Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Answered prayers are awesome...

In 1989, Brian and I found out we were pregnant with our first child. We were so excited and throughout the pregnancy prayed for a healthy baby. Then on January 23, 1990 our Ashley was born and the praying started immediately. She had some health complications and was in the NICU for 24 hours. Once they fixed her problems (collapsed lung) she was fine. That was a huge answer to prayer.
Brian and I of course continued to pray for her, the main prayer was that she would come to know Christ at a young age. On September 5th, 1993 that prayer was answered and it was at a young age! Her first prayer as a Christian was for her baby sister to become a Christian too. One year and 6 days later, Ashley led Abby to the Lord. We were surprised by that one and didn't believe it at first. We should know better than to question yet another prayer answered.

We prayed that not just Ashley but her brother and sister would grow in the Lord and make their faith their own. Today all three are walking with the Lord! It is exciting to see Jesus living in them and working through them. Another prayer answered.

We prayed for so many thing over the years, and God has been faithful in answering almost all of those prayers. One of our longest running prayers for Ashley has been for her future spouse. We have prayed for him as long as we've been praying for Ashley. We continue to pray for him, but now we can pray for him by name...Larry.
 
May 30, 2011 our daughter became engaged!!




We are of course thrilled and so thankful to God. Larry is an answer to our prayers. He loves our daughter, we love him and most importantly, He loves Jesus! In just one short year, these two will become man and wife. Our job will not end there... Brian and I will continue praying for them and praise God for the answers along the way!!

Prayer has been the backbone of my relationship with God; I can't imagine life without prayer. Brian and I may not pray together daily (we try); but prayer has been a strong foundation of our marriage and parenting. It is our praying (not parenting) that has resulted in 3 pretty amazing kids. Even if one of our children were not walking with the Lord right now, we would keep on praying and trusting and believing that one day God would answer our prayers for them. As parents we truly feel prayer is the MOST important thing we can do for our children.

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. 
Proverbs 22:6

A valuable resource for praying for your kids:

 Stormie has a whole series of The Power of a Praying...you name it she helps you pray for it! I strongly recommend you look into investing in these books and most importantly investing in prayer!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

A priceless way to pass the torch...

Gas for trip to Texas...$338
Tuition for school... $11,000
One year with Jesus...PRICELESS!! 
That is how I feel about His Hill Bible School in Comfort, Texas. Last week Brian and I made the long drive to Texas to pick up our middle daughter from her year at His Hill; two years ago we made that same trip to pick up our oldest daughter. 

 His Hill is one of 26 Torchbearers Centres in 20 countries on 4 continents around the globe. The main curriculum at these school is the Bible. At His Hill students spend 23 hours a week in classes. They meet Jesus here in a powerful and amazing way. The schools are small and therefore the students, faculty and staff become family. Our daughters have friends from all over the world, from Canada to Argentina and Germany; in fact we sent them to Texas and they came home with a Canadian accent.

The statement of faith for Torchbearers reads like this: "Our mission is to proclaim the transforming presence of Jesus Christ through biblical teaching and practical training, equipping men and women for service in His church worldwide." The phrase repeated most often at this school is "For this I have Jesus."

Discipleship groups (D-groups) were a big part of their experience. They met every Friday and these women were a big part of our daughter's experience.
Abby with her D-group

Ashley with her D-group leader.
 
This the building where the 23 hours of classes happened.

The girls at the front gate.

Below are pictures of the girls on the last night. They are sporting what I call the 
"His Hill Glow". This glow comes from spending a year with Jesus!!
 
 Goodbyes are the hardest part of the year. The first good bye is the family in September, and then the goodbye to all the amazing friends in May. Goodbyes are never fun, but the bonds made at His Hill will stay with these girls for life!
For this I have Jesus
 The year our girls each spent here was truly priceless. We have referred to this as their gap year, the year in between high school and the rest of their lives. It was a tough year for them, but they have also said it was the most life changing year of their lives so far! Their faith was strong when we dropped them off in September, when we picked them up in May it was unshakable! I encourage parents to look into Torchbearers (there are other school similar in nature to these school such as Youth with a Mission) or a Christian college (some of my favorites are listed below) for your graduates. For us, we wanted a place that would help our kids grow in their faith as part of our passing the baton of our faith to our kids!

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.  
Galatians 2:20 (New American Standard Bible)

Websites to check out:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Handing off our faith...

I just finished reading through Judges and wow, there really is a lot in this book! The theme God seemed to be giving me this time is one of leaving a legacy, not just leaving it but making it sure the next generation accepts that legacy and carries it on. What good is it to leave a Godly legacy if the kids don't pick it up? I understand that no matter how hard you try some kids won't pick it up, no matter how much teaching and praying, there will always be some rebellion. However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't do all we can for our children. We need to pass the baton of our faith on to our children.

In Judges 2:10 it says this; "After that whole generation had been gathered to their father, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel." This seems to indicate that the older generation was not passing on to the next one just what God had done for them. Who did they expect the next generation to hear it from if not themselves? The book of Judges is full of verses like this, God would raise up a godly judge and then as soon as they were gone the people would turn back to idols. What lessons can we learn from these Israelites? How can we pass on a legacy to our kids?

1) Read the Bible with your children. Begin when they are young. Teach them that the events in the Bible are true, not just random "stories". As your kids get older, model to them how to study the Bible. Start small and build from there. Help them understand the significance of both the Old and New Testament and that the events are indeed all true. Help them picture how big the ark was, tell them what a leper was, explain how painful Jesus' death was to Him (not getting too graphic for little ones).

2) Let your kids see you reading your Bible. If they see how important your time with God and His word are that will speak volumes more than your words can. Children observe and copy parent's actions often. (they copy the bad stuff too!)

3)  Share your faith stories with your children. Don't just make sure they hear about all the great men and women of faith in the Bible. Let them hear your story; how you came to know the Lord and how He is working in your life now. Even if you weren't saved out of  a life of drugs and alcohol, you were saved and God has done amazing things in your life. I know sometimes kids roll their eyes when parent's start sharing events from when they were a kid, but they need to see not only how God worked in the Bible but how He worked in your life, and how He is working now!

4) Pray for your kids. This is something my husband and I started doing before our kids were born. Having our first daughter be in the NICU for 24 hours gave us an opportunity to begin praying for her more diligently. Recently we came across a prayer list we made years ago while attending a Family Life Parenting weekend. We were amazed at how God had answered our prayers for each of our kids. An example is our middle daughter, she went through a phase where she would just lie all the time. Today, this girl can't tell a lie even if she tried! It's amazing to us how our prayers tamed this girl's bad habit so much so that it's completely gone. Remember to keep praying for your kids, not matter how old they are. A parent's job is never really done!

5) Two books I recommend. One book is for you as parents to read. Already Gone talks about how we are losing kids in the church.  This book says that those who faithfully attend Sunday School are more likely to leave the church than those who do not. There are many more statistics that will alarm you, but there's hope and this book addresses what parents and churches can be doing now.

Growing Up Christian is an excellent resource for teenagers to read. It talks about the dangers of not making your faith your own. Too often kids depend on their parents faith and never really make it their own (like the Israelites did in Judges).

For more information on either book just click on its picture.

                        
Our time on the earth is but a dot, so let it be said of us that we left behind a Godly legacy and that we were a blessing to our children!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

God's amazing design...

The hubby and I are on a bit of a getaway this week. We are in Texas picking up our daughter from school. She's got some end of the year commitments so Brian and I are enjoying a few days, just the two of us! It has been extremely relaxing and an amazing time for us! We've been taking in the local flavor and doing some touristy things as well.
The Haven River Inn...our refuge 

Last night we found ourselves at an amazing hamburger place, literally in the middle of nowhere. Best burgers ever! You need about a couple dozen napkins, but very good!



Just down the road is the Old Tunnel Wildlife Management Area. It's main attraction is bats. Yes, that's right bats. Every night between 7:30 and 8:30 the bats come out of the tunnel they live in to eat. It's an amazing sight. Last night there were 300,000 bats that came out, they come out in an almost tornado looking formation. By August we were told that there are 3 million bats that come out, it takes 45 minutes for them to all get out of the tunnel, last night it only took 7 minutes.

As we chatted with the park guy we became very intrigued by these bats and their story and God's design. Somehow they know the right time of day to come out and feed on the insects. Coincidence, I think not. God designed them to instinctively know when to come out.

Before the bats exit the cave, they send out scouts, to see if it's safe. These scouts are barren females, they just know they are the ones to risk their lives for the family of bats living in the tunnel. Not only do the bats know when to leave the tunnel, but its predators are very aware of their exit timing as well. The close to 8:30 it got, hawks and vultures started circling for a quick snack. Snakes even lie in wait on cliffs striking out at unsuspecting bats.

As the park's guy explained more and more about the bats, we were in awe at God's design. How can you look at something in God's creation and not see God's hand in it. These bats know when to feed, who to send as scouts and every year millions of them return to this exact tunnel.

Maybe because we had been in God's creation all day and enjoying the diversity of Texas, it just struck us how awesome God is. Everything He made has a function. Without those bats, we would have a serious insect problem. God has made some amazing creations and even though a bat is a bit creepy to most of us, it really is an amazing animal. It is equipped with just what it needs to survive.

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
   the world, and all who live in it..
Psalm 24:1
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good...
Genesis 1:31
Just remember when you see animals, nature, and even people...all were made by God. Not just made by God; designed by God. The word designed shows that God knew just what he was doing with each and everyone of his creation! He is amazing!!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A different kind of expectant mother...

Graduation season tends to make me sentimental. I think about the two graduations our family has already experienced and the (dreaded) one we will be having next year for our youngest. I think back over the past 21 years of motherhood and wonder where did the time go? Wasn't it just yesterday that I looked like this?
I loved being pregnant, except for month nine! I was miserable and ready to have those babies come out. Our first one cooperated and came one day before her due date, which still didn't feel like it was soon enough. The next one made me wait 8 days after her due date to make her appearance in this world. The third one made me wait just 3 days, but  everyday after that due date felt like ten. I was so eager to meet those babies, I just couldn't wait for them to come out. The anticipation drove me crazy and then of course the well meaning people who would say...are you STILL pregnant? Pregnancy hormones made me want to either slap them or burst into tears, thankfully I chose the tears!

Oh the joy of meeting those cute little (and in my son's case, not so little) babies! I just stared at them and was in awe, being with them made me forget the impatience I felt waiting for them to come. I just soaked in every minute with them. I loved them before they were born, but once I met them I went crazy for them. Never had I felt this type of love. It was amazing.

With each passing year, my love for them has only grown deeper. I love being a mom, I love my kids, God has blessed me so richly. Now that two of them are grown and away at school I experience being an expectant mother again, but in a new way. Now, I count down the days until they come home. When my daughter was driving home from college last  week, the closer it got to seeing her the more impatient I got. We leave in a few days to pick up the Texas daughter and once again I have that same feeling of excitement. I know that as our van nears the town of Comfort that excited feeling will enter my stomach again!
 
Our time together is less frequent these days, but the anticipation of seeing them will never lessen. Last Sunday at church I caught myself smiling every time I looked over at my daughter sitting next to me. The same feeling of love that flooded me when she was born was there. I know I will experience that same joy next week when all three kids are seated next to me in church and at our dinner table!

Think about the anticipation our Heavenly Father must have as He awaits us joining His presence. As we are worshiping Him in heaven, will He look over at me and smile with tears of joy that I am there? And just think about the banquet table we will all share. Reunions with my kids and having the family all together are but a glimpse of the joy we will experience in heaven!

Thankfully when we go home to heaven we won't have baggage!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Be Strong and Courageous...


Be strong and courageous...God says this three time to Joshua in just three verses in Joshua 1. When God says something once you listen, when He says it three times, you REALLY listen! God is saying this to Joshua just before the Israelites cross the Jordan to set foot for the first time in the Promised Land. God knows what awaits Joshua and that to be an effective leader he needs to be strong and courageous. In order to take the Promised Land many enemies must be destroyed and God is assuring Joshua that He is with them!

 Be strong and courageous...this is what God said to 12 year old Ibaragi Kun as he awaited his crucifixion in 1596. A young Japanese Christian, Ibaragi asked which cross was his; when told his was the small one, he ran up to it and embraced his cross. He faced his death with courage, and gave other believers courage as well.

 Be strong and courageous...God says this to me as well. I may not be a Joshua or an Ibaragi, but God has called me to be strong and courageous. My enemies may not be the same as Joshua, I may not be asked to recant my faith like Ibaragi, but my enemies are real. God wants me to know that He will be with me where ever I go and no matter what my enemies are!

Be strong and courageous...God tells this to me as I face the unknown. God has been working on helping me figure out what I want to be when my kids grow up! I will always be mom, but with just one year left of a bird in the nest, God has been stirring my heart. I get nervous and excited about what He has in store for me. My main ministry for 21 years has been raising my kids, in May of 2012 I will be crossing into unknown territory. I will grieve the empty nest, but God is telling me to be strong and courageous, He has great plans for me. This is important for me to know as my son goes through his  senior year and all those lasts, and I go through numerous Kleenex!

Be strong and courageous...what in your life do you need to be strong and courageous for? Do you need the reminder that God is with you where ever you are? He is...don't forget it!!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Snoozing away....



I have a confession to make, I love my snooze button!  In fact I love it so much that I need to set multiple alarms for myself in the morning. There's nothing better, in my mind, than those extra 5 minutes of sleep! Actually those 5 minutes turn into 10 and then before I know it at least 30 or more minutes have gone by. 

This is actually a bad habit for me. I have learned to ignore my alarm, the very thing telling me its time to wake up. Someday, I'm going to miss something important because I don't get up in time.


Is God sounding a spiritual alarm in your life, in the life of our country? If so, I believe we are hitting the snooze button. God is trying to tell us to wake up before we miss something important!

A recent survey by the Barna Group shows a few alarming statistics. It shows that very few Christians have a Biblical Worldview or even believe that Satan exists.



We need to wake up to this statistic and look at how we view the world. If our worldview is not centered on the Bible and God, then it is askew. Our worldview shapes how we live, act and react to situations. Are we turning a blind eye to the things in this world that God warns us to avoid? Things such as abortion, divorce, premarital sex, honesty, and media choices.

God calls us to be in the world and not of it, if we are not viewing the world through God colored glasses, then I believe we are slowly becoming of the world. The alarm is sounding, what can you do to wake up and stop hitting the snooze button?

Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised 
to pounce, and would like nothing better than to 
catch you napping. Keep your guard up. 
I Peter 5:8 (The Message) 


Resources to help you develop a Biblical Worldview

 
 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

National Day of Prayer...



 May 5, 2011 is the National Day of Prayer. This got me thinking, When was our first National Day of Prayer? So I did a bit of research and discovered, our nation regarded prayer as important pretty much from the beginning. The date was July 20, 1775, the day was set aside as the National Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer of the Second Continental Congress. This proclamation did not come from the church, but from the men leading our country at the time. They knew they needed God's help to get through the war and to build a new nation. The last line in the proclamation reads this way: 

And it is recommended to Christians, of all denominations, to assemble for public worship, and to abstain from servile labour and recreations on said day.

This shows me they were serious about prayer and understood the importance of praying together as a nation and for our nation. They did this to the extent of urging people to put aside the whole day for prayer and fasting. There were several more great leaders of our country who called for National Days of Prayer, including Washington and Lincoln. In 1952, President Truman signed a law that would give the country a National Day of Prayer every year.  

So this Thursday is once again the National Day of Prayer. I urge you to get involved. Here is a link that lists several ways you can get involved: 
I encourage to find an event in your area, if you can't find an event its not too late to organize one for your church, family or friends. You can also just pray by yourself. The key is to pray! Pray because:
A Mighty Fortress is our God!