Monday, August 21, 2017

Granted An Unexpected Dream

Sometimes we have so many difficulties overwhelming us that we don't pay much attention to the everyday things in life. We are concerned with relationships, finances, work, family, church and health issues. We often times miss things changing and growing right in the midst of every day life.

I was a Bible major in college and loved theology, greek, and all things about Scripture. I am sure that I "assumed" after I graduated I would automatically go in to some full time ministry and be a womens conference speaker. But God showed me that I was not yet ready for what He would have for me to do. And life happened.

Through the years our family plugged in to camp ministry, AWANA and our small group Bible study. And then changes slowly began. I think in some ways I didn't feel qualified or ready for the new adventures I was to encounter the past couple years.

We decided to move from our large country home to downtown. A move I wasn't sure about. We also felt we should start a new small group Bible study with folks who may not currently be in a home group. We continued with AWANA kids ministry and I continued teaching a ladies Bible study. And the few young women I meet with periodically for mentoring or coffee started growing. It was clear that I was in fact in full time ministry.

And then all of a sudden the book I had been formulating for a few years began coming together rapidly. It was suggested to me that maybe I should go to a writers conference. I took the plunge. And life snowballed -- a website, twitter, fb page, book proposals, and a GIANT learning curve of new things. And the entire time I am thinking--BUT I'm not qualified. I'm NOT a writer. I was content in all the things I was doing. And then within a month of the writers conference I had a publisher and a publish date. I am still in a bit of shock. Life has changed BIG time the past few months in a way I never expected. And I KNOW that the only way that this country girl with no writing experience could possibly be getting a book published is because God planned it. HE is showing ME that HIS plan is BEST.

Yesterday I received by first set of edits from the content editor. Wow! I now have yet another tech program to learn. I felt a bit overwhelmed when I first saw all the inserts, deletes, and formatting issues. So page by page I will plow through and learn and be stretched beyond what I ever thought. I have never had a strong desire to be at the all.

I always wanted to speak at womens retreats and events. Maybe that will happen too. And I can see clear as a bell that my dream of wanting to minister to the hurting and encourage others is coming true. He has made it possible and given me the ability and strength to do it.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Time is such a precious thing

Guest Blogger: Jessica Everett
Jessica is a mom of three. She loves music and is an avid reader of anything and everything.

TIME. Such a precious thing. 

This last weekend I spent with my family up at the family farm in Washington.  And the week before I spent in California with the other side of the family. It was so wonderful to spend time with my sisters, my brother, nieces and nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents.  And as I thought about the last two weeks I asked myself what was the best part about these vacations. 

The answer is TIME. I got time with these people. 

Time I will never again have. Time to make memories. Time to show my kids what I grew up with. Such precious time with these people I love. And I realized time is one of the most precious things you can get with anyone. It's something you can never get back. It's something that once a decision is made to use that time for something that's not something you can undo. 

I will never again have this time with these people. Time is a precious thing. One you cannot waste. It is intangible. You cannot see it. You cannot save it. And so often we are looking at it in the rearview mirror. I need to be wise with how I spend my time. I need to be concious with how I spend my time. 

Philippians 4:8 says "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever i admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." 

This includes how I spend my time. Am I wasting my time? Am I spending my time for God's glory? Am I focused on things that truly matter? That have any eternal significance. I need to be.

I'm so glad the last two weeks I chose to spend that time with these important people in my life. I am so thankful I got that time. That's something I will  always have with me and those memories of the time spent will be forever engraved on my heart. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Just A Clay Pot

Our church has had an unusual amount of heavy duty prayer needs the past three months. Bam...Bam...Bam. One after another. Unrelenting. Multiple new messages coming across prayer chain daily. So much so that our pastor set aside a special service this morning for all of us to have prayer together in small groups.

Several people got up and shared scripture passages encouraging us in our faith, many said with tears. It is hard when dear friends are hurting. Some families with multiple struggles of sickness, death of a child, cancer and surgeries.

The passages shared are ones I also love and have underlined in my Bible. They are passages I cling to when hurting or sad. Bible pages worn and tattered  that speak to us. The following passage in 2 Corinthians has been underlined, highlighted, circled and tearstained on more that one occasion in my Bible.

I think as a believer in Christ, one who claims His promises and knows He sees my many flaws, I am humbled that the God of the universe wants to use my clay vessel for His use. How can that be? I am not sure I am up to the task... but I claim His promises and KNOW He is sovereign and He KNOWS what He wants and WHOM He wants to use to accomplish His will.

Excerpts from verses 7-16. "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and Not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but NOT crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed... Therefore, we DO NOT LOSE HEART, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary light affliction is producing in us an eternal weight of glory FAR beyond all comparison. While we look not at things which are seen but things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporary but the things which are NOT seen are eternal."

Why use a clay pot to accomplish big things? God needed to use something expendable to show His power and that salvation was of Him and not of us. Our body slowly decays and then perishes but the inside self of a believer grows and matures into Christlikeness.

So while there is sickness and death, and we cry and lament. He is sovereign. He is working on this clay pot and He will use it as He pleases because He is a mighty and powerful God.

Monday, August 7, 2017

The CURSE of Mercy...

Sometimes pain comes from many places at once. Hurts of loved ones, many and intense.

I am a person who absorbs pain. I ache when others ache. Grieve when they grieve. It is a curse and a blessing.

"Blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted" Matthew 5:4. Sometimes I cry when others share their hurts or when I feel it deep down and share a need. I used to apologize for this until a friend said to me,"you have the gift of mercy, do not ever apologize for this."

So now I have decided to utilize this gift and hopefully, some of you who also empathize with others will too.

It has been a difficult month. There have been big blessings and lots of fun visits with family but also tough things with friends dying, a child dying and loved ones struggling with life. It is hard to watch people hurt so deeply. And sometimes the words we give sound so very trite. They are not meant to but they do all the same. I heard at a ladies conference once to take peoples words in the spirit given. I think this is often hard but I have come to really try to understand that those who try to encourage are wanting to help and are not being thoughtless. And I have tried to be more careful in my words to those who are suffering. Weighing my words, sometimes just listening or doing something helpful. I want to always show Christ's love to those around me. I may fail. But I try.

So a kind word, a letter, a meal, or a listening ear. And many, many prayers.

Why do we obey? -Guest writer: Jessica Everett

 One of my favorite songs, that I often sing in my head when I'm trying to sleep or in stressful situations is "I'll obey and s...