Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Holy Spirit

This morning's revival message was focused on the Holy Spirit.  The following question was asked:

"When did you receive the Holy Spirit?"

Dr. Quanstrom gave four possible answers:

  1. I don't know when, but I do know that the Holy Spirit lives in me.
  2. I don't know if I received the Holy Spirit.
  3. I know exactly when and where I received the Holy Spirit.
  4. I know I have not received the Holy Spirit, or even if there is a Holy Spirit.
When the question was being asked, in my mind I was trying to answer for myself.  I know that at age 11 during a revival in a neighboring church I went forward to the altar at the end of the service.  My Mom came and prayed with me, and I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and to come into my heart.  I refer to that time as when I became "saved", a new born Christian.  I had reached the age of knowing right from wrong, and was accountable for my actions.  

I had stolen a candy bar a few months before and was feeling very guilty about it.  I confessed it to God, but telling Mom was a little harder.  Mom and Dad taught me about restitution...when you do something wrong, you make it right as best you can.  I had to go back to the grocery store where I had stolen the candy and pay for it and tell them I was sorry.  They were so touched that a child would do that, they took my money, but they gave me another free candy bar.  Restitution pays dividends!!

I guess the Holy Spirit came to dwell in me then, for from that point forward I was very conscientious of making the right choices to please Jesus.  When I was 30 and a mother of two young boys, I began to hunger for the full infilling of the Holy Spirit, referred to as sanctification in the Nazarene denomination.  I had an up and down emotional life and carried wrong attitudes.  I wanted something that would make me more like Jesus and be a stabilization force in my life.

After listening to many sermons on sanctification and reading books and asking God to cleanse me, I was finally ready to die to myself and claim His sanctifying power...whether I felt it or not.  One hot Sunday night in July in Cleveland, TN, I knelt at an altar lined with other seekers.  I told the Lord I knew it was His will for me to be sanctified, and I desperately wanted His will in my life.  Therefore, whether I felt His movement or not, I was going to get up and claim He had cleansed me and filled me and set me apart for His purpose.

As I started to get up, in faith believing, the Holy Spirit descended upon that altar full of people, and I was knocked back to my knees. I was crying and laughing and feeling a cleansing wave flowing over me again and though I was on the seashore and the waves kept rolling in and over me.  It seemed like I was all alone on that seashore...just me and the Holy Spirit.  When it was over, and I opened my eyes, it seemed like I could see like never before.  I felt so clean, so full of God's love, so free from whatever had hindered me in the past.  That day a step of faith, believing in God's powerful work of cleansing and filling me with His love, resulted in me feeling like a brand new person.  I believed, and I wanted to share it with everyone. 

The answer to Dr. Quanstrom's question was given by him at the end of the service.  "When are you filled with the Holy Spirit?  When you believe."

How about you...have you been filled with the Holy Spirit of God?  I pray you hunger and thirst after His Gift, and that you surrender to Him when He taps you on the shoulder and says "Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).  This is my will for you...even your sanctification! (I Thessalonians 4:3)"  May you sense the drawing of the Holy Spirit even as you end reading this blog.  He's a whisper away and seeks your heart.  May God be near and answer your prayers!


We are in the midst of a revival at our church.  Dr. Mark Quanstrom from Olivet Nazarene University, is our speaker.  Friday night he spoke on the parable of the Father and Two Sons.  He contends that the story was not about the two sons, each in their own way needing forgiveness.  Rather, it is about the Father, who is full of grace, who is always searching for us and ready to extend His grace to us.  We are sinners, saved by grace.

We were challenged by the question of where we would sit in a restaurant.  It used to be that there was a smoking area and a non-smoking area.  If instead there were a sinner's area and a non-sinner's area, in which area would we choose to sit?  Then Mark asked us where would Jesus sit?  Obviously Jesus would choose to sit with sinners, for that is why He came and sacrificed His life.  Are we willing to admit we are just sinners saved by grace, and that Jesus wants us to reach out to those who are in need of His grace?

Saturday night Dr. Quanstrom spoke on the wee little man, Zacheus, who climbed up a sycamore tree to see Jesus when He passed by.  Even though Zacheus wanted to see Jesus, it was Zacheus that Jesus was searching for.  He told Zacheus to come down for Jesus planned to go to his house.  Jesus sought and saved that which was lost...Zacheus.  The point being that we do not look for Jesus for our salvation, Jesus seeks us out.  We don't go to Jesus on our own.  It is the Spirit of Jesus that draws us to Him.  This is a comfort to me in that those I pray for to have a relationship with Jesus, I can rest assured that Jesus is and will continue to seek them out.  It will still be their choice whether to accept Jesus or not, but Jesus does not give up...His grace and His love compels Him to seek out the lost.

Today is our final day, and I may give a recap after the next two services.  Dr. Quanstrom has a way of going deeper into the scripture to find truth that we may overlook.  He expands on the stories we have heard all of our lives, and gives us a new thought, a new nugget to devour.  

I got a great deal on Craig's List this week, and I lost out on one.  I plugged in "Karen Kingsbury", an author I just started reading this past winter.  I really enjoy her books for they pull me into the story...a story normally taken from real life.  New books cost $20 or more, but I found 12 books for $15.  I now have my reading for the whole next year.  I keep one fiction book going while working on other theological or inspirational books.  I keep the books I am currently reading over to the right in the side bar.

The deal I lost was a large collection of Pfaltzgraff dishes...service for 8 and all the side pieces...for $40.  When I was in Colonial Williamsburg last October, I found three bowls for $7 in the Goodwill store.  I purchased them and love using them.  The set for sale on Craig's List was the same pattern...Yorktowne.  This is an older pattern and no longer available.  So...sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.  Such is life.

Things were getting a little crazy on the campgrounds, so we decided to take a day away and drove up to Paul's parents to visit and to take them out to Applebee's for lunch.  I really like their broccoli and cheese mm good!  We took the dogs along for the ride, which is always a treat for them.

I needed a "pick me up" Friday, so I got my hair cut while in town to do my banking and shopping. I had not had a hair cut since last December, so it was time.  Yesterday I made a batch of no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies and took some around to my ladies, along with a small bag of chips.  More important than the treats is that I took time to visit with 3 of the 4.  I know they are lonely and appreciate anyone who comes by to visit.  I don't do it often enough.

Last night we used Skype for the first time.  We had a great family visit with our son and daughter-in-law who live in New Mexico.  How nice to feel like we are sitting in the same room together having conversation!!  We'll have to try it with our other son and granddaughters now.  

Just a few notes this week from my daily devotions:


  • O God, my God!  How I search for you!  How I thirst for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.  How I long to find you!  How I wish I could go into your sanctuary to see your strength and glory, for your love and kindness are better to me than life itself.  How I praise you!  (63:1-3)
  • I lie awake at night thinking of you...of how much you have helped me...and how I rejoice through the night beneath the protecting shadow of your wings.  I follow close behind you, protected by your strong right arm.  (63:6-9)

The Word for You Today:
  • God uses the thing that should have destroyed us to develop us
  • What you focus on will greatly influence your life, so focus on Jesus
  • see others as Jesus sees them, not as they are
  • walls built to keep others out will lock you in

  • But you will also begin to search for Jehovah your God, and you shall find him when you search for him with all your heart and souls.  (4:29)
  • Whatever is in the heart overflows into speech.  (4:45)
  • Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is the faithful God who for a thousand generations keeps his promises and constantly loves those who love him and who obey his commands.  (7:9)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Back to Normal

Yes, life is back to without the granddaughters.  Both dogs and grandparents have to accept we are "alone" again.  The girls light up our life so much when they are around.  The dogs get so much attention from both girls.  Actually, after the girls go back home, the dogs finally get some uninterrupted sleep!  Sometimes they go and hide to avoid all the attention they get when the girls are here.  A big reason our granddaughters like to visit is to be with the dogs.  They spent a lot of time walking them, teaching them tricks, loving on them.  The dogs get very spoiled by all the attention.  

We went to Frankenmuth last Monday and Tuesday, staying in the Bavarian  Lodge, swimming, shopping, playing games at the arcade, and playing games in our room.  The food was wonderful, and both girls would like to go back there again some day.  

Wednesday and Thursday were sunny days in the low 60's.  We spent those two days working outside in the yard, prepping it for spring.  Both girls had tasks suited to their abilities.  The older one even learned how to aerate the yard, using grandpa's riding lawn mower.  They took their hard earned money to a big discount store where they could buy what they wanted.  These girls are very good shoppers!!  They are selective and stay within their spending allotment.  

Friday was a free what you want to do kind of day.  We made chocolate chip cookies for the second time.  We took the first batch around the campground to widow ladies.  The second batch was for them to take home to their families.  The older granddaughter spent a lot time last week working on a scrapbook. She's very creative, very artistic.  The younger one liked to play games like Sorry, Uno, Dominoes, and we all played Sequence together.  We also watched the complete set of videos about Anne of Green Gables.  What a character building set of videos!  It's a very good series about how to overcome the obstacles in life, and how to handle difficult people.  I enjoyed them as much as the girls.

We had daily devotions after our evening meals.  The last night we went to the Prayer Cottage here on the campgrounds to share time together, wrapping up our devotional booklet and talking about how God was real to He had helped us through difficult times and how He had protected us.  

We met their Dad in Illinois on Saturday, having lunch at Cracker Barrel.  The week had gone by quickly, as I knew it would, but we are hoping to have them back again this summer...only three months away.  I have to prepare another Grandma Camp for the younger one, while the older one attends youth camp.  It will be a fun time for all of us!

Let's look briefly at my devotional reading from this week.

The Word for You Today:

  1. You should look to God, not people, for answers to your prayers.  Keep believing what God says, and do not allow others to influence you differently.
  2. Everything big comes from something small.  God needs one person who trusts Him to step out in obedience to His Word.  We have the following examples:  Esther, Paul, Mother Teresa, Billy Graham.  They all did great things for God, but they had to be obedient to achieve that success.  Obedience also brings rest and peace.
  3. Because God owns everything I have, I will take the utmost care of it for Him!  
  4. How you use your money determines the quality of your life.
  5. Our highest motive should be to exalt God in everything we do...doing everything as unto the Lord, as an offering to God.
  6. It is satan's plan to destroy you by using other people.  Recognize satan is attacking you, and forgive the people so you don't allow resentment to defeat you.  Use your God-give authority to rebuke satan in the name of Jesus.
  • O God, listen to me!  Hear my prayers!  For wherever I am, though far away at the ends of the earth, I will cry to you for help.  When my heart is faint and overwhelmed, lead me to the mighty towering Rock of safety.  For you are my refuge, a high tower where my enemies can never reach me.  I shall live forever in your tabernacle; oh, to be safe beneath the shelter of your wings!  For you have head my vows, O God, to praise you every day, and you have given me the blessings you reserve for those who reverence your name.  You will give me added years of life, as rich and full as those of many generations, all packed into one.  And I shall live before the Lord forever.  Oh, send your loving kindness and truth to guard and watch over me, and I will praise your name continually, fulfilling my vow of praising you each day.  (61:1-8)
  • Yes, he alone is my Rock, my rescuer, defense and fortress--why then should I be tense with fear when troubles come?  (v. 6)
  • O God, my God!  How I search for you!  How I thirst for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.  How I long to find you!  How I wish I could go into your sanctuary to see your strength and glory, for your love and kindness are better to me than life itself.  How I praise you!  (v. 1-3)
  • I lie awake at night thinking of you -- of how much you have helped me -- and how I rejoice through the night beneath the protecting shadow of your wings.  I follow close behind you, protected by your strong right arm.  (v. 6-9)

  • Honor goes to kind and gracious women, mere money to cruel men.  Your own soul is nourished when you are kind; it is destroyed when you are cruel.  (11:16-17)
  • The evil man gets rich for the moment, but the good man's reward lasts forever.  The good man finds life; the evil man, death."  (11:18-19)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring Break!

I am in the midst of one of my favorite times of the year.  I love spring!  Even though I do not see new life springing forth as of yet, I can feel it in the air...and it won't be long before leaves will start coming on and new buds and warmer weather.  Out will come the golf carts, and our snowbirds will be flying back north.  I can hardly wait!

My favorite times of the year, however, are when my two granddaughters are with us.  They are here during their spring break.  Last year we spent a week in Gatlinburg, TN with them.  This year we are staying in Michigan, mostly at home.  However, today we are headed to a lodge with an indoor water park in Frankenmuth...a German village in eastern Michigan.  It's a quaint little village, and I'm sure we will have fun for the next couple of days.

We picked them up on Saturday (Dad brought them halfway) and they had play time with the dogs, birthday presents to open, and cats to watch.  Yesterday we had church at home, showing the children's version of The Jesus Film.  After lunch we took them to the Kalamazoo Nature Center to the Maple Sugar Festival.  We visited an old farm homestead and saw demonstrations of how life used to be, plus how maple trees are tapped for maple fluid.  We had a horse drawn wagon ride, and we also saw a Birds of Prey demonstration.  Came home to a big meal of beef and noodles, and watched a movie.  We are going to be watching the "Anne of Green Gables" series this week.

Last week I had some of our co-workers in for supper a couple of nights.  We spent one day out of town on camp business.  We are continuing to prepare for camp registration on-line this year...scrambling to get ready for it as people are waiting to begin the process.

I'm up early this morning trying to catch up and be ready for the girls when they wake up.  We have to board the dogs before we leave, but want to get an early start.

Here's my weekly devotional highlights:

The Word for You Today:
  1. God uses our self-made messes to show us our need of Him in our lives.  If we will admit to our mistakes when we stumble, God will forgive us.  We must also apologize to people that are involved, learn from our mistakes, and move forward.
  2. Encourages are usually people who prefer not to be the center of attention.  They enjoy the role of being supportive...and little would get done without them.
  3. Words spoken cannot be retrieved, so use your words wisely so that they encourage others and glorify Jesus.
  4. Core values are principles that should determine how you act.  My core values are:    HOPE:  H-holy life  O-obedient will  P-pure heart  E-eternal values
  5. When you face struggles you are better equipped to help others.  You also learn to trust God and not yourself.
  6. Painful events can make you bitter or better.  Forgive instead of retaliating; pray so that you can act out of love rather than anger; read scripture to relieve anger.

Mark - the New Testament:
  • However, no one, not even the angels in heaven, nor I myself, knows the day or hour when these things will happen; only the Father knows.  And since you don't know when it will happen, stay alert.  Be on the watch for my return.  (13:32-33)
  • Keep a sharp lookout!  For you do not know when I will come, at evening, at midnight, early dawn or late daybreak.  Don't let me find you sleeping.  Watch for my return!  (13:35-37)

  • What I want from you is your true thanks; I want your promises fulfilled.  I want you to trust me in your times of trouble, so I can rescue you, and you can give me glory. (50:14-15)
  • But true praise is a worthy sacrifice; this really honors me.  Those who walk in my paths will receive salvation from the Lord.  (50:23)
  • Create in me a new, clean heart, O God, filled with clean thoughts and right desires...  Restore to me again the joy of your salvation and make me willing to obey you...  A broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not ignore.  (51:10, 12, 17)
  • Give your burdens to the Lord.  He will carry them.  He will not permit the godly to slip or fall.  (55:22)
  • But when I am afraid, I will put my confidence in you.  Yes, I will trust the promises of God.  And since I am trusting Him, what can mere man do to me?  (56:3-4)
  • This one thing I know:  God is for me!  (55:10)

  • God protects the upright but destroys the wicked.  The good shall never lose God's blessings, but the wicked shall lose everything.  (10:29-30)
  • The Lord hates cheating and dishonesty.  Proud men end in shame, but the meek become wise.  A good man is guided by his honesty; the evil man is destroyed by his dishonesty.  (11:1-3)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The "Fall"

No, I'm not going to blog about Adam and Eve.  You know that story well, and thanks to them we have a world where evil seems to prevail.  Thank goodness, it only seems that way, and evil has a deadline.  Because of that, the evil one is out to devour and destroy everything he can.  In the end, God wins.  His New Jerusalem will not have any evil, any pain, any sorrow, any unfairness, anything ugly.  My hope is steadfast that I will someday inherit eternal life in God's New Jerusalem.  My prayer is that my loved ones will join me there.

The Fall I am talking about in the title line is my fall on black ice.  I have been so very careful all winter long to avoid such a fall.  I didn't walk the dogs when I knew it was icy out (most of the winter, it seems), and when I did walk, I took very decided, controlled steps.  

Last Tuesday we were headed to the vehicle to go home for lunch and I had a handful of mail to put in the mail box and was yakking away with hubby.  As I stepped behind our vehicle I stepped on black ice, and with no moment to correct myself, I was up in the air and landed flat on my back, after which my head whacked the pavement.  Hubby came to my rescue, picked up the scattered mail, and helped me get up.  I didn't feel like anything was broken, but I was full of pain and empty of air.  I started on Ibuprofen right away, and rested on a heating pad.  Within 24 hours the lump and indentation on my head was gone, and I was left only with a tender area. I never did experience headaches or anything that would indicate head injury.

My back is another story.  I'm still grateful I didn't break anything (to my knowledge), but it is absolutely amazing how many muscles are used from the back area to move up and down and sideways.  I've managed to keep up with household activities and go to work for part of each day, but I've also rested quite a bit on the reclining love-seat with a heating pad.  I found it difficult to get in and out of bed and roll from one side to another, or to sleep flat on my back, so most of my nights have been in the recliner.  I have also learned to not stay in one position too long or I stiffen up, so I take little walks around the house, or take the dogs walking around the block (short walks), and move to different spots/positions.  I'm going to be fine.  I am so utterly grateful to God that I did not break anything.  The back pain will go away, my muscles will recover their strength.  I'm glad the black ice season is almost over though!!

Our dog Tuxedo had surgery this week to remove a tumor from his upper lip, under his nose.  He's a Pekingese, with the short snout, so the tumor was very obvious.  Our vet surgeon did a beautiful job of removing it and stitching the skin back together.  He even looks younger, though he did celebrate his 13th birthday this month.  He's been through a lot in his life time.  As a little puppy, the first week he was in our home, he followed me to the kitchen one night, where all was dark.  Not knowing he was there, when I stepped back, I stepped on his back. Hubby heard both of us yowling.  I moved quickly to get off from him and fell and sprained my toes.  We took him to an animal hospital and because he was so young there wasn't much they could do for him.  They said he'd either survive, or not survive. We prayed throughout the night for him, and in the morning he was fine.

When he was about ten he started showing signs of severe arthritis.  We were afraid we would have to put him to sleep because he could no longer jump up on furniture, nor walk without stumbling.  He loves walking and jumping up on something where he can sit on and look outside.  Well, one day I was driving our golf-cart with the dogs running along side of was our way of letting them run (on a leash) for exercise.  All of a sudden Tux darted in front of my golf-cart and I ran over him.  He went in between the two front tires, and by the time I was stopped, he was laying between the two tires on the left side.  I was sure I had killed him...that he was dying a slow painful death.  I pulled him out from under the cart, patted him down, talked through my tears...he got up and shook it off, and hasn't had a problem with arthritis since then.  I guess the cart "massage" was like going to a chiropractor, getting all the muscles back into place.  

One other time while I was out walking the dogs, a large German Shepherd was loose and came bounding up to us and took Tuxedo by the neck and started shaking him like a rag doll.  I was screaming for help, and decided to put my hand in the German Shepherd's mouth and get her to release her hold on Tux, which she did.  (I was so scared, I didn't worry about getting bit was a sacrifice on my part for my dog!)  She wasn't wanting to be mean, she was just playing, not realizing she could have killed Tux by shaking him like she did.  She thought she had a toy.  Well, Tux didn't have a cut or puncture, but he had the GS's saliva all over him.  His Alpha Dog image was severely damaged, and it took several weeks for him to get over that incident!

He's long will we have him?  Today he looks younger (after surgery) and sprints around and jumps and is playful.  I just hope when his life does come to an end, it is not a tragic ending.  His sister, Kefli (Shitzu), hovers over him like his mother, even though she is three years younger.  What a pair.  When they know they are going for a ride (either in the vehicle or on the golf-cart) or a walk, as I'm getting ready to put their leashes on, they both starting barking and howling and singing this dog duet.  It really is more like a song than just two dogs barking annoyingly.  They are our kids...we love them...we will miss them when they are gone, for sure!

I made it out to my Dave Ramsey class again this week, and he spoke to us about how to snow-ball our debt, getting out from under debt completely, except for the mortgage.  I feel very good about where we are at with that.  I'm really enjoying these classes, and I again recommend everyone, especially young people, to take a Dave Ramsey class.  You can even do it on-line.  Just go to his website to learn more:  You can also find out where classes might be happening in your area.

We lost a friend to esophageal cancer this week.  So sad...he was such a pleasant guy to be around, and he and his wife had built their retirement home here on our campground a few years ago.  They weren't retired yet, but would come often during the summer.  He was such a family man, and church man, and they usually had family and/or church friends staying with them or dining with them or just relaxing and visiting with them.  He will be missed, his wife will be lonely...but not lacking for friends or family.  May God be near and comfort all of them.

Well, I have a ham in the crock pot, and my tummy tells me it is dinner time almost.  Let me quickly recap my week's devotional material:

Mark - New Testament:
Live in peace with each other.  (9:30)

Proverbs - Wisdom:
Don't talk so much.  You keep putting your foot in your mouth.  Be sensible and turn off the flow!  (10:19)

The wicked man's fears will all come true, and so will the good man's hopes.  Disaster strikes like a cyclone and the wicked are whirled away, but the good man has a strong anchor.  (10:24-25)

"Stand still!  Know that I am God!  I will be honored by every nation in the world!  (46:10)

"The Word For You Today" - daily devotional magazine:
Practicing Hospitality:

  • sacrifice your personal plans
  • give of your time as well as money
  • go out of your way, above and beyond the call of duty
  • see others through the eyes of Jesus
How to Be Married and Happy:
  • come to terms with your flaws (each others' flaws) and be realistic about them
  • in your finances - tithe, be generous, delay gratification
  • in your appearance - try to always look your best; accept aging with dignity
  • in your lifestyle - comfort and contentment are more important than materialism and pride that leads to debt bondage
  • be courteous - small acts of kindness, kind words
  • physical satisfaction - satisfy your partner instead of manipulating or demanding your way
  • love is an act of your will, not a feeling
  • build your foundation on commitment, character, and a Christlike attitude
  • allow God's love to fill your heart and your will have love for your spouse
  • invest yourself in your partner, and you will get good returns
  • choose to see things from a different perspective
  • choose contentment
  • change what you can (your attitude), accept what you can't change
  • the character of a truly happy person:  humility, repentance, gentleness, patience, pure heart, peace loving, non-judging, fairness
  • selfishness puts an end to love, and love ends selfishness
  • put your spouse's needs before your own
  • the more self dies, the more your relationship will flourish
Have a good week everybody!!  Spring is on its way!!  Listen to the birds, and sing along!!