Fill’r Up!

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Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 1:3 NIV

My kids seem to have stomachs that always need filling. It’s amazing to me how much they can eat. It takes a lot of time, organization and resources to make sure they are filling up with healthy food instead of junk food that is high in carbs and fat. As I complained to myself about this constant need to fill up the kids bellies, I considered the others things that we are constantly filling up because they are emptied over and over again from use.

I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. Jeremiah 24:7 NIV

Things like: the gas tanks in our cars, the pitcher of lemonade in summer, the bathtub, pre-paid phone cards, food in my dog’s bowl and my hand soap (especially during flu season). All these things and many more we fill over and over again knowing full well they well they will only be emptied again. Our hearts that drive our faith and trust in Christ are no different!

Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ Malachi 3:7 NIV

The concept of “filling up” ties into our spiritual lives. We go through times in our walk with Christ when we are strong in our faith, where it’s easier to trust and to see God at work. And there are times when we may have grown numb to His touch, deaf to His whisper,  blind to His ways or hardened to His love. So, how do we get it back? We stop filling up on the world, media, friends, social/work events, magazines and drama and we start filling up on His work. We return to Him. We seek Him and again we will see He is still there, still working,  still loving and still seeking our hearts.

but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’ Nehemiah 1:9 NIV

I pray these questions will spark something in your heart. If we never go on a quest and consider the questions we certainly never find the answers. May they bring you back to Him.

 Questions:

Does God feel a million miles away to you right now or right by your side?

What actions do you think have gotten you to that point?

Do you seem to draw closer to God during times of trial or in times of prosperity?

What’s one thing I could do this week to “return to Him”?

The Whisper of God for KIDs is here!

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Just in time for Valentine’s Day!

The Whisper of God for Kids

Product Details

A devotional for boys and girls (grades 4-12) that will encourage them to see God in the ordinary and seek Him through scripture. Paired with The Whisper of God (for adults), parents and children can talk weekly about the devotional and grow closer together and Christ.

Order it now on Amazon.com

AND other news . . . Save the Date for the Raleigh Rescue Mission’s Hearts of Hope Luncheon

What do you want?

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As a mom, I’m the “go to” girl for information around our house so I get a lot of questions. I call them rhetorical questions because if the “askers” would think for more than two seconds for themselves they wouldn’t have to ask the question because they already know the answer. Why do we ask questions we already know the answers to?

If the question is “Where are my keys?” ~ I decided it could be laziness or  the need for help. On the other hand, if the question is “What do we say after someone gives us a present?”  ~ it’s can be for validation that we are on the same page or a gentle reminder. I noticed that Jesus asked a lot of questions. Certainly, of all the people that have ever walked this plant, He was the last person who needed answers or help. Jesus asked questions to spark thought, to remind and to teach.

Here is one question that stood out to me that Jesus asked over and over to those He came in contact with:

Matthew 20:32 (MSG) Jesus stopped and called over, “What do you want from me?”

Matthew 26:39 (MSG) Going a little ahead, he fell on his face, praying, “My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?”

Mark 10:51 (MSG) Jesus said, “What can I do for you?”The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

Luke 18:40 (MSG) Jesus stopped and ordered him to be brought over. When he had come near, Jesus asked, “What do you want from me?”

What do you want?
Did you notice in Matthew 26:39 Jesus asks God, His Father what He wants. Jesus is fearful of what lies ahead for Him on the cross and asks if there is any other way to save mankind from their sin, but in the end says, “but not what I want, what you want, Father.”
How would you feel if you walked up to the clerk in a store seeking advice or guidance on a purchase and they simply said, “What do you want from me?, we may see that as rude or contrite. However, when we consider Jesus asking us this we have to look at it a little differently. Jesus has EVERYTHING to offer us so it’s important to know what we want or desire from Him as we seek Him in prayer. There have been many times I’ve gone to God in prayer so confused and buried in grief or worry that I don’t know how to answer the question when He asks. So, I pray for Him to show me the answer.
But, when we are clear about what we want, whether it’s courage, faith, trust, perseverance, healing, direction, etc. and we feel confident if Jesus was standing before us we could ask without embarrassment and selfishness ~ we can ask for it with complete FAITH and TRUST in Him. When we know what we want ~ we aren’t asking out of laziness or the desire for a magic fix, we are asking out of obedience, faith and a desire to draw closer to Him no matter what the path.
How do you know what you want and what to ask for? If Jesus was standing before you today asking you in person “What do you want?”, what would you ask for? I guessing it wouldn’t something material like a new house or car. It probably wouldn’t be selfish like asking God to punish someone who had wronged you.
As you go about your day today . . . consider what you want. . . I’ll be doing the same!

A little book called Jude

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This week’s blog is a little different than usual. It interactive. New year – new idea. I ran across these verses from Jude in my daily study and they really spoke to me. Jude is a small book, only one chapter, and it right before the last book of the Bible (Revelation). Jude was the brother of James and Jesus.

This short book is a warning from Jude to all believers about those who have penetrated the church, but are false teachers. Leading others astray. Here is a look at Jude 1:17-23 in two different translations, with a few questions I reflected on after reading it. I hope you find it inspires you to take On a new perspective on sin and the sinner as we begin this new year.

Jude 1:17-23 (NIV)

17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

Jude 1:17-23 (MSG)

17-19 But remember, dear friends, that the apostles of our Master, Jesus Christ, told us this would happen: “In the last days there will be people who don’t take these things seriously anymore. They’ll treat them like a joke, and make a religion of their own whims and lusts.” These are the ones who split churches, thinking only of themselves. There’s nothing to them, no sign of the Spirit! 20-21 But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life! 22-23 Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong way. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven.

Questions to reflect on:

1. Which of these verses speaks to you the most? Why?

2. How will you continue to build yourself up in faith this year so you don’t join the “wordly people”?

3. Who are some of the people in your life you feel you need to snatch from the fire by showing them mercy and offering prayer? Write down their names in your prayer journal and make a resolution to pray for them over the next few months or even the whole year.

Submit & Obey & Work, Oh, My!

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Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, Colossians 3:23 NIV

I asked my son to empty the dishwasher before school. He was dressed with teeth brushed, lunch packed and homework done.  I immediately got the “you always ask me to do everything and treat me like a servant” comment. I moved past the comment and made my request again. He reluctantly began to unload the the dishes grumbling the entire time. He complained about not knowing where anything went. He stacked glasses one inside the other to place them in the cabinet and left the silverware basket in the floor. I endured about 10 minutes of this before I snapped. “Never mind”,  I said. “I don’t want your help if you are going to act like this. After all the things I do for you and you can’t even empty a few dishes without complaining the entire time. Get out of my kitchen. If you can’t work willingly at whatever you do as if you are doing it for God – GET OUT!” (Funny side note: I keep Colossians 3:23 on the window above my sink so I read it every time I’m doing dishes.)

Ah, parenting! No one ever said it would be easy, right?! As I reflected later on this ordeal it reminded me of how God must feel every  minute of His amazing existence. He has done way more than give birth to me, take me to the doctor, read me stories at night, feed me, clothe me and wash my clothes. He sent His only Son to DIE – to be executed, humiliated, ridiculed and tortured for me – for each of us. But, when He asks something of me that doesn’t fit my schedule, my plan, my idea of how things should be my first reaction is to  pout, complain and make excuses. I do it with an unwilling heart instead of a servant’s heart – even after all He has done and has promised for me.

I’m sure there have been more than a few thousand times He wanted to yell,  “Never mind, I don’t want your help if you are going to act like this. After all the things I do for you and you can’t even do this without complaining the entire time. If you can’t work willingly at whatever you do as if you are doing it for me – GET OUT!” I’m thankful God’s patience, grace, forgiveness and love endure all and never run out. I’m certainly a child that tests His patience some days, but I’m not giving up. I will continue to seek Him, know Him, trust Him, love Him and have an increasing amount of faith in Him through my study of His word and prayer. I won’t let the sacrifice He made for me go to waste. I’ll keep seeking Him. Will you  join me?

18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers,do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. 22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism. Colossians 3:18-25 NIV

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