For the past couple of weeks to a month has been quite a challenge for me both spiritually and emotionally. However, it really hit me this past Tuesday on the way back from dropping my older kids off at soccer practice. I had been battling dizzy spells since the day before. Nighttime was very hard because the simple task of laying my head down on a pillow was torture! The room would spin and my eyes felt as though they were going in circles which made me sick to my stomach! I was still trying to figure out a good schedule for the kids with school and coming home to cook dinner and clean. And, we just added another item to our schedule by just filling out an information request form on the exchange student website. Now in less than a week, I was getting an exchange student from South Korea. What were we thinking? Now, before anyone reads this the wrong way, you must continue to read where I am going with this.
Keep in mind what I’m talking about above is my home life. A lot of my stress starts at 8:30 am Monday thru Friday. It’s called work and it spills into my home life at times! My doctor told me that if I was to take work out of my equation, I would not need antidepressants. To me, I thought it was funny and I do agree. However, I replaced antidepressants with the word of God and he suits me better. The only side effects are the Devil tries to get you harder and you can cure that with staying in the Word of God not another pill. Now, I’m not against taking them. They serve their purpose in my life for quite awhile and I needed them too. For those that do not know or haven’t read my background. I, along with my family, husband and wonderful close friends run a Nursing home company together. We have 9 nursing homes and 2 retirement centers in Georgia and Alabama. We are hands on owners is which is probably why it is more stressful because we care so much. In my department, I have an excellent right hand lady and I’m her right hand lady! Our job is to keep money coming in by billing Medicaid, Medicare, insurance and other payor sources. Very stressful job to do but we have each other. This week, the company was trying to make the decision on whether or not we wanted to take on another Nursing Home. I don’t handle change too well if I don’t have at least some time to think about it and more information to go with it. Which is the same situation I was going through at home with our soon to be exchange student. I know it would seem with 5 kids, I could handle change. I mean they are changing constantly aren’t they? However, I think what was my breaking point was it was too much change at the same time! School was starting so I had to juggle school, cleaning house and washing clothes differently now. Braydon (our 10 yr old) just got diagnosed with Servers disease and now had a cracked heel. He had to wear boot looking cast on his legs every night and one on the leg he had the cracked heel and soccer season was fixing to start so he was crushed. We were getting a new nursing home and I had an exchange student that I had no idea what to do with her once I got her and I felt dizzy every time my head moved! Looking back at it, I picture a scene from that movie where the guy takes the pill that makes him smarter and his world moves quickly in front of him! My world felt like it was going too fast and I didn’t know whether to put the brakes on or let if fall the way it could. Then, I got to thinking about what made me chose her.
Last Thursday, Jon and I got 5 profiles on different exchange students from different countries. Reading their likes and GPA was very interesting. We weren’t allowed to see pictures of them just yet nor did we get to learn too much more about them except their likes and GPA. There was something that really grabbed my attention over any of the other profiles. She listed that she was a Christian and wanted to attend our religious services. I knew from that, she’d be the perfect fit for us. With me being a fairly new Christian and having 5 very influential children, I did not want to wonder what our exchange student thought about religion. Plus, I am very cautious on my children talking about different religions with anyone other than close friends and family. From our interview with our Case manager with CIEE, you can host students that are Muslim, Buddhist, atheist, and others that I’m not aware of. I’m sure that God would guide me in trying to show them our religion but I’m just not quite ready for that! I was told that I could look at this experience as a reverse mission’s trip!
On Monday morning we got the green light that our new daughter from Korea would be here on Thursday and we were to pick her up at the airport. My dizziness had just started the night before so I could not get much sleep and we were having a meeting at work on the new nursing home. We had been working nonstop on getting our house ready for her that past weekend. Needless to say, we were exhausted! We had our meeting as I was headed back to my office, I heard my phone ring and to my surprise, it was our exchange student! Our conversation didn’t last too long and we didn’t get too much of anything said but from that point on I felt a connection. It was weird! Not a bad weird but a confusing weird!
In the past, I have always been the one that has wanted to foster and adopt other people's children. Jon has always been the one to make me really think about it and bring me back to reality each and every time! This time, it was nothing like that! Jon never once got frustrated and told me that we didn’t have time for it. He was just the opposite! Several times I asked him if he was doing reverse psychology on me and he just laughed at me! I finally ask him why he was so calm about it all and he said something that calmed me through the next several days. He told me that it was because he thought we were called to do this.
Because we were called to do this is why I feel as though the Devil set his sights on me once again! Monday came, went and my anxiety set in big time. My dizziness was getting to the point when I laid my head one certain way, Jon said he could see my eyes literally jump until I laid on my back. That was freaky! Tuesday morning came, at work everyone would come in our office and ask if I heard from her again and tell me how excited they were for us. I know they were trying to help get me through this but I just couldn’t shake my dizziness and my anxiety. I seemed far from excited. Tuesday afternoon I had just dropped the other kids off at soccer practice and the twins and I were headed home. Now, I have always been the type to try and fight back tears but at this moment driving down the interstate, I thought that it would be the best thing for me to let them flow! I talk to God a lot during the day and this was not different! In my walk with God, I have learned that being independent is not God’s way for us. Don’t get me wrong, being independent is great with other things. But with God, we need him to survive! I prayed that God would take care of the Devil because apparently this was an adventure the Devil didn’t approve of! Jon said that this was something he thought we were called to do. Not everybody gets to touch someone else’s life in the way we were fixing to touch her life and her, our life!
Wednesday was registration for Awana’s and I had to be there. We had posted on facebook the video of our exchange student and I wasn’t ready for questions about her. I had found out that morning that we weren’t sure about when I was suppose to register her for school because another Case manager couldn’t get anyone on the phone. We were picking her up tomorrow and we were unsure of school registration. Jon and I couldn’t agree on whether we should take the older kids with us to the airport to meet her or just us. I was able to figure out my dizziness was probably coming from an ear infection so I got put on antibiotics.
Thursday was the day that two families from opposite sides of the world were fixing to have a life changing experience that will last 10 months! That morning, Jon and I compromised with the older kids. They went to school for half a day. The twins went to daycare and the dogs went to the groomers! It was actually somewhat a normal Thursday! God was taking care of us that day!
The flight was delayed by thirty minutes, so we took a detour to Babies R Us and Best Buy. I LOVE babies R us although my babies are three. Jon went to Best Buy to get a TV for our exchange student’s room. We got to the airport on time and waited for her and waited.
About fifteen minutes later, I got a phone call. “Hi! Haewon!.....” Another passenger at the airport saw that she was a little lost and was trying to call us by putting pennies in the pay phone. And, our adventure starts!
On our way home, our kids were so quiet and feel asleep within 10 minutes of being in the van. Our newest member of the family was full of smiles and limited English would just smile and nod when we asked her a few questions. I started feeling a little bit of anxiety along with excitement. When we arrived home the guys were finishing up our steps to get on our front porch and we had to walk around to the back of the house to get in. The minute she stepped in our house through the sunroom, her eyes just lit up like a little child in a candy store! She was looking around in amazement because of the space, I guess. Funny how I never really saw the space until then. I remember watching the video of her and her apartment and it seem like a nice apartment. But, then I realized that our house is a little over 2780 sq feet when we added our sunroom a few months back. We had a house inspector come in about a year ago to get our house appraised and he said that we most definitely use every space in our house. With 5 children, 2780 sq feet doesn’t seem that big at times! However coming from living in apartments, it is big even with 5 kids running around!
As she was getting settled into her room, I went to get her a TV at Wal-Mart along with supper and the twins. Jon had looked up the price of the TV he wanted me to get and it was on sale. When I got to Wal-Mart, the sale was marked down even more by $50, they had just got the TV thirty minutes ago and people had been calling about it. I thank God for that deal!
When I had gotten home, Grace had already introduced Haewon to chips and salsa. The boys were showing her stuff on the computer and she had brought gifts for everyone with cards. She’s so sweet! She was a perfect fit for us and us for her!
The next day, Jon and I did our normal routine of getting kids ready and off to school and then to work! I picked Haewon up and took her to register for classes. As we were sitting waiting to talk with the counselor, I was thinking about what I really needed to be doing when I got finish here. Then, it finally dawned on me! I was so busy with myself and how I was feeling and what this was going to do with our lives that I forgot to think about Haewon. This person had decided to travel 13 hours away from her comfort zone to come live with a family that she knew nothing about. Go to school that she knew nothing about, meet people she knew nothing about and spoke just enough English to get by. She was a Christian and she was going to attend religious services that were hopefully what she believed. She was doing this for a whole 10 months with limited contact with her own family and friends! At that moment, I wanted to shrink down in my chair and hide! This experience isn’t about me, it’s about how we will let God come in and take over. Unite two families, teach each other about not just our differences but about our similarities and how we can grow with God through the next 10 months.
After getting her schedule for Monday, we were headed home to get her money so she could go to the market (Our Wal-Mart). She asked what we were going to do for Dad’s (Jon) birthday on the 24th. I told her that I hadn’t really thought about it but maybe birthday cake. It’s funny how in our busy schedules, Wednesday (24th) might have came and I would have realized then that it was Jon’s birthday. Now, I’m racking my brain to come up with something special to celebrate his birthday.
I had asked her what she thought about Bolingbroke, where she would live for the next 10 months. She smiled and told me in her country, she wouldn’t see anything like this. It was beautiful to her to see the trees and grass. The simple things in life that I pass by everyday are so beautiful to someone who has never seen it with her own eyes.
When we got to Wal-Mart, I was all set to try and figure out what she wanted to get food wise but she just wanted socks and two summer shirts. I notice that she was having a hard time finding a shirt so I offered to take her to another store for shirts and she said that this was fine. She picked out two plain shirts and socks. She was set to go!
That night our youth was having a school kick-off that lasted from 6:00 until midnight. We wanted to take Haewon so she could get to know some kids from her new school. When we got there, several youth were outside waiting to meet her and welcome her. It was very nice. All throughout the evening more youth would come up and introduce themselves. Although she tended to cling to our 8yr old’s side, she did try talking to other youth. Around 9:30, Jon took me along with the twins and Grace home to see if we could get Haewon to come out from under Grace. She did! Our Minister of music had her playing a keyboard which I hate that I missed! She was so tired when she got home; she took a shower and went to bed!
Today is her first full day with all of us home. So far she is teaching Jon and the kids a little about her culture and how to write all our names in Korean while I am writing.
It’s been a humbling experience so far. I’m so thankful that God has chosen us to go through this wonderful experience together! I look forward to posting pictures and more blog entries for my readers to enjoy!
I took this from one of my facebook friend’s status:
Believes that faith is exactly what it takes to get through uncertainty.
The summer is over and it’s now time for school. Besides Christmas, I think this is my other favorite time of the year! It’s a time to start fresh with sports starting up, new friendships start, old friendships reunite, that crush you might have had last school year has faded and a new person strikes your fancy, and a chance to get that A or at least a B in history that was so distant last year is now within reach. And, for some church goers (you know who you are) it’s time to get back in the habit of Wednesday night suppers with an awesome sermon to top off your night and Sunday morning Sunday school and church to start off your week just right! We sure have missed you at church just as some of you have missed my writings in my blog.
Just as God formed and shaped Adam from the dust of the ground and molded him into his perfect creation, God has been doing the same to me this summer. Let’s not forget what he did after he molded his perfect image as my VBS preschoolers say, “He blowed air into him.” Pretty good for a group of 3 and 4 yr olds. If you ask them what God took from Adam after he put him in a deep sleep, you will hear either ‘God took his pillow.’ (Ella) or ‘ God took his ribbon’ (Heather). Such innocent answers. My niece went home one night from VBS, she told her mom that ‘Jesus died on a bunch of sticks!’ By the end of the week, my class could answer all the questions and sing cute songs! By the end of the summer, I was able to understand a bit more than the beginning of the summer as well!
Our ladies Bible study did a bible study on Heaven. Although, I didn’t complete the Bible study with our wonderful ladies, I did still do some of them. Just enough to help me understand that dying is living and as soon as you realize that death isn’t as scary as it once was. Now, I’m not volunteering to die just yet and it will still hurt my heart if I lose someone close to me. I’m human! When John the Baptist was beheaded, Jesus suffered the painful feelings as well.
Matthew 14 v 13: When Jesus heard what happened; he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the town.
How many Moms of small children, or any children if truth be told, can relate to this verse? Jesus had just heard that his close friend (cousin) had just been beheaded and he just wants some privacy! He needs time to compose his self. (This is my words telling the story.) Now, in our daily lives of being a mom, aunt, wife, co-worker, best friend and our list goes on, we might not suffer through something as tragic as what he was going through then but we just might need a little space to compose ourselves or we might explode! Jesus had compassion on them and healed their sick! (Matthew 14 v 14) We had discussed some of this in our Sunday school class on Sunday. My thoughts on it were, Jesus was comforting himself by doing what he loved to do: healing and taking care of others! As a mother of 5 kids, I’m asked a lot on how do you do what you do and still take care of the house, full time job, bus kids from one place to another and still live to talk about it. My answer used to be that I’m a very routine person and my kids know what to expect and what we (my husband & I) expect from them plus, I try not to think about it. Truly, at home my kids see my head spin a couple of times and my eyes pop out of my head. One time of seeing your mom do that and you will listen & obey everything she tells you to do! It’s scary how true that sometimes is!!! But, putting all jokes aside, I suffer through the 21 loads (on a good week) of laundry, the back talk, the constant picking up of children’s belongings, sleepless nights, the mental stress of worrying if I’m really messing up 5 kids lives, soccer practices, ballet, tap & jazz classes, interrupted potty times and being the first one up in the morning so I can enjoy a shower without twin girls asking if I’m behind the shower curtain and the list goes on because I haven’t mentioned my work life just because every time I look at those 5 precious little perfect creations that God has trusted me to take care of, it’s worth it every stretch mark and wink they have caused me! Just think, Jesus looks at us the same way!
My family and I have watched Soul Surfer several times since it came out a few weeks ago. If you haven’t watched it, you really need too! You also need to read the book “Heaven is for Real” if you haven’t already. Anyways, at the end of the movie, Bethany Hamliton is asked if she could take back the day she went surfing and was attacked, would she. Her reply was ‘No, I would not take back what has happened to me. Having one arm is how He uses me. God put me on this earth to serve Him. I’m still happy,” How many of us would answer that question the same?
In the book “Heaven is for Real,” the little boy tells his daddy that he knows who Jesus is in Heaven by the marks on his hands. Jesus is in Heaven where he can get those same marks made by our sins taken away and he still has them. You can ask anyone who knows me on how terrified I am of thunder storms. The other day I had just picked up the twins from daycare and was trying to hurry home to beat the storm because the sky looked really mad! I was a few miles from home when I saw the lighting and felt the thunder. I knew there was no way I was getting out of my van until it was semi-over. I had a full tank of gas and the twins were watching a Dora DVD. I was set! As I slowly drove and watched every bolt of lightning, I thought that maybe that was God’s anger being unleashed on the world. After all, he has been taken out of our schools, the government doesn’t seem to want his help and people just don’t seem to have time for him with their busy schedules; not to mention his one and only son was beat and hung on a cross to pay for our sins. Not his sins, our sins! My oldest son and I watched the ‘Passion of the Christ’ together and he asked out loud while Jesus was being beat with nails and thorns, “Why so bad. Why won’t someone make it stop.” It wasn’t until later on this year that I understood why it was so bad and why no one made it stop. It was so bad because he had to have all of our sins thrown on his innocent human body. Why won’t someone make it stop? Because, he loved us that much to go through all the beatings with nails, leather whips and thorns placed on his head so we would have eternal life in Heaven with him.
My older kids often complain and roll their eyes when I tell them to do their homework or clean their rooms. When I want to surprise them, I’ll clean their room. Instead of a thank you, I will get ‘Well, I didn’t ask you too.’ My comment back is ‘No, you didn’t ask me to but I did it because I loved you.’
I’m by no means comparing a clean room to what Jesus went through for us on that day. But, how often do we wallow in our self pity because we feel unappreciated? Aren’t we so lucky to have a Savior that doesn’t! He even keeps his scars on his hands to remember the love he has for us! How lucky are we?
I felt the need to write this blog tonight due to a very special person in my life. When writing about personal experiences, you tend to open yourself up to be hurt, embarrassed or looked at differently. But, whatever it might open up for me is nothing compared to what this one special person could lose if the truth on my own struggles of following our Precious Savior is kept inside. Maybe it could help you or someone in your own family.
In the past I have always believed in God and Jesus Christ as my Savior but I never really picked up the Bible to read myself. I knew the basic stories of Adam & Eve, Noah’s Ark and the cute stories you read to your kids in their Bibles. I taught those stories to my preschoolers when I taught 3 year olds and in my home daycare. In my home daycare I had my 2 and 3 yr olds reciting the Lord’s Prayer. I did not live a selfish, sinful life either. My life was my family. I think that Satan was not as threatened by me because my audience wasn’t older people that possibly could talk with others and spread the Good news. Now, I’m not saying that 2, 3 & 4 yr olds can’t spread the word. They are limited to family and few other people unless you are like the little boy who visited Heaven. Which I’d like to add is a very good book to read if ever in doubt or just to read for fun. “Heaven is for Real,” my husband read it in two hours the other night. When you are really starting to spark flames with God’s word the Devil attacks everything you hold dear. He will hit your mind, your family, your friends and finances until he takes all that spark. You are no longer a big threat to him and he twists your mind into wondering why work so hard? You only get one life, why make it so stressful on yourself? I’m so thankful that Jesus did not feel that way.
My struggle started two years ago because of family issues. The issues aren’t as important as how Satan turned that into his weapon. I hit rock bottom one day to the point I was afraid to be alone. I didn’t know whether to hide, cry or kill myself. I felt so insecure with my life, my kids and my family. I just wanted everything to stop so I could breathe for just a minute if I could get that. If it couldn’t stop, I wanted to disappear. We had started going back to church a month prior and I had started understanding what I was hearing for the first time ever. I wanted to tell people. Then the Devil appeared, no, not in person because that would have been way too easy to fight. When you see the bad, you can win against it because you know exactly what you are up against. But when he plays with your mind through your thoughts, you think it’s you. The only place I felt safe was at church. I felt such a relief just knowing I was going to church! I wanted to go every time the doors opened. My insecurities came back stronger the more I got in the Word. I started fearing dying and leaving my kids, I wanted to cry, I didn’t want to be left alone and I’d panic if I knew I was driving somewhere by myself. Not too many people if any knew this because I don’t want anyone to EVER think I’m a broken person. I’ve worked way too hard to be a strong person that being so weak went so against anything I believed myself to be. But, I was weak, so weak! It brings tears to my eyes now to even think about how I was compared to how I am now. God is so GREAT to me! Through God, Church, my Church family, my husband, my very best friend in the whole wide world (you know the one that really knows you to the point you have to kill her if you aren’t friends anymore (just joking)) and family, I made it through. It was like a cancer. The Devil is like a Cancer. With Cancer, you can either let it take over and it kills you or you can fight it with medicine. Medicine in this case is the Bible, Church, Church family and friends. The survival success is 100% as long as you trust in God and remember how you feel every time you pick up that Bible and read, or every time you talk to that one person that truly understand what you are going through and doesn’t tell you what to do but leads by example. The Devil is laughing at you every time he gains an inch of your life. He gets one inch further every time you trust in the Lord and share his word.
It has been two years. I’m constantly learning more about our savior and more about my own self. I still have scars inside and sometimes get tired of the struggles but I know in my heart that on the other side there will be no struggles just rewards. That is what I focus on if the trial seems too great. You will still have your days and it is ok. Just know, no matter how alone you are, God is right there and Jesus will carry you home. No one will suffer the scars Jesus has for you!
We had our ladies Bible Study this past Sunday night. Our focus was on “Heaven’s Oscars.” The Bible states 5 rewards you can get once you are in Heaven. There are more according to what I read in our Bible Study but the Bible tells us of 5 rewards we are eligible to receive.
The Victor’s Crown: (1 Corinthians 9:25-27) it requires discipline and training; training requires the ability to say “no” when necessary even things that are not sinful; example would be putting down that remote to read for 15 minutes in the Bible or even choosing the healthy snack instead of the chocolate cake; Paul illustrates the difference between an athlete and non-athlete. The athlete trains and is discipline him/herself to do whatever it takes to win while a non-athlete has less a desire to train and discipline him/herself to win.
Crown of Rejoicing: (1 Thessalonians 2:19) the soul winner’s crown; Christians who talk about Jesus to each other; who ever invited you to church or introduced you to Jesus is in the running for this crown; if you have invited someone to church or introduced anyone to Jesus, you are in the running
Crown of Righteousness: (2 Timothy 4:8) having the longing of the Lord Jesus to come back
Crown of Life: (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10) it is given to those who maintain their love for Christ while enduring and triumphing over persecution and temptation; it is for anyone who have suffered, endured, persevered, and encouraged others to do so as well, those who have kept the faith when it was costly to do so
Crown of Glory: (1 Peter 5:4) it is for faithful shepherds of people; pastors, elders, deacons, leaders with visibility in the church; it’s for all those who were shepherds of the sheep at some level—small groups, Sunday school classes
Not only did I learn about the 5 crowns but a few things were cleared up to me that I’d like to share for those that are confused about being saved.
When you accepted Jesus Christ as your savior, he took away all your sins. Not just the ones you committed before you accepted him but for those you will commit after you accepted him. So, through your faith in Jesus Christ you are saved. I felt a little insecure because I have not done nearly the same amount of good deeds someone else had done so what business do I have for saying I’m being saved. However, what I learned through my Bible study was I’m not doing good works to be saved, I’m doing good works because I am saved.
Usually when I’m trying to understand something, I relate it back to what I know. I know what it feels like to be a parent. Not too long ago, my oldest Son, Hunter was asked to clean their bathroom, he wasn’t feeling up to it so he said he didn’t want to. After telling him the long list of what I do for him when I don’t want to, I ended up cleaning the bathroom. You might wonder what was accomplished by me cleaning his bathroom. I got a clean bathroom for one. However, both of us learn something that night. I realized that if God listed for me all that he does for me every time I don’t want to do something and rebel, I’d still be sitting there from the first time I rebelled. Hunter realized that he was being selfish, disrespectful and he cleaned the bathroom today without a hesitation. An hour after I listed everything I did for him, he gave me a hug and apologized. That was one of the many hardest hour of disciplining I have gone through with him but it was worth it.
I want share a story that Dr David Jeremiah shared with us at the end of our Sunday Bible Study. I was able to find it online and the Author is unknown. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did hearing it Sunday night.
An old missionary couple had been working in Africa for years and were returning to New York to retire. They had no pension; their health was broken; they felt defeated, discouraged, and afraid.
As the trip began, they discovered they were on the same ship as President Teddy Roosevelt, who was returning from one of his big-game hunting expeditions.
No one paid any attention to them. They watched the fanfare that accompanied the President's entourage, with passengers trying to catch a glimpse of the great man. As the ship moved across the ocean, the old missionary said to his wife, "Something is wrong."
"Why should we have given our lives in faithful service for God in Africa all these many years and have no one care a thing about us? Here this man comes back from a hunting trip and everybody makes much over him, but nobody gives two hoots about us."
"Dear, you shouldn't feel that way," his wife said.
He replied "I can't help it; it just doesn't seem right."
When the ship docked in New York, a band was waiting to greet the President. The mayor and other dignitaries were there. The papers were full of the President's arrival. No one noticed the missionary couple. They slipped off the ship, disappeared in the crowd, and found a cheap flat on the East Side, hoping the next day to see what they could do to make a living in the city.
That night the man's spirit broke. He said to his wife, "I can't take this; God is not treating us fairly." His wife replied, "Why don't you go in the bedroom and tell that to the Lord?" A short time later he came out from the bedroom, but now his face was completely different. His wife asked, "Dear, what happened?"
The Lord settled it with me. I told Him how bitter I was that the President should receive this tremendous homecoming, when no one met us as we returned home. And when I finished, it seemed as though the Lord put His hand on my shoulder and simply said;
"You're not home yet."
The Author is unknown
Have a Blessed Day!
The past couple of weeks have been emotional for me, as a Christian, mother, wife and employer of a family business. When I first started to write on my blog, I wanted to write about my life but then thought, it’s not about me. I want to tell people about God and what I am learning and take me out of the picture totally. I felt nervous at first and didn’t know whether I was going in the right direction with what I was writing. Were people really getting anything from what I wrote? Have I misquoted what God was saying? What is my punishment for doing something as horrible as telling people one thing when God meant it another way? All these things and more were running through my mind every time I hit the post button to put my writings on my blog. Then, the time factor came into play. Have you ever been so proud of yourself about being committed every day to doing something like exercising, reading a book or as simple as making your bed? Then you don’t know what happen but now you cannot find time to do any of what you were so proud of yourself for doing so well. Well, I hit that the past few weeks!
Sometimes, I think it is God’s way of giving us time to really digest what all we have taken in whether in daily devotionals, Sunday school class or Church. There is just so much our brains can take in, digest and dish out correctly. We might be going through something at that moment in time and God gives us a little insight through a chapter, a conversation with someone, or just a passing thought in your head.
I also believe that it can be the devil tempting us. In Sunday school, last Sunday we had two pictures in our book. One picture was a rocky road with over-grown bushes and plants but still a rocky path that you could walk down. The other picture was what you would see in a well-kept garden. A nice green grassy path that was very pleasing to the eyes. Our teacher had asked when we are walking with Christ, which path do we feel like we are on, the rocky path or the grassy path that was pleasing to the eye? I chose the rocky path, and then said we would make it to the grassy path. God knows that our path will not always be easy. He knows that we will be tempted by the devil. After 40 days of fasting in the desert, the devil tried to tempt Jesus with food. The devil gets us when we are weak because he knows we are tired and hungry for relief. He laughs as soon as he gets us and doesn’t want to let us go. Can we get away? Sure we can with trust and faith in Jesus.
My one weakness is my children and husband. It used to be death but I’m strong against that now. How? When I did my first devotional on Revelations by Beth Moore, she had said that the Devil has a strong hold on us to fear death. I cannot find my workbook to quote where she got it from. I’ll have to look for it and put it in a future post. We give the devil his power every time we fall for his temptation. Two Sundays ago, my oldest was suffering major earache which was very emotional for him which made it the same for me. I didn’t know what we were dealing with. I knew the pain was too much to be a normal ear infection. I had to argue with the doctor that I had given the antibiotic enough time to work and it wasn’t working. Then, I had to watch Hunter shake uncontrollably and cry in pain until they gave us pain meds. I know my family and some co-workers might not agree totally but I dislike any confrontations. They wear me out emotionally because I don’t want to sound stupid, look crazy and I just don’t like how it makes me feel afterwards. I’d much rather tuck my tail and walk away. I had some confrontation going on two Sundays ago! Have you ever felt something and just couldn’t place what it was but you knew it was something? Well, I had this strong feeling deep inside that I couldn’t explain. I just felt that something was not right and I had to keep pressing until I knew what was going on with his ear. They continued Monday morning until we got to see the ENT doctor. I found out what it was after the doctor looked into his ear. God was with Hunter just as he was with Ella. Hunter had a severe infection in the bone in his ear canal. It was a swimmers ear gone bad! I read on Web MD that if left untreated, it could be fatal. The infection was so bad that it created puss that was on his eardrum which the doctor used a special tool to suck it out. The infected bone was very close to his brain where the infection could have gone. And, I was told I didn’t give antibiotics enough time to work. It was Monday; he had started antibiotics on Saturday. Not to mention, the pain medicine that was prescribed was 2 Loritab every 4 to 6 hours. I gave him half a dose partly because my mom, a nurse told me that sounded like too much for him to take and partly because I don’t usually give my children the full dosage of pain medicine. The ENT said that the dosage was for a 200lb man and he was glad I didn’t give him what was prescribed! Poor Hunter! After, feeling somewhat ok with Hunter’s ear, I thought back to the past day and was grateful God was there pushing me and was exhausted because of the confrontations (not to mention lack of sleep)! I just wonder how God did it! He gave his one and only son to suffer for our sins and I am still exhausted going through a severe infection with my own son!
At work, I had a lot to get done from collecting information to bill correctly to actually doing the billing. Along with that, I had deal with other aspects of my job. And, did I mention I had to get my work done and pick Gracie up from school and have her at cheer practice by 4:00 pm until 7:30 that night? Tuesday wasn’t as crazy until Braydon, our younger son hit Hunter in the ear with a tennis ball! Back to the ENT that next morning to see if any damage was done! This is just some of how our life is with 5 busy kids, full time job and trying to do the best we can to live a Christ-filled life. It isn’t easy! God knows it isn’t easy. And, my answer is: Not everything worthwhile is easy. It’s not about the grassy path or the rocky path, it about how you chose to walk down which ever path is thrown your way that matters.
As Christians, we will walk down both the grassy path for a while then something will happen in our lives that sends us down the rocky path. How many of us are quick to say that God must be punishing me for something or God is no longer at my side through this suffering. I can honestly answer that I have never blamed God for the bad things that have happen in my life. In my younger years (not that I’m old) I suffered abuse. I was told before I got married that I’d never be able to get pregnant. My mother-in-law died right before we got pregnant with the twins. Since I was close with her, I knew exactly where she was going. That doesn’t stop the tears from falling every time I miss her but it is a sense of comfort. There are days when I get a whiff of her perfume when no one has walked by me or I’ll be looking up a verse in the Bible she gave me and the page opens to it. Those are the times I really feel her presence. I know my life tragedies are nowhere near others such as losing a parent, sibling, wife/husband or a child. But, have you ever stopped to think, God knows those feelings of losing a child. Anyone out there reading this blog that has lost a child, God has not left you. God is right next to you comforting you and your family; he felt those very same pains when he gave his son to save you! The only difference is he willing gave up his son because he thought that much of us. Can you imagine the guilt God felt with every nail that went into his son’s hands & feet to cover our sins with his blood? God has a purpose for everything, whether good (new life) or bad (Jesus on the cross). The more you try to take it out of his hands the further away he seems from you but he’s right there waiting to take it back as soon as you are willing to give it up to serve his purpose. What is your purpose? Life is way too short on earth to take him out of it. Eternity is too long to if you never ask God in your heart to serve his purpose. You might be thinking that you have nothing to give or serve, everyone does. That longing in your heart to stay alive and have a connection with someone or thing is what God made us for. We long to not die because our souls do not die, that connection is the connection we share with Jesus Christ! You find him, build a relationship with him by reading about him and your longing for a connection is complete.
God knows that our everyday battles are too much for us to bear alone. Share it with him and he will take it away. Give him a chance. What do you have to lose?
In my emotional journey with my walk with Christ, I never really could grasp the concept of bowing down at Christ’s feet. I mean when I finally get to see our Lord and Savior, I want to see his face not his feet.
One of my many favorite contemporary Christian songs is “Love has come” by Mark Schultz. http://youtu.be/EIIAf2lS_Us . This is the link so you can hear the song. My favorite part is “every knee shall bow.” That’s when it started clicking in my head. All I could picture in heaven was many Christians kneeling before our savior as he approaches. It still sends chills all over my body. I realized that when that time comes in my own life, I will have no problem falling to my knees. I think it will be automatic.
This past weekend and week has been an emotional roller coaster for me and I’m sure for my husband and kids. I don’t know how it is at everyone else’s house but when I’m on a roller coaster, my husband and kids are in a cart behind me! I know I had just written on Sunday on my blog about my oldest son (Hunter) and his ear problems. On Monday, I called the ENT center as I was instructed by both the doctor from after hours and the on call ENT doctor. After a conversation with the appointment desk and a promise for a call back within a hour, I took Hunter to work with me. It is the first of the month for me which means long hours at my desk billing. What my office mate and I do plays a major impact on money flow into the company for the month. To get across how important our job is to running the company, both my office mate and I planned as best as we could the delivery of our babies around the first of the month. I had my twins on May 15th and she had her precious baby girl on the 19th. Both of us were on bed rest and continued to work non-stop from the comforts of our homes. Well, as comfortable as you could be pregnant and cut off from the world! Get the idea of how important our job is?
We are only at work for thirty minutes when the ENT center calls and tells me to bring him in. I’m on stress mode due to my billing not getting done and I’m taking Hunter to a doctor that I really didn’t care too much for at the time but he was the only one I could see that soon. I would like to point out something on that (Not caring too much for the doctor taking care of my child through a stressful illness).When my husband and I went through Ella’s meningitis at six months of age, we were greeted at the second hospital by a doctor I had claimed I would never take my child back too! (You can read about Ella’s illness in my first story part of the website) Both doctors, I thought at that time, had the wrong personality to be working with kids! As I am writing this, I am at the ENT center in one of the rooms waiting to see the doctor. In the other room is a toddler screaming in fear and then you hear the doctor holler out, “I need some help in here!” It’s funny how I am writing about the same thing I hear going on in the next room. I wonder if that Mother is judging that doctor as harshly as I judged them when I was going through that very same thing ten years earlier? But back to that awful doctor that saved my precious Ella’s life. If it weren’t for that doctor (with God’s help) that I could not stand, I don’t know where I’d be now. About 8 months later, Ella had gotten sick and I called to get her seen. Guess what? He was the only doctor that could see her. I happily took her. I was all set to remind him who she was when he surprised me! As he walked into the room, he held out his hand and had the friendliness smile on his face. Totally different from ten years earlier and Ella did not once cry as he check her out. He had told me that he had often wondered how she was doing and that she was a very sick baby. He had told me at the hospital when he had diagnosed her, that in all his years of being a doctor he had never seen a case as severe as hers was. I was taken aback by that whole visit. The doctor that I had not cared too much for is now the doctor that I would trust with my most precious gift, my children. The doctor that is helping us get through Hunter’s ear problem is a great doctor as well. He could have easily told me the same thing that the other two doctors told me, “You’re not giving the medicine enough time to work.” He took one look in Hunter’s ear and knew it was more than an ear infection. It was so much more serious.
It is funny how God puts people in our lives that we would choose not to deal with in a crisis. In the end, they are the best person to go through the crisis with.
Whether it was the doctors that day I formed my negative opinion about them or me, a new momma sensitive about her first baby, it doesn’t really matter. I’m so glad that God chose to put those people in my life exactly when my babies needed them the most.
In relating this back with my whole intent for sharing this particular blog entry with you was my understanding of bowing down at Christ feet or even understanding why people bow down at all when it comes to our Savior. I have always been a person that tries really hard to not show weakness. I have learned that I was actually getting emotions and weakness as one in the same with every aspect in my life. It wasn’t up until a few years ago, that I let anyone see me cry. To me, crying meant you were weak and broken. I have had issues in my past that I never would tell anyone, except my husband of course, until recently. It was because I didn’t want anyone to think I was broken because I’m not. I thought people would define me by my past. It is true that your past plays a part in who you are but it’s how you handle yourself with God’s guidance that is how you should define yourself. In reality, every one of us is broken, it’s God who heals us. In the Webster dictionary bowing down means: bend one's knee or body, or lower one's head; "He bowed before the King"; "She bowed her head in shame" One definition means to show respect and praise. The other definition means to show shame. And, I have always thought of it as showing weakness. Weakness, shame, respect and praise all describe our relationship with our Savior. We, as Christians are weak compared to our powerful Savior. Joshua was weak without God. However, with God leading the way, the Jordan River parted so that the people could cross and the walls came tumbling down after seven days of marching. (Joshua 3 and Joshua 6) We all sin and fall short of the Glory of God so we should feel shame in the presence of God. We bow down to one knee weak and ashamed to show respect for the God who saved us from our own selves. We should praise him in every way. As a mother of five precious children that God gave me as a gift, I praise him and respect him because he saved them, my husband and me. I’m not meaning from the grips of death with illnesses. I’m talking about saving them from evil and giving them everlasting life by paying the price on that cross many years ago so that we will ALWAYS be together in this life on earth and in Heaven for eternity.
Today could be a new day for you because he chose you first!
Pick a church and try it out if you do not have a church home. I Love my church home! If you need one, just either email me @ email@example.com or on facebook send me a message. I’d be happy to share where I go to church. We even have our wonderful pastor’s sermons on our church’s website(http://bethanybaptistmacon.com).
A lot of things have happened since my last post. I try to think of different things to write about that might help someone out there see Christ in their own lives. I have had a thought in my head but didn’t know how to write about until today. It’s about describing God’s Love for each and every one of us. Two or three weeks ago in Sunday school we talked about Comfort. The study opened up with two questions: How do you feel when your child is hurting? & Is it difficult to believe that God responds to you the same way? I don’t know how it is with some people but when questions like the two above are asked, I have a lot of thoughts on it. Sometimes however my thoughts need to be processed for a few days or weeks before I can even understand them. I find the same thing happens when I really want to understand a certain verse in the Bible. Even when I’m in a devotional, I have to back up a day or a week to process what I’m learning because it starts to get stuck and nothing else is going in my head until a take a break! Now, I’m not taking a break from God. I talk to God daily and thank him more than once a day! Because I have a busy life with being a wife, a mother of 5 busy kids, church, and a fulltime job, I try to take advantage of any quiet time I can get to reflect on what I’ve been studying in the Bible. My quiet time is usually when I’ve dropped the twins off at daycare and I’m on my way to work. I have really been thinking about those two questions above.
Today, we had our normal Sunday with Sunday school and church. We were a little tired because Saturday was a busy day that started before 8:00 am and finished around midnight. It was a great Saturday! Gracie had her last three soccer games for the season and we ended it with the boys’ soccer team party. Well today after church I took Hunter to an after-hours pediatrician’s office because he was in a lot of pain with his ear. The same question kept going through my head on how do I feel when my child (Hunter at that time) is hurting? I hurt for him. Hunter was in so much pain that his eyes were blood shot, he shook every time he felt sharp pain go through his ear then he started feeling tingling in his fingers, face and ear. I think the tingling came from his breathing. He was nearly hyperventilating with every sharp pulsating pain. The night before, Jon, Hunter and I camped out on the couch in the living room so we could be there to comfort Hunter and warm up his rice hot pack whenever he started hurting. I remember telling him to breathe and we were there to get him through the pain. A light bulb went off in my head that made me think about the second question. Is it difficult to believe that God responds to you the same way? God does do the same for us. I have learned that fact through trials in my own life but now I could explain it to others through my experience with Hunter last night and today at the doctor’s office.
I got the following passage in devotional by Randy Alcorn “Heaven.” We often think backwards. We tend to start with earth and reason up towards Heaven, when instead we should start with Heaven and reason down towards earth. For instance, when God calls Himself a father and us children, He’s not just accommodating Himself to our earthly family structure. On the contrary, He created father-child relationships to display His relationship with us, just as He created human marriage to reveal the love relationship between Christ and His bride (Eph 5:32).
God gave us someone to love so we could understand how he loves us. As a mother, I wanted so much to take on that pain Hunter was going through so he didn’t have to suffer anymore. I let him squeeze my hand as tight as he needed to ease the pain. It got to where as soon as he felt pain, he reached out for my hand and it comforted his pain. However, if he didn’t hold my hand, tears started rolling and he had a hard time handling the pain. Look at Hunter’s pain as the trouble and pain in your own life. Then look at my love and my hand as what God can do for you. With every pain you suffer, squeeze tight to God’s word and I promise, he will get you through it. He loves you as you love your own flesh and blood. He loves you as you love your spouse. If you don’t have a child or spouse, then think of someone you love so much you would give your own life for. Jesus did it for you! Maybe you are thinking, how can God love me as much as I love my own flesh and blood? There’s just no way! But, it’s true. We are God’s flesh and blood. We are his children if we choose to be.
Genesis 1:27 states: So God created man in HIS OWN IMAGE, in the IMAGE of GOD he CREATED HIM;
Whenever we are creating something, whether we are decorating a room for someone to stay the night at our house, coloring a picture with our kids or even playing with play-doh we are creating from the images in our mind. When we create something, it’s special and has meaning behind it. Think back to when you were a child and you created a special picture or clay sculpture for someone special in your life. It came from your heart. We came from God’s heart as stated in Genesis 1:27. I have a special shelf in my dining room for my children’s clay sculptures. They are special to me. I think about how their little fingers kneaded that clay with me in mind.
In Genesis 2:7 states: the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
So, is it difficult to believe that God responds to you the same way as a parent response to their hurt child? Not to me. It is more difficult for me to believe that I deserve that kind of response by God. We are SO lucky to have a protective, forgiving, loving and stern God. With every trial we go through in life, God sculpts us. If we would be silent while we are going through a trial for just a minute or two and listen, we will hear God speaking to us. I don’t mean by a loud voice coming through clouds or even from a burning bush, he uses people in our lives or strangers on the street to get his message to us.
In writing this blog, God used people in my own life to encourage me and to guide me to keep writing. The other day, Jon and I were at Kohl’s buying clothes for a family that had lost everything in the tornado’s that hit on April 27th, while in line a nice older lady offered us a 20% off coupon. The lady did not have coupon in her hand, she got out of line, went out to her car and brought the coupon to me. She did not get back into the line where she would have been standing, she got in the back of the line. She saved us $44.00. I thank God everyday for putting people like that in my life.
I hope you have a wonderful night!
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 !
“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.
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.
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 !
I used the Bible (NIV) & The Disciple's Victory for my references