Monday, January 31, 2011

Never the Same

“Once you get to know God, truly know Him: you’ll never be the same.” This guarantee spoken of at camp meeting inspired me. I wanted it to be my experience.

It’s more than a month later. Searching for God with all my heart, I’ve found Him. But now it’s really hot. It’s summer in January, right! Despite having had a cold shower before going to bed, the air seems heated inside the house. It would surely be better even just on the front steps. I step out. I feel the soft breeze.
The sky is clear. Not a cloud anywhere. The stars twinkle in distinct brilliance. I start thanking God for the beauty of it. It turns into my evening prayer. My mind is clear in the cool air. I stay there for a long while. My heart feels close to heaven. I ask God to take care of my thoughts as I sleep. I pray for many people. Soon, I have to close to the door. I jump up onto my bunk and fall asleep.

My mind is a bit foggy. I’m still in that sub-conscious. But I’m waking up. It’s the feeling, the thoughts that have me so surprised. My very first thought – what I woke up to: elation, excitement, just totally in awe-ness of God. My heart, my whole being is focused on the beauty and wonder of Jesus. I feel like I’m going to burst. He’s sweeter than the fairest of ten thousand. Better than I’d ever imagined. His sacrifice: for me. So huge! He loves me so-o-o-o-o much! It was amazing. Everything seemed pale near Him. My heart was full to brim.
Soon I was wide awake. The rapture of the moment lingered. God had taken care of my thoughts truly. And given me a wider concept of how great He is.

Later on in the afternoon, I was relating the experience to Mama. “I so love God!” I added.
“How can you not, when you know Him?”
“That reminds me,” I agreed, “I know now for myself, ‘when you really know God, you’ll never be the same.’”

Friday, January 28, 2011

To be Caught was to Die

“Mother!” Amanda screamed in a whisper, for the soldiers must not hear. Father was gone, and mother was kneading bread, getting ready to put it into the pans. Katrina, Amanda's mother, as she so often did, had the Bible open upon the table, memorizing precious passages as she worked.

Mother and Father and little Amanda lived in the northern mountains of Italy around AD 700, during the time that we call the Dark Ages. The Bible was outlawed and to be caught owning or reading one meant death.

Katrina had taught Amanda the Bible since she was very little, but she had also taught her the importance of secrecy, obedience, and discretion; for one careless word could cost her life, her family's life, and perhaps even the lives of others. Amanda was thinking that if she kept memorizing like her mother did someday she might have the whole Bible memorized, when all of a sudden the sound of pounding hooves on the path to their quiet valley home broke her train of thought. She had just enough time to peek out and see the soldiers jumping off their horses in front of the door. “Mother! They're soldiers!” was all she needed to say, but she knew they were caught. The soldiers did not wait to knock but pushed the door open and stormed in.

“Where's the book?” the soldiers demanded! “You have been reported as having a Bible. Turn it over to us now.” Shocked, Amanda thought that surely they could see it lying open right there on the table, as there hadn’t been time to hide it. She looked, but the Bible was not there! Where was it? She looked at her mother but only saw her calmly putting the last pan of bread into the oven.

Turning around, mother simply said, “I don't know who could have reported such a thing. You won't find a Bible in this house. But you can search, if you like.” So the soldiers began to search. They overturned the beds, poked holes in their things, and searched every nook and cranny. They tested all the boards of the floor and the timber of the walls, but they did not find it. They looked in the firebox to see if there were any remnants of a burnt book; they looked in the oven but only saw the baking loaves of bread. Finally, in frustration and thinking it must have been a false report that they had received, they left.

Once Amanda and her mother could no longer hear the beating hooves of the horses, and still whispering from fear, Amanda said: “Mother, wherever did you put the Bible? Where is it?”

“Let me take the bread out of the oven first. I was afraid it might get too done before they left. There now, doesn't that look fine?” Katrina calmly said, holding up the first loaf. “Isn't it wonderful how the Lord always provides for our needs? Dear, we must thank the Lord for protecting us, for surely if He had not sent His angel, we would have been caught.”

“But, mother, where is the Bible? Did an angel really take it?”

“Not exactly, my dear,” Katrina answered. “But an angel did tell me what to do. Come, let us kneel and thank God for His protection.” So within that humble dwelling ascended grateful prayers for God's merciful protection. Arising from their knees, mother told Amanda that she would find out about the Bible when Father came.

Amanda eagerly awaited Father's return, for she could hardly wait to find out about the Bible! As Father entered the little house, the table was set, and in the middle of the table was a loaf of bread. Usually Father cut the bread, but this time, after prayer, mother insisted on cutting it. Reverently, as though this was the most precious thing on earth, she cut through the crust. “Mother! There's the Bible!” Amanda exclaimed in a whisper. Carefully Mother peeled the bread away from the precious book . It was unhurt and miraculously preserved.

Mother said: "When the soldiers came, I didn't have time to even think. It was as if an angel spoke to me, and my hands immediately complied. I wrapped the Bible in the bread dough and put it in the last loaf of bread and put it into the oven. I would never have been able to think of it so quickly. Surely the Lord has protected us."

The Dark Ages was definitely a fearful time in which to live. The Bible was rare and anyone owning, reading, or believing in the Bible or the truths it expressed were put to death. Dangerous it was to even be associated with anyone who had or who read a Bible. Yet there were those who were willing to sacrifice their lives and who did sacrifice their lives for God and for the truth's sake so that we may have it and read it today.

We are so blessed and so privileged to be able to read, to study, to own, and to hear the word of God. We don't have to hide the fact that we are Christians, and we don't have to live in fear of death because we have desecrated a law against the Bible. Yet, as blessed as we are, how often I have seen the Bible collecting dust on the shelf. Have we allowed the things of this world to take our attention, our time, our strength, and our love? Have we become so busy doing good things that we have failed to do the best things, such as spending time in praying, in meditating, in reading and in studying and memorizing God's word? The Bible will instruct us in the way in which we should go. It will guide and encourage us. Through it we will find a loving friend in God who will never forsake us, through peace and through storm.

There is coming a day when we will not be so privileged and so blessed to be able to hold a Bible in our hands, and to be able to read it or hear it being read to us. There is coming a day when all that we will have will be our memory. What are we filling our minds with now? Oh friend, I hope that we are so filling our minds with the word of God so that when we cannot have it in our hands, it will be in our hearts, for it will comfort us and it will strengthen us to stand firm.

Monday, January 24, 2011

All That Really Matters...

Sometimes, I have a tendency to look at people and compare myself to them. I see their amazing talents and abilities in so many things and I look at myself and feel I have not an ounce of what they have. Sometimes, I get discouraged because I feel so insignificant, so useless, and so untalented compared to everyone else. However, I realized something, something special.

I may not play the piano, violin or any other instrument as beautifully as musicians. I may not be able cook just as well as chefs. I may not be able to capture memories in photos or film as amazingly as photographers and/or videographers(if that is a word). I may not write as eloquently as others. I may not be so free and talkative, and outgoing as most are. I may not be as good in a lot of things, if not all things as everyone else is, but I realized, that is ok!

I don't have to be like other people, I don't have to be the best and neither do I have to be even be among the top-notch talented people. I don't need to compare myself with them, for I am not them! Even if I were to try to be just like them, I never would be, because God made us all different! He gave us each different abilities, different talents, and different personalities. We are each unique.

Jesus is really our only perfect example and He is the only one we should be like. As long as I strive for perfection in every aspect, as long as I am faithful in that which is least, and I give God always only my best, that is what counts. That is what matters. God's favor and His smile is all I must seek.

It's so simple, so sweet, so special. I don't need to compare myself to anyone else, for I can never be like them anyhow. All that matters.. Yes, all that really does matter is that I strive for perfection and faithfulness in all things, and do my very best for God. When I am fully surrender, and all I seek is the approval of His Majesty, no matter how 'untalented' I may be, that is when I can be useful and that is when I can make a difference.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Philippians 4:13).

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2Corinthians 12:9).

I don't have to be like everyone. I don't have to be as good at everything as they are...

All that matters is that I do my best....

All that really does matter is what God thinks of me. :-) And that is beautiful, just simply beautiful to me! :-)

Friday, January 21, 2011


Adoption... I had always loved babies and little children and when I was younger, I always dreamed of having my own some day. I dreamed.. I imagined holding my baby for the first time, looking into it's face and feeling love like I've never felt before. I wanted my own children, not adopted ones. However, slowly as time went on I started pondering it more. I started feeling sorry for those poor little children who needed a home and family to love them and I began to long to provide that for them. I met people who had adopted and everything seemed to be so smooth sailing and their love for those children inspired me. Adoption became more real to me and love grew in my heart for those little ones who needed a good home. For at least a few years, when the subject of family and children would come up, I would at times mention adoption and my sorrow and concern for all those little ones who had no one to take good care of them or show them the way to heaven.

More recently, I have been reading a few blogs of families who had adopted or are in the process of adopting. I read their stories and experiences, and I realized more than I'd ever realized before, that adoption may not be so sweet and smooth sailing as it appears sometimes! The evil tendencies, the character traits of the parents are transmitted to the children and you have to deal with those character traits and battle with the will, not to mention what the child has gone through in it's short little life. It may not be easy and infact I'm sure it is not. After reading a little, I thought, "Maybe I don't want to adopt after all!" but those thoughts soon vanished and the desire in my heart to adopt grew by leaps and bounds. Those are precious children, they need love, they need to be trained to be good men and women of principle, steadfastness and integrity. They need to be lead to the kingdom of God and they need know that God loves them but more than just knowing about God, they need to know Him. They need someone to teach them and lead them, to love them and to help them.

Who knows what sort of background they came from or what kind of parents they had but Jesus still loves them and says "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven."

It makes me burn with anger with the unjustness and unfairness in this world. Why do people cause such misery and pain and crime by having children out of wed-lock or in wed-lock and then cast them aside and totally neglect to perform their duty as parents? It's so unfair, it's so unjust, and it's so criminal! However, as much as we might hate it, there are still those poor children from such people as well as orphans who have no living mother or father. These children may have strong wills to break, they may have difficult characters to mold and fashion but they are still precious. They are still souls to save for the kingdom, they are still special to God and if someone takes these children and perseveringly loves them and trains them and leads them to the cross of Calvary, they can become great men and women with talent and ability and integrity. It pains me just think of what they might become if no one cared enough to take up that work.

Obviously, not everyone is called to adopt, they have their own God-given work to do and it is a high calling, but those who have been called to adopt and train and love these children are not called to any lower of a duty. They are as much as a preacher in the pulpit or a missionary in a foreign land. They are doing a wonderful work, an amazing work.

A word to any adoptive parents who read this, God bless you! You are doing as great a work as anyone and God will reward your efforts. God bless you for loving children that are not your own by birth as your own flesh and blood. Don't be discouraged, you are doing a marvelous work, a work so great that there are no words to express it.

I love those little children and someday if the Lord wills, I would like to adopt. I realize it's a huge challenge but if it is in God's plan that I marry someday and we are called to adopt, I would consider myself privileged to be mother to them. I know that He will provide the strength and the courage and all that is needed for He has promised that all He bids us do, He will enable us to perform.

Reach out and touch - Give your love to the loveless. Bind the wounds of a little heart aching and a little life torn and dirty. Give a home to the homeless. Give hope to the hopeless. Lead precious ones to heaven. Reach out and touch and let the love of God touch through you.

Reach out and touch... Have a heart for those less fortunate than yourself.

Reach out and touch... A little life in need.

Seek the Lord as to your calling and perform it with all diligence.

"But when we give ourselves wholly to God, and in our work follow His directions. He makes Himself responsible for its accomplishment. He would not have us conjecture as to the success of our honest endeavors. Not once should we even think of failure. We are to co-operate with One who knows no failure." (MYP 309)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Favorite Book

It was first Mum's favorite. I saw it as a sharing Jesus tool. Repeating Mum's enthusiasm over it, I gave it to a few friends as birthday presents and the like. I prayed they would read it and be blessed.
But that's when I got into a little trouble. I asked them in letters, what they especially liked in the book. It was my piano teacher's response that surprised me.
"I'm finding comfort in the book you gave me." Then in answer to some forgotten question of mine she said, "Probably Luke."
Huh? What was she talking about? Maybe it was a chapter heading. Maybe a story. I decided to check. I slipped the book loose from the others on the shelf. Inside the first page something caused a laugh. There in big, childish handwriting was written my name. I did remember that. It had been almost half my lifetime ago. The hardcover series it was part of, my brother began discovering and collecting. Finding this one before he did, I claimed it with ink.
My eyes scanned each word down the contents page. What was that story again? With each succeeding title my interest grew. Three pages later, I was convinced and surprised. There was no mention of Luke anywhere. But this book would get a chance to be mine.
The next day was Sabbath. Perfect. In the afternoon there was freetime. I prayed, asking for a blessing on what I read, that I'd understand it. The book on my lap, I began reading. By the time I was into the third chapter my attention was thoroughly caught. Tingles of joy went down my spine reading and 'seeing' the triumphant welcome at the birth of Jesus.
My interest was held, but my eyes began to blur. Oh, no! I didn't want to fall asleep on these stories. I left my room and went outside. Soon, panting I returned.
"What were you doing?" my sister asked.
"Oh, just waking up. Skipping and running helps alot!"
My eyes drooped more than once and each time when I came back, I was wide awake again.
Chapter seven - His childhood had me inspired and excited. He was such a sweet child. Wise. Loving and loved. He knew God and understood nature. Oh, to be just like Him! Then I knew I could. The promises woven through the story assured I could. So relevant. So practical. The chapter on His youth was a favorite.
Two chapter later, Mum called me. It was getting dark. Sadly, I put the book down. I wanted to keep reading. Wow! I was really enjoying this. As we did the goats together, there was a tug in me. I wanted to get it done as quickly as I could. The book was calling me. *smile*
In every spare moment I had, I would read. My relationship with God got better. My prayers were being answered. The first love I'd lost, was returning.
At every mealtime I'd read as much as I could. Every walk on my own I went on, I talked to God. And He became my Friend. Everyday I was closer to Him.
Jesus' sacrifice took on a new meaning. Before it was a cliche. Now a reality, Something that I'd watched. I saw a glimpse of His agony. I caught a bit of the angels' unutterable joy as they welcomed the King of kings back after 33 years.
He has the king's heart, the Bible says. And I know now, He has all, all of my heart.
With sadness and a thrill, I finished the book almost a month later. I feel His claim on my life. I know that no sacrifice I can make will ever come close to what He gave - all for me. I am His daughter. Soon, very soon, I'll meet Him. I can't wait. But in the meanwhile -
I can say with Mummy, Desire of Ages is my favorite book.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I Saw God Paint the Sky...

It was breathtaking. Starting off in soft, warm, peaceful and calming colors...

..they deepened...

...bursting into all it's glory with vibrant hues...

...then softening in velvety beauty, it tells me of a tender Father's, infinite, love, and care.

It gives me a little glimpse of the glories of heaven.

And... it tells me that God is in control.

Oh the wonder of it all!

Take time to soak in the beauty around you.

Take time to see the character of God in His handy work and to learn from the great lesson book of nature.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Psalms 19:1-14)

Goodnight world.

“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.” (Psalms 4:8)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Reach Out and Touch

Reach out and touch a soul that is hungry;
Reach out and touch a spirit in despair;
Reach out and touch a life torn and dirty,
A man who is lonely - If you care!

Reach out and touch that neighbor who hates you;

Reach out and touch that stranger who meets you;
Reach out and touch the brother who needs you;
Reach out and let the smile of God touch thro' you.

Reach out and touch a friend who is weary;

Reach out and touch a seeker unaware;
Reach out and touch tho' touching means losing
A part of your own self - If you dare!

Reach out and give your love to the love-less;

Reach out and make a home for the homeless;
Reach out and shed God's light in the darkness;
Reach out and let the smile of God touch thro' you.

~Charles F. Brown

Once upon a time there was a man, cold and weary, hungry and dirty, sad and lonely that sat beside the enterance to the grocery store. Seeing this man in such a wretched condition touched the heart of one who was much better off. Finding a blanket, putting a little food and a few dollars in a bag she gave it to the poor man. He looked at her with gratitude in his eyes and extended his hand to shake hers in thanks but seeing how dirty he was she could not bring herself to shake his hand and soon left him alone again... Sometimes I wonder, would I have been willing to reach out to shake his wet and grimy hand and tell him of my Saviours love?

Would I be willing to reach out and give my love to the love-less? Would I be willing to reach out and shed God's light in the darkness and let the smile of God touch thro' me?

Father, I don't know the answer to those questions, but oh, make me willing to reach out and touch! Help me to realize that to lose is to really to gain.

Reach out and touch....

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year!

As the new year approached, I became excited. Not really because I wanted 2010 to end, but because it's a new year, a new start, a new beginning, new experiences, new everything and I'm excited to see what God has in store for us in the new year.

These are definitely not in order but some of the events and highlights of 2010 were
  • Travels
  • Being with Family
  • Campmeetings
  • Friends
  • Getting to do some projects that I had wanted to do for a long time but never got a chance to
  • Taking some online sewing classes which have inspired me and made me enjoy sewing more then ever
  • My brother's engagement
  • My brothers marriage to Kelsey in December
A couple of my greatest sewing accomplishments this year I believe are a quilt I made for my brother and sister-in-law and a dress I made to wear at their wedding.

Especially throughout the dress making process I really felt that God was right there helping me each step of the way. One miracle after the other seemed to happen, in being able to get the supplies just in time, being able to make the pattern for it and to sew it in the short amount of time that I had (I had only about 24 hours from start to finish), is something that I can only say, to God be the glory. I had never made a pattern before, never had sewn a dress before, never had made a blouse before, and never had worked with Chiffon or Satin or Georgette fabrics before etc... I remember feeling so incompetent and so in need of help and guidance. I felt so dependent upon God and had to pray a lot and trust that He was going to help me and help it come out nice even without making a test dress to make sure the pattern and everything else was going to come out right, for I didn't have time for the extra sewing. Anyhow, that is one dress that I consider a miracle from God for I really felt that He was there helping me, guiding me and working with me on it! I remember praying practically for every stitch I made, and I know He answered. When I finished it, I felt so relieved, happy, and blessed that it came out so well. This was one project that I believe God really blessed in and gave me the ability to do and to me, it was a special miracle dress for I would never have been able to do it without Him!! I must also thank my seamstress friend and teacher Mrs. Glenys for the inspiration, the counsel and the encouragement she gave me.

Jonathon's and Kelsey's wedding went well. It was simple but sweet. The music was wonderful and my brother sang a beautiful song "I Will Be Here" that made me cry. It was nice to see neighbors, friends, and family there and we appreciated each of them coming. The cake was well done and Kelsey had a special surprise grooms cake made for Jonathon that had a tool belt and tools. Unfortunately it rained the whole day but the wedding and reception was inside so it didn't spoil it too much. We just got really wet and our hair do's got ruined when we decorated the truck! It was fun though and at least we didn't do any naughty things to it. :-) We blew bubbles and threw fake snow at them as they left to start their journey of life together. I wish the newlyweds happiness and love forever.

As I look back upon 2010, what a year it was! It was definitely a busy year, a full year, an exhausting year, a year of change, a year of blessings and a year of firsts. To be sure it had its share of pain and tears but those only worked to draw me nearer to God, to depend upon Him more, to find strength and comfort in Him and to find in Him a never failing friend. God has been so good to me and so many times that I can't even hardly begin to mention He has shown me His love and care in ways that I dreamed and ways I never dreamed or even thought about.

I don't know what 2011 holds for any of us but this I know that that we must press forward in the strength of God to accomplish the work He wants to do in us and to accomplish the work that He wants to do through us for others. We can look back and see where we have failed and fallen. We can see where we could have and should have done things differently but we must remember that there is forgiveness and mercy for our failures, grace for our journey, strength for today and hope for tomorrow . We can not change the past but we can learn from it and press forward. We must not turn back, be discouraged or be weary in well doing for it will be worth it all one day! God lives and because He lives, I can face tomorrow! Because He lives my friends, you can face tomorrow and the future too! He is a friend that will last for eternity. He is a friend that hurts when you hurt, understands you when no one else does, is there to comfort you, to protect you, to strengthen you, and greatest of all, He loves you and will never forsake you.

My prayer and wish for you in this year, 2011, is that your relationship with God will become stronger and deeper than it's ever been before; and that you will be sure that your calling and election is sure. Jesus is coming soon and oh, how I long for each one of you to be among the ransomed! I wish you mountains of blessings, but the greatest wish I have for you is something only God can give, and that is true happiness, true peace and true love.

I wish you one and all a Happy New Year!

"Do we truly wish our loved ones a happy new year? Then let us make it such to them by kindness, by sympathy, by cheerfulness, by unselfish devotion. If we connect with God, the source of peace, and light, and truth, his Spirit will flow through us as a channel, to refresh and bless all around us. This may be the last year of life to us. Shall we not enter upon it with thoughtful consideration? Shall not sincerity, respect, benevolence, mark our deportment toward all?" (Signs of the Times, January 5, 1882 par. 11)

"...A new year opens its unsullied pages before us. What shall we write upon them?
"Seek to begin this year with right purposes and pure motives, as beings who are accountable to God. Ever bear in mind that your acts are daily passing into history by the pen of the recording angel. You must meet them again when the Judgment shall sit and the books shall be opened....

"May the beginning of this year be a time that shall never be forgotten--a time when Christ shall come in among us, and say, "Peace be unto you." John 20:19." (Our High Calling p. 7)
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