Sharing is Caring!

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Mrs. Muse teaching, “The Hokey Pokey”

I have been working/playing as a preschool teacher for two and three year old children for a few weeks at Muse Montessori. Although I feel like I’m exactly where the Lord wants me and it’s been a lot of fun, it has had its challenges as well.

 

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Mrs. Ashlee reading a book to those great listeners!

For many of these children, it is the first time they have been away from their mommies for any length of time. We are teaching them to independently choose educational toys in the room, finish the “work,” and then place it back on the shelf before beginning another project. The first week was a little chaotic as they were learning this, but they have quickly learned to keep the room neat now.

Many are still learning to follow directions, exercise self-control, share with others, walk in a line, talk quietly, ask nicely, ask forgiveness as well as accept it, and go to the potty independently. I am amazed at the progress of these children in just three short weeks! Not only are they learning important life skills, they are soaking up reading and math concepts.

The first week I was hearing a lot of, “MINE!” There were also some outburst when the desired object wasn’t obtained. The first days were sprinkled with lots of the typical two year old behaviors of grabbing, pouting, pushing, and talking while I was teaching.

Lest you think I have six little brats on my hands, let me be the first to clear up this misunderstanding!  These children are some of the sweetest, most intelligent, loving, well-behaved children I have ever met.  I get lots of smiles, hugs, and kisses in the three hours I am with them Monday through Thursday. They kiss each others boo boos and often sweetly ask another child to play with them. Unfortunately though, like the rest of us, they were still born with a sin nature that needs to be tamed in order to please their creator.

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There are four boys in my class so I decided to take some of my son’s little toy John Deere tractors, dump trucks, and backhoes (that he hasn’t played with in ten or more years) to class. This one little guy had the hardest time sharing the dump truck.  Within minutes of introducing the toys, I heard, “NO! That’s MY dump truck!  You can’t have it!” I knelt down and calmly explained, “___Name__, this is not your dump truck.  This is Mrs. Gaye’s dump truck. I am sharing with you by letting you play with it.  If I didn’t share with you, you wouldn’t be enjoying it right now. Since I am sharing with you, you need to share with ___Name__.”

As the words were leaving my mouth, a few Bible verses came to my mind.

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It dawned on me that not only was this little boy needing to learn a lesson, Mrs. Gaye needed to be reminded of what Jesus expects too.  And once again I was reminded that I don’t “own” anything.  Every thing I have, my family and every other thing I enjoy in this life, is a gift from God that I do not deserve. Therefore,  I need to hold these people and things lightly and surrender them to the real owner, God.

This little guy and I had similar conversations several times over the next few days.  Then it happened! On about Day 4, with a furrowed brow, he cried out, “Mrs. Gaye! __Name__ has my……. And suddenly, he stopped mid-sentence, flashed me the sweetest smile ever, and said, “…Mrs. Gaye’s dump truck.” Then he turned and walked away to get another toy. I felt like dancing a jig right then and there! I told him how proud I was of him. And he was able to experience the wonderful joy of denying himself and loving his friend. It was an awesome moment.

This is exactly what Jesus calls us to do all throughout every day of our lives. May we experience joy, peace, and wonderful relationships as we obey His commands.

Gaye Hughes

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Circulating Jesus’ Love

13892189_10208765354150021_528678173187263753_nMy church recently had Circulation Day!Members brought household items that they no longer needed and we basically had a huge, free yard sale. People were excited to receive many nice items such as…a washer and dryer, tread mill, books, pictures, kitchen tools, etc. The goal was to show love to our community.  As the people came, we gave them some Bible verses and invited them to visit our church. There were no price tags so when someone was interested in something and ask how much it cost, we would tell them it was theirs for the taking. It was really neat to see the responses.  Some just couldn’t believe it.

To entice people to come, we held large signs and waved to the people as they passed on the  busy highway in front of our church.  As I stood there and witnessed the many people drive pass, I wondered how many knew Jesus personally and had peace in their hearts as only He can give.  Also, here we were offering nice, free, needed items, but many would not stop to check it out.  I wondered why.

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Maybe they were skeptical.  Maybe they didn’t think they needed anything we had. Maybe they were distracted by other things. Maybe they had more important places to go.

Then I thought about how it is similar with the gospel. Here we have a message of Good News that costs us nothing (but Jesus His life), that is a positive life changer to those who will believe, yet many will not accept it for some of the same reasons as above.  It’s hard for them to imagine a God that would love them enough to give His life for them. They think they are fine the way they are and don’t need Jesus.  Or maybe they are so distracted by what this world has to offer there is no room left for Jesus.

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It made me sad to think about people living their lives not even realizing what they are missing by not having a personal relationship with this Jesus who loves them so very much.  Jesus calls us to give the gospel out. We aren’t responsible for who believes it or rejects it.

Today I was driving about 15 mph on a lone, back street looking for a business. There was an oncoming car approaching.  I drifted across the center line as I was looking for the building. I realized what I was doing and quickly got back into my lane.  The oncoming car was several car lengths away and it wasn’t even close, but she let me know in no uncertain terms that she was very upset with me. I was definitely in the wrong.  I made a sad face, hunched my shoulders, and mouthed, I’m sorry! I wish she had extended more grace. And this reminded me that I need to extend grace to other people because I often don’t know what they are going through.

LoveThyNeighborAsThyselfI’m SO glad that, as believers, we experience God’s grace and mercy every day and will for all eternity.  We don’t deserve it. And because Jesus has given us love and mercy, we need to be quick to share that with others.

Last night I  heard this….God formed us, sin deformed us, and Jesus transforms us.

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I would like to leave these lyrics with you from, I Saw Jesus in You by Ron Hamilton.

When I enter Heaven’s glory, And I see the Savior’s face,

I will offer Him ten thousand years of praise.

Then I’ll find that special one, In whose life I saw God’s Son,

And thru tears of joy with trembling lips these words, I’ll say:

Chorus:

I saw Jesus in you, I saw Jesus in you.

I could hear His voice in the words you said–

I saw Jesus in you.

In your eyes I saw His care, I could see His love was there.

You were faithful, And I saw Jesus in you.

Verse 2

When I stand before my Father, To receive my life’s reward,

And my soul is bathed in God’s eternal day,

When this race on earth is run, And God sees the works I’ve done,

More than anything I long to hear my Father say:

Chorus:

I saw Jesus in you.  I saw Jesus in you.

I could hear His voice in the words you said–

I saw Jesus in you.

In your eyes I saw His care, I could see His love was there.

You were faithful, And I saw Jesus in you.

 

May we let Jesus’ light and love shine through us,

Gaye Hughes

 

 

Perfect Peace

l-97608As my eyes opened yesterday morning before the alarm sounded, thoughts immediately rushed into my head. I thought of my friend having serious back surgery this day. I was to be at a new job in a few hours…the first time working outside my home in twenty-seven years. I had just gotten news that my grandbaby needed to do an acrobatic flip inside the womb of my daughter pretty quickly as his quarters were getting more cramped by the day. This day I was to hear the extent of my son’s knee injury.

I was anxious.  I began talking to my Father (God) about these things.  As I asked God to please guide the doctor’s hands during the surgery of my friend and give her and her family peace, I remembered all the many miracles Jesus performed while on this earth and how He continues to heal the sick. He is the Great Physician.

As I prayed about the new job, I thought about how God had prepared me in several ways throughout my life for this preschool teaching job. I began teaching Sunday School to children only a few years younger than myself at age 13. I homeschooled my four children (and still are) for the past twenty-four years. I’ve taught Junior church and Sunday School for years. I gained some confidence as I thought about how God has faithfully directed my steps over the years.

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Concerning my grandbaby, God has been busy forming him in the womb for several months now. He knows all about his character, personality, physical traits, and has grand plans for his life. God loves him much more than even his parents and I do. He is holding this little one in His very capable hands even as I write this.

Nathan has been uncomfortable for close to two weeks with his bum knee. He has learned to better sympathize with those you can’t get around easily.  He longs to run again. He has a greater appreciation for good health.  We’ve had to wait for test results and possible surgery for several days. I asked God to work out the details about getting him on the road to healing quickly. As I talked to God about this situation, my worries began to fade as I thought about all the other times He had come through for me at the last minute.

When I called to get an appointment yesterday (Tuesday), the nurse said she could see us next Monday. I began to plead, My son has been on crutches for twelve days and is uncomfortable.  We really need to get something done. Is there any way you can see him before then?  She told me the doctor was booked, but she would see what she could do and for me to hold.  I began to earnestly ask God to intervene and get me an appointment in the afternoon so I wouldn’t have to ask off work.

She came back on the line and said, Can you be here tomorrow at two?

YES!!! Praise the Lord! Thank you SO much! was my response.

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It is easy for me to take my burdens to my God whom I know longs to hear from me.  As I begin to pray, I envision myself bowing before Jesus’ feet. I see the love in His eyes. I’m empowered as I think about HIS power to change anything and everything. I believe He is for me and has good plans for me. The challenge is to leave my cares with Him and not pick them back up when I walk away.

Sadly, it’s only been in the last months that I think I’m learning what it means to truly rest and hide in Jesus.  I know He doesn’t want me upset and worried.  I Peter 5:7 says, Casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you. I have been asking Him to control my emotions and help me have the mind of Christ. I want to think as He thinks. I want to feel as He feels about things.

Because I can’t right all the wrongs in the world, I’ve asked God to give me compassion for the people and ministries He wants me to be involved in and to be somewhat indifferent to the ones I don’t have the resources for. Also, I know I can’t have an intimate relationship with every person I’ve ever known so I’ve asked God to burden my heart for the ones who need me most that day. I want to be where He wants me and use my time in a way that pleases Him.

This is what hiding and resting in Jesus has come to mean to me.  I would love to hear your thoughts on what it means to you. I know I have a long way to go, but my life has become so much more peaceful lately as I’m learning to lean on Him.

I would like to leave you with the lyrics of Perfect Peace by Joe Zichterman.

When life’s burdens get so heavy and it seems I’m all alone,

I cast my care on Jesus and come boldly to his throne.

I find His grace sufficient when His promises I heed.

For His very life He sacrificed, and He lives to intercede.

Chorus:

He is the Lord of lords, and when He speaks, winds and waves obey.

When Jesus whispers, “Peace, be still,” then darkness turns to day.

And as I’m trusting in my Savior’s Word doubts and fears all cease.

And beneath the shelter of His wings I’m at rest in perfect peace.

Verse 2

I will seek for souls in darkness, Calv’ry’s love with them to share,

Empowered by His Spirit I will follow anywhere.

For I know whate’er befall me my Lord is in control.

And as my mind is stayed on Him, perfect peace He gives me soul.

My you have perfect peace today,

Gaye Hughes

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Calm in the Storm

a-faith-that-hasnt-been-testedI would like to share the lyrics of a song that has comforted me so much over the past few years as I walked the cancer journey with my husband, was then diagnosed myself, and have felt the vacuum of his absence since he went to heaven.

There have been many times that I’ve felt God’s peace that passed all understanding….times when I should have been falling apart, but felt God holding me up.  That is due, in part, to your many prayers. But I am convinced, if I had not a friend in the world, God would not have left me.  He would have faithfully been with me because He never forsakes His own. He won’t leave you either.  He hears every prayer and has our tears in a bottle.

“Thou tellest my wanderings:  put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book? When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.” (Psalm 56:8,9)

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“Calm in the Storm,” by Mac Lynch

When your life seems like a tempest, when the waves beat on your breast,
When the wind is hurling ‘round you and there is no place to rest,
Then you look out thro’ the shadows and you see Him looking too,
Saying, “Hush,” not to the storm, but saying, “Hush” now to you.

Chorus:
Trust the One who’s walking on the water. Trust the One who’s leading thro’ the storm.
When you cannot see the shore-line, When there is no goal in sight,
Would you focus on the certainty that all will be alright?

Trust in Him who made the tempest. Trust in Him tho’ tossed and torn.
Trust the One who walks on water in your storm.

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When your life seems overwhelming, when your nights seem hard and long,
When the burdens seem unending and the enemy a throng,
Thro’ the Word the Savior’s saying firmly, calling tenderly, “Peace be still,”
not to the storm, but “Peace be still” now to you,

Hasten now, O weary pilgrim, don’t you fear, and don’t you doubt.
Would you trust your gracious Savior tho’ your life seems tossed about?
Oh, remain within the tempest, seeing Jesus in the way.
May the trial to you be precious as you trust and obey.

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Chorus:
Trust the One who’s walking on the water. Trust the One who’s leading thro’ the storm.
When you cannot see the shore-line, When there is no goal in sight,
Would you focus on the certainty that all will be alright?

Trust in Him who made the tempest. Trust in Him tho’ tossed and torn.
Trust the One who walks on water in your storm.

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“He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.” Psalm 107:29

 

 

 

Twisted Knee, Twisted Plans

33959e628ecfd5472ed22c7e5777d230Nathan (my 17 year old son) walked in the door last week after riding dirt bikes with his friend.  They got some water, chatted briefly and left. But when he entered the house a few hours later, he was noticeably limping, had this “look” on his face, and said, Mommy, I have to tell you something.  My heart sank and I immediately wondered how earth shattering this information was going to be.

I had a wreck on my dirt bike and I’ve hurt my knee. (He had a helmet on, thank goodness.) He was riding down the steep hill behind our house in fifth gear (going about 45 mph) and let the clutch out not realizing the engine had died. The back wheel immediately locked up sending the motorcycle sliding down the hill in front of him. When his leg hit the ground he heard and felt his knee pop as his lower leg twisted backwards. This was Friday evening and in our house, unless you’re bleeding to death, you don’t visit the emergency room on the weekend. So we went to an orthopedic surgeon the following Monday.

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Nathan giving his sister, Anna, a ride in March 2016

An x-ray showed no broken bones, but after an examination the doctor said, Well, he ouches at all the right times for a torn meniscus. He needs an MRI and will probably have to have surgery. The doctor went on to explain that the insurance companies are getting more and more difficult to work with concerning testing, but they would give it their best shot.

Thankfully, I received a call first thing the next morning that the insurance had approved the MRI and the doctor had scheduled one. I then talked to my friend whose husband is a physical therapist. He informed me that he thought it would be in Nathan’s best interest to get a doctor who specialized in working with youth.  I told him I appreciated his advice, but I didn’t know any other orthopedic surgeons.  He said he would try to locate one for me.

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Then I realized I had accepted an appointment to review the MRI results on a day I was going to be out of town so I carefully dialed the doctor’s number to reschedule. I heard this familiar voice and asked, Is this the doctor’s office? It was a friend from my church! I was confused because I don’t have any services on my home phone that would have dialed that number and his number wasn’t even remotely close to the doctor’s office number. Anyway, he asked me how Nathan was doing and I told him Nathan would probably have to have surgery.

He said, I have had all kinds of knee and foot surgeries.  There is a really good doctor who specializes in working with youth that I highly recommend. I thanked him and felt like God had dialed his number for me.

I then got a call from my physical therapist friend who said, Hey, I’ve been doing some checking around and I got a name of a good doctor; his name is__________. I recognized it as the same name my other friend had just suggested! This doctor is located in a big city so I took this as God confirming that we needed this doctor. I called right away and they said they would see Nathan.

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At the same time this was going on, I found out I had to be at an appointment out of state (that I could not reschedule) on the same day I was to begin my first day at my new job. (I have been a homeschooling homemaker for twenty-six years and have not worked outside the home with the exception of teaching piano lessons. Now, I’m excited to be a  preschool teacher at Muse Montessori.)

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Andrea Muse, Ashlee Bitton and I praying for all involved with Muse Montessori.

I had a knot in my stomach just thinking about having to tell my boss that it was impossible for me to be at work on my first day. This beginning date was set two months ago! I took a deep breath as I picked up the phone to explain my dilemma. When I told my boss I wouldn’t be able to make it Monday, she laughed out loud. I was bewildered.  Gaye, none of your students are going to be able to come Monday! I was getting ready to call you. The mothers want them to begin Tuesday.  You are fine. Don’t worry about it.

This brought tears to my eyes and I was so humbled to see how God was going before me and working out all the details of my problems. Walking with God doesn’t mean we won’t ever have difficulties.  Quite the contrary, Jesus told us to count the cost as we consider taking up His cross and following Him. BUT, the most cool thing is, that no matter what we have to deal with in this life, He is always right there with us…walking through our storms with us…carrying us much of the time…AND loving us all the way!

9e9d4b67fe3ecf46972e94a2eec251ecWhy am I amazed when God does what only He can do?  When I see Him work for the umpteenth time in my life?  When He delights in doing things like this for me?  When He holds this whole world in His very capable hands?  When He tells the sun and moon when to shine?  When the king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water; he turneth it whitersoever he will. (Prov. 21:1) Why? Because I’m human, forgetful, and lack the necessary faith and trust in my awesome God. He is so deserving of our praise.

Hoping you are having a praise-filled day!

Gaye Hughes

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Nathan, my hero!

 

 

Stepping Out!

My cousin, Tommi Anne Davis, is not only family, but also my dear friend.  In spite of the many difficult days she has endured, she has managed to maintain her warm smile and sassy sense of humor. The trials have only made her stronger and shine more brilliantly of Jesus’ love and grace.  Her tender heart for God never ceases to inspire me.  When I read her recent post on Facebook, I immediately asked permission to post it on my blog.  Read and be blessed!

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My beautiful cuz at The Creation Museum near Cincinnati, OH July 2016

The “unofficial” theme of our orientation today was about taking risks. As someone who desires to be a godly Christian woman in a rapidly changing culture, I often wonder when “risks” are appropriate and when they are not.

I immediately thought of two good examples from the Bible. Abigail boldly took a risk and ran out to intercept King David with wise advice, and she was blessed for her actions. And one of the most beautiful love stories in the Bible takes place when Ruth boldly reveals her “availability” to Boaz. That worked out quite nicely too.

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Tommi Anne Davis July 2016

I think the key that sets apart these women from the less fortunate risk-takers like Sarah and Rebekah was they did not attempt to achieve God’s Will by using methods that were contrary to the character and Word of God.

 

I tend to grossly over analyze my actions wondering what is proper (call it my southern upbringing) but the bottom line is to love the Lord with all my heart until His will becomes my own, and that’s a risk that will always be rewarded with unfathomable glory.

Tommi Anne Davis

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Tommi Anne and I are traveling buddies. Here we were hiking a trail along the Ohio River July 2016

 

 

The Ark Encounter

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There have been thousands of people tour the ark, but it wasn’t crowded at the time we were there.

Recently, my cousin and I drove to Kentucky to see the replica of Noah’s Ark. Dr. Ken Ham used the dimensions found in the Genesis 6 in the Bible. The Ark is 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high. It has 3.1 million board feet of timber. This is the biggest timber-framed structure in the world.

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Notice how small the people are standing near the concrete pillars!

We was SO blessed to be at The Ark Encounter on opening day, July 7, 2016!  When I first saw the ark, I thought, “Wow! It’s massive! How ridiculous Noah must have looked in his day to build such a huge ship when it had not even rained before!”

At the entrance there was a video they had made of a reporter interviewing Noah as it may have taken place in his day.  This lady reporter was evil looking with her painted face and sarcastic attitude.  She mocked Noah for building such a huge boat without any way of steering it. You saw the patience in Noah as he pleaded with her to make preparations because God was about to flood the earth and He was providing a way to save all who would believe.  The reporter scorned him and walked away declaring to her friends how crazy this man was.

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As we entered the Ark, we heard the sounds of birds, oxen lowing, and many other animal sounds. And can you imagine the smell of all that fresh wood as we saw the massive timbers, the wooden floors and walls? All the storage areas for food and water and all the cages for the animals were made of wood.  All the water pitchers and bags of grain was organized neatly and secured on wooden shelves.

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The taxidermy was incredible. The animals in the cages looked so real. Right away I noticed the animals were young and small.  This would make sense that when God  sent the pairs of animals to the ark that He would do this.

 

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They would have taken up less space, eaten and drank less, been more resilient, and would have better able to reproduce after being on the ark for a year waiting out the flood. Also, there was plenty of room on the ark for Noah and the animals because God only sent a male and female of each kind of animal. For example, there was only one pair of dogs.  There didn’t need to be a pair of every different kind of dog because the basic genes were in that one pair to procreate the other types of dogs.

It was interesting to see what Noah and his family’s living quarters may have looked like.

IMG_20160707_170040710There were several exhibits in the ark to explain how Noah, his wife, three sons, and their wives probably cared for the animals and lived on the ark. Where the Bible is specific, they had the Bible verses. There was an explanation for how they probably had a way to store the rain water to water the animals for the year. I think it is a common assumption that we are a lot smarter today than Noah and his family were. Ken Ham believes God gave Noah and his family incredible abilities to run a “tight ship.” And why wouldn’t he? It only makes sense.

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I was struck by the awesome responsibility God entrusted Noah with to build this massive structure and care for all these animals! Noah was created to preach about God’s love for a sinful generation of people. They did evil continually and it grieved God that they wouldn’t choose to do right. But Noah was a just man and walked with God and he found grace in the eyes of the Lord. (Genesis 6:8, 9)

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Noah releasing the raven to see if the waters had receded.

As Noah was busy building this huge structure, he was preaching all the while trying to convince others to join him and be saved from the flood.   The Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man...(Gen. 6:3) God had had enough.

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The only door on the ark. And the Bible says God shut the door after all the animals and Noah entered the ark. (Genesis 7:16)

There is only one door on the ark.  All who were saved from the flood waters, had to enter through that door. This was a picture of Jesus, who later, would come to earth and say, I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved and shall go in and out, and find pasture. (John 10:9)

 

 

 

Although Noah faithfully warned the wicked people of the coming judgement, they would not believe him. How sad it must have been for Noah to be so committed to following God’s plan and believing every word God said, but had no neighbors or extended family to join him.

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Wow! If only this could be said of me!

 

Noah’s persistence to obey God for years without seeing any immediate results, is amazing to me. His obedience paid off though.  He and his family was saved from the world wide flood.

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One of the most sobering exhibits.

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The same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. (Genesis 7:11)

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Noah and his family worshipped God.

One exhibit was particularly interesting to me because my new little grandson will soon be born. There was a display of many children’s books that have illustrations where the animals are hanging off a tiny boat. These are commonly found in church nurseries and Christian homes. They made the point that it’s no wonder people think the ark wasn’t big enough to hold all the animals after being  indoctrinated with these illustrations. These images trivialize man’s sin and the Lord’s righteous and holy character. I had never thought of that before. This makes it appear that God did not provide adequately for those who would believe, repent, and be saved from the flood.

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There was a sign that also got my attention.  It was the devil speaking.

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They also have one of the largest restaurants in the world that is dwarfed by the ark. It  seats 1,500 people, has lots of taxidermy inside and is also made of wood. It is beautiful as it is surrounded by porches with a breath taking view of the nearby mountains.

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Emzara’s Restaurant (Named after Noah’s wife- information obtained from ancient writings.)

They also have a petting zoo.  If you have a chance to go visit The Ark Encounter, I certainly recommend it.  The Creation Museum is about 45 minutes away and it is really interesting to visit there also. I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour!  Have a blessed day!

Gaye Hughes

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The sheep were my favorite animals at the petting zoo!

 

 

 

Abby’s Adventures- “Where did that come from?”

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Hiking in the NC mountains

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Wild blueberries

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These pictures were taken by Abby on a hike Saturday afternoon.  The campers arrive each week on Monday afternoon and leave Saturday morning.  After the staff thoroughly cleans the camp, they are free for the afternoon. The following is Abby’s update for this past week. Gaye

Wow. Where do I even begin? I have so much to testify about this week, but I’ll try to pick out the important parts.

I think this week has been the best one I’ve had all summer. Not because of anything I did, but because of everything God has done. I’ve always heard that I should have my devotions and spend time alone with God to pray. But these past few weeks, I’ve realized that it’s not just that I SHOULD have time alone with God… I NEED it. Oh boy do I need it. I don’t always rely on God’s strength. I say that I do, but I don’t always live that out. I have always been very unfaithful in my Bible studies. When I was at school I was “too busy” to have time for anything more than skim reading a chapter or so in the Bible a day. There was no depth. Since I’ve been at camp, I think it’s finally hitting me that my actions are DIRECTLY related to my level of dependence on God. I’m still learning how to die to myself every day, but I have seen improvement and growth. I’m becoming more faithful in my devotions because I know I NEED Him.

31525_20120905_231838_Keep_quotesI'm improvingI won’t go into detail, but Tuesday night I counseled a girl who struggled with homosexuality. God had convicted her of it during the service and she was so broken about her sin. She told me about how she had pushed God and her parents away for months. She stopped going to church and had completely rebelled. But now she was sitting in front of me in tears. It’s amazing how God’s word can change a person.

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At first when she said that she struggled with homosexuality, I started freaking out a little on the inside. I was thinking “I don’t identify with this at all! I have no idea what to say! What if she thinks I’m judging her? How can I show her this in love? What if I say the wrong things?” But as I talked with her, God gave me words to speak. I don’t remember everything I said, but I just remember walking away from it thinking, “Where did that come from?” I knew beyond a doubt that it didn’t come from me. God had worked in her heart so much and all I had to do was watch it happen.

That is one of at least 3 separate times this week that I felt God’s power take over when I was completely unqualified for the job.

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Please pray for the girl I mentioned above. A lot of things are going to have to change in her life. She kept saying, “I just feel trapped in this and I can’t change now.” But we always have the choice to do right. Jesus died to free us from sin. We aren’t slaves to it anymore. It just comes down to when we say we love God, do we mean it? She has a tough road ahead with cutting off some of her close friends, apologizing to her parents, possibly having to repent in front of her church, etc. She knows it’s not going to be easy, but she seemed very firm about her decision to forsake her old lifestyle. Just pray that she will continue to make that decision every day.

58354f6079612402a520db961af9c230daily choicesThere were several other girls I talked with this week who also made really big decisions that will drastically change their lives when they go home. I pray that these won’t just be “camp decisions” that fade away when they go home, but that they will continue to let God show them areas of their life to surrender to Him.

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Nothing that happened this week was because of my strength. I experienced God working as I counseled these girls and it was THE COOLEST!!! I could never have come up with the perfect words to provoke that kind of change in these girls’ lives. God changed their hearts. I’m just so thankful I got to witness it all.

Working at camp this summer has been so rewarding. Seeing lives changed every week never gets old. Now I’m constantly looking for the next opportunity to talk with someone about God, or ask them what God has been teaching them. I’m reminded of how only God can bring true joy and satisfaction. The world has NOTHING on God. Experiencing God is the best high you will ever get.

Thank you so much for your prayers!

Abby Hughes

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Here’s the country girl coming out in Abby!

 

Fast Food or Steak and Potatoes?

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Recently, I was asking God to heal someone. It would take a miracle and I knew it. I said, God I know you can do this. Jesus instantly healed a blind man, made a lame man walk, healed the lepers, healed the woman with the blood disorder and raised Lazarus from the dead. As I was praying and reminding God of all He could do, He seemed to ask me, But do you believe that I will do it? Are you really expecting me to do this?

It’s like the people who gathered to pray for rain, but only one brought an umbrella.

As I searched my heart, I realized I had my doubts. I was challenged. I know God has done many miracles in my life, but did I really believe He would do another one? Most of the miracles God has done for me, I didn’t even ask Him for them! He chose to step in and do exceedingly, abundantly above anything I even thought to ask. I was humbled as I remembered some of the many miracles God has done in my life.

I also asked myself if I was praying for healing for this person for selfish reasons that would benefit me. I really didn’t think so.  Then I think the devil stepped into my thinking with, Well, who do you think you are to think God is going to answer your prayer when there’s probably been lots of family and friends praying and it hasn’t helped? The devil is just good like that to discourage us, isn’t he?  I responded with, But what if God choses to use my prayer to change things? And just maybe the health of this person would be a lot worse had it not been for all those other prayers.

I also realized how lacking my prayer life has been in intensity. Oh, I do the “fast food” prayers pretty often, but I sure don’t do enough of the “steak and potato” prayers. As serious as I thought I’d been with God in prayer at times, it occurred to me that I may not even have a clue as to what it’s like to experience deep communion with God.

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James 5:16 says,…the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, here are some definitions that helped me understand this better.

Effectual means the power to produce an effect or ardent, the intense degree of zeal, devotion or enthusiasm.

This isn’t a quick prayer said in passing like a lot of mine are or a “send one up” when you feel like it.  This is getting down to business with God. I think of Hannah’s prayer in I Samuel 1: 10-13 where she was longing for a child so much she was “in bitterness of soul,” wept, and cried out to God so much that as she prayed the priest thought she was drunk.  It was an all-consuming passion of hers to be a mother. She was desperate.  She got down to business with God. And God answered in the affirmative and gave her a son.

The-value-of-persistent-prayer-is-not-thatFervent means marked by great intensity of feeling. Hannah was definitely in deep emotional pain. And she knew where to take those feelings…to God.

Now for the righteous part! Does that word make you as uneasy as it does me?  I have a hard time thinking of myself as righteous. What does it even mean to be righteous? Again, Webster’s helped me out.

 

Righteous is acting in accord with divine or moral law; free from guilt or sin.

We learn right from wrong from the Bible.

II Timothy 3:16 says,

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I Corinthians 15:34 says, Awake to righteousness, and sin notSo we need to learn what is right and choose to do it. Do right till the stars fall.  At the university I attended there was a sign that read,  It’s never right to do wrong to get the chance to do right.

The problem is, we won’t ever have the desire to do right without God. But when we repent, believe in Jesus, and ask Him to be the Lord of our life, our “wanter” changes.

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Instead of living for ourselves, we want to live for God and do what pleases Him. Philippians 1:11 says we can be filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.  For He (God) hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

It’s only through Jesus that we can be right with God. BUT, when we are right with God, we become adopted into His family and become a joint heir with Jesus (Romans 8:17).

untitled boldly prayAnd then we have an Abba Father or “daddy” that we can confidently, directly converse with at any time when we have a need. We can know He loves us, wants a relationship with us, and is willing and ready to help us when we ask.  Hallelujah, what a Savior! But we must ask!

The prayers of the righteous availeth much.  That means they matter a lot whether we can actually see results or not.

My prayer right now is that the ones reading this will join with me to resolve to get more serious about talking with God more intently and listening to Him better.

Have a blessed, prayer-filled day!

Gaye Hughes

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More Abby Adventures!

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Abby (third from left, front row) and the other waitresses serving at the banquet.

Hello friends!  I hope you are well and enjoying your summer! I’ve gotten behind posting about Abby’s adventures at The Wilds Christian Camp.  I’ve been on some adventures of my own!  I’ve decided to save that for later and catch you up on camp life and what God is continuing to teach Abby this summer. – Gaye

Week 5- Eating Humble Pie during the Weak Week

Hey!  We were told at the beginning of the week that this one is usually where it starts to get hard because the constant lack of sleep really catches up with you.  I was thinking, “Oh really?  I thought I was already there!”  I’m running on coffee and God’s grace at this point. Lol!  But I want to share some thoughts from a message I heard this week about weakness.

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The message was on 1 Corinthians 12:9 where Paul tells us that God’s grace is sufficient for us, and that His power is perfected in our weakness.  I love this verse.  It has so many applications especially as I get older.  But there were some things he pointed out that I had never thought about before.  I’ve always known that this verse meant that when we are weak, God’s strength will sustain us.  God will give us grace to get through the trials in our lives.

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But the speaker took it to the flip side. This verse is also saying that when we try to rely on our own strength, God will not give us grace, because we aren’t receiving and asking for it.  It’s easy to ask for God’s help in things I know I can’t do on my own.  But what about the things I feel like I’m good at? I need to be asking for God’s grace in EVERY area of my life. I can’t do ANYTHING on my own.

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 I hope I’m not the only one who has done this, but it seems like every time I start getting high and mighty about something, I fail… EPICALLY.  Just this week I was hiking with some friends, and this one girl was going really slowly.  She was having a hard time with the hills and all the roots.  She kept slipping.  I had this thought, “I’m really surefooted.  I’m in such great shape.  I haven’t slipped once!”  Immediately after that thought crossed my mind, I skidded on a rock, scrapped down my leg and fell right on my hip.  I have a few good bruises to remind me to stay humble! Ha ha! God has a way of making sure I don’t get too proud.
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  I’m also really competitive.  I was joking around and bragging about my ping pong skills a few weeks ago and one guy asked if I’d like to play sometime.  I mockingly asked if he could keep it on the table, and he said “I’ll try.”  Well, I found out real quickly that he was in fact very good at ping pong.  I. Got. Creamed.  He slammed it on me every single time.
 These are just a few of many embarrassing stories I could tell you about my pride.  But I just wanted to share that because, when I’m relying on my own strength, I will always fail.  It’s when I humble myself and I KNOW I can’t do it on my own when God really uses me. Have you ever experienced those times when you expected to fail and pleaded for God to help you, and it turned out better than you would have ever imagined?  God chooses to use weak people.  Let’s have a weak week every week so God can be glorified in our lives.
I miss you all!
Abby Hughes

Week 6- Sowing the Seeds of the Gospel

Hey! I can’t believe we’re almost halfway through the summer! July 4th is tomorrow, and I can’t help but get a little homesick when I think about the cookouts, fireworks, watermelon, pies, Frisbee, and countless other things I associate with this holiday. I hope you all enjoy this long weekend with your families!

As operational staff, I don’t always get to know about all the specific stories that go on during a week of camp. But, usually once or twice a week, there is a big invitation given and the counselors can’t talk with everyone, so operational staff go help counsel the campers that want to make a decision. Counseling is a very humbling experience. I feel so inadequate for it, but it’s crazy how God brings verses to your mind. It’s just like Luke 12:12 talks about when it says “for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

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Each time I talk with a camper, I’m reminded of how blessed I have been to grow up in a good home. My heart breaks hearing these girls talk about their parents divorcing, or their brother who is into drugs, or their Dad who doesn’t love them. There are so many bad situations that they are coming from, and at the end of the week, we’re sending them back to that. How can I prepare a child to be a light in their home, or to fight against bitterness, when I only have them for 15 minutes?

I can’t.

There are no magic words I can say. In fact, they probably wouldn’t even remember them if I did. But, the encouraging thing is that isn’t my responsibility. All I can do in those 15 minutes is point them to Christ. He is the only one who can follow them home and help them for the rest of their lives.

I was so encouraged by the testimonies this week. We tend to get discouraged when we don’t see immediate change here at camp. But I was reminded that these youth pastors who bring the campers have been laboring all year long and pouring into these kids, and we just get to pick the fruit. But sometimes, they aren’t ready yet. Sometimes we have the job of laboring, and we may never see the time of harvest.

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One of the testimonies that particularly blessed me was this guy counselor who had a camper who was very closed up. I think his name was John. He had been here at camp before. The counselor who had had him last year, warned John’s new counselor that he didn’t like to participate in activities, wouldn’t talk, and just had a bad attitude about camp in general. Last year John left without making any changes in his life.

This year,  he had the same attitude. He wouldn’t listen in service, he got “lost” a lot, and he wouldn’t open up to anyone. Thursday afternoon all the guys went on a hike, and it just so happened that John and his counselor were walking together behind everyone else. On that hike, he and his counselor talked for a long time about what it means to be a Christian, and John accepted Jesus as his Savior.

It’s amazing to hear how God softens people’s hearts. After John got saved, he was taking notes in the service and witnessing to his cabin. When God changes a life, it’s dramatic! It makes me ask myself, “Where did my fire go?”

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I wanted to share this story because a lot of times I tend to forget that what I’m doing matters. I think about that other counselor who had John in his cabin last year. He didn’t get to see John changed. He wasn’t the one who got to lead him to the Lord. But his love and patience made an impact. When you pour into someone’s life, even if you only come in contact with them for 5 minutes, you are laboring for the Gospel. You may never see the day when that person’s field is white for harvest, but you can be one of the things God uses to bring them to Himself.

It’s comforting and humbling to know that God doesn’t need me, but He wants to use me anyway.

Happy 4th of July!

Abby Hughes

Week 7- We ARE Salt and Light

Hey!  I can’t believe it’s already week 7!  God has been so good this summer.  This weekend we had an SPP Banquet for all of the Partners who support Summer Staff (like me!).  I know driving 12 hours round trip is pretty excessive, so I understand why you couldn’t make it, but I want you to know just how much I appreciate your supporting me this summer.
You have been a blessing to me and to the ministry that continues here at The Wilds Christian Camp.  I wish you could see all the fruits of your support and prayers, but I guess that will just be a surprise that waits for you in heaven.  While on earth, you will never fully know how much you have impacted this world for Christ.  Thank you for all you have done for me and my family.
  This week of camp was the fullest week we’ve had so far.  I think I heard that we had 1,200 campers.  That probably includes the sponsors that came with them, but still, that is a lot of people!
  I feel like being at camp is such a huge opportunity for me to be a witness to all these kids, but sometimes I forget that I don’t have to be at camp to be a witness.  I should be ministering ALL the time.  On weekends I think I have “time off,” but why would I ever stop ministering to a lost world?  People are BEGGING for relief from the pain and heartache.  I have the answer!  Why would I hold that in?
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 I was reminded of this truth just a few hours ago when I went to the store after church.  I was just minding my own business and somehow started talking to a Native American who was working in the store.  Casual conversation turned to spiritual things when I told him I worked at the Wilds Christian Camp.
He had a lot of pantheistic ideas about God being in everything and everything being God.  I listened to his background and asked what religion he considered himself to be.  He had been part of several different groups and pulled a little bit from each one.  I asked if he had been saved and if he was sure that he would go to heaven.  He told me he hoped so.
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  At that point I was able to share with him about how I knew for SURE that I was saved, and how he could be sure too.  I told him about Romans 10:9 and 10 that says if we confess our sins and believe in our hearts, we will be saved.  And God ALWAYS keeps his promises.  He told me he didn’t know how to make life count.  He said “your working at camp, and that’s good!  You’re making a difference for people. But I don’t think I am.”
 So I shared with him how living for GOD is the only way to make your life count.  And if we have a relationship with God, we ARE the SALT of the earth and the LIGHT of the world.  And if we have that relationship, it doesn’t matter where we are, we WILL be influencing the world. His eyes lit up and he asked me to repeat that part and then said “I want to get a tattoo of that!”
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   I don’t know how much of a help I was to that man, or if he even understood all of what I was saying, but I was amazed at how much he wanted to know.  He was so excited about it.  He HUNGERED for God.  The whole world is hungering.  They want hope!  They want God.  Whether they say it or not, that is the only thing that will satisfy their starving hearts.  How selfish I have been to not share the hope I have.
  For me, it’s easy to get into routine and forget how much a responsibility I have as a Christian.  But the cool thing is, Matthew 5 doesn’t say I “will be”  salt and light.  I AM salt and light.  When I accepted Christ I was irreversibly changed.  Now all I have to do is stop quenching my fire.
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   We ARE the salt of the earth, and we ARE the light of the world.  The world needs some salt and light. So let it shine this week!  Feed the starving souls you encounter every day.
Abby Hughes