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Friday, April 26, 2013

Using Your Talents

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

This is a random post.....mostly just for me.....to chronicle what has been going on in our lives, but there is a spiritual thought at the beginning and end. 

Spring time has been busy, fun, and exciting.  Everyone is ready for the end of school and start of summer break!
Our oldest son has been competing in golf with his high school team.  He has been doing very well, and the team will be competing in the Regional Tournament on Monday.  Golf is fairly new to our school, so this is quite an accomplishment!
Many years ago I bought a really nice camera thinking it would save us a lot of money because I would be taking the kids pictures myself instead of paying someone else to do them.  Here is one of our daughter's recent Senior pictures we took at a Rangers' game.  My husband actually got us tickets (just she and I) for Opening Day at The Ballpark in Arlington to watch the Rangers, then take pictures.  So, so neat!!
Our second oldest son has a new "business" venture.  He's going to be planting pumpkins - not just because I love having pumpkins to decorate with in the fall, but also so that he will have an FFA project that is a type of business. We look forward to selling the pumpkins in the fall, and expect a bumper-crop (no squash bugs, please!).
Our youngest son recently competed in a few 4-H events.  This picture is from the Impressive Dress contest.  He's wearing sportswear - his favorite golf clothes.  He didn't mind standing up in front of judges holding a golf club! He even swung it while on stage!
The other competition was "4-H has Talent".  He sang, "You Raise Me Up", and did great! If  you would like to listen to it, you will need to turn off the music on my blog (down at the bottom of the home page, then click the link OR just copy and past the link and close the home page.  Those who get this via email won't have to worry about the blog music.)  Here's the YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNcRSVcBS5o
My daughter made this little picture for Instagram and added this quote.  It kind of goes along with the pictures I've posted of my children.  They are using their talents.  I had no idea my daughter had this talent, but maybe she'll teach me! :)  

She's right.....we all have talents!  Hundreds of them!  I pray that each of us are using our talents to serve others and to glorify God.



Thursday, April 25, 2013

SURPRISE!!!

All during the past year I've been secretly planning to have my husband a surprise party for his 50th birthday at the end of this month, but I was getting disappointed when I realized recently that he wouldn't be here for his birthday.
Finally, after thinking of several strategies, the kids and I thought of doing it after a Wednesday night Bible class.  It worked out perfectly because we had a visiting preacher in for a series of gospel lessons for three days - morning and evening.  Several opportunities to spread the news about the surprise!
I'm pretty sure this is the second time EVER he's really been surprised! The first was at his surprise 30th birthday party!
My mother-in-law made the birthday cake and my daughter and I each made other cakes for the guests. I planned on 125 people and I'm sure there were that many in attendance.  Thankfully there was enough desserts for all who wanted some.
Guests signed the photo mat above to be a keepsake for him of this special celebration.  You only turn 50 once, right?!
He enjoyed telling everyone they weren't his friend anymore, since no one warned him of the up-coming surprise.  Ha ha!
Just a lot of fun for him.....and for us who planned it and helped with it.....great memories!
Joe with the kids....
All six of us together.....

HAPPY 50TH BIRTHDAY, JOE!  A little early, of course!



Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Who's in Charge (Part 6)

First of all, remind me to NEVER do a series of blog posts again, okay??!!  Almost every time I thought I would be able to do something, it didn't work out, and I had to change something!  It just was a good reminder that I'm really not in charge of my own life....God is!

We left off with looking at "Who's in Charge?" of the local church. We learned extensively about elders - appointed men (plural) who are to shepherd the flock - the church of Jesus Christ.

So, what about others?  What about preachers?  What about deacons?  As with everything, let's go to The Word. They are 'in charge' of the local church, but all Christians have work to do in the church for God.

Various works for children of God:

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 
Ephesians 4:11-13

Preachers proclaim the Good News:


How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
Romans 10:14-15

Timothy's instructions for preachers (inspired by God): 

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:  Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 2 Timothy 4:1-3

Deacons are servants of God:

Early on in the New Testament church,  the "Twelve" (meaning the 12 apostles) realized that they could not do all of the Lord's work by themselves.  The widows were being neglected, so they gathered all of the disciples (followers of God - still what Christians are today...followers of God) and chose seven men from among them who would take care of this responsibility.  

In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.  Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them  and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:1-4

Deacons must meet the following requirements:

In the same way, deacons  are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.

A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 3:8-1-10, 12-13

The New Testament church:

As scriptures have pointed out, the organization of the church patterned after the New Testament church is very clear. Christ is the head.  Men who serve as elders are the shepherds of the flock and are responsible for the "sheep" and the "Who's in Charge?" of the local church - the followers of Christ that meet together.  There is no one elder that is above the other, rather all are equal and unified.  Deacons are selected to help with the work of the church.  In the Bible, all of these different roles are listed only for men - not women.  God loves women.  Jesus loves women.  But women are not to be in those positions in the church.

What about Phoebe?

In Romans 16:1, Phoebe is called a deacon in some versions and a servant in others.  As Christians, we are ALL servants of God.  However, it is obvious that only men were selected to fill the specific duties of a deacon because of the scriptures I've listed above.  I did a lot of study about the Phoebe verse, but I'll let you research that yourself.  I don't need to repeat what they have gathered and gleaned! :)  

As a woman, I can be and am a servant of God, a teacher of His Word.  I do what I can to share the Good News.  But, as a woman, there are limitations on my role in the church according to God's Word and His Will.  That's fine with me!  In fact, as I said before in an earlier post - I'm thankful to be a woman!!  My responsibilities as homemaker, wife and mother - plus the every-important Bible teacher and spreader of the Good News is more than enough to keep me fulfilled spiritually and emotionally and physically.  

All followers of God/Jesus have a job to do!

Not everyone is cut out to teach a Bible class, but we all must teach.  It's a commandment of God.  You may not feel like you can teach a classroom full of little babies (YES!!  Baby class is awesome! Don't neglect to teach the babies!!!), but maybe you can teach a 10 year old one on one about Noah.  Maybe you wouldn't be able to teach Bible class to 2 & 3's almost 47 years like my mother-in-law (at the same place!!! And she's taught even more counting the other places.) has, but maybe you could teach VBS for a day or three or five.  You can teach!  You can teach your children, your neighbors, your grandchildren, someone at the grocery store.  And you know what, God NEEDS you to teach!  He commands you and I, as followers of Jesus, to "go and tell".  (Matthew 28:19-20

I hope you've enjoyed this study of "Who's in Charge?".  I've enjoyed writing, though as I mentioned, these kinds of posts are a lot harder and require more of my time and study (a good thing, but a time-consuming thing).  If you have any questions, comments, or thoughts about any of the subjects I've addressed, please let me know. 


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Parenting: Thoughts about Instagram

Now that my children's schedules are crazy, as it is every spring towards the end of school, my blogging schedule is crazy, too!

Tomorrow morning I'm leaving before the sun comes up for a golf tournaments.  In fact, in the past few weeks, I've done that several time, and that is not my normal schedule!  But, I wouldn't trade it for anything.  What a blessing to be able to watch my children in their activities.  I'm blessed to be a stay-at-home mom!

So, I'll wait and write the next "Who's in Charge?" post Tuesday.  We'll continue looking at the way the church was set up according to God's Word.  Thank you for all of the comments about the other "Who's in Charge?" posts.  I appreciate your input and encouragement via post messages, emails, and Facebook messages.

For today, I want to share a link with you that is about parenting - specifically parenting teens/children and the dangers of social media.  Social media is not all bad.  But it can be.  Parents must be pro-active in protecting and instructing their children.

This blog post link will talk about some of the problems with Instagram.  Just like the post I did on Snapchat a few months ago, this post is just what CAN happen.  However, I see it every day.  Mostly from young girls. They are seeking attention.....looking for their 'identity' by the popularity of their pictures.  Each and every day, just as the author suggests.

Please take the time to read it.  Here's the link:  http://taylorandsarahbrooks.blogspot.com/2013/04/parents-word-about-instagram.html

Friday, April 19, 2013

"Who's in Charge?" (Part 5)

(Ladies,  I didn't mean to lie. I really didn't.  I said this would be the final post, but it just can't be! There's just too much more left (at the end) to learn about Jesus' church!  This post deals with leadership in the local church.  Have a great weekend!  I'll post more about the church next week! Lori)

Yesterday's post left off with the following truths found in God's Word:

1.  God should be the head of my life - that's His Will for me and for you - and how life works best for us.
2.  Jesus is the head of the church.

So, what about the local church?  Who is charge of the body of Christ as it related to the day to day things....worship.....finances, etc.  As with any subject we might have questions about, we should first go to God's Word.

*Elders began being appointed in the early church.


Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. Acts 14:23

*Elders (Never singular, but always plural) were to be appointed in every town. They rule the local church together.  They are a team.  No one has, or should have, authority over another.

The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. Titus 1:5

*Other names used for elder are shepherd, overseer, bishop, pastor, presbyter (from Greek word).  

17From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. 
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,[a] which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.
Acts 20:17, 28-30

*Not every man is qualified to be an elder.

 An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. Titus 1:6-9

*Some elders were also preachers and teachers. 

The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 1 Timothy 5:17

* Elders may fall into temptation and need to be removed (from being an elder over the church).

 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20 But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning.21 I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism. 1 Timothy 5:19-21

* The elders (here shepherds is used) responsibility to the "flock"...the church.

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. 5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. 1 Peter 5:1-5a


* The Christian's responsibility to the elders.  Pay close attention the words submit, account, joy, burden, benefit.

Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. 
Hebrews 13:17

* Several years ago, one of my preacher brother-in-laws told me about prophecy in the Old Testament that had to do with elders and their shepherding duties and responsibilities.  It shows that the organization of the church was God's plan all along.


Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart,who will lead you with knowledge and understanding. Jeremiah 2:15

“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares theLord. Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the Lord. “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 23:1-4

* Wow!  What a responsibility!  The Bible says that men should desire the work of an elder, meaning each man should strive to live out his life so that he might be considered to be an elder.  Honestly, I'm thankful I'm a woman!! :) (smile)   Really, we should all strive to follow God's Word no matter our gender, and we will all give an account to God for our lives, but shepherding the flock?  That's an awesome and humbling God-given responsibility.  Pray for the elders/shepherds of your flock and strive to not be a burden to them.


Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. 
1 Peter 1-7 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Who's in Charge? (Part 4)

This is the most important "Who's in Charge?" post of all.  (Note: I'm going to make this into two posts.  It got too long for one!  Final - Part 5 - will be next.) The others are important, but without this one, nothing in your life and my life will run smoothly.  There will be chaos....lots of chaos.  This post has to do with our spiritual lives and the church.

Who is in charge of your life?  You or God?  Do you follow where you want to or do you follow Jesus? My prayer is that you follow Jesus.  Live according to the Word - God's Word - the Bible.  If you follow Jesus and use the Bible for your only standard of what is right and wrong, your life will be blessed.  Your life won't be problem-free always, but you will be better equipped to face those problems because you'll know that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are right there with you every step of the way.  That is the most important thing - to have God in charge of your life.

Secondly is that you know who is in charge of the church. There's not some man-made organization giving rules and creeds.  That wasn't God's plan. Search out the truth in God's Word. God's plan was for the church to be "built" - not with bricks and lumber, but by souls...followers of Jesus. Jesus said early in His ministry that He would build His church - and He did. He knew nothing could destroy the church - not even Satan with his evil ways.  The church will be here until Jesus comes back.  The church is never given a name in the Bible, but is described in many different ways. Some of them are priesthood, body of Christ, flock, kingdom, church of God, church of the firstborn, church of the saints, churches of Christ, God's household, the church at ______ (town), etc. (For scripture references, message me and I'll send them to you!)

So, who is the head of the church?  Who's in charge? God made Jesus the head of the church:

 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. 
Ephesians 1:22-23

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all,who is over all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4:4-6

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstbornfrom among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. 
Colossians 1:15-20

Spiritually speaking, and given as one of the descriptions above, the church is the body of Christ. This symbolism is by no accident. In a body we see unity and harmony. If not, we see disease and death. In our bodies, it is our heads that govern and rule the rest of the body. Without our heads, the body could not function. Also, it is by our head on our body that others recognize us. The rest of my body might and often does change, but my head never changes. It identifies me as who I am. I can lose an arm or leg and still exist, but I cannot lose my head and live. This symbolism is very strong and we must recognize the power that God has given to the head of the church - Jesus Christ.  This relationship is described in the scriptures below.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 
Ephesians 5:22-32

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
Romans 12:4-5

 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 
1 Corinthians 12:12-26

Part 5 of "Who's in Charge?" will talk about leadership within the local church.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Who's in Charge? (Part 3)

Since Tax Day just passed, I thought it would be a good time to look at "Who's in Charge?" in our lives - regarding the government and its control.

None of us 'like' paying taxes, or I doubt that we do, but it's our duty and obligation.  Even Jesus said that we must pay what is due to the government.

Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar's.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” 
Matthew 22:17-21

So, we know we must pay taxes, but what about actually the notion of "Who's in Charge?"?  Do I have to be 'under' someone if I don't agree with them?  What about if I don't 'like' the President?  Do I have to respect him?

Let's look at the following passage:

Let everyone be subject 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, whoever 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 you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents 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 as a matter of conscience.
This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. 
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 

Romans 13:1-8

How would you answer the above questions after reading what those scriptures say?  How do you feel about the statement, "there is no authority except that which God has established".  Is it possible that the President who you don't like is put in place by God for His purpose?  Apparently so.  Whether you and I like it or not.

You see, God expects us, as His children, to have respect for others....regardless of whether we agree with them or not.  Jesus said to love one another....whether we agree with them or not. It's not an option.  It's a command.

Do we have to support what a leader supports if it goes against God's law?  Absolutely not!  But to ridicule, name-call, be sarcastic and rude is not being like Jesus.  It is not shining our light brightly, but very, very dimly.  We should honor the office of President, Governor, or Mayor - all of those - whether we support the person in office or not.

My brother-in-law recently said in a sermon that some have made politics their religion.  I have to say that I tend to agree with him, though I find it a sad thing to have to say.  To some, their political beliefs are, to them, commands from God.  Yes, there are things that are right and wrong according to scripture, but this philosophy is to the extreme in the world of politics.  It transfers from personal politics to social media politics, as well as internet and TV politics.  And it's treated as if it is "God-breathed" and inspired.  It's not.

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
1 Peter 2:13-17

Is it possible that by our political beliefs we could hinder the Good News?  Yes, it is!  Is it possible that in our quest to 'do good' that we actually do harm?  Yes, it is! We must be wise.  We must be honest.  We must be kind and loving.  We must be like Jesus.
 
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