Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Abide in Jesus

PART 2 - HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?
The second way to grow our spiritual gardens is to "ABIDE IN JESUS". The Bible has many examples of gardens and flowers and also talks about the problems of weeds and stones. Jesus used gardening-type talk several times in parables when he spoke. Let’s look at one of those examples when Jesus is speaking to the disciples.

John 15:1-5. "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

These verses tell us that we are the branches and that we should bear fruit, but we also must realize that it is only because of God being the gardener and Jesus being the vine that we can bear fruit. We can do things and be successful in the world’s eyes, but we will only truly grow if we are connected to Jesus and grow the way God wants us to.

It would be so easy if flowers, fruits and vegetables just grew, never needed tending to, and took care of themselves, but they don't. It is the same in our lives. Good fruit will not just grow in our lives, either. Throughout the Bible, fruit is referred to as what is within us. Christians should have good fruit within us because we are children of God.

Jesus is our example. He came to this earth to show us and tell us the way to live. He came to show us and tell us what type of fruit to bear. We, as His disciples, are to walk in the same manner as He walked, which means to live as He lived.

I John 2:6 Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.

How, then, did Jesus live? Jesus did not live to please Himself.

John 8:29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him”.

Instead, He lived to glorify God. Jesus’ purpose was to do God’s Will on earth as it is being done in heaven and to accomplish that which He was prophesied to accomplish by the prophets long, long ago. So to abide in Jesus means to live our lives denying ourselves, serving others, bearing fruit, and striving always to do God’s Will. We have to be careful, though. We can get so caught up in doing for Him, that we forget to just BE with Him. We have to be careful not to be too busy to "Abide in Jesus".

How do you strive to "Abide in Jesus"?

Monday, March 30, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Many of you may have gardens or grow flowers and plants and enjoy doing this as a hobby or maybe even for food. Some of you were raised in a family who farmed or maybe you are involved in farming now. We all know that growing food, plants, & flowers takes a lot of time. It takes work.

It would be so easy if flowers, fruits and vegetables just grew, never needed tending to, and took care of themselves, but they just don’t. Weeds just grow - they don’t need any work to grow, but they take time and effort to keep them from growing. It is the same in our lives. Good fruit will not just grow in our lives, either. And sin, like weeds, will come about in our lives if we don’t work to rid our lives of those sins. Throughout the Bible, fruit is referred to as what should be evident in the lives of Christians. The fruit is visible evidence as to what is growing within us. We should have good fruit within us because we are children of God.

This week's daily blog posts will look at our lives as a spiritual GARDEN and find out what it takes to make them grow. I like acrostics because it makes points that are easier to remember. I hope that you do, too!

G - GROW WITH GOD.
In our world we are bombarded with all kinds of things that we can learn and so many different ways to gain knowledge. We can buy CD’s, videos, and attend seminars and read books. We can go to college for years and years and obtain any type of degree we can imagine, but while that knowledge is good and may bring us success in life (worldly wealth and financial gain) it can not become what is most important in our lives. I want to grow with God - grow how God wants me to grow - that’s what is truly important in life. I hope you want to grow with God, too.

So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. I Corinthians 3:7

To "Grow with God", we must get close to God. If you want to get to know someone - another human being, you have to grow closer to them, don’t you? It’s impossible to get close to someone without spending time with them. Think about your spouse or friend. How did you become close? By getting to know one another. You talk to each other. You hang out with each other. You share with each other. You do things together.

When we do the same with God, it’s called prayer. The more we pray to God, the closer we will become to Him. The neat thing about prayer, though, is that God can’t wait to hear from us! Do you realize the fact that God cares about every single thing in your life? Do you think that God only cares about the big things? No! We must believe that God cares just as much about the famine in 3rd world countries as he does about the pain we may be having in your big toe. So talk to Him...about EVERYTHING!

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

"Getting with God" not only involves prayer, but also worshipping - worshipping Him alone in a quiet devotional time, but also with your congregation during worship services. Worship is not confined to a building or to a certain time or day. Coming together as a congregation on Sundays (and many on Wednesdays)is the congregation’s way of worshipping and obeying the commands of God, but we can and should worship God alone and on every other day, as well.

So, first of all, in our spiritual gardens, we must grow with God. Tomorrow we'll look at "A".

Have a blessed week!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Chronicles of Biscuit - They "Learned" Me All I Know!

Note: First of all, if you don't have your volume on, I invite you to turn it on. I added music and you might enjoy listening to it! I'm always excited when I actually figure out how to add something on the blog or do something "techy"...it's SO unlike me :). I also post a monthly fun poll. This month's poll will end on Tuesday, so be sure to vote if you haven't already.

Note #2: If you subscribe to my blog by email, you, of course, won't hear the music, so stop by and listen some time....and take time to vote, too!

And now to The Chronicles of Biscuit...
Last week my daughter, Lauren, had her first junior high softball game of the season. We drove up at the softball field. Biscuit asked, "How am I going to know what the score is when there is no scoreboard?". I said, "We will just have to ask someone what the score is." Biscuit reasoned, "Well, then I'll just have to ask Zachary and Jacob (his older brothers). They "learned" me all I know about sports. They "learned" me how to keep score, and they "learned" me how to play basketball."

Well, there you go! I wondered who had "learned" him everything in his ripe old age of six years. It was so funny! I know I should have corrected his English, but it's just so much fun to listen to little ones sometimes, that you don't want to correct it right then. I'll correct it the next time....maybe. :)

Here's a question for you today: Who "learned" you all you know? Of course, I mean "taught"! In my junior high girls class Sunday morning, we talked about how the entertainment world will try to tell us to believe a certain way and try to shape the way we think. They target specific age groups to send a specific message. However, these messages are not usually centered on God or His Word. Not many of these messages tell about His Son, Jesus, do they?

In John 14:5-6, Jesus' disciple, Thomas, questioned him, "Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." In fact, in the New International Version, Jesus says, "I tell you the truth" 78 times!

It is my prayer that God's Word, the Bible, is your source for learning. It will tell you everything you need to know about becoming a child of God and living as one of His children. It is the only source of truth.

"Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true." Psalm 119:142

Have a great week!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Media Matters

On Sunday morning I teach a junior high girl's class. The topic for this week is "Media Matters". The girls will list their favorites in the following categories: TV Show - Movie - Song - Magazine - Book - Activity - Website.

I found a neat quote about media. It said that a steady diet of immorality will make what's wrong seem right - or at least "normal". Isn't that true? The entertainment world tries to get us to believe that what is shown in the media is right or normal. Well, it might be what is right and normal to some, but it is most certainly not always right or normal according to God and His Word.

Philippians 4:8, Finally, brothers, whatever is true (honest), whatever is noble (honorable), whatever is right (good, righteous, approved of in God's eyes), whatever is pure (clean, not dirty or vulgar), whatever is lovely (acceptable, clean), whatever is admirable (not wrong)—if anything is excellent (virtuous or praiseworthy (acceptable to God - glorifies God)—think about such things.

After listing their "favorites", the girls will read this verse above. They will then take each category and use Paul's test for their favorites. They will find how their favorites measure up to what Paul tells us we should be thinking about. Of course, this is really God's test.

Another passage to consider is 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, which says, "Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil."

So, what about you? What are your favorites? How do they rate with Paul's/God's test?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Soap Box Saturday


I decided to start something new on Saturdays. It will be written on Friday night, actually. It's going to be called "Soap Box Saturday" and it's a time and place where I can get on my "Soap Box" as I do from time to time. I hope you don't mind :).

Many times my children come home from school upset about something that has happened in class. Today Zachary, my 6th grader, came home with a lot of homework from one particular class. This is very atypical for him, as he rarely has any because he gets it done during school. He has tests to study for at times, but that's it most of the time. It was very unusual, too, because it's a Friday. Not many teachers here at our small school give homework on Fridays.

Well, Zachary proceeds to tell us that the reason he has all of this homework is because of a few (4 or 5) in his class kept acting up and it ended up getting the whole class (27 students) in trouble. Now, my motto when things like this happen is always "Life's Not Fair" and, as the former 1st grade teacher used to tell this class and her other classes, "Build a bridge and get over it!" I agree with that, BUT, I do get on my "Soap Box" when the same students are in trouble over and over and nothing is done - or nothing much. I expect there to be discipline, and maybe my expectations are too high (according to my Soap Box!).

Of course, discipline is the parent(s) responsibility, but too many times, the parents leave it up to the teachers. Then, when the teachers try to do something about it, the parents get upset at the teachers....a never-ending, ever-disrupting cycle. Parents have the duty and the responsiblity to discipline their children. I believe the Bible teaches us, as parents, to discipline our children.

As parents, my husband and I realize that our children are not perfect, and we don't expect them to be; however, we do expect them to behave in a certain ways. We expect them to respect each other, as well as others. They are expected to obey their teachers. We may not always agree with how the teacher at school disciplines, such as punishing the whole class for a few student's behavior, but we support the teacher and expect our children to do the work that is given to them.

Discipline is a natural part of life, and not always pleasant for the giver or the receiver! God disciplines us, His children, and we don't always like it, do we? Look at these verses in Hebrews:

"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:5(b)-11


These verses point out that God disciplines us because He loves us and that it is for our good. When you discipline your children, your grandchildren, or your students, do they feel loved at that moment? Do they say, "Oh, thank you! This is for my own good!"? Of course not! Discipline is not pleasant at the time, but it produces, as the verse above says, "a harvest of righteousness and peace". Discipline in the Greek means to instruct or train. We discipline our children because we love them and they are better for it. We teach them by instructing them and training them.

True discipline is when it is directed toward the problem, not towards punishing a whole group for the misdeeds of a few. And now...I'll get off my "Soap Box" and go make sure Zachary has his homework done!

So, what's on your "Soap Box" today???

Thursday, March 26, 2009

SURPRISE, SURPRISE SURPRISE!!!


This past week has been full of surprises! Last week we were on Spring Break. My husband was going to take our four children, plus a nephew, to see a movie on Friday. I don't really like movies or TV much so didn't care to go. It's also a tradition for him to take them alone like that once or twice a year. I had shopped all day in Oklahoma City the day before, so didn't really have the need to shop while they were watching it, either. I was looking forward to staying home for an afternoon and cleaning and straightening up the house with it empty. I like doing that. I light candles and crank up the music and make a big party out of it...it's more fun that way!

Well, my husband informed me on Thursday evening that he HAD to get me to Wichita Falls the next day, which is where they were going to go to the movie (NOTE: For those who don't know, Tipton is a town of LESS THAN 1,000 people...we have no movie theater or much else for that matter!) I immediately figured it had something to do with my birthday, which was a week away (the 27th), but didn't know exactly what. I still wasn't too excited about going because I had looked forward to my day at home, but did, of course. When we got to Wichita Falls, we went to Olive Garden where my family was waiting. My sister, brother-in-law, their three children (who were visiting my parents from out of town), and my parents. They all had to drive 1 1/2 hours to be there. It was very special and an enjoyable surprise!

I mentioned in yesterday's post that my husband would be out of town until Saturday. Well, guess what?? He came home TODAY! Two days early! He surprised me because he didn't want to be gone on my birthday. He was last year because this workshop is every year at this time. He said this year was different because it's a milestone. Yes, it is. I'm turning 40 - in about an hour from now, actually!! Then he informed me that he is having me a party tomorrow night and family members (my parents and many from his side that live here or close) are coming. I can't believe my two oldest children kept that secret. It's a good thing he didn't tell the youngest two, though!

Surprises are fun and exciting, aren't they? They are fun to plan for others and they are fun to receive. Do you realize that God wants to surprise you? God's Word tells us in Ephesians 3:20-21, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21" He wants to surprise us by showing us just how much He can do through us. He wants to do more than we can ask for or even imagine! So, how can God surprise you today?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

EEEEK!!! A Mouse!

A month ago....I thought I saw something run across the floor. I actually thought it was a big spider. A few days later I saw a few mouse droppings and immediately called hubby and asked him to get some traps. He got the traps and put them out a few days later. That very night we caught a little mouse! We put another trap out for a few weeks, but never had any more trouble, so took it out.

Yesterday morning....I was making the kid's lunches for school and went into the pantry, which is in our laundry room. My son, Zachary, and hubby were in the laundry room, too. As I opened up the pantry, out came a little mouse!"EEEEEEEKKKKKKKK!!!!!! A MOUSE!!!"I screamed and the little mouse ran out and OVER my son's foot - YUCK!!!! Immediately hubby went to get another trap and sat it out. I was expecting to catch the mouse last night, but we haven't - yet.

But here's the problem.....hubby is out of town for a few days. If the little mouse gets in the trap, what am I going to do?????? I don't know if I can take it out. Maybe I could talk one of the kids into doing it for me, you think??? Maybe we can pick a number and the looser has to take it out. That seems fair, doesn't it??? We'll see.

God will give us strength in times of need - even if I end up having to take out a mouse :).

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.
Psalm 41:10

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Got Milk?

"Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good."
1 Peter 2:2-3

Just as these little goat kids crave pure milk from their momma, we as Christians should also crave pure milk - pure spiritual milk. The KJV here says “the sincere milk of the Word.” We should crave or desire God's Word just as much as these babies or human babies crave and desire milk. Babies need milk to grow physically and we need God's Word - spiritual "milk" - to grow spirtually.

Two other verses in the Bible talk about milk in relation to Christians. 1 Corinthians 3:1-2 says, "Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready." Paul is telling the Christians in Corinth that they have not yet matured in their Christian walk. They are acting like infants.

In Hebrews 5:11-14, the Christians are told, "We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil".

So, while it is important that we've "Got Milk", we must also continue to grow and mature and eventually move on to solid food. We need to be maturing as Christians and growing continually in His Word. Every day we can learn something new about God in study and prayer. We can find new ways to serve as Jesus did, looking for opportunities to reach the lost and to help the needy. We can let our lights shine as we SHINE LIKE STARS!

Monday, March 23, 2009

ARE YOU A TURTLE OR A SKUNK???

When something comes into your life that makes you angry, how do you respond? Do you let it all out like the skunk, where everyone around you can tell that you are upset, or do you hide in your shell like the turtle, all clammed up? Neither response is the way a Christian should respond to anger. We must learn to deal with our anger in a way that is not harmful to others (like the skunk) or harmful to ourselves (like the turtle).

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 29:11, "A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control". Those who are skunks are not wise, but are instead foolish. This verse reminds us of this truth again: "Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.", Ecclesiastes 7:9. So, venting anger in an inappropriate way isn't good, but neither is suppressing the anger. In fact, Ephesians 6:26-27 says, "In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." But those who are turtles may decide it's better to just retreat in their shell and not deal with it. This verse tells us if we are angry at the end of the day, we MUST deal with it! Dealing with it may be going to talk to a person about a situation or it may be turning the problem over to God and the end of the day, realizing He is in total control of everything.

So, how can you learn to control your anger? Here are several ways:
1. Admit you are angry.
Anger is a natural emotion. Remember it is how we react that matters. Don’t deny or suppress it.
2. Ask for God’s help in prayer.
Pray for a forgiving heart. Pray for the person you are angry with or who may be angry with you. We can not do anything on our own, but only with God's power and Jesus' strength.
3. Read and meditate on Scripture.
Fill your mind with good things instead of thoughts of hatred or revenge.
4. Measure the issue.
Think about what you are angry about. Is it worth being angry about? Maybe when you think about it, it will not seem as serious as it seems at first.
5. Control yourself by giving God control of your anger.
Think of how fast you can control yourself if you have to - like for a phone call or the doorbell. Work on controlling anger at all times.
6. Relax.
Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Count to 10 or 100 or 1000 :). Give yourself a chance to regain composure. Different people will have different ways to relax.
7. Find harmless outlets.
What do you do to calm down? Go for a walk. Sing. Clean house! Work in the garden/yard. Violence, rage, and destruction are not the answer.

So, leave me a comment. Are you a turtle or a skunk? And what do you do to control your anger?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Chronicles of Biscuit - God Made Everything!

(Note: You may remember that Biscuit is the nickname of our youngest son, Tyler. If not, see "The Chronicles of Biscuit" from an earlier post.)

When Biscuit was 2 1/2 years old, we were helping at an elementary retreat at QMCC (Quartz Mountain Christian Camp). On Sunday morning the group walked over to a beautiful area around the base of one of the mountains. We all sat down around the pond for morning worship. The speaker was Arpoika Daniels and he was speaking to the children about creation. He talked about each of the days, one by one. When he got to day five, he began talking about the birds of the air and even mentioned airplanes flying. As we looked up in the sky - at that moment - a bird was flying by and an airplane flew by!

After that, Arpoika began talking about the fish and how God made the fish. A few of the children were standing on the side of the pond and had fishing poles with their lines in the pond. At the moment Arpoika began speaking about God making the fish, one of the little girls - who had never caught a fish - caught a fish! Everyone was excited for her, but thought it was just so amazing how God was showing Himself and His power during this lesson! Just being in the mountains and in that atmosphere while worshipping God is awesome in itself, but it was especially so that day.

Well, a few days later, I was going over this creation lesson with Biscuit. I asked him, "Who made the sun?" Biscuit answered, "God did!" I asked, "Who made the stars?" Biscuit answered, "God did!" Then I asked, "Who made the birds and the fish?" Biscuit answered, "How 'bout Arpoika?" I said, "How about God!"

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. Genesis 1:31 (a)

Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Worshipping God - At a Stock Show

Last Sunday our family was at a goat show in Oklahoma City. It is the Oklahoma Youth Expo, which prides itself on being the Largest Junior Livestock Show in the United States. The goat show was held on Sunday and Monday and scheduled to begin on Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m.

Now, I would prefer the event not be scheduled on a Sunday, myself, but unfortunately, it's out of my control. However, having events such as this reminds me of the story in the Bible when the Samaritan women encounters Jesus and He asks her for a drink of water. He offers her the "living water" that only He can give.

Jesus knows all about this woman's life - that she has had five husbands, that the man she now lives with is not her husband. She's not too comfortable with this man, Jesus, knowing all about her life, so she changes the subject! The woman asks Jesus about worship:

"Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem." Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." John 4:20-24

So, while we were at the livestock show and unable to assemble with fellow Christians to worship as usual on Sunday morning, our family, along with several other friends and youth, gathered in one of the empty goat stalls and worshipped God together - in spirit and in truth.

I think it is an important lesson to remind ourselves, as well as to teach our children, that true worship is about God and not about entertainment or how we feel or the building we are in at the moment. The Greek word for worship is proskyneŇć and means to kiss the hand towards in token of reverence or to bow down. It is telling and showing God just how much we love Him and how much we appreciate all that He has done for us. He gave us His Only Son, Jesus!

Thank you, God, for special times such as this that you have given us to worship you in spirit and in truth. It is wonderful to realize we can worship You at any time - even at a goat show!

In Jesus' Name,
Amen

Wayne's Drive Inn

Last night my four children, one nephew, and I were on our way home from Oklahoma City. We decided to stop and eat at Lawton, which is about an hour from our hometown. We chose Wayne's Drive Inn (http://www.waynesdriveinn.com/home.htm)
and ordered burgers, fries, and pizza.


As we were eating our food on the way home, my 10 year old, Jacob asked me about a Bible verse. He read "Ephesians 4:29, Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." This verse was printed on the outside of every cheeseburger bag. Wow! What a neat idea! This is definitely something you don't see very often, but what a good feeling to find that there are businesses who want to spread God's Word to the world.

I would like to hear about companies, restaurants, or businesses that you have in your area that spread God's Word in unique ways. Do you know of any?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Blue Skies and Rainbows


Tomorrow is the first day of spring and there is a slight chance of rain for tomorrow, as well as for several days next week. We need the rain desperately around here! I know it isn't most people's attitude, but I like storms. Now, I don't mean tornadoes, but just thunderstorms and rainstorms. I especially like it when a storm comes during the day and then the sun comes out. Why? Because God gave us a beautiful gift many, many years ago as a promise that He would never flood the whole Earth again. He gave us the rainbow! We can see the rainbow in the blue sky as the sun shines after a rain storm.

I took this rainbow picture last summer after an afternoon rainstorm, but I have a story to tell you about a rainbow my children and I saw a few years ago. We had gone to Altus, which is about 30 minutes away from our town, on a Sunday afternoon. We were headed back to Tipton and would have just enough time to change clothes before evening worship services began. I saw a rainbow in the sky and pointed it out to the kiddos. They all commented about how bright and beautiful it was! I happened to remember that we had a disposable camera in the car, so we pulled over to take a picture. Every direction I tried to take the picture from had high-line wires and poles in the way, so we pulled down a dirt road. Even though it had rained a little bit, I never thought about the road being muddy because it had been so dry for so long. That was a mistake!

As we started along the dirt road, our minivan began swerving! I tried to keep it straight and eventually did get it stopped. I put the van in reverse and attempted to back up to get back to the highway and out of the mud. Unfortunately, the van began swerving again and the back end slid into the ditch! We were STUCK! Well, a few of my children - no ALL of my children- panicked! I quickly tried to calm them down and asked them what we should do to help the situation. They knew immediately that I meant we should pray. So we prayed to God and asked for His help, His strength, and His care as we worked through this problem.


After the prayer I called my husband. He is always so good when I call in this type of situation. I suppose he has to be because I find myself in situations such as this quite often :). It makes for a good teaching tool for my boys. (Ex. "Boys remember that when your wife some day calls and does something like this, don't get mad, just go help her. Your dad is always calm and never gets upset with me." I'm sure my future daughters-in-law will appreciate this training!!)

My husband arrived shortly and tried to figure out a way to pull us out of the ditch. He tried to hook a rope around the tire, but because of the slick mud, the van was unsteady. We were afraid it would slip and hurt him, so we decided it would take more manpower. We eventually all trekked across the mud and into his pickup and headed for town. We were a little late to worship services after stopping by the house to change our muddy shoes!

After services, one of the men of the congregation (a farmer) offered to go the next morning to pull the van out of the mud. He took his tractor and delivered my van - UNHARMED, but extremely dirty and mud-packed! I was so glad it was not damaged and that he was able to get it out!

Now, back to the rainbow. While waiting on my husband to come to our rescue, I did get out and take a picture of the rainbow. It was still beautiful, despite the trouble it took to get the picture! Of course, now when there is a rainstorm in the day time, my husband always calls to remind me NOT to go down any country roads to get the perfect picture! Which is why in this picture, there is a big high line wire going straight across the middle!

I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Genesis 9:13


Thank you, God, for blue skies and rainbows and for your promise.
In Jesus' Name,
Amen.

F.R.O.G.


I like acrostics. I think they are a great learning tool for children and for adults, as well. One of my favorite ones is F.R.O.G. It stands for "FULLY RELY ON GOD!". My children learned a little song at the Sunset congregation in Lubbock, Texas. It goes like this:

Fully Rely On God! (clap, clap).
Fully Rely On God! (clap, clap).
Always! (clap, clap). Totally! (clap, clap).
Fully Rely On God! (clap, clap).

Do you know the story of the frog and the pot of hot water? When a frog was dropped into a pot filled with boiling water, it jumped right out. To jump out was the natural response of the frog when it felt the temperature of the boiling water. But when the frog was put in to a pot of cold water and the flame was slowly turned up, the frog didn't jump out. It accomodated to the change in temperature and didn't notice that it was killing him. He slowly boiled to death.

This story reminds us of how sin can come into our lives. Let's use movies as an example. If we went to an R-rated movie for the first time or watched one on TV, it would most likely offend us because of it's content. Maybe we would walk out of the movie or turn off the TV at home or just change the channel. Like the frog in the boiling pot, the content of the movie would seem so extremely uncomfortable, we would want out immediately!

But, let's suppose that we just gradually begin watching movies at home or in the theater that have mildly suggestive content. Later on we begin watching movies that contain a moderate amount of this kind of thing. We still notice it's content, but it doesn't seem too bad and we reason, "There isn't too much questionable content. Besides, what else am I going to watch? It won't hurt at all." A while afterwards we begin going to R-rated movies and, even though we know they have some questionable content in them, it doesn't seem that bad anymore. Our minds (and our hearts) have become desensitized to what we are seeing and hearing.

Just like the frog, if we get used to unbearable circumstances or difficult situations and don't jump out immediately, we may find ourselves desensitized to the change in our surroundings. We begin to get used to what is going on around us and it doesn't seem quite as harmful anymore. It actually even begins feeling comfortable. If we "FULLY RELY ON GOD" we will quickly jump out of sin when being tempted, not gradually get used to those temptations. Satan will use any way he can to pull you away from God. He doesn't want you to rely on God at all.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.
Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9


Thank you, God, for giving me the faith to Fully Rely On You every day!
In Jesus' Name,
Amen.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I Like Cheesecake!


The true meaning of love, as defined in the Bible, has been corrupted in the common usage of our English language and society. The English language only has one word for love. For example I can say, "I love my husband" and use the same word to say, "I love cheesecake" or "I love my kids" and so forth. Obviously I don’t love cheesecake, I like it. (I know what you're thinking: How can she say that?? "I DO LOVE CHOCOLATE!" I DO LOVE COFFEE!", etc.)

Most often, love is confused with infatuation - that elated, "high" feeling we get when we "fall in love." This kind of "love" is something that lasts typically less than a year, and unless replaced by true love, results in broken relationships. Love in the world is also related to a sexual relationship - only the physical part of a relationship. Love can be mistaken for indulgence. For example, some parents, grandparents, spouses believe that they are showing their children, grandchildren, or spouses true love by the things they give them. But none of these examples are God’s view of love.

The Greek language has five different words for love, of which the New Testament uses two: agape and phileo. Agape love is Christian love and is illustrated in this verse, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13. Phileo love is defined as brotherly love. In John 21:15-16, Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him with the agape type of love and Peter responded that he had the normal human phileo type of love for Him. Eventually Peter did come to love Christ with agape love.

So, with which kind of love to you love Jesus? With which kind of love to you love others?

Here are some ways to show agape love to others:When we are patient with others instead of lashing out at them, we are showing God’s agape love.
When we choose to be kind when we are upset about the way someone has treated us, we are showing God’s agape love.
When we are genuinely happy about someone else’s success and not wish that the success was ours, we are showing God’s agape love.
When we are willing to humble ourselves in order to lift someone else, we are showing God’s agape love.
When we are accused of doing something wrong and we don’t retaliate with the words we say, we are showing God’s agape love.

Can you think of some other ways to show agape love?


Love is an action. It is something we do. It should mean something when we say it. God commands us to love others and even though it may seem hard, we can learn to love with an agape-type love.

SCRIPTURES TO PONDER:
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have love you, so you must love one another. John 13:34-35

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8


So, I will say I "like" cheesecake, but I'll keep the word "love" for something or someone who can love me back!

What do you think?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Technology and Changing Rules

Technology: We've been out of town since Friday, and I have posted from the hotel with a laptop for the past three nights. The first night was just fine, but the last two were not very pleasant! The wireless Internet, which I know NOTHING about, kept disconnecting even though it said it was connected. I finally sat in the bathroom in the hotel last night to finish!! That was the only place I could get it to work. Very strange!

Tonight after we got home I went straight to "Shine Like Stars" to begin this post. I immediately noticed that I misspelled "kindergartner" in the last post. (I've now corrected it.) I remember last night thinking I would need to do spell check, but forgot. Sorry about that, but I am sure there have been misspelled words in the past and will be in the future. I try to catch them and try, also, to remember spell check. That is a neat feature on computers - but only if used!

Change: My husband just now asked me why, on all of my posts, there is only one period between sentences. I told him I've wondered that, too, but keep forgetting to research why. I hit two spaces as I write the post, but when it publishes, it goes to only one space. Well, I just researched on the Internet and found that the two-spaces-after-punctuation rule has changed!! Who is over rules like this? Exactly who changed it? I did not know that it had changed, did you??? Well, not that it matters, but I don't like that rule change :)! One article I read said that it was mostly due to money (not surprisingly). Publishers can save money by eliminating double spaces after punctuation.

New technology has enabled us to do so much more than what we ever thought possible before, but sometimes we're so reliant upon it, that when it's not working properly, it can make it hard to function. Have you ever called your bank or doctor's office and they tell you they can't help you because their computers are down? We rely on technology every day.

Yes, technology has brought about change. Some of that change is good (computers, cell phones, etc.) because it gives us more and more capabilities, but some just doesn't make sense to us (such as punctuation spaces!). It might not be bad, but it just doesn't make sense. It is comforting to know that even though technology can create new ways to learn and study about God and His Word, God and His Word will never change!

The first part of Malachi 3:6 says, "I the LORD do not change." And James 1:17 says, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

Thank you, God, for never changing!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

JOY!

What do you think about when you hear the word joy? Happiness? A feeling of elation? The song of Jesus' birth, "Joy To The World"?

I think of the song, "J-O-Y! J-O-Y! Surely it must mean: Jesus first, yourself last, and others in between."? We used to sing that song in Bible classes as a child, and I've used that song in many kid's classes I've taught. You may have, too.

Using the song above, this little word can teach us a great big lesson. Too many times we want to say: "You/Me first" and have the other two letters follow: Others then Jesus or Jesus then others. When you spell out YOJ or YJO, it doesn't spell anything!! My kindergartner, Tyler, is really into sounding out words right now, but even though you might can sound it out, it will not make sense, will it? It's what the Kindergarten and reading teacher would call "nonsense words".

It's the same way in our lives. Putting ourselves first and others and Jesus behind will NEVER make sense. Oh, you can do it and you might get through life seemingly okay, but, you will not have joy...true JOY that comes from serving others and Jesus - just as God has written about in His Word.

Scriptures to ponder:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. Psalm 28:7


I pray you have a blessed week!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Recipe for a Happy Christian

RECIPE FOR A HAPPY CHRISTIAN
By Lori Waugh
September 2006

Take one unhappy Christian.
First, get rid of the following ingredients:
1 c. complaining
1 c. comparing
1 c. complacency
1 c. conceit
1 c. conniving

Then, add the following ingredients:
1 c. contentment
1 c. commitment
1 c. caring
1 c. control of self
1 c. compassion
1 c. concern
1 c. charity
1 c. chastity
1 c. cooperation
1 c. citizenship
1 c. character

This recipe is good for one happy Christian. Serves everyone.

Friday, March 13, 2009

D.O.G.



Who do you depend on? Yourself? Others? D.O.G. is an acronym for DEPEND ON GOD! As Christians, we should depend on God and put our total trust in Him. The verse up above is one of my very favorite verses. I try to always keep this verse in my mind and on my heart, because too many times I begin to depend on myself. I wonder if this is because of my independent personality? Not that independence in itself is wrong, but it's the self-reliant attitude that can be wrong.

We must remember that nothing is too small or too big for God. God just wants us to depend on Him. Depending on God does not mean that everything will turn out great or the way we want it, but it does mean that with our dependence on Him, He can and will give us the strength and courage to face whatever comes along. It means we don't have to worry about the past, present, or the future because we know that He is in control and not us. God wants our dependence and trust to be in Him and not in ourselves, or in any other person, or in any earthly thing.

Dear God,
Please help me to depend on You and You alone. Thank you for the promise that if we put our trust in you with all of our heart You will make our paths straight.
In Jesus' Name

Amen

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Li-Li

Note: I found this story several years ago and used in a ladies' Bible class. It still remains one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy it!

LI-LI'S STORY

A long time ago in China, a girl named Li-Li got married and went to live with her husband and mother-in-law. In a very short time, Li-Li found that she couldn't get along with her mother-in-law at all. Their personalities were very different, and Li-Li was angered by many of her mother-in-law's habits. In addition, she criticized Li-Li constantly. Days passed and weeks passed. Li-Li and her mother-in-law never stopped arguing and fighting. But what made the situation even worse was that, according to ancient Chinese tradition, Li-Li had to bow to her mother-in-law and obey her every wish. All the anger and unhappiness in the house was causing Li-Li's poor husband great distress. Finally, Li-Li could not stand her mother-in-law's bad temper and dictatorship any longer, and she decided to do something about it!

Li-Li went to see her father's good friend, Mr.Huang, who sold herbs. She told him the situation and asked if he would give her some poison so that she could solve the problem once and for all. Mr. Huang thought for awhile, and finally said, "Li-Li, I will help you solve your problem, but you must listen to me and obey what I tell you." Li-Li said, "Yes, Mr. Huang, I will do whatever you tell me to do." Mr. Huang went into the back room, and returned in a few minutes with a package of herbs. He told Li-Li, "You can't use a quick-acting poison to get rid of your mother-in-law, because that would cause people to become suspicious. Therefore, I have given you a number of herbs that will slowly build up poison in her body. Every other day prepare some delicious meal and put a little of these herbs in her serving. Now, in order to make sure that nobody suspects you, when she dies, you must be very careful to act very friendly towards her. "Don't argue with her, obey her every wish, and treat her like a queen." Li-Li was so happy! She thanked Mr. Huang and hurried home to start her plot of murdering her mother-in-law.

Weeks went by and months went by and, every other day, Li-Li served the specially prepared food to her mother-in-law. She remembered what Mr. Huang had said about avoiding suspicion, so she controlled her temper, obeyed her mother-in-law, and treated her like her own mother. After six months had passed, the whole household had changed. Li-Li had practiced controlling her temper so much that she found that she almost never got mad or upset. She hadn't had an argument with her mother-in-law in six months because she now seemed much kinder and easier to get along with. The mother-in-law's attitude toward Li-Li changed, too, and she began to love Li-Li like her own daughter. She kept telling friends and relatives that Li-Li was the best daughter-in-law one could ever find. Li-Li and her mother-in-law were now treating each other like a real mother and daughter. Li-Li's husband was very happy to see what was happening.

One day, Li-Li went to see Mr. Huang and asked for his help again She said, "Dear Mr. Huang, please help me to keep the poison from killing my mother-in-law. She's changed into such a nice woman, and I love her like my own mother. I do not want her to die because of the poison I gave her." Mr. Huang smiled and nodded his head. "Li-Li, there's nothing to worry about. I never gave you any poison. The herbs I gave you were vitamins to improve her health. The only poison was in your mind and your attitude toward her, but that has been all washed away by the love which you gave to her."

Have you realized that, in almost every situation, how you treat others is exactly how they will treat you? There is a wise Chinese saying: "The person who loves others will also be loved in return."

The Bible tells us in "Luke 6:31, "Do to others as you would have them do to you." And Ephesians 4:32 says, "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you."
Have a great weekend!

God's Sidekick

Several years ago a Disney movie came out called SKY HIGH. In this movie, people were either designated as "heroes" or "sidekicks". How you were classified depended on your "powers". Those with "super" powers were the heroes and those with "less-than-super" powers were the sidekicks.

The word "sidekick" is defined as:
1. A close companion or comrade.
2. A close friend who accompanies his buddies in their activities.

As a Christian, we are God's sidekick! We are a close companion of His and we are accompaning Him in His activities! WOW! How does it make you feel to be a hero's sidekick? We all like that thought, don't we?

There are many ways we can help God with His "activities". We will find His plan for us when we read and study His Word. However, there are other activities in which God does not need our help - in fact, He commands us NOT to help.

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:19-21

I don't know about you, but there have been times when I really didn't want to remember this verse. I was upset and I was contemplating ways to seek revenge - to "get back" at someone for something. I would say to God, "You need a helper? Oh, pick me! I'll help!" Wrong attitude!! This verse tells us to treat our enemies with kindness and in doing so it heaps coals upon their head. I might mention here that it is also the wrong attitude to only be kind to our enemy "to heap coals of fire on their head!"

We can let our desire to seek revenge go - as hard as it may seem. God gives us a promise in this verse. He says, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay". We can hold tight to this promise and give this concern over to God.

As you go throughout today and every day, remember that you are God's sidekick, and that He has lots of ways for you to help Him!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Beautiful Feet


Have you been blessed with beautiful feet? I don't know about you, but personally I don't like the idea of having a pedicure! The thought of someone touching my feet is, well....it's just not something that is appealing to me. But many women and even some men like getting pedicures.

Would it surprise you to learn that pedicures were first mentioned in the Bible? They were! Now they weren't called pedicures back in those days, but the washing of feet was customary and expected much of the time. Genesis 18:4 first mentions washing feet. This is when Abraham was sitting at the entrance of his tent and he looked up and saw three men nearby. He went to meet them (the Bible says that two of them were angels and the other was the Lord) and asked them to stay. Verse 4 says,"Let a little water be brought and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree."

Many years later Jesus taught the disciples a lesson as he washed their feet. You can read about this in John 13:6-17. In Bible times foot washing was a sign of hospitality and was also needed because of wearing sandals on dirt roads. But Jesus used this time to teach the disciples a lesson. Jesus was showing, by his example, how to be humble. As Christians and disciples (followers) of Jesus, we too are to be humble and do even the lowliest of tasks in order to serve one another.

In modern times, the majority of people who get pedicures do it so that their feet will look better in sandals or open-toes shoes or to get their feet cared for in ways they are not able to. Either way, the pedicure helps the person have more beautiful feet. The Bible talks about beautiful feet, but in it's context it has nothing to do with what your feet actually look like. In fact, God's pedicure - his charge for beautiful feet will cost you no money!!

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" Isaiah 52:7

So, have you been blessed with beautiful feet? No, I don't mean could you be a shoe model or would you parade around bare foot everywhere. What I mean is, has God given you the gift of bringing Good News to those who need to hear it?

How, then can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of who they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" Romans 10:14-15

Think about your feet today :0)....your BEAUTIFUL FEET!

Monday, March 9, 2009

"You Don't Know About Me, Daddy!"

Our third child, Jacob, was three years old. We had parked to go in to a football game and were all getting unloaded when Jacob said, "Daddy, I need my jacket!" Because all of our children take after their dad as far as body temperature goes, they are extremely hot natured. But also, since it wasn't very cold outside, my husband Joe said "Jacob, you don't need your jacket." Jacob, without hesitation, replied, "You don't know about me, Daddy!"

Hmmm! Joe and I just looked at each other and really didn't know what to say. I turned away because I started laughing and didn't want Jacob to see me. Joe got Jacob his jacket and I could tell that he was having a hard time not laughing about the reply, too! On the way in to the football game, we quietly agreed that Jacob was right! Joe didn't know about him with that particular situation/need of the jacket.


How many times do you and I do this very same thing to others? We feel a certain way about something and we expect everyone else to feel or react in the same way we do. But, like Jacob pointed out, we don't always know how another person feels or what their needs may be. We don't always know about them.

When a friend or a loved one is experiencing pain, troubles, or trials, we should be there for them. Everyone handles things differently, and though we may not fully understand what they are going through, we can be there for them. And, of course, we can and should pray for them.

1 Peter 3:8 says, "Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous."

Other verses to think about:

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another. Romans 12:10

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15

Sometimes the honesty of children can teach us an important lesson! Thank you, Jacob, for teaching us to be more compassionate towards others.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

GOD!

This had to be one of the neatest things we saw last summer while visiting Florida! We left worship services in Orlando around noon that Sunday and headed towards Daytona Beach. We looked up in the sky and saw a skywriting plane writing "GOD".

God is Holy. His name is Holy. But, unfortunately, too often we hear God's name being used in an unholy way. I wonder how God must feel to hear his name used in such ways?



Exodus 20:7 warns us, "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name."

Let this verse be forever on our lips:
I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.
Psalm 86:12
Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Springtime!

I don't know why I didn't notice it before. Each year it catches me by surprise. Today I was straightening up the living room and happened to look out the back French doors when I saw several green-leafed trees in the distance among the bare-branched trees. Driving down Broadway street in Tipton, you can see white blooms on the trees and daffodils are in bloom at my in-law's house. Springtime is almost here!

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:1


New life can be seen in nature all around us at this time of year. When we become Christians, we too walk in newness of life.

Therefore if any man be in Christ,
he is a new creature:
old things are passed away;
behold all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17

Have a great day!



Friday, March 6, 2009

C.D.O.

I have given myself a new title: C.D.O. What does C.D.O. stand for, you ask? Chief Decorating Officer, of course!

Today was a celebration of Dr. Seuss' birthday at Tipton Elementary, so I began this morning by decorating the gym for this event. After school was over, I came home for a few hours then went to Tipton Home to decorate for a teenage girls' manicure party. (Sounds like fun!)

Most people that know me know that I really enjoy decorating for parties, showers, weddings, and holidays. Decorating is one of my favorite things to do! I am asked to decorate for a lot of different things and always enjoy getting the opportunity to do so. It's not a paying job, but a for fun job. If I was getting paid, it would probably seem like work, don't you think? So, I just decided to give myself a title that sounded really important - C.D.O.! ;)

One thing about my new job title, though: Heaven doesn't need a C.D.O.! Heaven needs no decorating - God created it in the beginning and it was decorated perfectly from the start. In Revelation 21 and 22, Heaven is described as having streets of gold, pearly gates, and precious stones. Doesn't that sound beautiful? We can not even begin to image the splendor of Heaven! I don't know about you, but I look forward to living there someday and for eternity.

"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:1-3

So, while I live here on earth, I am enjoying being a C.D.O. However, I do have a job opening, if anyone is interested. It's for C.U.O. - Cheif Undecorating Officer. That's the worst part!

Dear God, I thank you for preparing Heaven for us; For creating and decorating it in the very beginning. Thank you, too, for allowing us the opportunity through the blood of Jesus to live some day with you there for all of eternity.
In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Broken Glass

Do you have tile floors? We put down tile this past summer in the kitchen and, while I am pleased with it for the most part, there is one thing I do not like about it. Broken glass! Our old kitchen carpet desperately needed to be removed, but I miss the fact that if I dropped something before, it didn't necessarily break. Now, no matter what falls, if it is glass, it's going to break. Unfortunately, I tend to be clumsy, so I've lost quite a few things to breakage since the tile was installed! You would think most of the breakage would come from one of the kids.....but no....it's me!

The other day I was cleaning the kitchen and moved a candle out of the way. The lid to the candle fell to the floor and broke. What was interesting to me about the lid, though, is the way it broke. Some things fall to the floor and shatter in what seems to be a "million" pieces, but this lid fell and broke in mostly big pieces. It was fairly easy to clean up the mess - this time.

As I was cleaning up the pieces, I thought about the differences in shattered glass. What makes some glass shatter more than others? I also thought about how our lives are like that glass. Something comes along in our lives and it may "shatter" us into many pieces, but then other things may come along and seem they would be just as hurtful to us, but we're not shattered to the same extent. What makes the difference? In glass, the thickness of it seems to make the biggest difference. So, is it the thickness of our skin that makes the difference in our lives?

I used to have a boss that thought it was fun to make me cry. I would cry very, very easily. He would tell me I was thin-skinned and he actually delighted in that fact! But, as I got older and matured, those types of things didn't bother me any more. I became more "thick-skinned" and learned to control my response towards others and towards certain situations.

Maybe having thick skin does help when our world is shattered, but I believe it has more to do with our faith. The "thickness" or "deepness" of our faith in God will help us when everything seems like it is falling apart. God will get us through those rough, broken times if we will put our faith - our total faith - in Him.

Take a moment to reflect on this comforting passage:
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
James 1:2-4


Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Chronicles of Biscuit - A New Attitude

Note: All of my children have nicknames which have been given to them by their dad. Tyler's nickname is "Biscuit". For a long time I have thought that I should have a blog totally devoted to the funny things he says. It would be entitled "The Chronicles of Biscuit". But, for now, I'll just post them here to go along with specific devotional thoughts.

Such was the case today after school....
When Biscuit got out of school today and got into the van, the first words out of his mouth were, "What's the deal with my attitude?" Yep. That is exactly what he said! And, he had a sad, disappointed-in-himself-look on his face. I'm thinking that he must have really gotten in trouble and just started to ask him about it when he said, "All I did was whisper, but it's okay, Mom. I only got a warning.". Well, I talked to him about having this warning and told him that he must have done more than just whisper. We finally got to the main offense: He wasn't supposed to be talking at all and so he just got a warning because he was just whispering.

So, of course, we talked about obeying the rules totally and not just part way. But I got to thinking about what Biscuit said, "What's the deal with my attitude?" I don't know about you, but I've asked myself that very same question many, MANY times before! And I wonder, does God ask that same question about me and my attitude, as well? I'm certain that He does - and has - many times!

Philippians 2:5 says "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus..." Jesus is our example for everything in life and we should strive to be more like Him each day. Will we fail as Biscuit did today in Kindergarten? You bet! But, God is ready to forgive us and help us get back on track.

After all the kids were loaded up in the van we went by the fair barn to check on all of the baby goats. My husband just happened to be there checking on the goats, too. When Biscuit saw his dad he said, "Mom, dad doesn't need to know about all of this!" Oh, yes he does, Tyler! Oh, yes he does! ;)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Jesus Loves the Little Children


Every once in a while it hits me as to how fast my children are growing up. Tonight has been one of those times. Most of the time life is going by so fast that there's not time to actually "think" about how fast it is going!

Other times I pause think about how quickly they are growing up is when our whole family goes with my husband as he goes to different congregations speaking to them about Tipton (Children's)Home. In his talk, he mentions how that raising a child can be divided into 3 parts. When a child is 6 years old, parents are 1/3 of the way through raising them and when they are 12, parents are 2/3 of the way through raising them. To tell you the truth, I really don't like this reminder!

God has blessed my husband and I with these four children. But, God has also given us a responsiblity to raise them and teach them about Jesus. The first three gospels tell the story of Jesus and the little children.

"People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10:13-16"

It is still God's plan for us to bring children to Jesus - whether it be our own children or children we come in contact with through Bible classes or places such as Tipton Home. May God bless us all in this endeavor!

A Quick Note!

Hey, everyone! Thank you for reading my blog. I appreciate it very much! I have no way to know how many are subscribed to it. I would like to know how to track that, but haven't figured it out yet. I do have a tracker that keeps up with how many visit the site per day, so that's kind of neat. But, I just wanted to say thanks to each of you, even if I don't know you personally!

Also, to those who read the post about Crazy the goat - she's been caught! Roped by two high school boys, actually. She's near by our house in a pen she can't get out of by jumping. My husband is waiting until March 12th to see if she has little babies, but then he says he is "done" with Crazy.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Manic Monday!

I'm beginning to think there is a conspiracy to sabatoge my Mondays!! Do you ever feel that way? Today I did, and last week's Monday post dealt with that same kind of feeling!

I'll spare you most of the details of my day, except for this one story. This Friday, I'm teaching a class about the state of Indiana to our elementary students as part of a Dr. Seuss celebration. Last Friday I found a good deal for little diecast metal race cars at a dollar-type store. That particular store didn't have enough in stock, but a worker there volunteered to call other stores and locate them for me. The worker called a nearby town and found 140 cars for me. They had some cars that would even be cheaper for me to get and had 140 for me they could save. I was so excited that each child would be getting their own little car to race in our "mock" Indy 500! They were saving them for me. Today, when I went to get the cars, I was told they had no idea what I was talking about. The lady I spoke to even called a worker at home about it. She said that it is not their company policy to hold things for customers. They only had 52 of the cars, not the 140 I was told they had. I called the store who had worked this out for me, but the lady I dealt with isn't working today. UGH!

How do you handle days like this? How do you handle situations such as this? As Christians, we should be able to handle situations like this in a Christ-like manner. I was very disappointed because I was told that the cars would be there and that they had plenty for me. I am still disappointed because the students will not have their own little race car (I've since figured out another way for them to have their race). But, I am thankful that God gave me the strength to control my response when this happened. In the past, I probably would have responded differently.

1 Thessalonians 5:15 says, "Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else."

Thank you, God, for giving me strength today!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Contentment


Are you content? What would it take for you to be content? In our world today, we are bombarded with advertisements about new things we can purchase that will supposedly make us more content. We want things newer, faster, nicer, easier - all these "things" we believe will make us content.

Last week the goat in this picture (let's just call her "Crazy" for the sake of giving her a name - and it is a proper name!) thought her life was going along pretty good. She was very content. She was happily roaming in our pasture, but one day her life changed. There's a possibility that this goat is expecting little baby goats, so my husband was going to take her and all the other expectant moms to a safe sheltered barn. But Crazy wasn't interested in changing her life, so she ran away from my husband, a friend of his, plus 10 children (maybe the 10 children were why she ran - Hmmm???) Anyway, Crazy jumped the fence and ran as fast as she could up the road we call "cemetery road" here in Tipton. It was dark and they had other goats to take care of, so they didn't worry about Crazy for the night - thinking she might come back. But, no. She didn't.

The next morning our county livestock show was going on at a nearby town and my husband and children left early for the fairgrounds. I started over a little later and on the way, about 2 miles from our house I saw a goat in the driveway of one of my 4-H members. This boy also shows goats and I am thinking this is HIS goat and that it should be at the county show. So, I call our Ag teacher and he says, "No that's YOUR goat!" It's Crazy! He told me to stay there and watch her until he got me some help to try to get her.

Crazy ran into the garage of the house where she was "visiting". Their garage door was open (as a side note, the mom that lives here is my son, Jacob's teacher.) So Crazy is in this garage, way up by the door going into the house, and there's all this stuff around her in the garage.

While waiting on help to come, I'm thinking that this would be an awesome picture - Crazy in a garage! I slowly drive up about one foot at an angle to get a good picture and also to make sure I'm out of the highway traffic, but the movement scared Crazy and she took off!! I begin to go along behind Crazy, she in the field and I on the highway, when all of the sudden, here comes help! The assistant Ag teacher and a high school boy come driving THROUGH the field after Crazy. The high school boy jumps out of the vehicle and runs after Crazy, but then turns around and runs scared! A jack rabbit had jumped out in front of him and ran, but it scared him! The boy jumps back into the vehicle and here we all go, chasing after Crazy! Well, Crazy stopped at the next house. At this time, I had to leave and get to the stock show to work at the concession stand. I left the assistant Ag teacher and high school boy with Crazy.

I'm not exactly sure what happened after that, but I do know that they didn't get Crazy. Crazy is still gone. But, all of the students, teachers, and people at the livestock show enjoyed the story of Crazy the rest of the day!

Why do I tell you this story? Well, first of all, I thought it would be a good laugh to start off your week. But, second of all, the story of Crazy can teach us a lesson about being content.

Sometimes we believe we can't be content unless we have more. But, also, sometimes we believe we can't be content unless things stay exactly the same - like Crazy. She wasn't content with any change in her life and now where is she? Who knows? Maybe she'll show up some day! But, Paul says in Philippians 4:11-12 "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." The key to this verse is where Paul says "I have learned the secret of being content. What is that secret? Paul in God's inspired Word tells us in verse 13, "I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength" Christ gives us the strength to be content.

Have a great Monday, everyone!

 
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