Friday, August 28, 2015

F.F.F. - 08.28.15

Wow! I can't believe this is the last Friday in August already!

1. I've been enjoying the cool wave that has went through my area. This weekend, we will be back at 90° but I've really enjoyed the coolness while I could.

2.  New professional photos of the twins were made this week. Although, aggravatingly, the twins did not smile much for their photo shoot, the pics were still. Adorable!



3.  I've been having fun modifying my study on Gideon into blog-posts.  What do you think? To save space on the post, should I continue posting links for the actual scripture passages as I have done? Or is is easier for study to actually have the passage printed out with my points? I still can't decide which is better.

4. This may be a trivial thing, but it makes me happy:  I got a new sheet set this week that actually has deep enough pockets on the fitted sheet to fit my mattress.  No more sheets flipping up over the mattress! Who knew 17" pockets could bring such joy?

It's the little things ...

5.  Quote of the week:  

What if we took Desmond Tutu’s words to heart? “Do your little bit of good where you are. It’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
… seen on Grace Table


And so ends another week on the Journey.  How did YOUR week go?  Please share by either leaving a comment, or link up your own post at Susanne's space,  Living to Tell the Story.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Are You Part of the 300? (Part 2)


Welcome back to our study of the story of Gideon.  If you haven't read Part 1, you really should! Here is a link to it, Are You Part of the 300? (Part 1).

I'll wait while you read it.

Done?  Okay, we left off with the question, "Is it okay to ask for a sign?" Let's see what Gideon does.



Judges 6:17-21  - GIDEON:  A MAN SEEKING A SIGN

·        It's okay to ask for a sign when something is not detailed in the Word of God. Some things you don't have to ask for a sign, such as, "Is it God's will for So and So to get saved?"  God has already said that He is not willing that any perish and that all come to repentance. You already know God's will. But when you don't know what His will is, you can ask for a sign like Gideon did. In fact, keep reading, you will see he does it more than once! 

·        Gideon asks for a sign. He goes and prepares an offering and places it before the Lord. The Lord tells him to place it on a rock and then the Lord touches it with the tip of His staff. Fire consumes the offering and the Lord disappears. This reminds me of the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. Only God can answer by fire!

·        God answered by fire and then vanishes, but we know that even if Gideon can't see Him, He is there because He said "Surely, I will be with you."

Judges 6:22-24  - I HAVE SEEN GOD FACE TO FACE

·        Gideon realizes that it was the Lord he saw and he was terrified. Our Lord was so sweet to calm his fears! He knew Gideon's fears even though He had vanished out of Gideon’s sight. Gideon built an altar and named it "The Lord Is Peace."


Judges 6:25-27 - FIRST THINGS FIRST

·        What's the first thing you do when you are called by God?  You get rid of any sin in your life. God called Gideon to get rid of the place where Baal was worshipped on HIS OWN FATHER'S LAND!

·        I think it is worth mentioning: When we are facing an impossible trial, is there anything we have done that we need to make right? Let us each examine our own thoughts and attitudes and make things right before attempting to go into battle.

Judges 6:28-32 - NOT "POLITICALLY CORRECT"

·        As always when you do something for God, you stir up trouble. Baal worship had become the main religion of Israel. Baal was thought to be the god of weather and during this time of oppression by the Midianites the Israelites prayed all the more to Baal not realizing they were making things worse for themselves.

·        Gideon's father made a logical answer to save his life from the angry crowd, in essence saying, "if Baal is a god, let him take care of this himself."


Judges 6:33-35  - GIDEON: A MAN WITH FEW FOLLOWERS
·        The Spirit of the Lord fell on Gideon and gave him the power to blow a trumpet and 32,000 troops gathered. (I love how the ESV translates it "the Spirit CLOTHED Gideon!")

·        Gideon started with 32,000 warriors against a sea of Midianites.  (Judges 6:5 tells us, "For they would come up with their livestock and their tents, coming in as numerous as locusts; both they and their camels were without number; and they would enter the land to destroy it.")

·        An enemy without number. A horde of troops so numerous it was like sand upon the shore.  What would you do?


Judges 6:36-40 - TIME FOR ANOTHER TEST

·        Now, you know, at first I thought ... I can't believe Gideon is asking for a sign again!  But if you were looking at an enemy so numerous you can't count them all ... wouldn't you need to know that you know that you know that God had called you?

·        It's true that Gideon's faith was weak, but remember, he is included in the Hebrews chapter 11 Hall of Faith! Thank God that He has patience with us even when our faith is small.

I hope you can come back next Thursday for the exciting conclusion to Gideon's story! It is definitely a faith-builder.

~~~


Have you ever faced an enemy in your life that it seemed to you to be bigger than an army without number?


Grace&Truth-300x300

I'm linking this post with the community at Grace and Truth. You can find more wonderful content, or link up your own page, at Arabah Joy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Schooldays

1964 School Building - Google Images
Our schooldays have such an important part in shaping the kind of people we will grow up to be. I think we learn far more about ourselves and life than just the academic subjects the teachers present everyday!

School is the first place you encounter authority and social structure outside the home (besides church for those who have been raised by believers).

Educators can influence a child's life so greatly.  I personally feel we do not pay educators enough, nor teach our children to respect them like we should. I think each school's "teacher of the year," should be made to feel like a rock star! Instead of posters of celebrities and sports figures who often have no morals whatsoever, what if there were a giant photo of a beloved teacher hanging on a kid's bedroom wall?

What if they said, "When I grow up, I want to be just like Miss Siebert?'

Miss Siebert was my third and fourth grade teacher.  (She got promoted to fourth grade teacher the same year I moved up to fourth grade.) She was a strict no-nonsense little German lady who wore a variation of a jacket dress and little black tie-up shoes everyday of her life.  She must have had a standing appointment at the hairdresser's because her hair looked the same everyday, salt and pepper hair teased and curled into a helmet shape.

I loved Miss Siebert, I really did, but I will never forget the day I got on her last nerve.

A little back story first: as a child, I suffered from eczema on my hands. In the era I grew up, recess meant doing things with your hands such as skipping rope, dodge ball, climbing monkey bars and playing Red Rover. Activities where you would either hold hands in a game or else use your hands to climb or hold a ball were all the kinds of things I avoided. This meant often all the kids would be engaged in doing these things and I would be. Standing. Alone.

Children, being the way children are, would not quietly ignore my problem but would announce loudly, "Ew, don't hold hands with her, she's got the creeping crud."

I would go to Miss Siebert for a little commiseration and understanding.  But, as the saying goes, the pitcher went to the well once too often. Miss Siebert got fed up with my feeling sorry for myself.

I was in the classroom whining again about how the other kids wouldn't play with me, when she turned red and started breathing fire. She marched up to me, grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me until I thought her bobby pins might fly out of her hair. She spoke through clenched teeth, "I'm sick of hearing you feel sorry for yourself. No one will want to play with a whiner!  Now you go out there and act like nothing is wrong and eventually someone will play with you. And don't come back in here until the bell rings." 

So, I slunk back out of her room like a dog with my tail tucked between my legs.  I wandered around the side yard of the playground and eventually struck up a conversation with another little girl. I found out if you take the first step someone will be waiting to meet you halfway. 

I also learned nobody wants to hear someone whine... and ... fake it till you make it.

~~~

Now, did Miss Siebert say the old proverb, 
"A man who has friends must himself be friendly..." Proverbs 18:24a NKJV
No, but that is really what she meant when she encouraged me to go back out there and act like nothing is wrong. If you don't act friendly, no one will be friendly.

The next time I got in trouble, it was for talking too much, but that is a story for another day!


~~~

I'm sharing this post at The Loft today because their topic is School Memories. This is one memory I will never forget.


The Loft: A weekly Hangout and Link Up for Christian bloggers

What about YOU? Do you have memory from your school days you would like to share? Leave a comment, or consider linking your own post at Leah's site, Point to Jesus.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Daybook: 08.24.15

For Today... Monday, August 24th


Outside my window... a glorious 68° with the rest of the week forecast to be right around 80° for the highs - my kind of weather!

I am thinking...make that, was thinking, some gloomy thoughts. Times can be difficult. There are challenges everyday. I feel I've not done well in certain areas ... face it, I am a deeply flawed individual.

BUT, dwelling on thoughts like these do no good.  I am choosing to shake off the past and go on by dwelling on all the good, pure and praiseworthy thoughts I can think of just as Philippians 4:8 instruct me to do.

And there is a world of beautiful things to think about! 

I am thankful... my mama took me to church even when no one else would go with her. Because of her, I found Jesus.

I am wearing... a teal and purple print maxi skirt with a white frilly blouse.

I am going... to write my congressmen and senators and demand something be done about Planned Parenthood.

I am reading ... "Counter Culture" by David Platt. Again, I'm reminded our focus should not be like the world's ...

In my kitchen ... Weeknight Ravioli tonight, tomorrow will be grilled hot dogs and pasta salad (I made a huge pasta salad for a church dinner Sunday and I've tons left. Luckily, pasta salad improves with time!)  Breakfast for dinner on Wednesdays is one of my go-to menus to get done in time to drive to church. Thursday will be turkey roast. I love having my week of menus planned at the beginning. It is a stress-relieving habit.

A favorite quote for today... another gem from our beloved Bro. Chapman:

"You're called to go the second mile ... what are you gonna do about it?"


A peek into one of my days... a silver lining behind dark cloud .... captured with my iPhone last week.




One of my favorite things... Waking up with a praise song or a hymn on my mind. I love knowing that even when asleep my spirit is praising.

Last night, I woke up with this old hymn running through my brain:

I must tell Jesus all of my trials;
I cannot bear these burdens alone;
In my distress He kindly will help me;
He ever loves and cares for His own.


Refrain  I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.


I must tell Jesus all of my troubles;
He is a kind, compassionate friend;
If I but ask Him, He will deliver,
Make of my troubles quickly an end.

Refrain

Tempted and tried, I need a great Savior;
One Who can help my burdens to bear;
I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus;
He all my cares and sorrows will share.

Refrain

O how the world to evil allures me!
O how my heart is tempted to sin!
I must tell Jesus, and He will help me
Over the world the victory to win.

Refrain

Written in 1893 by Elisha Hoffman, the sentiment is still true today. Jesus is the only one who can help us bear our burdens.

From the board room... here is a quick little dessert from Pinterest I'm planning on making this week for my family


JELL-O S'More Cups Image 1
JELL-O S'More Cups recipe and photo via Kraft



Post Script:  Here is a thought provoking piece by Matt Walsh. It won't make you feel good, but maybe we need to be stirred up to action. 

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Peggy Hostetler is the creator of the Daybook concept. If you would like to link up your own Daybook page, visit The Simple Woman's Blog.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Are You Part of the 300? (Part 1)


I couldn't sleep. My churches are my life, and there were issues at both of the churches where I'm secretary … I tossed and turned for a long time and then decided to get up and read until I was sleepy. This was on the page I turned to:

"Though the church is winnowed down like Gideon's army ... don't over react. 'Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act.' Psalm 37:7 NLT" [taken from Max Lucado's book, "Fearless" page 159]

I looked at the opening page and learned that Max wrote these words in 2009.  Was it ordained of God that in 2015 on a bleak night, I'd find them?

A startling thought came to mind:  "Are the few of us that call my church home the Gideon's 300 God wants to use all these hundreds of years later?"

I decided to study the story of Gideon, and when I did, I became encouraged. You see, God can take a timid person and turn him into a leader facing impossible odds and use him to win a battle using unconventional means.

Join me as we study Gideon's story in depth. Because there is so much to be found in Gideon's story, I'm breaking it down into parts. I'm also posting a link for each section of scripture where you can click on the link and read the actual scriptures for yourself. (Okay, enough housekeeping. Back to our study.)

You remember the story of Gideon, right? You can find him in chapters 6-7 of Judges.

Here is the backstory:  Basically, Israel had 40 years rest from fighting off their enemies and what happened?  They got complacent and "did evil in the sight of the Lord."

Same old story ...

Judges 6:1-6  ENEMIES WITHOUT NUMBER

  • So, in order to get their attention and turn their hearts toward Him, God allowed the Midianites to come against them. A horde of enemies that were without number.
  • The Midianites would swoop down during harvest time and ravage Israel so that their hard work came to nothing. They were deprived of the basic necessities of life.
  • So THEN the Israelites cried out to the Lord. Why is it we always wait until we are desperate to ask for help?


Judges 6:7-10  HERE'S YOUR PROBLEM

  • And God sent an un-named prophet to tell them the problem wasn't because the Midianites were so evil, it's because the Israelites were so disobedient. (Have you ever went through a struggle brought on by your own disobedience?)

Judges 6:11-13  GIDEON:  A MAN OF QUESTIONS
  • In answer to the Israelite's prayer, He sends a delivering judge - a very unlikely one!
  • Most scholars agree the Angel of the Lord was the pre-incarnate Jesus who finds Gideon threshing wheat, not on top of a hill or high place so the wind could blow away the chaff, but in a low place, both literally and spiritually.
  • The Lord called Gideon a man of valor, but all Gideon could do is question God. (Isn't this just like us?) 
  • Gideon thought God had forsaken His people. Are we guilty of thinking God has forsaken us when experiencing hard times?

Judges 6:14-16 GIDEON:  A MAN OF DOUBTS

  • Gideon thought of himself as the least of his family. 
  • God told him "Surely, I will be with you." 
  • No matter what we are facing, we can be sure that God has not forsaken us, He is with us. God told Moses the same thing in Exodus 3:12, and Jesus told all believers He would be with them ALWAYS, UNTIL THE END OF THE AGE, in Matthew 28:20.

Have you ever asked God for a sign to help you decide what to do? Gideon did. Part 2 of our lesson will ask, and answer the question, "Is it okay to ask for a sign."

See you next Thursday!


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Call Me!

Call Me!

Our little town is one of the few left that have a town square.  Smack dab in the middle of town is a cute little park with ornamental peach and cherry trees that bloom in the spring.  There is also a vintage telephone booth that no longer works but adds charm to the square.

I was thinking of the days before cell phones. In order to make a call when you were out and about, you had to find a payphone. Sometimes you had to wait your turn because the phone would already be in use. You had to have change with you to pay for the call, or else reverse the charges and hope the other party was willing to pay. In those days, people would carry address books with them so you would be able to find the number of the person you needed to call. There was no automatic contact list on pay phones!

In other words, it took a lot more effort to call people then.

What if you went to all that trouble and the party on the other end was not home?  Suppose there were no answering machines? It would be as if you had never called, as far as the other party was concerned.

There is someone you can always call and be sure of getting an answer ...


Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. ~ Jeremiah 33:3 ESV

You want to talk?  Call Him and you will always get an answer. "Yes," "No," or the dreaded "Wait." In His timing, He will answer.

~~~

I'm sharing this post today at The Loft.


The Loft: A weekly Hangout and Link Up for Christian bloggers

You can find this link up at Leah Adams' blog, Point to Jesus

Monday, August 17, 2015

Daybook: 08.17.15

For Today... Monday, August 17th


Outside my window... is a sunny typical summer morning EXCEPT that it has cooled down and is a delightful 81°. The next couple weeks are forecast to be in the low 80s / high 70s. My dream temps! Thank you, Lord!

I am thinking...of sharing some of my Wednesday night bible lessons I've prepared over the last year or so.  I've been encouraged by Susan, from Fruitful Words, to share, so I will start by sharing my recent study on Judges 6 and 7 into smallish sections and sharing them on Thursdays. Please let me know what you think - whether they are too long or too short or whether it would be best not to do so at all ... I do not call myself an expert by any means. I just take seriously 2 Timothy 2:15:

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (English Standard Version)

Did you see the word "worker" in that verse?  Knowledge is not plopped on us, we are to work for it.

I am thankful... for the peace God gives in the midst of trying times.

I am wearing... white ankle jeans that I found at a yard sale and purchased for $1. Also, I'm wearing a cool and comfy turquoise, navy and lime tunic and my white gladiator sandals.

I am wondering... about rest. Everywhere I look these days, I see blog posts, books and hear sermons on the topic of rest. Is God trying to tell me something? 

What about you? Is this topic one you've been wrestling with as well?

I am reading... still "50 Women Every Christian Should Know" by Michelle DeRusha.  I'm a little slow on getting this book done but one thing I can tell you is that reading about what these women have went through makes me give praise to my Lord that I was born at the right time.

In my kitchen... I didn't get the Breakfast Pizza pin I shared last week done after all, but I did do a Pinterest find, Lemon Butter Chicken, as I mentioned on my FFF weekly wrap up. I highly recommend it.

Today I'm doing the old standby, Spaghetti, salad and garlic bread; but, my plan this week is to try another Asian inspired dish, Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken on Tuesday. (So often my menu goals get rearranged by LIFE. Stuff happens. I'm still going to do the Breakfast Pizza one day.) 

A favorite quote for today...

"Fast and busy does not always equal meaningful..." Shauna Niequest

Is my to-do list what really needs to be done today?

A peek into one of my days... I try to rest, I really do. Here is a picture of the lake we went and sat by for hours Saturday evening:




One of my favorite things... reading on my lunch hour. One glorious hour of uninterrupted reading pleasure!

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The daybook is a concept created by Peggy Hostetler.  Why not join us by linking up at her site, The Simple Woman's Blog, your own daybook?