Some perspective on a “bad day”

Yesterday I was discouraged. I was sad and I was starting to feel sorry for myself. It wouldn’t be appropriate to share here but I received some news that was really painful for me to process and understand. I was mopey and I didn’t feel like trying to cheer up. I didn’t want to clean house or care for the kids. I just wanted to be alone and mope really. I thought to myself that I would somehow have to find a way to make it through several bad days before I started to get over it. Have you ever felt like that?

I opened up the book I’m reading “Happiness” by Randy Alcorn and read these words on page 378-

THE CONTRAST BETWEEN WHAT WE DESERVE AND WHAT GOD GIVES IS DRAMATIC AND HAPPY-MAKING.

Jesus said to his disciples, “When you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done” (Luke 17:10, NASB). He’s saying, in effect, “Lower your sense of what you deserve.”
God told Adam and Eve what would happen to them when they turned from him and chose sin: “You will surely die” (Genesis 2:17, NASB). Based on that text alone, all we deserve and should expect is death. Only when we acknowledge this can we rejoice in the promises of life in Jesus, who said, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25)
If we realize we’re utterly undeserving, suddenly the world comes alive. Of course life under the Curse is hard! (That’s why it’s called the Curse!) Instead of whining about everything that goes wrong, we’re thrilled at God’s many kindnesses, and our hearts overflow with thanks that we who deserve nothing but judgment, death, and Hell are given deliverance, grace, and eternal life. Day after day, God favors us not only with leniency but also with beauties, delights, and privileges we have no right to expect.
People who receive a paycheck for services rendered can’t be as grateful as those who are given a pardon that know they don’t merit. Jesus said of the woman who gratefully poured oil on his feet, “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven- for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little” (Luke 7:47).
Doesn’t knowing that you deserve eternal Hell but instead will live in Heaven, in unending happiness, put any “bad day” in perspective?

This edification from a brother in the Lord through his writing was exactly what my soul needed at that moment. A moment of being reminded of the horrors of hell and remembering that I should be there but I am not is cause for being happy! Happy because I know I deserve to be there, as my sin has made me a rebel against a holy God but God made a way of escape for me!

I thought about how every breath I breathe on this earth is an undeserved gift from God. I should not be enjoying the gift of life right now, I don’t deserve it! But God in His mercy bought my soul with the blood of His very own Son. Everything good in life really is a marvelous gift all over again when I readjust my googles of perspective through the big picture of scripture.

After reading that last night, my salty sweet buttery spaghetti squash tasted better. I mentally contrasted in my mind what I deserve- hell- to what I was experiencing. Dinner around a table clasping hands with people I love praying to a God that provided a way for me to talk to Him. Instead of the hell I deserve I slept in a soft bed in a safe home and awoke to another day of God gifting me life and breath.

I’m thankful today and I’m happy because I have been given both grace and compassion from God Who I have sinned against. A few weeks back a man in our church said, “Compassion is like sparing the rod and grace is giving us better than we deserve.” So rejoice today Christian that you are an heir of God, free from sin, walking in the light and life of Jesus free from condemnation! Let that truth seek deep into your spirit and revive you and make you to sing joyous praise to our God!

Psalm 136:1 “O give thanks unto the LORD; fo the is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.”

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Contentment and idols of the heart

At the moment I am enjoying a serene moment with my children sitting in the sandbox playing and me sitting in a lawn chair. This lovely moment really feels like a gracious gift from the Giver of all good things. The gentle breeze, the sound of geese in the distance, my children’s imaginations, the freshness of the air, the serenity of the woods. These are extravagant gifts from God that I am so unworthy of and yet I often fail to even notice them. To be honest when I stepped outside with the children I was feeling pretty grumpy because I was looking at all the yard work that’s not done and thinking what a mess the yard is. If I’m perfectly honest what came into my mind was a friends recently purchased home with a beautiful yard in a cooler area of the country and what came into my heart was covetousness or as the Bible also calls it, idolatry. (Col. 3:5)

What pricked my conscience so badly and grabbed a hold of my idolatrous heart and yanked it back into repentance and thanksgiving was this poem I’ve never read before by 8 year old Fanny Crosby who was accidentally blinded by a physician as an infant; (I read it in Randy Alcorn’s book Happiness)

Oh, what a happy child I am,
Although I cannot see!
I am resolved that in this world,
Contented I will be.

I’m ashamed that a blind 8 year old would choose to be happy in spite of her disability when I so often fail to even have that same resolve.

As a child Fanny told her mother that even given a choice she would choose to remain blind so that the first face she would see would be the face of God.

Oh to have faith like a child!

Try inserting your own trials into this poem. For me it would look something like this;

Oh, what a happy child I am (child of God in this case since I’m an adult!)
Although I bear the grief of child loss and the daily struggle of a chronic disease
I am resolved that in this world,
Contented I will be

Then use your God given imagination to replace these trials with the glory of endless bliss and healing in eternity with Christ.

Fanny looked forward to the primary joy of seeing God and the secondary joy of restored sight. Just think, in the presence of God surrounded by the family of God I’m going to get to see my child alive, find out what color his eyes are and taste food with out injecting insulin. What a cause for celebration! What gifts the Father has lavished upon me! What hope and joy and happiness I experience today because I’ve been promised that coming day!

2 Cor. 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

1 Thess. 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Dear Heavenly Father, The Creator and Giver of all good things,
Forgive me for covetous thoughts and discontentment. May things I desire never become idols, distracting me from seeing all the good things You’ve given me. Thank you for my life, for my family, for my home, for food and clothing and all the endless provisions in my life. Most of all, thank You for the provision of Your Son Jesus who was crucified on my behalf and rose again, forever making intercession on behalf. Make me to be content with my life and circumstances. I believe Your word when it says that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me and that I can be content in whatever state or circumstance I am in. Work the power of the Holy Spirit in me. In the name of Jesus my Saviour I pray, A-men

Wheels For The World

I first heard about this ministry I think a couple years back when I watched an episode of Joni and Friends that featured it. Since then I’ve learned more about the ministry and have really come to admire and love what these people are doing. This week my husband and I decided to start supporting them financially.

The day after signing up to support them I got an out of state phone call that I at first thought was a telemarketer. When I answered it was a woman from Joni and Friends. I assumed she was about to ask a question about our donation or something when she totally surprised me by saying, “At Joni and Friends we meet every morning for prayer and I was calling to ask how we could pray for you.” It was so kind and so unexpected it took me a moment to think of anything to say! She told me, “If you ever need prayer call anytime and we will pray for you.”

If you’re looking for a ministry that does good in Jesus name for the glory of God, from everything I’ve seen, this is it!

They are also looking for people to help collect no longer used wheel chairs and crutches. If you can’t support them financially they have a whole list of things they need help with on their website. Check it out!

 

http://www.joniandfriends.org/wheels-for-the-world/

The antidote to stress- kindness

I went to bed last night feeling stressed, I woke up stressed. Same as the day before and the night before. At the moment we have a major life decision we are trying to make and we need some answers about a few things before we move forward but the answers we need are slow coming. I was super irritated and kind of depressed last night because I have absolutely no control over the speed of this situation. All I can do is wait and I don’t like it because as you can probably agree, waiting is hard. I don’t like it. After my alarm clock went off I asked my husband who had been up already, “any e-mail?” When the answer was no I just sat down defeated. I just wanted wanted to pull the covers over my head and go to sleep and ignore the situation.

You know the poem I shared the other day, “do the next thing?” I’m really being put to the test because more so than at anytime in my life that I can recall I just having to focus on today because I’m justing waiting for some information before I can make plans for tomorrow.

I opened up Facebook and saw an update by Rachel May Stafford on Hands Free Revolution. She had posted about her experience of carrying around a bag full of cold drinks and looking for people who looked thirsty to surprise with the kindness of some unexpected refreshment. “This is how I’m going to beat this stress I feel about this situation,” I thought. “I really am thinking to much about me and if I can change my focus to others I can beat this stress.”

 

Racking my brain to think of ways to bless others took away my stress because it took my thoughts off myself. I sent a message to someone I know going through a hard time and told her I was praying for her. I baked peanut butter cookies and had the joy of seeing the librarians surprised when I told them I had made them for them. I put down my book today and instead listened to someone who needed to talk. I reached out to a foster family about bringing them dinner later this week.

Reflecting back on my day what started off with me feeling blah has ended on a really positive note because I feel like I made every effort to make the day in front of me count.

Proverbs 11:25 “The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.”

1 John 3:18 “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

challenge: next time you feel the weight of stress pressing down on you or you find yourself feeling anxious over a situation you can’t control, look for another person who you can share some love with. Find a way to bless them. A kind word, an encouragement, a hug.. Let me know how you get creative in sharing God’s love with others!

 

 

Happiness By Randy Alcorn

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while now. I was going to request it at the library and see if they would order it for me the next time they ordered books but my husband surprised me and it was in the mailbox the other day! I’ve read on epm.org about the book and the subject and have listened to Randy Alcorn talk about it on youtube but the book itself has been really encouraging!

I read this quote yesterday that I wanted to pass along to you, “The child of God is, from necessity, a joyful man. His sins are forgiven, his soul is justified, his person is adopted, his trials are blessings, his conflicts are victories, his death is immortality, his future is a heaven of inconceivable, unthought-of, untold, and endless blessedness- with such aGod, such a Saviour, and such a hope, is he not, ought he not, to be a joyful man?” Baptist Pastor Octavius Winslow (1808-1878)

Be happy in Jesus today!

stay tuned! ….

I have some big big news but I can’t share it on here quite yet! I know, that totally leaves you hanging but stay tuned, there are major changes happening in the Snow household!! I’m actually in the process of writing the post about our news but I have to wait a couple more weeks until I can share..

In the mean time.. Have you ever read this poem? The very first time I ever posted on this blog I posted this poem.

Do The Next Thing

Quoted by Elizabeth Elliot

“At an old English parsonage down by the sea,
there came in the twilight a message to me.
Its quaint Saxon legend deeply engraven
that, as it seems to me, teaching from heaven.
And all through the hours the quiet words ring,
like a low inspiration, ‘Do the next thing.’

Many a questioning, many a fear,
many a doubt hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from heaven,
time, opportunity, guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrow, child of the King,
trust that with Jesus, do the next thing.

Do it immediately, do it with prayer,
do it reliantly, casting all care.
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand,
who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
leave all resultings, do the next thing.

Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
working or suffering be thy demeanor,
in His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
the light of His countenance, be thy psalm.
Do the next thing.”

Author Unknown

I have in the past turned to this poem in times of grief as a “motto” or a guide of what it looks like to keep going when life gets hard. Just “do the next thing.” Just place one foot in front of the other, not looking behind and not looking ahead, just take a another step.

Right now in life we have been presented with a wonderful opportunity and it is not a time of grief although it is a very big change. With a change this big it could be easy for me to get overwhelmed and the small griefs that come with change (even a happy change!) could easily be too much for me. I have recently been thinking about this poem again and Jesus’ words in Matthew 6: 34 “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

Whatever you are going through in life right now whether it is a time of sorrow or you have joyous plans laid out in front of you remember that this moment is all we have. When I fixate on the past I become full of regret and get depressed. I can do nothing to change the past and I end up missing what’s right in front of my face. If I look towards the future and I fixate on all the unknowns and everything I don’t have control over and everything I think I have to do then I can get easily overwhelmed and stressed and miss today as well.

Whatever is in front of you or behind you my friend I encourage you to take one step at a time, looking to Jesus and do just the next thing. Don’t miss the beauty of today. Don’t rush through this precious gift you’ll never get back.

Here’s my challenge to you- what is one way you can cherish what is in front of you today?

For me, even though the changes we are going through are happy ones (don’t worry I’m not going to come back with bad news!) I feel like so much information is coming at me so fast that I have to slow it down or my mind will explode! (figuratively of course lol!) That means for the next week I’m going to put down my phone and step away from the internet to try and calm the amount of information that is coming at me so fast! Except for this blog because sharing with you helps organize my thoughts and definitely makes me calmer!

Stay tuned… 🙂

I’m editing to add my next steps for today. Here’s a little peak inside my day and my mind..

  1. spend 45 minutes cleaning the house so it will be ready incase someone wants to look at it today (we had an open house Tuesday so I’m hoping this will be the case!)
  2. get every one dressed and ready, finish making my grocery list and go grocery shopping
  3. make the 2 phone calls I need to make.
  4. take the kids outside to play

See, that’s easy! When I think in terms of what’s the next step right in front of me it’s not that much and it’s totally doable!

So this happened today…

I don’t know if I’ve ever read the book of Obadiah or not but this morning it was part of my Bible reading plan. It’s just one chapter long and as I was reading about the Edomites towards the end of the chapter I start thinking, “wait, is he no longer talking about Edom? It sounds like he’s talking about the whole world now. Is this prophecy?” I looked up the Bible Project’s video on Obadiah and it’s really good. Watch it and read the book!


This morning I took the kids to story time at the library and theme of the day was shapes and colors. This afternoon we continued the color and shape theme by getting out the new play dough set I picked up off the clearance shelf yesterday at Wal-Mart.  After we cleaned up dad helped E with some handwriting practice while I snuck outside to set up this surprise!

It’s bubble bath in the kiddie pool and ice on top the tarp and in the bowl. I came in the house after setting it up and looked out the window squinting at the pool saying, “Hey, E! Something strange is happening to the pool, we better go check it out.” I guess my tone of voice was a little too serious because she got scared and didn’t want to look! We had to convince her it was going to be something she would like and to go look. She tip toed until she got close enough to see what it was and then got really excited! T.J liked the ice and entertained himself by putting it in a little beach toy and carrying it around the yard a few pieces at a time until it all melted.

Hope you’re enjoying your summer and finding ways to stay cool!

New Gospel Tracts!

I’ve passed out a variety of gospel tracts of the years and most recently I’ve passed out tracts by Ray Comfort. With every tract I’ve used though there has been something in it that has made me slightly uncomfortable with passing it out. In some situations I feel that Ray Comforts tracts are great but for just passing out at the grocery store I don’t want something silly looking and I don’t want tracts that tell horrifying stories to make a point. If you’re  familiar with his tracts you’ll probably know what I mean. I’m not putting his tracts down I’m just saying it’s about context and most his tracts I don’t feel fit the context of ‘mom giving out tracts at T.J Maxx.’

I recently was made aware of matthias media and these tracts by a sister in Christ;

https://www.matthiasmedia.com.au/2wtl/resources.html

It’s called “two ways to live”. I like that the tract is very God centered because if you read enough gospel tracts you can be left with the feeling that a lot of them are man centered. I like this tract because I would say the focus of the tract is ‘God is God’ and not ‘quick! say this prayer so you can get out of hell!’ I’m certainly not against tracts that use the fear of hell to bring people to repentance, the Bible does that! I’m just seeing a need to tell the whole story- the whole story of God because the good news is the good news about God.

They are wordy- so honestly I don’t know how many will actually get read. That’s an issue that’s difficult to find an answer to. On one hand we live in a society with a crazy short attention span who generally doesn’t read but stares at quick images on screens. On the other hand, the Bible is 66 books that tells the story of God and although the gospel can be shared in just minutes with words a child can understand I want to avoid reducing the gospel to something it is not. Does that make sense?

This week I got to pass the first one out. In the morning I put one in the diaper bag and headed out with the kids to a story time at a state park. On the way there I heard on the radio someone talking about the missionary Hudson Taylor and how prayer was a major part of his evangelism. The voice on the radio encouraged the listener to pray for those they are trying to reach with the gospel. I turned off the radio and prayed for the person who God knew would receive this gospel tract.

At the state park I never did come across what felt like a good opportunity to give one out. This is where the story gets kind of funny.. That afternoon I was in the backyard watching the kids play in the kiddie pool when all of a sudden I started thinking about avocados. I couldn’t stop thinking about avocados- like I felt like I was going to cry if I couldn’t eat an avocado! Now, this is not very much like me at all. I actually make fun of my husband when he starts thinking about a food like that and won’t stop thinking about it until he gets it. I also really don’t like grocery shopping so it’s easy for me to be a stickler about only going once a week. Not this day though! I had to have avocados! I pulled my loudly protesting children away from the water, dressed them and drove all the way to town on a mission to get those delicious fruits to go with our dinner.

At the stop light I saw a woman holding a sign. It was 100 degrees out and there was no shade around her. “You thought this trip was about avocados huh?” I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit in my head. I bought a cold drink at the store and came back to where the woman was standing. She was at the edge of a dirt parking lot with nothing in it. She was alone and the area was highly visible so I felt it was safe to stop and talk to her. Her clothes were soaked through with sweat and her sign stated that she was out there for help and not to be made fun of. She told me about her situation which I won’t take the time to go into here- long story short there was really nothing I could do to help her. I gave her the drink and a gospel track and encouraged her to talk to Jesus and told her that He loved her. Nothing much, that was it.

I got another opportunity yesterday to give one out. At the grocery store they were short on baggers and the poor girl at the check out was moving as fast as she could to both check out the items and bag them. I gave her a small tip along with the tract (explaining what it was) and thanked her for helping me. She looked surprised and smiled real big and said, “thank you so much!’

If you’re looking for a new tract or want to start passing out tracts for the first time- check these out!

Summer is in full swing around here! Living for the glory of God

swimming at our favorite swimming spot and jumping off the big rock? check!

Go hiking and swimming on top mount Nebo? check! (well E and daddy swam- it was too cold for me and T.J!)

participate in a VBS? We did two!

We even got to do something I’ve always wanted to do- go on a sailboat!

I’ve been meditating on this verse lately-

1 Tim 6:17 “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;”

There have been times in my life when I genuinely felt guilty for having fun. I mean, shouldn’t life be spent just working and serving and soul winning? Is there legitimately a place for fun in the life of a believer?

Did you catch the last part of that verse? God gives richly to us all things to enjoy. Just look at the extravagant way that He created the world we live in. So much of what surrounds us was simply created by God for the sake of beauty and enjoyment. Think of all the varieties of luscious fruits and vegetables for us to taste and the beauty of nature for our eyes to enjoy. Sin would be to enjoy these things above God or choosing to be unthankful towards God for these things. Sin would also be to neglect the commandments in the next verse to do good and be generous.

Enjoying these things rightly can focus our hearts towards God and can bring Him glory. When I hike with my children I breathe in the fresh air, and marvel at all He has done by His wisdom and power. I thank Him for the time with my family. I’m learning to see these things as gifts from Him to enjoy, not as things to feel guilty about.

Enjoy your Creator today, marvel at His wisdom and kindness and enjoy all He has given you with thanksgiving! Whatever you do, do it for the Lord! (Col. 3:23)

 

Bible time with little children

At some point during the day when things are calm and I’m not in the middle of doing anything- usually late morning but sometimes in the afternoon, I say to the kids, “Bible time!”

I have a toddler and a very active four year old. Sitting down for a Bible lesson just isn’t going to happen right now. Each day we go to the same spot- the nursery. It’s baby proof, there are toys and a rocking chair. I close the door so the baby doesn’t escape and I pull a bucket of toys out of the closet. They can play, the only rule is no talking during Bible time.

I start off by singing the same song every day. “This is the day that the Lord has made.” I clap my hands, act animated and they ignore me and play with their toys. I don’t ask them to participate. I read them a chapter out of the book of Proverbs. Today since it’s the 8th I read them Proverbs chapter 8. After I ask E, “Is there anything you want to pray about?” She always responds no. (one time she responded horses so I thanked God for horses.) I then ask T.J, “is there anything you want to pray about?” He can’t talk so he doesn’t say much lol.

That’s it. I then tell them we are done. It lasts about 10 or less minutes.

Why do I do this?

Because even if they are just ignoring me and playing with their toys I think it’s important that they see their mother reading the Bible each day. Even if they don’t participate I think it’s important that they hear me pray over them, I believe that eventually they will learn to pray by hearing my prayers. I don’t think they comprehend any of the Proverbs but I believe that the discipline of faithfully reading them the scriptures will eventually grow fruit as they grow in understanding. I don’t know when that will happen but I will keep offering it through reading it to them until one day they do understand.

A couple other benefits are they have to practice a certain measure of self control since there is the no talking during Bible time rule. Also, they are hearing a portion of good literature and proper english each day that from an academic stand point is important for language development.

One day maybe they will join in with me for the singing. Even if they don’t I know E knows the song after hearing me sing it every day and I know T.J recognizes it.

I don’t try and get them to participate in any way other than  making them be in the same room as me and not talk. Our Bible time gives them an opportunity each day to observe my relationship with God and I pray for them that they will come to know God themselves.

I’m not 100% consistent but most days we get it done. Sometimes if my husband is driving I use that time as an opportunity to read to my trapped audience. 🙂

Do you have a Bible time with your toddlers and preschoolers? If so, what do you do?