Monday, April 30, 2012

This NEVER gets old

This young lady came to the altar yesterday at Celebration to commit her life to Christ.  Photographer Rachael Rice captured the moment. I noticed the girl's Facebook status after church yesterday afternoon:

Today at church was the best day. ♥ I got saved.

Altar time at Celebration...I never get tired of it...


Youth and children alike join in anointing with oil and laying on of hands for healing...we start 'em up young around here...


We had a healing line yesterday morning for anyone needing a miracle...

We've already gotten several reports of supernatural healings. 


Keep 'em coming, Jesus!

*All photos by Rachael Rice

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Meet two amazing Pentecostal dogs

"Dogs are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole." ~ Roger Caras


 It was my my husband's idea to get Max and Maddie in the first place. I resisted the thought of getting another dog, because I know what it takes to really care for them properly. It's a huge investment of time, energy and money.  We got not one but two dogs. I promptly fell head-over-heels in love with them and the rest is history.

Max is a mix of American Bulldog & Olde English Bulldog.  Maddie is a mix of English Bulldog and Boxer. We go places and do things on our day off but I can't wait to get back home to them. Being away on our day off no longer has the same appeal that it used to. And I don't get as excited about vacation as I previously did because it means leaving them. I anticipate a good time on trips, but it's kind of a double edged sword because it means being away from them and I know no matter how good anyone cares for them they don't do all the pretty much insane  things I do.


The kids complain about how much I baby them, and I just tell them to get to the altar and get over their jealous spirit.






So the rest of my family was away the last few days, for the Fine Arts festival in Ormond Beach, and I was home working, and taking care of the dogs. I wasn't really alone at all because the dogs are amazing company.


Instead of going to their own beds at night, they sleep with me. I love taking naps with them, and sleeping all night between the two of them is pretty much the best snuggling ever.  Larry would never allow that with him at home.  But when it's just me and the dogs at home, we get to break the rules just for that time.


We have whole conversations. All the time.

I say, "Max, hop up on the bed and let Mommy clean your ears," he hops right up. If I say, "are you ready for supper?" they go right to their bowls. "Want to go out?" they go right to the door. "Come give me a hug/kiss"...they do that too. A lot! 


This makes me think they also understand the myriad of  other stuff I pour my heart out to them about. If they could talk instead of just bark, what a tale they could tell. But I know they wouldn't. They are loyal to a fault.

It's been a while since I put photos of them here on the blog and with being with them this weekend I got my good camera out and took some. They happily oblige me when I take pictures. Max is more of a poser than Maddie. He knows how to work it for the camera.

I love Max's expressions. His eyes are always so kind looking, just like his nature.


 Maddie takes over more than the bed...she also takes over Larry's chair while he's gone. 




This is Max's, "Don't blame me! I didn't do it!" look.

If you came to our house, they'd be the first to greet you at the door...

 and see you off when you left, and hate to see you go...

I always say they are "people people". And Larry says, "they're not people, Deanna. They're dogs. So they are dogs who love people."


I say, "whatever Larry...they are people-people to me."


And he says, "that's the problem, you treat them like people. Then they go around thinking they are people."


I say, "I'm not aware that we have a problem..." 

And he says nothing and just rolls his eyes.

I remind him, he's the one who went out and got these dogs in the first place.

Now he has to live with the fact that they've stolen my heart.




And the fact that I talk to them, pray with them, sing to them, blog about them and fall asleep while I'm watching Fox News with them.  




If you haven't already, I hope some day you get to meet my two amazing Pentecostal dogs. For those say it's impossible to have Pentecostal dogs, I simply say how do you know for a fact that they are or are not Pentecostal?


I live with them. A person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument.


They are Pentecostal dogs. Deal with it. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Do you ever get too old for memory verses?


Even though I'm dealing with what I call meno-mind these days, I still believe memory verses are in style.

Memorizing scripture is much easier when you're a kid. Memorizing anything is easier when you're a kid. This is Saturday and I'm too lazy to look up the research today, but I just sorta know this in my knower. Kids just seem to retain information more easily, but that doesn't mean adults can't.

I try to work on memorizing verses on a regular basis even though I'm in my 40's. This week my verse is Psalm 107:20: "He sent His Word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions." 

Why is it so important that we do? Because God's Word is life and truth, not to mention it's actually medicine.

Proverbs 4:20-22 says, "My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life to those that find them and health to all their flesh." (KJV)

   
The Hebrew word for “health” in verse 22 is “medicine.”
God’s Word is actually medicine to our flesh.  

When we take it in daily and meditate upon it, and memorize it (so that when we don't have the Bible in front of us we can just call it up in our minds) it literally works as medication. 

I don't know about you, but I face some days where I reallllllllllly need medication.

The Word is helping me.  Sustaining me. Yep, literally medicating me. It can medicate you too!

Thank God for His Word!

Friday, April 27, 2012

How agreement can change your life

I don't know what the answer to everything is, but I do know one thing that is the appropriate response to everything that will bring answers and that is prayer.


I really believe that history belongs to people who pray. That's just one reason why I do it a lot! Another reason is, I need God so much. I rely on Him every second to get me through.

I'm really blessed to have someone pray for me every single day, and sometimes to have that person actually pray with me. That person is my sister, Shari. (If you've been reading this blog for a while you've probably already read something I've written about her.)

Shari is as passionate about prayer as I am, maybe more. I say probably more because her devotion to Christ pretty much amazes me but that's a whole other blog. Last night she called and we talked and then as we customarily do on every phone call, we ended with prayer. What a blessing is, to touch heaven and come together in agreement for God's hand to move in situations in our lives and in our world.

I had a challenging week this past week, and it shows no signs of stopping. What a blessing in the midst of it all to pray with someone who would stand with me in a powerful prayer of agreement. Circumstances have not changed, but I feel a lift in my spirit just knowing that I am not alone, in my prayer, or otherwise.

I encourage all of you who are reading today who are going through challenges...reach out and join together in prayer with at least one person.  There is power in agreement. Deuteronomy 32:30 says that one can chase a thousand but two can put ten thousand to flight.

Matthew 18:19 says that if two people agree on a thing in prayer, it will be done.

There is power in agreement! Thank God for what He has provided.

 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The key to self-love.
Here it is...


How many of us get upset about all the things we can't control, when we fail to control the one thing we actually CAN control?

My hand is up right now. If you have yours raised, just know you're not alone.

The Lord has spoken to me lately about controlling what I can.

Me.

I heard a quote yesterday by a man named A.B. Simpson, a Canadian minister, theologian and author who said, "Temperance is true self love."   Temperance is another word for discipline, control, and self restraint.

Disciplining yourself is true love. 

There are several areas of my life that I can discipline, control and restrain to make things a lot better. I often fail to do so because I allow my weakness to win instead of God's strength. How much better can my life be if I pursue those areas of temperance?

Some things that touch my life are out of my control. Terribly out of control.

And,there is nothing but prayer that ever has a hope of changing those things. Without God's intervention, it's a pretty bad mess.

I could never do enough to fix it, and truth be told God doesn't want me to fix it.

It's not my assignment.

Yet I get so pained over it, I try to fix it.

Instead of beating my head against the wall over those things, difficult as they are, I have but one choice.

Change myself. 

Do what I can do to change ME, and ask God to change that which I can't.

**In case you're not sure it's okay to love yourself: Mark 12:28-31
 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Let them hear you laugh

 "There she goes again..." 

I buried my face in my husband's shoulder, uncontrollably laughing, trying to get myself semi-under control, (I never get fully under control, lol) as we were out to dinner last night. Our former children's pastor, Trinity Mackley, came into town and stayed with us for the last two nights. We went out to dinner -- he and Larry and I along with Jordan and Savanna. In our conversation which was quite delightful, I was reduced to cry-laughing.

This happens often.

I laugh so hard I sometimes fall off the couch.

Or leave the room.

Or bury my face in a tissue.

I've had passersby thinking I've had too much to drink, when I wasn't drinking at all. One time somebody offered to call me a cab. In all seriousness. That made me laugh even harder.

My kids are used to it. They just say, "there she goes again..." and shake their heads in amusement.

They get a kick out of the fact that I laugh at my own stories and jokes before I can even get the punchline out.

I don't need an audience...I laugh at my own stuff whether anybody's around or not.

Jordan says he doesn't even need to see me to know I'm around -- he can pick out my laugh from a room even pretty far away and know I'm in the vicinity.

I believe it's important to laugh a lot. It helps A LOT with life.

My sister Shari often remarks that life is hard. She follows that up quickly by saying...but God is so good, so faithful. My friend Sheri Hawley says that her Momma told her, "Sheri you're either going to cry a lot or laugh a lot" and says that she made the choice to laugh.

The Bible says laughter is like a medicine. I believe it's an important part of wellness, of life, of relationships and of parenting.

My kids have seen me go through a lot of hard times, more than I ever wanted them to see.  I believe for all the hard times, it's just as important for them to see me experience joy, even over silly things.

It's good for the soul. So good. 
 

Monday, April 23, 2012

You need THIS if you're raising kids! (successfully)

The kids a few years ago on vacation in Pittsburgh

Let me give a word to the wise to parents who wish to raise children who grow up to have Christian character and good values...get yourself a blindfold and a good pair of ear plugs. You'll need it to block out what family members and friends who don't share your values will say.

"Isn't Larry kind of harsh with him?"

"Are seventeen spankings in a row really appropriate? Do you really think that's going to work? Isn't that just doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? That's kinda insanity if you ask me..."

"You aren't letting him participate in drum line at school because they practice on youth group night? How much church does any one kid need? I'm sure he will get positive experiences being a part of the drum line too. How is that really any different from a youth group?"

"Why does your summer revolve around youth camp? Isn't that kind of weird? What if the kids just don't want to go? I never went to church camp and I turned out okay...right?"

"I know so many people who were forced to go to church as kids, and they resent it now and don't ever want to step foot in a church. Hopefully it works out for you."

"Dr. ___________________ says it's a barbaric practice to spank kids. That's what parents did before they knew better."

"You don't let them stay overnight with friends from school if you don't know the kids parents well or agree with their values? Isn't that kind of controlling?"

"Kids will be kids. We did a bunch of crazy crap too when we were kids. Why should your kids be any different? You turned out alright in the end."

"You should just let them go out with whoever they want to, and not worry so much. You're too strict. You're like a parent from the 1950's or something..."

"You're so old school."

"You can't put your kids in a bubble, you know."


Hindsight is 20/20.

Most of the people who said things like this to us now have older teenagers or adult-kids who are a rip roaring mess. Hell on wheels.

I'm so glad I had a very good pair of spiritual ear plugs and a blindfold.

At the end of the day you're the one who's going to have to answer for how you raise your kids.

So raise them right.

You're not raising kids, you're raising adults.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

No greater joy...


All your sons will be taught by the LORD, and great will be your children's peace. Isaiah 54:13


What tops this? Nothing.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Fifteen years but it never gets old...

Fifteen years ago today my life changed forever when this amazing girl came into the world. 

I was so happy, I praised God out loud from my hospital bed and I really didn't care what anybody thought.

Before we had a girl, I wondered if the thrill of having a girl once you had one ever wore off.
Nope. It never does.

She wants to celebrate with Greek food today. Just another thing I love about her. 


Friday, April 20, 2012

Time to breathe

Everybody needs to take time to just breathe. 

Time to do that is in short supply with most people. I get that.

I've learned if I don't carve out [demand] time to breathe, I don't have the ability to contribute to other people, conversations or situations in a beneficial way.

Realize that most people don't have anyone standing in line to command them to do this. Usually you have to demand it for yourself. And that's okay.

It's really one of the most unselfish things you can do because unless and until you do it, you don't have anything to offer a world in need. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Too many "I'm kidding's" are just...too many.

Some of you deal with someone on a regular basis who torments you until you cry. Or maybe you don't cry. You just feel like your head or your heart is going to explode. The tension weighs on your shoulders, creeps up your neck, and pulsates in your head.

They don't consider it torment -- in fact that very thought is laughable to them. It's just teasing. "Relax," they say, "I'm just kidding."

But the kidding doesn't feel so fun. It feels like torment.

And you are tired.

You are very tired.

Bullying doesn't end in an elementary school yard.

You can be 80 years old and be a bully.

All it takes is a steady stream of not-so-funny jabs and constant chipping away at your sanity.

What's the answer to this? Or why am I even posting it?

Simply to say:

You're not crazy.
You're not alone.
And just in case you're wondering -- Jesus would never, never, never do that.
Not even in kidding.

Just sayin'.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

One thing that can change your prayer life


Praying out loud brings a difference in answered prayer, for me.

Do I believe it's different because God hears me more? No.
Do I believe I need to say it out loud or louder for God to pay attention? No.
Do I believe God only hears prayers that are said out loud? No.

The difference, at least for me, is that when I hear it out loud, it does something for me.


There is a different level of faith-building intensity when something is just in my mind, versus speaking it out loud.

I have thoughts in my mind that things need to come, or go, but when I speak it and say with confidence and authority and say, "you need to leave" -- wow. I'm amazed by how different it feels. And that feeling tends to fuel a passion to engage in even more prayer, which always brings a difference.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Why some kid's brains don't develop properly


"Mom, I need to talk to you..." or "Mom, I need something..." is always followed by this reply from me:

"It'll cost you."

And they know exactly what the price will be.

The cost is always a hug or a kiss and depending on the day I may even require a whole bunch of them before I do or say anything.

Yes, I expect this even though they are 22, 21, and 15.  The majority of the time they love it. When they are running late or pre-occupied they sometimes don't. But too bad. ;)  I expect this from them every single day, and I get what I'm expecting.

Sometimes during the teenage years the kids pull a way a bit but I've learned that's the time that a parent should never back off from appropriate affection. They need it more than ever.
 
Children need loving and affirming touch. In fact, they need it not only to survive, but to be healthy. Studies have shown  that babies who receive a mother's affection  have less anxiety, hostility and general distress. The same studies show that maternal affection has a critical long-range impact on mental health and emotional coping skills. One study shows that a mother's affection toward a child actually helps their brain develop!

A mother's loving touch never goes out of style throughout the seasons of a child's life.

Giving affection to infants seems natural to most, whether boys or girls. It doesn't seem odd or awkward to lavish our affection on a little baby. But when the "baby" gets taller than you, and he starts to shave, many Moms may be tempted to think the affection is not only unneeded and awkward.  The truth is, it is needed no matter how awkward you may feel.


Show them affection even if they seem to be indifferent.
Hug them even when they have been disobedient.
Reach out to them no matter what message they are sending to you outwardly.

I've heard parents say, "you know, I'm just not a huggy person."

Here's a word for you today:  GET OVER YOURSELF.

It's not about you.

Being a parent is not all about what's good for you, what's comfortable for you, or what fits your personality.

 If this doesn't come naturally to you, ask God to help you do all you can to develop it for the health of your family relationships.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Should Moms talk bad about their kids?

A lot of people tell me how great my kids are.


I agree, they are pretty stellar. ;)

The above picture is of three of them. A fourth is in heaven waiting for us.

Once my boys were eighteen, I regretted not having even more kids. The reason is because I was amazed at how well the boys turned out despite all my mistakes. And, I realized a lot of what we always believed about raising Godly kids before we even had kids really does work!  As a parent it takes many years to see results. "Training up a child in the way he/she should go" takes a lonnnnng time. Once I saw those results, it was too late to have more. Larry is fine -- quite satisfied with our three. I on the other hand, always tend to believe that, "Too much of a good thing is...wonderful." ;)

I have a confidence now that I didn't have when they were younger. Because quite honestly, I didn't know for sure that they would share our values or serve God when they grew up. I only prayed my guts out that they would.

Larry and I have always had pretty strong views on how we wanted to raise our kids for the Lord but I was kind of quiet about much of what we strongly believed until recently for two reasons. Number one, my kids were still young and the jury was still out on whether they would choose to be Christians. Number two, a lot of times when a minister speaks out strongly on something like this, it's exactly what the enemy attacks. And I really don't welcome attacks on my family although I have weathered a lot of them.

The older Dustin, Jordan and Savanna get and the more they grow in God, the easier it gets to speak with more credibility.

So what's the point of this post? I want to share one of my most important values in raising my own children and that is, a parent needs to always speak well of their child.

Always.

 I believe this to the core of my being. This might seem like a trite thing to bring up, as if it doesn't need to be said. But that's not true.

Listen carefully and you'll be amazed at how much negative information people share about their children.


You will see it on Facebook statuses.

You will hear it at women's ministries meetings.

You will hear it when female family members get together and chat. 

People do it all in the name of venting.

Children are a blessing from God. Is it okay to gossip about them just because we're stressed? We all have experienced Christians sharing negative information disguised as prayer requests. Moms do it in the name of burden bearing. But really, are our kids a burden or a blessing? 

Not long ago somebody privately asked me, "Do your kids ever do anything wrong?"

Of course.  They are human beings.

I said to the person asking, "Why do you even ask me such a question?" And they said, "Because you never tell people what your kids have done wrong. You never blog about their wrongs. You never Facebook your frustrations with them. You are silent about their shortcomings and just talk about how great they are."

I believe that's a mother's job. For life.

I do share crazy stories about Jordan's adventures, his McDonald's episode and lots of other true-to-life humorous stories. But sharing his shortcomings or my displeasure publicly about things he does or doesn't do or in discussion with family members, friends, or groups? No. No. No. A thousand times no.

I explained to the person inquiring about whether my kids do anything wrong that there are some pretty strong reasons I hold the view of always speaking well of them, although I won't get into the particulars. But suffice it to say, I determined before my kids were even born that I would never paint them in a negative light to family, friends or anyone else. Kids have enough people in life who are going to flaunt their flaws or what they perceive as their flaws.  If their own Mom can't unwaveringly affirm them, WHO WILL?

So where is a mother to take frustration when you are parenting youngsters or even having challenges with grown children? 

I believe it benefits us to examine our own hearts. Do I ever get frustrated as a mother? Of course. Have I ever shared with others that I am frustrated in my role as a parent? Sure. And I believe my perspective should be one of: How I can be a better parent?  What are MY shortcomings? How do I need to improve?  How can I best lead my children when they are in the home? How can I serve as an even better Godly example once they grow and leave our home?

It's another blog for another day but I will just say that the greatest way I've ever seen change happen in my children's lives was through changing myself.

A major key to their confidence and health is my affirmation as their mother, not just to them personally but also in what I say to others. That means what I say when they are around, or when they aren't! 

My goal in purposely not discussing their faults doesn't mean I want people to believe they are perfect. That's  fallacy. They aren't perfect. Neither am I. No one is. But it's simply not in a real mother's job description to share her kids' faults. It's our job to love, to build up.  Proverbs 14:1 says, "The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down."

So are we building our kids or are we tearing them down?

Now, with that said,  I think it would only be fitting to show you four most recent pictures of these amazing blessings God has entrusted to me here on earth...
Dustin leading worship





Jordan playing drums for worship

Savanna at the recent Pirates spring training

And here are some photos of our boys' band, "Our Endeavor." They are a worship band and they do rallies around the state ministering in both church and secular venues. You can like the band's facebook page by going here and clicking "like."  You also won't be sorry if you book them to come for your event. :)  (Just had to add that...like any supportive Momma would.)