Monday, October 29, 2012

31 Days Of Praise - Day 29


On Day 29 of Lisa Jo's challenge, I am simply going to repost my friend, Robin's posts from the past few days. She has been battling cancer for several years now. Here's where she was Friday and where she's at today...

Robin's post from Friday...

"...we got my results back from my scans they weren't good. I have more spots on my liver and a spot in my lung. It doesn't look good but I have a God who holds me close and comforts me through times like this. He is good to me and even if He takes me home, I will still love and serve Him :) Thank-you for the love, prayer and support, it means so much to me! I love you, all!!!"

Robin's post from today...

"I love the Father!!! I just got a call from my Doc that they read the wrong scan...they compared my scan to the CT from Feb. not the one from June. So!! It looked like my cancer has grown but it has shrunk from the mass of an apple to the mass of one M&M!!!! I can't stop crying for joy!! The radiologist was shouting for joy, my doctors and nurses were shouting and crying....PRAISE GOD!!!! PRAISE GOD!!!!"

Won't you join us as we rejoice over this awesome good report! And I reiterate Robin's words...PRAISE GOD!!!! PRAISE GOD!!!! 

"O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people."
(Psalm 105:1)  

One Thousand Gifts - October 29, 2012

One Thousand Gifts
Today's Gifts...

     Three gifts on time...

          127. a long-awaited bus from Toronto carrying a man...both a father and a grandfather, as well as a good friend
          128. a buyer for our old, white van
          129. a good report from the doctor concerning a close friend...Praise God! Praise God! Praise God!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

31 Days of Praise - October 28, 2012


On Day 28 of Lisa Jo's challenge I awake spiritually refreshed and with renewed perspective concerning a heart-condition that has plagued me for decades. Not a physical heart-condition, but an emotional one...an ache in my soul that has never found peace, nor healing. The Lord came to me in the middle of the night last night, and awakened me in the wee hours of the morning, speaking health and healing into my aching heart and broken spirit. By faith, I believe that He is, even now, bringing about answers to long-asked questions and unanswered prayer, and deliverance from an ache that has muddled my present for far too long. Thank You, Lord! In the precious name of Jesus I praise and thank You, and I ask You, Lord, to using all for Your glory...to create beauty from ashes. In Jesus name...Amen!

One Thousand Gifts - October 28, 2012


One Thousand Gifts
Today's Gifts...


     Three gifts in Christ...


          124. blood-bought-and-paid-for eternal salvation
          125. freedom from the power of death and sin in my life
          126. freedom from my past



I am redeemed!






31 Days Of Praise - Day 27


As Day 27 of Lisa Jo's challenge draws to a close I find that I am extremely tired, anxious about things that I have absolutely no control over, yet desperately determined to find, and hold on to, joy even in the midst of the apparent lack of it.

"...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." (Psalm 30:5)

And for that promise I am thankful! 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

One Thousand Gifts - October 27, 2012

One Thousand Gifts
Today's Gifts...

     A gift humbling...

          121. the prayers of others

               ...a gift honoring...

                    122. the praises of a husband

                          ...a gift happy...

                               123. the belly-jiggling, giggly laughter of children

Friday, October 26, 2012

31 Days Of Praise - Day 26


On Day 26 of Lisa Jo's challenge my heart is filled with praise to my Heavenly Father. No particular reason...just filled! The only thing I can think is this...

"Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his might acts; praise him according to this excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord" (Psalm 150).

One Thousand Gifts - October 26, 2012

One Thousand Gifts
Today's Gifts...

     Three gifts extravagant...

          118. the crazy, mixed up love between a man and a woman still passionate after nearly a quarter of a century of living and loving together
          119. the enormous love that God bestowed on me with the spilling of His only Son's blood on Calvary
          120. a gift suddenly returned after a decade of mourning its loss

Five Minute Friday - Voice

It's FRIDAY! That means it's time for another Five Minute Friday where, as our hostess and inspiration, Lisa-Jo Baker, puts it, we write "For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not." 

Today's topic is voice. So...here...we...

Go!

I used to write...a LOT! Back in the late 80's and early 90's...before the days of owning my own pc...I used to pen-pal. Anyone remember pen-paling?


Back then there was a publishing house called House of White Birches (I don't think they even exist today), but back then they put out some wonderful ladies' magazines, one of which was called Women's Circle, and, there, nestled amongst the articles and beautiful craft ideas, you could always find pages full of the names and addresses of ladies who were seeking friendship through the, now, almost lost art of hand-written letters and/or post cards. It was wonderful! Back then I had well over one-hundred  pen-pals that I wrote to on a monthly basis. Can you believe that? And that was in the early years of homeschooling our five older children!

Back then life was full and interesting! With a houseful of young ones it seems that there was always something going on and I felt like I had a lot to share...a lot to offer...I had a voice and I used it! But, in recent years, as the children have grown up, married, started families of their own...and I've grown older...my days have quieted...and, most days, I feel like I've nothing left to share...like I've nothing left to offer...like I've lost my voice!

For years I've struggled with writing. I used to write all the time...and it was good (at least that's what people told me), but, as of late, I've felt like I have nothing to write about and that I write nothing but drivel...and it makes me ache...because writing is what I used to do best.

But God knows the desire of my heart! I've been praying about all this and I've asked Him to help me in this area...to give me my voice back...and to allow me to use it for His glory. As I seek to do this, I covet your prayers. I want a life that is full and overflowing with the love of God...a life full of purpose and beauty that will lend a basis and substance to the voice that I do have to share...no matter how faint or faltering it might seem to be to me right now.

I know that in this new season of life God can, and will, bring me to the realization of whatever is next. As each new day dawns I whole-heartedly commit to use the voice that He has given me for His glory and His purposes! In Jesus' name! Amen!

Stop! 

#FiveMinuteFriday

Thursday, October 25, 2012

31 Days Of Praise - Day 25


On Day 25 of Lisa Jo's challenge my heart is filled with gratitude towards my Heavenly Father as, once again, despite trials, tribulations, struggles, and troubles on every front, He makes known to me His tender mercy, His never-ending grace, His mighty hand of protection, and the depths of His enormous love towards me. Yes! YES! I am FINALLY beginning to see it...to feel it...and to understand it! Thank You, Lord God! Thank You, dear, wonderful, magnificent and mighty God! Mighty is our God and greatly He is to be praised! Praise the name of the Lord!!! 

One Thousand Gifts - October 25, 2012

One Thousand Gifts
Today's Gifts...

     Three gifts enjoying...

          114. the cooler temperatures as this cold front moves in from the north country
          115. a steaming cup of hot pumpkin-spiced tea on a cool, windy, rainy morning
          116. Ann's first session...free online...of her upcoming DVD study group series...truly a gift indeed! Thanks, Ann!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

31 Days Of Praise - Day 24


Day 24 of Lisa Jo's challenge finds me thankful? for new neighbors? I don't know about that for sure, but...crazy as it...that's what I'm thinking. You see...I have a long history with new neighbors in the house next door.

When we first moved into this house the house next door to us was empty. The lady that owned it is the lady that we bought our house from, but she lived down the road from us and she wasn't sure what she was going to do with the house next door...sell it? keep it? move in to it? She ended up more-or-less donating it to her church for a parsonage. That dear, sweet woman has gone home to be with the Lord since and, I think, in the end, must have ended up leaving said house to her church just for that purpose.

Anyway...the house set empty for the first few years we were here. Irene (the owner) would come in and out doing various things and we would visit back and forth in the front yard and what-not. I always enjoyed our visits and I think she did, too.

In the fall of 2004, Irene informed that she had decided to allow the church to use the house as a parsonage and that we had new neighbors coming...and they were homeschoolers..."like us"! Well...that was questionable! I hadn't known any homeschoolers "like us". :)

The next two years turned out to be two of the best years of my life! Our two next-to-the-youngest sons had married that same fall and our youngest son was really missing his brothers. God provided two new "brothers" next door and a "sister"! And one for me, as well!

The pastor's wife next door and I turned into sisters-by-heart very quickly and the next two years were magical...especially that first year...a knock on the backdoor anytime...day or night, midnight talks over tea and blueberry pie, our Jane Austin days and, oh! By the way...the Reece's DID turn out to be homeschoolers JUST "like us"! Crazy! Zany! And full of adventure! We went everywhere and did everything together! So many wonderful homeschooling memories! I can't even begin to explain.

And, then, the awful day came when the Reece's had to leave. The magic was over! When the Reece's left,  a piece of my heart went with them...and it remains with them still. I chatted with Robin just yesterday and that same old magic is still there...it's just from a distance now. Oh, Lord! How I miss her! And she's halfway across the country. I pray that, someday, the Lord will make a way and allow us one more cup of tea and a slice of blueberry pie together in this lifetime. (tears)

(deep breathe)

Anyhoo...needless to say...after that experience I was kind of NOT willing to give away any more pieces of my heart. It hurt too badly. There have been at least three families in that house since then and I've not been a very good neighbor to any of them. Cordial when the moment dictated...yes...a "Good Morning! How are you?"...a wave of the hand...maybe even a loaf of banana bread or a plate of cookies at Christmas time...but nothing more...not even that much with some of them...and the last family that lived there I truly regretted not making more of an effort with. I really believe that lady could have used a friend...especially toward the end...but, by the time I realized it...even though the Lord had been dealing with me on it for the whole previous year or so prior to that...it was too late. I just couldn't do it. DIDN'T do it! WOULDN'T do it! And I have regretted it ever since. I felt so bad for them.

SO...long story, I know...(sorry)...yesterday afternoon it happened again! There was a yard full of cars next door and church people were milling around all over the place. I told my husband that I had a feeling we were getting new neighbors very soon. Sure enough...about ten minutes later a U-Haul pulls in and the yard full of church people commenced to unloading it and moved everything in.

Now...at this point...I know nothing about who or what has moved in next door. I do think I've seen the lady of the house, but, until I actually walk over there and introduce myself, I'm not ever sure that the lady I saw is the lady who even lives there. I just didn't recognize her. And I know they have a dog. It barked a friendly "Hello!" to me this morning when I let my chickens out.

As of this moment I have a loaf of homemade bread rising in the kitchen and I've set out a jar of freshly made grape jelly. My plan is to take that over in a bit as a 'welcome to the neighborhood' gift as I introduce myself as their new neighbor. How it will go from there I have no idea, but, at least...this time...I'm willing to try to be neighborly, if nothing else.

Praise God for new neighbors! Sometimes...it's just new neighbors...but, sometimes...new neighbors turn into friends, and...even better than that...some new neighbors become sisters-by-heart for life! <3

One Thousand Gifts - October 24, 2012

One Thousand Gifts
Today's Gifts...

     Three gifts accomplished...

          111. six distinctly individual children homeschooled over the course of 24 wonderful years...as of this year...I'm done! (Will still be able to help with the grandlittles though! :)
          112. it's been a month ago, but I finally got the bear curtains finished for my kitchen after buying the material TWO years ago
          113. a table cleared off that's needed it for a very long time

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Comparing Ourselves To (A Mix Of New And Old)

I read these words on Lisa Jo's blog this morning...

"...May I sit down next to you? May I sit crisscross apple sauce on that pock marked carpet and whisper into your ear?

Small, my friend, is exactly the right size.
Small is understanding ourselves in true relation to the God who made us.
Small is being able to write fearless, without worry about big criticism.
Small is fitting into our own shoes.
Small is how the Savior fit into our skin.
…but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness. ~Philippians 2:7.
Small is the size of every new beginning. Create without a measuring stick...."
I read this this morning, too...an archived unposted post from my own blog early 2011 never posted from fear of criticism. I'm publishing it now...

"Good Morning, Sweet Sisters!  I pray that you all are having a very blessed holiday weekend!
I  just wanted to share something with you all this morning...
Yesterday morning Tony was watching "The Prince of Egypt"...and I really paid close attention to a song that Jethro (Moses' father-in-law) was singing...the one about "...you must look at your life through heaven's eyes..." Do you know it?
Anyway...I really listened to it and it touched me because, lately...and I don't know if it's because I'm getting older or it's just the enemy taunting me or what...but, I've been having quite a hard time comparing myself to everyone around me and judging myself by them...what they're doing...what they look like...etc. and I've felt like such a failure in so many areas lately because...no matter what...I just can't measure up. That is some dangerous thinking to get into!
Well...this morning I got up and immediately the Lord gave me a scripture reference. It is Colossians 3:1-3. It says...
"If ye then be risen with Christ seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."
My footnote says, "Because our lives are hidden with Christ in heaven (v. 3), that we must set our minds on, and let our attitudes be determined by, the things above. We must value, judge, view, and consider everything from an eternal and heavenly perspective. Our goals, pursuits, and ambitions should be to seek spiritual things (vv. 1-4), resist sin (vv. 5-11), and put on the character of Christ (vv. 12-17).  Spiritual graces, power experiences, and blessings are all with Christ in heaven. He bestows those things upon all who sincerely ask, diligently seek, and persistently knock (Luke 11:1-13; 1 Cor. 12:11; Eph. 1:3; 4:7-8)."
I know that it's simple and basic...but isn't that awesome? It really spoke to me and I just wanted to share it with you this morning. 
Please, pray for me that I would be better able to accept and put into practice all the gifts and talents that the Lord has given ME,  as well as, to accept and change what I can about me and not to worry about the rest. Your prayers are greatly appreciated! God bless you!
Love and Hugs,
~Rebecca"

By the way...here's the song that I was referring to in this post...

 

31 Days Of Praise - Day 23


On Day 23 of Lisa Jo's challenge, I want to take a moment to praise God for my friends in the blogging world and the messages that they share! I was reading Courtney's post this morning over at Women Living Well and it really ministered to me. So often I, too, feel like such a let-down to everyone...such a big disappointment...but, praise God! What a blessing it is to know that we can be free to be a disappointment to the glory of God! Like Courtney (and every other woman on the face of the earth) I, too, am SO flawed! Most of the time I am gripped with fear to the point that I'm afraid to move forward and, in doing so, I've become stagnant in almost every area of life. I, too, have grown hypersensitive to the flaws of my family (and point them out to them on almost a daily basis), and, overall, have just become a general mess all the way around. I so want to turn this thing around and go from being a disappointment to being a disappointment to the glory of God! Pray for me that I will be able to lay aside my pride and just be *me*...flaws and all! (smile)

(Once again...I am reminded of my new theme song..."Redeemed" by Big Daddy Weave...)


One Thousand Gifts - October 23, 2012


One Thousand Gifts
Today's Gifts...

     Three gifts begun...

          108. a story
          109. this journey called "life"
          110. a new life in Christ

Monday, October 22, 2012

Chosing The Better Part (Another From The Drafts File)


Luke 10:38-42 tells us the story of two sisters, Martha and Mary. The passage tells us that as Jesus was passing through a certain village that Martha welcomed Him into her home. While Martha was busy cooking and serving dinner, we find that Mary had slipped out of her sister's kitchen and was sitting at the Master's  feet...listening intently to every word He said. After a time Martha interrupted Jesus...complaining...wanting to know if He didn't care that Mary had left her to the work  alone. Jesus answered this way:


"...Martha, Martha, thou art careful [worried] and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her" 
(Luke 38:41-42).



How many of us are like Martha? What kind of person was she? Anxious? Always busy? How many of us are more like Mary? What type of person was she? Calmer? More focused on what was really important in her life? What heart-qualities made them different? If Jesus came to your house today...would He have to gently rebuke you as He did Martha? Or would He commend you as He did Mary? Which of these two sister's qualities would you rather possess? What qualities do we need to cultivate in our own lives in order to achieve that goal?

Suffering For The Cause Of Christ (Another From The Draft File)



Source: http://aclj.org/
The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:10-12...

"But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, 
charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, 
at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. yea, 
and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."

Persecution, in one form or another, is something that those who choose to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will face. Loyalty to Christ, His truths and His righteous standards involve constant determination not to compromise our faith by listening to, and giving into, the voices that call out to us from the world inviting us to conform to it and lay aside Scriptural truth. Because of their godly standards the faithful will be deprived of privilege, ridiculed, and will experience grief at seeing godliness rejected by the majority. Perhaps each of us should ask ourselves..."Have I suffered persecution because of my commitment to live in a godly manner? Or is my lack of suffering a sign that I have not stood firmly for Christ Jesus and the righteousness for which He died?"


Stoned And Left For Dead, But Ready To Rise Back Up

(In going through my draft files this afternoon I found this document. Not much has changed...in fact, if anything, I'd say things have heated up and intensified here and in the world at large...since I first drafted it in April of 2011, so I believe I'll go ahead and just share it as is...unedited, unfinished and all...)

How often does it happen? The Lord lays a message on the heart, the message is delivered, and, immediately, a stone is cast…then another…and another. My husband, John, and I have been in ministry for nearly 16 years now and early on we learned just how hard, how fast, and how far those stones could be, were, and are thrown, and how quickly people can turn against you when they don’t like the message.

As those of you who know me best know the past six years have been extremely difficult for me. For those of you who don’t know me at all, I’ll just say that 2005 brought life-changing situations that shook my world to its foundation and it has, literally, taken the whole of the past six years for me to find my footing, but praise the Lord! I am finally finding it! Hallelujah!

This morning I was praying about some things and I asked the Lord how I should proceed in a certain area. Did He really want me to step back into the arena? Wasn’t I supposed to just shake the dust off and move on like I’ve been trying desperately to do?

Here is where He took me in His precious Holy Word…

Acts 14:18-22 – “And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people that they had not done sacrifice unto them. And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch. Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”

Wow! Okay…so…what did that have to do with anything?

Well, the first thing I needed to find out is what ‘sayings’ had scarce restrained the people? Where were they being said? And why?

In backing up, just a bit (Acts 14:8-17), I discovered that Paul and Barnabas were preaching in the city of Lystra and, after witnessing the healing of a man who had been crippled and unable to walk since birth, the people lifted up their voices professing Paul and Barnabas to be gods. They called Barnabas, Jupiter, and Paul, Mercurius, and the priest of Jupiter brought provision into the city where they were planning to do sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas with the people. When Paul and Barnabas heard of it, they rent their clothes and ran in among the people crying out and asking why they would do such a thing. They explained to them that they were just men like themselves. They pleaded with them to turn away from their pagan beliefs and turn, instead, unto the living God which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all things in them…and they proceeded to share the love of God for them with them.

THESE were the sayings that had scarce restrained the people from doing sacrifice and they had no more been said when in come these Jews from Antioch and Iconium and they were the ones that persuaded the people of Lystra to stone Paul, carry him out of the city, and leave him for dead.

So, what happened next? Did Paul just lie there and die? No! Verse 20 says, “…as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up…” (This verse reminded me of the handful of friends and family members who have remained faithful and supportive of us through all our crazy ups and downs. We are so very thankful for them!)

Okay…so…what did Paul do next? Did he get up and get as far away from the people who had treated him so badly? People who had stoned him and left him for dead?  No! Verse 20 also tells us that he “…came back into the city: and the next day he departed…”

Paul not only went back into Lystra, but he spent the night there! The next day he and Barnabas left and went to Derbe. When they were done preaching in Derbe they went back to Lystra AGAINand to Iconium and to Antioch…the two cities where the Jews that persuaded the people to stone them in the first place came from!!!

Ohmygoodness! After six years of floundering does God really want me to get back up and step back into the arena? Yes, I believe He does. If I do, will He protect me? Maybe. Maybe not!

In New Testament times God did not always protect His servants from harm, nor does He promise to always protect His servants from harm today. The kingdom of God often
advances at great cost to God’s servants and, as Acts 14:22 reminds us, “…we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”

We are living in a hostile world and, if you watch the evening news, you are aware of the fact that it’s getting more and more hostile by the day. As Christians, we must stand firm and engage in spiritual warfare against sin and satanic power. In doing so we can expect trouble. Only the lukewarm and compromising “believer” will find peace and comfort from the world, and the present evil world and false believers will remain adversaries to the gospel of Christ until the Lord Himself overthrows the world’s evil system and Jesus reigns supreme.

Do we carry on? Of course we do! But as we do so I pray, “Maranantha! Come quickly, Lord Jesus! Until then, give us the strength and endurance needed to carry forth the work that You’ve given us to do…whatever arena You have called us to!”

31 Days Of Praise - Day 22


It's Day 22 of Lisa Jo's challenge and I praise God for health and healing over my loved ones. I have so many friends and family members that are suffering illnesses this morning...physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual...and they all need healing.

Lord God, I come before You right now and I pray health and healing over all those on my prayer list this morning. The list is so long, Lord, but You know each need. I lift up all those that suffering physical illness and injury this morning, those that are going through procedures and lay in a hospital bed this morning, and those that are in pain. God, I pray that You will touch and heal each and every one of them from head to toe. I lift up all those that are suffering with mental and emotional issues right now, Lord. Father God,You know each and every need. Only You know how to reach some of them, Lord God, and I ask You to so right now. Just reach right down into their hearts and minds and give them what they need at this very moment! And, Lord God, last, but certainly not least, I pray for those that are battling spiritually this morning. Lord, I pray that the power of the enemy would be broken off of their hearts, minds, and lives and the Spirit of Truth would be loosed into their lives. Lord, send ministering angels to help them, and I pray that every path they take would lead to the foot of the cross of Calvary. I pray, Lord, that each and every one of them that is outside the arc of safety would accept Your Son, Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior! In Jesus' holy and precious name I pray...Amen!

I praise You and thank You in advance, Lord, for the good reports that are forthcoming! In the wonderful name of Jesus I praise and thank You, Lord!

One Thousand Gifts - October 22, 2012

One Thousand Gifts
Today's Gifts...

     A gift silent...

             105. the sun as it slips over the eastern horizon...stretching it's fingers of light...ever westward

               A gift still...

                     106. the night

                         A gift strong...

                               107. love...strong enough to bend, but not break

Sunday, October 21, 2012

31 Days of Praise - Day 21


After a particularly good message this morning, and as I focus on Day 21 of Lisa Jo's challenge, I find that I am most thankful today for the opportunity and blessing to, not only hear the Word of God spoken, taught, and preached in my own language, but to hold it in my hands, handle it, embrace it, and read it openly, and without penalty, for myself. There are many throughout the ages that have not enjoyed such a precious, precious gift...a gift that, unfortunately, far too many of us take for granted.

"The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever."
(Psalm 12:6-7)

Thank God for His preserved Word for our day and time...the Authorized King James Bible! 

One Thousand Gifts - October 21, 2012

One Thousand Gifts
Today's Gifts...

     Three gifts undervalued...

          102. the heart-warming effect of a genuine smile
          103. the power of a word spoken in due season
          104. the intentions of a heart filled with nothing but love

Saturday, October 20, 2012

31 Days Of Prasie - Day 20


"Iron sharpenth iron; so a man sharpeneth the 
countenance of his friend" (Proverbs 27:17).

On Day 20 of Lisa Jo's challenge, I offer up praise to God for 'iron sharpening' friends and family members!

Have you ever thought about it? A knife can't sharpen itself! Nor can a pair of scissors...or the blade of a saw...or any other metal tool that needs to keep its edges sharp in order to do the job that it was made for.

Like tools made of metal, how often do we as people...God's people...people created by Him, to be used by Him, to carry out His plans and purposes. How often do we become dull, unproductive, and no longer useful to those plans and purposes due to the fact that we got lost somewhere along the way when some storm came up and caught us out in the rain?

And how refreshingly wonderful is it during those times when God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, sends others into our path. People who care enough to come along side, pick us up, brush us off, give us a helping hand, sharpen us when need be, and bring us back to a point that we are, once again, useful and productive for the Kingdom of God! At times the sharpening process can be painful, but praise God for those who care enough, and aren't afraid, to do it!

I praise God for the 'iron sharpening' friends and family members that He, in His infinite wisdom, has given to me! Praise the name of the Lord!

Have a blessed Saturday!

~Rebecca

One Thousand Gifts - October 20, 2012

One Thousand Gifts
Today's Gifts...

   Three Gifts Unconventional...

           99. watercolor paints brushed on pages before being written on
         100. searching for joy in a world of negativity
         101. homeschooling for the past 24 years...now teaching and training others

Friday, October 19, 2012

Five Minute Friday - Look

It's FRIDAY! That means it's time for another Five Minute Friday where, as our hostess and inspiration, Lisa-Jo Baker, puts it, we write "For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not." 

Today's topic is look. So...here...we...

Go!

"So...how do I look?"

Good question! How do I look? How do I look at others? With my eyes? Or with my heart?

Do I look at others and judge them based on what I see on the outside? Or do I look at others and try to see them through the eyes of Christ?

Do I look at others and wonder, "Now...what can they do for me?" Or do I look at others and wonder, "What can I do for them?"

Let us be careful and really pay attention as to "how we look".

"Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." 
(Philippians 2:4)
Stop!

Have a blessed weekend!

Love,
~Rebecca

The Valley Of Baca

I have shared this post before, but felt impressed to share it again...

This story is for anyone who is experiencing trouble in their life right now...

Psalm 84:5 and 6 says, "Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools."
Baca means "weeping." There is a massive valley in northern Israel on the direct route south to Jerusalem. In Bible days, the valley was heavy with mulberry trees. Pilgrims who came down from the north country for the Passover feasts had to pass through the valley. The pilgrims would stop to rest in the heat of the day and would often spend the night there and sleep beneath those same mulberry trees for refuge in case it would rain. 
You see, the mulberry tree, whenever one of its twigs or leaves is wounded by man or wind, exudes from the wound drops of thick saplike tears on the underside. Thus, the valley once dense with mulberry trees became known  as the valley of Baca...the valley of weeping. 
Isn't that a beautiful picture? A hidden treasure from God's Word!
Now, the valley of Baca in Psalms 84:6 can also be used in a figurative way. It presents an image of human life in this world...our troubles and sorrows. All believers go through the valley of Baca on their journey toward heaven. 
But in order to have a valley there must be mountains on both sides. Christians will have their mountaintop experiences while passing through this world, but at times they will find themselves loaded with heartaches, trials, troubles, and burdens that will take them down into the valley of Baca where they will shed tears of sorrow and grief. 
But, remember the part of that verse that says, "...Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well...?" The Lord is saying that His children won't stay in the valley. They will get through the valley. And beyond the valley lies another mountaintop.
(Originally written and posted on the Proverbs 31 Woman 2 (Yahoo Group) March 3, 2002)

31 Days Of Praise - Day 19



Today has been one of those hard days without much praise offered (not God's fault...strictly my own). Everywhere I've gone there have been joy-robbers. I think sometimes I expect way too much out of people (again...my own fault...I need stop that). I get all excited about stuff (and, believe me, it doesn't take much to get me excited, either!), then I expect others to be excited, too. When their not, I take it personally and allow their lack of interest to effect me in ways that are not good for me. Like I said...I need to stop that! So, having said that, I praise God in the hard things. Even if no one else on the face of the earth can, or even wants, to understand me, God knows my heart and understands the things that reside there. It is enough. Praise the name of the Lord!

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)
One Thousand Gifts
Today's Gifts...

     Three gifts unexpected...

          96. a phone call that carries promise
          97. the bottle of pumpkin spice liquid Coffee Mate that my daughter just surprised me with (yeah!)
          98. my first sale on Etsy

Thursday, October 18, 2012

31 Days Of Praise - Day 18

 

How weak and tired I feel at times! How overwhelmed with all of life's unrelenting demands and trials! It is in those moments of weakness that I turn to the Lord and just praise Him for all that He is...for all that He's done...for all that He is doing, and it is within those moments of weakness that He becomes my strength and my shield...a very present help in times of trouble. Praise the name of the Lord!

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him" (Psalm 28:7).

One Thousand Gifts - October 18, 2012

One Thousand Gifts
Today's Gifts...

     A gift shared...

           93. a big bowl of popcorn

                 ...a gift saved...

                      94. loose change

                         ...a gift surrendered...

                              95. a life to Christ

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

31 Days Of Praise - Day 17


As I focus on Day 17 of Lisa Jo's challenge I find that, despite burdens and difficulties, I have much to be thankful for! Today's list: word on the sex of grandbaby #11...a boy...due in February, another grandson celebrating a special birthday today, dear cousins, a beloved aunt, my dearest friend, each of our children and their spouses...all with burdens and difficulties of their own, but (praise God!) each knowing Whom to go to when the burdens they bear begin to be too heavy to carry on their own, a job well done, and my first Etsy sale. God is good all the time! Praise the name of the Lord!

One Thousand Gifts - October 17, 2012

One Thousand Gifts
Today's Gifts...

      Three gifts ugly-beautiful...

          90. the fallen world in which we live
          91. the sinner repentant
          92. those nail-scarred hands

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

31Days of Praise - Day 16






On Day 16 of Lisa Jo's challenge, I offer up praise for God's never-ending protection. I am really not safe to be on the road after dark and, for the past several years, I've managed to avoid driving after dark as much as possible, but, with recent life changes, I can no longer avoid it. Praise God! He miraculously provided new glasses for me this year that came complete with a glare-resistant finish, and we do have a different vehicle with better lighting, but it's still not as good as it could be (I think I need halogen bulbs or something...I don't know). Anyway, this morning, before daybreak, I was taking my son to work in Lamar. When I popped the little hill on NN Highway there was a skunk right in the middle of my lane. There was no time to react. I hit the poor little thing and, of course, my van stinks terribly, but I praise God that it wasn't a deer. It was on that same hill a while back that a deer, literally, stepped out on to the road right in front of our next-to-the-oldest son who was riding his motorcycle at the time. Again, there was no avoidance and, the fact that he came out of that accident alive is miraculous. Over and over again the Lord, in His merciful goodness, has watched over and protected our family and I praise His holy name for it. Blessed be the name of the Lord!



One Thousand Gifts - October 16, 2012

One Thousand Gifts
Today's Gifts...

      Three gifts burning...

          87. a deep desire to serve my Lord and Savior and be all that He created me to be
          88. autumn bonfires
          89. candles! :)


Monday, October 15, 2012

31 Days of Praise - Day 15






Offering up praise in the hard times is not easy, but it is in the hardest times of all that praise is, not only the most needed, but the most effective. It is in the hard times that we offer up, not what we have in abundance, but what we have...where we are...who we are...in our lack.

"Though he slay me, yet will trust in him..." (Job 13:15)

Praise the name of the Lord!



One Thousand Gifts - October 15, 2012

One Thousand Gifts

Today's Gifts...

   Three gifts re-read...

          84. The King James Bible...line after line, precept upon precept, layer after layer...I can never get enough of God's precious, holy, and preserved Word
          85. the "Little House" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder...over and over again...from the time I was  a girl in braids until now...dozens of times in my lifetime
          86. "The Galway Chronicles" by Brock and Brodie Thoene...I love that series!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

31 Days of Praise - Day 14

Today I offer up a heart full of praise for the very special people that God has placed in my life...some for only a passing moment in time, others for a season...be that season long or short, some for a lifetime, and some for all eternity. Some of those people I've never met. Some of them are so close that, without even meaning to, I take them for granted...imagining that they'll always be there. (God, forgive me for that. Help me to take notice to appreciate and enjoy them more while there's still time!) And still others of them are people that the Lord, in His gracious Sovereignty, has allowed into my life to share good times and hard with for a time, and now they're gone...either through death or a move...or maybe we've simply lost touch. Either way, it doesn't matter. I still hold them close to and dear in my heart and some of them I'm sure I'll see again! Either here, God willing, in this life, or, if not, in the life to come. Some of them I may not ever see again, but, for now, I'll treasure their memory while I can. For all the people that have passed in out of my life, and for those that remain, and for those that will be, I am thankful. For each has served (or is serving...or will serve) a purpose in my life...to help shape me, moment by moment, into who I was, who I am, and who I will be. And praise God! He's not finished with me yet! Or you, either! <3

God bless all here!
~Rebecca


One Thousand Gifts - October 14, 2012

One Thousand Gifts

Today's Gifts...

     Three gifts said...

           81. God's first words to us in His Word..."Let there be light..."
           82. "I love you!"
           83. "I do." <3


New Theme Song

I heard this song for the first time a few days ago while on the way to Lamar to pick my son up from work. It was playing on the radio and my goodness! It was like it was written just for me, and the Lord really ministered to my heart through it. As I listened to the words I could literally feel the struggles that I've battled with for so long begin to melt away as the truth of all that the Lord has done for me took root afresh in my broken-for-too-long heart. I heard it again today and it had the same effect. I just looked it up on Youtube and thought it might minister to someone else as well. I want to share it with you here. Here is my new theme song..."Redeemed" by Big Daddy Weave...


Saturday, October 13, 2012

31 Days Of Praise - Day 13



As Lisa Jo's challenge continues today I want to offer up praise to my Heavenly Father for the fall season. Due to the summer's drought this fall isn't nearly as pretty and vibrant as most. In fact, for the most part, in our area, things are rather drab and blah compared to previous autumns, but, still there are glimpses of color here and there and I am thankful for every little bit of autumn pleasure I can get in on because there just isn't that much compared to normal. For instance, I went out to get the mail while ago and, as I turned to come back to the house, a big gust of wind came along and a mass of leaves came swirling out of our walnut tree and it was one of the prettiest things I've seen this fall. I stood in awe and praised God in the little things...for sending that gust of wind along at just the right time for me to witness that. I ran in and got my camera, hoping to capture a similar scene, but no such gust came along a second time. The point is, I am thankful for the little things and I am thankful for the fall season.

Have a blessed Saturday!
~Rebecca

One Thousand Gifts - October 13, 2012

One Thousand Gifts

Today's Gifts...

     Three gifts read...

          78. the greatest gift of all...God's Holy Word...The Bible
          79. a handwritten letter from a dear friend
          80. the signs of the time

Friday, October 12, 2012

Recipe: Golden Harvest Muffins

Golden Harvest Muffins

GOLDEN HARVEST MUFFINS

2 c. flour
2 c. wheat flour
2 c. sugar
4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cloves, ground
4 tsp. baking soda
4 c. (5 med) chopped or grated, peeled apples
1 c. grated carrots
1 c. shredded coconut
1 c. raisins
1 c. chopped nuts
1 c. oil
1/2 c. plain yogurt
1/2 c. milk
4 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 36 muffin cups or line with paper baking cups. Combine flour, sugar,  cinnamon, salt, cloves, and baking soda. Add apples, carrots, coconut, raisins and nuts; mix well. Add oil, yogurt, milk, vanilla and eggs; stir until moistened. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Makes 36 muffins.

Five Minute Friday - Race

It's FRIDAY! That means it's time for another Five Minute Friday where, as our hostess and inspiration, Lisa-Jo Baker, puts it, we write "For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not." 

Today's topic is race. So...here...we...
Go!

It seems that most of my days are spent in a blur of pouring out self in order to meet the need of others. Most of the time I feel like I'm racing here, racing there, and racing yonder...never doing anyone or anything justice. Everything is always kind of done half-way. Come to think about it, when I look back, it seems that I've always been racing...even when I was little...always in a hurry to do the next thing. For what? What's the hurry? I recently read something that helped me a lot. It was in one of Ann Voskamp's daily posts where Ann said something about being 'faithful to do the next thing'. I can't remember everything she said, but, whatever it was I came away, after reading it, with the feeling that it's not in how much we can accomplish, but rather it's about faithfully accomplishing the next thing in full and to completion. Does that make sense? Whatever it was that Ann said and however she said it, it challenged me to purposefully stop racing through life, to purposefully slow down, and to purposefully, faithfully do the next thing...whatever it might be.

Stop!


31 Days of Praise - Days 5 - 12


As Lisa Jo's challenge rolls on without me, I find myself dreadfully behind. I will not make excuse, but I will say that life has been full and, though I've not had much time to spend writing, when I have had time I simply have not had the mental or physical energy to do so. I have made a few notes though and here are a few of the praises that I have to share from the past week or so...

31 Days of Praise - Day 5

Day Five of Lisa Jo's challenge found me on the road with family. Our oldest son and his wife invited us to share a couple of days with them just kicking around Kansas City. Friday we ended up in Northeast KC. We visited Cascone's Grill, the City Market, and Corinthian Hall. Corinthian Hall has been home to the Kansas City Museum for decades and John and I both spent many happy hours there as children. It was good to go 'home' and visit such an old friend, but that wasn't the best part! The best part was getting to spend a few blessed hours with our youngest daughter and her husband as that's where we spent the night! That is what I praise God for most! An extra unexpected visit with my daughter. That usually only happens twice a year!

31 Days of Praise - Day 6

Day Six of the challenge found me still in Kansas City with family. After visiting a short time with our daughter and son-in-law in the morning, we took to the road and started working our way home. Our first stop was at Roma Bakery. After that it was on to the cemetery to find my husband's grandfather's grave. We knew which cemetery it was, but have never been able to find the grave. With a little help we found it this time. The stone was nearly covered over by tall grasses. My daughter-in-law and I cleared the weeds away and we were able to get pictures. I am thankful that after all these years we were able to find it. It meant a lot to my husband. After the cemetery we worked our way on down to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and took a quick run through the Plaza. After that it was time to scoot on down the highway and home. I am thankful for the getaway. I just wish it could have lasted longer. I am always so thankful to get an opportunity to get back home!

31 Days of Praise - Days 7 and 8

Here is where I praise God even in the hard things. Beginning even as early as late Saturday night, Sunday and Monday did not go well. They were full of stings and strife. Rules change, people hurt, and all is tears, frustration and anger. I am thankful for the prayers of one who is older late Sunday night, and the words of wisdom and practical advice given by one who is younger come Monday morning. Praise God for spirit-filled believers who come along side in that moment of need! It turned the tide of what could have been catastrophic to me.

31 Days of Praise - Day 9

Ah! A morning of perfection! A morning of perfection spent with a lovely group of homeschool mommies and their young children (several of them my own grandchildren) under blue skies and amid the gently swaying wildflowers and grasses of southwest Missouri's tall-grass prairie! I praise the Lord for those few hours of heaven on earth for it is there that I am truly in my element! It is those rare days that I long for and to actually get one is truly heaven-sent!

31 Days of Praise - Days 10 - 12

These days have been spent going back and forth getting son to and from work, running errands, getting things done around the place, and getting things marked off my long overdue to-be-done list. I am thankful for little successes...a clothesline restrung, a carpet shampooed, a bag of clothes delivered to the secondhand shop, pictures put on a flashdrive and delivered to a friend...all little things in and of themselves, but little things add up and for months...maybe even years...I've felt like I'm drowning in an overwhelming sea of to-dos that never get done. I am truly thankful for the little successes that have been achieved over the past few days and I pray that they continue.

Looking Forward To Tomorrow...
~Rebecca

One Thousand Gifts - October 6-12

One Thousand Gifts
As you probably already know...off-track I've gone again! Despite the best intentions my '31 Days of Praise' and 'One Thousand Gifts' posts lasted all of five consecutive days. Then, boom! I was derailed with life again and that's where I've been...living life in the ditch beside the track instead of living life on it. Will it ever change? I have no idea, but, here I am today with a few extra moments, so, once again, I'm determined to set my sights on the things that the Lord has laid on my heart and go at it again. As I post I will try to include things that I have thought of along the way over the past week. Some of them I've written down and some I haven't. We'll just have to wait and see what we come up with! Here goes!

Day 6 Gifts...

     Three Gifts Redeemed...

          57. my eternal soul...bought and paid for by the shed blood of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
          58. a reputation...what I once was I no longer am
          59. money-saving coupons...I used a coupon this week for $2.00 off on olive oil. That's big savings!

Day 7 Gifts...

      A gift baked...
                ...stirred...
                    ...eaten...

          60. brownies, fresh from the oven, warm, gooey love for those I hold dear
          61. a heart (stirred with emotion)
          62. food...both physical and spiritual

Day 8 Gifts...

     Three gifts prayed for...

          63. wisdom from on high
          64. direction from the same
          65. that no weapon formed against us shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17)

Day 9 Gifts...

     Three gifts praised for...

          66. a new-to-us vehicle (Thank You, Lord!)
          67. the opportunity to visit Phillip and Amanda over the weekend (our son-in-law and youngest daughter)
          68. for faithful friends and family members who don't hesitate to come along side

Day 10 Gifts...

     Three hard eucharisteo...

          69. struggling financially (but learning to trust God in the bleakness)
          70. watching my children struggle and not being able to help (but I know the One Who can!)
          71. learning to let go (even when it hurts)

Day 11 Gifts...

     Three gifts of change...

          72. nearly two and half decades of homeschooling ended
          73. the last of our children...a boy-man...engaged
          74. an empty nest looming large

Day 12 Gifts...

     A gift small...
            ....smaller...
                  ...smallest...

          75. grandchildren...small in size, but huge in blessing
          76. my problems compared to some
          77. an act of kindness...it may seem insignificant to the giver, but it might just mean everything to the one receiving