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Friday, June 29, 2012

I Will Praise You, O Lord!

This picture was taken by my daughter when she visited Washington, D.C. earlier this month.  So beautiful!  What a beautiful world God made!
I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart;
    before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
I will bow down toward your holy temple 
    and will praise your name 
    for your love and your faithfulness, 
for you have exalted above all things
    your name and your word. 
When I called, you answered me; 
    you made me bold and stouthearted.
May all the kings of the earth praise you, O Lord,
    when they hear the words of your mouth.
May they sing of the ways of the Lord,
    for the glory of the Lord is great.
Though the Lord is on high, he looks upon the lowly, 
    but the proud he knows from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
    you preserve my life; 
you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, 
    with your right hand you save me. 
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
    your love, O Lord, endures forever 
    do not abandon the works of your hands.
Psalm 138

Thursday, June 28, 2012

What is He Waiting On? Perhaps, YOU!

Have you ever wondered why it is that Jesus has not come back yet?  Have you ever wondered when he will come back?  Maybe you are one who actually wonders if he really will come back.   I assure you, he is and he will!  Why am I so confident in saying that?  Because the Bible tells me so!  

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

The day of the Lord will come!!  It will come without warning.  Men and women who make predictions about Him coming are wrong.  They are teaching false doctrines.  Don't follow their teachings.  Only trust in God's Word and what it says.

 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
2 Peter 3:10

So, what is He waiting on?  Why hasn't God said, "It is time!"?  Why hasn't Jesus already come back?  Well, maybe he is waiting on YOU!  Maybe he is waiting on YOU to become one of His children.  Maybe he is waiting on YOU to tell someone about Jesus.  Maybe he is waiting on YOU to come back to him.  Maybe you've fallen away.  He doesn't want anyone to be lost!


Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.
2 Peter 3:11-14

God wants you and everyone else to be saved, but He will not force you to follow Him and follow His Word.  He is patient and waits.....for you....for others.  Not everyone is going to be saved.  Not everyone is going to heaven, although He wants everyone to live there with Him in eternity.  Unfortunately, some decide to follow Him, but then turn away from Him.  They decide to live a life based on what they believe is right, instead of living their life for Him.  Many believe false doctrine that teach things that aren't true.  Be on your guard, the Bible says.  Read for yourself about salvation.  Find out for yourself what you must do to be saved.  

15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvationjust as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
17 Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
2 Peter 3:15-18

Yes, perhaps He is waiting on YOU!  Don't make Him wait any longer.  Some day He is coming and He wants to take YOU with Him!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

THE GREATEST GIFT YOU CAN GIVE YOUR CHILD

I love being a mom.  There is nothing else like it.  I don't necessarily miss the diaper and car seat stage - or even the constant battle of viruses going through the house, but I miss our children being little.  The teenage stage is fun, too, and thankfully with the three oldest being teenagers and the youngest one being nine, I can say we really haven't had any major problems.  They're good kids.


My husband and I want the best for our children, just as you probably do.  However, what constitutes as "best" varies from one parent to the other.  Some parents would think the "best" included the most expensive clothes, shoes, or car.  For some it might mean that their child would have the very best opportunities available.  They might be able to attend the most prestigious schools or colleges.  They would be given whatever they wanted and whenever they wanted it.  But in my opinion, having the "best" isn't about stuff and things.


In fact, the best thing you can give your child is not a good education, not the latest technology, but the gift of YOU and the knowledge of God and Jesus from the Bible.

Being a parent is a God-given responsibility and we must take it very seriously.  Our children need us.  They want us.  If we're too busy and make them feel as if they are an inconvenience, then we're telling them they don't matter.

Our greatest responsibility in parenting should not be what we can give them, as far as stuff and things go, but in giving them the knowledge of God and Jesus.  The favorite book in our homes should be the Bible, not some book or magazine written by men - but the greatest book written by men, but inspired by God!

What are you teaching your children?  What are you giving them?  Is what you are giving them and teaching them preparing them for success in the world or success in the kingdom of God?  What would your children say is most important in your life?  Things of the world or spiritual things?  Do your words match up with your actions?  Are you giving your children what is truly the "best"?

Let's all think about those things today - as we parent our children and serve our God and Savior, Jesus.

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
Matthew 16:26

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Chronicles of Biscuit - Homesick

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

Biscuit is at church camp this week.  Our oldest (daughter) is there, too, as a counselor for the young girls.  Biscuit wasn't sure about going to camp, even though he loves camp.  He's always gone, but it's always been with his daddy and I - not as a real camper.  This time is very different.

Several days before camp, Biscuit was kind of moping around.  I asked him what was wrong.  He said, "I think I'm going to miss you when I'm at camp."  I told him I would miss him, too, but that he would be just fine.  He went to bed and the first thing he said the next morning was, "But, I still think I'm going to miss you!".  I'll miss him and am missing him, too!

I got a message from my daughter saying Biscuit fell twice and scratched his tummy and arm.  He thinks camp is awesome, but he is missing home.  I'm not sure if he's missing his daddy and I and his two brothers - or just being at home and getting to play outside.  He likes being home.  He is homesick. He really doesn't like to be gone.  Obviously, camp is going to be great for him and I know it will be a great experience!

I said several posts back that my parent were moving.  Well, it happened.  They did move.  Today is the first day they will wake up and be real Texans....not just visiting Texans.  I'm sure they'll adjust, but for today and many days, they may be feeling homesick.  I'm sure they are, actually.

Being homesick isn't fun.  It's like something really important and really special is missing.  It tugs at your heart.

As Christians, we should all be homesick, but not for an earthly house/home.  We should be homesick for our heavenly home.  We should long for that home - and look forward to that home.  We should WANT to live there soon!  However, sometimes I'm afraid we don't long for that heavenly home.  We get too attached to this earthly life and earthly home.  I know I do!

What could be better than a heavenly home in the presence of God and Jesus???  NOTHING!  That's right - NOTHING!  There is nothing that could ever compare to that.  It will be wonderful!  There will be no pain. No sickness. No sorrow.  No bad things.  No sad things.  Everything will be beautiful!  Everything will be perfect!  On this GRATITUESDAY, I am grateful for God's promise - that those who are His children will live in that home!

Let's be homesick - for Heaven!

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Philippians 3:20-21

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Chronicles of Biscuit - My Mind

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

A few nights ago, Biscuit asked me if I would lay down with him until he went to sleep.  He said he didn't feel safe in his new room (new since December).  I asked him why and it had to do with some stories fellow classmates had told at the end of school.

We talked about it for a little bit, and I told Tyler whenever he is afraid he should pray - that God doesn't want us to be afraid and that the Bible says "do not fear".  I asked Biscuit if he ever prayed at those times.  His reply was so honest and sweet, "No, mom, but sometimes my mind doesn't think right."  I told him that sometimes mine doesn't either.  I think we could all say that some times.

Why is it that we may know God - or feel that we do.  We may know what His word says.  We may know we should pray - know we should rely on Him, but then at those times when we should be praying and relying, some times we don't?  Why at times is our mind not right?

The first and biggest, and perhaps only reason, is Satan.  Satan - the devil - tells us that we should be afraid.  He says we should be scared - that the world is a scary place and everyone is evil.  Satan says to us that praying isn't going to help - that there is nothing God can do.  He says we're all on our own.

We must learn to tell Satan to "flee"!  We must learn to tell him "no!"  We must learn to get our minds right and get them back to what we know is true - that God CAN help us!  That God CAN help us not be afraid!  That God will do what He says He will do!  But, just like Biscuit, we must first realize that our mind isn't thinking right.  We must come to grips with the fact that we're not relying on God the way we should. That's the first step in getting our minds to where they should be - nearer to God.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 
Isaiah 41:10

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 
James 4:7

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Nothing's Too Big for God!

From time to time, when people are going through various struggles, I hear or see (on Facebook) others "encourage" them, telling them that God won't give them more than they can handle.  I always read that wondering why that is what many in the world believe.  I think the scripture that this fallacy is referring to is 1 Corinthians 10:13, "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

A few days ago, this picture came across Facebook.  It explains what the Bible teaches in a great way. Instead of the emphasis being on ME or on YOU, the emphasis is where it belongs - on GOD.  WE can't possibly handle everything we might be given - there is no way you and I could handle some things alone. Only with GOD are we able to make it through the pains and trials that may come and will come in life.  

GOD gives us the strength we need.  GOD carries us through those times.  GOD handles the tough times for us if we will allow Him to do so.  He WANTS us to rely on HIM and not on ourselves.  Perhaps that is why He is allowing us to go through a certain trial.  Maybe He's trying to show us that HE is there and we don't have to do it alone.  

The LORD give strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Perspective

Why do you see what you see?  Why do you not see what you don't see?  Many times it may because we're looking at something the wrong way.  Perhaps we're looking at things just from our bias point of view.  Maybe we're looking at it from a warped perspective.  Maybe we're not seeing the whole picture.  Either way, sometimes our own thoughts get in the way of what is true and what is real.

Rose Colored Glasses:
Have you ever heard the phrase that someone is "looking through rose colored glasses"?  It's great to be positive, but if we're looking at something with rose colored glasses on, it probably means we're failing to see the truth - that something may be wrong or that there may be a problem.  Our rose colored glasses may keep us from seeing people in need, people who are hurting, or dangerous obstacles that are in our way.  They may keep us from seeing our own faults, as well.

Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear.
Jeremiah 5:21

Shades:
Wearing shades or sunglasses shields the brightness of the sun, but if we wear them all of the time, the whole world will appear dark and we might fail to see the light.  As Christians, we should be living our lives as lights of the world.  Our lights should shine brightly - even brighter when we're in the darkness of the world, but if we're wearing shades all of the time, we will get a distorted view of the world.  We may see nothing good, but only see bad.  Our attitudes might become negative.  We might get down and feel like giving up....that our efforts are worthless because darkness surrounds us everywhere.  Our negative attitude will begin to affect our minds.  Then our negative minds will cause us to have negative actions.  When everything seems dark, we may get the idea that sin is okay.  We may say, "everyone is doing it" or "no one will know".  With shades on, the world is a gloomy place.

When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up and kills the poor and needy; in the night he steals forth like a thief. The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk;  he thinks, ‘No eye will see me,’ and he keeps his face concealed. In the dark, men break into houses,  but by day they shut themselves in;    they want nothing to do with the light. 
Job 24:14--16


Blinders:
When blinders are put on horses, it is done so that they can only see what is right in front of them.  They aren't distracted from things all around them and also can't see what might be right next to them.  When we wear blinders, we fail to see what is obvious.  We look in front of us and see what is going on there, but we fail to see what may be near to us.  It's easy for us to see the faults of others with blinders on, but we don't look at ourselves and see our own problems.  Our blinders will cause us to blame others, without seeing the bigger picture.  We don't get the whole perspective on things, but only what is right out in front of us.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Matthew 7:3-5


Wrong Prescription:
Wearing glasses or contacts that are the wrong prescription is not only aggravating, but can keep us seeing things that are either far off, or things that are very near.  We're not seeing clearly when wearing the wrong prescription.  When were looking at things with distorted or blurry vision, we may believe things that aren't real or may fail to see things the way they really are.  Things may seem terrible when they really aren't that bad or things may seem good/safe when they are really dangerous or bad.

Wearing the wrong prescription may also keep us from seeing what is real.  We may forget what God and Jesus have done for us because we get caught up in sin again.  The lines of what is right and wrong begin to blur.  We begin to believe that our Christian walk doesn't really matter.....that we're all okay and God doesn't care.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;  and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;  and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
2 Peter 2:5-9


So, let's take off the rose colored glasses, the shades, the blinders, and the wrong prescriptions.  Let's look at things in our life - around us and in our own lives - with clear vision and with un undistorted view.  Let's see what's real.  Let's see what's truth.  Let's see our lives and the lives around us just as God sees them.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Charlie's Memorial Service

Last week I wrote a post about changes.....and how I didn't like them.  One of the anticipated changes was about my father-in-law, and how we had been told that he wasn't going to live very long.  That was true.  Charlie passed away on Thursday, June 14 - just a few days after I wrote that post.
(This photo is the grandkids and their spouses singing "There's a Stirring" during the service)

Charlie made the best cinnamon rolls and "hot" rolls (the family called them "hot" even when they were cold :) and that is what he was especially known for, but he was also known for all of his other gifts, talents and jobs - preaching, teaching math at school, butcher at the local grocery store, and Walmart greeter.  The one thing Charlie could not do is sing on tune!  In a family where everyone else could - and could do it well, this was a little un-ordinary, but as God would want it - Charlie sang anyway.  He enjoyed music with the rest of us.
(My mother-in-law with all six children.)
Life will be different now, for sure.  Charlie will be greatly missed, but we're thankful for him suffering no more.  We are thankful that he obeyed the gospel long ago and that he lived a faithful Christian life so that in his new life he is in the presence of God and Jesus.  No more cancer.  No more complications from a stroke.  No more pneumonia.  And, he can sing on tune! :)
(My mother-in-law with all six children and their spouses....except one who had to be gone.)
I couldn't believe it, but at Charlie's service, I actually had the feeling that I didn't want it to be over!  Sons, grandsons, and sons-in-law led singing, made comments, and read scriptures and it reminded me so much of the Wednesday night singing we have the day before Thanksgiving each year - I wanted it to keep going.  I don't believe I've ever thought that about a memorial service before. Thankfully, we have a recording of the service, so I can listen to it when I want to.  Precious memories, for sure!
(Grandkids & spouses, and three great-grandkids.)
I mentioned just a few things my father-in-law did, but my husband's uncle listed them all on a Facebook status.  Here it is:

Charlie, friend, soldier, husband, butcher, Sentinel Religious Bookstore-salesman, shipper, printer, manager- father, Tipton Home house parent, school teacher, preacher, Walmart greeter, friend to everyone, best hot roll baker, father, christian example and brother-in-law. Charlie is greeting everyone in Heaven today. God bless the family.
(Extended family members' picture.)
We would like to thank everyone for the food, cards, flowers, memorials, visits, and especially the prayers during Charlie's illness and his passing. Thank you so much for everything.  Continue to pray for Sharon during this time.

 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil...
Psalm 23:4 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Diary of a Wimpy Parent

Imagine this:

You're a coach for a little league team.  You have a message from one of your players' moms saying this:  I'm sorry.  Bobby won't be at the game tonight.  He got in trouble earlier today and now he's just not motivated to go.  I told him the team was counting on him, but I just can't get him motivated.

Straight from the pages of a "Diary of a Wimpy Parent", don't you think?  Actually it's a true story.  I know....it's sad, isn't it?  Yes....it's true.  It really happened just last week. The coach is my husband and the kid is a player on his team.  And, guess what?  It was not only game day, but it was also team picture day!

When my husband told me this story, my response was, "I'll tell her how to motivate him!".  And I would.  But most likely, she wouldn't take my advice.....so I'll just tell you! (hee hee!)

Honestly, the thought that there are really parents that are unable to "motivate" their little 9 or 10 year old son to do something is just not something I can comprehend.  I mean....you're the PARENT!  You're THE parent!  YOU'RE the parent!  What more can I say?  Plenty, actually!

Of course, discipline would have needed to start before this episode and I'm thankful that the parent did say little Bobby actually got in trouble earlier in the day, but he's part of a team.  Letting him off the hook by not showing up for a game (unless there is another reason that is understandable, of course!) just because he's not motivated is just giving in to him and making the parent's job even harder the next time he does something wrong.  He won this battle.....and will win many more.

There will be many more battles in this families life, for sure.  And most likely the boy will always win.  But there's another side to the problem.  The side of the team.  He let down his teammates.  It doesn't matter if he's a key player or not a key player, he had an obligation and a commitment and he failed to do his job.  And the parent failed to do hers.

Again, there may be something that keeps a child from playing a game.  That's totally understandable.  For example, we would never put a ballgame above worshipping God.  Thankfully, we've only had a few times that has come up.  We're blessed where we live that Sundays and Wednesdays are left free from games.  I pray it stays that way!  Also, we would never make a child play if they were sick.  There are other reasons....but not just become they're "unmotivated".

Parents, if you struggle with being "wimpy" or anything else, please take the time to read a book called iY Generation by Tim Elmore.  I've not actually read the book, but I have used sermon notes of my brother-in-law about the book in some ladies' talks (Ladies' Night Out and Ladies' Days) in the past.  It is really, really good and gives some great points for parents.  The "wimpy" parent as he describes them as the "bullied parent" who is beaten down, exhausted, and drained emotionally.  This parent just finds it easier to give in to little Bobby than it is to deal with the problem.....which just creates even more problems.

God has given us, as parents a job.  It is our God-given responsibility and obligation to raise our children to be Christian young men and women who are also good citizens and good servants in His kingdom.  We should raise them, to the best of our ability to be good employees, good friends to others, responsible and trustworthy, and able to understand what it means to make a commitment.  After all....isn't that the example that Jesus showed to each of us?

We won't be perfect parents.  We'll make mistakes.  But, let's not let a mistake be that we allowed our children to be the boss of the home or that we never disciplined them or told them no....or in this case YES...you are playing that game!  That would be a tragedy.

He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
Proverbs 13:24

Monday, June 11, 2012

Changes and Heart Pain

I've never been a fan of change.  In fact, I don't like change much at all.  But, as we all know, change is inevitable and we must learn to live with it - whether we like it or not.

The first "change" I ever remember not liking was at my maternal grandparents' house.  It seemed like every time I would visit them, my grandma had changed her den furniture around.  She enjoyed the change.  I didn't.  I wanted things just like they were.  I'm still that way.  It's really hard for me to change most things.  I guess it's a good for a marriage because I'm not the type of wife that is always looking to change and redo things in the house or even my wardrobe.  My husband should be thankful! :)

Yes, sometimes changes in life are tough.  Sometimes they make your heart hurt.

In the past week, there have been several changes that have been hard.  To start off, our oldest child (daughter) was selected to attend Washington Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.  It was an FFA trip and she was dropped off eight days ago to travel by bus with hundreds of other Oklahoma FFA members, as well as members from other states.  I was so excited for her to have this great opportunity, but as I dropped her off and drove off, my heart hurt.  I cried at the thought of her going so far away, but that didn't last too long because I was really glad she was able to go.  But my mind drifted to what will be happening in the near future - she'll be a Senior in high school and in a little more than a year, she'll go away to college.  My heart will hurt again.....but again I'll be excited for her new opportunities.  I'm sure I'll have a hard time at that time, but the three boys will keep me busy with my "mom" job and we'll have different kinds of special times with our daughter.

The next heart pain came with news that my parents had sold their house and bought a house and were moving almost four hours away from me, but to where my sister and her husband and children live.  I've been in close proximity to my parents all but 18 months in my life. I left home after one year of college (where I drove to and lived at home) and got married.  My husband and I moved to southwest Kansas for a year and a half and I felt like I had gone to a foreign country!  I hadn't ever been away from my family before and I didn't like it.  He didn't either.  We both wanted to be back closer to our hometowns and soon were able to move to his hometown - where we've been ever since.  My parents moved to another town, but were then only 20 miles away instead of 30,  from our small town.  Now, after having them close for 22 and a half years, they'll be far.  We didn't get to see them a lot, anyway, and now those times may be even fewer.  It's tough.  It's a change I don't like.  It's a change that makes my heart hurt.

And lastly, but the worst change in our lives that is causing heart pain is that my father-in-law is in the last days of life on this earth.  After battling cancer for years, he was continuing treatments, but three weeks ago he had a stroke.  Due to complications from the stroke (couldn't swallow, developed pneumonia, etc.) his health began to deteriorate rapidly about a week ago.  A few days ago the doctor let us know that nothing else could be done to restore his health as far as the medical side goes.  Of course, we believe in prayer and know that God could restore my father-in-law's health, but we also realize that this does not seem to be in His plan.

When I think of these changes, I realize that many who read this will have gone through them and survived.  I know that, with God's help, I will get through it, as well.  I may not like it, but I'll get through it.  On this Gratituesday, I am grateful for God's plans and His ways.  They may not always be what I wanted or how I wanted, but they are His....and I can know that He is in control.

With my daughter, she got home today and had a wonderful trip!  We missed her so much, but are also very thankful she had a great time during this amazing opportunity.  She's growing up, and I get excited about her future.  The future (the far out future!) in regards to her and our boys will give me a son-in-law and daughters-in-law....and then grandchildren.  I get excited about that.

With my parents moving far away,  there is bright side.  When they do come to visit they'll be actually staying all night in our home.  Maybe it will actually end up being more time together, instead of short little visits or attendance at some school or sports events.  My children are excited about them staying in our home!  And, we'll get to stay in their home, too.  Most of the time, since my sister's family would stay at my parents when they came to visit, we would just visit, but then come back to our own beds so they wouldn't be crowded.

Death is a change like no other.  It can cause the most heart pain of all.  However, because of my father-in-law's faith, hope, and trust as a child of God, we know that death in the earthly body means nothing.  We know that the soul will live forever and that some day we will join him and see him again when we all get to Heaven.  There is no greater joy than knowing that your loved one will spend eternity with the Heavenly Father.  I can't imagine realizing that a loved one would be lost forever and be spending eternity in the torment of Hell.  That would be a heart pain that would be extremely hard to get over.

So, may I ask you to please pray for me and pray for my family and extended family?  I would appreciate it very much.  I'll eventually get used to the changes, and God will help comfort with the heart pain, I know.  Life will continue on and memories of what used to be with be precious.  Thank you, God, for your plans.....even when they are different from my wants.

Join us for GRATITUESDAY at Heavenly Homemakers!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Banging on the Window Pane

Saturday night I stayed up kind of late working on food for our Sunday lunch.  I kept hearing a really loud banging noise coming from the den.  I was a little worried about the noise, so went and checked it out.

We have two big windows side by side on the back of that room facing the back yard.  They are without window coverings. I had the big lights on in the room and so I quickly realized that the noise was bugs banging the window panes, trying to get to the light.  It seemed so strange that the bugs were harming themselves by trying to get to the light, but then, of course, the window pane is clear and bugs don't have thought processes that would warn them of danger, so they don't know any better.

But then I wondered why bugs do that?  Why are they attracted to light, anyway?  I found the following explanation from authors Mark Leynor and Billy Goldberg:

Phototaxis is an organism’s automatic movement toward or away from light. Cockroaches are negatively phototactic. Turn on that kitchen light and off they scurry to their dark little holes. But many insects are positively phototactic – as evidenced by teh mass bug graves in your light fixtures. Many people are also phototactic, especially for the “limelight” – those of us who secretly crave the strobe fusillade of paparazzi flashbulbs and murmer, “Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up” in our dreams… But, back to bugs. There are a variety of reasons that various insects are positively phototactic. Many insects, including bees, orient themselves in relation to the sun. Certain nocturnal bugs – moths, for instance – use moonlight to navigate, flying at a certain angle to the moon’s light rays to maintain a straight trajectory. When it approaches a source closer than the moon – say, a lightbulb – a moth perceives the light as stronger in one eye than the other, causing one wing to beat faster, so it flies in a tightening spiral, ever closer the the light. Some bugs are sensitive to ultraviolet light reflected by flowers at night. Artificial lights that emit UV rays will also be attractive to these guys. Other bugs are drawn to the heat that incandescent bulbs produce at night. Fireflies are bugs and bulbs all in one. They use their bioluminescence to attract each other.


Pretty interesting, isn't it?


You know.....we should be like bugs that are attracted to the light because Jesus is the light.


When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 
John 8:12

If we're not attracted to the light there is something wrong in our spiritual lives!

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:6-8

But sadly, some of us are attracted to the light, but like the bugs I watched last night.....we keep bumping into window panes.....or getting side-tracked in other ways.  Maybe we're allowing the things of the world to get in the way of our reaching the light.  Maybe we're giving in to sin....treading closer to darkness than to light.  Or maybe God is testing us with obstacles to strengthen our faith, but we're having a hard time facing those tests.  Maybe we keep banging on the window pane...unable to reach the light we are wanting to.

God can help us reach the light - the light of His Son and Our Savior.  He is the solution to banging on the window pane!  Our reliance on Him, our faith in Him, and our faith in he fact that His Spirit can work in us can get us past the window panes and get us to the light.

You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.
Psalm 18:28

Friday, June 8, 2012

All Tuned Out

A common thing to see these days is a person (usually a teenager or young adult) walking around with headphones on.  The odd thing is that they may be in public place - a cafeteria, a sporting event, with their team, club, etc.  Not that there is anything wrong with listening to music or whatever, but the point is that, even though these people with headphones are with other people, they are completely tuned out from the rest of the world.  They might be with a group, but not IN the group. They're not connected to anyone, just connected to the electronic "thing".

Our high-tech world has changed our lives dramatically over the past decade.  A person can be totally alone and in their own little world, simply by being totally into whatever high-tech gadget they might have in their ears or hands.  For some, this may seem fun, entertaining.....even normal.  For me and my family, it seems sad.  For our families and for our nation, it is very sad.

Alone time is good.  Quiet time is good.  The constant need for entertainment and withdrawal from society (in a sense) is not good.  The inability to communicate one on one with each other face to face is bad.  The decline in social skills is bad.  The total idea of being "tuned out" to the world is bad.

Sometimes we need to tune in!  Tune in to God, that is!  Our lives will become unbalanced if we become tuned out to God.

Samuel got tuned in to God while he lived with Eli the priest:

The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.

 2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple[a] of the LORD, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the LORD called Samuel.

   Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5 And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

   But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.

 6 Again the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

   “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”

 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.

 8 The LORD called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

   Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

 10 The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

   Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
1 Samuel 3:1-10

If we spend our time only being tuned in to things of the world, we are tuning out God.  We may not hear what He is saying to us through His word.  We may not realize when He is guiding us through open doors and opportunities.  We may fail to see when our prayers have been answered.  

Perhaps God is wanting you and I to listen - just like Samuel did.  Let's put everything away that might keep us "All Tuned Out" from God and lets respond to God just as Samuel did, "Speak, for your servant is listening."  We may be surprised at what He is wanting us to know.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Happy 14th Birthday, Jacob!

I'm a day late with this HAPPY BIRTHDAY post and Jacob even asked me today if I wrote a post about him!  I had to tell him I didn't, but he understood why.  We had his birthday party with extended family this past Saturday then our family was going in all different directions on his actual birthday Monday.
The three boys and I have been heading to a golf tournament for the past few days, so Jacob actually spent his birthday as caddie for his older brother.  What a nice thing to do for him!!  I'm not sure walking 4-plus miles and pulling a golf bag and cart....plus hot temperatures.....would be my idea of "fun" on my birthday, but Jacob enjoyed it a lot!  
He actually would rather help someone else compete than compete himself.  I love that about him!  His kind heart shows through at times like this and it is a quality that will go with him the rest of his life.  I always joke that if I'm ever in a nursing home, Jacob will be the only one who visits me (and this is including my other three children AND my husband!! :)  I say it as a joke, but I really believe it!  He's got a level of compassion that comes naturally.  Maybe that is the direction his future undecided career should take.......time will tell.

I've mentioned before about Jacob being my smallest baby and the only one that was totally natural.  Because of that, each year on his birthday, I thank him for being the smallest!  He just smiles and laughs knowing that he's going to always be the smallest of his siblings.  He's okay with that.  He likes the fact that he can get in places where others can't!  I'm not sure what all that entails, but if he's happy with it, I am, too!

Thank you, Jacob, for being a great son!  You always say that you're not going to have that "teenager attitude" so this year is your test and I'm expecting you to keep your promise :).  You are unique and special and are a great young Christian example for others.  I look forward to seeing how God works in your life for many more years.

I love you,
MOM

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Daniel in the Lions' Den

Day 2 for Vacation Bible School had the theme of "Making Good Choices" using the Bible story of Daniel in the Lion's Den (Daniel 6).  Our "train ride" visited another part of Babylon and the King at that time was Darius.  Darius liked Daniel, but many of his men did not.
The men talked the King into making a rule that people should only worship the King.  The King signed the law and the men went about their evil plot to get Daniel.  When he was found praying to God, they went back to the King - who liked Daniel, but who had made the law - and Daniel was charged with the crime.  His punishment was to be thrown into the lion's den.

The lions' mouths were closed by an angel of God and Daniel was found unharmed - much to the delight of the King.  Daniel made a wise choice.  He didn't care about the rules of men.  He only wanted to do what God wanted him to do.....which was to worship and pray to only HIM.

Making good choices is one of the most important spiritual disciplines children can learn.....and we all can learn.  Learning to make wise choices - with God's help and choices that glorify Him - will help guide our lives in the right direction.  It will keep us from a lot of struggles, too!
My 1st and 2nd graders made cute little lion plates as a craft on Day 2.  We hung them from the ceiling to display them for open house that evening.  The children were so proud of their creations!
I found lion masks at a party store, so the children took turns acting out the story.  Of course everyone wanted to be a lion, but we needed a Daniel, a King, an angel and the men who were out to get Daniel.  
Another fun part of the story were the lion snacks.  This one has peanut butter, but a few children were allergic to that....so they just made their lion without that part.  The Reeses eyes were substituted with chocolate chips.  There were all sorts of variations on the lion, of course, but that's what makes it even more fun!

So.....on this first day of this new week and the beginning days of a new month, let's all challenge ourselves to make good choices.....just like Daniel!



Friday, June 1, 2012

The Fiery Furnace - All Aboard VBS 2012

It's amazing when you teach children about the Bible!  They are so excited to learn about it and they (usually) listen so intently.  It shows just how important learning more about God's Word can be and shows how much more we need to be teaching.....and learning.
I forgot to take a picture of the "fiery furnace" and the golden statue (pardon my drawing on the statue :), but when the black light is on, these two scenes "glow".  The children love it - and so do I!  But if you notice, the important part of the message are the words above the furnace.  The theme for the day was in those words:  Stay on Track by STANDING OUT, STANDING UP, AND BEING DIFFERENT.  Those are Bible-based words and exactly what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego did the day they told King Nebudcadnezzer that they would not bow down to his golden statue!
(Fiery Furnace craft - directions are posted on my recipe/craft blog HERE.)

What I told the students was that even adults sometimes have a hard time standing up and standing out and being different.  Sometimes we just want to blend in with the world and that's not good.  God wants us to be different.  He wants us to take a stand against what is sinful and wrong.  And sadly, sometimes we make into "idols" things that are just as silly as the King's golden image.  "Things" that can't do anything at all.  God wants us to worship only Him.
A fun part of VBS class is always the craft snack.  The snack just reinforces the lesson, but is a special treat for the children, as well.  This snack idea came from somewhere online (sorry I don't know where).  It's a s'more, but instead of a second graham cracker on top, you put three Teddy Graham crackers (they serve as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego).  In a small toaster oven in the room (my mother-in-law used the big oven in our fellowship room), we baked the snacks a few at a time.  The Teddy Grahams were unharmed (just like the boys in the story!), but the chocolate melted and the marshmallows browned!  After they were done, another Teddy Graham was placed on the snack to be the angel or the "son of God" in the Bible story (Daniel 3)

So, today, be like SHADRACH, MESHACH AND ABED-NEGO:  STAND UP, STAND OUT AND BE DIFFERENT!

 
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