Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Grace Active

Taken from "The Valley of Vision"

Lord Jesus, Great High Priest,
Thou hast opened a new and living way
by which a fallen creature can approach these with acceptance.
Help me to comtemplate
the dignty of thy Person,
the perfectness of thy sacrifice,
the effectiveness of thy intercession.
O what blessedness accompanies devotion,
when under all the trials that weary me,
the cares that corrode me,
the fears that disturb me,
the infirmities that opress me,
I can come to thee in my need
 and feel peace beyond understanding!
The grace that restores is necessary to preserve,
lead, guard, supply, help me.
And here thy saints encourage my hope;
they were once poor and are now rich, bound and are now free,
tried and now are victorious.
Every new duty calls for more grace than I now possess,
but not more than is found in these,
the divine Treasury in whom all fullness dwells.
To thee I repair for grace upon grace,
until every void made by sin be replenished
and I am filled with all thy fullness.
May my desires be enlarged and my hopes emboldened,
that I may honour thee by my entire dependency
and the greatness of my expectation.
Do thou be with me, and prepare me for all
the smiles of prosperity, the frowns of adversity,
the losses of substance, the death of friends,
the days of darkness, the changes of life,
and the last great change of all
May I find thy grace sufficient for all my needs.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Communication is key!

Throughout life, we run into situations where we don't exactly see eye to eye with others, have personality conflicts, or even hurt by someone's actions. When that happens, humans generally begin avoidance strategies...I know I am guilty of that, too. Who likes confrontations or situations that could get ugly? Yet, time and time again I have found that if I bring the issue to the person it is with and try to talk it over... almost every time communication wins the day. Both parties are able to talk through it, and resolutions can be met.

This is obviously why the Word of God encourages us to do this. The Bible clearly teaches that if we have ought with a brother, we are to go to them. We are not to go to everyone else about it, or avoid them - we are to go to them - and talk it out. Remembering that our speech should always be "seasoned with grace."

Are you struggling with this issue today? Don't be anxious, just follow what the Bible teaches. If you are angry, are hurt, or have an issue with a brother... go and speak with him.

Matthew 5:22-24
2But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
23Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
24Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Colossians 4:6
Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's Hard to Practice What You Preach...

Wow... isn't being a parent pretty difficult? I'm not too sure I would've signed on for this if I knew in advance what it would require... Just kidding... there probably wouldn't be many parents if they knew how tough it was BEFORE they had kids! I love my children, and thank God for the ways He has used my children to smooth off alot of my rough edges...(there are still so many more to go though!)...but I wouldn't trade them for anything!

Do you ever struggle with practicing what you "preach" in front of your children day in and day out?

I know I do... I am always telling them to be kind... watch what you say to your sister... apologize for being mean...

Sometimes, I stop and think... wow... I need someone to tell ME to watch what I say... and to apologize...

There is just no way that I can ever live what I "preach" to my children... except by the grace of God.

Monday, October 10, 2011

What is REAL Christianity?

The word "Christian" means "follower of Christ" or "ones like Christ." This term was used first in Antioch as the Bible clearly tells us. Today, the terms is so very loosely used to describe anyone who remotely has a connection to Christianity. So, the question on my heart is... are these people that we now refer to as Christians really anything like Christ? Do we use the term far too flippantly? I believe that most "so called" Christians aren't really like the true Christ. Perhaps more like the Americanized Christ that we've reshaped to wink at greed, enjoy entertainment in His house, the Christ who promotes a Christianized version of the American dream, and one who no longer is known for judgement and justice but only for His love.If we will read the gospels and the book of Acts we will clearly see a different version of the Messiah... a far different version than that we have made Him out to be in America.
Image Detail

In America, we think church has to be on a grand scale with a huge chandeliered auditorium. If we go to church, we go to be entertained, not to study the Word of God. Yet, Christ had an inner circle of 12 disciples, a few hundred dedicated followers, and thousands that would come to hear Him... but no fancy speaker system, no band, no chandeliers, no choir, no special music, and he didn't even wear a suit.

We think Christ is happy for our self sufficiency, resourcefulness, and our self reliance. You know, the big house, two cars, 2.5 children...or the big church building, the large crowd, the gorgeous carpentry, the awesome choir...all meant to please us and not God. Where is the sacrifice, the dedication? The Son of Man had only the clothes on His back and even encouraged those who sought to follow Him to sell all that they had and give it to the poor.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not telling you that you shouldn't care for your family, have a job,or that you should be homeless. Yet, there is so much waste in our lives and our churches. I love America and what it was founded on, yet what it has become today is a gross deformity of what it once was. In the process, the church in America has also lost its salt. "Christians" are living lives no different from the unconverted. Our churches are decreasing in number, yet those churches abroad who daily suffer persecution are growing.

So, what is a real Christian? Are you still unsure? Read the book of Acts to find out!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Life in the Fast Lane...

...or at least that is what this feels like.

Each week ticks by like a day...

Each day feels like just a few moments...

What has happened?

Time used to seem like it stood still. Remember waiting for the bell to ring in school? Remember sitting on the porch and being "bored?"

Here's my theory...Somehow, as you get older time begins to speed up. It starts going faster and faster until... well, until you're just plain out of it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Stand Up For What You Believe In

Ex 20:3-4 Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image...

The 3 Hebrews that were confronted with bowing before King Nebuchadnezzar's image knew these commandments from their childhood. Their convictions were not simply words they had memorized in  school but part of themselves, part of their lives. They could no more bow down to that idol than they could change their eye color. They had convictions that God had etched on their hearts.

Where is that kind of conviction today? In a world full of chaos from our homes to our churches; convictions are passe to us, but they are not passe to God.

What are convictions, you might ask? They are simply the beliefs that you live for... beliefs that you would die for. You see, these core beliefs that God has etched in your heart should become an integral part of who you are... an inseparable part of your character. Standing for what you believe (I'm hearing a veggie tale song in my head right now... :) ) in will make you the person that God wants you to be as well as someone that others can look to as an example of Christlikeness.

You do realize that our story doesn't end there... Those 3 guys stood for what they believed, and they were rewarded. Yes, that's right... they were rewarded by being thrown into a kiln-like furnace that was heated with fire seven times it's usual temperature, bound by cords, and sentenced to death. Yet, God did not let them go alone. The Son of God was there with grace to liberate them in the fire. Their cords were burnt but their clothes and flesh untouched.

Seeing this miracle old Nebuchadnezzar called them out. These men amazingly didn't even smell like the smoky furnace they just came out of. God had so honored their stand for Him that He protected them in the fire.

Thus the message for us in this modern day is to stand for what God has etched in your heart. Nothing on your heart? No real beliefs that you stand for? Oh, dear friend...Jesus has made it possible for us to stand for something - by paying our debt of sin by His sacrifice of Himself on the cross. We are full of sin and cannot stand before a HOLY GOD. He was perfect, yet became sin on the cross in our stead so that we might be washed clean of our wickedness and presented perfect through Christ in the eyes of God. Believe in Him dear friend... and He will fill your heart full of things that you will want to stand for. You'll want to stand for Him because He stood for you... Amazing love... and then when you stand for Him... He'll be right there standing with you!

"God has a way of showing His grace to the world by walking beside us through the trials that we endure." ~D. Dickerson

Daniel 3:28-30
King James Version (KJV)
28Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.
29Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.
30Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.

So, in the end they really did get rewarded!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Count Your Blessings...

I've just been thinking...(really...cuz the kids are all in bed and it is finally quiet) of how blessed I am. There are seven precious people asleep in this house that God has entrusted to me. So often, I must admit that I take them for granted. They shouldn't be taken for granted.

I am frequently beset by trying to keep the bills paid, the house clean, the laundry done, and the family fed... that I forget to see what I really am doing all that for. The people... and foremost... the God that blessed me with them. Is that how it is at your house? Have you forgotten why your here? There are times that I sure do... but I am thankful that He sent a gentle reminder to me this evening.

I am going to join my family now, but I pray that tomorrow God will give me fresh insight into the reason why He brought me to this place in my life. I pray I will possess and live the knowledge that my life is for His glory. I can't wait... tomorrow is a fresh new day... "with no mistakes in it."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Top 10 for Busy Mothers

Today I am sharing a post with you that I posted over at momSCHOOL. I have changed it a bit - but I hope there's something there for you! I really love top 10 posts... for some reason they appeal to my  -condense it, and expedite it - source for knowledge!

1) Get organized.  Organize your house, your schedule, your personal time. Maximize your potential by limiting wasted time (email checking, web surfing, internet shopping, etc.) Get rid of things that add stress, and use a calendar. Download your calendar to your smart phone and set it to remind you of upcoming events.

2)Be prepared. Set goals and make a "to do" list. Prepare your grocery list before you leave, and prepare in advance to run all your errands in ONE trip per week.

3)Delegate. Chore lists are awesome. Make sure everyone in the house has some responsibilities.

4) Pay your bills online. This is a super time and money saver. Use your bank's website to pay ALL your bills with one click.

5)Make time for youself. Take an hour of two to do something that you love. Take a bubble bath and read, or sew, or draw something lovely. It will renew and refresh you!

6) Take time for you spouse. You are a team, and you must be together both in mind and spirit. Schedule a date night, go out and have a nice long talk over a meal.

7) Use your crock pot to make delicious homemade meals. Set it in the am and forget it till supper!

8) REST. Look to the Lord to carry your burdens. The Bible tells us that He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. Lay your burdens at His feet, and REST in Him.

9)Eliminate things that are not necessary. This means things that are consuming your time, that you don't enjoy or that are really just a waste of time.

10) Just let it go... it really dosen't matter if the clothes get folded immediately after they leave the dryer. The dishes can get washed once a day, and the toys can get picked up before going to bed. Don't stress the little things... enjoy time with your children!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Check it out...Something NEW!!

Behind the scenes around here, I have been working on a couple new projects. Still in its infancy, is momSCHOOL. If you get a chance hop over there and check it out. If you see something that I need to add - or change - Please by all means comment and let me know. I definitely want and really need your input!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Back to School... Homeschoolers Top 10 Things to do.

It seems like we just began our summer vacation and here it is - time to get back to the daily grind. We have been organizing, cleaning, scheduling, and ordering books. A great time to review what you did last year in your homeschool,  and what you would like to do this year. Here are my top ten "to dos" before school starts each year!

1. Go through your supplies - get rid of things that are broken, don't work, or are not useful.

2. Take an inventory of what you need to replace, and what supplies you need to purchase for the year. I like to buy all of my school supplies in August - because the retailers offer them at such great prices! I buy a bucket load of mechanical pencils, notebooks, and glue sticks; and I typically have enough to make it through the year. Last year we ran out of mechanical pencils in the spring, so this year I have been sure to buy more than enough! (At $.50 for 10 this past week at Publix - we use mechanical pencils for everything!)

3. Clean out the area that you like to use for "schooling." Educational research has clearly shown that a cluttered work area is a big distraction for children. Even though it may be a huge inconvenience for us, making the "school" area neat and organized can pay off with increased time "on task."

4. Set up a school/work area that is conducive to learning. Make it kid friendly, comfortable, and learning rich. Make sure each child has a place to sit, that is comfortable.

5.  Go through your curriculum. Yes, homeschoolers tend to be curriculum collectors. Come on now... admit it... go through it - and get rid of what you don't like, won't ever use, or just plain old unnecessary stuff. List it on ebay, and you'll be able to fund #7 below.

6. Sit down and review what you did last year. Did it work? Was everyone in your family satisfied? Was there any stress? Write down what you like and what you didn't like. Write down what you want to see out of your homeschool.

7. If you haven't already done so, look at new curriculum. (Most homeschoolers do this in the spring - when homeschool conventions abound and discouts are great!) Look for programs that will help you obtain the goals that you wrote down in #6.

8. Once you have researched, and reviewed curriculum that will help you achieve your goals for your home education, order it. My favorite place to order is CBD. I have a link on my sidebar that will let you search for various subjects on their site.

9. As soon as your curriculum arrives, review it. Make sure that it is what you expected and will fit your goals. Learn all you can about the requirements it will have for you family. Find out what work is involved, and what your children will need to do on a daily basis. Look for any suggested schedules contained in the curriculum.

10. Finally, make your goals clear and distinct. Construct a schedule, and organize you and your family's time. This year, I am going to try something new for us. We will be operating on more of a block scheduling system. So, our schedule will be something totally new for us.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Camp Adventures

Wow... again another few busy weeks. We have been recuperating from a week at camp with over 100 degree temperatures. It is always a great blessing to be able to go to camp with our young people. It seems like God gets them apart from the world and daily distractions and really gets to their hearts.

It was a huge blessing to watch 40 young people worship God, testify, and dedicate their lives to living for Christ. Though we probably sweat bucket loads... it was well worth it!

I love watching my children grow in the Lord, and Camp Fairview seems to allwise enable this. Thank you Lord for your love, mercy, and grace!

Monday, July 18, 2011

In the Fire...

How loath we are to walk with God in the fire. How we secretly cherish the hope that the Divine goal may be reached by some other and easier path than that which lies through the furnace of fierce test. And yet there is no alternative for those who would enter into deepest union with the Eternal. 'Tis midst the scorching flame that life mounts to its throne in God.
Feel like you're stuck in the fire? Is life so difficult that the daily course of things feels like a fire to your soul? The last four months has been that way around here. There has been a shadow of cataclysmic effect on our church and there has been the possibility that Alan might lose his job- or  if he wanted to keep it - would have to transfer. God had just this past year and a half given us the  green light to stay here, work in a job Alan loves, and minister in our church. Every day of these past months has been an exercise in faith, culminating in the past week of... well... stress almost beyond what we could handle. The impact of decisions that were made this past week would truly have altered every area of our lives.

Does experience confirm that in the fire God is able to put His best workmanship into our lives? Is it not here that life is rendered most impressionable to the gracious design of the Father? In the forge of trial those elements in human nature that would frustrate the fulfilment of the Divine purpose are deprived of their power - the dross of unworhty ambition and unholy pride is consumed, leaving the life richer, purer, and stronger.
My dear husband preached a message yesterday that summed this trial up completely. We had a hope... we desired to minister and be used by God here, and to see our church move on with the plans that had been made for God's glory. Then our hope was defferred and our hearts were sick... we began to see that everything that had been our course may be completely changed. The situation was desperate, bleak, and completely unsurpassable... unless God... Then finally, yesterday morning we had official news that God had once again delivered our church and our family out of a completely desolate situation. Now we are like them that dream... with four months of living in the fire, once God sets you free it is difficult to believe it really happened. You feel like you are dreaming. ("When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream." Ps 126:1)

In the dark room of trial God brings out the beauty of His own nature, fixing the heart in true devotion upon Himself. Every natural challenge to His sovereignty is dissolved, and the image of Christ alone remains to tell of life's true relationship.
All that I can say is, "I will sing unto the Lord for He hath triumphed gloriously..." I am sure that our struggles are not over, in fact, I am sure there will be more. Yet, I know once again that God has proven Himself faithful. During these past few months, God brought me to the place where I knew that there was absolutely NOTHING I could do to change the circumstances. There was nothing - besides WAITING - on Him that was assigned to me. I had to trust and rest that He would take care of everything. Why is trusting, resting, and waiting so difficult for us?
His prescence shall lighten thy hours of loneliness; His beauty shall transform the frowning face of thy lot; His heart whispers shall heal thy wounds. Gethsemane and Golgotha shall lead thee to Easter's radiant morn. The things that threaten to crush thee shall add to the lustre of thy crown. ~ E. Boulton
So today, I am still like them that dream. Yet, I know that God is faithful not only to deliver me, but also His church. I know that He carried us through this fire and safely brought us to the other side. He is my hope and salvation!

(Selections in red were from the devotional "Drops from the Honeycomb" for the day that God sent His deliverance from this trial.)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The 4th Memories

Isn't it wonderful to make great memories? I love those days when you can sense that you are making memories that you will cherish later... days with family - or with friends just being together.

Travel, Texas, and a Tournament...

It sure has been a while since I've posted, and I must admit the time went by so fast that I didn't even realize I hadn't posted for this long! We took our annual journey out West and visited with the grandparents...
By the way...Texas has beautiful sunsets...

and even pretty cool grandparents...

We visited some pretty fun places...
Saw some pretty amazing things...

Had loads of fun... can't you tell?

Met up with some old friends...

Did some camping... good times... good times...

Saw more beautiful sunsets...

Visited the shrine of Texas freedom.... and let me tell you... Texans take that seriously!
Ohhh... and we visited a few more places... like Cabella's and Sam Moon...
but you know which one deserves honorable mention...

Here's another Texas shrine... but only in the eyes of the girrllllssss!

We had great fun, and made great memories... but then we came home and had base ball tournaments!

Slater was so excited to finally win a game! He had a great time and his team did 2-2.
But it has been so busy around here... I think I need to read my previous post about being still!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Be Still and Know that I am God...


"Be still and know that I am God" says that "still" is... "the absense of sound or movement", "pacific, placid, serene", "undisturbed or tranquil." That is a beautiful picture isn't it? A place that I desire, one that I would absolutely love to have access to. Yet, why is it so hard to "still" ourselves? The "still" that the Bible talks about here, often seems like a foreign land. Aplace very far away...

Busy... Worried... Needed... Stressed... Burdened...

Ah... here is where we live. The opposite of that wonderful little word "still."  We as wives and mothers and women in general, often have so many demands placed upon us, and we continue to accept more. A vicious circle that seems to never end. Yet, is it pleasing to God? I always hate to rely on man's opinion about spiritual matters, so what does the Bible say?

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Philippians 4:6

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, [shall he] not much more [clothe] you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. Matthew 6:25-32

Ah... the Bible tells us that we are to abstain from worrying and being anxious but how do we do that? How can we possibly be women and NOT worry? It seems like for most of us, it is part of our daily living just as we eat and breathe, we worry.  Yet, clearly we see by worrying we are disobeying the scriptures' command to "be anxious for nothing." We need help... we need to know how to stop the vicious cycle. Besides the simple common sense approach of not taking on too much...(ahh hem...) the Bible clearly tells us how to stop the worry!

Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring [it] to pass. Psalms 37:5

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33

Be still and know that I am God... Ps 46:9

So, when the trials of life are consuming you 1) Commit thy way (prayerfully give it to HIM), 2) seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God (seek HIM in HIS WORD and through prayer), and 3) be still and know (rest) that He has it all under control.

Breaking a habit isn't easy... and that is exactly what worry and anxiety is for most of us. Let's consciously commit our way to Him today and ask Him to break the sinful habits in our lives.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Are we too busy?

"Why stand ye here ... idle?" Matt. 20:6

"It is possible to be idle and yet to be fully occupied; to neglect one's paramount duty while yet employing every moment of one's time."
I would have to resoundingly agree. Do you feel like some days you spend the whole day doing, doing, doing... yet not really doing anything of lasting benefit. I feel that I am guilty of this most days. Yes, I know being a mother is a great and God honoring thing... yet - the question follows me, "Am I doing my best for my Lord?" 

Am I teaching and training my children with their future in mind? Do I work on instilling in each of them godly characteristics? Am I the wise woman building up her house, or the foolish plucking it down with my hands?
I can't help but feeling that I could spend less time on the computer, less time on the telephone, less time doing trivial things - and more time investing in my children and showing them Christ through my life.

"Consider then! is it not idle to waste time in trivial occupations when we are charged with serious responsibilities, or to employ only our lowest powers and talents and leave our higher ones unused? For a Michelangelo, who could plan and erect a St. Peter's to spend his life in rough hewing blocks of marble, would it not have been a sin and a shame? For Peter, James, and John to have continued their fishing after receiving from the risen Saviour their great commission, or for Paul to have retained tent-making as his life's main business after his conversion, would it not have been sinful waste of precious time, as well as sinful disobedience? We may be spending the one life that God has given us to live for Him, in doing work of a kind different from that which our Master intended; of a lower and less important description..."

God help me, to be busy about your business today...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Peachtree Baptist Church Youth Ministry

The month of May has been so busy... it really hasn't seem like we have had even a few minutes to enjoy it...
It started at the Cotton Pickin' Fair...

where we evangelized, passed out DVD's, and ministered to people...

got our faces painted...and other body parts...

and did all kinds of crazy stuff...
Then the next weekend we ended up in Brooks at the park across the street from our house - selling funnel cakes - so that the youth could go to camp!

which quickly declined to snake handling...

And of course... the "little rebels" were thrilled to be right next to a "Son of Confederate Soldiers" representative!!

It was great fun... and we were able to get about 3/4 of our camp money... Keep praying for the rest!!