Tuesday, November 24, 2009
At age 19 Lorna took her guitar and traveled to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to hold a revival in a Methodist Church. That revival resulted in her planting a Church of the Nazarene in Pickford, Michigan. After she met and married Don Holley, they moved all over the United States as pastors and evangelists. To this day, the day of her death, she has had people reaching out to her, calling her, wanting spiritual advice, counseling, prayer. She was a great prayer warrior...I called upon her often when my needs were heavy.
She and her husband settled down in a log home here on Indian Lake Campground about 40 years ago so Lorna could care for her ailing husband and aging parents. She cared for them all until each of their deaths. Her mother lived to be over 100 years of age. That care giving took its toll on Lorna's life. Even though Lorna lived to be over 91 years of age, her health has not been good for many years. At the end of her life she had 15% heart capacity. We thought she would be taken from us in August, but lived another three months in a nursing home, unable to care for herself at home any longer.
Her son was at her side every single day she was in the nursing home. He was amazing in his care for her. She was the most popular resident at TenderCare...she had more visitors than anyone else. One special visitor came to see her almost every afternoon, and the whole facility was tickled to see her...Betsy, a toy Pomeranian. When Lorna held her, she was the envy of all the other residents. Betsy would bring a big smile to Lorna's face.
I'm going to miss Lorna. She lived kitty corner from me, and it was so easy to pop over and walk in her door and sit down at her table and tell her what was on my mind...what I was feeling...what was going on in my family and on the camp. I could cry and know she would understand and she would pray for the hurts, the needs, the confusion I sometimes experienced. Who will be there for me now? I've never had a soul mate before, nor a spiritual mentor. Now that I've had one, I will have a void in my life in her absence.
Lord, thank you for the blessing of Lorna Holley in my life. I am so tickled she is at home with you, living it up and doing things she hasn't been able to do for a long time. May I have learned from her and may I follow her example in being available for others...to be a great listener and prayer warrior. Lord, fill the void. Be near to her family members as they adjust to life without her. Amen.
Monday, November 9, 2009
We now live in a much smaller home and with a much simpler life style. Going to church is our social life, our big outing for the week. Now and then we get a treat...a vacation, a conference to attend (at company expense), a program put on by some Christian organization. We don't have hobbies that cost us any money. We golf about twice a year, if the budget is flexible enough to fit that in. We make our clothes and shoes last. They are definitely not in the budget. We've cut out medical expenses, trusting God for good health.
Our monthly budget includes: our tithe (charitable giving), mortgage, compassionate giving (we support two children in Africa), utilities, funeral prepayment, insurance, taxes, satellite service (our one splurge) and our daily expenses. I have all of our regular occuring bills set up on automatic payment, or I write checks the first of each month to make sure the monthly expenses are covered. What I have left after the bills are paid covers our daily expenses. That would include: food, gas, personal care, household items, dog care, any incidentals that life brings. When the vehicles need major repair or maintenance, that goes on the much dreaded use of the charge card, then adding one more bill to the monthly expenses. Ugh. There is such relief when I get the charge card paid off...but then within a few months something comes up that has to be covered by the card.
The flexible spending comes in our daily expenses. I have once again put us back on the envelope system. When our sons were in Junior High, I took them through a Larry Burkett study on budget/finances, and had them learn the envelope system. Each month they had to divide their allowance
into various envelopes (tithe, savings, clothes, personal care, gifts, free spending). They handled the system very well, and were excited when they had money left over at the end of the month. They put the leftover cash into a "rainy day" envelope to use as needed.
Our current envelope system has me taking what's left after all the bills are paid the first of the month and dividing it into four envelopes, one for each week. I keep a list of things we need for household and personal care, and I plan a weekly menu so I know exactly what food items I need each week. When the money for that week is gone, we must wait until the following week, even if that means not buying everything on my list. We will not be eating out or getting a pizza unless there is enough money in that week's envelope to splurge on those treats. This takes discipline and learning to say no and learning how to cut back. It isn't always fun, but there is satisfaction in knowing we are being good stewards of what God has given us.
The bottom line is God is good, He is faithful, and He knows our needs and our desires. He never leaves us wanting or desperate. He takes care of us. He sends us surprise love gifts. He shows us how we can make it. He provides in His own way and in His own time. He has shown us that if we will be faithful to Him, prudent in our financial affairs, He WILL take care of us as we depend on Him. It really does bring more pleasure knowing how dependent we are on Him...and how He provides. It builds and strengthens our faith.
Now that I've written this, it's time to go do my weekly shopping. I shop Wal-mart for household and personal care, and I shop Meijer for groceries. Those two places seem to have the best selections and prices. The key is to stick to my list, and to get the must haves first, and leave items on the list that I can't afford this week...like maybe laundry soap. I tend to buy to keep one item in stock to back up the item in use. I don't overstock for two reasons: I can't afford it, and I don't have the space to store it. Besides, maybe Jesus will come back and I won't need the "stuff"!!
Let me remind you: God is good. God is faithful. God provides. Trust God...He will never let you down or abandon you or reject you. He will always be there for you, forgive you, AND meet your needs. Father God, I praise you today, and love you supremely!
Friday, November 6, 2009
When my husband and I came to Michigan to follow God's leading into a camping ministry, my husband's salary was cut by 2/3rds of what he made as a chemical engineer in the corporate world. We had to give our newly built dream house away...basically selling it at a loss of our 33 years of equity we had in the home. We left behind a 2,800 sq. foot ranch home with all the bells and whistles (including a 2,800 sq. ft walk-out basement) located in a Country Club development, on a golf course with a private pond on our two acres. We had built our dream home as our last home before retirement. Paul was a VP in the company, and we had about 15 years before we planned to move back south (North Carolina area).
My parents had a small cottage (360 square feet) on the campground to which we moved. We lived in that cottage, which was not winterized (we wrapped pipes and used space heaters and our two dogs to keep us warm and the pipes from freezing) for the 18 months it took to sell our ranch house back in Illinois. Basically we lived through two winters in the cottage...one bathroom, one small bedroom, and one main room which was our kitchen, our office, and our living room. In the summer we doubled our square footage by using our screen porch for relaxation. There was no room to put a furnace or a washer and dryer, so weekly I trotted to the local laundromat, five miles away. But we were content...we were where God wanted us. The cottage, by the way, had become ours since Mom and Dad both moved to Heaven.
When our house sold back in Illinois, we had no equity with which to buy another place here in Michigan, so we rented a condo for a year. It was located 8 miles from the campground, and we missed living where we worked. At the end of the year we used our cottage as collateral to get a mortgage on a 1,200 square foot house next door to the cottage. We had it renovated, vaulting the ceilings, turning one small bedroom into a second bath and walk-in closet for the master bedroom (which is 11'x10').
We had increased our space three times the amount we lived with at the cottage, but less than one half the space of our former home in Illinois...plus no basement, except for one bedroom which we use for our granddaughters when they come to visit. So...we obviously had a lot of down-sizing/unloading to do. The camp has inherited much of our furniture and yard equipment. We gave some away to our former pastor and his family, and to a young couple who had lost everything back in Katrina...the hurricane of the century. We were blessed to be able to give, and it enabled us to fit nicely into our smaller home. The blessing of a small home is there is not as much to clean!! I can handle that!!
Once we made the move and started unloading items, I have been on the kick ever since. If we ever move again, I don't want to have to haul a bunch of "stuff" with us. So my library is dwindling little by little (see the side bar about the books I am reading), and every summer I have a give away table out in the yard during our annual camp garage sale days. If someone else can use it, and I don't need it...then it's time to get rid of it!! I don't like clutter, and I no longer care for accumulation.
Well...didn't know I would share this part of my story, but now that I have started, I'd like to go on. However, time for me to head to work. I'll be back later for another segment of Budget Survival.
Friday, October 16, 2009
I look outside, and the trees are still full of leaves...not that many have fallen, and we really haven't even had a peak color season yet. Last week we were driving through Kentucky and southwest Ohio, where the colors were much more vibrant than here in lower Michigan.
I am thinking perhaps this weekend we need to drain our pipes at the cottage and get it totally prepared for winter!! It's time for the camp to shut off the water in our RV section and in all of the bathhouses. The boats have been put in storage for the winter. Our Leaseholders are starting to trickle away south little by little. It's becoming very quiet on the campground. Thank goodness for our weekend guests!! This weekend we have two groups in...a church board retreat and a ladies scrapbooking group.
Well...that's it for this time...not much going on.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
This was our fifth year at Indian Lake Nazarene Camp, our fifth camping season. I would have to say it has been our best. The economy did not affect the number of people that used the campgrounds over the summer. Our youth camps were perhaps a little down, but they were some of the best camps we have had. Behavior this summer was at an all time high...no vandalism, no big issues to deal with. The speakers we had were phenomenal...Suzie Shellenberger was a hit for all ages...cross generational speaker at our family camp. The weather was camp-perfect!! It was a cooler summer and a dryer summer, which is excellent weather for camping. The "outback" (Fort Wilderness to some) was in use almost every camp, and many of the campers canoed down the Portage River. So the 2009 Camping Season gets an A+!
We were privileged to have our granddaughters with us twice this year. They came for two weeks in June and then we just had them again for 10 days while Leia was on her fall school break (her school is a year round school...nine weeks on, three weeks off). What a delight to have the two girls with us...both are so precious, so creative, so gifted. I love to pray with them every night before they go to bed, and recap God's goodness to us during that day. My purpose while they are visiting is to pour as much Jesus into them as I can. They also have many friends (children and adults) on the campgrounds who enjoy having them visit.
Fall came early...it's cold and damp most of the time...rather dreary. We are being warned that we have a severe winter ahead. I love the change of seasons, and I know beyond winter is spring once again. Therefore I will rejoice, for this is the "season" the Lord has made!!
I read a lot of books since last May, but I just updated my book list today. I usually start a new batch of books about once a month. Little by little my shelves are emptying. I'm also back into Greek again, taking Bill Mounce's class on-line. I want to keep my mind sharp, and I am hoping studying Greek will continue to push me.
Time for work.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I need more things...a larger house...a newer car...nicer clothes...all the latest electronics. I have to be in style and I have to be envied in order to maintain my self worth. I started out with one charge card, one mortgage. But my need to have more demanded that I spend with reckless abandon. It is so easy to do...I am inundated with offers to buy without paying...like that roomful of new furniture. I don't have to start payments on that until two years from now. So why not have a new look? Every day it seems I get credit companies wanting me to get their charge card with new introductory rates that I can't pass up. My kids need stuff to compete with their classmates.
Spending is so easy...until it's time to pay. I can't even afford the minimum due, so I get a home equity loan and catch everything up...and then I can't afford to make my payments to the lending institution. But don't blame me!! After all, isn't that what my government does...keeps spending money it doesn't have, and going further and further into debt....trillions of dollars into debt? If Uncle Sam can do it, then so can I!
I'm not happy at home. My friends all live a much more exciting life than I do. I'm too important to waste my time with the children every day. They have stuff to play with...they don't need me too. I need to find someone who sees me for who I really am...someone very smart, very beautiful, and very engaging to be with. I'm going to leave my husband. He's made me absolutely miserable. I'll get even with him. I will find a lover and I will move out of the home, or kick him out, and I will use my children to make him pay my way. Courts always favor the mothers...I can sue for alimony and child support, and if I work it right, I won't have to get a job. My "ex" may have to work two or three jobs to support me and the kids, but I deserve to be happy with a significant other in my life. The kids don't matter. They'll know it was important for me to be happy. They won't miss Dad so much after a while. After all, they're just kids.
My working friends...they all bring home "goodies" from work. They can build their own home office from the stuff they've managed to sneak out of the company office. And you should hear them talk about their co-workers. It seems that the work place is an absolute Peyton Place no matter where you work these days...including the post office!! Nobody has morals any more....it's good to get what you can before someone beats you to it. Nobody tells the truth in this era...that's for religious wimps. The clever ones know how to lie and cheat and steal. Everything is just a big cover up anyway...so why does it matter? Integrity? What's that??
Pay my taxes? What Uncle Sam doesn't know won't hurt him. Pay my tithe? You've got to be kidding!! God knows I can't hardly squeak by on what I make. I can't even afford to eat out every day or take nice vacations more than twice a year. And besides, what's God got to do with it? He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, the old song says, so what does he need my measly little offering for? So what if the churches can't pay their bills, maybe they need to just shut down anyway. What good are they doing? It's just a little group of people who are out of touch with the real world. In the real world you have to scheme, push, shove, and manipulate to prove you are somebody worth taking note of. And believe me...it IS all about me! I can make it on my own, thank you! Now, just give me everything you have and shut up and get out of my way and if you don't...I'll see you in court! I know how to work the system.
...And we wonder why the world is a mess, our nation is in crisis, and our homes are falling apart? The "me" generation of the 70's has come into full bloom...the big "I" is all that matters. So we sit in our homes and watch the news and see the big black hole we are all swirling toward, yet we think somehow we'll get past this...this too will pass.
Somehow, I don't think so.
Meet Peter, the rock. Now there was one big tough he-man that always did things impulsively and impetuously. He was the one who was in the middle of everything, and didn't know when to be quiet and take his seat. Life was all about him. Why in heaven's name would Jesus choose such a person as Peter to follow Him?
You see, here's the secret. When God looks at us, He sees us as we are, but He sees so much more. He sees what we can become through His grace. In Peter He saw a man who had the personality to set the world on fire. Why would God want satan to possess that potential? So, even when Peter failed Jesus and denied Him three times, He knew that Peter would come to the end of himself and realize that he needed something more in his life to overcome defeat. Peter knew he needed a Power to pulsate through him to proclaim the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Jesus told Peter, along with others, to wait in the Upper Room until he received that Power. For once Peter listened, he obeyed, he waited...for ten days he waited. And then the day of Pentecost came, and everyone in that upper room received the promise of the Holy Spirit. His very Presence filled the whole room, and every person in that room was baptized with a Power so bold that they took to the streets and started proclaiming who Jesus really was. Peter finally realized life wasn't about his own self, and his own desires. Life was about Jesus, his own personal Savior. Only through the Power of Jesus could lives be changed...not by force, but by love.
The only way we are going to make it in this world today is through the Power of the Holy Spirit...Jesus in us...expressing His love to a world dying to know something, Someone is real and there is HOPE. There IS a better way to live. Life isn't all about me. Life is allowing Christ to live in us and through us, and allowing Him to reach others with a genuine love that the world is starved for, and doesn't even know it.
So, what am I going to do with this Power, this Person, this responsibility?
My destiny depends on how I answer that question, how I live my life.
Lord Jesus, I need you...now, more than ever. Amen!
Sunday, May 3, 2009
I have been trying to get to my blog and make a post today, covering the highlights of my past week, but it's been an absolutely beautiful day out, with a temperature of about 70....perfect. So we were out and about on the golf cart today, with the doggies. They like to play "sheriff"...feeling like they are in control...telling the squirrels off when they run in front of us, letting other dogs know who's the boss, chasing after rabbits and prairie dogs, showing no mercy on any cats we might see...all of this from the safety of the golf cart seat and my lap, of course. The dogs, like me, think that riding the golf cart is what "camping" is all about. This is the life!!
Well, we are finally budding out here in lower Michigan. The lilacs are coming out in full bloom and scent, and Bradford Pear trees are blooming. The leaves are coming on, as well as the rose bushes. Grass is getting hard to keep up with in all the rain. We've had nice days, cooler nights, but spring is definitely in the air. Our snowbirds are almost all back home for the summer, and this past weekend was opening day in our RV park. We had a pot luck dinner with the RVers and the 45 volunteer youth workers, grilling hamburgs and hot dogs to supplement all the side dishes. Lots of work done on the grounds yesterday and in our tabernacle, thanks to all the volunteers. This is an exciting place to be as we see life returning in all shapes and forms.
I'm proud of a couple of guys in my life...one traveling for his company to represent them at an annual conference, the other passing his GRE with a perfect math score. I'm excited to know that summer is only a month or so away, and our granddaughters will be visiting us for two weeks. And, in the midst of all the disturbing news in the media, God is still on the throne and still at work in our world. In Him I have peace, I have a future, and I have hope. What more do I need?
Now to my journal notes from this past week. I'm going to list them this time by putting the title of the Book first and then the highlights of what God has brought to my attention this past week.
Unto The Hills, Billy Graham (see reference at right):
1. Wealth is not measured by an abundance of possessions, rather, how few the wants.
2. "Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern." (Matthew 6:33 NLT)
Putting the Pieces Together, Louie Bustle (see reference at right):
1. Christian Perfection is characterized by:
- living without sin, for sin is a choice to deliberately disobey God. No one can force us to sin...we choose to sin. We must make the right choices and live without sinning.
- loving God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.
- having the purest of intentions/motives, even if our actions do not always turn out well.
- if God has set a standard for us to obtain, he will also make it possible for us to live it.
- "But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:48 NLT)
2. Holiness can be described simply as loving God with our whole heart. The more we love him, the more we want to please him, obey him, do his will, consecrate/submit our entire life/self to him. God wants our love more than anything else.
3. The best gift God has chosen to give us is the indwelling of his Holy Spirit. We have within us Someone on call 24/7 who will guide us, comfort us, strengthen us...whatever our need is. However, in order to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, we must first ask God to cleanse our hearts, as he cannot dwell where sin resides.
"The Word For You Today" (see reference at right):
1. When life knocks you down, the winners are the ones who get back up.
2. When we look hard enough, we will see good in every situation. No matter what we go through, God will get the glory, and will work it out for our good.
3. What happens in you is more important than what happens to you. Jesus living in us will help us to be overcomers in this life.
4. It's not what others do to us that determines the outcome or future...it's what we choose to do. We must accept responsibility for our own actions and reactions.
5. "And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39 NLT)
A neat thing happened in my life this week to let me know that my Heavenly Father knows and cares about me. This is a tight month financially. I pay my bills at the first of the month, then I know what I have left for daily living for the rest of the month, and somehow I have to make it work. I knew as soon as I paid the bills, for there were extra ones this month (insurance, quarterly sewer bills, misc.) that it would be a difficult month if not for God's intervention. So, the day after I wrote all the checks, including the tithe checks for the month, in the mail comes an insurance reimbursement check for a situation that occurred with our van back in 2007. Two years have gone by, and I had pretty much forgotten about it, certainly never expected a reimbursement...and along it comes just when we needed it most. That's the faithfulness of God. That's why I know I should never worry, as long as I put Him first in my life. I can trust Him. Therefore, I can love Him!! And I do, make no mistake about it. He is Supreme in my life!
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Thoughts from my journal April 13-26, 2009:
1. When we take our eyes off Jesus, life starts looking hopeless. But if we will focus on Jesus we will find that our fears turn to courage, our pain turns to joy, and our despair turns to hope. In times like these we need a Saviour, and His name is Jesus. He is our hope!
2. Filthiness and holiness cannot reside in the same heart. The Holy Spirit will only reside in a clean heart. We need to say with the Psalmist, "Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit with me." (Psalm 51:10)
3. The church becomes like dry bones when it compromises with the world. It loses its purifying influence. We need to rededicate our lives and the church to Him and become a light in the darkness. The world is counting on us!
4. There are four requirements to enter into God's presence:
- clean hands - our actions must be moral
- pure heart - we must be forgiven and cleansed by the Holy Spirit
- absence of idolatry - loyal to God alone
- sincerity and truth - God sees our hearts, we must be honest with Him for He cannot be fooled
- keep anger honest...don't stifle it, ignore it, over-exaggerate, or blame; speak in love as you resolve anger
- keep anger non-lethal...make it your goal to solve the problem, not sound-off about it
- keep anger current...deal with it quickly as storing it up leads to bitterness and will affect your health; don't drag up the past, deal with today's problems today
- keep anger solution-focused
- keep anger in the laundry room...don't spread dirty laundry out for everyone to see/hear
- be part of the clean-up crew...forgive before being asked for forgiveness; forgive even if the other party chooses to be a life time enemy
- try to understand the needs of the other person
- don't drag up the past
- don't drag in other people
- don't raise the volume
- anger handled correctly brings about the change that is needed
- seek a solution, not a victory
- admit your own faults and ask for forgiveness
- offer positive reinforcements while dealing with negative aspects
- thank the person for being willing to talk and work out the differences
8. Wouldn't it be neat to have a public ceremony to confirm the commitment a person makes when he or she surrenders his/her life to God. I mean, that is the most exciting thing that ever happens in one's life...more so than graduation or marriage. Entering into a personal relationship with God Almighty...our Creator...that is an awesome privilege for us. So, perhaps in a public ceremony the words of Moses could be read:You are standing here today to enter into a covenant with the Lord your God. The Lord is making this covenant with you today, and he has sealed it with an oath. He wants to confirm you today as his people, and to confirm that he is your God, just as he promised you. (Deuteronomy 29:12-13)
I am just thinking that perhaps taking a public commitment like that would help reinforce the new relationship, and help confirm to the person his new life. He has been released from captivity! It's a time to celebrate! Don't you know the angels in heaven are rejoicing!! We should too!!9. To be filled with God's Spirit is to be elevated to the highest level possible in humanity in our intimacy with God. Once you have tasted His Presence within you, there is nothing else that will satisfy!
GOOD THINGS HAPPENING AT ILNC:1. We had 25 people at our recent work day, and so much was accomplished in sprucing up the grounds.
2.The campfires have started up again...a good place to relax with friends at the end of the day and speak of the goodness of God.
3. We have purchased linoleum remnants to update our Conference Center bathrooms. In the last two years the Conference Center has received a major face-lift. It's a cozy place to gather with family and friends...12 private rooms w/baths surround a two story lounge/gathering place.
4. Our 40 foot climbing tower has arrived and is up!! And tomorrow the pole and 400 foot zip line will arrive. This is terrific!! Just in time for our 2009 camping season. Everyone is going to be so excited when they see the tower and zip line. I get giddy just thinking about how tickled the kids will be. This was made possible by a very large donation from a private family, and a donation from the owner of the company who built the tower. We as a camp are deeply grateful for him, and ask that God bless his life in a special way. And we are very grateful to the private family who wanted to invest in the future of youth camping. May they also be blessed beyond what man can do!
5. We like to to celebrate around the campgrounds. Whether it's a birthday, and we gather at the campfire for cake and ice cream, or it's a tower going up and we gather to assist and share brownies and soft drinks. We are community, and we love to care and share. May we become more and more like Jesus and reach out to those around us with His love!!
GOOD THINGS HAPPENING IN MY PERSONAL LIFE:
- 1. We had a three day get-away in Middlebury, Indiana, last week...the annual Pastors and Mates Spring Retreat at the Essenhaus Inn. That is such a lovely place to go, and it's fun to meet with our friends from across the Michigan District.
- Paul and I both played in the Michigan District Rook Tournament, and in the first ever Michigan District Euchre Tournament. In fact, yours truly came out with the highest score and was named the first ever Eucharist! We laughed...had a great time playing games together, as well as fellowshipping and sharing meals and worship.
- I was able to unload two full boxes of books that I had read this past year and put in the give-away pile. I suggested we have an annual book exchange at our retreat, as pastors love to read, and this is a good way for them to pick up books without putting out any money. Meanwhile, I like watching my bookshelves lightening up a bit.
- We heard the testimony of a young man from ONU who shared his life story with us. He was raised in the ghetto of Chicago, never knowing who his father was, and his mother was shot and killed before he was a year old. His only way to get the things he needed was to sell drugs when he was a teenager. Miraculously his cousin led him to Christ, and doors opened for him to attend Olivet Nazarene University, where he graduated and now works for ONU. He has an amazing story, and I believe we will be hearing more from him. He is an anointed speaker.
- On the way home from the retreat we were able to stop in White Pigeon and tour our newest church plant and rejoice with the pastor over the work that is being accomplished in that area. We then had lunch with Pastor Bob and Marilyn in Three Rivers.
- I received a very heart-touching birthday card from my son. It moved me to tears because of its' beautiful message, which was perfect from him to me. I knew he had taken time to find a card that truly expressed his feelings, and until I received the card, I wasn't real sure what his feelings were. It was a love touch from him and God.
- My whole week was a love touch from God. He kept blessing me in various ways and through a variety of means. My allegiance is to Him, forever!!
- Yesterday I picked up my first ever Angel Food Ministries food boxes. It's a very well organized ministry, and it was fun to open the boxes and sort the food between my pantry and what I was giving away. This is a monthly ministry, and I wanted to test the quality of the food before getting too involved. I think I am going to be quite supportive of this ministry. Our local United Methodist Church and South County Community Center co-sponsor this ministry. It's great for senior citizens, which is what I want to promote on the campground.
Closing Scripture Verse - I Corinthians 15:58:
"So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord's work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless."
Friday, April 24, 2009
I spoke with a lake-front neighbor while walking, and he was stating what a hard year it has been as far as the health issues in his family. his daughter has cancer, and she has nine children...ages 4-14. He agreed with me that spring is what we have been waiting for, and it's here. He believes God will touch his daughter and give her new life. this spring. (Would you help me pray for that miracle in their lives?) However, he is saying YES! to whatever God wants to do.
This morning my devotional reading was in Isaiah chapter 6, where God cleansed Isaiah and gave him his calling. For the first time it struck me what a difficult task God gave to Isaiah...to be a prophet of doom and gloom, to tell the people their cities would become wasteland. This had to happen so that "Israel's stump will be a holy seed" once again...but what a tough assignment was given to Isaiah after he so willingly said, "Here I am. Send me."
"Yes, Lord! I'm willing...use me!" Is that our heart's cry? I received many responses to my email about "Moving", and was touched by the number of you who are hungry to see the Holy Spirit move once again in dynamic ways in our personal lives, in our churches, in our district, in our denomination, and in our world. But...what will that require of us? We must start with saying "Yes!" even to the small things that God asks of us.
You have just received an email from Chris Freed, our Events Coordinator, about upcoming opportunities on the campground, events in which you can become involved for the sake of God's Kingdom. We hope to see many of you over the next month helping us spruce up the grounds for a new camping season. You can also start praying for our youth camps, and the children and teens that will be coming to spend a week in an atmosphere where they will hear about God's love and sense it in this environment. Perhaps some will receive their personal call from God this summer on these grounds that are dedicated to His holy purposes.
However, you don't have to receive a tough challenge like Isaiah accepted, and you don't have to participate in ILNC's upcoming work days. Perhaps God is nudging you about a neighbor who needs your help, or someone sitting in the pews at your church, or even someone sharing a shopping aisle with you. Just be open to even the smallest of ways that you can reach out and help someone else and show them that you care because of the love of Jesus in you.
As I walk, I listen to music. Today I heard a song by Joel Reed that I would like to close with. It's a catchy tune about a story from our childhood where the ugly toad had to be kissed by a beautiful princess to be changed back into the handsome prince he used to be. Someone had to reach out and help him, and it changed his life completely. The song is "Have you kissed any frogs today?"
"There’s a story from our childhood worth remembering.
It’s the tale of a prince turned into frog.
Now he sits all alone and rejected
As he waits for someone to come along.
For, you see, the only thing that will save him
Is a kiss from a princess fair and true.
But chances are that this will never happen,
For he’s ugly and lonely and blue.
Have you kissed any frogs today?
Have you helped someone along life’s troubled way?
Have you told them of God’s amazing grace?
Have you kissed any frogs today?
But then one day a miracle did happen.
A lovely princess finally came along.
She met him, and her heart filled with compassion,
And she kissed him, and this is what she saw:
That ugly frog was changed into a person,
And all his sorrows from his past had come to end.
Now he’s a handsome prince just full of God’s potential,
And all it took was a help of a friend.
Have you kissed any frogs today?
Have you helped someone along life’s troubled way?
Have you told them of God’s amazing grace?
Have you kissed any frogs today?
So Christian friend, won’t you heed the story,
For it’s moral is as true as it can be.
All it takes to change the ugly into glory
Is a helping hand to everyone we see.
Even though this may involve some sacrifices
The blessings will far outweigh the loss,
For the lonely we help in times of crisis
May trust the One who came to die upon the cross!
Have you kissed any frogs today?
Have you helped someone along life’s troubled way?
Have you told them of God’s amazing grace?
Have you kissed any frogs today?
GO KISS SOME FROGS TODAY!!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Last Monday was the final day of Greek class here at ILNC. I have been teaching the class for three years, and had three students stay with me all the way to the end. From this point forward we are each going to continue in Greek on our own, using an on-line class with Bill Mounce, the First Man in Greek studies. He has a tremendous web site (http://www.teknia.com/) which not only has free tools to use in Greek studies, but also free classes. I want to stay up with my Greek, so this seems to be the next logical step for me...to learn from the guru of Greek.
Last Monday also brought with it four inches of heavy snow, which brought down several tree branches. It didn't last long, mostly all gone by Wednesday, but we have still had cool mornings...temps being down in the 20's and 30's. The afternoons have warmed up to the 50's, but have been windy and damp, thus cool. Today seems to be the change...it is sunny and feels warm, even though it's still in the 50's.
Freeds had us over for supper on Monday night, to celebrate my 59th birthday....which actually occurred on Thursday. I received many nice cards and a few gifts. I ordered a cake for our Thursday night ILNC Town Meeting, which had a good turnout...maybe 35 residents there. This was a good birthday year, but next year...the year of the big 6 O, I would like to have a little get away down to my favorite area of the country...North Carolina Smokies. It's something to dream about anyway!
God's Word for Monday is that we must consecrate ourselves to God in order for Him to sanctify us. We move from unholy to holy as we are cleansed by Him, but He cannot cleanse us until we are totally submitted to His will. (Leviticus 11:40 and 20:8)
Tuesday I was preparing for our small group meeting in which we would discuss I Thessalonians 4:1-12, the very passage on which I did my senior exegetical paper before graduating from Lee University back in 1991. About an hour before the group was to meet, during the middle of our supper meal, I received a call from my spiritual mentor, Lorna. She and I both had birthdays on the same day (April 9), and she turned 91 this week. Her mind is still very sharp, but her body is failing. She has congestive heart failure and diabetes, and other issues, and that night she was having trouble breathing. We called emergency and I followed the ambulance 20 miles to the hospital. I stayed with her in emergency care until her son could get here from Lansing...about two hours away. Her daughter flew in from Montana the next night. Even though I thought Lorna would be gone to her eternal home by the time we got to the hospital, she has come through once again. They've been treating her for various infections, but she should be back home today or tomorrow.
While I was with her, I really didn't know exactly what to do, but I wanted to assure her I was there and would stay with her until her son arrived. I read her some scriptures, and sang to her, and talked with her. She could not respond as she had an oxygen mask on and other paraphernalia hooked up to her. However, she kept squeezing my hand, so I knew she could hear me. I felt at peace, and I know she did also, knowing no matter the outcome, Jesus was in control. She probably would have preferred to go on to heaven, and I would have only rejoiced for her. She's lived a long, difficult life, and has done much to increase the kingdom of God. She was an evangelist at the age of 19, taking her guitar with her...singing and preaching. She planted the Pickford, MI Church of the Nazarene in her early years. She preached along side of the renown Uncle Buddy Robinson in camp meeting. She was a true caregiver for her parents and her husband as they all succumbed to death after long illnesses. And now she is at the stage where she probably won't be able to live independently. I am sure that makes going on home to heaven all the more desirable. I want her to have her peace and rest, and not have to struggle with physical limitations. But, as with all of us, her time is in God's hands. That's a safe place for it to be.
In Tuesday's words from God I read a commentary that said the only thing God could not create was love from a free being. He created us with the capacity to love, but the freedom to choose the object of our love. That is the ultimate love gift...the gift of freedom to choose. I wouldn't want someone to love me because I forced them to, or out of obligation, but because they chose to love me. I choose to love God with my whole heart, soul, mind, and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5)....I am totally committed and completely consecrated to Him.
On Wednesday Paul and I dropped my SUV off for a $15.95 oil change. By the time we picked it up on Thursday, the bill came to $411.23. Turned out to have a bad tie rod and a leaking oil pan/gasket. Isn't that how it usually goes? Maintenance on vehicles is like sin...it always costs more than you want to pay. And can you really trust the mechanic any more than you can trust the devil? The good thing is that I asked God to not let it cost more than I could pay in cash, and even though it depleted my savings almost, at least I could pay the bill and not have to charge it. I am trying very hard to not use charge cards and to get debt free. I believe we need to be good stewards with what God has given us, pay our bills, and trust Him in the needy times. I am sure I will have plenty of opportunities to put Him to the test.
Going along with an earlier theme in this week's meditations, today's Word is that our consecration, without limitations or restrictions, is the absolute prerequisite for victorious Christian living. It precedes the "amazing things" that God will do in our lives if we are surrendered to Him.
I already mentioned that Thursday was my 59th birthday, and with all the cards, phone calls, and cake at the Town Meeting it was a special day...more so than normal. I felt badly that Lorna was spending her birthday in the hospital, but at least she had her two precious children at her side, and I know nothing on this earth would bring her any more joy than having them near to her. It has been three years since she saw her daughter.
I was reminded in Thursday's passages that God will not tolerate sin. Nothing is hidden from him, and we will not be victorious or have His blessings as long as we keep sinning. We can be sure that our sins will find us out, and the sad thing is that sin has a rippling effect...like a stone being tossed in the water. It affects innocent ones around us, and they are hurt because of our disobedience. I can think of so many instances and examples to explain this, but I'll just say "How true, how true!". Sin is just not worth any momentary pleasure it may give us. The pleasure evaporates, but the effects of sin can damn our souls and destroy the ones we love. NOT WORTH IT!!!!
I had a busy week at work. We had a lot of mailings to get out this week for the waterfront/boats, the RVers, and the leaseholders. It's that season...boats come out of storage and get put into the lake; RVs are opened up and the water is turned on in our bath houses and cabins; and leaseholders are coming back north after being gone south all winter. Golf carts are out and about, kids on bikes, a ball game going on at the ball field yesterday, lots of people walking or working in their yards. I love spring. I told God the other day I am so glad that I was born in the spring time. I love the spurt of new life in the spring time. The perennials and trees and bushes start budding out, and birds are chirping and busy building their nests. Swans and geese are flocking to the lake. It's just the greatest of all seasons to me. Oh...and it's strawberry shortcake season!! We have it at least once a week for our main meal.
My devotional reading on Friday morning reminded me that the two greatest forces in the world are love and sin...but love is greater, more powerful than sin. Jesus went through hell to conquer sin, and that is the power of love...it conquers the other most powerful force. And to think...that powerful force resides within me through the agency of the Holy Spirit!!! May the love of Jesus flow out through me to reach those who need His love the most.
Saturday...sunny, but a little cool. We had outside projects planned, so we appreciated the nice weather. We took a back hoe, a truck, a flat bed trailer, a rake, a pitch fork, and a shovel and headed down to a camp lot that had a cottage demolished on it last fall. We finished cleaning off the lot, and it felt good to get the exercise and to see it all cleaned up before the neighbors came back from the south. I did a lot of walking yesterday, with the dogs, and by myself. Just wanted to be outside!
The Word for Saturday is from Matthew 24:12-13: "Jesus said,
"Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved."
We are to be reminded that it's not how we start our journey, but how we end our journey that determines our destiny. God wants our complete loyalty. Anything that takes our attention away from God must not be tolerated in our lives, for divided loyalty will not be acceptable by Him. I know...I sense it all around me...that Christians are getting weary and more tolerant with the world. I listen to what they are watching on TV and how they spend their time and money, and I see other things competing for their devotion and passion. I guess that's what bothers me the most...I don't sense the passion for things of God as strongly in the church as I did when I was younger. The message is there, but the response is weak, the drawing is weak, there are too many other things competing.
Lord Jesus, I pray that I grow more and more fervent in my devotion to you as the time grows shorter. I am so thankful for what I read in your Word this morning from Ezekiel 11:18-20:
I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their hearts of stone and give them tender hearts instead so they will obey my laws and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God.
Lord, thank you for my tender heart...thank you for keeping my focus on you. May it ever be so, and all the more so as I march toward my eternal destiny. And may I care about those who are lost and lonely and need you in their lives. May I be privileged enough to represent you to them. May I never fail to see that opportunity before me, and I pray you empower me to be totally effective for you! Amen.
Monday, April 6, 2009
6 And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. 7 Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. 8 But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.
So...have you noticed how much today's news and God's Word has in common? People get ready!! This is the time to search His Word, not ignore it!!
The best news is...we don't have to worry about it!!
Philippians 4:5-7 (New Living Translation)
5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Sunday night, Dr. John Boling, President of Olivet Nazarene University, spoke on Romans 7:14-25...the sinful character of man. The struggle within man keeps him from living a victorious Christian life...until he is surrendered to God's Holy Spirit, filled by Him, as Romans 8 talks about. When we are filled by the Holy Spirit, we are then given the freedom from the defeat of sin through the power of living the sanctified life...a life set apart for God's purpose, cleansed from the sin nature, and made holy to live pleasing to God. It is a daily choice we make to walk in the steps of the Master. As we do, we are free from the entanglement of sin. We are enabled to walk in freedom by the Power of the Holy Spirit.
Monday morning 9 a.m. we heard Dr. Mark Quanstrom, Bible Professor at ONU, speak on Romans 8, and our need to consider ourselves Pentecostal Nazarenes and start living the Spirit filled lives. He asked the question, "When did you receive the Holy Spirit?" Most Nazarenes don't know...we aren't preaching about it nor testifying to it. (He was referring to being Pentecostal in that we believe in receiving the fruits of the Spirit rather than the gifts of the Spirit as "Pentecostal" groups today tend to focus on.) I am glad I could tell him afterwards that July 1980 I received the Holy Spirit. I was sanctified. Even though I failed God after that, I sought His forgiveness and adhered to His discipline, and I still claim I was set free from the bondage of sin in July 1980. Very quiet service...Holy Spirit very real...people were listening.
10:45 am speaker was Pastor Mark Fuller from Grove City, Ohio, Church of the Nazarene (one of our largest Nazarene congregations). He spoke from Romans 12:2, and came from a "computer" perspective on holiness. We need to download the new software and delete the old files, and begin to run the new applications. I thought of my computer-geek son as he spoke, wondering how he would react to the sermon. I bought a CD of the sermon for him.
The afternoon session at 1:30 Louie Bustle, Director of World Missions for the Church of the Nazarene, spoke. My parents served with Louie & Ellen Bustle when they first started out in mission work. Bustles were young new missionaries, and Dad and Mom began a program called "Work and Witness" where lay people went to the mission fields to volunteer their services for short periods of time. Dr. Bustle gave us his life story, how he came from an alcoholic home and never even attended church until he was 18. Now today he is director of a world ministry. God can use anyone, from any background, if that person will just surrender his/her life to Him.
Monday night's speaker was General Superintendent Dr. Nina Gunter. She spoke on whether the holiness movement was dead or alive, and the ten characteristics of the holiness movement. There is great concern that if we in the Church of the Nazarene don't get back to believing in holiness and preaching it and teaching it and living it, we will lose the church. It's a real threat, and I believe God is still calling His remnant to get back to the roots of holiness.
Tuesday morning Dr. Frank Moore, Professor in the ONU Bible Department, spoke on Hebrews 4 - God's promise of entering into his rest. The children of Israel didn't go on into the land of promise...they were too afraid of the giants of the land. They didn't trust God. But God wants us to go on into holiness...a place of rest from the sinful bent of human nature where self wants to reign. We can't make it on our own or in our own efforts. Give up the struggle - rest in God.
Dr. Tom Hermiz, from a sister holiness denomination, spoke at the second morning session. His word was from Romans 6 about the power of sin being broken in our lives. Dr. Fairbanks, former president of Mount Vernon Nazarene University, prayed at the beginning of this session. We spoke with him afterwards, and he remembered our son who graduated from Mount Vernon and inquired about him. We had a nice visit. Part of the pleasure of being at the Holiness Summit was seeing former acquaintances.
Tuesday afternoon Howie Schute, the regional director from the Horn of Africa, told amazing stories of the miraculous workings of God in Africa, where people will die for the name of Jesus. It's hard to even relate to what those people go through, their level of commitment. Dr. Schute called the American church to wake up...get serious about the holiness message. Pray for a revival, then draw a circle around yourself and stay in that circle until revival comes. There was a long session of prayer, people at the altar hungry for revival, hungry to be changed. Paul and I had prayer with two of our Michigan District pastors who felt God had special messages for them, and did not want to leave to go back home until it was all over. We all prayed that God would move us to a higher plane, to be more effective for Him.
The final service on Tuesday evening our speaker was General Superintendent Dr. Warrick. He spoke on Acts 4:31 about continuing to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and speaking God's word with boldness. Sanctification is a one-time crisis experience where we surrender completely to God, but then it is a lifetime of continuing to be filled with His Spirit. After the altar response following his preaching, all of the church leaders came forward to be anointed, and they in turn anointed the pastors and ministerial students. We were truly in heavenly places these 2-3 days of the holiness summit. It was hard to leave...to go back to where the rubber meets the road...our own fields of service.
I was out walking our two little doggies a while ago, and some thoughts came to my mind that I would like to share with you. This is just a Carol Chit Chat email from my heart to yours.
Paul and I have been at Indian Lake Nazarene Camp five years now. Does that even seem possible? We just got back from a week in St. Louis with our granddaughters, celebrating Leia's 10th birthday. Five years ago I left my position as her part time care giver, and moved into a new role here at the camp. She has had quite a few changes in her life, and we have seen quite a few changes here at ILNC.
We have moved three times in the last five years...first to our unwinterized cottage, inherited from my father, Loyd Martz. Then after 18 months our house in Illinois finally sold, so we moved into a condo in Portage. We missed being on the campground full time, so we then purchased the Hilgendorf/Ketterman house (the old nurse's cottage) next to our cottage, and moved into it, after it was renovated. It's still a work in process, but we are at home.
In the last five years we have seen other moves:
The camp office moved to the former District Office, and the old office became a Prayer Cottage, thanks to the vision of Linda Seaman and her team.
The beach moved from being across the street from the Dining Hall to the new beach area out by the boat docks.
The main entrance to the camp moved from 30th Street/Indian Lake Drive on the west end of camp to the east end of camp, Southworth Lane.
The old grove camping sites moved out to make room for the new boat ramp loop.
Some new faces/families have moved onto the campground (new leaseholders).
And in the last five years 25 leaseholders have moved from their earthly dwelling to their home in glory.
Moving...it isn't always easy. We have to sometimes give up familiar spots, favorite places, move away from the ones we love and cherish. But life truly is a moving experience.
These moving experiences led me to think on what I am currently longing for...another move. I don't like to grow stagnant. I am not comfortable with status quo. My heart desires to feel a moving of God's Holy Spirit once again in ways that are so phenomenal, the only explanation can be God is at work renewing, reviving, renovating, refreshing His people once again. Oh...how I long to be part of that. Don't you?
These next few days Paul and I will be at the Holiness Summit on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University. Perhaps we will see some of you there. My heart cries out for a fresh touch of God...to hear His Word speak to me and move me and motivate me to be more energized in His kingdom work. I know our time is growing short. I know the enemy is having a heyday in our world today. It is not a time to sit back and wish for the good ol' days, or to remember how it used to be. It's time to put on the full armor of God and get ready for battle. It's time to take a stand for truth and what is right and claim the name of Jesus in the face of evil. At His name, satan has to flee.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
My friend Bob went home to be with Jesus this past week. I was so excited for him. I had asked him to find my Mom and Dad and give them a hug for me. When we got the call early in the week that he had passed away, I felt a sense of euphoria....that somehow in someway my parents were going to get a message from me....my love was being transported from earth to heaven by means of Bob. I don't know how that all works, but it's a very heart warming feeling...brought tears to my eyes.
We have another ILNC Resident funeral to attend in the morning...that will be three funerals in just over two weeks. In the last five years since we have been on the ILNC grounds, we have had several of our leaseholders cross over. I can only rejoice with them, and feel sorrow for the ones left behind.
Told hubby this morning that if Jesus doesn't come back for me in the next year...I am ready to head back south. My goodness...we had another 8 inches of snow last night, and it's snowing again. It's 14 degree wind chill out. At least the sun has been shining today. That always helps.
To help the residents who are stuck here in the winter to have an outlet, we started having occasional game nights over in the ILNC Dining Hall. We had 22 attend last Friday night. We built a cozy fire in the fireplace, and we ordered pizza. There were all kinds of other snacks, and we had a great time playing games. During the warmer months we like to gather around the camp fires, but for now we will gather around the fireplace at the Dining Hall.
I'm watching American Idol again this year. The two guys who have made it through thus far are both Christians. Both of them are praise team/music leaders in their churches. That's cool! I'll be anxious to see how well they compete, and what their song choices are. The itty bitty blond that made it through last week has a powerful voice, and Simon predicted her following the footsteps of Kelly Clarkson.
I'm also done registering daily for the HGTV Dream House in Sonoma, CA. I keep hoping to win the Dream House so I can help get the camp out of debt (besides myself!!). I don't want to move to Sonoma, and I don't want to clean a large house again. But I've been praying for God to help us pay off the camp debts, and if He wants to use winning a contest to do it, then that's okay with me. More than likely, that's not His plan. I will also register for the HGTV Green House in Tradition, Florida when it starts up...a possible place to retire. And I am voting now on the features of the DIY Blog Cabin. Once it is built, that's another home I will register daily to win. It's in one of my favorite locations....Asheville, North Carolina! North Carolina has been our place of choice to retire for several years now. Retirement is only ten yeas away, give or take a few years, so it's okay to dream.
Personally, I think we are closing in on the final days on earth. Too many things shaping up that way. I will not dwell on that, but I will be aware, and be ready! My goal is to be debt free and live unencumbered. I live to represent the love of Jesus to the world, and to serve others in ways pleasing to Him. No other purpose. My prayers go out daily to those whom I know that do not claim Christ as their Savior and Lord. I plan to live forever with HIM, and I want my loved ones to join me. I can hardly wait to see Mom and Dad again. I am so grateful for the Christian heritage they gave me. I was blessed to be raised in their home.
So, that's it for this blog. That's what I've been thinking!!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
This morning's devotional passage spoke to my heart about the crux of the matter...how we should live as Christians. I like how it is worded in the New Living Translation, from which I will quote Colossians 3:12-17:
Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
You must make allowance for each other's faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony.
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use his words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through him to God the Father.
People outside the church will not be attracted to a rules oriented church...why would they want to attend a place like that? But when we as Christians, the Bride of Christ, the Church, will remember that we have been called to freedom, not to please ourselves, but to lovingly serve others (Galatians 5:13), we will make love our highest goal...not obeying the rules or enforcing the rules. Love will motivate us to treat each other with respect and kindness and mercy and grace...and Love will be what attracts those outside the church to want to know more about the Christ whom we are committed to.
It is possible to have a revival of love? Another comment I made in class is that if we do offend someone by our actions...perhaps it would be best to take that person out to lunch, or invite that person into our home, and be a friend. Talk about the issues that are offensive, and work through them. Everyone wants a friend...everyone wants acceptance...everyone longs for love...agape love...un-judging love. Can we offer that? Can we be Christ to those about us? I think we can. And I think we must, if we want to affect our world for Christ's sake.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Tonight we have a Candle Lake Dinner event going on here at Indian Lake Nazarene Camp. We have special musicians...Living Truth...for entertainment. They play a variety of instruments and sing. The ILNC Buffets are something to brag about, but I won't. We have about 100 registered for the event, many taking a package deal which gives them a motel room for tonight and the Breakfast Buffet in the morning. It's a very good deal at $70 per couple.
We also have Indianapolis First CON Youth Group for the weekend. A Fishing Tournament scheduled for this weekend is being delayed until next weekend, since we actually had temperatures up into the 60's mid-week! It's still winter though, and the cold weather has returned. Most of our snow has melted, however, and that is NICE!!
Well...that's it for now!
Monday, January 26, 2009
Acts 9:31: The believers were walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. That's how we should be living in our daily walk with God through this journey of life. Fear in this application is another way of saying "respect" or "honor". If we give our respect to God, and honor Him by our lifestyle, we have no need to "fear", or be afraid, or worry, about the economy and the things facing us as a nation.
Our sermon yesterday was about seeking the kingdom of God first, and all "these things" (the things we need) will be taken care of. There's no reason for Christians to run around like chickens in a flutter over what might come, or how we will survive. When we honor God, we receive our comfort from the Holy Spirit. He gives us peace and assurance that it is well with our souls, and God is in control. What more can we ask for? Any more than that, and perhaps we would be out of the will of God. If we truly want to go it on our own, He will allow us to do that. But why would we want to?
To receive God's best, life is not about investing our money, but rather it is about investing our very lives. We do this by:
- Making time for family and friends - they are God's gifts to us.
- Being grateful for God's provision and protection. He is always there for us!
- Practicing contentment - Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8, NLT) There are plenty of things that could get us down and discouraged, but we need not focus on the negative side of life...God has given us the ability to rise above that and choose to dwell on the beauty of life.
I'm going to visit Bob this morning. He has acute leukemia and has already outlived the number of days his doctor gave him. I can't imagine what it would be like to just wait to die, waking up each morning wondering if this was the day. Well, my last devotional reading this morning talked about "The Dying Words of Christians". Death for the Christian is just a "threshold to the palace of God" (Dr. Billy Graham's words). I can't imagine waiting in anticipation of walking across that threshold!! Especially if it is something I have believed in and waited for my whole life!
I am going to take Bob some chocolate chip/oatmeal/raisin cookies. I can't imagine what his first meal will be like in heaven! The Master Chef will far surpass the culinary skills of the finest of cruise ship chefs. And to dine with the saints of all the ages...the giants of the Bible, like Abraham, Moses, David, Apostle Paul. To have a hearty laugh with Jesus as He slips His arm across my shoulders. Death doesn't need to be a thing to dread or fear. It's like the best looking gift under the Christmas tree, all wrapped up and labeled with our name! We open the gift, and walla! We step across the threshold into eternal life. I'm going to ask Bob to give Mom and Dad a hug for me and tell them I can hardly wait to see them again!
Spending time in God's Word and on my face in His presence and in some good devotional books only inspires me to give to Him this day the best that I have. To serve Him by serving others. To love Him by loving others. To make my life count for something by investing my time and resources for Him. Wow...what an opportunity! Please join me!
Saturday, January 24, 2009
I've started reading a new stack of books...listed in the side bar. I also started playing games on the computer as an outlet. I'm enjoying Internet backgammon and spider solitaire, along with hearts and pinball. Does that give you a clue how desperate I am for social life? Grin. I've been trying to plan our next family trip for next fall or winter...gives me a get-away to dream about.
So now I've posted why I am not doing much blogging...just not much going on. We have had a game night on the campgrounds the last two Friday nights. That gets us out of the house and together with other people stuck here in the winter. A large percentage of our residents are snowbirds and are fortunate enough to be down south in the winter...either Florida or Arizona. Our front desk clerk in the office has gone back to Florida for six weeks, so I will be filling in for her. That will fill in some of my hours, so I am grateful. Our trip to Florida occurs in June. My husband is a delegate to the Church of the Nazarene General Assembly in Orlando. Not my favorite time of the year to go to Florida, but I do enjoy having breaks from the campground!
We have special friends from Canada coming to visit us next weekend. That will be a treat for us! It's nice to have friends you have known across the years. We met them in Cleveland, TN, while I was attending seminary. Their boys and our sons are about the same age and we just enjoyed each other's company. They have been so good to visit us about every two years, when they are down in the states. We keep moving, so they try to keep up with us. However, we have now been here for five years. That's a long time for us! I keep thinking it's time to move back south, but my husband hasn't felt that nudge from God yet. And, hey, I definitely don't want to get ahead of God!! When I do that, I just tend to mess things up.
In all of my reading lately, I really haven't had anything special jump out at me to post. I will say that The Shack was a tremendous book. I didn't want it to end. I gave it to one of our sons, and now he is finished with it and sending it to our other son. The message that comes through loud in clear is that God loves us and believes in us no matter what we do with him. We tend to box God in and think we have him figured out, but we don't have the slightest understanding of how big he is...how far reaching he is...how full of grace he is. He's amazing. His love is amazing. His grace is amazing. I hope anyone who reads this has had or will have a personal encounter with him...he's life changing. He may not change where I am living right now, but that only tells me there are things for me to do right here.
We have some sad situations here on this campground with our 100 plus residents. Last year Don's only child died and left behind three grandsons, and within two months Don's wife died. Ouch. But Don has been devoting his time to helping others. In the summer he mowed. Last fall he picked up leaves. In this winter season he is out clearing out driveways with his snow blower. We now have Bob who just found out in this last month that he has leukemia and is expected to pass away very shortly. His 22 year old granddaughter died of lupus this week. His wife has lost a grandchild and is about to lose a husband. Tough situation. But in both of these situations, we all know God is in control, and God will be there for the hours we need him most. This campground community is like a family, and we are surrounded by brothers and sisters who care, who pray, who assist in any way they can. How blessed we are to live in such a setting! (lest I sounded like I was grumbling earlier...I just don't like long winters...that's why we moved south when Paul graduated from college in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan).
Friday, January 9, 2009
Took an early morning ride in the snow plow truck with the hubby...took two hours just to do the first initial cleanup, before the snow started in again! He spent most of the afternoon out plowing again. Tonight, after our community supper at the ILNC Dining Hall, he'll probably be out a third time.
I have shoveled the doggie path out twice today, and it's almost filled in again. Last year the snow got so high, our little doggies couldn't be seen when they were on the back side of the path, out near the fence. We haven't gotten that much snow...yet. It's supposed to keep this up all through tomorrow, so hard telling how much we'll end up with. I just know I've been perusing the vacation sights, wishing I could escape, but knowing we are here to stay this winter. Hey...two more months and we'll get a break. It's not really all that bad! (It just seems that way in the middle of it!)
Sunday, January 4, 2009
These are the winter slow down days where I do much more reading, watching Hallmark movies and videos, and I'm less active. I need spring to show up early so I can get myself back out walking three miles every day with the dogs, and picking up limbs and just enjoy being outside. As it is, I got some new "spikes" for my boots so I don't have to worry so much about slipping on the ice that's hiding under the snow. Although I must say that today's mist and warmer temperature may take care of most of the snow that is still lingering...except for the piles that were plowed out of the roads. However, rest assured, it's not over yet! And it's been so cold this winter...lots of wind.
My email and my blogging has slowed way down. Can't say that I've been in a big hurry to do either. One thing that remains constant, however, is my daily devotional/meditation time that I spend praying and reading through various books to see what God has to say to me. That's a daily must do...just to keep my balance and my relationship with my Lord up to date and vibrant. So...here's few things he has said to me lately from my reading:
- Do not wear yourself out by trying to be all things to all people---quit looking for acceptance. Just honor God and live pleasing to Him, for in the end that truly is all that matters.
- Sail on...one day at a time...and you will reach your destiny!
- Make Sundays holy...not hectic. Have a plan.
- Don't quit...persevere...keep at it. Hang in there until the task is done. That's how you grow.
- Be thankful for the hard things: disappointment, loneliness, trials...for they bring you closer to God as you seek His face in the midst of turmoil.
- We all have a need to be needed. Not feeling needed leads to depression.
- Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will... Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will triumph. (Isaiah 50: 4,7)