Happy Easter!!!!!!

"Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." 1 Corinthians 15: 12-22

Happy Easter!!!!!!

Happy Easter Resurrection Choir!

Last Saturday, and Sunday, my family and I had the privilege of singing in a Resurrection Cantata Choir, complete with Narration, and soloists. After practicing for two months, we were all ready to perform the concerts. I really enjoyed the whole choir experience. Here are some photos, and a link to watch the performance on You Tube. Enjoy:)


A classic choir picture:) That's my dear friend Eden and I singing soprano, (otherwise known as the easy part:)


Evan and Jordan sang bass, and really made it sound like there were more than 8 men singing:)

Yvonne and Bethany did a wonderful job of making the Alto section come alive:)


The Pre- Concert Prelude music was wonderful provided by the choir director, and the famous S. family:)

It's hard to capture the true spirit of Yvonne, but I think Eden did a excellent job.


My Mom did an excellent job narrating the part of Mary and the storyteller for the performance. I think she has an amazing voice:)


Now for the fun pictures:) Here's my handsome brother Evan, showing off his classic style:)(or is that an FBI agent?:)


Ever since I was young, I have always enjoyed oversmiling for pictures:) Jordan "unexpectedly" captured this one which I think looks like a cartoon:)


O.k. Now for the fun stuff:) this is what happens when you try to get a group photo with five energetic girls:)


Now that's better. Maybe Shiloh, and the guys helped calm us down:)


I really like this photo, of the whole choir:)


An even better group photo:) this time we included the little ones, a few more friends, and the choir director.


Josh, Jordan, & Evan sporting a new look:) I love the sunglasses:) (Don't they kind of look like a Thompson and Thompson trio?:)


A beautiful picture of Eden, minus the scary guy in the background.


You never know what will happen when Eden and I get in front of a camera:)


Jordan with that classic "You thinking what I'm thinking?" Look :)


There's always time to play the piano:)


I guess some of you didn't know I could be so goofy:)


Now that's better:) although Eden didn't seem to get the serious memo:)


And the "barbershop trio"has One final note:)

Here's the link to the You Tube Videos:)just copy and paste it into your search engine.

https://www.youtube.com/user/Elssupply?feature=watch


As you can see, we had a wonderful time singing and fellowshipping & celebrating resurrection day together. I am so blessed to have such wonderful family and friends who encourage and support me in the ways of The Lord. It has truly been a privilege to share my life with them.

We finished off the evening with a mind boggling game of four on a couch, with the Kleenex team winning twice in a row. ( yes I was on that team, if you were wondering:)

Anyhow, here's a verse that has seems to fit with this post:) "Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation." Psalm 149:1-4

Post a comment if you enjoyed looking at this post, and have a wonderful Easter!

Thank you to Evan, Eden, Jordan, myself, & Mrs.S for the wonderful pictures. And special Thanks to Jason for the video. Please don't use them without permission.

Grace For the Journey!

"Oh no, I think we made another wrong turn!"I said as we slowly turned around for the fifth time in less than an hour. The stage was set for us to get perfectly lost. My mom and I were driving in unknown territories without a GPS. We had just landed in Washington, D.C. and had a three hour drive ahead of us.

We had a printed map with instructions, but the roads were very confusing. We would start down a road and then see signs for another road, that we were supposed to be on, and we would have to get through two to three lanes of traffic to make it to our turn. Several times this was on the highway, and sometimes the exits would be on the left side of the road. Time and time again, I would get completely frustrated with the roads and the directions, and soon I realized I was upset at my Mom too, for taking the wrong turns. I had to apologize to my Mom and ask her forgiveness. Soon, we made it to a highway that we would travel on for the next 85 miles.

Two hours later, we made it to my brother's apartment, and we were happy to have finally arrived, but when we tried to find our hotel later that evening, we got equally as lost as we did earlier in the day.

As I looked back over the events of the day before I went to bed that night, I realized how our journey had been like our Spiritual walk with God. God has given us His word as a road map for our lives, but we must choose to follow it. As we go along in our life, we make choices, and sometimes have to turn around to get back on the right path, but the directions stay the same. Often there will be lots of people going the same way, and God will take us in a completely different direction, but we have to follow. And in the end, when we get to heaven we will be happy to have finally arrived. And the journey won't seem so frustrating, because God's grace will be with us all the way.

So thank God for the trials in your life each day,
And follow His directions as you seek His Word and pray.
And when the way gets complicated and confusing,
Keep on the narrow path, not the one of your choosing.

When you reach the other side,
Thank God for being your guide,
See, there was no need to worry,
God gave you grace for your journey.

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
2 Corinthians 12:9-10


Command of Christ # 8

Happy March! I can't believe all the beautiful flowers are already coming up!

This week's command is based off of Mt. 5:37, "Let your communication be yea, yea or nay, nay, for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." Now, this may sound like we are talking about horse calls, but the real command here is to Keep Your Word. In Jesus' time, they had elaborate ways of making promises so that they could easily get out of what they had promised. It would be like a kid promising with their fingers crossed behind their back and then saying they didn't have to do it because they had their 'fingers crossed.' Jesus is saying that if we say 'Yes' to something, then we should mean it and do it. If we say 'No', we should mean it also. When I was younger, my friends and I would share 'secrets' and make the other person 'pinky promise' that they wouldn't tell anyone. The people of Jesus' time were making 'pinky promises' rather than trusting each other to keep their word.

I was recently at a wedding and the bridesmaids wore hand-made jewelry. The bride made many of the pieces and she told her niece, who was in the wedding, that she would make her some. It was the night before the wedding and the jewelry for the niece hadn't been made yet. The niece was only 2 1/2 years old and I tried to reason with the bride at 10 o'clock at night that she needed to relax and that her niece wouldn't mind if she didn't make her the jewelry. My friend replied that she had told her niece that she would do it and so she wanted to do it. I really admired how she kept her word to her little niece even when her wedding was the next day and had everything else to think about. The next day, the little girl was running about showing everyone her jewelry. She was so happy to have special jewelry on and to be like the 'big girls.' The look of delight and excitement on her face confirmed to me the importance of keeping your word.

So how does this apply today, since we don't go around making oaths and promises everyday? We can apply this daily by obeying the principle to be truthful in all that we say. We need to say what we mean. We come up with words like a 'white' lie and other excuses to make deception look innocent. A lie is a premeditated use of words, actions, and attitudes to deceive another person. Lying is so evil in God's sight that we are told that lying lips are an abomination to the Lord (Pr. 12:22).

One day we will give an account for everything we have done (II Cor. 5:10). The way we use or misuse our words is crucial: "But I say unto you, That every idle (useless/vain) word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Mt. 12:36-37).

We know what it feels like when someone tells us they will do something and then they don't do it. It is often hard to forget and and can cause a wounded spirit. We would be wise to consider what we have told others we would do but have not done. Younger siblings can be especially hurt when you say you will do something with them and then don't do it.

-Have you made a promise to someone that you have not fulfilled?
-Do you tell 'half-truths' and 'white' lies to get your way or make yourself look better?
-Do you consider how your words will be received before you speak them?

"Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor for we are one of another" (Eph. 5:4-5).

Blessings,
Amanda
(some notes adapted from the IBLP Commands of Christ study guide and pocket guide)

Life is Beautiful !

How often I have wondered what it would be like to have my own children, and how much work it would take, and if I would be prepared or not, well, this last week I got to experience first hand what life is like with a baby.

My mom and I went to Virginia to spend 10 days with my brother and his wife who were expecting their first baby. Not knowing what to expect, I had been very nervous about the trip, and didn't want to go, but through prayer, I realized God wanted me to go and trust Him with the results of the trip.

So, I was completely blessed by the whole trip, and enjoyed every minute with my little niece. Elizabeth Ann Smythe was born on February 27 th, after a very long day of waiting at the hospital for her to be born. Moments after the C-section, ( which I thankfully didn't watch:) for the first time in my life, I saw a newborn baby, and agreed with Psalms 139:13-14 "For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well."

For the next week and a half I enjoyed every moment with my newborn niece Elizabeth. She is such a good baby, she sleeps well, eats well, and doesn't cry hardly at all. I had lots of firsts as I changed a diaper for the first time, fed a baby with a bottle for the first time, and tried my hand at getting a baby to go to sleep:) I have a whole new appreciation to parents for the sacrifices they make every day for their children, and I have a whole new perspective of God's love in creating us as helpless beings who need other people to survive. We are all helpless spiritually, and without God's grace and help, we couldn't ever hope to be saved.

As I look back over this trip I can't help but give thanks to God for His unspeakable gift in new life. And I can truly say that every life is beautiful and uniquely created by God for the Devine purpose of glorifying Him.



My Mom and I at the hospital.



Elizabeth Ann moments old:)



My Mom's first time to hold Elizabeth.



My first time to hold Elizabeth:)



A picture of peace.



"He hath made everything beautiful in His time:)



Elizabeth already likes pink:) (The flower on Elizabeth's hat was almost the size of her head.)



It was so special to hold a newborn baby for the first time.



I just love Elizabeth's outfit in this picture. Her pants are made out of her daddy's Navy uniform fabric.



The happy family all together.

Command Of Christ # 7

Dear Friends,

Here is command of Christ #7 from my friend Amanda. This command is really a challenging one for me to grasp! I hope you are encouraged by Amanda's insights.

Good afternoon! This command has been one that God continually brings me back to, and one that pricks me in my conscience when I read it.
This week's command is Do Not Commit Adultery/Do Not Lust. Now before you feel confident with this one, because you have never committed physical adultery, I encourage you to read on to find out what God's perspective is.

Growing up in public school is different than growing up in a Biblical-based education. By first grade my classmates were already talking about who liked who and which boy was the cutest. As you got older, the boy-girl hysteria was all the more prevalent. Having a boyfriend or girlfriend was a top priority and girls' notebooks were covered with the name of the boy they 'liked.' Posters of the latest stars adorned our lockers and walls, and on nearly every magazine there was a scantily clad woman or man named "The Hottest Man." Most of the population grows up believing that being a 'fisher of men' and drooling over the Hunk of the Month is a completely normal and appropriate thing. Needless to say, that is not God's opinion on the matter.

Jesus said, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say unto you, that whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Mt. 5:28). Let me paraphrase that for you ladies "Whosoever looks on a man to lust after him has committed adultery with him already in her heart." When we lust after someone it is like we are committing adultery from God's perspective. High-school girls with crushes are not the only guilty ones; Christian girls can be especially susceptible to over-dreaming of Prince Charming or Mr. Right who will sweep them off their feet into a wonderful marriage.

Now this is not saying you can never acknowledge that a man is attractive. It is what we do with the thought. God made some men more attractive and 'goodly' in appearance. He made some women 'fair to look upon' while others were not seen as especially beautiful (for example Rachel and Leah). To lust means to have a desire or a longing for. It is a mental preoccupation with someone who is not our spouse, and it's root is covetousness. Paul said, "For I had not known lust except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet" (Romans 7). Lust is sinful because it is living by our flesh, rather than the spirit. If we walk in the spirit we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.

It would be a horror if anyone plucked out their own eye or cut off their own hand, but God said it would be better if we did those things than to have them and sin. (Mt. 5:29-30) God is serious when He talks about lust, and the consequences throughout the Bible only confirm the destruction of those who allow lust to go unbridled. King David (a man after God's own heart), King Solomon (wisest man), and Samson (strongest man) all allowed lust to control them. So unless you are more godly than David, wiser than Solomon, or stronger than Samson, you should realize that you are just as succeptible to committing adultery as them.

-What Scriptures can you meditate on to help overcome lust?
-Have you fully understood that lust in God's eyes is committing adultery?
-How can you 'sow' to the spirit, rather than to the flesh?

"What we look for we see, and what we see influences the thoughts and desires of our hearts"-Commands of Christ study guide

Blessings,
Amanda
Some notes adapted from IBLP Commands of Christ study guide and pocket guide





Command of Christ # 6

It is another beautiful day in Oregon!
This week's command is to, "Be Reconciled." Matthew 5:23-24 says, "Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar and go they way. First, be reconciled to thy brother and then come and offer thy gift." (emphasis added)

To 'be reconciled' means that we thoroughly restore a broken relationship. It is not saying you're sorry through clenched teeth while plotting revenge. This is so important to God that He would rather have us be right with others than to bring Him our gifts.

An elderly woman was rushed to the hospital with chest pains. They discovered that she had had a heart attack and it was decided that the next step would be to give her an angioplasty. She was wheeled in for the routine operation, but things took a turn for the worse. The doctor began inflating the balloon too quickly and her heart began to fail, soon her husband of 42-years was without a wife. Her husband was so devastated that he fell into a cycle of anger, revenge, and bitterness. His energy was spent on plans to take down the hospital and to get revenge with the doctor who had ended his wife's life. He went to court with plans to sue them for all they had, and the administrators and doctors awaited the trial with anxiety. However, the man realized that if he ever was going to be able to live in peace, he was going to have to forgive. On the day of the trial he went up to the doctor, took his hand, and forgave him. The doctor wept and could not even let go of the man's hand. Both men left the court that day free and most importantly reconciled.

In order to make reconciliation, we need to realize that arguments come from pride. "Only by pride cometh contention" (Prov. 13:10). We get angry because we feel like we should not be treated in such a way and are offended that anyone would attack the high view we have of ourselves. We need to remember Jesus who when He was reviled, suffered, and threatened, He did not retaliate (I Pet. 2:23). If the King of kings and Creator of all the universe had this attitude, we must also purpose to purge pride from our lives. We must give up the right to be right and give up the right to be treated fairly.

Important points to consider for reconciliation:

- Reconciliation must first begin with personal examination (Mat. 15:1-3). We are told to first examine ourselves, and then we will be able to see clearly the other persons side.

-We must take the initiative. Christ initiated reconciliation with us, His enemies, even when we were in our sins. If Christ can come down and die for His enemies, then we can initiate a right relationship with others.

-Reconciliation requires turning my pride into humility and a servant's spirit. "..even as Christ came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many." We must realize that the offenses against us are NOTHING compared to what Christ has endured and that we must serve those who have wronged us as He did.

-Reconciliation means clearing the record of the offense. We must refuse to 'repeat' a matter and refuse to replay the offense in our minds. God has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west and does not throw them back in our faces. We cannot be fully reconciled while carrying bitterness in our heart.

-Is there anyone who you have offended and need to be reconciled with?
-How have you turned your pride to humility in this situation?
-How can you serve those whom you have offended?

"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35).

Blessings,
Amanda
(notes adapted from IBLP Commands of Christ curriculum and Pocket Guide; story from 'Choosing Forgiveness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss)