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|Posted by Virginia on February 11, 2011 at 9:28 PM||comments (0)|
There's a story that has been passed around, probably for years, it's one of those stories that is well worth sharing. I can't say where it originated, who wrote it or when. If you happen to know please share that information on this blog.
As the story goes, there was a little donkey who was lazily wandering around on the farm that was his home. He was well advanced in years and perhaps his eyesight wasn't what it had once been. As he enjoyed his afternoon walk around the fields he stumbled into a hole. This wasn't just any hole, it was deep, very deep. He had in fact walked right into an old abandoned well.
So there he was, standing in yucky mud half way up his legs and he was sad. He was very sad. It was cold and dark. He had no thought as to how he might free himself from his unfortunate predicament. What is a poor, little donkey to do when stuck at the bottom of a well?
As he pondered his situation, he felt a heavy plop on his back. He wondered what had hit him and where it had come from. At the same time he shook as hard as he could and the plop which was in fact a shovel of dirt coming from above, fell from his back down around his feet. He stepped up on the newly fallen dirt and looked up as if to ask "why" when again he spied more dirt headed his way. Once again it landed on his back and once again he shook as hard as he could. As the newly fallen dirt landed at his feet he again stepped up.
He was now a very confused little donkey. Why on earth (pardon the pun) would anyone want to shovel dirt into the old abandon well?
The little donkey didn't know that the farmer had seen him stumble into the well and couldn't think of any way to retrieve him. So he asked some of his neighbors to come over and help him fill in the well.
That seems like a very mean thing to do but he didn't know how he might possibly save the little donkey and at least know one else would fall into the abandon well.
The farmers up top continued to shovel the dirt in and the little donkey below continued to shake it off and step up. This went on for quite some time. They would shovel it in and the little donkey would shake it off and step up.
Can you guess what happened next? Each time our little donkey shook it off and stepped up he rose higher and higher.
Finally, after a very long time he rose to the top and shook off the last of the dirt. The farmers were all very surprised when the little donkey pranced out of the well and went on his way.
There is an important lesson that we can all learn from the little donkey. When we have unfair or unpleasant things happen to us like someone doing or saying something that isn't nice we have a choice to make.
We could let that stuff sit on top of us like a pile of dirt or we can choose to "shake it off" and keep on going.
If you choose to hang onto and remind yourself over and over again about when someone was unkind to you it is like letting a pile of dirt sit on top of you. It will just keep getting heavier and heavier.
If you choose to "shake it off" (that means let it go) then it won't be able to weigh you down and you will rise higher and higher.
The best way to "shake it off" is to tell God all about it. Tell Him what happened and how it made you feel. Then you could tell Him that you choose to forgive the person who hurt you (even if you don't fell like it) and ask God to help you to let it go. That's the best way to rise higher and higher and be on your way!
|Posted by Virginia on December 31, 2010 at 2:38 PM||comments (1)|
Less than twelve hours before we welcome in 2011! New Year's Eve! A time to celebrate and contemplate. A time to look back over 2010 and appreciate everything this year has held.
In all honesty, as I look back over this past year my mind goes to all of the difficulties and disappointments. My prayers have recently been that God would show me where He was in all of the trials of 2010. That He would enable me to see the circumstances of this year through His eyes.
As I listen over several days for what God would have to say about the events of this year, I sense He is showing me that what I see as difficulties, disappointments, trials and struggles He sees as opportunities to draw me closer to Him. An opportunity for what I truly believe about Him and His character to come to the surface as I choose to respond out of the Truth I know, instead of out of the circumstances flying at me and the resulting emotions.
It feels as though the enemy has been working overtime this past year to destroy everything I hold dear or to at least discourage me to the point of giving up. With each blow that came there was a decision to be made. A choice to stand and fight or to give in and give up. A very dear friend has reminded me repeatedly that God will never allow the enemy to do anything in our lives that cannot ultimately be used for good. Romans 8:28
As God continues to show me the trials as He sees them instead of how I see them (with the enemies help), I can see answered prayer and God's protection always.
My husband and I had been praying for years for a difficult situation with his business to be changed. 2010 has seen this change come to pass but the path necessary has been more treacherous then we could ever have imagined. Somehow we thought the changes would happen without any significant challenges. We have learned that all change will have it's own challenges and to pray for one is to also pray for the other. God has faithfully carried us through the challenges and my husband is now in a place professionally where he can thrive.
As my mother-in-law has battled cancer since August I have witnessed a strength in her that I would never have imagined. I have seen the family come together in a way that happens only during a crisis. Relationships have grown stronger and closer because of the battle. The outlook is good for a full recovery and God has used this battle with stage three cancer for His glory!
Two months ago I was in a serious car accident. As God has shown me where He was in that accident I can see His protection. Not just the night it occurred but for years leading up to it. Just the right car - purchased seven years earlier. It took the near head on collison remarkably well. Airbags - just there waiting for that moment. As the car turned in front of my car I felt a strong impression to turn the wheel hard. It all happened in a split second. That decision to turn the wheel spared both myself and the other driver from more serious injuries. The outcome was the very best possible and I know God was there protecting me and the young man in the other car.
So this year comes to a close. What a year! I thank God for it. All of it! There are two verses that God has been placing on my heart a lot lately. I would like to share them with you:
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14
The second verse is from the book of Joshua. God speaks to Joshua as he takes over for Moses. In verse 1:2 God tells Joshua that Moses is dead and that he should get the people ready to cross the Jordan. Now Joshua and the nation of Israel had been mouring over Moses so this was not a newsflash. I believe God was telling Joshua that it was time to move on. In verse nine God reminds Joshua what He has promised . . .
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
2011 is upon us. The decision is ours, will we embrace this new year with confidence and new determination. Will we see the challenges as opportunites? Will we seek out our Lord in every circumstance, every day!
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:18-19
May God bless you as you bless others in 2011!
|Posted by Virginia on September 29, 2010 at 12:37 PM||comments (0)|
"We give our hearts over to so many things other than God. We look to so many other things for life. I know I do. Especially the very gifts that He Himself gives to us - they become more important to us than He is. That's not the way it is supposed to be. As long as our happiness is tied to the things we can lose, we are vulnerable." - From Walking With God by John Eldredge
I love this insight and I must confess that I identify with his words. God gives each of us gifts to be used by Him through us. (The Bible speaks about our spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians, chapter 12 and Romans, chapter 12.) We, with the best of intentions, can lose sight of that truth and instead focus on the gift.
For myself it can become very easy to focus on the gift of writing that God has so graciously given to me. When I focus on the gift instead of on the Giver of the gift, I actually lose focus and try to do in my own power what I believe needs to be taking place.
Seeing the Hey Warrior Kids! books series published and in the hands of countless children is part of the vision that God has given me. My determination to see that fulfilled causes me to get out ahead of God. The result is my focus shifts as I strive to fulfill on my own the vision God has placed in my heart. I must continuously relinquish my will to the Father's will in all things, including the writing and marketing of this book series.
I invite you to share your thoughts.
|Posted by Virginia on September 23, 2010 at 12:56 PM||comments (0)|
There is a wonderful story of friendship tucked in the book of Mark. Allow me to share it with you, in my own words. Beginning with chapter two we see that Jesus has entered Capernaum. He is returning home.
The word had been spreading throughout the country about Jesus. Everyone knew that He was a teacher, some thought He was a prophet and others believed He might even be the promised Savior. He was speaking and teaching, healing people and dealing with demons wherever He went. Jesus had become the rock star of His day!
Verse two says that, "So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and He preached the word to them." The house where He was staying had been filled with people. The overlow gathered outside in hopes of hearing Jesus teach. They hoped for healing for themselves or for someone they cared about.
What would you do if you had come upon that scene? You have brought a friend along who has suffered for a very long time, hoping your friend would be healed. You can't even reach the front door through all the people. You know that this moment in time might never come again and your friend will not receive the healing that he so badly needs. What would you do?
Verse three shows this scene unfolding. Five guys, I imagine them as buddies growing up together. They care very much for each other, but one in particular has a need. He is unable to walk, so the four carry him, in hopes that Jesus will heal him. Upon their arrival they see the large crowd and realize that they can't reach Jesus. In that moment the four friends have a choice to make. Do they turn around and head home or do they press on?
I am very glad to say that they chose to not give up! It was that important to them that their friend who needed healing should receive it. So what did they do? They took their friend up to the roof! Carrying him each step of the way on a mat. They dug a whole in the roof large enough to lower him down. Somehow they figured out just where to dig so when they lowered their buddy down he would be right in front of Jesus.
What a plan! Can you imagine being seated in the living room below as bits of ceiling start falling and suddenly the room has a skylight? I imagine Jesus not taking notice and everyone following His lead as He continued to teach. Jesus smiles to Himself, pleased by the love of these friends.
Finally, the four lower their friend, who so needs the touch of Jesus, right in front of Him. "When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." (verse 5) Notice that it says, "when Jesus saw their faith". Jesus responded to the faith and actions of the four friends! In verse eleven Jesus says to the paralytic, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." The friend who could not walk received his healing from Jesus and walked home that day!
What a story! What a message! The friends did for their friend in need what he couldn't do for himself. They presented him to Jesus! What a beautiful example of love and friendship. When we lift up a friend or loved one to Jesus in prayer we are following the example of these four friends. And it makes Jesus smile!
|Posted by Virginia on September 15, 2010 at 5:14 PM||comments (0)|
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Ephesians 6:13-18
Imagine you are eight years old and you read the words above. You know it is important because it's in the Bible but what does it mean! The words of Paul in The Armor Of God are not just important but vital. Understanding this scripture and the reality that we are in a battle is essential to living in freedom. The Bible clearly tells us that we have an enemy, we are in a battle and we must put on the armor God has provided and stand. Hey Warrior Kids! Put On Your Armor! teaches what it means to put on God's Armor every day. Each piece of the armor is presented in terms that children can understand and apply. They will be excited that the God of the whole universe has given them armor to wear and to know that they are in God's Army!
Are you ready? Are you sure you're ready . . .
Hey Warrior Kids! Put On Your Armor!