Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Things We Don't See

When I was young girl, probably about 9 years old, I remember a situation that occured about which I had no understanding until many years later. Most of you probably won't remember this store, but there was a store called White Front that was similar to Target or Walmart back in the 60's. I recall going shopping with one of my best friends, her mom, and 2 older sisters. I was fascinated at the many items they were purchasing for my friend before school started. Wow! I know I was kind of spoiled and my parents tried to make sure I had all I needed and more, but this was like nothing I had ever seen.

We had so much fun that day - first they took us to eat at the little cafe that was located in the store, then the shopping began. As I said before I had never seen anything like it; they must have had at least 30 outfits for just my friend! As the day wore on, we were growing tired so my friend's mom suggested that we go and wait in the van while they stood in line to pay for their purchases.

When I got home I began to tell my parents of our excursion - the great lunch, and all the clothes. I then began to describe the outfits. Now, you may not be like me, but I tend to use my hands when I talk. In fact my family often uses sound effects, and hand motions (I am sure because of me) when talking and especially when we are explaining or describing something. As I was describing the many outfits, my father noticed that I was reaching to my side and then raising my hands as though I was showing the dress; I then proceeded to describe the outfit. My father asked me why I was motioning my hands in that way and I explained that the girls (my friends sisters) had done the same thing as they showed me the outfits they were pulling out of their coats. To my father's horror, he realized that I was in the company of shoplifters! At my young age and innocence, I never had a clue of what was going on; but my father understood immediately what had happened.

The next day my father spoke with me and without giving me an explanation or reason, he told me that I was no longer allowed to keep company with my friend. You could imagine my disappointment as she was one of my best friends! In fact I disobeyed my dad and snuck to my friends house once when my grandparents were babysitting us, but as I was sneaking home my parents drove by just as I was walking out her front door...I was caught! When I got home I received the one and only spanking that my father ever gave me; but I learned my lesson. Years later (I know, I was so naive) it finally dawned on me what had happened and why my dad didn't allow me to keep company with that girl - he saw something I couldn't see, and he was protecting me.

"And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." II Kings 6:17

Throughout our lives God protects us. We may not always see or understand why we can't do or have something, or why we can't go somewhere, or even why there is a hold up in traffic; but perhaps God is trying to protect us from something we can't see. In the verse I quoted above, the young man was afraid because he couldn't see God's army protecting him, but Elisha, the man of God saw them, and knew when it was safe to proceed, and when it was time to stop. I am glad that I had such a loving protective father in my life, and I am even more thankful that the Heavenly Father loves and protects me in ways I can't even see.

Have a strict dad, or man of God in your life? Praise the Lord - he sees things you can't and he is protecting you!

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Ride of Your Life!

I love to ride roller coasters! I remember as a teen going to Santa Cruz Beach and Boardwalk, and riding that roller coaster - we would raise our arms and scream as we went soaring downward on the Big Dipper! My husband on the other hand is not especially a huge fan of roller coasters - he'll ride them to accompany me, but they are not his favorite.

I was talking with one of my sons the other night and he was reminding me of the time I convinced him to ride on Space Mountain at Disneyland when he was just 4 years old. He didn't want to go on the ride, but I convinced him it would be a lot of fun. Well, as it turned out, this particular son takes more after his dad in the roller coaster department - and in his memory it was one of the most horrifying moments of his life! I know, you are all thinking that I was a cruel mom, forcing my young son to do something he didn't want to do, and I did feel bad that he was so frightened on the ride,(he has ridden them many times since); but there is a truth that can be learned from this experience.

When my son rode on that ride, he did so for one reason - he believed whatI told him, so, you could say he did so by faith. As Christians we are called upon to live a life of faith. We can only please God by exercising faith in Him, and in His Word. Hebrews 11:6 says, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

In Hebrews 11 we find all the things that God, our Heavenly Father asked His children to do by faith. "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went." Hebrews 11:7-8 Noah had never even heard of rain, yet he moved with fear and as a result his family was saved through the flood. Abraham was called to go to a place -without even knowing where he was going. I am sure there had to be a measure of fear involved in that move, yet he obeyed.

Obedience is the true evidence of faith - when you believe something you do it; even if you're afraid. Because we are human I am sure that every first step of faith is mixed with fear. Think of going to the doctor to have surgery - you put your faith in a doctor, and though you may feel fear, you go in to surgery because you believe it will help heal or fix the problem. Even though we feel fear when we exercise faith - that is okay, as long as we do it! Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe.

Want the ride of life? Live by faith in God; you will find "... the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil." II Thessalonians 3:3

Have a wonderful day! I love you and have prayed for you today.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

For Thy Pleasure They Are and Were Created

Some of my fondest memories of when my children were young are of the times we spent doing the simplest things. Many times our finances determined what we were able to enjoy, but I am glad that we took the time to enjoy playing with our kids. For years we went camping because it was affordable. A few times we were able to go to Disneyland and what a time we had; and then there were many times we just went to the park to play. In any case we took the time to make fond memories together as a family.I remember one time, we were playing baseball at a park, and I slid into base and broke my youngest son's finger...I felt so bad; but when our family plays we don't mess around. We are somewhat competitive even to this day, but what fun is it to play if you're not going to play to win, right?

Probably one of the most enjoyable memories of fun time was "family night." This was normally on a Friday night. I would make a dinner like hamburgers, french fries (made from real potatoes - not frozen), and milkshakes - real ones made in the blender with love, ice cream, milk, and chocolate syrup. After dinner and cleanup time we would get our pjs on, get out the sleeping bags, and watch a video together, with popcorn, and of course "zerts" (dessert that is). We would talk, and laugh, and enjoy the film, and then we would all sleep out in the family room in our sleeping bags. It became a family tradition for us, and I believe that my kids have begun their own version of "family night" with their own families. Was it a big deal? Maybe not, but it was a time of fun - a time we made to play together.

So often we focus on the importance of disciplining children. We stress the importance of reading the Word of God and having prayer with our children. Playing with our children is an important part of child rearing that is too often ignored. Your children see everything you do; clean house, talk on the phone, read the Bible, watch TV, etc. They need to see that in your busy schedule they are not only included because you have to take care of them, but also that they have a major part in the time you spend enjoying yourselves. If you’ll take the time to notice, children have so much more fun playing a game or with a toy if mom or dad takes the time to play with them.

Let your children know that you enjoy doing fun things with them and seeing them have fun. So Mom, play with your kids! "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Revelations 4:11

Have a wonderful day and go have some fun with your family!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Secret Garden - My Testimony

I am the oldest of 5 children, the only girl (and yes, I was spoiled…somewhat). I grew up going to church for most of my life, but I did not have a real relationship with the Lord until I was 27 years old…and I will explain that in a few moments. I married my high school sweetheart in 1978, the day before my 21st birthday. In 2008 we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary, and I will say that I have the most wonderful husband; he is my best friend, my sweetheart, and my pastor. We have 4 children, 3 boys and 1 girl. They are all married and I am very blessed and praise the Lord as I say that they are all serving the Lord. We have 11 grandchildren. Whew! Christmas is expensive, and when our family gets together it is pretty wild, but I love every chaotic moment. So, I am a Christian, wife, Mom, and grandmother, and truly I treasure what makes me what I am…my husband, my kids, and my grandkids. My most precious treasure is my salvation that I received on May 9, 1985 when I trusted Christ as my Savior.

In May 2008 I spoke at a Mother/Daughter Tea for Mother’s Day. I gave my testimony using the story of the Secret Garden (the Tea theme) I hope won’t mind taking a journey with me to the day I found The Secret Garden…

As I mentioned earlier, I grew up going to church every Sunday. We went to Catecism and I learned many wonderful truths that I still believe today. I learned of God, the heavenly Father, Jesus, the Son and the Savior, and of the Holy Spirit. I learned that for our sins and salvation Jesus died on the cross, was buried and rose again on the 3rd day in fulfillment of the Scriptures. I knew all of these things from my childhood, and I believed them and I still believe them today. The problem was though I believed all of these truths, I had merely head knowledge, and it was just something I knew. The Bible says that the devil believes – and he certainly is not going to heaven. That was what I didn’t know; that I could be sure that Heaven was my home. I certainly hoped to go to heaven, I wanted to go to heaven, but I just wasn’t sure about it. I didn’t know you could know for sure… until May 9, 1985.

Of the large circle of friends I had from high school, there was one girl in particular that I kept in contact with. Suddenly, I noticed a change in my friend, she started inviting me to church (which I thought was nice of her, but I had no intention of going to her church – I would give her an excuse, but never planned to really go with her). I was glad that she was going to church. At the same time, my husband’s grandmother – who was a born again Christian was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and began desperately praying for our salvation. What I didn’t realize was that my friend had also been “born again” and was also praying for my salvation. I began to become very curious about being born again. I remember asking Nana what it meant to be born again, she replied that I needed to accept Christ as my Savior. I thought about what she said and I came to the conclusion that since I knew Jesus was the Savior that I must have accepted Him.

On May 9, 1985 I went to my friend’s house for lunch and asked her about a book she had been reading that told about the end times; she went to go get it and came back with her husband. He said I could borrow his grandmother’s book, but he wanted me to know it was a story about what the Bible says, but that it was a story, not actual events. He then began to quote Scripture verses to me. Whoa! I was afraid, I wanted to run away; I literally considered grabbing my babies and running out the door! Then it came to me that what he was telling was from the Bible, I could certainly listen to the Bible.

That day I found the secret! Romans16:25-27 says, “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.

Yes, I found the secret of knowing I could go to heaven…through the Bible – the obedience of faith – through Jesus Christ. All the right things I knew before were still right, but I never connected them. Though I knew that Jesus was the Savior, I wasn’t trusting in what He did on the cross to get me to heaven, I was still trying to do “things.” Then I saw in the Bible that God wants us to know that we have eternal life. 1John 5:13 “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

Yippee!!! I found the secret… “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

So the secret was knowing I could have the assurance of heaven as my home by trusting in Jesus; realizing that the payment that God requires for our sins was paid for by the shed blood of Jesus at Calvary. Leviticus 17:11 says, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”
Hebrews 10:10-12 says, “…By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;" On the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished! The job of paying for our sin debt is done!

In the Secret Garden, the girl had to find a key before she could enter the garden…she knew it existed, because she found the gate, but without the key she was not able to get in. In Revelation 3:7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;” (that is Jesus) Jesus is the One that has the key…he opens the door to the Garden, the Secret Garden – the place of being in the presence of the God.

The day I was saved, I received the key so that the door to heaven would be opened to me and no man could close it…and only Jesus could open the pearly gates. “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

So, what is the final outcome?

I recall that just before I left my friend’s house she asked if I was going to tell my husband…I replied of course, I want my husband to go to heaven with me. Then when I got home, something miraculous (to me) happened. I received a call from Nana. Remember that she was dying of cancer – she died July 19, 1985, and this was May 9. When I answered the phone, Nana told me that she had been feeling pretty good that day and wanted me to know that she went shopping and bought me a Bible! Can you believe that? How could she have known? She didn’t, but God knew.

When my husband came home from work and after the kids went to bed I went in to his office and told him, “Honey, I did something today.” He put down his pencil and turned around and had that Ricky Ricardo look on his face when asked “What?” Then I proceeded to tell him that I had trusted Christ as my Savior. For 3 weeks I tried to witness to him and he was curious, he never got angry with me, but I couldn’t get him to understand the difference between believing in his head and trusting in his heart. I finally had my friend and her husband over for dinner and on June 1, my husband trusted Christ as his Savior! He led us to North Valley Baptist Church where we stayed for 15 years until God called my husband to Redwood Baptist Church in 2000.

The Secret Garden? In the book everybody was happiest when it was no longer a secret.

Christian, we have access to the Garden of prayer everyday 24/7.

Ladies, today we have learned of the Secret Garden. We have seen the gates of pearl, we have been offered the key that will unlock the gate, the question I have for you is will you take it? Will you ask Jesus into your heart and trust in Him as your only source for salvation? Will you spend time in the Garden of Prayer where there is joy and gladness and thanksgiving and the voice of melody? (singing - do you have a song in your heart?) I pray that if you have not already done so, that today you will...if you do, please let me know; I am praying for you.

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, September 21, 2009

What's it Worth?

I live in California - a beautiful state. The weather is perfect, (in my city whose motto is "Climate is best by government test") the average year-round temperature is 72 degrees. Within a short drive I can go to the ocean, to mountains, to the snow (during winter of course), so we don't have to travel very far to enjoy any of the seasons and there are so many great vacation spots.

We have visited Columbia several times (in California - I don't even have a passport) where there is a beautiful park with a lot of attractions like horseback riding, picnicking, candy stores, panning for gold, nice big trees, and great weather. About 20 years ago on one of our family vacations we went to Columbia to the park and we were having a great time - we had gone horseback riding, we brought our picnic lunch, we bought candy and as we were checking out the gold panning area - we were watching as people were at various stations along the water actually panning for gold. Our youngest son (4 years old at the time) was also intrigued with what the people were doing, and so he walked up to see what they were getting out of the water, when he spotted a little glass vial (filled with water and gold specks that resembled glitter), which he quickly picked up and before we could stop him, he dumped it back into the water...oops! The man's jaw dropped, he was perturbed (to say the least) and let us know that it had taken him 1 1/2 hours to pan that gold! We apologized and then sped away (we were glad he didn't try to make us pay him the $$ the gold was worth)!

While watching the news the other day, they showed a video of a man that caught a foul ball at a professional baseball game whose daughter in turn got the ball and threw it back! Just like my son, she had no idea of the value or potential worth of this professional baseball. It was a ball, so the natural thing was to throw it - and what a good girl - she was giving it back. My son had no idea that there was gold in the vial - he was watching as the people panning for gold were filling and emptying water - so he did the same thing - not knowing its worth.

These children of course were completely innocent in their actions - but how often do we discard things of great worth because they just aren't worth anything to us or because we simply do not realize their worth? Most people are willing to pay the price if something is worth getting. We have all heard the saying "one man's junk is another man's treasure," but the truth is we should all make sure we know and prioritize our treasures. There are some things that just can't be replaced - sure that man at the baseball game may never catch another foul ball at a baseball game, but with all the publicity he received the ball team may have given him another ball; and that man whose gold my son spilled out could have stayed and panned for more gold - and found it...but what about the real treasures?

Time - once a moment has passed you can never get it back; treasure your time (and the time you give and take from others). "But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day..." Hebrews 3:13

Stages of your life - I will never be a child, teen, young wife, young mother, or new Christian again in my life; so if that is the stage of your life right now - make the most of it, because this is your only opportunity.

Stages of your children's lives - my children are now 30, 28, 27 (almost) & 24 years old - they will never be babies requiring my time and attention again; they will never be toddlers that need to trained in every area, nor desire for me to sit and play puzzles with them again - so enjoy it. They'll not ask me to carry them or hold their hands when they are scared or tired; or for help with their homework, or even to drive them to their practices, games, activities, or to chaperon their dates - we've passed through all of those stages. I am blessed with the memories, and thankful that I tried to enjoy each stage, because all too fast that stage of life is gone... I don't regret one moment.

People - people are not dispensable as some would like to think. Every person is a soul for which God sent His only Son to save by dying in their stead on the cross. People are valuable, and no matter how old they are, how long or short of a time we have known and loved them - we don't like to lose them. Please don't toss people aside or decide that they are of no more value - I know that there are some people that may hurt us, or do things with which we don't agree; pray for those people because whatever caused their actions is probably hurting them, and holding on to bad feelings towards people that have hurt you, will just continue to hurt you until you let it go and forgive them. "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows." Matthew 10:29-31 "Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven." Matthew 18:21, 22

Things you do for God - the things you do for God from your heart are sent ahead to heaven - those are treasures that are the best investments. "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:" Matthew 6:20

Salvation - We should treasure the Salvation that Jesus purchased with His own blood. How sad it is when Christian's neglect their Salvation - it is our highest and most valuable treasure - I could go on and on and quote verse after verse about our great salvation and all that it affords, but at least consider this: "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, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." John 10:27, 28 "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

We may not all have money, but we all have treasures - if you are reading this, you have time (you are alive and breathing), you have this stage of your life - enjoy it; enjoy every stage of your children's lives, one day they will be only memories; treasure the people in your life - they won't be here forever; and if you have trusted Christ as your Saviour, you have your Salvation - the one treasure you will never lose!

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hear the Whole Matter

Several years ago when my kids were teens we went to Disneyland for a family vacation. We had a lot of fun riding on the various rides and at the various attractions. That particular year there was a new attraction in the World of Tomorrow. It was pretty interesting and the way it worked was kind of like the Discovery Museum where you can walk around to each attraction and participate.

While in that section I saw an attraction that looked fun. It was one of those simulation type of rides - it was a motorcycle with an attached pair of binoculars that viewed a screen. The screen showed the various roads, hills, and curves, and the motorcycle simulated the motion. I walked into the attraction, climbed on a motorcycle and enjoyed the big deal, right?

Well, no - it was a big deal because apparently this particular ride was one for which people were waiting in line - and the attendant at the ride was supposed to make sure that every rider was safely secured on the ride. When the ride was over the attendant came up to me and scolded me (which was my first clue that I had done anything wrong) and told me that my actions put his job on the line! Wow, I felt bad, but I had no idea.

At the same time, my husband and kids were all in line waiting to ride on the ride I had just trespassed. They were not watching the ride, but apparently there were others in line that were and they started laughing, pointing, and saying things like, "oh no! do you see that lady - she is just getting on the ride from the exit!" "What in the world is that lady doing? did she just go in from the exit?" Needless to say, when my family looked and saw it was me, they were embarrassed and not ready to admit they were with me.

When I got off the ride and met up with my family, they told me all that had happened. I was ready to go and wait in line and tried to encourage them to do the same, as it was a fun ride, but they wanted to get as far away from there as possible. People had just witnessed my behavior and had deemed that I was a zany lady, entering a Disneyland ride from the exit and doing my own thing. In fact I am pretty sure that some people were staring at me for my behavior. I promise I was completely innocent!

Now I told every side of the story to show how differently things can be viewed. To me, I just entered an attraction and participated as I had with all the other attractions in that area. To the attendant I was a defiant lady that wanted to do my own thing even if I got someone fired from their job, and to the people waiting in line I was just a zany lady. Too often we make decisions or judgments without hearing the whole story. Moms rashly punish their children without hearing both sides (or if you have more kids there may be more than 2 sides), teachers often assume that the class clown is guilty... people make judgments without knowing all the facts. We can avoid this if we'll take heed to Ecclesiastes 12:13 which says, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:"

I know that there were times that I punished the wrong child because I didn't know all the facts - and mom, if that happens, be sure to apologize to your child and seek their forgiveness - that will help your children in the future to admit when they are wrong. Before you pass judgment, or make decisions, hear the conclusion of the whole matter. It may save you from doing the wrong thing.

The verse I quoted above also has a conclusion - the verse in its entirety says, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."  Ecclesiastes 12:13  If we want to fulfill our whole duty - we need to fear God and keep His commandments.

Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Oh My!

Have you ever had an experience that was so embarrasing you were mortified? I am sure that I have more than my fair share of those types of things, but I am thinking of 2 "mall" experiences. The first one didn't affect me as much because I was only in junior high. I had gone shopping with my mom (of coure she is the queen of shoppers - taking after her mom), my cousins, and one of my cousin's friends. I am not sure whose car we were in, but what I remember is that the car was a clunker, and for some reason the horn would just decide to honk as if it had a mind of its own. On this beautiful sunny day when everyone in the world is outside- we had the privilege of driving home in the clunker with horn blaring the entire way home...oh my! My cousin's friend wore her sunglasses and a hat hoping that no one would recognize her - we all had a good laugh over the situation.

The second time we had an incident at a mall happened when I was a teenager - and I was with a few of my friends. We had just parked the car - and you know how sometimes as you're walking to the mall the wind kicks up and blows your hair? Well, on this particular day when the wind blew, my friend used the window of a car to fix her hair, and then she checked her makeup and began putting on her lipstick - when to her horror, all of a sudden she realized that there was a guy in the car just watching her! Actually, he was smiling and finally tapped the window and waved at her! Oh My! now that was embarrassing, for her anyway. She was mortified, but then we all laughed and laughed everytime we thought about it.

Sometimes things happen in our lives that humble us a little, but that's okay because Proverbs 29:23 says, "A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit." So when we have these "mortifying" or humbling experiences - learn to laugh at yourself - don't take yourself too seriously, its okay- remember " A merry heart doeth good like a medicine..." Proverbs 17:22

Catch yourself doing something ditzy? Oh well, laugh it off, and share it with someone that needs a good laugh - you may be the prescription they need.

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fallen out Rather Unto the Furtherance

When my children were babies it seemed they were continually getting ear infections. In fact, 2 of my children had to have tubes put in their ears to allow for proper drainage - and so they could hear clearly (instead of the muffled underwater sounds they were hearing). So far 2 of my granchildren have had to have the same thing done, not surprisingly they are the children of my children that had the procedure.

When my youngest son was born I noticed something that looked different about his tongue when he cried - as it turned out he was what they called "tongue tied," meaning that he needed to have his frenulum clipped. This same son at the age of two fell off a big wheel and his 2 front teeth were knocked out! Then, believe it or not 2 years later when he was four, a store display cabinet fell over on him and knocked out the dentures he wore so that he would have teeth in place as he learned to talk! It sure seemed like something was going on with his mouth, and we had to keep working to protect it. This same son today travels to churches singing with a trio, he is a preacher of the Gospel, and he is a soul winner; in other words he is using his mouth to the glory of God!

My son could certainly have tried to say that he couldn't use his mouth with all the problems he had as a child, but as the Bible says in Exodus 4:11, "And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? ... have not I the LORD?" Instead I believe that we all realized the importance of the mouth. My second son's life verse is Psalm 34:1, "I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth." As adults our kids formed a trio in our church aptly named, "The New Song Trio" taken from Psalm 40:3, "And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD."

Through the trials that our children endured I believe the Lord placed an importance of the use the of the mouth in our hearts that has affected the lives of our children and ultimately the lives of those they have impacted. All of my sons are preachers, in fact my husband and I were so blessed this summer when we were out of town for two Sundays and our sons filled his pulpit in his absence. We were pleased as we realized that if we had to be gone 2 more weeks, we have 2 more sons, and either of them could have taken a turn to fill the pulpit as well. We praise the Lord for His working in their lives, and count it a blessing that our childen all eight of them are serving the Lord (our four and their mates). All of them are using their mouths for the Glory of God!

I said all of that to say that those things that are difficulties in your life can be turned to blessings and to honour the Lord. Don't allow the hard things that befall you to turn you away from God, but rather turn to the Lord and allow Him to work in you through your will see by and by the good that can come as a result. "But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things [which happened] unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel..." Philippians 1:12

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sometimes Its the Little Things

This week I had the opportunity to spend a little extra time with my daughter and her children. I have several sweet memories of this time - like when the baby (she is 14 mos. old) walked up to me, lifted her hands to be held, and then gave me a huge hug; or when my 3 year old granddaughter so proudly showed her bedroom that she had cleaned up all by herself because her mommy told her that Grammie would like to see her bedroom all clean; or when my 5 year old grandson gave me a big hug and kiss and then said, "Grammie, you'll always be my best friend." These are perhaps little things, but they sure made my day, and they continue to warm my heart, and put a smile on my face as I recall them.

I have been pondering about how sometimes it is the little things that people do or say that make us feel special, or make a difference in our lives. I remember receiving a call from my husband's grandmother the day I prayed to receive the Lord as my Saviour; she was terminally ill with pancreatic cancer but she called to say that she felt pretty well that day, so she went shopping and bought me a Bible! A little thing perhaps to some, but it meant so much to me to know that on the day I was saved, the Lord used my dying grandmother to buy me a Bible. I remember another day, on my birthday - I had received many nice gifts and flowers, but our home was being remodeled so I decided that the flowers were better suited to remain in my office - I told the Lord how much I appreciated the flowers, and mentioned that it would be perfect if I would get maybe a small vase with a single flower to take home; when I returned from my lunch break, there sitting on my desk was a vase with a single rose! Again, it was a small thing, but it meant so much to me that God would take the time to have someone get me a single rose simply because I had mentioned it was something I would like to receive...amazing.

Sometimes we expect our answers and blessings to be the BIG things, and of course they are great, but in reality sometimes it is the little things that show us just how much we are loved - when we realize that God is concerned enough to even pay attention to the small things. In I Kings 19:12, Elijah was looking for an answer from God because he felt that he was the only one left standing up for God; he was looking to find God in extreme circumstances but look at what God showed him... "And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice." When Elijah was looking for an answer, God simply spoke to him; it was the still, small voice - not extravagant, just a still, small voice.

Want to be a blessing to someone but think you can't do anything big enough? No worries - sometimes it’s the little things that let people know you really care. If God impresses something on your heart to do for someone - any little thing, go ahead and do it- because sometimes it is the little things that make the difference. Remember little is much when God is in it!

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Babbling or Breaking Through?

Have you ever had a child come up to you and babble something but have no idea what in the world they were trying to saying? And then have the same child look at you and wonder why you are not responding...only then to have their mother hear them and clearly understand exactly what they want? I love hearing children as they are just beginning to talk - it is so adorable to me as they stumble through new pronunciations, or listening to them proudly use new words.

All of my children spoke relatively early and as a mom I always tried my best to understand what they were trying to communicate to me. Of course a lot of the time I would understand what they were trying to say because I had worked at teaching them to pronounce their words, and heard their attempts - so when they tried to use their new words, I knew what they were saying. I also found that they would be more willing to keep trying to learn new words if I responded to the ones they had already learned.

I am picturing right now in my mind an adorable little boy standing at my knees looking up at me with his arms extended saying, "dow" meaning "pick me up." I concluded that the reason for his confusion was because when he was in his highchair I would ask if he wanted to get down, and then I would pick him up. I understood what he meant because I spent time with him, and of course as a mom I knew his needs.

Last night I watched as one of my baby granddaughters (I have 4 that were born in 2008) wasn't feeling well. She didn't feel well and didn't know how to communicate what she was feeling, but her momma understood her fussiness and babbling - and did what she needed to do to help her baby feel better. That's what moms do best.

The Holy Spirit indwelling us does much of the same thing. I have heard it taught that the family is a picture of the Holy Trinity - Dad (being a picture of the Heavenly Father) children (being a picture of the Son - obedient) and Mom (by process of the elimination - the Holy Spirit). The Bible does say in Isaiah 66:13, "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you;" and we know that the Holy Spirit is the comforter, so I believe that we would do well as mothers to learn the role of the Holy Spirit and implement those characteristics to our position.

Today, I am thinking especially about the Holy Spirit's work in helping us with praying (asking) for the things we want and need. You know sometimes, we can know we have a need, and want to pray about something, but just feel at a loss and not know what to say, kind of like my granddaughter last night; or maybe we feel that we're not sure if our prayer sounds like babbling when we really want to break through and we just can't fully express what we any case the Holy Spirit is there indwelling the heart of every Christian to help us with those situations. Romans 8:26-27 says, "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." That is so comforting to me, because the Holy Spirit will take my prayer before the Heavenly Father, and present to Him what is best for me according to the will of God. What is even more comforting in that thought is that God's promises in I John 5:14, "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:"

You know just as a child is encouraged to keep talking when they perceive that they are being understood, we will be encouraged as we pray knowing that because the Holy Spirit is there helping us to pray and presenting our prayers before God according to His will we have the following promise in Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

Afraid your prayers aren't being understood? Don't worry the Holy Spirit has it covered, and whatever the outcome, trust God because all the things that will happen as a result of your prayer will work together for the good things that God wants for you and your life - even if you don't understand it. When my granddaughter wasn't feeling well, she may not have liked the medicine her momma gave her, but it was for her good, and afterwards she did feel better. We may not like all the things that are working together for our good - but they are for our good, and things will get better. The Holy Spirit understands your babbling (praying - and be sure that you are praying) and will present if before God according to His will for your good!

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Crowns

Today is Grandparent’s Day. So, I guess today is my day – as I have 15
precious grandchildren. In truth, I spent a good portion of time remembering my own grandparents.

I have very precious memories of my grandparents, and since I am a grandmother - I am thinking especially about the memories of my own grandmothers. I wish I could remember my Nanny – she was my dad’s mom. I know that I loved her because when I was less than 2 years old, I escaped from my home to walk down the block (and across the street) to see my Nanny. I know that she took me on outings and that we shared a special relationship.

I have very fond memories of Nanna – she was actually my husband’s grandmother. She was very fun loving, and had a fiery spirit that made her such a special lady. I especially grew close to her after she was widowed and moved to the bay area to be close to her daughter (my mother-in-law). Nanna could cook and sew and had a zest for life. Nanna taught me to make real fried chicken, and milk gravy. She would give of her time sewing, and making costumes for our children. It was Nanna that prayed fervently for our salvation. I recall the tears of joy she shed when my husband and I told her that we had trusted Christ as our Saviour just months before she went to Heaven. I also remember very clearly when she said to my husband, “David, please tell the others.”

In my heart of hearts, the one person that floods my memories when I think of grandmothers is my Mamita. Mamita was always a part of my life. I have been told that I was Mamita’s girl as a baby – and you know, she made me feel that way up to the last time I saw her. We had a special relationship that I can not put into words, but as I write today, I can still feel the love that she had for me as her granddaughter. Oh, she gave me so many pearls of wisdom about my marriage and raising my children – but what I remember the most is the way she hugged me, and the way I just knew that she loved me. Her whole face would light up with a smile when I saw her and then she would hug me almost swaying back and forth, and then the little tickle would start.

My given name is Teresa, and when my Mamita would hug me, she would then tickle me and call me little pet names, “Teresa, Teresita, Terechita, Terechee, poquitita, bonita,” and then she would cover my face with kisses. I am sure that this started when I was just a baby, and even the last time I saw her (I was 40 years old at the time), she still went through the whole routine.

Well, now it is my turn – now I am Grammie and my how wonderful it is to have grandchildren. I now understand the look I saw in my grandparents and just what it meant. I was their crown – crown means: the distinction that comes from a great achievement. “Children’s children are the crown of old men…” Proverbs 17:6 (well there, I said it – I am an old man).

And so Mark, Micah, Brooklynn, Alexis, Dominic, Corban, Ethan, Marissa, Haylie, Jaclynn, Gianna, Colton, Madelyn, and Connor, you are our crowns, and very precious blessings to me (and Papa) indeed. We love you and thank the Lord for you.

“Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD. Yea, thou shalt see thy children’s children…Psalm 128:4, 6

So Happy Grandparent's Day to me... and here are my "crowns"

 Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Morning by Morning New Mercies I See

This past year has been a year like no other for me personally. My kids (some of them) have moved away, there have been changes in our ministry due to the current economic crisis, we moved into a smaller house, and on and on it goes. All of these changes have brought my mind to think of one word: purging.

Purging feels like punishment - all the things that you know and are attached to are suddenly cut away - and that hurts severely. I have never been so "purged" - and if we're not careful we can get discouraged...really discouraged. Thankfully God explains purging in His Word. As I was pondering that fact I found myself amazed once again at God's grace, wisdom, and mercy.

I was sitting on my bed praying and considering all the purging and wondering what happens next; what are you supposed to do after the purging? I then realized that I could study facts about pruning and purging and see where I could apply it to my life when the Lord brought the following truths to light.

1. God used the familiar term "purging" so that I could look it up and study it. You know like science, isn't that what God was teaching when He said to "go to the ant and consider her way?" He wants us to learn from the nature He created.
2. In all cases, pruning or purging - it is not for punishment, but for future and more abundant growth. Now that was encouraging - and that was when I had a "bapticostal" fit. I started singing the song, "Great is Thy Faithfulness" which has the line in it that says, "morning by morning, new mercies I see." I saw new mercies that morning and I was blessed.

When I looked online and studied out pruning I found some interesting facts about why trees should be pruned. Here is what I found:

1. The primary reason for pruning is so that the tree will develop a strong structure and desirable form. While leaves may look pretty, too much foliage creates a better atmosphere for disease, and more cost in pruning later. Plus the whole point of the tree is not for the leaves - it is to produce fruit.
2. While "pruning" should not be viewed as punishment, it is used to correct or maintain tree structure. If there is a broken or diseased limb, it should be removed so that it will not hinder growth of fruit.
4. Pruning allows the tree to be more exposed to light which is necessary for growth. The fruit that grows from the area of the tree that is most exposed to the light is the fruit that is the best colored, earliest ripening, and largest.

After seeing all of that I realized that though a person may feel they are being rejected, the whole purpose for pruning or purging is because the One caring for the tree wants the tree to achieve its full potential and bear fruit! Look at what Jesus said in John 15:2, "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." It is the tree or branch that has potential of bearing fruit that is purged.

Are you going through a period of purging in your life? It is hard having things cut away, but remember that the purging or pruning is being used to develop you into a strong and desirable fruit-bearing Christian. No one likes having things cut away; cuts create wounds that are painful, but just as with the tree, too many leaves cause distraction from producing fruit. Too many leaves may also cause excessive shading- and remember we need the Light. Jesus said, "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8:12

What felt like punishment suddenly became encouragement - a new mercy I found that morning in realizing that God created the world, and the way it works, in such a way that we can watch and understand the changes that befall us. "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead..." Romans 1:20

Here are the words to the second verse of the song, "Great is Thy Faithfulness"

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Great is Thy faithfulness,
Great is Thy faithfulness,
Morning by morning new mercies I see:
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

Have a wonderful day ladies, I have prayed for you today.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Don't Look Back

Today is 9/11. I have spent a good portion of the day remembering that day. The shock, the emotion, the fear – what I was doing. It was a Tuesday morning, the beginning of the school year – and I was teaching the K-4/5 and 1st grade class. We were living a good distance from the church and I had to leave early. My parents were staying with us, and one of my sons had received a call telling him to watch the news. When we turned on the television, we couldn’t believe what we were seeing! I recall the horror I felt as the second plane crashed into the second building. I cried the whole way to work that day, and I knew that things would never be the same – my America was attacked.

For some reason we always seem surprised that the day of a tragedy starts out like any other day – but we never know what a day will bring.

"Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot's wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it." Luke 17:28-32

In reading from Luke we know that Lot’s wife was seeking to save her life but instead she lost it. We may all say that “God knows best,” but when we really believe it, we do what He says. The angels were trying to protect Lot’s wife, but she didn’t believe them – she thought the life she had was worth saving, not realizing that God was giving her a chance to live!

Genesis 19:13 "For we will destroy this place, …Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, …lest thou be consumed.
24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;
25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.
26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt."

Lot's wife's land was being destroyed, and even though she was warned - she was reluctant to respond. Aren't you all thinking that if you were warned, you would have responded? I am sure that if any of the people in the airplanes, or in the Twin Towers on 9/11/01, would have been warned of the attack they would have heeded the warning and stayed away, right? Yet, everyday we warn people of hell, seek to save their lives by pointing them to our Saviour, and sadly most refuse to heed the warning.

There are others that have received the gift of Salvation, but refuse to live a holy life; which God wants us to live for our own good - because He loves us. What causes us to refuse the life God wants us to live, and choose a lifestyle that is contrary to the Bible? What caused Lot’s wife to accept the horrible life style she led and to look back instead of ahead at the life God wanted for her?

"Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good." Ezekiel 16:49

1. Pride. It is a proud people that don’t believe they need God. When God sent his angels to save even just their family, she didn’t really believe it because if she had she would have worked to convince her children; and she would have obeyed and been afraid to look back.
2. Fullness of Bread. She had everything she needed, wanted and more. She didn’t really need anything, so she didn’t think she needed God.
3. Abundance of Idleness. She had too much time on her hands. You know when you’re busy serving God and helping others; you get your eyes off yourself.
4. She did not strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. Of the Virtuous Woman it is said, “She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.” This speaks of soul winning and being as the Good Samaritan concerned for the needs of others. Lot’s wife didn’t help anybody.
5. To be Haughty is to be high-minded; not only proud because sometimes a person can be proud, but not everyone will know what they are thinking. A haughty person will belittle others, believe that they are better than others; be a snob, and treat other people as if they are beneath them.
6. Committed abomination. “ These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” Proverbs 6:16-19

Lot’s wife was content with her life. In the account of what happened when they were being escorted out of the Sodom before God destroyed it; the Bible says the angels had to take a hold of their hands to usher them out – even though God was destroying it for wickedness! She may not have personally enjoyed all that was going on, maybe she just became callous because she had abundance of bread, and too much time on her hands. In any case it she looked back and her life was destroyed!

When God calls us to a place, reveals a truth to our hearts, or convicts us to make a change, it is because He has a life for us –one that is far better than what we know and – He doesn’t want us to look back. “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62

How can we avoid her mistake?

The following verses from Philippians 3, I believe hold the answer to avoiding the mistake that Lot’s wife made.

1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.
2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.
3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Go ahead - do what God wants you to do, go where God wants you to go... and DON’T LOOK BACK! Remember Lot’s wife

Have a wonderful day - and by the grace of God a wonderful life!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Weapons for the Battle

Several years ago I was asked to give a devotional for a young gal in our Sunday school class on the occasion of the birth of her 4th child, and only son. They named their son Zachary because it means “The Lord Remembers.” I remember sitting in my backyard, reading my Bible when the Lord gave me the Scripture I used for that devotion. The passage of Scripture is from the book of Psalms, chapter 144:1 – 3, “Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me. LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!” I remember being so amazed when I read verse 3, which asks the question, “what is man, that thou takest knowledge of Him…” and thought of how God remembered their family by giving them the son they had prayed for! Every time I read that Psalm, I think of that sweet family.

This morning I read Psalm 144 which ends with this statement in verse 15, “Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.” I also read the book of Ruth, but before I actually started reading, Judges 21:25, caught my attention, It says, “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” With both of those verses on my mind, I thought of the current state of our nation.

America was founded on the Word of God. With God on the throne in America has flourished and indeed known the blessing of God. In the last 40 years, God has been removed as our Lord in America. He is not allowed in public, people want to remove “In God We Trust” from our money, and “One Nation Under God” from our Pledge of Allegiance; and as in the days when there was no king in Israel, people are doing that which is right in their own eyes.

In Psalm 144, there is a “prayer” for the family that I believe reveals the pathway to the happiness promised in verse 15. The Psalm starts out by thanking the Lord for teaching our hands to war, because you know that today with the stark change in the values that were once held by the majority in our nation, there is a battle for our children. Moms, you only have your children for a short amount of time – so be sure you are properly armed for the battle.

These are the weapons we need to win this war.

1. Presence of God. Realize that we are we weak and God is mighty. “Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away. Bow thy heavens, O LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke. Cast forth lightning, and scatter them: shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them.” Psalm 144:4-6

2. Protection of God. Seek God’s help to protect your children from worldly influences. They may misguide your children by the vain things they will say; they are relying on things that are not true. “Send thine hand from above; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of strange children. Whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood.” Psalm 144:7-8 (This is reiterated in verse 11).

3. Praise our God. Make sure that your children learn that Jesus is the Saviour, and that God provides protection. “I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee. It is he that giveth salvation unto kings: who delivereth David his servant from the hurtful sword.” Psalm 144:9-10

Psalm 144 goes on to promise that if we follow this path in raising children, our sons will be as plants grown up in their youth –properly trained, standing straight and disciplined; our daughters will be as polished cornerstones, beautiful and strong women, our needs will be met, and we will be protected.

It is my prayer that this will be of help to all of you in the battle today. My children are in this battle raising my grandchildren in a very different America than I knew even 30 years ago when my first child was born - I praise the Lord that while America has changed our God never changes, and his Word is eternal. "For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven." Psalm 119:89

I love you!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Not Just What but Why

As mothers, we have an awesome responsibility. Throughout God’s Word, I find mothers doing many things, for example: Comforting, teaching, loving, training, encouraging, disciplining, nurturing, feeding, bathing and on and on it goes! Whew! The Lord very graciously placed within our hearts the desire to do all these things for our children. There is one area in particular that I have thought about this week—that is teaching.

Often mothers teach their children “what,” but neglect “why.” I am not saying that you have to tell your children why they should clean their room when you tell them to, but teach them the importance of obedience in every circumstance and the consequence lack of obedience will bring. “Wisdom is the principal thing: therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7 Being taught is great, but understanding is what makes a person carry out what they have learned.

I recall memorizing the name, position and job for each of the 206 bones in a human body during high school for a science test. I passed the test, but I don’t remember very much of what I memorized during science now that I have been out of school for ?? years! I learned what they were called, but not why I needed to know or what help it would be to me to understand—until years later when one of my children had metatarsal adductus and I understood the purpose of the bone and what they were doing to fix it.

When Jesus taught the multitudes about the kingdom of heaven in Matthew 13, He used several parables. Jesus made sure that everyone He was teaching could understand Him. He appealed to the sower, to the women, to those that would seek treasure, to the merchantman, and to the fishermen. He taught them using terms and examples they could understand. After Jesus told them a parable, He then explained His point so that they could understand the wisdom of His Word. Mom, make sure that you not only give your children the “what” to do, but the “why” we do it when instructing them.

Too often children carry on doing things habitually without understanding why - often times it is not necessary - like the story of the woman that cut off the ends of her roast because her mom did. Years later when her mom saw her doing it, she explained that the only reason she always cut off the ends of the roast was because she did not have a pan big enough for the roast! For years she went through an unnecessary process! In other cases, children stop doing something they grew up doing because they don't know why they did it. I am thinking in particular of when parents don't explain their standards to their children - so the kids grow up, and can't give an explanation of why they do or don't do certain things; they end up dropping their standards to their detriment. I Peter 3:15 says, "...and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:"

Mom, teach your kids to be ready always to give an I guess that means you should be able to give them an answer as well. As I stated before, this does NOT mean that your kids have the right to ask you "why?" they should obey when you tell them to do something. Children must be taught to obey right away; teach them the importance of obedience - I leave you with this truth..."Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known." Deuteronomy 11:26 - 28
I know that every mother wants her children to be blessed - start training them to that end today!

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, September 7, 2009

When I Am Weak

Last week after church I was speaking with several of our ladies. At this time of the year - the kids go back to school, college kids that have been home for the summer leave home again, and the newly graduated ones leave for the first time. As we were talking I verbalized a question I have wondered about quite often since I have been an "empty nester." Though all of my kids have been married for several years, (my youngest celebrated his 4th wedding anniversary), this year I feel it so much more because I am not working outside the home.

What I have wondered about is - why do women have to go through "the change"at the same time as she goes through the emotional changes of having her children leave home? Isn't one of those changes at a time enough? As it is, women have the joy of carrying the babies, delivering the babies (so their bodies go through those changes), why do those 2 most difficult changes happen simultaneously? Well, after I asked the question to the ladies with whom I was speaking (who of course are both younger than I am), I decided to ask the Lord - and you know what He answered? II Corinthian 12:9-10. Those verses read, "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."

Wow! What a wonderful answer and a great encouragement - I am so glad I asked. As I was pondering the magnificent answer, I saw the glorious truth in my own life. When we have our kids, we are constantly doing something for them, our time is consumed with our responsibility, and though we pray, we may not realize our weaknesses.

Now that I have become one of "aged women," (not that I am old), God has given me some very important instructions; to teach the younger women, to impart wisdom that I have gleaned through the years and oh how easy it would be to try to go by memory or do it on my own. Listen to what is expected of us now as stated in Titus 2:3-5,"The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." What a HUGE responsibility; I dare not attempt it on my own! So, now that I have all these changes and emotional "weakness," I must rely on God's strength - when I know I can't do something I will be dependent.

So ladies, as the seasons of our lives change; God very uniquely has provided a way to ensure that we have His sufficient grace and His perfect strength. God is so good! Thank you Lord for your love and grace, and for giving me your answer that has so blessed my soul. It is my prayer that this will be a blessing to all of you ladies that "know" what it feels like to have an empty nest.

Have a wonderful day today ladies!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Teaching Time

The other day my husband and I were talking about how so many of the "words" we use were invented by our children or grandchildren as they were learning to talk. Some of the common words we use:

"eh-d'wing?" for "what are you doing?"
"oh -it's forecast" for "it looks overcast outside"
"ye me yone" for "leave me alone"
"bungle bees" for bumble bees
"woobie" for movie

All children go through the process of mispronouncing words as they learn to speak. These "words" will eventually be pronounced properly and become a memory or as in our family - a part of our family's language. Unfortunately, some parents become "hyper" about making sure their kids speak properly - even when their young mouths and tongues are not accustomed to forming new words. When you are in front of people - if your kids don't say a word exactly the right way - don't embarrass them - stress not! By and by, your children will learn to pronounce the words properly - and then you may even miss the cute way they used to say it!

Mom, though you are your child’s primary teacher, you should not feel that you must constantly be correcting them demanding perfection. Allow some time with your children to be just simple fun. You will undoubtedly see that your child has misconceptions about various things or see them attempt to do some things incorrectly - but if you are in the middle of playing, don’t stop playing to teach them right then and there, finish playing and enjoy having fun together first.

Later on when the time is appropriate, talk to your child and explain or teach them what they need to learn. Your child will always feel that they have to perform if you stop in the middle of what you are doing to correct them for every little thing. Their future success depends on their willingness to "try" new things - a child that is being micro-managed during the normal development process will become self-conscience and hindered from their full potential. Of course, if they need to learn something immediately, for their safety or their health, then by all means tell them right away. But if it is something like how to pronounce their "l's" or how to best cook a turkey, or how hot the sun is—let it wait. "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little." Isaiah 28:10

It is amazing to me the way that children learn, but one thing I've learned is that in time they all will learn what they need to know.

Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Leaders Are Readers

One of the many joys of being a mother of grown children is the well of memories that we carry in our hearts. This morning my 4-year old granddaughter saw an American flag and said to her mother, “Mom, that is an American flag, it is also called Old Glory.” What a brilliant child (if I do say so myself). She reminds so much of her dad when he was a child. Of course that is when the “well of memories” began to flood my mind. I remember a time when he was 3 years old; he wanted a cookie, but I said “no.” A few moments later I was accosted by a Lego-gun toting villain demanding a cookie! For all of you that are wondering – he still did not get the cookie; I was amazed that he had devised the plan, made the gun, and then attempted to force me to give him what he wanted, but I did not want him to think he could get his way with a gun.

I remember spending time working with my children before they went to school and of course helping them with their homework through the years. I recall one time in particular when one of my sons had to write his first book report. What a struggle! I had to wait until the other kids were in bed so that I could really work with him. I remember going through each process of the report, and every argument he used to say that the book was not “report” worthy. My son believed the whole book could be summed up in one sentence. Of course that was not the case. Now this same son not only sets goals for how many books he will read in a year – he has actually had a book published!

Reading is so important. The saying goes, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” All of us are leaders in some capacity. It may be that you are a leader or supervisor at work. Perhaps you are leading your children to follow their dad, or maybe you lead in an area of responsibility in your home (like the cleaning, laundry, food preparation, your family’s diet, or even finances). In some way we all lead and one day your children will have an area they will be called upon to lead as well.

It is very important that you teach your children the importance of seeking instruction, guidance, or counsel so that when they are called upon to lead one day, they will know what to do and how to do it! You can allow your children to fumble to figure things out on their own and then come back for instruction, or you can teach them how much easier and better things work out when you read the instructions first.

You can teach your children this very valuable lesson by doing the following:

Read to them when they are young—teach them to love books (it may just be your attention they love—but read to them).

Let them see that you are following what you read from God’s Word.

Be honest when you can’t answer a question, then show them you can find the answer by looking in a dictionary for spelling or definition - a cook book for a recipe, an encyclopedia for information on a specific subject, or as they grow older how to use the internet to find information.

Most importantly teach them that the best and basic instruction they will need for their lives is found in the Bible.

Have a wonderful day! (and thanks for reading)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Wedding Vows

I, (name), take you (name), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, honour and cherish (and to obey – if wife); from this day forward until death do us part.

My husband and I will celebrate our 31st wedding anniversary in a few weeks; and I have to say that in all these years we have been tested in every one of the vows that we made to each other on our wedding day. Through the many years I have seen (sad to say) many folks that have not weathered the difficulties and parted before death. Now, I am not trying to judge folks that have divorced, and certainly if that is you I am sure that you would not wish that on anyone you know or love.

Today the percentage of marriages that end in divorce is approximately 50% and financial stress is the #1 cause! Proverbs 15:16 teaches us that “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.” In other words love makes all the difference – because it is better to be poor and have little to eat with someone you love than to have plenty of food and a home filled hatred.

Ladies, with the economic situation that we face today, it is very possible that you are experiencing financial difficulties. This is the time that you should work together – even if you are the one that is no longer employed, your husband may feel responsible for your financial difficulties. Take this opportunity to show your husband how much you love him and to encourage him. Work through this time together and even if the cause for the difficulties is from poor decisions – pointing fingers and getting angry won’t put money in your pocket; but it will make a difficult situation even harder. I remember when my husband was self-employed and there were times when his clients did not pay him on time, or when the economy was slow and there were no clients, or when we just had no money at all! I remember searching my purses and dresser drawers for pennies and then rolling pennies to buy milk and bread to feed our children. I remember one time having a total of $11.00 to buy groceries for our entire family for a week! Believe it or not though they were not the easiest of times, we have special memories of our early struggles, and the joyful memories of seeing them end.

Money can’t buy love or happiness. Loving your husband and having a good marriage relationship is so much more important than money. The wedding vows include the good times and the bad – better/worse, sickness/health, richer/poorer – all of these are a part of life. “…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5 So, for today if you are facing the worse side, endure the night together, and when you need to - weep together. Love your husband through it all and together you will have joy.

Listen to the wisdom of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My God is So Big

I am at home enjoying a beautiful morning. The sun is shining through a light cloud cover; it is warm, but not too hot. I am adjusting to a completely different schedule in my life – or should I say trying to develop a new schedule. For the first time in many years, I am not working. Today is (for many) the first of school, but I am not there; it is a strange feeling indeed.

I determined that I would try to get some things done at home that I have not been able to get to since we moved here in May. Of course, you know sorting through anything always leads to memories. I have found a “picture” box that has pictures from many years gone by…my children were so little, and I looked so much younger. My how things have changed. Changes…they are a part of life. I am reminded of the verse in Psalm 55, verse 19 which says, “…Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God.”

When things change we often feel insecure or even frightened, which should lead us as Christians to pray and seek help from the Lord. The verse I quoted above is talking about people that do things that displease the Lord, and because as far as they can see nothing bad has happened to them, they are not afraid of what will happen in the future; they aren’t worried about what God thinks.

In this past year my life has undergone tremendous changes – family members that lived so near are now far away; church members that were serving the Lord have stepped away from serving; ministries that consumed hours of my time are no more…changes. When Job’s life changed so drastically he said, “…changes and war are against me.” At that point in his life, he wished that he had never been born. Such a depressing time in his life…but let’s fast forward now and take a look at the whole picture, the end of the story.

In Job 38 and 40, the Lord answered Job in the whirlwind; and for the first time in the Book of Job, he is listening to God, he is looking at Who God is, and finally in Job 42:2; 5-6 he says, “I know that thou canst do every thing…I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” And the end of the story…Job 42:10, “And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.”

Through the difficulties and changes that Job endured, he had a renewed “fear” of God – he saw who God was and what He could do. It is a good thing to fear the Lord, and sometimes it takes changes in our lives to make us see just Who God really is, and all that He can do!

Are you facing whirlwind changes in your life? Are you facing dark, stormy times? Please remember that these changes will help you to fear, reverence, become awestruck with our mighty God. Be encouraged with these words from Nahum 1:3… “the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm…”

“He will bless them that fear the LORD, both small and great. The LORD shall increase you more and more, you and your children.” Psalm 115:13, 14

Carry this “children’s song” with you today…

My God is so BIG, so STRONG and so MIGHTY; there’s nothing that He cannot do …for you!

I love you…have a wonderful day

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Heavenly Scent

This morning I was out soulwinning with a sweet lady in our church. As we were walking in the beauty of the day I passed an apple tree, and the scent brought a memory to my mind. A few moments later I caught of whiff of “dirt” that reminded me of when we went camping with the kids when they were young. I was walking and just thinking about how when we smell certain things it takes us back to a place, or a time, a certain memory of something associated with that certain scent. As I was pondering the wonder of it all, I suddenly realized that the sweet lady I was with was talking; only when I looked she was all by herself. I then realized that as we left each home, she was praying that every family member would be saved. My heart was blessed, and then the Lord brought Revelation 5:8 to my mind; it says, “And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.” It got me thinking that when we pray it lets God know that we realize He is our God, and that we know He is the One that can help us in our time of need; a kind of memory to God of time we spend with Him.

Prayer. It is a precious time we have with our Lord and so often when we realize we can’t do anything we say things like, “I wish I could do something more for you; I’m sorry – I’ll pray for you.” The truth is – prayer to our Heavenly Father will do more than the most you can do on your own. Our prayers are a sweet scent to the Lord – reminding Him of the time we spend in His presence.

Have a wonderful day today!