Monday, May 24, 2010

Lord, may it be so!

Care for those Jesus cares about
by Rick Warren

The Lord replied, "Don't say, 'I'm too young,' for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you." Jeremiah 1:7 (NLT)
"Maybe you've been waiting for some supernatural feeling or experience, but God has already stated his call for you. The Great Commission is your commission, and doing your part is the secret to living a life of significance."

Whether it was Sarah claiming she was too old to be used by God or Jeremiah claiming he was too young, God rejected their excuses. "Don't say that," the Lord replied, "for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don't be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you." (Jeremiah 1:7-8 NLT)

Maybe you've believed that you needed a special "call" from God, and you've been waiting for some supernatural feeling or experience, but God has already stated his call for you. He doesn't want to use just some of his people; he wants to use all of his people. We're all called to be on-mission for God. He wants his whole church to take the whole gospel to the whole world.

If you want to be like Jesus, you must care about what he cares about most; you must have a heart for the whole world! You can't be satisfied with just your family and friends coming to Christ. There are over six billion people on earth, and Jesus wants all his lost children found.

The Great Commission is your commission, and doing your part is the secret to living a life of significance. Jesus said, "Only those who throw away their lives for my sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live." (Mark 8:35 LB

Sunday, May 16, 2010

...oh and a couple more...

20-ish Months

So much for 18 month pictures for Drew. That milestone has come and gone. He is, however, the only child in this family to have ever had 21 month pictures taken! Enjoy a few...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What Makes God Smile?

This is another of Rick Warren's e-devotions. It's so good! I hadn't ever thought so specifically about what it really meant for Noah to go ahead and build an ark and then round up all those animals. Truly an amazing display of faith!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

God Smiles When We Trust
by Rick Warren

"By faith, Noah built a ship in the middle of dry land. He was warned about something he couldn't see, and acted on what he was told. . . . As a result, Noah became intimate with God." Hebrews 11:7 (MSG)

Imagine this scene: One day God comes to Noah and says, "I'm disappointed in human beings. In the entire world, no one but you thinks about me. But Noah, when I look at you, I start smiling. I'm pleased with your life, so I'm going to flood the world and start over with you and your family. I want you to build a giant ship that will save you and the animals."

There were three problems that could have caused Noah to doubt:

1. Noah had never seen rain because prior to the flood God irrigated the earth from the ground up (Genesis 2:5-6).
2. Noah lived hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean. Even if he could learn to build a ship, how would he get it to water?
3. There was the problem of rounding up all the animals and then caring for them.

But Noah didn't complain or make excuses. He trusted God completely, and that made God smile.

Trusting God completely means having faith that God knows what is best for your life. You expect him to keep his promises, help you with problems, and do the impossible when necessary.

The Bible says, "He takes pleasure in those who honor him, in those who trust in his constant love" (Psalm 147:11 TEV).

It took Noah 120 years to build the ark. I imagine he faced many discouraging days. With no sign of rain year after year, he was probably criticized as a "crazy man who thinks God speaks to him." I imagine Noah's children were often embarrassed by the giant ship being built in their front yard.

Yet Noah kept on trusting God.

In what areas of your life do you need to trust God completely?

Trusting is an act of worship. Just as parents are pleased when children trust them, your faith makes God happy. The Bible says, "Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6 NIV).

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Careful What You Wish For and God's Sense of Humor

Today began as many other days. I woke up, had some coffee, watched the news, spent some time in devotions and then checked emails and such. I had a few minutes before the big kids needed to be up for school so I was checking some of my favorite blogs. I read one blog post about how the routine of life can become so mundane. I really related to what the author had written. I was getting quite worked up over it. I wanted to throw my hands in the air and shout an "amen!", "preach it, sister!". I wrapped up my computer time feeling discontented with the monotony of daily life.

It is now nearly 1:00 p.m. and I take back all of those thoughts and feelings of discontentment! I love monotony and routine and predictability! I will not wish for life to be more exciting ever again!

I think that God had a blast this morning reminding me just how blessed I am! Let me recap for you:

The boys got off to school with no issues. The little kids weren't up yet when I returned from crossing the boys over to school so I headed to the laundry room to get some things going in there, same old routine. There had been a problem a few days ago of a red piece of paper being left in a pocket and bleeding into a load of light colored clothes. I hadn't had any luck getting the pink stains out so I bought some color-bleed remover. I left the clothes to soak in the sink in this remover over night. Well, I think overnight was too much soak time, because the pink clothes were now tie-died clothes. I was a little miffed about this mishap because the clothes were some of my favorites of Hanna and Drew. I had to talk myself down from the ledge, reminding myself that they are only clothes and there are plenty of other clothes in this house. I moved on from the ruined clothes.

Drew was awake and calling for me when I left the laundry room so I went to get him up. I was greeted with the lovely and familiar poo smell that greets me in his room almost every morning. He had a huge smile for me too and so I didn't hold the poopy diaper against him. Off we went to change it.

Hanna was awake and singing in her bed by the time I finished changing Drew, so he and I went in her room to get her up. She hid under the covers, giggling, because we always pretend that she's nowhere to be found and I have to look all over the room for her. When I finally threw back the covers to "find" her, I also discovered that her sheets were soaked. This happens quite often. We got her out of her wet pjs and into some dry clothes and took the sheets off the bed and brought them to the laundry room. Problem solved.

We headed to the kitchen to get Hanna and Drew some breakfast. They began eating happily so I ducked out to finish getting myself ready for the day. I got clothes out of the closet and headed to the bathroom. On the way, I stepped in something wet. I bent down to get a closer look and realized that the dog had peed on the corner of our bed and the floor as well. After bringing the dog in to rub his nose in the pee and reprimand him, I put him outside and then went to work on cleaning the carpet and getting the bedding off to wash. At this point, I was beginning to be agitated.

I finished getting ready, the kids finished their breakfast, we got their clothes on and we headed outside to play. All was well. At one point, I ran inside to grab a snack and use the bathroom. I could hear the kids around the back of the house through the bathroom window so I peeked out to see what they were up to. I glimpsed Hanna pulling her pants up. She has been in trouble before for pulling her pants down outside and going potty outside so I wasn't very happy about the possibility of her choosing to do it again! I headed out there to check out the situation and turned the corner to find a very large pile of poop with small footprints all around it. Hanna had pooped on the back patio and Drew had walked right through it and all around it, leaving poopy, size 7 crock-prints. I quickly removed Drew from the poop pile and took off his crocks for washing later. Hanna was put in her room for dealing with later. I scraped the poop from the patio and then power-washed the area. The crocks were cleaned and Drew was bathed. Hanna received her consequences which of course are consequences that make my day suck too!

Since settling into our consequences and Drew going down for a nap, the day has become much more peaceful. I've had some time to reflect upon the day.

I've learned that I have two ways to look at life:
Way #1:
-I have two big boys who are cooperative and excited to go to school
-I have a baby boy who greets me each morning with a smile
-I have a daughter who has a happy song in her heart and "plumbing" that works
-I have a washing machine and dryer that work
-Each member of my family has more than enough clothes
-I have a dog that makes my kids happy
-I have all the time in the world to clean up poop and pee and food messes
-I have a husband who lets me complain about all of these messes and then he laughs with me and reminds me what really matters

Way #2:
-All I ever do, day after day, is clean up messes and solve problems. My life is boring and has no meaning.

I feel so much better when I focus on the blessings in my life! Thank you, God, for reminding of this today. And thank you for the pinched nerve in my neck that will be there to remind me for days to come!

This is the day the Lord has made, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Double Digits!

Today is Derek's TENTH birthday! What a big day! We're praising God for the blessing of Derek today! It's been so much fun to watch him grow these past 10 years and we are anxious to watch as God unfolds His plan in Derek's life from here forward. What a great kid!

My ten words to describe Derek are:
ADORABLE (dont' tell him I said that!)

So give the birthday boy a big hug and smooch if you see him today!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Arrow Pledge

I'm reading this book called One Million Arrows by Julie Ferwerda. It's a call to Christian parents to be intentional about raising their children, and other children who need spiritual and/or physical parenting, to change the world. It asks, "Will the world change your children...or will your children change the world?" The author encourages parents to take responsibility for their child(rens) spiritual training. She states that parents can't leave this responsibilty to the church or the school alone.

I won't give you the whole book here but I'd highly recommend reading it.

In the book, Ferwerda tells the story of a man who leaves the U.S., along with his wife, to begin caring for and raising street children in India. Over time, God gives this man, He goes by Papa, dreams about these children. He sees them as arrows to be sharpened in the fear of the Lord and then shot out all over India to be used by God in the battle against darkness. Papa believes that God has called him to raise up one million arrows for Him, thus the title of the book. Papa says, "God said that all children are arrows in the hands of the mighty Man, Jesus Christ. All we have to do in order to evangelize the whole world is to take the arrows and place them into Jesus' hands." These street children graduate from Papa's training homes and almost all of them choose to enter into missions. There is a pledge that Papa has written, all of the graduates learn it and recite upon graduation. It says:

"I take a stand to honor the Lord Jesus Christ with my hands, to serve all mankind.
I take a stand to honor the Lord Jesus Christ with my feet, to spread the Gospel to all the ends of the earth, no matter the cost.
I take a stand to honor the Lord Jesus Christ with my lips, by proclaiming the Good News to all who hear, and by edifying the body of Christ.
I take a stand to honor Jesus Christ with my mind, as I meditate upon His Word.
I give my earthly treasures and all that I possess to follow the way of the cross.
I commit to love my family, orphans, widows, lepers, the wealthy, and the poor, the way that Christ loved the church.
I surrender my will and life to His will and life.
I commit to the service of the Lord by being a good steward of my time.
I surrender my body to the perfect will of Jesus and, should my blood be spilled, may it bring forth a mighty harvest of souls.
I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation, and to everyone who believes.
As a soldier of the cross I stand with the Apostle Paul in stating that, "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain."
Lord Jesus, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
I love my country and my fellow citizens, and I claim my country for Christ."

What kinds of things will God do with millions of young people who are willing to stand up and recite this pledge, meaning every word from the bottom of their hearts? It gives me goose bumps just thinking about it!

Of course, all Christian parents want their children to come to that commitment to Christ and I want that so very much! It's just that I don't want to stop there! Good manners, good grades and being productive members of society aren't cutting it for me as goals for my kids. All of that sounds very safe, but it sounds boring too. Are we called to a safe life as Christians? No way! There is nothing safe or boring about living a life sold out to Christ and His work. I want to raise kids that know that God has made them in order to use them to do big things for Him! I want to raise razor sharp arrows for the Lord! I'll cry like a baby if He chooses to launch them outside the limits of our little city, but I'll be one proud mama too! Praise God, it's not all about this life. I don't have to hold anything back out of fear in this life, including my kids.

I love this quote from the book:
"Hold it all loosely. Use it all for His glory. He wants everything."