It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write due to a combination of super busy and miserably sick, and learning a new phone system!!!! (I’m still not even sure this will show correctly to my ‘email followers’; if you’re interested you may need to click into the link and read it from the blog’s website).
In the midst of all of the crazy, some really cool things have been happening…
I began guitar lessons a few weeks ago, something I have wanted to do for years now. I’m hoping one day I’ll hear my husband say, “good job honey!”…instead of, “it sounds like you’re strangling a cat.” He’s right though!! I’ll be strumming along nice and lovely…and then all of a sudden out of nowhere, “rrrreerrr”…not music to my ears or anyone else’s to say the least, but I have a fantastic guitar instructor and therefore I’m hopeful this will all get “harmonized” in due time.
Also I took a spiritual gifts test recently with the rest of my co-youth group leaders and discovered that my top strong points are exhortation (encouragement), serving, and hospitality. This has helped me know myself just a little more!
ENCOURAGEMENT seems fitting since I’ve referred to myself as my kids’ biggest cheerleader, including my husband’s. I’ve even poured that encouragement out on my classroom kids as I sub and my youth kids as I help lead them—kids and adults alike need rooted on!!
SERVING comes in as I get involved in mission trips, community service projects, and local outreach programs.
And HOSPITALITY has shown up as our family has held youth group events at our home, hosted the most amazing foreign exchange student, and entertained numerous guests between large birthday parties and dinner dates.
I have provided a link if anyone is interested in taking this spiritual gifts test: http://ebcrochester.org/misc/php/LifeWaySpiritualGiftsSurvey.php
**side note: there’s a huge difference between spiritual gifts and talents! In quick summary, God gives both; a talent can be possessed by anyone as the result of genetics and/or training, whereas a spiritual gift is the result of the Holy Spirit’s power at work in a believer. Romans 12:6-8, 1st Corinthians 12:4-11, Ephesians 4:11-13
Next, since garage sale season is among us, I browsed a few the other day. I was set out for mason jars to use for canning purposes and found NOT a single one; however, nearing the end of my search I came across what resembled more of a “garbage sale” than a garage sale and I spotted this little gem:
And the cost, just five dollars!! and I turned it into this:
With spring in full bloom I’m excited about seeing blossoms on our cherry trees, hens laying eggs regularly again, and baby chicks growing.
And I’ve decided after being turned down by my husband in regards to getting a horse, that the best kind of horse, is actually the neighbor’s…you don’t have the expense of food or have to mess with the chore of caring for one!
…Now for the main purpose of this post: something sweet happened the other day…
I stopped at the grocery store to grab a few items early one morning. I was in a hurry and while at the self-checkout line I inserted a $20 bill and should’ve received back $15.02, but what dispensed from the machine was twice as much the amount it should’ve been; so I quickly notified the cashier at the self-check-outs and explained what had happened, also that I really didn’t have much time.
She happened to have a five dollar bill in her pocket (which is one of the bills that should’ve dispensed rather than the twenty) so I gave her the $20 bill and my receipt in return for the five and she sent me on my way knowing I was in a hurry. She was appreciative of my honesty and would take care of the problem without my presence.
As I walked away, I smiled and thought to myself, “Not today Satan, not today.”
The truth is, Satan is always trying to win you and I over and this was a prime example. I could’ve easily taken that extra money and walked away, but here is what would’ve happened had I done so…
Satan would’ve had the stronghold, knowing he won me over through a poor choice.
Eventually I would have dealt with guilt, and through that, Satan would’ve felt gain and control; perhaps even thinking, ha ha she took the money and now she’s feeling guilty and regretful…again he would’ve gotten his way with me for the second time.
Call it what you want, but in spite of the cash register’s slot machine-like behavior it would have been an imitation of stealing—regardless of the circumstances.
For me, as a Christian, that situation was an obvious no-no, one I didn’t even have to think over; however because Satan is sneaky I have to remember to be on guard and continually remind myself, “not today Satan!”…because he’s always throwing the bait, waiting for the bite.
Some of the challenges I’m presented with are (at times) too shallow to recognize the danger and carelessness lurking behind the moment. When worry begins to give way, when anger starts to rise, when temptations and jealousy come my way I must be quick to see the red flag bobbing and think, “not today Satan, not today!” If I’m inattentive or unaware of my potentially dangerous conditions then I’m at the risk of sinking, because Satan doesn’t offer a life saving device, that’s only provided by God. Satan doesn’t, because he doesn’t care and that’s not his job; he’s not interested in helping us, only hurting us.
Even Jesus was personally tempted by Satan, and we can read about it in Matthew 4:1-11, but He never gave into the temptation. In fact, verse 10 tells us Jesus said, “Be gone, Satan!” This command demonstrates the perfect answer as Satan makes every attempt to throw us off. We too, can hang onto our integrity by quoting the very words of Jesus, “Be gone, Satan!”
This piece of scripture concludes with verse 11, where we learn that after Jesus “canned” Satan, Jesus was then comforted by angels as they ministered to Him…another joy of having God on our side.
I also love the verse from 1 Corinthians 10:13 that reads, No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
So we’re not in this alone, God’s way provides the only way of maintaining innocence, whereas the world’s way paves the road to destruction and regret. Yes, we are given free-will, ultimately we make the final call whether we will choose right or wrong!!
This idea of choice dates back to the beginning of time when Adam and Eve chose to do wrong (disobeying God) in the Garden of Eden, biting into the fruit that changed their perfect way of life as they knew it and introducing sin.
When I consider myself in Eve’s shoes/place, (shoes would sound a lot better but those weren’t necessary at the time) I see myself resemble her (at times) with such irony, “Sure Satan, I’ll choose your way!” and each time his way, inevitably, ends in shame; therefore my only hope is to remain strong through choosing Christ’ way and continue with the echo and cry of my heart beating, not today Satan, not today. By that simple thought-process filtering throughout my mind and throughout my day I can trample so many negative thoughts and can walk in the example of Jesus’ words, “Be gone, Satan!”
I once had someone tell me he used to pray, “I need more of Jesus and less of me” and how he later changed his prayer to, “I need all Jesus and no me.”
The Christian walk is by no means easy, as Jesus even warned His disciples in John 16:33 telling them, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
I’m still a work in progress, but I’m better than I was yesterday and hopeful for tomorrow, and assured of my eternal future by my faith in Christ.