Graceless

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Hunter and I watched the "Passion of the Christ" on Saturday afternoon after my boys' soccer team awesome Championship win for the spring season. I was a little 'ify' on letting my twelve year old watch the movie due to the graphic content of the beating scene. Tears and all, we watched it together. One of the phrases Jesus said to his mother as he was beaten and forced to carry his own cross was "See Mother, I make all things new." Being a mother of five myself, this phrase hit in the center of my heart. I could not begin to imagine what was going through Mary's heart as she watched what was happening to her son. I know that Jesus made known what his fate was but knowing and witnessing the this horific attack are two different things. Our relationship with God was ruined with the sin in the Garden of Eden; however God had a plan already. His plan was Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was sold for 30 Silver coins by one of his twelve disciples, Judas Iscariot to the chief priests. (Matthew 26:14-16). Jesus was bought for 30 Silver coins and we were bought by Jesus with his torture and horrible death. Why? What makes us so special that Jesus would lay down his life in the way he did, to save us?
At one time earth was Heaven's back yard. In Genesis 1-3, there was nothing about a physical realm that God found unappealing or incompatible with Himself. Eden, an earth untouched by sin, can be viewed as Heaven's template, a blueprint for the New Earth. God created the earth, physical universe as an act of his self-expression. He created Man's body from the earth and Jesus knew that one day he would have such a body and live on earth. Why ? Why would he come to dwell with the fallen men on a sin filled earth when he was in Heaven? He did it so he could purchase us back from a life of death and give us eternal life with him in Heaven and New earth. God Determined that he would rather suffer torment on our behalf than live in Heaven without us. He loves us so much that he does not want us to go to hell that he paid a horrible price on the cross so we wouldn't have too.
I have stated in previous entries that I was doing a devotional on Heaven along with reading out of books on Heaven. What used to scare me- thinking about dying and not being in control, is now so interesting to me that I just can't get enough! In the beginning, I read out of one devotional that there are three Heavens and I didn't quite understand so I started reading out of another book alongside my devotional. I understand the concept three Heavens, Skies and clouds (first Heaven) , the stars and moon (second heaven) and then way above it all (third Heaven, where God dwells). What I didn't understand was who goes to what level? Is it open for us to choose if our name is written on the Lambs book of Life? Then I kept on reading and investigating in the Bible and my other book. I have found that both books state that there are three Heavens so I am comfortable with that. The difference of the three Heavens is this: one book believes what I had wrote in the past; the other states that there is a past Heaven, present Heaven and a Future Heaven.
The past Heaven is pretty simple and easy to understand. It is the time prior to Christ's incarnation, death and resurrection.
The present Heaven is where Believers go when they die. It is considered a waiting place until the return of Christ and our bodily resurrection. In Eccl 12:7 it states: 'and the dust returns to the gound it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.' In Daniel 12:2-3 states: Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake; some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the Heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.
And the Future Heaven which is the eternal Heaven, or New earth. In Revelations 21:1-3 states:'Then I saw a new Heaven and a new earth, for the first Heaven and the first Earth had passed away and there was no longer any sea.2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,"Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God."
Wow! Just that verse gets me excited to go to Heaven.
Sunday after church, my family and a few friends gathered at my Mom's house to Celebrate Easter and hunt Easter eggs. It was a great time of laughter and fun! As the day started to die down, I walk inside to take one of the twins to potty and my attention was caught by the discussion at the table on Heaven and different religions and practices. It was a great discussion. One thing that was said that stuck in my head that I wanted to share was this: We (different denominations) have our own set of beliefs and until we get to our final destinations, we REALLY have no idea what it will really be like. The fact of the matter is whether there are three stages of Heavens or past, present and future Heaven, we won't know until we get there. Not everyone can be right and not everyone is wrong in their interpretations of the Bible. We all share in the belief there is a God, he is wonderful and perfect and we are all Christians with the same purpose to share God's words. I hope in some way I am sharing God's word with someone out there that needs to hear it in the best way I know how to share it. However, I wouldn't know it because the only people who leave comments are my family. Please, share your experience or your uplifting thought to encourage other believers or even to encourage me.
Christ paid the price for our sins. But still we must choose. Like any gift, forgiveness can be offered, but it isn't ours until we choose to receive it. He offers each of us the gift of forgiveness and eternal life but just because the offer is made doesn't make it ours. We have to choose to accept his forgiveness and ask him into our hearts.
Have a Great night !
God Bless !      
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“Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this”
2 Timothy 2:7

I came across this verse as I was doing my devotional on Heaven yesterday. I think it was perfect for what I needed to hear. We had our Sunday Ladies Bible study and I was having a hard time grasping everything I had read and heard about Heaven. I think it was one of those times that God pulls you aside with a Bible Verse and tells you to “stop trying so hard and listen to what I’m saying!” This time last year, I was not in the right frame of mind to even want to hear about Heaven. I had a scare with a mammogram and just knew my life was over! Although I had two more mammograms and an ultrasound to prove to myself it was nothing, I still thought something was going to happen to me. I think it was my wakeup call from God telling me to get with the program. Not my program but his program for my life. He had given me a couple of chances earlier in my life to follow him. I would get all excited for Jesus and church then I’d start making excuses for not going to church and my excitement would fizzle out. One night while I was waiting in the van on the kids to get out of church on Wednesday night, I felt like such an outsider. They were going to the church that we were a member of but we just weren’t going. I didn’t want to get out of the van to get the kids because I was embarrassed and didn’t want to answer any questions on why we weren’t going. I think I would have stayed in that van for an hour if I had too. That’s sad! When I got home, I told Jon that we had to get back into church. It’s was important for us and our family. It was a slow start at first. I used the twins as an excuse. We needed to get them use to going in the nursery on Wednesday nights then we would try Sundays. What it really was is that we needed to get ourselves used to going. Wednesday’s were easier and not very many people there to ask us questions. Can anyone relate? We got back into church and started helping out in different areas. I work with the Awana’s  program with Cubbies and Jon helps with the sound and music. We feel like we have a purpose in our Church now. If you don’t have that kind of connection in your church, I would strongly suggest you find a spot in your church or find another church that feels like home. Eternity is the last place you want to wish you had!
Speaking of Eternity, the very first Bible study I did with our Ladies Bible study group was on Revelations. That was this past year when I didn’t even want to think about Heaven. You talk about a difficult Bible study to start with. In the beginning all I could think about Heaven was a 7 headed dragon and a sharp sword coming out of the mouth of a rider on a white horse. It was some pretty intense reading! Then, I went on to doing a “A Woman’s heart” by Beth Moore. It was a Wonderful study on Moses. I then started the “Fruit of the Spirit” by Beth Moore. I haven’t finished that one yet. Now, I’m doing a group Bible Study on Heaven. I was a little unsure about it at first but I am really starting to enjoy it.
Reading about Heaven makes me feel two different emotions: excitement for what is ahead and scared that not everyone I know will be there! My 10 year old son, Braydon, asked me one night this past year on what was in Heaven. I could feel that cold sweat take over my body as I starting thinking “Man, I’m not going to be here forever.” I think that most of us try to not think about how life is going to be when we are not here anymore because we can’t fathom life without being here on earth. Jon and I always joke that who ever goes first has to meet the other in Heaven at the light post. Then Jon would follow it up with, “how would I know which one or where it’s at?” My response:  “You’d know.” What I find comforting is in Revelations, John’s Vision includes golden lamp stands. I did not know this before I started studying Revelations and that’s been an agreement for a long time for Jon and I. Then, in John 14:4 Jesus is comforting the Disciples about when he would no longer be there. They are worried that they will not know the way to Jesus after he is no longer on earth. Verse 4 states: “You know the way to the place where I am going.” I think that’s neat. When Jon and I say that to each other it is comforting, just imagine Jesus telling us that!
I just recently read in a book on Heaven that to imagine Heaven we need to imagine this world without sin, death, suffering and corruption. Then picture yourself walking with a family member that has passed on. Ya’ll are walking in a beautiful park filled with kids playing, flowers blooming of every color, dogs barking and playing, birds singing and crystal blue streams. Your eyes are fixed on a young man coming towards you. It’s Jesus! As he gets closer, you fall to your knees but he quickly picks you up and gives you a great big embrace. Why would you not want that for the rest of your eternal life?
I’m not saying that’s detail for detail on how Heaven will be. But, have you stop to think about why would God create this beautiful world for us here and not have something even better at our real home with him?
One thing that I learn in the first Bible study I did was that it was the Devil that wants us to fear death. In one book that I’m reading about Heaven, it says that in Ancient times merchants often wrote the words memento mori-“think of death”-on the first page of their accounting books. Phillip of Macedon commissioned a servant to stand in his presence each day and say “Phillip, you will die.” France’s Louis XIV decreed that the word death not be uttered in his presence. Most of us live under the fear of death. Why? Not too long ago, I was the same. Now, I do not want to leave anytime soon but it doesn’t scare me as much now because I know it’s the devil behind the fear. Hebrews 2:14-15 states: Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil--- 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Jesus overcame death to show us that we will live forever with him in Heaven. They wanted him to show a miracle by saving his own self. When they never looked at the fact he suffered a beating beyond what anyone could have survived, carried his cross with little help, nailed to the cross and hung there for 6 hours own his own (without God’s presences, God could not be around sin, Jesus was sin at that time because of us) until he gave up his own life. He gave up His life, no one took it from him. That was a miracle that they refused to see.      
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I’m labeling this blog entry the way I have felt all day, Inadequate. In the Webster dictionary means: not adequate : insufficient  not capable <was inadequate as a leader. How many have felt this same way when it comes to telling a person about the word of God? Many of us more than likely do, otherwise there would be a lot more Christians leading people to God, which in turn would create a lot more Christians. I know that not everyone can preach, lead a Sunday school class or publish a book that adequately explains the Bible. However, everyone has some sort of gift that can bring another person to our Heavenly Savior Jesus Christ. I don’t feel adequate enough to do this blog but I’m trying. I’ve been told in the past that God brings you out of your comfort zone and uses you for his glory. I tried to use that to talk me into selling my current home and getting something bigger. My current house is my comfort Zone but a little tight at times and moving into a bigger house would make me feel a little uncomfortable along with the larger mortgage payment that I would be not capable of paying. Isn’t that the definition of Inadequate? I would be put into an inadequate state. However, I don’t think that is the comfort zone he was trying to move me out of.

Friday night, I was with my kids plus 3 nieces and 1 nephew at Burger King then we loaded up and when to the hospital to visit my grandma. I was in my comfort zone. I know that makes a lot people wonder where my head is and my response is: ‘Where’s your sense of adventure?’ Saturday we did our usual routine of soccer games in the morning. Hot Shots won!!! Yay! And, afterwards went to my brother’s subdivision for one of my niece’s birthday parties. We stayed there until 5. Then, the twins and I went to Publix to get some groceries for my husband to cook dinner. The kitchen is not my comfort zone unless I’m baking. I think it’s funny when I take the twins with me anywhere without another adult because of the comments I get, especially the grocery store. I choose to go to Publix because it has the two-seater shopping cart with two steering wheels for each of the girls. The girls love it and I get to shop without too much fuss. The famous comment all parents of twins get is: “Are they twins?” or “Double Trouble.” The two funny questions I got yesterday were: “Boy, you sure did have them close together!” & “Are they like the Juicy Fruit Twins?” Then the people will tell me how brave I am to take them out by myself. I just shake my head at that one. They’re my kids, why wouldn’t I take them out by myself. But, then I realize that those people would probably be brave taking out two kids. To me, it’s my comfort zone. Now, I’m not saying I don’t get stressed taking them out at times, that’s a part of life. I enjoy teaching my cubbies on Wednesday nights. Now, if you were to take me out of my cubbies and put me with the youth, I would be out of my comfort zone. I think God uses our inadequate feelings to show us that he is right there to back us up and give us courage to do his will. I also think that the Devil uses our inadequate feelings to stop us from doing God’s will. So, my question is how do you know if it’s the devil using those feeling to hinder us from doing God’s will or if we really didn’t get God’s message clearly? We already feel inadequate either way.

I’m lucky enough to have people in my life that encourage me to write, a few friends and my family. I’m surrounded by my church family, that are way above me in quoting scriptures out of the Bible and knowing the meanings behind them. This morning in Sunday school class, our teacher had asked us if we had a scripture that helps us and I couldn’t tell them where it was. I just knew what it meant to me. I was able to give them part of it and they told me where to find it in the Bible. It’s in Jeremiah 29:13: You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I know where it is now. The reason why this comforts me is because it was a turning point in my life to follow Jesus and ask him into my life. It’s the directions to our salvation! Seeking God fully and giving him your all with all your heart is how I feel his presences in my life.

Today in church our preacher told us about some of the details of what Christ went through for us. Have you seen the ‘Passion of the Christ?’ Well, I was told today that it does not totally depict what Jesus went through for us. People back then were skilled at inflicting the kind of pain on a person so that with each hit the pain was worse than the one before and that most people don’t survive the beating and were still nailed to the cross dead. If they did survive the beating, you couldn’t recognize that person, he was beaten so badly. Jesus endured the beating and carried his own cross up the place of the Skull with help from Simon from Cyrene. He did that for our sins. He was nailed to the cross alive. He was made fun of in Luke 23: 35-37: The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

Jesus was never into saving his self. He knew what had to be done and did it. Not only did he suffer the pain of being beaten, for the first time in his life he was without God in his life for 6 hours. (You could have heard that at our morning sermon or find it for yourself in Luke 23:44.) God could not look at sin and Jesus took all our sin away so we could have everlasting life. The sad thing is in our lifetime, we get to choose to not have God in our life. Jesus didn’t choose to have God out of his life for those 6 torturous hours; he did it because he knew that was the only way to save us.      
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Today was a great day !! A little late getting started but I did make it to work ! I love the spring time ! In the morning, I wake up to birds sing outside my window. What a great way to wake up! Then, our morning starts. Now, I shall not tell a story ! At our house in the morning, it gets a little loud. I'm so thankful I live in the country and my nieghbor is family ! The boys are pretty much on rountine and you just wake them up. I LOVE my boys !!! The drama starts along with the noise when my darling twin daughter, Gracie (everybody says we are just alike) floats around the house with not a care on her mind. You think I'm joking ? I have to stay on her with every task and it gets crazy! What I don't understand is I'm a person of rountine, all my kids know our rountine. We had the same rountine for quite sometime! But for some reason, Gracie acts as though she has no idea what we are suppose to do and we have all morning to do it. I do have to laugh about it because I'm sure my mom went through the same thing with me and my husband (look up at my 2nd sentence) is now dealing with it! My defense is I'm older and I make sure everyone is taken care of before I let myself get distracted with the laundry, bed making and the dishes. I made it to work and was very productive in the morning time. I LOVE fridays !! Not just because it's the last day of the work week but because it is so relaxing at work. At our office we are like family, 80% is family and the other 20% is basically family. We don't have the drama between co-workers that you find at some offices and if someone is troubled by something, we all are! We will do whatever to help the next person out. We even talk about religion!
My office mate and I usually stay at our desk until it's time to go home. We bring our lunches and eat at our desk. We find it more distracting for us if we go out for lunch and come back to work. For some reason we aren't as motivated if we leave our desk for too long. Today was a perfect example !! Now don't get me wrong, we work our fingers to the bones and get our work done before we will even consider going anywhere for lunch. Today we went and did a little shopping and it was FUN !! We even top it off with drive thru at Zaxby's! Yum ! I've been on a life style change (a diet is what it really is) since my office mate had her baby! So, needless to say, Zaxby's was great !! And, I even cheated tonight at Burger King ! This afternoon Jon, me and our kids went with my mom, my 3 nieces and nephew to Burger King. My mom was going to take my 3 yr old twin nieces, 2 yr old nephew and my older niece to Mellow Mushroom. I told her that there was not anything mellow when you take 3 kids, 3 and under to Mellow Mushroom !! If you go out to eat with little kids, take them to a place where they get worn out from playing and you get to enjoy a hot meal and actually have an adult conversation. So, I was including in her field trip to Burger King along with my WONDERFUL husband and kids. It wasn't bad!! We got some stares because of the 9 kids but it was fun. Afterwards, we went to see my grandma at the hospital. This time we brought 9 kids, 14 yr old, 12 yr old, 10 yr old, 7 yr old (this is where it gets tricky) 3 yr old twins, 1 set of 2 yr old twins along with another 2 yr old. We were afraid we were going to get kicked out of the hospital because of the number of kids! The kids were great. Grandma was excited to see all those kids. We got some pictures. She seems to be doing good. She had a rough day yesterday but today seemed better or she was better when we got there. As we were leaving, we joked with the nurse at the nurses station that if he saw any kids wondering around just give us a call but we think we have them all !!
I wanted to start this blog with what I had bought Jon last night at Lifeway. Thursday after Gracie's soccer practice, she and I went to the Christian book store to get a picture Jon had picked out that he wanted to hang in his office. It's a picture of the Spiritual Armour of God. Jon has been doing a Bible men's Bible study on the Spiritual Armour of God at our church for going 36 weeks with just taken a few weeks off between each book.

The Spiritual Armour Of God is the Helment of Salvation, Breastplate of Righteousness, Belt of Truth, Gospel Shoes, Shield of Faith and the Sword of the Spirit.
 
The Helment of Salvation is basically getting your head right. Jon told me not to put that but I thought it was direct and straight to the point.  And, I understood that the first time he said it :) . Now, I'll follow it up with what the Bible and Jon's Bible study says.
Helment of Salvation: Picture the Helment of Salvation you received when Christ saved you. I try to picture what a hat does for your head. It protects it.  
Point 1- Thank God that you are his child and for your Salvation. 1 John 4:4 states: You, dear children, are from God and have over come them because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (I can't stop there) 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and not the spirit of falsehood.
This is so true! I have always been fearful that I wouldn't know if someone was telling me the truth when it came to the Bible cause I didn't know it the way others do. I thought I might believe something and it be so far from the truth and I'd miss out on the glory of God. Back in January, my mom, Jon and Jon's brother and wife went skiing. On the day before we were to fly back home, we visited another religion's temple. It was a VERY beautiful place. I loved the pictures and all the people were so nice. Then, we looked around their visitors center. It was the first time I really felt confident in what I knew and believed to be true.
Point 2 - Praise God for eternal life.  
Point 3 -Claim the mind of Christ. If you are anything like me, half the time I have a hard time claiming my own mind much less Christ mind! 1 Corinthians 2:16 states "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ. You recieved it when you were saved. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 states: 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguements and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
When I was saved, I started looking at the world and my life differently. And, to be honest it was very scary. I didn't want to move because I was afraid I'd move in a way that I'd sin against God. I felt bad if I bought something that I really didn't need. I was basically taking every little thing and making into something bigger than it really was ! Taking on the mind of Christ and battling the world the way God wants us to is an ongoing battle. God knows we aren't perfect. God knows we are going to sin even before we know it. If you are waiting to be perfect before you accept Christ or before you get Baptized or even before you join a church Honey, you'll never get there! Stop making it a hard struggle for yourself. God did not intended it that way. He is the only perfect you will ever know. The way we have the mind of Christ is being in his word through Church, Bible studies and Fellowship. That's also the way we battle the world as well.
 
The Breastplate of Righteousness: I had to reread this to understand what it meant. This is what I think he is saying: That because of what Jesus has done for us by taking on all of our sins and by dying on the cross, we can have righteouness by following the points listed below:  
Point 1 - ask God to search your heart to reveal any wicked ways in it. Psalms 139: 23-24 states:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive ways in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
After asking God to search your heart and reveal any wicked ways,
Point 2 - Confess any sins. 1 John 1:9 states: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  
Point 3 - Claim Christ's righteousness to cover your sins. The righteousness of God in you is what matters, not your shortcomings.  No one is too lost to save; there are only those too good to save. In the Bible, those who thought themselves most righteous were the ones condemned by our Lord as wicked and unrighteous. 2 Corinthians 5:21 states: God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Sin was placed on Jesus to save us from our ownselves. That takes me back to the song I told you about earlier in the week. "The Hands that Healed Nations stretched out on a tree took the nails for me"
Keep the Breastplate firmly fastened in place with Christlike Character and righteous living.

The Belt of Truth: After receiving the mind of Christ and living as an upright character with righteous living, we fasten it with the Belt of truth. The truth means integrity (honesty, truthfullness or accuracy of one's actions) and moral uprightness (strong morals). The belt should remind you to do the following points:
Point 1 Be true to not only yourself but to God when you pray or fight a spiritual Battle.
Point 2 Stand firm in the truth. Point 3 Emotions !!! Control your emotions. Is that possible ? Of course it is with the right medication. Just joking! This a struggle for me at times. I was put on Lexapro a while back for depression and anxiety. I have been off of it for nearly a year now. I am not recomended this to anyone else but I decided that it wasn't for me. I turned it over to God to take care of. Through God, I was able to see that it's not just me going through the depression and anxiety, everyone around me had some sort of depression and anxiety at times. And, if I stay in the word and do my devotionals, God makes me a better person. With God's help, I have learn to control my emotions. I'm not perfect and I do slip as we all do but I quickly bounce back with God's help. James 4:3 states: "When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." I like this verse because I can relate to it so much. My kids think I crazy when I tell them to do something for me, they get upset and I tell them, 'Never mind. If you aren't going to do it with your whole heart, I'd rather do it myself.' God can see your heart. He knows your motives which are guided by your emotions. That's why it's so important to guided your emotions by truth rather than by the flesh or Satin. The Bible talks about the area that the Belt of Truth covers as inward parts which referrs to the place where feelings reside. The belt helps you to control your emotions and not compromise because of our feelings.

The Gospel Shoes: After receiving the mind of Christ and living as an upright character with righteous living and fastening it with the Belt of truth, we put on our shoes for battle. Jon's devoltional says that it's the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace which means you are prepared for battle. I had to go through the mind change, changing my way of living, learn to control my emotions with God in my heart before I could get really ready for the battle and open up my ears and eyes to hear and see the Lord Jesus Christ. Let the gospel of peace remind you to do the following daily:
Point 1 Be prepared and pray that God will get you prepared for any possibility.
Point 2 Share the gospel. Pray that God will prepare you to witness for him. Point 3 Intercede for the lost. Paul prayed for the lost. 1 Timothy 2 1-4  states:  I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--2  for kings and all those in aurthority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

The Shield of Faith: After receiving the mind of Christ and living as an upright character with righteous living and fastening it with the Belt of truth, we put on our shoes for battle and hold the Shield of Faith in your left hand.
Jon's devotional describes it best: The Roman shield was a long. oblong piece of wood. When the enemy's arrows hit it, they were buried in the wood and extinguished. Picture the arrows of the enemies
are aimed at you, hit them head on with the Shield of Faith. Let the Shield of Faith remind you to:
1- Claim the victory. 1 John 5:4 states: for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
2- Advance in faith. James 2: 14-17 states: What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes or daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
3- Quech all the fiery darts of the wicked. Mark 11:24 states: Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 states: And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone forgive him, so that your father in Heaven may forgive you your sins. (spoken by Jesus)
The Sword of the Spirit. After receiving the mind of Christ and living as an upright character with righteous living and fastening it with the Belt of truth, we put on our shoes for battle and hold the Shield of Faith in our left hand and the Word of God in your right hand. You are ready to roll into battle ! The word here refers to God's speaking to you about specific situations. I don't know about you but most of the time I'm second guessing that he really said that or is it just my own selfish ways trying to convince me I'm suppose to do that. This blog is a perfect example. I'm still not quite sure but something in me is telling me to continue. Let the sword in your hands tell you to:
1- Grasp the word. Hebrew 4:12 states: For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. An idea that I  find is neat is that you can use it no matter whether the enemy acknowledges that it is God' Word.
2- Let the Holy Spirit use the Word because it is his Sword.
3- This one is cool ! Pray on the basis of the Word. This is where you will hear God's will for you and to help you know what to pray for and do. John 16: 13-15 states: But when he, the Spirit of Truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15 All that belongs to the father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.
In Matthew 4:1-10, Jesus prayed and fasted for 40 days. After 40 days, Jesus' need for food was understandably intense. Satan uses this intense hunger to tempt Jesus to "prove" his power and significance.
Temptation often results from our own intense needs or selfish desires. However, we can win the battle through the Spiritual Armour of God. Don't you want to be prepared for battle by receiving the mind of Christ and living as an upright character with righteous living and fastening it with the Belt of truth, putting on your shoes for battle and hold the Shield of Faith in your left hand and the Word of God in your right hand ?

Have a Great Day !
Love,
Chancie
 I used the Bible (NIV) & The Disciple's Victory for my references
Chancie by Chancie @
A couple of years back if you told me that I was going to write on the 'D word' (death), I would have broke out in a cold sweat and told you that you were crazy ! I'm still a little unsure on how I feel about the subject but I'm going to do my best. In our women's Bible study, we are doing a Bible study by Dr. Jeremiah called "revealing the Mysteries of Heaven." I have wrote about my first week a couple of days back on the different levels/stages of Heaven. I have to admit, I'm still grasping that concept. I understanding it and everything but I just didn't grasp it as fully as Adam and Eve. But, I think that is what is so amazing about the Bible and devotionals. Each time you pick it up, you discover and understand more. It's like God is having his own little conversation with you as you are reading. Sometimes, he might even flip the page for you to where he wants you to be ! Ever have that experience ?
Well, yesterday (Wednesday) my husband, our kids and I went to church for our Wednesday night service. I enjoy Wednesday nights because it's a chance to eat with the other members of my family and I teach the Cubbies. Our church does the program called the AWANA program for 3 yrs up to 6th grade. Awana means: "Approved workmen are not ashamed" taken from 2 Timothy 2:15.
2 Timothy 2:15  states: Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
Cubbies are ages 3 & 4 year olds and I love it! I think kids, especially little kids are the closes we get to God until we go into the big "Unknown" and met him for ourselves.
What I want to talk about today is what I've learned so far from our Bible study on Heaven. Last night after church, the kids and I went up to see my Grandma in the hospital. She is 89 years old and has always been an independant and strong woman. I remember as a child whenever I was sick, she would pick me up from school and take me to her house where we would watch the "Prices Right" with Bob Barker and I would say "Come on down, Bob Barker." She would always have plenty of good food cooking and we got to eat candy and drink coffee whenever we wanted. It was like Heaven to a litttle child ! When, I was older and got out of school, I'd have to go to her house and wait for my older brothers to pick me up. She would always have a big bowl of Macaroni & cheese for just me to eat ! And, she never forgot the extra cheese!
Last night, when I went in to see her, her face lit up to see all 5 of my kids. I'm sure she was a little shocked to see us because it was 8:45 at night. She seemed so peacefully and kept telling my girls how pretty they were and how she always told people that Hunter and Braydon were such gentlemens. They were the best behave boys she knew ! Just what a parent loves to hear ! We stayed for a little while talking about old times. She wanted to let the kids know how their mother was at their age. Oh Boy ! Then, the twins started wanted to push buttons on the bed and we had to go ! Driving back to church to pick Jon after Choir practice, it hit me that my Grandma was at the age where she was going to see first hand what everyone wonders about. Maybe not this year or next. Only God knows. We have had two people on our prayer list in Sunday school pass away in the past couple of weeks. One guy was around 27 years old and the lady was 39 years old. Both passed away from Cancer. Atleast my Grandma has stated earlier this week that she has had a nice, long life.
Dr Jeremiah opens up his talk on where we go after we die with a funny epitaph he found on a tombstone in an Indiana cemetery. I wanted to share it with you:
"Pause stranger, when you pass me by:
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so you will be.
Prepare for death and follow me."
Then someone else had added this to it:
"To follow you, I'm not content,
Until I know which way you went."

About 4 years ago, my husband lost his mother to Pancreatic Cancer at 58 years old. Way too young to die. She was a Methodist pastor and went on missions trips to China and Africa. She touched so many people. She was a teacher before that and only God knows how many children's lives she touched. Oh, how I miss her now more than ever. She could answer so many questions I have as I read through the Bible. It was 9 months from the time she was diagnosis with cancer until she died. I remember hearing her say that God was going to heal her and take it away from her. He did ! He did it in his way on his time. A lady at church said this to me a few months after she passed away: God does heal all the sick. The second a person dies, he/she is healed. In our devotional, Dr Jeremiah takes us to the book of Luke chapter 16:19-31.  
In my Bible, before each chapter it gives you information on who wrote the book and a little about what it is going to tell you. Luke is a physician who draws a portrait of Jesus the Savior, who brings the love of God to earth and draws people of God to Heaven. Luke conveys his fascination with Jesus, a man of both prayer and action, who could be continually mindful of God and yet be fully present with people as an attentive, empathetic healer.
Jesus gives us the story of two men with very different lives and two different places they go when they died. One thing that I noticed in this story is the rich man is only label this way without a name however the poor man with sores all over his body has a name, Lazarus.
Luke 16: 19-31 states: (NIV version)
Jesus telling the story 19 "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 "The time came where the begger died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.' 25 But Abraham replied, ' Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us. 27 He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.' 29 Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.' 30 'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' 31 He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"
The point that I get from this is that the rich man did not go to hell because he was rich. And Lazarus did not go to Heaven because he was poor. The rich man was contolled by his worldly possessions. He needed and wanted the quick satisfaction of daily possessions. I don't think Jesus is saying that we should not own possessions and get the best things in life. It's when the possessions and the best things have us that it is a problem. I am as guilty as everybody else on wanting and needing things in life to make me happy. But, have you stopped to think about how long that one little possession brings you happiness ? God gives us oppurtunities in life to make a difference for his good not ours. However if you look deeper, it is for our good. Look at the story above. In the end, who really had the most the rich man or Lazarus who only had a dog to lick his sores ?
Jesus gives us the story above, but we get to choose which place we go with the decisions and actions we make. And, once our lives on earth is no more, you can't change the direction you are going in. Luke 16:26 states that: 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross from there to us.

I hope you enjoyed this blog entry !
Chancie    
Chancie by Chancie @
Last night, our Church had a meeting on how we are going to expand our Church for several different reasons. We are growing but we still have a home like atmosphere. One thing that I find so neat when we have church gatherings is that it always feels like I'm around family. When I go into our Sunday school class, I feel a connection. I am very much a family person. I feel safe and secure with my family around me. I always have and always will. And, although I know I haven't known a lot of the people in my church for long I still feel like I have. It's like the feeling you feel when you see someone and you know you know them. However, you can not place when, where or how. I think it's our spirits within connecting to our brothers and sisters in Christ. If you are looking for a connection like this within a church, come to ours. We have something for ever age group. Well, last night our pastor opened up the meeting talking about the beginning of the Battle of Jericho and the role of the leaders as they were to lead the people to cross over the Jordan river. You can find it in your Bible in the book of Joshua 3. Before our preacher read out of the Bible about the crossing of the Jordan river, I just thought that the battle of Jericho was just about marching around the city 7 times and the walls fell. I know there is more details than that but that's the condense version. I'm going to pick up where Joshua has just told the people to "Consecrate Yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you." Verse 5 Joshua said to the priests, "Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people." So they took it up and went ahead of them. 7 And the Lord said to Joshua, "Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Isreal, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. Tell the priest who carry the ark of the covenant: 'When you reach the edge of the Jordan's waters, go and stand in the river.'
Joshua did as God had told him to do. In Verse 12: Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Isreal, one from each tribe. 13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord---the Lord of all the earth--set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap." In verse 15 it tells us that the Jordan river is at flood stage yet as soon as the priests who were carrying the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away. In verse 17: The priest who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Isreal passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.
In this Bible story that doesn't end with just the crossing of the Jordan River, it shows how God chooses certain people to be leaders. Our preacher last night urge us as followers of Christ to be leaders. I know the word Leader carries a big load but so did Jesus. On my way to work today, I was singing and listening to the song by Casting Crowns "Glorious Day" I copied the words to song below. Read the words then listen to the song. If you know the song, then google it and listen to it closely.

One day when Heaven was filled with His praises
One day when sin was as black as could be
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin
Dwelt among men, my example is He
Word became flesh and the light shined among us
His glory revealed

Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day

One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain
One day they nailed Him to die on a tree
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected
[From: http://www.elyrics.net/read/c/casting-crowns-lyrics/glorious-day-(living-he-loved-me)-lyrics.html]
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He
Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree
And took the nails for me

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose, over death He had conquered
Now He’s ascended, my Lord evermore
Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him
From rising again

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming
One day the skies with His glories will shine
Wonderful day, my Beloved One, bringing
My Savior, Jesus, is mine

This song really gets to me. I have watch the Passion of the Christ and I still have images in my head on what he went through for us. And, all he wants in return is a relationship with us.
Here's where you can find it on youtube.
http://youtu.be/VXp6xcY5IqU

Have a great day !
Chancie
Chancie Martin by Chancie Martin @
A few Sunday night’s ago, our Ladies started a Bible Study by Dr. David Jeremiah “Revealing the Mysteries of Heaven.” We had about 60 ladies show up for the Bible study. It was the second Bible study I have done with our church and the third total Bible study I have done. In the beginning the Bible was VERY intimidating to me. Jon and I had started a little over a year ago with our kids reading the Bible from the beginning. We made it to just after Moses building of the tabernacle which helped me with a Bible study I did by Beth Moore “A Woman’s Heart” God’s dwelling place. That was pretty good getting that far with both Jon and I reading and the three older kids reading. I’m sure God was entertained as we tried to pronounce cities, places and names. Our church tries to promote everyone getting in with a small group to study God’s word more in depth. Whether you are in a Sunday school class, woman’s or men’s Bible study or start your own with a few friends, it really does help with understanding the Bible and breaking it into smaller areas. One thing I notice today with our Church sermon is God packs a lot of meaning into the simplest, smallest verse. One example to this is the shortest Bible verse in the Bible. It can be found in John 11:35
   35-Jesus wept
 A side note in my Bible reflects on the verse: It states that Jesus wept too. The Word made flesh knows the pain and the loss that death causes us. He does not minimize our feelings. He knows about our grief and is with us in the midst of it.                                                                                                                                                                                
Another example in this is today’s sermon. Our pastor preached out of Psalm 32:1-5 about sin. He did incorporate other verses that went along with this but his main focus was Psalms 32:1-5.  Four parts of sin: 1-Concepts of sin 2-Consequence of sin 3- Condition of sin 4- Physical torment of sin. He ended it with the Cleansing from sin. Thank the Lord for that! Those 5 verses packs a lot of information!
When we get into smaller groups, it helps each of us to see more and more of the meaning of each verse and story in the Bible. In the Bible study on Sunday night I discovered a new fact on Heaven. There are three levels of Heaven! I did not know that and at first was a little uncomfortable about that fact. I have always thought that when you die you go to Heaven. The one way above the stars, the moon and whatever else is up there. I needed proof of this in the Bible. Dr. Jeremiah tells us where this is in the Bible- 2 Corinthians 12:2. Our Bible Study teachers told us that we should not just believe what is told to us, we need to see for ourselves where it is written in the Bible. So, if you have a Bible, go get it. I use the NIV translation. Before we move on to where you find the 3 Heavens let’s turn to 2 Corinthians 12:2 where Paul talks about his visions of being caught up in the 3rd Heaven. 2 Corinthians 12:2  I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know---God knows. What Dr. Jeremiah concludes is if Paul visited the 3rd Heaven, there must be a 1st and 2nd Heaven as well.
Isaiah 55:9-10 & Genesis 1:20  First Heaven is thought to be the Atmosphere surrounding the earth.                                                                                                                                 Isaiah 55:9-10   9-As the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.10-As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not  return to it, without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and the bread for the eater.                                                                                      
 Genesis 1:20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the Sky
The second Heaven is what we see as the “outer space.” Dr Jeremiah refers to Genesis 1:14-17 for this explanation: Genesis 1:14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be the lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.
The third Heaven is the dwelling place of our God. No one really knows where Heaven is. When we did our Ladies Bible Study on Revelations, we learned of different things that are in Heaven. In Revelations 22, John describes his Vision from God on just a little of what Heaven was going to look like. If you have not read the book of Revelations yet, I would strongly recommend you do so. If you can get the devotional by Beth Moore on Revelations with her CD’s to help you to understand some of the harder visions, it is well worth the money. In Revelations 21:1 It does back up more than one Heaven. It states Rev. 21:1 Then I saw a new Heaven and a new earth, for the 1st Heaven and the 1st earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. (I can’t just stop at that verse.) 2 I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. (That is so comforting to me.) There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.  
What amazes me so much about God’s words is how much you discover every time you open up the Bible. It’s kind of like I stated above on how each verse can be so powerful and hold so much meaning. God is powerful!
Dr Jeremiah finishes his first week with 7 reasons why Heaven is a precious place. I’m sure most of us  pretty much know why Heaven is so precious and a place we want to be. The first reason can be found in Hebrews 9:24. It states: For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one: he entered Heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Dropping down to the last part of verse 26 But, now he has appeared once for all at the end of ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people, and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. The first two reasons are Jesus is there along with our friends and family. Our inheritance is up their as soon as we received Christ as our Savior. In Matthew 5:12 it states that our reward is in Heaven. By investing in teaching and spreading the Word of God, you are storing your riches in Heaven. Dr. Jeremiah puts it in a neat way. What is the one thing that can be transferred into Heaven that we as Christians can invest in and create riches? The answer is staring us in the face every day: the souls of men, women, boys and girls. And, the last was very thought provoking and comes with a little story my dear husband spent a few hours finding it on the computer for me. He’s so wonderful! Our reservation is in Heaven. Let’s go back to Revelations 21:27. It says that “only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life” will be allowed into Heaven. With that being said, I want to leave you with what Dr. Jeremiah left us to think about. Please, feel free to let me know what you think. I like to share my thoughts on what I read about the Bible and the devotional others have wrote. Often more than not, someone else’s thoughts and opinions sparks something in someone  who would  not otherwise seek more.
Ruthanna Metzger, a professional singer, tells a story that illustrates the importance of having our names written in the book. Several years ago, she was asked to sing at the wedding of a very wealthy man. According to the invitation, the reception was to be held on the top two floors of Seattle’s Columbia Tower, the Northwest’s tallest skyscraper. She and her husband, Roy, were excited about attending.
At the reception, waiters in tuxedos offered luscious hors d’oeuvres and exotic beverages. The bride and groom approached a beautiful glass and brass staircase that led to the top floor. Someone ceremoniously cut a satin ribbon draped across the bottom of the stairs. They announced the wedding feast was about to begin. Bride and groom ascended the stairs, followed by their guests.
At the top of the stairs, a maitre d’ with a bound book greet the guests outside the doors.
“May I have your name please?”
“I am Ruthanna Metzger and this is my husband, Roy.”
He searched the M’s. “I’m not finding it. Would you spell it please?”
Ruthanna spelled her name slowly. After searching the book, the maitre d’ looked up and said, “I’m sorry, but your name isn’t here.”
“There must be some mistake,” Ruthanna replied. “I’m the singer. I sang for this wedding!”
The gentleman answered, “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you did. Without your name in the book you cannot attend the banquet.”
He motioned to a waiter and said, “Show these people to the service elevator, please.”
… The waiter led Ruthanna and Roy to the service elevator, ushered them in, and pushed G for the parking garage.
After locating their car and driving several miles in silence, Roy reached over and put his hand on Ruthanna’s arm. “Sweetheart, what happened?”
“When the invitation arrived, I was busy,” Ruthanna replied. “I never bothered to RSVP. Besides, I was the singer. Surely I could go to the reception without returning the RSVP!”
Ruthanna started to weep–not only because she had missed the most lavish banquet she’d ever been invited to, but also because she suddenly had a small taste of what it will be like someday for people as they stand before Christ and find their names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Throughout the ages, countless people have been too busy to respond to Christ’s invitation to his wedding banquet. Many assume that the good they’ve done–perhaps attending church, being baptized, singing in the choir, or helping in a soup-kitchen–will be enough to gain entry to heaven. But people who do not respond to Christ’s invitation to forgive their sins are people whose names aren’t written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. To be denied entrance into heaven’s wedding banquet will not just mean going down the service elevator to the garage. It will mean being cast outside into Hell, forever.
In that day, no explanation or excuse will count. All that will matter is whether our names are written in the Book. If they’re not, we’ll be turned away.
Chancie Martin by Chancie Martin @
Now, that I have shared some of myself please feel free to share your experiences and walks with God in your life. If you don't really have an experience to share, share your favorite Bible Verse and how it inspires you. Let's inspire each other to become better Christians!
Please, feel free to also write a prayer request for everyone to pray about for you.
Have a great night !
Chancie Martin by Chancie Martin @
God is awesome ! I just have to say that before I start my journal entry today. After a busy Friday, Saturday and now Sunday, I just want to thank God for blessing me with my husband of 13 or 14 years. (I never can remember) I try to tell him that it’s only because it seems like yesterday that we got married that I never can remember. I’m sure many mothers of children can relate with me on this one: I can always tell you the year that things happened based on if I was pregnant and what children I had at the time. I did not have any children when we got married! That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it.
It has been a week and few days since I wrote my last journal entry (story). To my readers, it’s the next journal entry with no time passed by. I have been struggling with starting up this blog and to be honest, I’m still struggling. How could I possibly write anything that anyone would want to read that will bring them closer to God ? I love reading out of Beth Moore’s devotional. She is so full of energy and life. She inspires me to be a better person because I can relate to what she says. She knows her stuff. So, how could a fairly new Christian wife and mother who still turns to her husband to explain a simple Bible verse explain anything out of the Bible? The only answer I could come up with is I can’t but God with his wisdom can through me. Have you ever been a little blue and you heard a song or a person from out of nowhere changed your mood? Did you ever stop to think that maybe that was God’s way to give you a little boost to your otherwise blue mood? My boost today came from my preacher’s sermon and then again with our ladies Bible study.
This morning was a typical Sunday morning. It started with my alarm clock going off at 6:00 am and me hitting the snooze button for the next thirty to forty minutes until I gave in to a nice hot shower. It was the first Sunday of the month, which meant that our Sunday school class brings breakfast in before we start our lesson for that morning. My husband is the cook in our marriage and I’m the cleaner and organizer! My idea of cooking is drive – thru unless they want Taco salad, Chicken and rice or breakfast. If you think I’m kidding just ask my husband. He’s the opposite. He thinks cooking is relaxing after a long day at work. It’s just something about a clean house that seems to relax me and standing in the kitchen cooking doesn’t. Now, I love to bake though! If we could live off sweets, I’d cook all the time. So, anyways! Our Sunday school class always asks if we (meaning Jon) is going to cook pigs in a blanket. On Sunday mornings like this morning my duty is to get Jon up earlier to start on cooking his little piggys. I did my duty.
To understand how our preacher’s message hit home for me and helped move me to write this journal entry I need to rewind back to yesterday and maybe add a few details from the night before (Friday night). There are only a few times in life you can rewind, DVR recordings and writing. Friday night, I had volunteered my husband and I to babysit my twin 3 yr old nieces and 2 yr old nephew. To give you a head count that breaks down into being a 12 yr old, 10 yr old, 7 yr old , (2) 3 yr olds and (3) 2 yr olds. One of the twins went home early and I had help from a friend to help with baths and getting settled to watch a movie in the living room. They started drifting off at 11:30 that night. We were tired from our normal Saturday routine of soccer games! I was very thankful to have a babysitter for the younger group that got to the house at 8:00 am in the morning so we could leave for the games. Since, the younger group of kids have no concept of time in the morning, they were up an hour before the babysitter got there. So, needless to say, I got left behind while Jon took the older kids to the field to get ready for their games. I wasn’t far behind. While I was riding down the interstate alone I was able to think about my day and I mapped out what needed to be done. I kept thinking about this website and what I thought God wanted me to do. I had so many thoughts along with my to-do list for the day. The thought that kept replaying in my head was “I have no business starting up something as important as a website that talked about God’s words. Was I even worthy enough? Maybe, I think God gave me this gift of writing and I’m wrong. And, the thought that scares me the most is, “What if I think a verse means one thing and I’m wrong about that too. These are God’s words, his Precious words.”  Along with this website in mind I was thinking about my own life and the choices I have made in my life that affect others (others, really meaning my kids and husband). How many times do we as parents, in trying to do the right thing for our children end up missing out on what is important in life, our children.  I just recently had test run to see if I had ADD because I have always been a constant thinker, on the go and felt like I had a motor running inside. Our daughter, Gracie was diagnosed with ADD and I have always heard that kids can only get it through their parents. My husband, Jon is a brain and is as calm as can be, so, it had to come from me. The funny thing about my results now that I look back at it was I went in for the doctor to confirm that I had ADD but instead she said I had OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). It was not funny at the time though. She was very impressed with my writing score. It was above average. It was the only skill above average because the skills in being a mother and wife can’t be measured. In my opinion they don’t make a scale large enough to measure our skills. I do not have a bad case of OCD. I see it as a plus to being a mother of five. Things stay in order and are neat. I’m teaching my children the importance of living in an organized and clean house.
The one thing I find neat with listening to God’s words is, we sometimes if not often, hear his words spoken to us through different speakers, events, radio, TV shows, etc… if we keep our ears focused on hearing him. It’s like we have our own personal conversation with him that no one is included on but is there when it’s spoken. I think it’s because everyone is different and needs to hear different things from him. We were talking about something similar to this in Sunday school with Martha, Mary and Jesus when Lazarus had died. You can find the scripture in John 11: 17-44. What we had talked about was how Jesus comforted them differently depending on their needs at the time of their brother’s death and soon to be resuscitation after being dead for 4 days.
John 11:17-14 NIV
17-On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18-Bethany was less than 2 miles from Jerusalem, 19-and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20-When Martha had heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21-“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, ”if you would have been here my brother would not have died. 22-But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
23-Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24-Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25-Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, 26-and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27-“Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”
28-And after she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29-When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30- Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31- When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
32-When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33-When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34-“Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35-Jesus wept. (The shortest verse in the Bible)
36-Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37-But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
38-Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39-“Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
40-Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
41-So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42-I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.
43-When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44-The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”    
After, Sunday school the preacher started his lesson off with a story on Author Berry that moved me so much that I wanted to share it with you. It’s about a famous jewel thief that finally got caught. He was caught and was put in jail for his crimes. He received a lot of requests for interviews however would only do one interview and one question that we all need to ask ourselves. It reads:
All went well with Arthur until someone came to the little town and recognized him as the famous jewel thief. As the news spread as to who he was, reporters came rushing in from the large city newspapers to interview this reformed criminal. One of the questions that was put to Arthur by a young reporter was this one: "Arthur, we know that you have taken from some of the wealthiest people in the world. Do you remember who it was that you stole the most from?" Without a moment's hesitation Arthur answered, "The person that I stole the most from was Arthur Berry. I could have made a contribution to society. I could have been a stock broker. I could have been a teacher. I could have been a successful businessman. I could have done all of these, but instead I spent two-thirds of my adult life in prison. I have spent a lifetime robbing myself."
How many of us are robbing ourselves and robbing God by not using our time and our lives wisely? We are given the opportunity every day to see how we will act and react to circumstances and situations where we can forget about ourselves and lend a helping hand to others or show the love of a merciful Father. The prophet Micah spoke the truth when he said, "He has shown you, 0 man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? " (Micah 6:8).
One thing out of many that I love about the way our preacher preaches is that he grabs your attention and runs with it. I kind of took this as an answer to my question about this website. No, I’m not perfect and yes I am a sinner. I am human. But, this isn’t about me. It’s about what God wants from us to do for him. Share his words!
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