Sunday, February 28, 2010
I have had more fun this year than I thought was possible. I have worked with 5 boys, with the help of Nick (a sr. high student from church), and had the time of my life. I was a little concerned about coaching 4-5th grade this year. My 5th graders at school are somewhat draining and I was wondering how I would manage 2 extra hours, outside of school, with the same age group.
So I prayed.
God definitely answered. I looked forward to Thursday night practices and Saturday games. I loved seeing the boys and watching them play, learn, have fun, and share their hearts for Jesus.
My favorite aspect of Upward is team devotions. Every night at practice we would break to dig into the word and learn about Jesus. This year we learned about him being light. The curriculum really drove home the fact that Jesus is light and we need to live in the light. It pushed the kids to be conscious of how they are living their lives...in the light, or in the darkness.
I don't know if the boys took the devotions to heart. I don't know if they grasped all that was being taught. I don't know if they truly understand what it means to have a personal relationship with Christ.
What I do know is the God spoke to me and through me. God used this ministry to reach into my heart and fuel the passion that he has place there for kids. God taught me that I haven't been living in the light like I should.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you during this season of Upward. Thank you for 5 amazing boys who probably taught me more than I taught them. Thank you for giving me a fresh breath of you and seeping your love into my life. You have such awesome and mysterious ways. Amen
Thursday, February 25, 2010
1 Corinthians 13:12 (New International Version)
12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
This is speaking to me so well today. I feel like I'm looking in a dirty fogged up mirror and trying to make sense of what I see. I just cant. I can't figure out why bad things happen. I can't understand why there is so much pain and suffering. I can't see why changes are good and how they are going to be great in the long run. I just want to have the mirror cleared off so I can get it. You know? I'm sure that some of you are relating. We all have things that happen to us where we say "Really? Seriously God? Why? Why is this happening? Why am I hurting so bad? Why do I/we have to go through this"
We won't figure it out friends. We won't ever know why some babies don't make their way to us but others we hold in our arms . We won't know why a heartache that threatens to crush us was brought into our lives or why we are seemingly bombarded with one problem after another. We just won't know... the mirror is clouded.
But... There's a but! This verse says that even though now things don't make sense there will be a time. A time when we stand with our Savior and when we can see the plan that he has set in place for us. The mirror will be crystal clear. We will know just as we are fully known. I love that. He knows our hearts and our fears and our joys and our pain. He's walking this road with us and someday we'll be able to look back at it with him and just smile.
Thank you my great God for walking this path with me. Thank you for holding me when I cry and hurt and for celebrating with me when I am joyful. Oh God, I'm so glad that you promise me a time when the mirror will be clear and I'll be able to see and understand. I praise you for your plan for my life and for never leaving me along.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
"Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife." (21:9)
Whoa, are we really that bad, Solomon?
But most of all I like proverbs because in each short snippet, there is a truth that can be applied to everyone's lives. For example, in the proverb above, it convicts me to NOT be that quarrelsome wife. How many of us have picked or nagged at our husbands? I know I have. But God's plan is for us to love our husbands and keep peace in our households. That is not to say that we cannot disagree --- but to pick a fight? Not a good example of a godly wife.
Another one of my favorite proverbs is 13:3.
"He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin."
Many times the Bible speaks of the power of the tongue, and how man continually struggles to tame it. The ability to control one's words is one of the clearest marks of wisdom, according to Solomon. I pray that God will help give me the power to discern what words should or should not come out of my mouth. To my husband, to my children, to my friends.
What is your favorite proverb and why?
Sunday, February 21, 2010
So I searched to see what God has to say about it. What I found is that change must happen. Without it, we cannot move forward - not personally, not physically, not emotionally, and certainly not spiritually.
In Genesis, God created Adam. But he didn't leave Adam alone. He created Eve because "the Lord God said, 'it is not good from man to be alone.'" This was a change.
Throughout the Old Testament their are changes in leadership. Some come and quickly go, others stay for a long time. With each change comes adjustments, heartbreak, questions, growth, learning.
Then, enter Jesus. The people of the time were not looking for this guy. Yes, they were looking for a Messiah, a Savior, a leader. But Jesus wasn't exactly what they had in mind. He came and completely changed their lives. He showed them how to live. He led them with love and compassion. He died a lowly death on a cross accompanied by criminals. He changed the way the world looked at God. He opened a door.
Change. It is never easy. But it is absolutely necessary for growth.
Precious Jesus, I trust that you have the best in mind for us all. I pray your calming presence over us right now as we step into the unknown in faith. You are in control. You are the leader of this church and these people. God, may we lean on you and cling to you in the midst of the change. May it bring us one step closer to you. Amen
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Yet even now, says the Lord,
Return to me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
Rend your hearts and not your clothing.
Return to the Lord, your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,
and relents from punishing.
Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,
and leave a blessing behind him,
a grain-offering and a drink-offering
for the Lord, your God?
Monday, February 15, 2010
Happy Beginning of Lent Week! I am really excited for these next few weeks that lead up to Easter. Of course for the obvious reason of remembering the sacrifice God made for us in sending His Son to die on the cross for my sins and your sins, and for His joyous resurrection, symbolizing our own rebirth and access to God--the veil of the old covenant torn in two.
This time of year also symbolizes a changing of the seasons.... a few warm days scattered in with the chilly ones, a few early flowers springing up, March Madness (Boiler Up!), and Spring Break with our family. Lots of great things to look forward to in the upcoming six weeks.
One of the traditions I took away from my Catholic upbringing is the practice of giving something up for Lent. I like the symbolism of it. Not that we as humans can in any way create a sacrifice of any degree of comparison to our Savior's, but I believe that it is a small reminder of the sacrifice He made for us. I also think it helps my children understand it better when they actually have to do it themselves. The jury is still out on what Alex is giving up for Lent.... I gave him several suggestions of things that he loves that he could give up for six weeks. (Nintendo, Wii, candy)They all seem to be too difficult to bear at this time. So we will see. Caroline's first response was that she was giving up fighting with her brother. I encouraged her to think of something a bit more tangible (and I was thinking that I wanted them to actually succeed at this process!) and she surprisingly and quickly came to her own conclusion that she was giving up candy. This is huge, given that her sweet tooth rivals mine. It is fitting that she choose the exact same thing to give up as I did. Maybe we can support each other over these next few weeks. :) Or we will both be really cranky!
The point to all of this is that every time I walk to the cabinet to pull out a snack size Reece's, I remember my pledge of sacrifice, albeit small. Whether it is giving something up, fasting on Fridays, doing a Lenten devotion, or attending an Ash Wednesday service--- these acts help us to focus on the meaning of Lent. What do you do during the Lent season to remember God's sacrifice for us? Please, pretty please with a cherry on top, will you comment? I am very curious to know what our readers think. We could learn from you and your experiences. Just click on the comment button below and create a Google account with your email. Easy Peasey.
Thank you all so much for being a part of our blog world. Blessings to you and may you go to God on this Ash Wednesday and rejoice in who He is and what He has done for you.
"For to this day, the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. But when anyone turns to the Lord the veil is taken away. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lords' glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:14, 16,18)
Friday, February 12, 2010
I have a friend that sometimes causes me to be so envious. She has amazing kids, a great husband, and the girl looks amazing in anything. She could cover herself in a car cover and look like she was headed to the Grammy's. If I did that, I would look like, well, a car (and not a cute sporty Miata).
Envy is an incredible struggle for me. It squelches joy and peace and can even lead to anger.
The Bible tells us:
So I get it, envy is bad. But how do I cope with it? The Bible teaches what should be the replacement of envy: LOVE.
My eyes were opened today, as I read these truths, that God isn't telling us just to love the people that we envy. He of course, does want us to love those that we feel envious of, but sometimes for me it's just as difficult to love myself. He wants us to love who He has created in us. To fall on our knees praising Him for the unique blessings that He has given to us. The Love that He teaches about in 1 Corinthians is love that He wants us to experience both giving and recieving.
1 Corinthians goes on to explain that Love always supports others and wants the best for each person. This is a bigger challenge for me after all most everyone would look better in a car cover than I.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Whether stateside or on foreign soil, believers have the same text in common and the same inability to live well without it. I don't care who we are and how long some of us have been in church or ministry. None of us can make it victoriously without a steady diet of Scripture. And why would we want to? Hebrews 4:12 tells us that God's word is "living and active" (NIV). That means it isn't just an ancient sacred text still making a few relevant applications. The Greek verb tense for "living" in Hebrews 4:12 indicates the Word is PRESENTLY and CONTINUALLY teeming with life. If we believe the Word is alive and "all Scripture is Godbreathed" (2 Timothy 3:16) we might say that every breath comes to us still warm from the mouth of God. As if He just said it.
This really resonated in my heart. It is hard to stay focused on daily Scripture reading and time spent studying God's word. Sometimes that time gets pushed aside for other daily activities. It is my prayer today that God ignites a passion in me for His word, and that I daily make it a priority. Will you join me in this prayer?
For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting swift and deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are. (Hebrews 4:12 NLT)