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THAT THE NEXT GENERATION MAY KNOW (Series on Mothering & Mentoring)

We’re beginning a short series for mentors, mothers, aunts, and  grandmothers. We are all called to impact the next generation.

hands

 

My friend Twila secretly made this Shutterfly book for her daughter,

 last Christmas,

to tell the story of her grandson,

Henry.

We are all called to remember ways God has worked in our lives,

and in the lives of our forefathers,

passing them on,

“so that the next generation would know,

even the children yet unborn.”

(Psalm 78:6)

THE STORY OF HENRY

page 1Page 2(1)Page 3 for realpage 4 second timePage 5page 6page 7 page 8 againSerious doctor with folded arms in labcoat

Mommy went to the doctor.

The doctor said,

“The little nest

is breaking apart.

There is no baby.

We need to

clean out the nest.”

page 10 page 11

Beautiful young doctor with stethoscope So Mommy went to a

different doctor.

She asked,

“Now are

you ready

to let us

clean out

your nest?”

page 14

page 15page 16page 17page 18page 19page 20

Though the first doctor made a mistake (and sent his faulty records to the next doctor), God was watching over Henry, and guiding his mother. She listened and obeyed. And “Nana” recorded it so that he would know, and so that the next generation might know, even the children yet unborn.

I’m hoping you might invite those who need this series and also those who have raised faithful children to jump in and share their thoughts as we mentor one another. E-mail them or share on social media. And please pray too — I certainly was not a model parent and am not a model grandparent — but I am learning, and I am also learning from others who are wiser. Please pray for me and those participating.

On a wonderful “blog sisters” note twelve (TWELVE!) of you came to Ohio this weekend and we had an absolutely wonderful time getting to know one another on a face to face level — pictures are to come, but it was great. All were wonderful. Mary E was able to come — having gone off the cancer med that was making her so sick for a two week respite. She was as lovely as we have come to believe — as were others. Laura Dancer, AT LEAST FOR ME, was a surprise! (Now that I’ve met her face to face I feel I can tease her like that for I can hear her laugh! Despite the enormous load she carries in her life, she faces it with joy and humor.) We must do this again sometime somewhere, (some of you will do it on the cruise!) for it was wonderful. Chris orchestrated it all, drove me two hours out of her way to the airport, and brought food — as did Nancy and Susan  (I’m probably missing some helpers). We prayed together. Nancy and Laura-Dancer brought their daughters. Pictures to come! I am also so grateful for prayers — God certainly was gracious. All my planes were on time, my voice held up, and except for Friday night when I spoke to leaders, I had energy for this five day trip with so much speaking in Fargo and Ashland. Most of all I sensed His amazing quickening. Thank you!

Sunday

1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

2. Can you think of a Shutterfly (or other company) book you might make for a child or children to pass on a story? In a sentence, what would be the story?

Monday-Wednesday: Bible Study (Psalm 78)

This is a long psalm, so we will only take the first part.

3. Read Psalm 78:1-8.

A. How does the opening verse show the importance of what the psalmist (Asaph – my favorite) is about to tell them?

B. How is a “parable” or a “story” to pass on different than simply teaching didactic truths?

C. What, according to verse 4, does God want us to do?

D. What reason, according to verses 6-8 is given for this command?

God is angry with Ephraim, whom He blessed, but forgot His works. On a personal note this is interesting to me for I live in a village named Ephraim, whom its believing founders named because she was so beautiful, for one meaning of Ephraim is “doubly fruitful.” (Joseph named his son Ephraim for God made him “doubly fruitful” in the land of his suffering.)

Ephraim
Ephraim, Wisconsin named by its Moravian Founders because it is “doubly fruitful.”

That generation had a deep faith but today, by and large, Ephraim has drifted from the faith of its fathers. Two little churches are on the hill — one is open only in the summer for tourists, and the other is endeavoring, through the guidance of a new pastor, to find its way back to the faith of its founding fathers. What happened to the Ephraim of old and to this little Ephraim? I know part of the problem for both was prosperity — for Christianity moves away from wealth. Wealth makes people feel a lack of need for God.

Also, as we read the history of both, we know that there were enormous failures morally, and failures to pass on the torch. They forgot His works and the wonders He had shown them. We are so prone to forget. I think one of the reasons that Ann VosKamp’s One Thousand Gifts is so paradigm changing is because she took the concept we all know of the importance of being thankful, and put it to a poetic story that moved our hearts to see HOW LIFE-CHANGING keeping a list of thanks could be. I keep a list now, and it is helping me.

4. What comments do you have on the above paragraph and why?

5. If you were to thank God for three simple things from yesterday, what would they be?

6. I think it is important to get together as a family at least a few times a week, and over a meal. We were able to keep suppers pretty regular and that was our best time. For some it is breakfast or bedtime or a weekly family night. Here is when we tell our “stories,” ways that God moved in our life that day, or ways He rescued His people in the past. Here is when ask questions and listen. We also need to do this all through the day, as we walk by the way, when we rise and when we lay down…  If you have children in the home, how are you endeavoring to make this happen and how?

7. Read Psalm 78:9-16 and list some of the works they forgot.

8. What are some acts of God in your life that you must never forget? List three stories with one summary sentence for each.

Thursday-Friday: Sermon

Scot Sherman: A Song for Children

This is a Presbyterian pastor (and the sermon is very Presbyterian) from the Monergism site. What I loved about it is how he caught passing on “the story.” There is static in the beginning but it disappears fairly soon.

A Song for the Children

If the player above does not work, go to this site and choose the first sermon: http://www.monergism.com/search?keywords=psalm+78&format=All

9. Share your comments and notes.

Saturday

10. What is your take-a-way and why?

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277 comments

  1. 4. What comments do you have on the above paragraph and why?
     
    I try to thank God, each time I pray, for something. I told the blog sisters this weekend how I am so thankful for hot water at times. I thank God for the “guys” who invented the hot water heater, running water, etc. when we lose power in the winter, we have no water….we have a well and the pump is electric. It can be brutal……
     
    I do think it is true that sometimes money can lead us away from God, but some people do use their money for good also. My husband and I say if we ever win the lottery we would pay off our church’s mortgage and add a gym.
     
    5. If you were to thank God for three simple things from yesterday, what would they be?
     
    Since yesterday was a blur…..drove a bunch this weekend….can I be thankful for things today? I am thankful for time spent dancing with God this afternoon, thoughtful friends, and salmon cooked just right!
     

    1. 🙂   Laura, I decided yesterday to wait until today to post 3 simple things for which I am/was thankful. My reasons were similar–the day before yesterday was a blur!  Part of my day has been a blur (and I would have liked a couple more hours to be blurred).  I think I posted this morning and then my computer froze in the process — and I sorta gave up.  I like your thankful list — and salmon sounds SO good right now, even if I would eat it straight from a can.  I had a spoonful of peanut butter and a grapefruit after I got home from class tonight:)

      1. Oh wow, Renee….you def need to eat something more! The salmon was really good. I like the south beach “diet;” it’s really just healthy food. Lay the salmon in a oven safe dish, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 2 cloves fresh garlic, salt and pepper…pour “sauce” over fish and broil until nice and brown (how I like it). My husband finally got home from work around 9:15 🙁 and said it was DE-lish! Get some!

        1. Too funny, Laura…I was thinking “salmon cooked just right”?…how can that be possible?…:)  Then I looked a bit lower and you posted the recipe/directions, might just give it a try.
           
          Renee, I too really like the south beach diet/program…whole grains, unrefined, healthy, and yum!

          6 a.m….time to get ready for work…enjoy the day, all!

        2. I usually eat more :)One of best things I’ve done was move away from some whole grains over a year ago — especially wheat and soy (although I know I don’t have celiac disease).  I they may have been causing some inflammation.  Still eat oats (and and a little wheat/soy periodically, too) but pay for it when I do.  The closest popular diet that seems to help me feel best is maybe something between a modified version of Zone and South Beach — but primarily just decent nutrition, with low gluten and some flexibility.  Most of the “flexibility” is on Tuesdays when I don’t have time to cook (then I eat nuts and portable fruit/veggies) — except need dental work before some veggies 🙁 ; also flexible when people ask me over to their place or to go out, and the relationship is way more important than what I eat.  Last summer, at a physical, I was nervous about telling my doctor about how I improved test results with “quack” sounding interventions when I knew I do not have celiac disease. (Plus, I think he knows I am a dietitian, though I only do a tiny bit of consulting).  When I told him, he said he felt better when he didn’t eat gluten, too! (but his reaction to the word “detox” wasn’t exactly positive — and I had sort of a smirk on my face when I told him).  Last week, I got so hungry during class that I ordered pizza for the whole class (they already knew I am crazy — and they were hungry, too). In general, though, I am not likely to follow any diet that has a name:) rigidly.  Pretty happy with “everything in moderation” perspective.  Interestingly, there is now an eating disorder label for people who are rigid about “healthy” diets — been there, too.  An eating disorder is one reason I went to grad school for something other than dietetics (though, initially I intended to go right back into dietetics after grad school).  It actually is fun to see how God has woven my experiences together to move me back toward nutrition, especially through my externally funded projects — and I also am excited by a couple job listings I’ve recently seen which weave all my experiences together; even with potential food/diet/ anxiety about eating challenges, He has changed me back to a point where I enjoy doing some nutrition-related work but still can tell in my spirit where that balance between mentally healthy nutrition and “danger zone” rigid nutrition is, both from a food intake and work perspective.  (And now I’m wondering if I have any salmon in a can — I do get so absorbed in what I am doing that I forget to eat)
          Sorry I started a rabbit trail. If I yap about food again, will do it on FB 🙂

      2. Wow Renee, I didn’t know that about your education….lol about the pizza in class! I have struggled with diet/weight my whole life. I wish I didn’t care and I would love to forget to eat. believe it or not, it was Sarah who started me on the SB diet a couple of years ago. I really felt healthy eating more veggies than I ever had in my whole life! I’m not a big fan of fruit; grew up in Florida (!). And, I think we can wrap this discussion into mentoring for mothers too! my mom was a fabulous cook and we are all meals together every night; she had a 4-5 course meal prepared and worked full time! I don’t knew how she did it, but she did. I think those are the special times…..good food and good togetherness 🙂 I think food really speaks to the soul….

        1. Renee and Laura:  Joining your rabbit trail.   Since I quit gluten in January, i am a different person.  I don’t have to worry constantly about getting the aisle seat, how to make the quickest exit and where to!   I have had serious digestive issues for most of my adult life and don’t have celiac either.  I haven’t minded cutting out gluten too much. Technically, it is not the gluten which is protein, but the sugar in the grains that supposedly is the culprit for me.  But it is a boring way to eat.  Not much variety.   The sad part about the approach that works for me,  is that I have to cut OUT so many fruits and several veggies.    I would eat a ton of many kinds of fruit if I could.  it’s all about too much fructose and how it interplays with with digestion for me.  I work at an apple orchard and I’m not supposed to eat apples!  Plus we have 4 trees of our own. But I was SO sick last fall during apple season (when I ate tons of them) that I do believe in this, now that I know it.  Learning I can add some things back in with moderation though.  I have started to eat cooked and baked apples again.  The eating out part is hard.  Going on a nice vacation for our 35th this summer and I am not sure what I will eat.  If I followed the plan precisely, there is almost never one single entree that works on a menu.  Radical for me!   I would have thought this a ‘quacky’ thing too, except it made perfect sense with my symptoms and I have finally started to really feel better!  Now, if I could just figure out how to lose weight with it!  Post knee replacement, I have only gained no matter what I do.  ARGH.   

        2. Renee, I like your thoughts on diets.  With this cancer I’ve been wondering all kinds of things…like totally eliminating sugar.  I have a big sweet tooth so I try to have dessert-type items that really are not desserts (well, made w/out refined sugar) but I blow it regularly. 🙁  Anyway, I think moderation is good.  In general, I do eat healthy goods and get around 5-7 servings of fruits and veggies most days (which I think is better than most people in the US, anyway.)  Like your thoughts on this.  Was out of replies to your post here so posted under Laura’s response to you.

        3. Laura, Yeah, I’ve struggled with it too.  But until I almost omitted gluten, I felt pretty helpless because “nothing worked.”  So, I am more relaxed after that change (it’s easier not to be obsessed when I know I actually am able to lose weight).  Some of what I experienced earlier may have been related to the era:  3 out of a college cohort of 15 had eating disorders and were hospitalized (2 of us shortly after we graduated).  My weight has fluctuated with meds; eventually I was put on a “last resort” medication with a side effect of weight gain. After 10 years on it, I had gained almost 100 lbs & didn’t eat much.  When I went off the med, 50 pounds FELL off in a month and I ate like a pig while it was falling off. It wasn’t that having an eating disorder was entirely a choice or decision, but I was so sick when I went the medication that finally worked that I was willing to live with the side effect of weight gain (but I wasn’t willing to be a “fat dietitian”).  The weight gain was good for me in terms of compassion for others, too; as someone who eventually could follow any diet I wanted to try, I would have made an arrogant dietitian if I practiced with an eating disorder!

          I can’t imagine your mom making a 4-5 course meal and working.  I’m doing well if I have one course of 3 foods!  True that this is related to mentoring, not just in terms of food that is prepared and time together, but also attitudes about diet, food, and weight that impact the next generation.  I started dieting at 9 — that was unusual then, but scary common today among kids who don’t need to lose weight.  I am thankful that approaches to childhood weight loss have changed, too (doing some work related to preventing obesity in young children now, more because I’m interested in the process than the topic)

          Mary, I see now that I posted on a non-refreshed page and you have commented– will read your post now.

        4. Ok, seeing more posts now.  The rest of the story is that I have cut out a lot of fruit and most other added sugar.  I get used to that and I like it, partly because I have ADDED fat. I don’t even like most baked bread-type stuff anymore (and definitely not the disgusting gluten-free stuff).  But I am much more successful cutting out bread than added sugar.  BIggest change is cutting out cereal — I’d eat that for 3 meals a day when I was busy before, with some peanut butter for protein.    
          Mary, I do think that cutting out added sugar makes me feel better, but I like chocolate chip cookies:)  I do try to combine fruit/sweets  with stuff that doesn’t produce a blood sugar fluctuation though or I do feel gross — pretty sure I was insulin-resistant before I made the changes, and changing that led to weight loss.  I’m sure you are VERY aware of what you eat with cancer/treatment effects being so constant.   What helped when I ate pizza is that I enjoyed it, paid for it in pain, and got over it.  I made the choice & decided that the consequences are worth it once in awhile. I haven’t had much dairy for over a year, but am thinking of adding more. Ok, we won’t even start on exercise because I am pathetic:)   Some cancers might be related to food we once thought was healthy, but I suspect many forms of cancer are a combination of environmental, genetic, stress, and LIVING IN A FALLEN WORLD.  There’s definitely more to nutrition than dietitians once were taught, but I also had teachers who allowed my curiosity — and biochemistry was one of my favorite classes, making it fun to try to connect the dots. (couldn’t connect those same dots now without some serious studying)

  2. Things to be thankful for from yesterday. A phone call with a friend who needed encouragement and I hung up the phone feeling equally encouraged. ( praying for those needing encouragement)
    Spring rain that will cause our grass to grow green and fills our wells. ( praying for those experiencing drought)
    A chuck full day of work that was fruitful and seemed to flow with ease. All Gods Grace. My husband saying I should slow down a bit. Maybe work Less and do the volunteering things I enjoy. Something I really need to revisit with him. Understanding this follows many years I was thinking I was not doing enough! Full time work was always expected of me when I really just wanted to be home with our girls. So for this comment I am thankful.( Praying the Lord directs me in this:)

    1. So glad to hear of this encouragement, Liz! 

  3. 8. What are some acts of God in your life that you must never forget? List three stories with one summary sentence for each.
    The day I walked into my friends church for a worship service and was broken and gave my heart to the Lord and was forever changed.
    The weekend of my sisters death in a car accident and feeling the power of the prayers of others and the presence of God in a time of suffering. POWERFUL.
    The day I was willing to be used where the Lord would want me to be and on a bus filled with people asked the Lord to have who he would want me to sit next to, not to just go towards who I was comfortable with. I prayed with anticipation and I discovered the girl who sat next to me after our entering into conversation  was who I had bought my wedding dress from 2nd hand over 20 years earlier. I WAS BLOWN AWAY!!!!!

  4. 3 simple things I am thankful for from yesterday.
    Sunshine after the heavy rain; sweet fellowship of sisters in Christ( my small Bible study group); my husband’s assistance-specifically keeping a fire in our stove in the chilly evening
    Some acts of God in your life that you must never forget:
    The first story is the restoration of our marriage and I have been working on that to share with future generations!
    Second is how we were provided for one fall night on a trip to my Mother’s in Vermont and our van engine seized.
    The third one I will share with my grandchildren is our get together when we surprised my Mother with an early birthday the year she turned 80! This is really special because all of us were together at a place she really loved.

    1. Shirley. Would love to hear your restoration of your marriage story sometime Shirley.

      1. Liz, thanks, and maybe if there is an appropriate time, I will. Our lives got off to a rough start, but by the grace of God.
        And Psalm 78 has given me inspiration to put it to a Word document.

        1. That would be great, Shirley.  To document it and share here sometime!  We would all benefit.  

  5. 7. Read Psalm 78:9-16 and list some of the works they forgot.
    *Crossing of the Red Sea to flee Egypt
    *Guidance through the wilderness…pillar of fire by night and cloud by day
    *Provide water where there was none…from rock.
     
    8. What are some acts of God in your life that you must never forget? List three stories with one summary sentence for each.
    1) Grace (incredible, God-given grace) received from my parents upon arriving home after a prodigal stint in Texas.
    2) The blessing of my husband, Greg…after a disastrous first marriage, the Lord provided me with a kind, patient, fun, faithful, trustworthy love and companion.
    3) The Lord lifting away the burden of guilt and shame and replacing it with a sense of being forgiven for early adulthood indiscretions.

    1. Nanci I can also echo your number 3. 

  6. 7. Read Psalm 78:9-16 and list some of the works they forgot.
    They forgot that God himself was with them, equipping them for the work he placed before them. Exodus 14:22 And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
     
    Exodus 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.
    Exodus 14:24 And in the morning watch the LORD in the pillar of fire and of cloud looked down on the Egyptian forces and threw the Egyptian forces into a panic
    Exodus 17:6 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel
     
    Numbers 20:11 And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock.
    Isaiah 43:19
    See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
     
    Isaiah 48:21
     
    They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and water gushed out.

  7. 5. If you were to thank God for three simple things from yesterday, what would they be?      Tempted to roll my eyes at the timing of my response.  I had planned to do this Monday when I had three simple, glowing praises from Sunday.   Now it is Wednesday and Tuesday evening brought some of the worst emotional pain a mother can bear.   Here is what I am grateful for:
    1.  The sisters who gather here, who met me (on the facebook page) in my desperate state; prayed and loved me.  For Keller’s book  Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering and my friend who meets with me weekly to discuss it.  I had just yesterday morning, voiced to her my hope that when the next wave of pain hit, that I would gain from what I’ve read.  Also, that my older brother was so accessible and is praying for us today.
     
    2.)  That even though my heart is bleeding (like the grosbeak on my gravatar), God brought to mind, the copy of My Love Will Always Find You which was still in my closet.  I packaged it up to mail it, but then my husband offered to hand deliver it to my son today.    That in my brokenness, I know the unconditional love of God and because of it, have unconditional love for my son.
     
    3.)  The words of Psalm 6 (chronological reading for today) and Theresa of Avila words that went with it in my Classics Devotional NIV Bible.
     
    Nothing simple about my answers.  Complicated and deeply painful.  Immanuel.  God is with me.  

    1. Wanda praying for you. Giving praises in the storms of life is so powerful. Keeping our eyes on Him remembering He controls the storms, remembering what He has already done and that the story is not over. Seems to go along well with this weeks topic in Psalm 78. As we can share what He has done and encourage others while at the same time encourage ourselves when those storms of life come. I pray your hurting heart is comforted and all the stronger today. 

    2. Wanda, I’m so sorry for your emotional pain…has something to do with your son…will be praying.
      Also, I read your other post about “filling in the blank”. I don’t know if this is what you were looking for, but the Keller sermon we listened to about Judas’ betrayal; in it, Keller said that “spiritual ingratitude is betrayal”.

      1. Thank you so much, Dee, Liz and Susan.  I have so felt the prayer and care this week.   Susan, that Keller quote isn’t it either (though it is good to remember!)  I am thinking maybe it wasn’t Keller.  And maybe it wasn’t mentioned on the blog.   Maybe it was in the Yancey book, PRAYER which I have since loaned to a friend.  Oh well….good to have an ongoing quest!  🙂  

  8. 5. If you were to thank God for three simple things from yesterday, what would they be? Not sure which 24 hours to choose because I’ve started this a couple times! I really am thankful for this (but I wonder if my thankfulness for some of it is sorta perverted?) — and not sure how simple.  So here is yesterday:- Work was so bad yesterday that it struck me as funny, and I moved from frustrated/anxious, then remembered the passage in Psalms where God laughs at the wicked and experienced more peace AND I think I may turned a corner (I know at an experiential level that HE IS IN CONTROL — sometimes was self-talk before, now deeper).
    – I am thankful for a fun class last night and an impressive student project (will share in FB group)
    – I am thankful for my colleagues (misery loves company;) )

    Hey Dee, I was thinking that this was the question which you asked us to use one sentence for each, hence the run-on sentences and parentheses 😉  Now that I look back, I don’t see that instruction 😀   Anyhow, glad I’m not being graded.
     

  9. 6. I think it is important to get together as a family at least a few times a week, and over a meal. We were able to keep suppers pretty regular and that was our best time. For some it is breakfast or bedtime or a weekly family night. Here is when we tell our “stories,” ways that God moved in our life that day, or ways He rescued His people in the past. Here is when ask questions and listen. We also need to do this all through the day, as we walk by the way, when we rise and when we lay down…  If you have children in the home, how are you endeavoring to make this happen and how?
     
    Up until a few years ago we always ate dinner as a family. I’m not sure how much storytelling was done, but it was time together. We like to travel to see relatives, so we have done that often. It’s how we keep close. i didn’t know my moms family well at all, so my son choosing a school near her old home town will give me an opportunity to see if any of my family members are still around and maybe even go meet them! I think travel to see each other; making that concerted effort is really important. I know some of us live far away, but it means so much. Plus, you get to see the country when you travel by car 🙂 I have always thrown my kids in the car and driven sometimes 30 hours to see the fam! I regret my mom not goving me that opportunity…we never made it to Pittsburgh and I never met her family.
     
     
    7. Read Psalm 78:9-16 and list some of the works they forgot.
     
    God divided the waters and let them pass. The waters stood up!
    He led them in the daytime with a cloud and at night with a “fiery light.”
    He split rock and gave drink to them in abundance! Water like a river!
     
     
     

  10. 8. What are some acts of God in your life that you must never forget? List three stories with one summary sentence for each.      
    1.)  My husband being reunited with his sister and brother as adults (they were 4, 8 and 9 when they were separated and all grew up in abusive and/or dangerous situations) and his brother becoming a strong believer (that is a book waiting to be written) and his sister becoming close to both of them and having some real insight into God’s working too.  
     
    2.)  The peaceful and poignant passing of both of my parents.  (using alliteration here unintentionally!)  I have shared the stories before; they are filled with touches from the hand of God and the presence of Jesus as they left this earth for heaven. 
     
    3.)  God’s providential care for us in ways too many to count.  But a favorite is when we were a young family with 3 preschoolers, one income and never enough to pay the bills; just moved into our newly built home, did not have a bed for our youngest who had outgrown his crib and a neighbor, whom I had not yet met, knocked on my door and asked if we could use a twin size bed as they were ready to get rid of it.  “Before you call, I will answer!”  

    1. Wanda–LOVE these stories, especially your husband’s. And I think I just figured out your gravatar! It’s a bird! I’ve been thinking it was a lady with a black cape on her head and that seemed kinda sad! glad it’s a bird 😉 AH–finally catching up here and I see where you said what kind. OK, glad it isn’t a sad lady!

      1. 🙂   Elizabeth:   I WAS kinda sad when I changed it, but doing well again now.  I love birds and these rose breasted grosbeaks will be back any day!  Just bought my grape jelly today for the Baltimore orioles who will be arriving.  Exciting time of year for bird lovers in the northern U.S. !  I guess the photo would have been clearer if it was a side pose.  I have taken literally thousands of pictures of birds….guess I could change it 🙂  

  11. 3. Read Psalm 78:1-8.
    A. How does the opening verse show the importance of what the psalmist (Asaph – my favorite) is about to tell them? – This verse has a pleading tone to it. Like he is begging them to listen to what he is going to say
    B. How is a “parable” or a “story” to pass on different than simply teaching didactic truths? – I think it depends on who you are trying to teach and how they are able to learn. Some may learn, understand and remember a parable or story of a lesson that is being taught, yet others may not understand the hidden meanings and learn better by repetitive teaching.
    C. What, according to verse 4, does God want us to do? – He wants us to tell everyone what we have learned so it will be sent down from generations to generations.
    D. What reason, according to verses 6-8 is given for this command? – Because they have ignored and not listened, and made a disgrace of them selves.

  12. 4. What comments do you have on the above paragraph and why? – Oh my how beautiful Ephraim WI is. I would love looking out to that all the time. I love the churches with the steeples it just reminds me of days gone by, a small town where everyone knew each other and cared about each other. It’s sad that people forget where they have come from, that they worked their way to money with God’s blessings along the way. And they think they did it all on their own. Money, life can be gone in an instant we need to constantly remind ourselves of that and WHO has brought us thru in life this far.
    5. If you were to thank God for three simple things from yesterday, what would they be? – 1. I am thankful for my job. One that I may complain at times about but am grateful I have one and that I enjoy doing what God has me doing right now. 2. I am thankful for friends who are struggling right now, but love the Lord so fully and prepared a wonderful meal last night. 3. I am thankful that I can read the Bible and learn God’s Word without having to hide or deny what I am doing. I can worship thee One that providers this happiness in the open.

  13. 6. I think it is important to get together as a family at least a few times a week, and over a meal. We were able to keep suppers pretty regular and that was our best time. For some it is breakfast or bedtime or a weekly family night. Here is when we tell our “stories,” ways that God moved in our life that day, or ways He rescued His people in the past. Here is when ask questions and listen. We also need to do this all through the day, as we walk by the way, when we rise and when we lay down…  If you have children in the home, how are you endeavoring to make this happen and how? – I love getting together with family and friends. I have friends that are as close as family, like sisters. My one friend and I go to bible study on Monday nights and then we go walk and talk. We catch up on things from the week before. We look forward to this time every week. I do try and cook our meals so we can have home cooking (even though I don’t like to cook) and we can sit down and relax. It’s sad to admit but some of my family will come to the table and look at their phones and not think anything of it while we eat. I think that sitting down to a meal and talking to each other is becoming a lost art and that saddens me.

  14. 7. Read Psalm 78:9-16 and list some of the works they forgot. – I’m not sure if this is right or not, but I see that He spared their lives, by diverting the waters of the sea so they could walk thru it and not drown. He gave them nourishment to continue on the journey he set out before them. He was with them the whole time.

  15. 8. What are some acts of God in your life that you must never forget? List three stories with one summary sentence for each. 1. After my divorce I had to sell my house where we were living and find something more manageable. I moved out to another town, another county, not knowing where I was going or any one in the town. I drove thru different apartment complexes and felt the Holy Spirit come over me in one of the parking lots and knew that is where we were to live and start our new life. In a round about way I met some new friends who knew my current husband Joe and that is how we met and ended up getting married. My summary is that I was mad at God for ending my 1st marriage and taking me and my two boys to a town we were strangers and wondered why, but God always has a plan for our life, and we need to be open  to the many different ways he is leading us, and that plan was for me to meet Joe and new Godly friends.
    2. I was driving to work one day and crossing a busy intersection with the green light and all of a sudden I saw this car coming at me that was turning left as I was crossing the intersection but not completely thru it yet. I than felt my car smoothly glide to the right and the car just missed hitting me in the drivers door. My summary for this one is that it proves God never leaves us, he is with us at all times. I truly believe that he moved my car out of the way of me getting hit.
    3. At the job I’m at, there was a girl that was hired that did quite a few undermining things to get herself noticed and didn’t care who she hurt doing it. I tried to get a long with her but we just clashed. I applied for a new position as the CFO’s administrative assistant and had a good chance getting it since I was filling in for the one who retired. I had the interview and everything but a girl came in that had a ton more experience than I did and they hired her. After I had interviewed as I was waiting to her, my current boss approached me with something she had been thinking about for my position and then I was like why did I apply for the admin job I really wanted to do what my boss was proposing so when I didn’t get the job I was relieved and now I am assisting my boss who is the Regional Accounts Payable Manager and the girl who was undermining everyone was let go due to too many tardies and call offs. – Summary: We think we know what is best for us. I was running from something that God did not want me to leave and he had to step in and take control of the situation, his plan, because I was messing it up. We need to just trust in him that Our Father in Heaven knows best.

    1. Love your stories, Julie!  And your number 2. reminded me of one too.  Yes!  God just must send angels to guide vehicles at times. 

  16. 8. What are some acts of God in your life that you must never forget? List three stories with one summary sentence for each.
     
    1) Standing at my dad’s hospital bed when I was 13….God told me it would be ok; He said to me that He would be my father always. My father died the next day.
     
    2) A young friend suggested I listen to NLD when my older son was misbehaving badly as a teen. Really, it was bad….for example, he left home when he was 16 for 5 days and we had no idea where he was. I listened and Nancy was addressing ME. She asked her audience if there was something they were holding on to that they should let go of. Believe it or not, that was me and my son. God was talking to me.
     
    3) The third is not just one event. It is my life. I knew God was with me that night my dad died. I knew He would always be with me from that point on. He has. I haven’t had it “easy;” life is hard. But, I know He is here. I know He cares and loves me. I know He orchesrates the events of my life. I will never lose my faith, no matter what.
     

  17.  

    8. What are some acts of God in your life that you must never forget? List three stories with one summary sentence for each.

    I will do two for now, some of you probably remember the second one as I have shared it before.
     
    When I was a teenager I was wild, this story is embarrassing. I was 14 or 15 and had gone to an amusement park with friends. I had a huge purse and had filled it with alcohol for us. It was slightly daring to sneak stuff into the park and my friends were impressed. I went back to the car for a reload but I was so inebriated that I couldn’t even find my way back into the park.  I sat in a car, someone else’s unlocked car, for a while and then decided the most “logical” thing to do would be to hitchhike home. I started walking in the direction I thought the freeway was. I stopped into a bar to use the bathroom and some guys tried to buy me a drink. When the bartender wouldn’t serve me I left with one of them on his motorcycle. By now the people I had gone to the park with were in a panic. The park had closed, people had been searching for me. They had stopped at a gas station and called my mom. She immediately began crying out in prayer. While she was still on the phone with them the motorcycle I was on pulled into the gas station.
    I was so reckless and stupid, but God had his hand on me even when I was far from him. He answered my mom’s prayer before she had finished uttering it.

    In 2010 We repeatedly got solicitations offering to refinance our home, you may remember there was government money out there for people who were upside down on their mortgages. I thought it seemed to good to be true, but something compelled me to call.  We were approved for a principle reduction on our home loan and they completely paid off our second mortgage. I should add that we were had no skipped payments and were never late, I don’t know of anyone besides us who got help that wasn’t in arrears. I had a well paying job at this time that I hated. I had a woman as my supervisor who saw me as a threat and regularly attacked me. I was a slave to fears about money and felt I had to continue in this job. I had never had a new car, or even a car that I had picked out. I had expressed an interest in a VW Jetta. Bill decided I should have one and we went to the dealership. We test drove cars and choose one. It was pearl white, with bluetooth, it was nice. We filled out all the paperwork but when it came time to sign the final stuff I was so uneasy. Instead of being happy about getting the car of my choice I was miserable, I began to cry.  I knew if we bought that car I would have to stay at my job. It was easier to go there knowing I could quit if I decided to. Bill said we should go away and think about it. So we left, as we drove away Bill got a response from a craigslist ad for a low mileage used Jetta. We had given up hearing from this seller. We bought that car, paying about 1/2 of the price in cash. It was about 1/3 the price of the new car. That was on a Saturday afternoon. In the early hours of the next morning was when the Sheriff knocked on our door and our lives changed forever. I never worked at that job again.

    God took care of us. Even though I now see my fear about finances  and control over them was an idol for me at the time, I didn’t enter that time in the hospital with finances as a concern. I believe God supplied the refinance and removed my peace about buying that car so I could bear up under the terrible weight of that trial, he removed those worries.

    1. Chris,   These are beautiful stories of God’s love and care.  I wasn’t here when you shared the finance story before and what that ended up meaning for you.   I do know that you tragically lost a son.  Though I can never know what you have been through, it fortifies faith to see how God goes ahead of us as well as how He walks with us through the deepest of valleys.  Thanks for sharing these.

    2. Wow Chris, I don’t think I have heard the story as to what was going on around that and how God moved in his mercy to help you so you could bear up under that horrible weight. 

    3. Chris, I read this yesterday, but was unable to respond…all that came to my mind was the “deep river” you are.  I try to empathize with the pain you suffered, but it is truly incomprehensible to me…I am astounded how graceful, forgiving, loving you are after this experience…the Lord has done and continues to do a wonderful work in you.  I am so thankful that the Lord provided for your financial needs so as that would not be a concern and your focus could be solely on Daniel.

  18. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten this behind, and I almost feel bad posting at this point! But I’ve loved catching up and reading the stories–such testimonies of His faithfulness. AND I loved this post about Twila’s grand-baby–incredible!
     
    We have made books of their births, and one each year–I’m crafty, but definitely not a scrap-booker, so Shutterfly has been a real gift!
     
    8. What are some acts of God in your life that you must never forget? List three stories with one summary sentence for each.
     
    If you’ve read Idol Lies, you know a big one was when He messed with my heart as I slept and I woke up with a heart for adoption. It was a little longer process than that, but all Him, all His doing. Still amazes me. I meet young people now who say they have a heart to adopt one day, but it wasn’t “me”. Until God moved. 
     
    Second one that comes to mind is similar to Laura’s, though I was 26, the night my dad died. I was the only child out of town, so when I got to the hospital, he had already passed. My sisters, my mom, a waiting room full of close family friends–I walked in, and they didn’t realize I didn’t know yet, so when I was told he was gone, I fell to the floor. My sisters kept saying “it’s OK”, and I cried back “NO, IT’s NOT OK.” I grieved at what was left unsaid on both sides and so much more. But that night, I was in the bathtub in my childhood room—and God told me I WOULD be OK. He really told me, He would not have allowed this to happen if I wasn’t going to be OK. I clung to that. And now, and this just came in the last few months really (it’s been almost 18 years), but whereas I used to say I never had a dad who loved me well, now, I say I have a dad who loves me. And I don’t just mean my heavenly Father. I mean that I believe my Dad is in Heaven. I believe He is healed, and I believe his love for me now. It was always there, but covered by too much of his own pain and alcohol. Maybe my theology on that isn’t exactly right—but that is the peace God brought me to a few months ago. I know God loves me, and my dad does too. 
     
    Last one—another adoption story. I think I’ve shared before that my youngest had a traumatic birth situation. No prenatal care at all, we never even saw a sonogram. The fact that I agreed to proceed at that point is truly God’s hand, but just the beginning. He was born with drugs in his system, some heart problems at first, and we were told by the case worker we could “back out” and she would take the child to CPS. The Lord already had my heart SO attached to my son, I can’t even put it into words. “On paper” this was the adoption we would never have agreed to. All the boxes you check on the forms leading up to it—nearly every single thing we had specified was not the case. But I knew he was mine. And this child is pure JOY. And, perfectly healthy. And already has a true real love for Jesus.

    1. Elizabeth-quickened me when I heard what God showed you a few months ago about your dad..that he is healed and with the Lord and he loves you. Just that He has shown you that and you received that so quickly and rested in it shows how God has moved in your play dough heart in regard to forgiveness! You know God loves you and your dad does to. 🙂

    2. Elizabeth, your story about losing your dad…oh. I don’t think you’re “off” on your theology. When you say, “I believe he is healed, and I believe his love for me now. It was always there, but covered by too much of his own pain and alcohol” this is the way I feel about my now deceased brother-in-law and also my deceased nephew, his son. Because my brother-in-law was too caught up in his own pain and addiction, yet I know he loved his son, but was unable to be the kind of dad his son needed him to be, at least when he was really in the grip of his alcoholism. I do hold onto the hope that their relationship is restored in heaven, the way it was meant to be.

    3. Elizabeth, your revelation regarding your dad is healing…it reminded me that we don’t know why some people act the way they do because we don’t understand all that they have experienced and endured, but the Lord knows and understands, He knows the true heart; He knows us better than we know ourselves.  Your #2 gave me some peace about my paternal grandmother, who mistreated many that I love and I have had “hard” feelings toward for most of my years.  I have learned over the year of her experiencing a childhood that was devastating to her heart and spirit, and I know that she lived with a genetic defect that likely caused insecurity that I can so easily relate to as it was passed on to my father and myself.  My heart is softening…

    4. Elizabeth…tears. Your story of your dad’s passing is touching. I know how you knew God was there. It was such a strong sense; I will never forget. I just found out in the past few years that my dad was an alcoholic. I think my mom tried to protect me all that time because she always thought I loved him more than her (not true). We just had a special bond that was different than that with my mom. I was a “daddy’s girl.” Fortunately, for him, he was a strong Christian. He was our church’s choir director as well as a founder of the church. I know God forgives him and my mom is in heaven with him now. I wonder how it was for them to “meet” again? 

    5. oh wow, now I’m flooded with tears–did not expect to come here and see so many of you read my thoughts and responded–oh I love this place! You all mean more to me than you could imagine. You know, it’s “funny” but all my life I had friends who were really close to their dads, and had these really involved, affectionate dads..while my dad was severely depressed all my life and “self-medicated” with alcohol, and I was always jealous of what they had. It has always been hard for me to watch the daddy-daughter dance scenes in movies..anything like that used to really stab my heart. But just recently, when the Lord gave me this blessing of believing my dad is healed now and able to love me–it’s like I started walking around as “one of those girls with a dad who really loved her”–and it has CHANGED me. Thank you all for listening, means so much. 

      1. Oh….your words about the ‘daddy-daughter’ dance scenes.  That grips me.  My husband has the same reactions to any father-son scenes.  I always do an ‘eye check’ on him when we watch movies (amazing how many movies have these themes) and inevitably I find tears.  He never knew his dad and when he tried to meet him as an adult, his dad rejected the opportunity.  He lost his mom at age 9.  I know he wonders if he will meet them in heaven.  He doesn’t have much to ‘go on’ as far as life experience, as for any evidences of any faith.  But, as with our kids, we must cling to ‘the wideness in God’s mercy’ and try (not easy) to leave it in God’s hands.  Your story helps me in this way too.  How God gave you this peace even long after the fact.  

        1. Wanda–I have thought many times how I would love to meet your husband (and you, in person!), and for my husband to meet him–there are overlaps in their stories…it is amazing to me the godly man your husband has become without any sort of role model, and so much pain and rejection from his own father. OH. Such evidence of God’s grace and faithfulness–and that He gave him a wife who watches for his tears, oh that touched me. I am praying for you in these hard fires you are facing: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Is. 43

  19. Elizabeth,  Your second story brought tears.  There are so many mysteries surrounding  this life and  questions about the next, that God showing you that peace is such a beautiful gift.   And your adoption story too.  Oh how God knows what we do not!  

  20. 5. If you were to thank God for three simple things from yesterday, what would they be?
    1. Laughter-there was lots of it yesterday. At work in the kitchen, and at home.
    2. God’s provision to take our boys out to dinner last night so we can talk and focus on one another. We went also to see one of my employees who works there at night for her second job. It was sweet seeing her and being her ‘customer’. 
    3. My son’s best friend’s mom who lives in our neighborhood came out and talked with me for over an hour last night. I was tired and just wanted to drop my son off for an overnight and go back down the street but she wanted to talk. It ended up being a sweet time to get to know her more. 

    1. Rebecca–your #1 just made me smile! OH the gift of laughter! And I too this mom who sought you out–no doubt lured by Christ in you–praying He will use that time~

  21. 6. I think it is important to get together as a family at least a few times a week, and over a meal. We were able to keep suppers pretty regular and that was our best time. For some it is breakfast or bedtime or a weekly family night. Here is when we tell our “stories,” ways that God moved in our life that day, or ways He rescued His people in the past. Here is when ask questions and listen. We also need to do this all through the day, as we walk by the way, when we rise and when we lay down…  If you have children in the home, how are you endeavoring to make this happen and how?
    We have family night once a week. Usually on Friday’s or like last night when we went out to dinner. With my boys, especially my oldest two..we had these times at the dinner table-not consistently perfect, but great times of talking of God’s faithfulness, reading scripture, doing devotionals, going through their Awana’s verses and asking questions all through growing up and now since they are teens they go, “please mom and dad do we have to talk about this now?” :~) BUT..we have found that by connecting with them in their world at school and with friends first God is always faithful in opening a door to ask more questions and the conversation most often turns to Him. The last devotional we did at the dinner table was by Sally Lloyd Jones-“Thoughts to make your heart sing” -It was when my oldest was 14 and God opened the door to some great conversations of His faithfulness around the dinner table. Of course having a son with Aspergers-he kind of dominated at times going into creation-facts as to why it has to be true…..instead of focusing on what I wanted to focus on-His faithfulness and love..His beauty..BUT I learned to let my son go and ponder and think..I am thankful for my son’s Aspergers and my other son’s Autism..It is a severe mercy in our life and theirs-I don’t have what my approval idol wanted me to have before they were born many years ago: popular kids in school and in church who are athletically inclined or desirous of becoming pastors at young ages or missionaries-I am embarrassed to admit that but it is true. 🙁  Oh I would rather have my boys just as they are-boys who ponder deeply about life and God and who care about others-and are full of wonder. Boys who have struggled with their faith..one who still is yet their hearts-Oh I know God is pursuing them. 

  22. 7. Read Psalm 78:9-16 and list some of the works they forgot.
    They forgot his wonders-how he freed them by dividing the sea, by going before them in the day with a cloud and at night with a firey light. How he split the rock in the wilderness and gave them water abundantly.
     

  23. 8. What are some acts of God in your life that you must never forget? List three stories with one summary sentence for each.
    1. When we were told by 5 doctors Isaac has Autism and it was severe at 2 years old we were devastated..I curled up on the couch crying thinking..”NO! NOT MY SON!”. But God came through an older couple who mentored us who comforted us by saying, “This is no accident, God wired him this way.” Maybe I should have been offended??  but honestly I instantly felt His comfort surround me after he said that..GOD YOU ARE IN CONTROL..You know..you aren’t aloof and incapable of handling this, and I know based on who you are that you have a plan to bring yourself glory through this! You designed him this way! When bad things happen it doesn’t surprise Him..that is SUCH A COMFORT to me. I can’t explain how He was my peace in that moment and He carried us through it-and still is. To see how God has moved in Isaac’s life since then. God has given Isaac favor and every teacher, therapist who have worked with him love him. EVERY special ed teacher and most of the paras have been believers in his public school!! :)))) God is taking care of him. Oh and God told us to name him Isaac..Isaac means laughter…Isaac is always laughing, smiling when he goes into his happy place with autism. 🙂

    2. My oldest brother Jim was burned in a fire when he was 6 years old. From head to toe..3rd degree burns. He almost didn’t make it. The Doctors told my parents he wasn’t going to make it. My mom was crying out to God…one night my brother said he woke up and wasn’t able to breathe..he was dying and he felt a presence in the room and felt like a hand was on his chest and pressure came down on his chest and then lifted and then he could breathe. To this day he knows it was God. He lived through it..was ridiculed, stared at and made fun of most of his young life, but as an adult he came to know Jesus and then God pursued me harder through my brother and used him to share the Gospel with me through his life and words. My brother and his wife have left a legacy with their 5 children who know and love Jesus.  My brother could have died at 6 years old but God preserved his life so that others may know Him. God could have allowed my brother to die-and could have used that to bring many to Him, but in the mystery of God he chose to do it this way and I am grateful.
     
    3. His Grace..His Mercy-His pursuit of me despite me. How He pursued me as a child. Filled me with wonder of Him through creation..this burning desire to be close to Him even as a child WAS FROM HIM!  Then at 9 carrying around a Bible I didn’t understand..drawn toward the movie Jesus of Nazareth-watching it over and over..ALL HIM, NOT ME. As an adult-I grew tired of how everything I tried to satisfy my soul with turned around and hurt me in the end. He brought me back around to pondering purpose..pondering about Him..then God showed me himself through my brother..His Love especially was shown-He is alive..That was when He showed me I could have intimacy with Him too but that I would have to give up setting my hope on the things of this earth to satisfy me and put my hope in Him- HE did this-really none of it was me..I didn’t pursue Him..He pursued me and then ravished me to make me want Him more. He showed me how those things I tried to find satisfaction in are powerless-like dried up sticks. He WANTED to be my satisfaction. I remember on a plane flying over las vegas He had me to the point where I couldn’t say no and with awkward words telling God there is no way I could stand before Him in my sin..and I wanted Him and I wanted His forgiveness so I could be with Him..At that moment He rescued me forever and I rose from the dead with Him..He put His Holy Spirit in me. At that moment He opened my eyes to light and darkness and I felt His Love. Then when I went home He opened my eyes to the Bible I had that my brother’s wife gave me. I couldn’t understand it before, but HE opened my eyes-and was quickening me and that hasn’t stopped!!!! 

    1. Rebecca, I love your stories…I love how the couple encouraged you, reminding you of Issac’s special purpose destined by God.  The ripple effect of your brother’s near death…the Lord revived him so that he (your brother) could accomplish the many plans the Lord had for him in reaching others, including his sister (you 🙂 )  I must admit my heart aches to think of the torment that little boy suffered, and it rejoices to see that he rose above it and allowed the embrace of his Lord to protect his heart that could have so easily been soured.  Thank you for sharing, Rebecca…wonderfully inspiring stories…  

    2. Rebecca…..these stories are so rich.   I’m getting teary again now too!  How God knew all about Isaac before he was born and how He gave you peace in the midst of the broken pieces of your shattered dreams.  I have felt this too with our daughter’s major health challenges.  There have been countless sleepless nights filled with coughing and worry over her CF.  And the seizures from diabetes/insulin reactions.  All so frightening, but there is peace is seeing how God made her with the most amazing fortitude and personality and free spirit to counteract what could weigh her down constantly.  I love your son’s name, Isaac!  As a teenager, I decided that if I ever had a son, I would name him Isaac.  I loved the meaning!  But when it came down to it, we decided on a different name.  We named our daughter after a Christian ‘hero’ who endured tremendous suffering.   It’s amazing that we had that one picked out LONG before we realized that she would endure so much.  God is faithful.  He knows each day ordained for us before we were born.  I have loved reading all of your comments today.  SO glad to see you back.  I know your days are SO SO filled with 4 boys!

      1. Wanda, 
        I didn’t know your daughter has CF. Oh yes that is a huge deal and scary! This gives me more to bring to Him for you and raises my admiration of you another notch! Oh Wanda that must be so painful-and you are pressing into Him, no wonder His Love and Grace spill out of you despite your circumstances. It is good to be back! My husband usually needs me right when I wake up to do my quiet time and it has been sweet to be with him since he quit part of his second job yet I really need to spend time with God and then do some ministry work for Dee. Early morning is crucial time for me and it has been difficult to protect it these past few months but God has desired I spend this time with my husband. He has given me other opportunities for time with Him. 🙂 

    3. Rebecca, Your stories are very touching. Especially I am moved by the story of your brother and how his life was spared and his great faith in God and how he brought you close to God, as well.
      God draws us to himself in so many ways and I am always amazed.
      This has been a difficult week for me. I miss my children who do not live nearby and I feel so lonely at time.
      Today I am grieving for a friend, Diane, whose young adult daughter, Sarah, went home to be with the Lord
      after a long struggle with cancer and left behind her loving husband, Dave. Father God, please give special comfort to Diane and Dave and the rest of her family who have loved her deeply. May they feel your special comfort in this time of grief. thank you that they know she is in heaven now.

  24. I am so behind this week….but have been reading and enjoying everyone’s comments and stories of God’s faithfulness! I was thinking about #5 on Thursday (looking back to Wed) for 3 things I was thankful for.
     
    I had a pleasant day at work on Wed. working with just one of my co-workers. As she shared some things in her life with me, I was able to share with her some of Dee’s story as she writes in The God of All Comfort. I think it encouraged her and I am going to let her borrow my copy of the book to read. Anytime I can talk to someone about the Lord and also Dee’s amazing teaching, that is something to be thankful for.
     
    I walked 3 miles on Wed. and while I was walking, I was thankful for the ability to walk and exercise – something I often take for granted.
     
    I am thankful for my family; my husband and children, parents and in-laws. I am thankful for my in-laws being helpful to pick-up my daughter from school on the days when I work as it is a big help to me and I know she is safe.

    1. Susan…oh yes, how often I take for granted my ability to walk and exercise when that ability is such a blessing.  Glad that you enjoyed a pleasant workday Wednesday and were able to encourage your co-worker with Dee’s work…blessing upon blessing upon blessing.

    2. Susan–love how God used you to encourage your co-worker. So thankful for where He has you–you are a gift to so many~

    3. Susan…..I agree with Elizabeth.  You are a gift and blessing t many.  Thinking about your parents especially now.  How is your dad doing?  And are things back to ‘status quo’ for them both?   

    4. Susan, I agree with everyone here. You are such a sweet person to talk to-always caring, always loving and truly a wonderful listener. I am sure you are a balm to your co-worker. 

  25. 9. Sermon notes:
    Based upon what Psalm 78 is telling, the central questions that should be asked is: Is this something that needs to be perpetuated to the next generation?
    The challenge is trying to pass on the things that matter most to the next generation, but not connecting.  There is a story to tell that is important to get right so that it gets passed on. 
    The story includes:
    *having a God that acts (e.g., the exodus); a “doing” God
    *having a God that always interprets His actions for our understanding (e.g., scripture); a “telling” God
     
    Stories in the bible are often termed parables…the definition of “parable” is coming along side of something; what it comes along side to tell.  In relation to God, it is having a God with a unique character and a unique capacity to tell a truth that no one else will tell.  The bible tells the story unlike any other culture would tell it, e.g., the story of Moses and Joseph, other cultures would include information regarding national leadership, yet the pharaoh is never mentioned in either of these stories…why?, because God is the story; the story is about God.  The bible has a very distinct perspective and a story that needs to be told. 
    How is this story told effectively?
    *family stories tell us who we are; there is power in the stories of family.  The bible tells us who God is and tells us who we are; the bible tells us who we are and where we came from.
    Deuteronomy 6 instructs to be authentic/truthful in heart and to impress those truths on children.  This truth must be woven into lifestyle…how one acts in the day-in and day-out matters; people see whether you walk the walk or talk the walk.
    Practical examples:
    *regularly reading scripture to children
    *regular prayer with children
    *truth in your heart woven into how life is lived  (e.g., be forgiving, model the truth of the gospel; turn anxiety into prayer displaying trust in God; be hospitable, open your home to people)
     
    **The story of God is a story we must get right.**  

    Side note, Laura I chuckled thinking of you when he said Texas is not a state, but a very large cult…:) 

    1. Thank you Nanci!  It’s less daunting to me to take the time to listen to the sermons when I know there are already notes to follow.  🙂  Hope to still listen!

  26. 8. What are some acts of God in your life that you must never forget? List three stories with one summary sentence for each.
     
    When our daughter, Annie, was about one year old, my husband noticed that the bones in her legs were growing crooked.   He asked me to get her to our doctor as soon as possible.  I called that morning and got an appointment that day.   My husband went to work at a residential remodel job in a nearby town.   The doctor confirmed my husband’s concern and wrote a prescription for an orthopedic device that our daughter would need to wear at night in order to correct the angle of growth.   My husband, Tom, called to see what the doctor said.   The lady he was working for asked what the doctor had said and when Tom told her, she went up to her attic and brought down an orthopedic device that her own daughter had used with a similar problem.   The next day we drove two hours to the nearest orthopedic clinic to get Annie’s prescription filled and to have her fitted for the device.    We had brought along the old appliance the lady had given us.  When the doctor saw Annie’s prescription and looked at this old device, he said, “not only is this the correct appliance, but it is set at the exact angle that your prescription is written for!”   We were stunned at God’s very specific provision.        We were a young family with three young children.  My husband pastored a small, rural church and worked as a carpenter in order to makes ends meet.   The next day, in the mail, we received a $100 check from another church that had felt impressed to help us.  They knew nothing of our daughter’s medical needs and the extra associated expenses.
     
    Summary:   That our Lord provides in such a way that we know that it has our name on it.   Reminds me of the times in Isaiah where he says, “I call you by name.”    And also that part of Lamentations 3:23 that says, “this I call to mind, therefore I have hope…..”       I am with my, now 29 year old, Annie  this weekend, helping with my two beautiful grandchildren.   I will remind her of this story again today.    Deut 6:7 says to talk of these things “when you walk by the way.”    We must not forget.

    1. LOVE, love, love!  this whole post, Nila.   Another ‘Before you call, I will answer’ experience!  So sweet that you are with Annie and her wonderful children today too!  

    2. Nila, this is such a wonderful story-He is involved in the smallest of details of life..wow, it was even set at the exact angle the prescription was written for. 

  27. So, Dee…..you have spurred me to call for a family game night tonight! I’m excited because we haven’t done this in a looonnnggggg time 🙂 thank you! 
     
    Loved the sermon! He reminded me of telling our family stories to our children. Speaking of meals this week….Here’s a funny one my family used to tell about me…..when I was 4 or 5, my mom would make liver for dinner. I absolutely disliked it! One night while we all sat eating, I put my napkin in my lap and every time I would take a “bite” I would really put it in my lap! I didn’t think anyone was watching, but they all knew 🙂 when I was “finished” I simply got up, walked to the kitchen, and threw away my “napkin!” They all laughed at me and I didn’t even get in trouble! That was a story that went on and on for years.

    1. oh Laura–love this post! The liver–oh my, never had it, never hope to! you gave me my first laugh today–bless you! 

  28. Hello!  My name is Candice Elizabeth Ison, but I go by Candy and am from Michigan.  My bible study group has just completed Idol Lies and we have adjourned for the summer; but I’m not ready to stop!  I don’t think I have already joined this group, but if I have please forgive the double application.  Thank you so much and God bless.

    1. Welcome Candy! We are glad you joined us-I already love your heart: “I’m not ready to stop!”. :))

  29. Thoughts about the sermon:  Takeaway:  
    I wasn’t sure of the pastor’s name and was curious what ‘very Presbyterian’ meant in the notes from Dee.  (I’m not very familiar with Presbyterian services actually).  But I really liked a lot of what he taught.  
    Some of the points that helped me are these:    “Scripture is God, the Holy Spirit, interpreting God’s acts, so we understand what He is doing.”   God doesn’t just act and then say, ‘now you figure it out.  He knows we’d blow it.  So He interprets His actions.     
     
    God’s doing and telling come together as a story and in one sense, the whole of the Bible could be described as a ‘parable’ because ‘parable’ means, literally, ‘coming alongside something’    This is completely unique to scripture unlike all other literature, words, culture ideas.  Only Scripture has this unique capacity to come alongside and tell a truth that only God can tell.    (He didn’t say it, but I guess this is because God’s Word is living and active).   
     
    He explained this further by giving examples of kings who were really a ‘big deal’ in the ancient world and the Bible doesn’t even name them because the story is not about them but about GOD,    
     
    I liked his thoughts about our fathers being Abraham, Isaac….the apostles etc. They are all a part of my story.
     
    I liked his thoughts about children wanting to hear stories about their family, because that tells them who they are.  Where they came from.  They know it is their story.And I LOVED that he said that if we don’t know the great old songs of the church, as well as singing the new songs which help us see that the story is alive and current,  we won’t know all of who we are’   He gave the example of his wife’s family reunions when everybody in her family sings the school song for the junior high they all attended.  It is part of their story.  Likewise, in church, singing the old songs tell us where we came from and adds a richness to the new songs.  
     
    (This is ONE of many reasons why I am SO pleased with the church we have just begun attending.  They are very purposeful to include both; old and new songs.  I’ve been told for years that ‘it just doesn’t work to do that.  The songs just really don’t ‘blend well’ together.  Well this church does it and I was so impressed that the pastor said they do this so that ‘everyone can feel included in worship.’    Wow.  That was a perspective I have not heard and one that made my heart leap for joy!  I have so often felt ‘excluded’ in the past decade or more.  So, anyway, this was one more confirmation for me, that God is leading.  it is still not an easy transition for us as a couple to transition to a new church.  We are working on it….one week at a time.)
     
    For, me, having grown children, there are some things that were shared in his message that made me want to do it all again.  I think I was often very intentional of living a lifestyle of telling the story, but as with everything, I sure know I could have done better.  i would love to know that my children got the right message.’  His last statements about passing on a message of morality, good kids, good grades, kids who are virgins, have good jobs etc. and by doing so missing THE STORY were very powerful.  

  30. 8. What are some acts of God in your life that you must never forget? List three stories with one summary sentence for each.
    We were living in a very remote area of Australia when my daughter was born. When she was about 10 mths old, we were driving home from visiting my Mum. We had a 4WD with long range fuel tank, so decided to take a short cut through the desert. It was a vehicle with manual choke, and what we didn’t realise was that when we left the last town the choke was out just a half turn. When we were half way across the desert, we realised we wouldn’t make it. It was summer, 45 degrees in the shade and we had a young baby. This was life threatening, and I was hysterical. We had CB radio (before satphones!) and via skip managed to let people know we were in trouble, but the message was garbled and the police were looking in the wrong place. God rescued us. He sent a mining prospector past us – miraculous in such an isolated place.
    God rescued us in a very tangible way – as he does so often but we often don’t even notice.
    Time for church… more later.
     

  31. What a beautiful testament to God’s love and guidance. Thank you so much for sharing. The story is particularly moving to me, as my only daughter Nicole is due to have her first child in November of this year. She is on medication to control seizures she has had since she was 4yrs old. She is at high risk of having a child with birth defects due to the medications, namely spina bifida, cleft palette and/or heart problems.  We have prayed for God to cover this child with his protective feathers and to place a barrier of protection over the child to protect it from the ill effects of the medications. We have prayed for the child to be formed perfectly in the womb in the image of our perfect Lord Jesus.
    Will  you please pray for this child who was created by God, loved and very much wanted. Please pray with all your might for this child to be healthy and whole and perfect. We believe this child will live to be a warrior for the Church and for Christ.
    We thank God our Father for his great blessings and for answering our prayers.  Thank you all for your prayers. Our faith is deep in trusting the Lord to bless us with a perfectly formed child inside and out, in every way. It is our prayer that we too will have a beautiful story to tell our grandchild one day.
    Thank you Jesus,
    Amen

    1. Carolyn I will write down to pray for your daughter and the safe birth of your grandchild. I too have a daughter on seizure meds. She has been on them since she was 5. No children yet and not sure of her plans for the future but it has been something in my thoughts and prayers for MANY years. The Lord certainly has been faithful and has grown my faith and trust thru this health challenge thr the years. She is now 27. I always thought she would have to come off her meds in order to become pregnant. I will pray fo ryour daughter as I continua to pray mine.

    2. Wow Liz and Carolyn, how wonderful that you both have this in common so you can encourage and pray for one another. 🙂  Carolyn, I am praying for your daughter and grand baby now. 

  32. Love reading the entries here; family stories that are poignant and joyous as well. I have not been here much as I am preparing to leave for the Philippines May 2 or 4 to be with my sister. Her cancer has spread to the brain. I am so sad to be going to say goodbye but this study helped me realized my sister and I had a bond that flourished through the years despite the distance. Now her children, although young and would be left behind, know the Lord. I thank God for my sister, Grace and her deep faith in God.
    ….Also, as we read the history of both, we know that there were enormous failures morally, and failures to pass on the torch. They forgot His works and the wonders He had shown them. We are so prone to forget. I think one of the reasons that Ann VosKamp’s One Thousand Gifts is so paradigm changing is because she took the concept we all know of the importance of being thankful, and put it to a poetic story that moved our hearts to see HOW LIFE-CHANGING keeping a list of thanks could be. I keep a list now, and it is helping me.
    4. What comments do you have on the above paragraph and why?
    “We are prone to forget…” So true of me. I am thankful for Ann V. “Count 1000 gifts”. I try to be faithful in answering the days specific gifts. This has really helped me keep steady in my faith as I struggle with my sister’s impending death. I sing “Count your blessings, name them one by one”. Thankful now that God has given me opportunities to go back and connect with my sister.
    5. If you were to thank God for three simple things from yesterday, what would they be?
    Facebook-it was my only connection with my brother-in-law when my sister was taken to the hospital
    a retired friend who offered to grade papers to lighten my load as I finish the term before I leave
    flowers of encouragement my co-worker gave me
    6. I think it is important to get together as a family at least a few times a week, and over a meal. We were able to keep suppers pretty regular and that was our best time. For some it is breakfast or bedtime or a weekly family night. Here is when we tell our “stories,” ways that God moved in our life that day, or ways He rescued His people in the past. Here is when ask questions and listen. We also need to do this all through the day, as we walk by the way, when we rise and when we lay down…  If you have children in the home, how are you endeavoring to make this happen and how?
    7. Read Psalm 78:9-16 and list some of the works they forgot.
    miracles in Egypt; divided the Red Sea; guided them with cloud by day and a fire by night; give them water in the desert
    8. What are some acts of God in your life that you must never forget? List three stories with one summary sentence for each.
    I ran a red light one time and almost got hit by somebody. It would have been my fault.
    God took me out of a relationship that I begged Him for me to keep. I shudder at the thought of what my life could have been with who I thought was the best guy for me at the time.
    His provision of a business class seat (I paid economy) for me so I could rest during my 16 hour flight en route to the Philippines. I was just recovering from an illness.
    Dee and blog friends, thank you all for your prayer support. I need it the next few weeks more than ever.

    1. I will continue praying for you as you travel and spend time with your sister. May your time with her be a special gift from God.

  33. I will keep Psalm 78:11-16 as I leave for the Philippines not forgetting the goodness of the Lord.

  34. Enema I am going to still pray for that miracle. I had a friend whose sister in law came to be with her for what was supposed to be her last days end of life and that never came her sis ter went home as my friend recovered. It was a miracle!  That was almost 6 years ago now. She was so bad. God knows and he certainly is in control. I pray the Lords peace and strength as you make this trip and His love to surround your sister and her family. 
    Liz

    1. Liz, I want you to know that I appreciate your prayers. I, too am still praying for a miracle because we have a God who can do the impossible. I am a nurse and I have seen my patients die of this horrible  disease called cancer. But it does not have the final say. Death no longer holds its sting on God’s children. Like Paul, we can say, “…so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” Philippians 1:20-21. Please continue to pray for us. Thank you.

  35. What wonderful stories here. I cannot respond to them all but have read all. What a faithful God we serve and what testimonies to pass onto future generation. For we will overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony!

  36. Another story…
    This is from some time later, when our 4 children were all at school. John had been working for 20 years for the one company at various different sites. I was working 2 days with a church in pastoral care, studying theology and had recently worked a couple of months relief for an aged care facility when their chaplain took long service leave. The chaplain was due to retire, and I was asked if I would like to apply for the chaplain’s position. I turned it down as full time work outside the home was not on my radar. Suddenly John was made redundant. The company was restructuring and outsourcing all their IT functions. It was a huge upheaval for us, but God’s timing that all these opportunities came at once. I was able to take the full-time chaplaincy position to keep the family finances ticking over while John restructured his career, and he spent more time at home with the kids.
    What a blessing that God sees the big picture, so we are not relying on our own limited knowledge.

  37. Just want you to know…I’m always here…reading and praying  for you. Some of your comments are heartbreaking….and some so joyful
    Either way I have the same kind of days!  I’m always praying for you all…love you sisters!