Sunday, August 31, 2008
I am finally reconnected! After nine days of unwanted internet disruption, I am back! The reason for the disruption is simple...the line was severed! Apparently,one hundred fifty feet of cable is just too much for our local cable company to have to bury, although we have made countless calls. Since the installation of our internet service at our current location over four years ago, the line has laid bare and crosses an area of ongoing construction behind our property. Hence, the probability that it will be cut accidentally. This makes the fourth time!
OK....enough of that. But I am truly happy to be hooked up again and back on the blog scene!
The verse above is one of my favorites. I remember it was the first verse I memorized when I did the EXPERIENCING GOD study by Henry Blackaby. I even wear a bracelet that has the verse engraved on it.
The word "abide" means to remain or stay connected. I have searched and come up empty many times when trying to find fulfillment outside the one true vine...Jesus Christ. There is no other that can bring the strength, the joy, the peace I desire.
My loving, patient Heavenly Father...my God who is so full of grace and mercy reminded me today... Without ME you can do nothing.
Just like this computer that sat unconnected, untouched, and useless for nine days, I am useless, unless I am hooked up, connected to Jesus...abiding in the Vine, my source!
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
He has always stood for truth and righteousness even as a very young child, desiring to know facts ( bent on the discovery himself...not just taking some one's word for it). Integrity and fairness define him as well...even when it meant standing alone, he often exhibited fairness and impartiality in those awkward middle school and demanding high school years.
I remembered something today... how he loved singing songs as young boy. One song in particular, "I have hidden your Word, hidden your Word, hidden your Word in my heart..." (from the Donut Man cassette tape)
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.
He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.
You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory. Psalm 73:24
The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. John 16:13
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own, He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.Isaiah 58:11
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Thankful in all circumstances...though painful
250. helping my oldest son pack up for college
251. walking two miles
252. eating healthy food
253. confronting issues
Currently, a tropical storm warning is in effect for the Florida Keys and the majority of the Atlantic coast. As Fay rotates northward, it is possible that we could experience heavy rain and tornadoes.
Storms. We all experience them. Perhaps the weather is clear where you live, but you are in the middle of your own personal storm right now. A financial storm, a relationship storm, an emotional, or a health storm. Regardless, storms are inevitable and even unpredictable at times. We must be alert because these storms can hit hard when we least expect it.
As a believer, smack in the middle of gale force winds right now, I realize I have a choice. I can turn my back on God, become bitter, and believe that He should have prevented this storm. Or I can praise Him in this storm and continue to trust Him. It is possible to have peace in the middle of a storm…an actual hurricane or a spiritual storm.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
My Daddy celebrates his seventy-first birthday today. We celebrated last night with a delicious meal of grilled steak, chicken, fresh garden salad, sweet potatoes, Moma's pound cake and Guy's nearly-famous ice cream. (Daddy's favorite)
I admire my Daddy for so many reasons. His faith, honesty, humor, humility, determination, wisdom, wit, and his continual desire to learn new things amazes me. At a time in his life when most men would be slowing down, my Dad continues to work and serve others. I have a lot of respect for him. When I was younger I often disagreed with my father. Thankfully, I did respect him and heed most of his advice.
Although I am technically a mature adult myself now, I still seek, listen to, and value his advice. It was Mark Twain who once said that when he was 17 he couldn't believe how foolish his father was, and when he turned 21 he was amazed at how much his father had learned in the short course of four years. Well, I am well past 21 and the truth is that some of the most profound and enduring lessons in my life I learned from my father. It is apparent that our society doesn't see the value of the elderly. As a whole, we view the elderly as old-fashioned and out-dated. Sad, but an accurate evaluation, I fear. I was just an average student and never scored extremely high on an IQ test, but the Bible says I am intelligent if I listen to my parents.
Thanks Daddy for all you do and have done for me. I love you! Happy 71st birthday!
I am grateful that even early in life I didn't mind hanging out with older people. Enjoyed it actually. They always seemed to have time for me and they always had interesting stories to tell. There were many older people that had a significant role in my life.... grandparents, other relatives, and teachers, but I remember one elderly man...a very influential octogenarian that had an extremely, powerful, positive impact on my life.
His name was Mr. Cross. Although legally blind himself, through our friendship, he revealed truth and opened my eyes to things I may have never seen. I was only seven years old at the time.
Our elders have something of value to teach, and we in the younger generation should listen.
Friday, August 15, 2008
I don't watch a lot of tv but sometimes I will sit through The Extreme Makeover: Home Edition tv show. It's a reality series on ABC where needy and deserving families get their often nearly condemned homes replaced with a brand new beautiful home complete with new furnishings, appliances, etc. The families are sent away on a dream vacation for a week. When they return, their entire neighborhood, family, and friends are packed behind a bus that obstructs their view of the new home. When the lucky family returns to the cheers of the crowd, Ty Pennington (The Host) says, "Move that bus!" and the family's dream home is revealed. It's really heartwarming to see their tears of joy as they see the exterior and then tour the interior and backyard with the cast.
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right, and stopping the leaks in the roof, and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably, and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (London: William Collins, 1970), 172.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
So anyone who becomes as humble
1 Peter 5:6-7 says Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
If I am a follower of Christ and a true born-again believer, then I have one purpose...to glorify God. God is best glorified when I humble myself before Him and others.
249. a new baby boy, a nephew...Grayson Thomas Morgan
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
for what isn't,
My Father's way may twist and turn,
My cherished plans may go astray,
Tho' night be dark and it may seem
There's so much now I cannot see,
For by and by the mist will lift
A great quote(source unknown):
"The sovereignty of God means that God can do any thing He wants to do, any time He wants to do it, any way He wants to do it, for any purpose He wants to accomplish."
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
242. watching a child paint
a heart of compassion,
I confess... I am no artist, but I do love watching children create their own artwork. Give them materials, encourage imagination and creativity, and watch the magic begin.
The room was quiet, very warm that day. Twenty-one children crowded into the small area. Paint and paper spread before them. Each canvas empty. The possibilities...
Then I noticed the young boy sitting without paper and paint. He just sat with the other children...watching. That small frame with large, sad eyes. All of the other children were painting. All of them, except this one. I looked for paper and paint for him, but someone said, "Don't bother, he's too young, he'll just make a mess."
I asked the well-meaning teacher if it would be alright if sat with him on the floor. She agreed.
He needed no instruction from me, really. Just encouragement. I watched as this child sat for twenty minutes dipping the brush into the paint bottle, methodically stroking the brush onto the paper, making irregular, uneven shapes with no real form. I watched and spoke gently, cheering him on in his first paint experience. Occasionally his eyes would meet mine, searching for approval. What a thrill for me. What joy I found in that moment. Encouraging, spurring on this little one.
God spoke to me that day in that hot, cramped classroom. He longs to show His compassion to all of us. How many times have I failed to allow Him to do so through me? What could He do with my canvas if I allowed Him to take control? Am I impatient, quick to judge, limiting possibilities. Psalm 103:8 says: The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
Lord, help me to put on your heart ... a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience today. Amen.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace ...
1 Corinthians 14:33
Call it fatigue, a hormone fluctuation, or whatever, but I have been out of whack since we returned from Trinidad. So many things call for my attention and I am feeling distracted, interrupted, and not my usual semi-normal self. Now that is scary!
When a multitude of voices clamors for our attention, how can we hear God's voice? Satan uses the things of this world to deceive us. But God's voice is always clear. His words speak comfort, not confusion.
Father, You are not the author of confusion, but the author of peace. Help me to rest in You and find peace among the many distractions. In You I find comfort. Cause me to listen to Your voice of truth and find rest. Amen.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
VBS at Montrose Church of God in Trinidad was a huge success despite the fact that one of our team members (son Taylor) became seriously ill with food poisoning after eating out at a restaurant and had to miss four days. Thankfully, after a visit to a doctor (a story in and of itself) and a prescription of antibiotics, he recovered and was able to participate in the closing VBS service. Attendance ranged form 138 to 178 throughout the week. We are thankful for the time we had with the children...sharing God's unshakable truth... laughing, singing, learning, and doing crafts together.
Saturday, I presented two workshops at Faith Academy for parents and teachers of special needs students. It is shocking to think that the Trinidadian government schools actually charge parents of special needs children for their schooling! (can you say discrimination?)
Faith Academy, however, operates at no cost to the parents and at the same time is making unprecedented progress with the children. So much so that the government has recognized their achievement and desires to come along side them and assist in building a modern facility. Hmm...
At the teacher workshop I met seven of the most dedicated, compassionate teachers ever to cross my path. They have many needs and lack modern resources, but the love they have for the children abounds! At the parent workshop, many of the parents wept openly as they shared their struggles and their pain. You can imagine how difficult it was for me to remain composed. It truly broke my heart and humbled me.
Tonight I thought back over the past twelve days, thankful for the opporunity we had to go to Trinidad but at the same time admittedly discouraged about all the serious problems in the country ... corruption in the government, skyrocketing AIDS statistics, brutal murders, kidnappings, extreme poverty, gang activity, drug trafficking, etc.
Incredible, overwhelming darkness. It makes me feel so disheartened.
Then I remembered something. At the end of each workshop I had shared the inspirational "starfish story" with the parents and teachers. My incredibly talented big sister, Kathy had lovingly made beautiful bookmarks with the story to give each of them. The story goes something like this...
There was a young man walking down a deserted beach just before dawn. In the distance he saw a frail old man. As he approached the old man, he saw him picking up stranded starfish and throwing them back into the sea.
The young man gazed in wonder as the old man again and again threw the small starfish from the sand to the water. He asked, "Old man, why do you spend so much energy doing what seems to be a waste of time."
The old man explained that the stranded starfish would die if left in the morning sun. "But there must be thousands of beaches and millions of starfish!" exclaimed the young man. "How can you make any difference?"
The old man looked at the small starfish in his hand and as he threw it to the safety of the sea, he said, "It makes a difference to this one!"
I read the starfish story again tonight and it reminded me that I can't do everything --- but I can do more than I think I can. And God will take what I do and bless it, multiply it --- just like He did with a little boy's lunch beside the sea of Galilee. I just have to pick up a starfish and throw it. That's all God wants me to do. He'll do the rest! He often takes the ordinary things of our lives and transforms them for His honor.
I sincerely pray that something I offered in Trinidad ... a nation with so many needs ... will be multiplied and make an eternal difference. I pray the same as I serve God in my home, my town, my state, and my nation.
All for His glory!