Saturday, December 28, 2013

A little Rest

After Christmas...the shopping, returning, getting clearance items, negotiating price matches, cleaning, cooking, cleaning more, cooking more, and... resting! :)
After Christmas, there's a sense of... peace. Finally, after wrapping presents, cooking, cleaning, preparing, everyone can rest. That's what it's suppose to be...right?! ;)
A tradition in our family every Christmas Day, is to have an open house in the afternoon. Have snacks, play games, and talk. This year was a little different. We had invited several families throughout that week to join us, and some of them said yes... it wasn't until the day before that everyone canceled! So, while my mom wanted to just cancel it, we told her no... when you start a tradition, you just can't stop. So, we invited out very good friends, the Sargent family over... they've come every year for the last 7 years? Any way, so, they came over. Our house was filled with laughter, food, games, and love. Our very good friend, whom is a police officer was on patrol that night, and decided to stop by for a few, so, our house was full.

After our friends left that night, as a joke, I said, "So, Mom, what do you want to do for New Years?!" ;)
A couple people, including myself are extroverts in our family, and so, if dad's off, then we should do something "fun"... not this time. :) After cleaning, and getting back to normal life, doing some returns, life was finally... normal... although, there is no such thing as normal in my life. ;)
Do you ever feel that way? My brother and I were talking about the story of Mary and Martha the other day. Martha was worried about this and that, while Mary, was sitting quietly at Jesus' feet.

"Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.  She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
~Luke 10:38-42~

So, as we prepare for New Years, and returning back to normal life, let's not be worried about everything, but instead, pray about everything. Have a wonderful New Years!

Philippians 4:6-7
 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Monday, December 23, 2013

Peace on Earth

In just 2 more days, it's Christmas! Wow! Where has the time gone?!
I thought I'd post a couple poems that I thought were funny and appropriate for this Christmas! :) Enjoy!

Twas the Night Before Christmas – Jesus Birth Version
By Rock GriffisIt was the night before Christmas and all thru the land

people were traveling to their home land. The Inns were full of travelers you know
And a young couple was searching for someplace to go.
She was heavy with child and found permission to rest
in a small stable, not considered the best. It had a manger and hay, not much more,
Just a few animals and a dirt floor.
In the same country abiding in the field
Shepherds were tending their sheep as they will. The stars up above were shining up high,
One in particular was lighting the sky.
All of a sudden there appeared in the sky
An angel of God with a message from high. The angel announced don’t be afraid I bring you good tidings
For all people today.
A Saviour is born to you this day
Which is Christ the Lord, he had to say.
In the city of David wrapped in old clothes lying in manger is the
sign you should know.
And all of a sudden there was singing in the air
a multitude of angels singing with care.
Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And when they were gone, the shepherds agreed
that they would travel to Bethlehem immediately.
When they arrived they found the sign.
Mary, Joseph and the babe.
He was lying in the manger, just as the angel proclaimed.
They told the parents that they were told
of this Holy child that she now holds.
Mary was thinking of the things that they said
then they returned and bowed their heads
They praised and prayed
and glorified him and for all the things the angel had said
Eight days later when it was time
The small child JESUS was named.
Remember the star that lighted the sky
that special night, the angels came by .
From even that time, from really afar,
there had been three kings following that star.
It had taken much time to follow the star but they
rejoiced with great joy when they saw what they saw.
A mother named Mary with a child that they saw
they fell to the floor and worshiped with awe.
They brought him gifts of Myrrh, frankincense and gold very pricey items I am told.
Over two thousand years have passed since then
When Jesus was a child born not of sin.
He came and he lived and died for us
God almighty really loves us.
He will be back very soon indeed
To gather his bride for a wedding feast.
Christmas will continue forever indeed
So give your gifts in His memory.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night
may you’re life be filled with His joy and His light.

The REAL Night Before Christmas
(By Parents)
Twas the night before Christmas
when all through the house, I searched for the tools
to hand to my spouse. Instructions were studied, and we were inspired, in hopes we could manage "Some Assembly Required."The children were quiet (not asleep) in their beds, while Dad and I faced the evening with dread: a kitchen, two bikes, Barbie's townhouse to boot!
And now, thanks to Grandpa, a train with a toot!We opened the boxes, my heart skipped a beat
let no parts be missing or parts incomplete!Too late for last-minute returns or replacement;
if we can't get it right, it goes straight to the basement!
When what to my worrying eyes should appear
but 50 sheets of directions, concise, but not clear,With each part numbered and every slot named,
so if we failed, only we could be blamed.
More rapid than eagles the parts then fell out,
all over the carpet they were scattered about."Now bolt it! Now twist it! Attach it right there!
Slide on the seats, and staple the stair!
Hammer the shelves, and nail to the stand."
"Honey," said hubby, "you just glued my hand."And then in a twinkling, I knew for a fact
that all the toy dealers had indeed made a pact
to keep parents busy all Christmas Eve night
with "assembly required" till morning's first light.We spoke not a word, but kept bent at our work,
till our eyes, they went blurry; our fingers all hurt.
The coffee went cold and the night, it wore thin
before we attached the last rod and last pin.Then laying the tools away in the chest,
we fell into bed for a well-deserved rest.
But I said to my husband just before I passed out,
"This will be the best Christmas, without any doubt.Tomorrow we'll cheer, let the holiday ring,
and not run to the store for one single thing!
We did it! We did it! The toys are all set
for the perfect, most magical, Christmas, I bet!"Then off to dreamland and sweet repose
I gratefully went, though I suppose
there's something to say for those self-deluded—
I'd forgotten that BATTERIES are never included!

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Gift of Giving

We've heard it said from the Bible, "...It is more blessed to give than receive," in Acts 20:35.
However, some of us have a hard time to give. Over the years, I've learned the joy of giving. Sometimes, I don't want to, but I find that when I do, I feel so good and joyful! Plus, it makes the other person feel special. I feel like God has blessed me, so I should bless other people.
This past week, my dad told us, "The Church needs more money to build the Church Building, and they need it by the end of the month. Would any of you children like to give any amount of money to the Church?"
Between all of us kids, we gathered $1,000! To some people, that may be very little, but, it's $1,000 closer to the goal needed to build a debt-free Church Building.

I couldn't help but think of how Jesus must have felt when the wise men brought him gifts.
How special, to even have gifts!
When Jesus Christ was born, that was the best gift of all! My Uncle and Aunt in Texas have, in big, bold letters on their fence that says, "It's all about Jesus!" It's true! Jesus is the reason for the season! Can you imagine what that night must have been like when Jesus was born? Was it smelly since it was where animals lay? Was Mary relieved that the pain was over? Was Joseph in complete awe? Did the innkeeper know that night, the Messiah was born?

Mary did you know that your baby boy would some day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy would give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when your kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

Oh Mary did you know 

The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb 

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the great I AM

When we give, we bless someone, so let's go out and bless someone this Christmas season. And remember, that Jesus is the reason for the season! :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Keeping Christ in Christmas

As the time draws near to Christmas, I'm reminded of Jesus's birth.
This last week, I had a recital for my, now, 21 Piano Students! I always love Christmas songs this time of year. One of my students was considering which song to play for the recital, when he told me, "The Little Drummer Boy". Thinking that he knew this song already, I told him, "sure!"
A couple weeks later, we were discussing it, and I said, "You know what the Little Drummer Boy is about, right?" He said, "No, it's just my mom's favorite song."
So, without a moment to lose, I witnessed to him not only the little drummer boy, and what it's about, but the story about Jesus's Birth, even though he kind of already knew it. :)

Sadly, many people today, think that Christmas is about Presents, Santa Clause, toys, mistletoe's, Christmas Trees/lights, etc... many people don't know the true meaning of Christmas.

Last year, we watched a movie called, "Christmas with a Capital C", which I highly recommend watching as a family movie. In this movie, there's a man that comes to town trying to get people to put up, "Happy Holidays", and other misc. things, instead of "Merry Christmas". He goes so far as to vote to take the nativity scene out of the town. The Mayor, tries to convince everyone that Christmas is all about Jesus being born, but little by little,  no one listens.
Isn't this how our world is today? No, there's nothing wrong with putting up the Christmas lights/trees, and Santa with the Reindeer and sled, but some people have forgotten why we celebrate Christmas. I recently watched this video of a man interviewing kids in Hollywood, to see what they thought Christmas was/is about. Sadly, not very many of them even knew what Christmas was/is about.
I pray that as you get ready for Christmas, with all the hustle and bustle of getting presents, cleaning, decorating, that we all will remember to keep Christ in Christmas!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Leading our busy lives

We got back on Friday night from our annual trip to Texas for Thanksgiving. Our family was able to take a     moment and... rest... some what. 
We were within an hour of our house, and BOOM, our tire blew! :( Thankfully we had a spare in the trunk, but we made it safely home.
As I was unpacking last night, and this morning, I took a moment and prayed. I thanked God that we had a wonderful trip, and that we made it home safely. I thanked God that we noticed some good changes with some of our family members, and friends. And I thanked God that we are so blessed! 
On Saturday, we had gotten our Christmas Tree, had our traditional chili, fudge, Christmas lights hanging, and Christmas movie watching. Our friends came over for a couple hours, and it was so fun! 
But again, on Sunday, our rest didn't stop! ;) We had gone to church, had our church potluck, and then took my dad to the airport so that he can be refreshed in the morning for his class in Chicago.
You know, I don't think we will get to rest, until after Christmas. ;)

As I was contemplating this week what I was going to get accomplished, I had to stop and think. I had so many things to get done on my "list". So much to do before "this event" or "that event".
I was wondering, "Did Jesus have a list?" I list of, "heal this person at this time, at this place". No, Jesus knew what was going to happen, he didn't need a list. Sometimes, things happen that aren't on our "list". A child might get sick, you might get in a car wreck, a friend might need you, a loved one might be struggling... etc... all of these made me realize just how important it is to lay our burdens down at the foot of the cross.

Last night, I was doing some shopping, and I had stopped at Starbucks because I had a free coffee to use for that day only. I thought to myself, "I'll just run in, come back out and go to Target to see if they have the shoes I've been wanting for years." I got into the Suburban, and BAM... the car wouldn't start. So, I called my brother, and one thing led to another, we had to call a tow truck. I started to get so upset, but then after a while I realized, "God's plans, are NOT my own plans." Maybe God prevented me from going because I could have been in a car wreck that night and died. Or maybe, God wanted to teach me patience and contentment! ;) Whatever the case may be, we need to STOP what we're doing, and thank God that we're still here, and that he's not finished with us... even in our busy lives. ;) So, make time for HIM!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

God notices the grateful Heart

I thought that since next week is Thanksgiving, I'd write a post about being grateful.
God notices the grateful heart. He took a praise-singing shepherd boy and made him a king.
There’s no hint of God getting out of sorts if we aren't thankful. But there is evidence that we are affected by our own ingratitude. What of the disastrous days?  The nights I can’t sleep and the hours I can’t rest?
Am I grateful then?  Jesus was.
The Bible records, “On the night he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it.”  (I Corinthians 11:23). It’s not often you see the words betrayed and thanks in the same sentence, much less in the same heart. In the midst of the darkest night of the human soul, Jesus found a way to give thanks. Anyone can thank God for the light. Jesus teaches us to thank God for the night. He says to us, “You’ll get through this!”  And we will.
Everyone knows what Black Friday is. It used to be that Black Friday would follow the day after Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was an entire day to spend with family/friends, giving thanks for all that God blessed us with, and now, it's being grateful and then rushing into stores because we want, "more!"
There is no giving Thanks anymore.
I went to help out one of the families at our church last week, and on their table, there was a glass jar, with twigs and sticks in it. On these twigs and sticks, there were leaves made out of paper. On the paper was written things that the family is Thankful for. I thought this was such a great idea, because so easily, we can become so ungrateful for the things we have. It's nice to have a reminder around us, for the small things that we should be grateful for! 
"Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.' ...So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."~Luke 12:15 & 21~
Our family will be coming home from Texas on Black Friday, but, I'd love to know what ya'll's thoughts are on the subject of Thanksgiving and Black Friday. What are your plans for Thanksgiving and Black Friday? I would encourage you to look at my friends blog:


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Loving the Least of these

On Sunday, our Pastor preached on Matthew 25:35-39.
"For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’"

Our pastor went onto say who the "least of these were"... the one that stuck out to me the most was when he said the "elderly" are the least of these. 
When you see a man or woman in a wheel chair, white hair, drooling because of age, what do you think? Do you think, "They're old! I don't want to go near them!"? Or, do you think, "Even through that old age, they are so precious!"
This really hit me this last week. My parents and grandparents are getting older. It's in our families vision to take care of the elderly. When my parents get old, they'll stay with us kids, because then, it will be our turn to take care of them, and to comfort and provide for them.

But, it's not just the "elderly" that are the least of these. It's the widow, orphan, the lonely, the leaper, the one who has diseases. These, are the least of these.
So, go out of your way, and help someone out!
"Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels."
~Hebrews 13:1-2~
I'd love to know your thoughts! Please, lease me a comment! :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Focusing on God

Sorry for not posting in a while ya'll! Life for me has been... busy! :)
Actually, that's kind of what I wanted to post about... have you ever had that moment in life when you finally...get to breath?! Life has been going super fast for me right now. I'm teaching Piano all day on Monday's, Wednesday's, and Thursday's right now. Tuesday's and Friday's are really the days that I can kind of lay back... not really, but hey! :) I cook all the dinner's in our house, which means that I have to prioritize my time wisely.
I usually only open my computer at night after my younger siblings have gone to bed. By then, I just want to relax, sit in bed with a good book, and sleep! My mom and I have been talking about how God didn't create us to go from one thing to the next. He created us to have rest... which is also why the Sabbath day is super important! A day to really focus on God. Put all things aside, and pray, think on the Lord, and worship Him in all His greatness! Now, that's not to say that we shouldn't focus on God the other days of the week, which brings me to my next point...
If we are so busy and pre-occupied the whole week... when do we make time for God?
For me, it used to be when my little brother would take a nap. Now that he doesn't take naps anymore, his rest times are... loud! What can I say... he's a boy! ;)
But, I try to focus on God during this time. Many times, I find myself not even doing my Bible Study because life throws me in loops. I'm sure you moms and sisters know what I'm talking about!...this baby needs a diaper change, this child needs to be fed, this child has to go to this place at this time, you have to meet your friend here and there... etc... the list goes on. So, when does it stop? When do we take a moment, and breath? When was the last time that you took an hour and completely focused on God, without all the distractions of life? I think I told many of you a couple months ago, that I told my mom that I'm going to leave for the day, take my Bible Study and Prayer Journal with me, and go to a quiet place by the lake to rest, think, ponder, and pray.
So, if you don't have a car, have someone you know (daughter/sister/husband/mother/father) take care of the kids for a little, while you go and focus on God; for my mom, focusing on God is easy when she goes for a walk. Now, I'm not saying that you can't focus on God in the midst of your own home, but when your life gets to be so busy that you can't even breath... it's time to prioritize your life.
So, how can we stop and breath? Easy!... learning to say "NO!" Now, that's easier said than done...right?! I'm still learning it, but if there's one thing my mom taught me, it's to say no to things. Yes, that means you might miss out on this party or that party, but, is it really worth the time you don't get to spend with God because your busy with other things? How important is your time with God? If it's not as important as it should be, then maybe you need to let some things go. Believe me, it's not easy!
 But in the end, it's so worth it!!! 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Biblical View of Halloween

I thought that since next week is "Halloween", I'd share a few of my thoughts...
Growing up, and even now, my family and I don't do the "Halloween Thing". We did harvest festivals when we were younger, and now we do "Reformation Festival". So, I was looking around for some information about it. I found-
virtually all of the common Halloween decorations represent something Demonic or Occult. For instance:
The "Jack-O-Lantern" is the ancient symbol of a damned or condemned soul. Almost all web sites connect it to Satan in some fashion.
The "Black Cat" has long been associated with Witchcraft.
Witches and Witchcraft are a dominate theme of the Halloween holiday, but consider what God said in Exodus 22:18, "You shall not allow a sorceress to live." God seems to be pretty serious here.
I also find that the "trick-or-treat" part of it, is a threat! Actually it sounds like extortion to me! "You either give me a treat or I'll play a trick on you."

So, how serious should 'we' be about whether we do the Halloween thing or stay completely away from it?
Let's consider the following:
Ephesians 5:11, "Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them..."
No, that does not specifically tell us not to stay away from Halloween... but, are any of us truly convinced that our participation in Halloween somehow pleases God?
Let's also consider 1 Thessalonians 5:22, "Abstain from every 'form' of evil."
Is it possible to dress up in costumes that represent demons and witches and the like and actually be "abstaining from every 'form' of evil"?
Let's also look at 1st Corinthians 10:31, "Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do,
 do 'all' to the glory of God."
And the last scripture I will share with you is, 3rd John 1:11, "Beloved, do not imitate what is evil,
 but what is good."

As Halloween does have some connection to the harvest of crops, let me suggest to you that we ought to
 use the pumpkins to make some pumpkin bars or pumpkin pie and then sit down and discuss with our families how greatly God has blessed this nation with so much food that we can afford to cut it up and
 then throw it away or give it those in need.
I ask that you please consider these Biblical passages, as Halloween approaches.
Blessings on you all!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Living in a Corrupt World

This past week, my brothers, dad, Uncle, and Grandpa went hunting.
On one of the days, the ladies of the house and my little brother decided to go to the mall. After we'd eaten lunch, I told my mom, "I'm going to go get a coffee." As I was in line, I saw some very disturbing things, which I won't specify...
I couldn't help but ask myself and my mom, "When God sent the flood to the earth, what kind of corruption was there?" We live in a culture, where things that didn't used to be okay, are the "new" normal now.
While the internet can be used for good, it can also be used for evil.
They didn't have electronics back in the Bible times. If all of your electronics were taken away from you for let's say... a month... how would you survive? Many people can't even survive a day without their electronics, which causes many problems.

I've had to ask myself the question, "In what ways are you glorifying God?" and also, "In what ways are you NOT glorifying God?"
What ways can we improve to glorify God? Sometimes when we do things and we're honored for them, we give our-self a pat on the back and say, "Yes, I did it!" I like how in Facing the Giants Coach Taylor said, "When we win, we praise Him, and when we lose, we praise Him!" It's so hard, isn't it? It's easy to say, "Look at me" or even, "Woe is me!"
Let's look at Genesis 6:5-8, "The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them." But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord..."
Today, we live in a corrupt world. We will start seeing things that will lay heavy on our hearts.
However, we must cling to the cross of Christ! He is our Redeemer! And He is the only
one who can save us.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Walking in the Truth

This last week, I had the joy of hearing my little brother talk about what Sin is, and about Adam and Eve and what they did as a sin.
My mom asked Elijah, "Elijah, what is sin?"
"Sin is when you do something wrong and disobey God."
"What did Adam and Eve do?"
"They ate the fruit from the tree that God told them not to. So, they sinned."
I was reading from Deuteronomy 6:4-7, "Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up."

Today, we see many young men and young women walking away from God. Parents aren't teaching their children diligently anymore. In many cases, children go to Sunday School to learn about the Bible, and when they have questions, their parents aren't able to answer them because the parents have not studied it for themselves; and therefore, don't know the answers.
In Proverbs 22:6, we see, "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not
depart from it.
So, let's take Christ commandment, follow His example, submerge under Christ Authority, and walk in the Truth of the Word.
"I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth."
~3rd John 1:4~
"And this is love, that we walk according to His commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it."
~2nd John 1:6~

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Glory of Godly Fathers

I haven't written a post about fathers, so, no time like the present! :)
Holiday's in honor of parents have been customary since ancient times, but in the Western world they have only become official in the 20th Century. In this country, Mother's Day was first established by an act of Congress in 1914. It took quite a while longer (1972) for fathers to receive their own holiday after acceptance slowly grew from initial observances in the early 1900's.
It is surely fitting to have special days to express love and gratitude for our parents. After all, the fifth of God's Ten commandments begins, "Honor thy father and thy mother". (Exodus 20:12) This was later affirmed and even reinforced through the apostle Paul when he further promised, "It may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth" (Ephesians 6:3)
But what exactly does it take to be truly worthy of such honor? Biblically speaking, it starts when parents have children; they are then exhorted to "train up" their children "in the way [they] should go". (Proverbs 22:6) However, godly, instruction is primarily the responsibility of the Christian father, applied with a gentle and girm hand to raise his children "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord". (Ephesians 6:4) And such an environment naturally begins with the father's own commitment to godly living and godly leadership.
Perhaps the greatest incentive for godly living is the example fathers set for their own children. From king Solomon we know that "children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers." (Proverbs 17:6) Children do indeed "glory" in their father when his example is good and godly, and they will likely desire to follow his moral and spiritual model throughout their own lives.
One of the many joys of fatherhood is not only to have children, but, Lord willing, to see grandchildren as well. Honor-able men work hard to be able to leave an inheritance to their children, and, through them, to their grandchildren. For a "good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children." (Proverbs 13:22)
Obviously, circumstances may not make it possible for fathers or grandfathers to leave a  material estate to their descendants. Therefore, promise such as these must ultimately be understood in the spiritual sense. Even a poor man can leave a good inheritance of love, counsel, and a godly life. Of course, the greatest of all gifts to pass on to your children is to have led them to saving faith in our Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ. This most precious heirloom will last forever.
In this sense, even men who are biologically childless can have spiritual children as they bring others to Christ. Paul, for example, could call Timothy "my dearly beloved son" (2nd Timothy 1:2) and reminded the believers at Corinth that "in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel." (1st Corinthians 4:15) Then what a joy it is when someone we have led to Christ begins to lead others to Him! In the great family of God, these spiritual grandchildren are our "children's children" and constitute a beautiful and everlasting "Crown" of fatherhood.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Heart of Serving

This past week, I went to help out during a conference at our pastors house. I would help cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner for approx. 70 men/boys; refill all the drinks, (coffee/tea/water/lemonade) and do the dishes, and answer any questions or help in any way I could.
While I was there Monday-Wednesday, I was thinking over and over again about Matthew 20:28,"...The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve..."

A friend of mine and I were talking a couple weeks ago, and both her and I agreed that it's so much easier to help and serve other people, but when it comes to our own home, we're reluctant to do our own chores that need to be done. 
Why is that?
Why do we find it easier to serve other people with a joyful heart, and then, when it comes to doing our own duty and serving our parents/siblings/family, that we become complacent?

On one of the morning when us "kitchen girls" did our devotions together, we read Isaiah 40:28-31, "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to Him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary."

In what ways do you serve that you become tired and/or wearisome? Why?
I've come to realize that as each day goes by Christ gives us the amount of strength and grace we need to complete each day until His will.
We are bondservants of Christ... to have a complete and utter devotion to God, His word,
and His will.
So, the next time you serve, don't think of it as a chore or task, but think of it more as helping and assisting; and remember, that Christ came to serve.
This, is the Heart of Service.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Live in the moment

This past week, I was in the kitchen cooking our dinner, when I heard my 5 year old brother say, "I wish I was older!" When I asked him why, he said, "Because then I could go hunting with daddy, and be good at drawing!"
When he said this, it made me realize how, all too often, I've said the same thing. "When I'm older...." How often do we take life for granted?!
When I was 15, I kept thinking to myself, "I'm going to be married and have kids by the age of 20!" I wanted so badly to be 20...Well, here I am 21, now, and I've come to realize that in some ways, we feel dis-contented by the life we live sometimes. We never live the "here and now"! (myself included)
My dad always says, "The past is history, the future's a mystery, but today is a gift, that's why they call it the present."

Live in the moment... it'll be history before you know it.
I was reminded of this again, when my little sister asked me a couple days ago, "Can you read me a book?" I was somewhat stunned... my 11 year old sister, asking if I can read her a book. I told her yes, but realized after I said that, that it wasn't from the heart. I had to force myself to remember that I won't always have these little moments with my sister.
Have you ever had a moment when you've thought, "I don't want this to ever end!"? I have, many times! So, live in the moment. Don't waste your life waiting and wishing! Enjoy each moment you have... whether it's with your friends or family.
“Forgive and give as if it were your last opportunity. Love like there's no tomorrow, and if tomorrow comes, love again.” 
― Max LucadoEvery Day Deserves a Chance: Wake Up to the Gift of 24 Hours

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Gift of Labor

“And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” (Genesis 2:15)
When God first created man, He gave him work to do. Although “the LORD God planted a garden” for man (Genesis 2:8), it was up to man to take care of it if he would continue to eat its fruits. Thus, having to labor for one’s living is not a divine punishment for man’s sin as people sometimes interpret it, but rather a divine benefit for man’s good.
Similarly, even in the new earth, when sin and suffering will be gone forever, there will still be work to do. “There shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him” (Revelation 22:3).
We don’t know yet what our assignments will be there, but they will somehow be commensurate with our faithfulness in serving the Lord here. “My reward is with me,” says the Lord Jesus, “to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12).
It is, therefore, a God-given privilege to be able to do useful work, whether that work consists of preaching God’s Word or improving God’s world. “Whatever your hand finds to do” (whether being paid for it or not), “do it with all your might; for there is no work . . . in Sheol, where you are going.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). As Jesus said, “night is coming when no one can work
John 9:4). 

No matter what the job may be that has been provided for us to do, it is important to remember and obey the admonition: “ Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. (Colossians 3:23-24) and “your labor is not in vain in the Lord”
1 Corinthians 15:58). 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

To live in Fear

All of us live in fear in one way or another.
I experienced the peace and hope that I have through Jesus Christ this past week when my friend came over. Her and I went out to her car to get something, when a man rolled down his window and said, "I'm the sheriff, I need you to get inside, now!"
We hurriedly walked inside, only to see 2 swat team cars full, a line of police cars, firetrucks, and paramedics all with guns. We closed our door, and locked our windows. We heard a police officer say from the megaphone, "Come out now, with your hands in the air! You house is surrounded!"
The Sheriff came knocking on our door about 30 minutes later and said, "Everything's fine now. You're safe."
We had known that our neighbor was an ex-convict from what he told us when they first moved in, and have always been very cautious about him the past year that they lived next to us.

After all the excitement had died down, my mom came and asked me, "Were you scared?"
but to be honest, besides the Sheriff yelling at me, I wasn't scared. I had a peace, and a hope that if I died, I would be with Christ.
What does it mean to live in fear?
Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary describes fear as: "Fear is an uneasiness of mind, upon the thought of future evil likely to befall us. To be in apprehension of evil; to be afraid; to feel anxiety on account of some expected evil."
Many people don't have the hope of Christ living in them. They live in fear on a day-to-day basis. They fear man, rather than God. It becomes "man-centered" rather than "God-centered".
I've posted some verses below that I thought would be helpful on the topic of fear.

Psalm 23:4

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

Psalm 27:1

"The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?"

Psalm 118:6

"The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"

Deuteronomy 31:6

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."

Psalm 56:3-4

"When I am afraid, I will trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?"

Isaiah 41:10

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Isaiah 41:13

"For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you."

1 Corinthians 16:13

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong."

1 John 4:18

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear..."

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Finishing well

Have you ever heard it said, "Finish what you've started"?
Sometimes, we can become so obsessed with completion that we become blind to effectiveness. Just because a project is on the table, doesn't mean it can't be returned to the shelf. No, my desire is not to convince you to finish everything. My desire is to encourage you to finish the right thing. Certain races are optional- like speed reading and sports; other races are essential- like the race of faith. Consider the admonition from the author of Hebrew, "...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us..." (Hebrews 12:1)

The word "Race" is from the Greek "agon", from which we get the word "agony". The Christian's race is not a jog, but rather a demanding and grueling, sometimes agonizing race. It takes a massive effort to finish strong. I'm sure you've observed that there are many on the side of the trail?! They used to be running. There was a time when they kept the pace; but then weariness sets in. They didn't think the run would be this tough, or they were discouraged by a bump and daunted by a fellow runner. Whatever the reason, they don't run anymore. They may be Christians... they may come to church, but are their hearts in the race? They retire before their time. Unless something changes, their best work will have been their first work, and they will finish with a whimper.

By contrast, Jesus' best work was his final work, and his strongest step. Our Master is the classic example of one who endured. The writer of Hebrews goes on to say that Jesus, "Held on while wicked people were doing evil things to Him." The Bible says Jesus, "Held on", implying that Jesus could have, "let go". The runner could have given up, sat down, gone home. He could have quit the race; but he didn't! He held on! He kept on running!
Jesus was tempted, accused, and criticized, but he kept running! The question is... how? How did he endure such disgrace? What gave Jesus the strength to endure the shame of all the world? We need an answer, don't we? Like Jesus we are tempted. Like Jesus we are accused. Like Jesus we are ashamed. But unlike Jesus, we give up. We give out. We sit down. How can we keep running as Jesus did? How can our hearts have endurance Jesus had?
By focusing where Jesus focused: on, "the joy that God put before Him." (Hebrews 12:2)
He, "accepted the shame as if it were nothing because of the joy that God put before him." In His final moments, Jesus was able to focus on the prize of heaven. By focusing on the prize, he was able not only to finish the race, but to finish it strong!
Surrounded by saints and engulfed by Jesus himself, the work will, indeed, be finished. The final harvest will have been gathered, we will be seated, and Christ will christien the meal with these words: "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:23 KJV)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Homemaker in Training

The opportunities that we have as
homemakers-in-training are abounding everywhere we look.
Whether a daily task such as laundry folding, a
weekly culinary duty such as baking bread, a bi-weekly errand to the grocery
store or a seemingly "mundane" job, (like scrubbing the household toilets) we
have every opportunity imaginable to exercise and practice skills while we are
yet "in training".
But there is more to being a homemaker, than the
jobs which we can do. Young Ladies, (mothers/daughters/wives) it has to do with our hearts. And it is our choice. Will we perform our homemaker duties with joy and delight
in each task (which includes scrubbing the crummiest of toilets), or will we
choose to frown upon these daily opportunities? Will we choose a servants
heart or will we try to minimize the effect of being a
We can make a whole house sparkle from top to
bottom but if our heart isn't full of love from Christ, then that perfect house
means nothing. We can make a delicious supper for our family, or run an errand
for Mom, but if our hearts are grumbling then our act that could have been a
blessing, means nothing.

We can garden, can, clean, sew, take care of
babies, run errands, meet every agricultural farm need, whip out loads of
laundry in lightning speed, and make a mean pot of soup BUT if our heart is not
thankful to the Lord for the blessing of being a homemaker in training, if we
are not grateful and full of joy at our Proverbs 31 calling, then what a waste
of the opportunity that the Lord gives us as women!
The choice is yours - do you find JOY in being a

Monday, August 5, 2013

I have been blessed!

This past week, I've thought a lot about my life.
I've thought about the past/present/future.
I've thought about all the blessings I have in my life that I don't thank God for... Family/Friends, the freedom to worship Christ... etc... What kinds of things are you blessed with? I'd love to hear!
I remembered this song from many years ago, and I thought I'd share it.

I Have Been Blessed
1. When He moves among us all that He does , all of His mercy and all of His Love.
And the pen of the writer could write everyday, even this world could never contain howI have been blessed.2.The warmth in the winter, the flowers in Spring, the laughter in Summer, and the changing leaves. The food on my table, a good place to sleep. Clothes on my back, and shoes on my feet

I have been blessed, God
is so good to me. Precious are His thoughts of you and me. No way I could count them, there's not enough time. So I'll just thank Him for being so kind. God has been good, so good. I have been blessed.
3. Arms that will raise, a voice that can talk, hands that can touch and legs that can walk,
ears that can listen, eyes that can see. Oh, I've got to praise Him as long as I breathe, I have been blessed.
4. I have been blessed, God's so good to me, precious are His thoughts of you and me.
No way I could count them, there's not enough time. So, I'll just thank Him for being so kind. God has been so good, I have been blessed.
5. We live in a country, the greatest on earth. Our flag stands for freedom, and what it is worth. She stands in the harbor, Miss Liberty calls. All have gave some, but some gave all.
For me to be blessed 

6. He's my shoulder to lean on when I'm down. The rock where He leads me when I'm overwhelmed. The place where He hides me under His wings. He's not just a song. He's the reason I sing. I have been blessed.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Trust God...even when it's hard!

Trust God… even when it’s hard!
We talk about trusting God all the time… but do we really mean it? 
Recently, our family had watched a movie for our family night. During this movie, a daughter of the family dies. They go over the “what ifs” in life, and try to figure out if they, “Would have” done this or that, then she would have lived. But one of the points the brother makes in the movie was great. He said that no matter where his sister would have been… whether in China, Africa, or the United States, it was her time to go home to be with our Lord. 
     I started thinking about what Christian Comedian- Ken Davis said… Imagine Jesus walks into your house and says, “Come with me”… you’re making excuses, “But Father, I just paid off my house and my car. I have a great life! My wife just had another child… but… but… but.” 
The truth is… this is what Christ is already doing to us, but we’re not willing to trust him. Yes, we trust Him when things are great… but what about when things get bad?
     When the 9/11 happened, people asked the question of “why?” Why wasn't God here? The truth is, He was! He was in so many ways! Did you know that there were more trains that stopped working, lights that went haywire, people that overslept, and alarms that didn't go off more that morning that any other morning? God was working! But will we choose to trust Him, even if the answer that we want to be yes is a no? 
     Will we trust God, not just in the good, but also in the bad? Will we trust Him if a family/friend of ours dies? Will we trust Him when the test results come back positive for Cancer? Will we trust Him when we get in a car accident, only to find out that they had to amputate both legs? Will you trust God when your life is falling apart, and you don't feel like you belong?These are so many questions to ask yourself! No, it's not going to be easy, but that's what God is there for! He'll hold us, but will we choose to trust Him?! 
Here are a couple verses that I thought would be helpful in the times when we have doubts or don't understand. Please take a moment to read them! :)

"...Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’"
~Isaiah 41:10~

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. And to him who lacks might He increases power. And vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary."
~Isaiah 40:28-31~

But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel,
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. "For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;..."
~Isaiah 43:1-3~

Monday, July 22, 2013

Surrendering and Sacrificial Love

All of us have had to surrender and/or sacrifice something in our lives. This past week I've been really trying to study on what love is, and what surrendering is. What does it mean to sacrifice? 

     Recently, I told my mom, “I need to go out for a couple hours. Get away from all the distractions of this world. Put myself away from all electronics, noises, and confusions. I need to go pray, read the Bible, and think.” I realized that by getting everything done on my to-do list, I forgot the most important thing… putting God first! Jesus showed us what sacrificial love is when He died on the cross. 

     So, with my Bible Study, Journal, and pens in hand, I went out for a few. I parked in an empty parking lot, walked down to a pond, set my blanket down for me to sit on, and I prayed, read my Bible, wept, thought, and wrote things down. I can get distracted so easily, that I forget the most important thing… to go to the Cross of Christ; to lay down my burdens at His feet, and surrender. Surrender my day/life/future/worries/fears_____; and focus on Christ; to sacrifice my time on my computer, in my book, or whatever else; and listen. Listen to Christ! 
     “By this we know love, that he laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives
 for the brothers.” ~1
st John 3:16~
     “Greater Love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.”
~ John 15:13~
  “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all thing… so now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
~1st Corinthians 13:1-7; 13~