Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wednesday Words of Encouragement

I Peter 2:4-10 ~

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:

"See, I lay a stone in
Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame."

Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,

"The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,"

and,

"A stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall."

They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.


It took quite a few times of reading this through to finally be able to wrap my brain around these verses.  I saw some really neat comparisons between God's plan for Jesus and His plan for us.

Jesus
► Living Stone
► Chosen by God
► Cornerstone (the stone that is pivotal to holding up the foundations)
► He is the high priest
► He is precious to God
► He is the light

Us
► Living stones
► Chosen by God
► We are built upon the cornerstone
► We are a spiritual house
► Royal priesthood
► Belong to God
► Called out of darkness into the light

I love how we are an extension of all that Jesus was intended for. He is the Living Stone and we are living stones built upon Him who is the cornerstone for our spiritual lives. He is the high priest and we are a royal priesthood serving with Him. He is precious to God. We belong to God. We were called out of darkness and into the light that is Jesus.

What a wonderful analogy! God chose you. He called you out of darkness and you are precious to Him. Our spiritual lives are built stone by stone on the the truth of Jesus Christ who is the foundation of our faith.

Rejoice in that knowledge today! Think of the legacy we are leaving as we continue building spiritual houses with our children's lives and all the lives that we touch and who are changed by our witness.

I can envision a huge city of homes that extends as far as the eye can see. Each of those homes is filled with the love and light of people who have come to know the One who is the true light!

That is great encouragement to me and I hope to you as well. Let's thank God for the wonderful work He is doing in our lives.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Attitude Adjustment

How is your attitude today?

My focus in life has been on doing things well.  Whatever comes my way, I want to do it to the best of my ability.  Whether it's managing my home, doing a project for my husband, working with children in the church or running my own business. 

Ephesians 9:10 ~

Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.


 
 
But sometimes I need an attitude adjustment.  I can get overwhelmed, annoyed, irritated and complaining about the things in my life.  I love the verses that talk about working for the Lord, because the reality is that everything we do is for Him.  When I have that perspective then it changes how I approach all I do in my life.

Colossians 3:23-24 ~

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know you will receive an inheritance as a reward.  It is the Lord you are serving.


It may be just preparing a meal for my family.  It may be typing up something for Dan.  It may be lending an ear to someone who needs to talk.  It may be writing out bills for my shop.  Whatever it is, when I have a kingdom perspective, my attitude changes.



When I forget that and start grumbling, complaining, and begrudgingly doing things, it's time for an attitude adjustment.  God has given me the very breath I take.  Can I give Him any less than my best?

Romans 12:11~

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.



As you go through your day today, keep that perspective.  Try it and I think you'll find that your attitude does adjust to one of gratitude and praise!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Color-Blind



Dan & I took a much needed afternoon off yesterday after church.  One of the things we wanted to do was go apple picking but rather than go some place close to home, we decided to drive about 45 minutes away and do a number of activities.

One of the things we both commented on is how busy and distracted we get.  We race through life and forget to just stop and relax and breathe in the fresh air and notice the beautiful colors around us.  We can be color-bind!

Yesterday was a day full of colors!  I thought I'd share some with you.






 



Sometimes you just need to get rid of the distractions and appreciate the beauty around you and enjoy the colors!

Friday, September 26, 2014

What Do You Mean it's Not About Me?

Hebrews 10:23-25 (NLT) ~

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

I'm leaving this afternoon for a woman's retreat.  It actually is a bi-annual retreat for our denomination and it's geared towards missions.  It is a way to connect with our International Workers and hear about their ministry and know how to better pray for them.  A wonderful benefit though is often I come away with something that helps me in my own walk with the Lord.  Even though I'm busy, I am always so glad that I went to encourage others and to be encouraged.

I love this passage in Hebrews because it affirms why we are to meet together as a body of believers.  We don't go to church because it's our duty.  We don't get together with other Christians because we are supposed to do that.  We do it because it is a way to encourage each other.  When we meet regularly, we develop relationships with others.  We know how to pray for each other.  We become part of another's life which spurs us on to love and do good.

Are you part of a local body of believers?  Do you regularly meet with other Christians?  Do you think of ways to motivate others to acts of love and good works?  Or is it all about you.  Ouch!  I know that can sting but we often live our lives that way, don't we?  It's all about ME!

If I don't like what the pastor is preaching on this week, I don't show up. If Susie offended me, I stay home.  If things don't go my way, I turn on the television preacher.  It's often like the proverbial boy who gets mad, picks up his toys and goes home.

As believers it is NOT about us.  It is about Jesus Christ and it is about others.  I'm not sure how we can ever expect God's blessing in our lives when we constantly think everything has to be the way we want it to be.  I'm not sure how we can think we will grow if we are not in relationship with others.

Christ's coming is imminent.  I want to be found worthy and I want to do His will.  And often that will mean setting aside my own desires and encouraging others in their walk.

Let's work together to motivate, to encourage and lift each other up!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Meanderings

I've had such full, busy days lately but if you've read my blog for any length of time you know, I love it! :-)
 
This week was filled with cleaning the house, continuing to pull tomatoes off the vine.  Those grape tomatoes did fantastic this year.
 
I've been watching Emily's tennis matches.  The school is about a block away from the shop so it's great that I can get over there just in time to see her play.  She has improved so much and yesterday she was bursting with pride because her coach, who is sparse in his praises, went out of his way to tell her how well she is doing.
 
 
 
I've made bread for the shop.  I've been taking orders so I don't end up with leftover bread and each week the amount is increasing.

 
I just got a bunch of new fragrance oils in and can't wait to make some new candles in fall scents.  These have long since flown off the shelf!  I hardly sold a candle all summer and in the past 2 weeks have sold 10.
 
 
We went to an open house for Emily's school last night and she got great reviews from all her teachers.  The consensus from every last one was that her grades are good, she gets her work done and she has a sweet personality. What more could I ask for? :-)

I finished up an order for 60 tea totes.

 
I've sent a care package off to Stephen who is doing very well in his new college.  He is at my old alma mater and is planning on going into full-time ministry.  My mama's heart is bursting with pride!
 
Nathan is busy with his job and while it's not the best and has many challenges, he is making the best of it.  His biggest problem is not having enough to do. :-)  He is a lot like his mother and gets energy from being busy and productive.  When he's not, he feels very discouraged.
 
I'm off to a woman's retreat this weekend and am looking forward to seeing old friends and refilling my tank!
 
Have a blessed day, my friends!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wednesday Words of Encouragement

Isaiah 41:9-10 (The Message) ~ 

"I pulled you in from all over the world,
    called you in from every dark corner of the earth,
Telling you, ‘You’re my servant, serving on my side.
    I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you.’
Don’t panic. I’m with you.
    There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.
I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.
    I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you."


I grew up in a single parent home from a tiny rural community in the middle of the Catskill Mountains in New York.  Dan was from from a middle class family in a suburb of Erie, Pennsylvania. Yet, we both ended up in a seminary not far from New York City at the same time.  God called us not only into ministry, but into a relationship with each other. 

As I read these verses, the thing that strikes me is God's calling and support.  God is not walking in front of us, pulling us, nor is He is walking behind us, pushing us.  He is walking at our side.  He is with us, alongside us as we go through these things.  He has a firm grip on us.

I forget that sometimes and I'm sure you forget it also.  It's so easy to feel alone and fearful in the middle of a trial or even just every day life.  But God tells us not to panic.  Don't be fearful.  He will give you strength and He has a grip on you.  Isn't that so encouraging?

The Lord of the universe is watching out for us.  When you are feeling alone, He is there.  When you feel despair, He offers hope.  When you want to give up, He picks you up and carries you.  When things look bleak, He provides light.  When you wander aimless, He shows the path.   When you feel sad, He loves on you.

The Lord over all things is beside me, encouraging me along.  He is with me in the midst of my life.  That indeed is wonderful news all of us today

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

First Day of Autumn



Yesterday was officially the first day of autumn and it felt more like the beginning of winter.  It was extremely windy and there was definitely a nip in the air.



I went to the lake to pick up some rocks for an object lesson and had a hard time staying on my feet at times.  It was funny to watch the geese try to fly and not get anywhere. 



They finally gave up and settled back down on the rocks.



The leaves are changing.



Football has started.  These little guys ran by me yesterday and were so cute!


Tennis is winding down which is a good thing because they have to bundle up in order to play.



The next few months are some of my favorite. 
 
 
 
  
I'm looking forward to the holidays and all that comes with that.
 
 
 
Of course, winter won't be far behind.  But in the meantime, I'm planning on enjoying the beauty of the fall.