Truths I Learned at Kids Camp at Age 39

Bunk beds are fun until you are staring at the springs above you at 1am wide awake. 😉

I am not responsible enough to put my cup back in it’s proper place after lunch and I am thankful my cabin showed me grace and I didn’t get extra kitchen duty. 🙂

I really like my bathtub at home.

Do a skit, be silly, let go!  My 10 year old son pushed me into a meeting where the sponsors were putting together an opening skit.  Thank you Lathan, turns out I had a blast and I am pretty funny! 😉

If you have the chance to be with kids, do it!  Their energy, passion and childlike faith is infectious.

The good news of Jesus Christ is not complicated.  I have over complicated it for too many years.

But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

There is a generation looking up to us with open ears to hear the Gospel.

God not only did great things in the hearts of thousands of kiddos but in this 39 year old heart too.

I enjoy a friendly game of poker.  If our eyes are not too droopy after the dishes are done, this is what my side of the family does at get togethers.  I even enjoy the risky All In move.  Maybe, it’s because there never is big bucks on the line.  You push all your chips to the middle and say, “All In.”  Good, bad, whatever may come, you are playing the hand you hold.

At camp this year the theme was All In.

“Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death — even to death on a cross.”  Philippians‬ ‭2:5-8‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

I was reminded that Jesus was All In.   He emptied Himself.  He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death- even to death on a cross.  The pastor went into some detail about how painful this death would have been.  Why would God’s only Son do this?  Our perfect Savior died the most shameful death so that we would not have to face eternal punishment for our sin.  Friends, Jesus loves us and He was All In!

As I reflect on kids camp, I am asking myself… Am I All In?  Are you All In?  What do I still need to push to the middle of the table and surrender to the Lord?  My kids?  My family?  My money?  My comfort?  You fill in yours…. Will we be All In to share the gospel and encourage the next generation that has eager ears to hear?

We shouted John 3:30 for 3 days at camp.  Jesus must become greater.  I must become less.

Lord, you are worth it!  Help us to go All In!

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All Things

“What God, no donuts, tortillas, noodles, ice cream or popcorn?”

10 months ago after the lab results had been explained all my momma heart could utter was, “God, show me how to do this.”

I will never forget the first time we sat down at Chick-fil-A to eat the grilled nuggets or went into the Mexican restaurant and stared at the chips and queso.  It was so difficult.  We loved chips and queso and the regular nuggets.

You see we were recommended to go on a gluten, dairy, corn free diet.  My tearful plea at night became, “Please Lord, show me how to cook.  Show us how to eat out and at other people’s homes when we have to.”

He always answered me, “All things are possible.”

“Does all things mean we can really change the way we have always eaten?  Yeah but… what about holidays, concession stands, and birthday parties?”

Time and time again I heard, “All things are possible.”

I have to admit, I didn’t always believe this but I continued to pray and lean into God.  I leaned in when everyone was eating donuts.  I leaned in when the meal I prepared was terrible.  I leaned in when we didn’t get it right.  I am still leaning in.

Friends, yesterday we went to On the Border and had a very enjoyable gluten, dairy and corn free meal.  He is showing our family we can do this and it is worth it.  All things are possible with God!  I believe this and I believe He is so good to those who love Him.  With the help of the Lord, my son and I are completely gluten free and very limited dairy and corn.  Thanks be to God!

We are becoming more thankful for things He provides for us to eat.  Thank you Lord for meat, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and the yummy occasional gluten free desserts you treat us to.  (Maybe soon I will blog about some of these yummy blessings)

Today’s lunch 🙂

When I find ourselves in a situation when we might accidentally eat some gluten I pray, “Lord, thank you for this food you have provided and please bless it to the nourishment of our bodies.”  This prayer used to be something I sometimes prayed but never once thought about what it really meant.  EVERY WORD has great significance now.  God provides.  God blesses.  God nourishes.

Whether you are having to make food changes or other difficult changes in your life, I pray you are encouraged.  With God, all things are possible!  He is faithful!

 I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.] Philippians 4:13 AMP

Perhaps We Are In The Wrong Field

I see this young widow, beautiful, tender, loyal, sweat glistening on her forehead as she gleans grain in Boaz’s field.  Through faith, obedience, and hard work Ruth gathered bit by bit in the field of her soon to be redeemer.

Where are you gleaning?  Who’s field are you in?

To glean means to gather slowly and laboriously, bit by bit.

Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women.Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.”10 Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”11 But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before.12 The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!”13 Then she said, “I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.”  Ruth 2:8-13

My eyes and hands drift so easily and I find myself in a field full of selfishness, pity and pride that is saturated with the things of this world.  I grab at these things that will make me feel better and when they don’t, I ask, “Why me, why us?”   Pride says, you can do this, you can control this.  I’m laboring but gathering nothing.  Sometimes we work so hard yet glean nothing or even worse heartache.  Perhaps we are in the wrong field.

Ruth, the brave foreigner, on the other hand, was obeident and stayed in the field of promise, provision, protection and ultimatily her field of redemption.  She gathered slowly and laboriously bit by bit and the reward was Great!  If you don’t already know, Boaz marries Ruth and loves and cares for her and her mother in law.

As I look toward Good Friday, I see our Redeemer, our Great Reward.  He’s asking us not to leave his field.  Boaz’s field provided hope and protection for Ruth and Naomi.  In Jesus, we have hope, protection and all that we need.

Do you find yourself in the fields of this world or are you gleaning in the field of your Redeemer?  Are you gleaning discontentment and heartache or are you gleaning joy and hope?

Why should you be so kind to a foreigner like me Jesus?

I hear him saying, “Because I love you!”

Lord, help us gather slowly and laboriously every bit of what you have in store for us.  Forgive us when we glean elsewhere and help us not to leave your field.  Thank you for redeeming a foreigner like me.

What is He stirring in my heart for 2018?

As I look back on 2017 my mind immediately recalls the hard stuff.  But the Spirit within me quickly reminds me of the goodness of our Lord.  I am seeing even in the hard things, He is always faithful and good.

The last several days I have taken a spiritual inventory.  What are the truths God revealed to me in 2017?  And what is He stirring in my heart for 2018?  I encouraged my 3rd and 4th grade Sunday school class to think about a spiritual goal for 2018, so I am doing the same.

A glance back at my Bible and journal in 2017…

I saw prayers answered and I saw prayers that I will continue to bring to the Lord.  I made my way through Luke, some of Isaiah, Ephesians, Angie Smith’s Seamless study, Philippians and 2 Corinthians.  There were many treasures in these books but as I took inventory one word kept penatrating my heart.  TRUST.

Trust– reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, of a person or thing; confidence

Not trust in a person or thing but trust in the Lord with all your heart.  Rely on the integrity, strength, ability and surety of God Almighty.

In Luke 8:43-48, a women completely trusted that Jesus had all she needed and desperately fought her way through a crowd and was healed by touching the fringe of his robe.  Jesus said to her in verse 48, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

She trusted Jesus.  May we be intentional to fight our way through the crowd to be with our Savior and have faith.

In Isaiah 26:3-4, I was reminded, “God will keep in perfect peace all who trust in Him, whose thoughts are fixed on Him.  Trust in the Lord God always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.”

In Ephesians 3:20 God tells us, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.”

Trust that God will accomplish infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes and dreams.

In Seamless, Angie Smith says on pg 24,

“We aren’t God.  That means we can’t “put ourselves in His place,” and any attempts to apply our own standards and expectations on Him are basically futile.  He is entirely separate from us, and fully sovereign -meaning He can do what He wants when He wants.  He is also fully love so what He does is ultimately loving whether we can presently understand or not.”

Lord, help us trust you are fully sovereign and fully love.

In Philippians 4:6-7, God instructs us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known by God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Lord, with thanksgiving let our requests be known to You and trust all is well.

And I end with 2 Corinthians 4:18, “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.”

Praise God for this truth!  God, help us trust in You completely in 2018.  The joys to come will last forever. 🙂

Thankful He Watches Over Us

He watches over us.  I find myself this Thanksgiving extremely thankful for this truth.

There were times this year when the grip of fear almost suffocated me.  No matter how much I searched and dug for Truth, it was a battle to believe.  To believe He is working all things for good.  To believe even if my greatest fear comes true, it will be alright.  Yet, I knew He is faithful so I kept seeking.  Oh friends, He won’t leave you alone with these questions, fears, and doubts when you continue to seek Him.  As we pray, read Truth and worship, the Lord reassures our fragile hearts and minds He is watching over us.  He has been from the beginning and He will until He returns again.

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.” Psalms 91:1-2

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For those that go to the Lord for safety and trust Him, they will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  We as believers in Christ are secure and rest in the shadow of God Almighty.  There will be struggles.  Job, Paul and even Jesus himself suffered.  But, we are in the shadow of the Almighty.  This truth has been a game changer for me lately.  Our ultimate security is found in relationship with the Lord.  Nothing can match knowing we are safe in the arms of God.  He is good.  He is faithful.  He is watching over those that love Him.

I am fearing less today.  I am braver today.  But, only because I believe He is who He says He is.

He is our shelter.

He is our secure.

He is our rest.

He is our refuge.

He is our fortress.

He is our confidence.

He is our protection.

He is our salvation.

For this I am thankful! Our faith in God Almighty will carry us through all the dangers and fears of life.

“The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.” Psalms‬ ‭91:14-16‬ ‭

Jump into His arms!  He’s got you!

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.”  Proverbs 18:10

God, this Thanksgiving I am grateful that you are watching over us.  We are safe in Your arms.  May we always run to you for safety and trust you.

The Last get a Crown

“Mom, what does it mean, the first will be last and the last get a crown?”

Thank you Lord for Christian radio that leads to discovering Truth and conversations that matter with my kids.  These words are in a song that we have been listening to a lot lately (link at the bottom).

As often happens, I replied, “I know it’s in the Bible.  I’ll dig into it and it will be our bible story tomorrow night.”

Although there is a lot more to this song, this specific lyric led me to Jesus’ life changing words in Luke 13:22-30.  Take time read them.

After reading these words a few times, I wasn’t sure how I was going to explain them to my kids.  I just continued to sit and dig.  Once again after asking for understanding, the Lord began to help my simple mind understand and here’s what I learned…

At the beginning of these verses someone asks Jesus, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?”

And Jesus ends these verses by saying, “And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

To be honest, in the beginning this seemed like deep theological stuff that I didn’t know if I could understand much less help my 9 year old son understand.  But here’s how our faithful God broke it down for me this morning.

Some that seem influential and important in this world may not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  God is not concerned with our popularity, status or wealth.  On the other hand, those who humble themselves and turn from their sin, trust God to save them and follow Christ whatever the cost will be greatly honored.  I can’t help but picture missionaries and their families all over the world.  A friend of mine told me, these are the people that live such deep faith that many came to know Christ.  Or maybe even those who are mentally ill or have special needs, yet still came to ask Christ for saving forgiveness.  There is no way of knowing “who” but I think it’s a call to stronger faith, to live a life completely committed to bringing Him alone glory.

So what do we do with these piercing words?

We daily turn from our sin, put God first and diligently strive to FOLLOW JESUS whatever the cost.  For me and I suppose some of you this looks like ignoring our selfish desires, seek God before anything else and follow Him even when it’s hard and unpopular.   Keep pressing on my friends.  Jesus is worth it!  There is a place at the table in the kingdom of God for you.

And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor.  1 Peter 5:4 NLT

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Here we are God. We are yours.  Thank you for your grace.  Thank you for saving us.  May our hearts only be motivated to follow You.

Shine Bright

One of my favorite people asked me this morning, “Why do people blame guns instead of a lack of knowing Jesus?”  I am not sure and quite honestly this question was way more than I could answer at 7:00 am or at anytime for that matter of fact.

The more messed up this world seems, the more good and right the ways of the Lord are to me.  There is no other way.   Politicians are not going to pull us out of darkness.  Health professionals, although very helpful, are not going to save us from darkness.  Not our pastor… not our spouse… Only One defeats darkness.  He is the Light.

“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John‬ ‭8:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Jesus brings light to humankind.  Only He can remove the darkness.  He is the way, truth and life.  I am so thankful Jesus saved me from darkness.  I do not have to fear evil because He is my Savior.

But, I can’t help to have a heavy heart for those who have been blinded and do not see or know the light of Christ.  Why do we blame guns and not a sinful heart?  Maybe that’s easier to understand… Maybe we don’t know what sin is and how dark it can become… Or possibly, we don’t know the only One, Jesus Christ, who can forgive our sin and give us a new heart, a heart that wants to love rather than kill…

I have been forgiven.  Christ has given me a new heart.

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” ‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭36:26-27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Probably most of you reading have turned to the Lord and been forgiven and washed clean by the blood of Christ and given a new heart.  If not, I pray this sparks a curiousity to learn more about the Savior of the world.  But, for those of us that know the hope of Christ, I encourage you to let the light of Jesus shine.  This is a bit hard for me to write because the morning of the horrific news of tragic loss in Las Vegas, I said to my husband, “Well, that will make you want to never leave the ranch.”  Of course, the Lord wasn’t going to let me believe this crazy thought.  Through my bible study this week God has shown me the light of Christ is not to be hidden.  The world desperately needs this Hope we have.  Today, I have a greater desire for others to know the only One who can save us from sin and darkness.  There is no better time than now to let the light of Christ shine in our lives.  Perhaps your friend, neighbor or that person you didn’t realize was observing your life will be drawn to the Light because we didn’t hide but instead let it shine brightly. 

“Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all.”  Matthew 5:15 

Lord, help us shine BRIGHT so that many might know.