Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Puppy Update!!!

These puppies are growing like weeds, and are now ready waiting to be placed in their forever homes!
Here are a couple recent pictures we took while playing with them. 

I apologize if we didn't get everyone! 
If you don't see a recent picture of your favorite pup from my last post, let me know, 
and I'll be sure to get one for you!

What can I say? He's the snuggle bug!
He's one of the favorites, with a great all-around personality, love for snuggling, and super playful!
He's a BIG boy, and seems to be fighting for the "Biggest Puppy" prize! 

Hangin' out with his pal, Yellow!

This is a very popular pose for her! She likes to lay at your feet and play with your shoe laces.

 She's a beautiful little sweetheart and has a very sweet and playful personality.

Sweet, laid back, and attentive. She's more than willing to sit in the background and snooze and let the other puppies shine, but when you want a lap buddy, call her over!

Probably our largest puppy (He and Orange are a toss-up!), he is VERY German Shepherd, and wears his breed proudly! He's got a laid-back personality, but can be super attentive when the need arises!

Gone to her happily-forever-after home!
She's the most energetic puppy, and quite the adventurer. She's the first to come running, and the first to stick her nose where it might not belong! She's super smart and fast.

She's super playful, and there's NOTHING she enjoys more than playing with her daddy! 
You should see them! It's SO cute!!!

Chillin' with her best bud, Orange!

(Okay, so we had to give him an orange collar too. We ran out of brown!)
He looks a lot like orange, but is a little smaller. 
Very compact and smart, seems like he'd be a great working dog!
He also likes to play with other dogs besides his litter mates. A great socializer!

Just a cute little sweetheart! She's super lovable and playful! She'd make a great family pet!


I still call her our little "Diva". She is very much a mama's baby and LOVES to be pampered!

Gone to her happily-forever-after home!
She's got the darkest coat of all them. Very trim and military looking!
High profile, no? She's got an amazing personality. 
Super smart and attentive, as well as playful and lovable!

True Christianity?

            Let’s take a self examination test. Answer each of these questions honestly in your mind, then count up the results.

1)      Do you view yourself as a true Christian?

2)      Do others view you as a true Christian?

3)      Does God view you as a true Christian?

4)      Do you take your relationship with God seriously?

5)      Are you happily satisfied where God has placed you?

6)      Can others see that you are satisfied?

7)      Do you have a peace that you are where you need to be in God’s will?

8)      Do you have a constant joy in the Lord?

9)      Do you have a regular, every day time with the Lord?

10)  Do you love to hear, read, and talk about the Lord?

11)  Is your main focus in life to be all that God wants you to be and no less?

12)  Are you fully surrendered to God?

13)  Are you committed to serving the Lord no matter the cost?

14)  Does your life reflect the love of God in every thought, word, and action?

15)  Can you honestly say that you are different and closer to God now than you were a year ago?

*If you have answered “yes” honestly to all these questions, then you may count yourself as perfect and in no need of counseling or training. (Just kidding!)

It’s rather eye-opening isn’t it? The last question especially. I went through several years of not knowing if I was indeed closer to God than the previous year or not. The Lord has changed that these last two years and I am able to answer with joy, “Yes! God has drawn me even closer and shown me more lessons than ever before!”

These questions are just a few of the several that we could ask, but it’s enough for us to realize that there is still several things that must take place in our lives for us to be all that God wants us to be. Hopefully through the time of this newsletter, several of these questions and more will be addressed. I pray that you glean from it and that the Lord will maybe use you in its message.

The question I want to address is, “Do you take your relationship with God seriously?” Now, I’m not trying to force you to “get it right” or embarrass you. I did not take my own relationship with God seriously until I had been saved nine and one-half years. But I believe that you will not become the person God wants you to be, unless you are serious about the things of the Lord and His Word.

I had asked Jesus to come into my heart and save me, and I believe he did, but other than praying and reading the Bible, that was it. I mean, sometimes the Lord would show me something, and I would try to do better or change, but things weren’t the way they needed to be.

After I turned sixteen, I tried to make my relationship “serious”, but the motive I had was because others were doing it, and I didn’t want to be any lower than they. My life from then on was a mixed up mess and jumble of emotion, tears, anger, confusion, and honest searching for, I didn’t know what.

Two weeks after I turned eighteen, I stood up to myself and asked the question, “What is my life for anyway? What is it that I’m living for?” After earnest searching and prayer, the answer crushed me. I was living for myself. There was no goal but to do what I wanted to do and have others do the same, which wasn’t really a goal at all. There was not point to my life, and I didn’t know why I was on this earth. I had nearly turned my back on God. I hated to face the reality, but I realize now that God had to bring me to that breaking point before He could ever use me for anything good.

I had to give up everything I wanted and was to God, and completely open myself up to Him. His life-searching light revealed a mess of a life that could be made good by nothing but total surrender and serious living for Him. I argued with my flesh.

The hot-headed rebel in me would bluntly tell myself that this would be too hard and painful. But deep down inside I was hurting and I knew that nothing but to take this step would help me. I finally surrendered.

“Okay Lord, now what?” was the first question from my bruised and bandaged heart. The first thing He showed me was the necessity of a serious relationship with the Lord. 

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” –Matthew 6:33

Our lives reflect what our heart and mind’s focus is intent on, and if I spend time daydreaming about things I shouldn’t and holding feelings I shouldn’t hold, my life will reflect a life that is sinful and wrong. But if I spend time looking to God and to His Word, my life would then reflect the Life that is the ultimate example.

 “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single(focused on God), thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” –Matthew 6:22-23

I had to pray for a desire to have a serious relationship, because I honestly didn’t. The Lord dealt with me about having a regular quiet time with Him. The first few weeks were the hardest, because reading the Bible had always been boring, and I never could pray for more than two minutes, even if I prayed for everyone I knew. But by Christ’s strength I doggedly kept on and then little by little, an amazing and wonderful light started to gleam through my heart, warming it to the desire to want and know more. 

Before I knew it, I honestly wanted to be like Jesus, and honestly wanted to spend time reading the Bible and praying. I never though I’d want to spend and hour or two just going through that boring book with all those long words, but God placed the desire in my heart, and then, after that point, God began to show me a little at a time what I was, and what He wanted me to be. My Bible now is my greatest treasure, and my relationship with God something I now cannot live without.

Dear girls, I pray that you would not let yourself wait as long as I did to begin taking that wonderful relationship seriously. God will not force Himself on you, just as He did not force salvation upon you. You must give Him the freedom to create a relationship between you and Him. As soon as you allow God to form your heart in a perfect, love-filled bond with His, you will wonder at your ever being so stubborn and resistant to Him, and will find nothing but the Lord will satisfy you.  “For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” –Psalms 107:9

P.S. Life won’t be perfect from now on though! I’ll write more about that later!

Posts from the Past
Every Wednesday I post something that I have written in the past. It may have been written a long time ago, or a very, very long tim ago! :-D So please forgive any mistakes!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Result of God’s Love Abiding in Us:

Lets us see opportunities to show others we love them by serving them.
Overlooks other’s mistakes and encourages them to do better.
Verifies it’s presence by reflecting Christ living in us.

Expresses itself without effort or premeditation.

Posts from the Past
Every Wednesday I post something that I have written in the past. It may have been written a long time ago, or a very, very long tim ago! :-D So please forgive any mistakes!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Only by Pride...

“Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.” Proverbs 13:10

I see here in God’s Word that “only by pride cometh contention”. I find that means if there is ever contention, pride is the base cause of it.

Webster’s definition of contention is: “strife; struggle; a violent effort to obtain something, or to resist a person, claim or injury; contest; quarrel.” I like to think of it as friction, two different things going against each other to cause a negative reaction.

Life is full of contention. It seems most of the time it’s with family, and other times it’s with friends and other people and things. But when I really look at it, I find that where the most contention is, is in my heart. In fact, that’s where all outward contention starts. With inward contention, and inward contention is caused by pride.

Webster’s definition of pride is: “Inordinate self-esteem; an unreasonable conceit of one’s own superiority in talents, beauty, wealth, accomplishments, rank or elevation in office, which manifests itself in lofty airs, distance, reserve, and often in contempt of others.” And from general observation, I find that pride has a lot to do with “my rights”. I find pretty much all contention is caused when someone or something interferes with “my right to do, act, think, or feel what I want to”.

When I consciously make an effort to note when I am contending with someone, and try to find what the cause is, I always find the contention starting in my heart and pride starting that contention. Even in little things. My little sister asks me to get her some water, and I snap at her (for no apparent reason), and tell her to get someone else to, and that someone else snaps at me asking why I couldn’t get it for her myself. There’s contention, and what caused it? It may have been simply because I didn’t want to, or because I was doing something (it might have even been a good thing, like reading my Bible) and I didn’t want to be interrupted. In other words, the contention was caused by my pride.

I know that it is very easy to spot outward contention, and is also easy to see pride as the base of it. But I have recently become aware that every time I have pride, I have contention. Maybe not outwardly, but in my heart. I as a Christian have the Holy Spirit living and abiding in me, but my flesh (my pride) often gives me problems (contention) in my living the Christian life. Remember what I said about contention reminding me of friction? Two different things (the Holy Spirit and my flesh,) going against each other (what I know is right to think or do and what I want to think or do,) to cause a negative reaction (a troubled, discouraged spirit, or a battle of my will and God’s). I may not even be conscious of pride in my life (Job 33:17 “That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.”), but if I find I am having trouble with discouragement, and having joy in my walk with the Lord (Proverbs 29:23 “A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.”), I start looking and praying and pretty soon the Lord will show me an area where I’m having problems with pride. 

Posts from the Past
Every Wednesday I post something that I have written in the past. It may have been written a long time ago, or a very, very long tim ago! :-D So please forgive any mistakes!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

And God Shall Be like a Gardener

In the article 'He Shall Be Like A Tree' we saw how much we are likened to a tree. What is even more amazing is just how much God is like a gardener.

In the previous article, we saw how in many ways, we are like the tree described in Psalm 1. Today I would like us to look at God's role in our lives as "trees planted by the rivers of water".

There are many beautiful trees in the forests and wilderness, but many of the most beautiful trees are those that are wisely and carefully tended by an expert master gardener. If we look carefully, we can see that God very easily fits into the role of Master Gardener in our lives.

A true master gardener gardens because he loves his work, he loves to see the beautiful results of his hard work. So it is with God, he cares for us because he loves us, and takes no greater joy than in seeing the result of his work blossom and grow in our lives. Looking through the scriptures, we find several terms used that help to complete the picture of God as our Master Gardener.

God will graft us into His Word. In gardening, the main aspect of grafting is grafting a tree from its existing root to a different, stronger root that will help the tree to grow larger, stronger, and to produce better fruit.

This can very easily compare to our lives. We may have started our lives in rough places, or in very wicked or hard circumstances, but when we come to Christ, and commit our lives to follow him, it is as if God takes us from our evil roots, and grafts us to the mighty root of his word. It does not matter how awful or hard of a root we have come from, God can take us from the place we started and bring us to a place of beauty and productiveness.

"Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls." (James 1:21)

The key here for us to diligently use God's Word, and as a tree draws all of its strength and nutrients from its roots, we need to rely on God's Word as the sole source of our strength and righteousness.

God will prune our branches to produce better growth. Even the most perfect fruit tree could use a pruning now and then. When a gardener prunes his trees, he cuts off any ugly or misshapen limbs, as well as prunes away many perfectly good looking branches, leaving only the best branches to grow and thrive.

In our lives as Christians, many times we get too busy with all the many different areas and distractions in our lives. Some of the things are ones that we know are bad or misshapen, addictions, bad relationships, maybe even something as simple as some small thing we do to waste time. When we step back and look, we can easily see how these things could hinder the growth of any tree.

"What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." (Romans 6:21-22)
The other branches are a little more difficult to see why they need to be pruned, they can seem to be perfectly good branches, but God knows that if these are allowed to grow, they will cause a weaker tree with less fruit in the end. These branches represent good things in our lives that we enjoy doing, and though there is nothing wrong with them, God may tell us we need to take them out of our lives in order to focus better on his word and work.

Just as pruning can hurt a tree, God's pruning in our lives can hurt also. When we neglect to take away the things in our lives that are harmful or provide hindrance to our growth, many times God will lovingly prune it away. We may have a painful scar as a result, but it will serve as a reminder to us that God does not want any area of our lives to be unproductive.

"Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." (John 15:2)

Thinning our fruit will allow God to grow larger, better fruit. Who would not want to see many fruits in our lives? But there are times in our lives when we begin to see fruit, that God will take it away, leaving us wondering and despaired.

When a tree begins to produce fruit, a good gardener will go out and pluck a large amount of the small fruits off the tree. If all the fruits are allowed to grow, the tree will be spreading its energy to many more outlets, and the fruit will not be as large, or as sweet. Thinning much of the fruit will allow the tree to give a greater supply of nutrients to the fewer, individual fruits, thus bringing forth a larger and sweeter harvest.

There may be times in our lives when God will take away all seeming fruit from our lives, maybe some of the people we have been witnessing to, or removing opportunities we have to minister, or maybe even some of the fruits of our labors in day to day living. Whatever it may be, it is never easy to see all that "good fruit" drop off our lives. What we fail to realize is that when God takes this fruit away, He is in reality allowing us to give more time and energy into producing the fruit that will bring forth a bigger and better harvest.

"For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is know by his own fruit." (Luke 6:43-44a)

As we look to God as the Master Gardener in our lives, it is important that we stay rooted in his word and be attentive to the direction he gives in our lives. If we do this on a daily basis, God would then have freedom to use our lives to produce a bountiful harvest of good fruits, using them to bring to others life, joy, encouragement, and a challenge for they themselves to allow God to be the Master Gardener in their lives as well.

Posts from the Past
Every Wednesday I post something that I have written in the past. It may have been written a long time ago, or a very, very long time ago! :-D So please forgive any mistakes!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Simplicity in Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3)

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your mind should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3

“the simplicity that is in Christ”? That makes it sound like our relationship with Christ should be an easy thing! I know for myself this is not the case. Up until a few months ago, it seemed like my entire life with Christ was a big struggle. I was constantly working on this, trying to fix that, I was always fretting over where I was in my relationship with God.

When God brought me to the point of surrendering my life to Him, I realized that my entire life was to be focused on Christ. My new goal in life was now found in the old, familiar passage of Matthew 6:33. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” ALL God wanted me to do, was to focus on my relationship with Him by reading and studying His word. After a couple months of doing just that, I began to realize that He was “adding” to me. He was beginning to use His Word to make the way for His Holy Spirit to fill and overflow into every aspect in area of my life.

While I was unconsciously simplifying my relationship with Jesus, I now can look back and see that is just what God was leading me to do. Looking back on the rest of my life, I can see that I was making my relationship with the Lord a lot more difficult than what it needed to be. I was focusing on the different aspects of Christianity, rather than focusing on the One who would work in me to fulfill the different aspects of Christianity simply by my opening my life for Him to work.

That is a lot like what the Pharisees did in the Bible; they were focusing on the rituals of religion rather than on the relationship with God. Ouch! How many times have I done that in the past? How many times have I, for example, tried to show love to my family by focusing on serving them, trying to play with my younger siblings, always trying to show kindness, etc. instead, if I were to focus on the One who IS love, I would have naturally begun to show these aspects of love to my family!

I feel that one of Satan’s tricks to try to discourage me is to try to cause me to complicate my relationship with the Lord. I make it so that it is TOO HARD to live a life that is hidden Christ. I get discouraged from even attempting to!

May I learned to keep a simplistic view of my relationship with Christ, and follow him with a “childlike faith”!