The Wrestle Against My Contentment

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Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might….

We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.   Eph. 6:10, 12

There was a wrestle against my contentment this week.  God has me here.  It’s been so good.

In recent days, when I didn’t think my life would be more “pared” down, HE has called me to more.  Many new things inside our home are taking place.  Caring for our physical health in a new way.  These things take time, energy, focus.   We’ve been getting rid of more and more and adding in new things.  It’s adorable that Isaac will only eat one kind of bread – mom’s home made!  I now make fresh a couple times a week – during their studies at the table, I prepare the dough.  Maximus is now eating fish!  It’s been a very slow, persevering process to get “good” in him. We are all learning, being purged, and pressing on.  It’s been exciting, a joy, and a very special time serving my family and getting to places that I so yearned to get in our life.    I have struggled so long with my health, struggled and persevered with a child who has sensory issues and the eating dilemma, on and on… it’s been so good to be “HERE” – content.

The other day I looked out “there” and saw what others had. I am not speaking on material things, or monetary things at all.   More like the gatherings, the activities, the social things we see on social media.  I would not say I was coveting those things.  I knew I had contentment where I was.  What is this then?  I wrestled.  Some confusion, a cloud of chaos, and fervently seeking the Lord to pull me out of something that definitely was warring against me.  I smile as I write because I am reminded at this very moment about Jesus.   Where?  God placed him in a lonely dessert.  And the enemy came against him with all kinds of temptations.

I had told my husband I had some kind of war going on.  I told him it sounded crazy.  I even told him, this sounds like the most ridiculous thing for me to say, but part of me at this moment says “I feel lonely”, at the same time I AM NOT!  I am so filled with much with him and my children in the heart of this home.  Better than that – my God!  I realized, when my husband spoke a few words of truth, that I only felt this way when I took my eyes off of truth.  When I kept there, I knew I had everything I needed.  I was filled, content, at peace.

It was indeed the enemy.    Is this REALLY where God has me, not running off to this and that?  Am I fooling myself, and perhaps this lonely place (as I had told  my husband only when I took my eyes off truth) was the wrong place to be?  Maybe I should be yearning for those things before my eyes out there???  They are really “good things”.   Is something wrong with me for not really wanting that?   I don’t have all that, maybe this lonely feeling is because I am in the wrong and isolating myself?

Just prior to the start of this wrestling, the day before,  I had been running daily errands alone and pouring out my heart on behalf of our family to the Lord.  Even in particular for our son, in asking God for wisdom.  Praying for breakthroughs.

That night the Holy Spirit was at work!  Without a word from me to our son, God began to stir in him.  In His supernatural work, that evening we had several heart to heart talks.  God doing a work in him, and answering my prayers for breakthroughs and wisdom.

The next day, I woke to my own wrestle,  and these questions the enemy was throwing at me – casting doubt as to whether this was really me being “content” or avoiding something good.  Almost simultaneously, it came clear to me my son was wrestling again.    He coming to me several more times that day, asking for help with this stirring he couldn’t shake.  I was “HERE” in this place, not lonely, but the presence of God.  Had I been anywhere else, I would not been able to walk him through to these longings of my heart, and see the breakthroughs and victory.

Later that night, I had an opportunity to a really, truly “good thing” out there to attend.  I felt a stirring that I needed to be “HERE”.  With my husband and children.  It felt strange to not go, I had doubt arise if I was avoiding something God has for me, but felt so strongly, and had a peace  and contentment just to be “HERE” with them.  It’s where I needed to be.

And right “HERE” that evening as we sat together more happened, that would not have happened, had I been somewhere else.  I was content.   I was right where God wanted me.  I was filled.

With the seeking first the kingdom of God, comes the full care and provision of God.  (Matth. 6:3).

Through my seeking God in my wrestle in His Word and prayer I came to these things:

PUT ON THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD TO STAND AGAINST THE WILES OF THE DEVIL

A few things that hit home for me was the scripture depicts the devil as…

  1.  Opposing God’s work
  2. Hindering God’s servant
  3. Hindering the gospel

All things that were the very things God had me “HERE” to do.  God’s work, serving, and sharing the gospel.

 

PRAYING ALWAYS WITH ALL PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION IN THE SPIRIT , BEING WATCHFUL TO THIS END WITH ALL PERSEVERANCE AND SUPPLICATION FOR THE SAINTS:

What should be the character of the Believer’s prayer life?

  1. “all prayer and supplication” focuses on variety
  2.   “Always” focuses on frequency
  3. “in the Spirit” focuses on submission, as we line up with the will of God
  4. “being watchful” focuses on the manner
  5. “all perseverance” focuses on persistence.
  6.  “all saints” focuses on the objects

I had been praying for the saints.  My family.  Specific supplications.  Persevering.  Submitting to the Lord as HE lined me up with His will.  There was victory!

 

In my contentment, the prodding of the enemy was attempting to draw me away.

 

Believers are to be content in every situation because of this PROMISE:

be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Hebrews 13:5-6

This statement emphasizes the impossibility of Christ deserting believers.  It is like saying:  

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO WAY WHATSOEVER THAT I WILL EVER LEAVE YOU” ~Macarthur Notes

 

THEREFORE WE CAN BE BOLD!  So.. then we may boldly say –  “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear”  Heb. 13:6

BOLDLY – this is not the usual word for boldness.  This word has the idea of being confident and courageous!

 

More than I realize, boldness and courage come in the most small and subtle of ways.  Yet in God’s perspective there is nothing small about this.   As he urges me to be bold and courageous right “here” today.

.“..urge the younger women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”  Titus 2:4-5

This was my wrestling this week.  This was God’s victory.  HE did not leave me or forsake me, He has been my HELP.

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank Your for the Sword of the Spirit, Your Holy Word, that battles all that I and my sisters need daily in this life you have called us to.  In Jesus name – amen”

 

 

Fight the Good Fight – the Lion & the Lamb – Let’s Do This Together

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Behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world, Behold the Lion of the Tribe of Judah Has prevailed

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.  2 Tim. 4:7-8

Karate has been an immense blessing to our family.  The Godly character that is enforced, the love that is poured out on them.  Not only the physical skills and character that is so important, but the opportunities to apply  our spiritual walk with the Lord are etched into their hearts, minds and souls.  Endless opportunities!

Tomorrow our boys enter their 2nd Karate tournament along with a few other of their friends who are also apart of the family of God.

As I thought of how to get a picture into our boys’ minds of the attitude to have on this day, the Lion came to me first.

The LION- symbolic for strength.  They also live in family groups called prides.  Have their special ways in which they care for one another.

Christ Jesus our King Who rules and reigns is the Lion of Judah.   He is the POWERFUL ONE full of Strength.  Then I considered the Lamb.   Jesus  the Lamb of God, gentle and humble who came to take away the sins of the world.

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children… (Eph 5:1).   Be strong, be bold.  And at the same time, be humble.  Like Jesus Our King.

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As I pulled out my T-shirt with this logo, this became the next part of our preparations.

FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT!  

What I do know about Karate (and just a little) is it requires:

Focus – keeping the eyes and mind fixed to the goal, no turning to one side or the other, this could be harmful

Self-Control – Strength under humble control

Determination

Passion

Jesus our King, who was graciously humble and sent His son the Lamb of God to take away our sins, focused intently on His mission, with passion and determination, He went to the cross.   And  a KING so powerful raised to life victorious.

With our hearts, minds, souls fixed on Jesus we run the race.  It is a fight.  Daily temptations, selfish wills, that can easily turn our eyes off Jesus.  In Karate, taking our eyes off the target can land us in danger.  Spiritually taking our eyes off our goal is a dangerous place.  “Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” Prov. 4:27

THE IMPERISHABLE CROWN 

As we live our Christian life we live it with the anticipation of Jesus forever.  He is our Reward.   Should we  receive any earthly trophies tomorrow, these will pass away.  But the attitudes of the heart, a  humble warrior,  will carry us all the way to eternity to Jesus our Reward, that will last forever.

CHILD OF THE KING

As we step out into the battle.  We stand strong knowing who we are.  A child of the KING!  A part of His family.  CHOSEN by Him to be here right at this very moment.  Win or lose, points or no points, mistakes or perfectly executed, when it’s all said and done, our boys will walk into the loving arms of mom and dad with a big HUGE I LOVE YOU.  They are accepted, they are loved.  By us, and by their King.

No matter the results of the day, we know for sure,  we will keep fighting the good fight until the day we meet our King.  In this life, we stumble, we have days of victory, we face fears and hard situations, we live for the Lord to be continually making us better.  We learn from it all, through hard times we persevere which leads to greater strength.  As we grow in this race, we learn more and more the importance of keeping our eyes fixed on Him.

I thank God that it isn’t my performance that makes me accepted.  I am accepted simply because of Jesus great love and what He has done for me.   My heart’s desire yearns to live heartily day by day, when I stumble He picks me up in His grace, brushes me off, wipes my tears, and leads me on, holding me in His righteous right hand, strengthening me to keep fighting the good fight, all the way to my great REWARD – His KINGDOM forever.

As we enter this tournament with a few of our brothers and sisters in Christ, like the Lion and it’s Pride/family we care for one another.  Speaking words of encouragement, praying for one another, rejoicing together, and lifting up one another.  That is pretty special.

May we be humbly devoted to one another in brotherly love…  Romans 12:10

WE are in this together for the glory of the King.  “therefore, whatever you eat, drink, whatever you do, do all for the glory of God”  1 Cor. 10:31

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104 Years Ago This Day – Who Was Saved?

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The Titanic April 15, 1912 – In Memory – By Isaac

 

The Titanic,  prided  to be an  unsinkable  ship, chugged through the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean for days leading up to April 15, 1912.

 

On the night of April 14, 1912, hitting an enormous iceberg, the ship was on it’s way to sinking. Approximately 700 lives were saved.   Approximately 1,500 lives went down with the sinking ship and died in the frigid waters of that starry night.

 

700 lives saved and survived to tell their stories.  Horrific events of families, separated, parting, saying their good-byes.

 

Two days ago, I was not able to accomplish the plans I had set out for the day.  Needing some alternate plans, I was led to a movie on the history of the Titanic.  Reclined back with popcorn, we began the journey.  Enthralled by the story,  which led us to one more historical movie on the Titanic that we viewed for a family movie night.

 

The story  so tragic.  I awoke the next morning considering how many people were aboard that ship. There must have been some Christians.  Doing some early morning easy research, I discovered some really miraculous stories told by a few survivors.

 

How many WERE TRULY SAVED THAT DAY?  As tragic as this event was, I cannot help but think how God did some fine work in the midst of it all.  What I found were stories of faith, sacrifice, and opportunity for the gospel to be shared.

 

It was told that John Harper a preacher, who said good-bye to his daughter and sister as they were put on a lifeboat (for there was a women and children standard being played out as the main ones allowed on the life boats), knew his time on earth was ending soon, and he preached the gospel according to Acts 16:31 “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be SAVED…”

 

Another story told of a man who escorted his sister-in-law to a lifeboat, as he said:  “Don’t be nervous, Annie.  This will test our faith.  I must stay and let the women go.  If we never meet again on this earth, we will meet again in heaven.”  As he threw a handkerchief to her to place over her neck to keep her warm.  Eye witnesses said he later returned to the ship’s band and called on the musicians to play “Nearer My God To Thee”.

 

One other fascinating story is a man who did survive after the ship went down.  He had escorted many women and children into the life boat and sunk deep within the waters along with the multitude of others in the ship.  Somehow (as the movie put it) he made it back to the top and was able to grab onto a piece of floating wood until rescued.  It is reported however, in my deeper research he gave credit to God.  “a doubt never entered my mind as to the ability of the Divine power to save me”.  It is reported he said,   “These words from the 91st Psalm came to me so distinctly:  “He shall give His angels charge over thee.”  And “nothing is impossible with God”.

 

The next day, we proceeded onward  with my extra findings.  As my boys and I sat in our living room on April 14, 2016 I asked them.  What would you do?  I know this is a hard question to pose to an 11 and 13 year old boy.

 

Life is full of the unexpected and we must be prepared.  Not with the plans that we make, but with the wisdom of God to help us through.  Plans fall apart, we face the unexpected, yet God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever and He is all we need.

 

What did some of these men of faith do in their tragic situation?  While the documentaries share of the tragedy, we go deeper and find a God who was with them in the midst of it all.

 

What I saw play out vividly was a few that held onto their faith.  And I cannot help but think that had an affect on many, even in the worst of circumstances.

 

What did these men do?

  1.  Preached the gospel  (Acts 16:31).
  2. Drew near to God (holding onto His word-and probably did some praying) James 4:8
  3. May have worshiped (as Paul and Silas in jail did) as eye witnesses attest to – PS: 95:6
  4. Believed nothing was impossible with God and held onto that – Matthew 19:26
  5. Believed that His angels were with them, helping them on earth, and if the time be carry them to eternity.  – PS.  91:11.

Who WAS SAVED THAT DAY?  It is reported about 700 lives survived.  After my findings, I cannot help but consider the high probability that in these last hours and minutes as men of faith preached, worshiped, helped, and held onto the LORD – that quite likely MANY who went down with the ship on this earth, were raised to LIFE AND SAVED for all eternity.  I cannot help but believe that sometimes, when men are in their most desperate times, there is no other hope, men call out and believe.  Many knew their time was ending soon here, and I have a great hope because the WORD was preached, MANY MORE were TRULY SAVED on the spot and entered glory.

 

Sharing this journey with our boys was a true blessing.  For one, once again, my plans could not be accomplished and yet GOD had another plan.  On the spot, He took us on this journey.

 

An emotional one.  That actually caused tears and reflection when I told of the heroes, the good-byes, the lives that were in so much fear.  And yet the men of faith, who held on and honored the Lord and hopefully brought many more to Jesus.

 

Something special that happened this week.  My plans were laid aside for God’s greater plan.  How many times do I expect a day to go one way, and yet in this home schooling journey God takes us on another? Many.

 

It’s simply a WONDER that this plan God had, was exactly to the DAY of the actual events that took place 104 years ago.  This brought such connection to our boys.  Imagine… boys, today is April 14, children like you were on a ship, enjoying life.  And then the most unthinkable happened.  Tears welled up for the lives that went through suffering and sadness and loss.  Imagining being in their shoes, and how hard this would be.  They were encouraged, however, that Jesus is the ONE we need everyday of our lives. They were encouraged to see the men of faith, who held onto HOPE in JESUS.

 

We have HOPE that through this sad time, God SAVED more than 700, but He saved SOULS that are with Him forever.

 

And that is a story worth telling.  And this is a life worth living.  Sharing the gospel each day with my children, worshiping, praying, drawing near to God, holding onto His promises.  He is the one who has helped me through all the unexpected.  Through the birth of our firstborn suffering a stroke.  Through all the days of home schooling and not in the way I always planned for it to be at all.  Yet, God has been with me.  And as He saved my soul, He continues to save us daily.  He is with us through the difficulties, and draws us nearer and nearer to Him.

 

May we go where God leads.  May our hope be in Him.   When we are at the end of ourselves, and relying on the ONE Who saves, we are truly living in light of His Kingdom for eternity.

 

80 years later riches were found along with pieces of this giant ship, in the depths of the ocean swallowed up as if nothing.  May we remember the riches to be found in His glorious Kingdom.  And store up for ourselves daily treasures in heaven.  Investing into the lives of our family.  Investing in one another according to God’s word the things that will last forever.

 

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:19-21

 

This wrapped up our studies this week.  A grande finale’ tie in to our study on the the Great Titanic Ship.

 

Treasures that sit at the bottom of an ocean.  OR treasures that will last forever?  Let us live for the things that will last forever.  Let us invest today, tomorrow, for all eternity.

 

 

 

 

 

From Complacency to Generosity – Ignite the Fire

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God put a word in my heart at the beginning the day. GENEROSITY. Considering it my motivation to be generous in giving to my husband and children. The Lord took me from feeling a bit complacent that morning. And with a new mindset experienced the richness of the LORD all day long.

 

Later that night we decided to go for an evening walk, which is rare for us. Three little neighbor kids followed us (when we were almost home) wanting to pet our little dog. My flesh at first split second was wanting to get home , in another instant GENEROSITY hit me (the Holy Spirit prompting me to share, give, be generous with my TIME rather than rush back to my home and my things) and I turned immediately around and spoke to those precious children. God using our dog for me to share about HIM a bit.

 

“he’s very old. Yes. His name is Harry. But we also call him super dog. He is super because he is very old and yet he just ran strong today because God’s power is keeping him going. Do you know God? Do you know that he loves you soooooo very much? (heads shake, eyes wide and smile in wonder)”…..

 

As I paused in my speaking, the LORD oh SO generous blew my mind, when our 11 year old began speaking Gen. 1:1 and on, telling the children in story fashion. They all sat down attentively to listen on the side of the road, eyes up, in awe and wonder (not a peep)… LISTENING.  I was thinking, is this really happening?  How precious is this very moment?  I could have missed with complacency.  That God’s generosity wins!  I was in shock that my son kept going… 26 verses later – most to the “t” some paraphrased, and a few scriptures brought in from other places in the bible like He created the stars and calls them all by name.

 

Later he told me he stopped there, because he said he was getting low on his breath…LOL! And that next time he’ll pick up where he left off.   Verses I had no idea he memorized in his quiet time with God.

 

God is generous in showing HIS power at work.   I have been praying about this boy lately, asking specifically how God wants us to direct him in His plan for our son.  Looking at his ability to memorize animals facts and the love and passion inside of him.  In a world that would label him, in a world of labels of disability for those things that don’t fit into a mold, in world that would want to tame the energy and passion inside of him, God is GENEROUSLY showing me (I am in shock and awe) more than I even realized what He is doing in our son.

 

I am THANKFUL for the HOLY SPIRIT, WHO empowered me with the WORD GENEROSITY through a sermon based on God’s Holy Word, I had listened to first thing in the morning. (in the morning when I rise give me Jesus).  A sermon mostly on missions afar.  A comment about GENEROSITY.  That one piece ignited me for the day. Thinking the most of the message didn’t pertain as I was not away on missions, but at home. But also knowing the mission field is great right in the heart of the home. Discipling our boys everyday. And ministering to my husband.

 

Ignited by the sermon in the morning, I then looked up some scriptures on GENEROSITY. The first one I read hit me so right on… and makes me laugh at God’s presence, and perfect words, to GET ME GOING!

“But a generous man devises generous things,
And by generosity he shall stand.
Rise up, you women who are at ease,
Hear my voice;
You complacent daughters,
Give ear to my speech.” Isaiah 32:8-9

 

Can you tell why this was so relevant to me this morning? His mercies are new every morning, great is HIS faithfulness.

 

We made GENEROSITY our devotions for the morning together:
The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor. Prov. 22:9
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Prov. 11:25

 

We spoke on the many ways in which we can be GENEROUS (and the ways in which God has been generous to us-too many to count – but first and foremost saving our souls):

With our TIME – helping others with a joyful heart
WIth our Words – speaking life and encouragement
With our Money – to help the church and others around us
Just to name a few… (we shared of more)

 

I am so thankful through the empowering of God’s word I did not remain complacent this day. There is a difference between needing rest, and simply complacent in the flesh with no good reason to not want to get up and truly live in Jesus for the day.   I know the difference.  My spirit willing, my flesh weak, PRAISE BE TO GOD through the POWER OF HIS WORD His Spirit IGNITED. Ready to be generous from the depths of my heart toward my husband and children this day. And if He wills taking it further onward and outside these walls to the world.  And He did.

 

As the sermon spoke of missions, this is my first missions as wife and mother. And yet HE blessed, to call us further outside the walls at His proper time right here on little old 8th Street sharing Jesus with the little children.

 

Thanks be to God He ignited a fire and has been SO GENEROUS TO US! “for God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, will not perish, but have everlasting life” Jn. 3:16.

 

The blessings of this day and seeing Him move cause me to shout and sing and praise and rejoice!

 

We all took into our hearts, minds, and souls God’s WORD of generosity. And not only our evening trip brought opportunity to experience generosity, but right here in the heart of our home earlier that day. Our oldest taking heed to the call to be generous and speaking life and encouragement into his brother in the most unexpected time and way.

 

Generosity given each day at the heart of what God calls us to, He multiplies and truly does refresh OUR SOULS!

Harry Boy

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So our elderly pup, Harry boy is slowing down more and more. This has been a true lesson in love with this guy. We will love him to the end of his time here and forever in our hearts. He’s still here with us, but able to do less and less. He is still happy and not in pain-we are thankful for that. His eyesight is weakening quickly. His walk is wobbly, his balance is challenged at moments. Isaac’s room has become a somewhat make shift “hospital” situation with a guard rail around his bed (they sleep together) and some other special things to help aide in his lack of ability to always tells us it’s potty time. It is a sweet time of helping this guy along, seeing the love pour out greater and greater from the heart seat of emotion in my guys. I know God is walking with us through this life and will provide the comfort we need when we have to say good-bye. It’s amazing how much a little fuzzy guy can impact your life for 16 years and counting. He’s been apart of our home schooling days, and almost ERASED my important notes on my dry erase board the other day as he wiggled by with his fuzzy body… LOL! I can truly say God has and still is continuing to work through the gift of this pup.

Trip to Lebanon




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Finished our 3 DAY trip to LEBANON AND a stop by in ISRAEL – Immanuel God is with us through it all.

Was not expecting God to move so richly and unexpectedly through, of all things, a study on LEBANON!!!??!!

HE is an awesome God! I pray to Him in even the tiniest pieces of doing life. Yes even picking out the paint at the craft store. “I want this to be for You LORD ” I need HIM! With prayer I pulled together in an hour or so wonderful free resources. The WORD OF GOD the ultimate resource. Took a journey via youtube through the Ancient Cedars of Lebanon. Discovered places Jesus walked and delivered a demon possessed girl. Bible prophesy of Zechariah. The place early Christians fled to during persecution and further spread the Gospel, the history of the CEDARS of LEBANON, that the people there value highly today, and desperately attempting to preserve what is left of the ancient forest. The building of Solomon’s temple using trees from the Ancient Cedars of Lebanon forest.

 

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AND Incredible biblical application to our very lives relating to the CEDARS of LEBANON. A quick 30 min. run to the craft store one evening which led to ART! Beautiful paintings of the CEDAR of LEBANON – God’s symbol of strength. The rare swamp cats of the country. Grande finale’ is our visit today for Lebanese Cuisine. Sun is shining.

 

And the way in which GOD directed my thoughts and steps is a huge praise to HIM! Not to mention that two boys just 11 and 13 able to connect because the Lord has shown me the way, able to sit, study, focus, engage, learn, grow in JESUS and enjoy!!! That is a gift from God! Things that my heart desired and HE has given me the desires of my heart. Do not grow weary in doing good! You will reap if you do not lose heart.

 

This whole journey has been one rich in JESUS! I am GRATEFUL! To God be the GLORY! It’s not about what you know!!  Seriously, true here. BUT WHO YOU KNOW! “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13. Holy God to Whom all praise is due, I STAND IN AWE OF YOU!

 

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