Sunday, January 1, 2017

Sacrifice of Praise


Image result for praising God climbing a mountainPraising God when we do not feel like praising Him is called a “sacrifice of praise”. Hebrews 13:15 says, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.


Despite all my medical issue this past year and a few other trials  I am choosing to praise His name as I end 2016.   It would be so easy to just choose to lose weight, keep my temper in check, save more money, give more, be kinder, pray more and God knows I need to work on all those issue and a few I did not name.   But I am going to choose to praise His name in 2017 no matter what comes and even when I fail.  The knowledge I have of my relationship with Him does not rest on what I do or don't do. It rest in what He has done for me and His love for me which does not come because of who I am but who He is. It is on this truth I can give a sacrifice of praise.  


                   

Footnote since I post the above:
 For months now I have been experiencing chest pain and loss of breathe even doing normal house hold chose. It has gotten worst, finally went to doctor and she said I had classic angina symptoms. Had a Nuclear stress yesterday which reveal an abnormality in my heart. Waiting for an appointment to have a heart cath test which will reveal either blockage or a valve issue, or etc. I am praying it is something they can fix without open heart surgery such as stints. All that to say, I do have peace about whatever has to happen. The only person who could take my peace is me through worry that my God is not in control. I do covet your prayers.


I cannot stress this enough: if you don’t have peace, it isn’t because someone took it from you; you gave it away. You cannot always control what happens to you, but you can control what happens in you.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

It's About the Cross



Presents are all wrapped, waiting to be opened.  In about an hour we leave for a Christmas Eve service then onto a Christmas party at a friend.  I sit down at my computer to read facebook one more time before frosting a cake.  This song popped up on the wall of a missionary friend serving in Papua New Guinea.  The words of this song brought back to my heart the real meaning of Christmas.  It is about the cross whether you start at the beginning or in the middle as long as you end up worshiping a risen Savior.

                         




Monday, December 19, 2016

The Gift That Was Nailed To A Tree

( This is a re-post from a couple of years ago and these two grandchildren have a one and half year old brother to unwrap gifts with them. Should be a joy to watch)

  Nothing like a wrapped present to build excitement in the heart of a child.  Our three and five year old grandchildren , Austin and Emarie, ask us every time they are over if they can open their presents.  Ace and I get excited too for we know what the presents are and we know they will love them.    They did not shop for their gifts or pay for it,  we did, it's theirs, free and clear.  We don't expect them to pay us back, or buy us something in return.  

You know I am still excited over the gift I opened on Oct. 20th,  1980. In fact I want to give this gift to all I meet.  Instead of being under a tree this gift was nailed to a old rugged cross,  it's package of flesh torn and bleeding.  The bow made into a crown of thorns dug into the wrapping.  There was nothing pretty about the package and the way it was presented.  Yet it contain everything to give me eternal life. 

 I believe God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit gets excited when ever this gift is presented to someone.  They wait, hoping it will be accepted.  

There is no plainer truth taught in the Word of God than salvation being a “free gift” (Romans 5:15,18; 6:23). If I were to offer you a Christmas present, but with the stipulation that you must be willing to take a bath, it would not be a gift. Why? Because I have clearly implied that I expect you to take a bath to get the present. A gift is defined as something given voluntarily without any payment in return. 

The thief had nails through both hands, so that he could not work; and a nail through each foot, so that he could not run errands for the Lord; he could not lift a hand or a foot toward his salvation, and yet Christ offered him the gift of God; and he took it. Christ threw him a passport, and took him into Paradise. D.L. Moody (don't you just love this quote?)

One more quote from Mary DeMuth book, Everything. 

We cannot fully satisfy a holy God. Our redemption is an outrageous, initiating act accomplished by God alone. He pursued humanity to such an extent that His feet landed on earth, and He chased after us until He rescued us at the cross. We did not climb onto those wooden beams. We could not receive the nails that pierced those holy hands. We who are not kingly wore no crown. We could not drink the cup of God wrath. "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Rom. 5:6. God did what we could not . He sent His beautifully sinless Son to take our place, to satisfy for all time God's wrath upon sin. "For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. II Cor. 5:21


God transforms, He creates, He  thinks otherworldly thoughts,  He dares to redeem an obstinate world. If we camp in that place, remembering the gift we could never, ever pay back, we will live astonished lives, and our growth will be the best kind---the kind that emerges from gratitude, from thinking rightly about God.

What a gift!
.  

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Over the River

Over the river and through the woods,
To grandmother's house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh,
Through (the) white and drifted snow!
Over the river and through the woods,
To have a first-rate play;
Oh, hear the bells ring, "Ting-a-ling-ling!"
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!

Just a few verses of this old song sung often around Thanksgiving brings a picture perfect occasion to mind, doesn't it?

We head out to northern Minnesota for a white Thanksgiving with our daughter and family.  It's been a year since we all have been together so we are looking forward to great food, games, snowmobile rides and more food.   Just getting to where our daughter and family live takes some doing. A car ride to Las Vegas, over night stay, fly out early the next day to Fargo, North Dakota, drive three hours in our rented car  right to their place. Is it worth it, yes, yes, yes, are we thankful, yes, yes, yes.  So today when I read a post by Abby over at Chapter 37 titles, Give Thanks in Everything...the value of "In" my heart was shook by the words of this woman. Her world is not picture perfect by a long shot, yet through her not so picture perfect life comes these words.  It's the last paragraph that shook me. I have included  the link also to her blog post.  Click over there and read it all, you will not be sorry, you will be blessed.  

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Consistent thanks to God, for the unchangeable fact of God, offered in my current situation is the key that frees a person from ever being a captive to circumstance, to feelings, to any single thing I don’t like about myself or my life…God is bigger than those circumstances, God is bigger than those feelings. God is the center, God is the focus, God is the reason, God is the hope, God is the answer. Never mind what I feel about today! We aren’t discussing a sort of thanks that depends on today! “Today” doesn’t get me out of bed, but God does. Thanks in everything does not in anyway take the significance from the very real experiences we have, but it does take away the sting that may be in those experiences. The sugar added to your tea does not turn the water’s color back to clear, it turns the taste. Thanks is a gift we give to God, which He richly returns to us. Thanks is our personal invitation for coffee and cake with our Creator. Thanks meets us at the door of God’s throne room, it offers a seat, it fluffs the pillows, and adds a log on the fire. It is here, thanks tells us, it is right here, in this Presence in this place that there is fullness of joy. And that is the value of in.               /http://blog.chapterthirtyseven.com/about/
Psalms 16:11   Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence
 is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.


What are you thankful  "in"?

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Tara Story.

     (1994)  How different it feels to be completing our third year at the MK school in Bolivia.  Our daughter was in the 10 grade and our son in the 6th grade when we went  to the field. We were warned how hard it would be, especially on our teenage daughter, to take her away from the familiar to the unfamiliar.  Nothing could have prepared us for the months of crying and depression that came as a result of our move overseas.  Like a child with an open, bleeding wound, she told us, I know it is God's will that we are in Bolivia, but Gods will still hurts me.  All the fears of what this move could do to our daughter filled our minds those first few months.  Thoughts of going back to the states and returning to a ministry there kept crossing our minds.  Daily we prayed, Please God, do something,  ease her hurt. Replace it with your love. You can read what took place, as she tells it in  her own words.

      As I sit in the dorm, I look back over the past three years.  God has done a tremendous work in my life.  When Dad told us that we were going overseas, I wanted to run away.  I was just stepping into high school.  I was on the cheerleaders team and liked a boy.  Everything that a teen could want I was getting.  But Dad's decision tore my life apart.  Soon my anger turned to my parents, then to God. I stopped praying and having devotions because I felt like God had hurt me.  All though missionary training and language school as my parents went through the New Tribes Mission training program, my heart was hardened to what God wanted my family to do.

   When we stepped into the Miami airport I knew it was my last chance to run. I even prayed for the plane to crash, or for a hijacking just so we would not have to go.  Well, nothing happened, (only a few air pocket, and soon we arrived in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.  From the beginning I hated Bolivia. Not anything particulate, but the whole country. I DID NOT WANT TO BE IN BOLIVIA!!

   It was like that for the first semester. Then during our second semester, my sophomore class went on a camping trip.  We had to hitch a ride on a passing truck to get where we were going.  Sitting next to me on the truck was a Bolivian baby girl.  I'm known for loving babies and kids,  so started to play with her.  She kept smiling and laughing. Then it suddenly struck me, "Tara this little girls is why you are here".   "Who is going to tell this child about Christ when she grows up?"  Right then, I knew why God had called my family to Bolivia.  I will never forget that little girl's face and the need she had for a Savior.   Tara Draper
________________________________________________________________________________

We have shared that story many times with those taking their children overseas.  It is risky, no matter their age. One must count the cost of serving God this way in those kinds of locations.  No matter the location of your body, you must deal with your own children.  Tara was not in sin, she was just plain homesick. Oh, she was mad at God , we told her, He can handle it.  Our hearts broke with every tear she shed.

I have been told there  are a few children that look forward to a move, but let me say,  this is extremely rare.  If you don't believe me, just ask, wait, that is the wrong word, " tell" your teen,  we are moving!  Even if that child struggles in school socially, they at least know the rules and know the players. There is some safely in that.  In our passion to go, we forgot at times it was not their passion.  Missionary kids, MK"s as we call them will say good-by to more significant people by age 18 than the average person will in a life time. 

We ask her to start the second semester of school and if she still wanted to go home at the end of the semester we would go.  I think this gave her hope which left her heart open to hear what God was going to do through that little Bolivia girl on the truck.    

“Radical obedience to Christ is not easy... It's not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And he is more than enough for us.” 
― David Platt

   

Saturday, October 29, 2016

SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE


Many have ask  me to write about  our time serving the Lord overseas.  So to do that I thought I would start with a prayer card.
There we are, fresh, excited, ready to begin the adventure of dorm parenting.

First, lets back up a little... we were heading to another country, not Bolivia, SA.  God changed our direction by a need in the New Tribes Mission boarding school, Tambo in Bolivia, South America.  After talking to our pastor about this possible change of direction he was confident God had trained us for this kind of ministry.  We had always worked with children and teens at our home church. This was April, 1991,  the leadership ask us to consider going to be dorm parents and they wanted us there in August 1991. We had two more months of training with New Tribes.  And two months to raise financial support...SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE.

We arrived in Bolivia seven days before school started  We flew into Santa Cruz,  spent the night at our mission guest house.  Next morning we boarded a bus for about 40  people with over 60 people on it.  To say it was close quarters is an understatement. STILL SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE.

Our daughter was a 10th grader struggling with homesickness already which took all the adventure out of that bus ride.  After six hours we headed down our last mountains,  we could see the lights of the boarding school.  Then just like that, they went out and one of the other missionaries said, oh the generator just went off at Tambo.   Hello, welcome to darkness...

Our daughter groaned and our son, 6th grade was quieter then usual as we headed to the boarding school.   And I was not feeling adventurous either.  Six hours on a crowded bus with all the smells, sweat , wood smoke, tobacco, chicken poop, other poop, urine, and unknown smells along with a  bumpy roads had my stomach churning  the chicken foot soup we ate at one of the bus stops. .

But at last we were there, Bienvendedo  Tambo, Welcome to Tambo the school sign said.  Our family along with about six other missionaries families got off the bus in darkness with only a few stars helping us see.    The only other light was the flashlight from the one  person who walked us to our houses.  We were six thousand feet above sea level in the foot hills of the Andre's mountain, it was cold.  The helpers on the bus threw our duffel bags down from the top of the bus along with everyone else bags.  The thought of looking around where we were going to call home for seven to eight years was not appealing and besides, remember, the generator was off, no lights.  We did the only sensible  thing, crawled into bed with our clothes on and tried to sleep. It was cold.  IT REALLY SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE.

As I woke the next morning my eyes lit on a huge crack in our bedroom wall, running from top to bottom of the wall and all I could think about was, any kind of bug, critter could come through that crack which they did.  Another story , another time.

Ace I  roused the kids up and we went to a good breakfast fixed by staff who was already there. After a few instructions  we were finally able to view where we would live. I love to tell people I lived in a an 11 bedroom house during our years at Tambo. And that is the truth, it did have 11 bedrooms.  A huge bathroom with four toilets, and four showers off the back of our house for the high school guys that would live in those 10 extra bedrooms.  A huge living room with a great fireplace ( no furnance) to take the chill off in those cold evenings, a dining room and kitchen.  We had our own living room off our bedroom and bath.  And an extra bath in the hallway.  Ok, enough room for all of us, me, my husband, our son and, like I said 16 high school guys. The day the guys arrived our daughter went to live in the high school girls dorm, just a building away from us.   That part seemed the most impossible to adjust to, for us and her too.

The day finally arrive and off a huge bus and from cars and small single wing planes came all sizes of children.  All the high school guys arrived, from five different nationalities, some came with their parents, some came alone but they all came.  This was a Sat, just a week from when we arrived.  STILL SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE.  But each guy and the parents who came made us feel welcome and before we knew it was Monday, the parents had left  and the first day of school started.  While the guys were in school some of the staff met with us to explain how Tambo operated.  They assured us we would get the hang of it and we did.  That first night with the guys we had devotions and a time of just getting to know a little about each other.  Our biggest concern was trying to remember their names.  Before we knew it the lights went out and we all went to bed, we survived our first day. We were responsible for 16 high school guys that year which was over whelming. Remember though we still have two children. Our son Jared could stay in our dorm in a bedroom closest to us.  Our daughter was in the high school girls dorm, being terrible homesick.  THIS SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE.

The school was located 150 miles from a city either direction.  It sit off the Panamanian Highway which was only dirt road by the time it got to us.  Mountains were surrounding us, but they were not filled with green trees and foliage.  The Tambo Valley was a dry desert with cactus everywhere, much like Arizona.  If you ever watched the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, well they were killed not far from our school.   So we were pretty remote with only little villages scattered all over the valley.   We had to wonder why in the world did New Tribes locate the school there?  Well, when  land is given  free you just make the best of it and they had certainly did that.  Our buildings  were made with adobe bricks with plastered walls and floors were concrete.  Sounds kind of drab doesn't it and it would be if it were  not full of kids ranging from first grade to twelfth grade and probably 30 some staff, some teachers, their families, dorm parents, cooks, we even had our own farm run by a missionary from the states.  They pasteurized the milk, made all our cheese, raised pigs, cattle and the hay to feed the cattle. We bought our veggies and fruit from the local markets.  The place grew on us each day. It was a simple life, not complicated by what cities life bring and pretty soon it DID NOT SEEM IMPOSSIBLE, except for our daughter getting adjusted. But I'll write about that next time.

What are you facing that seems impossible?  

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Get up, try again...

For the past year we have been watching our one year old grandson, Reedley learning to walk.  His ability to fall, stumbled, get up, fall again, over and over and over has finally produced walking up right for longer periods of time with less falling.  There were times when he just screams in frustration when he wants help and it does not come fast enough or times when he doesn't want help.

Taking care of him is a challenge because he is able to get around so well without any fear.  Often, we put up a make shift barrier to keep him confined to one room but his wiggly body is like a mini contortionist, he always finds a way out.

His face shows the wear and tear of any  one year old boy fighting life battles with floor, chairs, siblings, objects. But the smile that burst out through the bruises and bumps is just about as close to heaven as one can get here on earth.

Soon, sooner they we would like, he will run through life,  gaining more knowledge from each fall and tumble, learning how to jump over objects in his way, like superman, able to leap tall buildings.

He'll think he can do it on his own and we who love him know some lessons are only learned by stumbling under the weight of self.  Unknown to him at this time of  his life parents and grandparents are watching out for him.  

Just watching this process has encouraged my heart for there is no age limit to falling and getting back up again.  To Reedley, a fall down a few stairs may be the biggest trial he faces today.  They will get bigger though, the wounds will go deeper and scars are not just for the one year old.


This song is a reminder to this older child of God, that I am not  alone in this journey, He is always watching me.   Sometimes  He put barriers out there to protect me, sometimes He  allows me to fall but He will always be there to pick me up with His promises. 
Romans 8:18 - For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.