Jesus standing between the dead and the living

In my Bible reading plan I am reading in the book of Numbers. Yesterday morning I read about the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and their followers and the subsequent murmuring of Israel against Moses. The wrath of God put a plague upon the people. Here’s what happened,

“And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censor, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun. And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.” Num. 16:46-48

There are so many parallels in this story with the gospel and Jesus’ atonement I don’t even know where to begin listing them all.

Here is a doodle of mine in my journal.

Aaron “made atonement for the people” he “stood between the dead and the living” and “the plague was stayed”.

In my drawing on the left is humanity. “…dead in trespasses and sin” Eph. 2:1

In the middle is the cross of Jesus the Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14). Jesus made atonement for the sins of the people. Hebrews 10:12 “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God” Heb. 10:12. “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2

On the right is the Living God Who through the atonement provided by the sacrifice of Jesus we are reconciled and made alive unto. Romans 6:13. Colossians 2:13 “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses.”

Eph. 5:2 ..”hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.”

We all have a plague- sin. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom. 6:23

The symptom of this sickness is death but Jesus our Great High Priest has overcome both sin and death and offers life everlasting. “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” 2 Tim. 1:10

Trust Jesus today!

“let your conversation be..”

“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ..” Phil. 1:27a

Wednesday my friend from church and I recited the Bible verses we are working on memorizing over the phone to each other. She is memorizing Philippians. When she said the above verse it struck me as, “Wow. That’s such a tall order.” It really was sobering to think of what a far reaching command that it.

The NAS that she was quoting from translated conversation as conduct and becometh as worthy. It’s sobering to look over every aspect of my life an think, does this honor the gospel? Does this bring glory to God and what He has done for me? Is this worthy to be in the life of someone who follows Christ?

What about my interactions with my children and husband this past week? Has those interactions ‘become’ the gospel? What about my thought life? Have the things my mind has been dwelling on been worthy of the gospel?

Have my time investments become the gospel? Have my words to others become the gospel?

I looked up become in the Merriam Webster dictionary and I think the second definition using the word as a verb best convey’s the meaning of the word in this verse.

:to be suitable to

  • seriousness becoming the occasion; especially : to be becoming to- her clothes became her

Like a piece of clothing fits a person well or becomes them I need to filter what I allow in my life and in my head and what comes out of my mouth with the question, does this fit into the life of a follower of Christ? Not merely does this look good for the sake of looking good but does this fit what I say I believe about God?

Does this become the gospel? Does this point to the reality of the good news that Christ came to save and redeem sinners?

Some questions worth mulling over.

Reviewing my personal 2017 goals

I think March might be the month that New Year resolutions start to be forgotten. I’m not basing that off of anything that’s just my guess.

My new year resolutions/ things I wanted to work on this year were:

For my health- bring my A1C down from 5.9 to 5.5
pass out gospel tracts
memorize scripture
read the Bible through chronologically
1. I had my first A1C (a measure of average blood sugar over a 3 month time) of 2017 done this year and it was 5.6. My hard work is paying off and I hope to see that 5.5 three months from now.
2. I ordered some of Ray Comfort’s ‘Why Christianity?’ tracts/ booklets and God has been helping me to pass them out. I need to still be really diligent about this and not let it stop as the year progresses. Every single tract is difficult for me to pass out and I have to ask God for help with every single one. It still makes me nervous to ask someone, “can I give you one of these?”
3. My specific goal that I set is to memorize the first 3 1/2 chapters of Colossians. I’m on Chapter 2 verse 10. Progress has been slow but I am making progress. I need to start calling my friend again who we had decided to keep each other accountable and recite the scriptures we are working on to each other once during the week. We are both very busy moms and it has proven more difficult than we thought to find the time and a time that works for both of us.
4. This is a goal I started a little later in the year, towards the end of January so I may not actually finish until the beginning of 2018. I read the beginning of Genesis, then Job, then completed Genesis and Exodus and now I am in Leviticus. I’ve worked hard and was able to keep this up even while on vacation.

What goals did you set at the beginning of the year and are you meeting them?

Passing Out Gospel Tracts

I am by no means an expert in this area. I’m just working to be more obedient to God’s command to share the good news. Passing out gospel tracts is just one way to reach people with God’s Word. Gospel tracts provide a way to leave someone who I have talked to maybe 2 minutes with something much deeper that I pray they will read. I try to think of it as scattering seeds of the gospel and praying for God to give the increase. If you’ve never passed out tracts before I thought it may be helpful for me to share a few specific times lately that I have given them to people so you can see what it looks like.

At the zoo after showing the woman behind the glass my zoo pass and exchanging a couple dollar bills for quarters, I placed a tract in the little opening under the glass and asked her, “Can I give you one of these?” She read the title, ‘Why Christianity’ and picked it up saying, “Yes ma’am you can!”

After making small talk about my kids with the cashier at Wal-Mart and thanking him for helping me bag my groceries, I took a tract from my pocket and asked him if I could give him one. He took it and with a big smile I said thank you and told him to enjoy the rest of his night.

At this dentist after paying my bill (on time!) I offered a tract to the woman at the desk. She looked at it kind of awkwardly for a moment but then said sure and took it. I always make sure when I have been back to greet her warmly and make sure I don’t owe any money.

I very rarely just leave tracts laying around. I don’t think they will get read. Here’s an example of a time I did. After thanking our waitress at a restaurant for her service, I made an effort to stack the dishes making sure things were nicely picked up. My husband left a generous tip and I put a gospel tract in the envelope thing that you leave your receipt in on the table.

At the park after our kids played together I went and got a tract out of my van and went back over to the children’s mom. I commented to her how helpful her oldest daughter was to me helping me with my baby and commended her for doing a good job raising her children. I told her I was headed out and asked her if I could leave her with a gospel tract. She took it.

After paying at the hardware store I asked the cashier if I could give him a tract. He cheerfully accepted it.

Same thing, at Walgreens I asked the cashier if I could give him one holding it out. “Ummm… Ummm..” he said. I smiled. “Okay…” he responded taking it slowly. “Thank You!” I told him.

I gave the bagger at Kroger a tip and a tract and told her how much I appreciate her helping me.

Hope these few examples can encourage you! I still struggle with passing out each and every tract. It is really not that hard though to keep a couple in my pocket and offer them to the people I come in contact with.

Moved to tears by a little boy’s prayer

After my son Titus died in my grief I was grasping for something to hold to and to somehow find meaning in his life and death. Growing up my step dad sponsored a boy who lived in Uganda. Growing up I would be excited to get letters in the mail from him but also saddened and sobered by how difficult his life appeared to be. He wrote to us of war and terrible things that he saw. I remember coloring pictures to send to him. My step dad really loved “I” and he had a dream of going to visit him when he graduated high school. The time came and the money was not there to travel. Shortly after we got a letter telling us that “I” had contracted malaria and died right after graduating high school. It was devasting and we felt like we had lost someone dear to us. I remember my step dad being really sad and sending money to “I’s” mother to support her after the loss of her son.

Growing up knowing about Compassion International is why the ministry came to mind after Titus died. I got on their website my soul shattered, my eyes continually puffy with tears. While scrolling through the photos of children I asked God to lead me to the child He wanted us to sponsor. When I saw “S” who lives in Ghana his round cheeks, full lips and round eyes, reminded me of the boy I had just said good bye to who had very full lips, round cheeks and big eyes.  When I went to confirm and give my credit card information I saw that when clicking on the profile of a little girl ‘K’ who lives in Uganda I had accidentally hit the button to sponsor her. I didn’t know how to remove her from our account so I showed my husband who said something like, “We can’t remove her, God wants us to sponsor her.” She made me think of the boy we sponsored growing up who had lived in Uganda and it made me feel like I was getting to sponsor a child in his memory.

Having two sponsor children has been an amazing blessing to us. I don’t get to buy birthday presents for my son but I get to send birthday presents to them. I don’t get to see my baby grow up but I get to see them grow up through photos and letters. I can’t talk to Titus but I do write my sponsor children letters and tell them Bible stories and tell them how proud I am of them like I would tell my son if I could.

What motivated me to write about Compassion today is a letter I got from “S” in the mail. His prayer request and his prayer for me moved me to tears and I am certainly not one of those cries at the drop of hat type people. His letter was dated December 3rd and he asked for pray for peaceful elections for his country. It crushed me that a child so young lives in a world where political unrest is a real burden in his life. I looked up the elections in Ghana and saw that it took place less than a couple weeks after he wrote his letter so it must have been weighing on his mind. What really got me though was the sentence, “S says he prays that all you have given him that God would return it unto you.” **tears, tears, tears!***  He isn’t old enough to write on his own yet so a Compassion worker was writing for him. S drew us a very nice picture of a cup though!

We had sent S (and K as well) and his family a gift on Titus birthday in May last year and we received in the mail yesterday a full page photo of him holding and surrounded by the things that were bought with the gift. A new pair of shoes, a shirt, corn and a bag of something that looked like rice. The letter from the compassion worker told us that the rest of the money had gone to expand S’s mother’s home business and told how thankful the family was for that. It humbled me to see the concrete floor S was standing on. Last year for Titus’ birthday money was used to purchase cement to lay a floor and make the families home more secure. Compassion had sent us a photo of the bags of cement with S’s stunningly beautiful mother standing in front holding a baby on her hip. I feel that Compassion does a very good job of spending money wisely and there is a lot of accountability and openness about how the money is being spent.

By far what makes Compassion stand out from other ministries is the relationships you can form with your sponsor children. Who knows what the future will bring? Maybe when my children are in high school we will go visit our sponsor children.

If you are looking for a Christian ministry to support financially I really recommend looking into Compassion International. Their slogan is, ‘releasing children from poverty in Jesus name.’ This ministry is something I feel really passionate about. When Casting Crowns did a concert in our town and an email came to me from Compassion looking for volunteers to hand out information at the concert I signed up right away!

Compassion asks that people don’t put online the children’s name or photos for privacy and safety is why I referred to the children by their initial.

https://www.compassion.com

what I’m working on..

I haven’t been writing lately although as I go about my day I usually think of so many things I want to write about! It’s a busy season having a 1 year old and a 3 year old. Both ages are requiring a lot of attention and to quote the people I meet in town, “I have my hands full!”

I had written at the beginning of the year how I want to work on scripture memory. I was working on a verse a week and saying it to a woman at our church either on Sunday or if I saw her some other time in the week. One of my sisters in Christ was telling me this past Sunday that she has a goal to memorize the book of Philippians and asked if I would want to join her and keep each other accountable. I’ve wanted to for a long time to memorize Colossians but have stopped and forgotten what I started. We decided we were going to call each other and say our verse that we are working on which we did yesterday afternoon. As of this morning I have memorized the first 7 verses of chapter 1. I’m excited! I would love to be able to say all 4 of the chapters of Colossians. I love the “big picture” of eternity in Colossians and the poetic language.

I’m also working on passing out gospel tracts again. It’s something I haven’t down for a long time but is so important! I ordered some of Ray Comfort’s “Why Christianity” tract/ small booklet and this week God has helped me to pass out 5 of them. The first time I attempted to pass one out was when I brought the kids to the zoo Saturday. I was so nervous I was shaking and ended up leaving without passing any out. It’s so silly really, what am I so nervous about? Some one might say, “No thanks?” Read it and then give it back because they don’t agree with what it says? With each track I did pass out this week, with prayer, it has gotten easier. It’s really not that hard to say to the cashier who I’ve been making small talk with, “Can I give you a gospel track?”

I’m also working on praying more. I have this urgency in my spirit that God is wanting me to pray. I’ve felt like that for a while now and the men in our church have been teaching on prayer which has really been motivating me to start obeying and practicing it. At the encouragement of a brother in the Lord sharing what he does, yesterday I wrote up a prayer list of people and things to pray about for each day of the week. I think it’s going to help me be more focused and disciplined in prayer.

In my job as a mom of little ones, behavior and obedience are the main issues I’m working on with my kids right now. T.J learned to climb up on the kitchen table yesterday and teaching him not to do that took a lot of time yesterday! We’ll see what he does when he gets up.. he’s persistent, I wouldn’t doubt it if he tries right away to see if the rule still applies today!

I had started working on a list of family rules. I put them up in our kitchen and as I was going through out our days I was trying to edit the list to better fit our family and our needs. Some of the rules I wrote out I was finding were too broad and others too specific. While searching around the internet for other’s ideas I found “21 Rules” by Greg Harris. (Father  of the author Joshua Harris.) These were the rules that he wrote up for his family when his kids were young. (I don’t have time to include a link but if you google Greg Harris 21 rules it will come up)

I’ve had them up on our fridge for I think a week or so now and they are really changing our family in a positive way! First they are changing our family because they are changing me! I have to make sure if I’m teaching these rules that I have to follow them closer than anyone! A few challenging one’s for me that I am working on are, “when someone is sad we comfort them.” If my kids are whiny my natural response is to want them to just get over it. Now I’m working on stopping and taking the time to offer a hug or a solution to the problem in their world. (fixing the broke toy or whatever.) It’s also been a really big change for me to consistently clean up one thing before going onto another. I can be a scatter brain and the trail of random stuff I leave behind me shows that. I’ve had to really get organized and make sure everything actually has a place so that when I want the kids to clean up they know exactly where stuff goes and it’s easy to put it away. This has meant getting rid of a lot of stuff as well. I’ve also been working on speaking to my family with a respectful voice. AKA not yelling when I’m irritated.

As for my marriage challenge, there are 6 more days in January. (Including today.) This challenge has proved more challenging than I thought it would be but has also reaped some good fruit. Mostly I’ve realized how little I had been working to do nice things for my husband and how the all consuming task of motherhood has pushed things aside marriage wise. Before having kids you hear how it’s easy to neglect your spouse while parenting but until you’re in the thick of it it’s hard to know how true that is. Maybe (no promises!) at the end of the month I’ll write a “ways to bless your husband” post with different things I’ve come up with this month. It’s hard to come up with the creativity to do something different every day!

There’s more I want to share with you but it will have to wait for another day as it’s nearing 7:00 and I have to hurry to get dressed before my kids wake up!

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

We made people happy!!

Luke 6:31

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

A couple days before Thanksgiving I was moping around feeling sorry for myself that my husband was working and there was nothing special to do with the kids. My family is half way across the country and every one I know was of course going to be spending the day with their families. My husband’s family gets together the Saturday after Thanksgiving so his siblings can spend the holiday with their in laws. I knew we would get to celebrate a couple days later but I was feeling lonely about having nothing to do the day of. I told God how I felt. “You know, you’re not the only one lonely on Thanksgiving..” was the response in my heart.

I immediately knew  how I was going to spend the day and it made me excited. I called a nursing home and asked if I could come in on Thanksgiving and have my daughter pass out Thanksgiving cards and visit with people who would like a visit. I had previously asked on Facebook if anyone else because of the plant’s schedule would be alone that day. One of the other wives who I had only meet a coupe times previously but who I really liked was in the same situation as me and wanted to join us with her boys at the nursing home.

With kids and cards in tow we went to the part of the home for the residents with Alzheimer’s disease. I was really impressed by how willing our kids were to serve these people they never meet and who from a child’s perspective could be intimidating. I had told E we were there to make people happy on Thanksgiving and she acted as if that was her job.

You know what happened? I really enjoyed myself. It felt good to do good and trying to serve someone else who is suffering took my mind off of myself and made my thoughts not so selfish. The stark contrast of seeing how good my life is in comparison with these poor people’s suffering made me really really thankful as well.

When E saw her daddy that afternoon she said to him excitedly, “Daddy, we made people happy!!”

I’ll have to remember this in the future and I hope you will too. When I am down and feeling sorry for myself, there is always someone who I could be serving and in serving them I’ll be blessed too.  It’s an easy concept to know but it’s another thing to actually do it!

Matthew 25:40

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

 

Also, Hey! This is my 100th post! I”m so glad you’re taking the time to read my thoughts and letting me share my heart with you. I hope this little blog is an encouragement to you!

Pray For Our New President

1 Timothy 2 (KJV)

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

I was honestly quite surprised this morning when I saw the news that Trump won the presidency. I have been saying up until the last coupled weeks that I thought for sure Hillary would win. The last couple of weeks I’ve been starting to say in disbelief, “now I don’t know..”

What I do know now though is we as Christians have a responsibility. We must pray for our new president and for all those in government authority. Here’s a short list of specific ways we can be praying for the new President Trump:

  1. That he will come to the knowledge of THE truth and be saved (1 Tim. 1:4)
  2. that he will turn from darkness to light and from the power of satan unto God (Acts 26:18)
  3. That he would be humble (Phil 2:3, Proverbs 11:2, Romans 12:6)
  4. That he would be wise (James 3:17, Proverbs 3:13-18, Proverbs 12:15)
  5. That he would avoid strife (Proverbs chapter 6, Proverbs 20:3, Galatians 5: 19-21)
  6. That he would repent of his sins (1 John 1:9, Luke 13:3, Proverbs 28:13)
  7. That he would do justice (Micah 6:8, Isaiah 1:17)
  8. That he would defend/ protect the weak- specifically work to end the abortion holocaust (Proverbs 24:11-12, Matthew 19:18, Exodus 23:7)

This list isn’t exhaustive but it’s a place to start. Will you join me in prayer for our nation this morning? Will you do your part by loving your neighbor and sharing the love of Jesus today?

How well do I know the Bible?

We just got back home from going to a MOPS get together for the first time. MOPS stands for moms of preschoolers and it’s a thing that’s country wide. Every month the moms get together for a meeting and once a month there is a “field trip” or play date of some sort planned. Today we woke up to a beautiful cool breezy fall day. It felt amazing after all the super hot weather we’ve been having! I packed up the kids and I meet the MOPS group at a park for a couple hours. I got to meet and chat with other moms and my kids really wore themselves out good so that’s why I have some time to sit down and write! 🙂 If you’re looking to meet some friends or are new to an area I recommend finding out if your area has a MOPS.

Anyways! Last night I dreamed I was talking to a woman who told me her favorite book of the Bible was Psalms. In my dream I told her I liked Psalms as well. “Oh yeah?” she asked,”what are some Psalms you like?” And in my dream I couldn’t remember one reference or even one verse. I was embarrassed and realized I didn’t know the Bible very well.

When I woke up this morning I strained my mind to try and remember a reference from Psalms. NOTHING CAME TO MIND. I remembered a few lines from a couple different Psalms but I had no idea what the references were or where to find them if I needed to. My summary in my dream unfortunately is true. I don’t know the Bible well enough. I’ve heard and read it all my life so I can repeat stories and summarize well but as far as memorization or knowing references I’d get like a D-.

That’s a sad state for a child of God! This morning one of the first things I did was open to the book of Psalms. Because I opened to it I read Psalm 148, 149 and 150. That should be easy to remember because those are the last 3 chapters in Psalms. So, to answer the woman in my dream who asked me to share a psalm…

Psalm 149: 4-5 “For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds.”

Isn’t that a beautiful thought that God takes pleasure in His people? I’m going to write that up on the chalkboard in our dining room and try to memorize this.

And so you can visualize my dream, the woman who I was talking to was a sailor, was smoking a cigarette, and had an anchor tattoo and every thing. Even my normal sounding dreams are weird!

How do you memorize scripture? Share with me in the comments!

Not afraid of boogers- being the hands of Christ

I’m not a touchy person. I always appreciate those warm people I meet who will greet me with a hug or give me a pat on the back but it doesn’t come naturally to me to initiate touch with those outside my immediate family. I’m shy too so when when I’m talking with people I don’t usually make a lot of eye contact. If someone is standing close when talking to me the shy side of me will usually cause me to take a step or two back to put some space between us. It’s not that I don’t like people or feel comfortable around them, it’s just that I’m a little shy by nature.

God’s working on that though. People need touch. People need to be looked in the eye to feel, “I see you and care about you.” God wants to reach out and touch and hold people who are hurting. God wants to look people in the eye and let them feel His love. God has a strange way of fulfilling this desire though. He wants to use my hands and my eyes to do these things.

1 Corinthians 12:27 “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

Yesterday I was out by myself getting lunch at Chick fil A. I saw a skinny woman with long gray hair on the corner across the street holding a cardboard sign that read, “homeless” on it.

I spent the few extra dollars and bought her a sandwich and a bottle of water. After I had gone through the drive thru and drove back around the building where I had seen her she was gone. I sat in my car and ate my lunch wondering where she had gone and what I was going to do with an extra sandwich. I finished eating and pulled out of the parking lot when I saw her in another parking lot.

I pulled up and got out of the van. “Hey girl!” I said as I approached her, “I saw you but then didn’t know where you went.” (that’s me being awkward and trying to think of something to say..) She had gone inside to use the bathroom and get a free water. “Are you hungry?” I asked her. “I bought you a sandwich.” “Yes ma’am!” she responded eagerly taking the bag and then with a big toothless grin held out her arms. There was a split second where I recoiled inside but I immediately saw in my mind my arms as the literal arms of Christ and was able to hug her and let her hug me. For a moment she searched my eyes as I smiled into hers. “God bless you.” she said and I told her the same. As I pulled out I saw her eagerly unwrapping the food as if she was really hungry.

I was hesitant to write about this because of Christ’s command to “let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth”. I’m not writing this though to brag that I bought a homeless woman a cheap sandwich. I wanted to share this little thing that God has been working in my heart. That He is teaching me how to physically surrender my body to be His tool to love people even when I feel uncomfortable.

“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

This concept applies to my role as a mother. I know I can not ask God to keep my children safe and healthy and then grumble about having to diligently supervise them and cook them healthy food. My body is the means God uses to feed and keep these kids safe. Yes, I believe God does miracles but day to day he wants to use this tool that is my surrendered body to serve and bless those around me.

As I have read the gospels over the years it always sticks out to me how much Jesus TOUCHED people. I think I notice it because I don’t like germs and touching strangers seem weird. Jesus without hesitation TOUCHED lepers. Those people surely hadn’t been touched by another human being in years! He also let snot nose kids climb all over Him and while I like kids, I don’t like holding other people’s babies sometimes because I don’t like snot and drool or poop. That may sound funny but I’m just using that as a way to make this point- Jesus was and is AMAZING! Boogers, snot, tears, fevers, skin diseases, blood issues- he didn’t recoil, he touched, He loved, He cared.

How can you use the power of physical touch to minister God’s love to someone today? What is an area of your life that God is growing you in right now?