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Monday, July 30, 2012

Birthdays, Brothers, and Babies

What a special birthday our son, Zachary had to celebrate turning 16.  First of all, he passed his driver's test.  That was GREAT!  This makes us sound like bad parents, but it also shows something quite special about this boy.  He had NEVER parallel parked - EVER - but did it during his driver's test that day.  We did the parent-taught driver's ed program and he had driven a lot, but we didn't think about parallel parking.  In a town the size of about 750 total people, that's just not something we worry about!  
The night before he went to take his test, I happened to think of the parallel parking and asked if he knew what to do.  He got the ping pong paddle in his hand.....laid it out for one of the cars, then used my cell phone to be his car.  He showed me exactly what to do and the next day he did it!  I always knew when he was a toddler and would drive the little Fisher Price car around that he had a gift of driving!  I couldn't maneuver my own car like he could that little thing!  Thank you, God, for that special gift for Zachary! 
Another special part of his birthday party celebration was the fact that he had so many family members present.  It's not always that way with the kid's birthdays.  In fact, I don't even usually tell the relatives who live 2-3 hours away about the party, but decided to this time.  All of my husband's brothers and sisters were there! There are six of them in all! Several cousins were there, plus grandparents, and many other friends.  We had 35 people!
My husband, his brothers, and a brother-in-law took turns playing 42.  It was funny because this numbered set of dominoes was the only complete set we had in the house!  But what a fun time together - in the middle of the summer - when we usually don't have the opportunity to get together.
And then the BABIES!  Although my sweet, great-nephew isn't considered a baby any more, it was so much fun having all three "greats" together!  Someone snapped a picture of them together, but I missed it.  Here, "L" came up to me and stood and stared.  He stayed there until I took his picture!  So cute :).
This pretty great-niece was jabbering and smiling during the whole party.  One thing I noticed about "S".  She talks with her hands just as much as I do....maybe even more! 
"T" was the youngest of the "greats" at the party.  She was pretty in pink and all smiles, too!  What a joy to watch these little ones as they learn and grow!
And in just a few hours after the party, this little guy made his appearance!  He didn't want to wait for Aug. 5th to get here, apparently.  God blessed our family with another great!  We wonder if it was the Mexican food or the chocolate cake his mommy ate at the party that started the ball to roll (quickly) and result in the speedy arrival of little "K".

What a blessing:  Birthdays, Brothers, and Babies!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Too....... (Part 2)

The last three on our list of "Too......." were too selfish, too uninterested, and too........whatever.  For Part 1, click HERE.

TOO SELFISH
A few days ago, one of those neat photo phrase things came across Facebook.  Most of the time I don't share those.....just in case there are viruses attached or have bad language somewhere I'm not seeing, but this one was good and from a good site.  It said, "Lord, help me remember: IT'S NOT ABOUT ME IT'S ABOUT YOU!  "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your strength. Deut. 6:5"


When we're selfish, we are thinking just the opposite of this quote and verse.  We're thinking that life is all about US......what we need.....what we want.......what we think.  But it's not.  Everything we are and everything we have is because of God.  He put us here on earth to do His Will.  He has a plan for our lives to do His work.  But, He also gave us a free will so that we must choose to serve Him.  We can choose to serve ourselves and sadly, sometimes we do.

Let's not be too selfish and think only of ourselves and our needs/wants.  Let's turn our eyes to God and outward towards others and serve them first.  In the end, we'll find that in serving Him and others, we'll have more joy and peace and contentment than we ever dreamed possible!

TOO UNINTERESTED
Being too uninterested in doing God's Will is a major heart problem, which affects other parts of the body:  the eyes can't see; the ears can't hear; the mouth can't speak; the hands won't serve; the feet won't go.  In other words, we don't care to see the needs of others.  Our ears don't hear God's Word to apply it in our lives.  Maybe we're hearing the words of the teacher, preacher, or scriptures, but we're not really listening.  We may like to apply them to other people, but fail to see how they can change our own lives.

When our mouths aren't speaking about the Good News of Jesus, we've become too uninterested in souls.  We've neglected to tell others about salvation and how they can have the confident hope of living eternity in heaven.  Maybe our feet only go to fun and entertaining places.  Maybe they're too busy working.  Maybe they're too busy shopping......going where "self" wants them to go, but not helping the growth of God's Kingdom.

Our hands can become so busy with the "stuff" in life that they're not being used to serve others.  On the other hand, they can become idle......sitting at home doing nothing at all.  No works.  No service.  No interest in doing anything at all.  There is a specific warning to widow women about being idle and how it leads to other sins, but this verse could go to everyone......especially women because of the "talking" reference that we're so good at (much to our own dismay!):

As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. 12 Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. 13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to. 
1 Timothy 5:11-13

TOO.......WHATEVER
So, what is your "Too....." problem?  Is it one of these?  Is it something different?  We all have something that Satan uses to trip us up, don't we?  We don't always realize that it's from the devil, but it is.  And somehow, just realizing that he is really the enemy and that he does want me to mess us.....plus the amazing and wonderful fact that God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are fighting for us on our side......gives me strength and courage to fight Satan back!  I pray that it does you, as well!  

I must admit. Sometimes I give in and Satan wins.  Sometimes I try to fight him off by myself, but I shouldn't.  God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will help me with my "Too problem".  They can help you, too!






Thursday, July 26, 2012

Too.....(Part 1)

Several months ago I was teaching classes for women at a Bible teachers workshop.  An older man, that I've  known since I was in junior high, and I were visiting during a break.  He's a preacher, and recently helped get involved in supporting the children's home where my husband worked.  I was thanking him for all he's done for them, when he said something that has really made me think.  He said, "I wish we could do more, but so many are not interested.  They're too rich.  They don't even realize that there are people who are in need.  They have everything they want."

Boy, that statement is sad, isn't it?!  To think that some people in the world are so into themselves and their little "corner" of the world that they're totally out of touch with the needs around them?  Sadly, I'm sure I've been guilty of that same thing before.  In fact, I'm certain I have!  Sadly, I'm afraid I've not always looked "out" to see the needs around me.  I'm just too........

Too rich.  Too blind.  Too busy.  Too tired.  Too selfish.  Too uninterested.  Too............whatever.  And "whatever" is keeping me - and perhaps you - from doing what the Lord wants me to do....just like the people that preacher was referring to.

TOO RICH
When we have our needs met, and are able to do whatever we need to do to have them met, we may not really realize the needs of those around us.  I remember when our school began a breakfast program.  I didn't like it because my children HAD to take a tray, but I had fed them breakfast at home.  I didn't want them eating lots of sugary/carbohydrate-loaded foods for breakfast.  I was complaining to my sister-in-law who was a teacher.  She said, "Lori, if we don't serve breakfast, many of our students will not eat at lunch.  Not everyone's mom fixes a good breakfast.  Some may not have any food for breakfast at all."  OUCH!  My toes hurt after that!!!  She stepped on them really good!  What a sad thing that I was only thinking of my own children and not the rest of the children in the community.  I was, at that point, too rich.

TOO BLIND
Although we may have perfect 20/20 vision, we may still be blind.  We may fail to see the pain in the lives of others.  We may fail to see that some are grieving, are lonely, are depressed.  We may fail to see problems - even in our own homes.  Sometimes we're too naive to see and sometimes we're just putting blinders on and ignoring problems instead of facing them, but either way, we're neglecting something.  Something very important.  It keeps us from doing God's Will and perhaps the work the Lord has called His people to do.  Too blind.  Open your eyes!!  There is work to do!

TOO BUSY
Oh, what work we could do for God if we weren't so busy!  What time we could spend in prayer and in His Word - if we weren't too busy!  Wait a minute!  Is it possible that you and I are so busy "doing" things - even good things - that we are failing to grow in our relationship with God?  ABSOLUTELY! I'm afraid this is probably my biggest problem, personally.  I find myself soooooo busy doing things - and they may be good and wonderful things - that I am neglecting the "better part" that Jesus talked about in the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42).  Yes, sometimes I'm a Martha.  It's the way my personality is geared.  But, we should NEVER, NEVER allow our personality to become an excuse for sin.  NEVER!  I must learn to tell myself no.....and also learn to say no to others at time.  We must never be too busy for God.  He's never to busy for us!

TOO TIRED
Many years ago in a Wednesday night Bible class, I remember a sweet, young lady saying that she sometimes had a hard time deciding whether or not to go to Bible class.  That seemed so odd to me because in all of my years, that has never been a decision I had to make.  I just went.  That's what I believed I should do.  Not a duty, but an obligation to God and to Jesus - for all they've done for me!  Oh, yes.....sometimes I may have to decide if I should go or not depending on health issues of myself or my children - whether I would be contagious or not.....make it through or not, but never just whether I chose to go or not.  The "famous" verse that goes along with this thought is Hebrews 10:25, but let's look at it in context with surrounding scriptures (I've made verse 25 bigger) :


23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
Hebrews 10:23-27

Sadly, within the next year, that ladies' marriage and family were torn apart.

When we give up meeting together once, maybe that's okay.  The problem is, that that once turns into twice....then three times......then a month, etc.  Before we know it - we've given up meeting together.  It's become a habit.  And we all know that habits are very, very hard to change.  But read the verse again.  See what it says?  By meeting together we are worshipping God, but we are also spurring one another on.  We're encouraging one another.  I have been discouraged by the non-attendance of others - haven't you?  I miss them.  I am concerned for them.  I care for them.  But the important thing about this verse is "and all the more as you see the Day approaching".  What "Day" is that referring to?  The day JESUS RETURNS!  Judgement Day! I can't think of anything I would rather be doing that worshipping the Lord when that DAY comes, can you???!


It's not a choice.  It's a commitment.  It's not a decision.  It's dedication.

I'm going to stop this post for now.  I'll finish it tonight or in the morning with a Part 2.  Sorry about that! I got on a roll :).

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Chronicles of Biscuit - "Stop Persecuting Me!"

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

Biscuit's having some trouble this summer and it always has to do with cleaning.  When I asked him to go clean up his room in early June, he replied, "But, Mom, I'm experiencing something!"  I replied, "Go experience cleaning your room!"  Then he said, "Good one, Mom!" and went to his room to clean!

Then last week when I told him to go clean his room he replied, "I'm spending some quality time in the chair."  He laughed afterward, but I quickly let him know he'd better get up.....which he did.  As he went I popped him on the bottom with the ping pong paddle (which makes a GREAT paddle, by the way!) and he said, "Mom, why are you persecuting me?"  Now he'd gone overboard, for sure!  He got a stern lecture about the difference in discipline and persecution and a lesson about talking back, too.  (Even though I laugh about it inside, obviously I can't laugh out loud.....it would destroy the discpline/lesson.  I write these things down so that he'll know some day just what kind of little boys he was!  He'll also most likely have a little one just like him some day, so he can read about how we handled his "chronicles"!)

Times of instruction, like explaining the word "persecution" to a child, gives me time to think about how I live my life for God.  While I'm most likely not going to be physically persecuted like the early Christians were, I should be persecuted in some way because of the life I live for God.  A preacher and friend has always said if we're not being persecuted, maybe we're not standing up for what is right.....maybe we're blending in with the world instead of standing out.

What do you think?  Do you believe that?

I know my children have been persecuted, and I was occasionally as a teenager who chose not to drink alcohol when most everyone - if not everyone - did.  In fact, I recall someone even throwing some at me and getting it on my clothes....just to make me smell like it.  Even though not everyone was drinking that night or I wouldn't have been there, this guy knew that I never did and he didn't like it. When I got home, I told my mom about it so she would know what happened if she happened to notice a smell.  No one ever did that to me again, but I made sure to stay away from any places it was present from then on.

My children have been persecuted by standing up against foul language used by peers or shown at school in certain classes.  Sadly they've been standing up alone, too.  Being made fun of as a teen or child is sometimes really hard.  Some times it's so hard teens/children just decide it's not worth it and give in to peer pressure.

It takes courage to stand up for what is right.  I pray that all of God's children will have the courage to stand up to things that aren't right.  In fact, I believe that a lot of what is wrong in our country right now is that God's children have failed to stand up for things.  It's sad.

Of course, we have to be careful how we stand up.  We have to make sure we're doing what we do with the right attitude and in love.  We have to choose our words, actions, and tone wisely.  We have to make sure that we're not doing it with a "holier than thou" attitude, as well.  We must remain Christ-like in our standing up.

Persecution, like trials, make us stronger, so scripture tells us:

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My graceis sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10

When we are weak in ourselves, we are strong in the Lord.  That gives us the confidence and the strength to stand up to anything the world might throw at us!

Biscuit got his room cleaned up and has several times since then......and will tomorrow.  I suspect he won't be talking back or accusing me of persecuting him any more.  He'll just get busy working on his room without delay.....or that's what I'm expecting to happen.  We'll see.  I'll keep the ping pong paddle handy, just in case :).

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Happy 16th Birthday, Zachary!

How can it possibly be that my sweet, happy, and easy-to-raise second child and oldest son possibly be SIXTEEN years old????!!!!!  It's unbelievable!  
This baby picture shows exactly how I remember Zachary as a baby.....usually screaming and laughing at the same time!  When he was about 2 1/2 or 3 he would stand at the front door and wait for the trash truck, which came on Thursdays.  He would see it and scream and shake!  The trash truck was sooooooo very exciting to him!  I love teasing him about that now! As a three year old Zachary dreamed of being an astronaut and trash truck driver.  We joked that some day maybe he would carry the trash to the moon!  
Zachary is excited about being 16.  He's grown so much in the past few months that he's now the tallest in the family.  I have to remind him at times that, although he's taller than me now, I'm still the boss (unless my husband's here) and I'll TAKE HIM DOWN if I need to!! :)  That's my "front" anyway.  Don't tell him that I know I couldn't!  (ha ha!) 
Zachary's got his learner's permit and taking his driver's test Friday, and is  looking forward to being able to drive himself places........like to the golf course in a nearby town.  I'm looking forward to him having his license so he can run errands for me!
I often say that Zachary should have been the first-born child.....a fact that sometimes annoys his older sister!  He's good to step up, take control, and take care of things that need to be taken care of - especially when his dad is at work or out of town.  He's an extremely hard worker and especially enjoys any type of outdoor work.  I know he'll be a good husband and a good dad some day.  He's not in any hurry for any of that......thinks girls are too much trouble right now.  That's okay with me.

Zachary,  
I love you very much and am so proud of you for who you are and for the example you are to others.  You are a wonderful Christian example to so many - both young and old.  I look forward to seeing the plan God has for you.

Love, MOM

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Presbyopia and Wrinkles

Something occurred to me this morning.  I'm positive that God allows and planned for presbyopia and wrinkles both to begin in middle age for a reason.  

When we become presbyopic (usually around the ages of 42-44), the lens of the eye loses its ability to focus and makes it difficult to see objects up close.  Because of that, we also loose the ability to see our small wrinkles that are beginning to appear.  So it's actually a blessing that we're getting presbyopic!  


Maybe these things haven't happened to you......yet.  But most likely they will.  A year ago I hadn't experienced either of those things, but now here it is.....one year later and I'm dealing with the beginnings of both!


Okay.....let's step away from the physical aspects of getting old and focus on the spiritual for a moment. 


Let's think of it as spiritual presbyopia.  Spiritual presbyopia is a good thing, unlike physical presbyopia that is sometimes a nuisance. In physical presbyopia we find it harder to see things up close.  It's a sign of the maturing (a nice way of saying we're getting old!)  of our eyes.  But assuming we're not also nearsighted or we wear glasses or contacts for our nearsightedness, we are able to see far off.  


As a mature Christian with spiritual presbyopia, isn't that what we strive for? Don't we desire to become less selfish and self-centered.....less looking inward to ourselves and our own desires, but become more interested in what we can do to serve others according to their needs?  Yes.  That is the mark of a mature Christian.....that we're more interested in serving others than we are in serving ourselves.


There's a spiritual side to the wrinkles, too.  Just as we don't want wrinkles on our physical body, the Lord doesn't want wrinkles in His body, either!  But His body is the church, and the wrinkles and blemishes in the church would be much worse than any wrinkle we could have on our physical bodies, wouldn't you agree?  Absolutely they would!


That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Ephesians 5:27

When I think of the spiritual side of anything that comes up in life, although those things may be bothersome and annoying, in the scope of eternal life - none of those things matter one bit.  It's good to see things in the right perspective and not from my selfish view point.  There's a bigger picture and it's God's plan.  Nothing else matters.  Not even my beginnings of presbyopia and wrinkles.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

FAITH vs FEAR

“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

I enjoy reading the Bible on BibleGateway.com.  I begin with the verse they have listed for the day and then open it up to the chapter and read all of it.....sometimes just that and sometimes more.  Interestingly, today's verse is  our congregation's theme verse for the series we began Sunday.  The theme is "Do Not Fear".  Our preacher....my brother-in-law.....made refrigerator magnets with this verse printed on it so that we can memorize it and say it together each Sunday morning.  

What are you afraid of?  Anything?  Nothing?

I'm afraid of snakes.  Extremely afraid of snakes.  They give me the willies :). (Is that a word??)

Years ago I had a coworker (only for a few weeks) who didn't like the fact that I was afraid of snakes.  She had a pet snake and couldn't understand why I would be afraid of them.  I really don't know, either, but I know it's a real fear.  In fact, at that time it was an extreme real fear.  I couldn't even LOOK at a picture of a snake or touch snake-skinned boots!  I'm not THAT bad now, but I still don't want to be near one.  

This coworker decided she wanted to "desensitize" me to help me become more friendly with snakes.  I assured her that there was no need in that and became pretty adamant that she shouldn't bring it to work (At a doctor's office!  Can you imagine??!!).  Finally I convinced her it wasn't a good idea and that I didn't want to be desensitized.  I'm positive my request made no sense to her, but thankfully for me, she wasn't a coworker there too long. I know she would have continued to try to help me with my problem!

God tells us not to be afraid.  Because He is with us, we should have no fear.....even with snakes around.  That may be hard for us to grasp.  It's hard for me to grasp when it comes to snakes!

I'm not afraid to fly.  Others are.  I'm not afraid of storms/tornadoes.  Others are.  

Most of us have some kind of phobia.  The problem comes when our fear of something takes over and eliminates our trust in God.  We don't have to be afraid.  We can put our total trust and total faith in Him.  Whatever scares us has no control when God is giving us strength.  He will help us overcome our fears - no matter what they are - whether big or small.

So, what are you afraid of?  Give that fear to God.  Ask Him to strengthen you and help you overcome that fear.  You may still be afraid, but when He's holding your hand and giving you strength, you can face whatever it is that comes your way!  Your FAITH takes over your FEAR!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Too Much Trouble

A few weeks ago while our family was at camp, I was designated as the "Sonic drink run" person for the counselors and staff people.  It's an important task, you know......the one who drives to Sonic and gets everyone's preferred soft drink :) so they can have their "fix" for the day.

I had the list of 17 drinks all written out and ready to order on Monday, drove about 20 miles, and placed the drink order. When the Sonic attendant responded, I told her I had a big order and asked if she would rather me just say it or come get the paper with all of it written out.  She said either way was fine, so I requested she come get it.  She wasn't too thrilled when she came to get the order, but I just smiled and said thank you.  I gave a big tip when the drinks were delivered, too!

 Because of the way it was written, when the order arrived, I didn't take time to go through each and make sure they were all there.  I should have.  After returning to camp and giving out the orders, I found out that two drinks were missing - and one of them was my own!  Sad day!  My husband volunteered to go get the two missing drinks that day.

Tuesday another staff member volunteered to go on the "Sonic run", but Wednesday I made the run again. When I ordered, I told the attendant I had the order written out.  She came out to get the order and I asked if they could write the name of the person on the lid because of the mix-up on Monday and added the question, "Is that too much to ask?".  She replied, "Yes, it is, but I'll do it."  I smiled and said thank you, but immediately wrote this on a piece of paper for a future blog post:  TOO MUCH TROUBLE.

The drinks were delivered, I gave a big tip, and thankfully the order was all right.  I told the attendant that she only had to deal with me one more day and that I was sure she'd miss me when I didn't come back.  She smiled and her demeanor seemed to change a bit that day.

Yesterday my daughter saw my little paper note on the dash that said "TOO MUCH TROUBLE" and asked me what it was.  When I told her the story she said, "Oh, for a blog post!"  She knows me too well!  Yep.....a blog post!

Too Much Trouble!  Makes me think....how about you?

What in my life is too much trouble"?  What do people ask of me that I feel is too much trouble"?  Do I make people feel like what they ask of me is too much trouble?  And do I make God feel as if living a Christian life is too much trouble?  What about telling others the GOOD NEWS.....too much trouble?  I hope and pray that the answer to all of these is NO, but I'm sure that at times I live as if the answer is YES.

In the case at Sonic, maybe I was asking a bit much, but I don't think so.  If anything, with the large drink order, I would have thought it would help them keep track, as well.  And customer service (I think, anyway) is about going above and beyond as much as possible or as is feasible and reasonable. If I was an employee that's the kind of employee I would expect to be.  I tipped very well to make up for the trouble if their was any at all.

In serving God, though, nothing we do can be considered too much trouble.  After all, look at everything He has done for us!  He didn't feel like it was too much trouble to save us.  He didn't feel like it was too much trouble to give His only Son as a sacrifice.  Surely it's not too much trouble for me to strive to live a life of service to Him.  Surely it's not too much trouble to follow Jesus.  And certainly it shouldn't be too much trouble to tell others of our hope.....the GOOD NEWS about Jesus Christ!  TOO MUCH TROUBLE?  Not at all!


 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,  because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
Romans 14:17-19



Monday, July 16, 2012

Be A Glowworm!

Just a short, quick thought for this Monday morning.  Looking at quotes the other day, I came across  one:


“We are all worms, but I do believe I am a glowworm." - 
Sir Winston Churchill

This quote made me think of "Alas And Did My Savior Bleed" and the verse that says "For such a worm as I". We are all "worms" (sinners), but hopefully we're glowworms, too....letting our lights shine!



In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorifyyour Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:16


Are you a glowworm????  Are you shining brightly for the Lord???


Have a great week!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Alone

Have you ever felt alone?

When you felt that way were you really alone or in a crowd?

Have you ever felt alone even though you were surrounded by your church family or even your own physical family?

Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.
Psalm 25:16

As odd as it sounds, it is possible to feel lonely - even with people around. In fact, it's quite possible to feel even more lonely with people around than it is to be truly alone.

 We were made by God to be social creatures.  He planned it that way.

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
Genesis 2:18

But sometimes things happen and we're left alone.....or we feel like we're alone.  We begin to feel sad and depressed.  We lose sight of what is important.  We feel that no one cares.

Look to my right and see; no one is concerned for me.  I have no refuge; no one cares for my life. Psalm 142:4

In reality, as alone as we really may be or feel that we are, we're never truly alone.  God is always there.  He is with us.  We don't have to feel lonely.  

The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help.
1 Timothy 5:5

God can and will help us overcome loneliness. He can heal our lonely hearts.  He can heal our wounds.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

Never Alone

Sometimes, O Lord, when I cannot pray,
I sit very still with nothing to say.
But never-the-less, I know you are there; 
I whisper your name  ’cause I know you care.
You know that I’m troubled with things on my mind,
And you know that I’ve been weak, so often unkind,
But your spirit is with me, right here in this home;
And I know that I never am walking alone.

by Helen Parker

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Emergencies

Last week at camp, one of my jobs was to serve as camp nurse.  This was the second year I had done this job.  Last year's responsibilities were to dispense medications, take care of minor cuts and scraps, and deal with the occasional headache.  This year, within the first two hours of camp, I was faced with more serious issues and a trip to the emergency room.

The first emergency was a knee injury.  A young man was playing basketball, but simply ran straight across the court and felt a pain like being hit in the knee with a 2 x 4.  He was in obvious pain and his knee cap had floated up above where it was supposed to be.  We loaded up the camper and took him to him to the nearest emergency room.  His diagnosis was a definite problem - a torn patellar ligament and tibial bone fracture.  His parents were notified and after an appointment with a surgeon yesterday, he will be having surgery on his knee tomorrow. It was a real, serious emergency!

A few days later I had a second emergency.  One of the counselors came running out to tell me that one of the girls was having trouble.  I quickly went to find her laying on the sidewalk.  Because I know this girl personally, it appeared like she had been playing her favorite sport - basketball - and had the wind knocked out of her.  It looked just like I've actually seen it look during games.  But she hadn't been playing basketball.  She had been running quickly back and forth to the cabins during a competitive scavenger hunt game.

The young girl had blacked out, but come to.  She was dizzy, confused, and disoriented.  It was really scary!  Her vision was affected and she was off balance.  After several moments, she was still the same way.  It seemed like a concussion, though she hadn't hit her head.  I called her dad and we determined she should go to the emergency room.  Another counselor and mutual friend and I loaded her up and met her dad and grandmother at the emergency room.  By the time we got there, the young lady had actually gotten some better.  It was a relief to see her coming around and acting more like herself.

The doctor evaluated the young girl and felt like she probably just overheated.  It still seems like the symptoms were more of a concussion-type, but we'll really never know.  Thankfully by the next day the young girl was totally back to normal - just a little tired.  A very scary emergency!

During the whole week of camp as my "job" focused on major and minor physical emergencies, on the spiritual side of what camp was all about, the focus was on the spiritual emergencies in the lives of the campers.  Sadly, for young people and older people, we don't always get as alarmed about our spiritual lives as we do our physical lives.  We don't always pay attention to the warning signs that our spiritual lives are in trouble.   But why?  Aren't our spiritual bodies much more important that our spiritual bodies?  Yes, God's Word teaches that they are much more important.  The condition of our spiritual bodies determines how we will spend our eternity.  The condition of our spiritual bodies is of vital importance!  When our spiritual bodies are sick, it is a most serious emergency!


All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 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 3:15-21

As this verse says, when we find ourselves "living as enemies of the cross of Christ", we have a serious spiritual emergency.  So, what do we do about it?  Verse 16 says to "live up to what we have already attained".  That means to live up to what God has given us as children of God - salvation, forgiveness, eternal life!  To "live up to it" would be live according to His will for us.  Not that any of us can be perfect, but that we are striving to live a holy life - a life modeled by the example of Jesus, our Savior.  Yes, we'll fail.  Yes, we'll still have struggles.  But "living up to it" also means having the confidence in the fact that the blood of Jesus will cleanse us when we struggle and fail.  We don't have to worry about it.  We don't have to get down about it.  We can live boldly and confidently knowing that God is there to help our spiritual bodies with any emergency that comes along.


On this Gratituesday, I am very, very grateful that God is the healer of my spiritual emergencies.  In fact, He can help me with any emergency I have.  

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

QMCC 2012

My family spent last week at one of our very favorite places - Quartz Mountain Christian Camp.  This camp is special to us for many reasons, but the main two are that my husband and I met there and his uncle began this very session that we attended and now he and his brother are the directors for that session.  It's been a family thing for many, many years.
On Sunday evening the campers hiked to the top of one of the bigger mountains.  They had a devotional and ate a Passover meal of lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs. 
This years' theme was an Olympic "Go for the Gold" theme.  The main lessons/classes were on the book of Ephesians.  Each "family" group came up with a family name, a flag design, and an anthem.   The flags were flown on the flag pole and used in other ways, as well.
Since July 4th fell during the camp session, we had a special evening of red, white, and blue activities.
We had purchased a LOT of glow in the dark balloons, called Lumi-loons.  They were so neat and were blown up and floating in the swimming pool.  It was going to be the location for that evening's devotional.  However, many of the balloons blew away and popped because of the wind.  We were disappointed, but the campers were asked to throw their glow stick necklaces into the pool to help with the "glow" effect.  It ended up very neat, even without all of the balloons.
The greatest part of the evening was that one of the campers decided to commit her life to God.  She decided to accept God's gift of His Son, Jesus as the sacrifice for her sins.  She boldly proclaimed her belief in Him and was baptized with her fellow campers, counselors, and friends standing all around the pool to help welcome her into the family of God.  What an awesome sight!
Thursday nights devotional focused on the cross.  Many cross pictures were taken by staff members.  This one, taken by a friend, turned out very neat for the slide show.
Earlier Thursday evening, the families presented their flags and we had a mock Olympic torch lighting ceremony.  My husband and brother-in-law dressed up in togas to receive the flags.  They also had funny shirts - with hot dog and hamburger/fries motif - to wear for the rest of the evening.
On the last morning of camp, some of the Seniors of the campers went up "Devo Mountain" for one last time.  My daughter took this beautiful picture.  

There is nothing like the experience of camp - especially a camp like QMCC.  It's a mountain-top experience like no other.   This song below sums it all up very well!

The Greatest Friend
Author Unknown
Verse 1
Oh Lord I thought the day would never come
When I could lay my burdens down and walk with you,
But each morning as I greet the rising sun
The fondest of my dreams have all come true.

Chorus
The greatest friend you'll ever find is on a lonely mountain.
The highest high you'll ever reach is when you kneel to pray.
The brightest light you'll ever see is when you close your eyes.
Oh Lord you are my first love,
At last I realize.

Verse 2
Oh Lord I need a mountain to climb on.
Just a quiet place to go and know you're there.
Oh Lord I need to spend some time with you.
Jesus spent the night with you in prayer.

Chorus

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Bloggy Break

Hey, everyone!  I pray you have a great week!

I will be taking a break from blogging this week, but look forward to being back next week.

Have a happy and safe July 4th!  Remember to give thanks to God for the freedom we enjoy.


 
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