Monday, May 18, 2015

Is it a Miracle?

A friend of mine was conveying an incredible story to me the other day of how God 'showed up' and created a 'miracle.' He used the word miracle over and over again and as he did my mind kept asking, "Is that a miracle?"

I do not doubt, in the least, the power of God to create miracles, but was what he shared a miracle? You know like...blind- see. The deaf - hear. The lame- walk....kind of miracles.

By definition a miracle is: "An effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause. -such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God."

So, two years ago I wrote an article called, "He Owns the Cattle on a Thousand Hills." It is the retelling of an unbelievable story. To summarize: I had wanted new couches for years. We tried to save for leather couches, or even faux leather couches, but something else would take precedence and thus, no couches. Finally, I cried out to God and surrendered the desire for new couches. A few days later I heard the Lord whisper, "Today you'll find your couches." That day I did! Now, I ask you, is that a miracle?

This is how I see it: I prayed to my Daddy in Heaven. I cried out to the One who made me, the One who loves me, the One who gave His very Son to die on the cross for me. He answered my prayer- I got couches. Is that a miracle? or a relationship? Is that God doing something extra-ordinary or is that God being GOD?

I believe God desires to be a part of our intimate lives. He wants us talking to Him about everything on our hearts. He wants us to trust Him, talk with Him, have a relationship with Him. So, "when His child asks for bread, will He give him a stone?" (Matthew 7:9) NO! He gives His child just what he asked Him for.

Can I tell you that my house is now filled with 'miracles' or 'answers to prayer' from God. I prayed for a dresser for my daughter (Unmerited-Undeserved Favor) -He gave it to me. Prayed for something/anything to help organize my children's closet- He gave it to me. Prayed for two different kinds of armoires- He gave them to me. Prayed for clothes for my teens who just KEEP growing-He gave it to me . My son tore up his new soccer cleats- prayed-He gave it to me. My list could go on. Okay, I will. I prayed for a dining room table, chairs and china cabinet -He gave it to me . I didn't pray for rugs and pillows for my couches, but had it on my heart- He gave it to me. Prayed for a new couch for the kids play room - He gave it to me. That's still not all. I prayed to have six students for my Joy School - He gave them to me. I prayed for a way to raise extra money for my family - idea was sent by the Holy Spirit - I now have a little side business!

Do you get it? I haven't had 'miracles' in my life- I have GOD in my life. I have a Father who loves me and hears every prayer, ridiculous or not. I talk to God about everything. I share with Him all my joys, worries, anxious thoughts, etc. Now, by definition everything I have received from God is in fact a miracle- "An effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause. -such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God." But God being God -all He CAN do are miracles. He cannot be less than who He is and we should expect no less. We should not be surprised when God answers our prayers- He loves us. He is our Daddy. He wants a relationship with us.

In other words, we should not be surprised when "God shows up"- He never left. He is always with us. I believe God wants to do even more in our lives. I believe God wants us to know Him. I am not a 'name it- claim it' preacher. God has used all my answered prayers to teach me about who He is. As for me, I believe God wants me to know and believe He is not like my father on earth. My whole life, and still even today, I was and am afraid of my earthly father. I never felt free to ask him for anything because I never knew if he would respond in kindness or rage. Growing up I quickly learned to never ask him for things. I learned to go it my own way. I have always had a job, since I was eleven years old. I have had some form of employment and have paid for everything.

Today I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling mommy of six, which I believe is the plan God has for me, but with that decision came the decision to not work outside the home. I have to rely on my husband's income to provide for us. (That doesn't always work). So God is teaching me that HE is my daddy and HE will provide. I can come to Him and He will not send me away. He will not yell at me. He will not say, "How Absurd! You want what!?" He will not laugh at my requests. He adores me. He delights in my heart. My heart is to bless my family and my company. My heart is to have a home that welcomes people. God knows my heart and I have had this journey with God to learn this lesson. I used to be afraid to ask God for anything. I was independent and could do it all by myself. He has taught me that He is gentle. He is kind. He has taught me that I am not alone and He wants to help me. I have had to learn who He is, abandon the lies I believed about Him and the lies even about myself of being capable of doing life on my own. It has been a walk with Jesus. A relationship.

The point I am trying to make is the more we see the move of God as a 'miracle' the more we keep Him at a distance. The more we say, "God showed up" the more we believe in His absence. He is always wanting to create miracles in our lives. He is always with us. Miracles should not be infrequent- but expected. Miracles are all that God can do- so why not invite Him in and allow Him to do what He does best- miracles, through a relationship with you!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

God's Football

Last weekend, during a time when my church friends were praying and singing out to God, I found myself sitting still and quite. With my eyes closed, and as I listened to all the beautiful voices praising God, the Lord gave me a vision.

I saw Jesus, bigger than life and garbed in a football uniform. He was huge. Clutched in His arm was a football. I heard Him say, "You're my football" and He began to run. I could see the green field as He ran, but it wasn't empty. Football players began running toward us. They were big! Jesus kept running. He was unstoppable. Player after player ran toward us to tackle us, but as they came near enough to us to almost knock us down, they went down instead. Jesus said, "Nothing is going to stop me from taking you to the End Zone."

In the past when I would face a trial many friends would say, "Ellen, remember, God is with you." And although that was/is true- being a visual person I envisioned something that did not bring me peace, but rather scared me. I would see Jesus standing next to me holding my hand, walking side-by-side with me. I didn't like it. That image made me feel very vulnerable, naked, and afraid. I still had to walk. I still could get attacked. Yes, He was with me, but He held only my hand.

Jesus said, "I'm not holding your hand, I'm holding you."

In the vision of Jesus running down the field of life, with trials coming in every size and coming in from every direction, Jesus was holding me and taking me to my destination. He wasn't asking me to run down the field and get clobbered by football players double my size. He carried me and battled the trial for me. I was safe. I wasn't afraid. I believed I was actually going to make it. The walk of life didn't feel frightening anymore. It was exciting to see how Jesus defeated the enemy. It was exciting to be making strides. It was exhilarating to believe that I was safe and not alone.

The verse, "God with us" means so much more to me now. It comes from the Old Testament and the New Testament:

"Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us." (Isaiah 8:10)

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." (Isaiah 7:14)

"The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" (which means "God with us."). (Matthew 1:23)

I believe this vision is for me, but I know it was not just for me. If God wanted to give me a vision meant for me only it would have been something that I know about- like ballet. I know NOTHING about football. I have never watched a game. Do not get me wrong, God is using this vision in my life, but I firmly believe it is for others to hold on to for themselves. I encourage you to claim this vision for your life as well. Jesus is your football player and you are His football. He is unstoppable. Call on Him and believe!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

White Wicker Furniture gets a New Look

 Spring is here
and for me that means
cleaning, downsizing and Painting!

This furniture is pretty old and worn,
but I wasn't ready to let it go,
and honestly, I just couldn't afford a new set.

So, I waited for just the right sale at Ace Hardware...
buy one spray paint can,
get another free!

I bought the two cans,
or should I say one,
and painted the set.

An old chair and table
given a second chance
and a few more years!

Marble Painting

Today in Joy School
we marble painted our butterflies for Spring!

Each child worked hard!
While we waited for the paint to dry,
we had our Bible time
and Bible craft time.

Here are the paintings!

I love my students!
I'm so proud of each one!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

St. Patrick's Day

One of my favorite holidays to celebrate is St. Patrick's Day.
No, I am not Irish, but when I read about who Saint Patrick was
I began to love the day we celebrate him.
In teaching my students about St. Patrick
I read all about him first.

This book tells the tragic childhood of St. Patrick in a way
that isn't too scary for children.
It shows how he trusted in God even when he was all alone
 and how he listened for God's voice.
It's a great story for children because St. Patrick's young life
 is something that kids can have sympathy for.
After reading about St. Patrick we made our craft-
the shamrock.

Snack time...A Shamrock for each child to remember
that there is one God, but three Persons- Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Another great day rejoicing in all that God
 can do in the life of an obedient child!