Monday, August 31, 2009

The Light Vs. The Darkness

It is very dark! Blackness surrounds you in your room for several hours as you get your well needed sleep. Early morning hours do not even bring the sun or any light for that matter. Your eyes have adjusted to the darkness even as you stare at the clock turning 3:00 am. Then suddenly someone comes into your room and "Boom" turns the lights on! Not nice dim lights, but 75 Watt light bulbs...4 of them in the light fixture hanging just above where you sleep! Can you imagine what happens next? The pain of the light...the anger you feel for someone suddenly turning your darkness into light and waking you from this state of slumber!

My last post was about spiritual warfare. I am convinced that I am living in a time when Satan is trembling. He is out to try and bring the church down like never before. I talked about being a "fearless warrior" for Christ and I do believe that we can be just that. I mentioned that our offensive weapon while fighting this battle is our sword, specifically the "sword of the spirit" or the Word of God. As I continue to study and continue to fellowship every day with my Commander and Father God, I am sharpening my sword and using it more than ever to fight the battle before me. I learn best by watching Him. If I truly stop to observe the Lord and follow his example this is what I see: God the Father loves this world so much that He gave his Son to save us. Jesus came as light into a dark world. This world hates the light...the enemy hates the light. They have adjusted to the darkness and they find comfort there...and it is painful when the light shows up! "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." John 3:19-20 This is the reason why Jesus was so hated. When doing battle friend remember that you may not be liked very much! Why, because if you are following the plan of your Commander you are casting off the works of darkness and putting on the armour of light. John 15:18-19 says, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you."

Remember I said to sharpen your sword. I know that the enemy's primary strategies against the church is to plant division and strife. (He has been doing this since the beginning of time...nothing really changes!) It looks like this: race against race, rich against poor, friend against friend, brother against brother, sister against sister, leader against leader! Has He given us a battle plan?...YES! In that same chapter, in the 17th verse it says this: "This is my command: Love one another." Simple?...yes and no...effective...absolutley! I say we give it a try. I'm not saying we need to love Satan! NO! I'm saying no matter the conflict, no matter the world, the people being used by Satan to cause division...remember...our battle is not against flesh and blood, so we need to love one another. In John 13:35, Jesus says it again to his disciples (He says it so much really) "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." David Wilkerson wrote this: "Then the lost will see and know God's love, through his obedient, joyful, sacrificing people - the church." Seriously, I'm all about being obedient right now. That is why I can find joy in the midst of battle, because I'm trusting in the one who has called me to obedience! I know I am safe, I know I have done right by my Father and He is on my side. So how do you love? I think Mr. Wilkerson says it just perfectly, "The truth is, I truly love my brother when I can stand confidently before Christ's throne knowing I have nothing in my heart against him. I know I truly love my brother when I have the same love for him that Jesus has shown me. It happens when we forgive those who have hurt us, just as Christ has forgiven us. It happens when we reach out to the backslidden, doing all in our power to restore them." I love that! That is why I am confident today! I stay in a prostrate position of submission to my Father God and walk in love the love of the Lord for my fellow brothers and sisters! This is how we are going to win this war against Satan.

Well, these are my thoughts for today! I think it is time for a light little family update for my next post! HA!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fearless Warrior

The title of this picture is "Without Fear". Can there be such a person as a fearless warrior? We've heard the term before, but really, does it mean that these warriors who are in the depth of battle seriously fear nothing? If that is so, what is it about them that makes them "fearless"? They cannot possibly know the outcome of the war/battle while they are in the midst of it. If they could, then perhaps I can see where they could be truly fearless. Perhaps they are very prepared and truly know their enemy, or at least they think they do, or they are completely confident in their weaponry. I could understand being confident or even somewhat fearless. Or does fearless really mean wreckless...without abandonment?

I have been served my papers to go into battle. Actually, when I got saved, I was served those papers. I think sometimes we think that battling and war talk are for small seasons of our lives, but in is the times of respite that are indeed the small seasons. I am seeing that more and more clearly now as evident in my own walk. Can I say that I am a fearless warrior? Well here is what I know:

My papers (Bible) say this: "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."

...I know my enemy and I have my armor for defence and really just based on this portion of scripture alone, I don't even need my own power, I have the Lord's mighty power.

Then it goes on to further explain what the battlefield looks like:

"For our struggle (battle) is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
The truth is often times this is exactly where we get our fear, because it looks like flesh and blood and we are not really equipped to fight that kind of battle. So before we even step out into the battlefield, we are crippled with fear because how can I fight this manipulative person, or how can I fight this evil system? Ahhh...but often..that is not who we are fighting at all! Recognize your enemy and realized the weapons we need are not carnal, but are spiritual!

If we stop here I can see where fear can creep in...lets not stop!

"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."

Ahhh is my protection and my instructions on how to use the tools that my Commander has equipped me with. This is pivotal! I can already feel the fear being extinguished!

So lets recap for a second. Here is what we know:

As Christians we are engaged in a spiritual conflict with evil. This spiritual conflict is described as a warfare of faith that continues until we get to Heaven. The great news is this: our victory has been secured by Christ himself through Christ's death and resurrection. Jesus waged a triumphant battle against Satan, disarmed the evil powers and authorities. ("And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." Col.2:15) The truth is that we must wage war not in our own power but with spiritual weapons! Finally we are called to endure hardships like good soldiers of Christ, suffer for the gospel, fight the good fight of the faith, persevere, conquer, be victorious, triumph, defend the gospel, contend for the faith, not be frightened by opponents, put on the full armor of God, stand firm, destroy Satan's strongholds, take captive every thought and become powerful in battle! Whew!!!! It is 2 Corinthian 10 and Hebrews 11:34!! If my Commander has said I can do this...then I can!

I feel stronger already! I don't have to fight this alone and there is no need to be wreckless...we have very specific instructions! I have been given all that I need to be prepared and confident. Indeed I have what it takes to be a fearless warrior! Watch out, I am all fired up now!!

You know what? If I had to pick, and I'm really not picking (because they are all equally important), but for me personally right sword is so valuable! Seriously the "sword of the Spirit" is my offensive weapon to be used in battle! There is NO WAY, I will sit back and let the enemy shake my confidence in the truth found in my sword (the Word of God!)!

So friends, please do me one favor, as Paul asked...this next verse finishes Ephesians 6:10-20:

"Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."

And I will do the same for my fellow warriors!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Don't Wait Until Your 40!

What is it with adults?! Really...the older we get the more fearful of some things we become. You remember when your were a went swimming in the ocean and you didn't give the sharks a single thought as you laid prostrate on a boogie board looking like a sea turtle or seal (shark food)! Now, as adults that is all we think about when we go swimming in the ocean....shark bait!

All this to say, that a few months ago my niece Kaelee begged me to get my ears pierced. I wanted them done anyway, but the thought of getting shot in my ears didn't really excited me too much! (Let me say that when I was 16 my friend Linda did surprise me with getting my ears pierced...I guess they closed up...I haven't worn earring in 20 years or so! - again...when we are younger it is not that big of deal!)

Today, as promised my nieces Kaelee & Holly, my sister-in-law Kristen and my mother-in-law all met me at Walmart (I know, it was a family affair!) and I got 'em done! The ears are now pierced. As you will see the girls held my hurt...and it was over (There is a big lesson to be learned here...but for another blog)! Now I feel pretty! Enjoy the shots! (no pun intended)

Here we are...she's taking a look to see if she can see my "old" holes Anticipation is worse than the actual event...
Well, actually I take that back!

Then I had to do it again...oh the price we pay for vanity!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Another Great Adventure

My husband and I have been on this adventure before...too many times! However, here we are again: Unemployed! This time it is a little different, we have been here before, we are familiar with the territory and although it is not pleasant...we have abosuletly no fear! No. Just peace! We are armed with not only the promises of God, but we can clearly see the stones that we laid out before that remind us that God has a plan and is going to see us through, because he did it before!

What does that look like in real life and not just poetic phrase? It looks like this: A husband and wife that has not stopped praying together for God's will for our family. The Word of God so clear in its promises to care for our every need and actually provide in abundance (so much that we cannot even store it. Malachi 3:10) A small child who says, "This is so Daddy can become a nurse huh Mom?" Memories of food on our table that was given to us by an anonymous on 5 loaves 2 fish!! While we are not clear where God is taking us at this point, we are very clear that He has a plan for our family and it is a good one! So, that is where the peace comes from...I'm just trusting and it is easy to trust someone who never fails you!

What are you going through? The Lord will never fail you...NEVER! If there is a moment when I begin to doubt or have any kind of fear I will ask myself of Psalm 42:5..."Why so downcast oh my soul...put your hope in God?"

Mike will be starting nursing school in a week. We are all very excited about his major change of career! He can hardly contain himself....he is going to make an awesome RN!

So I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to this new jaunt with Jesus!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Help Along The Way

Recently I've been traveling along side of sweet friend as she is on a very difficult journey. We have been able to see the hand of God so often because there are two sets of eyes (hearts) looking for the Lord every step of the way! I have been thinking about the journeys that we walk in our lives and how often we feel so alone. Adventuring off into any journey can be exciting and scary at the same time! I look at this picture below...there is my Kyle in the red the inter coastal waterway.

He was having a blast on his little journey. He was most likely a little nervous to venture out, but he new he might see dolphins, manatees and other wildlife while out he wanted to go out by himself! Everything was great until he figured out that he couldn't turn around and he was headed out for the ocean! That is when he called for help! Along came a friend and Kyle held on for dear life as this young friend paddled him back to shore! Not an easy task as you can see with Kyle's kayak in that position.

Sometimes we need rescuing. We are so off course that we need someone to help us find our way back. Christ is always faithful to do that for us. Then there are times when he sends a friend our way to be His hand extended. I thank God for the people in my life that he has sent to gently keep me on track. Those encouraging words, gentle correction, gifts of love, and leading questions that have kept me on a safe course in my walk with the Lord.

Then there are times like the ones below that the Lord brings a person into your life to walk it with you. Kyle found himself on the bottom level of this historical landmark, while his friend Hunter was easily climbing on top of the walls. Kyle, feeling despair called out for help. We all called out instructions to Kyle to help him, but he couldn't seem to climb up. Finally, Hunter jumped down and climbed the wall, step-by-step with Kyle. He came along side of him and climbed up the wall until they both reached the top.

Thank you Lord for the people in our lives that you send that will actually stop and not only show us the way, but join us along the way. Hand in hand, side by side...carrying the burden with us...demonstrating the process! You know what? In this process, both people are equally blessed. You see, the person who is enduring (or enjoying) the journey is blessed by having someone encourage them and actually demonstrating along the way. During the process then too, that encourager/demonstrator is relearning eternal truths and thus engraving it even more deeply in their hearts and growing their faith as well.

I pray that as I walk in my own personal journey and as I walk with my friend in hers, that we continue to have the perspective of gratitude for the people that God places in our lives for such a time as this.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Another Summer, Part II

More summer fun! The above picture is a group shot of my "summertime siestas"! We did Beth Moore's Summertime Bible Study "Me, Myself & Lies" by Jennifer Rothchild. What an amazing bunch of ladies! I love each one dearly...(missing in this picture is my dear friend Kelly Bonds!)

I have been living in Florida for almost 6 years, 20 minutes south of the famous Daytona Beach and I have never been to one of the country's largest Flea Markets! Well, this summer on one of our "Sacred Saturdays" we went! We missed the Pickle Eating Contest, but we had a blast anyway! And yes...we did eat some garlic pickles! YUM!

That same day we went to the Daytona Beach Pier and played some games on Florida's version of a boardwalk! Nothing like Wildwood or Seaside Heights in NJ, but fun nonetheless!

Below are some of the children in our homeschool group. We did a field trip to Publix, one of our local grocery stores. We got to go behind the scenes to each department and the children got to be a cashier for a few minutes too!

One of my favorite free activities is Downtown Disney! There is so much to do while you walk around. Here you see Shane working hard to create his own personalized lego person! Each boy created and purchased their own lego person!

Here we just played with Mr. Potato head...we had so much fun creating all different kinds!

Oh, and we can't go anywhere without trying on the hats! We are so goofy! Well, here Shane is Jack Sparrow!

Ahh..It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! This was fun! One hot August day, I decided to put the Christmas music on and serve up hot chocolate and we had so much fun creating our snowman snacks!

Sunsplash Park in Daytona Beach....we brought Ty and Faith with us one time, Hope and Hunter one time and even the Dinardi family! We went here a lot this summer!
Two monumental moments for me this summer was my 5K Run in St. Augustine,

And flying with Marmaduke at Universal Studios!

4th of July celebration on the beach with our great friends, the Bradleys and the Dinardis! We also had several game nights at Amy & Dave's this summer.

We spent many days on the Henry Farm too! Here I have Hope & Hunter, Faith & Ty, my boys and Josie Dean! Great summertime memories!

The best birthday bash ever! Six boys sleeping over! We ate pizza, made our own cupcakes and designed our own T-shirts!

Disney World...nothing better really!

Finally, I saved the best for last! The beach...we start going to the beach in April and don't stop until November! (Then we still go to the beach...but not in the water!)
Of course swimming in the pool, I am pretty sure that this is my kids' favorite thing to do!

This was the summer of 2009! Another summer of memories made, relationships built and family fun! Now it is time to switch gears as we look at the beginning of another school year. Kyle still attending Edgewater Public (we meet his new teacher in a few days), Shane in 1st grade and Brendan in 3rd, both again homeschooled!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Another Summer...Part I

I cannot believe summer is almost over. Two weeks before school starts and I feel like we still didn't have too much time to relax. Why is that? I think possibly because I have three "superheros" under the age of eight and it is much easier to stay busy than it is to be lazy! I promise that these next two weeks we are going to try to relax a little more. We did have many opportunities to make some wonderful memories...and quite frankly, that is what summer is all about: Here are a few memories...I'll post some more tomorrow!

Old Fort Park, with Hunter and Hope Hiles (my "extra" children)

Kyle at the museum.

The Dinardis and the Engels at the Museum of Arts & Sciences.

Quite possibly the very best dessert EVER!

Fun at the park..with ALL of my children!

Mike & I at Emirel Legasse's Tchop Tchop

Me and the crew at the zoo! (Oh yes...I've added our friend Will this time)

Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach!

Lots of coveted beach and my guy!

My friend Carla Hiles (the real mother of my extra children!)
Stay tuned for more memories may be included! I'm all about people! Making memories....being with friends...special times with my superheros...that is what summer means to me!