Monday, November 27, 2006


I took my oldest son and my niece letterboxing this weekend. Michael's 4H group has some hiking/letterboxing projects that the 4H'ers can work on. Michael loves trails, hiking, trees and the great outdoors, so this is perfect for him.

My sister and mother stayed at the house with my two little ones while I took Michael and Cherokee to the Indian Rockhouse Trailhead. It was a 3 1/2 mile trail, with the most difficult part at the end. That is when everybody really began to complain about their legs hurting and so forth. Why they saved the steepest most difficult part for the end of the trail, I'm not sure, but they did.

We saw lots of sinkholes, natural rock formations that were amazing and squirrels. The little creatures seemed to be everywhere on the trail. We had clues from the 4H club, and we followed them carefully. However, we never found the letterbox kit, and therefore weren't able to add our stamps to the journal inside it.

Some interesting things happened on that hike. My niece, who was so ready to go and ready for an adventure, was the one struggling the most at the end. She had failed to pace herself carefully at the beginning.

I had never been on this particular trail, but I have been hiking before. The trail map from the ranger station, as well as the 4H letterbox clues, gave me enough information to realize that we were very close to the Indian Rockhouse, the halfway point of the trail. We had one more steep climb, and then it would level out and we'd get to the rockhouse. But Michael and Cherokee begged for a rest. They were pleading, truth be told. I informed them there were no breaks until we got to the rockhouse. I reminded them that I was 35 years old and had three kids. If I can do it, they can, because they are young and full of energy. Come on guys, keep up with me! I told them that they would thank me later for pushing them on now. We finally made it up the hill and to the rockhouse and we were greatly rewarded for our efforts. The scenery was beautiful. I explained to Cherokee that it is much easier to get a car up a steep hill, if you have the momentum from going down the previous hill. It would be much harder to drive up that hill, if you had come to a complete stop at the bottom of it. I told her it was the same with our hiking. If we had stopped and took a rest, when we had good momentum, just before this one last steep hill, that hill would have been much harder to climb.

I learned a lot yesterday. I learned that previous hiking experience, even though I wasn't familiar with this particular trail, had helped me have a better hike. I also learned that not pacing yourself at the beginning can make it very hard for you at the end. Actually, my niece learned that one. I learned that even though we were looking for the stamp, and never found it, we still enjoyed the journey. I also learned that the strap on a $6 desert canteen from Walmart isn't worth 50 cents. My poor niece ended up carrying her canteen on more than half of the trail, because the strap broke. She had just purchased the canteen on Wednesday, and it broke this weekend. But she didn't complain, and she carried her canteen. I remembered how peaceful it was on the trail, and how blessed it is to let God see your heart so openly out in nature.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Our memory text this past week was Genesis 15:6. "He believed in the Lord and He counted it to him for righteousness."

Yesterday, our pastor and his wife were in our "young adult" Sabbath School class with us. When the teacher went over the memory text for the week, our pastor stopped her and just said, we need to discuss this.

Pastor Westgate wanted to make sure that each one of us understood that Abram believed in the Lord and His promises. It wasn't Abram's altars, his sacrifices, his honesty, integrity or musical preference. Abram believed in the Lord.

Someone in the class asked how one can believe and yet be at such a different "stage" in their relationship with Christ than someone who perhaps has believed on the Lord for many years.

The first thing to come to my mind was my husband. So I related this to the class, and I think it helped me to even better understand my relationship with Christ.

When I first met Karl, I believed that there was something special about him. So, I took advantage of opportunities to get to know Karl better. Then I believed that Karl was someone I might be interested in dating. So we started spending time together. Next, I believed that Karl was an important part of my life, and I didn't want to date anyone else. We spent more and more time together, sharing our thoughts, dreams and goals in life. Soon, I believed that Karl was the man God had intended for me to share my life with.

At each stage, I believed. As I spent more time with Karl, my belief in our love grew. It is the same with Christ. The moment we believe, we are His. The more time we spend with Christ, the more we see what He is in our lives, and the more we believe in Him. Our belief in Him grows as we spend precious time with our Savior. Yet the truth remains that we were just as much Christ's when we first believed as we are Christ's when we have believed and grown in Him for 20 years or more. God is amazing!

Friday, November 17, 2006

I Used to Be Perfect

I've been reading lately, and writing.

The book I've been working on is a book loaned to me by my pastor, "I Used To Be Perfect," by George Knight.

I saw a video sermon once where someone shared a concept from this book, but to put it bluntly, they did it in such a horrible way that it made the concept hideous to me. I told the pastor about it and he agreed that this guy wasn't getting the thought across, but that it wasn't a bad concept, just presented badly. That's why he loaned me the book, because it presents the concepts of grace in a much more understandable way.

I must admit, the book has shock titles for its chapters. It seems Mr. Knight wants to get your dander up before you read each chapter. I'm not so fond of this ploy, but the material is still good, despite Mr. Knight's attempts (or his editors) to shock you with titles such as chapter one's: Sin is love.

But once you read the chapter, you agree that sin is love. Sin is love of self. Sin is love of self, self seeking, selfishness, pride and ego. It's taking the love for God that we were created to experience and enjoy, and substituting instead a love of self. The point is well made and right on. Sometimes we tend to think of sin as individual actions, like whether or not someone steals, lies, murders and so forth.

It's definitely a book worth taking a look at. It's nice to have someone put in book form that it's all about the relationship. This is something Karl and I have tried to share with some former church friends, to no avail. Maybe, someday, we'll all understand that God wants our hearts and He wants to share His withus.

When I'm not reading "I Used to Be Perfect," I'm working on my first novel. My oldest son saw me typing away last night. He asked what I was working on, and I said a project. He had seen my typing at the computer several times this week and said, are you writing a book. I guess not much gets by an 11 year old boy that reads for the sheer joy of reading.

I honestly had no intention of writing a novel, of all things, but I've had no peace until I started writing it down. I did the first draft of one chapter yesterday afternoon and I nearly cried when I was done. It is amazing how much of yourself you share when you write a book. How much of your own relationship with God you are revealing to others, and how God fills your heart and mind. He is amazing!

Friday, November 10, 2006

When you ask God.......

It's amazing what can happen when you ask God a question, without limits.

I have a home business that I'm ashamed to say I didn't manage well at the beginning. Mainly, I didn't start it out correctly, with God at the helm. I asked for guidance, and I didn't get the answer I wanted, so I did my own thing anyway. Since then, I've come to realize that things go much better when God is in charge.

So, the next step was to rededicate the business to God, and designate a portion of my income to Him. This is where it gets complicated. This is where my selfishness was made manifest. I was trying to decide how much of my income should be dedicated to the Lord, you know, beyond tithes. Did God want 25% of my income or more or less?

At first I felt the pious thing to do would be to start at 50%, but then I realized how much money I would be "losing." Suddenly, I thought that maybe 25% wouldn't be too bad, but even that seemed like a lot. Then, I realized how petty I was being and that I would never be able to decide for myself.

So, I gave it to God. I asked Him. Lord, how much do you want me to dedicate to you of this business income. His response was rather simple, "All of it."

I was floored, but joyful, because God had made the decision that I was too weak to make, after I had given the matter to Him. I guess that's the way it works. When you are to weak to do the right thing, surrender the situation to God, and He'll put you on the right path.

So, one of the things I had been doing wrong in my home business was something I couldn't do for myself. Now that it's God's business, I found myself being even more careful about how I handled work, and wouldn't you know it, things went better than before the business was rededicated to God. It's almost as if I'm more careful because this is God's business.

But the sad part of it is that we should be living our lives that way everyday. I should be more careful with my words, my thoughts, my actions, my attitude, my thoroughness in the things I have to do, because it's God's, not mine.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Marian Fisher

The following is written by Bible Worker William Earnhardt, from Tampa, FL. I certainly hope he doesn't mind my sharing this on my blog, since it's already been passed around the internet on emails. Marian Fisher, an example of another young woman of true beauty.

"Satan reared his ugly head where no one expected him. He once again demonstrated before the entire universe his true colors in a tiny
Amish school. But where Satan was showing his true colors God's grace abounded even greater in the person of 13 year old Marian Fisher. Satan used a grown man to represent him before the world and the universe, but God chose a 13 year old Amish girl to represent Him before the universe. Jesus said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Marian Fisher woke up Monday morning like any other 13 year old girl with a full day ahead of her - totally clueless that she was moments
away from being placed in a situation where she would choose to make the ultimate sacrifice - pleading with a gunman to shoot her first, to buy time so others could survive.
My first thought was, "where did she get the presence of mind to think of that?" Second question "where did she get the courage to ask?" Obviously while we may think our religion superior, and may think the Amish a little backwards, today we stand in awe of the Amish parents and teachers who are obviously doing something right! Probably a hundred things right! They taught and prepared a young girl to do way more than just stand up for the letter of the law but to represent the very spirit of the law and the Cross of Christ when she was trying to die first so others could live!
Obviously this girl had more than just fantastic parents and teachers. She herself was "filled with all the fullness of God." What was demonstrated during those few minutes of terror in the Amish school was not just a 13 year old girl, but God Himself. Satan used the Cross to show his true colors thus providing opportunity for Jesus to show His true colors. At the Cross 2,000 years ago Marian Fisher was crucified with Christ. In the Amish school the everlasting gospel, which is the Cross of Christ, was again spread all
over the world via Internet and Satellite as, this time, Christ was in that school being crucified with Marian Fisher. Once again, where sin abounded God's grace has much more abounded. God has shown that He still exists and is very much alive, not by using the wonders of the heavens, not by using the cunning philosophy and theology of religious scholars, but by using an everyday 13 year old girl.
These are the things I am considering as I ponder this story:
1. While the wicked are becoming more wicked, the righteous are becoming more righteous.
2. God is sealing His people not just with a superficial knowledge of His law but with His very self sacrificing character.
3. While we are tempted to think evil is prevailing, God's grace is prevailing. There are many other stories in the news today of everyday people sacrificing their lives for others. On 9-11 we saw Satan rearing his ugly head again with a people who were willing to die in order to destroy others. God showed us on that same day even more people who were willing to die to save others. We see an entire Amish community demonstrating love and genuine forgiveness. It makes me believe the 144,000 will actually be a multitude in which no man can number.
4. Humility! If we older people think the youth of today are the problem and we are the solution think again! It was a young girl at Columbine who stood up for Jesus in the face of death, and again in Pennsylvania.
5. If we think our denomination is superior think again! The everlasting gospel is being taken to the world by people from all walks of life and religious backgrounds. Like the Good Samaritan, God is not glorified in people who know it all but by people who lay down their lives at any cost.
6. What would I have done if I had been in that young girl's shoes? When I left my house this morning and headed to work, was I prepared to lay down my life? As I admire her courage I have to doubt not only my credentials to be a lay pastor or Bible Worker, but can I even call myself a Christian? Today if you were listing those who are Christians, I would shrink from having my name mentioned in the same sentence as Marian Fisher or any other forgiving Amish in that community.
7. Don't think for a moment that all the Daniels, Shadrachs, Meshachs and Abednegos are just way back in Bible times. They are all around us today. They are everyday fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, and yes, sons and daughters!"