Sunshinelittleone's Blog

All about my love for the Lord

Step away from the DayTimer…

Mike Rohde's Custom Moleskine Planner

(Photo credit: Mike Rohde)

“For I have told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame.  Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.” Philippians 3:18-21

I woke up this morning with all intentions of doing some online Christmas shopping.  It was, honestly, the first thought on my mind…finish Caroline’s list.  As I reached for my computer with coffee and credit card in hand, the Lord stopped me and drew my attention to my Jesus Calling devotional by Sarah Young. So, I paused and picked up the book and my Bible and read exactly what the Lord needed me to ‘hear’.

As I meditated on Philippians 3, it accord to me that I set my sights, often and far too much, on things of this earth and not on the Lord.  I feel convicted that my wondering thoughts…thoughts of what to do next, get done, plan, participate in, etc…draw me from Christ and my husband.

I am a planner, a fixer a doer.

In my planning, fixing and doing I neglect the Lord.  And He has never ever neglected me.  I give Him my spare moments and not my full attention.  I give Him what I have left over…if anything.  Isn’t that sad.  Here I spend so many hours of my time serving the church, writing my thoughts on God, and encouraging others in their walk with Christ all the while living abundantly of this world…not following my own encouragement.  I need to change my priorities.

I wonder why I walk in anxiety and exhaustion.  If I were to fit my schedule around God, He would give me exactly what He needs me to participate in; He would give me the tasks that are important to Him and, really, those things that have eternal and lasting effects.

Last year at this time I was living each moment for Him.  What happened?  I know what happened; I became complacent and rested on what I knew about the Lord instead of striving to know more.  I stopped filling myself with Him and started consuming myself with me and things and doing and planning.  I imagine I have grieved His heart.

But…He is a God of new and everlasting mercy and He forgives me.  He is so amazing in how He lavishes us.  He knew this day would come. That is why today, when I open my devotional (the one that has been closed far too long), I read exactly what I need to read to kick myself into action. Wow! We serve an awesome God.

This weekend I will plan to spend time with God, my husband and my family.  If there is opportunity to serve and care for others we will do it together…joyfully and abundantly unto the Lord.

Heavenly Father,
Please forgive me.  I ask that you humble me and show me what is important in Your sights, not mine. I praise Your for your ever-present guidance.  You do not leave me…it is I who wonders.  Thank you for always waiting for my return…I am a prodigal.  Praise be to you sweet Jesus. Amen.

Be blessed and be a blessing!

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Max’s mission..

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Today I will….

Philippians 4:23 and "Amazing Grace"...

Philippians 4:23 and “Amazing Grace” poster (Photo credit: Martin LaBar)

Today I will walk in the GRACE of the Lord.

I will rely on His Spirit of JOY to fill me in times of trial.

I will call on Him for His HUMILITY and ask that He humbles me to Him.

I will LOVE in abundance according to His command.

I will ask to be filled with His PEACE, on my own I am incapable.

I will seek His PATIENCE, for without it I am curt and harsh.

I will dwell in the KINDNESS of the LORD; doing unto others as He has done to me.

I will declare His GOODNESS abound in my home.

I will be GENTLE with His flock…and myself.

I  will be FAITHFUL to trust His plan and purpose for the trial.

I will ask for His SELF CONTROL to fill me.  Without Him I am powerless.

I will breathe His lovely, wonderful name all day.  I will walk in Him.  I will share His message of HOPE.

Today I will abandon self to live in Him.

 

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A wife’s declaration for marriage…insert your own name!

A bride in an elaborate wedding dress from 1929.

A bride in an elaborate wedding dress from 1929. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I, Samantha Ewing, vow to love the Lord with all my heart, mind and soul.  I will love the man who the Lord has created specifically for me, above all others. I will be grateful for the way he serves God, me and our family.  I will be blessed when the moments we have are few. I will make the most of them. I vow to give him abundant respect and unconditional, agape love.  I will hold his heart precious and close to my own, as it is fragile and dear. I will share my life with him and put him before all others under God.  I pray the Lord will remind me to encourage and serve and edify my gift of a husband.  When the road seems long and weary, I will pray with him that we are able to ford it together.  I will call on the Lord with my husband when we are in times of want and plenty…emotionally, physically and spiritually.  I will trust the guidance of my husband and share in the bounty of our life.  I will commit to slowing down and pausing long enough to see the man who I fell in love with.  I will praise the Lord daily, moment by moment, for the gift of this amazing man who I share my life with. I will do this with God as my compass. I commit to this today and always. I pray this in the name of Jesus, amen.

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From this day forward…

“This is my lover, this is my friend…” Song of Songs 5:16

I truly believe that marriage is the most amazing God gift we can receive.  I believe that for each one of us, there is an amazing person to share the journey of life with.  I also believe that the journey is one mixed with joy and frustration. After all, if we are living real, we are living raw.

My husband and I are coming upon our 13th ‘dating’ anniversary.  We met almost 15 years ago, but did not start to woe each other…or rather; he did not woe me until two years after we met.  He waited for me.  I am blessed.

I knew the moment I met him that he was the one.  I tell the story often, but it bears repeating.  “I saw him and I heard a small, soft whisper tell me he would be a great husband.  He would be kind to me and take good care of me.” He is and he does.

We love very differently than one another.  He has a servant’s heart and I am an encourager.  These two gifts work well together…but can also find themselves pulling on the same cord.

We have shared our life as man and wife for eleven years.  We have been in love for 13.  (Or 15 if you count the first time I saw him.)  However you number the years, we have loved for, what feels like, forever. We are one.

Recently, as the Lord has gifted us with new and challenging adventure, the cord we pull on has seemed to tighten.  We both want what is best for each other and our family, but we seem to be running a household rather than living a love life.  I venture to guess this happens in most marriages.  Some seasons are filled with less romance and more responsibility. It can weigh heavy on two hearts that long to be filled with the spark that started it all.

I am convinced that the Lord does this to grow us for His perfect glory.  I am, also and equally, convinced that the Lord has a great purpose for our time of tired and strained.  I know He does; He is sovereign.

I miss those days of falling madly into each other’s arms after a long day’s work…but those days were without the pitter patter of little feet…the feet that now propel the bodies of little ones into those same arms.  Our love hasn’t changed, just the pattern of our greeting.  We are parents, and our lives are not (quite) our own.  We belong to two loving children who are exuberant and honest in their love for their parents.  They tend to take over.  They tend to push their way between us.  This is not God’s perfect plan.  But, I would guess that it is only a season…if we let it be.

I am not good at yielding to my husband.  I probably yield to my children more.  If God were a nun, my writs would surely be slapped. I am to honor my husband above my children.  There is a simple way of living and I tend to misplace the order. GOD…SPOUSE…FAMILY (children)…CHURCH and so on.  I am acutely aware of how I put my kids and (honestly) myself and even my church before my beloved husband far too often.  Something has to change. It must.  I am committed and avowed to spend the rest of my life with this amazing man.  How will we ever get back to ‘madly filling each other’s arms’ if I am filling my arms too full?  I am guilty.  I think many of us are, especially those of us who mother young children.  Our time is not our own, so how can we expect it to be given freely to any other aspect of our life…most especially our husbands.  It needs to be given abundantly and first (under God) to him.

So, just as the movie Courageous made a declaration for men…we women need a declaration too.

I offer my rogue decree.

I, Samantha Ewing, vow to love the Lord with all my heart, mind and soul.  I will love the man who the Lord has created specifically for me, above all others. I will be grateful for the way he serves God, me and our family.  I will be blessed when the moments we have are few. I will make the most of them. I vow to give him abundant respect and unconditional, agape love.  I will hold his heart precious and close to my own, as it is fragile and dear. I will share my life with him and put him before all others under God.  I pray the Lord will remind me to encourage and serve and edify my gift of a husband.  When the road seems long and weary, I will pray with him that we are able to ford it together.  I will call on the Lord with my husband when we are in times of want and plenty…emotionally, physically and spiritually.  I will trust the guidance of my husband and share in the bounty of our life.  I will commit to slowing down and pausing long enough to see the man who I fell in love with.  I will praise the Lord daily, moment by moment, for the gift of this amazing man who I share my life with. I will do this with God as my compass. I commit to this today and always. I pray this in the name of Jesus, amen.

May the Lord bless your marriage and mine.  May we walk abundantly in all that He has planned for us.  Will you declare the peace of the Lord upon your marriage?  Take the vow.  Print it out.  Live it.  You were created for the man you share this world with…rejoice in it!

Be blessed and be a blessing.

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Live in gratitude…

thank you note for every language

thank you note for every language (Photo credit: woodleywonderworks)

“We give thanks to you O God,
we give thanks, for Your name is near” Psalm 75:1a

We live in a society that has all but omitted the words “Thank You”.  So why is it any big surprise that we are also a country that omits giving thanks to God?  Tomorrow is a day designated for Thanks and Gratitude and yet we are preoccupied with the sales and bargains we will secure when the meal is done or the by daybreak on Friday.  We are forgetting that not so long ago, Thanksgiving was a time to count our blessings, a time to reflect on the year behind and prepare for the year ahead.

I am guilty as any other American.  I have laid my clothes out on Thanksgiving Night in an effort to cut my time to get ready to meet the masses in the mall.  I have prepared my course of action.  We all have. But, why not take a moment…or more, to pause and give thanks.

Give thanks? You may ask.  What on earth do we have to be thankful for?  Our economy is tanking, job loss is ridiculously high. Our schools are underachieving.  There are babies dying daily.  Our precious Israel is being torn apart right before our very eyes.  Our churches are being led by the consumerism of our time…serve me, not I will serve.  What then could we be so grateful for?  How could we possibly give thanks at a time like this?

Here’s how…we thank God because in times of trial, we can call on His name.  He is with us always. (Matthew 28:20)  He does not leave or forsake us.  He may allow the trial to reign through our country; world.  But, He is a breath of gratitude away.

We wonder where He is in these uncertain and tumultuous times.  We crave His presence.  Or do we?  We have taken Him out of our schools, our country.  We seldom invite Him to dine with us.  We have put Him out of our daily living.  How then, do we expect Him to lavish us in His great mercy, unless we are willing to abide in Him and trust Him?

My son has been sick for almost two weeks, common childhood ailments.  The stuff that makes us stronger.  As we sat down to eat our, what seemed like 100th, bowl of chicken soup, he gave thanks for the cold.  He gave thanks for the tired and uncomfortable he had been feeling.  He praised the Lord, because through it all he has felt he presence of the Lord upon him…even in affliction.  He knows that God has not left him or forsaken him.  He knows, and declared, “You have brought me closer to You during this hard time.” Out of the mouths of babes.  A child giving thanks in the midst of undesirable and uncomfortable.  We should take a cue.

Many live paycheck to paycheck.  Thank you God for the provision we have.  Some receive food from Food Pantries.  Thank you God for those who care enough to buy a little extra and donate it to the ones in need. Some have no electricity or water.  Thank you Lord for the shelter of a home, to protect us from the elements. Some hear the sound of gun fire and bombs. Thank you Lord that You are drawing attention to Your jewel, Israel…that we may finally understand her need to be protected and honored.

It may be hard to utter the words ‘thank you’ in these profoundly difficult times.  But try.  Try living in gratitude.  It is the language of our Heavenly Father.  It is right to give thanks and praise.  He has promised struggle on this earth; and glorious riches and abundant life in Heaven.  Heaven on earth is a myth, a fantasy.  He is refining us through the struggle and giving us a foundation in Him.  He will not forsake us or leave us.  He loves us.

So, as you gather around the table…practice giving thanks.  It may take you and yours out of your comfort zone, but that’s ok.  God rejoices in our ability to be uncomfortable. He rejoices in our ability to praise and thank Him…always.

God bless and Happy Thanksgiving.  May the Lord’s angels go before you in all you do!

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That was then…

Preparing for Thanksgiving always leaves me with mixed emotions.  I am a nostalgic person and I long for days of my youth.  Sometimes I think my mind is paused in those moments.  I remember with distinct and profound preciseness the smell and sounds and feelings I had.  I remember the warmth of my grandmother’s tiny living room as we watched the parades.  Waiting with wide-eyed anticipation for Santa to round the corner, signifying the beginning of the most magical time of year…Christmas.

The house would begin to smell of turkey and boiled potatoes.  And without fail, a hungry dad or uncle would run to White Castle to tide us over until the feast my grandma had worked so tirelessly and seemingly effortlessly to make.

In my family we always dressed for holidays. My grandma would pull out her most glamorous red lipstick and her hair would have the freshness of a recent trip to the beauty parlor.  Perfume wafted through, as hair dryers whirred.  We all made it a big deal.  With great intention we prepared for Thanksgiving, together.  Christmas Eve and Day always followed this same pattern.

I miss that, miss with real and visceral ache.  I miss the planning and preparing and getting fancy.  I am grateful for those memories.  Celebrations are different now.   Not good or bad; just different.  The characters in my Thanksgiving story have changed.  We are a much lower key sort.  I am invited to be apart as a participant, as I used to be part as a planner. And that’s ok, change is good and as we know seasons change.  I still long for those together holidays.

Time wasn’t set, save to carve the Turkey.  We just all got together as soon as we could.  My dad worked for Ford Motor Company, and in those days, you got to leave early the day before a holiday.  So we would leave the eve of Thanksgiving to my grandparents 1700 square foot, one bathroom home.  Eight of us would clamor into this quaint and tidy abode, filling it to overflowing with people and love.  I miss that. We would sleep were we could, often the living room sofas for my little cousin and I.  No one seemed to care if it was crammed or uncomfortable, that was part of the charm of our time together….closeness. I am grateful for those times and the memories we made. Perhaps I have created in my mind a picture of near perfection.  I know it wasn’t.  A mid the joy there was pain and disagreement.  Not every holiday was cloaked in sweet, loving charm.  And there were times when the tension around the table was more evident than the feast.  But that made it all the more real.  And family is real.

The Lord designed us to be relational and to care deeply for our loved ones.  He created us with hearts and minds that remember and relish the days that make us who we are.  We are created by the Father, the Father who loves us abundantly and honestly and wholly.  He gives us moments of celebration to dig deep into His heart and look about us at the ones He has gifted us.  While I miss those who have gone before me, I am grateful beyond measure for those I share celebration with now.  I am grateful for my new family, the one with whom I am making precious new memories.  I am blessed.

So, I wax honest and heartfelt for the loved ones who celebrate this holiday season, Thanksgiving and Christmas, with the Lord.  I long to sit at the Lord’s Table and feast abundant with Jesus.  Until then I will be grateful to be a participant.  I will be grateful for a simpler celebration.  I will be grateful for the treasures that occupy the seats around a new table; the treasures who share with me this new season of life.

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Tuesday’s Devotional

Check out today’s devotional at kpc.org. Click on Deeper Devotionals. Each day members of our church share thoughts and insight based on our pastor’s sermon. Pastor Nate Atwood is a brilliant and thoughtful teacher of the Word.  I pray you are blessed.  I will share my Tuesday devotionals here at Sunshinelittleone.

I pray this meets you with a blessed heart.

I Will Sing No Matter What

November 13, 2012

This week’s key Scripture Verse:  Genesis 47:27 “Now the Israelites settled in Egypt in the region of Goshen. They acquired property there and were fruitful and increased greatly in number.”

Take a moment and pray that the Lord will speak to you in this time of study.

Devotional written by Samantha Ewing

Devotional written by Samantha Ewing

I am not a stranger to disappointment. Truly, none of us are.  We are human and the Lord Jesus Himself promised that life would be struggle-filled.  “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 We are given a promise of perfection in Heaven.  So, while we wait for that glorious home-going, we must trust that the Lord will use all our discomfort for His amazing purpose and goodness.

In recent years, my husband and I have seen Egypt.  We have faced the pains of unemployment, loss of a parent, trial and illness, and through it all we sought Goshen.  We knew in our hearts that the Lord was with us through the journey to grow us deeper in Him, together.  We look back with joy and thanksgiving.  And honestly, in the midst of the trial, we were joyful.  We were Whos.  We were able to sing praise to the Lord.  We were able to lift our hearts and voices to the Lord in thanksgiving.  His presence was abundant and enough. “You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.” Psalm 16:11

We rest in Goshen.  Things may not be exactly the way our flesh-filled hearts desire.  But, we are living in the Father’s will.  He is in us and upon us and feeding us manna daily.  “Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Take an omer of manna and keep it for generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the desert when I brought you out of Egypt.’” Exodus 16:32

We rely on His perfect peace and amazing grace.

It’s not easy. It’s not easy as a human, fallen and broken and jaded. But when we accept that we are not residents of this world, but of Heaven, the trial is bearable and strengthening.  He is, as I said, perfectly abundant. He is enough.

My heart grieves for those who try to rest in Egypt — those who have not yet put their complete trust in the Lord.  He is mighty to save and heal us when we hurt.  He provides His strength and courage to move us out of Egypt into Goshen. His heart’s desire is that we would draw near to Him, that we would take up residence in His lap.  He wants us to give all of our weakness to Him. He will comfort us.

That first step to fully trusting can be terrifying.  We doubt. “‘Peace be with you!’ ‘Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put in into My side. Stop doubting and believe.’” (John 20:27) We are programed to be utterly self-reliant.  We live in a quick-fix, feel-good society.  When we lay our troubles and pain at the foot of the Cross, they don’t immediately vanish.  The trial may linger, but when we give it to the Lord, truly letting go, He covers it.  He gives us wings to soar in His grace.

The Lord is enough. Abundantly enough.  He desires our praise and thanksgiving.  He desires that we live a life of gratitude, even when we are being painfully refined.  When we can’t bear Egypt any longer, we must live in complete gratitude.  We must trust that His goodness will sustain us and make us a new creation in Him.  We must follow Him.  He will guide our every step. He loves us and has given us a “...spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Timothy1:7b) Take heart, beloved, you are loved abundantly.

Dwell in Him, draw near to Him, trust Him. Live in Goshen.

Samantha Ewing – KPC Member


Enjoy!

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Adventure…

I did a rogue count of adventure trips in my life and found that I have been on more trips with my sweet husband in twelve years than I had in the twenty-five years before I knew him.

Very early in our relationship we adventured.  My beloved has taken me to mountain and sea. From coast to coast.  His soul longs for adventure.  I am delighted that I am his permanent travel companion.

It’s something I never considered important until I met the man of my dreams.  I never thought exploration was a soul-lifting event. It is.

I am drawn closer to God when we set out on our travels.  I see the bounty of the Lord’s magnificent Hand.  The Hand that created the landscape we traverse. The beauty of this marvelous planet.

We travel simple.  Well, maybe not simple, but uncluttered.  I like the comfort of home and perhaps Lysol wipes, but for the most part we travel with change of clothes and good books.  Oh, and music.  Bluegrass.  I long to hear the fiddle as we wind through the Blueridge Mountains.

Two new travelers have taken space in our vehicle.  They are learning, through practice and patience, to enjoy the ride.  As the journey is part of the destination.

The Lord has provided these sojourns for us.  He has carved path of beauty through endless tree and hillside.  He lights snow on roadside for us to marvel at.  He is brilliant in His travel plan.

I thank the Lord for a man who practices travel well.  His goal is that I see the United States in her entirety.  I pray we fulfill his dream.

For now we discover the joy of the East and wax grateful for the beauty that abounds around us.

 

 

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In the warm Son…

English: Christmas star Deutsch: Weihnachtsstern

English: Christmas star Deutsch: Weihnachtsstern (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I sit here in the warmth of a sunny autumn day.  The jeweled toned leaves gently blanket the emerald grass.  I am blessed.

As the sun rests softly on my shoulders, I am reminded of the One whose breath breathed this glorious light into the world.  I am reminded that as the golden rays light on my window, the Son lights on my heart.

This time of  year often meets me between emotions of elation and melancholy.  I am joyful in the crisp air that reminds me that I am alive, the anticipation of a celebration, the birth of a Savior, and yet I rest in the want of two parents who have taken residence in the Kingdom of Heaven.  My heart yearns to meander through woods with a daddy who instilled a love a nature cemented deep in my being.  I long to fancy up with a momma who lived in festive. She sparkled like a Christmas star.

I am grateful as the Fall becomes Winter and I am reminded of the Babe born in a manger.  The God-man who came to this earth to give you and me life.  The One whose sacrifice made my life possible.  My journey to heaven is paved in His blood.

So, as I wax lonesome for the two who gave me life, I am reminded that in Him there is reuniting and reunion. That the moments on earth are fast fleeting and we are to be secure and sound in His Kingdom.  Eternity will be celebrated rejoicing in Him…together.

I am grateful.

 

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