Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Oh, how good the Lord is to us. He meets us at every place in our need, and always gives us joy and satisfaction. We received the final settlement on Judy's car yesterday, and the check was way big. Although we miss that beautiful car, we are pleased with our Lord and his treatment of us.

Paul says that in whatever state he finds himself, he is content (Philippians). That Greek word for content is "independent of the circumstances." So whether Paul was well off or under testing and trial, he found that his inner well-being was never determined by the circumstances around him. Instead, he was able to stay above his good or bad situation, due to the work of Christ in his life. He said that he had been "made to sit together in heavenly places with Christ Jesus." That's our victory ground, given to us not by any merit of our own. We have to step off of victory ground to be "in a mess." But if we stay where he has "made us" to be, then we can always have victory - no matter what! "Thanks be unto God who ALWAYS (and in all ways) causes us to triumph in Christ."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Not much to say today, except welcome to my daughter Stephanie. (She is on the right in the picture.) She has joined the bloggers in our family with a really nice blog. Her sister Kari (designer) and I (name suggestions) helped her get started. And her first blog is really great. Check my favorite links to the right of this column. It is called It's Finally Recess. Isn't that a great name for a school teacher? Anyway, check it out.

I know I say this a lot, but I do have really great girls. They are such a joy to be around. Now I can read what is going on in their lives. So, let's see: we have Instant Messenger with web cams, cell phones with free minutes phone-to-phone, and now blogs. Can it be said that we are a very connected family? From Texas to Missouri to Oklahoma, we are one.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Today, I am highlighting my grandson Brent. He is a Texan, to be sure. Please notice the "hook 'em horns" sign he is giving over my back. Just 6-weeks old and he is already displaying his loyalty to the great state of Texas (a whole nuther country)!

Also, I am highlighting Judy's beautiful front yard gardens which have been resplendent with flowers all summer long. We often just stroll slowly through the gardens to enjoy them, and they give us a great uplift of rest and energy. I am amazed at how many people drive by and look. Brent's big sister Caitlyn is playing in the sprinkler system in a couple of the pictures. And the black Suburban is her parents' (Jeff and Stephie) new (to them) vehicle.

AND, a big happy birthday cheer to our daughter Kari on her birthday today! She, too, is a blessed woman with a wonderful husband, two lovely daughters, a marvelous home in a great community, and a precious son waiting for her in heaven. You go, Kari!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Okay, this is my second blog today, don't expect this every day. But I just love this picture of Caitlyn. She looks like a little cheerleader doing a cheer. It is so much fun to look at it. She is a doll, to be sure. I know I published it a few days ago, but I just love it so much.

Stephanie started back teaching last Wednesday, and she said it is going very well. She is such a great teacher of children. Here are a couple of pictures of her classroom. She is so organized, and her classes run so smoothly. If you have to be away from your babies, it should be doing something that you truly love. And she does love teaching the children. (Notice her two great helpers who came to get her class ready at the first
of the year. Moi was taking the pictures.

The church where we are attending while we are waiting for our new assignment from the Lord is adding on to their building. In the process they have to move their youth building (a separate metal structure) further back of the main building so they can add to the new building. Yesterday, 54 pier holes were augured out, and I went over to help. It was fun. We augured, and filled with concrete. It was a great afternoon. Feels good to do something with physical labor, then come home!

On the way home, Judy called to say that some friends wanted to take us to supper. Of course, that was a nice evening, as well. The Lord is so good to us. Judy and I are enjoying being at home together with one another, working together on projects, and just being near one another.

This morning, the Lord woke me with this song: Great Is Thy Faithfulness. So I said to Judy, let's make this a day of thanksgiving to God for his faithfulness to us in all things. Our morning communion together concerned his faithfulness and uncommon favor to us as we partook of the Lord's supper. We are blessed, blessed, blessed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Today, I think we have finally reached a place where we (Judy & I) can begin to seek the Lord for directions in our lives. We have gotten pressing things out of the way, and have entertained our friends from South Africa. We have attended two memorial services in Tulsa. we can begin to concentrate on ourselves and our direction of life.

As Shakespeare said, "That's where the rub comes in." How do you hear God's voice? How do you know God's direction? How much should your income (or lack thereof) determine what you do? I am convinced that there are no easy answers to the questions. But I do know that it is important to do some very definite things to at least be able to hear from God. (I once said that every message/lesson that I preach/teach is not without personal cost. Too true!!)

I do know that you have to:
1. Release your own purposes. This is very hard to do, for anyone. And I am not sure that anyone can be totally successful in it. But one can begin, and then continue to release as the Lord shows him/her other issues.

2. Don't perpetuate the past. Whatever has worked before, probably won't work now. Faith is a growing thing. Yesterday's faith is no good for today. The principles of God are always good, the way we used to do things, probably isn't.

3. Wait on God. Ps. 37:7 - "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." Now doesn't that just open a whole can of worms? How do you rest? How do you wait?

4. Stay close to the written Word of God. Keep it before you, read it regularly, meditate on what you have read. Keep your mind on God

5. Watch for the moving of the Spirit. God told David that he should go up against the Philistines, but to wait till he heard the sound of marching in the mulberry trees. (Have you ever?) But somehow, if you are obeying God, you will recognize the signal.

So you can see (and I am writing mainly and purposefully to my daughters who are the only ones, for sure, that read this blog) that getting your next direction from the Lord is an other-worldly proposition. I might add that one should be attentive to every message they hear preached and every word of encouragement they receive. God has many ways to speak to us.

Further, and on a lighter note, you should check Kari's Ramblings (see link to the right of this page) to enjoy some fun videos that she made with Olivia and Ava.

Monday, October 22, 2007

We had a great visit from our Texas grandkids this week, actually two visits. Last Wednesday, Jeff, Stephanie, Caitlyn & Brent stopped in for supper and overnight on their way to Missouri. Sunday they stopped by for a rest stop in the afternoon on their way home. It is always so great to see them. Judy took some great pictures while they were here. Here are three: Caitlyn; Jeff/Steph/Caitlyn with their new car; and Brent (6 weeks old).

Caitlyn is 2 1/2 years and puts on her own clothes, socks and shoes. She is so nurturing with Brent. Don't you just love the "cheerleader" outfit. That's what I call it, she looks so preppy. Brent LOVES to eat (get ready for some larger food bills in the years to come). He is growing and changing every time we see him. I can't wait till he can crawl or toddle around. It will be so much fun to play with him then.

Daddy sure loves his children. It is so nice to watch him with them. I so love seeing my sons-in-law interact with their children. Both Jeff and Jim are very, very good with their kids.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The memorial service for Gerry & Lelan Akins was today, in Tulsa. What a great couple they were. They were consummate Christians, ministers and missionaries. The memorial service was conducted by Ron Kinnear, Dale Toedt and me. Judy designed the special program brochure and the powerpoint about their lives. Jo Ann Toedt planned the whole event, including the luncheon afterwards. The music was great (thanks Rebekah Northrip for playing), the sharing from the congregation gave us such great memories, and the speakers were good. The Akins would have been so pleased. It was the best memorial service I have ever attended.

It was also a sad day. Ron & Rina Kinnear left, after a visit of 12 days. We had such good times together (we always do)! What good friends we have. Everyone should have friends like we have. Ron and Rina are some of our best friends. They come each year in October, and it is always like there has been no time span between visits. Now they are on to their next stop and eventually home to South Africa.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ugh! I haven't written in awhile. When you have out-of-country guests for the week, it is hard to take time to blog. And then, we have been repairing a leak in the roof in the midst of doing other things. So far we have spent a day and a half and have a little more to go. In the midst of this we dashed up to Tulsa for an afternoon and evening of meetings with old friends and some new ones.

It is amazing how you can meet some new people just because a friend of yours wants you to, and it turns out to be a God-incidence. We found an open door for our South Africa missionaries, and open door for our new friends, and a prophet just happened to "drop by" and spoke into our lives. What an encouragement! He didn't know Judy, Ron, Rina, or me; yet he spoke directly, intently and personally to each of us concerning the things we were presently in. What a mighty God we serve!!

Today: more work on the roof (finishing touches), then Jeff, Stephanie, Caitlyn and Brent come this afternoon to stay the night as they travel to Missouri for the weekend.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

What a glorious day this was!! Double yeah! We drove to Nixa, Missouri to celebrate Judy's uncle and aunt's 50th wedding anniversary. They are such a great family and so committed to Jesus. Uncle Don is a retired minister, his son is a minister, and both his sons-in-law are ministers. All the grandchildren are involved in church, and/or attending a Bible college, and one is attending a college in Nashville on a full-music scholarship. At least two of the grandchildren are song writers: Benji Ward and Rachel Harlow (We heard their songs.). Their son, Doug (our ringbearer some 37 years ago) has just taken a church in the St. Louis area after 14 successful years at another church. Son-in-law Jack Ward is in his 4th year pastoring the Countryside Christian Church in Nixa, Mo. with an attendance of 350-400. He took this church over when Uncle Don Vernon retired. Son-in-law Tim Harlow (Dr. Harlow) is in his 18th year in a church just south of Chicago. 18 years ago it ran 150, today they are having 5,000. This is a very successful family. But the secret of their success is their great love for one another and those outside the family, AND their undying commitment to Jesus.

Congratulations on 50 years of a love-filled, successful life, Uncle Don and Aunt Carol Vernon!!

Friday, October 12, 2007

I said long ago and have said many, many times since: Faith, to be faith, MUST venture into the unknown, it MUST go where it cannot see. Well, guess where we are right now! In the faith venture, I-can't-see-where-I-am-going, are-you-sure-I-am-Abraham's-seed walk. (He went out not knowing where he was going.) I must confess there is a great deal of adventure in the walk. Every day, and I mean every day, we meet people or experience situations that are absolutely astounding. Were they always there but we didn't know it? Or are they there because we are walking in faith? Who knows? Of course, there are moments that are what I call "twinges", because doubt and fear try to enter in. And Satan is forever whispering, if we choose to listen. BUT, all in all, it is pretty fantastic and exciting.

The only thing we know for sure right now is that if we keep looking to the Lord and fully trusting him, everything will be alright. Well, really, that is enough to know, isn't it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Okay, just a little braggin'. I think I may be ahead of Kari on daily blogging.

We are so excited. Our friends from South Africa (Ron & Rina) will be here tomorrow and will stay with us for 10 days. They come once a year about this time, and it is always such a pleasure to have them. They are more our family than friends. Let's get it on!

Judy and I are reading a really good book, together. It is Mike Murdock's "The Law of Recognition". It just seems to be a very timely book for us. But interestingly enough, it seems that everything we do and everyone we visit with and every scripture we read and every sermon we hear is speaking to us. We so desperately want to hear God and be lead in his choice direction, that every spiritual nerve is heightened to the nth degree.

For instance, yesterday we were in the midst of fixing a bowl of soup for lunch when we got a call from friends wanting to meet us at a restaurant close by for lunch - their treat. (I think I wrote about this yesterday, but it still proves the point. Oh! And it's my blog.) What a refreshing time of rejoicing in the Lord! And to know that they are praying for us! We are blessed beyond measure.

Some are wondering if we have decided anything yet? Nope. We are still pressing in to God and waiting on him. But like I say, "Faith, to be faith, MUST venture into the unknown, it MUST go where it cannot see." Lord, here we come!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Today, we have been fixing up my home office, and preparing for our guests from South Africa who will arrive on Thursday for about 10 days. We have moved furniture, etc. Some friends called at lunch and asked us to meet them at a restaurant for lunch, their treat. That was so nice. We had not seen them in some time, and it was nice to renew friendships.

The estimate on our Camry is right at the line where the insurance company totals the vehicle. So we are waiting their decision. Either way is okay with us. We are looking to the Lord for his will in the matter. Here is a picture of the car. It doesn't look so bad, really. The sides are okay, the insides are fine, the motor runs just fine, and the a/c does. The back bumper was torn off, but nothing else in the back is hurt. Still over $8,000!!

I have a couple of pictures to share from the St. Louis Zoo. Maybe tomorrow, I can add some pictures of my little granddaughters. One especially with the three of us in our St. Louis Zoo hats.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Yesterday was a lovely day for us. First we visited the other PH church in town. It was a nice experience. It was their Pastor Appreciation Day. The whole program!! It was nice to see how much they loved him and appreciated him (a little hard to watch, since we are newly unchurched). But I just sat there rejoicing for him that he was so loved. He has been there 27 years.

OK. After church we headed for Tulsa and the fair. We had been given 2 tickets, and this was the last day of the fair. On the turnpike, we slowed down to 65 to go through the Pikepass toll gate. Just having gone through, a deluge of a rainstorm came up. We hit unseen water, hydroplaned and basically destroyed our beautiful Camry. We were unhurt, except for some bruises, thanks to God's hand, seat belts and airbags. The trooper brought us home right to our door!!

We can only rejoice at how the Lord looks out for us. We never got to see the fair, but we are safe and sound. Fortunately, we have another really good car. So we are not afoot.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

It's Sunday morning, and we are back home. What a fun time we had with Kari and Jim, Olivia and Ava. These are two precious little girls with darling, and well-developed personalities. It is so fun to watch Olivia go off to pre-school with a back pack that is bigger than she is with virtually nothing in it. But she "needs" it, you know. Kari is a wonderful host! (Note to the family: you should go see them, what a wonderful time you will have.)

Dad & Pat were such fun. We stopped over at their house on the way home. Went to Bennett Spring (the trout fishing area), hiked over 2 miles, ate way too much, and just relaxed and had fun.
Now we are back in Muskogee, with a few days before our friends from South Africa come in for a visit. We are beginning to seriously come before the Lord concerning our new direction in life. We haven't given that more than a passing thought while we were on R&R this week. But this we know, we are committed to following him, and he is faithful to lead us.

So this morning, we are off to visit a new church.... We will let you know how that went.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

In some ways, the days are going by so slowly. I can't believe it has been almost a week (tomorrow) since I was officially through at the church. I can't believe that we have been our wonderful granddaughters for 3 days! And then, when I look to the future, I feel like I am rushing toward a brick wall -- the wall of no financial support, no job, no nothing. Each morning the devil seems to meet me with the promise that I am going under big time. But I always faithfully answer him that HE is the loser. And I quote David, "What time I am afraid, I will trust in You." Then I quote Isaiah, "I will trust and not be afraid." Then I speak to myself, "Thanks be unto God who ALWAYS causes me to triumph in Christ."

It has been such a joy to be with Kari and Jim and the girls. We have had such a great time! Yesterday we went to Lone Elk Park and actually saw 2 elk up close. Of course, we didn't get out of the car, nor did we get too close to the elk. It is the wild, and their territory, to be sure. The girls really enjoyed it.

Ava is such a pleasant girl. She seems to be pretty easy going, although she has definite ideas about things. She sings complete songs in other languages, ones we don't speak. Then she takes her bows. It is so cute. Olivia has definite ideas, too, but seems to be much more vocal about it. She is so determined to do everything by herself--which is good. But she is learning to vocalize with words instead of screams. She is such a lovely girl, full of songs, and funny sayings.

Oh! The joys of grandparenthood. I only wish all of my grandchildren lived closer to me. Like down the street or around the corner!!