Friday, March 8, 2013

A Life That Counted



Here is a "profound"  truth:  we are ALL getting older.   Our oldest granddaughter just turned 21.    I can’t believe it.  She was just three years old yesterday and now she is getting ready to go into her senior year of Bible college .  Time flies, doesn’t it?  I won’t even talk about how fast time flies when you turn 60.  Do any of you relate to me when I say that I am … well, um.m..…over 60,  but mentally I feel about 45?  But the “itus” brothers bring me back to reality - you know...arthar. and burse  The truth is we are all getting older and someday we will come to the end of this journey called life.  When that time comes what will be said about you….what will be said about me?  If you know Christ as your Savior and when you stand before the Bema seat will there be ANYTHING good that God can say about you,.”  When your pastor stands before your grave will he be able to say one thing that you have done for the cause of Christ?   One hundred years from now what will they say about you?   Mothers, will your children be able to say that you were a great influence in their lives?    Will our lives have any lasting value?

There is a woman in the Bible who had a life that counted.  How do we know?  The Lord said of her, “wheresoever this gospel is preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.”  Mark 14:9.  She is the only person that has ever had her life memorialized by our Savior.  Not Moses, not Elijah, not Paul…but this insignificant woman named Mary.  She is someone worth getting to know better, don’t you think?

Mark 14: 3-9
3.  And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.  4.  And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?  5.  For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor.  And they murmured against her.  6.  And Jesus said, Let her alone;  why trouble ye her?   she hath wrought a good work on me.  7.  For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good:  but me ye have not always.  8.  She hath done what she could:  she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.  9.  Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.


Who was this woman whose life counted for Christ?  She wasn’t a beautiful, courageous Esther or a valiant Deborah.   She was just a simple, plain, village woman.  Jesus said, “She hath done what SHE could.” (vs. 8)  Aren’t you thankful that we don’t have to be talented or beautiful or intelligent  or organized or a score of other things to be able to please the Lord?  Mary didn’t compare her gifts and abilities with anyone else.  She had a sister who was a power house … a super woman…. But Mary simply did what SHE could.  The comparison game is one of the most insidious ways the devil uses to discourage women today.   II Corinthians 10:12 gives us a clear warning about comparing ourselves to others.  “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves; but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” God can take that which we have to offer him and multiply it and use it for His honor and His glory.  Don’t worry about not being able to sing or play or stand up in front of women and teach – what can YOU do.   Mary simply did what SHE could.  The little boy only had 5 loaves and two little fish --- BUT GOD multiplied them to feed thousands.  The widow only had 1 mite, but offered to God in humility and love it was just as good as a fortune.   Give God YOUR best…. If you teach a Sunday School class do YOUR  best…pray, study, prepare.   “Ecclesiastes 9:10 – Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might….”   That is all God expects of you.  You might say….”I can’t do anything!”   WRONG!  Ministry doesn’t always have to be a highly visible thing.   And it isn’t always the woman who seems to “be perfect” that has the greatest impact on lives.   The woman who had the most influence on my life was my first pastor’s wife.  She wasn’t a perfect model type… she was a short, plump woman and she and her husband lived in a  small, modest parsonage behind the church.  She was also my Sunday School teacher….and my how she loved the Bible.  Many of the bedrock convictions and knowledge of the Bible that I have now were learned in her Sunday School class.  I was a shy girl from the home of a loving mother and an abusive, drunkard father.  My home was not a safe haven by any means.  Many times Mrs. Comfort (isn’t that a great name – she comforted me many, many times) would invite me and my best friend to come and spend the night with her when her husband had to be away.  Such meager furnishings…..nothing fancy about her home, her food or her decorations.  Many times we sat down to beans and potatoes and a bowl of jello, but she offered to me what I needed more than anything……..peace, love, direction, encouragement…TIME.  There was always pleasant conversation, quite sacred music playing, love and harmony. She made a difference in my life.   Her husband went on to become the president of the denomination they were in and she became a college professor.  I’m sure she must have affected other lives for Christ, but if she never did, I know one girl whose life was changed because of her. 

WHAT CAN YOU DO?  WHOSE LIFE CAN YOU AFFECT?  BE A MARY AND DO WHAT YOU CAN. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dawn and Mitch

I found this picture of Dawn and Mitch made at a recent military function.  Mitch is a major in the army reserves and he arranged for Tom to speak at this function.  I just thought this was a beautiful picture of them.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Faith For the Family Couple's Retreat~




Dr. and Mrs. Eddie Lapino

It was my and Tom's honor and privilege to speak at this year's Faith For the Family Couple's Retreat in Gatlinburg, TN.  This is the annual retreat sponsored by Temple Baptist Church in Powell, TN    Also speaking this year were Dr. Eddie Lapino and his sweet wife, Jamie.  Dr. and Mrs. Clarence Sexton were such kind and generous hosts and we thoroughly enjoyed the Retreat.

Saying Goodbye to A Dear Friend

In the twenty years we have been serving our U.S. military and their families Tom has never had to perform a funeral.   Thank God we have never had one of our soldiers lose his or her life in combat, or under any other circumstances.   The bodies of military personnel are always sent back to the states for burial.  But one of the finest soldiers it has ever been our privilege to pastor and serve recently died after struggling with cancer for a couple of years.  A military memorial service was held in Germany for SFC Emmanuel Lorenzo and then his body was sent back to the states for burial.   His sweet wife wanted Tom to conduct the stateside funeral but we were to be in meetings in California at the original funeral schedule.  In an amazing demonstration of God's providential Hand the time of the funeral had to be changed and our schedule had us within two hours of the city where he was to be buried.  Tom was able to preach the funeral and we were able to be there to love, comfort and support a precious friend.






FROM MY SWEETHEART ~


I have the most thoughtful husband in the world.  He NEVER forgets a special occasion (and he really doesn't have to have a special occasion to show his thoughtfulness and love).   Here was my surprise on Valentine's Day.

Opportunities to Serve

I praise the Lord for recent opportunities that God has opened for me to share lessons He has taught, or is teaching me.  On February 24 I spoke to the ladies Sunday School class of our sending church, Open Bible Baptist in Valdosta, GA.
On March 1 I spoke to the ladies attending the Faith for the Family Couple;'s Retreat in Gatlinburg, TN.  And then on March 3 I spoke to the Kindred Spirits Ladies' Sunday School class at Faith Baptist Church in Canoga Park, CA.  I am grateful to the Lord for each of these opportunities.
Speaking at Faith Baptist, Canoga Park, CA

Haley Grace

Haley Grace (6)

Since I have posted two articles about our other three grandchildren I couldn't leave out our adorable Haley Grace.  She is such a cutie!

Grandparents Day at Grace Baptist~

Bradley Thomas 16
Madison Nicole (11)

One of the blessings of being back in the states is being able to participate in some of our grandkids activities.  Bradley and Madison's Christian school recently held Grandparent's Day and we were there with bells on.  Both Bradley (16) and Maddy (11) sang in their respective choirs and it was outstanding.  Afterwards we took them out to lunch.  Love my grands!!

Our Emily Joy Turns 21~



Our granddaughter, Emily Joy Lancaster,  celebrated her 21st birthday on February 2.   We blinked and she has turned into a beautiful, amazing young woman.  She has always been  the most sensitive, sweet, caring,  and compassionate person.  She remains all of those things but she is now poised, accomplished, confident and yet still our little girl.  She is finishing up her junior year in Bible College.  We love you Emmy and are so proud of you.

LEAN HARD




“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall
sustain thee” (Psalm 55:22).

Child of My love, lean hard,
And let Me feel the pressure of thy care;
I know thy burden, child, I shaped it;
Poised it in My own hand, made no proportion
in its weight to thine unaided strength;
For even as I laid it on, I said
I shall be near, and while he leans on Me,
This burden shall be Mine, not his;
So shall I keep My child within the circling
arms of My own love.
Here lay it down, nor fear to impose it on a
shoulder which upholds the government of
worlds.
Yet closer come; thou art not near enough;
I would embrace thy care so I might feel My
child reposing on My breast.
Thou lovest Me? I know it. Doubt not then;
But, loving Me, Lean Hard.”

May Prentiss Smith


“Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth
for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Mark and His Medical Issues

Mark preaching in chapel at Crown College

Our son Mark has had such a battle with medical and health issues in the past few years.  He has had to take two short medical furloughs for various surgeries and medical procedures.   He has had three surgeries in the past three months related to excruciating  back and nerve pain in his leg.  Prior to that he had four heart ablations over a short period of time.  Until he just could not function because of the pain and had to come to the states for surgery he was carrying on in his responsibilities as missionary/pastor of Grace Baptist in Wiesbaden, Germany.  His
heart is there and it is hard for him to be away from his people.  On February 25 he had surgery on his knee, which is hopefully going to relieve some of the nerve pain.  Please pray for him.   He is hoping to be back in Germany in a few weeks.

Tom's Surgery

  On January 14 Tom had surgery to repair two torn meniscus in his right knee.  It was out patient surgery and he came through it just fine - just a lot of pain.  Wish I had taken pictures of the "after surgery"  look.  Actually he looked quite civil compared to when he had surgery on his shoulder.  

Christmas In Chattanooga



This was our first Christmas living back in the states since 1991.  We loved having our children and grandchildren with us.  Mark and Julie were back in the states on a medical furlough related to Mark's back issues.  Emily came home from Crown College, and of course Dawn, Mitch, Bradley, Madison and Haley live near us.  It was very special to Tom and me.