21.12.15

Besides Love, the Best Gift for Baby's First Christmas

by Sally Matheny

The Best Gift for Baby's First Christmas
If God has blessed you with a precious, new life this year, I’m sure Christmas morning will be extra sweet! 

Your little one already may have a cute stocking hung and brightly wrapped gifts under the tree. Or, perhaps due to his adventurous spirit, all the gifts are well out of reach!

No matter what gifts you’ve chosen, I hope you've considered one spectacular gift you can give your baby, especially for his first Christmas.


4.12.15

Prayers That Changed History by Tricia Goyer: A Book Review and a Giveaway

by Sally Matheny


Prayers That Changed History
by Tricia Goyer
Prayers That Changed History, by bestselling author, Tricia Goyer, is a unique blend of a history and a devotion book. Over the years, during her research of various historical figures, Goyer stumbled upon delightful information that isn’t typically found in textbooks. She compiled her research and shares about the prayer lives of twenty-five notable figures in history.

At the end of this review, be sure to read how you can win this book!

Beginning with Polycarp in 155 A.D. the book progresses through with various folks including Governor William Bradford, Sojourner Truth, George Muller, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. 

Each section covers a brief story from the life of the notable figure, followed by sections: “Something to Think About,”  “In His (or Her) Own Words,” and “How He (or She) Changed History.” Goyer goes further with a portion tying the historical account to a scripture passage in “It’s in the Bible.” She wraps each chapter up with how it can apply to “Your Life.”

1.12.15

You're B.A.C.K. (Blessed by an Act of Christian Kindness)

by Sally Matheny


Blessed by an Act of Christian Kindness
 Kindness breaks through barriers. One act of kindness can turn a person's day around. Just one thoughtful deed has the potential to open up a whole, new life for someone.  

This week I'm reposting an article I wrote about this time last year. It prompted an overflowing of two-way blessings. I thought it would be beneficial to post it again.  



     



There are many stories about random acts of kindness. I heard about a family waiting until their neighbor went to work. Then, they secretly placed a festive welcome mat at the neighbor's front door. The children in this family liked giving in secret; much like that St. Nicholas fellow did long ago.     

Kind deeds are a great way to concentrate on other people rather than ourselves.Children, who are constantly adding to their wish lists, are prime candidates for this type of family project. Not expecting anything in return, not even recognition, will keep the giver humble and focused on the giving.

There are plenty of cards and tags to print from the internet and leave for the recipients of your random acts of kindness.  
    
However, for my family's secret giving, I wanted to create a different kind of tag. I desired to add a twist of faith—something that told about the ultimate act of kindness—that of Jesus Christ. 

The result is a card that begins: “You’re B.A.C.K.! (Blessed by an Act of Christian Kindness). The card ends by sharing about God's greatest act of kindness and how it isn't random at all, but intentional.


19.11.15

What’s in Your Attic? What the Items You Save Say About You

by Sally Matheny

Attic Stairwell by Van Gogh, courtesy of wikimedia
I’m thankful for many things, however, I have too many things.
Are you a collector?  I’ve reduced my collections. My Santa figurines are long gone, and my angel assembly has reduced to three or four—if you include the one that sits on top of the Christmas tree. Although I’ve held onto my collection of teacups, I no longer scour second-hand shops for another lovely addition. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized these things take up too much room and too much time dusting. So, I stopped collecting these things. Sounds liberating, doesn’t it? It sounds like it. Yet, I still cringe when I look in my attic. I’d die if you saw my attic right now. Even though, I stopped collecting items years ago, I still have too much stuff. I’m not a hoarder, but maybe I’m holding onto some things which I need to let go. This week I went to the attic and considered long and hard why I’ve saved the items I have.  Perhaps what I am learning will help you determine what the items you’re saving say about you.

8.11.15

How Do I Prodigal-Proof My Child?


by Andrea Merrell

How Do I Prodigal-Proof My Child?
The number of prodigals in our society has risen to epidemic proportions. According to recent statistics, eighty-eight percent of children raised in an evangelical Christian home will leave the church by the age of eighteen. Most will turn away from authority, parental values, and biblical teaching, losing their potential, their health, and their destiny—sometimes even their life.

Without exception, everywhere I go I meet someone in the middle of a crisis with either one or more of their children. These are the questions I am most often asked:
           * Is there hope?
           * What can I do in the meantime?
           * Is there a way to prevent this from happening to my younger children?

7.11.15

Praying for the Prodigal

by Sally Matheny

Praying for the Prodigal
by Andrea Merrell

Do you have a wayward child? Perhaps one that grew up attending church, yet later walked away from his faith?  Praying for the Prodigal is a book that offers spiritual encouragement as well as practical advice. And, who better to write this book than the mother of a prodigal son and a prodigal daughter.

Andrea Merrell shares heartbreaking stories of her teens spiraling down dangerous paths. They became distant, not sharing where they were or whom they were with, even to the point of not coming home at all. Between the time spent in the magistrate’s office and the hospitals, Andrea and her husband were carrying heavy burdens—financial, emotional, and spiritual.

She also shares the difficulties she and her husband had of carrying those burdens alone--secretly from friends. Andrea says, “If I learned anything in those dark days, it is that God is loving and faithful. His Word is true and prayer works.”

Thirty prayers, accompanied by scripture, provide parents a guide to get them started. Practical advice is offered, including how to set boundaries, how to stay calm, as well as a helpful parent-survival checklist.

At the end of the book, the prodigals, who finally returned home and to the Lord, share their thoughts and suggestions.

This is a book that every parent would benefit from reading.  It will impart wisdom to those just beginning their parenting journey and offer hope to those who are waiting on their prodigals to return.

This week, I have a special, two-part post. Andrea Merrell, the author of Praying for the Prodigal, kindly accepted my invitation to guest post on my blog. Please be sure to read Andrea's wonderful post, "How Can I Prodigal-Proof my Child?"


2.11.15

Young Couple Made a Wise Decision Before Announcing Engagement

by Sally Matheny

Young Couple Made a Wise Decision
Before Announcing Engagement
Not long ago, I wrote a post encouraging young couples to seek godly counsel, or work through a Biblical workbook, before setting a wedding date.  

Since my husband is a pastor, we have several copies of a Bible study workbook titled, Before You Say I Do, by Norman Wright. He uses this book when counseling young, engaged couples.

Much to our delight, several months before our daughter became engaged; she and her boyfriend, Samuel, asked if they could have a copy of the workbook. Even though they both regularly talk to their pastors, they wanted to work through the book together while they were away at college. It took some finagling, but they squeezed the study in between their classes and work schedules. 

Since the post,  Get Engaged? Before You Set the Date, There’s One Thing You Need to Do ranks in the top ten of most viewed posts; I thought you might like to hear from Emily and Samuel about their experience of working through the Before You Say I Do book together. Here is our conversation.

30.10.15

Fourth Annual Climb-a-Tree Contest Winners

Sally Matheny's Fourth Annual
Climb -a-Tree Contest
We had many participants in our fourth annual Climb-a-Tree contest! Thanks to all of you who sent me photos of yourselves perched in trees. I received them via various forms of media. Some I could not transfer from their original source to post here. And a few of you preferred them not to be posted publicly, which is totally cool.

All the participants' names were placed in the drawing.
Congratulations to Maria G.'s son, Joseph! His name was randomly selected from the Honest Hat. I'll contact his mom soon to determine the best way to deliver his prize.

Also, our winner in the adult category is Rebecca F.! You'll receive your Starbucks gift card next week.

Thanks to all of you who participated. I hope you had fun. Keep climbing!

23.10.15

“Believe”: A Book Review of the Kids’ Edition (and Who Won the $25 Gift Card!)

by Sally Matheny

Believe Book Review


My husband and I recently finished reading with our eleven-year-old son the kids’ edition of Believe, edited by Randy Frazee. We read one of the thirty chapters each night. The first ten chapters are about key beliefs of the Christian life. The second ten chapters talk about key practices of the Christian life. And the final ten chapters contain the key virtues of the Christian life.

Each chapter begins by asking the reader a key question to ponder. It then presents a key idea and a key verse.  Also, there is a Think About It section before the introduction. Then, actual scripture (NIV) from the Old and New Testaments, present the core truths, followed by three discussion questions.

 


We truly enjoyed reading this book together. It held my son’s attention with its short excerpts from the Bible. There are blue and white illustrations on almost every other page. The book isn't watered down or fluffed up! It was pure scripture, with a thought to ponder before reading, followed by three great discussion questions. These questions often generated further conversations with our son.

There are versions of this book for ages 4-8, 8-12 (which is the one we read), 13- 18, and one for adults. In a year or two, I’d love to get the teen version for our son.  Several years ago, he made a decision to follow Jesus Christ. We aim to train, nurture and equip him for his journey. Believe is an ironclad tool that will enhance his understanding of the Sword of Truth and how to apply it.

16.10.15

The Best Gift My Husband Ever Received for Pastor Appreciation Month (and a Giveaway for Your Pastor!)

by Sally Matheny

Best Gifts for Pastor Appreciation Month
My husband answered the call to pastor his first church in 2004. Eleven years later, we’re still serving the Lord alongside the same sweet family of believers. Nestled in the foothills of North Carolina, you’ll find our little church bursting at the seams with some of the most compassionate and generous people.

October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Perhaps some of you are contemplating ways to bless your minister. Be sure to post a comment at the end to enter the drawing for a gift card for your pastor. And just in case you don't win, I’ll share some suggestions including the absolute, best gift my husband ever received for Pastor Appreciation Month.

9.10.15

Faith, Hope, and Love: An Interview with Joanna Pistorius, Wife of Ghost Boy Author, Martin Pistorius

by Sally Matheny

Martin and Joanna Pistorius
Embrace Faith, Hope, and Love
Several months ago, I wrote a book review of Ghost Boy, by Martin Pistorius. Gems of his remarkable life story nestled in my mind. One facet that continued to shine was how faith, hope, and love grew when he met his wife, Joanna. It made such an impression that I hoped to talk one day with Joanna. 

She and Martin were on a book signing tour in Norway when I caught up with them. Joanna graciously agreed to talk with me when they returned home to England.

If you have not read Ghost Boy yet, Martin tells an amazing story of going from a healthy twelve-year-old boy to living in a waking coma state, unseeing and unknowing of his surroundings. 

Four years later, his mind slowly wakes up. But his body does not.  


Then, for ten more years, his mind is completely aware—aware that he is trapped inside an unresponsive body and powerless to communicate with others.

You’ll have to read the book to get the whole story of Martin’s incredible journey. Eventually, he is able to communicate and he meets Joanna. Both Joanna and Martin are originally from South Africa. However, Joanna was working as a social worker in England when she and Martin were first introduced. 

Martin’s sister and one of Joanna’s friends were roommates in England. All three girls were together when Martin’s sister contacted him in South Africa on New Year’s Day in 2008. It was during this Internet Skype conversation that Joanna first met Martin.

Immediately, she was attracted to Martin’s kind heart and infectious smile. The feeling was mutual and their online friendship began.

29.9.15

Bring Your Bible to School Day: What You Can Share

by Sally Matheny




Did you know Thursday, October 8, 2015 is “Bring Your Bible to School Day”? 

Legally, your child can take his Bible to school any day—you may not have known that either.

Students have the freedom to take and read their Bibles, talk about their religious beliefs, pray, and ask others if they’d like to join them as long as the actions are voluntary, student-initiated, not disruptive, and take place during non-instructional time.

Focus on the Family initiated the first “Bring Your Bible to School Day” in October 2014. Approximately 8,000 students participated in the event. This year that number is expected to increase.

So, how can parents help their children prepare for this special day?

18.9.15

One Key Element in Telling a Great Story

by Sally Matheny

Tell a Great Story
At the end of each day, we all have stories to tell. The neighbor’s kid vomited on the front porch. The boss ranted for an hour at work. The doctor called with good news!

Most people are eager to share what’s going on in their lives. I want to encourage you to include a crucial ingredient when you tell your stories. This element will turn your good story into a great one.

4.9.15

Hope in the Ashes: Remembering 9/11

by Sally Matheny

Remembering 9-11 (Photo Courtesy of Flickr)

On the morning of September 11, 2001, my six-year-old daughter snuggled next to me on the sofa. My nine-year-old daughter nestled in on my other side. I cherished these moments. Our easing into the mornings with Bible study and prayer were my favorite times. 
However, even though we were enjoying our second year of homeschooling, I still struggled with doubts. Am I teaching them the right things? How long will I be able to do this? Will we survive being together all day, every day?




I pushed the thoughts aside and focused on the moment. By the time, I finished reading to my girls; President George Bush also ended his reading to a class of second graders in Florida.

Shortly after that, my husband calls from his office and tells me to turn on the television. I stand in shock of the images I’m viewing. Both of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center are billowing black smoke. Numerous sirens are blaring in the background. Anxious reporters are dropping words of destruction--"hijacked,” “under attack, “and “acts of terrorism.”

14.8.15

Two Words You Don't Want to Hear & One Book You'll Want to Read If You Do : Interview with Author, Venita McCart

"It's Cancer"
“It’s Cancer”—Finding Help and Hope on the Road to Recovery was recently released by Straight Street Books. There’s a great need for this book because statistics state one out of every two men, and one out of every three women, will hear those two words no one wants to hear. "It's cancer."
While statistics sound cold and clinical, this book is not. Rather it is full of hope, encouragement, and helpful guidance.
I am delighted to have the author and cancer survivor, Venita McCart, as a guest on my blog this week. Venita and I became friends a few years ago and I’ve eagerly waited for her to write this book. Not only does it offer help for those diagnosed with cancer, but it is enlightening and beneficial for the rest of us to read.
In “It’s Cancer”—, Venita shares her own experiences as well as those of others. The back copy reads, “Come alongside patient survivors as they successfully overcome the obstacles of weighing treatment advice, managing caregivers, establishing attainable goals, realigning expectations, and embracing a new normal during and after cancer. Grapple with the tough questions about suffering, death, and heaven. Learn the value of being your own advocate, accepting setbacks, choosing gratitude, and developing a closer relationship with God.
As the founder of Faith Force Cancer Support Ministry in Illinois, Venita continues to validate the realities of cancer while offering strategies for finding inner joy and peace. I’m delighted to have her share with us today.


10.8.15

Homeschooling: Answering Your Questions (Part Three)

by Sally Matheny

Does Homeschooling Produce Super Kids?
When I first considered homeschooling over sixteen years ago, the only homeschoolers I knew were the ones I saw on television or read about in newspapers. They won National Spelling Bees, Geography Bees, and Science Exhibitions. They were musical geniuses and artistic prodigies.

I panicked. If I homeschooled, would I be expected to produce a Super-Kid? Me? The one who struggled with math from kindergarten through college? Even though I earned a Master’s degree in Education, I figured I was capable of teaching my children through fifth grade—sixth grade, tops.

It’s thrilling to see homeschoolers win national competitions. You may not recognize the winners’ names of the spelling and geography bees but you may recognize these former homeschoolers: Claude Monet, C.S. Lewis, Carl Sandburg, Beatrix Potter, Noah Webster, Booker T. Washington, Amelia Earhart, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Andrew Carnegie, Dave Thomas, Bethany Hamilton, Tim Tebow, Verena and Serena Williams. This is just a small sampling. You can find an extensive list of well-known people who were homeschooled at some point at http://www.famoushomeschoolers.net/.

1.8.15

Homeschooling: Answering Your Questions (Part Two)

by Sally Matheny

Homeschooling: Answering Your Questions
Almost 2 million students were homeschooled in the United States during 2002-2003.*


Home education has constantly grown over the last two decades. The growth rate is 7% to 15% per year, according to Dr. Brian Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute (Worldwide Guide to Homeschooling).

Are you considering homeschooling?

After sixteen years of homeschooling, I meet a great deal of people who have concerns. Many people long to teach their children (and even grandchildren) at home but they have fears of inadequacy.

 I want to encourage you today by answering more of your questions and providing you with a list of helpful resources.

24.7.15

Homeschooling: Answering Your Questions (Part One)

by Sally Matheny

Homeschooling
All parents are teachers. Every day we teach our children through the choices we make with our words, actions, and attitudes. God gives us golden opportunities every day.


Some parents recognize certain needs in their children. We want to guide and equip them to successfully find answers for those needs. We see magnificent mountains of  knowledge and breathtaking journeys to discover. We need more time to do that so we choose to homeschool.


The purpose of this blog is to offer encouragement for Christian living—as we reflect on ordinary life under God’s extraordinary Light. I don’t usually blog about homeschooling. However, many of you send me questions. Some of you are seriously considering homeschooling but are apprehensive. You are the ones I want to encourage today.

In addition, perhaps this post will enlighten those who think homeschooling is for weird people. No worries—that’s what I used to think.

This is part one of a three part series. Below are a few questions I receive on a regular basis. If you have additional questions, I’d love to hear from you.

17.7.15

Interview with Nan Jones: Author of The Perils of a Pastor's Wife

by Sally Matheny

Nan Jones
I am delighted to share with you an interview with Nan Jones, the author of The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife. I first met Nan at a Christian Devotions writers’ conference in 2012. Immediately, I sensed a beautiful aroma of Christ about her.
Over the years, Nan has experienced sunny days and hailstorms. Through it all, Nan has learned to cling tightly to her spiritual roots in Jesus Christ. She continues to offer a beautiful, fragrant offering to Christ, as she encourages others who are struggling to find God’s presence.

13.7.15

A Book Review of “The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife”

by Sally Matheny



The Perils of a Pastor's Wife
Growing up, I remember a variety of wives serving alongside their pastor-husbands.  On Sundays, I noticed their kindness and smiling faces. I remember their immaculate appearance—hair teased and sprayed in place, crisply ironed skirts with coordinating jackets, hose, and shiny high heeled shoes that matched their purses. As I child, I thought these women were as polished as the pearls on their necks.

Of course, as I matured, I realized the life of a pastor’s wife is not as pristine as I’d imagined. While she finds joy in serving alongside her husband, the pastor’s wife also discovers she’s frequently in the midst of battle.

Nan Jones knows this all too well, and has penned a wonderful book, The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife. Chapter by chapter, Nan discusses various perils including ones on meeting expectations, battle fatigue, anxiety and fear, and a strained marriage. Nan exchanges her opaque, pearl necklace for a crystal one so readers can clearly see her heart and relate to her experiences.

“Nan offers a hand to hold, aha moments of healing, and soul-strengthening biblical insight.” She takes you straight to God’s Word for hope and encouragement. Also, you’ll find sprinkles of humor as you learn how God worked in Nan’s life, even through persimmon-colored linoleum.

6.7.15

Is It Important to Teach American History?

by Sally Matheny


Is It Important to Teach American History?
Not everyone loves history. I do--especially American history. When I encounter some interesting part of history I’ve never heard before, it's like a treasure hunt. I begin researching primary documents to see if it’s true. I usually end up finding a few more gems along the way.

So many fascinating facts never make the cut for school textbooks. Perhaps if it were possible to incorporate more of them, there would be a greater interest in American history. 

Apparently, there’s a debate on what children should learn about America's history.

30.6.15

Faith, Hope, and Love: A Book Review of Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius

by Sally Matheny

Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius
 At age twelve, Martin Pistorius slowly slipped from perfect health into an unknown illness. His body weakened and his memories faded. After his parents exhausted all medical avenues for an answer, they painfully watched their boy become a mute, quadriplegic.


For four years, Martin was in a waking coma state in an unresponsive shell, unseeing and unknowing of his surroundings.

Then, his mind slowly woke up. But, his body did not.

For ten years, his mind was completely aware—aware that he was trapped inside an unresponsive body and unable to communicate with others. Martin wasn't paralyzed, but no matter how hard he tried, he had no control of his spastic muscles, his curled fingers, or the voice that disappeared with his childhood.


Most of us can’t begin to grasp what it’s like to have no physical control of our bodies. Nor can we fully comprehend the horror and painful realities of someone, with a fully intact mind,  encased in a silent shell.

For someone who went fourteen years unable to express his emotions, Martin Pistorius pushes full-throttle and exquisitely conveys them in his book.

Tension builds in Martin’s tedious days. In the midst of his sorrow he snatches the tiniest glimmers of joy. Hence, a courage develops, as does hope.

Martin inserts a great sense of humor in spots. I was thankful for them, especially after reading the difficult passages.

I cringed at what Martin had to endure at times. I believe a note for reader discretion is needed for the chapter titled, “Lurking in Plain Sight.” I hated reading it—and rightly so. And yet, had Martin not been so painfully transparent about his darkest days of torture, his story would be incomplete. Nor would I have fully appreciated his joy when he survived and overcame.

This is not an overtly Christian book. There are two or three points of faith shared—but they are profound and powerful.

The most amazing one is where Martin shares about God’s presence with him. He never had church worship experiences or even Christian training prior to his illness. Nevertheless, when his mind awoke inside his unresponsive body, he is aware God is with him. Martin sharing about that relationship is one of my favorite parts of the entire book.

Martin Pistorius as a young teen

The story unfolds of Martin’s amazing journey from being like a “potted plant” to living a full and productive life. All because of one person noticing a flicker of life in him and opening a door of opportunity. Martin expresses appreciation to many but he is certain of who he owes the most gratitude.

In a May 2015 interview with Christianity Today, Martin said,

Without the Lord, I would not be here today. I have no doubt that it was only his intervention that saved me. It is only through God that I have found my voice.”

In the book, Martin shares the joys and fears of learning how to communicate once again. His life changed. He got a job, a college degree, started his own business and married the love of his life.

This book inspires me to take the time to look more intentionally at people—especially those who seemingly fly under the radar. You don’t have to have a health condition to feel invisible.

Time after time, Martin shares how the power of one tiny act of kindness, one caring word spoken, or one consideration of his heart rather than his body, had a huge effect on his life.

I recommend this book. Martin Pistorius’ story will take you into the uncomfortable pit of darkness and encourage you to grasp hold of life-giving faith, hope, and love.


A Smiling Martin Pistorius- Twitter Photo


If you’d like to hear Martin Pistorius speak briefly about forgiveness and compassion listen to this interview with Glen Beck on YouTube.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHXFSL6x-XU

Also, you may be interested in reading my interview with Joanna Pistorius, Martin's wife.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”





19.6.15

Finding God's Presence--Daddy, I Love You

You're in for a treat with my guest blogger, Nan Jones, today! When I first met Nan at a Christian Devotions writers’ conference several years ago, I immediately sensed the fragrance of her love for Christ.Over the years, I’ve watched Nan consistently cling to that love and put her faith into action.
She is an author/speaker who “uses the words of her heart to assist fellow Christians in discovering the Presence of God in their darkest hour. Her devotional blog, Morning Glory, has become a place of community for Christians to find encouragement in God’s Word and comfort in His Presence.” 
She has been published in several anthologies as well as the online inspirational sites Christian Devotions, and Inspire a Fire. 
Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas will release her debut book, The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife June 30, 2015. Blessed to be a beta reader, I can say this book is wonderful. You’ll hear more about that in an interview I do with Nan later this summer.
Nan also features as a guest blogger on several sites and I’m delighted to have her guest blogging for me this week


Finding God's Presence ~ Daddy, I Love You 

by Nan Jones



The pitter-patter of tiny feet echoed through the hallway, running gleefully towards her dad.

"Daddy! Daddy!"
Daddy sat his briefcase by the door just in time to receive a leaping toddler into his strong arms. Father and daughter hugged, exchanging glances that reflected their adoration of one another. Hearts raced. Faces smiled. Eyes gleamed.


The child relaxed in her daddy's arms. She placed her chubby little cheek next to her father's and quietly whispered, "Daddy ... I love you, daddy."


The one the child had been seeking, she found.

27.5.15

Summer Fun for the Family: Pickin’ and Grinnin’ at the Earl Scruggs Center



  by Sally Matheny
photo courtesy of Wikipedia
If you've ever watched The Beverly Hillbillies, you may remember musicians Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt. Occasionally, they sauntered through the Clampetts’ mansion door pickin’ and grinnin’. 

If you missed their appearances, you didn’t miss out on their music. Scruggs and Flat performed the theme song for the show.

You can share the history of the toe-tapping, bluegrass music with your children by visiting a wonderful museum in western North Carolina. The Earl Scruggs Center, which opened in January 2014,  is located on Lafayette Street in Shelby, North Carolina.

9.5.15

Life Lessons From Imperfect Mothers

by Sally Matheny

 A perfect mother has never existed.
Nonetheless, God has the ability to use mothers, through their strengths and their weaknesses. There are valuable life lessons to learn, if we are willing.

Take Eve, for example. She was the first woman and the first mother. There are pros and cons to that. She didn’t have anyone to compare herself to, but also she didn’t have a mother or a mother-in-law she could call on for help or advice.

Eve gave birth without the help of a doctor or even a mid-wife. Can you imagine what the very first birth must have been like?

4.5.15

Date Your Mate

by Sally Matheny
May is Date Your Mate Month
Are you married? Did you know May is “Date Your Mate” month? It’s essential we put caring for Biblically based marriages at the top of our lists. Christians, our marriages are influential testimonies to the love and power of God.

Perhaps you already date your spouse on a regular basis. Fantastic! Or perhaps you’re like me, and you find date nights just don’t come around often enough.  Let’s put aside all our excuses and brainstorm for some ideas on how to make date nights happen.

27.4.15

Chiming In With Humility and Grace

Chiming in with humility and grace
After several days of cold and rainy weather, a sunny afternoon enticed me to sit on the back porch. Enveloped in the warm rays of sunlight, I closed my eyes. A faint, peaceful ting-ting stirred from the metal, wind chimes.

Burdened for a Christian family struggling to find peace, I began to pray. I did not know all the details, but apparently years ago, their miscommunication hurt some friends' feelings. The family has sought forgiveness but the offended friends will not give it.

The most troubling part is the miffed ones are professing Christians as well, yet they will not let go of their grievances towards the family who upset them.

Oh, Lord, please give both families peace and restore the broken relationships. How can Your people harbor anger and resentment towards one another for years?  Help us to see this does not glorify your Son and the sacrifice He made for us all.

Lord, no matter what the situation, remind us that through Your power and strength we can forgive others. Protect us from Satan convincing us otherwise.
A gust of wind suddenly caused the ting-a-ling of the chimes to crescendo. I opened my eyes to see the metal tubes bumping crazily into one another. Yet, no matter how forceful the wind, each chime continued to produce pleasing sounds.

I sat listening, pondering how the chimes never ring a sour note. High, middle, and low tones work in unison to produce beautiful harmonies.
Oh, dear friends, God can do that. He created each of us with unique characteristics and yet the abilities to complement one another. Just as the metal chimes are bound together, so also we Christians are united by the love of Christ.

Trials will come as surely as the wind blows. Let us bear with one another and work together to produce a beautiful offering to our heavenly Father.
As soon as trouble begins to brew, address it with prayer and wisdom. Pray for a heart of patience, humility, and grace. As the storms press hard against us, only through love and forgiveness will we be able to orchestrate a magnificent concert of praise.

Imagine the songs of a multitude!
(The Singing Ringing Tree)

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”   Colossians 3:12-17