New Beginning: Jesus Starts His Ministry

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Do you have a New Year’s resolution? Are there goals you want to achieve this year? Are you starting a new adventure?  Here are some thoughts based upon Matthew 2 and 3.

Jesus had a mission. He was to begin His ministry here on earth. How did He do it?

1.  First he set his life right with God. He followed orders, was baptized, and received God’s blessing. Always begin with God.

2. He faced temptation.  He spent 40 days searching his soul, facing Satan, and standing by His faith in God’s plan. Remember that your journey will not always be easy. Now aren’t you glad God is already with you?

3. He gathered support. Jesus found His disciples to take this journey with Him. Even Jesus enjoyed the moral support from His friends.

Think about how you are going to reach your goals this year! Remember,  all things are possible with God.

Blessings!

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John the Baptist According to Middle Schoolers

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As usual, my middle schoolers gave me great writing material yesterday at church.  After Christmas, I decided to dive into the life of Jesus.  We began a study of the book of Matthew.  Specifically, we were discussing how Jesus got from the manger to his ministry.  More about that topic later….

During our study, we read Matthew chapter 3 about John the Baptist.  The kids remembered our discussion about Elizabeth and her relationship with Mary from the Sunday before.  They even knew that John the Baptist would be beheaded later in the book of Matthew.  However, my students didn’t really know why John the Baptist was important in the life of Jesus.

As talked, here are the important points they discovered about John the Baptist.

1.  Eating locusts was probably gross.

2.  He probably smelled terrible since he wore camel skins.

3.  Point two was contested because he spent a large amount of time in the Jordan River.  They water may have kept him clean.

4.  Jesus needed to be baptized to signify his coming of age.  The baptism didn’t cleanse Him of sin, since he was sinless.  However, it showed that he was now old enough to begin his ministry to the people of Israel.  It was sort of like a coronation ceremony for a new king or queen.

5.  John the Baptist was perfect to baptize Jesus because they were related, John the Baptist knew Jesus was the son of God, and John the Baptist was humble enough to serve Jesus.

The lesson to be learned, I think, is that we all have to humble ourselves to serve Jesus.  It doesn’t matter where we live, how dress, or how smelly our lives may be.  Our job is to create a relationship with Jesus, jump in the river with him, and do what he asks us to do.

Blessings!

Oh the Christmas Mess! Time to Clean Up Our Life!

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I know why so many people focus on organizing their homes in January. We just took in an incredible amount of stuff for Christmas. Most of it was not only useful, but will be loved and treasured all year.

However, now we have to find a place for it all. Enter our dilemma!   We are out of places to put stuff in our house!

Today’s post begins a new journey of organization for our family. We have too much stuff! If you saw pictures of my home today, you would think my two children ran through destroying everything. It looks like my four year old and one year old are in charge of organization.

I guess it is time to admit that nobody has been in charge of organization.  You know, it can be tough to face the cold, hard truth, but God doesn’t want us to live this way.  If we look at the Proverbs 31 woman, what do you think her house looked like? Did she lose bills and pay a late fee? Were her clothes in heaps on the floor? Did her kids get lost in their toys? Hmmm…. time to make a change! Time to get rid of a bunch of unnecessary stuff. Time to simplify our lives!

I mentioned the pics would be embarrassing, but I will post before and afters as we move through our home.

How we intend to start:
1. We began by getting on the same team. My husband and I have been discussing this for a while.  Christmas morning we made the decision.  It is time to clean up our life!

2. Understand than this is not some New Year’s resolution that we can break. This is a life change that is necessary if we want to be free to carry out God’s work on earth.

3. Plan! We have planned out baby steps. We sectioned off our home into areas to attack. We are beginning in the living room because that is where we hang out the most. The room is so big, we had to break it into smaller chunks. According to our plan, we may not finish the whole house until April.

4. Schedule work times. We are setting aside time in our daily schedules to work on decluttering. My husband has the huge job of moving out trash and items to donate.

5. Pray about it all. We know we won’t be successful without God’s help. We are praying for energy,  motivation,  and stamina.

Join us along this journey. Pictures coming soon!

Blessings!

The Cows Must Think We Are Crazy

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To recover from the massive eating events of the holiday season, my mom and I went for a run yesterday.  I am visiting their home for the holidays,  so we are in the middle of rural Virginia. As we ran by a field of cows, they mooed at us as if they were telling us we were crazy. I guess they truly believed we were insane.

A cow’s job is to get fat. It eats all it can, sees a vet if it gets sick, and eats some more. Unless bred, it just has to get fat. I bet the cows watched us try to burn off the fattening foods and thought we were breaking the laws of nature.

Do we do that? Do we watch others and think they are going against the plan for life? Do we judge them for doing what they think is best?

God gave us each a unique set of gifts. We are to use these gifts according to His will. Others are given different gifts with different jobs in life.  Rather than criticizing like confused cows mooing at runners, we should accept that others may be living their lives according to God’s will. It doesn’t matter if it matches our perspective of the world.

Which are you today? The judging cow or the crazy runner?

A Gift to Yourself

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Merry Christmas to all of my followers! I am so thankful for the comments, support, and visits to my blog. Since I began this journey in April, one of the greatest lessons I have learned is to give gifts to yourself. Allow me to explain.

The most common comment I get is “How do you do it all?”
I don’t.  I have help. I married an amazing man. We have family close. However, I combat fatigue, burnout, and feelings of inadequacy with gifts to myself.

My favorite gifts include coffee out and nights when I leave dirty dishes, unswept floors, and dirty laundry for an early night in bed.

This Christmas,  give a gift to yourself. You may be up to your ears in cooking, hosting, wrapping, and cleaning up the mess afterward. Give yourself a break. Take time to enjoy Christmas.  Pray. Be thankful. Slow down. Remember to celebrate the life of Jesus.

Merry Christmas and blessings to you and your families!

The Disciplined Life: 5 Tips I Am Trying to Follow

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Joyce Meyer, a phenomenal writer of devotions, wrote this in a devotion I read this morning.

“We need to be mature, disciplined,  Holy Spirit-controlled people, determined to walk in the Spirit.  It takes a constant act of the will to do things God’s way rather than our own way.”

Whether you are trying to organize your house, follow a fitness program, or manage your family, discipline is required. Let’s be honest! We like to be in charge, submitting to no others. We like to make our own rules.  The truth is, that is not the definition of discipline.  For me, living a disciplined life is hard. I am constantly checking in and making changes. I proudly acknowledge that I need the following tips for help.

Here are 5 tips for trying to live a disciplined, Christ – centered life.

1. God is in charge, not you. Discipline means becoming a disciple of something. God wants you to choose Him. We live out our lives in a disciplined way due to obedience to God. Always remember to put God first. Other pieces will fall into place. Pray for His help. Don’t go through change alone.

2. Find a source of motivation. If simply living in obedience to God isn’t enough when you are in the trenches, find some motivation for the hardest days. Social media can be destructive, but it can also be uplifting.  I can always find other blogging mamas out there who motivate me. Pinterest is my go-to place.  There is a wealth of motivating posters and articles for when we lose our steam.

3. Make a plan. This is not the same as a goal or wish list. Write out the steps you will take to reach your goal. What will you do each day? Each week? Make it realistic! Know that life will happen. Make it changeable and allow for adjustments.

4. Start small. If your goal is to read the Bible each day, start with a devotional instead of in depth studies that require a hour a day. If you want to run a 5K, don’t go 2 1/2 miles the first day. Starting too big leads to discouragement.  You are looking at life changes! Allow God to work in your life, but don’t try to force him to change your mind, body, or spirit over night.

5. Take care of yourself during the process. Get enough sleep. Eat healthy foods. Get a flu shot. Surround yourselves with positve, loving people.  When you feel tired or get sick, it is easy to give up. You can not create new habits or stick to a plan if you feel terrible and exhausted. 

Okay folks, time to get it all together over these last ten days of 2013. 2014 lies just around the corner!

Blessings!