Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Costa Rica follow up... finally!

I have been trying to figure out for the past month what to write about this trip.  It just did not go as I expected.  I have prayed about what to write and God has now given me the words.

Costa Rica was a whirlwind of a trip.  It might sound discouraging, but coming out on the other side now, I know it all filtered through His hands and for a reason.

My mom, Frances, has been asking me for years to go on this trip with her.  I have continued to say no.  I never felt God leading me down that path.  Over the years my heart became hardened to the idea of Costa Rica.  I was feeling a little like Pharaoh in Moses life.  Until January 2013, my heart was instantly changed.  I knew God was calling to go on this trip because of the softening He did in my heart.  The veil was lifted for me.  2 Cor 3:16 says “But whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.”  I knew it was time for me to obey. 

I went with a very expecting heart to learn more about God.  For Him to reveal Himself to me, for me to experience Him in a way I never have.  Boy did I ever!

Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “ For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.  On this trip God revealed things about myself that was very ugly.  I did not like what He was showing me.  It was very painful to see that side of me.  In the midst of this trip, I felt like it was all about me and learning more about myself.  I wanted this trip to be all about God.  I was very angry and frustrated once returning home, even thought, “Won’t be doing that again!  Why would you, God, take me all the way to Costa Rica to show me how ugly I am?! What a waste!"
This last month, God has shown me that trip was about me, but yes it was also about Him.  It was about the two of us together.  The trip was never meant to be only about Him.  It was about our relationship growing, my trust in Him growing.  He was showing me how much He loves and cares for me, not to leave me just as I am.  He loves me so much to let all that pain filter through to help transform me to be more like Christ.  2 Cor 3:18 says “so all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord.  And the Lord-who is the Spirit-makes us more and more like Him as we are change into His glorious image. “

Over the years I’ve felt confused with who I am and even said, “I don’t recognize myself any more, not even sure who I am.”  God used my obedience with Costa Rica to secure me to Him.  Of course I’m not the same person I was back then.  Praise God!  I have been saved and transformed through Christ.  This unrecognizable person is Christ working in me.  He is cleaning out all my ugly’s and making room for Him to live and occupy my whole heart, not just part of it, the whole thing.  He’s putting up a no vacancy sign for sin! 

There were times on the trip when my mind and thoughts were running wild, but the Holy Spirit brought me to Phil 4:8 “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”

This trip God showed me how out of control I let my thoughts go, and that I allow those thoughts to consume and control my actions.  One specific morning when we arrived at the church grounds we were building, I knew Satan was waiting to consume my mind.  I went to the bathroom praying to God to take captive my thoughts.  I knew this was becoming a controlling factor for me.  I began to recite Phil 4:8.  I was drawing a blank.  I could only think of two things, “whatever is true and whatever is pure” I couldn’t remember the rest of the verse at all, nothing was coming to mind, completely blank. I asked God, actually it was more like begging Him, to bring something that is true and pure.  Lord let me see whatever is true and pure.  I was walking out of the bathroom repeating those two truths when a little girl, maybe 4 or 5, who had not been at the work site previous days, ran up to me and gave me the tightest hug.  I knew that was Christ in the little girl, true and pure.  He was letting me know He has never left my side even in those dark moments of my mind.  He loves me too much to leave me broken as I am.

This trip has opened my eyes to God’s great love for each one of us as His children.  God is teaching, molding, conforming me to be more like Him through the hardships.  I love the song by Mercy Me, Bring the Rain. The words are so powerful and so very true for me right now! In the stormy moments of life, that is when our relationship with God grows at its greatest; our need for Him is greatest; His love for us is greatest.

Will I go on a mission trip again? Most definitely!  I did learn more about God but also about myself and who I am in Christ.

Eph 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.

I am so thankful for God’s grace!  

Monday, July 29, 2013

Chew on this...

Harmony, what better thing to pray for this week than harmony! David talked about how Christians are to be in harmony with each other. How all of God's churches are to be in harmony with each other as our body parts are in harmony with each other. All parts of the body are so different, yet work together in harmony. When one isn't in harmony or gets off beat, the body gets sick. The harmony we see in music when all the instruments come together. They are so different and played differently, a horn with air and the drums with sticks. Yet when they come together guided by the same sheet of music, they make beautiful music. But when one instrument is out of tune....we know how it disrupts the beauty of the song. Pray this week for all of us to be guided by the same sheet of music, the Bible. Pray to keep all parts of the Body of Christ healthy in order to work together in perfect harmony. Pray for continued harmony in our church, in our families, in our own hearts! So when the world sees us they see Christ and they want to join in this healthy harmonious Body of Christ. ~ Frances

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pure and Sweet Grace

Have you ever been in a situation where there seems to be too much hurt, pain, and pride involved for anything to be salvageable? Just seems like too much damage has been done, you are calling it a total loss, just letting it be what it is and moving on. It is what it is and I'm accepting that. Then God begins to tug at your heart, you feel unsettled and chaotic in your mind.  You cry out to God, "What is this? What do you want me to do with this?" This is where I am at right now. 

A sweet friend gave encouragement to me by reminding me about God, "He has a plan... trust & believe!!! He NEVER wastes a hurt!!! He loves you that much!!!" My response was thanks for the encouragement and thanks for being my friend despite all my insanity moments.  I am really trying to trust in that, feel like I have messed things up so bad it seems almost impossible but also know I'm looking at this through my eyes not God's! 

Isaiah 55:8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord.

I poured out my heart to God in prayer on this particular morning just being as real as real can be.  Boy it was oogly, not ugly but oogly! And we all know what is involved with the oogly cry! :)

I asked for peace and resolve in this heart ache, asked for clarity, asked for encouragement for Him because I am feeling lower then low on this morning.  I begged Him for something, please just give me something to take away the pain even if for a moment.  I finished my prayer time with "As you said in Jeremiah 32:27, you can handle all these prayer request, all these issues, all these people, because you are the Lord, the God of all mankind, anything is not too hard for you, Amen."

I have paused on the Experiencing God study.  I felt God calling me to pause even for just a little while.  I have the study "Discerning the voice of God" by Priscilla Shirer.  It is short, but oh so powerful!  After prayer, I opened the study and just asked God for a nugget, please, send me a crumb to help with this pain in my heart, speak Lord because I am listening.  The study opened with this, "We often want to immediately run a head the moment we hear God's leading and direction.  Instead of walking in daily obedience, we desire to see the end result of God's plan instantly." There was that word again, DAILY.   After that I knew if that was all He gave me for the day, that was enough.  That is not how God works though, He does not just give you enough to get by, He gives you MORE then enough, He gives abundantly to His children because of His great love for us.  The part of the study is walking through Habakkuk.  Habakkuk's need for patience was so great, the Lord reminded Habakkuk to not carry out His plan before it was time!

Habakkuk 2:3 "For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay."

Then Priscilla pointed me to read Genesis 18:9-18, when I read verse 14, I got chills and burst into tears.  I had an encounter with God in that moment! Verse 14 says, "Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you..." Do you remember my prayer from Jeremiah, the question God asks, "Is anything too hard for me?" God is reminding me He is Lord, anything is not too hard for Him to handle.  We can't dig a hole too big for Him to not to handle, we can't go too far for Him not to handle, we can't do so much wrong for Him not to handle.  He is the Lord, creator of heaven and earth.  He can do anything! Anything! 

Anything is defined as any object, person, idea, or circumstance whatever.  No limits, I think that covers it all!  We can't screw up so bad that God can't redeem it.  Just as Sarah and Abraham in their old age, God can provide them a son.  As with Moses, God parting the Red Sea to save the Israelites. As with Daniel, God saving him from the mouths of the lions.  It goes on and on.  Those situations seemed so crazy and like it was inevitable they would loose, but with God anything is possible.  God can provide, heal, and redeem all things.  But the common thread is only with God not just ourselves.  I know that God allows the ugly situations in our lives to become oogly so that when healing comes, we make no mistake that it was all Him who healed and redeemed, nothing from ourselves. 

Ephesians 2:8-9 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast."

Grace is what God uses to heal and redeem the crap we create in our lives.  Grace, pure, sweet grace, the free gift from God!  God has been telling me to wait, wait, wait, now He is pulling it all together this morning with "Is this too big for me? Coleen, you think you have messed this up royally, to the point it can't be fixed, but I can redeem it all, even in this ugliness, I can redeem!" He's got this, I don't need to do anything but pray and trust in my faith and my awesome God!

Those situations we walk in our lives that make no sense as to how they worked out, or how we have peace in the end, or we think it is just too broken to be fixed, is only a gift from God.  It is His grace He bestows on us, so that we can not boast in ourselves.  It is not from anything we did for ourselves.  It is by grace alone, from God alone, that we have been saved.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

Chew on this...

The verse for River of Life mission trip last week was Jeremiah 24:7. We talked about worshiping God 24/7. For us to return to God with all our hearts, not just some of it, and all means 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Are we willing to do that, to do the work required to be God's people 24/7? Pray for the Gospel to form our church to His will and to inform our church with the Gospel truth. Which will transform our church of which will conform to Christ will, not our own. Does our community see Christ when they look at FUMC of Cordele? Pray that we become a 24/7 church living by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. ~ Frances

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Real Love

First, stop singing Mary J Blige "Real Love."  There is no need to search any longer for someone to set your heart free, I have found Him.  Secondly on a more serious note, I want to tell you if you are reading this, you have been prayed for.  No, I don't know your name but that does not mean God doesn't know it.  I've prayed for God to open your eyes to the love He has for you if you don't already know Him as your Savior.  

I have seen and felt God's love recently in ways I could have never imagined in my life.  I have experienced it on new levels that just blow my mind.  It is all because of Christ.  Nothing like this has ever come from or could ever be found in my husband, children, family, or friends.  It can only come from the true source of love, Jesus Christ.

According to Merriam-Webster, love, defined as a noun, is a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.  Love as a verb is to hold dear.

That's pretty powerful stuff and we were only looking at the definition defined by man.  We haven't even scratched the surface of what the Bible says what love truly is.  The Bible describes love as the greatest commandment.  GREATEST!!!  That's a strong word.  Don't think that word wasn't used on purpose for us to understand how serious that commandment is.  

Hang with me, I promise this only seems like you are back in school.  I really want you to grasp this and understand how extravagant God's love is for us and how much love He extends to us daily.  It will blow your socks off!!! Let's see what the dictionary defines the word "greatest" as.  One way defines greatest as highest in quality, another says larger in size than others of the same kind.  One more way states of an extent, amount, or intensity considerably above the normal or average.  That puts a whole new spin on that word "greatest" for me. 

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

No one, no one, no one! Did you hear that, no one has shown greater love then what Jesus did by dying on the cross for each one of us.  A concept that God recently brought to light to me through a friend was that Jesus would have died on the cross even if I was the only person on earth left to be saved.  I am still in awe when I think of that.  My first reaction was shocked then it turned into "Why Lord?"  I began to wonder why do you love me? If you don't need me for your will to be done and I always fail you because I am a fair-weathered friend, why do you bother with me?

My hubby said this to me as I was sharing my tears and heart with him one day about this question I was stumped with.  He said, "...easiest way I can wrap my brain around the why is viewing it like we view our children.  We don't need them to do things around the house to get the work done.  They fail us over and over again. Admit it, they don't always do the best job at the ages they are at.  One day they love us and next day they will hate us, but we allow them to help us, why? Because we love them and want to be with them, share experiences with them, share emotions with them, no matter what happens good or bad, we just want to be with them.  We love them because they are a part of us."  My eyes were opened by God in that moment.  He loves us because we are a part of Him.  

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

God Himself created us, it says it 3 times in that one verse, "He created..."  That is why He loves us so much.  God doesn't need us to do His will but He desires to be with His children.  He desires for a personal love relationship with each one of us.  Just as my relationship with each of my kids will be different, our relationship with God will be different then our spouses or friends.  We are all unique and have unique needs, just like our own kids.  God knows that and knows exactly what we need and at the perfect moment when to give that need to us or when to take it away.  Why do I even begin to doubt how He knows what is best for me.

Psalm 139:13 For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother's womb.

God created me, so He knows me better then I know myself.  In the same light that we know our children better then they know themselves.  We see the bigger picture for them and give them only what they need for that moment in life.  I'm not gonna give the keys to a car to my 10 year old.  Are you crazy!?!? She can't handle that now.  I know the bigger picture for her and she's not ready for that.  It's the same thing in regards to our relationship with God.  He knows the bigger picture of my life.  He knows when I am ready or not ready for things.  He knows when changes need to occur in me, when people need to be removed from my life or when people need to be placed in my life.  He knows EVERY detail of my being why would I doubt His love for me.

Matthew 10:30 And even the very hairs on your head are all numbered.

We first have to submit to the love God has for us because I promise you He knows what is best! He works all things our for our good and His glory.  I promise you He will never lead you a stray, He is trustworthy and faithful! His love is perfect, everything you will ever need!  Imagine only having ONE need in your life, Jesus.  That's all.  He satisfies everything else you have been searching for. Just Jesus.

Philippians 4:9 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.  

And everything God does is all done out of pure love, nothing more and nothing less then love.

John 3:16  For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Chew on this...

Malachi 3:14-15, this is called “Comparison thinking which is a losing battle either way-you either get small or you get smug.” Again from the Malachi study by Lisa Harper. “God’s people have always struggled with comparison thinking from Cain and Abel, Sarah and Hagar, Saul and David.” Have we fallen into the comparison thinking? Pray that we as a church will not compare ministries, abilities, or callings, but follow the calling God has given each one of us. God knows our abilities and where He wants us to work. He has a unique job just for you and no one else. Pray that God will reveal that job to you and put blinders on us. Pray that we do not compare what He has called us to do with what He has called someone else to do. Pray that we do not fall into the “Comparison way of Thinking” as God’s people have in the past! ~ Frances

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Multi-grain bread recipe

I have been wanting to make a multi-grain bread for some time now.  I took my whole wheat bread recipe and tweaked it a bit.  Boy I am so glad I gave this a try because it turned out sooooo good!  Everyone in the family loved it!  One of the kids said it taste like the bread they give you at Longhorn.  Score!
  • Ingredients Needed
  • 1 1/4 cups of multi grain hot cereal mix
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh milled soft wheat flour
  • 2 cups fresh milled hard white wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup agave
  • 4 tablespoons melted and cooled unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1.  Place hot cereal mix in a bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Stir occasionally, let stand for about an hour till it thickens.

2.  In a separate bowl whisk together flours.

3.  Once cereal mix has cooled, add agave, melted butter, salt, and yeast. Mix until combined.

4.  Add flour mixture to the cereal mixture slowly (1/2 cup at a time) and start kneading your dough on lightly floured counter for about 5-7 minutes.

5.  Once finished kneading, place dough ball in large bowl covered and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

6. Gather your 2 loaf pans and grease if needed.

7.  Take dough from bowl and place on lightly floured counter and divide in half. Knead each half for just a minute into loaf form.

8.  Lightly spray loaves with water or vegetable oil and roll each loaf in oats.

9.  Place seam side down of your bread dough into your loaf pans and cover. Let them rise again for about 30 minutes. They should double in size.

10.  Preheat oven to 375F.

11.  Bake loafs on oven rack in middle position for 35 minutes.

12.  Once finished backing, transfer pans to wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Then remove loaves from pan back to wire rack to cool till room temperature.

13.  Slice and enjoy!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Chew on this...

In the last part of the study of Malachi, God is talking to Israel about their harsh words against Him. They actually had the nerve to ask God "How have we spoken against you?" Do we forget as Israel did, who we are talking to? This week lets pray about our words, pray that our words will be a blessing, not a curse to all who hear them. Read Matthew 12:33-37 and what Jesus says about our words. Here are two more verses we can pray before we speak, Ephesians 4:29 and Romans 14:19. We need to remember God has perfect hearing! Pray that what He hears from our mouths will not have Him tell us "Your words have been harsh against Me." as in Malachi 3:13; but will make Him smile with pride and say "well done"! ~ Frances

Friday, July 5, 2013

Personalized Kids Room Decor

Many people say to me, you and your kids must do crafts all day since you are so crafty.  That could not be farther from the truth for me.  I confess that I LOVE crafting but do not love crafting with my children. That thought actually makes me cringe a little bit. LOL!  Crafting is more of an outlet for when I want to chill by myself.  With that being said, I have decided now that my kids are little older, to plan a few crafts for us to do together while we are home for the summer.  I found this activity on Pinterest and it is very easy!
Supplies Needed
blank canvas
acrylic paint
paint brushes
I started by using tape to place on the canvas to spell out each child's name.  I used my washi tape since it was thinner then the blue painters tape.  You could even use masking tape.

Then let the kids have fun painting!  

Once the paint is dry peel off the tape and the name is left white.  

Two of my kids wanted to paint the white letter with glitter.  The other child wanted sparkles all over the canvas, so we added it before we pulled her tape off.

You could do anything you wanted though.  Sky is the limit!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Costa Rica...Day 9

This is our last day and it is full of travel!!! I was ready to be home by this point.  I am very thankful for God calling me to this mission trip and I am very thankful to arrive home to my family welcoming me at the airport.  Thank you to all who supported me!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Costa Rica... Day 8

This was a free day for all of us.  Leslie and I decided to do some zip lining! It was so FUN!

After we were done, we ate a some lunch at the Chill Out Restaurant.  Definitely needed!

Love ya gal! I am very proud of us both for conquering that together!