Thursday, May 25, 2017

Art for Littles Camp 2016

 Art for Littles Camp 2016 
was wonderful!!!

This year I chose five Eric Carle books to base my theme upon:
"The Very Lonely Firefly,"
"The Very Quiet Cricket,"
"The Grouchy Ladybug,"
"The Very Busy Spider," and
"The Very Hungry Caterpillar."

I loved the fact that each book has the word "VERY" 
in the title. We may feel very lonely, but the Word of God says, 

"Then Jesus spoke to them again saying, "I am the light of the world. 
He who follow Me shall not walk in darkness 
but have the light of life." (John 8:12)

We sang,
"This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine."

Day 2:
The Very Quiet Cricket
"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should
be called children of God! And that is what we are!
The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (1 John 3:1)

While we crafted we sang,
"Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us."

Day 3:
The Very Grouchy Ladybug

"Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other, 
just as in Christ God forgave you."
(Ephesians 4:32)

We sang:
"Be ye kind, one to another."

Day 4:
The Very Busy Spider

"This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you."
(John 15:12)

"The Very Hungry Caterpillar"
We talked about being 'born-again.'
We sang: 
"Born, Born, Born-Again, Praise God I'm Born Again!"

It was a fantastic week and I cannot wait to do it again next year!

Morning Moments with God: Day 89

                            Image result for Book of Matthew

Day 89: To Be Like a Little Child

Please read the Bible verses for today:
Matthew 21:12-17

Jesus at the Temple

12 "Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” (Matthew 21:12-13) 
Many years ago I attended a wedding in a Jewish Temple. As I was waiting to go into the Temple I remember thinking about how excited I was to see the inside of a Jewish Temple and how Holy and quiet it would be. As we were taken inside, I saw what looked like a flea market! People were buying and selling jewelry and clothes and food. There were so many tables lining the entry way that we had to squeeze past them and it was so noisy. I honestly was completely shocked. Immediately, I remembered the Scripture for today. In reading this Scripture we know just how Jesus felt about the buying and selling on Temple grounds. The thing that always amazes me when reading how Jesus handled the situation, (over turning tables), is His power to stand for what it right. I would have tried reasoning with them even though I know they wouldn't have listened. I find I stand up for what is right, but I am shaking in my boots when I do. Jesus walked into the Temple area one-hundred percent confident. I need to pray for His boldness when standing up for what I know is right. 
14 "The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant." (Matthew 21:14-15)
I LOVE how the people still went to Jesus for healing! They must have just witnessed Him overturning tables, which, I'm thinking is a pretty violent scene, and yet they still walk right up to Him and ask for healing! They weren't afraid of Him or what they saw. I love it! Jesus always welcomes us to come, no matter what. I know for me when I am upset about something and my child comes to me and asks me something, I sometimes say, "Not right now, give me a minute." But not Jesus! He is always available to us. He will never send us away. 
And I love how the children are dancing and shouting around Jesus. Jesus is healing them, their parents, their relatives, their neighbors! They are rejoicing and celebrating what is in their hearts. I love the freedom in their shouting! They are not afraid to shout the truth. 

16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
Yes,” replied Jesus, have you never read,
“‘From the lips of children and infants
    you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”
17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night." (Matthew 21:16-17) 

In verse 14 we read, "...the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did..." They saw the miracles for themselves. They saw the blind restore their sight and the lame walk again and it did not move their hearts. The children saw the very same miracles and rejoiced. Jesus stands before each us revealing His great love and compassion and we will always have the choice to accept Him or reject Him.

Pray with me:
Jesus, I pray for boldness. I pray that I will, in obedience to you, fight for what is right. I pray too that I will always see how you are moving in my life and in others and rejoice. I pray my heart will always be open to you. May the eyes of my heart always see you and rejoice! May I shout forth your praises like the little children! I praise you Jesus for all that you are! In Jesus' Name, Amen. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Morning Moments with God: Day 88 (Matthew 21)

                          Image result for Book of Matthew

Day 88: He Rode in Humility

Please read the Bible verses for today:
Matthew 21:1-11

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

21 "As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
“Say to Daughter Zion,
    ‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
(Matthew 21:1-5)
Whenever I read the Scriptures, I try and put myself into the story that I am reading. In this story, I imagined being one of the ones that Jesus told to find the colt. As I am understanding it, they are still a town away from Jerusalem. Jesus wanted two disciples to run ahead of Him, find a colt and bring it back to Him so He can enter Jerusalem on the donkey. If I was the one receiving this order, I certainly would have been scratching my head and wondering how Jesus knows that there is a guy with a donkey and a colt AND that he would be willing to just let the two disciples walk off with his animals with no payment required. There were no phones, no Internet, for Jesus to have arranged all this with the owner of the donkey and colt in advance. This is Jesus being God! If they weren't sure Jesus was God at this point, after witnessing every disease being healed, they get to witness it again. Jesus can see the future. Jesus knows all who He has created. He knows where they are and what they do for a living, (raising donkeys). He even knows which one of His people will be willing to give up their donkey for Him. Jesus is God. Jesus knows all of us! 

6 "The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[c]
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”(Matthew 21:6-11) 

Everything happened just as Jesus said it would. The two disciples found the donkey and the colt, the owner allowed them to simply have them, and brought them back to Jesus. Jesus prophesied other things too. Four times Jesus prophesied the way He would die. I wonder if the disciples were thinking about that. I wonder if they were at all prepared for what was coming. 

Jesus rode on the colt. The commentary in my Bible says two things: 1) The colt is the colt of a donkey and it had never been ridden. 2) "A donkey is an animal symbolic of humility, peace, and Davidic royalty. When I read the word, 'humility,' I immediately envisioned Mary, pregnant, riding on a donkey to Bethlehem. Jesus entered this world, the town of Bethlehem, riding on a donkey and He left this world, entering into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey. He came into this world as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords in humility and left in humility. What does that say to me? In wanting and desiring to be like Jesus, I must be humble. I must turn from pride and arrogance. To be like Jesus...

As Jesus enters the town people are shouting and cheering, 'Hosanna!' Coats are being laid on the road before Him, and palm branches are swayed above Him. The streets are lined with people as Jesus rides through the crowd. It's loud. It's a huge scene. It's a parade! The people within Jerusalem are turning their heads wondering what is happening. They ask, " When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”(Matthew 21:10-11) The crowds were the 'large crowds' following Jesus from place to place and they followed Him right into Jerusalem. They declared Him as a prophet from Nazareth. Yes, Jesus is a prophet, but wasn't/isn't He soooo much more! If I had been in that crowd I would have answered, 'This is Jesus- the prophet, the teacher, the healer of all diseases! If I knew Him as I know Him today I would have said, the one who has been kind and has looked on me with compassion. The one who saved me from death. The one who never leaves me. The one who saved my soul. My rescuer. My God.

Pray with me:
Jesus, thank you for revealing yourself to me. Thank you that I know you as the One True God who loves His people, who loves me. Thank you for your humility. I am in awe of you. Lord, I want to be humble and love others as you love them. Teach me your ways. In Jesus' Name, Amen. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Morning Moments with God: Day 87

                       Image result for Book of Matthew

Day 87: Shouting for Jesus

Please read the Bible verses for today:
Matthew 20: 29-34

Two Blind Men Receive Sight

29 "As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him."
(Matthew 20:29)
In reading the Book of Matthew, I have read, "...a large crowd followed him..." many times. I've always thought, 'I would have definitely been one in the that 'large crowd.' I would have been following Jesus from place to place, but as we are approaching the end of the Book of Matthew, I know what is coming-Jesus' death. Jesus was followed by large crowds for three years, but the night He was arrested He was alone. When he stood before Pilate, the 'large crowd' yelled 'cruxify Him!' Now, when I think of myself in the 'large crowd' following Jesus, I am beginning to think, would I have fled like the others did, or would I have stood at the cross with John and Mary? I want my faith to be strong and deep and willing to follow Jesus no matter what the cross.

 30 "Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” (Matthew 20:30)
Okay, so this is totally me, right here! If I was living at the time of Jesus, and blind, I would have been yelling and shouting out for Jesus to come to me. I have embarrassed my family for less important things like, at parades and sporting events with all my jumping up and down and cheering. I have embarrassed them in stores either for fun or in fighting for a return. Seriously, this would have been me, sitting on the road and yelling. I think it's awesome!
31 "The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” (Matthew 20:31)
"...they shouted all the louder..." Yup! They did the right thing- shouted all the louder. They knew they needed Jesus. They had no other way to get to Him. They had no other way to get His attention. On their own, they could not see to find Him. People told them to stop, to be quiet, but they did not let that stop them. Shouldn't we be more like these blind men? Praying and crying out for ourselves and those we love that are hurting. And shouldn't we be praying and praying until the prayers are answered? So many times we pray and give up, but God desires for us to pray and not stop. To believe and believe more. These blind guys didn't give up and guess what? Jesus showed up!
32 "Jesus stopped and called them. What do you want me to do for you? he asked.
33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”
34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him." (Matthew 20:32-34)

It doesn't read, 'Jesus came to them and was annoyed.' or 'Jesus came to them and said, 'Next time do the right thing and have someone quietly bring you to me- all this yelling is too much.' No. The Scripture reads, "Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him." Jesus has compassion on us. He loves us and desires for us to know Him and follow Him. We serve a Good and kind, and compassionate God who loves us. Call out to Him today! Shout to Him! And don't stop- believe He will come.

Pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you so much for this Scripture. Thank you for reminding me to come to you in pray and to keep praying not to give up. Thank you for your response to the two blind men. Thank you for showing me how gentle you are. Father, I pray for my heart to be healed from all the hurts of the past. I pray to be set free from the lies I believe about myself. Lord, I want to be whole and living for you in freedom to love and serve others so they may know you. In Jesus' Name, Amen. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Morning Moments with God: Day 86

                         Image result for Book of Matthew

Day 86: Be a Servant

Please read the Bible verses for today:
Matthew 20: 20-28

A Mother’s Request

20 "Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him." (Matthew 20:20) 
I am a mother and I pray for my children every day, and like most mothers, I want the very best for my children, but I have never asked Jesus what this mother asked Him.
21 “What is it you want?” he asked.
She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”
22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”
“We can,” they answered. (Matthew 20:21-22)
If they really knew what Jesus was asking them, I do not think they would have readily said, "We can." Even now, as I live my life devoted to Jesus, I think, "Could I drink the cup that Jesus drank? Could I deny my life, and resolutely claim Jesus as my Lord, if I was to be tortured through flogging and crucifixion? I hope I would, but I could not say, "I can" with confidence. 
23 "Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” (Matthew 20:23)
I wonder who will be sitting at Jesus' right and left hand. My guess is Peter will sit at one side, but for the other side, I have no idea. Peter was among the very first missionaries and endured the cross, (upside down!) Peter lived a life completely devoted to the work of Jesus- to love and save the lost. But either way, I am excited to see who it will be and have no expectation that it will be me. I am content and happy that my name is written in the Book of Life and I will see my Jesus one day. 
24 "When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. 25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:24-28)

And here is the lesson we all need to learn: "Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26b-28) It's not about a competition. It's not something to desire. If we live our life with a true heart to follow Jesus, our heart will be content to do whatever He asks us. It's interesting that I am reading this, this morning. Yesterday after church we were all heading out to do an outreach. (We were giving free car washes to the anyone who came by and sharing with strangers the love of Jesus). I was one of the last ones to leave the church, when I heard a husband tell his wife, "You go on without me, I'll catch up." My friend and I went back into the church to see what the hold up was, and there we found him in the back helping another young man clean up the church. The two of them were happily cleaning up the church, while everyone had left with excitement to serve the community. I bet these two guys wanted to be with everyone. I bet they were excited to leave too, but they stayed behind and worked while no one was looking. Later, I heard that this same husband was one of the guys working hard washing down all the cars. I have been so touched by his heart to serve. A heart to serve his Lord Jesus without any thought of himself. He serves with a humility that inspires me. 

Pray with me:
Thank you, Jesus, for all you have done for me. Thank you for allowing yourself to be flogged and crucified to save my life. The words, 'Thank you' aren't enough- my heart wants to say more! Thank you that your ways are not like this world- I do not have to compete for your attention and love. Thank you that you give it to me freely. Thank you that you are my Good Father. Help me Lord to serve you with a humble heart. Help me to serve you with my eyes on you and not on gaining man's attention and accolades. Help me to serve where ever I am needed. Make me a servant. I love you with all my heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Morning Moments with God: Day 85

                        Image result for Book of Matthew

Day 85: He WILL

Please read the Bible verses for today:
Matthew 20:17-19

Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time

17 Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, 18 We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19 and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” (Matthew 20:17-19)

The great thing about only reading a few verses a day is that you get to see things you wouldn't have if you had put on yourself to read a whole chapter in your quiet time. In reading only two verses, the pressure is off to finish Bible reading and get on with your day. In reading only two verses there is a peace and a freedom to hear from Holy Spirit what He wants me to see and learn. So, let's see what He wants us to learn today =)

Each night I read the next days 'reading for the day' so I can rest, thinking on what the Lord has for me. When I read these verses last night, I heard the word 'will' repeated. 

"The Son of Man WILL be delivered over to the chief priests..." 
"They WILL condemn him to death..."
"...and WILL hand him over to the Gentiles..."
"On the third day he WILL be raised to life!" 

Many times my husband will say something like, 'That's great! (in a sarcastic tone) Now there's a crack and it will break and we will have to buy a new one.' My response is always...'Don't say that! It doesn't have to happen." My point? If I had been one of Jesus' disciples and heard Him say, 'WILL' four different times, I would have argued with Him! I would not have wanted to hear those words and I certainly wouldn't have wanted to hear Him say it WILL HAPPEN with certainty. I cannot imagine being one of the disciples and hearing that my Jesus WILL BE 1) handed over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. My mind would have been so confused that the 'holy men' of the time would be the ones to arrest my Jesus. 2) They will condemn Jesus to death, hand Him over to the Gentiles (which means, Jesus will not be stoned to death, but receive the punishment of crucifixion). 3) He will be mocked, flogged and crucified! And I know myself, I would have been so shocked that I wouldn't have heard the Good News... 4) "On the third day he WILL be raised to life!"

Setting aside for a moment that I would have been shocked and terrified and confused in hearing Jesus' words, what touches my heart is that Jesus was talking about all these horrible things happening to Himself and still said, "WILL." He didn't say, 'might' or 'God willing these things won't happen to me.' He confidently said, 'will' four times. He was determined to obey the Father, however horrible a path He had to walk down, Jesus was determined to obey.

This is why I want to be like Jesus. He asked the Father to guide His path, He looked at the trial He had to face, and still walked down the path-completely obedient to the Father's will. I want to face the trials that come into my life and say, "xyz...WILL happen, and the Father WILL bring me through." I don't want the trials to slow me down or stop me from continuing on my path. I want my walk with Jesus to be a confident one no matter what the road ahead of me brings. I want my faith to be stronger.

Pray with me:
Dear Jesus, thank you for all that you have done and for how you lived your life on earth in perfect obedience to your Father. Help me to live a confident, faithful, and obedient life to the Father. Help me to face my trials as you did- with the assurance that God the Father will be with me and will see me through and will give me the victory! I love you Jesus! You are my hero! Change my heart to be ever faithful. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Morning Moments with God: Day 84 Matthew 20

                          Image result for Book of Matthew

Day 84: Works or Grace?

Please read the Bible verses for today:
Matthew 20:1-16

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
“About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.
“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
“‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’
“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’
“The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’
13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:1-16) 

This story is perfect, (of course), in showing us the Father's heart in wanting all to come to salvation. I personally asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior thirty years ago this coming October. My name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life and I will go to heaven when I die. Now if someone asks Jesus in their heart today, their name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life and will go to heaven too. If we both die tomorrow we enter together. Me with my thirty years, the other person with their one day. I rejoice in it! I love the Father's generous and loving heart, but there are those who do not like this idea. There are people who do not think it fair to have someone who lived their whole life hating Jesus, living against His will enter heaven just because he prayed the prayer of salvation in his final hours on earth. They think if unfair. Well, what that only shows me is that those who think that unfair, have religion and not a relationship with Jesus. These people think in terms of works and earning their salvation. They think that being good and following the Ten Commandments will secure their heavenly position, but they are wrong. They do not understand the power of Grace. There is this quote I heard a long time ago, I believe it was Thomas Aquinas who said it, "Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and then do whatever you want." You see, if we are loving Jesus with all that we are, the 'do whatever you want' part will be everything that Jesus wants us to do. We will be close to the heart of God and desire the things of God and we will certainly rejoice in someone giving their heart to Jesus at any hour.

Pray with me:
Father, thank you for your grace. Thank you for your generous love. Thank you for calling me into a relationship with you when I was only seventeen-years-old. Thank you for turning my life around and bringing healing to such a broken heart. Father, I pray for those who do not know you. I pray that you would appear to them in a vision, in a healing, in a miracle in their life so that they too may know you today. I thank you that you desire all to come to salvation! Thank you for your generous, loving heart that is filled with grace. In Jesus' Name, Amen.