December 18, 2010

105=15=5=120...........college math

Well as most of you know, many colleges have been finishing up with this semester by giving their students final exams. Even though I don't physically go to a university for class, I too had a final yesterday. (I do take my tests at several universities in MO and KS.) My final test for 2010. =) It was Social Science and History.........basically I had to study everything about, well, everything. It covered Western Civilization 1 & 2, United States History 1 & 2, Psychology, Sociology, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and much more. It was kinda nerve racking because I had taken this test in May but had not passed. Thankfully though, after many more hours of study, I was able to pass yesterday! =)

So you are probably wondering what the numbers above mean. Well, because I passed my test I now have 105 credits! =) 120 credits is what I'm aiming for, which means I only have 15 credits left before I graduate with a Bachelors in Liberal Studies! I only have 5 more tests. I'm so very excited! This was an amazing early Christmas party!!!!! =)

Have a very Merry Christmas!!! =)
Love,
Ashton

December 6, 2010

JP: Sports, Finally

JP writes:

If you know me you know I love sports. And finally, God comes through with a sports blog! I was flipping stations on the truck radio as I was heading to the missions base when I landed on a sports talk program. Of course, I just had to stop and listen for a minute. The KC area sports teams generally are at the bottom of the standings regardless of the sport (reminds me of Atlanta's teams when I was growing up in the 70's.) Their fans must be conditioned to complain because that's all they did despite the fact that the KC Chiefs football team is 8-4 and in first place for the first time since I was growing up in Atlanta. Yes Tuffy, that's a long time ago. "The quarterback is not good (just named the Player of the Month for November) , they need to settle on using just one running back rather than two (this despite the fact that they lead the league in running the ball), why didn't they tell us one of the coaches was having knee surgery during the off week, blah, blah, blah..." People, they are in first place! Give them a break and enjoy it.

Then I started thinking. God must be thinking the same thing about us, the body of Christ in the USA. Just like the KC sports fans, we've been conditioned to complain. We're not satisfied. Our churches are big and beautiful with amazing state of the art audio/visual technology, but we still find something to complain about. We don't like the music, the sermon's too offensive, the sanctuary is too warm/cold, the coffee doesn't taste good enough. The same thing goes for our houses and cars. Someone else always has a bigger, nicer one. Our cell phones and ipods are "so yesterday". We wring our hands a complain because right now we can't afford to stop at Starbucks on a daily basis. We are constantly comparing ourselves to those who have more rather than those who have less than we do. Instead of stopping and giving thanks to God for how He has provided, we complain because we want more. It seems like we as a society are never satisfied.

Now imagine what the tribe of Levi must have thought when God divided out the promised land among the Tribes of Israel. The story can be found in the book of Joshua. God first told Moses and now reminds Joshua in detail how to divide the land. Nine of the tribes inherited land on the west side of the Jordan: Simeon, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, and Ephraim, plus half the tribe of Manasseh (Joshua 13:7). The tribes of Reuben, Gad, plus the other half of Manasseh, took their inheritance on the east side of the Jordan (Joshua 13:8). And I'm sure people were complaining because they didn't get river front property or didn't have mountains in which to build their weekend retreat. I'm sure that they wanted what the others had received.

But what about the tribe of Levi. Weren't they left out. In fact, it was as if God had said "Sorry, no land for you." However, he did provide them with an inheritance. "But to the tribe of Levi, Moses has given no inheritance; the Lord God of Israel is their inheritance. (Joshua 13:33, Numbers 18:20).

What? No land? I imagine many from every tribe thought that the Levites had received a raw deal. After all land was and still is a sign of wealth and a means to more wealth. Ahh, but God knew that true wealth was found in spending time with Him.

The Levites had inherited the privilege of coming into the Lord's presence on a daily basis and serving Him. They had to learn to be satisfied with just the Lord and nothing else.

And that's the question that the Lord poses to us today - In the world today, if all we had was the Lord, would we be satisfied?

AP: Heart Matters

AP Writes:

Hello all!!!!

I apologize for not writing sooner! My life has been super busy this past couple of months with preparation for the Mystery of Christmas. (We performed this past weekend. It went really well and was so much fun! I'm kind of sad it is over, but relieved to be able to sleep again!) Recently over the past couple of months God has really been highlighting to me the state at which I hold my heart. I often find myself in the prayer room just flipping through different parts of the Bible when verses I've never noticed before will jump out at me, all of them dealing with issues of the heart. I've even had conversations with different close friends about how our hearts are doing.

I was struggling in October/November with really trying to understand my heart and feeling kind of disappointed that I wasn't able to control the emotions of my heart well. I found a verse in Jeremiah that said "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" (Jer. 17:9) I was reminded that my heart was human, and that if I followed what my heart was 'feeling' then I was following things that were untrue. I found the verse that said, "Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God." (1Chron. 22:19) I realized that we are supposed to give ourselves in our day to day business. Even though our hearts are wicked, God still really wants them!

He even knows the secrets of our hearts. Which, honestly, could be a little scary for most of us if we stop and think about it. God knowing everything we think........everything. It makes you not want to think! =) "God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." That would probably be my prayer right now. That in everything, through everything, that my gaze would be such that I would depend on God to sustain my heart. He should be the strength of my heart......He's the one who created me. I have nothing that I could give Him in return for His sacrifice for me. He deserves every second of every day.

It also says in Matt. 5:8, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Doesn't that make you want to go get your heart in check? I mean, who wouldn't want to see God? I love how blunt the Bible is. It tells you what to do in order to get desired results. Only, they aren't things we can do on our own......we have to depend on His guidance. =) Colossians 3:1 is also encouraging because it says, "Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God." God wants us to meditate on Him. How cool is that? Our job is to think about Jesus. =) I also like Phil. 4:7 which says that the peace of God will guard your heart and mind. The thought that God's peace will guard our hearts is so comforting to me because that means I don't have to be in control! He leads my heart!

One day during this past week, I was putting my makeup on for the show and Uncle Matt came up while fixing his suit/costume and asked me a few questions. I love it when he asks me questions because it always makes me think. He wants to know what's going on deep in the heart, not just the surface. I love that about him! =) He was asking me about my heart and how my life was going. Through our conversation I was reminded that the matters of the heart are so extremely important! We should hide ourselves in Christ. (Col 3:3)

I also really like this quote. It would be so cool if this were the case of the guy I end up marrying! =)

"A woman's heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her."
Max Lucado

Hope to write more later!
Ashton =)

November 30, 2010

JP: Dust off and get back in the game

JP writes:

Isaiah 52 begins with the Lord saying, "awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourself with strength. Put on your garments of splendor.....shake off your dust, rise up, sit enthroned." There are two things that He wants us to do. First, to wake up from our deep, comfortable, cozy slumber called contentedness. And secondly, to shake off the dust, rise up, and walk into the glory and power that He desires for us and makes available to us. Or in other words, to get back in the game as I like to put it.

God desires to use us to heal, evangelize, and prophesy on a regular basis. However, somewhere along the way in our christian walk, we as a church body have lost our initial zeal for the Lord and have gotten knocked down by the tribulations of life. Now, we are afraid of getting back up and causing waves. Afraid of what others may say and of losing their so called respect. We have written our selves off as useful in the kingdom of God. We don't see ourselves as God sees us. Wollowing in the self-pity of our human weakness, we crawl to the sidelines and take our place on the bench content to watch the "game". Giving into the lie that our sin is bigger than God's power. We need to shake off the dust because the enemy wants to speak lies into your brain saying that what you've done in your past disqualifies you from being used by God. He wants to speak lies to us saying that we are not worthy.

The Lord is crying out "awake, awake. It's time to get up, brush off, and get back in the game. I came to set you free so that I can use you to set others free." We have to do something. We have to wake ourselves from the lethargy of unbelief. We have to get up! I remember getting knocked down several times in sports growing up and not wanting to get back in the game. It was painful and many times I was afraid. But as I was picking myself up, brushing off, and doubting myself, my coach would be there reminding me of the player he knew me to be. Telling me to not look at the circumstances, but at the facts. God does the same thing when He tells us to walk by faith, not by sight in 2 Corinthians 5:7 and to agree with who He says we are!

But that's easier sad than done because we look at weak, little ol' us and compare ourself to those that we are in awe of on the ministry stage. We look at them wondering what amazing things are going to come forth from them next. Wes Hall recently shared at a service that often the leaders are sitting there thinking, "Man, I'm tired and really hungry. The music is irritating me and that guy in the 5th row is really bugging me. I really wish I could go home and be with my children! I just don't feel it." In reality, they are just like us. They, too, have to shake off the dust.

We all have times when we feel it, but the majority of the time we don't. If we operated on feelings, no one would show up. That's why we walk by faith not by sight. Kind of like a train. Lead with faith, and the feelings will follow. We need to wake up to who we are - sons and daughters of the King of kings. Royalty equipped to do His works. It's not so that man gets the glory, it's so that God gets the glory.

Many of us are sitting in the dust waiting for God's big crane to pick us up when it's time, shake us, and then set us up where we are supposed to minister. However, He has already done His part, now He's waiting for us to do ours. Most likely your ministry field is right there in your day to day life. It's time to get back in the game. Keep going even if you get knocked down the first time. Don't be afraid. Our Heavenly Father is right there cheering you on and whispering secrets to unlock hearts. It's our job to rise up and get going. the results are up to Him.

I'll close by quoting that great theologian Adrian Balboa of Rocky movie fame:

Rocky - "But, I'm afraid."
Adrian - "There's nothing wrong with being afraid. You're human aren't you?.. You're the one that has to carry that fear around inside you... Get rid of it, because it's going to bother you for the rest of your life. Look at what it's doing to you now."
Rocky - "And if I lose?"
Adrian - "At least you lose with no excuses. No fear. And I know that you can live with that"


October 25, 2010

AP: Word of the Day

AP writes:

I thought a while ago I should unsubscribe from the Dictionary word of the day. Moma signed me up for this a couple of years ago to prep for the SAT. But now that I am a college Senior it seemed as if it was not serving its purpose anymore. I'm so thankful I kept it! The funniest words come through! Here are just a few of them:

Slugabed \SLUHG-uh-bed\, noun:
One who stays in bed until a late hour; a sluggard.

Viand \VAHY-uhnd\, noun:
An article of food, now usually of a choice or delicate kind.
  
Smithereens \smith-uh-REENZ\, noun:
Small pieces; bits.

Acta \AK-tuh\, noun:
Official records, as of acts, deeds, proceedings, transactions, or the like. 

Lucifugous \loo-see-FOO-guhs\, adjective:
Avoiding light.-----------(Interesting since Satan's name is Lucifer and he hates God, who is light.....)

Hobbledehoy \HOB-uhl-dee-hoy\, noun:
An awkward, gawky young fellow.

Frabjous \FRAB-juhs\, adjective:
Wonderful, elegant, superb, or delicious.
  
Brobdingnagian \brob-ding-NAG-ee-uhn\, adjective:
Of extraordinary size; gigantic; enormous.

Quaggy \KWAG-ee\, adjective:
1. Marshy; boggy.
2.
Soft or flabby.

Tittle \TIT-l\, noun:
1. A dot or other small mark in writing or printing, used as a diacritic, punctuation, etc.
2.
A very small part or quantity; a particle, jot, or whit

Kenspeckle \KEN-spek-uhl\, adjective:
Conspicuous; easily seen or recognized.

Mojo \MOH-joh\, noun:
1. Personal magnetism; charm.
2.
The art or practice of casting magic spells; magic; voodoo.
3.
An object, as an amulet or charm, that is believed to carry a magic spell.
4.
Good luck or favor concerning an event or individual.

Yeuk \YOOK\, noun:
1. An itching sensation.
verb:
1.
To itch.

Cheechako \chee-CHAH-koh\, noun:
A tenderfoot; greenhorn; newcomer.



There are so many funny ones!!!!!!!!!!! All this to say, you should sign up for the Dictionary word of the day; it provides you with a fantastic vocabulary and you will laugh twice! (once on your own and then again when telling all your friends!) =)

Have a great day!

Ashton =)

October 19, 2010

Fred

Hello everyone!

I want to share with you a special story of what happened in my life today and ask you to partner with me in prayer. Today as I was doing school in the basement, my entire house's electricity went off. Unfortunately since all my school work is on the computer and internet, I was unable to do school. So I went to the Grandview McDonald's because they have free wi-fi. (Personally I think it's just to get you to purchase food but yeah....=) )


There was quite an unusually large number of seniors in the McDonalds so I assume they had some type of gathering or celebration or something. Personally I love elderly people. I love to listen to their stories and listen to their wisdom. Most people in my generation don't give them a second of their attention and act as if they don't exist. What great wisdom we are missing out on! We shouldn't shove them in a corner just because they need us to talk a little slower and louder......we should listen intently to what they have to say because they have lived life and know what's coming our way.


As I was sitting there working on my biology homework a very sweet, older gentleman saw me working on my computer and saw the symbol of the brand of my computer on the back of my screen. Jokingly he asked me if my computer was an Apple. I was like, "No sir." wondering what he was going to say next. He said that if it was, he was going to ask if he could take a bite out of it. =) I smiled at this old man's humor. Little did I know this little encounter was going to last 1 1/2 hours.


He started talking to me about how the companies were trying to get our money by showing us that we needed the newest, latest, better version of everything. I responded by saying that my generation would be wise if we would listen to the advice of our grandparents and parents. He said that we should also listen to Christ. I heartily agreed and then he asked if I was a Christian. I said that I was and his next question was if I was part of the International House of Prayer. I said that I was and that my parents are on staff there. At this point I was thinking that he was in favor of the International House of Prayer but his next comment quickly put me in place.


He told me that people from IHOP are antichrists and freaks. Immediately I knew my place was not to argue with him and prove him he was wrong but to rather listen to what he had to say and just question him on why he thought that way. (Later I found out that this instinct was from the Holy Spirit because anyone who knows me knows that I always like to argue and prove I'm right until, well I'm right! =) Also during the conversation I felt a trembling that would rise up inside my stomach to my jaw where it would tremble. I was like, "Not now Holy Spirit! =)" And I kept seeing flashes of light out of the corner of my eyes.)


I asked him why he thought IHOPers were antichrists. His answer was incorrect in that he said that we didn't teach from the Bible; that we paraphrased and taught from the paraphrased version and that was punishable by eternal damnation. He is correct in the fact that if you change the Bible by adding or taking away from it that you are putting yourself in the position of eternal damnation. (It says that in Revelation) He said that the leaders had taken the scriptures, added and taken away from them, and were teaching from that. I had no idea where he got this idea but I knew that the IHOP leaders only teach that which is straight from the scriptures. He was wrong about the IHOP leaders. Mostly the one he kept referring to was Mike Bickle. I told him that Mike Bickle even puts the exact words of the NKJV into notes and hands them out so people can search it out for themselves what he is teaching. This brought us to another point.


He said that the only real version of the scriptures was the original documents due to translation errors by humans. I asked him how the originals were true if they too were written by humans but he didn't have an answer for me. He only said the NIV, NKJV, KJV, NAS, ESV, and many others were wrong. (I don't believe this though.) We talked about many of history's translators, like Wycliff, and I was very thankful for my education where I had studied this! =)


This man was so right on so many issues but just a little bit wrong on a couple of parts, which throws all of it off. He said that he had studied 23 different translations of the Bible, including the Greek and Hebrew. He believes that all scripture is God breathed and infallible. He believes that only God is God. He believes we are saved by grace and that salvation is a free gift from God.


But some things I knew were wrong. He said that there are 3 stages of life for humans. 1) The first generation of humans being before Jesus' death in which men had to perform offerings (works) and attain salvation. 2) The second being the ones after Jesus' resurrection who receive the gift of salvation freely. 3) And the third being those who live in the final days. That in itself wasn't wrong but he said that we don't need Jesus' blood. He said that Jesus wasn't God, but merely an image of God. But then he said that if we reject Christ we will burn in Hell for eternity forever, which is correct. So instead of pointing out he was wrong I simply asked him, "If Christ isn't God, then why does it matter if we reject him or not?" He had to ponder about that one for a while and eventually told me he didn't know the answer.


Another question I asked him was, "If Christ isn't God then how was he born of a virgin?" He responded by telling me that all things are possible with God (true) but that Christ was only an image of God (false). I asked him what he thought about John 1:1 where it says that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Wouldn't that be Christ---God? He didn't have an answer for that one either.


Another thing he said was that God and Satan don't dwell on the earth....at all. (false) I asked him if he thought that demons could control the minds of humans and he said no. (I knew this was wrong). Since I could tell he knew the scriptures, I asked him this, "If God doesn't dwell on earth then answer me this. In Acts when Jesus left his disciples, he said that he would send a helper for them and he sent the Holy Spirit. Is the Holy Spirit God?" His answer was that due to the languages of Greek and Hebrew, words mean different things in different orders next to other words. He said that there are 8 different meanings of the words Holy Spirit, one being God and the others meaning a 'good' spirit. In this case, he said, the meaning was a 'good' spirit. He said that God took their bad spirit and gave them a good one. (This is true, it's the message of salvation, but not the Holy Spirit). He also said that man was born good natured with eternal life and that men choose against Christ, when the truth is we are born eternally damned and we receive the free gift of the Christ's salvation.


He said that there were no Christians on the earth today because Christians were the one's who did works, and we didn't need to do works anymore because we were out from under the law. That is true that we are not under the law of Moses anymore and don't need to offer sacrifices because Jesus' blood covers all. But I believe he was wrong about there not being Christians on the earth. True, there are people that claim they are Christians who are not and many of the churches do teach heresy, but not all. There are true Christians on the earth who give up their lives for Christ and true churches who teach the exact words of scripture.


He was so smart. He was able to back up some of what he was saying with correct scripture left and right. He said that he had studied with the Jehovah Witnesses, the Mormons, the Catholics, and many others......no wonder the deception on his mind! He does say that they are not teaching the correct truths of the scriptures, so he is right about that. He said that he was so grateful that I listened to him. He said that most people will just combat everything he said with a statement and not even listen to him. So I was so grateful that the Holy Spirit had allowed me to shut my mouth and just listen and inquire; and not teach. This way the Holy Spirit was able to plant a seed through me in this man.


This man's name is Fred L.
Please pray for my newly encountered friend. He is so close and yet so far. And due to his age, I'm not sure how much time this man has left. Please join in with me in praying for this man!

Also please pray for me. Today was the first time I have ever had to really defend my belief in Christ....on my own without my parents or others with me. I had to depend on what I had learned from Scriptures and what I had learned by spending time with Jesus. And while I feel like I was used by the Holy Spirit, I also feel like I failed miserably. After the McDonald encounter, I came home and sobbed for about 2 hours telling my family of my day. How could I profess to be a Christian when I clearly came up short in reciting verses to back up my theology when this man was quoting scripture left and right
and most in context. He even knew the verse address! My calling of being a missionary was very squashed too. I spent 1 1/2 hours with a man who was so hungry for the truth, and I felt like I couldn't convincingly state what I believe.

McDonald's on October 19th, 2010, was a divine encounter set up by the Lord. I'm so grateful He was able to use this to teach me how much more I need Him. I press on towards the goal He has set for me!


Thank you for praying with me for the salvation of Fred! He is blinded and needs to see the truth! Come Lord Jesus!


Blessings,

Ashton

October 15, 2010

AP: October 15th.....a special day in history!

AP writes:

Well, my October 15th has been great for multiple reasons! I worked this morning at the Holiday Inn and it was incredibly busy. It was hard work but very enjoyable. Today was also my cousin (well, half cousin) Kaeo Skeele's birthday. =) Also on this glorious day I am getting together with some of my friend (Kawase's, Kimberly, Stan, Dacia, and some others) to watch the movie How To Train Your Dragon. It will be good to hang out with them outside of dance. In addition to all of these, I found out from dictionary.com that smithereenes is a real word that means small pieces or bits. That practically made my day. =)

But, let's get to the real news. =) So today I took another test. Well, actually the same test I took before and failed. History of the United States 2. Again. Not cool for a girl who can't stand history and would rather be doing algebra all day. It took me down the first time but I conquered it the second time gaining the 3 credits I should have earned before. Adding these credits to my already earned credits gives me 90....which means.......

I'M A COLLEGE SENIOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OH YEAH!!!!!!!!!!

I'm so super excited and pumped!!! I only have 7 more tests. Technically I would only have 5 but two other tests have gotten the best of me as well. But I will conquer them too! =) I was so excited I was doing a party/happy dance in the car driving back and this lady in the other lane saw me and pointed me out to her husband who was driving and they were laughing at me. But I just smiled and waved at them cause my day was going great and it gave them something to laugh at. =)

October 15th, the day I became a senior in college........................while technically still a freshman in age! =)

~Ashton =)

October 11, 2010

KP: Manna_4U

KP Writes:

Praise the Lord!
Wow, it is such a blessing to see our heavenly Father pour out such a rich blessing in abundance. Jeff and I have each been working with a ministry within IHOP-KC called Manna_4U. As the name implies, this is a ministry to help provide food for individuals within our community who are physically hungry and currently without monetary means to buy food. Typically the food comes from local grocery stores who donate items that are near the 'sell by' date, fruit/vegetables that are less than perfect, or items which have damaged packaging such as a crushed box, peeling label or dented can. (Yes, I have read the reports. You do not need to email me about dented cans.) The recipients can come to Manna_4U three days per week for a couple of hours in the afternoon and 'shop' from the items available that day. The selection is always changing, based on whatever is provided for that day-hence the name Manna.

I have the privilege of working while people come and shop on Mondays. It is great to be able to pray with and encourage people who have such a humble spirit. Singles, mothers, fathers, families, people of all ages from all walks of life come. One thing that blesses me is the gratitude of the recipients, not just for the material provision of food but to the Lord for His faithfulness. Because these folks are 'forced' to live by faith, they do not take having food to eat for granted. Most of the people in America that I know do not rely on the Lord for food. That don't have to. Food is a given. No faith required. Not really any need there pressing them to pursue the Lord. Sadly the truth is that our needs are actually God's gift to us, to direct our attention and affections toward Him. Oh that we would love Him with such pureness of devotion that this would not be the case.

Also working with Manna_4U, Jeff has been able to assist Skip in picking up food, as well as off loading 'the quail'. Specifically the Lord opened a door in July/August for the ministry to receive a donation 8000 pounds of frozen meat each month. In fact, this last load was 11,000 lbs! That is a LOT of bacon, bologna, chicken, ham, etc....Jeff helps to put the pallets in the freezer for storage before distribution. The humorous thing was that there were actually some quail in one of the deliveries!Pray not only for continued supply but also increase. There are many hungry people in this current economy. Pray that the Lord will abundantly bless the businesses of the grocery stores and distributors who so generously donate. Pray also that our weak hearts will pursue Him in abundance and in lack.

Blessed to be a blessing,
Kristian

October 5, 2010

KP: Come Out of the Clutter and Hear God #2

KP Writes:

A couple of our readers have emailed and said that they are unable to read the portion of my 'clutter' post that I copied and pasted. So, I am posting it again, typing the entire post in hopes that they can read it. Sorry. I guess I have learned that not all computers can recognize things we copy and paste.
Kristian

Come Out of the Clutter and Hear God-reprinted from 9/23/10

I was reading a posting on Elijah List this morning and was struck by a posting written by Garris Elkins. I have copied excerpts from this timely message to Americans and the American church. I concur: Simplification is much needed in America. The clutter has gotten so deep, 'up to our ears' I would say, that we can no longer hear the Lord. Read on and be blessed!


"We are living in cluttered times that have produced distracted lives. Family activities and careers ask for their fair share of our day. Ministry commitments ask us for more of our time. The needs of others stand in line at the door of our lives and want to come in. Each of these demands are good by themselves, but together they can become overwhelming in their ability to fill every spare moment of our lives. At some point we must push life back and create a place to listen to what the Spirit would say.

Paul addressed cluttered lives when he wrote to the Church in Corinth: "The time that remains is very short. So from now on, those with wives should not focus only on their marriage. Those who weep or who rejoice or who buy things should not be absorbed by their weeping or their joy or their possessions. Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away. I want you to be free from the concerns of this life." I Corinthians 7:29-32

Later in verse 35 Paul wrote:
"I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible."

Paul was listing, among those things that can distract us, our relationships, our failures, our successes and our possessions. When all the stuff of life begins to fill our lives, we become absorbed into them and take on their shape - and our image changes. Like we clay, we are crafted into an image of the distractions in our lives instead of being absorbed and molded into the image of Christ.

Now is the time to push back the clutter and distractions of life that are occupying your time and space and draining away your energy.

God is asking His people to unclutter their lives where His Spirit can set down and do extraordinary things. Remove the clutter and distractions and welcome the coming of the Lord."


I choose this day to push back the clutter and distractions and be crafted into the image of Christ. Will you choose the same?

Love ya,
Kristian




KP: You are Probably Not Old

KP Writes:

Well now. I have been informed and updated by my 'college daughter'....It seems that before this morning I was not in the know, but now, I have the latest, breaking, 'scientific' classification. I was sitting at my desk reading an all inspiring teaching about Holy Spirit and the strength of the Lord as described in Isaiah 40, you know-feeling quite inspired when Ashton said, "Moma, you are not old." Curiously, I pursued her train of thought and was informed of the facts from her current text. Psychology currently describes old as the following:

65-74 Young Old
75-84 Middle Old
85-and up Old Old

Well then. I am not by definition, old. Some of my readers, well you have entered the classification scale of old, but not to worry- you are not Old Old, nor even Middle Old-but you may be pushing the scale!

Lynn S. and Margaret K. once gave reference to Psalms 92: 12-14 when someone mentioned 'old' and it is my prayer for me as I grow 'old'.

"The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree,
He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Planted in the house of the Lord, They will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still yield fruit in old age;
They shall be full of sap and very green,"

Love ya,
Kristian

P.S. I wonder what tomorrow will bring? All I started out to do was meditate on the Word. Hum...

October 3, 2010

KP: Birthday Gift

KP Writes:
My newest prized possession is a hit for the Price family! For my birthday I asked Moma and Dick for a hammock. I was really excited that Dick was able to find one online at Sierra Trading at the end of the season at a clearance price. Being a proud owner of a fabulous hammock I had the task of suspending it for use. I asked Jeff to 'just hang' it from our patio covering, "like from chains or something". Well the problems were many ranging from a sloping ceiling, to support rafters not being in the correct spot, to taking up the entire covered area where our patio table sits....That is when Jack and Doe and Uncle Dick came to my rescue giving me checks for my birthday. At first I hadn't been sure what I would spend it on until I received a call from Jeff who was at Lowes. Guess what had been clearanced.....hammock stands, the big ones like what I needed. He bought one, brought it home and I immediately wanted to try it out. Unfortunately it was raining cats and dogs which if you know MO weather means the wind was blowing (as always) and so the drops were driving horizontally. Not to be stopped, we set up the hammock in the living room.

It was great. The four of us became quite fond of the indoor hammock: Ashton lays in it with her laptop preparing for tests, Mallory reads in it, Jeff takes five to regroup between tasks, and I have found it to be my favorite place to lay while downloading my day in a 5 minute capsule to Jeff, who so lovingly swings me with his foot while he sits the couch. All good things must come to an end....today we were having 15 people over for prayer so we had to move the hammock out of the front living room. (We thought we might need to get to the piano.) Each of the young adults found time to test drive it even though it was quite cool outside. (We warmed up to 62 after having been 35 last night!) But don't worry, the Prices have decided when it is too cold to lay in the hammock it will be relocated to the basement school room for the winter. Ahhh! Thank you everyone for a wonderful birthday gift.
Love ya,
Kristian

AP: Team Gatherings

AP writes:

Hello all! 

I'm so sorry that I haven't blogged in forever but hopefully that will change. =) 

Today we were blessed to be able to have a team gathering! The Kawases (with the addition of Dacia!) and koalas (Stan, Kimberly, and I-we renamed ourselves while on the trip =) ) and our families got together at my house today for fellowship and prayer. It was really encouraging to see everyone and be together again. One of the things we had noticed while on the trip was that God was using our group as a support group for each other. We had what we called "flamily" meetings where we would go around one by one and tell what was on our hearts and then pray for each other. God was able to minister to our hearts in deep, powerful ways through these times so we felt it was essential to continue them! We prayed for each other today and one of the big concerns for lots of people, including me, was where to go from here. Where was God leading us in our lives and how to faithfully walk His plan no matter how hard the decisions seem to be was the big question that needed answering. We were asking God for his wisdom and clarity in hearing His voice. 

We were also able to pray for all the churches we visited. To name a few we prayed for Living Waters Church in Tainan, Taiwan, the Hongodai church in Yokohama, Japan, Ricky Gordon's church in Shizuoka, the Bostroms and their community in Kakegawa, the churches in Kure near Hiroshima, and many of the surrounding churches we have maintained contact with. It was a great time of intercession for our beloved friends!

Because we were able to have Dacia with us, who is a daughter of the Bostrom family living with the Kawases for school purposes, we were able to have direct prayer needs from Kakegawa. Please pray for Mrs. Bostrom as she is suffering with a pain in her forearm, back, and other pains. Also please pray for them as they are in the process of acquiring an old public school building for their Christian school. While this is a tremendous blessing it also comes with lots of stress due to the monetary aspect. Pray that God would bless them financially to be able to compensate the teachers who have to work an additional job for enough income.

We are planning on being able to have regular meetings as God allows! I'm so grateful God has enabled us to maintain such a closeness as a team and as friends.

I will write more later!

Many Blessings,
Ashton =)

September 23, 2010

JP: Campfires


JP writes:

The Price Family went camping this past weekend with two families from our home group. We had a great time of fun, fellowship, and laughter. Our campsites were down by the lake in what was termed the "primitive" area of the park which meant tents only and no electricity with about a 300 yard hike to the bathhouse. Being that our sites were right on the lake, this meant that we had to walk past every other campsite whenever we made that trek.

The thing that I noticed whenever I made the hike was that no matter what time it was, if someone was at their campsite they always had a campfire. At times it was really pretty ridiculous. People with RVs would be inside cooking or watching tv with the air conditioning blowing while at the same time there was a campfire burning outside. You could pick out the people that obviously didn't think about having a campfire before they left home. Even though they hadn't brought wood, a saw or a hatchet, they were adamant about having a fire. I saw many instances where they found 6-8 feet long fallen branchs/trees and laid them across the fire pits and had a blazing fire that could be seen from the moon. It was comical to see the extremes that they went to.


Not to be outdone, we too had our campfire going. However, we planned and brought the necessary tools to have a controlled burn. One night, we actually had a conversation about our love of campfires.

Campfires fascinate us. They are beautiful and mesmerizing with flames that crackle, dance, and flicker, an ever changing pattern. The colors are spectacular - white, red, orange, blue. We seem to be drawn into the fire and often get lost in thought in it. We cook on it, get warm by it, and gorge on Smores around it.I even love the smell. And at times small campfires aren't fascinating enough, so we fuel it to make it larger and more satisfying.

Satan and sin are like this. Much of the time they appear beautiful, mesmerizing, and spectacular. Luring us in to more and more, bigger and better in order to take our eyes off what we were called to do or were created for. That is having a relationship with Jesus. But even inherently good things can cause us to stumble if it keeps us from what we know we should be doing.

For example, one night the Prices decided to have Smores while everyone else went to bed. The other families decided to pass after seeing the sugar high that their children had from partaking the previous night. However, Angela sent Paul back to the campfire area to get her some tissues. Feeling guilty that no one else was experiencing the pleasures of Smores, Kristian and I quickly (and easily I might add) lured Paul in. Several minutes later Angela came investigating only to find Paul sticky fingered with a mouthful of marshmallow and chocolate.


It was pretty much the same classic scene as in Genesis 3. "Paul, where are you? What are you doing?" Me being the good friend that I am tried to aid in the cover up by yelling, "Here she comes Paul, hide!" Pretty similar to Adam's reaction when he heard God walking in the garden after they had disobeyed God's instructions. Hide!?!? What good would that do? At that point Paul was already caught brown and white handed. All of us were as a matter of fact.

All because of the lure of the fire and the promise of a reward of temporary sweetness. Is there anything that is luring you away from living your life to its created purpose? Ask God, He'll show you.

Blessings!

KP: Come Out of the Clutter and Hear God

KP Writes:

I was reading a posting on Elijah List this morning and was struck by a posting written by Garris Elkins.
I have copied excerpts from this timely message to Americans and the American church. I concur: Simplification is much needed in America. The clutter has gotten so deep, 'up to our ears' I would say, that we can no longer hear the Lord. Read on and be blessed!


"We are living in cluttered times that have produced distracted lives. Family activities and careers ask for their fair share of our day. Ministry commitments ask us for more of our time. The needs of others stand in line at the door of our lives and want to come in. Each of these demands are good by themselves, but together they can become overwhelming in their ability to fill every spare moment of our lives. At some point we must push life back and create a place to listen to what the Spirit would say.

Paul addressed cluttered lives when he wrote to the Church in Corinth:

"The time that remains is very short. So from now on, those with wives should not focus only on their marriage. Those who weep or who rejoice or who buy things should not be absorbed by their weeping or their joy or their possessions. Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away. I want you to be free from the concerns of this life." 1 Corinthians 7:29-32

Later in verse 35 Paul wrote:

"I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible."

Paul was listing, among those things that can distract us, our relationships, our failures, our successes and our possessions. When all of the stuff of life begins to fill our lives, we become absorbed into them and take on their shape – and our image changes. Like wet clay, we are crafted into an image of the distractions in our lives instead of being absorbed and molded into the image of Christ.

Now is the time to push back the clutter and distractions of life that are occupying your time and space and draining your away your energy.

God is asking His people to unclutter their lives where His Spirit can set down and do extraordinary things. Remove the clutter and distractions and welcome the coming of the Lord."

I choose this day to push back the clutter and distractions and be crafted into the image of Christ. Will you choose the same?

Love,
Kristian




September 20, 2010

MP: God's Beautiful Creation

MP writes:

Hello,

This past weekend, as we were camping for probably the last time this season, I felt God telling me to look at the beautiful creations. I will share some of those beautiful things that I saw.

The lake that we swam in was so clear and beautiful. This reminded
me of the sea of glass in Revelation. When the light shimmered on the water it looked almost as if crystal was being bent. It also reminded me of how God creates things for us to think of as beautiful. I marveled at how God even thought to make the sun able to warm you up when the lake makes you cold.
Revelation 4:6 "Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal."












I also thought that it was really sweet that as we were packing the car up we saw some wild turkeys and two of them w
ere white. They were so pretty. But because they weigh so much they made a bunch of noise whenever they tried to fly to the top of the trees.

We went with some of our friends, the Skeeles and the Kopplins. It was fun to be able to play and hang out with them. For use in the lake we brought some water floats that we use
d to take to the beach; and the Kopplins brought their Zodiac. Believe it or not my mom actually did get into the water even though I thought that it was a little chilly in some spots.

Over all we got to enjoy the beauty of the nature and have good family fun with everyone. We also got to roast a few marshmallows.

Love Y'all,
Mallory









P.S.
For the Christmas dance I am in Russian again and possibly American too performance. :~D


September 17, 2010

MP: Into the Swing of Things

MP writes:

Hello Y'all,

My life is back into the swing of things, sort of like before school ended last year. Dance has started back too. Also I have been able to make earrings and cook. I finished sewing a small sheet for a doll that I started a couple of years ago, with Nana on the way to Ashville, North Carolina. All these things I have been doing in the afternoons. I have such an affinity for making things.

Dance has been really good. It feels good to be sore except for my left calf which I hurt. But now it feels better because I stretched it out. The one bad thing about taking two months off is you feel as if your muscles have atrophied to nothing. Because I did Gram modern last night, today when I was doing science which was talking about gram bacterium all I could think about was dance.

Sometimes when I am making earrings I have these ideas that I think will be cool. But when I beget them they are
bizarre and I wonder how I ever thought that they were cool. The earrings that I make to sell are a variety of colors. Sometimes the posts badger me when I am trying to get them onto the hooks.

Lately I have been making salsa and it is so good because I don't make it spicy but it still tastes great. I have really enjoyed being able to have this free time. When Grandma and Papa took us to Branson, MO, I was able to watch some cooking shows and I wrote down some recipes that I have not been able to try yet but am very much looking forward to preparing.

I have also made some knitted items. I hope that y'all have enjoyed this update of my life. Hope your ambiance is lovely. I love you!

Love always,
Mallory

September 14, 2010

JP: Celosia Flowers and the Bees

One of the things that the Lord has blessed us with is a covered back patio surrounded by a beautiful flower garden with a pond. My favorite thing about it is that all of the flowers are perennials and come back on their own every year. (Note the phrase "on their own!")


A few days ago I was on the phone out on the patio when the Lord began to speak to me. Currently, we have beautiful Celosia flowers in bloom. They remind me of fireplace pokers glowing from the heat of the fire.

As I gazed nonchalantly at them the Lord reminded me that the closer a fireplace poker is to the fire or source of heat the hotter it
gets. The same is true with believers. The more we place ourselves in His presence, the hotter or more intense we are for Him. Another benefit of fire is that it purifies. When precious metals are exposed to a heat source for an extended period, they become more pure. God is a fire that purifies. Therefore, the more we expose ourselves to Him, the more we are purified and our sinful desires are burned away.

God then focused my attention on the bees that were buzzing from plant to plant. There seemed to be about 20 bees or so. Not wanting to miss what God was wanting to teach me, I looked up pollination on the internet.


It is estimated that one third of the human food supply depends on insect pollination, most of which is accomplished by bees. That is one third of human life depends on the bees unwittingly pollinating. Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the male parts of a flower to the female parts of a flower, which results in fertilization of plants and the production of seeds. Pollen is also a source of protein that they feed to their developing offspring. Bees don't even realize that they are carrying it. The pollen just falls of them after they land on the next flower.

Likewise, after placing ourselves in the presence of our beautiful Lord and Savior through worship and prayer, we unwittingly carry His presence and fire with us.
Pollination is a picture of the Heavenly Bridegroom King using His bride, the church, to deposit seeds into this lost world. We do this mostly by consistently seeking Him and living a lifestyle fully pleasing to Him. In other words, "walking the walk." And as our children see us do this, they are fed and grow in the Lord.

Just as a great deal of human lives depend on the pollination process, human lives depend on us being willing to plant seeds. Our job is to plant seeds and harvest. We're not responsible for it taking root. That's God's job. And honestly, some of the pollinating occurs from just living life. I refer to it as the ooze factor. Just walking the walk and looking for opportunities to ooze Jesus love onto people.

So, are you willing to be a bee?

----- Jeff

September 11, 2010

MP: Joel on Fridays

MP writes:

Hi y'all,

So every Friday afternoon there is a teaching at IHOP. Right now Mike Bickle has been teaching on the book of Joel. I am learning how much it relates to the end times.

One of the things that I have learned is there are four factors that often overlap and work together in a national crisis.
1-God's zeal for relationship with his people leads him to discipline them and to destroy their oppressors.
2-Another is Satan's rage-
In the end times God will allow Satan to vent his rage but within limits.
3- Man's sin also plays
a role-
Humans will be violent toward each other.
4-The last is creation's groan.
These four factors work together for good under God's sovereign reign. I personally think that it is strange that we are quick to point out Satan and man's role in disaster but not God's. He is very much involved in in crisis that hit nations. In national crisis the greatest need is God's favor.

God's passion is to remove all that hinders love. But we say how? How do we answer that? Well here are three things: 1- receive God's correction, 2- resist Satan's activity, 3- repent of sin.

As the church we have the most responsibility to pray and raise a standard against sin and oppression. God requires that His people humble themselves in obedience before Him. Therefore we must stand in the gap and intercede for the unbelievers. Part of Joel 2:13 says that we must rend our heart and return to Him.

On another note, yesterday I started back to dance. My gluteus maximus, hamstrings, hip flexers, and calves are sooooooooooo sore. I only took two classes this summer and boy am I paying for it now. On Monday I have Jazz which is my favorite class. Tuesday I take modern and ballet, Friday is pointe, and Saturday is another required ballet. We will start Christmas show rehearsals soon. At that time I will let you know which dances I am in for our Mystery of Christmas performance.

Love Y'all,
Mallory

September 8, 2010

MP: Camping and Visitors

MP writes:

Hello all,
I am so sorry that it has been forever since I blogged.

I love visitors and camping! We have had visitors and we have gone camping with some friends of ours.

Since I last wrote we have had Ben Brinker stay with us for a month while he did Awakening Teen Camp. That was before we left for Georgia. The week we got back Kurt Miller and his friends, Casey and John, stayed a week with us. They were amazing! After they left, Grandma and Papa came for a couple of days and and then took us to Branson, MO, for a couple of days. It was a FABULOUS vacation!!! The aftermath of those days was that I got tan. Then we had Mrs. Joyce and Ms. Kathleen come to visit us.

Last weekend we went camping. I must give Mommy accolades for preparing all that wonderful food that I have affinities for. While we were in the woods camping we had to be careful not to leave our food containers ajar because if we did it would allure some critters that we might not want.
I don't like this picture much
While at our campsite that had a lake right there by it we were able to go swimming. I got a tan once again. Yeah, I am no longer white. Though I did hurt my knees several times on the rocks.

So not only did we have fun but we got to do it with some of our friends, the Kopplins. Being able to swim at the same place that we camped was pretty sweet. The whole time we were camping
it was not too hot or too cold.Love y'all,
Mallory

September 6, 2010

JP - The End Is Near!!


There, I said it (typed actually) and now the proverbial cat's out of the bag! It seems that everywhere I turn someone is talking about eschatology or end times. My mom is doing a bible study on Revelation, a women's bible study at Riverstone is doing the same thing, our family is taking an IHOPU class on the book of Joel, a number of the Christian radio stations I listen to when I mow the grass are teaching on it, various ministries and websites that our family follows are discussing it, and a friend of ours, Mark Nysewander, is actually writing a book about it from the Enemy's view. Right now people seem really hungry for a better understanding of how God's end time plan lays out. What does this mean? I don't know. Maybe nothing or maybe the Lord's stirring up His people. If I had to vote I would fall on the later side.

So, why is so important to have a clear understanding of the end times? Because it is important to God. Did you now that there are over 150 chapters in the Bible that focus on the end times? Compare this to the four gospels which total 89 chapters. The gospels give us a record of Jesus' ministry related to His first coming when He redeemed us from our sin. The 150 chapters on the end times reveals His ministry related to His return to rule all nations.

Some say that it's too difficult to understand or that we weren't intended to understand. Many are offended at the idea that we can know. Some choose the Ostrich method - putting their heads in the ground hoping it goes away. Others mock calling anyone who talks about it as doomsdayist.

Noah was given a difficult message to receive, unprecedented, unfamiliar, doomsday type message. They undoubtedly mocked him, after all, everyone knew that water didn't fall from the sky. It came up from the ground. Others were offended at the idea. Still others ignored his message. But did that change the message?

Jesus said "as in the days of Noah, so it shall be in the days of the Son of Man (Luke 26:27)". They were eating, selling, buying, planting, and marrying right up until the rains came. That's how it will be with us.

But, how will we know when? Matthew 24 tells us that no one knows the day or the hour. True. But in the same chapter Jesus tells us what things or signs to look for. The book of Revelation lays out God's plan for Jesus return. In the middle of summer, we don't know when the first snowfall will occur. However, when we see the leaves changing colors and falling off the trees, the temperature dropping, the thick gray clouds rolling in, and the snowplows getting ready, we tend to get the idea that snow might possibly be coming.

So, I encourage you to familiarize yourself with what God's word says about Jesus return. Sounds simple, right? Often God's way seems so simple that its offensive. The story of Naaman in 2 Kings 5 is a great example. "Go and wash in the Jordan seven times and your flesh will be restored." Sounds easy enough. But, nooooo! Naaman couldn't imagine it being that easy. So he suffered with leprosy until he relented to the simplicity of God's plan. Am I saying that it's easy to know when He will return? No, but you won't know how soothing the water feels until you jump in with Naaman.

When is Jesus coming back? I have no idea! Though I do know that we are a day closer. It could be 10, 20, 80 or so years, but I see the leaves changing.

--Jeff