A Typical or Atypical Pastor's Wife-whichever one you come to believe



Welcome to the barnyard. Watch your step! The things written here are raw and unedited. Just my thoughts thrown on a page as they flow from my heart.



Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Humility Lessons From a Vineyard

Our Pastor has been preaching on humility the past few Sundays. So I have been asking the Lord to show me practical humility in His Word and Wow, has He ever! I never saw it so plainly before and now it seems I never read anything that I don't see it. I am starting to believe that humility is one of the key attributes of God right up there with "God is Love".

Today I read a parable from Matthew 20--the parable of the vineyard owner--and I have named it "the humility parable".

Here are a few things that stuck out to me:

1. The landowner went looking for workers I hear so many people say "they found Jesus". AAAAAnk! Wrong answer. He found me. I was the one that was lost, decieved, imprisoned, enslaved, destitute, and without hope! I was the one standing in the marketplace with a need, hoping that someone would come by and offer me a day's wages so that I could have what I needed. Saying that I found God implies that I did something and God was the result. Wrong again. God did it all because He knew how lost I was!!! There was nothing at anytime, any place or in any way that I could do to find God. I was forever cut off from Him without any hope of ever having anything with Him again! My sin did that!

2. We are all of the same value to God. God doesn't have favorites. Some of those the vinedresser hired worked for him a longer time than others. Some were easier to find than others. They were in the marketplace at the beginning of the day waiting to be hired. Others required more searching by the vinedresser and several trips to town before he employed them in his vineyard. Still, at the end of the day, they were all of the same value to Him, He did not distinquish between them. Truth of the matter is that we all receive the same reward. We get Christ! I wrote this in an earlier blog that after thinking about the "rewards" and "crowns" of heaven as belonging to me, I realized that even that was pride. Any reward we receive in heaven will automatically be recognized as belonging to Christ and cast at His feet. So again I say OUR REWARD IS THAT WE GET TO SEE HIM RECEIVE HIS REWARD!

3. God brings opportunities to me. I do not find them. So many times I've said, "oh how lucky I am!, or knock on wood" as if wood can bring us luck. I think my head must be made of wood sometimes--solid wood! No, it's how blessed I am. Anything good that has come my way has been the blessing of God, the care of my Good Shephard, the favor of my loving Heavenly Father, who is perfect in His love and dealings with me. I can no easier say that I found a good opportunity than I could say the pledge of allegiance backwards! Any opportunity that I have taken is because God brought it, and God blessed it. The origin of my opportunity and any credit for the results of my opportunity belong to Christ.

4. God always provides a full day's wage for all that are His. He never runs short! As mentioned before, God gave all the same wage, but the wage that He provided was for the whole day. God takes good care of me--one day at a time. The Bible tells us to not be anxious about tomorrow because if we could see the troubles that lie there, we would worry and try to provide for tomorrow today! The mercies of the Lord, one of which is daily grace, strength, and provision is not available today for tomorrow's needs.
My flesh does not like living that way! I need to know that food for tomorrow's meals are in the frige and money for tomorrow's bills is in the bank. But if it is already there, then I have the tendency to not rely on or acknowledge God in it. It's good to have to learn to live one day at a time. It reinforces our awareness of how needy we are and just how much we need God in every week, every day, every hour, every minute, every second! Whatever we have today is exactly enough. I have found that most times it's enough and a little more. Good news Moms!! God believes in leftovers!!! Just read the story of the bread and fish! There were 12 baskets leftover! That is evidence that God fully supports leftovers! I'll never feel guilty serving them again! They are God's idea and a reminder of the abundance with which God provides.

5. We work for God. He doesn't work for us. He's the Boss! Those standing in the marketplace didn't tell the vinedresser what they would and wouldn't do. No, they did what he said they would do. And it doesn't appear that they complained about the work, just the pay. I'm sure that he explained it all when he invited them to come and work for Him, so they didn't go into it blind.
I knew that gaining eternal life involved dying to self, becoming a slave, being an ambassador that carries the message of another. Yet, I still find myself from time to time wanting to do something else in the Lord's vineyard because what I am doing seems like it isn't accomplishing anything, or it's too uncomfortable, the hours are too long or stressful, or it's just plain boring or hard! I forget that whatever He has me doing is because it is the "perfect" thing for me right now and is probably part of the "perfecting" so that I can continue to move in the plan of God for my life.

6. God is gracious to all, extending His invitation to anyone who will listen and agree to His terms. So should I! I wonder how many "candidates" for the Lord's vineyard I have passed over because they didn't look a certain way, their timing seemed off, they seemed too hard a case, or they appeared uninterested. I shudder just thinking about it!
We enter the kingdom by privilege, not merit, and that privilege is extended to ALL! As workers in His vineyard, it is our responsiblity, command, and highest priviliege to take the Master's message to everyone possible. I noticed in scripture that Jesus always looked for those in need and went to them. So I have now been on the lookout for the neediest, most destitute, ugliest, people I can find to share with--first, the love of Christ, and secondly, the message of Christ.

7. Now here's the clincher!!!!! We should never be jealous or envious of others if their reward, position, blessing, or calling is greater than our own. The men in this story agreed in the morning to work for the vinedresser all day for a day's wage. Sounds like a good and fair deal! So when they worked all day for what they agreed upon and received what they agreed upon, they were ungrateful and disgruntled because some that didn't work as long as they did also got the same amount.
My kids are always saying "that's not fair!" And I tell them, "get over it, life's not fair!" But then I find myself doing the same thing with God. So I have determined to rejoice with those who rejoice, to esteem others more highly than myself, and to be happy when others are more blessed. If someone is recognized, or if they are promoted--even if I was next in line, I will rejoice WITH them when they receive something that I have wanted and even prayed for.

Of all the characteristics that I would use to describe God Almighty, humble was not one that was included in my vocabulary. But the verse in Psalms that says "God humbles Himself to observe what goes on here on earth", (paraphrase--sleeping husband--Bible in bedroom), tells me that even the very act of paying attention to us is an act of humility on God's part. His humility is so great that He not only observes, but cares enough that He sent His own perfect Son to die in our place for our sins. No wonder the angelic creatures in heaven marvel and wonder at the plan of salvation. They are in God's presence and see Him as He really is, not through a mirror darkly. How mysterious and perplexing it must be to them that God humbles Himself for a creation that has rebelled against Him with raised fist hate, ignored His very presence and existence and spurned His perfect love!
Andrew Murray said that "the highest place that we can ever obtain is the lowliness of Christ". To some that may be shooting low, but for me it's a perfect bullseye!











Monday, September 29, 2008

Things That Scare Me!

~~A 9ish looking boy with a bow and arrow who sets up his target so that it is between him and the property I am mowing! This calls for urgent, interventionary types of prayers like, "Lord, please make sure that my breastplate of righteousness has no chinks, crackes or holes. Please don't let me have to use my helmet of salvation today. Let me leave this property with the same number of body cavities as when I came."
Of course, you're too scared to actually watch for the arrows because one might just hit you in the eye and blind you for the rest of your life! And it's hard to mow with your back to the target because you're always just waiting for that sharp pain in the back to come! The back rest is not high enough to cover my whole back and even if I did scooch down, my head would still be sticking up over the top! And even though I tried to turn my ear protectors to cover whatever part of my head was vulnerable, I soon discovered that it's hard to breath with ear protectors over your nose. Very stressful!

~~The apparent non-existence of appropriate supervision of the 9ish looking boy with the bow and arrow! Because if you do end up getting shot and actually live through it, who are you going to sue for millions and millions so that you don't have to mow grass anymore next to properties that have a 9ish looking boy with a bow and arrow!

~~An international student behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. This is case for instantaneous "help" type prayers to be shot to heaven as quickly as possible! There is almost nothing scarier than to look over and realize that you are beside an International that has little or no driving experience, that probably needed a translator to pass their test and can't read signs in English very well, like ones that say "merge", or "caution", or "men working". Of course, that would totally confuse them if they could read and comprehend English because when was the last time you passed a "men working" sign and actually saw someone working? Not in Pennsylvania, I'll bet! Yep, there's nothing scarier except.......

~~an international student behind the wheel of a moving vehicle who is talking on a cell phone. (I have nothing against Internationals personally, just their lack of driving experience. I'm sure I would be every Europeans nightmare if I had to remember to drive on the left side of the road instead of the right. Lately I can't even remember where I'm going half the time and end up over shooting my destination and have to turn around.) Anyway back to the cell phone wielding Internationals. If you read the accident reports in the local paper there is never an accident reported that does not have a name like Woo Flung Dung or Raji Dhamemehivnkdfnlktian.

~~my 15 year old daughter talking about getting her driver's license. I will only agree if the permit comes with a Sherman tank and head gear!

~~driving while all alone in a car that is making strange noises and wondering if you will live to see another day or if this is it and hoping that your life insurance policy will buy a casket AND a new car so that your kids can attend your funeral.

~~the thought of going to hell. Some people don't believe in hell, but that doesn't change the fact that it exists. I've never seen the grand canyon, but I know it exists. So I guess it's better to live believing there is one and taking the precautionary measures than to live like there isn't one and finding out too late that you were wrong. "Better safe than sorry", "ere on the side of caution", etc., etc. It's better for your health!

~~the thought of my unsaved loved ones going to hell. As I said before, there is no greater sorrow than thinking about never seeing your loved ones again and believing that they are in a place of torment with no reprive in sight, ever, for all eternity. At least when a Christian dies, you can live with the expectation that at some point you will see them again. And even if it would turn out that you won't, that there is no heaven or hell, or they didn't make it after all, it won't matter anyway, but if there is a heaven and hell, as I fully believe there is, then your loved ones not going to heaven is very scary. Kind of puts life into perspective and gives you purpose as a Christian. It also redefines the term "true love".

~~Barak Obama as president and the Dem's in charge of Congress. The end of life as we know it! I have yet to understand why people can't see that the current Democratic economic strategy makes no fiscal sense what so ever if they live in a capitalistic society. Of course, they are wanting a Socialistic society, which also makes no sense because it has not worked effectively in any other country that has adopted it. WHY DO THEY THINK EVERYONE WANTS TO COME HERE??? If health care is de-privatized, Nancy Pelosi's botox treatments are going to leave her looking worse than they do currently and that is just plain scary!!!

~~John McCain as president and Dem's in charge of Congress. Another 4 years of lame duck politics and things remaining the same! Either way, our goose is cooked! When is there going to arise men and women who care more about America than some stupid party platform? If it's right, it's right, so just do it! Humble yourselves, don't need to be right, and just do what's best for the ones paying your salary!

~~Oh shoot--Washington politicians of any kind just plain scare me! They are as bad as international students driving a vehicle while on a cell phone.

~~thinking that I might be deceived in a matter that is really important and imperative to my life like not knowing the truth about heaven and hell. That is why I am so thankful that I know the one who knows everything and is more than willing to tell me the truth. (No, I'm not talking about my husband, although he does know a lot of things and has no problem saying what he thinks.) I'm doubly blessed! The Holy Spirit and my hubby--life just keeps on giving! I wonder what he would say to Nancy Pelosi?

~~my sons falling in love. "Girls nowadays are just plain weird", according to one of them. As I look on today's generation of girls, it's rather scary. Their views on womanhood and femininity are very skewed and look nothing like what has been considered the norm of womanhood and femininity since the dawn of time. "Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!" They say women are evolving, but evolution from chaos to order has never been proven as fact, in fact, every other area of science proves the opposite! The world is in a state of decline! Even the devil couldn't keep things in order when given the chance and he's an angelic being! Add to that idea that God's Word agrees --in the end times, things will grow worse and worse--and yep, it is just plain scary! I was one of the fortunate ones born long enough ago to remember what life was like before feminism. I have watched this supposed epiphany and emergence from the oppression cocoon of male dominated society and frankly, in many ways, we were better off in the cocoon! I mean, we are women--the only ones capable of reproducing the human race, but the liberal feminists deny that fact, find no significance that hey, we may have a very important purpose in this world, in fact the most important purpose. Instead, they see the man's position as the ultimate goal. They want to be men, so why do they call themselves "feminists", when they hate and abhor anything that is feminine? See how messed up they are??? As liberating as burning your bra on the steps of the capital may be, that's not what I call "livin' the dream!" Instead, they should have chosen to burn pantyhose--now THAT would be truly liberating!

~~the thought of my husband dying before me. Don't ponder this one much cause it's just to scary! I would be so lonely!

~~the thought of dying before my husband. Who would wash his underwear? The last time I wasn't around to wash his underwear, he ended up with a big, big pair of panties in his laundry basket and we don't know where they came from! I mean we both could have fit in them at the same time! Someone, somewhere is walking around one pair short! I hope they have a pair of silk, Spongebob boxers to use in a pinch!

So there you have it! It's a scary world out there!







Saturday, September 27, 2008

How Can We Learn Contentment?

What a great reminder to live life with an eternal perspective!

(J. R. Miller, "The Hidden Life" 1895)

"I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am." Philippians 4:11

How can we learn contentment? One step toward contentment, is patient submission to unavoidable ills and hardships. No earthly lot is perfect. No mortal ever yet in this world, has found a set of circumstances without some drawback. There are . . .
trials which we cannot change into blessings,
burdens which we cannot lay down,
crosses which we must continue to carry,
thorns in the flesh which must remain with their rankling pain. When we have such trials, why should we not sweetly accept them as part of God's best way with us?

Discontent never made . . .
a rough path smoother,
a heavy burden lighter,
a bitter cup less bitter,
a dark way brighter,
a sore sorrow less sore.

It only makes matters worse! One who accepts with patience, that which he cannot change--has learned one secret of victorious living.

Another part of the lesson, is that we can learn to moderate our desires. "Having food and clothing," says Paul again, "let us be content with these." Very much of our discontent arises from envy of those who seem to be more favored than ourselves. Many people lose most of the comfort out of their own lot--in coveting the finer, more luxurious things which some neighbor has. Yet if they knew the whole story of the life they envy for its greater prosperity, they probably would not exchange for it their own lowlier life, with its more humble circumstances. Or if they could make the exchange, it is not likely they would find half so much real happiness in the other position, as they would have enjoyed in their own.

Contentment does not dwell so often in palaces--as in the homes of the humble. The tall peaks rise higher, and are more conspicuous--but the winds smite them more fiercely than they do the quiet valleys. And surely, the lot in life which God makes for us--is always the best which could be made for us for the time. He knows better than we do--what our true needs are.

The real cause of our discontent is not in our circumstances; if it were, a change of circumstances might cure it. It is in ourselves, and wherever we go--we shall carry our discontent heart with us. The only cure which will affect anything--must be the curing of the fever of discontent in us.

A fine secret of contentment, lies in finding and extracting all the pleasure we can get from the things we have--the common, everyday things; while we enter upon no mad, vain chase after impossible dreams. In whatever state we are in--we may find therein enough for our need.

No earthly misfortune can touch the wealth which a Christian holds in the divine promises and hopes. Just in the measure, therefore, in which we learn to live for spiritual and unseen eternal realities--do we find contentment amid earth's trials and losses. If we would live to please God, to build up Christlike character in ourselves, and to lay up treasure in heaven--we shall not depend for happiness, on the way things go with us here on earth, nor on the measure of temporal goods we have. The earthly desires are crowded out by the higher and spiritual desires. We can do without childhood's toys--when we have manhood's better possessions. We desire the toys of this world less--as we get more of God and heaven into our hearts.

Paul knew this secret. He cheerfully gave up all that this world had for him. Money had no power over him. He knew how to live in plenty; but he did not fret when poverty came instead. He was content in any trial, because earth meant so little--and Christ meant so much to him. He did not need the things he did not have. He was not made poor by the things he lost. He was not vexed by the sufferings he had to endure, because the sources of his life were in heaven--and could not be touched by earthly experiences of pain or loss.

Friday, September 26, 2008

"Thinkins"

These are just my own "thinkins" on the previously posted article "Becoming the Christian God Intends", so feel free to skip over this post. ( A thank you to Brian, who came up with the word "goodins", referring to the little pieces of good stuff that fall from the serving spoon when serving a casserole or the cheese that sticks to the pizza box that is just too good to leave behind!) My thinkins are the things that I gleaned from this article that were just too good to leave behind.

"Self is very subtle, like Satan it can appear as an angel of light. If it were possible the very elect would be deceived by it. Self can be very religious, and its greatest desire is to be accepted, to be recognized as righteous. The attitude of most Christians is that God should improve them. This is evidenced by self help religious books being best sellers. Their thinking is, I have been redeemed, I am a child of God, and I must ask Him to make me a better servant of Jesus Christ. Further they believe that God should channel some love into their heart, some faith, some power, some holiness, and improve them. What we must learn is that self-improvement is both a sin and impossible."

I have spent a lot of my Christian life asking God to make me a better wife, mother, friend, piano player, housekeeper, more disciplined, more loving, more compassionate, more understanding, more virtuous.....well, you get the picture! How many times I have thought, "well, now that I am a Christian, I must do this, I should not do that." Sadly, as spiritual as that may sound, all that I did in that state of mind is wood, hay and stubble. ( I think I will be surprised at what I am rewarded for in heaven. I doubt it will be anything that I think I will be rewarded for like those who had served Christ by giving water and visiting those in jail and didn't even know that they had done it unto Christ. It's what Christ would have done and they did it because they had become like Him. But we'll get to that in a minute.)

Now I'm not saying that I don't need any changes. It's obvious to me and others, I'm sure, that I do. But it's not a matter of me changing my behavior or my thought life, it's a matter of me "becoming". My Mom used to say "it is what it is". How true! So when I see what "I is" and it's not Godly, I realize that I need some more "becoming". It's more than a matter of adjusting consciously my attitude or actions. God doesn't want me to spend my whole life consciously thinking about every word, every action, and every thought--that is, again, self. Plus, if put in a hard situation such as torture, denying Christ, or saving my fellow Christian instead of my children, I had better be what I say that I am and just not making a conscious effort to be something I say that I am, or I will fail. God wants me to "become" so that what I do, what I think, what I say is natural to me, something I do without any thought because it's just who I am or as we say, it's second nature! That is truly being free spiritually!

It's a nature change! I do what is in my nature to do. So when I have a second nature--that born again nature--I naturally do and am Christlike because it's His nature that now posses me. And I don't have to think about it--it just happens! That is the miracle of the regenerated spirit! Like apples from an apple tree, cherries from a cherry tree, or my favorite--cantelope from a cantelope plant!

I am usually a practical, no nonsense kind of person when it comes to things that matter. And I'm not saying that I should never adjust my thoughts and actions. But I realized that I have spent a lot of time trying to be something I wasn't in hopes that by trying to "be" that thing that it would develop in my life--like spiritual osmosis or something. Osmosis happens from the outside in, but spiritual change happens from the inside out!

Anything I am or am not is a direct result of how one I am with Christ. When I see areas of "concern" in my life, I realize that I'm not allowing Christ to invade and conquer that area of my life. (Oh the ongoing sanctification process--it's never ending!) It's not a matter of me making a natural adjustment, it's a matter of God making a spiritual adjustment in me. I cannot make spiritual adjustments, only Christ can do that. And the only adjustment He can make is to take out me and put in Him. Conscious adjustments can be made for awhile with seemingly positive results, but unless that spiritual change takes place, they too will cause me to fail because my flesh cannot produce a spiritual work. What is born of the flesh is flesh and what is born of the spirit is spirit and ONLY what is born of the spirit is eternal and sure.

It's the timely wisdom of John the Baptist--"I must decrease and He must increase". The Proverbs 31 woman did what she did because she first was what she was. That is why she had the results that she had.

Power is not something that can be given to you making you a more powerful servant of Jesus Christ. Power like love is a person, and that person is not I.

When this revelation came to my spirit I saw, and I pray that you see, that the reason for the existence of the entire creation is to contain the Creator! Not to be something but to contain someone.

It all comes back to you and me, Jesus. And it makes life so simple. I don't have to spend my life praying about all the Christian virtues, praying them into my life won't do a bit of good unless I realize that the only way I get them is if I have more of You. You are the complete package. I don't get anything from you without getting YOU! All spiritual virtues are in you and I can't have them without having you. They cannot be separated.

"Christ is all and in all." Christ is all not Christ has all. If Christ is all, what is left for me? We thought we were somebody and something or could get something. We found that God had taken the lot. Christ is all. Here is the link. Christ is all and in all.

So all there is then is knowing Christ, seeking Christ, following Christ and posessing Christ, or rather letting Christ posess me. Of all the things that I can do and know, this is the ultimate AND the essential! Seems simple enough--if my flesh and my brain would just get out of the way!





Monday, September 22, 2008

Becoming the Christian God Intends

"Becoming the Christian God Intends"by Burt Clendennen

2 Peter 1:3 says "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him (Christ) that hath called us to glory and virtue."

This says that the education, sanctification, growth of the New Creature is in "learning Christ." From conversion to his death the dominant theme of the Apostle Paul's life was summed up in these words; "That I might know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death,"( Philippians 3:10).
Until it becomes a revelation of the heart that "Christ is all" (Colossians 3:11), we can never truly overcome this thing called "self."

Self is very subtle, like Satan it can appear as an angel of light. If it were possible the very elect would be deceived by it. Self can be very religious, and its greatest desire is to be accepted, to be recognized as righteous. The attitude of most Christians is that God should improve them. This is evidenced by self help religious books being best sellers. Their thinking is, I have been redeemed, I am a child of God, and I must ask Him to make me a better servant of Jesus Christ. Further they believe that God should channel some love into their heart, some faith, some power, some holiness, and improve them. What we must learn is that self-improvement is both a sin and impossible.

To overcome this self, and to truly become the Christian God intends, the revelation must come to the heart that "Christ is all and in you all." With that revelation will come the understanding that "God is love." Love is not something that can be channeled into you, love is a person; God is love, therefore, love is God loving. Power is not something that can be given to you making you a more powerful servant of Jesus Christ. Power like love is a person, and that person is not I. It is exclusively Christ, who is God; it doesn't matter whether you call Him Father, Son, or Holy Ghost.

Finally, with the revelation that "Christ is all" comes the further revelation that "eternal Life" is not something it is a person. Jesus did not say that He had a life to give; He said, "I am life."Perhaps at this point there is the question, "where do I fit into all of this?"

It is all gathered up in the statement "Christ is all and in all." Christ is all not Christ has all. If Christ is all, what is left for me? We thought we were somebody and something or could get something. We found that God had taken the lot. Christ is all. Here is the link. Christ is all and in all. When this revelation came to my spirit I saw, and I pray that you see, that the reason for the existence of the entire creation is to contain the Creator! Not to be something but to contain someone.

With this truth comes another important truth. We humans regard the human self as important; all of this shows us that self is extremely unimportant. There is only one SELF in the universe that is really important. Why? Because there is only one person in this universe who said, "I AM

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Southern Girl's Guide To Proper Political Discourse: What Your Momma Should've Told You

Well, can't stay on line long because I haven't had my computer debugged yet, but just had to slide on and see what was up with people. I'm borrowing my hubby's computer to do this. Saw this on a Rocks in my Dryer, a blog I read regularly--when I have a computer, and thought it was humorous! Enjoy!

"So, I don't know if you've heard, but they're thinking of electing a new president.

Of course you've heard. You couldn't have missed it, with all the shouting from both sides (we are a nation of equal opportunity meanies). Some of the vitriol I've seen and read has made me feel suddenly less alarmed by the scuffles that sometimes erupt in the back of my mini-van.

I know you've heard of political correctness, the idea of conducting yourself in a way to "minimize offense". You might think that notion was invented by the media, or sociologists. But you would be wrong.

It was invented by Southern women.

We've made "minimizing offensiveness" an art form. We do it all day. We are trained to do it at our mothers' knees. In fact, I remember, quite distinctly, my parents telling me never, ever to bring up politics or money in conversation unless you were absolutely certain where the other person stood. And even then, you should proceed carefully.

Since I have received such fine training myself, I thought I would offer up the following to the Whole Entire Internet, Or At Least The Portion That Blogs About Politics.

1. Do not make assumptions that the person you're talking with must vote a certain way because of her gender, race, religion, or shoe size. That simply tells your conversation partner that you don't think she's smart enough to make up her own mind, and that is just plain tacky. Anyway, you know what they say about assumptions....well, I'll let you look that one up on your own.

2. To expand on #1, when you begin a political discussion with a stranger or acquaintance, do not launch into a tirade about how horrible Senator Joe Don is, because this stranger might be voting for Joe Don. Heck, your stranger might have a Daddy whose old football coach once had his hair cut by Joe Don's niece. It is the South, you know.

3. Name calling is completely, always inappropriate. But if you really feel you must throw around words such as "socialist" and "radical right-wing nut-job", it would soften things a bit if you would insert a "bless his heart" at the end of sentence.

4. When you go to the polls in November, please do not wear white shoes, because that is after Labor Day. It has nothing to do with politics, but I just needed to squeeze it in.

5. Do not blanket statements of fact: "ALL Republicans are money-hungry," or "ALL Democrats are overly emotional," or "All Texans have big hair." Blanket statements are almost never true, and they just make the speaker sound desperate and uninformed. And anyway, I've known plenty of Texans whose hair size was only slightly above average.

6. It's okay to disagree with someone and still like them. Even if they're voting for the Other Guy, or--worse--cheering for the University of Texas football team. (I know. I'm bagging on Texas a little. They're big, they can handle it.)

7. Be charming. If you find yourself utterly and completely annoyed, then make a joke. If charming doesn't work, head straight for that great old friend of Southern women, passive-aggressiveness. You could even, perhaps, and I'm speaking purely hypothetically here, write a blog post about it...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Following

"let me live near to the Great Shepherd, hear His voice, know its tones, follow its call." The Valley of Vision



A heart snapshot given me by the Lord many years ago was of
a sheep following so closely to the Shepherd that it was almost underfoot. This sheep demanded every moment of the shepherd's attention and was most happy and at peace when cradled in the arms of the shepherd. "THIS is what I want you to be like", He said.

Jesus is my shepherd. He is out in front leading His sheep. Within every flock there are some sheep who stay close to the Shepherd and others that follow but from further away. There are sheep that love the sheperd and stay close. There are sheep that follow because of what he provides. There are sheep who follow because they have to and there are sheep who wander and get lost.

Those who follow farther from the shepherd are more inclined to wander, be distracted, and to be the ones the wolves and bears attack first. The wolves and bears are fearful of the Shepherd, but no the the sheep. So they will attack as far from the shepherd as they can, to snatch a asheep and then run away with their prey.

Sheep who follow the shepherd from farther away may not always hear his voice, or when they do, they won't hear the tone of his voice. They may miss the urgency by which he calls them. They may miss when he is encouraging them to reach a place of goodness.

It is true that following closely to the shepherd may mean that I can't stop and look around, or stay a little longer at something in my surroundings that catches my eye's fancy, or frolick and fool around with my friends. It may mean I miss everything around me but the back of his legs and the path of his feet, especially if he is hurrying to get out of an impending storm, away from a perceived danger or to a place where he knows there is fresh food and drink that I am in need of.

Following afar off is not good. Peter followed Jesus from afar on that fateful night of his arrest. He was curious. He was following because of the affection he had for Christ, but was not really willing to follow Christ into the danger that he knew lay ahead for Jesus. By following from afar, he was victim to the fear of man, and he was left alone to his own fears, weaknesses and humaness. He followed from afar and ended up denying Christ 3 times.

Lord, I want to follow you, closely, to be right on your heels. To hear every word you utter, every call you extend, every invitation you bestow to come and be even closer to you. To lay at your feet, to enter your fold, to be healed by your hand, to be cared for by your expert wisdom, to be led to your table and the provision you provide and to sit in your arms and know the life sacrificing love you have for me.

Keep me close to you, Lord, as slose as is possible and when I start to stray, reach out with your staff and pull me back in, close to you. No danger can befall, no enemy devour, no sickness overtake, no poverty destroy when I am on your heels following you wherever you lead.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Happy, holy people

Now here's a sight you don't see everyday!

I doubt these ladies are "in the habit" of acting this way in public. I've certainly never seen a nun act this way but my only frame of reference is Mother Angelica and The Sound of Music.
But here they are, having the time of their lives enjoying God's creation.

Twice I read yesterday a phrase that said "make us a happy, holy people". I immediately thought of this photo.

These ladies are obviously holy (set apart) AND happy--something else you don't see everyday!

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the church of Jesus Christ could be so easily identified as Christian as these nuns can be identified as Catholic? Wouldn't it be even more wonderful if the identifying factor was our sheer joy of being set apart for God?

I may have some theological differences with these ladies, but I have to admire their willingness to be obviously different for the cause of God. And as exhibited by this photo, happy about it too.

Happiness in a believer is the outworking of an inner work of the holiness of God. We cannot be truly happy if we are not truly holy. May God grant that inner working of holiness in every area of my life!


The writer of this phrase also went on to say:
"God cannot make me happy with Himself until He has made me holy like Himself"


And so my prayer is "make me a happy, holy person; Help me to walk the separated life with firm and brave step, and to wrestle successfully against weakness...". "Help me remember that life is short and unforeseen, and is only an opportunity for usefulness;" "Help me to know...that I must place all happiness in holiness if I hope to be filled with all grace" and that my life will never satisfy me until it satisfies you. "Let my heart leap towards the eternal sabbath, where the work of redemption, sanctification, preservation, glorification is finished and perfected for ever, where thou wilt rejoice over me with joy." For Christ's sake, Amen.







































Friday, September 5, 2008

Life's Questions

Things I have pondered or may have to ask about when I get to heaven.

Why does one of my children have a dried tortilla on the shelf in their bedroom with a face drawn on it?

Is it possible to teach older people to fill ice cube trays?

Why do they call those disposable diapers "pull ups"? Most kids I know can get them down, but very few can actually pull them up!!! Half the time, I have trouble getting them up and end up picking the kid off the ground just trying to get them "pulled up!"

Who invented microbeads and do they have liability insurance?

Why didn't God kill Job's wife too? He would have been much better off without her nagging him half to death!

Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?

Was dirt dirty before the fall of humankind?

Why did God make poison ivy and mosquitoes?

Why isn't "hair" in "haircut" plural? Don't we usually get all of our head hairs cut at the beauty shop?

Why do some think that God has no sense of humor? Haven't you ever seen an afghan hound? If I owned one of those, I'd put a bag over my head when I took it for a walk. Sorry if you own one of these, but let's face it--they are just plain ugly!

And this one is from one of my Sunday school students--will we go to the bathroom in heaven? Yes, my class is very interesting sometimes! :-)

Any widsom?

Truly, this is NOT how I spend my days, but every now and then one of these random questions wanders through my head. And sometimes, my hubby and I just want to escape from it all so we sit around talking about random things. Right now I'm thinking about oatmeal cookies with butterscotch chips! I smell what my daughter is up to!

Did you ever feel like you were on a roller coaster that wouldn't stop?

I went to a local amusement park with the cousins a few years ago. The park was pretty much deserted because most kids were already back in school.

We got on the roller coaster, which is the only decent ride in the park. When we coasted into the station, there was no one in line, so the cousins started to yell "one more time, one more time" to get to go again. We never even stopped. We just ran right through the station and up the hill and went again------and again, and again and again and again and again and again! I began to wonder if I was going to have to fill out my social security papers while sitting on that coaster!

Now I love roller coasters but not quite that much! Seven times around without stopping left even this dare devil feeling like I was about to see my lunch--one more time.

You know what I mean. You begin to get this little sick feeling that slowly intensifies until you begin to feel tingly and then eventually you break out into a sweat and your throat gets real tight just before you realize that you need to get to a bathroom, trash can, plastic bag, or anything cylindrical SOON!

Sometimes life is like riding a roller coaster 7 times without stopping. Today was one of those days.

I have spent the last 10 days frantically trying to keep 3 stitches in my son's right hand clean and intact. And since his nickname is "Dirt Magnet", I might as well have formulated a 5 year plan to end global warming. It would have been simpler!

Just as that coaster went round and round, I followed my son everywhere singing "have you washed your hands lately? Are going outside to play? Put a bandaid on your hand first. Have you washed your hands lately? Put a bandaid on your hand first!"

Well, today was the big appointment to go and have those stitches removed and be free of them forever! You would think, okay, we're on the down side of this ride now! Just how much trouble can removing 3 stitches be??? Well........ let me tell you!

Stitch #1 had fallen out by the second day of his injury, leaving a gaping spot like a large black hole in space. Stitch #2 seemed to be buried down inside the black hole under some skin that had formed over it when it came untied. By today, the third stitch was also buried under new skin and had not even a trace of a knot or an end in sight for the doctor to grab onto to pull it out.

Now my doctor is getting up in years but not even close to senility, so I trust his many years of experience and knowledge. But when he looked at my son's hand and got a puzzled look on his face, I began to feel a little queasy. "Where did you get these stitches", he asked. Tingle! Tingle!

Then the gigantic operation room type light came on and I started to sweat a little. Then the mega-magnifiying glasses were donned! This was looking serious! I started scoping out the whereabouts of the closest trash can.

But the big giveaway that we were in major trouble was when instead of pulling tweezers out of the magic drawer to remove the stitches with, he pulled out a scapel! Then I saw my son get a funny, puzzled look like maybe his tummy was starting to feel a little queasy too.

So now a moment of deja vu, round 6 of the roller coaster ride from hell! I realized that we had entered the station to repeat the last 10 days--one more time!

My son now has a nice, neat slice where the jagged nail tear was 10 days ago. But this time there are steri strips instead of stitches. ("steri" as in keep it sterile!) Yea! Right!

And my worst nightmare has come true! The doctor looked at me and said "make sure you keep this clean"--ONE MORE TIME!

STOP THIS RIDE! I WANT TO GET OFF!!!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Would You Pray With Me?

I guess the first part of Smilin' at the Future didn't sound so happy. Some days the happy future is beyond the natural to a new day and time! But as always, God does not leave us here to suffer for long. He always comes through with encouragement, help and strength. And He did that for me!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had heard a special education expert speak and had bought some of her materials. Since school is starting tomorrow, I will be incorporating some exercises and brain integration therapy into my daughter's curriculum. As I conducted the diagnostic tests with my daughter I have found some specific areas that need addressed.

If you read this blog, and you are a born again believer, I would ask that you pray with me about these specific areas as we do the daily exercises and re-patterning throughout the school year.

Pray for the following:
-for lateral (left to right), front to back and top to bottom communication between the lobes of her brain.
-for hand dominance to be established and strengthened
-for auditory processes to improve
-for strengthening and healing in the left brain
-for strengthening in the right brain especially the photographic memory
-and for ME, who will be doing these exercises on a daily basis. They are time consuming and very specific. I need to do them exactly right in order for them to be effective.
-and for me again. That God would help me to create right brain teaching aids that will help her to learn and retain information.

I realize now that many of the things the Lord had been laying on my heart to do with her are things, that unbeknownst to me, will strengthen the function of her brain--case in point, stretching. She is not limber AT ALL! Little did I realize that this causes communication between specific lobes of the brain to break down.

When she came home from the hospital and started school, I felt the Lord tell me that there would be a significant change in 3rd grade. Well, when she reached third grade, I didn't notice anything. So I figured that I had just not heard correctly.

Then this year, God brought me to homeschooling, thus the homeschooling fair and this learning expert who was the first professional to give me positive feedback and renewed hope in my quest to do everything I possibly can to help my daughter recover her life.

The other day, as I sat looking over her curriculum, I realized that her curriculum is 2nd-4th grade. Could it be that this is what the Lord was talking about? I don't know, but I am expecting great things from Him this year. I don't think that the spiritual battles, the emotional battles, the renewed hop in His promises are coincidence. Could it be that the devil smells impending defeat?

If you read this and you will pray with and for us, please leave a comment at the bottom of this blog. It always helps to know when people are lifting you up in prayer. Thanks!!