With five kids and Brad’s job family time is not something we get a lot of. So, with the weather turning nice we are starting family walks after dinner. It serves the purpose of exercise and fun! Last night we went for our walk…Jasmine and Gabe rode their bikes, Haeley walked with me and I pushed Benjamin and Justin in the stroller (that alone is work). It was fun. We got to see four cows and a pony. Benjamin was “neighing” like the horse. It was so cute. As I walked with my kids and watched them I couldn’t help but get teary. They are all growing up and becoming such wonderful little people. I could go on and on about them, but I won’t---not in this post. Cherish your moments with your kids. I need to do that more often.
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Friday, March 30, 2007
Don’t Be Surprised
We are hard-pressed on every side . . .
2 Corinthians 4:8
“I don’t know why this is happening,” Jill cried. “Just a month ago, I turned my life over the Christ. Now my car has died, my child has mononucleosis, and my promotion at work fell through.”
While it seems logical that God would shield us from all pain, that isn’t the way He worked in the Bible. Study the great biblical heroes—Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Peter,
In other words, we shouldn’t be surprised when, in seeking to do God’s will, we find ourselves in painful, frightening, difficult, or impossible situations. God hasn’t promised us exemption from the trial, but grace in the trial. He has promised never to leave us or forsake us, and to work all things together for our good. Peter said, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial . . . as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice . . . be glad with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:12-13).
The Lord will see you through.
God marks across some of our days, “Will Explain Later.”
World Record Heavy Lifter
Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you.
Juraj Barbaric’s idea of taking the train differs from the average commuter. He earned his title of “strongman” by pulling twenty freight cars filled with scrap metal more than fourteen feet. Needless to say, this muscular man collapsed in a heap after hauling the 984.2 tons—the heaviest train ever pulled!
Burdens come in all different sizes: wondering how to pay bills when there’s no money left, caring for a loved one who is sick or disabled, putting in long hours on the job to meet the boss’s demands. With so many things weighing on our minds, some days we may feel like we’re trying to pull a train that isn’t about to move. Giving in to discouragement is easier than earning a title. But we have One who knows all about our struggles, and He is stronger than anyone! Jesus has offered to bear our heavy load. When He stretches out His strong hand to take our burdens, we don’t need to worry that His arm will tire or His strength will fail. Our omnipotent God can carry our problems. He will sustain us so we won’t collapse. Go to Him in prayer today and give your anxieties and cares over to Him. He won’t let you down!
Are we weak and heavy laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our Refuge;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Joseph M. Scriven
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Because Harold Wilke was born without arms, he learned at an early age to trust his mother. Harold recalls sitting on the bedroom floor while trying to put on a shirt and having a very difficult time. “I was grunting and sweating, and my mother just stood there and watched. Obviously, I now realize that her arms must have been rigidly at her side; every instinct in her had wanted to reach out and do it for
Sometimes our heavenly Father deals with us in a similar way. Perhaps He has said no to one of your most heartfelt requests, or He allowed you to go through a painful situation. As the ultimate parent, God’s answers always have a loving purpose. He only gives us what’s good for us. He tries to prepare us to have faith and go out on our own to face challenges. Trust Him today.
Heavenly Father, I’m so thankful to have You watch over me.
Moments of Grace: Peter
Come and eat breakfast.
Hans Christian Anderson, the author of children’s stories like “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Little Mermaid,” was a paranoid man who harbored deep-seated anger toward his critics. Once, after his plays were banned in his home town of Copenhagen, he growled, “I wish my eyes may never again see the home which can only see my shortcomings but fails to realize what great gifts God has given me!—I hate those who hate me.”
Contrast that with the risen Jesus who looked up from the beach, saw the very disciple who had betrayed Him, and called out, “Come and eat breakfast.” On the shoreline was a little fire with hot fish and fresh bread. Jesus didn’t harbor hard feelings toward Peter even after his denial. Instead, He spent time with him and commissioned him to feed His sheep.
Would it be hard for you to cook breakfast for one who betrayed you? The art of Christ-like living is to return blessings for cursing. This isn’t easy, but it’s possible when Christ lives out His love through us.
Remember what the Bible says: “Repay no one evil for evil . . . . If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans -18).
Forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, and the waste of spirit.
Who Is the True Seeker?
There is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God.
Over the last decade, nothing has gained more popularity in churches than the concept of “seeker sensitivity.” That is, making worship services attractive and welcoming to those who may not know Christ—who may be “seeking” Him. “Seeker-Friendly.” “Seeker-Driven.” “Seeker-Sensitive.” All these terms reflect a desire to reach out to the non-Christian—the seeker.
Many have been won to the Lord by churches becoming more sensitive to the needs of non-Christians. But some clarification is needed. The Bible says there is no one who seeks the Lord (Romans ); that Christ is the true Seeker (Luke ). The real question is whether or not we are Seeker-Friendly, Seeker-Driven, and Seeker-Sensitive with reference to Christ. Have you become His friend? Are you driven by His agenda or yours? Are you sensitive to His will and direction for your life? The classic example is the apostle
If church members are Seeker-Sensitive, then the church will be Seeker-Sensitive, too.
No one ever lost out by excessive devotion to Christ.
H. A. Ironside
Make Changes, Not Excuses
My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction.
In 1986, as a fifteen-year-old, Tommy Moe was invited to be part of the
How do you respond to your heavenly Father’s correction? If we are not willing to confront our own sin, or be confronted by others, we are not yet as spiritually mature as we should be. God may correct us through a friend, a boss, a coach, a pastor—or He may put the need for self-correction in our own heart. Just think what would have happened to the gospel message if the apostle
An excuse is nothing more than an argument disguised as a reason.
You must learn to discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Every system, human or mechanical, has limits and requirements for effective functioning. Each system operates within the limits of tolerance for demands, pressures, and tensions placed upon it. The electrical circuits in your house are capable of handling a limited amount of power. When more energy is demanded than is safe to handle, the circuit is broken or a fuse is blown. Pushing a system beyond its limits and neglecting proper maintenance invites deterioration and breakdown. Just like machines, humans have limits and breaking points and require maintenance.
Pushing yourself too hard will cause you to use up all your energy and have nothing left but fatigue, intolerance, and irritability—not what is desirable for your loved ones, yourself, or God. Jesus offers us the opportunity to turn in the hard labor of our own goals for the easy yoke of His divine purpose. Instead of being loaded down with stress and hardships, allow Him to take your burdens and shoulder the load. Come to Him and replace your stress with rest.
Teach me to do Thy will, O God. Help me to let go of the stress and busyness of my life and embrace You.
***I am so sorry that I got this out so late in the day!!!!
Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head.
“She has done a beautiful thing for Me,” said Jesus in
We’re eager to do things for Jesus, to rush about in ministry, singing in the choir, visiting, caring for others, evangelizing, leading studies, entertaining, going to meetings, and meeting the needs of others. That’s good and pleasing to God.
But one thing is even better—doing something beautiful to Jesus, honoring Him with the alabaster box of praise in response to His grace in our lives.
The phrase “sacrifice of praise” occurs three times in the Bible—twice in Jeremiah (17:26 and 33:11), and once in Hebrews 13:15, which says: “Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”
When you praise Him though you don’t feel like it, and when you rejoice in your heart despite the hardships you’re facing—that’s the alabaster box of praise. Every moment is a moment of grace in our lives, and every day is the right time to praise Him.
Then let us gladly bring our sacrifice of praise;
Let us give thanks and sing and glory in His grace.
Amazing Mercy and Grace
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices.
A young Englishman wanted to be a seafaring man like his father, but the British Royal Navy would not have him. He ended up in
Not all of us have experienced the depths of wretchedness John Newton did before being saved. Or King Nebuchadnezzar, for that matter. He lost his dignity and sanity—and thankfully, his pride—before coming to his senses (Daniel -37). Whether we come from a background of wickedness or willfulness, our sin merits the same response in God’s sight: condemnation. It is only God’s amazing mercy and grace which can save us from ourselves.
Recipients of God’s grace are easy to spot—they’re the ones with the grateful look on their faces and words of thanks on their lips.
Grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines him to bestow benefits upon the undeserving.
A. W. Tozer
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Brad and I haven’t gone out on a date since the AFC Championship Game in January. So we were so due for some together time. We watched my girlfriend’s little boy Friday night and then on Saturday she watched our crew. Brad spent the day working on our oven---trying to get it up in working order. I took the boys to get their hair cut. Gabe desperately needed it. He was looking sooo shaggy. I got home from getting the boys hair cut, changed, and then took the kids to Dani’s house. We really didn’t have any plans so this is how our evening went.
Our evening started with a very romantic stroll through Lowe’s. We returned the wrong color paint and got the right color.
After a little rest we got back on the rink. Unfortunately we only got to skate for a couple more songs because then they turned it into “Glow in the Dark” skate time. In other words, the black lights came out and if you didn’t have on light colors or a blinking glow thingy then you had to get off. It was okay though because I was so done! We had not done anything like that ever. The closest thing was when we went bowling and that’s been almost five years. It was funny though because it was Teen and Tween night along with Open Skate…I felt like an old fogy and I’m 25. We were among the oldest people in there. We did find it a little disturbing as these teen/tweens are shaking their butts and boobs all over the rink. I don’t remember all that the last time I was at a roller skating rink…but I know times are a changing. (One thing is for sure, if my daughters ever choose that behavior they will not like the consequences. I just had a talk with them Saturday morning about respecting our bodies and being modest about our clothing…fun stuff to have to discuss with my eight and nine year olds.) We did still go get our movies and then got the kids and went home. The kids went to bed and we got to watch one of our movies. It was a blast! =)
A Picture of Peace
Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
There was a man who was in search of a perfect picture of peace. He announced a contest to produce this masterpiece. The challenge stirred the imagination of artists everywhere, and paintings arrived from far and wide.
The crowd was shocked when the final submission was revealed. It seemed to be the furthest thing from a picture of peace. A waterfall cascaded down a rocky precipice, and stormy, gray clouds exploded with lightning, wind, and rain. In the midst of the scene, a spindly tree clung to the rocks at the edge of the falls, and a bird rested in a nest in the elbow of a branch. With her eyes closed and her wings ready to cover her little ones, she manifested peace that transcended all the turmoil.
The Master Artist has designed for you to experience His inner peace in a way that doesn’t allow the circumstances of life to overshadow your hope of His sovereignty in all things. And He summons His people to spread that peace to those around them. When you have been filled with God’s peace, you will want others to experience the same.
Peace that Jesus gives is not the absence of trouble, but is rather the confidence that He is there with you always.
 Berit Kjos, A Wardrobe from the King (
Eyes to See, Ears to Hear
Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.
A well-known Old Testament scholar spent the summer in
Is it possible to study the Bible in a carnal fashion? Apparently so. Maybe when you read the professor’s testimony, you said to yourself, “That’s happened to me.” You don’t have to be a scholar or translator to lose sight of the inestimable privilege of reading God’s Word. It can happen when you become so faithful with your quiet time that it becomes a routine—something to check off your “to-do” list for the day. The nation of
Pray today and ask God to open your eyes and show you fresh and wonderful things from His Word.
Take away, O Lord, the veil of my heart while I read the Scriptures.
When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven you."
The healing of the paralytic is re
Regarding the four men, others in the house saw their earnestness and compassion, but Jesus looked deeper and saw their faith. They believed He could make the difference in their friend's life; and there was no barrier too high, no problem too great, and no challenge too daunting to prevent them from bringing their friend to Him. It was a moment of grace.
Do you have a friend who needs a touch from the Lord? Perhaps you can't carry that one to Christ on a pallet, but you can do so in prayer. Learn the power of intercessory prayer, and plead for the one about whom you're concerned. Offer the prayer of faith; then wait to see what God will do.
Prayer lays hold of God's plan and becomes the link between His will and its accomplishment on earth.
The Good and Bad of Average
This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.
Everyone learns in school to compute the average of a group of numbers: Add the numbers together, then divide the sum by the number of numbers added. Sometimes being average is desirable: Having an average bodily temperature of 98.6 degrees is a good thing. But being an average weight in a culture where obesity is on the rise is a warning signal.
One place where average is definitely not acceptable is in spiritual maturity. If all the subjects in a study are totally depraved to begin with (Romans 3:10-18), then an average level of maturity is not likely to be the result you’re looking for. Scripture says we have one model to strive for on the path of spiritual maturity—and it is not average. Rather, perfection is the goal (Matthew 5:48). While attaining perfection this side of heaven will not happen, our attitude should be the same as
Body temperature is best when it is average, but spiritual temperature is best when it’s off the chart.
The farther a man knows himself to be from perfection, the nearer he is to it!
What You Don’t Know Can Save You
God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
The November 28, 2005, issue of BusinessWeek magazine reported on the nation’s top philanthropists. For example, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore and his wife have given away an average of nearly $4 million per day for the last decade. Sir John Templeton, the ninety-two-year-old founder of the Templeton Prize in science and religion, said, “What I am financing is humility. I want people to realize that you shouldn’t think you know it all.”
Perhaps admitting we don’t know it all—that God is God and we’re not—is Step One toward humility. When God spoke to
If Christ was willing to humble himself before God, shouldn’t we who follow Him do the same?
If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.
C. S. Lewis
2 Chronicles 7:12-14 (New King James Version)
God’s Second Appearance to Solomon
12 Then the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Patience with Prodigals
Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.
A mother and father wrote to Billy Graham with this question [paraphrased]: “Our son left home several years ago because we didn’t approve of his lifestyle. We’ve had no contact with him until he called recently and said he’d like to come home for Thanksgiving. We want to see him, but as far as we can tell nothing has changed in his life. What advice would you give us?”
Billy Graham answered: “Did the prodigal son’s father know whether or not his son had changed his way of living when he welcomed him home (Luke 15:20)?” The obvious answer is “No.” Dr. Graham went on to counsel the parents not to blow out the flame that was flickering in their son’s soul, be it ever so faint. Just as the prodigal son in Luke 15 had to swallow his pride, so did the son of these parents. And that’s a step in the right direction. If there is a prodigal in your family, wait patiently while God works in his or her life to produce genuine repentance. Be ready to fuel the flame of repentance with love and forgiveness when you see it flickering with life.
The smallest step in the right direction is a step toward God. If God’s arms are open, so should ours be.
The glory of Christianity is to conquer by forgiveness.
2 Corinthians 7:9-11 (New International Version)
9 yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.
Moments of Grace: Touching Jesus’ Garment
Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.
Forget PIN numbers and secret codes. Soon you can access your accounts with the touch of a fingerprint. It’s called fingerprint biometrics, and it’s coming to an ATM near you. Electronic sensors detect the ridge and valley patterns of your fingertips, guaranteeing accurate access through the power of touching a screen with your thumb or forefinger.
We can find a biblical parallel in
Just one touch as He moves along,
Pushed and pressed by the jostling throng,
Just one touch and the weak was strong,
Cured by the Healer divine.
If you need a dose of encouragement or healing today, just reach out the finger of faith and touch the hem of His garment. He is passing your way, and His grace is for the taking.
Just one touch as He passes by, He will [hear] the faintest cry.
Mark 5:25-34 (New King James Version)
25 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28 For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”
29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?”
31 But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’”
32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
No Sin Too Great
Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Paige was a twenty-year-old dreamer; so when her boyfriend asked her to get married, she accepted. After a beautiful wedding, life went downhill in a hurry. He flunked out of college; she became pregnant and went to work to support them. Then, when the baby was eleven months old, he committed “an unforgivable sin,” and Paige called her parents to come get her.
What was the husband’s unforgivable sin? Paige doesn’t say. But it raises the question, Is there any sin so bad that God can’t or won’t forgive? That we can’t forgive? The apostle
God’s warning about sin being unforgivable is when we fail to forgive others (Matthew ).
Where is the foolish person who would think it is in his power to commit more than God could forgive?
Francis de Sales
1 Timothy 1:13-15 (New King James Version)
13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
What Makes the Good News Good?
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Suppose a small town is given its first fire truck for the volunteer fire department. It has everything: a great siren, shiny paint, plenty of pumping power, hundreds of feet of hose, and room for lots of ladders, equipment, and fire fighters. The local paper announces the good news that the town now has its own fire truck, but there is little public response—the reason being that the town hadn’t had a fire in fifty years.
Fire trucks are only good news for people who have experienced the bad news of fire. If fires are fading from people’s memories, then a new fire truck becomes a ho-hum event. That’s the way it is with the good news of Jesus: The Gospel is only welcomed by those who believe in the bad news of sin. If sin has ceased to be a relevant subject, the idea of salvation becomes irrelevant as well. The Bible hasn’t stopped talking about sin, but many in our culture have. Even some Christians are wondering if they really are sinners. If your appreciation for the Gospel has become lukewarm, check the temperature of your views on sin.
The degree to which we embrace the good news of Jesus is a reflection of the degree to which we believe the bad news about sin.
We can only appreciate salvation when we recognize that we’re sinners.
Monday, March 12, 2007
Okay, so I know that March is late to be taking down the Christmas lights, but golly it’s been cold! Until yesterday that is. It was BEAUTIFUL!!! I took the lights down and pulled some loose flashing off the roof then I started to weed my flower bed. My tulips and daffodils are starting to poke through the ground! YEA! They are so pretty but I am so bad at keeping up with all of that. I need to finishing weeding today, vacuum, fold clothes, clean the kitchen, mop the foyer, clean the bathrooms, and take wallpaper glue off some walls. But what am I doing? I’m typing my blog. That’s real smart! I’m going to go make my kids some lunch now. I’m sure they will appreciate that.
Grace to You
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.
On Tuesday, November 15, 2005, Jeffrey Schrock was driving his five children to pick up their mother, Carolyn, when their pickup truck was hit by another driver going the opposite way. Jeffrey was badly injured, but all five of the children—ages twelve, ten, nine, five, and two—were killed. Carolyn Schrock, pregnant with the couple’s sixth child, visited the other driver in the hospital to express the family’s forgiveness. A newspaper account summarized her sentiments: “Love builds bridges; hate digs chasms.”
Some reading the account of the Schrock family’s loss might wonder, “Aren’t there human limits to forgiveness? Losing five children is pushing that limit.” Yes, there probably are human limits to grace and forgiveness. But the Schrock family was not drawing on human resources. Their actions and words reflected those of Scripture: “Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Only those who have received the limitless grace of God can extend limitless grace to others.
If you have been wronged, build a bridge of grace. Let the grace you have received from God be the measure of grace you give.
The grace of God is outrageous. By normal human reason, it doesn’t make any sense.
Friday, March 09, 2007