Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mysterious?...Not so much

We have all heard the saying, “The Lord moves in mysterious ways.” That is not in the Bible verbatim, but the idea or concept is definitely true. God has His way of getting things done – and of course His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are higher than ours. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9 One thing I do know is that I am amazed at the way the Lord works things out – especially when we’re so often afraid of the very things that become our greatest blessings!

Today my husband is performing the first wedding at Lighthouse Baptist Church since its inception on February 21, 2010. The circumstances that led to this day are very unusual to say the least. We received a call from a lady that we met while out door knocking before the church began. That in itself is a pretty amazing story because when we knocked on her door, she was in her house with a group of ladies praying for the new start-up church in town…ours! She attended our first service and we never saw her again. She had her own church she was attending and continued going to her home church.

Now, let’s fast forward one-year. This same lady had car trouble and was unable to go to her home church, so she decided to visit us again. The Lord has since led her to continue to attend our church, our Ladies Bible Study on Tuesday mornings, and even to host one of the tables at our banquet last week! On Thursday we received a call from her because a couple dear to her was planning to get married in Tahoe – but because of the terrible weather they had to cancel their wedding! Needless to say they were very disappointed; she wanted to know if there was any way they could have the wedding at our church, and if my husband would be willing to perform the wedding.

Within one hour, my husband met with them and as is his custom, he talked to them about their salvation – though they both believed in God neither of them knew the Lord as their personal Savior so my husband had the privilege of seeing them gloriously saved! So now this precious couple not only had a church to get married in – they were doing so as God’s precious newborn babes!

They were afraid they weren’t going to be able to have their wedding – instead they were able to get married in an adorable little country church – they used many of the church’s decorations, they had a fellowship hall to use for their reception, and most of those planning to attend lived in or near our town so more of their loved ones were able to attend than if they had gone to Tahoe!

Bad weather mysterious? …not so much; after all it isn’t the first time God sent hail and thunder to save His children! ((Exodus 9:23, I Samuel 2:10, 7:10)

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Prayer and a Little Chocolate

This past weekend we held our first banquet! It was exciting for many reasons – it was our first, we had a lady in our church organizing the entire event, we had a couple that are new Christians cooking the meal, and every table was being decorated according to a different theme by the host and hostess of each table. That took such a huge load off me…I thought:)

As the week progressed I found out that we were having an overnight guest – the speaker staying at our home – after having 6 of our grandkids stay with us for a few days during spring break. Now – really that was not an issue, but it did add a little work. We also decided to keep 3 of our grandchildren with us through Sunday as we were planning to be at their house for our grandson’s special Grandparent’s day at school on Monday…so on Sunday in addition to having the house ready for lunch for 7 guests, and taking all the table decorations to church to set my table after the morning service, I did also have to make sure the kids were ready in time to pick up a very special lady I bring to church every Sunday morning.

Well, whew! I had everyone and everything ready by 9:40! I was doing great…until I realized that my husband had taken the car keys to church with him – I was stranded at home. In the meantime – I began getting phone calls from all the people that were calling to let us know they weren’t going to be able to make it to church…not a good thing for a pastor’s wife to hear on Sunday morning – especially on the very special morning of our first banquet. Then I tried to call my hubby to get the keys, but he wasn’t answering his phone. I proceeded to call everyone whose cell number I had in the church and none of them answered their phones! By now it was 9:56 and I still was stranded at home! Here I had worked so hard to be organized, on time …all together, you know ready and handling everything just fine – now I was late and frazzled because I couldn’t get in touch with anyone. As a last ditch effort I texted everyone at once to let them know I was stranded at home, and that Pastor had the car keys! At last – success! My husband called to let me know he was on his way with the keys…yeah!

My husband was able to make it back to the church on time, but I was late picking up my dear Mrs. Farmer (she is 94), and by the time I got in to Sunday school it was 10:15…only to discover that I had left the bulletins at home…ugh! I picked myself up, walked back to the car out in the rain, and rushed home to get the bulletins. As I was home I was praying, “Lord, please help me I am totally stressing and I really could use a little help, and please can I have just a bite of chocolate? – I think it would help right about now.” I checked my candy dish - it was Nanna’s and I use it to store seasonal candy (just like she did), and of course after having 6 grandchildren with me – all of my mint chocolate (green) candy kisses were gone (no surprise there:). As I was rushing out the door, the Lord reminded me that I had a few Valentine candy’s left (if my husband hadn’t eaten them) and so I hurriedly checked and voila…chocolate!

I thanked the Lord as I enjoyed my little pleasure and realized that if He cared enough to give me chocolate for my stressful moment – surely He had the rest of the day fully under control!

We had a wonderfully successful banquet with an amazing attendance of 117, a great spirit – truly a blessed evening. So, when you find yourself stressing and looking for that little bite of comfort that you need, remember to pray – God answers even the little ones – after all He helped me through with prayer and a little chocolate.

“My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.” Psalm 24:13, 14

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, March 14, 2011

What Mean These Stones?

I am a very sentimental person – for that reason I find myself doing certain things, holding on to certain possessions, and even practicing traditions that some would consider silly or frivolous. “Why?” you might ask and this morning in my Bible reading I found an answer that helped to see why these things might mean so much to me.

“And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.” Joshua 4:5-7

Throughout the Bible we see the Lord commanding certain things to be done “as a memorial” or in some cases as proof of wonderful and miraculous things that happened for the next generation to behold and therefore believe.

I am not by any means a hoarder, but I can’t throw away a card written to me by my loved ones. I have a files of drawings and notes from our kids when they were young – I have baby books for each of my children that hold my “young mother” memories, pictures, and statistics of their growth and speech patterns – they are all so precious to me.

For me, writing the Tender Touch is a way to leave something for my kids – a glimpse of my heart and how the Lord speaks to me…hope you all don’t mind my sharing in this way – but I have heard that once something is on the “net” it never goes away! So here is a list of "stones" that you can leave for your children in time to come.

1. Write your prayer requests, and then mark the date when they’re answered! This weekend while cleaning and re-organizing my husband found a prayer sheet from the time we knew the Lord wanted us to plant Lighthouse Baptist Church in Oakdale. We had listed specific items – church meeting place, financial needs, size and rent for home, etc. about 14 items – and in every case the Lord gave us exactly what we prayed for – or more!
2. Tell your kids and grandkids stories about your life growing up and memories of your heart – when you’re gone they will become more precious.
3. Take lots of pictures and label them – date, time, occasion (you’ll forget otherwise)
4. If you have things that carry sentimental value – tell your kids what they mean to you, and why.
5. Write your kids notes. Keep a diary of sorts for them for after you’re gone.

This past Christmas a dear lady in our church gave me a journal for a mom to leave for her kids. Her mom passed away a few years ago and she said that anytime she finds anything her mom wrote it is so precious – so she gave it to me to leave for my children. Of course there are many things that people do to remember their loved ones, but I believe that writing is one of the best “stones” we can leave for our children.

The Lord gave us His Word; remember He first wrote the commandments on the two tables of stones, as His love letter to us. Through His written Word we have many great and precious promises; we have the truth, answers to life's questions, the place learn wisdom, knowlege, success, prosperity, and most importantly a way to know Him and the way He has provided our salvation.

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.” I John 5:13

“And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” I John 1:4

Saturday, March 12, 2011

From Moses to Moms II

In continuing with pondering what moms can learn from Moses – I feel I must first qualify why I would even compare Moses’ role to that of a mother – he is a man of God, BUT – he was the one leading the children under the direction of God, the Father! So, with the relationship being the “go between” from the Father to the children of Israel – the natural connection is to that of a mother.

In considering the things mothers can learn from Moses I saw several lessons that I find not only insightful, but really helpful – even for mothers like me that no longer have young children to train.

In my last posting I left off really at the beginning – making sure that a mom realizes that she should instill the ordinances, rules, behavior, and responsibilities she expects from her children. I would like to interject that Moses listened to the counsel he received from his father-in-law – he really could have been proud and said something like, “look, I spend a lot of time with God – and He is leading – and He hasn’t said anything about that – so I think I’m good.” Moses was a humble man – a meek man, (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.) Number 12:3.

The next progression I see is the need then to train children to understand that they should follow the authorities that you place over them. “Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee.” Exodus 18:21, 22.

Many children are trained to obey their parents, but feel very comfortable coming up against anyone that does anything slightly different than their parents – in other words they have not learned to be respectful of their elders, or other authorities. Now, I want you to notice that I am very careful to state that you should train your children to follow the authorities that YOU place over them. Obviously, we must obey the law and so forth – but my intent in this is to state that you must be careful about who you allow to influence your children, from the babysitter to their teachers. It is for this reason that I personally believe that a Christian educator is your only choice! Notice the list of qualifications: they must fear God, be truthful (evolution?), hating covetousness…in other words they should be godly. I am not trying to slam those of you that put your children in the public school system, BUT that is not something I personally felt comfortable doing…and I worked at a public school! Psalm 1:1 says, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” It is entirely possible that your child could be trained (or counseled by) an ungodly teacher – or a system that teaches ideas and philosophies that differ from the Bible! I will also say that there are some godly teachers that work in the public school and do so for the sake of the children that have no other option.

So, we have gone from training at home, to now working on the training they get outside the home; in this I see that Moses went before the Lord for the wisdom he needed. Mom you won’t need to contend with as many children as Moses did, but it is vital that you go to the Lord in prayer so you’ll know what you need to teach your children. We are fortunate today in that we have the complete Word of God – but do you pray and seek the Lord and His Word for the answers and help you need? Moses was an intercessor – he went before the Lord on behalf of the “children.” He did so on many occasions.

1. He went before the Lord and received guidance. Exodus 19:3 says, “And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;”
2. He obeyed the Lord and instructed the children accordingly. “And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him.” Exodus 19:7
3. He was angry with the children when they were disobedient to the Father Exodus 32:19, “And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.”
4. He disciplined the children for their own good, as God commanded. "And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.” Exodus 32:20
5. He helped them to get things right so they could be blessed – like a mom he wanted what was best for them so they could be happy. “For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves to day to the LORD, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day.”
6. He was willing to die in the children’s place. Exodus 32: 31-32 says, “And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written."
7. He prayed for his children according to their personal strengths, weaknesses, and their specific needs fully trusting that God would answer his prayer – he had FAITH! Deuteronomy 33
8. Moses, before he died, sought earnestly to prepare Joshua with all that had to give. He wanted to make sure that the next generation had a prepared leader. “And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him:” Deuteronomy 34:9

In truth Moses is a wonderful picture of our Saviour, our intercessor who was not only willing to die for our sin, but indeed died for our sin and our salvation; but I find so many helpful applications that I believe will help us as mothers in our endeavor to see our children reach their full potential…fulfilling God’s perfect will for their lives! It is my prayer that the Lord will bless you! Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

To Moms from Moses

As I sit to write today’s blog posting I realize that it has been such a long time since I have posted. I have been praying about today’s posting for several weeks and the true prayer of my heart is that it will be of help and a blessing to the ladies the Lord leads to read this. If for no one else, I pray it will be something my own children and grandchildren will one day read and find a glimpse of the thoughts that cross my heart as I read from God’s precious Word.

Every year I read my Bible cover to cover – at least once and many years I read it at least twice. I always follow a schedule of sorts – a number of pages a day (right now its 10) and sometimes I read it in alphabetical order (Acts to Zephaniah); this year I am reading it in order of “types” of books… Epistles, The Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy, Gospels. Interjected with that I have been doing a study on Proverbs 31 – so I am reading that every day. I find amazing the different things I have learned simply by reading my Bible not only daily, but also in different sequences – I have found it to offer different prospective to my meditation and in the instruction I gain.

Anyway, I said all of that to say that this year in my reading I have seen a lesson that I believe is helpful to all women that work with children, but most especially to mothers. For many years my husband taught an adult Sunday school class, “The HomeBuilders” that was geared to young married couples. We loved working with the wonderful people God brought to us, and have kept in contact with so many of them through these last 21 years since the class started! Now I’m a grandma 12 times over and my own children are the ages of the couples we taught and worked with back then…I’m old!

In reading through the Law portion of the Bible I see Moses and the children of Israel and I find so many patterns that I believe are not only a lesson to moms, but also a picture of the progression raising children should follow.

In Exodus I see the travail of the birth (of the nation of Israel) – I see the difficulty of “getting them out” and then the victory when they go through the Red Sea! I picture that as the actual birth – think mom of the difficulties that plaque you throughout your pregnancy and then when it’s time to birth the baby they have to exit the water (amniotic fluid – ie Red Sea) to be released to their home! Initially the birth is said to be very traumatic for babies, which is why God very graciously does not allow us to remember it! At birth the babies cry without realizing that we, as parents will provide their needs…just like the children of Israel!

The next progression I find that again reminds me of working with and developing children is when Moses is spending his whole day counseling the children of Israel. I have pictured this as the new mom being at her baby’s beck and call all day and all night!! Now, when they’re newborns that is to be expected and mom’s job is to get the baby on a schedule of sleeping at night, being awake during the day, and eating on a healthy schedule. The problem I find is the same one that Moses encountered and that was not knowing when to go the next step – when to expect them to know what to do!

Moses father-in-law saw what was going on and counseled Moses that what he was doing was not a good thing! Mom – the same is true for you – you should not spend your day undoing your children’s mishaps for years on end! You should be training them right from the beginning. When they begin to crawl, stop them from touching things they should not be touching. Train them to eat properly! All kids go through putting food in their hair, throwing food on the floor, not wanting to sit in the high chair, etc. BUT your job is to train them! Moses was wearing himself out! “When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws. And Moses’ father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good.” Exodus 18:16, 17 In other words, he was waiting until they did something and then judging the matter – they had no rules to begin with!

The next bit of advice that Jethro gave to Moses was this: “Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God: And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.” Exodus 18:19-20.

Mom – that is your job! You can start this when are even just months old! 2 years old is too late to begin training your children. Start with their schedule, then with how to behave when you feed them, how to behave in the stroller, what not to touch as well as what they can touch, where not to go and where they are free to play – and with that make sure you are constantly doing so because you love them and while showing your love for them – your goal is to train them to be obedient, individual, strong, independent, and responsible children. Notice that they needed to learn ordinances: the proper order – and WHO in charge of the orders, laws: rules; the way wherein they must walk: how to behave; and work: responsibility!

Too many moms are pulling their hair and spinning their wheels all day because they are just allowing their children to do what they will and then correct the problem instead of establishing ordinances, laws, proper behavior, and responsibilities! Being a mom is a 24/7 job, BUT I find none other that may bring more to our next generation! They are tough days – but stick with it…and the earlier you begin working on the ordinances, laws, behavior, and responsibility – the better it will be for all of you! It is much easier to spank a 2 year old than a 10 year old – and you will get much better results in the long run!

There is much more on this lesson from Moses to Mom – but I’ll save that for another day! For today ladies I pray you’ll have a wonderful day!