About Me

My name is Meredith, and I am the mother of two awesome boys; the wife of a fantastic husband; the band director for 100 students in grades 5 - 12 in a small community in Maine; and a follower of Christ. This blog is a place for me to reflect on what the Lord is teaching me.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Giving thanks, 26 - 35

26.  Being the safe place for my boys.
27. sweet smiles and “talking”, even if it is a 4:30 AM
28. dancing and clapping at the Veggie Tales theme song.
29. Sweet curly hair on my youngest
30. Pepto bismol.  No further comment.
31. Amy, from Mom’s Toolbox
32. The community of Believers worldwide
33. Skype - reuniting me with a dear friend from college, and keeping me connected with dear friends in Asia
34. Veggie Tales -- quality kids programming that teaches Biblical truths-- with catchy, adorable songs!
35. Snuggles, even if they interrupt my planned quiet time.

Blogging through the #Gospels: John 12- No one is beyond redemption.

Blogging through the Gospels with Amy, from Mom's Toolbox.

Reading:  John 12

Scripture:  John 12: 4-6

4 But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, 5 “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.


Judas is called a thief by John.  For him it was hindsight.  After the betrayal it all made sense.

But Jesus knew exactly who Judas was.
Think about his chosen 12.  He had a tax collector, someone that he knew was a thief, and would eventually betray him.  Many of them were simple fishermen.


I find it so comforting that Jesus used ordinary people in his ministry.

And I find it so convicting that he deliberately chose  the people that everyone else counted as beyond significance, beyond redemption.

Help me, Lord, to see people with your eyes, and not my own.


You are so overwhelming.
Give me patience with my sons today.
Give me the eyes to see their hearts in the middle of the struggles.

Help me remember the truths that you showed me today when I encounter people.  No one is beyond redemption.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Giving thanks, 1 - 25

This is something that I have always intended to start doing, but never started.  I think the reason is that many bloggers that I follow post their "thanks" on Mondays, and I am so ridiculous when it comes to schedules.  So....  I am going to try to do it often. Whenever I am motivated.

It is all because of Ann Voskamp, and my friend Valerie.

1. The internet.  No really -- so many inspiring things to read, people to meet, resources.
2. Nap time that goes as planned.
3. Matchbox and Hotwheels cars that keep an almost 5 year old entertained.
4. L's that still are pronounced W's
5. My Mimi's ring:

6. And also from the picture - my favorite Starbucks coffee mug.
7. Our fabulous deck.
8. Our new home, which feels more like home every day.
9. The ability to cry out of gratitude, when life is beautiful.
10. Internet radio
11. Coffee.
12. Having my bookshelf right out in the open
13. Watching my youngest son dance (in rhythm) to Veggie Tales and Thomas
14. The way You speak to me...
15. Sunrises -- I have seen every one this week!
16. Accountability.... a dear friend calling to see if I had been getting up early to get my time in the Word before the bustle of the day begins.
17. The joy-filled laughter of my 15 month old
18. Ticklish legs, ribs, feet, necks, tummies....
19. Imagination
20. Sharing the end of my "pray time with Jesus" with my snuggly big boy
21. My pink nalgene water bottle
22. Realizing that I can pray for a heart to enjoy the things that I don't enjoy. (Cleaning being #1!)
23. My mom and dad.
24. Being able to put our artwork back up on the walls
25. Local bakery that is also our local Vietnamese restaurant = yummy pastries this morning, and a delicious dinner last night

Blogging through the #Gospels: True Compassion. John 11

Blogging through the Gospels with Amy, from Mom's Toolbox.

Reading:   John 11


 While I spent a good deal of time researching verse 51 -- Caiaphas "prophesying," and all of that, it was not the verse that spoke to me again today, as nearly every time I read this chapter.

John 11: 35

Jesus wept.


Mary and Martha are like sisters to Jesus.
Lazarus was like a brother.
Yet, he stayed away two more days after receiving the word that Lazarus ill.
By the time He and his disciples actually arrived back in Judea, Lazarus had indeed passed away, and had been in the tomb four days.

Separately the sisters run to Him, mourning and crying out that if He had been there, Lazarus would still be alive.

Even knowing what He was about to do -- even though He knew that in moments the tears of mourning would become tears of happiness, His heart still moved for the pain of His people.


When we lost our second child in the early stages of pregnancy, through the worst sequence of events that I could have ever imagined, I felt Him.  I prayed for Him to spare my child.  I prayed for everything to miraculously be set right.  I wept. Oh how I wept.   And when the dust settled after the words "ectopic pregnancy" were introduced, I could feel Jesus sustaining me.  And when the tears came again, I knew that He was weeping with me, for my grief, wishing that He could take it from me.

When a loved one suffers from cancer- Jesus is there.
When a baby is a victim of SIDS - Jesus is there.
When natural disasters strike, and all is lost - Jesus is there.

We can understand being comforted in situations beyond our control.
But when we are the reason for the difficulties we are facing?

As human beings with "free will," we often get into situations that are our own fault.
And since we have a Just and Holy God, we have to deal with the consequences of our sin.  And sometimes it gets really painful.

I John 1:9 tells us that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us, and purify us from unrighteousness.

And Romans 8:1 tells us that there is no longer any condemnation from sin that has been forgiven.

But Jesus is more than just a forgiver of sins.
He is the sympathetic friend, the compassionate listener.
Even forgiven, we still have to live in and dwell in the circumstances we created by our sin.

He can wipe the slate clean, but it is not a magical reset button that affects everything around us.  And since He can't take it all away, He weeps with us.

Oh how blessed we are!
Thank you, oh my Father - for giving us your Son!


Thank you for the reminders of how you carry us through the storm.

You are so much more than we deserve.
I am in awe.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Blogging through the #Gospels: John 10

Blogging through the Gospels with Amy, from Mom's Toolbox.

Reading:  John 10

I could barely keep my eyes open when I first got downstairs.
We had a rough night with the 15 month old. Up for a couple of hours.... twice.

And then, armed with my coffee in one hand, and Mom's Toolbox on the screen in front of me, I saw that the reading today was John 10!

This is my favorite chapter of the whole Bible!
So, I read it a few times, savoring the messages of love, protection, and ownership.
And then I read it again, with ears to listen and a heart to heart to hear what the Lord has for me today.

Scripture: John 10:16

16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.


He came for all who would believe.


When I read through this verse, I sensed the quiet assurance that  He meant this one for me this morning.
It was another confirmation of the work He is preparing us for.

There are people in this community that are lost....  He has brought us here for them.  And Jesus will include them, and be their Shepherd as well.


Thank you, Lord -
for the subtle, yet definite confirmation that we are here because You have brought us here, and that the work to be done has been ordained by You.  In Your time  (not ours), You will guide us, and lead us in the path that You have chosen.

Help us to not get ahead of you.
Help us to wait.

And in the mean time....
We will pray.

Thank you, Lord.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blogging through the #Gospels: John 9

Blogging through the Gospels with Amy, from Mom's Toolbox.

Reading:  John 9

Scripture:  John 9: 30 - 33

30 The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! 31 Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. 33 If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”


The man was blind, and had been since birth.
His friends and neighbors, rather than embracing a miraculous healing,  a marvelous gift in the life of their friend, dragged him to the Pharisees because he had been healed on the Sabbath.
His own parents left him to face the Pharisees by himself, rather than admitting the truth and being permanently removed from fellowship.

But he knew.  It was no ordinary man that healed him.
He had felt power from God.

And even though he was not a disciple of Jesus yet, when the Pharisees derisively made that comment (verse 28), it seemed like a pretty good idea.


Help me not to dismiss things that are from You just because they are happening in ways that are different than I expect.

Help me not to assume that my knowledge of you, and my experiences, are the only ways that you would reveal Yourself.

Help me to recognize Your handiwork, in the mundane and the marvelous.


You are amazing.
How does your heart not explode from the love that you feel for everyone, and the sadness at the ones who are lost?

Lord, give me Your heart to see everyone that I encounter.

Help me to accept the miraculous as part of the every day.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Lesson on Waiting. Blogging through the #Gospels, John 7

Blogging through the Gospels with Amy from Mom's Toolbox.

Reading: John 7

Scripture:  John 7: 6-8

6 Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. 8 You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.”


In the preceding verses, we learn that Jesus' brothers are goading him to go to the Festival of the Tabernacles in Judea.  They are taunting Him - "if your such a Big Man, then why aren't you seeking the fame and attention, and showing the world what you can do?"

Even His brothers didn't believe Him.

But He remained calm, and simply told them that there was a plan, and they were not privy to the details. He assured them that when His time came, He would go public.

The most important part of His ministry might just have been the waiting.


Oh wow.

These verses, these observations are exactly where we are right now.

Over the past two weeks, the Lord has been revealing little pieces of the ministry that He is going to do here.  He gave us the name of the future church.  He has put contacts in our life for these certain purposes.

And then there have been things that seemed like they were from God, but.... well- let's just say they were from the Lord, but not for the purposes that we thought.

Let's talk about waiting for a second.

Noah received the word to build an ark.  He then built the ark for 100 years before the redeeming work was done.

Abraham was given the promise of a son, and then waited for twenty five years --- long enough for a son to grow up and be an adult in the mean-time, before Isaac was born.

Jesus was born to Mary, and then waited thirty-three years before starting to reveal His ministry.

And then there were Randy and Meredith. We received the call less than a year ago. Yes, things are moving forward. Yes, we have a monthly prayer meeting with people that are invested in this church plant.  Yes, the Lord has blessed us with a home in  the town that he has called us.  Yes, the Lord is working (overtime, we sometimes think) in our hearts, minds and lives.

But -- the truth is, we don't have a clue what it means to wait. 

This is such new territory for both of us. Randy has experience in short-term missions, and I have no missions experience at all.

Short term missions are about planning, planning, planning, and then BOOM, you act and serve in a very short period of time.  There is a sense of urgency because of the short length of the visit.

Full-time or long-term missions are completely different.  Much of the work is laying a foundation.  Simply living your lives as a person who loves Jesus, and letting the people in the region see that you are trustworthy, honest, kind, compassionate, and most of all, loving.

There is a saying in education that I have heard many times, and it definitely applies here.

"Kids (people) don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care."


We have experienced the beautiful way that you reveal Truth to both of us before moving us forward.
Help us to continually seek confirmation, so that we do not do things out of your timeline.

We are grateful for the gentle rebuke. We are grateful that you care enough to put us back in our place.

Thank you so much for not giving up on us, and for stopping us before we went down the wrong path.

Help us to wait.  Teach us to listen with discernment.

And thank you. We are truly humbled.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Blogging through Reality. I mean... the #Gospels. John 6.

Blogging through the Gospels with Amy, from Mom's Toolbox.

Reading: John 6


John 6: 26 - 27A
26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.

John 6:51
51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”


The first verse:

John 6: 26 - 27A
26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.

It is the day after the first miraculous feeding. Jesus and the disciples had managed to get to the other side of the lake without any of the thousands of people noticing.  They jump in the boats that are there, and cross the lake to find Him.

When they find Him, he calls them out.
"You are looking for me because you are hungry and know that I can feed you, when you SHOULD be looking for me because of the miracle that you witnessed. You know... that whole five loaves feed five thousand thing?   Wake up!  It's not about food!  And for crying out loud, it's NOT ABOUT YOUR STOMACH!!!"

The second verse:

John 6:51
51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

He is comparing Himself to manna from Heaven.

Manna came down every day, and they could only take enough for that day.
Jesus is our manna, and what we take in each day is only enough for each day.  To truly be feeding on Him, we need to be in the Word, daily,  meditating and feeding on the Truths, and the reality of our Savior.

But-- then the similarities stop.
God never claimed that manna would make those who ate it live forever!
But Jesus does claim that those who feed on Him will live forever.

Feeding on Jesus:
Meditating daily, hourly (even more frequently), on the acts of our Savior.
Savoring scripture, memorizing verses.
Surrendering completely to the will of our Father.
Fasting: feeding only on the Word instead of actual food.  (Experiencing the true meaning of Bread of Heaven and Living Water.)


Several years ago, when my oldest one was 18 months old, I took an online Bible study course about weight loss, called The Lord's Table.   It was truly amazing.  I grew in my faith and shrank in my clothing size.  I became a mentor for the course.  It was a wonderful time in my life.

Then my body started playing tricks on me, and I was convinced I was pregnant. So I stopped being as diligent about waiting for true hunger, and started snacking, and eating more than I needed.

I wasn't pregnant.  And I was also no longer in the Word as much as  I had been.

Then we tried for 6 months to get pregnant.
It worked.
But we lost that baby, through a heartbreaking sequence of events that involved making the most difficult a decision that a mother should ever have to make.  It ended with a surgery, removing my right fallopian tube and the child of my heart along with it.

And then, before I even had a period after the surgery, I became pregnant again, with my second son, whose name means gift of God, since he truly was a gift from God.

He is now 15 months old, and I am back in the Word, and have been, consistently, since some time in April.  And now it is time for me to get back on the discipline of my eating.

Food is for nourishment.
Not for emotional hunger.  Not for boredom.

The Word of God is my True Food.
My SOUL is what hungers-- not my physical body.

Today, my God is confirming what I have been hearing over the last couple of days.
It is a day for me to fast.
To choose my God, to make him my priority.

I think that I need to read A Hunger for God, by John Piper again.

Help me.
I know that You will.  You are calling me to do this.  It is my turn to call on You for strength.
It is my turn to CHOOSE YOU over the food.

I have found a poem that I wrote about this very struggle, that I seem to always be wrestling with.
Letting the words of my heart from June 2008 cry out to You again.

Jesus or a donut

I wake up each morning,
open my Bible and
wait for the truth that will
sustain me through another day.
Whether it is a reminder from Solomon
that all under the sun in meaningless
and to put my hope in Christ,
or an urge to find balance
between work, family, and God,
I trust that these pearls or Truth
will take root in my heart and bear fruit.

So why,
after you brought me through the trial,
do I forget to cling to you,
do I forget to run to you?
I take a moment to rest,
and a moment to recover
and all of a sudden my hand is in the cookie jar.

Mindlessly eating,
mindlessly munching . . .
forsaking my Savior
in favor
of a donut.

Oh my heart cries
to realize that once again
I am putting my trust,
my hope,
and my worship
in a pastry.

I want to laugh because
it is so
I want to cry for the nails
that pierced His side
because of my sin.


Forgive me, my God.
My actions are speaking much louder
than my words.
My heart,
who pledged allegiance,
and obedience,
has betrayed you.

I want to run to you.
I want forgiveness.
I want wholeness and healing.
Yet fear is blocking my way.
My hand is on the doorknob
and it won’t turn.

Obedience demands that I take the step.
Love demands obedience.
So what do I do?
I stand here,
at a precipice of faith,
and step out-
trusting in You to catch me.

My old life,
my old habits,
they hold nothing for me.
I turn away,
never looking back.
I will not be a pillar of salt.
I turn to you.

This journey is one of fiath,
and there have been
and hope.

You promised to walk with me.
“Yea though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for thou art with me.”

I choose life,
I choose love,
I choose hope. . .
I choose Christ.
Leave the donut for someone else.



Thursday, June 23, 2011

Blogging through the #Gospels: John 5

Blogging through the Gospels with Amy from Mom's Toolbox.

Reading: John 5

Scripture:  John 5: 39-40

39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.


Jesus is talking to the Pharisees and Saducees -- the religious leaders of the time.
But the words still ring true today.

If any of us relies too much on the Scriptures, and forgets the message of the Savior, and the person of Jesus Christ, then we are missing the point.


Let my studying of the Scriptures always be to learn more about you, to deepen my relationship with you.


Father God,

May I never lose sight of who You are.
May the focus be always on deepening the relationship,  and not just increasing my knowledge.

Thank you so much for.....
You are too much to comprehend.
I am filled with wonder, awestruck wonder, at the mention of your name.  (Revelation Song)


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Blogging through the #Gospels: John 4

Blogging through the Gospels with Amy from Mom's Toolbox.

Reading:  John 4

Scripture:  John 4: 13 -14

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”


Living water.
Never thirst again.
Jesus is making quite the claim here.


I feel the conviction.
I have tasted the Living Water.
I have  had my thirst quenched in such a way.

And even now, with a consistent discipline in the Word, and spending time with You, I am not experiencing that same thirst quenching, soul filling satisfaction.  Well --- I am, but not to the same degree that I remember.

Show me, Lord....
What am I missing?
What am I not doing?

The time that I remember truly feeling like I was feeding on You was when I was dealing with my physical body, and the god that is my stomach.  And the conviction that I am feeling at this realization is a bit uncomfortable.

Okay Lord.
I am trusting you to show me the plan, to show me the book or study that you want me to use.

Made to Crave?
The Lord's Table?

My own topical study on the subject?

Lord, reveal to me what you want me to do.
I am ready for a change.


Show me the path you want me to take.
There are lots of resources out there, and some I already own.
Help me to be a good steward, and to pray and wait for you to reveal what you want me to do before I buy a new book (or 5).

Lord, if self-control is a fruit of the Spirit....
then I am in sin.
Please forgive me.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blogging through the #Gospels: John 3

Blogging through the Gospels with Amy, from Mom's Toolbox.

Reading:  John 3

Scripture:  John 3 : 12

12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?


Jesus is talking to Nicodemus, who is trying to wrap his head around the concept of being born again.

Another observation: Jesus starts every response to Nicodemus with, "I tell you the truth."  (Or an equivalent, based on translations.)


I knew that this was the verse that God was showing me, but I didn't understand why. It was something I would have taken notes on in a Bible study, but I didn't know how to apply it to my life.

So, I dutifully set my timer (something I have been pretty lax about) for five minutes, and just listened.
And then I understood.

I am a teacher. I have 100 band students ranging in age from 5th grade through 12th grade.
What I felt in my heart was the Lord re-affirming to me my callings --- both as a teacher, and now as a missionary of sorts in the same town.  I have wrestled with how the two roles were supposed to interact. What I heard today was that the two callings are separate.  But I am the same.  The same crazy, wild about Jesus, singing lady will be teaching in the schools, as well as starting a church plant.  The same lady will be grocery shopping in the tiny, overcrowded grocery store, taking the boys to the playground.

My focus at school is earthly things.  The nuts and bolts of reading music. Playing an instrument.  Keeping commitments.  Being a part of a team.  Believing in yourself. Dedication.  Focus on one thing, as part of a whole thing, at the same time.

Because I am me, living out my faith in the open, the Lord has opened doors with students who already have faith, and we have been able to discuss spiritual things.

Because I am His, he has given me discernment at times to know who is hurting and needs prayer.

My focus in my community is the people.  To interact with all with the love of Christ.  To let the light that is within me, shine...  Even when dealing with a disobedient almost 5 year old, and a hungry 15 month old.  Even when dealing with people who are only here for a few weeks and spend the whole time complaining.  Even when I have nothing left to give.  My job is not about my strength.  It is about letting Jesus loves these people through me.

So while the application doesn't really seem to really have much to do with John 3:12, it is the verse He used to answer, and lay to rest an internal struggle.


Wow, Lord.
Thank you for giving me the extra time this morning before almost 5 year old wakes up to hear from you so clearly.

I can feel you reassuring, reaffirming.  To keep doing what I am already doing.
You brought to mind the face of a precious colleague, and you showed me that I am already letting you love through me at school.  And then you brought to mind another scenario that I still need to work on. Please forgive me for being part of some of the gossip.  Help me to withstand, and to remove myself when necessary.

Thank you for the ways that you are preparing me for ministry-- or life in general, as I am beginning to see it.

I am humbled by your love. I am completely overwhelmed.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Blogging through the #Gospels: John 1

Blogging through the Gospels with Amy, from Mom's Toolbox.

Reading:  John 1

Scripture:  John 1:10

10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.


In Jesus' time it was a case of not looking beyond the surface.
He was an ordinary man.
Isaiah tells us there was nothing about His form that would clue us in to His greatness -- nothing that would even warrant a second glance.

If you never heard Him speak, you might never know.
And even those who did hear Him speak -- they were quick to explain away the incredible.

In our time, with the benefit of historical accounts and the full canon of Scriptures, it is no longer a case of "not recognizing" a Savior.

It is a rejection of that Savior, and everything that He stands for.

Humanity worships the Earth, and not the ONE who created it.
Humanity worships industry, and commerce, and not the ONE who designed it all.
Humanity worships human strength, human emotion.... all the while denying the CREATOR.

Without a Creator:
There are no absolutes.
There is no truth.
Moral relativism makes sense.
There is no hope.
Life is an accident of molecular combustion.

With a Creator:

Each person has a unique purpose.
There is truth.
There is hope.
There are absolutes --- right, wrong.
There is LOVE.
Before the foundation of the Earth, we were known by God.


It is more than a case of mistaken identity -- of not seeing the deity and recognizing the Holy and Perfect.
It is rejection of the Christ, and all that He stands for.

Help me to live the truth, and paint an accurate picture of the love that you have for your creation.

If I had not felt your love that Sunday morning, I would still be in chains.
Because it does not makes sense.
It does not compute.

But.... your love is better than anything that this world has to offer.
And the amazing thing, is that in choosing you, I have been given that which I held dear.

You didn't just call me-- a sensitive, funny girl, and then decide to use me where you have planted me.
You created me to be the sensitive, funny girl.  And then you waited...
for me to choose You.


I am inadequate to be sharing truth.

I pray that you would give me the words to share with those that you put in my path.
Give me the heart, the compassion, the words, and the wisdom.

And most of all -- you have not given me a spirit of fear. So help me be brave, and bold when needed.

Your love is amazing, and I hope that my life reflects your awesome love.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Blogging Through the #Gospels : Luke 21

Blogging through the Gospels with Amy from Mom's Toolbox.

Reading: Luke 21

Scripture:   Luke 21: 16 - 19

16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 Stand firm, and you will win life.


It's about to get gnarly, folks.
I think that we can all see the writing on the walls.

(Just an aside.... have you ever noticed that the people preaching "tolerance" are only tolerant of things that they think are worthy of tolerance?)

The message of Truth sears and burns, and scalds and cuts. People, not understanding conviction, are quick to attack.  And often, the people closest to us, who don't understand a fear for their eternity is trumping "tolerance," reject, and curse and ridicule the messenger.

But-  even if we are imprisoned.  Not one hair on our head will be harmed.
If we stand firm to the TRUTH, we will gain LIFE.


In our little corner of the world, we have always been drastically in the minority.
But since moving back here, and feeling God's provision, and protection, there is a sense of excitement that the balance might shift a little bit because of the work that God is going to do here.

However -- for every one person that comes into the fold and finds the Truth, there will be dozens that reject and malign and hate the message, and the messenger.

I hate when people are angry with me.  I try to avoid confrontation.
So this warning -- this black and white prediction of absolute certainty that I am going to be hated for the Truth-- is probably the thing that I am most fearful of.

But.... my God has been faithful to provide for every need, every step along the way.

I have felt His peace in my heart, while everything was uncertain.
We have experienced His ability to provide in ways that we certainly didn't expect.

He has proved Himself faithful.
So....  now it is my turn to believe.


Lord, help me to get out of your way.

I have this idea of how everything is going to work....  and it is pretty prideful, to be honest.
I imagine that my standing in the community, as the band director that brought a struggling program back to life, is going to help our ministry.  (see? I told you it was prideful!)

When the reality is....
The ministry might lead to the loss of my precious career.

However --
Since you have proven yourself faithful, and we have been hearing over, and over again that You Will DO This....
It is not my job to understand how, or when.

It is my job to do what is before me.
And for the time being,  I am a band director that loves Jesus.

Help me to focus on the now, and trust you for the tomorrow.
Thank you for not giving up on me.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Do what I can NOW: Blogging through the #Gospels- Luke 16

Blogging through the Gospels with Amy, from Mom's Toolbox.

Reading: Luke 16

Scripture: Luke 16: 27 - 31

27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”


My heart aches as I read this passage.  Nearly all of my family on both sides are unbelievers.    Abraham's response to the heartfelt plea for someone to warn them is a wake up call.

"If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead."

And that was proven SO true a short time later when Jesus went to the cross for our sins, and rose again from the dead.  Did they believe?  We don't know.  But we know that the majority did not believe.


Do all that I can NOW to show that my life is for an eternal purpose.
Lovingly speak the truth.... and when I can't speak the truth, live the truth.  Let my life, my actions, my words, my relationships and interactions, all be a window into this heart that is sold out for Jesus.


The time has come.  Boldness is needed.  Give me the words, the courage and the opportunities to proclaim your truth to my family, and extended family.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Castways: Blogging through the #Gospels, Luke 14

Blogging through the Gospels with Amy, from Mom's Toolbox.

Reading: Luke 14

Scripture: Luke 14:34 - 35

34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.


On Sunday we had the privilege of hearing the associate pastor of our new church teach for the first time.

His message was on the topic of Losing Your Salvation.  He had been brought up in one denomination, but then received training and education in another denomination, and the two have differing and conflicting views on this subject.

He led us through the Scriptures that the Lord gave to him during his personal study of the topic, for his own mind, his own heart... so that he could once and for all come to an understanding of this issue.

What Pastor Jeff asserted is this:

We will not lose our salvation.
But we may become God's castaways.  No longer fit for service.  No use to the kingdom.
The Isrealites in the desert --- all above a certain age died in the desert, as God's castaways, not able to received the reward of Canaan - the land flowing with mild and honey.  They were still God's children. They still had the inheritance.  But they missed out on the reward.

So it will be with us.
We will not lose our salvation. We have been adopted into God's family, and we will not be disowned.  But there will be no reward for a life that has no use to God for the Kingdom.

That is the picture that verse 14 and 15 are telling me.

We are to be the salt of the world.
But if we lose our saltiness, we are of no use. 


Help me to embrace the qualities of salt that we are to be to this world.
Give me boldness when needed.
Give me strength when required.

Sustain me with your steadfast love.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Not just listen: Hear and Understand. Blogging through the #Gospels, Luke 9B

Blogging through the Gospels  with Amy from Mom's Toolbox.

Reading:  Luke 9 :28 - 62

Scripture:  Luke 9: 35

35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”


What an endorsement.
From heaven a cloud descends, and a voice booms.
"This is my SON."

How blessed are we to have the accounts of these four Gospels.  We have the benefit of knowing the end of the story before we even get to the middle of the story.  The disciples, and the other people who decided to follow Jesus had only his words and actions, and often times they didn't understand what he meant.

We can look at the whole picture and see clearly the plan that God orchestrated from Genesis 1:1 through the crucifixion and ascension.  We have it so easy.

The followers in the time of Jesus believed that He was Messiah.
But they all had different ideas of how He would save them.

They listened to Him.
But their own expectations of how Messiah would save their people prevented them from hearing Him.


I need to not just listen.
I need to hear, and understand.

Lord, may I not be satisfied with just reading the words.
May I always seek the true meaning of the Gospels, the epistles, the whole counsel of Your word that you have left for us.

Help me to hear, and understand.


I have it so much easier.
I don't have to guess what the parables were supposed to mean.
I don't have to guess what you were talking about when you were painting a picture of your crucifixion.

I want to take advantage of the knowledge of whole story that we have been given.

Help me choose to listen.
Help me choose to hear you.

Above all....
help me to continually choose You.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

let me choose You: Blogging through the #Gospels, Luke 9A

Blogging through the Gospels with Amy from Mom's Toolbox.  It is changing my life. And I am so overwhelmed that I am not even using any exclamation points.  :)

Reading:  Luke 9: 1-27

Scripture:  Luke 9: 23

23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.


Deny myself.
Take up my cross daily and follow.

The true Christian life is both wonderful and difficult.

The Savior of the World loved me enough to die for me, to call me His own.
I am not my own, I am a dearly loved and provided for child of the most High God.

Getting out of my own way.
Dying to myself....
Denying myself.
Realizing that pride in myself and my accomplishments while "normal,"shouldn't be my default.
Realizing that when I am feeding my ego, my pride, or my emotions that I am choosing those things over my God and Savior.

Seeing the way God has provided for our relocating back to the town I teach in.  All of the pieces fell together.  (Oh ... and we have hot water now!! Yay!!)  The timing was hurried in our eyes, but perfect now that we are getting settled.
Feeling that deep heart peace that we are right where we are supposed to be.

The things about our new home that were things that we had always wanted but never put on a list, because we didn't want to be tied to a list that might make us miss the right place for us.
Bay window in the kitchen.  Beautiful deck.  Beautiful back yard. Proximity to school/town.  Nice water pressure!!!  Beautiful warm yellow color (that we didn't even know we liked) on the walls. A chance to make this place a true home!!

The Difficult?
Fighting with my self to be kind and gracious in all situations.
Remembering that while I am living this life, this life is not about me.

The Wonderful?
Knowing that I have a purpose, even if I don't understand it.

It is hard, but the daily effort- the daily choice to put myself last and put Christ first, is so very worth it.


Every single day.
Every decision.

I have thousands of opportunities every day to put Christ first.
I don't really want to take an in depth look and see how many times I fail.

Help me, Lord.


I have this insane joy.
This unspeakable peace.
This certainty that you are who you say you are, and that you are worthy of my praise, my trust, my faith, and my own life.  After all, you gave yours so that I might live.

Help me see the opportunities in each decision.
Help me to choose you.
Let my words, my actions, and my facial expressions bring you honor and glory.
Even when I can't speak your name.

I am overwhelmed...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blogging through the #Gospels: Luke 8: 26 - 56

Blogging through the Gospels with Amy from Mom's Toolbox.

Reading: Luke 8 : 26 - 56

Scripture:  Luke 8: 47 - 48

47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”


Think about this woman.

She had been dealing with an unclean disease for years.  She had probably been treated very badly because of it.

But she braved the crowds-- and got right up there in the middle of it, taking the chance of being shunned and shamed in public.

She believed that Jesus could heal her.  She believed that she didn't even need to speak to him, to look him in the eye.  A touch of his garment.


While I do not have the physical presence of the the Messiah, I have the Holy Spirit within me.

The same power to heal sickness, vanquish demons, and forgive sins resides within me.

What is my problem??
I need to be living like I believe that the All-Powerful God not only exists, but is with me.

We have been in our new home since Saturday.  We still do not have hot water.  We do not have things that were promised us. And are not able to connect our washer and dryer because of a dryer hose issue.  Our sink is overflowing with dishes that we are too exhausted to clean when it means boiling water on the stove to get it hot enough.  On Sunday night I did boil water so that I could wash my hair before my Memorial Day Parade commitments with my school bands.

My first reactions have not been patience, or love.
I have not been living as if all things are under the control of my Father.
I have not been living as if there might be an opportunity or a purpose for these inconveniences.


My Savior, my God who sees me, my God who heals me:

Please forgive me for being wrapped up in all of the nonsense.
Deep in the midst of all of the minor issues, we have a deep sense of home-ness. We feel at peace, knowing that we are right where you want us to be.

Please help me to remember that my life is not about me.
My life is to always be pointing others to you.

I am not good at this.
I am desperately wicked, and I need you.

Thank you for your mercy, thank you for the gentle reminders....
and for not squashing me like a bug when I get too full of myself.

I love you, Lord.


Help me listen.... Blogging through the #Gospels: Luke 8A

Blogging through the Gospels, Luke 8 : 1 - 25 with Amy from Mom's Toolbox.

Reading:  Luke 8: 1 - 25

Scripture:   Luke 8:8

8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”

When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

I love this parable.  It is comforting, as one who has worked with youth ministry, and as a family embarking on a ministry, to be reminded that how people receive the message is in large part due to their "soil."

We are not responsible for the condition of anyone else's soil.
But I am responsible for mine.


When I read through this first part of the chapter, it was as if a highlighter with trumpet sounds enabled were attached to the phrase "Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear."

And I knew what it meant.
It was a gentle rebuke for letting my morning quiet time slip away during the crazy hectic moving days.
It was a reminder that He is my portion, and that He has things to show me, to teach me.... but if I am not meeting Him, then I am just continuing to struggle and be overwhelmed.

I am called to an abundant life.
Lord... let me have ears to hear you, and the discipline to seek you.



I still need you to get me through.
Help me to establish a new routine in a new home.

Help me to lean on you, cling to you, and really trust you more.


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