Tuesday, December 31, 2013

VBS-SAURAS Decorations

   Since the holidays are so busy, I decided I would share some of the pictures from different activities I have helped decorate throughout this year. I just LOVE helping decorate things, for whatever occasion it may be. One of the things I love the most, is being able to make decorations. It just gives me such a feeling of accomplishment when I create or help create something for half the cost of what you could buy it for! :) This week I wanted to share a few of the pictures from VBS this year! Our theme was VBS - SAURUS. Our youth pastor did a great job with the theme, ideas and decorations in the gym. Here are a few of the gym:

Each of the teachers decorated our own classrooms. I always have fun decorating, but a lot of times I get in way over my head, and that's when my amazing family steps in! Would be in trouble without them! Also the other teachers and helpers brought in items and I was very excited about how it turned out! This was definitely a team effort. I think I was more excited about it, then the kids were. I had the 3-6 yr old group. This is my favorite group!:) Here are some pics which I will try to explain as I post them. Some are a tad blurry, but I think you can see the general idea! I always get mad at myself later for not taking more pics. A lot of them had the children in them so I can't share those, although they add quite a bit to the pictures!;)

- Ceiling was decorated with plastic green tablecloths tacked to the ceiling, it really gave the jungle affect!
- Walls were a bit of different things. We had quite a big room. We bought a wall jungle covering (last pic) for 2 of the walls, then on the other 2 walls we continued the green tablecloths and covered them with (age appropriate) dinosaurs! Makeshift trees were also made for the walls. (We ran out of our wall covering and tablecloth.)
- Waterfall (second pic from the bottom) was difficult, but we used what we had. It was a mountain of different items stacked up with a white tablecloth and then a blue one on top, that was tacked high up close to the ceiling. We placed "grass" bought from Oriental Trading and placed that at the edges of our waterfall.
- Mountain (first and last pic) was made with boxes stacked to different heights. Packaging paper was crumbled and placed over the boxes, with real branches coming out of the boxes. More grass was placed around the bottom.
- Tent. This was my dads idea and added to the look. We just placed that in a corner to take up space. The kids loved going in and out of this!
- Miscellaneous Ideas. We added vines and nets to the ceiling, and from wall to wall with monkeys hanging from these. We also had a toucan on a net.
- Dinosaurs. The other teacher of our class bought blow up dinosaurs. The kids absolutely LOVED this and each one took one of these home at the end of the week! We placed a few at the waterfall, some on the rocks/mountains and a few that had wings we "flew" from the ceiling!

***A lot of these ideas were the help of my family and my co-teacher and helpers! When I do or plan something I put a lot of my time, effort and thoughts into it I want to do a good job!! I love to do it, and also I LOVE having help that WANTS to help!:) These ideas could be incorporated to a birthday party or whatever the occasion is! I am so thankful that God has placed me in a church where I can invest my time and effort into different occasions; and because I  am thankful I want to show it by my actions in whatever I do! I don't always do well, but I desire to always do my best for the Lord!:)
1 Corinthians 3:17 "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him."

Monday, December 23, 2013

Unshakable Trust

  After the Bible, poems and quotes are my favorite things to read. They just seem to put things in perspective. One of my favorite poems deals with a subject that I am learning, and relearning oh so well - TRUST!

I've heard this many times and even say it myself, "I don't know how people make it without the Lord." This is very true, but the funny thing is those of us who have the Lord don't live like it, or at least don't show to others that we have the Lord. The definition of trust is firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something. If we are trusting the Lord, then we should have a firm (unshakable) belief in His strength and His plan. It seems in every area of life we can't wait until "this" happens and then once that happens, we can't wait until something else happens and so on. For us women it starts out 'I can't wait to grow up' to 'I can't wait to date' then 'I can't wait to get married' to 'I can't wait to have a baby' then 'I can't wait until the kids grow up' then on to something else. I've said some of these things myself, but as we are saying these things we completely have forgotten the 'trust' we say we have in the Lord. What if it isn't His will for me to get married, or have a baby, or for you to get what you've been praying for? Does that mean He has failed? Certainly not! Trust in God does not depend on whether He does what I want or not. It's not the belief in myself because I surely can be easily shaken, but belief in the Lord Who is never shaken! The Lord is NEVER to be on trial in our lives! This wishing for another milestone is hopeless, because once we reach that one we are hoping for another and there never seems to be an end!
   Being in the ministry for the majority of my life, I have found each season of the ministry brings with it another joy or struggle, but each area requires a different amount of trust in the Lord. It doesn't take much trust when you are happy and things seem like they can't get any better, but when something bad happens or things don't go your way you begin to lean a little heavier on that trust in the Lord. If our eyes are on the Lord no matter what happens in life, we may waver a bit but our trust in the Lord, and His sustaining grace will carry us through every time. With this grace that He provides we can smile and go on our day, realizing the Lord is in control and this is HIS will for us now. We find our strength in the precious promises of His Word. It seems every blog I encourage time in His Word, but for the Christian it is vital for the well being of our Christian life.That time spent in the Word and with the Lord each day builds your knowledge, strength and trust in the Lord that cannot be measured!
 1 Thessalonians 5:18 "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." Philippians 4:11 "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." So we are to be thankful and content in whatever situation we find ourselves in! Whether that be married or unmarried, with or without children; whether we feel God gave us what we think we deserve or not; we are supposed to be content where we are!  So we must be very careful to wish something would happen, or just can't wait for something to happen; we are wasting the time God has given us and telling the Lord He is not worth trusting because He's not doing what we want! I am convicted that I need to live every day to the fullest, not wishing my days away for another day that may or may not ever come, it is not my job to worry about what the Lord has in my future, but simply to trust that His will is PERFECT whatever that may be!!! He can be trusted, and will never let you down. He has a beautiful plan for each one of us. Choose to be a living proof that God is worth trusting even if we don't understand each move He makes in our lives!

**This has become one of my FAVORITE songs so I thought I'd share with you! Hope it's a blessing! It's called "The Potter Knows the Clay"

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Difference of Compassion

   In my study of the women of the Bible, I am now only to the E's. All I can say is life is busy so it is  taking me quite a while to get through this book. The woman I want to talk about is mentioned by name only once that I know of in the Bible. Her name is Euodias. Not exactly a name that rolls of your tongue! Her name means "prosperous journey" or "fragrant". The verse where she is mentioned is in Colossians 4:2 "I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind." Obviously there was some division between these two women in the Philippian church, because Paul admonished them to be of the "same mind". It doesn't tell us what caused the division, but it bothered the Apostle Paul enough for him to address it in scripture!
   Differences of opinions and arguments have been going on for quite a while in churches. It seems our churches are overrun with these little differences, which soon build into divisions in the church. This pettiness shows a great deal of the spirituality of the individuals involved. I have been in church my whole life and have seen these divisions and disunity in most of the churches I've attended. There is always someone willing to cause trouble, and it can be SO easy to get caught up in this. Don't let someone else's "battle" become your own! A lot of these divisions usually begin by just one person who feels they were 'wronged' by someone else, sometimes unintentional. They then go and tell those they are closest to, or someone they know will listen. From there it just keeps getting passed down; neither one of those carriers of this awful virus will ever go to the source and find out if it's true. No one is ever willing to give the victim the benefit of the doubt.....do we not realize this is sin? I fear most the time we really don't care if it is true or not! James 4:11 "Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge."  James 3: 16 & 18 "For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace." We gather from these verses that we are commanded not to speak evil of our brothers (or sisters) but to bring peace to each situation we find ourselves. There doesn't seem to be many peacemakers among Christians anymore. Peace calls for the Holy Spirit to be in control of our lives; which means we have to be in His Word each day. Causing strife and division is something that comes natural. When I enter a room or even conversation, do I bring peace to it or add more strife and division?
   The Lord made everyone different, we are not going to all agree or like the same things, that gives us no right to destroy your brother or sister with our words or actions! I John 2:10-11 "He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes." We must be SO careful, because once you get tricked into talking bad about our brothers and sisters in Christ, our eyes become blinded. How can we realize we are doing wrong if we can't see it? There should never be a time when we hate our brother or sister in Christ so much that we are willing to destroy them with our tongue both physically and spiritually. How sad it is when we can do it and not even think twice about it! Romans 8:5-8 "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." The carnal or fleshly mind yields strife and division; the spiritually minded produce life and peace. Simply put, if you can talk about or treat someone rudely you are fleshly minded and are just doing what comes natural to you. Ephesians 4:29, 31-32 "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Let all bitterness, and wrath and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." There shouldn't be anything bad coming out of our mouths but only things that will build up or encourage those hearing it! Philippians 2:2-3 "Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded having the same love being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." 
   Most of the things we hear from other people usually have a very small amount of the truth, yet we are willing to believe it completely and share it with others, all the while sinning and destroying that person. Sometimes the information we hear is true; instead of us helping that brother or sister, we are so eager to push them down even farther. We give no thought to the load they carry. We think we are so super spiritual we can't bother to lift a finger to help them up, never remembering just how far Christ had to go to redeem us! Jude 1:22 "And of some have compassion, making a difference." Compassion - sympathetic, consciousness of others distress together with a desire to alleviate. Whether that person is right or wrong, do we ever think to come along beside them and help lift them up, tell them we love them and will help them along the way? No we usually are the first to tell them how wrong they are, and tell others what happened. Do you realize just how much compassion the Lord has with us everyday? Lamentations 3:22-23 "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."
   It is my thought and hope that Euodias and Syntyche resolved their differences and became of "one mind" as Paul instructed. Oh how we all need to heed that advice each and every day. Don't let someones actions or words cause you to sin, become bitter against them, and then repeat the matter to someone else. Don't be a carrier of the disease either. It is so very easy to get caught up, you must keep yourself spiritually minded!!
The Lord has so much to say on this topic, which leads me to believe there was a problem with this in the churches in the Bible.

1 Peter 3:8-12
"Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous; Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing; but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile; Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil."

Monday, December 9, 2013

Abigail - Cause Of Joy

      I recently started reading a book I borrowed from my Dad's collection of books titled "The Women Of The Bible". It goes through all the women in the Bible in alphabetical order. I have only gone through a few names and I am already under such great conviction. If you can get your hands on this book I definitely recommend it. It is quite straight forward, but I am really enjoying it! This book kind of helps to open up the Bible more, instead of just reading a name of a woman in genealogy or a few chapters; it reveals such virtue and character some of these women had. So it's a good possibility my next few blogs may contain different women of the Bible. Hey, you can't help but to speak the things you see and hear! ;)
     The woman from the bible who has really wowed me with her character came after reading and studying about a woman named Abigail, found in 1Samuel 25: 1-42. I've read the story of Nabal, Abigail and David many times, but usually the focus has been on David or wicked Nabal, she was JUST the wife of 1 and then the other eventually.
     Abigail's name means 'Father of Joy' or 'Cause of Joy'. As many I'm sure have read before, she was married to a man named Nabal he is described as 'churlish and evil in his doings'. He obviously lacked the finer qualities his wife possessed. He was mean, selfish, often drunk, stubborn and ill-tempered. She lived in a miserable house. Abigail is said to be 'a woman of good understanding, and a beautiful countenance' as the book says she had "brains and beauty". "A beautiful woman with a beautiful mind is surely one of God's masterpieces." She had an all encompassing love and deep relationship with God, and although she had such a unhappy home life she was a trophy of grace for her Lord. Any woman can be an Abigail but so few women are willing to obey and cooperate with God in every area He requires.
     After Nabal treated David's servants rudely, David was coming to kill Nabal's entire household. Abigail heard of what had happened, and quickly took the necessary provisions for David and his men and rode quickly to meet David.  As I said before, from what the Bible tells us about Nabal he was quite disagreeable to say the least. There were probably many times Abigail served as peacemaker between him and neighbors he had offended due to his ill-mannered and churlish ways.
    Once Abigail arrived and brought the food and drink, she fell down before David. "She revealed her wisdom falling at Davids feet and acknowledging his accusations of what her foolish husband had done." She didn't try to argue away her husbands deeds, but admitted her husband was a fool. Abigail tactfully used her words to sway David's just wrath at the right time and in the right way. **We can never underestimate just how powerful our words can be, said in the right time and place. Neighbors knew well  Abigail's drunken and ill-tempered husband, but patiently she made amends for his wrong doings countless times.
      Once Abigail knew her trip to David was a success she returned to her drunken wicked husband, and resumed her unpleasant life. Abigail did not seek to leave her godless husband, but stayed a loyal wife and the protector of her worthless husband. Her life was hard and she may often have been beaten, insulted, and treated rudely but she remained with Nabal and was faithful to him. "Abigail manifested a love stronger than death." She was delivered 10 days after her return when her husband suffered a divine stroke. Death came as a blessing and Abigail had no tears or regrets. Amid such horrible suffering she fulfilled her marriage vows. This sad story turned into a 'fairytale' when she married David who equally loved the Lord, and would become the King of Israel. Abigail came from an unhappy life but continued to trust God and He rewarded her in His timing! Later David and Abigail had a son whom they named Chileab, or Daniel. Daniel means 'God Is My Judge', perhaps because of the Lord's divine vindication in her own life.


Abigail was certainly not perfect, but we can see from the Bible's account that she had a close walk with God. It was evident in the way she handled every situation. In that day arranged/man made marriages were common, there is speculation this was Abigail's reason for being married to Nabal. She was forced into such an unhappy life, but she certainly lived up to her name and brought joy wherever she went. Joy that emanated from her came in different forms: peacemaker, protector of her worthless husband, friend, wisdom, kindness, and proved to also be a faithful wife, along with many more. If nothing else what impresses me more than anything about Abigail is her situation didn't dictate her attitude, she found joy in HER Lord! In the same way our joy should come from the Lord and time spent with Him, not from our life's circumstances. She walked in and out of difficult circumstances but because of the wisdom she had she brought joy, and handled each situation in just the right way.

**There seem to be so many different situations we find ourselves where people are just mean and ill-tempered like Nabal, or upset like David was; there are only certain ways each area can be handled. Do we possess the Godly wisdom to know how to handle each? We each possess the same Source Abigail had, but we often don't handle situations in the right way because we have not spent time understanding and knowing the true Source of Joy.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Who Has The Time?

       Do you ever feel like Heaven is shut up, the Lord doesn't care what happens to you, or He doesn't love you? I think this thought has at least crossed most of our minds at one time. I recently had a rough couple of days, and at night I would pray and tell God my heart was breaking and tell Him exactly what was going on. I kept feeling like my prayers just weren't going through. Then the next night as I was laying there once again talking to God, the Lord impressed on me, "You want Me to help you but you have left no room in your life for Me. How can I speak to you, or help you if there is no place for Me to fit?" Then I began thinking other than my morning devotions and at meal times, there was no place else for Him. My life was so filled with fleshly things such as Pinterest, Makeup how tos, and anything else but there was no room for the Lord. The activities in and of themselves were not wrong, but they became wrong when it replaced and kicked out anything to do with the Lord. Most of them were purely fleshly, and nothing for the Lord throughout the day. The normal person lives on 3 meals a day, how is the spiritual man inside supposed to live on 1 meal? No wonder I felt lopsided inside, it definitely was not God that moved but me! When I became hurt or offended my emotions ruled everything else, instead of taking it in stride as a spiritual person and realizing this is part of life on earth with people. I didn't have enough of the Lord's presence in my life to help me, control me, or to help me to grasp anything positive out of the situation.
       My parents always taught us growing up that it was not their job to find us and get our attention, but it was OUR job to be so in tune with them that when they called from anywhere in the house and we could hear them and answer. That lesson was taught so that later on in life when God called which is sometimes in 'that still small voice' we would hear Him and answer His call no matter how 'loud' that call was.
       I had allowed so many things to creep in and substituted fleshly things for spiritual things. That's why Ephesians 5:19 is so important. "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." Throughout the day we need to find things that will edify ourselves in the Lord reading our Bible, memorizing scripture, listening/playing good Christian songs, spending time with those who will encourage us in the Lord, praying....and many more. It doesn't mean that everyday every hour you have to be doing one of these, but the spiritual things should out weigh the fleshly things.
     Our spiritual life does not begin and end when we do our devotions in the morning (or at night) it continues during the day. Every choice we make during the day affects our spiritual life either positively or negatively. I'm mostly referring to activities not work or school;) If we were to write down what we did yesterday, and categorize them into spiritual and physical and how long we did each, which one would win? It's sad to say I think with most of us it would be the physical/fleshly side. For an example: My Pinterest isn't bad, I don't have friends who show naked pictures, or curse words, or talk about bands and such; I try to keep my Pinterest very clean. Pinterest becomes bad when I began to spend hours on it; or if it outweighs the spiritual that I have done that day. Doing something fleshly only makes you want to continue and before you know it, it's been hours.


      I don't think many Christians realize just how much danger lies in our time during the day! Time is valuable and what you do with it decides how big your spiritual life is, and just how close you are to God. When you spend a lot of time doing things that edify the fleshly side of you, that is just what you are. It dulls the Holy Spirits control in your life, and soon you are so far away from the Lord you don't even notice how far you have drifted from Him. I have had to do some clean up in my own life recently, I truly want to be close to the Lord and for Him to look down and be pleased with what He sees! I hope this makes everyone at least take a look at your own life and evaluate where all of your time is going, is it to things on the internet, worldly things; or is your time a treasure because it is drawing you close to the Lord? Look at your life and make sure the time invested in spiritual things far out weighs the other!

James 4:8 "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw night to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded."