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God’s Glory in Change

The trees are stretching their branches one last time before autumn’s breeze turns their leaves to shades of gold and carries them away. Sprinklers and Tiki torches are soon to be retired and replaced by rakes and mountainous piles of leaves climbed by little feet. The excitement and anticipation of change is in the air!

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Change, it can not come fast enough for some. For others, it is terrifying. How do you react to change? Do you seek it or run from it? Most of us would admit that we all have areas in our life that we know need to change, but we simply do not know how to pursue it.

The daily demands made upon mothers are enough to exhaust our minds and bodies, so how can we make room for change? We look at and admire people who have found the grace and strength to make the necessary changes to accomplish their God planted purposes, goals, and dreams. We hear the whisper of our own hearts as the Holy Spirit quickens us.

For some, it could be a simple as learning how to spend more quality time with their children. For others, it might be getting their house organized. Whether the goal be physical, like running a 5K or losing 15 pounds, or spiritual, like practicing the presence of God or developing a consistent prayer life. Each goal and each purpose is precious in God’s sight.

The two common threads in people that accomplish great things through change in this world are as follows:

1. They never give up or stop dreaming and imagining. Isn’t is interesting that Jesus said you must become like a little child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Little children are always dreaming and imaging that they will do great things in their life.

Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2)

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again,
(Proverbs 24:16a)

You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)

2. They firmly believe they will succeed.
If the Lord indeed planted these dreams in your heart, then you can rest assured; He is faithful and true to lead you into successful change and victory.

For as a man thinks within himself, so he is. (Proverbs 23:7a)

For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” (Romans 10:11 NASB)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body And refreshment to your bones. (Proverbs 3:5-8)

The mind of man plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

Be encouraged! Don’t give up! Hold on to your dreams during the seasons of change. Understand, just as the glory of the Lord is present when summer turns to autumn, He has you in His loving embrace as you seek change for His glory.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
(Romans 8:28)

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The Small Things

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My family has been spending some time relaxing and unwinding at my parent’s lake house. We are so thankful to God for this delightful little cabin in the woods. The first thing everyone notices when they come to this special place is the beauty and grandeur of the scenery. The cabin overlooks beautiful Ft. Gibson Lake. The sunsets are breathtaking. The starry night sky is like an ocean of diamonds. The sounds of nature and soft gentle breezes carry all of one’s burdens away. It is easy to be still here and know that God is God.

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In our homeschooling, we have always enjoyed studying God’s creation on a grand scale. The roaring oceans, the expanding universe, the majestic mountains, these all give testimony to how very BIG our God is. Recently, however, we have been studying God’s Creation on a smaller scale in Chemistry and Physics. I am particularly amazed at God’s creative design of the atom. Isn’t it amazing that our God can create something so small, yet so very important? I believe it is safe to say that the inexpressible ‘smallness’ of God’s creation is just as amazing as the untellable ‘largeness’ of His creation.

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On this trip to our cabin, I have found myself noticing God’s glory in the small things: the delicate way the sunlight shines on a single flower petal, the giggle of a child as he plays in the mud, the strength of a single ant as he carries away a crumb that dropped from my sandwich.

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Seeing God’s Glory in the small things of creation has challenged me to invite Him into the small things of my own life. I think about Brother Lawrence, his life’s story, and his relationship with the Lord. It provokes me to jealousy. The key to His intimate relationship with the Lord was that he surrendered every part of his life to Him, no matter how small or large. He would even wash dishes with such an utter devotion to the Lord that the people around him would experience the glory and holiness of that moment.

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He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.” (Matthew 13:33 NASB)

Yes, it takes time and effort to knead yeast into flour. Even still, once the yeast is kneaded, it takes more time for the dough to rise. I find it interesting that fermentation actually causes matter to break down into a simpler form. To me, the flour is a picture of my life and the leaven is Christ. The Father skillfully kneads my life until even the smallest parts are filled with His Son. It is as if the Lord is breaking me down and causing every part of me, large and small, to know the simplicity of Christ.

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Many homeschooling mothers do not understand the value and importance of their purpose and calling. Small things like laundry, reading lessons, mathematics, and grocery shopping can be holy, intimate moments spent for God’s glory. The parable above shows us that God wants to fill every detail of our lives with His Presence. If the Glory of the Lord can fill even the smallest atom, then how much more the smallest details of our lives?


The Way of Agape

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Valentine’s Day is upon us once again. I have found myself mediating on the love of our Lord. I learned something about that love this week. Did you know that the foundation of fear is rooted in insecurity and inferiority? Think of it; in the garden, Satan deceived Eve by causing her to doubt that she was secure in God’s love and to doubt her value (who she was in Christ). This opened the door to fear, sin, and separation from God Almighty. I have resolved to renew my mind and the minds of my children to the secure love of God and their value of who they are in Christ. When a revelation of these truths come (faith comes by hearing), God’s perfect love will cast out all fear and cause the roots of insecurity and inferiority to wither up and die. I am reading a book called The Way of Agape, by Chuck and Nancy Missler. In the back of the book, they listed several scriptures that tell of God’s love for us and who we are in Christ. I have made a simple mp3 recording of these scriptures. If you would like for me to email the file to you, just let me know your email and it is yours. Share it with your children this Valentine’s Day and spread the Word!


Seeing Spots

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Ah, the stories of Jacob’s life. What a life indeed! His life is full of strife and wonder, even from his mother’s womb. One could reflect a lifetime on the lessons to be learned from his various adventures: deception and lies to gain his brother’s birthright, visions of a ladder to heaven, wrestling with the angel of the Lord (pre-incarnate Jesus), romance, heartbreak, and so much more.

The chapter of Jacob’s life I want to focus on is the story Laban, his devious father-in-law, and the spotted/speckled sheep. Laban knew that Jacob was blessed by God; he was bound and determined to benefit from Jacob’s blessings. He took advantage of Jacob time after time. To be blunt, Laban was a crook. I love this story because Laban finally gets what he deserves. Despite his best efforts to rob Jacob yet again, Laban comes up empty handed. Believe it or not, another reason I like this story is because it is a perfect example of how to be transformed into the image of God.

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[Gen 30:25-43]:

(v. 25) “After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, ‘Send me on my way so I can go back to my own homeland.

(v. 26) Give me my wives and children, for whom I have served you, and I will be on my way. You know how much work I’ve done for you.’

(v. 27) But Laban said to him, ‘If I have found favor in your eyes, please stay. I have learned by divination that the LORD has blessed me because of you.’

(v. 28) He added, ‘Name your wages, and I will pay them.’

(v. 29) Jacob said to him, ‘You know how I have worked for you and how your livestock has fared under my care.

(v. 30) The little you had before I came has increased greatly, and the LORD has blessed you wherever I have been. But now, when may I do something for my own household?’

(v. 31) ‘What shall I give you?’ he asked. ‘Don’t give me anything,’ Jacob replied. ‘But if you will do this one thing for me, I will go on tending your flocks and watching over them:

(v. 32) Let me go through all your flocks today and remove from them every speckled or spotted sheep, every dark-colored lamb and every spotted or speckled goat. They will be my wages.

(v. 33) And my honesty will testify for me in the future, whenever you check on the wages you have paid me. Any goat in my possession that is not speckled or spotted, or any lamb that is not dark-colored, will be considered stolen.’

(v. 34) ‘Agreed,’ said Laban. ‘Let it be as you have said.’

(v. 35) That same day he removed all the male goats that were streaked or spotted, and all the speckled or spotted female goats (all that had white on them) and all the dark-colored lambs, and he placed them in the care of his sons.

(v. 36) Then he put a three-day journey between himself and Jacob, while Jacob continued to tend the rest of Laban’s flocks.

(v. 37) Jacob, however, took fresh-cut branches from poplar, almond and plane trees and made white stripes on them by peeling the bark and exposing the white inner wood of the branches.

(v. 38) Then he placed the peeled branches in all the watering troughs, so that they would be directly in front of the flocks when they came to drink. When the flocks were in heat and came to drink,

(v. 39) they mated in front of the branches. And they bore young that were streaked or speckled or spotted.

(v. 40) Jacob set apart the young of the flock by themselves, but made the rest face the streaked and dark-colored animals that belonged to Laban. Thus he made separate flocks for himself and did not put them with Laban’s animals.

(v. 41) Whenever the stronger females were in heat, Jacob would place the branches in the troughs in front of the animals so they would mate near the branches,

(v. 42) but if the animals were weak, he would not place them there. So the weak animals went to Laban and the strong ones to Jacob.

(v. 43) In this way the man grew exceedingly prosperous and came to own large flocks, and maidservants and menservants, and camels and donkeys.”

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It took a long time for me to understand the meaning of this story. However, I had an ah-ha moment this week. My husband found some beaver branches that he peeled and sanded down to make walking sticks. They had spots and speckles on them; it’s the nature of the underlying wood. I learned that when Jacob placed the peeled branches in front of the watering troughs, he was causing the sheep to see speckles and spots. Here is the formula, for you type ‘A’ people like me: See speckles and spots= conceive speckles and spots. Every time those sheep would drink, which was often, they would continually see speckles and spots. As a result, when they mated before the troughs, they conceived speckled and spotted lambs. If that will work for a sheep, then it will definitely work for you and me.

My husband had a friend in high school that continually listened to music that involved drugs. Pink Floyd, Suicidal Tendencies, Dead Milkmen, Dead Kennedys, Misfits, Danzig etc., these are just a few examples of who he listened to. He put this music before his ears day after day, year after year. Not too long ago, we saw his face on the news. He was arrested for growing a sophisticated marijuana crop in his own back yard. It embarrassed and humiliated his family. Have you ever noticed that men who have committed sexual crimes, also have pornography addictions? These men become what they have put before their eyes. If this principle will work for evil, then how much more would it work for good?

My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. (Prov. 4:20-21)

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When Jesus began to teach again by the sea. And such a very large crowd gathered to Him that He got into a boat in the sea and sat down; and the whole crowd was by the sea on the land. And He was teaching them many things in parables, and was saying to them in His teaching, “Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow; as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” And He was saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” As soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables. And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables, so that WHILE SEEING, THEY MAY SEE AND NOT PERCEIVE, AND WHILE HEARING, THEY MAY HEAR AND NOT UNDERSTAND, OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT RETURN AND BE FORGIVEN.” And He *said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:1-20)

There are over forty-four verses in the New Testament that refer to God’s Word as seed. The Greek word for seed is sperma; this is where we get the English word sperm. Male or female, we all have spiritual wombs/gardens in our heart. When we put God’s Word before our eyes and meditate upon it day and night with great care and discipline, we too can produce abundant spotted and speckles lambs. I challenge you today, just as I have challenged myself, keep His Word before you day and night and keep His Words continually in your mouth.

Practical ideas for keeping the Word before our eyes and ears.

1. Audio Bible as you sleep
2. Worship music during the daily routine
3. Regular daily bible reading
4. Regular daily scripture confession-speaking God’s Word is powerful
5. Placing scripture around the house- above door frames, kitchen cabinets, bathroom mirrors
6. Triggers- make a habit of relating scripture to objects in your daily path. For example- every time you take a shower, thank the Lord that His blood cleanses us from all our sin. When you drink water, think of Jesus… Our living water. Have fun with it, trigger ideas can be endless. We just found out that a casino was being built near our home. Every time we drive by that location, that is my trigger to pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is on heaven- there are no casinos in heaven!
7. Audio sermons as you drive.

If you have a creative idea of how to keep God’s Word before your eyes and ears, please share!

Blessings!


Seasons of Change

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This morning, I opened my eyes to see that sometime in the night, a little visitor crawled in bed with me. Not feeling well, nothing comforts a child more than the presence of his mother. I look, the chubby, baby-like cheeks have long disappeared. He resembles his father more each day. My heart…. holding on to the days of his childhood, which pass by too quickly for me. Change can be beautiful and bitter sweet.

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Change is ever present in the seasons too. This has been the most beautiful fall I can remember in my 30 years of living in Oklahoma. The change has been gradual. The blistering heat of summer, so unbearable, made it seem that it would never end, but it did. This week, I found myself picking the last of the fruit and vegetables in my garden. We also pulled all the remaining plants and prepared the ground for winter’s rest. Autumn’s beauty will fade into winter and segue into another kind of beauty.

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As the seasons change, so does the decor in my home. I find pleasure in decorating. Candles in particular bring me so much joy. The warmth and beauty they add to my home create a simple pleasure. As the days grow colder, more time is spent inside and I want our home to be a warm, loving, and an inviting place for my family and friends to gather. This kind of change is like the Father’s love that draws us closer to Him.

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I have a message in my heart from the Lord to someone who is reading this post. You know who you are, I may never know…

Changes can be uncomfortable, even frightening because they take us out of our comfort zone into uncharted territory. Changes can also be a delight, a welcomed guest, because they bring with them the manifestation of answered prayers. Let your life prove your change of heart. Hope gives way to pure and undefiled faith. Our Father is faithful to His promises. Remember, with David, in one night, when all appeared lost and the promise of kingship seemed forgotten, this is when he became King of Israel. Hold fast and be certain that God’s Word will never return to Him void.

Amen


Focus- part 2

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I am the type of person who needs concrete, practical steps to take in my spiritual walk with God. I have been asking the Lord to reveal to me what my part is, so that I can actively keep my mind stayed upon Him.

Here is some practical application:

1. Know God’s Word! Find the time to read or listen to God’s Word daily, whether it is in your commute to work or on your lunch break. Most of my Bible intake is audio because that is how I learn best. There are many free sites and applications that offer the audio Word and written Word for free. Deception is eliminated when knowledge is present.

2. Did you know we are not always aware of our thoughts? They can hijack our mind and take it to ungodly places unaware. Ask God to search your heart. One way to to recognize this is when we lose our peace.

The Bible says to let the peace of God rule our heart. When that peace turns into fear or anxiety, look at it as a warning alarm letting you know you have wandered off track. It’s time to adjust your setting. Acknowledge and talk to the Lord about it. “Lord, I am losing my peace. In fact, I am anxious right now because I am thinking about my checkbook being in the red. I cast my care upon You. What does Your Word say about my checkbook?” The Lord may remind You that one of His Names is Provider. He may give you a creative idea on how to cut out unnecessary spending. He may give you a scripture verse. Whatever Word He gives you, meditate upon it and confess the scripture out loud until peace enters your heart again. This may have to be done several times in an hour.

3. Live in dependence upon the Holy Spirit; seek His strength in prayer (Matthew 26:41). The biblical definition of weakness is actually- dependent. An individual who is dependent upon the Lord is tremendously strong.

4. If you are well aware that you are being tempted to sin, analyze why you are tempted. Ask the Lord to help you figure out what the root of the sin is. What are your motives? Once you identify what motivates you to sin, pray about the underlying reason. For example, if you lose your temper, the Lord may show you that you like to be in control. When that position is threatened, you react like a cat cornered. Now you have something to pray about.

5. We are not to feed our minds with that which will promote sinful thoughts. We are to guard our hearts—what we allow into them and what we allow them to dwell on. Job 31:1 states, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman” Romans 13:14 states, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” Avoid periodicals, videos, websites, conversations and situations that will be a stumbling block.

6. We are to seek after God with our whole heart, substituting godly pursuits and mindsets for sinful thoughts or habits. This is the replacement principle. You cannot take darkness out of a room, the only way to get rid of it is to bring the light in.

7. Be careful who you surround yourself with. Do not keep company with people who complain and speak unbelief. Do not keep company with people who will tempt you to sin. We should use fellowship with other Christians the way God intended. Hebrews 10:24-25 states, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

I’m sure there are other practical ways to keep one’s mind focused on Christ, but these are a few ways to begin that journey. I look forward to journeying with you!


Focus

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But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God). (Galatians 5:16 AMP)

Lord, this is quite a promise! Do You really mean if I can learn to walk in the Spirit, I will not succumb to any of my flesh’s desires? I ask because my flesh seems to desire many ungodly things. I sure do hate to admit it, but it’s true.

Well, I know the Lord’s heart well enough to understand that He means what He says and He says what He means. Okay, it seems simple enough. I must learn to walk in the Spirit… until I ask myself the question, “How do I walk in the Spirit?” I cannot see the Spirit or even feel the Spirit, so how do I know if I am walking in the Spirit?

One of the great things I love about the Lord is that He says if we lack understanding, all we need to do is ask. So, I asked. This is what I learned…

Paul states in Romans 8:5 that where a person sets his mind will determine whether he walks “after the flesh” or “after the Spirit.” “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit” (Rom. 8:5 [NRSV]). Our thoughts set our course.

Other Scriptures that speak of setting the mind upon spiritual things are: Josh. 1:8; Ps. 1:2; 4:4; 19:14; 57:7; 63:6; 77:12; 104:34; 119:15, 99, 148; 143:5; Prov. 4:23; 23:7; Lk. 6:45; Rom. 8:6; 1 Cor. 2:16; Phil. 2:5; 1 Tim. 4:15; 1 Pet. 4:1

God’s Word, many times, is like a scavenger hunt. Once you discover the answer to one question, another question arises. We know now that to walk in the Spirit, we must set our minds on the things of the Spirit. So, how do we keep our minds from wandering? There are so many distractions!

I like this quote by Michael Cotright. “Just as you train a dog to sit and stay, you can train your mind to stay upon God and His Word. Sometimes you have to physically push the dog’s hind end to the ground at first and say: “sit.” Then you take a couple of steps back and point to the dog and say: “stay.” You do this over and over, day after day, until the dog learns to sit and stay at your command. A dog can learn to sit and stay for very long periods of time with proper training. A trained dog will sit and wait outside a store as his master shops. You can command your mind to stay in the same way. At first it will be quite a task. Your mind is used to wandering. When you train your mind to stay upon God and think His Word you must keep commanding it back to the Word when it wanders. Just like the dog, who at first will get back up and start to follow you, you take your mind back to the Word and tell it to stay put. The key is you must have something to focus on. You must put God’s Word in your mind when it wanders to other things. That means learning some scripture. Memorizing. Retaining. And that means learning to pray and stay focused on God.”

It’s no wonder why the Lord uses so many things we see, hear, taste, smell, and feel every day to remind us of His Word. The Lord likens Himself to seemingly ordinary things we encounter on a daily basis: water, food, light, animals, wind, shelter, etc. Perhaps He is trying to make a way for us to keep our mind stayed upon Him.

One other clue I was given was this particular scripture:

The Lord will keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him, because he trusts in Him. Isaiah 26:3

I never noticed this, but did you read that second part? It says, “Because he trusts in Him, he keeps his mind stayed on God.” That sounds like a person who has walked with God enough to knows he must look at the Lord every moment of every day if he is going to triumph. This is a person who the Lord has proven Himself strong to, and he naturally relies upon and trusts the Lord as he lives everyday life. See 2 Chronicles 16:9

Oh, my God, that I would be such a person.

I seek the Holy Spirit’s help in this. What lesson in life could possibly be more important than to learn how to keep our heart and mind focused on Him?


Spinning Many Plates

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“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:21

If you are reading this, I’m sure that you too would love to hear the Lord Jesus say those words to you some day. We are all stewards of something. With what has the Lord entrusted you?

I was talking to a dear friend, whom I much admire. I was telling her that I have a desire to be a better steward to the things the Lord has called me to. I shared that I feel a bit overwhelmed at times. This friend of mine is the Lord’s steward to many, many things. She said that when she feels overwhelmed, like her many spinning plates are all about to crash, she simply goes to a list she created. This list prioritizes the many people and jobs that the Lord has called her to in stewardship. She can glance at each line and see if she has been faithful in that area which the Master had assigned her to. If not, then she knows exactly who or what needs her attention. If so, she can rest assured that her many plates are still spinning:)

I immediately made a list of my own. I am very visual, so it has already been most helpful to me. Take a peek below; I hope it is a help to you:)

I am a Steward of…..

1. Myself- I am the Temple of the Holy Spirit. I am to hold my flesh into subjection and take care of myself physically, mentally, and spiritually that I would be well and able to do the Lord’s work.
– this includes spending a great deal of time in fellowship with the Lord through study, prayer, and worship
– this includes healthy living
– this includes making sure I enjoy everyday life
2. My husband- I am to be his partner, his helper, and a blessing to him all the days of my life. I am to love him.
3. My children- I am to care for them. I am to train them in the fear and admonition of the Lord. I am to love them.
-this includes homeschooling
4. My home-planning meals, doing chores, being a wise steward of finances, decorating, organizing, etc. My home is to be a safe place for my family… A place of wonderful memories. It is also to be a place where outsiders are welcomed in the spirit of hospitality.
4. My friends, extended family, and church family- I am to serve, encourage, teach, work with, enjoy, and love them.
– this includes making room for fellowship
– this includes nursing home visits
– this includes my girls in youth
-this includes the women’s ministry
-this includes my CHEER responsibilities
5. I am to always be ready, in and out of season, to serve and share Christ with those that do not know Him.


The Release

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Most didn’t even notice her. Many overlooked her purpose. She was not strong like the bowstring cable or beautifully curved like the back of the bow. Nevertheless, she was a valuable part of the mighty recurve. I am speaking of the quiver and this is her story.

The quiver was proudly fastened to her magnificent bow which was held in the archer’s strong hand. The archer appreciated her; he understood the purpose of the quiver. He was the one who formed and fashioned each and every part of the bow. In his hands, the recurve with its arrows, was a powerful weapon and an unstoppable force.

The archer knew the heart of his quiver. He knew she hoped that one day she would be full in number with unbent, accurate arrows, arrows that would fly free, purposefully hitting their target. She wanted to teach them and prepare them for the day of their release. The archer knew she would safely secure them until they were ready. All of this would happen one day, but today was not that day.

Not long thereafter, to the quiver’s great delight, the archer placed and secured five arrows, one by one, inside her. Now, with her quiver full, she held fast to each of her arrows. The quiver loved each one of her arrows dearly and arrows returned her love. They felt secure in her embrace. She held tight to each one because they were her greatest treasure. She shared her dream with the arrows and told them of the archers mighty hands. She taught them about their magnificent bow.

The arrows listened with excitement when she told them of the day that the bow would be drawn and they would be released with mighty speed and precision. “There will be nothing like it!” she explained, “You will cut through the air, covering a great distance and at a tremendous speed as you land on your precise target. This is your destiny, this is your purpose. You will be free. This will all happen one day, but today is not that day.”

Not long thereafter, a strong hand picked up the bow and reached for the first arrow. It was the archer’s hand. Excitement welled up inside the little arrow’s heart because he knew his day had come to be released. But much to his surprise, the quiver held him fast and would not let go. “Today is not that day.” she told her arrow. The quiver was afraid.

The archer was patient and understood the quiver’s fear. He waited for another day which quickly came to pass. When he reached to take the arrow, the quiver held even tighter.

The archer said, “Do not fear. Let them go and watch them fly. Release them into my mighty hand. My aim is flawless, my target before us. It is their destined purpose.” “I’m so sad to see them go; I love each and every one. What if they are not ready for their release?” she replied. The archer smiled and said, “You were my gift to those arrows. I gave you to them. I secured them to you because I knew you would show them the way. To love is to release and let go. Let go and see your arrows fly.”

The quiver knew that he spoke the truth. Hope began to rise up in her heart again. She knew that she would never be at peace until she released them one by one. She trusted the archer, for he was her creator. His aim was flawless and his target before them. Today was that day, the day her arrows would fly.

One by one, she let them go and watched with amazement as the archer released her arrows. Fear was replaced by faith. Happiness reigned instead of sorrow. Each arrow cut through the air with hairsplitting accuracy. The arrows were filled with rousing joy as they were released into their freedom and purpose, but no one was filled with more joy than the quiver. Even though her arrows were no longer fastened to her side, her heart would remain bound to them forever.


Beauty

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Do you remember how exciting and wonderful life seemed as a child? I grew up in the Windy City. Still to this day, the humming of trucks, the high pitch of squeaking breaks, the laughter of neighbors, and the honking of car horns comfort me (strange, I know). I even find delight in old, musty, run down “ma and pa” shops and the smell of exhaust. This was all beautiful to me as a child.
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My mother was a single mom and she worked two jobs while going to college to become an architect. We didn’t have much, but I never knew it. I spent a lot of time at my grandma’s and great-grandma’s apartment. Grandma Kay had magical toys. In reality, they were just old barbie dolls and a worn out plastic airplane, but in my eyes, they were priceless. I would be whisked away into the far away lands of my imagination for hours. When I would see my great-grandma, she would always let me take one gumdrop out of her crystal bowl; the red ones were my favorite. I would savor each single gumdrop. It felt like a drop of heaven was deposited into my mouth and it always filled my heart with joy.
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As a child, I had an appreciation and excitement for each and every day. I loved each moment of everyday life and found even the simplest of things beautiful. I was also very content with that which I had. I remember the feeling of complete rest and security in my mother’s arms. I didn’t have a care in he world if I was in her embrace. My faith in the words of those I trusted was flawless and pure, without an inkling of doubt.

I’m not sure what changed. As the years went by, I began to become blind to the beautiful things of everyday life. As a result, joy was more distant, as was a thankful heart. The cares of the world clouded the beauty before me and my heart was slowly hardened to the glory of the Lord that fills the earth.

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Doesn’t it stand to reason that Christians should be the happiest people on earth, full of peace and appreciation for all the gifts God has given? This hasn’t been the case in most of my adult life, but that has changed. I recently found myself praying a deep heart felt prayer…. “Lord, grant me childlike faith.” I cannot put into words what happened as a result of that prayer, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was granted to me. It was as if scales fell from my eyes and I began to see beauty everywhere.

When the grace of God opened my eyes to beauty, I found myself delighting in the slightest breeze, hearing the songbird, gazing upon various shapes in the clouds, laughing with my children, playing with kittens, and breathing in deeply the fresh outside air. I even started to take pictures again, something I used to be passionate about.

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My heart is beginning to take residence in the here and now instead of the yesterday and tomorrow. Even though Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, He also said, “Before Abraham was….. I Am!!!” Wow! Our God is the God of NOW. I choose to live in the beauty of the moment with Him. I choose to practice His presence. I open my eyes to His faithfulness in all that I do. This is true beauty, this is childlike faith.

“The beauty that is seen is partly in the one who sees it.” -Christian Bovee

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