Friday, May 26, 2017

Building An Arsenal of Scripture

"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses."
I Timothy 6:12
(KJV)

On Easter Sunday, I published this post, and in it, I mentioned this,

"God has given me an exacting assignment that is requiring every bit of my creative time and energy.
It is requiring me to press hard into prayer and moments with Jesus for much needed inspiration and help.  I have never felt more dependent upon Him or more in need of His Divine in-pouring into this very incapable vessel of clay."

I have been, and still am, very much involved in the exacting assignment God is asking of me,
and I tell you that ever since it began, I have been going through a season of severe, and I do mean severe, testing.

I will not lie and tell you that I feel victorious in this testing.
Let me just be transparent and brutally honest.
There is no sense in sugar-coating it or trying to falsify the truth for the sake of "appearances".
It is what it is.

I have not been and am not happy about these trials.
I have felt downright angry and abandoned and disillusioned more times than I'd like to admit.
Dear Lord, forgive me, but I have railed out questions to Him, like,

"WHY?"
and 
"Where are YOU?"
and 
"What did I do to reap such punishment?"
and
"Why are You against me?"
and
"Lord, I am doing everything You are asking me to do, so why are You allowing this?"
and
"Do You not see what is going on?"
and
"Do You even care?"

I think I have totally failed the test.
Shamefully, I have not gone, nor am I going through this trial very well....at all.
I have not "counted it all joy", even though, our precious son, Zach, often reminds me of James 1:2.
"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations..."
As Zach gently reminds me of this verse, he also goes on to include the next verse that reads, 
"Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience."
Zach tells me that it is not that we feel JOY because we are undergoing such tests and trials,
but what we "count JOY" is the result of the trials.
We count are supposed to count JOY the good that is being wrought in us through our testing.

Dear Zach!
I have lost count of the times that he and Kevin have stopped what they were doing to pray with and for me.
God bless my dear, patient, loving husband and son.

It is no secret that I often have a hard time "feeling" God when I am going through such difficulties.
If you are a person who can feel Him in those places, I applaud you, my friend.
More often than not, such is not the case with me.
And, because of that, I struggle.
You can read more about my struggles HERE and HERE.

The other night, out of the blue, the dear Comforter came to me with three words.
"Arm yourselves likewise."
That was it.
I had heard the verse many times throughout life, but, for the life of me, in that moment,
I could not remember where it was located in the Bible or exactly whom it was referring to.
I kept wondering, "Arm yourselves like who?"
I couldn't wait to finish what I was doing so I could look it up and see the surrounding context and find out who we are to "arm ourselves" like.
Was it referring to Paul?
Peter?
Who?

"Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God."
I Peter 4:1

Christ, our loving Lord!
Of course, it is He we are to arm ourselves like!

The precious Holy Spirit continued to speak to me,
"Child, you are not using your armor.
You are not picking up your Sword to fight."

I could not deny His truth.
The constant battering and bruising and attacks by the enemy had rendered me exhausted,
discouraged, and near-lifeless.
I had NO strength left to fight.
No energy to pick up the Sword that lay, shamefully unused, by my side.

Whether you and I like it or want to admit it, 
we are engaged in spiritual warfare that is very real.
We can pretend it isn't happening.
We can bury our heads in the sand and hope satan doesn't discover our hiding place.
We can try to run away from the battlefield.
The truth is that when we sell out to God and determine with all our heart and mind to follow Jesus, 
regardless what it costs, we step into a raging, hostile, merciless war zone with a target on our back.
This is reality.
This is what is going on.
The more we sink into God, the more we strive to be like Jesus, the more satan perceives us as a threat.
What he perceives to be a threat to darkness, he will oppose.
The harder we try to work for God and pursue the building of His kingdom, 
the more determined satan will be to oppose and extinguish what God is doing in and through us.

"And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him."
Zechariah 3:1

"Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices."
2 Corinthians 2:11

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
Ephesians 6:12

This is real, folks.
No doubt about it.

If you continue reading the above passage in Ephesians 6, you will find that God has provided a six piece suit of armor for us to "arm ourselves like" Jesus, so that we can triumph in this spiritual war.
 1.  Belt of truth
2.  Breastplate of righteousness
3.  Shoes of the Gospel of peace
4.  Shield of faith
5.  Helmet of salvation
6.  Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God

I find it interesting that of the six pieces of armor, five are defensive, but only one is offensive.

As the precious Holy Spirit dealt with my heart the other night,
my thoughts immediately went to the time Jesus was so sorely tested in the wilderness,
right before He began His earthly ministry, and how each time satan came to Him with such audacious temptations, Jesus overcame by wielding the Sword of the Spirit and verbally speaking the Word of God.

"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God..."
Ephesians 6:17

If Jesus conquered satan by quoting the Word of God, how can we hope to be victorious in any other way?
And, how can we quote His Word if we have not hid it in our hearts?

Psalm 119:11 says,
"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee."

How can it readily be drawn forth in the heat of the battle, if we have not saturated ourselves with it ahead of time?
Just as a U.S. Marine would never enter hostile territory without a rifle or other offensive weapon,
a soldier of the cross should never walk into hand-to-hand satanic combat without the Sword of the Spirit.

Before walking into my current battles, I knew this.
A near-lifetime of Scripture memorization has equipped me.
The Word of God is there, settled deep into my composition.
But, what good is it doing if I am not actively picking up the Sword and using it?

When the Lord whispered, "Arm yourselves likewise", I finally got the message.
The reason I was feeling so defeated, whipped, and overcome was because I was not arming myself.
I was not wielding my Sword.
The armor was there, available, but I was not taking advantage of it.

I don't know what you may be going through, but I know of a certainty that you are going through something.
We all are.
If Jesus Christ was not exempt from severe testing, what would ever make us think that we are?
So, the thing for each of us to do is to build what I call an M.S.A., 
aka as a Massive Scriptural Arsenal.

Arsenal - a collection of weapons and military equipment stored by a country, person, or group; 
an array of resources available for a certain purpose.

Don the pieces of armor...every, single day, and read the Bible.
Immerse yourself in the Word of God.
Search the Scriptures.
Absorb them.
Infuse them into every possible waking thought.
Soak your soul in them.
And, here is the most important thing...
memorize them.
This is what it means to hide them in the heart.
Deposit them into your Massive Scriptural Arsenal.
This way, the Word will be there, a sword ready to be drawn in the heat of the moment when you are face to face with the enemy.

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12

In closing, I would like to share some of the stock in
  my personal Massive Scriptural Arsenal.
I hope you will adopt them and use them to start building your own M.S.A.
Trust me, my friend, and I know you already know this,
but, you will need it.
God bless you as you press forward, in Jesus' name, ever fighting the good fight of faith.

"Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you."
Luke 10:19
(A dear friend emailed me this one the other day.  I had forgotten about this verse!  Oh, it has blessed me and fortified my courage!  Our dear Lord spoke this verse from His very own lips.  I have added it to my M.S.A., and it will stay there from now on, ready to be wielded, as needed.  Thank you, dear Kathleen for this reminder!)

"Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
James 4:7

"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us."
Romans 8:37

"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the LORD."
Isaiah 54:17

"For Thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: Thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me."
Psalm 18:39

"If God be for us, who can be against us?"
Romans 8:31

"Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the LORD of hosts."
Zech. 4:6

"But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one."
2 Thessalonians 3:3

"I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD."
Psalm 118:17

"The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways."
Deuteronomy 28:7

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world."
I John 4:4

"One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, He it is that fighteth for you, as He hath promised you."
Joshua 23:10

"Through Thee will we push down our enemies: through Thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us."
Psalm 44:5

"But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good..."
Genesis 50:20

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds..."
2 Corinthians 10:4

"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
Ephesians 6:11

"Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.  Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you."
2 Chronicles 20:15,17

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
I John 1:9

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world."
I Peter 5:8,9

"But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
I Corinthians 15:57

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
John 10:10

"Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 18:18,19

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
I Corinthians 10:13

"Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God He shall fight for you."
Deuteronomy 3:22

"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
Romans 12:21

"Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."
Joshua 1:9

"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.  Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.  He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler."
  Psalm 91:1-4

"And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us:  And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him."
I John 5:14,15

"If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it."
John 14:14


I would love it if you would share one (or however many you would like) Scripture(s) from your own personal Massive Scriptural Arsenal in the comments below!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Purpose Of Our Pain

"For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth..."
Job 19:25
(KJV)

I started following the Blind Pig & The Acorn blog several years ago.
Kevin first found them on their Youtube channel, and somehow, from there, we found their blog, written by Tipper Pressley.

We have often let their playlists automatically play on our desktop computer,
as we enjoy the amazing harmony, the beautiful music, and hearing the old-time songs we love so well.

These people have been such a blessing to my family and me.
I can't begin to tell you how sad we were when "Pap" (Tipper's father and the elderly gentleman in many of their videos) passed away last year.
Oh, my!
Even though we never met him (or any of them, personally), we almost felt like we had lost a member of the family.
It was hard to think of future videos being posted without Pap being there to sing along with his son, Paul, and other family members.

One day, back in January of this year, Tipper included a song that I had never heard before in her daily blog post. 
This song has come to mean an awful lot to me...especially right now.
It is called "Job's God", and I hope you will take the time to listen to Tipper's brother, Paul, 
sing it in the video below.
The words to this song are just amazing.
(I've included the lyrics below the video.)

I know God must have really wanted me to get the message of this song,
because a few days ago, Kevin found it, on his own, on the Blind Pig & The Acorn youtube page.
He called me in to where he was and said,
"I want you to hear this song.  It reminds me of you and what you are going through."
I had no idea what the song was, until the video began to play.
I could hardly believe it.

You can click Job's God to read Tipper's original post which introduced me to this song.
She shares her brother, Paul's words concerning the authorship and other information about the song,
including what the song meant to her father.

Tonight, I am fighting yet another battle in this ongoing spiritual war, (aren't we all?),
 and I tell you the truth, right now, I feel like I, myself, could have written at least part of the words to this song.
Because, to be perfectly honest, and, dear Lord, please know that I mean no disrespect,
sometimes it feels like God has sort of backed up and allowed satan to pounce with all fours.
Have you ever felt like that?

Another beautiful photo by my dear friend, Gentle Joy

I write to you straight from my heart tonight.
I don't understand a lot of what I am going through right now.
There are situations in my own life and in the lives of those I deeply care about, 
that I do not understand.
Perhaps, you can relate?

It is in times like these that dear Zach, aka as "Little Mr. Wisdom", often reminds me, 
"Mama, when we can't understand God's logic, we have to trust His wisdom."

I am now walking through one of the times I described in this post, and like Job must have felt when he said,
"Behold, I go forward, but He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him:
On the left hand, where He doth work, but I cannot behold Him: He hideth Himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him:  But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold."
Job 23:8-10

If video doesn't load, click here.

Lyrics to "Job's God"

I can feel the hand of Satan, 
As a tempter pressing sore;
He has been before the Father, 
Asking leave to press me more.

Though God slay me, yet I'll trust Him, 
I shall then come forth as gold;
And I know the Redeemer liveth, 
I can feel Him in my soul.

I can hear the Father granting, 
Saying, "You'll not touch his life.
Though you crush him, he'll not falter,
He will rise above the strife."

Though God slay me, yet I'll trust Him,
I shall then come forth as gold; 
And I know the Redeemer liveth, 
I can feel Him in my soul.

Though I stumble, I'll not stagger. 
By His Grace, I'll make it through; 
For His Grace is all-sufficient, 
And I know that God is true.

Though I look all about me, 
And His face I cannot see;
Still I know that through the darkness, 
He beholdeth even me.

Though God slay me, yet I'll trust Him,
I shall soon come forth as gold;
And I know my Redeemer liveth. 
I can feel Him in my soul.

I hope you draw as much encouragement from this song as I have,
because the words are true.
I know that in my heart, even though the trial is hard to endure.

I think of Job, and it occurs to me that he probably never had one clue as to the fact that his severe testing and trials would one day make it to the pages of God's Holy Word.
He could not have imagined how many millions of people would read his life story and find comfort and solace in knowing that even though God allowed him to be tried beyond measure, He saw him through his trials and restored double to him after He brought him through.
I am thankful that God's providence allowed for Job's vulnerability and humanity to be revealed and his words and the expressions of his heart to be recorded upon the pages of what we now call our Bible.

Job may have found no logic or sense in the fiery trials he was called upon to walk through, 
but how many of us have turned to the pages of his book in the Bible for encouragement as we have gone through our own hard places?
Just as we draw strength from reading of how God brought Job through his trials, 
perhaps someone is finding hope and courage by seeing or hearing about what God has done or is doing for us in our situations, perplexities, and difficulties.

I wonder about the person who wrote this song, "Job's God".
Tipper's blog post mentioned that the author of the song was named as S. N. Greene.
What was he or she going through to write such heart-wrenched lyrics?
Just what sort of pain would draw such words from the soul and compel a person to write them down?
We will probably never know, just as the author of the words will never realize how much consolation their song composition is bringing to us now.

None of our trials are without purpose.
Sometimes, we go through hard things for the benefit of someone else.
As they see how God enabled us through and restored us after our trial, they are able to find the fortitude to trust God for their own affliction or distress.
He has a reason for everything He does, even though it is often unseen by us.
Sometimes, down the road, He makes it clear.
Other times, we never know or see the full purpose or scope of why He allows what He allows.
He is God, and we are not.

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9

I don't know what you are going through, but I trust you will take cheer in knowing that God did not waste Job's pain, and He is not wasting yours.

I also hope you will stop by and visit Tipper's amazing blog and check out the Blind Pig & The Acorn youtube channel.
You will find encouragement in both places.

In closing, I am including a video of a blessed, old song beautifully sung by Tipper's daughters, "The Pressley Girls", along with Paul.

Before you listen, though, I have to mention one more thing, 
on a much lighter note and somewhat totally off the subject.
It is no secret that I dearly love soap,
especially, homemade soap.
I think my love for homemade soap is beyond normal and is more like an obsession.
One day, while looking around Tipper's blog, I happened to notice that one of the Pressley Girls has her own Etsy Shop called, "Apothecopie".
When I saw that she sells homemade soap, I decided I had to try some.
I ordered the Lemon Poppy scent, and, let me just tell you, 
it is wonderful!
This soap is gentle, it rinses very well, and it smells amazing!
I hope you will stop by and visit Apothecopie and order some of your own!

If video doesn't load, click here.

God bless you, dear readers!
Heaven will surely be worth it all.
"...knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward."
Hebrews 10:34-35

Monday, May 1, 2017

Wasted Moves

"That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him..."
Ephesians 1:10
(KJV)


Every now and then, Kevin, Zach, and I enjoy playing Candy Crush.
It is great fun, and we sometimes take turns, especially when we reach a level that is hard to beat.
I'm sure most, if not all of you, have tried the game, so I am hoping you will know what I mean by a "wasted move".
It happens when you are trying to "burst jellies" or make a match,
there are no possible matches where you need them to be, 
and, off in the distance, in a completely different section of the screen, you see flashing to alert you to a possible match in the flashing area.

I always get frustrated when this happens,because you only get a certain number of moves during each turn, and it seems like a waste to use one of those moves on something that does not appear to be helping to clear the level.
But, there is something interesting that often takes place if I go ahead and take the suggestion of the game and use one of the proposed moves, even though it appears to have no desired impact on what I need to happen.
As I use the recommended move, the surrounding areas are impacted.
Things start shifting around, and even though the proposed move at first appeared to have no bearing whatsoever upon the area I was trying to clear, it sets in motion a domino-effect chain of events that ends up moving things around to benefit the overall success of clearing the level.
What looked like a wasted move turns out to be the very thing needed to propel to victory.

It reminds me of life.
Have you ever prayed so hard that something would happen,
that a mountain would move,
that there would be a shift in your circumstances,
that God would allow something to take place that would bring about necessary breakthrough in a difficult situation, only to see Him allow something that appeared to be completely irrelevant to transpire?
Perhaps, in the midst of your intercessory praying, all of a sudden, He asked you to do something that seemed to be totally unrelated to the impossible hindrance in your path.
Maybe it felt like a completely wasted move, and perhaps you fought doing it for a while because it truly seemed to have nothing in the world to do with resolving the issue for which you were praying,
but, after looking around and seeing you had no other available options, you went ahead and obeyed the gentle urge God impressed upon you.
As you walked forward in obedience and did this seemingly unrelated thing,
you were amazed at the succession of events that followed.
What seemed immaterial, irrelevant, and off-point, ended up causing surrounding circumstances to shift, eventually connecting to the situation you had been praying about and shaking things up to the point that breakthrough burst onto the scene.

With God, all things are relevant.
Everything is connected and makes sense.
There are no wasted moves.
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose."
Romans 8:28

Even when the action He bids us to take appears to be out of place and unrelated to what we are praying for, we can be sure and certain that if God is telling us to do something, it is never without significance.
That seemingly wasted move may not even be remotely applicable to the problem at hand,
but the result of our walking in obedience to God and doing it anyway may be the catalyst that will spark the very result for which we have so earnestly prayed.

In this post about feeling God-forsaken, I included the song "Just Be Held" by Casting Crowns. There is a line in this song that has been echoing in my mind for days.
"Your world's not falling apart, it's falling into place
I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held."


If video doesn't load, click here.

Sometimes, as God leads us to take steps that are propelling us forward towards our ultimate goal,
it feels like our world is falling apart.
But, in reality, every questioned "wasted move" is actually forcing things to fall into place.
It is hard, if not impossible, to see, at the time, but, many times, as we look back, in retrospect,
we clearly see that there really were no "wasted moves".
That each time God rearranged a piece of our life's puzzle, He had a reason for doing so.
Just like a jigsaw puzzle requires certain pieces to be placed so that others can be added,
God has to orchestrate things in our lives in a certain order.

As I look back over my life, thus far, I see moments when my world has been shaken to its core.
Don't we all?
One such time that comes to mind happened a short time before I left home to venture out on my own.
I spent many evenings sitting alone, seated on a deserted rock, or walking along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, contemplating, considering, and praying over my future.
I was lonely.
More than anything in this world, I wanted to find the man God had created just for me and to start our life together.
Though the dear Lord walked close to me and our relationship was precious, I longed for the right human hand to hold, as I walked and took in the magnificence of the lapping waves near my feet in the sand.
Due to a chain of events, completely not my doing and beyond my control, things at home became beyond miserable.
As much as I wanted to stay with Mom and Dad and continue life with them as I had for all of my years to that point, situations at hand completely prohibited it.
I literally had no choice.
Looking back, I can see that God knew that if He allowed things to remain comfortable, I would not want to never leave.
He also knew that about 180 miles away, the soul mate He had created with me in mind was waiting, every bit as lonely as I was, praying just as hard as me, and it was time for his prayers and my prayers on the beach to be answered.
The "fullness of times" had come for us to meet, for the right human hand to take hold of mine, and for the days of loneliness to be over for both of us.
This whole situation and my having to leave home sooner than I wanted to felt like a completely wasted moved.
My world felt like it was falling apart, as I finally accepted the reality that home was no longer a place for me, and God nudged forced me to absolutely step out, leave my comfort zone, and make
 plans to move to that place 180 miles away.
Soon after I got there and just a little over 30 years ago (boy, does that make me sound and feel old!), I laid eyes on my soulmate and future husband for the very first time.
If God spares time and our lives until one special day in June, by God's amazing grace, we will celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary.
I can tell you without a shred of hesitancy and straight from my heart that it has been the most wonderful life, the sweetest of journeys.
Kevin and I have walked through fiery trials time after time.
We have laughed until our sides ached and cried until our hearts broke,
but whatever the situation, we have done it together,
hand-in-hand and side-by-side.

That 180 mile move felt very wasted, at the time.
That feeling couldn't have been farther from the truth.
Nothing, and I do mean nothing, about that move was wasted.
God knew.
He knew who I needed to walk through life with.
He knew the exact shoulder I needed to lean on,
the particular set of arms I needed to hold me when I cry.
He saw the whole picture...every bend in life's road, every heartache, every surprise,
every situation that would rock my world.
He knew that Kevin and I would never meet if I were to stay where I was.
So, through some painful, uproarious circumstances that were hard to navigate at the time, He orchestrated every necessary detail, and He took me to exactly where I needed to be.

I will never be able to thank Him enough for my dear, sweet husband, and I pray every day that God will give us many more years together.
Every second He chooses to give us and our dear son is beyond precious to me.
I praise Him for the way He has led my life's decisions and done what He knew was best,
even when it looked like a "wasted move" from my limited, inferior-to-His point of view.
I'm so grateful He does what is right, regardless how much we kick and fight.

Perhaps, you are experiencing a similar time in your own life, my friend.
Maybe it looks like your world is falling apart.
Let me just tell you this.
Regardless how it looks to you, there's a good chance that it is actually falling into place.
Just go with it.
Let God lead.
I can assure you that if you do, you will never regret it.
He always, always has your best interests at heart.
He absolutely does what is right, every, single time.
Just let Him hold you during the transition.
Lean into Him.
Trust Him with all your heart.
Watch Him fit the pieces to your life's puzzle into place.
He is weaving a beautiful tapestry, and one day, you will see.

(The 2nd blog post I ever posted here was on 10/2/2011, and it was about puzzles.
If you'd care to read it, click here.)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Precious Mug Exchange, Filled and Lavished Abuntantly With Grace

"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ."
Romans 5:17
(KJV)

My Saturday didn't start out in the best of ways.
I had been fighting sickness all week, and finally Saturday morning found me extremely ill.
Imagine the uplift to my spirits when I went to the post office and found a package waiting there!
Not just any package, mind you, but one that was decorated so beautifully, 
with a return name and address that I recognized immediately.
It was from our own dear Stephanie, the one who so faithfully puts this amazing Tea Cup & Mug Exchange together for all of us twice a year!


My joy was full, even before I opened the box!!
The lovely embellishments found on the outside filled my heart with hope and anticipation as to what was waiting when I peeked inside!!!
I could hardly wait to get back home and open it all up with Kevin and Zach!
Imagine the oohs and ahhs, right after Kevin cut through the tape to find all of this!!


Not only were there lots and lots and LOTS of precious gifts, 
but the wrapping!
OH, the wrapping!!
I didn't want to tear into them...they were so beautifully done.
The wrapping alone was a gift all its own!!




My favorite color in the world is lavender, and pink is a close second, so you can just imagine the excitement I felt as I gently lifted each carefully, thoughtfully wrapped gift from the box.

Dear Stephanie!!
You will never know how much you blessed me or how much you made my day!!
How can I ever thank you enough?

This, dear friends, is what I found tucked inside the box.

Two beautifully-scented gifts handmade by Stephanie's own loving hands.
Aren't they the prettiest things?


.An amazing bar of evergreen lavender soap!
(Can I just tell you how much I love soap???  I think I have an obsession....how did you know, sweet friend?)


The sweetest, most dainty, little lavender bowl I have ever seen!


I immediately thought how beautiful the soap would look nesting in it...
just look!


I cannot get enough of this little bowl.
I could sit and swoon over it for hours!


Just look at how pretty it looks grouped together with these lovelies....


I'm telling you, this bowl just calls to me....was made for me....I have no doubt. 
I want to linger, but since there is so much more to share, I must move on...


These are the most darling note cards!
I love sending a card to brighten someone else's day...these are so colorful and perfect!

Then, I found the most adorable journal, with a sweet, little bird on the front.
Isn't he gorgeous?


Don't the journal and the note cards look so pretty sitting side by side?
Like they were sort of made to be friends....


And, some darling sticker embellishments to add brightness and beauty to any crafting project...


And, a precious little card with the most meaningful, kind message from Stephanie written inside...


And, guess what was hiding in yet another card tucked inside the bouquet card?
Oh, my, I am just SO excited!!!


An abundantly generous Starbucks gift card!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Venti Iced Decaf Cafe Americano with extra cream and 2 packs of honey, here I come!!!!
I can't wait!

As I kept unwrapping, (I tell you, it felt like Christmas to me.
I felt SO special, SO loved, SO pampered....
my whole day brightened up in such an amazing way!),
I found this!!!!!!


Saved by grace, indeed!
I LOVE this mug!!!
It is a nice size and will hold a large portion of coffee or my homemade hot cocoa!!
(Milk, cocoa powder, and honey, to taste, heated on the stove in a sauce pan.  It is SO good!!!)
I can just picture steam rising from this beautiful mug, as I ponder on the grace of our Savior!


I kept digging deeper into the box, and just look at what I found!!!!!!!
A beautiful coloring book, chock full of Scripture elements and oh, such lovely, pictures to color!


Here's the back...can you read it?


I love to color!
I find it so therapeutic and stress-relieving.
Oh, the hours dear Zach and I have spent at the kitchen table coloring together in his coloring books!
Then, a few months ago, my dear sister, Sandi, sent me my very first adult coloring book & pencils.
I have SO enjoyed using it...and now, I have another one to choose from!
I am so abundantly blessed.

Sweet Stephanie thought of everything.
She included some beautiful colored pencils, too!


I love the name of the coloring book...a garland of grace!
Isn't that God enshrouds each of us in?

"Grace, grace, God's grace, Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God's grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin!"
Written by Julia H. Johnston

Where would be without His grace?
God's
Riches
At
Christ's
Expense
After serving Jesus for many years, I think I am only beginning to catch a glimpse of the true meaning of GRACE.
Oh, I do praise Him!!!!

I will think of God's grace...and dear Stephanie, such a living, breathing example of grace,
 each time I use this book, drink from this mug, and use the many precious gifts she sent to me.

And, now, for a group photo of my amazing, wonderful goodies, sent with so much love (you could FEEL the love while opening the box and gifts) from one of the sweetest ladies I know.


It could not have arrived at a more opportune time.
To God be the glory for such lovely, encouraging, caring friends and for the way He so graciously connects us through this blogging world.
My life is so much richer by being a part of it.

Again, I thank you, dear Stephanie from the bottom of my heart!

To all of you precious readers, if you have never participated in Stephanie's tea cup and mug exchange, you truly do not know what you are missing!
This is my third time participating, and it has just been a huge encouragement to me.
I SO look forward to it, and I cannot even imagine how much energy and time Stephanie pours into it.
Perhaps you have never met Stephanie or visited her blog?
If you haven't, please stop by and say hello to her, 
and while you are there, why not consider following, so you won't miss any of her wonderful posts?
She also has an Etsy Shop called Rose Petal Blessings that is just amazing!!!
I have ordered from her multiple times, and her work is unique and impeccable.
I often tell her that her creations should be sold in stores.
You can see and feel how much love she pours into every, single thing she does.
I hope you will stop by and visit her!!

"Thank You, dear Jesus, for all of your abundant gifts.
Thank You for such amazing friends.
Thank You for suffering such an awful scourging to obtain the stripes needed for our healing.
You, dear Lord, mean everything to me.
In Jesus' name, Amen."

To read about the other two tea cup and mug exchanges I have participated in, click these links:

If video doesn't load, click here.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Praise & Update on Kristen

"He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. 
Come, see the place where the Lord lay."
Matthew 28:6
(KJV)

Come, and see, indeed!!
The tomb is empty!!
Praise God forevermore!



He is alive, and, because of Him and His resurrection power, death will never win the war!!

This Easter Sunday morning, I have never loved Him more.
He becomes more alive...more real...more precious to my soul with each passing day.

*****************************************************

I apologize for my absence on the blog lately.

God has given me an exacting assignment that is requiring every bit of my creative time and energy.
It is requiring me to press hard into prayer and moments with Jesus for much needed inspiration and help.

I have never felt more dependent upon Him or more in need of His Divine in-pouring into this very incapable vessel of clay.

"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing."
John 15:5

Without Him, all effort is vain.
I feel that and sense it more than ever before.

"For in Him we live, and move, and have our being..."
Acts 17:28

"Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it..."
Psalm 127:1

(Lord willing, you will see a blog post or an interview, here and there, so please do always stop by for visits!  Thanks for not giving up on me!)

**********************************************************

Please also keep praying for my dear niece, Kristen.
The dear girl has been through SO much.
There have been so many bumps and trials, and the fear of what is ahead of her is ever present.
Oh, we do appreciate the many prayers each one of you have prayed!
We just have no words to thank you enough.
PLEASE continue to pray and ask the dear Lord to grant wisdom to her doctors as to the timing of the switch in medicines before she gives birth.
There is great concern about the life and health of both her and her unborn baby boy.
My hope and faith is in God alone and in the knowledge that He is in control and that He holds both of them in His loving hands.

***************************************************************
HAPPY EASTER to all of you, dear friends!
He is risen!!
Let us rejoice!!!!!


If video doesn't load, click here.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Inner Views of Betty Draper

"For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified."
I Corinthians 2:2
(KJV)
(Betty's life verse)

The words of the dear lady I am interviewing today brought me to tears.
I am moved by her devotion to our Lord, to her husband, and to the people she has served through the years.
I am touched by the way she and her husband have labored long together, hand in hand, to promote God's cause and to spread Jesus' love.
I am challenged by the sacrifices they have made and the selfless way they have laid down their lives.
When I think of the two of them, I think of these words in Luke 10:2, spoken from the heart of Jesus that yearned for dedicated followers who would be willing to spread His Gospel,
"Therefore said He unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth labourers into His harvest."

I think the part of her interview that touched me most was this...
"We both wish we had another life to give."
Oh, for consecrated workers such as the sweet couple in the picture below!

Ace and Betty Draper

With joy and gratitude, I present to you the
of Wife for 52 years, Mother of Two, and Grandmother of Six,
Betty Draper.

Cheryl: Please tell us about yourself.

Betty:  I did not grow up in a Christian home.  In fact I heard the name God a lot, but it had another word attached to it.  My Dad was a drunk, a mean drunk, whose favorite word for me and my brothers was, “pitiful”. My mother tried as best she could, but being abused, too, by my Dad was just a way of life for her.  It took her 25 years to finally leave him.  During those years, I formed some pretty strong opinions toward men, such as, if my husband, or any man for that matter, ever hits me in any way, he better make sure I do not get up, because I would use whatever I could to stop him from abusing me.  My survivor heart developed early in life.

Cheryl: We would love to hear about how you met your husband, your love story, and how you knew he was the man God wanted you to marry?

Betty:  Again, this part is not pretty.  We met when we were 15, married at 17.  I think we loved each other as best that any 17 year old could, but we both came from broken homes, both thought getting married was a way out.  We both were mature in making a living, but so immature emotionally, which showed up pretty soon after we got married.  He was a drinker, not an abusive man, thank God, but our first 12 years of marriage was a total disaster.  We separated three times, not knowing what else to do, and were not mature enough to seek help.  It was not a Christian story book love.

Cheryl: When did you become a Christian?

Betty:  My husband, Ace, got saved at 13 through a faithful Sunday school teacher who invited him to a revival at her church.  That night, he understood he was a sinner in need of a Savior, and Jesus was the only One who could save him.  For a little while he stayed in church, but the lure of a good job in the oil fields, working on an oil rig got in the way.  He quit school at 15 for this job which only drove him deeper into the pit, working with some pretty rough men.  We met about that time and got married at 17.  During those first 12 years of marriage, I had six miscarriages.  Life changed a lot in those 12 years, we moved three different times, each time to another state, and we ended up in Louisville, KY.  Our marriage was still a mess.  There, I had our first child, a girl.  Feeling her move inside of me made me wonder what happened to those six I had lost.  So I bought an NIV Bible to seek an answer.  It took 4 years of reading, another miscarriage, and a little boy before I found the answer.

Here is when the true love story started.  God sent His people from a local church that had the boldness to ask me about my soul before they even invited me to church.  I had a hard heart, because to survive all the heartache you must build a wall around your heart.  But losing those babies gave me a reason to seek Him, and, of course, He was just waiting for me.  We attended that church, my husband rededicated his life to Christ, and I got saved the following Sunday. We had had a lot of changes in our life, but this change brought a journey we never expected.


Cheryl: Can you share with us about the moment you felt called to full-time Christian service? How did God make your calling evident to you? Please tell us about your missionary work.

Betty:  The church we attended was an independent Baptist, and our pastor had missionaries in all the time.  By this time, we had attended a Bible Institute that our church had, and we were full time in ministry at our church by then.  Unbelievable… Us…Ace and I from such dysfunctional homes working with youth.  God certainly has a way of showing the world how much He can change a life.  One Sunday, a widowed missionary lady, about 50, spoke at our church.  She was with New Tribes Mission and was teaching literacy in a village on an island in the Philippines.  My husband was sick that day, and as I watched her slides and heard her words, I felt like God had sat those people all around me, and said, "Betty, what are you going to do about them?"  It shook me to my core, and I asked her to come with me and show her slides to my husband.  It shook him, too.  We passed at least five Gospel-preaching churches on the way to our church, and to find out there were people tucked in remote places that had not heard the Gospel broke our hearts.  The first thing God asked me to do was to support this missionary, Nada Price, who, by the way, just passed away at 93.  I used to imagine us flying into her tribe in one of those single-engine planes and saying, "Here we are, Nada, what can we do to help you?"

When Ace told me he thought God wanted us to go into full time foreign mission work, God had my heart ready, and I just said, "Ok, let’s go."  We applied to New Tribes Missions, shocked that they took us.  During our training, people kept saying, "You guys would make great dorm parents", but we wanted to go to a tribe.  The last phase of training is Language School, where we found out we would not be good at learning an unwritten language.  So we were asked to go to Bolivia, South America to be dorm parents.  I loved the idea, but Ace was a little hesitant.  I mean, we really did not have the good upbringing to draw from.  What we learned was, God needed willing hearts, not good upbringing to do His job.  Our children were 10th grade and 7th grade when we arrived in Bolivia.  Long story short, we loved being dorm parents to high school guys, loved it.  We spent 7 years in Bolivia, returned home for a short furlough, since our son had graduated, and our pastor asked us to stay back and help him at the local church, as it was struggling.  Another long story short, we stepped out of New Tribes, and, for two years, helped in the huge Christian school they had.  God begin to work on our hearts to go back overseas with New Tribes and the door was open so we once again stepped through it.  We were asked to go to Papua, New Guinea and help in a new region. Ace would do administration; I would be hostess when the missionaries came out of the jungle for whatever reason.  I loved doing that.  Bolivia was a third world country, but PNG was a 5th world country.  So primitive, undeveloped, and so in need of hearing the Gospel because the ruggedness of it kept people away.  We loved what we did there, too, and spent 7 years helping in the Madang region, doing things so out of our comfort zone.  We returned to the states in 2012, knowing our overseas days were over, due to Ace's heart health.  Our mission asked us to become Member Care reps for six southwest states, which is exactly what we do now and love it.  All those years, two countries, tons of different experiences, lots of hard and good times is exactly what helps us when we sit down with a young couple just home from the field.  One young missionary wife put it into perspective for us when she said, "We did not have to explain anything to you.  You got everything we said."


I could go on and on, with story after story, but know this.  No matter how hard it got, we do not regret one minute spent over seas or here in the states serving Him.


Cheryl: Define one of the darkest periods of your life, thus far. How did you remain encouraged in your Christian walk during this time?

Betty:  One of darkest times was making the decision to not go back to Bolivia, staying home to help our home church, and coming home in 2012, not knowing what God had for us.  It’s good to have some years of walking in faith behind you because you can draw from a well that never runs dry.  We are thankful to have the written Word, good, Godly friends to help us, and each other.  Our marriage may have been a shambles way back, but God has enforced His wisdom, insight, and love into our lives.  Do we love each other more?  No…but we love each other differently.  With God’s love, it has stood the test of time.

Cheryl: Who has influenced you most in your walk with Jesus? What about that person did/do you most admire?



Betty:  My pastor's wife influenced me greatly in how to be a Godly woman, how to dress, how to speak, how to act in hard times, how to have fun the right way.  She gave me a good foundation that I built my faith on.  Through her, I learned that nothing could separate me from the love of God, in the present and in the future.  Also, I would have to say, every missionary I met influenced me and still does.  We know the sacrifice it takes to leave family and the comfort of a good country, so every young couple we sit down with, our hearts want to go help them.  It’s our aging bodies that can’t; but our hearts sure want to.

Cheryl:  If you could go back and relive any portion of your life, what would it be? Why?

Betty:  My teen years, I would relive, if I could.  I don’t dwell on the mistakes I made because God uses everything about us, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  But I had opportunities to get saved, I went to many churches, but I think my survival heart thought I could survive Hell.  I mean, living in my house was Hell in my mind, and I survived that.  In fact, when people would talk to me about Hell, I would say, "Let me tell you about Hell", and on I would go about what I grew up in.

Cheryl:  What is the best piece of marital advice you were ever given? How has it helped you in your own marriage? If you were sitting down with a young couple who are soon to be married, what is the first thing you would tell them?

Betty:  Best piece of marital advice ever given to me was to wait upon the Lord.  There have been times I so did not agree with my husband, but waiting on the Lord, I trusted Him to either change his mind or mine.  I just recently had a wife come to me and ask me how to handle her husband, who was putting off making a decision he needed to make.  I said, "Just wait on the Lord.  It’s His job, not yours, to work on your husband's heart."  She did, and he made a decision, a good one, too, that affected their life for good.  I love the fact that Scripture does not just say, “Wait on the Lord”.  It also says, "Wait upon."  To wait upon is to serve, and my ministry, as I was waiting on God in our marriage, was to wait upon my husband.

Cheryl:  Please share with us about New Tribes Mission. What is it? How long have you been a part of it?

Betty:  New Tribes Mission works among people groups who have had little or no access to the Bible, mostly in remote locations in Africa, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific Region.  While providing practical help, such as medical care, community development, and literacy education, missionaries share Bible lessons that allow the people to choose for themselves whether to believe on Jesus Christ and follow Him.  It’s an organization that helps local churches send out missionaries.  Their headquarters are located in Sanford, Florida.  We joined in 1989, so altogether, we have been a part of New Tribes Mission for 28 years, with those two years helping our church.

Cheryl: How much time have you spent overseas as a missionary?

Betty:  Actually, overseas was 14 years.  We were in our 40's when we joined New Tribes.  We both wish we had another life to give.

Cheryl:  Your comments after reading some of my posts concerning my family's and my minimizing journey have been encouraging and inspiring to me.  Will you please share your perspectives and experiences in minimizing in your own life?

Betty:  As for my minimizing journey, like all who own a home, we had filled it with things that one feels you must have in a country where there is a Walmart on every block.  Getting ready for the move to Bolivia, S.A., was easier on us than it was our two children.  We flew with 19 duffel bags for four people, full of everything it took to start life in South America.  What we needed once we got there was easy to come by since there were always missionaries going home and leaving stuff.  We were able to sell, or mostly give away, everything when we returned to the states to help our home church.  So, with state side living again, the stuff began to accumulate again, until it began to get in the way of what God wanted us to do.  Things you buy, you must take care of, and that takes time.  And “stuff” had lost some of it’s luster, after living in Bolivia.  When we re-entered New Tribes, we gave all that stuff away again and took a few tools, cooking utensils, and our clothes to Papua New Guinea.  Returning back to the states, we took a few clothes and left the rest of our “stuff” for others to use.  All the moving had given me a new perspective on “stuff”, and my husband will tell you that too much stuff around me makes me nervous.  I never want to have anything I cannot give up for Him.  There is no piece of clothes, furniture, or decoration that I cannot part with, even though I have my favorites. One of our duffel bags got stolen on its way to Bolivia.  It was the one that had all the special children's Christmas ornaments I had collected every year.  That broke me of collecting.  I can walk away from anything I own because it does not own me.  Now people are a different story.  I have never been depressed over losing things, but leaving family and friends is another story. To this day, when we get to be with family, I am depressed for three days when we leave them. Let me put it this way, I allow myself three days of laying around, watching sad movies, reading books, not doing much, as I mourn my loss.  Then I put my depression aside and get on with life.  I lost my mother a year ago this next April, and I have yet to visit her gravesite during the couple of trips we have made back to Ill.  I told my husband, "When there is grass on her grave, I will visit it."  She is walking the green, green grass of Heaven, and that is enough for me, for now.  I have seen missionaries come to their country of service and become depressed over “stuff” that in the light of eternity means nothing.  A lack of stuff caused a few to quit.  My husband says I have had to have a tough heart to survive all the moves and different changes of our life.  A tough heart is not a hard heart.  The devil's fiery darts cannot penetrate a tough heart.  The older I get in the Lord, the less I need, and the more I want to invest in people.  But,  let me be real honest.  We share a rented house with our son and family, so I do miss having my own place and my own patio where I can sit uninterrupted.  With three grandchildren around,  that’s almost impossible.  I have a dear friend who lives a few blocks from me, who has offered her patio to me anytime I want.  She works full time.  I believe the Lord has answered my need for some peace and quiet in which to write and read.  He always knows what I need when I need it.  Another thing,  missionaries returning to their home countries have to contend with the amount of choices of stuff there is.  It’s overwhelming for months to shop for anything.  When you have lived content with so little, too much brings discontentment.  Our flesh is never, ever satisfied with what we have.  He alone can bring true contentment. 

Cheryl: What do your current ministry/missionary endeavors involve? What are you most trying to achieve at this season of life?

Betty:  We are currently Member Care Reps, covering five southwest states.  Our mission is to meet face to face with those missionaries who are from those states and are home on furlough. Our goal is to be an encouragement and assist them, as they transition back into stateside living.  We are able to counsel, coach, give information they might need, and get them in touch with the right people they need.  Mostly, we listen.  It’s our main ministry to listen and seek God's heart in what to say back to them, if needed, and care for them.

Cheryl:  What do you think God's most urgent message for His people is at this current time?

Betty:  Life is not about you; it’s about Me.

Cheryl: Describe the legacy you hope to leave behind for your children and grandchildren. What do you most want them to remember about you after God calls you home?

Betty:  I hope they always say about me, "All she talked about was Jesus."

Cheryl: Looking back over your life, what are some of the most amazing and outstanding things you have personally seen God do? Please tell us about some of the miracles you have witnessed and mountains you have seen Him move.

Betty:  When we graduated from Language School, we still owed a certain amount, so we, along with our two children, prayed for God to provide before we left for overseas.  We had been asked by a friend to stop at his church on our way back to our home church in KY and share with them our mission.  He did not know that there was another couple scheduled to speak that Sunday morning, but the pastor gave my husband 10 minutes to share.  They put us up in a hotel and gave us a check; it was exactly the amount of our bill at Language school.  It was a great start for our ministry, which would be living by faith.  God knows exactly what we need, when we need it.  What a great lesson for our children.  When were asked to go to Papua New Guinea, my husband was in congestive heart failure, and, of course the doctor would not ok him to go.  But he sent us to St. Louis to a specialist who told us that with the right meds, he could help Ace's heart, and we were ok to go.  We were so underfunded when we went to Bolivia, but not once did we do without food or clothes.  Our needs were met daily.  Our pastor preached all over the south and was always telling other pastors about us, and, because of him, our support raised while we were on the field.  The biggest miracles were our son and wife remarrying.  He left her and their two children and walked away like the prodigal son for two years.  We prayed, "God make him miserable.  Bring conviction on his soul daily."  We asked everyone we knew to pray exactly that way.  People all over the world prayed for him, and finally, he got tired of the pig pen and started his way back to the Father.  They remarried and now have another child.  Yep, that is the biggest miracle we have witnessed.  Just last night, a friend called wanting to give us a two day holiday, paid for.  Since we live with son and family, it can get stressful at times.  God is giving to us through His people.

Cheryl:  We are living in a world that is full of hopelessness and despair, and we are facing much opposition to our Christian faith as our culture continues to become more hostile to the message of the Gospel and the holy life Christ died to enable us to live. What is your personal message to His people today?

Betty:  When we meet with missionaries home for furlough, there are two things they struggle with the most.  Life is lived for pleasure and for stuff.  This is God’s people they are talking about.  It all distracts from God’s heart, the lost.  It’s hard to find a church that preaches truth and conviction.  The focus is not on Him, and they have a hard time finding people who even want to talk about the things of God.  Oh, they will talk about how many attended church that Sunday, the new programs, or the new church they are going to build, but talk about the heart of God, the lost living right around us, even next door.  Christian life is harder in the states or any developed country than it is in a third world country.  It literally takes three to four months to adjust back into US living.  And most cannot wait to get back to their ministry overseas, to living in remote villages, without all the stuff to distract them from their mission.  We have been home since 2012, and we know how easy it is to get caught up in it. It’s a battle for missionaries or any child of God who wants to live for Him.  We do not need faith when we can get what we need without praying for it.  Few people live in their needs, most live in their wants.  So, when I get the chance, I challenge them, mostly women I speak to, "Get out of your comfort zone, get over yourself, find someone to talk Jesus with."  One more piece of advice…take a short term mission trip, take your children, expand your world view.

Cheryl:  How can we pray for you? Are specific needs that are heavy upon your heart that we can help to lift to the Father on your behalf?

Betty:  I would ask prayer for contentment for where God has me now.  The heart issue has rendered me feeling like a child again; there is so much I still cannot do.  We decided to cancel a mission conference the end of March in Colorado, because the trip alone would undo me.  I am gaining ground slowly, but it’s very slow and that is where the discontentment comes in.  I am a
"Type A Martha", and there is nothing I love better than to share about missions.  My husband told me in the beginning we should not go, but I talked him into it.  Then last week at the Bible study, God was all over my heart, repeating, "This is not for you to go to."  My husband was in bed when I returned home, and I had to wake him up just to tell him.  Yep, contentment would be my prayer request.



Betty, I cannot tell you how much your words have challenged my heart.
I so appreciate you taking the time to share with us here!
May the dear Lord bless you abundantly, dear sister and friend!

Dear friends, please remember Betty and Ace in your prayers.
Betty is suffering from a heart condition, and as you can see, her heart is still very much in the work of the Lord.
How wonderful it would be to see God heal her and restore her health so she can continue to labor for Him!
There are no limits to what He can do, nor does He place age restrictions on healing.
"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us..."
Ephesians 3:20
If you have never visited Betty's blog, I hope you will stop by and pay her a visit by clicking here.
While you're there, why not leave her an encouraging comment?
Most of all, please add her to your prayers and prayer lists.

I leave you with one of Betty's favorite songs.


If video doesn't load, click here.

God bless each one of you dear readers!
Thank you so much for your continued support and prayers.

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