Whew!! I finished week 7 in Beth Moore's "Jesus the One and Only." I still have to listen to my Cd however, that's more of a treat to hear. As I finished the last paragraph on Day 5, I thought back to how deep this week has been trying to dig out of me. Although, I thought I'd never get it and give it up before the end of the week, I'm glad I didn't. I realize that maybe the reason I had to dig deep within this week is because I had some questions on decisions I needed to make that I just didn't know what to do. Some of you may know that Jon is going on his first mission trip in a few weeks over to Russia. He has always had this pull from within to go to Russia and now he gets to go and discover what God has in store for him spiritually. Our oldest went on a mission trip last summer to an orphanage in Honduras and it gave him a different perspective on his own life. He's going again this summer and I have the chance to go. I'm nervous and unsure of going. I have flown and I don't fear others flying. I just prefer to keep my feet on the ground.
"The Cost of Following Jesus" Luke 9:57-62 Touched on my ordeal. Besides the flying, my other hang up is leaving my 4 yr old twins for so long. I've never been apart from them for long. I don't like too be away from any of my children but my twins are my babies. Luke 9: 61- Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-bye to my family." 62- Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." I'm pretty much saying the same thing to Jesus. I want so much to follow Jesus and surrender my life to him but lets wait until the twins are older. With strong drugs, I'll get over my fear of flying for the moment. In researching what the two verses meant. I came across this: To follow Christ is to loosen your grip on the things that normally provide physical and emotional security. Jesus made it clear that He must be the top priority in our lives, even above one's family. "Put his hand to the plow and looks back" means looking over your shoulder while plowing, making it impossible to plow a straight furrow. We must focus on serving Him as we move ahead at His command. My children and husband give me that security. I worry with the up coming decisions I will make on going on the mission trip. Day 2: Luke 12: 22-26 is titled " Do Not Worry"
22- Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. (skip to) 25-"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 26-Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?" Just as I was starting the next day, I was getting a little discouraged on what I was suppose to be understanding and learning. Well, the topic was "Keep your Lamps Burning." It's not only so you will be ready when he comes but it's also so you will know him when you see him. In the New testament, it talks of scholars' of the Bible and the law but yet when he was right there in their face, they didn't know who he was. They didn't believe him. They were threatened by him. It reminds me of when Hunter, our oldest was having pain in the lower part of his tummy. I felt there was more to it than what the lead surgeon thought. He made me feel so low on my ability to know there was something wrong with my own child that I almost walked out with Hunter and took him home. I was just a momma and he had the education to KNOW Hunter was ok and I was just being crazy. I'm thankful for the Surgeon's education because 4 hours later, he was the one using his education to remove Hunter's appendix. He might have the knowledge but Hunter was a part of me and I KNEW my son. Jesus wants us to know him like I KNOW my sons, my daughters and my Husband.
How do I know them so well? Because, I spend time with them, I talk to them, I want to know EVERY part of their live, I love them and most of all they are a PART of me and I'm a part of them forever (eternity). I do pray that when the day finally comes for our Savior to come back, I will know him without any doubts.
We had our first vacation of the year this past week. It was supposed to be our second vacation but because God has his hands on my oldest son, Hunter, it ended up being our very first for the summer. His timing was perfect the night before our huge Disney trip when Hunter had to have emergency surgery. Now the next day after our return I’ve been battling with unsettling feelings. Nothing unparticular, just female emotions I chalk it up to. Summer vacation for the kids will be ending this week and the twins will start K-4 :( and Braydon will start middle school. Three of our kids are hitting milestones in their lives this week. Next year will make both Jon and I feel really old because Hunter will start HIGH SCHOOL! AHHH!
I had planned on all last week reading in my devotional books, Bible and coming back with five or more blog post. I came back with one written and hardly anything read but I thought about where I was in my faith and where I wanted to be in a few months. I got a chance to break away from all the stress in my life, reconnect with my husband, kids and great friends and just to clear my mind. Maybe that’s what God had planned for me so that he could open my eyes to what it was that is really taking me under and keeping me from being totally committed to him the way he needs me to be in order to use me for his purpose. On the route I was going, I wasn’t any good to anyone including myself!
Tonight, I picked up my good old faithfull book, ‘The Resolution for Women’. For some reason I have a hard time keeping up with where I last left off at so I find myself flipping through the last chapter I’d underline things in and pick with the next chapter. But, for some reason tonight, I reread the chapter name ‘Divine Appointments.’ It never fails lately when I have missed church, bible school, Wednesday nights or reading, I feel so alone and distant from everyone, most importantly God. The Bible verse, the author opens up with is out of Psalm 27:8
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds. “Lord, I am coming.”
Oh, Lord, I’m here! So powerful to read that verses when you feel alone. In the NIV version it states it this way: My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek.
As I grow in my faith and listen to my heart, I notice that when I’m at my most unsettling times and I feel alone, it’s when I’m not crying out to God to lead me out. Instead, I’m trying to pull myself out. To be faithfully his, I have to lean into his voice, live with Heaven’s purpose in view and Heaven’s whisper in my soul.
Heaven’s whisper? As a mother of twin girls, I know what a whisper is supposed to sound like and what 4 yr old girls thinks a whisper sounds like! I wish God’s whisper was more like a 4 yr old’s is whisper at times but I’m thankful he does whisper to me and I hear it (not always but my hearing is getting better with his whispers). The author uses Moses as her example of how he might not have seemed faithful but was. She says in her book how he seemed to have all kinds of problems in the execution of God’s plan he still held tight to the calling God had on his life.
‘Even in the noisy wind tunnel of guilt and regret, even with loud music inviting him to dance with the decadent, he could still catch the faint whisper of Heaven compelling him to forsake temporary feelings and pursuits for the sake of God’s will. And herein lies what separated him and his people from all others. He was not perfect, but he was purposeful. He wasn’t without mistake, but he was marked by God’s presence.’ The Resolution for Women pg 71 (Good old faithful)
All last week, I had a chance to think about what I thought my purpose was in life and prayed about God’s purpose for my life. I’m not perfect at anything I do but I do try when I have the energy. My heart is my children and everyone elses but lately you couldn’t tell I enjoy it because of being bogged down with the daily stress of being torn between work, kids, life, my wife duties and my momma duties and let’s not forget what society thinks a woman should look like and be able to do! At the end of April, I made the decision to get out of Awana’s and try my hand at the youth because our oldest is in youth and he was at the age where he needs guidance and parental contact. After all, I only have him for 5 more years at home. I have always been stand offish to the youth age because I didn’t get to experience my youth the way normal teenagers did. My parents were very strict and sheltered me just as I’m going to do with my daughters. Maybe not as strict and sheltered, but close. For the past few months, I have felt a little lost finding a place to fit in at church. We had Vacation Bible School. For the first time in three or four years, I didn’t participate. My kids did but I didn’t. The next week, the youth went up to the mountains on a mission trip to put on a Vacation Bible school up there for children that wouldn’t have it otherwise. Jon took Hunter and I stayed behind because of work and our younger children were doing Music camp at church. I have helped out twice with the youth girls Sunday school and I liked it. Because of vacation last week, I missed the last two Sunday mornings. It seems like I’m missing a lot of great opportunities to serve in each age group! That bothers me so I turned it over to God to help me get through.
I go onto read in my old faithful about ‘Heaven Calling.’ I really would rather put it in my own words but she words it so well. So here is the last piece from the book.
‘It’s the call of the faithful. You and me. To fix our eyes on Him and His plans for us, and then--- with the empowerment of the Spirit----to go about achieving them in our various relationships and endeavors.’
I’m in constant prayer that he will lead me in his plans for me and that he gives me the strength to move past people, earthly wants, finances and outside obstacles that might and will stand in my way. I know that what God wants me to do will bring me happiness because I will be serving him and not myself. My focus has to be on him and I have faith that he will take care of the rest. My Heaven Calling will keep me feeling a bit unsettled, sensing an internal ache I can’t quite shake until it moves me in his direction of serving his purpose for my life, not my own. That’s Heaven Calling.
As a person we just want to be wanted and loved. As a parent, we just want to give our children the best, the world. We want them to feel loved and never to suffer pain, loss or want. But also as a parent, we know we cannot prevent any of that from happening nor need too. In order for our children to grow up into a well-rounded adult, we have to set guidelines and structure. When I became a mother for the first time, I knew what I wanted to do with my life for the first time. I have always wanted to be a mommy and wife but for the first time ever I felt I had direction for my future. I wanted to be a teacher. I went to the tech school and started taking classes for early childhood development. I even got a chance to take Hunter in and use him as a college type show and tell. While in school we were also building a daycare for my mom and I to run. Once it was built, I taught 3 yr olds and I loved it! I went on to have our second child, Braydon. Right after I had Braydon, my parents sold the daycare and shortly after that I got fired. The new owners did not think I could grow with their company and my ways weren’t their ways. In other words, my words, the families like me and came to me with a lot of problems and not them. We had developed a bond and when it comes to your children you are cautious on whom you let watch your child all day long. Shortly after getting fired, a few of my families called me and asked if I’d watch their children at my home. I did and continued for almost two years. Then one day I received a call from the owners that had bought the daycare. Long story short, he had ran the daycare into the ground and wanted me to come back and run it. I did and was pregnant again with my third child, Gracie. However, it wasn’t just me that came back. I was not about to jump into the daycare business without my assistant director that I had before and who is now the owner of not only that daycare but another one. Both daycares are doing great! After running the daycare, my career choice has not really been my own and my fulfillment for my job hasn’t been the same. Children are my heart. Maybe that’s why I have so many!
There are a lot of nights I go to bed wondering if I was too hard on the kids for something they did wrong. Could I have been more understanding, more patient, more loving? Could I have not let them slide just this once for that behavior? After all I don’t blame them I probably have done the same thing at one time or they acted that way because I act that way. The answers are a mixture of yes and no’s. Yes, I should have bit my tongue a few hundred times to the point I probably shouldn’t have a tongue left! I’ve learned being patient comes with time and being in the word daily. Being in the word, doing my devotionals and blogging requires discipline. Being more loving grows more and more every day. Every limit I set or punishment I give to them is done in Love.
One of my favorite verses about Discipline by our Heavenly Father is out of Hebrew 12:3-11
3-For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart.4- In struggling against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.5- And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons:
My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly or faint when you are reproved by Him,6- for the Lord disciplines the one He loves and punishes every son He receives. 7-Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? 8- But if you are without discipline---which all receive---then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9- Furthermore, we had natural fathers discipline us, and we respected them. Shouldn’t we submit even more to the Father of spirits and live? 10- For they disciplined us for a short time based on what seemed good to them, but He does it for our benefit, so that we can share His holiness. 11- No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
God does not discipline us to harm us but to bless us in fellowship and receiving His peace and righteousness. We, as parents do the same for our own children. As I’ve stated in a previous blog, I understand God more and more each and every day I raise my own children. I understand why God put Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, why he flooded the earth, the plagues he sent and the list can go on and on. We just weren’t listening and he had had enough! How many times as a parent have you felt like you have repeated yourself so many times you felt like a broken recorded and you were just about to blow your top. We are at present battling with the boys to finish up their summer reading books and as much as we want to just let them fail and take the grade they get, we have a hard time doing that! But, the right thing to do is explain that if they don’t do the work and make a bad grade then they will be grounded. It’s just so hard to sit back and see your child fail when you could have done something to prevent it. However, what one teacher told me was it is better for them to fail now and learn from it than have them fail when it really counts. Today’s parents don’t have the freedom to discipline their children the way our parents were allowed to. We have so many children raised by two parents in different homes, one parent, by grandparents and by strangers. It’s not like it was when we were growing up and the children are paying for that. I love my children more than my own life, I want my children to have the security of structure and discipline that I had known growing up. They are counting on me to not be their friend all the time and to direct them in the way of the Word.
In closing I want to share a few more items that are straight out of my Bible on the way the authors interpreted the verses. It helped me to understand it better and I hope it will do the same for you.
Familial language appears throughout the book of Hebrews. The First person of the Trinity is God the Father, and the Second Person of the Trinity is His Son. The Son became a human being in order to unite Himself with His believing “brothers.” The Son can then bring His brothers into the presence of the Father, who will consider them His “sons.” The believers in Christ are sons of God, they have a superior source of comfort. They are more than mere servants; God addresses them as sons. And yet, a father displays his love for his sons by disciplining them. Just as the readers have accepted discipline from their natural fathers, so too should they receive discipline from the Father of spirits. God does not discipline His sons to harm them, but to bless them. The benefit of the Father’s discipline is fellowship in His holiness and receiving His peace and righteousness.
As I’m growing in my relationship with Christ, I try and apply my own feelings with how I feel about my own children to how God might feel when I, myself do a certain behavior that might upset him. When my children are fighting with each other, when they hurt, when they want something that I can’t give them or just how I feel when I love on them, it’s so many emotions. Now, imagine the powerful all in one, God, the creator of the whole universe. I can picture the birth of a baby making rain fall from the skies from his tears and the discipline he hands to his children can shake the world.
11-Do not despise the Lord’s instruction, my son, and do not loathe His discipline; 12- for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, just as a father, the son he delights in.
To ask God to refrain from giving us discipline would be to ask Him to love us less.
Have a blessed day!
I have so many things running through my mind at this moment which makes it hard for me to decide what it is that I am suppose to write. My husband and oldest son, Hunter are on a missions trip to the mountains with some of our youth all this week. All last week our wonderful, God-filled church hosted Vacation Bible School. Our youth helped out all week so that they can take what they learned and put on a similar VBS at a church that would not have been able to do it otherwise. Isn’t that a perfect example of what Christ Jesus wants for us as Christians to do?
“The Great Commision” Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in Heaven and on earth. 19- Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20- teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
It’s so comforting to know that Christ Jesus is with us always. One thing I never put together in the Old Testament that our pastor talked about was when God wanted Moses to bring the people out of Egypt into a land good and spacious, a land flowing with milk and honey. Exodus 3:11 But Moses asked God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and that I should bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 12- He (God) answered, “I will certainly be with you,” the verses goes on giving Moses instructions and Moses, like most of us, questioned and gave reasons why he should not be the one for the job. Moses told God that he was not a good speaker. Exodus 4:14-17 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses, and He said, “Isn’t Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, he is on his way now to meet you. He will rejoice when he sees you. 15-You will speak with him and tell him what to say. I will help both of you and him speak and will teach you both what to do. 16- He will speak to the people for you. He will be your spokesman, and you will serve as God to him. 17- And take this staff in your hand that you will perform the signs with.” God gave Aaron to Moses to speak to the people for Moses however Aaron rarely spoke for Moses. Why? God was with him. Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.
One of the songs sang today really touched me and got my mind to thinking about every time I sin and what Jesus might go through when we do. It is called "Feel the Nails" and I can tell you a bit of what it said. It was a person that talked about sinning and wondered if every time s/he sin if Jesus relived the pain on the Cross? While I don’t think he does, it sure is something to think about each and every time you sin!
This week has been a time of mind shaping for me as I read out of several of my books: ‘The Resolution for Women,’ ‘not a fan’ and the journal that goes with it. I must admit that I picked up reading ‘not a fan’ and ‘The Resolution for Women’ at the same time. At the point I picked both of them up, ‘The Resolution for Women’ won out and spoke to me more. I was not too thrilled with ‘not a fan’ at first, however it has grown on me and I do like it now. Plus, I’m helping out with Bible school on Sunday mornings for our youth girls and that is what they are reading. I find myself reading ‘The Resolution for Women’ then picking up ‘not a fan’ and as weird as it might seem they go together for me! One of my biggest struggles is being a parent and how I just don’t know sometimes (most of the time) is what to do with them or how to handle them. Not anything specific but in general. It’s so scary to think that God gave me theses perfect little babies that grow up to be adults and everything I say or do or how I live my own life shapes them. One wrong turn and I can do some damage however God knew this when making the little ones. He made them to endure crazy parents!
My lesson this week in ‘The Resolution for Women’ hit both at home and at work. Double whammy!! For those that don’t know what I do, I along with one other person are over all 12 of our Nursing Homes Business office managers along with billing and collecting money for our company. We are both passionate about our jobs and sometimes we tend to show that passion in our emails. The funny thing is the one I finally send out has been retyped several times before I hit send. It’s not retyped due to misspelled words either. I’m human and I’m passionate about my job. If it involves money or charges that will impact our company in a negative way, it is my job to speak up and get my point across! Or so I thought! It wasn’t until we had a family meeting with just my parents and my three bothers that I heard something that struck my heart as bad as when I went to go see a movie that I really shouldn’t have gone to see. One of my family members commented on an email I sent out with several replies sent by the person I sent them to and myself. The comment was, “He will not reply back against you because your words tend to cut them down.” Wow! My comment back to that, as ashamed as I am to repeat, was “He should put his big boys pants on. My email was not that bad.” Although, I really think my email was not as bad as it could have been, but it’s from my past emails that lead up to that comment I received. I do agree with my behavior and emails in the past has led me up to my reputation of “being just like my dad,” or “she’s her daddy daughter.” I am a very passionate person and I like to prove my point if I’m right and someone else is wrong. Big fault of mine.
Well, the two things weighing on my mind when I pick up my book to read is my parenting, how do I do what am I suppose do with my kids and that comment I received in the family meeting. I turn to my next Chapter, “My Blessing,” A resolution to esteem others with my time, concern and full attention. ‘This should be good,’ I thought to myself! The first thing that runs through my head when I think about blessing anyone is not giving them the gift of my time. After all, it’s my time that could quite possibly ruin them! She opens up the chapter with talking about her listening to one of the eldest and most accomplished speakers on her team deliver a message. It wasn’t as much as what he said throughout the message but how he ended his message that affected her. He ended with “I’m aware that the greatest gift you can ever give someone is the gift of your own time. Thank you for giving me that gift today.” Then she affected me with more of what she said that I didn’t put together or rather that I took for granted. She said “When people give you their ear, they are offering you a sliver of their life they can never retrieve again----one of the few gifts that can never be returned or retracted.” I don’t know what just went through your mind but my mind had flash backs of all the times my children have wanted to share something special with me and I told them that I needed to get the clothes done real quick or they wanted me to read to them and I got carried away with cleaning something else in the house and they had fallen asleep waiting on me. Waiting on me, they thought I was special enough to want to give me their time. All this time I have been searching for what I could do or how I can change to be a better parent when it was right under my nose! Time!
My next section hit both home and work. It also explain what I did wrong on my emails at work. This section title was “SHHHHHH!” I can hear my husband laughing as he is proofreading this paragraph. He knows me too well! Well, actually he’s probably not the only one that knows me that is laughing at this! Ok! I love to talk just like Forest Gump loved to run! But, there comes a time when even he has run as far as he can go before he realizes it’s time to go home. Wisdom: knowing what to say and not saying it. I got the first part down pat however the second half I’ve been steady working on! You would be interested in knowing that it’s also in the Bible. Proverbs 10:19 When there are many words, sins is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is wise. (HCSB translation) or Proverbs 10:19 (NIV) When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. On a brighter side, all those times my husband was being silent in our/my arguing, he wasn’t ignoring me, he was being wise to not say the wrong thing in the heat of the moment. She also went on to telling of a story where she just could let it go she was right and in the end she caused embarrassment, hurt and regret to not only her but the other person as well. How many times have I done that just to get the last word in? How many of those times have my children witnessed it?
In closing, I started last week with a heavy heart. Hearing that your words have cut deep to others at work totally goes against what I believe or does it? Doesn’t the Bible say your actions speak of what’s in your heart? That’s not in my heart because if it were then it would not have convicted me to be conscious of my words that come out of my mouth. That’s the gift God gives each and everyone of his followers. The gift of conviction to turn away from our sinful self. Luke 9:23 “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me.” Not only does God give us the gift of conviction, he also gives us the gift of time. One of the greatest listeners in the Bible was Jesus and he really did know it all! He chose on many times to stop, to wait, to listen, to give attention to others before he spoke himself. I know it’s hard because I’ve been working on it all week along with being quiet. A couple of times, I almost bit my tongue to stop it from working. How can you stop being so selfish and take your own focus off of your own self and needs? Start with listening to the person talking to you. Remember how it felt when you knew someone was truly listening to you. You felt valued, important, accepted, loved and that what you said actually meant something to someone else. Wow! All that by just listening.
This is straight out of her book that I wanted to end with.
So Choose to listen. Resist the urge to criticize, insult, laugh or make sarcastic remarks. Battle the press of time and urgency and the hunger to get away. Just lean in, quietly, emphatically, purposefully. And Listen. It’s your gift. Your blessing. Give it to whomever you can.
Please being in prayer for our youth and the adults that are on a mission trip to the mountains all week.
Have a great week!
In my previous entry, I started talking about a new season of my life that I was fighting to not go in. You know the one where your youngest starts school and you’re afraid the rest of your time with them will fly and the next thing you know they will be graduating from high school.
In our family, my parents have 16 grandkids, soon to be 17 grandkids. It seems that when one grandchild hits a major milestone in their life the rest will soon follow. Our next milestone is driving. Oh boy! Thank goodness, Hunter has two more cousins in front of him before we hit that milestone. I’m having a hard enough time excepting my babies are starting school in another month!
Whenever I feel alone or distant, I turn to my devotionals for a pick me up along with my other inspirational devotional books. Which as I write this and read it back, I’m a little embarrassed about it. I am so thankful that God isn’t the same with me! Actually if you really think about it, where would I be if God only came to me when he needed me? I would still be waiting until the day I die because God doesn’t need me, I need him! God wants me. As a parent, the whole God our father thing really started making more and more sense to me when I took into account how I felt about my own relationship with my own children, my husband, my parents and my friends. Being parents to a soon to be 14 yr old, 12 yr old, 9 yr. old, and 4 yr old twins who all want to know why about everything, really opens my eyes to how I can understand why God put Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, why he flooded the earth, the plagues he sent and the list can go on and on! I’ve been tempted to kick a few out of the house a time or two! What I began to see with my own children is how I feel when my children only want to be with me when they want something and as soon as they get it, they are gone to find something else. But, it not just my children, its how we all tend to be with our own relationship with God. Now, please don’t get me wrong, I have great children. They do want me around at other times as well and they are very loving and respectful. But, just as I am, we have our moments. I really do try to have daily time or at least a few days a week to read in my devotional or just thumb through my Bible reading the beginning pages introducing each book of the Bible. But, then I think about what I give up on a daily bases compared to what God gave up just so he could get a chance to spend eternity with me. God gave up his first and only son to save us for our sins. Jesus didn’t just go through a small amount of torture but according to Matthew 27:27-31
27-Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into headquarters and gathered the whole company around Him. 28- They stripped Him and dressed Him in a scarlet military rode. 29-They twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and placed a reed in His right hand. And they knelt down before Him and Mocked Him: “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30-Then they spit on Him, took the reed, and kept hitting him on the head. 31- When they had mocked Him, they stripped Him of the robe, put His clothes on Him, and led Him away to crucify him.
Why would someone do that for me? Why would he do that for people that deny his father? He was serving his Heavenly father. Abraham was the only person who came so close to doing a similar act with his promised Son, Isaac in Genesis 22. Because God is such a gracious, loving and forgiving God, Abraham was spared at the last second. He had the knife in his hand, ready to slay his son when God sent an Angel of the Lord to stop him. I could not even begin to imagine what thoughts were going through Abraham’s mind as he tied his son to the altar. The same son God had promised to Sarah and Abraham at a very old age and then have God test Abraham by telling him to sacrifice him to the Lord. I started to think about the whole story and how dedicated Abraham was to serving the Lord and how Jesus suffered crucifixion for us. As a parent, I hope and pray that I’ll never have to do anything close to what Abraham had to do but also as a parent, I know that the Love I have for my own Children will always surpass any pain I could endure as long as I know it will take the pain from then even if means I have die a horrible death to do it. I am by no means taking away from what Jesus did for us. Nowhere did I say I’d die for all to have everlasting life. I’m human and imperfect, Jesus isn’t. The point I’m making is this, take one person that means the world to you whether your spouse, children, siblings, parents, etc. now multiply that Love times a million or more that’s almost close to God’s love for us. Would you give your child up to serve God? Would you give up your life even if it meant torture to protect your love one? Would you let your own child or family member suffer the same torture for the same people that put him on that cross to have everlasting life? Maybe it wasn’t your child but it was God’s son. If God is your Father, then that makes Jesus your family member. In Matthew 26:37-42, it lets us know Jesus was fully aware of what was about to happen to happen to him. This takes place right after the last supper, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John to the Garden called Gethsemane to pray.
26:37- He (Jesus) began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38-Then He said to them, “My soul is swallowed up in sorrow---to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with Me.” 39-Going a little farther, He fell facedown and prayed, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” 40-Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping. He asked Peter, “So, couldn’t you stay awake with Me one hour? 41- Stay awake and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42-Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, “My father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, Your will be done.”
He repeated this prayer and went away one more time. Jesus knew what He was fixing to go through. Jesus’ sorrow resulted from His anticipation of His physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering, especially His alienation from His Father as He bore the sins of the world on the cross. The cup that Jesus was faced was God’s wrath against sin. With the words: if it is possible, let this cup pass , Jesus asked His Father to provide forgiveness by some other means other than His sacrificial death. Jesus knew God’s power made it possible for Him to evade the power of Jewish and Roman executioners, but He did not want to reject the Father’s plan to provide salvation to His people.
A few weeks back at youth camp our speaker had used Abraham / Isaac and Jesus and Our Father, God in his sermon. He opened my eyes to see the similarities in the Old Testament and the New Testament. So many times in the Old Testament, we get glimpses of the Great Plan God has in store for us through his own Son, our Savior. Just like Isaac, Jesus was the promised Son. Unlike Isaac, Jesus was not spared from death on a cross. Similar to Jesus, Abraham was fully committed to serving God. In contrast to Abraham who was permitted to spare his only son, God did not spare His Son. God had a perfect plan that took a Perfect Son to complete for all.
Today is Saturday, Saturday night for me now as I write this to you. Our day has been pretty busy but good for me at least. As I lay in bed this morning, I thought about all the things I needed and wanted to get done for the day. Emma, one of our twins added to my list when she came into our room letting me know that she was sorry but she wet Gracie’s bed. I told her that was fine and did anyone else get wet. She said “no,” and changed her clothes and hopped in our bed. Normally, I’d hop out of bed give her a bath and change the sheets but I just laid in bed with her nestled up under my arm enjoying Saturday morning with no plans but the ones I make for myself! I knew that I needed to write more on one of the blog post I’ve almost finished but instead I finished snuggling with Emma , hopped in the shower to start my day filled with the plans I made.
Almost a month ago I had gotten a new puppy for my birthday. And, for those that know me and my history with puppy’s and dogs, they don’t last too long in our house before I find the perfect home for them that is not my house! However, Wyndi is a twin to my Shit-Tzu that I’ve had for going on 8 years. Same color and markings as Stormy but Stormy is groomed and Wyndi got a nice haircut by me on Friday night. Not! Poor puppy! But, I did tell her that it’d grow back sooner or later! I think Stormy was laughing on the inside! Since the week day mornings are crazy, I try to pull puppy duty on the weekend. So, Wyndi, Stormy and me went for a short walk while I drank my coffee. When we returned the girls were up so my washing started along with the business of the day. Earlier in the week a tree had fallen in our dog, Bella’s cage so Jon had to take care of the tree, take of the trash, move some furniture and paint the twins room. I had to wash clothes, get a dresser for Hunter’s room, run to target, lowes and Wal-Mart along with washing sheets, clothes and empty the twins room so it could get painted. Needless to say, we had a lot to do!
Jon had gotten into something he was allergic to during cutting and removing the tree or while he was taking the trash off, we aren’t sure when but he wasn’t feeling all that good but kept going. We finally got to a stopping point for the day around 10:00 pm tonight. As I was finishing up my part of the painting, I started feeling guilty that I had not written any more on my blog entry that was almost finished nor had I really spent too much time with Jon or the kids. I wanted to finish my to do list. I did spend alone time with Braydon last night while we grocery shopped, I had alone time with Jon at supper last night after we picked up a new dish washer, Emma and I went to Target and Hunter and I went back to target to pick up knobs for the twins dresser. So, God did allow me some alone time with almost all my kids except two. But, still I had choose my plans for the day and did them. Now, at the end of the day I picked up my bag that has two Bibles, two notebooks, my “The Resolution for Woman,” book and laptop in hand just in case I am able to write to you tonight. Will God put me off until the end of his day like I had did with him? Now, I do talk to God first thing in the morning and Thank him for giving me another day, I talk to him in the shower because I usually never get disturbed unless I’m shaving my legs, I thank him every time during the day something seems to go my way and at night. What I mean by putting him off is not spending time learning something new about him every day or at least every other day. Lately, since I started reading the book, “The Resolution for Women,” and my mom bought me this new neat Bible, I’ve learned so much more about myself, God and the way I deal with things isn’t necessarily bad or inappropriate. Well, like I had said earlier in this blog I was feeling guilty about how I spent my day and how I could have chose to put my to do list aside for a little while or shortened it some to listen to what God would have me do. So, as I turn to the page where I was to pick up and read in my book, I see the title, “My Best A resolution to devote myself completely to God’s Priorities for my Life” I smile as I start reading. If I haven’t said It before, I’m saying it now, this is a book worth buying. It’s not just for moms and wives, it a book written for any woman young or old. It’s a book you get more than your money worth! They have them for Men as well. In the beginning of the book, she tells you that it’s not a book to read to finish. It’s a book you read to enjoy, take in, listen to and share as I am with you. One of the exercises she gives you is to label the picture of boxes with the different responsibilities’ in your life and shade them in according to the level of time and effort you put in them. I was not really shocked as much as I was a little embarrassed on the ones I labeled and the amount I shaded in. I have a lot of work ahead of me! The next section hits head on with how I was feeling tonight. It’s title was none other than, “Timing is Everything.” I showed it to my husband. I told him that I’d be crazy to even think there isn’t a God!! I’m only going to share a few things she wrote in the book because I think you’d get more out of the book if you read it yourself. Just consider me a preview of what you’ll read. She had said something that I found interesting which is, “ So don’t get so hung up on the ‘giving the best of myself’ part that you don’t get to the other part---the part that changes the playing field of this resolution: getting clarity on your ‘primary roles.’” Wow! I have always told myself and my kids to give the best of their selves. I have always felt that was the only way. Then she goes on to explain : “If you do your best, for example, but you expend much of it on the wrong things, you’ve not only wasted a lot of your energy and resources; you’ve also lost time and opportunities you may never recover.”
She goes on to talk about when the Hebrews had returned to their homeland after being exile. Instead of rebuilding the house of the Lord, they spent time rebuilding their own dwellings. She references Haggai 1:2-4 and goes on to say that while she understands why they did what they did. Almost everyone in their shoes would have done the same. It wasn’t what they did such as rebuilding their homes but maybe it was that it was their timing and focus. You will have to read the book to get further understanding if you don’t understand it because what I really wanted to share with you is Ecclesiastes 3:1-14. I hope it touches you like it touched me as I read it tonight. I also will include the footnotes in my Bible that I enjoyed as well.
There is an occasion for everything.
And a time for every activity under Heaven:
A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot;
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build;
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance;
A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing;
A time to search and a time to count as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away;
A time to tear and a time to sew;
A time to be silent and a time to speak;
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.
9-What does the worker gain from his struggles? 10-I have seen the task that God has given people to keep them occupied. 11-He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also put eternity in their hearts, but man cannot discover the work God has done from beginning to end. 12-I know that there is nothing better for them to rejoice and enjoy the good life. 13-It is also the gift of God whenever anyone eats, drinks, and enjoys all his efforts. 14-I know that all God does will last forever; there is no adding to it or taking from it. God works so that people will be in awe of Him.
Theses verses must be read from the context of the fundamental claim of the book: that we are mortals, doomed to perish, and that our work will perish with us. No human work is eternal, and our activities, whether building or tearing down, must change as the situation dictates. We naturally prefer to stay on the positive side of the list—to laugh rather than to weep, to love rather than hate, and to have peace rather than war—but as long as we live in a world of change, conflict, and death, we must accept the fact that we cannot have unchanging bliss. Even so, as verse 11 says, everything is “appropriate in its time.” Mourning and separation are painful but there is a time when it is right and even beautiful to mourn. We must accept the fundamental fact of mortality: we are creatures who live in time. We must respond appropriately to the seasons of life as they come.
I have only truly mourned one person over and over since her death. Since her death, she has had four more grandkids and a new “Daughter in Love,” that’s what she called us. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wonder what it would be like to have her here now. While I don’t understand fully why she had to be taken away so soon I do know I will see her again. Every now and again I’ll get a whiff of her perfume and I can still hear her laughter and voice. Perfume? Yea, I smile now but she wore a particular perfume that I really didn’t care too much for. One Christmas she bought me some of that perfume. I can’t really remember ever wearing it but now it’s the sweetest scent and I Love getting a whiff of it.
Have a great day! I know I will! It’s Sunday now!
Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full---pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.
I started to type the blog I wrote the other night on relationships, parenting and God but I’m feeling pulled into another direction tonight. Don’t worry though, it is 99 % finished and I will type it soon. Tonight I just wanted to share what brought me back to writing in my blog again. I have heard the verse above a few times but it didn’t make an impact like it did the past week. I had been going through a rough patch in my spiritual journey. Work was getting to be a bit much on the stress level. I felt like I had no energy, no motivation, no time for my children, my husband or myself and what I did have time for, my attention wasn’t really there. I was going through the motions without any emotions. Been there? Usually I can pick up a bible study by one of my favorite speakers, listen to the Cd or just do some of the workbook and I can feel God speaking to me. It’s like when you are sitting in church and the message is so clear to you that it’s like God is only talking to you! After the sermon, you turn to your family or friends and ask what they got out of the sermon. They didn’t really get anything or they heard something so different that if they weren’t sitting next to you, you would think they were in another church service. Well, I did it several different times and nothing. I started getting discourage and alone. I started to wonder if I ever get that feeling of being in conversation with God again! I sat on my bed that night with my Bible in my hand and the Beth Moore bible study on “James.” I was bounded and determine I was going to figure it out. Then it hit me, what was it that I battled the most with at the present time? Ok! So we don’t have enough time for that list but the thing that hit me first and always the hardest is my relationship with my kids and my husband. I wanted to change. I wanted my children to know God and I wanted to give them the best of me because they deserved it! Same with my husband. I remembered a book I had bought from Lifeway by the makers of Courageous “The Resolution for Women.”
Resolution: the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc. ; the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose.
Wow! Really? The first page got my attention right from the start. As I read thru to page 27, I was drawn further and further into the book. I have read and done my share of devotionals and all of them had touched me and brought things out in my own self that I had not realized. Along with learning more about God, they brought me closer and gave me the longing to want to know more. However every page I read, I felt as though I was having my own little conversation with God once again. It was close to every aspect of my life I was currently battling with from page 3 stating, “First, this resolution is with God,” to “Second, this resolution will impact the people you love.” The page ended with, “Sometimes the greatest miracle of all is the one that happens in your own heart, the change that takes place in you and then surprises you as it filters into the seams and fabric of your whole life.”
It goes on to point out another important aspect of my life that hit home that got me into my “new Season.” One of my complaints is I never have enough time to just pause and enjoy my kids. Why?
I never could stop long enough to figure out why as crazy as that may sound! The author, herself admits that she too had not really been in attendance for a large portion of her own life. I had not really thought about until then but maybe that why this particular season of life is hitting me so hard. How many times have I heard from people I know, “Wow, they grew up way to fast!” If you really think about it time hasn’t changed, one year 30 years ago is the same as one year today. We have changed. I am always on the go. She makes the point about her own self, “I’m constantly overeager to get to the next thing, which looks more enticing than what is currently before me. I’m rarely satisfied in full with my present station.” What really hit my heart hard was this: “Only for these fleeing moments would my children talk, look and act exactly like this. And if I chose to hurry through them in an attempt to avoid the parts I didn’t like, I’d simultaneously miss all the things I did like about this season.” Tears streamed down my eyes as I replayed over and over in my head how many times I hurried through giving them a bath because I was tired, or I had something else to do that seemed at the time much more important to only me to get done. Keep in mind, I do have problems with OCD and up until recently, you couldn’t get in my house with it being messy unless you lived here. I have gotten a lot more relaxed with that lately. I had been so selfish with my time. The girls love to be read too and I love to read to them but I couldn’t get past the dirty living room, or clothes on the floor to actually sit down and read to them. My husband just wanted time with me to cuddle and watch a movie but I was way too busy to stop cleaning or folding clothes to enjoy him. No wonder I couldn’t feel God when I sat down to read my devotional. I need that quick fix to get through the next couple of days. Come on, God! Why can’t I feel your presence? Don’t you know, it’s all about me and what I want?
Then I pick up a book off my shelf in my closet that I bought three months ago, I pray before I start reading to please let me hear you once again. I need my quick fix because I’m dying on the inside. I read 27 pages, glued to every page. On the 23rd page I read:
Luke 6:38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full---pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.
I had stopped giving and started taking and taking without giving back. No wonder I had not heard God. No wonder my life was flashing by me so fast. I have to admit, not for brownie points or anything like that, but I do have a wonderful, caring and attentive husband. I’ve been told that a lot through the years from people I just met, friends and family. It’s funny because I’d get jealous at what people saw in Jon’s eyes as he looked at me because I couldn’t see it until now. I was too busy coming up with what bothered me more than having time to see what they saw. It made me wonder if I did the same with my children, friends and family. If I did, I’m sorry.
And, finally one last tid-bit then I’ll say good bye for the night! I have ended up reading to page 87 so far. I am now writing again because of what I read on pg 58 and the assignment it gave me on pg 59. I had stop writing because I felt scared and that I had no business writing anything about the Bible or anything concerning it. Then I read this: “ I frequently feel the same way—wishing I had more depth or creativity like I’ve admired in some else. And yet others have had to remind me of the same thing I wrote back to this young lady: some readers will only hear, understand, and accept certain things when they read it in your words, from your perspective, written in your voice. We were each created by God to do our part. And if we fail to do it because we don’t think it’s valuable enough, great loss will be suffered. Someone, somewhere, needs you---in all of your uniqueness---to step up to the plate of your calling.”
My assignment was to consider the things you may have failed to do because you felt unworthy to do. Choose one and start doing it this week.
God is so GREAT!!!
Have a great day!
The reward for obeying Jesus’ command to love your enemies, do good and lend without expectation… repayment will be great, though much of it will not be in this life. But your selfless love will reflect that you are sons/daughters of the Most High. He is gracious and merciful to all people and disciples of Jesus are to follow His example. (Luke 6:38;word studies; HCSB)
Everyone goes through seasons in their lives that can either pull them down, make them stronger and in the end they will be either changed for the better or for the worse. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we are going through such a season until we are half way through it and final realize “ Hey! This is just another chapter in my life.” If you are anything like me, you try to dismiss that you are embarking on another season in your life because you have finally gotten comfortable with your current season.
I have five precious gifts from God, my children and six if you include my husband. AS a child and through my growing up, all I ever wanted to do was get married and be a mom. Not much of a career in today society but to me it was my dream. I love children! After getting married we got pregnant 6 months after saying “I do.” Why such a short period of time? Mostly because before we got married due to health reasons, I was told by my doctor that either I wasn’t going to be able to get pregnant or it would be very difficult. I’m so happy to report that all my children were planned. And, to really prove the doctors were wrong is the birth of our twin girls after a tubal reversal. Yes, that’s right! After Grace, our 3rd child, we decided to get our tubes tied and 4 years later and two months after a reversal, we were pregnant with our twin girls.
God has been so good to me and my family. I wish I could honestly say I’ve been as good to him as he has been to me and my family.
It wasn’t until the week after the last day of daycare for my twins that I finally admitted I was going through another season in my life. It is a season I’m sure my husband probably didn’t understand at first. It was a season I’ve seen numerous friends and family go through that I didn’t want to go through. My baby girls were growing up! With tears in my eyes as I write this, I think about how the next years with them are going to fly by because as every mother knows that the moment their feet step into school they are no longer your babies. It’s like in the blink of an eye you have a 13 yr old that is going on a missions trip to a third world country! That was actually three weeks after the twins finished their last day at daycare.
My husband and I celebrated our 15 year anniversary on the same day we sent our 13 yr old on his first mission trip to serve the Lord. Remarkably, my husband had a harder time sending him off than I did. I guess it was partly because I felt he needed to see how good of a life he had and I had prayed for peace on sending him. I truly feel that when you are on a mission for God, he protects and holds you through the whole experience. I am well aware that missions can and are dangerous however I felt as though I have had Hunter for 13 years in my life, putting him back in God’s arms was an honor as a parent. God has never failed me when it comes to my children. Which I got to see a week after Hunter came back from Hondureas.
Hunter came back on a Friday and that following week, we had youth camp from 7:30 am thru 10:30 pm Monday thru Friday. We had a family vacation to Disney planned that next day, Saturday. On Thursday night, Hunter wanted to leave at 8:00 pm that night due to his stomach hurting. Jon and I thought it was just Hunter being tired from his mission trip and youth camp all week. Friday morning the youth had planned a day trip at the water park. When I went to get Hunter and Braydon up, Braydon was the only one to get up. I checked on Hunter while Jon carried Braydon to the youth building. Hunter’s stomach was still not feeling right. I left him at home to run to work for a couple of hours. I wanted to get Hunter seen by the doctor before we left the next morning for Disney. Since our pediatrician was out of town, I got my best friend to do the new express check in at the med stop. She did it and within a minute of her sending it in through the internet, I received a call from the nurse telling me to take him to the Emergency room. I told the nurse my hestitation taking him there and she informed me that you can do the same speedy check in there. So we did and two minutes later I received another call from the nurse at the emergency room. This time I was told to bring him in right away.
To make a long story short, by 5:30 that afternoon we got the news that Hunter was having surgery that night to remove his appendix. Before, I go any further with my story, I just wanted to say that up until 2:30 that day, I wondered if I was over reacting with Hunter but I had this nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach that kept pushing me to really not take “his ok” as his diagnosis. We had very good doctors that took their time checking Hunter out and took into consideration that he had been out of the country too. During this whole ordeal, I was confronted with a surgeon that really didn’t think there was anything wrong with Hunter and was ready to send him home. To put me as ease, he did order a CT scan than he didn’t think was necessary. After 10 minutes of debate, I was ready to just take Hunter home because I didn’t trust my own instincts about my child’s condition. Hunter’s nurse at the time and the radiologist tech came in and talked with me and my mom. Two hours later, we did the CT scan and within 5 to 10 minutes another doctor, that we had not seen, came in and delivered the news. She was very humble when she told me that this is one of those times where a doctor needs to listen to the parent that in fact knows her own child. Along with that, she told me that the same surgeon that doubt Hunter’s condition was the only surgeon that could perform the surgery. That was hard news to take in because I didn’t trust him to perform the surgery on my son. Then I thought back to when Ella was near death and the first doctor I saw at the hospital was the very doctor I did not like. He was the very doctor that is the reason Ella is walking around now.
Needless to say our trip to Disney was cancelled the next day. God’s hands were all over Hunter just like his hands were all over Ella. After Hunter’s surgery that night, the surgeon came out to talk to us. I ask him how bad Hunter’s Appendix were and how far away from rupturing. He shrugged and told us three or four days and it wasn’t that bad yet. In three or four days, we would have been in the middle of Disney with not only our five children but two nieces and a nephew. Would we have made it in time to an emergency room with Hunter during the tropical storm they were experiencing at the same time? It’s something we don’t have to worry about because God took care of it for our first born, Hunter. So, now when I hear, “In God’s time,” it takes on a whole new meaning to me. “In God’s time” is the perfect time for me.
I know I started out talking about the new season my life is in. I had every intention on talking more about it however it’s a season. Like every season, I’ll be in this season for a little while. And, to all mother’s out there, please keep in mind that doctors are wonderful people and they have a lot of knowledge on the human body but there is one thing that a book cannot teach that is a mother’s intuition on their own child. Trust it!
God bless each and everyone reading this!
Besides my introduction, this is one of the shortest entries I've posted. However, it's only the beginning in what I hope to be a pretty good blog entry. As you will read, I'm in the middle of a Bible study with a wonderful group of ladies from our church.
1 Peter 2: 4-5 states: As you come to him, the living Stone--rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him---5 youalso, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
A reflection of the two verses above in my Bible states: The church is not a buildng constructed by humans but a divine institution, built on the living stone, Jesus. He's the strong, foundational building block of the church, and hid followers are living stones who are being built into a spiritual house.
AS one of the many little living stones in the church, remember that each diverse stone has great worth to Jesus and to his body. When you're tempted to ignore your need for others or to discount those who aren't like you, remember that each stone is balanced by all those around it, and all rest on the living Stone himself.
(It refers to Ephesians 2:19-22. I would encourage you to look this up and any other verses that are copied because misakes happen by human hands.)
In the beginning of my walk with Christ, I had the same false preconception that I have found a lot of people not in the word and beginners to the word have. Christians are PERFECT! They live this happy and perfect live where they quote scripture, have perfect marriages, perfect kids and they do not mess up with daily everyday stresses cause they have none! Welcome to my life! I am a Christian and I am now PERFECT! That is so far from the truth as most everyone who knows me knows. I have a wonderful not so perfect husband that is married to a not so perfect wife (me) and five not so perfect kids along with an exchange student. I barely have time to do what I love to do most which is write but somehow today I put the halt on my life, read our Thursday night devotional with some wonderful ladies and decided to write about what I’ve learned so far in our Bible study and how it relates to my everyday life. I hope you can gain some insight as well. As I have learned from the past, God is what gives me the knowledge and strength to write and I love it!
About a month back I felt the backwards pull that made me struggle with insecurities and not feel the security of his presences. I knew I needed to do something to prevent my backwards slide so I prayed to God to fill me in his word. To give me projects that covered me with his word because my crazy schedules of school, work, soccer, ballet, gymnastics, work, being a mother, wife and that’s just my activities then I have to add the kids’ schedules to that! Just joking! I can hardly crawl in the bed at night much less run a soccer field, lift my leg for ballet and flip for gymnastics! All that left hardly any time for me and most important GOD. Don’t get me wrong, I was going to Church and doing my normal Wednesday nights with my 3-4 year old cubbies but I just needed more! I not only needed more, I craved more! I was trying to find a scripture that talk about needing more and growing more spiritually. I found Proverbs 2:1-22 but only writing down 1-10.
My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he hold a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the ways of the faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair --- every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
I just want to hear again… “For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be Pleasant to your soul.” Isn’t that comforting. How many of us are addicted or become addicted to things that are pleasant to our soul? How many of us try to replace something that will stay permanently pleasant in our souls for something that will always be temporarily pleasant in our souls. And, we keep going on and on because we are looking for that pleasant feelings in our souls and we can’t get it by earthly things. Anyone that is close to me know that I learn differently that the normal person which should not come to shock to anyone reading this because nothing about my life seems normal! When I look at the above passage, I relate it to food more specifically CHOCOLATE :0) ! I Love M&M’s !! Now, if I keep going back and forth to the candy bowl filling my hands with M&M’s because I just haven’t hit that satisfied feeling, I’m going to get frustrated and soon after sick of just the smell of chocolate! M&M’s are sin in my life. Every time I fell my hand up with M&M’s, I’m satisfied until I finish my handful, I get up and repeat the process and finally I see that I’m needing more and more M&M’s to get that pleasantly satisfied filling of the sin until I’ve hit glass bottom (rock bottom) and there is nothing that will get me back to that “pleasantly satisfied feeling my soul needs.” But, if I just turned to God to “For wisdom will enter will enter your (my) heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your (my) soul.” I will stay filled inside and what’s inside must come out. Moses was filled with the Spirit to the point he had to wear a Veil to cover his face. How awesome would it be to be shining so bright the atheist could see God shining through you that they couldn’t help but turn from their wrong ways and follow God? Read the Bible, study the Bible, get in a Bible study with others.
1 Peter 2: 1-3
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
Take those verses in for a minute. Think about how you feel when you go to church, talk to a friend about good things going on in their lives or yours, and think about how you feel when you leave church, Bible study or Sunday school. Capture that feeling in your soul and hold tight to it! Now, wouldn’t you want to let others know that feeling? You want to share what feelings good to you so that others might feel the same blessings! Isn’t God great! Now, picture that wonderful feeling times a million! Wow! That what I picture Heaven like! So powerful that if I was to feel it now, I’d bust open! My skin could not hold it in!! That my friend is how it feels to follow Jesus daily!
This is just a bit of what I’ve wrote so far……I promise I have more coming in a few days. Maybe even tonight however my editor in chief is out of town (my husband) and I wouldn’t dare post anything too long without him checking my grammar :0) !
The Dead Sea, also called the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. The sea is called “dead” because its high salinity prevents macroscopic aquatic organisms, such as fish and aquatic plants, from living in it, though minuscule quantities of bacteria and microbial fungi are present. Just north of the Dead Sea is Jericho. Somewhere, perhaps on the southeast shore, would be the cities mentioned in the book of Genesis which were said to have been destroyed in the time of Abraham: Sodom and Gomorra (Genesis 19) and the three other “Cities of the Plain”-Admah, Zeboim and Zoar (Deuteronomy 29:23) Zoar escaped from destruction when Abraham’s nephew Lot escaped to Zoar from Sodom (Genesis 19: 21-26) And, interesting fact I found among the ones mentioned above was that before the destruction, the Dead Sea was a valley full of natural tar pits, which was called the Vale of Siddim. King David was said to have hidden from Saul at Ein Gedi nearby.
This past week has been an emotional week mentally, physically and spiritually. I have questioned everything from my parenting skills to my spiritual growth or lack of it, my devotion to Christ and my own job abilities. I’m not depressed by any means, just beaten down little by little. I have prayed for God to get me through it all and he has because I am here. I keep my focus on him so I thought until today’s sermon. Now, I’m not saying that I don’t focus on him daily because I do. I carry on mini conversations with him throughout the day. In the mornings after dropping the twins off at daycare one of my favorite things to do is listen to either last week’s sermon on 9-11 or listen to one of my CD’s that has traditional Hymns and singing along with the singer while on my way to Starbucks for coffee before heading to work. Sometimes while I’m getting ready in the morning instead of my to do list playing over and over in my head, I hear one of my favorite hymns playing over and over in my head which is a lot more soothing. The focus that I’m talking about is a more intimate knowledge of Christ which turns into an intimate relationship with the one who paid the price for our sins before we even knew him, Christ. From the knowledge of Christ, to our intimate relationship with Christ shapes us into being more Christ like. For a while I didn’t understand what it meant to be Christ like but it clicked finally with what the preacher said today along with a few in your face realizations. The example he used was his relationship with his wife when they got married. Her interest started rubbing off on him until it became his interest. When we grow to know someone and spend time with that person intimately, you become part of that person. You will never be that person and you don’t lose yourself into that person, you just hopefully take on the better aspects of that person and in turn become a better person. I am a better person because of my relationship with Jon. He pushes me to be a better person whether I want to at that moment or not. I am a better person because of my five children. I am a better friend because of my best friend. God gives us the gift of relationships to understand and have a deeper understand of his Love and Commitment to us. We don’t desire it. It’s kind of like a relationship between a husband that is an abuser and the person being abused (his wife). And, it can be vice versa. That wife or husband (the abused) stays in the committed relationship in hopes one day the husband or wife (the abuser) will change and give them the Love they once gave in the beginning of relationship.
Our preacher today struck a nerve in me that I hope will encourage you as much as it has encouraged me today to stay more in the Word so I can gain the knowledge and have a more intimate relationship with Christ. He spoke on three of the seven Churches mentioned in Revelations. I could relate with all three churches. The seven churches were chosen since they represent the different trials and states that churches from that day until today would possibly face. The churches he spoke on today you can find In Revelation 2 and 3; the church of Ephesus, the church of Sardis and the church of Philadelphia.
The church of Philadelphia is the church we all strive to be a part of and in the beginning of our walk we resemble this church in the fact we are on fire for the Lord and we want to tell everyone. We have an open door that no one can shut because God’s presence is flowing through our blood. We believe that God is going to keep us from the hour of trial that will come upon the whole world. We are strong in our faith and nothing is going to take us down. We are pumped and are pumping everyone else up. We are similar to Rocky facing the Russian. Nothing can take him down, not even the Russian who had just killed his best friend in the previous fight, then reality and life hits us. We are okay for the first few trials and most of us can last through the next trial but we slowly lose our fight. Maybe because our fight is not guided by watching the true warriors of David and Goliath, Abraham, Noah, Paul and the best warrior of them all Jesus Christ but it’s based on movie characters like Rocky and the Russian or the winner of Survivor who managed to outwit and outplay other opponents by lying, cheating and sometimes stealing to win millions. My husband during Sunday school discussion said our focus needs more focus which is also on Karate kid. It’s so true.
The next Church that our preacher spoke on was the church of Sardis. This church had the reputation of being Alive but was very much Dead. It rested on its reputation and stayed there. It was in a comfortable state and became satisfied with its success which caused it to not grow at all. I take it to mean that it had decent sermons but never let it out. It was like the Dead Sea with inlet with no outlet. The Dead Sea has one tributary which is the Jordan River. The Church has one tributary which is the preacher. Now, I’m not saying that is how it was just how I picture it to be. I’m sure he was an awesome preacher because that’s what brings the people in. A new word that was added to my vocabulary today was Sponge Christians. I really liked that analogy of Sponge Christians because a lot of us are sponge Christians. We absorb it all in just as a sponge absorbs a spill however we don’t let it out and we sour just like a sponge would without it being released. How many of us hear a great sermon and instead of telling someone of it we tell them of our great weekend of shopping and laying around in our pajamas watching movies and that’s just Saturday! And, how many of us are guilty of saying, ‘Oh, yea….I went to church on Sunday and it was a good sermon. I got to wear my new dress or new shoes and was comfortable. So comfortable I nearly fell asleep but it was a great Sermon. What did you do?’ I’m just as guilty as the next person or we tell the one person about the sermon but it’s the same person we told ten other times because we are in our comfort zone with them. It’s like the Church of Sardis. Our reputation is good, we go to an awesome church, our kids rank the highest in Bible trivia and we are comfortable where we are at. Because of our comfort level we can either go to a church that has a reputation for being alive but dead or go to a dying church with is only a step above! This is the church that I could relate most to, although I can relate to all three. This is where I felt I was headed too. I’m by no means saying my church is a dying church because my church is the most like Philadelphia to me. Just take the building structure out for a minute and take the word “church” out and look at these letters on a more personal level. Look at it on your level with walking with Christ. Are you like the body of believers that are on fire for Christ, tell not only your friends and family but your co-workers and other people you meet on the street about what Christ is doing in your life, in your families’ life, in your church’s life, do you send out words of encouragement to fellow believers and others who might need a pick me up? Is your conduct worthy of the gospel? The list can go on and on.
The Church of Ephesus was the dying church. Christ knew this church’s good deeds and perseverance and that it could not tolerate wickedness. Christ knew that it had endured hardships for his name and still have not grown weary. It was still a busy church; however busy does not make it an active church. How many of us go to church almost every time the doors open and do our duties of awana’s, children’s church, meal preparation, nursery duty or any other job that needs to be done? Doing your duties is a great way to serve the Lord but doing it half-hearted is like not doing them at all. Before I truly started to understand what it meant to walk with the Lord, I half-heartily did my job at church. I would think it’s just church, I’m not punching a time clock and it’s not like everyone else is volunteering. My problem wasn’t so much volunteering my time because I love my Cubbies; it’s been more on letting my light shine out to others and to be more of an encourager than a sponge Christian. I need to find more time in my day to be in the word and less time in the day finding things to do that takes away that time with the Lord. When you plan a vacation, don’t you investigate where you are going, learn more the area and get directions? This is your life we are talking about. Shouldn’t you be getting directions on how to get to the very place you are spending eternity? This isn’t one or two weeks of your life that you get to spend with family and friends. And, don’t you want those same friends and family to go on the best, most rewarding vacation ever? The map can be found at church. And like all maps some roads are unverified but all are safe to travel with Christ leading the way. There will be struggles and trials along the way. Just keep in mind that with any race (life) that you are going strong in, your competitor (Satan) is right at your heels waiting for you to slip so he can get ahead and slow you down. The devil is not going to give up and will try harder and harder to remind you of the easy roads that lead you nowhere. Satan does that to believers that threaten his very existence. One more person that makes it to God is one less person Satan can use to further his kingdom. The trials we go through shape us into the person Christ needs us to be to defeat Satan and win the race. If you are wondering if you are in the right race, turn around and see if Satan is chasing you. If no one is chasing you then apparently you aren’t in a race worth winning.
A neat little side note that I read today in our upcoming devotional in Sunday school was something to think on and share with others as I am sharing you. I got this out of a devotional we are doing on Philippians. The word conduct comes from the root word ‘polis’ (“city”), which in earlier times usually refer to the city-states. The verb carries the basic meaning of being a citizen. But, by implication, it means being a good citizen, one whose conduct brings honor to the political body to whom one belongs. Philippi had the distinction of being a Roman colony, a highly privileged status that gave its inhabitants many of the right enjoyed by citizens of Rome itself. A responsible citizen was careful not to do anything that would bring disrepute on his ‘polis’ and he tried always to be considered an honorable citizen, so that he would never be removed from the list of citizens. If we, as citizens of this world, looked at what we are so devoted to that it takes us away from what truly matters and places our citizenship in Christ how much better do you think this world would be? Think hard on the excuses we give to our own selves on why we don’t make it to church or why we didn’t tell our friends about that sermon. I’m guilty of keeping it to myself because of fear my friends would think I was being too pushy or I couldn’t do Wednesday night because my friends would have thought bad of me for missing a night out. Last time I read the Bible, our reputation that we are trying to protect was not what was nailed to the cross. Christ is the biggest giver of all. He not only gave of his time, service, and self, he gave eternal life to not only believers but to those lost who may have a chance to repent and believe. How awesome is that?