Monday, August 31, 2009

Praise Continually

In May 2004, my first grandchild was born! He was a miracle indeed - he is the son of my only daughter Kellie who is a cancer survivor. I praise the Lord each day for His love, grace and mercy, and for all of my precious children, and now grandchildren. Today's post is the devotion I prepared for Kellie - Mark is starting kindergarten this week!

Kellie’s Baby Shower
May 22, 2004
For Mark David Bybee
Born: 5/13/2004 at 2:27 PM
4 lbs. 1 oz, 16 inches
Born 6.3 weeks early

As I prayed and pondered what I might say today, the Lord led me to Psalm 71:6-7 “By thee have I been holden up from the womb; thou art he that took me out of my mother’s bowels; my praise shall be continually of thee. I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge.”

As I read these verses, I thought of your life Kellie and how God has held you up. He did finally take you from my womb to be born 12 days late – so that you could be my very special birthday gift; then years later when He carried us through your cancer and allowed you to be healthy and cured, God was our strong refuge and you were indeed a wonder to many.

I remember Dr. Young always commenting how calm and peaceful we seemed compared with her other patients. I thought of how the nurses wondered because of your seemingly painless labor. Now Kellie, we have precious little Mark. Verse 1 in this Psalm says, “In thee O Lord do I put my trust, let me never be put to confusion.” When you called because you were afraid that your baby would be born pre-maturely we could not understand why. I watched then as my baby feared for her own baby. But, we soon learned that God’s timing was perfect.

First, Mark weighed 4 lbs. 1 oz though the doctors speculated only 3 pounds. I prayed that he would weigh at least 4 pounds, and God answered that prayer!
Secondly, after Mark was born I stood there as the doctor said to the nurse, “he knew it was time to be born.” When I asked what he meant, he (the doctor) explained to me how the umbilical cord was all coiled, like a spiral…if he had waited longer to be born, his oxygen could have been cut off that may have resulted in a still birth.
Thirdly, Mark never needed oxygen or a respirator, though he was over 6 weeks early! He was able to breathe on his own right away.

Yes, Mr. Mark is already a wonder to the many nurses and doctors that are caring for him…because though he is so tiny and early – he is strong and feisty – and a little stubborn!
§ He kicks the nurses when they do things he doesn’t like
§ He pulled out his feeding tube because he didn’t like it
§ He pulled off his sunglasses while under the “bili light” once he discovered how to do it – the nurse could not keep them on!
§ He complains when they lay him in a position he doesn’t like or when they wrap him up so that he can’t move his arms.

Kellie, because of the testimony you already hold; Psalm 71:5 “For thou art my hope; O Lord God; thou art my trust from my youth.” I believe that you and Mark are “as a wonder to many.” And now you have a job to do... Raise Mark (and Lord willing future children) to the Glory of God.
I have one key thought for you to remember. Psalm 71:8, “Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day.” “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man and able also to bridle the whole body.” (James 3:2) The key is to let your mouth be continually praising and honoring the Lord. If you follow that one thought it will help you in every aspect as a mother.

Here’s why I believe this is true:
Luke 6:45-46 says, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil; for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” If you will indeed “let” your mouth be filled with praise – it would have to be because you have an abundance in your heart. The abundance of good in your heart will lead you to do what God says.

Acts 4:20, “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Guard what you see and hear, they will fill your heart.

Kellie, raise Mark with this Psalm in mind. You will find this cycle repeating itself throughout your life.

1. Purpose – you must determine to trust God
2. Predicament – difficult situations will arise
3. Prayer – when they do, pray and then trust God
4. Praise – Remember to Praise the Lord – He’s done it before – He’ll do it again!


Thou which hast shewed me great and sore troubles (cancer) shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth. Thou shalt increase my greatness, (because now you are raising a next generation) and comfort me on every side.

Kellie, follow God’s plan…”My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long...”
There is Victory!
I love you,

Mom.

Ladies, I believe these truths are for every mother raising children. It is my prayer that this will be of help and a blessing to all of you. I have prayed for you today!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Miracles do Happen

Several years ago, during the early 90’s, there was a recession. At that time, my husband had just sold his design/build firm because he had surrendered to God’s call to the ministry. He was not on staff for any church, so he was doing freelance work for various churches—in any case we did not have a steady income, but God was certainly providing. Our daughter had just completed her 18 months of chemo-therapy, the lease on our car was up, and we had sold our home with no gain. We moved into a nice home, and one of my brothers had a car that he was not using—so we were driving what my kids dubbed “the clown car.” They called it the clown car because it was compact sized, and we were a family of six...so they imagined people watching this little vehicle pull up and then see all six of us dismounting, comical, but probably embarrassing for the kids.

My husband and I started praying for a van. We were looking and looking and praying and praying and we finally found one—we thought. We went to a dealership that would work with us, and ended up getting a very nice car—not the van we had been praying for. Funny thing about that car—though it was very nice, we never felt comfortable driving it—we didn’t have a peace because we knew it wasn’t God’s will for us to have that car—we let the dealer talk us into getting something other than what we really wanted or needed.

We had the car for a couple of days when we got a call from a pastor friend for whom my husband had completed some work. Their church was raising the money to pay off the balance that was owed to my husband, but they had not paid the balance in full; so he was wondering if we would consider a trade. You see the pastor’s van had been stolen, so they purchased a new one—and now the stolen vehicle was recovered; he was wondering if we would be willing to accept the van in exchange for the work he had done. We would have to make a few monthly payments, but then the van would be ours free and clear. Now, we really felt bad that we had rushed into getting the car, because here was a van, but since we bought the car we couldn’t afford both monthly payments. We received counsel from our pastor to accept the van by faith, and we prayed that somehow God would provide the money for us. Well, here is the miraculous part (as if the van wasn’t miracle enough); we got a phone call from the car dealership because “for some reason they had us fill out all the wrong paper work, so we actually had no contract with them.” After the man told me that, I asked him if that meant I could just give them the car back, and as much as he wanted to say no, he confirmed that “yes, we could just give them the car back because we were not bound by any contract!” Can you believe it? Miracles do happen! God answered all of our prayers; He gave us a second chance after we rushed out to get the car and He provided the van we had been praying for. Encouraging to hear isn’t it?

“Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul.” One area that I believe is very important, yet often pushed aside is that of sharing with others the things that God has done for us individually. I just told you a true story about something that happened to me, and I am encouraged just remembering all that happened. When God answers your prayers, tell others! It will encourage them to pray. I believe that if every wife would learn to share with her husband how the Lord spoke to her soul in each message that is preached there would be a closer relationship between them. If during family devotions your husband says something that speaks to your heart, you should let him know, he would be encouraged. If you open up with a friend and share something God gave you during your own personal devotion, your friendship would grow closer. You could also encourage your friend to read her Bible more if she sees how it helped you. What better way to praise the Lord than by showing others what wonderful things He has done for you. Teach your children to pray and believe God by declaring what He has done for you. When someone comes to you with a problem or a need, encourage them by declaring what God has done for you in a similar circumstance; how He has helped you. If you tell others, they can encourage yet others with your story. “Praise Him for his mighty acts; praise Him according to his excellent greatness.” “Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.”

Have a wonderful day today!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Some Things I've Learned

When I was a young mother back in the day… I diligently sought the Bible to see what God wanted me to do so that I could raise my children the right way. That quest led me to places I never thought would make a difference in the lives of my children, but now that I am not a “young mother,” and my children are grown, there are some things I have noticed that I believe the Lord showed me to help me with regard to raising my own children. I do not claim that I am by any means an expert in raising children, or that I was a perfect mother; but I have learned a few things that I would like to share with you. These are notes from a devotion I gave to "my girls" upon the birth of one of my grandsons - it is my prayer that it will be of help and a blessing to you.

When I was first became a Christian and started reading my Bible, I earnestly believed that the Bible was like a cookbook. I thought I could look up a subject and find a complete recipe for the answers I was seeking. I remember looking in my Bible and trying to find information about child rearing. In my search, the Lord led me to Deuteronomy 22:5 which states that it is an abomination to God for men and woman to wear the same clothing. What in the world does that have to do with rearing children?!? Through the years, I have watched those that came to the conclusion that it had nothing to do with it, and what I have found is that those that will not give up something that is an abomination to God will probably not have children that turn out for God.

Secondly, the Bible says, “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” Proverbs 19:21

I have learned that there are a lot of ideas and philosophies that people, books, and doctors have about rearing children, but the truest way to do things right is to seek the Lord and follow His leading. Your love for God, your obedience to God, and your willingness to follow Him will instill the qualities in your children that God wants for them in order for them to fulfill His will for their lives. We can go crazy trying to follow books about rearing children, but the greatest success will come when you follow the Bible. The only time the word success appears in the Bible is found in Joshua 1:8
“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

When you don’t know what to do to comfort your child, pray for wisdom and God will give you an answer, whether it be through receiving counsel from your mom, or from a godly counselor, or by giving you an idea that he places on your heart. Don’t allow a heathen psychologist, or doctor try to tell you how to train your child. I believe in following the doctor’s orders regarding health issues and medicines…but not in philosophy. When God gives you children, I believe that He gives you insight to know your children and how to do what is best for them. The key is to seek Him and then listen to Him and obey His leading.

When Dr. Spock wrote his book on rearing children, he set this nation in a tailspin that I believe has led to a downward trend in parenting. The reason his book made such a big difference, is because women went against the Bible’s teachings and started following a man’s ideas. He did write a second book, apologizing for being wrong in his first book, but oops! too late - that generation was already reared. When people write books about children rearing, they have no way to guarantee success because they are not certain that everything they are teaching is absolute truth; but the Bible is truth! Remember that God is our Creator - whose instructions and directions can be better than our Maker?

Have a wonderful day! I love you ladies and earnestly pray that The Tender Touch will be a blessing to you.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

We Should Tell Everybody About This

Many years ago when my children were all still quite young I recall an incident that happened one evening as we were on our way home from church. At that time we lived about 25 miles away from church, so especially on Wednesday evenings it seemed so late by the time we got home. On this particular evening – we ran out of gas! We were on the freeway, and I might add in not the best part of town. At that time, people didn’t carry cell phones – car phones were for James Bond, or in the movies – not something your every day family would own. Fortunately we were not too terribly far from an exit where there was a gas station. My husband had to leave our family in the car while he walked to the gas station. When my husband left we prayed for his safety and then waited. I guess I didn’t realize how terrified my oldest son was until my husband safely returned and my son said, “Wow, we should tell everybody about this – they would get saved!” In other words, he thought it was such a tremendous miracle that his dad returned safely that if we told other people about it, they would want to put their trust in God for their souls! Now, as an adult I did not think it was a miracle, it was what I expected; but for my son I can only imagine what he thought as he saw his father walk in the darkness along the freeway; apparently he thought there was no way his father was going to be able to come back without the help of our Heavenly Father. You know what? He was right, and I was just taking God for granted…I didn’t see it is a miracle because I took for granted all that God does for us.

Everyday we witness miracles that we take for granted because God is so faithful. We expect the sun to rise and set – and not only that, but at the appointed times. Today, as you breathe without giving it a thought, as you enjoy the beauty of the sky, the waters, the clouds, and the various plants and flowers we see – why not remember our Heavenly Father that created all of it…for us. In creation God got everything ready for us and then put man on the earth and gave him dominion over all the creatures, and all the trees, plants, and herbs for man as well. We should all take the time to look around at all that God has given us and say as my son did those many years ago, “Wow, we should tell people about this – they would get saved!” Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us–ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. Psalm 40:5

Have a wonderful day today ladies. I love you.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Man Sees the Outside

When I was a little girl I had the terrible misfortune of being involved in a car accident – actually I was involved in auto accidents twice! The first one seemed to be so minor that I didn’t think I had any injury at all – until as an adult I had back problems and was questioned by doctors if I had ever been involved in an accident. The accident I am recalling today happened when I was 6 years old. My mother was driving – a man ran a light and side-swiped our vehicle. My face hit against the dash board, and I had to get stitches on my face – on the left side just below my lower lip. A few years later, when I was 9 years old I started having problems in the area where I had been stitched; apparently there was scar tissue growing that not only made my face look different, it was rubbing against my teeth and it became a problem to eat. As a result of the problem I had to have surgery to remove the scar tissue, and they did a kind of plastic surgery so that the scar would not be visible. I remember being frightened when I went to the hospital. At that time they did not allow parents to stay with their children as they do now – so when I was admitted to the hospital, my parents had to leave me there!

I recall that I was especially frightened when I met a little girl that seemed to be the sweetheart of the all the nurses – her face was terribly disfigured because she was a burn victim! I am sorry to say that when I first saw her, there was no doubt that she knew I was afraid of her – and what is even sadder is that she seemed to be accustomed to people reacting to her in that way. During my 3-day stay in the hospital I was able to get to know this little girl and realized that she was not what she appeared – she was a normal little girl, and a sweet one at that. It was no wonder that she was the hospital sweetheart – she was kind and was genuinely friendly to all the children in the hospital. I had misjudged her by her looks – because as the Bible states, “…for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” I Samuel 16:7

I Peter 3:3, 4 teaches us about true beauty, “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart…” This passage of Scripture is teaching us that true beauty is not achieved by our outward appearance, but by who we are on the inside. Now, I don’t believe that means that we should not care about how we look on the outside, we should do what we can to look our best because what we do on the outside is a reflection of who we are on the inside. Psalm 45:13 proves that, “The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.”

Now, I believe there is a lesson that we can all learn from this experience.

1. People are not what they seem, we can only see what is on the outside – so don’t judge them.

2. Realizing that even though we know we shouldn’t judge people by what they look like on the outside, people still do – so they will judge you by how you look.

3. Remember that we are here to bring glory to God – just as the King’s daughter – she was all glorious within…it showed all the way to what she wore.

4. God knows your heart – you can’t lie to Him; so keep your heart right. We may not all possess what some would consider natural beauty - we can all be beautiful by who we are in our hearts.

It is my prayer that I will of help and a blessing to you today. I love you ladies - have a wonderful day.

His Banner Over Me Was Love

Revelation 19:9, “And he saith unto me, Write Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb…” Solomon 2:4 says, “He brought me to banqueting house…” (this is equivalent to being called to the marriage supper of the Lamb) “…and His banner over me was love.” A banner is like a flag that is lifted up or held high to stand for something. It is conspicuous or easily seen. To be called to the banquet is a blessing, but this goes further, it is saying, “I want everyone to know that you have been called and you are here because I (God) love you.

To be invited to a banquet during the time that this was written went like this…
1. A servant would be sent to invite you- Christian, we are God’s servants and we are instructed to go; to invite others to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
2. Only those that receive the invitation and accept it can come. Only those that receive Christ as their Saviour can go the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Heaven)
3. After they accept the invitation, the servant was to inform the guest that their presence would be looked for.

Going to Heaven is that easy- God loves you and wants you to be there for eternity, but only those granted righteousness can go. To be granted that righteousness, you need to place your complete trust for salvation (eternal life in Heaven) in Christ and ask His forgiveness; for most of you this is very elementary, but I would like to look at the statement in Song of Solomon 2:4, “…his banner over me was love.” We have all heard John 3:16, we know that God loved us enough to send His only begotten Son to pay our sin debt by dying for our sins on the cross. God’s love for us is very clearly evident – He made it very conspicuous. Our love also should be conspicuous!


Create a banner (a standard of living) that says you love your family by following God's example.

1. Be committed to meet the needs of your loved ones. Love is a commitment to meet needs- by sacrifice and giving. The Lord did, and His banner over me is love. Your love for the Lord and the people He died to save should stand out! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 "And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment." I John 3:23
2. Put others before yourself. (Make sure you fulfill your responsibilities, if it means missing a meal, staying up late, etc.) The people in your life have different needs- strive to meet their needs and make your love for them conspicuous! “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” I John 3:36
3. Exercise Faith – though we have never seen God, the proof that God is real is evidenced (remember as a banner)by our love for others – “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” I John 4:12

Make sure your loved ones KNOW how much you love them by your actions - words cannot express what your actions prove. Isn't it wonderful to know how much our Saviour loves us? Have a wonderful day ladies...I love you.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Turn You and Take Your Journey

As Christians, we are commanded to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior. The thing about growing is that it includes change, movement, and often pain. When babies get teeth, they have a multitude of symptoms. Youths suffer through “growing pains.” And we, as Christians, if we are growing, must also endure difficulties as we grow. The biggest difference between our growing pains and those that children and youths incur is that we can choose not to grow. When things become too difficult we can, as many Christians do, reject growing and just find a comfort zone and stay there. That’s why there are so many more folks at church on Sunday mornings than on Sunday nights, its why churches all over America have just a small percentage of folks that go soul winning; its why pastors drop standards that once were held even in the public school system. If you can imagine that not that long ago things that many churches allow, even embrace, were against public school rules in the 70’s! The saying may be, “You’ve come along way, Baby,” but in truth, it’s a long way down or backwards.

(Deuteronomy 1:6-7, says, “[6] The LORD our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount:
[7] Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto all the places nigh thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, and in the vale, and in the south, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates.”) When we get saved, we turn from unbelief to belief; we turn from works to grace; we turn from hell to heaven. So you could say that when we get saved, we have a change of direction or turn and begin our journey as born again believers, as children of God; as Christians. As such we are commanded to grow in grace, we should continue to take steps upward towards becoming Christlike. But sometimes we become stagnant. We reach a plateau and then we kind of just stop and take in the view. If we are not careful that kind of sight seeing may lead us to look at where we came from instead of to where we are headed

Today, I would like us to take a look at what caused these obstacles in the children of Israel and then how to overcome them.
1. Loneliness- Deuteronomy 1:9, 12- Being an independent, fundamental Christian may at times feel very lonely. You may feel alone, because everybody else (it seems)does things the Holy Spirit has convinced you that God hates.
2. Discouragement- Deuteronomy 1:28- The task at hand (reaching the lost) feels enormous and at times overwhelming, now add loneliness on top of that and one can easily feel discouraged.
3. Fear- Deuteronomy 1:29- Often times, we become afraid- afraid that we will lose our friends, afraid that we won’t accomplish our goals, afraid that we are on our own, or afraid that we’ll be viewed as weird.

Now if you will notice, all of these hindrances of growth are caused by stopping and looking around and back, indicating a lack of faith. God has an answer for these hindrances to growth. After the children of Israel and Moses, their leader, had experienced loneliness, discouragement, and fear- in their case, regarding possessing the promised land - here is the formula that can help prevent hindrances to your growth.

1. Deuteronomy 4:9, “Take heed to thyself diligently, lest thou forget…” Christians don’t grow and turn back to the world, because they forget what God has done for them.
2. Deuteronomy 4:15-16, “Take good heed unto yourselves lest ye corrupt yourselves.” People become careless about what they expose themselves to and become corrupted by wrong influences.
3. Deuteronomy 4:23, “Take heed unto yourself lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord thy God which He made with you.” Be careful to remember the promises and conditions of the promises that God gave you.

If we neglect to take heed as instructed it will lead to idolatry or “bowing down” to something you can see rather than following the Lord by faith.

So when you are trying to accomplish something for God and you think you’re alone- take heed, remember God is with you.

And when you want to bow down to discouragement, you are allowing yourself to be corrupted by this world…- take heed.

And when you want to bow down to fear, remember God’s promises to you. "Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else. Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever." Deuteronomy 4:39, 40

So Christian, don't just stand there... “Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount… turn you and take your journey…”

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Trophies

“Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Psalm 127:3. You know, that is one of those common verses of Scripture, the kind that people know so well they almost skim over it as they read it. As I began to pray and ask the Lord about this devotion; it became very evident to me that this is the verse God wanted me to use. As I ponder back on when my children were small and how quickly the time passed in raising them; I realize just how precious the time we have with our children truly is.

So often today women can’t stand "just staying home with the kids;" “they’ll go stir crazy” or they just can’t stand being cooped up all day…or some will say things like “this kid is driving me nuts” or other things that imply they don’t want to be with their children. There are those who don’t feel staying at home with their children is as rewarding as earning their way and place in the world. The Bible teaches us that our children are very special, not only to us, but to God.

1. They are really God’s. A heritage is property that is inherited. We inherit our children from God. He gives them to us. We are stewards of God’s children. That’s why it’s not up to us to decide how to raise our children; it’s up to us to find out how God wants us to raise His children.

2. Children are a reward. The second part of Psalm 127:3 states, "the fruit of the womb is his reward." Reward means re: back (to give back) ward: one you guard. So it means that you give back to God the children He has placed in your care. I like to think of it in this way: God gave me my children to raise for His glory and service.

When we talk about earning a reward for something, I think of a Trophy. My children have all won trophies for specific achievements in their sporting fields. I believe that our children should be trophies for God’s glory.

Imagine the construction of a trophy, and let's parallel that with raising children.

1. It is set on a strong and sturdy foundation. Psalm 127:1 “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it; except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” Jesus, the Word of God should be the foundation for our lives.

2. Each portion of a trophy is set erect. Psalm 127:4 “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.” Every step and stage of our children’s’ lives should be aimed at Jesus.

3. A trophy clearly shows what it is representing. Psalm 127:5 "Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” Our children should stand for Christ and not be ashamed. Our lives and the lives of our children should represent Christ.

Remember these three things about our children as God’s trophies.
1. They must be trained from the Word of God
2. They must be continually directed to the Word of God, to Jesus.
3. They will not be ashamed to take a stand for God.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Redeem the Time

I would like today for you to take a little walk with me down memory lane. The year was 1975 in January. It was late in the evening, and I was beginning the second semester of my senior year in school. I recall very clearly that I was on my bed, pondering my life. It dawned on me that I would soon be leaving my childhood days and approaching the reality of the adult world. I remember thinking to myself, “Okay, in a few months I will graduate- what do I want to do with my life? I began to take my school work more seriously. I was transitioning myself from child to adult. In March 1975, I was out with friends and saw my husband. I had met him during my sophomore year, but that was it. Now I was a senior, and he had already graduated. We did not talk at all that evening, we simply exchanged glances. I knew when I left that I was interested in this guy. The following day when I told my best friend that I sure thought that David Azzarello was cute, she told me that her brother asked if he could give my phone number to his friend that wanted to call me, one David Azzarello. On March 22, 1975, we went on our first date. I was 17, and he was 18. On July 28, 1978, my husband finally proposed to me, and on October 14, 1978, we were married. You know, now we have been married for over 30 years, our children are all married and we have 11 grandchildren!

The Bible tells us in Psalms 90:9 that we spend our days as a tale that is told, “For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.” Do you realize that the memories I just shared with you cover a period of over 34 years! Yet now- they are my memories- a tale that is told. Psalm 89:47-48says, “Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain? What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.”

Our time really is short and every one of us (if the Lord tarries) will see death. I know that sounds so morbid, but I believe it is important that we take the time to realize just how precious our time is so that perhaps we will be more careful about the way we use our time as well as the way we treat those we love.

Psalm 90:12 says, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

This day, this time in your life will never return. I will never hold my children and carry them because they are too tired to walk. I’ll probably not take them by the hand anymore, and of course now others are caring for and comforting my sons and daughter when they are ill. For some of you, with many young children, you may want to rush through this time. I hear women say, “I can’t wait until they can do this on their own.” Listen; enjoy every moment and every stage with your children. It goes by so fast. When I first got saved, I was 27 with four children, all ages five and under yet it seems like yesterday.

Ephesians 5:14-16 says, “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Redeeming the time- to redeem means to rescue, deliver, free, protect, safeguard, preserve, conserve

Ladies, your time is invaluable. Each moment of your time can never be retrieved, once it is gone, you will never get it back. Use your time wisely!

Teach us to number our days:
How many days will you have with your children? If they live in your home until they are 18 that is approximately:
6570 days
(2210) less school days
leaves 4360 days
if child is five 1825 have alread past
which means you have 2535 days left if child is five years old!

That really isn’t very much time when you think about it, and once they are grown, you will never have the opportunity to do the things you think of doing now while they are young. Don’t put your kids off, you won’t have them forever.

Remember you must redeem your time.

1. Look at your average schedule. Are you wasting time? Do you waste time and then become exasperated when your children misbehave when you are trying to rush and catch up? Remember to: protect, free, safeguard, preserve, and conserve your time, so that you can do what is important and not a waste of time.
2. Prioritize the things that need to be done and what should take your time.
a. What has to be done?
b. How much time will that take?
c. How much time is left for other things?

If you know that you will waste time doing something, wait until the other stuff is done and the kids are down for a nap. This way you get things done, spend time with your kids, and still have time for what you want to do.
• Make sure the priorities you set are in the proper order
• Organize your errands. Don’t wander aimlessly going from place to place. Consider where you must go, what you must do and as often as possible eliminate the extra trips out to the grocery store. Lack of planning in that area takes time and money, because normally, if you go to the store for only one item, you'll end up buying more.
• Make sure that your husband gets undivided attention from you often. You don’t want him to be a stranger to you when the kids are gone. You were after all created to be a help meet for your husband. Realize that the time you have to do anything is now. Yesterday is gone; you have no assurance of tomorrow. You only have now.
• Revelation 1:3 says "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand." Seek God’s Word to set your priorities, if you read and hear and keep those things you will be blessed.

Redeem your time - use your time wisely
Now is the time - you only have now
The time is at hand - this is the time you should be using

God’s order:
1. Spirit- Be led by the Holy Spirit
2. Mind- Let the Holy Spirit and Word of God control your thoughts and plans
3. Body- Let your mind control your body

Be sure that you consecrate time to be with the Lord each day in His Word and in prayer. Without Him, we can do nothing, but through Him, we can do all things.

It is amazing how quickly time passes, redeem your time - you'll be glad you did!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What Every Mother Should Teach Her Son

Proverbs 31 – the Proverb about the Virtuous Woman, right? Have you ever considered or realized that this chapter in Proverbs was actually written for a man? Yes, it is King Lemuel that “wrote” this chapter, but he states right off the bat that it is what his mother taught him. She was successful – because her son did not just teach others what he learned, he attributed his knowledge to (or honored) his mother.
Proverbs 31:1-10
1 The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
2 What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?
3 Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
5 Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
6 Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.
7 Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
8 Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
9 Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
10 ¶ Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.


In these verses I believe we find what every mother should teach her son. Here are the seven basic truths that are essential.

His Maker – (verse 1) prophecy is the forth telling based on the truth of God’s Word. His mother told him that what she was teaching him was based on the Word of God.
His Mother – teach your son about your love for him (verse 2) picture a mother considering what she should teach her son – the precious little one that she carried in her womb – the one she has prayed for. She must have been a virtuous woman because as stated Proverbs 31:29-31, her own works (her son and what she taught him) stood as king and told others what his mother taught him. The Holy Spirit inspired the wisdom that she taught her son because God recorded it in His Word. Now, she didn’t teach her son and then tell him to tell it to others – she taught him for his benefit and the Lord was faithful to His Word, so her works (her son) praised her in the gates.
His Might (verse 3)–A man’s strength is in walking with God – but a woman can convince a man to walk with her instead. Think of Adam and Eve. Eve was deceived and took of the fruit – Adam wasn’t deceived, he chose to please his wife instead of God. Think of Samson. Remember when Delilah insisted on knowing the source of Samson’s strength? Each time Samson gave her an answer, she tried to take his strength from him. When Samson told her the truth about himself – he knew that she would cut his hair, thus breaking the vow he had. He chose to give Delilah his strength.
His Manner (verse 3)– his way of life. Teach your son to live right before God and man. Many kings destroyed their lives by choosing to live the wrong way.
The Mocker (verse 4)– "Wine is a mocker and strong drink is raging and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." Guard the influence that your boys have – wine and strong drink will alter their judgment. Jesus also gave this warning in Jude 1: 17 – 19 “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.”
His Mouth (verse 9)– Teach your son to be honest (tell the truth)to pray, and to use his mouth to win the lost souls Jesus died to save - for soul winning.
His Mate (verses 10-31)– Mom, you can teach your son all of the points listed above, but quite frankly if he marries wrong – there will be heartache, and scars. Teach him the importance of choosing the right mate, because a man’s wife should be (other than salvation) his most valuable treasure. What should he look for? Someone that would not try to take God’s place in his heart. She should not be a mocker; she should speak kindly, and be able to keep his confidence. In Proverbs 31:11-31, King Lemuel’s mother describes to her son the attributes of a Virtuous Woman – the kind of woman she wants her son to marry.

It is my prayer that this will be of help to all of you ladies that are rearing your precious sons. And to Genny, Mary and Rachel, thank you for being such wonderful wives to my sons and daughters-in-law to me; and Kellie I am so pleased that you are a virtuous woman - I love you ladies - have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Want or Need?

The other day my husband and I had the joy of attending the County Fair with our children and grandchildren. We had so much fun just watching the grandkids giggle with glee as they rode on the various rides. When we spend time with our kids I am filled with such joy in just being with them and it reminds me of how much it must mean to God when we choose to spend time with Him, whether in prayer, meditation, reading His Word, and attending church.

As I sat and just watched our precious grandchildren, it took me back to the time when my own children were little. One of our grandsons especially reminded me of his dad when he was little – not only in his looks, but also in his behavior and spirit. As I was watching him play, and do things his dad did when he was that age – I remembered a picture I have of my own son wearing almost the exact same outfit (jeans, sweatshirt, baseball cap); and I was reminded of the following story.

When my children were young, I always took them out with me anywhere I had to go – shopping, doctor’s appointments – everywhere; they were mine, and so I had them with me and each adventure was an opportunity to train them – and became a learning experience – for all of us. One day as we were out shopping at good old Mervyn’s, I noticed that children’s shoes were on sale. Without thinking too much about it, I started looking at the shoes and commented to my mom that my son (not the oldest or youngest) could use some new shoes. We didn’t find any shoes that would work for him and we started to leave, when suddenly I heard a ruckus behind me – one of my children was crying. Well, to my utter surprise my son (not oldest or youngest) was laying on the floor, apparently writhing in pain because his feet hurt. You can only imagine the looks I was getting from other shoppers in the store, as my child lay crying on the floor saying, “my feet, my feet –
ooooh, they hurt, please I neeeeeed new shoes!” I am chuckling as I remember this adorable little boy pouring on the act. Now, he really didn’t need the shoes, he was perfectly fine until he thought he might get some and didn’t. As I picked up my son, I assured him that I would get him the shoes he needed when the time was right. My mom and I tried to keep a straight face as we inwardly chuckled and to this day we laugh as we recall his dramatic act. You know, all too often we are just like that with our Heavenly Father.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 “All these things”…too often we want to take those words to mean all the things we want, or think that we need. But in reality, God knows what we need and He tells us exactly that in the preceding verses. "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. Matthew 6:31, 32 We might get ourselves all upset or crying over something that we think we need, but the truth is, God knows our needs and promises that if we will seek Him first all these things will be added unto us – He will meet our needs.

This past Sunday morning as my husband was preaching he quoted the following saying, “God gives us the grace for what is, not for what if.” We worry about what if this or what if that, but the truth is God’s grace is extended for what is. We would all do well to learn the following verse, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Philippians 4:11 God bless you and have a wonderful day!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Words, Words, Words

In my Bible study time I have been amazed at how frequently the Bible talks about the use of the tongue and the words we say. It seems that everyday I am reading about how wisdom will help us to “regard discretion” and “that thy lips may keep knowledge.” Proverbs 5:2 instructs how the lips of the strange woman sound so smooth, but they are leading to a destructive way of living; that will lead us to sin, whose wages we know is death. All sin leads to a death of some kind. Whether it be the death of a friendship, a job, or a punishment that ends a privilege we have enjoyed.

I have also been reading in the Gospel of Matthew and have found that Jesus has much to say about our words. In Matthew 12:34-37 Jesus says, “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh, A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things; and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” After reading that I had to ask myself the question, “will I be justified by my words or condemned?” The fact that I will give an account of every idle word I speak in the day of judgment certainly makes me want to be very cautious about what I say. Ladies, I encourage you to remember that you will give an account of every idle that you speak in the day of judgment. Have you considered your words? Will you be justified or condemned? It is my prayer that I will be a Spirit-filled Christian and yield my tongue to the Lord each day. We all remember the old saying (that we know is not true) “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” We all know that words can break a person's heart, and the hardest thing is that once you have said something hurtful, you can never take back the hurt it caused. Oh, you can apologize and receive forgiveness, but the damage has been done. It has been stated that a woman speaks on the average about 7000 words a day! Wow, that sure leaves room for a lot of idle speaking. I like what wise King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 5:2 “Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.” I love you ladies!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Arrows

“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.” Psalm 127:3, 4 The verses I quoted above teach us that God gives us our children and then compares our children to arrows in the hand of a mighty man. A mighty man has a sure aim and as such is effective against the enemy. This comparison teaches us that we must also determine to aim our children (or point them) in the right direction. “Train up a child in the way he should go ; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Here are a couple of other points I would like to stress with regard to a mighty man and the “arrows” he aims.

1. A mighty man knows his target and then aims his arrows directly at the target to effectively defeat the enemy. We should aim our children to be Christ honoring Christians that are trying to reach and win the lost for Christ.
As we are aiming our children to live for the Lord, we should strive to defeat the enemy along the way. Our enemy is anything that keeps us from reaching our goal or that deters our children from God's will for their lives.

2. A mighty man knows when to let his arrows go. Too often we (especially moms) don’t want to let our children go. From the moment our children are born we should realize that God gave our children to us to be raised for His glory and to reach the next generation. We have to let them go a little at a time. Let them go in the nursery, to school, to youth activities, to college and eventually out on their own completely. This is not an easy task, but it must be done if your children are ever going to become responsible adults.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Touch that Heals

"And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean." Mark 1:40-41
This morning as I was reading my Bible, I was pondering the “touch” of Jesus, and really all that it means and affords. I thought of the song “He Touched Me.” I noticed that it is not only when He touches us, but also when we touch Him that the healing comes. Mark 5:27 says, "When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment." Their exchange ends in Mark 5:34 which says, "And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague."
In my ponderings I have come to realize that when He touches us it shows His compassion; when we touch Jesus, it shows our faith. The best results come when we have both. Jesus has reached out to touch us all when He died on the cross to pay our sin debt, but without faith those He died for are still lost in their sin. Those that have faith in a religion, believing that their religion will take them to Heaven are not receiving His mercy or grace because they have chosen to have faith in something or someone other than our Savior; they too are still lost. But for those of us that have received Christ as our Savior, we have it all!

In both scenarios, the leper and the woman with the issue of blood, compassion and faith were present - He showed compassion (touching us), they had faith (touching Him)

The Touch that Heals is extened to all those that follow their example:

Believe (have faith) that He can heal
Seek for Jesus
Follow Jesus
Pray (he beseeched, she touched Jesus) (I would liken this to praying)
Confess to Jesus
Allow Jesus to touch you (respond to His teaching)
Receive His Peace

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Be Positive!

Many mothers today are teaching their children to become negative people. How are they doing this? Children are being taught what they should not do, instead of what they should do. This causes them to see everything from a negative perspective. For example: Mom usually says, “Don’t hold your fork that way” when she could just as easily say “Suzie, hold your fork this way.” Of course there are times when you must say “no” but when you are teaching your child the correct way to do something, they will be less defensive if you simply show them the positive before the negative. The order should be “praise, correction, praise.” You might say something like “Suzie, you are such a big girl holding your own fork and eating all by yourself, how about holding it this way, it will work much better for you.” And when she tries it and does it correctly, then praise her for doing it correctly. Instead of Suzie feeling that she is being rebuked for not holding her fork properly, she has been encouraged and praised. Train your kids to see that learning and correction are positive things in their lives.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Don't Let Him Be Lonely

“And the Lord God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” Genesis 2:18

In the Book of Genesis we see God’s order in creation and at the end of each day of Creation the Bible says, “God saw that it was good…” until the verse I quoted above; when God saw that Adam was alone He said, “It is not good.” We have always heard that our husbands need us, they need our help; but have you ever asked what they need our help for? Most people think it’s cooking and cleaning, laundry and ironing, or for making babies. But, read the verse again… God didn’t say- “Adam is not doing a good job at dressing and keeping the garden, he needs help.” What God saw that wasn’t good was Adam’s being alone. Eve was made to help Adam by being his companion, one that was “meet” or “suitable” for him. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:24 God saw that Adam’s loneliness was not good, and so He created Eve to fill that void and help him, and made it so that man should never be alone(one flesh). This does not mean that you should hand cuff yourself to your husband and be his constant companion. It means that he should know that he has someone that is "with him."


God’s mercy and grace are so awesome and He is so very compassionate with us to meet our needs. He saw our need for Salvation and sent His Only Begotten Son to pay our sin debt; upon salvation He gives us the Holy Spirit to indwell us, to comfort us…and He promises, "Lo, I am with you alway..." In marriage the same holds true. Ephesians 5:30-32, “For we are members of His body of His flesh and of His bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and two shall be one flesh, this is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” (In marriage one flesh, in salvation one in spirit) It’s not good that your husband should be alone- you were made to help him in the ways that are fitting to him.

So...In the morning when he gets up for work…is he alone? When he gets home from work? When he goes to bed… is he alone? It does not work well if you keep your own agenda and he keeps his…remember its not good that he should be alone. If he gets up early and goes to bed early, get on his schedule. (I know it’s hard when you have babies but work on it.)
• Have breakfast with him
• Be home when he gets home from work (obviously if you work and get home later that can’t be helped, but don’t be out gallivanting)
• Have meals together
• Go to bed together
• Share his vision
• Be in his corner
• Be his biggest fan
• Be his biggest cheerleader
• Bare your heart to him. That will help him to be able to bare himself to you.
• Compliment him
• Encourage him

Work on his plans and visions together with him in all these areas:

  • Home
  • Children
  • Finances
  • Church

  • Service


Your husband needs to know that you are with him. It’s not good that he should be alone. Don’t fight his plans or visions- be with him. It’s not good that he should be alone. Don’t let him be lonely.
Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Wherefores

In today’s society, we as Christians may feel like strangers because what we know in our hearts to be true according to God’s Word, and what we see surrounding us are in stark contrast to each other. One of my favorite books of the Bible is I Peter. It is addressed to Christians that are strangers in this world. In I Peter 1: 1 – 7 Peter describes all that we possess as a result of our salvation: Grace, peace, mercy, hope, an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance in heaven kept by the Father, and great rejoicing; all in spite of the difficulties we face here and now. After Peter reminds of what we possess he continues to instruct us in what I call the “wherefores.”

The Wherefores
(I Peter 1:13 – 3:17)

1. Think about your salvation. (gird up the loins of your mind)
2. Be serious about your salvation (be sober)
3. Remember that because of your salvation you are God’s child—be an obedient child!
4. Be holy! Allow your salvation to separate you from this world to God!
5. Respect your salvation—don’t live flippantly—you should be living for God!
6. Remember that your salvation was purchased with the precious Blood of Christ!
7. Because you are saved—love your brothers (and sisters) in Christ purely
8. Because you love your brothers and sisters in Christ lay aside malice, guile, hypocrisies, envying, and evil speaking
9. Desire instead to grow by the Word of God
10. Remember that God wants you to understand His will and His Word; He will not leave you confounded. If you don’t understand something—it just may be that you are not ready to understand it yet, or you just don’t need to know yet. Remember we are God's children; He knows when we are ready to learn something or not. Sometimes (for those of you that are mothers, or have ever worked with children know this) kids want to know things that we as adults know they are not yet ready to learn.
11. Remember that you are royalty (a royal priesthood, a child of the King) and that you should be living to bring Glory to God!
12. Abstain from fleshly lusts
13. Be a good citizen (obey the law!)
14. Respect every human being
15. Love your brothers and sisters in Christ (this must be harder than we think—it is repeated twice!)
16. Fear God
17. Honour the King (our civil leaders, government)

We, all of us can apply these “wherefores" to our lives and experience fulfillment in Christ...wherefore have a wonderful day!

Monday, August 10, 2009

7 Ways to Delight Your Husband

“And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.” Luke 12:42-44
In studying Proverbs 31, I have found that the virtuous woman is a faithful, wise, and good steward – (one who cares for another’s possessions). In fact everything we see about the virtuous woman is that what she does benefits her husband. Her actions portray an attitude of submission. She is not fighting her husband, but she is serving him and making sure that everything he needs for success is ready. The fact that the virtuous woman is giving meat to her household and considers a field and purchases it shows that he has made her ruler over all that they have. Submission is not bondage! Let me illustrate. If your area in the home is to care for the clothing and your husband keeps finding that he has no clean clothes, he may begin to nag you and try to set a schedule for you to do the laundry. Because you have not submitted to his needs, he feels he must rule you in this area. Financially – let’s say you have set up a budget, but your husband finds that you are blowing your budget; the next time you go shopping, your husband may insist that you use cash so that you stay on the budget. Lack of submission brings bondage. A virtuous woman is one that is wise and faithful. She is submissive and therefore has freedom to rule over all that they have.

So, what can you do to show that you have a submissive attitude?

Here is a list of 7 ways to delight your husband:)

1. Keep him #1

2. Stay by him through thick and thin

3. Keep a walk with God and pray for him

4. Don’t get sidetracked from your purpose (your husband), your goal should be to help him achieve his greatest success - fulfilling God's plan for your lives.

5. Do what he likes and build your relationship by carefully listening to him – use what you did when you were dating to encourage him

6. Trust and obey him (don’t fight him every time he wants to do something)

7. Be his #1 cheerleader

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Be Prepared

Expect the unexpected and prepare for the unpredictable! Children do not always do what is expected of them. Often they get their clothes dirty when you don’t expect or want them to. This won’t be a problem if you have a change of clothes handy. Always pack a little more than what you think you might need. If you don’t need to use the extra diapers, wipes, or bottles, you might be a blessing to someone else in need! I remember once when Danny and Jason were just babies; in fact, they were both still in diapers. I packed the diaper bag with a normal day in mind. Well, it did not turn out to be a normal day. We were shopping with my mom for the dress she would wear for her 25th Anniversary celebration and the “natives were getting restless,” so Grandma was giving them soft mint candies to occupy and quiet the children. Well, in case you never knew this, mint can act the same way as prunes (you know what I mean). Well, I ran out of diapers, out of clothes and patience!

Lessons I learned:

#1 - don’t take 2 baby boys shopping for a special occasion with Grandma!
#2 - bring snacks for them that they are accustomed to eating.
#3 - bring plenty of diapers and wipes
#4 - always bring a change or two of clothes, powdered formula, bottled water, and extra bottles (empty) or bottle liners. You’ll be glad you did!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

How To Walk

Today I am flat on my back. I have some arthritis (common for women that have several children, especially who carry their children low.) I am not able to stand erect, and I cannot walk properly. I have experienced this once before several years ago and it was at that time during my prayer and devotion that the Lord stressed to me the importance of walking and having the right walk with God. In my quest to discover "how to walk," the Lord taught me the following:

Matthew 9:1-8 is an account of several men bringing a man sick with the palsy (Palsy- any of several conditions characterized by paralysis) to the Lord to be healed. Jesus did heal him, but His choice of words was to tell the man that his sins were forgiven him; and when this man’s sins were forgiven, he was able to walk.
1. We cannot walk with God unless or until we trust Him and receive Christ as our personal Savior.
2. Sin can cause paralysis in our Christian life. If we harbor sin without confessing, we will be unable to walk in fellowship with God.

The word walk has several meanings. In this context it means- one’s way, progress, to make due use of opportunities. It also means: to live, regulate one’s life, conduct one’s self, to pass one’s life (use of time.)

Now, we know that in order to walk with God, we need salvation and we must be right before God; but how should we walk?

1. Walk in God’s law, statutes, and ways as commanded.
2. David walked in the integrity of his heart- uncompromising, adherence, honest. (I Kings 9:4)
3. Walk in the fear of the Lord (Nehemiah 5:9) (fear means: awe, reverence, respect, love)
4. Walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11; Proverbs 2:7; Proverbs 28:18)
5. Walk in liberty when we seek His precepts. (Psalm 119:45) When we seek His precepts, we don’t have to be afraid that what we are doing is wrong; we don’t need to hide.
6. Walk in the good old paths- Jeremiah 6:16- seek counsel from godly, experienced people; they know what has been tested and proven true.
7. Walk humbly (Micah 6:8) Humility is the proper evaluation of one’s self.
8. Walk in His light. When you walk in someone else’s light, you are led by what they see and what they are looking for. (Ephesians 5:8; I John 1:7)
9. Walk in the newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
10. Walk by faith (II Corinthians 5:7)
11. Walk in the Spirit (Romans 8:1; 8:4; Galatians 5:16)
12. Walk in truth (III John 4)
13. Walk in love (Ephesians 5:2)
14. Walk circumspectly (watchful, discreet, cautious, prudent) (Ephesians 5:15)
15. Walk worthy of the Lord (Colossians 1:10)
16. Walk in wisdom (Colossians 4:5; Colossians 1:10)
17. Walk worthy of your vocation (Ephesians 4:1)
18. Walk as dear children. (Ephesians 5:1)
19. Walk honestly (Romans 13:13; I Thessalonians 4:12)
20. Walk in Peace (Malachi 2:6; Luke 1:79; Romans 10:15; 14:19;Galatians 6:16; I Thessalonians 4-5)

Psalm 1- “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly…”

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Princess and a Teacher

I recall years ago a young mother stating to me that as a child she always wished to be a princess and a teacher when she grew up. I quickly pointed out to her that her wish had come true. When she asked “how?” I explained that as a Christian, she is a child of the King, thus making her a princess; and as a mother—she had become a teacher. Mom, teaching is one your main jobs! It is you that will teach your child how to talk, how to use proper manners, healthy hygiene habits, etc. etc. etc. Remember that the role of the mother is likened to that of the Holy Spirit, Isaiah 66:13 says, “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.” The Comforter will do as a mother does. Therefore we know that the things that the Holy Spirit does are those things a mother should be doing. In John 14:26, the Bible says, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” Mom, you are to teach and then remind your children of those things you have taught them. You are to teach them what the Bible says, and then remind them to follow and obey It. This teaching job as a mother is a 24/7, lifetime position. You see now (while they are young)you are teaching them the basic and elementary things. As they grow you will teach them, whether on purpose or not by your actions, (because they learn by our actions more than our words) how to treat others, how to respond, and how to react in all various circumstances. Think about it… Yes, as a Christian mom you are a Princess and a Teacher!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Communication is the Key

“for the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen…” God is so good to us in every way—but today I am thinking especially of the way He provided a way to communicate with us. He gave us His Word, His Holy Spirit and the works of His creation so that we may see Him. Though we can’t see Him physically, we can see Him in all of His works! I especially like the fact the God made them clear. With that thought in mind—I believe that God wants the same type of communication between the man and wife in marriage. The Bible likens the marriage relationship to that of Christ and the church in Ephesians 5:31-32 which says, “...they two shall be one flesh...I speak concerning Christ and the church.” When Jesus explained things or taught things to His disciples, He spoke in parables and used several examples so that they could understand Him clearly. Often the things we think are such big problems are simply matters of miscommunication and the “bigness” of the problem can be minimized when clearly understood. When you are concerned about something in your home or your marriage relationship—tell your husband clearly and lovingly how you feel—he cannot read your mind. If you hold things inside, you may explode over a little thing (like a straw on the camel’s back), because you are carrying so much more than is obvious to those around you. Be open and honest, and pray before you speak with your husband about things that are concerning you. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26, “...let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” Don’t pillow your head if something is bothering you; settle it before you go to sleep. Don’t be accusatory, give your husband the benefit of the doubt. You may very well be misunderstanding something. Proper communication will make for a closer and happier marriage relationship.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Right Shoes

Every first and third Sunday of the month our church hosts what we call "The Baptist Cafe." The various Sunday school classes take turns to prepare the food items for the fellowship after the evening service. This past Sunday it was my Sunday School Class "For Ladies Only" turn. I spent Sunday afternoon making brownies and arroz con pollo. Because I made enough for a large quantity, the recipe took a little longer than normal and so my husband left for church before I did. I left with just enough time to be there at the appointed time to meet the ladies to set up for the fellowship before the evening service. In my hurry and scurry to get everything out the door - I forgot to change my shoes! I realized when I was just about at the church that I was still wearing my fuzzy blue slippers! I couldn't believe it. I called my husband and told him of my dilemma and thankfully I was able to borrow a pair of shoes for the evening service! (Thank you Amanda...yet another Lucy episode:)
It has been said that shoes make the outfit, and I suppose I would have to agree (see my blog post "The Blue Shoes"). Have you ever seen someone dressed up very nicely only to finish off their outfit with dirty, dusty shoes? Or...have you ever gone out somewhere and then realized half-way through the day that your feet are crying in agony over the shoes you were wearing? God is concerned about our shoes, they are listed as the third part of the whole armour of God. In Ephesians 6:15 the Bible says, "And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace." I believe that this means that where ever we walk in life we should always be prepared to give out the Gospel. Each day as we dress we normally consider what we will be doing for the day and then dress accordingly - as Christians each day we should put on the whole armour of God - which includes having the right shoes! Have a wonderful day today and may the Lord bless you.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Surviving a Crisis

This posting is actually from notes I took when I spoke at a Pastor's Conference to the ladies on September 15, 1998

Surviving a Crisis
“A Trophy of God’s Grace”

I believe that before you read this I need to qualify myself – you see for someone that is going through a crisis or has lived through a difficult time it is really hard to listen to someone tell them how to go through something they have never experienced.

On September 15, 1991, the Sunday right after Pastor’s Conference my children were getting ready for bed after the evening service. The boys came out and told me that Kellie was crying because she was in some sort of pain. My husband took her to the emergency room where they took ex-rays and released her finding really nothing of great concern. That night she was up probably every 30minutes to an hour vomiting. By the next morning, she was dehydrated and extremely weak. She didn’t understand why she still had the pain. She could not dress herself, she didn’t want to get out of bed, and she looked terrible. I called the hospital and told them what happened and made an appointment for her to go back to the hospital. She was so weak that I had to dress her. My husband had to carry her in to the hospital. When we got there, we were informed that the doctor she had the appointment with was unable to see her and that she would have to see another doctor (the head of pediatrics). I know that was God’s way of protecting my daughter. Immediately the doctor could see that she was very seriously ill.

Initially they thought that perhaps she had kidney stones or a kidney problem of some sort. He let us know that she was going to be admitted in to the hospital and that they would run tests. My husband had to leave to get the boys from school and I was alone with Kellie as they began running some of the tests.

I remember as they did the ultra-sound the technician showing me her right kidney and then as they moved to her left kidney, I couldn’t see it, it was just a blur. The technician then called in another and then another doctor and then her pediatrician. I was scared; I knew it was very serious. When I asked her doctor what was going on, he stated that there was a shadow at her kidney and that she would have to have a CT scan. I felt all alone. Kellie was out of it – she was dying. I tried calling my husband, and there was no answer. I finally did reach him and he tried to assure me that she was going to be okay, but I was terrified.

I was still alone with her when they took her in for the scan; my parents arrived just as the doctor came out to tell us that there was a mass that had apparently completely taken over her kidney and that she would have to have surgery.

When my husband arrived at the hospital and I told him what the doctor said, my husband disappeared. I didn’t know where he went. He felt he could not handle what he was hearing and he went to get alone with God and did not come back in the room until he got a peace from God. From that time to the present, he has never doubted for one moment that Kellie was going to be all right.

That was 7 years ago today and may I say that from that day to today, our families' lives has never been the same. When they took her blood, they discovered that she must be bleeding internally and so she would need a transfusion before they could even do the surgery. The next day I went to the Red Cross and gave blood for my daughter. Again, I felt completely alone. My husband stayed at the hospital with Kellie and was being comforted by the many visitors that were coming by to let us know they were praying for us.

On September 18, they performed the surgery and they came out and told us that they had to remove our little girl’s kidney, and that it was cancerous. They would have to run further tests before they could really tell us the full scenario. The surgeon told us that he thought it was a very treatable cancer, but we would have to wait.

The pediatrician came in and told us that Wilm’s Tumor could be a very treatable cancer – but that not all cases are treatable. I remember very clearly when he said, “children do die from this.”

The reports came back favorable. The histology report was favorable and the cancer had not spread beyond the kidney. It had not metastasized (there were no feelers – and it had not spread to any of her lymph nodes). Her oncologist did feel that she would definitely have to have chemo-therapy and radiation. The treatments would last 15 months and would have to begin in one week.

Moms, I am sure that you can imagine how heavy your heart would feel, but you can’t imagine that you would really ever have to hear those words and have them pertain to your own child.

I am very pleased to announce to you today that our daughter is well and doing fine. Yet, I cried when I knew I was going to speak on this subject because though we have survived a crisis, it does not mean for one moment that it was easy. If I were to personally define the word crisis, I would say it means you are going to “cry sis,” or have many cries.

Everyone will at some point in his or her life be faced with a crisis. There are many different types of crises – different degrees of difficulty, but no matter the type or degree of crisis, when it is yours to bear it is not easy. You know just because someone doesn’t have it as bad as you have, doesn’t mean that their difficulties are not difficult for them.

When you face a difficulty, don’t expect others to not feel the burden of their own difficulty because yours is tougher. Moms, you need to learn this towards your children because their little woes or spats with friends may not seem like much to you, they are childish or petty, something you know will resolve itself; but to your children they are genuine difficulties and your kids deserve your compassion.

Surviving a Crisis –

I have before you a trophy. It is a symbol of a great accomplishment made by the owner. When you see that someone has a trophy, you congratulate the owner of the trophy because the trophy symbolizes the owner’s victory. It is often looked upon with awe and serves as a reminder of the owner’s greatness. The trophy shows that a victory has been won, but the trophy personally did not win, the owner won.

Ladies, I stand before you today as a trophy of God’s grace because the victory in surviving a crisis is not mine, just as the victory this trophy symbolizes is not this trophy’s – but the owner is worthy of the praise. Just as this trophy could not have played the sport that it represents, neither could I make it through a single moment of my life without my Lord.

When the unsaved (someone who is not a Christian) has a crisis, they acknowledge that a person cannot get through a situation alone. That is true; you cannot deal with your crisis on your own. Really you can’t even breathe, walk, think or do anything else on your own – why would you even want to try to handle a crisis on your own? You cannot do it!

In these next few moments I would like to share with you some things I learned in living through Kellie’s crisis. If you have a notebook, write these things down, because if you live long enough, you will need them.

My life verse is Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth and with my song will I praise Him.”

You must go to God for strength, at first it may be 100x a day, but keep going to Him. Listen when your heart trusts in Him, you will continue to be helped by that. I trusted Him (past tense) I am helped (still helping me). When you are in a crisis, you have situation that you know is completely out of your control you know that are forced to trust God because there is no other alternative. May I say this, whether in a crisis or not, Christ is always your only alternative. Outside of Christ, there is no hope. To rely on anything else is a false hope.

When Kellie was first diagnosed, I realized that she was not less in God’s care than before she was sick. Her time (the days of her life) is still in His hand. In a crisis as you have the sense that you have lost control, realize that you never really had control, Christ is in control – give it to Him.

Trust God realizing that He is in control and trust His outcome whether or not you understand it. Though the crisis I am using as an example today is about my own daughter, I could have also used my brother Rick. This year (1998) on March 28, he went home to be with the Lord after suffering for 13 months with cancer. I don’t know why God chose to take Him home, but I have to trust His will. I miss him all the time, he was only 16 months younger than I am, and we were very close. He left behind a wife and 3 precious children. The oldest will turn 3 next Wednesday. I can’t understand it, but I have to believe that God knows what He is doing.

Read your Bible. I prayed and read my Bible – daily. I had determined that I would read the Bible to Kellie everyday. God used His Word to encourage and strengthen me. At first, I could only read the Psalms and Proverbs. I could not concentrate well. I could not have studied because I needed comfort.

The first day Kellie started chemo, in our daily Bible reading I read Psalm 68. In 1991, we had a drought and it had not rained that winter and as we approached the fall, we had not seen rain in a long time. I read verse 9 “Thou O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary” and it comforted me. I felt the Lord was confirming my inheritance (Children are a heritage of the Lord) to me that day because as I was reading I noticed through the window that it was raining.

Listen to Godly, Christian music – “’Til the Storm Passes By” Because of Kellie’s age and the length of time she would have to undergo chemo-therapy, they surgically inserted a Broviac (that is a type of catheter that is inserted in to the main artery). On the outside, there is a cap like what you see on the end of an Intravenous line. They used this line to administer her chemo, and I used it to draw blood for her constant blood tests. I had to clean the skin around her Broviac daily and Kellie did not especially like it. I had to remove bandages, apply three different types of antiseptic cleansers and then re-bandage her. Kellie has extremely sensitive skin and was allergic to the normal bandages that are used, so I had to bandage her differently which made her like the process even less.

Kellie had been on just a few series of chemo treatments when she lost her hair. Our Pastor’s Sunday school class had taken an offering to purchase a wig for Kellie, which we did as soon as possible. Again, Kellie’s sensitive skin reacted and she was allergic to the wig! She could not wear anything on her head.

We heard of a company “Locks of Love” that made human hair wigs. The wigs are made to order and the hair is dyed to match the natural color. As we looked into this, we realized that these wonderful wigs were extremely expensive. The average cost is $700.00 to $1,000.00 per wig. This same company did also advertise different scarves, (for ladies that are bald) and we requested information about them.

On one particular morning as I was changing Kellie’s Broviac bandages, we were discussing her hair. We had resolved to pray and do the best we could. We began to sing “’till the Storm Passes Over.” As we were singing, the telephone rang. The woman on the other end of the phone was Peggy Knight. She is the owner of “Locks of Love.” She telephoned to inform us that once a year “Locks of Love” donates a wig to a child or teen and that this year Kellie would be the recipient.

When Kellie spoke to Peggy Knight, she told her that she had been praying for a way to have a wig that she could wear. Peggy Knight let her know that she had learned long ago that all one needs to do to receive, is to ask the Lord. That storm passed over and I cannot sing that song without remembering how God helped my little girl.

God used His people Psalm 68:19 “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.” Be sure to inform your church and pastor of your trial or difficulty. People cannot help you if they do not know that there is something you need help with. God will use His people to help you. When Kellie was hospitalized, the hospital staff realized quickly that she was not like just any child in the hospital. They had never seen anything like it! Kellie had numerous giant teddy bears, several flower arrangements, toys and gifts of all sorts! God used His people to comfort us and to encourage us to keep on keeping on. The hospital staff began to ask who Kellie was and why she had soooo many visitors. Kellie was always allowed to have a private room to accommodate her many visitors. God used his people to help us through a very difficult, lonely time.

Determine that you want God to receive glory through your trial. I believe that if I live my entire life, reach heaven, and do not hear the words “well done thou good and faithful servant” then I will have lived my life in vain. Romans 8:23, “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” This verse reminds us that we live not for the here and now, but for heaven.

I was never tempted to turn away from God because when Kellie went in to surgery, my husband took me aside and set the record straight that whatever the outcome, we were going to trust God.

That helped me because when you are faced with a crisis, you will feel anger in that you have to accept something you don’t want to accept. I was angry with the doctors. I didn’t want to see them, I didn’t want them to come in to her room – they were going to tell me something I didn’t want to hear.

Realize that God knows your suffering Romans 8:34, ”Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, year rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Christ suffered, died and is risen again. God is not forcing you to go through something that He did not endure Himself. He knows how difficult it is and even intercedes for us (Christ prays for us).

Realize that God loves you and your loved one Romans 8:35 – 39) “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

My brother Rick, through separated from us, is not separated from the love of God. Your trial does not mean that God does not love you. It does not separate you from the Love of God!

With all that in mind and for your family’s sake as much as possible try to do the following:

1. Keep as many things as normal as possible – keep family traditions with alterations if necessary.
2. Have some sort of outlet – walk with a friend, do volunteer work – don’t be 100% consumed only with your crisis.

Kellie came home from the hospital on October 2. Our wedding anniversary is October 14. Though it was very difficult to leave Kellie for any amount of time, my husband and I still went out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary. My parents stayed home with the children and we did not go far from home. Though it was not a time we could go out and forget what was going on in our lives; it did allow us to have time together. We were able to talk about how we were feeling and plan how we wanted to treat the situation in our family with regard to the other children.

3. Stay active as much as possible with church and your normal routine
4. Don’t neglect other relationships (other children, husband – they are hurting through the crisis too, and they need you!).
5. Be flexible and learn to improvise. Life is not normal during a crisis; don’t set rigid regimens that will stress you out. When Kellie was sick, especially on the weeks she underwent treatments; she wanted me to just sit with her. Sometimes I felt that I was abandoning my house, and not keeping it as clean as I would like. I remember very clearly when I spoke to Mrs. Trieber about this and she said: “Ten years from now, it won’t matter if your furniture was dusty; but it will matter to your daughter and you to be able to remember that when she needed you, you sat with her.”
6. Rest when you are tired
7. Cry when you need to
8. Pray, pray, pray for strength and comfort
9. Mark victories, answers to prayer, claim promises and think about them often. I remember one evening shortly after Kellie came home from the hospital. She had 6 of the 8 radiation treatments and she was very sick. We had to take her in to emergency and again she was hospitalized. I was terrified that I was going to lose her that night. I remember praying and praying and really sensing the need to turn to the Word of God. I also was afraid that I might read in my Bible that someone’s daughter died; fearing that God was trying to prepare me that I was going to lose my daughter. I prayed and prayed, and then I asked the Lord to lead me to read His Word and please give some sort of answer or a peace about this situation. I was not coping, but I was trying as I was praying. Miraculously the Lord led me to Jeremiah 33. As I read the following verses, I thanked God for His help and to this day when I am tempted to fear, I claim the promise God gave to me on that night. “Moreover the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison saying, Thus saith the Lord the maker thereof, the Lord that formed it, to establish it; the Lord is his name; Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not…Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.”

It amazed me that the Bible could seem to answer me so personally – but I knew as sure as I am here today that God was giving me the answer. It was the second time she was in the hospital, I had called unto God and He answered me by saying “I will bring it health and cure.”

10. See yourself as God’s trophy, able to be glorified together with Him! Romans 8:17 “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Imagine the champion receiving his trophy and holding up the trophy as the crowd cheers his great accomplishment; and see Christ receiving glory for carrying you through the crisis, and realize that God is holding you up as the trophy winner holds up his trophy!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Our Heavenly Father

The greatest example we have in parenting is what we can see and learn from our Heavenly Father. There are several things we can learn about being a parent from simply following the pattern we find in the Bible.
1. Before He placed man on this earth, He created and prepared the earth, the garden and everything that man would need.
2. When Adam and Eve were in the garden, He told them of their responsibilities and He gave them boundaries (not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil).
3. He warned them of the consequences if they disobeyed.
4. When they disobeyed, He kept His Word and banished them from the garden.
5. The Lord gave us the 10 Commandments.

He has always told us what He expects from us and what we can expect if we disobey. He also instructed the children of Israel regarding the food they should or should not eat, for their health and for their own good. With all of that He has promised to forgive, to love us with an unfailing love and has provided the ultimate gift by sending Jesus to pay the debt that we could not pay. All of this is a picture of His love for us. He has provided all of our needs, not based on what we want, but on what is best for us. Whatever our need, He has provided it. We have often heard that you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. Our heavenly Father continues to give us each day what we need. This is the role of a parent.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Blue Shoes

You know, when you want something, really want it – you will look for it. I can’t tell you the countless times I have taken weeks to find that perfect sweater, dress, or pair of shoes that I “needed” to complete my outfit. I remember one time I had purchased a dress for a special occasion, and needed a pair of navy shoes to go with it. I found the perfect pair at Penney’s, but they were out of stock in my size. Well, I found that the display shoe was my size, so I asked the store clerk if I could get that one – they looked in the stock room, and it was not there; they said that it was probably somewhere on the floor in the shoe department.

I looked through every shoe display, every pair of shoes on every counter and on the floor – and finally I even looked behind the wall display to see if perhaps it had fallen behind the counter. Sure enough I spotted a shoe down there (still not sure if it was the exact one I needed) and I went to the store clerk and let them know that I thought I might have found the shoe, but that it was behind the counter – they had to call someone from the custodial department, who had to get a special tool to move the counter – but success…I had my shoe! I was seeking for it, and I really wanted it – so I went to great lengths to get it… (My husband called it my “Lucy” experience). Now I said all of that to demonstrate that when we become determined to have something, we will go the extra mile to look for it…to seek it. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 4:29, “But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” This verse is very encouraging to me for several reasons.

1. It tells me that I can seek the Lord from where I am (thence = from that place) and no matter where that is…

2. It also tells me that I shall find Him! What security! I shall find the Lord from where I am when I need Him, when I want His comfort and presence…I just need to seek Him.

3. The promise that I shall find Him is mine if I seek him with all my heart and soul. I need to be seeking Him sincerely – not just with my mouth… “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” Matthew 15:8. In Matthew 15:9, Jesus states that those people are worshipping Him in vain.

You know, every store clerk in the shoe department knew that I was seeking for those blue shoes…in fact they knew that I was sincerely seeking for them because I kept looking and I didn’t stop until I found them! Do you want God’s presence in your life? You can find Him from where you are and if you are sincerely seeking for Him, you shall find Him.