Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Memory Verse Monday #25

This past Sunday, our Pastor's message was on the story of Gideon --- an unlikely leader! But because he listened and obeyed God's direction, he defeated the Midianites with just a mere 300 men (reduced from 32,000 men by God) in his army; proving beyond a doubt that God was in charge. The commentary in my Bible says this:
"God knew Gideon's potential and patiently brought Gideon to the point of courage. He encouraged him, directed him, transformed him. Overnight Gideon became a strong and decisive general."
My prayer this morning is that God would use our church just like he did Gideon. That, although small in number, we would effect great change in our city --- proving beyond a doubt that God is the one behind the driver seat!

Excitement wells up within me as our church launches into a summer of sports camps --- we are believing for 1,000 children from our city to come! That is a God-sized goal; needing God-given strength. In light of this thought, today's verse for Memory Verse Monday is the verse that God gave to hubby and me when we were about to take this wild leap of faith, also known as church planting :-) ...

Joshua 1:9 (NLT)
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

God, use us like you did Gideon!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fifteen Years!!!

Fifteen years ago, I married 'the one whom my soul loves'! Today, my soul loves him more than ever. Everyday I am thankful that my Heavenly Father is gracious enough that He gave me a hubby who "fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments." (from Psalm 112:1 NASB)

How could we have known fifteen years ago today how much our Heavenly Father would "enlarge the place of our tent, stretch our tent curtains wide, not hold back; lengthen our cords, strengthen our stakes" (paraphrased from Isaiah 54:2 NIV) in all areas of our lives --- not only by blessing us with a great marriage and two wonderful children; but also by graciously enlarging our capacity to serve Him in ways that we couldn't have imagined ourselves; stretching and molding us into the family that He designed us to be!

It is with a humble and grateful heart that I look back at these fifteen years --- seeing God's great faithfulness, His goodness and His abounding grace; His guiding hand and His loving discipline in our lives; He truly never lets go!!! Thank you God!

"But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”
--- Joshua 24:15 NLT

Monday, June 22, 2009

Memory Verse Monday #24

This morning, these song lyrics have been running through my head...
It's all about You, Jesus
And all this is for You
For Your glory and Your fame
It's not about me
As if You should do things my way
You alone are God
And I surrender to Your ways
Very thought-provoking and humbling! In light of this thought, today's verse for Memory Verse Monday is from...

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (NLT)
May He give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with Him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.

May this be the cry of my heart!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Memory Verse Monday #23

Today's verse for Memory Verse Monday is from...

1 Corinthians 15:58 (The Message)
With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don't hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.

This verse has been recurring quite a bit in my devotions these past couple of months. God has been speaking to me through this passage... God, I am listening!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Thoughts About June...

Is it really June already?!? This year is just zooming by... I heard someone say that when time seems to just fly by, it's a sign that one is getting older. Oh-oh... not a nice thought on this day, my birthday!!!

Anyway, I'm staring at my calendar for June this morning and it is making my head spin! Would you believe that in our immediate family alone, there are 3 anniversaries and 6 birthdays all in the month of June!!! We will also be celebrating my newest nephew's first month, plus my parents are in town visiting. Plus, there's a graduation... the regional track and field finals... end-of-school field trips... church-related activities and events... and, can't forget life in general! :-)

Speaking of life in general and decisions that have to be made in June... we have another intellectually gifted child in our house! As I have said before, I don't particularly like how the term, intellectually gifted, sounds and what it implies (or not!) but it is what the school board uses to identify (another term I don't quite warm up to!) children who are eligible to attend the full-time gifted programme.

As with our daughter, we are now faced with the decision of whether or not to send our son to the full-time gifted programme or to keep him at the home school. Having gone through this process once already, you would think that it will be less agonizing the second time around... but it's not! Each child is unique and so is each decision.

Although we have come to the same decision as before, and that is to stay at the home school, the thought process certainly wasn't the same as both test results are vastly different; both children have different strengths and different weaknesses. One very strong reason for this decision was the same though... and, it is rooted deeply in the things of God!

Allow me to elaborate...

I've recently read the book Raising Kids For True Greatness by Dr. Tim Kimmel. One chapter in particular sums up my thoughts quite nicely so I will just quote from it:

Many parents are so busy preparing their children for success that they miss the chance to equip them to do something truly extraordinary. According to most parents, a child's success starts with a good education. So they become preoccupied with their child's grades, class placement, cumulative GPA, and SAT scores. They make this a high priority because they think that a good education is the best way for their children to obtain a prestigious career. Well paid, well supplied, well known, and well received - these are the standard characteristics of a successful life.

According to Jesus, if we want our kids to be truly great, we must first teach them to be servants. God has much bigger and better plans for our children than merely indulging them. He has called our children to a much higher set of goals than what this world has to offer. He can create a far more "successful" future - even a forever future - than the best-laid human plans ever could.

True greatness is the only legitimate choice when it comes to preparing your kids for their adult lives. As C.S. Lewis wisely pointed out, "Aim at heaven, and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth, and you will get neither." God wants to give your children a life that can't be measured by space or confined by time. And guess what? If you give your kids the gift of true greatness, God will often throw in earthly success... for free.

In short, we feel that having our children stay at the home school provides them with the balance that aims them towards a life of true greatness, not success. It gives them more opportunities in which to use their gifts to pour into our community and its people, to give themselves away, to effect change, to do something beyond them, to work for a much bigger and better reason than those of their own selfish ones.

May God grant hubby and I more wisdom as we parent these two wonderful gifts that God has so wonderfully entrusted to us!

Memory Verse Monday #22

To celebrate my birthday, today's verses for Memory Verse Monday are portions from Psalm 139, one of my most favourite chapters in the Book of Psalms.

Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18, 23-24 (NLT)
O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

It is amazing to serve a God who truly knows me and still loves me!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Memory Verse Monday #21

Our household has been ill this past week or so; both children have been home from school; hubby and I are also both feeling a little under the weather. This week's verse for Memory Verse Monday is from...

Psalm 103:1-5 (NIV)
Praise the Lord, O my soul;
All my inmost being, praise His holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul,

And forget not all His benefits-
Who forgives all your sins

And heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from the pit

And crowns you with love and compassion,
Who satisfies your desires with good things

So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

... a promise I am claiming this week!