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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Saying NO!


(Photo by me...for our Parents After God's Own Heart Facebook page.)

I was reading this scripture a few days ago, and it really hit me. It made me ask myself if I'm saying NO! to worldly passions and ungodliness. I asked if I'm living a self-controlled life...an upright life....a godly life. In some areas, yes, I am. But sadly, in some areas, I need to allow God to work on me! 

Sometimes we need to do a heart-check and see ourselves as God sees us. It's good to take an honest look at our lives, but not always easy to do do. Things that seem minor in our thinking can get in the way of our spiritual heart-check, so we have to be really honest with ourselves and examine each area.

There's always room for improvement I can do with my mouth....my unkind words, my tone, my critical attitude, at times. 

I can learn self-control in the foods I chose to eat, the health-aspect of life. 

So, what do you need to work on today? What do you need to say NO! to? 

Do you need to be content? Say no to shopping? Spending too much money? Comparing what you have or don't have with others? Wasting time on useless things? Neglecting responsibilities in your family? What about committing to a healthier eating lifestyle? 

There are a lot of areas we may not think about that may be causing us to not live the kind of life God desires for us to have. But, He's right there to help us get it all worked out. He is right there with us to help us change. We just have to ask Him, and have faith that we can do it, through Him.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Family Communication

There are a few things that I believe are beneficial to having a closely connected family.  First of all, without exception, it is a common faith. A faith in God, in Jesus, in the Word.  There is no other connection and no common bond that binds us together more than those built on a firm foundation of unwavering faith in Him.

But, there are other things that should go along with faith in keeping a family closely connected.  Things such as communication.....and a feeling of belonging.....a feeling of being a part.

Communication is adequately defined as in exchange between individuals through a common system of    symbols, signs, and behaviors.  But communication only happens if it is between two individuals. We can communicate with a person, but unless information is received and reciprocated, it's as if no communication has taken place.

We laugh in our family because our third child....son, Jacob...can be sitting around the dinner table with us, be present and listening (so we think) to the conversation, yet he will not know anything we've talked about!  It's a running joke!  And, he really doesn't care. :) He says that he just tunes out those family meal talks.....doesn't see the point!  Ha!  I call it the 3rd child syndrome because I've heard of many 3rd children that are that same exact way.  Perhaps it's because they never felt like they had any input, so just knew they didn't have to listen.....they'd just be told.  Maybe so!

The point is, we can't force communication on people. It must be something they want to do.  They must see that it's important to them, but also see that it is important to others.

Communication within a family, even with a family member who seems not to care, is of vital importance in keeping a family closely connected.  Here's why:

1.  Communication shows that you care.  It shows love.
2.  Communication keeps relationships close.  If we don't communicate with one another, we can't be close.  There's no way to keep close without it.
3.  Communication informs.  It's not enough to think someone knows something that is going on in a family.  We must tell them. YOU must tell them.
4.  Communication is a two-way street.  If you want people to care about you, care about them. It's really that simple.
5.  Communication shows people they matter. One of the worst things that can rear its ugly head in a family unit is favoritism.  Favoritism is wrong - no matter where it is.  In a family, maybe there will be some that you talk with more than others.  Maybe some will be closer.  But the favoritism, exclusion, obvious preferred treatment of one over another will cause nothing but damage to your family.  Be careful how you treat one another.

My husband once heard a lesson about communication. It had to do with church announcements, and the speaker said that it took fourteen times before an announcement would be seen or heard by the church.  FOURTEEN TIMES!  That's a LOT of announcing!  Or is it?  Yes it is, but really....no it's not.  I think about hearing announcements with a toddler in my lap for about 10 years. I'm pretty sure it would have taken fourteen times to get it straight!  Sometimes we're not listening. Sometimes we're distracted. Sometimes we fail to listen, fail to look, fail to ask.  It's up to us to get informed, yes, but we have to be informed by someone.

In your own personal family, it may be good to have family meetings. We have done those and still do for some things.  Maybe it will be informal meal-time announcements and thoughts.  Maybe if your family is gone, it will be a newsletter (Thanks to my wonderful sister-in-law, Robin, for doing this for my husband's large family!). Maybe it's a Facebook group, an email group, a chain letter.  Even a text or message, just to communicate. I've found that sending messages to my teens via email, text, Twitter, etc. is a lot of fun!  They seem to like it, too.  If you have young children, send a note in their lunchbox. Put a note on their bathroom mirror. (Lipstick writing is fun and boys think it's hilarious!).  Do something spontaneous!

The key is talking. Learning. Sharing. Getting connected.  The key is feeling a part.  Belonging.

Take the time to communicate with your loved ones today. It's so worth it!


Proverbs 16:23-24 
A wise man's heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction. 
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

ARE YOU A NEW CREATION?

(Original post from Oct. 2010)
After hearing about God and about Jesus, a person will either believe that the Bible is true or they will believe that it is false.  They will make a decision about what to do with the One True God and the Savior Jesus Christ based upon what they hear and what they believe.

Hearing and believeing that Jesus is a Savior makes a person realize that they have sin in their lives.  Sin seperates us from God and Jesus is the only one who can draw us closer to God.  But, He can only draw us closer to Him if we allow Him to work in our lives.  Believeing that Jesus is the Son of God and that He is the Savior and the one who can wash away our sin, will cause us to repent of those sins.  Repenting is turning away from sin and drawing closer to God.  He draws us near to Him when we allow Him to be a part of our lives.

Jesus wants us to have a new life...a life that is ready to surrender our will and a life that is ready to do His Father's will. We put our faith in Jesus and give our lives to Him.  He can take our dirty, sinful life and make it new.  I like that, don't you?

There are so many scriptures that refer to our relationship with Jesus.  Here are a few of them.  Pay attention to the specifics of our relationship with Him. (I'm numbering the scriptures to discuss them at the end. I am also enlarging the text I will be referring to later. I try to use the whole passage thought, so that the full meaning is understood. (Be sure to open up your own Bible and check the scriptures for yourself!) Don't take my word for it. Take GOD'S WORD for it!  Let Him speak to you through His Words.
#1:  You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
Galatians 3:26-27

#2:  In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature,  not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us;
he took it away, nailing it to the cross.
Colossians 2:11-14

#3. For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
1 Peter 3:19-22

#4. What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
Romans 6:1-7

So let's look at each of the passages from above and consider our relationship with Jesus:

#1:  By faith we become sons (or daughters!) of God.  This happens through Christ Jesus and we clothe ourselves with Jesus at baptism.

#2 and #3 and #4: Each of these passages deal with our relationship with Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection.  The gospel is the "good news".  What is the good news?  It is Christ's death burial and resurrection. The best way to understand this is by the following illustration.  When I first saw an illustration similar to this several years ago...even though I had been baptized several years before that time...it was the greatest thing!  It truly illustrates these verses and shows the significance of water baptism.



(Illustrations by Robert Swain)

So, here we see a wonderful illustration to the scriptures that teach that we are baptized into His death, we are buried with Him through baptism, and then just as Christ was raised up from the dead. We also are raised to walk in newness of life after baptism. There must be a death, burial, and resurrection before this new life is possible. Only in baptism does our old sinful person die and our new person rises free from sin. We are transformed from death to life. We become a new creation. PRAISE GOD!

Baptism gives us a new life because of what Jesus did - because of the gospel!  He willingly died on the cross to save you and I!  He was buried and raised up to give us a death and burial of our old, sinful life...and resurrection resulting in a new life! 

Thank you, Jesus, for loving us so much!  Thank you, God, for loving us so much!

 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
1 Peter 4:17

He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
 2 Thessalonians 1:8
    
He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Mark 16:15-16

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Romans 1:16

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Off to College!

Well, last night was one of the hardest nights we've ever had as parents....leaving our oldest, and only daughter, at college several hours away. But, was a great thing it was to have several prayers offered by faculty members for the new Freshman and their parents at this Christian university. 

One of the professors had a special blessing for the Freshmen class: Numbers 6:24-26: The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his face to you and grant you peace....

Please pray for all of the college kids over the world. It's a new and exciting times....a little scary for some....and us parents have to let go and trust God in ways we haven't had to before. But, it's what we've raised them for. It's what's supposed to happen.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

That's It?


Written by my husband about our oldest going to college tomorrow.....

A father came into my office and was telling me about how he had just dropped his first child off at college.  He made the statement that you just drop them off and "that's it".  He mentioned how it was an odd feeling.

That statement really haunted me for the next few days. "That's it??"

With our first child leaving in the next few days, it got me to thinking, "Surely that's not it. Surely there's more. After all, this is the child that would take naps on my shoulder, waiting for her mother to get home from her part-time job. This is the child that I taught to drive. And most importantly, this is the daughter I baptized.  And then to say, 'That's it,' ?"

So it got me to thinking... "What can I do?" I am certainly not in favor of being a parent that is always hovering over my child/children.  Children need to make their own decisions and learn to be on their own.  But there is one thing that I can do, and I will do. PRAY!

Our daughter was raised where we prayed together as a family before meals at bedtime and before we start a trip.  Now that she is gone, she can know for sure that in every one of those prayers we will be praying for her by name. Each family member will be praying for her in their own personal prayers, as well.

We will pray for her spiritual welfare. We will pray for her safety. We will pray that Christ will be seen in her. We will pray that she finds a godly husband. We will pray that her classes are going well.  We will pray for her health.  We will pray for her professors, that they might be a good influence on her. We will pray for her roommate.

To all parents I pray this day will come for you.  However, know this it's not easy, and I don't think it should be.  But the pain can be eased when you have instilled in your child Godly values and a strong foundation of faith.

On a personal note, I just want to say,  "Lauren, I love you and am so proud of the woman you have become. And, by the way, I wish I could do it all again."

Monday, August 19, 2013

Compassion

Recently I've been talking with my children about the word compassion.  They have even been given a "home" work assignment, writing a paper about compassion. The oldest boy has finished his paper, and does now seem to have some grasp on what the word means, but not to the extent I would like for him to have.  He'll have to do some more research, some more Bible reading.

I found this quote online, defining the word compassion:

Compassion literally means “to suffer together.” Among emotion researchers, it is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering.

This quote and definition seem perfect for describing what compassion truly means.  I recently came up with my own quote for compassion. It's in the photo at the top of this post.  Compassion is caring, but caring to the extent that you want to do something about it.

My son used a very good illustration in his paper by using the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 (click link to read passage).  In this story, a man was walking along the road and was attacked. The attackers beat him until he was half dead, leaving him on the side of the road.  A priest came by, saw the man, and stayed on the other side of the road.  A Levite came by, saw the man, and also passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, as he traveled down the road and saw the man, took pity on him. He had compassion. He stopped his traveling to care for the hurt man. He took him to an inn, stayed with him for a night to care for him, then left money to help the man continue to get help and care.

Too many of us are like the other two travelers in the story.  We're too busy to get involved and care about the needs and hurts of others.  We're too selfish with our time, our talents, our money to take care of and share with others.  We're so caught up in our own lives and circumstances to have the compassion for others that Jesus wants us to have.  Many times that compassion can be shown in our own homes....with our own family members.  Compassion is caring.  Compassion is love.

How can you show compassion to someone this week?  What selfish desire can you give up so that you can care for the needs and hurts of others?  How can you show that you care?  How can you show the love of Jesus?

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Chronicles of Biscuit - "Stop Killin' My Dreams!"

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

Do you have someone in your life who is discouraging?  Who, no matter what, believes the worst is going to happen?

A few weeks ago, Biscuit was telling some big story and his oldest brother was telling him how it wouldn't work.  He said, "Zachary, quit being a dream crusher!"  This morning, as I was doing my Bible reading, I heard him tell another brother, "Stop killin' my dreams!".  It seems that Biscuit's plans are being squelched by his older brother and they're discouraging his dreams and optimism.

Some people call it being realistic.  Some people believe they're being helpful, preventing the other person from being discouraging.  But others of us, the ones whose plans are being "killed" just call it being pessimistic.

We all want to believe that our plans and dreams can be successful - even if they seem a little far out.  We want to believe that our ideas will work, and perhaps grow wings and soar....reaching a certain level of success.

Some will, and truly, some won't.  Some won't because they can't work. Some won't work because we, ourselves, don't work.  And some won't work because they're not God's Will for them to work.

To humans belong the plans of the heart,

    but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.

All a person’s ways seem pure to them,

    but motives are weighed by the Lord.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do,

    and he will establish your plans.

Proverbs 16:1-3

But, let's look at this from the other side of the story....the discouragers' side.  We shouldn't want to be discouragers. That should never be our mission.  As Christians, we should be encouragers.  And, if you pull just this one verse out of the passage, it would seem to say to encourage everyone in everything - no matter what their plans seem to be.

 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
 1 Thessalonians 5:11

But the verse above begins with "therefore", so we know that the encouraging and building up has to do with the scriptures above that part.  

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.  
1 Thessalonians 5:4-10

What's the difference, you ask?  Why is this encouragement different than any other encouragement?  Because this encouragement talked about in the scriptures above are telling us to encourage each other to be faithful, to walk in the light, to be diligent in our Christian walk, so that when Jesus comes, we will be found faithful.  That is the encouragement we must show and tell to others.  Not that all of their plans will succeed.  But, that when they put their faith in God, when they are striving to live their life for Him, then and only then will their plans succeed.

The scripture in Proverbs comes back to the plans and puts it back on the person with the dreams.  If our plans are with selfish, impure motives, our friends and family shouldn't encourage us in those plans.  However, even then, we can be careful in how we use our words.  We must be careful to guide them to turn their minds back to God...to guide their hearts to have pure motives....to encourage them to commit all of their ways to Him so that He will allow their plans to succeed.

So, you see, perhaps Biscuit's older brothers are telling Biscuit what is true and right.  Maybe his plans and dreams are a little far-fetched.  But his brothers can use their words in a better way, so as not to discourage him quite so bluntly.  They shouldn't be telling him it won't work, but rather be encouraging him to keep his faith in God, and to allow God to direct his steps.  In doing so, Biscuit may find that his steps are being guided with impure motives and not according to God's Will.  

But maybe Biscuit's plans will succeed. Maybe things will turn out the ways he wants them to and believes they will.  Maybe his motives are pure.  That's the key point.  We can't tell when a person's motives are pure and when they're not.  And we don't have to or need to. Only God truly knows a person's heart.  

This passage sums up the whole thing - the "dreamer" end and the "encourager/discourager" end.  Basically, we should do everything with the love of Christ and always putting the other person first.  When we do those two things, we won't say and do hurtful things, but encourage others in the way that we should.  This is what Biscuit, his brothers, and all of us need to remember.

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Philippians 2:1-4

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE SCHOOL STARTS

Note: I wrote this poem on August 18, 2010, for the first day of school.  Each year, on the night before school starts I post it again.  Tonight is the night.  What a great summer break we had!
Our three boys will be starting school in the morning. One will be a Junior in HS, one beginning HS as a Freshman, and the youngest in his last year of elementary...5th grade. Our daughter won't have to start school in the morning. She's bragging about it, of course! :)  No, she'll be going to college next week....starting a brand new, exciting life.  But, she's still in the poem!


'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

Monday, August 12, 2013

Balance - Back to School Youth Rally 2013

Yesterday afternoon we had a "Back to School" youth rally at our congregation, where several other congregations' youth also came to attend. The theme was "BALANCE".
For some balancing activities, the teens had to walk toe to heel in a line all of the way down the aisle. It was a relay of four different teams.
They had to "build" a wall that using balancing skills. The bricks were brown paper sacks - one inside of another.
My husband did the first lesson...about having balance in your life. He encouraged the teens to get rid of imbalance by keeping God the center of their lives.  He used an illustration of a wheel. The center/hub has the most power. When God is the center of our lives, we have the most balance.  When anything else is allowed to be the center of our lives, our lives can never be balanced.  He encouraged the teens to get rid of filthy music in their lives, to limit social media and screen time, and to get active - to move.
Later on, my brother-in-law/our preacher did another lesson about balance. His lesson also encouraged the teens to get rid of anything that would get them off balance. He concentrated on "that one thing" that was keeping the teens from being what God wanted them to be. Everyone's "one thing" is different.  He listed different things that could be keeping teens from having balance: alcohol, smoking, drugs, pornography, etc.  Lots of things that are affecting teens today.  He encouraged them to be like Nehemiah.  

Nehemiah's enemies weren't happy that Nehemiah was rebuilding the wall.  They planned to harm Nehemiah, so sent him messages, asking him to meet them. Nehemiah knew they meant him harm, so each time he would reply the same way, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down". He knew that what he was doing was worthwhile and also knew that his mission would not be of any benefit if he went down. He also knew he would be killed.

Ken encouraged the teens to say the same thing in their life:  "I am doing a great work and I can not come down."  This would mean that this school year the teen would say no to peer pressure. The teen would say no to their "one thing" that was keeping them off balance and not doing what God would want them to do.
What about you?  Do you have something keeping you off balance?



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ready or Not?

This morning I read a few scriptures before deciding what to write about, but everything I read seemed like a longer type of post material that I didn't have time for today.  So, I glanced through Facebook and  found a status that became my inspiration.  This post seems like it should be on our parenting blog:  "Parents After God's Own Heart".  Perhaps I'll put it there tomorrow!

The status began like this:  "From what I've read on my newsfeed, I'm pretty sure I'm the only mom not ready for school to start."  I immediately wrote and said, "I'm right there with you!"  In fact, I'm a mom that's never ready for school to start.  Truthfully, the only thing I look forward to each year is the extra-curricular activities!  I appreciate the learning that goes on, and of course appreciate the teachers that facilitate that learning, but I would rather my children be home with me.  Once it's starts, after a week or two, I'm supportive all the way.  It just takes me a while :).

Yes, I could have home schooled and have thought about it over and over, but we felt like in our small community, it was best for our children to be in public school. They can be a Christian example to those around them, and have been.  My husband works at a children's home, so we felt like it was only right for our children to be where they were.  Also, in our area, there is no home-school group that could provide group athletics and extra curricular activities for them to be involved to that degree.

So back to the "ready or  not" for school.  I love my kids and love being around them! I want them with me as much as possible because some day soon they'll all be gone.  In reality, we don't have a long time with our children, so as long as they are here, I want to spend lots of time with them.

I understand that if both parents work, it can be a hardship in the summer to find daycare, etc., for them.  I had that same problem when my first three were little and I worked three days a week.  That's one reason why I quit, even though financially we weren't sure we could do it.  But, it wasn't worth the headache of working all of that out some times.  But, you know what I found?  I loved being a stay-at-home mom!  In fact, I think it is the greatest job on earth!

Everyone has their reasons for wanting school to start, and some of those reasons are totally legitimate.  To me, though, the ones that are sad are when it is because of selfishness of the parents.  Here are a few "selfish" reasons I've seen or heard:

I need more time for myself.
My kids are unruly.
The house is messier with my children here.
I can't relax.
They drive me crazy.
And I could go on and on......

But, do you see the common issue in each of those statements?  In each one, the parent is more  concerned about themselves than they are about the children.  It's really sad.  And it's even sadder if moms are letting their children hear that they don't want them at home - that they would rather them be gone.  How do children feel when they hear those statement?  I know my children have heard those statements and have even felt bad for other children because of it.  Many times they've felt bad hearing it.

Moms, when you became a mom - at that instant - your child became your God-given responsibility. There's no debating it.  That child is yours to raise and love and nurture.  Please don't wish the time away with your child.  They'll be gone before you know it!

Ready or not?  I'll never be ready. But, sadly, next week....I must be willing.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Chronicles of Biscuit - "No Picking Favorites!"

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

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 
James 2:1

As my husband read the passage of scripture for our family devotional last night, the above verse really captured Biscuit's attention. He said, "That said you can't have a best friend." We told Biscuit that the verse didn't mean that, but apparently he didn't believe us.

I went with Biscuit to tuck him in bed and we had an interesting conversation:

Biscuit: Mom, that verse did say I can't have a best friend.
Me:  No it didn't, but you don't even have a best friend, so what are you worried about?
Biscuit:  Yes I do!
Me: Who is it?
Biscuit: I don't know!!

Poor thing!  He's got so many friends and can't think of just one!  Not really.  What a blessing, Biscuit! Too many friends to choose from :).

I gave him hugs and kisses and we both kind of laughed about his statement :).  He was worn out from swimming at a water park and has to get up really early for a golf tournament. His tiredness and crankiness wasn't going to allow any explanation of the scripture's meaning, so I decided to tackle that misconception another day.

Biscuit does what many in the world do:  He picked out one scripture and used it...not getting the whole meaning of the passage.  To get the total meaning, you would need to read all of James 2 (Click HERE for that chapter.)  For instance, if you only read this passage and don't dig further in scripture, you might believe eating cakes with raisins is wrong:

The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” 
Hosea 3:1 (NIV)

Sometimes it helps to use another version to get a better understanding of the scriptures.  Read the verse again, paying attention to the very last part:

Then the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover[a]and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans.”
Hosea 3:1 (NKJV)

Now read it in another version.  It's a newer version that I really like. It uses common language, but isn't far off from the oldest translations:

Then the Lord told me, “Love your wife again, even though she is loved by others and has committed adultery. Love her as I, the Lord, love the Israelites, even though they have turned to other gods and love to eat raisin cakes.”
Hosea 3:1 (God's Word Translation)

Do you see the difference now?  It was the LOVE of the raisin cakes that was making them like a little "g" god.  The people were putting those yummy raisin cakes before God.  Hmmm.....food as a God?  (Maybe we need to think about that a little more some time!)

Picking and choosing which Scriptures to use and follow isn't right.  It can lead someone down the wrong path. It can keep someone from learning the real Truth found in His Word.  It can lead to lost souls.  

Knowing the scriptures....meditating on them....studying them.....searching them.....that's what God's people must do.  We can't pick parts of scripture like Biscuit tried to do.  We have to  look at God's big picture by reading the whole, complete thought/passage.  We can't pick favorites!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Colorado Summer Vacation 2013

A few months ago, we decided to take a vacation to Colorado. Because we had gone to Disney World over Christmas, we didn't want to spend a lot of money to go some where - and we couldn't - but just wanted to get away. With my husband's job and work ethic, if he doesn't leave town, he's never on vacation. 
So, we looked online at www.vrbo.com (Vacation Rentals by Owner) and tried to find something that looked okay, slept six people, but that also was inexpensive. We wanted a log cabin-looking place, but they were all booked at short notice.  
 Finally we found this adobe house, in the middle of nowhere, for the most part.
I did have a criteria of a nice kitchen. I enjoy cooking meals during vacation. That may seems strange to some, but because we're usually really busy, we don't always have time for lots of sit-down family meals. Vacation time we make time for those meals and enjoy that time together.
It was especially nice having some of the family meals outside and this nice spot! Unfortunately it was raining the other two times we tried to do it, but we were able to have quick breakfasts out there a few more times.  And, being from a drought-stricken area of Oklahoma, I'm not going to complain about rain!!
Here are some pictures of the house.  The living room was nice, but next time we'll for sure look at the seating available. We were moving chairs and seats from upstairs just to have enough that were comfortable for lounging. We missed our big, fluffy couch and love seat from home - and the recliners!
The outside steps were really pretty. I didn't get a close up picture, but the bottom ones had marking of leaves on some of them.  The skies are especially blue in Colorado!  A friend, who happens to be from Colorado, said that it must be because they're higher....and closer to God :).
See the little deck out the second floor?  That was my very favorite place to sit.  I could sit there for hours, if I had time! There was another upper deck out the front, the back one where we could eat, and a side one with a table, but we had moved chairs to the back so didn't use it.
And one of the best things about the Colorado vacation was seeing a FULL rainbow - with a double one starting.  And look!  We could actually see the END of the rainbow!  It may not show it on the picture, but we videoed it.  So very neat!  But, there was no pot of gold at the end that we could see.

That's okay.  We didn't want the pot of gold. We were together, and that's all that matters.
 
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