Friday, July 31, 2015
Today we rested and then attended the district camp meeting taking place here. My mom had to work and I figured that with GPS, I would be able to find my way back in case Ross decided to hang out with friends. There was a mini sermon by Bro. Allen about Charging forward as Christians in today's society. Then Bro. Mangun preached. He said a lot of words with great passion and conviction. Tonight, he reminded me of his dad. Full of passion and a fire of desire for more of God. He was not afraid to preach it strong and preach it hard. His main point he was getting across was that we need to get on our face before God. We can have the truth and doctrine, that is not enough. We need the spirit of God bursting forth within us. At this place when it's not about ME or I, God is able to fill us and move through us. Everything can be perfect and we could still be lost. When the night had ended and I was heading back to my mom's home, I had the GPS on. The directions were clear but because I didn't know the area well, I kept missing my turns and my exits. I had clear directions and I was lost. I began to weep in the car. The sermon hit home for me. I don't want to walk this life as a Christian and know all the "right" things to do and still be lost. I need Jesus every day. I don't want to be on this journey with the directions in my hand and miss what God really has for my life. Thankfully, I made it safely to my mom's home and all is well. Something shifted inside of me. I need not just more of Jesus, I need all of Jesus. Good is good.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Today we decided to visit The Opryland Hotel. My mom and I relaxed while David, Ross and RJ explored. Ross and RJ took the boat ride through the hotel and when they were done we headed to the Opry Mills Mall. For dinner we went to the Rainforest Cafe and of course had a Volcano for desert. We are having a nice time and this visit and going by super quick. Tomorrow we will rest and then attend the camp meeting taking place for the TN district. God is good.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Today we went to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. The variety of sea life was great. There are two buildings. One has fresh water sea life and the other salt water. The 2nd building was the best one of all. There was a "petting zoo" area where you could touch small sand sharks and sting rays. RJ and Ross were having a blast. Then came the Butterfly Garden. Such precious moments when the butterly was on your fingertips. Then came the best one of all, the Penguins. RJ was so excited, he was running back and forth and top speed from one end of the tank to the other. One of the Penguins was swimming really fast and RJ was trying to keep up with it. I don't think I have ever seen him so excited. I was standing near the tank trying to get a closeup of one of the Penguins. Then something awesome happened. One of the Penguins, came up to my face and I quick turned the camera to take a selfie and sure enough, the Penguin smiled! When we left the aquarium we took a tourist rode around town in an old Model T Ford from the 1920's. On our way back to my moms's house we drove up the mountains to see a spectacular view of the city. Then as we made our drive back, we took in a masterpiece from God. The sunset over the mountains had me in awe. It was a busy, super fun day! God is good.
Monday, July 27, 2015
We are on day two of being with my mother in Tennessee. Every year when we come to Tennessee to visit my mom we always make a trip to Chucky Cheese, it's a lot of fun. At the end of a very fun filled day and lots of pizza,we ended our fun time by going to the cotton candy machine. I love to watch RJ and my mom do a silly dance to the music while the cotton candy is made. We take a picture of them together. I like seeing how my boy grows over the years. We spent the rest of the evening watching the boys put together a Star Wars toy while listening to the theme music blasting from the speakers. A simple day, filled with a lot of laugher, always the best of days. God is good.
Sunday, July 26, 2015
We arrived in TN today in time to change our clothes and attend church with my mom and David. RJ was understandably tired and laid his head on his Ima's lap. It's so nice to be here with them. I'm looking forward to this week. The sermon preached today by Bro. Kevin Allen was a really good one. His title was,"Burn The Boat, Burn The Plow". He preached from Luke 22: 19-31 and I Kings 19:19-21. When Cortez went out on his expeditions to conquor he did something that others did not. When they arrived, he would tell his men to burn their ships. He did this to let the men know that it was either conquor or be conquered. There was only plan A, never a plan B. Many times, we settle for less than what God has for us. When things become tough for us, we decide it's too hard and we fall back in plan B. At this moment, we need to burn the ship and keep going forward. When Elijah placed his mantle upon Elisha, it was a time of decision. Elisha knew that if he went forward, his life would never be the same. He did something radical, he lit a fire and burned his plow. He went beyond that and killed the oxen. He threw a party and fed the entire village. His was proclaiming to all his decision. He was going all the way and was not coming back. He made sure there was nothing to fall back upon. He totally and completely surrendered to the call. God is wanting you to step out in faith, leave the past behind and move forward. When you make a declaration of faith, it's a decision accompanied by dramatic action. Others may not understand, but when you follow God he takes care of you. We all have something we hold on to, something we don't want to completely surrender. This holds you back from all God has to offer you. When Jesus died on the cross, Peter and some of the disciples, went back to fishing. They were not having and success because they had given up that God was going to keep his promise. When Jeus showed up and they started to catch fish, they realized their mistake. God's grace was there and Peter once again forsake all and this time Peter was a forever changes man. He fullfilled and answered the call to follow Christ. He gave his everything. When God calls you, burn the boat and the plow. Give him everything. God is good.
Saturday, July 25, 2015
We woke up this morning and started our road trip to TN for a visit with my mom. We stopped at a neat store that had all kinds of meat and cheeses. Then for dinner we stopped at Cracker Barrel. We stopped for the night and God willing will be with my mom and David tomorrow. It was wonderful to watch the sun setting on the beautiful Applachian Mountains. The beauty of it never ceases to amaze me. God paints a masterpiece every time. After the sun had set, we were looking for an exit with a place to rest for the night. We were not having much luck and RJ said a prayer. Soon after he saw a shooting star and that was followed by a sign indicating a place to stay. He was very excited to get such a quick answer that came with the beauty of a shooting star. I'm looking forward to this trip. God is good.
Friday, July 24, 2015
RJ is part of a book club. This month was our first time being a part of it. The book being read was," I Survived The Titanic of 1912". It's written for his age group and was very thematic and interesting. He being a Titanic buff like his dad, of course enjoyed it. Those who are in the book club came to my house today and we had a book club party. I had a hunt of clues for each kid in the backyard. The clues were based off of actual children who were on the Titanic and survived. Each clue told them a little about the child they "were". The clues all led to RJ's tree house and I had printed out pictures and facts about the child. It was a lot of fun and a great way to encourage reading and to teach history. From there we had the sinking of the Titanic. There was a huge chunk of ice in a baby pool and they each got to guide a Titanic boat replica towards the "iceberg" and watch it sink. To lighten the mood, snacks followed of "Ocean Punch” that of course had ice cubes and icebergs floating in it. One of the other mom's made fish shaped sandwiches and another brought the snack. The snack was creating their own Titanic out of bananas, Kit Kat bars, Fruit Loops and whipped cream. Questions were asked to review the book. Overall, it was a success and the kids are super excited to read their next book. We all had fun and it's a great way to get children excited about reading. (I attempted to upload pictures, but for whatever reason, it just wasn't happening today) God is good.
Thursday, July 23, 2015
It was so nice to hear Pastor Davis teach tonight. His lesson was on, "The Transforming Life", and his main scripture was from Romans 12:2. As Christians we are in the process of being transformed. Becoming what God wants us to be is more important than what we are doing. If we become what he wants us to be, then our lives will line up with what he wants us to do. Our goal is to be like Jesus, this requires transformation. We read in Romans that we are not to confirm to the ways of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. To conform means to become like the fashion or appearance of another. To transform is to change from within. We are to be set apart and not look like the world. As long as you are trying to please the world, you are going to have problems living a Godly life. We cannot please God and the world at the same time. We must resist the pressure to conform to what the world says is right. God's word is true and has not changed. There are 7 areas not to be conformed. 1) Affections. The world says to live life to the fullest at the moment. We read in Matthew 6:31-33 that we are to seek first the kingdom of God first and he will give us what we need. There is nothing wrong with having nice things, we need to make sure we don't serve it. 2) Values. The world says that the one with the most toys wins and to look out for number one. Jesus says that it pays to serve. When we do the right thing, God has a way of taking care of us. 3) Morals. The world says to do what you want with your body. In I Corinthians 6:19-20 we read that we are bought with a price and our bodies are to glorify God. Sin is sin, God has not changed. If the Bible says it's wrong, it's wrong. 4) Entertainment. The world says to eat, drink and be merry. As a Christian we need to watch what we listen to and watch. We must keep our language clean. 5) Dress/Clothing. The world says to be sexy and to look hot. God says in I Timothy 2:9 to dress in modest apparel. We don't need to dress plain or in all black, but we do need to be modest in our clothing attire. We are representing Jesus Christ. 6) Speech. The world says it's ok to speak with profanity. God says in Ephesians 4:29 that our conversation is to edify the ears those who we are talking to. 7) Use of time. The world says to enjoy life and not take care of what you are doing. Ephesians 5:15-16 tells us to use our time wisely. To conform is to go with the flow. To be transformed is a total change from the inside out. When we are following Christ our transformation to be more like him is a daily and ongoing process. It's an internal process that affects us on the inside and continues to transform us on the outside. The continual transformation comes by fasting, praying and reading God's word. God is good.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Today I took RJ and Ross to the beach. They had a lot of fun building a huge "Hamster Empire" in the sand. After we returned home and had dinner, Bob and I slipped out for a date. We took a nice walk on the sand and watched the sunset. I spent most of my day at one of my favorite places, the Ocean. God is good.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Tonight we had a family outing, Mozart included, to a symphonic concert in Central Park. Tonight's music was performed by Orpheus. They did an outstanding rendition of Beethoven's 7th Symphony. One of the great things about living near NYC, we can enjoy the beauty of classical music in a unique environment like, Central Park. We had a nice time. God is good.
Monday, July 20, 2015
This Sunday Bro. Joe Ferragamo preached a real good sermon. His title was, “Someone Who Is Worth Losing Everything For". He preached from Matthew 4:18-22. He started out by asking if we were totally committed to Jesus and if we were truly giving him everything. When Jesus called his disciples, he was walking by them and said, come follow me. When they did, they left everything behind to follow him. When God calls, he does not do it by accident and plans every step. Jesus has a distinct purpose for your life. He wants us to follow him completely and give everything to him. When we are disciples and followers of Christ, we mold our lives after him. The more of Jesus inside of us, the more we become like him. Bro. Ferragamo then talked about several different men that came to see Jesus about being followers of him. In Luke 9 we read about the a man who said he wanted to follow him and Jesus said ok, but reminded him that when you follow Christ you leave everything. When you follow Christ, you may not have a place to lay your head to rest at night. The man didn't like this and went away. The next man came and said before he followed Christ, he wanted to bury his father. Jesus told him to let the dead bury the dead. What many don't know is that his father was probably not dead at the time, the man was wanting to wait around until his father had passed away, so he could gather his inheritance. Jesus wanted him to be willing to follow Christ regardless, he wanted his love for Jesus to be greater than his love for his family. God wants to be first and foremost in our lives. Sometimes we look at God like he is a vending machine. It's always about what can he do for us and not what can we do for him. To be a disciple of Christ, we are to be a servant to our brothers and sisters in Christ. True ministry is to be a servant. When we say we want to be a follower of Christ, we need to be willing to give him everything. We all have something that is very important to us. When we give it to God, we are saying he is first in everything we do. God will always take care of us, when we put him first. Is Jesus really worth your giving everything up for? Is there something, someone that you place your value so high that you put it first before God? I learned a long time ago, when you don't give it to God, you lose it anyway. Even if my friends and family turn my back on me, I will serve the Lord. Even is this world thinks I'm crazy, I will serve the Lord! God is good.
Sunday, July 19, 2015
Today's service was a good one. I will blog about it tomorrow. Today, after service ended, we joined some friends from church for dinner at their home. We had a really good time and before we knew it, time had flown by. Some of the families there, I knew by name, but never really got to know them. It was really nice to know them beyond a face. We truly are the family of God and I'm thankful for a night of laughter filled fellowship. God is good.
Saturday, July 18, 2015
Tonight Bob took RJ and Ross into Times Square to see the sights. They had a guys night out. They went tothe NYC Public Library, the really big ToysRUs store, climbed the red steps in the heart of Times Square and visited Bryant Park. It's good to have RJ and Ross back home. Tomorrow, we look forward to being in the presence of the Lord. God is good.
Friday, July 17, 2015
We were very happy to see RJ and Ross today. It was super quiet in the house and it will be nice to have them home again. They are tired, but had a blast all week at Grammies house. I'm sure she will miss them, but be glad to have some order back in her home. We are in the midst of our summer and now it's going to go super quick. Lots more fun headed our way. God is good.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Tonight's lesson for our Home Bible Study Group, has the wheels in my mind spinning. A question was asked in regards to how we are with people. When you are around people, are they your business? Do you love them? There was a pastor and evangelist who preached all over the world. When he was dying the Lord came to him and spoke with him. He told him that he ministered to tens of thousands of people in your life. But wanted to know if he loved them. This man was shocked and thought about it and wept because the answer was no. He cared, he was there and he prayed, but he didn’t love them. This man repented and God forgave him. We go about our daily life routines and can be so busy that we don't even "see" the person we are interacting with. We can have compassion for someone, we can have empathy and even help them. But, there is a step further to go, do we love them? Christ was the ultimate example of love, because he died for us. Loving someone goes beyond our human nature. It's easy to love someone who loves you, but what about someone who curses you. Can you still love them? I'm not talking about being a doormat or allowing yourself to be abused. I am talking about looking at them and loving them regardless. I think this is only possible with the help of God. If you look at thriving churches, you will see and feel something found in all of them. There is a sense of love one for another. We are all flawed people in the need of God's grace. How can we not give love to our brother or sister? These thoughts are pondering inside of me and I ask God to help me. I want to look beyond the exterior and see the soul inside. I believe only God can give me the ability to do this. When you are doing for another, search yourself. What is your motive, is it for personal gain or is it out of selfless love? I have a long way to go to be like the Lord. God is good.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
For our date tonight, Bob and I attended a Symphony concert in Central Park. One of the highlights of our summer is to attend the concerts featured at the Naumberg Shell in the heart of the park. Tonight's feature was the Boston Symphony Chamber Players. The music was excellent and we scored bench seats with a perfect view. Thankfully the rain from earlier in the day went away and we were serenaded under a starlit sky. It was a wonderful evening. God is good.
Monday, July 13, 2015
Yesterday, Bro. Steve Smith preached an outstanding sermon. Before he preached the atmosphere was filled with praise and worship. It felt as if there were Angels standing near with a weapon in one hand and a harvesting sickle in the other hand. I could feel that even though great opposition is going to come against those who follow Christ, it will be the greatest time of "harvest" the church has ever known. Bro. Smith, true to form, preached a masterpiece of a sermon. I will do my best to share it with you. His title was, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God". His main Bible reading was from Psalms 46:1-11 with an emphases on verse 10. He also referenced the story of King Hezekiah in II Kings chapter 19. He started off by saying that our pain is great, but God's presence is just as real. When we read Psalms, we read about how God is our hope in the storm and when there is thunder and lightning, we are safe in God. When we dig deeper into the source of what caused the Psalm to be written, we learn some very powerful lessons. Many theologians believe that Psalm 46 is in reference to II Kings chapter 19. The Assyrian army was on a conquering path. They were bringing destruction everywhere they went and were consuming anything in their path. The nation of Judah was ruled at the time by King Hezekiah. Unlike previous Kings before him, he was a man who lived right in the sight of the Lord. The Assyrian king knew this and when they came to Judah, he didn't challenge King Hezekiah, he challenged the God of Judah. They did not believe that the God, Judah served could defeat them. Even though the Assyrian armies were outside the walls shouting threats. Inside the walls of Judah there were two prophets, Isiah and Micah. They told King Hezekiah to ignore what the Assyrians were saying and to leave it to God. He made a choice to walk by faith and not by sight. King Hezekiah took the letter of threats that the Assyrians sent to them and laid it before the Lord. He prayed and waited in faith. God answered and sent an Angel who slew the Assyrian army while the people of Judah slept. God had taken up the challenge, he heard the prayer of Hezekiah and delivered them. God was their defender. Psalms 46 is a testimony to remember what God had done. It's to remind us of the limitless power of God. No barrier is too great for God to overcome. God's strength and power is the same today as it was in the days of Hezekiah. God is our refuge and strength in the time of trouble. When trouble comes, we go to him first and he will cover us. God is ageless and is always available. We must realize that this same God's spirit resides within us. When the devil comes knocking at your door, let Jesus open it. He has all power. Remember that the devil is a fallen angel. He cannot mess with the living water of Christ that dwells within you. God is a mighty fortress and he protects you. How you view the battle in your mind affects the outcome. Keep your mind on Jesus and he will fight and win the battle for you. God is good.
Sunday, July 12, 2015
Today service was outstanding. I plan to talk about it in tomorrow's blog. When church had ended, we joined about 25 couples for a 5 hour dinner cruise. It was really nice to meet new people and spend time with good friends. I'm thankful for our church family. God is good.
Saturday, July 11, 2015
We have had a nice week in NJ with family. Bob enjoyed his birthday. Today we joined our niece Taylor in celebrating the life of her best friend who recently passed away. Presently, Bob and I are heading home while Ross and RJ stay for an extra week with Grammy. I'm having separation issues, while RJ seemed excited and perfectly fine with the fact that he won't see me for several days. I have no doubt they are going to have a blast. Bob and I will have some fun too. Despite all this, I see that he is growing up. He's still my little boy, but I can see he is getting bigger and starting to "stand" on his own. It's as if he's excited about a chance to discover himself as a big boy. Letting go just a bit is necessary and healthy. As much as it makes my heart break,I'm letting go just a bit. God is good.
Friday, July 10, 2015
We decided to go to Ocean City tonight. We had dinner at our favorite place, Litterer's and then enjoyed some rides. RJ bypassed the little kiddie rides (except for the elephant ride) and wanted to go straight to some bigger kid rides. I can see year 8 is soon upon us and it's going to be a year of great change. Grammy and the boys went on a bumper car ride duel and had a blast. We ended the night with a ride on the Carousel. It was a delight to see her beaming from ear to ear while she rode up and down on her horse. It was a fun night and more great memories were made. God is good.
Thursday, July 09, 2015
Today was a day of work. The boys helped Bob do some painting and things that needed to be done around the house. Tomorrow will be another day of fun in the sun. The week here is going by quickly. Presently, as I write there is a storm outside, I can see lightning and hear the thunder as the rain comes pouring down. My favorite part of the day, was having a cup of coffee with my sister in love Jen. God is good.
Wednesday, July 08, 2015
Tonight my niece did something pretty awesome. She was out in her ice cream truck and when it started to rain headed back home. On her way home, it started pouring down with thunder and lightning. She saw a young lady on the side of the road at a bus stop, getting soaked. Taylor decided to pick her up and see where she was going. She brought her to the house and we all made a new friend. I know not everyone on the side of the road is safe to pick up and we need to use caution. She said she was not sure where she was since she was on her way to visit someone. She was scared and getting super wet. She said a prayer and asked God to help her and he did through Taylor. She stayed for dinner and Taylor along with her boyfriend took her to her destination. The Bible tells us that we entertain Angels unawares. We also read that when we do it to the least, we are doing it to him as well. She was a sweet girl and I pray that God continues to be a part of her life and guide her. I love my niece and am sanctified proud of her kind heart. God is good.
Tuesday, July 07, 2015
Today we celebrated Bob's birthday. He did what he likes to do and did some work in the yard and some painting. Then we went to the lake for some water fun. It was clear we all had been in the sun. Later in the evening we had homade meatballs and spaghetti followed later by cake. It was nice to celebrate with family. It was a simple day and just how Bob likes it to be. I'm glad he had a happy day today. God is good.
Monday, July 06, 2015
Bob's birthday is tomorrow and he likes to spend it in NJ. We packed the car up and made our way through the NY traffic into the open roads of Jersey. When we arrived, RJ and Joe Joe had a water fight, while Ross attended a baseball game that Noah and Joe were playing in. We ended the evening by all meeting together for a late night of ice cream at a local custard stand. It was a nice time and it was enjoyable to hear the kids laughing and having a good time. It has been a good day and hopefully the start of a great birthday for Bob. God is good.
Sunday, July 05, 2015
Today we had one of my favorite speakers at Bethel. I always like it when Bro. Steve Smith comes to preach. The title of his sermon was "Greater" and he read from I John 4:1-4. It would seem the theme throughout the service was to prepare the church in America to be ready to stand for what they believe in, as a true follower of Christ. We need to realize that no matter what is being said or done, we have someone greater inside of us, Jesus Christ. We must remember that God is greater in us, then what is taking place in the world. David was victorious over Goliath. We must realize that he had already been found faithful in God delivering him in the past, way before he even came against Goliath. David knew that God was greater and he was not afraid. How you see yourself is how you will be in your situation. David knew who he was in God and he was confident that Goliath was going to be defeated. When the enemy comes and tells you to do things in their terms, you can chose to ignore the lies and stand strong on God's word. We must resist to fight on the enemy's terms. We are victorious when we on the defense and not on the offense. Take a stand and know who you are in Christ. When you are faithful to God and win in private victories, God is able to trust you and you will be victorious in the public battles. No matter what comes you way, never forget that God is greater in you. Know his word, for the Bible is your sword to help you win the battle. I want to add to this. The time has come that if you call yourself a Christian you are going to be challenged for choices you make. Many things in society today are the opposite of what is taught in the word of God. If you do not know what The Bible says, you can become confused and not have a strong foundation to stand upon. Hold to the truth of God's word and no matter what comes you way, do not relent. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. I also would like to recommend a very good song that was just released on iTunes by Jessica DiGiovanni. The song is called, “Defend Us". I think it is a good song and prayer to pray for the current times we are in as Christians. You can listen to it here or on youtube here. God is good.
Saturday, July 04, 2015
We like to keep with tradition on the 4th of July, to attend Old Bethpage Restoration Village. Everyone is in full costume and the history about this day is taught in such a fun way. We love the music played on the Hammer Dulcimer and the music sung from a better time. God was first and foremost in their lives. You can see it in their homes and in the music they sang. America has fallen far from the grace they once walked in. As for our home, we choose to walk the old paths and today is a good way to stay on point. We loved every part of it from the music to the 700 pound pig! Later in the evening we decided to try something new and headed to Glen Cove. Morgan Memorial Park was having a classical music symphony with fireworks following. The music was outstanding! The fireworks were no where near as great as NYC, but they were good. Overall, the day was a wonderful one. Happy Birthday America and may you remember your roots and turn your heart to God once again. God is good.