Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The answer was a woodpecker

We are by no means ornithologists, but our family loves watching the backyard birds. It started with Karl and I in Illinois, before our oldest was even born. We began wedging halves of citrus fruit in the crooks of trees just to watch the woodpeckers come and devour them.

Karl never tired of the swallows that followed him while he mowed, because he knew he was stirring up the insect world and the birds were having a feast.

Now that there are three children in the house, we often begin Sabbath with a special surprise. Sometimes the kids have to answer Bible questions to get their surprise and sometimes they are given clues and they must hunt for it.

The surprise isn't always something for "them." Sometimes it's special paper and stickers for them to make notes to give to people at church. Our pastor is often a recipient. One lady that Michael gave a special Sabbath note to still carries it with her each Sabbath, because it meant so much to her.

Our latest surprise for the children was a woodpecker brick and a suet cake. We already had a suet cage hanging up by the back porch, which we have huge windows from the dining room that give us an excellent view to.

Karl and the children refilled the suet cage and hung up the brick Friday night. Saturday evening, when we were having family worship together, Matthew insisted we pray about the woodpecker brick and that God would send a woodpecker to enjoy it.

There is something wonderful about our God. He loves to answer the prayers of children, because they have such great faith. Sunday morning our house was alive with joy and happiness as the children were jumping up and down in their seats admiring the Red-bellied Woodpecker that came to enjoy the brick. Matthew, who had made his request so earnestly, was the first to say that God had answered our prayers.

I'm wanting an answer to prayer right now. Perhaps I need to be more like my little Matthew and pray more earnestly and have much more faith.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

My latest read

The latest book I've read is "Romancing Your Husband," by Debra White Smith. There is a companion book of course called "Romancing Your Wife."

I was really impressed with the solid Biblical foundation for Debra's writing and how open she was about the topics.

Debra points out various things that can happen to Christian couples that take the romance out of their marriages, including past abuse and hurts. Her sensitivity comes through being there and knowing what it is like to overcome abuse and pain.

The most wonderful part about the book is what Karl said. When he read the title, he said I could have written the book. Of course, he was only teasing, but he made his point. I do enjoy romancing my husband.

Has it always been this way? Unfortunately the answer is no. Like Debra White Smith, I also had to overcome some past abuse and manipulation before I could say that consistently I enjoyed romancing my husband.

The good news is that God is faithful. He wants revival in more than just our churches. He wants revival in our hearts, in our homes and in our marriages. Give God an opportunity to start reviving your relationships and you just might be amazed.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Merry Heart

So, the Bible says a merry heart works like a medicine. My eleven year old son is determined to give his parents as much medicine as he can!

Michael's wit is growing by leaps and bounds. He has actually left Karl and I with our jaws hanging out at how fast he has come up with some great bits of shredded wit.

Today, Michael was reading me some riddles out of his Ranger Rick magazine and I laughed the hardest at this one.
Q. Why did the deer have to get braces?
A. Because it had buck teeth.

My all time favorite, however, is one that Michael made up himself more than a year ago.
Q. What do you get when you cross a burger and a bee hive?
A. A Honey Bun.

Sure it's just simple childish jokes and laughter, but Jesus said we had to become like little children. Have you forgotten how to laugh? Have you forgotten that Jesus promised us a life of joy, despite the trials and struggles?

Take a moment to remember the last time you really laughed and then imagine the jokes and riddles Jesus must have heard when the little ones sat on His lap and He blessed them. I'm glad Jesus gave us the ability to laugh and smile.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

True Meekness

Our pastor had an awesome sermon today. He talked about true meekness. He gave some definitions as to what the Greeks used the word meekness to describe (makes sense as the New Testament is written in Greek).

Two of those definitions were: a softly blowing breeze and a bridled colt. Something interesting the pastor brought out in his sermon is that meekness doesn't mean having no power. I repeat, meekness doesn't mean having no power.

Instead, what our pastor focused on was the fact that true meekness is power, under control. How many of us know someone who is constantly flying in a rage at the slightest provocation? That's power, out of control.

I've met some truly meek people. They had power, God's power and they had control as they had submitted themselves fully to God.

True meekness is power, but that power is under control. It's a beautiful thing to ride a horse. There is power there. You can feel the animals muscles under you as it gallops across a field. But it can be a nightmare when that power is uncontrolled. I know what it is like to have hundreds of pounds of horse nearly crush your leg because it's power is out of control.

"God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and of a sound mind." (I'm going to be ornery and not give you the reference). God wants us to have true power, that is under control.

Are you interested in true meekness?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

No More Somedays!

This is actually Sharon's husband. She gave me permission to post here, since my two blogs have not seen any new posts from me a LONG time. And there weren't that many visitors while I was anyway. I thought ya'll might get some enjoyment from this.

As a family, the past year has seen us making MANY more trips to Clinton – a town about 30 minutes south of here. We’ve begun attending a church there (usually 2 or more trips a week) and we are members of the community band in that county. Our rehearsals take us there at least twice a month. Then, we’ve had a number of other trips that have taken us that direction as well.

About a year ago, construction began on a house about half-way between here and there. It was beautiful on the outside – all wood. It appeared to be cedar. Lovely! Once it was built, in front of it sprang up a very beautiful FOR SALE sign. Now, our finances are nowhere near what they need to be to begin purchasing our own home, but it sure is nice to think about. So I thought, “Hey, just for fun – or perhaps just to fantasize – someday I’m going to stop and take a look at that house.”

Well, the first trip down, we left a bit late. The next time it was dark and we couldn’t see anything. The next time, we had another appointment so we had to be in Clinton early. The next time…well you see the pattern. Someday, someday, someday!

Then one time when I was headed to Hot Springs, AR to work on a low-power radio station there, I passed it one more time and again thought, “Well, I’m late right now, but someday, I’ll stop.” And then it hit me (at this point you’re probably thinking, WELL DUH!!).

SOMEDAY had not accomplished anything, and never will. It was then that I realized that far too much in my life has been living in the House of Someday. While the house may be beautiful on the outside, the inside is empty. When you live you life in SOMEDAY it too is empty. There may be areas that are somewhat pleasant, but look inside and they are as empty as that house. That beautiful house with reddish wood outside and lighter – I think pine – inside, sits just a short way from Highway 65, the main road from Little Rock, AR to Branson, MO. To me, that road is TODAY and, no matter which way you go, leads to TOMORROW.

I guess that I am just to the point where I’m tired of living in the empty House of SOMEDAY and am ready to get on with life. No more, “Someday I’ll get more involved in the community.” “Someday I’ll follow God fully and go back to school to do what He has truly called me to do.” “Someday I’ll arrange my schedule so I can spend more time with my wife and children.” “Someday I’ll really begin to get back in shape physically.” “Someday I’ll truly turn my back on the things of this world and commit my life 100% to Jesus.” “Someday…”

Now, I will admit that some of the “somedays” are beyond my control at this time and, by necessity will be left in that category. Such as, “Someday I’ll go bungee jumping.” “Someday I’ll go skydiving.” “Someday I’ll learn how to scuba dive.” What I’ve discovered, and you may have too, is that, without actively fighting against it, more and more things keep getting moved to that House of SOMEDAY. The problem is that, like that house that is so close to the highway; it’s just sitting there while life passes by.

So, as you can see from the pictures posted, I made a plan, I arranged my schedule, we left for band practice early and I stopped to look at the house! That’s one SOMEDAY off the list. The first of many, many, many. Life’s just too exciting to live in the emptiness of SOMEDAY. Are you ready to move????

Monday, May 7, 2007

Rite of Passage

I recently received this from my friend Gene in Oklahoma. Being of Cherokee ancestry myself, I found it very interesting. A lot of my heritage is lost to me because my ancestors opted not to put themselves on the Dawes Rolls and chose to merge into society. When it comes to my heritage as a daughter of God, nothing is lost. God has given me many stories from the past to help me as I journey with Him.

"A friend recently passed on to us this legend of the Cherokee Indian
youth's rite of passage.
His dad took him into the forest, blindfolded him, and left him alone. He
was required to sit on a stump the whole night.and not take off the
blindfold until a ray of sun shone through it. He was all by himself. He
could not cry out for help to anyone. Once he survived the night, he would
be a MAN. The boy was terrified and could hear all kinds of noise. Beasts
were all around him. Maybe even some human would hurt him. The wind blew
the grass and earth and it shook his stump. But he sat stoically. Never
removing the blindfold. It was the only way he could be a man. Finally,
after a horrific night. the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It
was then that he saw his father sitting on the stump next to him - at watch
the entire night.
We are never alone. Even when we do not know it, our Father is beside us,
protecting us. He has called us to face our dark nights - not running from
them looking only for sunshine and flowers. He knows that the dark nights
reveal our fears and give us the opportunity to face and overcome them.
However, our Father is not the One who has blindfolded us. An enemy has.
Satan blindfolds us with misconceptions and lying thoughts about our
Heavenly Father and he tells us that we cannot cry out for help.
Are you passing through a dark night? Do health issues, marital problems,
family discord, financial difficulties, or perhaps social challenges
threaten to overwhelm you? Do you feel alone? Our heavenly Father removes
blindfolds. (Psalm 146:8) He wants us to know He is right there with us. He
urges us to call upon Him and promises to answer us. (Jeremiah 33:3). He
offers to hold our hand and help us. (Isaiah 41:13) He has promised, "I
will never leave you, nor forsake you." Therefore we can confidently say,
"My Father is my helper, and I will not fear what any beast of the night can
do to me." (Hebrews 13:5, 6 paraphrased.)
What misconception from your history blindfolds you to the presence of your
Father? What lying thought keeps you from crying out to Him and listening
for His answer? What keeps you from taking His hand and walking through
your night one step at a time?
He is there for you! "

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

10 Commandments Crush or Break

We were talking about the cornerstone at prayer meeting this week. Historically, the cornerstone for the Jewish temple was first rejected, then the builders realized their mistake and put the stone in place.

Jesus used this historical fact to explain that He was the cornerstone. Interestingly, the cornerstone if fallen on will break you, but if it falls on you, will crush you. Very interesting words of Jesus.

But then you look at other stones, such as the rock cut out without hands and the tables of stone containing God's law. Wait a minute. God's law. How about that. Isn't it a cornerstone to our faith?

Let's take a deeper look. Where are the tables of stone with the 10 Commandments? They were last seen in the Ark of the Covenant that the prophet Jeremiah is reported to have hidden for its protection before the Babylonian captivity. The Ark of the Covenant, the lid covering the 10 Commandments, is called the Mercy Seat.

What could this mean? Jesus said if we fall on the cornerstone we will be broken. If we fall on God's mercy, on the mercy seat, falling on the law, we are broken and have a humble or contrite spirit. God says He works with a humble and contrite spirit.

If the law falls on you, you are crushed. You are ground to powder. If the whole weight of the law falls on you, it is devastating. But fall on the mercy seat first, and you are merely broken and reformed to reflect God's image.

As many people around the country celebrate the Ten Commandments Weekend, ask yourself, are you trying to nail the Law to the cross and find yourself being crushed by it, or are you falling on God's mercy and asking Him to help you reflect His perfect character?