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Category Archives: Fletcher Family

Keeping God First While On Vacation

For the past three years our family has vacationed together in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Two grandparents –us (Pappy and Nana), our two daughters and their families, including our six grandchildren. Each year we’ve made many special memories. The grands all agree that tubing on the lake is their favorite. This year we had the opportunity to rent a boat for the week, so it was one big splash after another.

Each year Jeff and I intentionally prepare for the spiritual emphases. Since we are at the lake over a Sunday, Jeff (Pastor Pappy) shares a special message and serves our family Holy Communion. It is such a precious time. This year’s message was about David and how he was an unlikely candidate to take down Goliath (but he did…with just a slingshot and a stone), or to become a king, being a simple shepherd boy, the youngest of eight sons (but God chose David to reign over Israel for forty years).

Jeff told our grandchildren that God has a special plan for each of our lives, and that God wants to use our unique qualities and abilities to honor Him and to help build His eternal Kingdom. In conclusion, Jeff singled out our youngest and shortest grandchild (Jocelyn), illustrating how God looks at the heart and not our outward appearance. “So, whether young, old, short, or tall, when God calls us to serve Him, He also equips us and helps us overcome obstacles that attempt to thwart His plan and purpose in our lives.”

Desiring to keep our family God-focused throughout our vacation week, I thought it would be helpful to share devotions. Knowing I had only a couple weeks to prepare, I initially thought of grabbing a faithful devotional book from our library, but then God directed me to google the Internet. Sitting behind my computer I began the search and within minutes I landed on: Keeping God First While On Vacation. As I felt my heart resonate with this title, I opened the link and it took me to this site: Growing Kids For The Kingdom (https://www.growingkidsforthekingdom.com/keeping-god-first-while-on-vacation-a-family-vacation-devotional/) and to the post, Keeping God First While On Vacation: A Family Vacation Devotional.

I emailed the author, Taylor Johnson, requesting a copy of the devotional and she quickly replied, attaching a copy to the email. After reading through the devotional I knew it was for our us. The devotions are perfect in quantity and content. (A total of five, counting the preparation and follow-up devotions.) This is especially true when you have younger children in your family. More lengthy devotions may not hold their attention. Plus, there’s plenty of Scripture to read and elaborate on as the Holy Spirit directs.

Prior to our departure, I emailed copies of the first devotion to our family members and suggested that they go over The Before You Leave: Preparing Your Hearts section. Jeff and I read this section together and I asked Taylor to help us pray for God’s guidance. She eagerly agreed, and we are thankful for her prayers and for her vacation devotional.

Here’s how God answered our prayers!

Knowing everyone would be anxious to begin their play each day, I knew I must follow the Holy Spirit’s leading. He impressed upon me to be flexible with the time of day to share the devotions. (This goes totally against my nature, as I like to have all my ducks in a row). I’m so thankful I listened and heeded to the Holy Spirit’s instruction.

Monday morning arrived and several family members were already at the boat dock, leaving a few of us to begin eating breakfast. Unsure of when everyone would be together at the same time, I chose to share Vacation Day 1 – Loving God and His Creation. After reading the entirety of Psalm 104, I asked everyone to look for ways God shows His love through creation. Soon after, I brought the remaining family members up to speed on our devotion for the day. Later that evening our family all came together to celebrate my birthday. Following this very special time, I asked if there was anyone who would like to share our family devotion for Wednesday? Not expecting this at all, our ten-year-old grandson Jack immediately said, “I will!” With no reservations, I handed him a copy of the devotion.

After my sweet birthday celebration, we were visited by a four-legged fury friend…a small beady-eyed raccoon. Our grandkids affectionately named him Ronnie, and of course, they left a plate of goodies on the deck to ensure his return visits. Everyone agreed Ronnie showed us God’s love and vice versa.

Early Wednesday afternoon, I caught Jack sitting on the deck with my Bible opened. He had asked me the day before to use my Bible so he could begin preparing for our devotion and to mark the Scriptures. He didn’t know I spotted him on the deck, so I quickly snapped a photo of him for memory sake.

Wednesday evening our family gathered together while Jack led us in Vacation Day 2 – Being like Christ in Character. I was so blessed by his preparation and leadership. After reading the suggested Scripture, Jack instructed us to talk about the various character traits and challenged us to live these out during our vacation. Following our devotion, Jack’s sister, Julia, confidently said “I’d like to do the next devotion.” “Can I?” I said “Sure!” Julia’s parents reminded her that she would have to take time to prepare. No problem!

On Thursday, we visited the beautiful Garvan Woodland Gardens. This turned out to be a delight for all. We experienced so much of God’s marvelous creation. George, the resident male peacock greeted us at the entrance. George was thrilled when we fed him some almonds. We saw lizards, snakes, fish, bugs, waterfalls, and trails leading to a gigantic tree house, a crawdad waterhole with beach balls, and a wrong turn leading us to a beautiful lake view. Here we captured the beauty of the moment.

Friday quickly arrived and I thought maybe we should have our family devotions in the morning, but no, God had other plans. Again, trying hard to be flexible, I followed the Holy Spirit’s leading. After much play on the lake, fishing, boating, and just having fun together, my precious Julia (eight years old) approached me and asked if I would help her prepare for our devotion. My heart leapt with joy as I sat down with her at the table as she read through the suggested Scripture, and we talked through the discussion questions.

Knowing in advance we would face some opposition from the enemy to keep our family from having devotions together, I began to pray for the evening. God was honored when all family members and a family friend listened intently as Julia read the Scripture and led us in Vacation Day 3 – Sharing God’s Love With Others. It was such a tender and Spirit led time. After sharing how we had shown love towards each other during our vacation and ideas for sharing God’s love with others, Julia asked us all to pray. She specifically called out each of our names to let us know when it was our turn to pray. At the conclusion, Julia asked for prayer requests. There were several and as she closed our time in prayer, Julia recalled each request and prayed for them. I knew Jesus was in our midst. What a glorious moment! Our Julia has expressed interest in becoming a missionary. I’m sure God is pleased and will guide and direct her life, along with all our family, as they trust in Him and strive to keep Him first in their lives.

Throughout our vacation week, the Holy Spirit was faithful to remind us of our devotional time together. While trying to decide on where to eat lunch one day, several family members paused to allow differing ideas, demonstrating the Christlike Character of kindness. Another time, I overheard a grandchild say, “Let’s remember to show the love of Jesus.” And parents who praised God and thanked Him for the beauty of His creation; demonstrated by stopping to examine an unusual looking bug, and a dad taking his family on an intentionally planned hike by a creek.

The memories we’ve made on our family vacations are all very special and will remain in our hearts a lifetime. But by far, the greatest memories that I will cherish above all are those of our grandchildren growing closer to God through His love, His Word, and through His creation.

I personally want to thank Taylor Johnson for providing such a wonderful resource for our family to use while on our vacation. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

I highly recommend Keeping God First While On Vacation: A Family Vacation Devotional. To read about this devotional and to learn more about the Growing Kids for the Kingdom ministry, you may click on the following links:

Growing Kids For The Kingdom: https://www.growingkidsforthekingdom.com/

Keeping God First while on Vacation: A Family Vacation Devotional https://www.growingkidsforthekingdom.com/keeping-god-first-while-on-vacation-a-family-vacation-devotional/

Creation Vacation by Covenant Heirs: https://covenantheirs.org/2017/09/22/creation-vacation/

And for further study:

What does it mean that God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7)?

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Article by Got Questions Ministry. https://www.gotquestions.org/God-looks-at-the-heart.html

Disclaimer: Covenant Heirs Ministry recommends this article but does not necessarily endorse all the content found on the God Questions website.

 

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Dominican Republic Mission Trip With Ella — Beginning the Journey

So excited about our upcoming mission trip to the Dominican Republic!  Only six weeks away.

My granddaughter, Ella (11 years), and I will embark on our very first mission trip together. I’ve had a desire to go on a mission trip for some time; and about two years ago, I felt that God was directing me to pursue this opportunity with Ella.

This first blog entry will detail the beginning stages of our journey. (The complete story is written in the Memory Album I made for Ella.)

Nurse Sheila

Nurse Sheila

Two summers ago, Ella and I met an amazing woman named Sheila at children’s camp. Sheila was one of the camp nurses and I was a camp counselor for several children, including Ella. During our time at camp, I was sadly coming to terms that my husband/pastor would be resigning as pastor of the church where we had served for 7 years. Sheila made her way over to our table and began a conversation with me. Not having anyone else to share my sorrow and uncertainty with, I began to tell Sheila of my heartache. I told her that we would be looking for a church to worship at in the near future. Without any hesitation, Sheila extended a loving invitation to visit her church, Living Hope Church of the Nazarene. After putting my mind to rest, I realized that this was the church our daughter attended during her college days.

Sure enough, we visited Living Hope Church, and reconnected with Sheila.  Little did I know at the time, Sheila and her husband, Dan are Work & Witness Coordinators and were planning a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. Wow! I thought this may be one of the reasons God brought us to LHC. Since we were in transition, I didn’t feel the timing was right to join up with Team Xtreme for their 2nd trip to the Dominican. 

A year later, Team Xtreme, the mission team from LHC is planning their 3rd trip to San Juan de la Maguana Dominican Republic, to complete the children’s center, that will feed, educate, provide medical/dental care to 500 kids each week, and serve as their place of worship.  

Ella and I attended the first informational gathering at Sheila’s home, where we saw hundreds of pictures of their past trips to the Dominican and heard the testimonies of those who have gone before. The mission team had ministered love in the Name of Jesus to hundreds of children and worked on the building project. After driving home from the meeting, I asked Ella what she thought about going on the mission trip. She said, “Yes!, but how are we going to raise $14,000 each?” I had to chuckle a little, because the actual cost per person for travel/expense is $1,400. From this point on, we have never looked back. God is on the move, providing for us to take this journey of faith to the Dominican with 28 other devoted followers of Christ (Team Xtreme).

Please join us in prayer, as we prepare our hearts, minds, and bodies, to be Christ’s ambassadors to those who need His love and grace in the Dominican.

Salud!  (Blessings!)

Charmé

 

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Christ Lifted Up…Sand Dollar Faith

SAND DOLLARJeff and I recently had the opportunity to spend 9 days at Anna Maria Island, on the Gulf Coast of Florida. It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. Being in full-time pastoral ministry, we were more than ready to get away, to relax and spend quality time with each other and the Lord. During our stay in a nice condo, provided free of charge to pastors, I located two books on the shelf and began reading them. Both were on the subject of sharing one’s faith in Jesus.

Realizing my personal evangelism had waned over the past year or so, my mind and heart were easily penetrable with the timely message of these books. Reading afresh and anew this Scripture: “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me. John 12:32,” Jerry Whiles, the author of The Faithful Witness emphasized lifting up Jesus every day, in every encounter, as the Holy Spirit directs. First and foremost, the author stated that we are to pray (early in the morning, before beginning our day), for opportunities to share our faith with people who God will bring across our path during that day.

To make a long story short, I sensed the Holy Spirit guiding me to pray this prayer and to begin watching for opportunities–starting at the beach.

That morning, Jeff and I began searching for seashells on miracle-made sandbars, which enabled us to find some nice size shells. As Jeff proceeded up the shoreline, a young woman approached me and said, “Wow, you found some really nice shells.” As I looked up, I noticed that she was wearing a ball cap. I then responded “Yes” and we began chatting about our stay at Anna Maria Island. She quickly told me that she had just finished 5 rounds of chemotherapy treatments in Georgia where she lived, and that when she returned home, she would be facing surgery and radiation treatments. While standing next to her, I knew we were not alone–as the Holy Spirit wrapped His arms around us. Lisa opened her hand and showed me a small sand dollar that she had found. Quickened to lift up Jesus, I said, “Oh, I believe there’s some type of story that goes along with the sand dollar,” and she quickly replied, “Yes, I believe it has something to do with Jesus.” I told her that I thought she was right, and then asked her if she knew Jesus. She said with such love in her eyes, “Oh, yes, I couldn’t go through this without Him.” She went on to tell me that she and her husband (who was standing nearby), were part of a loving and supportive church family. As we said our goodbyes, I gave Lisa some of my shells and told her to hold onto them as a reminder that she had met a friend in Jesus on Anna Maria Island beach who would be praying for her.

I thank God for the opportunity to meet Lisa on the beach. She truly lifted Jesus to me that day, and through our encounter, strengthened my faith.

I forgot to mention that shortly after I met Lisa, I found my own sand dollar and I’m keeping it as a reminder to share my faith in Jesus daily, and to pray for Lisa.

After returning home from our trip, I did a little research on the meaning of John 12:32. I found and read a sermon delivered on July 5, 1857, by Rev. C.H. Spurgeon, titled “Christ Lifted Up.” It is a somber reminder that Jesus uses the word “lifted up” to express the manner of his death. For Jesus to be “lifted up” or exalted, to draw all men unto Himself, He had to be crucified on a cross. The following is a paragraph excerpted from Spurgeon’s sermon.

“Christ was glorified on the cross, we say, first, because love as always glorious. If I might prefer any glory, I should ask to be beloved by men. Surely, the greatest glory that a man can have among his fellows is not that of mere admiration, when they stare at him as he passes through the street, and throng the avenues to behold him as he rideth in his triumph; the greatest fame, the greatest glory of a patriot is the love of his country–to feel that young men and maidens, old men and sires, are prepared to fall at his feet in love, to give up all they have to serve him who has served them. Now, Christ won more love by the cross than he did ever win elsewhere. O Lord Jesus, thou wouldst never have been so much loved since thou hast stooped to death. Not cherubim and seraphim, and angels clad in light, ever could have loved with hearts so warm as thy redeemed above, or even thy redeemed below. Thou didst win love more abundantly by the nail than by thy scepter. Thine open side brought thee no emptiness of love, for thy people love thee with all their hearts. Christ won glory by his cross. He was never so lifted up as when he was cast down; and the Christian will bear witness, that though he loves his Master anywhere, yet nothing moves his heart to rapture and vehemence of love, like the story of the crucifixion and the agonies of Calvary.”

Lifting up Christ is more than using His name in prayer (although very important); it really requires a (personal) daily surrender to the Holy sinless One, who died a sinner’s death on Calvary. His name is JESUS.

Forgive me Father, for not faithfully lifting up your son’s life-giving name to those who need you so desperately. Help me to be ever mindful of those you bring across my path each day.

Door of Opportunity, DeVern Fromke, Author

The Faithful Witness, Jerry Wiles, Author

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2013 1: 45 pm - in Faith in Jesus, Fletcher Family, God Moments

 

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Day Trip with My Daughters

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It was such a fun time, taking a day trip with my girls to Weston, MO. We started the day with coffee and donuts, and then took a beautiful drive to Weston, where we browsed the quaint shops on Main Street. This picture was taken at Avalon Café, where we had a scrumptous lunch. We talked about our growing relationship with Jesus, and how we need to continue to be our best for Him–because our families are counting on us as moms, wives, grandma. As usual, a few tears trickled down.

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2012 8: 56 am - in Fletcher Family

 

Hello Everyone!

Blogging is a new adventure for me. So, please give me plenty of grace and time to get things up and going.

I’m hoping that I will be able to connect with other moms, dads, grandmas, pappys, and anyone else who enjoys sharing their faith in the Lord. My husband, Jeff, and I began a ministry about 2 years ago called Covenant Heirs (Building a Legacy of Faith, 2 Timothy 1:5). The intent of our ministry is to help encourage and equip parents to pass down their faith in Christ intentionally. Through daily blogging, I hope to share thoughts and ideas with others, on creative and simple ways to help our families grow closer to the Lord and with each other. Most recently, my heart has been aching to see families experience real Christianity in their homes, by not just going to church, but “having church.” There’s a big difference! Possibly, I will discuss this topic in more detail another day. Time for lemon pie with Jeff! Please contact me if you want to talk about the most important subject in life: making sure our children and their children really know and love Jesus, and then live for Him daily. Charmé

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2012 7: 34 pm - in Building a Legacy of Faith, Fletcher Family