Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lifting Him Up

Just wanted to share a worship song that I've been enjoying lately...
Enjoy your Sunday as you magnify Jesus.

a little weekend reading


Summer's here and I thought I'd get back into sharing some good reads on the weekends.  Here are some inspiring summer ideas, from what to do with the kids on those summer days to what to eat and drink.

1.  100 free things to do with your kids this summer from Digital Reflections.

2.  101 ways to embrace summer from Organizing Your Way.

3.  Here are some great ways to make a tastier glass of water on those hot and humid days from The Yummy Life. 

4.  This not so traditional fruit salad looks so yummy...gotta try it from Two Peas and Their Pod.  

5.  Sidewalk chalk is popular this time of year.  How about using it to jazz up your photos from Modern Parents Messy Kids.  

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Letting God Lead

Oh wouldn't life be so easy if everyone (ahem, husband and kids) just did exactly what we wanted them to do, exactly when we wanted it done?  Bliss.  But sadly this is not the case, and really, God doesn't intend for us to be the captain's of our own ships, overriding everyone's will so ours never has to go a-wanting.   But honestly, it can be a struggle for me to have projects piled up around the house because my husband is too busy being handy at everyone else's homes that he has no time to be handy in ours.  You know that old saying about the cobbler's children having no shoes?  I hate it when people say that to me like that's going to be some comfort when I'm aggravated about my house being a sight for sore eyes even though I have a very talented contractor husband.  Do you think I'll feel a comforting camaraderie with the wife of a shoemaking husband who's children run around bare-footed when it's not barefoot season?  Not.

Anyway, this is where I was a few days ago, looking around at all the undone to-dos, boxes of cabinets filling the front porch, tree stumps filling our tiny little back yard and feeling a bit overwhelmed.  Then when driving to a friend's house for a playdate, I was pulled over and received a $63 ticket for a brake light that's been out.  A brake light that my husband promised to fix.  Well the temptation to freak out was knocking hard on my door and more than a few "I told you so's" were on the tip of my tongue.  I was not happy.  

Well, the next morning I woke up early to have some quiet time and pray and I read this in a Joyce Meyer devotional that I have...  
Our day might seem better if everyone would just do what we tell them to do. But God doesn’t override people’s will, and we are not to do so either.  Instead of trying to control people, pray that they will “hear” God leading them.  If someone persists in doing something his or her own way today, show your confidence in God by stepping aside.  You may learn that you were wrong, or they may learn that you were right.  God is big enough to get both you and them out of any mess they make.  Either way, He will get the glory, if you put your trust in Him.

God was speaking right to me.  In my temptation to be angry with my husband and feel discouraged, God reminds me that it's Him who does the work in hearts, not me.  I love my husband and I'm thankful that he works so hard to take care of his family.  Oh how the very things that bring us blessing can be the very things, when looking through willful eyes can bring us's all in the seeing.

And, that early morning on the couch with my devotional, God opened my eyes and I saw that He's the One in charge, not me.  If I'm frustrated, I go to Him in prayer because He is where my help comes from.  I cling to Him, do what I can do in the situation and pray for Him to do what I can't.

So this Freedom Friday {which happens to be on a Saturday...shhh} I decide to let God lead others while I trust in Him.

  Are you struggling with the temptation to live in anger and discouragement with a loved one? Place them in God's able hands and put your trust in Him.

Yes, let none who trust and wait hopefully and look for You be put to shame or be disappointed; let them be ashamed who forsake the right or deal treacherously without cause.
Psalm 25:3

Is this your first visit to Freedom Friday? 
We're embracing freedom each Friday here in 2012.
Click here for a list of the other posts in the series.

Friday, June 15, 2012

For Such a Time As This

When I hear sermons about the end times and listen to talk about how things are getting worse and that the future for our country is bleak, I’m not going to lie, it has sparked fear in me and leaves me feeling unsettled.  I mean I realize that the world’s political and economic climates are not good.  There are wars and rumors of wars, there’s famine, there’s unusual and catastrophic weather patterns...all things that are mentioned in the Bible as signs of the end of the age.

  We live in a time where there’s a complete disregard for God’s word; what is evil is said to be good and what is good is said to be evil.  God, and all things related to Him, is made to be mocked in entertainment in the name of freedom.  Laws are in place to aid a woman in killing her unborn child in the name of choice.  Of course why shouldn’t God just allow us all to suffer through the worst of tribulation right now?

  Some people in the church say that we are in the end and it’s only going to get worse, Prepare, get your affairs in order, stockpile food, build an underground shelter, stow away cash.  I find this talk to be heavy and grim and it just doesn't sit well in my spirit.  Is the church supposed to just hunker down?

A few days ago I read this post from global worship leader Sean Feucht.  In his excitement he shares about what God’s doing in manifesting his dreams of worship and using him and many others to usher in the Presence of the Lord around the globe.  He is encouraged in these times, seeing God moving and touching so many hearts and bringing forth miracles and salvations in so many parts of the world.

  What a juxtaposition of outlooks on the exact same times.  I thought on all of this and I felt the Lord whisper in my spirit, 

“Find your place in it.” 

  Aren’t we, as lovers of the Most High, supposed to keep our eyes on Him believing and contending for His Kingdom while making a difference with our lives on this earth?  We are to change atmospheres and ignite passion for the Lord.  Now I’m not saying that getting prepared for bad times is wrong, we are to be aware of the times and the seasons.  But sometimes I feel that there can be this spirit of hunkering down and doom and gloom and plans for fleeing that bother me.  God help me to find a balance between wisdom and preparation and being completely focused on You, sold out and on fire and believing the best because you can do me to find my place in this.

Queen Esther comes to mind and how she was used to save the lives of thousands.

 A young Jewish girl, Esther went to the palace of the Persian king by force, one of up to 1400 young women taken from their homes and all that they knew so the king could find a new wife.  Hiding her true identity as a Jew, Esther found herself in a situation where she could have just been someone who the king slept with once and forgot about, left to live life as a lonely concubine, but God’s hand was on Esther and she was made queen, placing her in a position of influence before trouble came so she could be used of God to save her people from an evil plot of annihilation.  When the plot to destroy the Jews was set into motion, her uncle sent her word from outside the palace walls imploring her to use her influence with the king to beg mercy for the Jews, reminding her that she may have come into her royal position for such a time as this.

 Esther found that her place in the situation was one of influence in the king's court and she was used mightily.

  I believe that we have the very same position of influence.  Although our influence is not with an earthly king, but in the courts of heaven with the King of Kings.  We can come boldly before His throne and intercede on behalf of our nation and beg mercy for those who live outside the King's chambers.  We can see relief and deliverance come to a nation if we choose not to remain silent.  

Esther got herself focused and trusted God in prayer.  She stepped out, used her gifts, and the way God made her...special and fitted for that time and place.  The Bible says that God decides the times and places of our days.  God gave her favor, wisdom and protection.  She came into her destiny in the worst of times.  Although it wasn't easy and took amazing courage, especially in revealing that she herself was a Jew, Esther was willing to even give up her own life to fulfill her purpose in the palace.  She found her place in it and changed the destiny of her people.

  So I look to Esther's example, a regular girl placed in a position of influence during volatile times, given extraordinary favor to fulfill God's purpose and bring deliverance to a nation.

  My prayer today is, Lord help me to find my place in these times.  Help me to be myself, using the gifts you've given me, grant me extraordinary favor to fulfill your purpose in this earth, and even bring deliverance to a nation.
Help me to take up my position of influence for such a time as this.

Is this your first visit to Freedom Friday?
We're embracing freedom each Friday here in 2012.
Click here for a list of the other posts in the series.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Summer Dreams

 Lately my days have been cluttered and full.
  Busy days, endless to-dos, end of school year activities, phone calls, emails, friendships, parties, kids, husband, me?, groceries, errands, cooking, house projects, clutter, baseball games, late nights, ministry, planning, meetings, deadlines...and, oh my, this house is a wreck!

Lots of good and necessary things in there, but sometimes it seems too much and I get cranky and exhausted and just want to escape...
I feel on the edge.

What to do when all you want to do is escape?

I've imagined making time stop so I can have a time-out and catch up while all is frozen in pause-button-stillness.  Ahhh, now that would be nice, but let's get real, it's not going to happen.

But as I sit here watching the sunrise on the last day of 1st and 3rd grade for my 2 older boys, I dream.  Summer break is upon us and oh how we can use the break.  Remember the excitement you felt as a child when school let out and summer began?  A whole stretch of days laid out before you with endless possibility and fun.  Each morning the warm sun woke you up to a day of fun and anticipation.  The only decisions you made were which friends to play with and what games to play.  I have so many memories of being outside all day riding bikes, swimming, playing 4-square, chinese jumprope, hide-n-seek, and barbies with my sisters and neighbors.  We went out after breakfast and only came in at meal times just to run right back out after the meal was over.

  Days full of laughter and fun. 
It seemed as though time stood still. 

As this summer is about to begin I decide to try something new.  Focus on my inner kid.  I don't mean anything new-agey by that.  I just want to approach this summer like I did when I was a little girl, all full of possibilities.  

So, today, even though my house is a wreck and my boys will be getting out of school at 11:30am, I'm going to set aside some time to sit outside in the sun and dream.  I'm going to make a list of things that would bring me joy to do this summer.  Yes, I'm still mommy to 3 active boys, still wife to a hard-working husband, still home manager and business manager, still children's ministry leader, but, I'm realizing that inside of me there's still a girl who longs for fun and creativity and beauty.  A girl who likes to read a good story, create beauty with her hands and words and spend time laughing with friends.  This girl wants to get lost in the possibility of a whole stretch of days.
Days full of laughter and fun.
  Days that seem as though time stands still.

Join me?
Set aside some time today to search your heart and make a list of things that would bring you joy to do this summer.

Is this your first visit to Freedom Friday?
We're embracing freedom each Friday here in 2012.
Click here for a list of the other posts in the series.


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