Tuesday, September 07, 2010

More Teens Becoming "Fake" Christians

A study shows that fewer than half of teenagers who profess to be a Christian actually practice their faith or understand what it is that they believe. I want to encourage every parent to click here and see what the writer of this article has to say. This was reported by John Blake at CNN on August 27, 2010.

Monday, September 06, 2010

What Not to Wear

You walk into a store and see all the pretty fashions, but when you try something on, you realize it's just too low or too snug? But it's the fashion, so shouldn't that make it okay? If you've ever wondered what's appropriate for Christian women or girls, you will find some good answers here.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

How to Have an Exciting Church

"I’m too busy. I just don’t have time." How many times have you heard people say that? Perhaps you have said it too. I know I have. We all have so much to get done.

In your late teens and early twenties, you have all your college studies to do, as well as work, and you need to have time to hang with your friends. I completely understand how young people feel. Youth only comes once and they should enjoy it. What about couples with young families. You have your jobs, your children to take care of and run here and there, your housework never ends, you still need time for your spouse, plus you have the responsibility that schools put on you. There is just no end to all that needs to get done and you truly don’t have time. I completely understand how you feel. As parents with teenagers, you are busy with your job, with trying to fit everyone’s busy schedule together and still have time for the family and time alone with your spouse, as well as all the sports events, cleaning house so your kid's friends can pop over at any time, etc. I completely understand how you feel. What about the older people, whose kids have left the nest? No one should think for a moment that you’re not busy too. Often you’re busy helping in the church, traveling to visit your kids, working, housework, trying to accomplish all you need to do before you can retire, if you haven’t already. Nobody should make the mistake of thinking that retired means no more work. Many retired people are so busy volunteering and helping out here and there, they also don’t know how much more they can possibly do. The bottom line is, people are just busy.

As you sit in church on Sunday and hear that more workers are needed in various areas of the church, you know someone else needs to do it ‘cause you just can’t. However, the people all around you feel the same. Yet church is a "community" and it only works when people volunteer to help. The churches with the most activities to offer also have the most workers willing to sacrificially offer their time.

To have an exciting church, you need workers. "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few." (Mat. 9:37) We have so many children and teenagers in our churches who are bombarded with input from the world all week long. When they come to church, they are our harvest, but where are the workers? To have a thriving and active church, you need workers. It will only work if we all work.

Monday, August 23, 2010

God's Patience, My Opportunity

Mary's heart was so full of gratitude that she took an expensive perfume and poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped His feet with her hair. However, one of the disciples of Jesus protested. The Bible says, "Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray Jesus, objected, 'Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor?' It was worth a year's wages." (John 12:4&5) The Bible goes on to say in verse 6, "He did not say this because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it." Jesus was well aware of what Judas was doing, so why did He allow Judas to continue to be a disciple and even take care of the money bag? It sounds to me like Jesus is extremely patient with us, giving us every opportunity to repent from our sins and turn to Him.

When people seem to get away with disobedience, it is not a sign of God's approval of wrong behaviour; it is more than likely proof of His love and patience. However, without repentance, God's patience will do you no good. Judas continued in the path he was on and did not repent. In spite of the love Jesus showed him and the patience He had toward him, it did him no good. Judas continued in the path he was on and refused to change. Finally, he betrayed the One who cared for him the most. In the same way, if we continue to disobey God's Word and refuse to turn to Him and ask Him to change us, it will eventually lead to our destruction as well.

Be careful when you see your Christian friends do something you know is wrong and yet they seem to go unpunished by God. This is NOT proof of God's tolerance of sin. Do not follow the path they are on. If you want to have everlasting life with Jesus, you must get your guidance from God's Word, the Bible. Stop looking at your friends to see what you can get away with. Instead, saturate your mind with God's Word and live according to His will for you. Obedience to God's Word does not take away your freedom; it gives you freedom from sin. Sin binds you and holds you trapped. Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." Don't allow God's patience to be wasted on you. He's giving you every opportunity to come to Him so you can experience His peace and joy in this life, and eternity with Him when this life is over.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

That’s a Lot of Work!

The book held me spellbound. I could hardly wait to get to the next chapter to see what would happen. As I laid the book down, I thought, “I sure would love to write like that.” However, when I thought about the hours and hours of study, writing, and rewriting that would go into such a project, I wasn’t so sure how much I really wished for such a success. That’s a lot of work!

When we see a truly lovely Christian, one who is filled with the joy of the Lord, who is truly filled with the Spirit, we often long to be that way, too. However, are we willing to invest that much time with God, the study of His Word, and praying without ceasing, or do we just want it to fall into our laps without any effort on our part. Well, that’s just not going to happen. Psalm 34:4 says, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” What does it mean to seek Him? When I played hide-and-go-seek as a child, I kept looking and searching until I found what I was looking for. I wanted to win the prize I was after. Unfortunately, when it comes to spiritual matters, we want to be delivered from fear with a quick little prayer, without taking the time to seek Him, but it doesn’t work that way. You can pray short little prayers for help and, God, in his mercy, may even answer you, but to truly live a victorious, Spirit-filled life, you must seek Him always and never stop. Because even when you have found what you are looking for in God, there is so much more to still be found. The searching will last a lifetime.

It is the same with children who grow up in a peaceful, loving environment and they see the loving relationship between their parents. They may think, “I can’t wait to get married and have the kind of marriage my parents have.” They may be under the false assumption that it will just fall into their laps. However, unless they seek God for guidance the way their parents did and unless they work at making their marriage successful by following Godly principles the way their parents do, they will be sadly disappointed. Happily-married couples have worked toward not being rude, self-seeking, or easily angered. They try not to keep a record of wrongs. Unfortunately, this is so contrary to what society expects a happy marriage to be. They love the sweet words, the cuddles and kisses, the secret looks between lovers, but are not willing to make the sacrifice of giving up their selfish nature and following God’s principles for love in 1 Corinthians 13 in order to maintain such a love.

To have a truly blessed life, we must be willing to invest all of our time and energy to draw close to God. It is only the life truly surrendered to Him that will know the deep satisfaction and contentment of serving Him and being blessed by Him. Jesus said in John 7:37 “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.” We do not need to remain thirsty. Jesus promised to quench our thirst, but we must make the effort to come to Him and drink.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Obedience Brings Joy

Do you remember the old sitcom, "All in the Family?" When annoyed about something or someone, one of the main characters, Archie Bunker, would look up at the ceiling and blame God for his trials. Everyone would laugh about that, but not my mother. She felt that Archie was using God's name in vain and making a mockery of her faith. Needless to say, she did not allow us to watch that show.

Some people may snicker and say my mother was oversensitive, but if God's Spirit within her was grieved by this program, she did the right thing by turning it off. It didn't matter that other Christians watched the show, laughed about the comedy, and talked about it with each other. I don't remember hearing my mother judging others for not sharing her views. She just simply obeyed what she felt God wanted her to do and she made her children obey her in this also.

Interestingly enough, my mother's measure of right and wrong and of the application of God's Word has in many ways become my measure also. There have been times in my life when I chose to ignore my conscience and did what I wanted to instead. However, that was always followed by a lack of the sense of God's nearness. I hated the feeling of knowing I had grieved God's Spirit within me. Disobedience to the nudging of the Holy Spirit is just not worth it. It drains your life of joy and leaves you feeling empty.

"You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy." Psalm 45:7

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Can You Hear Me Now?

You may remember the old telephone commercial where the guy is trying to call someone on his cell phone, but has difficulty being heard. He keeps moving from place to place and, with each move, asking, "Can you hear me now?" Prayer can seem like that too. You pray and you ask, but seem to get no answer and you wonder if you're even being heard. You fast and make promises, but nothing changes.

I've heard it said that when you get no answer to your prayers, God may be saying "no" or "wait." This is true, but not always. The bible also tells us that God expects us to obey Him so our prayers can be heard. "The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous." (Proverbs 15:29). 1 Peter 4:7 says, "The end of all things is near. Therefore, be clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray." In James 3:16 we read, "Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." The bible has so much to say about being in right relationship with God so our prayers can be heard. Let me just give you one more example of hindered prayer. When husbands and wives do not live together in peace, this too can hinder prayers from being heard. Look at 1 Peter 3:1-7. Peter explains how a woman and man should treat each other, and ends verse 7 with "so that nothing will hinder your prayers."

When you refuse to live a life of obedience to God and you refuse to repent from your sins, you may actually be leaving your children and loved ones unprotected. According to the above verses, it sounds to me like God will not hear your prayers, so if you are praying for your family members while living in disobedience, you are actually not being heard. Therefore, if you are the only person praying for your family, you are leaving them unprotected. This thought alone should drive you to your knees.

Let's determine to confess our sins and live lives completely surrendered to God. Tell Him how weak you are, but that you want Him to change you. I promise you that He will hear you when you pray this kind of prayer. Imagine how wonderful 2010 will be if God will hear our prayers for our children and other family members, our unsaved loved ones, our church, our community, our government, and the world. Do not allow your prayers to be hindered any longer.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

I Just Cleaned the House!

You’ve been working hard all day. Not only did you have errands to run, but you cleaned your house and started your family’s favorite meal. As you look around, you feel really good with how it all looks and what you have accomplished. Then your kids come home from school and they shout, "What’s there to eat?" They drop their jackets on the floor and kick off their shoes. They drop their backpacks and head for the kitchen. You say, "Stop right there! Hang your jacket up and move your shoes out of the way so no one trips." "Take your backpack upstairs."

Once you get upstairs, you see that their school clothes are laying on the floor and the books are spilling out of their backpacks, so you tell them to straighten up their rooms. When it’s time for dinner, you ask them to come downstairs and you hear them answer, "Just a minute!" Five minutes later, you are still waiting. Finally, they come downstairs. After you eat, you tell them to take their plates to the sink. You are trying so hard to keep your house from looking like you never cleaned it. On and on it goes until bedtime; you keep having to tell your kids what to do. "Go wash our hands." "Don’t fight." "Stop picking on your sister." "Brush your teeth." "Take the dog out." "Go to bed." "Don’t forget to pray."

As you lay your head on your pillow waiting to fall asleep, you think back on your day. You realized that you have been scolding or reprimanding your children since they came home from school. In your mind’s eye, you again see each of their faces and your heart fills with love for your children. You wish you had taken the time to tell them how special they are to you. Do they realize how much you love their smiles and even their pouts? Do they know how funny you think they are and how much they fill your life with laughter? Do they know the gifts and talents you see developing in their lives? Of course, they will never know any of this unless you tell them.

Parents are under so much pressure with work, school activities, church activities, housework, yard work, etc., that it’s so easy to forget the little things, like telling your children what you find so special about them. Yet it’s these "little things" that will become "big things" in their lives in the future. They will want to live up to how you perceived them to be. Only point out their weaknesses when absolutely necessary and don’t make a big deal about it. However, when pointing out their strengths, tell them over and over again and do make a big deal about it. When children know that their parents like them, that they appreciate them, that they enjoy them, this will help them to become emotionally healthy adults.

"Love is patient, love is kind,...it is not easily angered, it does not keep a record of wrongs." 1 Cor. 13:4-6

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Friday, October 02, 2009

Normal Day

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return." -Mary Jean Iron

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Watch Out!

"While you're gloating about where you are spiritually; watch out! Spiritual pride will cut you off from true intimacy, and places a nice big target over your heart for the devil." -Curt Dalaba

"Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall."
1 Corinthians 10:12

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Jonah, The Reluctant Prophet

"True spirituality is not in hearing from God, but in doing what He says. Jonah was discerning enough to know that he heard from God, but not discerning enough to obey." - Curt Dalaba

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Don't Fall Off the Edge

"We must move beyond managing inconsistencies and sin and reacquaint ourselves with "renunciation." The only ones who fall over the edge are the ones who are near the edge." - Curt Dalaba

"Do not love the world nor the things in the world..." 1 John 2:15

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Tired for God

I enjoyed two weeks of vacation this summer. During those two weeks, I didn’t have to plan meals, work at my job, do housework, go to appointments, prepare my next newsletter, etc. I had a blissful two weeks that gave me a break from my normal routine. When the two weeks ended, I found myself back at my job, working on my computer, and having flashbacks of the various places we visited. I wished I still were there. Then I came across the Bible verse in Luke 9:23 “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” As I meditated on this verse, I realized how much the people around me benefit by the things I do. Therefore, rather than just see my routine as work and duty; I began to see it as a way to bless others. I also began to realize how much the work others are involved in benefits me. Each of us has a cross to pick up and carry daily for the good of others and the Kingdom of God. Are you carrying your cross?

God spoke through the prophet Isaiah to the children of Israel and said, “Yet you have not called upon me, O Judah, you have not wearied yourselves for me, O Israel.” (Isaiah 43:22 NIV) The next time you feel like groaning about a particular job or task you have to do, start to think about the people who will benefit from it. Think about how much joy you will give them or how much easier their lives will be because you are doing your part. At the end of the day, may we be weary from the work we did to benefits others and not just ourselves. Remember what’s written in Matthew 25:40 “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

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Sunday, May 17, 2009


My hairdresser, who is a friend of mine and attends our church, told me that her left wrist and arm hurt really badly. She was very concerned, of course, since it made it very difficult to work. However, about a month later, as I was once again getting my hair cut, Jackie shared with me how God had healed her.

Jackie had been desperately praying and asking God to please heal her hand. It was making it very difficult to continue working with such pain. As she was preparing for church two weeks ago, she felt the Lord's presence so strongly; she felt certain that He was going to bless her in a special way. That morning in church, as her right hand was raised in worship, she felt the Lord speak to her heart and say, "Will you give me your left hand." She immediately answered, "Yes!" and raised her left hand as high as she could while she continued to worship. Suddenly, she felt as though she was wearing a long white glove and, starting at the elbow, she felt hands beginning to slowly peel the glove off her arm and hand. When it felt like the glove had been completely removed, her pain was gone! The next day she worked a seven-hour shift and had no pain all day. The day after that, she worked a 12-hour shift and had no pain. At the time she was telling me this story, it had been ten days since this miracle took place and she still had no pain!

Praise God for his healing power that is still at work today! "Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits--who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases." (Psalm 103:2&3)

Monday, March 30, 2009

When to Keep Silent

My friend came to me and told me a very juicy piece of gossip about a mutual acquaintance. We were hanging out together at Bible school when she shared this with me. Later, as I was wondering if this was really true or not, I thought I might ask another friend about it to see if they had heard the same thing. However, I immediately felt checked in my spirit. I realized that if it wasn’t true, it could damage this person’s reputation by spreading gossip about them. I also knew that by talking about it, it wouldn’t help the situation at all, but only make things worse. Finally, I realized that it really wasn’t any of my business, so I decided never to mention it to anyone. Do you know that I never heard this rumor again from anyone else’s lips? It could very well be that by keeping it to myself, I stopped that rumor in its track and a young man’s reputation was spared.

The following was posted on Facebook. The author is unknown. I felt it was worth sharing with you.

Don't open your mouth WHEN:
1. You are angry- Prov. 14:17
2. You don't have all the facts - Prov. 13:18
3. You haven't verified the story - Deut. 17:6
4. Your words will offend a weaker person - 1 Cor. 18:11
5. Your words will poorly reflect on the Lord or your friends or family - 1 Peter 2:21-23
6. You are tempted to make light of Holy things - Eccl 5:2
7. You are tempted to joke about sin - Prov. 14:9
8. You should be ashamed of your words later - Prov. 8:8
9. Your words would convey wrong impressions - Prov. 17:27
10. Your words would damage a friendship - Prov. 16:28
11. The issue is none of your business - Prov. 14:10
12. Your words will damage someone's reputation - Prov. 16:27
13. You are feeling critical - James 3:9
14. You are tempted to tell an outright lie - Prov. 4:24
15. You can't speak without yelling - Prov. 25:28
16. It is time to be listening - Prov. 13:1
17. You may have to eat your words later - Prov. 18:21
18. You have already said it more than one time (it becomes nagging) - Prov. 19:13
19. You are tempted to flatter a wicked person - Prov. 24:24
20. You are supposed to be working instead - Prov. 14:23

May we all be like the wise person in Proverbs 12:18 "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Lord help us to use our tongues to bring healing to those around us.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Speaking in Tongues

"All of them were filled with the Holy Spirt and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them." (Acts 2:4)

I love the baptism of the Holy Spirit because with it comes the ability to speak in tongues, which enables me to express myself to God most clearly. When I am burdened about something and I spend time on my knees pleading with God for an answer, I allow myself to begin to speak in this foreign language called tongues. I cannot understand what I'm saying, but I sense in my spirit that every word is understood by God and I'm more eloquent in expressing my concerns than if I prayed in my own language. How do I know He understands me? Because after praying, my burden is lifted and I find the strength, hope, and joy to continue on. "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." (Romans 8:26)

There are other times when I want to just worship God for how great and awesome He is. It's in those times I become aware of my inability to find words to express the depth of what my soul is feeling. However, as I begin to speak in tongues, such joy wells up in my heart and I feel the Holy Spirit is saying what my soul longs to express.

I know that many Christians do not believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues is for today. I also know that pentecostals have often been made fun of for speaking in tongues. However, I cannot deny the truth of what I have personally experienced. This is a gift God has given to the church and I'm so glad I have accepted and received what He has for me, for I have truly been blessed by it.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

"What Does It Mean to Fall in Love With God?

A young teenage girl wrote to me recently and asked, "What exactly does it mean to fall in love with God? Do you get a tingly feeling like you would when you fall in love with a guy?" I was impressed with her question. While so many young girls her age are more interested in fashion and being a part of the "in" crowd, this young girl wanted a better understanding of her relationship with God. Following is what I answered her:

I suppose people react differently when they fall in love depending on their personalities. Some may cry, while others feel a deep, deep certainty that there will never be anyone as special as this person, yet others laugh and shout with joy. There are all sorts of emotions. However, falling in love must go hand-in-hand with commitment. You can love someone emotionally and then fall out of love with them emotionally on a trying day or week or year. Emotions come and go. However, commitment is forever. You choose to stay in love. You choose to be faithful. You choose to look for ways to keep falling in love with this person again and again. That is true love.

It is similar with God. There are times when I am so emotionally in love with God that I just weep. Other times I am so overwhelmed by His love for me that I weep or laugh for joy. Yet most of the time I just feel a deep contentment in knowing that He is with me. I feel secure in His love. However, I must also be committed to love Him. There are times in our lives where we are distracted by life and we begin to question even our faith. It is those times we must decide to stay committed and faithful no matter what we feel at the moment. Feelings can be wonderful. Emotions can be great. However, feelings and emotions are changeable. We must be committed and faithful to God no matter what we are feeling at the moment.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Really Difficult Morning

This mornining started out like any other morning for my daughter. She got up and got herself ready for her classes at MSU. Everything moved along as it normally does, until she walked out of the door of the house. That's when her morning changed from routine to the unexpected.

She realized we had a frost in the night and her car needed cleaning. She tried to open the trunk of her car for the icescraper, but the trunk wouldn't open...must have been frozen shut. So she ran to the house and asked if we had one. After checking in my husband's car and not finding one, I ran upstairs and asked my husband if he knew where it was. He did and we found it. At this point, Amanda was running late.

She finally got her car clean enough to drive, and took off. After a 15-minute commute, she parked the car in the commuter lot and was running towards the bus that would take her to the building where her class was, when it took off. She felt certain the bus driver had seen her running, but took off anyway. The next bus wouldn't be there for another ten minutes, which would really make her late for class, so she got back in the car and began driving to the meter parking ramp. As she got closer to the ramp, she got behind a bus that was moving at a snail's pace. There was such heavy traffic that she couldn't get around the bus. At this point, she called me to tell me she can't believe how bad her morning has gone. No sooner did she tell me that when her trunk that wouldn't open at home suddenly popped open in the middle of traffic.

What else could possibly go wrong?! I suggested she look for a place to move over and put the trunk down again. Amanda said, "I can't! I'm in the middle of traffic and there is no place to pull over." She kept crawling along in traffic with her trunk popped open, feeling like every eye was watching her. This is one of those moments when you wish the earth would open up and just swallow you (or perhaps a good time for the rapture.) Anyway, as she was moving along at a snail's pace, someone who must have assessed Amanda's predicament correctly, walked behind her car and put her trunk down. She had no idea who this person was, be it angel or human, she was just so glad they did. By the time she got in front of the parking ramp, Amanda was so late for class that she felt too embarrassed to even show up.

Have you ever complained about the routine of your life? Everything is the same day in and day out. Well, after the morning Amanda had this morning, I imagine she is longing for a routine morning tomorrow.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Can You See Him in the Crowd?

When I first fell in love with Curt, I loved to think about him all the time. I wondered if the next phone call would be from him. When we had a date planned, I spent much time deciding what I would wear. When I walked into a crowded room where I knew he would be, I searched through the crowd until my eyes fell on him. Everyone else was a blur; my eyes were searching for the one I loved most.

Are you really in love with God? This world is so crowded with things that would distract us from God, but are you searching for Him in the midst of the crowd? The tendency of our flesh is to do the opposite. Instead of the world being a blur to us until we lay our eyes on Jesus, in actuality God is a blur to us because there are so many other things to take our minds off of Him. God knows how vulnerable we are. God knows that most of the world does not follow Him, so most of the influence around us tends to distract us away from Him. No wonder God inspired the Apostle Paul to write to the church "pray continually" (1 Thes. 5:17). That means we should always be talking to God and making Him a part of our entire day, i.e. while your driving or working or shopping, etc. When other thoughts want to distract you, turn your thoughts back on Jesus. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." (Mat. 22:37)

Love doesn’t stay strong on it’s own. It needs to be nurtured. You must nurture the love you have for God or the flame will die down and eventually be extinguished completely. God’s love for you will never die, but His love means nothing to you unless you love Him too. If I loved Curt, but he didn’t love me, our marriage would fall apart. We could still share a house, but there would not be a real marriage. In the same way, you can still attend church, but only you and God know if you are really in love with Him or if the love is just one-sided. "Come near to God and He will come near to you." (James 4:8)

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Monday, September 08, 2008

My Son

Has it been seventeen years since I was pregnant with my son? Where did the time go? On September 13th, 1991, I brought my 9 lb. 1 oz. baby boy home from the hospital. Will you bear with me while I tell you about this precious gift?

At two years of age, his favorite toy was his stuffed bear named "Teddin." Although he loved his bear, he didn't mind placing the blame for his misdeeds on his faithful stuffed animal. When he was in trouble and we'd ask, "Brendon, who did this?" His answer would be, "Teddin did it."

Brendon discovered the joy of biking, skateboarding, roller blading, soccer, and basketball at a young age.

In his pre-teen years, he decided he'd look better as a blond. I thought, "Why not? His dark hair will grow back again."

We adopted our dog, Scampi, when Brendon was about 11 yrs old. Brendon claimed, "He's my brother from another mother."

This Saturday, Brendon will be 17 years of age. He stands at 6'4" and towers over me. Brendon is active in his church youth group. He enjoys weightlifting, swimming, golfing, basketball and running. He plays XBox Live with his buddies. Brendon just loves to have fun. Anyone who knows him, knows how much he enjoys a practical joke. He's a faithful friend, a devoted brother, and the best of sons. We could not have asked or hoped for a better son than we were blessed with. I love you, Brendon, and am so proud of you. Happy Birthday!!

Friday, August 01, 2008

I'm an Alien

I’m sure many of you know what it’s like to have to start at a new school. It’s especially scary when you can’t even understand what people are saying. My family had immigrated to this country in April, 1969. By September, I understood some English, but there were still many gaps in my understanding. I will never forget my teacher that year. Mrs. Dix took me on as her special project. While the rest of the class worked on an assignment, she put her arms around my shoulders and led me to the back of the class and taught me how to read in English. She never allowed me to feel inferior to the rest of the class. When I had read through my first book of "Dick and Jane," she had me stand and read a portion of the book to the class. When I finished, the entire class of about 25 students stood and gave me a standing ovation. They helped me feel proud of my accomplishment. I know what it feels like to be a foreigner, and it’s so much easier when you feel like you belong.

When I am around nonbelievers or when I watch T.V., it doesn’t take long before I feel like I’m a foreigner in this world. Their views about life are so contrary to God’s Word. The Bible says, "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." (John 15:19) As Christians, we are citizens of God’s Kingdom (Eph. 2:19) and not the kingdom of this World.

I feel like I’m in my home country when I worship God at home or at church. Like Mrs. Dix, the Holy Spirit wraps His arms around my shoulders and leads me to the altar for some one-on-one time with Him. I’m God’s special project that He’s working on. Yes, we have to remain foreigners in this World until God comes to take us home. However, He does not want us to feel inferior while we are here. Jesus said, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Healing Is A Gift

I absolutely believe that Jesus still heals today. Yet I am still waiting for my healing. I have tried all sorts of things, i.e. fasting, fervently praying, pleading, demanding. Maybe if I say it just right, in a way that might please God, He will heal me. I prayed in the midst of the worse of this ailment and I have prayed when I was feeling really well. Yet, I am still waiting.

In the middle of my devotions one day, a verse popped out at me that finally set me free of this desperation I felt to find the right words that would induce God to heal me. In Acts 3:16 I read, "By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through Him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see." I finally understood that I cannot create this faith to grow in me by saying just the right words or speaking loud enough or whatever. The faith comes from God. I just need to ask and keep seeking Him.

The Bible clearly states in 1 Corithians 12 that healing is a gift. Jesus said in Matthew 7, "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" Therefore, I have determined to keep asking of my Father in heaven for complete healing. He also told us, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." He said "everyone." That means you and me too.

If you need healing, don't become discouraged. Keep seeking your Father. Don't look at others who have not been healed. Their testimony is not your Bible. Look in the Word of God and allow God to build faith in you for your healing. Romans 10:17 says, "Consequently, faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." Go to a Bible-believing and Bible-preaching church and get saturated in the Word of God. Read your Bible at home and spend time getting to know God. This is a walk of faith that God has taken us on. Submit to Him and let him build faith in your life. When your healing comes, shout it from the roof top. Let eveyone know what a great and mighty God we serve.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

She's 19 Today

It doesn't seem that long ago that I taught her how to read and write. In my mind, I can still see her playing with her Barbie dolls or watching Barnie and Veggie Tales, or playing with her little brother and all their stuffed animals.

It doesn't seem that long ago that she was taking piano lessons and feeling nervous about an upcoming recital. It never matter how nervous she felt; she still wanted to do it, and do it well. Amanda was up to almost any challenge.

It doesn't seem that long ago that my little girl became a teenager. I was warned that these would be awful years. What were they talking about? As Amanda was identifying who she is, we had some of our best talks ever.

And somewhere along the way she became more than a daughter to me...

...she also became my friend.

I love you, Amanda.

Happy 19th Birthday! (Your last year as a teenager, and then start the 20s!)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Memorial Day

We had a great Memorial Day just relaxing at Curt's parents' house. We enjoyed a delicious meal, good conversation, long walk, and a boat ride...all of this in the midst of much laughter and teasing. It was a great day!

"The love of a family is life's greatest blessing." - Author Unknown

(picture: my brother-in-law, Marty; Curt; Curt's Dad)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Family Reunion

I haven't had time to blog recently because I was gone so much. First, Curt and I went to Springfield, MO for the 10-year birthday of "Save Europe's Children." It was great seeing old friends and making new ones.

Then we had District Council. As soon as I got home from District Council, I packed my bags and left the next morning for my cousin's wedding in New Jersey.

This actually turned out to be quite a family reunion. I got to see aunts, uncles, and cousins that I haven't seen for anywhere between 1 year to 39 years.

My aunt and uncle in the small
picture I had not seen since I left
Brazil in 1969.

We spent a lot of time talking about old times and bringing each other up to date on our lives today. We spoke to each other in German, Portuguese, and English. It was really quite humorous. We only had two days to spend together, but we made the most of this time. Thank you Aunt Helene and Uncle Rudy for opening your home to all of us.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Florida Spring Break

Curt and Amanda were in Florida last week for Amanda's spring break. One of the difficulties of having one child in college and one in high school is that they do not have spring break at the same time.

Curt and Amanda got to spend spring break with (from left to right) Curt's aunt, Arleta, and Curt's parents, Ginny and Ollie Dalaba. It was obviously a windy day at the beach.

I wasn't real thrilled about Amanda flying to Florida alone, so I suggested that Curt may want to go with her and visit his folks. He loved the idea and booked his flight. Amanda had been battling a flu for a few days. The night before their flight to Florida, Amanda developed a fever. She took some antibiotic and was actually feeling much better the next day. However, I was so glad that Curt was going with her to make sure she was feeling alright during their travel.

Curt and Amanda got to spend time with some of Curt's cousins and another aunt, Jacquie. They also went on an air boat to view alligators and even got to hold a baby alligator, which they described as "soft." I can't imagine an alligator being soft. I guess I'll have to find out for myself some day.

They went fishing one day and caught quite a few fish, which my father-in-law is cleaning in this picture of him and Curt.

While Curt and Amanda were gone, Brendon and I had a nice time too. We went out to Brendon's favorite restaurant, Applebee's, for Brendon's favorite food, boneless buffalo wings, a few times. We had some good talks. Basically, this was a good time for some mom and son bonding.

Curt and Amanda arrived home on Saturday. They had a near accident on the way to the Tampa Airport on Saturday morning while it was still dark outside. They noticed a truck flashing its lights on the opposite side of the road. Suddenly they noticed something in the road in front of them. My father-in-law slammed on his breaks and stopped in time to keep from hitting a car that had been in an accident just minutes before and was in their lane without its lights on. The truck behind them slammed on his breaks too and went around them. What is most interesting is that just prior to this they had stopped for gas and had some major delays at the gas station due to a very slow cashier. Perhaps, it was a "divine delay" to keep them from being involved in this accident. I am just so glad that our lives are in God's hands and that He brought Curt and Amanda safely home to Brendon and me.

(Curt took this picture one morning at the ocean just walking distance from his cousin Lisa's house.)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Fairy Tales

Remember to pray for our upcoming presidential election this year.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Valentine's Day Party

This was the message I shared at our Valentine's Day party at church on Friday:

Do you want to know how to have complete joy? I mean the kind of joy that doesn't depend on other people. I have heard my husband tell our congregation when speaking about marriages, "If you are an unhappy single person, you will be an unhappy married person. Marriage is the great intensifier." That means you can be married to the perfect spouse and still be unhappy (and make your spouse's life miserable as well). So how do you get this joy?

The answer is in John 15:9-11 where Jesus says, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."

As we obey God, His love will fill us. Imagine you are an empty glass and God pours His love into you. What happens when the glass is completely filled? Does that mean you don't need more of God? No! It means that as He pours more of His love into you, that love spills out on those around you. Instead of demanding more from your spouse or your children, you are so filled up that you just want to pour more of your love out on those around you. Oh...how we need more of God in our lives!

Our theme was "A Night Under the Stars" and our setting was an outdoor Italian cafe.

Curt and I were one of nine couples playing "Apple of Discord" (with everyone else watching us). We had to keep the apple between our heads as we followed instructions such as "take a step to the right," "squat," "jump." The apple was suppose to stay between our foreheads. Oh, well... :-)

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Friday, February 01, 2008

His Friend

I have observed my parents’ marriage of over 50 years and I have now been married myself for over 20 years. The one piece of advice I would like to share for a successful and happy marriage is that each partner apply the "fruit of the Spirit" to their marriage. What is the fruit of the Spirit? It’s found in Galatians 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."

Stop for a moment and take an honest look at your relationship with your husband. Are you finding yourself lacking in any of the fruits mentioned above? Sometimes it seems much simpler to live out these virtues when relating to acquaintances or friends because we don’t have to live with them. However, real excellence comes by applying the fruit of the Spirit to our marital relationship.

Learn to be his friend. Strive to be his source of encouragement. Make it possible for him to look forward to coming home at the end of the day. Tell him what you appreciate about him. When your husband shares his thoughts with you, don’t criticize him. Listen attentively and influence him with gentleness and respect. If anyone criticizes him, you defend him. In 2 Samuel 1:26, David said about Jonathan, "Your friendship was wonderful to me. More wonderful than that of women." That verse always bothers me. I am determined to treat my husband in such a way that he will never be able to say that about any other friendship. I want to be his best friend.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Don't Want to Let Go

It's so hard for us to put away our Christmas village. It took so long to set up and now we just want to sit and look at it. After all the work that went into setting it up, we don't want to box it up until we absolutely have to.

I'm so glad that God feels that way about his creation too. He does not easily let go of us. He works with us to help us become what he planned for us to be. His plans for us are only for our good. It's often easy to lose sight of that when we want something badly and do not care whether it is good for us or not. However, we have a loving father who keeps working with us. Exodus 34:6 says that God is "the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness." 2 Peter 3:9 says, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

"The Life in the Spirit" Study Bible says that because of Adam's sin, "all humans are now born into the world with an impulse toward sin and evil." (Found in Romans 5:12 study notes.) That means that God understands our tendency toward sin, yet He made a way for us through His Son. However, this does not give us an excuse to sin. As we continue to spend time with God, drawing close to him and allowing him to consume us, we will have less of a tendency toward sin and greater strength to live godly lives. As long as we are always striving to overcome sin and are looking for every opportunity to get closer to God, He will draw close to us and help us until we become all He meant for us to be. God does not have a wimpy grip on our lives. Even when we want to let go for a little while so we can do our own thing, He admonishes us and gives us every opportunity to return to Him. He paid with His blood to save us and He is not going to let go in our moment of weakness. However, we must continually strive to overcome our weaknesses and not use them as an excuse to sin.

"For we do not have a high priest (Jesus) who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrew 4:15 & 16

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Anticipating 2008

During my devotions on New Year’s Eve, I read in Psalm 121 "I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber." When a New Year begins, we feel excitement about a new beginning and some concern for what might be ahead. What comfort we find in Psalm 121.

At the beginning of 2007, I had no idea that our daughter would lose control of our car on black ice while crossing over a bridge with cars all around her. I was sitting in a church service at that time, when I thought of her and prayed a quick prayer for her safety. It was actually quite miraculous that she did not hit another vehicle as she spun out of control and that the car did not flip over. She sustained no injuries and the car had only a few scratches. "He who watches over you will not slumber."

At the beginning of 2007, I also could not have known that my husband was allergic to wasps to such a degree that one sting could end his life in a matter of minutes. When he was stung in June and his blood pressure descended at such a fast rate that he lost consciousness within minutes of the wasp sting, I felt complete helplessness. I stood over my husband’s bed, with the lady from 911 talking to me as I prayed in tongues over my husband. I don’t know what she thought of me and I really don’t care because I had "lifted my eyes to the hills because I knew my help would only come from the Lord." The ambulance arrived within ten minutes and my husband’s blood pressure had already started to rise.

Praise God for His faithfulness in 2007! I can anticipate 2008 with joy knowing that God remains faithful always. No matter what I may have to face, He will be with me to strengthen and guide me. Psalm 121 ends with, "The Lord will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore."

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Prayer for the New Year

"Lord, I give up all my own purposes and plans, all my own desires and hopes and ambitions, and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to Thee, to be Thine forever. I hand over to Thy keeping all my friendships; all the people whom I love are to take a second place in my heart. Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Work out Thy whole will in my life, at any cost, now and forever." --Betty Stam

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Making Fun Memories

This was Christmas Eve at our house. My sister and her family, as well as my parents, shared this day with us. We wanted to add to all the special memories we already share, so after lunch we played a game. We divided into two teams, guys against girls, and raced to see who could make the best Santa in 7 minutes using only wrapping paper, tape, scissors, and cotton balls. We laughed so hard as we were making our Santas and even more when we viewed each others Santas. Just in case you're wondering, my mother is one of the Santas and my brother-in-law, Robert, is the other one.

It's so important to find things to laugh about. The Bible says that laughter does good like medicine, so finding things to laugh about will keep your family healthy.

This week, we received a very sad e-mail telling us that the wife of a pastor in our town suddenly died on Christmas Eve of a heart attack. She was only one year older than I am. None of us really knows how much time we have together, so we need to look for every opportunity to make good memories. As we were taking family pictures on Christmas Day, our kids asked if we could take one "crazy" picture when we were through with all the nice poses. Why not, if it will help them to remember all the fun that we had together? So this is my family being very silly.