Saturday, November 24, 2012

With Thanksgiving

“Not what we say about our blessings but how we use them is the true measure of thanksgiving.”   W. T. Purkiser

The past two months have been among some of the first times that I consciously remember praying for and thanking God for delivery trucks and their drivers.  Along with Abby, we have waited for trucks to make deliveries so papers could be sent to yet another location to be signed, stamped, verified, and sealed to complete the documentation for Mary to be adopted.  Since Abby was leaving on Tuesday to fly home, it was important for the last set of papers to arrive on Monday so she could compile all of the documents and send the completed paperwork to its final destination.  I’m sure the mail carrier was a little surprised at the joyful response and appreciation she received when we opened the door and she handed the envelope to Abby on Monday morning.  When Abby explained what was in the packet, the lady offered her congratulations and left with a smile on her face.

Monday afternoon, after scanning the papers, checking and double checking everything, Abby and her sister took the completed set of papers to be shipped.  How appropriate that Scott and Abby received word that on Thanksgiving Day the papers arrived, as well as a box of gifts they had sent for Mary.

What a wonderful time of the year to remember and acknowledge our blessings and thank God for his continual provision and love for us.  One of my favorite parts of this season is the time we spend with family.  What a blessing to have Abby with us during these days.  And because of technology, we have been able to “see” Scott and talk with him.  We were able to spend Sunday with the Schoeffler side of the family and Thanksgiving Day with the Bertrands.  Both homes were full of fun, laughter, food, and lots of visiting.  I’m grateful that both sides of our family shared the day with four generations.

During this holiday season, I hope I will take the time to be appreciative of little and big things alike and will be able to adequately express that gratitude.  Because of God’s continual love and blessings, I pray that my words, actions, deeds, and the way I choose to spend my time will be a true measure of my thanksgiving.

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.  Psalm 34:8

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.  2 Corinthians 4:15
 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  Psalm 100:4

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Listening For His Voice

The past few weeks, Scott and Abby have been able to send two care packages to their little girl.  Mary now has pictures of her family, toys, a special blanket made for her by my sister, and other special items from her future parents.  I love that she now has two recordable books, one that Abby read to her and one that has Scott’s voice reading to her.  If Mary only heard the books read to her one time, it would be much harder for her to distinguish Abby and Scott’s voices when she hears them in person, but the people in the orphanage are letting her hear the books, over and over again.  Hopefully, when they are able to meet, their daughter will recognize their voices.  I can just imagine how her little face will light up when she hears them speak to her in person because those are voices she has heard several times.  What joy that will bring to all of their hearts.

 How much our Heavenly Father must delight in his children when they recognize his voice, listen to what he is saying, and willingly trust and obey what he is asking them to do.  The more we listen, the easier it will be to distinguish his voice over the others that are around us.  And when He speaks, I want to make sure I listen, respond in obedience, and bring him much delight.

The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”   I Samuel 3:10
 But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.  I Samuel 15:22
 The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zephaniah 3:17
 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  John 10:27

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Being Prepared

Whether it’s a hurricane that hits along the East Coast, Florida, or the Gulf Coast, “Sandy” has reminded us once again of how important it is to be prepared and ready for an upcoming storm or hurricane.  Unlike tornados and earthquakes, hurricanes usually give you at least a few days of warning so you can make preparations for food supply, water, candles, lanterns, batteries, clothing, medicine, and some sort of communication device.  Sometimes homes need to be boarded up and other items secured for safety reasons and in hopes of protecting property from as little damage as possible.  In some cases, evacuations are necessary.  Although it is time consuming and inconvenient, it allows people the opportunity to leave safely before the storm hits.

Once again, it has been amazing to see the amount of support that occurs during times like this.  From money, supplies, food, emergency personnel, and volunteers it has seemed like another overwhelming response to a difficult situation.  The electric companies, from other states, even had their trucks and people headed to the east coast before the storm ever hit.  That must have been a very welcome sight.
Although warnings for hurricanes are given a few days or a week before it makes landfall, there are other times in life where there might not be advanced notice of an occurrence.   We each have a certain number of days to live on this earth.  Since we don’t know the exact amount of time, it is important to be prepared to live every day to its fullest.  We also know that Jesus is coming again at a time that no one knows so we need to stay prepared and be ready at all times.  It’s wise to make preparations for a hurricane and it’s also important to be ready, and make sure others have the opportunity to be prepared and ready, for Jesus’ return.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.  Psalm 90:12

36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.
 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.  Matthew 24: 36, 43-44

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A New Phone

Recently, the contract for my cell phone was up for renewal.  I’m not sure if it is standard practice for the company to notify all of their customers or if they just send me a notice that states that it is possible to upgrade my phone.  I still have one of the small flip phones and it has served its purpose well.

For years now, Larry has tried to interest me in an iPhone.  I didn’t think it was necessary since I usually only have the phone when I am out.  The phone is turned on when I leave to go somewhere and is usually turned off when I arrive.  When the phone was new, I didn’t even need to charge it for a few months.  It still does not need to be charged very often.  Knowing this background might help you understand Larry’s surprise at my recent request.

It was the first week in October.  After dinner, Larry was seated in his favorite chair with a cup of coffee and a little square of dark chocolate.  After a while, I told him that I thought it was time for me to purchase an iPhone.  With Scott and Abby living overseas, it would be beneficial to have the “Tango App” to be able to talk with them and see them at the same time.  That way we wouldn’t be dependent on having to be connected to the computer to talk.  With grandkids that would be an added bonus.  Besides, I didn’t want Larry to have to stop whatever he was doing to forward grandchildren pictures to my e-mail when he received them.  (When looking at pictures on his phone recently, I noticed that he had two extra pictures that I didn’t have.)
Needless to say, Larry was speechless.  He just kept looking at me, shaking his head, and not saying anything.  Finally he said, “Did you hear what you just said?”  I smiled and didn’t say anything else and neither did he.  The next day he called from the store and said, “Do you want a white phone or a black one?”  Before long, the order was confirmed by e-mail.
I immediately sent the boys an e-mail and told them to be sure to sit down before reading the rest of my message and then wrote about Larry ordering the phone.  Their responses were great as well.
Scott:  I think this might actually be the most surprising news this week—and we've had some pretty surprising news this week!”  (They had just received word from the orphanage that they had been matched with a precious little girl.)
Brad:  “I order mine in 8 days.” 

Chad:  “I’ll trade you!” 

Even though I have used Larry’s phone throughout the years, I still have much to learn.  Thank goodness Larry knew how to set everything up on the phone.  Of course, one of the first things I wanted to do was add pictures.  Brad has already sent me the link to where I can take classes and Chad has answered questions and offered suggestions.  Scott wanted to be sure we added Tango so I can talk with Abby and him.  This is definitely a group effort. 

Some things I have thought about during this process:

* It’s good to have family and friends to help out on life’s journey…even for cell phones.

* While pictures on the phone remind me of special people and events, I am grateful that I don’t have to be dependent on that to remind me of God’s provisions.
* It was important to me to have a protective case for the phone before I started using it so it had a better chance of it not being scratched or damaged.  It’s also important for me to make sure I am being wise about protecting my life from the things that could be destructive to it.
* With the new phone, I am going to have to make the effort to learn what it can do so I can get the most benefit from it.  I also need to be constantly learning and growing to reach my potential.

* I have now charged the new phone three nights in a row, which means it is staying on all day.  Now I need to be as intentional about powering up my life with prayer, Bible study, ministry, and worship.
* I’ve also wondered about how many times God has had to patiently wait for me to ask for His will and provision.  It’s one thing to hold out for a phone, but I don’t want God to say, “I’m glad you finally asked.  I have wanted to provide that for you and bless you with that for a long time.”

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.  Jeremiah 33:3