Monday, June 24, 2013

A Goat, Some Pigs, and a Devotional

How would we feel if the President of the United States needed our help or expertise with something? What if he called on the phone and said, "We really need your help and we'll provide you with everything you need. Consider your resources endless."

No matter our political party, we would be amazed, along with our family and friends.  Beyond excited.
The most powerful person in the world needs my help!

We might even consider it the most significant experience of our lives.

Well...guess what? It's already happened to every Christian!
Someone even more famous has asked you to work for Him.

The Lord Jesus Christ.

And friends, we should be ecstatic! We get to work for Jesus. Hallelujah! We get to love in His name. We get to.

When He says FOLLOW ME, he means serve with me. Come alongside and learn of me. Do what I do. Feel what I feel. Love like I love. Weep for what I weep for.

Mark 9:35
And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

1 Peter 4:10
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 

Philippians 2:6-7
who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 

Let's empty ourselves of us. Let's get excited about the work God has before us. We get to work with the Lord Jesus Christ, the most significant person in all history.
And later, we get to reign with Him!

How can we ever be melancholy when we have an eye for eternity? When we remember our lineage, our coming reign? What's there to be frustrated about when we get to wake up each day and work for God? We get to!

If we haven't thought about eternity in the last week, we need a spiritual remake. Our mindset should not be here and now, but there. Not comfort and beautiful things all around us here, but the rewards and treasures waiting for us there.

In the meantime, we get to work for God. How glorious is that?

Prayer Time:

Dear Heavenly Father, You are an awesome God. Your gifts are infinitely more than we could ever ask for, and certainly more than we deserve. You are a gracious, faithful God. You knew us before we were born. You have plans to prosper us and not harm us, to give us a hope and a future. You give us the privilege of working for you...loving through you, showing mercy and grace through you, being your hands and feet to those who have no hope. Thank you for these privileges. Help us to remember how blessed we are, and what a miracle it is that you would even want our you don't even need. You want us by your side, like the father who asks his son to hold the screwdriver, and the mother who asks her children to put in the flour and sugar. You really want our fellowship, our presence. You love us tenderly and what a wondrous gift that is. Help us to be faithful servants, learning of you, Our Master. Helps us to live for you. May we never stop being excited about that privilege. Help us to live with an eternity mindset, remembering that this life and its difficulties are but a vapor. You have prepared glorious rooms for us in Your House. and we will be there soon!Thank you, Father! Helps us to practice thanksliving, knowing you have already conquered all.

In Jesus' name I pray, Amen

Giving Thanks Today
Thank you, Father, for these blessings and graces:
~ That often when my ADHD son has one of those downward-spiral emotional outbreaks, a goldfinch appears at the feeder next to the window, or a cardinal lands on the fence near our sunroom/dining room, or a chipmunk comes out of hiding. The lights go on in our hearts, and my son smiles, or I smile and we look at each other. We know it was a gift, a grace, from the Lord. The Lord saying, "I know of your difficulties and I am present with you. Loving you."
~ A pleasant visit with pigs and goats at our friend's parents' house.

 ~ I'm thankful for an object lesson for my kids that I couldn't have put together myself, re money management. For three years we had a sturdy kiddy pool with a small slide but at the end of last summer it began leaking. We considered replacing it to help the kids fight the heat and humidity, but then the water bill came. $147! (Why was our California water bill under $70 even during daily summer watering, and here in Ohio where the rain waters for us, it's always well over $100? I don't get it.)
We told the kids water play wouldn't be a regular thing here this summer, and we wouldn't be replacing the kiddy pool. For days they've been grumbling. And then the neighbors, the ones with only a part-time job, no vehicle, and on food stamps and section 8 rent help, couldn't pay their electric bill and their electricity got turned off. (I called my church to seek help from the benevolence fund for them, for the sake of their four kids, and also to possibly get financial counseling from one of our deacons for them).
It was hard explaining to my children that if we mismanaged our money, something would get turned off or the mortgage wouldn't get paid. This wasn't the first time a utility was turned off for these neighbors, who have yet to drop their cable TV, their fancy phones, their dogs or their cigarettes. This time their kids were pretty's one thing after another over there. 

For a few years I was without a vehicle during the day, but never without one entirely. Maybe they consider the TV part of their sanity? Since I haven't walked in their shoes I'm trying not to judge, but it's hard. They come here about 4 times a week for sugar, milk, or something. Their food help doesn't last long enough because they don't know how to budget grocery money and they don't cook from scratch. Lots of needs and our heart is to help, slowly, as they learn to trust us. Our own humility and lack of judgement is crucial in our being able to help, so please pray for the whole situation? I'm concerned the kids aren't getting enough milk, for one. Thank you.)

As much as my kids are still grumbling about the kiddy pool and water play, they understand better, being exposed to the neighbor's difficulties, that management of money is key to keeping stress at a minimum.

 Don't feel sorry for my kids. I don't, because now, the few times a month I will say yes, they will appreciate the sprinkler play more, and doing without will help them better understand our Compassion children's circumstances. If we can't put ourselves in another's shoes, we can't manage adequate mercy, and without denying ourselves it's hard to see any of this at all.

Low-income or modest-income American kids can grow up wanting everything they didn't have as children, and they might spoil their own children to keep them from feeling "poor". I don't want that for my kids. If they do better than us financially I want them to give it away, not clutch it or use it like the culture does. It's a tall order for us to hope for as parents, but with God all things are possible.
Incidentally, Compassion children have a history of giving back to their Child Development Centers, to their own families, and to their communities. They often work with the poor, in fact, after graduating. Though many of them experience success after their tenure with Compassion International, there's no me-centered mentality afterwards. There's just gratitude and thanksliving.
The more we have the more we feel entitled to, and entitlement is a mindset straight from Satan himself. In the Lord we have enough. When Jesus conquered this world He made us rich!
This goat was so sweet, letting me pet him and hug him time and again. I was in heaven! I'm surprised my husband took this picture because he doesn't share mine or Peter's love for farm animals, and I secretly think he dreads Peter's daily prayers for farmland. (I'm not a pet person. I dislike cats and I've rarely met a dog I felt the need to pet, but I'm partial to farm animals for some reason)
 How was your weekend, friends? What are you thankful for today?


Vicki said...

I really enjoyed this post!

The line about entitlement being straight from the devil....I've been struggling with this is a few different ways. My son has a very entitled attitude. We are working on it and he is learning, but I made a lot of poor choices that helped foster this in him. Then, just this weekend, I realized that I am struggling with this too. Not with possessions though, with my time. It was an eye-opening realization and I'm praying that I will be more obedient with my time.

Blessings! And such a cute picture with the goat! :)

Christine said...

You are doing the right thing, dear friend! The best thing we can do is pray for our hearts to obey and grow.

Tesha Papik said...

It is true that the more we have the more we feel we deserve. You are as always inspiring! We got a whopping water bill in the hundreds last month, as we are trying to maintain some grass in the back yard here in sunny CA. Most summers we let the yard got to dirt but I realized this makes my house clean up so much more difficult because the kids get so dirty;( Love the sweet farm animal pictures:)

Christine said...

Tesha, Hope you enjoyed your Bible conference! Once we had a bill over $200 because Mary left the hose running in the winter and we didn't know it. Maybe that is what happened? One of the kids left it on? We were in the high desert in CA and watering with a sprinkler system never made the water bill too high.