Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I just finished reading a post over at "Your Sacred Calling."  Stacy MacDonald's daughter Jessica wrote a post titled "So This Is Love" that touched an area that God has been working on lately. 

Ever since I won the book "Sacred Singleness" through the give away at the blog "Radiant Purity and True Beauty", I have been convicted daily about my desire to find fulfillment in other ways other than finding my fulfillment in Christ.  Jesus wants to be our all in all.  He wants to be our best friend and we will never be able to fill that void in our heart because it can only be filled by Jesus.  We will never find a friend, spouse, or family member that will never fail us.  Jesus is the only one that will ALWAYS listen to us, cry with us, hold us, hug us, comfort us, encourage us, helps us and strengthen us no matter what.

He is there all the time and is just waiting for us to look to Him for help.  His hand is outstretched waiting for us to take hold of it and find in Him all that we are looking for.

The post Jessica wrote talked about what God has been teaching her lately and it was exactly what He has been teaching me. 

"It’s overwhelming.  In fact, the air is thick with it. Everywhere I look, I am bombarded by illusions of “love.” It’s in the music, the movies, the marketing—it’s even in the food. I see young people who are attracted to one another merely for their looks, or for the ego boost they get from all the attention they receive (isn’t that what flirtation is all about?).
I see it in movies where the beautiful girl falls instantly in love with the Brad Pitt look-alike. The fact that he’s a “bad boy” who she needs to make “good” only adds power and romance to the story. Or what about the song where the man croons over the girl he saw for only a moment? Without any knowledge of her character, he knows instantly that she is the one for him! The fact that he doesn’t even know her name is supposed to be proof of some “magical spark” and convince us of his deep and profound love. Easy come, easy go.
Though stories like these might appeal to our sense of romance (or maybe an amused eye roll), we need to recognize that we are being wooed by a superficial, self-focused, unrealistic, and empty view of “love.” In fact, sometimes I feel like I’m being indoctrinated by an evil fake—by a false definition of love....." Read More

This post was such and encouragement to me and I pray it will be to you as well.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"As We Read Your Holy Word"

Every morning as I start my devotions I ask God to open my eyes to new truths in His word and that His Holy Spirit would give me understanding as I read.  The past few mornings the song "As We Read Your Holy Word" has been going through my mind as I pray and I have used it several times. 

I heard this song for the first time last Christmas, on the CD  "A Quiet Heart," that my Mom had received as a gift.  I'm not sure how well known it is, so I thought I would share it with all of you.  I hope you find it a blessing!

As We Read Your Holy Word
Fred & Ruth Coleman

As I read Your Holy Word,
Help me see, Lord, help me learn.
Holy Spirit, from its pages lead the way.
Come and melt my stubborn will;
Make my heart and soul be still.
As I read Your Word, may I heed it and obey.

Like the first rays of morning light,
It will pierce my darkest night:
Showing sins of doubt and fear within my heart,
Showing self-confidence and pride,
The rebel thoughts that plague my mind.
Then it brings cleansing hope that quiets my heart.

So as we read Your Holy Word,
Help us see, Lord, help us learn.
Holy Spirit, from its pages lead the way.
Come and melt our stubborn will;
Lord, make our hearts and souls be still.
As we read Your Word, mat we heed it and obey.

Open my eyes and let me see
Glimpses of truth you have for me,
For in Your Word I find the truth that sets me free.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Kitchen Lessons at Camp :)

Where to start..... There were so many lessons... I guess lets start with the two biggest.

1. Do everything for God's glory.  I know, I have written about this in my blog as well as talked about it with those of you I know personally and yet God brought it into the light for me to refocus on while I was at camp.  You see, I have this strange problem of wanting to please others and doing a job perfectly so that when the job is inspected there will be nothing for the person inspecting to say in the negative :)
However, the young man in charge of the kitchen and dishroom is a perfectionist.  Yes, I am too, but he is REALLY particular.  Now, I don't think there is anything wrong with that, but it made me work doubly hard because I knew that he would be inspecting my work and would make me redo it if something was not done properly.  For example: I used the meat slicer to cut up deli turkey for around 250 people.  Needless to say, when I finished there was a greasy piece of equipment that needed to be cleaned.  Having never cleaned anything like it before, he showed me how to take it apart and then how to clean it.  Therefore, I wiped it all down with soap and sanitizer looking for anything that I may have missed.  When the Head Cook came to inspect my work he was pleased but showed a few places that I had missed.  Since it was my first time, they were areas that I wouldn't have even thought to look at or check.  I cleaned those spots and moved onto the next job. 

However as I worked on other jobs in the kitchen like arranging food on a plate, cleaning and wiping down a mixer, scrambling eggs, cooking french toast, making muffins and so much more I thought about how I was to be doing everything for God's glory.  There I was, striving for perfection so that the Head Cook wouldn't find anything wrong with what I was doing and yet every job I do no matter what, should be done with that same amount of energy and perfection.  God is watching everything I do and all that I do is to glorify Him.  The jobs the Head Cook had me doing were to be done so that if someone checked them they would glorify God.  If God was going to come and inspect the job I was doing would I be leaving a drip of batter on the muffin pans? What about if He was going to inspect the counter space I had been working at?  If it was you and He was going to inspect your counter space, wouldn't you pick up every object of the counter and make sure it was in its proper place and clean?  No crumbs from the last bread job or smears from a dirty rag.  I know I would want it to look perfect for my King.   

2. Smiles mean the world to people. God gave us mouths to smile with because He knew how encouraging just a slight movement of the lips turned upward would make someone's heart glad.  He gave us eyes that twinkle with mischeviousness or sparkle with excitement.  I've always believed that a genuine smile comes from a heart that is filled with joy and is expressed through both the eyes and mouth.

To be honest, I was excited to be at camp, but also very nervous and feeling like an outsider.  I knew many of the people there, but camp had already been running for 5 weeks and everyone was comfortable with who did what and how to do it.  I was the "newbie" walking in with no experience.  I had met the Head Cook once before when he asked me to come and train, but otherwise there was only a waitress from our church that I new well and then a cook that I had been friends with several years ago but hadn't seen in years.

Although I like to meet new people, I tend to be on the quiet side. Allright, I admit, I'm what you would call shy.  Not so much one-on-one with someone but with a group of three or more people I don't know well, I tend to become very quiet.  This was going to be a challenge which I knew God would help me through.....

And He did, by sending me smiles.  Don't they always make you feel better?  There were several people in the kitchen that made me feel at ease as soon as I met them simply by smiling across the room.  Others were not as friendly, but as the week progressed they became friendlier and I think a huge part of it was God at work in their hearts, as well as the smiles that I kept sending their way telling them that I wanted to be their friend.

So, the lesson?  If smiles mean so much to me, then they probably mean a lot to others as well and should be used more often :)  Sometimes it can be hard and other times not so hard, but as Christians we always have something to smile about......our salvation.  No matter what, we should have a joy in our heart that radiates through our body language, our words and our actions.  A smile is a great way to start expressing that joy and thanksgiving for everything God has done for us!

There were many others but these two were the biggest that God showed me while working in the kithen.  He gave me several blessings in between and during the lessons that were great as well!  For example, I gained some new friends and renewed some old friendships.  I learned some interesting hidden talents people had that had all the kitchen staff holding their sides while we laughed and I was able to sing without feeling self-consious because everyone else was as well. ;-0 !!!    (Where there are homeschool girls gathered together, musicals are bound to come up in the conversation - and therefore singing -  and if we all grew up listening to the same music - Soundforth, The Wilds, Steve Pettit, etc., well you can imagine the menagerie of music that was sung throughout the week :]

God has used the Wilds as a wonderful ministry and blessing both to those on staff as well as those visiting and I am so thankful for the opportunity God has given my sister and I to be a part of it!

I hope this post was an encouragement to you! 

Thanks for reading :}

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Camp Lesson Part 2

Here is the continuation of my notes for the week at camp.  I hope you all enjoy them!

night 4:
The fourth night he brought us to Isaiah 6.  Do we realize who God is and how great He is? That was the main focus of his message.  If we realized who God is like Isaiah did when he said the words,
"Woe is me! for I am undone: because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King the Lord of hosts.", we would live our lives so differently.  No one or thing is like our God and Isaiah saw God's glory and was overcome.  Can you imagine seeing what Isaiah saw?

"v. 1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 
v. 2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain* he covered his face and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 
v.3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. 
v.4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried and the house was filled with smoke."

 Are we overcome with God's greatness, power, glory, holiness, righteousness, perfectness & justness like Isaiah was?  Or do we forget and get caught up in our own little worlds forgetting about Him in our own lives.  He is our Creator and Savior.  We should never forget who He is and what He has done for us for one second of our lives.  Everything we say, do and think should be for His glory.  Our time here is so short.  What will we do with the time we have here on earth to serve Him?

night 5:
The last night he spoke out of a passage in 1 Timothy.  The fifth night was spent explaining that although we were all on a spiritual high from being at camp all week, spiritual growth and godliness does not happen because we are in a "zone"(a Christian environment).  The kids have Chapel, God & I Time, God & I Time follow up and an evening service everday, as well as being surrounded by Christian friends, counselors and staff that want them to grow in there relationship with Christ.  Mark wanted the kids to understand that to have spiritual growth and to encourage godliness in their lives, it would take discipline and work to accomplish.  At camp, many things that distract us from God are taken away. For example, no phones, computers, music or movies are allowed on the camp.  Mark wanted the kids to see that that they needed to find the "weights" in their lives. - Things that were holding them back from spending the time they need to spend with God. Things that are ultimately meaningless.

Mark's definition of becoming godly was: to exercise or work to be more like God.  It doesn't just happen, we have to work at it. How much time do we spend working on our relationship with God?

Gym in the greek is where we get our english words, gymnasium, gymnastics, etc.  In gyms we work out and strive for perfection in whatever it is that we are there to do.

Are we staying in the "spiritual gym?"  Are we working hard and striving for perfection in our relationship with God?

As we all know, any serious athlete is disciplined.  Are we serious about godliness? Are we disciplined when it comes to "working out" in the spiritual things? Do we make it a priority to be godly?

1 Timothy 4:12 is a self test that we can take to see how godly we are.

"Let no man despise thy youth ; but be thou an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in purity."

Our godliness needs to be shown in our word(speech), conversation(life), charity(love), spirit(faith), and in purity.  We need to live so others can see Christ in us at all times, not matter the situation.  - This was a reminder to me, that I need to wake up every day asking myself who am I living for and what will I do for Him?

Everywhere we go we are leaving an impression.  What kind of impression are we making?  Our words should be backed up by our actions.  If we are truly God-focused then our actions will show it.

When we are struggling in any area, we need to immediately go to the gym.  If an athlete is weak in any area they go and strengthen it.  If we are weak anywhere we need to go to God and ask Him to strengthen it while striving to obey and live for Him.

Where is our focus?  On God, or on ourselves?  It takes work to be godly, but well worth the effort.  We need to take the self test everyday and make sure our focus is on God and what He wants of us.

I learned a lot under the teaching of Mark Kittrell.   God used Him in the lives of the young people that were there.  It was a week filled with many blessings and all the staff could see God's hand at work!

Well, those were my notes from the week in condensed form :]  In my next post I want to share with you some of the personal lessons I learned in the kitchen :]  It was truly a stretching time in my life, but I loved it all!