Sunday, January 27, 2013

Teaching and Training

"As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise." Proverbs 27:21

Yep, I'm still reading through Proverbs!  It's hard to believe January is almost gone!  I'm already pondering and asking the Lord which book to study next, but I believe this year I will read Proverbs with along with every other book I read this year.  When the new year began, I thought I'd try to read my Bible all the way that the first month is almost gone, I'm thinking I'd be better equipped to teach and train if I just studied 12 books (one for every month) and Proverbs.  So that's my goal for this year.

Recently, a friend and I were sharing some of the challenges of raising our children for the Lord.  The Lord reminded me that I cannot stand still in the "Motherhood Department."  If I want my children to succeed for the Lord, I have to wisely teach them and train them.  One of the areas that I have noticed is most effective (at least with my kiddos) is PRAISE!!  My kids thrive on praise!  I was reminded of that when I read Proverbs 27:21 this morning.  Just as the refining process is for the good of the gold, praise is for the good of man (who doesn't like to be praised?).
I have noticed when I praise my children, they try even harder to do right.  When I nag at them.....well, they're like me - they just want to skate by - doing the minimum requirements!
Martha and Ian love to help wash the dishes, and when we're NOT in a hurry, we let them help!  Last night I had Martha set the table for supper (one of her normal responsibilities) and I noticed the silverware were out of place.  As I looked at the table, two thoughts came to my mind:  1.  Martha didn't do her job right!  2.  I have never taken the time to SHOW her the right way to set the silverware!  So, I took a few moments, showed her the proper way to set the silverware, then let her correct the other places settings...and I remembered to praise her for a job well done!
We are training our children to respond with "Yes/No, Ma'am/Sir" when spoken to.  Ian forgets many times (as does Martha), but I have noticed that when I praise him for remembering by himself to respond the proper way, the next time he is even faster to respond the right way!
How thankful I am in my own life for the God-given gift of PRAISE!!  What a blessing to have praise to use to help teach and train our children to serve the Lord!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Applying My Heart

For the month of January, I have been reading through I Samuel and Proverbs.  God has been teaching me so much from these two books.  Do you ever find yourself reading your devotions and thinking, "Wow, how come I never saw THAT verse before?"  or "I know that verse, but I never thought of applying THIS way!"  That's exactly where I am in my life right now.  I know many of the events in the book of First Samuel - I've heard them growing up in church!  But the Lord has really been showing me the different attitudes of the different people in I Samuel and how I need to apply or avoid them in my own life.  And to top it all off....I read this verse this morning...."Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge."  Proverbs 22:17
I want you to take a moment (like I did) and let that verse sink in - not just to your mind, but to your heart.  I didn't see it at first when I read that verse this morning, but then the Holy Spirit slammed on the brakes and made me go back for a second look....and this is what I saw..."Apply thine heart unto my knowledge."  Do you see it?  How many times have I heard..."Read the Bible and apply It's truths to your heart."?  Now that is not wrong - we should apply the Bible to our hearts, but do you see what God is telling us here in Proverbs?  He is not telling us to apply His Word to our hearts, but rather apply our HEARTS to His Word!  Now like me, you're probably thinking - "It's the same thing - just said differently."  I thought so too, when the Holy Spirit brought me to a screeching halt at this verse.  "Apply thine heart" - hmmm.....I got to thinking about that (still am as I write these words) and I started wondering why God would say it that particular way.  Then I realized how I apply my heart to the things I want to do or need to do every day - for example:  Dishes, Laundry, Tutoring, Helping my Husband, Reading Time with my Kids (another story for another day), crocheting, cross-stitching, and all the other 101 things I need/want to do every day.  But how often do I just stop and apply my heart to the one thing that matters the most - My Saviour?  Yes, I have my quiet time with the Lord every day, but sometimes I just rush through to go to the next thing on my TO DO list.  Shame on me.  That is not applying my heart in the right way.  Do you also see that it goes on to say, "...unto MY knowledge."?  What a treasure-trove of knowledge and instruction we have inside the two covers of our Bible!  And the Holy Spirit gently reminded me that when I (my job) apply MY heart to HIS knowledge, HIS knowledge will be applied to MY heart.  Does that make sense?  In other words, when I take the time to apply my heart to His knowledge, the things I learn will become a part of my life, but it doesn't just's like telling my kids to go wash their hands - if they don't APPLY the soap, their hands won't come clean!  Yes, the soap is there and it will do the job, but they have to USE (apply) it first, then the soap is effective.
You know the Holy Spirit is so gentle.  He shows us things and then lets it sink in before showing us the next thing - at least that is how He works with me - I'm rather hard-headed you know, and I need time to get things through my head before He shows me the next thing!  So after I absorbed Proverbs is what else He showed me:  Proverbs 22:18-21 - all the reasons why applying my heart to his knowledge is a help and benefit to my life!  Yeah-hoo! (As my Martha says!)
So why am I telling you all of this?  Because the Lord has been working on things in my life, and I want to be a help and a blessing to others...after all, that is why God teaches us things, right?  To have the ability to help someone coming behind us, or someone walking along side us.  As I was thinking of these things and how to share them with others, the Lord reminded me - "You have a blog, Sarah, and it's not just for your personal amusement - use it wisely to be a blessing to others." (Didn't I tell you I was rather thick-headed?)  We all struggle with different things in our lives, but what a blessing it is to know we can encourage one another to keep on serving our Precious Saviour.  I pray that is what this post will do for you today - not because I have all the answers - I DON'T! - but because we can grow together in the Lord by applying our hearts to HIS knowledge!  

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Just thought you would like to see some of our recent photos.  I'll offer a few explanations along the way....
Ready for Work (with Daddy's gloves)!!
Ian came into the living room one day, sporting his "Workman's Look" - overalls and Daddy's work gloves!  Olga had a great time helping me make pizza - definitely a first for her!
Making Pizza
This picture of Ian in his sunglasses, hat, flip flops, and pj's is priceless!  He had his pj's on, and he came out to the living room after putting on his hat, sunglasses and flip flops - he loves every part of his wardrobe in that picture!
Ready for BED??
We LOVE Kitty!!!!!
Martha and our borrowed cat 
Martha LOVES the cat!  She's been asking me for weeks to take a picture of the cat and send it out for all to see....!  (My apologies to those of you who have little use for cats....I won't name names - you know who you are!  Matt is at the top of that list!  He's nice to the cat, but only tolerates her!)
I'm Readin'
I walked into the living room the other evening to find Ian "readin'."  His idea of reading is to open the book, look at the pictures, and sing (very loudly) about the pictures!  I am thankful both of my children love books!
Goin' to the River
We were getting ready to go on an outing to the river when we took these two pictures.  We had gotten beach buckets for the kids, and that morning I bought sunglasses and flip flops/crocs (fake ones) for the kids.  It was such a fun day!
Martha came running in to inform us of her brother's whereabouts....can you find him?
Where's Ian? (Modern version of "Where's Waldo?")
 This past Tuesday for Family Day, we went to a nearby park.  It was fun!  We had a picnic, the kids got to ride horses and play on the playground, and we took a boat ride - all for less than $10 USD!!!  I think the park will become a regular feature in our Family Outings!
Ian the Cowboy
Just a note here about Ian riding the horse - I wish you could actually see him ride the horse - he's a natural cowboy - he doesn't just sit on the horse stiffly, he moves his body with the gait of the horse!  Martha got to ride the "Big Horse"!
Martha the Cowgirl
I hope you enjoyed the pictures!

Prayer Request:  We will have to leave Peru and come back into the country due to Martha and Ian's visas.  Please pray for wisdom concerning this trip and all that goes with it (paperwork for visas, etc.)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Birthday Surprises!

I got kicked out of my own kitchen the day before my birthday!  When I peeked around the corner, this is what I saw...
Matt and the girls were concocting something....which I found out later was.... 
A gingerbread lady and some gingerbread cookies!  They were so yummy!
For my birthday on Friday, we went to the zoo and had a great time.  The restaurant we wanted to eat at is all closed up, so we had to eat at a different place, but it was still yummy!  We had "Pollo a la Brasa" (Rotisserie Chicken) which is a favorite of mine!  Matt even ordered some "cuy" (guinea pig).  It was good!
"Cuy" (Guinea Pig) Anyone?
After we had been home a little while, I asked Matt, "What are we going to do for supper?"  He just smiled at me mysteriously.  I stopped asking questions.  A little while later, Abraham (one of the young men in the church) showed up at our door with a bowl of onion and tomato salad.  For a moment it was awkward - I think I wasn't supposed to be sitting in the living room when he came in, but I was.....anyways a few minutes after that all the ladies that live here in Efata showed up to have dinner with me! 
We had the onion and tomato salad with my favorite...Papas Rellenas (Meat filling with mashed potatoes all around the outside and deep fried)!  Am I making you hungry?  Then we went downstairs and had cake with everyone!
When the ladies came, they brought me something very special....two plants - a Cyclamen and an African Violet!  The African Violet was extra special, because it reminds me of my Grandma Knapp - she always had African Violets on her window sills!
One of my last gifts of the day, was a gift from the two young Deaf men that go to Callao with us - Frank and Hugo.  They bought me this beautiful picture!  I couldn't help but have tears in my eyes when I saw what was in the package!  I can hardly wait to get it hung on my living room wall!
God gave me one of the best birthdays I have ever had, and I am thankful for another year to be able to serve Him!