Photos and Thoughts From the Ozarks

       Yesterday, Pastor Stanley and his wife took a group of us young people to the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas.  We had a blast touring the different old-time shops, and seeing all kinds of neat things.  Pictured below are some highlights from the day.

The candle-shop

Trying out the different hats!

The print shop

A donkey-powered merry-go-round!

Phillip Robinson and I (Micah Robinson in the background)

I soooooo want one of these for my doorbell someday!  (P.S. The springs aren't connected, so it is totally safe!)

After leaving the Folk Center, we stopped at a country store; the pictures below were taken there.

 Baby "rattlers?"  Maybe baby "rattles" would be more accurate!

Here are the baby "rattlers"!

Man-Eating Chicken?

It turns out, the box contained a picture of a man who was eating chicken!  LOL!!!  (Sorry about the side-ways picture; I didn't think about the angle at the time!)
Playing and singing a song at the country store.

       These two pictures are from the pottery shop at the Folk Center.  I saved them for last because of what they reminded me of.  (It's kind of amazing, but I did manage to have a serious thought in the midst of all the fun and laughter we shared!)  As I stood there watching this lady form something beautiful from a lump of clay, I was reminded of the spiritual analogy; Christ is the potter, we are the clay.  

       Before the potter picks up the clay, the clay is worthless.  Paul says in Romans 7:18, "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not."  Before Christ picks someone up, they are worthless.  Don't let the world deceive you by telling you what a good person you are; we are all filthy, rotten sinners on our own!  Ah, but when the Master Potter picks up the clay, regardless of what that clay looks like, it is valuable to Him.  Hey, when Jesus Christ saves a sinner, they may look worthless to the world, but they are precious to Him!  However, He doesn't want to leave the clay as He found it; He want's to create a beautiful vessel!  

       Now, we all want Christ to mold us into a beautiful vessel, but are we willing to endure the process that is required in order to become what He wants us to be?  Are we willing to, like the clay, be spun in circles and molded on a wheel?  Are we willing to go through the fire?  Are we willing to be painted or glazed just how the Potter wants?  Are we willing to then go through the fire again?

       It's very easy to pray, "Lord, please use me."  What we ought rather to pray is, "Lord, please make me useable.  Many Christians are unfit for the Master's use because they won't allow Him to make them useable.  Remember, God isn't looking for talented people.  Rather, He is looking for empty vessels- people who are willing to surrender ALL to Him so He can mold them into something that He can use.

"But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.  (Isaiah 64:8)


Photos From Sunday Evening

       Last Sunday, after the afternoon church service, I went to someone's house for their son's first birthday party.  Here are some pictures-

Playing volleyball

Watching the flight of the ball.

Jonathan Stanley, hitting the ball.

Michael Stanley preparing for a hit.

Me preparing to hit.

Cheering after a play.  (Either a good one on our team's part, or a bad one on the other team's part.  Either way, it was a good play!)

Is that ball ever coming down?

Here are some of the little tykes with Ivan, the birthday boy, who is trying out his new wheels!

 It looks like Ivan enjoyed his cake!  (And in more ways than one, if you know what I mean!)

       In addition to playing volleyball, we played catch with a football.  (It was more physical, though, than just "catch"!)  Plus, we roasted hotdogs and marsh-mellows.  I had a great time; everyone here at Friendship Baptist Church has been so friendly, and I am going to miss them a lot when I head home next week!


Memorial Day Photos

       Here are some pictures from Memorial Day-

The man in the wheel-chair is Mr. Richard Manning, a veteran of WWII.  In this picture, Mr. Manning is explaining to us what his medals signify; the second one from the left is a Purple Heart. 

I do not remember this gentleman's name, but he is also a WWII vet.  Meeting him and Mr. Manning has given me a greater appreciation for what our veterans have done; they were simply ordinary men, who chose to take a stand and to fight for the right.  These men, along with all of our troops today, are heroes; they deserve our respect and honor.

Standing next to this tank gave me more respect than ever for our troops.  War is no game; it's real and awful.  And yet, throughout our country's history, the American soldier has chosen to put his own life in danger, so that his fellow countrymen could live in peace and freedom.  That, folks, is sacrifice.

Here I am, shooting (or rather, attempting to shoot) clay pigeons.  I never did hit any!

Aaron Nyitrai, showing us how it is done.  He used to shoot clays at competitions, so he rarely misses!


Psalm 145

Psalm 145       
I will extol thee, my God, O king;
and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.
2 Every day will I bless thee;
and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
and his greatness is unsearchable.
4 One generation shall praise thy works to another,
and shall declare thy mighty acts.
5 I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty,
and of thy wondrous works.
6 And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts:
and I will declare thy greatness.
7 They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness,
and shall sing of thy righteousness.
8 The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion;
slow to anger, and of great mercy.
9 The Lord is good to all:
and his tender mercies are over all his works.
10 All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord;
and thy saints shall bless thee.
11 They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom,
and talk of thy power;
12 to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts,
and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.
13 Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.
14 The Lord upholdeth all that fall,
and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.
15 The eyes of all wait upon thee;
and thou givest them their meat in due season.
16 Thou openest thine hand,
and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways,
and holy in all his works.
18 The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him,
to all that call upon him in truth.
19 He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him:
he also will hear their cry, and will save them.
20 The Lord preserveth all them that love him:
but all the wicked will he destroy.
21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord:
and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.

May this be the prayer of all of our hearts; may we praise the Lord continually for His grace and goodness to us; truly, His "greatness is unsearchable."


Memorial Day- Remembering the Fallen

       To some Americans, today is just another holiday.  Another day to take off work, go fishing, have a picnic, or spend time with family and friends.  Too often, we forget the countless multitudes who have sacrificed their lives so that we could have these blessings.  We have become so calloused in America; we take our freedom for granted.  We think that because we are born in a free country, we deserve freedom.  Folks, we don't deserve ANYTHING.  Everything we have is a gift from God, and the freedoms we enjoy every day are ours ONLY because of the multitudes of brave American soldiers who have given THEIR lives, so that we could live OUR lives in freedom.  We owe our fallen soldiers a debt of gratitude that we can never repay; let us then live our lives in the same way they lived theirs; let us live for others.
       As you and your family celebrate this Memorial day, remember this- there are some who will never again have their whole family together to celebrate ANY holiday, because someone in their family laid down their life so you could keep yours.  And to all of our military- we salute you this day for the sacrifice you have made; for the price you have paid.  To the rest of us- may we always remember and honor those who have sacrificed their lives so selflessly for us; may we always remember that freedom is NEVER free.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."  John 15:13


"How is it That Ye Have No Faith?" (Part Two)

       Love.  I truly believe that this is what the disciples were missing; they didn't understand God's love!  I John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."  If "perfect love" casteth out fear, then what is perfect love?  Is it us loving God perfectly?  No, because I John 4:10 says, "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."  

       What, then, is "perfect love"?  The answer is found in I John 4:16-17, which says, "And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world."  Verse 17 starts out by saying, "Herein is our love made perfect," thus referencing what has just been said in verse 16.  What does verse 16 say is the way to have "perfect love"?  It gives us three keys-

       #1.  We must KNOW God's love.  Think about it- no one ever experienced God's love without first KNOWING that it existed!  That may sound elementary, but it's true.  We can't be made perfect in God's love without first knowing that it exists.

       #2.  We must BELIEVE God's love.  Acts 16:31 says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."  No one can get saved without BELIEVING on Jesus Christ.  And why do we believe on Him for Salvation?  Because of the love that He poured out on Calvary!  If a person doesn't BELIEVE that Jesus loves them, then why would they trust Him for Salvation?

       #3.  We must DWELL in God's love.  I believe that this is where most Christians, including myself, fail.  We KNOW about the love of God, we BELIEVE in the love of God, and yet we often fail to DWELL in the love of God.  Dwelling in God's love is simply this - a conscious, continuous state of making God’s love our habitation.  Dwelling in God’s love is like dwelling in your house- you live there.  Dwelling in God's love is accepting the fact that God loves us so much that He has given us everything we need, and that He will take care of us in every situation.  Luke 12:6-7 says, “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?  But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.”  What is Jesus saying in these verses?  Fear not, because God loves you!  

       Regardless of what we go through, God is in complete control.  If you are His child, then he has already promised to work everything out for your good (Romans 8:28).  He does ALL things well!  Do I fully understand why everything in my life happens the way it does?  No, I don't.  But when the  circumstances of life are beyond my control, I know that I can safely trust the Love of God!

Could we with ink the ocean fill,

And were the skies of parchment made,

Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.


"How is it That Ye Have No Faith?" (Part One)

       Fear, Distress, Anxiety, Worry.  We could go on and on and on.  Let's be honest with ourselves; we all face these things.  Now, contrast that list with the following list- Faith, Hope, Endurance, Trust.  These two lists are at complete odds with each other; they simply cannot co-exist.  All we must do is simply choose the second list over the first.  That sounds like a simple enough solution, but it's extremely hard to do!

       So often we end up like Peter-  stepping out of the boat, only to take our eyes off of Jesus and start sinking!  At which point we quickly call out to God to save us, which He always does; we are then left wondering why we ever took our eyes off of Him in the first place.  

       Mark 4:35-41 tells us the following story- "And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.  And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.  And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.  And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?  And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?  And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"

       There are five things that stuck out to me in this story-

1.  Jesus led the disciples into the storm!  Chew on that for a minute!  There are times in our lives when God will lead us into a storm, simply to test and strengthen our faith.  However, I'm so thankful that He never abandons us in the storm!  (Now, I'm not saying that God creates every storm that we go through.  There are some things that happen that God does not orchestrate; for example, school shootings, terrorist attacks, etc.  However, God is always in control of the storm, He can always teach us something through the storm, and He does all things well.)

2.  Jesus was asleep during the storm!  Remember this- God is never in a hurry, but always on time.  Jesus wasn't sleeping because He didn't care about the disciples, or because He wasn't aware of what was going on.  He was simply allowing them to learn a lesson!

3.  The disciples actually had the audacity to ask Jesus, the creator of the universe, if He cared that they were dying!  I don't know about you, but I'm sitting here thinking- "Come on guys, of course he cares!  Besides, do you think you are actually going to sink with Jesus in the boat?  I mean, what's He gonna do; watch you go down, and then go water-walking?  YOU GUYS HAVE LOST YOUR MINDS!"   
Yet how is it, that we are so often the same way?  We are conscious of the fact that God will never fail us, and yet we lose sight of that fact in the moment that we need God the most!

4.  Jesus calmed the storm, but only after the disciples gave up in desperation and asked Him to!  Wow!  How many times do I struggle through storms longer that necessary, just because I don’t surrender and ask God for help?!  Now, I'm not saying that God will immediately calm the storm in the circumstances, but He will always calm the storm in our heart and give us peace if we allow Him to.

5.  In the end, the disciples still didn't understand who Jesus was!  That's unbelievable!!!  They went through the entire storm and saw Jesus do a great miracle, only to say, "What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"  How often are we just like the disciples?  We go through a great storm, ask God to help us, see Him work in a mighty way, and then act shocked that He was powerful enough to answer our request?  After all, He's God!

       In this story, though, there is one thing that caught my attention above everything else.  After calming the storm, Jesus asked the disciples, "Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?"  Tomorrow, I will post what I believe to be the answer.  It's one of the most freeing, life-changing truths I have ever learned!


A Tail of Midnight Company

       Well, if you are expecting something super-encouraging today, I'm sorry; you will probably be let down.  If you want a good laugh (at my expense), then I may be able to help you out.  Let me take you back to a night several weeks ago.......

       I was sitting at the table in my apartment (Around 11 p.m.), typing some things that God had recently shown me, when I thought I heard a noise at the bottom of the steps leading up to my apartment. Now, before I continue my story, let me give you a brief overview of the apartment.  It is located right behind the stage/baptistry.  It is accessed by a flight of stairs which begin in the back hallway.  There are four stairs, then a landing where you make a 180 degree turn, and then nine more stairs leading to the top.  There is no door at the top, so when you reach the top of the stairs, you walk right into the main room of the apartment (which serves as my living room, dining room, kitchen, office, etc.).  Then there is a hallway that leads to the bedrooms. (The room I sleep in is about six feet down the hallway on the right, the other one is about fifteen feet farther down the hallway on the left.)  

       Now back to the story.  I was sitting at the table, typing away (knowing I should go to bed, but not wanting to because the thoughts just kept coming, and I was in the mood to keep typing), when I thought I heard a noise at the bottom of the stairs.  Now, I am not overly fond of spending evenings by myself, first of all because I like being around people, and secondly because I really don't care to be in a building alone at night!  (I am getting used to it, though, and it's not too bad.)  Well, I really didn't think much of the first noise, because this building makes little creaks and groans anyway, so I figured that was probably what it was.  Well, I heard the noise on the steps once or twice more, and although I still didn't think it was anything more than the building creaking, it did start getting on my nerves!  Well, a little bit later, I heard a scuffle at the top of the steps, and I freaked out!  I seriously thought someone was breaking in!  Well, I was partly right, only the "someone" happened to be a mouse!  Now, before you get too hard on me for being jumpy, put yourself in my situation!  What would you have done if you were alone in an apartment in a church at 11 p.m., and you heard what sounded like a bull elephant coming around the corner??? (Sound slightly exaggerated to help you appreciate the gravity of the situation.)  

       Well, after I got over my shock, my fear turned to anger- who did this little dude think he was?  He was invading my privacy, and moreover, I had quite a bit of food in the room; I wasn't at all relishing the idea of him relishing my victuals, especially not the chocolate-chip cookies that a dear lady had just given me!  Well, I spent about forty minutes trying to find the mouse (he had gone into hiding), and then chasing him when I did find him. (He had gone behind the couch, a mouse's favorite hiding place.)  Well, I just couldn't pin him down- it's kinda hard to chase a mouse all by yourself!  Anyway, I finally lost him, and had to give up in defeat; I did set two mousetraps for him soon after.

       Well, I did not see or hear this rascal for about two weeks, and I was beginning to think that he had left for good; then came Monday night.  I was in my room, chatting with my sister on gmail.  The computer was setting on the bed, and I was kneeling beside the bed. (This is not the position I am generally in when using a computer, but that's beside the point.)  Anyway, we were chatting away, when, without warning, I heard a commotion at my bedroom door.  I was convinced that someone was breaking in!  Then I saw a dark object streak by me, and disappear under the bed.  That was too much for my nerves to handle!  (The following is an excerpt from my conversation with my sister.)

 I just got FREAKED OUT! A mouse ran within about TWO FEET of where I was kneeling at my bed typing!
I shrieked!
 chelsy:  oh my word!! i can imagine!! did you never catch one? or do you have more than one> buy some mouse traps!
 me:  I heard a noise outside my door, and I could tell it was something (I literally thought SOMEONE!!!!)
 chelsy:  scary...
 me:  I have had traps set since a day or two after I saw the first one!
This dude ran UNDER MY BED!
Goodnight, sleep well!
 chelsy: too? hopefully the mouse is not in your bed. didn't you say there is a top bunk?

       That is a good explanation of what happened!  Chelsy had to go at this point in the conversation, but I was going to tell her that I was not moving to the top bunk just because I thought a mouse might be in the bottom one.  (We have had mice in my room at home before; in fact, we saw one in my brothers' bed one time.  Sleeping in the same room as a mouse isn't too bad.)  That said, I wasn't going to drop the issue.  I looked under the bed, where, like I said, there is no cover.  Nothing.  Then I preceded to dismantle the bed; first I removed the blanket, then the comforter, then the sheet, then the mattress, then the box spring.  Nothing.  Finally, I made a slight inspection of the top bunk (I wasn't really in the mood to have to put two beds back together, so I didn't tear this one apart.)  Still nothing.

       (Here are a couple photos of what my room looked like after I dissected the bottom bunk.)

       Eventually, I gave up in disgust, and again knelt by my bed.  After thinking about my visitor for a little while, I decided that, since there was nothing else I could do about the situation, I might as well pray and go to bed.  Well, I had been praying for a little while (mostly about other things, although I did ask God to help me find and kill my obnoxious intruder), when, suddenly, I heard a noise from the direction of the closet.  I thought- "YES!!!  If he has sought cover in the closet, then he has run into a trap!"  I grabbed a shoe, and made my way to the closet to evaluate the situation.  Now, this closet is not very big (about 2 1/2 by 5 feet), with just one door- one way in, and one way out.  Well, as I knelt down, something caught my eye- I saw a tail (no body, just a tail), hanging out from the bottom of the ironing board.  Now, in case you are not up on the anatomy of animals, tails never go places by themselves; there is always an animal attached to a tail. (Or is the tail attached to the animal?)  Anyway, I thought, "You dummy!  You just ran into a trap!"  I took my guitar case, a pair of pants, and some pillows, and made a blockade (pictured below), thus shrinking the field of battle considerably.  Then I pondered my next move- should I grab the tail, and thus capture my victim?  This is probably what my brother Joshua would have done (He has picked up live mice before, and been bitten by one.), but my courage failed me.  So I contented myself with shaking the ironing board a few times, until the furry villain finally came out to offer battle.  Actually, it wasn't much of a battle- he just ran in circles while I made wild swings at him!  Finally, I connected!  After the first hit, things just get better- the mouse got slower, and I began to score more hits!  Finally, he went down, never to rise again.  I picked up the deceased and carried him to the morgue (aka bathroom), where I took a few photos for his obituary.  If you are interested in seeing them, you can scroll down the page at this time.  

 Usually, a mouse doesn't look this good when I'm through with him.  But this one had the benefit of being on carpet; plus, I didn't want to leave a big mess on the floor, so I ceased the beating as quickly as possible.

 Apart from his bloody nose, I think he could pass for a live mouse.

 It would take me a long time to grow whiskers like that!

The end!

"For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tail that is told."  (Psalm 90:9)


Random Thoughts and Photos

       Here are a few pictures that I took yesterday-

 This waterfall is fed by the overflow from a lake.  It's not a big waterfall compared to some, but it's beautiful!  (The picture doesn't do it justice!)

       My creative juices aren't flowing right now, and I'm having a hard time thinking of something to write; I'm just feeling rather tired and melancholy!  But I know this- God is good regardless of how I feel; I am so blest!  Today I was feeling rather discouraged, but then I decided to count the blessings in my life and to start praising God for them.  It's amazing how it works, but when I take my eyes off of my problems and start counting my blessings, my problems get smaller!  
       Also, I decided to make a few phone calls and send a few texts to encourage people; this is a great way to have your spirits lifted!  And it's Biblical- II Corinthians 1:3-4 says, "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."  God gives us comfort in our trials; then we are to comfort others in their trials!  

       So next time you are discouraged, give thanks for your blessings, and find someone to encourage!
(P.S. These thoughts are not original with me; I am so grateful for those who God has placed in my to help me along the way, and who have shared these concepts with me.)


Let Me Hide Behind the Cross

       Here is just a simple thought, but one that I desperately need to remember every day- every Spiritual truth that I have received, and every Spiritual lesson that I have learned, have been only through the Lord Jesus Christ, and not by my own intellect!  Oh that this truth might penetrate every corner of my heart every moment of my life!

       I Corinthians 4:7 says, "For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?"  Why do we think that we are so brilliant because of what we know?  The Holy Spirit is the one who reveals things to us!

       Take a look at this passage of Scripture- "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.  But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." ( I Corinthians 2:9-14)  Apart from the Spirit of God, we cannot learn anything!  We ought not to think that we are so great because of what we have learned from the Bible; we ought rather to give thanks to God for His graciousness in being patient with us and teaching us!  Oh, may we never forget to keep our eyes on Him; He alone is the giver of Life.

"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."  (Galatians 6:14)



       I read the following portion of scripture recently; take a look at it, and notice the highlighted words.  "And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar.  In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.  And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.  And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.  And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.  Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?  And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing."  (I Kings 3:4-10)

       Obviously, Solomon had his priorities right when he asked for an understanding heart.  But notice how he asked.  He didn't just say, "God, please give me an understanding heart to judge my people."  He prayed, "Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people."  Solomon used the words "thee," "thou," and "thy" fourteen times!  He understood two important things- 1. Who he was-  "a little child."  2. Who he was talking to- God.  Solomon asked in humility.

       Wow!  How often do I pray, "God, please give me wisdom to make this decision about what I'm  going to do at this point in my life."  Instead, I should be asking God to show me His will so that I can live this life for Him.  James 4:3 says, "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."  I wonder how many times we don't receive an answer from God because we ask for the wrong reason or with the wrong attitude?

 "By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and 
honour, and life."  Proverbs 22:4


God is Faithful

       Oftentimes, we get so busy or so burdened with the things of this life, that we fail to take time to reflect on the faithfulness of God.  How many times do we ask Him for wisdom or guidance in a particular situation, and then fail to recognize when He gives us what we asked for?  God never abandons His children, and He is always there when we need Him most!

 Just as in nature, God's children go through seasons of life.  But no matter how long and hard the winter, we can always be assured that spring will come again!

"God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of
 his Son Jesus Christ our Lord."  (I Cor. 1:9)

(Pictures by Chelsy)


Stepping Back in TIme...

       Once upon a time, before there was the "Bontrager Family" as I know it; there were two teenagers, Marlin Bontrager and Becky Stoltzfus.  Well, yesterday I had the opportunity of visiting the place where they met for the first time- Calvary Bible School (at Bethel Springs Mennonite Church near Calico Rock, AR.)  

 I like the Bible verse on this sign; it pretty well sums up the reason why we spend time studying the Bible.

I was really excited to see this place; I had always heard about it, and now I can picture it in my mind! Besides the fact that my parents met here, I have friends that have attended here, so it was great to be able to finally see it myself!

 This is the creek that flows by the church.

 I don't know if this was here when my parents were, but I thought it was cool.

This is the church.  In case you can't tell, yesterday was a rainy day!

While Bro. Stanley was showing me around North-Central Arkansas, we stopped to see the view from this bluff.  I don't remember exactly, but I believe that from the top to the bottom the bluff is between 150 and 200 feet- straight down!

Because of the rain, the water was muddy, but normally it's clear.  

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.  (Psalm 48:1)