"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
~Isaiah 6:8 NIV
"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
~Micah 6:8 NASB

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Philippians 3:14 - Pressing on Toward the Goal

I'm co-leading an online Bible study with the always amazing, HopingForChange.  I'm really enjoying our study of Philippians.  This is what I posted for the lovely ladies today.

VOTD: Philippians 3:14: “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

QOTD: Paul sees the Christian walk as a race with a prize at the end. He says that he will continue to run the race towards the goal because he believes that God called him. Although we may never achieve perfection in this world, it should still be our goal. What is the prize at the end of the race? I believe that Heaven is the prize at the end. This road we are running on is going to have bumps and detours along the way, no doubt, but ultimately if we stay on the path and press on, then we will win the prize.

1) Do you think to this point you have been giving all your strength to achieve the goal Paul is talking about here? What changes can you make?

I thought that I had been giving all my strength to winning the prize, but this year, I think, have proved that I have a lot of growing to do. I think I had a shallow faith because I never really had any huge hardships. Now, I'm being forced to live out the lessons that I have always taught my students and I'm learning that this journey is really hard. I know the prize is worth it at the end. I just wish the journey wasn't so hard.

I know there are changes I need to make in my life. I need to bring joy back into my life. I used to be known as the encourager and a positive role model. I have let depression rule my attitude for long enough. That needs to change.

2) Why is it important to forget what is behind? How could not forgetting the past hinder future service to God?

I think it's easy to get stuck in the past. I don't ever want to forget our past hurts, but I can learn to let go of the hurt and anger. I think that's part of what Paul was talking about when he said "press on." I don't want to stay here. It's hurts here.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wycliffe: Reaching the Last Languages

Ancient words, ever true
changing me and changing you,
we have come with open hearts,
oh let the ancient words impart.
~Michael W Smith

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

10 Things Tuesday

It's still Tuesday, so it counts.

1. I went to the World Pulse Festival on Saturday with my one of my best friends, Shere and her gorgeous girls.  We got in free with VIP parking and food.

2. We had to go after I got off work, so we only got to see Need to Breathe and MercyMe. They were both great shows.

3. After the concert, us girls had a girls night in. We ordered a pizza with my 50% off coupon and played Scategorries.  Marcos pizza was yummy and the fun was even better.

4. I had Sunday off work, but Steve had to work. I got some of the house cleaned, the went shopping at Sears because it was Friends and Family Night and Steve was there.

5. I was really excited this weekend to see that the grass we planted is starting to grow.

6. Steve and I, after doing some math, realized that we are almost 4% of the way to raising our monthly support goal.

7. We need to be at at least 50% before we can register for GIAL, the school in Dallas. We have a ways to go, but I know God will provide.

8. We won at trivia tonight. Go team!

9. We met with a Realtor last week to find out what we need to do in order to sell our house.  We have some work to do, but nothing too major. Just a lot of de-cluttering and some painting.

10. This week in our Bible study, we are reading Philippians 2. It should be a great study of Philippians.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Grow Grass Grow

After a week of faithful watering, the grass in the front yard is growing. Grow grass, grow. You can do it.  We will probably need to get more seed and fill in some spots, but it's a great start.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Potter and the Clay

Isaiah 64:8 "But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand."

The Potter Knows the Clay by The Perrys

I know you are going through the fire
Its getting hard to stand the heat
But even harder is the wondering
Is God’s hand still on me
Its lonely in the flames
When you’re counting days of pain

But the Potter knows the clay
How much pressure it can take
How many times around the wheel
‘Til there’s submission to His will
he’s planned a beautiful design
but it’ll take some fire and time
its gonna be okay
‘cause the Potter knows the clay

Friend I just came through that fire
Not too very long ago
And looking back I can see why
And that my God was in control
But on the hottest days I'd cry
Oh Lord, isn't it about time

Monday, August 6, 2012

Psalm 73: Why does it seem like the wicked prosper?

Why do bad things seem to happen to good people and the wicked prosper?  It doesn't seem fair.  All around us we see people living in sin that seem to have such an easier time at life than us.  As Christians we are called to be "set apart from the world", but why does it seems like the blessings always go to those living "in the world."  It's so easy to let anger and bitterness determine our next step.  It reminds me of Job.  He was considered the richest man in the land. He had everything and in one day lost it all.  He could have got angry and cursed God.  He had every right to, right?  He didn't have the Bible to read the story about himself and see that God didn't cause his suffering or that God was going to bless him in the end.  No, Job sat down, tore his clothes, and worshiped.  I think knew something that we don't know. 
Romans 5:3-4: "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Sufferings are how we get hope? It doesn't very pleasant does it?  Sometimes things don't make sense and we don't understand.  What do you do when you experience a loss so heartbreaking that you can't imagine life going on?  God has a plan.  Do I believe it?  I have to hold on hope, because some days that is all I have left.  It's really easy to look at others getting the blessings that you want so badly and get angry because you did every thing "right" and they didn't.  Why do they get blessed and not you?  It's easy for us to miss the big picture.  What bigger and better blessing does God have in store for us?  God promised in His word that He gives His children the desires of their heart.  It just might not look like what you think it will or come when you want it to.

Psalm 73 (The Message)

An Asaph Psalm
 1-5 No doubt about it! God is good— good to good people, good to the good-hearted.
   But I nearly missed it, missed seeing his goodness.
   I was looking the other way, looking up to the people
   At the top, envying the wicked who have it made,
   Who have nothing to worry about, not a care in the whole wide world. 

6-10 Pretentious with arrogance, they wear the latest fashions in violence,
   Pampered and overfed, decked out in silk bows of silliness.
   They jeer, using words to kill; they bully their way with words.
   They're full of hot air, loudmouths disturbing the peace.
   People actually listen to them—can you believe it?
      Like thirsty puppies, they lap up their words.

 11-14 What's going on here? Is God out to lunch?
      Nobody's tending the store.
   The wicked get by with everything;
      they have it made, piling up riches.
   I've been stupid to play by the rules;
      what has it gotten me?
   A long run of bad luck, that's what—
      a slap in the face every time I walk out the door.

 15-20 If I'd have given in and talked like this,
      I would have betrayed your dear children.
   Still, when I tried to figure it out,
      all I got was a splitting headache . . .
   Until I entered the sanctuary of God.

      Then I saw the whole picture:
   The slippery road you've put them on,
      with a final crash in a ditch of delusions.
   In the blink of an eye, disaster!
      A blind curve in the dark, and—nightmare!
   We wake up and rub our eyes....Nothing.
      There's nothing to them. And there never was.

 21-24 When I was beleaguered and bitter,
      totally consumed by envy,
   I was totally ignorant, a dumb ox
      in your very presence.
   I'm still in your presence,
      but you've taken my hand.
   You wisely and tenderly lead me,
      and then you bless me.

 25-28 You're all I want in heaven!
      You're all I want on earth!
   When my skin sags and my bones get brittle,
      God is rock-firm and faithful.
   Look! Those who left you are falling apart!
      Deserters, they'll never be heard from again.
   But I'm in the very presence of God
      oh, how refreshing it is!
   I've made Lord God my home.
      God, I'm telling the world what you do!

A Productive Weekend

We are finally getting things together to sell the house.  We bought the house with the intention of one day selling it, so we could enter ministry with Wycliffe debt free.  We met with a Realtor last week to talk about what we had to do to get the best price for the house.  I'm nervously excited about the selling the house. Neither of us have ever sold a house before.  On one hand, we want to sell it quickly so we can be debt free faster, but on the other hand we can't sell it before December or we won't have a place to live.

This weekend was pretty productive.  Friday, I had to work until 7 then we went went with my parents and brother to see a Silver Hawks game for FREE!  I love free entertainment and free food.  The paint company that Steve does purchasing from for the YWCA and even some for our house, CE Lee, invited us the game for their customer appreciation day.  It was a great game.  The Silver Hawks actually won 3-2 and the fireworks afterwards were spectacular.

Saturday, I had the day off work, so I wanted to get some stuff done.  I went through all my clothes and sorted stuff that longer fit and things that I didn't wear anymore.  I put them in "throw away", "donate", and "garage sale" piles.  I finished sorting everything in the kitchen too and putting everything in it's place.  I brought some of the donate stuff to Goodwill and the rest I put aside for the YWCA.  Then I bought some grass seed and soil from McKinley Terrace Garden Center.  Everyone there was very friendly and helpful.  I definitely recommend them for your planting needs.  I planted the grass seed where the tree used to be and watered it.  Hopefully, the grass will grow so we have grass in the whole front yard.  Then I was going to pressure wash the house, but God had other plans.  He thought it should storm instead.  I wish I would have told me that before I watered the front yard...  Oh well, the yard got really, really watered. If I would have had a spray bottle for the house cleaner, I was going to spray the house with the cleaner so the rain would power wash the house, but no spray bottle could be found.

Sunday, Steve mowed the lawn and cleaned up some of the sticks in the backyard while I was at work.  After work, I helped with plant and water some more grass seed.  It was a great, but very tiring weekend.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Bible Study: "in the course of time..."

During the last two weeks our Bible study has been reading 1 Samuel 1&2.

1 Samuel 1: 19-20: "Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back into their home at Ranah. Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. (20) So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son."

This verse stuck out to the me, because it doesn't say that God heard her prayer and immediately answered it and she was pregnant the next month.  It was says "in the course of time" which means she may have waited a long time.  Hannah cried to God so much that those around her thought she was drunk.  In those days, if you were a women unable to have a child you thought you were cursed or being punished by God.  Often times, you were cast out as being unworthy.  It was a depressing place for Hannah to be, but she never stopped trusting in God.  She never gave up hope that one day she would have a child.

1 Samuel 21: 22:When her husband Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the Lord and to fulfill his vow, Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, “After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the Lord, and he will live there always.”

 After Samuel was born, she took the boy, she prayed so long for, to the Lord to live with him.

1 Samuel 2:1-10: 
“My heart rejoices in the Lord;
    in the Lord my horn[a] is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
    for I delight in your deliverance.
Those are the first words Hannah says after she gave up her child to the Lord.  She praises God for His faithfulness. On the day she makes the biggest sacrifice she will ever make in her life, she rejoices in the Lord! Hannah's heart rejoiced, not in Samuel, but in the Lord. She looks beyond the gift, and praises the Giver.
1 Samuel 2:19-20 – Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, “May the Lord give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the Lord.” Then they would go home.”  ->>Here Hannah's faith is tested again.  She believed that God would bless her with more children because she believed his promise. She goes home to wait... Question: Would she still believe in His goodness if He didn't?

When God answered Hannah’s prayer and gave her a son, Samuel, she poured out her joy to God as well.  Remarkably, for a woman who waited so long for a child, she took Samuel to God’s tabernacle as soon as he reached an appropriate age.  There she placed him in the priests care. Hannah certainly loved her child and never forgot him. Every year she made a garment for him – a huge expenditure in those days.  She did not hold on to her blessing any more than she hung on to her sorrows.  She gave them both to God.

My only issue with this verse is God's promise, "
May the Lord give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to[c] the Lord.” I assure you that no child will ever "take the place of" her first child.  Her first child will always hold a special place in her heart and will never be forgotten.