Posts tagged ‘Christian thoughts’

My Throwback Thursday

‘For through me your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.’

Proverbs 9:11

It is a Thursday afternoon as I sit down to write this tribute to my son, Drew. In social media it is better known as Throwback Thursday. The day where people share pictures and stories of the past on Facebook.

Not only is it Throwback Thursday but it is the eve of Drew’s thirtieth birthday.  Drew is now a dad himself. He has a precious four-month old baby girl. As he shares the newest things Campbell has discovered and/or things he is doing with her, my mind goes back to  Drew’s childhood.

In these flashbacks, I can see a little boy sitting in his daddy’s lap early in the morning reading the paper and talking together before starting their day.  As Drew got older, these early morning conversations and reading the paper together transpired at the table and eventually with a cup of coffee in hand.  Nowadays,once a week, in the early hours of the morning, I can hear father and son having conversation together with a cup of coffee in hand. The only difference is it is over the phone.

Then my mind goes back to all the trips we took with Drew over the years. The beach trips, the Disney World trips, trips to the mountains and the list goes on. My favorite pictures of Drew on these trips are the pictures of Drew with his dad sitting on the beach planning what kind of sand castle they would build.  As they planned, they would discuss what would be the foundation and how they would form this foundation and build their sand structure. It was all diligently planned out.

Out of these conversations, I think of the advice, the do’s and don’t’s Jim gave Drew. The  most pivotal conversation I remember is the following on Drew’s thirteenth birthday.

Son, you are turning thirteen. The gift I want to give you is an assignment. The assignment is to read the entire book of Proverbs and imprint the wisdom from this book on your heart.” Drew took what his dad said to heart and not only read the book of Proverbs but also memorized quite a few which he has quoted back to us on occasion.

As I reminisce over these conversations and words of advice between father and son, I see where God was guiding a father to guide a son. God guided a father to showing and teaching his son the importance of making wise choices, listening to others and building his life and home on faith in God. Jim wanted Drew to have a solid foundation and relationship with God.

Today, as I write this I have no real advice to Drew.  It is  my prayer that as he watches his little girl grow up to absorb all the moments he can.  I pray Drew takes time to have those early morning conversations with his little girl in his lap that one day will evolve into conversations at the table over coffee.  I have no doubt that Drew will pass on the legacy of love and the foundation of faith that was given to him through the years. It is without a doubt he has Proverbs 22:6 imprinted on his heart and living it out with his daughter.  “Train a child in the way he is to go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

Drew- Have a wonderful birthday. This video pretty much sums up the wishes your Dad and I have for you on your birthday  and in the days ahead. We love you and are very proud of you!

 

Changing the Path

 

The Final Summit

In the last couple of days, I have read the book called; The Final Summit by Andy Andrews. Andy Andrews has become one of my favorite authors. He is spot-on in this book when the question that is posed at this summit is; “What should humanity do, individually and collectively, in order to restore itself to the pathway toward successful civilization?  It is through this question and in reading this book God opened my eyes to the many things that have happened in our world/society to have gotten to where we are today. And, that place is not a very good place.

crying

In the last week, I have seen attempts to re-write and remove history and many of these things this country was founded on. I have seen people attempt to re-write the TRUTH  to justify why they do what they do. If you are on any type of social media, you have seen mud-slinging from both sides of any controversial issue that is in the news. It seems we get off one roller coaster ride over an issue and we are soon back on over another issue. It is becoming where the offended are being offended. Sad and scary.

my way or God's way

 

In The Final Summit, the main character, David is being summons by Gabriel to attend  and lead this summit that will consist of former great leaders of the world to figure how to turn things around and put the world back on the right path. However, Gabriel shares that the answer to the question is two words. It is up to those at this summit to figure what the two words are that will turn humanity around.

new path

The archangel, Gabriel points out that God does not need or will send a flood to wipe out humanity that ‘humanity is sinking of its own accord.’ (The Final Summit page 35).  Gabriel points out how man has turned from what is really true and have begun to re-write the rules and created a new truth.

Gabriel goes on to say;

“What I mean is this time, quite simply, you are providing your own flood. Certainly you are aware that some so-called progress you have pursued now enables you to destroy life on this planet in several different ways, many times over, and with varying choices of speed. You don’t need Him to make it rain.”

“(The Final Summit page 36)

In other words, the last time the world was destroyed God sent a flood. He was in control of the rain. God told Noah to build an ark and who/ what would be on the ark. God planned how many days and nights it would rain. However, this time around, man is creating his own flood by re-writing the rules, believing in lies, and adjusting the truth to accommodate the desires of the heart.

Lost and Confused Signpost

As this summit progresses with much discussion and “thinking” they have the right answer to find out that the answers they are coming up with are good but not the right one.  The members of this counsel discuss how wisdom, courage, hope, character building and self-discipline would help in turning humanity back on the right course. Yet, these thoughts were not the answer that Gabriel was looking for.  After the last try and feeling deflated, one of the counsel members stands up and says; “it is never too late.”  “There is still time.”   (pg. 197)

hour glass

I love the last two sentences. These two sentences spoke hope to me. As dismal as things seem to be today with the way things are happening, we still have hope. We still have time.  What we must do is share the hope that we have through Jesus Christ. We have a choice to either sit around on Facebook and try to shove each other’s views down the throats we disagree with in order to get our point across or we can step up, be bold and do something to turn the path around.  And, in the midst of being bold in turning the path around, be sure to seek God and his blessings. As we know, “all things work out for the good and for the glory of God.” (Romans 8:28)

seek God

I won’t give away the ending of the book but I will pose these questions to my reading audience:

What are you doing to make a positive difference?  

What can you do to help turn a hurting world’s eyes to the cross of Jesus Christ?

What can you do show a world of hurt the real truth and the hope we all have when the sands of time do run out?

My challenge for all of us is to use what we have and what we know in a good way that leads everyone to the path of TRUTH and righteousness.

Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make

the most of every opportunity. Let  your conversation 

be gracious and attractive so that will have the right response L

for everyone.

Colossians 4:5-6

Take time to watch the video below:

 

What Do Others See?

 You have preached it now live it

So I say by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other., so that you nor not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Galatians 5:16-18

Bible with heart

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 4: 22-26

I am in the midst of completing Priscilla Shirer’s study on Jonah.  As with other Bible studies I have participated in God has opened the eyes of my heart even more.  Not only are the eyes of my heart  opened more but with each study I become even more aware of God’s daily presence in my life. I am also more aware of my walk with Christ and how I live out this walk on a daily basis.

I love the quote Priscilla shares on the last day of this study;

The fruit of God’s Spirit can only be

realized in the life of someone who is 

consistently yielding to the Spirit’s work

in his/her life.

 Priscilla Shirer

Impacting Others

CS Lewis Humility

These words really made me stop and think. First, I thought of those who have impacted my Christian walk through their daily actions. These persons live their lives in such a way that if I were a non-believer, I would want to know more from them of where their joy for living comes. I would want to know what motivates them to do the things that they do beyond their calling.  And, they do things beyond their calling with great joy in their heart and do it without expecting anything in return. When life happens to them as it does with us all, they tend to respond and not react. They stop and evaluate the situation and determine the best way to handle it. There have been times where no one else around them knew a situation was even taking place because of how they respond and how they are in step with God’s teachings.

Interruptions

Grace

In the study of Jonah Priscilla shares about divine interruptions. These interruptions are the unexpected things that come up in our lives. Sometimes, these interruptions catch us completely off guard. When these interruptions occur we have two choices. The first choice is we can react. When we react our actions may not represent the best of us. Sometimes, our reactions can come across in  the form of anger, bitterness, and the total opposite of  being in step with God and His commandments.  The second choice is we can respond. When we respond we have given ourselves time to stop, reflect, talk with the Father and figure the best course of action to the interruption that has taken place.  In our responding to the interruption, we are yielding to God and allowing Him to do His work in us. The outcome of responding is far different from our reacting.  Through responding, we are able to see God’s hand in the situation, we are telling God we trust Him and His leading. We are also demonstrating to those around us the true meaning of trusting God and living in step with Him.

Self Centered

Romans 12

The other day I was talking with someone about how we have all become self-absorbed. We are to be aware of others’ needs around us and the presence of God. Yet, it seems we are becoming more self-absorbed in our own personal needs, our wants and what will make us feel better and/or look good to others.  In other words, we are in a world of living totally opposite of Galatians 5:16-18.  It is when we are consumed with pleasing the flesh that we miss the blessings that God has planned for us. Furthermore, we become out of step with God. It is in these moments where we know in our heads what is right and what is wrong but our hearts do not demonstrate what we know.  Needless to say, it is at that point we profess to be a Christian but our actions are telling those around us something completely different. Thus, the reason why so many people see Christians as hypocrites. Sad but true.

Challenge

seek God

Today, I challenge you to re-read the scriptures at the top of the page and re-read the quote from Priscilla Shirer. As you read these passages, stop and reflect on what motivates what you do each day of your life.

Are you motivated by wanting what the flesh wants?

Or, are you motivated by what God wants you to do and living in step with Him?

When interruptions come up in life, do you react or do you respond?

Who has impacted your life by their being in step with God?

Now, think about the people around you that you could have a positive influence and even bring them to know and receive Christ in their lives by living consistently in step with God.

God's presence

In the days ahead, I encourage you to be aware of God’s daily presence and stay in step with Him. Being in step with  God has greater reward than trying to stay in step with what the flesh wants. May you seek God in all you do and may others see God in you in all you do.

May this video by our prayer in the days ahead.

Andrew…..Fisher of Men

ANDREW…..Fisher of Men

 

5374_619035645852_41107541_36659516_4848799_n

Drew laying down on the skywalk at the Sears/Willis Tower in Chicago

My Dearest Andrew:

It is the eve of your twenty-eighth birthday.  It seems that in the last few days God has placed people in my path that had an influence on your life. These people have been coaches, teachers, mentors, and friends who watched you grow up. When running across these people it is not uncommon for them to ask what you are up to these days. As we talk, I shake my head in trying to get my head around that I have a son who is getting a little closer to thirty.

scan0041

It has become a tradition of recent years to go back to writing letters to you especially on your birthday as I did when you were younger. The last few days I have pondered as to what to say in this letter. Many thoughts flood my mind but putting those thoughts into words on paper don’t come easy. What do you say to a son who is wise beyond his years, who has his feet planted in biblical teachings and in recent years has given me counsel and insights? 

This evening as I opened my computer to my site to write your birthday letter, I opened my bible to

Matthew 4: 18-20:

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee,

he saw two brothers,  Simon called Peter

and

his brother, Andrew.

They were casting their nets into the lake, for they were fishermen.

‘Come follow me’, Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out

to fish for people. At once they left their nets and

followed him.

contentment

Drew, you have demonstrated that scripture time and time again to Dad and me. You have lived up to the name of Andrew. When you were little you loved getting the fishing pole and going fishing with one of your grandfathers and/or with your dad.  It wasn’t so much the fact you wanted to catch a fish but it was the time you spent with this men that was important to you. I know on these fishing trips with your grandfathers and/or dad you were given words of wisdom. They taught you what it means to be true to yourself and God.  You learned many life lessons that I have seen you live out in your life. 

In my reflecting back over the years, I see where you put your fishing pole down and began fishing for men. I remember the many mission trips I helped you pack and sent you on while in youth group. You were always so pumped and excited to be going to help someone who needed help and needed the love of Christ shown to them.   I remember times when you and I would be out and about on errands and someone needed food, money or something of the like and you would pull on my arm asking if we could help the person. 

direction in l ife

College came. As you began those college years, you became involved in Campus Crusade for Christ. You were limited in how much you could be involved due to your running/training and coursework. However, at every opportunity, you were there being a part of an outreach ministry. Your senior year you were able to go on the Spring Break mission trip. This trip was to the South side of Chicago which was not the safest place in the world but you were determined to go meet up with the group.  On your return home, you shared with me how you were assigned different areas in Chicago each day to share the gospel. One of your encounters was talking with an atheist in one of the parks. As you shared your Chicago experience, you told me you planned to go to Chicago to live after graduation. Needless to say, I was stunned. You didn’t know anyone there and had no job lined up. Yet, you had faith and a calling to go. You wanted to do street ministry on the weekends. As I look back on the chain of events, I see where God’s hand was in his leading you to Chicago and how you listened to his voice.  

Challenges Ahead

Through these reflections, I also see where God began to nudge you that it was time to move on from Chicago to another adventure. You had your eye on two places in Atlanta. There was one you pursued but it was not in God’s timing for you to be there. God had another stepping stone for you to take in preparing you for what he had planned for you. After a year in this position in Atlanta, the place you once had your eye on, called you. At first, you weren’t so sure if it was the right timing but after they called the second time, you realized this was God opening the door. After prayerful consideration, you walked through that opened door.  The irony of this position is that one of your running buddies gave you a book written by the CEO of this firm on graduation and saying; “you never know Drew, you may work for him and his firm one day.” I think at the time it was something that was just a dream for you. Yet, in looking back in that exchange I see God was using your friend to prepare your heart for what was ahead for you on your journey. 

Once again, you are fulfilling the name of Andrew, fisher of men. You are a part of a faith-based organization that equips and helps other fisher of men share the gospel to others in communities and around the world.  Not only are you working for this faith-based organization but Megan and you are very involved in your church and outreach in your community. It is through your actions I see you are a fisher of men not some of the time but all of the time. You are aware of the needs of those around you.  When it comes to giving of yourself, you don’t think twice. You just do it. 

scan0074

My dearest Andrew, as I have told you before, the day you were born a terrible storm came up as I was in labor with you. Yet, just moments after you came into the world, the storm ceased and the most beautiful rainbow was shinning outside our hospital window. Your dad and I took it as a sign from God that he had a special plan for you.   As you have grown up, you have listened to his voice and have been obedient to his calling. Many times you have laid down your net and went where God has led you. 

life story

While sitting here writing this letter, I have the book, The Little Red Book of Wisdom by Mark DeMoss opened.  My eyes fell on this sentence on page seventeen; “People who want to claim or reclaim their true north can start by examining their passions  by asking what makes their hearts leap.” This one sentence brings things full circle. You were raised to recognize your passion and what makes your heart leap. Then, a few years back, you shot me a message on Facebook one afternoon the question; “What is your passion?” “What makes your heart leap?” You told me to think on it and pray about it and you would get back with me in a couple of days. It is out of your passion, compassion and following the call of Christ is why I have my blog site today.  You, my son, have taught me how to be a fisher of men in ways I never imagined I would be doing. 

Drew, my wish for you this birthday is to be showered with blessings as you have showered many on your path with blessings and Christ-like love. You have had quite the journey thus far and my heart wells up with joy in seeing all that you have done and are doing.  As our family has always said, “we are the only bible that some people will read”, you have made that bible a good read. 

music happy birthday

Have a wonderful birthday.

I love you very much,

Mom

My son, Drew resides in Atlanta with his wife, Megan and four-legged child, Theo. Drew is currently employed by the DeMoss Group as their social media director. 

My son, Drew with his pup, Theo.

My son, Drew with his pup, Theo.

181

Pray Without Ceasing

bless our nation

 

Over the weeks, we have been inundated with news of Christians being persecuted.  From time to time I will post a “Random” thought on Facebook. It is out of  hearing and reading the current events as they are that prompted me to write the following a couple of weeks ago. 

what is on your mind

As I go through Facebook, I see many post about the current situation of our World and  persecution of Christians. It really upsets me to see this taking place in our world. What concerns me most is the fact that our founding fathers founded this country on and with Godly principles.

It seems that today there is little tolerance for Christian values to be shared and practiced without offending someone. Yet, we are to respect other religious beliefs without question.

children praying in school

I remember as a child in elementary school where we had devotional, prayer and the pledge before we started our day. Yes, it was in a public school. I remember where my dad would be asked to lead the invocation at the beginning of sporting events which not long after I graduated this was removed from sporting venues.

prayer before football game

From what I am seeing on television and what I am seeing posted on Facebook, we are at a place where we better wake up and take a stand. We as a people need to get back on our knees and pray for our country and our world. Most of all, we need to pray for leadership that will show honor and respect for what this country was founded on.

Sam the Eagle

I very rarely speak out on political issues on Facebook. I tend to keep my thoughts to myself. Yet, this afternoon, after seeing one article after another on what is going on in our world I felt the need to say something.

 

As the cliché goes; “if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” Let’s take a stand and bring this country and its leaders back to its Godly foundation.

” Never stop praying.” 1 Thessalonians  5:17

My we pray without ceasing!

pray for America

Standing On The Promises

Young woman reading bible

My Lesson in Discernment:

In the Wednesday night bible study that I attend, we are in the midst of a Kelly Minter study, What Love Is…the Letters of 1,2,3 John.  This study is a true eye opener of how important it is for us to stay in the WORD and truly KNOW our Lord and Savior. In days such as we live in, there is much deception going on.  As Christians, we need to  be even more in tuned to God’s voice and his principles.

One of the lessons in this week’s study is on testing the spirits, In other words, know how to discern what is ordained by God versus adding and/or taking away from the true word of God. Also, there are those who are twisting scripture to suit the moment they are in and/or to justify their actions.

As I continued with this lesson, God revealed to me a lesson I learned the Spring of my Freshman year in college. There was this  handsome young man whom I began to admire and date. He was very much a gentleman. His family was very loving and kind. Just being with him, one would think I had met my true prince charming. Yet, there was a stumbling block. He was of the Mormon faith.

When my parents found out I was dating him, they thought he was a very nice guy. Yet, when they found out he was Mormon, great concern arose. Of course I was the typical college Freshman who knew it all and was not going to listen to what my parents had to say on the issue. Not only my parents were concerned but dear friends were concerned as well. You see, though I had claimed Christ as my Lord and Savior, God was about to open my eyes to real truths versus man-made truths.

During this time period, Mom and Dad allowed me to continue to date this young man. I even went to Temple with him a couple of times. A very different experience from any other I have ever had in any other denominational church.  The catch was if I went to his church he had to go to worship with me. In other words, though he was trying to influence me with his faith, I could also be an influence on him. Thus, this was my first lesson on the importance of why God says it is important for a couple to be evenly yoked.

Seeking God’s Truth

Challenges Ahead

As this dating relationship continued, I sought counsel.  There were days when I spent my afternoons talking with the campus chaplain. I spent many hours with my choral director whom was a very strong Christian and Christian mentor.  One day while in her office, Judye shot straight with me. Her words were; “April, you are a strong Christian young lady. God has wonderful things planned for you. He has a mate that he is grooming for you.”   She also stated; “God is using you right now. This is your opportunity to be His witness. I can tell this young man has been influenced by you.  Don’t give up but don’t give in. Take it one day at a time. Be true to yourself, be true to God.  Then, she quoted this scripture to me;

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him and he will make

your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

After that conversation with my choral director, I began to search the scriptures even more. I spent hours in the library educating myself on different belief systems. I prayed like I had never prayed before. There were walks I took by myself on campus just talking to God and asking for his direction.

Listening to God’s Voice

over hearing

The Spring semester came to a close. I would be leaving college to go to Lake Junaluska, NC to work on summer staff. Lake Junaluska is a Methodist Conference center in the Smoky Mountains. A place where I had attended many youth conferences and a place where my family vacationed from time to time.  The evening came when I told this young man I would be leaving and more less “enjoy your summer.”  Later that evening, I prayed. I poured my heart out to God. My prayer was something like this:  God, I know you have someone out there who will love me. He will exemplify Christian values. He will be strong in faith. He will love me unconditionally. And, most of all he walks in the truth of your Word. He stands on your promises.”   As I fell asleep that night, I had a dream. In this dream, I was in the lobby of my dorm sitting and somewhat distraught/confused. While sitting there, someone comes up and sits beside me. This person places his arms around me and says; “not to worry. I will take care of you.” It was the most peaceful moment and my heart was more at peace than it had been in a while.

How God Answered My Prayer

Cross at Lake Junaluska, NC

A few days later, I was at Lake Junaluska moving into my summer residence. Not long after my parents had left, this young man by the name of Jim came by my room. He introduced himself and asked if my roommate and I needed help with anything. We told him we were pretty settled in and on his way he went to help others who were moving in. After he left, I got butterflies in my stomach. I told myself to shake it off and move on. Yet, the next day as I was going through the buffet line at orientation, I saw Jim walk into the room to get in line. It was at that moment that voice that told me that he would take care of me was telling me; “there is your Godly man. He is the one you are to experience life with and walk with you on your faith journey.” “But, don’t push the relationship. Let me set the pace.” I obeyed that voice and I am glad I did.

I didn’t run across the room and begin to flirt with Jim. Instead, I simply continued on with what I was doing with my new-found girl friends. In time, the opportunity would come where Jim and I would officially meet outside of his brief hello at the door when I first moved into my room.

The Rest of the Story

Later in the evening, we were having staff orientation. In this orientation, we were playing a get acquainted game where when the music stopped you had to get back to back with someone. Once back to back to someone, you had to turn around and tell them something about yourself. Each time it was something like where you were from or if you could be any animal what would it be and the list goes on. Yet, the last round of the game the music stopped and I found myself back to back with Jim. The leaders told us to turn around but this time there was no question to be answered. Instead, we were told to look directly into the eyes of the person we were with and not to say a   word for two minutes.  The purpose of this was to bring a point home to us summer staffers. The point was we were to see inside the hearts of the people we would be serving over the summer just as Jesus  sees the hearts of others.   Needless to say, it was at that moment I knew that Jim was the guy  God had planned for me.

Reflection

reflecting back

Whew! Over the last couple of days, I have reflected on this chain of events. I see God’s hand in it all. As I reflect, I am thankful for the people who God had placed in my life to guide me and keep me on the right path. I am thankful that I was raised in a biblically based faith and home. I am thankful that my eyes were opened to the fact  that there are people out there who can make something sound so good and so right and yet be so wrong. I am thankful that God showed me how important it is to discern and ask him for guidance/wisdom.

He makes all things beautiful

I share this testimony because in today’s world there is so much out there. You can google just about anything on the web and get multiple answers pro and con of what you are looking for.  There are people out there that are twisting scripture to make their wrongs seem to be right.  However, when it comes to salvation and God there is only one place where the real truths can be found  of how to live. The place where we find real truth is in the bible. There is only one way to enter the Kingdom of God and it is through his SON who came and died for our sins. In the Gospel of John, Jesus clearly states; “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. ” John 14:6

 Each one of us are going to encounter false teachings. Since Jim and I have been married, we have been faced with such teachings.  Yet, as we journey together we know we must trust in the LORD.  We choose to not lean on our own understanding but to stand on the promises of God.

jeremiah 29

May you stand on the promises of God and lean NOT into your own understanding but trust God’s leading.  

Time Out

blog vacation

 

 

Dear Reader:

It seems that everyday we are glued to our computers and/or phone. No matter where we are and what we do social media seems to be the core of our being. I have decided to take a break from social media for a bit and take time to take care of things that need my hands on attention. As I take this break, I will be keeping a journal of  ideas/thoughts for future postings on Thoughts From The Porch.

Please take time to visit my archives and to check out the other chairs on my porch.

Thank you for visiting my porch and may your faith journey be filled with God’s blessings.

 

Blessings

April

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