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.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Finding Christ in Christmas

I've noticed this year that more stores have put Christ back into their store.  Before Thanksgiving had even arrived, Wal-Mart was playing Christmas carols--and I mean Christmas carols, not holiday songs.  The web is full of people outraged over our society's attempts to remove Christ from the holidays.  Many Christian activists are up in arms over the attempts of society to remove all references to the birth of Jesus.

While Christian activism is the joy of some, I prefer to take a quieter approach.  Christmas could be removed from the calendar, but no one can remove Christmas from my heart.  In my way of thinking, Christmas was absconded years ago by merchandisers.  The day has had so much hype and pressure attached to it that by the time the day arrives and the 30 minutes of frantic "stuff unwrapping" has ended, everyone falls exhausted to the floor while the true meaning of the day is lost or is no more than a fleeting thought like "oh yea, Jesus came to earth today."   It's almost as if Christ is lost in Christmas!

After becoming a Christian, a wise person asked me one year, what are you doing to stay focused on the true meaning of the holiday?  It kind of surprised me a little because up until then all I knew was what I had always done.  You buy gifts for as many people as you can afford.  You go to church on Christmas eve and sing carols and give Jesus his well-deserved head nod, you get up the next morning to a nice breakfast, followed by gift opening and long distance phone calls to missing family members and then you spend the rest of the day playing with "stuff."  When I weighed in the balance the amount of focus the Lord was getting against the focus spent on cultural tradition, Christ was being left out in the cold, just as He was the night He was born.

I resolved to change this "tradition".  About the middle of November, I begin to pray and ask the Lord to focus my attention on the birth of His son in the coming month so that the true meaning of Christmas will not be lost in the holiday hysteria of my culture.  I can honestly say that in the 20 some years I have done this, God has never failed to open the eyes of my understanding and to thrill my heart with some aspect of Lord's coming to earth. 

 One year He brought my focus to the miracle of the incarnation.  Another year He fascinated me with an in depth look into the character of Mary.  Another year seemed to bring the richness and the depth of the Christmas carols to life to the point that I couldn't sing them without crying.  Yet another year I was enthralled with all of the miracles that occurred in such a short time after 400 years of God's silence in Israel as He solidified in my heart that new beginnings are always wrought with miracles. And so it has been, year after year, God brings my spiritual eyes into focus around a manger in Bethlehem. 

This year I feel the Lord leading me again, as is His holiday custom, not to the manger but to  redemption.  I'm finding that the word "redemption" is a BIG word, not in the number of letters it contains, but in the meaning that it represents.  I'm finding that my definition of redemption was way too small, and that smallness has hindered my experience of the fullness of all the benefits that it provides.  Contained in redemption is reconciliation, cleansing, pardon, union with God, sanctification, victory over sin, life everlasting and many others.  Honestly I think that the study of this may lead me all the way into next Christmas!  After all, it is the theme of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation!  As I have been studying the last few weeks, God has been opening my understanding of His redemptive plan to me in a way that I have never known before. 

Now some may say that this is elementary, something I should already grasp and understand.  But I believe that just as the mind of God is unfathomable, so is His Word in the depth of meaning and richness that it can supply to a human heart.  We've all experienced reading a verse and gaining an understanding of what it means and how it practically applies to our lives.  Then when reading it at a later time, we get something totally different from the same verse that again blesses us and helps us in our walk with God.  I don't believe that redemption is a cut and dried issue except when it comes to faith in the blood of Christ.  Although I don't totally understand it, simple faith in it's authenticity is what counts me reconciled to God in Christ.  God had to make that part simple because He knows the human mind is very limited-especially my own! LOL!  But in each living, active Word of scripture, there is a depth and a fullness that is without end and as a child of God I have the awesome blessing of being able to search and seek out all of it's richness for my own life.

As I once again read the very "Christmassy" words in Isaiah 9:6, my eyes observed the context in which the verse was written.  It almost seems out of place.  Amidst the judgment of God for sin, the promise of redemption is interjected.  A few verses later this statement appears, not just once but three times.

"For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still."

This is the root of all redemption.  Reconciliation. 

God's dilemma?  Our sin has caused his wrath to be stirred.   His justice has declared us guilty and demands punishment.  But yet, His love for us remains unchanged, in spite of the sin that now defines us.  

God's solution?  Reconciliation that then opens the doors to all the fullness and the richness of redemption.

That is the essence of Christmas.  Our reconciler has come to begin the great work of redemption for all mankind.

Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace, goodwill towards men!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Integrity in the House of God

As I mentioned before, my brother-in-law came to preach at our church in October.  During the time he took on Sunday morning, he delivered what is really more like two sermons than one.  In America, we refer in joke to the first sermon as being "for free".  Of course, we don't charge people to get into church, but in the USA money seems to be at the bottom line of everything!

I shared already what he preached about valuing the things of God.  That was the "free" part. LOL!  I also want to share what the Lord had laid on his heart to share originally.  Some of the things I shared in my blog about Happy Valley really were a result of thinking about this sermon and the recent events in my locale and how those things relate to the church at large in the world.  Of course, not being a world traveler in any respect, my main focus is on the American church mostly and it's seemingly free-fall from grace and integrity.  I'm not that old, but in the years I have been a Christian I have seen some monumental and fundamental changes in the church, it's doctrine and it's practice.  Recent events are just fallout from these changes and I pray are a wake-up call to all sincere believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

He preached on "Integrity in the Church"  His premise was that the church in America has lost her integrity.  

When the church lost it's integrity, it lost it's impact on society.

In August, I experienced my first earthquake.  The epicenter was in the state of Virginia not too far from Washington DC.  As a result, the Washington Monument was damaged.  They have found several cracks in the structure.  Although it is still standing and looks the same as it did before, the "integrity" of the building has been compromised.  Yellow caution tape has been placed around it's base to warn any approaching that the building is unsafe.  Anymore shaking or even a strong wind could place those in or around it in danger if it collapses.

My BIL's definition of integrity was this:  "the amount of pressure something can take without caving in , falling down and being compromised.:"  He went on to say that if you have been through a trying experience and all you can say "all I have left is my integrity, then you will make it through alright."  Scripture tells us that "those who endure to the end will be saved"-we have maintained our spiritual integrity!

When we lose integrity, we lose authority with God.  If we choose to lie on Monday and then pray in Jesus name on Tuesday, it won't do any good.  In fact, if you find that Satan is not submitting to the name of Jesus in your life, you'd better examine yourself to see if you've lost your authority with God.  The devil has no option but to bow to that name, but if it appears he has an option, then you have probably lost your integrity and thus your authority along the way somewhere.

Obedience through the week gives quality and integrity to your worship on Sunday.

Integrity is not born.  It's made by consistent living in obedience.  A weak structure of heart and soul is the result of inconsistent living.  Each act of obedience strengthens integrity in your life.

Church going people need to learn to tell the truth.  We've all been dishonest and inconsistent with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  For instance, we have all seen someone in the store that we really don't care for on a personal level and we do all we can to avoid having to stop and talk to them.  But on the occasion that it's unavoidable, the first thing we say to them is "Oh, it's SO nice to see you."  We didn't mean a single word we just said!

Some parents tell their kids to do something.  they may tell them several times.  When the kid doesn't respond, they say "I'm counting to three." What they have really taught their children is that words don't mean anything. 

In Genesis, God spoke and there was.  Now that is integrity.  What He said came to pass.  We tell the church and the world that we can pray and be healed, but we very often don't see it.  The church must have faith to the level that we can back up what we say.  Instead, we explain it away by coming up with some different theology that presents God as weak or partial.  Or we hear "Well, God is sovereign."  God IS sovereign and He has sovereignly  presented His will to us through His Word.  And that Word says that healing is part of the atonement and that He will heal every time and anything when faith is present.   It's not His will that we are sick or die of illness.  But it happens.  It's not His will that any should perish, but they do.  That's not God's fault, it's our fault!  But instead of looking at ourselves and examining our own faith, we spiritualize our weakness and ignorance by pinning the blame on God's sovereignty.  

Just recently two people I know, who were professing to believe God for healing died.  I don't believe it was God's sovereign will.  Neither death brought any glory or honor to the name of God.  They mostly left questions, confusion and pain.  I'm not judging them.   I'm just saying that what happened to them and what the Word of God says should happen were two totally different things.  And I can't believe that the problem lies with a perfect God.  The church has lost her integrity when it comes to healing.  What we used to see, we don't see anymore.  Has God changed?  Has His power or will to heal diminished?  NO!  In fact, I told my husband that if I ever get sick and die of a disease that I want him to stand on top of my coffin and proclaim that it is God's will to heal all-all the time and that the problem in receiving the healing is lies with the person in the coffin, not with God.  Okay, the last 1 1/2 paragraphs was "for free!"  LOL!

Ps. 25: 21 
 May integrity and uprightness protect me, 
   because my hope, LORD, is in you.

The word integrity does not occur in the New Testament, but the words sincerity, truth, and a single eye do.  Integrity protects and preserves us.

Psalm 26
 Vindicate me, LORD, 
   for I have led a blameless life; 
I have trusted in the LORD 
   and have not faltered. 
2 Test me, LORD, and try me, 
   examine my heart and my mind; 
3 for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love 
   and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.

We must have a lifestyle of integrity.  We must have a  strong personal relationship without any backsliding.  To backslide, you have to first lose your integrity.  The devil tries to weaken your structure (compromise your integrity)  until you collapse.

Prov.11: 3  
The integrity of the upright guides them, 
   but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.

integrity guides you when facing a decision.  If a decision is going to compromise your integrity, don't go there.

Prov.  20:7
The righteous lead blameless lives; 
   blessed are their children after them

Even our children are blessed after you if you live in integrity.

So many want to see miracles again in the church.  And when God does start to move we sometimes grow arrogant and wear His moving as some kind of spiritual badge on our shirt.  God's miracles are not a short cut through your spiritual responsibility.  

In Gen 20:5  Abraham lost his integrity by lying about Sarah.  Abimilech was wrong but not in the integrity of his heart. Eventually,  Abimilch became a God-fearing ruler.  In v. 6 he states that he was kept from sin because of integrity.  Integrity will save you from the pain of sin.   

Integrity is co-joined with obedience and is the product of obedience.

Gen 13:1-  Lot was a distraction to God's plan for Abraham.  God never told him to take Lot or his father along.  And Lot caused distraction and was a problem for Abraham along the way.  If he had obeyed totally what God said, we might read a slightly different story in scripture.  Of course works is not what saves us, but you'd better have works after you're saved and you'd better have a maintenance program for your spiritual life in place!

I've often compared salvation and the life following to receiving an expensive car as a gift.  The car was a gift.  It cost me nothing to get it.  But after it's mine I am responsible for insurance of the car, gas, and repairs on the car.  That cost's me something.  Salvation is very much this way.  It's the free gift of God, but it will cost us everything!

Not having integrity in your spiritual life will cause you to lose out with God.  You miss a service one Sunday and you feel guilty.  The second time you miss, you feel bad, but not as bad as you did the first time.  Soon, you lose all guilt and you lose the desire to even be there.  Your conscience is seared. 

In spiritual maintenance, we have to live ahead before we get there.  We have the law of this and the law of that.   He called it the law of inevitability.   Think ahead.  If I eat 2 pieces of pie every night,  I'm not going to look the same.  People smoke two packs of cigarettes a day and are shocked when they get emphysema.   To be healed, you have to lay down the cause of the illness or sickness or problem. 

Integrity is a binder.  Love is made up of all kinds of attributes.  One of them is integrity.  Water is the binder with flour, yeast and salt that produces bread.  Integrity is what holds things together.  It's a moral fiber to the human soul.

Civilizations implode from within, not without.  This is why we must have integrity with the Word of God and why the church to some extent is imploding.    The church has lost it's integrity when dealing with God's Word.  And it is imploding, slowly and surely.  

We shouldn't have to think about our answers to questions concerning sin.  Many preachers get on t.v. and him-haw around trying to say the right answer in a palatable way.  Even if we're on t.v.  We just say yes it is.  God said it. Take it or leave it.  Jesus never worried about being politically correct or "sensitive" to a person's position in life.  He just told the truth and they had to deal with it.

The church has paid a high price for the loss of integrity.  We're a joke to the world.  We're just like the world.  And God is not honored in that.

Gen 25: 34  Jacob and Esau.  Esau lost his birthright.  The birthright meant everything.  It was the key to prosperity and legacy.  He didn't value it.  He valued this earth more than the spiritual not realizing that his earthly life was greatly affected by his birthright.  We cannot compromise church attendance for a better shift or better pay.  We are, in effect, losing our birthright in God.  Joseph's integrity took him from the pit to Pharaoh's house.

 If you want to succeed, maintain your integrity.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Not-So-Happy Valley

To add to the chaos I mentioned in an earlier post--enter the Jerry Sandusky scandal!  As if I needed one more thing to sort out in my already swirling brain!   The third safest city in the USA, no police officer ever killed in the line of duty, academic utopia, "Penn State Proud" community has been rocked by perhaps the most heinous crimes against children ever reported.   It appears that it's not all that safe.  After all that has transpired the term "Penn State Proud" does not mean so much anymore.

I'm just one of the millions who are weighing in on this situation on the web, but being that my husband is a PSU grad, we were campus pastors on the main campus where the heinous acts occured and I've spent the last 20 years of my life living here, I felt that I ought to say something.  After weighing all the things I know and don't know and feel I ought to know to come to a sensible conclusion about the situation, the people who did or didn't do what they should or shouldn't have done, what they could or couldn't have done, the consequences that have been or should have been or will be handed down in the future, I have come to only one conclusion.


Was I shocked by the events?  Yes, in a way.  That's just not something you hear everyday.  It always seems to be worse when children are the innocent victims.  But in a way, as a Christian, I should not be shocked at all.  Sinners do what sinners do.  They sin!  Why are Christians sometimes the most surprised by the depths of sin a person can reach?  We, above all others, having been redeemed, delivered and set free from sin should know the ferocity and heinousness of sin.  We, more than any, should know the fee that sin requires, the toll it takes of every life.

Sin is sin.  Sin is ugly.  Sin knows no limits, has no conscience and takes all that it can possibly get.  Sinners sin.  Scripture tells us that "a little leaven leaven's the whole lump."  All Satan needs is just one open window, one crack in the door of your heart and he will come streaming in and take over whatever he is allowed to take.  And sin will not cease nor desist  until it has completed it's mission-to kill, to steal, and to destroy. 

After examining all of this and observing the reactions of "church people" to this travesty,  I've concluded that the institution that has the most to learn from these events is the church.

The church needs to learn once again the definition of sin.  I find many who think that there is such a thing as "little white lies", "okay gossip"-usually coming disguised as prayer requests,  situational obedience-usually meaning that we set standards for others that we lower when faced with them ourselves, and what it really means to "love" with the God-kind of love.  When it's our sin, it's little.  When it's other's sin, it's BIG.

The church needs to stop accepting "little sins"  and deeming them as not serious. Gossiping, worldliness or greed will send you the same place as child molestation will.  We need to be just as appalled at their presence in our personal lives as we are at the presence of more "culturally unacceptable" sins in the lives of the unsaved.

The church needs to stop and look first in the mirror.  With all the indignation over the alleged and seemingly incomprehensible acts done to the innocent kids by this predator, the church needs to stop and examine it's own business.  Without one "guilty" from the judicial system, one man in Happy Valley has lost his job, his untarnished reputation, and much, much more and 4 others have been placed on administrative leave.  Yet in many mega churches around the country where the same kinds of accusations have been brought against Pastors, those Pastors continue on in the pulpit, their congregational numbers the same and or more than before.  Pastors who have publicly beaten their wives,  who have been caught in adulterous affairs, who have been found out to be drunkards, who have found to be fraudulent in their "demonstrations" of miracles working power, who have involved their congregations in questionable or illegal money schemes for their own benefit continue to pontificate from their pulpits every Sunday as if nothing has happened.  And "the church" of America continues to attend their services without even so much as a blink of the eye.  Some self-proclaimed "Apostles" now travel to churches who allow or condone sinful living styles to preach the love of God, having been swayed from sound doctrine by the constant bombardment of tolerance teaching of a culture that is fast approaching the same state reached by every major civilization just before it imploded.  America needs no enemies.  We are our own worst enemy.  And the church stands idly by afraid to take a stand for holiness, afraid to run counter culture.  Instead, we "Christianize" everything in our culture to make Christianity more palatable to our culture when we are truly called to permeate and CHANGE our culture!

 We need to stop living just to get by, or get "in", which ultimately is not about Jesus at all, but what He can do for us to keep us from burning in a devil's hell, and find out exactly what pleases God and start living it!  I find so many who are more interested in knowing only those things about God that please them instead of really being concerned about what pleases Him, and yes, there are preachers for that as well.

Do we really understand the depravity of the sinful nature of human flesh?
Do we understand that we are under a death sentence unless we have been truly born again, CHANGED by the power of God, living holy lives fully dedicated and consecrated to the Lord?
Do we really even care or is it still all about us?
What are we doing about sin--in our own lives, in the lives of those we see everyday?  Do we see it's destructiveness in them?   Do we see it's destructiveness in us?  Do we see that it renders us totally ineffective for the Kingdom of God that we claim to serve?  Does it move us to action?  Does it put us on our knees?  Does it cause us to weep and lament and cry before the Lord?  It should!

Concerning Jerry Sandusky and his alleged crimes, the jury is still out.  I am waiting to see what the trial reveals because in America, a person is innocent until proven guilty.

 If he is guilty, I hope that he is punished to the fullest extent the law allows. I hope he is locked up tight away from children for the rest of his life.  I pray that he finds the God who will take those sins, wash them in  His own blood, and produce a Jerry Sandusky who is whiter than snow.  I pray that his victims will also find that same God who can heal any wound no matter how deep, can change any mind no matter how scarred, and who loves all that He loves with a love that is perfect.

As for the church, we had better get busy!  It's obvious that we have a lot of work to do.   Judgement day is coming for us as well.  If that day were today, what would God say to us, as the church?  What would God say to me as His servant?


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Valuing the Things of God

My husband's little brother preached at our church on October 23rd.  The only thing little about him is his age. He's 9 years younger than my husband.  He's inches taller than my husband, but not quite as handsome! LOL!  (I think my sister-in-law would probably disagree with this statement.)  But one area that he is not small in is his spiritual life.  He gave the best sermon I have ever heard him preach.  Actually this is his pre-sermon!  LOL!  I'll share his sermon later.  Either way, it's worth sharing his thoughts.
~~~~    ~~~~     ~~~~~~
The Need To Re-establish Value for the Things of God in God's Church

He began by telling us what had been happening in his church over the last couple of years.  God had been moving in remarkable ways for many months there.  Salvation's, healings, and miracles were happening on a regular basis.  Then one Sunday, the Spirit just seemed to disappear.  He sought the scriptures and he sought the Word.  He was very disturbed in spirit.

Finally the Lord said to him "in spite of the things I have been doing in your midst, the people in this church have lost their value for the things of God.  When something loses value, you lose the passion for that thing.  When you lose your passion for that thing, you lose the motivation to move towards it (or to guard it).  When you lose motivation, it will lower the level of endurance you are willing to endure to go through and get whatever you are seeking after.  The value for the things of God must be re-established in their hearts."

The level of our value  for something directly determines our level of passion and our level of endurance.

One example is the divorce rate in America.   As a culture we have lost the value for the sanctity of marriage.  We've lost our passion for marriage and therefore our level of endurance to put up with things in marriage is at a low level.  When you hear a man referring to his wife as "the old lady", you know that he has lost the value of his wife.  Where couples used to to allow years to work through things, now a couple of weeks is the norm.  There is a low level of endurance in the fight.

A good indicator of your value of the things of God is your church attendance.  Church attendance is a spiritual exercise.  I you value it, you'll be willing to put up with anything just to get there.  Nothing short of debilitating illness or death will keep you from the house of God.   Visiting family will have to wait.  Employment opportunities will have to wait for Monday-Saturday.  (I also believe that not only will you be dedicated to Sunday, but also to other church activities throughout the week.) 

In the days of Saul, the ark of the covenant was lost.  No one looked for it through the reign of Saul 47 years.  Some commentators say over a hundred years.  How in the world could they not think of the ark?  It represented the very presence of God.  It was at the centrality of their existence.  It was the centrality of their worship.  It was the very presence of God in their midst. It scared their enemies.  They were known by the heathen nations as "the people of the presence".  They couldn't be overcome if that box was present.  You tell me, how in the world do you forget about the ark of the covenant as a part of your worship life,  society, culture, existence,  you tell me how can you forget that it even exists???    They lost the value for the things of God.  They didn't even know where it was!!  For somewhere between 2-5 generations, the ark of the covenant and the value of it were lost to Israel. 

This means that several generations grew up, were instructed and discipled in how to function without the presence of God.  Probably even mentioning it to them would have gained you nothing but blank stares!

When David inquired about the ark, they searched and found the ark in someones house who lived outside the city.  It's sort of finding a car in West Virginia in someones front yard with weeds growing up all through it!  It was in a guy's house like a piece of furniture.  The man who had the ark also had a son  named Uzza.    The ark had become common to him as well which is why he so easily reached and steadied it on the trip back to Jerusalem.  Perhaps all the disrespect and irreverence caught up with the man and it cost him his life.

Don't ever stop valuing the things of God!  If Israel could lose the Ark of the Covenant after knowing it's power, if they could continue to suffer loss, persecution and failure in battle and not realize that they had lost the power of God, it can happen to us!!!   If they could grow comfortable with living without all that the Ark and it's presence could supply, it could easily happen to us!   It has happened to us in the American church! 

People can talk of the things of God and Christians look at you like a deer in headlights.  Biblical terminology has been cast aside for more "modern" language.  Talk of the moving of the Spirit of God in a church service causes wide eyes, uplifted eyebrows and sideways glances even in some Pentecostal churches who are Pentecostal but in name only! 

Why not value the language?  Why not just bring it into our century?  It has not changed!  It's meaning has not changed!  The power behind it has certainly not changed, nor will He EVER!  He is the same yesterday, today and forever!  We have left the Ark in the woods!
~~~~     ~~~~     ~~~~~

My brother-in-law had each person in his church fill out a survey about their spiritual activity on a daily basis.  The results showed they were sorely lacking in almost every area.  Perhaps they had grown comfortable with the Spirit of God moving and grown lax in their own pursuit of spirituality.   Needless to say, they had lost their sense of value for the things of God and God had moved on from their presence.  

As Christians, we can have a lot of head knowledge about the Bible and all that it affords us as believers but if that knowledge is not proven with practical experience, that's really all it is-knowledge and "knowledge puffs up".  When your head is swollen, you can't think right.  When you don't think right you don't do right.  When you don't do right, things don't turn out the way they should.  I wonder if this is not what happened to Israel?  They were unbeatable as long as that Ark was with them in battle and their hearts were right with God.  Perhaps the victories went to their heads and they forgot who it was that was winning those battles!  Perhaps they took being God's "chosen" into the realm of pride and arrogance instead of staying in the humbleness of their beginnings.  It would explain a lot of what I see today in what people call "church."

A few weeks ago the Lord took me back to my "beginnings" in Him.  I realized that a lot of what I had felt--the joy, the zeal, the wonder of salvation--had lost some of it's luster in my heart and in my life.  I had chalked this up to "maturity", but the Lord showed me that instead of maturity, it was actually hardness.    I don't like that.  So I'm returning to do the things I did at first, with the Holy Spirit's help, of course.  I've been making a conscious effort to value everything I do for God, with God,  in God's house, for God's people, no matter how small or insignificant it may be.  I'm giving it first priority in my life.  And the joy--oh the joy, and the wonder and the zeal is returning and I really, really like that!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Total Chaos!!!

This photo by Dave Bleasdale pretty much describes what my life has seemed like these past few weeks.  There is just so much swirling around in my head and my heart-all too jumbled at this point to put into words.  Thoughts, questions, disturbing situations, things that hurt my heart, things that thrill my heart, circumstances causing me to wonder, to pray, to search the scriptures for comfort, for wisdom, for revelation, for hope.  I don't have writer's block, I just can't get anything to sit still long enough in my mind to write about it.

I am sure that when I get these things all squared away in my mind and in my heart, there will much to write about but until then I suggest reading these blogs instead.  Enjoy!




Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What in the World??

I just realized that this new blogger dashboard has stats!  One of the features is that you can look at what people typed into the search that brought them to your blog.  I'm still trying to figure out how someone found my blog by typing:

"old woman standing on corner with ham"

As I said before I really have to wonder about the person who found me by typing this in the search:

"pastors wives nude"

And these made me wonder as well:

"amish bondage"  and "my pastors wife is evil"

What am I typing on these blogs?????  LOL!

It was just an observation and it made me giggle.  I needed a giggle.  Hope you giggled too!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hallmark Moments with God

When my Mom passed away, my Dad gave me a envelope filled with poems and songs that my Mom had written.  She was always singing a little "ditty" of some kind and knew just about every song ever written. I still laugh as I remember how the silly songs would make us laugh as she danced around the kitchen twirling with a pancake turner in her hand singing songs like "Yes, We Have No Bananas", "Oh Johnny", "Boom, Boom, Diddle, Daddle, Waddam, Shoot", and one about a train stopping goat.  She even instilled in me the love of a certain name, which I gave to our first born daughter.   Later in life, she turned her hand to poetry and found that she was quite handy at that too.  When I find myself missing her, I get that envelope out and read through them.  It gives me little glimpses into her heart and I remember all the good things. 

Blogging has been a journey for me.  I first started out blogging to record things for my children so they could have a remembrance of their childhood, a digital scrapbook, of sorts.  (And maybe someday when they're missing me, it will bring comforting memories to them too.)  I soon found that it was a wonderful writing outlet as well and the more I did it, the more I realized that I love to write!  I don't think that I often have much of value to say, but I find enjoyment from learning to say it in creative and effective ways.  I guess I must be more like my Mom than I ever admitted.

In scripture, God often instructed people to write things down for remembrance purposes, to chronicle His workings in their lives, as a memorial, and for public record.  I think that this is just as important today!  It's those things that become part of the heritage that we hand down to our children for what more important thing do we pass on to our children than a spiritual heritage?  Some of my husband's most treasured possessions are old dog eared Bibles with hand written notes in them that he inherited from his great grandparents and grandparents.  They tell of a time and a faith that stood strong through time.  When we have an understanding of those that came before us, it helps us to understand our own selves much better, but more importantly, we come to know and understand our roots.  (My husband has a rich spiritual heritage that dates all the way back to the Asuza St. revival.  There are spiritual principles already at work in his life based on the promises made to his ancestors.  That is a comforting thing, especially in times of hardship or trouble and it sets a standard for living that encourages us to believe big.) 

Spiritually speaking, this is very important.  Through the experiences, failures and victories of saints that have gone before us, we can glean and learn things without re-inventing the wheel of life.  If we will heed the lessons that we learn from them, we will end up going higher, deeper, and longer in the things of God which will make us more useful for His Kingdom.

Thus, I want to get back to my original intent for blogging and that is to chronicle my walk with the Lord.  My children have already heard many of these things, but having a written record in my own words will provide them a first hand account of what made their crazy mother tick!

So every now and then I plan to post a moment that to me is a Hallmark moment with God.  I pray that it will bless my children some day and that it will bolster their faith and encourage them to walk even further, to go even deeper, and to live even higher than I was able to.  If we will effectively pass on what we have learned to those younger than ourselves, their potential in God when they reach our age will far exceed even what we obtained in a whole lifetime.  I called that "2 twoin' it".  (2 Timothy 2:2)

Someday, when my kids look back on all these "writings" that I have posted here, I pray that they will understand their Mom, their spiritual heritage, their history and possibly their destiny just a little bit better.  I pray that they will find hope, encouragement, warm memories, and a few giggles along the way. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sacred Spots-Residue of the Holy

Just recently I acquired a new piano student.  She attends a charter school in our town and I go there after school to give her a lesson once a week.  Her mother sent me very detailed instructions on how to get there but I didn't need them.  It was the address of the first church I attended as a Christian and that eventually we pastored in.  I hadn't been in that building for nearly 18 years so when I entered I expected that I wouldn't recognize much of anything.  I was mistaken.

When I entered the lobby, it looked pretty much the same structurally.  The carpet had been replaced by tile.  That's understandable since the building houses a middle school.  The offices were left intact.  The sanctuary had been divided in half with the back becoming 3 separate classrooms, but as I walked into the rooms bordering the outside walls, I noticed that the wood beams that created the A-frame design of the old sanctuary were still in place.  I proceeded through the rooms and into a large room with steps on one side that went up to a platform--the front of the old sanctuary.  There were 10 or so kids flying around the room engaging in an intense game of dodge ball.   It seemed odd for dodge ball to be going on there because the carpet had not been changed and the front of the sanctuary remained nearly untouched.  It was almost like I was in a dream.

By the end of our lesson, pretty much everyone had gone from the building so I strolled back into the dodge ball court.   The auditorium became again for me a sanctuary.  I walked to the front right side and stood in the exact location where I had stood as I asked the Lord to forgive me of my sin.  I almost felt again the feeling of what seemed to be a 500 lb. weight being lifted from shoulders as the Lord erased my sin debt and declared my account justified!  Then I walked to the left side of the sanctuary and stood where I had stood as the Lord gloriously baptized me in the Holy Spirit and gave me a new and wonderful language to speak to Him in prayer.  I walked up on the platform and remembered the morning I dedicated my daughter-a miracle baby- to the Lord and I stood over the baptistery (now boarded over) as I recalled the day my husband and I were baptized into the faith together.  What  a blessing.  Then I stood where I had been sitting on that first "monumental" day when the Lord spoke so clearly to me from His Word that He had heard and answered my prayers for my dying grandmother.

Even though church services had not been held in that building for a very long time it almost seemed to me that the place was still, somehow holy.  It seemed that a residue of the holy still lingered there.  In that place, I had been taught the Word of God, I had observed and experienced many miracles and supernatural events, life-long friendships had been forged there and I had been raised in the Lord by a loving Pastor and congregation.  I wonder if there is a residue of the holy that lingers, like the power that lingered on the buried bones of the Prophet Elisha.  I hope so.  I pray that there is.  There is a generation there that is in danger of being lost.

Regardless, that spot will always be sacred to me, if only in my heart.  It was there that God completely and forever changed me and set my life in a totally different direction.  I plan to spend more time in that place over the coming weeks. It gives me cause to remember and be grateful.  It reminds me that small beginnings are not to be despised, but treasured because they are craftsmanship of God.  It seems a lifetime has passed since my first days in that building.  I guess in a lot of ways, it has.  But as I traveled back in my mind to those times, my heart filled with gratitude and thanksgiving to the God who drew me there in the first place. 

 Perhaps the Lord will give me the opportunity to share with some of the people there why I am so drawn to the dodge ball court! I pray so.  I pray that I won't be the only one with sacred spots in that room. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Monuments of the Christian Life

In scripture, we often see people building an altar to God to commemorate a monumental occasion in their walk with Him.  And after the sacrifice is offered, the altar is left standing so that every person passing by will know that something very important happened there. The altar that Joshua built to the Lord became a national monument.  Every time Israelite families passed by with their children, they would recount the story of the great deed that God performed there much like we visit monuments today that commemorate the founding of our country or our fight for freedom.
As a Christian, I have monuments that I visit from time to time.  My monuments are scripture verses that God used to minister to me in remarkable ways.  These verses and their work in my life have made me who I am.  Written in my Bible beside each verse is the date and situation I was in when the Lord used that verse to minister to me.  Each time I flip through my Bible or I happen to be on those pages, I recount to myself the story of the mighty things God did in my life through that passage of scripture and I'm encouraged and my faith is bolstered.

John 15:16 was the first monument verse I ever marked in my Bible.  It was in 1983, just a few short months after I became a Christian.  My grandmother had fallen in a rest stop in GA and broken her hip.  Shortly after surgery, a blood clot traveled to her brain causing a stroke and she wasn't expected to come out of it.  She had attended a main line church all her life.  They had never told her that she needed to be born again.  Still, her heart was tender towards the Lord.   I had talked with her on several occasions since being converted, but still was not sure about where she was with God.  With her in GA in a coma and me stuck in PA, there was no way to communicate with her.  I spent days fasting and praying, even though I didn't yet know that there was such  a thing as fasting and prayer.  I just couldn't eat.  Concern for her eternal destination consumed me. 

She passed away on a Tuesday evening.  Wednesday morning we got the call.  On Wednesday evening the Lord prompted me to go to church even though I was packing and preparing to leave to go home for her funeral.  I didn't want to go, but thought that maybe the worship would soothe my soul. Upon arriving at church, I discovered that our musically talented Pastor and his wife were gone.  In their place was a deacon who could not sing and  a retired missionary who tortured the ivories much more than she tickled them.  "God, you must have made a mistake", I thought to myself.  What was worse was, the man responsible for leading the service had only just found out that he was in charge and hadn't prepared anything.  I just sat there in my misery wondering if God was playing a cruel trick on me. (Remember, I was just newly saved and ignorant of how He works, even through seemingly terrible situations, but  was about to learn a valuable lesson.)

After we blundered through a hymn, he stood and read a passage of scripture from John 15.  He stopped at verse 15, but I continued reading into verse 16.  As I read the verse, time seemed to stand still.  The noise from the service seemed to grow strangely dim.  Verse 16 seemed to magnify right before my eyes as if it was leaping off the page and covering my eyes until it was all I could see.

"You did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in my name, He may give it to you."

Immediately, peace flooded my heart like a dam bursting from the deluge of water that had been pushing itself against it's walls with relentless force and I was assured that God had heard and answered my prayers and my grandmother was in heaven with him. It was my first "I know that I know that I know" moment since my salvation experience.

At her funeral, I could hardly sit still.  Her body lay there dressed in her favorite pink dress, still and silent, but in my minds eye, I could see her dancing on the streets of gold, twirling in a white robe and singing as her bright blue eyes twinkled with delight.  The reality of eternity in heaven had never been more real.  I honestly wanted to jump up from my seat and twirl around her casket, joining her in her dance.  My sorrow was swallowed up in knowing that her life was now complete and victory had been won!

I will see her again someday.  She will tell me of those last few hours when she was sleeping and I was praying and God was working.  I can't wait!  The marked verses in my Bible will be here on earth, but they will be more alive to me than they were here, even while they were jumping off the page at me.

This verse and the notation beside it always reminds me that God does hear and answer prayer, even when all we can do is pray.  He does take the efforts that we make to share our faith and plants them as seeds in other's hearts, even if all we know of scripture is what we've experienced through being newly born again.   Of course, after 28 years with Christ, this verse means so much more to me now, but it will always remind me of the first time that God really "spoke" His Word to my heart as a direct and clear answer to my prayer.  The sheer simplicity of the reality of His everyday presence in our daily affairs encourages me now, even as I write this.  Thank you Lord!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Those Stinkin', Dirty Sparrows!

The bird on the left side of the feeder is named Max.  I know this because he has a "wanger feather".  One of his under feathers sticks up and is crooked.  That is how I can pick him out from the myriad of sparrows that all look alike.  You can't see his feather in this photo.  Every time I try to get a photo, he turns so that it's not showing.  I think Max is vain.  LOL!

Of all the birds that visit my feeders, Max is the plainest, most uninteresting of them all.  I often look around Max and his sort to see the beautiful colors of the gold finch, the cardinal, the blue jay, and most of all the grosbeak.  One day my daughter asked me, "Why did God make those birds so ugly?" That's like asking why God made mosquitoes--who knows?????   So I said,  "They aren't ugly to Him." 

I find it interesting that when God talks of the meticulous care that He takes with each person, he uses the sparrow as His example.  Not the flashy and beautiful cardinal.  Not the stunning blue jay.  Not the regal gold finch or the majestic grosbeak.   No, He uses the common, bland, everyday, run of the mill sparrow.  And while I'm not even paying them one bit of attention except to look around them at the more beautiful birds, God is noticing when one of their feathers falls to the ground or gets bent into a weird position.  Just as I can pick Max out of a crowd, God knows each of those sparrows intimately.  To Him they are beautiful too.

To Him, all of His creation is beautiful, even if it has a few ruffled feathers. 

So when I look for opportunities to witness or bless another person, do I see every person through God's eyes?  Do I see something seemingly plain and ordinary, seemingly ruffled and flustered, a "dime-a-dozen" kind of person or do I see each one as something created by God, desired by God, and needing God?  Do I tend to gravitate towards the more beautiful people-the successful people, the attractive people, the people with status and reputation?  Or can I look into a crowd of people and see a "Max" in every person?

Sometimes I think that we grow frustrated with witnessing because we have so few results.  But the reason that we have so few results is because we are witnessing to the wrong kinds of people.  In our minds we think that a beautiful person, or a successful person, or a person a lot like us could have so much impact for the Kingdom of God because of who or what they are in a worldly sense instead of looking at the Maxes of this world and imagining what they could become by the changing power of a loving and mighty God.  Jesus went to the needy, the lowly, the sick, and the oppressed.  He didn't see them as one of many dirty, weak, and needy people in a multitude.  Instead, He looked at them and saw the design the Father had for them when He knit them together in their mother's womb and He brought them back onto the path that would lead them to that end.  He understood the grace of God like no other and He knew the power that it has to make a person brand new.

I was a Max.  But I'm not anymore.  Now I'm a songbird with a beautiful melody.  Christ gave that to me.  When Christ came to me, He looked past the ugly, despondent, broken outside and saw what God had intended all along, and I became what I never thought I could be.  That's the power of His grace in a life.

Father, help me to see others through your eyes.  No matter how unlovely they may appear to me, let me see the plan you had for them all along.  Fill my heart with your compassion, your mercy, and your love for them.  Let me look past the ruffled feathers and see the seed of the songbird that you placed in them before they were even born.  And remind me Lord, of where I was when you found me that I might not judge them unjustly.  Let your grace be upon me so that they can also see the grace that you have for those who will ask you for it and help me to sing your song as a sweet melody to the world.  Amen.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

God, You Really Didn't Mean "ALL", Did You?

Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.

These words from Philippians have been following me around for days.  We are to do "ALL" things without grumbling or disputing.  Most of the time I love the "alls" of the Bible, especially "He forgives ALL our sins and heals ALL our disease", but this one presents me with a challenge.  

I am to wash every dish, clean every bathroom, run every errand, navigate every inconvenience, solve every problem, handle every relationship and work every job without grumbling or disputing.  Why?

I am to appear as a light to the world!

Grumblers cannot shine! Grumbling dulls my light, fogging and clouding it to the point that no one around me can see the light that resides in me! What good am I in ministry if I am not shining? What good am I to the world if I am not shining?  If I am not a light, of what use am I to God? 

It takes light to see. My light, when it is shining, reveals the true nature of God.  It warms, it melts, and it defines all the desirable attributes of a loving God. 

Light in darkness draws things to itself.  A fire's light draws those that are cold to it's side and it's warmth provides them a sense of comfort and security. 

Last year, I planted a garden in the back yard.  The plants did not grow very fast so consequently they did not produce much, if any fruit.  There wasn't enough light.  Without light, nothing can grow. 

We are to be a light unto the world shining as a lighthouse beacon helping those traveling through life to avoid disaster, providing warmth and sight to those lost in the wilderness of life.

Grumbling and disputing douses the fire, hides the sight-giving light, and presents a cold and uncaring, callous God.  It causes us to act and react just as the world so why would they want what we have when it appears that we live in darkness just as they do? 

God has provided us grace to live above the situations of life so that we don't react the same way that the world does.  That's what makes us shine.  That's what causes us to burn with a fire that draws men in from the cold, finds the lost and the frightened and draws them to it's warmth.

We are commanded to shine in ALL situations!

Being  a light is not a hard thing.  Light bulbs do not strain to shine.  They just allow the power that flows into them to light them up.

If it wasn't possible, God wouldn't have commanded it.

It's something to think about.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Whineyland" (Lawn Mower Devotions Series)

I found myself in "whineyland" today!  I get this way every September.  In September homeschooling begins and I need more time at home, but public school also begins and they need my husband at the bus garage three times a day to drive a bus.  This takes me away from home doing the lawn business as my husband runs between me and the garage.  Lawn work is physically taxing on me (I am a grandma you know!)....plus, I just have always hated working outside.   Today I found myself left alone to mow what we refer to as "the trinity."  It's three 3/4 acre properties side by side.  With two people, it takes a little over an hour to mow and trim all three.  Alone, it takes an eternity!!  I was stuck in eternity!

I chatted with a friend as I was about to start mowing and mentioned where I was, that it wasn't my favorite thing to do and that my daughter had my ipod, so I was not going to get to listen to sermons or scripture or music as I mowed.  She said, "well, I guess you'll just be mowing and thinking."  "NO!, I said, I can't mow and think because my thoughts have not been going good places lately.  I keep thinking that I'll be 75 and still mowing yards just to pay the bills."  We're called to ministry but it seems that we really can't fully focus on it because we have to work so many other jobs too.   I find myself struggling with this almost every September.  I can think of everything bad about what we are doing and get myself in such a funk that I become a grumbler and my nose gets stuck in my navel as all I think about and see is me, me me.  So today, I told my friend that I needed to mow and pray, making my supplications WITH THANKSGIVING!!!

Mowing was really slow-going thanks to tropical storm Lee, who had consistently dumped rain on PA for nearly a week!  I would have been better to use a baler than our zero turn.  With each pass the mower labored to cut and threw large clumps amidst a thick blanket of clippings that soon covered all of the 2-1/4 acres!  My heart sank and my mood darkened as did the clouds directly above me.  I didn't realize it, but what the weather man calls an "isolated storm" was brewing overhead and in my heart. 

As I donned the backpack blower to blow the blanket of grass clippings off the trinity, I decided that I was going to spend that time being thankful and just reciting the promises of God encouraging myself in the Lord as David did.  I needed to get my perspective adjusted and my faith in operation!

 As I began, I immediately felt the help of the Holy Spirit bringing scripture after scripture to my mind.  Things were moving along really well.  The sun was shining and the sky was all blue except for a small patch of black cloud that loomed over my head.  It was hot, I was sweaty, and soon, like dewdrops from heaven, small raindrops began to fall on my head as quickly as the promises were falling into my heart!  "Oh Lord, thank you" I said.  It feels so refreshing both inside and out!" 

Then, those raindrops began to fall faster and they got larger and heavier until soon I was being pelted with stinging raindrops the size of quarters .  All the while I continued blowing an increasingly heavy and soggy blanket of grass clippings that were not moving very far or very fast!  "It figures", I said to myself, "I decided to be thankful and now it's raining at the worst possible moment!  Well, now I had a choice to make.  Either I was going to just believe or I was going to give in to a cruddy attitude.  So I decided to just be thankful anyway even though I was soaking wet and all the blowing was proving to be a lesson in futility.  But I continued, through clenched teeth, thanking God for all of the promises that were falling into my mind.  Faith is not always fun or easy, you know!  Sometimes it just means that you decide to believe something, no matter what you see or feel or experience simply because God said it is so.

Soon after my hubby arrived and took over the blowing.  I took my drippy head, my grass covered, exhausted body back to the truck to wallow in self-pity and frustration! I just felt miserable!  But as I went, I noticed something.  The fierce hardness and speed of the passing rain storm and those large raindrops had actually pounded a lot of the grass clippings right down into the ground.  As it turned out much less blowing was required than had been before the storm.  This creates what is called "thatch" and when thatch gets thick enough it requires "de-thatching"--a service our business provides!

Sometimes it's just hard to look at a situation and be able to believe that there is anything good to be found in the midst of it.  Storms appear that just seem to enshroud us like a burial cloth while the rest of world enjoys sunny skies.  It's only when we choose to believe what God said AND we act on it that God can intervene, even in the midst of a worsening situation.  That's faith.

"So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain." Philippians 2:12-16

It's faith that originated with God, was placed in me by God, and works for me in God!  He both wills and works for His good pleasure!  He takes pleasure in placing it in us and in seeing it work for us!  It opens the door for His blessing and the completion of His promises in our lives and we profit by it.  The result is that we live in continual blessing and presence and He is glorified in us to the point that we are like a light shining in the dark places of the world! 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Have You Checked Your Account Balance Lately? (Lawn Mower Devotion Seriws)

As some of you already know, my husband and I are bi-vocational ministers which means we also work a secular job on top of the ministry.  We own a lawn and turf company so we do a lot of mowing, raking, bush trimming, fertilizing, spraying, mulching etc.  Business is as unpredictable as the weather, in fact, as the weather goes, so goes the business.  This past July we had no work for 3 weeks.  Fortunately June had proved to be very busy, so we were able to make it through July fine, financially speaking.  But in August, the July money was not nearly enough to make ends meet, but we believed God to provide.  He always has before. We did fine up until the last 10 days of August.  Then the money just dried up, along with the grass!  We landed a big clean-up job that was more than enough to get us through to the end of the month.   It was for our bank manager.  She had just moved into a new house and as a gift, her parents offered to pay to have the outside spruced up a bit.  They left the check with her so that she would have the money when we finished.  We like those kind of customers! LOL!  We rejoiced in God's provision!

We went over right away and did the work.  While we were working, the bank manager arrived home and even stopped to chat, but didn't offer to pay us.  So the next day, while at the bank, we gave her the invoice but still no pay.  Another day and another day and another day went by with no payment.  We had to say "no" to some fun opportunities for the kids, one of our boys started school in a pair of shoes that the soles were literally falling off of,  dinners were down to spagettio's and ramen noodles and "the pickins were very slim" as us rednecks say.  Both checkbook balances went all the way to "0" and we wondered "God, what in the world are you doing?"  We were a little perplexed.  The next time we went to the bank, the bank manager came out and said "Did you notice I put your payment in your account last week?"  We just stood there dumbfounded.  Because we hadn't gotten any checks in the mail, we hadn't gone to the bank and had no idea that there was any money in the account!  Here we were, barely living because we didn't know the money we needed was there so we didn't take advantage of what was in our account.

A lot of Christians live like this.  God has blessed us abundantly through the death and resurrection of His son.  Our account has not only been settled, but many deposits have been made.  As God's family, we have many rights and privileges such as peace, joy, comfort, provision, healing, protection, assurance, and abundant grace in every situation!  Jesus became accursed that we might be blessed with the blessing that He rightly deserves!  And that's NO SMALL blessing!  Problem is, a lot of times it is just sitting in our account not being used.  Some don't know it's there, so they don't even try to access and use it.  Other's read about it in the Bible but do not activate their faith and receive what's already been given.  Consequently, we walk around in lack, worrying, depressed, and feeling that somehow God has failed us because we seemingly have so much need.  Well, I'm here to tell you.....HEY!  Check your account!!!!!!!  It's in there!!!!  Everything you need to live a victorious, overcoming life has ALREADY been given.  Christ has done ALL that He is ever going to do for you!

How do we activate the blessings?????  By faith!  I heard a well known TV preacher the other day preaching that if we "just say God's Word, it will work in our lives."  He never once mentioned that we have to receive and speak God's Word in faith!  (I guess he missed the story of the 7 sons of Sceva.  They spoke the Word and got their butts kicked which proves that our faith must be in the author of those words and not the words themselves!)  There's no charismatic formula to say or do to get what you want or need.  We can't manipulate God.   There's only faith in the one who has already provided all that we need pertaining to life and godliness! Does your life show that you believe it?   It's very simple.  "Only believe"--that He is good and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.    Jesus often said that it's OUR faith that determines what we receive and what we don't.  Lack of faith on the part of the recipient was the only thing that kept Jesus from being able to provide whatever they needed or wanted. 

I have determined that I don't want to live another day leaving anything sitting in my account.  I want to take it out and use it to live a Godly life, a blessed life, a healthy life.  I don't want one blessing that cost Jesus his life to provide to go unused in my own!   When I read the Word, I pray that I would just take God at His Word, that I would see what He has provided and that I would take it and use it so that my life will glorify and reflect all that he is!  If that is what the world sees, then they will desire all that we have and they too will come to Christ!

Do you just believe what you read in God's Word?  Do you just figure that if He said it, He meant it and He'll do it?  I am doing that more and more and I see God working in my life so much more than before.  God delights performing His Word in our lives!!!!  In fact, He wanders to and fro looking for someone to show Himself strong to!!  Are you that person?  Is your account sitting unused?   

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I've Fallen in Love with Another Man

I never thought this would happen but I've fallen in love with another man.

Meet my first grandchild.  I'm sure you can tell from his handsome-ness that he is a boy!  His name is Caden Daniel.  He is 8lbs. 3 oz., 22 "long, and perfect from the top of his regal head to the tips of all 10 of his toes!

As you can see, his grin is just infectious and just makes me want to squeeze him to my body as tight as I can and never let go.  I'm just extraordinarily smitten.  He is just irresistable!

I even love to sit and watch him sleep.  I'm learning every wrinkle, every dimple, and every expression on his lovely face.

I haven't told my husband yet.......I know I should......but I think he knows how I feel. 

He's having the same feelings that I am!  LOL!

Welcome my GRANDson!  You are incredibly loved and abundantly blessed!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Love Lessons by the Lake

Today I attended my third wedding in 10 months.  Every wedding is different, with it's own unique characteristics as varying as the personalities of the people who are getting married, but one thing that is never missing are those three little words--I love you.  Whether spoken in words, or seen in the way the bride and groom look into each other's eyes, weddings are full of love.   I had to giggle today when the couple kissed at the end of ceremony, the young ring bearer went "ewwwwww!"  All this love stuff was just not appealing to him at all.  He was more interested in standing on the edge of the lake watching the boats motoring by. 

Still the day took me back to the time when I had been young and in love with a certain farm boy who lived several hundred miles away.  I was in school in VA.  He was in school in PA.  The highlight of every day was my trip to the mailbox. I wasn't looking for cookies from home or cards with a little "mad money" tucked inside.  Nope!  I was looking for that all familiar handwriting of the one I loved because I knew that mixed in with a little news would be written a million times "I love you."  For some reason I never grew tired of hearing those three words when they came from him.

 After a few years of separation and almost daily letters and hundreds of dollars in long distance phone bills,  we married.  But one thing didn't change.  I never grew tired of hearing those three little words "I love you."

And now, after being together for over 32 years, I still get the same feeling I got as a teenager every time he says to me "I love you."  It just never grows old!  Why??  Because I love him too.

Love is a funny thing.  It's different from all other emotions.  I know people who are just filled with sorrow, with depression, with hate or anger, or who are downcast almost all the time.  And when I push them to tell me why they feel that way, they can't explain it.  It's just how they feel.  But I've NEVER met a person who is full of love who can't tell me why they feel that way.  Every single one of them knows exactly why!  Why?  Because not only are they loved, but they are loving in return.  There's just a lot of love flying around everywhere!  When you love someone and you know they love you, you just never grow tired of hearing it!  I'm sure this young bride will never grow tired of hearing those words whispered in her ear or shouted from the rooftops!  She will never tire of the cards or the flowers or the gifts or the deeds that all scream "I love you!"  

In fact, as the Pastor so wonderfully put it in his homily (and yes, we all discovered today that our Pastor CAN preach short!  Who knew?), a marriage that is simply based on you loving God and God loving you will never fail.  Why?  Because God's love is perfect and it NEVER FAILS!  So if a marriage is based in and operates out of the love of God, it will never fail either.  What a wonderful charge to a new couple just starting out!  What a good reminder for all of us experienced married people too. 

Who are you loving?  Who is it that you are listening for those three little words to come from?  Do you ever tire of hearing them?

We are the object of God's love, a love so vast and deep and wide that only one drop of it would flood that beautiful lake where the wedding took place.  Every day in boundless ways He tells us that He loves us.  Are you listening?  Is His the voice you are yearning to hear?  Is it His handwriting you run to read each day? 

Don't take His love for granted.  Don't grow tired of coming into a deeper understanding of His vast and measureless love for you. Don't settle for a pat understanding of  knowing that He loved you and died on the cross for you.  He waits every day to show you His love in a new and fresh way!  Have you grown tired of His love?  Do you take it for granted?  How are you responding each day to His love? 

And how are you communicating love to Him?  Are you rushing to that "telephone line" to heaven just to hear His voice and to say "I love you Lord with all my heart, my soul, my might and my strength?"  Are you a person that walks daily in love, overflowing with love?  Is He the reason for and the object of your affection? 

  • The love of God is greater far
    Than tongue or pen can ever tell.
    It goes beyond the highest star
    And reaches to the lowest hell.
    The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
    God gave His Son to win;
    His erring child He reconciled
    And pardoned from his sin.
    • O love of God, how rich and pure!
      How measureless and strong!
      It shall forevermore endure
      The saints' and angels' song.
  • When hoary time shall pass away,
    And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall;
    When men who here refuse to pray,
    On rocks and hills and mountains call;
    God's love, so sure, shall still endure,
    All measureless and strong;
    Redeeming grace to Adam's race—
    The saints' and angels' song.
  • Could we with ink the ocean fill,
    And were the skies of parchment made;
    Were every stalk on earth a quill,
    And every man a scribe by trade;
    To write the love of God above
    Would drain the ocean dry;
    Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
    Though stretched from sky to sky.

  • Source: http://www.hymnal.net/hymn.php/h/28#ixzz1UNeyMZ00