Thursday, March 31, 2016

Truth Telling 4: I am forgiven.

This is another one that requires some action on my part and we talked about it yesterday! If we are willing to receive God's free gift of forgiveness and eternal life, we stand forgiven.

Psalm 32:1-5, "Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, by bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord' - and you forgave the guilt of my sin."

Matthew 6:9-12, Jesus teaches us how to pray and ask for God's forgiveness, "This, then, is how you should pray. 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'"

Jesus shows us that He first wants to heal with forgiveness. Matthew 9:2, "Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, 'Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.'"

Matthew 26:26-28, "While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, 'Take and eat; this is my body.' Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is pored out for many for the forgiveness of sins.'"

John the Baptist came to prepare the way for Jesus' arrival and His message of forgiveness for sins. Luke 1:76-79, "And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace."

Acts 2:38, "Peter replied, 'Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'"

Acts 13:38, "Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you."

Romans 4:7, "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him."

Ephesians 1:7-8, "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding."

Colossians 1:9-14, "For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

1 John 2:12, "I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name."

Tell yourself this truth today:  When I ask for God's forgiveness in faith, I can be certain that He has heard and answered me. I am forgiven.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Truth Telling 3: God offers me eternal life.

Some promises in the Bible are conditional and require an action on our part. The very fact that God offers us eternal life requires nothing, we can't earn it or acquire it any other way than through receiving a free gift. But receive is a verb - it requires an action - we must accept it and bring it home with us to take up permanent residence and become part of our life.

John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

John 3:36, "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects he Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."

John 4:13-14, "Jesus answered, 'Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'"

John 5:24, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."

John 10:28, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand."

Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Ephesians 2:8-9, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast."

1 Timothy 6:12, "Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses."

Tell yourself this truth today: God offers me the free gift of eternal life, how will I respond to that offer?

If you want more info on responding to God's offer of eternal life, reach out to someone in your church, myself or go here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Truth Telling 2: I am made in His image.

Genesis 1:27, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."

Genesis 9:6, "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man."

Psalm 139:13-16, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

Tell yourself this truth today: I am made in His image.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Truth Telling 1: Life is from God.

Genesis 2:7, "...the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."

God's chosen people set an example for us in praising God as the author and sustainer of all living things, "You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you." Nehemiah 9:6

Job affirms that God is the one who gives life, "You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit." Job 10:12

And again in Job 12:10, "In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind."

Elihu, a friend of Job, also acknowledges the source of life, "The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life." Job 33:4

John 1:1-4, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men."

Peter shares the Gospel with a gathered audience, "You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this." Acts 3:15
In thinking about the life God has given, may I use it for His glory and to praise Him, "I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live." Psalm 146:2

Just as God set before the Israelites a choice for life or death, He sets the same choice before each of us. It is not for everyone else but you, if you have not made this choice between life and death - please read on and consider, "Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, 'Who will ascent into heaven and get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?' Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, 'Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so that we may obey it?' No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.

See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. 

But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long int he land you are corssing the Jordan to enter and possess.

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."  Deuteronomy 30:11-20

Tell yourself this truth today: Life is from God.

PS: Do you like my baby photo?! ;)

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Truth Telling: Intro

Several weeks ago I asked for your input on promises you were having trouble believing. Here's the thing - I have been having trouble believing God's good promises for myself. Life is hard and after a while I start feeling cynical and numb.

Forty days from tomorrow, I'll be turning forty. And I'm going to steep myself in truth for the next forty days. Because here's another thing - if I'm having trouble believing God's promises for myself, then I'm listening to a bunch of lies. I want to take those thoughts captive, be grateful to be alive and thrive as a child of God.

This will not make my life easier or less hard - but it will be grounded in truth and gratitude. Long before we heard of making lists of 1000 gifts, my Mom suggested writing down a few things every day one time when I was struggling. I will write a post for each of the next forty days about something I'm grateful for that is a truth I want to claim and live out!

Here is a journal entry from recent days that encapsulates the need for truth telling:

Yesterday started hard and just kept up the pace making for a doozy of a day in the end. I entered the evening so drained and spent that it filtered through to other areas of myself. I was feeling particularly insecure about spreading the word slow.

There are so many things I am not, yet this message is real to me and so needed. As the evening lingered on, I realized I was listening to lies in my mind. Lies of not being __________ enough {fill in the blank with any possibility of word}

Doubt, fear and comparison - which by the way are just different words for lie! Then I began thinking how I need truth tellers in my life; a few good trusted friends I can call on when I need a dose of truth, I thought, "I can call/text and see who wants  to be a truth teller to me."

And those kind of friends are a gift! But then I realized I have the best Truth Teller of all time on my side and I need to listen up because He never speaks anything BUT truth. And it clicked for me - when I am having trouble believing God and His promises, I am not listening to the Truth Teller.

Here's another thing, in the process of writing a book - I've noticed that there are people who don't "get" my message, me, or even what this project is all about. It can be so easy to feel misunderstood or like a failure because it might not be what they expect.

It hit me hard that when I don't take God at His Word, I am doing that very same thing to Him.

I have been in a season of:

- I'm not smart enough
- I'm not patient enough
- I'm not good enough
- I'm not this enough
- I'm not that enough

It is time to spend time focusing on the truth, if I say I'm not ____________ enough then I am saying Jesus is not enough. Because if I have Him in my heart - God sees His enough-ness when He looks at me. It's time for some truth telling, friends.

In my weakness, He is strong.

He is enough.

I am His.

Therefore, I am enough through Him.

As we begin, I absolutely love this verse and am making it my theme for this year of forty!

Deuteronomy 2:7, "The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything."

It is important to note that in order to claim God's promises for ourselves, we must be children of His. Please read this if you are not sure you are His yet.

Each day in addition to sharing truth, I want to share a visual image that captures that idea too. 

Looking forward to this special series together and hope it is a blessing to you!

John 8:32, "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Step Into My Shoes

For the past couple of years, I've been hosting a couple of family nights at our local CC community each year.  Typically they have been historical in nature going along with the time period we are studying and learning about - but recently, I suggested something different and wanted to share in case any of you were interested in trying it out! 

Over a year ago, I had an opportunity to send for the Step Into My Shoes kit put together by Compassion International. I am always eager to learn about opportunities like this that give my kids real experience in serving and understanding the lives of others. And, I have a long-standing appreciation for the work of Compassion since I became a sponsor probably twenty years ago and now we as a family have three sponsor children.

Step Into My Shoes is set up to be an interactive and informative experience that shows your family and/or friends what life is like in another country and explores the question, "How much is enough?"

We walked through this one Friday night recently and I'm so sad I forgot my camera! Here are some of the things we participated in:

Each family was assigned a "job" and income for the evening. Several were unemployed and we talked about the difficulty of that reality. The kit comes with a DVD that has several four-minute videos to show throughout your experience. We watched a couple of the introductory videos and learned from some African children how to make a soccer ball out of plastic grocery bags and twine. That was our first activity.

There was good discussion regarding things we learned about Africa and the average daily income compared to Americans. We talked about what you would be able to afford at the market or not based on what job your family had been assigned. 

We looked at a pitcher of water with dirt in it and considered aloud all the work involved in walking to collect it, carrying it home, boiling it and then using it for various household tasks. I set up a hand-washing station with a bowl of water and bar of soap and we also had a laundry washing area where children could try their hand at washing towels in a bin of water with a bar of soap and then hanging things on a rope clothesline. 

Families talked together about things they enjoy doing together and we watched our host family {on the DVD} to see what they enjoyed doing together. One thing they mentioned was roasting corn, so we served popcorn for this part.

It was eye opening to see how far families walk for water and the video mentioned one water jug weighs about 44 pounds when full of water. We brought a forty-pound weight for children to lift and get a realistic idea of how heavy that really is. I got gallons of water and set them up outside requiring children from each family to go collect water for their own family. 

Strips of fabric were provided for tying around wrists, pony tails or even on key rings to remember to pray for those we were learning about. A 10'x10' house area was taped off on the floor to create a visual display of common home size.

The last thing we did was enjoy a meal together - families had signed up to bring rice and/or beans. We had a chapati making station with dough provided by a couple of moms and children rolled out their own and cooked on an electric skillet or griddle. 

It was a great experience to, even in a small way, immerse ourselves in another culture and lifestyle for the evening and bring some great visual reminders of what life is like for others.

I didn't pay anything for my kit and thought it was an experience very worth spending time and energy on as a family and community. Honestly, since it was over a year ago - I don't even remember how I got it for free but I read about the opportunity somewhere. The kit is now available with a monetary donation and would be a great option to consider with your family or church group!

Have any of you tried this or ever heard about Step Into My Shoes before?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Slow Day

Packaging up t-shirts!
Working on slow goodies - more to show you soon!
Listening to It is Well Bethel Music
Conquering Kids Mt. Laundry {again!}

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Easter Inspiration

I can't believe Easter is this weekend! It has snuck up on me! But I took some time over the weekend to get inspired and here are a few links to help you get some last minute inspiration as well! We're having our Spring Party tomorrow - so some of these will be for that and some for Easter Sunday.

* Peter Rabbit cupcake topper free printable.

* Christ the Lord is Risen Today chalkboard printable.

* Pretty watercolor print and place cards.

* Another beautiful Easter watercolor printable.

* Happy Easter printable, would look great incorporated into your centerpiece!

* Cute bunny ears for milk bottles at breakfast one morning!

* Bloom & Grow free printable garland. Here is a cute tiny edition display idea - what about making this with photos of your kids from each Easter?! So cute!

* Pretty Easter tags - could be used for place cards or to tie on jars of flowers! Also cute would be to serve drinks in canning jars with these fun tags tied on. The gift wrap in the post is printable too and you could do lots of fun things with this: placemats, napkin rings, paper bands around drinks or jars of flowers, make a banner and more.

* I want to try these amazing speckled eggs!

* Maybe I will have time to make a simple stuffed bunny to tuck in with Easter goodies?

* Woodland friends printable egg holders - so cute! So many fun whimsical printables on this site: treat bags, super sweet Easter cards and printable envelope and Easter brunch printable kit. Oops - just realized this site requires a monthly paid membership to print these things - enjoy the visual inspiration instead!

* Hot Cross Buns made simple. And, how I made them last year {hint: also simple!}

* It is not too late to start your wheat grass - I finally remembered early enough this year - yay!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Daffodil Time!

It is that time again when our you-pick daffodil farm opened up for visitors! We called it a field trip and headed for the fields! It's been long enough now that our mason jar full of flowers are looking quite pitiful and ready to be tossed out - but the memory has not faded and is still bright and cheery!

We always pick more than we need and have fun sharing. I had some jars in my recycling that we pulled out and divided up blooms to deliver to neighbors!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

New series coming next Sunday!

One week from today, I'll be starting a new series here on my blog! Here is a sneak peek to what is coming! Yay! It's going to be encouraging, full of truth and hopefully a boost to your faith! Looking forward to it, friends!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Spring and Random Photo Shares

Spring hits me every year with a forceful blow of busyness it seems. Activities gearing up to finish, summer plans getting laid out, trying to finish school strong while weather beckons outside.

I think it also has to do with Spring being a season of fatigue - the school year is nearing its end and energy is not as plentiful as it was in the Fall after rest over the summer. Pollen showers down and blows around in clouds and combined with heat and bugs zaps energy easier than usual.

The beautiful blooms, spotted lady bugs and pretty and chattering birds are all such a treat for the senses. So maybe this over-stimulation is part of things too.

Here are some random snippets from our life lately:

We've spotted this bird numerous times in the past week, this photo was taken from me sitting in bed with our blinds open! I've tried to capture a beautiful blue bird and have gotten so close to a photo but he always flies away. Their songs are plentiful in the early morning and their colors so beautiful!

Occupying a little boy in the car during 4H for two hours can get a tad interesting - taking silly pictures proved to be a lighthearted diversion that had him giggling: so cute!

Rachel was invited to a sweet woodland animals birthday party and we both enjoyed the sack races! A walk through the woods was so peaceful, beautiful and refreshing. Deer thundered through water collected in a grove of trees - it was over in seconds - but so majestic and amazing!

I love walks in the woods!!!

Also had a chance to celebrate a dear friends birthday - the honey bee theme was so fun and I made that popsicle stick honeycomb on the wall - love it! Inspired by this.

I've been working hard this week on polishing up my book and completing final edits!! This is getting exciting!

After a super busy weekend, my sweet son brought me homemade granola breakfast in bed. Love.

Well, how is that for a bunch of random things?! Happy weekend to you, friends -