At this point - I am into my third big mug of medium roast - and enjoying it. Yes, too much coffee - but today is an exception. Most of the mugs are getting drank in completion, whereas at home, often they get left in various places around the house half drank. Such is my life at times! Drinking luke warm coffee is the best - and it comes from working years in childcare!
I came into the coffeeshop early this morning - with my Bible, my journal, my workbook for the Beth Moore Study (I am behind AGAIN!) and with my computer. At one point I pondered going to church somewhere - but have now decided to spend this sweet time with the Lord, over all this coffee. And, even though the music is playing in the background - and the place was full of people (especially when the church crowd came in) it is still a sweet sweet place to meet with the Lord. Not "conventional" but sweet. I love it.
So, as I worked on some of my study - the Lord impressed several things on my heart and mind. I want to share these with you, if you care to read them.
I am parked mostly in Exodus, but Beth Moore has taken me from Exodus ~ to Deuteronomy ~ to Numbers ~ to Job ~ to Matthew ~ to I and II Corinthians ~ to Hebrews ~ to I Peter and to Revelation - all within the last two hours - and 2 "days" worth of the study. If you have never studied under Beth Moore's teaching - oh I encourage you too. She is definitely a woman who knows the WORD!!
We are studying the tabernacle - actually just getting into some of the plans that God gave to Moses. Imagine being in the Lord's Presence - seeing His Glory. Oh my goodness - I can not imagine how my heart would race!
These sessions were on what the Israelites were supposed to bring as offerings - the gold, the silver - the fine linen - the goatskin - acadia wood - and on and on. The thing that impressed me was that the craftsmen finally had to go to Moses and ask him to tell the people to stop bringing the offerings because THEY HAD ENOUGH to do the work. I stopped at this point, and had a few thoughts (which when I read on - realized Beth wrote exactly the same thoughts I had!) They were - imagine saying to the congregation - OKAY, we don't need any thing else - you don't need to tithe - you don't need to sign up to volunteer - we have our needs filled. WOW.... I can't imagine. Especially since I came out of ministry somewhat disillusioned at how few volunteers there were at times, or how in many cases, the same people are doing numerous volunteer positions! In many cases, there was obligation, or a sense of "I have to otherwise no one else will and the program will not run." Ouch...
And so I carried on in the lessons, and thought of the "freewill offerings" I give to the Lord - that I "joyfully give" to him. I remembered the day that we had our "Come, Walk and Pray" at our new land, and people gave of their time, walked the land and rained over it with prayer!! A sweet offering on behalf of the ministry Women Refreshed at the Well. And then - at the end, when Alvin and I were leaving, Alvin told me that someone had given him an envelope. When I opened it - I wept. Inside, in mostly 20 dollar bills, was $1000. This was given to me from a couple who are retired, but he felt God calling him to give to the ministry. I was blown away.
Since then, we have had a few cheques come in the mail - just out of the blue - from friends, or from friends of our kids, men and women who are giving because they believe in this women's ministry that God has laid on our hearts. Blown away by God moving through others. If some of you are reading this - a huge thanks. (and the tax receipts should be in the mail soon).
So --- on to more thoughts. God - what am I giving you? (besides financially giving). What does my "time" look like. Beth challenged us to write down what occupies our day. Now - that could be a little scary some days - like the days that I am full of physical pain. Leyla (weight loss practicioner) also challenged me to get a daytimer with the hours marked in, and pencil in ahead of time - the things that I have to do for myself. i.e. exercise. However - I have also been pencilling in my QT and my coffee visits with others, etc. It certainly paints a very tale-telling picture of a day.
In the study - my thoughts were directed to I Cor. 3: 9-15 where it talks about - our foundation must be Jesus Christ - and how we can build with a variety of materials: gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay or straw. And then on the judgment day - fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. New Living translation says "The fire whill show if a person's work has any value. If the work survives, the person will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames."
I have read this before, so this scripture is not new to me - however it impressed me in a new way today. (O Lord, thank you) Somehow today - it made me think of what I am doing - and my attitude. And why I do things - and whether all I do brings glory to my Lord. You see - I want to live 24/7 for Jesus. I really really want to. But sometimes my sinful self gets in the way - or my bad attitude - or unforgiveness - or on and on. I know in HIM - I am forgiven, but sometimes I am quite good at reliving "stuff" in my life. And believe me - at 51, there is "stUff!"
More thoughts have bounced around in my being - lots more thoughts which I will reserve for my journal only. I am so thankful that God has given me this time in my life - this "down time" (while I am umeployed) (and yes, even though some of it is painful both phys, and emotionally) but He is teaching me so much about following Him - about "counting the cost" of obedience - about "giving it up to God" - and about resting on his lap, and allowing Him to do his work in me. A purifying work. Sometimes I know He has turned up the heat so to speak. I am not always thankful in the moment - in fact - I have been very unthankful at times - HOWEVER - I am thankful for what I see when I walk through the fire - or go through the deep waters. I am still "intact" - okay, sometimes I smell ALOT like a "smokie" but I am not burned up!
Today - I am thankful. Very t-h-a-n-k-f-u-l! For the way the Lord loves me, and leads me, and never leaves me even when I am negligent or stubborn. I am thankful for my man! Boy I love him! I am thankful for my kids - Josh and Leah, Ashley and Michael... my love for my kids - can't put it into words. I am thankful for my two Grandsons - Jay Benjamin who is no doubt running the streets of Heaven with the Lord.... and for our little Everett John who is growing so quickly this Granny can hardly believe it! (yep, we got some cuddle time yesterday AND got to babysit while the kids went out 4wheeling!) I am thankful for my extended family - my amazing friends - and on and on. (I can never keep my posts short!). Last night we had coffee with some old friends/relatives whom we haven't "coffee'd" with together in forever!! It was wonderful. God gives us great gifts in relationships with others!
I want to leave you with the verse that just resonated in my heart this morning - the Lord always knows what we need. He is sufficient isn't He. Beth Moore's workbook had a quote about the Israelites and God, "God gave not because of their faithfulness but because of HIS faithfulness!" I think it is true for us too - it is not because of what we do (or in my case don't) but because He just loves us so much - and He is faithful!! (O Lord, thank-you!)
So back to the verse that I wanted to share with you - I Peter 4: 19 New Living translation again (my translation of choice these days) "So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right and trust your lives to the God who created you, for He will never fail you!" (exclamation mark is all mine!!)