It has been almost 3 months since I wrote my last blog and there have been many changes in my life. As I reflected on God's Word the last two days, HE clearly spoke to my heart about the new, exciting direction my family is heading.
At the time of my last blog, I was working full time with no thoughts whatsoever on leaving. God had other plans for me. Here I sit, getting the privilege to be at home with my daughter while she's out on break, keep my grandson any time I want to, be a keeper at home while doing my at home job that blesses my heart!! If you asked me would I have seen myself being able to do this a year ago I would have told you no. I honestly thought I would be retiring from that 8-5 job.
Having said all that - during my quiet time yesterday I read Agur's prayer in Proverbs 30:7-9. It contains two petitions to God. 1. "Do not refuse me before I die: Keep deception and lies far from me" and 2. "Give me neither poverty or riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion." Although the first is my prayer, it was the second part that really hit me most.
This morning, I read Proverbs 31 and of course we always think about the virtuous woman which should be a goal for all women but I decided to keep reading into the book of Ecclesiastes. What a wonderful book!! It can be very saddening but if we could grasp hold of what the author is saying about what matters most we would be better off.
We spend our days 'striving after wind' as he writes. Life seems to be a vicious cycle and people are so caught up in having it all that they are miserable. Psalms 16:11b says "in Your presence is fullness of joy". If we are walking on the path HE has for us there will be joy. We may not always be happy but we will have that inner joy and peace. We may not always have a "dream" life but we will have life and life more abundantly. (John 10:10)
I have been guilty of wanting all the world has to offer - the next new vehicle, a bigger, better house, etc. Thank you Lord I have a husband who is a little more levelheaded than me!! He has loved me no matter what I wasted time striving after.
In Ecclesiastes 5:18, it says, "Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one's labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward." We are to enjoy what we do and work to eat and drink, not in excess but our "daily bread". This brings to mind the Israelites and how God provided for them with manna. It was enough for that one day and if they tried to greedily gather more it would spoil. Excess in our lives can spoil. When we give to our kids excessively, we spoil them. When we get in excess, we can make ourselves gods thinking we don't need God to provide for us. Ecc 6:7 says, "All a man's labor is for his mouth and yet the appetite is not satisfied".
Matthew 6:19-21 warns: 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I am not saying that having an abundance of things is all bad if you can afford to have it. Abraham, David, Job as well as others had an abundance but their focus was on the Lord and HE gave the blessings. Some times those blessings are material blessings. I am also not saying that providing for your future is wrong...we should. What I AM saying is...don't focus all on what you can obtain. With HIM I am rich even if I'm not financially rich!!!!
Resigning from my job means working on a reduced budget and that's fine with me. I am able to better serve with great joy the family God has blessed me with. I can enjoy the works of my hands while making a little money - enough to be able to eat, drink and enjoy this short life God has given me. (Ecc 5:18)
The Bible has much to say about contentment. I challenge you to search out those Scriptures and make 2016 a year of LOVING GOD AND LOVING PEOPLE. In that you will find satisfaction for your appetite!!
Happy New Year to you all!
Cheryl, your sister in the Faith
A couple of weeks ago, I attended a ladies retreat in the mountains with a wonderful group of 27 women. During this retreat, we were to be broken up into table groups and we would not know until we got there who God would end up putting us with. Every year, HE seems to know just who I need. No matter who I was to be placed with we all have difficulties from life that can be a blessing in helping each other ~ besides isn't that just what God wants us to do? Bear up one another's burdens? My table consisted of 3 "seasoned" Christians - one the preacher's wife, another a selfless worker for Christ and another older (not old), wiser grandmother.
One of the sessions we had we were to make a potted flower for ourselves and take one back for a person the Lord lays on our hearts. Well, I immediately knew who I wanted to give mine to but she lived too far away. I held onto this flower for two weeks telling myself I would give to someone else but nothing felt right and I couldn't bring myself to calling the "second choice" person. Then it happened, the young lady I was to give my flower to (at the last minute) unexpectedly came to town. God wanted this young lady to get it and HE worked it out so graciously.
I met with her and we talked for 2 1/2 hours. You see this young lady is a dear person to me. I watched her grow, make some bad choices in life but make a lot of good ones too. She is beautiful and immensely loved by GOD. GOD has used these simple little flowers to teach me a life lesson that is just in time!!
Look at the caption picture...this is my flower or what has began to spring up. I buried my small little seeds a little too deep so it has take a lot longer to come up. I constantly added water to keep it moist and after a while I have a little sprig finally. Before long I will have beautiful flowers!
The application I make about this is: we are the small seeds - just a tiny little insignificant seed that has potential to become something far greater than we could ever imagine. The "dirt" from this world weighs down heavily on us. To that seed it is a dark, cold, lonely (even though it's not the only seed there) and heavy place to be and that is how we feel about life sometimes but when the "Living Water" (Jesus) is poured on us, we have the potential of growing into something far more beautiful. Having been in that cold, dark, lonely, and heavy place when we finally see the LIGHT we are beautiful and our beauty makes other people take notice. Ever notice how a beautiful garden can change a person's outlook? Make them happy? We can do the same thing!
"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end."
So why does God allow hardships or "dirt" in our lives that we don't understand? Because HE is making all things beautiful! He is molding you (child of God) into HIS image. Hard times come and GOD knows hardship - HE had to watch HIS own Son die a cruel death.
Many people reject God or turn away from HIM because of bad things that happen in their lives. Tragedies happen because we live in a fallen world. Innocent people are killed all the time because of the neglect or sins of other people. This is life and YES life is unfair. In a perfect world, GOD would not allow these things but we don't live in a perfect world.
Right now satan has been given power and people must make a choice...choose God or choose satan. Not to choose is choosing because HIS word says if you are not for God you are against Him. Those are the only 2 choices. We ~man~ handed dominion over to satan in the garden so we ~man~ are responsible for what has happened to society. So it's pretty unfair to blame God every time something bad happens. HE will make all things beautiful when HE returns. Only GOD can take broken things and put them back together perfectly.
Death is not the end...it is a new beginning either in Heaven or in Hell and you have been given the chance in this life to make that choice. After you die it will be too late - you will immediately arrive to your destination. So what will you choose?
Have you ever noticed that when a person tries to capture something of beauty, they always go to creation? A painter always tries to capture the majesty of nature in a painting. As one who LOVES to go to the beach, I always have to try and capture the sunrise or sunset. Why is it when we hear the word "majestic" we think of a beautiful mountain scene or at least I do? It's built in us to seek God even if we don't realize that's what we are doing. HE is trying to get our attention by using those things and NO picture can EVER capture its beauty.
Every morning as I drive to work, there is one area on my route where I am able to see the sun rising. Some days it is not that grand but there are some days I just want to stop my car and praise the Lord for HIS beauty and promise of another day. I can still remember Beth Moore telling the story of seeing God's majesty and jumping out of her car yelling, "delight"!! People taking pictures at that area thought she had totally lost her mind but she didn't care. Her GOD had revealed HIMSELF to her through HIS creation and she just had to yell!!! HIS Word tells us to delight ourselves in HIM.
Psalm 37: "Delight yourself in the Lord; and HE will give you the desires of your heart.
In the mornings, I never turn on the radio in the car. I just talk to the Lord. A couple of weeks ago, I was praying for some burdens to be lifted and as I rounded the corner and saw the sunrise, I began to bawl like a baby. It was if HE told me, "Be still my child for I am faithful. Everyday I am here even when you cannot see me. Even when the dark clouds seem to be between us, I AM HERE!! No clouds are too dark to snuff out my light. Yes it is dark, yes it seems gloomy, BUT I AM HERE AND I AM FAITHFUL!!!"
So every day as I drive that little piece of road, I hold to HIS faithfulness - HIS faithfulness to love those who love HIM, HIS faithfulness to love those who reject HIM, HIS faithfulness to carry our burdens, HIS faithfulness to guide us by HIS light.
To me it's not just a sunrise, it is a SONrise!! I don't just see the sun, I remember THE SON!! He may return at any moment and I'm watching and waiting for that day - the day I will behold HIS beauty - face to face. No painting, no picture can capture HIS true majesty but until that day, I will continue to hold to HIS faithfulness. I will continue to look for HIM in those sunrises and remember to delight in HIM because HE delights in me!!
This morning the light of the sun made the sky so beautiful. He wants to shine on us and make us beautiful as well!! Be blessed!!
Cheryl, Your sister in the Fait
In a few weeks, a group of ladies and I will begin a bible study on "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. I have done this study before and was truly blessed by it. A lady in the group suggested we do it so I gladly obliged. If you are bible study junkie like me, you can relate to having those 1 or 2 that completely revolutionize your walk with Christ.
Over the last couple of weeks, the title of this blog post has been flipping around in my head but had not landed on paper yet. So...this morning I picked up Rick Warren's book and began to read through Chapter 1. The VERY FIRST sentence read, "It is not about me". We live in a culture where EVERYTHING (or so we think) is ALL about us. This life is so much bigger than us and we are unable to even fathom that concept. Hold on tight because I'm fixing to get in someone kool-aid.
Note: when I say "you" I am also talking to myself!!!
What makes you think...this life is all about you and just you? When God created Adam and Eve, HE created them for fellowship with HIM. Did you catch that?? You were created for HIM!! When sin entered the world, HIS love for us and desire to fellowship with us did not end. HE still desires for us to fellowship with HIM. We were not put here to see how much money we could make or how high we could climb the corporate ladder although those things are not necessarily bad. HE may place some people there for a reason. HE blessed Job greatly with material possessions but his heart still belonged to GOD. It is when those things become more important that our Creator that becomes the problem. David was a king - but his heart still belonged to God. Where is your heart? Is it on GOD or those blessings HE has allowed you to have? Where is your heart?
What makes you think...you are above suffering? I hear people say all the time, they wonder why GOD allows sickness. Would you agree that all sin is sickness? We are a generation of sin riddled people. In the garden, there was no sin, no sickness or pain. After Adam and Eve violated GOD's rule in the garden, sin entered and sickness and pain began. Shortly after they were banished, Adam and Eve's son committed the first murder by killing his own brother. Oh the heartbreak they had to endure - basically losing both of their sons that day. I don't necessarily believe that a person gets sick because of his/her sin but because this world is not a perfect world anymore. Disease is a part of a fallen world.
What makes you think...you are above persecution? This is a biggie for me. Christians say all the time "we aren't going to suffer because GOD is coming back to get us before it gets really bad". I have to wonder though - did not the apostles (all but one) suffer and die for the Savior? Did not Paul suffer for the faith? II Corinthians 11:24-28:
24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
I would say he suffered much!! It would be great if JESUS came back and took us away before we had to experience hard times but I have to think that if those suffered for HIM then chances are we may be asked to do the same. There are people all over the world suffering for HIM and I pray GOD will give them strength to endure.
What makes you think...GOD doesn't love you? For those of you who are not born-again believers, GOD loves you too. HE desires to have fellowship with you! GOD loves you with a love that we don't even understand. If you feel GOD is distant and could never love you, then I would love to talk to you. All the messages you type below are moderated by me so if you have questions, please send me a message. I will be sure not to post for the world to see. HE loves you with an everlasting love and desires for all to be saved from eternal separation from HIM in hell. May GOD reveal HIMSELF to you this day!!
I remember when blogging first came on the scene and I remember thinking, "what in the world is a blog"? Once I found out what it was I thought, "I could NEVER do that because I am not a writer and I don't have anything to say".
Well, I still don't think I am much of a writer and sometimes I think I have very little to say; however, the one thing I have learned is that everyone has something to say. I always try and write what I feel the Lord has put in my heart but that can be difficult in this busy life I lead.
Weeks would go by and I didn't feel like I could write anything. Could it be that I had began relying on myself instead of His Spirit to lead me? I came to the conclusion that I was not being still and listening for HIM to speak to me. I had slipped from reading my Bible every day and so I decided it was time to jump back having a burning desire for HIM to speak and that I would hear HIM when HE spoke.
HE got my attention the the other morning. Some ladies and I have been going through a bible study and we were talking about Adam and Eve and how they walked with GOD in the garden in the cool of the morning. Some scholars say that GOD may have been in human form or maybe in the wind but HIS presence was known.
I had walked outside that particular morning around 7 a.m.and it was still and quiet. All of a sudden a gust of wind blew in the top of the trees and I stopped right in my tracks. I began to recall what I had read. I immediately looked up into the trees and asked God to forgive me for being too busy to recognize HIM lately. I don't know if HE sent that wind to get my attention but it got it none-the-less. I felt HIS presence at that very moment and it was beautiful and calming to my soul.
Take the time to watch for God - HE just might be trying to get your attention!!
I encourage you - if you have slipped away, go back to the ONE who can put a song in your heart, words of life on your lips and yes, wind in your hair.
For me, blogging is telling my story. So what's your story?? HE has given us all one. Your story just might help someone else who's struggling. I have parts of my story that one day I will tell but only in God's timing. They are very personal and hard to tell. For now, I will praise the ONE who delivered me from the pain and the hatred I once held onto.
I serve a God who heals all your hurts. The day HE saved me, I became a new person. (I Cor 5:17) HE brought the healing to my soul that I longed for. HE gave me the love that I was searching for for all those many years!!
HE can do the same for you!!
Cheryl, Your sister in the Faith
My blogs are all over the place...I love to write about my faith, my family and just share my simple life with others.