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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Chronicles of Biscuit - "I'm Thirsty"

 The Chronicles of Biscuit:  Stories about our youngest son, Tyler, whose nickname is Biscuit.

Saturday night was alumni banquet for my small hometown high school. My husband and I attended the banquet while our four children stayed home.  We left Lauren, our 16-year-old daughter, in charge (to a degree) of her three younger brothers.

As the banquet ended, my husband received a text from Lauren concerning her youngest brother, Biscuit. 

Here is the conversation:

Biscuit:  "Lauren, get me some water."

Lauren:  "Not right now."

Biscuit:  "The Bible says if someone is thirsty to give them a drink."

Lauren:  "I'm busy.  I'm not going to get it right now."

Biscuit:  "Well, that's what the Bible says!"

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
Proverbs 25:21

The Bible does say to help those in need - to provide them with food and water.....even if it's an enemy.  I would say that Biscuit had a valid point, wouldn't you?  Even if, at that point, Lauren viewed her little brother as an enemy, she still needed to help him, right?  Apparently so!

We've just had the season of Thanksgiving.  Now we've moved on to include the season of giving.  Christmas time is filled with gifts of all kinds. But Jesus taught us about giving like no one else could do because he gave His life for us, so that we might live with Him in eternity. 

So, in this season of giving, think of how you might be able to help others. 
Think of ways you can show the love of Jesus by providing for the needs of others. 
Maybe it's by giving them money. 
Maybe it's giving clothes, food, or shelter in some way. 
But, just maybe, it's by giving them a drink of water.

I'm pretty sure Biscuit finally got his drink of water because when we got home, he never mentioned being thirsty.  Apparently his needs had been taken care of by his sister.  People all over the world are needing something.  They are searching for something.  Maybe they are waiting for us to meet their needs. 

Maybe they are waiting for us to give them a drink of water.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:17-21

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Memories 2010

Well, another Thanksgiving has come and gone.  It seems like it will be a long time until the next one, but we all know that the years pass by very quickly, so it will be here before we know it!  And, actually 52 weeks doesn't sound like that long, anyway, does it?

Here are some of our special memories from Thanksgiving 2010....

The fall leaves have been beautiful this year.  Thank you, God!
 Our dessert table was overflowing again this year.  Thank you, God!
We enjoyed the day with fun family traditions.  Thank you, God!

All but one family member was able to attend the family Thanksgiving this year - 38 in all!
Thank you, God!
 Despite the cold Thanksgiving morning, many family members participated in the annual "Turkey Trot". All of the runners stayed warm and cozy with their hats and gloves on.  Thank you, God! 
 Our youngest child, Tyler, ran the 5K (3.1 miles).  We thought he was just running the 1 mile fun run.  He finished in 41 minutes!  Pretty good for a little guy!  As he ran along the road, I could hear him singing in the distance.  Thank you, God!
Plates were filled with nourishing foods and comfort foods.  No one went home hungry.  In fact, leftovers supplied meals for several days.  We have an abundance of blessings, just as you do. Thank you, God!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
1 Chronicles 16:34

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tyler's Thanksgiving Feast

Today the two 2nd grade classes had a
"Thanksgiving Feast". Our youngest son, Tyler, who is a 2nd grader, was so excited about the meal! His teacher had asked me to help with desserts. I made "Pumpkin Parfaits". You can find the recipe on my family recipe blog, here.

I decided to go be at the school when the "feast" began, so that I could snap a few pictures of Tyler and his classmates. Many of the students were dressed for the feast, as were the two 2nd grade teachers. I asked Tyler why he wasn't in a costume. He said he didn't get finished with his. (That doesn't surprise me - ha ha!).

As the students were served their stew, and I was snapping pictures, I heard Tyler say, "We should say a prayer before we eat.". Tyler's teacher replied, "You can, in your head." Tyler bowed his head, closed his eyes, and sat still for a moment. I just quietly watched and smiled inside.

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name."
Psalm 100:4

Monday, November 22, 2010

What Am I Thankful For?

Today, I am thankful for:

T - The truth found in God's Word
"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
John 8:32

H - Heaven
Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him."
John 14:23
A - Abundant Blessings
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Ephesians 1:3

N - Never-ending Love
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
1 John 3:1
K - Knowledge of God
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
1 Peter 1:3

S - The sacrifice for our sins
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 2:2

G - God's gift of eternal life
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23

I - Integrity of fellow Christians
I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. 
1 Chronicles 29:17a

V - The vine - Jesus
"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."
John 15:5

I - Inheritance for children of God
For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
Hebrews 9:15

N - Needs met by God
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

G - God's grace
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
Ephesians 2:8

To see what others are thankful for, visit Heavenly Homemakers.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Our Neck of the Woods

I don't know why I gave this post a title like this.  In Southwest Oklahoma there is certainly no woods any where around!  I guess I just liked the sound of it.

So, after a very long series of posts with lots and lots of Biblical thoughts, today I'm just going to share with you what's been going on in small town Tipton.

First of all, we had our annual school/town Fall Festival/Carnival.  I organize the event each year for our PTO, but have many helpers in lots of different areas.
Elementary teachers each have games in their classrooms.  Many parents volunteer to run the games, if needed. (This "clown" is one of our 2nd grade teachers!)
High school classes, with their teacher-sponsors' help, each had a game booth.  This is my daughter's Sophomore class.  They had an obstacle course.  Lots of fun!
Each elementary class also has a basket with a theme. At the end of the evening, the baskets are auctioned off.  This years' basket themes were:  Tiger Spirit, Family Game Night, Gift Cards, Christmas, Fall/Thanksgiving, Gingerbread, OU, OSU, and Texas Rangers.  There is also a silent auction with smaller items.
Many elementary students participated in a pumpkin decorating contest.  The "Top 3" winners received a $5 bill.
And, what would a carnival be without food?  The PTO concession stand offers the general concession-stand fare:  hot dogs, Frito chili pie, and nachos, but unlike most concessions stands, this booth serves homemade desserts!

There are many more booths plus craft/jewelery/clothing/purse vendors.  It's a jam-packed evening full of fun for all ages.  It also serves as the PTO's only fundraiser of the year.

This year's event brought in a record amount, as far as fund-raising goes.  These funds are going to purchase Tipton Elementary t-shirts for every elementary student and elementary faculty member, pay for part of a movie trip for the elementary students (K-5th) to see "Tangled", plus provide a "Reindeer" themed  Christmas party in a few weeks.  It will also provide food for field trips, prizes for the annual spelling bee, and many other events.
 Another event that the Tipton 4-H group has been working on is "Share-the-Fun", which is like a talent show. As the 4-H leader, this is probably the most difficult event to organize, just because it takes lots of commitment and lots of practice.
This year's skit was entitled "Green Clovers and Kids".  It was based on the Dr. Seuss book, "Green Eggs and Ham".  I'm pleased to announce that the group won Reserve Grand Champion this weekend!  Congratulations, Tipton 4-H!

 And, the final thing in "Our Neck of the Woods", was that my family ran in a race this weekend.....everyone except me, that is. First of all: I'm NOT a runner! Never have liked it and doubt I ever will! Second of all: If I did run, who would take all of the awesome pictures? Exactly! No one. I have to be the photographer!
So, what's going on in neck of the woods?????

Friday, November 19, 2010

LOL - Living Our Legacy - Part 10 (Final)

So there are our housewarming gifts: Love, Service, Time, Worship, Conversation, Teaching, Boundaries, and Faithfulness. (Click here for previous posts about this series.) What great gifts we received for our spiritual homes!

Jesus told the story about someone who built a house on a solid foundation – just like we've talked about in this whole series of lessons . In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus tells this parable:

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

A solid rock is Jesus’ visual image of something that we know will last. That's what our foundation should be built on, shouldn't it?

A few weeks ago I shared with you an illustration about the wise man and foolish man.  Click here to see that illustration.  I've used the illustration to illustrate this series of lessons, as well in Bible classes and VBS.

A house built on sand will splat! It will be destroyed. What are some types of sand these homes are built on? The sandy foundation, in a realistic sense, may be no foundation at all.

Some spiritual homes are build on opinion only - of what someone believes is right.

Some homes are built on the latest fad....whatever the popular thing to do might be.

And still other homes may be built on the experiences of the past. For example, a person may build their house just like their parents did or just like their grandparents did. And sadly, that foundation may be sandy and no good. It's a house built on an unstable foundation and continues repeating the same thing over and over.

There are other things besides sandy, unstable foundations that can destroy our spiritual homes and eventually, our legacy.  Storms can also destroy our spiritual homes, just as they can destroy our physical homes.  Storms can come in the form of many things in relation to our spiritual homes: sickness, death, abuse, neglect. Lots of things can cause devastating destruction.

LOL is no laughing matter when it stands for "Living Our Legacy". It's very important when it comes to our spiritual lives and our spiritual homes.  Think over all of the housewarming gifts we've talked about for the past several days.

Now your house is've built it.  You've built it with help from God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  It's filled with many wonderful housewarming gifts.

Now consider this:  Someday you'll leave that house you've built.  Someday that house will belong to someone else. It should be our desire to be known as a good home builder....a spiritual home builder. A builder with a good reputation. A builder that builds on firm foundations.

What will your legacy be? Let us all remember to "Live Our Legacy" in the way we live - each and every day.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

LOL - Living Our Legacy - Part 10

LOL - Living Our Legacy (Part 10)
(To see other posts in this series, click Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7,
 Part 8, and Part 9)

(Note: Oops!  I mistakenly left out one of the gifts.  This one was supposed to come before "Faithfulness". I'm adding this one tonight and then will do the final wrap-up tomorrow.)  
 Another housewarming gift we will open is BOUNDARIES.  Maybe you don't think of boundaries as a gift, but maybe by the end of this post you will realize that boundaries really are a gift.
Remember when we built our house in the second lesson?  I had you think of the framework/walls of the spiritual house as the Holy Spirit? In the Bible the Holy Spirit is referred to as a Counselor. I like to think of the Holy Spirit as my conscious, but that's not always a good thing. For some people their conscious is seared. It's been damaged and gotten used to doing things that aren't right or aren't good. Where maybe at one time their conscious would have kept them from doing something wrong – from sinning – maybe now their conscious is seared and those sinful thoughts and actions don't bother them any more.

At baptism we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38) Many times we don't talk about the Holy Spirit because we don't understand how He works. But we have to learn to rely on the Spirit within us.The Spirit will help us grow. For example, consider the fruits of the Spirit spoken of in Galatians 5:22-23. Not the fruits of US. We will grow these fruits with the help of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit will help us live a legacy of boundaries. Why do we need boundaries? To keep us from sin.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

It's a common known fact that children want boundaries. It's what they need. It makes them feel safe.  It makes them feel loved. 

A friend once told me that she was kind of jealous of me growing up.  She was jealous because my parents had rules, curfews, and always wanted to know where I was.  To her, those "boundaries" showed love.  Kind of interesting, isn't it? 

Boundaries = Love?  It sure seems like it!

We need boundaries, too. Boundaries keep us safe. They keep us from sin. The commandments in the Bible aren't there to harm us. They're not there to keep us from having fun. They are there to keep us from harm. They are to keep us from sin. They are to help us be holy. They are to help us live in Heaven some day.

Take a moment to read Romans 8.  This whole chapter talks about living by the Spirit.

Live a legacy by the boundaries you have in your life.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

LOL - Living Our Legacy (Part 9)

LOL - Living Our Legacy (Part 9)
(To see other posts in this series, click Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, and Part 8)

Our last housewarming gift is FAITHFULNESS. Leaving a legacy of faithfulness may be the very most important gift, but to have this gift, you must have all of the other gifts. Why? Because if you don't have love, if you don't have service, if you don't have time, if you don't have positive conversation – you can not have a legacy of faithfulness.

If you were going to define faithfulness, as Paul uses it in the N.T., how would you do it? Well, if you looked in the dictionary, you would find a technical definition that says, "To follow through with a commitment regardless of difficulty." That’s a good definition.

But let me give you one that I came across that may be easier to remember, "Faithfulness is love hanging on." It is love saying, "I will not quit." There may be misunderstandings, there may be disappointments, there may be discouragements, but I will not quit. It is love hanging on.

If someone says, "I really love the Lord," or "I really love the church," and then is unfaithful, then it’s hard to believe that he really does love the Lord.  Faithfulness and love always go hand in hand. Faithfulness is love hanging on. It is love saying, "I will not quit. There may be misunderstandings, there may be disappointments, there may be discouragements, but I will not quit." It is love hanging on.  We show our love to God and to Jesus by loving them faithfully.
You and I may get discouraged. You and I may be disappointed, but faithfulness says, "Even though there is discouragement and disappointment, I will not let go, I will not quit. I will keep on loving, attending, giving and serving, because God has called me to be faithful."

Listen to what the Bible says through these scriptures that challenge us to be faithful.

So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
1 Corinthians 4:1-2
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12

Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Revelation 2:10

Christians should be faithful in service, faithful in prayer, and faithful during trials....even to the point of death.  Sounds difficult, doesn't it?  But, it doesn't have to be difficult!  We don't have to, and in fact aren't even able to, go it alone.  We have a Savior, we have a Father, and we have the Holy Spirit!  Our power to be faithful comes from our dependence on their power.

Jesus is a perfect example of someone whose faithfulness never wavered.

Let's look at Matthew 16:21-23.

Satan was using Peter to try to get Jesus to quit, to be unfaithful. Again and again throughout His ministry Satan tried to tempt Jesus to be unfaithful. (paraphrased) "Don’t go to the cross. Don’t die for their sins. Just quit. It’s going to be too tough. There will be too many obstacles, too many difficulties. Just turn around and quit." Yet in Luke 9:51, (NIV) says, “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.”

Resolutely means firm, determined, or unwavering. Jesus went to the cross willingly – knowing he was doing His Father's will.  I like that, don't you?!

And then, even while He was hanging on the cross, the people below Him were mocking Him, saying, "If you really are the Son of God, come down from the cross." That’s what Satan was saying, too. "Quit! Come down. It’s not worth it. The pain is too intense. The people don’t care anyway. Just quit!"

But He continued to hang there until finally He says, "Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing." And "Into thy hands I commit my spirit." That’s faithfulness. That’s faithfulness unto death.

And the faithfulness of Jesus has inspired the faithfulness of others down through the ages, those who hung in there, through the good and the bad, and through times of want and need.

Our legacy of faithfulness comes from a life that is committed to worshiping God. It's a life that is full of love and positive conversation. It's a life that spends time on things that further the kingdom of God and the work of His church. It's a life that is lived in full service to Him.

Let your children see your own faith, so it’s “caught,” not just “taught.”

Live a legacy of faithfulness.

We will conclude our LOL - Living Our Legacy with a wrap-up post tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

LOL - Living Our Legacy (Part 8)

LOL - Living Our Legacy (Part 8)
(To see other posts in this series, click Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7)

Here's another gift for our housewarming party.  The gift of TEACHING. Live a legacy of teaching. From the time we build our house until the day we leave this world, we should live our lives teaching others.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16

Every day you encounter someone, you are teaching some way. Maybe it's in the way you respond to the checker at the grocery store. Maybe it's how you conduct yourself when your boss or co-worker criticizes you. Maybe its how you respond to a family member. Someone is learning something from your attitudes, your actions, and your words.

But in our spiritual homes, we must be teaching about Jesus. We must be showing Jesus to others.

Let's talk about teaching others for a moment – outside of the home. Many believe they can not teach or that they don't have the talent to teach. Nowadays, with the Internet, there are so many free ideas about how to teach children and teens. But, maybe you don't feel comfortable teaching. The only way you will get over that uncomfortable feeling is to just do it. Get out of your comfort zone. Start out in a little kid's Bible class. Start with a children's beginner's Bible and learn the stories you may not be comfortable with or maybe even know.

What if you want to teach a ladies' class? How do you start? First, pick out a book that interests you. If you don't like the topics or theme – you won't enjoy teaching it. Read the lesson. Does the book teach truth? Some may not. You can still get ideas and lessons for it, but you need to know the truth so, be sure to read the scriptures and make sure it's truth.  As you study in this way, you are learning, yourself, but will also be able to teach what you've learned to others. Write down some thoughts of your own. Maybe even search the Internet for other lessons – even sermons – about that same topic. Sermons make great lessons!

In a ladies' class, it's great to get the ladies to talking. So ask them questions! Be a moderator, where you just get the topics started and let the ladies discuss the topics.  Ladies seldom have trouble talking (do we???) Use the Bible study time as a time to learn more about your Christian sisters and become closer. Of course, you need to know the material you are teaching, but don't be scared of not knowing something either. Many times the teacher learns just as much as the students.  I know I always do!

The Bible is the best teaching tool you have to teach others.

Books can be helpers, but the Bible is the only true source of what is true and right. Don't neglect it or put it above other books you may use. Remember that the Bible is inspired by God. Books are written by uninspired men and women.

Being remembered for teaching others would be a great legacy, wouldn't it? And there are so many ways to teach others.

In teaching others, don't neglect those in your own home – your own family. If we fail to teach those who are directly in our care, we've failed.

Right now, my children are my most important students. It's fine to come teach you all and share with you about Jesus. But, if I neglect the four precious young souls in my care right now – I'm going to be held accountable for that.

Grandmothers – be sure to teach your grandchildren. You may be the most influential person in the life/lives of your grandchildren. I know that my grandmother was one of the most influential people in my life as a Christian. I wanted to live up to her standard – not just to please her – but to be like her as one of God's servants.
Use every day life to teach your children.  Use the Bible as a huge part of your every day life.  Life's lessons learned through comparing them to God's Word is the very best way to teach your children about what is right (acceptable in God's eyes) and what is wrong (what is sinful in God's eyes). 

Let the Bible be your instruction book and your self-help book when teaching others!

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, "Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children."
Deuteronomy 4:9-10
Live a legacy of teaching.

Monday, November 15, 2010

LOL - Living Our Legacy (Part 7)

LOL - Living Our Legacy (Part 7) 
(To see other posts in this series, click Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6)

Our next gift is ready to be opened. It's the legacy of CONVERSATION.

As a Christian home builder, our homes should be filled with conversation. But what kind of conversation? We must realize the importance of our conversation and of the words we use in our homes – and elsewhere.

Let's look at the importance of our words.

1. Our words can direct us and others in life.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
Proverbs 25:11

In other words, a good word spoken at the right time is better than golden apples in a silver basket.
2. Our words can destroy us and others.

Words can destroy relationships. Once spoken, they're gone. The damage is done. We need to think BEFORE we speak, not just after.

There is a story of a woman in an Indian village who maliciously gossiped about another lady and her family in the village. One day she found out that she was wrong about this lady and her family and had a change of heart. She went to the village’s wise man and asked how she could take back all the wrong she had done. The wise man told her to go home and kill her chickens and pluck there feathers and put them into a bag. After this she was to go back and see the wise man again, but on her way back she was to scatter all the feathers she had plucked from the chickens.

The lady did as she was told. When she got back to the man, he told her, "now go back and pick up all the feathers that you have scattered. " The woman was astonished at such a command and said, " By now the wind has carried the feathers through out the village and beyond." The wise man then told Her, And so it is with your careless words. They are like the feathers scattered in the wind. You can not retrieve them." With that the woman with a broken heart because of the words she had spoken went her way, determined from that day forward to watch her words.

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.
Ephesians 4:29

3. Our words display who we are and what's in our hearts.

Look at this illustration:
A guy joined the a monastery. For three years he was given a probation period where he was not to speak at all, but at the end of each year he could say two words. The first year at the end he said, "Bed hard." At end of the second year he said, "Food cold." At the end of the third year he’d about had it. He comes in and says, "I quit". The head priest replied, "That doesn’t surprise me. All you’ve done is complain since you got here."

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
Luke 6:45

Live a positive legacy with your conversation.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

LOL - Living Our Legacy - Part 6

LOL - Living Our Legacy (Part 6) 
(To see other posts in this series, click Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5)

Opening gifts is fun, isn't it?  So, let's open another gift for our Christian home. This gift truly is a gift. It's the gift of WORSHIP.

Worshiping God is a gift – especially here in America – because we have the freedom to worship, without fear of harm. But, worship doesn't have to be, and actually shouldn't be, limited to the walls of the a certain building or limited to one or two days a week. Worship should be part of our lives each and every day.

When you have children in your home, they see your example. They know if you are spending time in Bible study and in prayer. They see what fills up your time. But, when you take the time to worship God daily, through prayer, through study and meditation, and let them in on that worship, they are learning to worship God daily. They're not seeing just a “two or three times a week and I'm done” attitude about worshiping Our Heavenly Father. And, when they see you being a servant as we've already talked about, you're setting the example of Jesus before their eyes. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, co-workers – all of them can be examples of this and you can be that example to others.

Of course, it's important to worship with your church family. Jesus established the church for a reason and for a purpose. As Christians, we are each of us are a part of that purpose. And part of that purpose it to be workers in the kingdom. Another part of it is to encourage each other. So, don't neglect that part of worshipping together with your Christian family, but don't neglect God at home, either.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.
Romans 12:1
Live a legacy of daily worship.

Friday, November 12, 2010

LOL - Living Our Legacy - Part 5

Another gift to open in our LOL - Living Our Legacy series is the gift of TIME. Time is important to us as we live our legacy. But what do we do with out time? How do we use our time? Is time with our immediate family important? Is time with our church family important?

Look at and read this little poem.  I used this poem in a 4-H demonstration 30 years ago, but have never forgotten it.
“I have just a minute, with 60 seconds in it,
forced upon me, can't refuse it,
didn't seek it, didn't choose it.
But it's up to me to use it. I must suffer if I loose it.
Give account if I abuse it.
Just a tiny little minute, but eternity is in it.”
Author Unknown

How we choose to use our time matters. It matters to us. It matters to God. And, it shapes our legacy.

We often hear – and maybe say ourselves, “There's just not enough time.” Well, first of all, we should realize that it's not “our” time anyway. It's God's time. He's given us the gift of another year, another day, another minute.

Secondly, we often make choices of how to use our time, that actually take that time away from what we should be done. We can literally fill every minute of every day with something. In fact – we can double and triple fill each minute, if we allow it. We need to remember that many of the “things” we count as obligations, are really just things we choose to do. Not things we “have” to do. We must use our time wisely.

When we allow our houses to be filled with things that keep us from time with God, we are filling our houses with things that will keep us from passing on the legacy of a Christian home built on a firm foundation. As Christian home builders, we must guard against time-robbers that will keep us from doing the things God wants us to do. Remember that it's a choice to take time away from God, from your family, and from your church family.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:17

Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that. As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."
James 4:13-17

What is your favorite day of the week? For many people, it’s Someday. But Someday is a hazardous word if you and I want to leave a positive legacy. Consider these thoughts below.  Maybe you can think of even more.

Someday, I’m going to be the parent I always wanted to be. (Remember that children grow up quickly. Your Someday will be gone before you know it!)
Someday I’m going to slow down and begin enjoying relationships with my family and my friends.
Someday I'm going to visit the sick, help the needy.
Someday, I’m going to take God serious.
Someday, I’m going to get involved in the church.
Someday, I’m going to go study the Bible more or become a Christian.
Someday, I’m going to serve others and volunteer my time to help others.
Someday, I’m going to share the Good News about Jesus.
Live a positive legacy of your time.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

LOL - Living Our Legacy - Part 4

This is Part 4 of LOL - Living Our Legacy
To see previous posts, click Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3.

Now let's open another housewarming gift. It's the gift of SERVICE.

Service to others is showing them that we love them. Living a legacy of service is doing something for someone else. It's being a worker for the Lord. We show others we love them by serving them, by caring for them - by helping them and tending to their needs. We show others we love them by putting them before ourselves.

Jesus' whole life was spent in service to others. Even in his death he was serving others.

So many times we make excuses to serve. When some are young, they think they'll serve when they get older....when they have more time.....when their children are grown or when they retire. Then, when some retire, they retire from everything - including serving. They may think to themselves, “I did that when I was younger. I served my time. I taught when my children were young." But then they get to a certain age and want to “retire” from service.  But do you know when we should retire from serving others?  Only when we die. Only then is our mission complete.

Filling our home with service doesn't have to be hard. It doesn't have to cost a lot of money. It can be simple acts of kindness to those in our home, to our neighbors, to those in need, to the sick, and to our church family.
Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men.
Ephesians 6:7

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.
1 Peter 4:10

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Galatians 6:10

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
Galatians 5:13

Live a legacy of service.

And, speaking of service.....

In honor of Veteran's Day, I want to mention my Grandpa Gene.  He served his country in the Navy and was on the USS Franklin which was bombed on March 19, 1945.  Many people lost their lives that day in service to the United States of America.  My grandpa's life was spared that day. 

My grandpa continued to be a servant to others, to his church family, and to his small community for many years after his years in the navy.  Several years ago my grandpa was diagnosed with cancer.  He was told he only had a few months to live.  In the last few weeks he was in a nursing home, but his servant heart continued.  He couldn't physically do things for others, but my grandpa served others by encouraging those around him - whether it was the nurses or those who visited him.  He made them laugh, responded to their requests with kindness, and was a pleasant patient though suffering with pain.  His last words to me, just a few hours before his death, were even something to make me laugh....when I really wanted to cry.

Thank you, grandpa, for your example of service.  You left a legacy for many, and I thank you for that.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

LOL - Living Our Legacy - Part 3

Part 3 of LOL - Living Our Legacy

When our Christian home is built on a firm foundation, we have a good start on leaving the kind of legacy we want to leave.  But, in the last post I mentioned gifts....housewarming gifts.  In the next few days we will look at each of this "gifts".

What we bring into our home should be how we want to live our legacy. It should contain how we want to be remembered and what we want to pass on to our children and our grandchildren. It should only be filled with what we want our example and influence to be on those around us.

Let's open the first gift. It's LOVE. Yes, let's fill our house with love. The Bible has a lot to say about love.

 In Matthew 22:36-40, Jesus tells us just how important love is in our relationship with Him and also with others.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself'.

James 2:8 tells us "If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ’Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right."

The Apostle John in 1 John 3:11 wrote: "This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another."

Paul, in Romans 13:8 declared: "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law."

Peter, in 1 Peter 1:22 told us: "Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart."

And, again Jesus said about love:
"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you: continue in my love. If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That you love one another, as I have loved you." John 15:9-12

Loving our family members. Loving each other. Even loving our enemies. That is something that should fill our home. Love is something we should want as our legacy.

How can we fill our home with this kind of love that God wants us to have? By our words and by our actions. Saying “I love you” is difficult for some people to say, but it's very important to say. But maybe even more important than saying "I love you" is showing that you love someone. Love is action. We can say it every day, but if we don't show it – those words are useless.

Our love for God and for Jesus should be first and our love for others and caring for the needs of others should come before our own needs, BUT, look again at the first passage I have listed from Matthew 22.  Jesus says there to "love your neighbor as yourself".  If we don't love ourselves is it even possible to love others?  Maybe our inability to show love to others is the struggle we have to sometimes love ourselves.  It seems that we can love ourselves too much and neglect others, but it also seems that we can NOT love ourselves and be incapable of loving others.  There's got to be a balance.  A balance of love.
Live a legacy of love.

Monday, November 8, 2010

LOL - Living Our Legacy: Part 2

What is a legacy? The definition of legacy is an inheritance or quality handed down from a previous generation. It includes more than passing on wealth; it also means to pass along character, convictions, beliefs, and faith. So this means that we’re all living a legacy. We're all "Living Our Legacy" each and every day.

As followers of Christ, we shouldn't be interested in what the world's idea of "legacy" might be; instead we should be concerned about a legacy that will count for eternity.  It's leaving a legacy of Christ by the example you have shown in your character, convictions, beliefs, and your faith.

Since you and I want to leave a positive legacy, let’s look at God’s word and see what God values. Don't think of this lesson as morbid. It doesn't mean you are checking out of earthly life anytime soon. It simply means that we are all in the process of leaving. We begin that journey the day we're born. And at the end of that journey, all that is left is our legacy.

Living our legacy is something we work on every day, whether we realize it or not. It is something we contribute to – whether we realize it or not. Each of us should actively seek to influence those around us. We should actively work to influence the next generations. We should live a life of purpose. We should live a life centered on an active love for Christ and His Word. I say active because we have enough people paying lip-service to Jesus. As Christians, we should live out our lives on purpose – with a purpose - not just in word, but also in deed.

So today, let's think of how we can live our legacy.

I want to use the illustration of a house. And today think of yourself in a new career – one that you've most likely never tried before. Think of yourself as the builder. What do you need to build a house? You need a foundation, you need supplies, you need the ability.

The important thing we must know as a spiritual house builder is to build on a firm foundation. What makes a firm foundation? Jesus uses the wise man/foolish man parable (Matthew 7:24-27) to teach his disciples and us a very important lesson. He said it's not just about listening to His teaching. It’s about obeying His teaching. It's having the faith in Him to build on that solid rock. We are building on the solid rock – the solid foundation when we believe His plan, follow His plan and obey His teachings.

Think of God as the architect of the house. Think of the Holy Spirit as the framework that holds the house together. Think of the Bible as the walls....the boundaries within the house. Jesus is the roof because he covered us with His love and His blood.

Okay.  Now our house is built. It's built with the finest materials. It's built on a firm foundation. It's built on biblical principles.

In the next post, we'll be having a house-warming party and fill our houses with special gifts.Yeah!  I like parties, don't you??? :)

 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Matthew 7:24-27

LOL - Living Our Legacy

LOL typically stands for laugh out loud. It's a common to see at the end of a text, a Facebook message, or in typed messages and emails. But today I chose to name this lesson LOL – Living Our Legacy. Our legacy is nothing to laugh about, even though it may contain some funny moments or some funny stories. Our legacy is serious. It's of utmost importance.

Our legacy is how we will be remembered when we are gone. It's more than our name being remembered. There are people that have passed before us that have done great things and we remember their name and name recognition is easy.

Ernest Hemingway is known for writing. How about Mother Teresa? She is known for her compassion, mercy, working with the down and out. Not every name is going to leave a positive legacy. Judas, Jezebel, Osama bin Laden.

But, some people – we don't even recognize their names – we just recognize what they did:. They did something that is remembered.

Do you recognize the name Larry La Prize? He wrote the Hokey Pokey and died in 1996. (On a side note:  When he died, every time they tried to stick his left foot in the casket, he kept putting it out. NOT REALLY....that's a joke.  My husband really likes that joke :) Larry La Prize wrote the Hokey Pokey That’s what he’s famous for and that is his legacy.

Ask yourselves these questions today: What would you do if you had one month to live? How would your life be different? Who would you spend time with? How would you think differently?

You and I can use how we live our life as an opportunity to shape the rest of our life. We can use the time that we’ve got left to shape our legacy. You and I will leave a legacy.

But these are the questions we need to ask ourselves:

What type of legacy will I leave?

How do I want to be remembered?

Will I leave a positive legacy?

Will I leave a good legacy?

Will it be a God honoring legacy?

Am I leaving behind a great legacy of myself, or am I leaving a legacy for Christ?

 “Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.”
Psalm 90:12

We will look more into this idea of "Living Our Legacy" in the next few days.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wise Man/Foolish Man Illustration

Years ago I came across an illustration for the "Wise Man and Foolish Man" Bible story (from Matthew 7:24-27). The children enjoyed the illustration and got the point of building on a solid foundation. Since then I've used it a few times in women's classes to illustrate the same point. Here is the illustration:
First of all, take two pieces of white cardboard and drawn houses on them.  For the wise man's house, use a Sharpie or other type of PERMANENT marker.
Then take a WASHABLE marker and draw a house, but make "specks" for a sandy foundation.
For the storms, illustrate the story by using a spray bottle filled with water. Spray the "house on a solid foundation" first.  It won't change, but stay intact.  Next, spray the "house on a sandy foundation" with the water.  It will crumble and crack. 

If you have your posters hanging on a wall, you might want to put a trash bag under them...on the catch the dripping black marker.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Difference Between Men and Women

I'm sure the title of this post is no surprise to anyone, but this is such a true description of the differences that I just had to share it with you!

It's from Alan Smith's Thought for the Day and used with previous permission.

The Difference Between Men and Women

Haircuts -
* Women's Version: *

Woman 2: Oh! You got a haircut! That's so cuuuuute!

Woman 1: Do you think so? I wasn't sure when she gave me the mirror. I mean, you don't think it's too fluffy looking?

Woman 2: Oh no, it's perfect! I'd love to get my hair cut like that, but I think my face is too wide. I'm pretty much stuck with this style, I think.

Woman 1: Are you serious? I think your face is adorable. And you could easily get one of those layer cuts - that would look so cute on you. I was actually going to do that except that I was afraid it would accent my long neck.

Woman 2: Oh, now that's funny! I would love to have your neck! Anything to take attention away from this two-by-four I have for a shoulder line.

Woman 1: Are you kidding? I know girls that would love to have your shoulders. Everything drapes so well on you. I mean, look at my arms - see how short they are? If I had your shoulders I could get clothes to fit me so much easier.

Woman 2: Do you think so? Oh, you're just saying that!

Woman 1: No! Really, I mean it...

* Men's Version: *

Man 2: Haircut?

Man 1: Umm hmm.

In case you haven't noticed, men and women truly are different. We think differently, we relate to one another differently, we express our emotions differently. It is those differences that often are the source of conflict in marriages (she wants to talk things out right now, he wants to sit and think about it without saying a word). Yet, ironically, it is those same differences that cause me to appreciate my wife. I admire the differences in her (when they aren't irritating me :-) , and I'm well aware that being married to someone just like me would be absolutely horrible.

All this is to say that God obviously knew what he was doing when he created men and women. Eve truly was "suitable" for Adam as a mate (Gen. 2:18).

The differences require a bit more patience and understanding on our part at times, but it's well worth it!

"Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered." (I Peter 3:7)

Give thanks to God for your mate today, in spite of (no, because of) the differences between you.

Have a great day!

Alan Smith

Monday, November 1, 2010

Free Clothing Giveaway

Last year, some time in March, our oldest son, Zachary, and I were taking some things out to my husband's car trunk. We were taking the things to our storage shed down town.  But,  when we opened the trunk, there were lots of shirts on hangers, taking up a lot of room in the trunk.  My husband, Joe, had recently lost weight, so I supposed that these clothes were some he was planning to donate to someone because they were now too big for him.

I was fine with him getting rid of the shirts, but I have to admit that I was aggravated that he was also giving the good hangers away because we are always needing hangers around here.  Zachary and I began to take the hangers out of the shirts and he took them to the laundry room for me.  On the way to the storage shed, I decided to take care of the shirts myself...stopping by my brother-in-law's house and giving them to him.  I told him if they didn't fit or he didn't want them, just to go ahead and pass them on to someone else.  He kept some of them and gave the rest to one of his brothers.

A few weeks later Joe asked me about the clothes in the trunk.  I told him that I gave them to our brother-in-law and that he had passed some of them on to his own brother.  I couldn't believe Joe's response.  He said that he was just storing those shirts in the trunk for the winter to make more room in his closet!  Can you believe that?  Who stores their clothes in a car trunk?????  I doubt many people do - if any!

I really felt bad that I had given away Joe's shirts - some of them fairly new and most all of them in great shape.  I finally decided to mention this to my sister-in-law.  She felt bad, too.  She actually had pulled out a few shirts that she knew I would want - such as my husband's old practice jersey from his high school football days.  The other man who got the shirts never knew about my mistake.  I hated to ask for them back.  What is strange is when these two men wear one of the shirts.  It seems strange to see them both in shirts that were my husband's and it makes me feel worse!

Each year, especially during the months of November and December, people from all over the world open up their hearts, their homes, and their wallets to help those in need.  It is such a great feeling to help others - especially when helping those who are in need.

On this Gratituesday, I am grateful for the season of Thanksgiving. Take the time to give of yourself this season. Give of your time. Give of your money. Give of your possessions.

But, just a bit of advice:  Before you give away clothing that's in your husband's trunk, take the time to ask him if he's just storing them there.  You never know!

Join us for Gratituesday at  Heavenly Homemakers.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Luke 6:38
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