Ooooooh, Eve

This is not a deep theological post…it’s more of a quick note regarding my frustration at the loads and loads of laundry that seem to multiple daily!

So, when Eve took that bite of the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden, that God said not to touch, and then realized she was naked and put on fig leaves to cover herself…do you REALLY think she realized what she got herself in to?

Do think that God, though upset, smiled to Himself thinking, “Oh, honey. Fig leaves now…but wait until people fill their closets with clothes to wear each week. You just took hours and days and years away from the lives of people in the future!”.

Pains of childbirth, ruled over by our husbands AND laundry. God knew what He was doing.

What I learned today…Not to expect chores to be done unless I ask for them to be done. I need to be specific as in a house full of boys, NO ONE can read my mind.

Laundry

 

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Work in Progress

As I am reading through the Bible, trying to learn how to be the best leader I can, I am stuck on 1 Timothy. In Chapter 3 Paul talks about how an overseer must be temperate and self-controlled among other things.

Those two ways of being are both VERY hard for a passionate, impulsive person like me!

Now I can use the cop-out of, that is how God made me…OR I can understand that I want to obtain maturity be being able to be temperate and self-controlled.

Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean subdue and a passive doormat. It just means there is a time and a place.

What I learned today…To remember that the Fruits of the Spirit show Maturity in Christ. I can say I am following the Bible…but in less I am growing in each of these areas, I’m not growing in my maturity as a believer.

Fruits of the Spirit

Why Wait?!?!?!

Just Say Yes

Some people wait until the last second. They wait until they land in the hospital. Until they find out they have a life-threatening disease. They wait until they have more time. They wait until their death bed…to say, Yes, to Jesus.

Why? A lot of the time it is because they don’t want to follow all the “rules”. They don’t want to be held accountable, or KNOW that they will be held accountable. They don’t want to take the time to be “good” and follow what the Bible says…all of it.

They are also missing out on all of God’s promises.

They are missing out on years of being blessed in extraordinary ways.

They are missing out on hope.

They are missing out on an eternal family, that starts NOW.

What I learned today…I am so thankful I didn’t wait until the last minute. I had NO idea how amazing it feels to be in my forever family. Even the lows aren’t so low. I have HOPE.

Praying we are overwhelmed with people prepared to take a leap of faith and say YES, JESUS, now. At Easter. All over the world.

Day 6: Good Friday’s Trial, Crucifixion, Death and Burial

Today we’ll trace Jesus’ steps on Good Friday, the most difficult day of Passion Week. Christ’s journey turned treacherous and acutely painful in these final hours leading to his death.

According to Scripture, Judas Iscariot, the disciple who had betrayed Jesus, was overcome with remorse and hanged himself early Friday morning.

Meanwhile, before the third hour (9 a.m.), Jesus endured the shame of false accusations,  condemnation, mockery, beatings, and abandonment.

After multiple unlawful trials, he was sentenced to death by crucifixion, one of the most horrible and disgraceful methods of capital punishment.

Before Christ was led away, soldiers spit on him, tormented and mocked him, and pierced him with a crown of thorns.

Then Jesus carried his own cross to Calvary where, again, he was mocked and insulted as Roman soldiers nailed him to the wooden cross.

Jesus spoke seven final statements from the cross.

His first words were, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34, NIV).

His last were, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46, NIV)

Then, about the ninth hour (3 p.m.), Jesus breathed his last and died.

By 6 p.m. Friday evening, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea (Ar·i·ma·thea \ˌa-rə-mə-ˈthē-ə\), took Jesus’ body down from the cross and lay it in a tomb.

Take a few moments to let the events of this day sink in…

and pray.

 

Read More – Friday’s events are recorded in Matthew 27:1-62, Mark 15:1-47, Luke 22:63-23:56, and John 18:28-19:37.

What I learned today…I need to remember this day throughout the year, not just on this one day. I need to remember the true meaning of the cross every time I see one.

 

Holy Week is Coming!

As we head in to Holy Week preparing for Easter. Let’s take a look at what the week looked like for Jesus each day.

Take time in your day to pause and reflect as you read. If you find yourself with a few more moments, go to your Bible and look up the “Read More” verses at the bottom of each daily blog.

This is what our week will look like –

Sunday – Day 1: Palm Sunday’s Triumphal Entry of Jesus in to the City

Monday – Day 2: Jesus Clears the Temple

Tuesday – Day 3: Mount of Olives

Wednesday – Day 4: The Bible is quiet about this day…was it a day of rest and anticipation for Jesus?

Thursday – Day 5: Passover, The Last Supper…if you haven’t taken part in a Passover supper, find one in your area or Click here for directions as it is a VERY moving experience.

Friday – Day 6: Trial, Crucifixion, Death, Burial

Saturday – Day 7: A day in the tomb

Sunday – Day 8: Resurrection Sunday!!!

Moving through this exercise for this week, I pray God speaks to you through the verses. I pray He prepares your heart by helping you get one step closer to Him.

I pray that as you walk through the week, you remember Jesus Christ died and rose for YOU. That you are loved and can have hope that you will be able to thank Him when you get to heaven.

I pray that you are so firm in your faith that you reach out to invite others to go to an Easter service with you. I pray those people find a connection with Jesus and give their lives to Him.

What I learned today…we need to walk through this week every year. Slowly and intentionally.

 

Old Friends, Rock’n Roll & My Big Butt

Saturday night we were invited to a party and a friend’s house and another friend’s band was playing their yearly St. Patty’s Day gig.

I would love to say I was having a hard time deciding which one to go to, but I wasn’t. My heart wanted to attend both and have fun like the “good ‘ole days”, but my mind was saying…NOOOOOOOOO! Have you seen your butt?!?!?

I have already written about my insecurity about my size. I have started the road to becoming healthier. I have NOT gotten my self-esteem on track with the issue. Did I REALLY want to go to two different parties and have a BLAST with old friends, catching up with them and their lives, hearing about their families? Of course I did. Was I going to allow myself to be stopped by my own insecurities? Of course.

That played in to the tantrum I wrote about yesterday as well.

We went to our church service, and as I walked in, I realize how much of our lives have changed. Do I miss going crazy and partying each weekend? To be honest, yes, sometimes. Do I miss hanging out watch friends get crazy and dance around? Yes, sometimes. But I realized, we were sitting in service with our best friends. They have been a constant for the last 3 years. They know the new redeemed and transformed Julie and Chad.

I sat there asking God if I would ever feel comfortable with my size. He reminded me I am working on it and with His help all things are possible. I told Him I was sad I wasn’t able to go see old friends perform…and then an old friend walked on to the stage. At church. To sing. I almost giggled out loud as my eyes welled with tears. emily b She sang a beautiful song that went straight to my heart. Even these lyrics that were on the screen as I took the picture… It reminded me, If God is with me, who can be against me?

I don’t have to worry about my big butt. Jesus loves me right where I am. He wants me to be healthy, but I shouldn’t stop going places and doing things because of how I look. I have nothing to prove. I can enjoy life knowing that I have no one to prove myself too.

What I learned today…My God loves me, unconditionally and will be with me wherever I go. I need to kick my insecurities to the curb and keep THAT fresh in my mind. No more excuses or big “buts”.

 

 

When You Are Down

So, we know I battle with feelings of inadequacy and go through waves of depression. One of the things I have found that helps me is to save the positive and affirming things that can lift me up. It could be a verse, a picture, a note, any number of things.

As I found a LOT of people battle with insecurity, our team decided to do something about it. First we became the team that encourages. We found that 8 out of 10 people enjoy being encourage and it’s lightens their day. When we have seen their responses, it then cause us to feel joyful.

Next, we all have “Happy Boxes” that we keep near our desks. Whenever someone leaves a quick note, sends a letter, emails a thank you, we put it in our Happy Box. When we are feeling a bit blue or feel like we aren’t making a difference, or not being used, or not effective…I could go on and on…we open our “Happy Box” and remember that God has us right where we are for a reason. We might not see it at the moment, but we have been loved, effective, used, etc…20160224_101933

If you don’t have one, start today. If you don’t feel like you are encouraged much, look harder. Save birthday and holiday cards. Even if the relationship has gone sour, you can remember better times. Save encouraging posts, verses, pictures. If someone says something positive about you on Social Media, copy and paste then print it and add it to your collection.

Most importantly, remember that you are never alone. That you are loved by the Most High. You are His son/daughter who He cherishes.

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.  ~ Augustine

God is love. He didn’t need us. But he wanted us. And that is the most amazing thing.  ~ Rick Warren

God’s unfailing love for us is an objective fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures. It is true whether we believe it or not. Our doubts do not destroy God’s love, nor does our faith create it. It originates in the very nature of God, who is love, and it flows to us through our union with His beloved Son.  ~ Jerry Bridges

One of the greatest evidences of God’s love to those that love him is, to send them afflictions, with grace to bear them.  ~ John Wesley

 

Ephesians 3:14-21

A Prayer for the Ephesians

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a]in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

What I learned today…We all need a little pick me up every now and then. I am so thankful for all the notes left on my desk and encouraging emails. They bring me more joy than the writers will ever know.

Chad vs Julie

Okay, so my husband and I are both very competitive. What helps? HUMOR.

Back when I was doing everything I could to work on our relationship, I read a book called The Five Love Languages.

It basically talks about how we all have a different view of what love looks like. Some feel loved by affirmation, some by receiving gifts, physical touch, time spent, and acts of service.

I talked about it with Chad, way back when, and realized, his love language is absolutely physical touch. That mixed with time spent. UGH. Mine are the opposite. I’m more of an affirmation and gifts type of person.

When I realized how different we are, and how I was doing to him what I like, I realized I needed to make a change. I started touching him more. Yes, I did hope that meant he’d start working on showing me he loved me the way I feel it, but that isn’t how it works.

I started touching his back more. Grabbing his hand. Holding his arm. Sitting close. It wasn’t something I was used to doing, it was something I was made aware he needed.

As I started to purposefully touch him more when I was around him…and be around him more, I noticed, he became happier! Isn’t that funny how it works.

He wasn’t even aware I was purposefully doing it, until a funny interaction happened today.

The conversation went like this…

I walked by while he was shaving and I started scratching his back lightly.

He said, “Thank you. I love when you do that.”

I said, “I know. I do it purposefully.  You told me you liked it so I do it.”

He said, “That is so nice!”

I said, “I had to learn to do it…kinda like I was hoping you’d learn to affirm me and give me gifts. Ha Ha”.

He responded with, “Wow. That must mean I’m a much better teacher”.

BWHAHAHAHAH

I couldn’t stuck on what I wasn’t getting, but look at that humor. I love the man. It could’ve gone south, but his response was perfect!

What is something you do for your roommate, sibling, parent, spouse, etc… that you do because you know they like it, not because you get something out of it?

What I learned today…Remember what makes my people happy and do it. The joy I can find in their happiness is priceless. AND continue to remind them what makes me happy. Especially if they aren’t natural inclined to do it.

 

The “Wedding” Verse, Again

Going back to the “Wedding Verse” and remembering, again, it’s not just a verse for weddings….Read 1 Corinthians below and think of the people in your life…those you are surrounded by…your friends, old and new…your family, kids, parents, spouse, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents…at work, your boss, co-workers, employees, …

”If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails….”

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Sometimes the most significant truth is the easiest to overlook.  While reading self-help books and motivational books on leadership can be incredibly helpful and necessary, Paul, the author of Corinthians, reminds us that if we do not begin on a foundation of love, then all of our actions in the name of our faith are worth absolutely nothing.

Likely, we don’t wake up one day with the intent to leave out love.  Rather, it is something we forget as we get wrapped up in the busy details of our daily life.  Paul’s words are a HUGE reminder to the church to not forget our identity as loved people who are called to love others.  Yet, even when we forget, we are met by our loving God, who forgives us and shows us how to do life based on love.

Take a moment to reflect on the relationships God has put around you.  Are those relationships built on a foundation of love?  Are there ways you can change your behavior today to love others the way it directs us to in the verses above?

Remember, this isn’t about beating yourself up on how you have treated others.  Rather, it’s a time to reflect and look to God.  How might he be inviting you into deeper expressions of love…His love?

Today I learned…God puts people in our life that take a little extra grace so we can grow. Our job is to love those people. God made them for a reason, too.

Not the Lord’s Prayer!

I grew up hating the Lord’s prayer. Why? Because whenever something bad would happen, I would be told, “God says to forgive” “You HAVE to forgive, we say it in our prayers”. Regardless of how I felt about being hurt or taken advantage of, I was constantly reminded of the Lord’s Prayer “Forgive others” Matthew 6:12.

When I heard our Pastor was going to teach on the Lord’s prayer, years ago, I didn’t want to go to service. Though I had told God I would go to every weekend service, I didn’t want to go, just to be made to feel bad that I didn’t forgive people that had been hurting me as a child.

Of course, I went. And God did what God does…He showed me something new in the Lord’s prayer. Well, I learned a lot that is new, but what changed my trajectory, was hearing someone say the verses out loud to me. Read Matthew 6:12 now…

“and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.”

What does it say BEFORE it talks about forgiving others?

Forgive US OUR sins. CRAP! All the years I spent not loving this prayer, pointing fingers at others, holding on to resentment, anger and hate. All the years spent VERY angry that God wanted me to forgive, when I didn’t want to…

Jesus, in this prayer, taught us to ask for forgiveness first. Man, He has always worked overtime forgiving me for all I have done. I had not been a great person. I was the prodigal daughter out to please myself in the world for a long period of time. Here God was, speaking to me through this prayer. Telling me to remember that I have a lot of baggage on my shoulders that I should be working on, not worrying about pointing fingers at people who have wronged me.

Think of the verse Matthew 7:5 “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

I started praying….God, I am so very sorry for all I have done. I know I have made HUGE sins against you. I know in my heart you can forgive me right away, but please help heal my mind. Help me grasp on to the truth that you already knew what I’d do and have already forgiven me because you love me so much. Thank you for sending your Son to pay for all of my sins. God, help me work on myself more. Help me learn to be as forgiving as you. I love you and trust you.

I now absolutely love the Lord’s prayer. I encourage you to read Matthew 6 and see what God has to say about someone you haven’t forgiven. And start praying.

Matthew 6

What I learned today…To remember to recite the Lord’s Prayer and be thankful Jesus came to be and example and teach us how to live.