Embrace ~ A FMF Post

Friday is the day that many other precious bloggers join to together to write about one word – for five minutes.  Despite the fact that I’ve not joined in this exercise in a long time, it is one of my favorite kinds of posts to write.  The link-up is hosted by Kate Motaung.   If you’d like to know more about it, click here.

Today’s word hit me as something that I definitely needed to consider.  So here goes…

I love to look up the meaning of words so, of course, I had to see just what the word EMBRACE really means.  Here are a few of the meaning that I found on dictionary.com:

hug…to take or receive gladlyaccept willingly…to encircle…surround…enclose…to include

I like those meanings.  Especially the last five.  It reminds me of the church and how we are directed by God’s Word to treat others.  You know in good times and in hard times.

Thinking about God’s Word, I did a little digging to see if the word EMBRACE is found in scripture.  It is. Sixteen times in the English Standard Version.   Most of the verses that include EMBRACE speak of friends and family embracing, or hugging.  But one passage jumped off the page.  It’s one that I have considered many times as we have navigated our ministry journey.  The entire passage is Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8.  Right now, I’d like to focus on a portion of the last part of verse 5.  It says:

a time to embrace,…

You may wonder how that phrase relates to ministry?  For our family, as God has called us to new ministry opportunities, we had leave people we love dearly.  That’s where the “hug” (EMBRACE) comes in.  We’ve had to look at what God was calling us to do and “accept willingly” (EMBRACE), stepping out in faith and to do what He is asking of us.  We’ve had to go to the new places and people and “include”(EMBRACE) them.  But that’s not just in ministry.   I believe that as followers of Christ, we are all called to EMBRACE others.  We are called to “receive gladly” (EMBRACE) what the Lord asks us to take on or go through.  We are called to “encircle” (EMBRACE) the people that God allows to cross our paths, even if it’s only for a short period of time.

My time is up………but, of course, I find that 5 minutes just isn’t enough. {smile}

Let me say that I, in no way, think that our call – or our family – is anymore special than the call God has placed on others.  We are all called to minister to those around us.  I am keenly aware that God has a purpose for all of us.  The one for our family happens to have included being in three wonderful congregations.  It’s a bonus for me as now I have more people to EMBRACE (hug).

I have no idea what – or who – the Lord is allowing in your life that He is asking you to EMBRACE.  Whatever…whoever….it is, know that it is the Lord’s time for that in your life.  EMBRACE it!

Joy to You!

This post is linked up with Kate Motaung.  Please hop over and read what others are saying about the word “EMBRACE.”

Community ~ It’s What Its All About

I’ve been sharing in this little corner of the internet since October of 2011.  I started this blog for me.  Seems kind of selfish, doesn’t it?  My intentions were not selfish.  I wanted a place to journal our homeschool and ministry journey.  I didn’t really expect people to read it.  I mean, I’m not a professional.  I just love to put my thoughts down.

When I first started, I mainly wrote about our homeschooling.  I remember hearing about “linking up” to a post somewhere else in the internet where others could see my link, go to my blog, and read about us.  I thought it was pretty cool.  And so, I “linked up.”

Over the next few years, I blogged about homeschooling and begin to share about our family, ministry, and the things that the Lord lays on my heart to share.  And then, in 2014, I signed up to be a part of the Write 31 Days challenge.  Through that challenge, for 3 years now, I became part of a beautiful thing.

community

So what is community?

A society of people, having….common interests…

This is part of the official definition, and it is correct, but there is so much more to it!  In my opinion.

For me, community is one of the reasons God created it.  A better word for it might be fellowship.  We were created to be together.  To live life together.  To love and support one another.  To laugh and cry together.  To hold each other accountable.

You get the idea.

Being in the Write 31 Day community has been such a sweet time for me.  We even have a Facebook “community” for those of us who participate in the 31 day challenge.  We share stuff.  We pray for each other.  We are cheerleaders for each other – in the good and the bad.

Right now, I’d like to cheer on one of my fellow 31 Day community friends.    This is my friend Susan.

susan

Susan is a writer with a passion for HOPE.  She has a new 40 day devotional for the Lent Season.

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While I have not had the pleasure yet to go through all 40 days of Susan’s Lent devotional, I have had the privilege of reading an excerpt and it is just beautiful and thought provoking.   If you are looking for insight into “the people, places and events of the Passion,” I encourage you to grab hold of Susan’s book and come to know more about our Lord and Savior and the journey He walked to the cross.  You can purchase the book through Amazon HERE.

Before I go, I’d love to share a little more about Susan with you….

Susan is Mom to three adult children, Mimzy to two fantastic grands, and Other Mom to several others!  Today, she enjoys blogging, writing short devotions and short stories from her home in the Appalachian Mountain Range of the Blue Ridge Mountains in northwestern North Carolina, which she shares with her husband of thirty-plus years, Lowell, and their beloved dog, Sam.  

She can be found musing several times a week at hopehearthome.com

Her life purpose: “That I may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” ~ Colossians 1:10

Her life vision: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in Truth.” ~ 3 John 4

So this thing called “community”  is something special to me.  The Write 31 Days community is not the only one I am a part of.  I live in community every day with those in my hometown…those in my church…those that I know through homeschooling….ETC.  The Lord created us to fellowship and do life together.  I pray that you are as blessed as I am with beautiful community.  With them you have something special!

Until next time…

Joy to You!

 

Unabated Vigor ~ Not Your Typical Valentine’s Post

During my morning quiet time with the Lord, for a few months now, I’ve been camping out in the Old Testament.   First I was in Deuteronomy and now I am in Joshua.  These two books are full of the confirmation that we have a promise keeping God.  I love Deuteronomy 37 where Moses goes “from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, …opposite Jericho.” (Deut. 34:1) and the Lord shows him all the land that He had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

In verse 4, the Lord tells Moses that he will not enter this promised land.  And in verse 5, Moses died.  I wish I could remember the first time I learned that Moses didn’t make it to the promised land.  I imagine that I probably felt disappointment for him.  I mean, he’s the one that led the people for all. those. years.  He’s the one that faced Pharaoh.   He’s the one that was chosen to write the 10 Commandments on tablets of stone.  To me, Moses is pretty special.  So I wonder, was he disappointed that he wouldn’t reap the benefit of his efforts?

Verse 7 actually gives a little clue to how Moses reacted to not making it to the promised land:

deut34_7

Being the word nerd that I am, I wanted to be sure that I understood the meaning of “unabated.”   According to dictionary.com, it means:

with undiminished force, power, or vigor

That led me to being double sure I knew what “vigor” means.  Again, according to dictionary.com, vigor is:

active strength or force…healthy physical or mental energy or power; vitality…energetic activity; energy; intensity

So here I am, reading about Moses not reaping the benefits of his proverbial sowing.  AND THEN God’s Word tells us that Moses died with power, active strength, force, vitality, intensity.  He died knowing that he had received his inheritance.  And I personally think he was probably very satisfied.

This has me wondering if I would be?  My human, and sinful, nature desires a reward when I’ve worked hard.  I’m not one for fanfare but a subtle pat on the back goes along way with me.  I venture to say that there’s a little of that feeling in all of us.

Anyway, what does all this have to do with Valentine’s Day?  Hang with me – please – I promise I’m getting there.

As I have been studying Joshua, I have marveled (my word of the year) at the keeping of God’s promises.  He is ever faithful!  He was to His children as the crossed the Red Sea, the dessert, took Jericho, and more.  And He is faithful to us today.  Once we get to Joshua 22, the land that God promised to Abraham has been divided among the tribes – the promise fulfilled – and the people were settling in.  Challenges still arose and that’s not really that surprising considering all the grumbling in the desert.

One of the verses I underlined in chapter 22 is verse 5.  Joshua gives these instructions to the Israelite’s as they settle in:

joshua22_5

Joshua could’ve just said, “be like Moses.”  But he spelled it out.  He reminded them of the commandments.  He reminded them to walk…and keep…and cling…and serve….with ALL their heart and soul.  These qualities – to me are a beautiful explanation of the “unabated vigor” that Moses had.

I often cruise along in my Christian walk.  I wax and wane in my Bible reading and prayer time.  But this!  This is how I want to be.

So as Valentine’s Day comes to a close, I am just plain blessed.  God gave me the most wonderful man to be my husband.  We’re into our 23rd year of Valentine’s days (22 of those married).  And we have 2 beautiful children.  The stores are full of cards and flowers and balloons.  Facebook and Instagram are full of Valentine wishes and dates and gifts.  In our house, every day is full of love that is just plain special.  Some years we pull out all the stops for Valentine’s Day.  Some years we don’t.  This year, we chose to celebrate as a family.  And I’m really good with that.  But I began Valentine’s Day reading Joshua 22:5.  I began my day reminded of the love that I am to have for my Heavenly Father and the promises that He still keeps today for me.

So this isn’t a typical train of thought for Valentine’s Day but it’s what the Lord laid on my heart.

I hope that you had a wonderful day with your special someone. And I pray that every day you love the Lord with “unbated vigor.”

Joy to You!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Time Has Flown By

Here it is the middle of February and I’ve only written one post in 2017.  So much for my goal to blog more!

On second thought, maybe I need to move the goal a little further down the list.  I’ve always been one to write when I feel the Lord has something I really need to share and not to write just to be writing.  That’s a better goal, right?

Today I felt like I needed to get a few thoughts down.  So here goes…

January was full!  My one post in the new year was to declare my “word of the year.”


I’ve thought a lot about this word and yes, I’ve “marveled” at many things thus far.

We began 2017 on a family vacation joining my side of the family in Florida for a week.  We hit the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and both sides of Universal while we were there.  It’s not the first time to Disney parks for me, however, it was the first time to Universal.  Anyway, there really is a lot to “marvel” at in an amusement park.  Here are a few that caught my attention:

  • The people – both employees and visitors.  Disney really does it well.  They know how to handle crowds and  their staff are courteous and helpful.  And those playing a character…well, it’s just really fascinating to me.
  • The rides – I don’t think explanation is necessary; however, I will say that although I don’t understand the technology and mechanics of it all, it’s absolutely amazes me!
  • The lights – there is something about Cinderella’s Castle covered in lights.  Not to mention all the other lights all over the parks.  It really is a wonderland.
  • The landscaping – I just had to mention this one because, well, I just love the Mickey head made of flowers or the bushes trimmed into the shaped of our favorite characters.

We were treated to a character breakfast.  That was a new experience for me!  Both of my children and my sister had birthdays that week so birthday cupcakes came with breakfast.

character-breakfastAs mentioned, the first two weeks of the month also came with birthday celebrations.  Our daughter turned 13 and our son turned 18 within the first 10 days of January. Those two days, more than many other things, cause me to “marvel.”  I am so proud of my kids.

Shortly after our FL trip, we took our church youth group to Gatlinburg, TN to a youth conference called Winter Crossroads. The conference is put on by Clayton King Ministries.  It was a wonderful time of worship and teaching.  I saw the Lord working in the lives of the kids, and adults, in our group.  What a MARVELous blessing.  Lives were changed.  To God be the glory!  A side note is that I ran into a long time friend, who lives in another state and was at the conference with her church.  What a sweet reunion!

While in Gatlinburg, we took the opportunity to drive through the areas that had been devastated by the fires in late 2016.  I promise we weren’t just out to gawk at the severe devastation and loss that those who live and work there had experienced.  We actually prayed for the people as we drove.  It’s was something I will not soon forget.  If you think of it, please continue to pray for them.  Some will be able to rebuild.  Some have lost pretty much everything.  All of them need prayers as they move forward with their lives.

As if we hadn’t traveled enough, my hubby and I had the opportunity to go to a retreat for pastors and their wives at the end of January.  It was a time of refreshment and encouragement in ministry.  Such a blesssing to be with so many other pastors and wives from across the state!

I have been reminded at just how good the Lord is to us.  I have, for sometime now, had a desire to try my hand at becoming a Virtual Assistant.  Yep, it’s really a thing!  Anyway, I have been blessed with the opportunity to work for two wonderful ladies for a few months now.  I’m learning so much and enjoying it too!  At some point I may go into more detail but for now, the opportunity to assist these ladies with their businesses AND be at home to continue on our homeschool journey…well, I just MARVEL at the Lord’s care for me.

But that’s the thing about God.  He does care for us.  I am so thankful for the truth of Scripture that I see working in my life and the lives of those I care about.  As I continue on this year, I’m looking for things to MARVEL at.

How about you?  I’d love to know what the is doing to catch your attention.

Until next time!

Joy to You!

 

Would He MARVEL at me? (and my word for 2017)

It never ceases to amaze me when I find something in Scripture that I have never seen before.  At some point in my 40 something years, I have read the passage three, four, five + times, but this time…the words hit me differently.  I am just finishing up a study in Luke and that’s exactly what happened when I got to chapter 7.  The passage that got my attention is found in Luke 7:1-10.  It’s the story of Jesus healing a Centurion’s servant.

After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2 Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 10 And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.

I’m a bit of a word nerd so when I a particular word catches my attention, even if I think I know what it means, I look it up.

MARVEL ~ to be filled with wonder, admiration, or astonishment, as at something surprising or extraordinary

Which definition of MARVEL do you think best describes Jesus in this passage?  Was He astonished at the faith of this man?  Maybe He was filled with wonder at the simple faith shown by the Centurion!  It’s on my list of things to ask Him when I get to heaven. {smile}  Reading this made me wonder if Jesus is ever filled with wonder because of my actions, words, or attitudes?  Or maybe He is astonished…even saddened by my display of selfishness and lack of faith?

2016 is officially over.  It was a hard year.  I would not be truthful if I said that I am glad for the difficulty, however, in all honesty I can say that I know that God never left me.  He was with me and my family every step of the way.  In the midst of the hard stuff, I put a piece of paper on our refrigerator.  I explained to my family that we needed to fill this paper with things and people that we are thankful for.  thankful

I cannot tell you what this simple exercise did for our family.  Of course, if you have ever read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp you are familiar with the concept of counting the gifts in life.  Sometimes those gifts are hard.  As I have been considering the past year, I kept thinking of the Centurion and Jesus.  I kept thinking of what it would be like to have Jesus MARVEL at me.  But I also began to realize that not only do I need to practice an attitude of thankfulness for ALL things, I need to MARVEL at the world around me.  We moved to KY in April and I have never seen such beautiful skies.  Almost every day, I have the opportunity to MARVEL at what the Lord is doing.

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So in 2017, I am going to work hard to find things that fill me with wonder…things that astonish me (in a good way)…things that I can truly admire.  I have a page in my planner dedicated to the word MARVEL.  As I find these things, I am going to make a list.  I’ll most likely add them to our 2017 Thankful board too.

I’d love to hear in the comments if you have a word for 2017.

Happy New Year! and Joy to You!!


 

 

NOW ~ A FMF Post

It’s ironic that the Five Minute Friday word of the week is “NOW.”   The irony is that it’s Saturday and I am just writing.  The link-up stays open for a few days and well, I felt like what I have on my heart is worth posting past Friday.

For anyone not familiar with the purpose of Five Minute Friday, Kate Motaung hosts this link-up where many women come together and write about one word – for 5 minutes.   As mentioned, this week’s word is NOW.

Here goes:

In the last 4 months our family has two friends to pass away in their sleep.  Both have left my heart broken.  Not just for the loss of this friend in our lives but for their families who unexpectedly went to their heavenly home….without warning.

Both had a personal relationship with the Lord.  Praise God for that!  I know where they are.  I even kind of envy them.  I mean, can you imagine, Christmas in heaven?  Worshipping at the feet of Jesus for eternity!!! What an eternity it will be.

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Oddly enough, over the past several weeks, our church has been going through Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love.    In one of the chapters, Chan tells of how we never know when God will call us home.  He tells of a man who gave a eulogy at a friend’s funeral and died immediately after he sat down from speaking.  He was at a funeral when he died.  In the eulogy, he told the attenders of the funeral that they need to be ready for the Lord to take them home.  He told them of the importance of accepting Christ.  Then he died.

Last week, we attended the funeral of our second friend who passed away.  The pastor at the funeral clearly presented the gospel.  He shared with the friends and family of our friend that he (our friend) would want every one of them in heaven some day.

(STOP) …. (But, of course, I’m not quite done!)

The time is NOW.  We can not afford to delay sharing with those we love about Jesus.  I’m guilty!  I’m not very vocal about my faith.  I mean I live it out…or at least I try to.  My goal is for others to see Christ in my.  But I’m not perfect! I still mess up.  That’s called sin.  The cool thing is that Jesus continues to offer me grace and mercy.  Daily.  Sometimes minute by minute.

I have no idea how many days the Lord will allow me to walk on this earth but what I do know is that He has me here for a purpose.  And part of that purpose is to share His love with others.  To share the gospel and to walk alongside of new believers.

I pray that I don’t let the opportunity I have NOW slip away.

Joy to You!


This post is linked up with Kate Motaung.  Please hop over and read what others are saying about the word “NOW.”

He’s In Our Midst

My 31 Days of Encouragement from the Lord series is over.  And I’ve had a little break.  I’m ready to see what the Lord would have me share here in my little corner of the internet.  A few years back, I did what I affectionately called “Monday Meditations”.  These were lessons I learned during the sermon on Sunday, verses the Lord had brought me to during my quiet time, or simply things I had on my heart.  I’m giving them a go again.  I’d love to hear what the Lord has taught you on Sunday or the previous week.

Mon_meditations_revdI’ve been working my way through Psalms for some time now.  My process is to read the passage, list attributes of God that are mentioned, write down verses that stand out, and then I pray those verses back to the Lord.  One morning last week, I was in Psalm 74.  The Psalmist is asking the Lord to remember His people and then he describes destruction of God’s sanctuary.  He speaks of the people of God being treated badly.  He pleads for God to destroy the enemy that is reeking havoc on the temple.  Then in verse 12, he says:

Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.

I had to read that one again.  I’m burdened by so much that goes on in our world today.  I don’t want to list events or details but the bottom line is that there is much to be concerned about.  And I certainly don’t want to go down the political road, but our nation needs prayer right now for the election tomorrow.  Psalm 74:12 gave me comfort.  A reminder that He is still on His throne…in control.  He calls us to Him.  We just have to answer.  He compels us to pray.  We just have to obey.

A few weeks ago, one of the high schools in our town held a “Fields of Faith” event.  It was sponsored by the school’s FCA group.  They held it on a Wednesday night and invited all churches to bring their youth there for service that night.  There were over 250 kids, and a handful of adults, on the field that night.  I listened to high school students lead worship and share their testimony about who God is in their life.  It was very encouraging.  I felt the presence of the Lord on the field that night.  I left there wondering what would happen if these kids really stood up for their faith.  What difference would it make in our city, county, state?

Later that day, I saw a video come across Facebook.  I love the song “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman.  This video is Matt and his band playing in Times Square.  I was brought to tears watching thousands of people worship the Lord.  I can only imagine that the presence of the Lord was felt right there, in the middle of Times Square.

As I’ve thought about both scenes for a few days, I’ve considered that I don’t give enough consideration to Him being in my midst all the time.  Not just in the walls of the church.  Not just at a concert.  Not just on a football field when teenagers are praising the Lord.  And not even in Times Square.  He’s with me all the time.  I want everything in my life to be based on being in the presence of the Lord.

How about you?  I’d love to hear how you have experienced the presence of the Lord in your life?

In the mean time…

Joy to You!