Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An Afterthought

After I published my post yesterday, I was upstairs making pancakes for breakfast and pondering over what I had just written. (Actually, I had written it last Thursday and made some changes to it yesterday morning.) I was wondering if I was able to make the point I was trying to make. My thoughts can be a bit scattered sometimes and hard to write (type) down. I didn't want anyone to think I was advocating plastering fake smiles across our face just for the sake of "looking like a Christian." That wasn't my point at all. I know there will be times when we won't have a smile --- Eccl. 3:4 --- A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance --- but for most of us, we have more reasons to smile than to not. Most of the time, the reason we are not smiling is because we are letting things of the world be our focus. It's a constant fight, but we have a great Coach if we'll just listen to Him and live life like He tells us to.

I'm a believer that God is in the smallest of things - even my mixed up blog! As I was running things around in my head, this song by Chris Tomlin came on the radio. I don't believe it was any small coincidence, and it summed up my thoughts completely.

How Can I Keep From Singing

~~~"I am loved by the King, and it makes my heart want to sing!"~~~

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Search Continues....

These almost past two years since Brad resigned as pastor have been quite eventful. It's been a refreshing and renewing time for us - a time of much needed rest spiritually that enabled us to learn, grow, and get focused on what is truly important. We enjoyed meeting with other families in our home for church on Sunday mornings, but that is a season that has passed for now. It was a wonderful thing, but our family realized we needed to do something different. The main reason was the inconsistency that can occur within a home fellowship. For instance, if we were having church at our home and someone woke up sick, we had to call everyone at the last minute and cancel church. This happened on several occasions, and we realized it wasn't fair to anyone. We debated finding a place to meet so that everyone would have a place to show up to regardless, but we didn't feel the Lord giving us the liberty to do so at that time. That hasn't been ruled out for the future, but we just want to be careful to do what our Lord wants us to do. For the past couple of months, Brad and I have both began to feel the desire to see him pastoring again. We feel this is from the Lord, but we still don't have any direction as to what capacity He has in store for us. In the past couple of weeks, Brad has received two phone calls from churches looking for a pastor and actually preached at one last Sunday. In the meantime, we've found a wonderful church to attend. They make every attempt to keep Christ the focus of everything that goes on during the worship service. We (Brad and I) have a strong desire to lead people in this direction - to come to church and honor and worship Christ with every word, deed, song, etc. In order to do this, the traditions of men have to be set aside, and that can be difficult at times. It is our prayer that God will place us where the people are willing to make Jesus the Lord of everything - not just in the church, but in their personal lives as well.

I am speaking to myself here, too. Just as Christ alone should be worshiped on Sunday mornings, everything I do every day should be a reflection of my worship to Him. I was reminded of this during a conversation I was having with Brad the other evening. We were having dinner at Cracker Barrell on Thursday evening, and he was telling me about how he was making a delivery to a Christian bookstore in the area where the owners are known for their rudeness. They proved it to him during his short UPS delivery visit. The conversation then turned towards a comment that a friend of mine had posted on Facebook about how rude church people can be at restaurants on Sunday afternoons. Brad's aunt used to work at a Cracker Barrell in Texas, and she had told us this same thing several years ago. She dreaded Sunday afternoons! Ever since then, we try to be extra nice, leave a good tip, etc., (whether it is Sunday or not) so that we can try to help change that impression. If we truly have the love of Jesus in our hearts, it should be spilling over into the lives of others - at home, at church, in restaurants, at Wal-Mart, everywhere! I know I'm just an ugly piece of dirty flesh, but through Christ I can be beautiful, and it's my prayer that others can see Him in me and desire to have a relationship with Him because of something they see in me. Only Christ can do that - I certainly can't do it on my own!

As I was looking at my family at the restaurant, my heart was overwhelmed with gratefulness as I thought of my thoughtful husband who treated me to a night of no cooking, my precious Matthew who was sitting in a highchair with his little head peaking above the table, for Amelia who was falling asleep in her chair after eating a fine meal, for Cari who had dressed up in a typical Cari outfit that showed her outgoing personality, and for Madison who is turning into a beautiful young lady. I have so much to be thankful for. I've been reminded of that once again these past days in the midst of the tragedy and sadness that has surrounded our area as a result of the flooding. Why should I not have a smile on my face? No matter what my circumstances, I have the peace that only Jesus can given in my heart and the assurance of an eternity with Him, my dearest friend. As I type this, I realize how much I want to know Him, love Him more. And I realize once again that I should worship Him in everything I do - because of who He is - and not just on Sundays during morning worship but every day.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The War Memorial

The traveling Vietnam Wall was in our area this week, so I took the girls and Matthew to see it the last day it was here. The town of Tallapoosa has a beautiful veterans memorial park. Many people have invested a lot of time and hard work, and it definitely shows. It is a beautiful reminder of how we should honor all the men and women who have given/are giving so much for our freedom. This park is where they had the wall set up. They also had a museum inside the old Tallapoosa gymnasium. I tried to time it so we wouldn't be there with a school group, but one showed up about five minutes after we got there. So we quickly looked through the memorabilia and then headed outside and looked at the wall, walked through the park, and took some photos before the rain started pouring.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A New Recipe - Latin Lasagna

I love to try new recipes, especially when they're a hit! This one definitely was!! We enjoyed it Saturday evening while watching the usual Saturday evening college football. It's from Sunny Anderson's (Food Network) recipe file. I'm two for two with her recipes. I highly recommend this one.


(I changed it just a little bit. I used cottage cheese instead of ricotta cheese - I just don't like ricotta cheese. And I used ground beef instead of ground pork. I tried to tone it down a little also since some of my crew will not eat spicy foods.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What Christ Thinks of the Church

Nancy Leigh DeMoss is doing a thought-provoking series titled "His Message for the Church." Today's lesson was "What Christ Thinks of the Church." Very interesting. Here's a quote from today's program:

Today we don’t give a whole lot of attention to doctrine, and not many people really care about doctrinal purity, but Jesus does. He cared then; He cares now. He’s going to address some of our churches and some of our lives in saying, “You are being deceived. You are buying into things that are not biblically sound.” So He deals with doctrinal issues.

Then there are lifestyle or sin issues. These are believers that are being talked to—at least professing believers, and many of them true believers. There is, for example, in one church, widespread immorality that’s being justified. People are just winking at sin. They’re just overlooking it.

Does that sound like anything we might hear Jesus say to the church today?

There are other churches where they are turning God’s grace into a license to sin. “We can do that because we’re not under law, we’re under grace.”

Does that sound like anything you might hear in the 21st century church?

Jesus deals with these issues. He points them out. He’s very specific and pointed, and He says, “You must repent of these sin issues.”

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Parade

Waiting on the parade.....

The Mayberry Police Car that found its way to Georgia

Here they come!

Last Saturday morning, Cari and Amelia were in our town's fall festival parade. A couple of months ago, I had read in the paper that they were going to have an "old timers parade" in conjunction with the usual parade that comes through the town during the annual festival. It was the 125th anniversary, and they wanted people to dress up in 1800s-type clothing. I told Cari about it, and she was very excited about being a part of that and did not let me forget about it! So, I called up to the city hall on Thursday afternoon to see if they were still planning to do that. The lady at city hall told me she had not heard from anyone else but to still let Cari come dressed up, and that there would be a place for her somewhere. Amelia also wanted to be in the parade - she's up for anything that Cari is going to do. So, we got them all dressed up on Saturday morning and headed that direction. Brad had gone up earlier and ran into some friends of ours who were going to be in the parade in their antique car, and they offered to let Cari and Amelia ride with them. Cari and Amelia were very happy to do so, and it worked out wonderfully.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Curveballs During Football Season

Our house has thrown us three curve balls over the past three weeks. Here's the short version:

I already mentioned last week about the dishwasher springing a leak two weeks ago. It could have been worse. I could have left home and come back to hardwood floors soaked in water! I'm thankful that I noticed the water coming out onto the floor before any damage was done.

Last week, our garage door spring broke, and the door wouldn't budge. It was open at the time, and Brad was able to manually pull it down. It could have been worse. We could have not been home at the time and would have been locked out of the house when we returned. We depend on the garage door opening every time we return home because we do not carry a key to the front door. (I know that's not very smart. We should definitely find that front door key!) I'm thankful we were there and were able to hear it happen and know almost immediately what was wrong. Otherwise, we would have been a little confused. I'm also thankful that no one was outside when the spring broke because a metal wire being held in place by the spring went flying and could have possibly hurt someone if they'd been in its path. Another thing to be thankful for in this situation is the very kind man who came and fixed it. I called three different people that I found in the yellow pages, and this man was the cheapest. He also just happened to be in the area when I called and came by immediately and took a look at it. He told me he'd be back the next morning to fix it, and he was there when he said he would be. He also fixed another issue with the door and didn't charge us for it. (If you're having garage door problems, let me know. I definitely know who to recommend!)

This week, all of the sudden the toilets did not want to flush and "stuff" started coming up through the pipes into the sinks, bathtubs, and showers. I called Brad and told him what was going on and immediately he knew it was the septic tank. When he got home and investigated, he felt it best that no toilets be flushed or anymore water run. So, the girls and I hated to desert him, but we packed up and went to my mom and dad's. He had someone come out the next morning and drain the septic tank, and all is well now. It could have been worse. Like a friend that Brad works with, the "stuff" could have busted through the pipes and landed throughout the basement. This was an easy fix, and although we really had not budgeted for this, the cost could have been much more - once again citing the friend that Brad works with. I'm thankful that Chad (don't know him personally, but his slogan was "Don't get mad, call Chad") was able to come out quickly. (Speaking of slogans, we saw a truck in this same type of business the other day who had his slogan printed on the back of his truck. It said "We're #1 in the #2 business." I thought that was pretty funny!) I'm thankful my parents live nearby or otherwise we'd been in a hotel. (Boys can do without a restroom. Girls cannot. At least not these girls.)

I have so much to be thankful for, and as I was reminded the other day, our children are looking at us to see how we react to these situations. The phrase "no use crying over spilled milk" comes to mind. These problems are so minor compared to what some people are going through, why should they get me upset? These are just things, and compared to the people in my life, they are way down on the priority list. The money thing can be mildly irritating, but I believe that God has a purpose for everything that comes our way - even dishwashers, garage doors, and septic tank problems. Even these little temporary frustrations can make us stronger in the Lord if we react correctly.

I find it relatively easy (so far) to react correctly in these minor situations. It's the BIG things, like problems, sickness, etc. with family and friends that scare me. Those are the situations that truly grow us and make us stronger, but who wants to go through those? Not me! But the sovereign God of the Universe has a purpose for everything that comes my way. I'm thankful that I haven't had to deal with too many of those BIG things, but I do see how God used those things in my life to show Himself to me in BIG ways, and I love Him more because of it. I'm sure if I live many more years on this earth that more BIG things will come my way, but nothing is going to catch Him by surprise. Everything is part of His BIG plan, and although it scares me a bit - no one wants to experience heartache, I can only trust my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to see me through whenever it does happen. Sometimes I try to mentally prepare myself for things that might happen, but what I'm really doing is worrying, which is never a good thing.

As I was reading Isaiah 40 this morning, this verse caught my attention: vs. 29 - He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

Worry can definitely make me feel faint, weary - completely suck the life out of me. God doesn't want me to worry about the future.

Phillipians 4:6 - Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. "Be careful for nothing" means we should not worry. We should talk to God about whatever is troubling is.

I Peter 5:7 - Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Jesus has already proven how much He cares for us. He wants us to cast all our care upon him. We're to let Him take care of it. What should we be doing in the meantime? Worshiping, praying, and being thankful.

When we do these things, we can go back to Isaiah 40:31 and see the results: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.

Worry is such a joy stealer. No one is going to see Jesus living through me if I'm putting up a wall of worry that He can't get through.

Psalm 5:11 - But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

That is my prayer today that I will not let worry interfere with my joy. I learned a long time ago that I (as mother and wife) set the "joy thermometer" around this household, and it's important that I remember that each day.

In this life we do get some curve balls on occasion, and who wants to strike out? Only through Jesus can we hit home runs off of those curve balls. It can be done!