Thank You!

With today being Memorial Day, I want to thank all the men and women who fight for our freedom on a daily basis.  They sacrifice so much for our country and I am amazed by their selflessness.  I really am.  What a great act of service, not only to our country, but to God’s people in general.  I feel so blessed to live in this country and have so many soldiers willing to fight for our freedom.

Thank you!!

I also wanted to share a website with you.  Adopt-A-Platoon is an organization that matches volunteers with soldiers overseas.  You fill out an application and they will send you a soldiers name and mailing address.  You can then send them cards, care packages and eventually emails once they email you at some point.  I “adopted” two soldiers at two different times and it was a lot of fun.  Not only did they really appreciate it, but they also communicated with me and let me know what it was like for them on a daily basis.  I felt like it helped keep me focused on what they were sacrificing for us over there.  I think it’s easy to go about our lives and forget what those soldiers and their families are going through daily.  This is a great (and fun) way to get more involved with what is going on over there.  They need to have something to look forward to and something to cheer them up.  They are losing friends and having a tough time on a regular basis.  It’s so simple to send them a little note or package, but it was greatly appreciated.  You can also be praying for that individual and their family. 

Click below to go to the website if you want to check it out:

Adopt-A-Platoon

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Thankful Thursday

This video is amazing!  It makes me think about how much we take for granted!  I feel so very thankful for all that I’ve been blessed with.  I promise that this video will put things into perspective and make you so grateful for all that you DO have.  You’ll forget about the things you think you don’t have.

Nick Vujicic video

Sacrifices

Yesterday our sermon was about sacrificing to make a difference.  It has me thinking a lot today.  Our high school pastor, Kirk Gentzel, preached in place of Mac.  He did a great job.

He talked about how God uses what we have to create something new, just like he made Eve from Adam’s rib.  God first created the earth and the sea and land out of nothing, but then He created animals and humans out of the dust or dirt.  He used what he had created to create more.

He can use us in the same way.  However, remember that he sacrificed a rib of Adam’s to make Eve.  He also sacrificed His one and only son for our sins and for us to have everlasting life. This was the one true sacrifice for God to give.  He gave everything because He loves us.

Kirk challenged us to sacrifice so that God can work within us and through us.  We must make sacrifices to live for God.  Each and every day.  Are you doing that?  I know I’m not.  I sometimes get so comfortable in my life that I only do the things that “fit” into my schedule or that “feel” comfortable.  That is NOT what God intended for my life.  He wants me to sacrifice my life so that He can live through me.

God wants me to sacrifice my comfort, my security, my time, my money and my life all for Him.  If I trust Him then He will make beautiful things from my sacrifices.  Whatever I give to Him he will turn to good one way or another.  Maybe not exactly how I see good, but good nonetheless.  God is always good.  Period.

I need to sacrifice my comfort most of all, to get out there and serve others in His name.  That is the ONLY way I can make a difference for His Kingdom.   Being comfortable and giving in to fear will get me absolutely nowhere.

I had a wonderful mentor once tell me to do something that scares me every single day.  That statement has stuck with me for the past 6 years.  Sometimes when I live that way I am amazed at what happens.  I have to admit though, that I do not practice that near enough.  I choose comfortable and comfortable won’t make a difference.

We must put ourselves out there , in vulnerable situations, in scary situations and watch God take over.  Trust Him and do not be scared because He is always in control.  He is just waiting for each of us to realize that.  Once we do He can show us what He has planned for us.  I cannot wait to find out what He has in store for me.  I am ready to be uncomfortable and to sacrifice my life to allow Him to do great things within me and through me.

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for God’s lessons.  I’m thankful that He cares enough about me to teach me His ways.  I’m thankful that when I ask Him to work within me and through me He always does.  Sometimes it is not what I’m expecting or even really what I’m wanting at the time, but I know it is for my good.  God isn’t concerned with what makes me “happy” or “feel good”, He’s concerned with what makes me Holy and more like Him.  I’m thankful for that because I know being “happy” and “feeling good” are only temporary and that what God has in store for me is for eternity.  Hallelujah!

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

Margin

I finally finished a great book called “Margin” written by Dr. Richard Swenson.  My mother-in-law, Margaret, gave me this book last year and I have been reading it off and on since then.  I have to confess that I’m pretty bad about starting about 5 books at a time and reading them simultaneously. It really isn’t a very efficient way to read books and I very recently decided I am no longer going to do that.  I’m going to finish one at a time.  I’m also trying to set aside more time for reading because it unfortunately gets pushed to the back burner a lot of the time.

So anyway, I just finished this book Sunday afternoon.  It’s a great book with really good analogies and reminders about how much we need to slow down.   The author is a medical doctor who has seen many of the effects of our fast-paced and stressful lives.  Swenson writes this book with the intention to help all of us develop more “margin” in our lives.  He does not want us living “marginless” lives, which many Americans are doing.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“Discerning Christians have long known that God is not impressed with our wealth, education, or power.  Nevertheless, we have labored eargerly in those fields.  What if, instead, we were to begin measuring our progress not by our wealth but by our virtue; not by our education but by our humility; and not by our power but by our meekness?”

“We should keep our needs low, our generosity high, and our expectations heavenward.”

“God is in love with his creation…..your being pursued by love.  He courted you; He followed you; He loved you.  If you go to work or school or church, He is there.  If you go to the edge of the universe or to the borders of hell, He is there.  If you go deep inside yourself, He is there.  In the dark of the night, in your depression, He is there.  On your deathbed, when you don’t want anybody to leave you, He is there.  If you look behind you or before you, He is there, waiting to be allowed entrance into your life.”

“To be a follower of Christ means we should follow Him.  No one lived a simpler, more unencumbered life than He.  His birth was spartan, and His life was free from the ties of possessions or money.  He was born with nothing, lived with little, and died with nothing.  His simplicity was not accidental.  Jesus could have chosen any standard, yet He chose to live simply.”

That last quote really sums it up.  I think we get so bogged down with “stuff” that we want or wish we had or wish we could do or that we are trying to do or trying to manage or stressing out about.  We really need to step back and look at all the areas of our lives (physical, emotional and spiritual) and find ways to simplify and create more margin in our lives!

Focusing on What Matters

Sometimes I am guilty of getting completely bogged down with things that Do Not Matter!  It’s very frustrating, but luckily I have a wonderful and sweet husband that helps me with this. If I was not married to him I would just get stuck in those “little things” that I should NOT be focusing on.  He gently reminds me that what I’m worried about sometimes is really nothing to worry about at all.  He helps me to see what’s important.

For instance I may miss out on some really important opportunities if I’m focused on how clean my house is and how many of my to-do’s I got done today.   I may miss the chance to let my husband know how much I love him and how special he is to me.  I may miss the opportunity to talk to my kids about God, or spend some quality time with them.  I may miss the opportunity to make someone feel special or to serve someone.  I may miss something God is trying to tell me or show me.

I don’t think when my life is over I’ll ever look back and regret that I did not keep my house cleaner or that I didn’t get some things done on time.  I think I’ll look back and wish I spent more time talking with God, more time with my family and more time serving others.

I’m going to work really hard to make those things my primary focus daily and then fit the other stuff in, not the other way around!

The Motions

I love this song by Matthew West.  It really makes me think.  Here is the official video and below that are the lyrics.  If you have not heard it, it’s a great song with an even better message.

In the video you will see Matthew hold up a dry erase board that says a few different things throughout, but my favorite quote is “God has something to say to us and through us”.  I love that and I might add to that “we just have to listen and obey”

This might hurt, it’s not safe
But I know that I’ve gotta make a change
I don’t care if I break,
At least I’ll be feeling something
‘Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking,
“What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?”

No regrets, not this time
I’m gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I’m finally feeling something
‘Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life

‘Cause I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking,
“What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?”

take me all the way (take me all the way)
take me all the way (’cause I don’t wanna go through the motions)
take me all the way (I know I’m finally feeling something real)
take me all the way

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking,
“What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?”

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking,
“What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?”

take me all the way (take me all the way)
take me all the way (I don’t wanna go, I don’t wanna go)
take me all the way (through the motions)
take me all the way

I don’t wanna go through the motions

Light

A few weeks ago I had a post about “Being the Light“.  Well on this past Sunday our pastor spoke about this topic and he gave us an acrostic for the word “LIGHT”  that I wanted to share with you.

LLive Laughter – enjoy life and laugh a lot.  Psalm 126 says “Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations,  “The LORD has done great things for them. The LORD has done great things for us,  and we are filled with joy.”

I – Initiate Influence – Opportunities to influence others and spread God’s word will not just land in your lap.  You must seek out ways to serve others.   Hebrews 10:24 says”And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

G – Give Gifts – Be generous with your time and your money.  In 2 Corinthians 9:10-11 Paul says ” Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”

H – Heal Hurts – Help others.  Use your past to help others with their present.  This is one of my favorite verses regarding comforting others.  It is found in 2 Corinthians also.  1:3-4.  It reads ” Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” Amen.

T – Tell Truth – Tell your story and how Jesus has changed your life.  Tell the truth about Jesus to others.  Let them know why you choose to follow Jesus.  1 Peter 3:15 says “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

In a dark world, choose to be the LIGHT.  You CAN make a difference!