is walking with us, it's only a shadow.
In Randy Alcorn's book,"If God is Good" he says, " Although death is the last enemy, the ghastly result of the Fall and the Curse, Christ made death a passageway into the loving presence of God, "Sothat by His death He might destroy him who holds the powers of death- that is, the devil- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death." Hebrews 2: 14-15) Christ has liberated us from the need to fear death." Why? Because He conquered death!
So for the Christian, when we come to the end of our journey here in this life, we can continue to "walk through". We can walk through the valley of the "shadow of death", where God will comfort and calm fears, where our cups can overflow, and this is a place where we can rejoice and look forward to an eternity of being with our good and loving God.
So, walk through Kevin, and walk on with your Lord, dear Brother. It was just a shadow, and the Son is shining bright on the other side!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I want to have 12/12 vision

I used to work in Eye care. Most people think that if you have "perfect vision" that it is "20/20". Actually, you can have vision that is better than that, but that is not the point of this post. Today I read Romans 12:12.  It says: "Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer." In reflecting on what this verse means, I decided that I want "12/12" vision! Okay, I don't think that is very good when it comes to vision for your eyes. I want this kind of vision for my spiritual eyes.

How can we have 12/12 vision?

 We can have this because Christ is raised from the dead. This is where we find hope. His death looked bleak, but His resurrection brought hope for a new tomorrow for all of us, if we are believers. "Hope", that is a beautiful word. Burns said, " Hope is the cordial in every human heart." We get up and go every morning because of hope. It gives us something to live for. I can live my life rejoicing in a hope like this!

The second thing mentioned in the verse is "Persevering in tribulation". I am told in Scripture to expect tribulation. It will come. But I am to persevere through it. With the Lord's help, I can go on, through the tribulation. Isaiah 43:2 says, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you." Notice it doesn't say, "If" you pass through the waters, but "When". But the second part of the verse is how we can persevere through the tribulation. It says He will be with us. The Holy Spirit will be with us, guiding us through the trials and tribulations.

The third thing is, "Devoted to prayer". If you are devoted to something you are dedicated to it. It becomes something so important to you that you become single-minded in it. If I am devoted to prayer, it becomes such a part of my life that I do this like breathing. I Thessalonians 5:17 says, "Pray without ceasing." We can only pray like this if we are devoted to it.

Lord, Help me to have 12/12 vision. To be ever "rejoicing, persevering, and devoted" to the things that are important to you. I want to look at life through spiritual eyes like this. For it is then that I will really begin to see things clearly... as You would have me see.


 Picture:                                                

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What about your heart?


Things we guard:
Our children, from dangerous situations.
Our home, by using locks and security systems.
Our computers, by implementing a password.
Our property, by using a guard dog.
Our skin, by using sunblock.
Our finances, by saving money.
Our car, by using a car alarm.
What about your heart?
Did you forget to guard one of the most important things?
The Bible says in Proverbs 4: 23, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." (NIV)
This word guard means to protect, keep, watch, inspect, like the guarding of a fortress.
We are guarding everything else, why aren't we guarding our hearts? If you are not careful with your heart, it will lead to "heart"ache. The repercussions can be terrible. You have the potential to not only ruin your life, but the lives of your family and the people you say you love.
Don't start the "innocent" flirting, there is no such thing! The confiding in someone other than your spouse. That is giving a piece of your heart away that should be for them alone. Only let your spouse be your confidant... not anyone of the opposite sex if you are married.
Most affairs start out innocently. You think it would be just fine to friend your ex girlfriend or boyfriend on facebook. In my opinion it's not fine... it's dangerous and playing with fire. If you are married you need to be careful of who you allow to be your friend in life AND on facebook! Too many marriages have failed because of facebook. I know of several.
You might think, wow, you sure are strict! Yes indeed I am. I'm trying to guard my heart.
We guard everything else... why not our hearts?
After all... if you don't guard it... you might not have anything much left TO guard. The rest may be left shattered in a million pieces...
Something to think about...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Our Awesome Creator/ Song Writer/ Music Producer




Louie Giglio Mashup of Stars and Whale Singing God's Praise

Psalm 148:3-13


As a music major and music fanatic I am always interested in learning new
things about music. Yesterday I saw a you tube clip that just fascinated me. It
is about different things in nature and creation that put out a sound that could
be interpreted as music. I started thinking about this, and wondered if anyone
else might find it interesting as well.
We all know that birds chirp and sing with different pitches and melodic
tones. But did you know that stars did as well? How about whales, did you know
they sing a song too? The whales have a call to each other that is a haunting
sound. Elephants and other animals do as well. By definition this could also be
thought of as music.
Our great creative, creator God has made all of these things for His good
pleasure. He has created them to praise Him in one way, or another. Just their
very existence is a praise to His glory. But the Bible also says that His
creation praises Him. In some instances in Scripture, it says that creation
sings praises to God.
I found too many to print out the full verse, but I want to list them so
that you can look them up. I went over these yesterday and had my own time of
praise to the Lord.
I Chronicles 16: 31-33, Jeremiah 51:48, Isaiah 14:7, 35:2, 44:23, 49:13,
55:12, Psalm 65:13, 69:34, 96:11-13a, 98:4, 7-9a, 103:22, 145:10, 150:6.
We kid ourselves if we think we as humans are the creator of music. The
creation of music is within the mind of God.
Edith M. Thomas said, "The God of music dwelleth out of doors." God created
us as humans to praise Him, but we would be naive to think that He didn't create
His other creatures to be able to do the same thing.
Psalm 98:8-9 says, " Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains
sing together for joy before the LORD..." Psalm 148: 3 also says, "Praise Him,
sun and moon; praise Him, all stars of light!" (vs 7) "Praise the LORD from the
earth, sea creatures and all deeps..." (vs 10-13) "Beasts and all cattle;
creeping things and winged fowl; Kings of the earth and all peoples; Princes and
all judges of the earth; Both young men and virgins; Old men and children. Let
them praise the name of the LORD, For His glory is above earth and
heaven."
Are you getting this picture?
His creation is leading the praise. The rivers and the mountains, the
creatures in the sea, the birds flying in the air are all praising the Lord. So
we see that they are doing what they were created to do... Praise God and give
Him glory!
Are we doing what we were created to do?
We were also created to praise God and give him glory. The Scripture above
does not leave anyone out. It says young men, old men and children. Kings of the
earth and all people.
All means You! Don't let the rivers, and the whales and the stars out do
you in their praise to God!
"Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD!"

Our Awesome Creator/ Songwriter/ Music Producer

As a music major and music fanatic I am always interested in learning new things about music. Yesterday I saw a you tube clip that just fascinated me. It is about different things in nature and creation that put out a sound that could be interpreted as music. I started thinking about this, and wondered if anyone else might find it interesting as well.
We all know that birds chirp and sing with different pitches and melodic tones. But did you know that stars did as well? How about whales, did you know they sing a song too? The whales have a call to each other that is a haunting sound. Elephants and other animals do as well. By definition this could also be thought of as music.
Our great creative, creator God has made all of these things for His good pleasure. He has created them to praise Him in one way, or another. Just their very existence is a praise to His glory. But the Bible also says that His creation praises Him. In some instances in Scripture, it says that creation sings praises to God.
I found too many to print out the full verse, but I want to list them so that you can look them up. I went over these yesterday and had my own time of praise to the Lord.
I Chronicles 16: 31-33, Jeremiah 51:48, Isaiah 14:7, 35:2, 44:23, 49:13, 55:12, Psalm 65:13, 69:34, 96:11-13a, 98:4, 7-9a, 103:22, 145:10, 150:6.
We kid ourselves if we think we as humans are the creator of music. The creation of music is within the mind of God.
Edith M. Thomas said, "The God of music dwelleth out of doors." God created us as humans to praise Him, but we would be naive to think that He didn't create His other creatures to be able to do the same thing.
Psalm 98:8-9 says, " Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy before the LORD..." Psalm 148: 3 also says, "Praise Him, sun and moon; praise Him, all stars of light!" (vs 7) "Praise the LORD from the earth, sea creatures and all deeps..." (vs 10-13) "Beasts and all cattle; creeping things and winged fowl; Kings of the earth and all peoples; Princes and all judges of the earth; Both young men and virgins; Old men and children. Let them praise the name of the LORD, For His glory is above earth and heaven."
Are you getting this picture?
His creation is leading the praise. The rivers and the mountains, the creatures in the sea, the birds flying in the air are all praising the Lord. So we see that they are doing what they were created to do... Praise God and give Him glory!
Are we doing what we were created to do?
We were also created to praise God and give him glory. The Scripture above does not leave anyone out. It says young men, old men and children. Kings of the earth and all people.
All means You! Don't let the rivers, and the whales and the stars out do you in their praise to God!
"Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD!"

Friday, March 16, 2012

"Feel Free"

Jen, Pastor's wife at Naibor Amon
This will be my last update about our Kenya Mission trip until the Lord lets me go again.
Saturday, February 18, 2012: We are at Liberty Baptist today. Carrie teaches on prayer and then Betty taught, "Who I Am in Christ". We ate lunch with them as we have all week. We have had goat and cabbage and potatoes and chapatti. Today we also are served fruit. The food has been very good and we appreciate all the sweet women who have cooked for us all week.
It is getting time to go and so we pass out the final gifts to the Pastors, the women, and children. Pastor Peter, and some of the women also give gifts to us. They are special, handmade gifts of intricate beaded jewelry. Each piece is so special. But what is even more special is the place that these people have in my heart. I love them so much! They are the sweetest, kindest, most polite people that I have ever met.
Sunday, February 19, 2012: Our team divides up into four teams. To be able to go to four different churches and lead their worship. Steve and I went to a church that our team has never been to. It is called, Naibor Amon. The Pastor's name is Peter and his wife's name is Jen.
When we arrived the Pastor's wife greeted me by saying "Cairiboo" which means "welcome" and then she said with a smile, "Feel free". I have thought often about those two words since she said them to me.
Feel free... that is how we should feel in church. We should feel free to worship the Lord without worrying about what other people are thinking about us. We should just have love for our Lord uppermost in our minds and hearts. We should stop being so self- conscious in our worship of the Lord and more God- conscious.
Thank you Jen for those two beautiful, and "freeing" words.
"Feel free"... I think I will!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

God still does miracles today!

The miracle young man, John


Update on Kenya Mission trip.
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Pastor Peter asked us to go by the home of his half-sister, Eunice and see her son, John. What Pastor Peter wanted us to see was the evidence of a miracle! You see, the College team from Bayleaf that went to Kenya in August went to John's home and prayed for him. John had an epilepsy type disease that made him have convulsions. His arms and legs were drawn up and he was in the bed, and a wheel chair. He could not walk.
This really hit me hard because our son Daniel was a part of this group that went to Kenya and prayed for this young man. Well my eyes had a hard time really taking it all in! This young man was healed to the uttermost! He was so whole again and well, that it looked like nothing had ever been wrong with him! He looked as healthy as our son Daniel.
As a Mom, this touched me so much that our son and the other young people had faith in God to heal. It also reaffirmed my faith in our Great God! Our God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is the same God that healed in the Bible, and He still heals today. Don't you doubt God's abilities for one split second. He is Almighty, and able.
Of course, I cried all the way to Liberty Baptist where we taught the people there. I cannot wait to hear what the Lord is going to do in the life of this young man, named John. What a Mighty God we serve!
Amen?!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Nothing Wasted


Betsy getting ready to kiss Helen our Interpreter

Update on Kenya Mission trip
Friday, February 17, 2012
We are back at Oldepe church. In the afternoon Betsy taught and I also taught on "Deborah the Judge". Betsy spoke on Marriage and the women asked some questions. We noticed that the ladies are asking more questions than they ever have in the past. One of the questions was, "Are women battered in America too?" Well this was a God sent question. Betsy began by saying, "Yes, some of them are, and let me tell you my story." Betsy went on to tell them how when she was just a baby, her own Father beat her Mother, and then deserted them both. ( I have been given permission by Betsy to tell this) Betsy told this so bravely and tenderly to the women. God's spirit was there. He poured out His Spirit to these women using Betsy's words. Well, I began to cry, and so did Betsy, along with most of the Maasai women. A Maasai woman came up to me and was hugging me, and patting me where my heart is. Another woman hugged Betsy also.
We found out why the Pastor's wife was crying. The exact same thing had happened to her when she was a child. God was using Betsy to console her and to heal her from the same hurt that Betsy had experienced.
A lesson to be learned here is no matter where we live, all around the world, we are the same. We cry the same tears. No matter what color we are, we shed the same color blood. God loves us all.
God does not waste anything that happens to us. No matter what it is, no matter how hurtful, God can still use it! Praise God He did in Betsy's life.
II Corinthians 1: 3-4 says, " Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we are comforted by God." Romans 8:28 tells us, " And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God..."
Do you see that? God comforts us when we are going through afflictions, and then we can use that to help someone else. God is always at work, and He is working things out for our good. Nothing we go through is in vain! Nothing we go through, no matter how bad, is wasted by Almighty God. Don't you want to praise Him for that?! I know I do.
I have such a heart full of love for these Maasai women. My love grows and grows for them each time I go back to see them. I have so much love and admiration for Betsy too. She has been through a lot in her life but she keeps right on smiling and laughing! But even more than that, I love and admire the Lord so much for using every single scrap in my life and other's lives for His honor and glory, and for the building up of His precious daughters and His kingdom.
May God be praised!

Monday, March 5, 2012

God provides, we teach

Me teaching "Woman with issue of Blood" Carrie portraying Jesus wearing the prayer shawl
Me and Betsy and Sarah
Elderly Maasai Woman named Sarah
Continuing information about our Kenya Mission trip.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
We went to David Olonopa's church again (Mutenkuar Baptist)
Carrie taught the women on the Ephesians passage "Putting on the Armor of God". Betty also taught on "Mary and Martha and Lazarus" she also gave her testimony. While Carrie and Betty taught, Betsy and I went out evangelizing with Will and Steve. All of the people we spoke to were believers and went to a church. Betsy and I met an elderly lady. I believe she said her name was Sarah. We talked to her for awhile. She had a little store that she ran. I asked her how old she was and she said she didn't know. They don't keep up with their age like we do here.
Thursday, February 16. 2012
We went to Oledepe Baptist Church
Betsy and I taught today. Betsy taught on the "Good Samaritan" and I taught about the Woman with the issue of Blood. The Scripture talks about the woman touched the fringe of Jesus garment. So I was so excited to be able to borrow a Jewish prayer shawl like Jesus may have worn back then. It has fringe hanging from the edge of it. The woman I borrowed it from attends Hocutt and she was telling me that they would touch the tassels and pray the names of God. I told the Maasai women that and they wanted to know the names of God. So, off the top of my head, I was trying to remember some of the names of God to tell them. Meanwhile Betsy said, "Oh, I have a bookmark with the names of God on it. I just felt like the Lord was telling me to bring this, someone might need it!" That's what happens about every time we go on a Mission trip to Kenya. God always seems to touch someone to bring something unexpected that we end up needing. I love that! So, I proceeded to go on with the lesson using what Betsy brought. That was a very neat thing! We taught a lesson to the Maasai women and the Lord taught a lesson to us that we should always listen to His Spirit's prompting!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Jesus Loves the Little Children continues in pictures

Rubbing my white (Muzungu) skin.
Pure joy
They are rubbing lipstick on their own lips that they wiped off of Betsy's lips... precious



Jesus Loves the Little Children



The first two days of our Mission trip we taught at Mutenkuar Baptist Church. This is David Olonopa's church. While we waited for enough women to arrive so that we could teach, a group of children came up and surrounded us. They were giggling and laughing and jumping up and down. I decided that I would take some pictures of them. As I was watching these children, the thought came to my mind, "This is why you come." Jesus loves them so much. Remember the words to the children's hymn, "Jesus Loves the Little Children"?
Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow black and white
They are precious in His Sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world.
I know they truly are precious to Him. The Bible gives us an account of what Jesus thought about children and the priority He placed on them.
" People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the
disciples saw this, they rebuked them. [16] But Jesus called the children to him
and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the
kingdom of God belongs to such as these. [17] I tell you the truth, anyone who
will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Luke 18:15-17
Jesus loved children and He still does. Think about how these children must have been drawn to Him also. For them to want to go to Jesus in the first place. Jesus wants us to come to Him like little children too. To love Him with a heart full of love.
The children I saw at Mutenkuar Church those two days were soooo happy. They are so full of life and joy, and it is contagious! They love the smallest things... stickers...balloons... pipe cleaner crowns... Since they don't have many possessions, these things are precious to them. You will see them wear the pipe cleaner crown the next day. They sing and dance with such exuberance.
Some of the children were rubbing my arms. I guess the novelty of a white person (Muzungu). It is the first time that some of them have seen a white person.
One of the things that I loved was they saw that Betsy had on lipstick and they took their little finger and rubbed her lips and then rubbed it on their lips. That was so precious and they are so precious. They just make me smile...
I bet they make Jesus smile too.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Why we go on Mission to Kenya






We have returned yet again from another Mission trip to Kenya. You may have silently asked the question, "Why would they go around the world to another country?" Well I'm glad you asked!

We go first of all because the great commission is still in the Bible! We belong to Christ, and He is our Lord, and Master. So we do what He commands. The great commission is a command, not a suggestion!

Matthew 28: 19-20 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Secondly, we go because Christ has appointed us as His ambassadors, so we have a job to do. We have been sent by Christ to represent Him and to give out His message.

II Corinthians 5:20 says, "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

Thirdly, The love of Christ compels us to go. When you love who He loves, you want to go and tell it!
II Corinthians 5:14 "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all..." So because Christ did so much for us, and died in our place, the least we can do is live for Him. We are to be obedient to Him and what He wants us to do.
Fourthly, I go because I love the Maasai people. They have gotten under my skin, and wormed their way into my heart. I have made friendship and relationships with these people, so I look forward to going back and seeing them every year.
I am already making plans to go back next February. I hope that more new people will go with us next time. If God tarries, and I am in good health, and it is still His will, I will continue to go while there is still breath in me and work to be done!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tim Terrific!


I first heard about Tim Tebow in 2007. Steve and I and much of our church staff went to the Pastor's conference in Jacksonville, FL. While we were there we were introduced to a young man that played college football, named Tim Tebow. He spoke for a few minutes and I was so impressed with him.... I still am.
As far as I can tell, Tim Tebow is the same young man that shared his heart with us that day. As a member of First Baptist, Jacksonville, he grew up hearing great preaching from Jerry Vines. He was taught a solid Biblical foundation.
What is so impressive about Tim Tebow is that he gives God the honor and glory. When he scores a touch down, he bows his knee and thanks God. Back when he played college football he wore the black paint under his eyes with the Scripture verse, John 3: 16.
Once he started playing in the NFL, he was probably told that he couldn't wear that. But the Lord has a way of getting His message out anyway! Recently the big game that Tim played in, the numbers 316 kept turning up. In fact, they turned up at least three different times. The result of this was many people Googled "John 3:16". So many people found out the message that,
"God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." You see God was not sharing His glory with Tim Tebow. He will not share His glory with anyone! God loves people. He wants them to hear that message. The good news message of John 3:16.
When I think of Tim Tebow, I also think about the verse Proverbs 3:6, "In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths."
When Tim Tebow bows the knee during a football game, he is acknowledging God. He is acknowledging Him in everything he does. That is what is so great and inspiring to watch!
Tim Tebow has caused this woman to start watching football and the reason has nothing to do with football! I am just drawn to someone who acknowledges God in all of his ways!
Our young people need a good role model to look up to. Our society is lacking in this area.
I think they are safe to look up to a guy who bends that knee, and humbles himself to an Almighty God! I thank God for Tim Tebow. I will pray for him. We need more young men like him. Keep on Tebowing Tim! It's a good example for us all.