An Opportunity to Learn

 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
                                                                                                                                                            -Philippians 4:11 KJV
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Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

 

I’ve always liked things in order but the older I get the more important order becomes. Needless to say remodeling is anything but orderly.  One day this past week as I was looking for a clean place to sit I thought about the Apostle Paul and this “contentment” scripture.  When he penned these words he was addressing his lack of dependence on financial support, but Paul wasn’t just content financially, he was content in the basic comforts of life.  He lived in at times dreadful conditions ( prison and shipwrecked just to name two) and not only was he content but he wrote much of the New Testament during these times.
 
The word content is a stoic word, expressing the favorite doctrine of the stoic sect, that a man should be sufficient to himself for all things; able, by the power of his own will, to resist the shock of circumstance. Paul is self-sufficient through the power of the new self: not he, but Christ in him. (Vincent, Marvin Richardson: Word Studies in the New Testament. Bellingham, WA : Logos )
 
Paul was not content because he was self-sufficient but because of who Christ was in his life.  Okay, no more complaining about the dust and disorder, this is a golden opportunity to learn… to be content.

The Inspection…

I mentioned in an earlier post that we are doing some remodeling to our home.  I know this sounds crazy but I am really enjoying it.  I may change my mind in another week or so when they tear up the floor and take off the countertops, but right now it’s really fun watching it come together.  God is using this project to teach me some life lessons.  Here’s the latest…

When you do any type of building or remodeling, there are inspections. I’m sure many of you know this, but this is the first time I’ve ever been involved in a building project, so this was news to me.  The first inspection was before they poured the foundation and now we are waiting on the second one to be able to put in the windows.  So today it hit me– In today’s world a building having a firm foundation and sturdy framing is so important that it is regulated by the government and a person is paid a salary just to inspect these structures. 

While having strong buildings are important and I’m thankful for these rules; what about our spiritual foundation and structure?  

 In Matthew 7: 24-27 in the ” Message” pharaphrase, Jesus shares a parable that addresses the importance of a good foundation…

 

These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living.

They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter

who built his house on solid rock.  Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house.

It was fixed to the rock. “But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a

stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed

like a house of cards.”

 

The Bible doesn’t say “if” the rains came.  It says the rains came.  I’m afraid many 21st century Christians are not ready for the rains that are coming.  We have accepted Jesus as our Savior, but we haven’t allowed Him to be our Lord…our house inspector. 

 

Dear Jesus, inspect my “house” today.  Show me where I’m strong and show me where I’m weak.  Draw me to your Word, your master plan for my strong foundation.  –Amen

 

 

 

 

Send your dreams Down the River

I have many dreams (aka goals, plans ambitions).  I believe many of them are special, God-given dreams.  But what do we do with our dreams when time has passed and we haven’t seen them come to fruition ?

Thanks to a self-study course written by Boyce Teas called “Women in Ministry” that I have been priviledged to preview before publication, I think I know what to do with my dreams–SEND THEM DOWN THE RIVER!!

Let me explain…

Have you ever heard of a woman in the Bible named Jochabed?  You may not recognized her name, but your probably know her — she’s Moses’ Mom.

If I were Jochabed I would have been praying for my unborn child to be a girl, because Pharoah, King of Egypt gave an order that every newborn Hebrew boy was to be thrown in the Nile River.  But when her baby boy was born and Jochabed saw that her son was a special child (Exodus 2:2 NLT) she began to think of a way to get around Pharoah’s decree.  I know all Moms think their children are special but this Mom believed in God and I believe the Lord instilled a dream of greatness in Jochabed’s heart for her son Moses.

So what did Jochabed do with her dream?

  • She hid her baby  for 3 months.  This would probably be wise advice for all of us when God gives us a dream–keep it to ourselves for awhile.  Can I be the first one to say that most times I’m more like Joseph (Genesis 37) than Jochabed?  I’ll  talk about my dreasm to anybody who will listen. 

 

  •  She made preparations to launch her dream. She didn’t just sit around and fret.  She made a plan and got busy.  Exodus 2: 1-4, shows how Jochabed devised her plan:
    • How (made a waterproof basket)
    • Where  (place the baby in the basket in the Nile River)
    • What  (keep the baby from being killed)
    • When  ( the baby was 3 months old and too big to keep quiet)
    • Who  (Jochabed personally put the baby in the water and then had the baby’s sister, Miriam watch over him)

 

  • She never let her dream out of her sight.  I’m sure the plan was for her and Miriam to continuously watch over this baby 24/7

 

  • She believed God to make her dream a reality. Jochabed and her husband, Amram were from the tribe of Levi.  The tribe of Levi will later become God’s chosen people to be the priests of the Jewish nation–they believed God!

Can you get in touch with the faith it took for Jochabed to launch that basket in the water?  As Boyce Teas says, “under God’s all seeing eyes, Moses was as safe as he would have been in his mother’s arms.  Until Jochabed released that child into God’s care the next step in God’s plan could not take place.  When she put the basket in the water Jochabed was no longer in control of her son’s destiny.”

Until we are willing to release our dream into God’s loving care we can’t expect God to bring it to pass.  What dream do you need to “send down the river” today?

Last night’s “Releasing the Sound” Concert

Jennie leading worship at "Releasing the Sound" concert

Jennie leading worship at "Releasing the Sound" concert

Last night’s concert was so wonderful that I am still revisiting it my mind today.  Niceville Assembly of God’s  Worship Choir ministered with Jennie Riddle at the first annual “Releasing the Sound” concert.  The sanctuary was almost full.  The two hour concert seemed like just a few minutes. Jennie is a songwriter from Texas, who has written many songs but the one that you will most likely recognize is the “Revelation Song.”  I had so many emotions as I enjoyed the presence of God. Below are a few of my thoughts:

  • The music (lyrics, voices, and instruments) was so anointed that I was brought to tears several times as the words penetrated my heart.  For me this really says alot because I don’t cry very often.  The funny thing is, I wish I could cry, but I think I have already cried most of the tears alotted for my lifetime. It was a special time with the Lord for me.
  • I was so proud of our worship leaders, choir, musicians, sound and lighting teams.  They did an exceptional job.  This was definitely a Colossians 3:23 effort by everyone involved.
  • Will and Crystal always amaze me, but last night I was brought to tears; (maybe the dam has busted on this tear thing 🙂 ), as I remembered the last 8-10 years they have dedicated their lives to ministering through song at Niceville AG.  They co-authored one of the songs sung last night with Jennie called, “King of this World”.  The words say things I would want to say, but could never articulate.  Now through their gift I can say those words to MY God.  Thank You so much!   Their song writing is a blessing to me.  Their gifts, calling, and anointing are completely aligned.  It is who God made them to be.   I know they paid a price for the songs God has given them… because most of the time God chooses to use broken people.  I am grateful for their willingness to take their every day trials and use them for the glory of God.
  • I just read in my Chronological One Year Bible this morning about the 10th commandment, “Thou shall not covet,” but I have to tell you that Jesus was so reflected in the countenance and spirit of Jennie Riddle that I said, “I want that!”  It’s so funny, Jennie has so many gifts that a person could covet  —  her song-writing, her beautiful voice,  her gift to speak with confidence, sincerity, and clarity just to name a few … but her beauty in Christ is the most powerful gift.  This is so encouraging.  We  all do not have the gift to write life-changing songs,  sing like an angel,  or speak with confidence and conviction but EVERY Christian does have the gift to reflect Jesus through their countenance, attitude, and daily lives.  Lord, help others to see you in EVERTHING that we do!   (Colossians 3:23)
  • Tommorrow, Sunday, February 8th at Niceville AG, Jennie and our Worship choir will be leading us in worship and then Jennie will be speaking.    Check out Niceville AG, Will and Crystal Yates and Jennie Riddle on my [Links] section on this blog.

Preparation…

Have you ever thought about how much of your life is in preparation for something else?  Just think of your work day; how much time does it take to prepare for a 1 hour presentation?  Or, how about the time it takes to prepare for some project on your to-do list for this coming week-end?  If you were sitting beside me right now in my special, normally quiet room where I spend time with God you would know why I’m thinking about this…

Today is the first day of our “exciting” remodeling  project.  We have been waiting for this day for five years.  We’re finally getting a screened porch so that we can enjoy our backyard without every bug known to man attaching itself to our bodies.  Today has been a preparation day.  Actually, this whole week will probably be about preparation.  Preparation for this remodeling project includes demolition; complete with a jack hammer and a dumpster in the middle of our back yard.  Even though today has been noisy and messy it’s a sign of progress and I’m excited!

This got me thinking about my  life…

Most of my life has been about preparation.  I know I’m a “mature” woman, but don’t go thinking I’m a slow learner.  I’m in good company.  The Bible is loaded with people who spent their whole life preparing for their “moment in time.”  Three that come to mind are David, Esther, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

  • David was anointed king at the age of 15 (1 Sam 16: 1-13) and did not begin his reign until he was 37 (2 Sam 1:5)
  • Esther completed 12 months of beauty treatments just to meet the king one time (Esther 2:12).
  • Jesus spent 30 years preparing for His 3 1/2 year ministry

I have had my share of  demolition in my life.  There have been many times God allowed life to roll into the yard of my heart with a dumpster and pulled out the jack hammer.  Now I must be honest, I wasn’t excited then like I am about my remodeling project, but now I know it was in preparation for God’s plans and purposes for my life.  If I could go back and wipe away those times I would say an emphatic “no.”  What I’ve learned is just too precious!   I truly believe all my demolition and preparation are for such a time as this (Esther 4:14).  EVERYDAY the Holy Spirit finds ways to use me because of my preparation time. 

I encourage you today to look at your challenges, struggles, and trials as preparation to be used for the Glory of God!

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