Thursday, March 31, 2016

Homestead Update: Spring!

The sun is out and the days are getting longer.  It is warming up, and the world is turning green again.  That makes us happy up on our little hill.

Mr. Marvelous is in charge of the plants, and he has been getting the garden areas ready and the seeds in the ground.

He cut down a lot of saplings at the bottom of the back hill.
Then he cut the saplings into manageable lengths
and dragged them up the hill,
and into the front yard.
Shall I tell you what he is going to do, or shall I let you be surprised?
Very well, surprised it is.

We recreated our Great Potato Experiment again this year.





(It's OK; they are supposed to look droopy.  That's how we know they are ready to harvest)
It was quite successful again.
We had potatoes with the green beans for Easter Dinner.

The chickens were finally moved into the front so that they could till
~ and fertilize! ~
the front garden for us.

Well, most of the chickens were moved out front.

Mr. Marvelous had a special job for the three Princesses.

He built them a special tractor
that fits over the raised beds in the back.
Those girls are busy getting those beds ready for planting.
When they aren't laying eggs and showing off, that is.

So far Mr. Marvelous has planted potatoes,
(with a little help!)

and corn.

He has gotten beans planted in the back
with the help of the Princesses

He has gotten carrots, beets, parsnips, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, squash out too.

We overwintered some peppers, both bells and ridiculously hot.
They have been moved from their winter pots back into the ground.

The small onions and the garlic that were planted back in the late fall are thriving
*ahem*
So are the weeds, apparently!

The winter potatoes that were actually put into the ground are doing well too.
Hopefully they will be ready with the beans.

We got the herb beds cleaned up and planted:
 Mint and catnip,

Lemon balm, parsley and basil,

Cilantro.
Please call me if you want any cilantro.
Or if you just think you might possibly one day want some cilantro.
 I am worried that it is going to take over the whole front yard.

The sage plants finally died after five years, so I will be getting some new ones.
Lisa at Green Up Garden Shop is my plant lady.

This was a bit of a surprise when we were cleaning out one of the beds.
Yes, that is an asparagus stalk.
I have no idea how it got there!

While Mr. Marvelous has been busy planting vegetables and herbs,
George and Smoochie have been busy having babies.
 George had four, one of whom is bashful.

Smoochie has five.

Poor "little" Woolly Bear is due any day now.
She is ready to get this over with!

That is what is going on around here lately.
We are planning to start another batch of eggs in the incubator next week.
And do some more planting.
And make that big surprise with all those saplings out front.

Stay tuned!





Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wednesday Prayers

Greetings Prayer Warriors,
Thank you again for your faithfulness in prayer.  As we settle in to prayer today, be reminded of what God tells us through the Apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Philippi:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!  Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.                 Philippians 4:4-7  NASB

As we thank God for the answers from last week, and pray over the needs of this week, remember to pray that these friends will let go of anxiety and rejoice in the assurance of God's love, provision, mercy and grace.  Pray that their hearts will be invaded by God's peace.
  1.  Jim and Mark are both making good progress in their recovery from surgery (this is not my Mr. Marvelous by the way, but a friend's Mr. Marvelous).
  2. Baby Ava is stable this week.
  3. My brother and his wife are recovering nicely from their recent illness.
  4. Please remember Benjamin and his family.  A new job is requiring that they move to a new city.  Pray for grace in the stress, for strength in their marriage, for a smooth transition for the children.  Most of all, please pray that God will continue to be magnified in their lives.
  5. Elise is having a doctor's appointment today.  Please pray that this last doctor will be able to give some answers to the difficulties she has been having lately.  Pray that he will see and hear what God wants him to see and hear, and that God will give him the wisdom he needs to take care of this treasured child.
  6. Pat is having surgery next Tuesday.
  7. Nikki is a young mother struggling with complications of Multiple Sclerosis.
  8. Leslie had an abnormal pap test and will have to have surgery soon.
  9. Pray for those dealing with struggles at work.  Pray for wisdom to know what God wants them to do, for the grace to reflect Him clearly to those around them, and for endurance.  And remember when you walk into a place of business ~ whatever it might be ~ that you have the opportunity to help someone who is struggling, sometimes with just a genuine smile.
  10. Pray for those with family members who are not yet in God's family.
  11.  Continue to pray for your pastor!  Pray for rest and refreshment this week, pray for balance between home and church.  Pray for his spiritual health.  Pray for his family.
Again, thank you for your work for God's Kingdom.  It is not unnoticed or insignificant; this is some of the most important work that can be done! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Monday....I Mean Tuesday....Memories: Forgiveness

Easter.  I hope you had a powerful weekend remembering the death Jesus died, the emptiness of life while He was in the tomb, and the glory of His resurrection.  And here we are again in the regular work-week.  We are not capable of sustaining the emotional and spiritual elation of Easter.  We come to another Monday, another day of going off to work, of doing laundry, of wiping runny noses, or of quietness in an empty home.  It is easy to feel a bit of a let-down after the celebration.  What is the aftermath of Easter?

Because of the work that Jesus did throughout His life and in His death and resurrection, we are forgiven.  The purpose of the work was to bring honor and glory to the Father, and that purpose was accomplished through our redemption.

We are forgiven.

It is easy to forget the implications of that as we move from Easter Sunday to another routine work week.

We are forgiven.

So.

So what are the implications of that?

When I stop and think and truly grasp how far away from God my personal sin put me, then the reality of my redemption grabs me and keeps hold of me.  I am forgiven!

When I grasp that and let it grab hold of me, it not only changes my relationship with God, it also changes my relationship with the people around me.  If I truly fathom the awfulness of my sin, and truly comprehend what Jesus has done for me, then the logical outflow of these facts is that I become a forgiving person.  Did Susie offend me at work today?  Because I have been forgiven for placing a nail in Jesus' hands, forgiving Susie is just the rational, logical and even emotionally obvious choice.

Jesus told a story about this.  Remember the Parable?  There was a man who ran up a debt to his king.  In modern terms, the debt was approximately six billion dollars.  It is an impossible debt for one person to repay.  That was a debt that deserved prison not only for him, but for his entire family as well.  Six billion dollars.  $6,000,000,000.  That is the roughly the equivalent of 400,000,000 hours of pay at $15 per hour.  Do you see how big that debt is?  Even if you increased the wage to $30 per hour, that is still 200,000,000 hours of work.  The man was called before the king and condemned to prison, along with his wife and children.  He threw himself at the king's mercy and begged for more time (as if more time would accomplish that!).  The king did a startling thing; he forgave the entire debt!!  Can you imagine the relief in that man's heart?  But then on his way home, that man did something that I can not really understand.  He ran into another man who owed him the huge debt of $12,000.  At $15 per hour, that is about 800 hours, or 20 weeks (if you figure a 40 hour work week) of work.  When you compare the two amounts that seems rather paltry.  Do you know what the man did who had been forgiven so much?  He had the man who owed him $12,000 thrown into jail!  To finish the story, Jesus tells us that the king found out what had happened, called the first man back, and rescinded the mercy he had extended.

Here is the point.  Easter is our redemption; God erases our debt of sin.  Don't make the mistake of thinking that your sins "aren't so bad".  Jesus tells us that if we have just been angry with someone then we are guilty of murder.  Our sins are awful.  We are forgiven.  We celebrate this forgiveness and rejoice in our new life.  The natural progression of a heart that is forgiven is to extend that forgiveness to others.  It doesn't matter what they have done.  There is no way that they have offended us to the degree we have offended God.  We are forgiven for everything we have done!  Those sins that we don't want anyone to find out about are taken off our backs and put on Jesus' back.

We are forgiven!

We have been given the grace and the ability ~ through the power of God's Holy Spirit whom He gave to us ~ to now be forgiving people.  Grab hold of that today, this week.  Extend to others the mercy we have received.  Then take some time and explain to them that you are able to do this because of what Jesus has done for you.  You may not live long enough to witness the impact your forgiveness has on them, but I guarantee you that God will use it just as He used the work of Jesus: for His glory and honor.

And rest assured that as we exercise this forgiveness, His peace will fill our hearts and homes.



Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sunday

I like the quiet of early morning.  I like the moments before the world around me wakes up, when I have a few moments to think and reflect.  Sometimes I get up early just to get a jump-start on the work of the day.  I don't think I am the only woman to do this.

The sun was not up yet.  The work of the day would not be easy or pleasant.  It would be hard, it would be ugly, it would be gut-wrenching.  It was dirty work, but it had to be done and the women were the ones who saw the necessity of the task.  So they gathered their supplies and they set off to the garden.  The garden of the tombs.

The tomb that they were going to was new.  There was a very large stone that had been put at the doorway of the tomb, and they had no idea how in the world they were going to get that moved.  But the work had to be done; the body of their beloved had to be tended to, and they were the ones who knew what to do.  So they set off.

It was quiet in the garden.  It was that peaceful moment just before sunrise.  For some reason everything seemed to be almost...holding its breath.  It was as if creation knew something was about to happen.  Yet I wonder if the women sensed that through the bitterness of their tears.  They found their way to the tomb they were looking for; they had paid careful attention when the body was put there on Friday.  As they approached the garden there was another earthquake, like the one on Friday.

The soldiers who had been ordered to guard the tomb were.....gone.

The heavy stone that had been a worry for the women was....set aside.

And the tomb....the tomb itself was....empty???



Death was ended.

The waiting was over.

Creation had held its breath
and now let it out
in a shout of joy.

Evil had lost, and Jesus had won.

Jesus was NOT dead.

He was NOT DEAD!

Jesus was, and still is,
ALIVE!

Suddenly it all made sense.
The light exploded into day.
Death is ended!

The promise of Christmas,
God with us,
Was fulfilled.

And everything was gloriously turned
upside down.

Death is ENDED.

Jesus is King. 




Saturday, March 26, 2016

Saturday

On September 1, 2014, my niece Meaghan Elizabeth McNutt started having a reaction to a new medication she was taking.  I was sure that it was going to be fine, that she would have a recovery, that life would go on and be fine.  Except it didn't.  In the early morning hours of September 21, Meaghan died in the hospital.  I walked around the house numb for weeks and the one thing that I thought ~ and often said out loud through my tears ~ was, "I don't understand.  How can she just not be here anymore?".  To this day it still often catches me by surprise, and again I find myself saying, "How can she just not be here anymore?".  No one has been able to explain it to me and I doubt anyone ever will.

Meaghan is my niece, and I love her dearly. 

As confused as her death has left me, I can barely begin to imagine the confusion the disciples felt on that quiet Saturday after Jesus died.  They did not know that Sunday was coming.  They did not understand that the story really was not over.  All they knew on that Saturday was that Jesus was "just not there anymore".  They had seen what Rome, along with the Jewish leaders, had done to Him.  They had seen His body taken down off the cross.  They knew He was dead.  They had seen His dead body laid in Joseph's tomb.  They knew that the tomb had been sealed.  They knew that there were Roman soldiers guarding the tomb.  And they knew that Jesus was dead.

Jesus was dead.  The one who did all those amazing miracles; who brought dead people back to life; who healed blind people, deaf people, mute people, lame people, and even lepers; who cast out demons; and who forgave sins.  He was dead.  The one who taught them about God; who He is and how He wanted His people to behave.  He was dead.  He was not there anymore.  The one who said He was the Messiah, that He would one day reign from a throne in heaven sitting next to God Himself...He was gone.  He was not gone away to another country, or off on a trip, or visiting family, or even doing business overseas.  He was dead and He was not coming back.

How could that happen?  How could He just not be there anymore?

Can you imagine the emotions of Saturday?  Can you imagine the exhaustion that came after the tears and fears of Friday?  What were they to do?  What did any of that teaching really matter?  Jesus had lost and Rome had won.  Jesus was dead.  Dead and gone.  There would be no more fishing trips, or late-night talks, or walks on the road, or praying together, or meals together, or working to help the people of Israel together, or......or any of that.  It was over.  Because Jesus was just. not. here. anymore.  He was gone.

Modern American culture sanitizes death, but in those days even the youngest child understood the finality of death.  And Jesus was dead.

The disciples hid themselves in grief and fear.  But.

But the curtain in the temple had been torn from top to bottom; almost as if a hand had reached down from heaven and torn it on purpose. (Matthew 27:51)

But there was a massive earthquake when He died.

But the darkness that had covered the earth for three hours while He was dying went away, and light came back (Mark 15:33)

But some of the graves outside the city of Jerusalem were unaccountably empty.
(Matthew 27:52)

But even the soldiers who crucified Him proclaimed that He was indeed the Son of God (Matthew 27:54)

The disciples were in despair.

But creation knew the Creator.  

And creation held its breath.



Friday, March 25, 2016

Friday

God is completely, infinitely, and eternally good.  God is the source of all goodness.

Do you ever read the news headlines?  Most of us are aware of the horrors of the world we live in.  Earlier this week there was an attack in Brussels.  Last fall there was an attack in Paris.  Over the past year there have been terrorist attacks, earthquakes, storms, train derailments, plane crashes, car wrecks, murders, babies born with devastating birth defects, cancer diagnoses, deaths from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, and the list seems to go on, and on, and on, and on.

We live in a world that can overwhelm us with sadness at its tragedy and ugliness.  It is crushing.  I think that part of what distresses us is that we see the glimpses of purity and beauty and we know, deep in our souls, that it should not be this way.

The ugliness of our world is not something that God created.  Those flashes of purity and beauty are what He created.  The weight of the calamity around us is created by our sin and our rebellion against Him.

How can we keep our hearts uplifted in the middle of the storm around us?

Two thousand years ago the most wretched possible incident occurred.  Jesus, the Son of God, who is God Himself, came to live with us as a human.  He lived a perfect life.  There was not even any hint of sin in Him.  A group of power-hungry men, men who knew that the things He did could only be done by God, took Him and conspired with enemies of God to have Jesus murdered.  As Jesus died, the light left the earth.  The ground shook.  The storm struck.  And God turned His face away and abandoned His Son to the consequences of the sin He had never committed.

Talk about horror, tragedy, calamity, overwhelming sadness, distress, ugliness and wretchedness!   If we get even a glimpse of what that day must have been like, our perspective on our world is forever different.

Yet it did not stop there.  Sunday is coming!  God took that ugly, awful mess and turned it into eternal glory.

God is waiting to take my mess, and your mess, and turn it into glory.  If He can take that horrible day and make it a thing of joy and wonder and celebration and beauty and redemption, what do you think He can do with us, and with our world today?

Ask Him today what He can do with you.  Go to Him and ask Him how He wants to change your life and your world.  Ask Him to do that for you.  Ask Him to keep you closer to Himself.

Ask, and it will be given to you;
Seek, and you will find;
Knock, and it will be opened unto you
            Matthew 7:7                

As you come into this weekend of remembrance, I want to encourage you to not let the awfulness of Good Friday slip by you.  Allow yourself to feel the weight of our sinfulness, and the punishment that Jesus endured for us.  I don't like pausing there; it hurts so much!  Yet if we open ourselves up to the pain of what our sin did to our Savior, then the glory of the finishing of that work, and the contrast of the Light of Sunday to the darkness of Friday, is magnified.

As you walk through your own hard tragedies today, as your heart is overwhelmed with sadness and grief this weekend, remember: Sunday is coming!


Thursday, March 24, 2016

"I'm Praying For You..."

In my culture of the southeastern United States, we hear that phrase a lot.  "I'm praying for you".  Sometimes when I hear someone say that I want to roll my eyes; it sounds like something someone is saying just to have something to say.  Sometimes I want to say, "Thank you, but to whom are you praying?".  Sometimes that statement pierces my heart and brings great comfort or conviction.

A number of years ago my oldest brother got to be friends with a man who is a Messianic Rabbi.  This man knew of the health struggles my middle brother and I were having.  He prayed over us faithfully and regularly.  When he went to Jerusalem he took our names with him and placed them in the Wailing Wall.  I know that prayers said there are no more or less effective than prayers said in my kitchen, but there is something special about the fact that he cared enough to do that.

In the week after I was confined to a wheelchair for the first time, I received a personal letter from Joni Eareckson Tada.  It was a great comfort to me to receive this, and to have her tell me that she was praying for me.

When I talk with my Dad, he always reminds me in the conversation that he is praying for me, and Mr. Marvelous, and Junior every single day.  That makes my heart sing.  That's my Daddy and he is praying for me!

What would you think if you got a letter in the mail today from Franklin Graham telling you that he was praying for you?  I imagine that you would be a little overwhelmed to know that he was taking time to think of you and to ask God to provide for your spiritual, mental, and physical needs. 

Today is Maundy Thursday.  It is the day when we celebrate Jesus' last supper with His disciples.  It was His last night before the crucifixion.  After they celebrated Passover together, they went to the Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus went aside from His disciples, His closest friends, because He needed some time alone with the Father.  We don't have to imagine that conversation that they had together, because the Bible records it for us in John 17.  He prayed earnestly and fervently for His disciples.  He prayed that they would be protected.  He prayed that they would be have the fullness of His joy.  He asked that they would be sanctified in the truth of God's word.  Then, in the middle of this prayer, He says this:

 I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me
through their word,
that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me,
and I in You,
that they may also be in us,
so that the world might believe that you have sent Me. 
John 17:20-21      (emphasis mine)

Jesus did not just pray for His eleven disciples.  He prayed for you.  He prayed for me.  If we are surrendered to Him, this prayer was prayed for you.  

As you go through the day today, however you may be celebrating the day, take a few minutes and read through John 17.  Read the words that Jesus prayed over you.  Whatever your circumstances today, read this knowing that Jesus Himself prayed for you!  


agony-in-the-garden 

 As you read this and remember, may the comfort and peace of that knowledge
wrap around your heart and fill your soul to overflowing.



Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wednesday Prayers

Greetings Prayer Warriors

Thank you for your faithful service of prayer.  God is so good to us.  One piece of His goodness is that even in the times of our greatest weakness and frailty, when we are tempted to feel that we can do nothing to serve or help the people around us (perhaps especially during those times), we can still do the greatest work of all.  We can still pray.  I often remember Mrs. Olivia and my own dear Aunt Virginia who spent their last days and hours continuing to pray.  May we understand the honor that we have of being able to pray anywhere, any time, about any thing.

As you pray through these needs this week, please ask God particularly to reveal His goodness to the people for whom you are praying.

Here are a few of the needs of the week:
  1. Baby Ava, for whom you have helped me pray in the past, is not doing well.  She is home from the hospital, but still sick with multiple infections in her little body.  Please pray for her parents and grandparents as well as for little Ava.
  2. Maria is battling cancer.  Please pray that God will continue to strengthen her soul, and thank God for her testimony in her illness.
  3. Jim and Mark are recovering from surgery.
  4. After serving for four weekends at spiritual life conferences in Alabama and California, my brother and his wife both came home sick.  Please pray for a quick recovery for both of them.  Please also pray for those who attended these conferences, that the Spirit will continue His work in their lives.
  5. Stacy has been in the hospital since a surgery 14 months ago.  Please continue to pray for her and for her family.
  6. Elizabeth's mother died on Monday.  Praise God for her new life.  Pray for comfort for her family.  Please pray especially for them as they celebrate her life tomorrow at her funeral.
  7. Doug, Brian, Richard, Robert and Matt are all small business owners.  Owning a business has a lot of unique struggles and challenges.  Please pray for them, that their work would reflect Christ to their customers and employees, and most of all that God will prosper their souls.
  8. Your pastor is having a very busy week.  You might be surprised at all the work that goes into this week for him.  Please pray for him this week and next.  Pray for endurance, for strength, for discernment and obedience about what God would have him say.  Pray that he will wisely balance church life with family life.  Pray for his family.  Pray that he will be able to rest next week.  Let him know that you are praying for him.  It really does help.
May God be with us this week as we remember the work of Jesus.  May we stop and allow ourselves to feel the weight of Friday.  May we then rejoice in the comfort and hope and joy of Sunday morning!

His peace to your hearts and homes.



Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Wednesday Prayers

Good morning Prayer Warriors.

In Paul's letter to the Ephesians, he talks to them about the fact that they were uncircumcised Gentiles, separated not just from God's people but from God Himself.  He describes their status as being excluded from and strangers to God and His family.  Then he gives a powerful statement in chapter 2 verse 13: But now in Christ Jesus.  Don't you love those five words?  Don't move on to the rest of what Paul is teaching until you take a quiet moment to reflect on those five words:

But now in Christ Jesus

Those few words say so much, don't they?

But Paul does not end there.  He goes on to say that because of Jesus' blood, we who were so desperately far from God have been brought to a point where we are not just in his general region and can catch an occasional glimpse of Him, maybe even shout a question out every century or two.  No, we have been brought NEAR.  Not just in the same neighborhood, or even in the same house, but in the same room.  

As you pray today and this week, preparing for the next week and Easter, keep that in your heart.
  
But now in Christ Jesus, you who were formerly far off have been brought near 
by the blood of Christ

As you pray through our list this week, pray that the people on the list and on your own personal list will all be brought near, whether for new life or renewed life in Him.
Here is our list for the week.  Please feel free to add comments with additional needs.
  1. Several of my friends have family members in varying stages of different addictions.  Please pray for these people and for their families.  Pray especially this week for Tim, for Blaine, and for Justin.
  2. John is having some serious health struggles.  Please pray that the doctors will be able to figure out what is going on, and that John and his family will have grace and perseverance during this time.
  3. Stacey has been in the hospital in ICU for almost 14 months.  Please keep her and her family in your prayers.  Pray that she will be an instrument of grace for the doctors and nurses who care for her.
  4. Robert is recovering from an illness while out of town and preparing to speak at an intense weekend conference.  Please pray for healing, and pray that God will speak through him.
  5. Jeremy is trying to juggle school and work.  Pray for wisdom, and pray that his spiritual life will not falter during this time.
  6. Patrick is in the ICU after a possible stroke.  Please pray for him and his family.
  7. Elizabeth's mother is still quite ill after a devastating stroke.  Please continue to pray for her and her family.
  8. Pray for the marriages and families around you.  Sometimes the ones who look like they are fine are not.  Sometimes the ones we assume don't need prayer because they are so strong, are the ones under the most attack.
  9. As we approach Holy Week and Easter season, pray for your Pastors and all those in your church who are involved in leading worship.  Above all, pray that they will have the hearts of a true worshiper, so that they may lead us in worship.
May God be honored and glorified in our prayers.

His peace to your hearts and homes 


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Country Life

Mr. Marvelous and I were driving home from church this past Sunday.  There was a convoy of military vehicles as we approached our normal exit.  I'm kind of funny about merging into a military convoy (who am I kidding, I'm honestly just kind of funny, but you probably know that by now).  I suggested to Mr. Marvelous that we just go on to the next exit.  He graciously complied.

When you get off at that particular exit, there is a field full of goats and a donkey.  We drove by and I was admiring them when I saw something unexpected.

Do you see what I see?  
No, not the goat.

Here, try this view:
 Still no?
See if you can find it here:
No?
How about this one?
Did you find it yet?

Here's another view:
Cute little thing, isn't he?

Isn't the camouflage amazing?!

This kodak moment brought to you courtesy of The Creator.
I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!

His peace to your homes.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Wednesday Prayers

In Bible Study Monday evening, we had a discussion about developing the habit of daily prayer and Bible reading.  Sometimes we just don't have the heart for doing that.  When we make ourselves do it anyway, are we becoming legalistic?  Is the practice at that point just becoming something we do so that we can check it off our little list and feel better about ourselves?  That probably happens more times than we would like to admit.  Yet the act of devotion should not depend on our emotions, should it?  After some great discussion about this, it was suggested that perhaps when we are "feeling" devotional we should take that time to pray for ourselves when we don't "feel" devotional.  In other words, in the good seasons pray and ask God to get us through the difficult seasons.  Ask Him to give us the grace and the persistence to continue in our prayer time and Bible reading in a manner that pleases Him.  Ask Him to help us develop that devotional attitude, so that we have an appetite for time with Him, and a hunger for that time when we miss it.

As you pray today and this week, please also remember the following things:
  1. Elizabeth and her husband are missionaries in France.  Elizabeth received a call yesterday that her mother had a serious stroke and was not expected to recover from it.  She was due to arrive in Atlanta this morning and hoped to be in time to say her good-byes.  Please keep her and all her family in your prayers through this next week.  I have not heard any updates since last night.
  2. Lauren and her family have been struggling through illness and school for several months now.  Please pray for them and ask God to draw them close to Himself in this difficult time.
  3. Matt and Emily will be traveling to celebrate a family wedding this weekend.  Please pray for a wonderful time for them, for safe travels, and for protection for their children while they are gone.
  4. John has been having continued health problems.  Please pray that the doctors can figure out what is happening and know how to best treat what is going on.
  5. Nancy will be speaking at a Ladies' Retreat this weekend, and her husband Robert will be traveling to speak at a Men's Retreat.
  6. Tiffany has been struggling with migraines, and her young daughter has had to stop some of her asthma medicines.  Please pray for protection for both of them, and for the rest of the family during this time.
  7. Please pray for those who are preparing to graduate from high school and college.  This is such a crucial time for these young folks!  Pray for spiritual protection above all else, as they go out into the world.
  8. Pray for your Pastor.  Pray for your Pastor.  Pray for your Pastor.  And don't forget his family!
As always, please feel free to leave comments and let us know how to better pray for you this week.

God's peace to your hearts and homes!

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Wednesday Prayers

As I write this, the results of the Super Tuesday election are pouring in.  I refuse to sit and watch the results; I know my weaknesses too well!

Many years ago when Mr. Marvelous and I were newly-weds, an elder in our church decided to run for Congress.  I became involved in his campaign.  He lost the primary.  I was devastated.  Then I realized something.  I had begun to put my hope for our country's future in this man.  A little more intensive self-examination revealed something even uglier; I was putting my hope for our country in the "right" politicians being elected to office.  If we put the "right" men and women in office on the local, state, and national level, then the country would (in my warped thinking) return to its Christian roots and all would be well.  God would be pleased with how well we did things, and because of our good, hard work, would be compelled to pour out His blessing ~ as I chose to define blessing ~ on our city, county, state, and country.

Yes, my thinking really was that warped.

Over this past weekend as I was preparing for our Ladies' Bible Study in the Lord's Prayer, I read these words that my father wrote many years ago

"This prayer is a great affirmation of faith.  'For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.'  What a daring thing it is to say these words.  Only the eye of faith can see it in our troubled world.  Only the voice of faith can proclaim it.  By these words we declare that we believe God.  We trust His word.  When the Apostle Paul was speaking to the men on the sinking ship which was bearing him as a prisoner to Rome, he encouraged them with these words, 'Sirs, be of good cheer, for I believe God....'  If there was ever a time when this same testimony needs bearing it is right now.  You need to have this witness in your own life.  People are so fearful and anxious.  The world is in so much trouble and despair.  Where are the voices of the believers saying, 'Sirs, be of good cheer, for I believe God'?"

It is easy to be overcome with fearfulness about the state of our cities/states/country.  We are given privileges and responsibilities as citizens.  We prepare for those things with prayer.  When they are done, we bathe the final decisions in prayer.  Then we remind ourselves that God really is still in control.  Our hope is not in men, in political offices, in putting the "right" man in the "right" office.  Our hope is in God.  

Over the next week, please keep the following matters in prayer:
  1. The Smith family
  2. Gail, Sheila, and John are all dealing with health struggles.  Please pray for grace in these times of difficulty.  Pray that we would all reflect Christ clearly in our times of struggle.
  3. Pray for Sarah, who meets with doctors this morning to plan her treatment.
  4. Sandra is getting ready for 12 weeks of rigorous chemotherapy.  Please pray for physical and spiritual health during this time.
  5.  Please remember to pray for the marriages in our neighborhoods and especially in our church families.  Pray that husbands and wives would be unified, and that marriages among believers would reflect God very clearly to the world.
  6. Pray for your pastors.  Pray for your pastors.  Pray for your pastors.  And pray for their families.
  7. Pray for our leaders; the ones in our homes, the ones in our work, the ones in our cities, our states, and our country.
  8. Pray that God will be honored and glorified in each others' lives.
As you reflect on where your hope is this week, may your heart sing this song.

Be of good cheer!



His peace to your hearts and homes. 

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

March!

How do you celebrate March and the coming of Spring in your home?  Around here, the Gnomes have been busy enjoying the warmer weather and the activities of the day.

Sam has been busy digging in the dirt and helping with the potato crop.

The New Guy has been doing his civic duty
It's OK; he had a photo ID.

Jack decided to take time to smell the daffodils.

Happy March!