What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Sermon Notes: "Plane Ol' Mission Trip"

Our Sunday sermon this week was "preached" by the children! And was it ever good!!!  I just wish I had taken my camera  to take some pictures...they were so cute...but anyone who has ever been to a children's program at church can understand how cute they are...no picture is needed. 

Before their part of the service got started, the kids were sitting up front in the choir loft, anxiously waiting for us to get finished with all of the necessities of having a church service...you know, the prayers, singing a couple of songs, the offering...and as I watched them fidgeting and wiggling and giggling, tears sprang to my eyes...and I was overwhelmed with a feeling joy mixed with sadness...joy to see children in the house of the Lord, ready to perform and sing for the gathered parents and congregation...and sadness as I thought of the years when my own children were a part of such programs...and then the many times that I myself led such children's programs in various churches where we had served...it was almost so overwhelming that I wrote down on my bulletin:
"Why do I have tears in my eyes as I think about these dear children ready to minister to us today?"...and then I began to pray for them, and for the message that they would bring to us...

The title of the program was "Plane Ol' Mission Trip"... (Lillenas Music Publishing)

The kids were all gathered at the airport with their suitcases and backpacks, ready to go on a mission trip to "Paris, Texas".  One of the young ladies was a real fashion diva, and she kept saying how excited she was to be going to Paris, where she could see all the latest designs in fashion...and the other kids had to keep explaining to her that no, they were going to Paris TEXAS, on a MISSION trip...she just didn't quite get it...

Anyway, just as they are getting ready to get on the plane, there is an announcement over the loud speaker that their flight has been delayed due to inclement weather.  So, with a groan, and much flustering by their leader who wasn't sure how she would manage these kids for another hour in the airport, the kids sang a song about being stranded  "Just Plane Stranded Blues"... and as they chatted back and forth, there were more delays, and somehow the idea came across to them that they really didn't have to go far away to be on a mission trip...there was a young boy sitting nearby, not with their group, who was lonely and scared, and didn't know about Jesus...so the other kids told him about Jesus and said they would pray for him...and then the fashion diva expressed some of her fears, and the other girls reached out to her and they became better friends...God was ministering through each of the kids as they reached out to each other...right where they were...

These songs helped to get across the "big picture" of what God was teaching them throughout this time of delays and anxious moments:

"Sometimes I get caught up in my little world of life 
and I forget the truth
This world's full of wonder 
and I must remember to see from Your point of view
You see the big picture
The great adventure of Your plan
The window to the world is in Your hands
You are the great painter
You made this awesome masterpiece
And You know every inch there is to see 
in the Big Picture
When I see the world through Your eyes
I begin to realize the great things You do
You see the Big Picture..."

"Faith is what I hope for but can't see
Trusting that the Father knows my need
I take His hand and see His plan
Me and faith we make a great team
through any kind of weather
Me and faith, we make a great team
We gotta stick together
Whenever I'm filled with doubt
Faith comes in and knocks it out.
Faith reminds me I can't work alone
Life is never easy on my own
His grace saved me
Through Faith I'm free
Me and Faith, we make a great team..."

"All the hurting hearts tonight
Lord we need to see Your light
You know what we're going through
Let us place our trust in You
Lord, You are all we need
We will follow where You lead
Give us faith to understand
When it's hard to know Your plan
Help us all to see
Lord You are all we need"

"Jesus Loves Me this I know
for the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak but He is strong
Yes, Jesus loves me,
Yes, Jesus loves me,
Yes, Jesus Loves me
The Bible tells me so!"

"You are all we need!
We will follow where You lead
Give us faith to understand
When it's hard to know Your plan
Help us all to see
Lord You are all we need."

Finally, after many delays, but many moments of finding truth and encouraging one another,
the loud speaker announced that they could take off for their mission trip to Paris, Texas!
And the kids (and we adults) had a better understanding about trust, faith, and letting God lead us wherever He wants us to go!!  I think we could see "The Big Picture"!

I hope you enjoyed this little journey with me on this "Plane Ol' Mission Trip".  We are blessed at our little church to have dedicated people to work with the children and volunteer many hours to put such a program together.  What a blessing for all of us!!

And yes, please continue to pray for our pastor. He's on the mend, praise God, but it may be a few more weeks before he is ready to come back to church.  In the meantime, God is working through those who are willing to be used by Him...young and old alike...and it is a great blessing to see how people have faith to take a step forward and serve Him. 

So Thankful

Every Parent's  (& Grandparent's) Nightmare:

Facebook message from my daughter in law...

"The phone rings and wakes you from a deep sleep. You groggily answer and hear your teenager, panicked and upset, telling you they’ve been in an accident. Every parents nightmare. That was mine last night. Thankfully Noah is fine; just sore with some scrapes and bruises. Always wear your seat belt and be safe."  

This is a picture of our precious grandson Noah and his Mama, when they were here for our son's wedding last fall:

When I got this message about Noah being in an accident, and thankfully that he was okay...all I could do was praise God and give Him thanks for His protection and watch-care over our only grandson.  This was obviously a very scary situation...but God was there...

"Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, 
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you,
to keep you in all your ways.
In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone...
You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
Because he has set his love upon Me,
therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because 
he has known My name.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble'
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him,
and show him My salvation."
Psalm 91:9-16

Thank You, Jesus, for giving Your angels charge over our grandson. May You always keep him in all his ways. May You be there to deliver him, hear his cries, answer him when he is in any trouble. I pray that you will deliver him and honor him, and satisfy him with long life, and show him Your salvation. Amen.

I know that our grandson already knows the Lord...but he is about to embark upon a new journey in life as he graduates from high school in a few weeks.  We are looking forward to being there (in Maine) to celebrate this special moment with him, and to represent his father, (our son) who will be proudly watching from heaven.  I have a feeling that our son was watching the action of those angels the other night, and giving glory to God for their swift and accurate response to Noah's cries for help.  I wonder just what that moment must have looked like from heaven's perspective? Someday we will see that bigger picture as he is seeing it now...but until then, we will continue to pray for our grandson's safety and protection, and pray that he will keep the Lord always first in his heart and soul and mind. May this experience draw him closer to the Lord. Amen.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Secret Garden Chronicles: The Rushing Mighty Wind - Revisited

This post originated last year on 4/25/2017...but today is Pentecost Sunday...the day we recognize as the time when the Holy Spirit came upon the Disciples after Christ had ascended into heaven...and so I thought this message would be appropriate today...

Original Post:

Yesterday evening I sat in the Secret Garden watching the wind blowing the trees to and fro...and thought about how strong the trees were! It occurred to me that often times the trees are bent so far in the wind that it is a wonder why they don't break in two.  Of course, sometimes they do, if the wind becomes too fierce.  But on a day like yesterday (and even this morning it is still pretty breezy), the trees sway back and forth and always bounce right back into their original posture when the wind finally dies down.

While I was watching the trees blowing in the wind, these two Pileated Woodpeckers flew onto this dead tree nearby and stayed there long enough to let me catch a couple of pictures before they flew back into the woods, making a lot of racket as they flew!
 They don't really have anything in particular to do with this post, but I thought you'd like to see them since they came just at that moment when I was sitting there contemplating what the Lord would say to me...So there must be SOME significance to their appearing at that time!  It's not often that we can see two such amazing birds together at the same time like this!

Then the Lord brought this verse to my attention:

"The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it,
but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes.
So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
John 3:8

Hmmm, maybe the woodpeckers do make a point here...they flew in out of the woods, but I'm not sure exactly where they were from, making a lot of noise, and then took off flying again, out of my view...and I could still hear their loud raspy calls, but couldn't keep up with where they flew...and the wind was so strong at times that I wasn't sure how the birds could even fly...let alone hear each other calling...

"So is everyone who is born of the Spirit..."...When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, His Holy Spirit comes from the Father above and fills us...like a rushing mighty wind...at least that is how the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost, (see Acts 2:1-13)...

"When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, 
as of a rushing mighty wind,
and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
Then there appeared to them divided tongues, 
as of fire,
and one sat upon each of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit 
and began to speak with other tongues,
as the Spirit have them utterance."
(Acts 2:1-4)

And there are times when His Spirit comes to us as a still small voice...

"And, behold, the Lord passed by, 
and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, 
and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; 
but the Lord was not in the wind: 
and after the wind an earthquake; 
but the Lord was not in the earthquake: 
and after the earthquake a fire; 
but the Lord was not in the fire: 
and after the fire a still small voice."
I Kings 19:11-12

And at other times He provides us with the right words to say at the very moment we need it:

Luke 12:11-12
"Now when they bring you to the synagogues 
and magistrates and authorities,
do not worry about how or what you should answer, 
or what you should say.
For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour 
what you ought to say."

I particularly love those two verses, because there are so many times in life when we feel like we are being put to a test...and we may have this happen much more in the future...when we will have to testify as to our faith in Christ and whether or not we are a Christian...and there are times when we will be uncertain as to what we should or shouldn't say...and God's Holy Spirit Himself will give us exactly the right words at precisely the right moment to respond to those who may question our faith. I don't have to worry ahead of time about what to do or what to say...I just need to stay close to the Father...and let His Holy Spirit do the talking.  Probably not a bad idea in many cases in life...with family members, friends, neighbors, antagonistic people....Let God's Holy Spirit do the talking through me...and not be so quick to think I've got all the answers already.   

There are also times in life when we are like those trees in the wind...being tossed to and fro and we become fearful that we might even break in two under the strain of the wind...whether it be the strain of sorrows, doubts, fear, health issues, family problems, or even temptations beyond our ability to cope... God says:

I Corinthians 10:13
"No temptation has overtaken you 
except such as is common to man;
but God is faithful, 
who will not allow you to be tempted 
beyond what you are able,
but with the temptation will also 
make the way of escape, 
that you may be able to bear it."

Not only that, but when we are at the end of our rope, feeling hopeless and abandoned by loved ones and friends and we don't know what to do or even how to pray...

Romans 8:26-27
"Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses, 
for we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, 
but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us 
with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Now He who searches the hearts 
knows what the mind of the Spirit is, 
because He makes intercession for the saints 
according to the will of God."

How thankful we should be for this marvelous gift of the Holy Spirit!  When Jesus left this earth to go to heaven, He did not leave us helpless or comfortless. As a matter of fact, He told His Disciples about this wonderful "Helper" before He was crucified, but of course, they didn't quite understand it at the time...but this is what He told them:

John 14:15-17
If you love Me, keep My commandments.
And I will pray the Father, 
and He will give you another Helper,
that He may abide with you forever...
The Spirit of truth, 
whom the world cannot receive, 
because it neither sees Him nor knows Him,
but you know Him, 
for He dwells with you and will be in you."

I started out writing this post, not sure where it was going, and just as these passages unfolded here before your eyes, God unfolded them to me.  I pray that these words bring hope and encouragement to you today, in this "post-Easter" season, just as I am sure these teachings and thoughts helped Jesus' disciples after He was taken up into Heaven. 

Jesus told His disciples in John 14:26

"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you."

and in verse 27...

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you;
not as the world gives do I give to you.
Let not your heart be troubled, 
neither let it be afraid..."

There really isn't anything more I can add to that! So I will close here and say, "Amen!"

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Friday Foto Friends...A Special Journey-Updated for my records...

Howdy Friday Foto Friends!  Another busy week has just flown right by...and it has been filled with a lot of good things, some interesting things, and some great times with loved ones and friends. I already told you about our wonderful Mother's Day weekend visits HERE in my "Thankfulness Journal".

Well today (Thursday) we took another trip to visit with some very special friends who live a couple of hours away from us.  You might remember these dear friends from our visit with them last August... Click Here for "A Day Spent With Special Friends"   .  Since that time things have not been so wonderful for them. Our dear friend Howard was diagnosed with colon cancer this past winter, and he has been suffering quite a bit for the past few months.  We've wanted to go visit for some time, but there never seemed to be a good time for them, due to the side effects of this cancer itself.  However, we knew we couldn't keep putting it off, so today we ventured south to visit...traveling through intermittent rain, but not bad enough to cause any problems.  I did not take any pictures while we were with our friends today, but we spent every minute just visiting and appreciating the wonderful friendship that we have shared for about forty years.  When God blesses you with true Christian friends who have been there for you through good times and bad, you find it hard to see them struggling with such health issues and feel so helpless to do anything to help. We did pray together and that is the best thing we can ever do.

So now, on a brighter note, I do have a few pictures to share from our actual trip along the country road today...

We "flew" past this old red caboose rather quickly, and I wasn't even sure if I'd captured a picture at all, so was delighted to see that it did turn out pretty good...Not sure what is being done with it...but I always love anything to do with trains, so was happy to see this...

All along the road I kept seeing these beautiful wild phlox and other wildflowers, and I finally convinced hubby to pull off the road and let me take a few pictures.  I was hoping to also get pictures of the many little white and yellow butterflies that were flying all over these flowers, but they were moving too quickly for me to get any pictures of them...so just imagine little butterflies flitting from flower to flower:

This patch of wildflowers was right next to a huge big field of vegetables...yellow squash, corn, and other stuff I couldn't determine...but it sure looked healthy and green!  So wonderful to see!!

Aren't these wildflowers gorgeous?  Our God is so awesome...

On the other side of the road were these yellow wildflowers, sorry for the window reflection, but you get the idea...also you can see the railroad tracks running alongside the road.

If you looked at the link I posted above about our Day Spent with Special Friends (you could click this link as well), you will see that my dear friend Evelyn had done some very special things for me on that day last year...i.e.; she restored//salvaged a beautiful old quilt that my hubby's grandmother had made for us as a wedding gift...and I wanted her to see how I was using it now in our guest room:

Yes, this is a different quilt from the wedding ring quilt featured last week HERE (Welcome Guest), but I wanted to use it here as an alternative. The original squares on this quilt are still rather fragile to be used regularly due to the age of the fabric used, but it will serve very nicely as a "nap quilt".

I also wanted Evelyn to see that I am now using the beautiful art/plaque she created, using some of the scraps from this quilt...The antique picture in the center are some "borrowed ancestors"...no one we know, but this is just an art creation. However, I do have plans to insert an old picture of my hubby's grandmother in this space as soon as I can make a good copy of it...then it will represent her as the creator of the original quilt.

UPDATED ON 5-20-18
 I wanted to add the following pictures to update the "art/plaque" that my friend Evelyn created for me last year.  She had suggested that I should replace the picture with "Nanny Martin", the creator of that quilt, and add something that belonged to her to the plaque. So I did that today, and here are the results:

This is a picture of "Nanny Martin", possibly not long after she was married (at the age of 15 in the year 1912.)
I added the little pin with the clear aqua stone that you see on the bottom corner of her picture. That belonged to her.  Also I added the larger key, which I believe came from her house. The fabric pieces surrounding her picture are scraps from this quilt that she made.

I guess we have come to "The End" of today's pictorial display.
Here's three little deer running away from the scene of the crime last evening...
they had come searching for my petunia plants and couldn't find them...
Someone (Annie from Cottage by the Sea) said I should name the deer "Petunia"...so that is what I shall call these little rascally deer from now on. They all look the same, so they will all just be called "Petunia"

Now let's escape over to Deb's place at Breathing In Grace and see what our other Friday Foto Friends have been up to!!  Oops! I just saw that Deb is unable to host our gathering tomorrow....I hope she is okay...we will miss her this week.  So, I guess we are on our own...I may as well go ahead and post this tonight and you will see it tomorrow when you wake up!

"You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
Psalm 16:11

Praying for dear friends tonight...many with serious illness...
Praying for those who have difficult family situations that are hard to deal with...
Praying for peace in our nation and world...
Praying for our President and our leaders...
And Thanking the Lord for good friends...

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Thankfulness Journal

Tomorrow is Thankful Thursday, but today is thankful Wednesday in my mind! So many things to be thankful for, I don't want to wait until tomorrow...because tomorrow may never come...and also I'll be busy all day...so...Let me count some of the things I am thankful for:

1.  Last night we received a message that my niece's stepdaughter had been in a very bad car accident. She is 17 years old. The original message said that she was being air-lifted to a hospital with possible serious injuries.  We immediately sent out a prayer request on Facebook to our prayer warriors and friends...and waited for more information while we prayed.  Let me say this, I was overwhelmed with the number of people who immediately responded in prayer and with words of encouragement and compassion.  I may sometimes get frustrated with Facebook, but when the chips are down and we need prayer and help, people have been wonderful to respond quickly and with a heart to pray.

In a few hours we finally heard an update.  Apparently the original information was incorrect. She was NOT air-lifted, however, she WAS thrown from the car due to not having a seatbelt on. There were five in the car, and the car was hit broadside on her side, and she was the only one thrown and injured. However, PRAISE GOD!!!! She only sustained a broken left arm (and she is left-handed) and other minor injuries, and was released from the hospital!!!!! PRAISE GOD!  I consider that a miracle...anytime a person is ejected from a vehicle upon impact, the chances of very serious injury are very great.  But GOD, and because people were praying...this young lady was able to walk out of the hospital with very minor injuries, all things considered.  Now, I will say this, this young lady is currently living in a state of rebellion against her family, and she is definitely in need of those prayers to be restored to her family and to the Lord. So please keep praying. I believe God wanted to focus this attention on her for bigger reasons than a broken arm...but PRAISE GOD, that is all it was!!!

2.  Our friend Sharon, for whom many have been praying, who is undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer, is actually doing much better right now!  The chemo seems to be shrinking the tumors and she is feeling much better now than she has for several months.  We had a wonderful visit with her over the weekend, and it was such a blessing and joy to be with her. She always blesses us more than we could ever bless her.  Here we are with her...we are her "Florida Family", as she is Minnesota transplant, and we all adopted her and her son about 10 years ago. 

3.  Prior to our visit with Sharon on Saturday, this same crowd of people charged into the nursing home where my mother in law resides to wish her a Happy Mother's Day. She was overwhelmed with joy.

I thank the Lord for my dear mother in law, who will be 95 years old this July, and that she is still in relatively good health.  We are so blessed to have her with us still.

4.  I am very thankful for my sweet family...my son and his dear wife, a.k.a. "The Newlyweds"...
 Here they are with the two new pictures they created for me for mother's day (the deer and bear silhouettes). They installed them in the bathroom next to my photographs of deer and bears...They are so creative, and had such fun hanging these and getting them straight!! I loved hearing them giggling in there while they worked together. Such a blessing!!!

And here we are with our other son (who just woke up after working a late night shift, but he wanted to join us for Mother's Day dinner, which the kids provided for me!)

5.  So thankful for the rain we've been having this week...we needed it so badly!

6. Thankful for these pretty petunias that were a gift to me from my hubby for Mother's Day...

And especially thankful that I spied this deer almost on my front porch...who was EATING my petunias...and I caught him and shooed him away before he ate them all...

He only managed to eat one side of the basket of flowers. I removed the flowers to our enclosed courtyard in the back, and also put some pieces of ivory soap bars around them, and so far the deer have not discovered them. They would have to jump a tall fence to get to them now...but never underestimate the agility of a hungry deer...they've been back by the front porch every day since this tasty snack, looking for them....

8.  And last, but certainly not least, I am thankful for my Lord Jesus Christ, Who lived to die for me and you...and He is coming back again to take us home to live with Him in heaven forever!!! 

Above All
Above all powers
Above all kings
Above all nature and all created things
Above all wisdom and all the ways of man
You were here before the world began
Above all kingdoms
Above all thrones
Above all wonders the world has ever known
Above all wealth and treasures of the earth
There's no way to measure what you're worth
Laid behind the stone
You lived to die
Rejected and alone
Like a rose trampled on the ground
You took the fall
And thought of me
Above all

What are YOU thankful for today?

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

"Throne Room"

I was traveling home today from town in the rain, and this song played on the radio...and as I looked into the sky, I felt transported into "The Throne Room" of God.
I took these pictures of the clouds ahead of me in the sky...they really don't do justice to the scene that was being displayed, but perhaps you will get the idea...

Throne Room
Dream after dream, You are

Speaking to me, breathing
Word after word of kingdom come
Here at Your feet, I can
See the unseen, truly
One look at You and I'm undone

I run to the throne room

I run to the throne room
And I fall on my face

With angels and saints
And all I can say is
Holy, holy, holy are You, God
My heart can't contain
The weight of Your name
And all I can say is
Holy, holy, holy are You

Grace upon grace, all my

Fear falls away, only
Your perfect love for me remains
Oh, time after time You stay
Close by my side, burning
Fire inside I can't contain
I run to the throne room

I run to the throne room

I run to the throne room
before You, the Only One,
I run to the throne room
before You, I'm overcome!
I run to the throne room
before You, the Only One,
I run to the throne room,
before You, I'm overcome!

And I fall on my face

With angels and saints
And all I can say is
Holy, holy, holy are You, God
My heart can't contain
The weight of Your name
And all 
I can say is
Holy, holy, holy are You, God

I hope you entered the "Throne Room" with me as we sang along...Do you ever have such moments?  I pray that you do...we can worship the Lord wherever we are...whenever we sense His Presence...whenever all we can say is
"Holy, holy, holy are You, God!"

Monday, May 14, 2018

Sermon Notes: "The Look", A Mother's Day Message

Our scripture reference for Mother's Day was...you guessed it...Proverbs 31:10-31...a Portrait of the Virtuous Woman...I wonder how many churches heard a sermon based on these sames verses today? I expect most of them! But to me, it never grows old.  This Proverbs Woman is a role model for women everywhere...not just mothers...not old women, or young women...but all women everywhere...regardless of culture and nationality!

Before I get started on the message, let me say that we do appreciate your continued prayers for our pastor.  He goes by the name, "A.C.", so if you would lift up a prayer for "A.C.", God will know exactly who you mean.  He is still battling a serious illness and stands in need of our prayers...so thank you again.

We were blessed to have our Mother's Day message given by our church chaplain's wife, who is also our music and worship leader. Her message was very personal and from the heart, and God was truly glorified in the words that were spoken to us.

Being the child of a father who was an alcoholic, and a mother who worked very hard to balance home, parenting, a full time job as a chef, being a Christian role model for her daughter...and Girl Scout leader on her only day off...our speaker today could share from personal experience about walking a fine line between living in fear (of her father) and feeling loved and protected.  Her mother had to be the tough disciplinarian as well as a tender and compassionate parent.  She often only had to give her child "The Look"...and we have all experienced that "look" from our parents, haven't we?..."The Look" that says, "you'd better straighten up right away or you know what could happen!"

In reading about the Proverbs 31 woman, we can imagine that she was a woman of no nonsense, and that she probably knew very well how to give "The Look" to her children when necessary.

In the early church, there were some excellent examples of women who could demonstrate very well the attributes of the Proverbs 31 woman.

In Acts 16:13-15 we find Lydia, a 
"seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God." (vs. 14) And the scriptures say that "The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul...and when she and her household were baptized; she begged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay."  And so she persuaded us." (vs. 15)  

Lydia was a businesswoman, possibly the head of her household...and it took great courage in that day to step forth and have her whole household baptized into faith in Jesus Christ...and then to actually follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and the disciples.  But she was not afraid...and I have a feeling that Lydia was a role model for many women in her region and possibly led many others to Christ.  

Another marvelous example of a strong Christian "Proverbs 31" woman was Dorcas, also known as Tabitha.  We read in Acts 9:36, that Dorcas was a woman "full of good works and charitable deeds".  But Dorcas became very sick and died...and when Peter and the disciples came to Joppa, the people pleaded with him to come to see her.  (verses 37-43)  Peter did come and prayed for her, and literally raised her from the dead. Verse 42 says that "it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord."    What a powerful story! Here again is a woman who was well known for her good deeds, and God restored her life so that many were saved as a result.  I am certain that Dorcas went right back to doing her charitable deeds even more so after being touched by God in this miraculous way.

In Romans 16:1-2 we learn of another godly "Proverbs 31 Woman", Phoebe. Paul states the following: 

1. "I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea,
2. that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; 
for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also."

Oh! to have such high recommendations given by the leaders of the Church...

Even Timothy's mother and grandmother received high marks from Paul...

II Timothy 1:4-5
"Greatly desiring to see you, (Timothy), being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy,
when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also."

(Yes, even grandmothers have a powerful influence in the growth of faith of our grandchildren...)

But now we move to perhaps the finest example of a Proverbs 31 woman ever found...Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

Jesus, The very Word of God (John 1:1-14), Who became flesh and dwelt among us...

Mary knew from the beginning how special her son Jesus was to the world...and yet, He was her son...and Mary was a very human mother.  We know she experienced fear...especially when she didn't know where Jesus was...read Luke 2:46-52, when 12 year old Jesus was nowhere among the travelers headed home from Jerusalem...and Mary and Joseph searched for him for three days...and we can imagine that they were getting pretty frantic.  When they finally found Jesus, He was sitting in the Temple, in the midst of the teachers (verse 46-47), both listening to them and asking them questions.  "And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers."

But His parents "were amazed; and His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously." Can you imagine that Mary probably gave her Son "The Look"... I mean, Mary was a normal mother, filled with fear and anxiety for the safety of her Son, and then to find Him sitting there with the teachers in the Temple for three days while they had been searching so diligently for Him...and He was rather nonchalant about why they were so concerned..."Why did you seek Me? did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?"  I can imagine  that "Look" Mary would have given Him would have been a look of exasperation mixed with relief and wonder...
Nevertheless,  the Bible says in verse 51-52:

"Then He (Jesus) went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.
And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men."

Look back a moment to Luke 1:38...right after the angel had explained to Mary that she would conceive and bring forth a Son...and that He would be the Son of God...and even though Mary questioned how this could be, in verse 38 Mary said,

"Behold the maidservant of the Lord!
Let it be to me according to your word."

In Luke 1:50, in Mary's beautiful prophetic prayer she says, 
"And His (God's) mercy is on those who fear Him, from generation to generation."

Proverbs 31:30 says:

"Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
but a woman who FEARS the Lord, she shall be praised."

Proverbs 9:10
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom"

There are also some unhealthy fears in life...our speaker had great fear of her alcoholic father. She could not respect him because of his outbursts of anger and rage, and she lived in fear of him. (However she did share that later in life she was able to forgive and love him).  However, with her mom, she did respect her, and because she knew her mother loved her, all she had to do was give her "the Look" when she had been disobedient, and she knew that "the Look" also said,
"I don't want you to do wrong. I love you so much...I want you to be safe...I would take all your pain if I could...but some things you need to learn the hard way in life...there are consequences to disobedience..."

This is the type of "fear" we should have for God...Jesus has given us these commandments in Matthew 22:37-39:
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

God is watching us, and if we do wrong we do have to face the consequences for our sin, but when we ask forgiveness, He is faithful to forgive us ...and He is saying to us, "I love you so much that I gave the ultimate sacrifice for your sins...John 3:16 tells us 
"God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life..."

If our Mom said to do this, we'd better do it.
God gave us these commandments, and we should do them.
Those who don't know the Lord had better fear Him, because we will all have to face Him.
But when we know the amazing love of God, we have a desire to please Him and to pray for as many as possible to go to heaven....

So the question today is what kind of woman am I? Am I a woman who fears the Lord with a reverential fear....do I serve Him with all my heart?  I don't want God to have to give me "The Look" when I step out of line...but I am glad that He loves me enough, like my own mother did, to give me that LOOK of warning with love...because He does love me so much that He wants me to have everlasting life with Him...

During our closing communion time, the choir sang the following song, and as I knelt at the altar for a moment to pray, these words really gripped my heart:

You are beautiful beyond description 
Too marvelous for words 
Too wonderful for comprehension 
Like nothing ever seen or heard 
Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom? 
Who can fathom the depth of Your love? 
You are beautiful beyond description 
Majesty, enthroned above 

And I stand, I stand in awe of You 
I stand, I stand in awe of You 
Holy God, to whom all praise is due 
I stand in awe of You 

You are beautiful beyond description 
Yet God crushed You for my sin 
In agony and deep affliction 
Cut off that I might enter in 
Who can grasp such tender compassion? 
Who can fathom this mercy so free? 
You are beautiful beyond description 
Lamb of God who died for me 

And I stand, I stand in awe of You 
I stand, I stand in awe of You 
Holy God, to whom all praise is due 
I stand in awe of You 

I want to be a woman who stands in awe of our marvelous of God...I want to be that woman "who fears the Lord..." and to know that when God gives me "The Look", it is a look of extreme, divine Love... a love that will never let me go no matter where I wander or even if I should forget His marvelous grace...just one look will bring me back into His open arms.  How about you?

Please Note : I want to repeat this disclaimer here...the notes, outline, and content included here are based upon my own personal understanding of the message that was being given.  I am not attempting to completely quote or reproduce this message or any other message I've shared previously.  Just as each person reading these notes may glean insights and thoughts that seem to directly apply to one's own situation and interpretation, my own delivery of these messages is skewed by my hearing and translation of what is being said.  Some may read my notes here and wonder if they were hearing the same message as I...and I say, God speaks to each of us as He wills...there are things He is trying to get across to each individual that may be entirely different than what the person sitting next to you in the pew is needing to hear...  That is how the Holy Spirit works! He knows what we need to hear and how to apply it to our hearts.  So it is with that understanding that I present these sermon notes to you.

Sermon Notes from FUMC, Interlachen, FL, 5/13/2018 - Mother's Day