Who Are You Looking At?

Brian heard a speaker last week who was demonstrating how when we oppose someone we are facing them, but when we are following someone we are looking at their back.

He also introduced us to this song and Sarah fell in love with it.  I think we listened to it 5 times on Tuesday alone!  It’s a catchy tune, but the words are powerful!  The timing of the two events had to be God’s weaving life together as a way of speaking to me, because these were words I needed to hear right now.  Isn’t it amazing how God weaves the threads of life together to create a beautiful tapestry!

Define Me by Johnny Diaz

He doesn’t use a pitchfork
He doesn’t have a tail
He comes disguised as fear and lies
To remind you when you’ve failed
He doesn’t wear a red suit
And he doesn’t smell like smoke
He sneaks around ’til he finds your doubt
And that’s where he makes his home

But when he comes for you
All you gotta do

Is take a look at the devil right square in the eye
And tell him I have believed you for the very last time
Devil, I know you’ve been lying to me
You do not define me
‘Cause all of your power has been swept away
Your threats are as empty as Jesus’ grave
So devil, go get behind me
You do not define me

He knows the ways we’re different
Where we’re tempted to choose a side
Takes the beauty in our diversity
And he’ll use it to divide
And he’ll split us over doctrine
Or the color of our skin
And when we fight with fear and hate
He’s the only one who wins

But when he comes your way
Just put him in his place

Just take a look at the devil right square in the eye
And tell him I have believed you for the very last time
Devil, I know you’ve been lying to me
You do not define me
‘Cause all of your power has been swept away
Your threats are as empty as Jesus’ grave
So devil, go get behind me
You do not define me, no

One Name above all names
Defines who I am, allows me to say that
I’ve got the victory
Over the enemy
One God above all gods
Who knows who I am, and gives what I’ve got and
I’ve got authority
To make the devil flee

So look that devil square in the eye
Saying devil, I’m so tired of your lies
No, you do not define me
‘Cause all of your power has been swept away
Your threats are as empty as Jesus’ grave
So devil, go get behind me
You do not define me
Yeah, devil, go get behind me
You do not define me, no

I know I forget sometimes that the enemy only has the power I give him.  He is powerless without my cooperation.  He has no authority.  However, through Jesus, I have the authority to make him flee.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”   James 4:7

 I don’t know about you, but I definitely want to be looking straight into the enemy’s eyes while following behind Jesus.

His threats are as empty as Jesus’ grave

So devil, go get behind me

You do not define me.

Living thru faith,

Misty

 

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A New Life into a Living Hope

I have been stewing on events and thoughts and words for a few days now and not really knowing how to piece it all together coherently.  Today I felt like the Lord was knitting it together a little more, so I’m going to try to get what is in my heart and head out on virtual “paper”…

A day or two after the horrific school shooting in Florida, I began reading 1 Peter and was struck with the words Peter wrote in verse 3.

“…In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope…” 

Those words have painted such a beautiful picture in my head and has stayed with me over the last few days – new birthLiving hope –

Both sides can argue gun control until everyone is blue in the face and no one is going to walk away satisfied with the outcome of that argument.  But what we cannot argue is the fact a gun is an inanimate object.  There are no living components.  Only metal pieces molded and assembled together, lifeless.  There is nothing a gun can do without a human connection.

It is that humanness that causes us to live in a world with broken people.

It is that humanness that has allowed us to take God out of our schools, out of our jobs, out of our relationships, out of our families, even out of our churches.

When we take God out of our lives, we are left hopeless.

When we take God out of our day to day lives, we allow the enemy a foothold that he will fight to keep.  The enemy has been fighting hard and he has been winning battles.

Are you willing to fight even harder than the enemy?

Are you willing to stand up and say “I’m putting God back where He belongs”?

We, and, yes, I mean each one of us, have allowed the enemy to get hold of our schools, our lives, our churches. We have allowed our humanness to become more important and prevalent than our God.

We have walked away from the Living Hope.

Our living hope comes through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Our living hope will sustain us every day as we as walk through this life filled with brokenness.  Our living hope will take that brokenness and knit it back together, heal it, and make it whole again.

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“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”  1 Peter 1:3-5 (NIV)

God has given us a new birth into a living hope.

Grasp that hope.

Live a new life.

Live a new life filled with living hope.

Live out that living hope in every part of your life so that others will see that hope in your life and want it for themselves.

Living thru faith,

Misty

 

 

 

February is the New January

Yep, that is what I have decided.  I’m starting 2018 with February!  In all honesty, I’m actually still a little behind from the beginning of the month.  So, oh, well!  I guess that will just have to be the theme of the year. Lol!

Despite our best efforts, Sarah, Brian and I started out the new year sick.  When someone gets sick while you are traveling, there is just not much you can do to keep it from spreading.  Unfortunately, it was about two weeks into January before we all were feeling back to normal.  Now we are doing a lot of praying and using Thieves hand purifier like crazy anytime we go out to places like Walmart, just trying to keep from getting the flu.

[I interrupt this moment for a Public Service Announcement:  If you are sick, do not try to be a martyr and work through it.  For all our sakes, STAY HOME!!]

Now, this doesn’t mean that nothing got done in January.  We did have some accomplishments.  I just had so much more planned.  So many changes or tweaks I planned to make.  Adjustments I wanted to make to get into better routines and rhythms for each day.  I had business plans and ministry plans and school plans.  But, part of my goal for 2018 is being ok with those things that don’t get done.  So, I’m going to take a moment to breathe, pray, and then take one more step forward.  (Of course, that may be easier said than done some days.)

So as far as January goes, …

… I did get a menu planned for the entire month – even though I was making adjustments most of the time.  It did simplify my grocery list process and helped me think through meals a little quicker on a weekly basis.  (I’m already making adjustments to the February menu, but the full month is planned!)

… I worked out our basic homeschool lesson plans between now and the end of the year!  This was huge for me!!!  Each week I will have to make adjustments because, well, life happens and plans change.  Plus, I still have a few extra things I would like for us to do this year that just haven’t happened yet, so I am hoping to add those in soon.

 

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… We reorganized Sarah’s closet!  Before Christmas we switched Daniel and Sarah’s room because she needed the bigger closet.  However, it was a pretty much a – throw it in and we will deal with it later – event.  It is now sooo much better!

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… Brian & I worked through our calendars through June and specifically scheduled Date Nights.  (Yes, it has only taken us 25 years of marriage to get this concept down.) We are trying to get in at least two official Date Nights a month. We had our first monthly Basement Movie Night in January.  It’s freezing in our basement, so we settled in under blankets, turned on the space heater, and watched our movie pick for the month.  The ending turned out really bad, so we created our own alternate ending.  Bad guys still lost, the good one didn’t die and everyone lived happily ever after.  Come on Hollywood, get it right next time!

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… I tried out my new Instant Pot!  I’ve made bean soup, roasted potatoes, several batches of rice, pork chops, mashed potatoes, chicken drumsticks, and chicken wings.  It is not always a specific time saver, but it is definitely a leave it and forget it deal.  I managed to cook in it 4 times in one day and I wasn’t home all day!

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… and Sarah and I painted our dining room and sitting room.  Those rooms had dots all over the walls from where we had put up Sarah’s birthday decorations.  The paint on the walls in this house is horrible!  It stains like crazy.  The timeline for repainting has been moved up, especially now that the other rooms are done and they make the rest look even worse.  However, in the process we discovered that the crappy paint on the walls also alters the color of the new paint.  So my Brook Green shows up as Brook Blue.  The paint on the can, in the pan, and even on the sheet rock in the basement stairwell is all green, the paint on the wall is blue.  That will put a whole new spin on future paint choices.

So, I guess that was not too shabby for a month that really didn’t happen!

I’m still trying to catch up and work through some projects that need to be done, but hopefully everyone will stay well and I can be productive enough to get on to developing those routines and rhythms I wanted to put in place.

But through all the ups and downs, the chaos, adjustments, and complete overhauls, I can hold fast to this promise:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

Living thru faith,

Misty

 

Simplify 2018

Simplify

[sim-pluh-fahy]

  1. to make less complex or complicated; make plainer or easier

For the last couple of months I have felt the Lord telling me to simplify.  Sounds heavenly, right?!  My life is crazy and it seems to get crazier by the day.  It’s not that the things filling my life are not important.  I can justify everything that is causing the craziness.  So what am I supposed to give up?  What am I supposed to stop doing?

Over these months of asking these questions, I think I finally have an answer.

Nothing.

Say what?!

Yep. Nothing.

But, wait.  There’s more. Not only am I not supposed to give up anything, I am supposed to be adding to it.  You know, sometimes the Lord makes no sense!  How do I simplify my life when I have to keep doing everything I’m doing plus add more to my plate?  Really, Lord?!  Could you give me a little more direction, please?

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”  Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)

I still don’t know how this is going to work, but I have come to a few realizations…

Time..

I need more time with God. I need more time in prayer, more time in study, more time sitting in His presence.

Priorities…

I have to re-evaluate, re-examine, and re-organize.  My two top priorities (after time with God) are taking care of my family and homeschooling my daughter. Everything else has to revolve around those two.

Focus…

My focus has to change.  Changing my focus will change why I do things.  Changing my focus will change how I do things.  Changing my focus is where I simplify.

By definition, simplify means to make it less complicated; make it less complex, plainer…easier.  But let us not confuse easier with easy.  Making things easier or simpler, can actually be very hard.  Making my life less complicated and less complex, is going to take a lot of work. I may have to do more to make something simpler, because my focus is on the why not the how.  Decisions are going to have to be made.  Some of those decisions are going to be hard.  Some are not going to be popular, even with myself. Some are not going to make sense to anyone else or even to me.

But spending time focusing on the One who determines my priorities and my focus

that makes life less complicated, less complex, plainer, a little easier…

simpler.

Living thru faith,

Misty

Joy for the Journey

As we continue our Advent Study, this week we are looking at Joy.

“You will teach me God’s way to live.  Being with you will fill me with joy.  At your right hand I will find pleasure forever.”  Psalm 16:11 (ICB)

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“….Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10

Oh, the Joy of the Lord! It’s that Joy  which gives us the strength to keep taking one more step when the journey gets hard.

The Joy that fills us with hope that all will be right again.

The Joy that causes us to smile in the midst of pain and brings us peace in the midst of chaos.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ” Romans 15:13

True, deep, hope-filled joy only comes from God.  How amazing that even when our hearts seem to only be filled with sadness, God’s joy remains!

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”   John 15:11

I think Sarah summed it all up well…

“It is saying that if we follow God he will teach us the right way to live so he can give us the joy that comes from him and us being with him!  And, as the scripture says, we will find all the pleasure we can ever have just by being at his right hand!  Not to mention, I think that it’s also saying that is all the joy we will ever need!”

May you be filled with Joy of the Lord this Christmas season and all the seasons to come, the only joy that is all we will ever need!

Living thru faith,

Misty