Friday, March 3, 2017

"Sanctified in Me"??

During an online class in Scripture Memorization, we were asked to talk about choosing verses:*

Ezekiel 36:23 ("And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.")  has been the "foundation" of my Scripture memorization over the years. I first "discovered" it when I looked up the more familiar Ezekiel 36:26 ("A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.") for another purpose, and noticed that verse 23 was underlined in my Bible. I have no idea how it got underlined -- I don't ever remember seeing it before in my life.

To me, verse 23 is THE "secret key" to sharing the truth of God's love to the whole world. If Christ is not sanctified in me (to the point it is obvious to everyone I interact with in any way), all the "preaching in the world" is going to fall flatter than flat in the eyes of whoever I'm "witnessing" to.

It's also interesting to note that this verse does not say that "the heathen shall know that I am the Lord" "when Kathy (or any one else) has been on 'x' number of mission trips or preached 'y' number of sermons or had 'z' number of baptisms." No, it says, ". . . and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes." In other words, only when the world can see that Christ has made a difference in my life will they be open to hearing what He can do for them.

Ezra 7:10 ("For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.") takes this from the "theoretical" to the "practical." Notice the steps Ezra went through, and the order he went through them in:

  1. Heart preparation
  2. Diligent searching to know God's law
  3. Obedience to God's law
  4. Teaching God's law, statutes, and judgments.

This brings to mind a song, Sermon in Shoes,  I learned as a child:
       Do you know, Oh Christian, you’re a sermon in shoes?
       Do you know, Oh Christian, you’re a sermon in shoes?
       Jesus calls upon you, to spread the gospel news,
       So walk it, and talk it. 
       Live it, and give it.
       Teach it, and preach it. 
       Know it, and show it.
       A Sermon in Shoes.
              (Ruth Harms CalkinCopyright 1952 Nuggets of Truth)

By implication, if God is not "sanctified in me" (if I know of any aspect of my life that is out of harmony with His will as revealed in His Word, and I refuse to surrender that part of my life, and bring it into harmony with God's word by His grace and through His strength), then, instead of drawing others to Him, I am among those who are profaning His name among the heathen, which is a sobering, even scary, thought . . . especially in the light of all the (negative) things God has to say about those who are "stumbling blocks"!!

*The above is based on what I wrote, but has been expanded on a bit for the purpose of this blog post.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Uninvited Guests

They were tiny little things. I didn't even realize they'd come calling until I took the blackstrap molasses out of the cupboard for breakfast one morning. Even then, I was oblivious to their presence . . . until I set the molasses on the table . . . and saw them scurrying away. (A wandering scout had apparently discovered the sticky sweetness just inside the cap at some earlier point in time, and hustled off to share his find with his buddies, who hastened to the new treat. Oh that we would be as faithful in sharing the delights of God's love!). 
They were soon brushed off, and breakfast proceeded without incident. I did make sure to put the molasses somewhere else, though, to give the little rascals time to figure out that their meal was no longer available, and move on (preferably out of my house!) to "greener pastures."
When I went in to start lunch, I checked the cupboard to make sure they'd evacuated so I could put the molasses away. Whoops! Not only had they not evacuated . . . they'd recruited reinforcements . . . and invaded the peanut butter jar. (Another lesson for us?)
Unfortunately (for me), that lid was not on very tight. They'd managed to get inside . . . and even down into the peanut butter. NOT good! I carefully removed all of them (I hope!) with a spoon . . . and the peanut butter joined the molasses on the counter on the opposite side of the kitchen!
At this point, it was time for further action. I have a special bottle, filled with special food, for just such occasions. I put a few drops on a piece of tinfoil and set it on the shelf where the peanut butter had been. 
I watched for a few minutes, but didn't see any immediate takers, so went back to what I was doing. The next time I looked, there was very little free space around my offerings. My "friends" were crowding around for a drink of this delicious new food.

It looked good. It tasted good. And "everyone" was enjoying it. So many couldn't possibly be "wrong," could they? . . . or could they?
Unfortunately for them, they failed to check the ingredients of my bottle of special food: 

If they had, they might have been less anxious to enjoy it, and carry it back to their nest to share with the rest of their family. They were oblivious to the fact that that delicious new food spelled death for all who indulged it. (How often, when we fall for Satan's temptations, we hasten off to invite others to join us in rebelling against God, often to both of our eternal ruin.)
As I watched the ants over the next few hours, adding more poison as they cleaned up what was there, I couldn't help but think of yet another spiritual parallel:
Like the ants sincere belief that this new food was beneficial, "Eve (at the forbidden tree) really believed the words of Satan, but her belief did not save her from the penalty of sin. She disbelieved the words of God, and this was what led to her fall. In the judgment men will not be condemned because they conscientiously believed a lie, but because they did not believe the truth, because they neglected the opportunity of learning what is truth.Notwithstanding the sophistry of Satan to the contraryit is always disastrous to disobey God. We must set our hearts to know what is truth. All the lessons which God has caused to be placed on record in His word are for our warning and instruction. They are given to save us from deception. Their neglect will result in ruin to ourselves. Whatever contradicts God’s wordwe may be sure proceeds from Satan." – Patriarchs and Prophets, page 55, paragraph 2. (Emphasis mine.)
The only way for us to escape Satan's deceptive snares is to be diligent students of God's word, and to measure every thought, word, and deed by that standard. It doesn't matter what others think, say, or do. They are not our example. 
Just as I watched the ants falling for my innocent-looking "temptation," so Satan is watching, and gloating, when he can entice us to swallow his lies, because we forgot to "read the ingredients" through careful, prayerful, diligent, study of God's word. 
It is my prayer that we will learn from the ants' mistake, and make that Word the guide of our lives from this day forward. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

God Hath Not Promised . . . .

Below is one of my mother's favorite poems. I hadn't thought of it in a long time until a few weeks ago, as I was washing dishes one morning. 

Remembering it, and following along with the lyrics while I listened to the melody was a blessing to me, so I thought I'd pass it along for you to enjoy, too. 

God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain, rocky and steep,
Never a river, turbid and deep.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

The words have been put to music -- you can listen to it here:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Meet AnnaMarie's Family

Unfortunately, they don't have a public blog (at least, not one they've listed on their RR profile page), but that profile page does give us a little information. I hope they will, at some point in the future, add a blog link.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

"Meet" Ivey's Family -- and AnnaMarie has a family too!

Ivey's family is now listed on Reece's Rainbow -- you can "meet" them here.

And -- AnnaMarie's matching grant was more than met, and she has a family, too! (More details on that when they become available.)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Ivey Has a Family . . . and AnnaMarie Needs a Family

Ivey has a family coming for her! 


I don't know who her family is yet, but Ivey is on the "My Family Found Me" page over at Reece's Rainbow. At this point, you'll have to scroll down a bit to find her, as other children have been added to the top of the page since she was added.

In a nutshell, after a certain amount of paperwork has been completed (you can read about that here and here), a child can be "claimed," and he or she appears on the "My Family Found Me" page, though there is no information there about the adopting family.

After a bit more paperwork is completed, a brief biography of the adopting family appears on Reece's Rainbow's New Commitment Page. Sometimes the adopting family posts a link to their blog on their biographical post, sometimes not. When (and if) Ivey's family post a blog link, I'll share it.

And now -- Meet AnnaMarie . . . 








AnnaMarie has less than 3 months
 (until sometime in December)
 to have a family commit to adopt her. 

This does not mean the process must be completed by her 16th birthday, only that certain paper work must be filed with the US government before her birthday. Things do need to move as fast as possible, because there is a window of time after her birthday during which the process must be completed, or she becomes unavailable.

I don't have time right now to post a lot about her; I just wanted to get her picture and situation out here for people to see. However, Chelsea has written three posts about her: AnnaMarie,  College vs. Trade School, and Matching Grant.

She does have a $5,000 matching grant available to help cover the cost of her adoption; when it is met, approximately half of the cost of her adoption will be met. Travel (multiple international plane tickets, purchased on very short notice), in-country living (food, housing, facilitator fees, etc) is expensive, but who can put a "price tag" the value of a child! (By way of comparison, consider that Christ gave up everything for us.) As I understand it, the adopting family does not receive any of this money until they have been accepted by AnnaMarie's home country, and have an appointment with the appropriate government officials. The length of time between receiving the appointment and the actual appointment date is usually pretty short, which does not allow the time necessary to "shop" for really good ticket prices!

If you aren't in a position to adopt her, could you at least spread her story on whatever social media sites are available to you? Her time clock is ticking down fast . . . can someone please rescue this girl?

"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Matthew 25:31-40


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ivey

Chelsea Pearce's "Do You Know the Difference Between an Orphan and a Potato Salad" post popped up on my Blogger Dashboard when I refreshed it earlier today, and the picture below immediately grabbed my attention.

This is Ivey. She is 12 or 13, depending on when her birthday is. (All I know is that she was born in 2001) Here is a link to another post about her. (You really should read this post -- Alexis has a lot more information about Ivey than I've posted here.)



Ivey
When I looked at her picture, my mind immediately went back to my friend, Marilyn Schmalz.


Marilyn
(You can read more about Marilyn here. When you get to the page, do a search for "Marilyn" and you'll find her. The above picture came from this website.)


Born in 1948, "LONG before rehab knew what to do with people like me," Marilyn was apparently higher functioning (physically) in the years before I knew her. By the time I met her in about 1985, she was more like Ivey than the way she describes herself in the linked article above -- except that she lived in the US, and had a lot of adaptive equipment to help her.

We were living in Alabama when we first met her through a mutual friend. She was a Senior Occupational Therapist at the "Independent Living Program at the Roosevelt Institute for Rehabilitation in Warm Springs, Georgia," about 50 miles from our home. We enjoyed her company in our home over many weekends, and, when we moved away, she drove herself the 200+ miles to our new home at least twice. 

Yes, you read that right -- she drove herself. Her van was specially equipped so she could use her mouth stick to help her drive it.

Looking at Ivey's picture, and remembering Marilyn, I see no reason why Ivey couldn't develop close the same level of functionality Marilyn had. She lived alone much of her adult life, with the assistance of personal care assistants who helped her several hours a day.

I wish I could talk to her now, and refer prospective adoptive families to her. Unfortunately, her life came to an end in 2003 or 2004. In talking to the friend who was with her when she died, I learned that, in attempting to roll over in bed one night, Marilyn apparently twisted part of her small intestines. By the time the doctors figured out (through surgery) what was causing her severe abdominal pain, the part of her intestines that had become twisted had died, gangrene had set in, and there was nothing they could do for her except to keep her comfortable for the last few hours of her life.

My oldest daughter, Pam (who graduates with a clinical doctorate in Physical Therapy on August 3, 2014) visited her in her adapted home in Columbus, GA (the one Marilyn refers to in the article linked to above). Pam and I were just reminiscing about her yesterday, and Pam was telling me how much she enjoyed visiting Marilyn in her home in the fall of 2000, and seeing all the "inventions" she'd come up with. She even had a brush rigged so she could brush her own hair without assistance. (Our friendship with Marilyn is part of what propelled Pam into starting her PT training in 2011 -- 11 years after finishing college.)

Here is Pam's blog post about her memories of Marilyn (Forget-Me-Not-Friday -- Institution Worthy?), written in March of 2012. You'll notice she used the same picture I did.

What does all this have to do with Ivey? While I don't know all of her medical details, just from looking at her picture and reading what little information is available to me, it seems to me that, with proper medical treatment, she could, in her own way, make the same positive impact on others that Marilyn did. She only has a couple of years for a family to find her before she "ages out," and becomes a permanent resident of a mental institution due to her physical limitations. 

I don't have accounts on Facebook, or Twitter, or any of those other "social media" sites, and not very many people read my little blog. It doesn't take a lot of people to make Ivey part of their family, though -- only one Mom and Dad. Could you, whoever you are that is reading this, be her her Mom or Dad? If not, do you have a relative, friend, or acquaintance who might be able to be that "special someone" that can help Ivey reach her full potential? Would you be willing to help her find a family by sharing her on your own social media accounts? (Or, if you have a blog -- write a blog post about her?)

Don't know anything about International Special Needs Adoption? No problem. The folks at Reece's Rainbow (RR) will be more than happy to help you! You should start with their "Adoption Process" page, and then move on to their "New Family Info" page before actually calling them.

You'll also find a whole host of other families who are going through, or have already been through the process [some more than once] who will be more than happy to encourage you.
If you check out the families listed on RR's "Progress" pages, you'll find that many of them have links to their blogs about their adoption journey. I find them fascinating reading:
Concerned about adopting an older child? Check out Christi M's "Parenting that Heals" blog. She and her husband, Mike, raised 4 boys -- and then went on to adopt four older girls. Christi has a lot of good information on her blog to help you understand the challenges of adopting children from trauma backgrounds (living in an institution is, in and of itself, a major trauma!!), and how to help your child work through that background to become a well-adjusted individual.

If you don't feel you are in a position to adopt Ivey, there are still things you can do:
  1. Pray. Pray for Ivey, for her biological family (whoever and where ever they are), for her current caretakers, and for her adoptive family (whoever and where ever they are).
  2. Donate to her Reece's Rainbow (RR) adoption fund. International adoption is expensive, but many small donations over time add up, and every little bit eases the financial burden for the family who adopts her. (You can donate online through the PayPal button at the bottom of her profile page, or, to save PayPal fees, you can mail a check to Reece's Rainbow, PO Box 4024, Gaithersburg, MD 20885. Be sure to let RR know that the donation is for Ivey,
  3. Pray some more.
  4. Share her need through whatever social media outlets are available to you.
  5. Pray some more.
Thanks for "hearing me out," and for helping me find a family for Ivey!

Kathy

P. S. All of the children with arthrogryposis Pam mentioned in her 2012 blog post (linked to above) are now home with families, but there are others on Reece's Rainbow -- like Ivey -- who still need families!