Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Bible Marking ... The Power of the Tongue

I was excited to see a new Bible Marking lesson on the subject of the power of the tongue by Kathy Pollard.  I have set at the feet of Kathy many times and studied the Bible under her tutelage.  She is sound in her teaching and I highly recommend her Bible Marking studies.

I can't wait to delve into this one ... here's the link ...

Bible Marking ... The Power of the Tongue


I'll be taking a break until after the holidays, meet you back here in 2017!

She Hath Done What She Could
A Working Pantry

Thursday, December 1, 2016

What I've Been Studying This Week: 12/01/2016

I finished my study of I Corinthians this week.  I really enjoyed this study and am planning to study II Corinthians in the early part of 2017.

I spent the rest of my Bible study time this week working on November's assignments in this study titled In The Shadows by Cindy Colley.    This is such a good study on seeing Jesus all through the Old Testament in types and shadows.  There is also a Facebook group that goes along with the study that can be found HERE.

I continue to start my day off each day reading from the devotional book, Voices from the Past by Richard Rushing.

In closing out the week I want to leave you with these thoughts ...

'Until we allow ourselves to be influenced by Him we cannot influence anyone else.'

Have a great weekend, I'll meet you back here on Monday!


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Relationships, the Apron Strings of God, Part 2

by patsy norwood ~ © 2008 -2016 ~ All Rights Reserved

Yesterday we talked about relationships and about how our relationship with God affects our relationships with our fellow Christians.  Today, we’re going to continue this line of thinking and talk about how our relationship with God affects our husbands.

Ladies, do you realize that how we live before our husbands has an effect on them. It can literally cause them to turn from God or to Him. Here’s a thought. Do you realize that our husbands are constantly watching us? I don’t mean they sit around and literally follow our every move with their eyes, but they do observe us in our responses and actions to everyday life. Who are they seeing in us, God or the fallen one?

I’d like to introduce you to some ladies. I have to tell you before I do though that they are not very good examples of how a Christian wife should act. In fact, they are, shall we say, quite the opposite.

First, we have Mrs. Me Me Molly ...
Just like many of us, Me Me let her light shine and others know she was a follower of Christ. That is until she got so busy with her work and her children’s activities that her light began to dim. Praying took up too much of her time and so did reading her Bible. She even got so busy that you didn’t see her in Bible class or worship services anymore, because, well, a person has to rest some time. Then a very sad thing happened, a sinful creature called jealousy crept into her heart and built a home. The creature grew and grew until it had consumed her heart and Jesus began to slowly fade away. Me Me became obsessed with her appearance. She wanted to wear the best makeup and the latest styles of clothes. When any of her friends got new clothes she had to have a new outfit too even if the family budget couldn’t afford it. Now, Me Me wasn’t only concerned with her looks and what she wore but she was also concerned with what she drove and where she lived as well. Yes, you guessed it, she wanted a new car every two years whether they could afford it or not and her house had to be in the most affluent section of town plus be filled with furnishings that made her the envy of all her friends. As her name implies, it was all about ‘her’ with Mrs. Me Me Molly.

Then, we have Mrs. Betty Busybody ...
As her name implies Betty Busy Body was busy. If anybody wanted to know anything they knew exactly where to go. Betty Busy Body knew everything about everybody and was more than willing to share her knowledge. Gossiping was her specialty, oh, but that’s not what she called it. In her opinion she was just being friendly, and after all everyone would find out sooner or later any way. I Peter 4:15 would have been a good verse for Mrs. Betty Busybody to read and obey. It says “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evil doer, or as a busybody in other peoples’ matters.”

Next, is Mrs. Lazy Lucy …
Mrs. Lazy Lucy never quite gets around to doing the things she knows she should, there really is no reason other than she just doesn’t want to. Her home is always a mess because she really needs to sleep in every morning with her not being a morning person and all and as for the afternoons well… she just couldn’t miss the next episodes of her soap operas. Her poor husband and children just kind of fend for themselves when it comes to meals and clean clothes. Lazy Lucy just never seems to get around to those ‘domestic’ chores. What about church, well it just takes too much effort. It’s easier to just stay at home … but she’s convinced she’ll be more in the mood to go … next week.

Last, we have Mrs. I Can Do It Myself or better known as Mrs. I am Woman! ...
The old song “I am Woman by Linda Ronstad sums up Mrs. I Can Do It Myself’s attitude well. She is a women’s libber through and through. She doesn’t need anyone to do anything for her, most especially her husband. She can “bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan” as the song goes. She is a one-woman show? Mrs. I Can Do It Myself has forgotten something though. She’s forgotten about God’s plan for man and woman. She’s forgotten that each has a God assigned role and that each brings their own gifts to the marriage. The following dialogue between a husband and his wife came from an old movie, listen carefully to what is being said, it’s kind of corny, but the message is true. … “O Robert, how can you love me when you are so strong and I am so weak? Robert reply’s and this is what I want you to listen closely to, “Elizabeth, my strength needs your weakness, just as much as your weakness needs my strength.” Ladies, its okay to admit to needing our husbands, that’s the way God made us. God made men and women or in this context husbands and wives to complement each other.

It’s all about relationships!


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Relationships, the Apron Strings of God, part 1

by patsy norwood ~ © 2008 - 2016 ~ All Rights Reserved

Apron Strings … the ties that hold an apron on

Relationships … the ties that hold people together

Today we live in a ‘hurry up’ world. We want everything instant from coffee to relationships. We want immediate results with minimal effort. In case you haven’t noticed, life doesn’t work that way and neither do relationships. Meaningful relationships require effort; effort that includes loving each other, supporting each other and spending time with each other. Herein lies the key to building good relationships.

Have you ever thought about the fact that God uses relationships to further His kingdom, or more specifically, that God uses you and me through these relationships to bring others to Him? That’s a sobering thought isn’t it? In this series of articles we’re going to take a look at some of the people in our lives that are affected by OUR relationship with God. No man is an island unto himself, we affect others through the relationships we have with them and here’s another sobering thought, our relationship with God will manifest it’s self in our relationships to others.

What does our relationship with others say about our relationship with God?

Ladies did you know that God wants us to develop and maintain good relationships within the family of God. The Scriptures in Ephesians 4:3 tell us to “make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.” This simply means for us to do our part in getting along with others. A Christian does not exist in isolation. He is an integral part of a greater whole. Getting along with our brothers and sisters in Christ is crucial if we are going to please God. We said earlier that meaningful relationships require effort. This is especially true when it comes to fellow Christians.

When searching for a Biblical example for this point I came across Dorcas. We all know the story of how she was always doing good and helping the poor and that when she became sick and died the disciples sent for Peter urging him to come at once. When Peter got there, he was taken upstairs to the room where Dorcas lay. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made for them. Ladies, what was it about Dorcas that aroused such admiration? What was it about her that caused the disciples to send for Peter with the urgent message to come quickly? Could it have been the relationships she had with others? I think so. Now let’s take the life of Dorcas and bring it into our day and time, what would a modern day Dorcas look like? Let’s think about this.

Would she welcome a new-comer in the congregation and make a point of getting to know her?

Would she send notes of appreciation and encouragement to those who needed them?

Would she work hard to create a “family atmosphere” in her church?

Would she talk to and mentor young women as needed?

Would she gently remind a young mother that there are different seasons of life and that her priority is her family and home in this season of her life?

Would women request that she pray for them and feel confident that she would?

Would she strive to make everyone feel loved and accepted when they were around her?

Dorcas made a difference in the lives of those around her through her relationships with them and we can do the same. 

It’s all about relationships!

patsy  norwood

Monday, November 28, 2016

Rhoda: a mini Bible Study

I've had this mini study rolling around in my brain for a while and last week ... on Thanksgiving Day to be exact, I sat down and put pen to paper.  Below is the result, I hope you find it helpful in your spiritual walk.

Click HERE to get your FREE copy!

she hath done what she could
A Working Pantry

Friday, November 25, 2016

What I've Been Studying this Week: 11/25/2016

I'm almost finished with my study of the book of I Corinthians. It has been a good study!

I posted my three part series on prayer this week, I hope you find them helpful.  Several of my daily devotional readings this week from the book, Voices from the Past by Richard Rushing, have been in line with the things I have written about prayer.

I also wrote a mini Bible study on Rhoda, which I will be sharing next week.  Hmmm ... don't know who Rhoda is? You will after this little mini study!

It's been a good week of studying God's Word.

I'll leave you with this Scripture to ponder ...

"... seek the Lord your God and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul."  Deuteronomy 4:29

Meet you back here next week ...

She Hath Done What She Could

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Prayer ... part 3

Do We Have To Meet Certain Conditions Before God Will Hear Our Prayers?

part 3 in a series on prayer

By Patsy Norwood ~ 2007 – 2016 ~ All Rights Reserved

Prayer is a privilege reserved for God’s children. What an awesome thought ... a link to God that is just for Christians and no one else. It makes me feel special and loved, but not everyone enjoys this privilege. According to Proverbs 15:29 which says “The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous” (NASB) and I Peter 3:12, “For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and His ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (NASB) those who are not Christians do not have this privilege. John 9:31 affirms this also, “We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears us.” (NASB). God does not hear the prayers of sinners unless the sinner is praying for help to find Him.

Cornelius, in Acts chapter 10 is an example of a man who was not a Christian but prayed to God continually. Even though the Bible says he was a devout man who feared God and gave alms to the Jews he had not yet been taught God’s plan of salvation. (Toward the end of the chapter God answers Cornelius’ prayer through Peter .... he and all his household learn of God’s teachings, are baptized and become Christians.) Cornelius earnestly sought God through prayer and God heard him. One ‘condition’ to having God hear our prayers, as indicated in the above verses, is that we must be one of His children or earnestly seeking Him before He will hear us.

The other ‘condition’ I would like to address is specifically for Christians. What happens when Christians get out of relationship with God? Does He hear our prayers then, after all we are still His children, albeit erring ones? II Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people who are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from heir wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sins, and will heal their land.” (KJV) While this verse is God’s answer to Solomon’s ‘temple prayer’ in II Chronicles 6, it is applicable to the question we are trying to answer. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. His principles were applicable in Bible times and they are applicable today. God has not changed nor will He. The word ‘if’ signified a condition then and it signifies one now. “If My people who are called by My name ..........” The condition is repentance. If we know we are not right with God than we must repent and turn from our erring ways before God will hear our prayers.

What about those who are not Christians that say they are sure God has intervened in their lives when they called out to him? Many would have us think that God is only a loving and caring God and that He would not turn His back on anyone calling out to Him in their hour of distress. Ladies, God is loving and caring, but He is also just. God said what He meant and He means what He said. In Isaiah, chapter 1, verses 10-14 God is talking to the rulers of Sodom and the people of Gomorrah. He is telling them that He has had enough of their hypocrisy and wicked ways. He continues on in verse 15 saying, “When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers I will not listen.. (NIV)” We find another example in the 27th chapter of the book of Job where Job is speaking out against his accusers and is taking a stand for righteousness. Verses 8 and 9 say, “For what is the hope of the godless when he is cut off, when God requires his life? Will God hear his cry when distress comes upon him? Will he take delight in the Almighty? Will he call on God at all times? And again in chapter 35 when Elihu is reproving Job, trying to get him to admit to sinning against God thereby having brought all these hardships on himself, “There they cry out, but He does not answer because of the pride of evil men. Surely God will not listen to an empty cry, nor will the Almighty regard it (verses 12-13). Psalm 66:18, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear” confirms that God does not hear the prayer of a sinner or an erring child as does Proverbs 28:9, “He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” Isaiah 59: 1-2 puts it in these words, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short that it cannot save; nor is His ear so dull that it cannot hear, But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. There is no doubt that God is a loving and caring God, the Bible is full of example after example. What we don’t like to admit or think about though, is that he is also a just God. Here again the Bible is full of example after example. I repeat, God says what He means and He means what He says and it is in our best interest that we remind ourselves of this from time to time.

Let’s go back to the non-Christian and talk a little more about his/her certainty that God hears or has heard his/her prayers. Many non-Christians can relate stories of “near misses” in their lives or situations in which they were certain God was with them. They are convinced that in their hour of need, when they called out to God, He heard their prayers. According to Scripture this is simply not true. So how do we account for those situations in which it appears that God DOES intervene on behalf of the non-Christian? I believe the answer lies in the following verses: “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.” (James 5:16-18, KJV) In my humble opinion this is the key, God did intervene, not because the non-Christian called out to Him, but because somewhere Christian/Christians (maybe a mother, father, grandparents, friends, etc.) had been or were praying for the non-Christian. “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous person ....”

Yes, there are conditions to having our prayers heard by God, for the Christian as well as the non-Christian, we must be in a right relationship with God, or earnestly seeking Him, nothing more and nothing less.


She Hath Done What She Could

Monday, November 21, 2016

Prayer ... part 2

Does It Really Do Any Good To Pray!

part 2 in a series on prayer

By Patsy Norwood ~ © 2001-2016 ~ All Rights Reserved.

This is the heartfelt question that one who is 'prayer weary' often asks. In moments of weakness and feelings of hopelessness/despair; when we have prayed and prayed over a situation in which nothing seems to be happening, it is easy to become discouraged and ask the question, does it really do any good to pray? Hold on dear sisters, God knew there would be times like this for His children and as any good Father does, He has some words of wisdom for us. These words are found in the book of Job and I call them God’s ‘reminder course.’

Before we turn to the book of Job and look at God's reminder course though we need to do something else, we need recognize that if we are feeling this way Satan has just scored a small victory in our lives. Satan is the father of hopelessness/despair and this is where he will keep us if he can. I don't know about you, but if Satan wants me in despair with a feeling of hopelessness then that is reason enough for me not to want to be there. These feelings, left unchecked, can turn into sin, which is what Satan wants. The sin is not in having these feelings, everyone deals with these emotions at some point in their lives, but the sin comes in how we deal with them, which brings up another point, how do we deal with these feelings?

In dealing with any situation, emotions included, there has to be a starting place, and, in my opinion, the starting place is to have a heart to heart talk with God. If we are angry we need to tell Him, we need to pour out our hopeless feelings and despair to Him. There’s no need to hold back, He already knows what we are feeling anyway (Isn’t it great to know that we can go to God with everything ... including our feelings?). There have been times when I have had to humbly say to God, “this is the way I feel; I don’t want to feel this way, but I do, please help me.” This is a good place for me to stop and interject something, when we ask God for help let us be careful that we do not dictate to Him the way in which we will allow His help to come to us. Going for a walk, talking to a friend, in some cases seeking medical help, or just plain activity may be what we need. The point is, God is all powerful and there is no limit to the sources from which His help can come. Now, back to having a heart to heart talk with our Father, for me admitting my ‘inability’ to God is the first step in acknowledging my dependence upon Him and then and only then am I in a position to be helped by Him. As I said, for me this is the starting place.

Okay ladies, it’s time to take a look at God’s ‘reminder course’ that I mentioned earlier. In the book of Job, Job in the midst of his many afflictions and full of despair talks to God (Job’s despair is evident throughout the book.). God, after hearing what Job has to say, has something to say to Job (chapters 38-42). This is what I call God’s ‘reminder course.’ He reminds him that He is, was, and will always be. He reminds him that He is the creator of all that is and that he (Job) need not question His plans (at some point in all of our lives we need these reminders). After God has put Job through His reminder course and Job has repented, God has one more reminder for him. God reminds Job (by His actions) that the faithful will be rewarded (Job 42:10 - 17) ... the faithful will be rewarded, what a hope lifting thought!

Does it really do any good to pray? Yes, it does! God’s answers may not be the ones we want and they may not come when we want them, but it is evident by God’s talk with Job that we are not to question His plans. Our job is to remain faithful regardless of how or when our prayers are answered and to remember that God sees the whole picture, while we only see in part.

She Hath Done What She Could

Prayer ... Part 1

What Is Prayer?

By Patsy Norwood ~ © 2001-2016 ~ All Rights Reserved.

According to Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, prayer is a humble and sincere request made to God. This is a good definition and one that is fairly simple to understand, but there is more to prayer than a simple definition. In this article we are going to dig deeper and take a closer look at “what prayer is” and hopefully come away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for this privilege.

Prayer is talking to God. This means we can converse with Him, pour out our hearts to Him and confide in Him. It means that we can literally share everything that is of concern to us with Him. God wants us to do this, in fact He tells us to do it over and over again in His word. I Timothy 2:1 is one such reference, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men.” II Thessalonians 5:17 is another, “Pray without ceasing.” Regardless of who we are or what we have or haven’t done, we can talk to God ... we have been given His permission.

As I said earlier, prayer is a privilege. That’s right ... a privilege! Where else but to God can we go with our heartfelt pleas, when our worlds or the worlds of those we love are falling apart? Where else can we go with the assurance that we are loved and that the events of our lives matter? Where else can we go and know that regardless of the answer to our prayers, “that all things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose"  (Romans 8:28). 
  Prayer is our acknowledgment of utter dependence on God. “Utter dependence on God” means that we have reached the point where we realize that we can do absolutely nothing about a given situation ... but that we have a Savior Who can. What a comforting thought ... “we have a Savior Who can.”

Prayer is an opportunity to obey God’s command to pray for others ... and to be blessed ourselves. When we are asked to pray for others do we realize that we have been given the opportunity to not only intercede in prayer on behalf of that person, but to be blessed ourselves? God wants us to pray. Luke 18:1b says, “....... at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart.” It is a well documented fact in the Bible that our obedience to His commands/principles result in blessings. Who would have ever thought that by praying for others we would be heaping blessings upon ourselves? Only God would have come up with something like that!

I’ve saved the best part of ‘what prayer is’ for last. Our prayers usually come from a sense of need, either in our lives or in the lives of others. Hebrews 11:6 says, “... he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” As this verse says we must have faith, we must believe, and as we want our children to do when they bring their requests to us, we must rest in the knowledge that our Father will do what is best for us. In my humble opinion, this is the best part of prayer ... resting in the knowledge that our Father will do what is best for us and for those for whom we are praying.

She Hath Done What She Could

Friday, November 18, 2016

My Week In Review ...11/18/2016

I've got a little different kind of post for today.  As you've noticed I've been silent this week.

I've still been doing my daily Bible studying and reading ...

I've still been reading from this devotional book,  Voices from the Past, everyday ...

I've not been posting though because we've been extra busy being the hands and feet of Jesus by filling an urgent need that was brought to our attention.

Being a Christian is about studying and reading God's word and it's also about 'doing' as well.

I hope you all have had a blessed week, I should be able to get back to my normal blogging schedule next week.

she hath done what she could
A Working Pantry

Thursday, November 10, 2016

What I've Been Studying This Week ... 11/10/2016

I've been doodling and listening this week ...

I'm still in the book of I Corinthians and am doodling each chapter as I go through. 

I'm including a couple of the pages I did this week ... be warned though I'm not an artist ... I'm not even a good doodler, but I am really enjoying this type of Bible study right now.  

I also listened to this podcast this week which is a part of this study that I'm also doing.

I'm going to close out this week with the following ...

Allow God to mold your life through the intake of His Word!

Have a great weekend everyone!  I'll meet you back here on Monday!

she hath done what she could

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Wish For You ...

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Whoever You Are ...

Have you ever felt just plain weary? 

Have you heard from well meaning people that in essence you just need to ‘suck it up’ or ‘put on your big girl panties?’ 

I have and while there are times when those words of advice are applicable there are also times when one needs something more.

About a week and a half ago I was at that place of needing something more.  I was feeling so weary that I cried out to God in a heartfelt silent prayer that I needed some encouragement.

Fast forward to yesterday.  We were very busy; we were on the go most of the day with several big things that had to be done. We picked up our mail at the post office and while riding down the road I began to look through it.  Little did I know that the answer to the silent plea that I had given God days earlier was about to be answered.

There was a letter in the mail addressed to me. I don’t know who it was from, there was no return address nor was the letter signed … but it was full of the sweetest encouragement.  Big tears began to roll down my face as I read each word and my husband observing my behavior asked what was wrong.  I told him nothing was wrong and proceeded to read the letter to him.  He was in awe!

I would love to know who to personally thank but am respecting their wish to remain anonymous. I know they read my blogs, they were most complimentary … whoever you are, THANK YOU!   

You allowed God to use you to meet a need in my life … even though you didn’t know about the need … THANK YOU!

You made a difference in my day and in my husband’s day … THANK YOU!         

You made me realize all over again the awesomeness of God … THANK YOU!  Who besides God could have planted the seed in someone’s mind several states away that prompted the letter of encouragement I received!

Whoever you are … THANK YOU!

And now it’s time to pass it on to others.  I will be praying for God to bring to my mind someone who needs encouraging and then I will come up with an appropriate way to encourage them.  I want to encourage each of you to find someone to encourage as well.  Few of us know what burdens many silently carry and while we may not be able to physically lighten their loads we can use the tool of encouragement to brighten their day.  

I know because I have been the recipient of such encouragement!

Again, Whoever you are … THANK YOU!


Sunday, November 6, 2016

My Heart Is So Full!

(Here’s a little trip down memory lane of a foreign mission trip my family and I took, I hope you enjoy it and that it inspires you.)

by Patsy Norwood © 2001 - 2016 All Rights Reserved

(written in 2001)

This is the entry I made in my prayer journal two days before our trip.

“You’ll never get me on a plane over an ocean”. These are the words I said to my husband some twenty years ago. I was and still am terrified of the idea of flying and of deep water. It is now twenty years later and in two days time I will board a plane and fly over an ocean to go to Panama. I have never been on a plane. I am about to face one of my greatest fears. The phrase “For this I have Jesus” keeps going through my mind followed by “For this I need Jesus!"

Why am I getting on a plane and flying over an ocean if I am afraid? No one is forcing me, I am going of my own free will. I am going for Jesus, because he said “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). My job on this trip is to teach the children. For this I have Jesus!  For this I need Jesus!

Fast forward to 12 days later.

As I sit here and search for words to describe our trip I find that mere words are inadequate. They do not begin to convey what is in my heart, the emotions that I have experienced, the love that I feel for our team members and for the people of Cerro Vaca (Cow Hill). I hope in some small way you can get a glimpse of what I was blessed to experience by reading this article.

Let’s start with the numbers. Eleven people made the decision to become Christians and were baptized. One was restored. There were 155 Bible studies conducted not including the worship services we had every night. Several men from our team went out faithfully every day in search of homes to visit and for people who were willing to do a Bible study. A lot of effort went into this area of our work and it paid off. The doctor saw 1,385 patients, 5,685 prescriptions were written, filled and given out. The dentist saw 66 patients with 120 extractions. Benevolence had 606 people to come through their station. They gave out tooth brushes, tooth paste, soap, toys for the children, and every piece of clothing that we brought. Several of our team even gave some of their own clothes and shoes for these people. We had a crew who did nothing but scrub heads for lice all day long. They scrubbed 370 heads. Hats off to you! As far as I’m concerned you had one of the worst jobs.

The cooks did a fabulous job of feeding us. Imagine cooking for 60+ people with no electricity or running water. On top of these conditions all of the water they used had to be purified. They did it and the food was quite good!

Then there were those people who brought us cold soft drinks at just the right moments. With temperatures nearing and often times exceeding 100 degrees each day these guys quickly became our “favorite” people to see and received much thanks from us. I can’t forget the construction team. They worked in the heat faithfully each day in order to make a church building reality for these people. They had one of the hottest jobs. Thanks to their efforts we were able to have our devotion in the building on the morning we left. Thanks guys!

Our maintenance crew kept things running smoothly. Have you ever tried to “keep things running smoothly” for 60+ people who just happen to be in a very out of the way place? These guys did it! They even cleaned the outhouses for us and rigged up a makeshift shower. A round of applause is definitely in order for them.

We even had a crew who demonstrated how to brush your teeth, when to wash your hands, and just good personal hygiene. I did hear that they received several odd looks though.

The people who worked in the “pharmacy” had to have dreamed of little pills and of children spitting out their worm medicine. I never saw so much medication in one small room. The look on the children’s faces after they swallowed their worm medicine was comical … until they spit it back out. I wonder how many times our workers were sprayed with “rejected” worm medicine?

Last of all, but certainly not the least, were our nurses. Anyone who saw the doctor, dentist, had their heads scrubbed, went through our benevolence line, or any way received any other help, had to first see our nurses. I never saw so many people getting their blood pressure taken and their heads checked for lice. Nurses, you did a great job!

Next, I want to tell you about the people who stood in line all day in order to be seen by our medical team, and about the ones who spent the night in order to be seen. These people all walked. They all came, husbands, wives, children, and grandparents and stood in long lines waiting for their turn. One lady came on Tuesday. She realized that because of the long lines she would not be seen that day. She left home at 4 a.m. the next morning walking in order to arrive at 7 a.m. She stood in line and waited all day. It was late in the afternoon when she finally saw the dentist. She very politely asked if there was any way they could pull two teeth. Our dentist graciously accommodated her. This is just an example of how desperate these people are. Think about the hottest day you have ever endured and add to that the fact that there is very little shade and you are on the top of a very high mountain. These were the conditions that the people endured, yet they did not complain. There is no doctor in Cerro Vaca. The nearest one is 1 ½ to 2 hours down the mountain. A doctor visit cost $2.00, very few have it. They have no transportation except an occasional horse and no money. They live in grass huts, open tin houses, and open stick houses all with dirt floors. They cook over open fires outside their homes. They have no electricity or running water. School tuition is another area of need. Each student has to pay $2.00 a year in tuition to go to school. This amount is very difficult for the parents to pay. One night a young boy asked my husband for $2.00. When we asked him what he wanted it for he told us it was needed to pay his school tuition. After confirming his story, arrangements were made with the proper people for his tuition to be paid. I don’t think that I shall ever look at $2.00 the same again.

I had one of the best jobs there. I was given the privilege of teaching the children. We had an average of 200 - 300 children each day. At the scheduled times we would take our teaching materials and head for the designated spot. The children would immediately flock to us. They came running from every direction. It is a scene that I will never forget. We sang songs (in Spanish), did skits, and handed out coloring pages and crayons. We blew bubbles for them and the joy and excitement on their faces as they tried to catch the bubbles was something you would have to see to believe. I shall always remember the intenseness in which they listened to the stories from the Bible, and their laughter as they watched our skits. (Have you ever seen teenagers wallowing around on the ground playing the part of pigs and the fatted calf for the story of the prodigal son, how about sheep for the story of the lost sheep?) Our teenagers and young adults really gave their all in these skits and I am so proud of them. I shall never forget the children’s young voices as they sang AlabarĂ© which translated means “I will praise Him”. Their smiles and hugs are implanted in my mind forever. There are no words to describe the mark these children left on my heart.

As I mentioned above, we sang the children’s songs in Spanish. This was no small feat since the only word I knew in Spanish was “agua”. We are thankful to those who took the time to get us the words to the songs in Spanish before we left. It was a big help to us once we were there. Imagine trying to carry on a conversation with someone who doesn’t understand what you are saying and you don’t understand what they are saying. Many times we were reduced to laughter as we tried to figure out what each was trying to say. We thank God for our translators who always came to our rescue.

What can I say about our team except that they were absolutely great! You really get to know someone when you are hot, sweaty, dirty, and yes, even smelly. All pretenses are gone and the real person is shown. We developed a comradeship that cannot be put in to words. When my husband had to be taken to the emergency room our team members rallied around us. When my feet were swollen to twice their normal size and it hurt to walk, I was politely told to get off of them and was provided a place to do just that. I have fond memories of standing in a circle each morning at the close of our devotional time, holding hands and singing Bind Us Together Lord, and God’s Family. It put tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. Then there was the late night when several of the team members were standing around gazing at the clear sky feeling so close to the stars that it was a temptation not to try and reach out and touch them that one of the team members broke out singing How Great Thou Art. It was such a moving moment and one by one all who were standing around soon joined in for what was one of the most beautiful times of singing unto the Lord that has ever been. Any time there was a need of any sort there was always a team member that could figure out a way to meet that need. We shared hand sanitizers, wet wipes, sun blocks and anything else we had that was needed by someone else. We had true “team spirit” and I am so thankful to have been a part of it.

Our trip had its humorous moments also. Our fearless leader went through camp each morning at 6 a.m. singing a wake up song for us. He is lucky he didn’t have a few things thrown at him. I did hear of an attempt though by some of our younger team members to serenade him with his own song late one night. There was the lady who refused to leave because she wanted to watch us. In fact, she wasn’t the only one who watched us. Everywhere you turned there were little eyes peering at you, through doors, windows, and around corners. A group of young ladies from our team took a trip “down the mountain” on foot in order to go and watch someone be baptized. Their trip gave new meaning to the word “rugged”. The trip down the mountain to the pavement on the last day was quite an experience. There were nine of us in the back of a four wheel drive truck. The bed of the truck was one of those short ones, approximately 4′ by 5′. We were packed in like sardines, yet we laughed all the way down the mountain.

A scene that will forever stay in my mind is one of the children running down the mountain behind the truck we were in as we were leaving. We watched them as they became smaller and smaller the further we got from them. There were also people at different places along the side of the road on our way down the mountain. All were there to wave us on our way.

I do not want to end this article without giving thanks to all who made this trip possible. My life has forever been changed because of it. What I feared would be a terrifying experience turned out to be one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I pray that the seeds we planted will continue to grow and that God has been glorified in all that we did.

she hath done what she could

Thursday, October 27, 2016

What I'm Studying this Week ... 10/27/2016

I started a study of I Corinthians week before last and have continued it into this week.  Oh my, is it ever good!   I finished chapter 5 this morning and already Paul has tackled some tough issues that were going on in the Church there at Corinth.  

I’m also reading out of a daily devotional book titled Voices from the Past by Richard Rushing.   The daily devotionals in this book will bring you face to face with yourself.   

I hope you’ve carved out some time in your busy schedules to spend time in God’s Word this week.  Knowing for yourself what God’s word says, not what someone tells you it says, is so important in our walks with God.

Have a blessed weekend everyone and I’ll meet you back here Monday ready to start another week.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

" ... and Peter" ... Mark 16:7

by Patsy Norwood ~ © 2004 - 2016

We have all read many times the story of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection. We have read how He was deserted; how in His last hours here on earth even Peter, one of His beloved disciples, denied knowing Him. Oh, the emotional anguish that our Saviour must have suffered on the night of His betrayal! 
But what about Peter, the impetuous disciple that denied Him not once, not twice, but three times? Jesus warned him that he would do this in Mark 14: 27-31 and Peter vehemently denied that he would do such a thing. How do you think Peter felt after he realized he had done the very thing he said he would not do? Mark 14:72 says he wept. Peter surely felt remorse and sorrow for what he had done otherwise he would not have wept. Peter was also probably feeling pretty hopeless realizing that he had really messed up. Oh, for the opportunity to undo what he had done!

I'm sure all of us at one time or another has shared Peter's feelings of sorrow, remorse, and hopelessness over something that we've done. Oh, for the opportunity to undo damage our actions caused! If only ... but wait, there is good news! Mark 16:7 says "But go, tell His disciples – and Peter – that He is going before you into Galilee: there you will see Him, as He said to you". 

" .... and Peter", wait a minute, Peter was the one who denied Him ... 3 times ... at a time when Jesus needed someone to stand by Him. Do you mean that He wanted to include Peter, that He still counted him as one of His own ... after what he had done? 

According to Mark 16:7 that is exactly what He meant. Jesus specifically said "... go tell His disciples – and Peter –." Do you think it was because He knew that Peter was truly sorry for what he had done? Do you think that Jesus wanted Peter to know that he was forgiven? Do you think He feels the same way when we acknowledge our sins, are repentant, and ask forgiveness?

" ... and Peter" assures us that He does!

I wrote this writing back in 2004 and have used it as a reminder to myself several times since.  If you are caring a heavy load of regret over something you've done and wondering whether or not God will forgive you, don't listen to Satan who wants us to believe that we are unforgivable, instead go to God's Word and claim His sweet promises.  God forgave Peter and He'll forgive us too! ~ patsy

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Widow of Zarephath ... Lesson 10

I Kings 17: 8 -24; Luke 4: 25-26

By Patsy Norwood
© 2004 - 2016  All Rights Reserved!

Previous lessons can be found HERE.

 We're going to wrap up our study on The Widow of Zarephath with this post ...  I hope this study has been beneficial to you.

O. K. it’s application time …

The widow needed to rely upon God on more than one occasion and with each reliance her faith grew stronger and stronger.  As we all know, relying upon God is not easy, which brings us to this question …

Why is it so hard for us to rely upon God and His promises?  Could it be that we don't want to relinquish control?

Now that we’ve talked about why it’s so hard to rely upon God and His promises, there remains only one question to answer … what can we do, how can we equip ourselves to battle those ‘whys?’

Here are a few suggestions ... 

(1)  get closer to God, spend more time in His word and in prayer

(2)  reach out to fellow Christians and ask for their prayers

(3)  immerse one's self in the works of the Lord, it helps to take one's mind off of the 'why's'

(4) find verses in God's Word that are applicable and memorize them, then repeat them to one's self as often as needed

Holding on to God and His promises in the face of adversity is one of the hardest things we'll ever do, but the good news is that God does not require us to hold on alone.  Just as He sent Elijah to the widow, He also sends help to us through fellow Christians and through His Word.  God is a loving Father and does not abandon His children to face trials and tribulations alone.  What a comforting thought!


Monday, October 24, 2016

The Widow of Zarephath ... Lesson # 9

I Kings 17: 8 -24; Luke 4: 25-26

By Patsy Norwood
© 2004 - 2016  All Rights Reserved!

Previous lessons can be found HERE.

In this lesson, the widow experiences every mother’s nightmare …

Fast forward to a time referred to as “after these things” in I Kings 17:17 and we find the widow grieving over her sick son.  The Scriptures say that “the sickness was so serious that there was no breath left in him.”  In other words he was dead.  What is the widow’s reaction?

The widow had just come through a period of time where God had sustained her and her son completely.    She had to have been feeling better about things and her faith must have been strengthened, when BAM, her son dies.   In her relationship with God, where is she now?  Where does God want her to be?

As this tragedy unfolds, the widow takes a look inward.  What, in essence, is she saying in verse 18 when she says, “What have I to do with you, O man of God?  You have come to me to bring my iniquity to remembrance and to put my son to death.”
Apparently, the widow is thinking that the death of her son is the consequence of some sin she has committed in the past. (This type of thinking was common among the people of this time.)  

What did Elijah do with the widow’s dead son?  (I Kings 17:19-21)

What was the end result?  (I Kings 17: 22-23)

This widow has now witnessed two miracles which directly affected her and her son.  What are these miracles?
If, up to this point, the widow has had any doubt about Elijah and his source of power she doesn’t anymore.  What proclamation does she make and why?  (I Kings 17:24)

In the next lesson, we will wrap this study up with some practical application suggestions.  I hope you are taking your Bible and searching out the answers to these questions.  It is only when we personally spend time in God’s Word that we gain the wisdom that He wants us to have.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Widow of Zarephath ... Lesson 8

I Kings 17: 8 -24; Luke 4: 25-26

By Patsy Norwood
© 2004 - 2016  All Rights Reserved!

Previous lessons can be found HERE.

In this lesson, the widow steps out in faith …

Simply put, the widow trusted Elijah but the intriguing question is why?  Other than knowing that trusting Elijah was what God wanted her to do, what might have been some other factors that went into her making the choice that she did?  (Don't forget about hospitality when answering this question.  Hospitality was so ingrained into the Jewish people that they dared not turn away a stranger in the event that he was an angel.)

How can the statement “Faith is a step, not a statement” be applied to the widow?
How difficult do you think it was for the widow to step out in faith?
Reading I Kings 17:16 makes the widow’s faith sound so easy, but, as we all know, having faith is one of the hardest things we’ll ever do.  Do you think the widow experienced any anxiety over whether or not there really would continue to be enough flour and oil as, day after day, she prepared meals for herself, her son, and Elijah?  

God’s plan not only took care of Elijah but this destitute widow and her son as well.  When things happen in our lives that don’t make sense and that we don’t understand, could it be that we, like the widow, need to step out in faith and just rely on God … regardless of our feelings.  (The widow probably didn’t want to, nor feel like sharing what she thought was her last meal, but she did.)  Feelings are an important part of our make-up, but when our feelings contradict what God’s word tells us, what should we do?