An Open Letter to the Dad Looking at Porn

Dear Dad,

I want to let you know first of all that I love you and forgive you for what this has done in my life. I also wanted to let you know exactly what your porn use has done to my life. You may think that this effects only you, or even your and mom’s relationships. But it has had a profound impact on me and all of my siblings as well. I found your porn on the computer somewhere around the age of 12 or so, just when I was starting to become a young woman.

First of all, it seemed very hypocritical to me that you were trying to teach me the value of what to let into my mind in terms of movies, yet here you were entertaining your mind with this junk on a regular basis. Your talks to me about being careful with what I watched meant virtually nothing. Because of pornography, I was aware that mom was not the only woman you were looking at. I became acutely aware of your wandering eye when we were out and about. This taught me that all men have a wandering eye and can’t be trusted. I learned to distrust and even dislike men for the way they perceived women in this way.

As far as modesty goes, you tried to talk with me about how my dress affects those around me and how I should value myself for what I am on the inside. Your actions however told me that I would only ever truly be beautiful and accepted if I looked like the women on magazine covers or in porn. Your talks with me meant nothing and in fact, just made me angry.

As I grew older, I only had this message reinforced by the culture we live in. That beauty is something that can only be achieved if you look like “them”. I also learned to trust you less and less as what you told me didn’t line up with what you did. I wondered more and more if I would ever find a man who would accept me and love me for me and not just a pretty face. When I had friends over, I wondered how you perceived them. Did you see them as my friends, or did you see them as a pretty face in one of your fantasies? No girl should ever have to wonder that about the man who is supposed to be protecting her and other women in her life. I did meet a man. One of the first things I asked him about was his struggle with pornography. I’m thankful to God that it is something that hasn’t had a grip on his life. We still have had struggles because of the deep-rooted distrust in my heart for men. Yes, your porn watching has affected my relationship with my husband years later.

If I could tell you one thing, it would be this: Porn didn’t just affect your life; it affected everyone around you in ways I don’t think you can ever realize. It still affects me to this day as I realize the hold that it has on our society. I dread the day when I have to talk with my sweet little boy about pornography and its far-reaching greedy hands. When I tell him about how pornography, like most sins, affects far more than just us. Like, I said, I have forgiven you. I am so thankful for the work that God has done in my life in this area. It is an area that I still struggle with from time to time, but I am thankful for God’s grace and also my husband’s. I do pray that you are past this and that the many men who struggle with this will have their eyes opened.

Love, Your Daughter

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Follow the Disciple Who Has Been Through Suffering

Someone has said, “If you are looking for a disciple to follow, find someone who has gone through trials and suffering and has learned some difficult lessons through his experiences.

Are trials and suffering painful? Sure! At times, does it seem that that you just don’t have the strength to bear the suffering? Of course. Then you might be thinking, “If the  Lord really loves me, why would He make me go through suffering and trials?” Because He is a loving Father who loves you too much to leave you the same. He wants you to be conformed His image. When we begin to learn the lesson that God sends trials for our good and His glory, then we are ready to help and encourage others when they go through their suffering.

2 Corinthians 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

If you are going through a trial right now, focus on your Savior and His purpose for your life and not your pain. Here is a devotion I gave a few years ago that shows why God allows trials and suffering in our lives.

Why Does God Allow Suffering?

God tells us not to think it strange when we experience trials. He will allow these trials in our lives to conform us to His image. I Peter 4:12-13 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

To prepare us so that we may be able to comfort others
I remember one time I was going through a deep trial. Crying out to the Lord with thoughts of hopelessness, I prayed, “Lord, does anyone understand what I am going through?” Years later when visiting with a friend who was going through a similar trial, I began to understand this principle. “God, You allowed that trial in my life a few years ago so that I could help her today.” Leaving that visit, I offered the Lord a few silent words of gratitude. “Thank You, Father. I now see the reason that You had for me. It was for my good and for Your glory.”

II Corinthians 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted.

To prepare us for future service
I love the story of Joseph. One time my husband did a series of lessons on the life of Joseph. I will never forget those lessons. My husband repeated over and over. God was with Joseph in the pit, in Potipher’s house, in prison, and then in the Palace, but Joseph never got angry or bitter. Why would God allow him to be put in prison? Think about it. He was put in Potipher’s house to learn the ways of the upper class of Egypt; He was put in the prison to learn the ways of the common men of Egypt. In the end, he was over all men in Egypt.

Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

To give us a bigger view of God
Through the process of our Christian lives, we attend services and listen to many lessons and sermons. We read books. We go to special conferences and listen to various speakers. Many times we are not changed until we go through times of suffering, and we really begin to see the Lord and His purpose for our lives.

Job 42:5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
To build our faith

My faith continues to grow as I look back at the ways God has answered my prayers and how He has worked in the life of our family. I will never forget the time when we started the church in Rhode Island. We were from Oklahoma, and we didn’t have to buy oil in Oklahoma to heat our home because the home were heated with natural gas. You just called the gas company and they turned on the gas.  It was not that way in Rhode Island. You had to pay for the oil when the company delivered it.

That first winter in New England was very difficult. We had to pay rent for a church building, pay rent on an apartment, buy oil for the church building, and buy oil for our apartment. We met one Sunday night in the church building, and it was so cold that you could see your breath. After services, my husband and I got on our knees and prayed, “Lord, we don’t want to leave, but people won’t come to a cold building. We need $1,000 to buy oil, or we won’t be able to stay. The next morning my husband came home from the post office singing and carrying a white envelope in his hand. In the envelope there was a white piece of folded paper with ten one hundred dollar bills in it. There was no return name or address on the envelope. Time after time, God has shown Himself mighty. God continues to build our faith with answered prayers.

Ex. 14: 30 Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. 31 And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.

To purify our walk
There have been many times that I felt have been so burdened down with daily duties that I served the Lord out of routine and not a true love for Him. It is usually during those times that God has to send something into my life to help purify my walk with Him. He helps me to refocus on Him and His purpose for my life.

Psalm 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.

To remove any pride or boasting
I think there is a tendency in all of us at times to think too highly of ourselves. Human nature sometimes causes us to assume the worst in others and the best in ourselves. God has to send things into our lives to help remove pride or boasting so that we may be more useful to Him.

II Corin. 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

To prove our real love for the Lord to Satan
I don’t really understand it, but Satan has access to heaven and the very throne of God. (Job 1:7) Satan reminds God about all of our failures. He says, “Look at Your saints; see what hypocrites they are. Judge them!” But Praise the Lord, Jesus stands at the Father’s right hand to intercede for us.”

Ps. 17:3 Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.

Ways Pastors’ Wives Can Show Their Churches Love

I just came across  Sandra Peoples’ blog, Living and Loving My Plan B Life. I would encourage you to check out her site! She has some great articles. The following is an article she wrote on October 16, 2012.

A pastor’s wife can often be her husband’s best asset or his biggest hindrance in ministry. She might see the church as her enemy–the job takes him away from her, their children, and their home. All plans are tentative, depending on what needs arise in the congregation. When pastors’ wives stop seeing themselves in a battle for his attention, they can begin partner with their husbands in ministry. Like Priscilla and Aquila, they work together to disciple and minister to others.

Here are 30 practical ways pastors’ wives can show their churches some love:
1. Pray for members specifically and often.
2. Smile, a lot.
3. Serve the church with your gifts and talents.
4. Be a willing hostess.
5. Show and tell your children’s Sunday school teachers and youth leaders how much you appreciate them.
6. Don’t always be the last one to pick up your kids from their classes or child care.
7. Don’t take the best parking spot.
8. Don’t expect youth to baby-sit for free.
9. Write cards, letters, and/or emails to members.
10. Keep confidential matters confidential.
11. You can’t do all things for all people, but be careful not to just do some things for some people.
12. Do not participate in gossip.
13. Respect your husband as the head of your family and the leader of your church.
14. Spare your friends in the church the details of your marriage, find other women to share with who are not in your church.
15. Be real about your life, family, and weaknesses.
16. Keep your home tidy (I’m not saying immaculate) for visitors.
17. Give generously of your time, money, and possessions.
18. Be visible and approachable around church.
19. Realize that some of the pressure you put on yourself is just that- self-inflicted, and not from the church.
20. Take time to feed yourself spiritually- grow in the spiritual disciplines of prayer, bible study, and worship.
21. Don’t take a job or position just because if you don’t no one else will, allow others to step up and use their gifts.
22. Get to know women in different life stages from your own and learn from them.
23. Be willing to accompany your husband on visits and in meetings so he is not alone with a woman.
24. Know your weakness and try to strengthen them. For example, read a book on counseling (like Women Helping Women by Fitzpatrick and Cornish) or hospitality.
25. Make your husband a better preacher by giving constructive suggestions at the appropriate time.
26. Keep yourself healthy.
27. Forgive and forget.
28. Keep frozen cookie dough in the freezer to bake when some one stops by the house.
29. Take care of your appearance.
30. Serve more than you expect to be served.

    Thanksgiving Delights

On Thanksgiving Day we’re thankful for
Our blessings all year through,
For family we dearly love,
For good friends, old and new.
For sun to light and warm our days,
For stars that glow at night,
For trees of green and skies of blue,
And puffy clouds of white.
We’re grateful for our eyes that see
The beauty all around,
For arms to hug, and legs to walk,
And ears to hear each sound.
The list of all we’re grateful for
Would fill a great big book;
Our thankful hearts find new delights
Everywhere we look!

By Joanna Fuchs

William Bradford, the governor of Plymouth Colony
To All Ye Pilgrims: Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as He has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience; now, I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November ye 29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three, and third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor, and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.

First National Thanksgiving Proclamation, George Washington in 1779
Whereas, it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; Whereas, both the houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness!” Now therefore, I do recommend next, to be devoted by the people of the states to the service of that great and glorious being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be, that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country.

Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1863
After George Washington authorized the first Thanksgiving Day in 1789, 74 years passed without another such day of thanks. Then, Abraham Lincoln authorized our annual Thanksgiving Day in 1863. He did this in the midst of the Civil War.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.

Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Forgive Me When I Whine
Today upon a bus, I saw a lovely maid with golden hair; I envied her — she seemed so gay, and how, I wished I were so fair; When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobble down the aisle; she had one foot and wore a crutch, but as she passed, a smile. Oh God, forgive me when I whine, I have two feet — the world is mine.

And when I stopped to buy some sweets, the lad who served me had such charm; he seemed to radiate good cheer, his manner was so kind and warm; I said, “It’s nice to deal with you, such courtesy I seldom find”; he turned and said, “Oh, thank you sir.” And then I saw that he was blind. Oh, God, forgive me when I whine, I have two eyes, the world is mine.

Then, when walking down the street, I saw a child with eyes of blue; he stood and watched the others play, it seemed he knew not what to do; I stopped a moment, then I said, “Why don’t you join the others, dear?” He looked ahead without a word, and then I knew he could not hear. Oh God, forgive me when I whine, I have two ears, the world is mine.

With feet to take me where I’d go; with eyes to see the sunsets glow, with ears to hear what I would know. I am blessed indeed. The world is mine; oh, God, forgive me when I whine.                                                                                        Source Unknown

True Gratitude, Melody Beattie
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. 

The Blessing Jar by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

My normally quiet house is bustling with activity as I’ve got lots of company spending the week here, with more expected this weekend. It looks like we’ll have fifteen to twenty people of all ages together for Thanksgiving dinner.

Last year, after a wonderful meal around candlelit tables, we gathered in the living room on sofas, chairs, and the floor. I printed out the following questions on slips of paper and put them in a “Blessing Jar.”

We passed the Blessing Jar around, and one at a time, different people (including children) picked a question out of the jar. Then, a few shared their response to that question. It was a sweet time of reflecting on God’s goodness and blessings in our lives over the past year.

Here are the questions I included in the Blessing Jar:

Name a song that has been a blessing to you this year.
Name one friend who has been a blessing to you this year.
What is one book that has been a blessing to you this year?
Share a Bible verse that has been a blessing to you this year.
Share one special memory from the past year for which you are grateful.
What is something about your church that has been a blessing to you this year?
How have you seen the heart of Jesus in a member of your family?
What is one financial or material blessing from the past year for which you are grateful?
How have you seen God at work in the life of an unbeliever this year?
What is one area of your life where you have seen God at work this year?
What is one answer to prayer you have experienced this year?
Share something from the past year that has been “hard,” for which you are grateful.

Blessing Box by Glenda Embree
We’re freshly moved and almost completely unpacked. As I sit here this morning, it occurs to me that we don’t have a Blessing Box this year. When our grown daughters were small we started this tradition. Over the years, we have had times when we were so caught up in life and just getting through it, that we didn’t really stop to enjoy everything in a day that is a blessing, a gift. There are so many, no matter what your present circumstances. A Blessing Box is a way, even for just a moment, to take a deep breath and be thankful, to stand still in the middle of your day and say, “Thank you, Lord. I know you’re in this and I am so blessed to ______________ . You fill in the blank.

Ideally, you will make this box, as a family, on Thanksgiving; and then have the whole year to get it ready for next Thanksgiving. You could hurry and whip one up for this year, but this is my personal experience when we have done that in “off” years. People tend to try to “fill the box” and so something is lost in the heartfelt thanks of the moment. It’s more about the box than being thankful. My suggestion is to work together on Thanksgiving Day and make it beautiful. Then take a year to “count your blessings”.  Next Thanksgiving, when you open that box and pour your “mountain of blessings” in the center of the table to read, you and your family will be reminded of just how much you have been blessed and cared for and as you read through what others have written, you will share and relive those awesome memories.

Decorating Tips

  • Place a tea light inside a carved out mini gourd to put at each place setting.
  • Place mini white or orange-stripe pumpkins on various height candlesticks. Add a vase filled with fall branches and a few gourds scattered around the area.
  • Place various size pillar candles on a mirror.  Scatter evergreen branches, pine cones and clementines around the candles.
  • Place a hollowed out white pumpkin in the center of your table. Fill it with a fall flower arrangement.
  • Place water-soaked florists’ foam on each tier of a 3-tiered cake stand. Place pomegranates, grapes, figs, and fresh fall flowers on each tier.
  • Place a water-soaked florist foam into a soup tureen. Place a combination of gourds and fall flowers in it.
  • Place cranberries in a clear vase. Add a painted white branch. Using yarn or string, fasten pictures of family members and friends to the branch. Call this your Thankful Tree.

The ABC’s of Friendship

A Friend:

Accepts you as you are
Believes in “you”
Calls you just to say “Hi”
Doesn’t give up on you
Envisions the whole of you (even the unfinished parts)
Forgives your mistakes
Gives unconditionally
Helps you
Invites you over
Jumps for joy when you succeed
Keeps you close at heart
Loves you for who you are
Makes a difference in your life
Never judges
Offers support
Picks you up
Quiets your fears
Raises your spirits
Says nice things about you
Tells you the truth when you need to hear it
Understands you
Values you
Walks beside you
Xplains things you don’t understand
Yells when you won’t listen and …
Zaps you back to reality

CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS WISELY
THEY WILL INFLUENCE YOU GREATLY

How Courting a Man Ruined Me
By Deanna Morono On October 25, 2014 · In Mr. & Mrs. Writing

I’ve been on a writing hiatus for about 6 months now. Why? Because Mack Johnston had the audacity to love me. To woo me. To ask me to marry him.

And I said yes.

So, for the past 6 months, I’ve been planning our wedding. Ordering Star Wars cuff links for the groomsmen. Negotiating contracts with 7 horses to use their barn as a rustic ceremony site. Searching for a giant Chinese gong guests could ring to make us kiss. You know, cool wedding stuff like that. (All of which is absolutely true.)

On August 23, 2014, we got married.

It was perfect. God blessed us more than we could ever imagine. And let me be clear: We’re giving God all the glory. He gave us a beautiful day without rain for our outdoor-in-a-field-wedding. He blessed us with friends and family who cooked and baked and fed and watered our guests like professional caterers. He protected us from bugs, mosquitoes and unseen horse patties. And He didn’t let anyone pass out in the heat or cause any drama.

God gave my husband and me the drive, perseverance and strength to use limited resources to create a beautiful, intimate wedding day. And we believe He did so because we were obedient to Him in our courtship.

Glorify God in Everything.

First, let me say, if you don’t court the way we did, that’s fine. I’m not condemning you. I’m not bashing the normal ways of dating. I’m just telling you how we did it and why. Also, don’t think courting is great for some people, but not for you. I believe anyone can do this if you commit to it and ask God to give you the strength to stay committed, because it is definitely not easy.

I believe we should glorify God in everything we do. Shouldn’t you want to bring Him glory in the way you date, too?

When Mack first told me he wanted to be more than friends, my initial reaction was “Not gonna happen.” That’s mostly because I’d never dated. Anyone. Like ever. And I’ve never wanted to. I was protecting my heart. I’d watched my friends date, watched their hearts get broken and continue the cycle. For me, I didn’t want to date someone unless I knew I could possibly marry him. And I had to be in that place to want to be married, too. So until everything fell into place, I would be single, happy and content.

Then Mack came along. And he was cute. Charming. A follower of Christ. On the first day we met, we were playing Phase 10 with a bunch of friends. During the game, we all started talking about God, and I realized I really respected him, unlike any man I’d ever met. His opinions were well thought out and deeply rooted in the Bible.

From that day on, the boy kept hanging around. A month later when he asked me out to lunch to talk, I knew what was coming. My defenses shot up, and I stayed up all night asking God to give me the words to let him down easy. I figured he’d run away after finding out that I didn’t want to date someone without the intention to marry. That would be the deal breaker.

Well, to my surprise, this man began the conversation by saying he didn’t want to date the way the world dates. He then proceeded to tell me why he liked me, giving me reasons I wasn’t prepared to hear. Reasons I’d never heard before! And each one was also centered around his love for Jesus.

So, after a couple weeks of many deep discussions–sessions of talking about deal breakers and visions for the future–I decided God was telling me to get off the fence. To dive in. To trust Him.

Our Courtship: Boundaries are Blessings.

Boundaries. It was all about boundaries. The first thing we agreed on was that boundaries are blessings. They’re meant to keep you safe, close to God. We established these boundaries early and added to them as we grew more fond of each other:

No physical touch. That meant no kissing. No hand-holding, hugging or snuggling. Why? Neither of us wanted a physical relationship. We didn’t want to let attraction rule. We wanted to grow our friendship and not let anything sexual hinder that growth or lead us away from God.

No riding in cars alone. Having this boundary prevented temptation from breaking the first boundary. Because let’s be real, we would have been all over each other in a car alone. We also didn’t stay in any room alone, and only hung out in public places.

No texting after 10 p.m. or before 9 a.m. This boundary was important for our mental and spiritual health. We never wanted to be obsessed with each other, staying up ’til all hours of the night chatting. Besides, nothing good happens after midnight. This boundary also helped us stay focused on God and friends and family before each other. We had to remember we couldn’t be each other’s world. Not yet.

No proposals for 1 year. Early on, I felt God telling me we had to go slow, mainly because it was the first relationship I’d ever been in, but also because we wanted to build a solid foundation. It sucked not being able to say “I love you” until we got engaged (another boundary we implemented to protect our hearts). But once that ring was on it, the power of those three words was awesome! I wouldn’t go back and change a thing.

Was it easy? Heck no. Did we push the boundaries? Of course. But because we knew God was calling us to trust Him and stick with it, we did everything we could to uphold the boundaries. In fact, my best friend graciously accepted the role of “Sheriff” to help hold us accountable.

Exactly 1 year later, after honoring my request to court for 1 year, Mack proposed. We amended the rules to allow hand-holding and the occasional 30-second hug. We finally said “I love you.” And we prayed a lot for God to give us perseverance until our wedding day.

Pretty early on I realized God wanted me to marry him. I’m not even kidding, it was within a month. I remember exactly when, too. I was cleaning out the dishwasher and it hit me: He’s going to be your husband. And I walked into the living room where my roommate sat and said, “I’m pretty sure God wants me to marry him.”

I realized it because of the intricate ways God prepared us for each other. In our likes and dislikes, in our passions and dreams, and in our beliefs and actions. We could look back and see God’s faithfulness. He’d brought us through trials separately so that He could mold us to enhance and balance each other together.

Every step of the way, I looked for the red flags, but found none. I went to friends and family for their opinions, but was only given more approval. The more our relationship grew, the more I knew God had His hand in it because it was so ridiculous! We weren’t dating like the norm, and it was working! It was ridiculous because I knew that our chemistry was off-the-charts, and we’d never even kissed.

God knows what’s up, and He wants to give you the desires of your heart. You have to trust Him. You have to trust that if you’ll commit to purity and faithfulness, He’ll bless you.

Because we committed to this crazy idea of upholding boundaries and keeping God at the center of our relationship, courting Mack ruined my single life. Like wrecked it. It’s pretty wonderful.  So Ladies, Find a Man Worth Courting.

Find a man, not a boy. Like a guy who has a steady job. A guy who has his own place. You know, a guy who has a life in general. A man who’s actively striving to be a leader, protector, listener and provider.

Find a man who sets boundaries. For us, we decided not to kiss until he put two rings on it, meaning not until our wedding day. But you should also look for a guy who is serious about waiting to have sex until you’re married. A man should want to protect your body and keep it pure. Temptation has a way of breaking you down, so for us, we decided not to ride alone in cars. We didn’t cuddle on the couch (as much as we wanted to). We didn’t hang out unless it was in a public place. We had texting curfews in place–because nothing good happens in the wee small hours of the night. And we didn’t rely on each other–we relied on God. Mental boundaries are just as important as physical boundaries.

Find a man who follows Jesus. I’m talking loves the Lord and follows Him. Walks with Him. Has a solid relationship with Him. A guy who serves in the Church. Who actively pursues God on his own. A guy who knows he’s not perfect, who knows he needs a Savior, and who wants to become more like Christ. God has to be his foundation. This isn’t a negotiating point.

And don’t settle for anything less than God’s best for you.

Missionary, You Are Not Home Yet

A missionary spent his entire life in the mission fields of Africa telling the story of Jesus. During those days, missionary support was meager at best and nonexistent at worse. But, struggling the best he could he stayed on the field. In the latter years of his life, his wife died. Since he did not have money to take her back to her home for burial, he was forced to bury her in a make-shift grave near his home.

Finally, with his health, his money, and his family gone he scraped together enough for boat passage back to New York.

As the boat entered the harbor, suddenly it was surrounded by fire boats spurting sprays of water and tugs blowing their horns. As the boat docked, a band began playing and a crowd of people began shouting and waving their arms as a celebrity walked down the gang plank. As he watched all this from the railing, this elderly missionary, knowing he was coming home alone, began feeling sorry for himself and began to pray something like this, “Lord, I have given you all I have. I gave you my life, my family, and my health. Now, at the ending of my life, why couldn’t I be welcomed home with caring people who appreciate what my life has meant for the glory of God.”

Then, almost as it were an audible voice, this elderly missionary felt God speaking to him saying, “Son, you are not home yet!”

John 14:2-3 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Is “Hospitality” a True Ministry?

Although hospitality today seems to be a lost art and not considered to be a true ministry, the Bible still commands us to use hospitality and not to complain about doing it.

Romans 12:13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality…
1 Peter 4:9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

The stresses of everyday living can be very demanding to God’s servants. We must lift up our eyes and see the needs of those hurting around us. We must look for opportunities to provide special times of relaxation for the discouraged and weary.

Many times in this self-centered society, not only unsaved women, but also Christian women, make excuses for not opening their homes and exhibiting hospitality. Today very few people invite you to their homes for a meal or just fellowship. Maybe it is because of the fast paced lifestyle people live. People become so wrapped up in their own lives that they don’t seem to have the time to reach out to others.

What are some of the excuses women use for not practicing hospitality?

My home is not good enough.Through the years, it has not been the women who had gorgeous homes or who prepared  lavish meals that made the greatest impact on me. It has been the women who genuinely loved the Lord and offered me simple gestures of friendship and love  by offering me simple acts of hospitality. One of my fondest memories goes back many years ago when my husband and I were in Bible College. On weekends, we drove back and forth to Arkansas to minister in a small church. We stayed in the home of a widow woman named Mrs. Medlin. Although she lived on a small pension, she loved God’s servants and wanted to be a blessing to them. Many Sundays, our dinners consisted of only oxtail soup. Even though those were just simple meals, she made them seem like feasts. She willingly shared what she had with us. She did not try to impress us; she just wanted to make us feel special.

It is just too expensive. Hospitality does not have to be costly.

• Invite someone over for just soup and salad or just coffee and dessert.
• Invite several couples for dinner. Ask one lady to bring a dessert, another to bring a vegetable, another to bring a potato casserole, and you provide the meat.

It takes too much time and effort. Hospitality does not have to take a great deal of time and effort. We have time to do exactly what we want to do. We have time to shop, to watch our favorite television programs, to garden, to craft, or even to read good books.

• Stick to meals that are easy. Make things the day before, such as lasagna, and then put it in the oven.
• Forget complicated recipes! When you make a dinner for your family, make a double batch and stick the other one in the freezer.
• Use your crock-pot.

My house is just not clean enough. People are not coming to your home to inspect the dust bunnies under the bed or do the white glove on your furniture.

Here are some simple tricks to practice to always have your home ready to minister.

• Don’t go to bed at night until you have made sure your living room and bathroom are picked up.
• Always put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher instead of the sink.
• If you have children, assign a various job to each child.
• Keep a designated play area, other than the living room, for the children to play.
• Do designated morning chores every morning. (Empty bathroom trash, make beds,  put clothes away, and put dishes in dishwasher)

Texas Place Setting

 

Proper Place Setting

1. Salad bowl 2.Napkin 3. Salad fork 4. Dinner fork 5. Dessert fork 6. Dinner plate
7. Knife (blade facing plate) 8. Teaspoon 9. Iced tea spoon 10. Coffee cup
11. Iced tea glass 12. Water glass

If you want to make your guests feel more comfortable, place dessert forks on individual dessert plates.

If you are not going to serve iced tea, skip placing ice tea spoon next to teaspoon.

Skit for Mission’s Conference

AN AMERICAN PASTOR VISITS A NATIONAL WORK

NATIONAL: Today we have a great American evangelist who has come to speak to us. I have been asked to interpret because he does not speak our language.
PASTOR: Thank you brother, I am so happy to be here. I would also like to say thank you for a very unique lunch.
NATIONAL: He says thank you for giving him the only meal he has had.
PASTOR: I have to admit that the food made butterflies in my stomach.
NATIONAL: What did you say?
PASTOR: I have butterflies in my stomach.
NATIONAL: It seems that he has taken some flies into his stomach.
PASTOR: But really, I liked it. It was good I really enjoyed it.
NATIONAL: He think he liked the flies!
PASTOR: Yes! it was good. I enjoyed it!
NATIONAL: He really liked the flies!PASTOR: I want you to know that I am just tickled pink that you have invited me here.
NATIONAL: It seems that this man has broken out in a rash and has been scratching all over until he has turned pink in places.
PASTOR: I am especially ecstatic about the topic you have asked me to address.
NATIONAL: I guess there is a great deal of elastic in his dress today!
PASTOR: My topic is “How to get people involved in spiritual ministry”.
NATIONAL: He is going to tell us how to get people involved in ministering to spirits.
PASTOR: You see there are too many Christians in America running around like chickens with their heads cut off.
NATIONAL: What are they doing?
PASTOR: Running around like chickens with their heads cut off.
NATIONAL: In this man’s country there are many Christians suffering persecution. They are just killing people by cutting their heads off, then they run around for awhile, I don’t know why.
PASTOR: But their testimony is not worth a hill of beans!
NATIONAL: Their testimony is not worth a mountain of vegetables.
PASTOR: It is time to get on the ball for Jesus.
NATIONAL: It is time to play sports for Jesus.
PASTOR: Part of the problem is with the pastors.
NATIONAL: Part of the problem is you pastors.
PASTOR: They don’t wait upon God.
NATIONAL: They don’t take good care of God.
PASTOR: They are always jumping the gun.
NATIONAL: What! What are they doing?
PASTOR: Jumping the gun.
NATIONAL: Jump?
PASTOR: Yes, jumping the gun.
NATIONAL: Oh, yes. They are putting a gun on the ground and jumping up and down on it!
PASTOR: They are always shooting off their mouth.
NATIONAL: What?
PASTOR: Shooting off their mouth.
NATIONAL: Whooo. Then they take the gun and shoot off their lips;
I don’t know why.
PASTOR: Then they stick their foot in their mouth.
NATIONAL: Then after they have just shot off their lips, they put their foot into their mouth.
PASTOR: Meanwhile, there is the problem of just being lackadaisical.
NATIOAL: Meantime there is the problem of laxatives.
PASTOR: Give your congregation a reason to be glued to their seats!
NATIONAL: Glued?
PASTOR: A reason to be glued to their seats.
NATIONAL: Now then, listen very carefully. When people come into your church just put something sticky down so when they sit, they cannot get up again.
PASTOR: I know how it is getting ready for church.
NATIONAL: I know how it is to prepare for church.
PASTOR: It is late Sunday morning.
NATIONAL: It is late Sunday morning.
PASTOR: The kids are in the yard getting dirty like pigs.
NATIONAL: Kids?
PASTOR: Yes, you know, you have kids too.
NATIONAL: Yes, they have some baby goats in the yard and they are beginning to look like pigs.
PASTOR: Then you bring them into the house.
NATIONAL: they bring them into the house!
PASTOR: Yes, and you put them into the bath tub.
NATIONAL: You do? You put the baby goats into the bathtub!
PASTOR: And you begin to wash the mud off of them.
NATIONAL: And they begin to just wash the mud off of them.
PASTOR: In the meantime your wife is busy making up her face.
NATIONAL: Uh, what is she doing?
PASTOR: Making up her face.
NATIONAL: Ah, yes, your wife is making her face happy for Jesus.
PASTOR: You step outside and it’s raining cats and dogs.
NATIONAL: Ay, yey, yey You step outside and small animals start to fall out of the _sky!!!
PASTOR: About that time your wife’s hairdo falls in her face.
NATIONAL: What, what falls in her face?
PASTOR: Your wife’s hairdo falls in her face.
NATIONAL: Hairdo? Ah, yes! It seems his wife is hit in her face with one of small animals falling from the sky.
PASTOR: It’s enough to make your head spin.
NATIONAL: The blow makes her head rotate.
PASTOR: It’s enough to make you go bananas.
NATIONAL: I’m not sure why but tropical fruit is coming in here from
somewhere.
PASTOR: Well, you finally get to church.
NATIONAL_ Thank God!
PASTOR: And by the time you get there, you aren’t even thinking
about God.
NATIONAL: By the time you get to this church, you don’t even want to think
about God.
PASTOR: You are mad at your wife and your kids.
NATIONAL: You become insane with your wife and these baby goats.PASTOR: You are so upset you begin to chew your wife out.
NATIONAL: Well…you become so angry with your wife you begin to
bite her.
PASTOR: People are just sitting like bumps on a log.
NATIONAL: People are sitting on fallen trees.
PASTOR: Your wife is trying to smile.
NATIONAL: Your wife is just trying to laugh.
PASTOR: Everybody can tell you have just chewed her out.
NATIONAL: Everybody can see you have bitten her; I suppose the teeth marks are still there.
PASTOR: I see now the clock is flying and I must rush to a
conclusion.
NATIONAL: It seems that this man had a vision of the clock flying and giving people concussions.
PASTOR: What you need to do is get into your closet to pray.
NATIONAL: Get into the Water Closet?
PASTOR: Any kind of closet.
NATIONAL: What you need to do is to go into the bathroom and pray.
NATIONAL: You need to go to the altar and get a hold of the horns of the altar.
NATIONAL: What, what did you say?
PASTOR: Yes. Yes, you must get hold of the horns of the altar.
NATIONAL: Ah, yes. Do you remember those baby goats? They must have horns
and you must go get a hold of the horns.
I don’t know why.
PASTOR: We need pastors with enough guts to fast and pray fire into God’s house.
NATIONAL: We need pastors with big guts who can fast and pray until the church catches on fire!
PASTOR: Now, if you will follow my instruction…
NATIONAL: Now if you will talk just like I do…
PASTOR: The power of God will sweep over you.
NATIONAL: God will hit you with a broom.
PASTOR: Every word I am telling you is in the Bible.
NATIONAL: This man thinks that everything he says is in the Bible.
PASTOR: I hope that someday you can come to America and preach at our church.
NATIONAL: He hopes that someday I can go to America and straighten out this poor man’s theology!
PASTOR: I want to thank you for the opportunity to share these special insights from the Word, it has really been great.
NATIONAL: Even though we know that this evangelist from America is very crazy, we must not offend him so let us all stand and clap our hands.

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