Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Dear Anna Claire

Word came that four-year-old Anna Claire’s three-week-old cousin had stopped breathing during the night. While paramedics worked feverishly on Baby Matthew, family members called everyone they knew requesting prayer. Precious time passed, and as fear and panic set in more and more calls were made. What a scary time for anyone, especially Anna Claire. What could she do? How could she help? Finally, in desperation, she shouted out the only thing she knew to do, “Call Jesus, Momma! Call Jesus!”

My dear Anna Claire,
Oh, that it were that simple. To just pick up the phone and call Jesus would be a wonderful thing, wouldn’t it? People who are sad, lonely, or hurting would be able to call Jesus when they need Him most. You have the right idea about Who to call when in trouble, but the problem with telephones is you often get a busy signal or an answering machine. Sometimes, like during Katrina, the phone lines and cell towers are down and you can’t get through.

Don’t worry, though, Anna Claire, you can call Jesus any time of the day or night, and He’ll never be too busy to listen. You don’t even need a phone. Just close your eyes, think about Him, and say, “Dear Jesus.” And He’ll be right beside you, listening to your every word.

I don’t know why Jesus didn’t let Baby Matthew stay longer with you. I know it makes you very sad. Can you picture something? Can you picture Jesus stretching out both arms? He is so big that one hand reaches all the way to heaven and the other one is right here on earth. Standing in His hand here on earth is you and your family. And in heaven, safely in His other hand, is baby Matthew. Jesus has you both, and He won’t let go.

It’s ok to be sad; when you are sad and need to talk to someone, pick up your heart and just call Jesus.

“Call to Me and I will answer you…” ~ Jeremiah 33:3
"See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands." ~ Isaiah 49:16

© Drewe Llyn Jeffcoat 2007

Monday, March 26, 2007

Facing the Giants

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Ok, so our family is a little behind the times as I'm sure we're the last people to have seen Facing the Giants. I've heard the story was good but the acting was bad; I also knew it was another one of those underdog-makes-good movies (which seem to be in abundance). For those reasons I didn't race to the theater or the video store. I figured I'd get around to watching it eventually. Well, eventually came around and now I feel the need to throw my thoughts into the movie critic arena.

I seriously doubt any of the actors will receive Academy Award nominations, and it was another underdog-makes-good movie. However, as Cassie (my 15 year old) put it, "The acting isn't very good, but by the end of the movie you don't really care because the story is so good." How true! And while it may be another "Cinderella" kind of story, it is unlike any you've ever seen before. When things go bad, God gets the glory. When things turn around and start going well, God gets the credit and the glory. (You just won't find that in a Disney movie!) The movie's message is clearly "With God all things are Possible", and by the end your faith is reaffirmed, and you have confidence that God can indeed do anything. The God of Facing the Giants is real and intimately active in the lives of His children.

I think one of the most important characters in the story is the gentleman who walks the halls every week praying over the kids' lockers asking God to raise up a generation that loves Him. His prayers seem to be the catalyst for all the miracles to come. (Hmm? I wonder what would happen if we diligently prayed for our youth that way and that consistently....)

If you are finding yourself low on faith, then you need to see this movie. It is blatently "Christian" and pulls no punches about it. As a matter of fact, I do believe it received its PG rating because of its Christian message. Isn't that a refreshing change?
~ Drewe Llyn

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Need a New Life?

New Life in Jesus

It’s not about you.

It’s not about

- your accomplishments,

- your possessions,

- your heritage,

- your education,

- or your connections.

It’s about grace.

Grace is one of those “Bible” words that is hard to explain, but here it goes…All of us have done things, said things, and thought things that are wrong. (Romans 3:23) Things that make God sick to His stomach. Things that God can’t stand to see or hear. Because of that we are too “dirty” to be in His presence. (Romans 6:23) Even if we think we’ve been pretty good, God says our righteousness is like filthy rags. (Isaiah 53:6)

How can we be made clean?

We are so filthy that there is nothing capable of cleaning us except…

The blood of Jesus. (Hebrews 9:22)

God said, “Sin must be punished.”
Jesus said, “Punish me instead.”

So God did. (Isaiah 53:3-5)

That’s grace. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Now that Jesus was punished for our sins does that mean we are free to go about our own business?

Not a chance!

Just like a Christmas or birthday present must be accepted and received before it belongs to you, so must this free gift of grace be accepted and received.

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…” John 1:12

How? How can we receive Jesus? Here’s how:

1. Admit – admit you are a sinner in need of a savior. Come to the place where you realize you can’t live life or gain eternity on your own.

2. Believe – truly believe and accept in your heart that Jesus is the Son of God and died for your sins.

3. Confess – confess it; say it; share it; you are a sinner in need of God’s grace. Call upon the name of Jesus. “…for 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'" ~ Romans 10:13

“That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with our heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” ~ Romans 10:9-10

Here’s a short prayer you can pray. It is not a magic spell or quick fix. Only you and God know if you mean it when you pray it. But if you sincerely mean it; on-you-face-crying-out-for-mercy mean it, then God will hear and answer you. (Jeremiah 33:3)

Dear Lord,
I am a sinner. I’ve done plenty of wrong things and I don’t deserve to be in Your presence. But I believe Jesus is Your Son. I believe He was punished in my place. I believe He died so that I can live, and that You brought Him back to life again so I can live abundantly. (John 10:10) Right now, I cry out to You: Please, Jesus, forgive me. Come in and create in me a clean heart, O God. Put Your Spirit inside of me. (Psalm 51:9-11) I die to myself and want to live for You now and forever. Thank you.


If you have sincerely prayed that prayer, then you are a new creature in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17). Welcome to the family. Please leave me a comment to let me know of your decision or if you have any questions.

I want to encourage your walk with the Lord.

Purity: What's the Big Deal?

A while back I was confronted with some questions/remarks about sexual purity on the Girlfriends in Christ site which I answered to the best of my ability. Realizing that this is an issue faced by many in today's promiscuous society, I decided to post the dialogue here.

For ease in reading I have alternately posted the questioner's words in blue and my response in black.

Why do you think that being pure is important for God to love you, or to be a good Christian?

Actually, the Bible is very clear that neither purity nor "good works" are necessary to have God's love which is a gift of grace. And quite honestly, everyone has sinned and fallen short of God's glory. (Romans 3:23) It also says that even our goodness is like filthy rags in God's sight (Isaiah 64:6) which means that even at our best we are "filthy" in God's eyes. (That's the bad news.) The good news is that God loves us anyway. He devised a way to clean us up "…While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) See, all of us were guilty and all that sin deserved punishment, but Jesus took that punishment upon Himself and died in our place. Did you notice the part that says, "While we were sinners…"? God loves us no matter what. There is nothing we can do, say, or think that will make God stop loving us. He loves us already. We may sadden Him by our actions or inaction, but He will always love us. He proved it on the cross.

Being a good Christian has nothing to do with purity, it comes from the heart and involves helping people, caring for people, being kind and living a good life.

Psalm 24:3-4 says only those with clean hands and a pure heart may go to be with God. Matthew 5:8 says that the pure in heart will see God. Hopefully those with pure hearts will help and care for people, be kind, and live a good honest life, but doing good things doesn't make a person good. I know many people who appear good on the outside, yet their thoughts and motives are wicked. Jesus said such was the case with the Pharisees. He said they were beautiful on the outside yet filled with dead men's bones, just like a whitewashed tomb. (Matthew 23:26-28) In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus stressed that purity is more than an outward sign, it comes from a right attitude toward God. (See also Proverbs 15:26)

Those sorts of thoughts and urges are natural as is sharing them with someone you love and who loves you back; there is nothing wrong, bad, sinful or shameful about being with someone you love, in fact, it's perfectly normal. Suppressing those urges, thoughts and feelings is abnormal as is remaining pure past puberty when hormones kick in, God gave us those feelings and hormones for a reason, and he says nothing about abstaining from sex.

You are right in saying the desire for intimacy is natural. Sexual intimacy is, indeed, a gift from God. There is nothing wrong, bad, sinful, or shameful about it when it is experienced the way God intended. That's what sexual purity is…doing it God's way without any variation. And He does have a lot to say about it.

1. Sex was intended as an intimacy builder between one man and one woman for life. (See Matthew 19:5-6 and Malachi 2:16)

2. Adultery is expressly condemned by God. By definition "adultery" is "voluntary sexual intercourse between a married man and someone other than his wife or between a married woman and someone other than her husband." (Click here for reference.) Here are some passages that condemn it: Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 20:10; and Proverbs 5; Proverbs 6:20-35)

3. Fornication is expressly condemned by God. By definition "fornication" is "consensual sexual intercourse between two persons not married to each other". (Click here for reference.) The King James Version uses "fornication". New translations translate it "sexual immorality". Here are some passages that condemn it (I'm using the New International Version. Click on the link and switch to King James Version if you like.): Romans 1:29; 1 Corinthians 6:13; 1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Corinthians 10:8; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3; and 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8.)

When I was in college my parents gave me their old car. (I think it was a Dodge. I didn't really care as long as it got me where I was going.) My dad said, "It leaks a little oil, so check the oil every time you get to school and before you head home again." I think I followed his guidelines for a month or so, but then I started missing a time or two or three or four. Nothing bad happened so I gave it no more thought. Until the day I was driving down the road and began hearing a loud knocking noise coming from under the hood of my car. A loud BOOM soon followed and that was the end of my car. It seems the manufacturer knew what he was talking about when it came to keeping oil in the engine. I had run out and the engine threw a rod causing irreversible damage

God is our Creator, our Manufacturer if you will. He knows all about us and what makes us tick as a whole and as individuals. He's not trying to cramp our style or make unreasonable demands when He says marriage is for one man and one woman for life. If we don't do things God's way there is irreversible damage. God knows that sex His way…
…prevents sexually transmitted diseases 100% of the time.
…makes sure babies have a mom and a dad to take care of them.
…preserves the sacredness of intimacy. (Let's face it, how special is that intimacy if you or your "partner" have done it with 10 or more other people?)
…prevents a lot of regret.
…preserves trust in marriage. (How can you trust your spouse if he/she's been unfaithful in the most intimate of activities?)

I once heard sex outside of marriage compared to licking a metal pole in subfreezing temperatures. You can do it, but you will leave part of yourself behind every time. Sexual intimacy is not just physical, it is emotionally binding. And every time it is done outside of the security of the marriage relationship, an emotional piece of those involved is left behind. So much is left behind that often there is nothing left to give to the person they eventually do marry. Stay sexually pure for your future mate. What a gift to give him!

It's the organized religions that want their members to remain pure, they put a guilt trip on you so you remain true to their cause, and they hang damnation over your head if you're "weak" and give in to sin. That's how they keep their numbers in the church.

Most "organized religions" want their members to remain pure for the reasons I've already listed (i.e. preventing sexually transmitted diseases and regrets, preserving sacredness in intimacy and marriages, etc.) They know purity is ultimately best for those they love. I won't deny that some do use "guilt" to manipulate people into being or doing what they want. Unfortunately, many are quick to condemn failures in sexual purity and not failures in other areas. God wants us to be totally devoted to Him in every area of our lives.

I truly believe God is happy if we are happy and living a life true to his commandments. No where in the commandments does it say "be pure". It's orthodox rubbish. Follow the commandments and forget the rest,

No where in Scripture do I find that our happiness is God's goal for our lives. When our hearts are pure and focused on God we will have joy, but joy is having peace and contentment in spite of our circumstances. It is peace in doing things God's way. Happiness, on the other hand, is totally about getting our way.

I think I've already offered plenty of Scriptures regarding God's command for purity. And since we both agree we should follow His commands here are four more.

"…do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure." (1 Timothy 5:22)

"Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord." Hebrews 12:14

"But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;" 1 Peter 1:15

"Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral." Hebrews 13:4 (The marriage bed is not pure if husband and wife bring past sexual experiences to it.)

if you want to love your man, then love him and leave your guilt at the door,

Guilt is like the knocking sound I heard in my car engine, a sign that something is wrong. If you really love your man, you will save yourself for him. You will respect him. (You won't know who your future mate will be until he pledges his life to you before God.)

purity or lack of has nothing to do with God, his love or getting into heaven.

As already stated, purity has everything to do with God. It's His command. However, I will agree that our purity or lack of it won't get us in or keep us out of heaven. It's all about Christ's purity covering our sins.

The purpose of this response is not to bash or condemn anyone who has been sexually impure. The purpose was to clarify the Bible's stance on the issue. For those reading this who have given in to sexual intimacy before or outside of marriage, I want to offer hope. Jesus died on the cross so that we could be free from the world's way of doing things. He doesn't sit in judgment, He walks beside us with love and compassion and the offer of forgiveness and a fresh start.

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:1-2

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

After all, Jesus died for us; shouldn't we spend our lives pleasing Him? Sexual purity is something that pleases Him. Ask Him to forgive your past mistakes and make a commitment to please Him from this day forward.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 1 Corinthians 5:17

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Journaling - Introduction/ My Story

Touch the Future: Journal!

“One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.”Psalm 145:4
My Journaling Story

Ever since childhood I’ve enjoyed jotting down random thoughts, emotions, experiences, and poetic attempts. One would think I’d have a fine collection of journals gracing my shelves by now. Regretfully, that is not the case, for while I love to write, I’m organizationally challenged and many of those special pieces of my life have been scattered and lost.

When my children made their grand appearances I knew I had to be more diligent to write down and keep EVERYTHING concerning their childhood, so I purchased three journals - one for each child. Eventually, I also I began a file folder of all the interesting stories and written “tid-bits” that blessed my life. Later, I felt convicted to keep a “Blessings Journal” of the miraculous ways God is at work in my family’s life. I’ve also accumulated a number of meaningful cards and letters over the years. Though I had good intentions, the upkeep of all those paper treasures was burdensome. Every time something monumental or meaningful happened I spent valuable time and energy searching for the correct journal to record it in. And though the “tid-bits” and meaningful correspondences were easily dumped in a file or box, it was too much trouble looking for them, so they and their joy stayed hidden away. Many inspirational thoughts, wonderful ideas, and meaningful happenings have been lost through the years simply because I was overwhelmed and couldn’t keep myself motivated.

A breakthrough occurred when our family went overseas on a two year mission adventure; I knew I needed to keep a record of that epic journey also, but weight and space limits made simplification a necessity. I purchased a thick, wire-bound notebook containing pockets to take with us. It wasn’t pretty, but it was functional. Everything I wanted to keep a written record of went in that one notebook. “Everything” included:

1. General happenings & special events
2. My thoughts and feelings on those general happenings & special events
3. Miraculous ways God blessed our family
4. Cute things the children said or did
5. Childhood milestones
6. Inspiring quotes from various sources including books read or speakers listened to
7. Sermon outlines with special meaning
8. Bible verses of particular significance
9. Prayers and answers to them
10. Poignant song lyrics

Each entry began with the date and some highlighted cue word as to who or what that particular entry was about. It was that simple. (Why didn’t I think of this before?) Instead of keeping up with multiple journals everything went into one, and though it took six years to fill that one book, I did fill it. (And can still find it!) Since that method worked so well I’ve recently bought an even thicker (and prettier) journal in which to record the special happenings of my life.

Dear Reader, You may be a more seasoned and better organized “journal-er” than I am. If so, I’d love to hear your ideas! If you don’t keep a journal I want to encourage you to do so and to offer some simple ways to organize all those “scraps” that comprise the fabric of your life.

(Stay tuned for "Why Journal?")

Why Journal?

Why Journal?

If you haven’t already caught the journal “bug”, you may be asking, “Why should I?” Here are some great reasons:

1. It’s therapeutic. Our journal is a safe place to rant and rave, dream, grieve, and expound on the meaning of life. Writing things down often puts things into perspective.

2. It is a disciplined way to reflect on and cherish the moments of our lives. Busyness pushes many pearls of wisdom, grace moments, and learned lessons to the back of our minds where they gather cobwebs and are quickly forgotten. Journaling forces one to reflect on and savor life, God, family, friends, and the things of true value.

3. It’s a gift. How I’d love to take a peek inside the life and faith of my grandmother or great-grandmother! (Or grandfather!) Unfortunately all but one of my grandparents are dead, and as far as I know none left written accounts of their valuable life experiences. Those treasures were buried with them. Taking the time to write down the seemingly non-important is really a gift for the next generation.

4. It’s a legacy. Our written journey of faith touches the future. This hit home a few years ago when my husband gave me a new leather-bound copy of the Study Bible I love so much. My then 12 year old daughter, Cassie, asked for my old paper back copy. Later she made comments about some of the things I had underlined! She was discovering things that were deeply important and meaningful to me. I’m sure we had discussed most of them before, but it was more personal for her to see the actual words God had spoken to my heart. It was a peek into the marrow of my spiritual life.

5. What a legacy of faith we leave future generations when we not only write down special verses, but what God said to us through them! Our children need to see our struggles as well as our victories, how God brought us to where we are, and our dreams for being more and more like Jesus.

6. We are commanded to remember and not forget what the Lord has done. (Psalm 103:2; 1 Chronicles 16:12; and Psalm 77:11) Let’s face it, the best way to remember something is to write it down and keep it in a special place. When we are discouraged, depressed, or feel forsaken it helps to go back and see God’s hand on our path. We’ll be reminded that we’re never alone.

7. We are commanded to teach them to our children. (Psalm 78:1-7 and Deuteronomy 6:4-9) Journaling doesn’t take the place of verbal instruction; it just puts what God has taught us into writing for future reference. A written account can be passed down through multiple generations. The reach of our influence is increased many times over through journaling.

8. God gave us an example. Deuteronomy 10:2 tells us God wrote (1) the Ten Commandments on tablets, Luke 10:20 says those who are saved have their names written in heaven, and the NIV(2) contains nine references to the Book of Life (3). God thought it important to pass His words down from generation to generation in writing. He even writes down our names. Though our words are not as important and powerful as His, they have deeply significant value when they point to Him.

Note to young people: You may feel some of these don’t apply to you, but you may have children one day. What a precious gift it would be to let your children read details of your own childhood and your perspective on events they may be reading about in their history books!

Note to the childless: Don’t think your life’s journey is unimportant simply because you don’t have children of your own to share it with. Nieces, nephews, friends, pupils, etc. can all benefit from a record of your life and walk with God.

(C) Drewe Llyn Jeffcoat 2005

(1) Emphases mine
(2) New International Version
(3) Psalm 69:28; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 17:8; Revelation 20:12, Revelation 20:15; and Revelation 22:19

How to Kill the Journaling Experience

How to Kill the Journaling Experience...

1. Make sure your journal is hard to open and won’t lie flat. Struggling to keep it open will take your mind off any meaningful thoughts.

2. Make sure your pen skips when writing, or that it makes annoying noises as it moves across the paper. This will create extreme frustration causing the “journal-er” to quit in mid-paragraph (maybe even mid-sentence or word).

3. Make sure both journal and pen are difficult to find. Keeping them in separate places not easily accessible will quickly divert attention from the task at hand (which is to journal) to whatever distraction is lurking between the “journal-er” and her supplies. (i.e. dirty glass to go to the kitchen, pair of shoes to be returned to the bedroom, gum stuck on the carpet, children/spouse asking questions, etc.)

4. Journal in a central location where you are easily available to everyone and everything coming through the house. The frustration of constant distraction is enough to kill even the most valiant attempts to journal.

5. Set unrealistic goals. Go from never having journaled, ever, to recording every single event and thought of the day. This monumental task will so overwhelm the “journal-er” that she will give up the first day.

6. Mourn missed journal entries. Feeling guilty about all the wonderful parts of life not written down will either (1) cause the “journal-er” to attempt retro-recording all her life events which will become burdensome (see #5), or (2) cause the “journal-er” to say, “I’ve missed so much; it’s just too late.”

7. Make sure there are no spelling errors and that every sentence is grammatically correct. This is a great way to shift focus from deeply personal thoughts to the mechanics of language resulting in discouragement.

(Stat tuned for "Seriously Now")

(c) Drewe Llyn Jeffcoat 2005

Seriously Now

Seriously Now...

1. Buy a spiral journal or something that will open flat.

2. Buy several pens you enjoy writing with.

3. Place journal and pens in an easily accessible place.

4. Make sure you journal either at a time or in a place when/where you will experience the least number of distractions.

5. Set realistic goals – especially if you’ve never done this before. Set yourself a certain number of times a week to write an entry. Entries can be as simple or detailed as you want them to be.

6. Don’t try to be perfect. Journaling is supposed to be deeply personal. So what if your great-grandchildren know you had a little trouble spelling or that you left dangling participles. (What are those anyway?) It is better to write from the heart with mistakes than not at all.

What to write?

Along with the ideas already mentioned, you can also include:

* Memories. Don’t feel you must go back through your entire life writing down everything of significance; concentrate on today. However, there might be a few precious memories you want to record and reflect on. Birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays may trigger some of these.

* Include a picture. Most journal paper isn’t thick enough to use as a full fledge photo album, but an occasional photo and caption would make a great addition.

* Historical events and your thoughts on them. Where were you when 911 happened? What did you do during Katrina? You have a unique perspective that will bring these historical events to life for your future readers.

* Life-changing books. Record the title, author, and date read (if you remember) of books that have profoundly touched your life. Include how or why they affected you so deeply. Some of mine are In His Steps by Charles Sheldon, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, Power of the Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian, and The Matthew Movie staring Bruce Marchiano as Jesus. (Ok. That last one is a movie, but it deeply influenced me.)

* Song Lyrics. Perhaps you heard a song that really blessed or spoke to your heart. Write those lyrics down along with why it touched you.

* Long term goals for yourself, your children, and your family. Periodically go back to revise those goals and check your progress.

* Doctors’ visits and prescriptions. How many times have you (or will you) have to fill out medical forms and just can’t remember when that surgery was or what medicines you took. This will give you a written record of your family’s medical history.

(c) Drewe Llyn Jeffcoat 2005

What about those meaningful tidbits?

What about those Wonderful “Tid-bits” and Meaningful Cards and Letters?

Hopefully you are now inspired to begin journaling, but there’s still all those stories, clippings, “funnies”, and correspondences to organize. I’ve include these types of remembrances in this booklet on journaling because they also comprise the fabric of life. We keep those treasures because they are a significant part of our journey. They make us laugh, cry, think, draw us closer to God, and keep us connected to friends and family. What we deem important enough to keep is really a reflection of who we are. They need to be preserved in a way that’s easy to enjoy and/or share. The best way I’ve found to do this is in protective sheets in three ring binders. I’ll confess that not all my “happies” dwell in such a place, but I have begun the process, and it’s as simple as 1…2…3…

1. Buy a three-ring binder that allows you to insert a cover and spine. (Then you can add your own creative touches.) If larger than 1 ½ inches make sure it has a “D” ring instead of a circular one. The latter makes it very difficult to turn pages in anything larger than 1 ½ inches. (Trust me on this.)

2. Fill your binder with page protectors which can be purchased at Wal-mart and office Depot.

3. As you find or receive a “keeper”, whether it is a special card, letter, clipping, etc., simply add the date and slip it into a protective sheet.

Other “Binder” ideas

* Create a separate binder for each category: funnies, motivational clippings, letters, etc.

* Binders and protective sheets are great for holding best loved recipes. Add photos of the finished product and a note about where the recipe came from to create an heirloom of family recipes! You may want to include a picture of Grandma making her famous dumplings, or of the kids making chocolate chip cookies.

* Some people may prefer journaling on the computer. Print these entries out on cardstock, add photos, and keep safely in a binder for a photo journal.

* Add your ideas here!

(For more ideas check out my friend Cindy Rushton who is the Binder Queen!)

(C) Drewe Llyn Jeffcoat 2005

Journaling -Conclusion

In Conclusion

From the beginning God put people in families creating a sense of belonging and a method for educating future generations in His ways. Can’t you picture young Noah sitting at the knee of Grandpa Methuselah learning about the Lord! After living nearly 400 years I’m sure Methuselah had much wisdom to share.[1] What a tremendous blessing for that family! (Just think, even little Shem, Ham, and Japheth had access to Methuselah’s first hand experiences with God!)

While our world may rival Noah’s in terms of immorality, we are missing something of great value his, and past generations, possessed: connectivity. Our busy, mobile lives have severed much of what used to hold us together. We don’t have time or proximity to glean wisdom from those who lived before us nor to share what we learn with those who come after us. And let’s face it, few of us will live to be one hundred years old much less 969. Our time is short. One way we can reclaim that connection with the future is through journaling. As we record our family history and especially our walk with God we increase our sphere of influence beyond our life time. What a powerful possibility! What an awesome responsibility!

Now, go touch the future with your past…


(C) Drewe Llyn Jeffcoat 2005

Monday, March 19, 2007

Palms of His Hands Story

Palms of His Hands

It was spring, 1991, when my grandparents buried their first born child, my aunt, claimed by lung cancer at the age of forty-nine. My first born, age two, wiggled beside me during the service even as my second child squirmed within – her debut still six weeks away. Maternal emotions consumed me causing heightened awareness of my grandmother’s grief. How does a mother bury a child – a part of herself? I knew her painful loss would remain the rest of her life.

The officiating minister, surely nudged by the Holy Spirit, read from Isaiah:

"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands..." (Isaiah 49:15-16NIV)

Those words flew straight to my heart. How well I knew that no nursing mother can forget her child! Her entire body aches and yearns for her baby making forgetting a physical impossibility. Yet God says, even IF a nursing mother could forget, He would NEVER forget us. His love is deeper, His memory is greater, His heart strings are stronger than even the most devoted mother. He yearns for us making forgetting a spiritual impossibility (Jeremiah 31:20). We are permanently engraved on His very hands – a part of Him. How awesome is that!

It was fall, 1997, when the church we were serving gave my husband and me a tremendous gift – a trip to the Holy Land! Forever we will be grateful for that wondrous experience. Before we ever boarded the plane I envisioned the perfect souvenir – a carving of a child in the palm of a hand. I’d never seen such a statue, but I was on mission to find one.

Traipsing all over Israel, my eyes scanned the goods inside every little shop to no avail. When even the Olive Wood factory in Bethlehem failed me I began losing hope. God, however, smiled, for late in our trip my treasure was found at a small shop in Jerusalem’s King David Hotel. There it was, out of olive wood just as I pictured it, a hand with a child carved on it! I could now return home triumphant and satisfied with my special souvenir of a remarkable experience. Little did I know that souvenir would soon become an incredible symbol of God's abiding presence.

It was summer,1999, when my husband and I felt the call to foreign missions. We, our three children included, applied for a two year assignment overseas. There was no doubt God said, “Go!” He just didn’t say where. The mission board invited us for a two day conference to interview and discern a location. Hours passed with no direction. "Stressful" hardly seems adequate to describe the experience. Tears prepared for overflow. I turned toward my husband in despair and glimpsed a curio cabinet I had passed many times during the day. I stared. Why hadn't I noticed it before? Sitting on one of the shelves was a small statue of a hand with a child carved on it. "See, I’m still holding you," God said. And He was.

It was spring, 2002, when our overseas adventure ended, and again we longed for directions that seemed slow in coming. A myriad of emotions swirled inside once more. God’s voice seemed blocked by the inner turmoil. In desperation I cried, “OK, Lord, how will you show me this time that we are still in the palm of Your hand.” (I admit to wondering if we still were. My faith was wavering.)

Not many days later I walked into a nearby Christian bookstore. There on a sale table just inside the door was… (Drum roll please)…an olive wood carving of a hand with a child in it. Though it would yet be several months before we received His directions, it was a comfort knowing we were still not forgotten.

It is now Spring, 2007, and we have been in our new place of service almost five years. Life is pretty settled, at least for now, as the statue sits serenely on my desk. I suspect though, life being what it is, a time will inevitably come when once again I will need a clear reminder God’s still there holding my family and me. I have no doubt that somehow, someway, when I least expect it but desperately need it, God will find a remarkable way to once more assure me I am still remembered and forever kept safe in the Palm of His hands.

“The eternal God is a dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms…” Deuteronomy 33:27 NASB

©Drewe Llyn Jeffcoat 2007

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