Monday, March 25, 2013

The Best Advice I Ever Got

As we get older, we have more and more opportunities to look back on things in our lives that have guided and impacted us. As I am about to join my new church based on testimony, I have been remembering back to February 9, 1975 when I first learned the Gospel message, when I had my first introduction to what God's Word really is, and when I first heard real preaching of the Word. My pastor at the time, Lowell Spencer, who still pastors that same church in Ohio today, taught me many, many things. He was very patient with me as I grew in my new-found faith and answered my many questions with patience and love.

Of all the things he taught me, one thing stands about among the rest. Actually, this one thing he taught me is what guides the rest of what he taught me. It's a truth so profound, yet so simple, that it is often overlooked, minimized and even disregarded. But, it's so necessary. This one thing has impacted my life more than any other.

This simple truth is straight out of Scripture and is found in Acts 17:11. The Apostle Paul, and Silas, had come to Berea after they'd been sent away from Thessalonica in the night. The people of Berea "received the Word with all readiness of mind" and "searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so." This was my pastor's advice to me: "Seek it out for the Scriptures yourself to see if what I'm teaching you is true." And I did. And I still do. No matter who is preaching or who is teaching God's Word to me, I seek it out for myself to see if the things they are teaching me, or have taught me, are true. You might be shocked to find out how many times people in these positions are not teaching the Truth! I have found that to be true again and again.

I can summarize a few things I've learned:

Seeking it out for myself has protected me from falling victim to false teaching more than once.

Seeking it out for myself has given me a passion for inductive Bible study.....the only definition of Bible study there is.

Seeking it out for myself has honed my discernment, making it easy to spot false teaching, even in its most subtle forms. (And it's always subtle, my least when it starts out.)

Seeking it out for myself has caused me to be dissatisfied with what the Christian world calls "Bible study books." They simply aren't....they are someone else's observations and interpretation. They do not lead you to study the Bible, they lead a study of what someone else thinks about the Bible. There's a big difference.

Seeking it out for myself has created a discipline for Bible study that I do not believe I would otherwise have, or even desire to have.

Seeking it out for myself has created a dissatisfaction with shallow teaching. It has caused me to want the meat of the Word more and more.

Seeking it out for myself has given me a boldness I would not otherwise have.

Seeking it out for myself has opened my eyes to the power of a life transformed in Christ.

I could go on. I might go on as I continue to think about this. But, for now, for today, I want to say a resounding THANK YOU to Pastor Lowell Spencer for his great advice and resulting impact on my life.

Praise be.

Friday, March 15, 2013

My Sisters and Me

Sisters are a special group. I am one of the most blessed people on the planet because I have four sisters. I know there are people with more than four sisters, but I was blessed with four. My sisters are the greatest gift my mother ever gave me. Not only do I have four biological sisters, I have a few friends whom I consider sisters, as well. One of them is a twin (we share the same birth date)! How special is that? I also had a sister-in-law who was like a sister to me. She died too young.

It does not matter what type of day I'm having....a call or note or text or email from one of my sisters will improve that day. Once when I was having a really bad hair day, I was Skyping with one of my sisters and she said, "Oh, your hair looks so cute!" And that was that.....I was no longer having a bad hair day...poof! Just like that! That's the kind of magic a sister can create in my life. To this day, when I see a text, email, or caller ID signaling a contact with one of my sisters, I get excited. Still!

(This pic is me with three of my sisters. My younger sister hadn't been born yet! I'm on the bottom right.)

All my life, I have absolutely adored my sisters. I've been thinking of some of the reasons why I love having sisters, and why my particular sisters are so special.

Sisters are always on your side, no matter what life throws at you.

Sisters know the real you, yet still love you.

Sisters support your decisions even if they are not the same decisions they, themselves, would make.

Sisters will tell you when you are out of line.

Sisters will tell you the truth.

Sisters are there, no matter how many miles separate you from them.

Sisters help you hold your memories. 

Sisters clarify your memories, and add to them.

Sisters ARE your memories!

There are many more reasons why I love having sisters. If you are blessed with biological sisters, as I am, then good for you - you are blessed, indeed! But, if not, I sure hope you have "adopted" sisters who can enrich your life, keep you grounded and love you no matter what. There's a solidness that having sisters brings to a woman's life. It's truly a gift.

I am thoroughly blessed by both biological and adopted sisters.
My sisters, a wonderful gift from an all-knowing, all-loving God.
Praise be.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Are You Ready?

Almost eight years ago, when our grandson, Cole, was born, we drove from western NY to Jacksonville, NC, where our daughter lived at the time Cole was born. It was a 12-hour drive, so there was a lot of scenery to view and time to watch the landscape unfold. It was October and while that might indicate the chance for snow in western NY, it certainly did not in NC. But, as I rode along in the car with my hubby driving, I suddenly saw white fields!  Fields that were just solid white. In NY, a white field means only one thing, snow. But, it was 72 degrees, this was not snow. As I kept looking out the window, a Scripture verse came to mind......John 4:35.....

"Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh the harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white already unto harvest."

I had wondered about that verse in the past....why white? I grew up on a farm and a field ready for harvest was either green like soy beans, or gold like the top of the corn or a wheat field. I'd never seen a white field.

Then it hit me - COTTON! I was looking at cotton fields!  All the cotton was ready for harvest!  Of course cotton. The Middle East............Egyptian cotton.......middle east cotton.......of course!  Jesus was referring to cotton fields, which are white when ready for harvest.

They are white.....ready for harvest. Are you ready to work the harvest?  Jesus, Himself, has said the fields are white unto harvest. This is a given; we must expect a harvest and live as though it's imminent. 

Are you ready?

(Google image from