Micah 6:8

He has showed you what is good and what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

July 4, 2014

July 4, 2014
Our baby girl just got married!

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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Yesterday, our youngest child got married. She is the first of our three children to get married, and she is our only girl. What a blessed day we had! Now, here I sit, the day after... I have shed more tears today than I have all week! This has surely caught me by surprise, because I really am happy for her and have such peace because her husband is a strong follower of Christ and they have a united heart for ministry with youth. It's the simple things, like going to hang up the cordless phone in her room realizing we don't need a phone in there now... or not saving certain leftovers because I know she'd like it after a day chasing kids at the daycare... It's a farewell to some things, but a welcoming to the new and I anticipate great things!

All of that being said, I want to move on to my middle child. He has been floundering and wandering for many years. He came back to a place of loving the Lord again last November. About six weeks ago he had another setback with old ways haunting him. Yesterday started out well for him at his sister's wedding and he was joyfully celebrating with all of us. As the day progressed I could see him become more troubled. As I watch and pray for him as he tries to find his way in life, I find myself not knowing what to say to him or how else to pour into his life. Yesterday, he expressed that he just wanted to be happy. Hugs and words about making choices were given. Then, this morning, I read Psalm 34. It is a psalm that David wrote while he was hiding from Saul and had an opportunity to retaliate, but didn't. He tells us how we can truly enjoy life!

Psalm 34:12-14 (Today's English Version)
Would you like to enjoy life?
Do you want long life and happiness?
Then keep from speaking evil
and from telling lies.
Turn away from evil and do good;
strive for peace with all your heart.

Joy. It comes from having a right relationship with God and a healthy relationship with others. As I pondered over what this looks like in real life I realized that we find many things that can take the place of truly enjoying life! Some mistake joy with an adrenaline rush (or any kind of 'rush') and seek it from any number of things: getting hyped up over a sporting event, skydiving, some intense physical activity, drugs, or even a highly emotional church service. Then they simply feel let down afterwards. Have you been there? I surely have...  To maintain the joy the Lord offers, I'd like to suggest that we seek to attain a 'rush' from pouring God's love into peoples' lives! A big part of this act is the planning of the execution, thinking about how we can unexpectedly do this in someone else's life, and then putting the plan into action! That is the climax, the rush, the joy in it all. 

How about if we plan to carry out a top-secret act of kindness or mission for someone in need? Let me give you an example. We knew of a family who was in financial need. My then teenage niece and her friend went to the store and bought this family some groceries. They snuck up to their door, left the groceries, knocked on the door and RAN!  The excitement and adrenaline rush was very real - and legal- and they came rushing into our living room laughing and out of breath! And it blessed God and His people!  

Another time, when it was time to take the trash to the transfer station, my husband and I went to a couple's home that we knew were hard-pressed financially. It costs money to take the trash to the dump (I mean transfer station) in our town. We went to see if they wanted us to take their trash. They weren't home so we took their trash without asking or telling them. They figured it out the next morning at church. :)  Now, I don't suggest you just go do something for someone any old time - there are some things to consider. Some people like things done a particular way, or you may get in trouble for taking something that wasn't yours, or for trespassing! Use caution and common sense. But in these two situations we knew these people well and they are part of the body of Christ. Besides, I don't think anyone would be disappointed to have free pick-up for their trash!  

The point is that we can enjoy life in doing the unexpected.  So, love on other people in unexpected ways! Say farewell to trying to fill a void in life the same old way. Welcome the new and anticipate great things! Try it out today. Begin a plan to put into action. See how God opens doors and fills YOUR heart!


Saturday, January 18, 2014

MY FAVORITE SCRIPTURE

Do you find it overwhelming when someone asks for your favorite Scripture verse, hymn, or worship song?  For me, it always depends on my circumstances and season in life as to what Bible passages speak to me the most, or what songs have the most meaning. So, let me simply say, "All of Scripture is my favorite!" It is my absolute favorite book to read. How about you? Have you fallen in love with the Word of God? You should; it is His love letter to us!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Psalm 51:10 "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me."
As I look at Ash Wednesday today, I find myself thinking of the ashes that represent a public confession of sin, and what that leads to. Our confession of sin is only the beginning of living out our Christian life. We confess our sin and turn away from it. That changing of direction is true repentence. As we turn our lives away from sin, it is essential that we turn our lives to Christ! Giving Christ FIRST PLACE is essential in our Christian journey. He is the author and perfector of our faith. So, during the days of Lent, what will we decide to do in order to somberly reflect on what needs to change in our lives in order for us to live a more Christ-like life? Over the past few days, God has reminded me, during my times of prayer, that my husband is my first ministry. There are many important areas that I minister in, but if my first ministry does not involve my husband, the very foundation of all of the others will crumble. It is easy to get priorities mixed up, but God is helping me to get them straight. He is challenging me to put first things first, and let Him direct my steps. That is my challenge for you this lenten season, to put first things first - Christ on the throne of your heart, and your spouse as your first ministry. Not the Sunday School class you teach, not your job, not even your children, but your spouse. I know we will be blessed as we honor God in this, and the other "ministries" in our lives will be much more fruitful for the Kingdom!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Power Is Out
It’s a windy and rainy night near the Blackwoods of Maine! Kristina and I got to spend the evening with one of my brothers at a basketball game. How fun it was to watch my sixteen year old nephew play, and we got to see many friends from our old hometown. On the way home the rain was heavy and the wind was strong, and as the snow was melting, the fog was growing. We arrived at home and the lights were out. At first I thought my silly husband didn’t turn the light on for us! I realized my error when I looked at the surrounding clues… no lights on the church sign, dark houses in the neighborhood… When we entered the house, my dear husband met us at the door with a flashlight as Kristina said, “So the power’s out, huh?” I realized that I sometimes feel like that. You know the kind of days. It’s when we just can’t seem to get out of our own way! The power is out. My mind is foggy and unfocused, my physical energy is sapped and even the most menial task seems daunting. I try many things to get myself out of such a funk. Sometimes it is simply because I have not gotten the rest I need and a nap or early bed time will do the trick. Sometimes it is because I have not taken care of myself physically and I need to fast from the “unhealthy” foods. Other times I simply need to get up and move to get my adrenaline going and I perk right up. But most of the time the cause of my fatigue is a result of emotional fatigue. As my son, Tim, so eloquently put it when he was four, “I just have too many thinkings going on in my brain!” When this is the cause, I can find the stamina to carry on when I go to my Lord in prayer and hand the cares of this world over to Him. It is amazing how organized and manageable my “to do” list can become when I trust the very One I do it all for.
The Power Is Back On

Monday, January 11, 2010

How long does it take you to get dressed in the morning? It takes me at least thirty minutes before I am ready to get dressed. I like to have my tea and check in with God before I shower and get dressed. Choosing clothes to wear sometimes takes a little extra time, especially if I haven't thought about it the night before. Yet, the actual act of getting dressed only takes a few minutes. But that isnt' really what I want to write about today. What I really want to think about is the part of the sermon on Sunday when Stjeve challenged us to think about how long we take to get dressed spiritually in the morning. Are we preparing ourselves for the day? We know there will be things to deal with as the day progresses. So, are we clothed for the elements? during this time of year, I like to wear my driving gloves when I go out in the morning. That steering wheel is cold in January! I also like it when one of the girls is my chauffeur. The point of the matter is that I know it will be cold, so I put on my gloves.

Well, we also know the enemy, Satan, is prowling around like a roaring lion, seeking to kill and destroy. If I know that powerful enemy is out there hoping to mess up my walk with God, I need to be prepared! Before I even get out of bed in the morning I am praying, thanking God for a new day to serve Hima and praising Him for how good He is. That is the best way for me to start my day on the right foot - "feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace."(Ephesians 6:15) I know it will be a battle, so I put on my armor. As a family, on school days, we do a daily devotion together, hopefully equipping us with some truth for the day. Tim joined us today. :) We read about being a positive example to our fellow believers, causing them to mature in their faith. How true that is in the area of putting on our armor each day, so we can live victoriously and be a good example of how a Christian can live out his faith in everyday circumstances.

If we find ourselves racing around in the morning, without giving God a thought, we are setting ourselves up for defeat. I've had morningls like that. Those are the days that I find myslef thinking of myself first,instead of others. I snap at the kids when they aren't ready, and I foolishly (and silently) fume and resent my huband because the kids aren't ready and it MUST be HIS fault! I can't backtrack and make the bad decisions go away, but I can ask for forgiveness and do the next right thing, breathing a prayer to my Heavenly Father who loves me, forgives me and gives me the strength I need to face the battles in my day.

So, let's think about getting dressed for battle each morning, and when we fail at putting on the full armor of God, let us remember to seek God and do the next right thing.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Back to school! I am helping plan a fundraiser for the school for January 30th. It will be a twelve hour scrapbooking event! I am quite excited about it since I used to teach scrapbooking classes. In the process, I reconnected with a friend I haven't seen in six years, and she has a 22 month old boy! How cool is that. I was so happy to talk with her and reconnect. It makes me think that I really need to work on connecting with people more. Not just people from my past, but REALLY connecting with the people in my present - especially my family. Really, how much time and effort do we make to connect with our husbands after a day at school or work? Or with our kids? Not much. Time to make dinner, do laundry, clean the kitchen, make sure the kids do their homework... and if you have teenagers in your house, you may not even see them unless there is food involved!

Food. Meals. That is the one place our family does gather and connect. Mornings, before school, are spent at the dining room table with a family devotion with Mom, Dad, and the girls. The boys' schedules are unpredictable and we don't usually see them in the morning anymore. Sunday afternoons include a meal at the dining room table with the whole family, and usually a few extras! These are the times I treasure. We laugh and tell stories and it's just grand!

What is really grand is no tv, and a cup of tea. That's the dream connecting point with my husband. Occasionally it involves a good movie and dinner, but we usually find ourselves chatting about Spiritual things - upcoming lessons/sermons/our studies... or just those things that puzzle us! We both love to delve into the deeper things of God.

Sometimes I will go into one of the upstairs bedrooms and just sit on the bed beside one of my children. This is a treasured moment too. We talk about what music they like, what videos they are watching/making, or what upcoming plans they have and sometimes about how God is working in their lives. Quality time.

Seize the opportunity to connect with someone you love today!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sunday, January 3, 2010
It is nearly 11 AM and usually I would be finishing up my Sunday School lesson with the preteen girls. Well, we canceled church services today because of the "blizzard". We did have some blizzard conditions last night, for sure! But today it's just flurries... It is odd to not be in church this morning, although I did watch Charles Stanley on tv this morning. I still like my pastor better!