Monday, June 29, 2009

Works of God Monday

I have so many things to be thankful for today. The biggest praise is how God has been working in Ezekiel's life -- He started to crawl yesterday (see previous post here ).

Some other praises include Vacation Bible School is coming together. Some good friends of us even volunteered their family to do the puppets.

Another exciting praise last night, JA was moving our car over into the church parking lot so that it would appear that we have service (most people show up right at the start of service or a bit late, so we decided to park our car in the parking lot so people wouldn't drive by and assume we are not having services). Anyways, Our car only made it out of the driveway. However, after church several of the men came by to try to fix the problem, and a neighbor man came by and spent quite a bit of time visiting with the church people. This is a praise not because of the car breaking down, but the fellowship with our neighbor as a result of the breakdown.

God has been working mightely in our lives, and we are excited as He is DAILY showering us with blessings and strength and continuously conforming us to the image of His son Jesus Christ.

Just a side note: Please be praying for Ezekiel this morning and tomorrow morning. This morning he has a sonogram on his bladder and tomorrow morning he has a more invasive x-ray in another city. Thank you for your prayers.

Update 6/29/09 10:53 a.m. Ezekiel did very well on his sonogram today, and Penny explained in a little bit more detail what Ezekiel will go through tomorrow. They will be sticking a catheter in him and filling his bladder with dye and watching to see if it backs up into his kidneys. I'll give you another update after the test tomorrow and when I've heard the results. Thank you for your prayers!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ezekiel Learns :)

With Ezekiel's therapy, we are having to teach him a few different things. One of the things we have been working on is learning to crawl forward instead of rolling to his destination. Today he crawled forward for the first time (although it's a bit more like jumping forward!).

Another thing we are having to work on is teaching Ezekiel how to pull himself up to a standing position.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Boojiboo Flirty Apron GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cumbered about with Serving

Lu 10:40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

Most of you are familiar with the Martha complex. One who is so busy serving and trying to make sure everything is in order that one forgets to sit and visit or listen and learn.

I am very much like Martha. When I have something that needs to be done, I focus on that one thing and make sure it gets done. I forget about the people around me, and fail to sit back and listen to them. It constantly amazes me how some days I can go through the day cooking, cleaning, and everything else that needs to be done and yet I can neglect those things that are most important.

I need to make a point to spend time with my God each and every day. To sit at my Master's feet and hear what he has for me to learn. One of the Awesome things about God's Word is that I can read a passage I have read hundreds of times before, and still discover something new, or a new way to apply it to my life. God Word is alive and powerful, and it is working in me.
On days where I get caught up in those things that need to be done, I have to make a point to get down or get out and play with my kids on days that are consumed with what needs to be done. Saturday was one of those days. I was tired and worn out. I took the kids outside to the backyard, put Ezekiel in his swing, and went over to my garden and began weeding. No sooner did I start to pull weeds that the sky began to weep. I continued to pull weeds until Ezekiel began to fuss about getting wet. As I was preparing to pack all the kids up and go inside, I realized Ezekiel wasn't fussing about being wet, he just wanted someone to hold him and play with him. The kids were having a blast playing in the rain, and I was already wet. So, instead of going inside, we walked over to the church and invited Daddy to take a break from his studying to come out and play with us in the rain. We had a wonderful time together. I'm sure all the cars that drove past us thought we were crazy -- me carrying a baby, and three kids running around in the rain with their daddy chasing them. When we came home, we did it just in time because about a minute after we cleared the door, the sky's opened up and pelted the ground with water.

Question for you: How did you take time to get down and play with your kids today?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fearless Service

Luke 1:74-75
That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered
out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without
fear, In holiness and righteousness before him,
all the days of our life.

These verses tell us how we are to serve God. God has delivered us from our enemies, so we are able to serve without fear. Our service to God is also to be holy without spot of sin.

My children occasionally like and want to obey. However, there are frequent times when they obey but continue to argue or complain the entire time they are doing it. I frequently catch myself reminding them that they are not obeying if they don't have a good heart attitude about obedience.

I have very little problem identifying when my kids have the wrong attitude about obedience. But, I have to admit I don't always catch my own bad attitude towards serving God. When I am serving God (which should be 100% of the time), I need to guard my thoughts and my motives that they are glorifying to God. I cannot say I am serving God and submitting to my husband if I am grumbling in my heart about the task I am performing. I cannot say I am serving God if I resent that I have to make a meal for someone. All of this should be a blessing and a joy to serve.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Failure to Thrive

Please continue to be praying for Ezekiel. I do thank all of you who were praying for us last month as we went to the pediatrician. The doctor diagnosed Ezekiel with a mild form of cerebral palsy. Right now all that we need to do in regards to the CP is a monthly therapy session to help set goals and show us new things to work on and then our working with him on a daily basis.

In addition to the CP, Ezekiel is struggling with a few other minor health problems. He is fighting a staph infection in his urinary track, as well as something that is causing blood in his urine. He is also far below weight and has been labled with Failure to Thrive.

For the next month, we are going to be working with teaching Ezekiel how to sit up, how to crawl, and hopefully a little of how to cruise around the furniture.

Today at Ezekiel's therapy session I discovered that the doctor we saw last month labeled Ezekiel as Failure to Thrive. Those of you who spend any time with us at all would understand why this shocked me. Ezekiel eats and eats and eats, but for all that he eats, he is no longer on the charts for his growth.

As I was considering this on my way home with Ezekiel, I started thinking about my Christian Life. Looking back through the years, I can see times where I struggled with a failure to thrive. Not because the food was not available, but because I did not partake of the wonderful spread God laid out before me. There are many times over the course of my life where I can see how I starved myself spiritually. Oh, I still attended church, read spiritual books, and talked like a good Christian ought to, but spiritually I was dying because I was not sustaining myself with God's Word and Prayer. No matter how much I read, unless I make the Word of God personal in my life and take time to have a relationship with God, I will fail to thrive. My whole being must be grounded in God's Word or I will lose my footing.

Contradictory Master's

Matthew 6:24
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one,
and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise
the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Do you recall as a child asking one parent a question and they said no? What did you do next? Typically, the child will turn around and ask the other parent the same question to see if they will give permission. I know I can remember doing this. And in essence I was serving two masters. I was asking both my parents the same question, and then obeying the one who gave me the answer I wanted.

Here Christ warns us against such behavior. Every person has the opportunity to serve one of two masters -- God or Satan. If we attempt to divide our loyalty between the two, then we will seek to serve Satan only because Satan will always appeal to our fleshly desires. This will then turn our affections away from God until we despise Him for the heavy restrictions we perceive have been placed upon us.

However, if we serve God and God alone, then we will come to despise Satan and sin. We will then realize that God has not placed heavy restrictions upon us, but that it is indeed Satan who makes us a slave to our flesh. Only in serving God can I find true freedom as I learn that I do not have to give into my fleshly wants. Sin destroys the soul, but service to God and God alone can give me peace and joy.

God and God alone created all these things we call our own
From the mighty to the small the Glory in them all is God's and God's alone

God and God alone is fit to take the universe's throne
Let everything that lives reserve it's truest praise for God and God alone

God and God alone reveals the truth of all we call unknown
and the best and worst of man wont change the Master's plan it's God's and God's alone

God and God alone will be the joy of our eternal home
He will be our one desire Our hearts will never tire of God's and God's alone

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What does it mean to serve?

Matthew 4:10
Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan:
for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God,
and him only shalt thou serve.

At the end of Christ's time of fasting in the desert, we see Satan comes to him and proceeds to tempt Christ. Here Satan has offered Christ power over all kingdoms if He would bow down and worship Satan. Christ replies that only God is to be worshiped -- not Satan.

Satan, the prince and power of the air, seeks to deceive people into believing that he can offer them anything they desire. And to an extent he does -- at the price of their life and soul. The price to worship and serve Satan is far to great. To spend an eternity in the Lake of Fire is not worth the short time we can enjoy sin. And even if you look at the pleasure sin gives now, even in this life it can destroy your life.

Far better it is to serve God and God alone. Service to God brings joy and peace. Service to God brings blessing -- not the physical blessing of riches, but the blessing of knowing that God will not forsake me and that I will never want for food or other necessities in life. God will provide and take care of me. I can also have the confidence of knowing that where God does not provide, He has a greater plan for my life than I can imagine. I will choose to serve God not Satan. My prayer for you is that you will choose the same.

God's Goodness

I just want to take a few minutes today to share some of the blessings God has provided for us.

The first one is of God's incredible mercy and protection. I had the opportunity this past weekend to take all four kids down to my mom and dad's for Elizabeth's engagement party. While at the party, the kids were playing on a swingset and the swinging was causing the leg of the swingset to lift off the ground. When it came back down it landed on Andy's toes. I praise the Lord that Andy had kept his shoes on -- I am confident that had his shoes been off he would have lost two of his toes.
Another blessing was the amazing weather we had all weekend. The weather forecast was showing storms for the whole weekend, and I was praying that the weather would be nice so that we could all go to the zoo on Monday. God answered my prayers and stayed off the rain until after we were well on our way home from the zoo.
I am also very greatful for the strength and alertness God gave me as I drove home. I was exhausted on the drive home, by God's grace we were able to make it home without any problems -- and very little fighting among the kids which is amazing since they stayed awake the whole trip home.
Then of course the greatest blessing God has given me besides His amazing gift of salvation is the wonderful and amazing husband I have. JA was willing to let me be gone for the entire weekend, and he kindly let me sleep in on Tuesday to catch up on the lost sleep from the weekend.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Purposeful Slander

Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the
workers of iniquity: Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows
to shoot their arrows, even bitter words: That they may shoot in secret at the
perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not. They encourage
themselves in an evil matter: they commune of laying snares privily; they
say, Who shall see them?
Psalms 64:2-5

Just like a warrior is purposeful in sharpening his sword, or preparing his bow for battle, the malicious person is purposeful in planning slander so that it will hit and destroy with great accuracy.

While there is very little I can do stop and prevent others from slandering me or my husband (other than live a blameless life), I can take great care to ensure that I am not slandering others. Once again, the tongue is very powerful, and can destroy a person much more quickly and painfully than any gun or knife. I must be careful that my words only edify and encourage rather than destroy and maim.

Psalm 64:8
So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon
themselves: all that see
them shall flee away.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bathtime at Our House

My kids love bath time. Here are some fun pictures of the kids at bathtime while I was cooking dinner yesterday.

Andy Feeding Ezekiel
Lydia and her rubber duckie
Kara loves sinking below the bubbles
Andy attacking the bath monsters with the squirt gun
Psalm 57:4
My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that
are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are
spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.

Have you ever felt as though you have been thrown into the lions den like Daniel. There have been a few times in my life that I felt like I was surrounded by hungry lions who were out for blood. The Psalmist here is fleeing from Saul, and he sees the passion with which Saul is pursuing him. Saul's passion is all consuming, it has been set on fire. And their mouths speak slander about David. The use their words to fuel a hatred for him.

What about me? Do I use my passions and my words to destroy others? A perfect example of this is the recent death of Abortionist George Tiller. The man who shot Tiller had a consuming passion against Tiller so much that it brought him to the point of murder. Let me be clear -- I do not agree with what Tiller did. I believe he was a murderer of children. However, according to the laws of our country he deserved a fair trial -- not to be murdered in cold blood. Murder is always wrong!

Passion is a good thing when we are passionate about the right thing -- God! But if I allow a passion for worldly things to consume me, then it will consume my spirit and push God away. My passion for God should drive me to serve and to minister and to speak words of love and kindness and not words of hate.

Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts,
we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this
present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the
glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all
iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people,
zealous of good works.
Titus 2:12-14

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Words that can Kill

Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man?
the goodness of God endureth continually. Thy tongue
deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.
Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to
speak righteousness. Selah. Thou lovest all devouring words,
O thou deceitful tongue. God shall likewise destroy thee for ever,
he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place,
and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah.
Psalms 52:1-5

David saw it necessary to quit Saul's court for his own safety, for fear of Saul, who had once and again attempted to murder him. Without provisions, he deceived Ahimelech the priest into furnishing him with weapons and food. Doeg an Edomite went and told Saul that Ahimelech was knowingly helping David and convinced Saul that Ahimelech was a traitor. Upon which accusation Saul issued a very bloody warrant, to kill all the priests; and Doeg, the prosecutor, was the executioner. (Matthew Henry)

Woe to the person who delights in seeing others pained and harmed. The Edomite Doeg was just such a man. For some reason he was against Ahimelech, and decided to use David's deceit as an opportunity to get rid of the priests in this area. Doeg used his tongue to devise evil against a man of God. And, as David proclaims, God will destroy him.

Like Doeg, we have an option. I can use my tongue for good, or for evil. The tongue does not need to speak many words to destroy a person. In today's day, accusations are continuously made about pastors, and others who work with children (I'm not saying that some of those accusations are not factual -- while some are valid, many others are not). I have known women who sought to physically entrap a pastor, and when unsuccessful they declare a false accusation in order to destroy him. As a woman and a child of God I must guard my tongue and take heed that my speech is used only to edify.

Let me make this passage even more personal. Let's look at a marriage. I have a wonderful husband who loves to shower me with affection, and helps, and gifts, and just about all of the love languages that a woman can ask for. Yet, when he does or says something I don't like, my words can turn my strong and loving husband into a wounded puppy. In truth, I don't want a wounded man as my husband, so I must guard my words to that they uplift and encourage my husband rather than destroy his spirit. Guarding my tongue is a daily and minute by minute challenge.

Ephesians 5:33
Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife
even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Monday, June 08, 2009

I Need Recipies

We have been blessed to have a mulberry bush growing in a corner of our yard. Now, with this blessing comes a few negatives such as a purple slide and purple splotches all over the patio. For the most part we enjoy have such a ready source of berries in our yard.

While the kids absolutely love the taste of these berries (I think because they can pick them themselves), I find them to be more bitter for my taste. Do any of you have any wonderful recipies that I can use these berries in? Please either post in the comments, or if you have a blog, leave me a link to your site.

Thank you for your help as I try to make the most our of our free source of fruit.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Psalm 51:14
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation:
and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

David's heart is heavy with guilt from the murder of Uriah. Here he cries out in pain begging God to mercifully forgive him and remove this heavy lode of guilt. With the forgiveness and mercy, David turns around and sings praises to God and declares His righteousness.

Guilt is a very heavy burden. So heavy it can actually cause physical and emotional pain. The longer one holds onto guilt, the heavier and more consuming it becomes. Individually we cannot remove guilt from ourselves. Only God can offer the forgiveness that brings freedom.

I rejoice in the forgiveness of sin that God has granted me. His precious blood has washed me white as snow. I'm reminded of a song Kara loves to sing

My heart was black with sin
until the Savior came in
His precious blood I know
Has washed me white as snow
and in God's book I'm told
I'll walk the streets of gold
To grow in Christ each day
I will read my Bible and Pray.

Today I walk with a peaceful heart knowing that God has forgiven me of my sins. I know that I am not perfect, and that I will struggle and battle daily against temptation, but God will give me the strength to withstand, and when I do fall into sin, I can rejoice because of God's forgiveness and love.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

A Seething Fire

Psalm 39:1-3
I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my
tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the
wicked is before me. I was dumb with silence, I held my
peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred. My
heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned:
then spake I with my tongue,

Have you ever had your thoughts so consumed that the more you tried to be silent about them, the hotter they became, and the greater your desire to lash out? Oh, I can so relate to these verses right now. This morning I was told something, that since I heard it has been consuming my thoughts and tempting me to think some very un-Christlike thoughts. The more I try to force my attention away from the thoughts, the more they consume me. They are so that I want to call someone and complain about it.

And then I set down to do my Bible reading. Oh, the Lord knows the needs of my soul. I was refreshed and convicted as I realize I had permitted my flesh to take hold of my thoughts and seethe. But oh how refreshing to be reminded that "And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee." (v.7) My hope is in God, not in my physical situation or discomfort. The struggle I perceived as too great to handle is not so. The struggle is an opportunity for God to strengthen me and reveal Himself to me. Regardless of the result, my God is in control. He has my steps ordered and He will work all things out for His own glory.

Instead of seething about this situation, I can freely give it up to God and trust Him for the outcome. Thank you Lord for your wonderful peace. You and you alone have calmed my heart and quenched the fire of my thoughts.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Spilled Milk

Yesterday, JA came home with a gallon of milk. The milk had leaked in the van, but as occasionally happens we assumed the leak came from the lid. However, we were drastically wrong. The milk was rinsed off and placed in the fridge right away. Seriously as hot as it's been lately I don't want to leave it out any longer than necessary.

This morning we awoke to an unpleasant surprise. The kitchen floor had a puddle of milk directly in front of the refrigerator. Opening the fridge we discovered a shelf and three drawers with milk accumulation. As you can imagine, the first part of our morning was spent cleaning up milk. I am hoping we were able to get all of the milk cleaned up, because in our current 90 degree weather, it won't take long to discover if we missed any.

As I was cracking the milk covered eggs into a dish this morning I was reflecting on trying to see God in this situation, and immediately I thought about sin. Sin is a lot like a drop of milk. You can be a very good person -- never cheating, never committing murder, never committing adultary, never stealing, or any other big sin, but one little sin is enough to mar you. Look at it this way. If my kitchen and refridgerator were completely clean, I mean not even a speck of dirt to be found, and yet I allowed a small puddle of milk to remain in the hidden spot under the fridge, what would happen to my kitchen within a few hours of this 90 degree weather? It would stink -- HORRIBLY! Now, God and heaven are absolutely perfect -- not a single speck of sin. To allow even the most kind and loving, and good person into heaven would mar its holiness.

Yet, just like a cloth of soap and water can cleanse my kitchen of the milk before the stink occurs, God has also offered a remedy so that we can join Him in His home. The remedy is quite simple -- Jesus Christ. You see, Jesus made a sacrifice -- a perfect sacrifice. Because Jesus walked this earth without commiting a single sin, He willingly gave up His life on the cross to die. His precious blood was spilled and the blood has covered and cleansed my sins. However, this is not just a blanket cleansing. We must come to God and confess our sins -- apologize for our disobedience to Him and ask for forgiveness and cleansing of our hearts. This is not an easy step because it requires us to reject our pride and come before Him in humility. Just like my fridge could not clean itself, we cannot cleanse ourselves of our sin. We must turn to Jesus Christ.

I urge you, don't allow your sin to cause you to stink so that you are rejected at heaven's gate. Confess your sins today and ask Jesus to save you. He loves you, and He wants you to join Him in heaven someday. We can never be good enough because sin stains. Only after we have been cleansed can we see the Kingdom of God.