"I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God, in Him will I trust." Psalms 91:2

Monday, July 30, 2012

Going For the Gold

It is that time...time for the 2012 Summer Olympics and whether you watch them, enjoy them or could care less, right now they are taking place in London.  I enjoy following to see how the USA is doing and I thrill each time our country is able to medal.  The Olympics brings together all the world nations and allows a healthy competition among them.  The Olympians work hard and train as they race to reach a goal.  The goal that they have their sights set on is the GOLD MEDAL!
We, too, as Christians are in a race...the Christian race.  We ought to be striving daily to reach a goal...that of gold in the Lord's eyes.  We each will stand before the Lord and give an account of the things we have done in our own personal lives.  We will not answer for our neighbor, family or friend, but simply for ourself.  Romans 14:12 reminds us of this by stating, "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." 

To be successful in a race there are a few things one must do:
1. Train ahead of time
2. Persevere through the race
3. Never look back
4. Keep your eye on the prize

The same principles apply in our Christian race:
1. We must train daily by being in the Word of God  (Joshua 1:8)
    We must train daily by talking with our God  (Ps. 55:17)
    We must train by faithfully attending church  (Heb. 10:25)
    We must train by exercising our spiritual muscles in the work of God  (Eph. 6:7)
2. We must keep going even when times get tough  (Gal. 6:9)
    We must not quit running even when we are weary  (2 Thes. 3:13)
    We must keep running even if noone runs with us  (Joshua 24:15)
    We must remember for Whom we are running  (Heb. 12:2)
3. We must not get sidetracked by worldly temptations (Titus 2:12)
    We must not be discouraged by others  (Ps. 56:9)
    We must not be swayed by those who continually look back  (Gal. 6:7)
    We must not run looking back at what used to be  (Luke 9:62)
4. We must remember that there is a Judgment Seat one day  (Rom. 14:10)
    We must remember that we will stand before a Holy God  (Phil. 2:16)
    We must remember those who have run before us leaving us an example  (Hebrews 11)
    We must remember that we will rejoice in Heaven one day (Phil. 2:16)  

Competing for gold isn't an easy task, but when focused, determined and dedicated one can reach that goal.  As Christians, we will face hard work; we will face obstacles; we will face setbacks; but, when we continue to run with our eyes on Jesus, we can finish our race and we can finish with the gold!!
So, I plan to keep running as long as He gives me breath.  I will fall down.  I will get tired.  I will stumble.  I will, though, keep running till I reach Heaven.  How about you?  Have you given up? Have you gotten tired? Have you wearied while on your journey?  It's not too late....just get up and keep going.  Run your race and I will run mine.  Then, in Heaven, together we can rejoice together on races run and jobs well done!
So, my friend, I challenge you, along with me....GO FOR THE GOLD IN GOD'S EYES!

From my heart,

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Trip to The Bank

The other day Jordan and I made a stop to the bank drive-thru to deposit a check.  For whatever reason, all the lines seemed to be moving extremely slow this particular day.  However, it appeared that I had picked the slowest line of them all. The lady in front of me was on her phone just chatting away.  She hadn't even taken the container out in order to put her transaction in and send it through the transport tube.  I kid you not, I sat there for about five minutes before she even turned to the transport tube.  The next thing I know she is pushing the call button and talking to the person inside.  Mind you, she has still not sent in a transaction of any kind.  Well, as you can imagine, I sat there contemplating if I should put my car in reverse and choose a new lane.  We had been sitting there so long my son began timing it.  Needless to say, I was getting a little on the impatient side. You see, I had things to do and this lady was taking my time.  I mean, really.  Well, I had decided to back up and switch lanes. I look up in my mirror to check before moving and a car was pulling in behind me. I was stuck now.  I remember muttering something about "hope you have time to wait lady because you will be here a while."  That lady behind me couldn't hear me, but somehow grumbling made me feel better or so I thought.  Next thing I know one of the tellers walks out and hands a transport tube to the lady in front of me....oh my!! Let's just say, I felt terrible!! Talk about conviction. Oy! I had been stewing and growing impatient thinking this lady was just taking her sweet time when all the while she couldn't do anything because there was not a container in the tube.  I felt about an inch high.  Now, I know I am probably the only person who has ever gotten impatient in a drive thru lane. Well, I finally had my turn, took care of my deposit and pulled out to leave.  I left feeling convicted and asking God to forgive me.  I also used what had happened to teach Jordan.  Remember, my son was in the car the whole time.  *sigh* 
I had some explaining to do and so, I did.
You see this trip to the bank reminded me of a few things:
1. My time is not any more important than anyone else's time. 
2. I need to work on my patience
3. I need to remember that my little guy is always watching.
Now, I don't think my reaction on this day was unique. If I had to guess, I am pretty sure there would be other ladies out there who would admit they have gotten impatient from time to time.  I am really glad the Holy Spirit spoke up as I was pulling out of that bank. I am glad that I had an opportunity to talk to my son about my reaction to the lady sitting there and explain how I should have been patient and not thought my time to be more important. 
As I drove away, I thought of the verses in 2 Peter 1 that talk about how God gives to us all the things that we need for life and godliness. It goes on to list certain character traits that we are to have and one of them is patience.  I need to work on my patience.
The point of today's post is simply to show how daily instances can serve as reminders of things in our lives that we need to improve.  I am thankful for these reminders and, as I said earlier, am thankful for the Holy Spirit. 
Until next time!

From my heart,

Monday, July 23, 2012

Go Ahead...Just Have Fun

Jordan and I were in the car the other day.  He was in the back seat laughing about something. I can't remember what exactly.  However, I remember looking at him and telling him "you remind me so much of your Papa."  Now, his Papa is my dad.  My dad is a funny man.  I love to be around him and I love to laugh with him.  There was something about how Jordan was laughing that just reminded me of dad.  I, then, began to tell him how I had not ever seen a picture of my dad when he was a little boy and so, I had to imagine what he would have looked like.  I often look at Jordan and am reminded of my dad.  Anyways, I was telling Jordan I had seen pictures of his Nana when she was a little girl, but never of Papa like that.  Jordan looks at me and as serious as could be says, "well, of course you never saw a picture of Papa as a little girl!"  It dawned on me how what I had said had come out and both of us just started to laugh.
We continued driving toward our home and I heard Jordan in the back seat singing.  He wasn't singing any song I knew, but rather He was making up some silly song about nine years old and how they are the greatest.  (Jordan is nine.) I asked him why he thought nine year olds were great and his response was "because I am nine."  Then, he said, "When I am ten, I will say ten year olds are the greatest."  We started laughing again.  My Jordan is just crazy silly, but I LOVE it!  Now, this was just a silly conversation between mom and son and wouldn't really mean anything to anyone else, but to Jordan and me it will always be a memory.  We laugh alot together and I am so thankful for that.  I am glad that my boys and I can be silly and have fun together because I know that these silly times will be ones they remember for years to come. 
When is the last time you laughed with your kids?  It seems these days families are so busy with this, that and the other that they are missing out on enjoying the moments that they are together as a family.  Our lives have become so scheduled (which is a good thing, don't get me wrong) that we almost forget to make time for the fun things.
The Bible speaks often of singing, laughing and rejoicing.  It is clear to me that the Lord wants us to be a happy and cheerful people and that would apply to our families as well. Here are some familiar verses on this topic:
Psalm 100:2    "Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing."
Psalm 118:24   "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."
Isaiah 65:18     "But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create..."
Habakkuk 3:1   "Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation."
Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice."
As families in our daily activities, it is important that we learn to enjoy one another and being together.  It is important that we learn to have fun and laugh with each other.  We, as moms, need to teach our children to laugh, sing and rejoice.  They need to see through our example that life is fun especially, when serving and living for the Lord. So, here are a few ideas of things a mom can do with her kids to "just have some fun".  These aren't anything new, but I thought I would just share some that we have done:
 1.  Go outside and play ball
 2.  Have a picnic lunch
 3.  Play games together: plan a game night and let the kids pick the games
 4.  Go to the park
 5.  Build a fort in the living room and sleep in it that night
 6.  Have a theme based supper and try to talk with the accent of that nation (this can be quite amusing)
 7.  Go bowling (this is one of my boys favorites)
 8.  Make up silly songs
 9.  Read books together (when they are little and act out the characters)
10. Have a family pizza/movie night
11. Have puppet shows
12. Have a Wii or X-box family fun night (divide into teams and compete again each other)
13. Be involved together through your church (this teaches them that serving the Lord is fun!)
14. Create traditions that are special to your family; you don't have to be like everyone else.  For example, our family every year on the night of Thanksgiving, we load into the car at about ten o'clock and drive around to all the stores just to see how many people are lining up to shop the deals.  The boys think these shoppers are nuts and they get a kick out of this. After driving around, we always end up at Sonic for a treat. This year the boys were going on and on talking about how they should sell hot chocolate and treats because the people had been in line for hours upon hours. They just kept laughing and thinking up crazy things they could sell. They loved our adventure. This is crazy, I know, but it is a memory and the boys love it! 
15. Utilize time in the car with singing or just talking
These are just simple ideas, but anyone can do them.  Remember, your kids will grow up.  (All too fast I might add) 
What type of atmosphere are we setting in our homes?  Remember, "rejoice ALWAYS".  Home can be a fun and happy place if we work to make it so.
So, go have some fun today with your family!

From my Heart,

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Merciful to Me

I don't know about you but I love music...good Christian music.  I love to hear songs about grace and mercy.  I love the old songs of the faith, you know, hymns.  Recently, I sang in church and I chose the following song to sing:
                                               "Merciful To Me"
                                        written by Rodney Griffin
Verse 1:  The angry men were closing in; rocks were in their hands,
              A decent payment for her sin - now her life must end;
              But Jesus said, "Let he who is innocent cast your stone today,"
              I wasn't there to see her face, but I can almost hear her say,

Chorus:    Merciful to me, when I deserved to die
               Merciful to me, my soul He brought new life;
               Nothing could I bring my debt to satisfy,
               Jesus was merciful; merciful to me.

Verse 2:  Satan's men were closing in, I knew what was in store,
               A decent payment for my sin, eternal fire and more;
               But Jesus said, "I have an announcement I'd like to make today,
               You see I have the scars to prove that I've taken this one's place."

Chorus:    Merciful to me, when I deserved to die
               Merciful to me, my soul He brought new life;
               Nothing could I bring my debt to satisfy,
               Jesus was merciful; merciful to me.

As I was finishing the second verse, I began to get a bit choked up....just thinking about the words and what Jesus had done for me, well, it was very overwhelming.  I tried not to be shaken, but the words to the song and the thought of my Saviour giving His life for mine was too powerful and needless to say, I cried my way through the rest of the song.  Embarrassing, right?  Yes, some, but honestly, not really.  I am glad to know that my heart has not grown cold to the mercy that Christ has shown me.  I pray that I NEVER get over what He has done for me.
Go back and read the accounts recorded in the Bible of the crucifixion of Jesus and you will be reminded of just how merciful He was to you and me. For those who have trusted Christ, we will never suffer the torments of Hell...the penalty deserved for our sin.  The mercy of God overwhelms me and I hope that you, too, will remember the mercy that has been shown to you. 
The Bible is full of verses about the mercy of God:
Lamentations 3:22 "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not."
Psalm 100:5 "For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations."
Psalms 103:8 "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy."
Psalms 136:4 "To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth forever." (In fact, this whole chapter is full of verses on His mercy.)
Luke 6:36 "Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful."
The lessons I took from this were:
1. I need to never forget the mercy Christ has extended toward me and
2. I need to show this same mercy to others around me.
The definition of mercy as obtained from the dictionary is: compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power; compassion; pity or benevolence
The story found in John 8 is a wonderful example of the mercy of Christ. I can see it now the men in the Bible pointing their accusing fingers at this woman taken in adultery. Jesus bends over writing in the dirt. The pharisees  and scribes are still questioning Jesus trying to get him to say this woman should be stoned.  Jesus stands and responds in verse 7 with, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."  Jesus bends over to write again and those in the crowd begin to disperse the Bible says, "being convicted by their own conscience" in verse 9.  What an amazing story! We need to all remember that we are sinners and we need to remember to extend mercy to people when needed.  I am not saying to sweep sin under a rug and just let it have it's way, but that we are to love the sinner and be merciful helping to restore them.  Can you almost hear her say?
                                        Merciful to me, when I deserved to die
                                        Merciful to me, my soul He brought new life
                                        Nothing could I bring, my debt to satisfy
                                        Jesus was merciful, merciful to me.
So, I ask you the same question I asked myself, "How's your mercy: do you remember the mercy Christ showed to you and are you showing it to others"?  

From the Heart,

Monday, July 16, 2012

Youth Conference Bound

Dear Blog Friends,
My husband and I, along with nine of our awesome Calvary Baptist teens (a few are pictured here) are heading out today to attend a Youth Conference in Hammond, Indiana.  The teens are excited and so are we. We have gone to this particular meeting for many years and always come home refreshed, revived and recharged.
I am praying as we go for God to bless our time there.  My own heart's desire is to be challenged from the preaching.  I am praying that our young people will go with open hearts asking the Lord to speak to them as well.  Yes, we want to have fun and we will, but we also want this trip to be one of spiritual refreshment for each one of us. 
Hebrews 4:16 tells us, "For the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
2 Timothy 3:16 tells us, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"   The Word of God is powerful and can change lives!
I have had people ask me before "Why do you take all these trips and take teens to camp and conferences? Don't you get tired of all the traveling and stuff?"  Honestly, my answer would be "NO." I don't get tired of it because I know that these trips are so worth the results.
One changed life is worth all the trips in the world.  I have no idea how God is going to speak to a young person, but I know that He will if they are given every opportunity to hear Him speak.
So, friend, if you don't mind please pray for our group as we travel and as we attend this conference.
Thanks so much!
I can't wait to tell you about all we will have done and have heard when I get back; so, stay posted!
Until then,

From my Heart,

Friday, July 13, 2012

Faith or Fear...which will you choose today?

Recently I had a conversation with someone about something that was somewhat of a burden in their life. I guess it was more of a "what do I do type situation?" for this person. They were trying to make a right decision, but in doing what they thought to be right would be missing out on something spititually good for them. Now, that is what I would call a perlexing circumstance. So, it got me to thinking...   
In conversation with this person, I told them I would be praying about the situation for and with them. Their response was thankful, but IDK...meaning, I don't know. It was like they were throwing their hands up in the air and giving up because they saw no hope in sight for the situation they were in...their faith, at the time, seemed small. Unfortunately, life can be like this for all of us at times. We face a situation and we face it one of two ways: FAITH or FEAR?
Do we trust God to work all things out for our good or do we fear and miss out on the blessings He had in store for us? The Bible is filled with examples of people who were weak in their own flesh and feared the choices they had to make, but these people chose to follow God and put their faith in Him to help them through their decisions and choices.
Moses: He stuttered and felt insecure in his abilities...what if he had not trusted God? Would the people have crossed the Red Sea? Hmm...
David: Saul sought constantly to kill him...what if David had run and hid forever? Would he have been called "a man after God's own heart?" Hmm..
Joseph: Falsely accused; imprisoned and forgotten...I think if I were him I totally would have given up...what if he had not stayed true to God through all his trials?  Would he have helped to save a nation from starving and have helped his family?  Hmm...
These are just a few examples of people who overcame a fear of "what if" and simply learned to have faith and trust that God knew best.
How can we grow our faith:
1. Stay in our Bible DAILY   Rom. 10:17   Faith will come the more we are in the Word of God 
2. Stay in church every time the doors are open   Heb. 13:7   We are given men of God who exhort and teach us from the Word of God. The more we hear the Word of God, the more our faith can grow. Plus, in church, you will be around others who are growing and who are striving to grow in their faith too...this is an encouragement for you to keep on going.
3. Stay praying fervently   Psalms 5:3   God should hear from us every morning and this verse tells us to "look up" meaning to look to God. He is the answer for everything in our lives.
These are three very simple steps that will help our faith to grow. There is no secret recipe, but rather daily steps that will keep us focused on God and on His strength instead of our own fears.
I am reminded of Matthew 17:20 where it speaks of faith moving mountains...that is what I want in my life...a MOUNTAIN MOVING FAITH. I don't want my fears of "what if" to keep me from the blessings God has in store, the victories He has planned, and the growth that He intends for me.
So, today I have pondered a bit my own life and the faith or lack thereof that I have when it comes to certain areas. I have to admit, I have some fears about certain things in my life. I have allowed these fears to stop me from doing all that I believe God would like to do in my life.
This recent conversation made me assess my own FAITH/FEAR factor...I have some improvements to make. I am going to be praying for the situation my friend brought to me and I am going to work on improving my own faith.
I sure am grateful for the lessons God brings my way. It is good to know God is still trying to teach me and I pray that I never stop learning.
So, how is YOUR faith? Are you living with the FAITH FACTOR or the FEAR FACTOR?
Remember, Romans 4:20 says, "He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God."
You and I, too, can claim the promises of God with full confidence!
I challenge you today...claim faith in God and see what He can do through and with you!
From my Heart,

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Reset Button

Sometimes God just comes along and has to push a reset button in us in a certain area.  That happened to me this week in the area of soulwinning.  You know that scary thing where you go and talk to people about Jesus.  Let's say that this week, God gave me a definite "RESET BUTTON" in the area of soulwinning.
I received word that one of my doctor's passed away.  I was very sad to hear this.  This particular doctor was a very nice man and he had compassion for his patients.  Now, mind you, I didn't  know him very well.  I had only been to him about four times, but nonetheless, he made an impression on me.  He was serious about his life's work, but there was a definite care for the person he was treating.
However, I am sad because my first thought when I heard he had passed was "I wonder if he was saved?"  It made me very sad to not know the answer to that question. Then, the conviction came over me because I had never taken the time to tell him about my Jesus. I went to him for my physical health, but I didn't take the time to ask about his spiritual health.  How very sad and shameful of me. I cannot go back and fix this...it is too late. 
I am praying, however, that God will help me to, again, have a renewed burden for the people around me and that I will be more conscious to witness to those I come in contact with on a daily basis.  It is so important for those of us who know Jesus to tell others.  Jesus is coming back and what a sad day for many who are without Him.  No hope of Heaven....just very sad.  I don't want to be the reason another doctor does not meet the Saviour.  I must be more diligent in my efforts to tell others about Jesus.
One day the Book of Life will be opened and I would like to think that there will be names in the book as a result of my going and telling someone about Jesus.  Daniel 12:3 states, "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever."  So, this week I am thankful for the reset button God chose to push in my life.
Will you join me in telling others?  Will you, like me, ask the Lord to renew or give you a vision for lost souls?
Forgive me Lord and renew my vision!

To you, dear reader, who may not know Christ, please read on:
How to Be 100% Sure of Heaven
1. Realize you are a sinner.  Romans 3:10  "There is none righteous, no not one."
2. Realize there is a penalty for sin.  Romans 6:23  "For the wages of sin is death."
3. Realize Jesus paid the penalty for you.  Romans 5:8 "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us."
4. Realize there is only one way to Heaven.  Romans 10:13 "For whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." 
You can be SURE! Just simply ask Jesus to take you to Heaven realizing that it is only through faith and complete trust in what Christ did on the cross that you can receive salvation.  It is not through a church or a religion, but through faith in Jesus and Him alone to save you.
If you would like to trust Christ, Ask Him sincerely from your heart,
 "Lord, I know I am a sinner and that you died for me.  Please forgive me of my sin of unbelief. I am trusting You Jesus, and You alone to save me and take me to Heaven.  Thank you for saving me.
If there is one who prayed this prayer, I would love to hear from you. 

From My Heart,

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

LOOK Ryan....There's MORE Food in the House!

This is going to be a light hearted post...one of my favorite kinds. :)  Yesterday, I left my house to take my oldest son to work.  Jordan, my youngest, came with us because dad was at work still. After dropping Ryan at his workplace, Jordan and I headed off to run a few errands.  First stop was the chiropractor; second stop was Aldi's; third stop was Walgreens; and last, but not least, we treated ourselves to some KFC.
Now, let me explain something about how I grocery shop as it will lend to the story later.  I generally plan a week's meals at a time based on that week's sales flyers.  I try to use up groceries on hand and then, make out a menu and shop accordingly for the coming week.  I don't ususally keep alot of food in the house just because I have found it goes to waste and I really don't like that.  So, as the years have gone by, I have adjusted how I meal plan and grocery shop.  When my family is about to go out of town, I especially like to use up our resources in the way of food and basically, empty my cupboards minus staples, so to speak.  Well, my family is planning to be at a Youth Conference coming up soon and I happen to be weaning the food supply.
Anyways, we ran our errands, came home and enjoyed our evening.  Ryan got off work at 9 pm and my husband picked him up after having a late meeting.  Jordan and I spent the evening at home.  Well, Ryan walks in the door from work and the first words out of Jordan's mouth were, "Ryan, there's MORE food in the house!"  I kid you not my son was saying this with gusto and enthusiasm.  I just started laughing!  I couldn't believe how excited he was that we had more food in the house.  It was as if we had been starving for days or something...LOL.  Anyways, Ryan just looks at him and responds with, "okay"...as if to say, whatever.  My boys crack me up!
The point I am making is that even in the craziest of comments or happenings throughout the day, life can be fun.  I sure do love my family!  I love that we laugh at crazy things.  I don't know about you, but life is hard enough sometimes and it sure is good to come home, be with the people you love and find a way to make happiness out of silly things....such as MORE FOOD IN THE HOUSE!
So, friend, I challenge you today and this week...what will be your "more food in the house" moment?  Look for them throughout the day. I promise they will happen!
Remember, Proverbs 15:13 states, "A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance..." and Proverbs 17:22 states, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine..." which tells us that laughter is important in all our lives. When is the last time you had a good laugh?  It sure can keep your spirits up!  So, go out there and have a laugh!  :)  Let me give you something to get you started with that laugh.  This one cracks me up every time I read it!

Until next time, have a great week!
From my heart,

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Church - Is it a Committment or a Convenience?

Psalm 122:1 says, "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord."
Today's post is a result of several week's of hearing "reasons" as to why people can't be at church.  I realize a person's relationship with God is between them and God.  I am not here to argue that fact, but I do sometimes wonder why people so casually choose not to be in church. Don't misunderstand, I am fully aware that there are times when one is providentially hindered from attending church.  I, myself, battle with a chronic physical issue and sometimes I am bedridden and unable to attend, but the difference is I humanly cannot as opposed to I chose not to attend.
That is the primary difference:  A person chooses TO attend or chooses NOT TO attend.
Why church?
Well let us remember what the familiar passage from Hebrews 10:25, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching," tells us. Is says not to forsake. Simply put, you and I NEED church.  We need the fellowship, the encouragement, and the preaching. All throughout the New Testament we read of the people being daily in the temple.
It could be summed up this way as being a matter of convenience or committment for a person. So, what is the difference between convenient and committment?
CONVENIENT - the state of being suitable or agreeable to the needs or purpose; easy; at hand; comfortable for use
COMMITMENT - to give in trust or charge; to bind or obligate, as by pledge or assurance
Is it convenient to go to church?
Hmm...let's see....I work all week and don't get a day off...I think I should be able to stay home on Sunday or Wednesday.  Afterall, I am tired.
Hmm...let's see...it's a holiday and well, I just want to be with my family.
Hmm...my children have homework.
Hmm...I need time with my spouse; it's the only time we have to be alone.
Hmm...let's see...because I work so much I just don't get time to do my projects or fun stuff...you know, like clean my house, go to the lake, swim with the family etc.
Is it a committment of your heart to God?
Hmm...I love the Lord and I long to please Him.
Hmm...I love the family of God and know that being with them will encourage each of us.
Hmm...My being there may be a blessing to someone who needs me.
Hmm...I need to hear from the man of God the Word of God.
Hmm...It is right to do, therefore I CHOOSE to go to church.
Now, this is probably not going to be a popular post, but ladies, let's just be real....God needs us and we need Him.  When we choose to skip church for "whatever"...you fill in the blank, ask yourself, what would God think of that reason?  I mean, really, what would God think? 
I am so thankful for a husband who loves God and has taught our family when church is open, we are there.  Vacation, not a problem...we are in church.  We don't travel during church hours.  What? You don't travel during church hours?  No, we really don't...never have.  I promise it can be done.  I know some of  you may think we are nuts and maybe we are but I choose to believe my husband and I are committed to God and we desire to show Him through action.  I long desperately for my children to grow up and be COMMITTED to God, not just casual or convenient in their relationship with Him.  If we are haphazard in our church attendance, then the chances of our children stepping it up are quite slim.  Church attendance does not define our relationship with God, but it does tell something about our relationship with God. Why?  Because it shows where our priorities really are.  When we are willing to put anything or anyone in front of God, we are out of balance in our relationship.  Church attendance should be a basic committment from every Christian...an outward show of our love for the Lord.
This post is not meant to be scathing in any way, but rather to encourage you in love of how VERY important being in church really is.  I just can't help but think, what if Jesus had chosen to do things based on convenience...I doubt He would have chosen a cross.  Just doesn't seem convenient to me.
I know I am going out on a limb with this one, but I pray that the Holy Spirit will use this to help someone somewhere ask themself, "AM I COMMITTED OR CONVENIENT IN MY CHURCH ATTENDANCE?"
From my Heart,

Monday, July 9, 2012

Encouragement...Pass it On!

This past Sunday night my pastor husband preached an incredible message on encouragement.  We all will have times in our lives when we need encouragement.  He gave three points:
1.  Encourage yourself in the Lord
2.  Encourage others in the Word
3.  Encourage others in the Service of God
I really enjoyed the message and must say, I was convicted.  Lately, it seems my husband has been very busy, my oldest is working and preparing to head to college soon, and well, I get a little lonely. Please tell me you've been there... feeling alone and as though all you do goes unnoticed?  Surely, I am not the only lady that has felt this way.  Well, this message reminded me that I need to encourage myself.  I can do this by encouraging others.  It is true and honestly, it really does work.
Being in the ministry is a wonderful life, but it has its days when one questions, "Is this worth it?" One can start to think, "Is what I am doing making a difference?"  Our work for Jesus is NEVER in vain.  We may not always see results (or we think we can't see them), but if we are patient, in time we are able to see the work of our labor.  As my dad often reminds me of the verse found in 1 Corinthians 15:58, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abouding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."
A life lived for Christ is not in vain and the labors are worth every effort.  I was reminded of this by way of a note from a former teenager (now, grown and married serving the Lord).  She wrote to thank me for all I had done to invest in her life during her teen years.  She was very kind with her words and my heart was so moved.  I thought back to many sleepless nights, trips taken to camp, prayers shared, burdens discussed and I am so thankful that my husband and I did not quit when things got tough.  I am thankful that we found the strength to encourage ourselves in the Lord and we kept going. 
My life is different now being a pastor's wife and I have to say, there are days when I would rather retreat and hide.  It isn't easy being "in the fishbowl" as I have heard said, but I will say, it is worth it if a life can be changed, helped or encouraged.  I can't imagine my life any other way....I love my husband and I am convinced that God desires to use him for His work. 
I started this post by telling about my husband's message...it was a GREAT one!  I used that to say during times of feeling like what you do is for nought, take hope...find ENCOURAGEMENT in the Lord and realize you are not alone. 
Friend, have you been discouraged lately?  Do you think what you do is for nothing? Do you feel like noone notices?  The best solution is to ENCOURAGE yourself in the Lord.  I promise it works.  Find someone else to be an encouragement to and you will be amazed what it does for your own spirit.
I had to do a little soul searching after this message and I sure am glad that God spoke to me!
If you'll excuse me, I need to go write someone a note!
Until next time...

From my Heart,

Saturday, July 7, 2012

One More Goodnight

Tonight after tucking my youngest into bed and sitting down to read for a few minutes, I heard, "Mom..." being called from Jordan's bedroom.  He had just gone to bed; what could he possibly need.  I went in his room and he just wanted to hold my hand for a minute and tell me goodnight again.  Now, that might seem crazy, but to this mom, it was a blessing.
These days I am realizing more and more how "one more goodnight" is not a bad thing. My oldest is heading off to college in just about 7 weeks and the goodnights will no longer be for us.  Time goes by all too fast and our kids grow up.  My youngest has 9 years left before flying the coop and I plan to enjoy every single "one more goodnight". 
I realize there are some ladies who have never had the joy of saying goodnight to a little one.  There are some who said goodnight for the last time.  There are some who would give anything to be able to say goodnight again.  I am not going to squander the nights I have left.
I have seven babies in Heaven and I never had the opportunity to say goodnight.  I can't help but think each time I tell my Jordan and Ryan goodnight that my other angel babies hear me too. 
Walking out of Jordan's room tonight reminded me of the verses in Psalm 127: 4 - 5,
           "As arrows in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the      youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be
           ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate."
There is no written law as to what constitutes the "right number of arrows in a quiver"...it will be different for each family based on what God desires for that family.  God gives and He takes away.  We need to love our children while we have them and be full and happy families whether we have one or ten children...you get the picture.  It isn't how many children we have, but rather how much love we have for the children we are blessed to have.
So, my mom lesson for the day was, "I want one more goodnight!"  The next time you are tempted to complain because your little one won't sleep, they have to go to the bathroom, they want a drink of water, etc...just remember, one day there will be no more goodnights so, I challenge you to say to yourself, "I WANT ONE MORE GOODNIGHT."

If you'll excuse me, Ryan just got home from work and I want to tell him "Goodnight".  Till next time....

From my Heart,

Friday, July 6, 2012

Burden or Burden Bearer...the Choice is Mine

This week, well, let's just say, I haven't been well physically speaking...it's been a tough week, to say the least. The other day, if I were honest, I was feeling sorry for myself. You know how that goes, right? We all have days like that from time to time...what matters is what we do with those kind of days.
I have found lately that when I am under the weather physically, that I have alot more time to pray. Now, I don't think that I am ultra spiritual but I do believe that God gives us seasons of time when we are able to pray more for others. We just need to realize when those times come.
As the wife of a pastor, I have many people in my life who carry burdens. My husband and I pray for our church members daily. We carry burdens with them. We pray for their hurts. We love them through tough times. Sometimes, it is easy to become heavy with all the burdens we are asked to carry...that is, in our flesh, it becomes heavy. However, when we focus on taking these burdens to the Lord, they become easy to carry.
God's Word says in Matthew 11:28 - 30, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy , and my burden is light."
I am learning when I am down physically to spend more time carrying other's burdens to the Lord. What it is teaching me is that when I am down and I carry the burden's of others, then, my burdens become lighter as well. You see when a person is down physically it can be tempting for them to complain or become a burden to those around them. I don't want to be a burden to those I love, but rather I choose to be a burden bearer.
So, the lesson for today: Are you a burden or a burden bearer? Remember, your own burdens will seem lighter when you CHOOSE to carry the burdens of others as well. The choice is up to each one of us. What will you choose?
From my heart,

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Therefore Will I Hope in Him

Today I received word that a 16 year old young man, for whom our church had been praying, had passed away. This young man had cancer. According to friends and family, this young man knew Christ as His personal Saviour; so, now this young man is home with His heavenly Father and at peace. My heart is heavy for the family of this boy.  I can't imagine the emotions they are feeling.  I am glad to know that they are Christians and are not going through any of this alone...for they have Christ.
I watched the news report on this story...it had been very well known throughout the community of this young man's fight for life. They told how his mother informed others via a tweet "don't pray for Trey, he is in Heaven; pray for the family now."  I sat there listening to the story and all I could think about were my own two sons. I cannot imagine having gone through what this family has gone through all these months.
These parents watched as their son was taken from them by way of a serious illness; yet, their testimony never waivered. I asked myself how they stayed so positive and was reminded that it was through the grace and faithfulness of God.
Recently I was reading in Lamentations 3 verses 22 - 24 which say,
       "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed,  because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him."
This family grieves the loss of a child and I am sure it would be very easy to be consumed by the grief, but they have hope in Christ that one day they will be together again.  Trials and troubles will come into our lives, but when a person has Christ...that person ALWAYS has HOPE. 
I will continue praying for this family as I imagine the days and nights to come will be long for them as they miss their sweet son.  I keep thinking I would not want to be forgotten after having gone through such a loss.  So, the least that I can do is to continue to pray for them.
The news showed an interview with this young man and in the interview the young man said, "I want God to get ALL the glory."  Wow!  This young man took a terrible situation and realized that through it all to God be the glory.  I just have to think that God was very proud of him for that...he learned in 16 short years the lesson God wants us all to learn: that life is all about giving God the glory for what is done whether good or bad in our lives and realizing that through it all our hope is in Him!
So, today I have been reminded the importance of placing my hope in Him at all times and realizing, too, that life is short.  I did not personally know this young man, but he has touched my life by his testimony.  We must all realize that our lives, whether we know it or not, affect others.  I believe this young man left a legacy of hope...what legacy will be left by you and I?  Just something to think about....

From the heart,