Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Worn Out

Since the last time I blogged I had a Birthday.  Good ol' 37 years.  "How did I get here?" I sometimes wonder.  But then, I remember, I lived all of those 37 years.  Although I can't remember most of them, I did live them.  Maybe that's why I feel so worn out.  :)

Sometimes I blame it on my kids.  Sometimes I blame my husband, the farm, the garden or the housework.  Sometimes I blame my health issues and physical struggles.  But, most of the time, I realize I'm worn out because this life is wearing.  It truly is.

There are so many challenges in our world.  It's easy to feel pushed, pulled, needed, demanded, over-committed, over-stimulated, over-booked and rushed all the time.  Which can lead us to become all together stressed, anxious and worn out!  Especially when we're doing all that we do within our own power.


When I'm feeling worn out (like today) I remember these Scripture verses, their message often lost in their familiarity,

"Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, for I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  Matthew 11:28-30

I don't have to be strong enough, good enough or just enough of anything.  He is enough!

He promised that if we come to Him, depend on and abide in Him, that He will give us rest.  And, unlike others, He never breaks His promises.  We can trust the one who is enough.

I didn't plan to write this blog post today.  Yet, as I thought of this, I felt compelled to share.  Maybe there's someone else who needs this reminder today.  Maybe that person is you.

Let's come to Him today and lay our burdens at His feet.  For He will give us, the worn out ones, rest!

Even my little ones get down right worn out.
Noah (3) fell asleep at the lunch table a few
days ago.  :)  Now, that's tired!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Listen to Me!

He takes my face in his chubby toddler hands, turns my head toward his and says in frustration, "Mommy, you not listening to me!"  As he presses his button nose against mine, his big, blue eyes widely peering into mine, I suddenly realize all I've been missing.  I heard him, I did.  But my mind was all awhirl with my own agenda, the to-do-list, the responsibilities of a mom, wife and leader.  He worked so hard to get my attention.   Yet, my eyes were fixed elsewhere, my mind even further away.  I was distracted by the every day stuff of life.

Guilt sets in because I know, I know, these days are fleeting.  These days of childhood craziness, piles of laundry, dirty faces (and everything else) and "Mommy, look!" every three minutes will pass too quickly.  I know he and his big brother are growing, changing.  In a blink they will be ready to set out into the world as adolescents, then teenagers, then men, not boys.  These are precious times, meant to be lived fully.

I want to listen.  I do.  But so much is vying for my time, my attention, my affection.

I remind myself to stop!  To listen.  To really listen.  Not only to the chubby cheeked boy with my face in his hands, but to all of those I love, especially to the One who probably wishes He could sometimes grab me like my three year old does!   You know the One who always listens to me.  He could say, "Listen to Me!  Fix your eyes on Me.  You're so distracted by the every day stuff of life."

Today I will take the time to be still, to quiet my mind and listen.  Really listen.  How about you?

Lis-ten (lis-uh-n): verb
1. to give attention with the ear; attend closely for the purpose of hearing; give ear.
2. to pay attention; heed; obey.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.  John 10:27

Today I'm joining Lisa-Jo Baker for 5 Minute Friday.  This is when I "just write without worrying if it's just right or not. For five minutes flat, without editing, tweaking or self-critiquing".  Today's word is Listen.  Follow the link below to see what others had to say about this...or to join in on the writing fun.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

No Fear. No Good.

I don't expect this to be a popular post.  But I pray someone will read it anyway because I feel a compelling conviction to write about an unpopular subject that I believe needs to be addressed.  Fear.

Fear is popular when we speak of, "Fear Not".  But what about when someone encourages us to fear more, not less?

Remember the old Nike slogan "No Fear"?  It sometimes seems to me that many modern day "Christians" have taken on this slogan as their own.  We're constantly focused on God's love, grace and friendship.  We offer feel good messages that encourage and uplift to remind the hearer that God has a plan for our lives, that we have a purpose, God answers prayers and wants to help us.  We talk of the strength He gives and the joy He shares.  All of those things are true, but we leave out another truth.  We are also called to Fear!

Oh yes, we teach, "Do not fear".  It's in the Bible 365 times, you know.  This fear is a negative fear, fear of other things besides God.

But you know what the Bible also says often?  "Fear the LORD".  This is a good, healthy fear!  It's the fear that drives out all other fear and the fear that drives us to submission to the One and Only God.

In fact Isaiah 8:13 says, "Do not fear anything except the LORD Almighty. If you fear Him, you need not fear anything else."  So we must fear Him.  Then we won't have to fear anything else because He will be with us.

I'm not talking about a scared-to-death, fearful, on-the-edge waiting for God to strike-you-down kinda fear.  I'm talking about a reverence, a holy fear of an Almighty God who said, "If you love me, you will obey me."  I'm talking about the kind of fear that makes us repentant, that brings us to our knees in prayer, that draws us into a closer relationship with God and a holier lifestyle.  The kind of fear that prompts us to live as we know we should, rather than follow our own lustful, fleshly desires.  A fear that reminds us that one day each and every one of us will stand before God and answer for the life we lived.  Yes, our Good God is merciful and gracious, but He is also a good Judge, just and fair.  He will judge according to His Word, not man's standards.

Yes, it's true, if we know the LORD as our personal Savior we have found freedom from death and sin.  But this freedom doesn't give us a license to live as we please.  Quite the opposite...

"For you are free, yet you are God's slaves, so don't use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Respect everyone, and love your Christian brother and sisters. Fear God..."  I Peter 2:16-17

"Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the LORD watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil." I Peter 3:11-12

Too much dwelling on God's grace and not enough time talking about a Righteous Fear of God has lead us to a lackadaisical, relaxed approach to a Holy, Awe-inspiring God.  This ought not be!

It seems that our culture thinks that anyone who says a prayer and believes in God is on their way to heaven.  But James 2:19 says, "You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this and tremble in terror."  The demons believe and they even tremble with fear, but they're still not okay with God and they're definitely not going to heaven, friends!!

The fear of God, a holy reverence for Him, drives us to repentance (a turning away from sin) and righteous living.  Not everything is okay.  We will answer to a just God.  Not some old man, weary and worn, who overlooks our blatant sin.  We must live in a healthy fear of the One Who made us.

"When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties and other sins like these...anyone living like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

BUT the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  There is no law against these things!"

Galatians 5:19-23

Let's review:
No fear.  No good.
Fear God.  No other fear will be necessary.  But we must... 
Honor.  Tremble.  Revere a Holy God.
Look at His Word, what does it say?  We can't pick and choose from it.  All of it is Truth.
A Healthy Fear of God is good and profitable!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Toilet Paper Tube Puppets: FUN DAY MONDAY

Welcome to:

A while back my oldest little boy (6) expressed an interest in making some homemade puppets.  I did a little search on Pinterest and found some easy-peasy, very cute toilet paper tube puppet templates on Making Learning Fun.com.  

My little farm boy decided to make the Cowboy and Cowgirl puppets.  We printed out the templates.  He colored them, cut them out and glued them onto toilet paper tubes (Note: I keep toilet paper tubes handy at all times because they're good for all kinds of crafts.  My boys even pretend they're telescopes and binoculars).

He then made a "puppet theater" out of an old cardboard box (with a little help from me).

He and little brother (3) had so much fun putting on shows for us.  

It was quite amazing the stories they would come up with and act out for us.  Good for their imaginations! And it definitely brought lots of laughter for all of us!

Remember, kids don't have to be entertained every minute of the day.  Actually, I believe it's the simplest things that help expand their minds and their imaginations...even letting them entertain you with a simple puppet show.  :)

Until next time, have a FUN DAY with your family!

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6 NKJV

To check out previous Fun Day Monday posts click here.