11.22.2017

My Favorite THANKSGIVING Family Tradition.


This is my favorite day of November - Thanksgiving Eve.
family night
engaging in a fun activity we can all enjoy
 eating dinner together
And the best part of the night ...
recording on paper why we appreciate/enjoy/love each other - and praying - by candlelight.

The entries are thoughtful, sweet, and fun, and each one reflects the heart, mind, and maturity of the writer. After we list the qualities we appreciate about each member of the family, Dennis and the older boys read all of the entries out loud. We laugh, respond, and enjoy the thoughts everyone offered, and then each of us shares our own personal list of the things for which we are thankful.

It is such a joy to see the change in the things the older boys write. What began as "Lego's" and "Nerf guns" when they were little has morphed into phrases like "the joy of family," "the wisdom and guidance of my father," and "the freedom to read the Bible and worship God." Thank You, Lord! 

I have no idea what God has planned for our family in the years to come, but I pray we will be blessed with many more Thanksgiving Eve's - TOGETHER. ❤

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Colossians 3:15-17

11.20.2017

There is only one place to look!

Jesus does not take us away from our suffering.
He gives us a way through it.

What is your perspective in pain?
How do you respond?
Where do you seek comfort?
To whom do you look for encouragement and hope?

May we always run to the Savior - fastest and first - dropping all of our sorrows, doubts, and fears at His feet so we may receive the forgiveness, grace, restoration, and rest we so desperately crave.

"Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus"

O soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There's light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion
For more than conquerors we are!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

His word shall not fail you He promised;
Believe Him and all will be well.
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

11.17.2017

Dennis, Biola, and Cambodia = Mutual Admiration and Affection.

People often ask, "What does Dennis DO when he travels to other countries?"
Well, here is a snapshot of how he and the Biola team spent their time in Cambodia! Enjoy!


The Khmer teachers at Asian Hope
This is the sixth year Dennis and his colleagues have traveled to Cambodia to train the Khmer teachers. Because of their consistent connection, the Biola team has enjoyed the privilege of witnessing the growth and maturity of these men and women as they increase in knowledge, understanding,
and practical application year after year.
The team loves that the conversation picks up right where it left off the year before and that every trip feels like a Family Reunion! When Dennis and his colleagues walked into the school last week, they were greeted with cheers and applause. "Biola is HERE!" These two groups clearly share an equal admiration and affection for one another - and it is precious.


Presentation Time!
The team spent four days, eight hours per day, training teachers.
The topics: Classroom Management and Student Engagement
They were thrilled to have a Biola Teacher Education graduate travel with them this year!
Bre (top right, holding paper) wanted to be part of the Biola Cambodia experience and Dennis said it was exciting to witness a former student using her skills to instruct the Khmer teachers.


When the electricity goes out in the middle of the training session, no problem!
Just move the class sessions outside!
90-degree heat with 80% humidity OUTside is cooler than no airflow INside!
#adaptandovercomeisthenameofthegame


 The Biola University School of Education TEAM!
Carolyn - Dennis - Carly - Kris - Bre


One of the many perks that accompany international travel - FOOD!
Coconut consumption is Cambodian treat and Dennis took full advantage of it.
How do they cut them open? With a machete, of course! Slice - insert straw - ENJOY!


The team spent a sobering, yet important day touring the Killing Fields and the Genocide Memorial in Phnom Penh. If we are not intentional about remembering - we will forget.


I love this photo and what it represents, including the entry Dennis wrote in his own hand.
A book dedicated to capturing the impact made on those who walk through the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. People from all over the world share their thoughts, in their own language, about a horrific part of Cambodian history. Not one person who walks the floors of this building can change what happened, but they can honor the memory of those who suffered within its walls.


Thank You, Lord, for creating a mutually-edifying relationship between the Biola School of Education team and the wonderful people of Asian Hope. You changed the heart of my husband during his first visit to Cambodia, and You continue to increase his empathy and compassion each time he returns. I pray You will continue to provide for the needs of the school and bless the obedience and sacrificial service of those who minister to the precious children with love and tenderness every single day. This ministry and these children are in Your hands, Father, and there is no better place they could possibly be.
We surrender them to Your care, and trust that Your will be done.

11.16.2017

Our leader is HOME!


Dennis was gone for ten days serving the administration, faculty, staff, and students in Cambodia.
We gladly share our fearless leader so that Dennis and his colleagues can train teachers to become excellent teachers - and - seek to help restore hope and joy to children who have been rescued from slavery.
What we love best, however, is that he and the team have countless opportunities to encourage and uplift the saints who sacrificially serve these children day after day.

Dennis uses the gifts God has given him to serve and bless others, and our children know it.
How thankful I am for his example!

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Proverbs 31:8, 9



The kids and I had lunch together on the last day we were alone together, and I asked them, 
"What do you miss most about your Dad when he is out of the country?"
Their responses:
Josiah - I miss his jokes. He is fun!
Isaiah - I miss everything about him.
Ellie - I miss him making me laugh and putting me to bed at night.
Caleb - I miss his general presence. I like being with him.
Luke - I miss his authority in the home. His absence is palpable.
Micah - I miss his energy and enthusiasm.

It is unanimous. We NEED Dennis! And we WANT him! ❤

11.15.2017

My THEME SONG for Motherhood.


"I Need Thee Every Hour"

I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.
I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
Oh, bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.

I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their pow’r when Thou art nigh.
I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
Oh, bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.

I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is vain.
I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
Oh, bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.

I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises in me fulfill.
I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
Oh, bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.

I need Thee every hour, most Holy One;
Oh, make me Thine indeed, Thou blessed Son.
I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
Oh, bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.

11.14.2017

Morning - Noon - and Night.

I love that our God created men and women with the wonderful ability to pull solid truths from Scripture and arrange them into beautiful writings of poetry, quotes, and songs.
The truths do not change - just the delivery.
And for me, the more I hear the same truths repeated using different modalities, the more they sink in, and the better I remember.

This is one of those quotes!
It floated into my inbox several weeks ago and I was immediately encouraged and challenged by its content. I shared it with a few sisters in Christ, and it has been a topic of conversation more than once when we are discussing our walk with the Lord and our desire to seek Him in ALL things at ALL times.

In this season of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for godly men and women who have penned their thoughts, convictions, and how the Lord comforts and sustains them so we might be inspired to press on in our own personal walk with the Savior.

May this quote encourage your heart today!

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"But I call to God, and the LORD saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress - and He hears my voice!" Psalm 55:16-17

The well-taught Christian carries everything to God - and in so doing, obtains relief, enjoys peace, and grows in grace.
For all that we need - we should call upon God.
And from all that we fear - we should flee unto God.
At the close of every day, it is our mercy to call upon the Lord.
We must make confession of sin - and obtain pardon.
We must carry to Him our burdens - and obtain relief.
We must tell Him our needs - and obtain a supply.

Oh, how precious it is to go to the Lord at the close of each day, and tell Him all that has . . .
vexed us,
grieved us,
cast us down, or
disquieted our spirits!

And how blessed to go to Him each morning, and seek grace to live holily and happily through the day!

Nor is it less blessed to have a few minutes with God at noon - breaking, as it were, the day in two, and keeping short accounts with God.

O for a spirit of habitual prayer, that at evening, and at morning, and at noon we may pray, and cry aloud to God!

If we were more with the Lord in prayer, we would have . . .
more strength to carry our crosses,
more patience to bear our troubles,
and more comfort amidst life's sorrows.

(James Smith, 1859)

Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.
Psalm 62:8

11.13.2017

Inspiration and Strength!

Our Sunday sermon was a great encouragement to me.
I share my notes and personal reflections here with the hope they will encourage others as well.

The text:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1, 2

✲ The Encouragement Recorded
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,..."

- The author encourages the saints to run hard and run fast - BY FAITH - after reminding them of the faithful saints of the past.
By faith Abel
By faith Enoch
By faith Noah
By faith Abraham
By faith Sarah
By faith Isaac
By faith Jacob
By faith Joseph
By faith Moses
By faith Rahab
(Hebrews 11)

Remember them! And follow their example! Not because they were perfect, but because they pressed on in their imperfection - BY FAITH.

✲ The Encumbrance Rejected
"...let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely,..."

As believers, we are challenged to remove every encumbrance, hindrance, and distraction so we can focus on what is important. Jesus Christ.
A sprinter does not race down the track wearing a jean jacket and cowboy boots, just as a marathon runner does not run 26.2 miles in a wetsuit and SCUBA gear. The weight would drag them down and exhaust them. As does the sin strapped to the back of the believer as she covers mile after mile in the race toward the prize of heaven.

Weight = Things that are not 'bad' but also not Best. Things that slow you down and distract you.
Believers must choose between what is good and what is best.
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, Philippians 1:9, 10

Just because something isn't sin doesn't mean you should do it.
Can vs. Should
Which one pushes you to Christ?
Which one serves the Kingdom?
Which one minister to others?
What do we NEED to do in order to run the race with excellence?

It may not be 'evil' - but - is it ESSENTIAL?

Sin = Forbidden things. No need to discern what is good or best - because it is all sin!
Sin needs to be completely eliminated from the life of a believer.
-Are you aware of the sins that constantly ensnare you?
-Do you guard against those sins?

✲ The Endurance Required
"...and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,..."

- The Christian life is a MARATHON, not a sprint!
- It is a grueling, agonizing trek through the world and all of the sin which dwells within it.
- It is a long, long race requiring daily running.

→ Endurance requires strenuous effort.
- Neglecting the disciplines of reading the Bible, praying, and meeting with the church body is NOT AN OPTION for the believer.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. I Corinthians 9: 24-27

Endurance is a singular effort. Though we run as a body, we are also run an individual race.
- Each of us has a specific calling that is to be pursued and obeyed.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
- Each of us was given specific spiritual gifts to be used within the body of believers.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. I Corinthians 12:4-7

We must not fall into the temptation to Compare and Despair. God sovereignly chose the details of your life, for a purpose, and for His glory. Be content with WHO YOU ARE. Obey your calling and exercise your gifts and you will find the race much easier to endure!

✲ The Example Recommended
"...looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."

- The author points to Jesus as the ultimate example of faith.
- Keep your eyes FIXED ON JESUS! HE is the prize! Not the world.
- He endured. He did not quit. He ran willingly. He ran obediently. He ran alone.

The Old Testament saints INSPIRE us, but Jesus STRENGTHENS us so we can run - all the way - without quitting - until the day we cross the finish line and are ushered into glory forevermore!

Lord, thank You for this fantastic passage in Scripture that reminds us that You have used weak, sinful men and women to accomplish Your will. You choose the weak so Your strength is more evident. What an encouragement this is to Your children when we look in the mirror and see flaw upon flaw, wondering if You can do ANYthing through us, or if You even want to. You never ask us to do something for You without giving us what we need to walk in faithful obedience, but like Moses, it is our focus on the flesh that keeps us from seeing the bigger picture. BUT GOD. We know You can do anything, but we allow the weaknesses and failings and disappointments of men distract us from this truth. You do not need us to accomplish Your will, but You choose to use us - as we are - because it is Your power that works within us to achieve Your purposes and plans. Thank You for this truth, Lord! Thank You for pouring new mercies on us each morning, showing us grace day by day, and strengthening us so we can be obedient to the calling You place on us. We obey because we love You, and we can only do so because You loved us first. And best.

Quote.

Do you want to hear God speak? Read your Bible out loud.
- John Piper

11.11.2017

Dennis writes a letter to his sons.

As is his practice when he is serving in different parts of the world, Dennis wrote a letter to our sons today. These letters will be kept forever, and hopefully cherished by all of our children. I share this one because it is applicable to all of us, and provides a glimpse into the heart and mind of my husband. People often see one side of this man, but like many wonderful men, his family sees and knows much more.
I pray you will be encouraged by his words.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Greetings My Sons,

Working in an Emergency Room is a five senses kind of job. To be sure there is much to see (I once saw an “entry/exit” gun shot wound through the forearm. When irrigating the wound, the water went in one side and came out the other much like you would see in a cartoon.), hear (crying/screaming children, this is a given, and non-stop for hours upon hours), touch (bodies, blood, bile, pus, etc.), smell (the smells are quite memorable), and, yes…taste (thankfully, not often). Regardless of the senses involved, during the course of a twelve-hour night shift there is a strong possibility some form of adventure will unfold.

One evening we had a patient, an elderly man, who was experiencing the five senses of illness. This poor guy was in bad shape. Raging fever, loss of bowel control, vomiting…you get the picture. A nurse was prepping the patient for the doctor when the man turned his head to the side and vomited on the floor. As the nurse called for someone to clean up the soiled floor, a man walked in wearing a golf shirt and casual pants. He grabbed a towel from underneath the counter and wiped up the vomit. He then placed the towel in the dirty linen hamper and asked the nurse, “What are we waiting for with this patient?” She replied, “The doctor.” Without missing a beat, the man stepped forward and said, “Hello sir, my name is Dr. Rosing, what can I do for you this evening?” This was his first shift on his first night at our ER. What a great introduction to Dr. Keith Rosing!

My point this week…SERVE! I know, I know, you have heard this story. “If you want to be a leader, serve”. Blah, blah, blah…

Please give a fresh effort to listen to what I am saying. Service comes in many forms and functions. When the sun is shining and friends are going down to the beach to pick up trash in the name of Jesus - I am in! When we are driving over to drop off groceries for a popular cause that everyone deems worthy and necessary, and it does not cut into my free time - Absolutely, count me in! However, there are times when serving is not convenient with my schedule (during a sporting event, scheduled free time, or a preferred activity), or the task to be completed is not considered conducive to my opinion of acceptability (interacting with certain members of the family, a task that takes more than 30 minutes, doing an unassigned chore, etc.).

The fact is, I am a selective service type of human. My service is often self-determined by a list of “ifs” rather than complete surrender to what, where, and when God is moving me to action. Please consider an example.
There is a couple in Cambodia, Scott and Helen, who have moved here with the intent of serving in the international school. Scott teaches math and Helen is the secondary principal. They have two wonderful young children. During dinner one evening, I asked them where they were attending church in Cambodia. Scott replied, “We attend a Khmer church plant in Phnom Penh.” I then asked, if he understood what the pastor was saying and he said, “No. I get a little bit of the sermon but for the most part, I do not understand the message.” I laughed and said, "You are attending a church where you don’t know what the pastor is saying?” Without hesitation, Scott smiled and said, “It is more about serving than anything else. We attend a morning service in English and then an afternoon service in Khmer. I figure that is why we are here.”

Admittedly, his reply humbled me. This family came to Cambodia to be all in. Including attending a church in which the language remains unknown, save a few words here and there. And, they are making a significant difference where God has planted them. Few people will ever know their story and their daily sacrifices, yet they are people who recognize that GOD is the one who has directed their steps and he will lead them to the next endeavor.

Gentlemen, God's work has never been measured by the difficulty of the task but is often accomplished due to the availability of the servant. There are numerous excuses and reasons available as to why someone else should do the “heavy lifting” of serving others. It reminds me of the quote by Chuck Swindoll, “The trouble with the Christian life is that it is so daily.” There is always some reason (personal preference, desire, lint on my clothing) that will keep me from serving.

The LORD often provides amazing “God moments” that look very much like everyday service to others.

Though mission trips, youth events, and training teachers Cambodia are fun and worthy ways of serving, it is the common elements of daily events where we truly learn to serve. Let’s you and I learn to be Christian men who serve. Daily.

Love,
Dad

11.09.2017

This and that.

Thank you, Benjamin Franklin, for creating the lending library!
I remember a veteran homeschooler saying, "All you need to educate your children is a Bible, a great math book, and a library card." And she was RIGHT!
We check out hundreds of books each year - for FREE - and when we are able, we purchase our favorites to add to our own personal library.
Our library card is worn down from constant use and our librarians know us by name.
Bibliophiles! UNITE! πŸ“š

~~~ Dennis and four of his colleagues from Biola University are currently serving in Cambodia. They have created a strong relationship with a ministry called Asian Hope and the team looks forward to reuniting with the men and women of this ministry each year. Dennis and his peers spend each day training teachers and then spend their nights preparing presentations, lectures, and activities for the following day. They generally spend 12 hours teaching, prepping, and serving and then they are treated to delicious dinners by different hosts. One of D's favorite parts of the trip is when they are invited to someone's home because they are able to get a glimpse of Cambodian family life and culture. The hosts are incredibly gracious, sharing their personal stories of God's goodness and how He is working within the region. Dennis always leaves these families encouraged - and with increased faith. Someday we hope we can join him!

Anyone who knows me well knows that I prefer calm over chaos and cleanliness over messes. Order and efficiency bring me peace.
My children, however, are the opposite. They love to create, play, and destroy! And I have learned that I must let them.
A few days ago I walked into the family room to find this fort, which filled the entire room. I could see no one but could hear laughter through the linens.
Josiah, Isaiah, and Ellie played in their fort for hours! They made special snacks, read books, played games, and talked and laughed as if they have never disagreed on anything. I enjoyed listening to their frivolity, and the Lord used their joy to remind me that while 'order' is good and profitable (our God is a God of order, after all!), there is also a time to just BE - and ENJOY. Thank You, Lord, for such reminders!

When you have a loose tooth - a FRONT tooth - you usually wiggle it in an effort to make it fall out.
Ellie tried that very plan but found an easier and much quicker method.
While playing a game of Hide & Seek with her teenage brother, she hid behind a door, jumped out to scare him when he came seeking her, and in his surprise, he chucked the hardback book he was holding in his hand which landed squarely on her face and knocked her tooth out in one fell swoop. And yet - she smiles! #sisteroffivebrothers

~~~ In the past week, the Lord allowed me to spend time with two sisters in Christ, each of whom filled me up, encouraged me, and "stirred me up to love and good deeds." There are few things better than sweet fellowship within the body of Christ! One of my favorite things is that there is always something to learn from others. Age, background, race, education, personality, experiences ... all of these look different for every believer, and because they do, we have countless opportunities to glean wisdom and insight from them. We may be in different seasons of life, but we are never too old to learn - or mature!

~~~ Here is a wonderful quote to think on as you move into the weekend.
Jesus knows the worst about you. Nonetheless, He is the one who loves you most. - A. W. Tozer
I pray you believe this truth.
He created you.
He loves you.
He sent His Son to die for you.
You are "fearfully and wonderfully made," and His thoughts toward you outnumber the grains of sand scattered in the oceans.
He SEES you.
He KNOWS you.
And He WANTS you. ❤

11.07.2017

Just DO IT!

I LOVE this writing by J. R. Miller!

Money has its place, of course. Bricks for walls, window frames, and beds for orphanages must be bought. Food and water for the poor must be purchased. Medication and wheelchairs for sweet widows are not free. But money is only one way we can minister to the countless broken, hurting, suffering people all around us.

May this quote inspire us to go and DO. No matter what it looks like. We belong to a creative God who will fill our minds with creative ideas!

But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:22-25

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Many shrink from ministering to the poor, because they have no money to give. But money alone is the poorest alms ever bestowed! There are gifts which every true Christian, however poor, has to bestow - which are infinitely better than money.

The apostles gave no money. They had no silver nor gold to bestow.

Jesus never gave any money! We never read of Him giving a mite to any who were poor or in distress. And yet no man was ever such a lavish giver of beneficence as He. What Christ gave was loving service, pity, sympathy, compassion, tears and personal help.

These are the coins that the Christian should chiefly give. They are coins that bear the stamp of Heaven. The image and superscription of Jesus, our great King, are upon them. They were minted in Heaven! They are better than gold - for money is a poor thing to give, without love.
"If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames - but have not love, I gain nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:3

Money will neither . . .
comfort the sad,
nor cheer the lonely,
nor lift up the fallen,
nor strengthen the faint,
nor support the tempted,
nor heal the broken-hearted,
nor soothe weariness,
nor wipe away tears.

Love-gifts are what the poor, suffering, and sorrowing most need.
And these heavenly coins, the poorest Christian may scatter!

Jesus asked nothing nobler on earth than this - and He has made these lowly ministries forever glorious and divine.

Let Christians go out into the world, and repeat everywhere the tender, beautiful, helpful ministry of Jesus - and they will do more to bless the world, than if they opened a mine of wealth and made thousands rich!

- J. R. Miller

11.06.2017

We care - but He cares MORE!

Prasie the Lord, Praise the Lord! Orphan Care Sunday was a SUCCESS!

Our children/family Pastor preached a wonderful message based on James 1:27, Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. He also incorporated the first two chapters of the book of Ruth, a beautiful story of redemption.

We have two goals for our Orphan Care Ministry.
1. To create an encouraging, supportive, prayerful Orphan Care Community for the families who are actively involved in orphan care, whether through adoption or fostering, so each family feels supported and understood as they walk faithfully and obediently through the daily life of caring for orphans.
2. To bring awareness to and educate our church body about the biblical mandate to care for orphans and the tremendous need for families to rise up and serve the thousands of children waiting for homes in our own backyard. Every believer is not commanded to bring a child into their home, but every believer is commanded to care for orphans.

The goal for creating an Orphan Care Community was accomplished in the first few months of the ministry's early days because these families are amazing and open and always the first to serve when a need arises. They talk, they text, they visit each other, they counsel one another, pray, babysit, and cook for each other - and they are THERE. Whenever a family needs anything - someone responds. Every time.

The second goal - education and awareness - was accomplished from the pulpit Sunday morning.
Jason, our family pastor, spoke boldly of the biblical command, the calling, the statistics, and the need.
And he did it with grace.

I noticed Dennis writing several notes in his journal during the message, and when I glanced over to read his words, my eyes fell on a quote he copied from William Wilberforce, the man who drove the British government to abolish the slave trade in 1833.
“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.” 

What a powerful statement!
Ignorance is bliss, but awareness = accountability.
The seeds of Orphan Care were scattered across our sanctuary yesterday, and it will be exciting to see what the Lord will reap at harvest time!

Our evening event was also a sweet delight.
We had young couples join us who are interested in orphan care, families who have already adopted children and want to be part of the ministry to encourage and support others when they step out in faith to do the same, one lovely couple who wanted to learn how to support their siblings who will be taking in foster children in the next few months, and a handful of older men and women who want to be part of our Support Team so they can provide encouragement and help to the families in their moments of greatest need. Such a wonderful combination of God's people!

Three of our current foster/adopt families shared their personal testimonies, I explained the vision and purpose of the ministry, Jason gave a wonderful devotion, and Dennis shared his personal adoption testimony. He closed with these words, "Provers 31:8, 9 says, 'Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.' Someone spoke for me when I could not speak for myself, and I am forever grateful."

As we drove away from the church last night, my heart was full of praise and gratefulness to a God who can move the hearts of men - and cares for orphans more than we do. Thank You, Lord, for this truth! And thank You for moving the hearts of Your people to respond to the tremendous need to care for the thousands of orphans waiting to be taken into safe, loving homes. You ARE an amazing God!

Oh, and THIS! Our wonderful design team took all of the words we wanted to share and placed them on the backdrop of these lovely images of our own people in our church body. It is exciting to have an official brochure to give to people who are interested in bringing children into their home through foster care and adoption, or to those who want to encourage and support the families caring for orphans. "Visiting orphans and widows in their distress" cannot be accomplished alone. It is a command to the church - and a mission for the body. How sweet it is to watch members serve one another in this pursuit!

11.03.2017

A confirmed lesson.

Last night the Lord used a godly older woman to direct my thoughts even deeper into the purpose and benefit of studying God's Word.

I love when the Lord confirms a lesson He has been teaching me.
He makes it crystal clear that He is the teacher, I am the student, and keeps me focused on the details of the lessons until I am fully surrendered to His calling and His will.
I will admit, I have been known to close my notebook, toss my pencil across the room, and drop my head on my desk when I feel overwhelmed or simply do not care for the particular lesson being taught.
But, just as a good teacher does everything possible to engage his student, the Lord does the same with this rebel. Sometimes He simply has to call my name to draw me back. Other times He must stand beside my desk, hovering, until I look up. And every once in a while, He finds it necessary to thwack my desk with His ruler because I refuse to sit up straight, focus, and obey.

Thankfully, I am a willing, active participant for the current lesson, and though I need a stern hand to keep me on the right track so I do not lose heart or stray, I have not had to endure any hovering or thwackings from the Lord. He has encouraged me through His Word, other believers, and quotes by godly men. And for these things - I am thankful!

Immerse yourself in the written Word of God.
Saturate your mind with it so you spill over with truth.
- John Piper

Be an expert on the Word of God and you will always know what to say to the culture. 
- John MacArthur

There is no sin-killer like the Word of God.
Wherever it comes, it comes as a sword, and inflicts death upon evil. 
- C. H. Spurgeon

As an ordinary Christian, go deep in the Word and prayer,
and then go boldly into your sphere of influence. 
- Steffen Mueller

10.30.2017

Thoroughly inspiring!

This book.
This man.
This LIFE.

I have marveled at his "resolutions" for years, wondering how in the world a teenage boy could have such deep conviction about his faith.

After sauntering through the first 50+ pages of this fantastic biography (for you cannot sprint through a book such as this), I am even more enamored with this man. 
He was not perfect, for pride was his greatest vice, but he was willing to look honestly at himself, day after day after day, in order to know himself - so he could die to self.

It would be foolish to attempt to summarize the life of Jonathan Edwards, especially when countless authors have done a superb job capturing his ministry, his character, and his personality with paper and ink. My reading has not even caught up to his twentieth year of life, yet I am challenged, encouraged, and convicted by his intentional pursuit to understand and know his God. He struggled often with his faith, he hated the pride that ensnared him, and he battled despondency and depression. And yet, 250 years after his death, he is considered one of the greatest preachers ever to stand behind a pulpit. His first nineteen years have already stirred me up to seek harder after God, so I can only imagine what inspiration is to come after discovering what God did with and through this fascinating man during his other thirty-five years on earth!

A true and faithful Christian does not make holy living an accidental thing.
It is his great concern.
As the business of the soldier is to fight, so the business of the Christian is to be like Christ.
- Jonathan Edwards

10.29.2017

Thankful for BOTH.

A dear friend has been suffering physically for several months. After surgery, which helped resolve many of the issues, she became ill with the flu. From the outside looking in, it appeared that salt was being rubbed into her proverbial wound. And yet, when I asked how I could pray for her specifically, she replied, "The Lord is using this time to show me my sin. He is pulling out sin I was not even aware of, and it is not attractive. Pray that I will not flinch or flee, but respond in obedience and learn what I need to learn while He holds a mirror to my heart." What a response! A biblical, mature, godly response.

After the awe of her godly perspective subsided, I asked, "What sin could you possibly be committing while trapped in a horizontal position?" She never answered. But the Lord did.
During the past three days of physical affliction, He has used the long, quiet hours to focus my attention on areas of sin that were obscured by the clatter of daily living. Specifically, areas of sin that have sprouted unnoticed, but have roots that will twist themselves deeper if not ripped out immediately. Dealing with sin you battle with daily is one thing, but being forced to face sin you didn't even know existed is humbling indeed. How many blind spots we possess! Making the cry of David all the more fitting when he says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me ... ” Psalm 139:23, 24

These past few days of physical pain were unwanted.
The spiritual incisions were unpleasant.
But like my friend, I am thankful for both. 
And I pray that I too will respond in obedience, choosing to turn away from the sin that ensnares me so I might run unfettered, with passion and joy, in this race called "life" until the Lord pulls me across the glorious finish line, and I will know - I am HOME.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1,2

10.28.2017

Purpose in the pain.

Sickness.
It cannot be predicted.
It is no respecter of persons.
It is neither desired nor enjoyed.
And yet, God may use it to ...
make us still when we refuse to slow down,
hear His still, small voice in the quiet of the sickroom because we could not hear Him above the noise of daily life,
drive us to prayer because we seek His healing and comfort,
or push us into the pages of Scripture to rediscover His perfect promises.

For the last thirty-six hours, I have been curled up on the couch or in my bed, in pain. I did not see it coming, and, as usual, it did not hit when we had an open calendar, but on a weekend filled with fun activities as a family. My immediate, fleshly response is, "Seriously, Lord? Why now?" But as each hour passes in which I can do little else but sleep or pray, my thoughts move toward, "Okay, Lord. What?" What do I need to hear in the stillness? What was I missing in the hustle and bustle of motherhood and schooling? What do You want me to think about? What will You do with this time of illness that could not have been accomplished in health?

He may not show me the "what," but I know He can heal me in a nanosecond with only a word, so if He allows my body to remain in pain, I have to trust there is a purpose in the pain. And surrender.

I venture to say that the greatest earthly blessing that God can give to any of us is health, with the exception of sickness. Sickness has frequently been of more use to the saints of God than health has.
- C. H. Spurgeon

Health is a good thing; but sickness is far better, if it leads us to God. 
- J. C. Ryle

10.25.2017

I love it - but not enough.

Make sure Satan has to climb over a lot of Scripture to get to you.
- John MacArthur

I LOVE this quote!
And I am incredibly convicted by it.

When I was in college, the Lord challenged me to memorize Scripture and I pursued the challenge with focused intensity. I had a dozen large rings filled with hundreds of verses written out on colored index cards, and I carried them with me wherever I went. I had grown weary of memorizing verses solely for the sake of memorizing. I wanted the effort to go toward passages that hit me in the center of my current struggles and sin. It seemed logical, so I became prescriptive about the verses I chose to memorize. 

If I was feeling convicted about gossiping with friends, I looked up every verse on gossip and added them to a ring. If I was battling envy or jealousy, I looked up all of those verses and slipped the cards on another ring. And on and on it went. In the beginning, pulling out the cards to read them in between classes, in the cafeteria, while waiting for an appointment, or just to be faithful to memorize the verses took effort and planning, but it was not long before it became a regular part of my day. I kept a ring of cards in my purse, in my school bag, on my desk, and in my car so I had no excuse NOT to read. Most of my spare moments were used to flip through card after card, and sooner than I had expected, the verses would float through my mind without any prompting - just when I needed them most. It was incredibly exciting, and the ability to draw God's Word from my own mind became something I wanted more than anything else.

As wonderful as it was to have dozens of verses stored up in my heart, there was also an adjustment period. Claiming ignorance of God's Word is an easy out. Any sin can be justified when knowledge is lacking. But once we are aware - we are accountable.
I remember thinking, "Wow. Now that I know fourteen verses about discontentment, I am never going to be able to justify it because God's Word will be banging against my conscience. I will be willfully choosing to sin!"
Stumbling into sin is one thing. Purposely walking to the edge of the cliff and jumping into sin is quite another.
I still wrestle with this. Even more so now because I have had an additional 25 years to memorize Scripture since my college days. Sometimes, the clarity of the verse sounds so loud and strong in my mind that I turn my head expecting to see the Lord standing right behind me! I hate those moments because it is evident that I want my sin more than I want my Savior, but I also love those moments because I can hear His words as clearly as if He was whispering in my ear, "Daughter, please. Please, don't do this! Stop your thoughts. Walk away. It's not worth it. Look at Me, and do not look away until the temptation no longer has a grip on you." I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Psalm 119:11  

Make sure Satan has to climb over a lot of Scripture to get to you.

I love my Bible.
But I do not love it enough.
The spine is still intact. The cover is not worn dull. The pages are not bleeding with ink from my pen.
I have not read it enough, prayed over it enough, wept with it enough, or applied it the way God intended. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
II Timothy 3:16,17

I want my Bible to be the most used item I possess, and it's content the largest part of my vocabulary.

Father, may the heart of Your servant who penned these words become my own ... 
I will meditate on Your precepts and fix my eyes on Your ways.
I will delight in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word. Psalm 119:15, 16



This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105 

But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

10.23.2017

This and That.

The past eight days have been pretty intense in the Eastman home. While my mind has been rotating through prayer, reading the Word, and listening to worship music and sermons, I have also watched clean comedians and stupid movies to make me LAUGH so I can maintain proper perspective while we wade through the messiness and unexpected trials of life. How grateful I am that we have a God with a sense of humor! We know He has a sense of humor because we were created in His image, which means if we laugh, so does He!

Mom Eastman and D's sister, Denise, came down for a quick visit last week.
What a wonderful time we had with them! Dennis and Denise enjoyed a brother/sister date while the rest of us entertained Mom for an afternoon, and then we spent the evening together at the beach.
A gorgeous sunset, perfect weather, and s'mores capped off a delightful day.
We always look forward to their visits and miss them already!

The traditional Mother/Son photo! ♥ As we approach ORPHAN AWARENESS Month, I cannot help but praise God for bringing mom and dad Eastman to the orphanage where Dennis was living - at just the right time - and had them peer into his crib - at just the right time - when he was smiling and gurgling, and mom looked at the social worker - at just the right time - and said, "I choose HIM. This is our son."
And - at just the right time - they wrapped him up and took him - HOME.
But we must remember ... adoption can be as painful as it is beautiful because someone must lose a child - so another can gain one.
Father, please, heal the wounded hearts of the women who were forced to surrender their children, and heal the hearts of those who selflessly and willingly surrendered their children to another.
Adoption is a beautiful picture of redemption and grace, but it rarely takes place without sorrow and sadness. We do not always understand or even like Your ways, Lord, but we can trust You and PRAISE YOU because all day, every day, You create "just the right moments."


Micah was thrilled when asked to play drums in the main church services on Sunday!
He started dreaming of being inside the plastic cage when he was in junior high and picked up drumsticks for the first time - and played well.
I will never forget the day. Not one lesson, yet he could play. As he says, "It is the one place I feel safe and confident - behind an instrument."
Dyslexia creates chaos for him academically, but music brings peace - and JOY. And for this truth, we are incredibly thankful.

We now have another Eastman earning a paycheck and paying taxes in our home.
Luke is now an employee of the In-N-Out Empire!
The process of hiring was interesting and he showed a great amount of patience and persistence while waiting to find out if he would be slicing potatoes, swirling shakes, and donning the famous white apron and hat.
He has already projected how much he will earn in the next year, how he will save, and how he can advance during the remainder of his high school career.
Well done, Luke! We know you will be an asset to the establishment!
- It is important to us that our boys know how to work hard - and - how to work hard for different employers with varying personalities, and philosophies. They will, after all, be working for the rest of their lives, so there is no better time to train than when they are young and full of energy and life holds endless possibilities for their futures.
We are proud of you, Micah and Luke! You are hard workers and we know you will continue to grow in the months and years ahead. -

With some cash for my birthday, I chose to purchase BOOKS!
I have an intense desire to read biographies right now.
Stories about the passions, legacies, and lives of godly men and women who changed the world with and for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I want to know what drove them - what inspired them - how they overcame hardship - and most of all, how they created such a fiery passion for the Lord that kept them singularly focused on His calling for each of their lives.
I cannot wait to get started!

It was a relaxing 103 degrees at our house today - in October! - and since we just happen to be studying the sun in our astronomy curriculum, it was the PERFECT day to set up an experiment that shows how we can focus the heat of the sun with a magnifying glass.
The fact that we felt like we were melting at about the same rate of the blocks of butter and chocolate gave the lesson even greater impact!
We moved onto leaf burning for round two.
Josiah, Isaiah, and Ellie thought it was pretty cool that the sun could make a leaf burn with a little piece of plastic!
(And yes, we had a hose on standby so as not to start another fire in the OC! Safety First!)

~~ Happy Monday, everyone!

10.21.2017

He gives us what we NEED.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. Thou dost prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. 
Psalm 23

The last few weeks have been filled with emotion, discipleship, difficult conversations, mutual encouragement, precious time with family, correction, challenges, and well, life. Because I was fully engaged in each of these things, I did not recognize my weariness and how much I needed rest. I woke up tired yesterday, longing for a nap before the clock struck 9 am. At noon, when I was making a beeline for the couch, I spotted my Bible. "Come to ME, all you who are weary and need rest," it seemed to call.
I grabbed my Bible, sat down to read, and asked the Lord to point the way.
"Psalm 23."
"Really, Lord? That Psalm is overused. How about something unique?"
"Psalm 23, Michelle. Go."
(I cannot prove it, but I have a sneaking suspicion the Lord sometimes rolls His eyes when I speak!)

Thankfully, I obeyed. And God opened my eyes to something new.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.

Why would the Lord force us to lie down? And why in green pastures? Why would a shepherd make his sheep lie down? For the same reason we do so with our children ... because they need it. They may not think they do, they may not want to, but do we care? Nope. We make them do it. And the faithful Shepherd does the same for His children. He forces us to be still, to lie down, and to rest.
There is little else do to in a green pasture but think, relax, dream, pray, and sleep. Not only does the Lord make us lie down, He makes us do so in a place free from distractions, concerns, demands, or fears.
HE MAKES US lie down.
Why?
Because we refuse to do so on our own. We keep going and moving and working and thinking and planning and striving. But what we should do, what we need to do - is BE STILL.
And once we are still, we are able to take in the beauty and quiet that surrounds us and hear the still, quiet voice of the Good Shepherd.

He RESTORES my soul.
We are restored through the quiet and beauty of the green pasture. During our time of rest, we are able to reflect on who God is, His promises, and His love. Before the stillness, we are too distracted to see where He is leading us. We are not able to listen because we surrounded ourselves with noise and cannot hear what He is saying. But in the quiet, our God does not have to yell, for our ears hear Him, and His words and commands are clear.

He LEADS me beside quiet waters.
He GUIDES me in the paths of righteousness.
Notice how the verb changes from a forced action to a willing action.
After we have been forced to be still, savoring the rest we so desperately needed, and remembering the greatness and love of our God, it is then that we are able to rise up and follow where He leads. Willingly. And with JOY.

Where does He take us when we are willing to follow Him?
In the paths of righteousness.
Because He is a Good Shepherd, He does not just point us to this place of wonder. He is right there, guiding and leading us every step of the way. Through the beauty of the mountaintops, and through the darkness of the valleys - He is always there.

The LORD is my shepherdshall not want
He makes me lie down.
He gives me rest.
He leads me.
He guides me.
He restores my soul.
Our God may not always give us what we want, but He always, always gives us what we need.

10.17.2017

Too much for me - never too much for Him.


From the rising of the sun to its setting,
the name of the Lord is to be praised!
Psalm 113:3

When I stand before an awesome display of creation like the beauty of this sunset,
I am reminded that the same God who created such vast splendor with only a word from His mouth,
is able to handle the hurts and sorrows and disappointments of my heart. 
Though I feel overwhelmed, there is nothing too difficult for my God to resolve.

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!
For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In His hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are His also.
The sea is his, for He made it,
and His hands formed the dry land.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
Psalm 95

10.14.2017

Quote.

How much we ought to hate sin!
Instead of loving it, cleaving to it, dallying with it, excusing it, playing with it - we ought to hate it with a deadly hatred!
Sin is the great murderer, and thief, and pestilence, and nuisance of this world.
Let us make no peace with it.
Let us wage a ceaseless warfare against it.
It is "the abominable thing which God hates!"
Happy is he who is of one mind with God, and can say, I "abhor that which is evil." Romans 12:9
- J. C. Ryle

10.12.2017

This and that.

🎡 Sing with me! 🎢
If you're happy and you know it, say Amen! A-MEN!
If you're happy and you know it, say Amen! A-MEN!
If you're happy and you know it then your face will surely show it.
If you're happy and you know it, say Amen! A-MEN! 🎢🎡

Today was a great day! Early wake-up call, school lessons completed, house cleaned, chores finished, dinner pre-made, Dennis came home from work early, the littles played creatively, the big boys said they love me, and to top it all off, I get to spend the evening being lovingly raked over the spiritual coals of discipleship by an older woman who loves the Lord. Yay for today!

Last week, my birthday week, was also wonderful.
Dennis and my children made the day special, and cards in the mail, surprise gifts, e-mails, and text messages added to the joy!
I am thankful the Lord chose to bring me into the world 46 years ago, and I cannot wait to see what He has planned for the next four decades of life!
It is true - the older you get the more precious life becomes. ❤
I pray I will use the next year WELL!

One of the highlights of the weekend was the start of a new tradition with my teenaged sons.
Birthday DATES!
As much as I enjoy gifts, I would much prefer making a memory with my boys. When they asked what I wanted this year, I answered, "A date with each of you!" And they obliged.

- Caleb planned our date and because he knows I love Mexican food, he chose to have lunch at Rubio's. (Their grilled tacos are delicious!)
We talked about his walk with the Lord, the need to read the Word daily, his enthusiasm for youth group, and his friends. We also had a short but important discussion about how to initiate conversations with people that are purposeful and encouraging. His junior high ears were eager to take this in, and by the end of our lunch date he was zinging questions at me right and left. YES!
He also planned dessert for us - Yogurtland - and was quite pleased that he had discovered a 2-for-1 coupon because it allowed us to get as MUCH as we wanted without worrying about the price. A 13-year-old boy without a job is on a budget after all!
Thank you, Caleb, for my birthday lunch/dessert date! I LOVED spending time with you!

- Micah said, "We can do whatever YOU want to do!" I didn't tell him what I had planned, however, because I knew he would quickly change his mind. It was not until we were a good few miles down the freeway that I announced, "Okay! We are going SHOPPING! For two things - a necklace and a purse. And then we can go to dinner." Complete silence, but a look of horror covered his face.
When we approached the door of the store, I said, "Take a deep breath!"
"Whatever for?"
"Trust me. Take a deep breath." He did. Aaaand then we stepped into Charming Charlie's, at which time my son stopped dead in his tracks, dropped his head to his chest, and groaned, "You hate me, don't you?"
The Mission: Choose three necklaces you think I would like.
And thus began a thorough lesson in observation, attentiveness, how to select jewelry for a woman, and how to be a thoughtful gift-giver. An eye-rolling emoji and a face with laughing tears would sum up our time in the heavily-laden-with-estrogen store!
He took me to dinner and we engaged in a serious discussion about his future, staying far away from the line that separates the believer from the world, and where He wants to grow in his spiritual life.
Micah, you were a thoughtful, entertaining, and gracious date. Thank you!

- Luke took me out to lunch after church on Sunday. Being that he and I are twins in mind and spirit (though definitely not body!), we enjoyed a deep, introspective conversation about the body of Christ, the Lord, sin, and where we need to improve in relationships with others. We also took a short trip down memory lane. My favorite part of that trip was when I asked him, "Did you EVER think we would be where we are now as mother and son? All of our battles, the rebellion, the frustration and anger ... did you think we would end up here, close and mutually respecting one another, or did you plan to pack your bags at 18 and get as far away as possible?" Without missing A BEAT he stopped his fork full of food in midair and declared, "The last one! Bags packed - and outta there!"
And then we shared how thankful we are that the Lord has drawn us together in a unique and precious way this past year. Not just mother and son - but friends.
Thank you for an encouraging and mutually enjoyed birthday lunch, Luke. I loved it!

We jumped into the world of Ancient Egypt this week, so it seemed fitting to engage in a "Let's make each other into mummies!' activity.
Josiah, Isaiah, and Ellie mummified Caleb first (a team-building event in which they fought with each other as much as they cooperated), and then they took turns wrapping each other.
They ended up having a BLAST, and laughing - a lot! How thankful I am for excellent curriculums that include FUN in the learning!


~~ Dennis, Micah, Luke, and Caleb have the privilege of attending our Men's Conference this weekend, and I am excited for them! An excellent speaker, a timely topic, worship and prayer with their brothers in Christ, and time spent together as father and sons. A winning combination!

~~ On Monday night we get a special treat! Mom Eastman and Denise (Dennis' sister) are coming to town for two days! We have not seen them in the last year, so we are eager to spend time with them, catch up on life, thoroughly enjoy one another, and make some new memories! We have great visits when they come down south, so we are thankful it is happening SOON!

~~ I hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead of you! Whatever you do, make sure to spend time in the Word, in prayer, and serving someone else. Sometimes the best remedy for a worn and weary heart is doing something for someone else - just because you can! Your troubles are forgotten for a time as you focus on the other person, and they are encouraged by your kindness. A win-win!
ENJOY your weekend, friends!

10.11.2017

Quote.

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain!" Philippians 1:21 

True Christianity is not merely the believing a certain set of theological propositions.
It is to live in daily personal communication with an actual living person
- Jesus the Son of God!

"The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave Himself for me!" Galatians 2:20

- J. C. Ryle

10.10.2017

There is a better way.

Do you ever wonder if this is what the Lord sometimes sees when He looks at us?


His children, trudging through life with huge, heavy loads they placed upon their own backs, creating an unbearable burden that is so overwhelming and exhausting they cannot sustain it and must surrender to the weight of their burden by being buried under it, or tossed onto their backs because of it. 

How grieved He must be to witness such a sight when He has opened His arms wide to us,
graciously and lovingly inviting us to,
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.  Matthew 11


THIS is what the Lord wants to provide for us!

Rest.
Pure, contended, sweet, refreshing rest.

Come to ME, Jesus says.
Take MY yoke.
Learn from ME.

Will you respond?
Will you walk to the Master?
Will you lay your burdens at His feet?
Will you trust Him with the load you have carried for far too long?
Will you listen to Him?
Will you learn from Him?

He is a gentle Master, a humble Master. And His promises are true.

You need only COME.
And you will find rest for your soul.