The Ecstasy of His Doings

After the last post, you may think that everything is resolved–life is all rosy.  Not quite, BUT God…

He is ever faithful.  The verse that keeps popping in my mind is:

 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, IF we faint not.Galatians 6:9

The ministry is not for the fainthearted, or in 2015 vernacular: the ministry is not for wimps!

Nine years ago this month, we came to our little church on the mountain top, after six months of wilderness wandering. During that difficult time, were claiming this verse:

 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD… Exodus 14:13

We had our belongings in storage and were living in my uncle’s cabin, waiting for the Lord to open the next door.  When He did, it was shockingly sudden, like the parting of the Red Sea, and we went forward, praising our God for His amazing “goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107)

We long once again for His intervention on several fronts.  In case you haven’t noticed, as born-again believers, we have an enemy that is relentless and NEVER sleeps! BUT, we also “have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)  In plain English: He knows!!!  So, it “just so happened” that in my reading for today, from Oswald Chambers Daily Devotional Bible, I read the following:

Whenever God brings His deliverances they are so supernatural that we are staggered with amazement.  It is one of the most helpful spiritual exercises to reckon what God has done for us already.  When God wanted to make His ancient people realize what manner of God He was, He said, “Remember the crossing of the Red Sea,” and in the New Testament Paul says, “Remember, it is the God who raise Jesus from the dead.” These two things are the unit of measurement of God’s power.  If I want to know what God can do, He is the God who made a way through the sea; if it is a question of power for my life, the measurement of that is the resurrection of Jesus.

“Bring back our captivity, O LORD, …” (Psalm 126:4) I call upon my soul to remember what God has done and it makes me bold to entreat Him to do it again.  It is a crime to give way to self-pity, to be weak in God’s strength when all this God is ours…

 But call to remembrance the former days,

in which, after ye were illuminated,

ye endured a great fight of afflictions;

Hebrews 10:32

The Darkest Days of My Life

That’s quite a statement! What would make someone say that?  I can’t share my particular difficulties right now, but I do know that there’s not much else that Satan could throw my way that would be more difficult!

As I walked down our dirt road, my mind was in a whirl and my heart was heavy as I poured out my grief to God. Then these words came to my heart:

‘My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign;
My gracious Redeemer, my Saviour art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.’

When I returned home, I looked up the hymn and found this article:

A Protestant Episcopal Bi­shop of Mi­chi­gan once re­lat­ed the fol­low­ing in­ci­dent to a large au­di­ence in one of the Rev. E. P. Ham­mond’s meet­ings in St. Lou­is. “A young, tal­ent­ed and ten­der-heart­ed ac­tress was pass­ing along the street of a large ci­ty. See­ing a pale, sick girl ly­ing up­on a couch just with­in the half-open door of a beau­ti­ful dwell­ing, she en­tered, with the thought that by her vi­va­ci­ty and plea­sant con­ver­sa­tion she might cheer the young in­va­lid. The sick girl was a de­vot­ed Christ­ian, and her words, her pa­tience, her sub­mis­sion and hea­ven-lit coun­te­nance, so dem­on­strat­ed the spir­it of her re­li­gion that the ac­tress was led to give some ear­nest thought to the claims of Christ­i­an­i­ty, and was tho­rough­ly con­vert­ed, and be­came a true fol­low­er of Christ. She told her fa­ther, the lead­er of the the­a­ter troupe, of her con­ver­sion, and of her de­sire to aban­don the stage, stat­ing that she could not live a con­sis­tent Christ­ian life and fol­low the life of an ac­tress. Her fa­ther was as­ton­ished be­yond mea­sure, and told his daugh­ter that their liv­ing would be lost to them and their bu­si­ness ru­ined, if she per­sist­ed in her re­so­lu­tion. Lov­ing her fa­ther dear­ly, she was shak­en some­what in her pur­pose, and par­tial­ly con­sent­ed to fill the pub­lished en­gage­ment to be met in a few days. She was the star of the troupe, and a gen­er­al fa­vo­rite. Ev­ery prep­a­ra­tion was made for the play in which she was to ap­pear. The ev­en­ing came and the fa­ther re­joiced that he had won back his daugh­ter, and that their liv­ing was not to be lost. The hour ar­rived; a large au­di­ence had as­sem­bled. The cur­tain rose, and the young ac­tress stepped for­ward firm­ly amid the ap­plause of the mul­ti­tude. But an un­wont­ed light beamed from her beau­ti­ful face. Amid the breath­less si­lence of the au­di­ence, she re­peat­ed:

‘My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign;
My gracious Redeemer, my Saviour art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.’

This was all. Through Christ she had con­quered and, leav­ing the au­di­ence in tears, she re­tired from the stage, ne­ver to ap­pear up­on it again. Through her in­flu­ence her fa­ther was con­vert­ed, and through their unit­ed evan­gel­is­tic la­bors ma­ny were led to God.”

What a wonderful story! I went on to sing the rest of the verses, and my thoughts wove their way through the verses:

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me,
Why would you love ME?
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
So much pain and humility! My problems are NOTHING!
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.Galatians 2:20
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
In mansions of glory and endless delight,
Woo Hoo! Where’s my hanky!
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

Yes, this life IS worth living!  Yes, EVERY battle is for HIS glory! Yes, every promise IS true. I praise HIS precious name—the only name worth living and dying for.  The only name that can make the darkest day shine brightly!!

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion,
to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
that they might be called trees of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
Isaiah 61:3

Talent or Tenacity?

I’ID-100197640ve been teaching piano lessons now for over forty years, and I’ve had a lot of different students!  Some have gone on to college, majoring in music, while others didn’t make it past the first year!  I’ve noticed something over the years, and my conclusion may surprise you:

I’d rather have a student who is disciplined than one who is talented.

Talent is a gift from God.  There is nothing we can do as a parent to give our children talent. It is such a shame to see talent wasted, especially when the talent is wasted because a child has not been trained to be disciplined.  We often quote Proverbs 6:22

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Once again, I turn to my dear friend, Matthew Henry—a seventeenth century commentator whose writing seems timeless! I admit, he can be a bit verbose, but the treasured insights are worth the digging:

A great duty charged, particularly to those that are the parents and instructors of children, in order to the propagating of wisdom, that it may not die with them:  Train up children in that age of vanity, to keep them from the sins and snares of it, in that learning age, to prepare them for what they are designed for. Catechise them; initiate them; keep them under discipline. Train them as soldiers, who are taught to handle their arms, keep rank, and observe the word of command. Train them up, not in the way they would go (the bias of their corrupt hearts would draw them aside), but in the way they should go, the way in which, if you love them, you would have them go. Train up a child according as he is capable (as some take it), with a gentle hand, as nurses feed children, little and often, Also see, Deuteronomy 6:7.

 A good reason for it, taken from the great advantage of this care and pains with children: When they grow up, when they grow old, it is to be hoped, they will not depart from it.  Good impressions made upon them then will abide upon them all their days. Ordinarily the vessel retains the savor with which it was first seasoned. Many indeed have departed from the good way in which they were trained up; Solomon himself did so. But early training may be a means of their recovering themselves, as it is supposed Solomon did.  At least the parents will have the comfort of having done their duty and used the means.

Having a talented child and not training them to be diligent is like having the sharpest knife you can afford but using the wrong side to try to cut something!  Frustration and discouragement is the result of such foolishness: for the student, the teacher, and the parent.

This is not an article on “how to train your child,” but a challenge to do it.  I’m convinced that most of us know WHAT to do; we just aren’t consistent ourselves in DOING it, perhaps because we are not disciplined ourselves.  Our own desires get in the way of training our children.  OUCH!  That may seem harsh, but I’m afraid it is often the truth. It is HARD to train children.  It is tiring, frustrating, at times, confusing, but oh, iit is worth all the effort!

As a mother of three grown children, it is with great joy that I’m able to visit their homes and see successful living.  What do I mean by that?  They are making right choices, sticking by the stuff, and raising godly children.  Our family get-togethers are sweet because children listen and adults think of others. There is joy, joy, joy in this old heart.  Are their lives bump-free? No, but they are proving God to be true to His Word!

So, take the challenge. You can do this! Start small and be successful in one tiny area.  Maybe it’s the mandate to make the bed every morning.  Perhaps it’s the underwear drawer: match the socks and fold the undies! :) You will NEVER regret instilling the tenacity to do right into your children!  That’s a promise from God:

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Image courtesy of amenic181 at


Don’t Question God’s Calling

textI have to admit, there are times while I’m subbing for music teachers, that an old ache fills my heart.  I love teaching music, and I would have enjoyed making that my career.  I believe I would have been successful.

I just finished a very hectic day for an awesome teacher.  She’s great and has wonderful plans, visuals, and equipment.  It’s so fun to put it all together–adding a steady tempo on the Orff instruments to the accompanying omnichord (for you “oldies” that’s the electronic version of an autoharp!) while the students sing. I LOVE IT!  You may ask, “Then why aren’t you teaching music?”  Because God called me elsewhere.

Back in 1983, just a year and a half after we were married, I interviewed for what I would have called the perfect job: high school choir and elementary music.  I got the job, but that same week I was asked to teach kindergarten in our Christian school.  I chose the kindergarten class, having a desire to get into Christian education.  I still remember the first morning we had devotions together as teachers.  I nearly cried.  It was such a joy to my heart to be able to teach biblical truths straight from the Bible while teaching the standard curriculum.  In fact, after leaving Christian education and subbing in the public schools, I nearly started class with prayer several times! Wouldn’t that have raised a ruckus!

When God calls, don’t look back!  Yes, it would have been more lucrative; yes, there were lots of perks, but that wasn’t what God made me to do.  I’m supposed to be a pastor’s wife, and I’m supposed to teach about God and care for His people, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!!

However, in some ways, it would have been easier to teach music:

  1. Your day has a start and finish.
  2. You can see when you are being successful: The concert is a success; the student progresses, etc.
  3. The year has a beginning and an end
  4. You have the summers off!
  5. You are guaranteed to have a crowd!

Do you see that the opposite is often true of the ministry?

  1. There is no clock.  A pastor and his family never clock out.
  2. At times, sometimes for years on end, you see no progress.  Lives do not change, truths are not applied or embraced, etc.
  3. Yes, there is a new start to every year, but it seems like there’s no beginning or ending.
  4. Summers mean VBS, summer camps, and often extra activities.
  5. We work with a volunteer army!  They may be here, but then again, they may not be!

All this said, the greatest difference is eternity.  Sadly, I cannot say much in the public school concerning Jesus Christ or the Bible.  Yes, I can be a good example.  I can “shine” for Jesus, but one of the most difficult things for me is to see this great mass of students and know I am not allowed to “preach” to them.  And I understand the reasoning–it’s just hard for this pastor’s wife to be silent!

What’s the point of this rambling?  Bloom where you are planted.  Do the job which God has called you to do.  Be faithful.  We are all in the Lord’s army, and God has given each of us a mandate to carry out His work.

And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water

only in the name of a disciple,

verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

Matthew 10:42

And if you want to make your pastor, pastor’s wife, youth leader, Sunday school teacher, or any other church worker’s life easier–show up, volunteer, be an active part of your church–be faithful.   Your talents are invaluable, and what better way to use them than for our Lord and Savior? And besides all that, the benefits are out of this world!! A


Strong Children – No Greater Joy!

No Greater Joy Ministries's photo.

PARENTS – if you are looking for great articles for parenting, check out No Greater Joy.  You may be tempted to discount them at first glance, but there is MUCH truth in what they say.  Just apply one of my pastor’s favorite quotes: Eat the fish and spit out the bones, although, when it comes to biblical truths, there aren’t many bones in this one!

It is not a tough exterior that God desires or that people admire; it is a tough spirit, an overcoming spirit, a spirit of service, caring not for the sparse thanks, nor flinching at misunderstanding.

The world is a giant, confidence-eating cud chewer. It seeks our defeat. Whatever path we choose in life will be littered with signs that say, “Closed to you; you can’t do it; this is for people more talented or advantaged; you can’t make a difference.” And when you believe the signs and stop to ponder, you will hear voices that say, “You are not important; no one cares; it is not worth it; quit now.” The weak go no further. They settle down and accept the lot that is handed to them and spend the rest of their lives unhappy and unfulfilled. The tough don’t believe the signs and never slow down to listen to the voices. They are the doers, the precedent setters, the pioneers. Their accomplishments may never win Nobel prizes or be recognized with applause at a banquet; but they will know in their hearts that they have run the course and overcome the hardships to conquer, even in the little areas that may only matter to a quiet few. But they were not quitters, slackers, or buck passers. At the end of life, they will have tasted of the sweetness, heard the music, and worn the crown of victory, even if it is simply a paper crown given by a thankful grandchild or an appreciative spouse. The tough will earn the admiration and appreciation of the few or the many. But, in the end, they will be able to say, “I have lived, and it was good…very, very good.”
Read the rest of the article here:

Dancing in the Sun

IMG_7616Once again, I’ve purchased a solar-powered dancing flower.  I really love these things, and they make great souvenirs.  Every time I see it dancing in the sunlight, I picture it in the window on vacation! (I couldn’t resist capturing my roses in the photo as well.  They may not dance, but they sure are beautiful!!  The gift that keeps on giving!  Thanks kids!)

The sun has been hit and miss for the past few weeks, and I’ve noticed something else about my flower.  When it’s cloudy, it will still dance like crazy, but if I move it, and the sunlight is waning, it has a hard time starting up again.  It’s as though it has enough power to keep moving if it’s in motion, but not enough to start going again!  I’m sure one of Newton’s Laws of Motion also has something to do with it.

But the lesson for me was this: I will only get so far in my own strength.

When I stray from the Lord, i.e.—start missing church services, lose the habit of personal Bible devotions—it won’t be long before I’m stymied.  I may be able to “put on a good front” by keeping in motion for a while, but when the trial hits my path, I’m done, and I can’t get up… alone!

Who do we think we’re kidding?  What strength do we have of our own when it comes to battling our enemies: the world, our flesh, and the devil? If we don’t stay in the Son, we’ll never be able to “dance in the Son.”  What a joy to see that little flower just going crazy!  It makes me laugh, and it reminds me of how I want to be!!!  It’s as though it’s saying, “Hey!  Look at me!  Isn’t this fun?  I’m all fired up because my tank is full.  I’ve been in the sun!”

Fanny Crosby put it this way:

I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice,
And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith
And be closer drawn to Thee.

Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To the cross where Thou hast died;
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To Thy precious, bleeding side.

Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord,
By the pow’r of grace divine;
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
And my will be lost in Thine.

Oh, the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend,
When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God
I commune as friend with friend!

There are depths of love that I cannot know
Till I cross the narrow sea;
There are heights of joy that I may not reach
Till I rest in peace with Thee.

Jesus put it this way:

 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you…  James 4:8


The Promise of another 1,007 years

The end is near!  There’s a meteor ready to crash into the earth and kill us all!  The economy is collapsing in October!  Last night’s Supermoon/Blood Moon must mean something bad!  It’s so sad that this world is so paranoid. It seems like there’s always someone heralding the end of the world.  Just this weekend I was sidetracked into reading, or I should say skimming, page after page of Bible prophecies in which the writer named America as Babylon, Obama and the Southern King, and Putin as the Northern King. Then the writer offered his book for only thirty-seven dollar which would tell you how to survive the end of the world!

To me, the saddest part of all this is the effect it has on our children. In the past, I have been in the schools when some doom’s day date is drawing near.  I see the fear on their faces and hear it in their voices.  It’s always a blessing to assure them that this world will be here for at least another one thousand seven years!  That peaks their curiosity!  I then explain that God has promised the His Son, Jesus Christ, will reign on this earth for a thousand years and that will take place after seven years of the Tribulation Period. What a joy to have God’s Word and be able to rest in His precious promises!

Truly, we are living in the End Times; however, we have been for the last two thousand years. Yes, many facts are now in place which weren’t there the last century, but only God the Father knows the exact time of His Son’s return.

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

Matthew 24: 36

I hope that promises give you comfort for the day.  As His return draws closer, there will continue to be doom’s day prophets who try to put God in a box.  It doesn’t work!

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55: 8,9

I love that the following verse is also in this chapter:

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (6)

I have to admit, as I looked at that blood moon last night, it was a little creepy! But it’s just one more example of the mighty power of our God!  I couldn’t help wondering about all the other amazing spectacular sights that are happening every second of the day in our universe, which our God creates and enjoys, and we know nothing about them!  How amazing is our God!

I just want to praise Him for allowing me to see this last week:IMG_7577-001

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Psalm 19:1