About two weeks ago I noticed a tweet update by someone that stated they were “reflecting on their theme for 2011”. It got me thinking. I have never done this before. In fact, it’s been years since I’ve had goals. I noticed something though… each year has a recurrent theme. I may not notice it right away, but it’s there. Not all have been spiritual. So as I have sat and reflected as well, I realized my theme or word for 2010 was this: brokenness. No, I didn’t give myself this word but it still is what it is. In fact, if I sit and ponder it even more I’d have to say this word describes 2009 as well.
In order for God to work in our lives, we have to be broken. We have to realize our frailties. Our humanness. Our inability to do anything apart from God. Now, I’ve been saved since 1993. I know my Bible well (but never ever well enough). I know how to pray but I don’t do it often enough. Even this past year where I have felt the pull away from mainstream, away from what “others” are doing and enjoying… I am still so far from where I know I should be. I was saved while in school. I was a “sometime” Christian. Sometimes I’m saved and care and other times, well… those other times I didn’t. The life of a high schooler. Sadly, I have lived that life for most of my Christian walk. A sometime Christian. A Christian when it’s convenient.
Near the end of 2008, I met a friend who’s total existence would permeate my life. She would make me rethink so much. She would press upon me the desire to really get to know Jesus. Not just as my Saviour, but as my friend. I had never thought of Jesus as a friend before. He was my Saviour, my Protector… there when I needed Him. But up until that point, that’s really all I thought of Him.
For anyone that knows me, you probably have guessed that person is Julie. She is so on fire for the Lord. So ready and willing. She may not think this about herself, but she knows God. Her heart is open; she is full of Jesus. Just being around her made me desire God more.
So in the start of 2009 I found myself craving more. Wanting more. No longer satisfied with the hum drum lifestyle I’d been living. Tired of only calling out to God when I needed Him or was afraid. The actuality is this: I need Him every moment. I need His arms wrapped around me at all times. I need Him to guide my footsteps. I need Him to show me the way. There is never a moment in my day when I don’t need Jesus. Amazing that it only took 15+ years to get to this point. I’m so thankful God is patient with me! He has never given up on me.
A quote I really like by Samuel Chadwick “It is a wonder what God can do with a broken heart, if He gets all the pieces.” Isn’t that the truth? How often do we find ourselves broken down or completely shattered, but instead of giving our self to God, we attempt to pick the pieces up by ourselves? We try to reshape what was broken. It’s not possible. The clay can not reshape itself. It has to be molded by the Potter’s hands.
In the Autumn of 2009, I began a study at my church with a group of ladies. The study was on the book The Mind of Christ written by T.W. Hunt and Claude King. I can not speak highly enough of this study! If you have never read it, go get it. It will change everything you thought you knew. Or… at least it did for me. This book brought something to the forefront for me. I was full of pride. I had never considered that. I had never thought I was full of pride, not even a little bit. Oh my how God can use man made tools to show us what we need to see.
Through this study, God revealed much to me. So much so that in December 2010, Julie and I decided to embark on reading this study together again, at a much slower rate. Instead of focusing on it each day, we are delving in deep with each day’s study giving us a few weeks on each “week” in the book. Sharing our insights and what God is teaching us. Yes, it is slow and it will take quite a while to go through. However, I personally have gained even more by doing this again and doing it at a slower rate.
As 2010 comes to a close, I am not sure if God is fully done breaking me. What I do know is that after much prayer and pondering, God has been bringing two words to my mind for 2011. Two words that will be my focus for the upcoming year. And I’m both nervous and excited. I’ll share them soon with you! Until then…
(photo found on google images. Aerial view of Eagle Island State Park)
Today was a pretty good day. Church this morning. We were at the 11am service. Pastor Bob spoke (he’s the youth pastor). Really enjoy his messages. He is straightforward and gets to the point AND he’s a good story teller. The story of he and his daughter on a roller coaster was very vivid and entertaining.
His sermon was simple, despite the horrible math equation he threw on the screen that sort of freaked me out at first. I am NOT a mathematical person. Not at all. Equations scare me. I did write it down though. Take a look:
(.25(x) + .3(x) + .3(x))0 + .15(x)x
If you can’t figure it out, please don’t ask me. I have no clue. While I understood the concept of what Pastor Bob was speaking, other than writing down the equation, I have decided to ignore the actual equation. Those parentheses scare me. And all those X’s. Hmmm.
At any rate, the sermon was on Matthew 13: 1-9, the Parable of the Sower. How we are the farmers and we need to recognize this job and our responsibility to plant the seeds. The more the better. It does not matter the soil of where we plant, God will take care of that. Our job is simply to plant as many seeds of God’s love to every single person we meet. From there, God takes over and handles the rest.
The equation itself had to do with how even one person sowing seeds could multiply x amount of times… and then goes on to say how about if there were two people? Three people? 100 people?
Just a good reminder to all of us… we need to be sowing as many seeds as we can while we can. We have no idea how long God is going to grant us time on this earth. We need to reach the lost, they need to know the truth. And they will not know if there is no one to tell them.
Oh and before I forget… the Youth Band did our music. Loved it! They did a wonderful job even amidst a few technical difficulties. I loved Andrew (I think that’s his name). He has a wonderful voice, very talented and energetic. I wonder if our church would consider him for the Worship Pastor. I just really enjoyed him. So did my hubby. One of the songs we sang…
I adore this song… it is one of my favorites from the DCB. (that’s David Crowder Band peeps). I also loved the mix of music they did. I knew all the songs and it wasn’t the same old ones we hear every single week. (not complaining, just stating that I enjoyed what was played).
Anyways… so church time was good. I will be glad to see Pastor Clint back next week. God has anointed him with a wonderful teaching ability. I never leave service without feeling like the sermon was meant for me. God is so good!
Then in the late afternoon our church had a picnic over at Eagle Island State park (you can view the aerial shot at the beginning of the post). It was a gorgeous day too. Nice, 80ish degrees, blue skies. Loved it. Kids enjoyed the bounce houses, dunking the pastors, playing games, getting their faces painted, and eating as much cotton candy and sno cones as they could. Oh, they also enjoyed hamburgers too.
Here are two photos of the kiddos and their face paintings.
Hannah requested a princess crown (I think it looks more like native american but it’s cool nonetheless).
Benjamin’s request was for an eagle. How fitting since we were in Eagle at the Eagle park. lol
As the time there winded down, we went over to the water and watched as seven from the church were baptized. It’s such a joy and a blessing to see new members of the family take part in the water baptism.
After our time at the park, we came home and pretty much relaxed. Kids have asked to watch a movie and they finally settled on watching Flubber (Robin Williams). So I am heading down to put that in and snuggle with the kiddos for a bit before getting some shut eye.
Have a great night y’all.
Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of His name; make His praise glorious! Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name.”
Come and see what God has done, how awesome His works in man’s behalf! He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot – come, let us rejoice in Him. He rules forever by His power, His eyes watch the nations – let not the rebellious rise up against Him.
Praise our God O peoples, let the sound of His praise be heard; He has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.
Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me. I cried out to Him with my mouth; His praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld His love from me!” Psalm 66: 1-12, 16-20 (NIV)
How can anyone read that and not get emotional ? I was listening to one of my favorite songs called “Desert Song” and this particular one has Jill reading this Scripture before singing. The way she reads it, her accent… it just brings me to tears. How awesome is our God! How awesome that He loves us. He hears our prayers; He sees our pain and our struggles. And He does NOT leave us as we were. He molds us, He shapes us, He refines us like silver… to become what He planned for our lives. We are never alone when we have God to rely on. Never, ever. So why do we so often try to do it by ourselves?
If you have never listened to the song, I have it here. Listen to her read The Word of God and then listen… with your whole heart, to this song.
Three weeks ago my Pastor preached on something that has stirred inside me and hasn’t let go. I want to share the notes I have with you here.
To begin, Pastor Clint is preaching on the book of Joshua currently. I LOVE it when a Pastor picks a book and goes through it like this. He doesn’t use it every single week, but most weeks he does. The reading of Joshua correlates to my church’s theme verse for 2010 “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). <side note: you can also see I used a variation of that verse on the left in regards to this blog.>
Joshua 5:13-15 “And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?” So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord, I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so. *NKJV*
1. We are either for the Lord or against the Lord. We cannot be neutral. It’s not about not offending… we need to not concern ourselves regarding whether the Truth offends. (v.13)
2. Our Lord always comes to us when we need Him and in the way we need Him. (v.14).
3. Every Leader is second in command behind the Lord. (v.14)
4. No matter where He leads, we are on Holy Ground (v.15)
- Where the Lord leads me, I am on holy ground.
We are never outside of God’s presence.
I went through my notes to write all this down because I had never thought of it like this. I had never taken the time to stop and realize that I AM HOLY. Not because I deserve to be holy, not because I’m good enough to be holy………. but because Christ lives in me, He leads me, He directs me… and wherever Christ is, that place is holy ground. Have you ever thought of it like that? Ever since that sermon (posted on the 11th of July just so you have an idea how long I’ve been “chewing” on this sermon), I have felt that it was written for me and me alone. Sure, it probably benefited many of those in the congregation. BUT it was meant for me.
God has been at work in a major way in my heart over the last two years, and even more so… over the last year. Over time, I am sure I will blog bits and pieces of it… but just know that I am not who I was. I have been a Christian since April 10th, 1993… but I have not understood it all. (well, do we ever understand it ALL?) For years, I went through the motions. For years, I “played” church. I would go to church and then come home and just live day by day, never thinking, never consulting God the Father. He was “for Sundays… for that one to two hours a week” … for that small amount of time I would grant Him. After that, the week was about me, my family, my wants and needs, etc.
That is no way to live a life. Yes, I was saved then. I knew I was a sinner, I believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and knew the Bible to be true and I took it as literal and God-breathed. I confessed my sins, I asked the Holy Spirit to dwell inside of me. And He did. He does. But oh how I must have grieved / saddened Him when I chose my own road instead of God’s way. Daily. Without even considering Him.
Because of those choices, God allowed things to happen. He knew that in order to get my attention, He would have to break me. Break apart my stubbornness, my pride, my anger, my greed. All of it. And He has. And He does. And if necessary, He will again. For He is the Potter and I, I am merely the clay. As you can view in my header, I chose four photos that were very significant for me.
1. The broken pot… that was me. It is me. Fully broken. My heart has shattered many times. I like this quote “It is a wonder what God can do with a broken heart, if He gets all the pieces.” -Samuel Chadwick
2. The cross… the ultimate sacrifice. Blood spilled for me. For my sins. For the sins of my past, my present, and my future. Without the cross, there would be no hope for me.
3. The bible… my source of comfort… for learning, for discipline. For truth poured out.
4. The Potter’s Hands… I particularly like this photo with how the hands are cupped in a heart formation. God takes delight in me. I’m not some careless piece of clay. He has taken time to kneed me, press me, shape me, slice me, reshape me, etc. It’s not that I mean nothing to Him; in fact, I mean a great deal to Him. ME. Little ‘ol me… is loved by the Creator of the universe. WOW.
So these four photos really do describe me and my Christian walk. And I’m sure if you are still reading, you may be wondering what on earth all this has to say about the sermon Pastor Clint preached on. Well… I’m not sure. Ha. (and you thought I’d have some awe inspiring words!). I just know that this has all been jumbled up inside of me and it needed to be written down.
I feel shaken when I consider that at all times I am on holy ground, that at all times Christ dwells in me. I feel humbled to be loved and desired by my Creator. For I surely do not deserve it. Any of it. Yet He gives.
Good evening… today has been another busy one. We got up and made it to the second service this morning. We seldom make it. I really wanted to check out a new Sunday School class starting (on marriage). Not sure if we will attend it again though. (long story). Anyways… after church and SS, we had another birthday party… (I told you on March 5th… it’s birthday month). This one was for Ben’s friend, James… a fellow church and homeschooling friend whose family we absolutely love and adore. James turned 7. I’d show some photos, but I don’t like to post pics of other people’s children without permission. At any rate, we went bowling in Meridian for a couple hours. Five boys and three… no actually four girls (can’t forget little Josie who is almost three). They seemed to have a good time; it was the first time bowling for most of them and they did really well. (better than I would have done). After the party, we came home and just vegged.
Oh and by the way… Old Dogs is HILARIOUS. The pond / golf scenes? Don’t drink anything or eat anything before that part. Fantastic. I am thrilled to see some clean(er) movies that are funny. It’s not something we are fortunate to find very often.
G’nite all. Off to hang with hubby for a bit before bed.
Thank you Lord for a good time today at church. I was able to find a ride to the church for the luncheon. Each table was set up into a theme. My hostesses did a wonderful job. Enjoyed the chit chat, meal, and the speaker. Left feeling refreshed and blessed to have been able to go.
Tomorrow we are going to our cousins’ house in Kuna for dinner after church. Both Stephanie’s husband and mine share a birthday (the 14th of this month) but we are celebrating it tomorrow. Ribs cooked in pineapple juice (don’t knock it, it makes the ribs soooooooo dang good), loaded mashed taters, fruit salad, bread, and that heavenly chocolate cake from Costco. Yum. I’m hungry just thinking about it !
Gonna go relax and watch a movie tonight with the hubster. Not sure what yet… hugs!
Church was good today. I signed up for the Spring Ladies Luncheon in March. Looking forward to it and praying that I will be able to actually attend. I looked over the list and just decided to pick a group where I knew names but didn’t actually know them. Not an easy thing for this reserved person. LOL. I talk a lot online (for those that know me via groups, facebook, forums, etc) but in person? Ack! I’m the flower against the ugly wallpaper, trying her best to blend in and not be noticed. Anyways, figured it was time to try… we’ve been attending our church since moving here in 2006 (well, we did try out other churches too but kept coming back to CVBC because it is great) … anyways, been there for that long yet I still don’t know most people. Kind of sad actually and my fault. Gotta get myself out there… can’t expect everyone to come to me, right? Right?
Pray with me over it… I have to find a ride there still. Which means I have to ask around. *gulp* If the Lord wants me there, He’ll provide me a way. I have complete faith in that. So now to just ask…