Friday, July 31, 2015

Our Words

I'll never forget. I was shopping in Target one day and got a phone call from my mom. She said that my grandpa, my only grandparent still living, only had a few months to live. I was so upset. I quickly left the store and cried and prayed all the way home, which was over an hour drive.

When I got back into town, I stopped at a local place to run an errand. I was greeted by someone who asked, "Hi, Lori! How are you today?" Well, I know we ask that question often without thinking or caring about how a person is really doing, as simply a formality, but I answered honestly, "Not very good. I just found out my grandpa is dying. This will be the third grandparent I've lost in just a few years time." Instead of hearing, "I'm so sorry! I will pray for you (or my family, my grandpa)," I heard a little laugh and then, "Well, pretty soon you won't have any left!"

Bam! That person said what I had been feeling, but made it 100% worse by just saying those words to me. I was shocked, no....I was STUNNED. How in the world could a fellow man/woman, a Christian, say something so hurtful to me at a time when I was hurting? And more than how...WHY? I still don't know and have never asked. I try to think that the person didn't mean it how it came out, but there really isn't any other way to take it! I've forgiven this person, but I will also say I know I'm not the only recipient of their hurtful, unthoughtful, careless words, often tactless throughout the years. I haven't shared the "who" behind my story, even though I've told it to a few people and am now sharing it with you.

The point of me telling you this story is this: Words hurt. They crush spirits. They ruin relationships, often before they ever start. We are having a growth moment in our house at this very moment, with one of our children learning a hard fact of life about how our words can wound.

Be careful with your words. There's a reason the book of James has so much to say about the tongue. It is very hard to control. In fact, the Bible says if we can control the tongue, we can control our whole bodies! It's a difficult task, more difficult for some than for others. 

“We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.”
James 3:2

“Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”
James 3:5-8

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Happy 19th Birthday, Zachary....Trip to Vienna!

It's Zachary's 19th birthday!  Happy birthday to him!  He also just returned home from a trip to Vienna, Austria, on Sunday, so I'm using some of his trip photos for this post.

We were so excited to pick him up at the airport Sunday afternoon! It wasn't the longest trip he's been on, but it was definitely the farthest away he's been!

The group was part of a new trip to Vienna called, "First Class".  Invitations were sent to all in-coming Freshman attending Oklahoma Christian in the fall.  It was a wonderful opportunity that also provided each student with two credit hours towards their college degree.

Before they left the campus, they had a prayer.

Upon arriving in Vienna, Zachary quickly tried new things - such as KANGAROO!!  I couldn't figure out why there was kangaroo in Austria, but he said it was an international festival going on and that Austria actually sells shirts that say: There are no kangaroos in Austria!  I guess people get them confused with Australia! Ha ha!
It's hard to believe Zachary is 19 today, but as I've probably said every year for many years - we feel like we've been raising a 22 year old for quite some time.  I laugh that he came out of the womb a little man because he did!  :)

Zachary said his best meal was this tuna and caramelized onion pizza!  He's going to duplicate it, he says!
I would rathe him duplicate this - GELATO!  He said one guy had 35 scoops while they were there!  He said it was delicious! I'm sure it was!

They saw some beautiful sites!  This is a statue of Mozart, who was buried in Vienna for a while, then moved.
The night before he left Vienna, he told us we needed signs to pick up him up. I believed him so made some, but then he said he was joking.  But, since the signs were made, we held them up at his arrival. It was funny!  He liked it, though!
A few pictures the group posted showed the kids sleeping wherever and whenever they could.  Zachary said that this was very comfy even though it sure doesn't look like it!
We're so thankful Zachary had this opportunity to bond with these students before getting to college.  They grew in their faith, they grew in their friendship, and they grew in their maturity by being in different situations.
Happy birthday, Zachary!  We are very proud of the man you are and the man you are striving to be.  We're thankful that serving God and following Jesus is the very most important thing in your life and that you've decided to make that your career - to bring others to Him.  May God bless you now and always and direct your steps in the path He would have you to go.  I love you very much!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

QMCC 2015 - Games and Activities

We had some new games and activities at QMCC this year.  After the campers played lots of "big" games last year and enjoying it, we decided to make another "big" version of a game. Kerplunk! was really a lot of fun to play!  My husband made the bottom stand then stapled the wire fence sheet in a circle attached to the base.  The dowel sticks were inserted into the holes to keep the ball pit balls in place for the game.

And a super fun and exciting game was introduced this year: Human Hungry Hippos!  It was so much fun!!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

QMCC 2015

Last week our whole family was at Bible camp when my husband and our oldest son directed the session for 7th-12th grade. It was a great week studying the book of James and using the theme, "Under Construction".
The counselors and staff for the week met early Sunday morning for breakfast, worship, a meeting, and lunch, then we decorated the mess hall and got ready for the campers to arrive.
It was fun getting it ready and organized in advance, and made the check in time a lot less stressful!
Sunday was spent getting the campers into their cabins, organized into families, and introducing one another to each other and the counselors.  
Later that evening they had a devo on the bigger mountain near camp.
There's just something about being out in nature and worshipping God.  There's nothing else like it, actually!  I'll share more about the week later!  It was a GREAT week!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Adding and Taking Away

Yesterday there were several posts on Facebook about the bottled water recall from a plant in Pennsylvania.  The story was about several brands of bottled water from the Niagara company, listing many different brands of water; however, on some of the posts, there was a picture showing a lot of different brands of bottled waters.  In fact, the brands were more common in our area than the ones that were mentioned.  Of course, just as any food recall goes, people were alarmed, and rightfully so.  But, the problem was that many didn't read the brands or didn't read the whole story, or maybe even didn't read the story at all - just simply say the picture and shared. I've been guilty of doing the same thing in the past!

This "adding and taking away" from the story got me to thinking about the Bible.  It seems that there is a lot of "adding and taking away" going on in the world.  It was expected by God because He even warns of this problem in Revelation:

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll. Revelation 22:18-19

Most people would never add or take away from scripture on purpose, yet many do add and take away in the same way that bottled water post was shared.  Things are said or assumed and it's taken at its word - from whomever says it or posts it - without checking it out in the Bible.  It's shared online.  It's repeated over and over until it is known as truth.  Rules are made that aren't scriptural.  Laws are made that shouldn't be made and bound upon people as truth.  But in reality, the truth is neglected because men and women take it upon themselves to go above or beyond what scripture says.  And because of that God's Word is left, waiting for someone to point out the truth.  And then in some cases, people know they are adding or taking away from the Bible, yet justify their actions.

It all comes down to this:  We will each give an account of ourselves to God one day.  

So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Romans 14:12 (specifically talking about judging others in regards to spiritual weakness and strength among brothers and sisters in Christ)

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.  If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward.  If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. 1 Corinthians 3:11-13

So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:9-10

Judgement Day will be a day that all of the adding and taking away will come to light.  We will each have to answer for what we do and don't do whether we are one of His children or not.  For the unforgiven sinner, there is no hope at that point, but for the Christian, we have hope - the hope to live with Him in eternity.  

So it matters how we live. It matters what we do.  It matters what we add and take away from God's Word.  We must search the scriptures diligently to make sure we are living and teaching and telling truth...the truth that is only found in His Word.  The Bible is the ONLY source of what is true and right.
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