Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Fathers' Day Message

This morning Dr. Charles Stanley's message to fathers on his In Touch program was so good that I decided to include in my blog the 12 points he made for fathers to ask of themselves:

All questions are prefaced by this statement:

"If your children walked in your footsteps....

1. Will your children find Jesus Christ in their life?
2. Will they live a faith focused on God for their needs?
3. Will they be industrious and set godly goals for their life?
4. Will they have the wisdom to live today with tomorrow in mind?
5. Will they be good stewards of their finances?
6. Will they make prayer a priority in their life?
7. Will they have a hunger for the Word of God creating a desire for an intimate relationship with Him?
8. Will they seek to lead other people to Christ?
9. Will they faithfully serve the Lord in their local church?
10. Will they recognize their body as a temple of the Holy Spirit?
11. Will they live and work in the power of the Holy Spirit?
12. Will they go to heaven or spend eternity suffering the consequences of their disobedience to Almighty God?

Fathers, you are the greatest example to your children of their view of who God is in their lives. The above questions are a challenge to each dad, and I pray that dads everywhere are striving to be all they can be for their children's eternal future.

Have a great day!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Happy Fathers Day to All Dads!

I had been married several years when I learned that both my father and mother had become Christians, so I did not grow up in a Christian home. I myself had gone to a Christian youth camp at the age of 12 and knelt down at the altar set up by the camp and accepted Christ as Savior, but did not grow or mature in my faith. It was not until after my dad and mom had become Christians, and my son was two years old, that I recommitted my life to Christ.

By not having the experience of a strong Christian father, I grew up with fears and insecurities that I didn't realize were so deep-seated until I became a Christian myself. I couldn't quite grasp the full extent of a Father in Heaven who loved me so unconditionally. It took me years to comprehend fully that I did not have to work and strive so hard to please my Father in heaven. It was not by my works or deeds that He saved me, and it was not by my works or deeds that would keep me saved. I had a Father in Heaven who loved me so much that He sent His Son to die in my place so that I could spend eternity with Him. It was by His mercy and grace alone that I was placed in His kingdom and my name was written in the Lamb's Book of Life---not by works that I had done. There was such freedom and release from bondage when I fully understood the depth of the love of my Heavenly Father.

It was not until that comprehension of God's love for me that I could in turn lay aside all my fears and insecurities and love my earthly father the way God intended. All my fears of dad disappeared and I was able to fellowship with him in Christ until his death last year. Those last years of dad's life were precious to me and what a joy it will be when I shall see dad again in heaven.

Your relationship with your earthly father often dictates how you respond to your Heavenly Father. If you are a father yourself, remember that you are an example of how your own children will perceive and respond to God. Do they see God as their security and hope? If they feel secure and protected by you as their earthly dad, they can more easily transfer those feelings and experiences to realize God's presence with them throughout their lives. Be a godly dad to your children!

Happy Father's Day to all dads!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bryan's 6th Grade Graduation

Our oldest grandson, Bryan, just went through his 6th grade graduation and next year he will be a teenager and in middle school. Congratulations, Bryan! We are so very proud of you! But where did the time go? It seems only yesterday that Rich was just a baby and now he is the father of two boys. I remember so well Bryan's birth and his first year of life. I kept a diary of his first year recording every smile, every bubble blown, first coo, first steps, etc. and gave the diary to Rich and Emily as a Christmas gift. I remember Rich--and I remember Bryan, as a baby as if it were yesterday. The time passes so quickly. I saw this poem by a mother that speaks what is in every mother's heart as she sees her child grow up. I want to share it with you.

A Touch of Love
By Cindy Zelinski

You were six months old and full of fun
With a blink of an eye, you were suddenly one.
There were so many things we were going to do,
But I turned my head, and you turned two.
At two you were very dependent on me,
But independence took over when you turned three.
Your third birthday; another year I tried to ignore,
But when I lit the candles, there weren't three, but four.
Four was the year that you really strived,
Why, look at you now; you're already five!
Now you are ready for books and rules,
This is the year that you go to school!
The big day came, you were anxious to go,
We walked to the bus, going, oh, so slow.
As you climbed aboard and waved goodby,
I felt a lump in my throat, and tears stung my eye.
Time goes so fast; it is hard to believe,
That just yesterday, you were home here with me.
And tomorrow when the bus brings you home, and you jump to the ground,
You'll be wearing your cap and graduation gown.
So I'm holding to the moments as hard as I can,
Because the next time I look, I'll be seeing a man.

We, as mothers, are never ready to see our sons and daughters grow up, but that is the rightful cycle of life. We cannot hold them too closely, but we must teach them how to handle life's troubles independently, with strength and courage, so that they can teach their children the same.

Soon Bryan will be grown and have children of his own. We wouldn't want it any other way! Thank you, God, for the precious gift of children that you give us. There is so much joy wrapped up in every little bundle that you choose to give to parents!

Again, congratulations, Bryan!
Nana (Sandy)

Friday, June 08, 2007

Slaying "Self"

How big is "self" in your life? We were born with a nature that preserves self until our last breath. We allow self to be the center of our motivations and attitudes until one day we come to know Christ personally, and then self becomes less important. We now have the Person of Jesus Christ that we want to please more than self. However, we learn early in our Christian walk what the Apostle Paul learned:
"For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want." (Galatians 5:17)

What is the area of "self" in your life that keeps rearing its ugly head to be noticed and demanding its own way more than obeying Christ? I had to ask this hard question of myself recently, and the area with which I struggle the most is my need to please people. I want people to like me. I don't like being in conflict with any one person. It hurts me deeply when I learn that someone doesn't like something about me. My ego is hurt, my emotions go off-balance, and my focus becomes inward and my attitudes are rotten. I realized that my need to elevate self was greater than wanting to please God. That brought me to my knees. If in my heart, my need to please God is not greater than needing to elevate self, I am in great danger. I can only move forward if I believe with all my heart that my love for God is greater than the need to be liked by others. I had to confess and ask God to slay self within me so that self would decrease and God would increase in my life. Christ desires for me to love him first, and seek His face, and allow Him to live through me so that others can see Christ in me instead of my sinful self. "The Lord stood with me and strengthened me." (II Tim. 4:17)

"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 5:25-26)

May self decrease and God increase greater in my life!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Medical Frustrations

As Dick and I age, health issues become more prevalent and more a center of our thoughts and actions than they used to be in our younger years. Our bodies are aging and we have to deal with the problems that aging brings. It is a natural process of life, and the attitude with which we face getting older is all important.

Dick has had Type II Diabetes now for over 10 years. Just in the last year or so, the toll the disease has had on his body is coming to the forefront, and we are now in the process of locating specalists to help care of these serious issues.

We are finding the process of medical care in these modern times to be most frustrating. The health insurance agencies have placed such restrictions and regulations on their requirements and have made demands on doctors that make their profession much harder for them to take the proper steps necessary to take care of their patients. They have to follow such strict guidelines on prescriptions, proper testing, length of stay in hospitals, followup, etc. that they often cannot follow through on their own skills and instincts about a patient's need. The medical profession has divided itself up into a system of specialists for every small part of the body and there seems to be no one that oversees the workings of the body as a whole. No one knows what the other is doing and won't go against another doctor's orders even if they did know what was going on.

Therefore, we as patients hop from one specialist doctors' office to another and seemingly get no where even with the added time, effort and money spent. Doctors are busier than they have ever been, their offices are jammed packed with patients, and follow-up appointments are given months in advance out of necessity.

Who knows what the answer is to alleviate all these frustrations for doctors and/or patients. I imagine the problems will continue to escalate and get worse as the population increases and demands are greater. As Christians, we do have the awesome privilege of taking our concerns to Almighty God, asking for His direction and guidance and trusting Him to guide us in His love. He is our hope and our security and we know that ultimately our bodies are God's temple and we are to honor God with our bodies (I Cor. 6:19-20). If we take proper care of God's temple (our bodies) as best we know how, live holy and blameless before the Lord, eat healthy and exercise, we can hope for a long, fulfilling life. But these old earthly bodies are only temporary and will deterioriate despite our best efforts. Someday we look forward to our new resurrected bodies where "there will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Rev. 21:4b)

In the meantime, pray with us that God will guide Dick and me to the right doctor in the right timing to take care of our medical needs soon.

Thank you for sharing our concerns with us.

Friday, June 01, 2007


Lately I've been feeling a bit of homesickness for Maui, my home, my little flower garden, our precious 15-year-old cat, Trouble, and our church family. I'm missing my son and his precious family on Oahu. In the opposite way, when I'm in Maui for a length of time, I find I get homesick for my home in West Virginia, too---the familiarity, the memories of happy times in the past, being with my mom and sisters, etc., the country road to walk. I think that by going back "home" I can capture some of the freedoms I felt as a child growing up in the country with my parents, sisters and cousins. When I am here, memories rush in so often of the activities as a child that gave me so much joy.

But I have come to realize that you can't really go back home and be that child again. I have also come to realize that the home we establish as adults wherever we have chosen to settle should never give us our final security. Yes, we work hard to make our home our comfort zone. I love to make my home accessible to family and friends where they can feel comfortable. It is a blessing and a gift of God that He has allowed us the privilege of owning a home where we find shelter and a place we can offer others a place of refuge, if needed.

I must remind myself often, however, that this earth is not my home. I should not plant my roots too deeply here in this earthly soil. I should not place my entire security in the home that God has given us the ability to own here. Just as the song goes, "This world is not my home. I'm just a passing thru". This earthly existence is just temporary. We are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes. God has prepared a place for us that we will call home for eternity in heaven. We have not yet arrived at our final destination. Our hearts will not be completely at home until we enter that haven of rest in heaven. "I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

Until we reach that final destination, God wants us to know that home is where God is. "If anyone loves Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:23) He promises that where we are, He will be also. "I will never leave you or forsake you." We can have that peace and security wherever we are because He is with us.

If by chance you are somewhere where you yearn to get back home, and you are feeling so homesick and lonesome for the familiar sites, sounds, and people that you left behind, just remember that God is always there to gather you in His arms and help you to feel at home in Him where you are. He is Immanuel, God with us. You will never be alone, and He wants so much for you to know that when you are with HIm, you are home!

Jesus is the way to home!