Tell Others!

Have you ever lost something, or the use of something, then some time later regained it? It’s such a treasure! As of yesterday I finally got back the use of my computer printer! I forgot what a blessing it is to be able to print something from my own desk! I got so much more done with not having to first email my documents to my husband’s office! I was almost in a printing frenzy I loved it so much!

I remember very vividly when I got to go on a mission trip to Spain a year and a half ago how frustrating it was passing out tracts on the streets. Our group had been given a few lessons in Spanish before we left home, but it was only enough to say a greeting and share a tract (don’t even ask me now what the phrase was! Si?). For the nine days that we were in Spain we couldn’t talk to the people we met; couldn’t share our testimony or give a Bible verse in their language. I remember wishing I could talk in their language and tell them the reason we were in there.

I’ll never forget while on our trip home we were riding a bus in the airport in Frankfurt, Germany from the terminal to our airplane. I was sitting beside a woman who turned and greeted me in English! I was so pleased! As I talked with her I was able to share a tract with her, and I asked her to please read it so she could learn how to go to heaven. When we arrived in Charlotte the Lord gave other opportunities to give tracts and talk to people who spoke my language. I felt as though I’d been given back something I’d lost – the ability to speak and share the Gospel in English.

After returning home the fervor to continue to use the gift of speech to share Christ with a lost world was very real. However, as time has passed, my obedience in this area has dwindled, much to my shame. Yesterday afternoon the Lord reminded me of what I had learned while in Spain, and when I was at the grocery store check-out He prompted me to give a tract to the cashier with whom I’d been talking. Sadly, she didn’t receive the tract with a ready heart; she appeared disgusted with me and shoved the tract in her drawer and quickly moved on to the next customer.

As I walked away, I prayed for her and thanked the Lord for helping me to take advantage of the opportunity He’d given to use my words to share the Gospel message. I don’t want to forget how special it is to have that privilege.

I’m sure a year from now I won’t still be sitting at my computer in a printing frenzy, but I pray my heart will still be in the mode of a “telling frenzy.”

Who needs you to speak up and tell them about Christ?


Planted by the Rivers of Water

I mentioned last week that I was going to get away for a few days of refreshment. What a blessing to go with my twin sister to Fairhaven Ministries. It’s on Roan Mountain where the temperatures are a bit cooler, the pace much slower, and the opportunities to refresh yourself are everywhere.

The Lord answered many prayers about the weekend. The first one was that Dianne and I would both be able to attend. Another prayer He answered was concerning the weather. We’ve had a good amount of rain as of late, and the forecast was for SHOWERS all weekend. It rained Friday morning while we were having a session, then after lunch we had the afternoon free until 6 pm. It was amazing to see the Lord move the clouds back and bring the sun out! My sister and I enjoyed an invigorating hike in the woods by Roaring Creek. We enjoyed views like these –
Isn’t it amazing how the Lord speaks to us in nature? The path we were on took us right beside the creek. I was amazed to see a tree whose roots were on a rock stretching out to the creek. If you look at the picture below you can see the roots on the left side.

My sister and I began quoting Psalm 1 when we saw it – Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Do you and I thirst for God’s Word like this tree thirsted for water? Do we stretch ourselves to get it because we need it so desperately? Are we willing to press up against hard things to get it – things like sleepiness in the morning, preoccupations with other activities, or just lack of desire?
When we take in God’s truths we will be fruitful and won’t wither up – that’s God’s promise to us! When hard times come we have Truths to cling to and promises to claim to be an anchor for our souls.
Are we planted in our decision to study God’s Word? That would characterize someone who is committed. They won’t be hit and miss in their devotional time – they’re PLANTED there because they are thirsty.
I can’t tell you in this one post all that the Lord did last weekend, but it was such a blessing. He used creation, other people, and His Word to bring about what I needed to be refreshed. Have you received refreshment recently? If so, how? I’d love to hear about it!

Twenty-five Years of Blessings

Today is my daughter’s 25th birthday. When I think back to the day she was born I remember that it was the beginning of a journey that is so precious in my memory. The journey is entitled, “My God Is at Work in my Life.” Let me share with you how it started.

My husband was pastoring a small church in Tennessee. We had insurance, but it didn’t cover maternity – just general things, and that was okay until the day I discovered I was expecting! Maybe it was my youth (I was 25), but I wasn’t alarmed. However, my husband and I wondered how we would be able to pay for the delivery. Perhaps they would allow us to make small payments.

I had a wonderful pregnancy. Morning sickness was brief and I felt great right up to the end (other than feeling like a beached whale near my due date!). My husband and I attended Lamaze classes and felt like we were going to be okay when the delivery happened. We had one more class to attend before completion and it was to be a video of a C-section.

On September 21 I an appointment at my doctor’s office. I went alone to the visit. My doctor poked and poked at my protruding belly. I wondered if there was a problem, but was afraid to ask. I left the office and headed to my car. As I approached the car I had a pain shoot across my side. I didn’t think much about it. After it stopped I headed home.

That evening my husband took me out for pizza date. The baby was due in two weeks and we thought this might be the last chance to have a date. We took a walk after we came home, and again, I had a sharp pain in my side. I stopped a moment, then brushed it off. I went in and cleaned the house – I mean really cleaned the house! Then I ironed. Then I went to bed, leaving my husband watching a ball game.

At about 1:00 in the morning I awoke with the realization that my water had broken. I called for my husband who had taken to sleeping in the guestroom over the last couple weeks because of the awkward positions I needed to sleep in to be comfortable. He came in and began…making phone calls. “Honey, don’t you think we should get to the hospital?” I asked. Expectant fathers are funny! There was no one on the roads at that hour, but he drove with his flashers on and faster than was allowed (I think just because he could!).

When we arrived at the hospital I found that the nurse on duty was a gal from our church; I’d hoped I would get her and the Lord went before me. She examined me and said, “Denise, the baby is breech.” My heart sank because at that moment I remembered my doctor telling me, “You’ll do fine with the delivery as long as the baby isn’t breech. If it is, we’ll have to do a C-section.” My heart was saddened and fearful when I heard this news and understood what would now happen. My desire to have a natural birth would not be realized; I was having surgery.

Things moved very quickly from that moment, and it wasn’t long after an epidural had been given that the sweet cries of a baby were heard in the delivery room. My husband was there by my side watching the whole procedure, reveling in God’s blessing of birth. Whitney Leigh was delivered weighing in at a tiny but precious 5lb, 4oz, and 18 inches long. She was the first granddaughter on both sides of the family, and the answer to my prayers for a daughter!
We were in the hospital five days and recovered without any complications. When we got home we received news from our insurance company that her birth was covered because it was an emergency surgery and all we owed was the nursery costs! God went before us. Her being breech was His design; it was no accident.

I could tell you about so many times that the Lord provided for our family after Whitney’s birth. It increased my faith each time I saw Him go before us and take care of our needs. Groceries, clothing, camp funds, home school books, college tuition, jobs, even vacation times. He has abundantly blessed us – not always way in advance of the need. Sometimes it was at the very moment the need was crucial. But He has always provided. He is faithful.

So on this day of Whitney’s 25 birthday, I remember many things that the Lord has taught me through the blessing of the daughter that He gave us. Today I also count the blessing she has been to me. I am so grateful for God’s gifts.

Happy Birthday, Whitney! I love you.

What’s Cookin’ in the Parsonage?

We had Sunday dinner at church yesterday. We had a Sunday school fellowship following the morning service. It was a perfect day for the menu of soups, salads and sandwiches. I’m not sure what the temperature was in the morning, but it felt cool to me! We eat lots of soups in the fall and winter. The recipe I made came from a church fellowship in another state. One of these cool fall days you’ll have to try this:

Hearty Corn Chowder
3 Tbl. butter or marg.
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
3 Tbl. flour
2 Cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1 12-oz can corn with red and green sweet peppers
2 1/2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 – 1 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 14.5-oz. can evaporated skim milk
Snipped parsley
Heat butter, carrots, celery and onion in large saucepan until bubbly; reduce heat and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes. Stir in flour. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly. Stir in water, salt, celery salt, paprika, pepper and corn. Heat to boiling. Stir cheese into chowder gradually. Cook and stir until cheese is melted. Add sausage and milk. Heat until hot. Sprinkle w/parsley.
Note: I use the smoked turkey sausage to cut back on fat and it’s really good. I also cook the sausage in the pan first and drain any fat.

Worship in God’s House

I am reading a book entitled A Long Obedience by Eugene H. Peterson. As you approach the weekend and the time on Sunday to go to church and worship, I’d like to share two paragraphs from his book for your consideration:

“This word of God is everywhere in worship. In the call to worship we hear God’s first word to us; in the benediction we hear God’s last word to us; in the Scripture lessons we hear God speaking to our faith-parents; in the sermon we hear that word re expressed to us; in the hymns, which are all to a greater or lesser extent paraphrases of Scripture, the Word of God makes our prayers articulate. Every time we worship our minds are informed, our memories refreshed with the judgments of God, we are familiarized with what God says, what he has decided, the ways he is working out our salvation.

There is simply no place where these can be done as well as in worship. If we stay at home by ourselves and read the Bible, we are going to miss a lot, for our reading will be unconsciously conditioned by our culture, limited by our ignorance, distorted by unnoticed prejudices. In worship we are part of ‘the large congregation’ where all the writers of Scripture address us, where hymn writers use music to express truths that touch us not only in our heads but in our hearts, where the preacher who has just lived through six days of doubt, hurt, faith and blessing with the worshipers speaks the truth of Scripture in the language of the congregation’s present experience. We want to hear what God says and what he says to us: worship is the place where our attention is centered on these personal and decisive words of God.”

There you have it. We need to worship with believers. Staying home and worshipping a television preacher isn’t an option and oh, the blessings are multiple!

See you in church!


Come Apart

This blog is about refreshing others. It’s such a need in my own heart, and that creates a desire to share with others what the Lord does in my life. Jesus went to a solitary place and prayed early in the morning. He got away with His Father before the crowds crushed in on Him. Even Jesus needed the refreshment of solitude and prayer.

I’m grateful to have the opportunity this weekend to visit a place created for rest. My sister (who is also a pastor’s wife) and I are going together to be refreshed and encouraged. We’re going to a solitary place. I doubt I’ll get a cell phone signal. There are no televisions in the chalets, no music pounding through loud speakers – only quiet.

I remember years ago I did the study by Jim Berg, Changed Into His Image. In the study he encouraged you to take your Bible and notebook and go away for the day and spend a day alone with the Lord. I did that, and it was so special. No distractions, no people, no music interrupted the time with Him. I was able to talk to the Lord and listen to Him speak to me.

When was the last time you got alone with the Lord? I don’t mean your time each day in the Word. I’m talking about retreating somewhere to spend time with Him. The fall season often has beautiful days in which you can enjoy the outdoors. Why not plan a day when you can take your Bible, a notebook, perhaps a hymn book and just spend the day with God (or even a couple of hours)? I’m sure you’ve heard the saying – “We need to come apart before we come apart.” It’s so true. If you’re getting a little frazzled around the edges perhaps it’s time for you!

Chasing the Right Things

What a contrast there is between what the world tells us we should have and be and what the Lord tells us in His Word! This morning as I read Proverbs 16 I saw several of these contrasts.

The world tells us we should follow our heart when making a decision. The Word says to commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established. (Prov. 16:3) In other words, we give to the Lord what we’re planning to do and we let Him guide our thinking and direct our steps. My heart will lead me astray, but the Lord will always lead me right.

The world tells us we need more money, more things, bigger house, better stuff. The Word says in Proverbs 16:8 – Better is little with righteousness than great revenues without right. It’s better to have little? Yes, when it comes from a life that is right with God. All our needs are taken care of when we walk with Him. We may not be listed among the world’s most affluent people, but at the end of this life it won’t matter.

Verse 16 of the same chapter says that wisdom is better than gold and understanding than silver! You will never read that in your local paper or hear that on a television talk show.

The world says you have to do whatever it takes to move up the ladder of success. Proverbs 16:12 says that it is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness and a throne is established by righteousness. Oh, that our politicians would follow that principle in their leadership!

The world doesn’t think much of senior citizens, but verse 31 says that the gray head is a crown of glory if it be found in the way of righteousness. Those that are godly seniors have earned a crown because they’ve walked with God, learned His ways, and honored Him in their many years.

This is another reminder to me as to why I need the Word daily. We are bombarded with worldly thinking every single day, and it contrasts the Truth that we need to obey. Let’s not chase after what the world dictates, but let’s let our goals and desires be lined up with the Word of God instead.