Plan Today for Tomorrow – Five Minute Friday

Happy Friday!  We are linking up with Kate and the Five Minute Friday gang.  Kate gives the word prompt and we write for 5 minutes. (Anyone who blogs knows it takes longer than 5 minutes to put a blog post out… writing, tags, photo’s, link-up, social media, etc)  It’s a good goal though and these posts are fun, short and not really planned out in advance… we just write and link-up!  Today’s word prompt is: TOMORROW

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Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you. ~ Joshua 3:5 (NIV)

Making choices today lays out consequences for our tomorrow.

M…ay…be someone made the choice to stay up and watch old episodes of The A-Team last night. What a good family flick of action, tom-foolery and great fashion. (Hey, you can’t tell me that it isn’t fun to watch TV from the 80’s and tell your kids , “Hey, this is cool!) 

the a team

Making the choice of watching mindless television too late into the evening was a choice and I pity the fool who runs into me today because of my choices yesterday. (I just couldn’t resist.) If I choose Netflix over good sleep, the consequences are played out in my tomorrow when I’m tired and not feeling rested.

  • Exercising today benefits my tomorrow
  • Planning my time well today prepares me for a better tomorrow
  • Managing my finances today builds cushion for tomorrow.

Our choices today are played out in our consequences tomorrow.

God gives instruction to His people in Joshua 3:5 “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”

Consecrate is a word we don’t always use in our everyday vocabulary but it means to set apart or dedicate to the service of God.

When we set apart and dedicate our time, energy and even finances to the One who provides all things to us, we will see amazing things. We choose how we use what He provides.

We sometimes look for the miraculous and amazing in large, extravagant, material and tangible ways and sometimes God meets us with those things but I find more often that He meets me in my everyday with

  • peace in the midst of turmoil
  • wisdom in decision-making
  • finances for the needs of today

When we put our time and energy toward the purpose He has laid out for us in this season, we get to see the miracle of His amazing work in our tomorrows.

Nothing really meaningful just a wish for Happy Spring

Everything is waking back up. My grass is finally turning that beautiful color of green and buds are beginning to come out on the trees. My daffodils are so close to opening I think by the end of the week I might just have a bloom!

After this long winter in the Northeast, I think we are bursting at the seams just to feel some sunshine and warmer temps. On Sunday, it was in the 70’s. It was a little windy but that wasn’t keeping me indoors. I ate my lunch outside and then announced to the family I was going to the lake. I loaded up Della and took off trekking with my polka dot rain boots because even though the snow is gone, we still have large sections of muck and mud on the ground.

There were many people and owners of dogs that had the same idea as me about the lake, so Della had a great smell-fest as we walked along and she sniffed out every Tom, Duke and Sparky that has passed down that path of lakeshore this season.

I usually store an old Tupperware dish in the van so Della can have a bowl to drink from but somewhere through the winter months, it has disappeared. So instead I walked her down to the water’s edge to get a small drink but… she’s a lab and in she went. The water had to be brisk because a week and a half ago it was still frozen over. I think she was just so happy that spring was finally here, it didn’t matter how cold the water was… she was going in! I was happy to let her swim around until I saw a few fishermen along the edge staring me down. Those poor men weren’t going to catch anything with a lab jumping around in the water.

I apologized and called her back to shore. We found a spot further down on a little peninsula where she chased sticks, pounced on skipping stones and ran from one shore and then back again over and over. We were both happy campers just to be near water that wasn’t still in solid form!

Along with the grass turning green and the trees coming back alive, the ants have found their way back into my cupboards. You can’t imagine my annoyance as my son blurted out last night. “There’s an ant on the counter.” These little creatures are so small yet such a huge irritation to my soul. Anything that crawls in my house and is of the insect-form dies… it’s just that simple!

This morning my daughter found them in the cupboard. And all sanity broke loose from my brain. Out came all the food as I wiped down each container until I found the culprits responsible for this invasion.

And there they were… second shelf from the top…. 2 large jars of honey. One was liquid and the other pure, raw, unstrained honey. The ants were enjoying both.

I’m all for spring and the awakening of tree buds and flowers blooming but if any kind of insect desires to live until the mating season and finish off their life cycle they would do well to stay out of my house. Let this be fair-warning to those creatures even just thinking about crossing my threshold!

And with that being said, I have begun the wipe down of the cupboards, counters and all things packaged. I’m closing things up into plastic Ziplocs again and using some of your advice from my last rant about ants. I have learned quite a few things through these adventures and hopefully this will be one of the final chapters to the saga!

My wish for you is this:  I hope wherever you are warmer weather has found you and that you are taking full advantage of the longer daylight hours. It’s such a beautiful thing!

Here’s looking forward to continued warm weather and the coming on of all things alive and budding!

Jesus on the scene ~ Five Minute Friday

It’s Five Minute Friday with Kate and the gang.  Each Friday we are given a word prompt.  We write and link-up over here.  Join us if you’d like, there’s always room for more!  Our word prompt today is:  RELIEF

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With Easter behind us, we move onto the next event. There’s the house to get ready for warmer weather, graduations, summer planning, vacations and more holidays.

I’ve been thinking this week about what it must have been like for the disciples and Mary after the resurrection, after their first Easter. I don’t think it was the same for us and them.

They had been in the depths of grief and uncertainty. Their dear friend, Teacher, Master and the One they believed to be their Messiah was gone…. dead.

But Jesus showed up on the scene and Life returned. What a turnaround of events. The emotional ride had to be off the charts.

Can you imagine the “What now?” questions Jesus’ followers struggled through during those days of not knowing…. when they felt He was gone?

Jesusonthescene

We have our own moments when heaven seems silent and we wonder, “What now?” Yet just like the disciples, relief and certainty came when Jesus showed up on the scene.

He will show up on our scene. It may not be in our timing or with the answer we are expecting but we can trust that He is and will always be there for our good.

Just as Jesus came to bring reassurance to those who had walked with Him through His darkest hours, He walks with us through ours. After bringing relief to those closest to Him, He empowered them to continue on living with these words…

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go…

Go into all that I have prepared for you…. Fulfill the plan and purpose I have laid out for you…

And though you will have some not-so-great-days … And you will walk hard roads and come through ugly messes… even though there will be all that… I am with you always to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)

We have that assurance. For even on the days when death stares us in the face and all around us there is dark and confusion, Jesus is on the scene.

On our darkest day we can trust His words, “I am with you always even to the very end.”

What’s so good about Good Friday?

Yesterday, I was scrolling Facebook when a status caught my eye. “What’s so “good” about Good Friday? I mean, when was death ever good?

In our own human understanding death is an end of what we know now. Yet as people who now live on the other side of Easter. Death had to happen before resurrected life could come.

The ‘good’ is Jesus, the Son of God, coming here as man and coming near to us. We could not get to Him on our own, nor could we do enough good to get to Him, so He came to us. And in that coming, He took the punishment for all our wrong doing onto Himself.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ~ Romans 5: 6-8

So, what makes Good Friday good? The ‘good’ is revealed on Easter. If Friday had come and Jesus died just like any other man, then yes, we could ask, “What’s so good about death?” He would have laid down His life and a sacrifice would have been given on behalf of all people but death would have won out. But death is not the end.  Good Friday is not the end of the story.

The amazingly ‘good’ comes on Easter when Jesus overcame death. When other people thought death had done Him in, and when His own disciples were wondering what was next, Jesus conquered death. He conquered the grave.

What is good about Good Friday? Easter, the resurrection, is what makes Good Friday good. All that Jesus endured; the pain, ridicule, torture and ultimate death was worth it. Because to Him, we are worth it. You are worth it!

His love for you, for all humans, led Him to the place of laying down His own life so that we can have life through Him.

Jesus says, “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” ~ John 10:10 (The Message)

This weekend, in all the hustle and bustle of egg hunts, family meals, and pretty dress-up clothes let’s not forget the Good.  The Good in His coming, the Good in His death, the Good life that comes to us through He is death and resurrection.

If you are not going anywhere for Easter, you are welcome at our place, Asbury Church. And if we’re not close by, find a great church and celebrate the ultimate Good that Easter brings!

Easter 2015

We are linking up with Kate and the ladies over at Five Minute Friday.  Kate gives us a word prompt that we all write on and link up over here.  This week’s prompt is: Good.

Random Things I’ve Learned this Month

 

We have come to the end of another month and I can honestly say I think I was in a drug induced coma through more than half of it because I can’t remember where all those days went.

Today we are linking up with Emily Freeman over at Chatting at the Sky with her blog post on what she has learned this last month… a looking back before moving forward!

Below is a list of random things I discovered in this last month and thought I would share them with you. They are in no particular order of time or importance just a simple list of observing moments from these last 31 days.

1. Hitting your humerus bone is not humorous! This one happened to me last night while I was brushing my teeth. Through some not-so-smart maneuvering I smacked my funny bone into my towel rack and sent some nerves into a frenzy, along with giving myself an ugly bruise to mark the incident.  (On a positive note, I guess I can be thankful it won’t be warm this Easter weekend.  That way I won’t feel obligated to wear some cute new spring dress with adorable short sleeves revealing this bruise growing up my humerus. ~ 2 Points for a northeastern cold spring.)

2. These Duck Dynasty men from Louisiana are some amazingly dedicated family men who love their wives, family and God well. While I have been down this month, I have read a few autobiographies by the Duck men and they have quite the stories of love and grace working in their lives.

3.  We should all follow a red bouncing ball – Della, our dog, was as happy as a crazy fan girl when she found her favorite red ball. (It has been frozen in a snow bank for the last 2 ½ months.)  We still have a snow bank around our melted ice rink so now Della carries her ball to the top of the snow bank, lets it go and then pounces on it as it bounces back down the snow bank.  (Of course when I just went outside to take a picture of her doing all this ‘bouncing and pouncing’ she wouldn’t do anything! I think she thought, “I’m not dropping this ball.  I just got it back from months of captivity!”  What a diva.)

della3

4.  I can’t pronounce the word “consonants.” I am teaching Matt the difference between vowels and consonants. Yet the word ‘consonants’ just kind of spins around my tongue and falls out of my mouth. So I’m not really sure what Matt is hearing and how he’s going to end up pronouncing it.

5. We all travel our own road – Writing is a discipline just like many other things in life.  And sometimes I beat myself up for not writing more frequently. I find myself comparing my writing habits to others and looking at all they accomplish.  I think to myself, “Why can’t I be more disciplined and focused like that person?” But then I stop and remember we are not traveling the same road. I must keep in perspective there are other important things in my life that take precedence in my schedule throughout my day… like homeschooling my children and church ministry that happens at unexpected moments. These things are important and it’s a balance to keep them all in perspective. I am learning to have grace with myself and my schedule.  I’m trying to remember not all things I put on my calendar will get done in the crazy timetable I lay out for myself. I’m learning balance through listening, scheduling and better time-management.

6. Some mornings I wake with more of a duty mindset than devotion. It’s the whole discipline of time thing again. The duty list of all that needs to get done starts flying through my mind and I begin checking things off before sitting quietly and letting the Father give me direction for the day and just soak in His word of love and truth to my soul. I can handle my day better when I give moments of devotion before duty.

7. Good friends meet us in bad moments. This past month has been a series of events and sickness morphing from one thing to another through our house. In a moment of complete “I can’t do this!!!” a good friend texted me saying: “We are bringing you dinner.” And all I could say was, “Thank you!” Sometimes in our line of work (ministry) we give out continually and are sometimes shy about receiving from others.  But what a sweet blessing this dinner was to our hearts and tummies! There are times the greater blessing comes from being willing to receive when we have nothing more to give.

Thank you to those many friends and family who blessed us through this month.  Your giving and extra ‘doing’ has been a huge blessing!  Thank you!

What are some things you have learned this month? Feel free to share in the comments below or link up with us over here to share your own list.  We would love to hear from you!

Keep Righting Even When We Don’t Get It Right

My daughters babysit for some wonderful families. In one of the families there is a 9-year-old girl. This little girl loves writing letters and sending little tokens of love to my girls. She writes about her day and how hard school is for a 9-year-old. My girls write back and encourage her to keep learning and growing.

This last spring between graduation and birthdays, our coffee table was covered with piles of papers, ranging from congratulation cards to thank you cards. As I was sorting through it all I came across a sweet note from this little girl.

“How are you? How is school? I am almost done with Explode the Code 5 ½ and I only have 12 more lessons to go in math. I hope you ceep righting. Love, Liz”

I smiled as I read over the last line. “I hope you ‘ceep righting’….”

And shouldn’t that be our prayer and hope …that we keep righting.

  • Keep choosing the right over the wrong.
  • Keep choosing right words over those that can wound and stab deep.
  • Keep the peace over sowing disunity.

I thought about the influence my daughters have over this precious little girl.

In our lives, others are watching and observing our actions. They listen to our words and watch how we handle situations. They look to us for an example of keeping right.

KeepingRight

Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:1 writes:

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

This can be a tough verse. I know I am not the perfect example of fine living and right choices. Yet, I have learned even in our failings we can show an example of what to do when we don’t get it right. We can show how we grow from our mistakes and learn from our failings.

In my own life and through the choosing of how I live my day, my prayer is that I can say to my children. “Yes, follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

There are days I get it wrong. There are moments when this mama doesn’t keep right. Yet it’s in the living out and continually coming to the One who makes us right that we find the wisdom and strength to keep choosing right.

My prayer for you and for me is that we keep choosing the right way. Keep choosing kind words and loving actions, to keep wisdom at the front of our minds and our ears open and attentive to His voice as He speaks “This is the way, walk in it.”

Today as you go about your day know I am praying for you. And may we continue to encourage one another to “ceep righting’… through His righteousness. Love, Rachel

Facing the Day Ahead

Have you ever had one of those nights when you wake up, wide awake in the middle of a great sleep?

I did that last night. I was sleeping wonderfully when all of a sudden a coughing fit and dryness in my throat woke me up from a beautiful sleep.

Since I was now alert and alive I remembered the cinnamon rolls defrosting in the fridge and decided to get a head start on the day and put them out on the counter to finish rising before morning.

I was only downstairs for a moment then I crawled back under the covers and was ready for sleep. However, sleep did not come.

My mind began thinking of previous times when I had made cinnamon rolls.

The memory from last summer when my family was coming for a reunion rolled around in my head. I thought about how much food I made in that 4 day period to feed some 30 people. I didn’t mind it. In fact, feeding and hosting friends and family is one of my favorite things.

But then my mind began thinking of another event coming up. It’s not mine to plan and execute yet my mind was worrying and filling up with all the details that need to be taken care of for this event to happen.

And there I laid wide awake worrying and planning over something that is not even mine to worry about.

How many times do we do this same thing? Fretting, stewing and flooding our minds with details and plans that we don’t need to think about or is not ours to take care of anyways. It’s not even our responsibility, yet we lose sleep and empty ourselves out of energy over events not ours to handle.

Jesus talks about this in the Sermon on the Mount.

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things and our heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ~  Matthew 6: 31-34 (NIV)

And as I laid in bed during the morning’s early hours I thought of these verses. I decided to put away the thoughts of worry and instead focus on sleep and the idea that rest was much more pleasant and needed. Rest is more beneficial than ruminating over events that are not mine to plan.

Sometimes it’s not that easy and our minds can be filled with troublesome thoughts and worries of the days. Yet, no matter the situation we can return to these words of encouragement. Our Father, who cares deeply for us, knows the circumstances that surround our lives. He knows our thoughts and the concerns that fill our minds and rob us of peace.

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May I encourage you today to place those things in the hands of our Father. Let Him handle what concerns you today. He already knows the outcome and what is ahead for you and those you love.

Our peace comes when we rest in God’s promises.  His thoughts are not our thoughts neither are our ways His ways. His ways are higher and His thoughts more than we can comprehend or understand. Yet even in our inability to comprehend all He does, our peace comes from knowing He works all things for our good.

We can rest and be at peace when we remind ourselves and remember that He knows our tomorrow even before we wake to face the morning that faces us.