About Me

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The most important thing to know about me is that I am a Christian. I love my Lord and try very hard to follow his principles. I have no doubt that when my time comes to leave this earth, I will meet my maker in Heaven, and that is such a comforting thought to me.

I am mother to four children, 7 grandchildren, 3 dogs, one cat, and one goat. Yes, I said a goat!

I am a crafter who enjoys scrapbooking, paper crafting, and crochet. I also enjoy outdoors stuff and love to hunt with my husband.

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year! 
My hubby and I are bringing in the new year sitting at home, watching TV, and will be going to bed early as well. Honestly, other than having family together, with a bonfire going, I can't think of a better way to celebrate the coming of a new year.
By not going out we are beginning on some of our goals for the coming year. We are saving money, avoiding drama, and will be rested up tomorrow rather than exhausted and trying to cook a good New Years Day dinner! We don't have to worry about other drivers who have had too much to drink. 
I am actually looking forward to 2014 and all that it holds for me a d my family! I know that God is going to richly bless all of us in more ways than we can even begin to count. He has already blessed us tremendously with a fantastic church family, giving us brothers and sisters who will lovingly correct us when we make mistakes. We have many 'siblings' that we can turn to in a time of need, as well as us being available to help any of them should they need it. I can't begin to describe the feeling of comfort just knowing that we never have to face this thing we call life alone. If for some reason we should separate from our church family, even if we were to turn away from God for some stupid reason, we will still never be alone, because we know that God will never turn away from us. He will always be there, ready and waiting for us to call upon Him. He has promised us that He will never leave us or forsake us. He also assures us that He will always love us. He has proven that already!
I am always saddened when someone chooses to deny the existence of God. I truly do not understand how anyone can believe that God does not exist! Without even getting the Bible involved you can see, hear, feel, taste, and smell God's existence! Just look outside at any given time. Look around you as you maneuver your way around outside. Look at the wildlife, flowers, the beautiful clouds in the sky! The beautiful gifts that God gives us each and every day are amazing in themselves! Just the fact that we breathe is a miracle! How can anyone deny that?
I will get off my soapbox now and go enjoy the last few hours of 2013 before going to bed early!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!


Happy New Year! Resolutions or goals?

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS…
  Do you make them? Did you make any for 2013? If you did, how did you do? Did you manage to keep them? Have you ever made resolutions and managed to finish the year with the resolutions still intact? What about resolutions for 2014? Do you plan to make any?
Perhaps you are one of many who prefer to set goals rather than resolutions. What are your goals for 2014? Setting goals is the avenue I have decided to travel through 2014. I just feel that setting goals is so much better than resolutions because with goals, you significantly decrease your failure rate!  
Some of the most common New Year’s resolutions are as follows:
·        Lose Weight
·        Volunteer to Help Others
·        Quit Smoking
·        Get a Better Education
·        Get a Better Job
·        Save Money
·        Get Fit
·        Eat Healthy Food
·        Manage Stress
·        Manage Debt
·        Take a Trip
·        Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
·        Drink Less Alcohol
Here goes my list.....
I think just about everyone I ask is resolving to lose that weight this year! I know that is one of my goals. Notice I said ‘goals’.
I’m not setting a goal to volunteer to help someone. I’m making that a habit! Over the past couple of years I have volunteered in several different capacities and I have found that I receive a tremendous blessing when I volunteer somewhere. Why would I want to give up receiving a blessing?
Next on the list is to quit smoking. I accomplished that one 6 years ago! Praise the Lord!!
Others on this list that I am applying to my life in some way include education, health, saving money, manage stress, and taking a trip.  
The only way I’ll drink less alcohol is if I drink absolutely none at all, and that’s no big deal to me! I have an occasional glass of wine and I really don’t care to stop that totally.
Also on my list of goals, or bucket list for 2014, is to write more. I love to write and I haven’t done much over the past few years so I am going to change that. Who knows? Maybe if I am consistent with writing posts for my blog, maybe I will get more followers! I believe that the majority of people who write because they enjoy it also like to have readers for what they have written. I know I do. I like to know that something I have written has touched someone other than myself and caused them to think about the subject that particular post is about. Also, there is no denying that positive feedback is a pretty good ego booster!
Moving on down my list for 2014... I plan to de-clutter, reorganize, and finish cosmetic projects throughout my house. I have plans for painting, finishing our guest bathroom remodel, throwing out possibly a garbage truck full of old papers and various items that I no longer use, and would not be of any use to anyone else either! I have goals for my scrapbooking and other crafts; for improving my personal Bible study and reading; and to fill shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child throughout the year.
I will begin my painting projects with the front door, travel through the kitchen and stop long enough to paint the cabinets, and conclude with having my sons paint the outside of my house. (They don’t know that yet so don’t spoil the surprise please!) Finishing the guest bathroom that we started remodeling about 5 years ago will be such a blessing! We don’t have much left to do to it, and if we are finishing it then I can no longer use that room for storage! Therefore, I have to de-clutter and reorganize the stuff (go ahead and input your word of choice here…junk, crap, etc.) that is presently stored in there! I will post before and after pics of some of these projects so that someone reading this can help to hold me accountable for actually following through with these goals!  
My scrapbooking has pretty much been pushed aside for the past few years because of health and other issues, so I have a lot of catching up to do with my grandchildren’s albums! My goal for this is to complete 1-2 pages per grandchild, per month. With six grandchildren, that means I have to do 12 pages per month, not including any extras for a special events. I’m also going to be helping a friend develop a ministry which involves creating scrapbooks for foster children! (Another blessing!!)
Operation Christmas Child is a world-wide ministry led by Samaritan’s Purse that was created by Franklin Graham, you know, Billy's boy. This ministry involves filling a shoe box, or similarly sized container, with small Christmas gifts and hygiene items, for children all over the world that otherwise probably would not receive anything. The majority of these gifts are distributed to children in countries that have been devastated by war, natural disasters, and poverty. The shoe boxes are often given to children in orphanages. 2013 was the second year for my husband and I to fill shoe boxes for OCC, and the first year for our church to serve as a Relay Center for the ministry. This meant we would be collecting shoe boxes from our area churches and then relaying them to a larger Collection Center. Our church, with an average worship service attendance between 75-100, collected 150 shoe boxes this year! In 2012 we collected less than 100. My goal, or challenge, for my fellow church members is for us to collect at least 250 shoe boxes for 2014! I also have an ultimate goal with OCC to make a trip with a distribution team and have the privilege of placing the shoe boxes directly in the children’s hands! I get so excited just thinking about that! 
This year we were able to set our donated shoe boxes up to be tracked so we could follow where they went. When I received the email telling me that my shoe boxes had been shipped to Colombia, I felt like I was receiving the greatest Christmas gift ever! I was, and still am, very excited!! This is a ministry that I know God is in full control of, and that He has called me to be a part of! How do I know that? Well, quite simply, it just feels right! I know I won't be able to be on one of the planes delivering the boxes in 2014, but I can be preparing for the time that God opens that door! So, my next step is to go to the processing center in Dallas to assist with processing the boxes this next year, and maybe make some connections to find out what steps I need to take to be one that is chosen to be a part of one of the distribution teams. It may seem like a long shot, but I know that nothing is impossible for my God to do! If He has plans for me to do this, He will open the right doors for me. Now, back to my goals for 2014! 
My Bible study and reading time is an area that I have been very lazy about in the past. I don’t like admitting that, but I have to. I have finally realized that it is absolutely crucial to my spiritual growth, and I want that spiritual growth more than I ever have in my life! So, if I have to get up earlier each day to spend 30 minutes to an hour reading and studying my Bible, then I will be doing just that! I know the benefits that I will reap from this one goal will be so incredible! Today I will decide on a definite reading plan to read through my Bible in one year. I have also already made plans to facilitate a ladies Bible study group at my church! I know the ladies will keep me accountable for my Bible study, which I can't do without reading my Bible, so! Two birds, one stone!! HA!!
Another really big goal for me is to stay off of facebook on Sundays. Now, anyone who knows me, knows what a big deal that is for me! There for a while I believe I was addicted to facebook! I was on that site almost constantly! I have significantly decreased my time on facebook over the past few months, but I want to make the commitment to dedicate every Sunday to only doing things that will strengthen my faith and improve my spiritual life. Believe me, facebook does NOT do that!
So, now it’s your turn. Are you setting some goals for yourself for the upcoming year? Please share some of your goals and let’s help each other to keep these goals. Let’s partner up to encourage one another and hold one another accountable!

See you next year!

If you are interested in finding out more about the Operation Christmas Child ministry or Samaritan's Purse, here is a link!  http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas Preparations

Well, it is the first week of December and I have only a very few Christmas decorations out. This is unusual for me because I typically have my house decorated (at least as much as it's going to be), as well as the tree up and decorated, by now.  I love decorating for Christmas! I truly do, and I am looking forward to getting it done this year! I just hope I manage to do it before Christmas actually gets here!
I have felt my Christmas decorations were inadequate since Christmas 1989. I was a student in nursing school and we were having a party at a fellow students' home. This individual REALLY decorated for Christmas!! I mean, in every corner of her house there were Christmas decorations! Everything was decorated, right down to the toilet paper in the guest bathroom!
What's that you say? Over the top, you say? YOU THINK???
Anyway, since then, partly because I proclaim to LOVE Christmas, and partly because I am just a little competitive, maybe? I want my house to look just as good as the next persons' home does. I want my tree to look just as good and be decorated so perfectly that anyone who sees it says what a glorious tree it is!!
The first problem with that is that we hardly ever have anyone come to our house and if they do, I am terrified of what they are going to think of my house, or of me because of the house I live in! (It's a small-ish double-wide mobile home, very old (made before they were actually called mobile homes!! LOL), in dire need of numerous repairs and/or renovations that we just haven't made the time to do, or finish over the 17 years we have owned this 'trailor'! I will say that it was in need of some of these repairs when we bought it....wait, that could be either good or bad, depending on how you choose to see it!
This house is old and it needed some repairs when we bought it, and we have done a few things to improve its looks such as paint, put down laminate flooring, one bedroom totally remodeled, guest bath remodel begun in 2009 and is still unfinished! We use that room more for storage than anything now! There are also several projects in progress throughout the house, that have been in progress for a while now. I refer you back to the bathroom! The master bedroom and bath, as well as the guest bedroom all have floors in desperate need of replacing or at least recovering since we pulled the carpet out years ago! My laundry room needs some revamping and my kitchen needs to be updated! Other than adding on a little more space such as for our closets and a bathroom enlargement, it's practically perfect! Ha ha!!
Don't get me wrong here. I am very appreciative for having a roof over my head when so many do not. I am grateful that God provided us with the needed funds to get this home paid off so that we actually OWN it! But, it is what it is so I have to make the best of it! After all, apparently it has been where God wanted us to be for the past 17+ years!
So, let me get back to the Christmas preparations. Usually, I have already put my tree up by now, and as much as I would love to have help putting it up, I'm very picky about my decoration of the tree, or should I say critical! I want it to look perfect and my kids could never do it to my satisfaction, so, I have always decorated the tree. There have been many times when I would let them put on a few ornaments and then it was time for them to go do something else while I finished it! Now that I have grandchildren, I have learned that it doesn't matter what the tree looks like, it's the bonding that occurs while decorating the tree! It's about the stories I tell them about each ornament as we place it on the tree, (that could be why it takes me ALL day to decorate the tree usually!). The look of pure joy in their eyes when we first light up the tree after all the ornaments are in place, makes any fussiness over where each ornament is placed, more than worth it! I realize now that my selfish act of wanting my tree to look 'just so', cost me, and my children, something that can never be returned. I caused a loss of precious memories, or actually a lack of creating those memories. I realize that now. I wish I had realized, or just plain thought of it, 30 years ago when my first child was just an infant.
Those memories will never happen because I made the choice to not include my children in the decoration of the tree. Why did I do that? Because I was a selfish woman who wanted my tree to be my way or no way basically, and I didn't think my kids could decorate it to satisfy me, so I made the wrong choice. I chose time with an artificial (sometimes real) Christmas tree and some ornaments, over time with my children decorating said tree. Please, DO NOT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE!! Share these special times with your kids!
This year I am so excited that my husband and I have decided to put up my very tall and slim tree which I have not put up in several years!! Last year, as I decorated the front and sides only of my 6 foot tall, white tree, I was having difficulty with ornament placement! They just wouldn't all fit, at least not all of the ones that I wanted to be sure to include on the tree, and that wasn't including any solid color Christmas balls!! This year I should not have that problem!!
You see, I have a tradition that I started with the birth of my first grandchild. Every year I buy each of them a new ornament for my tree and I choose it based on something significant about the past year for each child. My plan is to continue doing this until they get to the point of decorating their own trees in their own homes, and then maybe as a Christmas gift, I will give them the set I have collected over the years for them, to decorate their own tree. The older ones have gotten to the point of wanting to know "what kind of ornament did you get for me this year, Mawmaw?", and I love it!! This is a tradition that will be continued every year as long as I live, even if I am just painting pinecones and putting a tag or something on it with each of their names! I do make sure to put the name of the child, as well as the year, on the back of each ornament. I love discussing the ornaments with the grandkids, explaining to them why I chose the one I did for them, and why one of the other kids got the ornament for them that they did. The smiles on their little faces as I explain to them that because the played soccer this year and seemed to really love it, I bought them a soccer ornament, or because she is such a diva (and a princess), one of my granddaughters' ornament is a princess ornament!
Tyler, my oldest grandchild, actually has about 6 or more ornaments from his first Christmas! Then, as others came along, I realized that it just didn't make sense to get each of them several ornaments each year, so I pick each child a special one. Each child has a 'baby's first Christmas' ornament for their first year of course, but they are all different!
When putting up my tree, the first dilemma is typically the lights, single color or multi-colored? At one time I preferred the clear lights only on my tree, while the hubs wanted multi's. I have to admit that I do enjoy watching all the different colors play off the glass of the ornaments every year, so this year will most likely be a multicolored year!
The first, and sometimes only, ornaments to go on the tree are the grandkids ornaments. Then I fill in wherever needed with icicles, snowflakes, crosses (I LOVE cross ornaments), and other ornaments that I have collected over the years. One year, when my boys were all in the military, I had a red, white, and blue tree with all patriotic or military oriented ornaments! That was one of the most beautiful trees I have ever had!
Garland...yes or no? For me it is typically no, since I have yet to find any that I truly love. But for the past two years I have used some of the decorative mesh sort of as a garland and it looks really nice!
Almost last is the tree topper. What should it be? Angel, star, bow, combination of the three? Something totally different? OH THE DECISIONS TO MAKE!!!
The very last thing I do is to put the tree skirt around the tree. That's when it hits me....the holiday blues. I LOVE the tree with all the pretty lights, but I look at how bare it is under it and it never fails to hit me that we just cannot afford to buy gifts like we have in the past! That usually brings on some depression on my part. Then I turn off all the lights in the house except for the tree lights, lay down on the floor, and crawl under the tree and look up. What an incredible site it is to look up through the lights and ornaments! Pure, peaceful beauty is the only way I can think of to describe it! I know I can, and have, lay there all night just staring up at the lights through the tree branches!! I also find it very relaxing to sit away from the tree, but with only its lights shining, and just stare into the tree. That is when I tend to do a lot of thinking and soul searching.
This year I have made a decision to make as many of the gifts as possible for a couple of reasons. First of all, to save money! But I think the most important reason to give someone a handmade gift is that it IS something you made yourself! You put a lot of thought and time into making this item! Homemade gifts are just so much more special I think! The toughest part of the homemade gifts is figuring out what to make for each person! Fortunately I already have some ideas and am ready to start on some of them!! I better get started since Christmas is only 22 days away!!!
I guess we better get busy with the decorations as well!! I hate to put all my decor up and only have the house decorated with all the beautiful decorations of the season, for just a few weeks, so I usually wait until about the second week of January to take the tree down. When the tree comes down is when all the other decorations are taken down and put away as well.
We are doing something else this year that we have not done in several years. We are decorating our yard!! That has always, for the most part, been my husbands domain. He does the outside, and I do the inside. That is exactly how it is going to be this year too! I may offer suggestions or ideas for some outside decorations, but ultimately that job is all his!
I sure hope we are able to get everything done that we want to by Christmas so that we can slow down and enjoy the holiday rather than feeling rushed constantly for the next 4 weeks!!
I was reminded at Sunday nights Bible study of something I hope to incorporate into our Christmas traditions this year, and something that will have to wait until next year. Of course, we have to remind ourselves, as well as others, to remember what Christmas is SUPPOSED to be about, and that would be JESUS! It's not about the gifts or decorations or even the food! It is all about Jesus and I want to make sure that everyone in my family remembers that this year! So, if I can get the hubby to cooperate, I want him to read the Christmas story for everyone before gifts are opened. I'm not referring to "T'was the Night Before Christmas" either. I'm referring to the story of Jesus' birth, a story that all of the children, as well as the adults, need to be reminded of.
So, that is a synopsis of the preparations I have made so far for Christmas. What have some of you done already for Christmas? Also, what are some of your family traditions for the holidays? Are you planning on doing anything new or different this year? Please share so some of us can maybe get some more ideas of things we can do with our families to make this Christmas a very special one, possibly even the best Christmas our family has ever had!!
I will post pics of the decorations and the tree when (if) I ever get them done!!
Until next time...which hopefully will not be as long as usual! Have a very blessed day, week, etc. Remember, JESUS IS THE REASON WE CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Let your light shine!

I believe I am going to work on some scripture study tonight. There has been so much tragedy to occur all over our country and all over the world lately. Lot's of things have happened right here locally in our little town of Jasper recently.
 I say that to say this....People, be praying!! Not just your laundry list of things that will make your life easier or more fun, but be praying for people you don't even know, people that maybe live just down the block, in another city, state, or even a different country from you. Christians all over the world need to be praying for each other.
Pray for the lost, that the right person with the right words will cross their path and take advantage of the opportunity that God gives them to share the GOOD NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST! And folks, if you 'feel that urge', or someone's name comes across your mind but you don't know why, do two things: PRAY for them, right at that moment!! It's easy to do no matter where you are or what you are doing. Pray silently if you have to! It's even better if you call that person, which is the second thing I was going to tell you, or go by their house and check on them. Visit with them for a short time and then PRAY WITH THEM or for them, which ever they desire.
Bottom line folks, we all need to be on our ks praying!! We need to be in constant prayer, even if those prayers need to be silent at times. That's ok!
God knows the situation better than we ever will and if we pray for His will to be done in the situation, He will answer the prayer!!! His answer may not always be what you want to hear! Because, yes, like all good and loving fathers, sometimes he has to tell us no because He knows what lies ahead if you go that route, but if you stay within the will of God, your path will be straight, and you will accomplish whatever it was God wanted you to do.
Maybe He wanted you to speak to someone, or maybe He wanted you to go to the grocery store, with all your kids in tow, simply because you need milk and bread at home. Perhaps there is someone that God knows you will cross paths with at that store who needs to see you struggle with all the kids, but you make it!
As Christians, we need to remember that we are always representing God, no matter where we are or who we are with. People who know you proclaim to be a christian' but you act like this, are going to be watching you very closely. That's why it is so important for us to live as closely to the way Christ did, handle situations as closely to the way Jesus would have, and lead our daily, hectic lives, so that a non-believer will have a chance to see Jesus THROUGH you!
Don't hide your light under a bush!! LET IT SHINE, LET IT SHINE, LET IT SHINE!!! Share the wonderful news of Jesus Christ with everyone! Even those you believe to already be saved, even if they truly are, I'm sure they will appreciate the mini Bible lesson more than you may ever know!! Remember, we are being God's hands and feet! So don't trip, and don't spill the coffee!! (sorry, had to put a little humor in there) God bless you all is my prayer tonight. May He heal those in need of healing, may He provide what is needed to ease your mind and lessen your worries as we approach the holiday season. But most of all, may God bless you and your families with the peace, comfort, and joy you so richly deserve! I also pray that we open our hearts and minds to listen to the Holy Spirit and follow His guidance in everything we do!!
Have a wonderful, restful night everyone. We can always talk some more tomorrow if needed.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

How do you help someone that is in pain?


All of us have some sort of pain that we deal with on a daily basis. For some it is short-lived, but for others it is something they have been living with for a very long time. Some have physical pain, some emotional, some mental, and some spiritual pain. So, how do we get something beautiful out of all that nasty, messy, broken, ugly, pain caused by a physical injury, or from memories of some sort of abuse, whether physical, mental, or emotional, or perhaps even all of the above?
Some people will tell you that it is easy, just get over it and move on. Still others will refuse to believe that you are in as much physical pain as you are. They will consider you a hypochondriac, a faker.  Often, things are said either to the person in pain, or about them but where they can hear what is being said. Then you have your usual gossipers who love nothing more than to run around telling, and usually embellishing the story, about something you may have shared with them in confidence. This is exceptionally painful if the one you shared your confidence with was a fellow church member, someone you trusted to keep your conversation private.
So, what do you do when something like this happens to you, or to someone you love? What if it happens to someone you don’t know very well, but you have seen them at school, at church, at ladies meetings? Well, first of all, you are going to be shocked because by the look on their face you always thought they had it all together. They are always smiling and appear perfectly happy! How can they be so happy if they are really so miserable?
If you are the person who has been hurt or is currently dealing with pain of any kind, seek out someone to talk to. You may find that someone to be your spouse, a friend (though if you have been in any kind of pain for any amount of time, friends are few and far between), a fellow church member that you have no doubt you can trust, or your pastor.

There is nothing anywhere that says you have to tell them your whole story at the very start. Start slowly. Get to know the person you are talking to a bit and allow them to get to know you. Let them know that you feel you can trust them and that you have something you would like to talk to them about. If you have already been visiting for too long, make arrangements to get together again very soon, and stick to it! 
Whomever you have chosen to be your confidant, once you feel comfortable with them, let them know that you want to share something from your past in the hopes that sharing it will help you to let go of it, to get past it, and to move on. Let them know if you are seeking advice or just an ear to listen to you before you ever begin. Then, tell them your story. 
No matter what your story is, whether a story of ongoing physical pain and dependence on medications and other treatments just to be able to make it from one day to the next, or a story of abuse at some point in your life, or even possibly a story of being treated in what you feel was a very non-Christian-like manner at a previous church. Just share your story. Be sure there are tissues, plenty of them, close by! For some reason, once we begin telling our stories, no matter what the outcome has been, we will still cry about it. Sometimes the tears are joyful tears because we realize where we were and where we are now, and other times they may be tears of total sadness, fear, anger, because we don't see a way out of our situation. Tell as much detail of your story as you are comfortable with, perhaps letting your listener know that there are more details but you are just not ready to share them quite yet. 
As a listener, that is what you are to do, LISTEN! Never, ever interrupt when someone is telling you about something that has hurt them severely in the past. That could cause the to shut down and decide that you are not the person they want to share this with. When they pause in the story telling, wait before you say anything. Pray before saying a word!! Even a simple prayer said to yourself of "God, help me" can do amazing things. When the hurting person is finished with their story, you will know. They will either let you know that "that's it", or you will just be able to tell by their body language and the fact that they usually are in tears and not saying anything at all.
When it becomes your turn to speak, first and most importantly, let them know that you love them, that nothing they could say could cause you to not love them. Let them know that God loves them! If they are a Christian, help them see the way to get back on the right track and pray with them, sometimes several times in one visit! Remind them that they are continually a work in progress, clay in the Potter's hands. Remind them that we are all being molded and shaped into what God wants us to be each and every moment of every day. Remind them that sometimes that molding and shaping does hurt, but that it is highly likely God has given them this trial to go through in order to be the kind of witness He needs. Remind them that God knows what He is doing! He has had their lives planned since before the beginning of time! Pray with them. Let them know that God never leaves us nor forsakes us, that He is always there for us, to listen to us and to help us get over this hurdle or mountain we are climbing, but that we have to put all of our trust in Him. We have to have faith that He can and will take care of our situation. 
Never, ever tell them that God will take care of it for them and you will be praying for them and leave it at that! EVER!! For all they know, that was just your way of getting away from them, like so many in the past have done. First, pray with them and for them. Then offer to help them find the kind of help they need. Do they need money because they can't pay their light bill this month? Call your pastor and see what can be done. Call anyone you can think of and get this person some help. Be careful though. Don't give out their name unless they have told you that it is okay!! 
Maybe they have told you about something that happened to them many years ago and now they are dealing with depression, anxiety, possibly suicidal thoughts at one time, though not at the present time. Help them find some professional counseling, then offer to drive them to the counseling appointment if they don't have transportation. Even if they do have transportation, offer anyway! There is always the possibility that they do not have the funds for gas in their vehicle to go to the counselor, or they may just need the moral support. 
If the problem causing the pain is due to a problem they had at a previous church, help them to see that not all churches are the same. Not all people are the same. Explain to them the importance of being forgiving, whether to their former church as a whole, or just a certain member. If they are not currently attending a church, invite them to attend yours with you. Be prepared though when you do this for either it to take several invitations for them to actually finally take you up on your offer, or for them to be very uncomfortable when they do come to church with you. Do everything in your power to make them feel comfortable. Remember, this is all about making them feel comfortable and welcome. 
Most importantly, let the person who is hurting know that God is working on them, carrying them through whatever rough time they are having, even though it may not feel like it. Sometimes, when you are going through a difficult time, hurting for whatever reason, it can feel like everyone has left you alone, even God. Make sure that they know HE is always there. Pray with them as much as they will let you! Then continue to pray for them as often as you can. Explain to them about the potter and the clay, how we are the clay and God is the potter and he is molding and forming us into the person he wants us to be ultimately. God will frequently use our bad experiences to bring something out in us to use to help others. Help them to consider that possibility. But most importantly, just be there for them, and keep their confidence. Never, ever share ANY information they share with you without their permission first. Be the friend that they are crying out for so desperately. 

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 NIV
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Psalm 119:28

New International Version (NIV)
28 My soul is weary with sorrow;
    strengthen me according to your word.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Walk the walk if you are going to talk the talk!

I know it's been a while since I've been around, but I am BACK! And I have so many things I want to say and share with as many of you as possible, so be ready for numerous posts!
Earlier today I posted to Facebook how I feel about how some people love to post the "Jesus loves you" type posts that have been shared thousands of times, I've done it myself! But, my point was that there are so many that seem to think just posting things like that, or claiming to be a Christian, makes everything okay for them, for their life. My post argued with that. Here is my post....

One thing that really just drives me crazy is to see posts from people about how much they love God, "I'm a Jesus girl", etc., yet they do nothing from day to day, in the real world to show that. Their treatment of others demonstrates something other than the love of Jesus. The way they live also. If you are going to proclaim to be a Child of the King, how about you do so in such a way that there is NEVER any doubt? Live a life that shows people that you are truly serving Jesus. Be so filled with the Holy Spirit that you don't have to repost all those things telling folks what a good Christian you are. PROVE IT!! LEAVE NO DOUBT!! Don't just talk the talk, walk the walk as well!! I AM a CHILD OF THE KING! I serve a true and living God! If you have any doubt about that, come see me and let's talk.

I think most people will understand what I was saying, but for those few who may not, let me explain it a little more in-depth. I am a daughter of the KING OF KINGS, the ONE and ONLY GOD. I have been saved through my belief in the life, death, and resurrection on the third day of MY LORD AND SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST. I have been washed by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. I do attend church with my husband, and we have our usual seat that we sit in. My reason for attending church every opportunity that I can is not just so I can be counted as present and give the appearance of having it all together. I want to know more about Jesus! I want to know Him better, be drawn closer to Him. 
 My reasons for attending church are to be 'fed', refueled, etc. I know that every day,  every minute of every day, my 'tank' of love, Holy Spirit, Christian life has some removed from it for various reasons. Whether it may be talking with someone about our similar issues that we deal with daily, helping a family member understand what needs to be done in a situation they are going through, or just plain living day to day without screaming and yelling, getting aggravated at the smallest things, or not behaving in a Christ-like manner. I have to have my tank refilled on a regular basis so that I can share the love of Christ that is within me. I need to ask the Holy Spirit to refill every molecule of my body each and every day, to the point of overflowing, so that some may splash out on others that I come in contact with.
If you are just playing the part of what you think a Christian should be, maybe you need to go back to the instruction book, aka THE HOLY BIBLE, and read what is expected of you in all situations. God plainly tells us what we are to do, how we are to behave, what our language is supposed to be like, how we are to treat others, and the fact that we are to share the Gospel of the Good News of Jesus Christ with everyone we come into contact with. We are also not to be hypocritical, living one way on Saturday night and then another on Sunday morning. 
I know from personal experience how easy it is to profess to be a Christian, but not act like one. Do you give of yourself to others, without complaining about it? Do you give to the church as you are instructed to do, with a cheerful heart or are you reluctant to give more than $20 because you don't think you will have enough to make it until payday? Do you bow your head in church as if you are praying, yet the only time you may say a prayer is if you find yourself in a crisis of some sort? Are you one that attends church regularly, but you never participate in any of the extra activities the church may have, much less volunteer to help! Do you ever tell anyone else about how they can come to know Jesus Christ and receive the gift of salvation He has for each of us?
I'm guessing there are quite a few 'no' answers to those questions. So, what do we do about it? Well, it's a fairly easy fix, but, it is also highly likely that there will be some consequences, or hurdles to leap. 
First you have to PRAY. When you pray, don't just say some rehearsed words that you have heard others say when they prayed at church. Your prayers, each and every one of them, needs to come from your heart! Keep in mind, your prayers are your conversations with God, the creator of the universe, the ONE who has known all about you since before you were born. God knew all about you even before He created the universe! God knows how many hairs are on your head, today, tomorrow, and every day! He already knows how long you will be on this earth. God, our heavenly Father, knows the day, time, and how you will leave this earth! And once you leave this earth, where will you go? Heaven you say? Are you sure? Are you absolutely, 100+% positive? How do you know this?
What have you done to deserve the opportunity to go to heaven and be with Jesus? You say you have been a good person? That's not it. You say you go to church at Christmas, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and maybe another time or two in there just for good measure. Nope, not it either. So, you read your Bible? Good to know, but that won't get you through those pearly gates either! So, what is it going to take for you to KNOW, without a doubt, that you will spend eternity with the One who created you? To spend eternity with the One who loves you, even though you continue to mess up, day after day? How can you be positive that you can go to be with Jesus upon your death, or at the time of the rapture, if you are still living?
It's not as difficult as we try to make it. Do you believe that Jesus is the son of a virgin named Mary, that He is GOD'S son? Do you believe that Jesus walked the earth, was arrested for a crime He did not commit, beaten savagely, nailed to a cross between two thieves, as if He were a thief Himself. Do you believe that Jesus died on that cross after pleading with His, and our, Heavenly Father to "forgive them for they know not what they do"? Do you believe Jesus was buried in a borrowed tomb and arose from that tomb on the third day? Do you believe that the ONLY reason Jesus did all this, that He went through all of that pain, was that He loves us, you and me, and everyone, so very much that He agreed to take all of our sins, ALL OF OUR SINS, even those you have not committed yet, upon Himself, so that we might have the opportunity to live with Him in heaven for all eternity? Do you believe that the only reason a sinless man, a man named Jesus, was so brutally murdered, was to cover all of our sins by His blood?
If you truly believe all of that, but have never professed it publicly, find a pastor that you feel comfortable with, one who leads a church that believes in teaching the true Gospel of Jesus, and talk with Him. 
"For God so love the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that none should perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16

Now, I hope you will excuse me because I want to go and study about my wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I want to learn about Him more and more each day. I pray that you do as well. 
I will have more to say in the next few days about these posts that could be considered hypocritical. I hope you return for more!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

DO NOT COVET AND HELP THOSE IN NEED....DO SOMETHING!!!

When you have children, and then grandchildren, your life totally changes. It is never your own life again. Once you become a parent, your life is no longer about the things that YOU want, it becomes about what is best for your child.
We should always be living our lives for what GOD wants for us, but most of us get involved in making the almighty buck, getting the next, newest toy, keeping up with what everyone else is doing! "Well they have a new jet ski/four wheeler/house/car, so I need to get one too!" Is that how God wants us to behave?
Not very long ago, my pastor, Jared Hollier, gave a sermon about coveting. He was doing a series on the ten commandments and, of course, THOU SHALL NOT COVET, was one of his sermons, and a very good one I might add.
But we all, no matter how hard we try not to, we still covet. We want the newer, bigger, better version of whatever we already have. WHY??
Honestly, what is so great about having a 70 inch television on an 96 inch wall? Especially if your room, living room/den, is only a 12x12 room. Even an 16x16 room is too small for a television the size of a movie theater screen!!! WHY do you need one that large?
Usually it's because someone you know has gotten one that maybe is that size or a little smaller, so you want to be as good or better then them and have the same or a larger television.
Did you know that God doesn't care how big you television is? In fact, He would probably prefer you didn't even have one. Spend the time you would be watching TV reading His word and learning about Him, or praying, or serving Him.
Do you know that God doesn't care what kind of car you drive, or house you live in, or toys you have? In fact, He would probably prefer that you concern yourself more with serving Him, even if it means selling some of those 'toys'.
Somewhere in this world there are people who don't know where their next meal is coming from, they don't know if they are going to have a place to safely lay their head tonight to sleep. Somewhere there is a family living in their car because they can't afford rent. Somewhere there are children, and adults, wondering if the water they are drinking is safe.
Does any of that apply to you? I doubt it, but what are you doing to change any of that? Are you actively seeking out someone in need? Keep in mind, someone near you may have a need that is not as drastic as those I mentioned, but they still have a need. Maybe there is a young mother who desperately needs someone to just visit her. Maybe there is an older church member who isn't able to get out much, if at all, who would love nothing more than for you to go over and have a cup of coffee with them!
Perhaps the person in need is right under your nose. The person that looks like they have it all together, may be so torn up inside they don't know how to pray for their problems without appearing selfish, yet they have the kinds of problems that we know God can and will take care of. This person who is right next to you in church may have something going on in their life that they don't want to discuss publicly, but a visit from one of their fellow church members to listen and pray with them would most likely mean the world to them.
We are such a fortunate society if you really think about it. Most of us don't have to wonder about our next meal, or if we are going to have a place to lay our head at night, but we may be wondering how we are going to make it through this storm in our lives.
The storms we suffer through could be a child having difficulties, medical problems, job problems, differences with a neighbor, a grown child in trouble. There are so many things that go on in our every day lives, most of us take for granted that everyone around us has it all together and is probably not in need of prayer or anything else we might have to offer.
Please rethink that. Carefully watch those around you, listen to the conversations around you, notice the people at church. Do they seem genuinely happy, or do they appear to have something on their mind that might be hindering their worship of our Lord God?
If you notice someone who maybe appears to be down, or distracted, talk to them. Let them know that you are available if they ever want to talk, or need anything; and then follow up with them! Give them a day or two and then you call them, or go see them. If the problem has them that distracted and they don't want to speak about it publicly, they are probably too embarrassed to call you to ask for help, so you call them and make the offer.
What can you do to help them? Maybe they just need an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, someone to pray with them. Some may actually need other types of assistance. They may need financial to get them through the week, until the next pay day. Maybe they need assistance taking care of something in their home. Find out their need, and then fill that need.
1 John 3:16-20   "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything."
If you truly love God, find someone in need, even if they just need some company for a while, or you may find someone in need of $100 or more to pay a bill. Help them find a way to do it, even if it means giving it to them yourself. Trust me, if you do this, God will bless you!!
I'll end this with my church motto.... DO SOMETHING!!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

RAIN DOWN REVIVAL *** repost from Living Proof Ministries Blog

Repost from Living Proof Ministries Blog

Rain Down Revival

Words blazed in my soul this morning with such force that I had to scramble to my feet to find paper. I’d prayed a few minutes earlier out on my front porch for true revival: for such a groundswell of souls saved that we’d have no earthly explanation, and for believers to be flooded by the Holy Spirit in such a way that our souls would be purified with a holy, selfless, unstoppable fervor. I have prayed those kinds of things before but this time I called upon the Lord with my whole heart to rip away this ceiling that seems to be over our heads. The Holy Spirit is moving with breathtaking force in parts of the world and in segments of the church. Why not among all of us?? And why not now? We love Him, too!

So many of our pastors, leaders, evangelists, and teachers are crying out for it. We see glimpses of it. We feel it pressing on the walls of many of our churches. The paint is beginning to crack. We sense a change coming. The roof shifting. We know the sun of righteousness is rising on a different kind of day and the horizon beaming with a new shade of color on young and old, on rich and poor. On all who would let Him lift their chins despite their sins, for our redemption draws near. I feel the stirring of a fresh work of the Holy Spirit in my own congregation and sense that He’s ushering us step-by-step and person-by-person and Sunday-by-Sunday to a place of open-armed willingness for whatever He would give us. For many of us who have felt the breezes of revival stirring, we can’t often define how the Holy Spirit is working or explain the difference between one gathering and the next. All we know is that there are times when we are left to say, “Only God could do that.” We taste it. It’s on the tip of our tongues but our throats are still parched.  Our voices may be hoarse and our volume weak but, at the sound of His yes, the mute would find speech.

I cried out this morning for Him to remove the obstacles that hold us at bay on the damp edges of a mighty torrent of revival when, before us, is the deep. We have seen drops of rain but, if we’re willing to be honest, most of us know that we have not yet seen what the living Lord Jesus Christ is capable of doing when He has a mind to pour His Spirit out on millions and wreak the holy havoc of true revival with innumerable souls. We have blamed our government and every secular institution possible when revival has ever remained a matter between God and His own people in the pages of Scripture. They are not our problem. We point fingers at our pastors when many of them have nearly broken their backs trying to drag us to revival. We hold worship leaders responsible for our own small worship and say that it must be the songs.

My heart burns with a sense that part of this ceiling over our heads is our demand that God must bring awakening and revival within our means, keep our rules, and respect our boundaries. If Christ is to do what He longs to do, we must relinquish all our expectations and formulas for revival. Lest we think we can’t leash a work He’s willing to perform, the words of Matthew 13:58 and Mark 6:5-6 won’t peel off the gospel page. We keep getting together and rehearsing for a revival He’s not yet fully attending. Why?? Why does He wait?

I think one reason is that we are afraid for Him to do whatever it would take. We are scared of the uncertainty of revival. We don’t trust God with the work of His own Spirit. He might embarrass us. Or make us change our minds. God won’t work contrary to His Word but many of us must admit that it is not His Word we are worried about Him working contrary to. We are worried about Him working contrary to our tastes. We are worried that He will not use our methods. I said we. I have done the same thing. I want Him to work in a way that makes me feel comfortable. But maybe a true outbreak of revival is not comfortable. I don’t know. I can’t say I’ve ever seen what I believe God may want to do in our day. Meanwhile, numerous gatherings of believers dwindle and die or rust for the sake of routine. Generations are falling away as revival clings to our doorposts. It’s there. It’s close. But why won’t it come on in? We feel it. We hunger for it. Why does it delay? Perhaps there are many reasons why revival waits and we could write more blog articles and list the possible hindrances and deliberate over them and mull over them and debate them and exert more and more energy while we have less and less time.

Or maybe we could say today,
Lord, if Your time is now – and it’s the only time countless millions have – remove the obstacles, whatever they are. Shove them out of the way and COME, Lord Jesus, with a torrential downpour of Your Holy Spirit.

I’m just looking for anyone out there who would be willing to echo a prayer something like this one. I bring it to you in humility, lacking much, wanting much. I do not wish to put words on any tongue detached from a heart. Vocabulary is meaningless without volition. If this is not you and if these sins are not yours and these aches find no place in your soul, you are not who I’m talking to. But this is me and I wondered if it might be anyone else, for where two or three are gathered in His Name, crying out for a cracked-open heaven, that ceiling that we feel shifting over our heads could shatter to our feet. I’m tired of giving God an inch and expecting a mile. I want to go with Him wherever He’s going.


Most glorious all-powerful, merciful God,

Your Son died for more than these. We thank You for what You’ve already done but we beg You to do infinitely more. Look upon this ailing planet, pulsing with the hopeless, helpless, the hiding and the dying. You have willed that people would not die in their sins but be saved and redeemed through Your Son, Jesus Christ. You promised that the Cross was big enough for us all, with stakes pointed northward, southward, eastward, westward, reaching everlasting arms to the ends of the earth. We know what Your Word says You can do and we confess to You that many of us have not yet seen it with our eyes but we feel it stirring in our souls. Hosanna, Lord! Save now!

We who are willing confess to you our sinful arrogance. We have prescribed to You by what means You, the solitary Healer, should heal souls and You have refused to sign Your Name to our prescriptions. We say to You this day, write Your Name across our sky and bring revival! Save by whatever means brings You glory. Bring it any way You like but bring it, Lord. We free You from using our methods. We free You from using our denominational names. We free You from using our buildings though we welcome You to them. We free You even from using us, though we cast ourselves before You at Your complete disposal and beg that You would. Use none of us. Use all of us. Use whatever people and whatever means honors You most but do it, Lord. Please do it!

We confess to You our appalling narcissism in asking You to mirror us. We confess to You our over-sophistication and snobbery. We confess to You that we are terrified of Your Holy Spirit. We confess our pathetic arrogance for having forbidden signs and wonders when there could be no greater sign and wonder than a tidal wave of salvation rolling on our dry banks. Oh, Jesus, that we would not leave You to marvel that You could do so few miracles among us because of our unbelief.

We repent this day for not trusting You with what revival should look like. We repent this day from prioritizing our dignity over Your downpour. We confess to You that we have torn pages from our Bibles and handed them back to You and demanded that You work through what was left. We confess to You this day that the tent pegs of Scripture are vastly wider than our imaginations and our expectations.

Lord, if souls are saved by the thousands of thousands and millions of millions, we pledge to You this day that we will not, in our sectarianism, pick apart the process and reason how it was not legitimate. We are ready even if it’s messy. Even if, atop the beautiful feet carrying the good news, are bruised and broken bodies of willing evangelists.

Open Heaven. Rain down, Holy Spirit. We repent for having asked You to respect our boundaries. We bow now to Your boundless Spirit and make room over our lowered heads for You to fall upon us with power and might and a firestorm of Your great affection. You have loved us so. You have loved us well. Scar our hearts with Your Cross and love through us, Lord. Oh, Holy Spirit of the Living Christ, come without limit. We have known You were able but begged You to be willing. All the while, we have been disabled because we have been unwilling.

To what conceivable degree we could have held them in our hands, we turn the reins of revival back over to the Rider who is Faithful and True and we plead that You would not let them rest on the neck of that great horse but that You’d bid him run.

Whatever, Lord. Do what You want but do it now. Do it here. You have no peer. Make Your name glorious. Save now. We avail ourselves.
O God, I avail myself.
In the holy name of Christ our King. Amen.

Savior, Savior, Hear my humble cry;

While on others Thou art calling, do not pass me by.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

God's creations and prayer.

Coming home from church tonight I had the privilege of seeing a couple of God's beautiful creatures that are typically very elusive to humans, whitetail deer. I saw two in a regular spot in the back of a hay field  They stood and just stared at me as I sat in my truck, in the middle of the road, staring back at them. Then it dawned on me that I had my camera with me! So I grabbed it and snapped a couple of pictures. They were pretty far off but I finally managed to zoom in and get my hands still enough to get a couple close up pictures. I didn't see any babies and I don't know if these were does, or bucks since right now the bucks may not have any antlers yet. It is about time for them to start growing them back though!Well, this made me excited to go check my game cameras that I have set up at my deer stand. I am hoping to catch some mommy's with their fawns on camera! So, sometime today, I will load up and head to the stand and go check my cameras. I really hope to have some nice pictures of some moms with their fawns!   This also made me stop to think about the creativity it took for God to create such beautiful animals. Well, one thing led to another and I began thinking about all of God's beautiful creatures, some of them not as beautiful as others, like the armadillo that keeps getting in my garden, but it still took a great deal of creativity to come up with an animal with a hard shell, not quite as hard as a turtles, but close, a pointed nose for digging holes and finding bugs, and just a short, stiff, stubby tail! Of course, I had to think of some of the other creatures God created for us. Cows, pigs, dogs, cats, goats, ALL of the various birds!! All I could come up with to say was, "WOW!!!" I am very blessed to be allowed to sit in the mornings and watch my chickens as they explore their pen, hoping to find a bug that may have fallen in there during the night. I get to watch as blue jays, cardinals, wrens, finches, squirrels, and other critters wake up and get about their daily business. I think some of my favorites are the hummingbirds. I have several feeders set up and numerous hummers that come to the feeders. Every time I have one fly up to a feeder, I feel so blessed that they chose my feeder to come to! I love it when they are comfortable enough to actually land on the edge of the feeder to get the nectar. Just getting to see them up close like that is such a privilege!!!I am also blessed to have been able to plant me a flower garden this spring. I have a large variety of flowers planted in there with still more to plant, I just have to figure out where! I have daisies, petunias, dahlias, hydrangeas, brides wreaths (these were in my now deceased mother in  law's yard so they are very special), a couple of dogwood trees as well as a couple of redbud trees that also came from her yard. The trees had fallen and broken after a severe storm we had, so I am praying that God allows them to survive and thrive. I also have some jasmine and honeysuckle planted, as well as some seedlings of some sunflowers, and daisies that my granddaughter and I planted in some very small 'mini greenhouses'. These are just about ready for transplant in our garden.I have wild petunias planted as well as some native Texas bluebonnetsl.  Then we come to my favorite flowers, my hibiscus and roses. The rose, any rose, has always been my very favorite flower. I have about 5-6 various roses as well as a white rose tree! Practically all of these roses had beautiful blooms or many buds on them. The rose tree itself was quite a show!!Notice I said had and was, past tense. That's because we had a goat escape his pen, and pig out on my flowers! He also ate about half of one of my cherry tomato plants and the tops of several of my husbands jalapeno plants! Needless to say, I was ready to butcher a goat! When we rounded him up to put him back in his pen, I prepared myself because he has been somewhat ornery lately. I  picked up a nice sized piece of bamboo to use if I needed to, to knock him away from me. You see, he tends to want to butt me any time I am around and this day was no different. As my husband was leading him to the gate of his pen, he spotted me and decided to 'play'. He started to come at me with his head down, ready to give me a significant head-butt! But, instead as he got within my reach, I swung the bamboo pole I had in my hand and promptly gave him a migraine headache. He stumbled back a step or two, shook his head a few times, and then just looked at me with this look that seemed to say, "wha-what was that for?" I promptly explained to him that if he decided to come at me again like that, I would put him on the ground, possibly 6 feet under! (I don't think we would actually bury a goat that deep, but it sounded good at the time!) So, he decided to leave me alone and go into his pen with no further problems! Then came a better inspection of my garden.This goat had eaten all but one of my rose blooms, as well as the buds!! He dined on my hibiscus blooms and buds, leaving me one, snacked on some daisies and petunias, and for dessert, he decided to have his vegetables. He devoured half a large cherry tomato plant, complete with small tomatoes, as well as several jalapeno plants and their blooms!We 'grounded' him to his pen for a couple of days.My rest and relaxation come from my flower garden, whether I am working in it, weeding, planting new plants, watering, or just talking to my plants, or just sitting in the shade and watching my beloved plants grow. Of course, on the times I am watching my plants grow, I am also enjoying many birds coming to my feeders, the hummingbirds coming to their feeders, squirrels playing and eating nuts or other morsels  they find on the ground, and my chickens.My chickens can calm me down when it seems nothing else will. I have 5 bantams, 2 of which are roosters who are learning to crow! I also have 23 regular sized chickens, including some yellow (buff orpingtons), black (black australorp), and Americanas (Auracaunas, that lay colored eggs), none of which appear to be roosters at this point. I was hoping for at least two roosters, but it is looking more and more like those I lost as baby chicks may have been my roosters that I ordered. Oh well!For me to kick back in my very comfortable lawn chair and listen to the various sounds my chickens make, including the crows of my two banty roosters may sound crazy, but it relaxes me. I could sit and listen to them for hours. I am so thankful to our wonderful Lord and savior for the many beautiful creatures He created for our pleasure and enjoyment. Many He created for food sources for us, others He created for us to watch and enjoy their beauty, and I believe to learn lessons from them from time to time. Do you think the birds and squirrels worry about tomorrow? Do they worry if Johnny or Suzy like them? Do they worry that their house is not as nice as the squirrel family in the next tree, or the wren's nest in the shed?Simple answer to all of these questions is no! So why do we worry about things like that? As the scripture says, to paraphrase, 'God takes care of the smallest of the birds so why do you think He would not take care of you?'  He promises to take care of us, in good weather and bad, in sunshine or darkness, in feast or famine, so why do we doubt Him? Yes, we doubt Him. We seem to think that God doesn't have what it takes to figure out our problems and help us through them. We seem to think that we know the best way to handle situations without God's help. We must think that way because we certainly don't seek His input or help! It is so easy to ask for His advice or help too, and that is what is so sad!! All we have to do is stop for a few moments and PRAY to Him, speak to Him!! ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE!! YOU RECEIVE NOT BECAUSE YOU ASK NOT!! Do either of those sound familiar? They should because they are in God's word! They are words that Jesus spoke! We don't have what we need or want because we do not ask for it, or we may ask in passing, such as while you are walking to your garden you speak under your breath, "Lord we sure could use some rain." That is not a prayer!! I don't think you have to get down on your knees every time you pray, though it sure is a good idea from time to time!! But I do believe that God would like for you to spend more time, more sincere time with Him in prayer. He is not a sharpie that we can use to check off things from our to-do list! He, God, is what is going to help us get through our day!Does he promise that if we pray sincerely to Him, we will always have only good days? NO! But He does promise that if we turn to Him, pray to Him, He will be right beside us in times of distress, as well as times of happiness and celebration, though we usually don't have anything to say to Him when we are happy or celebrating!Think seriously about your prayer life. I know mine definitely needs significant improvement! What about yours? Could you benefit from spending more time in SINCERE prayer? Don't take your grocery list of wants to God and just tick through it item by item until you complete the list and then close your prayer! That's not what He tells us to do!! If you are unsure of how to pray, reread the Lord's Prayer!          Matthew 6: 9-13              9 Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.


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Friday, May 3, 2013

What kind of church member are you?

I Am a Church Member

by Thom S. Rainer on Friday, April 26, 2013
This article is an excerpt adapted from I Am a Church Member by Thom S. Rainer.

When Michael and Liam began meeting for Monday morning breakfast at 6 a.m. more than five months ago, they originally thought it would be a one-time event. They met in a couples' Bible study group in their church. For many reasons, they hit it off and were becoming good friends. The two men enjoyed their time together so much that the one-time event became a weekly event.
I Am a Church Member by Thom RainerStill, Michael was caught off guard on that particular Monday morning. Liam loved the poached eggs in the little restaurant; it was his regular order. But on this Monday morning, he hadn't touched them. He was barely sipping his coffee.
Liam didn't take long to get to the point. "Michael," he began, "Lana and I have decided to leave the church." The pause seemed to last minutes. Neither of the men knew who should speak next. Michael took the initiative and spoke softly yet deliberately. "You want to tell me about it?" Michael inquired. He honestly didn't know if Liam wanted to say any more about it. His friend seemed resolute. Nevertheless, Liam began to explain his feelings and decision.
"Lana and I went to the church to learn deep truths about the Bible," Liam offered. "But Pastor Robert is just not feeding us. We're not getting anything out of his messages. Sitting in the service on Sunday morning is a waste of our time."
Michael didn't respond but could tell that Liam had more to say.
"There are several great people in the church," Liam continued. "You and Karen are the best, and there are a few more like you." He paused and his facial expression became even more serious. "But, honestly, Michael, our church is full of hypocrites. Did you hear Jim at the kids' basketball game? He embarrassed me the way he was calling out the refs. What kind of testimony is that for a Christian? And of course, everyone knows about Neal. He was supposedly this pillar of the church, and we found out he's been cheating on his wife for more than a year. What kind of church is this with these kinds of people?"
Liam was angry but controlled as he continued to vent. "Look, Pastor Robert acts like he cares for us, but I'm not sure he does. I told him that Lana's dad was in the hospital for hernia surgery, and he never visited him."
Michael knew that Lana's father was not a church member, and he lived 50 miles away. He also knew that Pastor Robert called him and prayed with him. But he also knew that any rebuttal would not be timely at the moment. Michael held his tongue.
It seemed that Liam's mild rant was winding down. Liam seemed exhausted, ready to bring the conversation to a close. He did, however, offer a few pointed comments and two insightful questions.
"Michael," Liam began softly. "I really like you and Karen and your kids. All of you are a class act." He paused briefly. "But you seem enthused about the church. You keep serving and contributing. Don't get me wrong, but I wonder at times if you are blind to all the problems in the church."
Then Liam offered a closing that spoke more than he realized. "We are two different types of church members," he stated. "Why is that? Why do we have such different perspectives?"

The difference

Nine out of 10 churches in America are declining or growing at a slower pace than that of their communities. Simply stated, churches are losing ground in their own backyards.
Another way of looking at it is generationally. About two-thirds of the Builder generation, those born before 1946, are Christians. However, only 15 percent of Millennials, those born between 1980 and 2000, are Christians. Millennials are the largest generation in America's history with almost 80 million members.
And we have all but lost that generation.
We can blame it on the secular culture. And we often do.
We can blame on the godless politics of our nation. We do that as well.
We can even blame it on the churches, the hypocritical members, and the uncaring pastors. Lots of Christians do that.
I'm proposing that we who are church members need to look in the mirror. I'm suggesting that congregations across America are weak because many of us church members have lost the biblical understanding of what it means to be a part of the body of Christ.
We join our churches expecting others to serve us, to feed us, and to care for us.
We don't like the hypocrites in the church, but we fail to see our own hypocrisies.
God didn't give us local churches to become country clubs where membership means we have privileges and perks.
He placed us in churches to serve, to care for others, to pray for leaders, to learn, to teach, to give, and, in some cases, to die for the sake of the gospel.
Many churches are weak because we have members who have turned the meaning of membership upside down. It's time to get it right. It's time to become church members as God intended. It's time to give instead of being entitled.

A new path

Though it's a small step, I'm suggesting that church members consider a new path. There are six steps we should carefully and prayerfully take. Let's consider each of these steps to be the type of church member God called us to be.

First, let's note the metaphor of membership.

It's not membership as in a civic organization or a country club. It's the kind of membership given to us in 1 Corinthians 12:27, "Now you are the body of Christ and individual members of it." Because I'm a member of the body of Christ, I must be a functioning member, whether I'm an "eye," an "ear," or a "hand." As a functioning member, I will give. I will serve. I will minister. I will evangelize. I will study. I will seek to be a blessing to others.

Second, I will strive to be a source of unity in the church.

I know there are no perfect pastors, staff, or other church members. But I'm not perfect either. I won't be a source of gossip or dissension. One of the greatest contributions I can make is to do all I can in God's power to help keep the church in unity for the sake of the gospel.

Third, I will not let my church be about my preferences and desires; that's self-serving.

I'm in this church to serve others and to serve Christ. My Savior went to the cross for me. I can deal with any inconveniences and matters that aren't my preference or style.

Fourth, I will pray for my pastor every day. His work is never-ending.

His days are filled with constant demands for his time, with the need to prepare sermons, with those who are rejoicing in births, with those who are traveling through the valley of the shadow of death, with critics, with the hurts and hopes of others, and with the need to be a husband and a father. My pastor cannot serve our church in his own power.

Fifth, I will lead my family to be good members of this church as well.

We will pray together for our church. We will worship together in our church. We will serve together in our church. And we will ask Christ to help us fall deeper in love with this church because He gave His life for her.
This article is an excerpt adapted from I Am a Church Member by Thom S. Rainer.