Choosing to give thanks…

choosing to be thankfulAfter a great vacation, we came home to multiple problems, well, mainly I did.

One our flight home, I looked down at my wedding ring, and noticed somehow, somewhere I’d lost one of the diamonds out of my ring.

The day after we arrived home, my daughter began running fever, and was sick for 3 days.

Two days after we got home, my computer decided to crash, causing me to loose some very important documents.

Add in, the fact that the road we have to walk up/down to get to our house, is one big muddy mess because of the rains, and the gnats, that seem to have taken over my kitchen. And you might understand why I have not been too thankful.

Thursday afternoon, as I was waiting for my kids to get back from music class, the Lord reminded me of my need to have a grateful heart.

He reminded me that when my heart is not grateful, I lack any and all joy. He reminded me that my ungrateful heart spills over into my relationships with my family and friends. The Lord helped me to remember that my bad attitude can and often does result in my families bad attitude.

So I sat down, and began to give thanks.

I thanked the Lord for a wonderful family vacation.

I thanked Him, that though I’d lot a diamond, I didn’t loose my ring. And it can probably be fixed.

I thanked Him, that my daughter had bounced back from her sickness, and was back to her lively self.

I thanked the Lord that though my computer had crashed, and I’d lost some things, most things I had backed up.

I thanked Him, that getting a new hard drive restored my computer.

As I began to thank Him, He brought more and more things to mind that I had reason to be thankful for.

It is oh so much easier to complain, than to give thanks.

Yet, God has called us to be thankful. To rejoice always, to give thanks in all circumstances.

This is certainly not always easy, but it is possible.

Choosing to give thanks is a decision we must make daily. Will we choose to give thanks for the good, or complain about the bad.

To be honest, I have yet to figure out how to be thankful for the muddy roads or the gnats, but I rejoice that if those are my biggest problems, I have much to be thankful for.

How about you? Are you focusing on all the good the Lord has done in your life or are your eyes solely focused on your problems.

The enemy would like nothing more than to keep our eyes on our problems, for us to have ungrateful hearts, for then we are no threat to him.

But the Lord calls us to be thankful, and this can only happen when we choose joy.

Choose joy today by choosing to be thankful!

No matter how bad it is, we always have reason to give thanks!

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Created by Him, through Him and for Him

created for Him“In the beginning God…(Genesis 1:1)”

In the beginning God was there  because God had always been there. There was not a time He did not exist.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).”

In the beginning all that was created was created by God.

“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created (Col. 1:16).”

And all was created not only by Him, but through Him, and for Him.

You and I were created by God, through God, and for God.

I listened to a message earlier by JD Greear, and he said this about creation.

  1. The story is about Him, He is the major character, not us! God’s Word begins and ends with Him.
  2. We were created for God, not for our pleasure. We thrive only when our lives revolve upon Him.
  3. We were created in the image of God, to do that which He created us for.
  4. Only the One who brought life out of nothing can bring life back from the dead.

As I listened I was challenged by the reality that far too often I make myself the main character. I make myself the focus, or my kids, or other things. Rather than remembering the story is about Him. His life lived out through me, for His glory.

I was reminded that God created me and called me from before the foundation of the world to do the good works He created me for. My life is not my own, it belongs to Him. And I am most joyful and content when my life revolves around Him.

As my kids grow older and begin to think and dream about tomorrow, one of my greatest desires is that they know that they were created by Him, through Him, and for Him. And that whatever He calls them to do, they do it to bring much glory to Him, their Creator. That they do not loose sight of the fact that He must be the Center, and that their lives revolve around Him. For only then, will they find true joy, true contentment, and true peace.

Is He the center of your life? Satan desires to get us to put other things at the center. He lies and tells us that we will never be truly happy until we _(fill in the blank)__.

Yet it is a lie! For God did not create us, save us, and call us unto Himself to lives our lives for ourselves. He did this so that we might live our lives on passion for Christ. Making Him known, wherever He leads us, calls us, and places us.

May we not loose sight of these simple truths, and may our lives be motivated by our great and merciful Savior!

 

Lumps of clay

lumps of clayThe past few weeks in Pottery Class, we have been learning to use the wheel. Let me just say, it looks a whole lot easier than it actually is.

The first step is centering, which is the art of learning how much pressure to apply with the right hand, while holding it steady with the left. Too much pressure, will send the clay flying off the wheel, and not enough pressure will keep it from centering.

After almost two weeks of trying, with clay sometimes flying, and other times becoming a very uncentered mess, I finally achieved this aspect.

The second step is to pull the clay upward, and then flatten it out, while using your thumbs to apply pressure in order to create a bowl.

I am far from victory on this step. It seems my bowls are either too thick, or they collapse when I’m trying to get them thinned out.

It has been quite the frustrating time for me, as I have watched the other students sail through this much quicker than I have .

As I worked with the clay today, I would be so close to having it , when suddenly it would cave inward, and I would be forced to begin again.

And I could not help, but think of the fact that I am the clay and the Lord, He is the potter. I was reminded of all the shaping He must do in our lives to get us molded into His image. Many times, He must feel similar frustration that I felt today. When He sees us doing so well, moving in the right direction, growing in our walk with Him, then suddenly, falling back into sin.

For once again, the Lord must come along and center us and our eyes back upon Him. He does this by applying some pressure to our lives, causing us to look to Him. Then, once our eyes are back on Him, He can begin shaping us once more into the image of Christ.

Thankfully, the Lord is merciful, and long suffering. He doesn’t give up on us, He doesn’t throw in the towel (like I wanted to do today), He doesn’t quit on us. No, He is faithful to continue day by day to shape us and change us. Faithful to mold us into the image of His Son.

I am so thankful for the verse that says, “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil. 1:6).”

Thankful that the work He began in me, He will complete. I have a long way to go. There is much shaping, and molding God must continue to do in my life before I will reach this point. Yet, He doesn’t give up on me. He keeps working, keeps allowing the pressures of life to draw me to Him, disciplining me when I fall away, and lovingly bringing me back so that my eyes are centered upon Him.

How is the Lord shaping you today?

 

 

 

To the one who is waiting on God…

A good reminder for those waiting upon the Lord…

mandylynncarpenter

thG2HN27RCI know it is hard, I understand.

I’ve been where you are, and it is a tough place to be.

For two years, our family went through a time of waiting. A time wondering what God was doing and why at times He just seemed silent.

Two years of seeking to know what He wanted, two years of praying, fasting and crying out to Him.

Then, He answered, and led us to the other side of the world to serve Him.

In those two years, we learned so much about trusting Him. And in those two years, He worked to prepare us for the life we are now seeking to live.

In my quiet time this week, as I read the story of Abraham and Sarah, I was reminded of some truths about waiting.

Waiting on God often leads to….

  1. Doubt, and questioning if God knows or cares.

Abram and…

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Choosing Joy

muddy roadsIt was raining again, which meant the roads were going to be covered in mud as my daughter and I made our way to the bus. Just a few days ago, we had slipped and slided down the road, and now again, we’d be forced to do so.

As we walked, we huddled under our umbrellas, and talked. My daughter was bemoaning the mud, the rain, and the fact that once again on her swimming day, it was raining.

I listened and understood her frustration.

Then I reminded her that we have a choice to make daily. We can choose to grumble and complain about all the negative things, or we can choose to give thanks for the good.

Oh, it is so much easier to complain, than to be thankful. Yet, giving thanks can change the mood and attitude of our entire day.

Before long, we were giving thanks that it was only a misty rain falling, we were giving thanks that the route we took today was less muddy than the route taken before. We gave thanks that the bus wasn’t crowded, and that we got to school on time.

As I made my way back to the main road, to catch another bus back home. I watched as little girls in their school uniforms were trying to brush off the mud that had splattered on their shoes and pants, and smiled. Reminded that the rain and mud didn’t just affect me, it affected everyone the same.

Riding back on the bus, I looked out the window and saw the clouds hovering over the mountain tops, and smiled at their beauty.

An hour after I’d left, I returned back home to begin my day of homeschooling my other two. Grabbing a quick cup of coffee, I sat down to begin. Reminding myself, and the boys, that it is always best to give thanks.

Sometimes we don’t feel thankful, sometimes it is difficult to choose joy. Yet, when we do, we offer up a sacrifice of praise unto the Lord, and allow Him to change our hearts to be more like His.

No matter what you’re going through today, I encourage you to take a step back from your situation, and begin to give thanks for the good. For I truly believe, that when you do, you will suddenly be reminded of how blessed you are.

May we offer up sacrifices of praise, as we decide daily to choose joy!

 

Joy comes in the morning!!!

Joy does come.. just wait!

Our Mission to the Himalayas and Beyond

joy in the morningWhy is it that sickness seems to strike during the night. I can’t tell you the number of times, I have gone to bed feeling fine, only to be awakened in the night sick. Last night was such a night. Yet, the amazing thing is, more often than not, by morning I’m feeling fine. The same proved true today, last night, I jokingly told my son, just kill me 🙂 because I felt so poorly. Then I awaken this morning feeling just fine.

I’ve noticed this same trend with the weather here in Nepal. The day can be a beautiful sunny day, and then suddenly it will rain all night. Yet, the next morning you awaken to sunshine.

As I thought on these things, I was reminded of the Scripture that tells us For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime.Weeping may…

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Raising World Changers….

downloadRecently I was picked along with a group of others to help Kristen Welch launch her newest book, “Raising World Changers in a Changing World.”

I was super excited to read this new book, and the insights I knew would be there. See, Kristen and her husband began a non-profit organization back in 2010 called Mercy House Global (http://mercyhouseglobal.org/about-us/), which exists to engage, empower and disciple women around the globe in Jesus’ name. Engage those with resources to say yes to the plight of women in poverty. Empower women and teenage mothers around the world through partnerships and sustainable fair trade product development. Disciple women to be lifelong followers of Jesus Christ. 

Knowing that she and her family were indeed seeking to make a difference in this world, and after having read all of her other books, Rhinestone Jesus, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, and Don’t Make me Come up There, I knew this new book would be inspirational as well.

This past week, I began reading the book, you can pre-order yours here http://bit.ly/raisingworldchangers  now. Each chapter gives some question/answer, which she asked, and her children answered, and which she encourages us to ask our children.

So I finished chapter one, and began the question/answer time with my own. With the first question being, “What does it mean to be a world changer?” I gave mine the day to think it through, and then excitedly gathered their response.

My oldest said, “A World changer is someone who allows God to work through them, and goes out of their way to help others.” My middle son said, “A world changer is someone who helps others, and who tells others about Jesus.” And my youngest replied, “To be a world changer is to be a light that points others who are in the dark to Jesus. It means to be different than others.”

And I suppose I couldn’t have answered it better than that. You see, being a world changer does not mean you have to be someone special, you have to do something huge, you don’t have to start a non-profit, or move overseas.

To be a world changer begins right where you are, it begins when you change the lives of those you come in contact daily, rather than allowing this dark world to change you. As my daughter said, it is being a light in the darkness, and being different than this world.

I am excited to continue reading this book, and for the impact I know it will make.

We live in a dark world, a world whose news is full of tragedy, heartbreak, and strife. A world so far from the Lord and His teachings it is scary. Yet, we do not have to allow this world to change us into fearful, angry people. We don’t have to allow this world to change our kids or draw our kids away from the Lord. We can rather seek to change this world, by being His hands and feet. By being that light on top of the hill that shines ever so bright, that points the lost to Him.

See, we can’t change the world, only Jesus can.

Yet, He allows us to be His hands and His feet, He allows us to be apart of what He is doing.

And it begins with our own. We can’t expect to change the world unless we are first and foremost changing the lives of those most precious to us, our families.

May we join together and seek to raise up the next generation of people who will say “yes Lord, here am I send me, use me, and use my life for your glory!”