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In the last post I shared what our Pastor has been teaching

In the last post I shared what our pastor has been teaching and today’s post is part two of ‘the increase’ series.
On Sunday he continued with the concept that God has given us everything.
His provision is always with us and the way we access it; is by fully trusting in Him.
Trust is a foundation for many relationships including the one we have with God.
Pastor said we often see an increase of faith after a season of loss.
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3
Trust is so crucial to our growth and our basic belief.
Then he moved into a story that was interesting, I have read it before but this was a new ‘twist to it’.
Daniel was a prophet of the Old Testament and the story is about a conversation he had with an angel.
10:12 {Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words.”} Daniel prayed but it took 21 days for the angel to arrive to speak to him because of interference from the forces of the enemy. Basically he said, your prayers were heard but it took time to reach you.
Pastor said often times there is more going on behind the scenes then we are aware of, we are just waiting… thinking that nothing is happening.
We feel that our requests went no where and that is often not true.
Then he shared about the story when Lazarus Jesus friend got sick and passed away.
Jesus told the disciples that the delay for him to go to Lazarus was for their sake, for their faith to increase while waiting. Even though they grieved and couldn’t realize why Jesus was not coming to him.
HE knew a greater story would be told after they experienced the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.
Jesus knew the importance of time when grieving someone who was loved.
Pastor said, lamenting is an important part of grief. It cannot be short circuited.
He said sometimes the best one who can walk alongside you in your time of grief; is the one who can be quiet.
Then he shared the story of Job and how his family, his home, his job and everything including his health was destroyed so that in the end; his faith could be stronger.
He also shared that this can be very misunderstood.
God doesn’t take away so we can benefit from that loss, but He does enable us to grow within the experience of loss. The concept and question; will we become bitter or better?
He also taught the way NOT to be with someone who is suffering.
In the story his wife said to him, ‘curse God and die.’ That is not encouraging or helpful.
Job had no one who would encourage him as he grieved. It is hard to understand the story of Job. Why he had to go through so much and in the end he was blessed more abundantly than before, I don’t pretend to know the why … I just know Job stayed strong.
Pastor said, sometimes our outcome is way different than the beginning.
Loss of health could equal peace, loss of relationship could equal honor, loss of job could equal presence, loss of dreams could equal purpose, loss of a marriage could equal hope. Nothing is without a reason.
There is always an eternal perspective on our lives whether we realize it or not.
Sometimes loss is preparing us for a greater good. We just don’t see it till the process is over.
Romans 8:28 {And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.}

Our Pastor has begun a new series

Our Pastor has begun a new series finishing the one called ‘the time is now’ and moving into a new one called ‘the increase.’
We are growing as a church and each week I see the ‘fruit’ of a good leadership surrounding us.
Our Pastor is a man of integrity as well as his ‘circle’ who pray over and protect him.
It’s not easy being a Pastor and also keep a family and lead a growing group of people.
He began with identifying what is the increase.
It is a season to unpack, and discover how we experience it together.
In the new testament book of 2nd Peter 1:3 {His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.}
God has given us everything we need for a godly life.
In relationship with God we can have every access to His gifts and benefits. It is a blessing to walk with him, because of His love we have choice and certainty.
We access our increase by trusting in the promise of his provision for us.
Trust is always a foundation of all relationships.
Proverbs 3:5-6
{5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your path}
Pastor said this kind of a trust is similar to leaning in. Resting on… allowing His direction.
Trust with all of your heart. Heart is everything about you anchored into Who He IS.
And lean not on your own understanding which can block your trust. Your understanding of Who He Is will always minimize God, for you are not that smart.
In the new testament book of Philippians it says:
{4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.
6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.}
Sometimes we will receive a deep and abiding peace which doesn’t match what we are going through.
That is what it means, when it says ‘surpasses all understanding.’
We don’t see the how, or why but we trust in the outcome of what we experience.
It transcends our ability to know.
In the book of Romans there is a verse that is often misquoted.
{8:28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.} The good in this verse means no hassle for us, it is the presence of God.
The all things is the fullness of God. His power, His voice and His goodness.
Therefore, ALL things work for good as we lean in and trust. Then trust increases our peace.
It is a quiet tranquility and freedom from the disturbances around us.
The solution to our ‘lack of increase or deficit’ is peace.
Isaiah 32:18 {My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.}
What an amazing and wonderful promise for us to hold onto.

For the last four weeks our Pastor has been

For the last four weeks our Pastor has been teaching on the topic ‘the time is now.’
It has been good, and challenging and eye opening and exciting all in one journey as a church.
We have made plans to purchase a piece of real estate for our new building and in order to do that each family had to come to a place of giving, from their hearts.
The goal was to raise a million for a down payment for the first half of the ‘purchase’.
We waited and prayed and listened and the grand total was announced last week.
We raised over a million, over the goal and over the plan that our Pastor laid out.
It was exciting. It was the generosity of the people. Sharing out of their ‘abundance and finding clever ways to resource the ‘goal’ whether that be selling a boat, selling a car, cashing in on funds of some sort. Creative giving for we know a generous heart is richly blessed.
Pastor shared one family gave their entire life savings and within days of giving it was returned to them in another way. Faith can move mountains. Faith can also show the power of the Almighty God.
Pastor said, let your conversation be gracious and attractive watching how you live.
Choosing to have a generosity of heart, everyone contributes to the sharing of the word so others who are searching can hear it and be saved by that experience.
The new facility will be not only for us as a church but it will be also a community place.
When serving others within that space it is not our job to convince others they are lost it is the Holy Spirit’s job to show them. We just do the ‘serving’ the rest will happen in the right timeframe.
Jesus reached out to others and rescued them. He also asked them, “do you want to be well?”
Part of that expectation was action on their part, supernatural healing with the expectation to pick up your mat and get walking.
Pastor said, let your conversation be gracious. The Holy Spirit will do the rest.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 The Message (MSG)
{3-4 If our Message is obscure to anyone, it’s not because we’re holding back in any way.
No, it’s because these other people are looking or going the wrong way and refuse to give it serious attention. All they have eyes for is the fashionable god of darkness.
They think he can give them what they want, and that they won’t have to bother believing a Truth they can’t see. They’re stone-blind to the dayspring brightness of the Message that shines with Christ, who gives us the best picture of God we’ll ever get.} I believe this new facility will be one of blessing for us as a church and also a blessing for the community who is watching us. The time is now for us to show Jesus to others.

 

Today is a birthday to celebrate for our grandson

Today is a birthday to celebrate for our grand son Samuel.
Our son’s first son. He joined our family weighing in at 5 pounds and with dark hair.
He is our fourth grand child and the first boy to carry on the family name.
Today he turns 14. He is a teen now and growing tall, with braces and so much potential ahead of him.
His love of reading will help him go far in the world, as he learns more and experiences more.
Samuel, a gift from God. I remember they didn’t know what he was going to be at birth, surprises are nice.
I also remember my son coming out of the delivery room telling us he had a son.
It was so exciting and so special to be a part of the celebration.
1st Samuel 1:26 {I prayed for this child, and God gave me what I asked for. And now I have dedicated him to God. He’s dedicated to God for life.}
In the bible Samuel was a mighty man of God and warrior and judge, he was a strong and special character.
I believe our grand son will be the same strong character through his life decisions and in his faith.
Our son is raising him to be respectful and honest, it will be such a blessing to see what the next four years will bring for him as he grows more and more into a young adult.
I can’t even imagine him driving, I know he will be but oh my vision still has him younger.
Time is moving quickly and the grand children are growing before our eyes.
I pray that we can be an influence to all of them.
I pray that they all know we love them, support them and will always be there for them.
To be grand parents is a role we do not take lightly. It is a calling and a privilege.
Samuel Wesley named after your very special grandpa, I pray you continue to love our God.
That you follow after him with all your heart, soul and mind.
That you listen to your parents for they know many things and they want the very best for you.
That you remember you are who your brothers look up to and are watching.
They are little shadows following, be a good example for them.
I pray for you and know in my heart you will go far. Keep striving and keep learning.
For life is one big huge long lesson and always walk alongside your father.

The end of an era for our grand daughter

The end of an era is coming up for our oldest grand daughter.
Faith Elizabeth our first born grand child, the one who changed our roles from parent to grandparent.
The precious bundle that not only blessed us immensely but helped heal our home.
Today, she will be walking across the stage and accept her graduation diploma.
It has been a long journey for her, one of hard work mentally and also learning who she is and growing into herself as a teen and then into an adult.
I am so very proud and the possibilities are many for her adult years.
I am praying for her to make decisions that are good and positive.
It has been one of my greatest joys watching her grow up from a tiny preemie baby to the beautiful young woman she is today.
She has a great little job, a nice boyfriend and a good perspective on life.
Her graduation party was fun with lot’s of people showing up to support her.
It will be a joy to watch as she moves into a new direction of change, as she makes new choices and new decisions.
Adulthood is not often fun and not really as easy as being a young teen.
As an adult one has to be responsible and follow the rules.
Soon she will be driving and this grandma will be praying for safety and calm.
Highschool is almost over, actually yesterday was her last day.
Today they practice and tomorrow is the real deal, graduation and the final exit.
The end of an era and the beginning of a new one.
Congratulations Faith, we are very proud of you.

 

 

Graduation is coming up

Graduation is coming up for four of our grand children.
Three are leaving middle school and heading to high school and one is leaving high school and heading to being an adult with a job and soon a car.
Life is passing us by so quickly, I can remember when each of them were tiny little bundles.
Then they grew up. Where did the years go?
This Sunday we are having graduation party for Faith, high school has been a journey of ups and downs, she will be very glad to leave this ‘time of her life’ behind.
She has a nice job at a auto part store and she has a nice boyfriend.
I am amazed at her maturity and her growing up in front of us, she started out so tiny.
Life will be different for her. The youth days are leaving and she is 19 now and navigating her way to adulthood.
What would I tell her now?
To not take life too seriously. To eat good and get enough sleep. Exercise is good for the body and spirit.
I would tell her to manage her money well and not get into the trap of debt.
Keep your faith for it is your foundation of your life. Don’t forget God, he has never forgotten you.
I would tell her to remember no one has the right to hurt you with words or with physical actions.
Be strong for yourself and remember who you are, never lose track of that.
Remember how far you have come and how hard you have worked to get there.
I would remind her of the sister’s who are watching her.
For the 8th graders, I would say to them almost the same things.
High school can be very positive and fun, make the most of it. Find one or two friends and keep them.
Stay out of ‘middle school’ drama you are not there anymore.
Find your niche, what you enjoy and what you are good at and create space for growth.
Remember it’s only four years and it will go by very quickly.
I would tell them to listen to your parents and don’t be afraid to talk to your grand parents, we might be old but we are wise in our knowledge and guidance.
I pray for all four of you. Faith, Hannah and Alexis and Samuel.
May God grant you good years full of life experiences and lessons to be learned.
Please know we will always be here for you. We will always love you no matter what you do or don’t do.
You are amazing and gifted. May you all use those gifts to be a better and kind person.
Congratulations… you made it.

This is memorial day weekend and a time for patriotism

This is memorial day weekend, a time for family, an extra day off of work for most and outings with friends.
The other part of this weekend is remembering the fallen.
Those who have gone to war, and not returned home.
Memorial, as in remembering. Also called Decoration Day. A day, May 30, set aside in most states of the U.S. for observances in memory of dead members of the armed forces of all wars: now officially observed on the last Monday in May. (from dictionary.com) Memorial: preserving the memory of a person or thing.
The first time I experienced a military memorial service for my best friend’s husband I was in awe of the uniformed military men who folded the flag ever so carefully. Then the gun salute… it was sobering and very sacred. The hush in the air made it almost an eerie silence.
We have a very large military national cemetery in the Portland area and when you go there you see the many stones with names on them. Each one were military or married to a military officer.
Those who served and those who lost the fight. I can’t imagine being a parent of a lost soldier. It’s hard to think about and imagine what it would be like to hear ‘they are not coming home’.
So often we minimize the sacred moments, the traditions, the flag which represents our freedom.
So often it becomes just another fun holiday to enjoy with each other, rather than a sobering remembering that freedom cost someone something.
When I sing God Bless America land that I love, I see freedom. I see patriotic moments. I see honor.
It is also a prayer request, God Bless America.
We need blessings, we have gone so far off in different directions. Yet I remind myself there are still good and honest people who are proud of our country and what our freedom’s stand for.
This is not just a weekend for fun and playing. It is a time for remembering and time to pause and say Thank You.
It is a weekend for patriotism and love for our country.

Yesterday was a birthday to celebrate

Yesterday was a birthday to celebrate for us.
Our oldest grand daughter Faith Elizabeth turned 19. Now she is a full fledged adult and almost ready to drive. Ready to graduate from high school after a few little glitches. We are so proud. She has a nice little job and a nice boyfriend, too. Hard for me to realize she is grown up.
When she was born she arrived almost 8 weeks early weighing in at 2 pounds 11 ounces.
She was beautiful and very alert and strong. She was 17 inches long with very skinny legs. I was amazed at how tiny she was and in reality she was a pretty big baby in the NICU side where she slept.
I remember how we prayed over her and asking for her health to stay strong and her ability to eat good. She was able to go home after 3 weeks weighing just over 3 pounds 9 ounces. So tiny and so precious.
I like this picture it shows her tiny hands.
At 5 1/2 months she weighed not quite 8 pounds. The normal size of most newborns.I love this pre-school picture of her, it was one of my favorites.
I watched her for almost four years then she went to pre-school and a new babysitter who we trusted. It will forever be a special memory for me, the days and hours we spent together.
It is a great thing to be grandma and caretaker too.
. She is grown now and she is beautiful 
Our Faith Elizabeth.

Today I saw a question on face book

Today is saw a question on face book and it made me stop and think.
It said, “You have 168 hours each week to spend on something. What are you choosing?”
That is a great question and sort of goes back to what I just wrote about.
Frittering away our money, our time and other resources is just plain wasteful.
What would it look like if we purposefully laid out our ‘time’ in focused chunks?
I know when I am writing I set aside a few hours to do that, since it takes time to process.
How much time do I fritter watching TV?  or on my phone? or on the internet?
It is a great question of quality vs quantity.
How do we spend our time and how do we decide what matters?
I try to find good honorable choices. Books written by my friends are good.
Reading blogs of those who I know and encourage is good.
How much time do I prepare for meals, or shopping? It seems like the store is my go to place at least a few times a week. Maybe I could better plan using a list (gasp) Yes my husband has suggested a list.
I don’t use one but would it make it easier if I did?
How much time do we waste in a doctor’s office waiting room or sitting in the car in traffic?
Time is a gift to us. If we wake up and we are breathing the rest of the day is a bonus.
It is truly a blessing to be alive so let’s make the best of it and be productive.
Let’s choose to be wise in our time use. Let’s choose to be positive and encouraging.
Let’s choose to be productive and mark off those ‘to do’ items that haven’t been done.
Ready for the challenge?  ready to change the chapters of your life for the better?
Let’s press forward and do it.
picture from Toby Mac – speak life

Our Pastor has continued on the new theme

Our Pastor has continued on the new theme of the time is now.
I find it very encouraging and also challenging, for the time is now for many things.
Our personal lives sometimes have new changes coming as we prepare and wait for the ‘newness’ to settle around us in a new home or in a new job.
The school year is soon to be over and the children will be anticipating summer, or making plans for jobs or college if they are old enough.
There will be many choices as to how to spend our time and also where we choose the direction of our goals.
Our Pastor talked about how the enemy prowls around and waits for any thing that can distract us.
He said he hustles our heart for the treasures inside for where our treasure is kept, there is our heart.
That is hard to grasp sometimes.
God doesn’t want something from us he wants something for us.
It is a blessing of spirit, and a generous attitude.
That is way different than we have been told throughout our life time.
When we give our lives to the Lord many blessings rain down upon us as we serve him.
Choices about generosity determine where our heart is resting in.
For instance my husband and I sponsor three little girls in Haiti through compassion ministries.
I feel the small amount that we pay is nothing compared to the larger amount that we fritter away each week; not counting each time we go out to eat, or purchase a ‘must needed item.’
The time is now to make decisions as to where we spend our time and our money in the future.
It is more blessed to give than receive and I see that when we get a letter from these three girls.
Their prayers for us, are precious. Their thank you notes are genuine.
As Pastor said today, “we do not give from our wealth for we all are wealthy.”We give from our heart. God was generous to us first by sending us his son.
He looked at humanity and said, “you can’t ever earn your way to heaven, I will do it for you.”
It was a generous gift. It is for believers only. Pastor said, “it’s like receiving a medal in the Olympics on a raised platform that is used for presentation of what is due.”
We receive it just as a new graduate receives their diploma.
Pastor said, when we are generous we receive our joy. It is all about a heart condition.
The time is now for us to decide, about giving, keeping and being genuine.
It is a blessing of spirit and generosity of choice. What shall we choose?