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Big Things * Little Things * First Things

I shared this message with the women of my church last night.  Thought I would share it this way as well.

Big Things *  Little Things * First Things

How many things do you have left to do before Christmas?

I have a mountain of things to get done.


During the holidays we are so busy that we fill our time with:
•    Shopping
•    Baking
•    Cleaning
•    Work
•    Wrapping
•    Decorating
•    Holiday Parties to attend
•    Expectations
•    Traditions

These things are numerous and take up most of our time, if we are not careful we allow people around us to add more and more to our To Do List.

Oh but wait, what about the things God commanded us to do?
•    Personal relationship with Jesus
•    Loving our neighbor
•    Prayer time
•    Taking care of “the least of these”
•    Family time
•    Date night

I can’t fit it all in.  No matter how hard I push, shove, or rearrange; the big stuff won’t fit.  These big things represent the important things in my life.  The things I want to focus on.  Eternal things.

What if I pick and choose what I make a priority in my life?  Could I fit it all in then?

•    Personal relationship with Jesus
•    Loving our neighbor
•    Prayer time
•    Taking care of “the least of these”
•    Family time
•    Date night

And if I then fill in the remaining time with the busy-ness of the holidays:
•    Shopping
•    Baking
•    Cleaning
•    Work
•    Wrapping
•    Decorating
•    Holiday Parties to attend
•    Expectations
•    Traditions


Wow, now it all fits!  And probably my favorite part is that now I have balance and I have Kept Jesus first in my life this Christmas.  

JOY
Keeping Jesus first in your life also helps you to maintain joy. In Nehemiah 8:10 we read “the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  We all need more strength at Christmas time.  But we can’t have true joy with out first seeking it’s author.  Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit, who gives us Joy.  If you are seeking Joy in your life this Christmas then a personal relationship with Jesus is the place to start.  Developing a relationship with Jesus has to be intentional.  Jeremiah 29:13 says “you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart”.

Your first priority this Christmas should not be to get the perfect Christmas photo or to buy the best gift.  Your first priority should be drawing closer to the One whose birth we are celebrating.  Don’t miss Jesus this year as the residents of Bethlehem did all those years ago.  There wasn’t room in the inn.  Is there room in your heart?


THE GIFT
God gave us the ultimate gift that first Christmas.  Romans 6:23 says “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  The birth of his Son, Jesus Christ.  

God sent his son to earth in the form of a baby.  That baby changed the world, he caught the attention of Kings, Wise men, shepherds and angels.   But Jesus did not remain a baby.  He grew into a man.  A perfect, sinless man.  His perfection was to pay for our sins.  When he died on the cross he was giving us his perfect gift.  Redemption.  He paid the price for our sins so that we could have a personal relationship with God.  

Have you stopped this Christmas season to say thank you to God for the gift of forgiveness paid for through the blood of his Son, Jesus Christ?  Have you accepted that gift?  

John 3:16-17 tells us “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

Sisters, that means YOU and me.  God loves us so much that he sacrificed his son to have a relationship with you and me.  You are worth every drop of blood.  God is calling out to you, waiting for you to accept His gift.



Who loves you???

"I never doubted for a moment that Jesus loved that profoundly retarded little boy.  It didn’t matter that he would never sit with the kids in the back of the church and on a certain special night walk down the aisle, take the pastor by the hand, and invite Jesus into his heart.  It was entirely irrelevant that he could not quote a single verse of Scripture, that he would never go to high school, or that he would never be a dad.  I knew that Jesus loved Mason.

What I could not comprehend, what I could not accept, was that Jesus could love Mason’s mother, Anabel.  You see, I believed that in order for a person to accept me, to love me, I had to perform for him. My standard for getting love was performance-based, so I “performed” constantly, perfectly. In fact, I did not allow anyone to see me when I was not performing perfectly. I never had any close friends because I was convinced that if a person ever really got to know me, he wouldn’t like me.

Mace could never have performed for his parent’s love, or for anyone’s love, but oh, how they loved him.  His condition deteriorated to such a degree-and so rapidly-that they had to place him in an institution when he was very young. His parents enrolled him in the Enid State School for Mentally Handicapped Children. They drove regularly 120 miles to see him but occasionally also brought him home for a visit. 

On one particular visit, Mace had been with them since Thursday evening. On the following Saturday afternoon God painted a vivid picture of His great love for Anabel through Mason. She was standing at the kitchen sink, dreading what lay ahead. In just a few moments, she would be gathering Mace’s things together and taking him back to “his house.” She had done this many times before-and it was never easy-but today God had something in mind that would change her life forever.

“I stood up to the sink again,” she continued. “More dishes, more washing, more crying – and thoughts, foreign to my way of thinking, began filtering into my conscious awareness.  I believe God spoke to me that day, and this is what He said: “Anabel, you don’t look at your son and turn away in disgust because he’s sitting there with saliva drooling out of mouth; you don’t shake your head, repulsed because he has dinner all over his shirt or because he’s sitting in a dirty, smelly diaper when he ought to be able to take care of himself. Anabel, you don’t reject Mason because all of the dreams you had for him have been destroyed. You don’t reject him because he doesn’t perform for you. You love him, Anabel, just because he is yours. Mason doesn’t willfully reject your love, but you willfully reject Mine. I love you, Anabel, not because you’re neat or attractive, or because you do things well, not because you perform for Me but just because you’re Mine.”

And friend, that’s exactly how God feels about you.  He loves you just because you’re His."


Friend - You are loved, you are not alone, you are not too bad, nor done too much.  God knows you and loves you today, right now, exactly as you are!  Don't wait one more minute or until you have fixed that one thing.  Do it now!  Accept the love that God has for you and is waiting to pour out on you.

Then share it with me, I would love to hear about it!





Copied from a Girlfriends in God Devotional - www.girlfriendsingod.com

Right Hand




Lately I have felt isolated and alone.  Like not a single person on the planet even knows I exist or that I have feelings.  -  Well you know, not really that bad, but pretty close.  I know that the enemy loves to use isolation to tear me down, make me question everything and doubt all the good things God has to say about me.  And it is my button, the quickest way to discourage me and make me want to withdraw.

So what did I find in my inbox this morning?  A devo about how we are unable to Hide from God.  It was exactly what I needed today.  Thank you Girlfriends in God for always bringing me exactly what I need to hear.

Anyway,  This verse was part of the devo today:

"Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast" (Psalm 139: 7-10, NIV).


I know all that.  I do.  I get it, I appreciate it and I needed to hear it today.  But what struck me today was the last sentence.  "Your right hand will hold me fast."  Right hand?  What is the significance of the psalmist specifying which hand God is guiding me with?

God loves to startle me.  Right that minute - at the point of my ADD kicking in and me gettlng lost from the devo and wondering about why the right hand was singled out - I had clarity.  Clarity that I am important to God.  In fact, so important that He is using his Right Hand to guide me.  There is a lot of symbolism there for me.  I am not a theologist, but what I got is that I am important to God.  When we use our Right Hand to do something we are giving it priority of our attention.  We are giving it full control - cause if we used our left hand we would be limited - we are taking control. 

God is using His right hand to guide me because I am important to Him.  

My hurt is important to Him.  

My joy is important to him.  

Not only that, but by using His Right Hand to guide me, He has placed me between Himself and Jesus who is seated on His right side.


After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. (Mark 16:19, NIV)


What better protection and guidance could I want? 

I often feel that I don't matter, that I am not important enough for God to be bothered with.  Today - God showed me the lie that enemy has been using to tear me down.  He showed me that I am so important that He puts his Right Hand out to guide me.

I am humbled.  I am loved. 
 


PRAY!

We are fighting for our family.  Please PRAY for us today and this week.

Waiting

I get up early in the morning when the house is quiet. I need some time to think, time to pray and time to read my Bible.

Each morning my cat, Tiger, is waiting on me anxiously. She sits on the end of the couch watching my bedroom door waiting for me to come out. She starts "talking" to me immediately, she has so much to say. Once I get my coffee and sit down, she gets quiet and starts loving on me and letting me love on her. This is very unusual behavior for this cat, she is normally a leave me alone, don't look at me, don't touch me cat. But she likes our quiet mornings together.

When I don't get up and have quiet time with Tiger, she is very put out. She sulks and eyes me, even comes near me so she can just turn away and snub me. She is letting me know that she is upset with me because I didn't show up when she was waiting on me.

This morning as I was listening to Tiger meow at me (I think she was mad about something) I wondered does God wait for us anxiously? Does He sit there waiting for us to come away from the hustle and bustle of our lives and join Him for a few minutes of quiet conversation? Does He longs for us to love on Him? Does He long to be able to love on us in a quiet setting?

I am positive that He does. Because when I show up, He is always there at the ready with a comforting thought or answer to my prayers. He is always waiting to show me how much He loves me. I just have to make myself available and quiet enough to hear.


Today I realized that sleeping in is not nearly as great as getting to spend some one on one time with my Savior who loves me no matter what!

I wonder how God feels when we don't show up?

I am good.

Gonna start this New Year off right!

No more listening to people tell me I can't or that I am not good enough or that I don't have enough time. I am going to do the things God wants me to do. I am positive that time will multiple and my abilities will appear magically. I know that I cannot do any of the things on the horizon on my own. But I do know that God can use me to accomplish His goals.

For several years I have been hearing people tell me that I need to be different. That I need to be more or less. It has almost killed me. Recently a pastor friend of mine told me that the only person I have to look to for approval of who I am is Jesus. This simple truth has been so enlightening to me.

1 Timothy 4:4 Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks.

God made ME. He knew all my faults ahead of time and He still loves me. I am as God has made me. I am loved by Him. I should not allow anyone other than God to define who I am and who I need to be.

WOW! Would this have been so obvious to me before all the gnashing of teeth and attempt to change who I am? Probably not - cause I am thick headed.

Today I am FREE and I am loved! That is an amazing feeling for this person who has been kicking her own hiney for the past 40 years!

Happy New Year!

Tags:

Exposing my soul.......

How many times am I going to have to hear it before I do it?

How many times am I going to have to hear it before I believe it?

How many times am I going to have to hear it before I trust it?

How many times am I going to have to hear it before I understand it?


Through all the turmoil in my life over the last several months all I hear is "Focus on God".

Every book I am reading says "Focus on God".

Every bible study I do says "Focus on God".

Every scripture I read says "Focus on God".

Every song I hear says "Focus on God".

Every time I pray, I hear "Focus on ME".


I was at the point of screaming. How can I focus on God and resolve all these problems. You see I have a tendency to want to resolve problems in my life, not ignore them. Pretty natural way to be, right?!? I thought so to until I realized that the problems were distracting me from God and from what I know God wants me to do with my life.

It has taken me a while but I have realized that I can't always fix my problems when other people are involved. Focusing on God in the midst of turmoil turns the problem over to Him. So books, bible studys, scriptures, songs and prayer were right on the money. If I give all my attention to GOD, there is nothing in me left to dwell on the problem. When I turn the problem over to God and let it go, it is no longer my problem and God is much better at working things out than I ever will be. When I focus on God nothing else seems to really matter. When I focus on God love will consume me and pour out from me, nothing can touch that!

I have learned a lot through these tumultuous times. I have learned that I can't fix everything. I have learned that changing who I am to please others is not the answer. I have learned that sometimes we have to go through things to help other people. I have learned that I can't withdraw from life.

I now know that Focusing on God puts my life in balance. It does not fix the problems, but it sure does make them seem insignificant. Focusing on God allows me to react to problems from a place of love. I am still human. I still get hurt, cry, and get weary. But God restores me and lifts me back up, He gives me strength to go on and not be defeated.

I am weary and tired. But I am focusing on God and strength seems to come when I need it most.

Yes, Virginia, we are CRAZY

Got a call from CPS.





That statement used to bring fear to our lives....

Since we finalized Matthew's adoption is does not have the same power over us.


That call from CPS was asking us to consider adopting W, Matthew's biological cousin. We said YES. So, we are crazy!



Please pray for us as we ask the questions, do the research and basically open our hearts and home to this child who needs to be loved and know that he has found his forever home.

We have NO details. We will share them as we know.

Please PRAY for us, for CPS and for W!

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Fake

The other day I was wanting a really good piece chocolate cake.  The kind that Bob makes.  Nothing else is ever as good.  But, Bob was busy, crazy busy.  He didn't have time to make one.  So I went to the store and bought one.  

It was a Pepperidge Farm triple chocolate something.  I figured that should do it.  Anticipated it all the way home, couldn't wait to finally have that craving satisfied.  That first bite..............

Oh man, YUCK.  It was like a sponge.  Squishy soft and no flavor.  Total Disappointment.  I took another bite or two and ended up throwing it away.  Still longing for a really good piece of chocolate cake.  The FAKE cake just didn't cut the mustard.


It dawned on me that sometimes our relationship with God is like that.  We want a close, intimate relationship with Him.  But we are busy and have too many other things pulling at us.  So we put God on the back burner and go about our lives.  Sometimes the longing gets so strong that we go to church, or read a chapter in our Bible;  maybe even say a prayer.  We think that the little effort we put out will satisfy that longing.  But it does not.  

God designed us to want Him.  He is calling us to him everyday.  That yearning you feel for something more in your life is God calling to you, begging you to make time for Him.  He wants to be the thing in your life that you always make time for.  Just a quick prayer or attending a church service s never going to be enough.

What are you longing for?

What are you doing to satisfy that longing?


I learned that God can see through fake, that He wants a real relationship with me.  That just faking it because I am busy is not going to cut the mustard.

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