Wednesday, April 14, 2021

More on sowing/gardening/ being a laborer.....

 April 14, 2021


This is a continuation blog about being a person who sows the gospel with others.  Today's thoughts are from the book Finding Common Ground  - How to Communicate with Those Outside the Christian Community While we Still Can by Tim Downs.  

This book said we are in the middle of a cultural earthquake that may become more violent with time.  It is a difficult time for Christians and it may get worse.  The way Christians are able to share Christ with others is changing.  We need to change with the times and seek ways to share with others.  We must know that bringing people to Christ will not come about only with those in harvesting positions - church and parachurch workers - but it will come because of the laborers, or those who are sowing the seeds, or gardening the patch. 

"In short, we must revalue the role of the sower.  We must encourage a new generation of Christian sowers that their work matters to God, that we are true partners in ministry, and that the fate of future harvests depends on their efforts." (page 32)

One idea emphasized in the book was that we must work at sowing wherever God has planted us.  People working in jobs may have a greater opportunity to witness to many more people than those in the ministry.  So be a sower everywhere you are and to all you come into contact with.  Build relationships where you are and look for ways to share Christ and His love and Truth.  Nehemiah and Esther (both from the Bible), and William Wilberforce (who was in the British parliament and worked to abolish slavery) were mentioned as people who worked from the inside out in that they worked from within their jobs to making a lasting impact for Christ. 

A sower focuses on....preparing the way, persuasion, gradual change, team impact, common ground, questions, and using love, wisdom, and shrewdness.  

The times are different today in that what worked for evangelism in the 1960's and 1970's doesn't work now. At that time spiritual tracts were used as a way of bringing people to Christ.  Today the ground work needs to be laid differently.  The ground is not as ready for harvest as it was in in prior years.  That is why it is all the more important that we begin sowing now and preparing the ground for harvest to come later.  

We may not be able to say things in terms of evangelism that we used to say before but we can say something to everyone we meet. That is what sowing is.  The sower looks around him and sees his neighborhood, his office and sees that there is fruit there.  Some of the fruit is almost ripe and some is very immature to bear fruit yet.  As a sower he knows that he can tend to the fruit in different ways and can encourage the growth in every plant and that none of his efforts will be in vain.  He may not see the fruit of his efforts and someone else may.  That is ok.  The important thing is to cultivate, plant, and nurture where you are! These need not be long drawn-out conversations with a few people but think of this lifestyle as something you do every day, with everyone you meet.  It may be a conversation here, a chat there, listening to someone's problem and showing you care,  or asking a question of someone else. Some times it is just sharing Christ's love with others  without words as the Holy Spirit leads.  

May we see the importance of sowing/gardening/ being a laborer for Christ in all we do!

AND OF COURSE the Holy Spirit MUST be working and leading in all of this!

1 Corinthians 3:5-9

What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.



It takes a lot of sowers or gardeners and fewer harvesters.....

 April 14, 2021



I am so excited to get around to writing this blog that is from notes I took when listening to a video study called TACTICS by Gregory Koukl.  The study was about how to effectively discuss your Christian convictions with others.  

1. I was very relieved when he said most of us are gardeners in terms of sharing the gospel.  It takes lots of gardeners sharing the word of Christ in many different ways before it is time to harvest ( when a person makes a decision to follow Christ). Koukl said most people are not harvesters.  So don't pressure yourself to present the gospel to everyone and then expect a decision. Just be a gardener.  Scatter some seed, feed some seed that someone else has sowed, water the seed, maybe weed a little but keep continuing to garden and let the harvesters harvest your sowing.  

2.  It is good to be able to converse with those who don't believe in Christ.  One good way is to gather information about that person.  

    - I remember learning many years ago to do this with the acrostic FIRE - Family, Interests, Religion.  Ask the person you are visiting with questions.  Examples: Family -  Are you a native of this area? How long have you lived in this community? Are you married?  Have children?  Interests - Do you have any hobbies? Do you like to sports? Reading?  What kind of books?  Religion - Do you have a church background? Do you have any religious influence in your life?

- this Tactics study said that it is great to get to know a little about the person.  When you find out about them and something they believe in then ask the questions: "What do you mean by that?" or "Why do you believe that?"  Be engaging with the person.  Don't tell them your thoughts or beliefs but get them to think about what they do believe. Keep asking questions. 

 - this process was said to 'put a stone in their shoe' - in that questioning them may make them start to question what they do believe.  It may get them to see what they believe might not be right and it is done without ever telling them what they need to believe or what you believe.  It is just the tip of the iceberg to get them to examine their beliefs and perhaps seek the real Truth.  

I think we must keep trying to serve our Savior in all we do.  This is an encouraging way to try to do just that.  And it takes the pressure off of us to bring everyone to Christ in every encounter.  

More to come on this issue of communicating with those outside the Christian community from the book FINDING COMMON GROUND. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Life without the Lord

 April 6, 2021

Not long ago I made a batch of banana bread.  I was excited to make it and use my grandmother's recipe.  Wellllll - it was not good! It was my fault and not my grandmother's.



I made a mistake in reading the directions and omitted the soda.  

In baking, always follow the directions.  Look the recipe over and double check to make sure you included all the ingredients.  In this case leaving out the soda was disasterous to the end product. It tasted as bad as it looked!!

Spiritually I was able to draw a few conclusions from this mistake. If we want to be all He has intended us to be:
- we must follow God's directions and do things His way in our lives
- we must have a relationship with Jesus in our lives for us to look and be what we need to be. When we accept Christ, the Holy Spirit comes into our lives and He is our fragrance.  He gives us a pleasant aroma, we look and become different from the world.  We become pleasing to HIM!

Have you accepted Christ as your savior?  His benefits are out of this world and the work He does in our lives is so exciting and wonderful! 

Let Him give you direction!
Taste and see that HE is good!



Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.


Seeing God work this morning!

 April 6, 2021


This morning we had an interesting incident that reminded us of God's love for us, and how important it is we trust in Him.

Gail was headed to town to run an errand.  He needed to take the mail which had his roping entry in it that had to be postmarked today.  So it was a twofold trip to town.  He hadn't been gone long when he called to say he had forgotten the mail. 

My response? (Well....maybe I am learning.)  I wasn't negative but said, "Guess we'll make another trip in later.  It happens.... we all forget things." (It is twenty miles to town.)

On the way home one of his partners for the roping called to say he wasn't going to be able to go rope with Gail or go to the roping!!

Wow!  God had it all worked out.  IF Gail had remembered the mail and mailed the entry form, he would have been out several hundred dollars for their roping entry.   

  Proverbs 3:5-6 

 Trust in the Lord with all your heart

    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.[a]


Couple of lessons here:

1.  When things don't go as you planned, TRUST God. He is in control.

2.  When things don't go as you planned, do the right thing and respond in the right way and your path will be straight not stained with sin.  


We can be so thankful for God's Word to guide and teach us how we are to live our lives.  We are truly blessed by Him!



Have a good day!






Saturday, April 3, 2021

Fun Easter pastry - an empty tomb......

Saturday -  April 3, 2021


 Tomorrow is EASTER!  Today we are waiting.....tomorrow Jesus will be risen!  

I am slow getting this recipe to you but it comes from my oldest daughter, Rynea.  She has really enjoyed making this treat for her large family.  It is called a breakfast puff, in that it is made in muffin pans but puffs up into the air and has an empty cavity inside of it.  The pastries can be made the day ahead.  Then when you are ready to eat them they may be filled with cooked sausage or bacon and cheese; or it can be something sweet like jam and cream cheese; or more easily use a little honey.   


The recipe is as follows:

Pastry puffs

Grease muffin tins and heat in over 

Mix:

3 T. butter melted

6 eggs

3 cups milk

3 cups flour

3/4 t. salt

Fill tins - Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, then 325 degrees for 15 minutes.

This makes a big batch.


They are a fun way to use food to reinforce the Easter gospel message that Christ has risen.

 He has risen indeed!! 


Happy Resurrection Day!!




 

Monday, March 22, 2021

Suggestions for reading.... part 2.

 March 22, 2022


This is part two in the blog of learning to read.

I think there are two very good ways to teach reading so that the kids can pick it up quickly.

1.  The first thing I really liked was the book How to Teach your Children to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. This is a very easy book that doesn't take a lot of preparation time for the teacher. The teacher however does need to sit down with their children everyday(so the child doesn't forget what he has learned) to teach through this book.  The lessons don't take very long to do.  I actually started Missy on this book before we ever started school officially.  I think it gave us a jump start. 

2.  The other thing I think really helps is to use flash cards.  On these flash cards I would put the simple words that are often used in reading.  Words such as: then, where, what, this, those, and, but, for, etc. In using these words as flash words the children become very familiar with them and they 'know' a few words  when they come to them and don't have to sound them out.  It makes reading much easier for the student thus encouraging them in their reading. (See part one of this blog for teaching/learning flash cards.)

Then..... I think it is important to teach phonics in some form.  There are many books available out there.  The reason for this is it teaches them how to sound out harder words and it teaches them also spelling if they know the phonics rules.  

We want our children to be successful in the learning and these are a couple of my ideas!  Hope they help!

Suggestions for teaching children to read.....Part 1

 March 21, 2021

This is part one of a two part blog on teaching your children to read.  I am not an expert but I want to share with you what I have learned in the hopes of making your job as a teacher easier and more successful. 

We homeschooled our five daughters.  I want to share with you a method I used when teaching them to read.  One of our daughters was struggling with all of her school work - her math, her reading, and her spelling words.  She just couldn't get her school work.  We took her to a learning center in Denver for a week where they worked with her and taught us how to help her.  

The main thing we learned was to use flash cards.  We took a piece of typing paper and cut it into three long strips of paper.  On these strips of paper we would put the math facts of addition and subtraction or even just the number itself or letter of the alphabet we were learning. We also put her reading and/or spelling words on these papers.  

Then we would hold the papers out away from her at least six feet.  We would tell her what the item was on the paper. She would then repeat what we told her and then trace the word or letter with her nose! I really think this was the key in this process.  After she did that then she was to look up and out in the air with her eyes open and SEE the letter/word in her mind.  I asked her if she saw it and then she was to look back at the word/letter in front of her and compare it to what she saw in her mind.   We did this every day several times a day for a period of time until she got a grasp on her learning. It really gave her the boost she needed.  This takes some time as a parent/teacher but it is well worth it in giving your child the boost they need. 

If you are having any problems with your child learning may I suggest you try this method.  If you have any questions feel free to contact me.  It is frustrating to the parent when the child is frustrated with their learning.  

This method works good for any child whether they are having problems learning or not.  It is a great boost. Watch for part two tomorrow.....

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Preparing for and handling despondency....

 

Down or despondent?

Some times in life we have successes.  Then these successes are followed by failures or hard times.  

We see this in the lives of authors, athletes, investors, pastors, politicians, ourselves, Elijah!

How do we handle this?

We need to KNOW that success won't always continue and we often are not responsible for the ways things go or the way they turn out.  

In I Kings 19 we saw that Elijah was very despondent and afraid after he had come through a magnificent time spiritually. Read this chapter if you have a chance.  I was really amazed at the tenderness God showed to Elijah as HE worked with Elijah in his time of fear and depression.  God provided a shelter, food, water, and even let Elijah see Him pass by.  

What causes us to be despondent? It might be the  death of a loved one, a loss (job, fire, health, wealth), success/something unsuccessful, politics,  stress, or fatigue. 

It may be the season of the year that causes despondency.  I remember some training we attended years ago that taught that we have certain times of the year that we may often be down. For me I think it is spring because life gets so busy!  For Gail the hard time of year is January as he has to be out in the cold caring for the livestock and it will be a long stretch of time until we get an income check in the fall.  The training said to recognize these cycles that return year after year.  Be ready for them and know they will come.  There are ways to deal with these times  in our lives. 

Dr. Robert Jeffress in his daily devotional gave some very good ideas.  

1) Manage these bad days by acknowledging them. Know there will be some days that will be  harder than others.  They will come.  They are caused by a variety of things but will come. 

2)  When you feel that way refresh yourself with food, water, and rest.  Physically do something for yourself.  Emotionally do something for yourself.  Then spiritually seek God and His face and His word. Draw close to God and HE will build you up.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. James 4:8


Then tomorrow, next week, next month will be a better day....😊

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Keeping our eyes on God....not on our circumstances!!

 March 17, 2021

πŸ‘€     πŸ‘€     πŸ‘€    πŸ‘€     πŸ‘€     πŸ‘€    πŸ‘€    πŸ‘€..........😌.....😊.....😎


Today I hope to give you a little encouragement for the day and life.  Since we returned from our time in Arizona life has been busy.  Not super busy but life busy - cows calving, weather, birthdays, grandchildren to enjoy, book work to do, sermons and church to care for.  I think Gail and I got a little 'soft' while we were gone.  We'd forgotten a little bit how busy life can be! 

In trying to get the right perspective on life I have a few thoughts that may help:

1.  Gail said in his sermon last night that we need to remember this world is not our home.  We are only passing through.  If we could view this life as only temporary and that heaven is our home, we wouldn't get so worked up with what is going on now around us.  God is sovereign and in control and we can trust Him. 

2.  In a devotion I read today from Dr. Robert Jeffress it said to focus on God rather than the circumstances.  The following are thoughts from the devotion.

- Elijah had just been though a time where God had shown up - God had consumed the alter with fire after it had been covered with water and Elijah had killed 850 false prophets. When Jezebel heard about the incident she threatened to kill Elijah.  He became afraid and ran away.  

- Elijah had seen God's power shown to him and then within hours he was fearful and ran.  What changed?  Elijah took his eyes off of God and put them on his circumstances.  This caused him to have fear, discouragement, and depression.

- So, we must not let our circumstances - the life around us - the way our government is handling policies - our work - our family - our jobs - our finances - get us down.  We don't deny what is happening around us but we don't focus on it.  Rather remember God is on the throne.  He is in control!

                                                         FOCUS ON HIM!

Isaiah 26:3 "YOU will keep in perfect peace all who trust in YOU,

                    all whose thoughts are fixed on YOU."



Sunday, March 14, 2021

We are EACH different but we NEED each one!

 March 14, 2021


God has impressed upon me this week that we need each one of us - with our own distinct interests, personalities, and talents - to make the world go round and for us to be able to enjoy life to the fullness meant for it. 




These two sweethearts are such opposites - one loves to snuggle and nap, the other moves all the time at breakneck speed.  Love 'em both so much!

While we were in Arizona this winter we played cards in the evenings.  There were often six of us playing.  Out of the two weeks that the six of us played, one of our friends seemed to win most of the evenings when the scores were tallied.  She is very smart and quick and I guess one of her talents has to do with cards and numbers, having played them much of her life!  

Then another one of our six ended up with the highest score every evening which meant he lost most of the games.  This particular friend is super sweet and is very talented musically.  One evening he got his fiddle out for us and played along to songs that were requested for him to play to. It was so fun to listen to his music and see his smile as he played.   He said when he was young he had a difficult time at home and spent a lot of time in his room with his violin listening to music.  From those difficult times he learned to be a super musician.  His musical talent is like a miracle to me!  Remember I said in an earlier blog that I can't dance or sing!  What he can do musically is certainly foreign to my abilities!!


13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.


So I'm saying: don't get irritated with others.  We are ALL differently created by God.  

Enjoy others - encourage others - let them be them!   


Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Aging... some suggestions for help!!!

 March 2, 2021


On the radio recently I heard a lady telling about a concern she had about her memory.  This book, Memory Rescue, was suggested as something that could help her.  So I ordered it and enjoyed what it had to say.  It gave me several ideas about what I could be doing to help my memory as I age.  Both my grandad and mom had some problems with dimentia when they were older.  So if I can do something myself to aid in my aging process I want to do it.  


There were several good suggestions given in this book.

1.  Get your blood flowing - walking is great exercise

2.  Keep learning - do something new, learn something new

3.  Manage inflamation in your body

4.  Know your family genetic history -  you can do alot to age well

5.  Prior head trama can affect your aging process

6.  Steer clear of toxins

7.  Your mind and what you let it think is importaant to your brain

8. Strengthen your immunity 

9.  Balance your homones

10.  Make sure you eat properly - avoid sugar!

11. Get enough sleep

AND MAKE SURE YOU DRINK PLENTY OF WATERπŸ˜ƒ

  

The Western Way of Life....

March 2, 2021


 Just braggin a little about the western way of life.  At the many ropings down here in Arizona they take the time before the roping begins to honor our flag and country.  It is always special to see our flag carried around the arena.


It is also special to see the respect the cowboys give to the flag.  I was watching at a roping a couple of days ago as the Star Spangled Banner was sung and the flag was carried in the arena.  This particular roping was called a Legends Roping, it was for men over 60.  As I looked out at the crowd of men stopped and giving their attention to the flag, I was taken back as I saw several of the men saluting the flag.  These were men that had served years earlier in their lives.  

May we NEVER take these men for granted and the sacrifices they have made.  Please teach your children and grandchildren about the many sacrifices these men have made for our country.  Explain to them the blessings that we have have come at a cost to many.  

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Giving the Lord His day....

 Feb. 27, 2021


Today is a little testimony of God's goodness to us as we vacation in Arizona and a lesson we learned.  We came down this winter just so excited to be outside and for Gail to be competing in team roping.  Every single day of the week there are multiple ropings that the guys and gals can enter in.  Some days if it works you can enter multiple ropings at a couple of differnt places.  It is so exciting!  Sort of like being in a candy store!  

On Sundays for the first few weeks we found a church that we could attend early in the morning so we could still go team rope.  Seemed like a good plan.  We would go to church and then spend the day roping.  Gail really wasn't roping as good as he'd like to and wasn't placing at the ropings.  

We felt like the Holy Spirit was telling us to give the Lord HIS day.  We felt like God wanted us to attend a church where the Word was preached solidly and where we could worship in Spirit and Truth rather than just attending one that fit our schedule but didn't really feed us.  So we changed our plan and took Sunday off - no roping, go to church, get some rest.  We attended a Bible believing church that was solid and we really enjoyed being fed the Word of God.  It felt good!!

Can I ask you: are you giving the Lord His day? Are you attending a Bible believing church that preaches the Word of God?  Is the church you are going to increasing your knoweldge of the Bible and strengthening your spiritual walk?

II Timothy 4:3,4  For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander of into myths.

I have attended churches in my life time that preached to tickle my ears.  I did not grow nor did I feel the Sprit of the Lord there.  God really wants us to worship him in Spirit and Truth.  Don't attend a church for convenience.  Rather purposefully seek out a church that preaches God's word.  You will be blessed.

 Gail and I were blessed by attending a Bible preaching church and hearing His Word. As God often does, He has showered us with His blessings for our obedience and Gail's  roping has improved and he has won some ropings.  God really loves us and may shower His blessings on us when we obey Him!  HE IS GOOD!



Our God of miracles asks for obedience

 Feb. 27, 2021

Exodus 16 is the chapter in the Bible that tells of God giving his people manna to eat when they were hungry in the wilderness.  Gathering and eating the manna came with specific rules.  Gather only what you can eat each day.  Get rid of any that is left over.  

I would like to share with you two ideas I came away with after reading Exodus 16 - when God provided manna to the Israelites.

1.  God showed his power in this chapter.  First God provided the manna for the people to eat.  This was a miracle to be able to feed over a million people.  The manna came with specific directions.  Gather and eat only what you need.  If any was kept over it would be spoil, smell, and be infected with worms - another work of God!  Then God said gather some and keep it so the future generations will see what it was that God had provided for food - and this manna did not spoil!  We see God's hand at work  in this 'manna story'.  God provided....He made the manna appear....He made it spoil....He kept it from spoiling for future generations to see His power. God is powerful and is the God of miracles!!

2.  God gave specific guidelines on how the manna should be used.  Some of the Israelites disobeyed and they found it spoiled in their tents.  Verse 20 - "But the people did not listen."    

Exodus 15:26 says, "If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in His eyes, and give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Eqyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer."

Lord God - may we diligently listen to You through Your Word, may we do what is right in Your eyes, may we listen to Your commandments and keep all your laws and ways.  For then, Lord, You will protect us and bring us healing.  Amen.

We serve an awesome loving God who wants us to obey Him and in return He blesses us!! 


Friday, February 26, 2021

Rewarded for dilegence and gray hair - don't get in a hurry - wait your turn...


Feb. 26, 2021


Gail and I have been in Arizona this winter enjoying the warm sunshine where he is roping and we are enjoying each other and some 'down time'.  It is such a blessing to be able to do this.  It is a dream we've always had and didn't think would come to pass.  We have 'waited upon the Lord' for this to happen and everything has fallen in place.  We have very generous friends who lavish their hospitality on us, feed us, and let us stay at their Arizona acerage.  We have a great family that takes care of things at home in a very wonderful responsible manner.  We are very grateful to them!!

There are a wide variety of ages here in Arizona.  The other day we were out to lunch after going to church.  A group of young men came into the cafe that Gail knew from roping.  They were just getting up and coming in to breakfast after being out late on a Saturday night.  

Thinking about their lifestyle, it made me ever so grateful for our son-in-laws that were back home working at their jobs, caring for their families, and serving in their churches. 

A few years ago some of our grown children took a Bible study about marriage.  One thing they learned in the study was that there are things their parents or older people are able to do such as have nicer homes with newer furniture, to go on trips, to drive newer cars that they were not able to do YET.  The study told them not to try to do these things yet.  They needed to hunker down and pay attention to the NOW so that they could do them LATER.  

So..... don't get ahead of yourself.  Pay your dues now so you may reap later!!

Pv. 14:23  In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.

Pv. 21:5  The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.

Grumbling....are you?

 Feb. 26, 2021


Today I read through Exodus 15.  The Israelites had JUST come through the Red Sea and their miraclous rescue by God.  They had traveled three days and had come to the wilderness of Shur where there was no water.  Then they did find water but it was bitter.  They grumbled ......and the Lord heard and provided water.  Soon they came to a place that had abundant water with twelve springs and palm trees.  They moved on.  It was now thirty days since they had left Egypt and the people began grumbling again against Moses and Aaron saying, "We wished we would have died in Egypt where we had plenty to eat.  Now you have brought us out here into the wilderness to starve to death."

Their first time of grumbling was ONLY three days after the Red Sea miracle.  Seems to me they were a little short sited.  We see God provided water for them and then in a few verses later an oasis!!  They were satisfied royally! They traveled on and within a short time they were complaining again.  Where was their trust in God? Good grief!!!

Or is it good grief?

What are we doing in our lives?  We live in a wonderful land with wonderful homes and friends and family. We are given MUCH!!! I know there will be hard times we will go through.  Remember though that God does love us and doesn't allow anything to happen to us that isn't for our good and His glory.  

See the bigger picture and know God will get you through your problems.  

In the meantime be REALLY THANKFUL for God's blessings and watch out that you don't grumble!!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Calling out to God for the babies.....

 Feb. 26, 2021

Why are we concerned about our nation, and it's laws and it's leaders?  Is it for our selfish gain and self-interests?  I often ask myself this question.   Yes, it partially is for our gain.  We want the easy and good life that we can see and have experienced.  We want to be able to be prosperous and safe in our homes and county.  We want to go where we want.  We want to be able to do what we want.  We want freedom. We want these things for our children and our children's children.  

BUT MORE 

   THAN THIS.......

WE are concerned about the lives of the millions of BABIES


who will never get to take a first breath, or to have  known the touch of his parent's loving hands, to never experience playing in the water or sand, to never taste the sweetness of food, to never have a family or children of their own.  

I write this blog today to ENCOUAGE you to continue to fight for the unborn.  Keep praying as you've never prayed before.  And please ENGAGE in fighting for the babies politically.  FINANCIALLY support in elections those who are for pro-life legislation. Find out what the person running for office believes in and VOTE for those who will do what they can to stop abortion.  There have been 61,000,000 - yes, 61 million  - abortions since 1973.  

PLEASE SPEAK UP AND PRAY FOR THE UNBORN.......

God is in control...there is a bigger picture!!!

 

Feb. 25, 2021


This is a little bit of a continuation of yesterday's blog about calling out to God..... because He hears our prayers. We must know that HE HAS A PLAN!!

First - a little historical background

Genesis 15:13 - God told Abraham, Joseph's greatgrandfather, that He would bless the offspring of Abraham and give them a promised land BUT first his family would be sojourners and servants in a land not theirs for 400 years.  The Israelites becoming slaves and captives in Egypt was part of God's plan for His people.  God loved His Israelites but He allowed this captivity to happen.  Four hundred years is a long time!! God told this news to Abraham four generations before the captivity even began and it lasted for four generations!

15:16 "And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for iniquity of the Ammorites is not yet complete."

So God knew the Israelites would someday posess the promised land but first the Ammorite's wickedness needed to come to fulfillment.  What a thought!  A delay in judgment for the Ammorites in God's timing  necessitated the delay for the Israelites to be taken out of Egypt.  The Ammorites had not yet reached the time for their judgment thus the delay for the Israelites! Finally the time had come for Eqypt to be judged (vs.14) as the Israelites left their land and also for the Ammorites to be judged so that the Israelites could enter and posess their land.  

GOD IS IN CONTROL!!

I pondered this over in my mind....thinking about the age of our USA.  It is about 246 years old.  We saw the hand of God in it's beginnings.  A country that was fighting for freedom and the freedom to worship God. There were many miracles.  I know that he is still with us.  His words confirms that He won't leave His children.  There is a remnant.  He does hear us.  But He is soverign.  He knows the future.  He has a plan.  We must trust Him and cling to Him!! God is for us!  But we are part of a bigger picture. 

 We must be surrendered to Jesus! We want to keep faithfully serving, loving, obeying God when the reward of heaven comes to us for eternity.  We want to be found faithful!!!

Keep in touch with Jesus! Trusting! Obeying! Waiting ........Looking for the bigger picture!

Monday, February 22, 2021

Keep calling out to the Lord... HE HEARS

 Feb. 22, 2021


Exodus 2:23-25  During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help.  The cry for rescue from slavery came up to God.  And God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.  God saw the people of Israel - and God knew.  


Just a quick note today to say:

- if you are going through hard times

-if you have family or friends going through hard times

- if our country is going through hard times

KEEP CRYING out to God.  He hears.  In His time He will answer.  He will give you the right answer.  He is with you.  

........KEEP CRYING OUT TO GOD!





Thursday, February 18, 2021

The BLAME GAME...not good

 Feb. 18, 2021


Blaming! It is not a new concept.  We first saw it in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve.  We saw it often in the Old Testament.  We see it all around us today.  Stop and listen today and see what you hear.  Is the blame even coming from your own mouth? 

Charley Stantley recently had a message about blame.  It was called Blame Game 2.  These are the key ideas I took away from his message.

............................

Others hurt us.  We blame as an escape.  When we blame we refuse to act responsibly for the accusation and instead use blame as the escape. Blame encourages sin, stops our spiritual growth, promotes disharmony, makes the blammer suffer, and discredits the one blamed.

Jesus was our perfect example.  He was hurt terribly physically and emotionally as he hung on the cross.  What did he say? "Father, forgive them.."

So what do we do?

We cannot justify a wrong response no matter what was said to us.  

We are responsible for our actions.  We must be forgiving.  We cannot blame others for their actions.

We need to have and show the fruits for the Spirit....

We need to know that we can have peace and joy in our lives no matter what is said or done to us.

We are the ones that respond to our situations.

We have no right to withhold forgiveness to someone else. Their debt is paid by my forgiveness. What right do I have to hold a grudge against someone else or to blame someone else, when my sins have been forgiven by My Lord?  God does not hold my sin against me so we can't or shouldn't hold sin against any one else.

IF YOU ARE BLAMING SOMEONE, lay down the hurt and forgive the person you are blaming.  You will feel MUCH better!  Have a good day!


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Expectations cause us problems....


Feb. 16, 2021

EXPECTATIONS!!!  

They really cause nothing but problems.  In my life I was often disappointed when things didn't turn out as I expected.  Take for instance Valentines Day.  I am just pretty sure that a man did not start this holiday!  Today it is all about gifts and buying them for someone special.  My man loves me.  I know that.  But he does not stand around and dreamily think about what he can get me for Valentines.  He may get me something that day if it works and he is in town. (Not really, he has gone to town before to get me a gift.)  But it is not a major mind time consumption thing for him!!

 I have learned that our expectations get us into trouble.  We see how the 'world' portrays holidays and think our guys will do it the same way.  Probably isn't going to happen that way.  

SO......

             try not to have expectations,

                         be joyful each moment, and 

                                 be thankful IF a present comes your way.  

If a present does not come your way, everything is still ok.  Look at the bigger picture.  I bet things really are pretty good. Just don't let your expectatitons get the best of you.....πŸ˜€  


 

Monday, February 15, 2021

POST 5- Art of Being a Wife - BEAUTIFUL DANCING

 Feb. 15, 2021

I have NEVER been able to dance.  I am just now barely able to clap with a song!!  Hope my marriage doesn't resemble my dancing!!!

Is the dance - like a marriage - a performance, a business relationship, or the expression of a LONG SONG between the two of you?

1.  When a couple is dancing they need to work in sync, paying close attention to their partner and the music. The man is to lead the dance and the woman to follow his leading.  In marriage we must focus on each other and not neglect our leading and following roles. This requires TRUST - which must be nutured in your relationship.  Mistakes will happen.  Don't let them stop your dance.  Work through the issues.  Offer grace and forgiveness and let the CREATOR of your dance guide you both.

2.  If your man is reluctant to lead, check your attitude. Are you letting him try to lead or are you always correcting him?  Are you allowing him to hear from God?  Marriage can be a beautiful waltz, but one has to lead and the other follow.

3.  Dancing tips:  a.  What is your attitude toward God and His design?  Make sure you submit to God  first.  b.  Let go of your desire to lead.  You may have to do this often - daily.                                                        c.  It will encourage your husband to lead when you DO follow his faltering steps.  When he improves, you win, and become a better dance team.

4.  Sometimes it is a bad dance.  If your husband is asking you to follow him into sin, you must refuse.  When that happens: check your heart to see if you are trusting and submitting to God; make sure your behavior shows you are trusting God and that you aren't showing fear, panic, or criticism for your husband. Lastly, you may need to seek help from a counselor.  

5. The rhythms of our marriages change with time.  We start our 'dance' as beginners when we marry.  Over time as we work through all the things life brings to us we can learn to dance beautifully if we nuture one another's hearts and listen to our Master Instructor.  This is a very worthwhile goal!  We cannot afford to quit when the rhythms change.  Work through the changes.

So thankful to be able to 'dance' in my marriage.  It has been hard at times but well worth the effort to keep trying.  We will celebrate our 49th anniversary this year.  God's ways are THE BEST!!!! 

POST 4 - The Art of Being a Wife - ELEGANT MUSIC

February 14, 2021

This is blog four which is high-lighting Barbara Rainey's book The Art of Being a Wife.  Let us continue.....as we think of ELEGANT MUSIC and MARRIAGE.......

1.  Music has many parallels to marriage.  Music begins with some foundational elements: a staff of five lines and four spaces, disticnt sounds, and notes.  Marriage as instituted by God has foundational elements also that He set forth.  Each marriage has distinct notes that come from the consumation of the marriage.   It is not always easy to play the 'marriage song'.  Sometimes the marriage is out of harmony and the music isn't pretty.  That doesn't mean the music should stop.  Marriage is still the origina score. Continue on is God's ways....

2.  More on the original score.  God made man but he was incomplete. Then he made a helper for him, a woman; two complementary voices to harmonize with each other as you would see in notes on a sheet of music. Their completeness was to mirror the Trinity itself.

3.God is the Conductor in your marriage.  Will you watch and follow God's leading?  HE knows what He is doing!! Don't miss one note of the symphony God wants to write with you.

4.  Sometimes there is not harmony in the marriage.  Maybe you aren't listening to the Conductor and are trying to play the wrong part.  For example: the husband is the be the leader of the marriage.  As the wife are you trying to 'wear the pants'?  Esther was brought up as a Godly example for us women to follow.  She humbly and creatively dealt with an impossible situation.  She prayed and asked for her friends to pray and fast.  Her cautious and calm attitude showed her husband that she wasn't a threat to him or against him; rather she honored him. She had a heart that trusted God.  How is your heart?  Are you looking to your own needs or wants?  Are you seeking and obeying and honoring God and your mate? Are you walking in step with the Holy Spirit? LET God be your husband's music instructor.  God wrote the man's part and knows how it should be played.

5.  You know that many pieces of music have a refrain - lines that are repeated over again.  Marriage too should have a refrain.  We need to repeat to our spouses that we love and appreciate them, that we are committed and dedicated to them.  Keep speaking positive words in your refrains!

6. Let your marriage be a duet:) When you come to times of crisis remember God is the Conductor of your symphony.  In marriage we can experience a taste of heavenly sounds when we come to places of accpetance and forgiveness and safety and peace with one another.

May your day be filled today with beautiful music in your marriage.  

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Writing old-fashioned thank-you notes....

 Feb. 13, 2021

I think I just finished up getting my thank-you notes for Christmas finally done.  

I've been thinking about this blog for awhile and will try to get my thoughts about thank you notes down here.  

GRATEFUL means warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful

1.  Writing notes is a bit old fashioned but it is a great way to show your appreciation and gratefulness for a gift or kindness you may have received.  It takes some effort and usually a stamp but it really shows you have made an effort to say "thank you". It is very meaningful to the one receiving the thank-you note. In my opinion a written thank-you note is very sincere and carries more weight than a short text or phone call but something in terms of a thank-you is better than nothing:)

2.  Writing the notes is also a benefit to the one doing the writing.  This is because it keep your mind looking for things you need to be grateful for. It keeps you in a happier and healthy state of mind. I recently read that people who wrote down what they were grateful for significantly increased their sense of happiness. So thanking others for kindnesses shown to you actually blesses you!!

3.  For you YOUNG MOMMAS out there:  Encourage your kiddos to write thank you notes!  It teaches them manners, appreciation for their gifts, how to show courteousy and gratefulness, and it is another chance for them to practice their writing skills. It also causes them to go back and remember what their gifts were and who it was that sacrificed to give them their gift.  Our young students don't get to actually write enough and this is a practical and applicable way to practice their writing skills.


Oh no, I just remembered a few I forgot to write!!! Back to the drawing board! 

Blessings to you all!!

Saturday, February 13, 2021

POST 3 - Art of Being a Wife - GRAND ARCHITECTURE

 Feb. 12, 2021

Part three in a mini-series about marriage from Letters to my Daughters - The Art of Being a Wife.  Today's blog compares marriage to grand architecture.  These notes are taken from Barbara Rainey's book.  They are a condensenced version that I hope will give you encouragement for your marriage and maybe encourage you to read her book. 

1.  There are many grand and beautiful cathedrals in the world.  They give you the feeling of the grandeur of God.  They are magnificient structures but many of them now are void of His Holy Spirit. Marriages are like churches.  Some of them are magnificient cathedrals while others are country churches.  It does not matter the size, but what matters is the people who make up the congregation and if they are alive with the power of the Holy Spirit.  Each marriage must be filled with the Holy Spirit and follow His leading for their lives, so that their marriage will be all it was built to be.  Then the marriage, like the church spire, will point others to Christ.

2.  Every building has a foundation that is put in place before the building begins.  We need to remember our Biblical foundations - the Rock, Christ.  Know that you are each His children.  Know what His Word says. Know your marriage will not glorify Christ unless you stand firm on your faith in Christ. If you are struggling ask yourselves these questions.  Is Jesus the Cornerstone of my life? And my marriage?

3.  Inside many of the beautiful cathedrals are rooms set aside for prayer. Prayer is so important and should be one of the cornerstones for our marriges.  Do you take time to pray for your mate?  Not praying that God would change him as you think he needs changed.  But rather praying for God to work in His life, praying that your mate would seek God with all his heart and be yielded to His will.

4.  Buildings are not complete or functional without doors.  Doors allow entrance into the next room. So it is with our marriages.  We must have access to each others lives and the rooms in each other's hearts. Communicating is what builds a doorway between couples.  Refusing to talk to one another is like building a wall where a door should be. Sometimes when framing in the door, there is a problem with the structure and things don't go right.  When that happens you have to back up and start over with the building process.  But you don't quit.  For the building to be what it is intended you must go forward with the building process.

5. Most construction projects have surpirses in them - it takes longer than you thought it would, costs more than you planned, or something comes up that you had not anticipated.  Marriage is a work in progress too!! We don't know what the future holds or what might come up.  But we do know God is there with us.  God can help us keep from making costly mistakes.... or He can heal them if they've happened.  He has promised He will never leave or forsake us.  Remember our marriages will work much better if we follow the Architect!!  

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Post 2: Art of Being a Wife : FINE CUISINE

 Feb. 11, 2021

This is the second of a series of 'recaps' about a book Barbara Rainey wrote.  Todays chapter compared marriage to fine cuisine. Not to many of us have eaten 'fine cuisine' but we've heard about it!! Let's see how we can compare a great marriage to this type of food.  

-fine cuisine uses lots of fresh and unique herbs or flavorings - things that are different but that build upon each other.  Our marriages are like this: we each have unique, fresh traits that are so iniviting to each other when we date and are first married.  Will we use these traits to build our marriage or will we let them be overpowering and spoil our flavor?

-as each spice adds a different flavor, so our lives each have different flavors to add to our marriages.  These differences can bring challenges to our relationship.  When you were first married you thought your husband was perfect for you.  Then your differences clash and you begin to wonder about your marriage.  Maybe it is time to ask God to help you get a new vision of your husband, to see him as you first did. Choose to believe that his differences are good for you - and that yours are good for him also!

-in a receipe it is very important that you read the directions well and put in the correct amounts.  Don't take something he said and make more or less of it than what it should be.  

- successfully blending the ingredients of our lives take years and lots of practice.  I am so thankful that Gail and I have continued to work on our marriage, blending our differences, to create a beautiful marriage. We have been married for 49 years now.  It has not all been a smooth journey but one worth pursueing.  

- give each other the benefit of the doubt.  Believe the best of your husband.  When he leaves his towel on the floor realize he didn't do tht just to annoy you.  You are not better than him or superior to him - just different than him.

-in marriage, we are cooking in the same 'kitchen'!  Is it true too many cooks spoil the pot?  Could be! But marriage is about two who need to cooperate, believe the best about each other, and who need to learn to converse with one another.  Do not give into the temptation to quit 'mixing' your differences in your marrige.

-'Nothing is impossible with God"  - so don't quit, review the Divine directions again.  Be a team, talk about your differences, and don't quit on your receipe.  The outcome will be delicious!

-timing is important!  Think about a cake you are making.  What if you take it out of the over to soon?  or take it out too late?  So true with our marriages, timing is important in resolving our conflicts and differences, in creating a beautiful, delicious marriage.  Trust God and let Him deal with you and your spouse. Pray for each of you and let God work in your lives.  It is a life-long work of art that is being created.  

-ask God for a extra dose of love in your marriage.

- and don't compare your beautiful marriage 'creation' from God to the other creations God is making.  We are all different and in different spots in our marriages - yours is becoming a work of art.

DIFFERENCES can feel impossible, they won't go away, embrace your differences, see them as gifts from God, use them to help you understand and trust God more as He designs your life!!  With God's wise and wonderful leading you two will be able to have your cake and eat it too!!!!  Keep looking forward to your future with hope and expectation!

Barbara Rainey -Letters to my Daughters: The Art of being a Wife

 Feb. 10, 2021


Several years ago I read the book mentioned above.  It talked about marriage in such an encouraging and positive way.  Barbara likened marriage to paintings that were masterpeices, grand architecture, fine cusine, elegant music, and so on. I hope to give you some highlights over the next few days about what I read in her book. I know you young mommas are very busy and don't have much time to read.  I hope these 'highlights' encourage you in your marriages. 

Chapter 1

This chapter built upon a painting called Golden Pine.  It is a massive 16 ft. x 22 ft. painting that picutures a tree that is made from 9 large squares and two thousand sheets of gold leaf applied to Japanese handmade paper.  A picture of a black tree against a gold background rising high.

Analogys:

- we want to be wives that are strong, always growing upward toward the One who made us and outward toward those God gave us to love

- each small panel in this picture has a specific purpose: our lives have many parts and purposes - sometimes we are to show empahty and silence, or strong words of truth, other times we back off, other times we give gentle nudgings

- in the painting the tree has it's various parts such as the roots and trunk: we too have pieces in our lives that that we use - being a helper, lover, one who respects, believes, and trusts. All parts must work together, connected, and intertwined daily. 

- marriage is to be like this painting: strong, growing, multifaceted, richly developed, and reflecting the Light of the Creator.

-the artist had to work with the 'parts' of his picture to make it look whole and complete.  He had to blend his work.  In marriage both husbands and wives are imperfect humans and can have a hard time blending their lives together into a beautiful marriage.  Marriage, like a masterpiece, takes time, money, energy, effort, and risk for it to be whole and healthy.

-some like to critique pieces of art and to give the artist a hard time.  In marriages, we sometimes critique our Master, and act as if we know more than He does rather than trusting Him and His design for marriage. 

-our marriages are meant to be beautiful masterpieces to the world who is watching.  They are to show the goodness, power, and beauty of God. Our marriages are to make others want to know God.  


Stay tuned for more chapters and analogies about marriage.  Making our marriages whole, healthy, and glorifying to God is so very important. 

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Benefits of staying in step with God....

 Feb. 6, 2021

This is part two of CHOICES.  Yesterday's blog had directions on how to make good choices. We looked at choices that both Moses and Abraham had. Today we will discuss the BENEFITS of seeking God and following Him, of making good CHOICES rather than doing what we want.

WHEN we stay in step with God - seeking Him, following Him, and obeying Him - we will have the following BENEFITS:

1.  God will provide everything we need.

2.  God will give us specific instructions (look in His Word).

3.  God will remove our fear.

4.  We will see God work in unusual ways in our circumstances (when we trust Him and wait on Him).

5.  We'll learn God's ways.

6.  God will use our weakness and failures to help us understand His will for our lives.

7.  God can accomplish more in a brief time than we can in a life time.

We are blessed to be loved by such a wonderful God.  It is definately worthwhile to love, serve, and obey HIM!! The BENEFITS are great!!

(Ideas taken from Charles Stanley/In Touch message January 2021)

Choices bear consequences....

 Feb. 5, 2021

(I think this is a good little study to print out and go over with our children or grandchildren. It will give them some good guidance and direction and could save them from heartache from bad decisions.)

Two Bible Heroes - Moses and Abraham

Two different actions

1.  Moses, when he saw an Egyptian being unkind to a Hebrew slave,  acted on his own leading and killed an Egyptian.

2.  Abraham when faced with sacrificing his son, obeyed God. 

CHOICES!!! Soon after the United States Capitol was stormed in January, I heard a sermon by Charles Stanley about Moses and the consequences of his decision to kill the Egyptian. Then I recently read about Abraham and his obedience to God when asked to sacrifice Isaac. The capitol event and these two historical Biblical events got me to thinging about our choices. Our choices can bring about many consequences for our own lives that can last a life-time.  

Here are some guidelines (from Charles Stanley) about what to do when faced with a decision:

1. Ask questions: ask God what He would have us do, how he would have us proceed, and when would be the right time according to His will.

2.  Focus on the big picture rather than on an event.

3.  Listen to God rather than following your own reasoning.  

4.  Ask God what he wants you to do rather than act on impulse.

5.  Rely on God's power rather than your own strength.

6.  Extend forgiveness rather than holding in anger.

7.  Consider the consequences of your actions.

SUMMARY:

 When making decisions to you think only about the situation - or the consequences that could come from your impulsive decision?

Where do you go for help when making a decision?

When you receive guidance from the Bible, do you readily obey or make excuses for not obeying?

(Watch for part two of this study tomorrow- staying in step with God and the benefits it will bring.)






Saturday, January 30, 2021

You are the light of the world - Matt. 5:14

 We must be the 'light' in the world!!  It is rough out there!  Following are ideas from Charles Stanley's Dec. 2020 monthly letter.

It was Jesus who said "You are the light of the world" in Mt. 5:14.  Jesus also said "I am the light of the world" in John 8:12.  Booth scriptures are true.  The light of Jesus comes from within himself as the Son of God.  Our light comes as a reflection of His life within each of us if we are saved.

Four ideas about light:

1.  Light dispels darkness

2.  Light guides the way

3.  Light exposes what is hidden

4.  Light is meant to be seen, not covered up

We ARE to be the light of the world.  You ARE important to the world and those around you. Use your LIGHT to displace the darkness, to guide others,  and to expose corruption. Let your light be seen by those around you through your words, actions, attitudes, and character. You are important and have a purpose.  Carry out your purpose and light up the world!

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Attitude can make a difference as we age....

 Jan. 24, 2021


Staying Young All Your Life  

(The following ideas are from the In Touch Ministries Daily Devotional 1-23-2021)


I was sooooo excited to listen to Charles Stanley's daily devotional this week about our attitude making a difference in our aging process.  Gail and I don't feel old (we may look that way!) but we feel good, love our lives, and are anxious to be used by God.  The following are ideas from the devotional that were a great encouragement to me.

1.  Keep learning

  • gaining knowledge of Scripture should be first on our list
    • also read up on things that interest you, take on new projects, learn to use technology
2.  Keep laboring - keep walking with God
  • look for opportunities to serve Him through the church or other ministries
  • be available
  • continue to serve others
3.  Pray 
  • you may find you have a little more time on your hands now so use that time to pray for your spouse, family, church, town, state, and nation


Our lives are not our own.  They have been bought with a great price by Jesus.  May we keep surrendered to him and keep serving Him. 


If God has blessed you with many years, bless Him with your service.  They are many needs out there.  Find them and give of your time, talents, and energy.  God wants to use you all of your days, so be sure to stay young at heart as long as you can to be able to serve HIM!

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Words of encouragement for those with heavy hearts.....

 

January 21, 2021

Our hearts are heavy today as we think of the next four years with a liberal government making new laws that are against the Word of God.

Here are words of encouragement from Charles Stanley’s daily devotional today.  His thoughts helped me. I hope they are an encouragement to you.

Jude 1:24 – 25

  •        there will be times when, no matter how hard we try, we fail
  •        how do we succeed when the odds are against us?
  •         for believers the answer is to live with the knowledge that God works despite our weaknesses
  •         God is sovereign and in control
  •         in Genesis 18 we see that Sarah doubted God when he prophesied the birth of her son

o   within a year Sarah gave birth to her baby Isaac

o   she saw God was able to do miracles

  •         in Exodus 3 we see that Moses was scared when God told him to go to Pharaoh and ask that the Hebrew slaves be released

o   those slaves were released in a miraculous way – God was able

  •         on our own we can do nothing – John 15:5
  •         but with God we can have access to his power that is beyond our comprehension – 1 Chronicles 29:12

·       Today…. And tomorrow….. When you are overcome with the burdens of life: trust God who can carry your heavy load

 

Matthew 11:28 – 30

Come to me, all who labor and are and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.