Friday, December 30, 2011

5 Minute Friday..Open

It's 5 minute Friday again! Five minutes to write on one topic, no editing, just my thoughts on one word!

Today's word is Open.

Ready, set, go....

Open is the word for the days. I am thinking of open doors. What doors will the Lord open for me and my family in 2012?

 My son will be graduating in May and leaving for college in August. Right now it seems as though he has two open doors before him. One leads to Texas, the other to Ohio. Which one will he take? Lord guide him as he prays about this decision.

My daughter Abby, is praying for one day a door to open to a country that is hostile to US citizens. Lord, you know her heart is very mission minded, I pray you would continue to work in her life and lead her to the open door that will help her follow her heart for you.

As Ashley and Larry embark on their new life together starting on March 3rd, I pray for open doors for them. That you would show them what your will for their lives is. Seminary? Kids? Guide them Lord, make obvious to them the open doors.

Lord, in my own life as my husband and I face so many changes this year, I pray for open doors as well. What ministry do you have in store for me once this nest is empty. Show me Lord what your plan is for me! Not only show me open doors, but open the eyes of my heart!

stop...





Saturday, December 24, 2011

20 years ago...

 20 years ago today our lives were blessed with the presence of a baby girl. What a precious gift she is. Her name is Abigail which means source of joy and this is truly what she is.

Some people think having a birthday on Christmas Eve is a bad thing, but not Abby! She has always loved having her birthday so close to Christmas. In fact for many years, she and Jesus shared a birthday cake!




Abby is not a cowgirl, but she did spend a year in Texas!
These pictures are a tribute to your year in Texas Abby!


20 Facts about our Abby

1) She was walking at 8 months!
2) She didn't walk for long, by two, she ran everywhere! (even places she shouldn't have!)
3) One very big problem she has as a toddler was she would lie about everything. A lot of prayer and good old fashioned discipline and she is now the most honest person I know.
4) She became a Christian at a very young age. Her sister Ashley led her to the Lord.
5) Abby was not born with an internal compass. Let's just say directions are not her thing!
6) When she was younger she was really into gymnastics, in fact she would do cartwheels down the grocery store aisle without even realizing she did it.
7) Abby's favorite color is purple.
8) Abby hates geese!
9) She also dislikes magicians, thanks to a traumatic experience when she was younger.
10) Abby played volleyball and basketball in jr. high and high school. 
11) Abby has a heart for missions, especially the country of North Korea.
12) Abby has a huge heart for Jesus!
13) Abby is a great poet and song writer.
14) She spent one year at His Hill Bible School and grew even closer to the Lord.
15) Abby has worked as a camp counselor for a few summers and is so good with the kids.
16) She loves to play both guitar and piano.
17) She is currently attending Oak Hills Christian College with a major in Intercultural Studies.
18) She and her dad bond over being middle kids.
19) Abby almost always has a smile on her face.
20) God has always given her perfect roommates, from her sister to her roomies in Texas to her roomie at Oak Hills. 


Happy Birthday Abby!!! I love you very much!! I am so excited to continue watching God work in your life. I know He has amazing things in store for you.


This poem was written by Abby and shows her heart:

Simply Jesus
by A.N.H
The cross
So simple
His death
So true
It demonstrates the depth
Of His love for me and you

Without Him we’d be nothing
We’d be separate from God
But with Him we have everything
And that brings me to my knees


It’s Jesus, simply Jesus
He’s more than I could ever dream
Cuz it’s Jesus, simply Jesus
He is all I need


The question
So common
The answer:
One Way
His death gave us life
His greatness displayed

God living in the flesh
Humble enough to die
But Mighty enough to conquer death
And that makes me bow in awe

Cuz it’s Jesus, simply Jesus
He’s more than I could ever dream
Cuz it’s Jesus, simply Jesus
He is all I need

It’s You Jesus! It’s You!
You are more than I could ever dream!
It’s you, Jesus, simply You
You are all I need!!
You’re more than I could need!

Friday, December 16, 2011

5 Minute Friday...Connected

 It's Five Minute Friday!!!! Today's Word is Connected




 
Don't you hate it when you are having a great conversation with someone on your cell phone and then you lose the person on the other end. What's worse is when it takes you a few minutes to realize it, you've been talking but no one is listening. You are no longer connected. It's such a weird feeling to know that nobody is listening anymore.

Prayer is a much better communication tool than cell phones. When we dial up God, His end of the connection is always open. Sometimes we can do things to cause the communication to drop. We can forget to listen, forget to confess our sins, or forget to talk to Him at all.

I have found that when I do my part to stay connected with God, my life tends to run much smoother. Stress isn't as high, I feel more joy in my day; but when I go without talking and listening to God things are much different. I'm more cranky, less joyful, small things irritate me. (just ask my hubby!)

So, I'm glad my 5 minutes are up...I have some connecting with God to do!!! How about you???

The LORD is near to all who call on him,
   to all who call on him in truth.
Psalm 145:18




Wednesday, December 14, 2011

No Room???

No room...sorry.
 Can't help you sir...sorry.
   Can't you see there's a census going on...of course there's no room...sorry.
     No room in here sir...but I guess you can take the stable...it's a little smelly though...sorry!

I imagine  these were some of the responses Joseph and Mary had when the arrived in Bethlehem. No room for them in the Inn. I wonder had these innkeepers known who they were turning away, would they have answered differently? Would they have suddenly discovered an empty room?

I've got family coming...I can't help at church on Christmas...sorry.
 I don't have money to give...I have my "Santa" presents to buy...sorry.
   There's no room for those "Jesus" ornaments...I've got a snowflake theme this year...sorry.


Are we like the innkeepers? Do we come up with excuses as to why there's no room for Jesus in our own Christmas celebrations? Are we so bogged down with the stresses of buying gifts for everyone, decorating our house just so, baking for days, and attending every party we are invited to that we forget the reason we do it all? Where is Jesus in your Christmas?

Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:7 This is one of my favorite verses on passing on our faith and teaching our children. I feel it is very applicable this time of year! To  put the verse another way. Teach your children about Christmas. Talk to them as you bake Christmas cookies, as you walk the neighborhood caroling, when you get up on Christmas morning. Remind your kids that there is one and only one reason for the season, it is about a man (not the one in the red suit), it is about JESUS!

 The innkeepers may have turned Mary and Joseph away, they didn't know Jesus was coming. We don't have that excuse, we know Christmas is about Him, so let's find room in our December for Jesus!






Linking up today with A Holy Experience...
please visit and find many posts on how to prepare for Christmas!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

5 Minute Friday...Color



It Friday and so time for me to participate with Gypsy Mama in 5 Minute Friday. 5 minutes...one word...no editing.


Today's word is Color:




My very first thought when I read today's word was a song my girls used to sing when they were little...

Red is the color of my favorite rose.
Green is the the color of the grass that grows.
Yellow is the color of the sun that shines.
Way up high in the blue blue sky...
Jesus you sure know how to color.
Jesus you sure know how to color.
Jesus you sure know how to color.
Color my life with love.

I can still picture my girls up on stage at camp singing this song for the Jr. Highers.
Precious memories.

The words to this song may be simple, but oh so true. Jesus, colors my life with so many things. Without him my life would be gray and boring, with him things are just more exciting and vibrant!! Allow Jesus to color your life!



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

One life can make a difference...

Have you ever wondered if one life can really make  a difference? Well one life can and does all the time! We were reminded of this recently. My husband heard from a person who was impacted by our family several years ago. He told my husband that we had taken him to a football game when he was a kid, he remembers playing with our son, and having fun at the game. He said it was one of his best days ever. We were amazed at this story for one simple reason...we barely remembered the day. How amazing that a normal day for us was an extraordinary day for someone else. I find myself wondering what we did that was so special. I may never know the exact answer to that question, but God used it to remind me that even when I'm not aware of it, my life can make a difference. I need to live my life everyday in a way that is pleasing and honoring to God. If I pray for God to help me do just that everyday and listen to what he wants, I will make a difference.

Another similar incident happened almost 20 years ago. Back in those days, my husband was a youth pastor, so we spent a great deal of time with teenagers; sometimes we were less than patient with them. One such time of impatience for me occurred on a trip to Valley Fair with our youth. The night before our big day at the park we were staying at a church and I was so tired. I happened to be laying on the floor next to a few girls who decided it would be fun to stay up all night. The next morning I none to happy with them and I decided to be their shadow that day. Anytime they looked tired, I forced them to walk to another ride, I didn't give them chance to rest all day. I was trying to teach them a lesson and I must say I did it with a pretty sour attitude! Several years later when God called us to another ministry I received a note from one of those girls. She thanked me for that day and told me how much it had meant to her. I was stunned. You really never know what or how your actions will touch people. God can even use a negative attitude for his glory!!

I've been thinking about the people in my life who have made a big difference in my life. I remember Lori, my youth leader in high school. Just watching her live her life impacted me. There wasn't one aha moment, but I was watching her. There was Maggie, the lady who stopped by to visit me right after Brian and I were married and living in seminary housing. She was such a sweet heart and she shared with me about life in the "fish bowl". Then there was Karen, she impacted me just by being a mother to her kids. I saw how they respected her and how she loved them. Watching her mothering style greatly impacted my own mothering style. She never told me what to do, she showed me! There are many more names I could list. People who may not have even realized the impact they had on me, each one of those lives was part of the puzzle to help me strengthen my faith and grow into who I am today.

How about you? Who in your life is watching? How can you make a difference? Remember it doesn't take much!



...nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:15-16

Beholding Glory

Friday, December 2, 2011

5 Minute Friday...Tired




 Today is 5 Minute Friday.

 1 topic....5 minutes...no editing...

Today's topic....Tired





 Yesterday I decided it was time to get out the Christmas decorations and do some house cleaning. I love cranking Christmas music and getting all my nativities arranged just so. I even got my husband involved, he totally rearranged our bedroom! By 7:00 o'clock last night I was complaining about being tired, I wasn't just a little tired I was exhausted...you know can barely keep your eyes opened tired. All from my preparations for Christmas. What an exhausting holiday.

This morning I got to thinking about me being tired yesterday from just moving some boxes and placing some Nativities. My preparations for Christmas are nothing compared to the preparations for the first Christmas. Mary and Joseph had to travel a long way to be part of the first Nativity. They didn't complain and so why should I? If our preparations for Christmas make us so tired, then I dare say we aren't doing it right. I do not want my focus this year to be on the to do list, or what's expected of me, my focus needs to be on that first Christmas and the enormity of it. I need to place my eyes on the reason for the season. Maybe, just maybe, if I do it right, then I won't be tired, but energized and excited by the season!!!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Impossible???

 

For nothing is impossible with God. 
This was what the angel Gabriel told Mary right after he told some pretty "impossible" news. I'm sure Mary would need to cling to this truth many times in her life. As she watched her belly swell with baby Jesus growing inside her, as she waited to see just how Joseph was going to respond, as she visited her cousin Elizabeth who was with child later in life, and as she watched her son be crucified. Those words had to provide her with comfort as she took part in a story that was filled with impossibilities! God saw something in Mary, that is why he chose her for this task. He knew she could handle it. He knew she would experience shame, ridicule and heartbreak in her life, but He knew she would lean on Him and that she would believe that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD.

We too need to believe these words intended for Mary all those years ago. They are still true today. They are true in our own lives. God may not have called us to the same task he called Mary, but he has called us. He has seen in us something special and equipped us each with a task, possibly an "impossible" task, we need to take to heart the truth in Luke 1:27. This Christmas season, keep this truth close at hand. Remember it, apply it, believe it, trust it.

For nothing is impossible with God.






Beholding Glory

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Word Filled Wednesday...love

03.03.12 is the day these two will become man and wife! I am pretty excited for this upcoming wedding of my oldest daughter! Thank you Lord of bringing these two together.




Tuesday, November 22, 2011

That Thankful Time of the Year...

When the kids were little they would pray and thank Jesus for so many things, not just big things, but little things. It could Jesus, thank you for my doll, thank you for juice, thank you for my owie (and the cool bandaid). They had this way of praying from the heart and at that age they didn't take things for granted. Their prayers contained no flowery words, just the facts. One of the kids would pray for Brian like this; Jesus, Daddy, Amen! Maybe we need to be more direct in our praying as well.

Each year before we eat our Thanksgiving dinner we do the ABCs of gratitude. Let me tell you some of the letters its a stretch to find things, we are often thankful for zippers or zebras, xrays and xylophones.  The key is being thankful for all things, the big and the little. God provides it all and therefore he should be thanked for it all. So what little things are you thankful for?

Thanksgiving in the Psalms


Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. Psalm 95:2


Enter His courts with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:2


Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 106:1


Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 118:1



hmmm...those last two seem pretty similar! God trying to tell us something?


Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
            His love endures forever. 
Give thanks to the God of gods.
            His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
            His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven.
            His love endures forever.
Psalm 136:1-3, 26



As you prepare for this Thanksgiving, don't get so wrapped up in the details that you forget to be thankful!

Friday, November 18, 2011

5 Minute Friday...Grow



Today I once again join Gypsy Mama in 5 minute Friday. Five minutes to write about whatever comes to mind...no editing...just writing.



Today's word is: Grow



Begin:

I can't say he was ever really little.
He started life at 10 and 1/2 pounds!
And he did nothing but grow from there.
His first major goal was to get taller than his oldest sister...he did.
Then he has me in sights...no problem, he passed me up without even batting an eye.
Next was his other sister...and finally with excitement he passed up his dad!!
My son has been busy for 17 years growing. 
Now that he is close to 6' 4".
I believe he is done...growing physically that is.

Lately, the growth I see in him is even more exciting.
He is growing in wisdom, in his faith and in his relationship with Jesus!
My quiet, intellectual boy is making his faith his own and that is so exciting to see.
He gets into debates where he defends his faith. 
He is a thinker and makes some excellent points.
I would not want to go up against him!! 
In 6 months he graduates and in 9 months he is off to college.
How exciting it will be to see the growth that will happen to him then!!

Stop


My girls literally look up to their "big" little brother!
 
My prayer has been for Caleb to be like Christ:
And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, 
and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:52

Monday, November 14, 2011

Have you ever been hurt by people...CHURCH people???

I was trying to decide what to share today and then  I read what Beth over at My Destiny wrote. It is really good and pretty powerful. I think we have all hurt or been hurt by someone in the church. Please hope over to her blog and check it out....you will find out why its not good to walk around with bird poop on your sweater!

My Destiny Sharing Hope

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

IDOP...

Sunday, November 13th is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.


In March my daughter Abby and I were blessed to get to attend a regional conference for the Voice of the Martyrs. Walking into the building we were met with a wall of martyrs. What  a sobering way to begin our journey, with a solemn reminder of why we were there.

The verse engraved along the bottom says:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

Every 5 Minutes a Christian is killed for his faith!
There is not enough room on the VOM wall of martyrs for every name.  Daily the list grows longer. 


What can you do?
PRAY
Not just on November 13th, but daily. 


This video contains several ways to be praying for the Persecuted Church, it also contains statistics that literally made me cry as I watched this video. I am thankful that I am not in a country where my faith puts my life in danger everyday. I wonder if I would be strong enough to withstand all that the persecuted church does. These Christians are true examples of living out faith. May we not only pray for them, but be inspired by them as well!






Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Hebrews 13:3


Here are some websites that give even more information on the Persecuted Church.






Friday, November 4, 2011

5 Minute Friday...Remember


Today I am once again linking up with Gypsy Mama for 5 Minute Friday. Five minutes, one word, and no editing. Today's word is Remember. When you are done reading mine be sure to "remember" to head over to Gypsy Mama for more posts on the word remember.





When life seems crazy...Remember.
When you feel down....Remember.
When you feel overwhelmed...Remember.
When things don't go your way...Remember.
When sickness plagues you too often...Remember.

Remember that the LORD your God is with you.
Remember that He has plans for you.
Remember that He has always been there for you. 
Remember that you can do all things through Him who strengthens you.
Remember you plus God equals a majority.
Remember that God is always the same, He has never changed, He is faithful!
Remember what life was like before you knew Him.
Remember all the that He has save you from.
Remember to thank Him today!!!

So no matter what this day has in store for you....REMEMBER!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Obsessed...

Following is a poem written by my daughter Abby. Enjoy...


What if....
we became as consumed and obsessed with Christ as we are with so many other things?
we truly believed that Jesus is who He says He is and that He is sufficient?
we found all of our desires fulfilled in Christ?
we stopped compromising and started living set-apart?
we fell deeper in love with Jesus like never before?
hmm......what if??


Obsessed
Longing to be loved
Needing to belong
Feeling empty
Pretending to be strong
Makeup, hair, perfect date
Fashion, Clothes, perfect weight
Attention, Perfection
Security, Affection
Shows on TV
Quoting the latest movie
News feed,
Texts to read
The craving, the hunger,
The compromise I’m living under
Nothing can suppress:
I’ve become obsessed
Is there something more
That this life is meant for?


Unbelievably loved
Eternally I belong
Completely filled
I’m weak, but He’s strong
The cross was His weight
Our sins determined His fate
He bore the rejection
Godly perfection
Glorious resurrection
John chapter 3
Words it beautifully
“The Son of God died for me”
He’s satisfies the hunger
He despises the compromise I’m living under
Nothing can suppress:
I’ve become obsessed
Christ is the something more
He’s the one my heart has always longed for

*Colossians 3:1-4*
*Philippians 3:7-11*

Monday, October 24, 2011

Undermining God's creation...

Satan is crafty; from the very beginning he was deceiving and tricking man. As time has passed he has had to change strategies, but his goal is always the same; to move man away from God. He started out in the Garden by deceiving Eve, and he's been busy deceiving man ever since!



One of Satan's more recent approaches has been to attack the family. He gained some ground with this war, families are all so busy now, both parents are working, kids are in every activity imaginable, divorce is rampant, and now we have gay marriage. So in defense of that many Christians have gone on the offensive, fighting off his attacks before they began. Many organizations such as Focus on the Family and Family Life were created to give families some ammunition, to learn how to be a family, how to be a husband, how to be a wife. My own husband took a job as Family Life Pastor because we have a passion for families, that they would grow closer to God and as a result closer to each other.

Lately though, I've been noticing a new area of attack. It's This attack is a bold attempt to slap God in the face, a way to get man to question their very creation. A way to make us wonder if maybe God does make mistakes.  I read an article in the Des Moines Sunday Register that got my blood boiling. I was so mad as I read this article I had to call my husband just to vent. I was surprised this was happening at all, let alone in my state. There is a college in Iowa that has been promoting and encouraging gender-free living. Gone are the days where men and women had their own dorms. Now they not only share a dorm, they share a dorm room and a bathroom. This is not about a sexual relationship, its about gender. Here is a quote from the article: "Ideally, we would live in a gender-neutral world where your sex wouldn't define you. We wouldn't be defined by our physical bodies." In fact there are new pronouns to replace he and she (because these are too gender specific), if you are a female you would be called "ze" and if you are a male you are called "hir". This is about allowing a person to choose which gender they want to be, plumbing is no longer important.

I see this as a direct attack on Genesis 1:27: 
So God created man in his own image,
   in the image of God he created him;
   male and female he created them. 
God created us male and female. He knew what He was doing. When He was finished He declared His creation to be very good. Adam didn't complain to God that He made a mistake. He accepted that he was a man. God hasn't gotten lazy or sloppy lately, when He creates us He doesn't get DNA or body parts mixed up. He knows what He is doing. We are each created with a purpose and God has a plan for each of us. We cannot begin to allow Satan to have a foothold on this issue. God created us male and female, we don't get to choose this one. We need accept who we are and follow God's guidelines for what we were created to be.

As much as I complain about the pains of being a female, I would never trade who I am. God allowed me as a woman the joy of carrying and delivering three miracles into this world. He made me to be a mother to them.

I think our first response is to pray. We need to show Satan that He cannot attack God's creation like that. We need to pray for people to see that being male and female is special and how they were born is how they need to live!! Take some time and reacquaint yourself with Genesis. It is very clear in that book that God created us male and female, lets not allow Satan to win on this one!



Friday, October 21, 2011

5 Minute Friday...Beyond



Today I am linking up with Gypsy Mama to participate in 5 minute Friday. One word, five minutes, no editing, just writing what comes to mind. Please feel free to hop over to Gypsy Mama and check out what others have to say about the word of the week.

Today's Word: BEYOND




When I first saw today's word I was tempted to just skip participating today. Beyond makes me think of the future and what happens next August. That is when Brian and I will become official "empty nesters" I'm not afraid of that term, but it does make me a bit sentimental. After all, mom is my job, I've been doing it for almost 22 years. I've not only been mom, I've been their teacher, so next August, I will be a bit lost and that's ok. 

I may not know exactly what my life looks like beyond August 2012, but I know someone who does. God is the keeper of my future, he knows exactly what beyond looks like for me. So for now, that's enough for me! Instead of spending my emotional energy worrying about this thing called the empty nest, I am going to instead focus on now, and finishing strong. I will pray for Caleb and he decides between two amazing schools and just enjoy the time we have now, before "beyond" gets here.

God gave me my life verse for times like these, He knew I would need the encouragement for me and my son as he goes beyond the walls of this home to a college either 10 1/2 or 13 hours away!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Just had to share some senior pictures!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pastor Appreciation...

October is Pastor Appreciation Month. 
 

 Since my husband is a pastor and I appreciate him, I always try to do something a little special for him. I tried hard to come up with something and everything I came up with has been done. 

I could get him a new tie?
 Oh wait...one year he got 31 new ties...he's good.

I could get him a new Bible?
 Wait...we own like 30 of them...


I could buy him an inspirational mug?
 
 No...did that more than once....

How about I use my blog and just tell everyone who happens to read it that I appreciate this man. I get to see his heart, what makes it beat, what breaks it, and how big it is. I get to see him at his worst (its not pretty ladies...but it makes him real) and at his best (that isn't pretty either...what man wants to be pretty..but it is pretty darn good looking!!). 

I have had the privilege of watching this man serve God as a pastor for the past 23 years...
he literally has done it all. He's been a youth pastor, a senior pastor and a family life pastor.
Each one with its own set of challenges, each one with its own set of blessings, and each one he gave 100%! 

My man does not take his calling lightly, he gives his all in everything he does. He is not only called to be a pastor; he is also called to be my husband and our children's dad. He does not take those roles lightly either. He has been my husband for 23 years and is as committed to me today as he was on our wedding day. In fact, he has shown that commitment over the years in many wonderful ways. The most amazing way is the day he nailed a pair of his shoes in a box. He showed our kids and said, I can't leave, as long as my shoes stay nailed here, I'm not going anywhere. He then took out our dictionary and grabbed some white out and erased the word divorce! We have our struggles, but his feet are firmly planted in this marriage and family!


Brian, I do not say this nearly enough, I APPRECIATE YOU!!!
 

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!
Matthew 25:21a

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Forgotten Christmas...

Christmas is only 66 days away.....ahhhh!!!!!

Now this news probably does send some of you into a panic. Your mind is racing with lists already. Some of you have had your lists made for months, in fact some of you have even checked it twice. Then there are those of you who are thinking I've got plenty of time...after all that's what Christmas Eve is for...to buy presents! 

Every year our family tries to do something different with how we give gifts to one another. We try to avoid overspending and at the same time make the gifts meaningful and fun. A few years ago we had a theme for our Christmas...simply put our Christmas that year was JOY.

  Jesus
    Others 
You
Our first focus that season was of course on Jesus. Our next focus was on others, and then we focused on each other, or you. One very practical way we reached out to others was by forgoing a Christmas tree that year. Choosing and cutting down our tree is always a big thing to us, so by not getting one this year, it made a big impact on us all. We chose to take the money we would have used on a tree and purchased fruit trees for a person who needed the fruit to survive. This small sacrifice on our part is still impacting people to this day. And yes, our Christmas was just as special without the tree!


Gospel for Asia is one of  a few ministries that makes available a Christmas catalog where you can purchase things ranging from chickens to water buffalo to houses for people who can't afford these things on their own. They have put together a web site called Forgotten Christmas. The following video explains what the website is all about. 

**WARNING....this video is convicting!**


So, as you begin to make your lists for Christmas, I challenge you to prayerfully consider buying one less thing this year, or set a smaller spending limit. The average person spends at least $500 on Christmas. In some parts of the world that is more money than they will even see in a year! Imagine if we all could take just a portion of that money and buy someone the gift of hope, love and encouragement. A small gift on our part is a huge gift can be multiplied over and over again to the forgotten people!

As we are celebrating the birth of our Savior let us not forget that 2,700,000,000 people have not yet heard that Jesus was even born! 


In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35


Linking up with:

 


iFellowship


Monday, October 10, 2011

Navigating Through Life...

I told my hubby today that I was having a brain freeze as far as an idea on what to blog about. So Brian offered to by my guest blogger today! Please make him feel welcome!
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Our family finally broke down and bought a navigational system for our car.  My cell phone has this technology: I used it on a trip to Washington DC once, but it costs $9.99 per month.  When our family has gone on trips we have borrowed from friends.  Finally we decided enough is enough, we need to know where we are going.  Brenda found a great deal on line and we bought one!


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I know it goes against everything a man stands for.  We aren’t supposed to ask for directions.  But these things are really amazing.  They tell you distances, speed, where rest stops are and of course the best of all, they calculate what time you will arrive at your destination.  Amazing!  Her name?  Bonnie.  That is what Brenda decided to name her.  So I need to tell you about Bonnie.  She isn’t perfect!  The first time Brenda used her she was going to a bridal shop to potentially pick out a wedding dress for our daughter Ashley.  Pretty important destination.  Well, Bonnie took Brenda to a residential neighborhood.  The coordinates or address or something was off.  Thankfully Brenda went the day before and was able to find the real location.
If only there were such a device to help me navigate through my life!  How do I make decisions.  Where should I work? Where should I live? There are so many questions I have in life that I need help answering.  I need direction!  Well, I do have a place we can turn for clear directions.  I do have a tested and approved way to navigate through the most difficult turns of life. 
I have the Bible.  I know it seems like the Bible is a difficult book to understand.  It does take some work to figure it out.  Well, so does any GPS device.  It takes time to figure out how they work.  How to put in the coordinates, how to understand the data that this GPS device is giving to me.   When we take the time to figure out how it works it truly can guide and direct us through life.
This is so much like the Bible.  There is great direction, teaching, instruction in the pages of the Bible.  We can learn from the mistakes people have made in the past.  We have the Bible, prayer and the Holy Spirit to help us navigate through this life.  We live in a time where we need direction.  We need a true North to help guide us.  The Bible is that book God has given us to guide and direct us through difficult times.  Most people have one or many Bibles in their house.  Pick it up, read it, you will be glad you did.  If for some reason you don’t have a Bible you can read it on the computer, go to Bible Gateway. We don’t have an excuse!
If you are tired of getting lost, losing direction?  Turn to the tested and true navigational system.  The bestselling book of all time that will never give you bad directions: The Bible.

Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path. 
Psalm 119:105


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