Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless HIS HOLY NAME.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Bird-Chirping Weather

I saw the following quote on Pinterest, and I just loved it!


 What a wonderful feeling Spring brings, doesn't it? It reminds me how blessed I am to be alive!

While we don't have hard winters in this part of the world, there is just a wonderful thing about early-morning sunshine, deliciously warm days, birds chirping, lovely butterflies flitting around; my heart is gladdened to see my children run outside in the sunshine, chasing one another, or kicking a soccer ball.  Baby Tommy shrieks gleefully at a walk outside in his stroller.

How could we NOT enjoy Spring?!

But with the feelings that Spring brings, we should be reminded that every day we live is a blessing, and an opportunity to bless the Lord with all that is within me.  He has done so much for me.

"God that made the world, and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;  Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;"  Acts 17:24,25.

So...whatever you're going through...whatever your worries...whatever your circumstances:  Eyes up (on the Lord)!  Heart and lips tuned and ready to sing praises to our Creator!  For if He sees the sparrow that falls to the ground, I know that He sees me, He loves me, He blesses me every day.

And..."This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."

Happy Spring, Everyone!!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Let Us Not Be Weary



He sat in his small, dark prison cell, thinking.  Doubts began to fill his mind as he sat on the cold floor.  How had he ended up here? he wondered.

How dynamic his ministry had been, baptizing dozens of followers daily!  He was criticized by the priests and Levites, sent of the Pharisees from Jerusalem, wondering just who he was.  “I am NOT the Christ,” he had said.  “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.”  He had been chosen by God Himself to prepare the way of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He recognized that he was truly unworthy to even loosen the very shoes worn by the man who was preferred before himself.  The very next day, John presented Jesus to his “congregation,” pointing to the very Son of God, declaring, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

How privileged he had felt to have been chosen for such an important task!  That of pointing others to the Savior.

But now he felt so confused.  How had it come to this?  This moment in his life when he sat in a prison cell.  True, he had spoken out against the ruler’s sinful relationship; and now he was locked up.  How he longed to be free once again, declaring the mighty works of the Living God!

Now he felt confused and discouraged.  Had his preaching been all wrong?  Had he, indeed, steered people to the wrong man? Not too long ago, he had said with such confidence, “This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.”  And, “…but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”  He was so sure then!  But now, sitting in a cold, darkened cell, doubts began to fill his mind.  Satan was beginning to fill his mind with doubts about what he had been preaching all along.

Is it really worth it?  All my life has been dedicated to preparing the way for the Messiah.  I was so certain that it was He.  Now I’m not so sure.

Perhaps John had hoped that Jesus would free him from his prison.  After all, he had done so much, preparing the way for the Messiah.

So he sent two of his disciples to Jesus, asking specifically:  “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” He waited for the answer to come.  What would Jesus say?  How would He respond to this admittance to doubt and discouragement?

At last, the disciples returned. How his face burned with shame when his disciples returned with a direct message from Jesus!  “The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.  And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.”  He hung his head, ashamed he had even had those thoughts!  Jesus must be so disappointed in him.

How could he have been so foolish to swallow the lies whispered by Satan into his ear, bringing forth doubt and confusion?  Of course, Jesus WAS the Messiah, the long-awaited One who would bring salvation to Israel! 

Certainty then replaced the doubts.  Confirmation, reassurance and peace replaced the awful feelings of confusion.  All it took were the words of Jesus to reassure him that, indeed, He is the Christ, the Messiah, sent from God Himself, the Perfect Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.

What John did not know at that moment was that just a short time later, Herod would command that John be beheaded.  John had fulfilled God’s purpose for his life on this earth.  And it would bring glory to God to suffer at his death as he did.

How often we begin to doubt the precious words of our Holy God!  What a terrible thing to live in confusion and uncertainty, taunted by Satan’s lies, “Yea, hath God said?”

Do you find yourself in a prison?  Do you find yourself in a situation that seems hopeless?  Do you feel that life has paid you evil, after living your life for God?  Have you given your life to preaching and teaching the Gospel, and yet you are suffering? Perhaps you find yourself doubting.  Everything you have lived, believed, and preached, is suddenly coming under attack.   Do you find yourself asking, “Is it really worth it?”  Are you ready to just give up?  What do you do?

Maybe we can learn some things from John’s situation.  We can sometimes relate to John’s circumstances.  Perhaps the following can bring hope to your trembling heart.

Matthew 11:4, 5 tells us that Jesus took the time to reassure John’s faith.  John was wise in asking his disciples to go to Jesus Himself, and to ask Him.  Tell it to Jesus, my friend.  He is waiting with answers and reassurance.

It IS worth it to serve Jesus.  The blessings are great.  The reassurance will come.  Just hang on!

Matthew 11:7-14 says that Jesus spoke highly of John.  John never heard these words spoken, and never knew that Jesus said them, for Jesus spoke them after John’s disciples were gone.  John’s mission in life was special: to prepare the way of the Messiah.  This was prophesied before John’s birth in Malachi 3:1.  John was created for a special purpose.

And God created you for a special purpose.  He has a specific task for you to fulfill.  If we seek His face, He will be found.  He will lead in the path to which He has called you!
  
Jesus asked in Matthew 11:8, “What went ye out for to see?”  

What did you expect?  All too often, our expectations of what our circumstances in life should be make us unhappy with the daily blessings that God brings to us. Sometimes we expect that serving our Lord will be easy; we don't expect difficulty. Is serving Jesus always a bed of roses?  Smooth sailing all the time? Soft raiment?  Not always.  Soft raiment is for kings and such.  We are not kings, but servants of the King.

Maybe you find yourself on the mission field, far from family and friends and all that is familiar.  You are out of your comfort zone, perhaps in a house that doesn't have all the conveniences to which you are accustomed.  Take heart, Dear Friend.  His grace is sufficient to get you through the most frustrating of circumstances.  Just hang in there and don't become weary.  God sees your circumstances; He placed you there!
John was a prophet, yea and more than a prophet.  All the prophets prophesied until John.  “This was Elias which was for to come,” Jesus said.  What an important mission John had in this life!  God had chosen this specific path for him, as He had chosen how his life would come to an end.

God allowed John to be beheaded.  John’s mission on this earth had been fulfilled.  He was obedient and fulfilled his Father’s will.  God did not free him from his prison.  It was for God’s glory that he suffer and die as he did.

All too often, we cry from within, "God, free me from this prison in which I find myself!  I cannot take it another day!"  And God says, "You can, my child.  You can do all things through Me, because I am here, right beside you, and I strengthen you. I see the whole picture, and it will all come together for good one day, you just wait and see."
What is your motive for serving God?  Why do you serve the Lord today?  May it not be to please or to impress man.

Let me encourage you to do what you do for God’s glory, and when the going gets tough, just think, "Lord, if this is what brings glory to You, I am willing."  Our purpose in life should be to bring glory and honor to our Lord, in whichever way He chooses. Is it always easy?  No, it is not.  But I would not trade for personal comfort and a life of ease, the certainty of knowing that God has chosen this specific path for me, and that He is in perfect control of my situation.  I rest in the peace of knowing that all things are working for my good.  He loves me.  Yes, He loves me.

If I can encourage you, Dear Fellow-laborer:  Just be faithful.  Our Heavenly Father sees us and knows our needs, even before we ask, whether our needs be spiritual, financial, physical, or emotional.  He knows all things from beginning to end.  He foresees all that will come.  Hold to His hand.  He is unchanging.  His Word is truth, and it is constant in a world of uncertainty and instability.

And one day, as did John, you will hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”



Friday, February 7, 2014

Birthday Boys!

My heart is just bursting with the thoughts of God's goodness upon my life.  It seems that every day I am loaded with His benefits.  What a merciful God we serve!

I have so much to write about, so much that has happened the past couple of months, and due to lack of good internet service, I am behind on the posts that I have wanted to write.

But in this post, I will share pictures of both of our sons' birthdays:  Andrew Jonathan turned ten on December 22, and our Little Tommy Greg turned one year old on January 18.

Both of our sons are so precious.  Watching our Baby Tommy Greg this past year has actually reminded us of our Andrew Jonathan when he was that age.  Little Andrew was a lot like Baby Tommy Greg is:  Chubby, active (very active!), quick to learn, adoring his Daddy and clingy to Mommy.  It has almost been like reliving Little Andrew's infancy, which has been a lot of fun.  In fact, today, Baby Tommy Greg is wearing the same pajamas that belonged to Little Andrew.

"Thank You, Heavenly Father, for our boys.  They are both so unique, each created with a special purpose.  Please give us wisdom to train them up for Your honor and glory, and may Your Holy name be exalted through their lives."



We had a special guest at Andrew's birthday party, a new friend we met in December.  Kelli Copeland is a friend whom we met at an orphanage near to the city where we live.  She is a big help to the precious couple who takes care of the 19 children in their children's home.  Kelli spent several days with us toward the end of December, and she was here to help us celebrate Andrew's 10th birthday.  What an added blessing it was to have her here!
 Also to help us celebrate were Philip and Liz, and their 4 precious boys (Josh, Sammy, Mark, and brand-new Baby Gabriel Robert Joel, born December 12).  It was definitely an unforgettable birthday for Little Andrew.  He told me that night, "Mommy, this was the best birthday ever."



And our Baby Tommy Greg turned one year old on January 18. It seems impossible to me that he could already be one year old.  How quickly time has passed!  But we are very thankful that the Lord has allowed us to have a healthy baby this year.

For his birthday, his Mimi and some special people from our "home church" came to his party.  It was so much fun having them (as well as Pastor Manuel and his wife, Lidia; and their daughter and granddaughter, among other guests)!


"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,
nor standeth in the way of sinners,
nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;
his leaf also shall not wither;
and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."
Psalm 1:1-3

Friday, January 3, 2014

Bro. Bond

When my dad was a 19-year-old young man in medical school, he sought a Baptist church where he could worship.  The Lord graciously led him to the church pastored by Bro. W.N. "Jimbo" Bond.  Bro. and Mrs. Bond were such a blessing and encouragement to this young man, who, unknown both to the Bonds and to my dad, would later become a medical missionary in Mexico.

Over the years, there was a strong friendship formed between our family and the Bond family.  How precious were our visits with them when our family went to the States!  I remember as a child going to the Bonds' house and Mrs. Bond preparing delicious food, and Bro. Bond taking us for a ride on his "doon buggy."  They were like our other grandparents.

Today is Bro. Bond's 90th birthday.  What a blessing he has been to our family!  I think there is not enough space here to list all the things that the Bonds and Petra Baptist Church have done for our family.  God has used them to provide specific, urgent and countless needs in our family over the years.

So Happy Birthday to a very godly man.  He has loved us and encouraged us, and has been a strong anchor in our family.  "Thank you, Lord, for Bro. Bond's faithfulness to Your service throughout the years."  We love you, Bro. Bond!




Sweet Mrs. Colleen Bond passed away in April, 2011.  How we miss her sweet smile and lovely laugh!  I know we'll see her again someday in Heaven.

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Blessings

Hello, Dear Friends,

I know it has been quite a while since I have taken time to write.  November and December were very busy months, just packed with one blessing after another.  We were able to help with and attend the 15th Annual Christmas Banquet.  How beautiful it all was; but most importantly was the fact that so many were able to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am grateful for the privilege of being able to spend time with my cousin, Tammie, and her husband, Henry González, and three of their four precious children (Joel, Brenda and Gracie).  What an encouragement they were to us.  (I did not take time to upload pictures, but my sister, Ruth, wrote about it on her blog.  I know it will be a great encouragement to you.  You can click here to read all about it.)


 Henry González preaching

 Elisa watching Mimi write
 Beautiful Mother speaking at the banquet
 Enjoying good company during the banquet

Andy and Anna...I love this man!


Well, Christmas has come and gone...what a blessed time it was here with our family.  There were a total of  27 of us together this Christmas.  It was a sweet time of remembering the birth of Christ, and what that means to us.  It means that God loved us so much that He sent his Only Begotten Son into this sinful world.  God was made flesh and He dwelt among us.  Jesus Christ was sent in propitiation for our sins. What a comfort to know that He is my Saviour; He took my punishment; and He now intercedes at the right hand of the Father and prepares a place for me!

 Christmas Morning!

 


As I meditate upon this past year, and all that has transpired, and as I remember all the blessings that God has graciously bestowed upon me and my family, I can only be grateful.  If I could list each area of my life, each area of my marriage, each moment in the life of my three children, you could see how God has put His loving hand upon our lives.  He has brought us through things that have surely brought us closer to Him; and when Satan has tried to convince us that we are forgotten and unloved, that is when God has worked even in the smallest of things to remind us once again just HOW MUCH we are loved.  We have received notes of encouragement from friends who remind us that they are praying for us.  What encouragement that brings!


In the last month, God has blessed our family with 2 new babies...Mackenzie Grace was born to David and Jolene on November 22, and Gabriel Robert Joel was born to Philip and Liz on December 12.  How precious these babies are!  I have been able to be with and love on Baby Gabriel and visit with Liz.  Baby Gabe is such a sweetheart!

 Baby Mackenzie and her beautiful Mommy
Baby Mackenzie and Proud Daddy

Precious Baby Gabriel

Our Andrew Jonathan turned 10 on December 22.  I am so grateful for God's protection upon the life of our oldest son; however, I must admit that time seems to be flying by too quickly.  He is growing all too quickly and I suspect will only be a "little boy" for a short time.  He is such a blessing to us.  He told me, "Mommy, this was the funnest birthday I've ever had!"  His daddy bought him ping-pong paddles and a net, and he and the boys (cousins and boys from the church) played nearly all day long.  I am enjoying mothering this sweet, encouraging little boy.  Pray for us, that God will give us His wisdom as we continue on this journey of parenthood.




In only three short weeks, our Baby Thomas Gregory, who has been only a delight and joy to our family, will be turning one year old.  What fun this past month has been, as we have watched him quickly learning new things!  He wants to walk and get in on all the fun that the older children are doing; but I am enjoying his "immobility" while it lasts!!!  (You Mamas out there know what I'm talking about, right?!)


God used a special lady to answer one of the desires of my heart recently.  She gave us a bed for our Deborah Jolene, as well as a china cabinet, which I needed!  Just 10 days ago, one of my uncles drove down and brought these things to us.  Thank you, Melissa, for your generosity!


We met a new friend (whom I'll tell you more about in a different post) who has been a huge blessing to me personally, and who blessed us all with a special visit last week.  Her name is Kelli Copeland, and we are thankful that the Lord allowed our paths to cross.


My dear, sweet mother's birthday is today.  I thank God for allowing her to continue to enjoy good health and a blessed life at her 70 years of age.  How good God as been to her (and to us) in allowing her to continue to minister to women literally all over the world; but she is content to minister to her beloved Indian women here in the church.  Yesterday after the morning service, the brethren presented her with gifts and words of love and appreciation as they wished her a happy birthday.  It was a touching time to see people pass to the front and give her gifts and hugs and shed tears as they thanked her for the life of service to her Lord.
Mom and Dalila, who was saved at last year's banquet, and whom Mom is discipling


As this year comes to a close, we all have hopes and plans, filled with purpose and new beginnings.  May our utmost desire be that our precious Lord increase, as we decrease; and that His holy name would be magnified and glorified in our lives.

"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"  Romans 11:33

"For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen."  Romans 11:36


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Satisfaction



“Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.”  John 14:8

Are you satisfied?  I read a comment two days ago that said, “I hope you find what you are looking for.”

What are YOU looking for?  What are you waiting for that you think will finally satisfy you? Can I tell you something?  If you are not satisfied with what you have today, you will not be satisfied with what you are looking for when you finally get it.

I spoke to a lady last month who has much material wealth.  She has a good-paying job; her husband is retired from his job and receives a retiree’s check; and he has his own business now.  They have lands and houses; they have income through rent houses; and they have cattle and several other sources of income.  This lady was telling me all about their wealth and how they have striven and worked and sweated to get to this place in their lives.  And yet, she told me how she is working to get more, buy more lands, and encouraging her daughter into the same path in life that she has led.  In the time that we talked, I sensed a true dissatisfaction in her voice.  She’s dissatisfied with her marriage and with her children.  I told my husband, “What a sad way to live.  Truly, riches make themselves wings.  They cannot satisfy.”

There is a man who lives on our street who has vehicles, motorcycles, and boats.  He is constantly building onto his house and business…building, building, building.  Any time one of us drives by in a vehicle, he stops us on the street and offers to buy it.  He is always wanting more.  He is not satisfied.

The common factor in the lives of these two people whom I have mentioned is that their soul is empty.  Lost people assume that material things will fill that emptiness in their soul, therefore they seek more and more.

But what about we who know the Lord Jesus personally, who have a personal relationship with Him?  Are we satisfied?  Truly satisfied?  Or are we constantly seeking something else that we think will bring us satisfaction?

Are you happy with your husband?  If you are constantly trying to change him, then you are not satisfied.  Are you satisfied with your house?  If you are always dreaming of your “next” home (dream home) then you are not satisfied.  Do you constantly gripe at your children for “being that way”?  You are not satisfied.  Can your pastor never do anything right?  You are not satisfied.

What a sad way to live.  You know, this may be your last day on earth, and you are not happy with your husband, your house, your children, your pastor.  You desire more…different…change.  Do you realize that if you are not satisfied with what you have today, you will not be satisfied when you get your “dream” situation?  If you are not content with what you have and with those around you today, what makes you think you will find contentment and satisfaction in other things tomorrow?

It is a great thing when you accept your situation in life, your living conditions, your relationship with your spouse, children, and others in your life.  Find contentment in what God has given you.

Can we say today as Esau said to Jacob in Genesis 33:9:  “I have enough, my brother.”

Can we say that to our Lord today?  “I have enough.  I am satisfied.”  If God chooses to bless me with further material goods; if He sees fit to give me other desires of my heart, I will accept it with a grateful heart and will bless the Lord with all that is within me.  But today, I choose to be content, to find satisfaction in the fact that I am saved; I have a roof over my head, food in the pantry, clothes to keep me warm; I have a husband who loves me and is a good provider; I have children who are healthy and can put their little arms around me and kiss me in the mornings and say, “Good morning, Mommy.  I love you.”
I have so much.  I want to live in the today, in this moment, basking in the love of my Lord and in the blessings He has graciously bestowed upon me.

And I choose to be satisfied in what I enjoy.  Today.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Overwhelmed

Our Baby Tommy Greg is growing very quickly.  In only a few weeks, he will be 9 months old.  As he grows (and gets fatter as he now eats solids), he is quickly outgrowing his clothes.

When our baby was new-born, a sweet friend of mine sent our baby 15 3-6 month onesies, which I put on him just about every single day.  He has used those onesies and practically worn them out.  I don't know what I would have done without them!  (Thank you, Misty!)

The other day, I told my husband, "We need to get the baby more clothes.  He has outgrown the ones he has."  (My sister recently went to the U.S. and had bought some clothes for our baby. We had been waiting for someone to go her way so they could bring them to us, but my brother-in-law sent them to us last week.)  Last Saturday, I mentioned to one of my friends here in town that our baby has outgrown his clothes, and that I was expectantly awaiting the box of clothes from my sister.    My friend said, "Oh, I have a bunch of clothes that my baby has outgrown!  I'll give them to you!"  She gave me two bags of 9-12 month clothes.  (She gave me very nice OshKosh and Carter's!!  Overalls, the most darling blue jeans, matching outfits and onesies!!!)  Andrew and I were overwhelmed, and when we got home, Andrew put the clothes on the baby and he "modeled" them for us.  What fun!!!  (Thank you, Julie!)

And today, we got our package from my sister...3 bags of 9-18 month clothes...I cannot contain myself at the goodness of God's provision, and His exact timing.  I marvel that He loves my baby so much, and clothes him. 

The clothes we have received in the last 4 days are a direct answer to a specific need.  Yes, if God so clothe the grass of the field, and He feeds the sparrow, He will provide our every need.



God's Provision