Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
What is Christmas
What is Christmas?
Is it candy, ornaments, and toys?
Is it for just little girls and boys?
Is it shimmering lights and sleigh bells?
Is it helping little children whose parents are in cells?
Is it shopping, parties, or money?
Is it spending time with your honey?
Is it rosy cheeks, Saint Nick, and elves?
Or has it become just about ourselves?
Is it the slishing and sloshing of snow?
I say, “No.”
It’s about a little child that came for us.
Not on a ship or a bus,
But carried by an unmarried teenager.
He was born in a barn and placed in a manger.
He wasn’t born with great glory and riches.
He was with animals and covered with a blanket of only a few stitches.
Why was He born so humble?
Why was His birth all a jumble?
So that He could show
Us how to go
And be His disciples.
Will you believe in what is made up and unreal?
Or will you believe in the One who came to restore and heal?
by: Kimberly Stout (2002)
Friday, November 20, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
I posted this on Facebook, too, and got some great feedback. Now it's you're turn, blogging friend!
What does it mean to truly give God all my heart? What will that feel like? And what will I be like when that happens???
Saturday, October 24, 2009
I have to admit, too, that Facebook is a lot easier for me these days. I can be on there for about 5 minutes, let the world know I'm alive, and get on with the day. It has been nice to connect with some of my blogging friends there, too (Laurie, Laura, Paula, Lin, Harry, Mair, Patty, Janice, Pat, Cheryl, David, Keith, Keith...one of them is my hubby!).
Be assured, though, friends, I will not be away forever. I have had a passion to write since I was quite young. Can't get rid of me for too long!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
My oldest son left on his class trip to Washington, D.C. today. He'll be gone for about three days. I have to tell you...that was a hard goodbye for me! He has never gone to camp or anything like that. The longest I've been away from him is a couple of days, and he was always with relatives. This is definitely a new experience for all of us! He has already called me 4 times since he left this morning! His younger brother is missing him like crazy, too.
I know it will be a great experience for him...but I sure miss that boy!
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Thursday, September 03, 2009
The kids are in school. I'm back to work. Back to the busy-ness of the "real world!" Summer seems like a brief reprieve from life for me. But now I have to dig in and get back to it.
Hope all my bloggy friends are well!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The truth is: I've become a Facebook junkie! I vowed it wouldn't happen. But it did. As so many of my friends and relatives have said: It's addictive! I have reconnected with people I haven't seen since my childhood. (Seriously! The man who pastored my home church when I was just a little tyke of 4 or 5 years of age is one of my friends!) I have found friends that I had given up on. So much time had passed without contact. One is living in Slovenia! (And if you know where that is, please inform!)
I originally thought: This is less time-consuming than maintaining a blog (or two). After all, I only have to put a one- or two-sentence "status update" on my profile page, and I'm done for the day. WRONG! I have to read all the funny little ditties everyone else has posted, plus the comments left by their friends. And then, there are all the great (and some not-so-great) pictures everyone downloads! (The pig roast picture of a whole pig roasting...nasty!) Who knew how many hours it could consume in one day???
I have to admit, though, that I do NOT like the drivel posts: "I just had my coffee." Fifteen minutes later: "Brushed my teeth." Five minutes later: "Fed the dog." You know what I mean?
Or the endless surveys, quizzes, questionnaires, etc. I do NOT need to know what I would look like as a cartoon. Real life is scary enough! I do NOT want to know what Harry Potter character I am most like (I don't even read the books!). I do NOT want to know how much I know about 70's TV/music/pop culture. I lived it once, and that was enough, thank you! You get the picture.
There are definitely drawbacks to it. Like the aforementioned drivel and endless nonsense. Also, there is the subject of being ignored by people who want me as their FB friends, but do NOT want to update me on their private lives. I'm never sure if I should be offended, or if I should be flattered that they care that much about my opinion??? Like my opinion is a big deal? Or, the people I wasn't planning to reconnect with. Or people I barely knew in the first place, but now consider me fair game to chat with, every time I'm online, because I am not one of their very dearest friends...
Still, overall, it has been a good experience. There is something so wonderful about seeing the words: "I am so happy to be back in touch with you after all these years!" Or, better yet, "I can tell from your profile picture that you haven't changed a bit!" (I'll take the flattery, thank you very much!)
The sad truth is, my summer hiatus is almost at an end. On Monday, my kids return to school, and I return to work. My summer fling with Facebook is about to come to an end. Real life is coming back in a rush.
If you happen to be online, and are a FB junkie, too...feel free to look me up! :o)
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Please pray for the family and friends of Roosevelt Hunter, who passed away after a battle with colon cancer.
We knew Roosevelt back in the early days of our marriage. He and Tim Dilena were co-pastors of Revival Tabernacle in Highland Park, MI. Roosevelt had the most infectious laugh (think: Ernie on Sesame Street). He had a passion for the lost. He was full of zeal for God and His Word. He was one of God's rare gems. My heart goes out to Ilene and their children.
You were one of His best, Roosevelt. You will truly be missed.
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Have you ever had one of those times when a person/people or a situation caused your heart to hurt...a burden from the Holy Spirit caused almost a physical ache within you?
I have had those moments off and on throughout my lifetime. Most of the time, it was caused by seeing something on TV. Or being aware of a desperate situation in someone's life. Seeing photos of children dying of starvation or cancer. Knowing a friend was lonely, or facing a terrifying diagnosis. Being on a missions trip, and realizing the people I was ministering to could not go home to get away from their circumstances. This was their home. Their reality.
I had another of those moments yesterday. It had been a great day. We got to have an unexpected visit with my sister-in-law, her children, her parents, and her sister. (They were traveling through our area. We got to have lunch. A sweet blessing from God!) Afterward, we decided to head over to the local Barnes & Noble, as our outdoor plans were changed by the steady rain.
As I perused the shelves, I was looking for a particular section. The store had been rearranged, though, so I was not finding what I was looking for. However, I did find what God wanted me to see. I passed the "Religion" and "Christianity" sections, and was walking past the aisle labeled "New Age." As I did, I noticed three young people (late teens or early 20's) staring intently at the shelves. Picking up a book, then replacing it, only to pick up another to look at. My heart wrenched within me. I whispered a silent prayer right there: "O Holy Spirit, they are only 2 aisles away from books that could show them Your truth! Open their hearts! Open the eyes of their spirits! Guide them past the lies and to the truth!"
The words to this song by Brandon Heath kept replaying in my mind for the rest of the day. (If you don't want to watch the YouTube version, the lyrics are below.)
I don't know what your eyes need to see today. I do know that each of us, as Christians, need to see the world through the eyes of God. We need to care as much about the condition of someone's soul as we do about meeting their physical needs. I think it's easier sometimes to hand someone a bag of groceries than it is to truly give them living water. It soothes our conscience temporarily. And it is important that our message of truth be coupled with actions of charity. But for some reason, it is often harder for me to see someone as He sees them. It is easier to see a needy person, give them something to get them on their way, and feel as if I've done "my part". It needs to be a balance of both: word and action. With that in mind, reflect on these lyrics. The world so desperately needs us to live out our faith!
Looked down from a broken sky
Traced out by the city lights
My world from a mile high
Best seat in the house tonight
Touched down on the cold black top
Hold on for the sudden stop
Breathe in the familiar shock
Of confusion and chaos
All those people going somewhere,
Why have I never cared?
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
Ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see
Step out on a busy street
See a girl and our eyes meet
Does her best to smile at me
To hide what's underneath
There's a man just to her right
Black suit and a bright red tie
Too ashamed to tell his wife
He's out of work
He's buying time
All those people going somewhere
Why have I never cared?
I've Been there a million times
A couple of million eyes
Just moving past me by
I swear I never thought that I was wrong
Well I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way you see the people all along
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
I have heard the Serenity Prayer over and over. I have seen it on greeting cards, plaques, mugs, and a multitude of other gift items. (I used to work in a Christian bookstore...I've seen it everywhere!) Last night, I came across the entire prayer, which I had never seen before. I hope it blesses you as much as it blessed me!
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardship as the pathway to peace. Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him for ever in the next."
Now THAT is a serenity prayer!
Happy Tuesday, friends!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Today is the memorial for Saint Martha, sister of Mary and Lazarus. Whenever we hear of Mary and Martha, most of us automatically think of Martha's conversation with Jesus. She was perturbed that Mary was not helping her prepare a meal for her guests (Jesus and His disciples). Mary was, instead, sitting at Jesus' feet--listening to Him teach. Jesus' response to Martha is well known: " 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.' " (Luke 10:38-42)
The picture here is how most of us picture Martha. Pestering Jesus, and busy about her meal preparations.
That is how I often picture myself. Busy, busy, busy. And frustrated with anyone who isn't as busy as I am! I long to be as Mary...sitting quietly at the feet of my Lord. Learning from Him.
Who wants to be like Martha, who received a scolding from Jesus?
If we read another passage, in John, we get a completely different picture of Martha. Mary and Martha's brother Lazarus had just died. Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Bethany to comfort the sisters. Martha meets Jesus on the road (always a woman of action!) and says, "If You had been here, my brother would not have died. However, I know even now that whatever You ask of God, He will do." Jesus promises Martha: "Your brother will rise." Martha, still not quite understanding, replies, "I know he will be resurrected on the last day." Jesus makes it plain to her: "I am the resurrection and the life! Anyone who believes in Me will have life!" Martha's response is so incredible. A true proclamation of faith: "Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world." Wow. She made an amazing announcement to any who was nearby!
It seems obvious that some heart changes had taken place in Martha since the earlier encounter at her home. She had learned a great deal from her times spent with Jesus.
This is the Martha I desire to imitate. The one who knows who Jesus truly is, and trusts Him implicitly. Not too busy any longer to wait to see what Jesus will do for her. Not "anxious and worried" about many things, but willing to simply trust Jesus. And willing to proclaim to all that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The topic of my previous post was on "hidden work." That no matter how insignificant, meaningless, or mundane our work may seem...it is all to be done for God's glory. But there are other "hidden things" in our life that need to be dealt with as well.
While the boys and I were cleaning house last week, in preparation for visitors, I emphasized to them several times to do their jobs thoroughly. As I'm sure you have experienced, "thoroughly" to a 13 year old and a 9 year old means something completely different than it means to me! When we washed our car one day, my constant reminder was, "Every inch must be cleaned boys! Every inch!" On the aforementioned cleaning day, it had more to do with dust on furniture and dust balls behind doors. Then there was the scrubbing of the kitchen floor. And the response to my insistent pleas for complete cleanliness? "If no one can see it, why does it matter? Why do you want the house to be perfect, Mom?"
The answer to those questions came to me later, as I was scrubbing out my kitchen sink. When I removed the drainer, I discovered some hidden "gunk" that I had no idea was lurking in my sink. It was hidden by one of the little legs of the drainer. No one could see it, but there was a small bit of mold growing under that leg. Left to itself, it could grow to be a bigger problem. And do I want that on my clean dishes? UGH! Obviously not!
It got me to thinking about the hidden gunk we have in our lives. Those "secret sins" no one else really knows about. They are just little things, after all. And no one else knows about them. The little buggers aren't affecting anyone else, so why does it matter?
For the same reason our hidden works matter: "God sees." In Matthew 6, Jesus warns his followers not to "practice their piety" before men, in order to be seen by them. They shouldn't give their alms to impress others. They shouldn't fast or pray to draw attention to their own spirituality. The reason, "your Father who sees in secret will reward you." (vs. 4, 6, 18) But I believe the reverse is true. If the Father sees our secret works and rewards them, He also sees our secret sins...right? In another passage, the writer reminds us that "there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed." All secret sins will, in one way or another, at some time, be revealed. Whether it is in this life or not until the Judgment, it will take place.
Just like that hidden bit of mold, our secret sins do not remain static. They don't just sit there and remain small. They grow. Unless they are rooted out and confessed, they will become even more deadly to our spiritual well-being. Until I sprayed that nasty bit of gunk with some hefty 409 "gunk killer," it was on its way to becoming a larger bit of gunk. The more it grew, the more of the sink it would have affected. The more the dust balls accumulate, the more they will affect my family's allergies. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but eventually.
It's so easy to try to excuse the "little," hidden sins in our lives. But really, is anything that creates any distance at all between us and God really small? In Scripture, we are admonished to "be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." That leaves no room for even "small" sins, does it?
A little heavy for this lovely Tuesday day, I guess. But that's what's on my heart today. As always, I cherish your thoughts.
On a side note: Thank you for your continued prayers for our pastor, Fr. Joe. He is still recuperating, but making progress. We are so thankful to the Lord for His continued work of healing in Fr. Joe's body. Please keep up the prayers!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Today I read a story in a devotional about a team of young adults working on a project at a deaf school. This school was in a very impoverished country. The team's project one day was to paint the back of a building. The only people who would ever see the back of the building were the person who cut the grass, and anyone who would ever have to work on the septic pit behind the building. It would have been tempting for these young adults to just slop some paint on the wall and move on to some other project that was more visible. Yet one of the girls said, "Nobody will ever come back here to see this, but God will see it. So let's make it look nice."
A lot of what we do in our lives will never be seen by crowds--never receive great acclaim. Many of us have jobs that seem insignificant or tedious...very "behind the scenes" type stuff. It's tempting to think that we can just "get by" because what we do doesn't really matter, in the big scheme of things. As the author of the devotional noted, "But if that is what God has called us to do, we need to work with all our heart." Some would say, "God hasn't really called me to scrub this toilet." Or, "I'm only doing this temporarily, until I can do what God has actually called me to do." And that is really missing the point! God has called all of us to do whatever we do with all our might, as unto Him. Our aim in life is to always please God, whether anyone else can see what we're doing or not.
Whether our work is public or private...whether it is on the street or behind a building..."the important thing is that God likes what He sees."
Quotes taken from Our Daily Bread, July 16. Author: David Branon
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
We left bright and early on the 1st, and drove as far as Columbia, MO. There's a certain motel we stay in every time, because it's right next to a Cracker Barrel. We do looove Cracker Barrel's food! The only glitch of the evening was a family get-together at the motel. Some folks were having a reunion or something, and EVERYONE was staying at our motel. They were enjoying each other's company quite a bit...especially around 12:30 in the morning! Then, after that quieted down, the people in the room above us decided to do their morning drill routine at 5 a.m. Not marching, folks. STOMPING! Wow, was it loud!
We made it the rest of the way to my mom and dad's without incident. When we arrived, my sister (from Colorado) and her family were there, too. My kids and hubby finally got to meet Isaiah and a niece's husband...and we all got to meet miss Elyssa. Let me tell you, the kids are even cuter in person!
The next day, the whole crew was together. The only family member unable to be there was my brother-in-law from Colorado. We missed him! And we all had such a good time together. That afternoon, several of us made the journey into Greensburg. I have to tell you, the residents are making great progress. But it's still very hard to be there. It's just so surreal. It's never going to be the same again...
The next day, we went into Mullinville, the town where I attended school K-12, for the all-school reunion. It was also the 125th anniversary of Mullinville! We watched the parade (my youngest son got pocketfuls of candy!), and spent time seeing people I hadn't seen in over 20 years. It was really great to get back in touch with so many people. Being from a small town, we were all like a big, extended family. So, it was almost as if I had two family reunions this weekend!
I spent most of that afternoon with my cousin Sandy. Sandy and I grew up together, and have always been close friends. We even roomed together in college. That was precious time to me, to reunite with her and catch up on life. Later in the afternoon, we walked through the high school together, noting changes...and things that never change.
That evening, after a hamburger fry put on by the local volunteer fire department, we got to enjoy the fireworks. It was neat seeing my whole family (except the one brother-in-law) enjoying the fireworks together!
Sunday was a bit of a "down time" day. After we all returned from church and had lunch, it was NAP TIME! :o) We did have some late afternoon visits from relatives and friends, but overall, it was a pretty quiet day.
Monday (6th) was another busy day. The Colorado crew came and visited again, as we were all heading back to our respective corners of the country the next day.
The trip back home was pretty uneventful, too. We always stop in St. Charles, MO, on our way home. It is a really neat area. If you're ever in St. Louis, you should definitely check out the historic district in St. Charles. The river area is especially worth visiting, if you're a history buff!
We arrived back home on Wed., July 8th, exhausted, but rejuvenated and full of new memories made. Thank you all for your prayers. God truly watched over us!
As a side note, check out my hubby's blog. He is doing a neat devotional series right now over at One Pilgrim.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Please keep our family in your prayers, and I'll report back when we return.
Friday, June 26, 2009
As everyone is already aware, the pop star Michael Jackson died yesterday. It has caused shock waves around the world. In spite of all the turmoil over allegations of child abuse, etc., in recent years--and in spite of the obvious alterations to his appearance over time--his popularity has continued. From what I understand, he was preparing for an upcoming tour. The concerts set for Europe have been sold out for months. He has had a following since he was a young boy, singing with the Jackson Five. And yet...
Did the fame and money bring him happiness? Was he surrounded by loved ones when he died? Did he know peace? If one were to judge by the outward signs, it would seem that the answer to all of those questions is a resounding NO. It's so sad.
Another death that occurred yesterday was that of Farrah Fawcett. I remember the hoards of young men who clamored for her pictures and posters after "Charlie's Angels" came on the scene. She was definitely a beauty, with the body to go with the face. And yet...
Her marriage to Lee Majors ended in a divorce. Her looks, body, and money could not stop the effects of the cancer which eventually took her life. Was she happy and peaceful? Hard to say. I know that I was so saddened to see pictures of her, as the cancer treatments, time, and age marred the beauty of her younger years.
It all causes me to ponder a few things. For one, the lives of those placed into stardom's bright light certainly are nothing close to normal. It is highly unusual to hear of a marriage that lasts more than one or two years. It is "normal" to hear of the children of stars, or child stars themselves, getting into all kinds of trouble with sex, drugs, alcohol, etc. It is not unusual to hear of affairs. The list could go on, but I'm sure you would concur. What a sad lifestyle. And to have it plastered all over the Internet, television, and newsstands...incredibly difficult to deal with one's life problems in that context.
And it also leads me to this thought: How important is a life well-lived? My kids are at VBS this week. Each year, they study the heroes of our faith. As they learned about Mother Teresa yesterday, they learned the importance of a life of giving to those who are "the least" among us. Caring in love for the sick and dying was Mother Teresa's life mission. She did not seek fame (though there are few in the world who have never heard her name). She sought only to minister to others. She didn't seek money. She was a small little woman, with no "Hollywood look" about her at all. Her thoughts on having the riches of this world? "Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own."
And that, my friends, is a life well-lived. It is one we would all do well to ponder and imitate. For in the end, the only claim to fame we should desire are the words of the greatest Hero of all: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
I do not sit in judgment over Michael or Farrah. I cannot imagine the pressures of the lives of those in the spotlight. And, as Mother Teresa once said, "If you judge people, you have no time to love them." I only know that what the famous have is not my desire.
May we all strive for the "life well-lived" and to remember these words of Mother Teresa as well: "Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies."
Monday, June 22, 2009
We headed to Michigan about 1 1/2 weeks ago. We spent the weekend with my in-laws. We went to our niece's open house. That was a great time of seeing friends and family members we haven't seen for quite a long time.
Monday was an interesting day. I had only planned to do some laundry and re-pack. As it turned out, my mother-in-law got sick that morning. Thankfully, by noon, she was feeling much better.
Hubby and I headed north on Tuesday morning, leaving the kiddos with their grandparents. We stopped off in Frankenmuth, MI, another of my most favorite places to visit! We didn't do much, but really enjoyed the time to just walk around, look in the stores, and just be together. We left there and went on to the in-laws' cottage. The boys and the in-laws joined us there that evening.
After a night of little sleep (4 people in one bedroom...), hubby and I headed north again on Wed. (our 20th anniversary!). It was raining (pouring at times), but by the time we got to Mackinaw City, it was only overcast. We boarded the ferry in St. Ignace, and got to the island before noon. Anyone who knows me, knows I don't do well on little sleep. My nerves were bad that day. I felt a little better by the time we got over to the island, though. While touring St. Anne's Church, I suddenly got very, very sick. Thankfully, some parishioners were meeting there at the time, and one of the women was a nurse! She assisted me to the ladies' restroom, and made sure I got a cool cup of water. Someone else made sure my hubby knew where I was. After about half an hour, I was doing much better, and we went on our way.
We spent the night at our bed n' breakfast, which was just okay. I must definitely say, too, that the food choices in St. Ignace are not the greatest. Our food was overpriced, and not very tasty. We did take a nice walk along the boardwalk afterward, though. It's right on the water, and a nice way spend an evening! We also walked over to St. Ignatius of Loyola Church, and enjoyed being in the quiet of the church for awhile. It was beautiful.
The breakfast we were served the next morning was excellent. We had fruit cups with strawberries and bananas, followed by some type of egg dish, baked into a shell of Canadian bacon. Hard to describe, but very yummy! This was served with a side of ham and English muffin toast (bread that tastes similar to sour dough bread). Very, very good! And the service was excellent, too.
We headed south after checking out, and stopped in Indian River, at the Cross in the Woods Shrine. We stayed for noon Mass, had lunch at McDonald's, then headed back to the folks' cottage. When we got into town, we called ahead to see what they were up to. They were just about to take the boys on a boat ride. They held up for awhile, until we got there, and we all enjoyed a couple of rides around the lake. That evening, we had a wonderful roast dinner, then tried to have a campfire. I say tried, because the wood was still wet from the previous day's rain. We were able to get enough of a flame to roast a few marshmallows...but that's about it. Hubby and the boys played a little "baseball," then we headed the kiddos to bed.
We stayed about 1 1/2 days longer at the cottage, then headed back south to the Detroit area. Near the end of our trip, we got into some heavy traffic congestion on I-96, which was caused by construction. A few miles past the end of that construction, we were almost to the I-275 exit. A sign said, "275 traffic, keep right." So we did. However, shortly before the actual exit, we saw a flashing arrow...followed by barrels in our lane! Hubby's dad hit his brakes, then maneuvered around the barrels. We tried to do the same. We were coming to a stop, when suddenly we heard a loud screech, followed by two crashing sounds, and then we were hit! The impact forced the front of our car into the back of my in-laws van. SCARY! After a couple of seconds, we all got out to check out the damage, etc. Thankfully, my kids and in-laws were unharmed, as were both of us. Our vehicles didn't even show any real damage. However, the three vehicles behind us were not so fortunate. The car behind us had a little front-end damage, but the back of her car was demolished. The van behind her had more front-end damage, but the back of their van was smashed. The big van behind them...the front was a mess. The great thing, though, was that no one was seriously injured. A kind man had pulled over to see if all of us were okay, and to make sure the police were called (I had already called 9-1-1, though). In a few minutes, a pickup stopped. An off-duty police officer jumped out with his emergency pack and ran along the vehicles to make sure we were all okay, too. He stayed until the state police showed up. Also, a passing van full of guys hollered out to us, "Do you need us to call for help?" A couple of people from the one van did go in an ambulance, just to have some bumps checked out. Overall, though, it turned out much better than it could have, considering the amount of traffic and the situation!
Needless to say, by the time we arrived back at my in-laws' home, we were all pretty shaken up. Thankful, though, to be sure!
We spent a relaxing Father's Day morning attending church, having lunch, and then watching an episode of Perry Mason together (a new favorite of my kids now!). Then we headed home...and, thankfully, it was an uneventful trip!
So there it all is, in a nutshell. Next week...we head to Kansas!
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
I just read this story on Yahoo! News. As you probably already know, abortionist George Tiller was murdered about 1 1/2 weeks ago. As usual, the pro abortion camp has made this a political issue, lashing out against pro-lifers as "extremists."
The group Operation Rescue has discussed buying the building Tiller used as his clinic. In response, the Tiller family's attorney said: " 'I'm just not going to respond to every irreverent publicity stunt or comment by these extremists,' said...Dan Monnat."
Buying a building is a publicity stunt? What???
The response from Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue: " 'We would love to see that place established as a center for life, one that nurtures and cares for babies, rather than taking their lives,' Newman said of Tiller's former clinic." Sounds more like reclaiming a territory for God to me! (Brings to mind the book of Joshua!)
Dr. Tiller (and I used the title with some trepidation, as doctors are sworn to protect and preserve life, not take it) was definitely an extreme man with extreme views. Killing babies for any reason is murder. Killing them in the third trimester of pregnancy? Brutal and Hitler-ish.
But for someone to murder him? As one of my sons said: "If they are pro-life why would they murder someone?" The ends do not justify the means. If someone claims to be pro-life, they should be pro ALL life. Right?
The early Church was a shining example of this. They were persecuted and afflicted in ways we cannot even begin to fathom. Yet they showed love to the very end of their lives. (This is one thing that has always bothered me about the movie, "The Robe." I love the movie, except the scene where the Christians basically start a riot to break one of their own free from prison. Killing Roman soldiers was NOT the way Christians dealt with their persecutors!)
So as the Church today, we should show love in every situation, too. Taking a man's life is not how we promote LIFE!
And yet, we still must take extreme measures at times to protect life.
Saturday, June 06, 2009
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
We had a prayer service for him last Thursday. We are having another one this Thursday, June 4, at 8:30 p.m. EDT. Please join us in praying!
Thanks again for all your prayers and words of encouragement.
Monday, June 01, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Memorial Day is full of, well, memories for me. The graves of my closest relatives are located in two small cemeteries, which are both close to the home where I grew up. One was almost across the road from our house. My dad's relatives are buried there. The graves of my mother's relatives are in a cemetery about 12 miles from my parents' home. Every Memorial Day, we would go to the closest one and place flowers on graves. The other cemetery had an annual flag ceremony, in which flags were placed on the graves of all the veterans. Stirring music would be played over the loud speakers, and a short speech given by a local dignitary. It was always a challenge to hurry and put flowers by head stones before the ceremony began.
The wonderful things about this tradition were, first of all, that I learned so much about my ancestors. Who was married to whom. Whose parent was this? Whose child was this? How am I related to this person? Another great thing was that we often saw friends and relatives that were visiting for the weekend. As I grew older, the meaning of it all became more somber and deeper to me, as I lost my grandmother and others over that time.
As an adult, having lived out of state, nearer to my husband's relatives, I have gleaned even more from this day. For instance, my husband's infant brother is buried in one of the Detroit suburbs. Our oldest son is named after him. There is such a sense of pride when I see the flags waving on the graves of my uncle and my husband's grandfather: men who served their country bravely.
Of course, as time passes, there will be more graves of loved ones, more memories...not something I look forward to.
But there is definitely a great spiritual lesson here as well. As Christians, there is no cemetery where we go to a grave marker and remember the death of our Lord. Simply the reminder that there is an EMPTY grave...death could not hold Him! But why not also take this opportunity to reflect on His death and resurrection, and all that it means to us? And on the glories of the future resurrection for "all who love Him and His appearing?"
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Thank you in advance for keeping him in your prayers.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Well, it's an event for my hubby and me!
Next month, we will celebrate our 20th anniversary. Yes, it's true!
We are going to Michigan, and will spend the night here. And if you think that's great, wait until you see the room we have reserved!
In addition, we will make a day trip over to Mackinac Island, one of our favorite places to visit for an anniversary!
Friday, May 08, 2009
"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.' " John 14:6
I read this quote today, and wanted to share it with my readers:
"Jesus, our Savior, true God and true man, must be the ultimate end of all our other devotions; otherwise they would be false and misleading. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and end of everything. 'We labor,' says Saint Paul, 'only to make all men perfect in Jesus Christ.'
For in Him alone dwells the entire fullness of the divinity and the complete fullness of grace, virtue, and perfection. In Him alone we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing; He is the only teacher from whom we must learn; the only Lord on whom we should depend; the only Head to whom we should be united and the only model that we should imitate. He is the only Physician that can heal us; the only Shepherd that can feed us; the only Way that can lead us; the only Truth that we can believe; the only Life that can animate us. He alone is everything to us and He alone can satisfy all our desires.
We are given no other name under heaven by which we can be saved. God has laid no other foundation for our salvation, perfection, and glory than Jesus. Every edifice which is not built on that firm rock is founded upon shifting sands and will certainly fall sooner or later. Every one of the faithful who is not united to Him is like a branch broken from the stem of the vine. It falls and withers and is fit only to be burnt. If we live in Jesus and Jesus lives in us, we need not fear damnation. Neither angels in heaven nor men on earth, nor devils in hell, no creature whatever can harm us, for no creature can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Through Him, with Him, and in Him, we can do all things and render all honor and glory to the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit; we can make ourselves perfect and be for our neighbor a fragrance of eternal life."
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Saturday, May 02, 2009
My niece and I were recently having an "e-mail discussion" about how so many people have this warped idea that once that Christians do not face the same temptations that worldly people do. (So what does this mean for worldly Christians??? That's a subject for another post!) People who are not serving Christ look at Christians like: you just don't face the same things I do. You just don't know. When the truth of the matter is, Christians often face even tougher temptations and trials. Those who are trying to really serve Christ and desire their lives to reflect His life have a barrage of things thrown at them by the enemy (Satan) who's main goal is to see them fail.
But I think there are Christians, too, who see this all in the wrong light. They face things with a whole defeatist attitude of "it's all too much for me...I'm weak...temptation is more than I can bear..." Forgetting that we have the tools and spiritual weapons to fight and resist and defeat anything the devil throws at us!
Then there is the whole other issue of those who try to appear "holy" any time they're around someone who they know is a Christian. They stifle their language, humor, etc. to try to impress Christians. Sorry, folks. God isn't going to ask me for a letter of recommendation on you! Whether I am impressed or not, it is still His standard you need to follow, not mine!
Well, there's enough rambling to catch me up for a few days! :o)
Have a blessed day in the Lord!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
1. Forgiveness--given freely to all, as many times as needed. No limit. Christ's forgiveness toward us knows no bounds. Ours should reflect His.
2. Servanthood--Jesus gave of Himself over and over. That is what He calls us to do.
3. The cross--we should go through it, not try to go around it or just be near it. Jesus called us to the cross, even as He knew His destiny was the cross and all that meant.
4. Obedience--no matter what. Whatever He calls us to do is what we MUST do.
It's time to move on from Lent, and, as our deacon said so eloquently at the vigil: Let's be resurrection people every day!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
"...they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that He was alive." Luke 24:23b
"But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep." I Thessalonians 4:13-14
My offering to God: I will rejoice in Christ's victory over death and His gift of eternal life.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
There is a wonderful old hymn that we always used to sing on Easter when I was growing up. I think the first two verses capture the essence of this day so well:
Low in the grave He lay, Jesus, my Savior!
Waiting the coming day--Jesus, my Lord!
Vainly they watch His bed, Jesus, my Savior!
Vainly they seal the dead--Jesus, my Lord!
During family prayer this morning, we talked about how we, as modern-day Christians, have the benefit of knowing the "rest of the story." We know what's coming tomorrow! But those first disciples did not. All they knew was that their Master was crucified, put into a tomb, and, for all they knew, they would be next on the Pharisees' hit list. That Saturday was a quiet day of mourning and contemplating what the future might hold for each of them.
But..."It was not possible that He should be holden of death." Acts 2:24 Thanks be to God!
Tonight is the Easter Vigil, which really begins Easter in the Catholic Church. We will begin the evening in complete darkness. Then, those who are to be baptized and/or received into the Church tonight, will enter with candles. As we progress through the evening, readings from the Bible will progress from the sin in the garden to Christ's crucifixion. And, of course, to the resurrection. Light will flood the church as we celebrate Christ's triumph over death and darkness. Bells will ring. We will witness the baptisms, confirmations, and first reception of communion, of those who are coming into Christ and the Church. It is a glorious occasion. And after our Lenten season without it, we will once again declare, "Alleluia!" The Mass ends around midnight, which is truly the beginning of Easter. An amazing time of rejoicing.
Thank you to all who have joined me on this Lenten journey...especially to Pat who has been so faithful! This has really been a good discipline for me, too. One I would like to continue, if I can find the time.
God bless you all...I'll be here again tomorrow! Join me on our day of great celebration!
My offering to God: Today I will give thanks and praise to the Lord for all He has done for me.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Thursday, April 09, 2009
My offering to God: Today I will humbly serve another person.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
" 'I say to you, one of you will betray Me.' " Matthew 26:21b
This follows closely with my post from yesterday. What is the difference, though, between denying Christ and betraying Him? Honestly, I don't know if there really is a difference.
However, the results of Peter's denial and the betrayal by Judas seem to be worlds apart, don't they? After all, Peter only said he didn't know Jesus. Judas gave Jesus over to the Jewish leaders, which resulted in Jesus' crucifixion.
I wonder, though. The servant girl and the others who heard Peter's denial...did it keep them from believing in Jesus? Did they look at Peter and think, "Wow. If someone who knew Him that well turns on Him, how good could He really be?" That, coupled with the fact that their leaders found Him guilty...did it keep them from faith, too? We will probably never know the answer to that question, as far as Peter is concerned. But what about us? Do those who know we profess to be Christians ever have cause to wonder if we really follow Him? How does it affect them?
Of course, we do know the outcome of the actions Judas took. We know Christ was condemned and crucified. We know Judas took his own life out of remorse for what he had done. So tragic to me. Judas gave into his greed for money. Maybe he thought he was doing something right, and ended up doing something terribly, terribly wrong. Either way, he could have repented. Jesus' forgiveness would have been his.
Therein lies our hope, too, friend. Amidst this season of introspection and repentance, we have the privilege of knowing the end of the story: the resurrection, forgiveness, life...! No matter how many times we have denied Him or betrayed Him, forgiveness can be ours, if we repent out of a broken and contrite heart.
My offering to God: I will reflect on the many times I have betrayed Jesus by not following His commands.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
" 'I say to you the cock will not crow before you deny Me three times.' " John 13:38b
I cannot imagine the way Peter must have felt when he heard the crowing of that rooster.
And yet, maybe I can...
How many times have I denied Him? I have never said, "I do not know Him." But how many times have my actions said that?
My offering to God: I will have courage in witnessing my faith in Christ, even when there is opposition.
Monday, April 06, 2009
The oil used in anointing Jesus was not wasted...it was poured upon the Lord as a great gift of sacrifice.
My offering to God: I will serve Christ by giving a gift to the poor.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
Saturday, April 04, 2009
We pray something called the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy in the Catholic church. This is part of that prayer:
"Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world."
And because of His mercy...He died for all...
My offering to God: I will reflect on Christ's tremendous sacrifice of love for us.
Friday, April 03, 2009
"And many there began to believe in Him." John 10:42
Wouldn't it be wonderful if they could say that of the city where you live? What if that were the headline in your local paper tomorrow? What if the national news media caught wind of the story and broadcast it on the evening news: "And the breaking news from [your town], [your state], is that many there are beginning to believe in Jesus Christ!"
Whew...now THAT is news worth reading and hearing about!
My offering to God: I will pray that those who are far from God will come to believe in Christ.
Thursday, April 02, 2009
"If you remain in My word, you will truly be My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free...Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps My word will never see death." John 8:31b-32, 51
Those are truly potent words, aren't they? They clearly show us how powerful every word Jesus spoke is for our lives. When we read "in My word" today, we automatically think, "the Word of God--the Bible". And while that is true, we have to remember that at the time Jesus was telling these things to His disciples, the only Scriptures they knew were the Old Testament. There was no "Bible", per se. He literally meant the words He was speaking to them. His teachings. So let's take it from that perspective first.
* Remain in His word...keep believing and keep learning from everything He taught. You will know the truth, and you will be set free!
* Keep His word...don't stop doing it. You will never see death!
Hold on! What?! No death? Right! That's the joy of life eternal!
And where do we find these teachings? Starting at Matthew, work your way through the New Testament. In the first four gospels, you will find Jesus' life and teachings. That's the best place to start. If you continue into Acts, you will read the lives of His disciples, as they began teaching Jesus' words to others, and began living out what He had taught them personally. Then keep going...don't stop there! As you move into Romans and the books that follow, you will find more in-depth writing about how to live out the things Jesus taught. You will be free...and you will never see death? Yes. Not just because you're reading something. But if you're obedient to what you're reading (which is the whole point, after all)...then the freedom and the eternal life part will be evident. Diligence followed by true obedience. That's what it really means to trust His words. Trust Him enough to obey Him.
Because, the beauty of it is, we do have the Bible now...
Let's get started!
My offering(s) to God: I will read and study God's word daily. I will trust Jesus' words.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I really wish that were my testimony! That I only do and say what the Father wants me to do! That is exactly what Jesus did, though. So He could honestly say, "When you've seen Me, you've seen the Father."
Can people say the same of me?
My offering to God: Today I will strive to follow God's Word rather than relying on myself.
" 'Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.' " John 8:7b
The only One who was without sin was Jesus...and He didn't condemn her!
My offering to God: I will examine my own life when I'm tempted to condemn another.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
The truth of following Christ...be wherever He is...and where would He be? Serving the poor, caring for the sick, visiting the prisoners, caring for the least, helping others...that's where He is, and where He wants us to be.
And the Father will honor us. Not with the honors of this world, but with eternal life. The best reward of all!
My offering to God: Today I will reflect on what it means to be a faithful servant of Christ.