Thursday, April 26, 2007

I Want to Be a Brick

I don't think any kid ever wrote a "what I want to be when I grow up" school report entitled, "I Want to Be a Brick". At least I hope not!

Read this Scripture, though.

"You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ." (I Peter 2:5)

We are all part of this "building" God is making. With Christ as the Head, we are all part.

Right now, I'm praying about what my part in the local body of believers should be. Where do I fit in? What place does God want me to step into? Where can He best use the gifts He has given me?

I can't just warm a pew. It's not part of the deal. If a brick or stone decides to jump out of place in the wall of a building, there can be some serious consequences! If I decide, as one of the "bricks" in this building called the Church, to just step aside and let everyone else fill the places of ministry, there can also be some serious consequences. Looking at it another way, too, I also can't decide that someone else doesn't belong. "Not the right color brick for my building! Nope. Not the right shape to fit in that spot you want to fill." Wrong!

First of all, I'm not the Builder. Secondly, I need those other bricks to hold me in place, too!

Anyway, back to me being a brick.

I like the passage in I Corinthians 12 that talks about how important each member of the Body is. It says we are all necessary! (See v. 22.) Even if no one ever notices the things I'm doing, I'm needed!

Just something to roll around in your mind...where do you fit in the Body?

"For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ." (I Corinthians 12:12)

Where does
this brick fit into Your master plan, Lord???

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

My New Blog

You can check out my new blog, called Ramblings of a Freckled Mom. Something different, anyway. (Which describes me pretty well, now that I think about it!) :o)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Not Being Feeling Very Barnabette

If you're wondering about the title, refer to the earlier post "What's In a Name?"

I hope I'm not alone in having one of those moments (hours, days, weeks...) when I feel like I've blown it. I mean, in every area of life-responsibility God has given me, I have just made a mess of things: as a mom, as a teacher, as a wife, as a woman...the list could go on, but why bother. My impatience, anger, words, actions--none of them have been in the "What Would Jesus Do" category!

The "stuff" of life has really gotten me down today. So, I'm sorry this post is such a downer. You can pray for me. I know this "funk" won't last. It sure is a bummer while it continues, though.

Maybe you can give me some sage bits of advice on how to go on from here.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Value of Life

I think the shootings in Virginia have made many in our country (and probably other countries) take a long, hard look at how precious life is. And how quickly it can end. None of those young people expected Monday to be their last day. It makes me ponder ways I can make my life count every day and every moment--a life of no regrets.

After I finished my post yesterday, I blog hopped a little. I found the blog of a new mom in England, who is struggling to know how to raise her new little son in the right ways (schedule or no schedule, snack or no snack, etc.). It was refreshing to read about a new little life. One full of all the possibilities of the years ahead.

Then today, the front page of our paper had two great stories. One dealt with a man being freed from jail, after serving 16 years for a crime he did not participate in. The other story was of the U. S. Supreme Court decision to uphold the ban on partial-birth abortion. Both spoke to me of life. The man who is now free is getting a new lease on life. Yes, 16 years of his life have been taken from him. But at least he has the chance to live out the rest of his days in freedom.

Of course, the Court decision speaks of life for many in a generation yet unborn. They too will have the chance to live out their days! The abortion battle is far from over, but this is a good start.

In the midst of our grief, there are signs of the value of life. It gives us hope.

What a beautiful picture of Easter!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Weep With Those Who Weep

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep." (Romans 12:15)

If you read my blog on any semi-regular basis, you have probably noticed that I haven't said a single word about the shootings at Virginia Tech. It is not due to my lack of care or concern. It is simply because I'm still trying to process it all. How can our little hearts and minds wrap themselves around a tragedy so immense? It has affected me somewhat the same way 9/11 did: shock, grief, confusion, and a strong desire to pray, pray, and pray some more.

The verse I quoted above is actually in the context of the Christian community, and how we should relate to one another. I don't feel I'm doing the verse any injustice, though, by using it to refer to this situation, as well as any other time we need to minister to those who are hurting. How will the world know we are His disciples, unless we walk in His love and show it to those who need it most? It is not the time for us to stand in judgment on a young man's parents, or on the way society treats outcasts. It is not the time for us to be pointing fingers at school officials, who did their best to deal with what they thought was a one-time incident. Sadly, they were mistaken. But all the self-righteous ways of dealing with this will not help the victims of this tragedy. And in the end, it will not help us cope with it personally, either.

Only by allowing Christ's love to flow through us can we truly be His hands and feet to those who are overcome by the pain of what they have faced. I don't live close enough to hug a mom who lost her precious child. I'm not in the vicinity and able to console a wife whose husband heroically gave his life for his students--a man who survived the Holocaust, yet was taken down by the bullets of a disturbed young man. I wish I could be there. I'm a "hugger".

But what I can do, and what we all should do, is be on our knees, praying for everyone affected by this. Maybe I can make efforts to reach out to the teens in my own area, or encourage the parents of a troubled teen.

I can take the time to show my own kids that they are loved beyond measure, no matter how tough the world gets or how hard it is to live in this whacked out society of ours. I can train them to reach out to the "outsiders" in their own lives, and give them the love of Jesus they have known all their lives.

And...I can weep...and pray that 4-16-07 will be never be repeated...

"I, even I, am He who comforts you..." (Isaiah 51:12 a)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What's In a Name?

"And to the angel of the church in Sardis write:...'I know your works; you have the name of being alive, and you are dead.' " (Revelation 3:1a, 2)

The church in Sardis had the right name. Everyone thought they were full of life. But, through the Spirit, John wrote to them the truth of how God saw them: dead. Ouch.

There is a man mentioned in Acts that had a name, too. (I know that sounds funny, but read on.)

"Thus Joseph who was surnamed by the apostles Barnabas (which means, Son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field which belonged to him, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet." (Acts 4:36-37)

You have to admit that Joseph is a great name. It means "He adds". The first reference to this name is seen in Genesis. (30:24) Rachel's firstborn son. And, of course, it was the name of our Lord's earthly father. That name carries some honor, I would say.

The apostles saw something more in this man, though. They knew his personality, so gave him a fitting nickname: Barnabas, the son of encouragement. I don't know about you, but if I were a man, I would be honored to be given that moniker!

What does our name mean to those around us? When they hear your name, what is the first thing that comes to their mind? When my family and friends hear the mention of my name, is their initial thought pleasant, or...well...not so pleasant?

When people look at our lives, seeing how we live, treat others, speak, react in tough situations, etc.....what nickname would they give us?

I would love for them to call me Barnabette! A daughter of encouragement! It doesn't sound too pretty, but that's fine with me!

A Side Note

My two kiddos have created their own blogs. They are really "into" it! They make sure they post something every day. They respond to comments. The truly beautiful thing about it? They're honing their writing skills and having fun. Imagine that: education that's fun! They have inspired me to be more diligent with my own blog, while at the same time limiting my time to do that! Oh, well. They're enjoying it.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Good Post to Share

I saw a great post on Patrick's Ponderings. It is entitled, "The Many and the Few." Take just a moment to hop over there and read it. It's well worth your time!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Feast of Divine Mercy

Today, we celebrated the Feast of Divine Mercy. It was proclaimed a feast by Pope John Paul II a few years ago. The whole point, as it follows so closely after Easter, is to remember the Passion and Resurrection--His great mercy poured out for the world--and to pray for His mercy for both ourselves, and for all the world.

To quote our parish priest, Fr. Joe:

"It is very important for us to celebrate this feast because the mercy of God is at the heart of the Gospel. This is why God became man, suffered, died on the cross, and rose from the dead, so that we might know the great love and mercy of God. How sad that so many in the world do not know of the mercy of God. If we believe in what we celebrated last Sunday, then we must believe in God's love and mercy; and if we believe in His Divine Mercy, then we must seek that mercy and proclaim it to all we meet." (quoted from our church bulletin)

The focus of our prayers this morning was to ask God for His mercy for us (forgiveness of sins), and for the whole world. What an incredible gift God has given us, to be given such a thing freely. And all we have to do is accept that gift. But there is also a responsibility for us. We must not only accept that gift, but we must share it with everyone with whom we come into contact. A mission of freely of what we have received.

Sometimes, it's not easy to offer that mercy. Someone does something we feel is too hard for us to forgive. When we think of all we have been forgiven, though, it reminds us that nothing is truly unforgivable. Difficult, maybe. But not impossible.

It's also tough to accept mercy at times. We feel we have gone too far or disappointed God too much. His mercy doesn't end just because our conscience condemns us. Remember? The law was given to condemn us; to point out how sinful we were, and to show how far we fall short of God's standard. Christ came to fulfill the law!

"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death."
(Romans 8:1, 2)

Aren't those words liberating?

"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)

My dear brother or sister, accept this free gift of His divine mercy. Of course, we're not worthy. That's why it's a gift! Accept it, then freely share it with those around you. The world is in desperate need of His Divine Mercy.

"For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world." *

"Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless, and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us, and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments, we might not despair, nor become despondent, but with great confidence, submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy Itself. Amen." *

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

* from the Prayers of the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy

Friday, April 13, 2007

May We Walk Worthily

I wanted to share the words from a song we often sing in church, which was also sung at the Easter vigil this past Saturday night. Our family took a big step that night...a wonderful step, though. Now to see what is ahead!

Christ Be Our Light

v. 1--This is the night of new beginnings.
This is the night when heaven meets earth.
This is the night, filled with God's glory,
Promise of our new birth!

Refrain: Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in Your church gathered today.

v. 2--This is the night Christ our redeemer
Rose from the grave, triumphant and free,
Leaving the tomb of evil and darkness,
Empty for all to see.

v. 3--Now will the fire kindled in darkness
Burn to dispel the shadows of night.
Star of the morning, endless as heaven,
Dawning throughout the earth.

v. 4--Sing of the hope deeper than dying.
Sing of the power stronger than death.
Sing of the love endless as heaven,
Dawning throughout the earth.

v. 5--Into this world morning is breaking.
All of God's people, lift up your voice.
Cry out with joy, tell out the story,
All of the earth rejoice.

Copyright 1993, 200, Bernadette Farrell. Pub. by OCP Publications.

May His light shine forth through us, for all the world to see.
Praise to our resurrected King!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2007


We had a busy, busy week last week and weekend. I'm just trying to recuperate from all of that. New posts are on the way...once I can think straight again! :o)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Grace for the Trials, part 2

Another addition...

"My son, if you come forward to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for temptation. Set your heart right and be steadfast, and do not be hasty in time of calamity. Cleave to Him and do not depart, that you may be honored at the end of your life. Accept whatever is brought upon you, and in changes that humble you be patient. For gold is tested in the fire, and acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation. Trust in Him, and He will help you; make your ways straight, and hope in Him." (Sirach 2:1-6)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Resurrection Day

The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Message of Good Friday

I will let the Scripture speak for itself.
"...He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth." (Isaiah 53:7b)

"The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, 'Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!' " (John 1:29)

"Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, 'Behold the Man!' " (John 19:5)

"And when the centurion, who stood facing Him, saw that He thus breathed His last, he said, 'Truly this man was the Son of God!' " (Mark 15:39)

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:5-8)

"For they reasoned unsoundly to themselves, 'Let us lie in wait for the righteous Man, because He is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions; He reproaches us for sins against the law, and accuses us of sins against our training. He professes to have knowledge of God, and calls Himself a Child of the Lord. He became to us a reproof of our thoughts; the very sight of Him is a burden to us, because His manner of life is unlike that of others, and His ways are strange. We are considered by Him as something base, and He avoids our ways as unclean; He calls the last end of the righteous happy, and boasts that God is His Father. Let us see if His words are true, and let us test what will happen at the end of His life; for if the righteous man is God's Son, He will help Him, and will deliver Him from the hand of His adversaries. Let us test Him with insult and torture, that we may find out how gentle He is, and make trial of His forbearance. Let us condemn Him to a shameful death, for, according to what He says, He will be protected.' Thus they reasoned, but they were led astray, for their wickedness blinded them, and they did not know the secret purposes of God, nor hope for the wages of holiness, nor discern the prize for blameless souls." (The Wisdom of Solomon 2:2a, 12-22)

"When Jesus had received the vinegar, He said, 'It is finished'; and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit." (John 19:30)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Grace for the Trials

Today, another quote from Let Go by Fenelon. Trials are inevitable. Walking through them, we can either grow or let them overwhelm us.

"None of us are wise enough to properly apportion grace and suffering. We cannot see the extent of our future trials, nor of the vast supplies of which God is storing up in us so that we can meet them. And because we cannot see those future trials, nor the grace that will be needed for them, we are tempted to become discouraged and despondent in our present situations. We see our trials rolling in toward us like great, overpowering, ocean waves. Our hearts fail us with fear at the prospect of drowning. We do not see that we stand within the point at which God, with a steady finger, has drawn the boundary line. Beyond that line the waves cannot pass.

God often allows us to be tested as one is tested by a stormy sea. God stirs up the sea, and makes its great billows seem to threaten destruction. But He is always at hand to say, 'Thus far shalt thou go and no farther.'

'God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able to bear it' (I Cor. 10:13)."

I do not know what trial you may be experiencing today, or may be facing in the future. I do know that God is faithful to provide you the strength, grace, and patience you need to walk through it. I have experienced some tough trials of my own lately, and I have found these words to be true.

If anyone knew trials, it was Job. I love this verse from Job 23:10:

"But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold."

These words, too, from I Peter 1:6, 7:

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ..."

Stand firm, dear friend! The God who made the waves will not allow them to overwhelm you!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Please Pray

I received the following prayer request from a friend of ours. Please keep Winkie in your prayers.

Winkie Pratney, well-known minister, author and conference speaker is in critical condition in a hospital in South Korea and needs our prayers. Septic shock is currently threatening his life.
Winkie went to a conference in South Korea last week and was admitted to a hospital after a fall. Upon hospitalization he underwent two serious surgeries that have led to a series of complications.

The following details are from a prayer update by Steve Loopstra, Executive Director of Prayer Transformation Ministries: "His first surgery was on the 26th and was a herniotomy. The next day it was clear there was more at play than a hernia, so on the 27th Winkie underwent major surgery on his whole abdominal cavity. They found several adhesions of his bowel which were causing intestinal obstruction. The condition of his transverse colon was very severe, so they performed a segmental resection where portions of his colon were removed entirely. In addition to this, he suffered micro-ruptures at certain points that have been repaired."

"Winkie began to improve and talked with his wife, who has now flown in from Australia. But in the past day, his condition has worsened and he is now in septic shock, with his vital organs failing."

Loopstra commented: "Winkie is a hero of faith, having ministered to the lives of countless thousands of people, especially young adults. He is a brilliant teacher and a gift to the nations."

Winkie Pratney has authored more than twelve books and was the keynote speaker at Strategic World Impact's 2006 DART conference. We ask you to join us in prayer for Winkie, his wife Fae, and their son William during this critical time.

To continue following Winkie's condition, please visit his website, and look under the blog section.

On behalf of Winkie and his family, we thank you for bringing this need before the throne of God.