Thursday, November 10, 2016

Service through a Child’s eyes

by Tomya Peters

            Being a servant must become a way of life. Are we always looking for a way to serve? I have to admit that a lot of my life I was just happy to keep a handle on my children. Keeping them from running amuck kept my mind consumed. Who had time to think of other ways to serve when running after children felt like the best service you could do for those around you? I thought keeping my kids from creating needs of service was a big enough job most days. This year our church theme is PRAY, GO, SERVE. We divided the year up into thirds and this is the part of the year we are focusing on Service. My job on Wednesday nights is to teach service to two and three year olds. This thought reminded me of a story from several years ago.

            We were in Seattle, Washington at a church my husband had just taken a new pulpit position with. I was doing my usual by trying to keep a handle on my five very energetic children. At the same time I was learning about the church and its needs. A few months had gone by and we were finding our place and feeling at home.

            Sometimes when it comes to service we want to find just the right need, the one thing that will make the biggest impact or use our talents best. Plus we don’t want to step on any ones toes by helping where they have already staked a claim. It’s simpler than we think. We just need to start serving where we are. If we see a spill on the floor, trash that missed the waste basket or someone standing alone, just stop and serve. There’s service opportunities found throughout our day in all the places we go. We spend too much time saying and thinking things like, “That’s not my job!” or “What should I do?” We need to serve! There is no service we should feel above doing or under-qualified for. Our education does not give us rights to only say yes to certain exclusive positions or feel too small to be accepted in others. Sometimes we even think we know what service others should or shouldn’t be doing. Now I’m rambling off track.

            At this new church home in the state of Washington, I was busy observing all the needs around me and where I would fit into the work best. All the while not realizing my youngest was busy checking out the needs on her own at this new home and how she could best serve in the moment.

            Micah and a new friend whose dad happened to be a brand new Elder had found a new service needing attention. The best part was they didn’t ask anyone. They just saw the need and jumped right in. They didn’t try to get others to help, drawing more attention to their selfless service either. Matter of fact I didn’t even learn of their service ministry until a couple months after the event. I know I may sound like I’m bragging a bit, but I just want to share all I learned and am able to see more clear now concerning service.

            Micah and her new friend had noticed one Sunday morning, while all the other children were in their bible class, an important need. At five years old they had climbed up on a four sink counter-top to wash an 8ft by 4ft mirror with half a bottle of very foamy hand soap and their hands. The two of them were wet, sudsy and very proud of their hard work. The other child’s mother happened to walk in on them. After retrieving the girls off the counter she cleaned them up and took them to class. What a mess. I’m not sure how she managed to clean it all up with no one else finding out, but she did. This was kept from me because I was their brand new preacher’s wife, for fear of how I would respond. I only later heard about the incident for two reasons. One, because it was too funny not to share and second was because when, my now good friend, walked in on our daughters cleaning the mirror, she knew they had hired the right preacher.

            So you ask, does this story show service or how to teach it to children? Well, there’s a lot of things I learned from it. We won’t serve others around us if we don’t feel at home. My daughter and her new friend had never done anything like that before. It was because they did it together. You need to get into the lives of your church family and make it your home. Also, it’s not important to ask or tell others what or how you are serving. See needs and get after it, don’t wait for fanfare. God sees what is done in secret and rewards. (Matthew 6:1-18) Finally, when you don’t quite do it the way others think it should be done, remember, who can get mad at you for doing what they won’t do and when you’re serving God not men?

            Now for the little tots I’m teaching. I think the best way to teach them is to show them. So the next time the bathroom mirror looks like a couple kids smeared soap all over and left it, it could be that my class has been learning to serve.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

My Hypocritical Husband

       What do “Singing in the Rain”, “High School Musical”, “Sound of Music”, “Dream Girls”, “Annie” and the “Music Man” have in common? From the titles you can guess music or singing. These are called Musicals. “Grease” and Fiddler on the Roof” are two classics. My favorite is the “Sound of Music”. Maybe it’s the history throughout the story or the large family it depicts that pulls me in. I think I just love to sing and to have it tell a story at the same time is enjoyable. Not so true of my Husband.

      My husband hates, yes, hate is probably not strong enough, loathes musicals. Anytime I mention going to one he quickly vetoes the choice, yet when I try to shut him up as he sings our daily routine throughout the house; I’m ignored.

      How hypocritical of him to say he hates musicals yet lives his life out in song. A lot of us are no different. We judge someone who steals from another, but when we take items home from work, it has no effect on us. We see the weaknesses in our churches and fail to see our own contributions to why our church is not growing. Hypocrisy as simple as saying one thing and doing another.

      This reminds me of several bible stories. Lots wife (Gen. 19:26), for one. We may not see text of her decision to leave the city and trust God before He sent down fire to destroy it. Nonetheless, we know of her looking back and turning to a pillar of salt. I believe it was more than a glance. To me it was of a longing disobedience to God. You know the way a child says they will do what you ask, but on the inside rebellious emotions are spewing, and very often comes out in hypocritical actions to what was enforced. Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) is one that comes to mind as well. Hypocritical turmoil had taken over their hearts. They didn’t have to give all the money but they wanted the appearance of being completely selfless. God saw through the lies and their lives were taken that day. We also see where people think one way and say another. The person who tells herself she is no good at loving her children and providing for them but gives them all of herself and everything she has. Then there are those who think they are better than everyone, but their children don’t even know Christ for lack of being shown by their parents. None of us are untouched by this word Hypocrite. Unless your name is Craig Peters.

       Craig and I were on the road to visit one of our kids and grandchildren one day, when he had a revelation. He was in high spirits singing at the top of his lungs in the small space of our car when it hit him. He said, “For someone who hates musicals I sure do sing a lot”! With surprise in our faces we both fell apart with laughter. How Ironic for us after 36 years of marriage, and 13,140 songs later if you’re only counting one song a day, to finally see his hypocrisy.

        How many of us still don’t see the lies we live with, or ignore the truth in front of us? How many of us are like my husband? He will shout it out forever how he hates musicals, but if you spend any time around him you will hear him sing everything, from what he ate for breakfast, to how he got the mail out of the box by the road. If you spend any time with him he’ll probably even sing a song about you. I don’t know what the trigger was to open my husband’s eyes, but I pray God helps me live true to myself and them make the changes He leads me towards in my life of service. 
by tomya peters

Thursday, September 22, 2016

First Edition

First Edition
By Tomya Theone Peters
            Did you ever want to be a writer? What would your struggles be if you were to write a book? I have answered these two questions for myself and would like to share them with you. I have the desire to write, and I did write a book. I also had many struggles along the way. The best way for me to explain these struggles is to tell you a story.
            I have a huge weakness as a writer. “I can’t spell worth a flip.” I’ve struggled all my life. I have improved, but that would surprise you if you ever read my first drafts. Even with the help of a computer I will type a right/wrong word. Then don’t get me started on all the grammatical mistakes. How did I ever make it through school let alone home schooling five very bright college educated children? I’ll never know. Well I do know. It was all God!
            When I finished my first book I asked friends and family to help me edit. This was so humbling, but not because of all the errors. It was the fact I had to bother people taking them away from their busy important lives to help me. I also knew how much work editing my book would be. Where do you start with so many mistakes? I imagine this had to be their first thoughts. I have to stop here and say, I am so thankful to all the work everyone put into my completed book.
            Finally, the book was finished. Still not a perfected work of art, but it was my work and I was proud. Right after I published it I was finding errors that had been missed. Things I would do different. I had forgotten to add my bio or the summery to the book to name a few. There are things I would do better next time around.
            Now for what I really wanted to know about my book. What did my readers think? Was my message and voice understood? Did my book move hearts or restore hurting and lost souls? Was my message even heard? More than any of the problems and struggles with my book, I wanted to know if I had made a difference.
            My book was being downloaded by friends, family and even some people I didn’t know. I was excited. Then a new friend told me she had sat down the night before and read my whole book. I was excited to hear her thoughts. I had shared on a Facebook page that I wanted feedback and discussion over my book. My need to know if my intended message was being grasped was eating at me. My friend did indeed have some thoughts for me. Not the comments I thought she was about to give me.
            I had forgotten that I had emailed her my manuscript earlier. She didn’t realized I had already published it. You can probably guess how this very disappointing event ended. I had asked her to put her thoughts on my book’s Facebook page. When I heard her response, “No! I wouldn’t put these thing out for the public to read.” I knew we weren’t on the same page. We had just finished lunch together that Sunday and as soon as I got home I opened up the email she had sent me revealing all the edits needing to be made to my already published book. Suddenly, I was tired and needed a nap. Later I received a phone call that changed my disposition greatly.
            I finally let my guard down that evening and quit my obsessing over what to do with my book when the phone rang. My daughter in-law Kristen from New Zealand called to tell me a Finley story. He is their three year old son. The youngest of three boys. He was having a fussy morning and was in need of some quiet time alone. Kristen told him he could go to his room to rest or read some books. Immediately he began to cry. Between the tears three words were understood. I can’t read! Quickly my daughter in-law comforted him letting him know he could just look at the pictures. A huge smile welled up on his face, filled with relief he went off to his room. Now for the reason my daughter in-law wanted to share this story with me; she knows how I love stories with a message.
            Kristen wanted to share Finlee’s story and the lesson she got out of it. We as Gods children are like this young boy looking at all God desires for us. Things we don’t feel capable of, just as my grandson felt overwhelmed not being able to read. There are many people God has called to do great things. Several would then go on to struggle accomplishing His plans and even failed at times before succeeding. Moses, Sampson, Mary, and Peter to name a few made their share of mistakes. I now was questioning my calling.  Do I have any good news to share through my words? That’s when I became the student of a great lesson from my 3 year old grandson.

I spoke while Kristen listened. I shared my story and she then became the teacher when she said, “It’s just your first edition”. I suddenly felt the weight lifted and the chains gone. Yes, it’s my first edition not the end of my writing career. So read my first edition and find my mistakes. I know I’m not perfect and will make many errors in life. God just looks down and reminds us that he is the one who is able and I am not. He is perfect and I’m perfected. Sorry if you thought this would be the last you would hear from me. It’s not. I will do my best, correct the mistakes, and try again when I fail.  Forgive my imperfections and read my book. Let me know if God is moving you to your next edition in life.
"ALL IN and Totally Consumed"

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


       I Have a special friend I spent an hour and a half with everyday a couple years ago. He could have the sweetest personality most times. Then when you least expected it he could come unglued. He like us all has his moments, but for him to process and deal with needs and wants, lacks the connections a lot of us have to filter and communicate these desires to others. Biting, kicking, pinching and pulling your hair are some of his first reactions some days.

      One morning, as we do every morning, at the beginning of school, say two pledges, one for the state of Texas and one for our country. We then have a moment of silence. Every student, teacher and staff person is free to use these few moments however they wish. Me, I pray for all the little people my life will touch that day.

       Back to this particular morning. I was standing next to this special friend. As the words were said, "Now for a moment of silence', this shot out of his mouth, while at the same time he bowed with hands folded and said, "I Got the Power"! As quickly as he said it he was done and his confident smile was on his face ready to jump start his day.

 I GOT THE POWER! is it really that simple?

  •    Me who's lived my faith in Christ for nearly fifty years, 
  •    Me who has watched all the miraculous commands from the hand of God, 
  •    Me who knows the power that lives within me waging war mightily through me everyday,
  •    Me? Had I missed the most basic element of my prayer life? To just say and acknowledge I have the power?

       The power my friend was probably referring to was the power from the Ninja Turtle shirts he wares everyday. More importantly it was the look on his face that said it all. There was no doubt he had the power.

          Listen to this text:
Act 14:8 — 10
          Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. 

 Seeing he had faith to be healed! Paul could see the belief in the young man. Do people see that kind of faith in me? What does the face of a believer look like when they are looked upon by others? If you know my friend!, you know the look.

Do you have the look of belief?
 Do you have the power?

 I think I will start all my prayers with....... Dear God! I got the power!

 My day will be Spirit driven, God ordained and more Powerful than what I'll ever know what to do with.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Front Row Seat

by Tomya Peters
          This has been a hard message to type. About once a year I try and put the emotion I feel down on paper with fail. I feel it so strongly but the right words are hard to express. This is my last opportunity while fresh on my mind to cultivate from my heart the words to touch and grasp hold of you with this important teaching. It may be the last year for this earthly event, but there is still hope for us who call Jesus lord and master to continue on with our front-row-seat event.

           Have you ever had a front row seat for a great show? You may be thinking of a special event, or a wish to have been in a front row seat for a specific occasion. I’m here to tell you, you can always have a front row seat with all the emotion that goes along with it.

          I have been watching American Idol now for many years. I saw bits of the first couple years but it hadn’t drawn me in yet. I’ve watched the show evolve and mature. They have found the key to the survival of the church.

          This show started with a dream to find talent, and to give those who wouldn’t otherwise have a chance, or at least in a short amount of time become noticed. Some will get there but with a lot of unnecessary pain, and possible damages unable to recover from.

          In 2011 a great message of hope for the church began to emerge from within my soul. Jessica Sanchez a fifteen year old girl Idol contestant with an incredible voice & Jennifer Holliday sang a duet together. There is a passion between the two and it is seen in their faces as they sing. I’ve seen this in many other performances since.

The next year Angie Miller a young idol contestant is overwhelmed with excitement while she sings with Jessie J (Domino). 

          You could YouTube all night and see this message over and over again. These young people being so blessed to be in the presents of incredible talent. Talented busy people anxious to give of themselves out of their wisdom and gifts. What I began to watch more closely was the seasoned talents that joined the ranks to influence and fashion these young people as they reach for their dreams.

          This year being its final year has brought a lot more passion and emotion to the surface. I could spend the rest of the message sharing so many touching moments, but then you would miss the more important lesson to be learned.

          I ask you this question. Do we want great preacher, teachers, elders, deacons, mothers, fathers, servants and yes singers in the church? What are you doing about it? Are you out there wanting to be a teacher, preacher, elder, or deacon? Do you want to share to gospel with a friend or family member? Do you want your eyes to be open to see those in need around you and the courage to step out of your comfort zone to meet that need? Like these musicians, they want to change the world with their God given gifts. They are willing to work hard refining their craft. The experienced artist rise up seeking opportunities to help others fine-tune their talents into the shinning stars they can be.

          There is really one question.
          Jennifer Lopez made the comment the other night on the show about how blessed she was to have had a front row seat for the last five years on Idol.
          Here is your chance to be on the front row. We have an opportunity to guide young souls into a deeper level of knowledge of God’s word and service, but the lack of these will hinder us.

1.   We need to be committed leaders.
2.   We need to desire to be great so they want to follow.
3.   We need to be the example.
4.   Point out the gifts in those around us.
5.   We need to mentor and encourage.
6.   We have to want to be like Christ more than anything in the world, and do everything to accomplish it.

 Do you see others around you that you admire? Ask them to mentor you.
          Why is Idol successful? Because the new up and coming are being trained by the older experienced. The young give honor to the older. This also creates power and greater knowledge to the music industry.

          Apply that to the church. No one wants to be a preacher or missionary if they aren’t seeing the role living out with passion. No young men will desire the service of and elder or deacon if men aren’t respecting the role they are appointed to. We as a church must do everything we can to live Christ so BIG the world strives to be like us as we follow Him.

          To have a front row seat you have to be living there. If the judges and mentors of Idol didn’t clearly love music and know the hard work it takes to be in the industry, how could they have any respect from the young talents.

          If the seasoned artist didn’t desire to make a difference for the future what would they put themselves out there in the first place?

          Craig and I attended Sunset in the early eighties. We were told our two years of study under the twenty or so men and women were equivalent to twenty years of knowledge on our own. This training was much the same as Idol.

          LTC is another program our church has that is attempting to do this very thing. They have events all around the country for children from 3rd through high school. We will be going to Houston this week to enter in several of the events.

          As good as these programs are they are not enough. We need to be sitting in the front row every day, seeking out the next soul to be mentored by our own hands. Seeing these precious souls and the talent they have to glorify God, fanning it into a flame.

Do you want a front row seat? The church depends on it. Christ died for it. The Spirit lives for it and God created it. We can’t let him or the world around us down.

Take your seat!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Wine, Snakes and Alligators

Tomya Peters
            We lived in south Lose-e-ana when our children were young. Boy-oh-boy I could tell you stories but my children could tell you more. The things they did in the name of fun would creep you out. I couldn’t find them one day, realizing they were gone right out from under my nose. Not only were my children missing but four other children I was responsible for. They we down in the drain pipes under the ground.  They had to implement some stealth maneuvers just to get themselves all out of the stale smelling muddy pit I found them in. This might explain why one day we challenged a seven foot alligator.

            The places we find ourselves and the choices we make in life look very different in hindsight. Take sin for instants. Did the young couple think they would be parents at sixteen when they went on their first date? Did the girl whose feeling were hurt think she would lie, causing the boy to lose his job? Did the boy who shot up his school think, this was where he would find himself, a few years before? Questions we may never have answers to.

            We know the sins we’re committing as we find ourselves consumed in the midst of them. It’s the steps leading up to the sin that go unnoticed. When a child takes their first steps you can look back over the weeks prior to the great event and see everything it took to get to the grand moment. They first rolled over, began to crawl and pull up to things. All the while growing in strength and comfort in their surroundings. Sin is no different.

            Living in Louisiana was a new experience for this Indiana born and bred girl. My husband once told my sister that alligators could jump fences and she believed it. When we had only lived there a few weeks I became so freaked out by a small newt under the bed as I was tucking my girls in. A few years later that same daughter is bringing them into the house letting them pinch onto and dangle from her earlobes. I’ve come along way.

            We entertained a lot of visitors over the years. One of our favorite things to do was to travel down towards the coast to the wildlife refuge in Hackberry. Until Hurricane Rita tore it down there was a museum we would stop at on the way. You could learn everything you wanted to know about the wetlands and their importance to coastal living. You were also encouraged to not feed the alligators in the refuge. This was for your own safety. If you were crabbing you would take a chicken neck, tied to a string, throw it out and wait for crabs to latch on. Many times you lost them and the crab to a gator. So I guess whether you were crabbing or feeding gators we didn’t see much difference. We did know they were getting feed and through this we justified our disobedience.

            At the refuge they had a look-out deck overlooking a marshy wetland and on a sunny day you would see 30-40 gators laying out sunning themselves like an old dog on the front porch. They never moved and made you question whether they were really alive. If we had food we would toss some out to watch them snatch it up for a little show for our guest. Then we would head out to walk the cement path that lead all around through the marsh and back out to where we started. I can’t tell you how many times we made this trip.

            One day we had our seven and another family of seven along with us.  Four adults, one teen, seven ranging from primary to Middle school and two babies in strollers. We were chatting up a storm pointing out all the wildlife as we went along. All of the sudden people started turning around complaining about an alligator blocking the path. As we got closer we saw what appeared to be a seven-foot-long gator stretched across our path. We made the decision to walk very quietly around the back of him making sure to keep our distance. He didn’t even give us the time of day. All was well and we enjoyed the rest of our day.

            The next day my husband went out to that same marsh to fish. He wasn’t catching any fish so he started messing with an alligator he spotted. From the boat he sent out a cast in hopes to hit the tail end of the alligator. As the lure was coming down the alligator spun around so fast and had the lure in his mouth. In disbelief he sent the bate out again. Just as the first was snatched up this one met the same jaws chomping down tightly around it.         

Walking past the big alligator not being afraid was really really stupid.  We had gotten so comfortable and familiar with the gators we thought we could predict their behavior. We are enticed by sin the same way. We think we got it under control. We see it like the old dog on the porch instead of the baby growing in strength learning to walk. We miss the small steps that get us into trouble. The book of Proverbs is full of such sound wisdom. Most of which was directed to a son. I ran across chapter 23 many years ago and it has been a reminder to me to never allow myself to get comfortable when it comes to Satin and his schemes.

Pro 23:30 — Pro 23:35
Those who tarry long over wine;
those who go to try mixed wine.
Do not look at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles
in the cup
and goes down smoothly.
In the end it bites like a serpent
and stings like an adder
Your eyes will see strange things,
and your heart utter perverse things.
You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
like one who lies on the top of a mast.
“They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt;
they beat me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I awake?
must have another drink.”

            I won’t tell you what to do, as I didn’t force my children’s hands either. I will say if this snake has touched your world with its devastating bit please heed the wisdom from the Proverbs.

“You knew I was a snake when you took Me in”

Al Wilson - The snake

Who wrote the book of Proverbs?

1:1 – 9:18 – Solomon
2. 10:1 – 22:16 – Solomon
3. 22:17 – 24:22 – Wise Men
4. 24:23-34 – Wise Men
5. 25:1 – 29:26 – Solomon (has co-opted by Hezekiah’s men)
6. 30:1-33 –Agur, son of Jakeh
7. 31:1-9 – Lemuel (or his mother)
8. 31:10-31 – unknown

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Who Am I?

By tomya peters
I never thought it would take me this long in life to decide who I was. The simple one word that describes me. 
I guess I just thought there would be more to it. Then again something you do every day all day long should stand out.  From the time I was little playing with stuffed animals, to being a big sister, my passions that have taken me in all different directions have all had one thing in common.
It’s not always our career or what we spent years studying to become. It’s more about what we do when no one is watching. It’s what you leave dishes in the sink and laundry on the floor for. It’s what you stay up late loosing needed sleep over, wake up thinking about and can’t wait to learn more about. It’s what you excel in and find avenues to reveal this gift through your whole being.
For me it’s a simple five letter word……..TEACH!
It’s who I am that defines and narrows down how I use this gift. I could teach a lot of things. I could teach how to, why nots or even what the best is about anything. It now becomes a decision. What do I choose my life to be about? This part is easy to define but difficult to refine into all segments and layers over the years.
I follow Christ, full stop!
 I made this decision many years ago. To be exact it was August 1971. This past summer 44 years ago. Before I made this decision I was holding church services in my playroom. My brother and all my stuffed animals lined up in front, as they sat listening to me preach from a sermon outline made from a cut open pillowcase. I had written my notes on it with graphics. We professionals call this the original PowerPoint.
As a teen I met and shared the gospel with my future soul mate in life. We have now been marries 35 years.
Soon after we had children, my gift became full-blown with several layers. From teaching them to crawl to tying shoes, from talking to reading, driving to leaving home I was teaching them. Let’s not kid ourselves, I’m still teaching them.
Intertwined throughout all those stages I was sharing Christ with them. From In the beginning to maps I shared all I could about God’s incredible plan to save us, love us and take us home. From those written examples I tried to live the example so vividly to begin the exposure of true relationship with our master and creator. An existence I wouldn’t have without Him.  
I’ve taught children’s bible classes, Ladies adult classes, teen girls and boys how to make Gods plan their plan. I’ve reached out to children, mothers and lonely souls needing God’s love. I have taught children math, English, history and even a little science. I am a teacher.
The last couple years I have been working in a school with children alongside paid, educated, real teachers. They tell me I’m a teacher at times, but I humbly respond, “Well, I try but you’re the REAL teacher.”
How could I be more real? I am a TEACHER! There I said it. I always have been and always will be. It’s not only defined by career, education and salary. It’s defined by what my life has been about.
When will we stop only labeling ourselves and others with the wrong standards? We must stop narrowing ability and worth by money and power.

We are talented and blessed people created by an amazing God who picked us to be created in His image. We are who we are. What word describes you? What do you have to be about no matter who, and what you do, where you live or what you’re told?

Do you always lead?
Do you give compassion?
Are you a follower?
Are you committed?
How about unconditional love?

I could go on all day creating a list, but you can figure it out. You probably already know what it is but just not taken the time to verbalize it. Believe in who God gifted you to be.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Let not your heart....

In Honor of a childhood friend:
The scene was more beautiful than any I had ever seen. One I will never forget, its majesty, spender and breathtaking view. As I sat there in the middle of the vast beauty it didn’t feel real.  The smell was a delicious masterpiece and made your eyes desire to devour it. How could it be real? I could have set there every day and never grow tired of looking at it and absorbing it in.
With five children we found ourselves at sporting events around the clock most days of the week. Our youngest son was playing football and had practice two to three days a week and a game every Saturday. This beautiful place we lived was Seattle, Washington. I’ll let you in on a little secret about this city. We locals don’t share this with just anyone, but now that I’ve moved away, I can’t get in too much trouble. Seattle gets so much rain throughout nine months of the year and has a bad reputation. My secret we don’t tell people is that from the middle of July to the end of October the sun shines from early morning until late in the evening with zero humidity. Having lived several years in the hot muggy south the northwest is quite refreshing. The weather is so mild.
During football season we grab a big blanket, spread it out on the lawn and relax as if we were on a picnic. I still remember the feeling like it was yesterday. The cool air, the sound of happy children and a view that is so incredible you could reach out and touch it. Imagine green grass stretching out all the way to the deepest color of evergreen trees. Trees that climb the mountain side till it is stopped by a thick blanket of snow that ends at the most crystal blue sky that goes on up and around until it encompasses you in its shelter.
Every day I would sit there and pinch myself with unbelief of its view. It just couldn’t be real. There were days we took drives up into these mountains. The complexity of every twist and turn assured me of the reality that was before me.
Today a friend from my youth passed on to her eternal home. We are promised its beauty to be beyond what we can fathom.  This friend has no idea how many times over the years she was on my heart. I hope she knows now as she is welcomed into her new home. She, her sister and another girl were all a year older than me. I, looked up to them because they were cool, smart and had the longest hair. Mine never seemed to get past my shoulders. We were all in bible class together on Wednesday night. I don’t even remember who taught our class, only the assignment that was given one specific night. We were given a challenge to memorize John 14:1-14. I still have the bible where I marked and underlined the text as I accomplished the task. I was proud of my work as I accomplished the first four verses. It started getting a little harder as I studied on. I topped out memorizing only seven verses. We went to church the following week I was excited to share that I had memorized half of it already. Then my friend stood up across the table from my and quoted the whole thing. WOW! I was speechless and suddenly disappointed with my effort.
John 14:1-14
14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know[b] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Let not your heart be troubled, let not your heart be troubled.....I could quote it every day and not hear those words enough. These words and believing their power has grown deep within my heart for many years. I know without a doubt he has a place prepared just for me. There is no trouble too big to change this truth I live by. He is the way the truth and the life. We go to the father through the son and we know the father as we know the son because they are in one another. He left so we could do greater things while waiting for his return to take us home. I imagine the beauty of heaven more glorious they the view I remember from Seattle, more grand than my wildest thoughts and more perfect than even any description words could spell out. All that matters is His promise. Let not your heart be troubled. Yes I believe!
Gina thank you for this memory I have of your heart to learn his word.
You helped me strive to know His word more every day.
by Tomya Peters
Gina Cavins
May 14, 1960 - January 20, 2016

Monday, January 18, 2016

Un-tuck that Shirt!


            He jumped out of the car with a skip in his step and a tight grip on his lunch kit. He flung his backpack over his shoulder as his mother yelled, “Untuck that shirt!” She looked at me with a smile, as he ignored her catching up to his friends, as they headed towards the school doors.
            Strange it is, the things we say to our children. My husband and I have caught ourselves saying or asking some of the strangest things of our children. Things like:
·        Are you sure you don’t want meat on that ketchup and mustard sandwich?
·        To your three year old son you ask, why is your sister hanging upside down out of her baby swing?
·        Maybe you hear the most awful sound coming from your daughter’s bedroom, you run in fear of finding your daughter clawed to death only to see she has dressed the cat in the baby’s dress and bloomers. You quickly ask, can’t you tell she isn’t happy letting you dress her?
They amaze me.
            These days with children all grown, I work at an intermediate school. Every morning I have drop-off duty. I watch two to three hundred children get out of cars every day, exchanging salutations with their parents. I have seen laughing, anger and half asleep children as they emerge from the cars. Today after the “untucked your shirt” comment, I started listening closer. Watching faces with insightful through. I asked this question, “what if those words were the last thing you ever said to your child?
            I started thinking of all the last conversations I’d had with people over the years. Some I don’t even remember others I was left speechless to mutter even a word. I remember the last conversation I had with a dear friend. We would chat long distance over the phone every few weeks. I knew her health was bad and the end was eminent, but I never thought this was the last time I would talk to her. Part of me wished I would have known, but then again, what would I have said?
            I want to speak with the importance of God in my words, as if they were the last words they will ever hear, with the power of gospel to change lives, share my heart and leave no doubt they know how much they are loved by God every time I open my mouth.  

            Car after car dropped off their children that day and I just watched with concern on my heart. Granted it is very early in the morning, but I think I saw more than remains of the sand-man in the faces of some of those children. Some of the parents drove off with the look of pain in their faces. Is there more month than money on their thoughts? Relationships on the brink? We have the power to change a person’s day for the better or worse with our words.
            What would you say, if today’s good-byes were the last to be spoken to your loved ones?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

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