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Thursday, February 28, 2013

IF YOU CAN

Last night in our ladies class, I was teaching about Mary, the Mother of Jesus.  The lesson also included Zechariah.  If you remember, when the angel, Gabriel, came to Mary and told her she would have a Son, she asked the question, "How can this be?"  (Luke 1:34) Mary wasn't asking because she didn't believe the angel. She was asking because she was a virgin.  To her human mind it was impossible.

Zechariah was also told by Gabriel that he and Elizabeth would have a son, John, but Zechariah doubted the angel's words.  He asked the angel, "How can I be sure of this?" (Luke 1:17-19) Because of his doubt and disbelief, he was made unable to speak. Zechariah's doubt was because of he and Elizabeth's old age.  To him, it wasn't possible for this thing to happen, even though the angel of God was telling him it was so.

The last example of the lesson had to do with a father and his son. The son had an evil spirit inside of him.  Let's look at the text:


Bring the boy to me.”
20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. Mark 9:19b-26

Jesus asks about the evil spirit in the boy and the father replied, "IF YOU CAN DO ANYTHING".  Isn't this a strange question to ask Jesus, the Son of God?  I love Jesus' response!  "IF YOU CAN?"  Can't you just imagine Jesus saying this to the father?!  Jesus had been doing miracles all around, the people were thronging to Him everywhere he went, and even this father brought his son to him,  but then he doubted.  Jesus then said to the father, "Everything is possible for him who believes".

The father's response is great.  "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!".

What about you?  Do you BELIEVE, but still have UNBELIEF?  This was the point of last night's lesson.  We can believe in God....believe that He is in Heaven.....believe that He is the Creator.....even believe that He sent His Son Jesus to earth to live, die, and be resurrected, but even with all of that "belief", we may still have doubt.  We can believe IN Him, yet not BELIEVE HIM.  See the difference?  To BELIEVE IN God takes faith.  To BELIEVE HIM - that he'll do what He says He will do, to not worry, but give everything to Him, to trust Him to carry out His promises that we read all through His word - that takes deep faith.

If your faith is still asking, "How is this possible?", or saying, "If you can,"......then it's time to to get into the Word and closer to your Father in Heaven. Pray. Meditate on the Word.  Spend time getting to know Him.  Read about Jesus.  Look at how He lived on earth.  Learn to be more like Him.  If you believe, ask Him to help you overcome your unbelief!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

ARE YOU GOING OR BEING?


This morning's post is very simple, but quite profound.  Many of us.....even those who know better......think of the "church" as a building.  However, it's NOT!  God never intended for it to be, either!  Would He have sent His Son to die on the cross for a building?  No!  Absolutely not!  Jesus died on the cross for YOU and for ME!  If you are part of God's family - one of His children - then YOU are the church!!  A quote from our preacher Sunday morning reminded us, "Don't allow the church to be a building any more!" 

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:27

When you look at it that way, it puts a little more importance on being a member of His church, doesn't it?  You're not just "attending" and "sitting on a pew"....checking it off of your to-do list.  YOU are an ACTIVE part of HIS family!

Recently a missionary spoke to us about being the salt and light of the world.  He reminded us that it says "You ARE the salt!" and "You ARE the light!".  The thing is, if you are a Christian, you have made a commitment to God and to Christ to be the salt and light.  

So are you being salt that hasn't lost its flavor?  

Are you being light that is bright or dim?  

As part of the CHURCH, what kind of member are you?  

If everyone was just like you, what kind of church would it be?

Are you just "going to church" or are you "being the church?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Oklahoma Snow Storm

I was all excited at the first of the week as weather reports predicted several inches of snow for the southwest corner of Oklahoma. Even more was predicted for further north.  Because I get so excited about snow (unreasonably more excited, that is!), I "punished" myself and only allowed myself to look at the forecasts for a short amount of time.  Otherwise I get so excited that I can hardly sleep!  Crazy, I know!

I was busy studying for my Wednesday night Bible class yesterday morning, occassionally looking out the window to see if the rain had turned to snow.  I began to think we weren't going to get any, but of course, was thankful for the rain. Around noon, I got a text from my husband that said, "Snow!".  He works about a mile and a half north of our house, so I knew the snow would be here soon.  I watched out the window and, sure enough, it came!  I was so excited!  It snowed off and on for several hours - some big, beautiful snowflakes - but as soon as it hit the ground it melted.  I figured that eventually it would start to stick, but it didn't.  I guess the ground was too warm for that.

Towns all around us got several inches.  Many schools were closed or got out early.  Many schools are closed still today, or at least going in a few hours late.  Not us.  There's no need.  The kids were disappointed!  Many of us adults were, too!!

One of my friends wrote that they had close to 20 inches of snow...just a couple of hours north of us.  Even 30 minutes away people got 3 or 4 inches.  Some friends are trying to dig out of their homes due to huge drifts.  Many are without electricity.

Anticipation of something exciting - like a pretty snow - made me think about awaiting Jesus' return.  What if we waited and waited and waited and it never happened?  How would we feel if we never saw Him come like the Bible 'forecase' says He will?

We don't have to worry about that or be anxious about the fact that He is coming.  And yet, while we shouldn't "worry" about it anyway, we should be prepared at all times.  No, it may not happen during our lives here on earth, but it will happen.  God said it would happen, so it will.  The Bible is truth - there's no doubt about it!

I saw several photos of the bread aisle at Walmart the day before the "storm".  There was no bread, or only one or two loaves.  There were mostly empty shelves.  People hoarded food and water and supplies to prepare for the impending snow storm...not knowing if they would be able to get out or not.  Other did not prepare, believing they had nothing to prepare for, but then found themselves snowed in without necessities, such as batteries.

Matthew 25:1-13 tells us of some foolish virgins who also weren't prepared to meet the bridegroom.  This parable Jesus taught His followers is a lesson for us today.  A lesson for us to prepare and to always be prepared for the return of Jesus and for the Judgement Day.  We don't know the hour.  We don't know the day.  But He is coming.  He expects His people to keep watch and be prepared.  Not worry, but be ready. He wants us to be ready on that day so that He can take us to live with Him for eternity.  Isn't that a 'forecast' we're longing to see come?  I am! I pray you are, too!

Monday, February 25, 2013

How is Your Walk?

Blessed is the man
 who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
 or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
 Whatever he does prospers.
Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
  nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
 but the way of the wicked will perish.
Psalm 1:1-6



Friday, February 22, 2013

God Knows What Is Best


Sharing a great message with you by Alan White.  *Used by permission.

=====  Thursday's Thought For The Day (Feb. 21, 2013)  =====

GOD KNOWS WHAT IS BEST     


The story is told about a king who had a close friend. This friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) by remarking, "This is good, God knows what is best."

     One day, the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition.  The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king, but he had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, because after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off.  Examining the situation, the friend remarked as usual, "This is good, God knows what is best." To which the king replied, "No, this is NOT good!" and ordered his soldiers to put his friend into jail.

     About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he should have known to stay clear of.  Cannibals captured the king and took him to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to it.  As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb.  Being superstitious, they never ate anyone who was less than whole. So after untying the king, they chased him out of the village.

     When the king reached his palace, he was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend.  He went immediately to the jail to speak with his friend.  "You were right" the king said, "it was good that my thumb was blown off." And he proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened.   "I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad for me to do this."

     "No," his friend replied, "This is good, God knows what is best."

     "What do you mean, 'this is good'!  How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?"

     The king's friend replied, "Remember that God Almighty knows best and if I had NOT been in jail, I would have been with you on that hunting trip."

     The story isn't true, but the message is.  How we need a faith that truly believes that we have a God who is in control.  A faith that can say, as Joseph did, "You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good." (Genesis 50:20)

     A faith that we can say, as Paul did, "We know that all things work together for good to those who love God..." (Romans 8:28)

     A faith that we can say, as James did, "Count it all joy when you fall into various trials." (James 1:2).

     It is so easy to look back over our lives and see how God has been there every step of the way, how He has taken care of us and provided for us.  But how difficult it is to see God at work in the midst of our pain and suffering.  God, increase our faith!  Help us to see you in all that we experience and to truly believe that "God knows what is best!"

Have a great day!

Alan Smith
Helen Street Church of Christ
Fayetteville, North Carolina

===============================

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Chronicles of Biscuit - A BIG "G"!

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

A few days ago, Biscuit was doing his homework. He was working on vocabulary and the definition was "a building constructed for a god."  The answer/word was 'temple'.

Biscuit said, "Mom God (in the definition) should have a BIG G, not a little g."

I said, "Yes, but remember in the Bible how people worshipped statues and called them a god?  Some people still do."

Biscuit said, "Yes, but they shouldn't!  I'm making it a big G!"  And he did!

I'm so glad that Biscuit has the concept of only ONE GOD and that it should always be a BIG G!  Sadly, throughout the world, many people believe in some other type of "little 'g' god".  A "little 'g' god" that can do NOTHING!  No power.....no hope.....no salvation in eternity.

As Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego proclaim when they wouldn't bow down before King Nebuchadnezzer's idol, "WE WILL NOT SERVE YOUR GOD!"

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18

I pray that all of you will proclaim that very same thing every day of your life!

Last night we had a missionary talk to us during our midweek worship time.  He talked about growing up in Ethiopia.  His family was Islamic and even his grandfathers were high up in the Islamic faith.  But he met Christians when he was growing up and later realized he wanted to live how they lived - by showing God to others.  He left Islam and converted to Christianity!  He now travels around the U.S. and back to Ethiopia to show God to others!  He loves telling others about Jesus!

No one but God has the power to offer salvation to YOU and ME for living with him in eternity.  No one but GOD sent HIS SON to DIE for you on a cross...where He willingly suffered for our sins.  There is NO OTHER GOD!  I pray you believe that wonderful truth!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Good Stuff!

I saw several good things today that I wanted to share with you.  The first one is from "Parents Raising Godly Children".

It's more valuable than a lifetime of your income.
It's more important than your position in the company.
It's desired by ALL children/grandchildren.
Your children/grandchildren crave it from YOU more than anything.
Parents many times withhold it from their children.
Your children will grow up and still need it.
It's a gift that's priceless...

Your TIME.

Leave a legacy!

This next one is from "MAPD: Making a Positive Difference".  Both are "pages" on Facebook that post good and positive things.

***We tend to fuel the unnecessary fire of others with our reactions to their drama.

Someone comes to us complaining, and we hop right on the bandwagon! Someone is spreading gossip and we are just all ears to hear. A person begins to trash another's idea and we join in!

They are looking for a reaction...and we're giving it to them. We're letting them know, through our reaction, that it is okay for them to show such behavior. And then WE get disturbed at their drama.

Instead, try "no reaction." You don't have to walk away in the middle of the conversation, but just simple don't respond. THEN excuse yourself from the conversation.

Hard thing to do, but the NECESSARY thing to do if you want to do YOUR part.***

And finally, I was searching for a quote about 'criticism' to encourage a teenage friend, when I came across this really good quote by Charles Stanley:

Too many Christians have a commitment of convenience. They'll stay faithful as long as it's safe and doesn't involve risk, rejection, or criticism. Instead of standing alone in the face of challenge or temptation, they check to see which way their friends are going. 

"It's All About Me!"

There is a belief system that is prevalent in America today (and most likely in much of the world) that defies the power of God and the existence any religious/spiritual force in life.  This belief system is called "humanism".

The definition of humanism is "a system of thought that rejects religious beliefs and centers on humans and their values, capacities, and worth.  It is the denial of any power or moral value superior to that of humanity; the rejection of religion in favor of a belief in the advancement of humanity by its own efforts."

Sadly, I'm afraid that there are many in our world that agree with this system.  But something else I wonder. Are there those that say they believe in God, but live and act as if He doesn't do anything? That everything they have or do is by their own doing?  That God has no power in the world at all?  I remember my husband using the term "practical atheism" in a sermon.  This term means the same thing I mentioned - believing in God, but acting as if He doesn't exist".  When we begin to think to highly of ourselves and what we can do, we begin to think less of our God and what He can do!

Philippians 4:13 is a popular scripture, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.".  I love that verse, don't you?  But maybe we put to much focus on the first word....the "I".  Maybe we forget the most important part of the verse......through CHRIST!  What we do, as Christians, is because of what Christ has done and because of the blessings we having in God, not on our own doing.  Yes, we may be blessed with talents and abilities that give us recognition on earth, but do we take that praise as something that puffs us up because of what we believe "we" did on our own? Hopefully not!  Hopefully, if we have successes on earth and receive praise for them, we acknowledge the fact that everything we have and do is because of what we are doing through Christ.  It's for HIS glory (or should be) and not for our own glory.

Self-confidence becomes God-confidence.  "It's all about me!", becomes, "It's all about HIM!".  I become less dependent on myself and my abilities, and become more dependent on HIM and what I can do through HIM.

The biggest problem with humanism is that one may believe they can "get to heaven" on their own....their own goodness.  They may believe since they are a good person, wouldn't hurt anyone, may do some good things, that that is all that matters....just being "good" and not evil. They may not see a need for a Savior.  But the Bible tells us that there is no other way to the Father, except through the Son.  We all have sin in our lives (even if we may claim to be "good" people) and we all need Jesus to cleanse us from that sin. We cannot expect to be in Heaven some day unless we follow God's Word and His plan for salvation laid out in the Word.  We can not get to Heaven on our own!

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.  John 14:6 

There is no place for an "It's all about me!" attitude in the life of a Christian.  There is no way that humanism can go hand in hand with being a follower of Christ.  It can not work!  It has to be all about Him.  

On this Gratituesday, I am thankful for God's power in my life.  I could not make it without Him.  I am thankful, also, for the Savior, for Jesus.  He gave His life on the cross so that I could live in Heaven for eternity.  It's not all about me.  In fact, it has nothing to do with me at all!  It has everything to do with Him.  And I am blessed because of what He has done.  That's definitely something to be grateful for!

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Monday, February 18, 2013

What Do You Desire?

How would you answer that question?  What do you desire, really?  Do you desire to lose weight, to exercise more, to eat more healthy?  Do you desire a new car, a bigger house, or new things for your house?  How about a new job, more family time, a vacation?  There are literally thousands and thousands of things we can desire.  Some are wants, but maybe some are needs.  Maybe some day you will get the things you desire.  Maybe not.
The word desire is defined as "a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen".  The Bible has several verses using the word desire.  The one I read a few days ago was Psalm 37:4:


Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. 

Does that verse speak to you?  To your soul?  Maybe you love the Lord, but maybe that love has diminished some.  Maybe you're not as "on fire" for Him as you once were.  This verse says to "delight" in Him.  Other versions say to "be happy".  Be happy in our love for Him.  Be happy in our lives we have devoted to Him.  Be "delighted" about every thing He is and for everything He has done.

The command at the beginning, to "delight yourself in the Lord" comes with a wonderful promise at the end, "and he will give you the desires of your heart".  Wow! Does that mean that whatever I want, God is going to give it to me?  Well, no. But, maybe!  It depends on if what you are asking for meets with God's Will or not.  It depends on the motive your heart has for asking for this "desire".  Your desire must meet with God's Will or He will not give it to to you.

But finding "delight" in the Lord is the key to the promise.  How can you delight in Him more?  By connecting with Him - through prayer, through His Word, through meditation on His Word, by being around others who are striving to do the same...by being around the church - your brothers in sisters in Christ.

If you're finding that you're delight is gone, or if you're finding that the desires of your heart are not being filled in the way you would desire them to be, perhaps it's time to take a deeper look into His Word and into your heart.  See if your desires are matching up with His Will.  See if you are truly delighting in Him, or serving and loving Him just to mark it off of your "to do" list.

God will remain true to His promise.  You must do your part, as well.  He loves you!  He wants to give you what you desire!  But He also wants you to delight in Him....forever.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Scavenger Hunt List for Youth Group

Someone asked for the list of scavenger hunt we did Sunday night with our youth group.  I decided that many might be interested.  This is the list we used Sunday night, but I'll also list some afterwards that are from lists we've done before (the ones I couldn't get to on my computer).  If you have any ideas for scavenger hunts, let me know.  Our ideas are based on a small town of less than 800 people.  If you're in a bigger town there are so many more ideas for fun things; however, it's pretty neat that the kids know where almost everyone lives here so they can go looking for their treasures at certain places!

RULES:
No Speeding!! :)
No more than one item per house!
Nothing from our house (the starting place)!

1. Buy $.06 (cents) worth of gas and have the cashier sign the ticket (we only have one place to get gas that is a convenience store).
2. Have an Elder sign here: _________________________________
3. Have one of our song leaders sign here: _________________________
4. Get an official (fake offense) written warning from a policeman. (This is easy in a small town and one of the adult drivers is also a policeman so called him and warned him.)
5. Get a photo of the whole team and a police officer in front of the van.
6. Go do a good deed for a high school teacher. Take a picture with the whole team and the teacher.  Have the teacher sign and list the good deed.
7. Go sign a song to someone over 80.  List song and get signature of person.
8. Go get a crayon rubbing. Use purple crayon.
9. Get a birthday candle. Any color.
10. Get a movie ticket stub.
11. Get a McDonald's sack, cup, or other wrapper/trash.
12. Get a photo with an elementary teacher and the whole group.
13. Buy something for someone at Hop & Sack. Get a photo with the whole group. (No alcohol or cigarette/tobacco purchases.)
14. Go sing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" to a cottage (we have a children's home here and the houses are called "cottages").
15. Collect 50 pecans.
16. Get a Walmart sack and fill it with trash (not from a trash can).
17. Get something from the state championship game (football), but NO CLOTHING!
18. Get signature from a former military person. _______________________________
19. Get a photo of the whole group on the play slide/structure at Tipton Home (could do city park).
20. Bring back two people who were not at our house before the hunt.

OTHER ITEMS FROM THE PAST:
Little red Bible
Church directory
Record album
Yearbook from 1970's
Heart cookie cutter
Silk flower ( I think we did a blue one.)
Menu from a restaurant
A Sonic cup
Something from a certain university or sports team. (OU, OSU, OKC Thunder, or Texas Rangers were some we did.)




Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Teen Valentine Banquet & Scavenger Hunt 2013

(SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:  THE PLAYLIST is working again!  Turn your sound up and listen to Hallal and The Zoe Group!)
Sunday night was our annual "Teen Valentine Banquet & Scavenger Hunt".  
We had a huge turnout, having to add more tables and chairs as the others filled up.
Thankfully, I had made plenty of food, but it's the first time that ALL of the lasagna and ALL of the dessert was totally eaten!  Many got seconds, but we were glad there weren't many leftovers.  We tire of lasagna in a hurry if there is ever any left!
As in the past, I made chicken and beef lasagna.  You can find the recipes to serve large groups on my "Life's a Bowl of Cherries" blog.
This time I made the most breadsticks ever - 180!  There were 20 left.  This recipe can also be found on the "Cherries' blog.  They are a favorite of the youth and the adults.  
The scavenger hunt was different this time.  My big desktop computer is having major problems, so I couldn't print out the hunt list from the past.  Quickly one of the adults helped me put one together while the teens ate their meal.  He helped come up with some fun ideas since he is also a member of our small town police department!  One was to go get a "ticket" from the officer on duty.  It wasn't a real ticket or a real offense - just something made up with his signature.
The first group to arrive decided to trick the other two groups.  They moved their van to the back of our fence - in the field.  When the second group arrived, they thought they were first!  As they busted through the door, they were surprised to see another group sitting in the living room, calmly waiting on the others!
You many remember that part of the hunt list says to bring back two people that weren't previously at our house.  That is a neat part because many in town "want" to be picked up!  They are hoping to be part of the hunt.  Most likely many are NOT wanting to be a part!  That's the funny part :).
When all of the groups got back, my husband did a devotional.  It was a great illustration using silly putty.  I'll share it soon....or have him share it :). 
The singing was BEAUTIFUL with all of us gathered in our living room/dining room/kitchen.  I would have liked to sing like that for hours.  (Tonight is our monthly singing night - yay!)
There are many fun events and opportunities for spiritual growth for the youth throughout the year, but I would like to think that this annual event is one of those special times that they look forward to each year.  I know I do.
What a blessing to have so many in our youth group in this small town of less than 900 people!  We are very thankful for each and every one of them and pray that we are teaching them and sharing Christ with them in all that we do.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Senior Saints' Valentine Banquet 2013

 
Sunday was our church families' annual Senior Saints' Valentine Banquet.  Our young adults have hosted this event for over 20 years.
The theme for the banquet was "Wild About You".  I posted about the decorations on my craft/recipe blog, so you can read more about that HERE.
The Senior Saints look forward to this event each year.  Teenagers are asked to help serve at the event.
It's great hearing stories about the past, listening to them tell about their favorite Valentine's Day, and hearing them laugh.
We have a few members that are in their 90's.  It's especially good to hear their interesting stories!  
For this Gratituesday, I am GRATEFUL for the wonderful examples we have of these "senior" Christians.  I thank God that they are in our lives - as examples for us and our children.   What a blessing they are too us!

Join us for GRATITUESDAY at Heavenly Homemakers!

Monday, February 11, 2013

What is the Basis for Your Decisions?

Our sermons yesterday were very, very good.  They always are, but these two especially got me to thinking.  (Note:  To listen to the sermons, click HERE.  The morning sermon is titled: Beautiful Things.  The evening sermon is: Escaping the People-Pleaser Trap)

Here are a few statistics Ken gave in the morning sermon:

"62% of people (in the U.S.) say that they are deeply spiritual."

That seems about right.  Sadly not more do, but it's about where I would have thought it would be.

"Only 14% make their decisions based on what God's Word says."

This is the shocking part of the statistic.  Only 14% of people use God's Word to make decisions.  Hmmmm......I see a problem, do you?  The saddest part of this statistic is that it seems to point out the fact that many of those who would call themselves Christians don't even use God's Word to make their decisions.  And we wonder why things go wrong in our lives.  Perhaps, and most likely, it's because we're using the wrong guide to make our decisions!  

What about you?  Are you one of the 14% that makes decisions based on what God's Word says or are you part of the 86% that does not?

The basis of the sermon was the fact that we don't always fulfill the mission Christ gave us - to tell others about Him.  We don't do this because we let other things shape our "World View".  This is evident by the above statistics.  

A challenge for this week is to try to make every decision according to what God would say and would want you to do.  How do you know what He would want you to do?  By praying to Him for guidance and wisdom, and by reading His Word - the Bible.  Ken's lesson pointed out the fact that God's "World View" is the Bible.  That should be our "World View" as well.  No other "World View" will please Him.

Be sure to take the time to listen to the sermons on the link!  You'll be glad you did!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Senior Night and Homecoming 2013

We experienced a first this week.  Actually, we experienced a few firsts and several "lasts".  Fun, extra-curricular activities signifying that the end of high school, for our oldest child, is approaching very quickly!
Tuesday night was our high school basketball teams' "Senior Night" and Homecoming.  Lauren was a part of both celebrations.  I thought I would be sad, but I didn't have time to be sad, really.  Too busy to think about it, I suppose.  And then I wonder if "thinking" about it is sad, but that actually "going through it" isn't as sad??  Maybe at the time you go through it you are caught up in the moment and memories and don't think of being sad.  Not sure about that.  I'm pretty sure I'll be sad during some of these times in the next few months.
It was an exciting night for Lauren and her friends as Homecoming candidates and for each of their families, as well.  Fun memories of their Senior year, and the last "home" game for the season....and forever for some.
The last team prayer on the home court - the new tradition I told you about recently, but one the Seniors have shown as an example for the rest of their teammates and fans.
A celebration of memories for all of the Seniors and their families.  The last time to be cheered on by the home team fans.  The anticipation of playoffs beginning tomorrow.  

Congratulations, Seniors! We're proud of all you have accomplished and look forward to your successes in the future!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Speeding Ticket

So, a "first" happened to me Saturday night.  I got stopped for speeding and got a ticket.  I'm not proud of it.  I'm not happy about it, either.  In fact, I cried for quite a while afterwards.

I was heading to a basketball game, using the navigator (I call her Betsy.) on my phone.  I was listening closely to make sure I had taken the right road, got to the edge of a tiny town, and speeded up.  I knew I was going to be late already.  That was a fact.  Of course, I ended up later than I should have been.

When I was out of town, so I thought, I speeded up.....getting close to the speed limit for out of town in Oklahoma.  The only problem was - I wasn't out of town apparently.  A cop was at a dark church parking lot on what, I guess, was the edge of the tiny town.  He turned his lights on and turned around. I knew immediately he was going to stop me, so pulled over.

The first thing I said was, "I've never been stopped for speeding before. I never speed."  (I was forgetting that I had been one other time many years ago - also at a small town, but that time going into town.  He let me off when he saw the pile of "kid" stuff in the passengers' side and three kids in car seats in the back! He knew I wasn't paying attention to that traffic sign!)  So back to this time......The officer said he was sorry he had to be the first one.  Something told me he wasn't sorry.  He delighted in it!

He asked me if I knew how fast the speed limit was where he stopped me. I said no...that I was worried about being on the right road, but that as soon as he turned around out of the parking lot, I saw a speed limit sign - which I did.  

Because of my good record, the policeman took a few numbers off of my speed - to help me not have to pay so much.  I appreciate that, but honestly, couldn't believe he gave me a ticket!!  I expected a warning.  However, yes....I was speeding and it wasn't just a little bit over.  I was almost at the out-of-town speed.....because I thought I was out of town.

I was guilty.  I admit that, of course.  I should have been paying attention more.  

When he came back, he gave me the ticket.  I can't remember what he said, but the final thing he said at the end was, "Everyone speeds."  I replied, "I don't!  It's against the law!"  He just looked at me....like I was lying!  I guess he was thinking, "Well, you were this time."  He's right. I was.....but it wasn't intentional....not that it makes any difference.  I think what surprises me is the fact that he said, "everyone speeds".  I guess that's why everyone always passes me!  I had suspected that, but didn't really think it.  Actually I know that not "everyone" speeds.  Others are concerned about breaking that law - just like they wouldn't deliberately break any other law.

So, I'll have to pay the ticket.  Actually, he said I'd have to appear in court....but there isn't an address....just a P.O. Box.  Surely I can just mail the check?!  My husband is checking on that for me today.

My sweet husband was very understanding.  He listened to my sob story.  Later I found out that he laughed and laughed when I got off the phone with him.  I'm crying still, and apparently he was laughing!  (Payback!).  But then guess what he did?!  He called my dad and told him!!  I got a call from my dad - who lives in Texas (and me in Oklahoma).  He said he and mom were watching a ballgame and they stopped the game just to put traffic violations up as a ticker across the screen.  My name was on it, he said.  Oh, those two guys are going to get it some day soon!  :)

I'm still not very happy about the whole thing.  Now when we play games like, "I have never.....", I can't use the one:  "I have never had a speeding ticket."  I also wasn't very happy that the officer seemed to enjoy the fact that he stopped me.  I know it's his job....and I appreciate the job he and others do, but didn't like the fact that he seemed to enjoy it.  He was young.  It's a small, small town without a lot of action, I'm sure.  I'm disappointed in myself for not paying better attention and now having to pay money for this mistake.

The last thing the officer said was, "Have a nice day."  I replied, "I won't now!"  That was wrong of me.  Very, very wrong.  I should have just said "thank you", but I let the devil get ahold of my thoughts and my attitude.  Those are the times that are hard to "let your light shine", and I failed at shining.  Thankfully God forgives me when I fail and ask for His forgiveness!

Next time.....(There had better not be a next time with a speeding ticket!) I WILL choose to shine!  The next "trying time" (There will be plenty of those.) I will choose to shine!  Those are the times I need to shine the brightest.  Those are the times I must resist the temptations of the devil to react in the way he wants me to, instead of in the way God wants me to.

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.
This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Romans 13:1-8

Friday, February 1, 2013

Praise Him, Praise Him!

It occurred to me that this week marked five years for this "Shine Like Stars" blog!  Five years!  It doesn't seem possible, but when I think back about things I know I've written and about events in our lives, I know it really has been that long.

As a celebration, I've decided to do a list of praises....things to be thankful for....specifically this week:

1.  The opportunity to reach out and connect with others through "Shine Like Stars" is definitely something to praise God for!  What a wonderful way to share God's Word, the good news about Jesus, and inspirational thoughts with all of you.

2.  Those who visit "Shine Like Stars".  I don't even know who all visits, but through direct feed, email, Google search, Facebook, and all kinds of other ways, hundreds of visitors visit each day (I know that because it keeps a daily/weekly/monthly count.).  Thank you!  I appreciate you stopping by and the comments via the blog, Facebook, email, and in person!

3.  This week I praise Him for healing our son, Jacob's arm! You may remember it was broken in a basketball game the Monday before Thanksgiving.  Last night he was able to play basketball after two casts and a brace!

4.  I'm also thankful to have recently begun teaching ladies' Bible class.  It's a great study about getting to know God better.  I first began this blog because I missed the study and preparation getting ready for teaching class.  I switched to teaching children's classes, which was also a blessing, but just not as deep of study.  The blog was selfishly begun for my own needs, but praise God it didn't stay a selfish desire!  It developed quickly into what it should have always been - a way to reach others.

5.  I am thankful for family.  My own immediate family and our extended family on both sides.  In the past few weeks a few family members have had health concerns.  One began chemo treatments yesterday.  The others are doing fine.  Daily we pray for God's healing hand on those who are having physical health concerns.  He can heal, and we believe that promise!


I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart;
 I will tell of all your wonders.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;   
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
Psalm 9:1-2
 
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