Wednesday, April 30, 2008

my weekend

I had a blessed weekend! The entire family (including the other grandparents and aunts (and aunts' boyfriends), enjoyed the NC zoo on Saturday. We had a relaxed evening with our children and granddaughter, and we all attended church on Sunday. What a wonderful life!

sitting with Poppy...

with Nana at the zoo...

a beautiful family...

Children's children are a crown to the aged,
(Proverbs 17:6 NIV)

Monday, April 28, 2008

happy in hope, patient in pain, constant in prayer

Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.
Romans 12:12 (The Holman Christian Standard Bible)

When I experience pain, whether be it physical, emotional, or spiritual, I’m much better off if I keep these struggles in prayer. In the midst of pain, suffering, and tribulation, I pray. Sometimes, my prayers may not seem to make a difference, but I can soon tell they absolutely not only make a difference, but also lead to change. Without hope, the pain could take control of my life. With the hope that Jesus Christ brings into my live, He is in control. What an amazing feeling!

I recently read a sermon delivered by John Piper. The verse, and Piper’s words, reminded me that Jesus is always with me in times of pain and tribulation. Below is a very brief summary and the link for the entire sermon.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

This joy is in Jesus, and this hope is for Jesus, and this patience is from Jesus, and this tribulation is with Jesus.

Tribulation is unique in this list. Love, joy, hope, patient endurance are all things we experience or do. But tribulation is something that is done to us, or happens to us. Love, joy, hope, patience are all virtues—they rise in the soul by God’s grace as something morally good. Tribulation is not a virtue. It’s not in the category as a moral act of the soul.

So the “great joy” announced by the angels is a very embattled joy. It is a joy to be fought for and a joy always under attack. Always threatened by tribulation. And the call of Romans 12:12 is not to rejoice without tribulation, but to rejoice in spite of, and even because of, tribulation.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

choose a caption

a. don’t place pack-n-play beside bookshelves
b. the classics put her to sleep
c. her toy wasn’t on the shelf after all

a. she read them all by herself
b. it did get a little crowded
c. she's happy after that nap

I just love being her Nana!

Friday, April 18, 2008

the life that counts…

These last few days have shown a bright, beautiful sunshine, colorful new flowers, fresh, clean scents wafting along gentle breezes, and not to forget, the springtime green of lawns with the pleasant scent of fresh cut grass drifting down the street. Yesterday, while sitting outside on a comfortable bench, just enjoying the warmth, the fragrances, watching the antics of the pond fish, and listening to the chatter of birds – and then, my mind somehow drifted away…and I started thinking about death. Then, I thought about the new life all around me. Once again, the handiwork of God reminded me that Jesus died so that I might have a new life.

My question was, “If I die soon, or perhaps later, would my life have made a difference to others?” Has anyone else paused to think about your own death? I’m not trying to sound morbid here. I’m just wondering…

I wonder if the way I’m living my life will make a positive difference for someone else? From my speech and from my actions, can others see that Jesus lives in me? I try hard to say things, do things, and think things with in a foremost Christian mind-set. I have often failed to do the right thing, the things I know I am called to do. Sometimes I lose my vision and slip. My goal is to live to serve God, to serve others, to give to others, and to minister to others. My very best is to be given to God, and I never want to hold anything back.

A Spiritual Legacy – My Dad died in Sept 2000, and Mark’s Dad in January 2003. Both of our fathers were Christian leaders, and the joy of their salvation was expressed each day of their lives. I genuinely admire these two men, and thru them, I learned so much about right and wrong, about truth and faith, and about love and peace. In their Christian walk, these two Dads affected the lives of hundreds and hundreds of people. The heartfelt influence their lives and their testimonies have had upon each of their families and friends will continue to have an affect on future generations. Mark and I were both truly blessed to be raised in Christian homes.

As you know, like a father with his own children, we encouraged, comforted, and implored each one of you to walk worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 the Holman Christian Standard Bible)

How can I, as a Christian, make my life count? As a believer, I can’t lose my salvation, but I could waste my life and never make a difference. I pray that would never happen. A wasted life is a tragedy. Given that Jesus died and rose again, and forgave my sins, then there’s no sacrifice too great for me to make for Him. If I want to know the full joy and happiness of life, I need to live to please the Lord Jesus Christ and not myself.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it. (Matthew 16:24-25 The Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Jesus rules in my life, and each day will count for eternity. Christianity is a passionate quest. It’s not an easy life, but a struggle. It costs nothing to become a Christian, but it costs everything to be one. It’s not popularity but persecution, not comfort but a cross. But it is the best life. I serve the best Master. My rewards are wonderful, both now and in eternity. It would be my ultimate joy to hear Him say to me at last, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant ... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." (Matthew 25:21 RSV)

Awesome! As I live my life for Jesus, mine is a life that counts…

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

when i’m unable to sleep, i’m able to think….about grace

to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ,
Ephesians 1:6-9 NIV

The grace of God – for me, it was a difficult concept to wrap my mind and heart around. It was hard for me to fully understand and completely grasp the grace of God. In a desire to learn more, I’d read several books on the subject, and studied many verses in the Bible relating to the grace of God. I can across many descriptions, definitions, and specifics.

There was a time in my life that I felt far removed from grace. This gift is never deserved, and it took a little faith before I could accept God’s grace for me. In this life, I'll never be worthy to receive God’s free gift of grace. So, just like I am, it’s okay to accept God’s grace.

God gives His grace freely, and it’s inseparable from His love. My life ought to be spent, every moment of it, in returning His love thru worship. And, thru shining His love into the lives of others. This giving back and sharing the love of Christ is achieved by my acceptance of God’s grace, and being saved by faith.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- Ephesians 2:8 NIV

The grace of God - it may be seen in all of His glory. It may be seen in faith and salvation. I’m saved to praise the glory of His grace that He has freely given thru His dearly beloved Son. It’s by God’s grace that I‘m forgiven and saved!

The Grace of God is worth more than this world and this life can ever give!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

a personal relationship with Jesus Christ

It began as a normal day, just like any other. But, that day, something changed. I changed. For me, it became a day of new beginnings. That day, God was tugging at my heart. I listened, I believed, I accepted, and I repented. I felt the love of God. I became a Christian. No other day has ever been the same.

Often, becoming a Christian appears to be a difficult and confusing act. Actually, it’s the faith and belief and trust in the salvation offered by God thru Jesus. When we accept Jesus into our hearts, He comes into our lives, changes us, and fulfills needs we never knew existed. It’s understanding that Jesus died for our sins, and that He conquered death, and He lives forever.

A Christian is one who is “like Christ”. It’s our words and actions and attitudes that show we are followers of Jesus. A Christian is not just a name, it’s a description of the life we live. It’s an example of a heart changed by Jesus.

Exactly what is Christianity?
-It’s the belief in Jesus Christ as Savior of the world.
-It’s a faith based on the belief that Jesus Christ is the son of God, sent to earth to save mankind from the punishment of sin.
-It’s the belief that every person has been given an opportunity through Jesus’ death and resurrection to enter into a personal relationship with God on earth and for eternity.
-It’s believing that the Bible is the living, breathing Word of God and without error.

Some people believe that a casket six feet under is the absolute end of life. How terribly heartbreaking! How tragic is a life lived without believing in Jesus and the eternal life we can have with Him! Our life on this earth is just a tiny glimpse in eternity. This life is not the end! One day, look upward to the heavens, you’ll see Jesus coming for all His children. What a marvelous day it will be!

For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day." John 6:40 (NAS)

Friday, April 11, 2008

On Wednesday, I went for a visit with Mary. She has tremendously improved! However, she does have a way to go. It was enjoyable to see her and talk for awhile. It’s difficult to see your beloved sis when she doesn’t feel well. As am I, she is genuinely blessed with a caring and compassionate husband. He has stood by her side (literally) and taken care of her. He has learned to be fantastic nurse, performing medical tasks akin to a pro.

On Tuesday, hubby and I went to see our children and granddaughter. We spent some precious playtime with a vivacious little girl. Oh how enjoyable she is! At dinner, it was entertaining to watch her relish a Mexican meal. I’m thrilled at the news of two grandchildren (before year’s end)! How wonderful life is!