Words have power. Written words provide proof. You can read them, and reread them whenever you want. They can speak life to someone who needs encouragement. They can speak death to someone who is being deceived. The choice lies within you. How is it that you want people to remember you? Encourager...that is the gift that God has laid on my heart. To use my written, spoken, and/or sung words to lift people up. To be one link in their road to healing, restoration, joy. I have been without those things, and I claim them to be mine again. If you want me to seek God on a prayer for a specific situation...that is why I am here. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to pray God's Word of Life over you.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Contentment--A Learned Trait of Christ

2012 Summer 402
This has nothing to do with my post. It is just a lovely picture of someone's flowers. I was walking by a house and snuck over to take a picture of these flowers. Periwinkle...I would classify them as the color periwinkle. Love!

Proverbs 19:23 "The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble."

Philippians 4:11b "...I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances."

Philippians 4:12 "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."

Hebrews 13:5 "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

How would you like to be "untouched by trouble"? How would you like to know that you are never "left nor forsaken"? You can! Learn with me won't you?...

I have been writing and learning a lot lately about greed. A key to NOT becoming a person full of greed…is contentment! I have been actively learning the wonderfully difficult Christ-like trait of contentment for the past few years now. Things that I had come to know and brought me stability and comfort, were now gone. Things that made my life easier, were now given up. Things that others considered ‘necessary’, were really…just not. Just because your circumstance is not easy. Not convenient. Not what you think you deserve…does not mean you have the right to be discontent. (Light bulb moment!)

Let me ask you this…if everything that you know and love was taken from you…would you choose contentment? If the ease of your lifestyle was changed to what seemed impossibly difficult, would you choose contentment? If the people that you counted on were no longer there, would you choose contentment? If you felt completely abandoned and forgotten, would you still choose contentment?

What is the price that you are willing to pay to learn to be like Christ in this way? What will you give up? What will you allow to be taken from you? What will it take for you to know that HE has your back when no one else does?

I feel like God has allowed me to personally go through quite a journey to learn this trait. (I won’t take you on the journey because for one…it will be mentally and emotionally exhausting for all of us. Two I don’t want to give the enemy the pleasure of reading about all the crap he tried to use to break me. And three…I am not into pity parties. They’re a real downer.) I can pretty much guarantee that I would’ve been unwilling had I known what was to come. I would’ve run the other way had I been shown the whole picture. But God KNEW that I could handle it. God KNEW that I would be a better wife, mother, daughter and friend if I learned to be content with little. That I would then thoroughly enjoy each gift He gave me. It is a wonderful gift, this learneding (yep that is what I meant to type…learned and learning) trait of contentment. I am still pulling in the vastness of His Glory. I have not arrived to where I eventually will end up…but the strive is a worthy process.

I am so in awe and love at the awesomeness of my Savior. I don’t deserve Him. I don’t share enough of Him. I don’t prove myself faithful always to Him. But I am so beyond happy that HE proves Himself faithful to me.

What is your trial? What is it in your life right now that seems as though it could be a link to learning contentment? Grab it. Grab hold of Christ and trust His path. Believe that He has YOUR best interest in mind. Enjoy whatever you have been blessed with. Don’t wish your days away…waiting for “IF ONLY’S…”. Take each nugget of God’s goodness and be thankful.

Ever think that being a parent is a thankless job? Imagine. Just imagine…

You lend a hand of protection…and you hear “Why me?”.

You provide an exact need…and you hear whining “Why not more?”.

You give a gift…and see jealousy rise up.

You bless…and you feel as if it goes unnoticed.

You can see where I am going with this right? Our Father has seen our worst. He has seen us act as though we were misbehaving children. He has seen us lie. Cheat. Steal. Hurt. Envy. Destroy. He has felt those things with us. He has protected and then watched us whine about it. He has provided…and not been thanked or watched the credit be given to someone else. The exact thing that we sometimes get upset with human nature for…we then do to the only One who doesn’t deserve it.

As a wife and mother I have felt unappreciated at times, and yet I whine after God meets my ‘need’…that my ‘want’ was ignored. The nerve. I mean really. Nothing like the pot calling the kettle black huh? I long for appreciation…and yet I don’t show it. This is where my learned contentment comes in. When I learn that I can not expect love as I subconsciously think it should be shown…I will be much more content. “Mankind” was not designed to be my ALL. They were designed to be my helpmates, my friends, my prayer partners. My ALL comes from ONE source. One God. One Savior. One Healer. One Unconditional Love.

Disappointment can be a major contentment crusher. Do your best to not let disappointments by ‘men’ (as in mankind…I’m not man hating here)…become a foothold for the enemy. He will grasp at anything that works.

Do you want to know who teaches me daily about being content, happy, joyful with what I have and what I am? My children. You want to see an example? Look for children who love to be with their family.

My kids love to spend time with my husband and I. (We had a family milkshake and movie night earlier this week…and it was absolutely adorable. The giggles. The cuddles. The ease of how little it takes to make them appreciate just being our family. It was an eye-opener from our formerly hectic lifestyle.)

My kids love to see their grandparents. They LOVE to play with their cousins. They love to see their friends. Simple. It isn’t fancy. It isn’t impossible. They love easily. They love deeply. And I LOVE to love people like that!

This day. Right now. Choose to be content with exactly where you are…exactly what you are doing. Change what needs to be lined up with the Word of God…and seek Him for your next steps. Contentment sets you free to live life. It gives you unexplainable joy. And it helps you to be truly happy and full of love for those around you who are succeeding. Try it. Test it out for yourself. Make the choice…and let me know how it changes you. You will not be disappointed! Much love!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Day to Relax and Enjoy

This was my day yesterday. It started with this...
 A few Cocoa Crunchies...and a wonderful discovery. On the back of the bag of Starbucks coffee...
 It says bring in your empty bag of coffee...and they will give you a free cup-o-joe. I am totally doing this! Starbucks makes me feel fancy. There isn't much that makes me feel fancy...but coffee from any coffee house makes me feel fancy. Have I said fancy enough for you? Ok me too. Coffee from a gas station...not fancy. (I just had to.)

 Mmm...nothing like a fresh cup of coffee with my fave Coconut Creme. (Stop drooling near electronic devices...the two don't mix well.)

 And this was the rest of my day. Chatting with my friend, the knitter, and me scrappin'. I'd been wanting to do this page since I printed the pics back in April. When my son saw them...he was not too happy. (I should care more than I do...really I should. Haha!)

 I got the 'ransom note' lettering idea from the latest issue of Creating keepsakes. It went well with my jail type background...and the fact that I was writing the word BLACKMAIL. Haha!

 While I was putting on the finishing touches last night...Aiden came over to ask me about these pictures of him. He does not know what Blackmail is...I did not explain. He did ask how old he was in the pics. I laughed and said 6. (He turned 7 in May...which means that this pic was taken sometime last winter.) This realization only added to his embarrassment.

And at the bottom I added the definition of the word 'treasure'. He is an absolute treasure as a big brother. Not all big brothers would play dress up to make their little sister happy. I LOVE that he will play house and she will run football plays. (Seriously...they were doing this in my house the other night. Set....Hike!)

Oh that reminds me...I gotta show you this pic from my son's first football game on Saturday. The team was lining up to stretch....

...do you notice the little visitor? Haha! My little man, Levi, went out on the field to be with his big brother. So cute. Photo op first...then rescue child from lineup. That is now...and will always be the order.

Aiden playing quarterback in his first ever football game. So cute. Oh...and they won. 24-12

Tonight is game number two. Yipee! I am lovin' it already! (Although game 1 1/2 is happening in my living room right now as I type. Oh so much bed head... ;)

Have a blessed day all. Make time for you. Have some quiet time with your Savior. Sit down. Have a cup of coffee. Read the Word...and enjoy your day!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Are you as Sick of Greed as I am?

I have been doing the same chapter in my devotional for much longer than I care to admit. =/ The subject matter is greed…and I guess I am learning a thing or two about my heart. I honestly would’ve never said it was something that I had to ‘work on’. God is in the business of renewing our minds. He wants people to know Him when they meet us. So, we must be cleaned. We must put off our old nature…our old ways…and focus on His likeness and His ways.

The other day I was to the point in the devotional chapter where I look up all the listed verses on the subject matter. I was not super excited to do it. I was thinking when I sat down that I would rather be writing. Oh how wrong I was! I was feeling guilty about not adding any scripture to my last post on greed anyway. I planned too…really I did. Then I got all ‘Jo-Jo the Happy Clown-like’…and hit publish before adding any to my final draft. So today…we will see what the Father says about greed. Let’s dive in…

First off we are going to Proverbs. We all know how much I love a kick in the stomach2012 Spring 1098 …I mean Proverbs. Ha-ha…really I do LOVE it!! Promise. I have to love it because I must, as it says in Prov 12:1 “…love discipline”. And I also must love it because of the end of that verse…"he who hates correction is stupid.” This is not the verse I am writing about though. I got off my focus there for just a bit. ;) It is a habit of mine when I recall a story or life event. My friends laugh at it…okay they tolerate it. My husband…not so much. Lol! That is why I must have friends who are women! ;)

Okay really now. Proverbs 15. Apparently, by looking at my Bible, I want to remember most of this chapter. I have almost every verse underlined or starred. Beside some of them I wrote what God spoke to me when I first read them. Verse 27 is the one we are looking at for today. “A greedy man brings trouble to his family, but he who hates bribes will live.” Hmmm…trouble? Or life? Which would you willingly choose. Which one ARE you choosing? Intentions mean little if the reality of your heart leads to death.

Don’t be a sin lover…be a sin LOATHER! Found that written in my Bible today beside Prov. 17:19…and I love it! Sin IS a big deal. We need to become aware of how the enemy has been getting to us. When God reveals him to us…it then becomes our position, as heir to the Throne of Grace, to overcome. Revelations from God are for a purpose. To teach. To train. To free. To shed light into the dark.

Only a fool would see the Light, know the Light, trust the Light, and still sprint into the unknown darkness. You can’t trust that darkness. You have no idea what is trying to snatch you. Or trip you. Or kill you. When you stay in the Light though…you can see clearly, the scheme of the enemy. You can laugh at his pitiful attempt. You can crush him beneath you. Because you are not weak when you are in the Light of your Father!

Next we are onto another Proverb. This one found in chapter 28, verse 25, “A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trusts in the Lord will prosper.” Dissension huh? Let’s define that so that we know if we are a stirrer of it or not. Webster says dissension is defined as, “to disagree; think differently in opinion; strife; quarreling”
2012 Spring 1315 We would not allow our children to stir up strife. To quarrel. Sometimes the rules are different for us. It goes back to the word justified. “I am justified in my actions because of how they treated me.” To our children…it is simple. You are saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Ouch. Sorry if that truth stings a bit. I’m with ya. I want to live as I want them to learn!

On we go to 1 Corinthians. In chapter 6 verses 9-11…are some harsh realities. Realities that we dare not tempt with! Let’s read them to be sure they are not masked to you! “9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters not adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, your were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ of our God.” (NIV)

That is quite the list huh? I can go through it and KNOW that I am in the clear on most of those. I imagine you can do the same. But what about that word ‘greedy’. If I am finding myself be struggling with masked greed…where does that leave me? I KNOW that I am learning. I KNOW that I am repentful. And I KNOW that I am washed. Sanctified. Without blemish before my King. So I will beat this. You, beloved one, YOU can do the same. If you are feeling convicted…run toward God, not away. He has all that you need!

Mighty Warrior. So confused! Repeats 133 Do you feel as though you are a warrior who cowers from battle? Or are you are warrior who conquers them?! Ephesians 6:12 reminds us who our battle is against. “…against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  That leaves you in a place of power over your battles. You have access to resources much more powerful than what the enemy can throw at you. Choose your battle. Choose your weapon. Death or life is in the tongue. The Word of God...always sheds light.