Friday, May 30, 2008

Time to WAKE UP!

Few things wake you with a start, like the sound of weather sirens. That was the sound that woke me from sleep this morning. It's funny how you can hear things like that and think you are dreaming, or that it's the cat next door, or a baby crying (even when you don't have a baby!). When I finally realized what it was, I jumped up, ran to the window and looked outside, and then went to the computer to check the weather alerts. There were no alerts though, other than strong thunderstorms being forecast for our area. I don't know what I expected to see when I looked outside. Maybe a stage 5 tornado whirling down our street? Truth is, the only tornado I've ever seen was when I was about 15 and lived on a farm in Indiana. It was out over the corn fields and didn't do any damage to our house, but my Mom made sure we were in the basement, in safety until that storm passed.
There are other things that wake you from sleep. An alarm clock. Someone touching you. Snoring (your spouses or your own). A barking dog. Sunlight. Birds chirping. Emergency vehicles. The telephone ringing. The buzzer on my clothes dryer (it sounds like half time at a Piston's game!). When the video you are watching is done and the TV switches over to snow and fuzz - I know this from MANY personal experiences.
When I was thinking about being woke from sleep by that siren, a Scripture passage came to mind.

¶ And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying: but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. Romans 13:11-14
So many believers today are asleep spiritually. Apathy reigns supreme in this day and age. There are those rare ones who are filled with zeal and remain stedfast in the work, but it just seems like so many are slumbering while the world careens head first into Hell. Even the most basic of our fundamentals, like faithfulness, is hard for many to maintain. I wonder why that is?
Could it be that Christians aren't saturating themselves with the Word on a daily basis? What is it that makes people fall into such a spiritual stupor, then stretch and yawn, when we are told to work while we can? Oh that we would be more like Jesus, who said:

I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. John 9:4
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we were all in a constant state of revival? I love revival meetings! It's a week of saturation with the Word. Meeting every night with other believers. Praying together. Preaching. No outside influence, like TV or radio. It's easy for the Lord to speak to hearts that way. But alas, almost as soon as the revival ends, the emotional high goes with it.
I praise the Lord for our little church. They are an amazing bunch of people. We run around 200, but it is nothing to see 30 or so out for soul winning! I just think that is phenomenal! And it makes me love them so much more.

But I know that's not the case in most Bible believing churches. I've seen the Lord "wake" slumbering believers up before and it can be a sobering thing. I honestly believe not just individual believers, but believers as a whole are in for a real awakening in this land, before too much longer. It's hard to hear things when you're asleep. We need to be AWAKE to hear what He has for us to do. Like Samuel of old, we should ALL be saying,

Speak; for thy servant heareth.
I Sam. 3:10

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sparkling Lime Punch

I've made this yummy punch recipe before for my family and they all love it. Especially on a HOT Summer day!


1 large can pineapple juice, chilled
1 (2 liter) bottle of Squirt soda pop, chilled
1 can frozen Limeade
Crushed or shaved ice
Fresh lime slices

Combine the pineapple juice, Squirt soda pop and frozen limeade in a punch bowl. Stir in enough crushed ice to make it slushy. Serve with a fresh lime slice on the edge of the glass. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My Greatest Joy

I LOVE being a wife and mother. I suppose my greatest joy, outside of being saved, is the joy of raising children for the Lord. And now, 2 sweet grandbabies are added blessings! I love it that I get to be such a large part of their life.

I adore my children. They have always been such a blessing to my husband and I. I can never remember feeling regret or grief over them when they were growing up. I just enjoyed every day with them. I home schooled our children for 12 years, so we had LOTS of days together. They are all happy, well adjusted, social, very talented young people. One of my favorite things is hearing them all sing together for church service. Our daughter in law blends right in with them to make a nice little quartet.

Our son is married to a sweet young lady and they have 2 precious babies. What a blessing to my life that they live right next door! He is our youth pastor, music director and Christian academy supervisor - a very busy young man! His wife is a wonderful, Godly helpmeet to him. I couldn't have hand picked a better young lady for his wife. They go together like peanut butter and jelly!
What a blessing that we get to spend so much time with them. I love those impromptu nights when neither of us has plans for dinner and we end up eating together, just because. And the grandbabies.... oh boy, I could write a book! They are so precious! Little Darren is only 2 1/2 but he is my constant "helper" and Katie is such a happy little lovebug!

Our daughters are both in Bible college and I LOVE it that they want to spend time with me when they come home on the weekends! Many Saturdays, I get to enjoy the morning by door knocking or bus calling with them. We always stop at Sozo's coffee shop for a coffee treat before we head out. Then later on, we'll head to Walmart or Meijer or Cato or Goodwill - LOL and just spend time laughing and shopping and chit-chatting about everything under the sun. They both sing like a Lark and play the piano like they're trying to walk it across the floor! They are without a doubt 2 of my very best friends in the whole world! This past week for Mother's day I got to hear them sing in their Ladies ensemble and hear them play in their Bell choir from college. It was TREMENDOUS!

I love it that since my children are growing into adulthood that we can talk about more serious things. They become confidants of sorts. My kids have grown up in the ministry since birth, and have seen the "underbelly" of it. But amazingly enough, after all they've seen and experienced, they have surrendered their lives to the Lord for full time ministry. It seems only natural. They have all been groomed for it. My husband and I don't take what we have for granted - we know it was the Lord that helped us put a love for the ministry in their hearts.

My heart is just full of praise to God for our precious children. I can't think of them without thanking God for the blessing that they are to our lives. They make me so proud (in a humble sort of way!)

Lo, children are a heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5

Friday, May 9, 2008

The morning after.

I always dread that "morning after" feeling! You know the morning after you've done a new work out and you know your muscles will be feeling like you singlehandedly moved a house full of furniture! Or the morning after you've been up way too late and you know you'll feel groggy all day long. Or how about the morning after you've binged on donuts, that your husband "surprised" you with, from a bakery that he just found! haha You get up the next morning and in fear and trepidation you step on the scale and *OUCH!* There it is in black and white. Huge numbers mocking your weakness from the day before. You would think a 40 something year old woman would know how to say NO to a box of donuts! After a downfall like that, I feel like Paul, when he said:

the good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Romans 7:19

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Romans 7:24

This flesh we live in for now, is sure awful weak sometimes. So weak that it caves in to a box of sugared sweets! Then the next day you feel such guilt and remorse and vow to say NO to donuts and sweets from now on! You walk an extra mile on the treadmill, and eat Atkins all day long to make up for your slackness the day before. You do really well for a good long while and just when you feel like you're cresting the mountain top again with your weight and your health, someone brings you the gift of a nice piping, hot, apple pie! Well, you can't eat apple pie without ice cream can you?

We need to make our motto: "Just say No!" It reminds me of the SS song I used to teach my kids.

"When Mr. Satan knocks on my heart's door and says, "May I come in?" I say, "NO! NO! For Jesus loves me so, and He washed away my sin." Then he turns around and runs away, I wish he'd go away to stay! When Mr. Satan knocks on my heart's door, I just say, "No! No! No!"

Learning to say No to a donut seems pretty simple and it is. But there are lots of other areas in our life where we need to learn to so No, as well. We sure would save ourselves a lot of grief and heartache in this life if we would learn to say No to sin. What is it in your life today that you need to learn to say NO to? Is it anger? Laziness? Unfaithfulness? Gossip? Apathy? Whatever it is, determine in your heart to say NO, I'm not opening that door today! Then tomorrow you can wake up with a song in your heart and you won't have to suffer with that "morning after" feeling!

Think before you speak!

Have you ever heard the phone ring and believing you “know” who it is, you start to speak before hearing the person on the other end? I NEVER do that, but that happened to me a few weeks ago. It was pretty early in the morning still. I was sipping my morning cup of coffee and checking email. My husband had just been downstairs with me getting his coffee and had gone back upstairs. Within moments I heard my cell phone ring in the kitchen. Not many people have my cell phone number and those that do, don’t normally call early in the morning. So…… assuming it was my husband calling who had just gone back upstairs to shower and get ready for the day….. and also assuming that he was beginning his morning routine and then realizing there was no toilet paper up in the bathroom…… I picked up my ringing cell phone without checking to see who the call was from and bluntly said in my bass morning voice that hasn’t had enough coffee yet, “Let me guess, you need toilet paper!” On the other end I hear this polite little lady voice say, “Oh! Excuse me?! Hello? Hello?” My face was one of utter horror & shock! I had the phone down by my leg laughing at myself for having spoken so quickly like that! I was so mortified at what I had done, that I just quietly closed my cell phone, hoping she would think she had reached a wrong number. I had no idea who it was. Then I heard it ring again. This time I checked to see who the caller was. I didn’t recognize the number, so I didn’t answer it. They left a voice mail. I checked the voicemail later and it was one of our older missionary wives! She was also the one that had called earlier. We eventually made contact and had a good laugh over the whole incident. But let me tell you, I will never do that again!

Thankfully that incident was one we could all laugh over, but how many times have we opened our mouths in haste and spewed something out that was hurtful and we later regretted? Sadly, it is also usually a family member, those we love the most, that bears the brunt of our rashness. Sure you will make the thing right with the one you hurt and be extended forgiveness. But words cut like a knife and cuts leave scars. How much better it would be to just put a little thought behind our words before we speak them. If it’s not kind or helpful, just keep it to yourself.

“Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? There is more hope of a fool than of him.” Proverbs 29:20

Oh how we need to set a watch before our mouths and really think before we speak.

“Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

Give and it shall be given unto you!

I find it incredibly exciting how we give to the Lord and He ALWAYS gives back! But we give to Him seemingly with a teaspoon and HE gives back to us with a dump truck! The more faithful I am in giving, not only money, but my time and talent, the MORE He gives back to me. I was humbled today as I drove one of our ladies to a doctor appointment at the pain clinic. I honestly didn't expect anything from her. I just wanted to do that for her as a friend and sister in the Lord. She not only gave me money for gas, but insisted on giving me money for my time and "trouble" (her words). I tried to give the money back on several occasions, even waiting until she was groggy from the anesthesia recovery, to attempt it - but she continued to put it back in my hand. So I said Thank you Lord and accepted it graciously as a gift from Him. He is so good to His children!

It is our job to keep it going, not to stop up His blessings on our lives. We give to get, to give again, so God will give again so that we can give again..... If we only give to get, we stop up His hand of blessing.

I've seen this played out recently in our Saturday morning soul winning time. It is a time that we give back our time and talents to the Lord by witnessing for Him. We spend many hours and knock on literally hundreds of doors. The next day, our visitors might not be a family from one of the doors we knocked on, but somebody from another county or neighboring town, that nobody knew or had contacted! We've seen it over and over. God just blesses our obedience! It's our job to give and go, and He always gives a greater return!

My husband / pastor says it every Sunday from the pulpit: "You can NEVER outgive God!"

"give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." Luke 6:38