Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A True Friend

Have you ever noticed in social media that when someone is having a fight with another person, they will post all kinds of stuff about it? Maybe they never post a person's name, but they'll share a meme or articles that relate to the fight. Their comments may or may not be intended to jab at the other person, but they want to make it a public, "in your face" remark. This isn't about that. This is just because I noticed recently that I have some really great friends.

We often discuss the definition of a true friend in our home. Having teenage girls means that friends come and go. I have been so grateful that God has blessed my life with the friends that I have. There are no perfect people in the world, but I may have found one friend who gets it pretty close.

L is someone that I can talk to about anything at all. She wants to discuss deep things about our savior, yet she can be silly too.

She's the lady that I can say anything to. She knows my greatest sins, and doesn't pass judgement in the wrong manner. She isn't shocked about my questions about the faith.

She doesn't let me wallow in sin. Because I know she cares about me, I'm not mad when she confronts me. She isn't going to let me gossip or wallow in self pity.

Her advice is applicable to my life. The day she told me, "if you can't worship God in the chaos that God gave you, you need to question who you worship," was life changing.

I don't have to pick up or clean up anything at all when she comes in to my house. And I don't feel the need to apologize for something that I haven't done. I'm completely comfortable with her. The last time she was at my house, she helped me fold five loads of laundry.

Her friendship isn't one-sided. If I go too long without checking on her, she checks on me. Because L understands the grace of God, she is able to freely extend it to me.

How can you be true friend? Only through a relationship with Christ. The only perfect person on earth was Christ. Proverbs 18:24 - A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Christ is that perfect friend.

L is not named because she is also really humble and would be embarrassed.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

About Friends

A friend sticks closer than a brother...

Proverbs 18:24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

There are days when loneliness over whelms me. In a sea of people, we all can feel very lonely at times. What's a girl to do? Remember! God has blessed us with some amazing friends. One of the reasons I love Facebook is because I can somewhat keep up with long time friends easier. If I can't visit with them one on one, I can at least have a tiny glimpse into their lives.

The Jarrards and the Baileys have been our dearest friends over the years. We met the Baileys when they moved onto campus at seminary just over twenty-nine years ago. 

We stopped by to see the Baileys on a trip last Fall. They moved for David to pastor Cottondale Baptist Church in Alabama. David and Dawn are the friends that we can go weeks without talking to and the moment we get together, it's like we were never separated. 
The Jarrards came on to help us start our church eleven years ago and have proven to be faithful friends. The Marines moved Kevin and Kelly and their children to Pennsylvania so we made a fun trip to see them recently. 
This is Kelly and me at the top of a very tall observation tower that Abigail sprinted up at Gettysburg, PA. Abigail wasn't scared or winded, I on the other hand was both.

Dawn and Kelly are godly women whom I have often admired their marriages. They both set a great example of what a wife should be. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Teach Them to Think

Hannah has been on a kind of crusade for all young people to think for themselves. She is challenging them to examine why they believe and what they believe. It has gotten me more than raised eyebrows from my friends.

As a first grade teacher, challenging kids comes naturally to her. As a Summer camp counselor, she got lots of opportunities. As a big sister, she is practicing on her sisters and their friends.  Her idea that teaching them to think for themselves will make their own faith stronger, or it will cause them to seek the truth.

If your "religion is good" then it can stand up under the scrutiny and the questions of your adult children. I read a quote similar to this from Francis or Edith Schaeffer or Elisabeth Elliot (I can't find the original quote.) I believe this to be true! Our faith must be based on truth, and able to withstand strong questions.

I'm truly proud of Hannah. She has completed her Masters of Education and is now in the process of teaching Susannah and Abigail how to ride the handlebars of a bicycle. (Yes, I do allow my kids to ride their bikes inside. Why not?)

It can't be said that my girls are the typical cookie-cutter homeschool, preacher kids. They consider it an accomplishment when people they meet are surprised that they actually are those things.

I want my girls to think for themselves. They shouldn't be put in a box, to look like everyone else, to sound like everyone else. And if they do those things, I want them to be able to explain why.

I love to hear them discuss real issues, sometimes. Sometimes, their "discussions" sound a little too like arguing. Because they think for themselves, they don't always agree with each other... And because their thoughts get deeper and more intelligent than mine, I've had to back out of more than one discussion.

Monday, October 10, 2016

He Is With You

No matter where He sends, He goes too!
The September 27 reading from the New Morning Mercies devotional book by Paul Tripp was so encouraging. This book speaks the Gospel in a way that applies to our lives right now.

"Hope for Moses's success is not to be found in his personal strength and wisdom, but in the expansive glory of the One who sent him. Remember today that when God sends, He goes too!" - Tripp

"It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8 (emphasis mine)  Moses knew from experience. He had been dismayed. He knew Joshua would be too.

Have you ever been dismayed? The definition of dismay is to break down the courage of completely, as by sudden danger or trouble; dishearten thoroughly; daunt.

When we are called to do something that seems unpleasant or painful, something that we know will not be fun or encouraging or even something daunting, Deuteronomy 31:8 is helpful. When we remember that God goes with us, before us, we don't have to fear. He will not leave us or forsake us. He is literally with us in every way - physically, spiritually, emotionally. There is no need to be dismayed.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Choices Will be Made

By not choosing one or the other, you've made a choice. If you don't choose right away the choice will pass you by.

What's the best choice here? Both are ice cream, both are delicious, both are whatever you prefer. But you are faced with two choices, Neapolitan or rainbow sherbet. You must choose one of those, or a mixture of those.

Or is that so? If you don't choose either, you've made another choice. The delay in choosing is a choice itself. Considering ice cream, if you don't choose quickly, the choice ends up melted all over the place. So, make the choice and enjoy the decision.

What about dresses? Consider which one would be appropriate for the occasion and get dressed. You can't not wear something, so you must make a choice. You can't stand there all day undressed, nor can you go anywhere like that. (Unless you live in a nudist colony, which there is an option about ten miles from here.)

What about the choice to witness to your neighbor or someone you run in to at the store? Do you speak words of Christ to a lost person or do you wait again and let the opportunity to melt away?

I am so guilty of avoiding decisions that need to be made. I don't like to choose because I don't want to be responsible for any bad decision that may come about. Also, I don't want to offend anyone or stir up controversy.

But the decision to witness has to be made, and it has to be made quickly. Actually, the decision should be made before the opportunity arises. As Christians, we have to be ready at all times to answer questions about the hope within us or speak Jesus' name to a lost world.

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.  I Peter 3:15 (emphasis mine)

Am I ready to make a defense for the gospel? Am I ready to answer anyone who would ask the reason for the hope which is within me?  Will I choose to share with those I'll see tomorrow when I go to the grocery store?

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

We Become Like Them

Psalm 135:15-18

The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see; they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them.

I came across this note scribbled in my Bible. I don't know when I wrote it, who said it, or when.
We tend to become like that which we worship.

But how do we know what it is that we worship? Well, what do you look like? What do you think about? What do you talk about? What do you spend your time on? Who do you associate with most often? What is your first thought when trouble arises?

These are some questions that might help know where your worship is focused.

Ask the people you spend the most time to play the popcorn game with you. Tell them to answer these questions about you with the first thought that comes to their minds. The answers for me may be too difficult to hear. I don't know if I want to know what they think.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

1 Corinthians 13:4-5- "Love is patient and kind, love does not envy or boast, it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful."

When I love Christ and when I love my family I will not be irritable and rude. I will not insist on my own way. When I am rude and even think I deserve more than I'm getting, I am not loving others. I am loving myself.

It's easy to point this out to others. Whether it's Abigail touching Lydia's chair, or one daughter "borrowing" another's clothes, I can point out rudeness with great ease. 

I just can't always see it in my own heart. 

Thankfully, God has given me the mirror of my own children. Their responses to others is a
direct reflection of myself. I have to hide God's Word in my heart so that I won't sin against God, or the people He's placed in my path.

These pictures are from our staycation this past Summer. It's easy to be patient, kind, and loving while you're on vacation.

But, if I love them, I will not be rude and irritable. Christians have the greatest example in the world of how to show love. Yet, we constantly fight for our own way. We are too often irritable or resentful. Because Christ died for our sins, can't we be patient and kind?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"Are you mad?"

Abi asks me this question often. She is usually peering into my face while she asks. At her young age, she has become a reader of expressions. We all are to some extent, but I don't remember any of the other girls starting so early.

She doesn't know that she has learned Luke 6:45, but she has.

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
What's in a person's heart is going to come out. So if I am walking around with a grumpy face, Abigail is going to find out what's going on. And sometimes she will even act accordingly. It makes me sad that she knows to steer clear of me if I'm walking around with a scowl. 

But she has a special gift of doing some great things to make me smile. I need to show her the joy in my heart more often.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Put off, put on.

I had complained to Ray that I was tired of picking up his shoes and socks. He didn't typically leave them all over the house, but he did leave them all over the bedroom and bathroom. I was often picking them up and putting them in the closet where they belong.  I didn't want them anywhere besides the closet because I'm clumsy and fall over them; and I'm busy and don't need anything else to pick up. But, the main reason I said anything is because I'm sinful and just don't want to pick up his socks and shoes.

Since I've complained to him, not only does he pick up his socks and shoes, I can't even find a stitch of his dirty clothes anywhere, except the hamper.

It isn't bad that I asked him to pick up his socks and shoes. Husbands and wives can ask questions like that of each other, gracefully. There could be a lesson in communication for me I'm sure.

What is bad is that I let it fester. By the end of many days, I was fuming over how many socks I had picked up. I would be counting and throwing them in the hamper myself, with force, I might add. His office is at home, he comes and goes, and often changes clothes for different tasks. So there might be several socks here and there.


The chapter in The Excellent Wife that the ladies are discussing this week discusses the "Biblical Process of Change". (It's by Martha Peace, page 24)

Ephesians 4:22-24
to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Instead of me fuming about the socks, and becoming an angry Michael Jordan, I should have changed my thinking. I should have put off anger, ...

And I should have put on -
... then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, Colossians 3:12

Last year while we were in Oxford, England I wasn't thinking about picking up socks...

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Just Because My Grandchildren are Amazing!

Rachel had a birthday recently. I'm surprised she can be so old when I'm so young!

Susannah is the perfect granddaughter.

Every Friday morning Rachel's family gives away free coffee to passersby. They live immediately across from an elementary school.

This is just a tiny glimpse at the benefits to living so close to Rachel's family. I get to see them when they take walks. Caleb often falls asleep on the way back home. 

For Rachel's birthday we hiked to the Indian Seats in Cumming. Josiah made sure no bears attacked us.