Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Silent Seduction of Self-Talk by Shelly Beach



The Silent Seduction of Self-Talk by an author/friend Shelly Jean Beach is one of those books that I read and re-read and read again and pick up and read the underlined parts again. And now....yes, I am reading it again. I love the way she lays it out to begin with...honestly, openly, all on the table. She calls us to be honest with ourselves through the Soul Search section at the end of each chapter...questions to think about, talk about, write about. She has another section at the end of each chapter called Facing the Seduction and this is devoted to Scriptures to read and ways to pray and exercises in how to listen to the Spirit and the Word. Lastly, is the section called Responding from the Heart, which is a prayer to the Lord. Oh, and how I love the appendixes!! Usually I just skip the appendixes, but not in this book. These are more helpful, interactive, exercises to help really open up what you are telling yourself.
One example of questions asked in the first chapter: What "bricks" can you identify in your wall of spiritual need? What attitudes, thoughts, sins, habits do you struggle to hide, even from yourself? What conversations do you have with yourself to justify or rationalize your actions?
The part that reads "struggle to hide even from yourself" hit me hardest. There are parts that I struggle to hide from myself. I just go on and pretend there is no struggle, no problem, no sin...but as I have found out how much He loves me, I know I can trust God completely with who I am. I do not have to "perform" for Him. He knows me. And when I am struggling, He knows it. So I just pray...and tell Him honestly what is going on...and then I wait until He gives me a way to deal with it, or I go on but honestly seeing it and living differently because of it.
Sharing the prayer because it is so real...
"Gracious and loving Father, i come to You admitting that I'm facing a wall of need. I know that more than anything, You want to have a closer and deeper relationship with me, and today I'm taking a first step toward You by asking You to change me from the inside out. Thank You for loving me as I am but for not leaving me in my brokenness.
"Please help me see the ugly parts of myself I've worked so hard to hide with self-talk. Show me who You created me to be, fully empowering me through Your Holy Spirit to become that person. Show me the roots of my self-deceptions, whether big or small. Help me listen to the conversations I carry on with myself, knowing they're a mirror to my heart, a key to my motives, and the source of my commitment to live out the double love command to passionately love You and others.
"Thank You for grace and for the gift of Your love as I turn towards You in humble obedience. More than anything, Lord, I want to have a heart that loves You more. Amen"

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Basics...




I was looking for a new Bible study to do and I pulled out a book I had actually bought for someone else several years ago that is a Kay Arthur book called "Lord, I Need Answers".  It is subtitled "A 28-Day Journey to Growing Stronger In Your Faith"".   The subtitle was what drew me in.  I want to grow stronger in my faith.  I want to always be growing stronger in my faith.

So as I sat down to read Day 1 I realized it was starting from the basics.  "This is too remedial," I thought initially.  "But I still am going to complete it."

I read the first chapter which was Kay Arthur's son's testimony.  It read a lot like my own in certain ways.  He asked a lot of questions to think about...questions I have asked myself.  We spoke today in Sunday School about how we remember stories that have been shared from our elders to us, particularly as we were growing up, but as adults also.  Jesus taught the people by using stories. I scrapbook because I want my boys to have a tangible remembrance of the stories of their lives throughout their childhood and of how God has moved and taken care of us and taught us things.  I want to remember myself.  Stories and visible monuments (like scrapbooks and stories passed down) are ways to remind ourselves of who we are in Christ, who God is, what He has done, and what His character is.

I love hearing the testimonies of people who have come to know Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior!  Their testimonies inspire and encourage me!  And that was the "assignment" for this first day ...to write down my story.  How I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

I have shared my story many times but  it means something for me to write it down.  And the second part is to pray for someone to share it with.  God wants us to share our stories with others because think about it...if you are a Christian, what did He do for you?  Are you filled with thankfulness that you have eternal life in heaven?  Are you relieved from living a life of being controlled by sin?  Are you grateful for the grace that was shown to you by the God of the universe, the Almighty Father, the Creator of all?  Don't you want to share that with those who do not know Him so that they too might be able to participate in that love and grace and forgiveness and pardon?  Don't you want to share your story with other Christians so that they might be encouraged and lifted up and reminded themselves of what God has done for them? 

Today I heard the whisper of God in a reminder to go back to the basics....to remember where He brought me to and what He delivered me from.  As I reflect on that I become so grateful in my spirit that it is overwhelming.  I want to share this Scripture with you and a link to one of my favorite songs that reminds me of this Scripture.

"Since we have been justified (declared 'not guilty') through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand..."   Romans 5:1-2

I am thankful that the Lord allows me to stand in His grace because of what Jesus Christ sacrificed for me.




Monday, September 19, 2016

Manna...Messiah



Jesus talking to the people whom He had fed with a few loaves and fishes miraculously.  Jesus says to them (John 6:33), "For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."  Then they said to Him, "Lord, give us this bread always."  And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst."

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

How To Believe





Thomas, a disciple of Christ, was not with the other disciples when Jesus appeared to them after His death on the cross and His resurrection.  He told his friends he would not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead unless he put his finger into the print of the nails and his hand into Jesus' side.
Eight days after Thomas said this, he was with the other disciples in a locked room.  Jesus suddenly appeared and stood among them.  He looked at Thomas and said, "Reach your finger here and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side.  Do not be unbelieving, but believing." (John 20:27)  And Thomas answered to Jesus, "My Lord, and My God!"
Then Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed.  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."


What strikes me about this passage is that Jesus does not give Thomas a hard time about his doubts.
Jesus wants Thomas to believe, and He gives Thomas what he needs to believe.  He gives him a visual.  Jesus doesn't just want us to have a difficult choice about choosing to follow Him.  He wants us to be able to believe and He gives us plenty of evidence in the Bible and with His Holy Spirit for us to make the decision to believe He is who He says He is.

But we have to act on faith.  Jesus says those who believe without seeing (that's most of us today) will be blessed.  Jesus wants to teach us how to do the impossible, how to follow Him, and that is only possible by faith.

Other Scriptures talk of the faith of Abraham.  Romans 4:21 says of Abraham, "He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief,, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform."


Our faith is not "our" faith.  It is given by God.  He strengthens our faith so that we can give glory to God.  We need to remember what God has done for us.  We need to tell our children so they can tell their children and they can tell their children.  We need to be "fully convinced" that God can do the impossible.  He can you know :)

In his book The Mystery of Godliness, Ian Thomas writes this:
"The Christian life can only be explained in terms of Jesus Christ.  If your life as a Christian can still be explained in terms of you - your personality, your willpower, your gift, your  talent, your money, your  courage, your scholarship, your dedication, your sacrifice or your anything - then although you may have the Christian life, you are not yet living it!...In a nutshell, this means that your fellowmen must become convinced that the Lord Jesus Christ of whom you speak is essentially Himself the ingredient of the life you live!"

He goes on to tell of the feeding of the five thousand people by Jesus with the five loaves and two fishes contributed by one little boy.  And he says the way Jesus did the impossible because Jesus was a man like we are although He was also God, is by glorifying the Father and believing the Father would do miraculous things and THANKING Him for it ahead of time.  He says Jesus did not Himself feed the five thousand, although He could have.  The Father through the Son was the One who fed the five thousand!  And Jesus says "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father" (John 14:12)


My personal experience has been one of faith.  I see the whisper of God in the little things in my life.  That is what this blog is all about.  However, God is not just in the whispers of life.  He is a miracle worker.  He is supernatural.  He is unequaled by any.  And ...to be honest...sometimes that part of who He is...I skip over that.  For the foolish reasons of doubt, unbelief.  I DO believe but I am like the father who wanted his child healed and he said to  Jesus, "Lord, I believe!  Help my unbelief!"

Ian Thomas writes this, "Have you learned to expose every situation to the Lord Jesus Christ in humble dependence upon His adequacy, then simply to say "Thank You" and to reckon with Him as you act to meet that situation?"

I have seen the Lord provide in my life...at one point I had two dollars in my pocket and that was to try to put a dollar in the gas tank and a dollar for food.  I went into the gas station and paid the dollar in gas.  They had a deli in the gas station with the best smelling fried chicken and tater wedges.  I asked the cashier how much chicken I could get for a dollar.  Then the Lord stepped in.  She said, "We are closing so we have to throw all of this away.  I can let you have it all."  There was enough food there to last several days.  God provided.

I have seen the Lord provide a church family for me and my son.  My ex husband was at a hospital in a psychiatric ward.  He had not lead us into a church for many different reasons, none of which were any good.  I had tried to be a "good wife" by not arguing but just visiting various churches and never staying anywhere for very long because he didn't like people to get too close.  But while he was in the hospital, he called and said a nurse there had told him he needed to get me and our unborn child in a church and she had given him the name of a church.  He asked me to go to the church whether he did or not. This was a switch.  That week a neighbor dropped by that I did not know and invited me to church.  Guess which church he went to?  Yep.  And that church, that pastor, that Sunday School teacher, those friends and church family provided the love and support I needed and reminded me of how important it is to stay connected to your Christian family, your brothers and sisters in Christ.  God provided.

And He does the inconceivable, the impossible, and all I have to do is watch in amazement and thank Him and glorify His Name to all those who see His works.   Who provided the food?  God did.  Who provided a church family?  God did.

Am I still learning to fight against doubts?  Yes, but it gets easier with each battle.  And you know what?  I know where the doubts come from.  They come from the father of lies, the devil.  Because the Scripture tells us in John 10:10
" A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I (Jesus) have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance."
Satan wants to steal the joy God's children have in Jesus Christ.  Satan wants to destroy the faith of those who believe feebly.  But Jesus wants us to have abundant life.

Now I am not saying that life will always be rosy and no problems.  Jesus also promises that His followers will have tribulation because the world will hate us as it hated Him.   But the miracle is that in the midst of the tribulation, there will be the Savior of the world, our God, our Messiah, reaching out to us and never leaving or forsaking us.


Today I heard the whisper of God in a loud victorious shout from one who has seen a miracle and knows who it comes from...the Lord of all.  I heard the whisper of God in the bubbling up inside of a desire to glorify God because of the mighty things He has done.  I heard the whisper not as a whisper but as a loud and wonderful boom as He moves things into place to perform a miracle that I had nothing to do with. :)  Let Him work His most amazing miracle in your life...the transformation of your heart.


I will share a story of miraculous things God is doing now with you next week !

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

In The Hands







It was a day that began with me out of control...no, I don't mean crazy, emotionally unstable out of control.  I mean that I had plans for the morning...simple plans.  Get up and go to work.
But I lost control of the day when my car would not start.  Not even a satisfying "click" to let me know the car could still make a noise...nothing.  Total quiet.

So I started making more plans.  I called people, friends and family seeking a ride.  I had to put the task of getting myself to work into the hands of someone else.
It worked out though and I realized how many good friends and family I have :)
My next task was to work on a certain project and finish it at my job.  Simple.  Go in, sit down, work, finish, move on.
Only it was not so simple.  Phone calls.  Interruptions.  More phone calls.  Visitors.

Each time I would get going there would be an interruption...I didn't get mad.  I got slow.  That is what happens when I have a one track mind and the train on that track gets derailed.  It takes some time to get back on track.  Several issues needed to be dealt with and I was not sure how to deal with them.  I had to ask for help. I had to put the decision making into the hands of someone else.
I had made more plans for the afternoon but due to the car I had to cancel those plans and do some rescheduling.
Once I did get home, I planned to make supper and eat and rest.

I got another phone call of a friend who happened to have some clothes to give away and did I want them for my husband?  Yes!  A blessing!  But again...the plans I had made for the rest after supper were put on hold.  I put those plans in the Hands  of the Lord and took the opportunity He placed before us for needed clothes.
My plans have a way of more often than not being disrupted.
And in the past I have seen this as a source of frustration.
But I am realizing that interruptions are not frustrations if I view them in the right light...they are opportunities.  Opportunities to place the feeble plans I made in the Hands  of One more capable than I and to let Him change them to accomplish His purposes...which are infinitely more important than my own little plans of "success" and "rest".   Not that it is bad to plan to succeed or to plan rest into your life...that's okay as long as you realize that God may have a different plan.  His plan may be to lead you in a different direction or it may be to just have you turn over your plans into His hands.

When you think about it, that's really where it all is anyway.  It is all in the Lord's good hands.
So it boils down to a matter of trust.
If you are a Christian and claim to belong to Jesus, then are you trusting your Heavenly Father?
Or are you running around thinking you know best?

Satan has always lied from the beginning of this earth.  And he still lies today to people.  He will tell you that all of this trouble you are dealing with, this suffering means that God does not care about you.  He will tell you that you need to take matters into your own hands.  He will lie.  Because that is what he does.


Don't believe the lies.  Who really wants to believe a lie?  Think about it.  Has there ever been a time that someone lied to you and afterwards - when you knew the truth - you thought to yourself, "You know, I really enjoyed being lied to and deceived.  I think I will keep hanging around that person so they can lie to me some more."

Usually once we have been lied to, we don't trust again.  But satan is tricky that way.  He will keep deceiving you as long as he can...and he hopes that it is too late for you to realize that it is a deception.

What about this?  What about if you were believing someone who said they could take your life savings and double it for you in just thirty days?  They gave you story after story telling you of other people who had done it and were happy. Yet what if someone else came up and said, "I know you want to double your life savings...but this is not the way.  This dude is a con artist.  He will lie to you, steal from you and destroy you."


Who would you believe?  I hope you would at least exercise some caution and check into the credentials of the one you put all your hopes and dreams and money with.  And what if you found out that the informer was right?  That the dude was a con man?  Would you be mad at the informer or appreciative?

Well, you might be disappointed that you weren't going to get your money doubled but I bet you would be pretty happy that you didn't lose your life savings!

So why, when satan shows up with these lies about God, do people- Christians and non-Christians - believe them?  Is it because we want to believe the lies rather than the truth?  That is what the Bible says.  Listen.
"The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth,  that they might be saved.  And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness."    2 Thessalonians 2:13

We have to trust our Heavenly Father and believe what He says...and how to know that but to read His Word?   We have to place our days and our plans and our interruptions into His capable and wise and good Hands and let them rest there with Him.

When the car wouldn't start?  I found the hands of the Father showing me how many people are willing to help me.  I found the hands of the Father giving me another half hour to spend with my son, setting an example of how to make the best out of things.  I found the hands of the Father showing me what blessings He had placed in my life with family and friends and a husband who can fix things.


When my day was filled with interruptions?  I found the hands of the Father in sharing the burden I was bearing with someone else.  I found the hands of the Father in seeing the wisdom that comes from seeking godly counsel.  I found the hands of the Father  in opportunities to pray for someone else who needed encouragement.

When the rest I had expected had to be postponed?  I found the hands of the Father  in the blessing of clothing and shoes for my family.  I found the hands of the Father in a slowed-down visit with people I love that I do not get to see as much as I wish.  I found the hands of the Father in a drive with my husband and a sweet talk to go along with the drive.

The apostle Paul says to the Christians living in Thessalonia in his second letter, "Now brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter..."  2 Thessalonians 1,2

These Christians were restless and confused and fearful because of false teachers who had been playing on their hopes and fears and creating a wildness about speculation regarding Christ's Second Coming.  Paul was telling them that they did not need to fear.  The unbeliever has a future that holds terrible judgment, but Christians do not have to fear the end because it is in the Hands of God.

Today in the whisper of life, I found the Hands of God all around me, holding me.  Where did you hear the whisper of God today?



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Under Pressure!






Tis the season to be canning, fa la la la la la la la la.
Watch the gauge and keep on fanning, fa la la la la la la la la.
Build the pressure, let the steam out, fa la la la la la la la la.
Blessed with food for winter's whiteouts, fa la la la la la la la la. 

The garden is growing, the beans are hanging, the potatoes plants are blossoming, the tomatoes are ripening.  All this food the Lord provides is ready to be stored for the winter months using a pressure cooker.

I was talking with a friend today and we were discussing being stressed and under pressure and anger.  How to deal with those things.  A fitting analogy is the pressure cooker.  

In life there are things that occur, people that hurt us, or mistakes we make in life that can put us immediately under pressure.  Poor financial choices can lead to stress.  Illness can cause us to feel burdened.  Post traumatic stress disorder is the official name for what happens when whatever trauma occurred to you causes you to continue to have stress even after the trauma has passed.  

It can be the death of a loved one that you have not grieved for.  It can be something that happened in childhood that you could not escape.  It can be words spoken to you that hurt.

People deal with pressure in different ways.  Many people have the "fight or flight" response.  They either get on the defense, ready to fight back, adrenaline pumping...or they run, flee, escape.  

The Bible describes the feelings of being under pressure in this way:

"I am restless and in turmoil with my complaint, because of the enemy's voice, because of the pressure of the wicked.  For they bring down disaster on me and harass me in anger.   My heart shudders within me; terrors of death sweep over me."  Psalm 55:2-4 HCSB
Many people believe that the Bible says "God will never give you more than you can handle."

It does not say that anywhere in the Bible.

Most people are probably thinking of  I Corinthians 10:13 which reads "No temptation has taken you except what is common to man. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation also make the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."

This is referring to temptation...not the pressures of life.

Oftentimes I have found that it is when I cannot handle things life hurls at me, that I find the most strength and peace and love in the Lord.  When life is overwhelming (and it can be that) we feel pressure.  But that pressure can be handled in different ways.  We can fight, flee or have faith.  Putting our faith in the Lord will bring peace in the middle of the storm.

2 Corinthians 4:8-10 says, "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;  always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. "
Because we trust in Jesus and what He did through His death on the cross we continue to carry the hope of Jesus and His resurrection and what He made possible to us through that...reconciliation with our Heavenly Father.

And we are not promised a life of ease, wealth, health and happiness (no matter what some men tickle your ears with)....but we are promised by Jesus that He will never leave us nor forsake us and that He has prepared a place for us where there will be no more tears, no more sin, no more struggle.

So when the pressures of life seem great...
live in the moment and draw on the strength of the Holy Spirit.
Celebrate the things in your life that are good through thankfulness to God.
Reach out to your brothers and sisters in Christ who are there to encourage you, lift you up in prayer and help you.

The Scripture passage above may be well known to you...but the verse that comes before it, verse 7, is important to remember and not heard as often.

It reminds us..."But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."
Don't lose sight of our purpose in this life....which is to worship and glorify God.  His Holy Spirit living in this fragile earthly body will shine out and accomplish His glory.















Wednesday, May 11, 2016

No Worries!


Sometimes I let worries assault me...not much these days...but sometimes.  The Lord has brought me through many difficult times in life and I have learned from experience that He is with me always, that He can indeed carry all my burdens, and that He knows what is happening and what is going to happen and is not surprised by any of it.

Our message at church yesterday was about Elijah and the widow at Zarephath.  She was living with her young son, starving, down to her last meal.  She did not know that Elijah was on his way.  She did not know that God was fixing to reverse her circumstances.  All she knew was her present plight.

But God sent Elijah to her...so that she could minister to him.  In her situation.  Out of her poverty.  Out of nothing.  That's how my God does things....out of nothing!  He created the heavens...out of nothing.  He created the earth ...out of nothing!   He gave life to animals...out of nothing!  He saved me from the punishment of hell...out of nothing that I ever did...only by what His Son Jesus Christ did.  Nothing  I can do can save my soul....only He does that.


Well, this widow had next to nothing.  Down to her last bit of flour and oil, she had a plan.  To make a little bit of bread and give it to her son to eat and after that they would just lay down and die....because there were "no options" in her field of vision. She could not see that God was just around the corner.

So she meets up with Elijah and, after telling him her plan, he (of all the nerve) asks her to make that piece of bread....and let him have it.

If I were her, I would be flooded with despair at this point.  I would be thinking, Even my last little plan on this earth is being thwarted!

But Elijah doesn't just ask selfishly...he asks and prefaces it with "Don't be afraid."  Then he gives the promise that the Lord God has told him.

"for this is what the Lord God of Israel says, ‘The flour jar will not become empty and the oil jug will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the surface of the land.” I Kings 17

The widow placed her faith in the God of Elijah, Jehovah God, and amazingly they did not run out of flour or oil until it rained....which was many, many days later.  God provided.


When you know Jesus Christ and what He has said to you, you will not worry.

Billy Graham wrote this about where to put your worries and cares.

"Has God left us alone to cope with the trials, tribulations, and temptations of life?  I'm glad He has not!  Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, has told us in specific terms just what we are to do about worry.  The Bible offers a workable formula for care and anxiety.
"What are we to do about these past, present, and future worries?  The Bible says that we are to cast them upon Him.  Our guilty past, our anxious  present, and the unknown future are all to be cast upon Christ.  All of man's burdens and anxieties are wrapped up in these three words:  past, present, and future.   For the guilt of the past, God says:  "I have redeemed thee" (Isaiah 44:2).  'I have loved thee with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3).
"The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin (I John 1:7)
"For the present Christ says:  "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20).  If the burden bearer is with us, then why should we be crushed by our burdens?  The French translation of this phrase, "Cast all your care upon Him" is "Unload your distresses upon God."  Have you ever seen a dump truck get rid of its load?  It would be of no use if it carried its burden forever.  The driver simply pushes a button or pulls on a lever and the heavy load is discharged at the prescribed spot.

"We were never meant to be crushed under the weight of care.  We push the button of faith or pull the lever of trust, and our burden is discharged upon the shoulder of Him who said He would gladly bear it.  Cast the anxious present upon Him, for He cares for you---says the Bible.

"The worries of the future are obliterated by His promises.  "Take therefore no thought for the morrow...But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness;  and all these things shall be added unto you"  (Matthew 6:34, 33).  This promise, if we obey it, takes all the aimlessness out of life and puts purpose into it.  It brings all life into balance, and earth's hours become so joyous that they blend into the glory of eternity.  Boredom, fretfulness, and anxiety are lost in the wonder of His wonderful grace."

There is no reason to worry when you know the King of the Universe, when you belong to Him, when you have trusted in His Son Jesus Christ and are taking up your cross and following Him.

One thing stood out to me yesterday in the message preached at my church.  That this widow had no idea help of this magnitude was coming.  She was at the end of her rope.  She had no options.  She had done everything she could.  All that loomed before her was sadness and hopelessness.  Until she put her faith in the God who says to each of us, "Believe and trust and follow Me."

Her obedience to give that last bit of bread to Elijah, to trust in the promises of the Lord....that obedience led her to life!  And led her son to life! She met God that day, trusted what He said, and her circumstances were reversed...her life was changed.

Yesterday I heard the voice of God oh so clearly and vibrantly and truly in the voice of our pastor preaching His Word.  Sometimes His voice comes quiet and still....but when you really want to hear Him...there is only one place to turn...your Bible.  Thankful to have heard the voice of the Lord yesterday in His Word.






Wednesday, April 13, 2016

More info about Loveys...



The Loveys for Levine's Little Lambs project is getting a great start!!  We have yarn donated and loveys donated for our visit to the Children's Hospital next week!


Here are a few patterns for those who were asking about patterns!
Also here is a little about the project...

One thing I have realized through this particular trial is that there are many children and parents who are afraid and suffering in the hospitals around this world. There is a look in the eyes of the parents you meet in the hallways of ...not really pity, but disbelief in a way...like, "What are we doing here?" And it is almost like you don't want to ask them why they are here but you are drawn to and they are drawn to telling you about their child. We are in the same boat, in similar storms...but the Master of the Storms on this earth is also the Master of the storms of our lives.

I want to praise Jesus for walking with us and with our child and with our eldest son and our extended family through this storm. I want to praise Him for the wonderful doctors He placed in our lives from our family doctor to the ER doctors to the specialists. I want to thank Him for the concern in the hearts of these medical professionals. It would be easier for them to just do their job without caring...because it hurts to care. But they don't....they do their job with tears in their eyes and burdened hearts and some of them have hope that they share...the hope of Jesus and His love and His power...and it means a world of difference. I want to praise Him for bringing us to the other shore of the lake, out of the major storm and into a time of rest in Him. I want to praise Him for the health of my little boy and for growing his faith. I not only want to praise Him; I want Him to take these trials and turn them into treasures. I want to see Him continue to reach down through us to encourage others, to comfort others, and to push us forward.


It is with this in my heart that I had this idea. I love to crochet and I made this little giraffe lovey this week for a coworker. My little boy saw it and loved it! When he was in the hospital he received stuffed animals, Christmas presents, cards and all of that was encouraging to him. So we want to encourage others. He has taken some children's books to the hospital when he returns for checkups and he has given balloons to other kids there. What I would like to do is continue to make more of these "loveys" as they are called for the medical personnel to give to children who are afraid of being in the hospital, to those who have had to go through a hard procedure, to those who are just wanting to go home. And I want to do it in the name of Jesus...to glorify Him. Because it is His love that is the best "lovey" we could ask for. He gave His life for us...how much love is that?
Thus "Loveys for Levine's Little Lambs"... If you crochet and want to make a lovey and donate it we will be happy to take these to Levine's when we go. If you don't crochet or knit, but want to contribute then think about donating yarn. I can provide a giraffe pattern that is of moderate difficulty or some easier patterns for beginning crafters. I hope that this will be of encouragement in the future to other children and parents in storms of their own.

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful." - John 14"


The address to send loveys or yarn to is listed below on the photo.  Thank you all for your interest in this project.  






Lovey Pattern Links:

Another wonderful lovey pattern creator has agreed to allow her patterns to be used to make loveys! She has a free downloadable pdf file at the following link that includes 6 different patterns crocheters may use to make a variety of cute loveys! smile emoticon Thank you so much Laura!!
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/lovey-collection

Lulus's Craft Website (http://luluscraft.blogspot.com/2015/06/its-here.html) - giraffe lovey...The lady who created this pattern has very generously offered to help anyone who has questions about the pattern. You can check out her facebook page here at LuLusCrafts.

Sunshine Lovey (http://cre8tioncrochet.com/2014/04/you-are-my-sunshine/) - a colorful, bright lovey

Monday, April 4, 2016

Loveys for Levine's Little Lambs






COAL INTO DIAMONDS


Today in my readings I came across this passage written by Ken Mansfield, former manager of the famed musical group The Beatles.  Mr. Mansfield writes:
I love how God weaves incredible tapestries by using everything in our lives so that nothing is wasted.  It is amazing how He turns coal into diamonds, grapes into fine wine, and trials into treasure.  

Jesus showed us through His life how He does this in our lives if we allow Him to.  He took Saul, a Roman Jew whose aim in life was to destroy all the Christians he could, and Jesus changed his life (and his name) to being a devout follower and preaching the good news of Jesus in many lands.  He became "Paul" and he was turned from coal into a diamond.

The times in our own lives when we have experienced the most trouble, the most distress, the hardest days often end up being the times when we have changed the most.  And it depends on who you look to for answers as to how you change.  If you depend on yourself for all the answers, you will end up broken, bitter and desperate eventually.  If you depend on Jesus Christ for the answers (perhaps not the ones you would have chosen for yourself---but the true answers), then you change for the better.  You become the fine wine and your trials are turned into treasures.  You receive the miraculous gift of salvation.

The book of Romans written by Paul tells us in chapter 8 about this transformation from trash to treasure.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us...
These trials are not just turned to glory once we reach heaven...although that is something to look forward to.  These trials are taken and used for the glory of God here on this earth in this present time.

My own story is deeply entwined with that of my youngest son at this time.  Because I am his mother I love him deeply and want the best for him.  So when he was diagnosed with Crohn's disease last year, I was devastated.  I knew about Crohn's.  I knew people who lived with the disease.  I did not want that for my son.

And when he had to spend time in the hospital, I was filled with sadness at his suffering.  I prayed for the Lord to heal him...instantly.  But God did not.  I prayed for the Lord to give us relief from the aching in our hearts.  But the pain still continued.

He is seven years old.  It is hard to explain to a seven year old about chronic illness and God healing in the same conversation. But he has been blessed because what I could not explain, God showed him.  My son has prayed with many people that he has encountered in this journey.  He has prayed fervently for others who are suffering because he knows suffering himself.  He has encouraged others by his praise for the Lord Jesus in the middle of his storm.  And it is his own observation that when he praises the Lord, he has more peace.  And THAT is the miracle that is happening...peace in the middle of unbearable sorrow and pain.  Comfort in the middle of the trials.  For us...his parents...we saw that peace descend upon our own hearts many times.

We believe God is the great healer and we continue to pray for complete healing for our son.  We also have seen answers to our prayers for him....through the use of medicine that was not even in existence thirty years ago....through nurses who were able to give him relief in small ways that meant large amounts...through a church family and friends who gave financially to us so much so that his hospital bills were covered...through support and calls and prayers that brought us love and surrounded us with the knowledge that we are all part of one big family in Christ...through his remarkable and unusually rapid response to the medicine so that he has no pain now and is growing and has energy again.  God has answered our prayers  but He has done more than that...He has drawn us closer to Him and shown us His power to hold us during the hard times and to turn something terrible into something that brings glory to Him.

My son's testimony is one of praising the Lord in the middle of sadness and receiving peace.  My testimony is one of being able to release my control (which in reality was non-existent anyway) to the Lord and to trust Him in the face of uncertainty.

Peace is a diamond.  Peace is a glass of fine wine.  Peace is a treasure.  And Jesus says to us,
“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful."  - John 14

One thing I have realized through this particular trial is that there are many children and parents who are afraid and suffering in the hospitals around this world.  There is a look in the eyes of the parents you meet in the hallways of ...not really pity, but disbelief in a way...like, "What are we doing here?"  And it is almost like you don't want to ask them why they are here but you are drawn to and they are drawn to telling you about their child.  We are in the same boat, in similar storms...but the Master of the Storms on this earth is also the Master of the storms of our lives.

I want to praise Jesus for walking with us and with our child and with our eldest son and our extended family through this storm. I want to praise Him for the wonderful doctors He placed in our lives from our family doctor to the ER doctors to the specialists.  I want to thank Him for the concern in the hearts of these medical professionals.  It would be easier for them to just do their job without caring...because it hurts to care.  But they don't....they do their job with tears in their eyes and burdened hearts and some of them have hope that they share...the hope of Jesus and His love and His power...and it means a world of difference.  I want to praise Him for bringing us to the other shore of the lake, out of the major storm and into a time of rest in Him.  I want to praise Him for the health of my little boy and for growing his faith.  I not only want to praise Him; I want Him to take these trials and turn them into treasures.  I want to see Him continue to reach down through us to encourage others, to comfort others, and to push us forward.


It is with this in my heart that I have an idea.  I love to crochet and I made this little giraffe lovey this week for a coworker.  My little boy saw it and loved it!  When he was in the hospital he received stuffed animals, Christmas presents, cards and all of that was encouraging to him.  So we want to encourage others.  He has taken some children's books to the hospital when he returns for checkups and he has given balloons to other kids there.  What I would like to do is continue to make more of these "loveys" as they are called for the medical personnel to give to children who are afraid of being in the hospital, to those who have had to go through a hard procedure, to those who are just wanting to go home.  And I want to do it in the name of Jesus...to glorify Him.  Because it is His love that is the best "lovey" we could ask for.  He gave His life for us...how much love is that?



So I want to call this project "Loveys for Levine's Little Lambs".  If you crochet and want to make a lovey and donate it we will be happy to take these to Levine's when we go.  If you don't crochet or knit, but want to contribute then think about donating yarn.  I can provide a giraffe pattern that is of moderate difficulty or some easier patterns for beginning crafters.  I hope that this will be of encouragement in the future to other children and parents in storms of their own.

A couple of musts:  If you are creating a lovey, please use clean yarn from a smoke-free environment.  Also, for facial features just embroider these instead of using attachable buttons or eyes to reduce any risks of choking.
Here are the links to three patterns to start off with.  Of course you may use your own pattern as well.

Lulus's Craft Website - giraffe lovey...The lady who created this pattern has very generously offered to help anyone who has questions about the pattern.  You can check out her facebook page here at LuLusCrafts.

Bunny Lovey from RedHeart - a sweet little bunny lovey.

Sunshine Lovey - a colorful, bright lovey


If you would like to participate in this project by donating yarn or creating a lovey, I would love to hear from you so leave me a message on this post!

Today I heard the whisper of God in the whisper of yarn against yarn as crochet hooks move and in the whisper of the Holy Spirit saying, Give.  Love.  Worship.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Porch Project...









I have always loved do-it-yourself projects and I am willing to try just about anything.  I know based on experience that plumbing is not my favorite DIY activity, however. 
But I love painting, creating, woodworking, building...an activity that makes things better than they once were. 
Our little home has a little back porch that has seen better days.  The slats on the railings are half gone.  The three steps have each had to have the boards nailed back down.  One step has had to be totally replaced.  The wood itself is more gray than any other color.  We did treat the wood when the porch was new...but that was about 11 years ago.
When you walk onto the porch, it wobbles.  The steps slope a little forward in some spots and a little backwards in other spots.  Three of us have almost fallen going down the steps and one of us got really scared when she almost fell last week (namely, me) .  
I figured it was time for a change.  I know my husband does not really like doing these types of projects yet he feels he must for my sake.  I am happy doing them alone really but I guess it is the man in him that feels like he has to be a part of it.  I tried to assure him I could handle it on my own...but my words fell on deaf ears.  
At least he did not fuss at me for wanting to do the project...he knew that if I had come that close to falling the porch needed an overhaul.  
Being thrifty...first of all we checked Habitat for Humanity Restore to see if there were any used materials we could recycle.  Unfortunately, this time there was no such luck. 
So off to Lowe's we went.  
There is just something about Lowe's that inspires a person.  I love Lowe's, Home Depot, etc.  more than clothing stores.  So many possibilities abound in such a store!! 
And the smell of sawdust is just the aroma to get someone in the mood for DIY projects!  For some of us it is...for other little fellows along for the ride, sawdust causes itchy eyes and sneezing.
But once the pieces were loaded on the truck, we headed home. 

Now the cool tools of woodworking make it so much easier than our ancestors had it when all they had were hand tools.  
Now we have power saws, electric drills, nail guns....well, WE don't have these things but my daddy lets us borrow those things . :) 

Of course the old fashioned hammer is the best tool I found for ripping the old porch off the frame.  Wiggle, wiggle, push and out goes the old boards.  



Donnie was measuring and cutting for the new while I was getting rid of the past. 
Donnie lining things up  
Finally we started putting in the stringer and steps.  New wood...new stability. 
 Eli wanted to make a project too so Donnie took some breaks to help him make a "wooden fellow".  

There is always that moment when you think you have everything and realize you forgot something.  So back to Lowe's we went.  And finished putting up the slats.

The next day was the day of applying the stain.  We had picked out a pretty caramel gold color.  When I first applied it to a corner I realized it was a lot lighter than I thought.  
Back to Lowe's....back home with  Caramel Henna...more like a redwood stain.




I did enjoy using the sander ...making rough edges smooth, removing potential splinter hazards.  All of that useful stuff...and my hammering technique improved over time...with some tips from my little boy. :) 

The stain we chose to use has a built in primer and weather sealant to protect against the elements...all in one with a guarantee of lasting at least 6 years.  I looked down at my hands with red stain on them and immediately thought I had cut myself...then just as quickly realized it was just the stain.

I started thinking about it being Maundy Thursday. .  I am so glad that God has applied the stain of Jesus' blood to my life.  His blood protects me, primes me for a life of serving Him and others through the Holy Spirit that is within.  Yet the blood of Jesus assures me that my salvation will last not 6 years or 60 years but for all eternity!  Thank You, Jesus!

Also the stain covered the old posts that we did not have to replace and made them look new and fresh and clean again.  That is what having the Holy Spirit does for a person...all of the old me that was ugly and petty and selfish is made new, fresh and clean.  Not to say that I don't struggle still with my sinful nature but when I depend on the Holy Spirit to change me instead of myself to change myself....things really DO change.  

The Scriptures tell us this about the power of the blood of Jesus:

:We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace  that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.  He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure that He planned in Him for the administration of the days of fulfillment—to bring everything together in the Messiah, both things in heaven and things on earth in Him.  Ephesians 1: 7-9


The Bible also says :

For God was pleased to have
all His fullness dwell in Him (Jesus),
 and through Him to reconcile
everything to Himself
by making peace
through the blood of His cross—
whether things on earth or things in heaven.
 Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds because of your evil actions.  But now He has reconciled you by His physical body[k]through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before Him—  if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard.  - Colossians 1:19-23
The finished project of our little porch makes me feel good...but the fact that God is working on me and one day I will be totally complete in Him makes me feel wonderful!!
Phillippians 1:6   "I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you[b] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Today I heard the whisper of God in old boards, new wood, hammers, nails and stain.