Do I Live Sacrificially?

Today I posted this question to ponder on my facebook wall:

Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for you. What have you sacrificed for Him lately?

Have you ever seriously pondered this?  It was a challenge to myself, and I hope you’ll allow it to challenge you.

Are you living sacrificially? 

Honestly, we will never be able to give Christ everything He deserves from us while we tread in this life.  But we should at least give it a go, right?

So, how might that look?  Believe me, I’m no expert, but I’m willing to dig in and learn…care to join me?

Let’s look to Romans 12

Romans12_1_2

We have to make a conscious choice to not be influenced by the world around us.  We have to dig into His Word and renew our minds…daily.  It’s so simple to let the world sneak into our minds.

The world tells us,

  • “It’s been a long and tiring week, I don’t need to go to church today.”
  • “Yeah, I know I missed last Sunday, but I really need to catch up on housework.”
  • “Oh, the budget is so tight this month, the church won’t notice if I don’t tithe just this once.”
  • “I’ve served my time in the church, I deserve to observe rather than serve.”
  • “I know I’m not the only Christian who sees that homeless man on the corner everyday, surely someone else is helping him out.”
  • “The style of clothing I wear to church shouldn’t matter. They should know to control their thoughts anyway.” (Referring to modesty here…not dressy or casual)
  • “Reading the Bible doesn’t have to be at the top of my priority list.  I’m sure I’ll find time to fit it into my day.”
  • “There are too many hypocrites in churches today.”
  • “Why should I pray when God already knows what I need?”

I could go on, but you get the picture.

I have struggled with many of these nagging voices trying to convince me to, in all honesty, be a lazy and uncaring Christian.

Can we address these lies of the Enemy with the Word of God?  Let’s see…

  • “Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (The Message)
  • “Sitting across from the offering box, he was observing how the crowd tossed money in for the collection. Many of the rich were making large contributions. One poor widow came up and put in two small coins—a measly two cents. Jesus called his disciples over and said, “The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. All the others gave what they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all.” Mark 12:41-44 (The Message)
  • “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  Matthew 6:31-33 (ESV)
  • “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5 (ESV)
  •  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV)
  • “…Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” 1 Timothy 2:9-10 (ESV)  Here’s a good blog that speaks more in depth to modesty.
  • “Attention, Israel!  God, our God! God the one and only!  Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got!  Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (The Message)
  • “Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures—either God’s Law or the Prophets. I’m not here to demolish but to complete. I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama. God’s Law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet. Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God’s Law will be alive and working.” Matthew 5:17-18 (The Message)
  • We’re All in the Same Sinking Boat (Romans 3:9-20)

9-20 So where does that put us? Do we Jews get a better break than the others? Not really. Basically, all of us, whether insiders or outsiders, start out in identical conditions, which is to say that we all start out as sinners. Scripture leaves no doubt about it:
There’s nobody living right, not even one,
    nobody who knows the score, nobody alert for God.
They’ve all taken the wrong turn;
    they’ve all wandered down blind alleys.
No one’s living right;
    I can’t find a single one.
Their throats are gaping graves,
    their tongues slick as mudslides.
Every word they speak is tinged with poison.
    They open their mouths and pollute the air.
They race for the honor of sinner-of-the-year,
    litter the land with heartbreak and ruin,
Don’t know the first thing about living with others.
    They never give God the time of day.
This makes it clear, doesn’t it, that whatever is written in these Scriptures is not what God says about others but to us to whom these Scriptures were addressed in the first place! And it’s clear enough, isn’t it, that we’re sinners, every one of us, in the same sinking boat with everybody else? Our involvement with God’s revelation doesn’t put us right with God. What it does is force us to face our complicity in everyone else’s sin.   (Sorry I know that was long, but, Wow, it preaches!)

  • 13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.[a] 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.” James 5:13-18 (ESV)
  • 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” 1 John 5:14-15

And there are so many more Scriptural rebuttals that we can glean from God’s Word.

So, let’s challenge each other (because, yes, I need it too) that next time we find ourselves tempted to give in to the lies of the world, to seek after the TRUTH of God’s Word.  Seek living a life of sacrifice…that is going against everything our human selves desire. Sacrificing it.  And seeking to fulfill the desires of God for our lives!  IT’S NOT GOING TO BE EASY!!  Oh, but can you imagine how WONDERFUL it will be!!!

-De

Ministry: The lonely calling

My husband and I have served in some sort of ministry for the majority of our lives together, be it lay service or staff service.  God has placed a definite calling on our lives and our family, and we would have it no other way.  Our lives and gifts belong to our Heavenly Father, and service to Him is an honor.

However, we have both continually struggled with loneliness.  Not in a marriage way, but in friendships.  I’ve always been dumbfounded by this.  We meet people we have lots in common with, begin to develop a friendship but then, out of the blue it seems, it just seems to dissolve.

I’m very thankful to God for the friends we found during our seminary experience.  They may be distant, but we know we can count on them to pray for us!  Unfortunately not all ministers have this experience to build upon.

lonely

But, that’s not really why I started this post.  God has been working STRONGLY in my heart lately.  He has grown a GREAT compassion for people in ministry within me.  My heart breaks a little bit every single time I talk with a ministry wife and am told by them that they don’t really have any close friends.  They have no close connections with other ministry wives.  They don’t feel that they can be truly themselves with anyone. See where I’m going?  Praying and talking with my husband, I know that ministers feel the same way their wives feel.

Something isn’t right about that.

True we have to live guarded lives, Satan prowls around for ANY way he can destroy the ministry of one of God’s chosen workers.  But, can’t we support each other, pray for each other??

So many churches seem to view the other as competition.  Oh, but it isn’t!!!  It’s about leading people to Jesus!!!

Can you imagine the image shift that churches would make in society if the ministry leaders banded together, supported each other, loved each other, befriended each other, and went out into the world as comrades?

Is there an easy solution?  No.  I know that.

But, if you are reading this, and you are a minister or ministry wife, please know this: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  There are so many others just like you, feeling the same way you feel.  Pray for them.

There are ways to connect with them. Seek them out. Ladies, one of my favorites is Contagious Joy 4 Him.  Go join with other ministry wives & be encouraged! Men, if any of you know a way for pastors or ministers to connect, please share in the comments.

Pray, pray, pray, & pray some more for the ministry leaders in your lives.  Pray that God will send them true friendships!  Encourage them!

-De

Father, I pray today for your workers.  I pray that you would send each of them true friendships built around a mutual love for You and your people.  Men and women that they can trust to be themselves around.  Free of judgement and gossip. Remove all fear of competition from between fellow workers.  Fill them with Your love and encouragement. Most of all, Abba, in the waiting, draw them into Your arms and relieve their loneliness! – Amen

 

Word Box: Joy

Let’s add the word “Joy” to our word box this week!

joy

Here are a few of my favorites:

James 1:2-3

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

Psalm 47:1

Clap your hands, all peoples!
Shout to God with loud songs of joy!

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

John 16:22

So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.

Psalm 30:5

For his anger is but for a moment,
    and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

Hebrews 12:1-2  – Christ’s joy at the cross

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

When you find yourself down, or letting someone steal your JOY, take a moment to stop and pray.  “No one will take your joy from you.” “Count it all joy.” “May the God of hope fill you with all joy.”

Please share with us some of your favorite joy verses!

-De

Menu Plan Monday: January 20

menuplanmondayThis week is a short week for us!  We are headed to visit family for a few days!  WooHoo!

Here’s what’s on our plates this week:

Monday: Chicken and Rice Soup (Carried over from last week.  I planned the meal forgetting I had a get together with area Minister’s Wives that night.  The hubby opted not to cook but eat left-overs)

Tuesday: Crispy Breaded Pork Chops with mashed potatoes – I’m almost ashamed to admit that my very Southern children have rarely ever eaten pork chops.  We’ll see how well it goes. ;) If you don’t already have The Southern Plate website book marked…you REALLY must!

Wednesday: Omelets – My kiddos have fun picking out their favorite fillings for their omelets!

Thursday – Saturday:  WooHoo!  Gonna go visit some family!  (Only shopping list items are snacks for the road.  NO ONE likes to pay gas station prices!!)

Sunday: Steak Fingers and Gravy – Have I mentioned how much I love Pioneer Woman?  She makes me happy cause my kids seem to love her food!

That’s 2 NEW recipes I’ve added to our menu this week!  *insert a little…or large…hallelujah*

What’s on your menu?

-De

Thanks for the link-up Orgjunkie.com

Words to Live By: Luke 18:16

Luke_18_16

Parents, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Friends, Neighbors…who ever you are, wherever you are.  If you are a child of God, oh please, bring the children to Him also!  I was blessed in my life to have friends and neighbors who went out of their way to make sure my siblings and I were at church as often as possible.  Today, I am SO VERY thankful to those diligent workers!  I am a forgiven daughter of the King!  I have a personal & beautiful relationship with my Heavenly Father…beyond just repeated words and worthless deeds…a REAL salvation story of my own because these people saw to it that I was introduced to the loving forgiveness that is found only in Christ!

Make sure the children in your life know Christ!

-De

Family Dates

Over the past few years, I have become increasingly aware of the true importance of my little family.  They are the most precious gifts God has given to me on this earth.  As a wife and mom, I will play many roles in this family.  And I’m truly learning to love each and every role.

But that’s not the focus of this blog post.  Today, I feel compelled to talk about family dates.  Have you ever considered the concept?  Do you already practice this?  What in the world am I talking about?

I’m talking about complete, uninterrupted time with your spouse and children.  Unplugged from the world.  Just you and them doing something together.  Laughing.  Playing.  Bonding.

I cherish my family SO very much, but I never considered how important this was until we were hit with the tragic passing of my baby sister almost 2 years ago.  It was then that I truly realized and understood how short our time here really is.

Since then I’ve purposed Family Dates.  No, they don’t happen every week, or sometimes “officially” even every month.  But they happen.  My children LOVE it.  Sometimes we’ll take them to their favorite place to eat (even if that means we may cringe with every bite of horrible fast food).  Sometimes it means popping popcorn and squishing all 4 of us on our tiny little sofa and watching a potty-humor filled kid movie. (Their belly laughs make it worth every minute.)  But we purpose to LOVE on them & each other.  We purpose to NOT be sucked into Facebook, twitter, emails, pinterest, and anything else.  We purpose to not answer the phone or text messages. (Yes, we know that being a ministry family sometimes emergencies arise, that’s different & our children are learning to understand that.  I believe they are also growing hearts of prayer warriors with these lessons.)

Sometimes, we have extended Family Dates…some may call them Family Vacations. ;)  What a wonderful blessing it is to get away with my family!!  Seeing their faces filled with childhood joy and wonder!  OH!  How I will miss these days!!

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I challenge you, if you don’t already, learn to date your family!

-De

I’m No Flylady

Last week I confessed that I am a “messy” personality.  I’m trying to learn to love that part of myself & overcome it at the same time.  Does that even make sense?  It’s a battle in my head.  I absolutely LOVE it when everything in our home is in its proper place.  I brings me great peace of mind.  Clutter causes me stress…it really does, but HOW can a house made up of 4 “messies” not have clutter??

This is my chore for today. FUN!

This is my chore for today. FUN!

I’ve been searching for the answer to that question for years!  I’ve read books, blogs, helps…you name it, I’ve probably tried it.

The first help resource I was given to try was Flylady.  I love her website and wonderful helps!  Really, if you struggle with a disorganized home, start here!

But I soon discovered that I will never be a Flylady.  It is NOT important to me that my sink is shining. ;)  While trying to follow the Flylady routine, I would get so discouraged because I just couldn’t keep that important step in order.  So, I would inevitably give up…for a while.

It wasn’t until years later that I read in the book The House That Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark, and in it she revealed to me that I wasn’t alone with struggling with the “shiny sink.”  She referred to it as a “Home Base Zone” or that place that when it’s clean and orderly provides you the most peace of mind.  I have 2 of those, the kitchen counter and my bedroom.  What a revelation! (Yes, you may laugh at my craziness. I give you permission.)  You can ask my hubby, when these 2 areas are in order, I am able to sit and relax.  If they aren’t, I will stress and busy myself with a massive clean-out of everything until these are done.  The sad thing is, I know this now, but still these are the last 2 areas I usually get it in my cleaning routine.  Crazy, right?  Usually, because they are the simplest to conquer.

We are doing fairly well with our cleaning routine so far.  Not perfect, but ok.  But one thing that I’ve learned that I feel I need to share with other ladies like me.  It’s OK to be OK.

You may not always get every dish washed and put away before bed.  That’s ok.  I would much rather take that little bit of time to read a story to my children.

You may not always get all of the laundry folded and put away.  That’s ok.  That spontaneous game of hide-and-seek with the kids was much more fun.

You may not always be able to “eat off the floors.” That’s ok. That nature walk through the yard with the family sure was wonderful.

See my point?  Sometimes it is important that you make family more important to you than a spotless house!  Family make the house a home, not the complete absence of dust. ;)

Be encouraged. Forgive yourself if you don’t get EVERYTHING done.  Love and purpose time well spent with your family.  I promise, they won’t remember nor care that you left a dirty dish in the “not-so-shiny” sink.

Now, I must hit the laundry. :)

-De

Word Box: Prayer

Today, let’s spend a little time in the Word seeking out the topic of prayer.

prayer

When we are intimately familiar with the Word of God, our prayer life can me so much more than we ever dreamed.  I truly believe that.

So, what does scripture say about prayer?  Here are a few of my favorites.  Feel free to add them to your Word Box.

Matthew 6:9-13 – The Lord’s Prayer

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name. Your kingdome come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. (For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.)

1 Thessalonians 5:17

Pray without ceasing

James 5:13-18 – The Power of Prayer

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over hime, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayer fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. The he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth more its fruit.

Romans 8:26-27

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

1 John 5:14-15

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hears and your minds in Christ Jesus.

These are a few of my favorites, and by no means all of them.  I would love for you to share some also.  Please comment below.

Be blessed,

De

Handwriting & Memory Verses

I was trying to think of something creative to share with you this week.  Necessity is the mother of invention, right?

My daughter is in first grade, so we work handwriting quite often. (Bless my little messy lefty)

We are also trying to incorporate more scripture memorization into our school year.  So, I got a little creative with our verse this week!

Please feel free to print and use!

Have a blessed day!

-De