Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
But the other men replied, " Those people are much too strong for us." Then they started spreading rumors and saying, " We won't be able to grow anything in that soil. And the people are like giants. In fact, we saw the Nephilim who are the ancestors of the Anakim. They were so big that we felt as small as grasshoppers."
You've come out to fight me with a sword and a spear and a dagger. But I've come out to fight you in the name of the LORD All-Powerful. He is the God of Israel's army, and you have insulted him too!
Today the LORD will help me defeat you. I'll knock you down and cut off your head, and I'll feed the bodies of the other Philistine soldiers to the birds and wild animals. Then the whole world will know that Israel has a real God. Everybody here will see that the LORD doesn't need swords or spears to save his people. The LORD always wins his battles, and he will help us defeat you.
When Goliath started forward, David ran toward him. He put a rock in his sling and swung the sling around by its straps. When he let go of one strap, the rock flew out and hit Goliath on the forehead. It cracked his skull, and he fell facedown on the ground. David defeated Goliath with a sling and a rock. He killed him without even using a sword."
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Isn't it amazing how children look at things? This photo shows Erica (L) and Perri looking at a gift Perri received for Christmas. The gift is Squawkers, the talking parrot, and Perri wanted this thing badly. She squealed and yelled when she learned what was in the box. After he was opened and sat on a table, the girls sat and played for quite a long time. It's their expressions that intrigue me.
I can remember being that enthralled with Christ and His salvation as a new Christian way back in 1979. I can remember thinking that special feeling would surely never, ever leave. I remember thinking I would be like this for the rest of my life. Not so.
Somewhere down the road I lost those feelings and for a long while debated if I had ever really been saved after all. Then the years began to roll ... faster and faster it seems, the years fly and leave me wondering where time has gone. With those years however, have come maturity and for that I am thankful. I don't have to be the starry-eyed person I was at 32. I can be the older, more mature Louise who's come a long way since 1979. The lady who's walked on more rough ground than I would have chosen for myself. But, it's been these rough places that have taught me the most.
Just as Erica & Perri can't stay as they are in this picture, neither do we stay as we were when we first came to faith in Christ. We aren't meant to stay in one place for our time on this earth. We're meant to walk, and learn and grow into the people God desires us to be. We're to do our best to keep our first love alive and well and allow it to grow too. We best do this by remembering that we're to do all for God's glory, not ours.
It's easy to forget that you know. It's easy to get caught up in daily routines that before long become hum-drum and well, routine. We can easily forget where we've come from and Who it was that opened our hearts to receive the gift of eternal life in Christ. We can easily do things without thinking about why we're doing them, or for whom they're done. We can easily forget that we live Coram Deo ... before the face of God ... and that He sees everything and hears every word.
I'm not a person to set New Year's resolutions. Repeated failure has taught me a few things about that. For those who do, may they all work for you. As for me, I'll keep telling myself and others, "If God wills, I'll do so and so", because I have absolutely no clue what the New Year is going to hold, but I do know the One who holds it, and my desire is to be pleasing to Him in whatever comes my way. I will strive to love God with all my heart and soul and strength, and love my neighbor as myself. I will, God willing, live today and tomorrow and all the days I have, I will live to honor and glorify my Father with the life He's given me.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
The beginning of our day was busy with Fred cooking and me cleaning and making last minute cards for the Grand-girls from their Great-Grandma. She has difficulty seeing so I make the cards for her to give to them. Fred made a wonderful dinner: Lasagna & Baked Spaghetti, salad & garlic toast this year. Angel Eggs, Olives & Shrimp completed the meal. He's such a good cook. The kids all arrived at 3:30 and the afternoon was filled with laughter and the girls sharing the gifts they had brought for us to see. Stef & Syd read the Christmas story and the four of them sang a few Christmas songs. I had to announce their entry of course and this year they named themselves "The 4 Girls". That fits.
I took a lot of pictures and mainly just watched the girls enjoy themselves. They are all growing so quickly. I've told them it's okay to slow down the process but thus far none of them have listened to me. Time waits for no one, does it? And changes come whether we're ready or not.
Earlier today I sent an email to family & friends and I'd like to share that with each of you:
"Hello Family! We didn't send cards this year, instead, through a ministry called Voice of the Martyrs, we supplied Bibles & other materials to a small village in China. We are blessed to have so much in the United States, there is no lack of Bibles, or churches, or Christian literature. Sometimes we can take all this for granted. People in other countries often have so little and we have so much. We need to share and use the resources God has given us to help them and that's what we did rather than send cards.
We want you all to know we love and appreciate you; you are often in our thoughts and in our prayers and we sincerely hope the coming New Year is one that will be filled with the knowledge that Jesus is Lord to the glory of the Father. Because of His birth, we celebrate this Holy Day. We take time to read the Christmas story in the book of Luke and we realize that without His coming to earth, there would be no salvation for mankind. He didn't come to give us riches and fame, but to give Himself as a ransom for many. On this day, let us remember, He came in obedience to His Father, to redeem us from sin and He did that by coming to die.
He is no longer the Babe in the manger, He is no longer the suffering Savior on the cross,He is seated at the right hand of God and soon, very soon, He is coming again!
Our deepest prayer is that everyone we know and love will be ready to meet Him. How do you do that? By realizing you are a sinner in need of a Savior. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We repent, or tell God we're sorry for what we've done and we turn from our old way of doing things and we turn to Christ, seeking His direction in all we do. We ask Him to forgive us and come to live in our hearts and He promises that He will when we sincerely ask Him to.
May God in His unending mercy, grant peace and comfort to those who mourn. May He draw the unsaved to Himself and give them the greatest Christmas gift they'll ever receive ... Jesus."
Good night dear ones and may God be more than we ever realized He could be as we go into tomorrow and a new year.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
How expensive is your firewood? That's a thought I had earlier today. The Bible tells us that basically our works while on this earth can amount to nothing more than wood, hay and stubble.
( I Cor. 3:12-15) We need to make sure our works are God-honoring. Nothing else matters much. Do all for His glory. I so easily forget this, forgive me Father.
In 2 Peter 3:12 the Bible says ...
It was this verse that caught my attention as I looked into our family room at the books and other things we have on shelves there. All I see will be destroyed by fire and intense heat. All I've put money, time and effort into will melt away one day to make way for the new heavens and new earth. How much has my firewood cost me? That's what all this stuff amounts to, firewood. And I've paid a dear price for most of it. Perhaps not much money according to some people, but enough to make me question its worth and the time I've put into gathering all of it.
Even now, in parts of this world, a tree is cut down, cut into usable lengths and seasoned for the winter's use. That tree was eventually used to warm homes and the people they held. That tree's wood was used to fuel a stove to cook meals that would nourish a family.
My 'firewood' will be used for .... what? To decorate my home and make me feel better about myself while I'm here? Yes it does that and I'm grateful for all I have been given. But today, for the first time in my adult life, I see that it's nothing more than firewood. I will leave it all. I will take none of it with me either when I die or when the Lord returns. All this will stay here, to be done away with as Scripture tells us it will.
Dear God, I do appreciate all You've allowed us to have. But, please, dear Lord, help me to rightly value it against the rest of my life here and eternity with You. Let me hold it all with a light hand, and be willing to give it away if You ask that of me. Help me to better use every resource You've given to further Your kingdom. Let me not waste anything but look to You for guidance in using the time, talents, and finances that You give. Let me store up treasure in heaven where moth nor rust nor fire will ever destroy it. Forgive me for placing wrong emphasis on all the things that one day will become ... firewood.
"A man is foolish to invest everything in things that he cannot keep, when he can invest in things that he cannot lose - things that are eternal." - David Guzik
Thursday, December 20, 2007
2. Real tree or artificial? Teeny tiny artificial. See photo below.
3. When do you put up the tree? I carry the little thing up the day after Thanksgiving.
4. When do you take the tree down? Probably a day or two after Christmas I'll carry the little dudette back downstairs.
5. Do you like eggnog? No. Too-too eggy.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Easy Bake Oven. I left it outside that summer and the garbage man picked it up and took it away. I was heart-broken and was told "That's what you get for leaving your toys outside." My folks didn't replace it either. Taught me a good lesson.
Don't trust garbage men.
7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. Mom gave it to me last year.
8. Hardest person to buy for? We only buy for the grand-girls.
9. Easiest person to buy for? Fred. Since we don't buy for each other.
10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I don't remember a bad gift. I probably got one, but don't remember it. That's a good thing about getting older.
11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Email
12. Favorite Christmas Movies: Miracle on 34th St., Little Women, It's a Wonderful Life
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? November
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Don't think so. But then I could have and just don't remember it.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Hmmmm...lots to choose from
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear ones, teensy weensy clear ones.
17. Five Favorite Christmas songs? Silent Night; Oh Come All Ye Faithful; Joy to the World; Oh Holy Night; Birthday of a King
18. Most Annoying Christmas song? There are many ... Rudolph the Red-Neck Reindeer for one
19. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Home, home , home.
20. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Lucy, Desi, Fred, Ethel, Spanky, Porky, Alfalfa, Buckwheat
21. Angel or Star on top of the tree? Angel made by my sister.
22. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? The grand-girls open gifts here Christmas Day. Since Fred & I don't buy for each other, we don't open anything except the refrigerator.
23. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Commercialism, traffic, shopping lines, rude people
24. Favorite Christmas Apparel? Sweats.
25. What I love most about Christmas? Time with family.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Shawn lives just four homes down the street from us, and came down shortly afterward Fred saw Greg outside. Together Shawn and Greg cleared not only our sidewalk and driveway, but also Mr. Larry's, the 80 yr. old man who lives next door to Greg. And then they did Greg's and then Shawn's. Shawn told me later his Dad was in the garage as they worked being Supervisor, and I explained it was in his blood, he couldn't help it.
We've lived here almost 21 years and my Fred knows every neighbor on the entire block. When he walks, he also talks, to anyone who'll listen. He's amazed me again and again with his knowledge of people who live here. And it's not just our street, it's around the block and then the next block and the one after that. I'd like to say that all our neighbors are really nice folk, but to be honest, some I could live without. Not many, thankfully, but a couple could move on and not bother me a bit.
The thing is, they do live here and we live here too, and for a reason. Fred and I are to let our lights shine. We're to witness to the goodness of God whenever possible and do unto others as we'd have them do unto us. We're to love our neighbors as we love ourselves ... look out for their best interest as much as we do our own. I've not lived up to this as I ought, but I'm trying. And it's so good to walk or drive down our street and have someone wave or say hello, knowing we share a common bond as neighbors.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
The average cup of coffee contains more than 1,000 different chemical components.
Each year, about 46 million Cokes, five million pounds of French fries and seven million hamburgers are consumed at Walt Disney World.
The human eye consists of more than two million working parts
Earth travels through space at 66,700 miles per hour
In Hinduism, there are 330 million gods.
Scientists say the higher your I.Q. is the more you dream.
You use 200 muscles to take one step
Experts say 77% of Americans go to the grocery store with a list. It's estimated that half of everything bought there is bought on impulse.
The book of Esther in the Bible is the only book that doesn't mention the name of God.
Before 1863, postal service in the U.S. was free.
It takes 72 different muscles to produce human speech.
The Old Testament has 23,214 verses. The middle verse of the Old Testament is 2 Chronicles 20:17.
Mattresses have an average life span of 8 to 10 years.
"Somniphobia" is the fear of sleep.
A "quinquagenarian" is someone in their fifties.
Just one mourner walked with Mozart's coffin before it was buried in a pauper's grave.
Jesus wasn't born on December 25, and estimates of the year of Christ's birth range from about 14 years B.C. to as late as 23 A.D.
More than three billion Christmas cards are sent each year in the United States.
Fifty-six percent of Americans say they sing Christmas carols to their pets
The first electric Christmas tree lights were telephone switchboard lights
Did you really mean Do Unto Others As They Do Unto You, because if you did then I'm going to fix my brother. Darla
Dear God, Is it true my father won't get in heaven if he uses his bowling words in the house? Anita
Dear God, I know all about where babies come from. I think. From inside mommies and daddies put them there. Where are they before that? Do you have them in heaven? How do they get down here? Do you have to take care of them all first. Please answer all my questions. I always think of you. Yours truly Susan
Dear God, Thank you for the baby brother but what I prayed for was a puppy. Joyce
Dear God,Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they had their own rooms. It works with my brother.Larry
Dear God, I didn't think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset you made on Tues.
That was Cool. Eugene
Dear God, I am doing the best I can. Frank
Saturday, December 8, 2007
In speaking to Claudie's Mom Bernice, I realized again the importance of telling people about the love of Jesus for His children and the wrath of God toward those who reject His Son. That's the world's greatest sin you know. Rejecting and denying the Gift and Giver of life is the greatest sin we commit. Bernice has attended church for years and is certain she's going to see Claudie again. I sincerely hope so.
Claudie's viewing and funeral service will all be done tomorrow. Her Mom said Claudie left detailed, written instructions about what she wanted done and they are following her wishes. The older I get the more I see the need to have that done before a loved one dies and leaves all those decisions to a grieving family.
More important than planning one's funeral however, is living the life God gave us and making sure where we'll spend eternity. We tend to place so much emphasis on here, now and later, never giving much thought to the here-after and the fact we're going to spend it in a place we've never been before. For those who are the blood-bought children of God, we're going Home to see our Savior, the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah. We'll see loved ones who've been there awhile and have waited for us, cheering us on when we don't hear a thing they're saying. We'll see the Apostles we read about in the Bible. We'll meet King David and Solomon and Moses and Joseph and Caleb and Esther and so many, many others.
But for those who have rejected the Son of God, their future is as dark as a country night and filled with endless pain and suffering. We need to hear about hell. We need to be reminded that it's a real place that will be filled with real people. People we know will be there. We need to intercede for the sinners in our own family; plead with them if need be, to consider the fact this is not all there is and that God is a Holy God who will not tolerate sin.
We need to be the armor bearers for one another ... be on guard and looking out for each other's best interests. We need to remind each other that we can 'do all things through Christ who strengthens us'. We need to pray for the persecuted church in China, N. Korea, India, Iran & Iraq; Pakistan and places I can't pronounce.
We need to need Jesus more than we do right now. Please God, give us a desire for more of You and Your Son. Give us wisdom and discernment. Help us redeem the time for the days are evil. Let us not squander the gifts and the time and the resources You've given Your children. Let us invest what You've given us on those in need, for Your Name's sake and for Your glory. Let us honor You with our words, our thoughts and our actions. Let all we do be done for Your sake. Let us love You above all else, let us love You as You deserve.
Friday, December 7, 2007
I busied myself with paperwork and at 10:58 I again picked up the phone and dialed her number. A young lady answered and I told her who I was and asked if Claudie felt up to talking. Her response was "This is Tina, Claudie's daughter, and my Mom died this morning." All I could utter was 'I'm so sorry, so very sorry'. Soon another voice, a very familiar one, came to the phone. Claudie's Mom, crying and telling me Claudie had died at 10:00 a.m. this morning. Her entire family was with her and I was told she died peacefully. A sister then took the phone, explained that the hospice nurse had arrived and they needed to talk with her. She thanked me for calling and said good-bye.
Once again I felt shocked ... her death happened so quickly. Less than a week after learning of her illness she's gone. Gone where? I don't know. I didn't get to talk with her as I thought I would ... I thought there would be more time. I did write her a letter & mailed it on Monday morning. I told her all I remembered of our younger days, how we met, spending the night at one another's homes. The hope chest she had nearly filled by the age of 17. (Do young ladies even believe in hope chests any longer?) Claudie was absolutely certain she would get married; me, at that time, not so sure any man would have me. She never doubted she'd find the love of her life and she did. Thankfully, I did too.
In the letter I also said this:
Perhaps the most important part of this letter is that I need to ask you if you’ve ever put your faith in Christ, Claudie. Have you come to the knowledge that we all need a Savior and we all need to be forgiven? I sincerely pray that’s already happened in your life. If it hasn’t, would you ask Him right now to forgive and save you? He will do it if you but ask. He died on the Cross that we might live eternally with Him. Life here is but a short time, or so it seems. Life however, goes on … the Bible tells us that for Christians, ‘to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord’ 2 Corinthians 5:8 It is my greatest desire to see you again … if not here, then in heaven.
Where is she tonight? Where did she go when she took her last breath here? I don't know. I wish I could say with certainty she's in heaven, as Pat knows her Mom is there and Trish knows her Daddy is there and I know my Dad is there ... but I don't know and I don't like the way this feels.
What I must rely on is that God is a just and faithful, loving God. He answers prayers when we can't give them voice. He knows the beginning and the end for each of us.
What I must do is stop waiting for a 'better' time to talk to someone about their soul and where they will spend eternity. Now might be the only opportunity we have to speak of those things. I've heard it said that we shouldn't bombard people with the gospel ... take time and get to know people before telling them about salvation. Get to be their friend first. That's all well and good if you know for certain you and they will be alive in a week, or two or twenty. But what if today is the one and only opportunity you have to share it and the only time they'll have to hear it?
I ask God to give me boldness to witness of His mercy and grace and the wrath that awaits those who reject His Son. I ask God to give me boldness to speak the truth in love and not be concerned about offending people. In our effort to not offend, we'll remain silent and all the while that unsaved soul is dancing on his grave, and for the unsaved, that grave leads to judgment, wrath and everlasting hell. May God, please God!, put a fire in our bones that will not be shut up by the world, the flesh or the devil. All three of these whisper "there's time, there's time...don't worry so, there's time..."
"Behold now is the accepted time, behold, now is the day of salvation." 2 Cor. 6:2
May we awake and be aware of what's going on around us. We are at war, we live in a battle zone and the enemy of our souls lurks about, seeking whom he can devour. May we be on guard for ourselves and for one another. May we warn people and encourage them to come to Christ while there's time to do that. May we better understand the God of Scripture and for our soul's sake, may we never attempt to make Him into something He is not.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Is portioned out for me,
And the changes that are sure to come
I do not fear to see;
I ask Thee for a present mind,
Intent on pleasing Thee.
I would not have the restless will
That hurries to and fro,
Seeking for some great thing to do
Or secret thing to know;
I would be treated as a child
And guided where I go.
Wherever in the world I am,
In whatsoever estate,
I have a fellowship with hearts
To keep and cultivate .
Anna L. Waring - 1850
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee." Psalm 83: 25
Sunday, December 2, 2007
My second surprise was to get home and find that Fred had prepared lunch & had it waiting for me. Later, we began preparing dinner together and in the middle of that we heard a knock at our front door. Fred answered it, then called my name. The visitor was for me. Surprise again. Who comes to see me on Sunday?
It was a friend's younger sister and I knew from the expression on her face she wasn't bringing good news. I immediately thought something had happened to her Mom or Dad. Instead she said "You know Claudie's dying don't you?" Claudie is the friend I've known since high school and no, I didn't know she was dying. Surprise wasn't an adequate word to describe what I felt when I heard her words. Shock was more like it.
Claudie and I have had an on-again, off-again friendship since we got married, had kids and went separate ways for awhile. But it's been a lasting friendship that goes deeper than where we live and what we're doing with family. She moved to Ohio about three years and we've not been in touch since then. Until today.
Her sister told me what was wrong, cancer, and that hospice has been called in. In August Claudie was told she had about six months to live. Her sister then said, "Louise, she wants to talk to you."
After her sister left, I gathered my thoughts, asked God to give me the words, and placed a call to this lady whom I've known for over 40 years. Her husband answered, told her who it was and she got on the phone. Her voice is not the voice I've known all these years. Cancer has changed that. I asked how she was and she answered, "Oh, I'm fine, how are you?" We talked for just a few short minutes as she said she was very tired and was going to try to sleep for awhile. I asked if I could call back later and she said "yes, of course, please do that. I love you Louise, bye for now."
I will call her later and I will, if the Lord wills, go to visit her parents this week. They are heart-broken as any parent would be knowing your child is dying.
It's been a day of surprises. Some really good and pleasant ones and one that shocked me to tears. This woman is my age and has always been strong and healthy and seemingly able to do most anything she set her mind to. We met as teen-agers and our lives have criss-crossed over a span of over 40 years. She's preparing to leave this earth and I'm preparing to spend the evening with my husband, and sort of planning my week's activities as God sees fit to order them.
We are never really ready for this kind of surprise, are we?