Thursday, May 27, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
If you have any pictures you would like to share, please email them to me and I can post them!
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
All day I have been mulling over how I can better use my God-given strengths to help others. And not only those in my church, but those in my community and in the world. As Larry so poignantly said in the movie, God made us special and gave us our spiritual gifts so we could do good work for others. A lot of people just use their talents for themselves to earn money or recognition, which may make us feel good for a while. But it doesn't last. God wants us to use our gifts to make a difference in our neighbors' lives. And that is when we experience true joy-- using our gifts the way that God intended.
One of my spiritual gifts is teaching and loving children. I am praying about ways I can use that gift outside of my family and my church. I have a few ideas--- I will keep you updated! I have also been thinking about how to teach my children how to use their gifts to help others.
What are your spiritual gifts? How are you using them? How could you use them to help others?
Whether it is baking meals for the homebound, visiting and encouraging those in the hospital or nursing home, tutoring at-risk children, or building or fixing homes of the needy..... and those are just a few....... I encourage you to reach out beyond the walls of your home and your church to find a way you can make a difference for Jesus.
"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
Jason and I went out to dinner with some friends of ours who are missionaries in Central and South America. Talk about some God moments! They shared with us that they see God moving in amazing ways every day out in the mission field. I asked them why they thought that they noticed God's intervention more there than here in the States. There reply was that a. life moves at a much slower pace in the villages of Belize. They are not running on the crazy schedules that we all have, plus they don't have all the "stuff" we have complicating their lives.
b. also, they said that when you have to rely on God and your faith for your safety and needs,
and rely on Him to show you what He wants you to do for Him, you will see His work so clearly.
How awesome is that!!! It really was inspiring listening to their stories. I have to share with you their "top" God moment. They had traveled from Guatamala to the jungle of Belize to a tiny village with a pastor that had 8 churches he led. They had 2 men, and 9 women and children crammed into a Kia Sportage (very tiny car meant for 4). They traveled to one of the churches (basically a hut with a thatched roof and a generator for power). After the church service, they started their drive back to the pastor's village about 15 miles away, through the jungle in the pouring rain in the pitch black of night. (Usually they did not travel at night). And she said rain in the jungle is like no rain we have seen here! Well, a few miles into the trip, the battery gave out, and the men had to start walking through the jungle to try to find someone with a battery.... What are the chances of that happening? Pretty slim, but there was no other choice. The women and children stayed in the car. Two miracles occurred that night: 1. The men spotted a light through the jungle and they found a man who had a battery that had been taken to town that day to be fully charged! 2. On their way back to the car, lugging the battery on his shoulder, our friend saw headlights coming toward them. It was a truckful of drunk men coming right toward the car of women and children. They had seen them earlier in their trip down the road. Our friends shared with us that drunk men in this country are very mean and do harmful things to women. He starts running toward the car as fast as he can. Amazingly enough, the men just drive by, like the car is invisible to them. Now they do throw bottles at our friend and the pastor, but not a glance at the carful of women on the side of the road. Now that is a God moment for sure! Obviously, God wanted our friends to continue in their work and make it back to the village with the pastor and women and children. He had plans for them that did not include the truckful of men. Praise God for his divine intervention.
Those of us who are not missionaries may have a harder time finding God moments on a daily basis, but they are there. Take a few moments to reflect and journal on how you saw God in your life today. They can be big things, like healing or an answered prayer, or small things, like a hug of a child, or an encouraging note from a friend. No matter what, God is alive and active in our daily lives. Praise Him for it!!
"His incomparably great power for us who believe... is like the working of his mighty strength." Ephesians 1:19
Thursday, May 6, 2010
- washed one load of diapers (I'm using cloth!)
- planted 7 pots of impatiens
- pulled a bazillion weeds
- walked to church and back
- took my daughter out to eat at Subway while on our walk
- did some work for the things I volunteer for at church
- kept my house somewhat in order
- kept alive, fed, clean, and hopefully happy, two children
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
This picture of my bedside table is slightly embarrassing. But, authentic. I am a bibliophile, a lover of books. And I do not have enough shelf space, obviously. Anyhow, I would like to share with you tonight a little bit about two books; one that I am in the midst of reading, and one series I just finished.
Our small group is currently reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I am only on chapter 4, but I love it so far. Let's just say that this book is meant to radically change how you think about yourself and your relationship with Christ. It is honest, probing, uncomfortable at times, but takes an amazing look at God's absolutely insane love for us, and how we can return that love in same. Chapter 4 is the chapter where Francis just tells it like it is. After I read it, I took the book to my husband and said, "You need to read this now. It will make you feel like crud (except I didn't use the word crud) but you need to read it." You have to understand that Jason does not like to read AT ALL and getting him to read something is like pulling very stubborn wisdom teeth. But he read it, and then we proceeded to have a long conversation about it. The title of this chapter is "Profile of the Lukewarm". In all honesty, most of churchgoing America is lukewarm in their pursuit of God, including myself. I am trying to transform myself into the follower of Christ who offers Him everything and will do anything he calls me to do, but it is not easy. This chapter really convicted me to change my thinking in a lot of areas of my life. Just a few excerpts I would like to share: (Chan follows each of these with relevant Scripture which supports what a true follower of Christ should do.
"Lukewarm people gauge their morality of goodness by comparing themselves to the secular world. They feel satified that while they aren't as hard-core for Jesus as so-and-so, they are nowhere as horrible as the guy down the street."
"Lukewarm people say they love Jesus, and He is, indeed, a part of their lives. But only a part. They give Him a section of their time, their money and their thoughts, but He isn't allowed to control their lives."
"Lukewarm people will serve God and others, but there are limits to how far they will go or how much time, money and energy they are willing to give."
"Lukewarm people are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control. This focus on safe living keeps them from sacrificing and risking for God."
In contrast to the lukewarm Christian, I just finished The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. When I began the first book in the series, "A Voice in the Wind", I wasn't sure I was going to like it because it is historical fiction, set back in the days right after Christ's crucifixion. There were a lot of Latin and Greek words that I didn't know and names I couldn't pronounce. But once I got into the characters, I could not stop reading. Talk about people who were the opposite of lukewarm! The story revolves around a Jewish girl who becomes a slave after the fall of Jerusalem to Rome. Her family was Christian, and she is the only one who survives the aftermath of the destruction of Rome. Her transformation from a shy, timid girl, to a woman of unbelievable faith and trust in the Lord is inspiring. Living in the world we live in today, we cannot even understand the level of persecution Christians were up against back then. As I read through the series, I got to see how her faith walk and willingness to obey Christ's calling for her life affects so many people who know her, and even ones down the line who did not. She believed God!!!!
I hope you all get a chance to read these books. Books cannot replace time you spend reading God's word, but they can offer hope and inspiration in your life and broaden your knowledge in different areas. Here's to dumping out that lukewarm water, and filling yourself with piping hot love for our Lord!
"Jesus replied, 'Love the Lord your god with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. ' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt.22:37-38)