Archive for September, 2012
… which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in Thee before the sons of men!” Psalm 31:19
Matthew & Amanda
“When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing; then said they among the heathen, ‘The LORD hath done great things for them.’ The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.” Psalm 126:1-3
Also, visit the Wilkes Team’s site!
I needed the quiet, so He drew me aside
Into the shadows where we could confide;
Away from the bustle where all the day long,
I hurried and worried when active and strong.
This week I had two of my wisdom teeth pulled. (Lord willing, those will be the only two!) So the past few days, I have been confined to our living room couch, sitting or lying very still and quiet most of the time, as I wait for the healing process to take place. Knowing that I would probably have several days like this, I came prepared with a list of things to do to keep my mind occupied. By God’s grace, these past few days have flown by peacefully and productively, for which I’m very thankful!
However, this was not my idea of a fun procedure. Everyone has their own weaknesses – their own fears of something, even if that fear seems trivial to everyone else in the world. My phobia is of anything oral (besides eating, of course – now that, I can handle); I once passed out after losing a baby tooth! The Lord has allowed me to get over some of that fear in recent years, but any sudden change in my mouth still bothers me greatly. So, having my wisdom teeth extracted was NOT my idea of the best way to get some quiet time.
But the Lord reminded me, as He often does, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways… For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) He has a perfect plan, and we can try to buck that plan – and be miserable – or we can follow His loving, guiding hand and trust Him to give us the grace to walk through whatever He places before us. It is only when we choose this latter path that we experience the peace and joy that He wants to give us.
I needed the quiet, tho’ at first I rebelled,
But gently, so gently, my cross He upheld,
And whispered so sweetly of spiritual things;
Tho’ weakened in body, my spirit took wings
To heights never dreamed of when active and gay.
He loved me so greatly He drew me away.
And during these last several days of forced sitting and quiet, the Lord has blessed me in ways that I would not have experienced had I been busy with the normal responsibilities of life. I’ve had time to do some projects that I wouldn’t have had time for otherwise. That alone has been wonderful! But the spiritual blessings have been there, as well. One benefit has been having more time to spend in the Word. It’s not very often that we have time to sit and read the Bible for as long as we want, but that becomes more feasible when you are bed-ridden (or couch-ridden). As I’ve pondered the whole experience, the Lord has showed me SO many things to be thankful for that I’ve had to write a list to remember them all… some of which I never thought I could be thankful for! God is good!
So next time you are faced with a situation which seems unpleasant, or even frightening to you, ask the Lord to show you specific things to thank Him for, and to reveal more of Himself to you. When He pulls you out of the rat-race of life and prevents you by illness or some other means from doing what you thought was best, ask Him to show you His purposes. Maybe He has a specific lesson He wants you to learn, or maybe He just wants you to spend more time in communion with Him. Whatever His reasons may be, remember that He is faithful; He will not give you more than you can handle; He knows exactly what you need. He will be there to walk with you through the valley; enjoy the fellowship with Him, learn what He wants to teach you, and eventually you will emerge victorious on the other side!
I needed the quiet. No prison my bed,
But a beautiful valley of blessings instead –
A place to grow richer, in Jesus to hide.
I needed the quiet, so He drew me aside.*
*This old poem was so beautifully fitting! I appreciate this unknown author’s perspective, and can certainly relate to the thoughts and experiences portrayed!
“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16
Oh how grateful we are for the Schmechel family and their decision to redeem the time! Driven by a passionate love for Christ and a desire to uplift and edify His Church, they spent weeks and months, which could have all-too-easily been spent for themselves, in planning for and preparing for the first ever NH FEW Conference. So much thought, so much prayer, so much energy was poured out without any anticipation of earthly reward. But as so often happens, the Lord multiplied their efforts and many, many lives were blessed and changed because of their self-sacrifice and service.
We arrived at the Schmechel’s home, Bittersweet Farm, on Thursday evening and were greeted by a peaceful atmosphere and a delicious lasagna dinner! Not only had they done everything to prepare for the conference itself, but they graciously offered to host the entire FEW Team in their lovely farm house! What a time of joy as we got settled and fellowshipped late into the night!
The conference began Friday afternoon. Oh for words to describe the blessings that unfolded!
During the weekend, we blessed and encouraged by evidence of family harmony as seen through the interaction of siblings.
As always, the fellowship shared was a foretaste of Heaven!
Thank you, Schmechel family, for choosing to redeem the precious time that the Lord has given you by spending it for others. Many lives will never be the same for it.
To God be the glory!
On our last morning in Maine, we were loading the van when Dad ran quickly out of the hotel lobby and said “There’s a Pearl Harbor survivor in here that I think we should talk to!” Out we came, and then spent the next half hour or so talking to this 91 yr. old gentleman, Mr. Oster. We soon found out that he too is a Christian, and such a blessing it was to hear his story and learn more about our history as Americans! He was elated at the opportunity, sharing with us his sorrow over the fact that many young people are not being taught the true history of our country any longer. Because of Dad’s spirit of gratitude toward our servicemen, and his special love for WWII veterans, we got to sit under the counsel and wisdom of yet another godly man. Praise the LORD!
Following that, we had to see the coast just one more time before heading southwest for the FEW. We spent about an hour out there together, taking in the breathtaking scenery and the cool, salty air!
Oh the beauty of God’s creation, the blessing of being together as a family, the glory of knowing that all is well because of Who is in control!
“The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.” Psalm 24:1-2
What could be better than enjoying a delectable meal with the most special people in the world while having the ability to gaze out far and wide into the beauties of God’s creation??
On our last night in Maine, we found a quaint little seaside restaurant at which we could do just that. And oh was it wonderful! The staff at The Dolphin were most hospitable, and afterward we were able to talk with the owner quite extensively and learn a lot about the happenings around that area of the coast. It was fascinating!
Before heading back to our hotel for a good night’s rest, we couldn’t resist a few pictures.
“O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard: Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved.” Psalm 66:8-9
“Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto the Lord. To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old, lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice. Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds. O God, thou are terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God.” Psalm 68:32-35
Our most recent journey…
Began: Saturday, September 1st.
Destination: Lyndeborough, NH, for the 4th and final 2012 FEW Conference!
Ended: Monday, September 10th.
Since we would have to be gone for several days anyway due to the length of time it takes to get from here to NH, we decided to add in a few special stops along the way. We needed the time together, and the Lord truly blessed every day.
As we moved along the east coast, the first big event was a brief tour of Chincoteague and Assateague Islands.
Our next stop was in NJ to visit Mom’s brother and his family. A very special thank you to the Conn’s for their gracious, generous hospitality! We felt so welcomed, loved, and at home! On Labor Day they took us to a nearby hunting preserve, where we learned about how they raise the deer, control the population on the preserve, regulate the hunting, and more. Fascinating!
Feeling refreshed and encouraged after a delightful visit, we headed still northward to Maine.
And… that’s all for now. Check in later to see the rest of the trip!
“Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee…” Psalm 31:19