Saturday, September 24, 2011

How different would you live your life...

if you knew without a single doubt that JESUS was real and that this fleshly world we see before our eyes is nothing compared to the realness of the spiritual realm we cannot see? 

I have run across some people who look at me funny when they see how completely my life has changed since my encounter with Jesus.  I have caught glimpses of questions like "Why are you trying so hard?"  "Can't you do one thing without making it about God?"  Honestly, I have a hard time talking to some people now.  I want to talk about Jesus and all the amazing ways He is showing up everyday.  Many people don't want to talk about Jesus..."Christian" people.  At times I find myself trying to forget about Him so I can have a "normal" conversation, then when it is over I am convicted of the fact that I said something stupid, ridiculous and should just in fact shut up and stick to talking about Jesus.  When I fall back into those old habits of commiserating about daily life, I fall back into old ways of speaking and I hate doing that.  It just feels bad.  I can't find a balance here... is there even suppose to be one?  I'm not sure... 

What I can say is this.  Once you have felt the glory of being in the presence of Jesus, many things just don't matter anymore.  While at times, I do find myself getting caught up in the frustrations of daily life now I have fresh eyes to see them through.  I see that they are tricks of satan.  satan would like nothing more than for me to REACT to all those frustrations with yelling, anger, resentment and self pity, but I refuse.  I see them for what they are... the only thing a defeated foe has to throw in my path... his attempt to make me stumble.  Oh how he would love for me to yell at my children, to really rip into them and tear them down.  he wants them destroyed, and he wants it to be by my own hand.  The same goes for my husband.  It is so easy to find fault in him and with his ways when satan's army is whispering in my ear.  God tells us that satan comes to kill, steal and destroy and that he is the father of all lies.  satan wants nothing more than to destroy my family, to rip us apart and destroy our testimonies by making us act in ways unbecoming a follower of Christ. 

Now I am not interested in getting all caught up with thinking of satan in all things, but I do believe that if we deny his presence and influences we are not able to recognize him and stand against him.  he distracts me while I pray and worship, whispers all the things I should find wrong in other people and while it is not always easy (nor am I successful at) standing up against his tricks, I find that just recognizing the source of all those things helps.  Just when I am about to boil over in the midst of a string of frustrating events (like a 1 minute span including shaking an open container of pancake mix all over the kitchen and myself, burning my hand, child #2 calling me to me from her room, husband telling me oops just dropped your important paper into the abyss inside the crack of the computer desk- not that that has happened to me), my main goal is to turn my heart on Jesus and beg for his grace and mercy to be poured down on me anew and take it all away.

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us."  Romans 8:18

One day when we fall at the feet of our Savior in heaven, I am assured that none of this will even matter.  In the presence of His love that is so powerful and all consuming, we will be only be able to worship in awe.  I cling to that small glimpse of it that He gave me and long for the day when I will again feel that burning joy in my heart... that joy that surpasses any other earthly emotion... that joy that is not even describable with human understanding.  God tells us that the earth is but a shadow of what is awaiting us in heaven.  Think of the desperate love we feel for our children, and know that love is only a shadow of the love that our Father in heaven feels for us.  A shadow of what He feels for us!!!!  I think about that and even having felt a fraction of it, I still can't really comprehend it.  All satan has in this world to take our eyes off the prize of Jesus' love are his puny darts of frustration, taking offense, anger, etc. and really in comparison those are pretty pathetic.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

There are a lot of things I could say, but right now this is all I can think of..... "HELP!!!!"

As in... LORD, PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!!  As the first day of school approaches....and really I don't even know when that is anymore because it was suppose to be this in 2 days...but I am so NOT READY it is not even funny.  If there were ever a time when I felt completely inadequate and unprepared for this whole homeschooling would be NOW.  Last year I was so excited for the beginning of the year.  It was my first year with both kids, and I had no idea what was in store for me.  Now I am a wee bit wiser, and really the only thing I can say is.....LORD, PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!!  Yea, I know I already said that but it bears repeating...many times. 

Many people tell me when they hear that I homeschool, "Oh, wow you must be so patient." This makes me laugh out loud...because...let me make this clear... I AM NOT PATIENT.  I am the opposite of patient and this I am convinced is one of the reasons the Lord has called me to homeschool. You see, He is still working on me (and boy, does he have His work cut out).  And so I know that my only hope is to PRAY....a lot...and lean on Him because, surely I do not have this under control.  I absolutely cannot do this by myself.  It is only by His grace that I can homeschool.  So Lord if you are listening (and I know You always are).....Please help me to do this, because I can't on my own and please prepare my children's hearts...oh please just guide us all!  Yall pray for us too, pretty please!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pray without ceasing...

Paul tells us to do this (1 Thessalonians 5:17), but what does it mean?  Well, here's my take.  Pray all the time, literally ALL THE TIME.  Don't store up all your prayers in your mind where they will likely be forgotten throughout the day, and then try to spew them all out as you lay in bed and fall asleep.

Pray. All. The. Time. 

Talk to God all day, like He is right there with you...because HE IS.  Don't wait to make an appointment with Him or wait to check in with Him when you are not busy.  Remember if the devil can't make you sin, he sure will keep you busy.  If Christ is IN you, talk to Him like He is.  He is right there with you always and He wants to hear from you always.  I almost never sit down and try to pray.  When something comes into my mind, I just pray it, right then and there.  No need for a lot of time and special words.  I pray while I am folding laundry, cooking, cleaning, even while talking to other people and driving (scary huh?). I share my heart with God a little bit at a time all day long.  He already knows what's in there anyway.  Isn't it nice when your own children come to you and share their hearts even if you already know what they have done or want to ask you?  Doesn't it make you feel loved? I wonder if that is how He feels when we come to Him?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

So Has God Used You Lately?

"Please God, USE ME!!!" is what I have been praying lately... "Please just let me HEAR YOU and know what You want me to do." Well, He does not disappoint. In addition to becoming an Advocate for Compassion International (which I will write about later, as this is so funny it deserves a post all of its own), He has been showing up and using me in a series of other "smaller" ways as well.

The other morning I was feeling a little grumpy, just too many things to do and not enough time. R and the kids were asking to go to the pool, which of course made me even more more thing to do, right? So I had to pause and go to Him..."What is wrong with me? I don't want to feel this way. Lord, please help me, what do You want me to do?" His answer..."What does your husband need?" This week I am being made aware of the fact that I am to be a helper to my husband. That means I need to think more of him and less about my to do list. What is the real problem here?? PRIDE... pure and simple....whose to do's are more important? When my husband is home I am learning it is suppose to be his. This is hard, I won't lie. I won't say I am working on it either... it is He that is working in me and on me.

A funny thing happens when we obey though, that is when He can use us. Even though I really did not want to, I put aside all the things I had in mind to do and got the gang all lotioned and packed for the pool. R wanted the pool, so that is what he got. And in the process, God put me right where He could use me! At the pool, a familiar looking lady came up to me and started talking. We knew each other from L2's dance studio. She is a newly divorced mom and was looking for a single ladies Bible study... which of course our church has and hers does not. Our single ladies Bible study has some amazing women of God, who I just know will be a great help to her. I heard someone say that today's single mom is the "widow" of Biblical times (that we are commanded to care for in James 1:27) and I think that statement is right on. Sometimes I have wondered if having a husband who walks away from you voluntarily may in ways be more painful than having one pass from this life to the next?  But I digress... my point is that by obeying the command to be my husband's helper, He placed me in a position to help a "widow" in need.

Also awhile back I started writing verses on index cards... just ones I came across that really spoke to me on that day. One day when the hubs (BC) was really challenging my faith I came across this one:

 From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
Galatians 6:17

Now granted, Paul was talking about his physical scars, but persecution can be emotional as well and on the day I wrote this one down it was really just the encouragement I needed. 

Some time after that, I was sitting paying bills and found I had lost my little piece of cardboard I use behind my check carbons to keep the writing from going though, so I used this index card with Gal 6:17 in its place and just absently (or so I thought) stuck it in my checkbook.  The other day I was at the drive up atm depositing some checks, my checkbook was out and ...BAM... I was hit with a command from the Holy Spirit.  "Put that Gal 6:17 card in the deposit envelope." It was wild, my hands were shaking, my heart was pumping and I was breathing funny.  I have never been hit that hard with a command where I totally recognized it as for sure from Him.  Really, it was intense.  I have no idea who needed that verse or why, but I have no doubt that it ended up in the right hands that day.

Friday, July 8, 2011

This is where she lives...


She is the latest addition to my heart, our Compassion International sponsored child.  She just turned 8 years old and lives in extreme poverty in Kenya.  Through Compassion's Child Development Program at the KAG Siany Center she receives food, clothing, medical care, an education, instruction in personal hygiene, social skills and most importantly SHE GETS TO HEAR THE GOSPEL.  She gets to hear that even though she was born into what seems like an impossible situation to overcome, Jesus desperately loves her.  He left his place in heaven, came to earth to live, died on the cross and rose from the dead to save her and is making a place for her in heaven.

We get to write letters to her.... to encourage her, to share our faith with her, and to tell her not to believe the lies of tell her she is beautiful, special, important, and that God loves her with an everlasting love.  I have read and listened to countless testimonies of former Compassion children who have grown up, gone to college, broken free of poverty and are now working in their own ministries or with Compassion to continue proclaiming the gospel to the next generation of children that satan is trying to deceive with his lies of poverty.

Compassion International is soo soo much more than a child sponsorship program, it is a DISCIPLESHIP program. And Compassion makes it so easy for us to take the blessings we have received and directly impact the life of a child for Jesus...we can be His hands and feet. Won't you consider sponsoring a child today and changing their life in Jesus' name?

Matthew 25:34-45  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,  I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’  Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’  Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Never Underestimate the Power of the Holy Spirit

This has been a joyous week in our house.  In addition to my hubby coming to Jesus last week, my 6 yo L2 did as well!  Now I can say that coming to Jesus as an adult at the ripe old age of 35 myself, I have been somewhat uncertain about at what age a child can really make a solid decision on their own to open their heart to Jesus.  She has been asking me questions and telling me for months that she was ready and I in my lack of faith have been actually dismissing her, thinking she is just not mature enough to make that choice.  Oh how foolish we become as we age!  Of any person I know she is the most open about spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.  She tells friends, neighbors, family, and even complete strangers about Jesus. With a simple childlike faith at 6 years old she is out spreading the Gospel.  Why as adults are we so afraid to tell others about Him?  And who am I to tell her she is not ready?

Last week at VBS she told Jesus she believed in Him, asked for forgiveness of her sins, and asked Him to live in her heart.   An adult counselor and myself decided for her that maybe she needed to be a little older..... Well, guess what?  Jesus doesn't care how old she is, she called out to Him and He now has her in His hands.  The Holy Spirit does not give a darn tootin what I or any other adult thinks.  He already sealed her as His own.  How do I know?  Well for one thing, I have had no peace with my ridiculous decision to tell her she has to wait, it has been literally eating me alive...I am so sorry Lord, yes, I am an idiot.  Because this child is now a different child, she has been transformed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit...

And just where has the Holy Spirit directed her?  Well, straight to the Word of God, of course.  She is HUNGRY.  She came to me this morning with her Bible asking me to read to her.  So as part of "New Believer 101" I started with the Gospel of John.  I read the first chapter aloud, and then find her reading on her own all throughout the day.  By bedtime she is done with Chapter 5.  I read her Chapter 6: Jesus Walks on Water and Jesus is the Bread of Life as a bedtime story.  And guess what?  That child understands it!  "No, Momma Jesus didn't really want them to eat Him, He just wants them to BELIEVE in Him."  If only adults could understand this?!   I am just further convinced of the power of the Holy Spirit.

 I can't wait til we get to this one...

 Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me.  But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand."  John 10:25-29

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Real Men Love Jesus!

Real Men Love Jesus

I had been seeing this bumper sticker a lot lately and quite frankly it was making me a little sad...but no more now that my man is a "REAL Man"....yep, my hubby invited Jesus to be his savior last week!!  PRAISE JESUS!!!  There is a new name in the Lamb's Book of Life!!

After I accepted Jesus last year, the Holy Spirit led me to read the Bible.  In the beginning I hid my reading from R because I was afraid he would think I was weird.  After praying for direction to find a church I was directed to the very church I had vowed I would never again enter as a teen.  One thing that I have been learning lately is that we should all be very careful about telling God that we refuse to do anything. I am convinced this is a pride issue.  I had a few other chruches in mind that I would have been happy to attend...but no, God sent me right back to where I had dug in my heels and screamed "No!".  It took me about 3 months to obey His direction because I was too afraid R would completely reject a Baptist church (plus, honestly I was a little annoyed).  We cannot be fully sbmitted to God's will if we are still trying to direct our own life. 

God's timing really is so perfect.  When I first started attending worship with the kids, R's work schedule had him at work every Sunday morning.  So basically we had already started going before he could say no, which I just know he would have had I just suggested we all start going as a family.  Then after 3 weeks his schedule that he had been on for over a year just magically, mysteriously (not really hee hee!) changed and he was suddenly off Sundays (God is so good!).  His very first day at chruch he heard a message about the Importance of Fathers as Spiritual Leaders at Home.  The next week the message was Do You Have a Person You Know Who is a Hard Case?  You Think They Will Never Come to Jesus?  Don't Give Up! I should have listened harder to this one lol!

  The Holy Spirit began pushing me to go forward, profess my faith and ask for baptism... again I told God "No, I can't!!  That will totally freak R out!"...the harder I protested, the harder He pushed me until after about a month a cement truck could not have stopped me from running off down the isle and jumping in that water!  Again, be careful, what you tell God you will not far everything I have refused to do I have now done and realize that those things were required of me out of obedience for a greater purpose.  If I were still sitting at home reading the Bible in secret do you think R would have come to Jesus by now?  God's ways are higher than our ways and when we obey He richly blesses us!

Over the past few months R had a lot of questions and I did my best to answer them.  Honestly at times I know the answers were not my words, they were His.  Having a husband by my side who loved Jesus was not even something I had dared to hope would ever happen... oh I prayed for it to happen...A.L.O.T!  But I was afraid to even hope, because really I thought the chances were slim... BUT GOD.  Never again will I be afraid to hope for anything because...

"With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26