Faith, Jesus, Uncategorized

Get Some Rest

symmetrical photography of clouds covered blue sky

Achieve. Produce. Work. Don’t stop.

We are an achievement driven culture. At least in America. The message is consistently sent that our worth is based on our contribution to society. If we’re not doing, then we’re not living.

We’ve got jobs, and responsibilities. In order to thrive, work is required. It’s all part of the “being human” gig. Work can be good and rewarding.

Hard work and achievements do matter. As Christians, we have the important responsibility to serve the Lord. We give, labor, and strive, all for the Kingdom. We each have a “calling” to do good works for Christ.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

Super important, and quite exciting to be a part of what God is doing. What about rest? What about just being? God is our maker and knows we need rest. He made us with the need for rest.

We are not designed to go nonstop. We are meant to rest in Christ. This beautiful act is not always easy.

In Mark 6 we read about the disciples needing rest. Actually, I don’t think they knew they needed rest, but Jesus knew exactly what they needed.

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”(Mark 6:31, NIV)

Three things are required for rest.

Jesus, solitude, and quiet.

Sounds easy, right?

It’s definitely simple, but not always easy. We are so busy doing, that stopping to rest sounds like we’re doing nothing. Like, we’re wasting time.

Rest is a verb. When we choose to get alone, and quiet ourselves it’s an action. When we invite Jesus into that time and space it’s life changing. Only Jesus can give us real rest. Jesus will fill us up, if we let him.

The world takes from us, Jesus constantly gives to us.

Rest in Jesus is like breathing in the purest air. It’s like feeling the warm sun on your face.

Real rest comes from Jesus. He gives rest to our weary souls.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV)

Is your soul weary? Are you tired? Maybe burned out?

You might be thinking Where am I going to squeeze in one more thing? It’s not to burden you. It’s to encourage and help you. I strongly encourage you to pick a time to step away. Even if it’s just five minutes. Find a quiet spot. It doesn’t have to be pretty. Closets work.

No phone. No noise. Just you and Jesus. Talk with Him. Listen to Him. Grab your Bible. Ask Him to speak to you. You can also do nothing and just sit with Jesus.

Jesus is waiting for you. He will give you the rest you so desperately need.

Love you all,

Meghan

Heavenly Father,

We are tired. Our souls can get so tired and weary. You know our limits and how much we need to rest in Jesus. Help us all to make rest in Christ a priority. Show us how to rest in you. Show us where and when to spend time alone with Jesus. We need you. We love you and praise you Father!

Amen

 

Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com
Faith, Jesus, Uncategorized

Cookie Crumbs

I wrote this last year on December 24th. It’s my first re-blog of a previous post.

The faith of the Canaanite Woman always confused me until I got revelation on the true meaning of this story. Some crumbs have a much bigger meaning.

May it encourage you and refresh your faith.

Merry Christmas!

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Read about bold faith here:

via Cookie Crumbs

Faith, Jesus, Uncategorized, Volunteer

Remember Those In Prison

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Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners. 

Hebrews 13:3 

I had the privilege to participate in an Angel Tree Party last Saturday. It’s a Christmas party for children of prisoners and their families. Before entering the prison, we waited in a line outside. Every volunteer and family member must be searched, and patted down. Cell phones, and pretty much all personal items are not allowed inside. After all the necessary safety precautions, we joined the party that was already in full swing.

Christmas music was playing. There was dancing, games, food, prizes, smiling children, and smiling dads. Local churches partner with Angel Tree to make it a fun, festive, happy occasion. Myself and a few friends from my small group helped with the craft area. Kids got to decorate a holiday frame with a picture of their dad. These kids were so precious, and so happy to be with their dads. There were little bitty toddlers all the way up to teenagers. So many of the children put “I Love My Dad” on their picture frames.

The kids are only allowed to see their fathers twice a year. Once at the Angel Tree Party, and once in June, around Father’s Day. That’s it. No children are permitted in the prison beyond those two days. So this party was a big deal and a very special time for all the families involved. There were also many wives, girlfriends, moms, and grandmas there.

Angel Tree is a year round organization under Prison Fellowship. Angel Tree has camps, mentoring, and sports clinics. There are over 2.7 million children of incarcerated parents in the U.S. Imagine the fear, shame, and loneliness that these kids must experience. Angel Tree is a blessing to these dear children.

I loved being involved with one tiny part of Angel Tree, but I only helped for a few hours. The real heroes are those who serve in this ministry year round. Like my sweet friend Holly. Some people wear their hearts on their sleeves, Holly is just all heart. She leads a men’s group at this prison called Alpha. It’s a mentoring/discipleship program. We got to meet some of the men in Holly’s group and she’s so proud of these guys. How awesome to have someone rooting for you when so many in your life have not.

This prison is for men who have done their time and been reformed. It’s a Christian program that gets these guys ready to go back into the world upon release as leaders and contributors to society. This special program allows only the select few to participate. These men know Jesus and they are forever changed. Gang bangers, murderers, dealers, and all kinds of hardened criminals radically changed by Jesus Christ. That’s the Gospel. The Good News. That’s the hope for all of us.

Jesus is not a respecter of persons. Jesus came for sinners like me and you.

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17

Please remember those in prison. Prisoners need the love of Jesus just as much as your co-workers and neighbors. Pray for prisoners. Pray for their children and wives and families. Pray for ministries like Prison Fellowship.

I was in prison and you came to visit me. Matthew 25:36

As I looked at the dads in white clothing, many covered in gang tattoos, I saw my brothers in Christ. I saw hope in their faces. I saw love for their children and wives. That room was filled with the Holy Spirit. It didn’t matter that we were behind prison walls. That won’t stop Jesus. Nothing can, except a hard heart. Let’s pray for soft hearts to the gospel.

“The ground is level at the foot of the cross.” Chuck Colson, Founder Prison Fellowship

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Prison Fellowship Home

Praising God in Prison by Meghan E. White

 

 

Image by Ichigo121212 from Pixabay

 

God, Jesus, Trials, Uncategorized

Get Back Up

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Though a righteous man falls seven times,
he will get up,
but the wicked will stumble into ruin.

Proverbs 24:16

When our oldest son, Dylan, was thirteen he asked to play football. We were brand new to Texas and thought that may not be the best idea. After all, kids in Texas are born holding footballs. He would have to catch up. Dylan was so sure of what he wanted that we agreed, and in no time he was at workouts and then spring football camp. I’ll never forget how excited he was when tackling started. It was a huge adrenaline rush for him.

Time and time again Dylan would get tackled and taken to the ground. We would ask him, “Did you get back up?” And he always answered, “Yes”. That’s what we wanted to hear as parents. We didn’t tell him you will never get tackled or don’t get taken down. We knew he would take some hard hits as he was learning, and that more than likely, he would end up on the ground. The key was to get back up. Keep going.

We all take some hard hits in life. Sometimes we get hit so hard we can’t get back up. We get tired of taking the hit. We may even lay there for a while. Some of us took a hit and we decided that was it, we aren’t getting back up again. The hit was devastating. Job loss, divorce, death of a loved one, bankruptcy, disease, homelessness, abuse, addiction and so many other painful things.

If you’ve been laying there for a while too afraid and too weak to move, would you consider getting back up today? Because you aren’t laying there alone. You see, Jesus has been with you the whole time. He will never ever leave you. If you’re ready to get up, He’s reaching His hand out to you. He will help you get back up. Yes, it is scary to know that we will get hit again. It’s inevitable in life.

But, God is in control.

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. (Matthew 10:29-30, ESV) 

It can be difficult to understand how and why God allows painful circumstances. His ways are not our ways.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV)

I can’t pretend to have it all figured out. I have plenty of questions, but I choose to trust God. He’s God, and I am not. If you have questions, it’s O.K. It’s normal. Bring those hard questions to the Father.

He is working things out for you and me.

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28, NASB)

This verse in Romans gets quoted a lot, but it’s true. I love that it says and we know. That’s a sure thing. We can count on the God of the universe to work things out for our good. Every time we get tackled by life and get back up, we get a little stronger. Our faith gets a little bigger. When we grab Jesus’ hand as He pulls us back up, we are reminded that we aren’t doing it alone. Those of us who follow Jesus have an advantage. He equips, calls us, carries us, cleans us up, makes a way, does the impossible.

With Jesus, we have all we need to get back up.

“I was pushed hard, so that I was falling,
    but the Lord helped me.

The Lord is my strength and my song;
    he has become my salvation.” (psalm 118:13-14, ESV)

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Heavenly Father,

I lift up all the hurting to you. Those who can’t get back up. They are stuck, afraid. Give them courage and faith to take your hand and get back up. Comfort them and bring healing. And remind them that you are working out something beautiful through their pain. Let them feel Jesus’ loving arms.

Amen

 

 

Photo credit: Elle Dee from Pixabay

Bible, God, Jesus, Uncategorized

Jesus & Coffee

CHIANGMAI, THAILAND, February 4,2015. Reading The New Internatio

Every morning I grab my Bible and stumble into the kitchen. I grind those beans and pray for the water to boil quickly so I can get that first cup from my French press coffee pot. Yeah, I’m fancy like that. Not really, but I do like good coffee. I plop down on the couch and say, “Thank you Lord”. I thank Him because I’m alive. I thank Him because I’ve got a nice roof over my head, plenty of food to eat, and coffee. I thank Him for three incredible men in my life; my two sons and husband. I thank Him for saving me.

I begin each morning spending time with Jesus. It was a discipline I started years ago out of necessity. I need Jesus in my life every moment, of every hour, of every day. I am not super spiritual or special in any way, just hungry. This is what works for me to strengthen my relationship with God, and keep me focused on what really matters in this life.

I start my quiet time, or Jesus time, or God time, whatever you want to call it, by reading my Bible first. I say a short prayer asking the Holy Spirit to speak to me and teach me what I need to learn. I always have paper on hand to write notes, which I do often. I have a prayer journal as well. I write in that throughout the month, but not daily. Bible reading plans have been helpful. Devotionals are also something I read as well. I’ve got three going right now.

You can read about the Bible I use here My Bible It’s broken in and comfortable, sort of like an old sweater. It’s marked up with highlights, and notes. I recently had to tape the binding of my Bible. It’s not pretty, but well loved. I have many reasons why I read the Bible. The more I read, the more I learn, the more I want to know. Only Jesus truly satisfies, and when I meditate on His word I am changed. Little bits at a time, I am being transformed by His word.

What does the Bible say about being in the Word?

“Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105, NKJV)

“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4, NIV) 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1, NIV)

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, HCSB)

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:35, HCSB)

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11, NIV) 

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17, ESV)

This is not an exhaustive list. But these few scriptures tell us how important it is to study the Word of God.

Prayer is how I end my time with Jesus in the morning. I have a list going of prayer requests from family and friends. I lay my requests before Him knowing He will answer in His time, in His way. It is freeing for me to let go of whatever is weighing me down. I don’t have to carry it. After I’ve had my coffee, and read the Word, and read my devotionals, and prayed, I can face whatever lies ahead with confidence.

There are a few things I do to protect this quiet time with the Lord. I do not check my email or any social media when I wake up. It’s coffee to wake me up, and then the Word. If I get online or do anything else it’s very distracting and I lose my focus. This is what has worked for me.

Mornings may not work for you. My husband listened to a podcast every day that went through the entire Bible in one year. He was also going to school and working full time back then, and that’s what worked for him. Maybe you’ve got a night time routine that’s effective for you. Maybe you have no time alone with Jesus, squeezing in a quick prayer here and there.

Jesus and coffee is what starts my day but one of those I can live without. I would get an awful headache, but I can live without coffee. I can’t live without Jesus. I may start my day with Him, but He and I are talking all day. Jesus Christ is not only my savior, He is my friend, and constant companion through the Holy Spirit. The most important relationship I’ve got is with Jesus, so I try my best to make Him the priority to start off my day.

Do you have daily quiet times with Jesus? What works for you? Please feel free to share any ideas for alone time with God.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

Here are some Bible reading plans that can be a starting point:

https://static.crossway.org/excerpt/reading-plan/3-esv-mcheyne-reading-plan.1.pdf

https://static.crossway.org/excerpt/reading-plan/6-esv-chronological-reading-plan.1.pdf

https://static.crossway.org/excerpt/reading-plans/2-esv-a-psalm-a-day-reading-plan.1.pdf

https://static.crossway.org/excerpt/reading-plan/5-esv-a-proverb-a-day-reading-plan.1.pdf

https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-reading-plan/chronological-new-testament.html

 

 

I recommend this devotional:

Renovating Your Mind. Read about it here: Q & A with Author Patrick Egle 

 

Jesus, Trials, Uncategorized

Scraps of Paper

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December 24th, 2012 I crawled into Houston after a red eye with my then seven-year-old son. I was completely disoriented after closing on our house in Oregon weeks before. Exhausted, I stared out the window of my husband’s car in a daze. The sun felt wonderful after leaving the cool Pacific Northwest. Pick up trucks were a plenty and the Christmas decorations were over the top, which I loved. These were my first impressions on our drive to the hotel. I was tired but hopeful that this move was a good decision.

Week six of being stuck in a hotel, in a city where we knew absolutely no one, I was being brought to my knees. Everything took longer than it should’ve. My car was being shipped and took an extra week. I was trapped with two kids and our cat, and no car, since Tom had to work. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. We should’ve stayed in the hotel for about a month, and then moved into our house. Hahahaha!  It’s funny for me to think about now, but quite painful then. We were stepping out to the unknown, trusting that this was God’s plan.

When our loan fell apart for the home we made an offer on in November, I fell apart. That was the final straw. Tom and I were so sad. The home that we fell in love with was what kept us going as we waited. We thought we at least had a place to live taken care of in all of the unknowns. When that was taken away we were at a loss. Do we start all over looking for a new home? That would mean weeks more in a hotel. Possibly months. This sounded awful.

“Lord, where are you?”

“Why did you move us here?”

“Is anybody looking out for us?”

God was looking out for us. We knew it, we just didn’t feel it.

My Bible was packed away in storage so I would look up scriptures online. The scraps of paper are how I survived those weeks. I didn’t have real paper to write on, just whatever scraps were sitting around the hotel room. I scrawled out verses that encouraged me and reminded me of who God is. My youngest son even drew an adorable picture on one of the papers.

Sometimes we only have scraps to hold onto. It’s not pretty, but it gets us through. The amazing thing during those weeks of unknowns was that I had some of the most incredible moments with the Lord. That’s how trials work. When you’ve got nothing left but Jesus, He does remarkable things. I remember one night I couldn’t sleep and I told the Lord I’m just going to pack up my car and my kids tomorrow and drive back to Oregon. Back to what was familiar. The next day He brought some relief in my desperation.

Thankfully, God showed up in a huge way for us and fixed the loan on the house within a couple of days of it falling apart. We ended up staying in the hotel eight or nine weeks. There are worse things to deal with. Way worse. For me, it was a test of my faith as we were in the dark. I reached out and found Jesus standing there, ready to comfort and encourage me. My prayer times were in the tiny, gross bathroom during those weeks. Again, not pretty, but effective.

I keep those little scraps of paper on a memo board in my closet, which also doubles as my prayer closet. They remind me of God’s faithfulness. He has carried us through every trial and will continue to carry us. My memory can be short of God’s goodness to me. So, the trials come and flush out my doubts and weaknesses. And He shows up. And He does wonderful things. Things planned long ago. The trials will come until we go home to be with Jesus forever. Until that time, He promises to be with us always.

“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b, HCSB)

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your faithfulness, even when we are not faithful. You are good and perfect. I lift up all of those who are in the dark right now. The trial is painful as they wait for you to show up. Comfort them, carry them, encourage them. Remind them that you are still in control and you have a beautiful plan for them.

In Jesus mighty name,

Amen

Faith, Jesus, Uncategorized

The Mustard Seed

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He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Matthew 17:20

One of the tiniest seeds grows a very large plant. Mustard bushes at maturity, can reach heights of six to twenty feet with a twenty foot spread. That’s pretty big considering its small beginning. When Jesus tells his disciples to have faith as small as a mustard seed, he was responding to their question. The disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t drive out a demon from a boy. (Matthew 17:19) His answer was their lack of faith.

Seeds grow when they are planted and watered. Our faith too grows when we plant it in the firm foundation of God. Jesus tells us that even small mustard seed sized faith will cause Him to move on our behalf. The mountain is just the metaphor for whatever obstacle we are facing. Many times it can feel like an insurmountable mountain. It looks impossible. This is where our faith comes in. Do we believe that Jesus is who He says he is? Do we believe He truly can do absolutely anything?

Our faith will be refined our entire lives. Jesus tells us to start with a tiny amount of faith in Him, and what He can do to help us. He can do anything. Nothing will be impossible with Jesus.

I’m sharing a story that beautifully illustrates having mustard seed faith. I have kept this article for many years after tearing it out of a magazine. It’s edges are frayed and the paper has yellowed. About once a year I read it to remind myself what a little bit of faith can accomplish. Enjoy this wonderful story of one woman’s faith.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

The Mustard Seed By Patricia Anand

My husband and I had enjoyed raising our family in the San Fernando Valley in California. Yet as retirement neared, we felt we wanted to live in a quieter, cooler area. We began house hunting farther north along the coast.

     During the years that I had been thinking about our retirement home, a set of mental “specs” had evolved. We needed a two-story house (for cardiovascular exercise), a den/bedroom downstairs (to use as an office) and a kitchen area that gave me something interesting to look at. We wanted no yard work (after all, we had mowed a lawn for years).  Oh, yes, a crystal chandelier in the dining room, a fireplace and a water view would be nice.

     As I began praying for our dream home, the Bible I had in my hands fell open to Matthew 17:20: “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘move hence to yonder place,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” I thought, Yes, Lord, that’s right. All I need to do is have faith. On impulse, I went out and bought a pair of pillowcases for our future bedroom, some pot holders for the kitchen, and a crystal lamp finial for the living room.

     I shouldn’t have been surprised when one day our real estate agent led us to a house on a marina that exceeded my expectations. It had main channel water views from the kitchen, living room and master bedroom. Instead of a backyard, there was a large redwood deck! All the rooms were exactly as I had prayed for! The kitchen counters were 37 inches high-a loving Heavenly Father had even provided a comfortable working height for a tall woman.

     We went happily into escrow. Then a period of testing began. We had planned to sell a piece of property and use that as a part of the down payment, but it stubbornly refused to sell. We tried everything.

     One day, in desperation, we talked to the vice president of a small local bank near us. As we explained our problem, the man began to smile. He had relatives in the town where we wanted to move, and he went jogging on weekends over the bridge near our dream house. He knew exactly  where it was and what it was worth. He told us to pick up our “swing loan” check the next day based on our signatures alone. We floated home.

     We have been happily retired for some years now. I often think of the day when the realtor first showed us our dream house. For there, beside the front door, a previous owner had written in the cement: THE MUSTARD SEED.

 

*This Article is from Family Circle 4/3/01 written by Patricia Anand.