Fight Back with Joy

I just finished reading Fight Back with Joy  by Margaret Feinberg. My husband brought this book home from the Catalyst conference back in October and I have read it slowly because it was a tough read. 

  
Margaret is a Christian author who wrote this book about her battle with cancer. It is about her struggles through the fight but how she continually tried to find joy along the way. 

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • God is an unconventional teacher. 
  • Practicing defiant joy is the declaration that the darkness does not and will not win. When we fight back with joy, we embrace a reality that is more real than what we’re enduring and we awaken to the deepest reality of our identity as beloved, joyful children of God. 
  • Jesus arrives in joy, departs in joy, and calls us to great joy through fellowship with him. 

If you have ever walked through a tough time, or maybe your in one right now, this book will give you a new perspective. Today I will find joy, despite what my situation. 

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SPLASH Bartow 2015

SPLASH stands for Show People Love And Share Him. SPLASH Bartow is a week of students SPLASHing the county they live in. It’s pretty incredible. This year’s theme was “Invade” and our scripture focus was Ephesians 6:10-20. 

“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:10-20‬ ‭NLT‬‬

http://bible.com/116/eph.6.10-20.nlt

Vs.10 is theme!

Our speaker for the week was Robert Green. He did a great job! Night one was about Knowing your Commander (Ephesians 2:1-10). 

“Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:1-10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

http://bible.com/116/eph.2.1-10.nlt

Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior! He is our commander. 

Night two was about Knowing your Weapons (Ephesians 6:11-13).

Some highlights of the night were:

  • There is a time where we reach our PNR- Point of No Return. We were encouraged to pray “God, take me to the point of no return (PNR)”. 
  • If you and the devil aren’t butting heads your generally walking in the same direction. 
  • Your strength is from Jesus! (Vs 10)
  • Stand strong in the armor of God (vs 11)
  • The cosmic enemy- vs 12 their not flesh and blood (not the opposing team across town, too many times we let our laundry separate us), their spiritual, he is the master of deception, he knows your weaknesses, the devil
  •    His plan to take you out is nothing compared to God’s plan to keep you in!
  • The command Vs13 
  • the combat gear vs 14-15
  • Sword- word of God, how do I study this?

S scripture

O observe

A apply

P prayer

The third and final night was about Knowing your Mission (Matthew 28:16-20). 

“Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted! Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.””

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭28:16-20‬ ‭NLT‬‬

http://bible.com/116/mat.28.16-20.nlt

We are all called to this mission of spreading the name of Jesus. 

Do you know your commander?

Do you have your weapons?

Are you trying to achieve your mission?

While all of this is happening at night, during the days we are doing service projects. My team went to a special needs camp each morning. One after noon we went to a nursing home and the other afternoon we spread mulch in a school garden. My students worked so hard! They were amazing!

 

One of my students dancing with a camper at the special needs camp.  
 
One of my former students from CES at the special needs camp. 

   
Mulch spreading at HCES. 

 Team 17!

  
Getting to pray with students from my team at the end of the week.

 Camp shirts will be worn by everyone involved on August 7th to invade our county again!
 
My teaching partner and fellow SPLASH team leader!

Do you let your light shine?

This whole idea of Shining the Light is not just about teaching, or loving my husband, home, or church. It came about when I continually was told in undergrad that as a school teacher I could not bring God or religion into the schools. I had always known that I guess, but I didn’t realize how big of a deal it really was. Now maybe it was stressed to me because most public colleges are liberal and tend to stress their ideals onto the young impressionable minds in their classes, but this idea of dropping God off at the door of any school I stepped foot in didn’t make sense.

I love God and try to live by His Word (but find it impossible). How am I suppose to leave Him outside of the building I spend most of my waking hours in?

The answer: I can’t. The Lord is apart of me and cannot be separated from me. And honestly I cannot hide Him from the people I am around. In Luke 11:33 it says, “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.” The light Jesus (who is speaking this) is referring to is Him. When we are saved by Jesus then He becomes apart of us and we must let Him shine in us. So no matter where I am Jesus must shine. I cannot hide it.

How does He shine? Through the way I love people, serve others, have a positive attitude (even when no one else does), work hard, and live my life. One of my favorite reminders of how to shine His light is found in Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for The Lord, not for men.” I work for Jesus. Therefore I give my best everyday. And hopefully one day I’ll be able to tell others why I work so hard, love all of my students as if they were my own, serve the people around me even if others do not think they deserve to be served. I do it for Jesus. He would have done it, so I will do it.

Here’s my question for you, Do you let His light shine?

Bread vs. Dessert

I love bread! I always have. My mother could and would tell you that my favorite part of a meal is bread. My favorite restaurants have good bread. I love bread!

A few months ago I saw a pin on pinterest (that I cannot seem to find again) that said, “The bible should be your bread, not dessert.”

I don’t know about you, but I eat bread in some form or another multiple times a day. I might eat a small dessert (cookie) once a day, but I only eat big, heavy desserts on special occasions.

I want my bible, my prayer life, my walk with God to be a daily part of my life. I want it to be my bread, not my dessert.

John 6:35 says, “Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.'”

I hope that you have or will make your bible, and your relationship with God your bread.

photo 1

The lesson above was part of my introduction to the women’s ministry fellowship at my house a few weeks ago. I made homemade banana and pumpkin breads for us to snack on. We had a wonderful time talking with one another, but let me tell you, inviting women over to my five room house was hard work. It is a tiny house and needed a lot of cleaning (because I had slacked off for awhile). I added some new fall decorations for the fellowship also.

photo 2 photo 3 photo 4

The R was 50% off at Hobby Lobby. I added some raffia and a fall floral piece with a burlap bow. I hung it on an old barn door my husband found in a pasture somewhere. The pumpkin with flowers is a cheap $1 pumpkin from Target (used for trick or treating normally) spray painted ivory with a $3 mum from Home Depot in it (black potting container and all is inside of the pumpkin).

The house looked great and I was proud to show it off to the ladies of Atco Baptist Church.

I Know How The Good Shepherd Felt

Jesus is the good shepherd. He knows His sheep and will go after them when they are lost. He cares for them and disciplines them.

Tonight (we are still at camp by the way) I went to all of the girls’ rooms to make sure they were all accounted for, and well, but one girl was missing. One of my nine sheep was not accounted for. I know her name, and where I saw her last. I know her parents and what she likes to do. I must find my sheep.

I made sure my other sheep were safe and pinned up. I then went searching for my girl, my sheep. I called her by name. I searched for her and knew I must find her.

Do not worry. She has returned home. She has been found. All of my sheep are accounted for.

During the twenty minutes of having a sheep missing I was worried. I was concerned and stressed. You see, the shepherd must care for his flock. Jesus gave us the perfect example of this and we are to be like Him.

My sheep are here.

Jesus, thank you for being my shepherd.