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Monday, March 30, 2015

Train Up A Child

Yesterday was a wonderful day!  Yes, it was the day the saints come together to worship the Lord, but yesterday was even a little more special for us because our morning worship was led by the young men of our congregation.  We're thankful that the elders and our preacher worked this out so that the young men could have this time to led and train to become the future leaders of the church.

Our oldest son preached. He has given several devotional talks and mini sermons for quite a few years - the first when he was 10 or so - but nothing ever this big or this long!  We kept asking him how long it would be and he would say, "I hope at least 15 minutes!"  You just never know exactly how long you're going to speak when you get to going! I know that from experience in ladies' day events. :)  (Oops! Had to work on that!)  But Z did a wonderful job delivering a message from God's Word, encouraging us to not have "Blurred Vision".  At moments like these, I realize he's grown. He doesn't even seem like an 18 year old, but more like a 20-something year old! It's awkward at times, being a parent to someone so mature, because he seems more mature than I am in some things.  (true confession)  He's a good example for all of us.

Our middle boys gave the devotional thoughts before the Lord's Supper.  He hadn't ever done anything like this before, so it was good for him. He came up with the analysis all on his own, using a real-life example of how we can get into the routine of partaking of the Lord's Supper without giving it the thought we should - about Jesus dying on the cross.  I loved how he gave it in all seriousness, but how I could still see his personality within his little talk.  It was a great learning opportunity for him. I'm glad he saw that he could do it - that he was capable of doing it.  I knew he could.  He knows it now, too!

And our youngest led the opening prayer and helped serve the Lord's Supper.  He told me before we left for Bible Class that his prayer might be too long because he had really thought about what he was going to say.  It wasn't too long and it was great to know and realize that he had thought about what he was going to say in advance.  I'm surprised this one hasn't offered to do a devotional, yet. When he was young he would preach whole sermons at home! :)

The boys who helped with the service did a great job, as well.  Our nephew led the singing.  Others helped serve the Lord's Supper.  Others prayed.  It's surely a blessing to have young men who are willing and able to serve. Others are in the process of learning.  It's a wonderful to give them opportunities to learn to lead.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. 
Proverbs 22:6

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fellowship With God

Do you ever think about what it would have been like to be Eve before the first sin?  Walking around in the garden of Eden, not a care in the world, just enjoying the beautiful creation and enjoying talks with God and spending so much time with Adam.  Doesn't it sound wonderful - before the fall? It sure does to me! I can't even imagine how it must have been.

As Christians, we have a fellowship with God, as well. It's different than Eve's was, of course, but it's still a closeness, an intimacy, that is there for us if we take advantage of it. 

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  
 1 John 1:5-9

But just like sin got in the way of Eve's fellowship with God, it gets in the way of our fellowship with God, as well.  However, the blood of Jesus was shed for our sins, and though we will still mess up from time to time, we can continue in that fellowship with God by following out His commands:  Walk in the light and by confessing our sins.

God WANTS us to walk in the light! He longs for us to have fellowship with Him!  Isn't that wonderful news?!  He's not putting guards at the entrance with flaming swords denying us further access from Him.  Jesus did away with all barriers between us and God. He was and is our bridge to Our Heavenly Father!

Below is a breakdown of the words above from the original Greek meaning ( and from the Vine's dictionary on that site.  It's great seeing the original meaning to gain further understanding into the scriptures.

Fellowship: fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation

Walk: To make one's way, progress; to make due use of opportunities

Darkness: of ignorance respecting divine things and human duties, and the accompanying ungodliness and immorality

The lightGod is light because light has the extremely delicate, subtle, pure, brilliant quality of truth and its knowledge...together with the spiritual purity associated with it....that which is exposed to the view of ....all, openly, publicly reason, mind....the power of understanding esp. moral and spiritual truth

We have: To have (hold) in the hand, in the sense of wearing, to have (hold) possession of the mind (refers to alarm, agitating emotions, etc.), to hold fast keep, to have or comprise or involve, to regard or consider or hold as

One with anotherwith, after, behind

Cleanses: In a moral sense: a) to free from defilement of sin and from faults, b) to purify from wickedness, c) to free from guilt of sin, to purify, d) to consecrate by cleansing or purifying, e) to consecrate, dedicate

Sinthat which is done wrong, sin, an offense, a violation of the divine law in thought or in act

Deceive: to cause to stray, to lead astray, lead aside from the right way, b) to go astray, wander, roam lead away from the truth, to lead into error, to be led into be led aside from the path of virtue, to go astray, sever or fall away from the truth of be led away into error and sin

Truth: what is true in things appertaining to God and the duties of man, moral and religious truth...the truth as taught in the Christian religion, respecting God and the execution of his purposes through Christ, and respecting the duties of man, opposing alike to the superstitions of the Gentiles and the inventions of the Jews, and the corrupt opinions and precepts of false teachers even among Christians

Confess: to confess, i.e. to admit or declare one's self guilty of what one is accused profess...
to declare openly, speak out freely

Faithful: of persons who show themselves faithful in the transaction of business, the execution of commands, or the discharge of official who kept his plighted faith, worthy of trust...that can be relied on

Just: righteous, observing divine laws...innocent, faultless, guiltless

Unrighteousness: unrighteousness of heart and life...a deed violating law and justice, act of unrighteousness

Monday, March 23, 2015

"Why Me?" "Why Not Me?"

Do you every go through something and think, "Why me?"?  Or do you ever see someone else going through something and think, "Why them?"?

I once heard or read something that simply asked this question, "Why not me?"  Ouch!  Makes me think, how about you?  It's true, though, why not me? Why shouldn't I go through something? Why shouldn't you?  We're all alike.  We're not too high and mighty to have calamity.  I'm not too special to have some major catastrophe in my life.  None of us are.  We're all the same.

Dear friends, don’t be surprised by the fiery troubles that are coming in order to test you. Don’t feel as though something strange is happening to you, but be happy as you share Christ’s sufferings. Then you will also be full of joy when he appears again in his glory. 1 Peter 4:12-13

Most likely nothing we will go through will even compare to what Christ went through, yet when we are hurting and suffering, we can reflect back to what he went through.  The verse above says we can "share" in His sufferings.  Perhaps as we "share" them, we will appreciate them even more.

It's really hard to see people suffer.  It's hard to suffer, ourselves.  But oftentimes, the suffering brings us closer to the Savior, and that's right where we need to be.  

 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed because the Spirit of glory—the Spirit of God—is resting on you.

If you suffer, you shouldn’t suffer for being a murderer, thief, criminal, or troublemaker.  If you suffer for being a Christian, don’t feel ashamed, but praise God for being called that name.  1 Peter 4:14-16

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Fly Away, Butterfly!

For our daughter, Lauren....our beautiful butterfly! 
(Written September 2014, but first time to publish.)

Once upon a time there lived a little caterpillar. She lived in a small town with her parents and three younger brothers.

The little caterpillar loved to explore. She traveled to other places, learning and doing all kinds of things. She met all kinds of people. She made lots of friends along the way.

The little caterpillar also enjoyed being at home, with her family. She sang songs. She played games. She learned important things that helped her grow and mature. She learned a lot from a very special Book. Her parents told her that this Book was the greatest book of all! So she read from it every day. She learned some very great things from the Book. Yes, she had a very wonderful, happy life.

The most important thing the little caterpillar learned was that she had a Creator. Her Creator loved her! She also had a Savior. Her Savior loved her! So much so that He gave His life for her! 
The little caterpillar couldn't image a love so wonderful as that love, but from that day on began to share that Good News with others.

Something began to change. The caterpillar stopped growing, stopped shedding her new skin, and she felt all safe and secure and content, but yet felt like there was something more she was supposed to experience. 

Her family was excited about her growing up, but realized that she would soon be making a big step in her life - a step that would change their family forever. They were happy and sad...all at the same time, but knew that the Creator was with her, and that He would guide her steps and direct her paths.

The little caterpillar began to feel different. She changed. She changed more and more each and every day, but these changes were different than the ones she had had before. One day something very wonderful happened! The little caterpillar was no longer a caterpillar! Her Creator had transformed her into a beautiful butterfly!

And so it was that it was time for her to fly away. And she did. She flew away from her safe and secure home. She ventured into new and exciting places, continuing to tell the world what the Creator and Savior had done for her. She shared words from the Book with others daily.

The beautiful butterfly would come back to visit her family whenever she could. Oh, they missed her, but were so excited to hear all about her new life!  They were thankful that the Creator had done such a magnificent thing for their little girl and sister. 
The little caterpillar brothers looked forward to seeing those changes in their own lives some day. They were learning more and more about the Creator and Savior, as. well.

The beautiful butterfly learned to spread her wings and fly in ways she would have never believed she could. She had great faith in what she could do, because of the One who made her. He gave her dreams wings! He gave her plans and paths that led to all kinds of new things. And that was just the way it was supposed to be. It was the Creator's wonderful plan that she would learn to fly away. He knew she would all along.
"Fly away, beautiful butterfly! Fly away!", she heard her Creator, Savior, and family sing as she flew. And she knew that this was way it was supposed to be. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

"Seeking Spiritual Beauty - A Night at the S.P.A"

Every Ladies' Night Out theme I see or help with, I decide that it's my all-time favorite theme!  But, truthfully, I think that whatever event I'm doing or helping with is my favorite at that time, because that's what's consuming my mind!
This "Seeking Spiritual Beauty - A Night at the S.P.A" theme was chosen for our 2nd Ladies' Night Out at our congregation.  We planned for a just a few months, and worked together to make it all come together wonderfully!  S.P.A. stood for spirit, personality, and attitude.
I'll tell more about the theme next time, but will just share about the decorations for now.  A few ladies and teenage girls made these wonderful essential oil scented bath salts.  They had a little tag with the theme scripture:   Charm is deceptive and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30
 I bought styrofoam wig heads from Sally Beauty Supply.  Actually, a young girl I know ordered them from her friend who manages the store and they happened to be on sale that week!  24 wig heads came in two long boxes!  I've also seen wig heads at Hobby Lobby since then, though with a coupon, they are still more than these were.
 We got shower caps, eye masks, towel turbines....anything that was found in the beauty section of the  super centers and discount stores!
 Dollar Tree was a great source for supplies!  Bed, Bath & Beyond had these really cute satin shower caps.  This picture is a little blurry, but her cap has a rhinestone and satin ribbon bow.  So cute!
 The cucumbers on the eyes and the tinted cake icing face masks were our favorite things!  It was so much fun decorating the wig heads!!
 The Spa themed napkins and little plates came from Hobby Lobby.
 Each guest was given each of three soaps made by a couple of ladies.  They smelled wonderful!
 They had lots of fun making them, too!  Isn't it pretty?
 This one is more plain, but such a great scent!
 They said this one was the most difficult to make.  Beautiful!
 It's always neat when someone comes up with a unique idea for displaying things.  A friend had ladies help her tie the tableware utensils together.  We didn't like them just on top of the napkin, so this made them extra-pretty!
 The ladies had salads sitting on the table when the guests arrived.  Different dressings were available, as well.
The ladies also worked hard on the food, making the chicken spaghetti in advance and freezing it.
 To cover an ugly breaker box, a lady brought her pretty colored rug.  A friend spruced it up with a shower curtain and another shower cap!
 The foyer of the building had more decorated wig heads, plus these pretty Easter baskets (from Target) made into spa baskets!
 The fresh tulips are my own personal favorite.  We placed cucumbers in the water, just to help carry out the cucumber theme.
 That hat picture still isn't showing up. You'll just have to go to BB&B and buy your own to see it! :)
The programs, flyers, and projector slides all carried out the spa theme.
 One of our speakers makes beautiful fondant decorated cakes. She used this one in her lesson. I'll share more about that next time.  But it matched the color scheme!!
 More decor....
 ....and still more....
 A close up of her beautiful quilting cake design! She actually gave it to one of her parents best friends for her upcoming birthday.
 It just worked out that our paint color and pew/carpet colors all went with with the decorations this year!  How nice!
 Most of the bath mesh sponges, powders, shower gels, nail brushes, foot pumices, etc., came from Dollar Tree. I'll be using them in some really neat totes I bought for graduation gifts!  So, it was a two-fold purpose in buying them!
This little wire lady greeted the guests as they arrived.  It was a great success with a little over 100 people in attendance from 12 different towns!

Isn't it great to work together to make something wonderful happen?  And when it is all for God's glory, it makes it even more important.  We pray that He was glorified by this event, and that all who attended were inspired and uplifted.  May we ladies always strive to "Seek Spiritual Beauty".

Friday, March 6, 2015

All the Way To STATE!!!

What a season these boys have had! Actually, what a career these Seniors have had! Without question, the guys in our Senior class this year have had the most athletic ability as a whole, than any other class we've had. From the time they were in grade school, even before, actually, we knew how talented they were and we're looking forward to watching them for many years. None of us wanted it to be over, and with weight lifting, track, baseball and golf still to go, it's not over, but for the bigger team sports in our small school, it is. This team made it to State for the second year in a row, played the same team for the second year in a row, and unfortunately got beat in overtime for the second year in a row...this year by six points, last year by five.  These boys aren't used to overtime! They've not seen it many, if any other times in their whole careers!!

The amount of talent in the top of the team, which happens to be all of the Seniors, is unreal! Many of them are going on to play a sport in college. All of them could and may. We look forward to hearing about them and watching them. We also challenge them to go and be the best person they can be, not just on the court or field, but in life. It's easy to get caught up in the sports life (I mentioned recently that I do it, too!), but that's not ultimately what is important. Who you are matters. What you stand for and what you fall for matters. That's what's important. How you finish this life matters. Eternity matters.

Our son is a Sophomore on this team. He's had a great experience! We look forward to him becoming a leader for the team in the next few years and watching how they grow and improve as a team. Maybe these successful years aren't "over"! Maybe they will continue! Either way, I'll be there cheering the Tigers on! I can't wait! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Thank You, God!

Well, the snow I was excited about Friday caused our weekend to be a little different than we expected.  The Area Championship basketball game for our HS boys was rescheduled until tonight.  The Saturday basketball game for our youngest, whose team is in a city league, was canceled.  Worship and classes were canceled for our church family all day yesterday, except that we had a short service and lunch with our Tipton Children's Home church family.  Plans changed, making this week crammed even fuller!

But, even with the few conflicts of basketball games mixed with livestock shows today and tomorrow, I'm still thankful that the snow and ice caused us to slow down a stay home more.  It enabled me to catch up with some things I needed to get done.  It allowed me to get better prepared for this week's events.  It gave me more time with the family since they were in the house even more. So, thank you, God! I needed that!

This morning, two of our boys and my husband are going to get pigs ready for the show that starts at noon.  Goats will also weigh in this morning.  As the youngest was getting ready, he said, "You know? The thing about stock shows is that everyone helps everyone."  Yes, they do! In fact, my husband said that if everyone hadn't pitched in to help him yesterday afternoon and evening, he couldn't have gotten done with all of the pigs that the TCH kids have to show.  What a great thing that everyone helps everyone!  Isn't that the way all of life should be?  Thank you, God, for little things like stock shows, where real-life examples are lived out for us to see and learn from.  Help us to always be willing to help others when they need it - and even when they don't - help us to still reach out to do what we can do to ease their load.

Thank you, God, for this "work" week full of activities and opportunities.  May we use each day to glorify you and to shine our lights brightly for Jesus.  Help us to look for opportunities to share Your Son with others as we go throughout the days.

Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”
Psalm 46:10
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