Monthly Archives: April 2007

Listening.

Have you seen the new Prayer Requests tab at the top of the page?  I encourage you to be a part of this prayer ministry.  Add comments with your prayer requests, and I will update the list.  Most of all, join us in prayer for all of them. 

In particular, this very week, there are several who are facing huge trials, so I ask that you would join us in fervent prayer for the following:

1.     Heather George.  Heather is a mother and wife who recently found out that she has a brain tumor.  She has flown to the Mayo Clinic this week for consultation and possible surgery.  Her story is especially sensitive, because she has already faced huge obstacles in the caring for her daughter who has Mitochondrial Myopathy .  I do not know them, but God just keeps impressing upon me to pray for them.  I came upon their story through BooMama’s site who has initiated a fund drive to help with the family’s expenses.  Already, they have raised $17,500!!  What a blessing for a family who so needs our prayers and encouragement this week.

2.     Miss Tommie – Many of you know her, and some of you do not, but let me say that Miss Tommie is one of those godly women who just shines the love of Jesus all over her face.  There has hardly been a time that I have ever seen her that she wasn’t beaming.  She is so faithful to our church family, and most all of us consider her as our adopted grandmother.  She will be meeting our Lord soon because her liver is shutting down, and we will miss her terribly.  Please pray for her comfort during this time, as well as her family and the loss to our entire community as she goes.  We love you Miss Tommie!

3.     Galoneda – Galoneda is an effort that God is directing for about 20+ people in our community.  The focus is on one subdivision where alot of people would be afraid to approach.  Reportedly, there are numerous drug activities, prostitution, desolation, and poverty among many of the residents there.  Through the response of God’s call to several individuals, a purposeful effort is being made to visit these houses and minister to their families.  Much prayer and planning has gone into this cross-denominational effort, and is being fulfilled through members and pastors of several different area churches.  Finally!….Christians are coming together to respond to the need for ministry without worrying about whose church will be the biggest, best, most reputable, etc. 

Even before the first visits, God paved the way for this ministry by preparing the hearts of the P.O.A. board to support the effort.  In God’s perfect timing, He allowed access to the area, provided a place to minister, and prepared the board members to not only support, but if necessary, to defend the effort to the area homeowners.

A park is being cleaned up.  Backyard bible studies are being prepared for children in the area.  One young man has already rededicated his life to Christ.  A woman who is homebound and unable to interract with anyone, is encouraged because it was found out that she has been praying for 8 months that God would intervene in their neighborhood. 

It is so exciting to be near the work of God! 

Next visits are this Saturday, April 28, 2007.  The backyard bible club will be starting on May 19th.   

Please pray for all the individuals involved — those ministering, the neighborhood residents, the churches supporting this effort, the POA board for their support, and for the unseen miracles awaiting the days ahead.  It IS a revival, happening right here in Texas, and God will receive all the glory for it!

  

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Filed under Bible, Blessings, Children, Church, Commitment, Faith, Family, God, Grace, Life, Love, Preparation, Witness

Not Watching American Idol.

Our family is going to be participating in what many in America consider to be a horrible thing  –The National TV Turn Off Week. 

The bigscreen will finally be put in the repair shop (blue tube is going out).  The, yes — count them….4 (!) other televisions will be unplugged and laid to rest for the whole week…..it will be just HORRIBLE!!!  🙂   

We are doing this to be a part of the family emphasis that someone (?) started some time ago.  I don’t really know the history of it all, but National TV Turnoff Week has been going on for many years now.   

Why would I put our family through such an “awful” thing?….because I do agree that television watching takes the place of a lot of family time and other things that should be priority.  Families in America are so dictated by their schedules that we miss out on the regular sharing of our lives together.  I read stories about how the family used to sit down and read their bible together, have regular devotions, share time, and pray together.  Honestly, we have always struggled with this in our family.  Try as we might, it seems like we continually have a conflict that prevents us from making family devotions a regular part of our week.  However, this week, we are going to unplug the tube, and do what we can to make our time together count. 

I have already begun reading “Where the Red Fern Grows” to the boys tonight.  This timeless story still brings tears to my eyes, and I think they will love to hear it.  (and …we have promised to rent the movie to show them at the end of the book reading…  ha ha — next week, of course!!) 

Another priority I will focus on this week will be to read more of my bible.  As part of a wonderful 17 member e:mail accountability group, I issued a challenge for us all to find extra ways to utilize this week to do some catch up reading.  After brainstorming, the list of examples for catch up activities became: 

  1.  Make it priority over everything else.
  2. Set a goal, and stick with it.
  3. Rise an hour early everyday this week just to have coffee with the Lord.
  4. If you are busy with projects around the house, read five chapters, then complete a task, then read five more chapters, and complete another task.  Keep this up until you’ve read a whole book in one day.
  5. Commit to read half of a book at one sitting.
  6. Ask a friend to babysit for you one day this week, so that you can focus on reading.  (By the way…I’m available for anyone who needs it!)
  7. Volunteer to babysit for a friend who needs some alone time with God.
  8. Keep sticky notes handy to mark scriptures you want to research further, that way you can read through it quicker, coming back to dive deeper later.
  9. Sit down with your bible, a commentary, and a dictionary all at once so that you can look up unfamiliar scripture quickly.
  10. Put a visible marker on the page where you should be according to the calendar Cynthia gave us.  This will give you motivation and a goal.
  11. Stay up an hour later each day this week just to read.
  12. Take a vacation or personal day from work this week to read all day.  We take vacations for everything and everybody else…why not for the Lord?
  13. Take your bible to work everyday, along with a sack lunch.  Commit to using your entire lunch time everyday to read.
  14. Use audio tapes or CD’s of the bible to listen to on the way to work or as you run errands.
  15. Make a rule:  No TV unless you’ve read at least 20 chapters (or more)!
  16. Plan simplicity in your daily schedule for a week, so that you can use the time reading. 
  17. Cook using the crock pot, instead of spending two hours over the stove so you can read.
  18. Use paper plates and plastic cups to cut down on dish washing time so you can read.
  19. Hire someone to mow the lawn this week so that you can read. (By the way, there is probably some youth at church who could use the money for summer camp!)
  20. Use accountability as an advantage….commit to post your progress daily.  Nothing gets me going more than having to admit what I haven’t done!?
  21. Ask a friend to call you everyday this week to specifically ask how much you’ve read! (ouch!)
  22. Get in your car, drive to the park, and read.
  23. Let your house go…..don’t clean anything for a day!  It will end up looking like mine (?!), but at least you will have been able to read quite a bit J
  24. Drug the kids so that they will leave you alone to read.  (JUST KIDDING…..really!…..DON’T DO IT!!)
  25. Ask your husband/wife to take the kids for a fun day so that you can read at home.
  26. Get away to the library to read.
  27. Commit to read during every meal this week.  It’s a time that you usually at least sit down, and most of us can eat and read at the same time!
  28. I would love to know how many of us use the bathroom as a reading room?  Well…just substitute your bible for “Uncle John’s Big Bathroom Reader”!
  29. Ask God to help you, and then diligently commit to a reading plan.
  30. Read outdoors!  There’s something inspiring and motivating about the fresh air!
  31. Read out loud!  Involve your children and spouse…teach good habits, infect them with God’s words!
  32. Go to church an hour early, find a quiet, unused room, and read.
  33. Take your kids to McDonald’s or to the playground/park and read.
  34. Make reading your bible the first thing you do everyday…even if it makes you late for something else.  Most likely, the first day you are late for work or an appointment, you will realize that getting up earlier is what needs to happen, and change your habits from then on.  Yet…you will have honored God still by putting Him in His rightful place….FIRST!
  35. Motivate yourself with a reward if you read a certain amount this week.  …Tickets to the Ranger game, a new dress, new nails, a new fishing pole, dinner out, etc.  speaks loud and clear when we want it bad enough!!
  36. Put pictures of your reward around the house to remind you of the week end’s prize!
  37. Put notes that say, “Have you read your bible today?” all around the house.  There’s nothing better than a constant, nagging reminder to be obedient!
  38. Keep your car keys inside your bible.  Commit to read five chapters before you leave to go anywhere.
  39. Keep the remote control inside your bible!
  40. In the spirit of the “baby project” at high schools across the country…..carry your bible everywhere you go, to every room in the house, to every store, in the car, etc. until you have reached your goal this week.  When it “cries” out to you, stop to read. 
  41. Recognize that it’s all about Commitment, Willpower, and Priorities!
  42. Ask members of your Sunday School class to pray for you, and check in on you through out the week.
  43. Sticker charts are acceptable for adults, too!  Get your creative cap on, make you a chart that shows your progress, and award yourself a sticker after you read each chapter, sets of 10 chapters, book, etc.  Then….go get yourself an ice cream when you fill up the chart!! J  (Sorry….I’m a mother of a preschooler!!)
  44. Consider what you normally do with your free time.  Make a list of the time you have between sunrise and sunset that is not taken by your employment schedule.  Then…do away with those distractions this week, and “plug” in the word “Bible” during those hours.  You will probably be surprised how much time you COULD be reading!
  45. Try to sit down and make a list of acceptable reasons why you should NOT read your bible….see if you can get to #1……and then…go read!
  46. Pray before you read everyday.  Ask God to open your eyes and mind to His Word.
  47. Make it fun!….enter into a contest with a friend to read a certain amount of chapters….the first one to complete it buys lunch!
  48. Memorize this passage:  “How can a young man cleanse his way?  By taking heed according to Your word.  With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!  Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.”  Psalms 119:9-11, and then recite it out loud ten times, each time you try to talk yourself out of reading that day.
  49. Take your VCR apart, piece by piece, and then try to reassemble it.  (Most likely you won’t be able to, without an instructional manual as a guide.)  Then realize that life is much like a VCR….we need the bible to instruct us daily.
  50. After you are caught up in your reading plan, go buy another VCR!!

I thought I would just share this with you, wondering if there was anyone in “Blogdom” that might like to join us this week by reading your bible, too! 

Turn your tv’s off, find a good chair, and soak in the warmth of God’s Words.  I guarantee you that it will be better than Simon Cowell! 

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Filed under American Idol, Bible, Blogging, Children, Church, Commitment, Faith, Family, God, Identity, Life, Morals, Obedience, old-fashioned, Priorities, Tears, Television, Time, Wisdom

Mathematical 2.

(faith   + v  + k  + sc  + p  + G  + bk  + l) = (F x 2)

“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith…”

What is faith?  Why is faith so important?  Faith in Who?  Where is faith at work?  How and when did you come to understand the importance of faith?

The basis of our hope and security…the foundation of our future…the beginning of our spiritual walk with Christ  — it must be faith.

In order to begin answering our mathematical equation, we should first understand that you can’t add to something that’s not there.  The verse above said to “add to our faith”, which means that faith is the foundation of our inheritance.   Without it, we cannot know God, the things of God, nor the purpose of our life in God. 

I expect that many of you reading this today have already made a decision to accept the free gift of salvation offered by our Savior, Jesus Christ.  However, I don’t want to proceed any further without making sure.  If you have not done this, I implore you to take a moment to pause……….God is giving you another opportunity to hear the greatest of news!   Faith in God is where it all begins.

Faith starts small and simple…confessing our sin, and believing that Jesus is the Son of God who came to earth to take the punishment for our sin.  Like a newborn baby drinks milk from a bottle, salvation is easy to digest (free and available), does not need chewing (no special works required), and satisfies our hunger (is permanent, filling us with the gift of life). 

From there it takes root, and starts to grow when we apply God’s Word to our lives.  At some point, we move from “milk” to “meat”.  We begin desiring more and more of God and His Word.  We crave knowledge and wisdom as only God can provide.  We read the bible, understand our purpose and calling, and live our lives in obedience to God.   The more we persevere, the more we step out of our “box”, the more we reach out to others, exhibit the characteristics of Christ, and grow our personal relationship with the Lord, the bigger our faith grows. 

Hebrews, chapter 11, defines faith as “…the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”   The chapter goes on to list many people in biblical times who accomplished great things for the kingdom of God.  Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses lived on the earth long ago, yet have something very much in common with today’s people —they, too, had to believe in the “unseen”.  Verse 13 says that they “all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”  If we all could just do these three things with our faith, we could surely move mountains!

A pastor once defined faith as:     

  1. Being sure God is who He says He is, and

  2. Being certain that God will do exactly what He promised He would do.

Another definition I have heard is: “Believing — no matter what the outcome or circumstance, and acting upon it.”

Faith requires action — even when you don’t like or know the outcome.  When tested through trial and affliction, faith should strengthen and grow.  A faith that stands still becomes stagnant.

If you left the earth today, what would be said of your faith?  Imagine the inscription on your tombstone, or a line in your eulogy — how would it fill these blanks?

“By faith,      (insert your name)     , when he/she was tested,        (did what?)     .

How are you exercising your faith today?  Are you regularly reading the bible?  Are  you talking to your friends, family, and neighbors about Christ?  Are you making an effort to further your relationship with God?  Do you whine and complain when God wants you to do something?  Do you rationalize or ignore your way out of the responsibilities of the “Great Commission”? 

I ask you to examine your faith today.  Look closely to see what “cracks” are in it, and allow God to make the needed repairs.  Know that “without faith, it’s impossible to please God” Hebrews 11:6, and be diligent in faith to add the next piece of our equation…

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Mathematical.

How many math buffs do we have out there?  Do you remember when your high school teacher explained that the algebra, geometry, and calculus you were learning was going to be very useful after graduation in the “real world”?!  ha ha  Ok….SOME of it is, right?!

As a banker, I used quite a bit of math.   As a homemaker, I find that it is equally practical.  I now add and count to 2 every time I match socks, subtract hours of missed sleep, multiply one chicken into five meals, and am learning to divide my time between four children, a husband, extended family, and many wonderful friends. 

Word problems are when my five year old comes home from school sharing his new-found vocabulary!  Then, there’s the constant search for the missing equation….the need for more time to make the triangle between the grocery store, Wal-Mart, and the donut shop! 

I constantly work on figuring out how to inspire the high school girls in my Sunday School class to spend even a fraction of their time reading their bible each week.  Since I never have time to bake, I figure that “pi” is found in the bakery department, but….I have most importantly learned that the common denominator is my morning cup of coffee (and my Lord, of course)!

How about that?…Our teachers WERE right!  Math is important, and is used in pretty much everything we do!  God also uses math to teach us life lessons —He is mathematical in His admonition to grow in faith. 

So…for a while, I will be posting the answer to the following equation:

 (  + v  + k  + sc  + p  + G  + bk  + l) = (F x 2)

It will be a series of 10 posts based upon a biblical example of the growth we should all be experiencing in our walk with Christ.  Because of time constraints, I will probably have to extend it over several weeks, but will post as often as I can.  

In the meantime, I pray that God will prepare your heart and mind to apply the practical, everyday math He so divinely presents to us in His Word. 

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”  2 Peter 1:2-4     

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Laughing? Or Not?

 

My son has just informed me that he ate a WORM at preschool today!?  (Ewwww, yuck, yuck, yuck!…spit…gag) 

When I asked him what the worm looked like, he said that it was yellow with a red head.  So…we googled pictures of worms.  At first I feared that it was a grub worm (gross….my stomach is already hurting), but after seeing several pictures of them, he is certain that it  wasn’t that.  He finally settled on the everyday earthworm pictures, which at first made me feel better about it.   — Protein, right?!

Then….I searched the words “eating worms” and came up with this medical article:

Guess I’ll Go Eat Worms

One month after eating an earthworm on a dare, a 16-year old girl developed a fever and nausea that lasted about 2 or 3 days, along with some mild swelling around her eyes. These symptoms went away, but over the next two weeks she also had a worsening cough and lost 5 pounds. The diagnosis? She had developed lung abscesses from parasites that were moving through her lungs. Her story is told in the February 2006 Pediatrics. Her story is unusual because she is a teen. But the worms she was infected with are common in the U.S., usually infecting toddlers and preschool-age kids. These worms, called Toxocara species, are common roundworms of dogs and cats (especially puppies and kittens). In developed countries, infections with these worms in kids are second only to pinworms. What’s the usual story?

In the typical scenario, a young child (age 1 to 4) is happily playing in a sandbox or a playground or soil that contains tiny Toxocara eggs. These eggs may be found wherever infected dogs or cats defecate (common throughout the contiguous U.S., especially in the southeast). Then the child puts dirty fingers in the mouth, or eats some sand or dirt. Once swallowed, the eggs hatch and the larvae begin to migrate through the body, where they can invade any organ. This sounds scary and gross, but…

The good news is that most kids who are infected with Toxocara species will get better on their own, without any treatment, and without ever having any symptoms or awareness of the infection. The higher the number of eggs ingested, the higher the chance of symptoms.  Fever and increased white blood cells (especially white blood cells called eosinophils) are the most common signs if any signs are present. Migration to the liver may cause liver enlargement. In some kids, though, the worms will migrate through the lungs, leading to cough or wheeze. Some kids diagnosed with bronchitis, pneumonia, or asthma actually have Toxocara infections. Usually, simple anti-parasite medicines will take care of the problem. Far less common, but far more serious, is migration to the heart, brain, or eyes.

How can Toxocara infections be prevented? Proper pick-up and disposal of pet poop at parks and playgrounds helps in public areas. Treating puppies and kittens with recommended worm medicines, especially during the first 8 weeks, helps prevent infections from your own pets. It makes sense to cover sandboxes where your child will play when they are not in use. Keep fingernails from getting too long, and clean the hands after playing in sand or dirt and before they go in the mouth. And, of course, try to avoid eating earthworms – even on a double dog dare.

Earthworms are wonderful friends to have in our soil. They aerate, detoxify, and enrich the soil as they move through it, swallowing the soil, and leaving behind marvelous, rich soil castings. But in the meantime, Toxocara larvae can be found throughout the length of the earthworms if they have been eating infected soil. Eating earthworms can make dogs, cats, or people sick.

So, contrary to the lines of the old song, even if nobody loves you, everybody hates you – don’t go eat some worms.

Alan Greene MD FAAP

Eggs?  Larvae?  In my son’s body?!!!  GREAT…..JUST GREAT.  Now what?  Do I wait for his organs to shut down, or should I rush him to the hospital? 

I think I will call the pediatrician right now.

In the mean time, he’s telling me that it is still tickling his throat.  Ugh!….???…yuck, yuck…ewwww…my stomach hurts…

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Filed under Children, Family, God, Gross, Health, Humor, Life, Worms

Laughing 3.

Another conversation with the three-year old…

(Looking at a picture of his sister running track)…”Mom, he run fast!” 

(My motherly wisdom)  “No, dear, your sister is a girl.  When we talk about a girl, we say “she” and “her”.  She runs fast….like that.  We only say “him” and “he” when we’re talking about boys.”

(He didn’t appreciate my answer) “No!  Him not a she, him is Pam!  ugh!”  (and he stomps off to another room!?)

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Laughing 2.

Oh, the things kids say!?…..

 The three year old pulls on Daddy’s arm and says, “Daddy, will you get me something filthy?”

Dad’s reply….”Huh?!!”

Three year old:  “Daddy, I want something filthy.  Will you get me something filthy to eat?”

Only then did we realize that he meant “something HEALTHY”!!!  

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