Sunday, August 17, 2014

Women's Retreat 2014


Yesterday was Agape's Annual Retreat.  We worked hard to make it a delightful day, and God shed His light upon us throughout the entire day.






As I think back on the days leading up to the retreat, I am thankful for all that God accomplished. There were times that I felt like quitting. But, God brought light at those times and pressed into me and our team. He did a good work through each of us.
I am thankful for a team of women that pulled together, despite the many distractions. I am thankful for the beautiful location we were blessed with, and very thankful for the help from my family and friends.
I am thankful God used me to speak into the life of women, and to pray over deep needs. He works miracles in our lives, and I know He did that at our retreat.
I am thankful for the praise and dancing that brought smiles to every face. And the love that deepened in many relationships.
Now, I'm thinking and praying about the next event. What does God want and how will He work it all out?
Today, I am resting. My family and I purchased some peaches for canning and ate ice cream. Now, I think I will take a nap.
The joy of the Lord brings strength and energy to move ahead according to His plan. He is the Author and perfecter of my faith.
He prospers me in the mind of Christ, He prospers all my dreams and desires according to His will. His providence fills  my life, and the roots He firmly plants in my life will help others.
He prospers His Spirit within me and there is humble boldness. 
Say That Again, my Jesus, in you I do prosper every day of my life.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Unity



 Two trees growing together, in unity.  I looked up the word unity, and the dictionary said: "the state of being one, oneness."
God calls His church to be unified. That means all of His children. 
If I am in unity with the Body of Christ, what does that look like?
I've been praying for God to give me a clearer picture of what unity looks like to him.  Does it mean we are members of every church? Does it mean we will think of each other, and be there for one another, even before spoken? Could it mean we will share our belongings, our dreams, and our lives with each other?
Lots' of people talk about unity. How is it walked out? I think it's uncomfortable on so many levels. Its loosing oneself for the good of the whole. Yet, I fight hard to keep myself. My boundaries. My life.
I pray to God about unity, seek it within my circles, yet sometimes I hold back. 
What am I afraid will happen?
In Psalms 133:1 it says:
"Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity."
In Colossians 3:14 there is an explanation of unity:
"Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity."
So, God is love. If we put on God, we will be perfectly united? And in that perfect unity we will find life to be pleasant and good. 
It sounds pretty simple
Yet, we have hundreds of churches and ministries, that are not so pleasant. 
I am not always pleasant, yet God dwells in me.  
Round and round it goes. 
Today I am asking God if unity is comfortable. It just seems like it would be, because there wouldn't be so much to bicker about. All of God's children would be welcome in his churches, membership well established because there is unity in Him. Welcome signs would be on every door. Living open handed would be a pleasure, sharing would feel exciting.
Do I always live in unity? 
I am curious to see what God is going to do, as I continue to seek unity with his people. 
Jesus, Say That Again,  unity exists in God.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Time at the Lake

Many years ago we had a cabin on the lake, it floated. We would spend a lot of our summer days there, and our boys really enjoyed playing there. Our family has many fond memories there. This weekend I had the opportunity to go back to the same area. I hiked down by the lake and by the cabin we use to have. I spent some time in the nearby campground and remembered the days I use to take my boys camping there. I thought about all the boat rides, hikes, dirt biking, tubing, fun, and hard work involved in having a cabin on the lake. My husband and I were young, and we were raising boys, and trying to make a living, and keeping the laundry clean.
Life for me at the time felt all messed up.  I wanted my boys to have a good life, and to have it better than what life had been for me. But, on the inside of me, it felt messy and confusing. Going back this weekend and seeing all the same spots, I could remember some of those feelings. I could remember my little boys climbing the hills and laughing, and to me it felt like they would never get tired. I could remember the long hot summer days and, back then it felt like I would never be okay. It felt like my kids would never grow up, the days would never be short, my insides would never line up, and life would never seem to make sense. 
I was wrong.
Now, this weekend, as I walked the same trails and overlooked the lake; it was all peace.  Now, I know that even though circumstances can get really messed up, I am not. Now, I know that the Spirit within me has lined up with the Spirit of God, and I am not confused. Now I know that when I have days that do not feel okay, there is always tomorrow, and it will be okay again. Now, I know that all children grow up really fast, most days are super short, and with God, I don't have to try to make sense of everything all the time.
Early this morning I went for a walk. There was a huge rock down by the lake, so I walked down the hill and stood up on the rock. Everything was completely still. There were no people, just me and God. I thanked Him for the bountiful blessings He has given me over the last 20 years. My family, my sweet boys that are all grown up now and have children of their own, the ones I thought would never grow up!
I asked Him to prosper my mind in His mind, and my dreams in His. To continue to multiply the blessings in my life in such a way that His Kingdom is revealed within me and His light is illuminated. I asked to see His face. 
 I know it's going to be great. 
And, the wind began to blow.
Tomorrow I'm back to a busy, full week. There are things to do, plans to make, and people to see. But, in my memory, I will keep this weekend safely tucked away as something that was very healing and good for my soul. God has a way of bringing me back to all the right places when the time is right. he knows when to Say That Again in my life!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Camping

We left this last Thursday to go camping. I will admit that I really did not want to go. It felt like a ton of work to me. Thursday was NOT my favorite day, I probably should have stayed in bed with the covers over my head, and the idea of camping did not make the day any better.
But, my husband really wanted me to go and he thought I should go. My kids wanted me to go, so I bucked up and off I went, camping, in the woods, in a tent, by the river.
When we arrived, it was dark. Oh joy. I was so very tired. At first I was thinking that my sleep was going to be on a flat air mattress but then my husband informed me that he had purchased a new one, and I felt relief.  I sent a word of praise to God for blessing me with this man, and I also smirked. I felt like my husband was on a mission to make sure my camping experience was a good one!
We unloaded the truck and set up camp. It all went very well. We had good lights to set up both tents and get all our gear in place. We crawled into our sleeping bags and quickly fell into dream land.  I slept so peacefully! It was good.
The next morning was an early morning for us. We had a nice fire going in the fire pit and we were about to settle in for breakfast when my husband realized that we had left home without the cereal. Whoops! He drove down the road about 15 miles to buy some cereal to go with our milk and all was well again in our camp.
The day was slow with walks by the river and children fishing. I was able to read books and relax by the river. Later in the evening when it was chilly we had a fire and we made smores and popped corn. It was all very nice.
That night it was colder and I was snuggled in my bag. I was looking forward to coming home and having a shower and getting warm. I was thankful though that God had used my husband to bring me camping. I complained, I whined, I said I didn't want to go, but he knew that once I got away it would be good for me. He was right. It was good for me.
Sometimes it feels like this with God. He will tell me that if I go a particular way it will be good for me, but I don't always see it that way. I complain, I whine, I say I don't really want to go. But His promise to me is that it will be good.  When I listen, it is good. His word to me is always true and I always benefit. There is rest.
Jesus, thank you for reminding me of that this weekend. I know You will Say That Again to me when I need you!









Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Pain and Joy

Today was a good day, and a long day. I am very tired. I am looking forward to going to bed and sleeping for a long time. My day started early this morning with meeting a friend for tea at 6:30am. It was a good thing. Oh, the joy of friendship!
One of the best parts of my day, was holding my new grandson Micah. He and I got to spend a few hours together, and it was a precious time. He slept through most of our time together, but I still thought it was pretty special. When he did wake up, I fed him from a bottle. It was his first bottle experience, and he thought it was mighty good. He took it all in with great enthusiasm, then settled into my arms for another nap. Life is good when one is 3 weeks old! Oh, JOY!

I saw a friend in a lot of pain today, and I felt frustrated that she's suffering, STILL. I want her pain to go away. I keep running to God and I'm asking him to heal her, but she's still hurting. I don't understand! I believe God heals! I believe he will and he can, yet my friend is in pain. What is going on? This is pain on so many levels.
I am listening to a new book as I drive. And, I drive a lot. It seems like today I really drove a lot. The book I'm listening to now is about the love between siblings, raising families, the joys, and the hardships. It has made me think a lot of our older boys when they were little. Sometimes there were days that it felt so long and so hard.  But, then they grew up. They got married, they all have children of their own.  They come to our home and they bring a new joy, and it feels amazing and exhausting. 
When I got home this evening, I couldn't stay long because I had a meal that I needed to deliver to a family. I grabbed my kids and we headed out the door. We delivered the meal and then we went out for huckleberry milkshakes. It was fun. Then we came home and ate melted cheese sandwiches on bogie bread. My kids made a golf course out of yogurt cups in our yard. Fur Ball thinks it's a game to grab the cups and chew them up. My kids find it a challenge to play a game of golf before Fur Ball chews up the cups! We ate our cheese sandwiches and we played golf. It was a joyful time. 
Now, I am so very tired. I am still having a conversation with God about so many things. The pain His children have can be so incredibly unbearable at times. The healing can be so amazing. 
His Kingdom is within me. He has given me all authority. What is holding me back from declaring a healing word everywhere I go? Am I simply accepting sickness?  If the enemy is under my foot, then how can he possibly have any power?
Oh for the Joy of the Lord within my heart may I hear His Word and walk within it! Jesus, keep repeating it to me, please, Say That Again!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Walking the Parade

This year my husband and I went to the fourth of July parade alone. We didn't sit and watch, we walked from one end to the other; it was fun. It was the faster version of seeing the parade.
I am praising God today for the freedom he has given me in the country that I live. I am praising him for the freedom of my heart.
Freedom to live because Jesus lives in me. The God in me is bigger than all things. The seat he has given me is in heavenly places. I am seated there so I can have a view of heaven, then bring that view to earth! The place he has given me enables me to have relationship with him, and in that there is freedom!
So, after the fourth of July has slipped away and my calendar is full of other activities, I will still be celebrating the freedom I have been blessed with, and the view of God's Kingdom that penetrates my earth.
Say That Again, freedom reigns in the Kingdom!



Friday, June 27, 2014

Two Edged Sword


The Word of God is sharper than any two edged sword.  The Word of God is living and active. The Word of God is quick and powerful.
This verse has been on my mind a lot this last week. I've been repeating it to myself, and thinking about it's meaning. 
The two edged sword is especially fascinating to me. My Bible, the one I carry around in my back pack and have beside my bed. The one that's got packaging tape on the pages to keep them from falling out. The one that's all marked up. This Bible, is alive and sharper then any two edged sword.
As I was driving yesterday and thinking about this sword; it occurred to me that this Sword has the capacity to cut out, really cut out, what I do not want.  This Word lives inside of me, because the Word is God. So, as I pray and ask for the power of this Word in my life, I can also ask to be cut by the two edged sword. 
With this powerful strategy I may bleed, but I will also be more and more active and living. As the Sword cuts, the Word discerns and divides. My thoughts become more and more like the thoughts and mind of Jesus.
I think its bazaar. Odd. Crazy.
But, so true.
It's incredible to think that this Word is that powerful. 

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12
Jesus, Say That Again!