July 25, 2016

True or False?

Photo by nuttakit at freedigitalphotos.net
True or False: The door to the kingdom of God is open to everyone.

Is this an easy answer for you? Jesus says anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. He also says it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.

So is the kingdom really open to everyone?

In Matthew 23:13 Jesus says, " Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to."

The interesting thing here is that the kingdom does have a door and Revelation 3:20 says that Jesus stands at that door and knocks, wanting us to open that door and come in...and let others in as well.

Here are two ways to enter into the kingdom of God:

1.  Confess faith in Jesus. Turn away from sin, be baptized, and receive newness of life in Jesus. God's desire is for everyone to enter in.

2.  Decide to enter into the kingdom of God daily, following the leading of the Holy Spirit. It's easy to fall back into our selfish ways. We are called to be a living sacrifice, but the problem with a living sacrifice is that it keeps crawling off the altar! We need to remember to not be transformed by the world and it's worldview. We need to renew our minds daily to know the will of God and follow His leading.

It is a daily commitment to follow hard after God.

We are deceiving ourselves when we do not spend time with God on a daily basis.
We are deceiving ourselves when we do not spend time in His word.
We are deceiving ourselves when we do not spend time praying.
We are deceiving ourselves when we do not spend time with other believers who encourage us in our walk with Him.

The overwhelming influence of the world around us will deceive us into thinking that my career and making money is God's will for me and that seeking pleasure and entertainment is what I deserve. We have to combat that influence by immersing ourselves in Him and spending time with Him, getting to know Him and His will for us.

Whoever wants to be a disciple of Christ must deny himself and take us his cross daily. 

It is a daily decision. A conscious effort. We must open the door to Him each and every day. It is then that we can open the door for others. If we do not enter ourselves on a daily basis then we are standing in the way of others to enter.

Jesus is knocking on the door of the church, asking to come in. 

Do we have the welcome mat out? Or have we hung the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door?

 Are you opening the door to the kingdom of heaven? 


***Based on the notes taken from John Ketchersid's sermon on July 25, 2016.***


July 15, 2016

Fun Friday Five

This has been my last week of vacation before I have to go back to work this coming Monday and boy, I've really tried to relax, have fun, and rest. So here are my obsessions this week.

Crash Team Racing! 
So when the kids were younger, I got into playing their PS game, Crash Team Racing...a Crash Bandicoot game. I got pretty good and found that I am competitive and a bit of a mean player (i.e. I love laying little obstacles and bombs to slow my competitors down.) Well, I have access to the game now and have been obsessed with getting my skills back. Is it weird for a middle age woman to play video games by herself? I don't know, but I am having fun.



George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum
I've wanted to see the Bush Library for a long time now and it is one of the few things I really wanted to do on my vacation. My husband took the day of Tuesday and off we went. It was truly an impressive display of the Presidency and was good to be reminded that each President really does want to make a different for good in this country.




The Secret Life of Pets
One of the things I love to do on vacation is see a movie! This vacation I chose The Secret Life of Pets because there has been such turmoil and darkness in the past couple of weeks and I just wanted to laugh. And laugh I did. Such a cute movie with a silly story line. Meet Buddy...my favorite. :)



Reading
This week I am reading The Gifting by Katie Ganshert. It is a YA book and is a page turner! The good thing is, it is free on Kindle! Here is the back cover copy:

In a world where nothing supernatural exists, Tess Eckhart is positive she's going crazy. After her complete freakout at a high school party, her family is too. So much that they pack their bags and move across the country, next to a nationally-renowned facility for the mentally ill.

Tess is determined to fit in at her new school, despite the whispers and stares. But when it comes to Luka Williams, a reluctantly popular boy in her class, she's unused to a stare that intense. Then the headaches start, and the seemingly prophetic dreams that haunt her at night. As Tess tries harder to hide them, she becomes increasingly convinced that Luka knows something--that he might somehow be responsible.

But what if she's wrong? What if Luka Williams is the only thing separating her from a madness too terrifying to fathom?


Nursing
Well, I have been neglectful in this 100 degree heat and haven't watered my potted plants every day. So now I am trying to nurse a few crispy plants back to health. Wish my luck...I'm gonna need it!




What have you been up to this week?

Have a great weekend!


July 11, 2016

Project Peace

In the wake of the terrible events of the past week, our church held a special prayer service Sunday morning. There was an open mike time, where people shared their thoughts and prayed, and the sermon was based upon the beatitude in Matthew 5:9:

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

We were challenged to take part in several projects given through scripture:

Project Love
We are to love God, love our neighbors, and love our enemies. We are to go beyond our inner circle of friends and move outward to love beyond our comfort zone. We need to be looking for ways to love a new circle of friends.

Matthew 5: 38-48
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[a]39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[b] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Project Blessing
There is something that we owe. As followers of Jesus, we make a different kind of payment in this world. Not one of judgement or vengeance, but one of love, selfless giving, and blessing.

Romans 12:17-21

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[a] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[b]21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Project Pursuit
People are being targeted for bad. As followers of Jesus, was are pursuing a different target...a target for good...a target for peace. We are challenged to find others who are different from us. Target a specific person or groups of people and develop relationships with them. Be a bridge builder across barriers that divide us from others.

1 Peter 3:8-12
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For,“Whoever would love life    and see good daysmust keep their tongue from evil    and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good;    they must seek peace and pursue it.  For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous    and his ears are attentive to their prayer,but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Project Plant
What kind of seeds are we planting that will yield a harvest of righteousness? A successful harvest is not one of prosperity and power. It is one of good spiritual fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. We need to be planting seeds of peace, grace, and mercy in this world. So take time to contemplate and visualize what kind of harvest we want, and then act on it in love.

James 3:13-18
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

Project Peace....it is a call to be the peace in the world we want to see. It is a call to bridge the barriers that divide. It is a call to love in spite of differences.

It is call to be a peacemaker.


***Based on the notes taken from John Ketchersid's sermon on July 10, 2016.


July 09, 2016

It Is Finished....Before and After Mixed Media Painting

One of my goals for my summer break was to paint a large 3'x5' canvas...an intimidating, massive task to be sure. But I try to be brave these days and am happy with the end product. My inspiration for this was from the work of Flora Bowley who teaches about intuitive brave painting, which really appeals to me. So here is my before and after photos, with a few photos in between. 






My soul's desire...to live with Him all my days,
 to behold His beauty..." from Psalm 27

The prodding of my heart leads me to chase after You.
I am seeking You, the Eternal One...from Psalm 27




What brave thing are you attempting this week?


July 08, 2016

Fun Friday Five



This week has been fun. A mixture of art, service, nature, and discovery. Here's my obsessions for the week...

Hawk Sighting
My husband came in one afternoon saying there was a hawk on he property just behind our house. I grabbed my camera with the zoom lens and proceeded to snap pictures of a large hawk eating a bird. Ahem....it was rather gross and I am not sharing the gross pictures here! But my goodness, the hawk was pretty with it's winds spread wide,and once he got scared when a branch caught on it's foot and he scrambled to get loose. (I got a great shot of that!)



 


Bible Journaling
I love journaling in my Bible and am including some that I haven't posted on social media. I love how meditating on the verse while journaling makes the word come alive for me.





Family Promise
Our church takes part in a ministry called Family Promise. It's a ministry that help homeless families with children get back on their feet. Each church involved provides supper and a place for the family to sleep for a week at a time. Trundle beds are provided, as well as the bedding for them. During the day the families go to a Day Center where a social worker works with them to find jobs and permanent housing. The success rate is really high and most families graduate from the program in a couple of months. Because I work, I don't provide meals, but my husband I and take a turn as an overnight host. We arrive at the church around 7 pm and sleep on trundle beds and make sure the families are up early to go to the day center around 6 am. It's easy and it's fun to get to know the sweet families in the program. Here's a picture of the stained glass at the front of the sanctuary at the Oak Haven Methodist Church where we stayed this week. Beautiful, isn't it?



Reading
I'm reading 5 Habits of a Woman who Doesn't Quit by Nicki Koziarz. I tend to quit everything I put my hand to, so I thought this book would be good for me. And it is. The author has taken the life of Ruth and shows her habits of pushing through to completion. It's been so interesting and I will share more about what I am learning at a later time.

Down Time
On my summer vacation, I am trying to make sure I take time to do nothing. So my daughter and I have been watching a new series on Netfix called The Shannara Chronicles. It's a futuristic show that looks medievalish. Elves, gnomes, trolls....it's pretty good!


I hope you have a great weekend!


July 01, 2016

Fun Friday Five

So this week my obsessions have been all over the place. Here's this week's top 5 fun things:

Photoshop

Can I just say "woah"? Photoshop is such a great program and yet is ever-so-frustrating at times. I've been mucking around in it with some photographs I took and then trying to use some of my lettering to overlay the pictures. Here's a couple of things I did.



Slither.io

Okay, so at first this game was totally fun, but then it turned into a bit of a crazy obsession. Basically,
it is a free game app where you are a baby snake that grows by eating dots. If another snake runs into you, they die and you can eat their "remains" and grow even bigger. So it was a lot of fun until my teeth became sore because I was grinding my teeth in tension over not running into snakes. Also, when I closed my eyes at night all I saw were snakes. Yeah...it became unhealthy for me and so I deleted the game. I felt like a cannibal after awhile, eating all my fellow snakes. Ugh...

Unleashed

The book Unleashed by Erwin Raphael McManus was inspiring. Seriously, it is one of those books
that makes you want to chunk what you know and step out and run in freedom...and risk. From the back cover:
Two thousand years later the call to follow Christ has been repackaged to be smooth and trouble-free, filled with opportunity and promise but lacking risk, passion, and sacrifice. Is this really what Jesus died for? If He chose the way of the cross, where would He hesitate leading us? Is it possible that to follow Jesus is to live your life completely unleashed?
Jesus never made a pristine call to a proper or safe religion. Jesus beckons His followers to a path that is far from the easy road. It is a path fulled with adventure, uncertainty, and unlimited possibilities - the only path that can fulfill the deepest longings and desires of your heart.
This is the barbarian way: to give your heart to the only One who can make you fully alive. To love Him with simplicity and intensity. To unleash the untamed faith within. To be consumed by the presence of a passionate and compassionate God. To go where He sends you, no matter the cost.
My, that makes me want more from my faith. I get so complacent, wanting a smooth path, yet it is too safe for the journey of faith. I want more!

DayQuil and Nyquil

Yes, I have been battling a cold. It could be allergies, but I feel so crummy I am calling it a plain ol' cold. I have found that these 2 medicines are my friend.

30 Days of Bible Lettering

Instagram is full of great challenges and I am going to participate in #30daysofbiblelettering which starts July 1. All you do is to write out the scripture for the day and tag your posts with the hashtag #30daysofbiblelettering. Just another way of staying in the Word and practicing lettering at the same time.



Have a great weekend!


June 29, 2016

I Made a Faux Midori Notebook Cover

My first project of the summer was a success. I mentioned Friday that I was in love with the Midori Traveler's Notebook and decided to try and make a couple to hold my Moleskine notebooks. Well, here is my finished product and I am so happy with it! I followed this tutorial HERE and it was pretty easy.






My blue notebook holds my Documented Life journal and the journal I use to take notes on the Sunday sermons. The pink notebook holds my prayer journal and the journal I use to write what I think the Holy Spirit is showing me and how He manifests Himself in my life.

I love having a pretty holder for my notebooks!

What projects are you into right now?

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