Friday, December 31, 2010

An Accomplished Goal in 2010!!


"LORD, You establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us. LORD our God...Your name alone do we honor."
Isaiah 26:12,13

December 31st!!!  We did it!!!  God's gets the glory.  Truly, as the verses from Isaiah 26 above say, anything and everything we have accomplished, HE HAS DONE FOR US!!  HIS NAME ALONE DO WE HONOR!!

As husband and wife, and as parents to our children, the single most important thing we can do is steep ourselves and our children in God's Word.

In 2009, I read the Bible through in a year using the NIV One-Year Chronological Bible.  In the beginning of this year, my dear friend, Cheryl, lovingly suggested that Jim and I read the Bible in a year with our cherubs.  I LOVED that idea!!!  Thank you, Cheryl! 

Each night after bath time, we would gather to read the day's scripture in the daily Kid's Bible.  There were some nights we would miss, and we'd make it up the following night by reading two days.  There were a couple times during the year we got several nights behind, but we diligently got caught up each time.  Great conversations from the heart started by reading God's Word together as a family.  We are very thankful. 

So, what was our real goal in reading the Bible in its entirety in a year?  Our heart's desire is to KNOW HIM.  John 17:3 - Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.

Our true goal is to KNOW HIM.  By soaking His Word into our hearts each day, we know Him more intimately.  Our prayer for our children is that they love and hunger for God's Word, that His Word is the joy of their hearts, that His Word is their unshakable heritage and that it is passed on through them for generations to come.  Psalm 119:111 - Your statutes are my heritage forever; are the joy of my heart.    

So, this evening as we try to stay awake until midnight to see the fireworks in the sky above our little town welcoming in 2011, we will read together the final entry (from Revelation) in our Day by Day Kid's Bible.  We acknowledge God's goodness and grace in allowing us to accomplish this heart's desire together as a family.  We are hushed and humbled by His great love.

We are excited to see God's work in the hearts of our children and in our own hearts as parents as we continue steep ourselves in His Word in the new year.  May it encourage us, challenge us, convict us, guide us, bring forth a harvest of righteousness in our lives and bring us His life and light.   

I delight in Your decrees;
I will not neglect Your word. Psalm 119:16

Friday, December 24, 2010

Titus 2 Poll

Merry Christmas!!!

As the writer's here at T2 are looking ahead to 2011, we want to know how we are doing. The reason we are here is to bless YOU, so please keep reading...

Have you enjoyed reading the posts on Titus 2 In Action? If so, we'd like to take the time to ask you a few questions (Please leave your answers as comments):

1) How often do you visit Titus 2 in action?

2) Is there a topic you would like us to cover that we currently don't?

3) What kind of column would you like to see us add in 2011?

From the writer's of Titus 2 In Action: We pray you and your family have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Empty Boxes?

As I sat in front of the tree, it was a few days before Christmas. The house was very quiet. I was the only one still awake. And I started thinking... I looked at all our decorations from 26 years of collecting, the white lights all aglow. The blinking angel on top of the tree which quit blinking that night.. Beautifully wrapped presents under the tree, ready to be eagerly opened in a few days. The day that we so anxiously have looked forward to would soon be here and then as quick as it came it would be over.

All the list making, the many Christmas cards we sent out, the shopping, the money spent, more shopping, the wrapping of presents, the stuffing of stockings, the Christmas caroling. All the preparation of food and candy and cookies. All these things that preoccupied our time and lives would soon be behind us.

We allow all this to raise our stress levels, tire ourselves out and spend more than we need to spend. We get so overwhelmed by it all that sometimes we are ready for it to be over before it even starts. That in itself is the saddest part of the whole thing.

We miss the reason we celebrate. We miss the immaculate conception. We miss the angel. We miss Mary and Joseph. We miss the star. We miss the shepherds and wise men. We miss the baby in the manger. We miss Jesus.

We put so much of ourselves into the "things" that we think make up Christmas, that we neglect the only thing that matters.

The birth of our Savior. Born in a stable in Bethlehem. Born to become King. Born to save us from our sins. Born to die. Born to rise. Born to come again. Hallelujah!

In a few days, Christmas will be over and all that will be left is remnants of paper and tattered bows, empty wallets, empty stockings, empty boxes.

The empty boxes represent the emptiness in our lives without Jesus. Let's take those boxes and fill them back up with praise, worship, giving, love, forgiveness and kindness. Let's keep our boxes full of Jesus so that we don't miss Him in our daily lives. Let's fill our hearts to overflowing with the love of Christ. Let's fill our boxes with gifts to lay at the feet of Jesus.

"Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, God with us" (Matthew 1:23)


Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas week and Christmas day, with family, friends, and plenty of good food.

I hope you also enjoy spiritual fulfillment. We rejoice in the birth of Jesus. But think of the cost of this birth to God. Revelation 12:1-5 pictures the birth of Jesus as a cosmic battle between good and evil. It was God's way of rescuing mankind from the power of the evil one.

So while we are enjoying this day, remember that it is more than a day off, it is more than a family day (although that is a great blessing of it as well!), it is a day to remember our great salvation.

We have tidings of great joy because God chose to rescue us through Jesus. And it began with the birth of a baby.

So, as you are enjoying a great day, remember to pause and say, "Unto us a savior is born. Thanks, God."

Warren Baldwin

Thanks to Marci Bruno of Pretty As A Picture for these great photographs.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Filling My Husband's Gas Tank

"By wisdom a house is built,
and through understanding it is established; 
through knowledge its rooms are filled
with rare and beautiful treasures."
Proverbs 24:3-4

Sometimes the seemingly small things we do for our spouse are the most meaningful expressions of our love, care and respect.  The beautiful treasures of our hearts can be shown through kindnesses that may even possibly go unnoticed by our spouse.  But God sees, and He honors our sincerity.  "Love must be sincere."  Romans 12:9

One of my favorite things to do for my husband is to fill his car's gas tank with fuel.  I usually look for an opportunity to drive his vehicle for a few errands on Saturday and, while I am out, I stop and fill up his gas tank.  Jim commutes several miles to work every Monday through Friday and usually has to fill his tank more than once a week.  When I fill his tank on the weekends, it saves him one stop during his very demanding work week.  Sometimes he notices and thanks me, and sometimes he does not, which is almost more fulfilling.  But it fills me with joy and satisfaction knowing that I have helped him a bit.  God sees my heart and gives me a little wink.  "I know, my God, that You test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly Your people who are here have given to You."  1 Chronicles 29:17

Another small thing I do for Jim is to make him freshly brewed coffee for his travel mug each morning.  I pray this daily morning offering represents to him my devotion, consistency and dependability as his wife.  "Who dares despise the day of small things...?"  Zechariah 4:10

On Saturday mornings, I love when I can surprise Jim with the smell of breakfast cooking when he wakes up.  Whether it is eggs and bacon or slow-cooked oatmeal, this small expression of love puts a spring in his step for the whole day.  And if your spouse is like mine, the way to his heart is through his belly!  A good meal is a huge deposit in his heart.  "You will eat and be satisfied."  Deut. 11:15

Especially during the busyness of the Christmas season, I want to pause frequently and intentionally bless my husband in small but meaningful ways.  Today as I write this, I am planning on making his favorite Christmas cookies - "Almond Crescents".  (The butter is softening now!)  He loves them.  While I usually make several kinds of cookies each Christmas season, if I only had time for one kind, I would make the Almond Crescents. 

Filling my husband's fuel tank also fills his heart.  What small things to you like to do to fill your spouse's fuel tank??  Do share!  And I pray you and yours enjoy a peaceful, joyful and blessed Christmas season as we celebrate our Redeemer's birth! 


Wednesday, December 15, 2010


"Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return…. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." Luke 12:35-36a, 40

Waiting…what does that word mean to you? Sometimes it can be nerve-wracking, like waiting in line in the grocery store when you're in a hurry, or waiting for that phone call with the test results. Sometimes it can be exciting like waiting for your vacation or birthday. The Bible says we should be ready, waiting for Jesus to come again. What exactly does that mean - - waiting? offers several different definitions to the word wait. Which definition expresses how you are WAITING for Jesus to return? The first definition is “to remain inactive until something expected happens.” Like waiting for a bus. So are you inactive, just living your life the way you want, until Jesus comes?

Another definition is “to remain neglected for a time,” like a matter that can wait. Are you neglecting Jesus, not giving a thought to him or his second coming?

The third definition is “to look forward to eagerly.” That is a great definition of the attitude we should have as we wait for Christ.

But, if you dig deeper, you’ll find some archaic or ancient definitions of the word wait. One is “to be in readiness for”…we are to be ready for the return of Christ. Do you think you’re ready? If you knew Jesus was returning tomorrow, what would you do today? Why aren’t you doing it?

Finally comes the definition “attend upon, as a sign of respect.” We should be attentive to Jesus. How? By reading his word (the Bible), praying, and following his will as a sign of our respect. That is the real meaning of waiting for Jesus to come again. So which definition of wait will you use?

And how will it define you?

Dear Lord, most of us don’t like to wait. But how often do we even give a thought to the fact that we are supposed to be waiting for your return to earth? Help change our focus, so that we can be ready and waiting when you return. In Jesus Name, Amen.


Monday, December 13, 2010

How is your Prayer Life?

"The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." James 5:16b

It was a simple question. One filled with love and concern by a dear friend; when we were just in high school.

She was in the seat behind me on the bus, one chilly morning. I remember my breath formed small clouds in front of me as I attempted to answer her.

An upper classman, she was the epitome of what every high school girl should be; good student, excellent athlete, loyal friend, daughter, sister and most importantly unashamedly a beautiful child of God, who desired that everyone she encountered grow and nurture a relationship with Jesus.

"Good Morning. How is your prayer life?"

Those were her words to me that morning. Also a Christian, I can honestly say I was not quite sure. I was sure of the Jesus I believe in and I was sure that He loves me. But was I sure my heart was right with him and furthermore, at fifteen, was I sure that I was spending enough time with Him? The scripture says fervent; defined as "great emotion" or "ardent love". Our prayers are more effective when accompanied by great passion for our Lord and Saviour. Were my prayers simply a litany of begging and requests? Or was I adhering to His will and expectations? Was I an effective communicator with my Lord?

Today, I desire to leave my heart open that He might see. I ask Him, have I learned? Changed? Am I praying with a renewed knowledge of the the Word of God? Righteous...if I am not abiding in the Word of God, how can I be righteous? And therefore, what does that mean for my prayer life? I seek His will in all things, including my prayer life.

My friend's words reverberated to me, not just for a day or a week or a month, but for many, many years I would ask MYSELF each morning, "How is your prayer life?" Over the years, my answer would vary depending upon where I was in my spiritual journey. But, I was convicted that morning and in all the ones that would follow, that the Lord specifically wanted for me to examine these areas of my life as to form a deeper bond with Him. Many times, I'd pray for my friend, asking His mercy on her and as my faith and surrender deepened, I was ultimately aware of the impact of 5 seemingly small words. I never tired being grateful for her obedience and was truly thankful for her heart to minister to others.

Years would pass. We would lose touch. She went off to school, met a nice man who would become her husband. Eventually, she had children, as did I. Children have a remarkable way of refining our spirits. They bring forth the reality of what it feels like to love far greater than humanly imaginable and thus, creating for us the dependence on Christ differently than we may have felt it ever before. Fortunately, both of us, though seperately, were busy raising our children in Him and leaning on Jesus in ways we probably had not even dreamt.

Imagine the delight we felt when at our daughter's Kindergarten Open House, we sat literally across from one another, looking once again into each others' eyes. Years later, older, wiser, far more surrendered than either of us had ever been, I finally felt worthy of the question, "How is your prayer life?" and found that I now feel the bold call to say to others,

"Good Morning. So, how is your prayer life?"


Friday, December 10, 2010

It's Better to Give

"It's better to give than to receive."  I think we've all heard those wise words at least once in our lives.  So, how can that relate to dating your mate?

Glad you asked! My date idea for today is going to take a little planning. First, you and your spouse need to take the time to go shopping together. Buy some items you would use for a newborn baby and ponder how Mary (Jesus' mother) must have felt preparing for the birth of Jesus in a stable after a long journey!

PhotobucketNext, put them under your tree until you've collected several items (diapers, clothes, toys, bottles, etc.).

The two of you can plan a trip to the local Crisis Pregnancy Center and donate the gifts in honor of Jesus' pending arrival.

If you have children of your own, take the time to ponder your favorite items from the birth of your child/children. Notice how much the items have changed over the years!

Service projects are a fun way to grow closer as a couple, and in your faith.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

whispers in the dark

About a year ago, my daughter, Megan, and I played hide and seek with Mikaela and Eli.  When we first started playing, Megan and Eli, who was 4 at the time, were partners and Mikaela was my partner.

When Megan and Eli were hiding, we didn’t have a very hard time locating them. Mikaela and I just had to listen carefully and we could usually hear Eli’s little voice whispering. Or a giggle. Or both.

There was even a few times that I had spotted their hiding place right off and tried to act like I didn’t see them. I would call out, “Mikaela, I don’t think they are in here!” and Eli’s precious little voice would say, “Look in the closet!” So, you see, it wasn’t very hard to find Megan and Eli. It was funny to me because it just seemed like he wanted to be found. He just couldn’t stand it if we didn’t find him quick enough. He would help us out and give us hints while still in hiding.

When it was my turn to have Eli for my partner, I was determined to keep that little fella quiet! I even told him that we had to be very quiet and still so his mama and sister couldn’t find us.

As we were hiding in the back corner of Melissa’s closet, we were behind a row of long white bags of formal gowns. We were well hidden from sight in the dark closet. We had found a perfect hiding place. We waited for them to come find us and we were very still and very quiet.

Suddenly in the darkness this little voice whispers to me, “Nana?”. Quickly I whispered back to him, “Eli, we have to be quiet”. A silent hush filled the darkness and then…

This sweet little voice whispered, “But Nana, I love you”. As my heart melted and filled with unspeakable joy and love, I whispered back, “Oh, precious, I love you too”.

You see, Eli just wanted that reassurance in the dark that love was there. He just wanted that reassurance that he wasn’t alone. He desired some communication with me. He needed to hear my voice.

When we are ensconced in the deep darkness of our time alone with God, we too, long for that revelation of His love for us. We long to know that we aren’t alone. We long to hear His voice. We long for some sort of reminder that He is with us.

We revel in the quiet as we seek Him. We bask in the glory of His definite presence. We savor that sweet oneness that we feel as we commune with Him. We take joy in the intimacy we feel as we meet with Him in the dark recesses of our closets.

And then we long to hear. We long to know. We can’t help ourselves. Our voices whisper in the dark.

“I love you, Lord.”

And in the quiet darkness we hear Him say, “Oh my precious child. I love you, too.”

And then we have peace.

"Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
O Lord, hear my voice.." (Psalm 130:1,2a)


Monday, December 6, 2010

God So Loved the World

God So Loved the World

I don't profess to understand the level of love that sent Jesus. Nor do I understand the level of love that said, "Yes, I'll go."

But sure am thankful for that love. And I will celebrate that love, birth and salvation this season. Hope you will, too.

Photograph used by permission of Karli Bonnie Photography

Warren Baldwin

Friday, December 3, 2010

"Lead Me" - A Wife's Prayer

"A wife of noble character who can find?  She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life." 
Proverbs 31:10-12

Click for Sanctus Real:  Lead Me

"Lead Me"
Prayer for Wives
(Inspired by the song "Lead Me" by Sanctus Real)

"Heavenly Father, You have called me to honor and serve my husband in grace, humility and love, and yet I so often let worry, insecurity and fear overshadow that calling.  Unburden my heart from worry and expectations.  Teach me to relinquish control of my life and marriage to You, for only You are strong enough to carry and sustain it.

Lead me to a place of deep trust and intimacy with You, so that I would seek no emotional fulfillment elsewhere, but would bring to my relationship with my husband a rich overflow of confidence and strength, making of our home and marriage a peaceful, restful haven.  Show me how best to love my husband, supporting and respecting him, praying for and trusting the work of Your Spirit in his heart and life.

Give me the wisdom to value what is eternal, so that I might be truly content with my present circumstances, and not fretful or anxious over family decisions and finances.  Teach me to be beautiful as You define beauty.  Let me be a creative and enjoyable friend and companion for my husband, gracious and kind, gentle in disagreement and quick to forgive.

Only as You lead me will I become the woman and wife that my husband needs.  So lead me, O Lord.  Amen."

Amen indeed.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Domestic Diva

I've never been good at "domestic" stuff. Cooking, cleaning, decorating, can say I was challenged in these areas. So I decided to embrace my non-domestic ways. Me? Cook? Ha, never. I am woman, hear me roar! I became part of the feminist movement that says I don't have to do these things. Truth is, I was never trained. Growing up with a mentally ill mother left me challenged. But then something changed.

I joined a cooking co-op. If I would cook dinner just 1 night a week, for myself & three other families, then 3 nights a week I would have dinner delivered to me by another family. To someone who hated (aka can't!) cook this was a dream come true. What happened next was truly a surprise.

I had to meal plan. We set our co-op calendar 3 months at a time, so I had to pull out cookbooks and select meals. Once the calendar was set, grocery shopping was easier. And once I started putting some real effort into my cooking, the compliments (from my own families AND the other three families) started coming in! Soon I was buying fun kitchen gadgets (did I say fun and kitchen in the same sentence?)

I can honestly say now, I am a good cook. I can meal plan. I just had to learn how. I'm still not the best at decorating, but I am learning. Why is this important? Titus 2:3-5 says we older women are to teach the younger women to be "busy at home." That means cooking, cleaning, meal planning, decorating. I was never taught. But rather than carry on this omission, I am now teaching my children the JOYS of things like cooking.

Imagine my delight, when my then 4 year old came up to me with her baby doll and stroller in tow, and a backpack full of plastic food. She said, "It's my cooking co-op day." She's 6 now, and enjoys helping in the kitchen. She doesn't enjoy helping unload the dishwasher, but I am training her none-the-less, so she will never be domestically challenged.

What things are you challenged by? Instead of saying you'll never get there, why not put the effort into learning. Then you can train up those of the next generation. Now we're cooking!