Friday, August 31, 2012

WHAT ARE YOU SEEKING?

You will seek me and find me when you seek me 
with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13

This verse is on my mind today.  Perhaps it is on yours, too.  

It makes me ask myself some questions:

What am I seeking?

Am I seeking God or something of this world?

Am I seeking Him with all of my heart - or just a part of it?

Sometimes my mind gets so entangled in the things of this world, that to be honest, I'm probably not seeking Him as I should be.  Oftentimes I'm letting the "stuff" get in the way of what is really important.  Seeking God!

Today, join me in readjusting priorities....in focusing on what is important:  Seeking and finding God....with all of our heart.

Have a great weekend, everyone!



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Another "Last"

So a few weeks ago I posted about the first day of school for my four children......and that it was the last first day of school for our oldest - and only daughter because she is a Senior.

And now another "last"......the local fair.  In fact, because she's needing to take the ACT, she'll miss the county fair.  And - the kids aren't showing at the State Fair this year for the first time in many years.  So it's the last fair - of all fairs! Kind of weird, and neither of us thought of that until it was over.  Maybe that was best!
Our small town (Small meaning less than 1,000 people.....not less than 10,000 people like some surveys consider small!) fair isn't much, but it's still a fair.  I don't know of many little towns that have their own fair....do you?  It's always a special time and kicks off the school year with a fun activity.

So Lauren did pretty well in her final fair year.  She won Grand Champion Wether in the goat show and won 1st place in her AP English class "Summer Booklet".  This booklet is a kind of paper scrapbook that the teacher, Coach Tyler, has her students do every year at the beginning of school.  It's such a wonderful idea - giving the students something fun to write about, while making it a quick project that is graded and also entered at the fair.  Lauren can enter her scrapbook in the county fair, as well.  Who knows? It might even go to State!
Isn't he a "pretty" goat!  Looks like she's really enjoying being "shown".  She's a natural, it seems :).

Years ago the local fair had a parade.  I was in charge of it for many years and enjoyed it immensely.  I was sad when it ended, because I love parades and so did my kids and other kids!  I remember working hard to help my own children get ready for the parade.  I would decorate their little Fisher Price battery-run cars, build props, make costumes.....lots of fun things.
Lauren and "Rooster" decked out in "Luau Attire" for the Best Dressed Pet Contest and Tipton Fair Parade - August, 2004  **Correction: Lauren says this dog is "Pepsi", not "Rooster".  Rooster was a Dalmatian!
Lauren's 1st year in 4-H - showing at the fair - August 2004.   I think there were only four goats at the fair that year!  Times have changed!

GRATEFUL!  What great memories!  What small-town fun!  So thankful for the pictures!  So thankful to share with Lauren in each of these "lasts".  So very grateful to have had all of these years watching Lauren grow up, mature, and seeing how God is working in her life.  Looking forward to seeing what He has in store in the future!

This post is linked to GRATITUESDAY at Heavenly Homemakers. See what others are grateful for by visiting www.heavenlyhomemakers.com.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Praying for your Children

After the birth of each of my children, and until now, I have prayed for them.  I've prayed for their health, their futures, and about their spiritual lives.  The older they get - the more I pray. (Not that it should have been that way.  I should have been praying about them that much the whole time.)

Recently one my boys was talking to me about his future.  He isn't yet sure what direction he wants to go in life regarding a future career.  He doesn't seem to remember saying a few years ago that he was going to be a goat rancher and live next door to us forever! :) 

Jacob is 14, so he's got time, but I could tell that the questions about his future was bugging him a little bit.  I told him I would pray specifically that God would direct him in the way he should go.  I told him that before that time, I really hadn't prayed about his future career - only about his future wife.  That shocked him!  He thought it was odd that I had prayed for his future mate, but not his future career.  I explained to him that I had prayed about his future, but not necessarily about the career part......just that he remains a faithful Christian, is a good leader and role model for his family, and that he is a giving, serving follower of God/Jesus. That is my prayer for him and his three siblings.

I pray about the spouses of each of my children because whoever they decide to marry can, and will, greatly influence their Christian walk.  The thought that they would marry someone that would draw them away from God, Jesus, and His church makes me very sad.  Sad because I know that marriage isn't always easy and when the values of both the husband and wife are different - it is even more difficult.  It would also affect my future grandchildren and they're spiritual lives and ultimately, their salvation.

I pray that my children's future mates draws them closer to God and more in the footsteps of Jesus. I pray that the person they marry is a strong Christian, themselves, with a strong, unswerving faith in God and reliance upon Jesus.  I pray that they believe that the Bible is the ONLY source of what is true and right.  I pray that they love the Lord's church - just as my own children do.  I pray that worshipping God/Jesus regularly and daily is important to them - and that they will desire to bring their children up "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord".  

I pray that my children and their future spouses put their relationship with God and with Jesus above all other relationships, followed by their relationship with their spouse and then followed with their relationship with their children.  I pray that they will love each other and trust each other and mature in their relationship.  I pray that they grow old together and live a life that is an example of Christian service and love to all who know them.

As my children get older, I pray harder and more often about their futures.  They'll be leaving the "nest" very soon and to be honest, I don't like it!  However, I'm excited about their futures.  I'm excited to see how God will work in their lives - in their careers, in their marriages, in their parenthood, and in their homes.  I'm excited to see them serve others and serve God on their own - without encouragement from us.  I know this is what we've raised them to do.....or are in the process of raising them to do.

You know what? Perhaps there is someone who is praying for that same thing for their children......?  Yes, I know there are many, many who are praying for these same things for their children.  And perhaps God will work in the lives of all of those prayed for children and bring them together as we all know He can!

Some parts of this process are a bit scary because they're out of my control.  I LIKE to be in control!  But, I'm not. Thankfully, I know who IS in control, and He will help me and help my children and the parents of other children who are praying these same kinds of prayers!  HE holds their futures!  HE holds their hand! And with that I am thankful and confident that all will be okay.  I know who holds tomorrow - and my children do, too.

This song is one of my favorites.  It's directed more towards sorrow, but still makes the point that God is holding our hand and that He is in control.

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow
Lyrics and Composer: Ira Forest Stanphill

I don't know about tomorrow; 
I just live from day to day. 
I don't borrow from its sunshine 
For its skies may turn to grey. 
I don't worry o'er the future, 
For I know what Jesus said. 
And today I'll walk beside Him, 
For He knows what is ahead. 

Many things about tomorrow 
I don't seem to understand 
But I know who holds tomorrow 
And I know who holds my hand. 

Every step is getting brighter 
As the golden stairs I climb; 
Every burden's getting lighter, 
Every cloud is silver-lined. 
There the sun is always shining,
There no tear will dim the eye;
At the ending of the rainbow
Where the mountains touch the sky.


Many things about tomorrow
I don't seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.


I don't know about tomorrow;
It may bring me poverty.
But the one who feeds the sparrow,
Is the one who stands by me.
And the path that is my portion
May be through the flame or flood;
But His presence goes before me
And I'm covered with His blood.


Many things about tomorrow
I don't seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Not me!

Me: Who spilled the water and left it on the counter?

Child #1: Not meeee!

Child #2: NOT me!  Nooooottttt meeeee!!!

Me thinking: "Nobody" did it.

Me:  Who left their dirty clothes out in the bathroom?

Child #3: Not me! NNNoooooottttt MEEEEE!

Child #4:  NOT MEEEE!

Me thinking....again:  Nobody did it.  Again.

Me:  Who ____________________?

Child #1: Not me.

Child #3: NOT ME!

Me thinking....yet again:  Not anybody.  Nobody. Nobody always does it, don't they?

If you're a parent, or deal with children at all, most likely you have had a conversation like the ones I've written above.  I often say to my children after one of those types of conversations, "I didn't ask who didn't do it.  I asked who DID do it!".  I want the answer and the truth.  Sometimes the one who did do it stays silent, but usually the guilty party confesses to the issue.  Now that they're older, thankfully, those conversations don't come very often.

This funny little word plaque in the picture was at a hotel where we stayed on a high school girls softball trip in Oklahoma City.  I snapped this picture right before something terrible.....and funny happened.....so it made it extra interesting.

Some of the girls were sitting under a wall fountain in the hotel lobby.  When one of them was helping another one get up, a shoulder accidentally bumped the wall fountain and it fell off of the wall, crashing into two of the girls, spilling the water and rocks, and essentially breaking the whole thing.

We were in shock.  Could. NOT. MOVE.  Another mom and I were unsure of what to even do.  We just looked at each other, then rushed to help the girls, then went to tell the hotel personnel.  Of course we all felt terrible, but the girls were especially embarrassed and a few of them were actually in pain.  We laughed, but not because we thought it was funny that something broke....just the fact that what had happened really did happen.  The girls most likely would have liked to say that word quote:  WHATEVER IT IS, I DIDN'T DO IT!  (*The fountain was repairable!  Yippee!)

It's human nature to want to shy away from situations that will show us as guilty.  We don't want to deliberately mess up or fail.  We don't want to be wrong.  If someone is in trouble, and momma or daddy is coming to find out, we certainly want to be the one that didn't do it, don't we?  So "nobody" gets the blame.

When Stephen spoke to the Sanhedrin as recorded in Acts 6 - 7, he told them the whole gospel of Jesus - beginning with Abraham and right to that present time - when they had rejected Jesus and murdered him.

The people were furious!  They demanded that Stephen be stoned for his words.  It was if they were screaming out to him and to God, "Whatever it is....We didn't do it!!!" But they did do it.  And then they murdered again.  Stephen was stoned.  What a sad day.

My husband often uses the quote, "If you mess up, 'fess up!"  In other words, admit it when you do wrong.  Don't be afraid to take the blame for something done wrong.  Yes, it's difficult to admit it at times, but it's a lot worse to try and cover it up.  Lying about it only makes things worse.

So, whatever it is......if you did it, say it or if you did do it.....Admit it.  And if you didn't......blame your sister :). (Not really, of course!)


A truthful witness gives honest testimony,
    but a false witness tells lies.

Proverbs 12:17

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Chronicles of Biscuit - Looking Good

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

A few weeks ago Biscuit came to my bathroom on a Sunday morning.  I was fixing my hair and he asked me for a new toothbrush.  I asked him where his toothbrush was and he said, "It's in my suitcase."

It would be okay if Biscuit's toothbrush was in his suitcase, if we had just gotten home from a trip, but the problem was.....we had been home since the Tuesday before!!!  We had been home 5 days!  What Biscuit was then saying was that he had NOT brushed his teeth in FIVE DAYS!  Ohhhhhhhh, that's not good!

After the initial shock of realizing what Biscuit was admitting to, I promptly instructed him to go find his toothbrush and use it.  But as Biscuit was leaving to follow his instructions, I mentioned to him that he needed to take a little pride in himself.....care about what he looks like, smells like, and what his teeth are like as far as cleanliness.  Biscuit, dressed in grey slacks, a light aqua shirt and tie replied, rather confidently, "Mom, if I didn't care, I wouldn't look like this!"  Apparently Biscuit thought he looked pretty sharp....pretty good!  He wasn't very happy that I hadn't noticed how good he looked, but that I was only upset about him not brushing his teeth in five days!

I couldn't help but laugh as Biscuit left the room that morning.  He's a character, for sure!

Biscuits' idea of "looking good on the outside" versus "being dirty on the inside (teeth)"reminds me of our spiritual lives.  From the outside we may look pretty good.  We may do many good things for God. We may talk about Jesus, prayer, the Bible, etc.  We may even sit on a pew once, twice, or even three times a week.  On the outside we look really good - the way a "good" Christian should.  But what if our thoughts are evil?  What if we are constantly looking for ways to cause trouble and strife in the lives of others?  What if we are seeking revenge on an enemy?  What if hatred is in our heart?  If we look good on the outside, but have "dirty" insides, we've got a problem, don't we?

Maybe our faith is shallow.  Maybe we're struggling to grow in Christ as we know we need to do.  Maybe we are content with just looking good, but don't really care about making a full commitment to Christ and spreading the gospel to others. Maybe we're like Biscuit.....we think we look pretty sharp because of our outward appearance.

Biscuit had to go searching through his suitcase to find what was missing.  We must search the scriptures and the inspired Word of God to see what is missing in our lives.  God can help up clean up what is dirty!  The blood of Jesus can make us white as snow so that the inside of us is clean - just like the outside may be.

Hopefully Tyler will never have a span of time like that again - where he isn't brushing his teeth.  Hopefully he has learned a tough lesson about keeping his teeth clean.....matching his outside "look".  And hopefully you and I will look for the unclean spots in our own lives and with God's help get them cleaned up and as good as new!
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” 

says the Lord.  “Though your sins are like scarlet,    
they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson,   
they shall be like wool."
Isaiah 1:18

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lordlooks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Replacement Society

We're all about replacements these days.  We wear disposable, replaceable contacts.  It's almost cheaper  to buy a brand new appliance or gadget than it is to repair the broken one.  Many play video games that when your "person" gets beat/destroyed, you just press restart and the "person" is back again.  A life can be replaced on a game.  And sadly, when our personal relationships don't work out or aren't going as well as we had hoped, we can ditch that person and go find another one......everyone can be replaced.

How did we get here?  What has happened in our world making us be a "replacement society"?

I believe part of the problem is that we want everything right NOW.  We want things in a HURRY.  We don't want to wait.  We want things our way, when we want it, and we expect instant gratification without any problems or conflicts along the way.  If it deals with technology, it is changing at such a rapid speed that when we buy something.....it's already being replaced on the shelves with something newer and better in a short amount of time.  We want the best.....the quickest......the "smartest"......the latest.......the coolest......etc.

Another thing is that many items we use in life aren't made as well now as they once were.  Now it is possible that you'll spend quite a bit of money and time fixing something, that won't cost much more to just go ahead and purchase it brand new - again and again and again.  It's just easier to throw out the broken and buy again brand new.

While it may be okay to replace gadgets, personal items, and home decor, it's not okay to replace people.  The friends and family we have should be regarded as special and non-replaceable.  Our spouses shouldn't be thought of with a "if this doesn't work out, I'll move on to someone else".  That isn't what God intended our relationships to be.  Relationships were meant to last.  There is a sense of loyalty and love that outlasts the conflict and crises  that may appear for a while.

Imagine if God replaced you and I!  Imagine that if you and I messed up, that God said, "I'm done with you! I'll find someone else to love!"  He would never do that.  He could never do that.  He loves us so much!

Fixing things that are broken is hard to do some times.  It's not worth the effort.  Fixing broken relationships IS worth it.  YOU are worth it and the other person is worth it.  Don't replace people.  Fix the brokenness.  Maybe it's in you.  Maybe it's in the other person.  But the relationship is worth it.  God will help heal the broken relationships.

Another way we live in a replacement society, is that we may try to replace God and Jesus with something on earth.  It just won't work.  Nothing else and no one else but God will love us unconditionally.  Nothing else and no one else buy Jesus gave His life for you - so that you might be saved and live eternity in Heaven.  That promise of Heaven gives a hope that nothing else in this earthly world can give.  It will give you the joy that can not be taken away.  It will give you a peace that nothing can destroy.  In our spiritual lives, there is no place for "replacement" thinking.  And for that, we can be thankful.

 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Be Kind......Always

This quote came across Facebook a few days ago:

Always be kinder than you feel. - Unknown

It just so happened that day that I had a headache, allergies were in high gear, and it was the day before school started.....not a good combination.  I'm pretty sure I wasn't being kind at some points during the day.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I was just being plain grouchy!

After I read that quote myself, I read it to my kids.  They didn't understand until I explained it to them....explained my own circumstances of the headache, allergies, and the fact I don't like it when they  have to go back to school because I miss them being home.....all things that were making me grouchy.  Then they got it.  But then I had to explain something that I try to teach them all of the time.  I was ALLOWING those things to bother me and I was ALLOWING myself to be grouchy.  Those things can't MAKE me that way!  Hmmmmmm.......I suppose I wasn't "practicing what I preach" to well, was I?  Nope.  I wasn't.  So, I apologized to them and took an ibuprofen and allergy medicine :).

Sometimes it isn't easy to be kinder than we feel.  Sometimes we hurt physically.  Sometimes we hurt mentally.  Sometimes we hurt emotionally.  And sometimes we hurt spiritually.  We don't want to be kind.  We don't want to be loving and caring.  But we must.  We must because God is kind to us.

Even in our pain and trials, headaches and allergies, we may be the ONLY light someone may see.  If we're not shining brightly, we're missing a wonderful opportunity to share Christ with others.

Be kind.  Be kinder than you feel.  Always.

Shine Like Stars, friends!

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

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A New School Year

Well, they're off to school once again.  I'm always a little sad when it's the end of summer break and the carefree (sort of, anyway) and less scheduled summer comes to an end.  It's especially odd this year, having the oldest child going to her "last" first day of high school.  Having a Senior is something new, exciting, scary, and sad!

My prayer for my children as they enter this new school year is that they will live their lives with God in the center of everything, that they will be kind and serve others, just as Jesus Christ would do, and that they will be leaders and good examples within their own classrooms.

A new school year brings a little apprehension, but a lot of excitement - especially in a small, "football is king" town.  The extra curricular activities will soon be under way bringing a small community together after a summer break of going all different directions.

After a few days, the "new" of the new school year will wear off and we'll all be back in the school routine once again.  We'll be busy with ballgames, fairs, and possibly some homework.

God is good.

Our youngest prayed yesterday that everyone would have strength to get through school. Although we kind of laughed at the way he said it, we knew what he meant.....and he's right.  God can help everyone get through school.  He can help us get through the good times and the bad times during this school year.....and every other year.  And He will.

 

Monday, August 13, 2012

'Twas the Night Before School Started....

Note: I wrote this poem on August 18, 2010, for the first day of school.  Last year I posted it and so many said they enjoyed it, I decided to make it a yearly "Back to School" tradition!   Thought I would share it with you again.  May all of you have a blessed school year - whether student, teacher, or parent!  As a parent, I am GRATEFUL for those who have dedicated their lives to teaching our children.  *See note about GRATITUESDAY at the end of the poem.  - Lori

'Twas the night before school started and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring not even a mouse (thankfully).

The backpacks were hung on the laundry room hooks,
They would soon be loaded down with papers and books.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of homework danced in their heads.

And Dad in the bedroom had just begun snoring,
And I was still cooking and might be 'til morning.

When out of a bedroom I heard such a clatter,
I sprang down the hallway to see what was the matter.

Away to the bedroom I made a mad dash,
And opened the door, my toe I did smash.

The night light plugged in shone brightly in the night,
One of the children had yelled out in a fright.

When what to my wondering ears did I hear,
But children exclaiming, “It's finally here!”

With a kiss and a hug I calmed down their spirits,
And told them I loved them – they needed to hear it.

More rapid than TIGERS, the prayers for them came,
And I spoke to God softly and called them by name.

Be with Lauren and Zachary, Jacob and Tyler,
And guide them all safely - my prayers lifted higher.

To the kitchen I then wandered all calm and sincere,
That God would be with them throughout the school year.

I rushed through the cooking and baking with ease,
And got to bed early – I was certainly pleased.

But before my tired eyelids ever closed for the night,
I prayed for my children one more time – it seemed right.

In the morning they'll awaken, mixed emotions galore,
I'll miss them and think of them and pray for them more.

But I won't need to worry for my Father knows best,
That He is still with them when they're out of the nest.

Written by Lori Waugh
August 18, 2010

*This post is linked to GRATITUESDAY at Heavenly Homemakers.  Join us on www.heavenlyhomakers.com
to see what others are grateful for today!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Back 2 School Youth Rally

The Tipton church held its first EVER youth rally this afternoon and evening.  It was a "Back 2 School" theme, and many of the activities and talks focused on ways the teens to take God/Jesus to school.  Many youth from Oklahoma - and a few from Texas - attended the event, plus our own youth. There were about 75 teens in all, with lots of adults in attendance, as well.
The first activity the teens were asked to do was to write down things that kept them from taking God "Back 2 School".  The most common answers were "friends" and "peer pressure".  Those things were discussed throughout the event as adults talked to teens about ways to combat those obstacles.
Several "teamwork" themed games were played.  This one involved moving a cotton ball down the group line by sucking it in on the end of a straw.  It was funny to watch!
Another activity was a spoon/ping pong ball relay.  Of course the goal was to NOT drop the ping pong ball and be the first group done.
My brother-in-law is our minister and he did an interview with one of our nephews, who happens to be a HS/JH coach and teacher.  Since many of the teens knew him from our church camp or school, it was perfect for them!  Travis answered questions about what he saw at school - in the hallways, the good and bad of teens standing up for what's right/wrong, things that he feels get in the way of the teens taking God to school....etc.  It was great!  He's a GREAT role model for the teens!! 
A side shot of the teens.  The singing was BEAUTIFUL!!!
Of course, with teen events, there must be food!  Here my son and nephew are having a little "cousin time" eating their grilled hamburgers!
The ever-important desserts!  There were LOTS!
My husband spoke on the topic "Choices".  He gave the teens some practical ways they can make good decisions as they go back to school.  They CAN take God/Jesus "BACK 2 SCHOOL"!!  Here he wasn't speaking, though.  He was getting ready to demonstrate how far he can blow a ping pong ball out of his mouth.  Teens need to know things like that, don't they??! :)
The neat part about the youth rally was that many of the teens in attendance go to camp together. This special group of girls are able to get together many times throughout the year, though they live in four different towns.  What a special thing to have Christian friendships that will last FOREVER!

The youth rally was a definite success!  Unless Jesus comes back before next year, I'm certain there will be a 2nd Annual "Back 2 School" Tipton Youth Rally!

Friday, August 10, 2012

How Do You Lean?

"The Lorax" movie is one of my daughter's and my favorite movies, so we were especially excited that it came out on DVD Tuesday.  We bought it that day and have already watched it three times - enjoying it each and every time.  The four guys in our family have watched it a few times, themselves.  Not sure they're as big of fans as us, but at least they seem to enjoy it.

There is a great message in the movie, cute songs, and several good quotes. I've blogged about one of the before, but here's another one that is a direct quote from the Lorax, himself:

A tree falls the way it leans.  Be careful how you lean.
-The Lorax

There's a lot of wisdom in that quote, isn't there?

The Bible is full of words of wisdom about leaning and falling.  Here are just a few that focus on what happens when we lean the wrong way (I've emphasized the word fall in each:

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall
Proverbs 16:18

A man of perverse heart does not prosper; he whose tongue is deceitful falls into trouble. 
Proverbs 17:20

Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble. 
Proverbs 28:14

He whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but he whose ways are perverse will suddenly fall
Proverbs 28:18

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” 
Matthew 26:41

 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.” 
Mark 4:13-20

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall
Luke 11:17

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall
1 Corinthians 10:12

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit,who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because[b] to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
Hebrews 6:4-6

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. 
2 Peter 3:17

And then here are some promises of God that will help us and keep us from leaning in the wrong direction.  These promises should keep us from falling.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,  and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,  and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6


This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,    24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Romans 3:22-24

Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:10-11

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Family Walls (borrowed title from the suggested site)

I want to share a site with you and a post from there called, "Family Walls".  I've made the site part of my blog roll, so if you visit my home page, you'll find it listed as comefillyourcup.com to the right side and down a little bit on the page.

The post deals with some things that we Christians sometimes want to avoid.  Maybe it's because we'll think we're judging (which isn't condemned in all aspects if we read God's Word throughly).  Maybe it's because we don't think it's any of our business.  But maybe it's because we don't want to analyze our own lives.  Maybe we're afraid that we might realize we're not doing all we could do to keep the world from creeping in too much in our lives and in the lives of our children.  No matter what it is, this post will make you think.....and maybe make you think about changes that could be made within your own "Family Walls".

My theme for the week seems to be "It matters how we live".  It's so important because how we choose to live our our lives as Christians - especially as parents and grandparents - show our children and children so much.  It will be how they model their life, to a large extent.  It's imperative that we use our time wisely while they are in our homes and while we have a big influence in their lives.  Our children learn a lot about how to serve God and others, how to be like Jesus, and how to love His church by what they see and hear and learn within those "Family Walls".

Another important point in this shared post is that it mentions how the mom took the children "to church" regularly.  Attending worship is oh, so important.  Please never get to believing it's not.  But, just being in attendance once, twice, or even three times a week isn't enough.  We MUST be letting the light of Jesus shine within our every day lives to be teaching our children and bringing them up in Christ.  We can't "take them to church".  We must teach them and show them that they "are the church".  It's not about the building, even though we meet together (for the most part) in a building.  It's about what's happening with the people meeting in those "Family Walls".....with your brothers and sisters in Christ.

If your "walls could talk", what would they be telling?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sin is Sin

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,
nor his ear too dull to hear. 
But your iniquities have separated you from your God; 
 your sins have hidden his face from you,   
so that he will not hear. 
Isaiah 59:1-2

Contrary to what many may believe, there are no BIG sins and there are no LITTLE sins.  Sin is sin in God's eyes.  God hates sin.  Sin separates us from God.  But God has a plan for our sin problem.

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

Jesus is that plan!  Jesus gets us close to God!  We can not get to God on our own.  We must go through Jesus Christ, His Son and Our Savior.

We can't be good enough.
We can't do enough good deeds.
We can't pay the debt we owe to God.
We need Jesus.

He is the one who gets us in contact with our Heavenly Father because His blood was shed on our behalf - for our sins.


"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

When we realize that sin in our life not only hurts us and those we love, but also hurts God, then we realize we must do something about our sin problem.  We become - or should become - "cut to the heart" like is mentioned in Acts 2:37.


When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 


The people, who happened to be the ones responsible for Jesus' death, realized that sin was separating them from God and that what Peter was telling them about Jesus was really true.  He really was who he said he was.  The were cut to the heart and asked how they could take care of their sin problem.


Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Acts 2:38


We can have that same forgiveness - just as those early Christian did.  That promise is for you and for me - the same as it was for all of those people long ago.


The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off —for all whom the Lord our God will call." Acts 2:39


Peter went on to teach the people.  He warned them about being drawn into the evil and wickedness that was prevalent around them.  Some listened.  Some didn't.


With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. Acts 2:40-41

Can you imagine, though??!  3000 people were added to their number?  3000 people were added to the church that day???!!!  What an awesome thing!!!  That same thing could happen now.  People need to feel "cut to the heart" like those 3000 people did then.

The sad part is that today, too many people are rejecting God's Word.  Too many people believe that they just have little sins - or little problems - but no BIG things......no BIG sins.  They believe that a God who loves would never send anyone to hell.  They believe that everyone who is basically a "good" person and has lived a basically good life is going to go to Heaven.  God's Word tells us that that is simply not true.  God does want everyone to come to Him, but He will not force anyone to do so.  He allows you and I to have a free will.  We can make the choice to turn to Him and obey Him, or we can choose to turn away from Him.....to live our lives according to what we think and what we want.


The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

Sadly, many people don't believe in God's plan.  They reject Him.  They reject Jesus and his sacrifice for their sin problem.  They reject the free gift of salvation and the freedom that comes from knowing their sins are washed away in baptism.  They don't know the peace that comes from knowing that Jesus' sacrifice allows for the continual cleansing of confessed sins.  And they don't realize that continuing in sin is separating them from spending eternity in Heaven.  They live to please themselves and their heart's desires.....not realizing that they are living a life of sin that is separating them from their Father in Heaven.  They are not being cut to the heart.

If you are feeling "cut to the heart", please do what God's Word says to do.  Obey the gospel before it's too late.


He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10

The world, and sadly many who call themselves Christians will say it doesn't matter how you live, but scripture tells us that this is not so.  We aren't going to be perfect.  No one but Jesus has ever been perfect.  But we can strive to live out our lives in accordance with God's Word, guarding our hearts against the evil desires that Satan puts in our way to tempt us.  We can deliberately choose to make it our goal to walk in the footsteps and example of Jesus.  We can choose to strive to live a holy life.  It's a choice.....and those choices will determine where we spend eternity.  God wants us with Him.  Jesus died on the cross because He wanted YOU to live with Him some day - FOREVER.


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.

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 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. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. 2 Peter 3:10-13
 
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