Don’t Look Back !

Earl - Sea of Galilee

Earl – Sea of Galilee

Lately I have had a preoccupation with Lot’s wife.  The Bible doesn’t mention her name, though some Jewish traditions indicate that her name was Edith (Adith or Ado).  But I can’t help but wonder, why after being told by the messengers of God, “Escape for your life!  Do not look behind you, ………” (Genesis 19:17), did she still look back?

Reading in Genesis before this event, you get the basic idea of why God was angry with Sodom and Gomorrah.  The cities as God states in Genesis 18:20 states, “And the Lord said, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave.”  Due to their unrepentant sins, God’s patience was tested to the point where He could not look upon the evil – thus He determined to end the evil by destroying it.

Lot lived there along with his wife and two daughters.  The messengers of God came to Lot’s house and spent the night, but not without the sins of the city affecting Lot’s family and his guests.  Lot pleaded with the men of the city to not act wickedly.  They had demanded to have sexual relations with his guests.  As Lot contended with the men at his door, the men of God reached out to bring Lot back into the house, and they struck the men of the city with blindness.

So Lot, his wife, and two daughters were escorted out of the city and were headed for Zoar.  Once there, God rained down brimstone and fire from heaven and in verse 26 “But his wife, from behind him, looked back; and she became a pillar of salt.”  The more I thought about this story, the more I realized that the same directive from God is given to every Christian.  Don’t look back. 

There have been times in my life where I have looked back on the decisions that I had made, and I’ve cried out to God, repeatedly.  I’ve sat crying, beating myself up for years over the decisions that not only affected me, but others around me – others that I love and adore.  One such time was the decision to divorce my first husband.  Though it wasn’t working for us as husband and wife, my children were put in a horrible position.  My one time decision has affected the decisions that they have been making for 17 years.  I see it, I sense it, and I’ve been told by them that it has.  That hurts!   It’s raw!  It’s life.  We ALL make decisions, but once made, we have to reconcile ourselves with God and ask Him and Him alone, where do I go from here?

My son - Craig

My son – Craig

Throughout the New Testament, we are told not to look back.  Luke 9:62 Jesus states “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”  In Philippians 3:13, “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet, but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.”  And look at Hebrews 10:39 “But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.” And finally,  Peter 2:21-22 “For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them.  It has happened to them according to the true proverb, ‘A dog returns to its own vomit,’ and ‘a sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire,’”

God pulls us out of our old lifestyle and forgives us and offers us a new life.  He pulls us out of a life that perhaps was controlled by other things that we were sucked into – not knowing how to get out.  The amazing thing is, God has a plan for us.  What He asks is simple.  Don’t look back.

Don’t look back on that sinful past, that sinful lifestyle, those sinful friends, and those bad decisions.  Don’t look back on mistakes made, decisions that affected not only you, but others.   Don’t look back on the pleasures of sin, but rather look forward to the promises of a new future with God.  You can’t be useful to the Lord today if you’re still feeling guilty about the past.  God uses those past hurts, failures, and mistakes to strengthen us to become the people He wants us to be today.

My Daughter - Maddie

My Daughter – Maddie

My decision and my cry to God eventually brought a new life to me.  I have not looked back since.  God gave me the great gift of forgiveness, which not only was granted from Him, but also from my children.  He gave me one of the greatest of gifts – Earl.  He is my spiritual leader even as my husband.  I will follow him anywhere because I believe God directs Earl, and Earl always responds with trust in Him.   I have to believe that perhaps Lot’s wife was looking back with regret, for having to lose a lifestyle that she enjoyed.  Why else would God turn her to a pillar of salt?  Perhaps she had no remorse.  Perhaps she had not asked for forgiveness.  Perhaps she had turned away from God’s call in her life.  God told Abraham that He would save anyone found righteous in the two cities.  I believe that out of all those people, only three were righteous in God’s eyes.

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And He was Grieved by Their Misery

I hope you are experiencing a year of Bible study with daily devotions or a one-year Bible reading program.  As I’ve previously quoted in Be the One in Ten Christians That Have , only 1-3 in 10 Christians have ever read their Bible in it’s entirity. 

Everytime I read the Bible, important messages pop out at me and some I’ve never heard.  It’s like listening to Earl’s sermons every Sunday twice, (I stay for both services).  Sometimes I completely miss something the first go-round and pick up on it the second pass.  I used to just think that I was at fault in some way – was I not paying attention?  But no, that is not so.  Let me share with you how God works through the Holy Spirit to enlighten us, and even when we need to hear it!

God the Father created, Jesus saved, The Holy Spirit enlightens, directs and guides.

Mother's Day 2013

Mother’s Day 2013

On May 12, 2013, Earl preached the sermon, How to Recognize the Holy Spirit .  I wanted to share that sermon with you via the link, because I believe it will enlighten all who read it about the exact relationship The Holy Spirit has with us – if only we would listen and be led by Him.

Part of The Holy Spirit’s obligation to us is to help us know God better.  The Holy Spirit came after Jesus ascended into heaven and as promised by Christ, The Holy Spirit came to remind the desciples of all that Jesus had done and said and this is where we get the words of the New Testament.  When reading the Bible, The Holy Spirit will reveal or enlighten us to what we are supposed to hear at that time in our life.  He guides us in our learning of our Creator and our Savior.

So getting back to my daily Bible reading….long way around, I have experienced sadness and grief over the illnesses of folks in our church and the passing of some very young people that the loss is far too hard to comprehend.  I have had conversations with people who blame God, other folks that cannot comprehend how a loving God could possibly allow such things to happen.  They are angry, and some individuals that I know have even turned their backs on God. 

While praying and asking God for help in these extremely difficult cases, I asked God for guidance in how to bring His peace to grieving people.  Was there anything that I could say or would I make it worse?

My God, who created me, also gave me a Savior in Jesus Christ, so that I don’t have to pay for my sins.  God then gave me His Spirit to help me as I traverse along this life on earth with all His other created beings.  But we all have choices to make about where we go, who we have as friends and what we do – and a myriad of other choices.  All these free choices can sometimes bring us friends or enemies, peace or consternation, wellness or illness, good or evil.  And the entire fall of creation brings with it dire consequences even when we are obeying God.  Jesus said we would always have the poor and hungry among us – that there would always be wars and natural disasters.  Even Jesus being perfect, suffered hunger and terrible storms in His life due to the sin of the world.

But as I was reading Judges 10:15-16, I found a message that the Holy Spirit used to speak to me. “But the Israelites pleaded with the Lord and said, “We have sinned.  Punish us as you see fit, only rescue us today from our enemies.” “Then the Israelites put aside their foreign gods and served the Lord. And he was grieved by their misery.”   Not only is God with us in all that we go through in this life, but when we admit our sinfulness and repent, God grieves for us.  He may even step in and remove the consequences, but even if He chooses not to do so, He will help us through it.  He will lead us to where we have to go to do our Father’s work.  We can be strong and courageous in this life when we rely on His presence to pull us through the seemingly inpossible.  We can give Him praise and glory for the pit we’ve found ourselves in, not just resentment, anger and dismissal of His love and will for us.

So as I pray for people who find themselves in such difficult times, and as the Holy Spirit gives me opportunity, I will remind them that God grieves with us in our misery.  Maybe they will feel the presence of God surrounding them, uplifting them and holding on to them.  I pray that they will feel Him pulling them through the hardships with all the tenderness of His tears and the strength of His love, leading them and guiding them to a fuller and stronger life in Christ.

Submissive Christian Wife

Ephesians 5:21 ” Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

Recently, I attended a wedding rehearsal for a couple of which my husband, Earl was going to marry the next day.  The bride was stunning, and she was the daughter of a wonderfully gentle and kind couple that are members of our church.

Rehearsal Dinner

Rehearsal Dinner

At the rehearsal dinner, after finishing a delectable meal, the groom’s parents stood and toasted the couple and asked if anyone else had anything to say.  Family and friends stood and told stories and wished them the best, and then a lovely young woman in her mid-twenties stood and offered the couple some advice.  She said that the Bible has the answers to all life’s questions and whenever she needed to know something about marriage and relationships, she looked in her Bible.  For instance, if she wants to know about love, she reads 1 Corinthians 13, and if she wants to know how God created a man for a woman, she reads Genesis 2: 21, and if she wants to know how the marriage relationship between a man and woman is supposed to be, it can be found that a wife is to be submissive to her husband from Ephesians 5 and that a husband is to love his wife and give himself up for her.  I was genuinely pleased by her public stance and her commitment to her friend (the bride) to help her see what God calls for in a marriage relationship.

Many women get their backs up whenever this topic is broached.  But surely it is only because they don’t really understand the profound spiritual nature of what being submissive really means.  Being submissive does NOT mean being a doormat nor does it mean to simply being subject to the passing whims of her husband.

The New Testament teaches that marriage serves as a symbol of the relationship of Christ and His Church.  In the marriage relationship, it is the husband’s privilege to portray the headship of Christ over the family by his loving and sacrificial leadership.  It should be in this case, be the wife’s privilege and high calling to submit to her husband who represents the head of the household  and together to be submissive to the Lord Jesus Christ as the church Head.

Read Ephesians 5, but read the entire chapter, not just the section about the wife’s role.  Ephesians states all the character traits that the husband must work toward in order to even begin to come close to what Christ desires for his as the head of the household.  For the wife, there are perhaps two requirements in the whole chapter, to submit and to respect.  Submission is the voluntary surrender of our rights and self-interest for the benefit of others and for the glory of God.  Paul indicates that Christians, without exception, are to “be subject to one another.”  In this regard, if husbands are truly subjecting (submitting) themselves to the will of Christ in their lives and are leading their family in a Christ directed manner, then wives should not try to deviate from that path nor be an obstacle in her husband’s pursuit of that goal.

One must respect and honor a husband that is walking in step with Christ.  But the husband has a directive in this as well, beyond all that is stated in Ephesians 5, the Bible states, that he should seek her advice, as Elkanah and Abraham did (1 Samuel 1:23; Gen. 21:12), and yield to her when she is right.  A wife, who is wise, will give wise counsel and tell her husband how she feels and what God may be placing on her heart.  A husband should take his wife’s counsel to mind before making decisions for the family and then once a decision is made, the wife should honor her husband’s Christ-led decision.

I am very headstrong and opinionated, but I can tell you this, I have a husband that takes his life and lays it down for the sake of Christ.  He walks the walk and talks the talk.  He studies and prays hour upon hour every day.  I love him, trust him, respect him and most of all, will follow him in any and all major directions that he feels called by God to make.  This is not only being Biblically submissive on my part (which I did have to learn by the way) but a very, very wise move.  For I know God has called me to be a helpmate to Earl (Genesis 2:20), to walk beside him in his ministry, and minister to him, to serve him and to care for him as he helps lead others to Christ.  Therefore I gladly surrender, sacrifice and serve under Christ’s authority through my husband over this house for I see him daily doing the same under Christ and for our ultimate good.

50…..And Still Counting

50th Birthday Cake

50th Birthday Cake

“Aging is not ‘lost youth’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”
Betty Friedan

I turn 50 this coming April 15.  I am more excited than a child at Christmas.  My family thinks that I may have a screw or two loose in my head.  But I say it’s a 35 year goal finally come to pass.

That’s right, I have been wanting to hit the big 5-0 since I was 15 years old.  I’ve never looked at aging as something to grieve.  Now that 50 is so near, I now wonder expectantly, “well what’s after that?” 

I do not agree with much of what Betty Frieden has to say, but I have to agree with the above quote.  I’ve never looked at aging as lost youth.  I’ve always looked at it as experience gained – a sense of wisdom attained – an opportunity to learn and better other people’s lives.  At 50, I am hoping to love more richly, deeply, and more compassionately.  I’ve found that being a Christian makes all those worthy goals mine because those were Christ’s attributes.  Because of Him, I can move forward in life with confidence and assurance.

I have found that aging is addressed with favorable tones in the Scriptures.  The first promise in Exodus 20:1, “Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God is giving you”.  Whew, I sure am glad that I put my parents’ opinions of me in the forefront.  I still do to this day. 

Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad

In Deuteronomy 5:33 “Follow the whole instruction the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live, prosper, and have a long life in the land you will possess.”  The Lord shows favor to those who live a moral life.  One who takes the Word of God and absorbs His teaching and lives a life based on those teachings will be blessed with long life.  See also 1 Kings 3:14 “If you walk in My ways and keep My statutes and commandments just as your father David did, I will give you a long life.”

In the Bible, those who are aged are perceived as being wise, resourceful and valuable.  What they have, they are supposed to share for the good of everyone.  We are to offer to our children, our fellow brothers and sisters and all of society, our very experiences and give them wise counsel to help them avoid our pitfalls.

Most all who know me, know that I am drawn to the silver foxes who came before me.  I adore being around those who have lived life longer than I have.  I love to listen to the stories of their youth and the experiences of their lives.  The history that they’ve lived can truly help develop the future decisions of those that they bless with their knowledge.  The elderly are to be respected and cared for, and they deserve kindness.  We all have a responsibility to the generation that came before us whether they are family members, church members or neighbors.

Aging is a positive part of life.  We are to accept the blessings and responsibilities of aging with gratitude.

The Rain Came Down, Did His People Persevere?

It is 5 AM, and it is Palm Sunday.  The only thing I hear is rain – a torrential downpour.  This is the beginning of Holy Week.  Earl is already in the shower, and I have to swing my feet off the bed and get down to the kitchen to get his breakfast cooking.  It’s part of my ministry, and I’m happy to do it.  I persevere to make sure that the work that the Lord has given me gets done.  But it’s raining, and it feels like sleeping weather.  My feet still hit the floor, and I get started.

I have to study a little more.  I’m teaching the Sunday school lesson.  I worked on it yesterday, but I’m not feeling confident with what I’ve got.  Yet I must persevere, I can’t present what God does not intend.  Clean up the kitchen, sit down and study.  I look out my window to see lightning, and I hear the resulting thunder.

Shower, dress, but no, the dog will not go out in this rain.  Can she cross her paws for the next 5 hours?  I open the door, it’s raining so hard that there is a fog-like consistency in the air.  The dog backs away.  A thought  runs through my head, will God’s people persevere and come to chuch today?  It’s raining so hard.

I realize that I can’t go through the newly created pond at the bottom of my entry stairs in my shoes.  I quickly change into my Duck shoes, throw the high heels in a bag and grab the umbrella.  Will the umbrella actually open?  Oh please Lord, let the umbrella open.  It does.  Thank you Lord!

As I drive through the streets, the meer couple of miles to the church, God begins to speak to me in my mind.  I’ve learned to listen.  Today it is not His quiet voice, but a strong voice that tells me to tell His people to persevere.  Dear Lord, will your people come to hear?  So here is what He told me in my thoughts.

Spring Blooms

Spring Blooms

I give you the rain.  You receive the fresh aroma of Spring.  I nourish the ground for all My nature to grow.  My gifts to you include the beautiful gardens, flowers and trees – lawns so lush – vegetation so green.  My water helps to provide all that for you.  You have water to drink and shower and clean.  My gifts to you.  I give you My Word so the pastor can speak.  He’s been provided with a sermon to nourish My people – to offer their worship – lift up their voices.

God is good.  He gives many good gifts.  Let us not use those gifts as excuses not to come and worship.  I was pleased to see all those whose worship of God meant more to them than the possibility of enduring the rain and getting a little wet. His people do persevere.

Our pastor, our music department, our staff, our ushers, Sunday School teachers – as well as all those who prepare the coffee and refreshments – all worked really hard to be sure that the ministries that God entrusted to them were carried out.  They persevered through the rain.  And we were all blessed this rainy, stormy, Palm Sunday, 2013.

“Therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.” 1 Thessalonisan 1:4

Dying Is Not Just an Ending But a Beginning

Glimpses of Heaven by Trudy Harris, RN.  I have just finished reading this amazing journal of the experiences of a faith-filled Christian who has served in Hospice care.  Trudy Harris heard her call from God and took the gifts He offered her and went to work as His servant.

The final paragraph of the book reads, “Dying is a very natural part of living.  It is not an ending, but a beginning.”  She shows death to be a transition into the life God has promised to all of His children.  He wants us to eventually come home to be with Him after we finish the work that He has created us to do.  “He loves us-believe it.” 

Dying can be very scary, especially for those who do not know God our Creator, Jesus our Savior, and the Holy Spirit, our Director.  But Trudy Harris witnessed of God to all those with whom she came in contact.  Many came to faith in God through her conversation, care and prayers.  Trudy Harris reflects Christ.  You can feel it in the stories.  You are in awe of her and pray to God to be more like her.

My mother Diana, is also an RN.  Long retired, but she still renews her license.  My mother worked in emergency rooms, operating rooms and on the floors of  hospitals and private doctors’ offices.  My mother is the first person that I call when I am given a diagnosis by my doctor.  She researches, questions and gets answers.  She comforts and loves those that come to her.  Every family member counts on her medical knowledge and insight.  I see Christ reflected in her.  I also hear hope.

My husband Earl, Senior Pastor at James Island Presbyterian Church, recently gave a sermon entitled, “The Roman Road.”  One section of the sermon hit me at the time that he stated it, and I was reminded of it again as I read this book.  He said, speaking of the church, “We are a hospital for sinners – not a Hospice for sinners.  As much as Hospice did for my personal family – and I love the work of Hospice – and not everyone who enters Hospice also dies in Hospice… But by simple analogy, a church is not a place for sinners who have no cure and are made to feel comfortable until they die.  The church is a hospital where patients are made better by the Great Physician and live eternally.”

The church is for healing and recovery.  A place where all sinners go to be made well.  We come to be cleansed by the Spirit of God through the work of His Son, Jesus Christ.  In the church, I also see hope.

Trudy’s book offers the reader a glimpse into the final days, hours and moments of those who are ready to leave this earth and transition into life eternal.  To read about those visions comforts the reader and gives knowledge to the believer that when God calls us home, He blesses us by His Holy presence.  When God calls us home to begin a new life with Him, it is not frightening.  It is more than we can possibly imagine.  And that is why I believe in God’s living hope.

“And how shall they preach unless they are sent?  Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GLAD TIDINGS OF GOOD THINGS!”  Romans 10:15

Competing with Your Spouse – The Chili Cook-off

Earl and I rarely, if ever, compete against each other. 

Our church had a Renewal Weekend, and part of the program was a Chili Cook-Off.  Earl and I entered the competition.  It took Earl about two weeks to realize that he would be competing with me, I, on the other hand was aware of it the moment I entered our names.

I planned, made lists, bought my ingredients.  Earl ordered his secret ingredient from Kansas City, MO.  We then realized that Earl might have to go out of town the day before the competition and try to get back in time for the renewal services.  I got a devil-may-care attitude going.  “Honey, what to do?  You’ve got to enter your chili because you’ve signed up.”   “Oh, and don’t forget they made announcements on Sunday that you and I would be entering.”  “Did I mention that they brought it to everyone’s attention again during Wednesday Night Live dinner?”

Competition is not necessarily a bad thing.  According to the Bible, competition is a vital component of success.  However, left unchecked, competition can also lead to cheating and failure.  According to 2 Timothy 2:5 “And also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.”

Did I mention that I was beginning to feel guilty as I saw him get closer to failure?  On the Thursday prior to the cook-off, I called Earl knowing he was under a lot of heavy stress, meetings and pressures, and so I asked him if he wanted me to get his ingredients.  I even offered to make it for him if he would tell me how he made his chili.  I would be happy to follow his instructions to the letter and make sure his chili got to the cook-off for him.

Jesus Christ’s message to his followers was that they should attempt to help others whom they disagree with rather than to make them even more helpless (Luke 9:51-56). Thus, by focusing on caring for others rather than on competing with them, believers can maintain their own integrity while being of service to those in need.

I care for Earl, and I wanted him to enter his chili.  What harm does it do for me to help him out?  It’s still a competition, played by the rules.  Funny thing was, he then told me that he did not need to go out of town and that he would have time to do his own work on his chili.  So let the games begin!

By the way neither one of us won the contest, and I chose the double crock pot before he could do so.  His chili turned out a little dry because he didn’t have enough room for the liquid in his single crock pot.  Was that cheating or just competing?

Low Man on the Totem Pole and No Problem with That!

Galatians 5:13 “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love, serve one another.”

In VanCouver Canada 2012

In VanCouver Canada 2012

A lot of people may have a huge problem with the scripture above. Why? Because probably most people want to be served, not to be a servant.

We are a society that focuses on self and pleasing ourselves, and this is a far cry from the example that Christ gave us to serve others. We are taught in our Christian belief that once we become a Christian, we have a new nature alongside our old nature; we begin to reflect on the very acts and manner of Christ. We can choose between following our old desires and lusts or following the Holy Spirit within us.

Once God calls us and enables us, it’s easy to accept Christ as our Savior and trust Him to save us. The Holy Spirit moves us to do so. But Christians sometimes stop right there. They understand that acceptance of Christ offers forgiveness of sins – past, present and future. But Christians may count on this gift from God to see them through life -regardless of whether they continue to follow their old natures. But the Holy Spirit prompts followers of Jesus to change their focus on self. The Spirit continues to educate and change us into what God intends for us to be in Christ. The freedom we have in following Christ transforms us into wanting to be more like Him – not doing anything our old nature tells us to do and simply receiving forgiveness. This spiritual transformation freely allows us to shed what we once considered important: ourselves, and sense that others are also equally important to Christ. That transformation leads us to not only listen to His voice, but to move us into service to others. The service that He calls us to engage varies greatly. Some are called into the mission fields, others to the pulpit, and to many other less visible positions in the church.

I have to say at this stage in my Christian walk, I am content to simply be a servant of The Lord. And I’m even happier to be called to be engaged in positions that most folks would consider low on the totem pole. Give me the opportunity to meet and greet new people coming into our church. Give me the opportunity to go out into the community and help feed the hungry. Give me the opportunity to visit folks in the hospital or bring a meal to those who are experiencing illness at home. Give me the opportunity to hold the hand of an elderly person or to hug someone who doesn’t get a hug from anyone else, and I am genuinely happy.

I have recently been granted the wonderful opportunity to help our new members become more connected and integrated into our church family. I am helping them to find those small groups, circles, ministries, members, and committees that they feel God may be asking them to serve. God might use me to help them find their God-given gifts to share with others.

I love being with God’s people, doing what God has called me to do. I know that God has given me the gift of hospitality, and I am currently planning a dinner party for these wonderful new members, just so we can get to know them better. These are the people that God has given me to lift up in pray and care, and what a magnificent pleasure to be in Christ’s service even low on the totem pole!

Pastors, Dogs & Motorcycles….

As a pastor’s wife, I see, hear and feel the stresses of my pastor husband.  Look on line, the internet highway is inundated with information about pastors and all the stress and pressure with which they have to deal.

Pastors tend to hold on to all the church burdens as if they were caretakers of the pain of their people.  They are concerned about every little nuance that is taking place within the church.  They just don’t seem to be able to let it go.  But I learned a long time ago, a pastor may have to deal with church issues, but he/she can certainly help to alleviate the build-up of stress.  

In Acts 20:28 Paul states “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”

To “be on guard for yourselves” means also to take care of self.  So we not only guard the flock, but we also guard ourselves.  Jesus paid the price for His Church.  He has placed us here as stewards of His ministry. But if we don’t guard ourselves, how can we guard the flock? 

When I first met Earl, I quickly came to realize that he rarely if ever slowed down in his church work.  He even dragged his children to the hospital on visitations when he was a single dad.  Well, luckily I came along!  It was time for him to loosen up a little and relax a bit. 20 string trio feb 2012 family shelter

Earl is a man of so many interests that it is difficult to recall them all.  As time goes by, his interests just keep adding up.  Years ago, I knew of only one main interest he had – music.  Earl is a composer and a singer.  He actually has studio recorded CDs.  He has boxes and boxes of music that he has composed since his teenage years.  He has written serious classical music and Christian music, but he can also rock! He plays guitar with a group at the church called, “The 20 String Trio.”

He is an amateur astronomer, and an art collector.  He can repair some electronics and repair almost anything around the house.  He likes boating and airplanes, and he is even taking pilot lessons.  He used to run 5Ks regularly in Georgia.  He also water-skis and snow-skis.

   Earl Motorcycle Jan 2013 2Earl also took up motorcycling about 5 years ago.  From time to time, we take the bike out for rides and have even taken one out for a vacation – just driving through God’s country and enjoying the beauty all around us.  We spent New Year’s Day 2013 on our bike, island hoping.  Some of the prettiest roads we’ve ever been on are the oak-canopied roads right here on James Island and Johns Island.  Earl has compiled quite a bit of garage jewelry with his motorcycles and the old automobiles that he has acquired over the years of our marriage.    He does his own maintenance on his toys and his own repairs, which does save us quite a bit of money.    He is not afraid to get down and swim in the oil to fix his own cars or those of his children.  It’s a physical and mental exercise that when completed, grants him a sense of accomplishment.

When he isn’t riding bikes, Earl and Maggie, our dog, play chasing games.  Tug of war is also a favorite.  Earl laughs and laughs at Maggie’s antics.  What a simple way to reduce all the toxic anxieties of stress.  Like they say, “laughter is the best medicine.”

Maggie & Earl Folly Beach Jan 1 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But my favorite stress reliever is taking Earl away from his local ministry field.  I make sure that every year, we plan a two week vacation mid-year to take him completely away from his church work.  And we make sure that he takes a week off after Christmas. 

Earl - Israel ruins 2010

Earl – Israel ruins 2010

Without this time away, Satan can wear a pastor down so that he ends up being a useless servant to the Lord.  And that just is not what God expects of His shepherd whom the Holy Spirit has made an overseer of His church.

So what have you done lately to help your pastor be the best pastor he can be?  He may not be able to see that he needs a reprieve.  So I ask pastors’ wives and congregations to make sure your pastor is in the best shape physically, mentally and emotionally.  We all want God to continue to use him/her to help us see Christ and to grow as His disciples.

Be the One in Ten Christians that have…

The rest of the sentence is, read the Bible!  The Church as a whole, is biblically illiterate.  Ouch, that hurts!

Different research shows slightly different results to the question, “What percent of Christians have read the whole Bible?”  But nevertheless the Spiritual blood of Christians in America is anemic.  Only 1-3 in 10 professed Christians, have ever read the Bible in its entirety.  That means that although every person’s opinion is valid and important, not every Christian’s opinion is informed by the word of God.  Only about 10%-30% even know what God says. 

God expects more of us.  Paul told the young Timothy, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable to teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”  (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Hasn’t God given us His word that we might understand Him a little better than we would otherwise?  Every other year, I read the Bible in full.  I can honestly say there are a couple books – Numbers being one- that are very dry and extremely difficult to get through.  But this should not discourage us from reading this wonderful set of love letters that God has so graciously bestowed upon us.  I have read the Bible in a number of different ways: cover to cover, New Testament then Old Testament, and the use of Robert Roberts one year study, which offers a reading of the Old Testament and two readings of the New Testament in a year.  This year I have chosen The One Year Bible for Women using the New Living Translation.  It breaks the Bible up so you are reading Old and New Testaments along with Psalms and Proverbs each day.  I haven’t quite figured out the “for women” part of the title yet, perhaps it’s the pink accents.

God has a voice; He has chosen to speak to us in a most personal way.  He has given us a book full of wisdom and love along with guides for the ways we should live our lives.  If we don’t dive in and seek His truths, we will never know.  We will never be able to discuss Christ and His fullness to others that may be seeking Him.

As a pastor’s wife that has read her Bible numerous times, I still have difficulty understanding some of its messages.  But each time I read it, God enlightens me to new insights that He has for me to learn.  He has also given me a great source for learning – my pastor.  Christians are blessed to be offered free counseling by their pastors.  Our pastors are there to help spiritually guide us and to preach and teach those parts that may be difficult to understand.  God has put our pastors in place for this purpose among others.  So don’t be afraid to seek out your pastor to help you.

This year, why not make a New Years’ resolution to read your Bible in full?  Let’s get the percentage of Bible readers up and be able to live as per 2 Timothy 2:15.  “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the Word of Truth.”

 

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