Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My Dear Friends,

Our dear brother in Christ, Mr. Davis, went home to Glory this afternoon. Blessed be the Name of the Lord. Please continue to pray for the grieving ones left behind, specifically, Mrs. Davis and their six children. He will be sorely missed, but we look forward to a wonderful reunion when we can all worship, as he can now, before God's throne.
The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.
Praise His glorious name, now and forever and ever. Amen.


"We picture death as coming to destroy; let us rather picture Christ
as coming to save. We think of death as an ending; let us rather think
of life as a beginning, and that more abundantly. We think of losing;
let us think of gaining. We think of parting; let us think of meeting.
We think of going away; let us think of arriving. And as the voice of
death whispers, 'You must go from earth,' let us hear the voice of
Christ saying, 'You are but coming to me.'" (Norman Macleod)


(c) 1994 Jerry D. Babb

Upon Death's bed I silently lie,
Shrouded by mists and hues of gray;
Chained within a body no longer my own,
Time ever passing, quietly I pray.

Thoughts of the present are best left behind,
Vision once clear, now clouded and blind;
For pain and discomfort are constant companions,
But with a joy filled soul and peace of mind.

Remembrances of parents and friends now long gone,
Thoughts of childhood, family and home;
Time's obstacles and barriers seem to collapse,
With winged spirit, free now to roam.

My father, mother, sister and brothers,
A childhood long past, of joy and fear;
While present has faded and reality blurred,
Days of old through a kaleidoscope appear.

No longer I dread the Angel of Death,
Nor the role I am destined to assume;
For my Heavenly Father is Lord of my life,
And blessed Jesus prepares for me a room.

Loved ones now visit with arms outstretched,
With loss and sorrow misplaced;
For the One who now comforts is no stranger to me,
And speaks tender words of love and grace.

Regrets I have for those loved and left,
For to them is sadness and sorrow;
Death be not afraid, for peace follows soon,
My reward is a brighter tomorrow.

We have loved, laughed, and faced life together,
So grieve not for me, beloved children and wife;
The One who now beckons awaits my arrival,
And freely offers, to all who will come, Eternal life.

Love knows no restrictions or boundaries,
Neither Time nor Eternity it may dim;
For our Lord and Savior is King of this Realm,
When called, we will be together again.

I have lived long and loved most richly,
Experienced great joy and great pain;
Weep not for me or my passing,
This rest I have earned, my reward I now claim.

Chilly Jordan awaits my crossing,
But alone I will not stray;
For He who has been since the beginning,
Holds my heart, my hand, and with love, lights my way.

Mourn not your loss nor regret my departure,
These vessels of clay were never designed to endure;
But to love and serve, both God and mankind,
With compassion and humility, His purpose to ensure.

I depart with tears of joy mixed with sorrow,
But alone you will never be;
For although I have loved you with all of my heart,
He who now calls, has loved you throughout eternity.

(From the book, A Love Eternal, by Jerry D. Babb
(c) 1996 White Buck Publishing)

Happy Birthday!

Today, 20 years ago, my sister Melissa was born. She has always been the sweetest sister a girl could ever hope for. From the time we were little we did everything together- playing, singing, getting into trouble...:) I remember days of sitting on the back porch with her eating popsicles, playing "igloo" in 90 degree weather, running through the sprinkler, amongst so many other things. Most of all I remember spending time with her that has resulted in funny, sweet and memorable memories. :) My wonderful Savior, has truly blessed me with Melissa as a sister. I wouldn't trade her for the world.

Happy 20th Birthday, Melissa! May God bless this new year of your life beyond measure. I love you!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Urgent Prayer Request

My Dear Friends,
Please keep Nathan's (a.k.a. "Goose") father, Mr Davis, in your prayers. He had a heart attack tonight and the doctors aren't sure if he'll make it. Please, please lift him up to the Lord.

God is in control
We believe that His children will not be forsaken
God is in control
We will choose to remember and never be shaken
There is no power above or beside Him, we know
God is in control, oh God is in control

He has never let you down
Why start to worry now?
He is still the Lord of all we see
And He is still the loving Father
Watching over you and me

Twila Paris, God is In Control

"Friends, Romans, Countrymen...."

First of all I want to let y'all know how much I appreciate all y'all waiting so patiently for me to return to cyberspace! I am truly blessed in my friendships. And secondly...

Typing this blog post feels strange - so much has happened in the past three months! There are many things to report from Providence Church, as well as events in my own family. But before I fill you in with the happenings, I wanted to get your attention for a moment - or as Shakespeare so finely put it, "Sit a moment and let me sway you with my council..."

First of all, these past few months have been so rewarding for me in my walk with the Lord. I've found Him speaking to me in a way I never heard before! I've found more time to spend with my dear, dear family, more time to read the Word, more time to spend with the Lover of My Soul, My Precious Savior. God has really and truly done amazing things for me.

He has revealed His amazing grace and love to me and reminded me of how helpless I am without Him. Over the past three months, He has drawn me closer to Him, and through my being closer to Him I've become closer to my parents and my siblings. I'm not sure how, but I've realized that the Internet is a really incredible thing. It has the power to take a persons mind, hold it for hours on end, and before you know it the day has passed and you have wasted hours of your life - the life that God has given you.

That is what was happening to me, and I am so glad that God led me to take a break. I want to encourage you this day to seek the Lord and serve and love Him with all that you are. For that is our purpose in life - to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever! Life is so very short. You see it all around you! The siblings that were once the sweetest babies are now nearly 12 and you wonder where the time went; after all, you don't feel any older!

But life does fly by. God has given us this time to serve Him and seek Him each day by reading His Word and enjoying fellowship with Him through prayer. We should not - and as Christians we cannot waste life with mindless activities. We are called to take dominion! And we, as young people should start right here in our own homes - serving our families, serving God, and living life to its fullest. For what is life all about if it's not about loving, glorifying, and serving God?

I really enjoyed these quotes from John Piper's book, "Don't Waste Your Life:

"We waste our lives when we do not pray and think and dream and plan and work toward magnifying God in all spheres of life. God created us for this: to live our lives in a way that makes him look more like the greatness and the beauty and the infinite worth that he really is."
"If we try to display the excellence of God without joy in it, we will display a shell of hypocrisy and create scorn or legalism. But if we claim to enjoy his excellence and do not display it for others to see and admire, we deceive ourselves, because the mark of God-enthralled joy is to overflow and expand by extending itself into the hearts of others."

And lastly:
I will tell you what a tragedy is. I will show you how to waste your life. Consider a story from the February 1998 edition of Reader’s Digest, which tells about a couple who “took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30 foot trawler, play softball and collect shells.” At first, when I read it I thought it might be a joke. A spoof on the American Dream. But it wasn’t. Tragically, this was the dream: Come to the end of your life—your one and only precious, God-given life—and let the last great work of your life, before you give an account to your Creator, be this: playing softball and collecting shells. Picture them before Christ at the great day of judgment: “Look, Lord. See my shells.”

As a side note, if you haven't read Don’t Waste Your Life, I highly recommend that you do; you will not be disappointed.

"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." - Ecclesiastes 12:13

And now for the update I promised. :) Christmas, particularly was wonderful. Daniel, Christa, and Joshua (well, he didn't exactly come...Christa sort of brought him along. *grin*) came to visit us and we had a splendid time with them. We enjoyed sledding, decorating, and cleaning our shop, as well as officially setting up and enjoying our Home Theatre (for family movies nights), complete with projector, large blank wall and surround sound system (which Daniel so kindly set up for us!!) We're trying to convince Daniel that they need to move up....we'll see. :) Christmas day consisted of a time of fellowship, Bible reading, singing, opening gifts, and enjoying a huge gourmet dinner! God truly blessed us this Christmas with much joy, peace and love!! :)

New Years Eve consisted of food, historical DANCING, singing, and a final "To the New Year!" toast. It was simply marvelous! I pray everyone that came enjoyed themselves as much as I did!!

And now it's the New Year, and life is once again semi "normal" for the most part. Our Church moved into another building so now we're at a place in Peoria known as "The Christian Center."(the young people seem to be enjoying the ping pong tables anyway...*grin*)

Life is beautiful and God is good. To Him be all praise, honor and glory, now and forever!
And since I'm a Southerner from the inside out, I must close with...

SHALOM, Y'ALL!!!! :)

- jessica

P.S. More photos soon!!

All of the young people at our New Years Eve Party!

The people who memorized scripture on Sunday holding up our cards! :)

Tiff was pretty excited about her Mannequin!

My dear Father on Christmas morning.

Melinda, Myself, Sierra and Susanna getting a photo on New Years Eve.

The McDonald/Blanchard Families.

The "kids" :)

"The Sisters" :)

Lenna, Myself and Sierra on Thanksgiving Day.