He did it for you!
Natalie Grant, “For All of Us”
Do you have a dream? A goal you’ve been working toward? A bucket list? I wonder if David in the Bible had a dream, a goal or even a bucket list? Did he dream of being a king? Did he practice his harp with the hope of playing in the palace? What would his bucket list have looked like? “Write a song. Kill bear with bare hands. Kill lion with bare hands. Heroically fight giant. Play harp for king. Be king. Build amazing temple for the one true God.”
Did his dreams seem out of reach and his goals impossible? Maybe he wrote his bucket list in his mind as he took care of his sheep that night when no one thought to even invite him to a very important dinner.
There he was. Again. Sheep all around him. The air was still as the sun slowly began to go down. Oh, the colors in the sky were brilliant and he praised his God for making such a beautiful sunset. He enjoyed his job, although he knew nothing else. He was very good at being a shepherd. He recalled the day that a bear came to take a sheep, but he took care of that bear with his own two hands. Nothing would mess with his sheep. He enjoyed the moments that were perfectly quiet and still. He just sat and thought about his God. His wonderful, good God, whom he loved so much. Some evenings he would make up songs to sing to his God. And poems about God’s goodness. He was glad for his job with the sheep and the time that it gave him to think about his God and just worship Him. But something deep inside of him wanted to do more than just take care of sheep. This evening especially.
His brothers had come by on their way to an important dinner. At least that’s what they had said. The man of God, Samuel, was coming by to choose one of them to be the next king of Israel. Who would it be? His brothers were so excited. Each one was sure that he would be the one to be chosen. But they didn’t even invite him. Away they ran to the dinner – leaving their youngest brother behind.
He heard the music up the hill. He thought about the food that would be served at this dinner. It would be a wonderful feast for the man of God. And he wondered which one of his brothers would be chosen. He wished he could have been there to see it. But he was here, taking care of the sheep.
Suddenly something broke the stillness of the evening. One of his father’s servants was running toward him. Was the dinner over? Which one of his brothers was chosen? He wondered as the young man came closer. Out of breath the servant spoke as quickly as he could. “You have to come to the dinner. The man of God, Samuel, said that the dinner will not go on without you. You have to come now.” He asked what was going on and the servant told him, “Samuel said that God has not chosen any of your brothers. Samuel was so confused. But then we told Samuel about you out here with the sheep. And Samuel wants you to come. Maybe God is choosing you to be the next king of Israel! It could be you! We have to go right now. It could be you, David!”
I don’t know if that’s exactly how it happened, but you know the rest of the story. Daniel was chosen to be the next king of Israel. But even though he was anointed as the next king, it was a very long time before he became the next king. Later he would play the harp in the palace – check that one off the bucket list. But then he would spend a lot of time running from King Saul – that one wasn’t on the bucket list – but God always protected him. And when he was king he had a goal that he wanted so much to accomplish. He wanted to build a temple for God. He drew plans and told his son all about them, even though he was not the one to build the temple.
As I think about David today, I think about so many people who have dreams and goals. And maybe even a bucket list. They have been working so hard to accomplish their goals even though it is taking a very long time. Years, in fact. But they keep on going. Maybe one of them is you.
I wonder, what if Samuel hadn’t listened to God, especially when he didn’t understand what was going on? He could have taken the easy way out and simply chosen the one who looked most like a king, although we know how that turned out with Saul.
What if David hadn’t made the most of his time with the sheep? He worshipped God and allowed God to prepare for him for more. Are you in a time of waiting? Maybe God is using this time to prepare you for more.
What if David hadn’t gone to the dinner? His brothers didn’t seem to think he was worth much. And apparently his parents didn’t think he would be a king. Are you listening to the right voices about who you are and what you are able to do? God knows you and He believes in you, even when others don’t.
So reach for your dream, work toward your goal, and make that bucket list. Who knows what will happen when you spend time with God as David did, work hard and keep on going!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord,” Jeremiah 29:11-14a NIV.
After attending several home football games this fall I’ve become familiar with the same sounds that the band plays at each game. At the last game, though, I heard different sounds. And I wondered, “What’s that sound?” I looked around the stadium. And then I knew. A different band was playing. The visiting team had brought their band with them and they were playing very loudly on the other side of the field. So loudly, in fact, that it was difficult to hear those familiar tunes from our own home team band. A fan near me shouted out to that visiting band, “Are you trying to play louder than our band?!” I quietly agreed with him. I had thought the same thing, but I’m not one for shouting. I struggled to listen to our home band play as I tried not to hear that other band. After all, the other band was playing music that I didn’t know and this was our field. Our own band should be heard loud and clear.
Then I thought about how we so often hear things that contradict what we know so well. Those sounds can be so loud. And I’m sure people mean well, just like that visiting band. But meaning well and being loud doesn’t make something right or true. Things that contradict the Bible or just what is true, like people’s own idea of how the world came to be or people’s own definition of marriage and so many other ideas today, are just sounds. We hear a lot of sounds out there so it’s important to know what is true and to spend time reading the Bible so that it will be familiar to us, like the band’s music at a home football game.
So, next time I’m hoping that the visiting team doesn’t bring their band with them. Sorry visiting team. I just want to hear those familiar sounds of my hometown team’s band.
In my recent post about the “Lovely Blog Award” I mentioned that I like to plan parties and had just hosted a baby shower and would post some pictures from that. So here they are!
We had so much fun celebrating being girls as we blessed our special mom-to-be friend.
Each guest was invited to bring a picture of themselves when they were little. As they came in that day, they clipped their picture to our special boards. Then I brought the two boards to the middle of the room and we all wrote down on paper our guesses of which guest was each picture. What a fun time! Our mom-to-be actually guessed the most correctly! Here is a picture of the boards:
You should have seen these boards with all of the very sweet pictures attached to the ribbons with little clothespins! What a fun game!
I awarded the winner of the game a prize and then honored the mom-to-be’s grandmas that were there. Our relationships with our grandparents are so special and I know that they have made a difference in her life, so they deserved to be recognized and honored with a prize, too.
Then on to the “just-for-fun” prizes. The lady with the youngest child, the girl with the birthday closest to the baby’s due date, and the friend with the most children were among those who received prizes. Here are the gifts they chose from:
Then it was time to remember that children are a gift from God so we wanted to honor God as well. I shared some thoughts about the Proverbs 31 woman and being a mom, which was very fun.
And thinking about children, our little girl guests made very fun pictures with their clipboards of paper, stickers and crayons.
Then we took a short break, enjoyed some snacks and fellowship (Actually, we did that throughout the afternoon!) and came back to see all of the wonderful baby gifts.
Here are the treats that we enjoyed:
(The mom-to-be had a fun idea: a little moose sticker on the chocolate mousse tag. And I actually had one!)
veggies & dip
crackers & cheese (cut with a cookie cutter)
pink jelly beans
Just to be sure that each friend knew how special and appreciated they are,
they received a special gift as we said “thank you” and “good bye” for the afternoon.
It was really dark this morning. As I sat at my kitchen table for breakfast I looked outside. It was darker than usual. I could see the small spots of light dotting the neighborhood in the distance. But the darkness pretty much covered everything else. But soon something happened. To one side I could see the darkness getting a little lighter. Not so much black, but some blue now. So I looked over to the east and it was so neat. Some pink, some orange and a lot of gold. The sun was coming up and very quietly, but very majestically, overtaking the darkness, turning it into glorious, welcoming light. As I finished my Cheerios and got into my car in the daylight I thought about how different it was from just a little bit earlier this morning.
And then a song from Stellar Kart played. “Everything is Different Now.” How true that was! Everything was different now. The darkness was gone and though many people probably missed it, God had powerfully overtaken the dark sky as the sun came up with its quiet majesty. And its light changed everything.
Maybe you have some kind of darkness or difficult time in your life right now. There is a God who made you, knows you and loves you. He is right there just like those streetlights softly dotting light throughout the dark neighborhood. He is waiting for you to let Him in with His quiet, powerful majesty that changes everything with His light. Will you let Him? Maybe you’ve been in that darkness for so long that you forgot that God cares about you. He does. And everything can be different now.
Or maybe you are enjoying everything about life today because you know the joy of knowing God and what Jesus did for you. Don’t you love the reminder of how powerful and glorious God is when you see the sunrise each morning?! Let’s take time to thank Him today as we enjoy our day filled with the light that He has given us.
Here is Stellar Kart’s song to encourage everyone today. Because “Everything is Different Now.”
Thank you so much to Merryn at http://www.humbleheartscribbles.wordpress.com for giving me the One Lovely Blog Award! I feel so blessed and honored that someone would consider my blog to be “lovely” and give me this award. Thanks, Merryn! You should go check out Merryn’s blog. It is truly lovely and you will be blessed when you read it!
In accepting this award, there are a few rules to follow:
Rules (One Lovely Blog Award):
1. Thank the person who has nominated you. Provide a link to his/her blog.
2. List the rules and display the award image.
3. Include 7 facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers and let them know that they have been nominated. This is a way to introduce others to bloggers that you love.
5. Display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you.
Seven things about me:
1. I wrote an article that Children’s Ministry Magazine published in their May/June 2014 issue. It was super fun to see a story that I wrote in my favorite magazine!
2. I like to learn and read – and share what I learn and read, which is maybe how I ended up in teaching and speaking because I wasn’t looking to speak in front of large groups of people. Who knew that could be so much fun?!
3. I like to bake, walk outside, listen to Christian music, scrapbook, study the Bible, write and teach Bible lessons, travel and spend time with my family. One of my most recent adventures was climbing up a waterfall with my husband in Jamaica. I thought we would be climbing up BESIDE the waterfall, but no, we climbed up THROUGH the waterfall, which was way more fun anyway!
4. This is my tenth year volunteering with the Good News Club that I lead and teach. It’s pretty amazing how many kids we can fit into our room at our school!
5. I like to plan parties. When my kids were little it was so much fun to plan birthday parties and have their friends over to our home for a lot of fun. (Think back several years. Did your daughter receive in the mail a small homemade purple soft fabric sleeping bag with a birthday sleepover invitation tucked inside? That was from us. Or did your son go home and tell you about how amazing our Pizza Planet basement was during a Buzz Lightyear birthday party? Yep, us too. And all of that was before Pinterest!) Now I get to plan and give bridal showers and baby showers. So fun! (Check back soon for some pictures of the baby shower that I just hosted and also a post about the devotion that I wrote for it!)
6. I’m a girly girl. I’m not sure how many different shades of pink nail polish I have, but I like them all.
7. I’m glad that I only have to write seven things about me because that’s about all that I can think of! Oh, wait! I wrote a children’s book. How could I forget that? It’s “Papa’s Plan for Buddy Bee” and your kids will love it! Nebraska Life Magazine wrote an article about it as well as our city’s newspaper – without even telling me, which was a very fun surprise!
Here are my 15 nominations, in no particular order. They are all lovely!
Thanks again to Merryn for giving me the “One Lovely Blog Award.” Many blessings to you, Merryn!
Day lilies. I see them all around in the summer time. They are beautiful green bushes full of brightly colored flowers. Do you know why they are called day lilies? Because each flower lasts only one day. It’s amazing. Every day the day lily plant looks pretty much the same, yet the blooms from yesterday are no longer there and the blooms today will be gone tomorrow. Which makes me think of several day lily lessons.
First, day lilies remind me of how well our Father in Heaven takes care of His children. Just like the lilies bloom each day, every day God gives us what we need. Maybe we don’t even notice it, like we may not notice the new blooms on the day lily plants or realize that yesterday’s blooms are gone and it still looks nice.
Next, as I look at just one day lily I think of how perfectly God made each individual lily on that day lily plant. He knew that each bloom was to last for only one day. But He still made it beautiful. Knowing the short length of time that it would bloom, He still gave it His best work. I think that if I were to make something that would only last one day and maybe no one would ever see it or that one day it would just pour down rain on it, I wouldn’t give it my best. Fortunately that’s not how God thinks. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. And He doesn’t cut corners. Which makes me realize that we, too, should give whatever we do our best. We should do our work – whatever that is – as for the Lord and not for men. And while we do that, we can think of the bright, beautiful day lily.
And one last lesson. Just look at that day lily flower. It’s beautiful! And so are you! God created the day lily and made it beautiful, even to only last for one day. God created you, too, but you were made to know Him and be with Him forever. Imagine how beautiful YOU are to Him!
When you see day lilies this summer, what will you think about?
Don’t you love the true story in the Bible about Peter walking on the water? I mean, who else has walked on water before? Well, one time a child walked on our pool cover so that was kind of walking on water I guess, but that doesn’t really count. The cover kept him on the water and his feet didn’t get wet. But Peter really walked on water – as long as he kept his focus on Jesus and not on the storm that was surrounding him at the time. Oh, that storm. That’s the part that I’m thinking about today.
So often we read that portion of Scripture, knowing what is about to happen, and miss the beginning. Mark 6:45-46 says, “And immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the multitude away. And after bidding them farewell, He departed to the mountain to pray” (NASB).
Jesus had just fed the 5,000 and now He sends His disciples into a boat while He stays on the land to pray. And then something happens. A storm. A BIG storm. Many of those men in that boat were fishermen. They had been in storms before, but this time they were scared. Really scared.
Which makes me think. Jesus knows everything. He knew there would be a storm, but He sent His disciples there anyway. They were right where they were supposed to be. In the storm. But Jesus wasn’t far away. He was right where He could see them and He came to them. Okay, He came to them in a way that frightened them even more, but He was there with them.
Sometimes we are in storms just like those disciples. We are right where we’re supposed to be, but we’re still in a storm. So what do we do then? We can remember that God is also with us, just like He was with the disciples. We can think about what we know is true about God. We know that God is always good. He is faithful. He loves us. You can make your own list. And then thank Him for those things that you know are true about Him.
I’m sure that as the waves pounded on that boat and the lightening crashed loudly around them the disciples were not thinking, “Wow, this is a really bad situation. God is good at making good things come out of really bad situations.” No. They were terrified. But God did come and make something good come out of that really bad situation. He came and calmed the storm. And we get to read about that amazing time when Peter walked on the water.
Jesus proved that He is good. He is with us all the time. He is faithful. And He loves us. Even in a storm.
I like the new song by David Crowder, “I Am,” where he sings about God holding onto us, “In the middle of the storm I am holding onto you.” Here it is:
It’s that time again. Time to thank my Good News Club Team for all of their hard work and dedication to our club this year. So, what do you give a group of teenagers? As I wandered through the store I came up with a fun idea using something that everyone likes. Candy!
I decided to give my teen volunteers a bag of candy with a fun message to let them know that they made a difference in the lives of our kids at club and that I appreciate them. Here is my message for them:
Thanks for making a difference in the lives of so many kids this year! You made our club more fun than REESE’S as you shared many TREASURES from God’s Word. You taught and interacted with the children like a STARBURST and not like BUTTERFINGERS. So it was ALMOND JOY to have you on my Good News Club Team. You are worth more than 100 GRAND and you deserve a big PAYDAY, but all I can give you is this bag of candy. I appreciate you!
But why let the fun stop there? One of our kids at club memorized every single Bible verse. Since we meet every week during the school year and we have a new verse each week, that’s a lot of Bible verses! So that child gets a candy surprise, too! Here’s the message for that child:
Congratulations, (child’s name)! You know that learning God’s Word is worth more than 100 GRAND and more fun than REESE’S because you memorized every Bible verse at Good News Club this year! Now you have stored up TREASURES from God in your heart, which will give you (ALMOND) JOY as you remember God’s Word when you need it. You are a Bible verse-learning STARBURST and you deserve a big PAYDAY for your hard work! Good job, Mrs. Lori
So, do you need some inspiration today? Maybe all you need is to take a walk through the candy aisle!
And to all of my fellow volunteers in ministry: You’re making a difference, too, even if I can’t give you candy!
One of my favorite things about spring is my tulips. It was so fun the other day to drive up my driveway and notice green tulip leaves poking up through the mulch-covered ground around my tree. Each day after that I watched them, anticipating bright-colored tulips growing out of those leaves. And then there was one! I waited for more, but there would be no more tulips. Only one. One tall tulip. The leaves are there for several others, but it seems that the rabbits ate those other tulips. Only one tulip stands safe and strong.
If I had thought of it earlier I would have sprinkled blood meal on the leaves to keep the rabbits away. I have done that to protect them in the past, but this year I completely forgot about those rabbits. Oh, I saw them running and playing in my backyard, but I forgot that they like to eat tulips. I forgot that I was in a battle with the rabbits. So while I had just what I needed to protect my tulips against the rabbits, I didn’t use it. I left it right there in my garage. And now I have one tulip. It’s a beautiful tulip, though. Bright yellow. Tall. Petals joyously and victoriously wide open to the sky. As if somehow it knows that it’s the only tulip that survived those hungry rabbits.
My rabbit and tulip situation is a good reminder that we are in a battle, whether we know it or not. And we can get so busy doing all of our wonderful things, but forget about spending time in God’s Word. And then we forget about the enemy that wants us to get so busy and forget about spending time in God’s Word. Our enemy is like those rabbits hanging out in our backyards just waiting to eat our tulips when we’re not looking. And we have what we need to keep our enemy away. Maybe not blood meal, but we have God’s Word to protect us, but we have to use it. We can’t just leave it in the garage – or on the table or in a drawer – and forget about it.
Ephesians 6:10-11 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil,” (NASB). Verse 17 says, “And take up the Helmet of Salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
We need the full armor of God every day to stand firm in this world, which includes the sword of the Spirit – not just in our homes, but in our hearts and minds. There’s a new song by Casting Crowns that talks about the enemy waiting for the night to fall. It says, “And while you slumber, he’s gonna take it all…he knows you have the answers, but Truth lies dusty on your shelf and the sword that you could slay him with has become an ornament and nothing else,” (Waiting on the Night To Fall). Has your Bible been forgotten? Has it become a dusty ornament on your shelf? Is that blood meal sitting in the garage while the rabbits are happily devouring your tulips?
Let’s take up our sword – the Word of God – and stand firm against the schemes of the devil. We can win the battle with the rabbits in our yards.
You could be like that one joyful, victorious tall tulip with it’s bright yellow petals reaching toward the sky!
No matter what’s going on around you, you can stand – like my one tall tulip.
Here’s “Waiting on the Night to Fall” by Casting Crowns: