Thanksgiving Leftovers

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This year for Thanksgiving it was just Kevin and I and the kids.  We missed being with our extended family, but we didn’t let that put a damper on our celebration.  True to my upbringing, I planned a huge dinner.  Kevin and I worked together fixing everything, including a huge 20 pound turkey that we soaked in brine the night before.  It was delicious!  I tried so hard, but I did not acheive perfection . . . but I think what we acheived was better than perfection.  I got dinner on the table later than I planned and forgot the mac-n-cheese (which wasn’t completely set the first time I took it out of the oven – it didn’t burn, thankfully).  The house was a mess, the kids were wearing whatever they wanted, and we did not get to do all the activities we had planned.  Now for the “better than perfection” part of the story:  I didn’t lose my cool about all of it!!!  I was able to acknowledge my disappointment and move on without letting it ruin my evening.  We ate dinner and talked about the things for which we were thankful (which included Jesus, people who cover their mouth when they cough, food, God, being together as a family, and restored joy).   Continue reading

What If?

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Naturally I’ve been thinking about the direction our country is headed.  There are so many things I would change if I could.  If only people could see how destructive all the hateful talk is to everyone around.  We cannot continue to put down one group of people in order to make our own group more powerful.  What is going to happen tomorrow (or whatever day the votes are finally tallied)?  What if the candidate we don’t want to be in power becomes the next president?  Are we going to continue to put down certain groups of people?  Is our nation going to remain divided? Continue reading

Limitations

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After having lived in New Orleans for 8 years, I am really enjoying the distinct seasons here in Chicagoland.  In this picture you can see the maple trees in our back yard were just starting to turn.  I love the vibrant colors.  God sure does paint beauty all around us if we will stop to notice!  Lately I haven’t been noticing much beauty out of doors.  I have been trying so hard to keep up with homeschool, housework, Bible study, and Church activities that going outdoors has been the last thing on my mind.  I have found out that I can’t keep up.  I just have to decide what is important to me and do that.  Everything else will still be there later. Continue reading

Great Are You Lord

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An acquaintance of mine shared this verse today, and it really encouraged me.  Psalm 16:11 says:

You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

It is wonderful to experience the joy God gives us through Jesus Christ.  Sometimes I have a hard time getting a glimpse of that joy because so many other things are filling my thoughts.  Our joy is really found in being aware of God’s presence with us no matter what we face.  We need to remind ourselves of the hope we have in Him – this world is not our destination.  We will be delivered from the life of sin and decay that we groan over.  When we place our faith in Jesus we have the promise of a better life with Him for all eternity.  John 14:6 says:

Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.’

1 Corinthians 2:9 says:

But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’

Let’s be encouraged and keep our focus on the future that God has for us!  Don’t let this crazy life get you down!!!

Listen to “Great Are You Lord”

 

Then vs Now

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When was the last time you went to an old fashioned prayer meeting?  You know the kind: the preacher takes prayer requests, and everyone divides into groups to pray over each request.  These meetings aren’t as common today as they were when I was a child.  I remember going to prayer meetings at Stepptown Baptist Church with Mawmaw and Grandaddy.  They would write down a huge list of prayer requests and then the men and women would divide into separate rooms to pray.  It seemed to me that we prayed for many hours.  These were heartfelt prayers shared by people who loved one another and were committed to lifting each other up in prayer consistently.   Continue reading

Remain in Love

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I have been reading Beth Moore’s book Believing God Day by Day: Growing Your Faith All Year Long.  It has been such an encouragement to me this year.  I have shared many of her devotionals with others in an attempt to encourage them as well.  It has been such a help for me to read about believing God during a season that I have moved across the country in a step of faith.  It’s hard to keep your eyes on the Lord when there are so many unknowns in the future.  God has been my strength through this season and has lifted me up when I was ready to give up. Continue reading

Appearance

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Friday night I was thinking about why we are sometimes opposed to things that are not described as wrong in the Bible.  Immediately I thought about 1 Thessalonians 5:22.  In the King James Version of the Bible it is translated “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”  I was thinking about the phrase “appearance of evil” and began to think about Jesus’s life.  He repeatedly did things that appeared wrong.  One example I thought of is when He ate with tax collectors and sinners (Mark 2:13-17).  Another example is when the woman “washed His feet with her tears and dried them with her hair” (Luke 7:36-50).  The Pharisees were constantly watching Jesus, picking apart everything He did, trying to find sin in Him.  He didn’t change His ways just because they thought He was doing something wrong.

I was curious as to how we are supposed to follow Jesus, who did things that made Him look like He was involved in evil, and also abstain from all appearance of evil at the same time.  I looked up 1 Thessalonians 5:22 in the ESV, and is says:

Abstain from every form of evil.

I looked at Meyer’s NT Commentary that gives the original Greek words and then explains them.  The word translated “appearance”in the KJV is Εἶδος (now don’t ask me how to say that, that’s a question for Kevin).  Εἶδος means kind, like a species.  It was translated “form” in the ESV.  The commentary brought out some good points.  You cannot control how other people see your actions.  You may be doing something good and someone else looks at it from a different perspective and thinks what you are doing is bad.  People do this to God all the time, so you know they are going to do it to Christians as well. The other point the commentary brought out is that we cannot abstain from evil without the help of God!  1 Thessalonians 5:23 says:

Now may the God of peace of himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.

We have to keep the verses in context.  The verses before 1 Thessalonians 5:22 talk about doing good, and the verse after it talk about God keeping you blameless.  We cannot go through life always worried about what people think of our actions.  We must follow God with humility and love.

After learning all of this, I was wondering what that means for me.  Do I throw all caution to the wind?  How do I live in light of this knowledge?  It is a relief to me that I don’t have to live in a system of legalism so that I don’t appear evil.  I have freedom to talk to anyone without second guessing myself.  It doesn’t matter if those I associate with make me appear evil.  God knows my heart and He will put people in my path who need to hear about and experience the love of God through me.  I am also challenged not to be so quick in judging the actions of others.  Just because something appears to be wrong does not mean that it is.

Distractions

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I haven’t been blogging much lately, and I realized that I was letting other good things distract me from this one good thing that I know God wants me to do.  I have been doing a lot of reading for personal growth (no guilt over that).  I have been doing reading with my kids (no problem there either).  My problem comes from Facebook and Whatsapp.  One thing helps me stay connected with family and friends who are far away; the other has a Bible discussion group from Church.  Both of these things are good.  The problem comes when I let them distract me from the things that God has called me to do: Minister to my husband and kids, Study for my own personal growth, Write the blog, and be an encouragement to others I come in contact with.   Continue reading

Parables

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Have you ever read part of the Bible and thought, “now, wait a minute, that’s not fair!”?  In Matthew 13:10-17, Jesus says that He spoke in parables so that the people would not understand.  This got me to thinking about how easy it is for us to misunderstand the Bible.  I kept on reading, and in Matthew 13:18 Jesus tells the disciples the explaination for one of the parables that He told.  Later, in verse 36 the disciples ask Jesus to explain the parable of the weeds to them, so He does. It seems to me that the disciples didn’t understand the parables either.  Jesus had to explain the meaning later.   Continue reading