Sunday, September 28, 2008


This week has been so busy for us.  Yesterday I had so much on my mind and so much to do.  I wasn't feeling my best at the beginning of the week (except for the birth of my nephew--yay!!), so I slept in most of the week (which means I slept until one of the girls came into our room, 7:30-ish usually).  I normally get up early to spend time in the Word and get prepared for the day.  But this week, I was a bit negligent in that area, and I was really feeling it by the time Thursday or Friday came around.  In fact, all day Saturday I kept thinking of the Lord and how I had missed time with Him.  So then I started thinking, isn't that what hunger is?  

When I don't eat I KNOW it.  I feel it in my body.  I feel it in my mind. I feel it in my emotions.  But when I'm hungry, just thinking about food doesn't make me feel better. In fact, I can think all I want about how hungry I am and about the satisfaction that food would bring, but until I actually eat, I am no better off.

Do you ever do the same thing spiritually?  All day Saturday I kept thinking about how I had missed time in the Word.  I was hungry for it.  But no matter how much I thought about missing it, I was no better off until I sat down, dug in, and actually feasted on the riches of God's truth through prayer and study.  Maybe this sounds simple, or even silly, but perhaps it happens more often than we realize.  The next time you feel hungry for God's Word, make it a priority.  When you're hungry, you go to the refrigerator and find food.  Spending time with God never fails to satisfy, and He is available 24-7.  We desperately need it every day, and in the light of eternity, we need it even more than physical food.  Spend time with Him--read the Word, share with God what you are thankful for, what you need and what you feel.  It is the most satisfying "meal" you will ever have.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Equipped for Purpose

Did you know that a bee can see with ultraviolet vision so that he can detect how much pollen is on a flower?

Did you know that a wasp has an especially strong jaw so that she can chew wood fibers until they become paper, so she then can build her nest?

Ashlyn's favorite part of school is anything that has to do with animals.  Therefore, I try to incorporate animals into most every subject.  We add and subtract animals, we write about animals, we read about animals and we study paintings of animals.  Of course I can't do this EVERY single time, but she is enthusiastic about her work when it has to do with the love of nature and animals that God has put into her heart.  

Yesterday we were trying to start math, but I was having a hard time getting her out of our animal encyclopedia.  So I, noting one of the advantages of homeschooling, decided to join her in her study.  We were reading about the abilities of certain animals that allows them to do what they do (note the examples listed above).  I told Ashlyn that God does the same with us.  He gives each of us particular likes and dislikes, and in those things He gives us just want we need to complete His purpose for our lives.  He equips us "in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ..." (Hebrews 13:21).  

What a privilege it was for me to share with Ashlyn that God has given her a love for nature, and then encourage her to follow Him so that she can use that gift for His glory.  I am absolutely fascinated by the fact that God has perfectly equipped even an insect to survive, and in many cases even help humans.  If God does this for animals, why would we ever doubt that God would equip us for the exact purpose He has for us? 

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

To Share or Not to Share...That is My Kids' Question

Before I post this, I want to make sure that you scroll down and see my post from late last's about my new nephew!!!  We are so proud.

As for today, I wanted to write about something that occurred to me yesterday. We were upstairs in the play/school room and the kids were fussing over these battery-operated light-up princess wand-type toys that the girls have.  We bought one for each of the girls as a souvenir once, but lately Jake has been mesmerized by them, and he was crying to play with Ashlyn's.  She kept telling him that she didn't want him to play with it, but she was working in school (not playing with it at the time) and was merely being selfish.  I told her to let Jake play with the toy, but she kept giving me excuses such as "He'll run the batteries out!" or "I'm afraid he's gonna break it!"  I told Ashlyn that we can replace the batteries.  And I didn't say this aloud, but my thought was that if Jake actually did break it, I would not mind replacing it for Ashlyn because she was being generous with it.  Immediately my mind shifted to a spiritual parallel and a Biblical promise that we so often ignore.  

The Bible promises us that when we give willingly and without selfishness, God will take care of us.  Just as I was displeased with Ashlyn's selfishness today, I believe that God is displeased when we are selfish with the gifts that HE has given us.  And just like I would not mind to fix or replace a broken toy when the damage was done as a result of generosity, God promises that He will take care of us when we choose to be generous and share, whether it is money, time or talents.  I'm not saying that rewards should necessarily be our primary motive, because ultimately generosity should come from a heart of obedience to God.  But obedience to God always brings fulfillment, peace and rewards from God.   

Luke 6:38
Give, and it will be given to you.
They will pour into your lap a good measure--
pressed down, shaken together and running over.
For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you
in return.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Miracle!

It's unusual for me to go as long as I have without a new post, but it has been a very busy last few days!  Today was the most exciting, though!!!  I am so thrilled to welcome my new little nephew into the world!!  Owen Andrew Jacobs was born around 9:30 pm tonight.  He is so sweet!  We are just praising the Lord that he and Ashley are safe and healthy!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fish Faces

Lately Jake has learned (from his sisters) how to make a "fish face".  I was amazed that he could actually suck his cheeks in as far as he can!!!  It's so funny, because when you tell him to make a fish face he will do it and hold it there for as long as he can.  I just couldn't resist showing a picture of my three little "fishies".  It's a little blurry, but I was trying to get the picture quickly.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Blemished Sacrifices, Part II

This week as I have continued thinking about our gifts and "sacrifices" to God, I have recalled the words of scripture from 1 Corinthians 3:11-15.  Check this out:

"For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work.  If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.  If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire."

There will come a day when we will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10) and we will be judged on our deeds of this life.  The Bible is very clear that our works will be tested by fire.  The above passage speaks of our works being made of various materials; which ones do you think will last through fire?  Certainly not wood, hay or straw!  So what does that mean?  The precious materials represent those deeds that are eternally significant and are done with the right motives.  The perishable materials represent deeds that may be "good", but have no real eternal value and/or are done with selfish motives. 

Wow.  This really makes me evaluate the things that I do and make sure that what I am doing for the Lord is really, in my heart, for the Lord.  As a musician, I can get up in church and sing the most spiritual, beautiful song without missing a note.  It could move people to tears and possibly even cause some people to worship God.  But God knows my heart, and if there are any self-glorifying motives within me during the singing of that song, I believe it will be revealed by fire on the day of judgment.  Please understand, this judgment is not for my salvation--that has already been secured.  The Judgment Seat of Christ is when rewards will be given, and I will only be rewarded for the deeds that were done for Christ alone.

You may be thinking that this is hard core, because we are all sinners and fall short.  Yes that is true, and God's grace certainly covers our sin and allows us to experience His forgiveness and mercy.  However, we must not neglect our responsibility to know and obey His Word and to "walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called" (Ephesians 4:1).   

God looks at our hearts, and our gifts to Him reveal what is in our hearts.  There may be times when what you do may seem great to people on earth, but your Creator knows your motives, and knows whether they are for your own glory or for His glory.  Only He can see into the heart, and in the end, He is the only One who matters. 

Monday, September 15, 2008

Blemished Sacrifices?

Lately I have been helping out with the music ministry at another church.  I have really enjoyed that and am grateful for the opportunity that God has provided there.  So yesterday, I was there, went to Sunday School and the worship service, and I came home with lots to ponder.  One of the things that really stirred my heart is what we discussed during Sunday School.  

The teacher (who was really good, by the way) taught from Malachi 1.  The chapter is mainly about the Lord's dealings with priests who were sacrificing blemished sacrifices to Him.  As we discussed this passage, we talked about what it meant for the priests in those days as well as how it applies to the stuff we offer to God now.  I couldn't wait to reread this passage at home so I could chew on it a bit.  

It's amazing to me how easily we fall into the same trap that those priests did.  Sure, I can look at them and think "How dare they offer a blind animal to the Lord!"  But I have just really been convicted of how I really do the same thing when I do not give the Lord my best.  No, we are not required to present slaughtered animals on an alter anymore, but Romans 12:1 urges us to "present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship".  WE are the living sacrifice to God.  So that causes me to examine my motives for the things I DO for God, because if what I DO for God is not from my heart, then I would say that is a blemished sacrifice.  If I am giving of my time to teach a Sunday School class yet it is strictly out of obligation, I would call that a blemished sacrifice.  If I only spend time with God when I have some "free" time during the day, I would call that a blemished sacrifice.  If my attitude stinks and I think of my tithe check as just another bill, I would call that a blemished sacrifice.  If I procrastinate and just throw some songs for worship together at the last minute, I might even call that a blemished sacrifice. 

The things we do for God are unacceptable to Him unless they are done with a sincere heart of worship.  I am thinking of another passage in the Bible that relates to this, and I am going to look at that today and write more about it tomorrow.  But today this one thing stands out in my mind:  God is not as concerned with WHAT I do for Him as He is with my attitude towards my giving to Him.  In Malachi 1:10 the Lord says, "Oh that there were one among you who would shut the gates, that you might not uselessly kindle fire on My alter!"  The Lord would rather have no offerings than blemished ones.  And He hasn't changed.  He is more than worthy of our VERY BEST.  Period.  He deserves no less and will accept no less. 

What are your thoughts about this?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Until Tomorrow...

I have something I've been thinking about today that I want to share, but our internet has been down due to the high winds.  Now that it is finally up again I am too tired and need to go to bed.  So, I will be writing about that tomorrow.

But for now, I want to show these funny pictures of Emily.  Jason's dad visited us on Labor Day weekend and brought gifts for all the kids.  He could not have gotten Emily a more perfect gift--a long princess wig.  She loves to wear it with her princess dress and crown, and she is so funny when she has it on because you can tell she is trying not to move her head very much.  I even tried it on and wondered if maybe I should dye my hair and get some extensions (hee hee).  I decided against it, and I will not show pictures of that.  :)

Oh, and by the way--my dear husband turned 35 today.  Happy Birthday Honey!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

One Acorn

First of all, to those of you who hate mice...sorry for the gross photos last time!!  :)

Today I've been thinking about something that was actually talked about by the evangelist at a revival where I'm leading worship this week.  During last night's sermon, he told the story (which was told to him by another) of an acorn.  He shared how within one acorn is the potential for a whole forest.  Thousands of oak trees could potentially grow from that one tiny acorn.  But, he said, the conditions have to be right.  The acorn, before living out any of its potential, must first go into the ground, be covered up, and it must die.  Only when it dies will it have the capacity to produce.  Then a tree will spring up, with hundreds of acorns on it, and the process can continue for years.  

That really spoke to me about how important it is that I completely die to myself if I want God to use me.  It has to be about His work within me, not about what I can do.  Galatians 2:20 says, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me."

Just as one acorn could potentially be the beginnings of a whole forest, just think of what God could (and promises) to do when we completely give up the rights to ourselves and live solely for Him instead of our own desires.  The man who told the evangelist this story kept an acorn in his pocket, I suppose as a daily reminder to die to self. Maybe that's not such a bad idea!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Life on the Farm...

I guess I thought I'd seen it all.

That is until today, when Ashlyn came back from the barn toting a five-gallon bucket, which, to my surprise, was actually serving as a temporary home to the two tiny mice she'd "rescued".  

Part of me was happy to see her find, and the other part of me was thinking, You've got to be kidding me.

But then Ashlyn (very excitedly) started begging me for a piece of swiss cheese, because they were "definitely very hungry".  It was a great sight to see the kids-all three of the kids-tearing off pieces of cheese and throwing it in the bucket.  We all laughed as we watched them nearly jump out of the bucket.  I had no idea they could jump so high!  So we watched for a while, for after all, they are kind of cute when you really look at them (unless you are my mom, who goes berserk at the sight of one).  After we had been entertained, Poppy and the kids took the little critters down to the creek and released them.  Ashlyn carefully spread the cheese about, just in case the mice decided they wanted to eat it later.  She suggested that the pair might choose a snake hole for a home.  I didn't think to tell her what a very, very bad decision that would be for them.

I did, however, ask Ashlyn how she caught the mice, to which she informed me, "Poppy caught them with his bare hands!"  

Ah, life on the Farm!!!


Sunday, September 7, 2008


I have heard it said, "We are most like Christ when we forgive".  Do you agree with that statement?  I believe that it could be true.  After all, that is what the gospel of Jesus is based upon.  

Because we live in a fallen world, we are going to get hurt.  People are going to make us angry.  But when we hold on to those angry feelings, it grows and spreads like a cancer, and it is fatal.  Spiritually fatal.  Emotionally fatal.  Mentally fatal.  Why is it that holding on to angry feelings is so enticing?  It is so much easier to "share" them with others (gossiping).  It's easy to suppress them deep within so that they seep into the core of our being, becoming the root cause of so many of our negative attitudes and actions (bitterness, resentment).  What if God had held His anger against us?  What if He never saw fit to redeem us of our fallen nature?  We would all be headed for hell, completely separated from the Giver of life.  We would have no hope of any kind of happiness, joy or peace.  But God DID see fit to do so.  

It was fitting for Him because of His Loving nature.  
The redemption was painful and ugly for Christ because of God's Just nature.  
And it is much appreciated by me because of God's Holy nature.  
He didn't have to do it.  He had created a perfect world, and He had every right to never let us have a relationship with Him.  But He chose to forgive, therefore, we must forgive as well.  If you are in a situation where you feel too weak or too angry to forgive, pray that God will give you strength, for He promises to do so.  He will put a love within you for your offender, but you have to let go of the anger.  Take the first step.  The enemy will do anything to keep you from doing that, but when you do, you will have the strength of the One who has mercifully forgiven you.  

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Refreshing 12 Minutes

09/04/08 - 5:47 pm
Emily:  (to Ashlyn) You are mean to me!!!
Me:  What did you say Ashlyn?
Emily:  She said she wouldn't share the movie with me!
Me:  Did you say that Ashlyn?
Ashlyn:  Yes.  But she hit me!
Me:  Did you hit your sister, Emily?
Emily:  Yes.

5:51 pm
Me:  Girls, you all love each other, right?
Them:  Yeah.
Me:  Then show me.  Go hug each other.
Them:  (big hug, half-heartedly at first on Ashlyn's part)
Me:  (laughing on the inside) Now kiss each other.
Emily:  (makes hilarious face with lips puckered to the max)
Ashlyn:  (busts out laughing)

5:59 pm
Them:  (go to play as if nothing ever happened)

How refreshing is the "no strings attached" forgiveness of children!  No "I will if you..." and no holding grudges.  I really think I can learn from this...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Waiting

An observation from our trip to Cumberland Falls....  

At one point during our hike the other day, we had to stop and take a quick rest.  Ashlyn was sitting on a rock, and she was not exactly excited about the break.  She began complaining to me about having to wait, which irritated me because I have been trying to teach her about patience anyway.  So, after I reminded her to try and be patient, I told her that instead of complaining about waiting, we should take advantage of it and use it as an opportunity to look around and discover things we might otherwise miss.  At that moment, we both looked around, and I immediately saw a big hornet nest hanging from a tree!  That was a first for both of us, and we would have missed it had we not been waiting!

After writing about our trip in the last blog, I started thinking about how this same story can apply to our lives.  Sometimes we don't like waiting--especially on answers to prayer or granted requests we feel we deserve now. Have you ever prayed about something for a really long time and felt like nothing had changed?  Have you ever felt like God was "silent"?  I have been there.  And as I reflect back, I have seen that it is during those times when God actually urges us to look to and seek Him--for then we will discover things that we might otherwise miss.  It is during those times when God teaches us so much, so that we can then emerge with renewed strength and vigor.  

I'm thinking of scripture such as Isaiah 40:31, "Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength;  they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary."  

Sometimes we have to wait.  That's just the way it is.  But the next time you find yourself waiting, remember that it isn't just wasted time.  It's time for discovering and learning about God and His plan for your life.  For me, those times have been crucial in the development of Godly character and the understanding of my need for Him.  I thank God for the waiting.  Just think of what we might otherwise miss.