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May 11, 2016, 9:22 AM

Graduations


"Train up a child in the way he/she should go and when he is old he will not depart from it".  As our teens graduate from high school and begin their independence, we hold on tight to this promise from Proverbs 22.  We truly need to cover them in prayer because along with the uncertainties and decisions they are making there is also the physical changes that are taking place in their bodies.  The world seems to be at their doorstep with so many possibilities to choose from.  If we as parents and grandparents have expressed to our children how important it is to follow the Lord in all their ways, we have finished the training.  Now just to let them go!  How difficult that is!!  But as we look back on our own lives the lessons were best learned by making mistakes.  Even our muscles grow stronger when we fall down and pull ourselves up a few times. 

If you have teenagers graduating in your circle of family and friends, PRAY HARD for them.  This world needs Godly young people with new and fresh ideas to witness to this ever increasing sinful world.

 

Submitted by Barb Crisenbery

Grandmother in training.




April 1, 2016, 9:02 AM

SPRING WINDS


Here we are in another awesome season.  SPRING!!  This year it seems to be the story of the high winds in my area.  I have a wooden sign on my back porch that bangs against the house.  I had to take it down the other day because I thought it was going to come right through the wall.  And on this old house that would probably be possible.  But I'm thankful for those winds because it dries up the yard and mud puddles that all the rain has created.   I know pretty soon I'll be ready to plant  flowers so I appreciate the dryer soil.  I have already seen some farmers in their fields and I'm sure they are thankful for the wind as well.

          I remember when I was a young mother and the high winds used to frighten me.  I was always worried about a tornado coming through.  Over the years I have learned that there is nothing I can do to prevent the winds so I have learned to embrace them and just be careful to look for shelter when it's necessary and remember that God is beside me. 

          Hey, is that what we do with the storms of our lives?  We seem overwhelmed at times when our situations are more than we can bare.  But we need to remember that God is beside us to help us find shelter in his word, in our devotions, and through our prayers.  ( " If we will trust in God’s sovereign care for us in life’s storms, He will use us to bear witness to many." ) Quoted from Steven J. Cole 2002.  Weathering the Storm.

          In every season of the year as well as the seasons of our lives we should always be ready to give an answer for the reason of the hope that is within us.  (1 Peter 3:15)  So when the high winds or even the tornados of life try to bring you down, remember that sometimes the Lord is clearing up muddy puddles so that you can plant flowers of hope.  He is always beside us helping us through so that we can give testimony to his faithfulness.

Submitted by:

Barb Crisenbery, Living Hope Secretary

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February 10, 2016, 3:03 PM

Satan......GET BEHIND ME!!!


We have been talking about SATAN a lot lately and I don't want to give him to much attention because that is exactly what he likes. I refuse to be a "pawn" in his games anymore. 

I am claiming God's promise to protect me and to deliver me from the evil one!

Psalm 107:14 says this:

He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains.

I am claiming this promise today....here and NOW. No more focusing on the doom and gloom in this world. I was put here on earth for a purpose as well as you....to bring glory to The Name of Christ. To spread the good news of his birth, death and ressurection . We were not born to question the will of God nor to let Satan have a stronghold in our lives. 

I want to be his faithful servant.

Deuteronomy 11:13-15

So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today- to lpove the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul- 

then I will rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.

I want to give my best to The one who has given me everything I DON"T DESERVE!

Jackie Snider




December 18, 2015, 9:23 AM

Christmas is different this year.



There’s not much I want for Christmas anymore. Not since you were stolen from us. Ever since, Christmas just doesn’t have the same excitement and joy it once did.
No offense to baby Jesus. In fact, I quite love him– a lot– but the sight of Him in the manger makes me ache for you, my own baby, beyond any words, in any language. Beyond any ache I ever knew was humanly possible to survive. The birth of Jesus completed the Holy Family. The contrast of that next to mine, a family forever incomplete, is too much for me to handle most Christmases as a bereaved mom.
Grief, Christmas and rooms overflowing with predominantly non-grieving people mix about as well as oil and water. I wish more people could really, truly get that. As in, get it without being bereaved, or grieved, or any of that. Just get it, period.
For every holiday picture taken, meal eaten, carols sung, families gathered, trees decorated, Christmas morning presents opened, are always achingly incomplete. The joy of the season and the ache of the ever missing you taunt me like a cruel, unending joke. Our family will be forever incomplete. And there’s nothing that could make that broken circle close the way it should– like a kiss beneath the mistletoe gone horribly wrong, two lips never meeting as one– the edges of our family circle are permanently broken, never again will we be a family complete.
Sigh.
. . .

Oh. my. heart. 
. . .
This is what Christmas without you looks like : The undertow is relentless. Every step holds the very real possibility of getting pulled totally and completely under– of being over my head, gasping for air in a whirlpool of holiday induced grief. Drowning in a thick sea of Eggnog and misjudgments. If I don’t show up, it’s mistaken as, “Oh, she doesn’t care.” If I do show up, with tears and the real sound of my own heart breaking, it’s “Ohhhh, she mustn’t be OVER it yet,” or “Clearly she’s not doing (hush-hush, voice lowered) very well.”
If only it could be understood that it is exactly because of the holidays– the gatherings, the pressure to be merrily on, the exaggerated empty chair that is often unrecognized and not spoken of in a room overflowing with a family otherwise glaringly complete– that leaves a grieving parent spinning in the holy-daze of grief.
Just when I think I’m doing ‘ok’, a half cup of tears unexpectedly floods my perfectly measured Christmas cookie batter, and drowns me right along with it– a not so ironic analogy indicative of an entire season filled with far too much salt in a bereaved parent’s wounds. Or, if things have been feeling slightly jolly and even joy-filled, I’ll find myself perpetually holding my breath, shoulders up to my ears, cautiously waiting for the other shoe to drop without even realizing it. Or with the anxiety of a mother scanning the crowd for her lost child, one might find me relentlessly surveying every holiday gathering for mine, while also making note of every blessed Kleenex box, bathroom location, the quickest escape routes and nearest exists that will lead to a corner where I can safely let my tears for you endlessly fall.
. . .
If one were to meet me in my crying corner, I’d sob that all I really want for Christmas is this:
1) A normal life, one with you in it, growing bigger and older every day instead of this tide of grief washing me mercilessly up on its shore.
2) A Christmas card with our entire family, all nine of us. Complete with your cheeky two year old grin shining brightly between your brothers.
3) Your breath, your life, fogging up every pane of glass in our life– the kitchen window, car window, front house window, every mirror that now reflects my sad bereaved mother eyes back to me.
4) The untainted joy of Christmas, the birth of possibility, of dreams untainted by the broken, jagged, shattered pieces of our missing puzzle piece, our missing you.
5) To feel truly alive again, instead of trying to survive underneath the weight of life and death I feel in every single breath.
6) The empty chair at our table, full. Full of life, full of laughter, full of every amazing part of you.
7) A circle of loving hearts who could understand that although I carry both the ache and the joy of the season in me all at once, the ache often times feels stronger and more overwhelming, because the expected joy of the season is jollying everywhere, greeting my broken places with a slap in the face and a swift punch to the gut. If only the world could understand that for me the holidays feel more like an emotional war zone than an exciting season of Yuletide cheer.
There you have it. 
The thing is, I don’t care about what kind of tree we have– real or fake, sparkly ornaments or dull. I don’t care about what kind of food we eat, or if we decide to put lights on the outside of the house or nowhere at all. I don’t care if anyone gets me a present. I don’t care about holiday fruitcake, or gingerbread houses or where so-and-so gets to vacation for Christmas this year.
All I care about is that we’re together as a family, creating priceless memories that money can’t buy and death can’t steal.
Oh yes, and one last thing. I hope to figure out how to keep your light on inside my heart bright enough to make my pores glow with the light of you all year long. That’s my Christmas wish.
If it happens, I figure that’s the closest I’ll ever get to having all I really want for Christmas–
You.
. . .Jackie Snider
. . .
. . .

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November 18, 2015, 7:15 AM

Terrorism


Last night's small group bible study discussion is still on my mind this morning. I just had to look up scripture to help me either disprove or confirm some statements that were made. We were discussing how we as Christians should be responding to what is taking place in our world following the most recent terrorist attacks in Paris.

First, God, Jesus or Paul never said "Hate the sin, but love the sinner in this context.

What should our response be in the acceptance of the refugees entering our country? How can we say that all Syrians are terrorists? Do we not, have terrorists of many names right here in America?

Here are some scriptures that I found helpful:

Mtthew 5:43-44 ESV “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

We should be praying for these terrorists.

Romans 12:9 ESV

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.

We can abhor what is evil, not the person.

Psalm 97:10 ESV "O you who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked."

It is our Lord who will deliver

2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 ESV "If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother."

Here is Pastor Dave's point; we are to "warn him as a brother."

Witness to our brothers, the time of harvest is here.

Romans 12:20-21 ESV "To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

We can accept these refugees, we can overcome the evil by doing good.

Now, your going to say how do we accept them when we fear the one in the many just may be the terrorist that will take American lives?

I say it is for God to avenge; not us.

Romans 12:19 "Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. ..."

Are we in end times, we cannot know. But, we can be alert. We must stay faithful to our Lord and Savior. We must witness to others, so that the many can hear of God's grace.

bjz

 

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