Christmas Newsletter 2015

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Well, all we continue to say after last year is that we are so glad Roger is with us this year!!  As I wrote last year, he was in the rehab center all last Christmas and it continued into February.  He was finally able to come out then and recuperated at his parents’ until sometime in March.  We were so happy to finally see some strength return by about April and May, and I continued to do a lot of work with him on data entry.  We truly are a team!

We still go to our Youngstown courthouse every few weeks and enjoy getting a lunch together at a local Chinese restaurant.  We also were blessed to enjoy a family vacation (http://www.criscollrj.com/2015/10/22/october-2015-maryland-vacation/) for the first time in 9 years.  Even though it was a bit colder than expected (with a little snow even!), we all really really enjoyed it and hope to return again soon.

We did completely have our basement renovated last year–as I wrote in the last newsletter that said renovation had begun–and then had our bathroom repaired in May.  With school again from July until just a few days ago, I am yet again ready to start cleaning out corners and cobwebs and ready to finally get Ryan in his own room as we had planned last summer, that didn’t happen.  I am on another term break now until March 1, when I will start yet another semester.  Three more semesters until student teaching!  A bit scary, actually…

We returned to Kraynak’s again a few weeks ago with our friends the Jevnikars, and reunited with my high school friends Annette and her family, and also our mutual friend Becky.  It was very enjoyable, and we especially found delicious the food at a new place, Hickory Grill.  We had unseasonable warmth through much of December except for a few brief snows.  It has been in the 60s this Christmas week. Strange to see daffodils coming up in places — will they come back in the spring?

We were thrilled for Chris to be enrolled in a new workshop in October where the focus is on autism intervention/training for workshop.  He is doing so much better and also has seen a new medical expert that has tried some new medicines for him.  He is sleeping better and is usually in a great temperament!

Colleen found a fantastic job this year and has been working since April at a pet store.  She is a lizard/fish expert and that of course is right up her alley.  She works a lot of hours and is very content with that.

Ryan moved on to the high school this year, in the 8th grade.  He continues to excel in his academics and made honor roll this semester!  He is now taller than all of us except Roger.

With all of the things that have occurred in this past year and before, we continue to trust that God has us all in His Hand and is watching over us.  We have had many challenges and trials, but am so grateful that many things are resolved now, with just a bit more to get through yet.  Some time ago this popped into my head, particularly the part that begins at 2:14

 

I didn’t realize I posted this on Facebook on December 10, 2014.   Guess I should have posted it on last year’s newsletter, but here it comes now for some reason…

From Facebook 12/10/14:  “This is a song I used to sing all the time in high school, and I’d forgotten about it. Starting about 1:03, listen to this song (though the first song is good too!). The part that says “I want to thank you for the gift of your son,” just randomly came in my head when I got home from the hospital today, at 2:13 on the track. Word for word it came out of my mouth, and I hadn’t heard the song in about 33 years. I felt like thanking God for seeing Roger today and that things hopefully are going to look up soon, and I thanked God, and then just started singing this song. Didn’t even know who it was by until I found on YouTube! Just knew I was in high school probably when it came out. I needed to hear the words today… been such a struggle.”

“I want to thank You for the gift of Your Son,
And for the mystery of prayer,
And for the faith to doubt and yet believe
That You’re really there.

The mysteries of Your Word are the questions of my days.
I search them now to understand the wisdom of Your ways.
Jesus walks before me and clearly walks the path
To guide me to the Father and to peace at last”

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  1. Chris visiting Daddy in the hospital, Jan ’14
  2. Rog programming his new IPhone 5c
  3. The place where Rog should be sitting in Youngstown court next to me…

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4.  I am at Youngstown Courthouse

5.  February 2015 – and the snow just keeps coming.

6.  And the cold!

A particular memory is how the heat quit working in my car when I was driving to Youngstown, and the real temperature outside was -17.  Talk about cold toes!!  Later found out it was my radiator, which I had replaced in May of 15.  You’ll see below what happened in June…

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7.  February – the amazing photobombing bird!

8.  A start to one of Colleen’s amazing paintings.

9.  Ryan writes so much like I did..

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10.  The cold just keeps up.

11.  March – painting almost done!

12.  Rog is back at his mom’s, and we finally had Ryan’s and my birthday parties!!

 

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13.  Boys at mama’s and papa’s house.

14. Ryan’s SpecialSports Basketball 🙂

15. March also finally got Rog back in that special chair at Youngstown Courthouse!

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16.  That was an amazing temp after all that cold!

17.  April brought new glasses, after years, that turned to sunglasses!

18.  Colleen’s beautiful sculpture.

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19.  Another one of her gorgeous art show entries.

20.   Rog and I got to Meadville to work May 1 and ate at 5 guys!

21.   Ryan at the football camp in May for Specialsports!

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21.  It was Flag football…

22.  Got our bathroom redone in May!

23.  Colleen turned 21!

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24.  June – Ryan’s really enjoying summer!

25. End of June said goodbye to Old Bess after she caught on fire.  13 years — 195,000 mi.  Yep, a month after replacing radiator.  I was pouring radiator fluid and power steering fluid in it for months…

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26.  A few weeks later this 2014 T & C joined our family.  30,000 miles, and now it’s already up to almost 44,000.

27.  Sophie and I enjoying our  basement, much nicer after the Christmas ’14 repair!

28. July, a little trip we took Chris on where Colleen was doing some fishing.

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29.  Mom and her friend Allen Helm helped us plant a lot of beautiful plants and shrubs my uncle Don gave.

30.  I saw Rainbows on Chris’s wall on 3-4 separate occasions this year, amidst worry and struggle.

31.  Sometime the summer/fall Peach went to live with my mom.  She is flourishing!  She lost her “sister” Pumpkin a few months before that.   

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32.  July – my mom and Chris and I enjoyed attending the Montville bicentennial.

33.  Ryan always enjoys getting his Dairyman’s Chocolate milk,  a daily trip he calls “getting Biggerline Dairymen’s chocolate milk here.”….  and boy what a fit if one of the stores has run out of stock on it…

 

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34.  September – we did get 15-20 tomatoes!

35.  Mantua potato festival 🙂

36.  Getting rid of old couch and fridge.  Lots of newer furniture and a fridge, and lots of boxes and other things, came in when Mama/Papa moved!  I’ll be sorting and arranging all these on the current break I just started.

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37.  Took Chris to the shore one night, Lake Erie.

38.  Our trip in October to Maryland.  More pics on my blog!  Runaway ramps in WVa.

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39.  One of the parks in WVa or Maryland.

40  Fire in our cabin 🙂

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41.  First views of the hills.

42.  I want this mailbox!

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43.  Our cabin.

44.  November after Gayle/Chuck moved, Chris visited before they gave away the keys — Emotional!!

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45.  Breathtaking view of the lake in Auburn on the way to Youngstown.

46.  Happy birthday Chris, mom, Papa, Nancy!

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47.  48.  49.  50.  Kraynak’s trip with Jevnikars, Kromer’s, and Becky Freeman 🙂  Boys are at the chocolate store, and Colleen took this lovely selfie in the car (didn’t take a selfie in the Santa chair that I asked her to 😉  )

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51.  Our one snow event a few weeks ago.  Before and after, unseasonably warm!

52.  Chris at Broadmoor party.

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53.  Pretty house decorations.

Calling on you…

2013-02-12 08.25.24Since I dropped two of my courses (was too overwhelmed, they weren’t needed right now, and I’m already taking the two required right now) I have been trying to walk each morning again for 20 minutes.  Today the snow was falling very lightly, not accumulating at all on the ground that currently has no snow, and was just barely coming down on my coat.  It reminded me of many walks I took in high school where I bundled up every day and walked my dog Cocoa in the back woods at our farm.

cocoa 2When I walk it is one time I can really try and pray without much distraction.  It’s a bit different than when I drive to Kent – that is also an important time as I try and listen to 103.3 Moody Radio and really focus on the sermons and conversation.  I don’t always listen to radio – I tend to switch from that to the Fish to just classic rock or mix stations, whatever I am in the mood for.  But listening to the shows on the drive to Kent had become a habit and one I do want to continue even now at home.  But the walking and praying was different, and I had missed it.  I have not consistently done it in a while, just because it had been so hectic to always get out the door to get to school, or get Colleen to school (last year), or whatever I was doing.  I am grateful the time is back.

I am also walking consistently as I am still doing the My Fitness Pal – two weeks tomorrow.  All the exercise gets deducted from the day, giving more calories available, and revving the metabolism!  One pound gone…

This song came into my mind today and I looked it up on YouTube.

Stryper – Calling on You

 

Inside of me there is a lonely place
Sometimes I just don’t know it’s there
But when I’m all alone
That’s when I have to face…
[Bridge]
The part of me that needs someone
To be by my side that’s when I call on…
[Chorus]
You, You make my life complete
You give me all I need
You help me through and through
I’m calling on you
I can’t explain just what You do to me
My love grows stronger everyday
You give me love, You give me company
And when I have to face the rain
You bring sunshine into my life
[Repeat Chorus]
[Solo]
[Repeat Chorus]
More lyrics: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/s/stryper/

How He loves us….

 

 

Have had occasion to hear this song twice in the last 24 hours <3  And feel convicted to share it.  I also feel convicted that I need to show Him I love Him.  I am definitely experienced in depending on God for His patience, wisdom, deliverance, comfort, peace, and a shoulder to cry on.  But how many times do I spend time reading His word, worshipping His being and not asking for anything or worrying about my problems, or just being With Him?

 

How He Loves Us  — lyrics

He is jealous for me,
He loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
and I realize just how beautiful You are,
and how great Your affections are for me.
And oh, how He loves us
oh oh how He loves us
how He loves us so.
He is jealous for me,
loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
and I realize just how beautiful You are,
and how great Your affections are for me.

[ From: http://www.elyrics.net ]

He loves
oh how He loves us
oh how He loves us
oh how He loves
we are His portion and He is our prize
drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
and if grace is an ocean,then
we’re all sinking’
and heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss
while my heart beats violently inside my chest
and I don’t have time to maintain these regrets
when I think about the way
He loves us oh
how He loves us
how He loves us
how He loves
yeah He loves us
oh how He loves us
oh how He loves
yeah He loves us
yeah He loves us
how He loves us
oh how He loves all

An outside tragedy strikes our busy lives here in NE Ohio–spring is still around the corner

The urgencies of life all keep going on these months, almost 3 months since I posted last, my Christmas newsletter.  School is in full swing for me and the kids, and we are doing fine.  The usual chaos of trying to get the house cleaned (or not) and cooking, studying, playing, having outings, and planning the quarterly work trip with Rog keeps us all busy.  Progressing one step at a time.

When a young boy decided to take a gun to school in nearby Chardon, Ohio, it was a moment of reflection, horror, questioning, sadness, shock, and many other emotions.  Three boys died, the last of which was buried 10 minutes away in northern Chardon yesterday.  The barrage of beautiful black and red ribbons has been everywhere, and I’ve even worn a red headband for a week now myself.  What a tragedy, and I pray and have prayed for the victims families, friends,and the boy who shot them, and his family. 

Of course something like this makes you hug your own children and say, thank God it wasn’t us, it wasn’t our children.  You hug them many more times a day than usual, and yell at them less than usual.  And you wonder what the purpose was.  We have seen a tremendous outpouring of love, support, and offers of prayers to our immediate neighbors to the south of us, and perhaps it was that love after tragedy that was supposed to be a kind of lesson.  I’m not sure.  As we all continue to heal, spring is at our doorstep, with tulips and daffodils beginning to poke their heads out here and in other places.  Everything becomes normal again, though of course it really doesn’t for the families touched.

In the education and democracy class I’m taking, we have had some discussion about how these events could somehow be addressed at school.  I don’t know, really, what else they can do.  Bullying prevention starts in elementary school.  But yet it continues.  And then we don’t even know for sure, was this boy bullied?  That has never been confirmed.

Nothing else to say, really.  My prayers continue.

 

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Jesus commands us to go, and to come

As I listened to Dr. David Jeremiah today, http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio_archives.aspx, as he was preaching about stress and our lives, I was drawn to this parallel.  He was describing how when we are so stressed out in life that we have a rest in our Savior and God and that not only is it a slight offer to come to Jesus, but is a command, the way the Greek “I” is written in the text.  “28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” 

Matthew 11:28-30. 

So as we go about our daily duties, which He does entreat us to do:  “From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good, and the work of a man’s hand comes back to him.” (Proverbs 12:14), we still need to go to Him for rest and rejuvenation, and for me, be more like Mary and less like Martha from the New Testament stories.

Building a case for us to know that we do need to work, and not be lazy or slothful, are these verses contained in this blog post that I found.  http://strengthenedbygrace.wordpress.com/2010/02/19/proverbs-on-work/  So by no means is God telling us to be lazy and sit around in Matthew 11:28-30.  Perhaps it is a message to rest in Him as we work, to pray through the day, and to meditate on Him always.  It is a lesson to me to try and take more time to read the Word and try to hide it in my heart to think more on as I go through my day.  And just listening more to teaching radio, such as this show by Dr. David Jeremiah, has been a good practice as I drive hours a week now with work and school, to establish better habits to grow in my Christian walk.

And in the words of Keith Green —

 

Jesus commands us to go,
But we go the other way.
So he carries the burden alone,
While his children are busy at play,
Feeling so called to stay.
Oh, how God grieves and believes that the world can’t be saved,
Unless the ones he’s appointed obeys,
His command and his stand for the world,
That he loved more than life.
Oh he died, and he cries out tonight.
Jesus commands us to go,
It should be the exception if we stay.
It’s no wonder we’re moving so slow,
When his church refuses to obey,
Feeling so called to stay.
Oh how God comes, as he starts the great judgment of fire,
So he can gain, his greatest desire.
Cause he knows that the souls of the lost,
They can only be reached, through us,
We’re his hands and his feet.
Jesus commands us to go,
It should be the exception if we stay.
It’s no wonder we’re moving so slow,
When god’s children refuse to obey,
Feeling so called to stay.

 

[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/k/keith_green/jesus_commands_us_to_go.html ]

 

 

Perhaps directly meant as a call to the mission field, but I think it could also be a call to work with all our might what is at our hand, depending on Jesus, in His name, each day.

More than we can bear? God bears it with us.

Woke up early this morning and was reading an older journal – and found these older posts from November 1994 and January 1995. 

 

November 19, 1994

Tomorrow is Christopher’s birthday.  4 years old!  He’s got a double ear infection but is now getting better.  He’s been sleeping in the daytime and stays up until 12 or 1 a.m. or gets up at 6:30!  I have laryngitis and can’t speak at all!  Hopefully we’ll feel better by Thanksgiving – in five days.  That’s when we’re celebrating Chris’s birthday.

Dr. X wants to have Chris evaluated for autism.  Hopefully it will be ruled out.  He’s really a sweet little boy.  We’re praying for him daily.  I know God can perform a miracle. 

November 20, 1994

It really hurts sometimes when we worry that something if really wrong, that our son can’t speak.  Also that he’s often seeming not to understand us, although when it’s something he really wants to do he understands perfectly (bath).  I’m worried we’re focusing on things that may just be nervous habits – grimacing, playing with his fingers (itzy bitsy spider?), looking at bowls and pop bottles. 

He snuggles, smiles, figures things out (like loading dishwasher), being affectionate to baby Colleen.  We do have the promise that God will not give us more than we can bear.1  It seems we’ve had enough trials this past 18 months to last a lifetime.  But there have been blessings among the trials.

February 6, 1995

I’m so happy being home with my children.  These years will go too fast.  Chris is 4 1/4, almost.  He’s stretched out so tall and now seems to be getting a little chubby to make up for it.  his sandy brown hair forms bangs to his light eyebrows, and in straight thickness just reaches his collar.  his chocolate brown eyes are framed with long eyelashes.  He snuggles with us a lot.  Especially while I’m nursing Colleen, Chris climbs up on my lap, on the other side of Colleen, and cuddles up to my shoulder.  At these times I thank the Lord for this time.

Christopher is mildly autistic.  He was tested January 24, and the doctor confirmed our suspicions.  Continue reading

Yarping —

A cascading waterfall, flanked by flowers.

 

I have been wanting to post about this for ages, but could not find the book I was thinking of – but this may be part of the concept:

 

http://www.churchchrist.net/Sermons/Prayer.htm

 

“YARPING Stuart Brisco

Stuart Brisco came up with a great acrostic for those wanting to know how to pray

P = Praise

R = Repentance

A = Ask for others

Y = Yourself

Sometimes people get this backwards. But that isn’t praying… that’s yarping.”

 

It was about  35 years ago that I read a book shortly after I became a Christian in 1975, where the unusual theory of YARPing was first introduced to me.  I have always remembered it.  I don’t remember the name of the book, however, but seeing this quote inside the very long page on prayer that came up when I googled “yarping”, causes me to assume it was a book I owned.  I tend to remember that acronym, however, whenever I go to pray, as by nature I do believe we tend to pray in the wrong order.

 

It is difficult at times to put first things first, the P, for Praise, and just Praise God.  It turns usually into asking, or for yourself, or, less often, repentence, (which should be #2 and instead probably is last or close to it) and you have to purposely direct your mind back to praising.  It can also be hard to praise when everything is wrong and so difficult.  But I am so thankful for this acronym that I read about 35 years ago, in most likely a book by Stuart Briscoe, and hope I will always remember to pray and not yarp.

 

And do check out more of the prayer site, there are some really cute things on there as well, like this:

 

KIDS SPEAKING TO GOD
One little girl began her prayer like this: "Our Father, who are in heaven, hello! What be Thy name?"
A boy who thought he knew the answer to that question, prayed, "Our Father, who art in heaven, Harold be Thy name."
The prayer of another boy went like this: "Our Father who art in heaven, Hollywood be Thy name."
A girl whose visiting uncle was a horse player bowed her head with a plea that God "give us this day our daily double."
A five-year-old girl who was trying to cope with Sunday School and kindergarten at the same time came up with this charming blend of Church and State: "Give us this day our daily bread,
and liberty and justice for all."
Another kindergarten child asked God to "give us this day our jelly bread."
Then there was the little boy who prayed, "Forgive us our dentists, as we forgive our dentists."”

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About running –

As the spring arrives, I have been thinking about running in various ways.

  • I have used it as a thing to worry about – as spring comes every year, the boys would get more boisterous about escaping the house and running off (or in Chris’s case, usually walking very fast).  As far as I’ve heard, Chris has not started yet this year with this; and here Ryan has not either.  But last year, it was very difficult with both boys, with both households having installations of backwards locks where we need keys on the inside to let anyone out!  This has not happened at all yet this year,but we wonder when it’s going to occur.  We are hoping and praying by this time the boys will be able to communicate by words or icons that they wish to go somewhere consistently and not feel they have to “escape”!
  • In Ryan’s case, I am praying when we go to the park this spring (whenever it dries out enough!) that he will not run away from us in the parking lots like he did last year, not that we didn’t hold his hand, but he did it in a different way, just suddenly taking off from the middle of the playground where he had been swinging or climbing, as a game where he would want us to chase him suddenly, but in a dangerous way, usually ending up in the street or parking lot.
  • In a different vein, with all the challenges we have been having, sometimes my (and all of our) thoughts can lead to wanting to just run away, run fast, run far, to a place where there aren’t quite this many challenges, where people think clearly and act rationally all the time, and there is no more pain and sickness, and sleep is sound and not interrupted, and – wow, sounds a lot like the heaven we’re waiting for, doesn’t it?  Yes.
  • Then of course running reminds me of exercise, and how little of it I’m getting at this point – lol!  Time to get the wii fit going now that I’m done with school in a week, and only going online for summer.  Time for the whole family to start getting fit –not necessarily running, but walking, indoor cycling, calisthenics, et cetera!
  • And finally – 1 Corinthians 9:24 – “24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

Lots to ponder as spring gets into full swing, my winter/spring semester is almost over, the kids’ school is winding down, Roger is healing in his body and preparing for when he will return to work, and I look forward to a break and time to get my house (and mind!) organized, and start a new semester.  May I not be so close-,minded with school and duty that I forget including time for us to enjoy the summer weather, playing outside in safe areas, and also making sure I take time to have devotionals, prayer time, and, yes, exercise.

 

Happy spring!  (this is last year, but they’re already budding now!)

 

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The powers and exponents of faith

“Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Wednesday, May 30, 2007 (2)

Our pastor yesterday was talking about faith vs. feelings, and how if you depend on your feelings to walk your walk of faith you won’t get very far.  He also compared the power of faith to the power definition in physics. 

Now, I have not taken physics, but strangely enough, when he asked, what is power, in connection to faith (and then to physics in his discussion) I immediately thought not of the traditional definition of power, but of powers in math.&#160 (I’m taking college algebra right now); He said, “what is power,” and I thought, immediately, exponents and logarithms.  HA HA! 

But then I started thinking about it, and it is not that off base.  One Christian has the power in himself/herself through Christ of the faith he/she has, and that is one person.But when you add exponents (powers) to a number, it not only adds, it multiplies.  At a very fast rate.

So as people of faith and prayer, standing together, what can we do?  Exponentially more than just addition.  Let’s move mountains through prayer.

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God’s family in prayer –

b736Seeing examples with Roger’s surgery this morning, as well as other prayer requests we have had through the years, it is amazing to see how so many from God’s family come together in so many ways to pray for those in need.  I am touched to know that individuals from two of the churches we have attended in our life, as well as other friends and family, are all praying for Roger right now at the same time, largely through the technological advances of Facebook.

Technology is a neat part of this for many people, where even people that may not be able to attend church right now can put a prayer request on Facebook, or even do something as simple as call a prayer line on the telephone and someone else then spreads the request technologically, and believers then pray en masse for that request.

Daniel 12:4

American Standard Version
”But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”  Heard the end of this verse since I was a little girl, and we always interpreted it to mean that at the end times knowledge should increase – though this seems to have been happening for a long time, at least to my human mind.  Wonder how close we are to what we always called “The New World,” when:  (Revelation 21:4)

English Standard Version (©2001)
”He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”  Wonder how close that Is?  May we be dedicated servants here on earth, until then, and not just waiting, but working for others and seeking His Will.

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