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!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Today is My Oldest Son's 40th Birthday!

What do you do when your oldest son turns 40 and you are only 39?  Ha Ha!! You celebrate, of course!!! Everyday is a joy and a blessing worth celebrating!  God has been most gracious to us, and we are so blessed to have our son home with us!  Happy Birthday Benton!!! We love you!!!

This last video is all about making home-made ice-cream...a "Mursch Family" tradition...but we cheated and used the electric crank.  We had to apologize to my Daddy, who I am sure was watching from up in heaven. He would have never let us get away with using an electric crank and would think we were all getting "soft".  Yeah, maybe we are, plus it was about 100 degrees out...but the ice-cream still turned out good! Sorry Daddy! Next time we'll do it the old-fashioned way...I promise!

Friday, August 26, 2011

One Body, Many Members

"For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ."  I Corinthians 12:12

It is a great mystery, The Church, the Body of Christ...and yet, is it really such a mystery?  I like to think of the Body of Christ as a huge network of people from all over the world...of all races, colors, languages, and abilities.  Since the advent of the internet and especially "social networking", we are becoming more aware every day of our fellow body-members, brothers and sisters in Christ, from everywhere.  Distance is no longer a barrier to becoming "friends".  We existed long before we knew each other, and perhaps this medium of the internet is just another way that God is preparing us for our heavenly home.  We used to think that we would only know our family, close friends, and all the saints of old when we got to heaven.  But now, because our world is ever enlarging through these daily contacts we are making through social media, we are beginning to catch a glimpse of the magnitude and vastness of this Body of Christ, of which we, as believers, are all members.  It does not matter if you call yourself a Baptist, a Methodist, or a Presbyterian, or even a Catholic, or any of the other many many denominations (and Non-Denominations) of churches. But what DOES matter is if you are a member of the body of Christ...a believer in Jesus Christ, Who has redeemed you by His blood for the salvation of your soul and has delivered you from death into everlasting life.

Yes, we are one body...and we are a network of friends and brothers and sisters in Christ...and because we belong to this huge network we are to love and care for one another...
"That there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it, or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it."  I Corinthians 12:25-26

So, my dear friends,  I thank God for each and every one of you. You have upheld me and my family this past year when we went through various trials and tribulations.  Your prayers have sustained us and covered us and kept us from going under when the seas of life became tempestuous.  There are many of you who are also suffering and hurting and grasping for that life-line...that safety net.  Let us continue to hold each other up in prayer and be that safety net for each other.  That's what the Body of Christ does...

Now that's what I call "networking!"  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Exciting, But Exhaustive List

Wow!! I have been working on quite a project for the past few days, and that is why I haven't written anything new!  I've discovered on my blogger format that I can label each blog with topics, Bible verses, key-words, etc., which will actually index and categorize my blogs and give a guide for finding blogs on each of the listed subjects.  All the reader has to do is click on any topic and it will automatically take you to the posts that have been written that include that particular topic or keyword.  The only problem is the list is so exhaustive, I don't know if anyone will take the time to try it!  But the exciting part for me has been that this has been a tool to re-inspire and encourage me in my writing.  As I have had to go back through every single written post, I had to re-read each article and in effect re-live what God had placed on my heart to write at that particular time.  It has been quite a journey!

I'm as pleased as a kid with a birthday apple pie to spend this time with you! This has been a
joyful journey...one that I hope continues on for a long time!!
I want to thank each and every one of you who have taken the time over the past couple of years to read these entries and some of you have even spoken out and made positive comments and shared words of encouragement.  I have actually made some wonderful new friends through this process, and for each of you I give thanks to God.  You have been a blessing to me, and I pray that in some way, God has touched your life through these writings. I know that God has ministered to me in ways I never imagined when I first started out in this adventure. 

So, from me to you...thank you for joining me on this journey!  I look forward to what God has in store for us in the future...I hope we can share more laughter, more joy, more hope, more words of encouragement, and more answers to prayers...God is so good...Thank you, Jesus!!! 

Good Night, Sleep Tight, and Pleasant Dreams, My Friend...
and remember,
Don't let the bedbugs bite!

And remember:
"A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones!"
Proverbs 17:22

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Life Changing Moments -Recycled

(Author's Note:  I believe in recycling...old  blog posts, that is...and this one was brought back to my thoughts today as I read about one of my friends'sons having a motorcycle accident this past week. Fortunately, he was not seriously injured, but it was a close call.  After recently having my own son involved in a serious accident from which he walked away, and some of the other things that have been happening in our lives over the past year and a half since I originally wrote this blog, I needed to revisit this and remind myself of how good it is to put our trust in the Lord, and to keep our hearts steadfast in Him, so that we are not caught off guard when things happen...Read on and see if this applies to you as well...)
Psalm 112:1,6-8  "Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, Who delights greatly in His commandments.  Surely he will never be shaken; the righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.  He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established; He will not be afraid..."

What are some life changing moments that have occurred in your life?  I keep thinking about these...some have been wonderful, and some not so wonderful...but they each brought about sudden changes; changes of direction, attitude, heart, position, health, wealth...and the list goes on. 

The phone rings...it may be wonderful news...someone offering you a marvelous new job in a place you've always dreamed of working and living!  Or, you are going to be a grandparent...or your son or daughter is engaged to the person of their dreams! On the flip side,  it could be bad news...a tragic accident has taken the life of someone you dearly love, or a doctor's diagnosis is startling and very grave...or a child has been taken into custody for a crime you never thought could happen.  The list could go on and on...we could each add our own "life changing moments" and perhaps write a book...but tonight I want to look at what the Psalmist is saying about such events in our lives...
"Surely he will never be shaken...He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord."
I know there have been incidents in my life when I received "evil tidings", and I must admit that my heart did not feel completely "steadfast" at that moment. To be honest, I wanted to run, scream, cry...do anything but "trust in the Lord."  I literally was very afraid of such news...and I was most definitely shaken.  However, it was at those times that God drew me even nearer to Him, caressed my trembling body as He held my broken heart against His chest and whispered tender words of love and comfort into my ears. It was in those moments I learned to fully trust in the Lord, because He would not let me go until the storm passed. He picked me up and carried me to firmer ground, and enlisted the aid of His servants (people just like you...maybe even you) to minister to me until I could stand again...

Although I do not seek these kinds of "life changing moments", things happen.  No one makes it through this life totally unscathed.  But this one thing I know:  I know I can trust God even in the midst of the storm. I know that:
"The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth...He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them." Psalm 145:18-19
I pray that you also have this same confidence when those life changing moments happen in your life, and may we all have some very pleasant life changing moments today!  Amen!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

An Open Letter to Church X

"And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching."  Hebrews 10:24-25

Dear Church "X";

I visited your church today.  Actually, I have visited your church several times.  We've gone back because we felt drawn by the music, the pastor's sermons, and because we were hoping we'd feel welcome there.
Now don't get me wrong.  The people were smiling, they seemed happy.  The signs of growth and action are apparent. There were three people baptized today, and others taken into membership.  Several went forward for prayer for physical needs as well as being drawn by the Spirit to pray.  You are planning a big evangelistic outreach for your community in the near future.  Good things are happening.  I was blessed by the music as well as the message today.  But I still felt like a stranger.

Maybe my expectations were too high. I'm not sure just what I was hoping for...but I think what was missing was a "connection" with the people.  More than just a handshake and a "hello".  More than just a look that said, "I don't know you"...perhaps a smiling face that actually introduced himself/herself to me and asked my name.  What about an actual invitation to come to the women's group, or a Sunday School class, or another fellowship gathering of some kind?  How about someone asking more about us...where we live, what do we do?

If this was the only time this had happened I would think it was just that everyone was busy and excited to see their own friends and family, and that it was a big crowd and people just couldn't possibly know who was new and who wasn't.  And, because my husband and I have spent over 30 years in the ministry, I know the best way for us to get acquainted is to attend more functions of the church...a Sunday School Class, Sunday night services, Wednesday night services, etc.   But when you go several times and even get there early to try and have an opportunity to meet people and they still just pass you by, you begin to feel invisible.

However, Church "X" is doing a lot of things right, so I can't be too harsh.  At least they are better than Church "Y" that we visited some time ago, and one of the Deacons of the church definitely noticed that we were new there.  He even went out of his way to come shake our hands before the service, and then he said, "I guess you can see that we have a lot of troubles here."  Well, up until that point we hadn't really had a chance to notice...we had only been there a couple of times before that and things seemed okay to us.  But that was the day their pastor actually announced his resignation, so I guess Mr. Deacon was correct.  We didn't feel too anxious to go back. I wonder why?

We wonder why the Church is in trouble today.  I've sat in many a church meeting where the people would scratch their heads and wonder why they couldn't attract new people.  Having been in the position of Pastor and Wife, we had always been welcomed right in, introduced, catered to, given the red carpet treatment.  But when the shoe was on the other foot and we were just strangers looking for a church home, we were ignored, looked over, smiled at perhaps, given a visitor's packet, and maybe a handshake...and that was it. Some churches went so far as to send us a letter thanking us for visiting.  One church in our area actually has a recorded phone message in which they call us and invite us to events...not too personal.  Not my idea of a "welcome invitation".

I will have to continue this another time.  But I want you to think about this...and maybe have some answers to share with me...or maybe you will just think about this and look for that new person next Sunday in your church service...and take the time to actually say hello and find out something about that new person.  Who knows? He or she could be your next best friend...or a person who really needs Jesus.  Or maybe an angel unaware...better think about that. 

"Let brotherly love continue.  Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels."...Hebrews 13:1-2

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Closed Door that Finally Opened a New Window of Opportunity!

For those of you who have followed the saga of the "Ben's Country Woodshop" Page on this blog...you will remember that "Ben's Country Woodshop" was the result of a closed door and what a young man did to explore the possibilities of open windows that were available.  After months of rejection in his job search for a "real job", this determined person would not allow the "no" responses to overcome his spirit of adventure and drive...and he created his own opportunities for self-employment.  God provided the tools, the talent, the support of friends and family, the space to work, and he supplied his own ingenuity and dreams to create products that would not only be useful and practical, but also interesting and unique.  Although this did not lead to wealth and prosperity, it did provide a sense of accomplishment and a way to obtain the necessary experience to build self-confidence and hone his skills so they would become more marketable. 

Day by day this wanna-be entrepreneur worked and studied and experimented with new designs and techniques...and kept busy with new projects instead of giving up hope and becoming a "couch potato".  But after months of no real income he was becoming a bit discouraged and began to wonder if he should just give up on the woodworking and try something else.  Then something wonderful happened...an acquaintance told him about a local furniture manufacturing company that just might be hiring.  As a matter of fact, this acquaintance actually knew the general manager of the company and put in a good word for our self-taught woodworker.  And lo! and behold!  About two weeks later this manager called up and invited our young man to come in for an interview, which resulted in his being hired for a full time position which started immediately!  The question the man asked him was, "Do you know how to operate saws and woodworking equipment?"  Well, guess what?  About a year and a half ago he would not have been able to answer that question with the same confidence and truth with which he was able to respond at this particular time.  You see, God knew way back when that this was exactly the kind of training and experience he would need to get this job today.  God provided the tools, the determination to learn and experiment, and the encouragement from friends and family that drove him forward.  Then, when the time was right, God provided the Open Window of opportunity for which he had been completely prepared.  God's timing is always perfect...and His plans are always exact and complete.  We just have to learn to trust and obey the nudges He gives us to move forward in the right direction.

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."  Jeremiah 29:11

Thank you, Lord, for giving our son the proper guidance at the right time...and for helping him to believe that what appeared to be a "closed door" was actually a path to the "open window" that You were preparing for him ahead of time.  May we all be encouraged by this story today. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.
You can see more of Ben's Country Woodshop on the link provided above to the page on this blog. http://pamelasopenwindow.blogspot.com/p/closed-doors-open-windowsand-motivation.html Also, go to http://www.start-with-free-woodworking-plans.com/  for more ideas and products that have come as a result of this "open window".   We give God all the glory!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

"Someone Worth Dying For"

"To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord Himself is God; there is none other besides Him."  Deuteronomy 4:35

Last week was a very traumatic time in our house...and yet a very awesome thing happened in the midst of it all.  The picture of the van at the left is the wreckage of a vehicle in which a man was killed.  We did not know this man or his family.  We still don't...only his name.  But this man did something amazing for us...and you may not understand this...and neither may his family. First of all let me say that my heart has been burdened greatly for this man's family...and I have prayed for them daily ever since this has happened. Perhaps one day there will be an opportunity for me to tell them so,  not just yet...but in God's time.  You see, last week this man had a divine appointment with eternity.  I am certain that on the morning of July 27th,when he left his home for work, he had no idea that he was heading for this divine appointment.  I would imagine that if he had known he probably would not have left his house. But he did was he was supposed to do on that day, which appeared to be an ordinary day for him of going to his job. 

At about the same time that morning my son also left our home and was headed for his new job up the highway about 50 miles away. Everything was looking good for him...he had just recently decided to come back home from up north and look for work down here since things weren't going all that well for him in his previous location.  He was amazed that he had found a job so quickly upon arriving here, and he was actually enjoying working outdoors again in the fresh air and sunshine after being cooped up indoors in the cold north for so long. He was feeling pretty good and enjoying the ride in his pretty car that he was so proud of..."the love of his life" you might say. 

Suddenly everything changed for these two men on the same road heading for different places...due to a series of unexplainable and terrible events their lives literally collided on that highway...and as the beautiful red car strangely spun out of control and into the path of the van, the man in the van did what I am sure any of us would have done...he tried his best to avoid that vehicle and the person sliding right before his eyes...and as he swerved to miss him, he too lost control of his vehicle, and the two vehicles went careening down over the embankment to the swamp down alongside the road.  As my son looked back up toward the highway from his backwardly skidding car, he was shocked to see the van hurtling and flipping directly toward him.  He barely had time to duck down in the front seat as he felt the spray of glass from his t-tops above showering down on top of him.  Then he heard the loud thud of the van landing in the swamp just behind his own car, and he leaped out of his car to see what had happened and called to the man in the van...but there was no reply.

As he wandered around in shock he called us on his cell phone and cried as he told us about the accident and we could hear the fear and anguish in his voice as he told us that he thought the other man had died. We dressed as quickly as we could and headed up the road to be with our son and bring him home.  We did not get to see his car as it had already been towed away, but we saw the van as they were dragging it out of the swamp, and our hearts throbbed for the soul of the man who had lost his life in that mangled hunk of steel.
When we reached our son we held him and cried and thanked God for saving his life and restoring him to us whole.  And again we prayed for the soul of the man who had met his destiny that day...and for his grieving family.

Little by little the details came out...and even a few days later as our son viewed his vehicle for the first time since the accident...the true impact of what had happened that morning began to make its impression on his and our hearts and souls.  When our son saw his car he realized that it was much much worse than he had known the day of the accident...he had not known that the hood of his car was badly smashed by the other vehicle, and that only an angelic bubble could have stood between him and the crushing weight of that hurling missile that apparently had literally bounced off his hood and over the top of his car, completely missing him and leaving him physically unscathed.  What really hit all of us hard was the fact that this man had actually sacrificed his own life in attempting to avoid hitting our son's car...and his life was taken away, while our son's life was spared.  That is what really came through loud and clear...this man died and our son lived. Why? Only God knows for certain.  We can't explain or understand...we can only be grateful.  I think the thing that has hit my son the hardest is that his life has been spared for a reason...and he wants to be worthy of that.

We all have a date with destiny...a moment in time when we will meet our Savior face to face.  We hope that we will be counted worthy of heaven at that time...but the truth is, none of us is worthy in our own strength.  It is only because of Christ that we can even hope for eternal life...not because of our good works or "worth". 

"Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.  And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation."  Romans 5:6-11

Someone Worth Dying For by Mikeschair  Please click on the link and listen to the song by "Mikeschair"... maybe you are the one who doesn't believe that you are someone worth dying for...but you are precious in God's sight...so precious that He sent His own Son to die for you so that you would be redeemed to God for eternity.   If you don't know this Jesus...I hope you will just ask Him to reveal Himself to you...and give you a purpose for living...and a hope for eternity.  We never know what may lie ahead in the road for us each day...we need to be reconciled to God  while there is yet time.  You ARE someone worth dying for.