Crystal Coast Gem- Treasures in the Sand

Crystal Coast Gem- Treasures in the Sand

cape lookout pic
My husband took this great picture of Cape Lookout lighthouse as we came up to the Island.

Cape Lookout“Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen” (Psalm 77:19, NIV)

 

I love the beach. I love looking for shells. The Outer Banks has great shells. Whelks and whole sand dollars, sea treasures abound. As a family we planned to visit Cape Lookout and enjoy the day which included a road trip to the ‘point’. The ‘point’ is where the ocean and sound meet. It is a mixture of waves going all directions as the currents flowing in and out of the banks find their lane so to speak. My plan was to find sea treasures the and enjoy the kids all together at one time. Shells can be elusive and the waves can claim the treasures. The road trip started out great, looking at the maritime forest, the village where people lived out on the island only few years ago with no grocery store or Walmart or restaurants! They had a one room school house for the island kids.

stuck in sand
Our Driver was great, good attitude!

 

Then we hit the soft sand and suddenly stopped. We were stuck. Every one climbed out and we moved the vehicle and went a few more feet and we were stuck again. We decided to leave the trailer and take only a few to the ‘point’ at a time. Frustrated that we would not reach our goal of the elusive ‘point’, I prayed, “Ok , God for once I will enjoy the ‘now’, the journey. I will not focus on the destination but on the process. It is beautiful day and the waves and tide pools are great and the kids are having fun.” So, I hopped out and started looking down and around. There were shells everywhere, whelks galore! I was so excited.

THE POINT

Cape_Lookout_Point_-_2013-06_-_09
When ocean and sound meet, water goes crazy!

 

We were the last ones to leave the area to go to the ‘point’. When we arrived, I was expecting more sea treasures, but there were none. I asked others and they did not find any when they arrived. We wondered around to the sound side. Looking into the water, a sand dollar glistened. My son and I started wading out and more sand dollars appeared. We were so excited! Sometimes the treasures are just beneath the surface. Some times it requires moving off the safety of dry land and heading into the unknown waters to find the treasures.

CRYSTAL COAST GEM

Sometimes the struggles of the journey reap the greatest treasures. In our eyes getting stuck or delayed on our way to the destination is an inconvenience, a nuisance, a frustration, disappointment. We only had a little time on the island and my thought was we are going to spend the whole time “STUCK”. God had other plans. Sometimes, getting ‘stuck’ is part of the plan. It may be a key part of the journey that you cannot understand. God knows where the treasures are. The delay is necessary to find the treasures you want and need in your life. Keeping calm and looking for the blessings among the struggle reaped a blessed day with the kids and sea treasures as well.

cropped-10982295_672614866197934_3871620920936017058_n.jpg
OK, These are not the shells we found, but they look just like them. I forgot to take a picture of all of them together. We also found 10 complete sand dollars and a horseshoe crab shell. Our bag was full! Just like the nets of disciples when Jesus told them to go fishing. They didn’t see the fish, but the fish were there!
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Resurrection Eggs for Adults #2- Covenant

Resurrection Eggs for Adults #2- Covenant

Resurrection Egg # 2

We live in a world of contracts. Contracts are easily broken, amended, or rewritten to suit our fancy. God, however, is a God of covenants, not contracts. Covenants are binding. Covenants typically involve three things: The shedding of blood, an exchange of items between the parties, sometimes a change of name which signified a change in the relationship.The first thing God did after Adam and Eve sinned and by eating the fruit was to make a covenant or promise that He would bring a savior:

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15, KJV)

The word ‘bruise’ denotes a crushing or completely overwhelming. Jesus would completely crush Satan, Praise God. Bruising of Jesus’ heel is a foreshadowing of Jesus bleeding from His feet when nailed to the cross. There was blood shed and items exchanged. God killed the animals and clothed Adam and Eve. Also names were changed, Adam named the woman God had given him, Eve after Fall (Genesis 3:20). There are other covenants between God and man in the Old Testament, the covenant with Noah, Abraham and Moses. Overall, the Bible describes two main covenants, the Old Covenant, which was based on Moses’ laws and the New Covenant, which is based on Jesus Christ.

The Old Covenant

tabernacle Legos
Ok, this pic is for all you moms of boys! Don’t you just love it! Holy of Holies replica from Legos! Too cool.

Under the old covenant the priest went once a year into the Holy of Holies portion of the tabernacle and sprinkled blood on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant. The priest did this once a year for atonement of sin. The blood came from a lamb that was spotless, and it was sprinkled seven times. It was a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of Jesus, who was spotless and bled in seven places for our redemption during the Passover week. The blood cover our sins but it did not pierce our hearts.

The New Covenant    

sacrificial_lamb-300x199

 

God wanted to establish a covenant that would be written on our hearts. It would be everlasting, forgive sins and would establish Him as our God and us as His people (Jeremiah 31:30-33) It would be a cleansing  from the inside out, not the outside in. It would cause change at the very core of our being. This would be a covenant that God would establish. It would be instigated by Him. We could not establish the covenant because of the sin. We could not approach God to establish a covenant. It would be a covenant for both Jews and Gentiles. Jesus would once and for all enter the Holy of Holies as the high priest did in the Old Covenant. However, it would not be with blood of goats or lambs, but His own blood. Christ became the negotiator and mediator of the this entirely new covenant agreement.

He went once for all into the Holy of Holies, not by virtue of the blood of goats and claves (by which to make reconciliation between God and Mn), but His own blood having found and secure a complete redemption ( an everlasting release for us).” ( Hebrews 9:12, Amplified)
How to Access this Covenant

There is only one way. We cannot save ourselves, we are not without blemish. We cannot ‘do good works’ in order to put ourselves in right standing with God. We cannot earn God’s approval and love by doing good, being good, and working hard. The only way to bridge the gap and access a covenant relationship with God is through Jesus Christ. Many times we look for the perfect husband, perfect boyfriend, perfect family, perfect parents, perfect kids, perfect job to define who we are and bring our salvation and peace. The only PERFECT savior is Jesus Christ.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, NIV)

Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God“- Ephesians 5:2 (NIV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[fn] The old has gone, the new is here!All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19,NIV)

Are you playing or battling?

Are you playing or battling?

Are you playing or battling?

david-and-nathan-2

When you have boys you become accustomed to a certain amount of noise. As a mom of boys you develop the ‘mommy spider sense’ of when to intervene with the noise. It is when the conversational tone changes just slightly, or when the pounding on the floor becomes just a hair louder, or the worst yet…. when every thing gets quiet. This mommy spider sense  develops after numerous trips upstairs responding to what sounds like the ceiling falling in only to discover that they are “wrestling”. They would see me and shake it off and burst out laughing. I asked my youngest son the other day how he was getting along with his older brother. His response was, “The normal mom, nothing to worry about, we have a certain degree of struggle being brothers.” OK, so with brothers there may be a certain amount of struggle or wrestling but after years of accidentally elbowing the other of punching just a little too hard, each has learned where to draw the line with the other. It is like they haven’t completely bonded until there is an arm punch or light air karate kick or something.  Unfortunately, this is not the case with most things we wrestle or struggle with.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers (principalities), against the powers, against the world forces (rulers) of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places”. Ephesians 6:12

With my boys, they have learned to read the other and recognize when it is ‘just play’ and when it is serious. Unfortunately, many of us as Christians have not learned how to recognize play with battle. What we see as playing many times is a battle. Unfortunately, we don’t recognize that we are in a battle it until we are seriously wounded. Satan doesn’t draw a line with us. His objectives are to kill, steal, and destroy. He doesn’t play.

The Bible says in Ephesians 6:12 that we wrestle or struggle with four things, principalities, powers, rulers of darkness of this world, and spiritual forces of this world.

Principalities (arche, n.)

Principalities are the leaders. When a  ranking order, they are the chiefs. The Greek word for principality refers that these are what causes an issue to have life.

Powers (exousia,n.)

Powers refers to the power of authority, judicial power, the power of a government to rule over someone.

Rulers (kosmokrator,n)

Rulers of the age refers to devils and demons that exist during this time in history or age. The Greek word here is a noun and it is only used once in the New Testament. These are specific rulers. Darkness refers to those in spiritual darkness, ignorant of divine things. If you are blinded to the spiritual battle then the world forces can rule over you. Other references for spiritual darkness is Luke 1:79, John 3:19, Acts 26:18.

Spiritual Forces of wickedness (poneria,n.)

The word for spiritual is not found in the four gospels or in the Old Testament. It is post pentecost word.  It is connotes an idea of invisibility and power. In Ephesians 6:12 it refers to angelic hosts who are lower than God but higher than man. These are beings in charge of ‘wickedness’ . They are in charge of depravity, malice, evil purposes, evil plots.

After studying all this, I am thinking, ok what chance do I have regarding this battle. These are serious opponents. I think Paul knew we would feel that way because he ‘sandwiched’ this scripture between telling us to Put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:11) and to Take up the armor of God (Ephesians 6:13). Put on mean to be enveloped, clothed completely like sinking into a soft cushy blanket that completely wraps us. Take up means to pick up with the purpose of using it. We are to be completely covered with the spiritual armor that we need for the battle. This is not play so don’t just rest in the armor, take it up and use it for what it was created for… Battle.

 

 

Football Update: Get Into the Game

Football Update: Get Into the Game

fantasy-football

Family Fantasy Football Update

When I first started this Family Fantasy Football with my boys and family from coast to coast, I had no idea the ups and downs that would follow. It sounds easy. I mean you pick your players each week and then points are collected as they play. Hopefully I will have more points than my boys, I mean I am the mom right. I gave birth to them (moms always pull the birth card when we are behind!). Well, no one told me about injuries and how that affects the Fantasy points. Did you know that one injured toe cost me over 20 Fantasy Points? Who would have thought a toe would be such a big deal? I mean it is just a toe right?

It may have been just a toe but it not only affected the player who had to be benched until he heals, but it affected the team as well. The quarterback had to rely on two other players to cover the one injured. These players were good but did not have the same timing with the quarterback. The timing that came from weeks of practice until you instinctively know that the player is there to catch the ball and complete the play.

“But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” 1 Corinthians 12:18 (NIV)

God has placed us on a team and has given us a position. He knows our gifts and talents and abilities, because He put them there. As we study God’s word, He works with us to develop those talents and abilities so that when the game is played we are ready.

Our human tendency is to not see the significance of ourselves or our lives. We may become frustrated in the growth process and in the training process. We may think if “I don’t play, it will not matter”. We may become injured physically or emotionally either through neglect or laziness or through no fault of our own. Or we may think, “I am one of many so it will not matter if I don’t serve this one time”. We may think it will not matter if I stand down this one time. We forget that we are part of a team and when one goes missing it affects the whole team. God still has His plan.

“On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable”  1 Corinthians 12:22 (NIV).

Although a toe seems insignificant, in the Bible it represents our feet walking in the path of God’s word. In the Old Testament the priest’s toe was sprinkled with blood as a symbol of consecration to God’s path in life. In the New Testament, Paul, in discussing the armor of God, reminds us to have our feet shod with the “preparation of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15, KJV). In Romans, we are reminded that the feet of him who preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things are beautiful (Romans 10:15, KJV). There numerous Biblical references to the washing of our feet, symbolizing washing off the dust and grime of the world. Without a big toe, our gait is off, running is affected, and ability to stand our ground is hindered. Staying in the word of God will keep our feet protected with the gospel of peace, keeping us in the game.

I gain understanding through your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:104-105, NIV).

 

 

 

 

Dressed for Battle…. Now what?

Dressed for Battle…. Now what?

“…..with all prayer and supplication praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18

Ever hear of the term ‘marching orders’. I grew up in a military town. As a child I would hear my friends talk about their dads or brothers, ‘receiving their orders’. In the military, you are trained and equipped for battle. When that battle occurs, you don’t know. But you are to be ready in season and out. Many times those orders occurred in the middle of the night or on the weekend, or a holiday. Battles are not convenient. Battles are messy. Battles are ugly. Battles are dirty. The battle that God equips us for is a battle for the life and heart of people. It means answering the phone call at 2 am from the woman that gets on your nerves, but who is struggling in her marriage.  It means rearranging your schedule to hold the hand of a sick friend in the hospital as she receives the results of tests that could change her life. It means looking at sin in all its ugliness when every part of you wants to look away.

What are our marching orders? What are we called to do?

What?  “pray and supplication…

Prayer and supplications are requests made to God from deep inside our hearts and soul.  From a childlike confidence, we know that regardless of what we see or people tell us, God can accomplish the impossible.

Are you praying for what looks like the impossible in your self? Your family? Your fellow Christians at church?

When?In all seasons…”

I noticed right away that God didn’t say, “later this afternoon if you get a minute or if you think about it, can you pray for so and so.” No! this is a fixed and definite period of time, a season. There is a reason God has called you to be a such a place and time. He sees the whole battlefield. We are to act Now!

Are you praying now for yourself? Your family? Your fellow Christians at church? Or are you putting off until tomorrow?

How?….in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance…”

First we are to pray in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit  gives us the words to pray, and reminds of the Word of God that is sharper than a two edged sword. Remember, the Holy Spirit wields the sword to make our aim true.

Are you yielding to the Holy Spirit regarding your self? Your family? Your fellow Christians in your church?

Second, we are to be watching. Watching means to be on the alert. Ever hear soldiers talk of ‘taking the first watch’. The one on watch stays awake when others sleep. They are alert to the slightest movement, sound, smell, anything that is a change. While others sleep, they are vigilant.

Are you being vigilant regarding yourself? Your family? Your fellow Christians in your church?

Third, we are to be on alert with perseverance. The word for perseverance, ” proskarterēsis“, is a noun. This is the only time this word is used in scripture. The dictionary defines perseverance as “steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, or state; especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement.” It implies an unyielding holding on in following a course of action.

It has been said that endurance and perseverance combine to win in the end.When a battle is raging on, the soldier who has perseverance is what you want. By his very nature, he remains steady despite what he sees or has to overcome. He is the one who sees the mountain not as an obstacle, but as an opportunity for God to overcome and be glorified. The one with perseverance is still putting one foot in front of the other while knee deep in mud while the storm is raging. Remember battle is messy.

Are you persevering with areas of your self? Your family? Your fellow Christians at your church?

By putting on the Armor of God, we have the equipment needed to win the battle. Now we need to embrace the heart or quality of perseverance to stay the course with our fellow believers. We are called to come alongside with prayer and support, holding fast not to what the world says, but what the Word of God says.

photo from www.freepik.com
photo from http://www.freepik.com

 

 

Gazebo Gallery:

Describe your Battle Won!

Sword of the Spirit

Sword of the Spirit

…….and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17.

Wayne_David battle

OK, having boys I have seen every superhero move there is. You know when boys put on the superhero costume they become the hero, complete with the moves. Boys enter the room with swords stealthily poised or moving in every direction at lightening speed.They don’t hit anything, but they look good doing it. Their intent is right. They are protecting the damsel, the mom, from the enemy at the door or around the corner.

Do you look good but hit nothing? Are you toiling all night and catching nothing or are you speaking the Word of God.   …”nevertheless at thy word, I will let down the net.” Luke 5:5.

The word is the spoken word. It was first mentioned in Matthew 12:36, when Jesus tells Satan that man “does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” It is the same word that Peter mentions here.

Sometimes I am as Peter, toiling away without results. Sometimes I am like my little men, dressed and wielding my sword everywhere and hitting nothing.The battle rages on. Why?  Could it be that I am not relying on Jesus and the Holy Spirit to do the wielding? The Holy Spirit not only knows where and who the enemy is, but also what weapon to use. It is when I allow the Holy Spirit to wield my sword that things happen. Suddenly we remember to pray for someone, Now! Suddenly we are reminded of a scripture that gives us the strength and joy that we need, Now!  Is it us? No, it’s the Holy Spirit doing the wielding.

There are stories of soldiers gripping their swords so long and tight that they could not let go. There have been times I have felt like that soldier. When all I had left was the Word of God. Praise God!  the Holy Spirit was there to tell me where to wield my sword.

photo from www.freepik.com
photo from http://www.freepik.com

Gazebo Gallery:

What is your story when you gripped your sword and could not let go? 

Rejoice in the Battle…… (Psalm 5:11)

Rejoice in the Battle…… (Psalm 5:11)

“But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits.” Psalm 5:11

I love the fall. Sitting on the back porch I see the many blessings of fall. The leaves are bright and colorful. The sky is crisp and blue. Kids go running through the yard, jumping into every pile of leaves that stand in their way. Giant sticks walking around. Boys carrying limbs 3x their size.

Wait! Large giant sticks, what are they doing!

“Necessary to reinforce the leaf pile bases during the acorn battles”, kids yells out. Oohh, I never knew that.  Capture the flag, air-soft battles, and acorn battles are a mainstay at my house. It is times like this that I am glad that God has a covering and shield over my boys. Welcome to my world of boys.

Oh to be like boys who run and jump and rejoice as the battle rages on!

Psalm 5:11 mentions joy and battle in the same voice.. Oxymoron?.. Or spiritual truth to be embraced?

Joy is mentioned three times in Psalm 5:11. Each is derived from different Hebrew verbs and have different meanings.

  • The first is ‘samach‘ which means ‘to be glad’, ‘make merry’, cause to make ‘joy’.  In other words, the joy comes from Jesus and not us. God will make us joyful as we put our trust in Him.  What a promise!
  • The second is ‘ranan‘  which means to sing, shout, cry out in triumph. This is not everyday singing and shouting. This comes from the deep inside part of us. It is like the joyful cries and shouts of a woman in labor as she joyfully and triumphantly and yes painfully delivers her child.
  • The third is ‘alats‘ which has the connotation of jumping for joy, being exalted. God will exalt us in the midst of battle.

Jesus I pray that as I take refuge in You and put my trust in You, Jesus, that You will make me joyful in the midst of battle, that Your joy will go deep into my innermost being to strengthen me for the battle. As I love You, Jesus, that You will exalt me over the battle, that you will make a covering over me that protects and defends me. Thank you that you reinforce my leaf pile to withstand the battle.  Amen

Gazebo Gallery
Gazebo Gallery

Gazebo Gallery:

Describe a time that as you loved and trusted God, He gave you the joy necessary for the battle?