Thursday, June 25, 2009

God is in the plans...even the ones we don't understand

Yesterday, a good friend was taken from us way too soon. I had grown up with Mark Meredith since my first day of kindergarten in Mrs. Peacock's class at Rehobeth High School. Since then, we've gone through years of school, years of fun and years of friendship. Mark held another special place in my heart because he was the best friend of someone very close to me. I knew how Mark and Ryan were so close and how they leaned on each other and relied on each other in the good times and bad. When you hear news like I heard early yesterday morning, you're in complete disbelief, shocked and are left feeling completely helpless.

After those feelings subside and you're searching for answers and comfort, you finally find your way back to God. In times like these, we have to remind ourselves that God is still present, even when we don't understand His plans or why He allows things to happen. We'll never know the answers this side of Heaven, but we have to cling to the promise that God promises good things to those that believe and trust in Him. I think God understands when we question Him, but I also think we have two choices in times like these-- we can either give the situation to God and see how He works good things through bad situations or we can let satan take control and destroy the good things Mark worked for and all the times he made us smile.

I've listened to the song, "Praise You in This Storm" by Casting Crowns more times than I can count. It seems to be the one song that lets me question, lets me cry and still produces a positive outcome and a small sense of peace and comfort.

Mark will always be remembered as our really tall friend who brought a smile everywhere he went. :) Please keep the Meredith family and all of Mark's friends in your prayers and pray that they experience a magnitude of peace, comfort and strength that only God can provide.

"I'll praise You in this storm, and I will lift my hands. Cause You are who You are, no matter where I am. And every tear I've cried, You hold in Your hand. You never left my side, and though my heart is torn, I'll praise You in this storm." -Casting Crowns

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

fish aren't even awake this early!

My weekends lately have consisted of fishing and sunny days on the boat. Not a bad way to spend the summer, even if I do have to wake up at 4:00 a.m. to get on the boat. After all the fishing trips, I still don't understand how two boys can be so obsessed with fishing. :) haha... but hey, we love 'em in spite of the weird obsession!

I have to admit, despite the fact that it was 6:00 a.m. and I had been awake since 5:00 a.m., it was beautiful being out on the water that early in the morning.

This might be Matthew's favorite picture ever. :)

Snapper season is finally open! I've heard and read about this forever. Apparently the feds cut the season short b/c they think Snapper is over fished. It's a big deal... to some people anyway.

Monday, June 8, 2009

10 Thoughts on the Role of the Bible in America

... found this on Fox News...

10 Thoughts on the Role of the Bible in America
By Bill Shuler
Pastor, Capital Life Church, Arlington, Virginia

This past week a nation took notice when a San Diego couple was ordered to stop holding Bible studies in their home without a permit. (The order was rescinded after public outrage.) In an unrelated story, a U.S. Court in Pennsylvania ruled that the Bible could not be read during a show and tell time when a kindergartner brought what he described as his, “favorite book” to class. Is it possible that a nation that has such a rich history of going to the Scriptures for guidance now is in the process of turning its back on the same? The following are 10 thoughts on the role of the Bible in America:

1. In a review of nearly 15,000 items written by our founding fathers, the Bible was the most quoted of any source material.

2. George Washington and successive U.S. Presidents have been sworn into office placing their hands on the very book that is now unwelcome in many public schools.

3. “The Bible is worth more than all other books which have ever been printed” — Patrick Henry

4. “The Bible is the best book in the world” – John Adams

5. If the Bible is “just a book,” it should not be uniquely excluded.

6. If the Bible is more than “just a book,” it is to our folly to exclude it.

7. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances” — The Bill of Rights

8. “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education” — Theodore Roosevelt

9. “We cannot read the history of our rise and development as a nation, without reckoning with the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the republic.” — Franklin Roosevelt

10. “I believe the Bible is the best gift God has given to man” – Abraham Lincoln

As Ronald Reagan is honored with a statue in the Capitol Rotunda, I think of the Congressional Proclamation he applauded, signed and implemented, declaring 1983 as a national “Year of the Bible.” Here’s the text:

Whereas the Bible, the Word of God, has made a unique contribution in shaping the United States as a distinctive and blessed nation and people;

Whereas deeply held religious convictions springing from the Holy Scriptures led to the early settlement of our Nation;

Whereas Biblical teachings inspired concepts of civil government that are contained in our Declaration of Independence and the constitution of the United States;

Whereas many of our great national leaders—among them Presidents Washington, Jackson, Lincoln, and Wilson—paid tribute to the surpassing influence of the Bible in our country’s development, as the words of President Jackson that the Bible is “the rock on which our Republic rests”;

Whereas the history of our Nation clearly illustrates the value of voluntarily applying the teachings of the Scriptures in the lives of individuals, families, and societies;

Whereas this Nation now faces great challenges that will test this Nation as it has never been tested before; and

Whereas that renewing our knowledge of and faith in God through Holy Scripture can strengthen us as a nation and a people: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President is authorized and requested to designate 1983 as a national “Year of the Bible” in recognition of both the formative influence the Bible has been for our Nation, and our national need to study and apply the teachings of the Holy Scriptures.