Gleanings From Psalm 23

This past weekend we were honored to have Brother and Sister Ensey as guests in our home and with us in services. Our church was extremely blessed by the ministry of Brother Ensey. On Sunday morning he taught on the 23rd Psalm, and brought out so many things that I had never before seen/considered.   It has always amazed me how you can still glean things from the Word of God in passages that are very familiar to you. The Bible truly is alive!  I want to share just a few things that stood out to me as Brother Ensey taught.

 

“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:……” he leadeth me beside the still waters. “

          God will never lead you to a place where you can’t grow and prosper spiritually.

 

      “he leadeth me beside the still waters.”

          Sheep need an atmosphere of peace. As God’s people, we need peace too, and we can have it in our churches and homes through Him.

     “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness  for his name’s sake.”

          God is doing a spiritual work inside of us. He will never lead us away from righteousness!

 

      “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:”


        Death is not something to be feared for the believer.  A shadow cannot hurt anybody.

 

        “thy rod and thy staff they comfort  me.”

          The rod stands for correction. Because God is our Father, He loves us enough to correct us as an earthly father would correct his son when he needs it.  Although correction can hurt when it comes, if we receive it rightly, it will end up helping us and being a comfort

          The staff stands for forgiveness and mercy. Where would any of us be without God’s mercy and forgiveness?

Finally, if you are a child of God, you are absolutely being followed each and every day that you live. According to Psalm 23:6, goodness and mercy are following you, and we need both. Those are the kind of followers that I want. How about you?

 

Advertisements

Bob’s Bug Jar

Happy Birthday to my middle brother, Bob! It’s hard to believe that my younger brother is 49. In honor of your birthday and for memories sake, I want to share the article you wrote many years ago about our childhood time in the chicken coop. Although I’ve read this many times, it never ceases to bring tears to my eyes. I thank God for our family!

 

The Bug Jar

When I was a kid, not yet old enough to be enrolled in any science classes, I used to conduct experiments of my own.  One of my favorites was the Bug Jar Experiment.  It consisted of three states:  In Stage One, I would obtain an empty mayonnaise jar and collect as many different kinds of bugs I could find-spiders, worms, ladybugs, tiny red and giant black ants, bees, a centipede (if I was lucky), an occasional wasp, those roly-poly bugs that no one knew the real name for, crickets, grasshoppers, caterpillars, anything that creeped, crawled or disgusted my sisters was fair game.  In Stage Two, I would shake the jar vigorously.  In Stage Three, my favorite, I would watch delightedly as the imprisoned insects bit, stung and generally destroyed each other.  Ironically (and justly, I suppose), when I got to be a bit older, the tables turned, and I experienced the bug jar for myself.

In the fall of 1974, my family had to give up a spacious, three-bedroom home with a big backyard to move into a chicken coop turned recreation room, but to us Home.  The edifice boasted a 15 x 30 foot span; no bigger than our former living room; a mere bug jar,  if you will.  We went into the venture expecting the worst.  Rather than tearing the family apart, however, being thrown into very close quarters under less than ideal conditions actually strengthened our relationships.

We called our new abode “the closet”, because to us, it seemed just about the size of a rich person’s wardrobe.  There was no room for complaining though (literally!).  After all, it was far from the gang-ridden neighborhood we had left behind; it was close to good schools; it was clean, it was much easier on my Mom’s filing clerk salary, and it came furnished with the best hand-me-down furniture that pity could buy.  So Mom told the six of us kids to make the best of it.  We were a Brady Bunch of sorts, with three girls and three boys ranging in age from five to fifteen, but no Alice to do the housework.  Also, we came in two generations:  The “big kids” were each born a year apart, and after a gap of five years came us “babies”, also born one year apart.

Peeking through the battered screen door after we had settled in, our curious neighbors beheld a new concept in interior design:  An afghan-covered couch next to the stove, an army cot bordered by our giant, prehistoric, dust-laden television set, a dining table surrounded by bunk beds.  You see, “the closet” had no rooms.  A tiny bathroom in the northwest corner, with a carpeted sliding door, provided the only privacy in the place.

This was new to us, and at first, we absorbed our living arrangements haltingly and delicately, like couples in a pre-arranged marriage.  Inevitably though, the fighting began.  Some of the most heated battles were waged over bathroom privileges.  Finally, we came up with a “calling” system to schedule bath times.  Cries of “First bath!”  “Second bath!”  “Third bath!” and so on were commonly shouted out in the waking hours, but only led to more arguments as calls were contested and challenged later.

Once while Mom was “using the facilities”, Johnny and I broke into a wrestling match right outside the bathroom door.  One thing led to another, and at the height of our struggle, we lost our balance, slammed into the bathroom door, knocked it off its hinges, and fell clinging to each other and the door onto the bathroom floor.  Mom screamed, powerless to chase us from her seated position, while we scrambled to fix the door and scurry away.

More often though, we were forced to depend on each other, to work together to overcome obstacles imposed upon us by our lack.  Laundry and kitchen duties had to be split and shared by all.  Providing enough food for six hungry, growing children was a constant struggle for my mom.  I remember times when ketchup packets and a hunk of government-issued cheese were the only things left in the fridge.  Whether we liked it or not, we had to share.  Though it was a small area, our home was heated by an aging, rusted space heater, located near the door.  On cold wintry mornings before school, while waiting for the bathroom to free up, the rest of us huddled together in front of the heater, wrapped in blankets, shivering in anticipation of the metallic clicking sound that signaled the release of a fresh blast of hot air.  That nondescript old heater became a great equalizer, bringing us together, if momentarily, to share warmth and exchange conversation at the start of the day.

Because we had no rooms of our own, we had no secrets; what one went through, we all experienced.  One dark night, returning home from work, Tom unknowingly rolled over a skunk with his bike.  When he got home, we immediately smelled the stench, except Tom, of course.  Strangely enough, the skunk encounter provided a bonding experience as we each offered creative, often ridiculous solutions for getting rid of the smell.

Then there was Mike Mester, a gangling youth from a neighboring community, who spotted my oldest sister Karen at a roller rink and immediately fell for her.  Not knowing her name or anything about her, he somehow tracked her down to our humble dwelling place.  He knocked on the front door; my mom answered.  He inquired after this mystery girl he had met at the roller rink.  Immediately, five more heads appeared at the door, checking out the tall stranger, while one head disappeared quickly into the bathroom hiding.  Mike instantly formed the impression that this was going to be a package deal, and he was right.  We couldn’t help but cheer and jeer from the sidelines as Mike and Karen embarked upon each new phase of their sometimes stormy but long-lasting relationship.

A flood of memories stirs in me when I think back to those bug jar days.  I remember us “babies” clinging to each other in the bottom bunk in fear and joy, begging Tom in the top bunk to be the “werewolf” again.  I remember Carol sharing with us her dark and searching poetry and inspiring me to try some of my own.  I remember the generational gap closing as Tom treated his kid brothers to pizza and bowling or Karen and Carol fixed Annie’s hair.  And why is it I recall the neighbor kids, with their nice houses and families of their own, always wanting to spend the night at our place?

We lived there for almost 12-1/2 years.  And a strange thing began to happen as we made the best of it in the “closet”.  We went from being siblings and a single parent, thrown and shaken together, to being friends; lifelong friends that time, distance and circumstances have not separated.

Dar A Luz Al Nino

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost a year since I last posted anything on this blog, but it’s true. I won’t go into detail about what I’ve been doing all this time but will continue with just some thoughts concerning being a mother. (That’s pretty much where I left off on my last post.)

One of my goals for this new year was to read through the New Testament in Spanish. On January 1, when I began, I noticed a figure of speech in Spanish that I have thought about many times since then. It is the words of the title of this post, “Dar a luz al nino.” (Forgive me for not putting the accent mark over the 2nd n in nino. I can do it on my phone, but I don’t know how to do it on the computer. LOL) In Spanish, this is a figure of speech that means, “to give birth to a child”. If you translate it literally, it means “to give light to the child”.

When a child is within the womb of the mother, it is in a dark place, but when the time is right, through the process of birth that child comes forth into a world of physical light. Our children are like a blank slate when they are born. In a sense, they are “in the dark” about everything. As they grow, it is our responsibility to teach them or enlighten them about many things.

We can teach them how to
-brush their teeth
-put on clothes
-properly play with toys
-count
-ride a bike
-give a high five
-jump

and the list goes on and on. As mothers, we rejoice in their accomplishing of these things. Once, they were in the dark about these skills, but now they have “come to the light” or achieved mastery. It is good and right that we should teach our children the basic things that they need to survive in this physical world, but at the same time, as a Christian parent, we must remember that it is our privilege and duty to bring them to the light of the knowledge of God.

No matter how sweet our little infants may be, they are born in spiritual darkness and have a sinful nature. As they grow, we need to teach them (with words and by being an example)

-that they are sinners in need of a Saviour
-Jesus loves them
-how to memorize Bible verses
-how to worship
-how to treat others(the Golden rule)
-what the gospel is and how to apply it to their lives(Gospel=death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ applied to our lives through repentance, water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ and being filled with the Holy Ghost)

And what a joy it is when we see them
-lifting their hands in praise to God, with tears streaming down their faces
-kneeling in prayer at an altar
-quoting a Bible verse
-receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost
-telling someone else about Jesus

They are walking in light!

As Christian mothers(and fathers too)it is our responsibility to bring our children light. They may not always choose to walk in it, but what a joy it is when they do!

May God help us to be what we need to be so we can give light to our children!!

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

Pray The Word

There is nothing quite like the Bible, God’s Holy Word.

How wonderful it is to be able to

preach it

teach it

hear it preached and taught

read it

meditate on it,

but do we pray it?

A long time ago, I learned that we can incorporate the Word of God into our prayers. Doing this is something that can add a new dimension to your prayer life. Here are some examples of things I have prayed.

 

For myself personally

Psalm 51:10

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

 

Psalm 19:14

 

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

 

Psalm 86:11

 

Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.

 

Things I Pray For Our Church

 

1Timothy 6:12

 

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (Lord, help us to continue to fight the good fight of faith!)

 

Jamess 4:7

 

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (Lord, help us to submit ourselves to you so we can resist the devil!)

 

James 1:22

 

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (Lord, help us to be doers of your Word and not hearers only!)

 

2Peter 3:18

 

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (Lord, help us to grow in your grace and knowledge.)

Things I Have Prayed As A Parent

 

 

Proverbs 22:6

 

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.(Lord, help us to train up our children in the way they should go, that when they are old they will not depart from it!)

 

Eph 6:1,2

 

 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

 

Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) (Lord, help us to train our children to be obedient and honor their father and mother as your Word says!)

 

James 1:5

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (God, give us wisdom to know how to raise our children to serve You!)

 

Deu 6:6,7

 

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

 

 

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Lord, help us to be diligent in teaching your Word to our children!)

 

These are just a few examples of things in the Word of God that we can incorporate into our prayers. If you feel your prayer life may be a little dry, or you’re feeling like you may be in a rut of praying the same thing over and over again, I challenge you to put the Word of God into your prayers. There is power in God’s Word!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s About A Relationship

God dropped a thought in my mind this morning as I was thinking about prayer. When Jesus’ disciples had asked Him to teach them how to pray, these are the first words that came out of His mouth.

Matthew 6:9

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

 

Those 2 words, “Our Father” just seemed to jump out of this verse. “Father” signifies a relationship. The first thing that makes a father a father, is the fact that he has a child or children. I thought about the attributes of a good father.

A good father will………………

provide for your needs

sometimes indulge your wants

listen when you come to him with your cares

will offer helpful advice to you

wants to help comfort you when you’re hurting

delights to share in your joys

is firm, but loving at the same time

 

Although asking is a part of prayer, there is so much more to it than that. God as our Heavenly Father wants to hear of our joys, hear of our struggles, comfort us when we’re hurting and will give us the best advice in the world through His Word, if we will just listen. May we seek to cultivate that special relationship with God, our Father.

Happy Birthday To My Favorite Son!

Happy Birthday, Paul! It’s hard to believe that my baby is 15. You are such a blessing to me. There is nobody that can make mumsy laugh quite like you. Your quick wit keeps the whole family laughing, which keeps all of us off those prescription meds. Hee hee. It is a joy to watch you grow, and I am proud of the fine young man that you are becoming. I have watched you draw closer to God too this year, which of course is a thrill to this mother’s heart. I hope you enjoy your special day, and may this be your best year yet. Driver’s ed., here we come! Love you!!!