Living God

God’s not dead. He is alive. He dwells in the hearts of His people. He is intimately involved in the affairs of man.

And His Word is not dead. His Word is living and active still today, still piercing to divide soul and spirit, still discerning the thoughts and intentions of your heart.

It is a beautiful thing to willingly surrender your life to the living God of the universe who created all things, including every star in the galaxy and every living creature on earth. (That includes you!)

But the LORD is the true God;
he is the living God and the everlasting King.

Jeremiah 10:10a ESV

We bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.

Acts 14:15b ESV

What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.

2 Corinthians 6:16 ESV

(Jesus) said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Matthew 16:15-16 ESV

Purpose

Have you ever felt like your life was purposeless?

I felt that way for the first half of my life. I compensated by working extra hard, trying to prove my worth to anyone willing to notice me.

Then, the God of purpose came along and turned my world upside-down — in a good way. Believing that the God of the universe had INTENTIONALLY created me changed everything. I was no longer the result of a crazy series of chance events, a random variety of molecules having evolved over billions of years out of primodial goo. No. I was a child of a Holy God who had a plan and purpose for making me.

So, today on this 28th day of August (8/28), let’s remember

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.Romans 8:28 ESV

I hope you can take 5 minutes to learn how you can share the gospel using your personal testimony. In my personal testimony, I share how God gave me purpose in my life. Each of us have a unique purpose and a unique testimony to share. Let’s share it!

“And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'” — Acts 26:15-18 ESV

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel…” 2 Timothy 1:7-10 ESV

Whatever…

Whatever the Lord pleases,

he does,

in heaven and on earth,

in the seas and all deeps.

Psalm 135:6 ESV

Think of that.

The Lord does whatever He pleases.

Rather than reading this and wishing that I could do anything I please, I’m choosing today to be thankful that God is on His throne and I’m not.

It might please me to sleep all day and eat peanut butter chocolate ice cream all night. It might please me to thumb through my Facebook feed for hours and bingewatch HGTV shows. But God … God is good and what pleases Him is always good … so I’m choosing today to be thankful that He is God and I’m not.

How about you? What are your thoughts about God’s total sovereign power … and your lack of it? ❤❤❤

TWIG

Life Skills and Habits to Develop Before Finishing High School

Having graduated my oldest two and now looking at my 11th grader and 8th grader, I took the time to write down a list – 6 pages long – of the skills and habits I’d like to help them develop before leaving home. Can you think of anything I missed? 🙂

Bible reading

  • Daily Bible Reading and Prayer Journal
  • Genesis – Deuteronomy
  • Joshua – Ruth
  • 1 Samuel – 2 Chronicles
  • Ezra – Esther
  • Job – Psalms
  • Proverbs – Ecclesiastes
  • Isaiah – Daniel
  • Hosea – Malachi
  • Matthew – Acts
  • Romans – Colossians
  • 1 Thessalonians – Revelation

Scripture Memory

  • John 3:16
  • Romans 5:8
  • Romans 6:23
  • Books of the Bible
  • Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17)
  • The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13)
  • Psalm 1:1-6
  • Psalm 23:1-6
  • 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
  • Philippians 2:1-16
  • Colossians 3:1-25
  • Romans 12:1-21
  • Matthew 5:1-16

Books to Read

  • Hudson Taylor, George Mueller, Gladys Aylward by Benge (or other Christian Heroes books)
  • The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by Lewis (The whole Narnia series)
  • Mama’s Bank Account by Forbes
  • Man of the Family by Moody (the whole series is great)
  • The Hiding Place by Ten Boom
  • The Knowledge of the Holy by Tozer
  • Knowing God by Packer
  • The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions

Hymns

  • Amazing Grace
  • The Doxology
  • Come Thou Fount
  • It is Well with My Soul
  • Take My Life and Let it Be
  • Be Thou my Vision
  • How Great Thou Art
  • To God be the Glory
  • In Christ Alone
  • Before the Throne of God Above
  • Silent Night
  • The First Noel
  • Oh, Holy Night
  • Little Town of Bethlehem
  • Joy to the World
  • Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Missions

  • Support a missionary in prayer, as well as financially and corresponding with them
  • Visit a missionary or serve with a local outreach ministry
  • Share the gospel clearly in 2 minutes

Social skills

  • Serve others – an elderly neighbor, a sick friend, your church – however the Lord leads
    (write a letter, cook a meal, help out)
  • Answer the phone properly and take a message
  • Set the table properly for your family
  • Use proper manners eating at home using silverware and a napkin
  • Order and pay at a fast food restaurant
  • Eat at a fancy restaurant using proper table manners
  • Express thanks consistently when others serve you
  • Greet and converse with adults with eye conduct, proper voice volume and listening attentively
  • Make a phone call to order pizza or other food delivery
  • Make a phone call to set up a doctor’s appointment
  • Life skills
  • Childcare
    •  Play with, change diaper, feed bottle, make lunch, clean up, child development
  • Woodworking
    • Hand saw, table saw, miter saw, electric drill, hang a picture, repair nail hole, repair dry wall, caulk sink or shower
  • Electrical work
    • Check breakers, understand types of light bulbs, install a light fixture or ceiling fan, change outlet, install light switch
  • Plumbing
    • Plunge a toilet, unclog a drain, understand how a toilet works, turn off water to house at street, turn off water at a sink or toilet
  • Painting
    • Wall, trim, cabinet, door
  • Car repair and maintenance
    • Change oil, replace windshield wipers and fluid, change tire, jump battery
  • Tie a variety of knots
  • Pack for a trip
  • Plan a trip
  • Set a mouse trap
  • Tie a necktie
  • Shine shoes
  • Organize a closet, cabinet or dresser and your bedroom
  • Iron a button-down shirt and dress pants
  • Sew on a button
  • Mend a hole in a sock or shirt

Healthy Living

  • Plan a week of meals as well as make a list of meal and snack options
  • Grocery shop for a week’s groceries
  • Cook dinner for the family
  • Understand a variety of over-the-counter medicines and supplements
  • Know the name and phone number of your doctor, insurance and medicine you take
  • Learn how to store food – fruit, vegetables, fridge, freezer, pantry
  • First aid skills (choking, fainting, heart attack or inability to breathe, cuts, burns, fractures or sprains)
  • Make a First Aid kit

Academic skills

  • Tell time using an analog clock
  • Use a dictionary, a thesaurus and an encyclopedia
  • Read a book or story aloud to a group
  • Speak in front of a group
  • Find a book at the library using the Dewey decimal system
  • Put books on hold online
  • Check out and return books on time
  • Check out and listen to a digital audiobook

Computer skills

  • Keyboarding skills of at least 25 wpm
  • Type a chapter of the Bible
  • Write a letter to a political representative
  • Write a cover letter to apply for a job
  • Write a resume
  • Write a family newsletter or Christmas letter
  • Make a blog
  • Make a PowerPoint presentation
  • Build a computer from parts

Financial and Time Management Skills

  • Discuss stewardship – stewarding our time, talents, treasure and testimony
  • Make a daily schedule
  • Make an online annual calendar with important dates and birthdays
  • Open a bank account
  • Write checks, use a debit card at a store, use an ATM, set up auto pay, track your expenses and check your bank balance online
  • Learn about car insurance and health insurance
  • Discuss paying taxes
  • Discuss tithing and giving offerings
  • Memorize your social security number and know why you need it
  • Make a weekly, monthly and annual budget
  • Clothing shopping on a budget
  • List and price what you need to buy other than food and clothing (shampoo, deodorant, cosmetics, feminine care, shaving, laundry soap, dish soap, TP, first aid …)

Cleaning skills

  • Vacuum
  • Dust
  • Clean mirrors, glass doors and windows
  • Wash dishes by hand
  • Load the dishwasher
  • Empty the dishwasher
  • Scrub a toilet
  • Clean the shower
  • Clean a whole bathroom
  • Clean blinds
  • Wash, dry, fold, hang up and put away clothes

Cooking skills

  • Breakfast – muffins, pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, bacon, sausage
  • Eggs – hard boil, fry, scramble, egg salad
  • Lunch – grilled cheese, ham, PB & J, macaroni + cheese
  • Dinner – spaghetti, hamburgers, fettucine alfredo, tacos
  • Potatoes – baked, mashed, roasted, potato salad
  • Vegetables – salad, broccoli, green beans, corn casserole
  • Dessert – cake, cookies, pudding, pie

Arts, crafts, creative skills

  • Take, edit and share photos digitally
  • Make a video with music from digital images
  • Make an album from digital images
  • Sketch with pencils
  • Watercolors
  • Oil painting
  • Embroidery or cross stitching
  • Knit or crochet
  • Sew curtains or a pillow with a sewing machine
  • Play a song on a piano, guitar or other instrument
  • Read music accurately
  • Sing a song on pitch from memory
  • Make a model from scratch or from a kit
  • Write a poem
  • Memorize and recite a poem

Outdoor skills

  • Build a fire and learn about fire safety
  • Cook a meal on a fire or grill
  • Set up a tent and camp outside for 24 hours
  • Mow the lawn
  • Use a trimmer
  • Use a blower
  • Rake and bag leaves
  • Plant and maintain flowers or garden
  • Weed a garden or flower bed
  • Shovel a sidewalk or driveway
  • Archery
  • Marksmanship, gun safety, and maintenance
  • Go fishing – tie a hook, put on bait, catch a fish, take it off hook
  • Gut and cook an animal or fish

Download a PDF of this list here:

Seeing yourself as a STEWARD of your time, talents, treasures and testimony

If we believe that God is our Creator, Lord and King, then we should see ourselves as stewards for His kingdom. Using practical examples of stewardship, Kim explores the importance of being stewards of the time, talents, treasures and testimony which God has given to us.

My latest YouTube video

For more study on this, read Matthew 6:24, Matthew 24:45-51, Matthew 25:14-30 (The Parable of the Ten Talents), 1 Corinthians 3:4-4:4, and 1 Peter 4:10, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

Uniquely Made – includes audio

mixed-race twins
Two sets of very unique twins

God has a unique purpose for each of us. We need to hear this today more than ever. God is particularly glorified in the incredible variety of gifts, talents and colors of the people He has created in His image.

This is part 1 of a 2-part series, “Unique and United.” Check out part 2 “United” tomorrow!

The beauty of this song is magnified by the beauty of the unique individuals joining together to worship God.
Thankful for each of these unique creations!

Of fishing, baits and lures

I grew up fishing. I fished with my parents on camping trips. I fished with my uncle in a pond on his farm. As the crazy little sister, I was the one who baited the hook with live, wiggling worms and I was the one who took the fish off the hooks.

In reading the Bible, there are lots of allusions to fishing. In Matthew 4:19, Jesus calls Peter and his brother, Andrew, to leave their fishing nets and to follow Him, that He would make them fishers of men. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, Peter himself writes in 1 Peter 5:7 to CAST all your cares onto Jesus because He cares for you. This word CAST is the same word for a fisherman casting (throwing) out his net. It is active, hard work, this casting of nets and casting of cares.

Yesterday, my husband and I were studying James 1:12-15 with our small group.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:12-15 ESV)

According to Blue Letter Bible, that word “lured” [exelkō] means “to draw out” and “is often used in hunting and fishing as game is lured from its hiding place, so man by lure is allured from the safety of self-restraint to sin. In James 1:14, the language of the hunting is transferred to the seduction of a harlot.” Like the seduction of a harlot, temptation lures you off the narrow road and onto the wide one.

The following word, “enticed,” [deleazō] [G1185] is also a fishing word meaning to “bait” or to “catch by bait.” It comes from the root word dolos [G1388] which means guile, subtilty, craft, deceit.

Different lures attract different fish, and different temptations appeal to different people, but ultimately all kinds of temptation lead us away from our good Father’s good gifts and toward our own selfish passions.

Bait is designed to deceive a fish into thinking it’s something good, drawing it out from safety to hook it, leading to its demise.

Isn’t that like the deceitfulness of sin, the allure of temptation? Holding itself out as something good, something that will bring us happiness … and instead bringing despair, heartache and death.

Praying for my own heart, and yours today.

-TWIG

Easter Isn’t … Some thoughts for this year’s Covid-19 Easter celebration

Easter isn’t about bunnies and baskets and eggs.

Easter isn’t about marshmallow chicks and jelly beans and chocolate candies.

Easter isn’t about floral dresses and white hats and black patent leather shoes.

Easter isn’t about freshly baked ham, and cheesy potato casserole and jello salad.

Easter isn’t about seeing our grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles and cousins and babies.

Easter is about celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.

Easter is about giving thanks for His sacrifice on our behalf.

Easter is about reflecting on the new life offered to us through Jesus’s power over death.

Easter is about reminding ourselves that our days are numbered and that God holds every one in His hand.

This year, Easter is going to look different than Easters past, but maybe that’s good.

We might not gather together for egg hunts, but we can gather together in our hearts to celebrate the resurrection power that is STILL available today through faith in Jesus Christ.

No power of hell or scheme of man, certainly no virus here on earth, can have victory over the One True Almighty God.

Thirsty?

This morning I picked these pretty yellow flowers and put them in this little vase. Within a few hours, they had drank up every drop of the water and wilted. I refilled the vase and within an hour they had perked right back up again.

It got me to thinking about how quickly I can feel wilted … and how I easily I can be refreshed when I take the time to go to the fountain of living water.

In John 4, we read the story of a Samaritan woman meeting Jesus at a well. Jesus invites her to drink of the living water that He can give her, promising that she will never be thirsty again. Does this mean that the woman will never need to drink water again? No, I’m quite sure that’s not the case.

But, does Jesus mean that this woman will never need to pray or read the scriptures or fellowship with other believers again, if she drinks of the spring of living water that He is offering to her? No, it doesn’t mean that either. This spring of living water is the spring of eternal life, but she would still need, the daily living water that is offered to us through communion with God.

Let me share with you SEVEN ways I’ve found to refresh my soul when I am feeling wilted

  1. Read the Bible – I know, I know … Duh … But, seriously, friends, get out your Bible and read it. Take five minutes or ten or sixty. Read a Psalm. Read John. Read 1 Timothy or 1 Peter or 1 Thessalonians. Read it.
  2. Write out a verse – Pick a verse that you just read, or a verse you saw on your coffee mug this morning, or a verse that God stuck in your head out of nowhere, or a verse that you saw on Facebook, and write it down. Write it with a dry erase marker on your window or patio door or mirror. Write it in fancy script on a note card and mail it to someone. Write it down on the back of an envelope. Write it.
  3. Sing a worship song – I have an ongoing playlist on my YouTube channel called “Worship Songs” where I add worship songs that I love. (I’ve got over 150 there at the moment.) I can just click “shuffle” and I’m drawn into the throne room of God. Or I pop open “Pandora” to the Shane & Shane Hymns channel. Or I just start singing whatever song is in my head that moment. Sing it.
  4. Pray from the heart – God is always ready to hear us, whether we’re praying aloud or silently in the secret place of our hearts. You can pour out whatever is going on. Praise Him for who He is in the midst of a trial; Thank Him for His blessings past, present and future; Confess to Him all those ways you mess up, no matter how big or small; Ask Him for whatever you need. Pray it.
  5. Get outside – As Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” There’s something incredible about getting outside – even if it’s cold, even if it’s hot, even if it’s snowy or rainy or sunny. Grab a chair outside on your deck or balcony or porch or whatever you’ve got right now. Or take a walk if the street’s empty. Outside it.
  6. Connect with someone else – I like being alone, but there’s something really special about letting someone else in when I’m down. Call or text your husband or a sister in Christ. Let someone else know you’re struggling and ask them to pray for you. Don’t let this time of “social distancing” keep you from your family in Christ. Connect it.
  7. Journal – I don’t do this as often as I wish, but sometimes writing down how I’m feeling, or even voice-texting a note, really helps give me a new perspective. Sometimes I can hear God’s still, small voice in my heart as I put my thoughts down, plus it’s such a blessing to look back on things I’ve written down months or years ago and see how God has been working. Journal it.

Just one final thought, sometimes we get so used to feeling thirsty and run-down, that we don’t even notice anymore. We’re wilted and we don’t even know it. If it’s been more than 24 hours since you prayed or read the Bible, trust me here, you need a drink. He’s ready right now.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. How do you reconnect with God when you’re feeling wilted?