Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Birds, Weeds, and Double Fist Pumps...

Things God has taught me lately...

1. He cares about the little things. We had a bird build a nest in our hanging basket on the front porch and then lay an egg in it. We waited in anticipation for the egg to hatch and then it finally did a couple of weeks ago. Two days ago we were getting ready to leave and I saw the mommy bird limping about on the ground. Randy put some gloves on and checked it out. It was very hurt and there was nothing we could do. (He wanted to snap its neck to put it out of its misery but I couldn't handle that.) I literally fretted over that baby bird for the rest of the night. I couldn't help but think about how it was going to die without it's mom to bring it food. I checked in on the baby bird yesterday and it was still there. Last night as I was laying in bed, I felt kind of silly for doing it but I prayed for the baby bird. I prayed, "God, I feel silly for asking this but I know you care about even the smallest of animals. And I ask that you take care of that little bird." I went and checked on the bird today, pretty much expecting it to be dead in its nest and it was gone. Now I could assume that it fell out (although I did check the ground and there was no sign of it) but I really believe that God protected that baby bird and it flew away. Jesus says in Matthew 6 "Look at the birds. They don't need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your Heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are." I believe God took care of that little bird and I believe that He is concerned about the little things in my life and in yours.

2. Pulling weeds isn't just for the garden. I have too many weeds in my life. Isn't it funny how we like weeds. Not the kind that you pull out of the garden (those kind are a real pain!), but the kind that grow in your soul and eat away at the good things in your life. I know the saying, "Sin is fun for a season." And it's so true but I just don't understand why. Why is it "fun" to wallow in our jealousy and bitterness and self-pity. God has been showing me through my husband and encouragement from friends and especially from his Word that I need to weed the garden. I need to rip out and burn these things that eat away at my soul. They bring no glory to God. And that is what my life is for: to bring glory to God and to lead others to HIm. And after a serious purging of weeds, I need to plant sweet seeds of God's Word into my heart. I will still have weeds pop up from time to time, but since I know so well what the real plant is (the voice of the Holy Spirit) I will notice the weed much quicker and be able to rid myself of it. I am so thankful that God has given me His Word to comfort and direct me.This verse has been lodged in my brain for the past couple of months: "Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. instead, be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ Jesus has forgiven you." Ephesians 4:31-32.

3. He has overcome this world. John 16:33...AMAZING. "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trials and sorrows. But take heart; I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD." (insert big double fist pump!) No matter what I am going through. No matter what you are going through. HE has already overcome it. You can find peace in Him. And He is the only one who can give true peace. This verse has been brought up from random people over the past several weeks just reaffirming to me that He has overcome this world and that He is in control and that there is peace in Him. " I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trails and sorrows. But take heart; I have overcome the world."

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Time to share again...

As I mentioned in my last post, I've kind of been dealing with various things lately and a friend advised me to find a verse and recite it in my mind. To let it dwell in my heart. I stumbled upon 2 Timothy 4:5 the other day. I'm sure I have read it numerous times before but this time it jumped off the page at me.

2 Timothy 4:5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don't be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at bringing others to Christ. Complete the ministry God has given you.

Keep a clear mind in every situation. I need to keep all bitterness and jealousy and all other evil thoughts out so I can act and respond in a Christ-like manner. I need to focus on the blessings God has given me and the immeasurable love God has shown me and not on the ugly things of this world. "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brother and sisters, let me say this one more thing before I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." (Phil 4:6-8)

Don't be afraid of suffering for the Lord. I am in no way suffering like the early Christians suffered but I do feel like doing what God has told us to do can cost us things. It can cost relationships, which it has to me before. It can cause loneliness. It can cause fatigue. It can cause hurt from others and rejection. It can cause a lot of things but reminding ourselves that this earth is not our home and that God is the friend to the friendless and that he gives strength when we can no longer do it ourselves gives us the ability to press on. "We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don't give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we will get up again and keep going. Through suffering, these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever." (2Corinthians 4:7-10;16-18)

Work at bringing others to Christ. This needs to be my focus. Building relationships with people. Opening my heart and home to share with people. Allowing God to use me even when it's uncomfortable. Being honest with people and letting them see that I am in no way perfect but I serve a God who loves me and them and who is perfect. And once I understand that my heart and mind need to be clear of the weaknesses and strongholds in my life, and once I understand that I will suffer, I will be in the right place to lead others to Christ. God will be able to use me and I will be free to see the opportunities he has set before me. "Whatever we do, it is because Christ's love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for everyone, we also believe that we have all died to the old life we used to live. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live to please themselves. Instead, they will live to please Christ, who died and was raised for them." (2 Corinthians 5:14-15) "Live wisely among those who are not Christians, and make the most of ever opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone." (Colossians 4:5-6)

Complete the ministry God has given me. This is big for me. This requires focus. This requires commitment.This requires perseverance...none of which are my strong points. But, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13) When my mind and heart are clear of the things of this world that bring me down, when I accept the fact that this world is not my home and that I will suffer but I have a Savior who suffered above anything I can imagine, and when my focus is leading people in a closer walk with God, then I am completing the ministry God has given me. "For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him. In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing, so that no one can speak a word of blame against you. You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people. Let your lives shine brightly before them. Hold tightly to the word of life, so that when Christ returns, I will be proud that I did not lose the race and that my work was not useless." (Philippians 2:13-16)

This world has nothing to offer except a chance to see the love of God redeem it.

And here are some pics of my cutie-pies. I can't help myself =)

Seriously, do they come any more gorgeous than this?

If it looks like all he does is's true...

Friday, June 10, 2011

It's been a while...

It's been a while since I have posted anything. I have had a lot on my mind the last couple of weeks. Things that have kind of taken up residence in the back (and a lot of times front) of my mind. Things that I would rather not be there. But alas they are...and they are things best not shared on the blogosphere... So I will just share pictures...that always makes people happy, right?

Randy and I just celebrated our five year anniversary. I had this super mushy post planned but life happened so the post didn't. I have half of it saved so I may post it eventually. We went out of town with another couple to celebrate WITHOUT THE CHILDREN and that was A.MAZ.ING! We celebrated Caleb's first birthday a couple of weeks ago and will definitely put pictures up and post on that eventually.

Seriously, how could these not make you smile. Sometimes I really miss being a kid. Mainly the innocence and carefree-ness of being a kid. But, these little boogers in the pictures make me so happy that I am an adult! Anyway, I seriously promise that I will eventually pull myself out of my pensive and reflective (P&R as my friends in college called it) rut and start posting again.

However, I will share a verse that has meant a lot to me this last week, compliments of Brad Sterling via my husband (who is awesome!)...

John 6:33 "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart. I have overcome the world." ....Amen...