When you don’t feel like going to church…

I arrived in the large dome to thousands of small voices singing…

I got this feeling inside my bones,

It goes electric wavy when I turn it on,

And if you want it inside your soul,

Just open up your heart…

You have to listen to get the full effect, here’s a clip:

As I walked down the concrete steps my body began to dance, a smile lifted on my face and I felt the happy in this place.  These kids were overjoyed to be at Chesapeake Arena watching basketball and so was I.

And to think I wasn’t going to come…

The night before, I had told my son, “I just don’t feel like going on this field trip.”  He begged me and I could sense it was important to him so I walked out of his room and prayed, “Lord, should I go?”

I instantly turned around walked in his dark room and whispered in his ear, “I will go if they have a ticket for me.”  He grinned while turning his face into his pillow so maybe I wouldn’t see, he still wants his mom to go, smile.  🙂

I have said similar words when it comes to going to church.  I just don’t feel like going.  There could be numerous reasons why we don’t feel like going.

I don’t feel good.

I am tired.

I have to see you know who there.

Ms. On Fire For Jesus will ask me to small group again.

I will cry and I don’t want to cry today.

I don’t have my life together enough to go.

I don’t want a hug, how are you.

I will feel that tug to change and I don’t know how.

I have to catch up around the house.

My husband and my family won’t go, who will I sit with?

And the list can go on and on…

But, never fail each time I arrive at church to worship the Lord, I get this feeling inside my bones.  As we begin to sing about the forever promises of God, all those reasons why I didn’t feel like coming fall away and are replaced with feelings of love, mercy, and compassion.  My heart begins to dance, a smile lifts on my face and I feel the happy in God’s church.  The Holy Spirit is present.  Sometimes my body is still and a tear trickles down my cheek but there is much goodness in that too.  Then my favorite time comes, the very words of Life are read and proclaimed.  God’s words are the bread of life.

I am learning every single time the Lord will meet you with goodness when you come to worship.  When church becomes less about us and more about Him, you can’t stop the feeling.  You feel like going to church.  You begin to desire to know Jesus more and worship Him.

Just as I told my son when the game was over, I leave church saying, “I am so glad I came.”

Lord, help us push past our feelings and go to church.  You are worth it!

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Treasures in the Barn

It’s been a memorable weekend. Loved ones came to support our son in his first Hughes county stock show and spend precious time with us. Grandma and Grandad lost many games of Uno but Grandma did come away the big $16 winner of Right, Left, Center.  Thank you Lord for dear family that loves us big!

As we wrap up this first year of stock showing I am reflecting on the good. What a blessing it is to say most if not all was good.

Our nine year old really did learn the serious commitment it takes to be the sole caretaker of an animal.  Yes, Dad did feed occasionally but Lathan did the majority of feeding and watering and to my surprise, the grumblings were minimal.  (side note: mommas, dads, 4H leaders, and ag teachers give yourself a pat on the back for guiding your kiddos in this process)

We all learned there is much more to showing a lamb than just leading her in the show ring. 😉 I watched our son get better and better each time he showed.  I saw him enjoy an extracurricular activity and work hard at improving.

We met new families that we enjoyed beginning to get to know.  Our youngest loves running around the show barn with these friends.  We had no trouble getting her to sleep each night this weekend. 🙂

But, I think my favorite treasure that came from stock showing this year was the time spent with my family outside and in the barn.  This is a place my husband has always been but for me it is becoming a new place to spend time watching my family bond and my children grow.  It’s good for all of us to put our phones down and be together.

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I close with this today.

“The book of Proverbs makes it clear that diligence-being willing to work hard and do one’s best at any job given to him or her-is a vital part of wise living.  We work hard, not to become rich, famous, or admired (although those may be by-products), but to serve God with our very best during our lives.” (Life Application Study Bible NLT)

I think stock showing has been one way of teaching our son the fruits of his labor.  It’s been a good year and we are looking forward to showing more.

Oh Father God, help us work hard and serve You with our very best!

 

 

God Knows!

The first thing I did as my mind awoke this morning was pray. This does not always happen but I fell asleep worrying and was a little restless all night.  I probably should have prayed last night.  Philippians 4:6 says something like, instead of worrying pray.  Good advice.

I prayed, God, I don’t know how to help my child…

Our children will face hard things and we will not know how to help them.  I had no idea this would be part of the journey of parenting.  Aren’t good moms suppose to have all the answers and quick fixes?  When friends, family, doctors and even pastors don’t have answers, where does that leave us?
So, we cry out saying, God I don’t know. You know! Help my kid and help me know my part.

In the meantime, even when we don’t know how to help or what the right answer is, what do we do?

~We hang on to the only One who has proven faithful from the beginning. We continue to read about God’s everlasting love and faithfulness. We remember how He has been faithful to us in the past. He is good and He loves us and our children.

~We keep praying! Even if it’s a simple, I DON’T KNOW GOD! Help us! Trust that He hears. Trust that He is for us.

~We keep seeking Jesus. He is the way, the truth and life.  He knows, even when we don’t know.

This is all I know today… Trust in our great God or the alternative is worry and fear. I don’t know about you but worry and fear have proven not to work. I have tried both but today I choose to trust our great God!

I trust You are good, God!

I trust that You hear us!

I trust that you love me!

I trust that You love my kiddos!

I trust that You know all things and You are working them out for good!

So hang on parents that don’t have the answers! None of us do!  I share your burden of not wanting your child to suffer and not being able to fix it.  Keep seeking our ever faithful Savior and keep praying for your children.   He hears you! He knows!  He’s working things out for good!

“And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.”
‭‭ROMANS‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭AMP‬‬

No kidding, after writing this I went to get dressed and this is the shirt I put on.  I looked in the mirror and read:

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Praying we rest in our all knowing God this weekend.

I Desire to Live a Fearless Life

With my heart pounding and reluctance in my fingertips, I turned back to 2 Kings 5:1-14.  I read the story of God healing a prideful foreigner.  The reluctance was because I knew God wanted to change my heart.  There are certain things I just want to ignore and tuck away in hidden places.  Nothing is hidden from the Lord and the more I seek Him, the more He drags out those things I tuck away.  There was a yucky place in my heart that did not want to know about this foreigner and I certainly did not want to write about Him.  Lord, please forgive me.

I just wanted to study the life of our Savior this morning.  I picked up where I left off and began reading in Luke 4:14.  While reading about Jesus being rejected in Nazareth the Lord abruptly stopped me at verses 25-27 and rerouted my study.

“And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, but the only one healed was Naaman, a Syrian.””
‭‭Luke‬ ‭4:27‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Needless to say, I spent the rest of the morning reading about a Syrian commander, a forgeigner,  who did not know the one true God.  His story was many years before Jesus spoke the words of Luke 4:27 but Jesus wanted us to recall this story.

I encourage you to read 2 Kings 5:1-14.

Why would God heal a prideful foreigner who did not believe in Him?  There are probably many reasons why God healed him.  But, I spent most of the morning dwelling on this one. Through a young slave girl who knew God (there is much to learn from this fearless one), Naaman, all his company and even Israel (God’s people) would know there is one true God.  God healed Naaman so all around him might know Him!

Here’s Naaman words,

“Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.””
‭‭2 Kings‬ ‭5:15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

God wants all to know Him.  He has a giant heart for all of us, even foreigners.

This issue of opening our hearts to foreigners scares me.  Don’t throw stones, I am just trying to be honest.  I wrestle with this.  I want to ignore it and tuck it away.  But, I take comfort in knowing that this does not scare Jesus.  There are many accounts of Jesus opening his arms to foreigners.  I desire to live a fearless life trusting completely in our Lord God Almighty.  This is my prayer. This is all I know how to do today.

I don’t know the answers to our immigration problems today.  I don’t even know where I stand on all that.  The Lord has appointed President Trump and other leaders to do their best for all people.

What I know I can do is,

seek the Lord’s guidance through His Word,

pray for missionaries and the people they are trying to reach, and the leaders of our country,

and give to support those loving foreigners in Jesus’ name.

“Whatever we do we must not treat the Great Commission like it’s the great suggestion.”  ~Charles R. Swindoll

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Beautiful Hearts

Besides my family, I couldn’t think of a better group of women to share our home with first.  We had a great lunch and even better fellowship.  I thank the Lord for these precious souls.

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These beautiful hearts

love Jesus,

are always looking to serve,

do things right,

pay attention to detail,

cook from scratch,

check on their friends (oh, how I want to be a better friend),

faithfully attend church,

are faithful to their commitments to the church,

diligent to study the Word,

and diligent to pray.

Some may wonder why I am a part of WMU (Women on Mission), that’s a pretty good list of why.  I gain so much from these ladies that are ahead of me in age and knowledge.

I have learned you can be steadfast and faithful after your husband passes away.  There is kingdom work being done when you bake a cake or casserole for a meeting where someone hears the name of Jesus.  Praying for our missionaries, our church and our community matters.  When someone is in need, serve and serve them well.  Lives are eternally changed when we pray, give and go. They make me want to put my phone down and go follow Jesus.

I encourage all of you to find women like this in your life and hang out with them.  It is refreshing to the soul.  The Lord is so good and patient with me.  I read and study quite a bit and I often wonder, how do I do this Lord? How am I to be a part of the great commission?  As I have watched these godly women, He has gently whispered to my heart, “This is how, love and serve where I have placed you.”

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We are Women on Mission in Holdenville, Oklahoma.  Our mission is to know Christ and to share Christ.  I pray for God’s guidance this year for WMU.  There is much work to be done.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”
‭‭MATTHEW‬ ‭28:19‬ ‭AMP‬‬

We will go!

Let Your Mind Wander in Truth

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2017!  Awww, my kids are off to school, my hubby is off to check things on the ranch (I know he wonders what I do with my spare time at home 😉 ).  I have just a bit to reflect and write.  I could write about the good and bad of 2016 or a wonderful Christmas break but that is not what excites my heart this morning.

As some of you, I begin this year wondering what to study.  I looked at the stack of books I someday want to read.  I went through the old study books that are on my shelf.  All of which looked appealing.  Then the Lord prompted me to study on in Luke.

I have spent some time in the Old Testament discovering some of the great accounts of God’s faithfulness, pointing us to Jesus our Redeemer the last few years.  I also have spent time with my family this Christmas season reading through and reflecting on Luke 1-2:20 (Jesus’ birth).  So, it only seems fitting that I would have a desire to start 2017 with learning more about Jesus, the One I call Lord!

What happens after the shepherds leave?  What will this baby Jesus do?  Who is He?  What else does the Lord share with us through this writer Luke?  These are the questions that linger and cause me to seek our Savior through the pages of the Bible.

Luke begins the book of Luke with, Most honorable Theophilus.

According to Women’s Evangelical Commentary New Testament, “Most honorable Theophilus (transliteration from Greek, “lover of God”) was probably a person of distinction, possibly a statesman or Roman official or perhaps even a religious leader.  His exact identity is unknown.  The name may also have served as a literary device for addressing all believers, who would be “lovers of God” by virtue of their commitment to Christ” (p. 138).

This address is intriguing to me.  I am going to go with, he is addressing all lovers of God.  That’s me!  That’s us! I am excited to dive into Luke’s accurate account of the life of Jesus. I am eager to know Jesus more. 🙂 He is so much more than a baby in a manger.

Wherever you find yourself in the Bible this year, let your mind wander and question as you study and hear the Word of God.  Ask Him to reveal truth to you.

“so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught [that is, the history and doctrine of the faith].”
‭‭LUKE‬ ‭1:4‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Lord, I pray that You reveal truth to us. Show us who You are.

Helpers

This morning I had the opportunity to take breakfast to the cowboys.  It was impromptu eggs, sausage and cheese thrown in a skillet and wrapped in a tortilla complete with coffee and Dr. Pepper.  This was not on my checklist today but as a servant of Christ, I am learning to be flexible.  😉

As I drove up to the working pens, I was so grateful I did not have to get out in the blistering wind.  The cowboys finished the set of calves they were working and then came to the toasty pickup to warm their hands, feet and bellies.

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I observed these guys for a bit because that’s what writers do, right?  I was very grateful for the helpers we have on the ranch. We have some that are here everyday and some that come when needed.  It takes many hands to keep things running smoothly.  A helper is a person that helps or gives assistance or supports.  What would we do without helpers…

Just as we have helpers on the ranch, I have grown to realize we need helpers keeping the faith.  We need brothers and sisters in Christ that continue to remind us to trust in Jesus.  In the good times and in our darkest days these helpers strengthen and encourage us.  They show up even on blistering cold days.  To be honest, I have gone through times of having these encouragers in my life and not.  As I reflect on the helpers, encourgers in my life, I am thankful for each time they have pointed me back to the One who keeps things running smoothly in my soul.  Some of these encouragers I haven’t seen in years, they are old, they are young, they are family, I serve with them, I read the words they write down, I listen to them from the pulpit, they pray with me, they don’t shy away from the messy parts of me, they encourage me, and help me keep the faith.  Thanks to you all!

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:24-25‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Do you have these helpers in your life?  If not, I encourage you to seek friends that do their best to point you to The Helper.

“Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭54:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Lord, may we find helpers that spur us on to keep the faith and help us be encouragers to others.