Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas from my family to yours, and a very Happy New Year! The day after Thanksgiving, Friday November 28, the kids and I started to decorate our home for Christmas. We did very small touches of decorating in each room throughout the house. Here’s a fun, quick tour of a few of those rooms:

We took down our Fall wreath and hung our Christmas wreath on the front door. Then in our family room we added some poinsettias to the mantel. That red vase on the center table is there year round but it does add a festive Christmas look to the room.

Living room

In our dining room, I added some more poinsettias and candles on top of the piano…

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…and also on the dining table.

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The above picture is our dining table after we decorated for the holidays, and below is  right before Christmas dinner.

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In the Kitchen we hung a small home made wreath by the window facing the backyard.

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And that’s it!

Simple, but very enjoyable to our family. Oh! And how could I forget to mention that my husband has been streaming Christmas music through the house since before Thanksgiving 🙂

This Christmas was jammed packed with activities! I’ll be back soon to share with you some of these activities and pictures as well. Until then, enjoy these last few hours of 2014 with your family. What a blessing that God has spared our lives to see another year, in Jesus name.

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resistance builds character…

Full page photoSo much has happened… where do I begin? I’ll start with my grandmother Norah Douglas, who passed this year. I loved my grandmother very much, and she loved me. She was a great lady, a woman of prayer. Since her passing, I have prayed that the mantel of prayer that rested on my grandmother and on so many other great ladies like; Nona Freeman, Priscella McGruder, and Shirley Cole, would somehow rest on me.

Is it apostolic to say that I have grown? I’m not sure, but the truth is, deep in my heart I know I’m not the same woman I use to be. I’m not sure if it’s because of the two wonderful, challenging years I spent praying for my husband and the Youth of our church in youth ministry, or the burden of raising three children, all with different personalities, in this Christless society. Maybe it’s a result of the crippling challenges I’ve faced in my own life that have driven me both to my knees in prayer, and to the bible seeking desperately for a word of encouragement from the Lord. Whatever it was, somehow I feel my roots have sunken deeper and created an anchor, a foundation that holds me even when I think “for sure, this one is going to uproot me”, but my God in His mercy allows my roots to remain. Even in the storm, my house still stands.

Somehow resistance builds character.. wisdom… understanding and humility. I remember being a young teen and crying out to God on my knees at the alter. Praying a prayer I would pray many times over in my life, “Lord Jesus, if there was no hell to shun or no heaven to gain, I would still serve you. If you can use anything Lord, please use me.”

There were days I wondered why the emotional pain was so severe, I wondered why the rejection was so cruel, and the rebuke so strong. And even worst, where was God? I prayed the prayer Rebecah, Isaac’s wife,  prayed when she was pregnant with her twin boys, “If it be so, why am I thus?” If it be so – because I knew even from a young age that i was pregnant with a call, with a purpose and with a burden. So, If I am called of the Lord, why so many road blocks? surely my gift would make room for me. So I was confused; God, why am I thus – I thought you would use me because I so desperately want to please you, I dream about being a soul winner – a missionary.

What I didn’t understand then, that is becoming crystal clear to me now, is that God’s ways are not our ways. Moses, one of the greatest leaders this world has ever seen, started his ministry with murder. Joseph, who God used to save the entire then known world, started his ministry in a pit, then slavery then prison. His failure in our eyes, was His ascension / his growth in God’s eyes.

I have learned to rejoice and be thankful in every situation. Because my steps are ordered by the Lord. For when I thought He was destroying me, He was only pruning me, and molding me. Though the refiner’s fire hurt so severely, when I come out, I’ll be as pure as gold! So though he slay me, yet will I trust Him.

Stay in the fight brethren. Don’t despair, those mountains may be a result of answered prayers. He has to purge us before He can use us! Merry Christmas to you and your family!!!

Paula Nelson Logo 1

Bible Quizzing and some vacation prep

"Jonathan studying his Bible Quizzing for Finals this Saturday"

“Jonathan studying his Bible Quizzing for Finals this Saturday”

Hard to believe the Bible Quizzing year is almost done, only two more days and then it’s over. This is the third year Jonathan and Elizabeth have been involved and I can honestly say we have no regrets. Sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry but it was worth every minute of it. I know Bible Quizzing will only help my children in this dark end time. Some things may be taken from them, but no one can ever take the word of God out of their hearts. It will form an impenetrable force around their minds that will shape their decisions.

It’s so cute to watch them sometimes, They’re like little walking Bibles, they quote the scriptures while the preacher is preaching and sometimes when the scripture is being read, if it’s a passage they’ve covered, they don’t even bother to turn there, they just cite it from memory!

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I HIGHLY recommend Bible Quizzing (hereafter BQ) to every parent with children between the ages of 5 and 18 years old. Yes, I know our children can learn maybe 30 scriptures on their own over the course of a year, but in BQ they learn up to 200 verses! These verses stay with them forever, when trouble comes -as we know it will, a relevant verse will pop up in their minds to help them get through. If they don’t have it, God can’t bring it back to their memory in times of need. BQ starts in September and concludes with finals in June. These amazing children are asked to quote and analyze scriptures under extreme pressure before -in many cases- an auditorium full of strangers. They are given 5 seconds to respond and 30 seconds to complete their answers.

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Like Karate and Tae-Kwon-Do, BQ teaches self discipline and excellent study habits, because of BQ my kids are better students in their secular schools. Also, statistics show that over 80% of children that are involved with BQ stay in the church and are mightily used of God.

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One of the best things about BQ is the socialization, my daughter and her team from NY now have buddies from West Virginia, Delaware, Florida, South Carolina, Maryland, and more places I don’t have time to list. Actualy, so do I. It’s been great meeting parents and couches who believe this great ONENESS Gospel all over the nation from all walks of life. One parent/coach is an officer in the US Air Force, pretty cool huh 🙂 That leads me to another great benefit,  BQ gives our family an excuse to drive or fly away for a couple weekends out of the year to compete in different states, and while we’re there, it doesn’t hurt to do a little sight seeing 😉

I’m excited that our youngest Joel, who is four years old and just learning to read, will be starting BQ in September. Oh, and it helps speed up the reading process as well. Bible Quizzing is AMAZING! Ha ha! Seriously though, it is…

trampoline So this morning, in preparation for the dog days of summer and lots of play-dates, I took the old destroyed padding off the trampoline and I’m hoping to find a replacement at Walmart in the next few days (Lord willing).

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All Done… now I just have to clean all the leaves out :-/

So come on moms and dads, let’s make Bible Quizzing a priority. Will you join me?

Paula Nelson Logo 1

Summer Yippeee!!! and some catching up…

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“Summer in NY… excited to see green again” 

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Has it really been six months since my last post? Say it isn’t so 🙂 Honestly, I didn’t mean to be away that long. Well with my life becoming a little more settled, I hope to fix that.

Summer is here and I think I’m more excited than my kids!! I am so looking forward to spending some quality, fun time with them. Jonathan I know will have me laughing out loud, Liz will have her pretty face buried in a book and Joel, well he’ll just be happy we’re all together… except for Dad of course who has to work hard to make all our family fun possible 🙂 We love you Hun!

God has been good! I simple LOVE my savior. I pray this prayer all the time, if there was no heaven to gain and no hell to shun, I would still serve Jesus with all my heart. I don’t worship God for His many blessings towards me – though every time I am blessed of God it drives me to my knees in tears, I serve Him because I get to. I get the privilege and great opportunity to raise my hands in worship, I get to sing of His mercies and power, I get to spend sweet time in prayer, communing with the creator of heaven and earth.

I’m so excited about blogging again for many reasons, a few being: Writing and photography, two of my hobbies – among others. it gives me an opportunity to encourage someone to develop a closer relationship with the Lord. Blogging also helps me to be accountable, as far as reaching the people in my community. And now I can stop sending ridiculously long texts to my poor friends, Ha ha! I hope you will come with me on this journey, as I step out by faith to witness to my community, you will affect change in yours.

I shared this thought that I had with my Sunday school class on Sunday, If Jesus meant what He said about us going into all the world and making disciples of all men, do you know how much trouble I’m in if all I do is go to work everyday to build a life here that could end any moment. My eternity is hanging on how much I know Him, and how much I allow others to know Him through me. Every morning I pray Lord help someone to know you through me today, most times its my own children, which is great. But I love those days when I meet a mom at the playground and I’m able to be Jesus’s hands and feet.

Until next time,

Paula Nelson Logo 1

 

I can’t believe he’s dead…

My phone rang this morning, I recognized the number as my husbands. “Hi Hun”, I said. “Hey Babe, he responded. “Someone just stopped by my office to tell me that Jim died this weekend”. “Oh no!” I cried.

My husband had been teaching him a Bible study on his lunch hour at work for a few weeks. We prayed that God would save him. One day he told my husband, “I’m coming to church with you, and I’ll be back the Sunday after that”. We were so excited!!! We had dreams of all the great miracles God would perform in his life. We prayed towards that end. He showed up at our Church early, even before we did. When we saw him we were all smiles.

As we worshipped in this particular service, I glanced in his direction and was excited to see his hands raised in an effort to worship his creator. My praise intensified, I desired to help create an atmosphere in which God could fill him with the Holy Ghost.

I prayed, my husband laid hands on Jim and prayed. Bro. Nicholson (a wonderful visiting missionary) preached a powerful message. But Jim did not receive the Holy Ghost that night, he did not ask to be baptized. He walked away saying it was an interesting service, “but this is not for me”. My heart broke when my husband told me. How could he not feel the love of God reaching out to him.  Deep in my heart I felt it had something to do with the fact that we looked different from each other. After service that night we went out to grab a bite to eat and talked and laughed with Jim.

He really loved my husband, since then he’s been by our home a couple times to drop something off or to express his desire for our sons to play together. But he never surrendered his life to the Lord Jesus.

“He was almost persuaded”, my husband said deeply saddened this morning. “He was almost persuaded”. Jim, we truly loved you and I wish we could have done more to encourage you. I learned a life changing lesson from this very sad situation; Race doesn’t matter to God, and it will never matter to me again either.

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Prayer

prayer“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

My prayer for the last few weeks has been “God let the spirit of prayer fall on me”. I’m not even sure if there is such a thing as “the spirit of prayer”, but that has been the cry of my heart.

I have been thinking of the great men and women of God who gave themselves to hours of prayer in years past, like: Nona Freeman, Rev. Billy and Shirley Cole, Bobbie Wendell and so much more. Something within me yearns to grab hold of the baton of intercessory and travailing prayer and run like crazy with it.

At one time, I’m ashamed to say, prayer was a chore for me. A job I HAD to do. But God is so merciful, He saw that I was distracted and though I was undeserving, began changing my perspective on prayer. I found myself in company of men and women with a desire to go further in prayer. I heard messages about prayer. In my bible reading time I was encouraged by the prayers made by men and women of God, I saw their results and purposed in my heart that I wanted nothing less for my life.

I look around and I see the GREAT falling away from righteousness in our schools, communities and government. The most compelling however, the thing that brought me to my knees and strengthened my resolve to humble myself, take up my cross and pray, was the popularity of compromise I unfortunately saw spreading among saints of like precious faith. This broke my heart and became the “clarion call” I needed to cry out to God for deliverance. “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”. (Matt. 24:22)

I’ve heard enough messages on picking up the mantel, holding on to the ancient landmarks, and carrying on the burden of intercessory and travailing prayer. It has finally sunk in. I encourage you my dear reader; accept the challenge, stand in the gap, and P.U.S.H. (Pray until something happens). It’s now or never, we cannot wait for any other sign.

I have now learned that prayer is not a chore, but a privilege and a blessing to boldly approach His throne. My dear readers, I encourage you to make a change in the atmosphere by toppling the prince of the air, the strong man of your city. It is said that satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint on their knees. With God’s help, we will do it.

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GIVE FEAR THE BLIND EYE By Judith Harvey

Every once in a while I like to invite a guest to share with my readers. I do my best to find guests that will provide posts that will be both a blessing and an encouragement to you. Today, I am thrilled to introduce my friend Judith Harvey! She is a wonderful writer; her content is profound, stirring and relevant. I’m honored that she has agreed to share with us on Apostolic Talk. 

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After walking out the doctor’s office for the sixth time in three weeks, my friend Stacy stopped at the Starbucks three blocks away debating her choice of iced coffee or latte.  Before making her purchase, she sat down and looked out the window staring mindlessly at nothing while her mind raced in turmoil through all the negative circumstances that have plagued her lately.

First, it was her child’s health, then her job downsizing and immediately following that was her health scare.  She tried to pray for courage but the crippling effects of her fear of the ‘what’s next’ left her weak, frozen and immobile.  It took Stacy a little while to realize that she had placed the spotlight on her horrifying circumstances instead of on God’s promises.

What are you afraid of?  Do you, out of fear, focus on circumstances you cannot change?  There may be things that you feel you can confidently conquer while there are those things like public speaking or a medical diagnosis that can stop you in your tracks, sending you in a state of total paralysis; all you can see is that “thing” that freezes you in one spot where you can’t even pray.

Every human being is born with some sort of fear, which makes it a universal emotion, but it becomes a killer when we are unable to put our fears in perspective in order for us to move on to the things we actually can change.  Some folks seek to put their fears into context by religiously meeting with their shrinks, while others trade their sobriety for a good drink, “drowning away their sorrows” they say, not realizing that there’s a more excellent way.

Thank God for His Word, which has an abundance of reasons why we should turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to our fears.  Reminders such as Deut. 31:6, (NKJV) “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”  Or Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Or Isaiah 41:13(NIV)“For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”  Time and the limits of this page will not allow me to mention them all, but the point I’m hoping to make is; if God is for us tell me who or what can defeat us?

The situations we fear the most shows us where we trust God the least; so the next time we’re faced with a frightening situation, let’s put it in perspective by turning to His word.  Hebrews 4:12 admonishes that God’s word is a sharp and powerful sword – a sword we can use to cut down our fears and give us courage in any circumstance.

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Guest Post: The Holy Ghost!