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When our first child came I was blessed more than I had ever imagined. Through the years there has been one song that comes to mind every time I think of her and my wishes, hopes, and aspirations for her life. Written by the Epley’s, here are the words to the beautiful song “All We Ask.” Cynthia- this is our prayer for you!

The years have flown by much too fast.
The days we have now are our last
Soon you’ll be gone and life won’t be the same.
We’ve tried to do our best for you.
Sometimes we’ve failed; we know it’s true
But still we pray that you’ll live to praise God’s name.

It doesn’t matter if we never see a place you’ve carved in history.
Fame is fleeting and riches soon will burn.
The only wish we have for you,
Please follow Him Who’s always true.
You will find you have so very much to learn.

And if some day you hear His voice
Calling you to make a choice to serve Him in a land that’s far away,
We’ll remember you’re not really ours at all.
You belong to Him; so heed His call.
That’s the reason that He made you anyway.

All we ask is that you live for Jesus!
We’ve tried to give you roots, and soon we’ll give you wings.
Fly toward the Lord!
Honor Him in all you do.
We’ll be so proud of you if you live for Him.
We’ll be so proud of you if you live for Him!


These 15 years have brought the greatest joy of my life- and I am thrilled to look forward to see the next 15 as our oldest daughter continues with a heart towards God! She has become so much more than I could have hoped for. Her servant’s heart and strong spirit have inspired me. God has brought us through so many things, yet He has always shown Himself present and able to much more than we could ever ask or think. And our children have been able to see the hand of God guiding and helping us along the way- which has only made their faith stronger. I am thankful that through my faults, Cynthia has seen that we must keep our eyes on the Lord.
 

Cynthia is very serious about music, piano in particular. She is now our church pianist and continues to progress even without lessons. She was 11 when she composed "A Waltz for Roy and Dale" and entered it into the York Symphony's competition.

You will be blessed by any of the Epley CD's. I encourage you to raise your family with Christ honoring music! Just click or tap here!!

 
 
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Have you noticed the variety of things listed in the works of the flesh? Many of us would agree that Murder and Envy are not even close; though envy left unchecked does sometimes lead to murder… every one of us who has been envious has certainly not killed somebody!  And in our culture today we are so quick to accept people if they are “good” even though they believe a false gospel, false religion, or false doctrine- yet in this same list with Adultery, Witchcraft, Drunkenness… we see Heresy!! Can we explain that? They all have one thing in common: they are works of the flesh. “Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like:”

Achieving and maintaining the fruit of the Spirit should definitely be a major life goal for any Christian. Yet… HOW?  Is it as simple as learning about “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance:” and trying to show them in our lives each day?  What if we’re good in one area- yet constantly struggle in another? You see- there are many works of the flesh. We each have certain ones that we struggle against. But the fruit of the Spirit is
just one. Yes, there is a list of nine ways it will show itself- but it is just one fruit from One Tree.

You see- as much as we like to point out the grey areas in life, the truth is much more clearly seen in only two dimensions. Light & Darkness. The Works of the Flesh vs. The Fruit of the Spirit. As much as we may want to live in our imaginary 3rd dimension of enjoying our life in the flesh “as long as we aren’t hurting anyone else…” we can’t really support this with Scripture. Each step we take, each decision we make, each and every day we are either living according to our flesh or our spirit. If we are saved- we have both. And until we reach heaven’s shores it will be a daily battle.

When we are born again the Spirit of God moves within us. It is then up to us to crucify the flesh “with the affections and lusts” and “walk in the Spirit.”   You see, “the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other.” And yet the Bible encourages us to, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” So many times we struggle daily with controlling our words, our temper, our attitudes, on and on… yet the only things we can truly do are crucify our flesh and walk in the Spirit. Everything on the outside will naturally follow the Spirit if we are led by the Spirit. If we are daily feeding the desires of our flesh- it is no wonder when we cannot control our words, thoughts, attitudes, or actions.

We might think we just have a little problem with patience… but we’re doing good in all the other areas. Or maybe we lack faith, but see ourselves as achieving in love and goodness.  Let’s read through Galatians 5 and 6 with an open heart and prayer towards God that His Light would shine through our hearts and show us where we need Him.  We need His fruit in our lives. And we need to acknowledge that His fruit comes as a WHOLE. When we are walking in the Spirit He gives us “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance:” ALL OF IT!!

If you are struggling today with the fruit of God’s Spirit in your life- seek Him!

Crucify the flesh.

Walk in the Spirit.

 
 
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All around us we hear words of peace, words of comfort, words of stillness… yet sometimes the struggle is too real, too dark, too swift… we need Jesus- and being still, waiting in quietness,  just isn’t working. That’s where Bartimaeus was- the blind man in Mark 10. He sat begging, and when he heard Jesus was passing by- he cried out. And when others tried to calm him, quiet him, he just cried out louder!  There are times in our life the struggle is so real and all we can do is cry to Jesus. And when we try to “be still” and listen for that “still small voice” we just can’t. Because the hurt is real, and the pain is deep. We just cry louder.

Jesus sees us in our struggle. He hears us amidst our deepest need.  Bartimaeus was there. He sat begging in the street. Taking whatever the world had to throw his way.  The pain. The sorrow. The loneliness. The world didn’t have much to offer him. He knew there was more- even as he cried to Jesus the world still tried to quiet him. What was he? Just a blind man? Just a beggar?  “And Jesus stood still.”  (vs. 49) To Jesus he was so much more. His needs were real. His struggles were worth caring for. He was worth cleansing and making whole. And so are you.

Bartimaeus was blind. He couldn’t see Jesus. He didn’t know where Jesus was, but heard that He was passing by that way. There are valleys we must pass through in this life. We sometimes get our eyes off the Lord and allow the storms to overwhelm us. We cannot see Jesus. Yet we must trust that He is near- for He is Faithful and True. He is always near. In faith we must call out to Him. Cry out to Him. And if we still can’t seem to see Him- cry louder.  There He is- standing still- waiting for us to come to Him. And there He stands, calling us, like He called to Bartimaeus.

Bartimaeus was comforted. He cast off his worldly garment and came to Jesus. He laid down his need at the feet of Jesus. Immediately he received his sight. He didn’t have to wait. He didn’t have to go through some type of ceremony or time of cleansing. Immediately Jesus made him whole. Jesus was ready for Bartimaeus. Jesus was willing to heal him. When Bartimaeus called- Jesus stood still. The Lord knows when the struggle is too much for us to bear. He knows when we reach the end of our resources and can do nothing but cry to Him. He knows when we can’t sit quietly and still any longer. He stands for us. He comforts us. And He is ready to meet our need. Call out to Him today. For salvation. For security. For peace amidst the storms of life. Cast away the garments of shame and come to Jesus. Follow Him in faith. For He is Faithful and True.  

 
 
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“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” II Peter 3:18

Have you been born again, trusting in Christ as your Lord and Saviour? If not, I hope that you are seeking Him and will soon follow Jesus’ words, “repent ye, and believe the gospel."   If so, my hope is that you are walking daily with Him in love and obedience to His will for your life.

Two main aspects of the Christian life are prayer and Bible reading. Through prayer, we not only communicate with God, but we pause to meditate on His Word and listen for that “still small voice” speaking to our hearts. My husband has taught us a good acronym for keeping prayer in the proper perception:  C.A.T.I.P.M. (Confession, Adoration, Thanksgiving, Intercession, Petition, Meditation) That is an entire study in itself!! Through Bible reading, we not only learn and grow in knowledge and wisdom, but also gain daily strength as God continually feeds us from His daily bread.

What about our daily devotionals? Are we as careful when choosing a daily reader as we are when attending a church or listening to a sermon? There are some old standards like Morning and Evening, My Utmost for His Highest, and Our Daily Bread… yet if you follow social media you might be seeing new devotionals coming out every other week!! Can we honestly ask  ourselves as we scan through blogs or pick up on the newest devotional craze, “Is this honoring God?” Just as we should be discerning in our daily life- we need to seek the truth in the spiritual aspect of what we ingest into our minds.  Is our daily devotional based on Bible truth, or is it something we use to get an emotional fix and smooth over our failures?

I encourage you to find some moments- whether it be in the morning, at bedtime, or a few minutes throughout the day- to spend in a devotional that is keeping your mind on Christ and draws you closer to Him. Some important questions to keep in mind: Is this based on the Bible or on psychology? Does the author line up with the doctrinal truth of God’s Word? Is this helping me to  grow closer to the Lord and grow in my desire to help others in their walk with Christ? I will share two of my current devotionals with you.

 
 
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“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.

 

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