“In the West, the predominate message is God’s grace and love. It was certainly God’s love that motivated His sending Jesus to rescue humanity. However, it was His death and resurrection that accomplished this mission. The resurrection, therefore, was the overwhelming theme in the preaching of the apostles, not the love of God. In no way am I trying to show what marginalize this great love or grace–I’m just trying to show what message caused the church to emerge against all odds in the midst of a hostile Roman empire and a resistant religious system. If we want the results the early church had, we must preach the message they preached.” ~ Rice Broocks, Man, Myth, Messiah, pg. 114
Why hello there!!
It has been six months since I’ve written on the blog. Six months!! I can’t believe it has been that long! I’ve had to take a hiatus from blogging to work on my other projects. I launched my craft business in December and since then I’ve been crocheting like a madwoman. Haha!! I’m just totally obsessed with yarn! Also, I’ve been working on setting up a website for the business along with getting all the legal junk squared away for my life coaching business.
During all this I became part of another book launch back in…oh, gosh! When was it? April or March. Another great experience! I was selected to help Leanna Tankersley with launching her now released book, Brazen: The Courage to Find the You That’s Been Hiding.
Ladies, if you don’t read anything else this year, read this book!! I will write a review soon so you can get a sneak peek!
The other thing keeping me busy is physical therapy. I think I might’ve mentioned before, but if not, I’ll explain. I get headaches and some awful headaches that stick around for days. Usually, about three days and it goes away, thanks to God’s mercy! I had a vertebrae in my neck, two to be exact, that were crooked. It would cause me severe pain if I moved my head around in any direction too much. All I had to do to keep away the headaches was to keep my head straight. (Right. Like that’s easy to do.) By the mercy and grace of God, the vertebrae straightened out but now my problem is with the muscles that got so used to the vertebrae being crooked so that it conformed to the deformity. I have been to three different chiropractors over the last decade and they were only able to relieve the pain for a short while. So, I decided to try physical therapy. It has been a tremendous help, but only if I stick with going. All through February I went for my sessions, sometimes twice a week, and then I ended the sessions because I felt better.
A few months went by and the headaches came back again. Once I had a headache for three days, I decided that was enough; time to schedule another appointment with the physical therapist. Through half of June and most of July, I went every week to therapy. This time around was a bit more of a struggle. The pain seemed to get worse before it got better. But then one night, I slept on my back with my head turned most of the night. I woke up with no pain, whereas, in times past if I did that, I would wake up with a headache. Praise God! So I ended my therapy sessions and I continue doing the exercises the therapists taught me. It’s been over a week now and the headaches have returned already. Ugh. I’ve had three days this week where my neck hurt and caused a headache.
With therapy sessions over, I’ve been trying to focus more on preparing to launch my life coaching business. So much to do and so much to learn!!! So yeah!! It’s been an incredibly busy year.
I’m seeking the Lord’s guidance with the businesses and all He has for me, and praying for help to keep myself on track so I can continue writing. Did I mention I’m in the process of launching a website for my craft business? Did I mention it’s been a busy year? 🙂
I don’t know what the future holds, but I expect God to do great things. As far as this blog is concerned, I plan on keeping up with it for the next few months and then just seeing how things go once I get my website up and running.
To my readers, I apologize for the long hiatus and for not giving a heads up to the long hiatus. I really didn’t plan on the hiatus, to be honest. Thanks to all those who have been reading and hopefully, waiting for the next blog post.
The New Year always inspires us. We feel optimistic. We set resolutions and start believing the best is yet to come.
I am one of those people that tried setting resolutions every New Year but always seemed to fail to reach them. My solution to this problem? Give up. Stop making resolutions because they don’t seem to work for me.
However, last year I tried something different and by the end of the year I looked back and saw how I made progress. What did I do different other than writing down resolutions? I actually cut out pictures representing my goals and put them on something I could see…a poster board.
Granted, the poster board was not put in a place where it was easily seen. I tried to find a good spot for it but I could only manage to prop it up behind my cedar chest where it would fold down. So, yeah. Not a good spot if I want to just turn my head and see it.
Despite the bad location, the images of what I pasted to the board burned into my memory, and somehow, that helped me focus on my goals. I guess it makes sense for me that it helped since my learning style is mostly visual. In other words, I learn best by what I see rather than in what I hear. So, I’m happy to report that a majority of what I pasted on my vision board I fulfilled by the end of 2015!
Now, onto 2016…
For 2016, I wrote down some goals that I will paste onto a new poster board and prop up somewhere, if not once again, behind my cedar chest. *sigh* I need to organize my office and find some space. Not much space to be had in a eight by twelve in a half feet room, but surely I can find some. Note to self: Write down goal for 2016 to organize office.
Here are my goals for this year:
- Start life coaching.
- Research small business management
- Organize office
- Remove cedar chest and place in the shed.
- Arrange filing cabinets
- Get a new desk that is functional for my needs.
- Sell old desk.
- Start Pinterest board for craft business
- Get a Bible reading plan that I can use
- Grow closer to Jesus
- Make reading goals for this year and put in a journal.
I might add to this later, but for now, this is what will get pasted onto a poster board.
The key goal on my list is growing closer to Jesus. A related goal also important that I need to put on my list, now that I’m thinking of it, is growing the important relationships with others in my life. Intimacy with Jesus and intimacy with others is the key to a fulfilling life. I have the tendency to focus too much on tasks and forget relationships until I start feeling lonely and then I’m reminded, “Oh yeah! I am a human being in need of relationships.” Duh. How silly of me to forget!
Through all this planning, I pray for the Lord to lead me. I pray that He will be glorified through everything I do. My struggle in all this planning is remembering that it is for His glory not mine. I need to remember that every success comes from Him. When I give into the temptation to make accomplishing my goals my priority or success my priority, I fail. When I make success my goal, I begin to feel frustrated and restless. I feel the weight of my world on my shoulders. But when I let go of pursuing success and make glorifying the Lord my ultimate goal, the burden is lighter. My frustration disappears. After all, the Lord is the one in complete control. He is the one that gives the ability to create wealth and makes success possible (1 Chronicles 29:12). I like what Gary Wilkerson said in the newsletter dated January 4th, for World Challenge,
“The only plans that will succeed are the plans God gives you.”
Seek first the kingdom of God, right?
At the end of this year, may I look back and see that I kept my eyes on Him, remembered that relationships are more important than tasks, and give Him all the glory!
Uh oh! Just thought of another one: Set budget goals for each month.
“Now, may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him.” Romans 15:13a
Got any goals for this year you want to share? Please do!
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” John 14:12:14
“Many a believer has read these with joy and hope, and in deep earnestness of soul has attempted to plead them for his own need, and has come out disappointed. The simple reason was that he separated the promise from its context.
The Lord gave the wonderful promise of the free use of His Name with the Father in conjunction with doing His works. The disciple who lives only for Jesus’ work and Kingdom, for His will and honor, will be given the power to appropriate the promise. Anyone grasping the promise only when he wants something very special for himself will be disappointed, because he is making Jesus the servant of his own comfort. But whoever wants to pray effective prayer of faith because he needs it for the work of the Master will learn it, because he has made himself the servant of his Lord’s interests. Prayer not only teaches and strengthens one for work, work teaches and strengthens one for prayer.” ~ Andrew Murray, With Christ in the School of Prayer, pg. 143
I read this passage this morning. Powerful stuff, eh?! I hope this encourages you all to pray and work for His glory as it has me! May we then see His power at work within us and through us!
I am grateful to everyone out there in WordPress Land who have read and shared their thoughts on In the Potter’s Hands! 2015 was a great year. Tough, but great. The Lord has blessed and I am blessed by all of you out there who are sharing the work God has started in you!
Blessings for the new year!
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 23 trips to carry that many people.
“So long…as we consider finance, industry, trade, agriculture merely as competing interests to be reconciled from time to time as best they may, so long as we consider “education” as a good in itself of which everyone has a right to the utmost, without any ideal of the good life for society or for the individual, we shall move from one uneasy compromise to another. To the quick and simple organization of society for ends which, being only material and worldly, must be as ephemeral as worldly success, there is only one alternative. As political philosophy derives its sanction from ethics, and ethics from the truth of religion, it is only by returning to the eternal source of truth that we can hope for any social organization which will not, to its ultimate destruction, ignore some essential aspect of reality. The term “democracy,” as I have said again and again…
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A month ago, I was cutting out pictures and words for my 2015 goals collage to paste onto my poster board. I swear it was a month ago.
My, the speed of which this year has flown!
This time, last year the Lord spoke to me about 2015 being the year of new beginnings. It has definitely been that, but not in a way I thought it would.
We all dream of accomplishing big goals before the New Year. We envision glorious victories in the New Year that somehow will make an impact in our world. Little do we think of the battles we must fight first to get to the victory. As if the victory comes with no battle. Or we think the battle will be a piece of cake. Never do we envision the struggle that causes us to stumble or fall to our knees, weary from the fight.
Milestones reached. Victories won.
All without the battle.
That was my vision.
My goal that I cut out and glued onto a poster board for a reminder was to be a writer and a life coach. I glued a bunch of other goals too. I glued images of a house, a laptop, and a filing cabinet. There’s a lady running on pavement to symbolize my goal to exercise. Words such as “Organized”, “Board of Christian Life Coaching” are also glued randomly in position across the board.
I entered 2015 with high hopes. I reached my first goal in February by joining a gym and went rather faithfully every week until summertime when I spent more time outside taking walks at the lake. Good start to the New Year, eh? Only nine more goals to check off my list!
I don’t know what happened. Somewhere along the way the battles emerged. Sleep problems increased because colon problems increased. Self-doubt crept into my mind. I kept moving forward. I kept placing one foot in front of the other, but then my forehead found a wall. I kept trying to push through the wall, but the wall didn’t budge. Not even a tiny bit! So I stood and stared at the wall.
I prayed and cried out to God for help. For wisdom. For anything!
Soldiers learn to scale walls. Why can’t I scale this one?
I heard this whisper in my ear, “Not through my effort, but by God’s grace.”
I felt like I’m being sung to sleep. Lulled to rest from my tireless, fruitless efforts and allow God to do His work. To surprise me with His grace that is for those who can’t help themselves. A gift I can’t receive by effort but only by faith.
Didn’t God do His best work when Adam was asleep? Just sayin’. 🙂
“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” Zec. 4:6
So I give into sleep. I give into rest.
As I look back on this year through my rearview mirror, I see it has indeed been a year of new beginnings. Not only new beginnings but small beginnings. Small efforts that seem insignificant. You can’t get any smaller than sleeping. I’ve felt like a sleepwalker this year. I did what only I could do as I slept and walked. And then I lay myself down. I took naps, as many as possible, even though I wanted to do so much more.
The wall is breaking apart now. I see it.
I launched a craft business last month. No sale yet to speak of, but it’s launched.
After months of trying to come up with a name for my life coaching practice, a name came to me just last week.
For a couple of years, I’ve had a new filing cabinet on my list of things to get for my home office but never found one at the right time to meet my pocketbook. Now, through no effort of mine, I have two filing cabinets coming my way free of charge.
New beginnings. Small beginnings.
Now, I lay me down to sleep. I rest from my work; the Lord will keep all things that concern me. I leave the outcome in His capable hands. (Bet you thought I was trying to rhyme, didn’t ya?)
He is faithful. I know this and I keep reminding my anxious heart.
I will rest and one day I will wake to see the glory of God and marvel at His wondrous work.
Do you need to rest? Jesus asks,
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythm of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitted on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 The Message
Some of you might be wondering where I disappeared to. I probably seemed to vanish into thin air but I assure you I’m still here. 🙂 Life spilled over and I’ve had to take a sabbatical from writing posts. I’ve had some family issues going on, one of which was an uncle diagnosed with cancer whose health rapidly declined and then passed away last week. I’m still grieving, honestly. He was a close uncle and his suffering with lung cancer hurt to watch.
Second reason for my disappearance: I’m plum worn out. I am in the process of starting two business and my time and energy is focused on those two things right now. As some of you might know from previous posts, sleep and lack of energy is a constant struggle for me.
It hurts not to write. I feel the need to write, but to best serve the readers out there I need the time and energy to devote to writing and right now I just don’t have it.
I will check in when I can and read posts from my reader’s feed, but until I can carve out some time along with some energy, I will just be reading blogs rather than writing.
Be blessed, ya’ll!!
Until we meet again…
In the basement of the church, I knelt at the alter with a few other kids. At twelve years old, I never really experienced church since my parents didn’t take us. Children’s church was a new concept to me. I heard of church but not a church for children. At the beginning of our time together in that chilly basement, we sang songs about Jesus. A Jesus I didn’t know. After singing there was a lesson that I don’t remember now. I’m sure it had to do with Jesus. Just guessing here. 😛 At the end there was an alter call for those kids who wanted to invite Jesus into their hearts. I went up not fulling understanding what I was doing, but so glad that I did.
Many years have passed since that day I knelt and received Christ. Many years and many mistakes later and I am more amazed now by the grace of Christ than I was as a young adolescent.
Brace yourself for a confession. I’ve been saved so long…and you reply: How long have you been saved? I’ve been saved so long, I actually take for granted what happened on that day.
Recently, I had the privilege of seeing someone come to faith in Christ. A very rare occasion. So rare, I would say this is really the first. This person in the crisis of their life with no where else to go, who had once identified as an atheist is now a part of the body of Christ. The transformation is incredible. The beauty of grace magnified because at one point they were in the depths of hell and now they are seated with Christ.
Those of us who are like me, who had been saved at a young age and walked with Christ now for many years, can be struck by the contrast. Once a person sat in darkness with no hope, despairing of life, and now living in the light of God’s grace with hope. As old as I am now, I can say I’ve lived most of my life walking with Christ. This person has lived most of their life apart from Christ until now. It’s like witnessing a tiny rose bud curled up in darkness suddenly stretching open its petals in response to the sun’s light.
“I know nothing, except what everyone knows—if there when Grace dances, I should dance.” ~ W.H. Auden
Oh, how we should dance with Grace! Sing with the angels over one lost sinner coming home!
I wonder if the church as a whole in America has forgotten Grace. I wonder if we have forgotten our mission to go out into all the world and preach the Gospel, making disciples of all nations. I know I have. I forgot.
My friend turning to Christ has reminded me that we live in a broken world in desperate need of a remedy—the only remedy—Christ.
Brokenness is all around us. I recently read from the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) that addictions of all kinds is quite prevalent in our society today. It has been noted as the number one public health issue. I’m not just talking about drug and alcohol abuse either. Gambling, sex, food, digital, adrenaline. You name it, we’re addicted.
How can the church respond to the brokenness?
Elect new government officials?
Pass new laws in Congress?
Respond with the Gospel of Jesus. The Gospel of Grace.
“Never water down the word of God, preach it in its undiluted sternness; there must be unflinching loyalty to the word of God; but when you come to personal dealing with your fellow men, remember who you are–not a special being made in heaven, but a sinner saved by grace.” ~ Oswald Chambers
Maybe to do this we need to remember the place from which we came. None of us were born saved. We were all born sinners in need of a savior. We all at one point in our lives came to the revelation that we were lousy, no good sinners and accepted Christ as our Savior.
Do I remember my chains? Do I remember the prison in which sin once held me? Do I remember how God reached down to my lowest hell and pulled me up with Him? Do I remember how He washed away the red, messy stain of my sin and made me white as snow?
I remember now.
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they are red as crimson, they shall be as wool.” ~ Isaiah 1:18
Let us remember our former chains. Let us remember our mission to share the beauty and miracle of Grace with our fellow sinners. It is a beauty to behold. And when you see Grace dance, dance with her.
Prayer: Gracious Father, help us remember how You set us free. How You broke the chains of sin from us. And out of the abundance of Grace You have given, let us reach out and share with our fellow sinners to the glory of You!
Fall is right around the corner and I am super excited. All you summer-lovin’ people I know will lament over the end of summer, but I rejoice! July was a hotter than hades kind of month and I stayed indoors as much as possible. You know that saying that describes the amount of sweat one produces? The “sweating like a pig” metaphor ? It is supposed to describe how profusely one sweats, however, it is not an accurate metaphor because pigs don’t sweat much at all which explains why they love the mud so much. We’re did we come up with that one!? I don’t sweat much so when it gets into the 90s (that’s Fahrenheit) and the heat index is in the 100s, I would rather eat shard glass than go outside into the suffocating heat.
Now that we are into August it is time to sum up what I learned in July. I’m following Emily P. Freeman’s “What I learned” series and if you would like to keep up with her lessons of the month you can follow the link to her blog, Chatting at the Sky, for her lessons of July. What did I learn in July? Well, here is my list:
- It is super cool to be a part of a book launching team for an author. I was selected among 149 other people to be a part of Emily P. Freeman’s book launching team for her newest book to be released August 18th. I felt like a kid at Christmas when I received the Advanced Reader’s Copy as I opened up the package. So cool. 🙂 I plan on writing a review to post later. Keep an eye out for it! And if you can be a part of a book launching team for an author, go for it! You’ll enjoy the experience.
- I love cheap fluffy pillows. After my mattress purchase in June I discovered I needed a new pillow because my old pillow became a little
too flat. With my need for a straight neck and spine, it does not help to have a flat pillow, or a pillow too fluffy. Too fluffy gives me a headache. I probably tested out 8 pillows some within the price range of ten to twenty dollars. I tried a Serta pillow and a tried two memory foam pillows, both of which gave me a headache every other day. Then I went to Kmart and found a Joe Boxer pillow for the price of four bucks! Eureka! I found my pillow! Who would ever think a cheap pillow would be the right fit?! It was just the right fluffiness without being too fluffy, and just the right flatness without being too flat. Goldie Locks has found her pillow. 🙂
- Watching new life spring up through the acceptance of Christ is a beauty to behold. I’ve have never been privileged to be a part of seeing
someone come to Christ and be transformed and renewed…well, except my own transformation. The Lord has blessed me with this opportunity and I stand amazed. After months of praying, weeping, and encouraging, a person I know came to Christ. Praise God for He is truly awesome!!! Wow!! The beauty of it all is like watching a rose bud unfold.
- It is foolish to get into an argument with someone who doesn’t want to change. You ever get into those arguments with people who are bent on doing their own thing and resist any thought that what they are doing might not be right? Yeah. You can’t change their mind, so don’t. I’ve had these conversations with people before and it eventually becomes evident that they don’t really care if they are wrong because they are wise in their own conceit. Shake the dust off your feet and move on, said Jesus. Matthew 10:14. You can have all the facts and evidence to support your point, but the person will not care. Don’t waste your energy. Move onto someone who will listen. I can raise my hand and say, “been there. Done that. Won’t do it again.”
- Every relationship has hard conversations if it is a real relationship. Isn’t that the truth! I’ve actually learned this from past relationships. Girls, if your dating and you can’t be honest about what you want, but instead
change yourself in order to match what the guy you are dating wants and you end up married, you will end up miserable. Having hard conversations means being honest. Maybe you have to confront an issue. Maybe your dating and you need to have those discussions about faith and money and kids and what it is you want from the relationship before marriage. If you’re not honest, you set yourself up for failure. If you want a successful marriage full of happiness and intimacy, wouldn’t it be better to be honest about what you want so you can find out if the guy wants the same thing? Too often we girls try to change who were are, because we are too afraid of losing the guy, but remember ladies: it is better to be single and alone than married and alone. Again, “been there. Done that. Won’t do it again.” Thankfully, I’ve learned before getting to the altar. This can apply to your friendships as well. Find a friend with whom you can be honest and won’t feel condemned or belittled for your honesty.
That is all for today. I apologize for posting this late. I wanted to get this posted yesterday but I was sicky. I blamed it on the honeydew I’ve been eating the past couple of days, but really not sure what it was since I’ve not been myself the past few days. If it was something that didn’t agree with my colon and the IBS, it usually lasts just a day. However, if it is something really bad, it will last a few days. I’m still not quite right, but I’m getting there. Thankful for God’s mercy. So what have you learned in July?