Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

I have been on social media this evening reading a lot of posts from people that are reflecting on the past year. I have gone back and forth about writing a “year in review” post myself. At first I really didn’t have any desire to do so, but then I thought about God’s goodness this past year and all of the amazing things that we have been through and thought I might share a little.

This past year has truly been an amazing journey! God has stretched me and my family in ways that I never thought were imaginable.

One of the areas where we have been stretched is our ministry with teens. Especially some of the down, out and forgotten teen boys that live in our small town. This ministry evolved into a ministry with boys in two different group homes when some of the teens were put into foster care. God has given us a love for these boys so much so that we are preparing to become foster parents to three teen brothers that need a family to love and nurture them for a while. Please pray with us in this awesome new journey that God has us travelling on.

Another area where we have been stretched is not a new area but it does constantly evolve and change. That is our ministry to low income folks in our area. God has brought us through and continuing to bring us through dealing with some really crazy situations. God has lead us to be bold in our ministry to these people and we often have to give a little tough love. I am not a tough love type person but He has led me to be very feisty at times.

In order to enlarge our family, we have to find a larger place to live. Thankfully, due to some inheritance money that we got from Sarah’s mom and some retirement from a previous job that I am cashing in, we are able to buy a new home. The journey has been super interesting and has certainly had a lot of ups and downs. Once again God has been faithful, though, and He led us to an awesome place for our family. Barring any problems we should be moving in the next month.

I can’t forget all of the great friendships Sarah and I have forged this past year. Some folks we have known for a long time, some we have just gotten to be friends with. But God has done some miraculous and amazing things this year through our friendships here at home, in Canada and elsewhere with folks I have never even met in person (this is a shout out to my crew family Open-mouthed smile). We thank God for our faithful and praying friends.

Last, but definitely not least, has been my spiritual journey this year. I have grown so much through my lifetime, but this past year has been a season of real growth. Perhaps someday I will write a separate post about everything that God has shown me, but it would be too much to post it all right now.

Well I guess I did what I thought I wouldn’t do. Write an “end of the year how God has blessed us” post. Tomorrow is another day and another adventure. Thank you for all of your prayers, for your friendship, and for continuing to read my posts. Until tomorrow . . .

Happy-New-Year-2017-celebration-wallpaper

Friday, December 30, 2016

God’s Still Small Voice


Lucas
Lucas (left) and Skiler (right)

Sarah chose to listen to it – God’s still small voice.

It was last week while Christmas shopping.

We have had the great pleasure of shopping for many folks this year who would otherwise not have had a very fun Christmas. Several of them were boys from the group home that two of our future foster sons, David and Skiler, are presently in.
One of the boys there, Lucas, hardly ever gets to see his family. He is really a good kid and, although Sarah has never met him, I have told her a lot about him. While shopping, Sarah passed some shelves of fleece blankets. One of them caught her eye and God immediately stopped her and told her that she was to buy that particular one for Lucas. As I mentioned before, she had never even met Lucas let alone knew what he liked and disliked but she felt strongly that she was to do that.

It was a blanket with a picture of a dog on it.

Although Sarah had the task of shopping for the boys at the home, I had the fun job of delivering the gifts to them on Christmas day. When I got to the gift for Lucas I told him the story of how God had told Sarah to buy that blanket just for him. He looked at me with a quizzical look but gladly took the bag and walked a few feet away.

I watched him as he was opening up his gifts. When he got to the blanket he opened it up and unraveled it to get a good look at what was on it. He got the strangest expression on his face and began to shake his head. He looked as if he was about to cry.

He walked over and told me that he used to have a dog exactly like that when he was younger. With a big smile on his face he wrapped it closely around himself and commented on how warm it was. It seemed as if all of the cares of life were falling away and he was remembering better days of time gone by.

Sometimes it’s the little things in life that make all of the difference to someone. Sometimes you just need to listen to God’s still small voice that is urging you to do something. Maybe it’s just to give a smile and a hello to someone that is passing by. Maybe it’s going over and having a chat with an elderly person who looks lonely. Maybe it’s to pay for someone’s meal who is behind you in the drive-thru. You never know what it might be or to whom it might be. Just remember to listen to God’s voice and obey. If you do, it will never fail to be a blessing to others.

And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. I Kings 19:12

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Sickness is Among Us!

sickduck

I know. I know. It’s kind of lame.

I really shouldn’t use a post like this to fill in a day just because I have given myself a “post a day for a year” challenge. But, the truth is that sometimes it is just plain hard to do a post a day – especially when there is a sickness among us!

I personally am not sick, but my youngest is and it has taken a toll out of both me and Sarah this evening so my brain is fried.

I really need to do one of those schedules where I have a theme a day so I know what to write. Or, I could do like some bloggers and spend one evening a week at a coffee shop or some other quite place and write all of their blogposts for a week in one night and schedule them to be posted throughout the week.

But . . . I’m just me. I don’t do either of those things. I just blog! So, I am stuck writing about not knowing what to write about because I am exhausted!

Thanks for reading my little rant.

Until tomorrow.

Tim

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Get Ready for a Week of New Year’s Goals for 2017!


New Year's Goals

Resolution – A firm decision to do or not to do something

Goal – The object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result

I don’t know which one I like better. A few years ago I remember reading something that stuck with me and seemed to speak to me back then about the difference between a New Year’s resolution and a New Year’s goal. For the life of me I can’t remember why that person liked goals instead of resolutions but they did and I began calling my New Year’s desires goals. So that’s what I am going to call them once again.

I’ve decided that I’m going to do a five part series on what my personal goals are for the year. I would love if you would join in. Hey, I might even do a link-up type thing. I haven’t done one of those in quite a few years.
A
t any rate, I will probably begin next Monday and go for the whole week using the following themes.
I realize that several of these things overlap – all of life does. I’m not sure where I’ll put the overlapping things but I’m sure that it will come as I am writing, praying and thinking.
So, get ready for next week. If you want to know more Tim secrets tune in for my five part series. If you want to join in then please do. Start thinking about what God wants to do with your life this next year and join in. It’ll be fun!

I have never been one to pick a word for the year or anything like that, but God has laid this verse on my heart at least for right now. Maybe it has something to do with my New Year’s Goals.

Romans 12:1,2

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

It’s Back! It’s Back! Florida Bible College is Back!

Florida Bible College 3

I was very blessed to have been able to go to one of the best Bible colleges in the world. I don’t have time to tell you all of the story, but God does work in miraculous ways. Instead of me having to go to Florida Bible College, God moved Florida Bible College (FBC) to me! In the early 80s FBC found itself needing to move its campus from the location that they had been in for many years. They ended up buying a hotel, office complex, and a five model homes that were located less than two miles from my home. In the fall of 1982 I found myself enrolled and the rest is history. In 1986 I graduated with a degree in Bible and in Education with a minor in Christian Education.

Florida Bible College changed my life in so many ways it is unbelievable. I can honestly say that if it weren’t for all of the miraculous things that God has done through FBC I wouldn’t be where I am today.

In the late 1990’s FBC had to close it’s doors but through it’s graduates its ministry has never ended. Recently FBC reorganized and reopened its doors. I have been following all of the details closely and am so excited by what I am seeing.

Florida Bible College 2

If you are looking for a great College to earn a Certificate, Associates Degree or Bachelors Degree in Biblical Studies or degree in one of their seven majors then I would encourage you to look into Florida Bible College. If you want to get your feet wet they are offering three online classes beginning next month. If you are interested in attending or would like more information on what the college is like you could go to their upcoming college for a day.

For more information on the college itself, the online classes, or the college for a day click here to go to their webpage!

Ephesians 2:8-10 New International Version (NIV)

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Monday, December 26, 2016

It’s Time To Let it All Out!

 

Rock 2016

Dear faithful financial and prayer supporters,

I know that I have been quite vague about some things on Facebook the past few months and I have promised to fill you about what was going on when the time came. A few people that need to know already are aware, but many are not. I feel that since it is the end of the year and many of you are making your financial giving decisions for the next year that this is the time to reveal the exciting things that are happening!

First off let me tell you that we are not leaving BCM International nor our ministry here in Livingston, TN. Our ministry, as you are about to read, is going strong and we feel strongly that God is going to continue to bless our efforts in this next year.

Teen Bible Study   summer 9

The bus that was generously given to us has had its ups and downs, but is working once again. We had a wonderful summer doing 5-day Bible Clubs on the bus where we saw three children trust the Lord. We also began using it for adult Bible studies where two were saved. Late in the summer the bus once again broke down but is fixed again. We continued doing the one established adult Bible study in a home, but we were unable to start the planned Bible clubs. Now that the bus is fixed we hope to begin the Bible clubs after the Christmas break and also use it for other adult Bible studies.

We have continued to serve the low income folks with much visitation and help with needs. I (Tim) have a vibrant ministry of taking folks several times a month to local food banks. I also visit, encourage and pray with many adults in the low income areas where we minister. The adult Bible study held in a home in a trailer park has been very successful and the folks are growing in number and spiritually.

The one ministry that has been overwhelmingly successful this year has been my ministry to teen boys. It began about a year and a half ago with three boys attending a Bible study but has grown to many more that are being ministered to. I say “ministered” to because this past spring and summer four of the boys have been picked up by DCS and put into foster care for various reasons. I have been able to visit them all since they were taken. Three of them were put into boy’s group homes because they needed more help and guidance than a regular foster home could provide. One of them has been able to go home but the other two, brothers, are still in the group home. The fourth boy is a third brother and was in a regular foster home but was moved to a group home because of some problems he was having. So, all three brothers are in two different group homes. I have been able to visit them almost every week since they were taken and have been able to continue to minister to them as well as other boys in the home. If you read my blog regularly – www.familiesagain.blogspot.com – you know that I periodically will write blog posts about my ministry with these boys and will be writing another post in the next couple of days about our ministry at one of the homes this past Christmas. Be on the lookout because it is a story of how God laid a special burden on Sarah for one of the boys she has never met.

This brings me to one of the exciting announcements. God began speaking to me last summer about possibly taking the three brothers that are presently in foster care into our home. I didn’t really say much to Sarah about it because I thought that there was really no way we could do it. However, God had other plans. Unknown to me, God was also speaking to Sarah’s heart about the same thing. A couple of months ago Sarah came to me and said that she felt that God wanted us to take “the boys”. When I told her that God had been speaking to me as well, we knew that it was of the Lord.

House

However, there was no way that we could do this in our present small apartment. We knew that we were getting an inheritance from Sarah’s mom and I had a retirement fund from my teaching days that I could cash in, so we began looking for a house. After a few months of looking and many ups and downs and twists and turns, we finally, last week, signed a contract for a house and barring any slight mishap, we should close by the end of January. Pray for this new, much larger home. We are excited that there will be plenty of room for our present family and future foster children and we are excited about the ministry potential.

DCS knows that we would like to be foster parents to the three brothers as well and the process for that has begun. Trust me, it was not a decision that we have taken lightly. Even after it was revealed that God was speaking to both of our hearts, we prayed continuously for God’s guidance and still are praying. We have had numerous discussions with John Allen, Joshua and Jacob about it, and have sought counsel with other Christian friends and mentors. Through all of that, God has made it clearer than ever that this is what we should do. I wish I could tell you every sign that God has given us, but it would take much more space than I think I could give in this letter. Needless to say, our boy’s are excited and so are we. So, soon after we move into the house our family will prayerfully increase by two as David (16) and Skiler (15) will be added. Robert (14) will be able to come after he has completed his time in the boys home where he is currently living. Call us crazy for taking in three more teen boys, but we are certain that God is in this and are looking forward to how He is going to bless. The three brothers have a lot of baggage that they are dealing with so prayer will be greatly appreciated for them and for us. Pray also for us because their family is one of the families that we minister to quite regularly. Their grandmother is the one who hosts the weekly Bible study in her home. Their family is aware of what is going on and is supportive, but I know there are going to be some bumpy times. I can’t go into all of the details why they will be coming to us and not going home but please be in prayer.

20161023_14545720161225_14360020161225_154311

                       David                  Skiler                   Robert

So, there you have all of our little secrets. We have finally spilled the beans and, personally, I am glad we have because I know that all of you will be praying and we value that very much. Please continue to pray for our finances. Sarah is working at the hospital to supplement our income and we will be getting some assistance as foster parents, but we are still under supported as missionaries and having three extra hungry teens to feed will definitely increase our food bill. Thankfully, the inheritance and cashed in retirement will allow us to put a large down payment on the house and to also pay off most, if not all of our bills, so we will be debt free other than the mortgage.

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and financial support. They are much appreciated. We could not do all that we do without you.

The Tinkels

Tim Tinkel – 904 Lee Drive – Livingston, TN 38570

Mission Address – BCM International - 201 Granite Run Drive, Suite 260 - Lancaster, PA, 17601  USA

To donate to our ministry or to our support please send a check or money order to our Mission Address and say that it is for the Tinkels - missionary number 642

Saturday, December 24, 2016

What is Going On With the Tinkels This Christmas Eve?


Christmas Tree3
So, why am I up at 2am on Christmas morning finishing wrapping gifts and just now setting up our tree? And why is the tree so small this year with just a few store bought ornaments on it? And what is really going on with the Tinkels?
You’ll find out soon! Maybe even tomorrow!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Forget Mary Did you know! Do You Know?

 

Mirror 2

I had a “Mary Did You Know” moment the other day. You’ve heard of “Mary Did You Know” haven’t you? It’s the famous Christmas song written by Mark Lowery, the Christian singer. The song wonders if Mary, the mother of Jesus, actually knew who the baby was that she was held. Did she realize that He was the Lamb of God? The Great I Am? The Savior? The complete song is posted below for you to listen to.

Well, I had one of those moments a few days ago when I was doing my devotions. It was talking about the sons of Jacob. As it listed the different sons I couldn’t help to think if they had any inkling in their heads about their lineage.

Did Levi have any idea that his descendants were going to be the Priests of the Old Testament? You know, the priests that were to sacrifice the peoples offerings to God; take care of the temple; enter into God’s presence once a year when the go into the Holy of Holies. They were chosen by God for this awesome task. They were special. They were the servants of the Almighty!

Did Judah have any idea that from his line of children Jesus Christ was to be born? The One who was to die for all of our sins? The Savior of the world?

Of course, because of the Bible, we have the gift of hindsight. We know what happened. And, of course, Levi and Judah had no idea what was going to happen to their children’s children and their children’s children’s children and their . . . well, you know what I mean.

You know something, though? That is exactly the point. They didn’t know. And neither do we. We have no idea what is going to happen on down the line in our families. We have no idea what our grandchildren are going to become, or our great children or on down.

All God has called us to do is to be faithful. Faithful to do what He has called us to do. Faithful to how He wants us to raise our families. Faithful to how He wants us to treat others. Faithful to the ministries that He has given us. He just wants us to be faithful. If we are faithful then He will do the rest.

I often get discouraged in the ministry that God has given. I wonder if I am making any difference in the lives of others. I wonder if I am making any difference in my family. I need to be reminded that all I have to do is be faithful. I need to be faithful to what God has called ME to do.

Why? Because I don’t know.

I don’t know what is going to happen to my kids. I don’t know what they are going to do. I don’t know what they are going to become. I don’t know any of those things about my grandkids either. Nor my great grandkids.

I don’t know any of those things about my spiritual kids either – the kids and adults that I have ministered to and/or am ministering to.

I don’t know what any of them are going to be. Perhaps, because Sarah and I were faithful, a great missionary is going to come from our line. Or maybe a great pastor or evangelist. Or maybe a Christian businessman. Or may be a great Christian leader.

We just don’t know. All we know is that God has called us to be faithful. Just like He called Mary and Joseph to be faithful even though they had no idea what that little baby was going to become. They were to just. be. faithful.

So, my friend. We need to just. be. faithful. too.

JUST BE FAITHFUL!

1 Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Message to My Faithful Readers!

 

 

House

 

 

Shhhhhhh . . . Don’t tell anyone else, but we just bought a house! It’s a secret to most people but I wanted to let you all know first. More details to come!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Another Child is Gone!

 

Marcelo

No, it’s not one of my biological children. Nor is it one of the kids from my Bible clubs or teen boy’s Bible study. It’s one of my Compassion kids. Really it’s not just one of my Compassion kids, it’s MY Compassion kid. His name is Marcelo and he is the first Compassion child that we got. We’ve had him for well over seven years now. He was a pre-teen when we began to sponsor him. Now he is a young man. He graduated from the Compassion program recently and we have been assigned another Compassion child from Bolivia, the same country that Marcelo was from. It is bittersweet. We loved Marcelo. We wrote to him regularly although, in recent years, not regularly enough. He has grown to by a Godly young man and, in the last letter we got from him, he told me he is now working with children and youth in his church. I now have the task of writing our last letter to him. – our “Goodbye Letter”. I am not looking forward to it. We have grown to love Marcelo like he is one of our own. We are permitted to give him our contact information but it isn’t encouraged. Sometimes contact information can be stolen and used for wrong purposes in third world countries. I am going to send it to him anyway. I would love to keep in contact with him. My one regret is that I never got to go and meet him. I had planned to for a long time but we never had the money. Maybe someday. Until that “Someday” - either on earth or in heaven – Goodbye Marcelo. We love you!

Marcelobeforeandafter

 

Marcelosidebysidefaces

 

The pictures above that say “original” were the first pictures that we received of Marcelo. The picture at the top was one of the last ones we received.

Have you ever thought about sponsoring child with Compassion International? Check out the video below. If you are really interested click on the highlighted link above. You won’t regret it. It is an awesome experience!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I Love Ya Tomorrow!

 

Families Again 4

Well, I just got in from a super busy day and there is no way I’m going to get a regular post written tonight so, I will just write this short post asking for a few prayer requests. I am going to put it to you straight because I’m not going to push this post on social media so I know that only my faithful readers will see this.

1. We are buying a house. The one that we really wanted was not huge, but it had a lot of land and a lot of potential for ministry. We found out today that they are asking a lot more than it was worth so we withdrew our offer. We are now looking at another house that is huge, but not a lot of land, so not as much potential for ministry. Just pray that we do what God wants us to do.

2. Please do not advertise this but we are meeting on Thursday with DCS about foster care. God is leading us to foster three brothers that we have known for a long time and we love very much. They are in two separate boy’s homes right now but will need a place soon which is why we would like to get a house soon.

3. We are able to do all of this because I cashed in some retirement and Sarah is getting some money as inheritance from her mom who passed away last year. We would also like to pay off almost all of our bills and be debt free. Please pray that we are wise with our money.

Thanks ahead of time.

Until tomorrow,

Tim

Monday, December 19, 2016

Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy!

 

Summertime

Yesterday I wrote about my dislike for winter. Today I decided to look ahead to my favorite season, summer. A lot of bloggers post a “Photo Friday” post with pictures. My regular readers know that I never do things on the days that I should. You can find my Scripture Sunday posts on any day of the week. So, I thought I would go ahead and put up a Photo Friday post today, on Monday! So, have fun looking at some pictures of the things I love to do in Summer and then enjoy the special treat I put at the end.

summer 9summer 10summer 11summer 12

Summer Kid’s Bible Clubs

 

summer 13

Adult Bible Studies

 

summer 5

Mill Stream Bible Club Camp

 

summer 4summer 8

Family Time

 

summer 1summer 2summer 3summer 7

Seeing Exciting Places

 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Are You Going Through A Spiritual Winter Season?

 

Winter Season

I hate winter. Well, maybe “hate” is too strong of a word. After all, God did make the seasons and he made them for a reason. So, maybe I should say that I really dislike winter. I don’t know why I dislike it so much. Maybe it’s because of my growing up years. Winters were long and cold in Pennsylvania and we lived in an old drafty farmhouse. I loved the summer. Everything exciting happened in the summer - vacation, warmth, camping, swimming, no school – nothing much exciting happened in the winter. After Christmas in New Years all we had to look forward to was a long, cold, period of super short days. I loved Florida where it was always sunny, and I can tolerate Tennessee winters because they are fairly short. In general, though, I just hate winters.

Winter for me is just kind of a down season. It’s like a season in life that isn’t fun, but you know it won’t last forever and it will end soon. You just have to “keep on keeping on” until better days.

Unfortunately seasons like that aren’t restricted to the calendar nor to life. We can have “spiritual” winter seasons as well. I spent some time today with a boy who is going through a Spiritual Winter Season. Often these seasons aren’t caused by things in our control, but how we respond to them is in our control. This was the case for my 14 year old friend. He was put in a foster home because of things that were out of his control, but now he has found himself in a boys home because of some actions that were in his control.

Before he was put in foster care he was spiritually vibrant. He attended my Thursday night Teen Boy’s Bible study faithfully to the point of having his grandmother call me on the phone every Thursday after school to make sure that I was picking him up.  This past summer he was faithful in helping me with my five-day clubs for kids on our Bible Club Bus. He was my right hand man when it came to setting up the bus with electricity and turning on the fans at each stop that we made. He trusted the Lord about a year ago and was learning and growing and allowing himself to be used by God. Then, he was put in foster care.

I was told that he was attending church regularly in the foster home where he was placed. I prayed faithfully that he would continue to grow in Christ in the environment that he was in. Unfortunately his foster home was two hours away and visitation was limited to just a few hours once or twice a month so I didn’t have too much contact with him. A visit here and there or a phone call occasionally was all the contact I had.

Then, I began hearing of problems he was having  - poor grades, anger issues, destructive behavior. I continued to encourage him when I could, but those times were few and far between. Finally, however, the problems became severe enough that the social workers thought that he needed a different type of help so he was moved to the boy’s home. I guess if their is any consolation it would be that the new place is just an hour away and they have open visitation every Sunday afternoon for a couple of hours. So, I can at least see him regularly.

Winter Season 2

Today was my first time visiting him in the new place. His grandmother came with me. He was vibrant and active. He seemed to like the place even though he had been their only a few days. He was animated when talking with us about how he was doing his chores and had already accumulated 400 points that could be used for a variety of things.

Then, I began talking to him abut the Lord. That’s when he told me he hadn’t been going to church. He then told me that church was an option at the boy’s home and he wasn’t sure he was going to go. I pressed on. I had said that he lost his Bible so I told him that I had picked up a few Christmas gifts for him and that even though I was going to see him again before Christmas, I could give a couple of them to him now. I told him that I had gotten him a new Bible and a devotional book and asked if he wanted me to go out to the car and get them. His answer surprised me. He told me that I didn’t have to. He had better things to do like watch T.V. and hang out with the other boys that were there. Before we left, I prayed with him. I prayed that he would be able to see that God loved him very much and wanted to see him grow.

I had some time to process our visit on the way home. I’m not sure all that is going on but am glad that I can see him a little more regularly and can encourage him in the faith. I pray that this is just one of those Spiritual Winter Seasons that he is going through right now. I pray that God will begin to thaw him out of the spiritual freeze that he is in. I know that he is saved and that God will continue to work in him. I am praying that the thawing will be quick and not too painful.

As I was thinking about everything that happened God reminded me of a song by an old Christian group called Crumbacher. I don’t know how well known Crubacher ever got to be, but I know that I liked them. Their music was unusual and sometimes quirky, but it spoke to me. One of their songs is called Rainy Season. Even though the name of the season is different, it talks about many of the same feelings that I believe my young friend is feeling right now in his Spiritual Winter Season. I found the lyrics and song on YouTube and wanted to share it. After listening could you please remember to pray for my friend. God knows his name. Thanks for praying.

Overcast in my eyes, with the tears about to flow as they rise,
And I question all I know,
So the feelings come and the feelings go, in my storm.

It's just a rainy season sweeping across my sky, (it's just a rainy season)
And I don't need a reason to cry. (I don't need a reason to cry)

Hurricane out at sea,
Should the tempest dare to blow down on me, as I tread the undertow,
So the waters ebb and the waters flow, in my storm.

It's just a rainy season sweeping across my sky, (it's just a rainy season)
And I don't need a reason to cry, (I don't need a reason to cry)
It's just a rainy season sweeping across my sky, (it's just a rainy season)
And I don't need a reason to cry. (I don't need a reason to cry)

Circumstances, like a changing of the wind, may whisper bitter secrets in my ear...but second chances will call my name again; it all depends on if I choose to hear.

It's just a rainy season sweeping across my sky, (it's just a rainy season)
And I don't need a reason to cry, (I don't need a reason to cry)
It's just a rainy season, oh, (it's just a rainy season)
Don't need a reason to cry, (don't need a reason to cry)
It's just a rainy season.
(It's just a rainy season)
(I don't need a reason to cry)

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Story of The Rock!


Rock Collage
For the past four years we have been very blessed to be able to help out at a camp in Ontario, Canada for a week. I teach Bible and speak at the campfire one or two nights, Sarah works in the kitchen and helps me with Bible, Jacob attends camp with the help of John Allen, and Joshua helps the support staff when needed. We love the camp, Mill Stream Bible Camp and Conference Center, we love the staff, and we love the kids that attend. We also love Canada in general. The camp has graciously allowed us to stay on for a few days after our week of camp to allow us to do some tourist stuff.

One great place that we found the first year we were there was the Riverview Park and Zoo in Peterborough, Ontario. It is a fantastic little zoo with a huge playground and a splash pad and it is all completely free. We fell in love with it and have gone back every year since.

One part of the playground is the climbing rocks. They aren’t huge, but they are fun. The first year there I took a picture of the three boys in front of and on top of one of the rocks and we have continued to recreate the picture every year. We try to take the picture on the same rock every year, but, as you can see if you look closely, in 2014 we messed up and took it on the smaller rock. It really doesn’t matter, I think it is neat that we basically have the same picture every year.

I wanted to create a picture collage of all four years and share it on the blog. Prayerfully we will have another picture to have again next year.

Until Then,

Tim

Friday, December 16, 2016

I Was Mad! Really Mad!

 

I was angry! I’ve been kind of angry all day. Not at anyone in particular but at nonsense. Really it’s the nonsense of people on social media. They complain about such non-important things. For the past few months I have been dealing with some really tough situations in my ministry. I have seen some things that no one should have to see. I have had to intervene in maters that should never be. I have witnessed crying children, teens and adults who are at the end of their rope and don’t know what else to do. Thankfully, God has intervened and guided in ways that I never thought possible.

I deal with these things and then I get frustrated at the things that people focus on in life. The things that they focus on are little, unimportant things when it comes to real scheme of things in life. They want to focus on things that are out of their control but not focus on things that are in their control.

That’s what was happening today. I read posts about politics, religion and other things in life when their are people hurting out there that they can and should be helping! I had a whole blog post written in my head when God said “STOP! I don’t want you to write about that! I want you to resurrect one of your old posts and repost it!” So, that’s what I am doing. I don’t know why he wants me to post this but I am. Maybe someone needs to read it today. Maybe it is God telling ME to quite focusing on things that don’t really matter on focus on what really counts. Whatever the reason here it is. I pray that it is for someone!

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

I went for a walk the other day through a neighborhood that I wasn't familiar with. You would think that after all of these years I would know every part of my small town, but there was one section that I always avoided. That day, however, something compelled me to walk that way. I didn't know what it was at the time. Only that there was a reason why I had to go. So I did.

It was the kind of street that your mother always warns you about. An area where you really shouldn't walk alone. However, as I walked, I felt peace. As if it was where I should be at that moment. It was an inner peace. It had to be, because there was nothing on the outside that would convey peace at all. The houses were shabby and rundown. The lawns unkempt. It didn't get any better as I walked. The houses, if that's what you could call them, became mere shacks, and the shacks became mere boxes, hardly even livable. Junk filled the yards. Graffiti filled the walls. Still, I felt comfort. There was a voice within that said I should be there.

I walked on until there were no structures at all. Only junk. And then I saw it. The mound - no, the hill - no, the mountain of garbage. Stinking, filthy, trash everywhere. But there was something different about this trash. Something I couldn't quite put my finger on at first until it finally dawned on me what it was. It was the trash itself. This wasn't ordinary refuse that you would see on a regular garbage heap. This was different. There were no soup cans or soda bottles or cereal boxes. Instead I saw a can of discouragement, a bottle of depression, and a box of rejection. To my right there was a package of worry and a bag of fear. On my left there were scraps of disobedience.

As far as my eye could see there were large pieces and small pieces but each had the same type of label. Some labels were disgusting to my eyes - murder, pornography, abuse. Others weren't as repulsive - gossip, lies, hurtful words. All, however, were pieces of garbage. Worthless piles of waste.

I stood wondering what it all meant. Why was I there? Why was I so driven within that I had to walk that way and see that horrible site? I didn't belong there. I wasn't any of those things.

Then, something caught my eye. Was something moving? What was it? There was no wind - not even a breeze. It wasn't something moved by the air. At first I thought it was my imagination, but then I saw it again. Something, indeed, was moving slowly through the pile of trash. My curiosity got the best of me and I walked closer to see what it was. It was a person. In fact, as I came nearer to him, I recognized who it was immediately. It was Jesus!

Jesus was on the top of that garbage heap! Why was he there? Why would Jesus be in the middle of a dump? And what was he doing? At first I couldn't tell but then, finally, I saw. He reached down to pick up a piece of trash. I saw clearly what it was, it was a jar of guilt. Then, the most amazing thing happened. As he grabbed that filthy jar it became a hand. And as he picked it up, it ceased to become a piece of trash, but became a young women. And then, as she stood, she was no longer filthy, but  beautiful. Not with an outward beauty, however. It was an inward beauty. A beauty that I had never seen before. A radiant beauty that could only be given by Jesus himself. Next, he reached down for a box that said anger. Soon, there was a young father standing before Jesus, just as radiant and shining as the young women.

I watched in awe as one by one Jesus reached for garbage but instead pulled up beautiful human beings. A bottle of rejection became a young boy. A package of addiction became a teenage girl. An elderly woman came from chunks of fear and a middle aged man came from pieces of uselessness. All were as shining and beautiful as the young women and young father were.

Then they began to run. I watched until they disappeared but there was no more wonder in my mind. I knew what had happened. I knew why they ran. They were free. Free from the bondage of sin to which they had been shackled. Free from being trash in a garbage heap.

I watched with joy. I cheered them on. It was a glorious site. Until my happiness turned to tears. You see, I was still standing there. I was not running with them. Then I realized why I was there. I belonged there. I belonged in that pile of trash. As I looked at myself I was no longer me. I was a piece of filth. I could see myself and I didn't have just one label, I had many. Dishonesty, unfaithfulness, and worry were there. Guilt, selfishness and rejection were included. My list went on and on. Indeed I was nothing but garbage. Filthy, stinking garbage. There was no hope for me. I would never run. I would never be free. I felt so small. So all alone. So unworthy.

Then, it happened. He walked my way. He saw me. He saw me with all of my sins. With all of my labels. With all of my baggage. And...he looked beyond it all and he touched me. He grabbed my hand. He pulled me up. And he looked at me. He took my face and he looked at me. There was that force. The force that I had been feeling this whole time. The force that drew me to this place. It was Jesus. Jesus had called me here. Jesus had called me to himself, and, then, Jesus had picked me up and set me free. I now had the joy. I now had the hope. I now had the radiance that I had seen and so longed for in the others. I began to run. I began to run like they had. Because, now I was free. The Son had set me free, and I was free indeed.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Are You Photobombing Christmas?

 

Photobomb!2

Have you ever been photobombed? This picture was taken last year around Christmas time. Joshua was playing with one of his new gifts, a tablet, so I decided to take a picture. Little did I know that our dog, Jojo, had climbed on to the arm of the couch in the background and decided to photobomb the moment.

Sometimes photobombs can be fun, but sometimes they can be irritating – especially if you are trying to take a picture of something important. You don’t want someone or something to steal the moment from the special person. That isn’t fair to the person who has worked hard on an accomplishment or is celebrating a special day.

Have you ever thought that we do the same thing all of the time though. We may not purposefully get into someone’s picture, but we can ruin the special time for someone by thinking only of ourselves.

Take Christmas for example. We photobomb it all of the time. You may be thinking that there is no way I can be talking about you. After all, you don’t ask for much at Christmas. You’re the one that is buying for everyone else in your family and even for some other people as well. You help out at the church plays and parties. You ring the bell for the local charities at the grocery store. You volunteer at the holiday meals. You are very giving at Christmas and not thinking about yourself! How could that be you?

Well, remember what I said - photobombing can sometimes be frustrating because someone takes away a special moment from someone else who deserved it.

Are we getting so wrapped up into the gifts (pun intented), giving, and volunteering at Christmas that we are forgetting who the special person is who deserves to be feted?

The person who we should be celebrating at Christmas is Jesus. He is the special person that is deserving of the attention but is so often “photobombed” by people thinking they are doing good things and having fun, when they are really ruining His special time.

Don’t get me wrong. Volunteering and helping others at Christmas is not a bad thing. However, if you are just doing those things and forgetting to celebrate Christ’s birth then you are forgetting who should really be the center of attention.

So, this year, have fun, volunteer, help others and do all of the other things that one does, Just don’t photobomb Christmas! Do all of those things in Jesus’ name. Think about how you can honor Him and not yourself while you are doing them.  In everything you do remember that He is the reason for the season.

Nativity 2

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Is Keeping a Clean House and Organization at the Top of Your New Year’s Goal List? Check out this Post from a Few Years Ago.–Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday Everyday Chore System
 
It has been a super long day today, so I thought that, instead of writing a brand new post, I would do one of my Throwback Thursday posts. However, as I was searching through some old blog writings to pick out something to bring back I came upon this old but very timely review. In fact, I had even kind of forgotten about this product, but after finding it I thought what a great season to bring this back. I’m probably going to even rebuy this since my old copy was either a download that was lost many, many computers ago (that’s why I should back up everything) or it is in storage which I am thinking about calling the black whole because I will never find it again. Anyway, with all of us thinking about New Year’s goals and things like that, teaching our kids and ourselves about how to keep a clean and organized house is often at the top of our list. So, here it is. If I recall, this really worked for our family and I am hoping it will work again!
 
 
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I know...I know...Clint Eastwood has been in the news lately. However, when I was thinking about a theme for this review, I happened to think about what I thought was just a phrase - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. I guess maybe in the far reaches of my mind I knew that it was a movie, but that had been forgotten years ago. I was, remember, only five years old when it came out! And, since I didn't even remember that it was a movie, I didn't know that Clint Eastwood was involved in it.

All of that, however, doesn't matter because this blog post isn't about a movie and isn't about Clint Eastwood, it's about a great book called The Everyday Family Chore System - part of The Everyday Homemaking series. When I was thinking over The Everyday Family Chore System this phrase "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly came to mind. Only, it came to mind in a turned around way - The Ugly, The Bad and The Good - so that's how I'm going to write this review. Under each heading, I'm going to have a bullet point list on why I thought this saying was perfect for this post. You'll notice that "The Good" has many more bullet points than the rest because it talks about this really neat book. So, here goes:

The Ugly -
  • Me before I've had my first cup of coffee in the morning, but we really don't want to go there.
  • The way our house looks with two autistic children and a teen-age boy living in it. Not to mention two parents who absolutely hate to clean. But, don't we all?
  • Me or Sarah when we get frustrated with our children because of the way the house looks.

The Bad -
  • Autism and the way it effects two of our sons. You see, both of them, but especially our middle child Joshua, have a hard time processing information and following directions. It's a common thing with many autism spectrum kids. They tend to be very literal thinkers. They are also creatures of habit. They don't take change well. They are very smart, but they have a very difficult time thinking through things and thinking logically. You would think that a simple task like going and brushing their teeth would be easy, but it can actually be very difficult. They can't remember the steps to accomplish the task and they can't think logically and figure them out. To top it all off, Joshua gets frustrated easily and becomes very angry with himself which then tends to lead to him lashing out at those around him. Needless to say, if it's a chore to just brush his teeth, then how in the world can I teach him how to properly clean his room or perform other everyday tasks that are critical tasks so that he can someday live independently? Enter The Everyday Family Chore System which brings me to "The Good".

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The Good -
  • The Everyday Family Chore System!
  • The Everyday Family Chore System is turning out to be a Godsend to our family. So, why do I say "turning out to be"? Well, remember, our two kids that are on the autism spectrum don't like change. Even the oldest one, John Allen, who is not on the autism spectrum, doesn't like change if it requires more work. This system is going to require change. It even has made me look at things in my life that I need to change. We have been able to slowly implement one part of this plan, but haven't even touched another part. I'll explain in a minute what the two parts are, but, I'm going to tell you now that I want you to read some of the other reviews for The Everyday Family Chore System, because some of them have been able to implement a lot more than we have been able to. I'm not going to give you the link to the other reviews yet, though, for selfish, reasons. I want you to read my review first! 
  • This book, written by a homeschooling mom who also had foster children is divided in to three sections. Part One: Laying the Foundation, Part Two: Implementing the Plan, and Part Three: The Actual Chore System. Let me briefly tell you about all three and then I'll tell you how it's worked with our family.
  • Part One: Laying a Foundation. I really enjoy the author, Vicky Bently's, heart. The very first thing that she writes is The purpose for implementing a family chore system are (1) to train your children to be responsible members of a family and to diligently serve one another, and (2) to disciple or apprentice them in living skills. I very rarely quote from books or websites when writing my reviews, because they are supposed to be my reviews and not just a bunch of copies and pastes. I felt that this quote was important, though, because it really struck me as something that I wanted for my children. With our two asperger's syndrome kids, it's going to be a challenge for them to assimilate into society. Well, what is a family? It's a little society, and the family is a first step into a bigger society. If I can train them to be responsible members of the family, then it is going to be much easier to train them to be responsible members of the world. The author then lists four basic principles for doing this: (1) Have realistic and age-appropriate expectations. (2) Establish rules or standards. (3) Have a working knowledge of family discipline. (4) Tie strings to their hearts. And she goes on to explain each principle before venturing into part 2.
  • Part Two: Implementing the Plan. OH MY! What a packed section! I am not going to be able to nearly get into everything that this section has to offer but let me give you the basics and a few other little tidbits. Before I do, though, let me tell you that this section is excellent and gives many ideas for putting the principles listed above into action. The first fantastic tidbit is the "Life Skills Checklist" where the author has a very comprehensive list of what life skills should be taught at different ages and when they should be mastered. For example, a three year old child could start being taught how to wipe up a spill but may not master it until the age of nine. Although comprehensive, this list is also flexible because no child is the same. There is then a section on how to decide what around your home needs to be done on a daily basis and what needs to be done on a weekly or even monthly basis. She then goes on to tell you how to make really cool charts and systems to help you accomplish those things. Don't worry, it all sounds complicated but it really isn't. It is step by step and easy to follow. We haven't moved to the chart making stage yet because we are still teaching our kids to follow the third section which, I think, is the neatest section which is...
  • Part Three: The Actual Chore System. I think this is really neat because it contains step by step cards for about any chore that you can think of. From dusting to vacuuming to loading and unloading a dishwasher to setting the table to cleaning cupboards to...well, I could go on and on. Anyway, this is just what we needed. All I have to do is hand my kids a card and they just need to follow it step by step to be able to complete the task! For my aspies, who tend to get overwhelmed, I might just have them complete the first two steps and then we will take a breather before going back to complete the rest, but, I'm getting into the next part:
  • How is it going with my family: Well, it has taken some getting used to - both on my part and on the part of my children - but it is beginning to work. We are still introducing how to use the cards at this point (remember I said that it is slow going with us) but we will, hopefully, soon begin to implement the whole plan soon and I will try to blog about it when we do. I can really see this working with my children. Again, I am so excited because this is the perfect plan for our family. And, if The Everyday Family Chore System can work with our family, I know it can work with yours!
 
I definitely recommend this book! And, what's even more encouraging is the price! You can purchase a spiral bound glossy cover version for $19.99 by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. That link also tells you about a way where you can purchase The Everyday Family Chore System in an immediate download fashion for just $17.99. You'll also find all of the other titles in The Everyday Homemaking series there so click through and check it out.

Other members of the TOS Review Crew reviewed this product and other titles in The Everyday Homemaking series and, finally, here is the link. Happy Homeschooling and...err...Happy Cleaning!

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Review Crew I was sent a free ebook version of "The Everyday Family Chore System" in order to use and give my honest review on this blog.





Tuesday, December 13, 2016

I Am Not My Own, I Belong To You!

 

Looking out a window 2

1 Corinthians 6:19-20New International Version (NIV)

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

 

If you are my friend on Facebook, then I don’t think that it is any surprise to you that music means a lot to me. I grew up around music. I can (or at least could) play several different instruments. I was a music major for a while in college before I changed to education. I just love music.

Music is a big part of my spiritual life as well. Music has helped my spiritual walk a lot throughout the ages. I almost everyday listen to Christian music on YouTube that helped me grow spiritually.

Today, during one of my devotional times, God out a certain song into my mind. It’s a song that I first heard way back in the 80’s. Two different artists sang it and both did an excellent job. It goes like this:

I am not my own, I belong to You
I am not my own, I belong to You

So hard to cope, so hard to survive
In a cold and empty world
But there's one hope that keeps me alive
A hope that's clear and true
That hope is You

I am not my own, I belong to You
I am not my own, I belong to You
To You, my faithful Savior
You have called me, You have claimed me
I belong to You

I can't explain how belonging to You
Can make me truly free
But I'll remain in the joy that I knew
When I first came to see
Your love for me

There still are questions running in my mind
There still are answers I can't find
While those anxieties may come and go
There's still one truth that I can know

I am not my own, I belong to You
I am not my own, I belong to You
To You, my faithful Savior
You have called me, You have claimed me
I belong to You

I am not my own
I belong to You
I am not my own
I belong to You

I don’t know why God brought that verse to mind. Maybe it’s because today was a tough day ministry wise. Sometimes I think that I get too emotionally involved in the situations that we face as missionaries to low income folks. I have to remember that God has this all in His hand. He has it under control. He has the kids that I work with in His hand as well. He knows what He is doing. He is my loving Father and He is their loving Father.

Anyway, this song really spoke to me once again today, as it first did years ago. Maybe God will use it to speak to one of you, my readers, as well. Below are two versions of this song that I found on YouTube. One is by the composer, James Ward, the other by a very popular Christian singer Kathy Troccoli. Both versions are excellent. Enjoy.

Monday, December 12, 2016

5 Days of Great Gift Ideas From the Crew–Day 5 - Magnificent Miscellaneous Gift Ideas For Family and Friends

5 Days 6

Over the years, we have reviewed a lot of interesting and unique things both on and off of the Homeschool Review Crew. Many of the unique things, as you will see below, are items that are used up and you have to buy them anew. We have reviewed soaps, foods, and other consumable objects that we have loved so much that we have bought over and over again. Two of the great gift ideas that I am writing about today are items that eventually will be depleted but I know you will want to order more. The third item isn’t an item that will be used up, but you will want to order more and more of them as gifts anyway. You’ll see what I mean. Let’s get started!

greemu

GREEMU – We have reviewed and loved many of items from Korunaturals, the company that distributes GREEMY, and we have loved every one of them. Have you ever wondered about the great things that are said about emu oil, but the thought of using an oil from an emu kind of deterred you from looking into it? Well, GREEMU has the same effects as emu oil, but is completely and naturally plant based. We absolutely loved it! Check it our by clicking on the link to my review or by clicking on the name above and going to their website.

KwikStix

Kwik Stix 12 pk – I remember when I was younger I loved working with tempera paints. However, when I became a parent, the thought of the mess scared me away from using them. Kwik Stix is simply tempera paint in a tube with a roller as the tip so that the tempera paint just rolls write on to posterboard, paper or whatever you want to draw on. It is no fuss and no mess and dries in 90 seconds! To find out more just click on the link to my review.

CrossTimber

CrossTimber – I absolutely cannot say enough about this company. From the selection of products, to the costumer service, to the product itself – all is excellent! The main focus of CrossTimber is producing quality items with your name and meaning on them such as posters, cups and more. They meticulously look up each name to make sure of the correct meaning and always try to pick a Christian meaning. They also have names of God posters, mugs and more as well as other gift ideas. Let me repeat again, the completed product is beautiful. Please check them out! Click here for the link to my review.

Well, there you have it folks! My 5 Days of Great Gift Ideas From the Crew. I hope you enjoyed the series. Everything that I mentioned in all five days we absolutely loved. As I mentioned in my introductory post I wouldn’t recommend them if I didn’t think they were great. Again, if you want to go to my main 5 Days of Great Gift Ideas From the Crew page where you will find links to all of the 5 Days, just click on the banner below. Merry Christmas!

5 Days of Gift Ideas Banner