Friday, January 21, 2011

'Be thou the mother of thousands of millions and let thy seed possess the gate...'

Oh, the joy they bring! And, they prepared this all on their own!

What does the Bible say about having children?   Ooohh, don't grit your teeth too hard, don't gringe at the thought ;).  Do we care?  Do we think about this, or 'conveniently' pass the topic up, or just ignore the subject?  Is this something that we are taught about or is this subject left out of our teachings?  Recently, I have picked up a book that I read about 7 years ago called, 'Be Fruitful and Multiply'.  It is more of a Bible study.  We have 4 children in our home right now and I can't imagine not having another.  In the meantime, I really wanted to study again what the Lord has to say about the matter of blessing marriages with children, and once again, I was so encouraged.  Did you know that fruitfulness is God's blessing?  It is the first and highest blessing that God gives to marriage!  Read Genesis 1:28--God blesses Adam and Eve and commands them to be fruitful and multiply.  I then began to just look up all of the scriptures that talk about blessings and children.  I will just list the references:

Genesis 9:1,2,7  Genesis 17:15-17  Genesis 17:20  Genesis 22: 17-18  Genesis 24:60  Genesis 28:1-3  Genesis 30:13  Genesis 48: 3,4  Genesis 49:25  Leviticus 26: 3,9  Deuteronomy 1:10-11  Deuteronomy 7:12-16  Deuteronomy 13:17  Deuteronomy 28:1-10  Deuteronomy 33:24  Deuteronomy 28:63  Deuteronomy 30:5  1 Chronicles 26:4-5  Job 42:12-15  Psalm 107:38  Psalm 115:12-15  Psalm 127:3-5   Psalm 128  Isaiah 51:2  Jeremiah 30:19  Luke 1:28,31

Can you believe how many references there are?  And, after reading all of those we can see that conception is a result of God's blessing in our lives.  When God says 'I want to bless you,' our response is often , 'thank you Lord for the new house, or thank you for a car, that will be wonderful.' But then God says, 'hold on, I want to bless you with a little baby...I want more godly offspring.' At this point, are we open and willing to receive the blessing?  Or, do we reject this blessing? 
  I know it is not always a cake walk having children, let alone 4 or even more.  And, when I think about it sometimes, especially right after a new baby arrives, I think, 'man, can I really do this again?'  Then,  as time goes by, and the challenges of postpartum, new routines, etc... go, my heart just melts again.  And, like this moment, I think, how can I even begin to trust myself over God? I have trusted myself way too long, and that is when I realized I was totally destroying my life.  I finally surrendered my LIFE to him, does that allow me to hold on to my reproduction capabilities?  'Can I please just be in charge of that God?  I will give you the rest of my life.'  There is really no way around it for me.  I can't biblically back up 'not' having more children.   Do you believe this is something we should ask the Lord about?  
  And, then you have the whole Psalm 127:4-5 talking about 'arrows' in the hands of the mighty, etc... If you study all of the scriptures about arrows(and, I won't bore you with the references, but they are there) we realize that arrows don't just happen overnight. It takes hours and hours of patiently working to straighten and sharpen an arrow so that it will hit the mark. God has called us to this task.  He wants us to be arrow sharpeners! The more 'straight arrows' we prepare, the more arrows to help God fulfill His plan on earth.  I will quote Nancy Campbell, the author of 'Be Fruitful and Multiply', 'Unless you are a warrior, you cannot train warriors. Unless you understand the battle, how can you have a vision to raise 'arrows'."  Do we understand the battle?  I am trying to gain a better understanding.  Lord, show us more of the battle plan so that we can continue to walk it out in love and with patience and perseverance.
  In reference to the Bible, 'arrows' were for war!  Satan hasn't forgotten God's word.  He knows that if he can limit us, he will limit the light that will expose darkness. He will limit truth that will expose deception.  He will limit the 'arrows' that will destroy His work!!!  I just don't see how we, as Christians, can get around these truths found in the Word.  I would love to hear you comments concerning this subject.  Please give me your feedback and let's study this out together.  What about birth control?  What are your thoughts?  Think of the lights that would be living on every street...think of the arrows exposing darkness.  Of course, I am not saying this theory is fact, but it is food for thought, and very important food at that.  (**about our 'arrows'.  I cannot imagine life without each and every one of them.  The joy they bring, the laughter, the purging of my own sinful nature- oh, how they are used by God to get my nastiness out!  And, how can I resist the others God has?  They are so precious.)

How could I say 'no'?
On a more relaxed note, we just got back from the most amazing vacation!  The children, John, and I both had such a blessed time!  God is so good and continues to care for us, lead us, and well, I just love Him!  It was awesome. A break from the daily tasks of life, everyone needs it, and the morale around the home is so exciting!  I cannot wait to see you all in America.  It is going to be so much fun.  John and I are looking so forward to spending the summer there, baseball, swimming, cook-outs, camping, and most of all, lots and lots of love and fellowship from our dearest family and friends.

Be blessed and please give me some feedback. You DO know that this is my 'hanging' out time with you all, right?  So, grab a cup of tea/coffee and pull up your chair and tell me your thoughts on this all. Just act like I am across the table ;).


Sunday, January 9, 2011

2011-- IT's GOD To Be Alive!

  I have been reflecting over the past year, well, the past four actually.  The time we have lived here in Thailand. It has not been easy.  Having four children, living in another culture, the heat, the changes, etc...  Those are all factors that can make life somewhat challenging.  This is a new year, and I am so thankful for 2011!  I feel that I am 'Sandy' again.  Seems like forever since I have felt normal, like I do right now.  In the midst of these past few years, I didn't realize how difficult things really were.  I look back on them now, and thank God, those times are past.  That I will not have to be a 'first year' missionary again.  Thankful that seeing raw meat, snakes, live frogs tied with rubber bands, and much more at the market, daily, is old news.  Thankful that the scents of incense burning, the dangerously piled up phone lines above the streets, the pig head sitting on the spirit house, are not things I am having to see for the first time anymore.  I feel more relaxed, finally.  Our house feels like home, the kinks of creating and meeting the needs of our family are finally smoothing out.  Figuring out the plan, the structure, the way things work around here took a while.  I feel like at some points throughout life here, the vision God has given us for our personal lives, the callings, the visions were put to the test.  It's hard when you are no longer surrounded by those that share the same heart as you do, that encourage you and speak into you. Then, when you have very few people to 'talk' things out with.  You start to doubt.
  I don't know where I am going with all of this, but I just felt like writing.  Sometimes it is hard to not let 'outside' influences change the way you think!!  Even if they be 'good' outside influences.  God has called each and every one of us, He has a plan for each of our lives, and no matter what the cost...what the sacrifice, we have to hold on to that vision.  It doesn't matter that there is no one around me LIKE me or no one around you LIKE you! We are still called!  We must listen to the voice of the Lord and keep walking the walk.  We can't let naysayers get us to second guessing the call, the vision that God has put before us.  We can't let time, difficulty walking the vision out, lack of faith, doubt, etc...begin to steer us the wrong way. 
  I am so in love with my Creator, and so thankful for His patience with me as I walk out life.  I love the way He gently corrects my wrong turns, wrong attitudes, my lack of patience.  It is always so gentle and so loving. 

Lord, help me to correct my children the way you correct me, and love them the way you love me!
Be encouraged today to continue to walk out the vision for your life that the Lord has given YOU! Don't just follow what others are doing, make sure you are following what YOU are suppose to do.  You are an individual and unlike anyone else on the face of the planet.  That is GOOD and that is GOD! And, if you do not know what that vision is, seek His face--You are called!!  He will direct you!

Hosea 10:1 says, 'Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself.'  Let's don't bring forth fruit unto ourselves, it will only bring emptiness. Psalm 128:3 calls us to be a 'fruitful vine'. A PROLIFIC vine! Where are you called to bear fruit?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Where Would I Be?

  Well, we survived the Christmas season!  We had such a fun, exciting, joyful time celebrating Jesus this year. And, we were all worn out!  The children were so blessed and really enjoyed the season.  In fact, we were still listening to Christmas music tonight in the car!  I did get all of the decorations put away this week. We are now the proud owners of two more creatures...a hedgehog named 'Sonic' and a sugar glider named 'Sugar'. They are adorable little animals and have already brought much delight to our home.
    The outreach at our home on the 18th went very good.  About 40 people showed up, including children.  We ate, had introductions, showed a short video with Franklin Graham and a Thai lady gave her testimony.  Then, we played Santa Swap.  It was around 9 pm at that point and people began to leave.  So, with those that remained we sang a few carols.  We know seeds were sown and feel very thankful for so many friends to be able to share the gospel with.  There is one elderly man specifically that has shown interest in studying the Bible.  Please pray for him, his name is 'Boonrock'. The plan is to start studying with him monthly or more if he is willing.  He already has been studying the Bible on his own.
  On Christmas Eve morning John shared the Christmas Story with around 3,000 students and staff at Ratchasima II school.  He did a wonderful job speaking the story in both Thai and English.  There was so much noise and distraction with so many people plus my 4 children that the program was over before I knew it. We tried to video it, but it's such poor quality.  Believing again that much of the teachings of Jesus are being planted in fertile soil!!!  Many of these students are hearing from John about the Lord on a regular basis.  He teaches English at the school and has been teaching about God.  He explained to them a few weeks ago how it is very impolite to say, 'Oh My G**!'  The students couldn't believe it.  Then, he was able to talk about their king and how they wouldn't dare blaspheme the king, proceeding to explain that God is the Creator of the whole universe and when saying that we are disrespecting Him!  What Excitement!!!!  And...not knowing what God is going to do in these precious peoples lives!!!  Believe and pray with us for their souls!!!
  On a personal level...God has really been bringing up more things in my heart and life that I was pushing down.  I knew I was, but it just seemed better to hold it in, sometimes it just makes life easier (but does it?).  It really does have to come out, so, after the holidays, I spent some time dealing with things.  I feel so much better.  I love God so much and love how He is always right here, so help me with life!!  I just can't imagine life without Him.  I was listening to a song was saying, 'Where would I be if you hadn't died on that cross and shed the blood?' I don't even want to THINK about where I would be!  Thank you JESUS!  Life is so wonderful.