Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New baby!

My parents just welcomed a new addition to their family!  Not the two-legged kind, as in another grandchild, but the four-legged kind, as in a longhorn calf.  Yes, Freckles was born early (that means before 8:00) Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago.  My mother said she had "slept in" until 7:30 when she looked out the window and noticed all the horses looking in the same direction.  When that happens, you also naturally look in that direction. 

The cow, Blossom, was standing over her newborn, licking him and looking bewildered (first time mom).

My dad was out later in the day, checking out the new baby.  Freckles is a boy, by the way, and no longer a bull calf but a steer.

Here's a picture of the new family.  Dad is Bully (and that he is! you don't mess with him), mom is Blossom, and new baby is Freckles. 

What a wonderful way to start out a day, watching a new life before you. 

Genesis 1:24-25 says, "And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.  And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good."  God made it so that everything reproduces after it's own kind.  A horse a horse, a cow a cow, etc.  I wonder what Adam thought when he saw all the creatures, and how he felt when he was given the awesome responsibility to name them all and take care of them all!  It gets a bit difficult coming up with names for the few creatures born at my parents' place!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

5k Run in Prattville, Alabama

Before race.  My son is #499. 

This past Saturday my son's soccer team (7th - 12th grades) participated in a local 5k race.  Our soccer team is not very well known, although the football team is known all over the state and has even won nationals.  In any case, the booster club thought this would be a good way to promote our team.  And it was.

He's almost there! 

Saturday started out cold.  Well, here in the south 30° is what we call cold!  The sun was shining, however, and the day was beautiful.  A bunch of our guys gathered together to warm up.  The coach has been conditioning our guys (no soccer balls allowed until this week; only endurance building) since early December.  In fact, if they did not run Saturday's race, then they were scheduled to run 5 miles the Friday afternoon before.  So a 5k should be no big deal to any of them. 

More than 500 people signed up to run or to participate in the 1 mile walk which was scheduled after the run.  There were people of all shapes, sizes and ages participating, including babies pushed in strollers by their running dads or moms.  Even dogs participated in the event.  People came from not just our area, but from even out of state. 

Crossing the finish line of his first race!

Let me tell you about two of the runners in particular.  The first was a gentleman in his 30s/40s who was dressed appropriately for running.  When the race began, he was one of the first five to go.  When the race ended, he was the first across the line with a time of 17:58.  This man was an experienced runner.  No one was even close to him in time. 

The second runner is a senior in high school, one of our soccer players.  I had expected him to be high in the finishing.  This guy is that good. When he showed up well over 40 minutes into the race, dragging and looking beat, I was shocked.  Something must have happened.  There was no way this guy could be so far back (he was one of the first five, along with the gentleman mentioned above).  When it came time for the awards, the emcee made a special, public apology to this young man. It turns out that although he was in the front of the race at the beginning, he had been given faulty directions along the way by a group of bystanders, and went in the opposite direction, up hills, and a good distance away, and had made it back.  Everyone was shocked!  This young man had not given up, he finished the course.  I am so pleased to have this kind of attitude on our team.

He looks beat.

Now let me tell you about the rest of the race.  I don't remember the exact time, but before the first 22 minutes passed our guys (soccer team) started coming in.  At 24:10 my son came in!  He was in the top twenty to cross the line.  This was his first ever race.  He turned fifteen on the 14th of this month.  My younger son said he saw him pass, and his hair was flying in the wind!  All of our guys finished the race.  Our guys finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in their age group. I was so proud I could bust a button!

Now I have been motivated to work extra hard, get in shape and be ready to run in next year's 5k.  

I have had personal times like the second runner.  I have chosen to go in the wrong way, which has resulted in detours and hard times.  However, I had done my best to push on and to finish a good race.  Sure I stumble and fall -- a lot!!  But the point is to keep on going.  I believe Paul puts this into perspective in I Timothy 6:12 "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses." Read the whole chapter!  II Timothy 4:6-8 says "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."

Photo op with my sister.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Bible Study - Acts 22 - 24

This post is in conjunction with a Bible study being led by Rachel at

These three chapteres in the book of Acts are so power packed!  I am glad our moderator broke our study down so that these chapters were together. They tell the story of Paul's defense of himself before the Jews, how he gave his testimony, how he was rescued several times by the chief captain, how he gave his testimony before Felix the governor, and how he was left imprisoned for two years.  Let's take a look...

I had to go back to the end of Acts 21 to get a little background.  Chapter 22 begins with Paul's speech to the Jews.  He had been pulled out of the temple in Jerusalem, and the Jews were going to kill him.  As noted at the end of chapter 21, he was rescued by the chief captain (Roman).  As he was being led into the castle, Paul stopped on the steps and asked the chief captain if he could address the Jews. 

In chapter 22 Paul begins with his address.  He pointed out to the people, in Hebrew, that he was a Jew's Jew.  He was zealous in his devotion to God.  He had studied under one of the greatest teachers of the time, Gamaliel (who was himself highly respected in Israel -- see Acts 5:33-35).  He was a Pharisee of the Pharisees.  He was so zealous to his religion, to his God, that he happily persecuted Christians, even unto their deaths.  Whether those he persecuted were men or women did not matter.  And he did this under the knowledge and direction of the chief priests and the council.  On his last trip (this time to Damascus) Paul had an experience that changed his life forever.  It changed him from the old man to the new, from a man named Saul to a man newly named Paul.  He testified that he was met by Jesus of Nazareth, who accused Paul of persecuting him. In another account of this conversion experience, Jesus tells Paul it is hard to kick against the goads.  The goads that were coming from the Holy Spirit, the knowledge that what those of the Way were saying was the truth. A man who had been zealous for God would now be zealous to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Saviour, the Son of God.  His eyes had been willfully, spiritually closed to the gospel of Jesus, purposefully rejecting Him as just another false teacher, until that meeting on the road to Damascus.  Now, his spiritual eyes (as well as his physical eyes which had been blinded by this encounter) were opened to the Truth, the Way.  It was no mistake that God chose such a zealous man to be His witness to the Gentiles!  Think of the drive Paul had, and when it was turned in the proper direction, he was able to influence the world for Christ. 

Paul told about Ananias.  The man who came to Paul at God's bidding and told him to regain his sight, be converted, and be baptized.  Ananias, I am sure, had known why Paul had intended to go to Damascus -- to persecute the Christians.  Paul made a point of stating that Ananias said "The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.  For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard."  Did Ananias think maybe this was  a ploy on Paul's part?  A trap?  In any case, he was obedient to God and spoke with Paul. 

The Jews listened to all that Paul had to say, until he got to the part where he was met again by Jesus, and Jesus told Paul he would be sent to the Gentiles.  I find the response  of the Jews (Acts 22:22)interesting, "And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live."  They listened to him until he said that he was being sent to the Gentiles, people they considered unfit to hear and share about their God.  They went so far as to throw off their clothes and throw dirt in the air.

Once again, Paul had to be rescue by the chief captain who again took him to the castle, this time to beat him into telling why the Jews were so upset with him.  Paul escaped the beating by asking the centurion if it were lawful to scourge a Roman, someone who had not been condemned.  This surprised the chief captain when he heard about it, so much so that he was afraid because he had unlawfully bound a Roman citizen.  According to The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, to be a Roman citizen gave that person important rights such as “the right of appeal after a trial, exemption from imperial service, right to choose between a local or Roman trial, and protection from degrading forms of punishment like scourging…most people who claimed citizenship were trusted since the penalty for impersonating a Roman citizen was death.”

The next day Paul was brought before the high council, the Sanhedrin, and the chief priests, where Paul once again tells them that he has done nothing that he would be ashamed of before God. This incites the high priest Ananias to command Paul to be struck on the mouth. When Paul protests with, the people claim that he is reviling God’s high priest.

Paul discerned that there were both Pharisees and Sadducees among those present and proclaimed that he was a Pharisee, knowing that the Pharisees and Sadducees were deeply divided in their religious views. Paul’s claim caused an uproar because as a Pharisee, Paul was claiming that he believed in the resurrection of the dead, and stated that was why he was being questioned. The Pharisees, of course, sided with Paul, and said that they could find no fault in Paul. They did not want to “fight against God.” Such a disagreement occurred that the chief captain was afraid Paul was going to be torn apart by the Pharisees and Sadducees, and he once again had to rescue Paul. “Go down and…take him by force from among them.” God comforted Paul during the night and once again told him that he would be His witness to the Gentiles, specifically to Rome.

Such hate was had for Paul that 40 of the Jews decided to bind themselves together with an oath, vowing that they would neither eat or drink until they had killed Paul. They took their plan before the chief priests and elders who gave their approval. It was agreed by the council that they would make it seem that they needed to question Paul again, and that the 40 would waylay Paul and kill him. However, Paul’s nephew found out about the plan and told Paul, who had him tell the chief captain. Once again the chief captain had to rescue Paul, this time deciding he would get Paul out of that area, taking him with a great guard (200 soldiers, 70 horsemen, and 200 spearmen, at 9:00 at night). Four hundred and seventy men to guard one man, Paul! It makes me realize how serious the situation was. Satan was at work, but God was ahead of him the whole time.

Paul arrived in Caesarea with a letter from the chief captain to the governor Felix. The governor was concerned about where Paul was from. Was he really a Roman citizen?  When Paul answered from Cilicia, the governor told him he would be heard when his accusers arrived.

Chapter 24 begins with Ananias the high priest, the elders, and along with a “certain orator named Tertullus” arriving five days after Paul. Tertullus began to expound on Paul’s crime. He was a “pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes: who also hath gone about to profane the temple…” Tertullus was true to his job description, he could embellish the truth (a “pestilent fellow?”). Notice how Tertullus calls them a sect of the Nazarenes, and not followers of the Way, or Christians (people of the Christ/people of the Messiah). After his speech, the Jews all said that Tertullus spoke the truth.

Paul was given a turn to speak by the governor. Paul claimed that he was not disputing anything in the temple with any man, neither was he creating an uprising among the people, either in the temple or in the city. “Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me.” Paul does acknowledge, however, and he calls it the Way, that he does worship the God of their fathers, that he believed all things in the law, and he had a hope toward God, which he said the Jews accepted. He had a clean conscience. He was bringing alms, or gifts, to those in Israel who needed assistance. Paul stated that those who were in the temple with him (Acts 21:26-27) should have been brought before the governor as well, to testify if they had a problem with what Paul had done. But they were not there. Paul stated that the real reason he was in trouble was concerning the resurrection of the dead. Felix had apparently heard of the Way previously, and had accurate information concerning them. He adjourned the proceedings and said that he would make a judgment.

Paul was handed over to a centurion but was allowed to move about freely and have visitors who could provide for him. Eventually Felix sent for Paul. Felix’s wife Drusilla (the daughter of Herod Agrippa I and sister of Agrippa II and Bernice) was also present. Felix was greatly affected by Paul’s words, so much so that he was convicted by Paul’s teachings and trembled, was afraid. He told Paul to “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” It is not known if Felix ever became a follower of the Way (see II Corinthians 6:2 “For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation”).  Felix had an ulterior motive for keeping Paul imprisoned. Verse 26 says that “he hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.” Remember verse 17 of this same chapter? Was Felix wanting that money for himself? Or was he hoping that someone would buy Paul’s freedom at a great price? Verse 27 states that Felix kept Paul imprisoned for two years, and upon leaving office he left Paul in prison, wanting to show the Jews a favor.

This was a long three chapters, but to me they speak strongly of the steadfastness of God. When it seems that trials are to much to bear, God always makes a way for us to endure those trials. That doesn’t mean that things will be easy. It means that God is there, helping you to carry the burden. Paul was given strength, determination, and a good reasoning mind to deal with the Jewish council and with the Romans. He was well prepared to defend himself before both. He knew how to use his Roman citizenship to the best advantage. He knew how to use the fact that he was a Pharisee to his advantage. Paul did not use deceit or trickery, he stated the facts. Remember Matthew 10:16 says “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Read the rest of that section, through verse 23.) Isn’t this exactly what Paul did? Shouldn’t we also be just as prepared?

~ Reese

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Book Review: The Jesus Inquest

The Jesus Inquest
The Case For and Against the Resurrection of the Christ
By:  Charles Foster
Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Copyright 2010

In his book The Jesus Inquest, author Charles Foster puts forth persuasive arguments from both sides of the question:  was Jesus really resurrected from the dead?  Other questions argued are did Jesus really die?  Was his body stolen?  Did he really physically rise again?  Did the disciples just think they had seen the risen Lord?  Was it all a big cover-up -- they had gone too far and they could not go back on what they said?  Was Pilate in some way involved?  What of the recorded sightings of Jesus in Egypt or India after his death?  What about the Jesus family tomb?  Mr. Foster's "X" and "Y" set forth their case, with their evidence, each arguing strongly the point that Jesus was or was not resurrected. 

I found this to be a very interesting book full of photos and illustrations, information about the Shroud of Turin and the Jesus family tomb, etc.  Extensive notes are included, with all of the sources documented.  Read for yourself and come to the only obvious conclusion -- either you believe what the Bible has to say or you do not.

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of Booksneeze.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


We should always give praise and glory to God, but there are some times when you just can't stand it and have to share: 

My youngest son (13) had knee surgery in November (see background story here:  The surgery was preceded by an ER visit by my ex-husband and my son at 2:00 a.m. on November 1st (insurance coverage expired midnight Oct. 31st) and resulted in charges of a great deal of money, which I found out about through denial forms from our insurance company.   Today I called the ER to find out why I haven't received any bills and when to expect them, and was told that on December 20th they wrote off all charges on my son saying they "gave assistance" when they realized the visit was not covered by insurance.  

Isn't God incredible!?!

Psalm 118:29 "O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever."

~ Reese

Monday, January 10, 2011

$25.00 Gift Certificate Giveaway -- Change can be a good thing!

Here's a departure from my usual post.  Have you thought about changing up your home decor?  Let's take the dining room, for instance.  What is your preference?  Is it modern dining room furniture?  Do you like the country style?  How about minimalist?  Or are you like me and is it traditional? Actually, I would say I am a throw back to the lines of the 1950s and 1960s.  I love the burnished nickel or brass, the clean lines, etc., you find on furniture common to that era.  My dining room, however, has a touch of everything.  I inherited my grandparents' dining table and chairs, which is absolutely beautiful.  I also inherited their corner china cabinet which was made by my dad for my grandparents' 25th wedding anniversary.  I also have a framed mirror in shades of silver. Everything looks good and goes well with my hardwood floors.  Maybe I should just update the curtains or the linens. 

I think I'll head over to CSN Stores (which has over 200 online stores and you can find everything I mentioned above, plus a whole lot more!) and see what I can find.  Why don't you join me?  Leave a comment on your personal style here on my post and you will automatically be entered to win a $25.00 gift certificate from CSN Stores to help you get your shopping started.  Change can be a good thing, right?

(Please do not post any comments to the Facebook page of CSN, since it violates Facebook policies)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Bible Study Challenge

Have you heard of the E100 Challenge?  It's  a Bible reading plan that takes you through 50 essential stories of the Old Testament and 50 essential stories of the New Testament.  If you choose to do the study as an individual, you can download (free) their Bible study guide.  Check them out!!

~ Reese

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Where's the Happiness and Joy?

This morning I must have gotten out on the wrong side of the bed!  Today was the first day back to school after Christmas break and my sons weren't very excited about it.  They didn't want to get up!  Anyone have any hints on getting teen boys who are bigger than you out of bed in the morning?   It was raining -- in fact, it sounded like it had been raining all night.  That means that my naturally curly hair is today very naturally frizzy.  Not a pretty picture. I couldn't find my belt this morning, so I have a slight sag in my pants.  I'll be pulling them up all day long...  I forgot coffee!!!  I was held up in traffic by an accident -- not a bad one, but everyone had to look, you know. Which means I was slightly late for work.  Still raining.  There was a pile of stuff in my chair at my desk.  And I had to rush to the boss's office immediately because something should have gone out at 8:01 a.m. (I get to work at 8:00!!).  Oh, boy.  Needless to say, I did not have a cheerful attitude.  In fact, my attitude was quite grumpy (and I am still working on it).   

Somehow or other this reminded me of happiness and joy.  No, I wasn't happy this morning.  In fact, I haven't been the last couple of days!  I should be, my sons are now home after a little more than a week with their dad and his family.  They have been in a wonderful mood, and I even caught one willfully giving money to the other last night when he came up short a few dollars at the cash register (my grin could have lit up the store, I was so proud!). 

Anyway, what's all this got to do with happiness and joy?  Circumstances in my life dictate my happiness.  I am not always happy, even though I love to laugh.  However, I need to remember that my joy comes from God, from my security in Christ as my personal Savior (Galatians 5:22-23, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law).  My joy can never be taken away!  No matter what!

I John 1:4, "And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full."  (Read the whole chapter!)

~ Reese  :-)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Self Control

This morning as I was driving to work, I was hit with the realization that I am lacking in self control.  Oh, that hurt!  I tend to think that I have everything in control.  I have control over my life, my life is going in the direction I want. However, what about my mouth?  What about my attitude?  What about my actions?  I have allowed my own personal selfishness to rule my life.  Here's a look at what the apostle Paul in the Bible says about self control:

Galations 5:19-23 "The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."
 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

Self control seems like such a little thing but it carries over into many areas of my life such as my eating habits, my physical activities, how I react when someone says something I don't like, how I react when I get cut off in traffic (insert raised eyebrow here)....

I have to decide on a daily basis:  do I want to rule my life, or do I want my life to honor and glorify God?  I think I am going to have to stick these verses from Galations on my computer, too.  Pretty soon I won't even be able to see my computer!

I think I have a lot to work on...

~  Reese