30.6.13

Eighty-One Percent Chance of Buried Treasure on Your Property


Some friends of ours recently received some incredible news. A study suggested there was an eighty-one percent chance of valuable treasure hidden on their property. Guess what? They found it! It has changed their whole way of living!





Our friends actually found treasure hidden in several sections of their home and it’s not even that old of a house. It turns out the treasure was right under their noses the whole time. One was in an old toy box. One more piece was located under a bed. The last one was actually found on a bookcase, of all places!

At first, they thought the treasures were actually too old to be of any use but they soon discovered otherwise. After thorough study and consultation they have found the treasure to be more valuable than gold. Its authenticity has been validated. Further study and application is needed to gain full understanding of the benefits, however the impact it has already made in this family’s life is enormous.

Here’s the thing—there’s a good chance you have it on your property as well but you may have to dig for it.  If you do locate this precious treasure on your property there is one essential step in maintaining its richness--it must be opened and absorbed daily.

'More than 2,900 Protestant churchgoers were surveyed. Lifeway Research found that while 90 percent "desire to please and honor Jesus in all I do," only 19 percent personally read the Bible every day.'

 

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 
Matthew 6:21

Have you been enriched by your Treasure today?

 

 

 

24.6.13

Difficulty Finding Jesus


 

“Who is Jesus?” asked the little girl.

The seed was planted, not just in the girl’s heart but also in mine. The Vacation Bible School curriculum we brought on our Vermont mission trip didn’t quite meet the needs of the children we met there. Most had never heard of Jesus. We were trying to build on a weak or nonexistent foundation. So, for the past year, a VBS curriculum has been developing titled, “Who Is Jesus?”

The first six months was mostly a steady stream of prayers and sporadic brainstorming for ideas. Many VBS curriculums include a DVD, which students watch each night of VBS. The DVD has mini-episodes of a drama that unfolds throughout the week. Each night reinforces a spiritual truth. The script for the "Who is Jesus?" DVD was written first, before the other materials.

The last six months has been a whirlwind. An increased stream of prayers followed by more focused writing. Writing the script was not as difficult as finding someone to play the part of Jesus. Initially, the criteria were that he had to have a kind, bearded face and a strong voice. Several people were considered but there was always a little something that didn’t quite fit what we had envisioned.

It was based on their looks, voice, schedules, and personalities. Even though we knew we would not find a perfect man to play the part of Jesus, We knew we couldn’t ask someone who was blatantly defying God. No matter how good of an actor he is, he wouldn’t be believable. So, we had to add another item to the criteria. In order to reflect the character of Jesus, he has to love Jesus.



Finally, after two, long months of praying for a “Jesus,” God sent us the right man for the job. But our obstacles didn’t stop there.

It rained on two of the four filming days. We decided to work a rain shower into the script and film in it because we needed to get the project done. The rain threw snags into the filming. It also produced a stunning rainbow at the end of an outdoor scene where the main character accepts Jesus Christ. How beautiful is that?

The last episode was also filmed in the rain. The man who played Jesus was not in this episode so he was not there. However, we did have about twenty other volunteer actors there who were all smiles despite the rain. We made quite a stir on Main Street in downtown Forest City. Cars slowed down—and not just when the fire truck went by blaring it siren.

Peering through the raindrops and underneath umbrellas, people wanted to see why this large group was standing in the middle of town—in the rain! They may have had difficulty finding Jesus, but He was definitely there.

 
Please pray this week for the mission team in Vermont. When the children ask this year who Jesus is, pray God will use the people He has sent and the curriculum that was prepared to answer their questions.
And what about you? Who do you say Jesus is?

16.6.13

Nine Things My Dad Has Taught Me





My father is still married to the same woman after fifty years. He has been fathering for forty-eight years and grandfathering for twenty-one years. My dad is the kind of man who says what he means and means what he says. Many people have learned from him through his job as a personnel manager or as he led in his church. Even after retirement, he still volunteers his time and talents on a regular basis.
Today’s post is in honor of my father. My Dad has taught me many things. Here are nine of them.

 
Work hard

Finish what you start. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot or if the job is difficult. Get the job done and do it well. Sweat is good for you. Work hard so you can pay for half of your first car.

Take care of things

Wipe the sand off your feet before entering a tent. Remember to feed the dogs. Don’t leave a bike parked behind a car. Change the oil regularly. Don’t wreck the car.

Do the right thing

Volunteer. Donate. Give to those who have little. Go to church. Tithe. Speak up for what is right. Write a letter. Ask to speak to a manager. Practice self-discipline. Say you’re sorry. If it’s your fault, make amends.

 

Understand the value of money 

Be frugal. Watch for good deals. Get your money’s worth even if it means refilling your cup of tea three times. When eating out, you can leave the bread but you must eat the meat. Take good care of things and don’t wreck the car.


Do your best

He would rather me fail, than cheat. Be honest. Always look for ways to improve. Challenge yourself. Pay attention. Don’t give up. Stick with it.

Be careful

Wear shoes when you ride a bicycle or a motorcycle. Helmets are even better. Don’t talk to strangers. Look both ways—twice. Wear a life jacket. Wear a seat belt. Don’t wreck the car.
 


Be adventurous

Don’t be afraid. Try new things. Go places you’ve never been before. Jump the biggest waves. Swing on a rope over a river and let go. Ride the fastest roller coasters. Go to college. Drink pickle juice from a jar.
 

 
 
 
 
 
Laugh—a lot

Don’t worry. Find the humor in things. Take things in stride. Keep it all in perspective. Have fun but be safe. Don’t wreck the car.

 

Difficulties build character

When you don’t always get what you want, when you want it, it builds character. Learning to manage with less builds character. Working hard for something builds character. When there is no other explanation for a denied request, “It builds character” is the response to accept.

 

Proverbs 6:23 says,

        “A wise man’s heart guides his mouth,

        and his lips promote instruction.”

 

I am blessed. My dad’s teachings are wise. Some things he knew before I was born and some things he learned along the way.

As a father, he had to work hard and take care of things. He understood the value of money and handled it wisely. Although not perfect, he tried to do his best and do the right thing. While being protective and careful with his children, he still managed to provide lots of fun, adventure, and plenty of laughter for them.
 

My dad is a man of character and integrity. I’m thankful for the time he now devotes to building the same character in his grandchildren that he first began in his own children.

 

I love you, Daddy. You wisely teach us, by the way you live your life. Thanks for always being there for me—even the three times when I wrecked the car.

 

 

9.6.13

The Seasons of Life Are About to Change


Spring prepares to hand over the change of the seasons to summer, which eagerly waits to splash upon us.

 


 “There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

…a time to plant and a time to uproot,
…a time to weep and a time to laugh,
…a time to mourn and a time to dance…” (from Ecclesiastes 3)

Things are changing around my house. We’re preparing for our oldest daughter’s wedding and our middle child is making plans to head off to college. While we are excited for them, the transitioning is not always easy.

We’ve spent all these years loving and tending to our young “plants” and now it is time to uproot them. As they’re transplanted, hopefully some of the fertile home soil will cling to their roots, encouraging  a continuation of strong growth.
There’s been a little weeping but mostly laughing as we remember days gone by…chubby little hands painting my toenails, sometimes entire toes, a rainbow of colors…little girls covered in mud as they tried to build an adobe…and all the special concoctions they came up with using discarded refrigerated items.

Those precious hands will continue to create a unique place in the world. One daughter will teach pre-school music and art while she finishes her last year in college. She will also create a loving home with her new husband.

The other daughter will blaze her trail into pursuing God's plan for her life. Both girls are passionate about serving their Lord and Savior in the ways He creates for them.

While he hasn’t wept (yet), I guess Dad has done more mourning than anyone else. He’s happy for both of his daughters but he is a bit sad about his girls moving away from home. He’s going to miss their steady stream of smiles, hugs, and kisses. He has always been a good keeper of his daughters’ hearts—protecting them from day one.

When our girls wanted to share their hearts with someone special, Dad was always first in line to check the gentlemen out. Any young man who has called on one of our daughters can testify it is not a deed taken lightly.


We are blessed that one sweet, young man understood. Thankful for what God has brought together, we plan to celebrate and dance into the changing season.

2.6.13

Are You a Butterfly or Still in a Coccoon?-- Patience During Life's Hard-Pressed Days

by Sally Matheny



     Happy to be out of those tight cocoons, butterflies and moths are flitting about. Are you aflutter with happiness or are you in the midst of a dark cocoon? We all go through trials in our lives. Patience is needed during life's hard-pressed days.
     We often ask God to take away difficult situations. Sometimes He does change our circumstances, but quite often, He chooses to change us.
     When a caterpillar is inside the cocoon, it is essentially being broken down and reformed into something new. Can you imagine going in as a caterpillar and being pressed and pulled in all sorts of seemingly unnatural directions?

   But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 (NIV)

Psalm 118:5 reminds us   
When hard pressed I cried to the Lord;
he brought me into a spacious place.”
 

    
     It’s during our most difficult and darkest hours that, if we trust God, and lean not on our own understanding, then we, too are transformed into something stronger, something better.
     How many of you can testify that it has been through your darkest hours that you grew closer to Jesus? And when you came out of the testing, you were changed for the better?
     Nobody wants difficulties in life. No one really desires to go into a dark cocoon. But, what a miracle it is when God brings us out of one and into a spacious place!



     God promises he will never abandon us. We may question that at times. However, when our situation seems impossible, that’s when God’s power is more visible 
     A certain kind of caterpillar builds its cocoon on a reed underneath water. The cocoon protects it from drowning. And in God’s perfect timing, a butterfly emerges from the cocoon. Can butterflies swim? This one does! It swims right through that pressing water and out into a “spacious place.”

     Another type of caterpillar produces a sweet juice. Ants really like this caterpillar. When the caterpillar enters into its cocoon, the ants carry the cocoon down deep under the ground into their nest. Seems like the caterpillar is doomed, doesn’t it? But God has a plan. The caterpillar stays protected in its cocoon. When the butterfly finally emerges from the cocoon, God enables it to climb right past those ants, out of those tight, dark tunnels and into a spacious place!


     No matter what "cocoon" you’re in, anything is possible with God! Hang on and keep praying—butterfly days are just ahead!


     Share with us! Have you had "cocoon" type days? When you felt hard-pressed, how did God bring you into a spacious place? Any helpful tips for others on what they can do as they wait on the Lord?