Yesterday we attended the funeral of a 94 year old woman. She and her husband would have celebrated their SEVENTIETH ANNIVERSARY in March! What an inspiration they have been to us and to so many others who knew them!
Every Sunday morning she was feeling well, this woman's husband would get up towards the end of Bible class and go and get her for worship. He was always so attentive to her - holding her purse and holding her arm. He, himself, uses a cane. They were a sweet, sweet couple and a wonderful example of faithfulness to Christ, His church, and to having a marriage that glorified God.
Joe's brother is our preacher, and he read Proverbs 31 at her service, which rightly described this sweet lady. Interestingly, last night in my ladies' Bible class, I was finishing up a series of lessons on marriage and we also read Proverbs 31. I hope you'll take the time to read it, too.
Females today talk about "goals". The life we celebrated yesterday was one of a woman who met her goals- the greatest of which is her eternal home. As Christian women, we too should strive to have those same goals. Those goals are the very best goals we could ever, ever have. No other goals compete.
Yesterday the sermon was about being happy through giving. I really liked this quote: "You can be giving without loving, but you can't be loving without giving."
God gave us His Son as a sacrificial gift for the sin of mankind. In our giving, if it's not sacrificial, what are we really giving? Unless it costs me something - time, money, talents, energy, etc. - I'm not truly giving in the way God wants me to give.
It's pretty easy to throw money at a problem or need if I have plenty of money. The sacrifice comes when I don't have the money. It's pretty easy to volunteer my time to something if I have plenty of time to spare, but if I give up my much-needed time and take it away from something, giving it towards someone or something else, then I am giving it sacrificially.
Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you. Deuteronomy 16:17
There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:24-25
And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44
Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return. Luke 6:38
Not only must we give sacrificially, but we should also give with a pure heart and with the right motives. Love is the motive that should be the cause of all of our giving. Without love, our motives will never be pure. When we give of ourselves with love, God will bless us. We serve Him because we love Him...not out of duty, but of love. That's the best gift we can give Him. That is what sacrificial giving is all about.
I've mentioned that I was having computer problems. BIG COMPUTER PROBLEMS. Since MARCH.
I knew the computer was full...mostly with pictures. Trying to move the pictures over to an external drive helped, but even then, the problem persisted. I tried all kinds of things making sure to save the pictures at least in one spot. Albums to Facebook, Shutterfly, Carbonite and the other external thing just kept part of them saved, but I could never get all of them moved for some reason. The computer was slow and slower, then finally, basically couldn't work at all. The little spinning ball kept spinning and spinning and spinning. I was desperate because writing out my ladies' Bible class lessons is hard to do without a computer.
My husband had said back in the spring that I could get a new one, but that seemed wasteful at the time, thinking I could surely make the other one work better eventually. Well, after eight months, I decided I needed to just get one. The before "Black Friday" sales helped save some money and the new computer was ordered. It was so nice to be able to go to wherever I needed to go and for the pages app to load immediately. The last time I had tried to print out something on pages on the old computer, it took a day and a half!!! It was crazy!!
So, all was going along well until last week. The NEW computer was acting slow. I knew that our internet could just be slow at times, especially during peak times of usage in our rural area, but this was different. I finally just decided to call about it. The service representative had me run a diagnostic test and then had me repeat it immediately afterwards. On the repeat, the time of the test was so quick, it was amazing! I asked what she did so quickly that made such a difference. She said, "Oh, I just renewed your connection." Wow!! How did something that took only a few seconds make such a huge difference? Because the other connection was weak.
In our spiritual lives it's possible that we have a weak connection. It's possible we need to renew our connection to God, to Jesus, and to the church. The old saying goes, "If you feel far from God, guess who moved?". God doesn't move. Jesus doesn't move. It's WE who move. It's ME. It's YOU. You and I have the ability to grow closer to Him and grow in our faith or we move away from Him and our faith grows weak. Now, it may not be as quick of a fix as my internet connection - it may take some time - but oftentimes it's just a simple thing that will help. Pray more. Study the Word more. Worship more. Assemble with the saints more. Think of others more. Simple things, yet often tough to do at times of weak connection.
Probably all of us have weak connections in our lives at one time or another. If not spiritually, maybe it's with our relationships or our commitment to our families or our work ethic. We have to reconnect....renew the connection....work at it and make it stronger. But as a Christian, nothing we do has to be done alone. God is there with us. Jesus is with us. The Holy Spirit lives within us to help us in our weakness. HE is the renewing factor of the poor connection!
Maybe I've written about this before. It seems like it. But maybe that's because it's what I usually need myself so often, that it is just where my mind tends to go. I'm not sure I could think about it too often because when I'm thinking about it, it means I'm working on it. Maybe you are, too.
Renewing your connection begins right now!
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. John 14:15-17
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. Romans 8:5
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. Romans 8:14
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8:26-27
The Chronicles of Biscuit: Stories about our youngest son whose nickname is Biscuit.
These stories don't happen quite as often now, so it's kind of a treat to be writing a "Biscuit" story now that he's a teenager! Actually, this happened just a few days before he turned 13. I still like these stories. I hope I'll write a few more of them before he's grown. Something tells me that I will. :)
I was trying to get the yard and house straightened up for Biscuit's 13th birthday party. It was after school one day. Biscuit was eating a snack, then I told him to straighten up his room and come outside to help me gather up the fall decorations and put out Christmas decorations.
There wasn't much outside, so it didn't end up taking as long as I thought it would. I came into the house and hollered at Biscuit. "I finished outside, so instead of doing that when you're done with your room, just unload the dishwasher." I heard back from him, "Okay!" I paused a minute, waiting for the "But I wanted to help you outside." It didn't come!
I was a little bit shocked Biscuit didn't say anything about not getting to go outside and work, since he had said earlier he wanted to play outside. I hollered back, "Thank you for saying okay! I thought you would complain about it!" He hollered back, "I'm complaining on the inside!" Ha ha! I responded, "Well, that's a good start!"
The Bible tells us to do everything "without grumbling or complaining" in Philippians 2:14-16, which is that passage from which this blog is named. "Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life." For most of us, we continue to fail in this area. For Biscuit - or me, for that matter - to ONLY complain on the inside would be a big start in the right direction. For me not to voice my complaints, but only to think them would be huge! Should we even think them? No, we shouldn't, but a big step in the right direction is to not open our mouths with complaining, but to just keep it to ourselves. After mastering that goal, then we can move on to allowing God's Spirit to help us control our thoughts. Transforming into the likeness of Christ is growing more and more mature each and every day. It's not automatic. It takes time to become more like Him. We will never reach perfection as He was, but we can become more like Him each day.
How about you? Can you keep your complaining on the inside? Would it be a big accomplishment for you? Let's work on it together!
Tyler, the youngest, our "baby", Biscuit....is a TEENAGER today!!! How exciting for him, even though it makes me feel a little strange. Strange because his 13 year old life has just zoomed by so fast!
It was great that Tyler's two oldest siblings were able to be home from college for his party the night before. Some day that may not be possible, but we are thankful that this time they could.
Decorating for Tyler's birthday has always been a challenge because his party decorations compete with the Christmas decorations. He doesn't seem to mind. I tried to talk him into a mustache party, but he is not a fan of facial hair, so he said no! :) After OU won last Saturday, he decided he wanted an OU party. I decided since he was into bow ties these days that the theme could have some bow ties mixed in. It was cute and he liked it!
Tyler wanted his Uncle Ken to make the meat for his party, but he was busy with another food event. Zachary volunteered to be the meat cook. Tyler wanted pulled pork, ham, and ribs plus twice baked potatoes, green beans and rolls. Since Zachary did so much of the work, we also made baked beans to treat him.
It was great! Zachary did a super job!!
It's so much fun to have so many family members to share these special times with for our kids. I should have gotten pictures with grandparents each time like I do with the cousins!
The cake was simple and if you cannot tell, that thing on the bottom left is a bow tie!
You light up our lives. We are blessed to have you as a son and as a member of this family. When I think back on this past year, I see maturity. I know that you are striving to be the very best person on the inside, as well as on the outside, and I admire and thank you for that.
This is the year you began calling me my very first nickname! I have to document that because if you ever try to forget, I won't let you! Ha ha! Have that special name given by you was very special. I always wanted a nickname! Who knew it would be "awai" or "tender"???!!! Ha ha!
Tyler, we can't wait to see what God has planned for your life. We know that he will use you in His Kingdom to help fulfill his plans. We pray that you will always rely on Him, that you will allow Him to direct your path and guide your steps.
You have a special bond with each of your siblings. You always will. Each one of them is special to you for different reasons. My prayer is that you all will always be close.
Being the baby of the family has its perks and its negative side. In some ways we let you off easy, but in other ways we may be harder on you. We pray that you always know that what we do or don't do is only because of what we think is truly best for you. We see your potential more than you do and know that you are capable of things than we allow you to be or that you sometimes want to be. But that's okay.
Keep laughing. Keep having fun. Keep making others laugh. Keep your fun imagination. Keep growing in wisdom. Continue to grow in the Lord.
We pray that you grow up and continue to be a faithful servant of God. Thank you for the example you show to others. Never forget the influence that you have wherever you go.
Lauren called a few weeks ago and asked if I could go to Oklahoma City on Monday the 30th. She had a surprise for me.
I had no idea what we were going to do, but figured it was a show of some kind.
I started to be nosey - checking out Christmas events in the Metro, but didn't want to spoil the surprise. I told my husband that, and he said I probably wouldn't be able to find it anyway. Hmmmm....I wondered what it could be!
Lauren asked me to meet her st Bricktown. We ate at Spaghetti Warehouse (which, by the way, has a gluten free Spaghetti Alfredo!).
We ate then drove around looking at Christmas lights downtown and around Automobile Alley.
As we drove past a painting studio, I commented about it, not knowing that was the surprise!
We parked and walked across the street - me still not realizing what we were doing! 😂
What a fun new get we had pairing this Grinch themed canvas!! It's Lauren's favorite Christmas movie (top of all movies), so it was really fun getting to do this with her!
Just the fact she planned this special evening for the two of us meant a lot to me.
It's hard to spend a lot of one on one time together these days. We're both busy and in different places.
It was very special, and I'll remember it always.
Being downtown in OKC is fun, but at Christmas time, it's even better!
We just took pictures from the car since it was so cold, but it was beautiful!