Patty…

“I just need something to get me through the holidays you know. The holidays are pretty tough on me since my husband died. I know you forgot, but just write something down on a piece of paper for me alright.”

“I didn’t forget Patty, I’ve just been trying to find the right verses.”

The irony of the situation does not escape me; I, who usually pursue others to introduce them to the love of Christ, was being pursued for an introduction to Christ. I’m ashamed to say it was a whole two weeks earlier, Patty and I stood outside my kids school waiting for it to be out. She’s a grandmother who was there to pick up her grandson Matthew. I was telling her about the bible and how encouraging and uplifting it is to read God’s words. She mentioned that she had a big one at home, when her father died it was one of the gifts they received for him. Patty said she has never opened the bible, I encouraged her to read it, “there is just a peace that comes from knowing who God is and what He expects from us.”

Now I look into her desperate eyes as she whispered these words to me. She had moved in very close so no one else could hear what she was saying.

“I’ll bring it for you tomorrow Patty, I promise.” Even as the words escaped my lips I realized how dangerous they were. What if tomorrow never comes for one of us, but it was too late – school’s out.

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Before the Thanksgiving break (which was in fact the next day), I gave Patty a few passages of scriptures to get her started. Of course St. John 3:16 and Acts 2:38 were among them. Today I’ll talk with her and explain to her what it was that she read. As always, I request that you pray for Patty; and me, that God will give me boldness to reach out to the lost souls of our world.

The Family, The Fun, The Fellowship, The Food…

Thanksgiving is over, but before it was done I soaked up all the smells of well prepared dishes, the sounds of laughter and the crackling of the fire as we gathered around after dinner to unwind and the sights of my kids playing and enjoying the security of what God has blessed them with; family.

There was much excitement and anticipation as we prepared to dine. There was something about having God in my heart and my entire family under the same roof that gave me such a feeling of contentment.

Baby Joel sat with Dad. I wondered if he understood that this was his first Thanksgiving celebration of the goodness of God.

By the time I got to take a picture of the Turkey, it was already carved into. But as you can see, it was a glorious bird.

                                   

A “bountiful harvest” was prepared by my Father-in-law. Pie’s and Home made puddings, cranberry and pineapple sauces and more were not photograph, I was caught up in enjoying the moment.

The evening came to a close with the family strewn around the fireplace, enjoying it’s heat and watching the flames dance, as we conversed on topics ranging from my children and their latest antics to current events and the mysteries of God.

All in all, it was a wonderful day.O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.” (1Ch 16:34)

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That’s me…

I’m learning to be me. I’m learning to embrace and love the person that God has created me to be. “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” (Psalms 139:14) It’s an everyday process but I’m enjoying every moment of it.  God made me this way and gave me this personality to impact humanity. I am the only me there is, no one else has my fingerprint. God has given me a space in this world and I’m going to occupy it.

It has been kinda fun, these last few years, to finally open this gift of me. I’ve had this gift since birth. Years ago, when I was just a child and didn’t know any better, I opened the gift and had a lot of fun with it, being myself. But as I got older, I rewrapped the package securely, put the ribbon back in place and hid the gift.  I thought I needed to be someone else, thought that this me that God made wasn’t good enough. I tried to be like this one or that one, I wore a personality that just didn’t fit and made me and everyone else around me uncomfortable. But in the last few years, quite by accident, I stumbled upon the gift when I was looking for something totally different. There it was, neatly wrapped just the way I had left it so many years ago. I knew immediately what it was, it was me.

I have never felt so comfortable, so at one with God, so peaceful, so confident, so free. Yes, I love to throw my head back and laugh out loud, that’s me.

Yes, I am a bit clumsy and as a grown woman I still trip and fall (to the absolute horror of my husband), that’s me.

Yes, I like to read through the dictionary just to learn new words, that’s me.

Yes, I enjoy nice things, like to decorate, love to draw and make wonderful creations with my hands, that’s me.

Yes, I am a STAY-AT-HOME MOMMY, there I said it! I’m not going to be offended by that title anymore, because you know what, that’s me.

Yes, I love, love, love, the Lord and absolutely cannot live without Him, that’s me.

 I have declared this week “Be Yourself Week”, try it! I promise you, you will have the best week ever!

The Holidays are HERE!

Okay, is anybody else as excited as I am? Now that Halloween is gone, I can totally begin to enjoy the holiday season. First Thanksgiving and then CHRISTMAS! Of course there’s the New Year (which also happens to be my birthday – thanks to friends like Laurie who never forget).

We are Christians, and as such, we have the privilege of thanking our Lord and savior Jesus Christ and celebrating His birth, death and resurrection everyday throughout the year. But at Thanksgiving and Christmas, our families, friends and loved ones travel from near and far to banquet together, to swap recipes and funny stories about the youngest members of our families. To exchange gifts and to reminisce days gone by with laughter that swells from the bottom of our bellies and explodes through cookie covered lips. Our homes are filled with reflections of His goodness, His mercy, His faithfulness and bountiful provisions for us; and at Christmas, we adore Him “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isa 9:6) And because of His birth, we are able to be born again. I absolutely love this time of year!

I encourage families with young children, if you have not already begun, create memories with your children. Start traditions in your home and continue them every year. The holidays are a perfect time to make crafts, bake cookies and have children help with the decorations (even if you’re just changing the curtains or putting out your good throw pillows); children love to be involved and when they are grown (if the Lord should tarry) they will look back on their childhood with fond sentiments.

Are you excited about the holidays? Tell us about some of your childhood traditions or how your family celebrated the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. We love to hear from our readers on Apostolic Talk!

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Thansgiving Crafts, Baking and Window Painting…

Intimacy with God

God has been mercifully revealing to me, through His word, what He requires of me. For so long, I thought God was interested in my outward appearance, I worked hard to make sure that I appeared ‘holy’: Making sure my skirt was always below my knees, being careful that my sleeves were just so long, bringing my hair back to its natural texture (twice), making sure my cleavage is adequately covered and that my skirt is not too tight. I joined committees and was involved in many ministries including the hospital ministry where I visited the hospital and prayed for the sick. All these things are very important, if they are done with the right motives.

Yet I had a yearning in my soul, I discovered that I didn’t really know God like my brothers and sisters in the bible, or even the great men and women at my Church. Here I was doing all these things and I didn’t intimately know the God I was supposedly doing these things for. I would wear my sanctimonious attire every day, yet I was not as consistent in my prayer life. I would make time to attend my committee meetings but I had not made time to study the word of God. I prayed for the sick in the hospital but I walked right by the brother or sister at my Church who had hurt my feelings. What was I thinking? Did I think God would be impressed with my make believe righteousness? “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isa 64:6)

To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isa 1:11-18)

God is interested in a personal relationship with me – yes me! That’s why He created us, so He could commune with us, as He did with Adam in the cool of the day. I know now, that I was no different from the Pharisees that Jesus cursed in His day. I majored on what was minor to God and minored on what was major to Him. True holiness comes from spending time with God, from studing His word, anything else His “soul hateth”. How can I say I love God, who I cannot see and not shower my brother and sister, who I can see with that same love. Now I am consumed with the desire to know Him, to linger in His presence, to please Him, to show Him that I choose Him over everything else. I now study His words to learn of Him, so I can properly worship Him and give Him the praise for His mighty works and to thank Him for Calvary. So you see, let us not get caught up in the exterior, but let’s get caught up in the love of God. If we give people His love and allow them to grow in a personal relationship with Him. Then the Holy Ghost on the inside will fix the outside. If we try to fix people from the outside, we’ll lose them and they’ll never know how sweet it is to trust in Jesus.

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Guest Post Tuesday: The Holy Ghost!