Sunday, November 28, 2010

Advent: Hope

I think it is so appropriate that the first candle we light for advent celebrates Hope. I was listening to a song yesterday, and I was reminded that from Malachi to Matthew, God is silent. Not just the people aren't listening close to what God is saying to them, but rather He is absolutely SILENT.

Think about that for a second, have you ever set in absolute silence? Is it just me, or can absolute silence be deafening at times? It is almost overwhelming for us. Maybe because we live in a society where it is so rare, or maybe that is just the way God created it. Think about times when something has happened and left you speechless, or left someone with you speechless. You are just hoping that they will say something, anything, but instead they sit in silence and the whole mood of the conversation is altered.

Now put that into perspective of what is happening in scripture from Malachi to Matthew. 400 years make up this space between these to books. 400 years of absolute SILENCE. 400 years! A few minutes of silence is enough to make me uncomfortable, but 400 years! Think about that. Entire generations lived and died not hearing God speak.

Finally after all those years, God speaks to His people again, but this time, through angels and the cry of an infant. And in that cry as that precious baby was born, the sound of hope was heard once again.

As we look forward to the Christmas season, I pray that we take the time to truly look at all this season means. I pray that we look beyond the gifts, and traditions. I pray that we see that HOPE entered the world at Christmas through the person of Jesus Christ.

Lessons from Tangled

Last night, Zeke and I went to the movies with some friends. We saw the movie Tangled (in 3D, cause you really wanted to know that). I was really excited because I was wanting to go see this movie, but knew it was one I would probably just have to wait for on DVD. So, we got invited to go with some friends and really enjoyed it! It was such a cute movie, but beyond being a cute movie, I saw an amazing Biblical illustration in part of this movie.

So here is the spoiler alert because to tell you about this illustration, I am going to have to tell you some info about the movie and give some things away! Sorry!

For those that don't know, the movie is about the story of Rapunzel. As the story goes when Rapunzel was a baby she was kidnapped from the castle because of the power her hair had to heal. She was raised by an evil lady who kept her trapped in a tower her whole life. However, every year on her birthday, Rapunzel would look out the window of the tower and see these beautiful lights in the sky. This was done as a memorial to the princess that was kidnapped. So one scene in the movie shows them on this day letting these lanterns go and they float up into the sky and off into the distance.

What was amazing to me about this scene was that it starts out with the one lantern the king and queen light, the rest of the kingdom is dark. But slowly, the people in the kingdom begin to light their lanterns and let them go, and suddenly the kingdom is glowing with light. The thought hit me as I was watching this..."This is how it is supposed to be with us!" As believers, we light our lantern and let it shine so that those around us can see Christ in us. As others come to know Christ, they light their lanterns, and so on. Then all of the sudden, this kingdom that was once dark, is now glowing with the light of Christ! And that glowing light from the lanterns intrigued and attracted those outside the kingdom, just like the love of Christ in us intrigues and attracts those who don't know Him.

So, as we go throughout our lives meeting people who are searching for something more, may we remember that we need to live in a way that reveals to them the light of Christ in our lives.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful Post #8

Ok, so I have not been very good at all about keeping up with these "Thankful Posts." Sorry about that. But I have been thinking each day about something to post! So many days I would find myself with multiple things to post that I am thankful much so that I could not have shared them all.

I was reminded this week that thankfulness is a characteristic of a true follower of Christ. Believers know that they have been given so much, and the result of that is an overflowing thankfulness. i love the wording of that...overflowing. the thought behind overflowing is that an object is filled to the point that it can no longer contain what it is being filled with. For example, if I poured myself a glass of tea, but even when the tea reached the top of the glass, I still kept pouring. the tea is going to start spilling over the sides of the glass.

As believers, all that God gave us in salvation is enough for this to be true of our lives. We should be overflowing with thankfulness, not just one day a year, but everyday!

So I know that tomorrow we will all be focused on thankfulness, but I hope that it continues in our hearts throughout the year as we think back on all that God has done for us!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thankful Post #7

Today, I am thankful for believers who have gone before me and left a legacy worthy of following. I was writing a not to one of the senior adult ladies in our church today, and as I thought through all that Zeke and I have learned from her and her husband in the short time we have been here, thankfulness for this family filled my heart.

It makes me think of something I read or heard a while ago. The thought is that as we walk through life, following after Christ, we make our steps deep enough that those who come behind us are able to walk in them. As I set that goal for my own life, I am thankful for those who have done that before me. Through their actions, they show me that following after Jesus is worth whatever the cost.

Thank you Lord for those who are wiser in the faith and leave a legacy obedience as an example to those of us who come behind them. help this to be true of my life for those who come behind me!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thankful Post #6

Today, I am thankful for home. God has absolutely blessed Zeke and I with being able to have the home that we have. He opened the doors and has provided for us every step of the way with this home. There are definitely days that it can be overwhelming to have a house and not an apartment, like the days I am behind on cleaning and people are coming over, but the other day the thought hit me that I should be thankful that I have a home to clean because some people don't have that. So I guess the whole goal for doing this 24 Days of thankfulness is starting to pay off. :) So on those days that I get frustrated with all that it takes to keep our home functioning, I hope that I will remember this. That I will start to think through the fact that God has blessed me when he gave me this house, that ultimately it is His house anyway, and He has entrusted it to me to use for His glory!

Thankful Post #5

Wow, it is pretty hard to blog everyday! But I am getting a little better!

Sunday, what I was thankful for was the ability to worship as a church family, without fear. Many times we forget how big of a deal that is! I have never experienced anything different than being able to do this, and I am thankful for that, but I never want to forget that it is a privilege and I should continually be thankful for that!

Monday, yesterday, was a long day! I was called in to sub for a 5th grade, and it was good, just long. After subbing, I went to the after school program that I have been working at for the last few months, and then came home. I was so tired! It was all I could do to stay awake until 9 - and honestly I think I fell asleep a time or two before then! As I sit here on the other side of that, I am so thankful for rest. God gives us rest, but too many times we don't use it like we should. He set the practice of rest for us during creation. He didn't need to rest, the Bible tells us the He never grows weary or faint. He set the practice for us. I am thankful that He gave us rest. Thankful that He understands what we need, and provides it. :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Thankful Post #4

So I got a little behind on this over the weekend, and this will be a few posts in one! :)

Thursday, was my fourth day working at Magnolia's here in Carthage, and it was the day that the Vera Bradley order with all the new Winter Colors came in! For those of you that know about and share my love of Vera Bradley products, you can understand how much fun it was getting to look at all the new prints and styles. As I was doing this, I thought about how awesome it is that our God is creative and colorful. That He didn't just make everything black and white and boring. All of these patterns that I enjoyed that day, reflect His creativity throughout nature, and they are a reminder that we serve a God who isn't stale and boring, but creative and exciting!

Friday, my parents came up and got to experience Smith County Football, and a 5th Quarter with us. Our friend Melvin also came up that afternoon, and spoke at 5th Quarter. On this day I was reminded of how thankful I am for friends who love Jesus and want others to know the love of Jesus. When I get overwhelmed with things, as I had let myself that day, I need to be reminded that He is the most important thing in my life, and He calls me to tell others about Him. It is an encouragement for believers to be around other believers. They are like-minded and know the purpose God has called them to. Friday God placed this on my heart and I realized how thankful I am for these believers that He has put in my life and used to encourage me and challenge me in my walk with Christ.

Saturday was my mom's birthday! Zeke went on His first hunt with Bro. Tim, and he came back all in one piece, but also without seeing any deer. My dad and I worked on some things around the house - I guess I did more watching than helping, but oh well. He took the pressure reducer off of our water pipes so now I can wash dishes and clothes at the same time - I can't even explain the big deal that is! :) Then we switched the the doorknob on the front door with the one on the side door so we no longer have to fight the door knob to get out the front door! :) That night we went to Outback for my mom's birthday dinner. We definitely enjoy it when they can come up here and spend some time with us. We are thankful that they take time out of their schedule to be involved in what God is doing in our lives.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thankful Post #3

So this is actually yesterday's post, I just wasn't able to get it up yesterday.

Today I have been thankful for music. That may sound a little strange, but God has used music in my life at times where words just don't fit. There are some truths from His word that cut to our very core when they are put to music.

We were working on some Christmas songs in choir last night and we are doing "O Bless the Lord." This song is absolutely so powerful! I love it! There is so much truth packed into this song! There is a line at the beginning of the song that says "Oh darkest night, Your reign is done, now melt before the rising son" then it goes into the chorus that starts with "Hallelujah, Praise on Praise." So amazing!

As we were practicing this last night it just reminded me of how blessed we are and how worthy our God is to deserve all our praise! I am thankful for music given to us by a God worthy of all our praise! Sometimes I just have to stop and listen as others praise God around me and I think how sweet and treasured that sound must be as we truly realize that He isn't part of our life, He is our life and we take time to thank Him and express out love and gratitude to Him.

Praise God!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thankful Post #2

Today has been a very productive day! :) I started working at Magnolia's here in Carthage last Friday. I worked today and we got a lot done! :) We got to start setting up the Christmas room - I guess that is what you would call it. :) But it was really fun for me because I am a huge Christmas fan! I am the one who is ready to start playing Christmas music as soon as school starts back! I just enjoy it.

So, as I sat down to think about what I was going to write about for my 24 Days of Thankfulness, I realized I can't decide what I want to write about! There are too many things to choose from! :)

Today I am so thankful for my husband. He has been gone to East Tennessee all day, and even though I have been busy today, I hate days when he is out of town! God has used Zeke to challenge and encourage me in/through so many circumstances. He is always able to see things from the side I can't/don't/won't see them from and he challenges me to look at it from his angle. More than anything, I am thankful that He loves God and daily seeks to know Him more. I am thankful that he continues to seek after God to lead and direct us in everything. I am absolutely blessed to have such an amazing husband!

Monday, November 1, 2010

24 Days of Thankfulness

So, I was thinking about the fact that today is the first day of November and before we realize it, Thanksgiving will be here! As I thought about that I thought it might be neat to take the 24 days leading up to Thanksgiving to blog about some people/things I am thankful for. Also, the more I think about it, they say it takes 21 days to form a habit, so hopefully this time will help me form a habit of realizing I have something to be thankful for each day!

So, to start this little journey off, I am absolutely so thankful for my relationship with Jesus. It still amazes me that He loves me! The Creator of the Universe, who holds the world in His hands, as big as He is still desires a relationship with me. I am thankful that He loves me enough to not let me stay where I am, but continually challenges me to mature. I am thankful that when I call to Him, He hears me, and He answers! I am thankful that as I surrender to Him and follow in obedience after Him, I can rest in the fact that there is a purpose and a plan for all that happens in my life! I am thankful that He can be trusted in all things, that He is faithful, that he is my provider, that He never grows weary or faints. As believers, we are a blessed people!

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." 1 Peter 2:9

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Falling in Love with Jesus

So I had to take a break from washing dishes to blog for a minute. Today has been a weird day for me. I have gotten easily frustrated by things and found myself wallowing in complaints as a result. I was sharing these complaints with Zeke and then we sort of stopped because we realized that this complaining needed to stop. I went on to wash dishes, trying to think through some other things. As i was washing dishes I start to hear Zeke playing on the keyboard down in the basement. It took me a while, but I finally realized what he was playing. Here it is:

Falling in love with Jesus

Falling in love with Jesus

Falling in love with Jesus

Is the best thing I've ever done

In His arms, I feel protected

In His arms, never disconnected

In His arms, I feel protected

There is no place I'd rather be

It hit me that no matter what I face, that song is true of my life. Falling in love with Jesus is the absolute best thing that has ever happened in my life!

Can you say that? Have you ever fallen in love with Jesus? If you call yourself a Christian, does this describe your life?

I hope it does. I hope that everyone who reads this understands that following after Jesus is worth leaving everything else behind, and focusing our full devotion on Him!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Desperate Prayer

So, I haven't blogged in a while because it has been a busy last few weeks and honestly I don't know where to start! :)

I guess the best place to start is with a quick update. Almost 2 weeks ago now (doesn't seem that long at all!) 12 of us from Carthage set out to Long Island, NY for a mission trip. I have to admit I was not crazy about the idea of driving from Tennessee all the way to Long Island, but it wasn't bad at all! We drove from Carthage to Harrisburg, PA the first day, and then drove in to Long Island the next morning.

I cannot even describe for you here how amazing it was that from the second we started on this trip, God was with us! He absolutely created this team (representing 4 different churches in Carthage)! Everyone that came not only was able to encourage someone as God worked through them, but was encouraged by others in the same light. It was amazing!

God really used this trip to remind me of how absolutely desperate we are for Him, and how we need to cry out to Him through prayer. When I got back our lesson in Sunday school was over John 14-17, and as I studied, I was amazed at how many times Jesus told His disciples that whatever they asked in His name he would accomplish. There are many times in scripture where we are reminded that we do not have because we do not ask. Even though I know how powerful prayer is, so many times I don't cry out to God through prayer, and then I wonder why nothing changes.

Before I go any further, I should mention that many people have taken verses like this out of context to make them say something they absolutely do not! This verse does not say that I can ask God for things like He is a magic genie. It says that when I submit to and follow after Him, the things that are on His heart are now on my heart, and as I call out to Him in prayer, He will answer those prayers as I seek for his will to be done.

I wonder how different my day would look if I took everything to Him in prayer? If I truly looked at life and said "there's nothing too big or too small for me to seek God on," my life would reflect that in every way! I really and truly believe that as we seek God He will answer us - His word says He will. It is up to us to decide whether we are going to continue on in our own strength, or desperately cry out to God to guide us and direct us in everything we do.

"If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land." ~2Chronicles 7:14

"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you." ~Jeremiah 29:12

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. ~John 14:13

If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. ~John 14:14

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. ~John 15:7

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. ~John 15:16

In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. ~John 16:23

Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. ~John 16:24

Monday, October 4, 2010

Standing On The Promises

As I type this, I am in the car because Zeke and I are headed down to Shelbyville. Tonight we are going to head down to Athens, AL with my parents to go to a revival that Vance Pitman and Teddy Johnson are leading. We are so excited to get the chance to see them! :)
So I figured I would take this time to write a blog about something God has laid on my heart this last week. (Bear with me through this because I am blogging from my phone and it is a little more difficult than my computer!)
Wednesday night at choir practice we were going over our worship songs for Sunday and one of the songs was "Standing On The Promises." It is a song I have grown up singing, but God really challenged me during this time to look at my life and see if I can honestly sing that song. Am I truly standing on God's promises?
Here is the thought that came to mind..."When I stand on something, I trust that it will hold me. I am secure on whatever it is I stand on. If it looks shaky, I am not going to be standing on it." I also thought about how many times a day I stand on things and never question the abilty of the object to hold me. When I get out of bed in the morning and stand up, I trust that the ground beneath me is sturdy and sure.
This is what that hymn is saying. God's promises are sturdy and sure! We can trust them! We can stand upon them and not have to worry whether or not the ground beneath us is going to give way! He can be trusted in everything!
So as I look at my life this week, where in my life are areas that I need to stop standing on weak ground and stand on His promises instead? Am I going to trust that He is sure and can be trusted? Or, will I continue to rely on my self?
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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Digital Scrapbooking

So I have been working on some digital scrapbooking pages the last few days and I thought I would share them on here! :) Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Eating Seeds That Are Meant to Be Planted

I don't really even know how to begin this post. I am absolutely overwhelmed by God's goodness and faithfulness, and how He uses those around me and resources around me to continuously reveal Truth!

I have been slowly but surely working through Beth Moore's "Stepping Up" study. And God continues to use it to speak Truth over various areas in my life right now. And today was no exception.

The lesson I went through today focused on God's faithfulness. The illustration she used was one I am sure most of us have heard many times, about seeds being planted. But God used that to speak to my heart in great ways this morning.

Looking at Luke 8:11-15, we see that the seed is God's Word, and there are many different places that seed falls. Some nurture these seeds and others, destroy them. This is a great truth and one that many of us have heard, but what hit me was the story that Beth shared next. She tells about a trip she and her husband took to Africa and the absolute devastation that they saw related to malnutrition. At one point in the journey, their guide told them that one of the most frustrating things is that in some of the villages the people are given seeds to plant and grow food so that they can survive, but instead of planting these seeds, they eat them. Planting the seeds would mean they could have food that they so desperately need, but instead they eat the seeds on the spot.

That is an interesting story, but here is the application she drew to our lives. Many times we hear God's Word and it satisfies us instantly, but we don't apply it to our daily lives. We hear teachers, leaders, and pastors speak amazing truth from God's Word and instead of looking at how we can apply that truth to our life, we simply take it at face value and go on about our way. Then as we go through our week, we wonder why our lives don't have the freedom that we hear comes from being a Christ follower. Why are we not having a bigger influence on our family and friends? Why are we still struggling and not experiencing the victory God promises in His word?

It is the same reason that my flowers did not grow this summer...

When we bought our house I was so excited! It is our own place! If I want to paint I can paint, if I want to plant flowers I can plant flowers - and I even have the most perfect window boxes to plant them in! It's great! I was so excited! And in my excitement, decided that I was going to plant seeds in those window boxes that would grow into beautiful flowers!! Great in theory, but unfortunately I didn't take LIFE into consideration. Seeds need nurturing, I have always been pretty good with plants and I thought this would be no big deal! But at the time I was teaching in Shelbyville still so I was only at the house on Wednesday nights when I drove up after school and over the weekends. And while I was gone, Zeke was too busy to care for flowers, so a lack of nurturing lead to the death of these seeds.

The problem really boils down to the fact that I expected growth to take place and transformation to occur with out a practical plan for how that was going to happen. I just assumed that it would happen without me really having to work at it. But, the heat of summer came, and instead of showering those plants with refreshing water daily (and really even multiple times a day at some points) there was no hope of survival.

Even more serious than flowers to decorate the outside of my house is that fact that many of us do the same thing with the Word of God. We hear great truth, but we never take the practical steps of applying it to our lives. It is great in theory to forgive those who hurt you, but what does that look like for my life today? It is great to want to know and meditate on God's word, but how does that become the reality of my life? These things don't just happen, just like flowers don't just grow in window boxes without someone taking the time and the practical steps to care for them.

We have to have faith (absolute trust that God will make it happen) and patience (understanding that He will make it happen in His timing and His way). These things won't grow in our lives overnight! And when the process does get long and we do start to grow weary we have to understand that the best option is not to simply dig the seed back up and start chewing on it or throw it out (Beth Moore), but that we continue on in faith and patience.


Show us how to plant seeds, not simply eat them. No matter how difficult our situation, continue to help us tend the seeds You've given us to plant.

11Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. 14And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 15As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience. ~Luke 8:11-15

9And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up ~Galatians 6:9

12so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. ~Hebrews 6:12

Friday, September 24, 2010

Beth Moore Simulcast

Here is just a small glimpse of the Beth Moore Simulcast event our church was a part of last weekend. It was an amazing time of worship! God spoke through Beth in amazing ways about the law of kindness. I cannot wait to see how God continues to use what we learned that day to impact our lives, our church, our community, and the world!

"She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness."
~Proverbs 31:26

Kindness is not weakness. (Luke 6:35-36)

Kindness is not an action. It's a disposition.

Kindness wears down when we do. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Kindness looks pain in the face. (Job 6:28)

Kindness is a Savior. (Ephesians 2:4-10)

Kindness has good memory. (Psalm 106:7)

Kindness craves an outlet. (2 Samuel 9:1)

Kindness leaves a legacy. (Acts 28:1-2)

~Beth Moore

One of the things God has really impressed on my heart since last Saturday was this thought..."When we forget how God has been good to us, we become rebellious; We need to remember the goodness of God."

"I led them with cords of kindness,
with the bands of love,"
~Hosea 11:4

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sitting Through the Rain

Friday night I went to Smith County's away game. As I was watching the game and the people there God put this thought on my heart: Are we cheering our students on like this spiritually? Better yet, as the church are we cheering one another on like this spiritually?

I love going to these games, but that doesn't mean it is always an easy feat to get there. It costs me something to be a part of this. It took time, money, and determination to sit through the off and on rain for 2 hours cheering on the team, but it was worth it. Not worth it simply because of the victory that came at the end of the night because those victories are fleeting. Ten years from now very few will remember the score of that victory. But it was worth all that it cost because as a community of people we came together to cheer on our students in something that is important to them and therefore important to us.

The question is now, as a community of believers called the church, are we willing to put that same effort into cheering one another on toward the goal of Christ being known to all people? Just like cheering the team on, it is going to cost us something. It may cost us our time (which is God's anyway) volunteering in some area. It may cost us the money that we worked so hard to earn (which is God's anyway) to put towards something God has laid on our hearts. It might cost us determination to stick with it even when the rain comes pouring down around us.

So is it worth it to us? If something has value in our lives it doesn't matter what it may cost us, we are willing to be a part of does the Gospel of Christ hold value in our lives? When it comes down to it, am I willing to spend time, money, and other resources (which God has given me anyway) to cheer on/encourage my brothers and sisters in making Christ known? Will I still be obedient and ultimately through my obedience be an encouragement to the church? I may say it is worth whatever the cost now, but when it really comes down to it, do I act on that? When it requires more of me than just showing up on Sunday morning, am I still going to be obedient? When I have to sacrifice, will it still be a worthy cause?

When He calls me to go, pay, and sit through the rain, will I still be obedient?

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

John 4

Last week we were studying John 4. I was thinking through the story of the woman at the well and a few things crossed my mind. The first thing that hit me was looking at the story from the perspective of the woman at the well. She was going about her normal routine and Jesus showed up right there in the middle of her day! How often does this happen in our lives? We are going about our daily routine and out of nowhere, God steps in and shows us something amazing! I know that it may not seem like Jesus showed this woman something amazing as He tells her he knows about all the men that have been a part of her life and that the way she is currently living is not what is best for her, but when you really look at this story, He shows her something absolutely amazing! The God of the universe is sitting with her and showing her that He has something so much better for her! He shows His great love for her through simply sitting with her and talking because as a Jew, Jesus would have been expected to completely disregard this woman, but instead he takes the time to speak to her.
Which turns my thoughts to the next thing that crossed my mind, looking Jesus' role in the story. He didn't have to travel through Samaria to get to where He was going, He had to travel through Samaria to be obedient to the Father. if He had simply ignored the Father's call, or just decided that it required too much of Him to be obedient, He would have completely missed the meeting with this woman. Obedience to the Father's call is an absolute must in the life of the believer. There are people around us daily and all around the world who don't know Christ and God is using us, the Church, to reach these people. Sometimes, we will have to go out of our way and do things that are uncomfortable for us to be obedient to the Father, but it is worth our discomfort.

"If God had not used my sister Betsie and me to bring them to Him, they would never have heard of Him. Many died, or were killed, but many died with the Name of Jesus on their lips. They were well worth our suffering." -Corrie ten Boom, Tramp For The Lord

Jesus traveled through Samaria for a purpose. It wasn't the quickest way to where He was going, and it required more of Him than just getting to His next destination, but it was worth the discomfort. He knew that this woman needed to know His love. He took something as simple as asking for a drink of water and turned it into an opportunity to share God's (His) amazing love with someone.

How many opportunities do I have daily to share God's love with those around me? When those moments come, am I willing to be uncomfortable so that others can know Christ? Am I willing to be obedient even when it requires more of me than I am used to giving?

Monday, August 2, 2010

The way the seems right...

This past week has been a busy week. We spent most every night working at the Smith County fair, where we did face painting, made balloon animals and handed out water. We also did promotion for The Power Team coming to Carthage this week. We are so excited about this event and hope that God will use it to reach many in Smith County for Him!
To get ready for this event, we went today to help tear down and clean up things left over from the fair. We got there and with our greatest effort we set out to tear down 3 rows of back to back animal pens (huge metal animal pens). So we work and work and finally get the first of the 3 rows finished in about half an hour, and we take a break. As we are resting, a man arrives and explains to us that we have stacked the gates to the pens and the sides of the pens the wrong way! Not only that but all of these sides connect together by poles and we had stacked the poles in the container the wrong way! We had done everything the absolutely opposite of how it should have been done! So, of course we start switching everything around to the way it is supposed to be stored and the man goes off and when he returns he is driving a forklift, which he uses to life the gates to then pens which were incredibly heavy and our group had been moving 2-3 people at a time, and then lift the stacks of sides that we made. Needless to say we quickly realized that it was much easier to do this job the way this man was going about it than to continue on in our own way of cleaning this up. As we got closer and closer to finishing we we constantly reminded that this way was much easier, as we talked about it this verse came up
"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death."
Proverbs 14:12
This whole event was a perfect picture of the fact that so many times we try to accomplish things on our own when God calls us to seek after Him and follow His plan. My plans and my best efforts can never compare with what God has in store if I will seek after Him! As I spend time with Him daily I grow to love Him more and I see that obedience to Him is vital.

There is a way that seems right and a way that is right. The way that is right is only found by seeking after Christ.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Last night 10 of us from Carthage headed down to Nashville for a fun night of Laser Tag! We were running late so we only got to play one game of laser tag, but it was more than enough! I think everyone fully enjoyed themselves! :) After laser tag, we went to eat dinner at Demo's. And after dinner took a walk over the walking bridge. Then we came back to Carthage and hung out (laughing uncontrollably for most of that time) until about 4am, when everyone finally crashed! :) It was a great night, and I am so glad I got to be a part of it! :)
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This week I finished reading the book Radical by David Platt. It has been a very challenging read, but one that was well worth it! I was overwhelmed as I read this book with how caught up in myself I can become when Christ calls me to something completely different! I think about how many insignificant things I can wrap my mind around and get completely lost in over the course of one day when thousands of people are dying without knowing who Christ is - I can do something to make a difference in that, but yet it rarely crosses my mind!

"But the reality is, if you and I have running water, shelter over our heads, clothes to wear, food to eat, and some means of transportation (even if it's public transportation), then we are in the top 15 percent of the world's people for wealth."

I rarely think this way though! I forget how many ways I have been truly blessed!

"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." James 1:27

God calls me to spend my life bringing in obedience to His call on my life! He has called me to go out into the world, make disciples, consider others before myself, and be a a blessing to the ends of the earth!

"God shall bless us, let all the ends of the earth fear him!"
Psalm 67:7

God has certainly blessed me, but not simply for our own benefit. he has blessed us so that the world around us can see His glory! When we have the right perspective on the blessings of God in our lives, the only response is that we follow after God, seeking the things that He wants and obeying His call on our lives to go into all the world.

It is a challenge. A daily surrender. Daily laying my self and my selfish thoughts down and taking up the cross. Considering others before myself and using the resources God has blessed me with to bless others, to allow God to reveal Himself to others through me as I surrender to His will!

This is a line of thinking that is completely different from anything the world around us has to offer. But then again, we are called to look nothing like the world around us. We are called to look like Christ.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Family Vacation 2010

Here are some pictures from our family vacation this summer. We had a great time on the cruise and really enjoyed our time in the Bahamas. It was a great time to enjoy time with one another and a reminder of how grateful we are for all God has done for us! God has absolutely blessed us!
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Summer Camp 2010

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VBS 2010

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I have been thinking a lot about that word lately. The thoughts that have been going through my head about this word are thoughts about how this word relates to my everyday life. It is overwhelming to think that as I daily spend time with God he fills me with the Truth of who He is. As this happens daily I am filled to the point that I can no longer contain it, and the love and truth that Christ fills me with overflow out of me. The cool thing here is that these things don't just flow out of me and into only one small part of my life, they flow out into every part of my life. If I pour water into a glass until it cannot contain any more water, the water overflows onto the table. When that happens, the water does not get one thing on the table wet and then snake around other things on the table so that they stay dry. This is not how it works! The water flows. It flows out in every direction and soaks everything around life should look like this! The love of Christ that fills me to the overflow point should flow out of me and soak everyone around me...not just the people it is easy to soak with the love of Christ, but everyone that is around me!

Lord, help my life to reflect the truth of who You are by allowing the love you fill me with to overflow onto everyone around me! Let this be the case when it is easy to share your love, and even when it isn't to share your love. Use the overflow of Your love in my life to bring You glory!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Good News!

So today is a day my family has been waiting for the last year! My dad is finally finished with chemo, went back last week for his 6 wk scans, and today we got the results of the scans. Praise God that his scans were clear! It made me think back on when I first found out about the cancer. I looked to find a post I wrote close to that time because God had taught me such an amazing lesson through the life of David. Here it is:

God specifically chose David. He established David as the King of Israel. The word established means that he was set firmly in place. The point is that God has established us in the very places we are right now! The things that happen in our lives never surprise God! He set us firmly in place where we are! There is something He desires to show us through our situation, or someone He desires to reach through our situation.

I have been reading the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan and the chapter I was reading this morning was talking about God's overwhelming love for us. Overwhelming in the sense that He is so vast yet, so intimate and desires a relationship with us. Chan makes this statement in this chapter..."God knew who He was creating and He designed me for a specific work." This is a reminder to me that God had this all planned. Hopefully, people have seen God in my life and the life of my family through this situation and been encouraged to follow after Him. If nothing else, God has used this to remind me over and over again that He is love, and He is sufficient.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Generosity and The Kingdom of God!

This past Sunday night, Zeke had the privilege of preaching for the first time at our new church. As he was preparing, we were both praying that God would reveal to him, what he was to share with the body. The concepts of generosity and the Kingdom of God were ones that kept coming back and have been on our hearts. So Sunday night, Zeke shared a message on the Generous Kingdom - the thought that as believers, we use the resources God has given us to further His Kingdom. We are not just content to sit on what we have and watch as those around us suffer when we could help. That we are living with the knowledge that the things we have are the things (time, resources, etc.) that God has entrusted us with. But He has not simply entrusted us with these things so that we are blessed, but rather to be a blessing to others.
For me, understanding this has really and truly changed the way I look at the resources I have. Generosity is a way of life, not just a nice character trait.
So as Zeke was studying last week and I was finishing reading through 1Corinthians and moving into 2 Corinthians, these thoughts of generosity and a heart for the Kingdom of God have been in my mind and on my heart. I read a verse in 1 Corinthians that broke my heart...15:34 "Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame." Paul was writing to the Corinthians, but that verse applies to us just as much! Some have no knowledge of God - those words have been running through my head since I read them. No knowledge of the Grace that has been bestowed on the children of God, no knowledge of a God who forgives, no knowledge of a God who lavishes love on His children, no knowledge of Him at all! As I read that verse, these questions came to my mind..."Am I stirred into action as I read this verse? Knowing that there are those around me that have no knowledge of God? Does it break my heart for the many people around the world that have no knowledge of God - some of those in my own community?"
Then I went on in 2 Corinthians to read "But thanks be to God who always leads us in triumphal procession and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing," (2 Cor 2:14-15) Our lives give off the scent of Christ as we go through our daily routines. To some of those around us, the scent brings life, but others it is death.
As we go out and walk through life surrendered to the leading of the Holy Spirit of God in our lives, those around us notice. When we live surrendered to the Holy Spirit's movement in our lives, we are no longer a people gathering up the resources God has given us and keeping them to ourselves, but we are a people willingly offering the resources we have to make a difference in the lives of those around us!

This is a song that really challenges me and encourages me in this area, so I will end with it! :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Update :)

Wow, so it has been too long since I have blogged! Honestly, there just has not been time! So that means I have a lot to catch up on. Here we go...
In February, Zeke was offered and accepted a position as the Minister of Worship and Students at First Baptist Church Carthage. We are so excited about this opportunity! :) So for the last few weeks we have been traveling back and forth between Shelbyville and Carthage, and will continue to do so until the school year is over (May 27th - not that I have that date memorized or anything!).
Along with the excitement of moving comes the excitement of purchasing our first home! We are super excited about that! I have bee out running around Carthage today getting all the utilities set! We get the keys this Saturday! Here is a picture of our new house! :) I will post some of the inside later!
We are looking forward to all that God is going to do in and through our lives during this time, and all that He is going to do in the lives of those in Carthage, Smith County, Tennessee, and ultimately around the world as FBC Carthage follows after Him! :)
I am still teaching first grade, but on Spring Break this week - yay! :) I am really enjoying my time with these students! Here is a funny story I have to share with you about my little first graders: The other week, they were all excited to tell me about their Easter plans. So I heard stories about egg hunts and family dinners, and one little boy told me that He was getting baptized on Easter. One of the other students heard him and asked "What's that - Baptized?" Before I could answer, another student, who in the past has presented some interesting views about church tells the one who asked "It's when you get saved and the Holy Ghost comes all up in you." to which the one asking the question responds "Oh, my momma got that. There's no ghost!" I was trying my best not to laugh at that moment, but inside I was laughing so hard! I am definitely going to miss my time with these precious first graders! :)
I am going to post again in a little while, but that is all for now! :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Above all else...

So my dad posted a question on facebook today and it got quite a few comments and some of them started me thinking about different scriptures and God just laid this on my heart. I did not want to post it as a response to my dad's status because it began to veer off the topic. So I figured I would just post it on here. Here goes...

Above all else our call is to know God and this occurs as we daily spend time with Him. As we spend time with Him and come to know Him more, what is on His heart will be on our hearts. And His heart is for the nations. "Go therefore and Make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit..." Matt 28:19 This is something that we can do only as we daily lay ourselves down before Christ and surrender to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives. "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.." Romans 12:1 As we surrender to the guidance of the Holy Spirit He empowers us to share the love of Christ with those around us. "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth..." Acts 1:8 As witnesses to those around us we are called to share the hope that we have in Christ with gentleness and respect. Understanding that God is the one who brings about conviction and reveals Himself to those we share with. "But in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame." 1Peter 3:15
I think that the problem is not necessarily ignorance of God's Word, but ignorance of the God of the word. There are many people who have a great knowledge of God's Word, but do not truly know God through and intimate personal relationship. As you grow in that relationship, through spending time with Him, you come to know Him more. The more you know Him, the more you love Him. The more you love Him the more you want to know Him. The more you want to know Him, the more you spend time with Him.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Funny First Graders!

Ok, so i haven't blogged in a while! First grade has kept me busy! But today one of them told me something that was so funny I realized I should share some of the funnier moments of first grade here on my blog in an effort to remember them myself and maybe share a little bit of the joy these precious kids bring into my room each morning!

So one of the first funny moments I had this school year was sitting in the gym for a talent show. The students were asked to bring in $1 for "admission" to the talent show as a fundraiser for the music department. We were about halfway through the talent show (having heard Miley Cyrus's Hoedown Throwdown about 5 times by this point!) and the little boy sitting beside me looks up at me and asks "Is this what I paid $1 for?" I just smiled and said "It sure is." :)

The other day I was sorting through some papers and came across a project we had worked on for the 100th day of school. the students were given a piece of paper that said "When I am 100 Years old I think I will look like..." and there was a space below where they could draw a picture. We had lots of projects going on that day and I had not had a chance to look at every student's drawing, so I was taking this chance to look through them. They were all really cute and were pretty much just pictures of people walking with canes. But then I saw of my students had drawn a picture of a hill and colored it completely black and there were dark gray clouds in the sky with lightening bolts coming down from them and then I took a closer look and saw that he had written the word "cemetary" - well, his version of the word - across the top of the page! So when asked what he will look like when he is 10 years old, this first grader had drawn a graveyard! LOL!

We were having some issues with students being quiet in the bathroom so I decided we needed bathroom monitors. One of my students was so excited about us having bathroom monitors that he would ask me a question about them everytime we took a bathroom break. The only thing was he did not quite understand the name "bathroom monitors" he kept asking me questions about the "thermometers"! I tried to tell him "yes they are the bathroom monitors," but he still called them thermometers! :)

Today, one of the girls in my class was getting her backpack all packed up and she had a new purse that she was showing me and telling me about, then she said "and my mom got me a new video game yesterday!" and she pulled something halfway out of her bag to show me. I was looking through some papers so I only caught a glimpse of what she pulled out. It took me a second to register what it actually was that she had pulled out of her bag. When I realized, I asked her to show it to me again. She pulled it out and I almost dies laughing! It was a digital thermostat! She had it in her purse and she thought it was the neatest video game! She said she played it last night before bed! :)And that the screen lit up all green and you have to find the right numbers! :) So precious!

That's all I can think of right now! I hope you enjoyed those! :) I am sure I will have more later! :)