Faith

Ownership of My Faith

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There are many who can state ‘I’ve been in church my whole life’.

 

I am one of those people. Even though my Mother was left alone to raise her eight children, she was committed to making sure we were in church regularly. Can you imagine today, being a single Mom, trying to get 8 children dressed, fed, and ready for church every Sunday morning? No one would have faulted her for taking the easy road and just staying home.

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Being in God’s house, building relationships with other believers, and learning who God was, established a firm foundation on which my own personal relationship with God could grow, accompanied by the living examples of those in my life who lived out their faith in God in tangible ways.

 

“For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,  my confidence since my youth. 
From birth I have relied on you;  you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
I will ever praise you.” Psalm 71:5-6

 

God has always been real for me, I have loved Him since I was a child. I have always loved going to church, singing about Him, feeling the emotional connection with others who, more often than not, became more like extended family to me.

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Didn’t all those things mean that I was already a Christ-follower by default? Absolutely not. There came a time when I had to own it. I wasn’t a Christian because my Mother was, or my siblings were, or because my Dad was a preacher, or because I hung out with Christian people.

Those were all wonderful, influential things in my life, but to be a true Christ-follower, it had to be mine, my own personal relationship with God my Creator, my confession and repentance of sin, my statement of trust in Jesus as my Savior and Lord.

 

That moment came when I was in the 4th grade, when it was no longer just what I believed, but it became who I was! Of course, as I continued to grow and mature and learn, I understood more and more what that meant.

 

My husband and I are committed to raising our children in church as well. We want them to have that foundation of faith, to know that they were thought of, wanted, created, and loved by God Himself, and it is our prayer that when they reach the age of understanding, that they will choose to follow Christ and grow their personal relationship with God.

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“…But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

 

 

 

I will never forget the day, when my oldest daughter, who had just graduated from high school and was beginning life as an adult, made this statement. She said, “I don’t want to just go to church because you guys do. I want to go because I choose to.” That is what you call ‘keeping it real’. She owned it. And I respected her for it.

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Want to know more about what being a Christ-follower means? I’ve included a link to a ministry which talks about who God is and how to begin a relationship with Him. This is a ministry which I personally trust to share the truths in God’s Word with kindness and compassion.

How To Know Jesus

 

 

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Faith, Uncategorized

Can We Learn the Language of Love?

Sometimes, there are no words…. all that can be mustered is silence, words suppressed and trapped beneath cares and trials so heavy, one cannot be rescued or restored by their strength alone.

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How many times have you fallen to your knees, bringing your burden to the feet of Jesus, and no words can come, but only your tears? No words come to your lips, and no audible words are spoken from God himself, yet when you rise, you’ve no doubt that your prayers reached heaven, and that your weary soul has found rest in the presence of God’s loving kindness.

 

It is in these times of weakness and weariness, that God’s strength becomes a shining light! Even without words, His light permeates above, underneath, and throughout any barrier, whether it be man-made or of spiritual origin. There is no place where His light and His presence cannot shine.

 

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.

It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.” Psalm 19:1-6

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Because man was created to not only need, but to thrive in relationships with others, He endowed us with language.

 

Unfortunately, as with everything else God created with specific, perfect purpose, influences of evil took hold of it and distorted it into a weapon…barbaric, course, perverse, and sometimes just ugly. It is manipulated like a sword, striking anyone in its path, cutting into the depths of the soul, beyond mere flesh and bone. Leaving scars in some fashion, leftover reminders of the power of unkind words and accusations.

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The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18

 

 

 

If only we felt the pain inflicted upon those who receive our dangerous weapon of words, then perhaps we would never again unleash them so carelessly.

 

 

Yet, are we not all human? Are we not overcome by emotions which cause us to lose control of the most untamed member of our bodies…our tongues?

 

 

They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows. Psalm 64:3

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If only we, as citizens and rulers of this planet, could harness and master this one, small but powerful part of ourselves, what an amazing world it would be for all.

 

For if every word were an instrument of kindness, encouragement, compassion and love, then every person would walk with their faces to the sun, eyes bright with hope and promise, and with their heads held high, not in haughtiness or selfish pride, but because  we would be compelled to seek out others with whom to share the warmth which would be on the brink of bursting forth upon those who need it.

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Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

 

 

Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. Jeremiah 1:9

 

I think maybe that was the intent of words after all….

Faith, family, Uncategorized

Our Unexpected Detour

We had just departed from my older brother’s home in Oregon, after spending a few days visiting him and his wife. It had been a great time, as usual, but we were ready to head for home, and we were only a few hours from our destination.

 
We had borrowed my Mother-in-law’s motor home, an older, open-designed model, with a nice, comfy couch located directly behind the driver’s seat. This is where I sat as we made our way down the highway.

 

 

I brought along some journals, one of which I had been writing in periodically since the beginning of our marriage. As it often goes, there were more entries from the earlier years of our lives than the more recent ones. Included were details about our first-born daughter, Melinda. Memories of her infancy, toddler-hood, and many of her first words and such.

 
I had also started journals for my other children, Michael, who was about 11 at that time, and 1 & 1/2 year old Marty. I thought the long drive would give me a chance to jot down more cherished memories.

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We left LaPine before noon, stopping in a neighboring town to top-off the large gas tank before resuming the long drive home.

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Andy drove, of course, with Marty seated next to him, buckled into his car seat in the front passenger seat. Melinda and Michael were enjoying the ride in the bedroom, which was located at the very rear of the motor home.

 

 
Less than 10 miles from where we had stopped for fuel, as we rounded a curve in the highway, the front tire of the driver’s side blew without warning.

 
I’m thankful for the good driving skills of my husband, for he was able to keep control of the motor home, as he carefully pulled the vehicle onto the shoulder.

 
As we came to a stop, smoke was billowing up from under the driver’s seat, and into the interior of the motor home, quickly becoming thicker and darker. Andy said, “Get out!”

 
I dropped everything, yelled to Melinda and Michael to come on and grabbed my baby out of his car seat while trying to stay calm. Andy struggled for a few seconds to get the latch on the old door to come free, and Melinda said, “Open it, Dad!”

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By the time we all got out the door and began walking away from the motor home, the driver’s side was engulfed in flames. By the time we were a good safe distance away, looking back at the peril from which we had escaped, the entire motor home was an inferno.

 
The thick, black smoke smothered both lanes of the highway, with the fire so intense it literally melted the asphalt beneath it, and ignited the dry brush along the roadway.

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Kind witnesses of our distress stopped to see if we were okay, as the kids and I stood crying and in shock, watching the motor home be reduced to nothing more than the frame it was built on. The only thing that survived the blaze was a pair of cast-iron wall hooks which I had purchased at an antique store. One good Samaritan literally gave Melinda the shoes off her feet.

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We left the motor home with absolutely nothing. The irreplaceable journals, my purse, phones, baby supplies, identification. Nothing. I had packed some of our best blankets on the motor home, including the wedding-ring quilt which I had pieced, crafted, and hand-quilted myself….. It was all gone.

 

After the fire was out and all the legalities were taken care of, a local man who had extinguished the brush fire took us to his home, where he and his wife extended open arms and warm hospitality at what we had just endured. We quickly came to realize that they were fellow Christians, and he was a singing cowboy for Jesus, no less! God-sent is how we would describe them.

 

 
They drove us to a quaint, near-by town, where we waited for friends to come take us home.

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Even though we were all okay and extremely thankful to have come out of the ordeal unscathed, the effort to process what had happened, and the numbness we felt from the traumatic events, was still with us well into the evening. In fact, all the children slept in our bedroom that night. We just needed to be together.

 

 
Sometimes, my mind plays out the other possible outcome. The more I think about it, the more frightened I get, but I remind myself that we were not alone that day.
There was one more passenger with us…Jesus.