First Jesus, then coffee…for His Purpose: Part 1

 

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Adelina, thanks for having me do your senior photo shoot, sooo fun!!           Blessings for your future…Psalm 46:5

 

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5:6

    “I can’t believe you use to be wild, you don’t seem like the type”…….That’s the typical statement I hear after sharing my testimony (my story of coming to faith). And it humbles me, it’s a sure-sign indicator that I must be doing something right these days! Whew!!!

Recently I’ve been mentally preparing to give my testimony to a group of high school teenage girls from my church.

When my sweet friend and also fellow youth leader asked if I’d share my story with these girls I wish I could say my first thought was, ‘this is the group that meets at a coffee shop for bible study every Saturday morning… there’s going to be an abundance of flavored creamer for a little bit of coffee…why, YES I’ll speak for  you gals!’ BUT that’s far-fetched from my initial reaction…it was more so, ‘you want me to do what???, these girls are going to reject me, what do I include and what do I somewhat sugar-coat???, where do I start and how much needs to be said?’…

There’s a reason I volunteer to help with the jr. high youth group (only)—they’re fun, crazy, and most impressionable…but the high school group I’m not real familiar with and I’ve somewhat distanced myself, not because I don’t care for them but more so because when I was that age I was (regretfully) a mess of a girl, so perhaps I feel somewhat unable to connect with a majority of them…

Continue reading “First Jesus, then coffee…for His Purpose: Part 1”

Surrendering Victoriously

IMG951306I recently finished teaching my little home-schooled boy a lesson in his history book regarding the Revolutionary War (1775-1781). Many battles took place during those years as our country fought the British in effort to gain independence from them.

It wasn’t until 1781 that victory came to the American people with the help of the French soldiers at Yorktown, Virginia when the British were trapped, and their General, Charles Cornwallis, agreed to surrender.

Imagine the excitement the Americans must have felt at that moment. The Declaration of Independence had been signed years prior and now the long and no doubt tiresome war would finally cease.

I think my son (if he would have lived during those years) would have humbly and nobly signed a 57th signature to that very important document. He’s also mentioned he would have fought right beside those brave Colonists, which comes as no surprise since he can often be spotted mimicking a combination of victory and defeat while acting out a war scene between an assortment of  Lego action figures.

As we studied this chapter on early American history my little “historian” thoroughly soaked it all in, which prompted me to take the discussion a bit further by challenging him on the topic of ‘surrender.’

While exploring the broad areas of surrender my boy voluntarily commented how a combination of Legos and electronics consumes much of his free-time and how he may need to consider “surrendering” some of that to something of more value and worthwhile.

I hadn’t really considered the many different ways surrender can take place until this point… Continue reading “Surrendering Victoriously”

Autumn Update: REST

I love this time of year—from the cool, crisp days, to the layers of crunchy fall-colored leaves scattered across hibernating front lawns.

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With Thanksgiving and Christmas plans under way and a love of baking in the kitchen with my two girls, the aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg spices never grows old and seems to create the perfect mixture. I longingly look forward to the autumn season weeks before it arrives.

My husband enjoys it for other reasons…the fall season for him means camouflage hunting attire, the ideal rifle of choice, and a deer permit with high hopes of filling a tag with a trophy buck.

But it also proves to be a busy time of year for our family. It can be easy for us to become distracted from the routine of everyday life as we tend to shuffle in a few extra plans for the holidays and if I’m not careful that alone can complicate our lives. Continue reading “Autumn Update: REST”

Sin City…More Than Just a Vegas Thing

Las Vegas has been referred to as “Sin City” for decades and some senseless man’s recent incongruity couldn’t more accurately fit the nickname, as bullets poured down on an innocent group of people who were expecting an evening of pleasure only to end up in a realistic nightmare.

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Instances such as this leave citizens wondering why…

Why is it that families can’t participate in movie outings, attend church or school, and other events without the lingering thought of safety issues?…

These are places that have been fabricated to fulfill the desire of happiness, fun, and necessity in the lives of children and adults alike, more importantly as ways to promote healthy family memories. Yet in the news it’s becoming the normal to hear of an event or location saturated with merciless sin as a result of one’s act of carelessness.

I don’t understand when these places became a monster’s playground. I don’t understand why some people are motivated by destruction and hurt.

What I do know is that evil exist this side of Heaven; it’s been in effect since Eve’s disobedient bite of fruit thousands of years ago in the Garden of Eden as she gave in to Satan’s evil lies (Genesis 3). Sin has been an ongoing disaster generation after generation and it will inevitably continue until Christ’s return to gather His followers.

However God has created each of us with minds that can choose― choose to follow Him or deny Him, choose to render positive influence and encouraging examples to the world, or choose to ignore or even contribute to the ugliness…and if I’m real with myself, often times I choose the latter of these.

God’s word tells us, “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31)…meanwhile I’m so wrapped up in my own busy life that I’m neglecting to realize people who are desperately in need exist outside of the responsibility of my home and family, therefore I allow a void in one of God’s most important commandments that He’s given.

The distressing truth is that “Sin City” isn’t just a Vegas thing. It has penetrated every part of the world. It’s found in our neighborhoods and sometimes inside the doors of our residence. It shows up in the form of lying, killing, stealing, cheating, hatred, neglect and is by no means limited to these things.

I believe without Jesus’ words of hope pressed into our hearts and minds our world will only slip further away from God’s desire of love for one another.

I must admit I’ve been deeply convicted in the past few weeks between personal relationships and listening to my pastor’s messages each Sunday morning as he has been teaching a series on “Heaven and Hell”. I can’t help but notice the lack of care and concern for others that occurs in my own self…you see, sometimes “Sin City” is a little closer to home than I care to admit..sometimes it resides right in my very heart. Continue reading “Sin City…More Than Just a Vegas Thing”

Lego-building vs. God

One of my favorite things about God is His ideal timing…

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God’s Word always provides the answer to our problems; we just have to be willing to go there.        

I’m perpetually guilty of getting caught up in the crazy-business of life and losing focus on the things that really matter. Attempting to search for the bottom of a to-do-list just to realize the rest of my calendar is filled with activities, deadlines and appointments, sometimes just doesn’t settle well with me. Raising children, planning meals, a demanding job…the list goes on― these are things that keep my husband and I and most other grown-ups on the go. Let’s face it, sometimes “adult-ing” is tough… in the heat of the moment we often forget to breathe and allow God to direct our steps.

So far homeschooling my son this school year has proved to be somewhat stressful and difficult…second grade started and my boy has brought to the table not only his school books, but an exasperating attitude nearly every day.

Recently I sternly but rationally discussed with him the possibility of maybe focusing a little more, in light of finishing Math in an hour’s time, rather than three hours. And it’s not that he struggles with the work or expectations, he’s perfectly capable, he’s just preoccupied with other interests and therefore it distracts him from the matter at hand.

Needless to say the conversation didn’t appeal well to him and it left me feeling helpless and as a result I slowly walked away from the table and plopped down on the sofa and sighed, most likely dramatically. Continue reading “Lego-building vs. God”