Thursday, March 5, 2009

One of Life's Most Important Lessons

Hello everyone!
I usually like to try to share my thoughts about living for the Lord on this blog, and today I will do that too, but today is a short story about my family.

Yesterday we lost our home and almost every single thing we owned to a house fire. I happen to be at the laundromat with a lot of our casual clothes, so we do have those.

Now that I am living thru this situation, and am not speaking from the view of an outsider, I will let you know one thing that is helping me to be okay...

I've been saying for years that the most important things in life are not things.

My husband was the only one home at the time. None of us were hurt, and even my kitty was not in the house-we're hoping to find her today!

Our house could have caught fire in the middle of the night, or Dan could have died in the fire. Instead of losing my possessions, I could be planning funerals today, or someone could be planning mine.

Life is so fragile-make sure your children and family and spouse know you love them. I never thought I would see the day that my house burned down either.

So remember! Things are just that--THINGS! We can make do without them! What's most important is remembering to be thankful for having your loved ones safe! :)

Here is a link to our only claim to fame:
Sorry-it will only let you read the front page.

Everyone have a blessed day!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Why Am I Surprised?

Picture this:

A 5 year old child has a beloved bicycle, and the front tire goes flat.  He can't fix it on his own-he doesn't know how.  So he calls on Daddy, and Daddy fixes it in a flash.

The furnace in the house breaks, and it is the middle of winter.  The Father jumps right on it and the heat is back on in a few hours.

How do you think the child feels about the bike and furnace both being fixed by his dad?  

I believe most children look at their fathers as if they can fix anything!  The bike was something special to the boy, although not a need, and Daddy fixed it.  The furnace being fixed was a need, and Daddy came thru again.

I don't believe that the child was surprised, do you?  I think his/her full confidence is in the man he/she loves more than any other man in the world.

Can you imagine how the father would have felt if his little one would have said, "Wow!!!  I can't believe it!  I didn't think you could do it!  That's amazing!  I'm so shocked!  This is unbelievable!  I'm just amazed!  I didn't know you had it in you!  I am so surprised!  Wow-you're greater than I thought!  I mean, I knew you might be able to, but probably wouldn't, but this is too much! 

If my children acted like that when I did something I'm fully capable of, I think I'd be a bit offended that they had no confidence in me.

I would much rather hear, "Wow, Mom!  This is great!  I knew you could help me!  I know you've helped me so many times before.  I didn't doubt for a moment!"

My question is, why are we so surprised when God does the miraculous, or answers specific prayers we've given to Him?  

I do my best to have a thankful spirit, and I thank Him for the things He's done for me over the  years, so I don't mean that we should be ungrateful and expecting everything like a spoiled child.

But I would much rather go to God and let Him know that I know He can take care of my needs!  Sure, all of us fight with doubts when we can't see what is going to happen, but for several months, I've been changing my thinking to "I know You're the Healer", or "I know You can answer this prayer for me."  

I think that God wants me to feel this way, and I'm working regularly on increasing my faith, and believing in great things!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Blessings in Disguise

A lot of times, we may look at things in life as if they are a bad thing, or a tragic event or circumstance that we have to endure.  Situations that arise, sickness or injury to the body, a layoff from a job, missing the bus for work, or whatever else.

Before jumping to conclusions, I think we may do ourselves huge favors if we tweak our thinking, and try to look at the positive side of things.

A couple of examples from my own life show me that blessings can come in diguise!

I have had a breathing problem my entire life.  It isn't quite asthma, but a lot of times I just can't get a full breath.  As a teenager, before I was a Christian, I didn't always make the right choices, and wanted to be "cool" like the other "cool" teenagers.  Thankfully, due to my breathing problem, I was never able to take up the habit of smoking, like the teens around me.  Now that I am almost 40, I am grateful that I am not battling with this addiction that contributed to the loss of my dear daddy, who died 20 years too early.  My breathing problem was a blessing in disguise.

I plan to post my testimony on this blessing around March because it was when we received this miracle, but will briefly mention it here.  My son was partially deaf in one ear, and needed surgery to correct the problem.  I had Dakota prayed for before he was to go in for his pre-op appointment, and when he went to his appointment, his hearing had raised 30 decibels in his ear, and his hearing is now perfect in both ears.  God healed him!  He no longer needed surgery!  This was 3 years ago, and he passed every yearly physical perfectly!  But you know, had we not been faced with this situation, we would still be thankful for all that God has done in our lives.  But because we were facing a delimma, God once again gave us a miracle, and showed us his greatness!  I was blessed to see THE Healer touch my child, and my child was able to build upon his young faith that God is alive and cares about each and every one of us, and wants to move in our lives.  It was a blessing in disguise.

My husband injured his knee and needed surgery, so was unable to do his job as a tree climber.  I still remember my father-in-law encouraging that maybe God had something better for us.  That year became a year of financial blessing for us.  It was a blessing in disguise.

Maybe our car not starting saved us from a tragic car accident.  Maybe forgetting milk and having to make an extra trip to the store gave us the opportunity to help an elderly customer who couldn't find what they needed.  Maybe the flat tire had a meaning, or maybe having to wait an extra 15 minutes on a friend meant something too.

Blessings are all around us-I think we just need to take life as it comes without much complaining and look for the positive side of our situations.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Jesus Picks Up Pennies

I am borrowing my title and basic thought from a message I heard preached several years ago.

In this world we live in, a penny isn't worth much.  You can't really buy anything with a penny anymore--is there still such a thing as penny candy?

When people are busy hustling and bustling about to and fro, walking down the busy streets, sometimes they will see a penny laying on the ground.  Since  a penny isn't worth much, they'll often just leave it lay.  Certainly, no one would run out in front of a car on a busy highway to pick up a penny!  And look at so many pennies!  You see the wear and tear on them-stained, faded, dull, and almost useless.

As much as I feel blessed, and feel that I have a good life, reality is that we do live in a harsh world, where people face incredible hardships, and their lives become "stained, faded, dull, and sometimes almost useless".  Drug and alcohol addictions, fears, depression, and other things can cause a person to become incapacitated, powerless to change.

But do you know what the good news is??  Jesus picks up pennies!!!  He doesn't just pick them up, He shines them up, removes the stains, and makes them worth something!  

And do you know what else is amazing?  Jesus did more than the equivalent of running out in front of a car on a busy street to pick up a penny!  He gave His life on a cross for all of us pennies!!!

The ways of Jesus are mind-boggling...

The King of Kings wants to pick up every penny!

He who owns it all wants to take those of us whose lives were nothing, and give us all!

He who is so holy and cannot sin loves sinners!

He who owes me nothing wants to give me everything!

Isn't He amazing?  I'm so glad that Jesus picks up pennies!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Our Tribute to Nicholas

I would like to take today and dedicate all of my blogs to Nicholas Masiker, our friend who was taken in a car accident two years ago today.  Nicholas was a fine Christian young man, and was a real blessing to our church.  I hope you will take a moment to view this slideshow of him, and see what a wonderful family he has.  

And please say a prayer for Nicholas' family today-that God will comfort and strengthen them.  And I thank you for your prayers.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

How Great Thou Art!!!

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When I look around this beautiful world that we live in, I cannot help but to see the awesomeness of God everywhere!  

Isn't it amazing how a snowflake is so tiny, yet when it is joined with zillions of other snowflakes, it makes a sparkling white blanket over the land?  

Isn't it wonderful to have the joy of a beautiful furry friend, who loves unconditionally, and gives great pleasure to our lives?

Isn't it beautiful to see the smile of another human being, and that of two or more, who love each other?  Family, friends, husbands and wives-that incredible emotion called love is really beyond words.

When I ponder all of these things, I cannot see how anyone can truly believe that there is no God, that this all just happened by an explosion.  

I want to give credit where credit is due~Lord, how great Thou art!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's Only Me

For God so loved the world....

Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 9:10-13 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.

And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Matthew 11:28  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

I clean homes as a part time job, and my customers do not always stay home while I am there.  

While I was cleaning at one home, the phone rang and the answering machine picked up.  I could hear the voice on the other end, and she said, "It's only me.......give me a call."  The voice on the other end was an elderly sister or friend to my customer.

This voice message stayed in my mind, and I thought about how alone and insignificant we can feel in this great big world.  In the grand scheme of things, what difference do I make, when I haven't done some great thing to change the world, or my last name doesn't make people stand up and take notice?  After all, it's only me.

When I've looked in the Bible at how Jesus treated people, He had time for the people that seemed insignifcant to the "important people" of the day.  He loved children, and let His disciples know that the children were welcome to come to Him, even though they hadn't done something big to change the world, and were most likely not noticed by many people outside of their families.

I often think about when Jesus sat and ate with the sinners and publicans.  The religious people of the day looked on in their self-righteousness and had a critical additude that Jesus would take time for the "unimportant" folks.  Once again, the Lord displayed His love for all mankind.  Everytime I think of this story, I picture Jesus laughing and joking with the sinners and publicans.  His love for us that was manifested in the flesh intrigued folks and drew them to Him-He didn't snub His nose at them.  Jesus, the great Physician, came to help the sick-He didn't push them aside for more "important" folks and think, "It's only the sinners."  He loved them enough to die for them.

For the last 20 plus years that I've talked to the Lord, He has never made me feel like "It's only me."  I may feel insignifcant within myself, but He's always invited me to share myself with Him, to give Him my heavy burdens, to share my greatest moments, and He has always had time for me.  I've never felt Him turn me away for something or someone more important than me.  He continues to draw at my heart because He loves me and wants to be my companion, my helper, my keeper, my healer, my Saviour.  

What a marvelous, wonderful Friend!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Testimony of Peace

It's a snowy day in Pennsylvania...and actually, it's been snowing ALL day.   Severe weather conditions sent my daughter home early from work, and has kept us from making any plans for the entire day.  The severe warning is supposed to be over at 1 a.m.

This time of year always takes me back to about 6 years ago.  It was a time in my life when I was facing a giant, and when God delivered me.

I'm originally from Ohio, where it is mostly flat.  I moved to the beautiful state of Pennsylvania when I married Dan.  Only 120 miles from home, it is amazing the difference in the land-mostly flat in Ohio, and lots of hills in Pennsylvania.

Somehow as the years began to pass after my move here, the winters started scaring me.  For the first several years I lived here, I literally ended up in a ditch every other winter.  It sounds a little comical, but when fear grips your heart, it's a tormenting reality that you suffer with every time the snowflakes start to fall.  When I would wake up in the morning, dread would overcome me if it was snowing.  It was harder and harder for me to want to leave my house.  It was becoming paralyzing to me.  And being the newcomer amongst the lifetime locals, they couldn't really comprehend how my heart would sink because this type of winter weather was the norm to them.

About 6 years ago, we had an evangelist come thru our city and preach at our church.  Brother Smart will always be a fond memory to me.  A unique man that was 95% blind, but saw things in the Spirit better than most of us will ever see.  

Near the end of the church service, the congregation had gathered around the front of the church, and many were praying and getting prayed for(James 5:14  Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord).  I had asked for prayer for something in my life, and Brother Smart said he sensed that I was troubled by fear.  I knew that the Lord had spoken to him about me-a visiting preacher that could not see my face, even if I had worn the expression of fear.  Maybe the Lord chose him to increase my faith. 

That night I received prayer, and God delivered me from that horrible, tormenting fear that had gripped me so strongly, and was growing stronger every year.

I'm thankful to know the Deliverer-once again, God has shown His grace to me!

It is several years later, and I can say that I am still delivered.  :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Unknown Miracles

Matthew 12:15.....and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;

John 5:2-4  Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.

 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.

 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.

I'm sure many of us have read in the Bible where Jesus healed people--the woman with an issue of blood, the 12 year old girl who died, blind Bartimaeus, and many others.  In the second passage of scripture I have shown, we see where only one person was healed each time the angel came down and troubled the water of Bethesda.

Even tho we may not "see" an entire multitude healed, I wonder how many times Jesus has healed people today, and we haven't even known it.

The Bible teaches that if there are any sick among the church people, have the elders in the church pray for them.  

I wonder how many times someone has gone to church with a headache, or stomach pain, or weakness in their bodies, and had the elders pray for them.  And of those same people, I wonder if Jesus actually performed a miracle that we could not see when the prayer of faith was prayed.  

How many of those headaches may have actually been a brain tumor, if the Lord hadn't touched that person in the first stages of it?  How many ulcers did a doctor never see, because the Lord touched what we thought was just a serious stomach ache?  How many hospital visits have never happened, because Leukemia was stopped before we could ask the doctor why we were running so many fevers and had so much fatigue?

I believe that often times we don't see all the miraculous things that God is doing in our lives, and all around us.  Each day with breath in our bodies, we have much to be thankful for, when we can see what He is doing, and what we can't see.  

He is such a gracious God!   

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Jesus, I love you

It's the start of a new year, which is usually a time of expectation for me.  I enjoy starting the new year with some goals in mind, and usually abandon them when reality sets back in, and I come back to my senses!  

What was I thinking?!  Of course I'm not going to read a book a week!  I'm a mother and wife!  I work!  I procrastinate(shh!! don't tell anyone!)! 

No, I'm not going to crash diet, exercise two hours a day, and be a new, 20 pound lighter woman with new, smaller wardrobe by Valentine's day!  Give the size 8 clothes away-it just ain't happening!

I may know deep in my heart that I can't look to my future with anticipation of having read half of the books at the local library.  I may not show enthusiasm over the 7 pounds I just knew I'd lose by Friday.  But there is one thing I can always look forward to...

There is a song by Norman Hutchins called Jesus I Love You.  A few of the words are:

Jesus I love you
Because you care
I couldn't imagine
If you weren't there....

I remember singing this song during worship several months ago, and I really thought about the meaning of the words.  Truly, I couldn't imagine if He weren't there!  

What an amazing God we serve!  The Creator of all the universes has taken an interest in this tiny being on Planet Earth!  He cares!

I couldn't imagine facing the death of my daddy without the Comforter.  
I didn't have to face my fears alone when I found out my son was partially deaf, and my daughter may have diabetes and need medical care for the rest of her life---all in the same day!
I didn't have to rely on doctors alone when my dear friend Angela nearly died after having her second child.
I don't have to rely on my own intelligence when I ask the Lord to comfort and give strength to my dear friends who lost their son in an accident 2 years ago.  

All the brilliance in the world cannot accomplish things like these.

I don't know what I would do with my warmed heart if I didn't have this great Creator to thank for his beautiful creation and creatures(read my blog A Chocolate Bouquet to see how I feel about my cat!).  I sometimes just have to remind God how awesome I think His creation is!  How wasteful it would be to stand in awe at beautiful things, and not have Someone to thank for them!

Jesus, I love you!  I really couldn't imagine if You weren't there!  

My silly little goals and ideas may never come to fruition in 2009, but one thing is certain that I can always count on-Jesus will ALWAYS be with me, and for this, I am ever so grateful.