Saturday, June 30, 2007
"I can do all things through Jesus Christ Who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
I think that sometimes we get so focused on our daily life that we forget to take a break. We need that break. We need to take the time to refocus and not have to worry about the daily trials of life in general. This next week we've been given the opportunity to take a family vacation. And we are soooo looking forward to it. It's very rare that Andy gets any time off in the summer, and to have a whole week ahead of us is truly a blessing. We're really looking forward to the time away with our children. :-)
It will also be very nice mentally. We can set aside everything that's been on our minds as of late. It's been such a long time since our last official vacation. It's been over two years- and that vacation wasn't even all rest since we had a wedding in the middle of it. This next week for us is going to be solid rest, well, as restful as camping can be.
So I hope that everyone has a great week ahead. I'll be back in just over a week, recharged and refreshed. I hope you take this opportunity to think about the last time you had some much-needed rest. Get yourself some- sometimes it's in a moment of rest that God has something great for us. It's during the busyness of daily life that we so often don't hear him, so we need to take a break to see what he has to say. God Bless you all- I'll be praying for you as I spend the week away.
Friday, June 29, 2007
This verse stuck out for me today. I just really like it. Do not abandon the works of your hands. You know, sometimes when we're struggling and looking for a reason for something, we forget to do. Meaning, we get caught up in reflection, and forget about the things that need to be done. Something to remember, right at the beginning of this verse is the word "will". The Lord WILL fulfill his purpose for me. Meaning that at some point I will know exactly what direction he wants me to head. In the meantime though, I need to keep on with what I am doing. My hands need to continue my busy work. I can't just stop everything and wait for his direction- that direction could be years away! So I will hold to the promise of WILL. It doesn't say The Lord Might... or Maybe the Lord will... It says square and surely that The Lord WILL fulfill his purpose for me. I just need to be patient and stay the course and all will work itself out.
Tomorrow I will have a quick post, and then I'm afraid to say that I will be away from my computer for an entire week...Heart & Soul will be quiet for awhile.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
I posted before about how excited I was to garden this year. How I'm looking forward to harvesting and putting food by for the winter. Well, that time is almost upon us. We have been enjoying lettuce and radishes, beets, and a few zucchini. The rest of the garden is about to explode as well. We're going to be gone for a week and I'm already planning ahead, because the day we get back I will likely be pulling out the canner for some pickles. Our timing away could not be worse for the garden. Then again, maybe it's not so bad because I won't be wandering out to the garden every day wondering when those beans will be large enough to pick. :-)
I'm ready to enjoy my work. I have enjoyed the work of putting in and tending the garden, and now I'm ready to enjoy the labor of the harvest. It is such a gift from God that I can enjoy this work to its fullest. Every time we eat something from the garden it's a moment of joy for us. A moment of "we grew this!" and "Look what the Lord has allowed us to do with a plot of dirt and our hands."
And while I could go on and on about the virtues of gardening, I would be remiss if I didn't address the second half of the verses above. That God keeps people so busy enjoying life that they don't have time to brood about the past. Isn't that wonderful! A busy life IS a gift from God. I know that can be a foreign thought to some, but really...think about it... the fact that I spend much of my week busy with school and church and dance classes and playing with my children, and this time of year with the garden, it's wonderful! This means I am in the midst of a gift from Above. A gift of enjoyment so that I don't have the inkling or the time to lament something about the past. I could lament the fact that we are so busy, but what for? According to the verse above, my business is my gift from God. And I accept that gift wholeheartedly. Is it not better to be busy and always looking ahead than bored and lamenting the past for what could have been? I think so.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls." Proverbs 31:15
I'm not doing so well on my mornings now that school is out. Here it is 9:00 am and I'm finally getting around to blogging. It is decadent to sleep later in the morning with school out, but I do miss that time in the morning. Part of me thinks that I need to start setting myself an alarm so that I still have my mornings to get things done. But then part of me thinks that we have so little obligations this summer that a little extra sleep is perfectly okay. But now here I sit at the computer, the kids have had breakfast and are busy playing, but I am not finished blogging, my laundry hasn't even been started, and I am still in need of a shower. Whereas a few weeks ago by this time I had two loads of laundry hanging outside by this time, and I've showered, cleaned the kitchen, and gotten my dinner plan done for the day.
I think I'm slacking. My desire to enjoy summer vacation may be going a bit far. While I don't think I need to adhere to this verse today entirely, it serves as a reminder to myself. If I were to rise before dawn this time of year...well, that would just be insane. But I can rouse myself a bit earlier and get more accomplished in the morning hours. Next week we'll be going camping, and I could certainly use the time this week to get ourselves ready for that! I pray that I can be mindful of my morning time and that I can get myself out of bed just a tad earlier.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
"These are evil times, so make every minute count." Contemporary English Version
"making the most of your time, because the days are evil." New American Standard Bible
"Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days." New Living Translation
"making the best use of the time, because the days are evil." English Standard Version
"Don't waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It's a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.
Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light!
So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!" The Message
I have been very guilty in the past of wasting time. TV used to be my nemesis, beckoning to me, especially with the advent of the Food Network and our digital recorder. I could record anything I wanted and watch it when I want. Probably a year ago, I decided I was spending too much time watching TV. I am certainly not saying TV is evil and should be avoided. I happen to think that a little wind down at the end of the day is perfectly acceptable. Or perhaps a mid-day break with a favorite chef while I recharge with a cup of tea or coffee. But I've become very selective on what I watch. And there are several reasons for this.
The first reason being my children. My TV viewing is a bad example to be blunt. If I sit and watch TV all day, what am I showing them? It's not difficult to see the bad example there. I also used to let them watch a lot of TV. Now we're down to just a little TV viewing for the kids each day. Not by setting restrictions and telling them they can't, but by providing them alternatives and showing them there are so many other fun things to do. We're to the point that on the occasional day I really just want to lounge and not do much, I have a hard time convincing the kids to sit and watch TV for more than 20 minutes. I can be okay with that. :-)
The second reason for halting my TV viewing is the old adage of garbage in-garbage out. It really is stupifying to watch a lot of TV- even when some of it is instructional. I also had been enjoying a few TV shows in the evenings that were maybe a little more than I should be watching. When the plot turns involve a lot of sleeping around and such, I should maybe not be watching. This past winter I even gave up one of my favorite TV shows that I've been watching for 15 years because one of the storylines was about a stalker and was really, really disturbing me every week that story was featured.
And the biggest reason for lessening my TV viewing is the issue of Time. As the verses state above, there is so much more I could be doing with my time. Sitting and watching something is not a good use of time. For me, that time was taking away from other productive things, even simple things like getting the laundry done or cleaning up a mess. By cutting out most of my TV time, I've found so much more time! I now get my household chores done early in the day and can spend my afternoons with my children, giving them my full attention. Or on the days that they are busy with each other, I get to sneak a rare moment to curl up with a book or work on a cross-stitch project. If someone were to ask me how much TV I watch, I can honestly say that if I watch 90 minutes a day, it's a lot. We usually watch an hour-long show about 3 nights a week, and other than that...? Occasionally something else will catch our interest, but our family is in a much better place having cut out a lot of TV viewing.
Time truly is precious. There are always things that require some of our time- work is a huge one for most people. But what do you do with the rest of your time? Do you spend it vegging in front of the TV? Do you spend it playing video games? Or do you spend it with the ones you love or spend it doing something productive? When you look back at today will you be proud of what you have accomplished or will you regret the four hours you spent watching HGTV? And what would your Heavenly Father say about your day? You know what he'll say- "Child, if you want to change tomorrow, I can help you. Lean on me and I can help you use your time wisely." A simple prayer in the morning of "God, help me to use my time wisely," is all it takes to get you on your way. Instead of spending that 20 minutes watching someone refurbish a home to sell, spend 20 minutes in God's Word, finding out what he has to tell you. It will make all the difference in the world, and will help you to use your time for His Glory.
Friday, June 22, 2007
As I was reading this passage today, the very first line totally struck me. "Knowing their thoughts..." Just think about that. Jesus knew the thoughts of those who opposed him- they didn't need to say a word, but he knew anyways. The same holds for us today, sometimes we just don't remember it. God does know our thoughts, and what do you think he thinks about our thoughts? I imagine this is a place of struggle for so many people...our thoughts are private for one. The thoughts I have about my neighbor are mine alone- no one else knows what I am thinking, so it really doesn't matter what I think- right? Wrong. The Lord knows what I am thinking about my neighbor. He knows.
There can be other ramifications for your thoughts as well. How long will it be before one of those thoughts you shouldn't be having slips out in conversation? If you harbor the bad thoughts, they fester. They grow, and the one not-so-nice thought you had about your neighbor becomes a whole laundry list of complaints, and how long before you share those thoughts with another neighbor? Then there are two neighbors thinking bad thoughts, and so on, you can see where this is going.
And while I am calling this whole issue of thoughts to my attention today, it doesn't mean I have a quick solution either. It's obviously come to my attention for a reason, so I need to think on it and pray on it.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
This verse brings me such peace. Every time I read this verse a sense of calmness literally washes over me. He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High... let's start with the first part of the verse. The shelter of the Most High is available to anyone who wants it and asks for it. In this case, to me, the shelter is talking about their overall-ness of life (If that makes sense). Our family is under the care of God. Period. Andy and I have submitted to God's Will and allowed him to be the Master of our family. He is our shelter, our protector, an ever-present help in trouble. So yes, we are dwelling in the shelter of the Most High.
The result of where we dwell is a biggie to me. Rest. No really, for a busy Mom, rest is a big deal. I never get enough rest. Even my sleep at night is with one ear open so I can hear if a child needs my attention. As a result, it's been a long time since I've physically felt like I've had a real rest. I am certainly used to that by now, and I welcome the feeling because it means I ma a busy mom, and I wouldn't have it any other way. But this verse promises rest! And not just a good night of sleep, "rest in the shadow of The Almighty." When we are weary and tired we can rely on His Protection, we can rest, knowing that he is taking care of our needs and will watch over our family and our children.
Think of a hot summer day, and you find a large sprawling tree with plenty of shade. You've been walking for a long time, and the tree is so inviting and looks like a great place to rest. So you lean against it's trunk in it's shadow, sheltering from the blazing sun, and giving your tired feet a rest. That's a peaceful moment, a time of great joy. That's how it feels in the shadow of The Almighty. Only this shadow not only shelters you from the heat, and gives you a soft place to rest, it also protects you from other elements and wraps it's loving arms around you in a state of eternal protection. That is a powerful image, and a peaceful image. When your day is long and tough and you just don't think you can make it another hour, you can thank God for his shelter and step inside. He will give you what you need to make it a little longer, and he will give you rest when you need it most.
What a Great God we truly have.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
This is a great reminder for me when we are busy. It's also a great reminder when the unexpected comes up. We're finally enjoying the fact that Andy is back to work. We've been taking care of the things that have needed taking care of- clothing, eye exams, etc. We're still not at the point of setting aside for next winter, but that is just around the corner, and I'm glad we have the time to prepare this year, and we have a better idea what to prepare for. But it's remarkable how quickly I find myself back into the rut with money. Andy works a few less hours a week and I think about those lost wages. Shame on me.
Andy was just informed that he'll be having the whole week of the 4th off. Now, I admit, my very first thought was for the money side of it. A week without pay is a big deal. But then I am reminded that it is only one week. And once I let myself think about it, and think about this verse today, it occurs to me that Andy must need a week off to recharge. He's really been working long hours and spending a lot of time on the job. The kids miss him when he's not around, and this will be an opportunity for him to spend quality time with them. So we're now taking advantage and going camping for the week. Andy's going to get some much needed time with God and Family, and what could be better than that? Yes, on paper we will miss the week's worth of income, but it will all be okay, and shortly after the 4th the big savings plan will kick into high gear and we'll start preparing for winter. I'm looking forward to the challenge.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Another area the Bible talks about salt is here in Colossians. I know I've written before about guarding what we say, and I probably used this very verse to discuss grace. But today I want to focus on the part that says our conversation should be seasoned with salt. I think to better understand what is being said we should read it in context with the verse before it.
"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." Colossians 4:5-6
Seasoned with salt. How do we let our conversation be seasoned with salt? Remember what we talked about yesterday? How we compared the salt to flavor, enhancement, and excitement. That is how our conversations should be. Think about it. A neighbor asks about the group of people you have over every week. One answer could be "yeah, they're just some friends... we have a standing date to get together every week." That doesn't sound very exciting. We could also say "Yes! That's our small group that gets together every week to spend time together and share concerns and pray for each other and see what the Bible has to say to us that week." That sounds a little better, especially followed by "You should come over one of these weeks, bring your kids- they'll have a good time."
How we present God can make a difference. We need to have flavor in our speech, and we need it to be a good flavor. If you have a complaint about something at church, the absolute last place to complain about church is with the unsaved people that you've been trying to witness to. Guard your tongues carefully when engaged in speaking with an unbeliever. Say a quick prayer to the Holy Spirit to flavor your speech with salt, so that God can be presented in the best manner- as many great chefs will tell you, it's all in the presentation. It's the presentation that draws them in, and then it's the great flavor enhanced by the salt that keeps them there and captures their heart.
Monday, June 18, 2007
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men." Matthew 5:13
Yesterday during our sermon at church, our Pastor used Matthew 5:13 as part of his message. Of course, I picked up on it right away, and it stuck with me. In fact, may take a few days to talk about salt and what the Bible has to say about it. Being a foodie, I know all about salt and its many properties- but the most important part of salt is that it adds flavor. Salt enhances the flavor of everything you add it to. Salt can perk up the flavor of most everything- even sweets are better with a touch of salt. And according to Matthew 5:13 we are the salt of the earth. All of us- each person is meant to "flavor" the earth. Without us, the world is boring and bland and tasteless, but God created us to be the salt of the earth. Essential, important, and good for absolutely everything. We enhance this earth that God created.
I don't mind being salt. :-) I cook with salt, and I do use it in everything. One thing that the verse in Matthew mentions is about salt losing its flavor. I have to say, I have never had salt lose its flavor, but I imagine that if it were exposed to enough moisture, the flavor could be leeched out and diminished, and that renders the salt useless. So to, should we be careful about what we are exposing ourselves to. The wrong atmosphere and the wrong influence can rob us of our flavor, and look at what this verse says we are good for! Nothing! We are fit to be tossed on the street and trampled.
I like the idea of being salt. I like the idea that we were created as an enhancement. The salt of the earth, the most basic element. It may be a bit of a humbling thought, that we could be as simple as salt, but to me it's ideal, I like the thought of being flavor. I pray that I will never lose my flavor, and that I will be used in the best application. Just as I would never use a good fleur de sel in a basic baking application, I would hate to have my talents wasted in a less than ideal situation. Every salt has a different application, but while the purpose is the same- to add flavor, the application for each salt is different. You wouldn't use a smoked salt in a strawberry pie, but it sure would add to a fillet of fish.
Friday, June 15, 2007
"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe," Hebrews 12:28
I have been running around a lot lately. We've been busy, and my van is getting a bit of a workout. Yesterday Zander and I hopped into the van to run to the store and discovered a flat tire. I was so grateful for the timing! Earlier in the day we'd gone to the strawberry patch with my sister in law and niece. It would have been horrible to be stuck several miles from home in the hot blazing son. It also would have been horrible to have that tire go flat during one of the many excursions with the kids last week- and we didn't have the time to have the tire repaired.
Instead, the tire flattened when I didn't really need the van. Zander and I were able to walk to the store together and get what we needed. Andy has off work today so he can do what he can to get the van to our mechanic. The timing just couldn't have been better, and I am so thankful for that!
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Well, I'm hardly an older woman. And my sister in law is hardly from a different generation. Nevertheless, I'm a little excited about today's activities. Today I am going to teach my sister in law the fine art of jam-making. I love making jam. It's one of those activities that continuously rewards you all year long with the taste of summer. Picking the strawberries and making jam also happens to be another way I honor God with my hands, and I'm thrilled to be able to share that with someone else as well.
"She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks." Proverbs 31:16-17
As with many things, it also sets a wonderful example for my daughter. She is excited about today's activities as well, and has already asked me at the age of six to teach her how to make jam. I'm looking forward to that as well.This also happens to be a way to prepare for what lies ahead. It's a way to wisely spend a few of my husband's income now to get food in the pantry for later on. We have no idea when he could be laid off again, and this is just one way the Lord has blessed me in provision. By being able to make jam, come January with no paycheck, a simple stack of pancakes topped with strawberry jam can be a decadent meal. I am so thankful to be able to prepare for what may come. And if it doesn't come, then I have a pantry full of jam to share with family, friends, neighbors, and those who need it.
"In all labor there is profit, but idle chatter leads only to poverty." Proverbs 14:23
"I love you, LORD, my strength." Psalm 18:1
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4
Do you know what the desires of your heart are? I bet you think you do. I used to think I did too. The desires of my heart used to revolve around comfort. I wanted a house, I wanted financial security, and I wanted more stuff. I wanted my children to be happy above all, and I wanted to be able to provide them with their happiness. But allowing myself to really examine the desires of my heart over the last year or so, I've discovered that those desires are not real. Those were superficial desires, and I want so much more. I do still want my children to be happy, but more importantly, I want them to feel secure. I want them to know how much their father and I love them, and that we'll care for them, no matter what. And that we will take care of all their needs with help from God. And while I guess I do still want a house, I just want to be happy with my home, and right now I am. As to the financial security, part of me does want to not worry about money. But not in a sense that is beneficial to me. I want to be able to give. I want to be able to support missionaries out of our pocket, and I want to be able to provide when there is a need at church. Part of me wants to be able to sponsor a whole village in an undeveloped country, help get food ans supplies to them, that kind of thing.
I guess the whole point of today's rambling is that we don't always know the desires of our heart. We may think we do, but God is the one who truly knows what we want. He knows what is in our hearts and he is a Great God who wants to provide us with those desires. He wants us to delight in his presence, sing for joy, and simply ask him for those desires. By simply asking for the desires of your heart, he will provide. But the desires he provides may not be what you think they should be at the time. (If that makes any sense.) But be assured, they will be the desires of your heart through and through. He is a loving and kind God, who wants us to be happy.
"He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me." Psalm 144:2
"O my Strength, I sing praise to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God." Psalm 59:17
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
I truly hope I always feel the way I feel right now. I am so open to new ideas and instruction. It can be incredibly rewarding to learn something new. Often times I hear about people talking about going back to school to learn something. And while that is certainly an option, I'm more or less talking about the practical learning. I am constantly learning when it comes to my children, and to cooking, and to working in the yard. Just yesterday I learned that when you plant a tomato plant in the dirt, you can cover half of it's stem and leaves to make the plant more sturdy and able to withstand high winds. I never knew that! I just assumed that if there were leaves, they needed to be exposed to sun.
Yesterday I also learned how much my son loves cherries. Last year he didn't want to eat them because they were too much work to remove the stem. Yesterday I bought some cherries, and my son could not stop eating them and spitting out the pits. His face was bright red from cherry juice before he stopped stuffing himself. I am also constantly reminded how much my children value time with me. :-) Last night before bedtime, they both came up to me smiling asking if we could play a game together. Fifteen precious minutes left in their day, and we spent it playing a silly board game together.
I can't imagine what life would be like if I wasn't open to learning new things. I am constantly learning about the person God wants me to be, and realizing that I can do more if I just try. I thank God for the desire to learn! Whether it be learning something from a book or learning something by doing. I pray that I am always willing to learn, and always open to new ideas and new suggestions.
Monday, June 11, 2007
This drives me batty to no end. They are new pants to me, I ordered them from a catalog that I usually do, but the button is on the wrong side. Since I didn't realize this before I washed them and hung them up, I can't return the pants. So I have two choices. One, I can get rid of them. The button is on the wrong side and is really presenting a challenge to me all day long. Or Two, I can get used to it and adjust, they are cute pants, I do like them, and they certainly weren't free, so getting rid of them would be wasteful- but then there's that darn button! Every time I use the bathroom I have to stop and think and really concentrate to get that button fastened.
"The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person." 1 Samuel 10:6
Change can be a good thing, according to the Bible. It may not be as simple as changing mindset about a pair of pants, but a change in mindset can be necessary to accomplish God's work.
"And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3
"Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—" 1 Corinthians 15:51
I'm afraid it's not much of a secret that Andy and I have been a little "disgruntled" lately. We've really been conflicted as to whether or not we were at the church we should be. And this really bothered us. But we've realized that the things that we may want to see changed can't be changed overnight. And maybe they aren't meant to be changed, but in the meantime, we can pray and ask God to change our minds, and he has. Quite effectively, I might add. We have decided that we are where we should be, and while we may not agree with a lot of things, we can keep those disagreements to ourselves. Our role is not to spread discourse, but to prepare for something great. We've actually gotten a little more involved instead of backing away. And it's amazing how change can affect other change.
This week Zander went to Sunday School class. For some people, that may not be significant, but Zander has never been interested in class. Up to now, I have been perfectly content with him sitting with me at church. In fact, I welcome it, because it does teach him how to behave in a public setting. He knows that when at church sitting that he is to be as silent as possible, and it's been a good lesson for him. This summer though, they are doing a special fun program for the kids where they are all together, and Zander could go with his older sister to class. This past week he was at church with me helping decorate the classrooms for the kids, and I think he caught onto that excitement. I think that simply changing my attitude towards church has caught onto my kids, and he was very excited to go to class this week. Apparently he had a blast and wants to go again next week. That is huge!
Allowing God to change our kinds towards church has had a profound impact on our children, and for that we are certainly grateful. It's also had an impact on other ministries, and hopefully it will make a difference. Hopefully by us allowing change, we can show others that change is a great thing when it's done according to God's Will.
So what about those pants? I still don't know...but in the end, they're just pants.
Friday, June 08, 2007
Some days you just need to read a verse in the Bible that helps you along. Something to remind you that your crazy busy day is not going to be accomplished alone. The Lord IS my strength and as today is probably the busiest day this week for me, I can rely on him to help keep me going. To help keep me on the path moving from one task to the next, and not giving up halfway through my day. I thank God for this crazy busy day because the end results are going to be wonderful.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God." Psalm 90:2
Just think about that for a minute. Really. Before there was this earth, there was God. That's just one of those mind-boggling things to me.
"For a thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night." Psalm 90:4
And think about that one. A thousand years are to us are as one day to God. God is timeless. That is amazing to me. We live in a world today that runs by time. Even just thinking about my day ahead of me I wonder where I will find the time to fit everything in that needs to be fit in. Then again, how much of it really matters? Will it really matter if I don't get the laundry done today? Not really, but it will leave me more for tomorrow. Will it matter if I don't get to go grocery shopping? Not really, we have plenty of food in the house, we'll hardly starve if I don't go today. Some days it can be really easy to let time take over and control my day. I have to get this done, and this done, and then this too. And it's also very easy to let that take over and control everything- like my devotional time. It would be very easy to say that I don't have time for it, and I don't have time to blog about it. And I wholeheartedly confess that today was one of those days. But by golly, here I am blogging.
And with that, I do have a lot to do today, and I pray that God will help me use my time wisely. To his benefit, and to the benefit of my family, not for my benefit. May my time today be productive in his eyes.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Where to serve? This is a big question for some, and for many people it can be years before they figure out where they can give most. Fortunately for us, in the age of technology, there are tools to assist us in our search. Doing a Spiritual Gifts Assessment can help someone determine at least what type of ministry they should be involved in. Someone who is creeped out by sick people should not be serving in a hospital ministry, so a test can help identify better for someone where they can serve. So here is a link to a spiritual gifts assessment which I found to be spot on for me. I also had Andy do it, and he said it was accurate for him as well, so I feel comfortable sharing it here. There are many others, and if you feel this one isn't right for you, or you're looking for something more in-depth, do a simple Google search for Spiritual Gifts and you'll find several to choose from.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
I saw this verse today and it made me smile. Especially the second half. Always give yourself fully...it doesn't say give yourself sometimes, or give yourself halfway. It says always, and it says fully. I recently committed myself to the worship team at church. It was so hard for me to make this commitment! As a Mom, that means I'm not just committing myself, but my children as well. When I go to church for practice, they need to go to practice as well. They already accompany me when I do my cleaning, so to commit to worship practice time was a big deal for me. Part of the problem has always been the mid-week practice time. That's insanely hard for us to get to, as it's during the kids wind-down time at night, and it interferes with bedtime.
A few weeks ago though when I decided that the time was right for me to be a part of the worship team, it meant fully. It meant that I needed to commit to mid week practices and early Sunday morning- and not just when I feel like it. As hard as it's going to be some weeks, I will have to keep this verse in mind. It will be good to be reminded that my diligence is not in vain sometimes. "Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord." What a great verse to start off with today. I just love how God brings scripture to the forefront at the right time.
Monday, June 04, 2007
Everything we do is for God's Glory. Everything. Yesterday I stepped out of my comfort zone for the first time in a long time, and it was definitely for no other reason than to glorify God. When I return to thinking about the movie I shared last week, Facing The Giants, that was another important part of the movie. My husband was just talking about it yesterday, and one of the lines from the movie is "We win and we give God the glory. We lose and we give God the glory." Win or Lose. Succeed or Fail, we can praise God either way. And we should praise God either way, especially when we fail at something. We can thank God for the opportunity we had and also for the opportunity to share his love with our loss. Our God is such a great God, he deserves the glory no matter what the outcome is of our task at hand. He is our God, and we are his, and everything we do because of him can be used for his glory somehow. Sometimes it just takes a little reflection on our part to find the glory.
Friday, June 01, 2007
It seems I keep running into this verse.
Way back before I started this blog, and during my 40 Days of Purpose blog, I posted about feeling a prompting to play the drums for church. I used to play the drums for church during my teen years, and really haven't thought much about it until recently. Last summer something very unusual prompted me to think on it, and I decided that I needed to offer to play the drums at church. It took a very long time for everything to work out so that I could get to church and practice with the group, but I've been going and playing. Last night though, there was something "different" about practice that I couldn't quite put my finger on while at practice.
See, drums are something that get played by feel and sound. You do what sounds right at the time for that spot in the music, and I would literally hear something that I thought should be going on for a particular song and no way for me to do it because we lack the equipment. It was so weird I tell you! I kind of limped through practice I think because this was a really surreal experience- think along the lines of you have a drum and a stick in front of you and that's all. But what you clearly hear the song needs is a set of maracas. You clearly hear the maracas in your head. It totally threw me off. Then at the end of practice, our Pastor took over for the last song so I could hear how he does it, and the whole weird night sort of clicked for me.
I wasn't at the set anymore, I was sitting in the audience listening and paying attention, and once again I clearly heard something that wasn't there. Except that my hands weren't busy with the drum set at the time so I had the opportunity to reflect on what I was hearing and attempt to figure it out. And I think I did. I do think I made the right decision to offer to play the drums. Our Pastor is the drummer, and I am sure there are some weeks where he would just like to focus on the sermon and what-not, and not the drums. And that's what I'm there for- to give him a break. But I really, really think that God put me in the position to be on the Worship Team to ADD to it, not just replace someone on occasion. And all those weird things I was hearing in my head last night? Yep. I think I'm being led to do auxiliary percussion- something we don't have at church yet. Things like maracas, casaba, bongos, conga, wood block, etc. Every once in a while a singer will pick up a tambourine, but nothing consistent. And as soon as I thought of that it dawned on me that while I can play the drums- and I can keep a darn good beat and am consistent, it is not my forte. But the auxiliary stuff... that is truly where I always excelled. I swear the second it occurred to me what I was thinking last night it was as if I had a choir of angels in my head singing "aha!" like a bizarre light bulb moment.
So the point of Romans 12:2 today is that when you follow what you think is God's Will for you, sometimes His Will ends up being not quite what you think. Sometimes it is right on, but sometimes he leads you down a particular path to show you a different path further up ahead. And for the first time since I offered to play the drums I'm excited! I couldn't sleep last night because I wanted to build my kit, and I wanted to tell everyone what I am thinking! And this is the first I've mentioned it to anyone because I did want to sleep on it.
And when I think on it, I feel like I'm starting to get a little overwhelmed. It's like all the sudden all of my ducks are falling in line and one after another I'm figuring out what I am supposed to be doing in different areas of my life. I am so thankful to God for his promptings and for showing me His Path for me, I just pray that I am ready for what has been placed before me.