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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What Am I Thankful For?


(Reposting this. First published November, 2010.)

Today, I am thankful for:

T - The truth found in God's Word
"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
John 8:32

- Heaven 
Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him."
John 14:23
 
A - Abundant Blessings
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Ephesians 1:3
- Never-ending Love 
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
1 John 3:1
 
- Knowledge of God
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
1 Peter 1:3

S - The sacrifice for our sins
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 2:2

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

I - Integrity of fellow Christians
I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. 
1 Chronicles 29:17a

V - The vine - Jesus
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
John 15:5

I - Inheritance for children of God
For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
Hebrews 9:15

N - Needs met by God
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

G - God's grace
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
Ephesians 2:8

Friday, November 22, 2013

As Holy People....


As holy people whom God has chosen and loved, be sympathetic, kind, humble, gentle, and patient. Put up with each other, and forgive each other if anyone has a complaint. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Above all, be loving. This ties everything together perfectly. Also, let Christ’s peace control you. God has called you into this peace by bringing you into one body. Be thankful. Let Christ’s word with all its wisdom and richness live in you. Use psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to teach and instruct yourselves about God’s kindness. Sing to God in your hearts.  Everything you say or do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:12-17

This morning, as I was reading a scripture passage, this group of scriptures seemed to jump out to me, especially in this version - God's Word Translation.  There's not much more to say after reading that passage, is there?!

I know I did a check list of questions yesterday, but I like to do self-evaluations. I think they're good for us - keep us striving to grow closer to God and to transform into looking more and more like Jesus.  And, it keeps us from looking like the dark world.

As a child of God - one part of God's chosen people, YOU and I should be:

Holy
Kind
Humble
Gentle
Patient
Tolerate others ("Put up with people")
Forgive 
Be loving
Let peace control you
Allow Christ's word with wisdom & richness live in you
Use psalms, hymns, and spiritual song to teach yourself
Sing to God in your hearts
Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus
Give thanks to God through Jesus

So much depth, truth, and wisdom in that small passage.  I'd better get started! 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Are You Thankful?


Wednesday night I taught a lesson on "Being Thankful" in the ladies' class. I asked some questions I thought I would share with you - kind of a self-check to see how thankful you are.  

Are you a thankful person?

Are you thankful for your family?  Do you ever treat them unkindly?

Are you thankful for your material blessings?  Are you a good steward with those blessings? Do you use them to further the Kingdom of God or just for yourself and your family?

Are you thankful for your town, state, and nation?  Do you participate as an active citizen and help make your town, state, and nation better? Do you care for the world?  Do you waste resources?

When you are sick, do you pray to God to heal you? When He does, do you tell him thank you?

When you receive an award or someone brags on you in some way, do you say thank you and think to yourself, “I deserved/earned this!” or think that it is all because of your own hard work?  Do you forget to thank God for allowing you the opportunities you have, for giving you the talents you have, and use those accolades to bring glory to Him - or do you take them for yourself?

Are we thankful for our friends?  Are we better friends to them because we are thankful?

Are we thankful for the gospel?  Do we prove it by sharing it with everyone around us?

Sometimes we're not thankful. Sometimes we may find it hard to be thankful, due to circumstances around us, but God asks us to be thankful no matter what is going on in our lives. He commands us to be thankful in all things.  Not for all things, but in all things. 

Our thankfulness should always be directed towards Him, for He is the One who supplies everything for us and grants us all of our many blessings.  But we should be thankful to Him, not for what He will do for us, but because of who He is....Our Heavenly Father, Our Creator.  

There is ALWAYS, ALWAYS, something to be thankful for!

 "... in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
1 Thessalonians 5:18

"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful." Colossians 3:15

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

"Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving." Colossians 4:2



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fall Festival 2013

(My dessert for the Fall Festival:  Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake

Last night was our annual Fall Festival. It was a great night! It was fun and very successful. It's our PTO's one and only fund raiser of the whole year, so when it's a success, it's great!
"Cotton Candy"
Many volunteered their time to help with this event. It didn't matter that they didn't have elementary children or grandchildren in school. They did it because they care and wanted to help!  Thanks to all of them!
The after-school program had the children make rice krispie turkeys. So cute!
There was a Bounce House.....
Various vendors set up to sell items and provide a service for the community....
Decorative items....
Games......This boy won a goldfish!
A basket auction.....This was a "baking" basket.
Ou basket....
Christmas basket....
Family Fun basket....
A chocolate basket....
A sports basket....
And a "We Scream for Ice Cream" basket.
A "Tiger Spirit" silent auction....
A concession stand with carnival-type foods....
And after the Fall Festival, a bonfire....
and pep rally....complete with drums!
It was cold and windy, but.....
still a great night! This is one of our sons (#1) with the other Freshman on the HS football team.

 Go, Tigers!  They're on their way to winning the gold ball again this year!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Faithful Journey


Last night I took a few ladies to a ladies night out in a nearby town. We heard a great lesson from a wonderful Christian lady, Robbie Sikes, who was 85 years "young".  Her husband, Jack, passed away in October at the age of 86, but she doesn't use the term, "passed away".  She says he has "passed over".  I like that! They had been married 65 years.

She said many, many memorable things, but this was really neat: She said when people say "I'm sorry for you loss,", she says, 'I'm not lost', I just haven't caught up with him yet!" This sweet lady knows that life on this earth is not where we should long to be.  We should long to be in our heavenly home.  That is what our Christian journey is all about.

This sweet lady and her husband were/are faithful servants of God. They had 12 children, plus a foster daughter who became a part of their family. They worked in child care for 35 years, serving in many children's homes in Oklahoma, New Mexico, and finally, in Nebraska. They have 45 grandchildren and 52 (plus one on the way) great-grandchildren!

What an inspiration she was to all who were able to attend!

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy  
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Neutral


I'm sharing part of an article written by a friend. The beginning of the article tells how this friend now preaches in a town that will be playing their first playoff football game here in Tipton Friday night.  This is his hometown - where he graduated from in 1973 and moved from .  So, he has a dilemma.  

Some are asking, "Who will you root for?"

My friend and his wife will sit on the opponents' side, so that they can visit with friends they haven't seen in a while. He said he would wear his hometown team's cap and his shirt will be the team from where he lives now. He'll support both and cheer for both.

But, my friend will tell you about how that doesn't work in our Christian walk. God doesn't want us to remain neutral.  Here's that part of his story:


            As I pondered my attempt to explain my neutrality, I thought about my Christian walk.  Can I remain neutral and be pleasing to God? 

            Isaiah wrote, “but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2).   And Jesus stated, “Whoever is not with me is against me” (Matthew12:30).

            Just these two passages alone tell me that God doesn’t care for neutral—no fence-straddlers allowed.

            During my 58 years of living, I have been guilty of not always making the wisest of choices, but then again I’m just a stupid human—which, by the way, is a scriptural term.  Read Jeremiah 51:17 in the English Standard Version where he penned, “Every man is stupid and without knowledge.”

            I’ve never had problems with the commands like "Don’t kill; "Don’t steal";  "Remain faithful to your spouse," etc., but James surely gets my goat by penning, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (James 4:17).

            How many times have we broken that command?

            If I truly want to be Christ’s friend, not only must I obey His commandments (John 15:14), but also I have to study His word to know what those commandments are (2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

            I can do all I can to remain neutral at this week’s playoff game, but I can’t be neutral when it comes to the Word of God.  I have to be either for Him or I’m against Him. 

            Luke wrote, “And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing;  but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God” (Acts5:38-39).

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Chronicles of Biscuit - Better Isn't Good Enough

Biscuit has been home a few days with strep throat.  This morning, as I woke him up, I thought maybe he would feel better and want to go to school.  I said, "Tyler, you're feeling a little better, aren't you?" He said, "Well, yesterday was so bad that a little better isn't good enough."  

You parents and grandparents all know how hard it is to see our children sick and how thankful we are when they are all better. For Biscuit to not be outside playing some sport (currently football) any time he has the opportunity is just not normal.  He isn't as happy and spirited.  He's just laying around, which isn't normal for him at all.  It makes me thankful for good health for my children when they have it.

It also makes me think of those  whose children are chronically and critically ill with things that won't get better.  I can't imagine the struggle they have, but also the strength they must have to deal with all they have to go through and deal with.  I think of those whose children have passed away due to these complications, and my heart aches for their loss.

Be thankful for the health of those around you.  Remind yourself that someone is struggling with illness right now, either in themselves or with a family member.  Pray for them. Do something to help them, if you can.  They need support.

Biscuit will get better, and will be back outside probably before the end of this day. But many won't. They won't be able to go play outside.  They won't be able to go back to school.  Let's do what we can to brighten their lives, and to show our support and love to those who are carrying for them.

Though the physical body may be unhealthy and we may not be able to do anything about it, it is possible keep our spiritual bodies healthy.  And there is something we can do about it.  We can choose to follow Jesus!  We can become a child of God by giving our lives to Jesus! We can have our sins washed away! What a wonderful thing!
My son, pay attention to what I say;
    turn your ear to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight,
    keep them within your heart;
for they are life to those who find them
    and health to one’s whole body.
Proverbs 4:20-22

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

12 Steps to Self Care...with God

(Click on photo to make it larger!)
My husband gets a runner's themed feed on Instagram. Yesterday he used these 12 Steps as a devo with the boys and I.  It was the first sentence in each step. I added a spiritual thought and scripture to each step for this list.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Lord, Come Quickly!


For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.  Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling,  because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.  For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.  For we live by faith, not by sight.  We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord  So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. 
2 Corinthians 5:1-10

Do you ever long for the day that Jesus will come, and this earthly life will end?  Sometimes I do.  I grow weary of the "stuff" of life - the problems, the busyness, the schedules, the trials - and Heaven sounds so much better.  And it SHOULD sound better to Christians, and we SHOULD long for that day!  But, while we are here on earth, we must live our lives here on earth.  We shouldn't ever be so comfortable on earth, in this physical body, that we don't want to leave it, but we should live it in a way that pleases God, and in a way that brings others to Him.

I used to work for a doctor who would sometimes get a little frustrated at people who seemed negative and were having a pity party for themselves.  We had many blind patients that never acted as if they were blind, but then had many seeing patients that didn't realize all they could see.  I remember him saying about one particular person, "You live until you die!".  In other words, don't stop living while you're still alive.  There is something you can do as long as you are still here.

Another quote I remember was from a lady at a Bible class teacher's workshop.  She would say, "When can you stop serving the Lord?  When you die!"  And that is so true, too!  

As long as we are living, we must live for Him.  The scriptures above prove these two statements, but the last one gets straight to the point.  We will be judged on what we do in this body - whether those things were good, or bad.  So, how we use our body now matters.  Not that we should be content in our body on earth, but that we use it entirely for Him.

Lord, come quickly!  That is my plea.  There was a time when I wouldn't have been able to say that.  I was selfishly wanting to live this life for myself. My children were little, and I couldn't bear the thought of not getting to raise them.  But the older I get, and the older they get, I would be just fine with Jesus coming back right now.  And, in fact, with the troubles and trials I see in the lives of those around me, I'm anticipating that day even more.  On that day, the troubles of this earthly life with be gone.  Those who have been found faithful will live with Him in eternity.  How could we not long for that day?  It's a glorious thought!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Trunk or Treat 2013

Our church family hosted "Trunk or Treat" for our community last night.  It was a HUGE success, with hundreds of people (600 hot dogs eaten!) and lots of fun for everyone.  Our Expedition was a football theme, with a bean bag toss game.
My husband had a basketball theme in his pickup bed.  A lot of people enjoyed shooting hoops!
This was such a pretty trunk - with handmade owls on a tree branch!
Joe's brother, our preacher, and our niece, dressed as Fix-It Felix and Wreck It Ralph. Their trunk was decorated like the movie scene.  So cute!
 This was adorable!  A stroller made into a backhoe!  This little one loved his ride!!
Our great-niece looked so pretty in her in her "Sofia the First" costume. She's posing here with her mom.

Joe is posing here with one of our houseparents.  He raided his wife's closet for this funny costume!! :)
 We blocked of the street in front of the building, rented inflatables, and had a full street of many activities.
 I caught this sweet little scarecrow posing and looking at his grandma!  So cute!
 I love how costumes are made for little ones, plus riding in a wagon makes it even better!
 Christmas lights were strung along the sidewalks adding to the carnival-type atmosphere.
We even had cotton candy, with the help of a few volunteers who did a great job.
 There were people everywhere!
 Hot dogs.....a boat full of iced-down water (super idea!).....
 A close up of the cotton candy crew!
 Another inflatable....
Beautiful decorations at the building....

A GREAT night that was a GREAT success because of our wonderful church family.  Thank you, God, for these blessings.  Because of them, we were able to make last night a fun, safe event for the whole community.
 
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