Monday, July 21, 2008

My paternal Grandfather, Lou, holding me. I don't remember him, he died when I was very young, but I'm told he loved me dearly. He was a preacher in the hills of Ky and prayerfully, I'll meet him again one day.

My maternal Grandmother, Christina, and me. I was her first grandchild.
“… Jesus showed us what God really wants to cleanse and purify—our hearts.
Christ’s transforming work on the cross helps us to break free from desires that hold us in bondage. As we submit to God, we become like Christ, no longer wanting to offend God.
Out of gratitude we obey Him from the inside out.”
-Tremper Longman, "Reading the Bible with Heart and Mind"

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Our church celebrated its 25TH anniversary today. The founding pastor was here from Florida and preached an excellent sermon on what the duty and calling of the church today is. He spoke of how many mega-churches there are and said that in many cases, the reason for their growth is that they've watered down the gospel. They look for ways to 'market' the church so people will come ... they do their best to address 'felt needs' and in so doing, they adulterate the truth of Scripture. We're not to be a place whose sole aim is to build self-esteem and we're not to use pop psychology, we're to teach and preach the Word of Almighty God. Because it is only the Word that brings life to a dying soul.

He also quoted the Apostle Paul in 2 Cor. 4 and made sure we understood that as believers in Christ we won't be in the majority and we won't be popular. We're not called to that, we're called to faithfulness to our Lord and Savior. We're called to tell people the truth ... there is only ONE way into heaven and that is through the blood of God's Son, Jesus Christ. We're to tell them they are lost, but they don't have to stay that way. There is a Redeemer and we're to tell people about Him. We're to be faithful in using the gifts He has given us and to use them for His glory.

How often do we become fearful lest we 'offend' someone with what we believe? We don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. But what about those who don't think twice about using the name of our Lord in vain? How often do we speak up and tell them their words offend us? We don't want to offend but our lack of speech may very well mean their not knowing the truth that could set them free.

Ours is a small congregation and it was confirmed for me once again that we don't have to be like any other church. We're to be faithful in what God has given us to do in the place He has put us and trust Him with the outcome.

Growing a church isn't a bad thing ... unless you become so caught up in numbers you forget the reason you're there ... to glorify and honor God and His Word. If we're not ministering as unto Him, all our work is for nothing.

I thank the Lord for my church home and for the opportunity to help celebrate its 25 years in Southgate. I thank Him that the Bible is opened each Sunday and our Pastor is faithful to teach it verse by verse. There's no dramatics, no hysterics, just simple teaching and exhorting us to good works. I know everyone's name and they know mine and we're striving to be the best we can be for God's glory.

May the same be true in your church. If you don't have a church, please begin looking for where God would have you attend. We're not put here to be lone rangers ... we belong to a body and we need one another more than we know at times.

May God bless each of you who read this. May He become all you need and may all you do be for His glory and honor.

A blessed, happy Sunday to all my precious friends.
Enjoy the day the Lord has given us.
Let us rejoice and be glad for He is Lord over all.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hi friends! I've not fallen off the earth. I've been scanning and organizing old photos the past two days and before that we were taking care of two grand girls and one grand pup while the kids work. The photo above is of me, my Mom and my brother George. I was about 3 1/2 and George was nearly two when this photo was taken.

My brother's given name is Maurice but we've always called him George and that is thanks to yours truly. I was almost two when he was born and couldn't say Maurice. So, Mom said one day I looked at him and called him "George" and it stuck. To this day, some 59 years later, he's still called George.

I suppose that's a habit in many large families ... to give nick-names. Mine is Weezy or Weese or ellouise. Or Ralph. That's what my husband calls me, Ralph. And I call him Fred. His given name is Clyde by the way but I usually call him Fred.
We gave each other these names when I was in rehab in 1979. I was in a wheelchair due to paralysis after the coma and therapists were teaching me how to walk again. Clyde brought me home from the hospital for the week-end with instructions he was to continue my therapy the two days I was home. He took them serious.

We lived in a small ranch style home then, and a hallway ran from our bedroom to the living room. He pushed my wheelchair into said hallway and stood me up, one arm braced against each wall on either side of me. (Told you the house was small). He then proceeded to walk away and leave me standing there. I said "what are you doing???" and he said, "come on RALPH, you can do it, walk!" I got so angry I said "Okay FRED!" and took a few steps on my own. He met me of course and helped me back into the wheelchair but our new names stuck. He gets some awfully funny looks when people hear him call me Ralph.

That reminds me ... we're gonna have new names in heaven one day. Wonder what mine will be there?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I read a book this evening, "The Listener" by Terri Blackstock. It's in a 2-novel book titled "Miracles" and I strongly recommend it to anyone reading this post. The story deals with a Christian man who is given a gift of being able to hear what's going on in someones soul. He's able, for two weeks, to hear what God hears.
This book has left me feeling inadequate but challenged. I am asking God to change me .. to make me into who He wants me to be. To take me out of my comfort zones and allow me to tell others about the greatest gift ever given ... Jesus Christ.
I've been in the church for over 25 years but after reading this book I ask myself, "what fruit have I borne?" What legacy am I writing with my life? What jewels will I have in my crown one day?
Oh, Father in heaven, change me for Your glory and the advancement of Your Kingdom.
Change those who read this post. Take away our fear of witnessing. Give me and others reading this power through Your Holy Spirit to tell others on a daily basis about their need of a Savior. Give us ears to hear what Your Spirit is saying and make us obedient children who more than anything wish to honor their Father. Make us Salt and Light!

Friday, July 4, 2008

We had a wonderful week-end in Ohio! The weather was perfect, and all in all, traffic wasn't too heavy. My Fred said we could easily pass Rick & his wife on the freeway as we drove and not even know it. We stopped at the last rest area before we reached Austinburg and guess who we pulled in next to? Nancy was sitting in the car and her husband Rick was standing up on the walk-way smoking a cigar. We didn't think much of it, just two people taking a break. I came out of the rest area after Fred did and guess what? Fred was talking with these two people as if he knew them ... and in fact, he did. One of them anyway. I walked down and was greeted by Rick with a big Hello and a hug. Nancy was next to greet me and I was still a bit stunned at the providence of God. We sat at a table and talked for at least a half hour, then drove to the motel. I was so blessed to learn they are simple, down-to-earth people who don't put on "airs" .. who they are is who they are.

For a day and a half, Fred & Rick talked and talked and talked. Nancy & I smiled at them a lot and took pictures. We shared about our lives, likes and dislikes and we were both very thankful these two men had found one another and were able to talk about a time in their lives we could not relate to. Fred's time in Korea in 1968-1969 was much worse than he ever told me and those two years were later called the second Korean War. They were exposed to Agent Orange just as military in Vietnam was. Only no one told them. Rick found out when he developed cancer and sent the information to Fred a few months ago.

I am very thankful we had this time with Rick & Nancy and we plan on staying in touch and getting together again. They live quite a ways from here so it won't be as frequent as we might like, but thankfully we have email and even regular mail and of course, telephones!

We spent time at the beach as I had hoped we would, but there simply wasn't enough time to see other people except for Fred's brother and his lady friend. That was a special time too.

It's good to get away once in a while, isn't it? We hadn't been any where together in three years. Hopefully it won't be that long before we do something like this again.
Rick's wife Nancy ... it felt as though we had known each other for years

My Fred & Rick ... they didn't notice that Nancy & I were taking photos
of the two of them

My Fred & Rick catching up on 40 plus years of memories
My Fred is the bigger of the two by the way

One lone flower against a wall of stone

Looking at Lake Erie in Conneaut, Ohio

Lakeshore Park in Ashtabula, Ohio