Tuesday, March 27, 2012

All We Need and A Little More

For my personal devotions I am reading in Mark and something new struck me in chapter 6 this week. In verse 31 Christ tells the disciples, "Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.

I can relate. Some of my days are just like that. You end up with a headache or feel lethargic and it dawns on you that you haven't even eaten all day because you've been so busy. I love that the Bible is filled with everyday life. The disciples had been serving others and not thinking of themselves.

Christ knew they needed some time away from the crowd so he put them in a boat to go to the other side. Verse 33 says, "But the multitudes saw them departing, and many knew Him and ran there on foot from all the cities. They arrived before them (on the other side) and came together to Him."

You see the desperation of the people who want their loved ones healed or who want to hear what the Savior has to say. It's compelling. The disciples, who are human, are serving. I think it's safe to assume they never pictured following of Christ to this extent. They are pouring out all their strength for strangers. It's compelling, but it's draining too. Can you relate?

Verses 32 - 44 tell about the feeding of the 5,000. The disciples scouted the crowd, which could have been as large as 20,000, and found that the only available food was five loaves and two fish. We love the miracle Christ does in this circumstance. We see Him provide for the needs of the people, who out of earnest pursuit have followed Jesus and His followers to a deserted place, without thinking about food. Christ is compassionate and feeds them. He has ministered to their physical and spiritual needs. It's a story we love to tell our children.

Verse 45 says, "Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away." It truly is time for a break...for everyone. The crowd needs to return home, Christ goes to a mountain to pray and the disciples are going to travel through the night to another side of the lake. Can you imagine their exhaustion? I can almost feel it in the words of Mark.

In the last few hours before dawn, while the disciples are rowing and straining against the wind, Christ goes out of His way to walk on the sea right by their boat. They are freaked out! They think they see a ghost, but Christ tells them not to be afraid. He says, "Be of good cheer! It is I...." He then gets into the boat and the wind ceases.

I love the next verses (51b & 52), "And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened." We so piously think, "Good grief, guys, how could you have missed the meaning of the loaves!" But might they have been focused on themselves and their weariness? They are hungry, tired, fighting a wind in the wee hours of the morning. They know tomorrow will be the same thing. Tell me, would you have responded differently?

Had miracles become so commonplace they failed to see Christ? Christ graciously demonstrated an even great command of nature by walking on the sea for their understanding. He didn't have to, but He wanted them to see Himself...not themselves, not those whom they served, not even the miracles, but HIMSELF. He says, "Be of good cheer! It is I...."

I love how the Lord is always willing to reveal Himself. He isn't stingy in His willingness to listen to us, to walk with us and to love us. He gives us all we need and then adds a little more. While I feel compassion for the disciples in Mark 6, I'm also a little envious that they got to sit with the Savior and be amazed beyond measure until I realize, if I'm open to it, I can do the same thing.

Emmanuel: God with us! May you see Him today!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

P365 - Weeks 9, 10 & 11

Time to catch up with pictures from the last few weeks.

Sunday, Feb 26 -

My Outback lunch after a busy morning at work; Rib Eye - yum!

Monday, Feb 27 -

My paper organization project for the month of February.
I made significan progress, but have more to do.

Tuesday, Feb 28 -

Our chicks didn't hatch so we purchased some at the local farm store.
The spotted brown one's name is Freckles. (center right)
She's been given a pardon from the butcher's wife!
So cute!!!

Wednesday, Feb 29 -

My son is composing arrangements for his CoOp orchestra and for a Shakespearean play.
He's been living on the piano and Mac.

Thursday, March 1 -

Tara decided to add wall stickers just above her bed.
Go Dollar Tree!

Friday, March 2 -

My mom gave us a package of goodies
and we had to show the girls how to eat these retro candies.

Saturday, March 3 -
Car wash - desperately needed.

Sunday, March 4 -

Katie made me this smiling breakfast!

Monday, March 5 -

The next batch of chicks arrive - little yellow/tan ones.
So cute...again!

Tuesday, March 6 -

The beginnings of a quilt for a quilt swap.
60 different colors used twice - cut into 1 1/2 in. squares.

Wednesday, March 7 -

Trip to JoAnn's for my pink blocks and a craft with the girls.

Thursday, March 8 -
My man tilling up a corral for a garden. Yay!

Friday, March 9 -

The chicks asleep.
They lay their heads straight down in front of them.
Have I mentioned, "So cute!"

Saturday, March 10 -

Spring day on the farm.

Sunday, March 11 -

I made a strip quilt for one of the girls' friends as a birthday present.
The top of the quilt was for a bed blanket...

and the back was created as a picnic blanket.

Monday, March 12 -

Birthday party at the American Girl store!

Tuesday, March 13 -

A usual sight...a white laptop appendage. :)

Wednesday, March 14 -

Pieced together the postage stamp center of the quilt.
Now to make a decision about the border.

Thursday, March 15 -

The girls in the chicken's temporary enclosure until they get a little bigger.
(I can't believe I'm blogging about chickens.)

Friday, March 16 -

My Dad and I share a birthday celebration.

Saturday, March 17 -
My oldest daughter, Ashley, and her husband, TJ,
came for the weekend and brought along Faelyn, their Siberian Husky.
What a sweet grand-dog, pictured here with Tara!

Sunday, March 18 -

I put the finishing touches on my mini-quilt.
Off to Mindy in Texas on Monday!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Acts 20:24

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

During my performance review for work my boss commented that I do not give myself grace. When I take on new tasks, I don’t give myself time to learn, I just expect to be able to do it with excellence from the outset. She pointed out that everyone has learning curves and that I would be less frustrated if I just gave myself some grace.

For days now I have been thinking about what she said. When I evaluated how I did on my February goals, that thought was with me. When I taught my classes, that thought was with me. As I dealt with my family members, that thought was with me.

I even mentioned it to a friend and she said, “If we’re not growing in grace, we should be concerned.”

Colossians 1:6
All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth.

2 Peter 3:18
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

Although I still fully believe we should strive for excellence, because we are fallen beings living in a fallen world, we also need to exemplify God’s grace, the one thing that saves us from our sin. Grace is so intricately linked to forgiveness: we need to forgive our family member’s offenses, we need to forgive the disobedience of students, and we need to accept our own failures and seek to please the Lord by focusing on Him and not ourselves.

It’s so easy to get caught up in striving in your own strength, but it’s not fruitful. Allowing God alone to reign releases the Fruits of the Spirit within our lives – peace, gentleness, self-control, love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness. I'd rather be a picture of God’s grace versus one of my own excellence any day.

Lord, may you grow a spirit of grace in my life. May I fully realize your grace given to me and may I, in turn, offer it to others as a pleasing sacrifice to you. May I offer grace to myself, forgiving my sin that you have already covered. May I remember that I am being perfected in You, but that in this world and lifetime, I will not reach perfection. May your spirit of grace abound in me. Amen.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

From Rest to Rejoicing

Psalm 118:24 (NKJV) This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

I've had a very quiet week, one that brings rest to my soul - quiet from running to different activities, quiet to enjoy projects and family, quiet to begin spring activities at the farm - prepping the ground for a garden, holding baby chicks, grooming and feeding the horses. It's been peaceful and refreshing. Then today happened. I awoke with the anxiety of the upcoming week where I will be running to town more days than not, with presents to buy, projects to finish within deadlines - a busy calendar. The quiet seemed to rush out like a whirlwind. My blood pressure went up, my words became short, and my tone unpleasant. It felt like all the refreshment and peace had vanished. Can you relate? :) Then the Lord brought Psalm 118:24 to mind.

I have a choice. Will I rejoice and be glad in the respite I had, but also rejoice that I have many ways to enjoy my family and friends in the upcoming week. The tasks will get done, maybe not in the timeframe I desire, but the important stuff always gets done. My biggest challenge is to enjoy the journey. Remembering that He is in control (not me? not the calendar?!) and choosing a joyful response to the daily challenges is my responsibility. The world reflects self (impatience, intolerance), but we reflect Christ! That looks completely different. We're called to reflect His love and light with rejoicing and gladness. A thought I needed to remember today!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Secrets Until April

Uh, there's something you should know about me.

I HATE keeping secrets.

I'm terrible at it.

I can keep them, but just barely.

I don't like waiting when I think someone else will enjoy a surprise.

I just want it to happen NOW.

I want to tell them how great it will be, but then...I can't.


I decided that for each corresponding day in March I would prep my April A-Z Challenge posts so I won't be caught off guard next month. Tonight I sat down to plan my "C" posts.

You know, the whole plan ahead thing.

Something else I don't often like to do.

But since I figured I will struggle writing 52 posts in one month (26 each blog), I figured some prior planning would be a good idea. I made a micro-spreadsheet to keep track of what my plans are. I've written down the topic of each post and some details I want to be sure to include. And guess what?

I hate not being able to tell you what I'm planning. It's a secret! Ahhh!
It's killing me and I'm only on "C."

It's going to be a LONG month, I think. :)

Have you joined the Challenge? There's still time!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Knowing or Knowing About

2 Corinthians 3:17-18

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Have you noticed in your spiritual life that if you haven't been in the Word or in prayer that there is a greater struggle to reflect the Lord's glory? Sometimes I spend a little too much time reading books or devotionals ABOUT God, but don't spend the time WITH God - listening for the Spirit's voice as I read Scripture or talking with Him in prayer. KNOWING ABOUT God is vastly different than KNOWING God!

For example, Joel Rosenberg, the novelist, and I are friends. I might read someone's interview of Joel, but if I'm not interacting with Joel he has very little influence over me. It ia also be like looking at a photo album. You may sit in your friend's living room and look at their family pictures, which may tell you something about your friend, but you are not being transformed by perusing the photo album. You are changed by being in relationship.

An active interplay between two people - you and God, is the ONLY way to have growth and power. Sometimes I get caught up thinking ABOUT God, but I don't spend the time interacting with Him. It's no wonder we're lacking at these times.

I encourage you today to spend time WITH God. Thursday night as a storm rolled through at sunset I was amazed at the fierceness and beauty displayed in the sky. I was standing on my front porch waiting for the dog to do his "thing" and I started singing "I Love You, Lord" aloud. The dog ignored me, thank goodness. I then just stopped singing mid-chorus and said a few things to Him as I watched His majesty pass by. Spending time with the Lord doesn't have to be a formal quiet time (although I'm a big fan of that too), but I've had life-changing interaction with the Father at many different times, even while folding laundry.

He's always available and eager to spend time with you. Why not seek Him out today!

2 Chronicles 15:2

He went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.