Sunday, December 25, 2016


Lion of Judah

Lion of Judah, Lamb of God,
On this night the Creator of all things
             seen and unseen,
Humbled Himself to be born
             in a lowly condition,
And accepted for Himself a limited human body.

He who spoke the universe into existence,
             Must learn to talk.
He who taught cheetahs and gazelles to run,
             Must learn to walk.
He who fashioned whole galaxies with His hand,
             Can barely grasp His mother's finger
             With his weak, tiny, human fist.
And He who abhors even the concept of evil,
              Must become my sin,
                        Suffer my guilt,
                                   Bear my punishment,
                                               For my redemption.

My praises, my worship, my exultation,
               Will transcend even that of angels.
My song will rise and spread to fill heaven;
                I am no longer captive!
This earth cannot hold me for
              This baby so tender,
                       This man of compassion,
                                  My victorious Saviour,
                                             My risen Lord,
                                                        Lion of Judah,
                                                                Lamb of God,
Has made me His very own.
Virginia Akin  2003

Friday, December 23, 2016

Today I am re-posting a guest post from my favorite writer: my Dad.  Here is one of my favorite of his articles, especially for the ladies in my Bible study.

It's Okay To Cry At Christmas


Many years ago, just two days before Christmas, a young woman lay in her bed weeping uncontrollably.  This last incident which devastated her so might seem so trivial it was hardly worth a single tear; but wait before you make rash judgment on her, and listen to her story.  You may find yourself crying with her.

In many ways her life had been one tragedy after another, with only a relatively few happy days to remember.  While still a very little girl just starting second grade, her mother died suddenly at the age of 29.  For her grief stricken father this was the second wife he had lost to early death.  Because his work carried him far from home, his daughter went to live with her favorite aunt.  But that was not a very happy time, for her uncle by marriage was a scoundrel and stole the little girl's meager heritage from her dead mother.  Within two more years this aunt, her foster mother, died too.  Then her Father became ill, and after a lingering illness, he died.  This made three parents she had lost in six years.  Again she went to live with another Aunt who was good to her, and whose husband also was as a second father.  

However, the sorrow of death of her dear parents still haunted her.  She felt as if she really didn't belong to anyone.  She finished high school and college before she reached the age of twenty and then went to work supporting herself.  She still longed for a family of her own, which she thought she would never have.  Life went on for several more years until one summer she went to visit the Aunt who had taken her in after her parents and foster mother had died.  There was a handsome young man in that town just back from the war in Europe who caught her eye, and whose eyes bugged wide open when he saw her. 

Within a few months they were married.

At long last it seemed that life was going to be much better, and it was.  Soon they were expecting their first child and she could hardly wait for the coming birth.  Tragedy struck again, and the little boy ~ perfectly formed and beautiful ~ died in the trauma of birth.  She had never known such grief as this.  But before too long she was pregnant again, and this time a sweet little girl was born alive and healthy, to be followed in the next few years by three more children.  Life was good again.  Her husband's business was growing and prospering.  They built a new home.  He was elected to the city council, and all was well.  

Then dark clouds once more closed in on her life.  The Great Depression which devastated this country in the 1930's wiped out their business almost overnight.  Soon the new house had to go and on top of that, just after moving into a dingy little two room apartment with four children, she discovered she was pregnant once more. 

It got worse.  As the depression deepened, and no work could be found by her husband, they were forced to sell many of their possessions to buy food and pay rent.

Shortly after the fifth and last baby was born, her husband found work; a thousand miles away from home!  There was no choice; he had to go or the family would starve.  He was gone almost two years.  From his meager salary, he was able to send home a little money and even baskets of food from time to time.  In that dismal time, a few days before Christmas, he sent her the usual monthly check for the bare necessities of life.  From that pittance she managed to save back seven dollar bills to provide a meager Christmas for her children.  Then once more, like the straw that broke the camel's back, tragedy struck.  She was only out of the room for a few moments, but while she was gone the baby boy, now a little over two years old, found the pretty pieces of paper lying on the table.  He managed to drag them down, and merrily tossed them into the fire.  When she came back into the room she saw the last of her Christmas dinner and her hopes going up in smoke.  

It was too much.  This was the low point of a very sad life.  It couldn't get any worse.  All night she wept and prayed and longed for her husband, but sleep would not come.  Finally, at day break, she arose wearily from her bed to face the day before Christmas with little hope, and no joy at all.  It would take a miracle even to have a meal on Christmas day.  Still she prayed.  When the mail man came that last day before Christmas she found a letter from her best friend from college days whom she had not seen for years.  She opened the letter, and the miracle happened.  Inside the note was a crisp new ten dollar bill, and a wish for a Merry Christmas.  Later that day a box of toys for the children came from the same dear friend.

There were many long hard years ahead, but in spite of everything, Christmas was very special that year.  Before the next one rolled around, her husband found work in the town where they lived, and life slowly improved in every way.  She had many years to enjoy life and the family God had given her.

You see, the young woman was my dear mother, and the baby boy who tried to ruin her Christmas was me.

Yes, my mother cried all night just before Christmas Eve, as she had many times before and after but that was okay.  She had plenty of reason for her tears.  I am confident she will never cry again, for she is with the Lord, who promised He would wipe away every tear from her eyes, and He has done just that.

Many of you who read this during this Christmas season have plenty of reasons for tears too.  God has never told us not to cry, just that one day He will wipe away all our tears.  What tears were shed in Bethlehem that terrible day when Herod's butchers killed all the little baby boys from two years old and under, a tragedy difficult to even imagine.  Listen to that lament in Matthew's Gospel as he quoted from Jeremiah the Prophet.  "A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted because they are no more."

But the path our Savior would walk in His short life was tear-strewn too.  Despised and forsaken, betrayed and abused, tortured and finally killed, Jesus wept.  He wept when His best friend died.  He wept when He saw the people of Jerusalem reject Him and seal their own fate.  He wept in the bitter garden of Gethsemane.  He wept when His Beloved Father forsook Him on the cross.

All the sorrows, disappointments and failures which wring tears from your broken heart, He understands, for He endured them all and far more.  

I know for some of you this Christmas is especially difficult.  It may be the first one you have faced since that dear one died, or your marriage was torn apart, or your life just seemed to cave in.  You feel destitute, lonely, and forsaken.  Like my poor mother so many years ago you have endured what seems to be the straw that broke the camel's back, and your heart.  I can not tell you that things in this world will get better for you; they may or may not.  I can't tell you the worst is over, or even that there will be a ten dollar bill and a box of toys in the next days' mail.  But what I can and do tell you is that our God has told us that when all the final effects of Christmas have taken place there will never again be a reason to cry, except for sheer, unending joy.  For "There will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain, nor curse, for all these former things will pass away.  And His servants will serve Him, and they shall see His face, and there shall be no night there, for the Lord God gives them light, and they shall reign forever and ever."

Yes, it's okay to cry at Christmas if your heart is sad.  Tears are God's gift for now.  But He has better things in store for you in heaven where you'll never weep again or have any reason for tears.  No doubt many of you will be participating in a Christmas Eve communion service.  The supper displayed before you will remind you of that night long ago when Jesus was eating the Passover with His disciples.  The Word tells us He was deeply grieved and troubled at heart, saying, "One of you will betray me, and all of you will forsake me."  A little later when alone in the garden, He fell on His face and wept sorely with a breaking heart.  But though weeping may endure for a night, joy comes in the morning; and so it did on that morning we call Easter, and so it shall on that morning we will call Glory.

If you have tears to shed over the sorrows of your broken heart and shattered dreams, then let them flow freely with no shame.  But never forget that God will wipe away all tears from your eyes and heart.

Years after I had burned up the family Christmas, my mother told me that she had taken me to bed with her, and both of us cried most of the night.  But before she got up she had hugged and kissed away my tears.  I think that is exactly what God plans to do with you and me when the time comes, for He said, "Even as a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you, and you will be comforted."  

So if you can't dry your tears tonight, it's okay.  God will.

That's what Christmas, and the Christmas Eve communion are all about.  It's okay if your tears mingle with His when you drink the cup, for after His tears and yours, joy comes because of Christmas.  Believe this.  Go ahead and shed your tears on Christmas.  Then wait in faith for Him to dry your tears; and He will wipe away all tears from your eyes forever and ever.  That will be the fulfillment of all our hopes and dreams, and that glorious Christmas will last forever and ever.

 Image result for christmas candles

May the light of Christmas,
the hope of the resurrection,
the assurance of the Saviour's glorious return,
and His peace,
surround your hearts and homes
with comfort this Christmas. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wednesday Prayers July 13

Good morning and thank you for sharing the work of prayer this week. 

Several years ago my health was so poor that I could not do very much at all.  Most of my time was spent in bed or in a wheelchair.  Mr. Marvelous would go to work every day, work for hours driving all over the state, then come home to help Jr. finish up the housework of the day.  It was very humbling to not be able to do the work that I wanted to do.  However God had other work for me to do in that season; the work of prayer.  It is interesting that God gives us the gift of that oh-so-important work when we are not able to focus on other things.  We have to choose whether to wallow in the frustration of not being able to do "our" work, or to focus on the joy of doing the work He gives us.  The work of prayer is a gift that He often gives to those who are at their weakest both physically and mentally.  How many times have you visited with an elderly friend who laments, "I just can't do anything any more and I feel so useless!".  As God's children, let's be quick to remind one another that the work of prayer is invaluable.  Encourage those around you who are feeling useless; remind them of the great work God has for them in the times they are not able to do much else.

As you pray this week, please remember the following:
  1. J.R. has finished chemo and is doing well!  As much time as was spent in prayer for this man, let's spend time saying "Thank You!" for the results.
  2. Nancy continues chemo.  Please pray for her endurance.  
  3. Rather than give you the long list of those who are battling cancer, please focus this week on praying especially for Maria in her struggle with the disease.  Pray for many moments of joy in the middle of this.
  4. Pray for little Ryland who is having multiple health problems, and for her mother.
  5. Please remember the many people who are grieving great loss of life over the past few weeks.  Pray for the families who have lost loved ones.  Pray for the families of those who took those lives.  Please pray that as God's people, we will be instruments of grace and mercy and peace.
  6. Pray for families who are struggling with the effects of various addictions.  Some are new to the struggle, others have been in the battle for decades.  Pray for endurance.
  7. Beth is having hip replacement surgery today. 
  8. Pray for each other, that we would be bold to grab the opportunities we are given to share the Gospel with those we meet today and through the week.
  9. Remember the children and families who are getting ready to start college in a few weeks.
  10. Pray for your pastor!  Pray for your pastor!!  Pray for your pastor!!!  And please remember his family, too.
Thank you again for your work of prayer.

God's peace to your hearts and homes.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wednesday Prayers June 22

Greetings prayer warriors.  Thank you so much for your continued and faithful prayers, even (and especially?) when I am not here to write anything.  Life has done some changes on me recently, pushing blogging down the priority list.  However I am figuring out how to make life fit and reorganizing priorities a little, so hopefully I can be a little more consistent with things.

I have been thinking a lot recently about being bogged down by the weight of my sin.  I can lie in bed at night and re-hash sins from 40 years ago and still cringe as I think about them.  We are taught about confession and repentance.  We are taught about the work that Jesus did to cover our sins.  Yet we often overlook an important aspect of the Christian life.  We often fail to receive that forgiveness and recognize that Jesus not only took our filthy rags of sin on Himself, He also gave us his clean, shining robe of righteousness.  The devil loves to see us bogged down in remembering our old sins.  When we give into that, we are surrendering not to Jesus but to him.  I am working this week on changing those mental habits.  When I wake up in the night and start rehearsing the old mistakes and sins, I am reminding myself that yes, those things happened and yes, they were bad.  However I have been forgiven, and those things no longer have hold of me.  If I try to do an end-run around the sin and start worrying about the people who may have been wounded or offended by my sin, I remind myself that they are in God's hands and He can handle those wounds much better than I ever could!  This I am not able to do in my own power; it is only done through the power and strength of the Spirit of God.  You know what?  He is a part of me and has freely given me HIS strength.  

I think there is a lot more that can be said about this topic, and about the shame and guilt to which we tend to surrender.  I'm working on getting those words in order.  But in the meantime, please remember that acceptance of forgiveness is an important part of living the Christian life.

In your prayers this week, please remember the following:
  1. Nancy resumes chemotherapy this week.  Please pray that this goes well.  Pray for strength of body and soul for her and for her family.
  2. Gingie, Ashlee, Cindy, Debbie, Maria, Tiffany, Sandy, JR, and Ben are also battling cancer.  Please pray for each of them, not only for the health of their bodies but of their souls as well.  Pray for their families.
  3. Baby Ava had a heart procedure earlier this week.  Please pray for wisdom for the doctors, for her health, and for all her family.
  4. Jim, Missy, Chase, Hazel, Rose, Phyllis, Chris, Rylan and baby Lucas each have some serious health concerns.
  5. Please pray for the Lewis family as they adjust to life without their Baby Ava.
  6. Pray for the children getting ready to go off to college (and for their parents!).  This is such a crucial time of life with so many life-altering decisions being made.  Pray that they will not be persuaded away from the Gospel of Jesus.  Pray that they will not compromise on eternal issues.  Pray that they will be instruments of God's grace and mercy and peace.  And please remember to pray for their parents!
  7. Many denominations are meeting over the summer in Assembly, Convention, or whatever your church calls it.  Please pray that these men will not spend time in trivial diversions, but will focus on the work God has for them to do.  Pray for wisdom, for unity, for strength.  And please pray for the families back home, that God will continue to protect them body and soul.
  8. Pray for your pastor!  Pray for your pastor!!  Pray for your pastor!!!  And please do not forget to pray for your pastor's family!!!!
 As always, thank you so much for your continued work.

God's peace to your hearts and homes.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day

Sharing because Wally asked me to.

Gentlemen, being a man, a husband, a father is not an easy task.  We ladies want you to know we recognize this and we honor you for doing it so well.  You have great responsibility placed on your shoulders.  You are called by God to lead your families, to love us as Christ loved the church (that would be the church for whom He died).  You are told to protect us both spiritually and physically.  When God tells you through the words of the Apostle Paul to love your wives, he is also telling the women to be lovable; but even when we are not very lovable (and that happens more than we would like to admit), you are still called to love us.  When Paul tells women to honor their husbands, he is also telling you men to be honorable.  He then goes on to tell the women to submit to their husbands.  That authority carries such responsibility; it means that you are to be men to whom we can submit.  Not tyrants, but loving, caring, honest ~ and at times firm in truth ~ men of God.

Your work is not easy.  Somehow you are to balance caring for the health of your own soul, caring for the souls of the wives and children God has given you, and caring for the souls of your church family.  It means you are to be a man who loves your family, often juggling the responsibilities of elderly parents and hurting siblings along with your wives and children.  You protect us, you provide for us in your daily occupation, you share the glory of God and His kingdom with your family, your church family, your work family, your neighbors.

We ladies are called to support you in our prayers and in daily encouragement.  We try, we really do, but sometimes we are not very successful.  Yet you keep on going, keep on leading, and keep on loving us, not in your strength and ability but in the strength and ability of the Holy Spirit.

You need to know that we recognize the work that you do, the responsibility that you shoulder.  We are grateful for you and for the work that you do.  We thank God for you.  We treasure and value you.  Thank you for all that you do.  Thank you for loving us.  Thank you for leading us.  Thank you for the Dads you are.

Thank you especially to these fathers who have had such influence on my life
and my family's life.

Gordon Reed and four of his five.

Alfred Akin and his beloved Dan.

Mr. Marvelous
Roy Theodore Reed

Col. Robert Newton Clark

Robert Reed
John Reed

Rev. Fred Zoeller

Clark McNutt

Rev. John Douglas McNutt
 Matthew Clark McNutt


Rev. Daniel Leavengood

and of course, Wally Bromberg.
Thanks Wally for the encouragement.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Wednesday Prayers June 1

Good morning and thank you for your continued prayers.  Even when I am not able to post!

In my reading this past few weeks I have been going through the book of Psalms.  Over and over King David adjures us to give thanks and praise to God.  I realized as I was reading that giving thanks and praise is not just a matter of an action on our part.  It is a description of God (you knew I was going to work that in, didn't you?). 

God is worthy of our thanks.  
He is worthy of our praise.  

That grabs me and makes me sit in wonder for a few minutes.

As you pray through our list today and this week, pray that those on our list will be reminded that God is worthy of thanks and praise.

Thank you for praying for Baby Ava.  For 178 days she was given the gift of a loving family.  She was given the gift of ministering to people around the world.  She was a picture of the precious gift of life.  On May 19th little Ava died.  Please pray for her twin brother Sam.  Please pray for her Dad and Mom and her brothers and sisters.  They chose to love her completely, knowing that the cost of that love would be great pain when she died; and they knew that pain would come sooner, rather than later.  Ava was loved by many, many people.  They will all feel that loss.  God will impress your hearts with different people for whom you may be praying.  As we work together to pray, the needs will all be covered.  If you would like, her mother wrote about the end of Ava's life here.  

In other needs this week please remember the following:
  1. Denise and Caleb need particular prayers today.
  2. Please pray too for Dana and her three girls.  For young widows with young children, summer can be particularly challenging.
  3. Cindy is struggling with terminal cancer.  Thank God for the good days and for her reliance on Him.  Please pray for continued spiritual health as her physical health deteriorates.
  4. Missy is a young woman who has been having heart problems requiring a lengthy hospital stay.  Please pray for healing for her, for wisdom for her doctors, and for strength and peace for her Dad.
  5. Please remember Rachel in your prayers.  She struggles daily with intense seizure activity and a host of other physical problems.  Pray too for her parents.
  6. Wally had a heart attack last week.  He is recovering, but please pray for strength and grace for him and for his family.
  7. Gingie is undergoing chemo.
  8. Pray for those struggling with addiction.  Pray for those who are suffering but not yet struggling.  Pray for their families.
  9. When you are out today and this week and see police officers around you, please remember to pray for them and for their families.  Be bold and stop right there and, if the situation permits, pray over them.
  10. Pray for your pastor!  Pray for your pastor!!  Pray for your pastor!!!  And pray for his family.  Remember to pray for your pastor's parents, grandparents, and other loved ones.  Often we forget that spiritual attack is sometimes centered in their extended family.  Those attacks can be a heart-ache and a distraction for your pastor.  Pray!
Thank you again for your continued work of prayer.  It matters!

God's peace to your hearts and homes.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Homestead Update

Mr. Marvelous and I recently celebrated seven years up here on our little homestead hill.  It has been a wild ride at times, but we continue to be thankful for what God has given us.  Stewardship of this land and home is very important to us; this is not our homestead, it is God's.  We desire to use it for His glory and honor.  We believe that God is honored in our actions, but we also believe that God is honored in our enjoyment of His creation.

Several years ago Mr. Marvelous gave me a bluebird box.  We had seen one or two bluebirds flitting around, and we had high hopes of lots of little bluebird babies to enjoy.  Year after year they would come, they would look around, and then they would leave.  We never had any babies. 

This year they came back.  We noticed that this time Papa Bluebird was spending a LOT of time flitting back and forth, almost as if he were bringing food for Mama?  Over the weekend Mr. Marvelous was working out in that corner of the yard and called me to come and see:

Do you see the nest in there?!

We will keep watch for babies and try to grab pictures of them to share with you!

It makes me think of this:

For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies,
For the love that from our birth,
Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

May you find joy in His creation today!