Sunday, July 26, 2009

Holiness Dress Standards? Are they necessary?

I was raised in a conservative, holiness church. What does this entail? Well, conservative holiness churches have pretty much the same doctrine as that of the Methodists, Nazarenes, and the Wesleyans, but they still keep the dress standards that the previous denominations have let go by the wayside. They believe in salvation from your sins through the blood of Jesus Christ, and a second work of grace that gets rid of the carnal nature. However, the standards are what I want to talk about today.
In our churches, the woman wear dresses, have long hair and wear it up, don't wear jewelry--or even make-up normally, and men keep their hair cut, don't wear shorts, etc... Most holiness people of the past, and some today, do not watch TV or videos. Then they get into a lot of other things depending on the church you go to, and of what they call worldly or not. Some things are just that--"things". I have had a lot of issues in a lot of things preached over the pulpit in holiness churches as sin, when a lot of it is not in the Bible. Sometimes there are principles there, or there are common sense reasons why we do some things, but it is not Biblical. Let me use an example, I don’t wear short sleeves. Is it a sin to wear short sleeves? Probably not. I use the elbow as a limit for me. I could wear my sleeves above the elbow, and be modest as the Bible tells us to be (and be a Christian still), but I have a limit that I keep for myself. I figure if I get my sleeve above the elbow, maybe I would see another shirt that was a wee bit shorter in the sleeve area, so what is the difference? I would be still modest--but would it end there? Or maybe would someone else more vulnerable and weak than I see that I wore short sleeves, and not be able to keep the limit on how short of sleeve that I kept? Get real, folks, there is a point when the sleeve is too short--or sleeveless-- and you can see in, and it is not longer modest. Are short sleeves wrong? NO--it is my limit, and I am not imposing it on anyone. This is just an example of a commonsense reason why we do some things in the holiness movement. However, I had chafed at some of these things in the past, and some things I have to admit I have just plain thought was ridiculous with no commonsense reason behind it--and refused to do it
. Sometimes I have wondered, was much of it necessary?
Interesting question--is standards necessary? There is some of them that may not be necessary to salvation contrary to what a lot of my holiness brothers and sisters think, but maybe they are important in another way. My mom used to say, "Some things we do just because we want to show God we are willing to do extra for Him, just to be sure we are doing what He wants, and to let Him know we love Him." It is a comment that bears exploiting in each of our lives. Those "things" may be different in all of our lives--the things that God either tells us to do, or what we feel we should do extra for Him. Are we willing to do extra for Him? That is what the important question is.
Well this brings me to the next part of my thoughts--our church split. Our church voted out the pastor that had been there the past 4 years. He was a good man with a lovely family. He was very talented in speaking and singing along with his wife. However, he had many different ideas and standards that don’t fit with the holiness crowd. Many of the holiness standards had gone by the wayside in his own family. Were they things against the Bible? No. I have to admit though, I do think that maybe the pastor's family should hold a higher standard than the people as they are an example. The people will always take what they do and go further. Well in the matter of standards in our church, I think that was true. We had no holiness standards for the platform of our church, or people holding offices, even though the holiness-dress guidelines should have been kept as they were in the manual. Although this was definitely a problem, it was by no means the only problem; however, that is all I am going to mention in this post as I am talking about standards. Those who voted him out were the conservative ones that held old-fashioned standards. Even some of those who voted for him to stay were conservative holiness, but some of them just hated to vote against the pastor, but were unhappy with the way the church was going. Well to make a long story short, the ones that tended toward liberalism left, the conservative folk stayed. This brings me to the crux of my thoughts.

I seen a distinct difference in the two groups—the ones that stayed and those that left. Some of those that left appeared to show markedly bad attitudes, and spread all over their version of what happened—even over the internet where unsaved folks could see. They went around and talked to our Sunday school kids whose parents don’t come—even to at least 2 parents of those children. They were definitely trying to hinder and backstab those that stayed. There was horrible stuff said about the conservative crowd who still sit in the pews of that church. However, in the lives of those folk that were so hurt, I seen none of this. They did not defend themselves on the internet, they didn’t go around spreading gossip about those that left, and I seen several of them weep for the pastor that they couldn’t agree with, and for those that left. I seen a marked difference in behavior, and I came to conclusion that maybe the standards some holiness people hold are more important for one reason more than any reason that I have ever heard preached or taught. Maybe with some of them it is a sign that that person is willing to go the extra mile for God. Could it be the sign of a truly submissive heart? And could it be with some, that that one is truly in love with Jesus?

Now don’t get me wrong—I have also seen some folk with standards to the T, and yet they are as hypocritical as they come. Your spiritual relationship with God does not come with your standards, but I think mayhap sometimes your standards come from that spiritual relationship, and out of a heartfelt, deep desire to do wholly and fully as He wants, even to the extent of doing more than He wants just to be sure He is happy with you.

I also am not saying that you have to hold all our standards to be a Christian—just do what He tells you to do, and maybe it wouldn’t hurt to do something more….! And if you feel comfortable being more liberal than the holiness crowd, just don't criticize--maybe some just have a pure and holy desire to please God.

Are you willing to do extra for God?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

President without a country

I recieved this in a email, and although Pat Boone is not my favorite person, I found him to make some very valid and disturbing points here.

Obama Sounds Like President Without a Country

Monday, June 8, 2009 1:15 PM

By: Pat Boone
Article Font Size

“We’re no longer a Christian nation.” — Barack Obama, June 2007
“America has been arrogant.” — President Barack Obama
“After 9/11, America didn’t always live up to her ideals” — President Barack Obama
“You might say that America is a Muslim nation.” — President Barack Obama, Egypt 2009
Thinking about these and other statements from the man who wears the title of president, I keep wondering what country he believes he’s president of?
In one of my very favorite stories, Edward Everett Hale’s “The Man without a Country,” young Army lieutenant Philip Nolan stands condemned for treason during the Revolutionary War, having come under the influence of Aaron Burr. When the judge asks whether he wants to say anything before sentencing, Nolan exclaims defiantly, “Damn the United States! I wish I might never hear of the United States again!”
Stunned silence settles like a pall over the courtroom. After a long pause, the judge sternly tells the angry lieutenant: “You have just pronounced your own sentence. You will never hear of the United States again. I sentence you to spend the rest of your life at sea, on one or another of this country’s naval vessels — under strict orders that no one will ever speak to you again about the country you have just cursed.”
And so it was. Nolan was taken away and spent the next 40 years at sea, never hearing anything but an occasional slip of the tongue about America. The last few pages of the story, recounting Nolan’s dying hours in his small stateroom — now turned into a shrine to the country he foreswore — never fail to bring me to tears.
And I find my own love for this dream, this miracle called America, refreshed and renewed. I know how blessed and unique we are.
But reading and hearing the audacious, shocking statements of the man who recently was elected our president — a young black man living the impossible dream of millions of young Americans, past and present, black and white — I want to ask him: “Just what country do you think you’re president of?”
You surely can’t be referring to the United States of America, can you? America is emphatically a Christian nation and has been from its inception! Seventy percent of its citizens identify themselves as Christian. Christians framed, wrote, and ratified the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. It’s because this was, and is, a nation built on and guided by Judeo-Christian biblical principles that you, sir, have had the inestimable privilege of being elected president.
You studied law at Harvard, didn’t you, sir? You taught constitutional law in Chicago? Did you never read the statement of John Jay, the first chief justice of the Supreme Court and an author of the landmark Federalist Papers, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers — and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation — to select and prefer Christians for their rulers”?
In your studies, you surely must have read the decision of the Supreme Court in 1892: “Our lives and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian.”
Did your professors have you skip over all the high court decisions right up till the mid-1900s that echoed and reinforced these views and intentions? Did you pick up the history of American jurisprudence only in 1947, when for the first time a phrase coined by Thomas Jefferson about a “wall of separation between church and state” was used to deny some specific religious expression — contrary to Jefferson’s intent with that statement?
Or, wait a minute, were your ideas about America’s Christianity formed during the 20 years you were a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ under your pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright? Is that where you got the idea that “America is no longer a Christian nation”? Is this where you, even as you came to call yourself a Christian, formed the belief that “America has been arrogant”?
Even if that’s the understandable explanation of your damning of your country and accusing the whole nation (not just a few military officials trying their best to keep more Americans from being murdered by jihadists) of “not always living up to her ideals”, how did you come up with the ridiculous, alarming notion that we might be “considered a Muslim nation”?
Is it because about 2 million Muslims live here, trying to be good Americans? Out of a current population of more than 300 million, 70 percent of whom are Christians? Does that make us, by any rational definition, a “Muslim nation”?
Why are we not, then, a “Chinese nation”? A “Korean nation”? Even a “Vietnamese nation”? There are even more of these distinct groups in America than Muslims. And if the distinction you’re trying to make is a religious one, why is America not “a Jewish nation”? There’s actually a case to be made for the latter, because our Constitution — and the success of our Revolution and founding — owe a deep debt to our Jewish brothers.
Have you stopped to think what an actual Muslim America would be like? Have you ever really spent much time in Iran? Even in Egypt?? You, having been instructed in Islam as a kid at a Muslim school in Indonesia and saying you still love the call to evening prayers, can surely picture our nation founded on the Koran, not the Judeo-Christian Bible, and living under Sharia law. Can’t you? You do recall Muhammad’s directives [Surah 9:5,73] to “break the cross” and “kill the infidel”?
It seems increasingly and painfully obvious that you are more influenced by your upbringing and questionable education than most suspected. If you consider yourself the president of a people who are “no longer Christian,” who have “failed to live up to our ideals,” who “have been arrogant,” and who might even be “considered Muslim” — you are president of a country most Americans don’t recognize.
Could it be you are a president without a country?
© 2009 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Va wedding















We went to Va last weekend for one of Shawn's niece's wedding. We stayed with another niece, and Shawn enjoyed time with his great nieces. The picture above is of 4 of them with Daniel, Jada, Nya, Gia, and Taila. We had an enjoyable time with them.






Here is Brienne, his oldest great-niece. We spent alot of time with her when she was a baby as her mother lived in this area during that time.








And here is Cami, his youngest great niece.













And here is the niece, Michelle, that we stayed with along with his sister, Donna, who traveled with us. Michelle is in the pink.




Here is Scott, Shawn's nephew by marriage. A terrific guy that we consider a great bonus to the family--although this is not a great picture of him!! He was not sleeping, but looking down at the little girls when I caught this picture.








One last picture--Little Nya in the wedding. She is so precious.
And now, we are home and finally recovered from traveling, and being away from home. I am afraid we are homebodies, and love being home entirely too much!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Forgiving and forgetting

"To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it." -Confucius

I read this the other day, and it struck a chord with me. How many times do we hold unto our hurt when we are wronged. We say we forgive, but we don't let it go. We often consciously remember and remember.
I once taught a teen class. We talked about temptation. It is not a sin to be tempted, but it can become a sin if you continue to dwell on it. If you continue to think about it being a temptation, and how hard it is that you are tempted, eventually you may give into it and commit sin. A young couple are sitting on a couch making out, and going a little to far. They feel they just cannot control themselves--sexual passions are just too high! ...and then the girl's father walks in!! They immediately make a conscious effort to control themselves!! We can control a lot more things than we think we can. We can make a conscious effort to put things that tempt us out of our mind--refuse to even think about how hard the temptation is and how you must not give into it---REFUSE TO EVEN THINK ABOUT IT. It does work.
The same principle can work with hurts too. First of all, it is Biblical.Ephesians 4:32 "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." How does he forgive us? He throws our sins that we have committed against Him in the sea of forgetfulness.(Jeremiah 31:34, "...for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.") That is how he forgave us, and how we are to forgive others. Paul says in Philippians 3:13,14, "I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward." (Amplified Version) Those hurtful things that were done to you that you say you have forgiven, have you made a conscious effort to forget? Yes, things will happen that will make it well up, and trigger your memories, and it can hurt, but it is then time to push it away again--again forgetting the things that are behind. Technically, yes, you remember it, but in a larger sense, you have forgotten it, because you made a choice too. This is true forgiveness, and in this brand of forgiveness, the wrong can become nothing!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Lessons from Jonah!




The storm raged, the ship pitched, and then voices intruded on Jonah's troubled dreams. "Sir! Sir! Wake up--we are all going to die!! How can you sleep?" Sleep fled as Jonah sat up and looked into the rough, unshaven faces above him. Dark rings encircled bloodshot eyes, and instantly he knew these men had been hard at work for sometime to save this wildly dipping ship that he was traveling on. How had he slept through this? He knew it had to be sheer emotional exhaustion. "What- what is it that I can do to help?" He asked hesitantly. " Pray to your God that He will save us. This storm has come out of nowhere!! There were no warning signs in the sky, and we have fought several hours to save this ship, man", they shouted above the noise of the tumult of the sky overhead, " We have all been praying, and our gods have not seen fit to save us. We must try your god too, for now the ship is creaking dangerously. If your god does not answer either, we must cast lots to see who it is that has sinned against his god, and why this evil has come against us!" Jonah ran a hand through his tousled hair, and then rubbed his long, Jewish nose as worry lines creased his forehead. He did indeed know why this evil had caused these men to be in danger. God had asked him to go to Nineveh and preach repentance of sin to the Assyrians there, and he, Jonah, known prophet of God, was fleeing from God. What a joke! A glimmer of a smile just barely tipped the corners of his lips--as if he could run from God!! Yet nearly as soon as the smile appeared, anger replaced it. Why would God ask him to go help these cruel enemies of his people! In the past there had been people God had just destroyed--why couldn't he do this now? Instead, He wanted Jonah to be untrue to his people, and go and preach repentance to these ungodly people who could very well put Jonah to death for preaching against their sins. At the very least, they would laugh at him-a well-respected man in his own nation. Then also, if by chance they repented under his preaching, he knew Jehovah God would show mercy on them. Jonah could not be an accessory to helping the Assyrians. Yet now God was punishing those around him for his disobedience. In that moment, Jonah knew in his heart of hearts he could not let these sailors be punished for his sins, and he knew at this point death was certain, so he made a decision. "Alas, my fellows, I must tell you a truth," he began, " I am the cause of this storm. I serve the one true and living God, Jehovah. He has called me to go on a mission that I do not want to go and do, so I have tried to flee. Yet He has found me here." Jonah swallowed a lump in his throat, and went on bravely. " You must get me off your ship and the storm will stop. Throw me overboard that you might not suffer because of my sin." Good men they were, and though they believed him, they could not bring themselves at first to throw this honest man over into the rampage of the storm's fury. However, when all else failed, there was naught one thing to do--toss Jonah, prophet of God, into the waves.


Jonah had thought when he was telling the men his story, he would rather die than go to Nineveh, but as the salty water splashed into his nostrils, and filled his throat, he was filled with fear. He wanted to live, yet was helpless. Yes, indeed the storm stopped immediately, but Jonah had not the slightest idea of how to swim, and he began to sink. In what he thought to be his last moments on this earth, as he was choking and feeling his life ebbing away, he felt a tremendous suction, as if he was being drawn into something. He could not get his eyes open in the water, so thought indeed it must be death! He felt himself swished unto a rough surface, very warm, and then felt the water ebbing away under his feet. The surface under him flexed, and suddenly he was another slippery journey, sliding down, down to a place that was unknown to Jonah. When the flexing motion stopped, and Jonah came to the end of his journey, he found himself in a hot, slimy place. The smell was atrocious. It smelled of perhaps decaying fish, and other unidentifiable substances. It took awhile for Jonah to come to his senses, and realize he was not dead. He was not even in hell. He opened his eyes and strained to see, but all he could see was pitch-black darkness . There was not a glimmer of light in sight. Noises were plentiful in this place--sort of like gurgling, swishing noises. He finally realized he must have been swallowed by a fish of some sort. Jonah felt death was even yet certain.


Three days he sat in the belly of that fish. The fish was alive and swam into the depths of the sea, yet Jonah, also alive, sat in utter darkness knowing death was eminent. There was no one to talk to, and it was horribly uncomfortable. The heat was almost unbearable, and the stench permeated every pore of his body. Bits broken down seaweed and fish clung to him, and every so often stomach acid would spray through the stomach chamber. It burnt Jonah's skin. Jonah felt, oh so alone. There was no-one that knew Jonah was even alive in the depths of the earth, so noone would try to help him. There was no chance noone could see him or even hear him. How could he have been reduced to such a sorry state?


Yet in his very aloneness, and the very depths of his despair, he realized he could be heard. He began to cry out to God. He began to repent and ask forgiveness. He began to worship God in that rank and desolate place. I quote Jonah's words, "When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple." The same God that he could not run from, also found him here!! He was not alone!
The Bible says, "And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land."
Jonah had to have been quite a sight--his skin probably discolored, clothing in tatters(if indeed any were left), and his odor had to have been quite atrocious. I am sure it would have probably taken time for the smell to wear off, and his skin probably never recovered. But his soul was rejuvenated! He had been heard! He had come out of the most dire circumstances alive, and he was ready to make some changes in his life--he was ready to be obedient!
Of course, we do see in the life of Jonah that in the midst of his triumphants, he still had things to learn. Yet, we also a patient God who saw worth in Jonah, and kept working with him. Does this remind you of anyone?
We can learn so much from Jonah. We also get things set in our head, and get bull-headed. God continues to call us and work with us. And when we are in the lowest, darkest areas of our life, he still finds us, and he HEARS us. We each time might come out with some battle-scars, but we can also be more effective for God. Remember, He knows where you are, and he HEARS you!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Old methods of church growth outdated???

I have heard alot lately about how the times are changing, and if we are going to get people into the church, we must change too. It has been said how we must not let church traditions get in the way of growth. To an extent, I do agree with this, and it certainly sounds good on the surface.

Those who know me, know that I am a conservative Christian with dress standards. Let me make this plain right now, my salvation is not in my dress standards. You will not make it to Heaven by dressing different, or just changing the way you live. I believe in a heart religon--between God and you. You will make it to Heaven by asking Him for forgiveness for the things you have done wrong, and obeying him from there on--obeying what He tells you to do. Obedience to God is the key to the secret of Heaven's entrance.
In holiness churches, we also do somethings perhaps in someways different from more liberal churches. Somethings we begin to feel like somethings have to be or God cannot be there. In this context, I would agree with my first paragraph that we shouldnt let church tradition get in the way of growth. If God is in certain types of change, I am totally for it. So in our churches too, obedience to God is the key to growth.
Someone said we remember the great movings of God in the yesteryear, and we hear of them, and try to use the same methods as they used to make our churches grow today, and it doesnt work. It was said that we live in a new age, and must use new methods that appeal to people of today. Here is where I have my problem: the major reason for the great movings of God in the past, the major source of the great revivals, and major cause of church growth was PRAYER. I am sorry, friends, it is not outdated, and it STILL WORKS!! Your church may grow without it, but it will not grow spiritually. You can get people in with entertaining singing, extra fellowships and parties, maybe some video, etc..., but these things do not build spirituality. Prayer and obedience make powerful tools for the growth of a spiritual church.
If only people would learn to spend more time in prayer, our people would be more spiritual. As you grow more spiritual, you become more like God, and will "love everybody". People respond to love. The presence of God would reign in our services, and the true presence of God will never drive anyone away!! Love and His presence will bring the lost in.
What happened to the extra prayer meetings where people just prayed? What happened to those sweet times of prayer right in service where we were not in a hurry to get up?
Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
Thy wings shall my petition bear
To Him whose truth and faithfulness
Engage the waiting soul to bless.
And since He bids me seek His face,
Believe His Word and trust His grace,
I’ll cast on Him my every care,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!
Prayer will NEVER BE OUTDATED. It fits perfectly with the times.

Hey everyone!! Long time, no write!! Been so busy....

The kids are working hard to finish school. That takes alot of time. We have been spending alot of time working on sign language too as there is a lady in nursing home we visit who is deaf. The kids have fell in love with her, and want to be able to talk to her more. Education is a busy business!!
In March, Daniel was in the hospital with pneumonia for a few days.
Rebekah went to a Gaither Vocal Band concert last night. She got a ticket for her birthday, and was totally thrilled with it. She throughly enjoyed herself, and here is few pictures of her with singers she likes.


Here is Rebekah and Michael English--the one that she was the most excited about seeing.



Here is Rebekah and my brother, Matthew with David Phelps.



....and with Wes Hampton.


Well am not in the mood to digress at this moment--just letting all know we are in the land of the living, and sharing the pics! Guess I will catch up on everyone else's blogs at this moment!! Adios!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Making Pancakes

I got this in an email today and thought it was so good I would share it!


Making Pancakes
Six year-old Brandon decided one Saturday morning to fix his parents pancakes. He found a big bowl and spoon, pulled a chair to the counter, opened the cupboard and pulled out the heavy flour canister, spilling it on the floor.
He scooped some of the flour into the bowl with his hands, mixed in most of a cup of milk and added some sugar, leaving a floury trail on the floor which by now had a few tracks left by his kitten.
Brandon was covered with flour and getting frustrated. He wanted this to be something very good for Mom and Dad, but it was getting very bad.
He didn't know what to do next, whether to put it all into the oven or on the stove and he didn't know how the stove worked!. Suddenly he saw his kitten licking from the bowl of mix and reached to push her away, knocking the egg carton to the floor.
Frantically he tried to clean up this monumental mess but slipped on the eggs, getting his pajamas white and sticky.
And just then he saw Dad standing at the door. Big crocodile tears welled up in Brandon 's eyes. All he'd wanted to do was something good, but he'd made a terrible mess. He was sure a scolding was coming, maybe even a spanking. But his father just watched him..
Then, walking through the mess, he picked up his crying son, hugged him and loved him, getting his own pajamas white and sticky in the process!
That's how God deals with us.. We try to do something good in life, but it turns into a mess. Our marriage gets all sticky or we insult a friend, or we can't stand our job, or our health goes sour.
Sometimes we just stand there in tears because we can't think of anything else to do. That's when God picks us up and loves us and forgives us, even though some of our mess gets all over Him.
But just because we might mess up, we can't stop trying to "make pancakes" for God or for others. Sooner or later we'll get it right, and then they'll be glad we tried...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Last night

We had a nice evening last night. First of all, I have to admit--I didnt go to church, but that is not what made the evening nice!! I have arthritis in my joints. My elbows were hurting, and told hubby that I was dreading going out in the rainy weather, because I knew I would hurt all over then. He suggested I stay home. Well we had my brother and his wife, and a new friend we have over. I had calzones to eat, and had made pie the day before too. My brother who said he would only stay til 9, ended up staying til 10, and Mark was here til 12 something. It was very enjoyable for Shawn and I.
To be honest, we hardly ever have anyone over anymore except for family. When I went to the church I went to for 17 or 18 years, I used to have people over at least 2 or 3 times a week. Then we left, and have went from church to church, and have not been comfortable having alot of people over. The one pastor we had at the one church we attended became a good friend, and came over alot. We missed him alot when he moved away. This is so cool having a friend our age again. We can talk about anything, and can even have comfortable moments of silence! (And my kids like this guy even, and arent like "oh no" when he is coming over.)
We hit on some different topics that I would like to explore in this blog some more sometime. Well that is it for now. Later folks!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Head Lice!!! AAAAA!!!

We were exposed to head lice, and Rebekah got them--and what a battle it has been!! What is sad is that the poor child was itching, and probably had them for a week before I found them. I didnt know what I was looking for, and she has always had a problem with dandruff....but I finally seen them on a Saturday night about 11:30 , so off Shawn went to Walmart! That night we were up til 4:00 treating them, and treating my head as a safety precaution (however, we have never found any on my head, and my mom searched me good!), and then on Sunday, I worked the most I ever had on a Sunday in my life washing bedding and chair covers, etc.... I even completely kept her home for a week so she wouldnt drop a egg I missed on someone else!--and then she treated her head again. We went about a week or so, and guess what??? I found a few nits on her head Friday night again!! Same rigamarole again except I did let her go to church this time as there wasnt many, and as I understand it several people in the church have been getting the nasty things!! Hopefully we got it all this time, as there wasnt many this time, and I found no visible lice.
Any problem I have, I usually research good so I know what I am dealing with. I did the same with head lice, so I want to impart a few facts. Head lice do not like oily, dirty heads--they like clean heads--it easier for them to hang on to the hair. I think where the rumour must have started is when alot of time poor people had them, and the problem was not having the money to treat them, or ignorance. Sorry--lice do not look at your pocketbook before they make a home in your hair!! Viable nits are usually brown, and the white or clear ones are empty shells where the louse has hatched and left. Lice do not jump from head to head, they crawl at the speed of about 9 inches a minute. The major thing you can do to get rid of lice is to comb and comb and comb to get the nits out. The expensive shampoos you buy kill lice but not the eggs! The eggs live for about 2-3 weeks, and that is why anywhere that your head is going to be near needs to be put under heat for about 20-30 minutes. Heat kills lice--water does not. That is why we run coats, bedding, hair things, etc... through the dryer. (I think that maybe where I went wrong--I forgot to do the coats and hats last time!!) It is possible that the mayonaise treatment and kerosene(which can be dangerous) might kill lice, but if you dont get the eggs out you will get them again!! I have heard so many things my whole life about lice and alot was not true, so I thought I would impart my knowledge to you!! lol!!
Wishing you good luck in your life that you will not get them!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mercy

Tonight I watched a girl sign the song, “The Mercy Seat”. The sign she made for mercy was rolling both hands over and over. It struck me as so appropriate when being compared to God’s mercy---it extends to us over and over as we are so needing of it. It also reminded me of a Bible story.

The church leaders found her in the very act of adultery. Probably she was of such character, that they knew she would be an easy target. What an embarrassing position to be caught in by the holier than-thou-church leaders of the day—possibly unclothed and with someone that was indeed not her husband! She tried to pass it off like she didn’t care with them, yet she did. She really did want to be accepted, but her lot in life had been hard, she had fallen on hard times, and somehow had found herself trapped in a lifestyle that no one would personally desire. Now at this stage in her life, she knew even if she changed, no one would forget, no one would ever again think good of her, so why try to change? Yet in her inmost soul, she felt her dirtiness and shame as they dragged her along. What was the purpose of this intrusion on her life? If they had been going to put her to death as the law demanded, why had they not done it years before? Perhaps, because some of them in the dark of night had also visited her? She was not worried of death, but felt a sense of foreboding, and knew they would not drag her out in the daylight for anything good. She looked up and realized she was at the door of the temple—why, oh, why, would they bring her to such a holy place? She had not been near the doors since she was very young. This was not good.
In though the doors, and up toward the front where a young man stood teaching. Her cheeks burned at being here in her condition, and grabbed at her hastily put on robes, arranging them to cover her more thoroughly as she heard the voice of one of her captors speak,
"Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. In his teachings, Moses ordered us to stone women like this to death. What do you say?"
Fear struck her heart then. So they were trying to put her to death! Yet, with the fear, came anger. She knew the man that spoke, she knew him intimately, and how was it that the law would only judge her? It was so unfair! What would this supposed Teacher say? Bravely, she lifted her eyes as the man turned toward her. His eyes fastened on hers. She had never seen such eyes. She knew men, and she knew their leering looks, their admiring looks, their lustful looks, but this woman had never had someone look at her like this. She began to tremble violently—perhaps she should look down--yet she could not!! Was he reading her heart? Could he see her soul? Yet, it almost seemed that there was compassion and love in that intense gaze.
When she felt as if she could bear his searching eyes no longer, he turned without looking at her captors, and knelt in the dirt and began to write with his finger. The temple was very quiet as the men around her began to jostle forward. She was moved along with them with the viselike grip that one had on her arm. In spite of herself, she craned her neck forward that she might see too. He was writing the Ten Commandments in the dirt! When the church leaders realized what he was writing, a clamor of voices rose again in the air,
“Answer us, Master. We know these commandments, and we know what was inscribed on the tablets, but do you agree with what Moses said we were to do about the violation of the 7th commandment?”
Then he looked up, and the room immediately grew quiet as he looked at each of them face by face. When he at last spoke, it was a firm, gentle, but an oh-so-knowing voice.
"He, who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." And he knelt and continued writing on the ground.
The words were like a bombshell in the room. She realized they were testing this man in someway that she did not understand, and that it had never really been about her personally, yet even she knew how ungodly they were underneath their fa├žade. Before them were the commandments written by God originally, and not a man among them was completely innocent of that list. There was rustling as they began to turn and the leave the temple with heads down, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest. There was no good answer with which to defend themselves. Finally, they were all gone, and all that was left in the room, was the Master and the woman.
She knew of her own sins. She knew this man was really holy, quite unlike the self-proclaimed, holy men that had just left the room. What would he do with her? Tears began to stream down her cheeks.
"Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?"
She looked up. He was looking at her with kind, gentle questioning eyes. Who was he? She could tell in those eyes that somehow He knew her, and yet he loved her! How could this be?! Her voice cracked as she spoke,
“No man, Lord.”
Somehow she was not frightened to look in His face anymore. A hint of a smile touched His lips as He spoke,
“Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more.”
How could it be? He didn’t care what she had done in her life. He did not condemn her. He was forgiving her—he only cared that she sinned no more!! The woman knew in her heart of hearts that she had looked into the face of God in the moment, and she knew He was nothing like she had ever imagined him to be in the past. She knew Mercy. Maybe, just maybe, she could be different.

When I think of mercy, I think of this story, and know it to be true. He does not care about all the awful sins that you and I have committed, He, the truly pure and sinless One, cares only that we quit sinning. Each time we mess up, we bring it to Him, and find forgiveness and love, and here Him say,
“Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more.”
Mercy, over and over, again. What a lovely word. Mercy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pictures!!


















I was looking through my mom's pictures and found these pictures of Daniel hard at work helping Papa, and thought I would share them!

And here is a picture of Rebekah reading on Grandma and Grandpa's porch. Dont know how I missed seeing these before, but I liked them.











Monday, February 16, 2009

Lack of discipline...

Lack of discipline....the thought has wandering about my head since last night when I blogged.
You know I used to be very emphatic about regular church attendance. I felt very strongly that a church will not grow if the people are not there. I believed staunchly that the verse about forsaking not the assembling of yourselves together, meant you were to be in church when the doors were open. We planned on our vacations so we wouldnt miss church. Whether or not the verse means that you have to be in every revival service, every rally, concert, prayer meeting or not can be controversial, but I think the discipline of making yourself go was good. And granted, I always usually came out feeling better.
When I had to leave the church I went to for years that I dearly loved, we went to a very conservative church where the preacher preached on everything imaginable-or should I say against everything imaginable!! Then they had this evangelist come for a revival service--and I was there every night until after the last Friday night. He screamed redfaced, wiped extreme sweat, and generously spit over us--and yes, he preached against things worse than our pastor did. Church members went up to the altar seeking for a second work, then were back a few nights later, not even sure if they were saved in the end. That night they had my dear husband in tears not even sure anymore if he was saved--in mass confusion. The next time I seen our pastor, I told him I would not come back to that revival as God is NOT the author of confusion.(Which by the way he took very graciously like the good and gentle man that he was.) Not long after, we left the church, and have wandered about aimlessly since, not knowing where we belong.
Since this experience, I began to study my Bible more feeling that not everything preached over that pulpit is annointed, albeit there is some fine men preaching some of this nonsense. I began to question things I had heard all my life--whether it was Biblical. Frankly, although I will keep to most things I have been taught all my life because I feel it makes sense, I found alot of stuff that I took for granted was black and white, is NOT Biblical. Although I probably pray more, and have studied my Bible more than I did in the past, I still feel I lost something---discipline. When you feel like you belong nowhere, you dont feel very accountable. I am not one of those people that you can count on to be there every service. Thus, I lost an area of discipline.
I could go on and on in this vein telling of areas where I have lost the d word in my life, but I just want to say, it is so easy when you let on area go, to let more target areas in your life also go by the wayside. The more "freedom" you feel, the more you let up on. It is so easy to give up on more and more things, and how easy it could be at some points to just give up serving God, and lose your soul. This is something I never want to do.


In the warfare that is raging
For the truth and for the right,
When the conflict, fierce, is raging
With the powers of the night,God needs people brave and true:
May He then depend on you?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Update on our lives

Wow! I have not been on here in a long time. I have been so busy with the kids and the house. I was given some new bedroom furniture, so one long project was to tear my room apart, scrub the walls, trash stuff, and change it around, making room for the new stuff! But cool!! I now have a matching dresser set--a long one with a mirror, a tall dresser, and a night stand. They are in excellent shape. My sis-in-law's boyfriend had a rich friend that lived with them til he died, and all of his stuff was there, and they gave it to me!!
Yesterday we went to Golden Corrall for breakfast with Mom and Dad. I am not a huge breakfast eater, besides I have started, not a diet but a lifestyle change. I am determined to lose weight. I am concerned about the total lack of discipline in my life. It has reached every area--my eating, my devotions, and even in my housework. However, breakfast was still good!! (I guess I kind of got off there!)
My first sister-in-law came over Friday. It was good to see her, although it did mess up the rhythm of my schoolday. I wish I could see her get herself straightened out. I say my first, as my brother has supplied me with 3 sister-in-laws so far.....
My oldest brother has moved into a place to rent for now. I think they are going to rebuild their house on the old lot eventually.
I did not go to church all day today.(Please, dont tell anyone! lol!!) This morning I got mixed up on my mornings. Every Sunday morning except for the third, I go to nursing home service with my parents and play the piano. I was surprised that my mom and dad were not here to pick me up, before Shawn and the kids left for church this morning, and then shortly after got checking the calendar, and alas, this was the 3rd--so I couldnt go anywhere. So I listened to the Sea Breeze Camp in Hobe Sound, Fla. as they were streaming their services online. It was good. I enjoyed it. I like my church, the people are great, the pastor preaches good messages, but it is just so ultra organized. I enjoy when the Spirit of God moves, when people shout, and testify, sing some extra verses, when the preacher is so burdened by what God has given him, he cries. I am maybe seeing things wrong, or am too much of hillbilly, and I know some churches are too unorganized, and I know people can get out of the spirit, but I am not feeling spiritually challenged or inspired enough at church. However, I am afraid, what if it is me, and the lack of discipline in my life. You know, you can sometimes get so focused on the mote in your brothers eye that you fail to see the log in your own! I am praying for myself and our church. If you are a Christian reading this, if anyone does, please pray for me. Anyhow, since our church services were moved to 6:00, and Shawn works so many doubles, he looks forward to that Sunday afternoon nap, and sometimes just doesnt want to get up to leave again at 5:30. You see, he doesnt get home til 1:00 and by the time we eat, and lay down it is around 2, and then we have to get up at 5, to get ready to leave by 5:30. Not that that shouldnt be enough time to sleep, but it makes the day so short and unrestful--well kind of like you are running--I dont know--I understand how he feels. So well, he didnt want to get up, so we stayed home and watched the camp meeting services again. Another good service. But is it another example of the lack of discipline???
Well that is all for tonight. I probably didnt make much sense. But then who thought I was sensible....????

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Relaxed Homeschooling!!!

What a beautiful week in Nature! First at the beginning of the week we had a ice storm that covered the trees in our woods in glistening glory, and then a beautiful, white blanket of snow fell over them. We were living in a winter wonderland truly, but ach!! it was so cold!!! BRRR!!

Someone was joking the other day about relaxed homeschooling, so I just had to share this picture.
I used to work once a week taking care of a lady that had a stroke, and could take my kids--this was taken there!!
For the most part, I make my kids sit at a table, but sometimes this happens!! LOL!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lately.....

Sorry I have not been posting. My kids have kept me very busy with schoolwork in the daytime. Rebekah has Algebra, and is having some trouble comprehending her elective, Music. Daniel is just not the best reader so I am trying to spend more time with him in that area, and "practicing nice and easy speech", as I just can't afford a speech therapist again right now.
My mind is still busy, and yet alot of the things I would like to talk about that are troubling my heart, I cant talk about here. So there you have it.
I still regularly check all my friends posts. I enjoy you all blogs!
Some day soon I will come up with something deep and amazing that will stun you all!! lol!!...Or I could just yell at Mark again...!!! (jk!)
Later!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

We talked about something interesting in Sunday School this morning. It was based on Romans 15:7

Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
or the version they read said;
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

I do have alot of issue with alot of the holiness denominations, which I do belong to, as they do tend to be very rigid, and feel as if their way is the only way. Sometimes if others dont measure up to our standard of dress, we think they just cant be a Christian. Or if their doctrine just doesnt match up to our own, they are most certainly lost. It is a very unchristian attitude to have. We tend to forget where Christ brought us from, and forget some of areas we maybe didnt "line up" at times, yet we were still Christians. We forget that we hold up different preachers and teachers from the past as authorities of our doctrine--yet alot of them didnt "line up"! John Wesley had long hair, Samuel Bringle smoked a pipe, etc... And might I dare to go on and say some of the things preached against in holiness churches today, are NOT in the Bible! Yet so often we feel we are the ultimate authority on who is going to make it to Heaven or not!! This scripture tells us to recieve one another, or to accept.

Greek translation of recieve--

to take to, take in addition, to take to one's self
to take as one's companion
to take by the hand in order to lead aside
to take or receive into one's home, with the collateral idea of kindness
to receive, i.e. grant one access to one's heart
to take into friendship and intercourse
to take to one's self, to take: i.e. food


The point was made that Jesus did not go around saying, "you are wrong" continually. He did alot of loving and reaching out to others. He did alot of condemning those who were self righteous, that were basing their religon on their works, and rituals. He did alot of accepting. He did not straighten out the woman caught in adultery--frankly, he didnt care what she had done. He wanted her to quit sinning now, but he loved and wanted her. However, he did put to shame the pious church people that brought her in to Him. They left in shame. Jesus had arms outstretched to the unloveable and unwanted, and the ones that didnt "line up".

However, having said all that, there is times He did stand up for what he thought was right. There was times he did straighten people out. He loved the rich, young ruler, and yearned for him, but Jesus did set some ground rules for him. We can make it all easy and "let's accept everyone", but where are our ground rules supposed to be according to God's Word(not according to holiness people's rules)? I found this very concerning to me this morning--is this where some of the churches of today have become of little depth? Have they taken this too far? And yet, holiness people are not taking it serious enough. What is the answer? I dont know.....

Friday, January 9, 2009

Stay Home!!

I went out in this weather tonight to visit a nursing home friend, and when I went in the room her roommate asked me, "How is the weather outside?" I sang to her, "Oh the weather outside is frightful..." Crazy me going out in it!! I crept back to Lisbon at about 20 miles an hour--luckily noone followed me probably because most people were too smart to be out in it), or else they would have been complaining, "Why dont that poor old lady's family keep her home!!!"
Stay home--it's bad out!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Purpose

Do you ever think of all the things you were going to do when you grew up? How many did you accomplish? Me...not too many. I was sure I was going to be a nurse or doctor for a long time, which I am sure I would have enjoyed as I love home health care. .There is a satisfaction in leaving a client and knowing they are clean, smell good, and are comfortable. I am sure I would have enjoyed trying to make people better. Then, I was sure I was going to be a missionary. I can remember sitting on the sink next to Mom while she explained communism to me, and about the people in China that couldnt worship God freely. I also around this time went to a missionary service where the Lyons family ( who were missionaries to Taiwan) spoke--I cried through the service. I was then sure I was going to be a missionary to China. When I grew to be a teenager, I was sure I was going to be a writer. I filled notebooks with my stories, and a few articles were published by our denominational paper. I was also sure I would NEVER let myself get fat like some people I seen. Well sorry to say, I accomplished none of that.
I am just an ordinary mom and wife, a homeschooling mom to be exact. I can barely keep up with my house, and sometimes I just feel like pulling my hair out!! My hair is turning gray, I have arthritis in my joints, and I feel as if Old Lady Age is pulling me down a path that in my youth I never thought I would reach. I look back at my life and all the mistakes I have made, years of depression, and I could feel like a failure. However, I can honestly say that what I see is that God has not given up on me. I am embarassed at some of my mistakes, and I see lots of areas where I have failed, yet if He has not given up on me, then maybe, just maybe, He has a reason for me being here! It could be there is hope for Christa. Maybe I have touched a life, or maybe I will eventually. Maybe my kids will go on to do what I did not. And if He has not given up on me, why should I?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Check out a good discussion on another Blogger site--
http://thoughtsofasojourner.blogspot.com/
Interesting thoughts.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Mistaken ideas about breastfeeding

Breastfeeding
I have an acquaintance here on Blogger who brought up the subject that Facebook, due to Facebook regulations has removed pictures of woman breastfeeding from their site. They are removing the pictures where nipple or aerola are showing, and thousands of women are boycotting Facebook for this, etc... I agree with him on the point--why would woman want to post pictures of themselves in this manner, and I think Facebook was right in removing the pictures. On these points, I do agree with him, but he made other "points" that aggravated me, although he is someone I really like from what I know of him, and I enjoy allot of his dissertations.
Today Breastfeeding a choice--at one time it wasn't. Today we have decent formulas that do supply adequate nutrition for the baby, and I don't have a problem with that choice if that is what you prefer to do. I would like to point out that formula does not boost the baby's immune system. Breastfeeding is God's way, and his way is always best. Babies come into the world largely unprotected, facing organisms that their systems are not equipped to handle. If you are bottle feeding, you do need to be extra careful to keep your baby away from people who are sick, as babies can become much sicker than normal until they have time to build an immune system. Breast-feeding jump starts them much faster as you are sharing "lymphocytes and macrophages that produce antibodies and other immune factors" with your baby. Breastfed babies do not get sick as much, or spit up as much. Actually, even if you yourself are sick, you should not stay away from your baby, because your body "begins producing antibodies to fight the infection. Some of these antibodies are passed to your baby through your breastmilk so he or she can also fight the virus." Why? Because it is the God's way. Breast milk for our infants was designed BY GOD with the needs of our babies in mind, just as a cow's milk was designed with a calf in mind and gives that calf the stuff he needs to grow healthy on.
Breast feeding is easy--no sterilizing, no warming bottles in the middle of night, and it is free. Yes, it does take time to sit and nurse them, but no more time than sitting and sticking a bottle in their mouth--minus the preparation time! Contrary to some people's belief, if you miss a few feedings, you don't have to pump if you don't want to. I know that it can be difficult to find an appropriate time if you are away. You can express enough to make yourself comfortable, and keep on going. If you are a little short on milk the next day because of missed feedings, you just sit a little longer and let the baby nurse longer, and the amazing human body will learn to readjust to the amount the baby needs the next day. That is what happens each time the baby grows and requires more than your body is producing--you spend a little extra time nursing for a day. You know, what is really cool? When I was nursing my 2ND child, it was discovered that I had hydrocephalus, and they wanted to operate, and if I had let them, with the pain meds I would have been on, I wouldn't have been able to nurse for a couple weeks. Of course, my milk would have dried up, but did you know any woman can produce milk even if she never had a baby? Of course, it would be tiresome--you would need to sit with a pump at regular times for a couple weeks, but the stimulation will bring on the milk! If I had wanted to, I could have brought my milk back, and went on nursing. The human body is so amazing--and they try to say we evolved!!
My acquaintance mentioned it takes away the chance for the rest of the family to bond. First of all, if a mother is willing to take the time to nurse, I think it selfish for the rest of the family to be fretting too much about taking from the health of the baby. Second, I feel sorry for them if that is the only way they can find to bond. My kids loved my husband and knew him as little babies-- and I nursed exclusively the first couple months. They loved my mom and their uncles. They just spent time with them.
However, the "point" he made that aggravated me the most, is that woman should not nurse in public even if they are covered up. That upsets me. So we should hide away as if we are doing something wrong? I am not talking about indecent exposure, I am talking about being covered. I think the world has made such a big deal of a woman's chest, we think it is obscene anything to do with it outside of sex. Sorry! They are useful tools and made that way by God--and guess what? I just bet you Jesus nursed. Read pioneer books, those that mention it, talk of it being done in the open. It is not obscene. When we have to go and sit in a room by our self, we are teaching our kids that is shameful, and what young girl is going to want to make the better choice for her baby, if she has to sit in a room by herself if her baby is fussy.
Don't take me wrong. I am NOT putting down mothers that don't nurse. I know lots of mothers that the natural way is not a good choice for them, but they are every bit as good of a mother as I am. I just think allot of people are misinformed.

(And don't think I am mad at this person. I have often online in forums disagreed with him agreeably, but enjoyed debating him.)

When I was young I was sure of everything; in a few years, having been mistaken a thousand times, I was not half so sure of most things as I was before; at present, I am hardly sure of anything but what God has revealed to me. -John Wesley.


My favorite quote.
When I was young, I did think I knew it all. I knew who was a Christian and who wasnt, I knew which was the "right" way", I knew the rules, etc... I am so glad God did not give up on me and my little righteous mind! I am so much less judgmental than I was at one time, and so much more able to think outside the box!! All I know for sure is what God has showed me personally, and that is all I need to know!!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Fire...

Tonight my brother, Thomas's house burnt down. They think it might be electrical. They lost everything, except for 1 dog. They lost another dog, 4 cats. and a Russian Gray parrot in the fire. (They are really animal lovers.) Even the keys to their car was in the fire. The fire was really hot--the shutters on the house actually melted and was running down the front of the house. I am so sad for their loss, but so glad they made it out themselves. It would be almost unbearable to have lost them.


Ever since I was young, my mom used to take me to the nursing home to visit. It was something I felt I could do for God even when I was young. The elderly are so easy to talk to, and so un-judgmental. Of course, anyone that knows us at all, knows my parents and I are involved in nursing home ministry. I wrote and published in our denominational paper at the time an article very similar to this when I was 13 or 14. I dont know where it is now, so wrote this as a take-off of that one. I also added a few thoughts in there that I have heard my dad admonish the old people all the time. He always tells them that they have good minds and know so much to share with the world, and that they should exercise their minds--not just give up, etc... I used to love to write, and have decided to use blogger to exercise that at times!! Sorry....dont read my blog if it is boring to you!! lol!!



Visiting the Aged

I feel young, vigorous, and alive as I walk up the nursing home. The sun warms my face, and the wind plays with the short hairs around my face. I can see well the flower heads nodding in the breeze, and hear birds singing in the trees. It is good to be alive.

Then I open the door….I enter another world. Here the smell of urine permeates the air from trash cans that have not yet been emptied. The elderly sit about in various kinds of wheelchairs, useless legs covered with lap robes, and those who are deranged are sometimes even sitting in some form of undress. Almost each face has a vacant look, and the eyes stare emptily, thoughts closed off to the world, for in this stage of life no one is interested in their thoughts. I feel a wilting of spirits, a fleeing of youth.

I enter Rosita’s room. Here sits a precious Catholic, Italian lady on the edge of her bed. She wears her long white hair in a tiny knot on the top of her head, and her faded dark eyes peer out behind thick glasses to see who has entered her room. She is so grateful for company, and yet, she tells me, “I canna see, I canna hear, my kids no come see me, and at this point, she folds her arthritic hands together. “I justa pray God come take me home!” To her it seems as if her life is over, and no one cares that she sits there day after day.

I leave Rosita’s room, and stop at Stella’s side in the hallway. She sits here every Sunday by the window waiting, watching, hoping that perhaps this would be the day that her kids would remember their mother. Kneeling beside her, we pray together as Stella has become a Christian not long ago. You see, although the world has forgotten the aged, God has not! I weep with her and pass on.

Mary. Here is another tiny, almost doll-like, little lady! If you did not know her, and seen her sitting in one of the open areas in hallways, half-asleep with her wig crooked, you might pass her by. If you passed her by, you would have passed by a blessing in disguise. Mary has also been forsaken by her son—he has not been to see her in years as he did not like the place she was planning on being buried. Although some of us might have become embittered in her place, Mary had a secret. As her fading sight fixes on me, she reaches out tiny crippled hands for my own strong ones, and says in her tiny sweet voice, “Oh honey, I am so glad you came to see me. I love you.” It is not long into the conversation before she reveals her inner secret, what it is that keeps her happy while being so utterly alone, “Honey, I love Jesus.” I don’t remember a conversation without those four words being spoken from the heart. Friends, Jesus loved Mary too.

Traveling on down the hallway of fading life, I see ahead Charlie. He is staring at the wall, mouth hanging open. What did he have to offer the world? I touch his shoulder, he catches sight of me, and there is immediate life in that face!! He grins as he grips my hand. You see, Charlie has stories to tell the world and he knows I will listen. He can tell you about WWII, about when he lived in Australia, engineering stories, etc… Through his eyes, I see lands faraway, places I have never been.

The next room I enter belongs to white-haired lady who looks as if she would be very sour. She lays there in her bed all covered up, years of usefulness apparently over. I bend over her bed. “Blanche, how are you? Do you know who I am?” She stares at me a moment, and finally says, “Yes. We have been friends for a long time.” She also proceeds to tell me, “I don’t feel so good, honey. I just wish God would take me home—if he wants to. But if he wants me here, I want to tell others about Him. Pray for me” I kiss that soft, soft cheek of Blanche, and reaffirm my own commitment to also tell others about Him on my two working legs.

Need I go on? I went in feeling life was good, and yet felt it was fleeing as I entered the halls of this place. However, something changed for the better inside. I found vacant eyes brightened with attention, faces became animated with a listening ear, and I was blessed. Here I found Christians, and people with good minds, and something to share with the world that you and I have neglected. Are we leaving something undone that we shall be accountable to God for in the Judgment Day?

Matthew 25:31-46
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Christmas is over...

Well Christmas is over for another year, and a new year has begun.




We had a good Christmas, and a more relaxed one. I just said "no" to some things that just seemed like too much for me, or if I was too tired. Due to low finances for some member of my family, the adults did not buy gifts for each other. It was nice to have an easier financial burden too, and feel free to just enjoy each other.



We went to my mom's on Christmas Eve, and had pizza and pop, read the Christmas story, and the kids opened their gifts, and gave out their dollar gifts for each relative. Alas! Shawn and I were the only ones to get "nothing for Christmas"!! It just killed Shawn--when do men grow up??!!


Christmas morning, we got up, Mom and Dad came down, we all ate breakfast together, and then opened presents.
















We then went to Mom's for Christmas dinner, and to Shawn's family later that evening. It was nice. We spent sometime at another one of his sisters the Sunday after Christmas. We had alot of good talks as a family reflecting on the Christmas story.
New Years Eve we spent with a family from church, and had a very nice time.
Now we are plunging headlong into a new year. As always, we hope to do better and be better people than we were in the previous year. I did not make a formal or definite New Years resolution, but I do have quiet plans--hopefully it will be something my friends will notice, but if I fail, you will never know!! lol!!
Happy New Years to all!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Christmas story thoughts...

Joseph
My thoughts have still been with the Christmas season and the Christmas story. I thought I would share a few of the thoughts I pinned.




Joseph


So many times at Christmastime, I find my self overwhelmed as I think of the sacrifice of Mary. To be living in a time where being pregnant without the benefit of marriage was quite reasonably shameful, to know in reality that no one would believe that you were carrying the Son of God, and to still be able to answer the angel, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy word”, is nothing short of amazing. Oft-times in life we say we don’t care what people think, but we DO to a certain extent. The commitment of Mary is fantastic in such a young girl, and I would not take away from her one bit; however, God never leaves us to carry a burden alone, and she certainly was given a load. She was such a young girl, probably of the tender age of 14 or 15 years of age. She was pregnant, perhaps sick some of the time with some of ailments that come with pregnancy, and mostly certainly facing the scorn of those around her—she needed a shoulder to lean on. She needed someone strong to take pressure off her, to make decisions for her. I am sure she thought she had most certainly lost her chance at marriage, and her chance for a traditional family life. However, God had a man for the job, and he did not choose this man lightly. Joseph, I see as a man of probably close to forty, with probably red or brown hair, and most likely, the distinctive,often long, Jewish nose. He was a hard working man, a successful carpenter, who had built up a business and a reputation for himself. “Now here is a man who is honest in business, and will make you a decent piece of furniture”, his customers would tell others. It takes years to build a reputation such as his.
As a boy, he studied the Torah with the rabbi as all Jewish boys do, and knew well many passages by heart. Finding himself amazed by the many miracles that were performed by God Himself, and through people in the history of the Jews, he often found himself hungering for more of this God that never seemed to give up on the nation of Israel, although they turned their back on Him over and over. It became a practice of Joseph during the days as he sanded and formed quality pieces of carpentry to talk quietly to Jehovah in the quiet of his workshop. Thus, as follows those today who seek the face of God, there was a peace about Joseph that caught people’s attention. Here was a man of strength and character.
Joseph was now at the time in his life that he would soon be bringing home his wife. It had been understood in their family for years that he would marry Mary. It was an arranged union after the custom of the day, but Joseph found himself strangely pleased by it. He had seen Mary here and there through her growing up years, and found her to be a child of a sweet disposition, but the woman Mary was becoming, thrilled him even more. Her features were pleasing to Joseph’s eye, but her spirit compelled him even more. He was convinced they might indeed have a meeting of minds. Yes, he was finding himself ready to bring her home.After the custom of the day, the marriage ceremony had already taken place, and now the bride had 12 months in which to prepare her trousseau and herself for life with her husband when he came to fetch her. He would come to fetch her at night, and bring her back to his place. She would enter the bridal chamber with him, and there their marriage would be consummated. The bride groom would then announce to the guests that the marriage was consummated, and the party would begin, and go on for 7 days. However, the bride would stay in the chamber for those days, but at the end of the 7 days, the groom would bring her out, and unveil her before the well-wishers, and then married life together would begin. Joseph was anxious for the day he could go and get her, and bring her to himself. Or should I say, he had been until she arrived home the other day from her cousin’s house?
She had been staying with her older cousin, Elizabeth up in the hill country for 3 months. Joseph had assumed she was preparing for their big day just as he was. He had indeed had no objection to her staying with Elizabeth as indeed Elizabeth had always appeared to be a godly, sober, older woman, and her husband had been always faithful in his Temple duties. What would there be to object about? Elizabeth could indeed offer the same good guidance, and help with preparing her trousseau as Mary’s own mother would have provided surely. He was sure Elizabeth and Zachariah would watch over his bride with care.
However, when he met Mary on her return, she had news that could crush a bridegroom’s anxious hopes. She was pregnant, and her belly was indeed starting to be discernable beneath her robes when the wind blew them against her. Soon those in her neighborhood would know too. Although she did give an explanation with that sweet, pleading face and those very honest-looking eyes, how he could he believe such a thing? She carried the Messiah? And angel came and spoke to her? It had not been in his lifetime that he heard of angel appearing to anyone, nor God speaking to someone, and he had even more rarely ever read in Jewish history of this thing happening to a woman—much less, a girl! As much as he would have liked to believe her, his maturity and years would not allow him to trust such a wild story. It seemed to be much more likely that she had met someone else and let down her guard. Maybe she had not been as excited about their wedding day as he had been. After all, he was so much older. Did he appear boring to her? And perhaps she was not as deep as he had thought?
She had pleaded with him to trust her, and give her chance, but she was also asking him to give up his reputation. He inwardly cringed as he thought of what his neighbors and friends would think about his lack of self control if he took Mary into his house. Everyone would be sure it was he that had impregnated Mary—it would be the same as claiming the child. As much as he would like to forgive her, and hated the scorn that would be hers, even the kindness and justness of his character did not want to stoop to her incrimination. He did not want to share her shame. He was a kind man, and maybe that kindness and gentleness could forgive her youth, but to have to be looked down on, and snickered at behind his back—no, he just couldn’t. Yet that evening was one of agony of soul, “Mary, Mary,” he cried out again and again. Years of dreams and hopes were flushed away in one moment. He had dreamed all of his life of a wife and family, having someone to talk to and worship God with, someone to share his thoughts with, and yes, he had dreamed of living a life of integrity and honesty with his Mary. He had dreamed of her soft lips on his, and those lovely gray eyes looking at him with love. Love had never been spoken of between them, yet he had been sure he could earn her love, and was sure she had at least thought of him fondly to this point. And now, he could not trust her, not even to tell him the truth of the circumstances of her indiscretion. Hot, bitter tears flowed down his cheeks, and deep, guttural sobs wracked that sturdy frame. The cries of man are so rarely heard that they are such a heartbreaking sound, and Josephs cries would certainly have tugged at your heart strings if you had been there. Agony of soul tortured this good man.
Maturity prevailed at last. He arose, washed his face, and prepared for bed. He doubted he would be able to sleep, yet he had to try to present a normal face to his neighbors tomorrow, and to do this he needed rest. Yet his mind still whirled, and he knew he did need to make some decisions. He needed to decide what to do with Mary. God’s law dictated that she should be stoned, for God did not deal lightly with adultery. He had seen a few stonings in his day, and they were not pretty sight. He could not stand the thought of this happening to Mary in spite of her unfaithfulness. He found himself shuddering at the thought of that young body crushed by stones, and that lovely face marred, bleeding, and then lifeless. As much as Joseph loved God’s law, he could not bear in his soul to do this thing to Mary. Mayhap he could just quietly divorce her, and maybe she could go back and live with Elizabeth til the babe was born, perhaps give it away, come back, and start her life over. “God,” Joseph began to pray, “You are a God of mercy, and how often you have forgiven your people and given them second chances. I know even now in the midst of this Roman tyranny, you would deliver us if Your people would turn back to you. I plead for your understanding with this situation with Mary.” Here a sob broke loose from his soul. “I have always tried to serve you and to be a good man, and now I just do not understand why this has happened to me. I know you are not responsible for our own foolish decisions, and I do not blame You; hwever,my soul cries out to know why….? I hate to add disobedience to your law on top of her sin, yet God, I feel that you would understand my reluctance and my weakness in this matter.” In like manner, continued Joseph’s communion with God until at last exhaustion prevailed, and his body began to relax, and his mind stilled.Often times, even now this is the only time God can get through to us—when we become still before him. It was only when Joseph was in this state, and ready to listen, that something happened to him that he had begun to think did not happen in the day and age he was living in—an angel appeared to him with a message from God. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to go ahead with your marriage to Mary. For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” What a message for his troubled mind! Strangely enough, the scorn and shame of his neighbors did not seem to bother him quite as much now. Joseph had a choice—his choice was not taken away, he could have still turned Mary away. He could have not been willing to bear her shame even now, But yet, something had happened to Joseph that was to drastically change his life—he had an encounter with God. It changes folks even today. The Bible does not record him continually battling the decision. Perhaps he did, but I almost think knowing the truth set him free, and now that he also knew what God wanted in the matter, he just said, “Yes, Lord.” I am sure there was a lot of pondering that night and very little sleep, yet what a difference from the hours before. He was so glad Mary was really the girl he had originally thought her to be. He was thrilled to know his dreams were still intact, yet with such different perspective! He had a lot of responsibility on his broad shoulders now. He had to protect Mary from all the scorn and snickering he could. Just because the angel had now spoken to him, it did not make the story any more believable. Now his neighbors and friends would think he was making up wild stories to cover up the lack of discipline in his life—if Mary and he even told anyone. She would need protection, direction, cherishing—oh, how his duties had increased!! He had to raise the Son of God. Joseph knew his reputation would probably never be what it had once been, but somehow his reputation was not quite as important as it had once been. Joseph was starting to have a relationship with God that made the things of this earth seem “strangely dim.”
I wonder if he waited the night out to go get Mary. Can’t you see him knocking at Mary’s door while it is still dark? Heli, the father of Mary stumbles to the door to see what emergency or what crazy person was knocking on his door in the early, dark hours of the morning.
“Joseph!” says Heli, rubbing his hand through sleep tousled hair, “I am afraid for what brings you here in the night. I am so sorry for the shame that has come upon our contract, yet Mary is my daughter, and I do love her. Nevertheless, can I help you, son?
”“Heli, my father,” said Joseph with a gentle smile, “I’ve only come to take my bride home with me.”
Heli’s mouth drops and his eyes widen. “Joseph! I-I can’t believe my old ears. Mary said she spoke with you, and-and you knew! Surely you believed her no more than I. I would not ask any man to take this shame upon them.”
“Then, Heli, my father,” smiled Joseph, “you would probably not believe me either. The angel spoke to me too. I am willing to take on her so-called shame.”
Perhaps at this point even Heli began to bristle, beginning to wonder if somehow Joseph was the one that had not been able to wait and follow through with their customs. “Well, Joseph, I see you are trying to spin the wild tales too. The customary 12 months are not up, but take her and be-gone then. I sure hope you are not planning on feasting on this fiasco?”
“No, probably not,” replies Joseph, “You all would probably not understand, but my heart is feasting for joy. It is not our shame that stops me!”
Heli and his wife probably shook their heads in amazement as Joseph left with their daughter that night. What an embarrassment the two of them were to their family! And both of them a bit touched in the head!
Joseph’s in-laws did not trouble him a bit. The glorious smile Mary gave him when she realized he doubted her no more, that he believed in her, was all the reward he needed. There was also a sense of relief and peace spreading about her countenance. He could see she trusted in him, and to think, he almost forsook her. He almost thought she cared nothing for their relationship, and had thought that she thought he was boring!! He was determined to carefully nuture and tend this precious flower given to him truly by Jehovah! And as for the Child, he knew he already loved Him!
We read in the Bible that he did not consummate the marriage until after the birth of her Son. He only tenderly cared for her. Could this be why he took her with him on the journey to Bethlehem, to get her away from the jeers, to keep an eye on her, and protect her? There is little recorded about the love story of Joseph and Mary, but it is there unwritten between the lines. There is also a story of commitment to God in the life of a man. Have you ever noticed that through the rest of the story of Joseph that it is only Joseph that God speaks to? He speaks to him a total of 3 recorded times, and each time Joseph immediately obeys. He is not praised much or talked about much, but he was so important. He was so necessay to the safety of Mary and Jesus. He was put in charge, he had to shoulder so much, and he had to give up so many things that were important to him. He was put in a place of great responsibility by God, and I think he made God smile.
Don’t forget the story of Joseph, the man who loved God, and lived with God!