Thursday, August 31, 2017

Perfect Peace Scripture Picture





Dad and I saw this pretty cow bird this morning drinking some water from our little pond.
Nature and all the unique animals that God had made are truly amazing. It's neat how creation  points us back to the creator. It's a good reminder that just as the animals point us to God we who are also his creation, should point others to our creator just as this little cowbird does.

~Elizabeth

Monday, April 17, 2017

Exceedingly Abundantly~Mark and Breanna's Engagement Story!

So, I (Breanna) would like to share with you all the newest exciting news in the Alexander's house and introduce to you all to...

Mark Barry, the love of my life and the amazing precious man who asked me, on April 8th, if I would marry him!!!

Oh God has worked in such amazing ways to bring us together and it has been, truly, watching God work a miracle right before our eyes!  So, if you all feel up to a story, let me share with you at least a little bit of how God has worked "exceedingly abundantly" in our lives! :-)  There's so much to the whole story, but I'll share at least a little bit of my side of it with you.

We first met the Barry family, my precious soon to be in-loves! :-), back in October of 2013 when we visited for the first time the church that we are now members of, shortly after we moved from Ohio to Georgia.  But actually we didn't get to meet Mark until at a friends wedding in January 2014.  Over the past several years we've enjoyed so much getting to know the Barry's and fellowship each week with them at church!

I noticed Mark from the very first, and thought he seemed like such an amazing guy, very serious about his walk with the Lord, focused, passionate and very purposeful in seeking and serving the Lord and serving others, strong and confident, a people guy, always looking for a way to serve.  Struck me as a "wow"!, but I committed before the Lord to seek to guard my heart with all diligence and just pray and wait on Him to reveal His perfect will.  Elisabeth Elliot's book Passion and Purity was extremely shaping in my life, as I learned from it not to pursue a relationship with a guy, but to simply pray about it and leave it with the Lord and wait on Him, quietly and obediently, surrendering all of my own hopes and desires.  My goal was to be "asleep" in the will of the Lord, His willing handmaiden, wanting only His will to be done, whatever that might mean. He always knows what is best!  Seeing this amazing guy each week at church made it difficult.  For 2 years I prayed earnestly about Mark and waited and, I'd be lying if I didn't admit to this, struggled to wait and say nothing and do nothing but simply leave it in the Hands of Him who works all things according to His will.  The Lord gave me in a very clear way in November of 2014 the passage in Ephesians 3:20-21a in regard to Mark, "Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory."  The message was clear...just trust God and let Him work and WAIT!  Another very shaping book in my life was "When God Writes Your Love Story" by Eric and Leslie Ludy, where I was first so struck by the concept of giving God the pen of my life and allowing Him to write His story for my life, including my love life, surrendering my will and dreams and desires in His hands.  As I later came to see...He writes the BEST love stories! :-)

So not only was there this amazing guy in my life that was truly the most amazing guy I'd ever met, who totally didn't seem to notice me at all, was nice and everything, but it was pretty obvious there was no special interest there.  But also, the years keep passing, and for the girl who thought getting married around 18 seemed perfect, I was wondering about if maybe God didn't have marriage for me.  Discouragement was a constant enemy that had to be battled against.  Can I surrender the desire of my heart for marriage and be His joyful and willing servant and serve Him faithfully however He would have me to as a single woman?  Each time I thought I had reached complete surrender, the Lord uncovered yet another level of surrender to be learned and laid down on the alter.  In October of 2016 I went through another one of those, but each time finding more and more peace in resting in the will of God and finding communion with Him sweeter and sweeter as He took me to new depths of understanding Who He is and to trust Him with my life. 

On October 21st, on the other side of the battle, I was sharing with Mom and Dad about how the Lord had been working in my heart.  Dad seemed so touched.  He asked me about when the Lord did this work in my heart.  When I shared with him when it was, he blessed me so much by what he shared with me.  He encouraged me that God is at work and to take comfort in that even though I can’t see it right now.  He shared with me that someone, he couldn’t remember who, often when they prayed would thank the Lord for what He is about to do.  We can thank Him for what He is about to do.  He is at work, even when we feel the pain of silence and waiting.  

Little did I know that the reason Dad was so touched was because... around September God had laid me on Mark's heart and Mark had been praying about beginning a relationship with me and had approached his parents about me.  Then in October Mr. Barry had taken it to Dad.  Here I was struggling like crazy as God took me through another lesson and level in surrender and here at the same time God was at work to bring us together, and I had NO idea!  Mom told me about it on November 2nd and November 12th Mark asked Dad to begin a courtship with me and we began courting, taking an 8 mile walk as we talked and began the most special journey of getting to know each other, sharing our hearts and seeking out God's will for our lives!  As I shared with a friend soon after Mark and I began our courtship, "This guy is everything and so much more than I could ever have dreamed of and hoped for!  He's very serious in his walk with the Lord, is very strong in his desire to serve the Lord and be purposeful in that in life, is definitely a family man and is very close with his parents and 7 siblings, he is a very strong leader, displaying amazing and beautiful leadership skills, a man of conviction, is very honest, open and transparent, is an amazing servant, a really hard worker, lots of energy, outgoing in his personality, definitely a talker.  Though not perfect, his character is outstanding and his heart is very sincere.  We're just beginning the journey together, but I am overflowing with thankfulness to the Lord!  He has worked in such amazing ways!  Far beyond what I could ever ask or think!"



Little did I know just how precious the heart of my man is, but over the next several months I got to see deeper and deeper into the depth of his heart and those months were filled with so much...joy, nervousness, excitement, discovery, emotions, and growing as we got to know each other more, share life together and grow together in the Lord!  Though it may seem like just "the right thing to say", I can truly honestly say that being in a relationship with Mark has drawn us both closer to the Lord and with the help of the Lord, Christ truly has been the center of our relationship and it has brought so much joy and peace through it all!  We have shared so much together, our hearts, joys and triumphs, happy times, discouragements and defeats, struggles and tears, God using everything He brought into our lives through that part of our journey to draw us nearer to Him together and bring our hearts closer together.    It has been such a precious journey and I could not be more thankful for the precious man that God brought into my life to walk down this road together with!  It has been such an amazing blessing and sweet journey by Mark's side seeking the Lord together! 

Then...on  April 8th... :-) Mark was here for a visit.  It was an absolutely perfectly beautiful day, clear blue skies, bright sun, a slight breeze, 72 degrees...amazing!  Mom had the "random idea" ;-) of going to a park near us in the afternoon to walk and then to later all go out for dinner.  Sounds fun. :-)  We all cleaned up for "pictures" that they wanted to take later and for "dinner" later, then all headed to the park.  We pulled up and Mark's like, oh, look who's here?!  His family was there from two hours away!  Surprise! Mrs. Barry said it was just too nice of a day to stay inside! :-)  Mark quickly took me off for a walk and we enjoyed walking and soaking in the beauty of the day, talking about all that God has done in our lives together, how blessed we are, and just honestly lost in each other!  

He didn't seem to be in any hurry, but casually asked if I wanted to walk up by the lake.  There was a beautiful white veranda right in front of the lake that we walked up to and Mark asked if I'd like to sit down for a while.  With him???  Absolutely!! :-)  We walk in and there on the bench is a beautiful bouquet of red roses that he picks up and hands to me and says, these are for you! :-)  Yes, he's super sweet! :-)
Then we sat down and he asks if I'd like to take a walk down memory lane with him. 

He then proceeded to pull out a laptop and began playing a picture music video of our story that he wrote special memories and so many sweet things and special moments and fun times we’d shared together.  The first screen that pulled up said, “To the Love of my life” with “our verse” from Ephesians 3:20-21a below it, with the song from “our CD” playing, Faithfully.  I started crying.  It was so precious to sit side by side together and begin at day one and walk down memory lane of our journey together of 4 days short of 5 months, listening to our favorite songs, seeing the sweet pictures, reading what he wrote, he poured so much into putting it together!  It created such a peaceful, joyful, emotion and love filled, close together, tender moment!




 After it finished playing, he stood up and gently asked me to stand up with him.  I then stood up and he promptly turned and faced me and went down on his one knee and held a ring in his left hand and looked up straight into my face with tears in his eyes and asked me if I would marry him.  I started crying the moment he went down on his knee, so just lost and overwhelmed with joy and happiness in the awe and specialness of this moment, of his love, of the years of waiting and crying and trusting and hoping and praying and holding on, all became so beautifully worth it as God so faithfully and beautifully was unfolding the perfectness of His ways and timing as His gift of this amazingly precious man in front of me, that God so amazingly worked to bring us together and begin a relationship together 5 months ago, that I’ve been growing closer to each day and fallen in love with, adore and admire, have shared so much joy together and the closeness and deep tender things of our hearts together, so everything and so much more than I could ever have dreamed of, our hearts so specially shaped by God for each other, here he is, on his knee, loving me and asking me to marry him, to spend the rest of our lives together!  I cannot even begin to accurately describe and put into words the emotions that went through me in that moment, the tenderness, the love, the joy, the peace!  It was overwhelming.  It took me but a second to respond with a yes!, which he later told me I whispered it.   :-)




 He then stood up and wrapped his arm around me and we hugged for the very first time and shared happy tears together, so filled with love and emotion and joy and rejoicing! 


 We then went to our precious family's who were eagerly waiting for us (and surrounding us at a distance snapping pictures :-)!) with hugs and lots of love and rejoicing!  It was such a blessing to have both of our family's there, all sharing in that special moment together with love and rejoicing!  The blessing of the Lord and the beauty and goodness of His ways was so manifest as He allowed us to get to live it out that day, together, with the love and blessing of our families!


Then proceeded an engagement photo shoot :-)...







 Ah, this picture makes me laugh! :-)


And...the ring!  It is so beautiful and such an honor to have his ring on my finger, all that it means, the blessing of being Mark's girl forever!




We all went out to supper together and enjoyed the evening celebrating all together!  It was so special!
He has done exceedingly abundantly above all that I could have ever asked or thought, writing the most beautiful love story ever, making all things so beautiful in His time!  Oh the faithfulness of our amazing God, oh we can so trust Him and just give to Him the pen of our lives, surrendering all we have and all our hopes and dreams into His hands!  He does exceedingly abundantly amazing things, ALL His ways are SO good!!!  We are so excited to be heading towards the special day when I’ll walk down the isle and he’ll take my hand for the first time and we’ll promise ourselves to each other, into God’s keeping, to seek and serve Him side by side together, until death do us part, sharing life and love together, forever, as one in Him!  Oh how great is our God!  One of our sayings during courtship was "how big is our God?"  Oh how He has shown us over and over again just how BIG He is!  THIS is our God…we have waited on Him!!!



Friday, April 7, 2017

Mistaken Identity Story

Mistaken Identity

For the Lord seeth not as man seeth, for man looketh on the outward appearance, but he Lord looketh on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

"I can't understand why this contrary horse won't let me hitch him to the buggy." Silas said to his wife, as they prepared for a trip to town. Irene climbed into the buggy. "Guess he wants to be stubborn this morning."  
Silas struggled with the horse for several more minuets before he finally accomplished his task. "Sure hope he doesn't act up on the way to town." He took his seat in the drivers seat, picked up the reins, and gave them a flick to get the horse moving. 
Nothing happened, the horse didn't budge. Silas tried again, this time offering a few words of encouragement to the stubborn animal. "Get up there boy," " lets go now!" The horse whined and pawed at the ground. Silas looked at Irene and frowned. "I may have to use the buggy whip, but I never had to use it with this horse before." 
Another horse and buggy came rolling in the drive just then. Silas's friend Levi was in the drivers seat. "How are you?" Levi called "I'm doing fine," Silas replied. "I wish I could say the same about my horse." 
"You mean MY horse don't you?" 
Silas's forehead wrinkled. "Is your horse acting up too?" 
Levi pulled his buggy up beside Silas's rig and climbed down. "The horse you've got hitched to your buggy is mine and I've got yours." Silas sat there several seconds, letting Levi's words sink in. "I wonder how that happened." 
"We must have taken each other's horses when we left the Yoder's place after church yesterday." Levi stroked his own horse behind the ear, "They do look almost alike." Silas chuckled, "no wonder I had such a hard time getting him hitched to the buggy, I should have realized he wasn't mine by the way he was acting." "The poor horse wasn't really being stubborn, Irene put in, it was just a case of mistaken Identity." 
As he did with Silas and Levi's horses, God makes each of us unique. while we might look similar to someone else, the way we act is proof of who we really are and whose we are. It's important for Christians to do and say things that bring glory to God so the world will know we belong to him. If we live as God wants us to, there will never be cause for mistaken Identity. 
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
"Others may be deaf to our words but they are never blind to our actions."

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

God Knows Best

I read this a few years ago and Breanna shared it with me afresh this morning.  What a precious illustration to me, as a parent, with my children.  I hope it will be an encouragement to you as well as you pray over your children and loved ones.  ~Karen

Consider the lilies, how they grow (Matt. 6:28).
I need oil," said an ancient monk; so he planted an olive sapling. "Lord," he prayed, "it needs rain that its tender roots may drink and swell. Send gentle showers." And the Lord sent gentle showers. "Lord," prayed the monk, "my tree needs sun. Send sun, I pray Thee." And the sun shone, gilding the dripping clouds. "Now frost, my Lord, to brace its tissues," cried the monk. And behold, the little tree stood sparkling with frost, but at evening it died.
Then the monk sought the cell of a brother monk, and told his strange experience. "I, too, planted a little tree," he said, "and see! it thrives well. But I entrust my tree to its God. He who made it knows better what it needs than a man like me. I laid no condition. I fixed not ways or means. 'Lord, send what it needs,' I prayed, 'storm or sunshine, wind, rain, or frost. Thou hast made it and Thou dost know.'"
Yes, leave it with Him,
The lilies all do,
And they grow--
They grow in the rain,
And they grow in the, dew--
Yes, they grow:
They grow in the darkness, all hid in the night--
They grow in the sunshine, revealed by the light--
Still they grow.
Yes, leave it with Him
'Tis more dear to His heart,
You will know,
Than the lilies that bloom,
Or the flowers that start
'Neath the snow:
Whatever you need, if you seek it in prayer,
You can leave it with Him--for you are His care.

You, you know.
--Selected

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Words and Deeds


Words and Deeds

Where words are many
Sin is not absent
Words are like a penny
That is easily spent
The tongue has great power
But its deeds that prove words 
In the hour, of many words
So we must love
In deed and in truth
As a dove and as Ruth
For its not what we say
Its all what we do 
Each and every day 
Year by year through.



Written by ~ Elizabeth

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Our little precious is ONE!


Benjamin Seth Alexander
What a super fun and BLESSED year it has been!  This little guy has brought so much JOY into our lives and we all LOVE him so much!!!

2016/17 Family Picture

God is so good!  What a special thing family is!  Just missing our little buddy and his precious family.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Gospel

John 3:16
David Platt
Joh 3:16-21  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  (17)  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  (18)  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  (19)  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  (20)  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.  (21)  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Contrast 
We are all perishing.
          John 10:28
          15% of all of Jesus’ teaching deals with judgment and hell.
Our condemnation is personal.
          All of us stand condemned before the judgment of God.
Our condemnation is total
Joh 3:36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Rev 14:10  The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
Our condemnation is eternal
Mat 25:41  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
Rev 20:10  And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Our condemnation is irreversible
          Once we die condemned it is forever.
         
In Hell -
          We will realize how serious our sin is.
          We will realize how just God really is.
          We will realize how endless suffering really is.
The Unprecedented Rescue:
          God is all pursuing
          His salvation is personal
          His salvation is total
Psa 103:12  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
Joh 10:10  The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Joh 5:24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
          His salvation is irreversible

In heaven -
          We will realize how glorious grace really is.
          We will realize how merciful God really is.
          We will realize how endless satisfaction really is.
Rev 21:1  And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 
Rev 21:2  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 
Rev 21:3  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 
Rev 21:4  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 
Rev 21:5  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 
Rev 21:6  And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 
Rev 21:7  He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 

We are either headed to heaven or hell.
          Both will last forever!
Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The Choice -

You can either trust in your Saviour or trust in your self.