Guitar on the Soccer Field

I enjoy playing guitar on Sunday mornings and leading the Sunday school children in worship.  I started doing this when I first came to the Lord–before our children were born.  Now I’m a grandma.

A few weeks ago I began to sense God calling me to take my guitar to the soccer fields on weekends.  Why?  It’s because there seems to be a strong emphasis on sports activities and many children are missing out on learning about God and the Bible.

I’m getting a team together. We’ll put up our Bible table just as we do on the beach promenade.  We’ll tell short Bible stories and sing praises to God. We’ll share the Gospel message and pray with those who have needs or want to come to Christ.

I gave my notice to the Sunday school superintendent, explaining my plans.  I agreed to do the music for another month, through the end of August. But who will replace me? Surely God will provide.

Last Sunday as I walked into church carrying my guitar, a man approached.  “Are you going to be playing your guitar today?”

“Yes, I lead worship for the children’s Sunday school.”

He said, “That is something I do as well!  I’m new in town and I’m hoping to have an opportunity to lead music for the children here. Perhaps we can work together!”

I said, “You won’t believe this, but next Sunday is my last Sunday doing this!  Perhaps God sent you to be my replacement!”

We exchanged information. I arranged for him to meet the Sunday school superintendent. He plans to bring his guitar next week so I can introduce him to the children.

I’m believing this is another confirmation that God is behind this new venture.  We’ll be in the parks on Saturdays and Sundays, wherever there are games being played.  I’ll have to alternate weekends so our evangelism team will be able to worship in church at least every other Sunday.  God is good!

 

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My Second-Best Decision

My decision to surrender my life to Jesus Christ was the best decision of my life. My second-best decision was five years later.  It was the decision to commit to spending five minutes a day reading and meditating on the Bible.

The challenge was presented at a Christian seminar.  We were cautioned in the seriousness of making a vow to God.  It was not to be taken lightly, because it was never to be broken.

The speaker warned, “Today you may feel like vowing to spend 20 minutes a day in the Word, but don’t do it.  However, if you cannot spare five minutes a day, there is something very wrong with your schedule.”

Truthfully, I was afraid of making a vow to God and not keeping it.  But I did make a commitment–and I’ve maintained it through the years.  I believed God desired to speak to me through His Word.  I love the Word and as much as I know I need it daily, I also knew I would not be faithful to God’s Word unless I made such a commitment.  Even though it’s a commitment to five minutes, rarely is it only five minutes!

Have I broken it?  There have been days when I came close. I have found myself in bed at night unable to sleep. Suddenly I’d realize I’d missed my time in the Word. I’d quickly get my Bible and go to another room and yes, I’d clock-watch just to get my five minutes in.

There have also been times when things were going poorly.  Once I was angry—angry with my husband and angry at God. The last thing I wanted to do was open the Bible.  Yet at the end of the day I knew I had to, because I’d made a commitment.  I found it so difficult I actually cried,  “Jesus help me!”

Once I opened it and read the first words, tears began to flow. God’s love and His peace enveloped me. I was able to forgive and forget.   God does reward us when we obey.

Yes, I say with all certainty, that this was the second-best decision of my life.

What about you?  Have you ever made such a commitment? Would you?

  •  For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.    Romans 15:4
  • Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”     Matthew 4:4
  • All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.     2 Timothy 3:16-17
  • SONG:  THESE INWARD TRIALSWords by John Newton; Music by Kathleen

 

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In a Relationship

I received an email from 22-year-old John in Kenya, via Global Media Outreach, for which I am an online missionary.

“I am in a relationship and I need advice on how we can live happily loving each other without limitations.”

“Dear John, I’m not sure what you mean by “in a relationship.”  Are you living together? Sleeping together?  Unfortunately, if you are not married, then there are many limitations. You see, sexual activity is forbidden by God—until after marriage.

“Here’s another important question:  Have both of you given your lives to Jesus Christ? The Bible tells us not to be unequally yoked with an unbeliever.  If one of you is a follower of Jesus and the other one is not, this is not good.

“If you are both Christ followers, then are you praying together? Are you reading and studying the Bible together? This is important.  The Bible says ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.’ That is your number one goal.

“Perhaps you and your girlfriend would enjoy learning more about God and the Bible together.  Go to:   http://godlife.com/ where you will find great resources for Christians at every stage of growth.

“John, please understand this:  God loves you and wants the best for you.  Please write back and let me know if you have further questions or want prayer. I am here to help.”

That was the last I heard from John.

  •  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5:6
  • But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.               Ephesians 5:3
  • Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.     2 Corinthians 6:14
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Elohim is Plural?

I was having a discussion with an older Jewish gentleman who was studying the Torah.

He said, “I know you’re a student of the Bible.  But did you know the word for God in the Bible is Elohim—and that word in Hebrew is plural?”

“Really?  Wow! I’m glad to know that!  That explains Genesis 1:26-27 where God said, “Let us make man in our image…so God made man in His own image.”  The Scripture there changes from plural to singular.  I’d say that’s one more example of the Trinity:  the Father, Son and Holy Spirit working together in creation.”

He said, “No, No!  We believe that refers to the angels that helped God create man.”

“What? But angels are created beings! God didn’t need angels to help Him create man.  He could simply speak us into existence!  Besides, Scripture tells us we were made in the image of God, not in the image of God and angels.  I’m afraid, my friend, I must respectfully disagree with you here.”

He smiled and nodded.

I smiled back.

  • Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.       Genesis 1:26-27
  • SONG: DEAR LORD OF LORDSby Kathleen
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Clean Up Your Language!

Often the incarcerated teens who come to Bible study will make a decision to follow Jesus. Yet they have a habit of cursing and want help in overcoming this habit.  Here is my message for them:

It’s important to clean up your language. When we swear we sling words around because we are frustrated or angry. Usually the words relate to two things:  (1) Spiritual (God) or (2) Bodily Functions (sex act or elimination).

Think about it. Curse words refer to a Person or activities that are very real and very necessary to our existence. Without God we wouldn’t be here.  Without sex we wouldn’t be here.  Without bodily elimination we’d die!

Moreover, when we use the word “God” or “Jesus” in a disrespectful way, we are breaking the Third Commandment.  Is this the way we want to honor God?                                           He said, “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”—Deuteronomy 5:11, Exodus 20:7.                       It’s serious.  In fact, God placed this commandment above adultery and murder on His list.

Is it necessary to shout Cr__ or Sh__? Both are slang for feces. Why would anyone want to yell about feces?  How about the pi_s word?  Why yell about urine? It’s senseless.

Plan now what you will say the next time you feel frustrated or angry. How about a simple, “Oh No!” The Bible says, “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’  Anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Practice now—so you are prepared in advance. You could even try, “Oh Dear!   Oh My!  Oh Boy!”

Does swearing impress people? Yes. It gives a bad impression.
You become unpleasant to be with.
It reduces the respect others have for you.
It’s a sign a bad attitude.
It is immature and disrespectful.
It reflects ignorance and shows your vocabulary is very limited.
Swearing is lazy language and lacks imagination.
It offends people.
It shows lack of character.
It turns discussions into arguments.

Even if your friends swear, you will be perceived as more mature, intelligent and polite if you control your language.

It’s your choice: Do you want to be considered crude and rude?
Or, do you want to have character and class?

  •  All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ Anything beyond this comes from the evil one.     Matthew 5:37
  •  Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.     Ephesians 5:4
  • Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.     James 1:26
  •  With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.     James 3:9-10
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Mom, I Don’t Wanna Go to Church!

The kids and I always went to church weekly.

One Sunday when Mark was 10,  he said he wanted to stay home and watch TV with Dad.
I quietly said, “Go get dressed.”
“But Mom, I don’t wanna go!  I wanna stay home with Dad!”
“Go on. Get dressed.” When his father left the room, I quietly said, “You get dressed right now or you’ll be sorry!”  He did.

All the way to church I lectured. “Don’t ever do that again!  We do not go to church to have a good time. We go because we need to go. Church is the only place in the world where we fit in.  Your father is not a believer and we cannot expect him to act like one.  You are a believer.  We love Dad and we want him to be saved so he can go to heaven someday and be with Jesus. We need to help him by setting a good example.

“If we stay home this Sunday, then next Sunday it’ll be easier to stay home and the next Sunday after that it’ll be even easier. Then something will happen. Then it will begin to be natural to stay home and difficult to get back into the habit of going to church.  Satan wants us to stay home. We cannot give in to Satan and let him control us.”

I went on like this until we drove into the church parking lot.  Finally Mark spoke up and very diplomatically said, “Mom, you sure would make a good Sunday school teacher!”

He never again asked to stay home.

  •  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.     Hebrews 10:24-25
  • SONG:  MY FRIENDWords by D.J Higgins, Music by Kathleen 
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“I’m Gay”

A 17-year-old told his parents, “I don’t believe in God anymore.  I no longer want to be a Christian.”

His father listened and then said,  “Tell me what else is going on in your life.”

“I’m gay.”

That was it.  It’s called cognitive dissonance.  According to Wikipedia, “In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time; performs an action that is contradictory to one or more beliefs, ideas, or values; or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values.”

In short, the teenager was involved in sin.  Consequently, reading the Bible or approaching God in prayer made him uncomfortable.  People involved in sinful activity typically begin looking for reasons not to believe in God.

Fortunately, there are former homosexuals who have come to Christ and left the lifestyle.  Their testimonies give hope to those who are homosexual but don’t want to be.  You may read some of their stories on this website:  http://ex-gaytruth.com/ex-gay-testimonies/

Here are some interesting comments from a former homosexual at the above website:  “I consider homosexuality sin and sickness. Therefore, I think it would be a mistake to accommodate it.  I also feel betrayed by fellow Christians who reject the biblical perspective on this issue and for one reason or another have decided to declare homosexuality not only legitimate but pleasing to God.  Those who would hold this view devalue Christians who earnestly seek truth and deliverance from the Lord.  Don’t ignore us.

“Thanks to God’s grace, Jesus’ redemption and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, the weight of any oppression—in this case, homosexuality—can be lifted.  There is hope!

“I am still tempted sometimes to return to the homosexual lifestyle.  My hope is in the Lord. I sometimes fall. My hope is in the Lord.  I was depressed, beaten and hopeless, but my hope is in the Lord.  I was dead and filthy in sin, but the Lord washed me and redeemed me and my life is in His hands.”

  • According to www.gotquestions.org :    The New Testament says that homosexuality is a “shameful lust” (Romans 1:26), a “shameful act,” an abandonment of “natural relations” (Romans 1:27), a “wrongdoing”     (1 Corinthians 6:9), and “sexual immorality and perversion” (Jude 1:7). Homosexuality carries a “due penalty” (Romans 1:27), “is contrary to the sound doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:10), and is listed among the sins that bar people from the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9).  Despite the attempts of some to downplay these verses, the Bible could not be clearer that homosexuality is a sin against God. Homosexuality is not the cause of a society’s decline, but it is a symptom of it; it is the result of people making themselves the final authorities.  Romans 1 gives the natural digression of a society that has chosen idolatry and sinful pleasure instead of obedience to God. The downward spiral begins with denying that God has absolute authority over His creation (Romans 1:21–23).

 

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Muslim Teen & the Occult

As an online missionary with Global Media Outreach–www.godlife.com–I receive many emails from people in Muslim majority countries.

Susan, 16,  has written from the Middle East for over a year.  She’s had a fascination for vampire books and movies, witchcraft and the occult.  She’s asked questions about Satanism and Wicca.  I’ve warned her that these things are evil and she should have nothing to do with them.  She’d write back and say, “Don’t preach at me!”

Yet she kept writing and asking questions about the occult, esp. Satanism.  One day she wrote that she often sees a man dressed in black outside on the sidewalk. He calls to her, but when she walks closer to him he disappears!  This frightened her.

Later she wrote that the man in black was now coming to her in her dreams and shooting her with a gun.  She said, “I see my blood and I feel the pain. Every night I’m afraid to go to sleep because of the same nightmare. I cannot tell my parents, they will think I’m crazy.”

I wrote, “These are demonic apparitions that are a result of you taking too great an interest in the occult. You must stop NOW or it will get worse!  The only way you can be free of this is to call out on the name of Jesus.  You must be willing to surrender your life to Him. He will then forgive your sins, and He’ll send the Holy Spirit to live in you. At that time you will receive His peace, joy and love. Those bad dreams will then disappear.”

She wrote, “I’m a Muslim and I cannot change my religion.  I want to slash my wrists and kill myself.  I hate my life and I hate the nightmares every night!”

I would pray and again write the same thing, “You don’t need to change your religion. Muslims believe in Jesus too. Just call on Jesus’ name. His name is powerful.”  I then wrote out a prayer for her to say when she was afraid.

One day she wrote, “I did it two weeks ago! I didn’t tell you because I wanted to wait and see if it was real.  It IS REAL!  Jesus is real!  I have peace!  The nightmares have stopped! I don’t hear voices anymore or see that man in black.  I’m so happy!  I really do believe in Jesus!”

I’ve been emailing her a Bible study in the book of Mark and she’s growing in the Lord.

  • The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”    Luke 10:17
  •  Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.    Acts 4:12
  • Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.    Romans 10:13
  • SONG: AT THE FEET OF JESUSLyrics by Liana Wendy Howarth; Music by Kathleen  
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One-Child Policy

I was talking with an outspoken atheist who thought China’s former One-Child Policy was a good thing.

I told her I disagreed. “I know China has a huge population, but now they have an imbalance of more young men than women.”

She said, “I agree that abortion is sad, especially when women abort a daughter because they hope for a son.  And yes, a forced abortion policy is unfortunate, but at least they are keeping the population down.”

“I think you see global population growth as a problem—a problem that man needs to fix.”

She said, “We need organizations like Planned Parenthood.  Abortion is never a good answer, but it is one solution to the problem.”

I said, “The difference between you and me is that I trust God.  God instructed man to  ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth.’  When the earth is full enough, then He has a plan. Perhaps that is when Jesus will return.  I don’t know.  But I do know that we are to do our part and trust God.”

She responded, “What you believe is nothing more than mythology—whether it be Greek, Roman or Egyptian—it is mythology.”

I smiled, “Hey, you are my friend and I love you.  I’m glad we can agree to disagree.”

  •  God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”    Genesis 1:28 
  • For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.      Psalm 33:4-5
  • You shall not murder.   Exodus 20:13

 

 

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Courtship Then Marriage

I know a tall, handsome, athletic young man who graduated from high school with honors.  He has a girlfriend — but they don’t date!

Whoops! Excuse me!  I’m told she’s NOT his girlfriend!  They just like each other.

According to their strong Christian beliefs, they don’t date and they don’t kiss — until they are ready to consider courtship — and then marriage!

So what do they do?  They hang out with friends and family!  They’re involved in group activities:  games, sports, church activities, hiking, swimming, making pizza together, outings with their friends and parents.

His mother explains that this idea, according to her son,  is for them to get to know one another, their families and their friends, to worship together, pray together, study God’s Word together, share Christ with others together and then someday if they continue to like each other enough, they will begin their courtship and then marry.

The few I’ve known to practice this type of premarital friendship seem to marry young,  and marry for life.  This young man dreams of completing college and going on to medical school.  His parents believe he will do it.  I do as well.

  • Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves.     Romans 12:9-10
  • What is Love?  I appreciate this definition:  “Love is a commitment of the will to the true good of another person,” from J. Budziszewski in his book,  How To Stay Christian In College.
  • An excellent article on courtship vs. dating:  http://www.gotquestions.org/difference-dating-courting.html
  • SONG: SEVEN TIMES A DAYBy Kathleen

     

     

 

 

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