Monday, December 31, 2012

Nature Study Goals for 2013

Well. This seems like a broad topic. We have learned so much as a family during 2012. It seems a little daunting to set down specific goals for 2013. There is so much to learn and so many options to study.
In random order, with no further ado is my list.

We added a new bird feeder to our back yard. It
is supposed to repel squirrels. So far, it is doing
a nice job of that. 

  1. We started a year long tree study in Autumn. We wish to complete the year. We did our Winter edition in December, so we only have 2 more seasons to go.
  2. My middle daughter wants to revisit birds. We have covered the subject twice. There is so much to learn about birds and we now have a feeder, so maybe we can participate in the Cornell University Great Backyard Bird Count in February 15 to 18, 2013
  3. In a post a few months back, my kids listed some things they would like to know more about.  We have started working on some of these things, but I guess we will revisit slugs and snails, leaves--especially how they change color and obtain food from sunlight, roots, roses, crystals, clover and pill bugs. 
  4. I have a personal goal of spending more time at some of our favorite hiking spots.
  5. Because the kids had such a great time at the horse field trip, I have plans to take them back to Wildoaks Arabians for some horseback riding lessons. We received money for this from my mother-in-law. I am so grateful for her.
  6. Barb offered a lesson on vines while we were taking a break from school. We missed it last year, so I would like to cover it this year.
  7. I would like to cover milkweed. I have finally figured out what it looks like. I bought some for my yard, so observation will be easy. 
I don't know. I am sure there is much more we could do. Each lesson has been a great blessing so far. I would be content to follow along with Barb's blog, but I don't know if she will continue it next year. Her youngest is graduating high school. If she doesn't continue the study, I will probably come up with 12 different nature subjects and cover one each month.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ron and Susanne Cox Visit Fountain of Life Church

A few weeks back, some of my favorite preachers in the world visited Fountain of Life Church near my home. Ron Cox was my preacher from the time I was 16 until the time I was 29. During the time I attended his church, his wife was sick with Huntington-corea. The debilitating and devastating disease eventually cost her life. Ron was faithful to her every day, caring for her needs, feeding her, and tending to her in every possible way, all while pastoring a vibrant, growing church and raising two beautiful teenage daughters.

After her death, Ron wasn't really looking for a new wife. But God had other plans. Another pastor in the area was visiting with a female missionary from India, when he called Ron. He suggested that this missionary and Ron go golfing. This other pastor then backed out of the meeting. Within a few months, Ron and Susanne were married.

That's been almost 12 years ago. Every time I see them I am overwhelmed with gratitude at what God has wrought. So many years of suffering, but now he has a wonderful, vibrant, happy, filled with the Holy Spirit wife who is the very picture of God's ability to restore what the canker worm has eaten.

I have been planning to write a summary of the meetings since the time they came down, but this has been my first opportunity.

From the first night:
1) God will make a way for a praying person.
2) Don't get enamored with stuff.
3) You can have as much of Jesus as you want.
4) God will speak to anyone who will listen.

Ron said that these things came from David Wilkerson.

From the second night:
Susanne Cox spoke on Never Never Never Give Up on Your Dream. There may be a dream that you had when a little child. Or maybe it is a heart desire that God gave you as an adult or after you were saved. Is it taking too long to happen? Never give up.

From the third night:
Ron preached a sermon that he said "didn't count against his time." It was a totally separate sermon from his main sermon. God will use those people who give God the right to empty them.

Jesus, in the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:21-48), said "But I say unto you." "But I say unto you." He wanted to empty the knowledge they had so that He could bring them to a new knowledge.

He also wanted to empty the man who had been sick for 38 years. (John 5: 1-15). He emptied him to fill him with healing.

Then there were the men with 5, 2, and 1 talents. (Matt. 25: 14-30). The man with five talents emptied himself by investing it all. The man with two talents emptied himself by investing it all.  Each one of them was given as much again as they invested.

Then there was the man with one talent. We have always thought of him as a non-Christian. But what if he wasn't? What if he was a man who had all of God he wanted? A man who had been saved and spent the next 50 years of his life polishing his one talent? How long is the church going to polish its one talent while the world goes to hell?

The two talent man and the five talent man said to the Lord, "Fill me and I will pour it back into Your kingdom. I just gotta have Jesus. I want more of Jesus." But the one talent man hid his. He went to church. He never backslid. He would pull out the one talent, polish it and describe the very day of his salvation. But he never poured anything back into the kingdom. 

Jesus was not impressed with the one talent man, even though he never backslid. It is very serious not to invest what God has given us. The one talent man had the talent taken from him and given to the hungriest.

We don't want to be empty, because we want to be in charge.

(This begins the transition to the second sermon he preached that night. Remember, the first one didn't count against his time. lol.)   We don't do very well when we're blessed. I wish Christians would seize the opportunities and do God's will when we're blessed. That's the way God wants it. But that's not often the way we do it.

Next, he started his "real sermon."  He started preaching the Moses story. You know the one, where Moses is out in the wilderness and he sees a bush in the wilderness. And the bush is burning. But the bush isn't being consumed. So Moses decides to go and see this thing. And God meets him there.

First, Ron pulled out a beautiful polished sword--a real sword. He waved it around dramatically. He said that early in Moses' life, he experienced sword days. He had power and authority of the Egyptian kingdom. He was positioned to lead. But he blew it. He killed an Egyptian and hid his body. He was discovered. He fled. (Ron dropped the sword.)

(First Ron pulled out a staff, but then he dropped it, too. He said that Moses didn't have anything so nice. It was just a stick. And he pulled out a stick --one that looked like he had pulled it out of someone's burn pile.)

He spent the next forty years regretting what might have been. Now he lives stick days. He lives in the desert with a bunch of smelly sheep that aren't even his. And all he has is a stick, not even a staff. It is just a stick. He has a bunch of regrets. How can God use me now when all I have got is this stick? The next revival just might come from those with sticks.

Once a prince in Egypt, now he is only in charge of smelly sheep that aren't even his. When you try to be a somebody, you will end up a nobody. Some time in the desert you'll realize that you are a nobody. Then God can be the Somebody in your nobody.

You are not really going to encounter a God on fire unless you are willing to ascend. Moses saw some common bush burning, and ascended to get a better look. And he encountered God.

Deity's fire didn't invade a towering tree, but a common everyday bush--so ordinary. But when God invaded the bush, God made it extraordinary. God invaded Ron's life, a little boy of a single mom, living in the housing projects. Yes, God invaded Ronnie Cox, but He didn't destroy Ron. God delights in using unusual instruments.

Why are we waiting on some advantage when He is I Am? What's in your hand, Moses? Isn't it amazing how we refuse to get empty?

And Moses looks down at his hand. This? (Ron holds up the stick.) This thing? Yes. What is in your hand?

A stick.

Throw it down. It's so hard to get empty.

Moses had a stick, an 83 year old brother and a one line sermon: "Let my people go." Is it so hard to understand why this 80 year old man was reluctant to go?

So now I ask you, what's in your hand? What regrets are you holding on to? What losses? What bitterness? What hurt? What pain? Throw it down. I know (said Ron) that the Holy Spirit is showing you what it is. Throw it down.

He had everyone come to the front. He gave everyone sticks. He told them to hold those sticks up and confess what it was that they were holding on to that the Lord wanted them to release. Then we all dropped those sticks. What freedom! What a moment. Hallelujah! I will never be the same again.

God knew that there was a serpent in that stick. We don't know it. But God does. Throw it down.

Then Ron had everyone lean down and pick up the snake/stick we had thrown down. But he said, you are not picking up the old thing. No. Now you are picking up what God wants us to have, picking up God's authority for our situations.