Monday, December 31, 2007

Year in Review and Looking Ahead

Here are some questions to help you remember God's providence this past year. They are part of what Dough Phillips recommends. The questions to consider for next year are mine.
Tonight we will have a little fondu party with just our family and my mother and grandmother (who have been here about 2 weeks). We will all have a copy of these questions to discuss together and fill out privately.

What significant household projects did we accomplish in 2007?

What were the most important meetings of the year?

What special friendships were made this year?

Which children lost teeth, and how many?

Who grew in physical stature, and how much did they grow?

Who learned to read this year?

What diet and physical exercise regimen did I maintain to honor “my temple”?

What books did I read? Did we read as a family? Did my children read?

What Scriptures did my family memorize?

What loved ones died this year?

What were the great personal/ministry/national tragedies and losses of the year?

What were the great personal/ministry/national blessings of the year?

What were my most significant failures/sins for the year 2007?

What unresolved conflicts/issues am I bringing into 2008?

What significant spiritual and practical victories did I experience?

In what tangible ways did I communicate gratitude to those who have blessed me and invested in my life?

What are the top ten themes of 2007 for my family?


Looking Ahead

What character Traits do you want to improve on?

What topics in Scripture do you want to research in 2008?

What memorization would you like to accomplish?

What educational advancement would you like to make?

What physical improvements (or routines) would you like to make?

What areas of service could you improve on?

What business/career improvement or changes would you like to make?

Are there any relationships that you need to work harder at? If so, how are you going to do that?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Quilted Photo Wall Hanging

Check out the new entry on my quilting blog!

For the Love of Quilting!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Chicken Tortellini with Rotallini

Here is a recipe Olivia made for was SO GOOD!

Serves 6

First mix
2.5 oz. package of Goat Cheese
A little over half of a 14. oz can of Spinach Leaves
2 cups of shredded Mozzarella (save a handful or two for later)

Next you need 6 pieces of Chicken Breast
These come rather thick, so you will have to fillet them in half.
This makes two per person.
Use a meat tenderizer afterwards to make them easier to roll,
they should end up about 1\4 of an inch thick.

On one piece of Chicken Breast, lay a slice of ham on the top,
then smear on a tablespoon or two of the goat cheese\spinach mix.
Roll it up, starting at the narrow end.

Put a toothpick in each to keep them from unrolling.

Spoon a teaspoon or so of Dijon Mustered on each one .
This is not necessary, but it does taste good.

Roll the whole thing in bread crumbs or
Shake and Bake Chicken Parmesan

Bake for 30-45 min. at 350, or until chicken is cooked.

While chicken is cooking boil your Rotallini pasta.
Strain and add the left over spinach, mozzarella and goat cheese\spinach mix.
Serve Chicken Tortellini over the Rotallini,
I served mine with Sweet Baked Butternut Squash,
it goes well with garlic bread and salad.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Oh, Come, Oh, Come Emmanuel

Last night we watched The Nativity. It is such a beautiful movie! This morning as we sang the beautiful Christmas hymns at church the images were more vivid than ever. This is one of my favorite Christmas hymns. God is so good to us, even when circumstances in life may not be as we want them, He is still very gracious to us.

Oh, Come, Oh, Come Emmanuel

Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, our Wisdom from on high,
Who ordered all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, oh, come, our Lord of might,
Who to your tribes on Sinai's height
In ancient times gave holy law,
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come O Rod of Jesse's stem,
From ev'ry foe deliver them
That trust your mighty pow'r to save;
Bring them in vict'ry through the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, O Key of David, come,
And open wide our heav'nly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, our Dayspring from on high,
And cheer us by your drawing nigh,
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease,
And be yourself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to you, O Israel!

Friday, December 21, 2007

New Quilting Blog

I started a BLOG just for quilting. I'm not the best quilter by a long shot, but I enjoy learning it and passing along what I do know. As with my caroling post yesterday, quilts have the same effect on people. There is just something special about quilts that touch people. Quilts show personality of both the quilter and the one the quilt is given to.

If any of you have a quilting blog or website that you'd like
to have listed on the blog roll over there just let me know.

This is a quilt I finished last week for a Christmas order.
I was really happy with it.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Joy, Joy, Joy

"Somehow, not only for Christmas,
but all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others,
is the joy that comes back to you.
And the more you spend in blessing
the poor and lonely and sad,
The more of your heart's possessing,
returns to you glad."

--John Greenleaf Whittier

For most people, the focus of Christmas is buying gifts, and as hard as we try not to go overboard with it, we do. It is a real struggle to try to keep our hearts and minds on Christ during this season. Oh, sure you hear, 'Jesus is the reason for the season', but there is this small voice constantly whispering in our heads, "Who do I have left to buy for? Will they like it? etc..." I am not against gift giving, after all it should symbolize how Christ was so willing to give His life for us, and how He gives us so many blessings that we could never count them all.

Our attitude should be one of giving all year long, it should be a life style. The best form of giving cannot be wrapped in paper and ribbons, but wrapped in a spirit of love and giving of yourself. The miracle of giving of yourself is that the gift comes back to you a hundred fold. That is IF you give freely, expecting nothing in return. If you are giving because you want to honor God with your life, by serving others, then that is when YOUR life becomes full.

Our dear friends that have just adopted from Africa, their baby heart surgery. They are homebound for about 4 weeks because the little one cannot get sick during this important recovery time. Well, being a mom at home with 6 children, missing all the fun of parties during this time, etc... could start to wear on least it might me. :o) So I called a few of our friends (we all go to church together) and we caroled them! If you have never caroled anyone YOU ARE MISSING IT! Trust me it was just as much a blessing for us carolers as it was for them!

The Whites...Tucker must be behind his Dad...sorry Tuck!

Joy to the World!

Deck the Halls...

We Wish You a Merry Christmas...

Joseph, who was living in Liberia, suffering from heart problems and malnutrition a month ago, didn't know what to think of this American custom. :o) Maybe next year HE will be with us as we carol someone else!

A couple of years ago our family caroled several was SO MUCH FUN! People act as if you'd just given them a hundred bill! The element of surprise is part of it, but I think it is the actual giving of yourself, something that cannot be bought! And what is even more amazing is when you walk off their doorstep, you realize you were able to spread some joy, which in return, fills you with joy. Oh, if we could just grasp that as a way of life, THAT is the best gift we could give to our Heavenly Father.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

For Your Caroling Fun

Here is a little Elfin Fun for ya...
Merry Christmas from our family!

Go HERE for the words to your favorite Christmas Carols.
Great fun for group caroling or family sing alongs!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Cute Video

My friend Kelly sent this to me, I thought it was so cute!

Give Away!

Sallie over at Everyday Me.. life as it happens is having a blog contest and you can win a DVD copy of The League of Grateful Sons from Vision Forum. Go on over and sign up for your chance to win but hurry because the contest ends Wednesday night at midnight!

Just For Fun

I'm glad I have connections!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Frugal Hospitality

My Frugal Friday tips are all the things I've posted this week, especially the place cards.
For more Frugal Friday Tips, hop on over to Biblical Womanhood!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wooden Cards/Wall Hangings

Dana asked where to get the wood slices I showed yesterday. The answer is Jeff cuts them.

We made a BUNCH of these last year and sold them. We made wall hangings and gift tags from them. I thought they were pretty cool and next to no money in them! Some simply said Merry Christmas or Welcome, others had all the names of the family members. If you use a brown marker it makes it look as if it were wood burned. Glue some fake evergreens and holly berries and it dresses them up nicely.

We gave wall hangings to all our friends and extended family members last year.
It was a nice personalized gift and inexpensive!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Easy, Inexpensive Place Cards

The purpose of hospitality is to make your guest feel welcome. They will notice a warm smile and a cheerful attitude alot more than they will notice how the food tasted or if the house is spotless. True hospitality is from the heart, because the greatest gift you can give anyone is your time and attention.

Here are a few ideas for Christmas place cards that only take a few minutes and they'd be a great project for the kids to make, because hospitality is a family event!

All of these would be great items for the guest to take home.

Glass Christmas balls, a metallic marker, ribbon and a piece of greenery.
Other options would be a small craft pearls on a string, raffia, velvet ribbon...

Goblet and a permanent marker.
It washes off with hot soapy water.
Not only will they know where to sit, but as the day/evening goes on,
they'll know which glass is their's.

Silk poinsettias and a permanent marker.
Write name on one petal.

Ribbon with wire sides, pipe cleaner, a small Christmas ball and hot glue.
Fold and twist two pieces of ribbon, glue in the back.
The wire makes it easy to form.
Glue the head on.

Place the name card in the arms (pipe cleaner).

Use an evergreen leaf, a silver or gold metallic marker, some ribbon or raffia.

Pine cone with raffia tied to the bottom and the name card slid in the top.
Or you can lay it on it's side and do the same.

Two candy canes tacked together with low temp glue gun.
Add ribbon of your choice and tack on the name card.
This is perfect for the kids table.

Wood slices with wholes for a ribbon to also be used for a wall hanging.
These can say Welcome, Merry Christmas, Christmas 2007 or a name.

Wood slices propped up on a glass.

Try to have extras made up in case you have surprise guest.
If you are not sure who is coming, just write Christmas 2007 or Merry Christmas.
Use your imagination.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Entertainment and Education!

Where we live we don't get good reception of anything, only a few radio stations come in clearly and we get about 2 1/2 stations on TV. But you can find just about anything you want online! :o)
Some of our favorite things to listen to are:

The Dave Ramsey Show (Financial Peace University)

Moody Radio South (This has alot of great Bible teaching along with good music)

American Vision Radio (Current Events...excellent food for thought!)

Dixie Broadcasting (Southern music and history)

Quilters TV (I like to let these load and then watch them while I am doing something else)
There are other quilting shows but this is my favorite right now. ;o)

Just like anything else in life, the internet is full of wickedness, but it can also be a wonderful resource of entertainment and education!

Do you have any recommendations?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Observing Christmas

"The Church does not superstitiously observe days, merely as days,
but as memorials of important facts.
Christmas might be kept as well upon one day of the year as another;
but there should be a stated day for commemorating the birthday of our Savior,
because there is danger that what may be done on any day,
will be neglected."

Samuel Johnson

Not only should our prayers be for our present needs, but first and foremost of praise for Who God is and what He has done. This time of year should be a time of remembering how God the Father loved us so much that He sent His Son to be born as a man, to give His all so that we too may have life through Him. Can you think of a better reason to celebrate?

Sunday, December 9, 2007


My grandmother is visiting from New York. Here she is with Santa!
Jeff is playing Santa at our Quilter's Cottage up at Palisades Park during their Festival of Lights. All the money raised (from the photos and crafts) go to Blount County Charities.
I made his costume last week and without the extra stuffing he'd be a
pretty wimpy looking Santa.

Our family doesn't 'do' Santa, but this has been fun.
The kids that come through have been so funny.

Children's Christmas Party

We don't do a whole lot of age segregation at our church, but this is one time of year we divide up for parties. Olivia, Emma and I took care of the under 12 children's party. We did a snowman theme and lots of fun. Oh, how I miss having little ones.


Use 2 large marshmallows and push them down on a large pretzel.

Using an orange fruit roll up cut some long triangles to make a nose,
these will stick on easily.

Then use another color fruit roll up to cut strips for the scarves.

Melt some white almond bark in a double boiler.
Dip one side of a fruit ring (like gummie bears),
this will be the 'glue' that holds the ring on the top of the snowman.

It helps to place them upside down to let them harden (about 5-10 minutes).

Using more almond bark do the same thing with a gumdrop.
You'll have to prop these upright until the 'glue' hardens.

Melt a small amount of semi sweet chocolate chips in a double boiler.
Using a toothpick dot on some eyes.

I used a large divided dish with extra marshmallows in it to help them
stand up for display and serving.

Olivia and Emma made snowman sandwiches using carrots, cranraisins, and raisins.
The insides were peanut butter and jelly.

Peanut butter dip for the apple slices.
Creamy peanut butter and honey.

I can't believe I forgot to get a picture of Olivia's Snowman Cheese ball.
Here is one she made last year.

The children made beaded snowflakes.
I explained to them how no two snowflakes are the same,
just as God created each of us differently.

We played Candy Cane Relay.

These are a great bunch of kids!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Re-Visit The Curse of the Standard Bearers

I posted Mr. Wakefield's article yesterday and I do agree with him to a degree, this is something that we all really need to be aware of because it is a common trap. But it also bugged me all day and I thought I should add 'my' opinion, not that it really matters.

I for one am one that wants to know WHY for everything. I want to understand things. If there is a way to fix a situation, I want to fix it and and move on. I am not afraid of admitting when I am wrong and taking responsibility. So when I read articles like the one I posted yesterday, I think, "Oh, THAT could be why we have a rebellious child." But as I really thought about it yesterday, to a small degree he is right, but over all he is not, as it applies to our family. Of course we are concerned what other people think because we are representing Christ, to me that is part of loving your neighbor.

Jeff and I are first generation Bible believing Christians. Over the past 17 years of our Christian walk we made tons of mistakes. There have been times we have been over zealous and at times too relaxed. We've been wrong about doctrine and a most every other issue to some degree. But our heart has always been because we love God and we want to glorify Him. This is part of our sanctification.

I guess what I am having a hard time saying here is that we cannot be quick to play the blame game when relationships go wacky in a family. Is it always the parent's fault when a child rebells? If repenting needs to happen on the parents part then so be it, and we have done repenting over the years when we know we are wrong. But we have to be SO VERY CAREFUL to blame someone for another persons rebellion/sin. When we start on that slippery slope it will all come crashing down to the same excuse that Adam and Eve used in the garden; Adam, 'The woman made me do it", Eve, "The serpent made me do it" When in fact their sin was their OWN fault. Did the serpent play a roll? YES! But the responsibility was Adam and Eve's to obey the Mighty God whom they have been walking and talking with in the garden.

Should I become bitter and blame my Christian sister for offending me as a reason to commit sin? NO! Should I doubt my husband's faithfulness (which tears away at the trust in a marriage) because of my father's unfaithfulness? NO! Should I quit attending church because someone committed gossip (or worse) about me? NO! Do you see how easy it is to blame others for the choices we make?

My heart breaks everyday (and especially at night) being estranged from my adult child. I have done all I know to make it right, but his sin is NOT my fault. Did I make mistakes, YES! The simple fact is that we are all born with a sin nature. Scripture tells us we come from the womb that way. But it is God's calling on us, through Christ blood and the Holy Spirit residing in us that conforms us to His image. Adam and Eve had a perfect parent, God. Was it His fault they ate of the fruit?

The Lord also tells us if we need wisdom to ask for it and He will give it, we may not receive it immediately. That is when we need to wait and be faithful. Our faith cannot depend on our circumstances, but in Christ alone.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Curse of the Standard Bearers

Below is the latest newsletter from Norm Wakefield. If you'd like to read any of his back issues, which are great too, or sign up for them you can go here: Elijah Ministries

The Curse of the Standard Bearers: When Idolatry Masquerades as Love

The burden in my heart has compelled me to seek the Lord in how to minister to the growing number of families who are suffering the devastating effects of what I'll call The Curse of the Standard Bearers. This is no infrequent problem. Although I know of hundreds of tragic accounts, perhaps from heaven's perspective, there are tens of thousands. There may be dozens of relationships within your own circle of friends, church, or community which are not what they appear. All seems well on the surface, but if you could see what God sees, you would see these people need your love, encouragement, and prayers. Thousands suffer in isolation and fear from the curse of the Standard Bearers.

My heart goes out to the sincere, committed parents who are suffering disappointment, discouragement, hurt, alienation, and embarrassment from their children for whom they once had great faith and hope. Ten years ago they would never have thought their family relationships would be so dysfunctional and hurtful. Additionally, the stress from fear of how to explain it to their friends haunts them. They either are helplessly silent or hardened to the guilt of gossip. The misery, fear, and burden they bear must be overwhelming.

Equally, I empathize with the children of these parents, who in their heart of hearts, long to have a deep, meaningful, loving relationship with their parents. They want to honor, love, and gain the approval of their parents perhaps as much as their parents want the best for their children. Like their parents, there's no righteous way to talk about it to observant friends without sinning (gossip). Only those who have suffered the same dynamics in relationships can completely understand the frustration, bitterness, hurt, and torment.

My prayer is that this series of articles will be used of God to bring light into the darkness and liberation for the glory of God. May God bring a spirit of revival as relationships with both God and family members are reconciled.

In this article I plan to explain what I mean by my title. Then I've picked two testimonies out of hundreds to illustrate the dynamics to which many of you can relate or observe (one which I'll share in this article and another in the next). As I go, I'll try to explain the curse that has brought about such destruction. We know Satan has his hands in this kind of tragedy, and we need to know his schemes. Otherwise it continues, and others will fall into the same trap. In the following articles, we'll see the destructive attitudes and actions more clearly. Learning how to apply the gospel to these dynamics will be emancipating. Hopefully we'll discover how both parents and children may be set free from the curse, be healed and reconciled, and glorify God. At first, this may be a little painful, but I encourage those of you who are hurting that there is hope ahead. So let's begin with some explanations.

Who has control of the keys?

Tim Russert, moderator and managing editor of Meet the Press, included a powerful story contributed by Merabeth Lurie in his book, Wisdom of our Fathers. Her seven-year old little brother, Jim, liked to watch and "help" his father as he made such things as chandeliers from old wagon wheels and unusual light fixtures from copper bulbs that float in toilet tanks. While his dad was at work, Jim would use his tools to make his own creations, but wouldn't put them back in their rightful place many times.

After telling Jim the importance of putting things back, his dad decided to build a small tool chest where he could keep his best tools so Jim couldn't get to them. As Jim's dad worked on the chest, Jim watched and helped excitedly. When the lock was being installed, Jim asked, "What's that?" To which his dad replied, "It is a lock, so that in order to get tools from the chest you have to open it with a key."

Jim got a strange look on his face, looked up at his father, and asked, "Who will have the key, Dad?"

His dad paused for a moment, considered the look on his son's face, and wisely and lovingly said, "There will be just two keys, Jim. One for you and one for me."

What are you communicating about relationship?

Jim's dad wisely chose to yield his right to control his tools and set aside his standard of order to communicate value and love to his son. The workshop might be messier, but he had the heart and respect of his son - a small price to pay for a rewarding relationship with a special person in his life. Had Jim's dad valued the standard of neatness and orderliness above showing his son respect by allowing him control of the key to the chest, he would have "cursed" his relationship with his son.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the wisdom and love that Jim's dad had for him. Many family members communicate rejection, shame, and judgment by controlling all the keys of life for those they say they love and want to bless. They think they know what's best for those for whom they are responsible (and they might), and with sincerity and good-intentions demand the right to control all the keys. Without realizing it, in the name of righteousness and love, they place upon them the curse of the Standard Bearers.

Standard Bearers?

Who are the Standard Bearers, and why such a strange descriptive title? I use the term standard because sincere, religious people usually have many standards they consider important to secure significance, praise, and reputation before God and man. Everyone has some standards they practice, but the issue in this article is the level of importance and significance people place on those standards.

I use the term bearers because that is the image they bear to others: Living by certain standards is a true sign of righteousness and spiritual maturity. Others often think of them as almost perfect or Christ-like in their talk and appearance being impressed with the way they live for Jesus. But there is a subtle, yet significant difference between someone living for Jesus and Jesus living in them. Unfortunately, the emphasis of a Standard Bearer rests on the standards rather than relationship.

Standard Bearers have an inconsistent application of God's character toward His creatures. For instance, when trying to convince a non-standard bearer of his need to change, they communicate that God is very stern. Yet when they deal with their own sin, they apply the view that God is forgiving and gracious. There's a disconnect between how they think God sees the sins of others not like them and how He sees their sin.

A True Image Bearer

In contrast, a True Image Bearer focuses on relationship with Jesus and has one aim: to be a conduit of the life and love of Jesus Christ for the glory of God and to lead others to experience the same blessing of such a powerful, love-engulfed, grace-filled relationship. Although his life is lived with standards perhaps similar to a Standard Bearer's, the root and motivation of his life is different - he recognizes his lifestyle as a gift of grace through his relationship with Jesus. The true image of Jesus wasn't a life focused on standards, but a life focused on a relationship with His Father in heaven.

Consequently, a True Image Bearer doesn't demand that others live by standards to gain approval, encouragement, and affirmation. They're more interested in the process of relationship with the Holy Spirit for others. People who live in close company with a True Image Bearer know that if they were to disappoint them or have another view, they would still be respected and valued.

True Image Bearers respect the Holy Spirit and His right to move, transform, and convince others. They apply the power of the cross-work of Jesus to those who haven't seen the light they have and consider the judgment of others a holy responsibility for Jesus alone. They don't think the Christian life is "living for Jesus", but instead it is "Jesus living in them" (Gal. 2:20). When people are around a True Image Bearer, they usually sense the love and presence of Jesus.

Often Standard Bearers think they are True Image Bearers because they have good feelings about themselves due to their commitment to standards. To them commitment to standards is the expression of their love for Jesus. However, they are not unlike the Pharisees in Jesus' day who viewed themselves as the "separated ones." In their zeal to be distinct in a complex, godless Greek culture, they established oral traditions (standards) and considered them not only equal to the written Law, but more important. Their judgment of others and lack of love, forgiveness, and grace was condemned by Jesus repeatedly. A True Image Bearer would not look down his nose at, avoid, or judge those who don't hold to his or her standards. Instead, he lives in freedom and prays for and encourages others to treasure relationship with Jesus.

The curse of the Standard Bearers

Let me introduce you to Marty, an individual whose life illustrates the curse of the Standard Bearers.

Almost overnight, Marty's life changed. His parents decided to become associated with other homeschooling families whose goal was to raise children with godly character. With the new direction for the family came more responsibilities and expectations from his parents. He already felt smothered by their efforts to make him into the type of young person who would give them a good reputation among their peers, but with the change came a tidal wave of standards and goals he felt were impossible to meet.

Marty didn't make it easy for them. In fact, he questioned them constantly as to why they had to live by all these standards of dress, social etiquette, grooming, facial expressions, entertainment, courtship, attitudes, education, and food. His honest questions brought accusations of rebellion and disrespect, which were not his intentions. Eventually, the conflict became so great that in order to protect their reputation, Marty's parents sent him to live and work with an uncle, hoping God would eventually open his eyes to see the blessing he was rejecting.

Marty's well-meaning parents were Standard Bearers. Without realizing it, self-ambition (lust for significance and success) and an idolatrous love of man's approval gained ascendancy within their hearts. The curse of the Standard Bearers rested upon them and all the relationships for which they felt responsible. Unwittingly, they looked to standard bearing as the solution to parenting Marty and to gaining significance and acceptance for the whole family. Instead of demonstrating a life lived in a relationship with Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit and leading Marty to do the same, they were caught in the enticing trap of a form of religion. They quickly learned what standards were acceptable and not acceptable among those with whom they wished to connect and then commanded obedience from Marty.

At age fifteen and living at home, Marty knew he should obey his parents, but they never led him to deal with his heart relationship with God. Consequently, the parent-child relationship was always about responsibility and expectations. It's no wonder that Marty felt unloved, controlled, and unvalued. Living by rules and standards cannot build relationships based on God's love and grace. A form of outward obedience may occur, but liberty and love that comes from the Holy Spirit's work internally is overlooked.

Until Marty has a relationship with Jesus, his parents must teach, train, and demand honor and obedience (Eph. 6:1-4). However, once the Holy Spirit indwells him, Marty should be taught to walk by the Spirit in relationship with the heavenly Father. As Jesus told his disciples, "Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven" (Matt. 23:9). As a son starts to walk by the Spirit, an earthly father should encourage his son's decision-making and guidance to come from a personal relationship with the heavenly Father, not himself. To the degree that the father makes the decisions and dictates the lifestyle of his believing son, to that degree he hinders his son's spiritual life. A father's role should decrease just as John the Baptist's role decreased when Jesus appeared (John 3:30).

Doesn't this break your heart?

Many churches and hundreds of families have been destroyed by this curse. It doesn't have to be this way. Consider the glorious testimony to the grace and glory of the cross for a Standard Bearer to be honest and confess their idolatry and the sins of control, rejection, slander, and shame. It would glorify God, bring healing to the relationship, and teach the rest of the Standard Bearers what standard is really worth bearing: the life and image of Jesus Christ. Forgiving, loving, and forbearing with others as we trust God and encourage them to follow the Holy Spirit sets people free to find themselves through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Outward conformity to standards to achieve public praise and approval cannot please God.

First in a series

This article is the first in a series of articles dealing with the curse of the Standard Bearers and what it means to be a True Image Bearer. In the next Chariot, we'll take a deeper look into Satan's schemes and how sincere, zealous Christian fall into his trap. I invite you to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what God sees and thinks about how you relate to Him and to others when it comes to standards. Are you more concerned about His image or yours?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Have You Smiled Today?

No matter how hard we try to not get stressed out during the month of December it happens anyway. Here are a few smiles for you...and remember in the hustle and bustle of the season to take time and enjoy a good laugh or two.