"THEN SAID THE LORD TO HIM, PUT OFF THY SHOES FROM THY FEET:
for the place where thou standest is holy ground."
Acts 7:33 KJV

Friday, December 31, 2010

"Walking in the Dust of the Master"

2011 is lurking in the shadows just waiting for the clock to strike midnight and the New Year make it's grand advent.  As the anticipation builds - my mind races forward and tries to peer into the days ahead...
What if...
How will I...
What will I do...
Will that happen...
Oft times I must confess that I'm thankful we can't see into the future.  The "unknowns" and "what ifs" are hard enough to contemplate, much less actually knowing what lies at the forefront of the coming year.

Gleaning from the truism of the Apostle Paul when he wrote:   
"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,"  (Philippians 3:13).
My comings and goings, accomplishments and failures, of 2010 have been logged in the archives of days gone by and cannot be rewritten nor altered in any way.  This moment and the hope of tomorrow is what must seize my focus.

Several weeks ago I heard a preacher refer to a comment about "Walking in the Dust of the Master" and was quite intrigued by this pronouncement.  Can you imagine walking so close to the Master that as the dust is flipped from His sandals it would land on the hem of your garment - or that He would turn to tell you something and you were close enough for it to be said in a whisper.  I have pondered this for several days and have decided that I desire this to be my resolve for 2011.  I've learned from experience when following Him afar off... I cease to hear His voice... I lose sight of the direction He is leading me... The fellowship with Him becomes distant or non-existent.  The bottom of my garment may be clean at those times but I can feel the hot breath of the "deceiver" on the back of my neck.

My desire is to follow the Lord more closely and be so near, if our footsteps get out of rhythm I know I will stumble - but He will be near to catch me before I fall or let me lean on Him when I'm weak and can't seem to take another step.  When the "What if's", the "How will I's",  the "What will I do's", and the "Will that happen's" occur - I don't have to worry because He is right there.  He's as close as a whisper, less than an arms length away, the closeness proven by the dust on the front of my attire.  He will not fail me - He'll take the unknowns and use them for His glory.
   

Wishing each of you blessings in the New Year and "dirt on the front of your garments."



"May you be covered by the dust of your Master!"

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"PONDERING THE PARADOXES OF CHRISTMAS"

"Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation , and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."  
(Philippians 2:6-8)

Yesterday, as I sat for a long time just thinking about the events of the last few day... Christmas Eve / Christmas Day / The beautiful snow falling / Going to look at Christmas Lights / Time with family and friends / Missing our daughter and her family who are serving the Lord as Missionaries in Thailand / and The Reason for the Season... I couldn't help but ponder the fact of all the Paradoxes found in the Christmas Story.  


(Luke 1:26-38 and Luke 2:1-35)  

Paradox meaning: statements that seem to contradict each other but when examined together reveal a greater truth.  

Below are just a few that I'd like to share:
  • An all powerful God - came in the form of a helpless Child.
  • With the magnificence of a King - but was found in the humility of a stable.
  • Represented the limitlessness of God - but was confined to the womb of a woman.
  • There was no room for Him - in a World that He had created.
  • He left His Heavenly Throne - for an earthly manger.
  • He traded robes of splendor - for swaddling clothes.
  • He was not born to live - but born to die.
  • His death - brings us life.  
While even thinking upon these things I was convicted by the Holy Spirit of "paradoxes" in my own life.  
  • I who am most forgiven - harbors unforgiveness in my heart toward others.
  • I who am a child of the King and whose Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills - grumbles of things that I don't have.
  • I who am fearfully and wonderfully made - complains about the way I look and things that I don't like about myself.
  • I whose steps are ordered by the Lord - moans about the path that I am on.
The "paradox" that has changed my life the most:
  • He who was without sin - died on the cross... So that I, chiefest of sinners - could receive eternal life. 
We can learn so much from the Paradoxes of Christmas:
We should not judge things by appearance, because God hid His greatest gift in a humble package.  We should not judge an end by its beginning, because the babe in the manger will one day return in full glory.  AMEN

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Statler Brothers: Whose Birthday is Christmas.wmv

YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS A "CHRIST CHILD"

On September 21, 1897, Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's "The Sun" Newspaper.  The response of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.  Virginia's letter read:

"DEAR EDITOR:  I am 8 years old.  Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.  Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'  Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

I often wonder as a Christian parent and grandparent... in years past trying to teach my children, and now in the present my grandchildren, that Christmas is "Jesus' Birthday"... if they become confused as Virginia was years ago.  It seems that "Joy to the World - The Lord is Come" has been drowned out by "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."  

Children are taken each year to see Santa to share with him their list of wishes... yet we know that it is our Heavenly Father that is the giver of every good gift.  (Acts 17:25b  "seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and ALL things;")  We lead our children to believe that Santa is "all powerful" because he can deliver all the toys around the world in just one night --- that he "knows all" because he knows if you have been good or bad all year --- and that he "sees all" because he sees you when you are asleep or awake, and can be everywhere at one time delivering toys in a matter of hours.  We must teach them that it is the "Christ Child" who is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent.  Santa brings them joy one night out of the year... Jesus can bring them joy for a lifetime.

In all the rush and excitement of the special days ahead... let us remember that God gave the greatest gift the world has ever known, the gift of His only Son.  

Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.  No Christ Child!  Thank God!  He lives, and He lives forever.  A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, He will continue to make glad the heart of man.
YES VIRGINIA.... THERE IS A CHRIST CHILD AND CHRISTMAS IS HIS BIRTHDAY!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

WHITER THAN SNOW

Come now , and let us reason together , saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.  (Isaiah 1:18)


Snow Falling:  reminds me of purity.... cleansing.... and beauty.
Growing up in West Virginia, I am a girl accustomed to snow falling (lots of it) and collecting on the trees - adorning them ready for the Christmas Card Companies to take their portrait and distribute it around the world.  Living in the South now for many years "snow" is such a WELCOMED sight!

It is snowing in North Carolina... something that it rarely does at anytime and most assuredly not at this time of the year.  So often in the month of December we are just beginning to pull our long-sleeve shirts from the backs of our closets.  Today as I sat in the recliner with the curtains pulled back, watching the horses in the field across the road and the snow falling - I couldn't help but sing the words:  
 
Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole;
I want Thee forever to live in my soul;
Break down every idol, cast out every foe --
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
 
Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow,
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 
 
What joy it is to know that... what ever our past sins and failures... the Lord is awaiting the day that we call upon Him to be our Lord and Savior... and at that very moment He will "wash us" and "make us" WHITER THAN SNOW! 

PLEASE WATCH:  Kathrynne's rendition of "Whiter Than Snow"

53 CANDLES


On December 3rd I celebrated my 53rd Birthday.  WOW!  The years just keep piling up:)  For me Birthdays are like "New Years", a time of reflecting over the year just completed, and anticipating the year ahead.  Usually ending each year with some regret and beginning a new year with expectancy and anxiety over what may lie ahead.

Lord, I thank you for giving me another year of life.
I thank you for all the loving expressions of kindness shown to me.
For all the blessings and all my friends
you have given to me during the past year.
For my family both near and far from me 
but not far from my heart.
Thank you for my loving husband.

Lord, I thank you for all the experiences,
the successes and happy memories,
for times of failure which reminded me
of my own weaknesses and of my need for You,
for times of joy when the sun was shining,
for times of sorrow which drove me to my knees and to You.

Forgive me, Lord, for the hours I have wasted;
for the chances I failed to take,
for the opportunities I missed.
Forgive me that I did not use my talents and abilities to the fullest
because I was lazy and wanted things the easy way,
or I did not completely trust in your help and support.
Forgive me for the days I did things that may have been good,
but you had something "far better" for me to accomplish,
for the days I was too busy to take time to spend with you
when "Martha" took over and I forgot the good things that "Mary" knew.

Help me in the days which lie ahead
to make this coming year better than last year
and closer to you, my Lord.
Also help me to remember that you are the "holder"
and "giver" of each of those days.
Amen

Jeremiah 29:11-13  "11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"THE RIZPAH REVOLUTION"

This blog post is dedicated to my children and grandchildren, and many special friends who have sons and daughters that I am earnestly interceding in prayer for. 
 
2 Samuel 21: 5-14

Imagine that you are walking along a hillside in Israel.  The heat is almost unbearable.  The earth under your feet is dusty, and the grass has withered to nothing crunching with every step.  This once lush Mediterranean land lies in the grip of a terrible drought, resulting in a famine that has lasted for three years.  Coming around the side of the hill, you are smitten with a suffocating stench and an unforgettable sight.  Before your eyes are the carcasses of seven men, each dreadfully decomposed.  These corpses were the sacrifices intended to end the famine.

Surprisingly, these dead men are not alone.  A woman sits nearby on a piece of cloth laid out on a rock.  She is dozing, her chin drooping further down on her chest as the seconds pass.  Out of the corner of your eye, you see other forms circle into view.  Vultures.  Quickly the woman rouses and lets out a blood-curdling scream, frantically waving her arms and throwing stones to ward off the predators.  A fierce battle ensues, neither side wanting to give up his purpose in being there. Finally the woman prevails.  For several minutes she remains near the feet of the bodies. Shielding her eyes with her hand, she carefully surveys the sky, making sure no more of the enemy lingers.

The woman’s garments are unkempt and you wonder how long she has been there.  As she turns back to her rock, her face becomes visible.  She looks to be in her sixties and her face is worn and tired.  Your eyes meet.  Hers are ablaze with a fire that burns deep within her: a fire that drives her to do battle with any creature that would dare desecrate the bodies of these dead men—a fire that keeps her vigilant day and night—a fire that defies sleep and hunger.

What would cause a woman to leave her home and camp on a barren hillside smothered with death?  Passion—a passion fueled by a mother’s love, the love of a mother grieving over two dead sons. Meet Rizpah, “fiery coal”, my heroine.  

We may journey on, but Rizpah will not join us.  Her post is here, hovering near her boys, always her babies.  She will stay by them for six long months.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Rizpah... a woman in the Bible that not much is known about - yet as a "Mom" and "Grandmother" myself, she's a woman that I draw strength from and am challenged by.  She was determined 'at all cost' to protect her sons from the vultures and wild beasts.  Rizpah's story is one of God's pictures that reveals only a tiny glimpse of the power we have to make change around us.  Her son's were dead but she would protect them until they could receive a proper burial... our children and grandchildren are still with us - Praise the Lord!  But we must realize that we are living in a world where the wiles of the devil lay in wait to devour them if at all possible.  We must join what I will call the "Rizpah Revolution" - where we as Moms, Dads, Grandmas, and Grandpas.... join our hearts in prayer and watch day and night for the attacks Satan will render on our young.  We must have the same stamina, determination, devotion, love, and courage that Rizpah had. 

"And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night."  (2 Samuel 21:10) 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

"THE SPIDER and THE FLY"

Satan doesn't come to us with horns and pitchfork.
He often comes wrapped in attractive and innocent guise.




The Spider and the Fly
by: Mary Howitt

Will you walk into my parlour?" said the Spider to the Fly,
'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to shew when you are there."
Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again."

"I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?" said the Spider to the Fly.
"There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest awhile, I'll snugly tuck you in!"
Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "for I've often heard it said,
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!"

Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, " Dear friend what can I do,
To prove the warm affection I 've always felt for you?
I have within my pantry, good store of all that's nice;
I'm sure you're very welcome -- will you please to take a slice?"
"Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "kind Sir, that cannot be,
I've heard what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!"

"Sweet creature!" said the Spider, "you're witty and you're wise,
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I've a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf,
If you'll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself."
"I thank you, gentle sir," she said, "for what you 're pleased to say,
And bidding you good morning now, I'll call another day."

The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again:
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready, to dine upon the Fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
"Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple -- there's a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!"

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue --
Thinking only of her crested head -- poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlour -- but she ne'er came out again!

And now dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne'er give heed:
Unto an evil counsellor, close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly.


"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to standStand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked."  (Ephesians 6:11-16)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"I LOVE FALL" Fun Stuff (Spiced Candied Pecans)


I love the story of the little girl who misquoted her favorite verse:
". . . that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have ever-laughing life."

The two large pecan trees in the yard are hanging tightly to several of it's bounty.  Many have fallen because of the drought in NC this year.  We use pecans in everything around our house:  morning cereal, candies, cookies, loaf breads, salads, etc.  The recipe below was given to me by my friend Vicki - who makes the best candied pecans that I have ever stuck in my mouth ;-)  
 
SPICED CANDIED PECANS
2 quarts Pecans (use cleaned pecan halves)
2 cups granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
2 egg whites
2 Tbs. water 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and spray a large cookie sheet with "Pam" or non-stick cooking spray.  In a large glass bowl combine egg whites and water.  Beat with a mixer until stiff and fluffy.  Combine all the dry ingredients and add to egg mixture.  Stir well, and then add pecans gradually making sure that they are coated on all sides by the mixture.  Spread coated pecans onto cookie sheet and place in preheated oven.  Bake for 1 hour at 300 degrees - stirring every 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Store in covered airtight container... if they last that long.... LOL!  ENJOY!

 
FALL FUN ACTIVITY:
           Head to the pumpkin patch, take a wagon ride, run through a corn maze... 
           fall is full of wonderful activities for the young and young-at-heart!

FALL TRIVIA:
           Which apple is best???
           The tastiest pie apples are Rome, Jonathan, Fuji, and Granny Smith.  
           For salads, try McIntosh, Red Delicious, Empire, and Gala.

FALL ENTERTAINING IDEA:
           Host a "Crock-tober Dinner" or a "Slow-Cooker Supper" to celebrate harvest 
           season!  Invite friends to bring their favorite crockpot or slow-cooker dishes, 
           from mains to desserts.  After dinner, take a hayride, carve pumpkins, or have 
           a scarecrow-building contest.  It's all about being together and making memories! 

God's promise for a "Harvest of Blessing"
"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."  (Galatians 6:9)  

Monday, October 11, 2010

"I LOVE FALL" Fun Stuff (Pumpkin Cheese Ball)


Pumpkin Cheese Ball
2  8-oz. pkgs. extra sharp Cheddar Cheese (finely grated)
1  8-oz. pkg. Cream Cheese (softened)
1  8-oz. container Chive & Onion Cream Cheese (softened)
2  tsp. Paprika
1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1 stalk Broccoli (top removed)  this will be used to make the stem for your pumpkin :) 
Assorted Crackers 

Combine first 5 ingredients.  Shape mixture to resemble a pumpkin.  Trim broccoli stalk, if needed, and press lightly into the top of the pumpkin for a stem.  Use a knife to make vertical lines down the sides of the cheese ball.  Serve at room temperature with crackers. 




Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.
~Elizabeth Lawrence

October is a symphony of permanence and change.
~Bonaro W. Overstreet


 FALL PUMPKIN DECORATING TIP:
#1          Instead of carving your pumpkins why not try a few unblemished ones like this:
                    Coat them with a spray adhesive, then dust them with a fine sparkly
                    iridescent glitter. 

#2          Make a run to Wal-Mart and purchase an old-timey  Mr. or Mrs. Potato-Head.  
                    Purchase small pumpkins for each of your kids or grand-kids to decorate
                    and let them use the Mr. Potato-Head pieces along with fabric scraps,
                    old costume jewelry, waterbased markers, etc. to decorate their pumpkins.
A cute way to display these:  On a pedestal cake plate with a clear glass domed lid - if you have many little ones - take turns displaying each child's pumpkin.  They will love the day their pumpkin is in the "place of honor"  :-)  


Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold , I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.  (John 4:35)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

"Making a Difference"

THREE GUYS GET TO HEAVEN
  3 buddies die in a car crash, they go to heaven to an orientation.  They are all asked, "When you are in your casket and friends and family are mourning upon you, what would you like to hear them say about you?  The first guy says, "I would like to hear them say that I was a great doctor of my time, and a great family man."  The second guy says, "I would like to hear that I was a wonderful husband and school teacher which made a huge difference in our children of tomorrow."  The last guy replies, "I would like to hear them say. . . . . . LOOK, HE'S MOVING" ! ! ! ! !

Although I have had a few good laughs over the humorous story above, and must be honest with you and say that I can "wholeheartedly" agree with the last fellas sentiments... I can also say that it causes me to reflect on life and coming to the end of it.

When our son Stephen Jr. was at Tennessee Temple University several years ago - he wrote Steve and I a letter expressing his heart for young people (teens) and their struggles.  In the letter he included these verses:

"Keep yourselves in the love of God,  looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.  And of some have compassion,  making a difference:"   (Jude 1:21-22)

If our lifestyle were the only lifestyle that society could depend on to observe God's unconditional love, would they be compelled to pursue a relationship with Him?  If those who see our conduct, hear our conversation, and witness our character on a daily basis were placed on the witness stand to verify our commitment to the person and principles of the one we claim to serve, would there be enough evidence to convict us?  We must always be willing to go the extra mile for others.  It is through our generosity and love that many eventually see the face of God.

Fast forward to your funeral.  What are people going to say about you as they stand around your casket talking?  Will it be that he/she was a good person?  What I want people to say about me?  I want them to say that I made a difference in their life.


As I close my eyes to slumber
I hope that God will say
“You have made the world a better place
By the way you lived today”.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"I LOVE FALL" Fun Stuff (Spiced Cider Mix)

"While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."  (Genesis 8:22)

Spiced Cider Mix
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. grated orange peel
1 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg (if desired)
To make cider:
1/4 cup mix (above)
1 cup apple juice
1/4 cup water
Combine mix, juice and water.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Yield: 1 serving.
  
FUN FALL ACTIVITY:
Take a Saturday or Sunday afternoon... load the family or a friend in the car and go "leaf-peeping."  Take along a thermos of Spiced Cider to enjoy along the way.

Autumn burned brightly, a running flame through the mountains, a torch flung to the trees.
~Faith Baldwin

FALL TIP:
Preserve the beauty of autumn leaves... it's easy.  Place the stems in a mixture of one part glycerin to 2 parts water.  After a few days, remove them from the solution and wipe dry.  They're now preserved and ready for beautiful garlands, bookmarks, or wreaths.

Every leaf speaks bliss to me, Fluttering from the autumn tree.
~Emily Bronte
   

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"GRANDKIDS"

  Jackson Jeffrey - 5                                          Sophia Dawn - 3                                    Carolyn Kate - 8 months


The arrival of a grandchild is a life-changing event.
Their presence in the world makes life special.

Just got home from the post office sending another package to our grandchildren in Thailand.  Today is a rainy day here in NC and it seems days like this just make me a little more melancholy than usual.  Getting together special things that will make them think of their Nan and Papaw is always a fun thing to do... but then it makes me wish that I could watch their faces as they open the box and hear their squeals and giggles.  

Our grandson Jack will soon turn 5... thus the occasion for the box.  I couldn't help but reminisce about the days they each were born.

        When you were born lots of people got excited:  your daddy and mommy, of course, and other family members and friends.  But the people who got most excited was me and Papaw.  This is because you are "big stuff" in your Nanny and Papaw's life, the child of our child, which makes you doubly precious.  You each gave our life new meaning.  You are the olden days made new, reviving the memories of your mom and Uncle Jun Jun when they were little like you.  You are hugs and laughter and old board games and toys brought out of the closet and dusted off.  To talk to you on the phone makes us smile, and to spend time with you makes our day (even though it has been since February).  Your presence in our life is the consolation for getting old and our reminder of why it's good to be alive.  You make life fun.  There is not a day that we don't talk about how we wish you were here and what we would do if you were.  Even the other evening when a storm came up and we were sitting on the back porch... we talked of how we would love to be snuggling each of you close and watching the rain fall from the sky.  Just know that even though we can't hold you in our arms everyday... that we hold you in our hearts and pray for you.  Our arms may be empty but our hearts are full because of the precious gift that God gave us when each of you were born.

  "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward."  (Psalm 127:3) 




Sunday, September 26, 2010

"The Set of the Sail"

"But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself..."  (Daniel 1:8)
"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."  (Proverbs 4:23)


But to every mind there openeth,
A way, and way, and away,
A high soul climbs the highway,
And the low soul gropes the low,
And in between on the misty flats,
The rest drift to and fro.

But to every man there openeth,
A high way and a low,
And every mind decideth,
The way his soul shall go.

One ship sails East,
And another West,
By the self-same winds that blow,
'Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales,
That tells the way we go.

Like the winds of the sea
Are the waves of time, 

As we journey along through life,
  'Tis the set of the soul,
  That determines the goal,
                                                                                               And not the calm or the strife. 
                                                                                                                     by:  Ella Wheeler Wilcox

You don't have to be a seasoned seaman to understand a fundamental law of a successful voyage:  It's the set of the sail, not the force of the gale, that determines the way we go.  

This poem has always been special to me and I feel that contained in it's words is a very strong "life lesson".  The heavy winds of pressure to do what others want us to do (peer pressure) will continue to blow hard through all the years of our life.  But that won't decide what we do.  No, it will be the set of our sail, preset before God, before the choice arises.  It is not the wind that rules, it's the set of our sail --- or the set of our mind, our heart, our will.... that will determine the way we go!

And thus we sat in darkness, Each one busy in his prayer;
"We are lost!" the captain shouted, As he staggered down the stair.
But the little daughter whispered, As she took his icy hand,
"Isn't God upon the ocean, Just the same as on the land?"
~ Eugene Field 

When testing and trials come, we do not have to be a victim to sin.  God has given all of His children the will and the power to resist Satan, and to live lives that are victorious, while sailing upon life's sea.

 "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro , and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness , whereby they lie in wait to deceive;(Ephesians 4:14)