Occupy until He comes…

If you had told me that we would be where we are today in this world even a year ago I would have thought you were crazy. I look around me and barely recognize this world that we have called home for so many years. Pandemic, Quarantine, Riots, Violence and Mask ordinances have just come out of nowhere in such a short amount of time. These words have become a part of our every day vocabulary. I shake my head in slight disbelief that this is what our world has come to but it shouldn’t really be all that shocking. Especially for those of us who call ourselves Christians.

At some point we should know that the world was going to begin to decline. And for those of us who believe in Jesus Christ and what the Bible says it should just be one more sign that it’s almost time to return to our true home. The return of the King is imminent. It will be soon. How soon is up to the Father as only he knows the day and the hour. But we can be prepared and take all those who will listen and heed to our voice with us. Isn’t this the ultimate goal? Spending eternity with the one who created us. The one who desires our love and devotion and who cares enough about us to provide us with hope and protection even in the midst of a world that has gone awry?

That is what I believe. We are literally in the last of the last days. And one day in the future I will rejoice with my family as we worship our Father God in His presence. Not just glimpeses of it but fully in his presence. We will get to reunite with our loved ones that have gone on before us. Those that have planted the seeds of faith into our lives and left us with a heritage of following Jesus.

But until that day comes we are told to occupy (Luke 19:13). But what does occupy really mean? Dictionary.com gives these definitions:

  • to take or fill up (space, time, etc.).
  • to engage or employ the mind, energy, or attention of.
  • to be a resident or tenant of; dwell in.
  • to take possession and control of (a place), as by military invasion.(usually initial capital letter) to participate in a protest about (a social or political issue), as by taking possession or control of buildings or public places that are symbolic of the issue.

So bascially we are to dwell in this earth until Jesus returns. But we are supposed to take possession and control of it as well. Which means we are to do the Father’s business wile we are here on the earth.

Here is the next question: what is the Father’s business?

Good question. The Bible tells us in Matthew 28:19-20 says: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

While on this earth we are to preach the gospel and do as Jesus commanded us. Jesus was the ultimate example of what we are supposed to do and he preached in Luke 4:18 that He came to “….preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” If that is what we he came to do and he is our example then we are supposed to do that as well.

We are called to bring hope to people who may not see or have hope. We are called to help bring healing and freedom to those who are sick and bound. We are called to remind people that Jesus will return and come back for his people. We HAVE to be the light to this world that has been darkened by sin and hate. This world that has accepted as normal those things that God has called immoral and wrong has blinded so many and we MUST speak the truth of God’s Word into this world. That, my friends is what we are supposed to be doing while we occupy this earth. Not just sitting back and waiting for Jesus to return. We still have work to do and we MUST do it.

How about we choose to remember what God has brought us out of so we can be the hope for someone else who may be going through something like we were. Let’s choose today to show God’s love to the people of this world. Let’s choose today to pray for those around us. Let’s choose today to be God’s hands, feet and mouth piece so that this world will know there is hope, there is healing, there is freedom and it comes in the name of Jesus Christ.

Free 30 Day Bible Reading Plan

I just wanted to share that over on Aspiring To Be Magazine’s blog they have this awesome reading plan. To download the plan head over there and grab it.  30 Days With Jesus

You can click the image above to go to the page OR click the link below.

30 Days with Jesus reading plan.

I hope you enjoy this free resource.

It Takes Faith to Climb a Mountain

It Takes Faith to Climb a Mountain

We were getting tired. One of my daughters was in tears not wanting to continue. In her mind she didn’t have it in her to continue the journey up the mountain. She struggled with wanting to quit and give up even before gaining the reward that awaited at the top. Exactly whether or not this journey would be worth it was yet to be known. None of us knew what awaited us once we arrived. We had never been there before. What started as a pretty moderate hiking adventure was quickly starting to get more and more rough the higher we climbed. The switchback trail was getting thinner the further up we got. The rocks were getting bigger and tougher to climb over. This was no beginner hike.

It had been a very long time since I hiked anything like this. My kids had never hiked a trail this tough before. Andy was in the lead forging his way making sure we were on the right path. I followed in the rear making sure no one was left behind and needed to stop. We took several water breaks and rests. At each break we encouraged our girls that they were doing well and they could do this. That we can finish what we started. We were not quitters and we were not going to give up.

Once we got to the top the reward was magnificent. You could feel the collective mood of the group change from exhaustion to one of complete awe and exhilaration. The view was amazing. My girls were thrilled that we had made it. And all the way back down the mountain the conversation had now switched from comments of “I can’t” to “I am so glad we did.”20170416_161307

At the top of that mountain I told my eldest that climbing this mountain was a lot like our faith journey. While going up the trail we didn’t know what to expect and therefore it could be so easy to quit moving up and going forward. Like faith when you are believing for something, especially something you’ve been believing for a long time about, it can be so easy to just give up on it. And yet, if we push through and continue to trust God, even when the going gets tough, the reward is so sweet and well worth it.

That is why it is so important to keep yourself in the Word of God daily. That is how God gives us the pep talks we need. The you’ve got this scriptures to let us know we can finish what we started. On the way up the mountain I kept quoting Philippians 4:13 over and over to my kids. Putting it out there in the atmosphere to remind not only them but myself that, I (we) can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength.

When it was all said and done we were all so happy that we did it. We didn’t give up. We finished and the reward was truly amazing.

Now for some real life application: Don’t give up. No matter what the world may throw at you remember: “YOU CAN DO THIS!” phil 4-13 blog

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Learning to Say No and Let Go

For the past couple months I have felt a change was about to come into my life. And to some extent we have already had some changes take place. But particularly the Lord has placed it on my heart to write again, to blog again, to pick up some things that I thought I had let go and to let go of some things that I have gotten too comfortable with. Learning to Say No & Let Go.png

As my kids have gotten older and I’m only a year and a half from my oldest child graduating and going off into the world to live her own life, I’ve begun to think about what is going to be my next stage, or my next step.

While thinking about that, the Lord has really been dealing with me about learning how to say no and even more so about learning how to let go. I’ve read the books and know what I’m supposed to do, but actually doing it can be somewhat difficult.

There are areas that I have to let go in order to grasp a hold of what God has lying in front of me. If I don’t then I can’t give my best to what He has. I have such a hard time letting go of some things because I like knowing what is expected of me. I like being needed and wanted. I like being indispensable. But, I also crave change.

Crazy as it sounds, I know I need change. Many times I usually do that in getting my home in order. But more and more lately I know that change is not always going to be something I will be in control of. I have to allow myself to step out of my comfort zone in order to allow God to move in me.

I want to grow and mature. I want to see myself succeed. I want to see the things He has put in my hands become what He created it to be. Maybe it won’t be easy. Who am I kidding, I know it won’t be easy. Maybe, I will have to say goodbye. Maybe, I will have to say hello. Maybe, I will open my mouth. Maybe, I will have to shut it. Maybe, I will have to adapt. Of course I will have to adapt. But, just maybe, I will love whatever it is He has in mind for me.

I’m ready to let go of the struggle and just be at ease in Him. I’m ready to stop trying to control my life and let Him control it for me. I guess, I’m ready to be ALL IN.

What about you? Are you like me? Do you need to let things go in order to grab a hold of God’s calling for you?

If you are trying to learn to say no and let go here are 3 simple steps that just might help you.

  1. Pray. This is the most important step. Pray and ask God if you need to say no and/or let go of some things.
  2. Journal. For me this is an absolute must. If I write out the things that I do in life and think about how I feel when I write them out then, usually, I know what things I need to say no to more often or let go of completely.
  3. Rest. Once the decisions have been made, rest in the knowledge that you have been obedient to what it was that God has told you to do and, DO NOT allow people to make you feel guilty about those decisions. We are to please God, not man. (Galatians 1:10; Acts 5:29; 2 Corinthians 5:9)

I pray blessings on you today.

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Aspiring to Be Magazine Summer edition

It’s here the Aspiring to Be Magazine Summer edition. Check it out:

a2bsummer

All God’s Creatures

ZonderKidz VBSI can’t believe the week is over. I’ve had so much fun sharing with you all the fun VBS themes that ZonderKidz has put together along with sharing resources from other companies and bloggers. If you have missed any of the previous themes you can check them out:

Under the Sea Theme

World Builders Theme

When I Grow Up Theme

Angels Everywhere Theme

Today’s them is  “All God’s Creatures“:

Animals are all around us– -in our homes as pets, on farms providing us with meat, milk and eggs, in the forests, in the sea, and even in the sky. Kids are often curious about the lives of animals and how God relates to them. This fun theme helps kids get in touch with nature and with animals.

Here are some Animal book and Bible resourcesnull.jpg_7596

Here are some Bible stories that focus on animals

  •  The Creation
  •  Adam names the animals
  •  Noah’s Ark
  •  Daniel in the Lions’ Den
  •  Elijah and the ravens
  •  The Lost Sheep
  •  Jesus rides the donkey on Palm Sunday

Here are some animal themed craft and décor ideas that can be purchased:

Here are some fun animal themed activities to do with items on hand:

  •  Invite a Vetarinarian or Zoo staff to come and talk to your group about animals (ask if they can bring a special animal visitor)
  •  Take a trip to the local zoo as a group
  •  Volunteer as a group, for a day, at a local working farm
  •  Make these adorable Handprint Hens from No Time for Flash Cards blog
  •  Volunteer as a group, for a day, at your local SPCA
  •  Run a dog food and cat food drive to donate much needed food supplies to your local animal shelter
  •  Host a “dog wash” event as a fundraiser for your church, children’s ministry or animal charity
  •  Have an animal scavenger hunt in your church’s neighborhood to spot signs of animal life native to your area.
  •  Take a group nature walk in your local park or forest hiking area to spot animals and explore their habitats.
  •  Make Animal masks using this simple craft from Enchanted Learning

I hope you all have enjoyed this weeks posts as much as I have. Thanks to ZonderKidz for providing the information and ideas (as well as the other companies and blogs).

If you missed the previous themes be sure to check out the top of this post where I link back to the other 4.

 

 

Angels Everywhere

Welcome back. We only have two themes left to feature and if you missed our previous ZonderKidz VBSthemes you can check them out:

Under the Sea Theme

World Builders Theme

When I Grow Up Theme

So for today our new theme is:

Angels Everywhere:

Children are very fascinated with Angels! They’re guardians and messengers and all around interesting. Explore Angels in the Bible with this fun theme!

Here are some books and Bible resources for the Angels Everywhere Theme:9780310744238.jpg

Here are some Angel Bible stories that tie into this theme:

  •  Creation- God created the Angels
  •  Abraham and Sarah visited by three angels
  •  The 3 Youths in the Fiery Furnace
  •  Jacob’s Ladder
  •  The Angels Guide Isaiah Through Heaven
  •  The Angel Appears to Mary
  •  The Angel Appears at the Tomb of Jesus

Here are some Angels craft and décor ideas that can be purchased:

Here are some fun activities for the Angels Everywhere Theme to do with items on hand:

  • Make simple Angel wings using paper plates, with instructions from Maker Mama
  •  Be angels in your community by helping people in need with a food or clothing drive or a
  • charitable work activity
  •  Host an Angel Hair Spaghetti lunch and invite the senior citizens of the church to be served by and dine with the children
  •  Make keepsake Coffee Filter Photo Angels with this fun craft from DLTK
  •  Make a simple Angel paperclip ornament or necklace with this easy craft from The Crafty Journal
  •  Borrow Angel Christmas cookie cutters from people in your church and have children cut out and bake all different kinds of angel cookies from rolled out dough
  •  Form a VBS kick ball league and name your teams after the different orders of Angels.
  •  Form groups to build giant angel art figures using recyclables and make Angel paintings for an Angel Art Gallery
  •  Have an Angel Food Cake Eating Contest– – kids eat slices of Angel Food Cake, piled high with whipped cream, using only their mouths.
  •  Sing Angel themed Christmas songs in the Summertime

 

What awesome ideas for creating Angel themed crafts. I really hope you’ve been enjoying the VBS Theme product ideas and resources. We have one last theme to share with you so please remember to come back tomorrow and check out the sneak peak of tomorrow’s theme below.

Animals

When I Grow Up…

ZonderKidz VBSSo what did you want to be when you grew up? Isn’t that a great question for a kid? If you’ve been reading this week you’ve been reading about ZonderKidz VBS theme’s and resources that they are talking about right now.  If you missed our previous themes you can see the Under the Sea Theme here and the World Builders Theme here.

Today we are looking at “When I Grow Up…“:

Kids have fun talking about what they want to be when they grow up! Here’s a fun theme that helps kids explore what they’d like to do in their futures and remind them that God is with them every step of the way.

Here are some When I Grow Up books and Bible resources:9780310744856.jpg_6

Here are Bible stories that relate to this theme:

  •  God calls Noah to Build an Ark
  •  God calls Moses to lead His people out of Egypt and write the 10 Commandments
  •  Joseph, the dream interpreter
  •  Jesus calls His 12 Disciples to minister with Him
  •  Jesus calls Paul to be a Disciple

Here are some craft and décor ideas for the When I Grow Up theme, that can be purchased:

Here are some fun activities for this theme that can be done with items on hand:

  •  Invite parents and members of the church community to come in each day of VBS and talk about their careers
  •  Have children dress up in the uniform for the career they would like to have
  •  Honor different careers each day: bake cookies and make tasty snacks as a group in honor of those who cook and bake, using these helpful recipes from Real Simple
  •  Have a pet visit day in honor of veterinarians;
  •  Practice safety demonstrations in honor of police, firefighters and first responders;
  •  Help people in need with a group charitable activity in honor of pastors, missionaries, and social workers;
  •  Host a special lunch where kids serve their parents to honor all that parents do for them
  •  Host a “Talent Show” where children can sing a song, recite a poem, tell a story, or do a dance that honors the career they want to have.

 

I hope this gets those creative juices flowing for all you VBS planner out there. Remember we have two more themes to go and so come back tomorrow and check out our next theme. Here is a sneak peak.

angels

World Builders VBS Preview & Resources

ZonderKidz VBSHello everyone it’s day 2 of our ZonderKidz VBS Theme preview and resources. And today we have a really fun theme and links to share with you.

If you missed yesterday’s introduction post and our first theme, you can head over here and check it out. There were a lot of  fun resources and products for you and today we have more fun products and resources to share.

Today’s theme is World Builders:

Online gaming is very popular with kids as young as five years old. Almost every kid has heard of Minecraft, and many have accounts of their own where they create worlds with their friends. There are countless other games of a similar nature available on smartphones and tablets. For VBS, take the kids away from their screens, but give them a fun game-inspired time using a theme that they know and love!

Here are some World Builder books and Bible resources:9780310754978.jpg_7

Here are some Bible stories that tie into online games, battles, and world building:

  •  The Creation
  •  Noah’s Ark
  •  Joshua at the Battle of Jericho
  •  Mighty Samson
  •  David & Goliath
  •  Jesus calling the 12 disciples (in online games, players call on other players to participate in battles or group events)
  •  The book of Revelations: Jesus’s return and the new Kingdom of Heaven

9780310754633.jpgHere are some crafts and décor for the World Builders Theme that can be purchased:

Here are some fun activities to do using items on hand:

  •  Host a Watermelon Carving Contest for teams to create their own edible game characters, courtesy of The Jolly Tomato
  •  Be World Builders in your own community by planting a garden or cleaning up an abandoned lot or helping elderly church members with their yardwork.
  •  Plan a scavenger hunt using GPS and Geocaching for a fun new way for teams to discover hunt items on their list.
  • Make your own paper using a kid-friendly activity idea from Tinkerlab
  •  Play a game of Creepers versus Endermen dodge ball
  •  Borrow Lego, Duplo and other bricks and blocks from the church community and host a “Build your favorite Bible story” activity using examples from the Faith Builders Bible
  • Create Minecraft inspired MadLibs using this helpful glossary from MindMum

 

All these activities look like so much fun. Makes me wish I was a kid again. Remember you can come back tomorrow to see the next theme we will feature and if you missed yesterday you can see that post here.

Here is a sneak peak of tomorrow’s post. Can you guess the theme? Come back tomorrow to see if you’re right.

hats

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