Our Family Mission Statement

We are a real family seeking to serve a real and living God. Our desire and mission is to magnify and glorify God in our everyday life at home, church and abroad. Our goal is to help families understand what their purpose and design is in regards to the family; recognize the enemy for who he is and what he is doing; and to point families, both saved and unsaved, to Christ as to become living pictures of Christ and His bride and of God and His children. As families are strengthened the church will be strengthened, therefore, being a brighter light to a dark and hurting world.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Iron Sharpeneth Iron...

By Anna & Elisabeth 
...So a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. 
Proverbs 27:17

A good laugh; a squeeze hug; old-time memories; commonalities and differences; sharing struggles and victories; hard questions and long answers; giggles; moments of thoughtful silence; spiritual encouragement; practical refreshment; sibling talk; walking in mud with socks and enjoying a ride in a 1926 Model T; selfies and wind-blown hair -- just good friends who've known each other since who-knows-when... Those chords go deep! 

Anna and Elisabeth were able to spend some time with the Burnett sisters this past weekend. It had been about eight years since the last time we had spent time in their home... WAY TOO LONG! But what a blessing it was to catch-up, and strengthen the ties of friendship. 

We pray that the Lord continues to draw each of us closer to Himself, working in us that which is well pleasing in His sight so that we can be used for His glory.

"Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart:
so doth the sweetness of a man's friend 
by hearty counsel."
~ Proverbs 27:9 ~

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Noble Calling

By Elisabeth

  Recently I have been pondering the account recorded in book of John verses 15-19, where Peter is faced with the question, "Lovest thou Me more than these?".

 Just the night before, Peter had been out in the deep, faithfully casting his net. Fishing was his trade. He was well acquainted with the ins-and-outs of such a life and had become rather proficient at it. In fact, he was very much of a leader in this endeavor and could comfortably provide for his own by doing such. But this one night, success was just not his...until the Lord told him to cast the net on the right side of the boat. When he followed the Lord's instructions, the reaping was more than he could take in! No doubt he was quite satisfied with the outcome.
As he sat down to enjoy the blessings of the Lord's provision, warming himself with the other disciples near the glowing fire and relishing the rewards of hard labour, he must have thought, "This is the life! I like fishing. I know how to fish. I feel accomplished when my fishing is rewarded. And of course, everyone in town knows me as the fisherman. I can even obey Jesus and be a fisherman! After all, He even helped me do it better and rewarded my efforts! Quitting would be ridiculous."

 Suddenly his thoughts come to an abrupt stop as he realizes that Jesus is speaking to him, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these?"
He immediately thinks, "Why, yes! I would never love anything more than Jesus. Isn't He the one who made my business a success anyway?" So he responds confidently, "Yea, Lord; Thou knows that I love thee."
Then the Lord says something that takes Peter completely off-guard, "Feed my lambs."
WHAT?! Become a shepherd?? That's a completely different task than fishing! And even then, feed lambs? They are helpless, scrawny, little bundles of wool that are utterly dependent on external aid and are hardly worth anything except to be sacrificed. Besides, everyone knows that shepherds are some of the lowest of "businessmen"--if you could even call them businessmen. A shepherd hardly gets any recognition, much less applause. Peter gazed back into the glowing firelight, his mind racing. The taste of fish was still fresh.

 But Jesus asks again, "Lovest thou Me more than these?"
A little disturbed, Peter replies, "Yea, Lord; Thou knows that I love Thee."
Jesus says something next that catches Peter again, but contains a slightly different connotation, "Feed My sheep."
Now sheep are bigger than cute little lambs. They are stubborn, unintelligent, always getting into trouble, or--worse yet--getting lost. They must be constantly watched and guided lest they eat something that would harm them, or walk into a trap. Other predators are unceasingly on the prowl for them, and it does not help that they have difficulty following close to their shepherd and not straying. They are easily swayed by peer-pressure, which, more often than not, leads to certain destruction and are all to easily frightened. And, He had also said, "Feed MY sheep." That meant the product wasn't even his; it was Someone else's! Peter recalled the sheer thrill of pulling up an overflowing net.

 Jesus asks the third and final time, "Lovest thou Me more than these?"
The Bible says that Peter was grieved that He would ask him again; it struck the innermost core of his heart.  Humbly, he answered, "Lord, Thou knows all things [my doubts, my fears, my passions, my longings, my failings, my desires...]; Thou knowest that I love Thee."
Then the Lord says the words once more, with a deeper meaning, "Feed My sheep."
He went on to explain that this would include giving up his own life in a way that was uncomfortable. It would mean that he would not be favored in the eyes of society. He would come to a place where he would not even be able to care for his own self, and would lay down his own life. Then Jesus said two words that rang loud and clear in the hearts of all who heard them, "Follow Me."

  I have heard many applications of this passage, but may I apply it, for now, to those of you who bear the name "mother" or are facing the decision of whether or not that is a title you desire to claim?

 There is much ado for women to go "out there" and fish their living for themselves. It is encouraged, recognized, applauded, and advertised as the way to success. It is also greatly down-looked and despised if you do not "make something of yourself" in the rat-race for popularity and prestigious accomplishment. No doubt when Christian principles are applied in the right way, it often brings better success to any business. And the satisfaction of having your needs and even desires provided is a thrill in itself.
But can you hear the voice of Christ gently asking, "Lovest thou Me more than these--money, social esteem, independence, popularity, and the fulfillment of 'out there'?" Do you hear Him calling, "Feed My lambs. Feed my sheep."?

It is true, shepherding is very different from fishing. It requires much more.
Fishing takes patience. Shepherding takes patient consistency.
Fishing takes bate. Shepherding takes care in nurturing.
Fishing takes knowing the kind of fish and what will lure it. Shepherding takes understanding the heart of each sheep and what will help it.
Fishing--you can chat with your friends and the fish could care less; after all, they're just after the bate. Shepherding--"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." (John 10:27)
Fishing is on occasion, preferably in the good whether. Shepherding is 24/7.
Fishing requires braving the waves to cast a net into the deep. Shepherding requires battling predators, enduring the stormy night, going out alone to recover a wayward lamb...yes, that one matters!
Fishing takes catching a fish so you can live. Shepherding takes giving of your life for your sheep.
Fishing is about cooking up fried fish fillets. Shepherding is about preparing a sacrifice--a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1).

The question echoes to each of us, "Lovest thou Me more than these?" And the call stands, "Feed My sheep."

Do not be discouraged nor overwhelmed, for He does not leave us to figure out how to feed and guide His sheep on our own.... He says, "Follow Me."

"Behold, the Lord GOD will  come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him: behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young."
Isaiah 40:10-11

Monday, March 9, 2015

Steps of Progress

Dear Readers,

To be perfectly honest with you, we have gotten a little pre-occupied with just plain living life these past few months that the thoughts of updating the blog have remained at that: good intentioned thoughts! And just a little nugget of truth: at times when it looks like nothing is going on over here, that is most likely a season that "EVERYTHING" is happening all at once, providing us with just enough time to do the absolute necessities! Our intentions at those times are not to keep you in limbo for long, but allow the flurry to pass, then, in a clear train of thought, get us back on track with semi regular updates, as the Lord allows. But to those of you who have inquired about the hold up, and encouraged us to continue, I thank you! Our heart in keeping this blog going is not to have "broadcasting our life" as the center of our attention and motivation, but that God would use it as a small platform into which a part of our family life can overflow, as He keeps growing us in our walk with Him and with each other, bringing new opportunities to develop each of us into useable vessels that He can use for His glory. As we do have the opportunity to overflow from our hearts in this manner, our prayer is that this blog would be used as a tool specifically for the encouragement and edification of all those who choose to partake of what the Lord allows us to offer in this way.

Here are some of the highlights that have just happened recently.

~ The Lord allowed me to acquire a very needed vehicle through the blessing of my aunt. (Thank you Aunt Rhoda!!)

~ We have survived several minor ice storms within the past couple weeks.. Winter seems to be coming later and later these days! This is the type of weather we dream of around Christmas, but we still had fun :)

~ Josiah is now licensed as a private pilot! WooHoooo!!! And he just turned 18! It is such a joy to see him maturing rapidly into full manhood!

~ Our Church just ended our annual Missions Conference for 2015 themed "In Every House"

~ Sickness has been prevalent, but God is good and so far, we all are on the upward mend again :)

~ The Music Studio has grown up to close to 40 music students, and I have also had the opportunity of beginning a small seasonal music introductory class for children and their families which has been a blast!

~ Papa has been able to step into a more involved role in our home education through some changes at work, and we have been blessed to see him in his full awake hours at home right before he has headed off to work. His health has taken leaps and bounds in the upward mend as he was beginning to fade rather quickly due to his family and work schedules not coinciding with each other. We know we are doing the right thing as the Lord is blessing us in ways beyond what we have dreamed!

Thank you all for your prayers and support! As our family continues to grow in size as well as maturity and abilities, there are always areas that we have not encountered before, and, as Papa continues to reminded us, we are always one season away from losing what we have. But rather than running in fear of the "what-ifs", our goal and desire, with the Lord's help, is to keep our hearts focused on Him no matter where He has us or what we are doing. And a lesson that that I am personally learning right now, and I'm sure I can speak for the rest of my family on this matter, is that as long as my focus is on the Lord and drawing closer to Him, then everything else, no matter how complicated it may seem will fall in place according to His will. That is such a comfort especially in the craziness of life as we have people to see, places to be, things to do and learn, and new adventures just around the corner.

Resting in His care,
Anna for the Team

"According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take head how he buildeth thereupon."
~ 1 Corinthians 3:10 ~