Monday, August 31, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
I just had to share a post I just read from her blog, it is hysterical. Here's the link to the site
http://www.walkingbytheway.com/blog/?p=19 . The post is about things she thought she'd never have to say to her children. She's raising boys and is amazed by the things they will do and the things she's had to say to them in the process.
I had to chime in and add my own "things I never imagined I'd have to say" to her post. Although I'm raising girls, Sarah Beth has given me plenty of strange things I've had to say to her.
Here's what I added:
Why did you pour that in your food?
We don’t eat doggie food, or drink the doggie’s water!
Don’t you dare jump from there!
Why would you paint your whole body with yogurt?
If you keep doing that, you and that chair are going to go through that window!!!
With Anna, the funny things said always came from her!!
Abiding in His grace,
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
As a Christian homeschooler, my greatest job and desire as my children's mother and teacher is their discipleship. There is no greater work during the day than this. Sure, we cover the subjects, yes we enjoy the benefits of homeschooling which are too numerous to list and include things like "jammie days" when we never get our of our pj's. But, while those are great benefits to home education, my only desire is that I disciple my children throughout the day.
Each struggle that we encounter -whether academic, relational, personal or spiritual is addressed from scripture in the natural, comfortable setting of home. For instance, if we (as individuals or as a family) are having problems relating to someone else (in a co-op class, a tutorial teacher, someone at church, in dance class, etc...) we look at Matthew 18 and determine what our role is in the relationship. We seek to be living examples of Christ and His church as we walk by the way, as we sit down and as we rise up (Deut. 6:4-9); and to disciple our children throughout the day to do the same. It is a difficult calling at best, because our children see our flaws daily, and as I say regularly, "My sin is ever before me."
One thing I've struggled with over the years is "family devotion" time. Through this Bible study, I am learning what it means to worship together as a family. I always thought that "family devotion time" was a necessary part of a healthy Christian family. As well, I thought that it should look like a miniature church service - you know - singing, Dad doing a devotional reading, and prayer. Well, we are not a "singing" family and dad doesn't really get excited over devotional readings, so for years I struggled with feeling like our family worship didn't measure up to what I thought it was "supposed" to look like.
However, during my Bible study this week, I came upon chapter 2 of the book I'm reading, "Develop Ways to Have Inspiring Family Worship Experiences." As I began to read through the material and the scriptures, I was convicted that I had set up something like an "idol" in my heart about what family worship should be. Then, every time we fell short of that, which would be daily, I would feel frustrated and condemned. Now, we all know that condemnation is not from the Lord, so wonder where that was coming from? (Romans 8:1) The "accuser of the brethren" who constantly tells us that we don't "measure up" to some particular standard? (Revelation 12:10).
Family worship includes a lot of things:
1) It includes your time in worship with your church. This is why we have always chosen to keep our children with us during worship time rather than having them participate in children's church programs.
2) It includes finding ways to focus on God and His worthiness throughout the day.
3) It includes finding ways to use the things you enjoy doing as a family as an opportunity to worship God.
4) It includes having a family ministry/mission. It can be divisive for family members to be involved in varying ministries, but unifying when you can find a way to minister together as a family.
So the study posed a couple of questions, and I will share my answers with you here:
1) What are some ways we can remind ourselves and our families of God's worthiness every day? (Hmmm, that kind of sounds like worship...)
Call to memory scripture verses as they pertain to the details of our daily lives.
Memorize scripture together as a family.
Listen to Christian music cds during the day and evening.
Daily personal Bible study, and reading the Bible with our children.
Enjoying virtuous books that feed the soul as well as the mind. (We like the Lamplighter series for this purpose.)
2) Jot down 3 activities your family enjoys doing together:
* Working on special projects together
* Family movie and pizza night
* Entertaining friends in our home
Then I began to think, I know - that can be dangerous :O) - how can we worship God while doing the things we enjoy doing together as a family?
1) Special projects: See God's creativity in the way He's made us to be creative individuals. Focus on having a servant's heart when we have the opportunity to work on special projects that benefit someone besides ourselves. This pleases the Lord.
2) Celebrate God by watching virtuous movies (I know they're hard to find), and point out un-Christlike behavior, discussing matters from a Biblical point of view, and teaching discernment to our children in the process.
3) Show hospitality and the love of Christ in our home, by the way we relate with one another. Be willing to be hospitable even when things aren't "perfect" - the house neat and clean, a fancy meal to share, etc... I've often wondered what sort of example we set for young believer's if we only entertain when things are "just so". I would not want to make other's feel unable to be hospitable because they can't live up to the examples others have set for them.
So, here's what I learned about family worship -
It won't look the same for every family, because every family is different.
It doesn't have to be a "mini" church service.
"Continual" worship is pleasing to God, and He is worthy of our worship.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from this particular lesson:
All glory be to Him! Abiding in His grace,
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Today I would like to share some verses for you to meditate on as you read through the update:
Ephesians 2:10 reminds us that God has already prepared the things that our team is to do while they are in Guatemala on this trip. He has ordained every good work they will do...
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ
Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand
that we should walk in them."
"How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “ How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
Before our team left for Guatemala they were told (by a couple that travel on mission trips alot) that the main word to remember was "flexability".
Thinking they would be starting on the widow's house today, they learned that the "maestros" (known here as foremen) don't work on Sunday. I suppose that makes since being that we're working with a ministry there. So here's what the day looked like...
They traveled to "The Promised Land" a facility built by Impacto and used for Bible studies, church gatherings, etc... The facility is directly on the water of Lake Atitlan and they have had problems with the property erroding at the water's edge. So today, they worked on rebuilding a sea wall. Once they finished that up they had some children come in for a
Giann Hoosier, the 15 year old daughter of Craig and Debra, went through training this year with CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship) and worked as a CEF counselor this Summer doing backyard Bible clubs throughout the Birmingham area. She got up and told a story and shared with the children about Christ, and Pastor Luis' son translated.
Once they finished with the program they began working on outfitting the children present with shoes. Todd said they washed the feet and fitted shoes for approximately 200 children!!!! He said that they were all very appreciative, only one didn't seem very excited but it was because he was sick and not feeling well.
Once they were finished it was beginning to get dark outside and Pastor Luis told them that they needed to get ready to leave to go back to San Pedro for the night. Thinking they had provided shoes for all of the children who attended the service today, they walked outside to leave and found standing outside a group of people waiting and hoping for shoes that was as big as the group that they had just worked with. Approximately another 200 people waiting outside because they couldn't get into the building. I can only imagine how disheartening that must have been for our team, and for those who'd waited and hoped. Please pray that they will be able to get them all fitted tomorrow or sometime during the course of the rest of the week. Remember, we had 555 pairs of shoes to give out, and they have used less than half!!!
Tomorrow the men and boys begin work on the widow's house and the others will continue doing Bible school with the children, and begin the women's Bible study on the book of Ruth.
As you continue to pray, remember our workers -
1) That they would have the energy and stamina to do the work they've gone to accomplish.
2) That everyone would continue to stay well.
And remember the people they are ministering to.
1) That they would be receptive to the help our team has gone to give them.
2) That their hearts would be prepared to hear the Word of God.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Just got a message from Todd, didn't get to the cellphone before it rolled to voice mail...
He said they had just finished eating dinner, everyone is doing well, they met a group of people from New York who just came back from the Lake region where they will be heading to tomorrow. They were all able to share and visit, had a brief devotion time, and enjoyed visiting with the others. He says they are all looking forward to a goodnight's sleep!
They will all be staying together in "the compound" tonight, and the team from New York will be returning to NY tomorrow. Our team will head out in the morning for a short trip to Antigua to visit the shops and see the sites there. We visited Antigua when we went to pick Sarah Beth up to bring her home. It is a city with many historical sites and ruins, and quite a bit of commerce from street vendors selling jewelry and woven goods, to a Jade factory and Jewelry store that I'm sure they will visit tomorrow also. We enjoyed the best steak we've ever had in Antigua, but I'm sure they won't be going there tomorrow.
After they finish in Antigua they will head out for the Lake Atitlan region and begin the work they went to do in San Pedro. Lake Atitlan is said to be one of the most beautiful lakes on earth. I've only seen it in pictures and I must agree. I hope to go on the mission trips they take in the future, when Sarah Beth is old enough to return. For now, we can enjoy the pictures...
For interesting facts and information about the Country where your loved ones are currently doing the Lord's work, visit this website http://www.larutamayaonline.com/guatemala_facts.php
Goodnight, and God bless, I'll check in with you all again tomorrow.
Friday, August 14, 2009
This is the first of the posts I will be making as we hear updates from the "Land of Eternal Spring". Guatemala is so called because of it's nearly year-round Spring like weather.
Our team landed safely in Guatemala and had lunch with Pastor Luis in his home.
Thank you so much to all of you who donated shoes, you will be absolutely AMAZED to hear that the grand total of shoes donated was...... 555 pairs!!!
Is that amazing or what???!!!???
I will continue to post updates as I receive them.
Remember to keep them all in your prayers, praying for their safety, for the projects they are working on to run smoothly, for the hearts of the people to be softened and prepared by the Lord, and most importantly for the salvation of souls to the glory of God! Pray that they will remain well, and no one will forget and drink the water !! My 12 year old took tape to tape her mouth shut in the shower because they told them not to even get the water in their mouths in there!!! LOL - you gotta love the ideas kids come up with!!
We've wondered if it might be possible that they could be ministering in the village where Sarah is from. We don't know where her mother and grandmother are, and her older brother. But, we know they are there somewhere. We also sponsor a little girl in Guatemala, her name is Jessica. Todd spent time studying her little face in the picture we have of her on our refrigerator so that if he were to see her he would know.
They are expected to minister to approximately 100 women through a women's Bible study of the book of Ruth. The team Anna is working with will be doing games, crafts and backyard Bible club activities with approximately 80-100 children!!
I'd have to guess that our team will sleep well tonight, even in a foreign land... they were all up and at the airport by 4 this morning!!! I had to drive mine there, so I'm turning in early myself!!
Abiding in His Grace, and caring for the Guatemalan here on the home front!
Thursday, August 6, 2009
We have several friends going through storms in their lives right now. We've been through many ourselves. I've often heard it said that if you aren't currently in a storm, look out - one might be on its way. At some point in our lives we experience them, some experience more of them than others. As believers we have somewhere to go and Someone to turn to. Daily time in our own "secret place" with God, where we are alone with Him and His word and prayer, is crucial to our Spiritual growth and our ability to weather the storms.
Abiding in His grace, and praying for you - my friends who are in need,
"For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock."
"You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues."
These scriptures, were written by David when he was fleeing from Saul, he was not able to get to the "Tabernacle" to be with God. But, he knew that the Lord was with him in his secret place.
"While the place of prayer is a place of immunity, it is also one of Satan's favorite places to attack the devout.... So, the secret place is both a place of sanctuary and also of the enemy's strategic attacks. The assurance to the believer, however, is that when he is attacked in the place of prayer the Father is exercising sovereign jurisdiction over the entire affair. Nothing can happen to you in the secret place that He doesn't specifically allow for His higher purposes. You are totally immune from anything outside His will.
Psalm 91 deals with the tension of safety versus turbulence. The psalm launches with this powerful assurance, 'He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.' And we think, 'Great! Nothing can touch me there!' But the remainder of the psalm seems to contradict that thought. Verse 3 speaks of being snared by the fowler and being caught by the pestilence. (The fact that God delivers us from those things does not negate the reality of the pain we experience when we are initially caught in their grip.)... Verse 15 points to great personal trouble - the comfort being that the Lord will be present in the time of trouble and will bring deliverance. But waiting on God until the deliverance comes can be agonizing at times.
The closer we draw to the Lord in intimacy, the more real the warfare will be we encounter. Francis Frangipane described it with the phrase, "New levels, new devils." As the attacks increase, our cry only intensifies, 'Hide me!' While the body and soul may be afflicted with increasing harassment and abuse, the spirit is finding a place of greater protection, rest, and intimacy under the shadow of the Almighty. (see 2 Corinthians 4:8-11) ...
... Are winds swirling about your head? Run into the Lord! A refuge is something you flee into. A refuge doesn't automatically erect itself around you; you have to seek it out and run into its shelter for safe harbor. ... If God is to be your refuge, you must flee to Him. The cry is, 'Oh Lord, I am about to be consumed - I run into You! Hide me!' "
"Be my strong refuge, to which I may resort continually."
(Note from me - I LOVE that verse!!! What an amazing reminder that God is always there for us. We can resort to Him continually!!! He is our strength.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Because of our understanding of His perfect love and His sovereignty, it becomes easy then to see tragedies and perilous times in perspective. Then, we must trust in Him fully to submit to His plans for our lives over our own.
This weekend has been filled with some REALLY strange happenings that reminded me of these Biblical principles.
- As I mentioned in the previous post, Todd and Anna will be traveling to Guatemala in the month of August, and there is a great need of shoes to be used with the "Happy Feet" ministry there. People travel from other villages when they hear that the Happy Feet people will be in town. Many travel without shoes, having never owned a pair. I wanted desperately to be able to provide a lot of shoes for them to take with them when they leave. They each have 2 large pieces of luggage to fill, but they must not exceed 50 pounds each. So, we began asking others to donate and began looking for some deals on shoes ourselves. My mother and I went to the Thrift Store and she purchased 37 pairs of like new shoes for boys, girls, women, and men. Each pair ranged from $ .99 - $2.48/pair. What a great find! A friend of her's went too and bought several more pairs to add to them. My sister-in-law went to her local Wal-Mart and found summer shoes on clearance for $1-$2/pair. Shoes that had been $5-$10/pair originally. My friend Vonda donated some of her girl's shoes that were outgrown, but still in great shape! My friend Leslie found shoes on clearance at our local Wal-Mart - men's tennis shoes for about $3.50/pair, and some shoes like my Sister-In-Law bought on clearance, so she picked those up. Others have told us they are going to donate funds for shoes, or go through their own to find some they could give. We are giving shoes to people who may have only 1 pair, the pair given to them, and out of our plenty we give freely!! That is God at work, meeting the needs of His people in another Country, through the hearts of His people in the United States!!! Amazing, something only God could orchestrate. I am not worried about the weight of the luggage, we'll pack them full, and God can take care of how much they weigh - RIGHT??? See how far reaching and involved His sovereignty is?? I have no FEAR!!!!
- A family we have become close to lost their daughter 9 years ago to a brain tumor. Having lost one of our own, we have a special connection with them, even though the circumstances are different. This weekend, their oldest son had a tumor removed from his brain. He is an adult, just finished up his Masters and preparing to go to work. The tumor is malignant. They are waiting for more news to come next week about his further treatment options. They understand Sovereignty, and they are fully submitted to God's will and resting in His Sovereign Grace, and love - that casts out fear!!!!
- Now, the strangest of all our weekend events... Last night, around dusk, we were in our family room watching our Friday night Family Movie. This is what we do every Friday, along with eating weigh too much (yes I spelled it that way for a reason :O) !!!) pizza. I was sitting in the floor, wiping down all of our Thrift Store shoes with a Clorox wipe, when I felt a lite bump on the floor. I said to Todd, "What was that? Did you feel that bump?" He didn't, yes we were watching it in SURROUND SOUND, so we didn't hear anything. About 5 minutes or so passed and my cell phone rang, it was my mother. She asked where we were and I told her we were at home. She then said, "Do you know that there is a girl in your driveway? She's hit your retaining wall, and she's out of the car standing in the drive." WHAT??? Todd and I rushed outside to see what was going on and I called 911. In our driveway was a red car, smashed completely into our retaining wall, the car totaled, airbags deployed, and a 4 foot iron fence post driven through the front windshield and down to her seat. The car couldn't make the curve, she lost control and went through two fences. She split an 8x8 railroad tie in half, plowed up that fence, went through some pasture, plowed up some more fence, and then drove across our yard and into the retaining wall! The girl was standing in the driveway, talking to 911, cuts and scrapes on her arm, leg and ankle, face hurting from the airbag, but other than that - totally unharmed. She refused to call her parents, for fear of their anger or punishment I suppose. I got their number and called them myself. We had every type of flashing light vehicle you can imagine, two of some of them, lined up along the road in front of our house. In God's Sovereignty, this girl's life was spared. She admitted to coming through the 90 degree curve before our house doing 55 miles per hour!!! WAY TOO FAST!!! The speed limit is about 25. She was not killed, and I wanted her and her family to know that she wasn't killed because God is Sovereign!!!!! I told her, numerous times, that the Lord was watching over her. One of the rescue workers said, somebody was riding in that car alongside her. I knew what he meant. I told her parents, and a friend that came with them, over and over again, that her life had been spared. I told the rescue workers, and the police, the wrecker driver, anyone who came past me - the Lord was with her in that wreck. By all the scientific "evidence", she should have been dead. The force of the impact should have given her a severe back or neck injury at the very least, and at the worst, she could have been impaled by the metal fence post through her head, neck, or body!! BUT, because of God's sovereignty, it came in through the top of her windshield and came to rest to the left side of her driver's seat. Unbelievable!!!! And, amazingly, our retaining wall suffered absolutely no damage. Nothing! It stands as solid now as it did before she hit at a speed of about 50-55 miles an hour. From the way things looked, she was accelerating. We learned many lessons from this particular event, about teenagers and their parents, about God's grace and mercy, and about sharing our faith with others in times of tragedy. The family was of foreign descent, they appeared to be from India. It made for an interesting Friday Family Movie night!
Please remember our friends and their son as they navigate his cancer and work with the Doctors to prepare a course of treatment. Pray for all of us as we prepare for the Guatemala trip. Lastly, pray that this family saw Christ during their short time at our home last night.
Abiding in His grace and sovereignty, resting in His love, and putting feet to faith,