Update

It has been a bit of time since I added a post. This seems to happen after my January trip to Mexico – really not a bad thing but rather a sigh and looking back on such a wonderful experience.

I took an opportunity I have here at my local church to put together a summary of what the ladies’ groups have done in Cofradia. You can help pray that it is useful to begin or further a conversation with one of our missionaries in women’s ministry. Cofradia report summary This is a PDF that may or may not be of interest to anyone, but I do ask that you pray for the Cofradia women’s group, the CyFair ladies, and the First Baptist Church women’s groups.

Thank you.

I am involved in an exciting adventure this year. Our women’s study leadership group is doing a trial run with a daily chronological Bible reading program. The web site is here – As We Walk Along – and you are invited to click the sidebar there to join in. An email will be sent to you daily with questions based on the reading and your comments are very welcome! I admit to having a lot of comments on the blog – just can’t help myself – I am excited about this opportunity and the potential for more to join “As We Walk Along”. Isn’t that really why we do Bible study? To feed on, to correct our walk, to invite others to join, and to say “Come!”

Long time…

OK…!

It has been a while.

I have spent time in the hospital and in recovery from a ruptured appendix. (This is not something recommended for fun and enjoyment.)

I have adventured with my husband to Los Angeles and Kansas (highly recommended).

NE Marion County, Kansas - Country Dreams B&B

The first blog post after a long absence is the hardest – so now it is done.

Holding onto Stones

Over the weekend my husband and I hiked over Hot Springs Mountain and I noticed a downed tree that seemed to grow into my thoughts even as it no longer grew on the mountain. This fallen forest member was different from those we normally come upon. In this area, the rocky soils are exactly as Jesus’ parable illustrates: the trees that grow have shallow roots,” they endure for awhile, and when tribulation or persecution arises … immediately he falls away.” (Matt. 13:21) The tree I noticed Saturday had good roots, it’s just that they wrapped around stones and gripped the rocks instead of spreading far and large in search of fruitful soil; then when the wind blew, the roots held onto the stones and the entire tree fell down.


This reminded me of an update from the women in Cofradia that I have been meaning to relay to you. A week after our team left, the local church women had an outreach and invited other village women to come for a fun afternoon of food, games, ministry, and fellowship. A total of 85 women came – more than expected! At the end of their time together an invitation to come forward for prayer was well received and perhaps 20 or so women came to be hugged and prayed for. After the event was over, one of the local church ladies came to Kathy, one of the base missionaries, and relayed her experience during that prayer time. We’ll call our sister Emily.

This is what Emily experienced during that prayer time. About 10 years ago, a neighbor’s mother (I’ll call the neighbor Wanda) put a curse on Emily’s husband and ever since that time, Emily and Wanda have been feuding and fighting. Emily has since been saved and intellectually knew that the curse was superstitious, but the bad relationship continued. Wanda came to the ladies event at the Cofradia church and went forward for prayer at the end of the service. Emily saw her go forward, and almost without conscious thought went up and prayed for Wanda. Her actions seemed to surprise even herself and led her to search into her heart to find out “What happened here?”

Emily told Kathy that when she went forward, she did not have hate in her heart towards her neighbor any longer. As she prayed with her, she realized that she really cared about and maybe even loved this person. Emily had searched her heart and found that it had been changed and softened. Above all, she testified that God had to have done this because she couldn’t have done it herself!

God promises, “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” (Ezekiel 36:25-27) Emily most wonderfully realized that she had a new heart of flesh, inhabited by the Spirit of God that gave her genuine affection for her neighbor. She found out that her new heart enabled her to keep the commandments found in Ephesians 4, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (31-32)

Are you holding onto stones of bitterness, anger, or unforgiveness? Do you realize how it will weaken you in a time of stress or trouble? Are you willing to search your heart with God’s illumination to find and un-grip those stones? God promises to remove stones, give new life, nurture, and train.

Praise God that we are given some small glimpses of these transformations.

Clapping Trees

Last week I traveled to Los Angeles with my husband. He had work obligations and I toured around in traffic. We had the great privilege of visiting some friends of ours living in Visalia, just a couple of hours north of LA. On Sunday they took us up to the mountains to see the giant sequoia trees.  They were so huge and the visual experience was complimented by the wonderful scented air.

These huge trees reminded me of the verse that says that the trees of the field will clap their hands so I looked it up when we got home.

For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.  Isaiah 55:12

Let me tell you – when these trees start clapping we will hear it!

Isaiah 55 is a psalm that tells us that God is in control particularly when we are not. We are the thirsty, impoverished, and dying. He is merciful to the nations and calling the wandering soul home. He satisfies every good desire.  This song contains the famous passage, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.” (8) The grounded fruitfulness of the created earth is used to illustrate the power of God’s words. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (10-11)

This brings us to verse 12, the trees clapping verse. Why are the mountains and hills shouting for joy?  Why do the trees clap their hands?

For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace.” The captives are leaving their captivity. They are free; they are at peace! They are pardoned and given new life. “Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, and instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, and it will be a memorial to the LORD, for an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.” (13)

God’s deliverance will not be forgotten; it is an eternal deliverance, it is a producing deliverance. The trees are clapping. Can you hear them? Will you join them?

Giant sequioas

White Christmas

It has been a while…

I hope you had a lovely Christmas.  We did.  On somewhat short notice, my family decided to go to the panhandle of Florida.  The hope was that we would find some warmer weather and for a few days we did.  Then, like most everywhere, the cold flew in.

I really wanted to write something profound as a Christmas post.  I’ve been immersed in preparing for our Cofradia women’s mission trip, studying the Jesus who walked upon the earth and secured salvation for those who believe, and I couldn’t get more profound than what Scripture tells us!

  • For today … there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the  Lord. (Luke 2:11)
  • Who although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond -servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  Being found in appearance as a man He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  (Philippians 2:6-8)
  • In these last days [God] has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.  And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.  When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High. (Hebrews 1:2-3)
  • You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

I pray that you keep Christmas in your life every day this new year.

Garvan Gardens – Dressed for Christmas

One of the highlights of the Christmas season around here is visiting Garvan Gardens all dressed up for Christmas.  They advertise that they are lit with 1.8 million lights and I believe it!  I also do not want to make an attempt to verify their claim.

The lake is decorated with a magic fish and blue lights.  The trees literally drip with illumination.  Every time I see the lighted fish I want to recite from one of my children’s books:

O fish in the sea;

Come listen to me,

My wife begs a wish;

From the magic fish.

You are surely able to guess the rest of the story;  none of the woman’s wishes bring her what she really wishes for.  Her final wish is to have things return to the way they were before.

I hope that you are wishing for the things that bring true happiness; pray that your faith is in The Assurance of things hoped for, the Evidence of things not seen.

Enjoy!

Thanksgivings

I have a little catching up to do….

Two weeks ago, my husband and I went to a supper put on by a group of farmers on Petit Jean Mountain.  They are working VERY hard to bring non-industrial foods to our local farmer’s market.  You can find out more about them here – Petit Jean Farm .

We had a delightful day hiking in Petit Jean State Park, visited the Mid-America Museum of Automobiles, and then joined a wonderful group of farmers and their friends for supper.

I looked for a thanksgiving psalm to include and came to Psalm 65.  It so well expresses the satisfaction we find in God and His care for us.  I have bolded some of the phrases that almost make me hold my breath for their wonder:

There will be silence before You, and praise in Zion, O God,

and to You the vow will be performed.

O You who hear prayer, to You all men come.

Iniquities prevail against me; as for our transgressions, You forgive them.

How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You, to dwell in your courts.

We will be satisfied with the goodness of your house, Your holy temple.

By awesome deeds you answer us in righteousness, O God of our salvation,

You who are the trust of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest sea;

Who establishes the mountains by His strength, Being girded with might;

Who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves,

And the tumult of the peoples.

They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of your signs;

You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.

You visit the earth and cause it to overflow;

You greatly enrich it;

The stream of God is full of water;

You prepare their grain, for thus You prepare the earth.

You water its furrows abundantly,

You settle its ridges,

You soften it with showers,

You bless its growth.

You have crowned the year with your bounty,

And Your paths drip with fatness.

The pastures of the wilderness drip,

And the hills gird themselves with rejoicing.

The meadows are clothed with flocks and the valleys are covered with grain;

They shout for joy, yes, they sing.

 

Previous Older Entries