Saturday, July 19, 2014

Another Fantabulous Week at LLBC!

God has given me an awesome summer at Laurel Lake Baptist Camp. During Girls Week, God taught me that He really cared about my prayers. This past week - Open Week - He did say yes to some of my requests; but He also taught me that His care for me goes so much deeper than that!

Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
Psalm 139:4

A few of the blessings this week:

1. Monday morning even before the first camper arrived, the camp director came and prayed with me personally, for the Father to give me a great week. Not something I had even thought to ask for, but God is so good that He pours out blessings even without our asking for them!

2. Tuesday morning I thought about how during Girls Week God had moved me to pray for the souls of two of my campers and by Thursday afternoon He had saved them both. I asked Him to do it again. Tuesday afternoon one of my girls was very squirmy when we talked about the Gospel in one of the "classes"; so I was concerned and prayed for her. But I'm ashamed to admit that I got distracted  as soon as that class ended. Still, Tuesday night she trusted Christ; and Wednesday night another one of my girls also got saved!

3. Wednesday morning at 11:30, we all left the pool in our wet clothes. Everyone scattered, including all those who tend to be there offering me a hand; and so I was left to walk alone. I looked at the distance, thought about the time it would take me to walk to the dorm, change, and walk to lunch. By the time I got there, I figured two or three bites MIGHT be a possibility! :) 

This girl loves food; and frankly, the very thought of not really eating between breakfast and supper rendered me pretty distraught! My emotions have been all out of whack ever since the accident. And although I WAS able to keep the tears back; I wasn't able to keep the sobs away. But just then, a mission-team van drove up. "Do you need a ride?" “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31).

4. Wednesday afternoon, I started feeling really tired. I thought, "Well, I'm halfway through the week. I could really use some kind of pick-me-up to give me some fresh energy." Within five minutes, a girl came to where I was sitting and playing card mafia with mine and other campers. She put a frappuccino in my hands and whispered, "Mom made these for the staff." 

To our bountiful Father above, 
I will offer a tribute of praise! :)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Does God Really Want to Answer MY Prayers?

I've always known He has the ABILITY to answer my prayers - He can do whatever He wants, cuz He's big like that! But that doesn't mean He's gonna do things just because I want them. At Gethsemane, Jesus didn't want the Cross; but that Cross was the Father's will for Jesus, so He didn't take it away. My heart is obviously way less in tune with the Father's than Jesus' heart was - I mean, I'm a sinner! - so what's the chance my requests are gonna line up with His will very often?

It shames me to admit this, but I've always kinda had this thought in the back of my mind, always kinda doubted whether the Father really cared about my desires.

But then there was last week, counseling five girls at Laurel Lake. There was one prayer I prayed, a prayer I knew was selfish the moment I prayed it - not bad, just selfish - and I told God so. "God, I don't really want you to do that. Just change my attitude, please." To EVERY other request I made that week, God said yes!

1. Monday night my girls had trouble getting to sleep; I tried a few things, but nothing was working. I prayed for an idea, and one immediately popped into my head. "If you girls turn your words and electronics off, I'll buy you all a free canteen (snack)." Whaddaya know? It worked!

2. Tuesday morning, I had a hankering for a good rainstorm and asked God for it. I didn't really think He would do it - change the weather, "just for me"? Especially when a lot of people really, really dislike rain? But sure enough, Tuesday night it RAINED! And rained some more! :)

3. Tuesday night my girls had trouble getting to sleep again. I knew I didn't have enough on me to keep offering extra canteen, so I asked God for a new idea. Immediately, I had one! "I know y'all say you don't need to sleep, but I do need my sleep; and I can't really sleep until y'all do, so please do it for me!" I knew I had some very sweet girls, and they were nice enough to fall silent and still as soon as I asked in this way.

4. By the time I finished my Gospel-color-nail-polish devotional Tuesday night, I was confident that two of my girls needed Jesus. I started praying intensely for their souls, and for a clear Gospel presentation in the worship service. In Wednesday's worship, guess what the pastor talked about? My cabin also heard clear Gospel presentations in Wednesday's Bible study and Thursday morning's craft session. The Gospel was repeatedly presented in terms of things God did for us, as well as our response - to believe.

5. The pastor hadn't been doing a song after his message, but after Wednesday night's Gospel message I felt I was supposed to pray for him to do a song and let his message have time to really sink in before the kids ran outside to snack at canteen and play whatever their late-night activity was. I prayed that way; and after the message, he did a song!

6. The week's theme was "Today I Will," and there was a banner we were supposed to have our girls write on. Thursday afternoon, my girls and I stopped by the banner to write. Both of the girls for whom I had been beseeching the Father wrote "Today I will believe" (separately). And I know I saw a distinct change in one.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Love Onion

God's love is like an onion. 

At the outermost level, His love is so big and broad that the Scriptures tell us He loves the WORLD! "He's got the whole world in His hands!" 

Yet the bigness of His love hardly makes it at all impersonal! He loves ME, and always will. "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3).

May our love be like an onion, too - big enough to include the world; but then loving everyone in the ever-narrowing circles in which we run until it gets personal enough to make that one person we're talking to feel truly special!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Be a Donkey

No, really -
I'm serious!

"Carry" Jesus for the world to see,
like the donkey that carried Him
on Palm Sunday.
And like that donkey,
you may hear people shout, "Hosanna!"
But always remember -

every Hosanna is for 
the Jesus you carry.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Is Your God Silent?

2 Why should the Gentiles say,
“So where is their God?”
3 But our God is in heaven;
He does whatever He pleases.
4 Their idols are silver and gold,
The work of men’s hands.
5 They have mouths, but they do not speak;
Nor do they mutter through their throat.
8 Those who make them are like them;
So is everyone who trusts in them.
9 O Israel, trust in the Lord;
He is their help and their shield.
12 The Lord has been mindful of us;
He will bless us.

In the past, when words came into my head and I knew the words were not my thoughts or the devil's voice, I would say, "It was like God said this or that." However, the Holy Spirit is a real, live Person - not an idol! So He has a mouth, and He speaks. Imagine if the Scriptures used my old phraseology: 

Jeremiah 1:7 - But [it was like] the Lord said to me: "Do not say, 'I am a youth,' 
For you shall go to all to whom I send you,
And whatever I command you, you shall speak."

Hosea 1:2 - When [it was like] the Lord began to speak by Hosea, 
[it was like] the Lord said to Hosea:
“Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry And children of harlotry, 
For the land has committed great harlotry 
By departing from the Lord.”

Jonah 4:4 - Then [it was like] the Lord said, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

Acts 22:10 - So I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And [it was like] the Lord said to me, 
‘Arise and go into Damascus,
and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.’

Crazy, right? Our God is in Heaven~ If He wants to tell us something, then He has the ability to actually tell us, believe it or not! He's big like that! :) A couple pf recent messages I've gotten from God - 

I was praying about something and said, "God, there's just no way!"
He said, "I AM the Way!"

I was very discouraged about something in November, 
and really crying about it (I'm not normally a crier). 
God said, "Are you forgetting something?
What'd you tell those kids at camp all summer? 
I think you need to give yourself your own testimony."
So I did; and when I got to the part
about all our problems being only temporary, then I knew! 
The things I was concerned about at the time were truly only temporary; 
they would not be problems for me in Heaven (they aren't even problems now!).

Friday, April 4, 2014

Food Stories

I love food. :)

Monday I was making Hamburger Helper (beef, noodles, and sauce) for my lunch when the steam set off the fire alarm. I turned on the fan over the kitchen stove, got a dining room chair, and walked through the library on my way to turn the fire alarm off; but thankfully it stopped before I got to it. And then, trust me - I kept the stove-fan on!

Wednesday I was making Resurrection Buns for the Easter Dinner that night at church

I needed to open the biscuit cans and knew there was some easy way to do this but couldn't quite remember what that way was. I tried banging the can on the side of the mixing bowl and on the side of the counter; I tried putting a lot of pressure on the can; I tried sticking a spoon, then a knife, in the side of the can. None of that worked, so finally I did a Google search on "how to open a can of biscuits" and watched a YouTube video. Peel off the wrapper. Oh, yeah! That was the way you do it!

Thursday I tried my first-ever lime and mango. I like mangos! :)

Thursday night God gave me a beautiful picture. Someone was talking about how God has a purpose for our pain and asked what we thought about that. I said the thought that came to my mind. God gave me a picture of a Heavenly blender; we give God our pain, He puts it in the blender, and He gives us the joy smoothie that comes out! :)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Ok, Sure - I'll Die With You. . . .

"Then Jesus said to them plainly, 'Lazarus is dead. . . . Let us go to him.' Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, 'Let us also go, that we may die with Him'” (John 11:14-16).

The Jews in Lazarus' area of the country had just tried to stone Jesus, and now He wanted to go back? Doubting Thomas was very loyal. Perhaps it was he who led the other disciples in accompanying Jesus; perhaps they had all been hanging back fearfully.

But we know the end of the story. We know that they had nothing to fear. The temptation can be to shake our heads at these 1st-century Christians and think, "Just trust Him already! He knows what He's doing!"

But don't we serve the same God? Isn't it just as true today that He's doing what He knows is best, and that one day we'll agree with Him?