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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Adding and Taking Away

Yesterday there were several posts on Facebook about the bottled water recall from a plant in Pennsylvania.  The story was about several brands of bottled water from the Niagara company, listing many different brands of water; however, on some of the posts, there was a picture showing a lot of different brands of bottled waters.  In fact, the brands were more common in our area than the ones that were mentioned.  Of course, just as any food recall goes, people were alarmed, and rightfully so.  But, the problem was that many didn't read the brands or didn't read the whole story, or maybe even didn't read the story at all - just simply say the picture and shared. I've been guilty of doing the same thing in the past!

This "adding and taking away" from the story got me to thinking about the Bible.  It seems that there is a lot of "adding and taking away" going on in the world.  It was expected by God because He even warns of this problem in Revelation:

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll. Revelation 22:18-19

Most people would never add or take away from scripture on purpose, yet many do add and take away in the same way that bottled water post was shared.  Things are said or assumed and it's taken at its word - from whomever says it or posts it - without checking it out in the Bible.  It's shared online.  It's repeated over and over until it is known as truth.  Rules are made that aren't scriptural.  Laws are made that shouldn't be made and bound upon people as truth.  But in reality, the truth is neglected because men and women take it upon themselves to go above or beyond what scripture says.  And because of that God's Word is left, waiting for someone to point out the truth.  And then in some cases, people know they are adding or taking away from the Bible, yet justify their actions.

It all comes down to this:  We will each give an account of ourselves to God one day.  

So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Romans 14:12 (specifically talking about judging others in regards to spiritual weakness and strength among brothers and sisters in Christ)

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.  If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward.  If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. 1 Corinthians 3:11-13

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 5:9-10

Judgement Day will be a day that all of the adding and taking away will come to light.  We will each have to answer for what we do and don't do whether we are one of His children or not.  For the unforgiven sinner, there is no hope at that point, but for the Christian, we have hope - the hope to live with Him in eternity.  

So it matters how we live. It matters what we do.  It matters what we add and take away from God's Word.  We must search the scriptures diligently to make sure we are living and teaching and telling truth...the truth that is only found in His Word.  The Bible is the ONLY source of what is true and right.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Women of the Word Conference - Stillwater, OK


My daughter and I had the opportunity to speak at an inaugural event hosted by the ladies of the Stillwater church of Christ.  We were blessed to be a part of the day and pray that those who attended were blessed, encouraged, and uplifted by the messages they heard from us, as well as from the other speakers.
The photo prop spot was a lot of fun!  I'm hoping that we will see some of the "regular" pictures of she and I together that were taken because I failed to get even ONE!  That's kind of sad!!

The elders of the congregation served breakfast and set up the catered lunch. They refilled tea, water, and lemonade as we ate, plus cleaned up the kitchen and decorated areas afterwards. I thought that was one of the neatest things I had seen done at a ladies' event!  They seemed happy to be doing it, too! Thank you to these men!
The decor was a nautical theme of red, white, and blue.  I haven't ever decorated in this style, but have some things coming up that we may be using this theme. So cute!
The addition of sand and seashells was perfect!
The ticking overlays were just to the edge of the table, so that was different, but I really liked it! The big candle represented God and we lit the little ones to symbolize each of our lives.  I liked that!
My daughter did two lessons and did a great job! With a few power point slides and just the lesson in her head, she knew exactly what she wanted to say! Being younger and without as much experience as the rest of us, she did great! I have to write out my whole thing and would never be able to speak for 30 minutes without notes!
Her second lesson was a "Disney Princess Qualities" theme. She used scriptures along with it. I got the idea for her from a friend I met through Facebook.  Lauren's experience as a Disney Cast Member gave this an even more special presentation.  The young moms in the audience can now use her thoughts to go along with the movies when they watch them with their children.

This was a little bead bracelet craft kit that everyone was given. My daughter put hers together, but I didn't have time right before my last lesson.  Maybe she'll do it for me. :)

These were my two lessons.  I love using power point (Keynote) slides and love making them.  It is a great way to study because you visually have to think about the lesson making sense and flowing, but it also allows me to be creative and make it pretty. Those that know me know I like things to go together, so my two lessons had to "match".  I love themes like this!

I want to thank the ladies of the Stillwater church for their planning, prayer, and purpose for this conference.  It was great to be able to be a part of the event.  Thanks to all who attended!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Chronicles of Biscuit - Pros and Cons

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

Decisions and choices are hard for anybody at times, but for a 12 year old, they can be really tough.

Our younger son is at the right age where he can still go to the younger kids' session of Bible camp or to the older kids' session. The whole family will be at the older session, where only a few of us will be at the younger one.  He was planning to go to both.

But then we realized that there was a conflict with the younger session week.  The BIG Texas-Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament (T/O) is scheduled the same week this year!  Biscuit wasn't sure what to do.  We didn't care, since he was already going to camp the next week. If he hadn't been, we certainly would have chosen for him, but since he had the option, we let him chose.

Fast forward a few weeks:  Biscuit's next older brother is going to be a counselor during the younger session. When he came home after a camp meeting, all excited about the week and its activities, Biscuit began to second-guess his decision.  Bigger brother encouraged him to make a list of the pros and cons of going to each, which he did.
(Pros)
After Biscuit made the lists, he still wasn't sure. I told him to go to bed, pray about it, and that God would help him make the best decision.  He wasn't in bed long (not long enough to sleep, but long enough to pray), but soon came and told me he was going to camp.  He had made his decision.
(Cons...*And a not about the 'fights between a family member'....It's not our family he's referring to!)

I wasn't sure the decision would stay the same the next day, the next week, or even especially after the first golf tournament of the summer (which was Tuesday), but it has. He hasn't wavered in his decision.  I'm pretty sure it's because he knows which decision was directed by God and is most important, spiritually.  There are worldly things at camp, no doubt, and he even lists some "bad" that can be found at camp just the same as it can be found anywhere, but there are many things that are at Bible camp that you can't find anywhere else.  You can't grow spiritually the same way anywhere else.  There's something about Bible camp that makes you feel even closer to God than anywhere else.  Biscuit knows that, and he knows the fun that's there, as well.

We would have been proud of Biscuit no matter what decision he made because he thought about the choices and considered the aspects of each.  I actually was a little sad that he wasn't going to do the golf tournament, but that's selfish of me!  I was sad to not be going to the younger camp, too, because I've been a counselor there the past two years!  Conflicts aren't fun!

But we're extremely proud that Biscuit chose the better.  He chose the best. He chose spiritual over worldly.  That's the best decision anyone could ever make.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Psalm 32:8

Friday, June 5, 2015

Happy 17th Birthday, Jacob!

Today was our third child turned 17!  Even he said a few days ago he can't believe he's as old as he is.  In fact, he wasn't sure he wanted to be 17, just because it means 18 is next!  He was pretty content being 16, you know?  I remember being 16.  It was a long time ago, but it sure was a fun year!!  :)

Of all of the years of Jacob growing and maturing, this year may have been one of the biggest.  He has a small business with his cousin mowing lawns that is in its second year, he was recently elected to be FFA President, and made a big decision to quit football after playing for several years.  That decision was thought out and based on several factors, all of which took lots of thought.  It's been great to see his growth and maturity, even if it means he's getting closer and closer to adulthood.  That's what he's supposed to do! That's what we want him to do!

Instead of the typical letter I usually write to each child, I thought I would write different things about Jacob that I remember from him growing up.  Some day he will read this for himself.

1.  Jacob, you were the "baby" for four years and maybe because you were smaller than the older siblings, and because of your very out-going and high spirited personality, I was more protective of you when you were young.  And because I did "baby" you, Tyler has had to suffer being the youngest child!  I saw the error of my ways and came down harder on him! Ha ha!!  

2.  You were so funny and still are.  Thank you for making us laugh! We can't imagine not having you in our lives.  You've got your dad's wit, but not yet his Laffy Taffy jokes! (Thankfully! :) )

3.  You remember me talking to you about self control from age two until age 15.  It was something we talked about often.  I remember your dad saying, "Don't crush his spirit."  He knew that I needed to be careful in how I talked to you.  Thankfully your spirit wasn't crushed, but you learned to have self control - or rather God control - little by little, until you no longer needed those talks often. 

4.  I would tease you in Little League baseball that steam was sometimes coming out of your ears.  That was the cue that you needed to practice what you had learned.  Between those little reminders and a few evil eye glances, you were back in check in no time! I love that you remember those talks and still count them as invaluable lessons.  They were special times we shared together.

5.  In 3rd grade you decided to give up sugar.  You thought it was bothering your attitude.  I had heard of people having trouble with sugar, but honestly never thought about it because it didn't seem to bother me or any of you.  But, because you were stopping it, I stopped it to.  We were off totally for a while and you felt like it helped.  I've always been amazed that you can tell when you need to stop it. Not many kids/young people would do that.  

6.  In Kindergarten you weren't too crazy about having to go to school all day long.  You missed me.  Sometimes you would go to the nurse not feeling well. They would call and I would pick you up.  It didn't take long to realize all you needed was hot chocolate and to dance around in the kitchen to the Jungle Book's, "I Wanna Be Like You-ou-ou!" song!  I love those memories!!!

7. You have a 3rd Child Syndrome.  That's where the older two know what's going on and what's going to happen and the 3rd child has no idea what's going on or what's going to happen or what did happen.  But we love you despite that syndrome!  And, you're getting better, now that you're older (a wee bit better!)

8.  You have developed into a hard worker.  You've amazed us with your small lawn mowing business with your cousin, and we are proud of you for doing a great job!  It's been fun watching you grown in this area because you're having fun while doing it!

9.  I tease that you are the only one who will visit me in the nursing home.  That's because of your hugging, loving, caring, compassionate personality.  You've got a kind, servant heart.  Don't ever change.

10.  Thank you for your example as a young man striving to follow Jesus and be obedient to God's Word.  You are a great example to those around you and don't follow the crowd.  You know what's best for your life and your future.  Thank you for making our job as parents easy.  That's a blessing!  You had good examples from your older siblings and you're being a good example for your younger sibling. 

Your dad and I can't wait to see what God has planned for your future.  We know that you're not positive of the direction your life will go right now because there are many, many possibilities, but we know who does know and He has it all planned for you.  Trust Him to guide you. Listen to Him as you pray and read His Word.  Always let Him direct your steps.  And know that when things get off track, God is there and we are here. We will love you forever and always.  We are thankful that God blessed us with you.

Happy birthday.  We love you very much, Jacob!
Love, MOM

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Star Quest VBS 2015


Our VBS this year was WAY OUT OF THIS WORLD!  This is in the auditorium up on the stage area.  The astronaut is hanging out of the baptistry!  Unfortunately we're having to purchase a new one due to this one leaking, but it made it easier to decorate because my brother-in-law (our preacher) and sister-in-law could put screws into all of it without worrying about the damage!
 I have to admit, that since I'm not a Star Wars or Star Trek fan, this theme didn't excite me. I was excited about teaching the children about the Creation of the stars...God's promise to Abram (Abraham) that his descendants would be like the numerous stars in the sky...and about the Wise Men following the star, but the theme decor didn't sound like "me".

However, I DO like black lights, so when I decided to use a lot of black light effects in my room, I got really excited! At the time, I didn't realize the whole auditorium would be used in blacklight, too!
 I soon realized that it would be one of the students very favorite and probably the most memorable of all.  One of my boys and my nephew found this "rocket" in a room behind the baptistry.  They brought it out and painted it.  It worked out perfectly!
Our class used robots and I told the kids we were playing like we were inside a spaceship, traveling back to the Bible days when the stories actually happened.
My daughter made this great jet packs we saw on the internet!  She did great!  It's 2 two liter bottles, in case you can't tell.
I wanted to make some rockets, but one of my husband's coworkers is a genius in many ways! We only asked if there was some 3-inch PVC pipe and were going to use paper and styrofoam for the cone shape and bottom.  We got home and he had built these! He cut and melted the PVC to form the pointed shape. That's amazing!!  And real wood on the bottom part!  My daughter painted and decorated them, we added some glow in the dark paint, and the rockets stayed there all week!
I only had six students in my class, which was different.  While, of course, I wish there had been more in that age group, it was kind of nice getting to have a round, planet-shaped table and lots of room!
When the black lights were on, the room was beautiful! Stars glowing all around!  You can't really see it....
Small details in the Bible are often overlooked by most of the "Christian" world.  At Christmas, we see and hear of the 3 Wise Men, yet the Bible doesn't say how many men went to the HOUSE, not manger.  There were three gifts, but we don't know how many....and they didn't arrive the night Jesus was born.  He was older.  It was a little scary that my almost 17 year old son heard me teach that lesson and came out saying he had never heard it before!  I am sure I've said it, but he probably didn't remember it.  That means, as a parent...as parents, we/I must REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT!  


Monday, June 1, 2015

Summertime!

It's summer vacation time! We just finished VBS last Thursday (I'll post about them this week.) and are looking forward to a still busy, but not crazy busy summer.  Well....actually, for the boys and I.  Joe will be still crazy busy, maybe even more so.  But now we can help him with those things!

What are you doing this summer? Are you getting some relaxation time? Are you refocusing on the important things?  Taking a break from some important things?

I remember years ago I didn't like summer time. It seemed that while so many were on vacation and enjoying the summer, that the church work kind of slowed down, too.  I didn't like it.  But now I do like it.  I see that it's okay to take a break and refocus - while still doing work for the Lord - but then gear back up on certain things when school starts back in August.  The problem is when we totally forget about God, Jesus, and the work of the church in the summer.  That's when there would be a problem.

Taking more time be together as a family is important in the summer, but this past Saturday, we went as a family to help out another family who had tornado damage a few weeks ago. During the school year - and even for many Saturdays in the summer, we wouldn't have had that time.  We were so thankful to be able to help them because they needed help.  We wanted to help.  And my boys will be able to help their dad with things at his work because they'll have more time to do so because it's summer.  So in a way, summer time makes us able to help others more.  That's a good thing!  No...that's a GREAT thing!

There is an illustration that I always think about when it comes to serving the Lord.  We can rank our priorities and try to put God/Jesus, the church, spouse, family, work, service,  in order of importance, but sometimes those rankings get out of whack.  What is BEST is if you put God/Jesus in the CENTER and build out from that.  God/Jesus is in the center of the church.  God/Jesus is in the center of your marriage, your job, your family, your service.  That's when everything will be lined up where God wants it to be.  If you rank things, He may be left out of something.  He wants to be a part of everything.  Make Him part of everything this summer.  And have a great one!
 
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