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

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Off for a Week

Friends, Just wanted to let you know I will be taking a week off to spend time with my family. If you don't mind, pray for us as we leave our oldest at college.  This is a new phase in our lives.  We are excited for Ryan and look forward to what God has in store for his future.  However, that doesn't change the fact that our home will be a little quieter and our hearts will be a little lonelier with him gone.  Pray for our Jordan as he adjusts to life as an "only child" so to speak.  Change is not always easy, but it is essential for our growth and a natural part of life.

I will resume blogging after Labor Day. I trust you all have a great holiday!

Until next time...Robyn

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Words with Friends

Recently I mentioned how I enjoy the game "Words with Friends" and how it has gotten me to thinking about my words with my friends.  There is not a day goes by that we do not talk or speak to others for some reason whether it be our husband, children, families, friends,  coworkers or acquaintances.  Our words are so important and the affect they have on others can be positive or negative; therefore, it is important that we choose our words wisely.
I have definitely not mastered this subject, but as I am growing older I must admit that I am becoming more aware of the things I say and the affect on others. I am working on being more conscious of my word choices. As we all know, once we say it there is no taking it back. That phrase "I didn't mean to say that" somehow never seems to fully make a situation better.  Let's be honest, once the words are out...they are out!
So, I began to do a little study on what type of words I should be using.  I am going to share a few things that I have been reminded of in my own study time. 

Our words should be:

1.  Soft    Proverbs 15:1 "A soft answer turneth away wrath; but grievous words stir up anger."
We have a better opportunity to bring a matter to a peaceful resolution when we choose to speak softly or kindly rather than words of anger toward another person.  When faced with a difficult situation, choose to speak words of kindness.  This is not a typical reaction, but when chosen will have much better results.  Again, I am reminded of the phrase, "you catch more bees with honey" and this is a very simple, but practical truth.  Speak softly.

2.  Sweet   Proverbs 16:21  "The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning."  This makes me think about the fact that when I am trying to make a point in conversation or get my point of view across, it is more likely to happen when I speak with words that are sweet. A person who is beligerant with their words or bossy does not tend to convince others of any point of view.  Choose your words carefully.  Speak sweetly.

3.  Suitable   Proverbs 16:24  "Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones."    Our words can heal or hurt the spirit and health of another person, including our own.  When we use harsh, ugly words this has a negative affect; just as pleasant, specifically chosen (suitable) words can and do have a positive affect on others.  Think before you speak and be appropriate in different situations.  If you aren't sure what to say, then don't say anything.  Speak suitably.

4.  Scant   Proverbs 10:19 "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise."   In general, the more we say, the more we can find ourselves saying things we ought not to say.  There is wisdom to be found in a man (or woman) of few words.  You know the old phrase, "I put my foot in my mouth" which refers to someone saying something they didn't mean to say or should not have said.  This can be avoided by simply speaking less and being much more thoughtful before we speak. Speak scantly.

5.  Slow  James 1:19  "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:"     I have heard said before that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason and this verse seems to give a little light to that saying.  It is important that we learn to speak after we listen and after we think through what ought to be said.  I am learning as the years go by that opinions do not need to be shared...they can be thoughts kept to ourselves.  We are not obligated to say everything that is on our mind.  Speak slowly.

These are just a few thoughts; nothing fancy, but rather simple practical helps that would benefit each of us.  What kind of "words with friends" do you and I have on a daily basis?  Do our words please our Saviour?  Are our words fit for the hearer?   Proverbs 25:11 says, "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver."   Our words can be beautiful, but we have to put forth a conscious daily effort to speak in a way that pleases God. 

So, enjoy the app on your phone and continue to play the game "Words with Friends" and as you do, ask yourself are you daily applying the right principles to your own WORDS WITH YOUR FRIENDS?  If honest, I am sure, we could all work on this area and find ways to improve.

Well, I have a game to finish...looking for a good word to play my "Z" tile and get a lot of points. Until next time....

From my Heart,

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Busy Wives; Busy Lives

Okay ladies, if I had to guess, many of you like me feel overwhelmed from time to time by the long list of "to dos" that you have waiting for you each and every day. As wives and moms, we have many things pulling at our time. Whether you work outside your home;  you work inside your home; or both, your life is busy. 
I am getting ready to go back to work teaching in our Christian school which means less time at home to do the things that need to be done.  I have been thinking that I need to come up with a game plan now rather than waiting and feeling like I can't keep up with everything.  So, for today's post I am simply going to share a few practical ideas that I plan to use more often in my own life and home.

1. Have a plan (schedule your time)
Proverbs 14:1 says, "A wise woman buildeth her house; but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands."   Before any person begins to build, they lay out a plan.  The same is true for wives and moms, it is important to plan (schedule) our time. Buy an inexpensive calendar or use your smart phone to plan out your time.  Write down appointments, things to do or projects to work on and let that be a guide for you.  A few moments every day spent in planning can save many wasted minutes and even, hours, throughout the week.

2. Be prepared (take mental note of the future and things that will be happening)
Proverbs 31:27 says, "She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness."   This entire chapter speaks of many things the wise woman will do as it pertains to her family.  This verse in particular speaks to preparation and hard work.  A woman who is "looking" is preparing for what is to come.  Life can take unexpected turns from time to time and the more prepared we are, the less opportunity to be caught not ready for something.  For example, lay out school clothes the night before; plan a week of meals; and schedule your cleaning time...just to name a few practical ideas.  Preparation does help to ease the stresses in life, but don't get so rigid that you lack flexibility.  Balance is the key. 

3.  Enjoy your family and home  (spend time together and create memories)
Colossians 3:23 says, "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men."
Now, this may seem like an odd verse for this point, but what I am trying to convey is that your relationship with those in your home should be given your best. Create memories by creating your own family traditions.  Sometimes, the house may not be "spotless" because your schedule has been full, but when your focus is on your loved ones, they will remember that.  They won't remember a dusty shelf (unless it has been months and you can write your name in it...lol), but they will remember that you spent time with them.  I am not advocating that we don't clean our homes...I am just saying, spend time with your husband and kids too. Don't neglect one for the other.  Balance is the key.

These three things are all very basic and honestly, are not new thoughts.  May I also say, do not compare your home to that of other people.  We as woman can drive ourselves crazy when we start the comparison game...thinking we have to be like everybody else.  Many women "burn out" trying to "keep up with the Joneses".  It isn't worth the price you will pay.  Make your home what God wants your home to be and love your family the way God has created you to love them.  Noone can take your place!

The last thing we want is to not give our families our best; however, when we are tired or frazzled that can easily happen. If we plan ahead, then we are more likely to keep everything running smoothly and to keep our families cared for and happy. You know that old saying, "if momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy"...well, our goal is for our family, including ourself, to be and stay happy.

So, to you busy wifes and moms, may you find strength today to do what needs to be done and grace to let go of those things that can wait until tomorrow. 

From My Heart,

Monday, August 13, 2012

Don't Forget the Clean Slate

Well, it is that time of year and I am getting ready to head back into the classroom.  This week I will be busy readying desks, doing lesson plans, updating files, and decorating classroom walls. There is alot of preparation that goes into getting ready to start a school year.  This will be my thirteenth year teaching in a classroom and each year is a "clean slate" in my book.  I want my students to come in knowing that it is a brand new year....what happened last year (good or bad) is well, last year.  This is a new year and we each are starting the year with a CLEAN SLATE.  Each individual will decide what they write on their own personal slate for the school year 2012-2013. 
This concept made me think about family relationships. Families can become so familiar with one another that it is often each other that they hurt.  Why is it that we tend to be kinder to strangers than to those in our own family?  Wives, why do we become cross with our husband, but not our bosses?  Why are our children nicer to their friends than they are to their siblings?  Kind of strange, huh? 
It just seems like the opposite should be true...our families should get the best of us especially in how we treat them.  The clean slate concept should be used daily in our homes.  We need to realize every day is a new day and we should start clean with one another.
Lamentations 3:22 - 23 says, "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."
I sure am glad that my Heavenly Father gives me a clean slate each day.  I know I disappoint Him and I do not always please Him as I should, but He loves me and each day He shows compassion and mercy to me.  His example should be one that we all follow in our homes with our loved ones.  It just seems the least we could do after what He does for us.
This wasn't a long post today, but rather a random thought I had the other day as I thought about my upcoming school year. So, as I walk into my classroom and I give my students "clean slates" it will be done after waking up that morning and doing the same for my husband and boys. 
Here's to a great school year...clean slates and all!

From my Heart,

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Lesson of Helps from My Husband

Normally I try to post on Mondays and Thursdays...that is the goal, but this week it didn't quite happen.  Last week was well, a week, if I do say so myself. It was a rougher than normal week because I was physically quite sick and it was a rougher than normal week on my emotions due to circumstances beyond my control.  I venture to say that we all have weeks like this from time to time.  The important thing is what we do and how we handle these particular times in our lives.  Our response to hard times is important because it affects us and it affects all those around us.  I purposely postponed writing a new post because, well, honestly, I needed some time to pray, think, and process some things in life. 
I hate to admit it, but sometimes in life things happen that cause us to just wonder or cause us to be in absolute dismay.  Last week that happened in my life.  I kept thinking "how?" and "why?" and frankly, no answers came.  I believe I felt every emotion imaginable.  I was hurt.  I was sad.  I was angry.  I was dismayed.  I was numb. I was....you name it...I felt it.  My emotions were all over the charts.  During this difficult time, my husband was such a help.  He continued as he does daily, to point me to the One Who is always constant and never changes.  My husband reminded me that though we were angered, disappointed, hurt and saddened by something that had occured, we must always remember that the Lord we serve NEVER disappoints, He NEVER brings us grief and He will NEVER let us down....ever.  I knew this, but I definitely needed the reminder from my sweet husband.
My husband is my pastor and for today's blog, I want to share some thoughts that he shared with our church people.  He was extremely helpful to our people and shared some things that can help us when we are disappointed or hurt by the fall of another Christian.  Maybe you have never experienced hurt, you will.  Maybe you don't know what it is like to be let down by another human, you will.  May these few points help you the way they helped me. 

1. Increase your trust in the Lord.
Ps. 118:8 "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man."
We, as humans, can be tempted to put man on a pedastal...we must be careful.  Our confidence and foundation must be built upon God, not man.  It is good to learn from and follow those that are walking closely with the Lord.  However, it is not wise for us to worship a man.  We must remember that man is man...flesh and therefore, is capable of failing.  God is God and He NEVER fails!!

2. Increase your hatred of sin.
Ps. 97:10 "Ye that love the Lord, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked."

Sin is a terrible thing and when we become complacent to it, it is then that we become more susceptible to falling.  Hate sin, but not the sinner.  This is by no means an excuse, either, to justify sin.  Sin must be hated and sin must be properly dealt with or it will enslave.  No man is above sin and no man can think himself untouchable.  Unfortunately, it is this lacksadaisical attitude that often leads to one's downfall.  Hate sin....run as far from it as you can!

3. Increase your wariness of the devil
I Peter 5:8 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."

I find this verse interesting because it compares the devil to a roaring lion.  He is not quiet.  Yet, so many Christians fall prey to him.  We must daily be watching for the devil.  We must walk cirumspectly with wisdom and prudence and not give the devil a foothold.  It saddens me to see the devil destroy lives.  We must all become more aware of this enemy and we must realize that his goal is to destroy us. 

4. Increase your love for those who are hurt.
2 Sam. 1:10  "So, I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen..."

"I was sure he could not live after that he was fallen.."  What an interesting thought here.  Saul was not dead yet. He was wounded and by all counts it seemed as though he would not live.  The Amalekite came upon him and Saul tells him, in essence, to finish him off.  This Amalekite is relaying this story to David and the events of what took place.  To me it is interesting the choice of words he used because it would seem that we, too, feel this way when someone falls.  We assume because a Christian sins that they are never able to be used again. Now, again, I am not saying do not deal with a person's sin.  Sin MUST be dealt with properly and properly punished.  We must, however, continue to love the sinner while hating the sin. We must also reach out to those who were hurt by the wrongdoing.  We must remember those who have suffered due to the wrong done.  We must love people. We must love the hurting. I have often wondered why it is that Christians tend to "kick each other when they are down"...just seems like a strange concept.  True love will seek to help the wounded and seek to repair the broken. 

5. Increase your determination to march on for Christ.
Phil. 3:13 - 14 "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

As a Christian, you must realize that flesh is flesh and unfortunately, flesh will fail us.  We must press on for Christ regardless of what has taken place.  We must continue to serve the Lord and realize it is the Lord Whom we serve, not a man.  If our eyes are on a man, then we will stop when they fall.  If our eyes are fixed on Jesus, then, when man falls we are able to keep pressing on for Christ. What are our motives for serving Christ? Are we serving for recognition and a place of status with other Christians or are we serving in order to please our Saviour?  Our motivation for service should be Jesus and Him alone.  Press on!

I hope these simple thoughts will be a blessing to someone else as they were to me.  Remember that we serve a God Who sees, Who knows and Who cares about us.  We must live each day remembering that it is God alone Whom we serve.

From My Heart,

Thursday, August 2, 2012

God's Embroidering

Psalms 18:30..."As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried; he is a buckler to all those that trust in Him."

1.  God's ways, not man's are PERFECT
2.  God's Word has been tried and proven time and time again
3.  God will and does shield, support and defend those who trust Him

Bro. Hyles wrote a poem many, many years ago and this poem has been on my mind much these past few days.  I look at my own life through the past 43 years and I realize there are so many things I have not understood. There were times when I was tempted to question what God allowed in my life.  However, the reality is that in all of our lives, GOD ALWAYS KNOWS BEST even when we don't understand.

So, today, I simply want to share this poem that is such an encouragement to me and trust that you, too, will be reminded and encouraged that God's plan is always right. 

"Twas just a little wooden hoop
Her caring hands would clasp.
Some cloth, some thread, a needle's point,
As treasures she would grasp.

"What are you doing, Mother dear?"
My straying voice would cry.
"Embroidering," she answered clear,
With mothering reply.

"I must confess, 'tis quite a mess,
Oh, erring mother mine.
Why waste your day to idly play
With balls of tangled twine?

"Why, Mother, are the darkened strands
So mingled with the bright?"
You hold some black threads in your hand;
Why can't they all be light?"

"My son," soothed Mother's smiling voice,
"Your view is from below.
When I am through I'll beckon you.
And then, you too, can know.

"You cannot see from 'neath my knee
What I can see from here.
So play awhile, my restless child,
And I will lift you near.

When Mom was done, she cooed, "My son,
Come sit upon my knee.
Come quickly, crawl upon my shawl,
It's time for you to see."

I soon found rest, upon her breast,
To see from Mama's side
To my delight, a sunset bright,
A view I'd been denied.

"What wasn't known to you, mine own,
Is that another's hand
Had drawn for me to plainly see
A predetermined plan.

"The course I took, I ne'er forsook.
A wiser One's design
He's placed a plan within my hand,
That was not really mine.

"Bright threads alone could not have shown
The beauty of the rays;
One must weave night with daytime light
Or know a glary haze

"What was to thee, where thou could see,
A messy underneath,
Was from my eyes a sweet surprise,
A lovely evening wreath.

"What are You doing, Father dear?"
My aching heart doth sigh.
"Embroidered in my life I see
Some dark threads drawing nigh.

"'Tis messy too, from earthly view
That I know here below.
Don't weave my life with shadowed strife;
Please send me only glow."

I heard a loud, yet silent voice:
"Look unto Me, My child,
Just be about My business now;
I'll show you after while.

"You need the night as well as light
To make you hold My hand.
You need the dark as well as bright
To do My perfect plan.

"One day, twice born, I'll blow My horn.
And make you be as I.
I'll let you come to My own home,
Where you will never die.

"'Tis then you'll find, dear child of Mine,
My plan was always best.
Just trust, don't worry, doubt, or fret.
Come unto me and rest.

"So trust Me now, though furrowed brow
Seems oft thine earthly plight.
I'll hasten near to wipe your tear
That falleth through the night.

"Just do My will and love me till
My face is in your sight'
Then you will see, 'twas best for thee--
Your Father's plan was right.

----written by Dr. Jack Hyles

From my heart,