Saturday, February 21, 2009

Content

I experienced a time of true contentment this evening.

No, I did not have a moment all to myself. Nor did I have a piece of really good chocolate. I wasn't even out on a date with my husband.

I was standing at the stove in my kitchen preparing tomorrow morning's breakfast. My little ones had just been bathed and dressed by their older sister, one son was playing with the dog, Eric was playing a game with one daughter while 2 more children were playing another game - without fighting.

It was almost like being a part of an idealistic family. It was a time when I believe the Lord was truly pleased with the 9 of us. I just wish it happened more often.

Taking care of my family. Enjoying one another. No arguing...for a few minutes.

Contentment.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

To Facebook or Not to Facebook...

Read this interesting news article and let me know what you decide. It may help me in my decision.

Note: 2/18 - This article informs us of the changes that were made. Nothing like the voice of the people at work!

Monday, February 16, 2009

God's Perfect Timing

It is Sunday, February 8. The congregation has joined their hearts and voices in worship and await the main message of the morning. Working men, stay-at-home moms, retired folk, children - all eyes are on the preacher.

The "regular" Sunday morning preacher is away. The c0-pastor will be bringing the message the Lord has given him. A woman remembers a time 3 years ago when the same pastor spoke on a Sunday about how God gives you the grace you need when you need it - not before and not after. The next afternoon, one of the young men from church was in a car accident that almost claimed his life. His family exemplified that message for months. The woman wonders how this day's message will be proved.

The text is Psalm 46. The message - "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." The pastor encourages the congregation to remember that no matter what, God is in control. When we receive bad news or go into an unknown situation we can run to God immediately. Remember how He's blessed and cared for us in the past. He will continue to do so.

Service ends. Many pray. The church members cling to the truth that has been given and leave the church house to go about their week.

Monday: a man from this church hears the outcome of a grand jury decision. He is ordered to turn himself over to the Alabama authorities by the end of the week. He just began a new job. His family is here. Will he be allowed to return to NY after he posts bail and awaits trial? "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."

Tuesday: a woman carelessly listens to talk radio for the first time in months. Beck is talking about how America is falling apart. The woman becomes anxious and falters. But then, she remembers, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." A promise to which she can cling.

Wednesday: the church finds out that their missionaries to Mozambique have been asked to turn in their visas and return to the States. All because of another missionary feeling like he's in competition. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."

Thursday: a plane crashes in a nearby town killing all aboard. The absent pastor and his wife arrived at the airport minutes before that plane went down. "The Lord of hosts is with us."

Saturday: in the aforementioned church, there usually sits a quiet, yet faithful, retired couple in the back row. This Valentine's morning, word comes that their oldest son is senselessly shot and murdered for trying to help another person who was in trouble. "God is our refuge and strength, a very help in trouble."

A church with a simple congregation. A message from a faithful man in tune with God. A God with perfect timing. A week in which God's word was tried...and proven.

Friday, February 6, 2009

"From the Horse's Mouth"

http://opbbc.org/absolutepc/default.aspx?a=284&c=0&k

I would love all of you - especially those who commented on my last post - to follow the above link and hear my dear pastor's sermon which began the whole thing!:) In his words to me, "the thrust [of the message] was "unity" not "division." Listen. Let me know what you think.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Your Real Face Revealed

At the risk of sounding redundant to what my pastor spoke about yesterday (which, by the way, I've only heard second-hand at this point as I was home with my 5 year old son suffering from a migraine), I have a couple of thoughts concerning Facebook.

The first is this: It CAN be a good thing. As a social person who doesn't have a lot of time to talk on the phone or write full page letters (or find a stamp), facebook is a great way for me to keep up with friends and missionaries. Most importantly, it's a great "prayer chain" tool. I mean, how many people knew that a missionary wife out of our church who is currently on deputation was sick with the flu a few days ago? Unless you were on facebook, not very many people would have even heard until she was at the tail end of her illness. Those of us on her "friend" list were able to pray for her right when she needed that prayer.

Facebook, like most things on the internet, can be a good thing, but it can also be a very bad and spiritually unhealthy place to be. Which brings me to my second point.

Facebook reveals you for who you truly are.

I cannot tell you how many Christian friends I have/had that have totally shocked me in their real life ways. For some reason, most of us have no reservations about being truthful about our lives when all we have to face is a computer screen. Someone's "status" can be a call to prayer, something to make you smile or cry, or it can be down-right vulgar. Looking through some people's photos will reveal their heart as well. What you knew someone to be in church or school, you suddenly realize has another "face" completely. To quote a friend of mine on facebook, whom I went through junior high with - "It's interesting to see who stuck with the Lord and who was just going through the motions."

Now, for those of my readers who think I'm just "mortified" at pictures of girls wearing pants, that is NOT what I'm referring to. Let's get beyond that.

At the risk of offending someone, let me say this: I have lost a few facebook "friends" along the way with some of my conservative views; either by me removing them as friends or them removing me. As someone who doesn't like to hurt others, this has bothered me, but not for long. What are standards worth if you're not going to live by them? If I don't watch television or movies with vulgar language or very revealing dress, why should I allow that on my computer screen where, not only does it defile my eyes, but potentially the eyes of my husband and children?

If someone I knew in the past as a Christian following the Lord, how can I watch their life blaze across my computer screen as they flaunt their tatoos, beer parties, etc.? It grieves my heart. I pray for them. But, I remove them as my "friend."

It's odd, but a lot of my facebook friends who I never knew to live a life close to God do not post such pictures or nonsense. I don't see a lot of party-like pictures. I don't see girls dressed in a way that one would never guess they were a Christian. I see pictures of family and talk of everyday life. It makes me mourn where Christianity is today. Or, it makes me mourn where some Christians have gone.

But, then again, like I said, your real face is revealed on facebook. I have some friends that I never was sure where their walk was with the Lord but they have proved, through pictures and writing, that their hearts are knit close to His. They encourage me in my walk as they walk with Him. They'll praise the Lord in their status, lift other friends up in prayer, or just quote a Bible verse to encourage all of their "friends" - saved, unsaved, or back-slidden.

So, I'll continue on Facebook and I'll continue to be cautious about whom I "confirm as a friend" and I'll continue to "remove" friends as needed. All the while, I'll remember that MY true face is being revealed, as well.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Workin' Out

So, even though I've met my goal in weight loss, I have been feeling terribly out 0f shape. Ever since school began this year, I haven't seemed to have many chance to get out and walk. Not to mention the fact that the FREEZING temperatures haven't been a great motivation.

Well, I have this friend. She is one of those who has to really work for how she looks and she does a FANTASTIC job! She really is such a motivation to me. Her scale may show a higher number than mine, but she is in much better shape and she has worked extremely hard to look really good for a Valentine's cruise her husband is taking her on. Anyway, she has been singing the praises of Jillian Michael's 30 day Shred* workout dvd since the holidays.

I haven't done a work-out dvd since I was pregnant with my 2nd child. I hate to have people see me workout and see how dumb I look. Just in case I had to tell you, it is very difficult to find time alone while living with 7 children and a husband.

However, after sitting down and figuring out where I could find 20 minutes alone (yes, that's all it takes!), I went to Wal-Mart and bought the dvd.

Unfortunately, I bought it the same day we were having our neighbor with her 5 children over to play. Of course, with 11 kids in the house, you have to have snacks.

So, there I am in Wal-Mart with my work-out dvd, 3 lb. hand-weights, THREE containers of Pringles, and one LARGE bucket of cookies.

It was a self-checkout day.

Oh, and the video? It's tough. It makes me sweat. I look like an idiot doing it. I can't walk up or down stairs without level 4 pain.

I LOVE IT!

*NOTE: PLEASE BE ADVISED: Jillian uses a word not found in the vocabulary of the Christian one time in level 1 and at least once in level 2. I don't know of any other times at this point.