Saturday, April 12, 2014

IT'S MORE THAN JUST BASEBALL

The Miracle League of Arkansas.
Their mission is to provide opportunities for all children to be able to play baseball regardless of their ability.  But, it is so much more than that!

Miles played his first baseball game this morning and it may be the happiest I've ever seen him.  It was such a good reminder that every child deserves the opportunity to be cheered on.  To be celebrated!

Because of organizations like The Miracle League…

...Miles gets to be part of a team.


…Miles gets to wear a batting helmet when he plays outfield for no other reason than he wants to.

 …Miles gets to randomly lay down on the first base line when his team is up to bat.

 …Miles gets to hit the ball off the tee backwards and still run the bases.

…Miles, along with all the buddies and players, get to line up to sing 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame' when the game is over.

…Miles gets to be Miles.

The Miracle League.
It truly is more than just baseball!


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Friday, April 11, 2014

MY 40TH BIRTHDAY… RUINED!

Moses.
He ruined my birthday.

Between the Bible study I did this past year on the Tabernacle and the Chronological Bible study I am doing again this year, I have spent much of the last two years camping with Moses.

I watched Moses' family hide him the first three months of his life because the king of Egypt ordered his people to throw every Hebrew baby boy into the Nile river.  I followed Moses' sister, Miriam, down to the river where she placed Moses in a basket to hide him and watch over him.  I looked on as the Pharaoh's daughter disregarded her father's order, rescued Moses and adopted him as her own son.

Moses was rescued from the very river that was suppose to be his grave.
Born a Hebrew.  Raised as an Egyptian Prince.
God had a plan and purpose for Moses' life before he was even born.

The word got out that Moses killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew and he panicked.  He fled to the land of Midian and ended up spending the next 40 years as a shepherd.  A shepherd spends a lot of time alone, watching over and protecting his sheep.  A life of solitude.  What better way to learn to hear the voice of God?

God showed up in the wilderness and told Moses to go back to Egypt and free His people from slavery.  Moses spent his last 40 years leading the Israelites toward the land promised to Abraham.

Moses' first 40 years [as a prince] and second 40 years [as a shepherd] were preparation for his last 40 years [as the leader of Israel].

Today is my birthday.
Today, I turn 40.
And all I can think about is Moses.

Moses did more for God in his second 40 and third 40 than he did in his first.
I desperately want that to be said of me.

I see so many people slow down as they get older.  At a time in their lives when they have more time, more resources and more life experience, they step aside.  They quit serving, quit volunteering, quit teaching, quit discipling.  The older they get, the less of a difference they make for the Kingdom.

Just like Moses, God has a purpose and a plan for each one of us.
God is using your circumstances, good and bad, as preparation for what is to come.
I can't help but wonder how God is going to use my today in my tomorrow.

Keith and I talked about taking a trip for my birthday.
Some place fun.  With friends.
But all I can think about is Moses.
He completely ruined my 40th birthday!

God put it on my heart to celebrate my 40th in a way that shows what I want the next 40 years to look like-- to be about.

So, in a few months, Keith and I are headed to the Dream Center in Los Angeles to spend the week doing short-term missions.  We get to be the hands and feet of Jesus, serving and loving on people.  We will spend the week surrounded by people who have come to a place where Jesus was the only way out of the pit they found themselves in and I am just beside myself.  I could not possibly be more excited.

All my birthday money this year is going here, to the Carney family.  Jason and Lacey Carney live in Malawi, Africa with their 6 kids.  They, like Moses, obeyed God's call to go.  They walk by faith everyday, trusting that the God who called them will also provide their every need.

I am so thankful that Moses ruined any and all plans I had for my birthday.
Doing something that reminds me that it's not about me is the best gift I could receive.

Praising God today for what He is going to do in my second 40!

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

NEW EVERY MORNING

Before God created, there was nothing.
The beginning was "a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness."

Then, God spoke.
He made light, sky, land, water, plants, stars and animal life by speaking them into existence.  He separated heaven from earth, day from night, land from water simply by telling it want to do.

His Words.
Such power.  Such purpose.

God made the invisible visible by speaking words.
Everything... except human beings.

When God created man, He decided to get His hands dirty.
God scooped up dust from the ground and with His powerful, gentle hands, He began creating, shaping and sculpting man using His image, His likeness, as the pattern.

Then, He bent down and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils.
Man became a living soul!

His Breath.
It's life-giving.

Words that have power.
Breath that gives life.

In the beginning, God used words to create life.
Then, the very Word of God became flesh to give us the gift of eternal life.

"In the beginning was the One who is called the Word.
The Word was with God, and the Word was God…
The Word took on flesh and became human and chose to live alongside us.
We have seen Him, enveloped in undeniable splendor
-the one true Son of the Father-
the perfect balance of grace and truth."
{John 1:1,14}

Jesus, the Word, also used words.
He spoke words that brought healing, cast out demons, brought the dead to life, and even caused the winds and the sea to immediately became calm.

The Word.  The Breath.
So much power!
And God desires to breath that power into your life and my life every single day through His Word.

The Bible.
The words of God.
Words that tell a story.

From "in the beginning" all the way to "let it be so",
God is telling a story of love and redemption.

There is a story in the Bible of God rescuing His people, the Israelites, from a life of slavery, bondage and oppression.  God used a man named Moses to lead them out of Egypt toward a land that was promised to their ancestors.  In between Egypt and the promised land, the Israelites disobedience and complaining resulted in several years of wandering.  They trusted God to get them out of Egypt, but did not trust Him to safely deliver them to the promised land or to provide their basic needs in the wilderness.

"He let you be hungry which helped you to not have pride.
Then He fed you with manna- something you did not know about before.
Why did the Lord do this?
Because he wanted you to know that it is not just bread that keeps people alive.  People's lives depend on what the Lord says."
{Deuteronomy 8:3}

God meet their need for food by making manna, bread from heaven, appear each morning.  The Israelites were instructed to get up every morning and gather their manna for the day.  Manna could not be stored and the gathering of manna could not be delayed because as the morning passed, the manna melted.

In the Old Testament, the bread is manna that is gathered for physical sustenance.
In the New Testament, the bread is Jesus.  Jesus is the bread of life, the bread that came down from heaven, the bread that fully and completely satisfies.

If the Word of God has the power to create and the Bread from heaven gives us the grace and mercies we need to face each new day, then why do only 19% of Christians [people who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ and Him alone for their salvation] read their Bible everyday?

Why do I think that I can make it through the day relying on my own strength?
So ridiculous. 

If we want the world to see a difference between our lives and theirs, we need to get out of the tent and gather our manna, our daily bread.  The prophet Jeremiah tells us that the Lord's mercy, compassion, faithful love is never ending and is new every single morning.

NEW
…you can't store yesterday's manna.

EVERY
…the manna that was fed to you on Sunday will not sustain you the rest of the week.

MORNING
…if you wait to gather it, you will be facing the stress and trials of the day without the grace and mercies that God was waiting to pour into your life.  He has exactly what we need to face each day, but we have to get up and spend time in His Word, allowing it to breath life into us.

Everyday we take a step.
We either take a step toward God or we take a step away from God.
Standing still is not an option because Satan is actively pursuing his plan, which is to keep you away from God’s Word.  Mark 4 tells us that Satan wants to steal the Word from your heart and choke the Word out of our life to prevent you from bearing fruit.

When you read the Bible chronologically, you see this beautiful love story unfold.  God loves you so much.  He desires to dwell with you and have a personal relationship with you.  He wants to provide for your every need, bless you with gifts you didn’t even know to ask for and carry your burdens for you.

Spending time in God's Word was never meant to be a box you check off each day but instead a place to gather something fresh and new, to seek the One who is able to give us the grace we need to face the challenges of the day.

God’s plan has always been to get His hands dirty in the everyday messes of your life.


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