Friday, October 19

Botany for Beginners

Please Read Luke 27:22-34


I'm not sure who learns more in the average homeschool day: me or the kids. Not true. Most days it's me. Learning to slow down and breathe a little instead of trying to cram knowledge into the minds of the uninterested.


One subject has us all fascinated this week though. Botany. Specifically how plants know to turn toward the sun. We all know they do it, but I found the how particularly noteworthy this week.


Plant stems are full of these little chemicals called auxin. Auxin tell the plant to look for the light. While the auxin are in charge of the stretching of the stem, they don't live on the side of the plant facing the light. They live on the dark side of the plant. All the growth happens in the shadows. Since shadows move, the auxin twist and turn the stem so the tip is always facing the light.


"Consider how the wild flowers grow..."


I am watching a friend walk through some shadows right now. Dark, scary stuff. But as I watch, she is turning toward Jesus.






Our Heavenly Father uses the dark times in our lives to stretch us, to grow us up until, we are looking full in the face of the Son. He's at work in the shadows.





Wednesday, August 22

Paparazzi

Posted by Andrea
Read Ephesians 5:1-21


I don’t always take parenting advice from celebrities. Generally their opinion and mine are just a little different. But just this once, I thought some was worth passing along. Don’t worry. I won’t make it a habit.


This morning I channel surfed through a bunch of garbage (I’m sick and my husband is running the house today. This doesn’t happen often) and paused on Jamie Lee Curtis talking to a bunch of women on a talk show. I stopped long enough to hear her say, “Children are like paparazzi. They take your picture when you’re not looking and they show it to you later in their behavior.”

Wednesday, August 8

At the Well

Read John 4:4-42

By Andrea


High noon in Samaria, as with most places in the middle east, is not the best time to be fetching water. If one needs water, one should go in the early hours of the morning so the work of carrying it back to one’s tent can be over with by the time the sun is at it’s highest point and working toward its highest temperature.


But a certain woman proceeded to Jacob’s well to draw water anyway. She came at this time of day to avoid the crowd. The chatter of the other women. The gossip. The snide glances and the feeling that she just didn’t belong with them.


As she approaches the well, she sees a man sitting beside it. Her steps falter for a moment. She is not in the mood to encounter a person. Especially not a Jew, as she can tell he is from a glance.
She knows she can expect one of two reactions from the man. This man at the well will turn his head and ignore her in dignified silence. Or he will watch her, disdain painted on his features letting her know that he knows why she is here at noon instead of in the morning with all the other women. His expression will scream that she is the lowest of the low. A fact she is well aware of without anyone, especially a Jew, reminding her of, thank you very much.


She should be used to it by now. But she has to summon her courage anyway.
The man looks up at the sound of her advancing, hesitant foot steps and does something quite unexpected.


“Will you get me a drink?”


She looks around wondering if he could possibly be talking to her, then decides to remind him of the obvious before it’s too late and he accidentally catches some Samaritan cooties from the water jug.


“You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?”


The implication, “Do you know who I am?!” Hangs in the air, and I imagine Jesus smiling at her.


“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”


Jesus has a pattern of speaking in patient parables. It doesn’t matter who you are. It matters who I am.


“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”


Is she awed by him? Is that why she asks him if he is greater than Jacob?


Or is she done. Worn out and tired of pretending. Does sarcasm drip from her words instead of worship? Maybe.


Jesus answers, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”



It doesn’t matter who you are. It matters who I am.



I hear sarcasm again in her reply. “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” The response of an exasperated woman who only wants to draw water in peace and quiet without being ridiculed by some holier-than-thou Jew.


He tells her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”


“I have no husband,” she snaps.


Jesus watches her intently even as she keeps her eyes on the task of lowering the jug into the deep well. “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”


It doesn’t matter who you are. It matters who I am.


Her breath catches, but she doesn’t look up. How could he know that? He could know that. Everyone knows that. So she plays along, not ready to give up the bitterness that comes with being long oppressed. “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”


When Jesus utters the phrase, “Woman, believe me,” she looks up. How can she not? The words are packed with authority, power and… was that compassion? “A time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.” He answers carefully, letting her know her question was a worthwhile one that he cares enough to address. “You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.” He emphasizes the word from and continues, “A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” He is for you, too, he tells her with his words and his eyes.


The woman wants to believe him. “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”


A great grin spreads across the face of the man at the well. “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”


Other men pick that very moment to swarm him. His words ring in her ears. Her mouth hangs open. She doesn’t even care what these other Jews are saying about her.


It doesn’t matter who you are. It matters who I am.


The water jar drops to the ground with a thud. She recognized him now. She believes him. And she ran.


Surely the disciples thought she was running away in shame. But her shame was the last thing on her mind when she accosted the first people she met. “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”


She didn’t wait to be baptized or commissioned or perfect. When she knew she was face to face with the Messiah, she ran and spread the word to an entire town who probably held her, the worst of sinners, in contempt. Unashamed, she told them to come see this man who could be the Messiah.


Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”


It doesn’t matter who you are. It matters who I am.


Let’s learn from her today. Her testimony made a splash because she didn't wait around to be worthy of worshiping Jesus. She didn't cherish the knowledge in her heart and keep it to herself. She spread the word and "many Samaritans believed." Because the offer of salvation extended passed the Jews even to the despised and unworthy Samaritans, we can still feel the effect of one woman's ripple.


It doesn’t matter who we are. It matters who He is.

Monday, August 6

Bring On Monday

Be encoured when you read Psalm 118:15-29




It's here. Whether we want it or not. Monday is happening.



"This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!??" 

Psalm 118:24



You didn't wake up with this on your mind? No? More like, "Where's my coffee and is that the smell of day-old-poo from the garbage that needs to be taken out or is that the smell of fresh poo with one of my kids starting the day out as stinky as I feel?



I recently typed out "a day in the life." An average day for me at home with my kids. From 4am when I was up to feed the baby to 11pm that night when I crawled exhausted into bed. "Crying" was mentioned roughly 14 times. Even though I added some light-hearted comments about how cute my kids are, how lovely the park was, and how blessed I feel to have this life, I was still left looking at my tiring tirade thinking, "Who would willingly sign up for this?"








We are in the trenches my mama friends. We wake up each day knowing this is going to be tough, knowing something will break, be ruined, someone will cry, we'll be stretched, and argued with... and that's just at breakfast.



How do we equate "this is hard! I don't want Monday" with "let us rejoice and be glad in it"? 






Our God has us right where we need to be. Everyday trials aren't a surprise to him.


My youngest, Tommy,
seizing the day.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, 

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, 

plans to give you hope and a future." 

Jeremiah 29:13



This day is full of promise. Full of hope. The trenches might be full of messes, but they are also full prosperity. Prosperity? Really?



To prosper means to be fortunate or successful, to thrive.



When we look for it, it is there in this hard Monday. All the fortune and success, it's buried sometimes under tears, sometimes in piles of laundry, and mostly in a change of perspective. It really is, but it is a choice to look at God's blessings. Dwelling on beauty brings delight.



"This the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice [to find joy and delight] in it [Monday]."



To find joy and delight! The day will come whether we want it to or not. Rejoicing isn't going to come and find you today -- you have to find it. Find it in the moments in this ordinary day. These awesome coming minutes and hours were given by God, the Lord who has plans for you, to prosper you and to give you a hope and future.


Let's thrive in the day we have. Prosperity awaits....








Written by Alysun P.







Wednesday, August 1

10,000 Reasons

Please read Psalms 103 


I would like to introduce you to my new favorite song. I have lots of favorites, but this one lately has been doing a number on my soul.  If you've been reading Drops for a while, you may recall many references to Ann Voskamp's wonderful book One thousand Gifts.


Well here is another one.


To bless means to return thanks. This song reminds me to return thanks constantly, throughout the day, into the night, "whatever may pass, whatever lies before me." I love it and think it should be required daily listening. Songs like this are why I have added worship music to my morning devotions. Reading God's word settles my spirit. Talking to him renews my spirit. Singing his praises gets the music stuck in my head and he revives my spirit through song all day long. I love that. Songs stay stuck in my head the way words on a page seldom do. (I'm not reducing God's word to words on a page, but once I'm done in 2nd Chronicles for the day, I'm done with 2nd Chronicles for the day}.

So listen to Matt Redman sing 10,000 Reasons and let it get stuck in your head today. And think about what you have to return thanks for.

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name



The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes



You're rich in love, and You're slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find


And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name








Written by Andrea L

Monday, July 30

Throwing Mud

Pleas read Genesis 2:18-24





My children sat making mud-balls. Mud + water. It is an art really. Too soft and the mud-ball falls apart on impact; too hard and the mud-ball just bounces and cracks. So my little mug-hungry kids made their mud-balls and piled them high in buckets and wagons.




It was a somewhat mother approved activity. The "somewhat" being that I said they could make them, but they couldn't throw the mud-balls at anything. What fun is that?




Yes, you guessed it, as soon as I left the immediate area the mud-balls were flying. Splatting against each other, the house, the garage door, the cat.





Making and piling mud-balls reminds me of resentments. They build up during my day when I feel wronged. Unfortunately, most of my resentments are aimed at an easy target. My husband. Like, he didn't do this. He did do that (and he wasn't supposed to). I do. He never. I always.




I form them like tediously manipulated mud, not too squishy, but plenty hard to do some damage.




They gather, these resentments, to be thrown later. In a weak moment when I forget (or ignore) that the Bible says I am to submit to my husband (Ephesians 5:22-23) and do everything without grumbling and complaining (Philipians 2:14) and to be humble, not resentful (Matthew 5:5).




I heard a relationship therapist say, "Unresolved resentment is the catalyst to divorce." It seems true enough to me, even in a good and strong marriage (like mine!), resentment creeps in and plays enthusiastically with our natural selfishness.




This topic was well established for me, the Holy Spirit guiding me with research as my own conscience was convicted. I came across a blog post with an article about forgiving your husband. The author asked these questions:



  • Is there anything past or present I have not made a conscious decision to forgive my husband for? 


  •  Do I resent him in any way? 


  •  Do I do little (or big) things to retaliate against him? (throw mud-balls, that's just me adding a footnote)


  •  To sort of get him back for what he has done? 


  • An ‘I’ll show him’ attitude? 


  •  Do I find myself struggling with anger towards him, sometimes for no apparent reason? 


  •  Does everything he does bother me or irritate me? 


  •  If I were honest with myself, do I sometimes feel like I just hate him? 


  •  Do I do destructive things to him or behind his back? 


  •  Do I speak negatively about him or to him?



The thought had never occurred to me before reading this article that I could forgive the resentments instead of letting them pile up. "He needs to change this or that" occurred to me, but ME making the conscience effort to empty my bucket of mud....




There's a thought.




"And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone,

forgive him, so that your Father in heaven

may forgive you your sins."

Mark 11:25 




Has any, any, any good ever come from slinging mud-balls of resentment? Nope, not in my experience. It doesn't change the other person, it doesn't gratify a soul seeking Christ. It feels horrible, sinful, and ugly.




I love how Proverbs puts it, "Do not say, 'I'll pay you back for this wrong!' Wait for the Lord" (Proverbs 20:22 ).





Sure there are things that need confronting in our marriages (that's called good communication). Slinging mud isn't part of it. So let's empty our buckets. Are there some mud-balls that are already formed today or maybe left-over from last week?




Forgive and wait for the Lord.






Written by Alysun P.

Mud-ball photo credit: SeeingFingerPrints.blogspot.com



Friday, July 27

Fear of Asking God For Help?

Read Psalm 37:3-9



I do not like asking for help.  Asking for help makes me feel weak and opens up the possibility of rejection.  That kind of vulnerability makes my stomach turn.



When I was 22 years old I watched my so called dreams crumble.  I became a single Mom to a beautiful brown eyed little boy.  He depended on me to take care of him and it became my sole responsibility to make sure he had all of his needs met.



I had no job.  I didn't have a car.  I didn't have a house to live in.  I had a car seat, an umbrella stroller, and two suitcases filled with clothes.  Meeting the needs of my child didn't seem possible.



I found myself in line at the Department of Human Services applying for food stamps and medical assistance.  I was filled with embarrassment.  I wasn't supposed to be receiving government assistance.  I was supposed to be living the picture perfect dream.  But I wasn't.  I needed help and I had to request it.



At that moment I felt like a failure.  Like I had let myself and my baby down by taking "handouts."  But I did it anyway because I didn't see any other options.



Eventually I figured it all out.  I no longer needed those benefits but I could look back and realize how fortunate I was to receive them.  My feelings of inadequacy faded and I instead looked at those food stamps as a blessing.  Not only did they allow me to put food on the table but they erased any previous judgment I had towards people who received government assistance.



Sometimes I apply the same fear of vulnerability towards my relationship with God.  I start to keep requests from Him because I'm too afraid to say them out loud.



What if He thinks I'm being selfish?




What if He says no?




What if I don't like His suggestion?




What if He doesn't think it is as important as I do?



Those thoughts creep into my mind and prevent me from exposing my hearts desire to God.



"Ask and it will be given to you; 

seek and you will find; 

knock and the door will be opened to you."

Matthew 7:7



Over and over again the bible tells us that God wants to meet our needs.  He wants us to sit down and talk to Him about what is on our mind.  He is not burdened by our requests for help.  Whether it is something that seems less important like, "God, where are my keys?"  Or if it is a major life problem, "God, please heal my marriage."  He wants you to ask.






"Therefore I tell you, 

whatever you ask for in prayer, 

believe that you have received it, 

and it will be yours."

Mark 11:24



Don't be ashamed or scared to go to God with your concerns or desires.  He does not get sick of hearing from you.  Go ahead and put in your request, no matter how big or small, God wants to talk to you!  Don't ever be afraid to turn to God for help.



-Ashley K.

Monday, July 23

From Inside the Theater... so you still think God is a merciful God?





(Maybe, just maybe God spared my life because He loves YOU and wants you to hear this..He wants you to believe that He loved you so much He gave His only begotten Son that if you would believe in Him you would have eternal life.)



“So, you still believe in a merciful God?” Some of the comments online are genuinely inquisitive, others are contemptuous in nature. Regardless of the motive behind the question, I will respond the same way. Yes. Yes, I do indeed. Absolutely, positively, unequivocally.



Let’s get something straight: the theater shooting was an evil, horrendous act done by a man controlled by evil. God did not take a gun and pull the trigger in a crowded theater. He didn’t even suggest it. A man did. In His sovereignty, God made man in His image with the ability to choose good and evil. 



Unfortunately, sometimes man chooses evil.



I was there in theater 9 at midnight, straining to make out the words and trying to figure out the story line as The Dark Night Rises began. I’m not a big movie-goer. The HH and I prefer to watch movies in the comfort of our own home…where I can use subtitles and get a foot rub. I don’t like action movies. And I don’t like midnight showings. But, as I wrote in my last post, parents sometimes make sacrifices for their kiddos and I decided I would take my fourteen year old and sixteen year old daughters who were chomping at the bit to see this eagerly anticipated third movie in the Batman Trilogy.



Twice I had the opportunity to back out and twice I was quite tempted. But something in me said just go with your girls. I did. So I was there with them, fidgeting in my seat, some forty or fifty feet away from the man with the gun. It’s still a bit surreal, but I do know that when the seemingly endless shooting started, as my girls were struggling from whatever gas or chemical had been released, and we figured out what was happening, we hit the floor. I threw myself on top of my fourteen year old who was on the end of the row, straight up the aisle from the shooter.



In that moment, as the rapid-fire shots continued, I truly thought I was going to die. And I realized that I was ready. I have put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ as the redeemer of my soul, and there wasn’t the slightest doubt that I would be received into heaven, not because of any good thing that I have done but because of His merciful nature and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.



Still, as I lay over my daughter, I began praying out loud. I don’t even remember what I prayed, but I don’t imagine it really matters. I’m sure it was for protection and peace. It drew me closer into the presence of God. When there was a pause in the shooting, people began to clamor for the exits. The girls and I jumped up and joined the masses. We had to step over a lifeless body, not knowing where the shooter was. We raced to our car and I dumped my purse, frantically searching for keys, looking all around, prepared to hit the ground. I yelled at Michelle to call Matthew and find out if he had made it out of the theater next door. She did. He did. We booked on out of there.



Why would you think such a tragedy would make me question the goodness of God? If anything, both of my girls said it made Him a much more real presence to them; the youngest shared this verse:




"Do not be afraid of sudden fear nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your feet from being caught." (Proverbs 3:25-26)




He is not the cause of evil, but He is the one who can bring comfort and peace in the midst of evil.




It’s been amazing to see the outpouring of love from so many people after this unthinkable act. Yes, there was one evil act, but it is being covered by thousands, possibly millions of acts of kindness. We have not yet slept, so the girls and I are overtired and a bit emotional. But overall, we are praising God and resting in His Goodness.



I love this word of wisdom and encouragement from a former pastor of mine:

"Up to this point I haven’t had words to say that would matter. Of course we are all glad that you and the family are safe. Of course we would all state the obvious that this is horrific and senseless. But those words still don’t carry weight that remain in the midst of the questions. Then it hit me… Do you know what the difference was between Job and his wife in their response to the tragedy of losing everything… Job 1:20 Job was the only one that worshiped in the midst of it. Marie, I know your heart and I’ve seen your worship lived out before your family. Before the weight of this becomes unbearable… worship. Your profile pic was not coincidence, not by accident that you changed it on July 15th, but a beautiful foreshadowing of your need to hear the cry of your heart and give Him praise."    



Though we don’t have all the answers, we do indeed listen to the cry of our hearts: When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me? Psalm 56:3-4.



God is always good. Man is not. Don’t get the two confused. We will continue to praise and worship our mighty God, anticipating that He will bring beauty from ashes, as only He can do. If you want to know how to pray for us: first and foremost, we need sleep. Somehow our bodies seem too wired. We also want the life that God has graciously allowed us to continue to live to not be a gift given in vain, we want our lives to draw others closer to Him. We do not want fear to dominate, for God has not given us a spirit of fear. We want His joy to be seen and experienced in all that we do.



Pray for the families who lost loved ones, and for young people who witnessed such horror. Pray for this to be an opportunity for God to manifest Himself in mighty ways. As for you…we will pray that YOU might know His goodness.



Still grateful for this wonderful life,




Marie



Borrowed with permission from Marie who blogs at A Miniature Clay Pot.

Friday, July 20

Jesus, Friend of Sinners

Read Romans 12:14-16



God has been shouting a message at me lately...



"Break our hearts for what breaks Yours."



These days I can't listen to this song without feeling the Holy Spirit stirring inside of me.  Let this be a reminder to all of us today to love our brothers and sisters.  To show love and mercy to everyone we encounter.



Ask the sales clerk how she is doing.



Open the door for the old lady walking in behind you.



Pray with someone who looks like they need a glimpse of hope.



We all have problems.  Let me assure you, God does not think your problems are small, but sometimes He asks us to acknowledge that we have hurting brothers and sisters that need our understanding and compassion.



Now find a box of kleenex, lock the door so no one accidentally walks in and sees you ugly crying, and listen to the lyrics of this powerful song.







"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."

Romans 12:15

Wednesday, July 18

But I'm Tired

Read Colossians 3



By Betsy Rowles



It was time to leave and my youngest was running around in his underwear (a common occurrence around here). When I told him to put his pants on, he sighed heavily and in resignation with jeans in hand he said, "I'm tired of putting my pants on."



My first thought was "oh boy, if you're tired already of putting your pants on at age 3, you've got a LONG life ahead of you."



My second thought was a verse from Colossians that popped into my head. (pesky verse). "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." (Colossians 3:12).



"Oh", I sighed inwardly still overseeing the pants putting on process of my child, "I know how you feel after-all".



I was immediately convicted. How many times a day does God command me to pull on the clothes of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience and I simply avoid the command, thinking to myself instead "I'm simply too tired to do it." I ignore His call to clothe myself as His child and instead, in the nakedness of my own sinful nature, I lash out, give a grumpy retort, or dwell on the injustice done to me.



Monday, July 16

When I Consider the Heavens

Please read Psalm 8



LORD, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory

in the heavens.

When I consider your heavens,

the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars,

which you have set in place,

what is mankind that you are mindful of them,

human beings that you care for them?

(Psalm 8:1,3-4)




I just came inside from sitting at our backyard fire pit. Earlier in the evening that same fire pit had been surrounded by a bunch of college kids. My husband and I work and live on a Bible college campus and the new school year is upon us. As they left I decided I would sit down and enjoy the rest of the fire...by myself...with no one to interrupt my thoughts... Yes, gold to a mom!




Something drew my gaze up. That something was a beautiful dark sky filled with stars. I often miss this perspective and rarely look up. Why is that? When I sit in my backyard it is usually during the day and it is to referee a energetic group of preschoolers and to fret about the weed count in my garden.



I was struck tonight with how we get so busy in our lives down here “below the cloud cover”. We work and strive and I forget that the same God who formed those magnificent stars also cares deeply about my life. Me...wife, mother of two, organizer of a few too many side projects, with an addiction to coffee and chocolate!




"When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar; 

he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth. 

He sends lightning with the rain and 

brings out the wind from his storehouses."

Jeremiah 51:16




As I sat there under the stars with the warmth of the fire and the cool September air fighting it out, I thought about flying out of Portland, OR a couple years ago. It was a rainy day when I said goodbye to my dear friend and began the journey back home which included three flights, a six hour layover and my 18 month old little girl!



The clouds were thick as we taxied down the runway. I looked out the window while we made our ascent and what had been a dreary day quickly turned into a beautiful cloudless blue sky with the sun shining. Just like there is hope above our disastrous days below. I get so stuck on what is down here and what I am under, that forget to look past it. Past the clouds and the rain to the sun and the warmth. Past the destination or the job to the star-filled sky above me.



When I consider your heavens,

the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars,

which you have set in place,

what is mankind that you are mindful of them,

human beings that you care for them?



That’s it. That’s the question. That’s where a lot of us get caught. We can’t understand why a God that big would love someone like us. Someone so small. Someone so slow to learn and quick to get angry. I could go on with my list of things I’m not crazy about when it comes to me.




I don’t deserve the attention of the God of the universe. Isn’t he just concerned about the big stuff...the clouds, the stars...you know, the universe? Yet, over and over again in the Bible we read of God taking an interest in mankind and eventually sending His son to die for it.



We read in Psalm 147:3-5 that His understanding has no limit but He also heals the broken hearted and binds up there wounds.



He heals the brokenhearted

and binds up their wounds.

He determines the number of the stars

and calls them each by name.

Great is our Lord and mighty in power;

his understanding has no limit.




I need to learn to live with a different perspective, especially when things down here start to get me down. When the cloud cover is heavier than I can bear, I need to trust that there is blue sky above it. I need to trust that the God of the universe is not too busy but is willing and able to balance it all and meet me in my need.



I think we have a hard time trusting that it’s possible for Him because we have so much trouble keeping all our balls in the air. Step by step we can be us, the women He has made us to be and walk those steps in confidence that he holds the stars in place and us as well.






Written by Amanda; wife, mother of two, organizer of a few too many side projects, with an addiction to coffee and chocolate, and former college roommate to Alysun. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us Amanda! We love to use contributed posts and are thrilled that God is showing you amazing things. We are encouraged by what you wrote! 

Thursday, July 12

Speaking the Truth in Love








"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ."  Ephesians 4:15



Speaking the truth is love is a lot easier said than done.  It's hard!  We've all been there.  Those times in life where we know we are going to have to have that awkward conversation with someone.  It mounts to the point that it can no longer be ignored and you are faced with two options.  Run or face it.



Running would mean that you either abandon the relationship or you cover the problem up so the relationship can no longer be REAL.  Facing it means having an extremely hard conversation and possibly damaging the relationship.  But...facing it may also mean that the relationship comes out the other side amazingly strong.  We never know what impact speaking the truth in love is going to have.  It can backfire on us at times.  At other times it can heal a person, a relationship or a soul beyond our wildest imaginations.



In my life, the times that I have chosen not to speak the truth in love all boiled down to fear.  It's a scary thing to do, especially when it involves someone you care for deeply.  You run through all of the different scenarios in your head until you've convinced yourself that the worst is going to happen. 



At some point, the truth must be spoken.  Left undone, it will undoubtedly ruin any relationship. 



I encourage all of you(myself included) to prayerfully speak the truth in love when the opportunity presents itself.  The people in our lives don't want a pretend you.  They want the real you.  The one that isn't going to candy coat everything and tell them that it will all be okay when it's really not.  Truth sometimes hurts, but it's what can bring real healing.



Let's not forget that we can also be the recipient of that truth!  Be humble and aware that those who speak truth in love to you are doing it with fear in their hearts and a true love for you.  Take it.



Borrowed from Katie, our favorite Hippy Chick and Jesus Freak.

Wednesday, July 11

Total Animation

Please read Acts 17:22-28

By Andrea



I try not to use Drops as a platform to talk about my kids, but sometimes, it just can't be helped.


My five year old, the one with a very over active imagination, is the inspiration for today's tidbit.


In the car, the traditional place for all deep conversations, he presented the following scenario:


"What if we are all like God's toys, and he is the one that moves our arms and legs. And what if sometimes, when he is very nice, he moves our arms and legs in the sprinkler."


I processed the theological ramifications of such a concept. Surely there are those who believe we are at the mercy of Divine whims, with God pulling the strings in and out of everything from sprinklers to tragedy. We are nothing more than glorified action figures in such a world view.


While I believe God is in control of every one and everything, I am also convinced that he doesn't force his will on individuals. Things happen, but our response is not scripted.


We can chose to let him move us, or we can move ourselves.



To animate: v. to make or equip to move


In the beginning, God created man in his own image. God intended for us to be animated by Him, not as puppets on a string, but as obedient children longing to be just like Him. Of course we can lift our arms and legs on our own. We breathe in and out without a thought to what makes it possible. God created us with individual personalities, strengths and weaknesses, and He asks us to use them-for Him. And to a point, we can do it on our own. People without Christ in their lives are capable of good things. But how much more capable are we when we allow him to animate us. To daily equip us to move?


Oh, how I wish I had this concept surrendered! I don't though. I wake up thinking of everything I have to do today. I crowd Him out with my lists and my agenda. And on a good day, I get everything checked off. And most days, I don't. But I miss the point when I live by what I can do.


Total animation is the goal. What would we be capable of if we lived by the verse, "In Him we live and move and have our being."


When we live like that...









(This action figure represents what I am pretty sure the Proverbs 31 Woman looks like).

Monday, July 9

Reflections of Who?

Please read Romans 3:21-31




The phrase "What would Jesus do?", abbreviated to WWJD, was wildly popular in the 1990s. WWJD was on everything from necklaces to bumper stickers. You were really cool if you had it tattooed somewhere. It was a personal motto for Evangelical Christians who used the phrase as a reminder to act in a manner that would demonstrate the love of Jesus.



It was so popular that I think everyone got burned out on WWJD and the abbreviation failed to signify anything important.



The concept is still true and necessary. What would Jesus do? If we claim to follow Christ, our actions should mirror his. I remembered this as I was sitting in the drive-thru waiting a ridiculously long time for icecream.



You might be thinking that Jesus would never go to a fast-food joint because of the unhealthy eating options. But he ate with tax collectors and sinners (Mark 2:13-17). I'm going to stretch that to say Jesus would go with me to the Dairy Queen after a hard day of work. My treat, of course.




So, there I sat in my mini-van with kids screaming in the backseat and I was really annoyed that it was taking so long. "Why is it taking so long?!! These incompetent prepubescents! Apparently they are the last people on earth to hear of the rising gas prices and the money that is just IDLING away right now," was going through my mind. I know I didn't have the most pleasant look on my face. I know it for certain because one of the employees glanced out the window at me and visibly drew back with a shudder. I scared the poor girl half to death. My face reflected the anger and impatience of the world and a hard day that didn't go as I planned.



Jesus was nowhere to be found. Shame washed over me. What would Jesus do? I have failed so much I wouldn't even know.



"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)



But read on.... there is hope.



"...and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." (Romans 3:24)



By his grace I have another chance. When I fail badly at representing Christ, I can try again. What a gift! I don't deserve it. But I was humbled in that drive-thru line and I prayed for a different perspective on life's normal frustrations.



When it was finally my turn to pay and get my food, the girl handed me my sack with fear and trembling. "S-s-s-orry for the wait," she muttered. I smiled with what I hope was a pleasant expression and replied that it wasn't a problem and that it looked like they were having a busy night. With a tentative nod she shut the window.



She was probably more baffled with my major mood change than my reflection of Jesus.



What would Jesus do? He would continue to show love (John 1:1-14). He would continue to show compassion (Luke 7:13). He would continue to serve (Philippians 2:5-11). My testimony of Christ is far from perfect, but still he chose me to represent him. He. Chose. Me. And he chose you too! He delights in our attempts and our desire to follow him.



"Then he said to them all: 

'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves 

and take up their cross daily and follow me.'"

(Luke 9:23)








The photos are courtesy of the make-up-less, Christ follower, often fumbling as I try to reflect Jesus, author of this post, Alysun Peters.

Wednesday, July 4

For Freedom


Please read Romans 6:15-22


Independence Day. Today the flags fly, the anthems soar, the fireworks boom. Today, we well celebrate our country’s independence with barbeques and parades.


When was your Independence Day?


“When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.”
 Romans 6:20


Mine was one day when I was about four years old. My parents were listening to a record (as in LP. Yep. It was that long ago), and a song came on about heaven. Having been in Sunday school my entire life, I knew what I needed to do to get there. The song was about the streets of gold, and I wanted to see them so bad! I knew my parents were going to heaven someday, and I didn’t want them going without me. So, very quietly, I went into my room and, as they say in Sunday school, asked Jesus into my heart.


I remember feeling so… free. Weird feeling for a four year old, right? I doubt that I would have described it that way then. I was that kind of happy you just can’t help. When you just have to smile or else you might burst.


I’m not sure when the happy wore off, but it did eventually. And eventually, I turned back to the one who set me free. Just like we all do, I voluntarily stepped back into slavery to sin. And Jesus kept freeing me, again and again.


Freedom in Christ is not a one time battle or a signature on a piece of parchment. It is a willing determination to refuse to go back into slavery. Often. Daily. (Anyone else?)


That is why we should remember. That is why our individual Independence Day is so important. If we forget what we were saved from, it starts to seem like maybe it wasn’t so bad. Remember the Israelites telling Moses they should have stayed in Egypt? It’s like that. The slavery starts to compel us, and unless we constantly remind ourselves of God’s great grace, we will go back.


“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1).


He set us free so we could be free from the trap of sin and be fully alive in him.


Take some time today to thank him for our country’s freedom, and for your personal freedom. If the past is compelling you, remember the fireworks in heaven the day you asked Jesus into your heart.


“It is for freedom…”

Monday, July 2

Not So Obviously




My life as Mom makes me Captain of the Obvious.


"You didn't want to wear a coat and that's why you are cold."

"Keep your feet out of your brother's mouth and then he won't bite them."

"Flush the toilet after you go to the bathroom."

"Eating vegetables will make you stronger."

"You are grumpy because you are tired."




Over and over again, I repeat things to my kids that are kinda "duh" statements. I hope and pray someday they won't need the reminders as adults.




Because adults know all the obvious answers. Of course.




My kids like a show with a super villain named "Lady Redundant Woman." She sounds pretty threatening doesn't she? She says obvious things repeatedly, all the time, redundantly. Children love this kind of thing, but as grown-ups, we find it pretty annoying to state what we already know.



This brings me to staring at my computer screen pulling my hair out because I can't think of a thing to write about for Drops. Writer's block is putting it mildly. What's the problem? Not only am I short on topics and inspiration, I'm also short on patience, grace, peace, love, and compassion in my daily life.

Wednesday, June 27

Bending and Praising

Please Read John 13:1-17 


“We bend. I bend to sweep crumbs and I bend to wipe vomit and I bend to pick up little ones and wipe away tears... And at the end of these days I bend next to the bed and I ask only that I could bend more, bend lower. Because I serve a Savior who came to be a servant. He lived bent low. And bent down here is where I see His face. He lived, only to die. Could I? Die to self and just break open for love. This Savior, His one purpose to spend Himself on behalf of messy us. Will I spend myself on behalf of those in front of me? And people say, “Don’t you get tired?” and yes, I do. But I’m face to face with Jesus in the dirt, and the more I bend the harder and better and fuller this life gets. And sure, we are tired, but oh we are happy. Because bent down low is where we find fullness of Joy.”


--Katie Davis, mom of 14 girls in Uganda. She blogs at Kisses from Katie, and has written a book of the same title, which I cannot wait to read.


Please, take the time to follow the link to Kisses from Katie. No matter where in life you are right now, a few things might slide into focus for you.


Monday, June 25

Time For Change?

Read Isaiah 40:28-31





 Have you ever wanted to "freeze" a moment and make it last a lifetime? I have. I have also lived through certain moments that I wish I could change or even delete and pretend they never happened. But change is a natural part of life. We can embrace it, or we can fight it.



 My husband often says that the only people who really like change are wet babies. However, I have discovered that some people thrive and live for change to the point that they are "change junkies" and have little stability in life. Others dig in their heels and refuse to change a thing and ultimately become prisoners of old habits – good and bad.





 When it comes to change, we have a decision to make – just like the eagle. The eagle has the longest life-span among birds. It can live up to 70 years, but to reach this age, the eagle has to make a hard decision. In its' 40s, the eagle's long and flexible talons can no longer grab prey, which serves as food. Its long and sharp beak becomes bent and its old and heavy wings, covered with feathers that have grown thick over the years, become stuck to its chest, making it difficult to fly. The eagle is then left with only two options: die or go through a painful process of change, which lasts 150 days.



 The difficult process requires the eagle to fly to a mountain top and sit on its nest. There the eagle knocks its beak against a rock until the beak falls off. The eagle will then wait for a new beak to grow back and use the new beak to pluck out its talons. When the new talons grow back, the eagle starts plucking out all of the old feathers. After five months, the eagle takes a famous flight of rebirth and lives 30 more years.



 Change is sometimes needed to survive. God may be asking you to step out in faith and make a change in your life. He has already been where He is asking you to go and prepared every step of the way for you. You don't have to be afraid of the unknown. It is unknown only to you. God is well aware of where you are and of every step He is asking you to take. He may be asking you to get rid of old memories, eliminate destructive habits and forsake lifeless traditions. He is waiting for you to take one step.



 Faith in God does not come all at once. Faith is a step-by-step process that begins with one small step and increases as we go. An Old Testament story found in Joshua 3 illustrates this truth. The Israelites are camped on the bank of the Jordan River. Forty years earlier, they had escaped from Egypt and have been wandering around in the wilderness ever since. All of their needs have been met by God. They have seen miracle after miracle and now they can see Canaan, the Promised Land. However, there is a problem.



 A huge river stands between them and the Promised Land, and there is no way around it. God told His people that He would make a dry path through the river, but the priests had never seen that happen. In fact, they hadn't even been born when the Red Sea was parted and there were no reruns of the Ten Commandments at the local Wilderness Theatre. The Israelites had spent their entire adult lives in the wilderness and finally, they could see a way out. Oh, and one more problem -- the priests couldn't swim. This was probably the first river they had even been close to in their lives. I can imagine their fear and questions. God was asking them to step out in faith as never before.



 I don't imagine the Israelites had a great deal of faith in God at that moment, but they had just enough faith to take that first step. And that was enough.



During harvest the Jordan overflows its banks. 

When the priests carrying the Ark came to the edge 

of the river and stepped into the water,

the water upstream stopped flowing. It stood up in a heap. 

So the people crossed over.  

Joshua 3:15-17 (NCV) 



 Notice that God did nothing until those toes touched the water. That first step was all God needed to see. Many times, we won't take the first step of change because we're afraid we won't be able to make the whole journey. Don't wait until you believe it all. Don't wait until you can see it all. Don't wait until you understand it all.



 Trust God and step out in faith. He will meet you there.








Borrowed from Girlfriends In God (a free daily devotional from Biblegateway.com), as written by Mary Sutherland, published on June 5, 2012.

Friday, June 22

The Honeymoon Is Over





The first few months of a relationship are so exciting.  It's when you try and impress each other and showcase all of your strengths.  Giggling, flirting, and heart racing joy when he calls you just to say "hi."



That was fun.



But that doesn't last forever.  Can you imagine how shallow our relationships would be if we were constantly in the honeymoon stage?



I'm somewhat new to this whole Christian thing.  I grew up believing in God and was taught right from wrong at a young age.  Don't be mislead, just because I knew right and wrong doesn't mean that I behaved like I should.  I was a handful!  It wasn't until about five years ago that I realized that I needed a personal relationship with God.  It wasn't enough to sit in church and make the right decisions.  He called me into a close and intimate relationship with Him.



When God and I first started dating I was obnoxious!  I gushed about our love for each other and told people that weren't believers that they were missing out.  I did it in a way that probably turned a lot of people off.



Now here I am, five years later.  I feel like God and I have settled in together.  We are no longer getting to know each other and trying to figure out how to communicate with one another.  We get each other.  It's nice.



He doesn't move me to tears or give me the goosebumps every day anymore, but that's ok.  Now I look out the window and glance at the sunset and feel like that is God's way of giving me a little wink.  I no longer require grand gestures from Him.  Don't get me wrong, the big blessings are greatly appreciated, but I don't need as much attention from Him as I used to.  I'm confident in our relationship and I like the stage we have settled into.



God is still the same man that I fell in love with.  He always remains the same in His character and he always follows through with His promises.  He's given me five years to get to know Him and I'm blessed to be connected to Him the way that I am.



One of the things I love the most about my relationship with my husband is that when something funny happens, we just look at each other and we know exactly what the other is thinking.  We find humor in the same things and it's comforting to know that all I have to do is give him a little look.  This look didn't happen on our first date.  It took time and an understanding to get to where we are.



That is how I feel about my relationship with God.  In the last five years I've figured out how God speaks to me, how He loves me, and how He aligned my instincts with His purpose.  I now know that those tingles I get in my gut are God's way of saying, "No ma'am."



Don't go chasing goosebumps friends.  You don't need to hop from church to church or from bible study to bible study to ride some religious high.  God isn't always going to direct all of His attention on you.  Sometimes the sermons are meant for someone else.  There are times when He calls us to wait on Him and His direction.  Don't go rushing God or trying to pressure Him into His plan.  Instead, rest delightfully under His arm and appreciate the phase you are in.  Be confident in your God and wait patiently for Him to move you.  The honeymoon may have passed, but sister, the best is yet to come!



-Ashley K.

Wednesday, June 20

The Space Between

Read Psalm 33



Israel had begged for a king, and God had allowed it. He chose a man the people would have been proud of. Tall, dark and handsome, he was the ideal candidate. But the people rejected him. Samuel presented him to the people, and they said, “Are you kidding? No way will Saul become king.”



Next time we see Saul, he is not leading the country, but plowing the fields. I wonder if he doubted God’s call. I wonder if he went over and over that scene with the wizened old prophet and considered insanity. I wonder if he felt foolish. He certainly didn’t feel convicted enough to fight for the place God had promised him. Instead, he went back to work.



It wasn’t until “God’s spirit came upon him in power,” there in the middle of plowing a field that he felt compelled to act. When he heard the news of countrymen under attack, he burned with anger and acted swiftly to assemble an army and sweep in to the rescue. He behaved like a king in that moment, and the people loved him for it. He finally became their king.



David received the same call on his life. Israel was his. He was God’s chosen one. But Saul was still on the throne. And David was hardly more than a boy. And Saul was trying to kill him. I wonder what confusion assaulted him in the space between the call and the fulfillment.



Sarah was creeping up on the century mark. She must have given up the dream of holding a precious baby of her own decades ago. God had promised her husband descendants more vast than the stars in the sky, but he must have meant figuratively. I wonder what doubts assailed her in the space between the promise of an heir and the birth of her only son Isaac.



We are all well aware that God’s timing and our timing don’t always line up perfectly. We’ve experienced it in our own lives time and time again. Many times God whispers promises, or plants dreams and we see nothing. No results. No call backs. No anything. Does lack of results invalidate promises?



Ask Saul. Ask David. Ask Sarah. God came through, despite the space between. Hold on. “abide in me and I will abide in you,” Jesus said. Hold on.



I promise my children dinner every night. Every night I enter the kitchen and begin preparing food. And when my kids were a bit younger, most nights at least one child, faint with exaggerated hunger would sprawl at my feet begging for food. My track record is a good one. I have always provided something. I’ve been known to present popcorn, yogurt and carrot sticks a meal. But they always get something to eat. But still they cry and wail because this may be the one time I fail them.



They lose hope in the space between the promise of supper and the act of eating it. They don’t take into account that I am busy in the kitchen getting thing ready.


Ever wonder what is going on in heaven between now and what's next? I wager God's not going to let us down this time either.


We should not let doubts, confusion or general busyness distract us from the promise. We need to do our best with what we have in the short term while God works on the details of the long term.



Doing our best in the short term might mean returning to a menial job when you feel called to something better. It may mean working for an enemy. It may mean knitting another pair of booties for someone else’s newborn bundle of joy….



Just remember, God is cooking up something amazing in the long term.



Sunday, June 17

Stuck. Where Does My Help Come From?

Read Psalm 121





One of my first early childhood memories is of manure. Pleasant, right?




Like other memories from when I was young, the details are hazy. The crazy things my 5 year old brain chose to hold on to... it's like watching a short, grainy video clip from my past. In this "manure memory," I am looking down at my own skinny legs, buried to the knees in barnyard poo and I can't move my feet. I try and try, but all I can see in my periphery is more poo and I am stuck.




Because I was young and this event tramatic, I forgot some important facts. How did I get in the manure? Why was I there? I remember eventually being rescued by my dad and him saying, "Those boots are staying there," as my boots disappeared completely, buried in the mire while my little legs and feet were lifted free. How did I get home without shoes? Did I get in trouble for losing my boots?




And most importantly, could this be why I don't like barnyard animals? I don't have the answers to these puzzling questions because all I can recall is staring down and being scared and clueless of a way to get out of that sticky situation.





When we are stuck, whether physically or in our personal lives, our tendency is to look down. How am I going to get out of this mess? It might be real manure or a relationship drama that only reminds us of the stench of it.




Stuck knee-deep with no end in sight.




We fixate on where we are stuck. Everything around us is frustration, poo perhaps. But looking down makes it impossible to see the possible solutions. Even obvious blessings will be ignored because, like my little-girl self, I couldn't take my eyes off my problem.




"I lift up my eyes to the mountains,

where does my help come from? 

My help comes from the Lord, 

 the Maker of heaven and earth."

Psalm 121:1-2




What happens when we lift our eyes? Our focus changes. Instead of mire as far as the eye can see, we see help is on the way.




A greeting card I had pinned to my bulletin board in my college dorm room said, "ship happens." Oh yes, yes it does. I appreciate the ironic sentiment and the twist of words that makes it a lot less like swearing, yet still descriptive. We aren't going to sail through life without a care just because we have God watching over us. Actually, the Bible tells us that "trials" (read, sucky stuff) will happen. But our comfort is knowing we are never, never alone.



"The Lord will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." (Psalm 121:7-8)



Lift you head and look up. Pray your way out of whatever mess you are in today.The Lord God, maker of heaven and earth sees where you are. He knows where you are stuck and He is the solution in your sight.





Written by Alysun P.

Friday, June 15

So Long Sinful Past.

"If we confess our sins, 

he is faithful and just 

and will forgive us our sins 

and purify us from all unrighteousness."

1 John:1:9



We all have things in our past that we aren't proud of.  Things that we've done and choices that we've made that we are embarrassed to admit.



Those moments pop into my brain more often than they need to and I let them upset me.  Our past sins have a mood crippling effect on us.  To some extent I think it is good to feel regret about bad decisions we've made.  That feeling reminds us that we aren't happy with how we behaved and that we shouldn't repeat it.



But God didn't create us to live in the past.  He didn't send His son to die for us so that we would sit and dwell on our mistakes.  Jesus came to save us from our sins and help us move toward being better people.



I was a very bratty little girl growing up.  I was sassy and bossy and I lost a lot of friends.  I treated people poorly and the thing I cared most about was benefiting myself.  I said horrible things to people and about people and I'm ashamed of the way I let my words hurt others.



When I think back to who I was, I feel a lot of regret and embarrassment.  Then satan sneaks in and tries to tell me that I haven't changed and to be honest, there are times that he convinces me that he's right.  I let him tell me that I'm still not very nice and that I don't deserve to have good friends.



Then God.



God in all of his magnificence scoops me up, dries my tears, and reminds me that I am a daughter of the King.  I'm washed of all of my past sins and I am worthy of the riches in heaven.



Do you ever live in the past?  Do you play something over and over again in your mind until you are convinced that you are the worst person on earth?



On Sunday my Pastor so beautifully said, "No one looks in the rearview mirror when they're driving.  You glance back every once in a while to see where you've gone, but you aren't going to get where you're going unless you are looking ahead."



It's true.  If we pay so much attention to the things that have gone wrong in our lives, we are missing the opportunity to look ahead and receive God's blessings.



My prayer today is that we stop lingering in our past scandals and pain.  That we whole heartedly believe God's promise that he forgives us and wants to create a beautiful future for us regardless of our former sins.  I pray that we take tomorrow and make it better than today.



Are you with me?



-Ashley K.