It is GOD who BLESSES and TRANSFORMS...

This is a blog for women who:

(1) Desire to be transformed by JESUS' LOVE, HOLINESS, AND GRACE; (2) Believe that GOD'S WORD is the true Spirit food for HIS HOLY SPIRIT who lives within us; (3) Submit to GOD and walk this journey of life with HIM transforming us more and more into HIS likeness.

It's a blog about the POWER OF TRANSFORMED LIVES. Let's begin with yours and mine and pass it on... 1 + 1 + 1...

Since God's Holy Spirit lives inside a christian, let's choose to be nurtured and transformed by feasting daily on Holy Spirit food - God's Word - The Holy Bible..

Once in a while I take a hiatus from writing, but I have begun again on Easter Sunday 2013. Usually, there will be multiple blog postings each week. You are invited to use it as part of your daily quiet time. Topics may run for several months at a time. The current topic is posted over on the right side bar. Each week, I will try to connect to a song or two that goes with our current topic.

Each day of the week follows a special format: Sunday in the Son; Meditation Monday; GratiTuesday; Women in the Word Wednesday; Transforming Thursday; Family Fellowship Friday; and, Ketchup and Mustard Saturday.

There's a whole lot here! Take your time to browse. Please come back and visit often. Welcome!

Because of Jesus, we can be family,

Patti



TRANSFORMED MOMS:MOMS TRANSFORMED

Romans 12:1-2 "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

Sunday, August 31, 2008

SUMMER SUMMARY: SPIRITUAL!

Tomorrow is September 1!
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For many here in NJ, summer will be technically over this week as school starts back. For those of you reading this from other places, maybe your schools returned to classes weeks ago. Whatever, the case, let's take a few minutes to reflect over this past summer.
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More than several of you have said that this class/blog has helped you focus on having a more spiritual summer. That's because GOD is good all the time! When GOD first convicted my heart for the need to have a "moms class" over the summer it was after several of you here at the Pitman church had voiced the need of a class that would give moms summer parenting ideas. We talked about watching some videos and having various "activities". Yet, as time went along GOD kept putting on my heart that we just needed a class on moms becoming transformed first...moms who would desire to be led by the Spirit of GOD Himself. I chose to listen and in my own feeble way, I have let GOD work through me to help us learn more about how transformation works on a day to day basis. We do our part..1,2,3,and 4...
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The top 4 songs in our voting summarize it all:
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  1. We ask the question (sometimes over and over again): WHO AM I?
  2. A battle rages in our minds, yet we choose to listen to: THE VOICE OF TRUTH!
  3. We begin seeing "God Stops" / "God's Gold" in each day and we begin saying: I KNOW MY REDEEMER LIVES.
  4. Then, as we ask again "Who am I?" and listen to "The Voice of Truth" it becomes easier and easier to "Know My Redeemer Lives" all because we can sing: IN CHRIST ALONE.

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It's been a great summer for those of us who have participated in the MASTER FULL MOMS CLASS and BLOG! For those of us who were able to join in the richness, may we be blessed as we focus on living it out. For those of you who missed the last class or don't attend the class... I want to share some of our concluding discussion. Under each topic of discussion I have quotes made by different women in last Tuesday morning's class. Since they are paraphrased and not direct quotes, I have not put quotations around each one.

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1. THINGS WE GREW MORE IN KNOWLEDGE/UNDERSTANDING OF:

  • We got to know each other and our spiritual journeys / struggles better.
  • We were able to get a better understanding of God, us, our husbands, our children, each other...
  • We especially began to understand more about relationships with our own mothers...forgiving them, viewing them with grace, gaining more understanding of them now that we are mothers....our mothers did better than the generation before...we can learn from our mothers mistakes and let God take control...

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2. GEMS OR TREASURES I'VE ADDED TO MY "SPIRITUAL TREASURE CHEST":

  • That God loves everyone who we come in contact with every day and we may be the only "light/salt" they have.
  • The concept of "pouring it out" seemed to be a huge concept for many...using the first 4 Be-Attitudes as a model to pour ourselves out and let God fill us up and take control.
  • Using the statement each day to re-pour myself out: "My name is ___________and I am critical and controlling." "My name is _____________ and I am bossy and opinionated." "My name is ___________ and I am whiney and melancholy."
  • Seeing families with a great spiritual heritage and realizing that it is possible for this to happen in my own little family.
  • As mothers, we cannot "fix it all"....we are not in control...step out in faith and give God the control of our families...pray...pray...pray...
  • God, less of me and more of You...
  • Valleys are great for learning from...resting...after all, many valleys are full of lush green grass...if we'll just look around and see...I know because I'm in a big valley right now...
  • Much more aware now of the spiritual battle that goes on and the little voices in my head...the voice of the liar? THE VOICE OF TRUTH?
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3. "GOD STOPS" DURING THIS SUMMER (Times when God really brings something to our attention in a powerful way):

  • one sister was out walking one day in her neighborhood...she walked past a new neighbor, basically avoiding an opportuty to meet her...convicted by an example given in class the previous Tuesday, she circled the block and was able to meet this neighbor and they have been connecting and reconnecting ever since.
  • songs or scriptures coming to mind that connect completely with the need for the moment
  • God is teaching me as I catch myself more and more "playing the victim -- oh, woe is me..." instead of just taking it to God...
  • God is teaching me as I catch myself doing certain things and am now stopping and saying "My name is ____________ and I am pouring out_____________...God fill me up with You..."
  • As I have interacted with my mother, I am seeing that it is possible to grow past my own parent in my relationship with God.
  • Several are becoming aware of more and more missed opportunities: waitresses, nurses, neighbors....

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4. CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH I SEE MY SPIRITUAL LIFE CHANGING OR THINGS THAT I HAVE CHANGED IN MY SPIRITUAL LIFE:
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  • For one sister, this class is changing her from being a "Sunday morning christian" to a christian who wants to "confess Jesus before men so that He will confess her before His Father...".....soooooooo, she's started an on the phone 3 way prayer group in the mornings at 8 a.m. with a two other friends...she's trying to talk about God/Jesus more to others....
  • I've been choosing to feed myself more on God's word...
  • I am finally realizing that the only one that I can change is me! (For so long I was sure it was everyone else in my life who needed to change).
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5. REASONS FOR CONTINUING THIS JOURNEY OF "POURING ME OUT AND FILLING ME UP WITH THE MASTER":
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  • This is so important for the next generations!
  • I am realizing that it is me that sets the tone for my home...I need to keep this up for the sake of my family...
  • The more I continue on this journey, the more God can use me as LIGHT and SALT.

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6. THE 9 BE-ATTITUDES OF CHRIST'S SERMON ON THE MOUNT TO PUT TO MEMORY -

For some reason or another, I cannot get this chart to post here. It is a chart I put together of these 4 aspects of each BE-ATTITUDE. If you would like a copy please email me your request at transformedminds@comcast.net

  • Spiritual Attitude
  • Resulting Blessing
  • Memory Hook
  • Transformation

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7. SONGS THAT REALLY MINISTERED TO ME AND/OR OTHERS:

When faced with trying to share her faith with a sister who had been estranged, one sister put in a CD by Big Daddy Weave and played the song: HOLD ME JESUS to hopefully start a discussion...it did...some of the words go like this..."Sometimes my life just don't make sense at all, When the mountain looks so big, And my faith just seems so small...So hold me Jesus, 'cause I'm shakin' like a leaf, You have been King of my Glory, Won't you be my Prince of Peace..." WHAT AN ICEBREAKER FOR RECONCILIATION!
  • The song THE VOICE OF TRUTH by Casting Crowns connected with our discussions about "The Battle Belongs to the Lord"...it's so easy to listen to the other voice...we must get used to submitting to the VOICE OF TRUTH.
  • Another song by Casting Crowns...IF WE ARE THE BODY, WHY AREN'T OUR HANDS REACHING?
  • Hearing the song HOLD FAST by Mercy Me on the radio at a time that really ministered...
  • Singing a song but not knowing where it came from...finally finding it...BROKEN AND SPILLED OUT by Steve Green
  • One sister shared that she's heard a new song that goes with what we've been talking about. It's called EMPTY ME by Jeremy Camp and another song by the same name is by Chris Sligh. (I have corrected my original statement here do to a comment posted here that these songs are different).
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    8. CONTINUING TO CONNECT ON THE BLOG -

    .AT:

    http://momstransformed.blogspot.com

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    We'll connect our discussions to the following fall classes at the Pitman church of Christ:

    TREASURED IN MY HEART: A Sunday morning series of classes led by the elders and preachers wives sharing the treasures of motherhood from their families..

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    THE PATRIARCHS: This Tuesday morning ladies class is led by our dear sister, friend, and mentor Linda Krinks. This is a Beth Moore study .

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    HOW GOD DOES FAMILY: A Wednesday night class led by Steve and I on family principles specifically found in Genesis and Ephesians. We have finished the first draft of our book and now are going through and tweaking the chapters.

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    I'll continue posting - but may miss a few days as I prepare for teaching my 3 classes in the Education Department at Rowan University.

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    If you were not in last Tuesdays class. I would love for you to share your comments with us here on the blog. How about it?

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    Thank you dear, sisters!

    Because of JESUS, we are family,

    Patti Sikes

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    Saturday, August 30, 2008

    JESSICA'S 25th BIRTHDAY...GOD'S TIMING!


    A quarter of a century! Saying it that way makes it sound old and I am sure that is how Jessica feels. Living with pain for most of her life, she grew up fast. Yet, when asked how she is doing, she'll usually respond, "Oh, I'm okay, I just have a migraine!"


    Yesterday we hung some 99% room darkening curtains over her room darkening blinds. That will give Jessica the best opportunity in her new bedroom to really sleep in each morning until her body clock wakes her up. For her birthday, she wanted to go in to Philadelphia for her first look at the Liberty Bell and while we were there - "could we eat Mexican?". With Jessica, everything is about timing, sometimes she'll have a few good hours in a day where she can do something.


    It's 23 minutes from our house to the Liberty Bell. We drove past the Liberty Bell headed for our first choice of the Mexican food places we had researched...the GPS had a hard and long time getting us to where we needed to be. Then,


    • Mexican rest. #1: closed for renovation
    • Mexican rest. #2: outside did not look appetizing, so we drove on
    • Mexican rest. #3: Steve dropped Jessica and I off and 15 minutes later he joined us after finding parking.

    You'll have to ask them how it was.

    Then, walking to the car, retrieving it from the parking garage, driving to Independence Mall only to find the street in front of the Bourse closed for construction. You get the picture...by the time we parked the car and began our walk to the bell, Jessica's migraine level was about a pain level 9. She remained a trooper...walking to the outside of the window and looking at the bell from there...her inside visit will have to be left for another day...our timing was not quite right...

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    A FRIEND FROM THE PAST:
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    Jessica had a heroine when she was in early elementary school. We moved to another state, but when Jessica got into middle school she did her "Heroes" project on this lady. This sister in Christ, was smart, strong, independent, loving, kind, and loved horses. Did I say she loved horses? Did I say that she was our next door neighbor? I wrote about Sheri Swaim in a post on this blog on July 26. I had not been in contact with Sheri for years so on July 29, I found an email at a church where I thought she attended. This is what I wrote:

    Denny and Sheri formerly of Culbertson, Nebraska? Do they worship/work with you? This is Patti Sikes who now lives with Steve in Pitman, NJ. See: www.cochrist.org

    I just wrote about Sheri on my blog last Saturday:
    http://momstransformed.blogspot.com


    Contact me at:
    Patti Sikes
    transformedminds@comcast.net

    I'm guessing that Sheri never received that email because today, on Jessica's birthday, I get a long email from Sheri that goes in part like this:

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    Hi Patti!!

    Oh boy, am I excited to have found you on the web - and to see just a small part of your ministry these days (at this point, I'm really hoping you are the right Patti Sikes!...So much has happened over the years - and I see from scanning through the Sikes blogspot so much has changed (grown!) in your family! I can't believe the kids! I only saw a pic of Caleb (the groom) and read briefly about Jessica....


    Did she know I had been thinking about her? Did she know that Steve's parents had often wondered what had happened to Sheri and Denny? I responded today to Sheri's email in part with this:

    Well, Sheri Swaim!

    God works in mysterious ways! He has put you on my heart this summer. I googled you, got an email contact for you and read your article in WINESKINS. I not only
    wrote about you in a blog post on July 26 but I then emailed you...I wondered why I never heard back from you...But, GOD has more connections than email...thanks for listening to His Spirit and contacting me.

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    GOD's timing is often unpredictable but always amazing.

    • Thank you, GOD for Your timing in giving Jessica this connection to her past as she turned 25 today. That's about the age Sheri was when they lived next door to us. Who do you live next door to? What kind of impressions are you making?
    • Thank You, GOD for Jessica being able to have a smile through her pain. Please, LORD, allow the timing to come quickly that there will be a complete end to Jessica's headaches.

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    HERE ARE A FEW PICTURES OF JESSICA OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS...IN PAIN? ALWAYS!...SHOWING IT? NOT ALWAYS!

    Thursday, August 28, 2008

    GOD'S GOLD!!





    I feel like I've just won a gold medal in the Olympics!!!! Yesterday, this blog received this wonderful award from a dear transformed mom, Andrea Olley. Last night, I witnessed a ceremony for Andrea and Chuck's oldest of 4 sons. He received a boy scout service award. Like Mama - like son...CONGRATULATIONS OLLEY'S and thank you, Andrea!
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    The SHARING THE LOVE award was created by Crystal @ Memoirs of a Mommy in honor of the heart donor for her young son, Noah. What a blessing to receive the gift of LIFE!!! After reading this post, click on the above link to read this special love story! The rules for this award are to pass it along to some people whose blogs you love, that make you laugh, smile or leave encouraging comments on your blog and with whom you would like to share some love because they have uplifted, inspired, encouraged or prayed for you. So, over the next few weeks and months I choose to do just that...but, for today...


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    I feel led to tell you another GOD story...a GOD STOP...I love to call them GOD'S GOLD!!!
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    Think of the Olympics...the perserverance, the competition, the triumph, the medal ceremony, the national anthem...wouldn't it be wonderful, if everytime GOD nudges us with a thought, a scripture, a song...or He meets the need of the moment...or He gives an answer to prayer...or He puts someone on our hearts and we call them only to find out that they had been praying for GOD to send them someone...or we've witnessed yet another of His daily miracles...
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    Wouldn't it be wonderful if when these things happen, that we would:




    • smile from ear to ear
    • say "thank You"
    • jump up and down a bit
    • give high fives
    • imagine standing on the podium in front of heavens hosts with a GOLD medal around the neck
    • sing "a GOD anthem" (whatever yours is!)
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    How many times a day do you and I "win" the gold of heaven...GOD'S GOLD?!?!?!?

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    Oh, I know, it's not the final GOLD... but those of us who are experiencing the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN right now have access to GOLD now!
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    There are thousands, honestly, maybe millions of times that I have received GOD'S GOLD! In some of these "stories" there are piles of GOD'S GOLD. I have had two relatives by marriage who have been blessed with heart transplants. The first of this month, I shared about my cousin David's amazing faith journey. David's dad, my Uncle John (I called him Uncle Peachy), was the recipient of someone else's heart. Years before that a young man, my brother-in-law, had a brush with death before receiving someone else's heart. Two heart transplant patients in one family! ...all because a few someones decided to give the gift of LIFE!!!
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    We will call this "Patti's very abbreviated version of a GOD'S GOLD story". Steve had a friend who was also a graduate student at Indiana University in the same department. They both liked Rueben sandwiches. They were both accomplished swimmers...one taught scuba diving...one was on the swim team. They studied the Bible together. In 1980, a virus "attacked" Steve's friend's heart. Doctors said that he needed complete bed rest. Should he check out of school and return to his parents home?
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    No, he would move into our second bedroom - our "nursery". I had just had a miscarriage and Steve and I were asking GOD what the next step in our lives would be. Little did we know, that we were in store for lots of GOD'S GOLD!!! Our new apartment guest was a blessing to us and for several months he was cared for by Steve and me with the help of my sister and one of Steve's sisters. He read a little green Gideon's New Testament through from cover to cover. During that time, he chose to take on the NEW LIFE that JESUS offers to everyone...Steve baptized his friend.
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    Eventually, his physical life began to return to normal; he fell in love with and married my sister. Steve's friend had become our brother-in-law...then, his heart problems became very bad...and GOD'S GOLD was poured out over and over and over again in a story for another time...23 years later his transplanted heart is still beating...
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    I like to think that my first miscarriage turned out to be a blessing in many ways:

    • The rest we offered Steve's friend in our "nursery" had something to do with giving him LIFE TWICE...rest for his physical heart and guidance for his spiritual heart.
    • It wasn't too long until that nursery was home to a baby boy. Our oldest son, Jordan Luke, was born in April of 1981. Jordan would not be here had I not had the miscarriage in 1980...

    There's more to the story...another beating heart would not be beating if I had not had that miscarriage...this heart just started beating 7 weeks ago...my first nomination for THE SHARING THE LOVE AWARD is the blog that announces the new heartbeat of a new child to be born to Jordan and Jacqueline Sikes...

    our first grandbaby - GOD'S GOLD!!!!

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    I've been singing...I KNOW MY REDEEMER LIVES the past few weeks...it must be my anthem...it's also popping up in places other than my heart...hmmmm..............

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    LIFE...physical life...SPIRITUAL LIFE...JESUS says, "I am the way, the truth, and THE LIFE."

    Please visit the new grandbaby of

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008

    I SURRENDER ALL...I'M BROKEN AND SPILLED OUT..

    Just a short note to say, "I love each of you!" Here are my last songs of the month to share. I believe they summarize the focus of our summer theme the most. They encapsulate the beginning of the SERMON ON THE MOUNT: 1,2,3... Sister, we can change our world when we can say to God, "I SURRENDER ALL...I'M BROKEN AND SPILLED OUT FOR THE LOVE OF YOU JESUS..." I hope the words to these two songs have equal impacts on you as do the other favorite songs that you choose in your voting. Please, join me this week in meditating on these words and let's talk about them at the end of the week...


    I SURRENDER ALL! by Clay Crosse

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H3_DCxLMek&NR=1

    I have wrestled in the darkness of this lonely pilgrim land
    raising strong and mighty fortresses, I alone command.
    With these castles I’ve constructed by the strength of my own hand
    are just temporary kingdoms on foundations made of sand.

    In the middle of the battle, I believe I’ve finally found,
    I’ll never know the thrill of victory til I’m willing to lay down
    all my weapons of defense and earthly strategies of war.
    So, I’m laying down my armor and clinging helplessly to Yours.

    CHORUS: I surrender all my silent hopes and dreams
    though the price to follow costs me everything.
    I surrender all my human soul desires,
    the sacrifice requires that all my kingdoms fall – I SURRENDER ALL!

    If the source of my ambition is the treasure I obtain,
    if I measure my successes on the scale of every gain,
    if the focus of my religion is the status I obtain,
    my accomplishments are worthless and my efforts are in vain.

    So, I lay aside these trophies to pursue a higher ground
    should You choose somehow to use the life I willingly lay down.
    I surrender all the triumphs for it’s only by Your grace.
    I relinquish all the glory! I surrender all the praise!

    CHORUS: I surrender all my silent hopes and dreams
    though the price to follow costs me everything.
    I surrender all my human soul desires,
    the sacrifice requires that all my kingdoms fall – I SURRENDER ALL!

    Everything I am, all I’ve done and all I’ve known
    now belongs to you. The life I live is not my own
    Just as Abraham lay Isaac on a sacrificial fire,
    if all I have is all that You desire –
    I SURRENDER ALL!
    I surrender all my human soul desires,
    The sacrifice requires that all my kingdoms fall,
    That all my kingdoms fall, That all my kingdoms fall, I SURRENDER ALL!


    BROKEN AND SPILLED OUT by Steve Green
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPXAju9z7Cs

    VERSE 1:
    One day a plain village woman driven by love for her LORD
    Recklessly poured out a valuable essence disregarding the scorn.
    And once it was broken and spilled out, a fragrance filled all the room.
    Like a prisoner released from his shackles,
    Like a spirit set free from the tomb.

    CHORUS 1:
    Broken and spilled out, just for love of you Jesus.
    My most precious treasure, lavished on Thee.
    Broken and spilled out and poured at Your feet
    In sweet abandon, let me be spilled out and used up for Thee.

    VERSE 2:
    LORD, You were God’s precious treasure
    His loved and His own perfect Son
    Sent here to show me the love of the Father
    Just for love it was done.
    And though You were perfect and holy, You gave of Yourself willingly.
    You spared no expense for my pardon, You were used up and wasted for me.

    CHORUS 2:
    Broken and spilled out, just for love of me, Jesus.
    God’s most precious treasure lavished on me.
    You were broken and spilled out and poured at my feet.
    In sweet abandon, LORD, You were spilled out and used up for me.

    In sweet abandon, let me be spilled out and used up for Thee.

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    Monday, August 25, 2008

    GOOD NIGHT KISS!

    Our summer MASTER FULL MOMS class is coming to an end. Tomorrow we will review some things that we've read, sung, studied, and discussed including the SERMON ON THE MOUNT.
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    What has hit you this summer about being a MASTER FULL MOM? If you could take one gem, treasure, or pearl with you from our class and blog discussions what would it be? Please come up with at least one...we'll share them tomorrow in class.
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    The LORD willing, this is only the beginning of this blog and many more classes to meet the needs of mom's at the Pitman church of Christ. Starting in September we'll have 3 great classes for your support:
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    TREASURED IN MY HEART: A Sunday morning series of classes led by the elders and preachers wives sharing the treasures of parenting from their families.
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    TUESDAY MORNING LADIES' CLASS: This class is led by our dear sister, friend, and mentor Linda Krinks. Linda says that this year we will do the Beth Moore study called: THE PATRIARCHS.
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    HOW GOD DOES FAMILY: A Wednesday night class led by Steve and I on family principles specifically found in Genesis and Ephesians. We have finished the first draft of our book and now are going through and tweaking the chapters.
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    I love Steve and Annie Chapman's ministry of music to families. I couldn't find alot on the web but I did find a family who had made a video of their son's first years to Steve and Annie's song: GOOD NIGHT KISS! Here it is in honor of all the thousands of good night kisses given by the mom's who read this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDbRJCRwNT8

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    Also, for a very encouraging post...check out Andrea's post today at:

    http://mom4boys.blogspot.com/

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    Sunday, August 24, 2008

    HE WILL CARRY ME!


    Today is "THE LORD'S DAY"...I love Sundays-a time to meet with GOD's people to worship, learn, and commune with the One who calls us: His children, His body, His followers, His sheep, His priests...You get the picture...I love being with GOD's people!!!
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    Today, I woke up with a migraine. I seem to get one every few months. Usually they come after weeks of little sleep, lots of stress, not enough water, and/or coming into contact with something that I'm allergic to. Well, today I had built up to the "perfect storm". I used to have migraines almost monthly until I had my gall bladder removed. For me, a migraine involves super sensitivity to light and sound, great pain in head, neck, shoulders, and stomach, flu-like symptoms like vomiting...okay, so you get the picture. During a migraine, it's best to get lots of sleep. .

    Today, it was physically impossible for me to go to be with GOD's people on the LORD'S day. I slept much of the day. This afternoon, Jessica went to the grocery for me. Then, Steve made some homemade soup and rubbed my back, neck, and feet for several hours. I moaned and moaned some more. I usually find that a massage, peppermint, lemon water, and a little caffeine take care of things. Today, it lasted for more than 15 hours. Tonight, I said, "does anyone have some chocolate that I can just suck on?" Sure enough, that was enough to start turning my body chemistry around! Two hours later, I am feeling much much better...
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    Two things:
    1. Our daughter, Jessica, has migraines almost daily. She's been to many medical and alternative medicine doctors since her headaches began at the age of 12...she will turn 25 this week. Interestingly, she did have some relief after her emergency gall bladder surgery about 8 years ago. Jessica, moved back home last week to get some support and rest as we continue to pray and work for a cure. Jessica has many more triggers for her migraines than I do...she also has a much better attitude about her pain. Jessica is no stranger to suffering. As a baby, she entered this world with several things wrong with her eyes. She's been on quite a journey ever since.
    2. Our Jesus knew about the journey of suffering. He knew how to do the "Cross Walk". It draws me to Him. Tonight, I knew that I could not finish the day without communing with Him, so at about 10:15 p.m. Steve, Jessica, and I took communion together. Steve read some from a great book, GOD is in the Tough Stuff: Where to Turn When the Going Gets Tough. Here are some of those quotes:
    • In the midst of your pain, opening your ears to GOD will automatically open your heart.
    • There was a time in this world when pain and suffering did not exist. Someday that time will return.
    • GOD has never lost interest in this world, and HE never will.
    • Our suffering matters to GOD. It matters so much that HE subjected HIS own SON to the worst kind.
    • If you can't hear GOD in the tough stuff of your life, it's unlikely you will hear HIM in the good stuff.
    • There is hope in your future if GOD is in your present.
    • Faith in GOD changes the meaning of death. It no longer signals the end-it marks the beginning.
    • Grief without GOD's presence ends in despair. Grief with GOD by your side is no less painful, but ends with hope.
    • For those who believe in GOD, death brings an end to sorrow and pain. The sadness of those left to mourn is diminished when they celebrate this fact.
    • Grief is an expression of your love. Your hope in the midst of grief is an expression of GOD's love.
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    I was reminded of the email that I got from Mandy last night:


    "Maggie is learning that we have to be persistent in prayer at times. She asked, "Is Miss Jessica that is at Mrs. Patti's all better?" I really wanted to say, "Yes, honey, God answered your prayers just as you had it planned." But. alas, this is a lesson she is learning early. If it means anything, your Jessica is teaching my Maggie lessons about prayer, human suffering, faith, God's mysterious ways. Well, she decided we needed to pray again, and we did. In a similar discussion I got to mention to her again that we don't need to pray for Grandma (my mom) anymore because she is happy and safe with Jesus. All of this at bedtime! "
    .

    Recently, there have been many mothers who I know have been through alot. When our children or husbands hurt, we hurt. I have either talked with you face to face, over the phone, by email, or blog. You are going through a lot:

    • A baby in utero who may be dying
    • A mother who had to have heart surgery, must work full-time, and is guardian of her 4 year old grandson
    • A son who is skeptical about his christianity
    • A mother battling cancer
    • A husband who is discontent with his job.
    • The new birth of a third child but mothers have only two hands
    • A husband who has to work late every night
    • Children with special needs: learning disabilities, autism, PKU, bi-polar, schezophrenia...
    • Children with poor decision making skills
    • Battling post partum depression
    • Loss of family medical insurance
    • Husband lost job
    • Bills, bills, bills
    • Husbands battling alcoholism
    • Much stress and anxiety in the home
    • Death of husband
    • Struggling to find what GOD wants of an empty nester
    • Sleep issues
    • Abuse of pain killers
    • Trouble with children accepting your new marriage
    • Loss of a son at an early age
    • Loss of a husband, father, and brother
    • A mother and father who died in a car wreck leaving two of their little ones behind
    • A young mother who mourns the untimely death of her birth mother
    • Celebrating the long life of a wonderful christian mother, yet missing her terribly...

    Whatever your need my dear sister, please be encouraged by another song for you by Mark Schultz:
    .
    HE WILL CARRY ME
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xKK7FyrhK4&feature=related

    Saturday, August 23, 2008

    The Great I AM is My SAVIOR, MY GOD!

    Contemplating and meditating on the overwhelming expanse of WHO GOD is can be mind boggling. I love the many songs that sing about JESUS being our GOD. Several of them are so convicting and encouraging to me. Here are two:

    1. I AM is sung by Mark Schultz who many of you have told me is one of your favorite singers.
    2. MY SAVIOR MY GOD is sung by Aaron Shust who from the first time I heard him reminded me of how our son Caleb sings.
      .

    Several years ago, Caleb helped me compile a list from the Bible of all the names/descriptions of JESUS. It was seemingly limitless. Yet, through this exhaustive search I became more convinced than ever that JESUS is GOD. I, then, tried to put the list in alphabetical order, only to find there were many many descriptions/names at almost every letter. Not long ago, I tried to narrow that list down to a basic "ABC's of JESUS" list for mommies and daddies to memorize with their kids. I have tweaked it several times and may again, but for right now here are the ABC's of JESUS to start the new school year with:
    .

    ABC’s of JESUS CHRIST
    A.....Author of life – Acts 3:15
    B.....Beginning and the End - Revelation 22:13
    C.....Creator –John 1:1-3
    D.....Deliverer-Romans 11:26
    E.....Eternal Life-I John 5:13 & 20
    F.....Faithful & True-Revelation 19:11
    G.....GOD-John 1:1, Matthew 1:23, Luke 1:47...
    H.....Holy One of God-Mark 1:24 / High Priest forever-Hebrews 6:20
    I......I AM – John 6-19

    • The Bread of Life
    • The Living Bread
    • From God
    • The Light of the World
    • The Door of the Sheep
    • The Good Shepherd
    • The Son of God
    • The Resurrection and The Life
    • Teacher and LORD
    • The Way, the Truth, and the Life
    • The True Vine
    • A King – for this I have been born
    • King of the Jews

    J.....Judge-2 Timothy 4:1-8
    K.....King of kings-Revelation 19:16
    L.....LORD of lords- Revelation 19:16
    M.....Mediator of the New Covenant –Hebrews 9:15
    N.....Nazarene -John 19:19
    O.....Only Begotten Son of God-John 3:18
    P.....Prince of Peace-Isaiah 9:6
    Q.....Quieter of the Winds and Waves-Matthew 8:27
    R.....Righteous One - Acts 22:14-16
    S.....Savior of the World-John 4:42
    T.....Teacher-Mark 9-14
    U.....Unspeakable gift-2 Corinthians 9:15
    V.....Vine-John 15:5
    W.....Wonderful Counselor-Isaiah 9:6 / The Word-I John 1:1-14
    X.....eXact representation of God’s being-Hebrews 1:3
    Y.....YAHWEH meaning:

    • Which is, Which was, Which is to come-Revelation 1:4
    • I AM WHO I AM-Exodus 3:14

    Z- Zion Stander-Revelation 14:1

    .

    SONG LINKS:
    .

    I AM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzBG6gpkZOU

    .
    .

    MY SAVIOR MY GOD
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gt0WluTpFTg
    .

    Friday, August 22, 2008

    NEARER MY GOD TO THEE!

    VIOLA SOPHIA LAROSE CARRON
    July 12, 1908 - August 22, 2003
    .
    She was one of the 8 children of Daniel and Lena LaRose. As a young girl, she and her sister went with their mother to a gospel tent meeting led by a traveling gospel preacher. It was then that the 3 of them made the decision to give their lives to JESUS CHRIST. Her name was Viola Sophia LaRose Carron. She was my grandmother, my friend, my heroine, and my mentor. I called her Granny!
    .











    .

    One day in her later life, I was driving her around Crystal City, Missouri. This Mississippi River town is just south of St. Louis. This was her hometown and she had a story to tell me about almost every block. We pulled up in front of the place where that tent meeting had been held in the early 1900's. She talked about her early years of faith...how important it was for her to be clothed with CHRIST in baptism.
    .
    She married Valentine Andrew Carron in her late teens and remained faithful to him until death. She loved him so much, yet it was not easy! He was a very gifted man! He was the head of the local union of Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company in Crystal City, MO. He was a man's man! He spent much time with his buddies fishing, hunting, and drinking. "Valle" and Viola had 3 children. Viola took them to church and Bible class. She taught them about JESUS. She encouraged music to be a big part of their lives. She hung in there year after year being the woman that she felt GOD wanted her to be. Their 3 kids grew up and married. Eventually, 9 grandchildren came along. I was the oldest of those grandchildren. (An earlier post, 8-7-08 - THO' HE SLAY ME, YET WILL I TRUST HIM, told part of that story!)
    .
    At the age of 9, I confessed CHRIST as my LORD and SAVIOR and was buried with Him in baptism. One day, I crawled up into Grandpa's lap and said, "I'm really sad! One day, you are going to die and you will not go to heaven with the rest of us." Those words came just at the right time. They took root in his heart. He was ready to question, read, and ponder. He read the Bible over and over. He, too, eventually made the decision for CHRIST. Before he died in his mid-sixties, he had become an elder - a shepherd of CHRIST's sheep. Viola had persevered with patience, prayers, and petitions. I saw her REAP what she SOWED! She lived on for 3 more decades.

    .
    After Grandpa's death, my parents, brother, sister, and I lived with Granny for a while. Crystal City had often been considered "home" for us since the military moved us alot. We had many years of "Granny" memories. My favorites were the music, the cooking, and just listening. I'd work alongside her and listen to her stories and strong opinions. We'd sit around in her living room and sing gospel music for hours-with and without the piano. I learned that cooking was about "a pinch of this" and "a heap of that".

    .

    On July 12, 2003 we threw her a big 95th birthday party in the form of a LaRose family reunion. Granny and her sister Bonnie were the only ones of that generation that were left. Their faith had remained over all those years. They have both gone on home to JESUS since then. Here I am with them on Granny's 95th birthday...
    We had a great crowd of "LaRose's" that day...

    Here is Granny with my mom, Kakie and two of her kids - my sister, Pam and me. We are surrounded by Pam's husband, Dalen, and my husband Steve, our 4 children and one daughter-in-love.
    We had some great fun that weekend and even though Granny did not go with us, we took in one of her favorite pastimes...a St. Louis Cardinals' baseball game. Well, really her favorite pastime was to watch the games on TV, turn down the sound, and listen to color commentary by Jack Buck on the radio.











    Here are Viola and Bonnie with their children, neices and nephews. Among them a former country and western singer, a former professional football player who had been one of the finalists for the Heismann trophy, and a Southern Gospel trio: THE SINGING SHASTEENS, a registered nurse, a university administrator, a college administrative assistant... For Viola and Bonnie, the people behind them were just family and to them the only thing that was really important was that each one of them would draw nearer to JESUS and pass His loving message on to the next generation.

    .
    Granny's life was one that was rich
    with service and sharing her faith.
    When she moved to the nursing home in her last years
    she started a Bible study in the parlor.
    One day a lady said,
    "Aren't you the 'chicken soup lady'?
    Aren't you the lady that brought chicken soup
    to the people in your neighborhood when they were sick?"
    She was!
    She had even brought soup and encouragement
    to that woman's house multiple times.
    Now, here she was planting God's word again
    in a different way...
    and several in that nursing home believed
    that JESUS was LORD and were baptized...
    You reap what you sow!
    .
    A little over a month after her birthday celebration,
    Granny passed from this earth...
    5 years ago today.
    Had she remained with us a little longer,
    she would have turned 100 last month.
    I said, "Thank you! See you later!"


    Granny loved to sing gospel songs / hymns. One of her favorite songs has a rich history. Here are some stories behind it, the lyrics, and a link to listen:

    .


    NEARER MY GOD TO THEE!
    Words: Verses 1-5, by British actress and poet, Sarah Adams, 1841; verse 6 by Edward Bickersteth
    .

    Poem put to Music by Bethany Mason, 1856
    "One night, some­time af­ter ly­ing awake in the dark, eyes wide open, through the still­ness in the house the mel­o­dy came to me, and the next morn­ing I wrote down the notes."

    .

    This hymn is sung at the end of the 1936 mo­vie San Fran­cis­co, which was nom­in­at­ed for sev­er­al Acad­e­my Awards. It is al­so played by the ship’s band in Ti­tan­ic, win­ner of the Acad­e­my Award for best pic­ture of 1997.

    .
    There are al­so ma­ny in­spir­ing true life stor­ies as­so­ci­at­ed with this hymn. Some Ti­tan­ic sur­viv­ors said it was played by the ship’s or­ches­tra as the ocean lin­er went down.

    .

    Another story con­cerns the death of Amer­i­can pre­si­dent Wil­liam Mc­Kin­ley, as­sass­in­at­ed in 1901. Dr. Mann, the at­tend­ing phy­si­cian, re­port­ed that among Mc­Kin­ley’s last words were “‘Near­er, my God, to Thee, e’en though it be a cross,’ has been my con­stant pray­er.” On the af­ter­noon of Sep­tem­ber 13, 1901, af­ter five min­utes of si­lence across the na­tion, bands in Un­ion and Mad­i­son Squares in New York Ci­ty played the hymn in hon­or of the fall­en pre­si­dent. It was al­so played at a me­mor­i­al ser­vice for him in West­min­ster Ab­bey, Lon­don.

    .
    The hymn was al­so played as the bo­dy of as­sas­sin­at­ed Amer­i­can Pre­sid­ent James Gar­field was in­terred at Lake­view Cem­e­te­ry in Cleve­land, Ohio.

    .

    LYRICS:

    .
    Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

    E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me,

    Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.

    .
    Refrain: Nearer, my God, to Thee,Nearer to Thee!

    .
    Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,

    Darkness be over me, my rest a stone.

    Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God to Thee.
    .
    Refrain
    .
    There let the way appear, steps unto Heav’n;

    All that Thou sendest me, in mercy given;

    Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee.

    .
    Refrain

    .
    Then, with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,

    Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;

    So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee.

    .
    Refrain

    .
    Or, if on joyful wing cleaving the sky,

    Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I’ll fly,

    Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.
    .
    Refrain
    .
    There in my Father’s home, safe and at rest,

    There in my Savior’s love, perfectly blest;

    Age after age to be, nearer my God to Thee.

    .
    Refrain

    .
    As Granny got older she often talked about how she was "growing closer to GOD", "understanding GOD more"..."becoming nearer to Him"...
    .

    As I looked online for the acappella singing of this dear hymn, what I found over and over again was how it was played instrumentally as the Titanic sank. Here are two versions:


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5iCkYKLleE&NR=1


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXiKClqEJgU


    .
    .

    Thursday, August 21, 2008

    MY REDEEMER LIVES!






    GOD, when I walked through the "valley of the shadow of death"... You were there! You are my Redeemer and I know that You live!
    .
    I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES because You've let me hold on tightly to Your grasp!

    .

    I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES because You've been my Deliverer!

    .

    I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES because over and over and over again, You have shown me that You are alive. You live in me, around me, and through me! You lead me!

    .

    I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES because when I call on You, You answer!
    .


    I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES when I hear from other moms who are being transformed by Your love.


    I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES by the way Vanessa loves her husband, her children, her christian family, and her extended family: http://nessamomof3.blogspot.com/

    .

    I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES by the way Julie has given up her life in the states to spread the GOOD NEWS of JESUS to the people of Bolivia with Joshua and their 3 "babies": http://jjmarcum22.blogspot.com/

    .

    I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES when I hear a young mother like Jenny say that the doctor has said that the baby inside of her has a fatal condition, yet she is choosing to trust her Redeemer through it all: http://gridleybaby.blogspot.com/

    .

    I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES when I read Andrea's blog...a mother of 4 boys, mate of the captain, and heir to the King talk with such love about daily life, transitions, and transformations: http://mom4boys.blogspot.com/


    .


    I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES when I listen to these two Nicole Mullins songs. GOD, thank you for the deep and rich ways that these two songs have nurtured me...


    MY REDEEMER LIVES!


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7E4u5VCHRg&feature=related

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    I'LL DO THE NEXT THING!!!!...because... MY DELIVERER IS COMING!

    Yesterday, I bared a little of my soul to you as I shared about some heart hurts and healings over the last few years. I cannot say enough how much the song HOLD FAST blessed me. May you continue to watch it and be encouraged by it as I was encouraged to not give up...to put one foot in front of the other.
    .
    Last night at different times there were phone calls from Caleb and his wife. One of them is having an extremely difficult work situation. Choosing to stand up for the right will be important, yet difficult. What would Jesus do? These calls came before and after I had posted HOLD FAST...knowing that today I would share another song that ministered to me during my very hard times: MY DELIVERER IS COMING!
    .
    Then, this morning, at just the right time, a dear Pitman sister emailed me: "The Lord kept putting this in my mind while I was at camp. I couldn't find the whole poem for the longest time, and then, He placed it in an email from a friend this morning! GOD IS GOOD! May you be blessed to overflowing this day. I'm learning to Do the Next Thing for the Lord, for my husband, for my family...In him, Alana"
    .
    No matter if your day is staying on schedule or if it careens wildly off course, you can just ask the Lord for guidance, take one step at a time, and as Elisabeth Elliot says, "Do the next thing."
    .
    Do The Next Thing
    .
    "At an old English parsonage down by the sea,
    there came in the twilight a message to me.
    Its quaint Saxon legend deeply engraven
    that, as it seems to me, teaching from heaven.
    And all through the hours the quiet words ring,
    like a low inspiration, 'Do the next thing.'
    .
    Many a questioning, many a fear,
    many a doubt hath its quieting here.
    Moment by moment, let down from heaven,
    time, opportunity, guidance are given.
    Fear not tomorrow, child of the King,
    trust that with Jesus, do the next thing.
    .
    Do it immediately, do it with prayer,
    do it reliantly, casting all care.
    Do it with reverence, tracing His hand,
    who placed it before thee with earnest command.
    Stayed on omnipotence, safe 'neath His wing,
    leave all resultings, do the next thing.
    .
    Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
    working or suffering be thy demeanor,
    in His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
    the light of His countenance, be thy psalm.
    Do the next thing."
    .
    Your life is an occasion...RISE TO IT!

    .
    May God minister to each of you through your reading of Matthew 7 this week, the above poem, yesterday's song, today's song...actually, today's song is especially pertinent for Carla in more ways than one:
    .
    MY DELIVERER IS COMING written by Rich Mullins the week before his fatal car crash:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3BO5CJbw6Y
    .
    .

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008

    HOLD FAST!!!

    I arrived back home to my wonderful home in New Jersey tonight. I am so thankful. GOD has been faithful. August is our one year anniversary with the Pitman church of Christ...a little piece of heaven on earth...
    .
    Last Thursday night, when it was bedtime and there was still alot to do to pack Jessica up, I got in our little red VW to drive over to the Taylor's home where we would all be sleeping. Jessica would follow me in her car and then I planned to come back to keep cleaning her duplex within the hour. As I turned on the VW, my favorite christian radio station, 95.1 in Bloomington, Indiana, "Spirit 95" was blaring. That station had ministered to me in many ways over several years and this would be no exception.
    .
    There are sometimes in each of our lives that are much harder than others. I can say that my second time living in Bloomington from 2002-2007 were some of the hardest I've ever experienced in my christian walk - for a variety of reasons. Yet, most of the time I could get in our little red VW and Spirit 95 would blare out just the song that I needed to sustain me for that day. Our last year of living in Bloomington, there were four songs that stood out above all the others and every time I heard them I would experience a free flow of tears to my GOD. He remained good all the time!
    .
    Last Thursday night as I started up the VW, the DJ announced the song that was about to play. I felt GOD's presence envelope me. It was as if He was saying, "one more time for the road, Patti...this is your last night in Bloomington...this is our song...you've done it...listen to the words one more time":
    .
    HOLD FAST
    1.
    "To everyone who's hurting,
    To those who've had enough...
    To all the undeserving...
    That should cover all of us...
    Please do not let go! I promise there is hope!
    .
    CHORUS:
    Hold fast! Help is on the way!
    Hold fast! He's come to save the day!
    What I've learned in my life-
    One thing greater than my strife-
    Is His grasp!
    So, hold fast!
    .
    2.
    Will this season ever pass?
    Can we stop this ride?
    Will we see the sun at last?
    Or, could this be our lot in life?
    Please do not let go! I promise you there's hope!
    .
    CHORUS:
    Hold fast! Help is on the way!
    Hold fast! He's come to save the day!
    What I've learned in my life-
    One thing greater than my strife-
    Is His grasp!
    So, hold fast!
    .

    3.
    You may think you're all alone...
    And there's no way that anyone could know
    What you're going through.
    But if you only hear one thing...
    Just understand that we are all the same...
    Searching for the Truth...
    Truth of what we're soon to face
    Unless someone comes to take our place
    Is there anyone?
    All we want is to be free...
    Free from our captivity...
    LORD...Here He comes!
    .
    CHORUS:
    Hold fast! Help is on the way!
    Hold fast! He's come to save the day!
    What I've learned in my life-
    One thing greater than my strife-
    Is His grasp!
    So, hold fast!"
    .

    May this song by Mercy Me (group that also sings I Can only Imagine) bless your life as much as it has mine. Here are 3 links:
    .
    1. Song as background to pictures and scripture:
    http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=e752ed6faca89c1d449e
    .
    2. The story behind the song:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vom1-izwDvQ
    .
    3.
    If you, your husband, or kids enjoy the spiritual analogies in movies like The Chronicles of Narnia, Star Wars, or Super Hero movies, then you might enjoy the song HOLD FAST to these pics here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zHbS4QOPoA
    .
    .

    Monday, August 18, 2008

    THE VOICE OF TRUTH

    As I sit here watching Olympian swimmer Michael Phelps' mother being interviewed. I am smiling from ear to ear. What a story! As they show again, people parting ways to allow him to make a beeline for his mother...I shiver! What a beautiful privilege to be a mother!

    Today, I dedicate this post to:

    1. My daughter, Crystal, as she starts her new life journey at Rochester College.
    2. My daughter, Jessica, as she begins her new life journey in New Jersey.
    3. My spiritual daughter, Carla, as she begins her new life journey as a mother of three.
    4. My other spiritual daughters, in our MASTER FULL MOMS class and those of you who are joining us on this blog.

    In June, we started out in class and on this blog talking about the BATTLE BELONGS TO THE LORD: two worlds...two columns on a paper...two enemies...two masters...two voices...
    .
    This week, as we study and devote our minds to Matthew 6, it is easy to hear what the voice of Jesus is saying...THE VOICE OF TRUTH:

    1. Quietly GIVE to the needy...
    2. PRAY and FAST...
    3. Store up TREASURES IN HEAVEN...
    4. DO NOT WORRY about anything...
    .
    Is it easier though to hear the voice of the enemy?

    1. Keep your stuff, don't give it away - you may need it someday...OR, they're needy because they made bad decisions-giving them stuff would just enable them...OR, if you do give them your stuff, make sure you tell people so they know...
    2. Why bother praying, God is too busy to listen to little 'ol you...OR, you're too busy to pray about this, OR...it seems so trivial to bother the God of the universe with...OR, why should you even try-He hasn't really answered you before!
    3. You really do NEED all this stuff - earthly treasure...OR, focus on the here and now - since heaven is later, you can focus on it later...OR, your house, hair, nails are all a reflection of you-be sure it's all perfect...
    4. You better worry about it - who else will if you don't...OR, mothers should always worry...OR, somebody's got to be responsible so you better take this on your shoulders...OR, it will be your fault if you don't worry...
    Dear daughter,
    .
    Your family is not the enemy. People are not the enemy. Satan roams about seeking to devour christians. Let's fix our eyes on JESUS! Listen to THE VOICE OF TRUTH! Carla has shared with us how much the song by Casting Crowns, THE VOICE OF TRUTH, is ministering to her as the battle rages. May it minister to you, too.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwsvqVmFV6Y

    Sunday, August 17, 2008

    TRANSITIONS IN PROGRESS - HE LEADETH ME!

    I'm sitting here overlooking Wolverine Lake, northwest of Detroit, Michigan, on a Sunday afternoon after a long nap. I can walk out the back door of the home of Brian and Shawna Bailey (Steve's sister) and have my feet in the lake in 30 seconds. As I am typing this, Crystal is out on the pontoon boat with Brian and Shawna. Here is a picture of my niece Brianna and her friend enjoying the water.




    What a week it has been!

    NEW JERSEY: Monday and Tuesday moving many boxes and furniture to make space for Jessica...packing and loading Crystal.

    TRAVELING TO INDIANA: Tuesday night and Wednesday, Crystal and I traveled to Indiana.

    BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA: Wednesday we packed up Jessica's duplex, cleaned, packed some more. Thursday, Steve came with a U-haul trailer behind his truck...we loaded...cleaned some more. I went to bed at 3:30 a.m. Friday so Crystal and I could leave by 8 a.m. for our trip to the Detroit area.

    TRAVELING EAST TO NEW JERSEY: Friday afternoon Steve and Jessica pulled out to head for Pitman (Steve with truck/Uhaul; Jessica driving her car)...Steve and Jessica should be in Pitman by now.

    ARRIVED IN ROCHESTER HILLS, MICHIGAN: She's registered...moved in...met new friends....We'll do some final things at the business office, bookstore and in Crystal's dorm room tomorrow before classes start on Tuesday...there will probably be a few more trips to Target.
    .
    I've been feeling very frustrated with myself this week...as stress builds...deep, restful sleep is no where to be found...emotions are high... Guess what? Questions arise! Patti, how's it going on fleshing out the 9 Be-Attitudes? Is transformation happening? How many times are you going to have to say, "I'm sorry?!?!?!" I'm sure it'll be 70 x 7!!!

    Then, came the sermon this morning at the Rochester church of Christ. Patrick Mead "tag teamed" with their former preacher, Jerry Tallman, on 'TAKING IT TO THE STREETS'. The connections to our summer study were many. Here are some things that hit me this morning:

    • SONG: He Leadeth Me
    • QUOTE: The word DISCIPLE is used 269 times in the four Gospels and the book of Acts.
    • QUOTE: Jesus' disciples were zealots, far left, looney right, touchy feely "Oprah watchers"...
    • QUOTE: Jesus says that it is possible to cross all these barriers via faith, love, prayer, and mission...
    • QUOTE: John 8:31-31 "Then,......truly my disciples..." hmmmmmmm....
    • QUOTE: Following Jesus always comes with a cost...we must drop our "stuff" so He can give us what we need...
    • QUOTE: Apple trees produce apples...grape vines produce grapes...disciples produce disciples...or are we as christians seedless grapes?
    • QUOTE: A disciple is a jar of clay full of value because of what is on the inside...the aroma of Christ...
    • QUOTE: 2 Corinthians 5:11-15 - We have a ministry of reconciliation...WE ARE CHRIST'S AMBASSADORS... NOTE: These are the verses that come after verse 9 that we talked about in class Tuesday morning..."I make it my goal to please HIM..."
    • SONG: Turn My Heart, oh LORD!

    How's it going, sister? Some of you have had equally, if not a more stressful week than the Sikes': weddings, thousands of miles of travel, babies, sickness, income/outgo mismatching....let's spend more time in prayer this week than ever before for one another...that we follow HIS leading!
    .
    youtube song: HE LEADETH ME by the Martins
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cf8n4ODkY7w


    .
    .

    Monday, August 11, 2008

    TRANSITIONS...TRANSFORMATIONS...

    It can be a remarkable "first step" when we allow ourselves to make a transition...do things a different way...step out in faith...trust in GOD inspite of the questions...
    .
    Yesterday morning, I loved leading Katherine's BIBLE 101 class for such a great group of seeking women. Women who are really desiring to move to a different place in their spiritual journey. Seekers! WOW! In the short time we were together, we cried, we laughed, we made commitments, we followed some R.E.A.P.S. devotionals, we talked about that if we really look for the Holy Spirit's work - He's evident everywhere...we talked about the Sermon on the Mount...
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    Jesus talked in the SERMON on the MOUNT of some very powerful TRANSITIONS that lead to TRANSFORMATION. Here are some Patti paraphrases:
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    1. Selfish to Selfless....................................... BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT!
    2. Sinful to Sinless......................................... BLESSED ARE THEY THAT MOURN!
    3. Unsubmissive to Submissive..................... BLESSED ARE THE MEEK!
    4. Unsatisfied to Satisfied............................... BLESSED ARE THEY THAT HUNGER/THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS!
    5. Cruel to Compassionate............................ BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL!
    6. Adulterated to Unadulterated.................... BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART!
    7. Instigator to Intercessor............................ BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS!
    8. Mediocrity to Making a Stand.................... BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO ARE PERSECUTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS SAKE!
    9. Loved by many to Lied about by many.............. BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO ARE LIED ABOUT AND INSULTED WHEN THEY ARE PERSECUTED!
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    In Christ, stepping out in faith TRANSITIONS can lead to beautiful TRANSFORMATIONS ... it is easy to see how great our GOD is when we observe these TRANSFORMATIONS...

    I notice transition all around...right now, I am specifically thinking about our mom's group...let's pray for beautiful transformations in each of these situations:
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    1. I will be helping my two daughters move this week: Crystal to Rochester College for fall semester and Jessica here from Indiana.
    2. Katherine has recently had Rachel return from New Zealand and is now on her way to College Station, Texas to take Luke to school.
    3. Linda just spent the weekend experiencing Andrew and Lindsey's wedding at Otter Creek Church in Nashville. See the picture below.
    4. Some of you are at camp this week with your kids, some for the first time: Alana, Jo-Ann, Stephanie, Brenda...are there others?
    5. Debbie surprised us all when she and Glenn said their "I DO's" in front of a Justice of the Peace while in Nashville attending Andrew's wedding. See picture below. This huge transition for both of them comes as Debbie's 3 kids transition: 2 to Harding and one to Rwanda for a year of mission.



    Greg and Linda's oldest son, Jeff, is in a Nashville singing group called: THE ZOE GROUP. Here are clips of some songs from one of their albums. Two I find especially relevant for today: HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD and IN CHRIST ALONE:

    http://www.zoegroup.org/eco/store.asp?SID=1&Item=270

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    Sunday, August 10, 2008

    ASKING...SEEKING...FINDING..................................VICTORY...MANSION...

    It was Wednesday, August 10, 1983, twenty five years ago today. Our second child, Jessica Janette, was due to be born. I was miserable as I waddled around with a 9 lb. 6 oz. baby inside of me who was 23 inches long! Miserable was mild compared to what I felt in late morning when I heard the news. It's one of those days when I knew the minute I heard...similar but different to hearing that President Kennedy had been shot or that the Twin Towers had been hit...this news was really personal...my dear friend Sarah Saber, her husband-Mark, their three children - Kate (6), Adam (4), and Emily (baby) and their babysitter Kim (from our youth group) had been hit head on by a coal truck while heading south toward Nashville, Tennessee from Bloomington, Indiana. Mark, Sarah, Emily, and Kim had already been pronounced dead! Kate and Adam had been taken to a Kentucky hospital.

    Questions...seeking answers to life questions...that's what I remember most about Sarah. Sarah was a seeker! Mark became a seeker, too!
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    • Sarah: "How do I best serve this GOD who I know exists? As a wife? As a mother? As a daughter? As a sister? As a daughter-in-law?"..." "Can we get a group of mother's together and just pray, pray, pray?" "Patti, what do you think GOD would want me to do in this situation?" "What do you think this scripture means?"...
    • Mark: "Can you guys come over and spend the night, so we can just sit out on the front porch like we have before and talk about life, GOD, and spiritual things?" "How much can I give? Never enough!" "Sikes, could you pray about another specific thing for me?" "How can Sarah and I become more and more like JESUS?"
    I wish you could have known this family! Steve and I knew them for only a few short years...yet, they left their mark on us for eternity! Kate and Adam are now close to the ages their parents were at the time of this tragedy. I got an email from Kate the other day after I let her know that Steve would be talking about her family in his sermon this morning. In part, Kate said,
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    "It's a day that comes every year but this year seems a bit tougher -- we are gathering as a family to watch home movies and have a meal together which will be nice. I don't have any wise words to share...only that parents are encouraged to instill faith and the importance of Christ into their kids at a young age. When I taught Sunday School a year ago I constantly heard parents say that they wonder if this time (4 and 5 year olds) mattered for their kids to be in church -- I know that my faith today is a result of the six years I had with my first parents -- and thank God for that! The early years matter more than anything I argue... Hope that helps...I'm so grateful they are remembered 25 years later..."
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    I invite you to listen to a tribute made to their lives this morning by my husband, Steve, at the Pitman church of Christ, Pitman, New Jersey. Steve tells just a few of the amazing stories from these remarkable lives. Stories of faith, praying in faith, random acts of kindness, major league baseball, and McDonald's.... Steve also addresses 7 of the QUESTIONS we asked 25 years ago. Some of them remain unanswered. Some we can answer with confidence! You may read through them here. Then, take some time and listen to Steve (should be posted within the next few days) here at www.cochrist.org Then, click the link on the middle right to Online Sermons. Be blessed...be a seeker...ask the questions...
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    1. GOD, why?
    2. GOD, who are You?...Acts 17:24-25
    3. GOD, who am I?...Acts 17:25-26
    4. GOD, why am I here?...Acts 17:27
    5. GOD, what must I do?...Acts 17:28-30
    6. GOD, what is for sure?...Acts 17:31
    7. GOD, will I be remembered? Revelations 14:13

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    We smile when we think of or listen to 2 of their very favorite songs:

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    Victory in JESUS:

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    As I listened to this at the following link, I imagined Mark, Sarah, and the crowd of heavenly witnesses singing...in fact, today while Steve was preaching and talking about GOD being in control, there were two extremely large claps of thunder... At that moment, I imagined GOD calling Mark and Sarah over and saying come here and listen to Steve Sikes' give a testimony to your lives...CRASH! BOOM!

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    http://www.woodlandsparkchurch.com/index.php?pr=Downloads&PHPSESSID=4e858388dd93847ca9a261ba2e678769

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    Mansion over the Hilltop:

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    I searched a long time to find a sample of how they liked to sing it.... and low and behold it was Elvis style...

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-cRMgZ9FbQ

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    2010 Pitman WOMEN REACHING OUT IN FAITH RETREAT - Cape May, NJ

    TRANSFORMED MOM, LISA, REQUESTED PRAYERS FOR HER HUBBY: FULLY RESTORED! FULLY HEALED!