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I am extremely excited to announce a new ministry opportunity that has opened up for me beginning this summer. As many of you know writing and teaching Bible Studies is my passion. Just this past year we started uploading the audio of our Bible study lessons to SoundCloud. You can learn more about these on our Audio Bible Study page 

Now we are taking Bible studies to a whole new level – video Bible Studies! This has been a dream of mine for years, but due to costs, it was only a dream. Earlier this year a lady (whom I have never met) donated enough money to Ark Studio (a Christian recording studio located in Knoxville, TN) to  cover the filming of an initial series of Bible Study lessons. These studies will be 30 minutes in length and available to watch on youtube.

The title of the program will be “Hand to the Plow”

Those of you who know me, know that we live on a 225 year old family farm and our rich Appalachian heritage is very important to us. I am just a farm wife, mother, grandmother and writer whose passion is Bible studies. I have a definite Appalachian accent and make no apologies for it – it’s just me. I have been studying and writing for more than 40 years and now I have an opportunity to share that with you.

We will begin recording very soon and I will share those videos with you and information how you can subscribe to get a notice every time a new one is uploaded. This first series will be titled “Our Blessed Hope”. It is based on the last four chapters of the Book of Revelation. Every believer needs to know these facts. We do, my friends, have a “Blessed Hope” promised to us – and we need to learn how to share it with others! I hope you will pray for me and this new ministry!

And… (more exciting news) these videos are being designed with the format to be televised if a sponsor can be found. If you would like to support this ministry no donation is too small. We hope to raise enough to keep recording studies until God opens the door for television ministry. Please share this with anyone you know who would enjoy serious, verse-by-verse Bible studies!

We will soon offer PayPal for your online donations, but for now you can send donations to:

Betty Newman

P.O. Box 6675

Knoxville, TN 37914

I am not (yet) a non-profit ministry, so your donations will not be tax deductible (I assure you every penny will go toward the ministry) – but if you’d prefer to donate to a non-profit, send donations to:

Ark Studio

P.O. Box 6095

Knoxville, TN 37914

and designate that it is for Betty Newman.

Above all, I ask for your prayers, that God would direct me in His service! Amen!

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Psalm 1 speaks of the one who is blessed, whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and he meditates on it day and night. It says that this person will be like, “a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season…”

I’ve often taught that using the concept of at different times in our lives, we are in different “seasons”. We don’t serve when we are in our 60’s the same way we did in our 20’s, but “fruit” is still being produced.

There’s another thing that happens in different seasons of our lives – and this has more to do with “life” than it does with age. Some seasons are just plain harder than other seasons.

Twenty years ago Joe and I went through one period in our lives where we attended more than 12 funerals in 18 months. These were all family or extended family or church family. That was a tough season.

We seem to be in another “season” now. It seems that everywhere I look, someone I know has cancer or another debilitating disease – many of them are very serious. When we went through that season before, I wrote the following poem…. and I’ll have to admit, the thought about the wall crossed my mind again this morning…

 

Building that Wall Again

On July 11, 1996, we received the news that my aunt (whom we affectionately called “Gran”) was diagnosed with cancer, throughout… then I sat down and wrote this poem.

 

“When I was a child

I spoke as a child, I understood as a child

I thought as a child.

But, when I became an adult

I put away childish things…”*

Or did I?

 

In 1969, I was 15 years old

When my uncle died.

He was my Mother’s closest brother

And he was my friend.

And it hurt.

 

Then I decided

That if I built a wall around my heart

And never loved

That I would never be hurt… again…

So I did.

And it took many years to overcome that mentality

To be able to love again.

But I did.

I should say, with God’s help, I did…

 

And today I am an adult

With all the entrappings of adulthood,

A home

A husband

Children

Responsibilities…

 

But in the past year

I’ve been carrying a weight

That has about worn me down;

A mother-in-law with Alzheimer’s

But that wasn’t enough it seemed

The past 5 months

Have been one long bad dream…

 

I’ve lost an uncle

And an aunt

And a very sweet friend.

 

And now, I’m thinking about building that wall again.

I’m thinking

About building that wall again…

 

But it’s too late

I already love too many people…

 

©1996 Betty Newman

 

*Scripture from 1 Corinthians 13:11

 

(PS – Little did I know when I wrote that poem that over the next year, Joe and I would lose more than a dozen folks from our “blood” families and Church families… It was a very difficult 2 years…)

(PPS – today – 2017, I am holding to that “Blessed Hope” that is promised in the scriptures. As Job said, “I know my Redeemer liveth…” And because He lives, I can fact tomorrow… and today, too.  Amen.)

 

Most folks who know me, know that we live on a farm and always have a huge garden every year.

We can, freeze and preserve from this garden to feed our family for the next year (and I sell a little, too, to help pay the costs of the garden seed and plants).

As you can imagine, a garden this size requires a lot of work – and that’s before the canning starts! This morning I was pulling weeds out of the beans and came across a “parable”.

Can you tell the difference between the morning glory (a weed) and the beans in this picture?

Maybe this picture makes it a little clearer.

Much like Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares, the morning glories and beans look very similar. The morning glories are the more pointed leaves, and the beans are darker green and more rounded – but as you can see, you have to look closely (discern) which is a destructive weed (of which morning glories most definitely are) and which is the food giving bean plant.

If you aren’t a gardener, you may actually buy morning glory seeds to plant for flowers – and they are very pretty – but they also can choke the life out of other plants. This is a picture of a morning glory in bloom from last year’s garden.

In the early morning, in the dew and fog – they are absolutely beautiful, but morning glories are a lot like sin and false teaching. It is very pretty, and very difficult, at times, to tell from the food giving plant (or truth). The morning glory is also very invasive. One morning glory plant left to itself can wrap around several food plants – and wrap in such a way that it is nearly impossible to remove it from the food plant without breakage or damage (and although weeds, broken off, grow back profusely – a food plant, once broken, dies).

The only way to remove a morning glory plant is to pull it out by the root – which is also hard to do because it is hidden among the plants. What you have to do is trace it out – back to the source (root) and pull it out.

Sin and false teaching is the same way. It must be traced back to the source, and pulled out – and destroyed. There is no other way. It cannot be allowed to live alongside true teaching, for no matter how “pretty” it is – it will destroy everything around it.

 

I love living on the farm, and I even love working in the garden – but I especially love it when God shows me truth in the midst of my daily life!

May God bless you today! Amen!

 

Friends often post picture of sunrises or sunsets on Facebook. Every time, I am reminded of this poem, written when I was in my early 20’s. I haven’t painted in a very long time, but still, I often look at things and “think color” such as “Thalo Green” or “Burnt Umber” or “Cadmium Red”. I guess that part never leaves…

 

The Heavenly Artists’ Guild

 

In my mind’s eye

I have never known anything

more beautiful

than a sunrise or a sunset.

 

Vibrant hues from red through blue

to yellow and virgin white,

Christening our newborn day

saluting another’s night.

 

And nothing would be better,

than on that Judgment Morn,

To have my Savior say to me,

“Well done, thou good and faithful servant,

you have been faithful over a few good paintings,

I will make you artist over many…”

 

Then to take me by the hand

and lead me to a distant hill,

where I would be painting sunsets

with The Heavenly Artists’ Guild.

Since Pentecost Sunday a couple of weeks ago, we’ve been singing the chorus of “Spirit of the Living God” at our church which goes,

“Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.

Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.

Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.

Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me”.

 

I cannot sing the song without my hands outstretched in open submission.

 

Last night as I was about to go to sleep I was praying and thinking of the words of this song. Every time I sing it, I can visualize being melted down into a puddle, then turned on a potter’s wheel while the Potter molds me into a usable vessel. I “see” liquid being poured into my vessel and then being put into service.

As that image was going through my mind I “heard” this question – “Are you sure you want to be melted…? You do know, don’t you, that melting takes away ‘you’ so that you can be reformed and ‘molded’ anew. Plus… it might hurt…”

I thought about it a few moments… Do I want to be… am I willing to be… melted?

And so I said, “Lord, I belong to You. If you choose to ‘melt’ me, what choice do I have? You are the potter, I am the clay. Am I going to tell You what to do? Plus, I know, that if You ‘melt’ me it will be all good, even if it doesn’t look so great at the time.”

Then in my mind, I sang the song again, and gave my will to God. It’s all His anyway. It’s all good, for sure.

Amen.

Running on Empty

In 2005, in the last 6 weeks of his life my Daddy spent 3 weeks in the hospital, then nearly 3 weeks at home before he passed. The first week or so wasn’t too bad, and then it began to wear on me – physically and emotionally.  We went through such a “roller coaster” of emotions from “he’s not going to live through the night” to “we’re going home in a day or two…” And then, to couple this with only getting 2-3 hours of sleep a night, well it was taking a toll!

One day, when I was particularly stressed, one of Daddy’s sisters-in-law called me. Now, this lady is just special! And she… just encouraged me so much that day. So, after I hung up from talking with her, I wrote this piece that I titled “Running on Empty”.

Running on Empty

“God is ever gracious, ever loving, ever caring, ever teaching in every trial of our lives.

When my physical and emotional “tank” is on empty, He sends someone with a smile, a hug, a laugh, or a prayer that adds a little fuel to the tank and gives me a few more “miles” of strength.

Oh God, thank You that in this time of need someone came to me. Thank You, that in this time of need I saw so clearly how need-ful something like that is, and how helpful it can be.

Grant me, I pray, the “eyes” to see the opportunities to pour a little in another’s “tank” when they, too, are “running on empty.”

Thank You for this one You sent to me today.
Amen”

 

As I sat down this morning to work on the assignment for the Daily Bible Study series for the United Methodist Publishing House, I began as I always do – with prayer for clarity and wisdom in writing. I prayed that my words would be pleasing to God and glorify His name.

I also prayed (as I always do) for those who will be reading this series which will be out next summer. I always pray for the readers as individuals – but today as I prayed the image came to mind of hands reaching for the books for their daily devotional time. I “saw” – um – how should I say it? “Older hands”. Hands that were wrinkled and bent with arthritis; hands with thin and bruised skin. Hands that have worked hard and now are tired. I saw hands that often fold in prayer and yes, sometimes even wring with worry.

I pray that next year, when they pick up this book that they will find words that help them to stand strong and be faithful in spite of the world around them. Thank you God for this vision. Amen.

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