Categories
My Kids

Budding Artist

Levi car

Levi has become quite the artist these days. For the past couple of years he’s sketched a few things here and there but hasn’t put much effort into it until recently. It was obvious from the beginning that he had some real talent. He’s never received any formal training, yet lately he’s drawn some pictures that have amazed us all. Pictured here is the 300c that he drew for this year’s MACS Competition (Michigan Association of Christian Schools Fine Arts) and received an honorable mention for his work. We’re all hoping he’ll go to college for formal training since he’s obviously been blessed with a great gift. He and brother Jacob, another budding artist, are working on putting together a comic book. He plans to be trained in architecture at Pensacola Christian College.

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Things I've Learned

Why is it so hard to forgive?

Forgiveness is four fold.

1. We are required to be willing to forgive as Christ forgave. He forgives all those who ask. This is our responsibility.
2. The responsibility of the offender is to acknowledge his sin.
3. The offender is also required to pay restitution/make it right.
4. Restoration happens when 1-3 are done completely and correctly.

Without all three, forgiveness isn’t complete. I can do my part and still maintain the blessing of God on my life (peace, contentment, closure, etc). That is all that is required of us. If the offender doesn’t do his two parts, he will not experience God’s blessing or victory in that area (of offense). That’s partly why we see Christians today not experiencing blessing or growth in their lives – they stay nominal or shallow in their Christian walk.

Proof Texts:

 

Christ said to forgive as He forgives. He forgives all who asks. So, I’m using His example of forgiveness to show the steps of reconciliation.


Col 3:13 “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

1) If we have been offended (sinned against) in some way, we are to be willing to forgive all who ask. Our part is willingness. If you want to, add to your responsibility that fact that you are supposed to rebuke them. We need to let that person know that we have been sinned against, for others don’t always know it when they offend. It makes sense to let them know so they can make it right. Use wisdom as you do this. There may be times that you should not confront a person. If the person is out of our life, it is possible for us to be willing to forgive that person even if they are not available. Remember our part is willingness and is not based on the other person.

2) For it to be complete for the offender, he needs to ask forgiveness to maintain God’s hand of blessing on his life.


Ps 86:5 “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.”

Lu 17:3 “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Eze 18:30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.

Lu 17:4 “And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.”

Ac 2:38 “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

Ac 3:19 “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”

3) If a person doesn’t ask forgiveness (repent of the sin against you) or pay restitution/change actions/attitude/tell the truth/make it right, etc. they will be stymied in their Christian life and will not be able to be reconciled to the one he offended.

Mt 5:24 “Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”

2 Cor 5:18 “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.”

Definition of repentance: to see the sin and turn from it

Reconciliation: the ending of conflict or renewing of a friendly relationship between disputing people

There will be times that someone doesn’t/can’t come to ask forgiveness. This doesn’t mean we cannot have the peace God offers. We just need to be willing to forgive them. I’ve had many people hurt me that never “saw the light.” But I’ve been able to put it behind me because I decided I would be willing to forgive if they asked. I’ve done my part. I am willing. We need to be careful not to hold bitterness or a grudge against that person. Reconciliation takes both participants, though we can have a right heart attitude without the other person’s participation.

Christ didn’t forgive the whole world. He forgives only those who come to Him. He is WILLING to forgive the whole world, one at a time, “not WILLING that any should perish,” but we must come to Him of our own free will. He’s done His part, but we need to do ours – accept His atonement and be reconciled to Him. It’s nothing we do, but we need to accept His free gift through repentance – a change in direction.

Salvation is for all, but not all accept the free gift.

If I buy gifts for all of my kids, but one refuses my gift because it’s not the right color, size, style, whatever, then it doesn’t become theirs. I was willing to give it; I offered it but was not able to give it to them for they wouldn’t accept it. He paid the penalty for all, died for the sins of all, but has not forgiven all until they ask. Otherwise we’d not have to ask Him to forgive us.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

At our confession (acknowledgment of sin and request of forgiveness of those sins, turning away from that sin) is when forgiveness is imparted. He died for the whole world, but will grant forgiveness on an individual basis to all those who ask. I am so glad Christ died for my sin. They are many and great. To know that he forgives is way more than I deserve. When I repented and asked Him to forgive me, He forgave my past, present, and future sin, clothing me in His righteousness, making me His child.

Often people struggle to forgive others because they think it puts a stamp of approval on the sin – that they’re saying, “It’s OK what you did to me.” True forgiveness doesn’t say that. It’s says, “You sinned against me, but if you are willing to acknowledge it and make it right, our relationship can be restored.” Be willing, it’s what Christ expects.

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My Kids

Jillian

Jillian

Jillian is graduating this May from Prairie Baptist School and going on to Pensacola Christian College to pursue a Visual Communications degree (graphic design, WEB design, etc.).  Her journey began about six years ago. I had an interest in Graphic Design, so I took over the school yearbook position at PBS. I taught myself the Adobe InDesign and Photo Shop programs because I didn’t like the canned yearbook pages that so frequently adorn high school yearbooks. I passed on my knowledge to Jillian when she joined the yearbook staff a couple of years later. From scratch she and I learned to design professional pages, bringing our yearbook up to industry standards of professional design. She is amazing and can whip something together in just a few moments. My student has turned teacher and has gone beyond what I have taught her. She is now showing me how to use certian elements in the programs. I am anxious to gleen from her all the new information she’ll be receiving at PCC.

I’ve teased her that when she graduates and opens her own graphic design firm she’ll have to hire me – and that I can do anything I want because I’m her mother and she can’t fire me! It excites me to think that she’ll be trained in what I love – to put together professional publications for ministries. She’s hoping she’ll be apart of a missions minded company that will allow her to take short term missions trips to meet the publications needs of missionaries. She calls it “Traveling Missions.” 

A few months ago, Jillian took her first missions trip to visit the Secrest family in Uruguay. The sole purpose of her trip was to take a look at how she could serve missionaries in the area of publications. For two weeks she spent most of her time designing a billboard for the church (to be placed in Montevideo), flyers, logos, letterheads, tracts, and anything else the missionary thought up during her stay. We are praying for the Lord’s leading – this could be such a grand adventure for her to be able to use her God given abilities for missions.

This year Jillian submitted the publications that she designed for the Secrests, missionaries to Uruguay, to MACS (Michigan Association of Christian Schools) Fine Arts Competition and won first place in Graphic Design. The judge told me that “They were blown away by her work.” I am very excited to see where this might take her and hope that I will be able to join her on her quest. Regardless of where God takes either of us, through the use of the Internet we’ll be able to share projects and help each other in ministry.

Jillian has two blogs, one a cheerleading site called cheer4life, and a personal site called, luv4him. Both are on my links listing.

 

Categories
My Kids

Serving in Iraq

Andrew

Daily my thoughts turn to my son, Andrew, who’s serving in Iraq. He joined as a Marine reservist the summer after his first year in college. Little did we know that just a couple of years later he’d be sent to Iraq to use all that training he received from the military. I am thankful for his desire to serve his country and I am also thankful that God has been working on him. He’s in a barren, broken down village where all there is to do is patrol, watch for dissidents and play movies on his 15″ laptop. His latest quest for entertainment took him and his fellow Marines out to the countryside to throw rocks at cows. He’s definitely going to hear God speak to his heart if He hasn’t already. There’s lots of down time and little entertainment – so there’s little to distract him from the quiet voice of his God. I am hoping that his quest for manhood turns into a quest to know God better. In doing so, he’ll end up with both. My prayers often fly up to my God requesting safety for my son. I am proud of him and his desire to serve our God by serving his country. Though I miss him and am concerned for his safety, I am glad he is turning out to be the man I had anticipated so many years ago. When I first saw the picture of a little orphan boy from Korea, little did I know that he would turn out to be one of America’s honored men. God is good.

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Notable Acts

Above and Beyond

There’s a young lady in our church named Carol who has shown the servant’s spirit twice now to me recently. It should not go unnoticed. Others need to hear about her kindness because it is a true picture of what a Christian ought to be like.

I encountered the blue screen of death with my laptop (it wouldn’t boot up) and was beside myself wondering what to do about it. I had questioned a couple of computer people that I knew but none of them knew what to do with it. Carol’s mom, Nancy, was in my Sunday school class and heard my prayer request regarding my laptop (it is a very essential part of my service at school and church). She mentioned to her daughter about my laptop and Carol took it and within 5 minutes had it up and running. She told me what she did and I filed it away in my mind for future reference. Three weeks later the same thing happened, I did the f12 trick, and the computer self checked, passing every test. So, once again, Carol took it and looked at it, but rather than the blue screen coming up, it booted up right away. She offered to take it home and check it for viruses, so I agreed happily.

Many times I have had a computer crash on me right at my busiest times, losing valuable information. It can be a heartwrenching experience. It is my main tool. It helps me stay on task in my classroom, manage my schedule and my student’s work. Carol truly enjoyed helping me out of my trouble. She sought me out. I didn’t have to go find her. When her mom told her of my troubles, after the service was over, she came over to where I was and found me talking with a man that knew something about computers, but had no idea what to do for me. She patiently waited for him to finish what he was saying, and then stepped up and offered to look at it.

You don’t find this kind of servanthood in just anyone. It takes a special person to care about others enough to stop what they were doing and seek a person out to help them. She obviously takes her position in Christ seriously and takes His command to serve others to heart.

Servanthood is about showing that others are valuable. It’s about helping others in their ministry. We’re supposed to work together for the Lord’s glory and His kingdom. Carol has it down. Thank you Carol. You have made a difference in another person’s life. You are living Scripture.

Categories
Adoption

Why did we adopt?

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Psalm 1:1-3

I have made it my goal while living here on earth to lay up treasures in heaven. This short span of time that I call my life on earth is not all I consider. Yes, I want to live a good, productive life while here, but my main concern is Eternity. Eternity will last a whole lot longer than my mere 70 years here. That is what I live for.

I realized a long time ago that the only “things” that I can take to heaven with me are people. I can take 15 of my children with me – both those whom I actually gave birth to (2), and those who I’ve adopted into my family (13). I can think of no other better goal in life than to take my children home with me to heaven.

That said, now you know my reasoning behind the ultimate discipleship – adoption. I am doing what Christ did, inviting lost souls into my family to partake of Christ’s goodness. He adopted people into His family and called them His own. How can I do less? He put no conditions on His adoption other than that which is required in salvation (believing on His finished work at Calvary, acknowledging we are sinners, asking forgiveness, placing Him on the throne of our lives). I wish to parallel His example of adoption in my family – to give others what He has given me so they may know Him. Though I didn’t require salvation to enter our family, I did present it to each one of my children, hoping they would receive it. We look at adoption as an extreme form of discipleship. We not only offered salvation and training toward godliness, but we committed to being a discipler for each of our “disciples” for the rest of our lives.

Christ took in people who needed Him, dusted them off, set them on their feet and gave them His name. I am one of those He’s adopted. Yes, I’ve failed Him. No, I’ve not always done what He’s expected of me. Yes, I’ve disappointed Him. But I’m still His and He doesn’t regret taking me in and calling me His own. He keeps forgiving me. I didn’t have to change my behavior to be considered His, but I did because I love Him. I didn’t have to be perfect or follow His ways to be in His family, but I did because He bought me and I belong to Him. I’ll always belong to Him no matter what I do or don’t do.

Though some may not understand why or how, we have committed to follow Christ regardless of the cost. The cost in some instances has been high, but nevertheless we are sticking by what He has told us to do. Along with the “costs” have been immeasurable blessings that I believe only someone who has had a family like ours can receive. Is it worth it? Well, you answer that yourself. To most, it wouldn’t be worth it, obviously, since not many do it. Even if we never saw “results” from sacrificing ourselves for the children of others, we’d know the peace of mind that comes from knowing we tried to do what Christ did.

Mt 10:42 “And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”

Mt 18:10 “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”

Mt 18:14 “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.”