Encouragement from the Word

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth"
III John 1:4

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I'm so thankful today for my family members who have served in the military; both those who have served in the past, and those who are currently serving. I thank God for their sacrifice, honor and patriotism and for the part they have played in securing our freedom here in America.

Thank you to my grandfather, who served in World War II. Thank you to my father (1927-2008) for his service in the U.S.Marine Corps. Thank you to my son, Nick, who has recently joined the United States Navy and will be in the Naval Dental Corps. I am so proud of you for choosing to serve. Thank you to my older brother, Mike, who served in the United States Air Force; and thank you to my younger brother, David, who has been serving in the United States Marines for 27 years and received a purple heart for injuries sustained while fighting in Iraq.

I am so proud of my heritage of patriotism and service...and of my country... the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Unfortunately, patriotism does not seem to hold the value that it once did in our country and  that saddens me. I want my children to know the sacrifices that have been made for the freedoms that we hold dear and to respect and honor those who have fought for those freedoms. I want them to understand how blessed they are to live in the United States of America and to know the faith and values of our Founding Fathers. I want them to honor and respect our flag that has flown in victory and honor in war torn areas all around the world, inspiring the men who fought under her stars and stripes.

I hope you will join with me in honoring all veterans and fallen heroes around our country who have fought and died for us, as well as those who are valiantly serving today. Sometime today, please pause and say a prayer of thanks and protection with me for those brave men and women who serve.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Someday Soon: A Heavenly Perspective on Aging

Someday Soon

by Beth Blamick

Someday soon...
the words will blurr...
and my eyes cover with mist as I struggle to read.
    But, I will have hidden your Word in my heart to call forth with only the effort of a thought.

Someday soon...
I will be alone...
 in crushing solitude and stillness; my soul mate having gone ahead to rest in the arms of Jesus.
     But, I know I will see him again as I burst through the gates of heaven in blessed joy and anticipation.

Someday soon...
my body will fail me...
 as my movements become slow and labored and I cringe with every step.
     But, one day I will leap for joy and run again in fluid perfection when I receive my new glorified body in heaven.

Someday soon...
my memory will fade...
 and my speech become unsure as my mind draws towards rest.
     But, my children will gather near, recounting stories of our splendid adventures and poignant memories.

Someday soon...
my wisdom and advice will no longer be called forth...
 as I have passed all that I could on to the next generation.
     But, as I enter heaven, I will be met with all of those whose lives were enriched and whose eternity was changed because of my godly counsel.

Someday soon...
I will see my Savior face to face...
and my glorious "forever life" will begin!

" Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth...And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.' He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!' Then he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'"

Revelation 21:1-5


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Narrow Road...Are You On It?

In the beginning, before the foundations of the earth, God created you and I for this journey called life. His desire was that we would walk side by side with him in fellowship and love. However, he created us with a free will and therefore, we do not all choose to walk the path of life with him.

The fact is...there are only two paths to follow in this life. The path of faith and trust in God and the path of self, apart from God. The Bible calls them the wide and the narrow paths.

Jesus says in Matthew 7: 13-14;

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

What is so different about these two paths and why is our choice so important? Well, let's first look at the broad path. This path is the one that most choose to follow. It is the easy path because..."everyone is doing it". You will have much company on this path and will not feel different or ostracized in any way. You will fit right in with the world. The people on this path would follow the old adage, "I'm O.K.. You're O.K." The wide path is a very comfortable path.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Living a Balanced Life Part 2

Here is a short personal survey to help you determine if you are living a balanced life:

  • Are you spending an excessive amount of time, money and energy on your outward appearance? This would include thinking about, talking about, worrying about, and shopping for...clothing, weight loss products or diets, cosmetic surgeries, gym memberships, etc. Is this really how you want to spend your limited time on this earth? Of course, I believe that we need to be healthy and strong in order to have energy to serve God and that we need to be neat and clean in appearance. I am talking about spending excessive time and money on our appearance. And constantly ruminating over it, as well.
  • Are you saying "yes" to nearly everything asked of you? This can lead to frustration, stress, ineffectiveness, and always feeling scattered and behind schedule. Begin to filter these requests through the strainer of God's purpose and plan for this season of your life. Pray about things first. Understand that if God leads you to say "no" to something, then he has someone else to do that task who will get a great blessing from doing it. And, yes, there are other people who can do it as well as you can, maybe just in a different way.
  • Are you taking seriously your responsibility as a wife and mother? Your husband should be the #1 priority in your life behind Jesus Christ. Then would come your children. Is there any time left for them in your busy day? And I mean time to touch them, hug them, and listen to their hearts. Do you allow time and set the atmosphere for your children to express their concerns, fears and struggles with you...to share their successes and discoveries? Do you make time to show your appreciation and love to your husband?
  • Do you make it a priority to joyfully serve others? When was the last time you helped someone who could not repay you? We shouldn't be so wrapped up in ourselves that we never look outward to see the needs around us. No you can't meet every need...but if you keep your eyes open, God will lead you to someone who needs your special touch or attention. Jesus Christ talked so much about (and modeled for us) humble servanthood for a reason! We are to follow his lead.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Living a Life of Balance...Is it Possible?

On any given morning, busy moms everywhere can be found packing lunches, making breakfast, signing homework, driving the carpool and then heading off to the gym, the grocery store or the workplace. After that, it's home to plan dinner, wash clothes, clean the house and pay the bills. Our lives are packed with activities and we are sometimes on the move all day long. We don't have time to stop and think...never mind having the time to read the Word or pray. We are pulled in so many directions and are often overcommited. We feel we have to be everything to everyone...supermoms, so to speak. It seems there just aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish everything on our to do lists.

Is it really possible for a busy Mom in today's world to live a balanced life?

I believe it is possible to live a peaceful, ordered, fulfilling life even in today's fast-paced and demanding world.

The first step in finding balance in our lives is to understand and embrace the idea that our purpose in life as Christians is to glorify God with our lives. Period. We do this by serving others, using our gifts and talents for him and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with the world. This should be what our lives are about. It is, after all, why we're here.

 In order to live a balanced life we may need to change our priorities so that they more closely reflect God's purposes for us.

As I see it, there are 6 components to a balanced life. They are as follows:


 Spiritual growth and training

By spiritual growth and training, I mean spending personal time with the Lord in prayer and Bible study. This should be the most important part of our day. We cannot navigate this life without it. In addition to personal time with him, we also need to be a part of a local body of believers where we can grow, worship, serve and study his Word.

Serving others

If we are to follow the example of Jesus, then our lives must be about sacrificially serving others. Our lives cannot just be all about us. We must open our eyes to the needs around us and then be willing to act. Ask the Lord to put people in your path to whom you can minister ...he will certainly do it. Look around at your circle of influence...your workplace, your neighborhood, your church...you will invariably see many people with needs that you are uniquely equipped to meet.

Working at a job or occupation

(for moms this may entail caring for your children)

Unfortunately, work is a part of life. It's something we have to do in order to put bread on the table. Of course, we can also find joy and blessing in our work. As moms, our work is often in the home, raising our children and providing structure and order. Being a mom is truly a high and holy privilege and calling.

Physical activity

One component of a balanced life is some form of physical activity. We have to stay active in order to stay healthy. The problem is...many people take this to the extreme and become obsessed with exercise or with the appearance of their physical bodies. How much time are you spending at the gym or in training? Does it interfere with family time? Do you spend as much time on ministry or personal Bible study? Are you willing to spend that much time and energy serving others?

Using our gifts and talents to further God's kingdom

As a Christian, you have been blessed with one or more spiritual gifts, as well as, unique talents that you are to use within the church and in the world to glorify God. Don't let these God-given talents go to waste. Use them for the purpose they were intended...to help the body of Christ ( the church) function as it should, to encourage other believers and to draw people to Christ.


I need to be careful here because if we are to share the gospel to every tongue, tribe and nation...then we have a lot of work to do! We also don't want to become lazy. But our bodies do need a time of rest and refreshing so that we can begin each day and each season of life with a renewed energy to live for him and do his work.

As we take a look at our lives, we need to begin to sift out those activities that have nothing to do with God's plan and purpose for us. We need to be intentional and discriminating as to how we spend our limited time and energy.

The Bible clearly says we are not to "lay up treasures on earth where moth and rust corrupt...", but instead we are to "lay up treasures in heaven". Unfortunately, much of what we have spent our time, money and energy on will one day be blown away like the wind...burned up like hay...useless. Only things done for the kingdom of God have eternal value. What are you doing that will last?

We are to be about the business of reflecting God's love to the world...sharing the gospel...passing on the baton of faith to the next generation.

Living a balanced life with God at the center is both a blessing and a joy. And it is a goal that, with God's help, is attainable by all.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

10 Life-Defining Lessons for my Daughter

    1. Understand the importance of spiritual beauty over physical beauty. Reject the world's commercial, self-centered standard of beauty. It is a lie.
          "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord
 is to be praised."      
Proverbs 31:30
     2.  Begin now to foster an intimate relationship with Jesus. Learn to love His Word. Spend time in prayer. There is nothing you can not take to him. He is truly "a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

"All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
2 Timothy 3:16-17

    3.   Find your fulfillment and validation in Jesus Christ alone. Don't look to others opinions of you for your self-esteem or worthiness.

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints , to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." 
Ephesians 3:18-19

   4.  Be bold for Christ. Invite non-churched friends to youth group. When they ask why you always  have a smile or why you seem different, tell them it's because of Jesus living in you. Tell people about Jesus whenever you have the opportunity.

"If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels."
 Luke 9:26

   5.  Be helpful, kind, and compassionate to others. Help people less fortunate than yourself. Always show people respect, especially senior citizens.

" Therefore as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."
 Colossians 3:12-14

   6.  Appreciate all the things you have. See them as blessings from God. Reject the materialism of the world and do not covet what others have...whether it be their homes, clothing or the latest technology.

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you' "
Hebrews 13:5

   7. Love God's church. Attend. Serve. Participate. Invite others.

 " Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another- and all the more as you see the day approaching."
Hebrews 10:25

   8. Make big decisions based on God's plan and purpose for your life. Seek his will and the counsel of godly Christians in your life when necessary. Let him lead. ( college, future spouse, job, etc )    There is no better place to be than the center of God's will.

" For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and
not to harm you,
   plans to give you a hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

    9. Surround yourself with godly, Christian friends. Be a true, honest and faithful friend and an example of doing what is right.

" A friend loves at all times"
Proverbs 17:17

  10. When faced with a difficult situation, always choose obedience over temporal happiness or self- satisfaction. We show our love and devotion for God through obedience. Make the hard choice. Take the narrow road. Be obedient.

"We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says "I know him" but does not do what he commands is a liar and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him."
1 John 2:3-5

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Joy of...Serving Others!

When was the last time you did something for someone who could in no way repay your service or return the favor? Someone helpless or disadvantaged in some way? Look around you. There are hurting, lonely people everywhere...many who cannot help themselves.

Unfortunately, our motivation for helping others is often impure. We help because we want to be thought of as generous and service-minded. We want  people to think of us as extraordinary Christians. We want  to hear our name mentioned from the pulpit or see it printed in the paper. Or.. we just serve with the understanding that whoever we help will repay the favor at some point.

The world is all about volunteerism these days...from high school students working for service hours in order to graduate , to Oprah's "Angel Network" which millions of people bought into when her show was on the air. It's cool to volunteer...for the right cause, that is! But again, what is the motivation behind the volunteerism? And, is it being done in the name of Jesus Christ?

When Christians volunteer, it should be with the goal of sharing not only the love of Christ, but the gospel of Christ with those whom they serve. Otherwise, it is futile.

Do you realize that there is a small army of humble and tireless volunteers in our churches who serve quietly and without fanfare carrying out the mission of Jesus in the world? Look around...check out the "We need people to..." section in your bulletin...hang out at the church for a few hours during the week...talk to some of the senior citizens in your church. These volunteers are sometimes hard to find...intentionally so...as they do not want accolades or recognition. But, they are there. They are raking and weeding in the church yard, stuffing bulletins in the office, driving the elderly to appointments, visiting the sick in the hospital and delivering flowers to the many nursing home residents and home-bound people on the church rolls.

My daughter and I recently had the privilege of riding along with an amazing, energetic (we could hardly keep up with her) and godly woman who volunteers at our church. Her name is Bobbi. I had recently discovered that Bobbi was involved in delivering flowers to home bound and sick people in our congregation and felt led to help out with this ministry. When I found out that Bobbi was one of the volunteers who did this, I was thrilled. I have long admired her from afar as a godly, joyful and faithful servant of God and a prayer warrior. I wanted the opportunity to "shadow" and learn from her. In addition, I had felt a real leading from God to get more involved in ministry with my daughter. I wanted her to develop a heart for helping others who can't help themselves.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Untimely Death of a Child:

The Journey from Unfathomable Grief to God's Peace

This morning as I listened to a dear friend recount the story of the tragic and sudden loss of her 16 year old son, I found myself wondering just how a person is able to walk through such grief and come out whole on the other side. My friend had lost her son, the oldest of four children, a little over two years ago when he suddenly collapsed while exercising with his dad at the local gym. It was later determined that he had a heart condition of which they were unaware. His death was totally unexpected, sudden, and life-altering for this dear family. In addition to the loss of her son, my friend had just lost her mother, a faithful and godly woman with whom she had an extremely close relationship... only 4 months before.

Many people, having experienced such unexplainable and devastating loss would have certainly turned away from God...asking questions like, "God,why did you do this to us?" or "What have I done to deserve such punishment?" It is so hard for us to understand what possible good could come from such a catastrophic loss. A young man's life was cut short...an older brother is gone forever...a son with great potential will never see it fulfilled.

My friend, however, did not turn away from God. She turned towards him! Make no mistake...she grieved deeply and passionately and will never be "over" her loss. But, my friend knew that only turning toward God would bring the healing, strength, and peace that she desperately needed. You see, my friend had been raised in a Christian home by a godly mama and had known the Lord for many years. She was well grounded in the faith and she had a strong Christian husband for support.

In the following months after her son's death, I watched my friend walk through her grief with strength, grace and faith. I saw her dig deeper into the Word, pray more, attend Bible study with a renewed vigor, and turn to Christian friends for comfort. She knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was her refuge and strength. She understood Isaiah 55:8-9, "For my ways are not your ways, neither are your thoughts my thoughts. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." She knew that although she may not be able to understand "why"this had happened...that God did have a purpose and a plan and her son's days on earth were ordained by the hand of God. She knew that God was, is and always will be, in control and on his throne.