Friday, October 5, 2018
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
I've been there! This past Spring was a particularly busy time for me! In the midst of it all, I was asked to speak to a group of women I was working with organizing & planning a retreat. During this time, I had managed to keep a lot of my commitments afloat (or so I thought), but while preparing what I was going to say to them that night, I became keenly aware of how I had been allowing my family, my home, and mainly my time alone with the Lord to sink.
When I was originally asked to share with this group, my mind immediately dug up an old word picture the Lord had given me in the past, and decided it was the one I would use. But as I sat down to write it out, I felt the Lord impress upon me to "feed them fresh bread."
Due to the aformentioned lack of a regular "quiet time" with Jesus, I didn't know what this "fresh bread" was supposed to be or where it was to come from; and I certainly didn't have the time to sit & figure it out! Like the rest of you, I had a schedule to keep, appointments to uphold, friends to help, a family to take care of, and on & on it goes. The morning I was set to speak, God began putting all the puzzle pieces together for me, revealing the delicacies He had prepared. His timing, although perfect, certainly isn't mine! However, He is faithful, and I pray that what He fed me will also help nourish your soul.
The week before I was set to speak, I had prepared & taken a dessert to our weekly Monday night meeting. After the meeting was over, I went to throw away the disposable pans I had brought the desserts in, but saw the trash had already been taken out. I just decided to take them with me & throw them away once I got there.
As I was about to toss them into the trash after walking in the door, I noticed there were actually a couple bites left in one pan, so I thought I would save it & offer it to my daughter. But as I laid it back down on the counter, & noticed the crumbs left inside, I felt a twinge of guilt (and even embarrassment) that I was planning to offer these meager leftovers to anyone! It was in that moment I felt the Lord convicting me of feeding my family & my Lord scraps. Scraps of energy & creativity, scraps of attention, & scraps of time. Ouch!
In John chapter 13, as Jesus was having dinner with his disciples the night before he was crucified, it says in verse 27 that Judas "took the bread." Again in verse 30 it says, "As soon as Judas had taken the bread..." Notice he didn't eat the bread. He was simply going through the motions. Like me, have you ever been guilty of doing the same?
We've all heard this verse out of Matthew 4:4, "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." I've heard it so often, it seems to just skim over my brain without really allowing the full meaning of it to sink in. It doesn't mean we're simply to grab a quick bite out of our Bibles every day & go on about our business. We need to sit & dine with Jesus, allowing His words to penetrate our souls, transforming our minds & ultimately our hearts.
Jesus calls Himself the Bread of Life (John 6:35). In the same way we cannot live physically without eating food on a regular basis, it is impossible to thrive spiritually without daily ingesting the Bread of Life. We're not simply reading words on a page, trying to fill our minds with information. When we open our Bibles & indulge in His Word, we are actually partaking of spiritual food that will lead to transformation!
Psalm 90:14 says, "Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love..."
Psalm 103:5 says, "Praise the Lord...who satisfies your desires with good things..."
Psalm 81:10 says, "Open wide your mouth and I will fill it."
Jesus, our sustenance, our source of strength & life, the One who maintains our very existence is the only One who can truly & fully satisfy us. Food can't. Attention, fame & fortune won't. A prominent social circle & full calendar refuse. All these things we try to stuff onto our plates will ultimately leave us with nothing but an empty heart, and a gnawing hunger for more.
We have a choice. We can choose to rush into our days filling ourselves with mindless activities & busyness, or we can first fill our souls with the Bread of Life; but not both. I want to feast on the Bread from Heaven, our Manna. Will you join me?
Let's not trade eternal, heavenly treasures for simple, temporary, earthly pleasures
Monday, May 15, 2017
"If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing." -1 Corinthians 13:1-3
"All that matters is faith, expressed through love." -Galatians 5:6
The longer I walk this path, the harder it becomes at times. Especially when the hurt comes from someone you assumed would be...should be...on the same side as you.
It's so easy to love those who love you. But there is no growth in that...nothing learned.
"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them." -Luke 6:32
But to love those who ignore you? To love those who dislike you? To love those who gossip about you & slander you to others? To love those who don't want anything to do with you? To those who just tolerate you? To those who take you for granted? To those who oppose you? To those who seem to intentionally resist your efforts at every turn? To those who continually hurt your feelings? To those who choose others over choosing you? Who assume the worst about you? And on & on it goes. There are so many other possible scenarios.
"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." -1 Corinthians 13:4-7
So instead of getting my feelings hurt & giving in to the temptation to retaliate, sulk, or nurse my emotional wounds, I must allow Him to love them through me...regardless of their motives (which are unbeknownst to me), & remember that:
1. They are not my enemies. "For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." -Ephesians 6:12
2. To bless them & continue to pray for them regardless of their behavior. "Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you." -Luke 6:28
Easier said than done for sure.
But another thing I know and am sure of...
"Love never fails." -1 Corinthians 13:8
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
My family is under attack...Spiritually speaking. I've come to realize that anytime God is at work behind the scenes, you can be sure Satan will be in the foreground causing problems-attempting to distract & discourage us, causing us to doubt! He will use any and everything he possibly can to get our eyes off Jesus! Whether it's circumstances, relational, or a combination of the two!
One of my favorite Scriptures lately is out of Psalms 50. Verse 23 says, "He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God." There are times when it's easy to thank God for what He's done or has allowed. Then are times like now, when the fiery darts are being shot from seemingly every direction, and it's hard to be thankful. But I know & trust in my God!
I am so thankful that my God is...
Able. He knows the Beginning & the end. He Cares. He's my Deliverer and my Ever-present help in trouble. He is Faithful and He is Good. He's my Hope. He is truly Indescribable. He and He alone is my Judge. He is the King of kings and the Lord of Lords. He is Mighty, He is Near, He is the Overcomer, and He is Powerful. He is the answer to every Question, and undoubtedly is the Restorer and Reconciler of all things! He's my Savior and my Truth. He is the Undefeated, Victorious Warrior who has given me His shield of victory! He is eXalted in the highest place, and being the Alpha & Omega, means He's my A-XYZ.
There is no one else like Him and I am so thankful He goes before me, preparing the way! No matter what comes my way, "The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving." -Psalm 28:7
I hope you know the same is true for you too! God is everything you & I will ever need...and so much more! Let me know how I can be praying for you, because we're all in this battle together! Just remember though, God has already won the war!
Saturday, September 6, 2014
As I said, a few years back, I had a dream...well, I hate to call it that, because I was awake. Similar to this morning, I was lying in bed right before getting up when this picture entered my mind. It was a skit. There were 4 men involved. One was standing near the top of a ladder and there were several empty boxes stacked on top of it. The boxes were wrapped in white paper and there was one word on each box written in big red letters. There was one man dressed in white representing one of God's angels and another man dressed in black representing one of Satan's. Last, there was a man down on his knees in prayer. He was praying for a new job, and the minute he did, a white box dropped from above (that had "JOB" written on it) and the angel in white caught it. He began to run across the stage to deliver it to the man in prayer, but was quickly stopped by the angel of darkness. They had their hands on one another's shoulders as they began to try to push one another in the opposite direction; the angel with the answered prayer was trying to make his way across the stage to the man, while the demonic angel was attempting to prevent that from happening. As long as the man continued in prayer, the "white" angel advanced. But when he would stop praying, getting discouraged because he hadn't received his answer yet, the "black" angel would advance. Eventually, the answer was delivered because the man was persistent in praying.
Upon waking fully, I thought of the Bible story found in Daniel 10:12-14 which reads, "Then he said to me, "Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia. "Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future."
As this story points out, Daniel's prayer for understanding regarding what was going to take place in the end times was delayed because the two angels were "contending" with one another. Other versions of the Bible say the Prince of the Persian Kingdom "resisted" him or "withstood" him. Spiritual warfare is very real, people! Yet God is so good and so gracious that he has assigned His angels to watch over us. Check these verses out:
"For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways." Psalm 91:11 " What are the angels, then? They are spirits who serve God and are sent by him to help those who are to receive salvation." Hebrews 1:14
That second verse brings up what I saw this morning. There were a bunch of men dressed in white (in my mind's eye I knew they were angels) sitting around a big wooden table hanging out and visiting. Some were leaned back in their chairs, others were slouched over resting their heads on the table top. Each one was wearing a shoulder mic like policemen wear too. One angel walked through the room and asked what they were doing and one of them exasperatingly responded, "We don't have anything to do...!?"
You can call me crazy if you want to, but when I tie these two word pictures together, I say we (specifically I) need to be in prayer much more than I currently am! When we pray, God answers! He dispatches his angels out to help us when we call out to him! Are you keeping your angel(s) busy, allowing them to do the job God has assigned them to do on your behalf or are they getting to slack on the job for lack of demand? I want whatever help God has given me to be on active duty, not merely part-time time help...or worse yet, unemployed!
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
We're in the midst of moving to our "new" house, so that in and of itself is creating a bit of chaos around here. My husband also decided it would be a good idea to get us moved during his time off (this week and next). Under "normal" circumstances (whatever that word means), that would sound like a great idea! However, he forgot one minor detail: the two oldest kids & I will be gone to church camp!! Seeing as how I didn't want to a) leave him with all the work of moving alone, and b) taking a bunch of needless things with us when we go (we're downsizing), I'm having to go through/clean out/declutter/throw away/pack (for the move as well as for camp) AND have a garage sale within about a 3-4 day period. Note: This does not include any other activities such as: my oldest daughter starting a new job (she doesn't have her license yet so I'm having to drive her), hosting/attending a couple of graduation parties for my 8th grader and family friends, leading a teen Bible Study, completing my volunteer work at the local nursing home, taking my middle son to an eye doctor appointment tomorrow, and just being a wife/mom (which has its own long list of duties/responsibilities...cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc., etc., etc. You know the drill). Ya. Like I said, C-H-A-O-S!!!! However, with all that said, that has nothing to do with what I originally logged in here for. What? Me? Distracted? Just slightly. ;)
While taking stuff down off the walls, I also removed the Bible verses I keep posted around the house. I love surrounding myself with God's Word-it helps keep my mind centered & focused on/filled with truth (and as you can see, I need aaaaaaaaall the help I can get! ;) A friend of mine recently asked for a copy of the verses, so I thought, "You know what? I have to type it out anyway, and I haven't posted in a YEAR...so why not kill two birds with one stone and post them on the blog so if anyone else would like to use the same idea, go for it!!" Without any further ado, here they are:
*LAMP: "O Lord, you are my lamp. The Lord lights up my darkness." 2 Samuel 22:29
*CLOCK: "Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge." Psalm 62:8
*CLOSET DOOR: "I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness." Isaiah 61:10
*BATHROOM MIRROR: "Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image..." Genesis 1:26, "I praise you because I am fearfully & wonderfully made; your works are wonderful..." Psalm 139:14, "People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7
*WATER DISPENSER ON THE FRIDGE: "Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst." John 4:12-14a
*KITCHEN SINK: "Don't talk too much, for it fosters sin. Be sensible and turn off the flow." Proverbs 10:19
*PANTRY DOOR: "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31
*BACK DOOR: "The Lord will keep you from all harm-he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." Psalm 121:7-8
*HAMPER: "Then he is to take off these clothes and put on others..." Leviticus 6:11
*TV: "Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word." Psalm 119:37
*COMPUTER: "...I will walk in my house with blameless heart. I will set before my eyes no vile thing." Psalm 101:2,3, "You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar." Psalm 139:1,2
*MEASURING CUP/SPOON DRAWER: "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38
I'm sure there are many more you can think of! What are some you have posted or what ideas come to mind? I'd love to hear more!
Sunday, May 12, 2013
In honor of his upcoming birthday on June 12th, my oldest child (and only daughter) wanted to commemorate it in a special way. She decided to create an "event" of sorts. It won't be a party filled with cake and balloons, but it will be a celebration & there will be gifts. A celebration of life, and gifts of kindness.
She has entitled it, "For J.A.K.E.'s Sake." It stands for "J-ust A K-ind E-xpression." The definition of "expression" is this: "The act of transforming ideas into words or actions. The manifestation of an emotion, feeling, etc. without words. A look on the face that indicates mood or emotion."
She is simply asking that everyone do one or more Random Acts of Kindness (R.A.K.) that day in his memory. How you choose to express that is totally up to you! R.A.K. cards that you will leave behind (if you wish, and for example- leaving an unusually large tip at the restaurant-even if/especially if your waitress was having a bad day) are also being printed. They will read, "This Random Act of Kindness done in loving memory of Jake Lawrence Baker, 6/12/12-6/12/12. PAY IT FORWARD! Matthew 25:34-40, Philippians 2:3."
This is her description taken from the Event Page on FB:
"In honor & loving memory of my youngest brother, Jake Lawrence Baker's 1st Birthday (coming up on June 12th), I'm inviting you, my family & friends, to participate in J.A.K.E.'s Day! "Just A Kind Expression." Expression: The act of transforming ideas into words or actions. The manifestation of an emotion, feeling, etc. w/out words. A look on the face that indicates mood or emotion." How you choose to express your R.A.K. (Random Act of Kindness) that day is up to you: Whether you pay for a stranger's meal behind you in line at the drive thru, open the door for an elderly man at the store, or simply smile at someone, every R.A.K. (big or small) matters! We're going to have R.A.K. cards for you to leave with your "victims" so they can in turn pay it forward! They will read, "This Random Act of Kindness done in loving memory of Jake Lawrence Baker, 6/12/12-6/12/12. Pay It Forward! Matthew 25:34-40, Philippians 2:3." Please message me with your address & how many you'd like and we'll get them in the mail at no cost to you. We have just one request: if you order them, please ensure you use them all!!! :) We also have a friend who is making T-shirts for those who may be interested in buying & wearing one that day. The deadline for ordering a shirt is June 4th & the price is $18. On Jake's birthday, please feel free to leave a comment here letting us know how your R.A.K. went! ♥ "
I just have to say how deeply touched I am and I stand in awe of her heart behind this effort! If any of you would like to join us in this celebration, we'd be honored.