Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thank You

Thanks for your prayers my Papa passed away this morning.
I am so excited for him. He has a new body and is dancing with Jesus, my uncle, my dad, my other grandaddy, and his brothers and sisters who have gone on before.
My granny is devastated. Please pray for her. She suffers from Anxiety attacks and depression and this will be a hard road for her.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Doing" Church

I Corinthians 1
10Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
11For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
12Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
13Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
I have been burdened a lot lately with some thoughts that keep flitting through my mind about church. Of course you know my burden lately to help others out. Part of that comes from watching these people suffer and then watching churches build bigger buildings and better children's programs and worship programs. You know with flashing lights and state of the art tech equipment? I'm not saying those things are wrong, but I am wondering if our priorities are out of whack a little bit. It started me asking questions about church.
What is the purpose of the church? I look around at churches who seek to make the lost comfortable. Then I think, "Wait! If your lost are you supposed to be comfortable in church?" If your living a life full of sin are you supposed to be comfortable hearing from the Word of God? I don't really think so. Then I thought about verses that tell Christians to GO!
Matthew 28
18And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Are we supposed to be sitting in churches, building bigger churches, and relying on the preacher to save all the heathens? Once again these are just thoughts I have been having. I am starting to think that churches should be training grounds. Training for the saints to go out and deliver the message of Jesus Christ. To minister to the lost. To offer a cup of water to the thirsty.
So much of what is offered up on Sunday mornings lately is just barely milk.
I actually know a few strong Christians who just choose to gather at home for home meeting instead of corporate worship because the churches they have tried are so watery. I am not advocating that as the best idea either. I'm just wondering if the church should not be used more for teaching and training the Christians to go out into the world. Just a thought.

As far as the verses I mentioned in the beginning that's a whole other thought process. It kind of reminds me of the different denominations. In the New Testament when the preachers came they came to a gathering somewhere in the city. Not to three of four different gatherings. Can you imagine the impact the church could make on this world if we set aside our doctrinal differences and just acted like we all served the same God and were all saved through Christ? I think much of the war that we face with the world would be won in that one change.

I don't know just some thoughts I had.

Be Blessed!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Another Prayer Request

Hmm.. I feel like I just put one of these up back in July. I DID! I'm telling you I am ready to get off this ride.
I started a new Beth Moore Bible study this week called Stepping Up. It really promises to be a cool shower in this heat!
Anyway, my papa has been facing kidney dysfunction for a few years now. Recently it got bad enough they started him on dialysis. Well his body is rejecting the dialysis in a major way. Major. We think it might have even caused mini strokes. Today they stopped all treatment and moved him to hospice. I personally don't expect him to live through the week. He is not lucid and is very agitated and hostile. The hospice nurse said that might clear up some tomorrow so that's actually my prayer right now. At least enough for us to tell him, "See ya later, papa!" (Because the joy is that some of my family will see him later in heaven!)
The rest of my prayer is for his family. A wife of over 60 years. Five living children. Seven living grandchildren. Twelve great grandchildren. And one brand new great great grandson. Please remember us in prayer as we prepare for this transition.

Be Blessed!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cooking with kids

I have been eating up these videos lately. She has even more at her website Greenlitebites. Some great cooking videos with Ryan and they are always taste testing new fruits. It gave me some great ideas for not only cooking with my big kids (ONE AT A TIME!) but also with little Jonathan.

I hope you enjoy.

Be Blessed

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Caring for the homeless and downtrodden

Our family has a vision of one day owning enough land to build some small cottages. These cottages would first be used for our parents if they wished. They would have their own homes and be independent while having us close by to care for them. If they choose not to join us on the homestead we would reserve the cottages for ministry. For families who needed a place to stay for awhile. For missionaries home on furlough. For other ministers away from home doing God's work. For single mothers and widows. For anyone who lost everything they had because of an accident or job loss. As the responsible parents of children there would be rules and much discernment over who stayed on our property, but there are enough people out there who just need a hand up that I know we could be a blessing to many.
We plan to have a functional farm to help feed these boarders and others. We would require most people staying with us to help out around the farm. I would love to have a huge farm table that everyone was welcomed around. Or if they wanted to eat in their cottage that would be fine as well.
Dh has lots of plans for recreation areas on our property and we both have major visions of hospitality.
This is what we are striving for as we watch our finances and save where we can.
But what can we do right now?

My heart has been pondering this for awhile now. When Jesus saw someone hurting or helpless did he just pass by? I want to help people out. I want to do it with more than just a check to some random organization. I have been looking for ways to help. Here are some ideas.
I am going to purchase boxes of the prepackaged tuna and cracker lunches and canned chicken salad with crackers lunches and keep them in my car along with peanut butter crackers and bottles of water during these winter months. When I see someone asking for money I will share with them. Because of where I grew up I can't in good conscience give money. I know some will disagree with this, but the things I saw these mentally ill people do with the money given to them broke my heart. In my eyes they need a meal more than crack or alcohol.
I have a dear friend from the Philippines. In January she is heading there to help with flood damage. She is using her own money to send food, clothing, blankets... I am going to contribute to those boxes. I am also hoping to slip her some money before January to help with her expenses. She is the cleaning lady at a fast food restaurant.
I am going to the thrift store to load up on heavy blankets to donate to the homeless shelter this winter. I also plan to pick up heavy socks brand new to donate as well.
Roy and I are hoping to take the kids on a mission trip next year. Maybe not to another country just yet, but some place here in the US that needs some sort of disaster relief. I had thought of contacting the Red Cross and asking about opportunities for families with children to volunteer.
I have been busy stocking my pantry and freezer hoping to share with single mothers, widows, and others who might need a meal or two due to finances or illness or death.
I started last year purchasing gift cards to send to families right before Thanksgiving so that they could have a good meal or even some Christmas presents.
If you knew me at all you would know that my compassion and mercy are seriously lacking. I think that is one of the lessons God has been teaching me this year though. The theme of my happiness and comfort does not matter is really starting to manifest itself not just in faith but in works.
While I do take precautions, I mean Jesus was a single man and I am a mother of young children, I know that God will protect me as needed.
Yes, my husband is still jobless, but I think that God expects us to keep on giving. He is our provider. :)
I did not type any of this to pat my own back. Its a huge burden on my heart lately and something I think that we as Christ followers are seriously failing to work at. I hope these ideas will move you towards reaching out to the less fortunate.
Be Blessed!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Give Thanks

This has been a long, trying year for my family. I am ready to see it go. Illness, loss, death, divorce... the list goes on. As I talk to other Christians I hear the same theme throughout. Depression sneaks in and we loose our joy. Our purpose changes from the "big picture" mentality to just getting through today.
I'll be the first to admit there have been times I have walked away from my Bible reading and daily prayer time. I just did not want to be friends anymore. But as I look back through my prayer journal I see that when I came back I came back broken and repentant. I found God waiting for me with arms held out. I would just cling to His awesome grace and mercy for a time, then something would happen and I would sulk off again.
But something else was happening. I was noticing that we had food to eat, money to pay our bills and a few extras. I noticed that each trial brought me to a new place with God. The Bible became more than just a daily reading to me. It became a lifeline between me and God. My spirit was confirmed and convicted appropriately as I read through the crinkly onion skin pages.
Through it all life began to really make sense. Make sense in the way that I realized this world is so very temporary.
I realized that I was reading my Bible and praying as a ritual to get me through the day. Surely if I read my Bible and jot down my thoughts to God then my day will go smoothly. No. What I found was that on days that did not go smoothly if I spent some time with the Lord I could handle it better.
There is no promise of happiness and comfort. Only of peace and joy. Two very different things.
Peace in the midst of discomfort because I know God is by my side perhaps even carrying me through. Joy in the midst of unhappiness because I know that this too shall pass. Joy because Jesus is my heart and soul not this world and her pleasures.
The girls and I are keeping gratitude journals. Each morning we write five things we are thankful for and each night before bed we write five more things. We plan to share these with the family on New Years Eve.
Do I know for sure that 2010 will be a better year? No. I sure hope it will be, but the one thing I do know for sure is that God will never leave me nor forsake me.
Right after we started the gratitude journals I read these verses in Psalms 77.

Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more?

Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth [his] promise fail for evermore?

Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah.

And I said, This [is] my infirmity: [but I will remember] the years of the right hand of the most High.

I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.

I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.

Thy way, O God, [is] in the sanctuary: who [is so] great a God as [our] God?

Thou [art] the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people.

Thou hast with [thine] arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.

When I think God has forgotten me or is just cutting me off I can go back to my gratitude journal and realize that He has given me so much more than I deserve.

Be Blessed!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year..somewhere

In just a few short days I am leaving sunny, hot, dry Florida for Philadelphia. I am so excited. I have been assured I will see leaves changing.. somewhere. On this trip I will do my darndest to convince my DH that we actually do NEED to live somewhere that Fall is actually considered a season and not a myth. I love, love fall. I hate, hate being hot! I think FL would be a great place to visit occasionally.
Of course I am practicing contentment. I am freshening up my home and filling it with the great scents and colors of fall. I am thankful for the humble home God has so graciously blessed us with. But somehow I think dreaming of a more colorful world is not taboo.

I am still stocking my freezer full of yummy goodies. I have three bags of beef stew. Three pans of chili chicken mac, and four pans of beef and macaroni. I made a huge batch of chicken and rice that turned out way too dry. We are eating that this week for lunch three times and dinner at least twice. I did not want to save it for later. LOL Tomorrow or Monday I have chicken noodle soup to make. I might even try canning that. I look around my stocked pantry and freezer and it too makes me excited about fall. Storing up for the winter and all!

Be Blessed!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Practicing Hospitality

Practicing Hospitality

Recently we were able to open our home again after a long season of closed doors. It was hard for me and I dreamed, dreamed, dreamed of the day that I could invite others over or even into my home. We still have a little ways to go in having a more comfortable welcoming atmosphere, but it's nothing that we can't live with.

As I mentioned yesterday I am making some meals to freeze not only for my family but for others who might need a little help during the month. Roy and I were talking yesterday about how not worried we are about spending the money to make all these meals.

Roy is out of work right now and maybe to an outsider it is not wise to offer to feed others with our food. But quiet frankly I have always enjoyed feeding others. I don't think I have ever felt like it was a burden.

I had one friend last year that was so upset with me because I would offer to feed everyone at our Life Group meetings. She thought it was unfair for me to have to cook for every one, but I really enjoyed it. I always make a lot of food anyway, just because I have a small army to feed.

I believe some of it is because of how I grew up. I have a very dear friend who spent many hours feeding groups of people at her house. She still does actually. Her house was always full of fun and laughter and food. The front door was always opened. I remember thinking that it was I wanted so very much. The cost of making extra really does not mean anything to me. I believe that God will always provide for us.

I like to think of the widow woman in 1 Kings 17. The one who provided a meal for Elijah with the last of her food. God restored the food to her and made it so her oil and meal lasted until the end of the drought. I have no doubt that as I preform the duty of hospitality towards others that God will expand my freezer and pantry with more than enough food until the drought of unemployment has passed.

Hospitality is not only about opening wide your doors for others. It's about providing for the hungry. In Isaiah the other day I read the most remarkable passage.
Isa 58:7

Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? [is it] to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes [under him]? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?

Isa 58:6

[Is] not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

Isa 58:7

[Is it] not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?

Isa 58:8

Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy reward.

Isa 58:9

Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I [am]. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;

Isa 58:10

And [if] thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness [be] as the noonday:

Isa 58:11

And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

Isa 58:12

And [they that shall be] of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.

These verses spoke to me on a deep level about what I need to be practicing in my hospitality. I will share some more this week on hospitality and the reason these verses caught my attention so much. Until then I pray that you too will realize what a blessing hospitality is not only to others but to yourself.
Be Blessed!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

In the Kitchen

I decided recently to take up bulk cooking again. Of course with my large family anytime I cook it's bulk cooking. But I mean making enough to freeze for later.
We have been bombarded with illnesses and deaths around us lately and I wanted to not only have something stored up for my family but for others as well.
Our ladies ministry usually has a cooking day where we make and freeze meals for occasions such as this but we have not been able to do that this year and my freezer (which held all the meals) has run dry. I am looking to store up until our next cooking day.
In the past when I have tried this on my own I have been overwhelmed and quickly all the
great plans I had ran the way of the dinosaur.
This time I decided to try something a little different. For the whole week I will be making 1 or 2 meals to freeze every day. For instance today I made a Macaroni and Beef casserole. We will have one for dinner and I have three more to add to my freezer. Tomorrow I will make Beef Stew. Tomorrow night we will have Beef Stew and I am hoping enough to add three or four bags to my freezer.
Some people might think that I should just do it all together and get it over with or that I should do my beef stuff one day and my chicken stuff one day ect.. but I have tried that. I really think this will work better. By the end of this week if my calculations are right I will have at least 20 meals in my freezer.
I will let you know how it works out. :)

Be Blessed!