Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Scared of the Dark?


Many people experience nyctophobia, a fear of the dark. Even though I don't have that fear, I can understand why people are scared to be stuck in the dark. I've experienced being stuck in the dark many times in Honduras for hours and hours- darkness so thick and dark you can't see your hands, feet, the floor, anything. It's inconvenient to be without power, especially when your friends use that to their advantage to scare you. 😂 Of course our physical life isn't the only place we experience darkness. We may feel completely in the dark about a decision to make. Not knowing or being able to see the path may make us afraid. We can't see the next step to take, much less a few feet down the path. And I've been there. That definitely can be a scary place, a place of uncertainty. But according to Psalm 119:104-105, God's word provides enough light for our next step. Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. I was recently reading through Psalms and kept noticing verses talking about light, so I found some more verses relating to light/darkness. Let's look at them. 
~ Job 29:3 (Job speaking) O that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me; when his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness;

~ Psalm 18:28   For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.

Psalm 27:1 (first part)  The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? 

Psalm 36:9  For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.

Psalm 23:4  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 

Psalm 89:15  Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance. 

Psalm 112:4  Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.

Psalm 119:130  The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. 

Ecclesiastes 2:13   Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness. 

Isaiah 50:10  Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God. 

Micah 7:8 (last part)  . . . when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me. 

Luke 1:79 (referring to what Jesus was going to do)  . . . to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. 

John 12:46  I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

Light disperses darkness. So if you have believed on Jesus, even though you may walk through the darkness sometimes, you definitely don't have to stay there. God is light. His word is light. He gives us the tool we need to light our next step and disperse the darkness around us. If you're stuck with a decision to make or feel lost in the darkness because you don't know which way to go, tap into the light - God's word - and do it every day. Be patient as you seek God because remember, his timing is not always ours. And as a child of God, take comfort in knowing that he walks through the darkness with you.  💡

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Happy Independence Day!! 🎆

Hope you have a wonderful day of celebration! 😃
Here's some patriotic music to listen to. Click here if the video doesn't load on your email. 

While the storm clouds gather far across the sea, 
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer. 

God bless America, land that I love,
Stand beside her and guide her through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans, white with foam. 
God bless America, my home sweet home,
God bless America, my home sweet home.

Friday, June 28, 2024

Love Translates: A Lesson From Honduras

*Me and some of my students in Honduras.*

I've heard it said that love translates into all languages. I imagined it to be so when I read books by people who were changed by God's love shown through another believer's life. But I saw the truth of this first hand and wow, love truly is the same no matter what country you cross into or what language you encounter. True, genuine, unassuming love makes a difference. Love that says, ' I care about you and your needs,' love that makes sacrifices, love that does things without expecting anything back, love that listens, love that puts other people first -- this love makes a difference. People really do not care how much you know or what you know unless they know you care about them first. Many little kids, including some of my students, are hurting. They don't necessarily need someone to come trying to fix their life.  They need a person who will love them unconditionally and tell them of God's love. They need a person who will give them long hugs and say ' I love you ' every single day. They need a person to speak positive words into their life and encourage them in their endeavors. They need a person to get excited about their growth, whether it's academically or spiritually, for that motivates them to keep doing well. They need a person who will be present and actually listen to what they have to say. These things are important. So even if you never go to another country where you don't understand the language, there are people, adults and children, all around that need genuine love. Maybe you can be the conduit through which another person comes to know Jesus and his love. 

1 Thessalonians 3:12a 
 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men.

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Quiet Time With God: Psalm 63


O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me. But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth. They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes. But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped. ~ Psalm 63

This post is about having a quiet time. I'm not getting into whether or not the morning, evening, or afternoon is the best time to have it, or how long a quiet time needs to be. This is just an encouragement to have a time where you do meet with God. Psalm 63 is about seeking God. Arno Gaebelein wrote in his commentary that it was the early church’s custom to sing Psalm 63 as the first song of praise, and it’s called “the morning hymn.”  You and I cannot live the Christian life successfully without God so it's crucial to have a time every day when you seek God. This one-on-one time provides strength because the mind can be renewed through meditating on Scriptures. And then the strength can be used to help others. Luke 5:15-16 says, But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed. Jesus loved people. He cared about their needs. But let's not forget that he was a man. He got tired. So he had his quiet times with the Father alone. This gave him strength. I've noticed that in America sometimes people seem to pride themselves on how busy they are or how much they can pack into a day or a week. But if you constantly give out to others without taking time and a rest to refresh yourself, you will get burned out and your service will not be as effective. Some other things a quiet time gives you are comfort and peace. The more Scriptures you have in your heart, the more God can use the Word to comfort your heart. Finally, a quiet time with the Lord allows you to have a deeper relationship with him. How do you get to know someone? By spending time with them. Same with God. He wants his children to want to spend time with him so they can know him better. James 4:8 gives a great reminder: Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. A time every day requires discipline, but you'll be all the better for it. 
William Dunn Longstaff wrote "Take Time to be Holy" after hearing a sermon on the text of holiness. Since he was a practical businessman, he wrote practical suggestions in his poem for becoming holy. He only got it published in a Christian newspaper, but a Christian musician saw the poem and saved it. Years later when he needed a hymn on the subject of holy living, he set the poem to music. This song accurately conveys the necessity for spending quiet time with God. 

Take time to be holy,

The world rushes on;

Spend much time in secret,

With Jesus alone.

By looking to Jesus,

like him thou shalt be;

Thy friend in thy conduct

His likeness shall see. 

Be encouraged today friend!


Monday, May 27, 2024

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day! 
Even here in Honduras I'm remembering the sacrifices of all the people who valued freedom more than their own lives and were willing to die for it, and I thank the Lord for them. I thank the Lord that America is a free country and that we have this day to remember those that made it so. In August of last year, my mom, sister, and I stopped at Little River Springs in Branford, Fl. on our way to Pensacola. While driving through a nearby town we stopped at a small war memorial.  

Absolutely. Never. Forget. 

We live in a country - the greatest on earth, 
Where the flag stands for freedom and what it is worth. 
She stands in the harbor - Miss Liberty calls,
All gave some, but some gave it all
For me to be blessed. 

I have been blessed; God's so good to me,
Precious are his thoughts of you and me. 
No way I could count them; there's not enough time
So I'll just thank him for being so kind. 
God has been good, so good, 
I have been blessed. 

A Night in the Life of...

Musings on a Sunday night in May: 
Most people write or take videos about a day in their life, but this post is about a realistic night in my life. :) It is currently 10:36 p.m. on May 27th, and I'm sitting in my dark room in Honduras eating a snack of plantain chips and drinking chocolate milk. The power has been out since around 7:40 p.m. this evening. That means no fan, no air, no lights. I am thankful the water is still on. (It's not connected to the electricity.) Almost every single night for the past two weeks the power has been turned off for long periods of time, leaving us sweating and unable to sleep soundly. Sometimes these power outages are scheduled and sometimes the power just goes out and we don't know when it will come back on. Sometimes the water gets turned off and one never can go to sleep knowing for sure that there will be water in the morning. It's just the fact of the matter here in Honduras, and to me it feels like a normal part of life. Living this life definitely shifts one's perspective a little. The most simple things in life like a fan, air conditioning, and water to shower or to wash with are often taken for granted. But I have found myself thanking God for these gifts a whole lot more these past six months. Tonight, if you sleep well, thank the Lord for that rest. If you have a fan or air conditioner keeping you cool, thank God for that. If you can flip on the light switch and have power, thank God for such a blessing. And if you have water, be thankful. 😊 Good night, friend. 

Friday, April 19, 2024

Final Summer Adventures from 2023

 Greetings to you! 
Here are the final pictures from last year's summer. 
August 2nd, Debbie and I drove to Devou Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is a gorgeous overlook of the city. 

Then we explored the town. The Catholic churches are so ornate, like this one.

These stones are outside the Catholic church building. I am so thankful we do not pray to or worship Mary, who was a sinful human. She couldn't take away sins, but our holy, perfect God who became a man and died on the cross can take away sins. It's interesting that they have a plaque of good works. Those are actually good things to do, but they don't earn us a spot in heaven. 
Titus 3:5-6 ~ "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
Next we walked through a part of the small town of Leetonia. This Korean War memorial is on the corner of a main street. 

I thought this road looked neat. :)  
We stopped in a small restaurant where a guy was participating in a hamburger eating challenge. He worked for a tv station so his cameraman was recording the whole thing. Turned out they had filmed at the Ark Encounter earlier that day, and Debby was able to talk with them about the gospel. 

The final road trip was with my friend Janelle. On August 7th, we drove to southern Kentucky. The first stop was at the Valley View Ferry on the Kentucky river. 

It stands as the oldest continuous business in Kentucky and connects Richmond, Nicholasville, and Lexington. On land acquired by John Craig in 1780 through a military warrant, the Virginia Assembly granted a perpetual and irrevocable franchise to establish the ferry in 1785. It's named for the location in Valley View community. It transports cars up to 150 times a day and can carry up to 3 cars at once. Daniel Boone, Henry Clay, James Mason, and Ulysses S. Grant all once rode the ferry. 

This is quite a sight - trees growing out of these poles. 😅
Here's a short video. If you're viewing this on your email just click here to view it on the blog.

I love these back country roads. The farmland is my favorite.

This is a dam we found on a dirt road kind-of in the middle of nowhere. I don't remember its name.
Our next stop was Camp Nelson National Cemetery. I find cemeteries so interesting. I like reading the tombstones, and I enjoy visiting war cemeteries. They remind me of the sacrifice thousands of soldiers and their families made. We should never forget it nor just give liberty away so freely. 

This epitaph reminds me of something my grandma told me about her mom - that she was a woman ahead of her time. :) 
Camp Nelson was an important training and recruiting camp for U.S. colored troops (USCT). Many enslaved men who enlisted brought their families with them, and the army built this refugee camp for them. More than 10,000 USCT passed through.  

Picture of the address given by president Lincoln at the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery. 
About a mile down from the cemetery there's Camp Nelson.

Oliver H. Perry and his wife Frances built this house in the mid-18502. Frances was the daughter of Robert and Mary Sappington Scott, the largest landowners of what became Camp Nelson. The Perrys built this two-story, 14-room house in the Greek revival style, which dominated architecture in the United States from 1830 to 1850. When the U.S. army established the supply depot here in 1863, they seized the Perry's home. In correspondence, the army referred to the house as the 'White House.' After the Civil War, Oliver, Frances, and their sons Robert and John returned to the house. 

We walked around - they have quite a few trails - and the grounds are just gorgeous. 
This is a war memorial to African-American refugees: Thousands of African-American women and children, most of whom were families of U.S. colored troops, entered Camp Nelson in 1864-1865 seeking freedom from slavery. 
This is a memorial to the bodies of numerous unknown Tennessee white refugees and Kentucky African-American refugees who perished from disease while at Camp Nelson. These civilians sought freedom and protection within the U.S. Army post. 
After we left the memorial, we headed to Kentucky Castle. This is not the best picture, but there's the view of the castle from the road. Kentucky Castle is actually a hotel. 

The entrance.
We were able to walk through the first floor of the castle. It mostly consists of dining and sitting rooms. The second story holds guest rooms. The very top is open for all. The views are stunning! If you look far into the distance in this picture, you can see the gardens. They also have some animals - their motto is farm to table. 
This view looks toward the road from the top.
Looking at the castle from the gardens. 

More views from the top.

And there you have it! The last post about summer 2023. I hope you enjoyed it and if you get a chance to explore Kentucky, or whatever sate you're in, I'd highly suggest it. :)