1st Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I was raised in a Christian home, does this surprise anyone? I hope not. Both sets of my grandparents were pastors. From the time I was a little girl, I had people at different churches tell me how much I looked like my Grandma, Carmen Ingle. As a young girl, and as I got older, I took this as a big compliment. I always thought grandma was the prettiest older lady I knew, with her trim figure and salt and pepper hair. She told me her beauty secret was using Oil of Olay everyday morning and night.
One of my very first memories of Grandma is when I was little and she flew down to our house in Southern California and picked me up and took me to her house in Santa Rosa. She let me sleep in the guest bedroom with the big bed. Every morning she would come and wake me up by saying, “Wake up, Snow White!” She also introduced me to her slides of the family! To this day, I love going through the slides and hearing the stories from long ago.
She made us grandkids Mickey Mouse pancakes, built a fort under her kitchen table with I think every blanket in the house, she taught me how to crochet, pick blackberries in her back yard, and showed us how to suck the honey out of honeysuckles blooms. She taught us to play Tetherball, Badminton and Rummy. She read Little Black Sambo to us, and got me hooked on Shirley Temple movies and Little Women starring Katharine Hepburn. As I got older, I loved going to her house to do all of these things. I loved watching her laugh as I would reenact the scene when Beth, from Little Women, contracted Scarlet Fever and fainted at the door (I may have been a wee bit dramatic). She also told every grand kid they were her favorite, and we fight about it to this day, even though it was really me! 🙂
Grandma loved to dance, sing, and listen to music. When she would hear music she would dance all over the room she was in. She would sing hymns, praise and worship songs throughout the day. She would ALWAYS talk about how awesome Jesus was.
The biggest thing she instilled in me was to pray. Grandma prayed about everything. As I was looking for a verse that I felt described Grandma, I automatically went to Proverbs 31; and, while many of those verses do pertain to her, 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18 describe her to a T. Grandma rejoiced in all things. She would praise God no matter what. She found something to rejoice in the Lord about everyday, whether it was a sunrise, or someone who came to know Christ as their Savior, or a beautiful flower.
She prayed unceasingly. Whenever a need would arise in anyone’s life, she would write it in her prayer journal and two or three times a day she would pray over everyone in her journal. When a prayer would be answered, she would write the date that it was answered next to the name. It was humbling to see my name on every page of the journal I have, along with the rest of the family. Sometimes prayers were for specific things, sometimes it was for blessings.
Lastly, she was thankful for everything that came her way. Last year, we went through the storage shed and found letters that she had written to her Sister in the 50’s. She spoke of some unexplained car trouble in a town in Oregon, but thanked God for the car trouble, as the mechanic who helped him gave his heart to Jesus. She spoke of having little money in places, but gave thanks to God for providing what they needed and seeing souls saved for His kingdom.
Grandma was a confidant and mentor of mine. She was the first person I told that Matt had asked me to marry him. She taught me that day how to flirt with him by winking at him with my mouth wide open. ;0. After 18 years of marriage, I still wink that way at Matt everyday and we giggle over her flirting ways. I gave birth to my first born child on her birthday, she says Sarah was the best birthday gift she has received.
As grandma got older, dementia and Alzheimer’s set in. The last few years of her life, I could see my Grandma forgetting things and even forgetting I was her granddaughter. She would introduce me as her niece. I would let her think that, as she called my daughter Sherry. When Grandpa could no longer care for himself and entered a rest home, I was asked to take her to visit him everyday. I loved the time I got to spend with her driving her around and at times even stopping to shop, or go to lunch. I, along with my parents, aunts, uncles, and a cousin watched her heart break as she said her final goodbye to her husband of almost 65 years last year. I sat with her in her room at the rest home afterwards, because she didn’t want to watch him slip from this life to glory. I comforted her every time she would wake up that day and ask if he was gone yet. I cried with her when she would forget at times that grandpa had passed and ask where he was. I rejoiced with her as we talked about how grandpa gained his reward for his faithful service to God.
A few weeks ago, we knew time was getting close for Grandma to gain her heavenly reward. On July 8th, I watched my daughter hold her hand and thank her for teaching her how to draw and crochet, among other things. I saw the love in my grandma’s eyes, as she could no longer speak; but held on to every word my daughter was saying. As I sat and talked with her about the wonderful times we had together and watched her shake her head yes at remembrances I spoke about. Rubbing lotion into her worn hands that so willingly worked for the service of Christ, thanking her for being a Godly example to me.
I decided at the last minute to go visit Grandma for my lunch break on Thursday, July 10th. I called my mom and took her lunch and spent time just quietly talking with Grandma. As my lunch hour ticked away too quickly, I went to her and held her hand.
“Grandma”, I said, “I have to go back to work now, but I want you to know how much I love you.”
Without moving her lips, she looked at me and spoke the sweetest words that she said often to me, “Love you. Goodbye.”
I leaned over, gave her a kiss and with tears in my eyes, and joy in my heart at her words, walked out of her room. One hour later, a co-worker came to find me and told me my dad was on his way to pick me up. I called dad and he told me Grandma had passed into glory. My heart broke, not for her, but for those of us left behind. The pain was great and overwhelming.
Today, July 24, 2014, would have been her and Grandpa’s 66th anniversary. As we lay Grandma to rest and celebrate her life, I want to ask you what Grandma would, “Have you asked Jesus to be your Savior?” John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
My Grandma is rejoicing with Jesus today, because she believed in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son. Her belief was simple, she believe that God sent Jesus to this earth to die, and raise again, for the sins of this world. It is a simple thing to do. She would tell me, “Just talk to God as you do me. He understands.”
If you do not know Jesus as your Savior and would like to, it is so easy. The prayer I prayed as a teenager was simple, “Dear Jesus, I believe that you came down to earth, died an unjust death, and rose again 3 days later for my salvation. I give you my life, and ask that you come into my heart that I may rejoice with you for eternity. In Jesus name, amen.” It is that simple. I would then ask you to start reading the Gospel of John (the fourth book of the New Testament) and learn more about Jesus.
If you are already a Christian, I encourage you to Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Also, say a prayer for my family and I today. God bless you.
I don’t know anyone that doesn’t have good intentions, do you? The majority of the people of this world have every desire to accomplish and do good things, whether for themselves or others. Those with bad intentions rarely admit it, anyways.
We’ve all heard the sayings, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” & “Good intentions are not enough”. There are movies, books, and even Travis Tritt sang a song about having the Best Of Intentions.
But what all does that mean, exactly? Do good intentions really mean anything? Think about it. You don’t refer to something that has been done or is in the process as a good intention. You call it an accomplishment.
My life has been full of good intentions. One after the other. Some turned into accomplishments, some into failures where I could at least say I tried, others, well, they are still those same old good intentions. The only person that feels good knowing that I had those intentions is me. It really means nothing to anyone else. In fact, my lack of acting out said intentions may have let down or outright hurt others. But if I tell myself “At least I had good intentions” then I can let go of my guilt and go on about my merry way. The truth is, my doing that is wrong…
An intention is not meant to live forever as an intention. Much like a caterpillar builds a cocoon and becomes a butterfly, our intentions are meant to have a brief life that’s meant to become something much greater. When they don’t transform as they are supposed to, they become stagnant and worthless. We may still see the beauty in them, because they were our own, but no one else will. Kinda makes you think “What’s the point?”, right? Good, because that is exactly what every single other person is thinking.
You see, I’m really writing this as a message to myself. Lately I have had a truck load of good intentions that never flourished. I made promises to myself that I would do things around the house, in homeschool, for my family, for others, and even to God that I never did. I resonated with the fact that at least I had good intentions to accomplish these things, but in the end I only feel like I let everyone down. Even if they didn’t know about it. I feel terrible. I’m determined to change this bad habit, but if I continue being lazy, procrastinating, and ignoring my plans those good intentions will never come to be what they could become: Something wonderful.
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Another point I want to make is that Hebrews 4:12 in NKJV says:
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
However, when you read Hebrews 4:12 translated in The Amplified Bible, it really brings things to perspective:
For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.
If God knows the heart, then He knows that some of those good intentions we have were not really as important to us as we say they were. After all, if it was that important to us, wouldn’t we have finished the task? Something to think about.
In a nutshell, in all of my rambling I’m trying to say this: A little less good intentions a little more action please. Actions speak louder than good intentions. No one will remember me for my good intentions, so if I don’t do anything I intend, I’m not going to be remembered for much. (Not exactly the kind of legacy I want to set forth…)
From this day forth: I will try harder to be more realistic with my plans, stop lying to myself, and be honest with God and not put Him off.
What about you? What are some ways that you’ll turn your well meaning plans into accomplishments?
I silently walked into the room. All was quiet, save for the cheerful chirps of the robin on the windowsill. Through that same window, pale sunlight filtered in and seemed to rest solely on one thing…my grandmother’s Bible.
In an instant I was compelled to lay hold of it, not realizing it was already in my hands. This wasn’t the first time.
As I flipped through the tattered pages, my senses were overwhelmed. My fingers ran across the embossed name on the cover, then touched the frayed edges. Inside, there were lists of marriages, births, deaths, and baptisms of loved ones. The scent of her perfume wasn’t really there, but I could smell it just the same. I could even almost taste her sweet tea. Countless times I caught her in the front porch rocker with her Bible in her lap and a glass of iced sweet tea somewhere nearby, wedge of lemon included.
The thing is, more than memories were drawing me to her Bible. It was also the Bible itself. It contained the secrets of life. The books, chapters, verses—-all a wealth of knowledge, a lifetime of wisdom. Scriptures that were highlighted and underlined jumped out at me, letting me know that God knows exactly what I need and exactly when I need it. Notes in the margin were written in Grandmother’s handwriting. She was a lady who had been there and done that! God’s word had spoken to her many times, and was now speaking to me. That old worn and beat up Bible had helped her through many of life’s heartaches, trials and joys. Now it was guiding me. That Bible that was falling apart, was full of God’s promises, and it had belonged to a woman who used it to keep herself together. She stood on those promises and used them to see her through whatever came her way.
The life that she lived was a testimony, an encouragement, an example. She taught me what life was all about–having a true and devoted walk with God, our Father, our Creator, our I Am.
This woman, this Bible, all a part of a legacy left to me…calling me to leave a legacy of my own.
This is a story that just came to me one morning as I was getting ready to sit and read my own Bible. It’s not a true story of mine or anything, but it is a story I hope my grandchildren will be able to write about me someday.
An armor bearer.
A talented musician.
A man on the run.
A man of war.
A man who lusted.
A man after God’s own heart.
David was definitely someone who had to fight his flesh and learn lessons upon making mistakes. He was often described as a man after God’s own heart, yet he was a sinner. What kind of heart could David have possibly possessed as a sinner to still be known as a man after God’s own heart?
A repentant heart. That’s right. David possessed a heart of earnest repentance. A heart that sought forgiveness and guidance from a loving God.
As humans, we are prone to make mistakes. No one said we’d ever come close to perfect, but we can strive to possess a repentant heart as David did. Repent means to turn from, so upon repentance, seek forgiveness and guidance for yourself, along with strength to fully turn from that which caused you to sin. In your own legacy, wouldn’t you love to be described as a man/woman after God’s own heart?
In 1944, during WWII, my Grandpa was just your average 18 year old American guy. He was in the Marine Corps, had not yet met my Grandma, and loved his Mama who was madly in love with Jesus.
It came about that he was facing a deployment. He would call or write home from time to time and let my Great-Grandmother know how he was doing, send pictures, and keep her up to date on what was going on. However, the more that time inched towards the day that he would ship out, she became so uneasy. She did all that she knew to do: She prayed. My Great-Grandmother begged and pleaded with God, that He would do anything to keep her youngest child home and safe.
Right before deployment, my Grandpa became literally covered in boils all over his body. Many years later, I remember he would tell this story to someone who had not heard it and he was unable to say “boils” without wincing. As a result, he was kept home and medically discharged. As any service member can tell you, not deploying can be very disappointing. His unit went on without him, his boils cleared up, and he never had another boil in his life.
His unit was one of many that stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.
For years he dealt with survivors guilt, knowing that their lives were lost while he stayed home. But not once did he question the power of prayer. His mother KNEW something was not right, and that God had a plan for her son. She stood in the gap and prayed for him with every ounce of her being, never giving up. 4 years later he rededicated his life to Christ and became a minister. His passion was to spread the gospel, and that he did until his dying day.
Naturally, I’m more than a little grateful for that woman. Had she not knelt down and prayed with all that was in her I would not be here today. But can you imagine the joy she felt when she heard her baby was not going to war? That her prayer was answered? I’m sure it was “shoutin’ time” in the house that night!
We all feel like our prayers for our children aren’t being heard at times. But I’m living proof: Don’t give up! You never know what God will use!
I have a few more stories like this to share with you, so this will be a little series. (Keep your eyes out for it!) And yes, I must apologize for the cheesy title that is just full of puns. I am deeply sorry. But you know, I just couldn’t resist.
These were the hands that rocked me gently
And kept me safe from harm
They gently guided me through life
And sheltered me in the storm
They worked for years to carry the weight
Of what should have been carried by two
They didn’t question the road they went down
They just did what they had to do
They guided my steps through a narrow path
They taught me the way I should go
And left them for me to sow
I learned John 3:16 before I could read
And to treat others with kindness and care
I knew if I had something you needed
It was left up to me to share
These hands weren’t created for idle work
They were created to show me the way
Though I never knew when these hands grew
They’d wave goodbye someday
As they folded in prayer at an old kitchen chair
Streaks of tears stained a table
For the promise of God was impressed in her heart
And with Him she knew she was able
Written on May 9th, 2012 for Diania’s Mom, whom went to Heaven on May 14th. “Momma” heard the poem and was very pleased. Diania is looking forward to seeing her Mom again, someday. Praise the Lord!
Got Any River’s?
Written by Oscar C. Eliason
Got any rivers, you think are uncrossable?
Got any mountains you can’t tunnel through?
God specializes in thing thought impossible
He does the things others cannot do.
As I have gotten older, I have been really interested in my genealogy. Even the Bible has a great Genealogy guideline. As I fill out my family tree, I have been reflecting more on my grandparents influence in my life. I would like to start this little series about my Poppy (Paul Lucas). My grandfather was born in 1924 in Oklahoma. He grew up in a small town and was very ornery! His father was a blacksmith, and his grandfather the Sheriff.
I have many great memories of my Poppy and Granny. Poppy and Granny were always there to encourage me with my singing (Granny still does!). They took me, my brother, and my cousins to Youth Rally’s, Fellowship Meetings, District and General Conventions, and even to our National Teen Talent Expo in Florida. Poppy taught me how to drive, which I think he took many heart pills for! They were always an encouragement to all of their children and grandchildren, even when we were difficult.
One thing that I remember most about my Poppy is his love for Jesus. He showed us grandkids the love of God. He was an example to his family by showing us how to be patient, kind, and still tell the truth, even if it hurts.
Poppy and Granny always sang together when they were in the car. Poppy would always start Got Any Rivers?, and Granny would harmonize with him. Then Poppy would whistle the song and Granny would hum along. Even though I was a teenager and would roll my eyes at my cousins or brother when they would start singing this, the song has really stuck with me. I would even sing it under my breath at times.
Poppy had a stroke in the winter of 1992. Even that didn’t stop him from doing God’s work. He witnessed to numerous people. He was even planning a new church if God healed him. He and Gran even sang Got Any Rivers? He never lost faith or went into a pity party about his condition.
I spent the summer of 1994 with Poppy and Granny. During that time, I read a book about a boy who grew up when my Poppy did. As I would talk the little songs in the book, Poppy would start singing them. I had so much fun that summer. I learned about him and his childhood. It will always be a memory that could not be compared. It was then I truly started realizing the example he had on my life.
This past October I went to visit my cousin Hollie, she brought out an old tape recording of my Poppy singing some of his songs to her oldest son, Travis, when he was a baby. For the first time in 15 years, I heard my Poppy’s voice. As I sat, listened, laughed, and cried, I watched my kids’ faces and seeing my son’s, Lucas, eyes light up at the funny songs, it made me a little sad that they never got to know him. However, there is a day, very soon I pray, that they will know each other and I know that he will give them the biggest hug in the whole world.
It makes me happy to know that I am raising my kids to have the same type of faith and values that my Poppy and Granny have passed along. Yes, we are ornery at times; but, my kids know how much God loves them and that He has a plan for their lives.
Do you have a person who is an example of Christ in your life? If so, and you get a chance; tell that person how much they mean in your life. Let them know you appreciate the Godly example they have made in your walk with God.
And for my family members who may be reading this, “Oooey Gooey was a worm. A big fat worm was he. He climbed up on a railroad track, the train he did not see. OOOOEEYY GOOEY!!!”
First, let me start by saying that I am no where near as festive as my sister, Karen. I’m pretty sure Christmas got the stomach virus and threw up all over her house. However, I do enjoy the Christmas season, especially family time. I’m slowly but surely learning to focus LESS on the stress of the holiday and MORE on the purpose of the season, which is to remember the birth of our perfect Savior, Jesus Christ.
I’m enjoying finding new ways to teach my girls the joy of Christ in Christmas. I have spent some time today organizing a list of things associated with Christmas to share with them, such as the story of the candy cane and why stars are used as tree toppers. I’m excited to show them the true meaning of the Christmas celebration. I don’t want them to grow up knowing nothing but the hype of Santa Claus, Rudolph and presents. Please take note, I am not putting you down if you and your family celebrate these things! I’m not saying it is wrong. I’m simply stating that there is so much more in the meaning and I want my girls to see that.
Last year, my daughters (now 4 and 2) and I sat and listened as my husband read us the Christmas story from Matthew 2 on Christmas morning. That was the start of a tradition that we will continue as they grow older. We also started the tradition of making a birthday cake for Jesus. We did this on Christmas Eve when we all gather at my sister’s to celebrate with my side of the family. We lit a candle on the cake and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus before we ate it.
A couple of years ago, my pastor/father-in-law suggested we take communion with our family on Christmas Eve that year. I enjoyed it, especially when my niece gagged as she tried to swallow her mom’s homemade unleavened bread, and her brother looked at the cup of grape juice and said in his most disgusted voice, “Is that real blood??”—all in the middle of communion. I couldn’t help but laugh, because I know God has a sense of humor.
The same year, my father-in-law surprised us. He had looked up the meaning to all of our names and read it to us, then prayed over each of us. It was really unique and special. We all shared a giggle as he announced the meaning of my husband’s name, “Markus- the Roman god of fertility.” I thought it was perfect. I would love to have a quiver full of arrows (Psalm 127:4-5). He found it ironic, since he’s fine with just our 2.
The final tradition isn’t anything special, but we always allow an early “gift” on Christmas Eve. That “gift” is a new pair of pajamas to be worn that night. The girls always look adorable, but they love to see what silly things Mom and Dad have to wear (this varies from Cookie Monster pj pants to Mr. Potato Head).
Whatever your do, however you choose to celebrate CHRISTmas, remember the true importance of it. JESUS. Don’t stress. Instead, breathe, relax, and enjoy the season. And don’t forget to share your family’s traditions with us!
Tis the season for sharing…. our traditions that is! While Angie shared about their “Jesus” stockings, I’m going to share with you the tradition for my family.
Every year for CHRISTmas, I buy new CHRISTmas pajamas for the whole family. We wear them on CHRISTmas Eve and take pictures of everyone in them. I have just as much fun finding them and picking out just the right one for each of my children. Plus, it give me an excuse to buy an new one for myself! lol
My mother started the tradition when I was younger and I hope to pass this along to my children.
Do you have any favorite traditions you do with your family to honor Christ through the Christmas season?
Won’t you share them with us? Please?
Send an email to me via the “Contact Us” tab up at the top of this page. Let me know! And then check back in to see what others have shared.