Monday, June 30, 2014

Bible Challenge (Isaiah 7:15)

"Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good." 
- Isaiah 7:15

Am I faithful to fill my mind ONLY with the "good food" of God's Word so that I can refuse the evil?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Bible Challenge (2 Chronicles 25:2)

"And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart." - 2 Chronicles 25:2

If I obey and serve God with my body, yet am not faithful to pursue Him with my heart, I will not experience the fullness, blessings, and peace of the Lord. Is my heart doing right in God's eyes?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bible Challenge (1 Timothy 4:15)

"Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholy to them; that thy profiting may appear to all." 
- 1 Timothy 4:15

Do I truly give myself wholly to the things of God and His Word? Am I faithful to meditate on what He teaches me?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Put Away the Strange Gods!

            I prayed before I opened my Bible that the Lord would teach me something from His Word today. I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular, I just wanted to get back into reading, enjoying, and learning from God’s Word again.

            I read a couple chapters in 2 Timothy and received some general encouragement and instruction, then turned to where I was reading through the Old Testament. I was reading in 1 Samuel and had just gotten to the part where the Philistines had taken the Ark of the Covenant. They put it in their temple next to the god, Dagon. When they went in the next morning, Dagon was fallen with his face to the ground before the ark. The Philistines set him back up again, but when they went in the following morning, he was down again. This time, his head and hands were broken off.

            The thought struck me, how mighty and amazing God is! He can not tolerate an idol in His presence, but will bring whatever it is that competes for His place crashing down. I then thought about how we often have idols in our own hearts, and how we will allow other things to take captive our time and thoughts.

            After a moment’s reflection, I realized that there were two things that took up a lot of my time, and the majority of my thought life – reading books and earning money. There were also some other things I saw that, if I wasn’t careful, could also become idols in my life: school, exercise, crafts. It’s hard to think I would allow myself to devote more time and thought to these than to God Himself and His Word. I quickly gave these things back to the Lord and committed myself anew to Him, asking Him to take first place in my heart.

            When we don’t stop and give our “idols” to the Lord, He will often mercifully have them “fall”, and take away what we have chosen to serve other than Himself. I know from experience that these are painful times of fear, resourcefulness, and bitter repentance. But God will be first place, the Supreme Ruler. If He’s not first place now, then He will be on that approaching judgment day when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

            How thankful we should be for “second chances.” God’s mercy and Christ’s blood that hides our multitudes of sins.

            I pray that each of us would stop just for a moment and ask the Lord if there is anything that is competing for first place in our hearts.

            God bless each of you as you strive for a closer walk with Him.

“Put away the strange gods,… and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only: and he will deliver you…” -1 Samuel 7:3

Posts from the Past
Every Wednesday (Now Tuesday!) I post something that I have written in the past. It may have been written a long time ago, or a very, very long time ago! :-D So please forgive any mistakes!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Changing Seasons

For some of you, I have emailed or called and have been keeping you updated on what’s going on in my life. The rest of you have been pretty much in the dark about all of it. I’m sorry!

I guess I should start at the beginning.

Last year, my parents (and several of us older children) felt the Lord leading in a different direction. Our family ministry had been growing, and we were getting invited to many more places to sing and preach (Daddy preaching, of course). Most of our singing opportunities were in Mississippi, and spreading out from that area. We began to feel God starting pushing us in the direction of full-time ministry.

Of course there were several things that had to be sorted out. First was our church, and God worked that out in an amazing way. He started moving the different families in our church in different directions as well, so the official last Sunday was actually a blessing to pretty much everyone.

Secondly, we were not only going into full-time ministry, but God wanted us to move to that central location, in Mississippi! Last month, our house sold, and the signing of the purchase agreement is set for July 3rd. Everything has gone super smoothly with all the papers, transportation, and everything. God had already allowed us to purchase a place in Mississippi, so all of us are going to squeeze into a tiny single-wide trailer until we get our house built.

God has been providing us with more and more ministry opportunities, and we have already been on the road more in the past year than we have ever been!

In the midst of all of this, God was starting to work His own plan in my life. To begin with, I naturally assumed I would be going with my family, doing what they do, etc. There is NOTHING I enjoy more than getting to sing and minister with my family.

I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but I started to feel like I was somehow going to be left behind to watch my family move forward. I’ll admit, I wasn’t exactly happy about it! I told a friend at the beginning of this year, “Something big is going to happen, I’m not sure what, but it would have to be either marriage or college!” I was half in jest, half serious. Little did I know…

For a short time, my sister was considering doing an on-line college, so my mom applied for PELL grants for the both of us. The only problem with me doing it was that there was no degree available that I felt led to do. I didn’t exactly want to do college just to do it!

Then at three different points in time, my daddy mentioned the community college that is not even ten minutes from our place in Mississippi. I started looking into it, and then at Mississippi State. NEVER would I have imagined I would be GOING to college, much less a secular college! But God started opening first one door, then the other. Then, before I knew it, there was nothing but green lights. The degree that God literally placed in my lap was Agricultural Informative Science with concentrations in Agricultural Leadership.  I would also be minoring in Music (Big surprise, huh?). I will be starting out at the community college, and then if God continues to keep the doors open, will transfer to Mississippi State to finish up my degree.
I was kind of excited, kind of nervous. I used to want to go to college years ago, for the wrong reasons, so I was so nervous about pushing ahead of God and not following His leading. So God has actually had to push me at times!

A couple weeks ago I was lying in my bed thinking about everything that God had worked out, then I began to think about the purpose of the degree I was getting. Sure, I always had loved plants and animals, and I loved working with them, and teaching others about them. The problem wasn’t with the degree, but I honestly couldn’t see how this degree could be used as a means of ministry or teaching others about God and encouraging them in their walk with Him. I mean, in the past I had taught a couple classes to homeschoolers about the garden, and tied in an object lesson from God’s Word, but I wasn’t quite sure about the BIG picture. I was awake until one o’clock thinking about it. God brought me to a point that night where I had to just place it in His hands and decide to keep walking forward as long as He opened doors, even if I couldn’t see His plans.

The very next day I was looking up some gardening info for someone, and I stumbled across a site, Intrigued, I read some posts, then some more, then some more. He had a book he had written, and I ordered it. When it came in Friday, I read the entire thing that evening. It was like nothing I had ever read before. (Interesting note here: For the past week, I had been looking up references in the Bible about gardens, vineyards, plowing, etc. anything related to gardening, so I was already familiar with several of the passages he was using.) It talked about gardening from a whole different perspective, God’s Word. True, I may not have agreed with every little detail, but it was enough to give me the push I needed.
I have also recently watched some videos that proclaim the glory of God’s creation through different animals. Since my focus is both plants and animals, God really used it to speak to my heart in a special way. God has a way that He will use whatever I learn for His glory and Kingdom work. I just have to be faithful in studying and searching His Word for it, and waiting for the opportunities He brings my way.

So, I’m going to college, Lord willing. I’m still waiting for God to bring something else up and change the plans :-D, but so far He hasn’t. I would be fine either way, but I am now starting to get excited about learning, and am looking forward to what God will teach me in this new chapter of my life.

I think the most difficult thing for me during this transition hasn’t been about the move, leaving my friends, or even about going to college, but about not being able to participate in the family ministry. In the past nine months God has brought me to a place where I dove into our ministry whole-heartedly, holding nothing back, and I LOVED it! There is nothing that brings me more joy than when I am standing with my best friends (my siblings) at my side, singing praise and glory to our precious Lord.

Sure, I’ll still be able to go and sing with them at times, but I will not have the flexibility or freedom to go everywhere with them. God had to bring me to a place where I surrendered being a part of the family ministry to Him. God had brought me to a point where I loved ministering with my family more than anything, and now He wanted me to give it back to Him. With many tears and much pain, I did. I still have a little pang when I think about it, but am now looking forward to the plans God has for me, be it college or something else. Never did I think I would be going in a different direction than my family, but I want to be faithful in following God’s will for my own life.

I would greatly appreciate your prayers for myself and for my family as we go through this time together, and follow the Lord’s leading to be all that He wants us to be. May we be pure reflections of His holiness as we go about in His strength!

Bible Challenge (1 Timothy 4:6)

"If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine whereunto thou hast attained." - 1 Timothy 4:6

Am I diligent to immerse myself in God's Word so that he may nourish and instruct me in the faith and doctrine I am to experience in my daily walk and share with others?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Bible Challenge (2 Thessalonians 3:5)

"And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ."        2 Thessalonians 3:5

Am I willing to trust God to grow me as He sees fit?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Bible Challenge (Isaiah 41:13)

"For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee."        Isaiah 41:13

When I am in that hard place between self and God, am I willing to reach out, and let Him take my hand, trust Him, and allow Him to help me overcome and relieve my fears?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Under My Tender Caring Hand

Under My  Tender Caring Hand

With the Shepherd sheep do graze,
Though at worldly lusts they gaze.
Then the Shepherd’s hands on their heads He lay.
With His tender loving voice He does say:
“Don’t wish to be in worldly land,
But stay under my tender, caring hand.”

Though the Shepherd’s hand on their head was laid,
Out of his loving care they strayed.
 But when the path was darkened, they called out in fright.
Then they saw the Shepherd’s bright and shining light.
When safe in His arms and resting their head,
He stroked them and softly and tenderly said:
 “Why did you go from our peaceful land?
Please stay under my tender, caring hand.”

When back in the safety of His land,
Glad they were under the Shepherd’s hand.
They looked at the world, said “That’s not the way.”
Then they heard a soft, and sweet voice say:
“The world is a sinful destructive land,
I’m glad you are under my tender caring hand.”

Interesting side note: I won a poetry contest with this poem about thirteen years ago, and it was published in a coffee table special edition poetry book.

Posts from the Past
Every Wednesday (Now Tuesday!) I post something that I have written in the past. It may have been written a long time ago, or a very, very long time ago! :-D So please forgive any mistakes!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Bible Challenge (2 Chronicles 20:17)

"Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you," - 2 Chronicles 20:17

Will I step back and let God fight my battles?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Bible Challenge (2 Thessalonians 1:12)

"That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."                 - 2 Thessalonians 1:12

Am I willing to give God the glory, not only for how He blesses me, but also for how He grows, chastens, and works through me?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Bible Challenge (2 Chronicles 16:9)

"For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him." - 2 Chronicles 16:9

God is ready and willing to show Himself strong in my. Am I  making Him wait?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Daughter's Journey to Contentment

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”-Philippians 4:11

            I think we all know or have heard of that verse. It is often preached or taught on. Contentment is a lovely lesson once learned, and actually is essential in our lives if we are to be Christians to the fullest extent.

I find it kind of funny, how such a simple word, only used sixteen times in the Bible, can give such a dramatic difference when present in our lives. It’s not something that we can just “decide to learn” or “decide to be” on the fly. It’s something the Lord has to show us and teach us Himself. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard teaching or read books about in this particular subject, and though the information was really helpful, I didn’t fully understand it until the Lord brought me to a point where I was ready to learn it.

I know many girls who have struggled with this topic. In fact, I’d be hard-pressed to find a girl that didn’t struggle with being content. I know I had quite a hard time learning the true meaning of contentment, and now as I am learning to apply what I’ve learned, the Lord shows himself faithful to see that I remain humble in my contentment by allowing me to mess up.

Would you believe me if I told you that we ourselves cause discontentment? Think about it. When are the times that we are most discontent? When we can’t do something, when something doesn’t go our way, or when we think we are punished or accused unfairly. Satan led me to think that I couldn’t serve God to the fullest extent while I was still living at home. I was going through a spiritual growth spurt, and was learning a lot about God and serving Him. “How can I serve with just being in my family?” I was soon to learn that living at home and serving my family is one of the biggest blessings God gives us as daughters.

The two things I had continually brought before the Lord was, “How can I serve You when I’m still at home?” and “What is Your will for my life?” I had heard and read about so many young people who were “finding out what God’s will for their lives” were. I was kind of jealous, kind of anxious. When was God going to reveal His will to me?

Little by little, without me realizing it, the Lord did show me His will. He began to teach me the importance of serving my family, and the importance of our family ministry. Before I knew it, my goal in life was to do what I could to help our family. In material things, I began to teach my little brother’s school, do our family garden, and raise chickens. I began to learn how to be “available” and put myself last, take an interest in my family in general. Learning to take an interest and encourage each and every one of my siblings, learning how to support my dad and older brothers in their interests and undertakings, learning how to be an example to my siblings, the list goes on and on. As soon as I realized this was what God’s will for me was, I was better able to be content.

I think that many people have a misconception about the definition of God’s will. As my uncle (who’s a pastor) once said, “God’s will is not what you are going to do for the rest of your life. God’s will is what you are.” Basically, whatever God is teaching you, whether it’s to be more of a servant to your family, a godly daughter, a graceful, feminine girl, a cheering sister, a wonderful organizer, or a musician, that’s what God’s will for you is. 

I’ve found wonderful contentment because now I know God’s will for my life is what He’s teaching me RIGHT NOW. I just focus on learning to be graceful, a diligent gardener, a responsible older daughter, (and on with the list). And the neat thing is, He is always is bringing new things to my attention, so I can’t have learned everything and be sitting there with nothing to do. I have no excuse now to be discontent, I’m too busy!

Posts from the Past
Every Wednesday (Now Tuesday!) I post something that I have written in the past. It may have been written a long time ago, or a very, very long time ago! :-D So please forgive any mistakes!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Bible Challenge (Colossians 2:6)

"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:" - Colossians 2:6

I received Christ through faith and humility. Am I pursuing my relationship with Him in the same spirit?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Bible Challenge (Philippians 3:7)

"But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ." - Philippians 3:7

What personal gain is causing my relationship with Christ to suffer loss?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Philippians 2:21

"For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's." - Philippians 2:21

What/who am I focused on? Do I have peace and passion in my relationship with God? If not, what is the reason? 99% of the time, this is it!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Reliable Woman

 “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?” -Luke 16:10-12

A Reliable Woman Is

Energetic and cheerful
Looking for opportunities to help others
Indescribable in her passion for work
Always willing
Bold in asking “Can I help?”
Loved and welcomed in all places
Ever ready to serve

The more responsible I am. The more freedom I will be given; the more freedom I am given, the more responsible I must be.

Posts from the Past
Every Wednesday (Now Tuesday!) I post something that I have written in the past. It may have been written a long time ago, or a very, very long time ago! :-D So please forgive any mistakes!