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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Joy!!


I found this quote tonight, and thought I'd post it to help carry you all through the rest of the week. ;) The Joy of The Lord is your strength!! When work gets overwhelming and stressful, when your family is driving you nuts, when it seems like your day is falling apart at the seams, when you just need strength...Turn to Him! Pray, meditate on God's Word, and ask Him to renew your joy. If Satan can steal your joy, BAM. He's succeeded in stealing your strength as well. Let's not let that happen, ok? :) Have a glorious weekend!
Mykaela

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Sunday Snippets: The Foundation of Our Faith


Mark 16:6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him."

1 Corinthians 15:16-20 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 

Happy Resurrection Sunday, everyone!! Though we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord every Sunday, this is a special time each year when we can take time to consider Christ's sacrifice, His burial, and His triumph over the grave.

Think for a moment about where you would be right now if Jesus had NOT risen from the dead. If Christianity was fake, and there was no hope for when you stepped out of this world, where would you be? On the street somewhere, ravaged by drugs? Working 80 hours a week to support your kids without a husband to help you? Living "the good life" with lots of money and accomplishments? If Christ had not risen from the dead, would any of those scenarios really be worse than the others? After all, all you get is this life. If Christ didn't rise, there is no Christianity. We have trusted in something that cannot save us. Our faith is just like every other religion out there: no foundation. Where is Bhudda right now? In the grave. Where is Confucius? Dead. What about Joseph Smith? Still dead. All of them are STILL in their graves!! But tell me: where is Jesus Christ? In the grave? NO!! Christianity is the only faith that can truly say that our King of Kings is no longer in His grave! And that is why we can trust Him. THAT is why we can know that we have eternal life, because He proved His power, irrefutably and irrevocably, when He walked out of that borrowed tomb. He has the power to lay down His life, and to take it up again, and He has the power to save our souls once and for all, granting us eternal life with Him. 

If you are trusting in a religion, good works, or a man long dead and gone to save your soul, your foundation will crumble away beneath you when you walk out of this life. The only way to heaven is to turn away from sin and to God, trusting Him to save you. He is the only One Who can! 

As we celebrate the glorious resurrection of our Saviour today, let's always remember where He brought us out of. Christ is risen indeed!
Mykaela

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Flap of Plastic Wrap (And what it taught me :)



Very odd title today, I know. ;) Bear with me. So, as many of you are aware, my family and I are in the process of moving from our current home to the city where we are starting a church, about an hour and forty minutes away. We've been commuting around 3 times a week down there for the past 9 months, which definitely got a little old. During the summer when we were taking 2 vehicles, we were driving over 600 miles a week total. Anyway, we are both excited to be moving, and a bit sad to be leaving the home where we have lived for almost 3 years now. Our house is slowly descending into the inevitable chaos of moving...to give you an example, today I created a label for one of the boxes that read "Christmas Decor/Paint Stick/Music Stand" How random can you get?? :D I'm getting sidetracked here: returning to the story of the plastic wrap. 

My baby sister, Miriam, is about 14 months old now, and is such a curious little stinker! She is what we like to call "legs with no brain" meaning she can walk, but can't really think through any of her actions yet. Kinda scary, for us at least. ;) As I was gathering decorations, clocks, etc. off the walls, I piled them on the floor in the living room and set to work wrapping them all in a layer of newspaper, and then plastic wrap stuff we use for moving. I wrapped a sign, and a tiny tail of the plastic was sticking up off of the back of it. Just then, Miriam shows up, determined to either help me or wreak havoc (sometimes it's hard to tell which!). She picked up the small sign, and caught sight of the plastic flap. A look of the most intense wonder and amazement came over her little expression, and she spent at least the next 5 minutes gingerly picking at the tiny tail. I laughed so hard at that...what did she find so incredible about a little curl of plastic? But later, as I thought about it, it struck me as really sweet that something so little could bring her so much satisfaction. 

I wonder if God feels this way about us sometimes? Do we ever take the time to notice the tiny things in His creation? Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that the God Who created the towering mountains, the thundering waves of the sea, and the vast, dazzling splendor of the stars, ALSO created that microscopic little pillbug you dug out of the flowerbed the other day? Or the grains of dirt and sand that you're standing on? I heard a message preached once on praising God, and the preacher brought out something that I hadn't thought about before. When we thank God for our food, a lot of times we don't ever realize exactly how much of God's hand went into getting that provision onto our table. Let's say you are having waffles for dinner. (Or chicken and waffles, if you happen to be one of my friends from the Southern U.S. ;) The flour you used to make it was once a pile of tiny wheat grains that were planted somewhere by a farmer you will never know. Months passed as the wheat grew and turned from green to gold, and was finally harvested. It was sent to a factory or mill, where it was separated, cleaned, ground, packaged, and sent out to the store, where your mom picked it up from the shelf. That is ONE INGREDIENT in your dinner, folks. And God knew exactly where that wheat came from, which chicken laid the eggs you put in, what cow provided the milk...I don't know, maybe I'm being ridiculous, but I find that amazing!!! Let's take some time this week to think about the billions (literally...) of tiny things that God has lined up in order to provide for us. In Colossians 1:17, it says "And he is before all things, and by him all things consist." God is working in your life in SO. MANY. WAYS. By Him all things consist...in other words, without God, we would not exist. End of story. Praise God for how He works in each of our lives to make it possible for us to serve Him!
Mykaela

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Sunday Snippets: As a Little Child



Mark 10:13-16 "And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein."

I was thinking about this passage today, and how precious a passage it is! Jesus reaches out with open arms to take these children and bless them, when the disciples tried to turn them away. So many times we tend to focus on Christ's majestic Kingly aspects (and rightly so; He IS the most perfect, holy King of Kings). However, I think sometimes we skim over His humility and love for the small, broken, humble things of the earth. These children were probably not princes being borne on royal litters to the feet of Jesus, (I doubt the disciples would have dared to rebuke those who brought them in that case!). They were most likely just humble Jewish children from the village Jesus was going through at the time. And yet Christ valued this time with them. And he even said that THEY made up the Kingdom of heaven?? What? 

Well, look at the next part: Jesus says that whoever doesn't receive the Kingdom of God as a little child will not enter therein. Take note: this does not mean during the time that they are a little child, but rather in the manner of a little child. How do little children receive the things of God? Well, I have had the privilege of teaching little ones who don't know anything about the Bible, and let me tell you: they drink it in. Every story is new and precious to them; every truth is like a lightbulb going on in their minds. It's so cool to see that! :) When I think of childlike faith, I think of that trust that God's Word is true...even if you can't understand everything, even if it doesn't quite make sense, you are believing it with all your heart because God said it. And that is how we receive salvation, is it not? Turning away from our sin and towards God in repentance and faith, saying "I believe Your Word and I'm acting on it!". And that, I believe, is why Jesus treasured the children who came His way. Their simple faith was a shining example to everyone of what it means to truly believe and lean on God. May we all have childlike faith in Him!
Mykaela

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Exceeding Abundantly! Guest Post by Hannah Geist

Good morning, everyone! Today I am delighted to present a guest post from a dear friend of mine, Hannah Geist. I hope her post is an encouragement to you! I know it was a blessing for me. :) 

Exceeding Abundantly

Each one of us have desires of the heart, things we greatly long for and have asked God for. When we bring these requests before the Lord in prayer, how does he answer?  “Yes,” “No,” “Wait?”  And even more importantly, how do we respond to those answers?  It’s easy when the Lord gives us a, “Yes,” and fulfills those desires.  In those times we shout for joy and praise the Lord for His goodness to us, but what about when He says, “Wait,” or even tells us, “No,” and denies our request?  Do we still praise Him for His goodness?  I know I don’t often feel like shouting for joy when God doesn’t immediately give me what I asked for.  This is something I’ve been pondering recently.  

Often, receiving a “no” can be very disappointing and discouraging, and when God tells us to wait we become impatient and begin questioning God.  That is not God’s intention.  I’m beginning to understand that God has a wonderful plan for my life, and even His “No’s” and His “Wait’s” are for my good.  Those “No’s” and “Wait’s” are really so much better than if He had said, “Yes!”  That, to me, is so exciting!

When God says, "Wait"
 I used to get so frustrated when God told me to wait (and still do at times), but recently He has been helping me to see those times as precious.  The times in my life when I am waiting on the Lord for a “Yes” or even a “No” have certainly been some of the most trying times of my life, and yet they have produced the most spiritual growth. Looking back, I see that when He says, “Wait,” it keeps me relying on Him constantly and drawing ever nearer to Him.  Waiting on the Lord has begun to teach me the true meaning of surrender because it helps me understand that God is in control, not I.

When God says, "No"
     Receiving “No” for an answer can be one of the hardest things to go through in life. We often view those times as God withholding a blessing from us, but is that really what it is?  The Lord promises in Psalms 84:11 that He will not withhold any good thing from those who walk uprightly.  That means that God will never say, “No,” to something that is good for me.  If He gives us a “No” it’s because He has something better for us.  We don’t often see it at the time, but looking back over our life we can see the truth of that statement.  
                           
As I begin to understand these truths—the benefit of waiting and the fact that if God says, “No,” it’s because He has a better “Yes” down the road—and see them played out in my life, I get very excited!  I’m not saying that understanding these makes it any easier when we’re faced with the decision of how to respond in times of waiting or after receiving a “No,” but it does change our perspective.  It’s still disappointing to not receive something you desire so greatly, but understanding that those “No’s” and “Wait’s” are for our best help us understand God’s goodness even in those trying times.  Ephesians 4:32 says “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think…”  I have found this to be so true in my life, not only in the times that God says, “Yes,” but also in the times when He says, “No,” and “Wait!”
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(Mykaela) I am so thankful for Hannah's insight on this...It's so important to give thanks in everything! (1 Thessolonians 5:18) When that includes a "No" or a "Wait" from God, let's focus on giving thanks and trusting Him to do what's BEST for us! :)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Sunday Snippets: Clutching What's "Ours"



Colossians 3:1-2 "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."

I've been realizing more and more lately that I cling to stuff. A lot. As in, almost everything in my life that is familiar and special to me, I clutch onto with everything I've got. Ok, so this can be beneficial in some settings...but is it always a good thing? Ehh, not so much. Let me explain what I mean. I'm a very private person in some areas, and that very sense of privacy is extremely important to me. But do I really have a "right" to that? I have kept a journal since I was about 11, and I've filled a couple up already. Those records are precious to me! As are tons of other possessions I have that I feel I have a "right" to. As a result, I have a really, REALLY hard time letting go of my things during a time of upheaval in my life. Why I'm saying all of this is because just this past week, my family finally got an offer on our house, and in less than 4 weeks, we need to be completely packed up and out of here. For 10 people, 4 weeks is a super short time to move!! As in any time of craziness like this, "my" space and privacy must, of necessity, be totally upended and tossed into a storage unit for at least a month or two. Maybe it's just me, but this is really hard for me to handle!

As I considered this the other day, The Lord really impressed on me that none of this stuff I love so much is truly mine. It is simply gifts that God has blessed me with. Also, none of this really matters in light of eternity. Will my blankbook full of hand lettering practice and doodles really be of that much importance when I stand before God? Of course not! I guess what I'm trying to say here is that stuff is not something I should be valuing that much. I should be willing to let go of ALL of it if that was God's will. I need to be finding my true identity and purpose, not in the precious things I've collected over the years, but in the service of my Lord and Saviour! I need to have a spiritual mindset rather than a carnal one, having my focus and affections on things above, not on things on the earth. I realize this post may sound a bit disjointed, (I don't feel like I expressed my thoughts quite how I intended), but with our wonderful daylight savings time this weekend, my time is a bit limited. ;) Let me just close with a few lines from a song that I hope will be a blessing.

What's more important
Than serving God?
What holds me back
From giving my all?
Do I cling so close to this life,
That I never truly see
The souls in need of Jesus,
Crying to be free?
Nothing really matters
But what I do for You.
Nothing here will linger,
But those I lead to You!
Help me to let go
Of all that I hold dear.
For none of this matters
If You, my God, are near!

God Bless!
Mykaela

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Sunday Snippets: Like a Cloud



Isaiah 44:22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.

In this incredibly deep verse, The Lord compares the blotting out of our sins to a thick cloud. For those of you who have ever been in fog, that is what this makes me think of. I don't mean a little mist that you drive through for a few minutes on the way over a mountain pass; I mean the kind of fog where, if you are driving, you have to strain to see even the white line on the roadside to assure yourself you are still on the road at all. My mom, sister and I got caught in fog like this once. We went down into a valley town where it lightened up quite a bit, so we thought "Oh, this isn't going to be too bad! We can definitely make it home tonight!" I don't know if you can guess the ending...we most definitely could NOT make it home that night! ;) We ended up going up the hill leading out of the town and realizing that we literally could barely even see the front of our own vehicle, let alone where we were going. It took us 20 minutes to find a place to turn around (you couldn't see turnoffs till you were past them). Anyway, this passage says that our sins are "blotted out, as a thick cloud". You couldn't see them even if you spent forever trying to! They are gone for good under the blood of Jesus Christ. If you are agonizing over sin that you have committed in the past, please--pay attention to the last part of the verse!! Return to The Lord: He has redeemed you if you have repented of sin and called on Him for salvation! In that very moment, he washed away ALL your sins; past, present and future. All of them. It's been said that you can't start a new chapter of your life if you keep rereading the old one, and it's so true! If you are focused on old sins, old habits, old guilt, you will never be an effective servant of Jesus Christ. Turn to the One Who has redeemed your soul, and let go of those things that are blotted out forever! May God bless each of you as you follow Christ's example this week.
Mykaela

A Faithful Servant



Isn't this so powerful? It doesn't really matter if "all" you've done for The Lord is washing tables after a potluck! If you have truly served Him with a humble heart, it doesn't make a difference what you are doing--God is pleased by it. Remember when Mary broke the jar of perfumed ointment to anoint Jesus' head? He announced to everyone there that her act of sacrificial service and love would be spoken of for ages to come...why? Because she "did what she could"! So this week whether you are leading many people in some church ministry, or whether you are just showing up to church cleanup day to help out with the most menial of tasks, serve The Lord with a faithful and loving heart, and He will reward you! Just a little encouraging thought to get you through the rest of the week. :)
Mykaela