Slowing Down

The small group that my husband and I lead have been studying the Gospel of Luke. We read over scripture that I could relate to these last few weeks.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

~Luke 10:38-42~ (NIV)

I have recently gone back to being a full-time homemaker. A decision that my husband and I have been praying over for many months. The adjustment was harder than I expected and I was worn out the first week. My plate was overflowing with “stuff”. I was adding on responsibilities that were unnecessary.

We made this choice for me to be able to focus on the path that the Lord has for myself and my family. To be able to guide our children in the right direction. To be able to focus on being their mother and their teacher. For us to serve our church and our community.

So, I have been trying to stop. Just stop. Slow it down and listen. Put my focus on the tasks on hand, put more time in knowing Our Lord and Savior.

We live in such a fast paced world and we fill our lives with all this “stuff”. We get bombarded with demands from work, family, extra-curricular activities, our health, friends, life. Life is demanding. Feeling like we have the weight of the world on our shoulders. Instead, we need to slow down. Listen and pray, take that time and listen to what he has to say. He will fill our hearts with what’s right and guide us through our demands.

 

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”

     ~Romans 10:17~(NIV)

 


Pursuing Peace In Our Homes

Being a mother of four children, two of them being teenage girls (Lord, help me!) can sometimes be a bit…hmmm…overwhelming. You know the days where you sleep in because you hit snooze to many times and of course it’s on a day where you have a million things going on. Kids have to be driven from one side of town to the other. The younger kids are fighting, the older girls are hormonal. UGH! It’s rainy and gloomy and you hear “Mom, I’m bored!” You have had enough so you yell about something and you are not quite sure about what. You just want some peace!!

Now, of course not everyday is like that and maybe some of you don’t want anybody to know you have those days. But trust me, we all have had those crazy days. I tend to have those kind of days when I let the chaos guide my mood and not the presence of The Lord.

So, I have decided to share a few ways we can pursue peace in our homes.

~Pray for Peace

 “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

          James 5:16

~Rather than raising your voice in anger and frustration, lower your voice to a whisper.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

          Proverbs 15:1

~Avoid letting family and your surrounding chaos control your mood.

Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of Christ.”

          Sheila Walsh

“Peace I leave with; my peace I give you.”

          John 14:27

 


Community

My husband had some encouraging words to share this afternoon. Community has been such a huge part in our lives and we love being able to share our thoughts and feelings with everyone. This, the sharing of the impact that Christ has had on us and those around us, the spreading of God`s word. Showing people that we are here for prayer (in my last post), for small group, for `community`…enjoy 🙂

~God Bless~

So, at the beginning of the month I shared what our small group were studying on facebook and received a huge response from people looking for prayer. In follow up to that message I shared a message on love with a small group of people through messenger. I am not holding back on this one because my experience in community with followers of Christ has been life altering for me. Abby and I decided to open our home for small group study at the beginning of the year and the relationships we have forged and the personal growth we have seen has been amazing. Here is something I put together on community and why it is important to me. It is a little lengthy but I promise that if you are looking to establish or deepen your relationship with Christ this may be what God wants you to see today.

Why do we need Community?

I belong to a wonderful Church and I am blessed to be a part of the most amazing small group. Before I began to pursue a relationship with Christ I didn’t know what Love really was. I didn’t know what family really was (and how much of it I would have). I didn’t understand that we were meant to live for so much more. That God has a purpose for our life and that community helps us live out that purpose.

God puts people in our lives for a reason. Occasionally He makes the reasons clear to us but we usually never fully understand His purpose. Sometimes that persons purpose is connected with our purpose and sometimes it’s not but one thing remains clear in scripture, God wants us to be in community. To worship together, break bread together, pray together and serve together.

Belonging to a Church that is alive in the spirit and providing sound biblical teaching is the first step in being in community with Christ but that is not enough. How many people are sitting in that Church surrounded by other believers and still feeling very much alone or lacking the support or motivation to dive deeper into serving Christ? Are you? God new that we were not meant to spend our lives alone. As soon as he created Adam he saw a need for Eve. Being in a small group is a chance to be in in a more intimate relationship with other followers of Christ. It is a place to share your true feelings, to be encouraged, to be supported, to admit your weaknesses, to be yourself, to be forgiven, to be challenged and to be loved without expectation, in a confidential, non-judgmental environment. Enough of my opinion though, what does God have to say about it?

What do we gain from being in community?

Hebrews 10:24-25 Amplified Bible (AMP)
24 And let us consider and give [b]attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities, 25 Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.

Matthew 18:19-20 New International Version (NIV)
19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Galatians 3:28-29 Living Bible (TLB)
28 We are no longer Jews or Greeks or slaves or free men or even merely men or women, but we are all the same—we are Christians; we are one in Christ Jesus. 29 And now that we are Christ’s we are the true descendants of Abraham, and all of God’s promises to him belong to us.

What does community look like?

Romans 12:4-5 New Living Translation (NLT)
4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

Acts 2:42 The Message (MSG)
They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.

1 Peter 3:8 Living Bible (TLB)
8 And now this word to all of you: You should be like one big happy family, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds.

Romans 15:3-6 The Message (MSG)
3-6 That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out. “I took on the troubles of the troubled,” is the way Scripture puts it. Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it’s written for us. God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next. May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we’ll be a choir—not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus!

1 John 3:16 Living Bible (TLB)
16 We know what real love is from Christ’s example in dying for us. And so we also ought to lay down our lives for our Christian brothers.

How do we make community better?

Acts 4:32-36 New International Version (NIV)
32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

Romans 16:17 Expanded Bible (EXB)
17 Brothers and sisters, I •ask [urge; encourage] you to look out for those who cause •divisions [dissension] and who •upset other people’s faith [create obstacles/stumbling blocks]. •They [or Such things] are against the true teaching you learned, so stay away from them.

James 3:18 The Message (MSG)
You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.

How do we grow our community?

Romans 14:1 Common English Bible (CEB)
Welcome the person who is weak in faith—but not in order to argue about differences of opinion.

Romans 12:16 New Living Translation (NLT)
16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

John 13:20 Amplified Bible (AMP)
20 I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, he who receives and welcomes and takes into his heart any messenger of Mine receives Me [in just that way]; and he who receives and welcomes and takes Me into his heart receives Him Who sent Me [in that same way].

So, if you’re not connected to a Church that motivates you to step out in faith, find one today! Get involved in a small group and start living the life God intended for you. One body, one heart, one mind focused on God’s Kingdom here on earth!


Prayers and Blessings

I have been toying around with an idea for a few months now. I wasn’t quite ready to share but with lots of prayer and guidance from God and the support of my husband I am ready to share with you all a first of many projects on the way. Baby steps I keep on telling myself.

It seems that the more I immerse myself in The Lord the more guidance He gives me. The more I want to please him. Prayer and blessings…for me I try and see them equally. We pray for ourselves and for others in need…but do we remember that we are also blessed?

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”

~Ephesians 1:3~

When there is something I pray for I also want to remember that I am to thank the one who blessed me.  When people enter my home I want them to know that they will be prayed for, that I care, that God cares, but I also want them to know that no matter the struggles that they are going through that they are also blessed and they are not alone.

Prayer is not trying to convince God to give us what he wants it’s admitting to him that you need his help. We should confess to God of our weaknesses when we feel like we are being tested. Have others pray as Jesus did in his time of need.  We don’t have to think of prayer as the ‘last resort’, we need to make it an instinctive response to trust The Lord with our needs.

“The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; The Lord accepts my prayer.”

~Psalm 6:9~

This project is another steppingstone that my husband and I have added to walking our path with Christ. Send us your prayers and we will pray for you, share your blessings with us so we can also share those. Prayer is an amazing thing and we like to see what Our Lord and Savior has done to work into our lives.

~God Bless~


Baptism

There are no words to explain the feelings I have been overcome with. It seems that I have been having these feelings often, but this moment…this moment was…unexplainable.

Last weekend my husband and I proclaimed our faith and trust to follow God in front of our fellow church members and friends. It has been something I have wanted to do for quite some time now but I was afraid. Afraid of putting myself out there in front of everybody. But God has given me this new found confidence to spread his word. It was in His time that He made this happen and because of his timing I was able to do this along side my other half. In doing this together with my husband it has formed another connection between us…a spiritual connection. And in all this we were also blessed with wonderful friends who we were able to share this memorable day with us.

I am still feeling the glory and grace that our Lord and Savior has bestowed upon us. I am completely His and I am ready for his plan for me. I am ready to watch his plan unfold for my husband, my warrior, my spiritual partner, my love…

“For it is by the grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast.”

~Ephesians 2:8-9~


Monday LOVE

Good morning everyone!!

Monday’s are our toughest day of the week. Our weekends are over and we are back at ‘life’ again. My husband and I were sitting out on the back porch enjoying each others company in the presence of the Lord, drinking coffee, and basking in the morning sun. What better way to start off the morning 🙂 During this time of reflection my husband had LOVE on his mind. Enjoy his thoughts and have a wonderful blessed day!!

Love to you all….

Love is on my heart this morning so I have to share. I’m sure that’s what is on everyone else’s mind on Monday morning, right? God’s word gives us a lot of rules and regulations especially in the Old Testament but the New Testament stresses one new command over and over again, Love! Why? I believe it is because God is Love and when we put His Love first over everything else (all the pain and frustration and garbage in our everyday lives) and share it with others all that “stuff” starts to melt away!

So here are some examples from His Word:

“If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” (1 Corinthians 13:3 MSG)

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35 NLT)

“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” (2 John 1:6 NIV)

“Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does. Give yourselves to the gifts God gives you.” (1 Corinthians 14:1 MSG)

“What matters is a faith that expresses itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6 GW)

Do you know the best part about this command from God is to me? When you put God first, and in turn his ultimate commandment to Love others, you forget about your own crap. Loving others makes us focus on what is most important in our own lives, meaningful relationships with others, especially our brothers and sisters through Christ!

I hope everyone has a great start to their week! I Love You! -Paul


Passion for Teaching

Again another week filled with craziness. But I am working on being more consistent, really I am trying, lol. There is always something going on that I would love to share just not always enough time. Or, while I am writing this I have been interrupted three times in the last 10 minutes.

So…on that note let’s try this again!

Thursday’s have become a day where I do some sort of project with my kids with another homeschooling family. Let me tell you how much my family looks forward to that day. Not only do we get to do arts and crafts we get time to enjoy being with our friends, and of course gain more knowledge! If we are lucky us Mom’s get a bit of time to ourselves too 🙂

In anything we do we enjoy it more when we have someone to share it with. Coming together during the week has brought back my passion for teaching my children and guiding them to be creative and to grow. By grow I mean, grow their mind, grow their soul, grow their faith, grow to be the person God has made them to be. Not into somebody someone has told them to be or into someone that they think people expect them to be.

It is a lesson every day…

I believe that children learn at an accelerated pace when topics are taught hands on. They ask questions, they bounce ideas off of each other, they learn to work together, and they challenge each other. They are learning the skills that they will need when they are adults and as their mother I find an enormous amount of pride while I watch them grow to think for themselves in their own individual way.

I thank God everyday for being given the opportunity to love, educate, and care for my children.

So, here are my children and their friends learning and growing together 🙂


Spiritual Challenges

It has been some time since I have written a post. These last few weeks I have been going through some spiritual challenges.

I know I have stated before that I am a perfectionist. Well at times it is an awful trait to have! My husband and I lead a small group Bible study in our home once a week. Taking on the role as a small group leader was a huge leap of faith for me. I have always felt that I wasn’t meant to lead. But…God said otherwise.

Am I equipped to minister to others? What if I dont have the answers? What if I say something wrong? Or what if I don’t minister when it is needed? What if I fail my group? What if I fail myself? All these doubts…

For weeks I asked for prayer. Prayer for the confidence to speak the words that The Lord wanted me to speak…don’t you know…

I was already doing it.

I am doing it.

I doubted myself.

I doubted the gifts God has given me.

I needed to remember who I was. I am a child of God. I am to please Him.

 “By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”

     ~John 5:30~

Along the way I will fail, I will let people down, and I will not always have the answers. But I know I will continue to encourage those who are starting their journey with Christ, and I will continue to learn and grow in my own journey. I will open myself up to build a spiritual family that together we are able to grow in our faith and we can go through our spiritual walk together…

“And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like him as we changed into his glorious image.”

     ~2 Corinthians 3:18~


Worship, Let Him In and Let It Out

 

worship

 

I’m back to worship. Why? Yet again my new friend has inspired me. She has inspired me to continue my relationship with Christ even deeper and she makes me see my journey through new eyes. It is extremely exhilarating! The rush, the excitement, the feeling of the Holy Spirit within yourself sometimes just leaves you breathless. The hopes, tears, smiles, laughs, the searching, the release, that listening to the music to the words that Christ has used to speak to these people in a way that can touch countless others….is well amazing. It’s a moment when you feel the Holy Spirit connecting with you, taking that hurt, that pain away and letting you know that you are not alone. That there is hope…you just have to open yourself up to Him, let the Holy Spirit in and listen and feel and then…let it all out. You are loved. You are not alone…

So, I am sharing another song that has impacted me. Open yourself up, hear the words, let your Lord and Savior in, let Him love you.

 


A peek into homeschooling…

I have been homeschooling my kids for about 2 years now and in these last couple of years we have learned and grown so much. At first I thought it had to be a ‘school’ setting and of course it was not working. I then sat down and wrote down what my goals were for my family. It was not a list that was compiled of math in a dozen step process, or making sure they were reading material that was of no interest to them, or for preparing to take test after test. It was to guide them to learn for themselves. To find the answers themselves. To figure out a problem in a way that worked for them.

With 4 children that are each different and unique in their own way I couldn’t and wouldn’t force upon them one way of teaching and learning. Life is a lesson. As adults when a problem arises we don’t have someone telling us how to figure it out, we learn along the way. What I want to teach my children is to know first and foremost that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior, and to guide them on how to serve others the way that Jesus served. To love their family and to love others. I want them to take their dreams and work hard and passionately to them.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

          ~Ephesians 2:10~

So when people ask what we do all day the answer is, we love, we learn, we make friends, we struggle, we pray, we laugh, we make mistakes and learn from them, we make messes, and we make memories.

Here my children with their friends learning, having fun, and making memories 🙂

 

 

Japanese Cherry Blossoms

‘Sakura’ cherry trees and their blossoms in Japan go by the name SAKURA. The name carries great cultural meaning. In English ‘SAKURA’ would translate to ‘Japanese flowering cherry tree’.