“I’m praying for you!”
How often do we use that phrase?
Should it really be just a phrase
- or should it be words with meaning?
“I’m praying for you.” Praying. Praying is an open line of communication to God. God of the universe. God Who hears us, takes time for us, is always there to listen, and answer us.
And He desires to hear our prayers, to have us speak to Him, to draw close to Him. He wants to answer our prayers. He wants to comfort us, to guide us, to help us.
And yet so often we throw around the phrases “I’m praying for you.” “Praying.” “Will pray.” “We’ll be praying.” And how often is that time actually spent in prayer. That “sweet hour” of prayer. Praying.
Truly praying- like we believe we are speaking to the God of Heaven. The God Who hears us. Guides us. Comforts us. Protects us. Truly praying to the Lord of All.
A new year is fast approaching.
I don’t think I have ever made a New Year’s Resolution. It’s not because I have anything against them. It’s just that I know I won’t keep it. No matter what it is. I just don’t stick with things. At. All.
But for me- that is one of my biggest problems. Self defeat. I tell myself I won’t finish… so why bother to start.
Yet I know that God is so much greater than me. I need to continually be built up in His Word and encouraged in each step I take. That is one reason why it is so important to stay continually in His Word. This world, my flesh, and the devil can stir up havoc in my mind- stirring up doubt and defeat.
Just as I know my husband, my family, and those that love me would not tear me down or tell me I wouldn’t be good enough- I need to remember that God is so much greater and loves me even so much more. Philippians 1:6 tells us we can be confident because “he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it.”
This New Year- I have no fancy resolution. I probably won’t lose any weight, or quit any annoying habits. Sure- I might try to get up a little earlier… or clean a little more…. But one thing is for sure. I want to trust God to help me in every area He leads. If God is moving in my life- I want to follow. And I know He has the strength to carry me through any path He is leading me to walk on.
So maybe I will make a resolution: To walk in faith & follow God in the path He leads me to. God is faithful. He will lead, guide, and protect if I am keeping my eyes on Him. And He will do it for you too!!
I have an opinion about judgmental people. I have opinions about a lot of things actually. I also have a belief that we do not need to share every opinion we have- likewise we don’t need to get upset if other people’s opinions differ from ours.
In example, here are some groups of people I have not found to be overtly “judgmental” even though in most cases we may live or believe differently:
I haven’t had a problem with my neighbors- yet they all know that I am a Christian. We openly display Scripture signs at the road, tell them about Jesus, let them know we are praying for them, and every year invite them to church to see a Chalk Art Evangelist.
I haven’t had a problem with complete strangers as I go to town. Weekly, even sometimes daily, as we go about to gas stations, stores, or restaurants- we encounter many people on a mainly friendly basis.
I also have sweet fellowship with many many Christians I meet. Some are old friends, some are new, some I meet in passing and will most likely never see them again till we reach the other side. Yet there is always a special kinship between two people who love and serve the same great God! The Holy Spirit dwells in us both- and we have a common bond in the sincerity of love towards our Saviour.
Driving along a winding country road, the fields rolled out before me, russet and golden in the crisp early winter air. Mist rose from the earth as the sun burned off the heavy morning frost. The crops were in the barn, the silos were full, and the farmer’s equipment had gone silent. How different from the late summer, when the corn towered high, crowding eagerly along the roadway, waving its long green leaves at my passing. How different from the noisy commotion of the harvest, when roaring combines churned through rows of dusky cobs, pouring their fat kernels into glistening mounds of gold. Now the silent stubble poked like ragged teeth from uneven earth, catching desiccated oak leaves that blew across the barren fields.
And yet, despite the harbingers of the bleak cold season descending, a warmth flooded my soul. …behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest. - Zechariah 1:11. A season of rest is upon us. The earth rests from its labors. The creatures retreat to their burrows and nests, fattened and ready for a stuporous sleep. Deer nestle against a windbreak of briers and downed limbs, indifferent to impending snowfall. The worms dig deep into the loam; pillbugs curl into impervious coils under damp logs; skunks lumber about for a last meal.
If you are in the mood for a good adventure- just pick up your Bible and read Acts 17. Paul is teaching and preaching daily in such dangerous places that he is literally being whisked away from one town to another. Finally he is in Athens, Rome. It didn’t take long for Paul to see how deeply the people were steeped in idolatry. The entire city was full of philosophers, Stoics, and men who did nothing else but spend their days telling or hearing new ideas about strange gods. And it didn’t take long for the people of Athens to see that Paul was clearly different. So much that they confronted him with, “For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears…” and they gathered to hear him explain his beliefs. Paul took the opportunity to tell them of the Creator God- Who made the world and all things therein- Who made all nations of men and giveth to all life, and breath- Who is not far from any one of us. Paul didn’t stop with proclaiming Who God is- but went on to warn them of the judgement to come- when God will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ Who arose from the dead. Now at this point- there is a decision to be made by the hearers. He was met with 3 responses: some mocked, some showed interest, and others were converted.
“So Paul departed from among them. Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.” How about you and I? We are certainly in a world today full of false religion. Like the Athenians- so many people today are worshiping and are fully devoted to a god which has been created by their own superstitions- yet has no truth or biblical foundation. They speak often of the love and acceptance, yet lack the understanding of the judgement and resurrection which brings conversion. Are we moved with compassion to show these people around us the true Saviour? Do they see a difference in us- which causes them to want to hear our story? Yes, some will mock. Others will show interest and ask more questions, trying to keep an open mind. But some, like Damaris, will leave their superstitions and false religion to cling to the Saviour in faith believing and turning from their idols to the only true and living God!!! In this world today so full of distractions and delusions- there are still some seeking for the Truth. We need to be willing to share it!!
I am writing to you so I will never forget what may be the most life-changing experience I am having right now. I am writing very late at night, because this is the only time my mind can write. Last night we had planned on going sightseeing and souvenir buying. Doc, Bro. Howell, and I are on a missions trip to Kiev, Ukraine. We are working with Pastor Sasha and Irene Mezpa.
Before we went to bed, the phone rang. It was Irene. She said Alexandra, a lady in their church who interprets English, was able to get us into a boarding school. We would have to leave at 7:30 the next morning, and, oh yeah, all the children are blind. I went to bed thinking, “Okay, we are going to a school for the blind children.” Boy, I didn’t have a clue! Well, it was hard to get out of bed because of a full day before, but we were all ready to go at 7:30.
Earlier this year I learned about a Math curriculum called Life of Fred. I read through their webpage, checked out a few reviews, and decided to try out a book on my younger ones. Turns out- it is a LOT of fun! I didn’t switch any of our schoolbooks, but just added in a lesson of Fred each day.
Basically, it is a VERY silly story of a 5 yr old who happens to be a college professor. Throughout his day lots of crazy things happen… and somehow the children are taught about everything from how Archimedes died to how to say “lightning” in German. I have enjoyed the books so much- and especially enjoyed seeing my children learn so many facts is such a fun and interesting way, that we ended up ordering more elementary, the beginning readers, and also Algebra for the older ones.
I have been amazed the nights that we get home late, pile out of the minivan, and the children point up to the sky and excitedly say, “There’s Orion’s Belt!!” I can definitely say that I never knew who Orion was, or how to find his belt!!
Night after night they have pointed up to his belt, and then one night Joanna (6) says, “Mommy, you could write about this. Three stars make one belt- just like God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost make One God.” Now- I must say I was quite leery of mixing Astronomy with Theology. So, I just gave her a hug and said, “Now that’s a good idea!” (with no intention of writing about it.) Yet night after night as she looked up at the sky she was reminded of what a Great God we serve. The God Who made the stars and placed them all in the heaven. Three in One.
Twelve years ago we were blessed with our second little bundle of joy! Our first surprise with Mary was that her two feet came out kicking!! It was almost 20 minutes later before her head got loose and she was out and breathing!! That is one morning that many of us will not forget. She was a blessing from the very beginning- a very happy baby, loved to smile, and almost slept the first year of her life away!!
It was just three years later... not quite... when she seemed to come down with pneumonia. She was getting very lethargic and our pastor said we'd better get her into the Emergency Room. Little did we know that night of November 30th, 2006, that we would not be heading home again until July 11th, 2007. Home just in time for Cynthia's 6th birthday the next day. Our baby boy arrived to a home where he had not been since he was just 3 weeks old. We were happy to back with our family together- and with our Mary home. She could not even get herself onto the couch yet... but we were home!
Mary has a rare disease called Langerhans cell Histiocytocis. And though she looked like the happiest and healthiest little girl around- jumping on the trampoline, riding her red tricycle, and singing Jesus Loves Me- silently, the histiocytes were terrorizing many organs in her body, even until her lungs were almost nonexistent. Here is a brief excerpt from her carepage:
Mary was admitted to Hershey Hospital Dec. 1, 2006. She was diagnosed with Langerhans cell Histiocytosis and immediately started on Chemo. Her lungs were so destroyed from the disease. Soon she was in intensive care. She was put on life support, completely sedated for almost 6 months. During this time she had 24 chest tubes, a couple cardiac arrests, and was on the edge of life and death every minute. Eventually the chemo did stop the Histiocytosis and she woke up, rehabilitated, and came home July 11, 2007. The Chemo continued until October of 2008. October 2009 the Histiocytocis is active again. Please pray with us for our little "Miracle Mary."
Joel 1:3 "Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation."
An interesting point here- is that Joel is a pretty hefty book of prophesying judgement. In just three chapters Joel warns of the invasion by Gentile nations, destruction of a nation, promise of deliverance, deliverance, judgement, and the future of Israel.
I was reminded of the "fairy tales" that most of us heard growing up... cute little stories about pigs, and grandmothers, and grasshoppers. You get the picture- they pretty much all lived happily ever after. Then one day we find out that we weren't really told the whole story. They all started out and ended quite differently than we had been told. Then when we have children we need to decide... how do I tell the story to them? Or do I tell it at all???