Friday, December 18, 2009

Rush of LIfe

Today, I am feeling the rush of life. I have just completed another class in my masters work for education. The house is freezing waiting for the repair man to come to fix the heater. More then a week without good heat in the house can create some good missionary training moments. ;)
We just received news last night that my husbands dear uncle has passed away. The holidays will have just a bit of sorrow mixed in this year.
Life just seems to rush on whether or not we are ready.
I thank God that he is there to walk us through every mountain and valley. I am thankful that I have his strong arms around me to hold me up and carry me through when I am feeling overwhelmed. I pray for his grace and mercy and for a good Christmas season.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Other Peoples Expectations

Today I thought I would take a moment to write about something that was a struggle for me as a PK and sometimes as a Pastor's wife.

As a child, I felt that I had to live with the constant watchful eye of other people in the church who expected me to live up to their expectations of how a preachers kid should act.
Thankfully, I had parents that were not afraid to stand for me when it was needed.
Then I married a preacher, yes I did this knowing what I was getting in to. I then realized that in the church people expect the pastor's wife to do certain things, or have certain abilities that she may not have. So is the struggle of wondering if you are called to do this or not because we just can not live up to other people's expectations of us.

So what is the solution to this conundrum. Well, I have learned over the years that a good sense of humor and tactful honesty can go a long way. I also learned from the scriptures how I am to live my life. These I will share with you now.

Paul shared in I Corinthians 10 that his authority came only from Christ and no other.
In Vs. 12- he says "We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise." Now ladies, I have been praying for years for the Lord to please help me to be wise in all that I do. So in this case, we as pastor's wives, are not to compare ourselves to others, we are not to worry about "their expectations" we are only to compare ourselves to a holy God.
Of course, we do not measure up to him and frankly neither do the ones in the church that expect us to live up to "their expectations". You see, once I realized that I only need serve where the Lord has truly gifted me to serve and when I realized that I was ultimately only responsible to my Lord. This was a freeing moment for me. I found that when other's were not so pleased with how I acted or reacted then I had to say "ok, did I act out of selfish flesh?" If the answer was yes, then I had a responsibility to make it right. But, if the person was critical because I somehow did not measure up to "their expectations" and I knew before God that I had acted as I should before the Lord, then I listen and say "ok" but I let it roll off my back because I know that I have done as I should before God and he is the one I am to answer to for my actions.

All I can say is just be sure that you are living your life as God would have you to live it and when misunderstandings come and they will. Correct what needs to be corrected and the rest just leave it in the Lord's hands because He knows the heart.

Holiness- I Peter 1:13-16

These verses in I Peter are a wonderful reminder of how we need to live out our lives in this world. Holiness is a topic that so few want to talk about today. We live in a world that says anything goes, there are no limits, do what you feel like doing, and we forget that our Lord calls us to live holy lives.

I like how Peter starts out in vs. 13 reminding us to prepare our minds for action. You see, the battle for holiness begins in the mind and heart of every person. What we think about many times will end up being what we do in action. So our minds need to be filled with the truths of God's Word so when we are faced with a decision we can act according to his perfect will.

The next part of vs. 13 says to be self-controlled. How many times have we made mistakes because we were not acting with self-control. Self-control means we are disciplined in the way we act, talk and how we judge a situation. This self-control also means setting our hope or desires on what is pleasing to the Lord while we wait for his return.

In vs. 14 we are also reminded to be obedient followers of Christ and not conform to the ways of this world. He speaks of how before salvation one lives in ignorance (agnoia) this means living in moral blindness, having a lack of knowledge of God. But now that we are saved we are to no longer live an unholy life but one that is pleasing to the Lord.

Vs. 15-16 are important for us to memorize.
"But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: Be holy, because I am holy."

Remember that these believers were under persecution and yet they chose to live lives that stood apart from what was around them. How often are we willing to stand apart from the world influences and be holy before the Lord. Perhaps our light would stand out in the darkness of this world if we chose holiness over our own desires.

Lord, help me today to live a life of holiness. Don't let me be afraid to stand apart from the crowd. Help me to seek only you in everything I do.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I :Peter 1:10-12

Peter speaks in vs. 10 about how the prophets searched intently to understand the salvation that they recorded. The prophecies of a coming Messiah were written about in Isaiah 9:6-7, 51:11, Joel 2:28-32, Jeremiah 31:31-34, and Zechariah 3:1-10. (Women's Evangelical Commentary, p. 814). It is amazing to me how the scriptures in the Old Testament all point to the coming Saviour Jesus in the New Testament. In vs. 11, Peter shows how the scriptures were written by the Holy Spirits guidance in the lives of the prophets when he says "to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow." In vs. 12, he continues to speak of the message of salvation that they preached to them that was revealed to them by the Holy Spirit. He speaks of how the angels even have an interest in the work of salvation. The angels are only able to watch and delight in God's work of salvation and they rejoice when someone comes to know Christ as Saviour.
So in summary of these verses in the beginning of I Peter we see that we are to have joy in our salvation and we are to rejoice in the fulfillment of the prophecies that fortold the coming of Jesus and how his salvation is readily available to all who will receive him.
Especially with the Christmas season coming soon, may we be mindful of all that Jesus has done for us and how the coming of Jesus as a baby made a way for us to have salvation from our sins.
Praise the name of the Lord.

Catching up

It has been a busy week for me. We visited with family over the Thanksgiving holiday and traveled a lot. My son was able to get his deer and we played a little football in Charlottesville. I have been working on papers for school and assignments to complete before going to New Mexico with my husband for a few days. I am writing now from NM. It has been good to get away with him for a few days. I have also enjoyed the sweet fellowship with other ladies who are serving with their husbands in a similar ministry context as we. I have needed to get back to our study of I Peter so I wanted to take a few minutes to see what we have next to study.
I hope you all have a chance to spend good quality time with your husbands soon. It is so needed to keep our marriages fresh and to stay connected to one another.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I Peter 1:8-9

Peter tells us in vs. 8-9 that even though we have not seen our heavenly Father, we love him. Even though we do not see him now, we believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for we are receiving the goal of our faith, the salvation of our souls.

Ladies, I thank God everyday for the joy of my salvation. When I read a passage like this I think of how my soul just fills with joy so much that I want to just shout it out with all my being. It's like being at a football game or in my case a good soccer game. Something really awesome happens and you just give a big shout out and jump up and down and clap your hands and maybe even do a big ole dance. How often do we show our heavenly Father that kind of excitement over our salvation? Do we show in our worship how much we love our God. It is incredible to me how even though we have never seen our heavenly Father we have hope in his coming and believe in his soon return. I just can't wait for that day to come when I can celebrate and worship with Him in his presence. May we make it a practice in our lives to worship the Lord with all of our might and to show the world the joy we have in Christ even in the midst of our trials.

Family needs and Ministry blessings

Yesterday was a full day of attending to family needs. The Lord also blessed me with some good ministry time with one of my church planter wives. I am always grateful for the times God gives me to encourage my girls. They are all precious to me and they and their husbands serve the Lord so faithfully together. Just a quick shout out to my SE Church Planter wives. I love you guys and I am praying for you daily. Keep up the good work of ministry, be sure to take care of yourself well so you can care for your families well. I pray for strength for you, wisdom and good health as you walk alongside your partner in ministry.
God bless!

Monday, November 23, 2009

I Peter 1:6-7

What a busy day yesterday. I was able to enjoy hearing my husband preach. It is always good to hear him preaching the Word.

Let's see what 1Peter 1:6-7 have to say.

If you remember from vs. 5 we saw how we are shielded be God's power and in vs. 6 Peter says "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials."
The believers of the day were under persecution and yet they could rejoice in the protection they had in Christ. How do we handle grief, suffering, and trials in our lives. Do we take the time to lift our eyes and actually thank the Lord for the trials we go through? I say that if we don't then we will have an even harder time going through the trial.
vs. 7 says, "These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."

What does this mean, so that your faith may be proved genuine? Did you realize that we as believers have to go through trials as a necessary part of our growing closer to the Lord. Just as gold is refined in the fire, so our heavenly Father holds us tightly as we are held over the refining fire until our spirit is refined to be a reflection of Christ. You see, we are to reflect Christ to the world and we have areas in our lives that are not as it should be the Lord will refine that in us. Many times it means going through a trial in order to purge it from us. The end result is that the Lord may recieve the praise, glory and honor in our lives. You see our walk with Christ is always about more of Him and less of me.
Ladies, I pray we will all learn the lessons God teaches us as we go through the various trials in our lives so that we will always reflect the will of the Father on our faces. I pray that our lives would so shine Jesus that others will be drawn to the joy in our lives and ask us to tell them of the joy we possess. Then we can "splash them with Jesus and tell them of the wonderful Saviour that holds us tightly in his hand, even through the most difficult trials, and gives us joy. Glory to God!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"Just Reminiscing"

Lately, I've been thinking about my early life as a Preacher's Kid. I thought I'd just share a bit of that with you.
My Dad was called into ministry in his 30's so off to Washington Bible College we went in Lanham, MD. I remember going to class with him and being 4 years old having other students enjoy literally "throwing me around". Dad went back home to West Virginia after college to become an associate pastor of our home church. So began my life as a PK. At about 9, I was told I needed to learn to play the piano because Dad needed someone to play piano for him as he went about doing ministry in the area. So early on in my piano learning years, I learned to play every song in the hymnal because "someone may want to call out a special to sing and I need to know how to play it" Since I am not gifted with playing by ear I did have to work hard to learn how to read that music. Especially, the shape note music books :( Anyway, I remember going with Dad to provide music for him at the local Union Mission, and the Retirement home as well as the hours of practice for him personally while he rested at home.
Dad was also the Senior Adult ministry leader. These are my fondest memories since I had lost all my grandparents by the time I was 12. These godly folks became my adopted grandparents. I loved taking trips with them and spending time just listening to them tell stories and eating thier really good country cooking. Our family would go along on visits to families that were needing extra care and discipleship. Dad had a love to share Christ with people and he did it very relationally. Just recently, he told another story of helping a stranded person on the road and how he was able to lead them to Christ. My dad is not one to minister in a hurry and this use to bother some but Dad believed in taking time to talk with people and to hear their hurts and try the best he knew how to help them. My dad also taught me to love God's Word and to study his Word daily. Both my parents are faithful to read God's Word daily. They taught me to also love missions. I grew up in a church that supported many independent missionaries and this began my desire to be a missionary some day. God chose to allow me to serve in North America as a missionary but I still pray for opportunities to serve overseas someday with my family even if it is for a short mission trip. I thank God for the legacy of service I was taught as a child. I pray that I will be "on mission" each day as the Lord leads me each day. I pray my eyes will be open to opportunities to share Christ with others as I live and walk faithfully with Jesus each day.

I Peter 1:5

Sorry for the delay ladies, I was working on a paper for school and doing Bible Study with my ladies at church the last couple of days. Let's see what vs. 5 has for us today.

Peter goes on in vs. 5 to say "who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. "

Remember in vs. 4 Peter had listed all the ways our eternal inheritance in Christ is one that will never perish, spoil or fade. It is reserved or kept ( teteremenen) in heaven for us. So now, in vs. 5 he states that because of our faith we are shielded by God's power. We are being protected, phrouroumenous, like a soldier would protect from an enemy invasion. Now ladies, I don't know about you but in ministry we are on the front lines of battle with the enemy and he loves to fight with us personally, as he fights against us in our homes and in our churches. I thank God for the shield of protection he places around us as we serve him faithfully. In times of intense spiritual warfare I have found myself praying through each room of my home and at times even walking the parameter of my home to ask for God's continued protection on my home and family. Satan loves to come after our families when he can't get to us. So keep praying for your children that Satan will not receive the victory in thier lives and that we already know who is going to win this battle so he might as well just "go on now!" Don't get discouraged in your fight against the principalities and powers of this world. Keep looking up, raise your hands to the Father and keep praising him and seeking his face. Thank God for the security we have in the Father, the saving faith through Jesus, and the power he gives freely to us in his Holy Spirit. Do you see the theme of the trinity woven throughout these verses in Peter 1?

So, we are shielded by his power till he comes. This is the salvation to be revealed in the last time. This salvation, soteria, is a "future salvation, the sum of all the benefits and blessings that Christians... will enjoy after the visible return of Christ from heaven in the consummated and eternal kingdom of God." ( Thayer's Lexicon
When God says go back to get your own then Jesus will return and take us home with him. You see only the Father knows when he will have Jesus to return to take us home with him. So we are to be watching, waiting and working diligently for him until he returns.
I have been reading a book by David Jeremiah called "What in the World is Going On?" He states in his book how we are not to be passivly waiting for Christ's return we are to be working until he comes. So my final thought for today is this.
Let's be confident today in what the Lord would have to do. Stay in his Word each day, keep an attitude of prayer as you walk through your day. Know that you are shielded by his power and his Holy Spirit is alive and active in you. Be a witness to someone today, and continue to be faithful in the work the Lord has you to do today.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Peter 1:3-4 - Praising the Lord

Praise the Lord, Peter says in vs. 3. This is something I needed to hear today. I am feeling tired today, exhausted and emotionally spent after a long, trying day yesterday. Thank you God for your word that reminds me to praise you for who you are. You are God my Father and thank you for Jesus and what he did on the cross for me.
In his great mercy, he provided a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Thank you God for reminding me today of the living hope I have in you.

VS. 4 tells us that we now have an inheritance, due to that new birth we now have in Christ, that will never perish, spoil or fade - kept in heaven for us.

Wow, what a promise to meditate on today. Thank you God for a living, vibarant, active hope. Thank you for keeping heavenly treasures that will never spoil, perish, or fade away. It is good to remember that life here is just temporary. Our purpose is to live each day for you Lord Jesus so that one day we will have treasures to cast at your feet as we worship you Jesus for all you've done for us.
Praise the name of Jesus!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Peter1:2

Yesterday we looked at verse 1. Today I thought I would tackle some of verse 2.
We looked at how we are God's chosen vessels, his excellent ones to be servants of his in this world. The words, chosen, and foreknowledge are big words about the spiritual position of the believer. This is the doctrine of election. It helps if we understand what the words mean in the Greek. Yesterday we looked at chosen, eklektos, those who recieved salvation in Christ. Vs. 2 talks about Foreknowledge, prognosin, having knowledge beforehand. You see, God created us for a purpose, in his great wisdom he knew we would one day accept his gift of salvation. He created us with a choice to accept his gift of salvation through his Son Jesus or to reject it. He created us because he loves us and he wants to have a close personal relationship with his creation. I love knowing that I have been chosen by God. I love knowing that nothing catches him by surprise. His plans and purposes for me go far beyond anything I could ever imagine. So today, I trust his plan for me.

Vs. 2 goes on to talk about the sanctifying work of the Spirit in our lives. We are set apart, hagiosmo, for his good purpose. Through the "set apart" work of the Spirit in our lives for the obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood. Thanks to his wonderful gift of salvation that we have chosen willingly to accept, we are now set apart to do his will with the power of the Holy Spirit reigning in our lives. Through obedience, hupakon, which means submission, allegience, hearing under, listening to. we are able to do the work of the Holy Spirit with all the power the Spirit brings to us.

Then Peter speaks the blessing. Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
This is my prayer for each one of you today.

Have a great day serving the Lord.

Raising an ADHD teenager

Yesterday, I had a good morning with the Lord to which I was so thankful because by lunchtime I was once again talking to law enforcement about the not so good decisions of my ADHD teenager. In memory of Barbara Johnson, with Women of Faith ministries and Spatula Ministries, I peeled myself off the ceiling once again. There are days when I ask the Lord, tell me again why you gave this little blessing to me. Of course the blessing is now a 17 year old one. Who knew that raising a teenager would involve learning so many officers names and learning to navigate the court system. I mentioned Barbara Johnson above because in the last 4 years of our trials and testing, which seem to keep going as of yesterday, her humor in the midst of suffering is what has helped me through so many times when all I wanted to do was curl up and never get out of bed. God does have a sense of humor and we all need to keep one when it comes to raising teenagers.
One constant lesson God has taught me through these last years is that just like Israel sinned over and over so do we. We have to keep reminding our kids, loving them consistently, showing God's grace and mercy (because I have none left to offer some days) and bringing them back to him over and over. I've been told when that "frontal lobe" fully developes all will be better so all I can say today Lord is please heal that brain soon before I lose my mind.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Intro to I Peter

I wanted to give a brief introduction to I Peter.
The book of I Peter was written for believers who are suffering and he is encouraging us to be a witness in the midst of this suffering. He wanted us to learn how to live lives full of joy and victory in the midst of our trials. The believers at the time were under persecution in Rome and the book is said to have been written shortly before Nero began his persecution of Christians in Rome in AD64. Some say it was written in Bablyon on the Euphrates or in Rome. ( Women's Evangelical Commentary).

The opening verse states that Peter is an apostle of Jesus Christ.
An apostle is one who represents the one sending and has the authority to represent the sender. (Holman Bible Dictionary).
Ladies, how to do we represent our Lord when we go about doing the work of ministry? We are chosen in him to be his disciple, obedient servants of Christ. How well do we represent our Lord in our daily lives?
Peter wrote to God's elect, the eklektos, those who are saved, chosen and the best of its kind.
Ladies, are we being our best for the Lord? Do we show excellence in our service to him?
The rest of verse one shows how the believers were scattered all around the region due to the persecution they faced.

Today, lets continue to live intentional lives for the Lord. Let's represent our Lord well today. Continue to walk in love, excellence and compassion for those God may place in our path today. Even though as Peter states we are strangers in the world we work and live to bring others to a saving knowledge of our Lord. Let's be a blessing to someone today.

Why a study of I Peter?

The book of 1 Peter has been on my heart to study since the summer of 2005. My husband, only 40 at the time, was in recovery from a massive heart attack and triple bypass surgery. I still say it was Satan's second attempt to take out this man of God. One day, reading the word the Lord spoke so clearly to me that this book had so many treasures to study that could be used to encourage his people in the midst of suffering.
So why 4 years later, well, the Holy Spirit never really lets us get away from something that God speaks for us to do, does he. Every sermon preached and every time I would read the book of I Peter the Lord would say to me. Ann, you need to spend time studying this book.
The Lord has brought our family a long way in the last four years. We made a major ministry move to another state in this time. We went from homeschooling our children to placing them in the public school system. We had a child to run far from the Lord and now in the last month to give her life over to HIM. PRAISE THE NAME OF THE LORD!! God has brought us through many, many trials over the last 4 years and perhaps this is why he is saying now.
So without further ado. Lets see what I Peter has to say to us.

First I have to tell you ladies that as a student of Washington Bible College, 20 years ago. I was taught to study the word through inductive study techniques. In order to really dig into his word some tools can be used to help us fully understand the depths of God's Word.
Here are some titles of some works on my shelf that may be a help to you as ministry wives.
"Women's Evangelical Commentary, New Testament" by Dorothy Kelley Patterson and Rhonda Harrington Kelly
"The Bible Knowledge Commentary" I have the Old and the New Testatment on the shelf. These are written by Wolvoord and Zuck. We also have the "Holman Bible Dictionary."
We also have a Strongs Concordance also that is good to use. This helps you understand the Greek and Hebrew meanings of words.
Also, there are many websites available to study the word from today. One is Also a lot of our planters use There are so many easy tools available on the web to use. Let's study the Word.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Living Intentionally

Well, after a year of not blogging at all I have been inspired recently by a movie I saw recently with my family. A year ago, I felt I could encourage other pastors wives by blogging some encouraging thoughts and posting them to the web. Well, I only did 2 posts and here it is almost a year later and I thought I may try again.
I am writing in red today because I have been thinking on what it means to live intentionally. As a child in Christian school the "intentional tally" (the one you never wanted to receive) was in red. In memory of this, I am writing about living intentionally in red font.

Ladies, how many of us in ministry get so overwhelmed at times with trying to balance our personal walk with Christ with family needs and ministry needs in our churches or church plants. I spent some time praying with a godly ministry pastor's wife this past week who helped me to remember to prioritize what is really important.
I was also reminded this past week at our state annual homecoming, that we always do what we want to do so if we are not placing our walk with Christ first then we must make the time. So what does this blog have to do with all this. Well, I wanted to share what God is doing in my life with those of you who are also doing ministry with your husbands. It may be a church planter, pastor's wife or a denominational workers wife (such as myself now). I hope to share from the book of I Peter. A book the Lord laid on my heart to study a few years back and again just let it fall by the wayside.

So, how do we live intentionally. The Lord showed me through prayer with him that I must be intentional about doing what he has laid on my heart to do. I must take the time to plan and set aside the time needed to carry out his purpose for each day. I must begin each day with him and then set about planning the events of the day. I need to take the time to take care of my family needs (such as planning meals again and making menu's). I need to set aside time for my studies and work. I also need to plan time to encourage the planter wives God has placed in my life to encourage. This may seem like a lot but you know what, I have discovered that I tend to waste too much time in my day and too many times I let too many things fall away because I stopped living intentionally. I have a peace about what God is doing right now in my life and I am excited to see where he will continue to lead as I seek to live intentionally for him.
I do not want to be just a hearer of the word but a doer. My friend shared a verse with me that I would like to share with you as we seek to serve and live for him today.
Joshua 1:9 - Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid,neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee wherever you go.