Sunday, February 13, 2011

Family Pics

Any of you that have ever tried to get a decent family photo can relate to how difficult it is to get a picture of the family, one that everyone looks good in. No matter how hard you try, there is always something that isn't "just right."

We are in the process of making new prayer cards and a ministry presentation for furlough, so it was necessary for us to get an updated family photo. We are downsizing, since two of our daughters are getting married in the summer--now it will just be the four of us, (sniff** sniff). The Lord has graciously given us time with Jenny and Hannah during the summer months while they were away at college, and now shortly it will be time to let them go permanently and start families of their own.

So here is a preview of our new family photo.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The National Anthem the Way it Should be Sung

I did not watch the Super Bowl the other night, but I saw clips of a botched performance of our national anthem by a pop culture rock star. I understand we are all human, and anyone could forget the words. I just don't like the way they add all the extra junk to the melody--the inflections of the voice as if they were singing a sensual love song. Now if you want to hear a "real" performance of our national anthem that will make you proud of our country and its finest men and women of our armed services, then watch this video. It will give you goosebumps.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Faith in the Storm

The apostle Paul decribes being shipwrecked three times, and the perils he faced during his life--in journeys often, in perils of waters and perils in the sea, in weariness, and painfulness. Sometimes we find ourselves in the storms of life, and feel overwhelmed.

A friend of mine posted this acronym on her facebook status about how NOT to be shipwrecked. It was F.A.I.T.H. It encouraged me, and I am going to take a little liberty and put my own twist to it, and hopefully encourage others along their journey.

F: Follow the Light

God's word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. Order my steps in thy word. When darkness is surrounding our soul, we need to look for the light of God's word and not make any decisions based upon how we "feel" but cling to the light God has given us and what we know to be true. Our feelings will try to deceive us and convince us to jump ship when the going gets tough, so we must cling to God's promises to comfort and give us the grace we need to endure the temptation.

A: Abide in the Ship/Adjust Your Course

In the account of Paul's shipwreck in Acts 27:31, he told the centurion and the soldiers, "Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved."

John 15:4 tells us "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me." Jesus goes on to say in the next verse, "for without me ye can do nothing."

It is during the storms that we need to seek God's face even more. The Bible also tells us that is is good for us to be afflicted--we all know that we learn to rely more upon God when going through the tempest than we do when everything is sailing smoothly.

It often seems to make sense to find a way to escape the storm by jumping out of it--we seek to give up when the going gets tough--but this is the worst time to make important decisions, unless God is just absolutely directing us through our circumstances in the storm. There is safety in the ship--and as long as we stay in the center of His will he will protect us.

The "A" could also represent adjusting your course. In Chapter 27 the apostle Paul admonished the men that the voyage they were about to undertake was dangerous and would bring hurt and damage, and could possibly cost them their lives. Nevertheless, the centurioun and master and owner of the ship chose not to listen to Paul. Later they had to adjust their course.

"And when the had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoised up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore. .....And it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land." They obviously had gotten off course, but God used it for the furtherance of the gospel as he was able to witness to the Barbarians on the island of Melita. In the following chapter they resumed their journey.
Acts 27:40, 44

We need to seek God and ask him if there is anything he is trying to tell us, show us, or teach us during this time of affliction. Have we gotten off course? Is there some sin in my life that he is trying to purge, and that I need to make some adjustments for? Is he trying to direct us into a more perfect direction? We need to be open, and have a good conscience before God so that he can lead us during the storm and bring us safely to land.

I: Instant in Prayer

The storm draws us to our knees. We have no strength in ourselves, we look up to God. Sometimes all we can do is cry out to God to save and deliver us, but he hears us, and cares about us. Paul also fasted during the time of the storm--and prayer and fasting go hand in hand.

T: Trust

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto your thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6. We need to trust in the wisdom and lovingkindness of God, that He knows what is best for us, and that no matter what happens, he is working in our lives for our good.

H: Hold Fast

I Thessalonians 5:21 ...."hold fast that which is good."

Hebrews 10: 23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

Hebrews 3:6...."hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end."

Revelation 2:25 "....hold fast til I come."

Put things into God's perspective. II Corinthians 4:17-18 "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."

Let us not forget that we are pilgrims in this life, and that we have a hope that one day God will wipe away all tears from our eyes, there will be no more sorrow, sadness, sin, disappointment, death--for the former things will be taken away and He is going to make all things new. Sometimes we just have to keep holding on--not in our own strength, but in God's. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. I Thessalonians 5:24

I Peter 5:10 "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strenthen, settle you.

Of course, faith is the element that bonds all these things together, because faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11 :1, 6