What's Up Wednesday

All Our Fruit Comes From Him

Wednesday

One month and counting in Maine, and we have been BUSY. Church events, planning a youth ministry from scratch and this house. Y’all. This. House. I can’t wait to share our finished product. And honestly, for the changes we are able to make now it shouldn’t be too much longer before we can do the big reveal! Wahooo!!!

One blessing, though, in our move is substantially bigger than the updates we are making toward making this house our home, and all the other activities we are involved in – it’s time with the Lord. What an extravagant gift! I’ve had the privilege to be involved in an awesome women’s Bible study (‘Breathe’ by Priscilla Shirer – it’s awesome!!), and in my read straight-thru the Bible, I have just made it through Hosea. I am loving this beautiful land. This quiet. This time.

And today, God blessed me with a Word from Him He knew I desperately needed to hear. And honestly, it’s my new favorite passage of scripture:

Healing for the Repentant

Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God,
    for your sins have brought you down.
Bring your confessions, and return to the Lord.
    Say to him,
“Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us,
    so that we may offer you our praises.
Assyria cannot save us,
    nor can our warhorses.
Never again will we say to the idols we have made,
    ‘You are our gods.’
No, in you alone
    do the orphans find mercy.”

The Lord says,
“Then I will heal you of your faithlessness;
    my love will know no bounds,
    for my anger will be gone forever.
I will be to Israel
    like a refreshing dew from heaven.
Israel will blossom like the lily;
    it will send roots deep into the soil
    like the cedars in Lebanon.
Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees,
    as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon.
My people will again live under my shade.
    They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines.
    They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon.

“O Israel, stay away from idols!
    I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you.
I am like a tree that is always green;
    all your fruit comes from me.

Let those who are wise understand these things.
    Let those with discernment listen carefully.
The paths of the Lord are true and right,
    and righteous people live by walking in them.
    But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.

Hosea 14:1-9

I stand in awe. His love is extravagant. It is all we need. HE is all we need.

Hosea_web_graphic-600x506

So many times All the time my prayers are asking and pleading and begging…and every time His answer is the same: I am the Lord Who provides.

How beautiful that His love knows no bounds!! He is even our SHADE!! (And on days as hot as today, I can fully appreciate that attribute – and I’m sure you can too!) We don’t just serve a god who makes us happy in this moment. We serve the Almighty God, the Creator who provides for our every need.

I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me. Hosea 14:8b

He asks us to follow Him, and He will provide. Stop for a moment this afternoon and reflect on that for a moment…Whatever it is you are worrying about and stressing over, give it up to God. Fully surrender to Him. He. Will. Provide.

Return…to the Lord…for your sins have brought you down…Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us [Lord], so that we may offer You our praises.

Hosea 14:1-2 (emphasis & editing mine)

signature heart

 

Thirsty For Christ Thursday

Captivated Thoughts

Yes, it has been eons since we have posted a thing. I cannot believe how quickly and easily time escapes from us. It seems like just the other day we were packing up our home in Georgia to relocate to Maine. Alas, we have now been living in Maine for more than 4 months, and have already moved to a NEW home! I can’t claim we haven’t been busy!

I began work on a second bachelor’s degree at the University of Southern Maine at the beginning of this January…I’m working towards a BS in Biochemistry…and we don’t even have our kitchen table set-up yet in the new house! Craig’s working, I’m studying, snow is falling and our Furs are restless, but we are pushing forward and getting settled into our new home – one box at a time.

In addition to all of this, I am still the youth minister for two parishes here in Southern Maine, and Craig & I have just joined a Bible Study group together with another church, near New Hampshire. We also both have some form of “the beginnings of pneumonia” right now, according to the nurse practitioner I made an appointment with Friday, and we have been keeping each other up late every night with our wheezing and coughing and nose-blowing. I am the cantor for Mass today, too, and I am praying God will sing through me – because I have absolutely no voice at all, right now.

Whew. My hands are tired from typing all of that, and my eyes are swimming with the jumble of words. If I stare at the lists upon to-do lists bogging my sweet husband and I down right now, my pulse quickens and I become anxious…

BIOCHEMISTRY?!?! What the heck was I thinking?!?! As the nurse told me yesterday, “…quite an age to start following such a dream!” Balancing chemical equations? Memorizing the electronegativity of endless elements, and studying the polyatomic ions from Table 2.24 in the text? Learning how to do math, all over again? Knowing the difference between an oxidation-reduction and a precipitation reaction? Which box do I unpack next? How am I going to shovel the driveway – I’ve never done that before! Walking to class in 14 degree weather??? What color should I paint this room? How are we going to survive another month without our former income? How can we really show the youth group Jesus LOVES them!?!?

That’s my mind before coffee and Jesus, every morning.

My brain can be overtaken by fear and anxiety so easily with everything going on…and I haven’t even mentioned the worry of never being a mother…

This is why a personal “quiet time” is so immensely important. Time alone with God everyday – every MORNING – is paramount. Why, you ask? Because you then have the ability to place all of your worries, fears, thoughts, lists and crises on the back-burner, and put Jesus first.

I have a peaceful time, before anything else, in the day when I drink my coffee and read God’s love letters to me. I have learned in this time to captivate my thoughts:

2Corinthians105I never truly understood what this meant until very recently. Taking your thoughts captive means to consciously recognize them, and dismiss them. I no longer allow myself to be bogged down with worry and overwhelming thoughts of everything that has to be accomplished. In my quiet time, I sit with God and allow Him to speak to me through His Word. Every verse I read, something new pops out to me from the page, and each time a worrisome notion begins to creep into my mind, I cast it out – with ease – in the presence of our Lord.

Life is overwhelmingly overwhelming – if you allow it to be. But Jesus didn’t call you to be anxious and stressed. You were created to be joyful and full of His Spirit! Take a few moments alone, first thing every morning, and spend those precious minutes in prayer and Bible reading. You won’t wish those moments had been spent any differently.

signature heart